The quadroon, or, Adventures in the Far West

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Title:
The quadroon, or, Adventures in the Far West By Captain Mayne Reid ; with twelve illustrations by Wm. Harvey engraved by Evans.
Physical Description:
447 p., <12> leaves of plates : ill. ; 18 cm.
Creator:
Reid, Mayne 1818-1883
Publisher:
J. & C. Brown and Co., <18--?> (London : W. Clowes and Sons)
Place of Publication:
London
Publication Date:

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier:
oclc - 28523654
System ID:
AA00000140:00001


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FRONTISPIECE.


An Adventure with the Norway Rats.-p. 246.










THE QUADROON;




OR,




brienutres in fre fjar Wiest.




BY

CAPTAIN MAYNE REID,
AUTHOR OF 'THB RIFLE RANGERS,' 'THE WHITE CHIEP,'
'THE SCALP-HUNTETS,' ETO.




WITH TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS BY TW. HARVEY,
ENGRAVED BY EVANS.




LONDON:
J. & C. BROWN AND Co., AVE MARIA LANE.
[Right of Translation served by the Author.1
















































































LONDON: PIINTED UY VW. CLOWES AND O NS, STANI ORD LTI:1 .T.
















PREFACE.



REAIDER! a word with you before starting.

This book is a romance-nothing more.
The author is not the hero.


















CONTENTS.


PAGE
CHAP. I. THE FATHER OF WATERS 9
II. SIX MONTHS IN TIE CRESCENT CITY 14
III. THE BELLE OF THE WEST' 20
IV. THE RIVAL BOATS 24
V. A DESIRABLE FELLOW-PASSENGER 27
VI. ANTOINE THE STEWARD 31
VII. TlHE STARTING 35
VIII. THE 'COAST' OF THE MISSISSIPPI 40
IX. EUGENIE BESAKNON 44
X. A NEW MODE OF RAISING TllE STEAM 50
XI. A BOAT-RACE UPON THE MISSISSIPPI 58
XII. TIE LIFE-PRESERVEI 63
XIII. 'BLESSE' 67
XIV. WIIERI AM I 72
XV. 'OLE ZIP' 78
XVI. M. DOMINIQUE CAYARRE 85
XVII. 'AURORE' 91
XVIII. TIE CREOLE AND QUADROON 98


XIX. A LOUISIANA LANDSCAPE
XX. MY JOURNAL -
XXI. A CHANGE OF QUARTERS
XXII. AURORE LOVES ME
XXIII. A SURPRISE -
XXIV. A RIVAL -
XXV. AN IOUR OF BLISS
XXVI. THE 'NIGGER QUARTER'-
XXVII. TIE DEVIL'S DOUCIIE


- 102
- 110
119
126
- 132
137
144
151
- 156


XXVIII. GAYARRE AND 'BULLY BILT,'











CONTENTS.


CHAP. XXIX. 'ELLE T'AIME!'
XXX. THOUGHTS
XXXI. DREAMS -
XXXII. STUNG BY A SNAKE
XXXIII. THE RUNAWAY
XXXIV. GABRIEL THE BAMBARRA
XXXV. THE SNAKE-DOCTOR
XXXVI. CHARMING TIE CROTALUS
XXXVII. KILLING A TRAIL
XXXVIII. THE P1ROGUE -
XXXIX. THE TREE-CAVERN
XL. HOTEL GOSSIP -
XLI. THE LETTER -
XLII. THE WHARF-BOAT
XLIII. THE NORWAY RAT -
XLIV. THE HOUMA -
XLV. JEALOUSY -
XLVI. A SCIENTIFIC JULEP
XLVII. A GAME OF WHIST -


PAGE
19
- 173
- 179
- 183
- 189
- 194
198
- 203
- 210
- 214
219
- 223
231
237
243
248
253
260
- 265


XLVIII. THE GAME INTERRUPTED -
XLIX. THE SPORTSMEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI
L. THE CITY
LI. VENTE IMPORTANT DES NEGRES
LII. BROWN AND CO. -
LIII. EUGENE D'HAUTEVILLE
LIV. PITY FOR LOVE -
LV. ON GAMES AND GAMBLING
LVI. THE FARO BANK -
LVII. THE WATCH AND RING -
LVIII. MY FORLORN HOPE -
LIX. THE ROTUND -
LX. THE SLAVE-MART -
LXI. BIDDING FOR MY BETROTHED
LXII. TIE IIACKNEY CARRIAGE
LXIII. TO BRINGIERS -
LXIV. TWO VILLAINS -


272
- 275
284
- 290
295
- 300
304
- 310
317
- 322
328
- 333
340
- 345
352
355
361











CONTENTS.


CHAP. LXV. TIE PAWPAW THICKET
LXVI. TIE ELOPEMENT
LXVII. THE LOST MUSTANGS -
LXVIII. A NIGHT IN TIE WOODS
LXIX. LOVE'S VENGEANCE
LXX. HOUNDS ON OUR TRAIL
LXXI. THE SIGNAL -
LXXII. THE SLEUTII-OUNDS -
LXXIII. THE MAN-IUNTE -
LXXIV. SHOT FOR SHOT
LXXV. LOVE IN THE HOUR OF PERIL
LXXVI. A TERRIBLE FATE -
LXXVII. TIE SENTENCE OF JUDGE LYNCH
LXXVIII. IN THE IIANDS OF TIIE SHERIFF
LXXIX. THE CRISIS -


vii
PAGE
- 368
- 373
-379
- 384
390
395
399
405
409
413
417
423
-427
431
-435



















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.




PAGE
I CAUGHT HIM BY THE.-COLLAR, AND DREW HIM BACK 70
ANOTHER WORD, AND THE UPLIFTED WHIP WOULD
HAVE FALLEN ON HIS SHOULDERS 144
THE DEVIL'S DOUCHE 161
TIE RUNAWAY 193
HOTEL GOSSIP 223
AN ADVENTURE WITH THE NORWAY RATS 240
TIE GAME INTERRUPTED 274
PITY FOR LOVE 304
BIDDING FOR MY BETROTHED 345
DARK AS IT WAS, WE COULD SEE THEM IN PASSING 366
HUNTED LIKE A WOLF 408
LYNCH LAW 430












THE QUADROON.



CHAPTER I.
THE FATHER OF WATERS.*
FATHER Of Waters! I worship thy mighty stream!
As the Hindoo by the shores of his sacred river, I
kneel upon thy banks, and pour forth my soul in wild
adoration !
Far different are the springs of our devotion. To
him, the waters of his yellow Ganges are the symbols
of a superstitious awe, commingled with dark fears
for the mystic future; to me, thy golden waves are
the souvenirs of joy, binding the present to the known
and happy past. Yes, mighty river! I worship thee
in the past. My heart fills with joy at the very men-
tion of thy name I

Father of Waters I know thee well. In the land
of a thousand lakes, on the summit of the Hauteur de
terre,' I have leaped thy tiny stream. Upon the
bosom of the blue lakelet, the fountain of thy life, I
have launched my birchen boat; and yielding to thy
current, have floated softly southward.
I have passed the meadows where the wild rice
For explanatory notes, see Appendix at the end of volume.









10 THE QUADROON.

ripens on thy banks, where the white birch mirrors
its silvery stem, and tall coniferce fling their pyramid
shapes, on thy surface. I have seen the red Chippewa
cleave thy crystal waters in his bark canoe-the giant
moose lave his flanks in thy cooling flood-and the
stately wapiti bound gracefully along thy banks. I
have listened to the music of thy shores-the call of
the cacawee, the laugh of the wa-wa goose, and the
trumpet-note of the great northern swan. Yes,
mighty river! Even in that far northern land, thy
wilderness home, have I worshipped thee I

Onward through many parallels of latitude-through
many degrees of the thermal line 1
I stand upon thy banks where thou leapest the
rocks of St. Antoine, and with bold frothing current
cleavest thy way to the south. Already I note a
change in the aspect of thy shores. The coniferce have
disappeared, and thou art draped with a deciduous
foliage of livelier hue. Oaks, elms, and maples,
mingle their frondage, and stretch their broad arms
over thee. Though I still look upon woods that seem
illimitable, I feel that the wilderness is past. My
eyes are greeted by the signs of civilisation-its
sounds fall upon my ear. The hewn cabin-pictu-
resque in its rudeness-stands among prostrate trunks ;
and the ring of the lumberer's axe is heard in the far
depths of the forest. The silken blades of the maize
wave in triumph over fallen trees, its golden tassels
giving promise of a rich return. The spire of the
church peers above the green spray of the woods, and
the prayer of the Christian ascends to heaven sub-
limely mingling with the roar of thy waters I
*








TIE FATHER OF WATERS. 11

I launch my boat once more on thy buoyant wave;
and, with heart as buoyant, glide onward and south-
ward. I pass between bold bluffs that hem thy surg-
ing waves, and trace with pleasant wonder their
singular and varied outlines-now soaring abruptly
upward, now carried in gentle undulations along the
blue horizon. I behold the towering form of that
noted landmark 'La mnontaigne gui trempe a reau,' and
the swelling cone on whose summit the soldier-tra-
veller pitched his tent. I glide over the mirrored
bosom of Pepin's lake, regarding with admiration its
turreted shores. I gaze with deeper interest upon
that precipitous escarpment, the 'Lover's Leap,'
whose rocky wall has oft echoed back the joyous
chaunt of the light-hearted voyageur, and once a
sadder strain-the death-song of Wanona-beautiful
Wanona, who sacrificed life to love 1

Onward I glide, where the boundless prairies of the
West impinge upon thy stream; and my eye wanders
with delight over their fadeless green.
I linger a moment to gaze upon the painted warrior
spurring his wild steed along thy banks-to gaze upon
the Dacotah girls bathing their lithe limbs in thy
crystal wave-then on again past the Cornice Rocks'
-the metalliferous shores of Galena and Dubuque-
the aerial tomb of the adventurous miner.
I reach the point where the turbid Missouri rushes
rudely upon thee, as though he would force thee from
thy onward course. Poised in my light canoe, I
watch the struggle. Fierce but short it is, for thou
triumphest, and thy conquered rival is compelled to
pay his golden tribute to thy flood that rolls majesti-
cally onward I









12 THE QUADROON.


Upon thy victorious wave I am borne still south-
ward. I behold huge green mounds-the sole monu-
ments of an ancient people-who once trod thy shores.
Near at hand I look upon the dwellings of a far diffe-
rent race. I behold tall spires soaring to the sky;
domes, and cupolas glittering in the sun; palaces
standing upon thy banks, and palaces floating upon
thy wave. I behold a great city-a metropolis!
I linger not here. I long for the sunny South; and
trusting myself once more to thy current I glide on-
ward.
I pass the sea-like estuary of the Ohio, and the
embouchure of another of thy mightiest tributaries,
the famed river of the plains. How changed the
aspect of thy shores! I no longer look upon bold
bluffs and beetling cliffs. Thou hast broken from the
hills that enchained thee, and now rollest far and free,
cleaving a wide way through thine own alluvion.
Thy very banks are the creation of thine own fancy-
the slime thou hast flung from thee in thy moments of
wanton play-and thou canst break through their
barriers at will. Forests again fringe thee-forests
of giant trees-the spreading platanus, the tall tulip-
tree, and the yellow-green cotton-wood rising in ter-
raced groves from the margin of thy waters. Forests
stand upon thy banks, and the wreck of forests is
borne upon thy bubbling bosom!

I pass thy last great affluent, whose crimson flood
just tinges the hue of thy waters. Down thy delta I
glide, amid scenes rendered classic by the sufferings
of De Soto-by the adventurous daring of Iberville
and La Salle.








THE FATHER OF WATERS.


And here my soul reaches the acme of its admira-
tion. Dead to beauty must be heart and eye that
could behold thee here, in this thy southern land,
without a thrill of sublimest emotion!
I gaze upon lovely landscapes ever changing, like
scenes of enchantment, or the pictures of a panorama.
They are the loveliest upon earth-for where are
views to compare with thine? Not upon the Rhine,
with its castled rocks-not upon the shores of that
ancient inland sea-not among the Isles of the Ind.
No. In no part of the world are scenes like these;
nowhere is soft beauty blended so harmoniously with
wild picturesqueness.
And yet not a mountain meets the eye-not even a
hill-but the dark cyprieres, draped with the silvery
tillandsia, form a background to the picture with all
the grandeur of the pyrogenous granite!
The forest no longer fringes thee here. It has long
since fallen before the planter's axe; and the golden
sugar-cane, the silvery rice, and the snowy cotton-
plant, flourish in its stead. Forest enough has been
left to adorn the picture. I behold vegetable forms
of tropic aspect, with broad shining foliage-the Sabal
palm, the anona, the water-loving tupelo, the catalpa
with its large trumpet flowers, the melting liquid-
ambar, and the wax-leaved mangolia. Blending their
foliage with these fair indignes are an hundred lovely
exotics-the orange, lemon, and fig; the Indian lilac
and tamarind; olives, myrtles, and bromelias; while
the Babylonian willow contrasts its drooping fronds
with the erect reeds of the giant cane, or the lance-
like blades of the yucca gloriosa.
Embowered amidst these beautiful forms I behold
villas and mansions of grand and varied aspect-varied








14 THE QUADROON.

as the races of men who dwell beneath their roofs.
And varied are they; for the nations of the world
dwell together upon thy banks-each having sent its
tribute to adorn thee with the emblems of a glorious
and universal civilisation. Father of Waters, fare-
well !
*
Though not born in this fair southern land, I have
long lingered there; and I love it even better than the
land of my birth. I have there spent the hours of
bright youth, of adventurous manhood; and the
retrospect of these hours is fraught with a thousand
memories tinged with a romance that can never die.
There my young heart yielded to the influence of
Love-a first and virgin love. No wonder the spot
should be to me the most hallowed on earth!
Reader! listen to the story of that love




CHAPTER II.
SIX MONTHS IN THE CRESCENT CITY.
LIKE other striplings escaped from college, I was no
longer happy at home. The yearning for travel was
upon me; and I longed to make acquaintance with
that world, as yet only known to me through the
medium of books.
My longing was soon to be gratified; and without
a sigh I beheld the hills of my native land sink behind
the black waves-not much caring whether I should
ever see them again.
Though emerging from the walls of a classic college,








SIX MONTHS IN THE CRESCENT CITY.


I was far from being tinctured with classic sympathies.
Ten years spent in pondering over the wild hyperbole
of Homer, the mechanical versework of Virgil, and
the dry indelicacies of Horatius Flaccus, had failed
to imbue me with a perception of that classic beauty
felt, or pretended to be felt, by the spectacled savan.
My mind was not formed to live on the ideal, or dream
over the past. I delight rather in the real, the posi-
tive, and the present. Don Quixotes may play the
troubadour among ruined castles, and mincing misses
cover the ground of the guide-books. For my part I
have no belief in the romance of old-world life. In
the modern Tell I behold a hireling, ready to barter
his brawny limbs to the use of whatever tyrant; and
the picturesque Mazzaroni, upon closer acquaintance,
dwindles down to the standard of a hen-roost thief.
Amid the crumbling walls of Athens and the ruins of
Rome I encounter inhospitality and hunger. I am
not a believer in the picturesqueness of poverty. 1
have no relish for the romance of rags.
And yet it was a yearning for the romantic that
called me from home. I longed for the poetic and
picturesque, for I was just at that age when the mind
is imbued with its strongest faith in their reality.
Ha! mine is not yet disabused of this belief. I am
older now, but the hour of disenchantment has not yet
come upon me-nor ever will. There is a romance in
life, that is no illusion. It lives not in the effete forms
and childish ceremonies of the fashionable drawing-
room-it has no illustration in the tinsel trappings
and gaudy puerilities of a Court. Stars, garters, and
titles are its antidotes; red cloth and plush the upas-
trees of its existence.
Its hoine is elsewhere, amid the grand and sublime









16 THE QUADROON.

scenes of Nature-though these are not necessary
accompaniments. It is no more incidental to field
and forest, rock, river, and mountain, than to the well-
trodden ways of the trading-town. Its home is in
human hearts-hearts that throb with high aspirations
-bosoms that burn with the noble passions of Liberty
and Love!
My steps then were not directed towards classic
shores, but to lands of newer and more vigorous life.
Westward went I in search of romance. I found it in
its most attractive form under the glowing skies of
Louisiana..
*
In the month of January, 18-, I set foot upon the
soil of the New World-upon a spot stained with
English blood. The polite skipper, who had carried
me across the Atlantic, landed me in his gig. I was
curious to examine the field of this decisive action;
for at that period of my life I had an inclination for
martial affairs. But something more than mere
curiosity prompted me to visit the battle-ground of
New Orleans. I then held an opinion deemed hete-
rodox-namely, that the improvised soldier is under
certain circumstances quite equal to the professional
hireling, and that long military drill is not essential to
victory. The story of war, superficially studied,
would seem to antagonise this theory, which conflicts
also with the testimony of all military men. But the
testimony of mere military men on such a matter is
without value. Who ever heard of a military man
who did not desire to have his art considered as
mythical as possible ? Moreover, the rulers of the
world have spared no pains to imbue their people with
false ideas upon this point. It is necessary to put for-









SIX MIONTIS IN THE CRESCENT CITY. 17

ward some excuse for that terrible incubus upon the
nations, the standing army.'
My desire to view the battle-ground upon the banks
of the Mississippi had chiefly reference to this question.
The action itself had been one of my strong arguments
in favour of my belief; for upon this spot some six
thousand men-who had never heard the absurd
command, Eyes right !'-out-generalled, 'whipped,'
in fact nearly annihilated, a well-equipped and veteran
army of twice their number!
Since standing upon that battle-ground I have
carried a sword in more than one field of action.
What I then held only as a theory, I have since
proved as an experience. The 'drill' is a delusion.
The standing army a cheat.
*
In another hour I was wandering through the streets
of the Crescent City, no longer thinking of military
affairs. My reflections were turned into a far different
channel. The social life of the New World, with all
its freshness and vigour, was moving before my eyes,
like a panorama; and despite of my assumption of
the nil admirari, I could not help wondering as I
went.
And one of my earliest surprises-one that met me
on the very threshold of Transatlantic existence-was
the discovery of my own utter uselessness. I could
point to my desk and say, There lie the proofs of my
erudition-the highest prizes of my college class.'
But of what use they ? The dry theories I had been
taught had no application to the purposes of real life.
My logic was the prattle of the parrot. My classic
lore lay upon my mind like lumber; and I was
altogether about as well prepared to struggle with









18 THE QUADROON.

life-to benefit either my fellow-man or myself-as if
I had graduated in Chinese mnemonics.
And oh! ye pale professors, who drilled me in syn-
tax and scansion, ye would deem me ungrateful indeed
were I to give utterance to the contempt and indig-
nation which I then felt for ye-then, when I looked
back upon ten years of wasted existence spent under
your tutelage-then, when, after believing myself an
educated man, the illusion vanished, and I awoke to
the knowledge that I knew nothing!
*
With some money in my purse, and very little
knowledge in my head, I wandered through the
streets of New Orleans, wondering as I went.
Six months later, and I was traversing the same
streets, with very little money in my purse, but with
my stock of knowledge vastly augmented. During
this six months I had acquired an experience of the
world more extensive, than in any six years of my
previous life.
I had paid somewhat dearly for this experience.
My travelling fund had melted away in the alembic of
caf6s, theatres, masquerades, and quadroonn' balls.
Some of it had been deposited in that bank (faro)
which returns neither principal nor interest!
I was almost afraid to take stock' of my affairs.
At length with an effort I did so; and found, after
paying my hotel bills, a balance in my favour of ex-
actly twenty-five dollars I Twenty-five dollars to live
upon until I could write home, and receive an answer
-a period of three months at the least-for I am
talking of a time antecedent to the introduction of
Atlantic steamers.








SIX MONTHS IN THE CRESCENT CITY.


For six months I had been sinning bravely. I was
now all repentance, and desirous of making amends.
I was even willing to engage in some employment.
But my cold classic training, that had not enabled me
to protect my purse, was not likely to aid me in re-
plenishing it; and in all that busy city I could find no
office that I was fitted to fill!
Friendless-dispirited-a little disgusted-not a
little anxious in regard to my immediate future, I
sauntered about the streets. My acquaintances were
becoming scarcer every day. I missed them from
their usual haunts-the haunts of pleasure. Whither
had they gone ?
There was no mystery in their disappearance. It
was now mid-June. The weather had become in-
tensely hot, and every day the mercury mounted
higher-upon the scale. It was already dancing in the
neighbourhood of 1000 of Fahrenheit. In a week or
two might be expected that annual but unwelcome
visitor known by the soubriquet of 'Yellow Jack,'
whose presence is alike dreaded by young and old;
and it was the terror inspired by him that was driving
the fashionable world of New Orleans, like birds of
passage, to a northern clime.
I am not more courageous than the rest of mankind.
I had no inclination to make the acquaintance of this
dreaded demon of the swamps; and it occurred to me,
that I, too, had better get out of his way. To do
this, it was only necessary to step on board a steam-
boat, and be carried to one of the up-river towns,
beyond the reach of that tropical malaria in which
the vomito delights to dwell.
St. Louis was at this time the place of most attrac-
tive name; and I resolved to go thither; though how








20 THE QUADROON.

I was to live there I.could not tell-since my funds
would just avail to land me on the spot.
Upon reflection, it could scarce be 'out of the fry-
ingpan into the fire,' and my resolution to go to St.
Louis became fixed. So, packing up my impedimenta,
I stepped on board the steamboat Belle of the West,'
bound for the far '.City of the Mounds.'




CHAPTER III.
THE 'BELLE OF THE WEST.
I was on board at the advertised time ; but punctuality
on a Mississippi steamboat must not be expected; and
I found myself too early, by a couple of hours at
least.
The time was not thrown away. I spent it to some
profit in examining the peculiar craft in which I had
embarked. I say, peculiar; for the steamers employed
upon the Mississippi and its tributary waters are
unlike those of any other country-even unlike those
in use in the Atlantic or Eastern States.
They are strictly 'river boats,' and could not live in
anything like a rough sea; though the reckless
owners of some of them have occasionally risked
them along the coast from Mobile to Galveston,
Texas!
The hull is built like that of a sea boat, but differs
materially from the latter in depth of hold. So shal-
low is it, that there is but little stowage-room allowed;
and the surface of the main deck is but a few inches
above the water-line. Indeed, when the boat is








THE ELLE OF TIIHE WEST.' 21

heavily laden, the waves lip over the gunwales.
Upon the deck is placed the machinery; and there
rest the huge cast-iron boilers, and the grates or
'furnaces,' necessarily large, because the propelling
power is produced from logs of wood. There, also,
most of the freight is stowed, on account of the light
capacity of the hold; and on every part, not occupied
by the machinery and boilers, may be seen piles of
cotton-bales, hogsheads of tobacco, or bags of corn,
rising to the height of many feet. This is the freight
of a down-river boat. On the return trip, of course,
the commodities are of a different character, and con-
sist of boxes of Yankee furniture, farming implements,
and 'notions,' brought round by ship from Boston;
coffee in bags from the West Indies, rice, sugar,
oranges, and other products of the tropical South.
On the after-part of this deck is a space allotted to
the humbler class of travellers known as deck pas-
sengers.' These are never Americans. Some are
labouring Irish-some poor German emigrants on
their way to the far North-West; the rest are negroes
-free, or more generally slaves.
I dismiss the hull by observing that there is a good
reason why it is built with so little depth of hold. It
is to allow the boats to pass the shoal water in many
parts of the river, and particularly during the season
of drought. For such purpose the lighter the draught,
the greater the advantage; and a Mississippi captain,
boasting of the capacity of his boat in this respect,
declared, that all he wanted was a heavy dew upon the
grass, to enable him to propel her across the prairies
If there is but little of a Mississippi steamboat under
the water, the reverse is true of what may be seen
above its surface. Fancy a two-story house some two








22 THE QUADROON.

hundred feet in length, built of plank, and painted to the
whiteness of snow; fancy along the upper story a row
of green-latticed windows, or rather doors, thickly set,
and opening out upon a narrow balcony; fancy a
flattish or slightly rounded roof covered with tarred
canvas, and in the centre a range of sky-lights like
glass forcing-pits; fancy, towering above all, two
enormous black cylinders of sheet iron, each ten feet
in diameter, and nearly ten times as high, the 'funnels'
of the boat; a smaller cylinder to one side, the 'scape
pipe;' a tall flag-staff standing up from the extreme
end of the bow, with the 'star-spangled banner' flying
from its peak;-fancy all these, and you may form
some idea of the characteristic features of a steamboat
on the Mississippi.
Enter the cabin, and for the first time you will be
struck with the novelty of the scene. You will there
observe a splendid saloon, perhaps a hundred feet in
length, richly carpeted and adorned throughout. You
will note the elegance of the furniture,-costly chairs,
sofas, tables, and lounges; you will note the walls,
richly gilded and adorned with appropriate designs;
the crystal chandeliers suspended from the ceiling;
the hundred doors that lead to the 'state rooms' on
each side, and the immense folding-door of stained or
ornamental glass, which shuts in the sacred precinct
of the 'ladies' saloon.' In short, you will note all
around you a style and luxuriance to which you, as a
European traveller, have not been accustomed. You
have only read of such a scene in some Oriental tale-
in Mary Montagu, or the Arabian Nights.'
And yet all this magnificence is sometimes sadly at
variance with the style of the company that occupies
it-for this splendid saloon is as much the property of











THE 'BELLE OF THE WEST.' 23

the coarse 'rowdy' as of the refined gentleman. You
are startled by the apparition of a rough horse-skin
boot elevated along the edge of the shining mahogany;
and a dash of brown nicotian juice may have somewhat
altered the pattern of the carpet! But these things
are exceptional-more exceptional now than in the
times of which I write.

Having satisfied myself with examining the interior
structure of the Belle of the West,' I sauntered out
in front of the cabin. Here a large open space, usually
known as the awning,' forms an excellent lounging-
place for the male passengers. It is simply the con-
tinuation of the 'cabin deck,' projected forward and
supported by pillars that rest upon the main deck
below. The roof, or 'hurricane deck,' also carried
forward to the same point, and resting on slight
wooden props, screens this part from sun or rain, and
a low guard-rail running around it renders it safe.
Being open in front and at both sides, it affords the
best view; and having the advantage of a cool breeze,
brought about by the motion of the boat, is usually a
favourite resort. A number of chairs are here placed
to accommodate the passengers, and smoking is per-
mitted.
He must take very little interest in the movements
of human life, who cannot kill an hour by observing
it upon the 'Levee' of New Orleans; and having
seated myself and lighted my cigar, I proceeded to
spend an hour in that interesting occupation.








( 24 )


CHAPTER IV.
THE RIVAL BOATS.
THE part of the 'Levee' under my eyes was that
known as the Steamboat Landing.' Some twenty or
thirty boats lay along a series of wooden wharves that
projected slightly into the river. Some had just arrived
from up-river towns, and were discharging their freight
and passengers, at this season a scanty list. Others,
surrounded by a bustling swarm, were getting up
steam; while still others appeared to be abandoned
by both officers and crew-who were no doubt at the
time enjoying themselves in the brilliant cafes and
restaurants. Occasionally might be seen a jauntily-
dressed clerk, with blue cottonade trowsers, white
linen coat, costly Panama hat, shirt with cambric
ruffles, and diamond studs. This stylish gentleman
would appear for a few minutes by one of the deserted
boats-perhaps transact a little business with some
one-and then hurry off again to his more pleasant
haunts in the city.
There were two points upon the Levee where the
bustle of active life was more especially observable.
These were the spaces in front of two large boats.
One was that on which I had taken passage. The
other, as I could read upon her wheel-house, was the
'MIagnolia.' The latter was also upon the eve of
starting, as I could tell by the movements of her peo-
ple, by the red fires seen in her furnaces, and the
hissing of steam, that every now and then screamed
sharply from the direction of her boilers.








THEIR RIVAL BOATS. 25

On the Levee directly in front of her 'drays' were
depositing their last loads, passengers were hurrying
forward hat-box in hand, in fear they might be too
late; trunks, boxes, bags, and barrels were being
rudely pushed or rolled over the staging-planks; the
gaily-dressed clerks, armed with book and pencil,
were checking them off; and everything denoted the
intention of a speedy departure. A scene exactly
similar was being enacted in front of the Belle of the
West.'
I had not been regarding these movements very
long, before I observed that there was something un-
usual 'in the wind.' The boats lay at no great dis-
tance from each other; and their crews, by a slight
elevation of voice, could converse. This they were
freely doing; and from some expressions that reached
me, coupled with a certain tone of defiance in which
they were uttered, I could perceive that the Mag-
nolia' and the Belle of the West' were rival boats.'
I soon gathered the further information, that they
were about to start at the same time, and that a race'
was in contemplation!
I knew that this was no unusual occurrence among
what are termed crack' boats, and both the Belle'
and her rival came under that category. Both were
of the first class in size and magnificence of fitting;
both ran in the same 'trade,' that is, from New Orleans
to St. Louis; and both were commanded by well-
known and popular river captains.' They could not
be otherwise than rivals; and this feeling was shared
in by the crews of both, from captain to cabin-slave.
As regards the owners and officers in such cases,
there is a substantial money motive at the bottom of
this rivalry. The boat that 'whips' in one of these
0








26 THE QUADROON.

races, wins also the future patronage of the public.
The fast boat' becomes the fashionable boat, and is
ever afterwards sure of a strong list of passengers at a
high rate of fare-for there is this peculiarity among
Americans: many of them will spend their last dollar
to be able to say at the end of his journey that he
came upon the fashionable boat, just as in England
you find many people desirous of making it known
that they travelled first class.' Snobbery is peculiar
to no country-it appears to be universal.
With regard to the contemplated trial of speed
between the Belle of the West' and the Magnolia,'
the feeling of rivalry pervaded not only the crews of
both boats, but I soon discovered that the passengers
were affected with it. Most of these seemed as eager
for the race as an English blackleg for the Derby.
Some no doubt looked forward to the sport and ex-
citement, but I soon perceived that the greater num-
ber were betting upon the result
The Belle's boun' to win!' cried a gold-studded
vulgar-looking fellow at my shoulder. I'll go twenty
dollars on the Belle! Will you bet, stranger?'
No,' I replied, somewhat angrily, as the fellow had
taken a liberty by laying his hand on my shoulder.
'Well,' retorted he, 'jest as you like 'bout that;'
and addressing himself to some one else he continued,
' The Belle's the conquering boat for twenty dollars I
Twenty dollars on the Belle !'
I confess I had no very pleasant reflections at that
moment. It was my first trip upon an American
steamboat, and my memory was brimful of stories of
'boiler burstings,' snaggings,' blowing up,' and
boats on fire. I had heard that these races not un-
frequently resulted in one or other of the above-named








A DESIRABLE FELLOW-PASSENGER. 27

catastrophes, and I had reason to know that my m-
formation was correct.
Many of the passengers-the more sober and re-
spectable ones-shared my feelings; and some talked
of appealing to the Captain not to allow the race.
But they knew they were in the minority, and held
their peace.
I had made up my mind at least to ask the Captain
'his intentions.' I was prompted rather by curiosity
than by any other motive.
I left my seat, therefore, and having crossed the
staging, walked toward the top of the wharf, where
this gentleman was standing.




CHAPTER V.
A DESIRABLE FELLOW-PASSENGER.
BEFORE I had entered into conversation with the
Captain, I saw a barouche approaching on the oppo-
site side, apparently coming from the French quarter
of the city. It was a handsome equipage, driven by
a well-clad and evidently well-fed black, and as it
drew near, I could perceive that it was occupied by a
young and elegantly attired lady.
I cannot say why, but I felt a presentiment, accom-
panied perhaps by a silent wish, that the occupant of
the barouche was about to be a fellow-passenger. It
was not long before I learnt that such was her inten-
tion.
The barouche drew up on the crest of the Levee,
and I saw the lady directing some inquiry to a by-
c2








28 THE QUADROOX.

stander, who immediately pointed to our Captain.
The latter, perceiving that he was the object inquired
after, stepped up to the side of the carriage, and
bowed to the lady. I was close to the spot, and every
word reached me.
Monsieur are you the captain of the Belle of the
West ?'
The lady spoke in French, a smattering of which
the Captain in his intercourse with the Creoles had
picked up.
'Yes, madame,' was the reply.
'I wish to take passage with you.'
'I shall be most happy to accommodate you,
madame. There is still one state-room disengaged, I
believe, Mr. Shirley?'
Here the Captain appealed to the clerk, in order to
ascertain if such was the case.
'Never mind' said the lady, interrupting him,
'for the matter of a state-room it is of no importance!
You will reach my plantation before midnight, and
therefore I shall not require to sleep aboard.'
The phrase, 'my plantation,' evidently had an effect
upon the Captain. Naturally not a rude man, it
seemed to render him still more attentive and polite.
The proprietor of a Louisiana plantation is a somebody
not to be treated with nonchalance; but, when that
proprietor chances to be a young and charming lady,
who could be otherwise than amiable? Not Captain
B., commander of the 'Belle of the West!' The very
name of his boat negatived the presumption!
Smiling blandly, he inquired where he was to land
his fair charge.
'At Bringiers,' replied the lady. My residence is
a little below, but our landing is not a good one;








A DESIRABLE FELLOW-PASSENGER. 29

besides, there is some freight which it would be better
to put ashore at Bringiers.'
Here the occupant of the barouche pointed to a
train of drays, loaded with barrels and boxes, that
had just driven up, and halted in the rear of the
carriage.
The sight of the freight had a still further pleasant
effect on the Captain, who was himself part owner of
his boat. He became profuse in offers of service, and
expressed his willingness to accommodate his new
passenger in every way she might desire.
Monsieur Capitaine,' continued this handsome
lady, still remaining seated in her carriage, and speak-
ing in a tone of good-natured seriousness, 'I must
make one condition with you.'
'Please to name it, madame.'
'Well then! It is reported that your boat is likely
to have a race with some other one. If that be so, I
cannot become your passenger.'
The Captain looked somewhat disconcerted.
The fact is,' continued she,' I had a narrow escape
once before, and I am determined to run no such
risk in future.'
Madame ,' stammered the Captain-then hesi-
tating-
'Oh, then!' interrupted the lady, 'if you cannot
give me the assurance that you will not race, I must
wait for some other boat.'
The Captain hung his head for some seconds. He
was evidently reflecting upon his answer. To be thus
denied the anticipated excitement and pleasure of the
race-the victory which he confidently expected, and
its grand consequences; to appear, as it were, afraid
of trying the speed of his boat; afraid that she would








30 THE QUADROON.

be beaten; would give his rival a large opportunity
for future bragging, and would place himself in no
enviable light in the eyes of his crew and passengers-
all of whom had already made up their minds for a
race. On the other hand, to refuse the request of
the lady-not very unreasonable when properly
viewed-and still more reasonable when it was consi-
dered that that lady was the proprietress of several
drayloads of freight, and when still further considered
that that lady was a rich plantress of the 'French
coast,' and might see fit next fall to send several hun-
dred casks of sugar and as many hogsheads of tobacco
down on his (the Captain's) boat;-these considera-
tions, I say, made the request quite reasonable. And
so we suppose, upon reflection, it must have appeared
to Captain B--, for after a little hesiation he
granted it. Not with the best grace, however. It
evidently cost him a struggle; but interest prevailed,
and he granted it.
I accept your conditions, madame. The boat shall
not run. I give you my promise to that effect.'
'Assez! thanks! Monsieur le Capitaine; I am
greatly obliged to you. If you will be so good as to
have my freight taken aboard. The carriage goes
along. This gentleman is my steward. Here, An-
toine 1 He will look to everything. And now pray,
Capitaine, when do you contemplate starting ?'
'In fifteen minutes, madame, at the latest.'
'Are you sure of that, mon Capitaine ?' she inquired,
with a significant laugh, which told she was no
stranger to the want of punctuality of the boats.
'Quite sure, madame,' replied the Captain; 'you
may depend on the time.'
'Ah! then, I shall go aboard at once!'. And, so








ANTOINE THE STEWARD. 31

saying, she lightly tripped down the steps of the
barouche, and giving her arm to the Captain, who had
gallantly proffered himself, was conducted to the
ladies' cabin, and of course for a time lost to the
admiring eyes, not only of myself, but of a goodly
number of others who had already been attracted to
gaze upon this beautiful apparition.




CHAPTER VI.
ANTOINE THE STEWARD.
I HAm been very much struck by the appearance of
this dame. Not so much on account of her physical
beauty-though that was of a rare kind-as by the
air that characterized her. I should feel a difficulty
in describing this, which consisted in a certain braverie
that bespoke courage and self-possession. There was
no coarseness of manner-only the levity of a heart
gay as summer, and light as gossamer, but capable,
when occasion required, of exhibiting a wonderful
boldness and strength. She was a woman that would
be termed beautiful in any country; but with her
beauty there was combined elegance, both in dress
and manner, that told you at once she was a lady
accustomed to society and the world. And this,
although still young-she certainly could not have
been much over twenty. Louisiana has a precocious
climate, however; and a Creole of twenty will count
for an Englishwoman of ten years older.
Was she married? I could not bring myself to
think so; besides the expressions, my plantation' and








32 THE QUADRCO.

'my steward,' would scarcely have been used by a
lady who had 'somebody' at home, unless, indeed,
that somebody were held in very low estimation-in
short, considered a nobody.' A widow she might be
-a very young widow -but. even that did not seem
to me probable. She had not the cut' of a widow in
my eyes, and there was not the semblance of a weed'
either about hor dress or her looks. The Captain had
styled her Madame, but he was evidently unacquainted
with her, and also with the French idiom. In a
doubtful case such as this, it should have been
' Mademoiselle.'
Inexperienced as I was at the time-' green,' as the
Americans have it-I was not without some curiosity
in regard to women, especially when these chanced to
be beautiful. My curiosity in the present case had
been stimulated by several circumstances. First, by
the attractive loveliness of the lady herself; second,
by the style of her conversation and the facts it had
revealed; third, by the circumstance that the lady
was, or I fancied her to be, a' Creole.'
I had as yet had but little intercourse with people
of this peculiar race, and was somewhat curious to
know more about them. I had found them by no
means ready to open their doors to the Saxon stranger
-especially the old 'Creole noblesse,' who even to this
hour regard their Anglo-American fellow-citizens
somewhat in the light of invaders and usurpers!
This feeling was at one time deeply rooted. With
time, however, it is dying out.
A fourth spur to my curiosity was found in the fact,
that the lady in passing had eyed me with a glance of
more than ordinary inquisitiveness. Do not be too
hasty in blaming me for this declaration. Hear me








ANTOINE THE STEWARD.


first. I did not for a moment fancy that that glance
was one of admiration. I had no such thoughts. I
was too young at the time to flatter myself with such
fancies. Besides, at that precise moment I was far
from being in my zenith.' With scarce five dollars
in my purse, I felt rather forlorn; and how could I
have fancied that a brilliant beauty such as she-a
star of first magnitude-a rich proprietress-the
owner of a plantation, a steward, and a host of slaves-
would condescend t6 look admiringly on such a friend-
less wretch as I?
In truth, I did not flatter myself with such thoughts.
I supposed that it was simple curiosity on her part-
and no more. She saw that I was not of her own
race. My complexion-the colour of my eyes-the
cut of my garments-perhaps something gauche in my
manner-told her I was a stranger to the soil, and
that had excited her interest for a passing moment.
A mere ethnological reflection-nothing more.
The act, however, had helped to pique my curiosity;
and I felt desirous of knowing at least the name of
this distinguished creature.
The 'steward,' thought I, may serve my purpose;
and I turned towards that individual.
He was a tall, grey-haired, lathy, old Frenchman,
well-dressed, and sufficiently respectable-looking to
have passed for the lady's father. His aspect, too,
was quite venerable, giving you the idea of long ser-
vice and a very old family.
I saw, as I approached him, that my chances were
but indifferent. I found him as 'close as a clam.'
Our conversation was very brief; his answers laconic.
Monsieur, may I ask who is your mistress ?'
'A lady.'








64: THE QUADROON.

'True: any one may tell that who has the good
fortune of looking at her. It was her name I asked
for.'
'It does not concern you to know it.'
'Not if it be of so much importance to keep it a
secret '
'Sacr-r-rel'
This exclamation, muttered, rather than spoken
aloud, ended the dialogue; and the old fellow turned
away on giving expression to it-no doubt cursing me
in his heart as a meddling Yankee.
I applied myself to the sable Jehu of the barouche,
but with no better success. He was getting his
horses aboard, and not liking to give direct answers
to my questions, he dodged' them by dodging around
his horses, and appearing to be very busy on the off-
side. Even the name I was unable to get out of him,
and I also gave him up in despair.
The name, however, was furnished me shortly after
from an unexpected source. I had returned to the
boat, and had seated myself once more under the
awning, watching the boatmen, with rolled-up red
shirts, use their brawny arms in getting their freight
aboard. I saw it was the same which had been de-
livered from the drays-the property of the lady. It
consisted, for the most part, of barrels of pork and
flour, with a quantity of dried hams, and some bags of
coffee.
'Provisions for her large establishment,' solilo-
quised I.
Just then some packages of a different character
were pushed upon the staging. These were leather
trunks, travelling bags, rosewood cases, bonnet-boxes,
and the like.








THE STARTING.


Ha I her personal luggage,' I again reflected, and
continued to puff my cigar. Regarding the transfer
of the trunks, my eye was suddenly attracted to some
lettering that appeared upon one of the packages-a
leather portmanteau. I sprang from my seat, and as
the article was carried up the gangway stair I met it
halfway. I glanced my eye over the lettering, and
read-
'Mademoiselle Eugenie Besanpon.'





CHAPTER VII.
THE STARTING.
THc last bell rings-the 'can't-get-away' folks rush
ashore-the staging plank is drawn in-some heedless
wight has to jump for it-the cable is pulled aboard
and coiled-the engineer's bell tinkles-the great
wheels revolve, lashing the brown water into foam-
the steam whistles' and screams at the boilers, and
booms from the 'scape-pipe in regular repetitions-
neighbouring boats are pressed out of their places-
their planks cringe and crackle-guards are broken,
or the slight timbers of wheel-houses, causing a
cross-fire of curses between the crews-and after some
minutes of this pandemoniac confusion, the huge craft
clears herself, and rides out upon the broad bosom of
the river.
She heads up stream; a few strokes of the re-
volving paddles and the current is mastered; and
the noble boat yielding to the mighty propulsion,








dii THE QUADROON.

cleaves her liquid way, 'walking the water like a
thing of life!'
Perchance the boom of a cannon announces her
departure ; perchance it is animated by the harmonious
swell of brazen instruments; or still more appropriate,
some old' boatman's song,' with its lively chorus, is
heard issuing from the rude, though not unmusical
throats of the 'hands' below.
Lafayette and Carrolton are soon passed; the
humbler roofs of stores and dwellings sink out of
sight; and the noble dome of St. Charles, the spires
of churches, and the towers of the great cathedral,
are all of the Crescent City that remain above the
horizon. These, at length, go down; and the float-
ing palace' moves on in stately grandeur between the
picturesque shores of the Mississippi.
I have said 'picturesque.' This word does not
satisfy me, nor can I think of one that will delineate'
my idea. I must make use of a phrase, picturesquely
beautiful,' to express my admiration of the scenery of
those shores. I have no hesitation in pronouncing it
the finest in the world.
I am not gazing upon it with a mere cold eye-
glance. I cannot separate scenery from its associa-
tions-not its associations of the past, but with the
present. I look upon the ruined castles of the Rhine,
and their story impresses me with a feeling of disgust
for what has been. I look upon its modern homes and
their dwellers; I am equally filled with disgust for
what is. In the Bay of Naples I experience a similar
feeling, and roaming around' the lordly parks of Eng-
land, I see them through an enclosure of wretched-
ness and rags, till their loveliness seems an illusion!
Here alone, upon the banks of this majestic river,








THE STARTING. 37

do I behold wealth widely diffused, intelligence broad-
cast, and comfort for all. Hero, in almost every
house, do I meet the refined taste of high civilisation
-the hospitality of generous hearts combined with
the power to dispense it. Here can I converse with
men by thousands, whose souls are free-not politically
alone, but free from vulgar error and fanatic supersti-
tion; here, in short, have I witnessed, not the per-
fectedness-for that belongs to a far future time-but
the most advanced stage of civilisation yet reached
upon the globe.
A dark shadow crosses my eye-glance, and my heart
is stung with sudden pain. It is the shadow of a
human being with a black skin. IHe is a slave!
For a moment or two the scene looks black! What
is there to admire here-in these fields of golden
sugar-cane, of waving maize, of snow-white cotton ?
What to admire in those grand mansions, with their
orangeries, their flowery gardens, their drooping
shade-trees, and their soft arbours? All this is but
the sweat of the slave !
For a while I behold without admiring. The scene
has lost its couleur de rose; and a gloomy wilderness is
before me! I reflect. Slowly and gradually the cloud
passes away, and the brightness returns. I reflect and
compare.
True, he with the black skin is a slave-but not
a voluntary slave. That is a difference in his favour
at least.
In other lands-mine own among them--I see
around me slaves as well, and far more numerous. Not
the slaves of an individual, but of an association of
individuals-a class-an oligarchy. Not slaves of the
corvme-serfs of the feud-but victims of its modern








jBT THE QUADROON.

representative the tax, which is simply its commuta-
tion, and equally baneful in its effects.
On my soul, I hold that the slavery of the Louisiana
black is less degrading than that of the white pleb of
England. The poor, woolly-headed helot is the victim
of conquest, and may claim to place himself in the
honourable category of a prisoner of war. He has not
willed his own bondage; while you, my grocer, and
butcher, and baker-aye, and you, my fine city mer-
chant, who fondly fancy yourself a freeman-ye are
voluntary in your serfdom; ye are loyal to a political
juggle that annually robs ye of half your year's
industry; that annually requires some hundred thou-
sands of your class to be sloughed off into exile, lest
your whole body should gangrene and die. And all
this without even a protest. Nay, worse-you are
ever ready to cry' crucify' to him who would attempt
to counteract this condition-ever ready to glorify the
man and the motion that would fix another rivet in
your fetters!
Even while I write, the man who loves you least;
he who for forty years-for all his life, in fact-has
been your systematic enemy, is the most popular of
your rulers Even while I write the Roman wheel is
revolving before your eyes, squibs and crackers sound
sweetly in your ears, and you are screaming forth
your rejoicings over the acts of a convention that had
for its sole object the strengthening of your chains !
But a short twelve months ago, you were just as
enthusiastic for a war that was equally antagonistic
to your interests, equally hostile to the liberties of
your kind I Miserable delusion!
I repeat what I have uttered with a feeling of
solemnity. On my soul, I hold that the slavery of the







THE STARTING. 39

Louisiana black is less degrading than that of the
white pleb of England.
True, this black man is a slave, and there are three
millions of his race in the same condition. Painful
thought! but less painful when accompanied by the
reflection that the same broad land is trodden by
twenty millions of free and sovereign men. Three
millions of slaves to twenty millions of masters! In
mine own land the proportion is exactly reversed!
The truth may be obscure. For all that, I dare say
there are some who will understand it.

Ah! how pleasant to turn from these heart-stirring
but painful thoughts to the calmer contemplation of
themes furnished by science and nature. How sweet
was it to study the many novel forms that presented
themselves to my eyes on the shores of that magnifi-
cent stream! There is a pleasaunce even in the
retrospect; and as I now sit dreaming over them far
away-perhaps never more to behold them with
mortal eye-I am consoled by a fond and faithful
memory, whose magic power enables me to recall them
before the eye of my mind in all their vivid colouring
of green and gold!










( 40 )




CHAPTER VIII.
THE 'COAST' OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
As soon as we had fairly started, I ascended to the
'hurricane deck,' in order to obtain a better view of
the scenery through which we were passing. In
this place I was alone; for the silent pilot, boxed up
in his little tower of glass, could hardly be called a
companion.
I make the following observations:
The breadth of the Mississippi river has been much
exaggerated. It is here about half a mile wide.
Sometimes more, occasionally less. (This average
width it preserves for more than a thousand miles
from its mouth.) Its waters run at the rate of three
or four miles to the hour, and are of a yellowish cast,
with a slight tincture of red. The yellow colour it
derives from the Missouri, while the deeper tint is
obtained by the influx of the Red.'
Driftwood floats thickly upon its surface; here in
single logs, there in raft-like clusters. To run a boat
against one of these is attended with danger, and the
pilot avoids them. Sometimes one swimming below
the surface escapes his eye; and then a heavy bump-
ing against the bows shakes the boat, and startles the
equanimity of the less experienced passengers. The
'snag' is most dreaded. That is a dead tree with
heavy roots still adhering. These, from their weight,
have settled upon the bottom, and the ddbris gathering
around holds them firmly imbedded. The lighter top,
riven of its branches, rises towards the surface; but








THE COAST' OF THE MISSISSIPPI. 41

the pressure of the current prevents it from attaining
to the perpendicular, and it is held in a slanting
position. When its top rises above the water, the
danger is but trifling-unless in a very dark night-
It is when the top is hidden a foot or two below
the surface that the snag is feared. Then a boat
running upon it up stream, is lost to a certainty.
The roots firmly imbedded in the bottom mud, prevent
the pile from yielding; and the top, usually a spiky
one, penetrates the bow timbers of the boat, sinking
her almost instantly. A boat properly snagged' will
go down in a few minutes.
The sawyer' is a log fixed in the water similarly to
the snag, but kept bobbing up and down by the
current, thus suggesting the idea of a sawyer engaged
at his work-hence the name. A boat getting a-ground
upon a sunken log crosswise, is sometimes snagged upon
its branches, and sometimes broken into two pieces by
the pressure of her own weight.
Among the drift, I notice odd matters that interest
me. Stalks of sugar-cane that have been crushed in
the press-mill (a hundred miles farther up I should
not meet these), leaves and stems of the maize plant,
corn cobs, pieces of broken gourd-shell, tufts of raw
cotton, split fence-rails, now and then the carcase of
some animal, with a buzzard or black vulture (Cath-
artes aura- and atratus) perched upon it, or hovering
above.
I am within the geographical range of the alligator
but here the great Saurian is seldom seen. He prefers
the more sluggish bayous, or the streams whose shores
are still wild. In the rapid current of the Mississippi,
and along its well-cultivated banks, he is but rarely
observed by the passing traveller.








42 THE QUADROOT.

Alternately the boat approaches both shores of the
river (' coasts' they are called). The land is an
alluvion of no very ancient formation. It is a mere
strip of terra firma, varying in breadth from a few
hundred yards to several miles, and gradually de-
clining from the banks, so that the river is actually
running along the top of a ridge Beyond this strip
commences the 'Swamp,' a tract that is annually
inundated, and consists of a series of lagoons and
marshes covered with coarse grass and reeds. This
extends in some places for a score of miles, or even
farther-a complete wilderness of morass. Some
portions of this-where the inundation is only annual
-are covered with dark and almost impenetrable
forests. Between the cultivated strip on the imme-
diate 'bank of the river, and the Swamp' in the rear,
runs a belt of this forest, which forms a kind of
background to the picture, answering to the mountain-
ranges in other lands. It is a high, dark forest, prin-
cipally composed of cypress-trees (Cupressus disticha).
But there are other kinds peculiar to this soil, such as
the sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), the live oak
(Quercus virens), the tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), the water.-
locust (Gleditschia aguatica), the cotton-wood (Populus
angulata), with carya, celtis, and various species of
acer, cornus, juglans, magnolia, and oaks. Here an
underwood of palmettoes (Sabal palms), smilax, lines,
and various species of vitis; there thick brakes of
cane (Arundo gigantea), grow among the trees; while
from their branches is suspended in long festoons that
singular parasite, the 'Spanish moss' (Tillandsia us-
neaides), imparting a sombre character to the forest.
Between this dank forest and the river banks lie the
cultivated fields. The river current is often several








THE COAST' OF THE MISSISSIPPI.


feet above their level; but they are protected by the
'Levee,' an artificial embankment which has been
formed on both sides of the river, to a distance of
several hundred miles from its mouth.
In these fields I observe the culture of the sugar-
cane, of the rice-plant, of tobacco and cotton, of
indigo and maize. I see the gangs' of black slaves
at their work, in their cotton dresses of striped and
gaudy colours, in which sky-blue predominates. I
see huge waggons drawn by mules or oxen returning
from the cane-fields, or slowly toiling along the banks.
I see the light-bodied Creole, in cottonade' jacket
and trousers of bright blue, mounted upon his small
Spanish horse, and galloping along the Levee road.
I see the grand mansion of the planter, with its
orange-groves and gardens, its green venetians, cool
verandahs, and pretty palings. I see the huge sugar-
house, or tobacco-shed, or cotton pickery ;' and there,
too, are the neat cabins,' clustering together or run-
ning in a row, like the bathing-boxes at a fashionable
watering-place.
Now we are passing a plantation where they are
making merry--a fete champetre. Many horses stand
under the trees, hitched' in the shade with saddles
on, not a few of which are 'ladies' saddles.' In the
verandah, the lawn, and through the orange shrub-
bery, may be seen moving about gentlemen and ladies
richly attired. Music is heard, and there is dancing
in the open air. One cannot help envying these
happy Creoles the enjoyment of their Arcadian life.

Scenes varied and lovely were passing panorama-
like before my eyes. Lost in admiration of them, I
had for the moment forgotten Eugenie Besangon.
D2











CHAPTER IX.
EUGLNIE BESANqON.
No, Eugnnie Besanuon was not forgotten. Every now
and then her sylph-like form flitted before my imagina-
tion, and I could not help associating it with the
scenery through which we were passing, and amidst
which, no doubt, she was born and nurtured-its fair
indigene. The glimpse of the f6te champetre, where
several Creole-like girls, were conspicuous, brought
her more forcibly into my thoughts; and, descending
from the hurricane deck, I entered the cabin with
some curiosity, once more to look upon this interest-
ing lady.
For some time I dreaded disappointment. The
great glass folding-door of the ladies' cabin was closed;
and although there were several ladies outside in the
main saloon, the Creole was not among the number.
The ladies' cabin, which occupies the after-part of the
boat, is a sacred precinct, into which bachelors are
admitted only when they enjoy the privilege of having
a friend inside-then only at certain hours.
I was not one of the privileged. Out of the hundred
and odd passengers on board, I did not know a soul,
male or female; and I had the happiness or mis-
fortune of being equally unknown to them. Under
these circumstances my entry into the ladies' cabin
would have been deemed an intrusion; and I sat
down in the main saloon, and occupied myself in
studying the physiognomy and noting the movements
of my fellow-passengers.








EUGbNIE. BESANg O. 45

They were a mixed throng. Some were wealthy
merchants, bankers, money or commission brokers
from New Orleans, with their wives and daughters, on
their annual migration to the north, to escape from
the yellow fever, and indulge in the more pleasant
epidemic of life at a fashionable watering-place.
There were corn and cotton-planters from the up-
countiy, on their return home, and storekeepers from
the up-river towns; boatmen who, in jean trousers
and red flannel shirts, had pushed a flat' two thou-
sand miles down stream, and who were now making
the back trip in shining broad-cloth and snow-white
linen. What 'lions' would these be on getting back
to their homes about the sources of Salt River, the
Cumberland, the Licking, or the Miami There were
Creoles, too-old wine merchants of the French
quarter-and their families; the men distinguished by
a superabundance of ruffles, plaited pantaloons, shining
jewellery, and light-coloured cloth boots.
There was a sprinkling of jauntily-dressed clerks,
privileged to leave New Orleans in the dull season;
and there were some still more richly-dressed gentle-
men, with the finest of cloth in their coats, the
whitest of linen and ruffles, the brightest of diamonds
in their studs, and the most massive of finger-rings.
These last were 'sportsmen.' They had already
gathered around a table in the 'smoking-saloon,' and
were fingering a span new pack of cards-the imple-
ments of their peculiar industry.
Among these I observed the fellow who had so
loudly challenged me to bet upon the boat-race. He
had passed me several times, regarding me with a
glance that appeared anything but friendly.
Our close friend the steward was seated in the








46 THE QUADROON.

saloon. You must not suppose that his holding the
office of steward, or overseer, disentitled him to the
privileges of the first-class cabin. There is no 'second
saloon' on board an American steamer. Such a dis-
tinction is not known so far west as the Mississippi.
The 'overseers' of plantations are usually men of
rude and brutal dispositions. The very nature of their
calling makes them so. This Frenchman, however,
seemed to be an exception. He appeared a most re-
spectable old gentleman. I rather liked his looks,
and began to feel quite an interest in him, though he
by no means appeared to reciprocate the feeling.

Some one complained of the mosquitoes, and sug-
gested the opening of the folding-doors of the ladies,
cabin. This suggestion was backed up by several
others-ladies and gentlemen. The clerk of the boat is
the man charged with such responsibilities. He was
at length appealed to. The appeal was reasonable-
it was successful; and the great gates of the steam-
boat Paradise were thrown open. The result was a
current of air which swept through the long saloon
from stem to stern; and in less than five minutes not
a mosquito remained on board, except such as had
escaped the blast by taking shelter in the state rooms.
This was certainly a great relief.
The folding-doors were permitted to remain open-
an arrangement quite satisfactory to all, but parti-
cularly to a number of the gaily-dressed young clerks,
who could now command a full view of the interior of
the harem. Several of them might be observed taking
advantage of the new arrangement-not staring broad-
ly, as that would be accounted rude and noted against
them. They only appealed to the sacred shrine by








EUGANIE BESAN .. 47

side-glances, or ovve books which they pretended to
read, or pacing up and down approached the favoured
limit, glancing in at intervals, as if undesignedly. Some
appeared to have acquaintances inside, though not
upon terms of sufficient familiarity to give them the
right of entry. Others were in hopes of making ac-
quaintances, should opportunity offer. I could detect
expressive looks, and occasionally a smile that seemed
to denote a mutual intelligence. Many a pleasant
thought is conveyed without words. The tongue is
often a sad disenchanter. I have known it td spoil
many a nice love-plot silently conceived, and almost
ripe for being carried out.
I was amused at this speechless pantomime, and sat
for some minutes regarding it. My eyes wandered at
intervals towards the interior of the ladies' saloon,
guided thither partly by a common curiosity. I have
an observant habit. Anything new interests me, and
this cabin-life on an American steamboat was entirely
new, and not a little piquante. I desired to study it.
Perhaps I was somewhat interested in another way-
desirous of having one more look at the young Creole,
Besangon.
My desire, then, was gratified. I saw the lady at
last. She had come out of her state-room, and was
moving around the saloon, graceful and gay. She was
now unbonneted, and her rich golden tresses were
arranged a la Chinoise-a Creole fashion as well. The
thick masses, coiled into a large club' at the back of
the head, denoted the luxuriance of her hair; and the
style of coiffure, displaying her noble forehead and
finely-formed neck, became her well. Fair hair with
blonde complexion, although rare among the Creoles,
is sometimes met with. Dark hair with a brunette








48 TIE QUADROOX,

skin is the rule, to which Euginie Besangon was a re-
markable exception.
Her features expressed gaiety, approaching to vola-
tility; yet one could not help feeling that there was
firmness of character en perdu. Her figure was beyond
criticism; and the face, if not strikingly beautiful,
was one that you could not look upon without emo-
tions of pleasure.
She appeared to know some of her fellow-passengers
-at least she was conversing with them in a style of
easy freedom. Women, however, rarely exhibit em-
barrassment among themselves; women of French
race, never.
One thing I observed-her cabin companions ap-
peared to regard her with deference. Perhaps they
had already learnt that the handsome carriage and
horses belonged to her. That was very, very likely!
I continued to gaze upon this interesting lady.
Girl I cannot call her, for although young enough, she
had the air of a woman-a woman of experience. She
appeared quite at ease; seemed mistress of herself,
and indeed of everything else.
'What an air of insouciance!' thought I. 'That
woman is not in love!'
I cannot tell why I should have made these reflec-
tions, or why the thought pleased me; but certainly
it did. Why? She was nothing to me-she was far
above me. I dared scarce look upon her. I regarded
her as some superior being, and with timid stolen
glances, as I would regard beauty in a church. Ho!
she was nothing to me. In another hour it would be
night, and she was to land in the night; I should
never see her again! I should think of her though
for an hour or two, perhaps for a day-the longer that








EUGaNIE BESAN'ON. 49

I was now foolish enough to sit gazing upon her! I
was weaving a net for myself-a little agony that
might last for some time after she was gone.
I had formed a resolution to withdraw from the
fascinating influence, and return to my meditation on
the hurricane deck. A last look at the fair Creole,
and I should depart.
Just at that moment she flung herself into a chair.
It was of the kind known as a 'rocking-chair,' and its
motions displayed the fine proportion and outlines of
her form. As she now sat she was facing the door,
and her eye for the first time rested upon me. By
Heavens she was gazing on me just as before! What
meant that strange glance? those burning eyes?
Stedfast and fixed, they remained bent upon mine-
and mine trembled to answer them!

Thus for some moments her eyes dwelt upon me,
without motion or change of direction. I was too
young at that time to understand the expression that
was in them. I could translate such an one after-
wards, but not then.
At length she rose from her seat with an air of un-
easiness, as if displeased either with herself or me;
and, turning away her head, she opened the latticed
door and passed into her state-room.
Had I done anything to give offence ? No not by
word, nor look, nor gesture. I had not spoken-I
had not moved, and my timid glance could not have
been construed into one of rudeness.
I was somewhat bewildered by the conduct of
Mademoiselle Besangon; and, in the full belief that I
should never see her again, I hurried away from the
saloon, and once more climbed up to the hurricane deck.








( 50 )


CHAPTER X.
A NEW MODE OF RAISING THE STEAM.
IT was near sunset-the fiery disc was going down
behind the dark outline of cypress forest that belted
the western horizon, and a yellow light fell upon the
river. Promenading back and forward upon the
canvass-covered roof, I was gazing upon the scene,
wrapt in admiration of its glowing beauty.
My reverie was interrupted. On looking down the
river I saw that a large boat was in our wake, and
coming rapidly after us. The volume of smoke rolling
up out of her tall funnels, and the red glowing of her
fires, showed that she was moving under a full head of
steam. Her size, as well as the loud reports of her
'scape-pipe, told that she was a boat of the first class.
She was the Magnolia.' She was moving with great
velocity, and I had not watched her long, before I
perceived that she was fast gaining upon us.
At this moment my ears were assailed by a variety
of sounds coming from below. Loud voices in earnest
tones, the stamping and pattering of feet, as of men
rushing over the wooden decks and along the guard-
ways. The voices of women, too, were mingled in the
medley.
I surmised what all this meant. The approach of
the rival boat was the cause of the excitement.
Up to this time the boat-race seemed to have been
nearly forgotten. It had got abroad among both
' hands' and passengers that the Captain did not intend
to 'run;' and although this backing-out had been








A NEW BMODE OF RAISING THE STEAM. 51

loudly censured at first, the feeling of disappointment
had partially subsided. The crew had been busy at
their work of stowage-the firemen with their huge
billets of cordwood-the gamblers with their cards-
and the passengers, in general, with their portman-
teaus, or the journal of the day. The other boat not
starting at the same time, had been out of sight
until now, and the feeling of rivalry almost out of
mind.'
The appearance of the rival produced a sudden
change. The gamblers flung down the half-dealt
pack, in hopes of having something more exciting to
bet upon; the readers hastily closed their books, and
tossed aside their newspapers; the rummagers of
trunks banged down the lids; the fair occupants of
rocking-chairs suddenly sprang to their feet; and all
ran out of the cabins, and pressed towards the after-
part of the boat.
My position on the hurricane deck was the best
possible for a good view of the rival boat, and I was
soon joined by a number of my fellow-passengers. I
wished, however, to witness the scene on the cabin-
deck, and went below.
On reaching the main saloon, I found it quite for-
saken. All the passengers, both male and female, had
gone out upon the guardway; and leaning against the
guards were anxiously watching the approach of the
Magnolia.
I found the Captain under the front-cabin awning.
He was surrounded by a crowd of gentlemen-passen-
gers, all of whom appeared to be in a high state of
excitement. One after the other was proffering
speech to him. They were urging him to 'raise the
steam.'








OW THE QUADROON.

The Captain, evidently wishing to escape from these
importunities, kept passing from place to place. It
was to no purpose. Wherever he went he was met
or followed by a knot of individuals, all with the
same request in their mouths-some even begging
him for 'God's sake' not to let the Magnolia pass
him!
'Wal, Cap!' cried one, 'if the Belle don't run, I
guess she'll never be heerd of on these waters agin, she
wont.'
'You're right!' added another. 'For my part the
next trip I make I'll try the Magnolia.'
'She's a fast boat that 'ere Magnolia!' remarked a
third.
'She ain't anything else,' rejoined the first speaker:
'she's got her steam on a few, I reckon.'
I walked out on the guardway in the direction of
the ladies' cabin. The inmates of the latter were
clustered along the guards, and seemingly as much
interested in the boat-race as the men. I could hear
several of them expressing their wishes aloud that the
boats would run. All idea of risk or fear of conse-
quences had departed; and I believe that if the com-
pany had been 'polled' at the moment in favour of
the race, there would not have been three dissentient
voices. I confess that I, myself, would have voted
for running,-I had caught the infection, and no
longer thought of 'snags,' 'sawyers,' or bursting
boilers.
As the Magnolia drew near the excitement increased.
It was evident that in a few minutes more she would
be alongside, and then pass us. The idea was unsup-
portable to some of the passengers; and loud words
could be heard, now and then interspersed with an








A NEW MODE OF RAISING THE STEAM.


angry oath. The poor Captain had to bear all this-
for it was known that the rest of the officers were well
disposed for a trial of speed. It was the Captain only
who showed the white feather.'
The Magnolia was close in our wake; her head
bearing a little to one side. She was evidently pre-
paring to pass us!
Her officers and crew were moving actively about;
both pilots were seen above at the wheel-house; the
firemen were all at work upon the deck; the furnace-
doors were glowing red-hot; and the bright blaze
stood several feet above the tops of her tall funnels!
One might have fancied she was on fire!
'They are burning bacon hams!' shouted a voice.
'They are by-- !' exclaimed another. See, yon-
der's a pile of them in front of the furnace !'
I turned my eyes in that direction. It was quite
true. A pyramidal-shaped mass of dark-brown objects
lay upon the deck in front of the fires. Their size,
shape, and colour told what they were-dried hams of
bacon. The firemen were seen taking them from the
pile, and thrusting them one after another up the red
tunnels of the furnace !
The Magnolia was still gaining upon us. Already
her head was even with the wheelhouse of the Belle.
On the latter boat the excitement increased, and the
noise along with it. An occasional taunt from the
passengers of the rival boat added fuel to the flame;
and the Captain was once more abjured to run. Men
almost threatened him with violence!
The Magnolia continued to advance. She was now
head for head with us. Another minute passed-a
minute of deep silence-the crews and passengers of
both boats watched their progress with hearts too full








04 THE QUADROON.

for utterance. Another minute, and the Magnolia had
shot a-head I
A triumphant cheer rang along her decks, mingled
with taunting shouts and expressions of insult.
'Throw us a line, and we'll tow you!' cried one.
Whar's yer old ark now ?' shouted another.
'Hurraw for the Magnolia! Three groans for the
Belle of the West! Three groans for the old dug-
out!' vociferated a third, amidst jeers and shouts of
laughter.
I can hardly describe the mortification felt by those
on board the Belle. It was not confined to the officers
and crew. The passengers, one and all, seemed to
partake of the feeling. I shared it myself, more than
I could have believed to be possible.
One dislikes to be among the conquered, even on
any terms of association. Besides, one involuntarily
catches the impulse of the moment. The sentiment
that surrounds you-perhaps by physical laws which
you cannot resist-for the moment becomes your own;
and even when you know the object of exultation to
be worthless or absurd, you are controlled by the
electric current to join in the enthusiasm. I remember
once being thus carried away, and mingled my voice
with the rude throats that cheered the passing cortEgo
of royalty. The moment it was past, however, my
heart fell, abashed at its own meanness and wicked-
ness.
Both his crew and passengers seemed to think our
Captain imprudent in his prudence: and a general
clamour, mingled with cries of 'Shame!' was heard
all over the boat.
The poor Captain! I had my eyes upon him all
this while. I really pitied him. I was perhaps the








A NEW MODE OF RAISING THE STEAM. 55

only passenger on board, beside the fair Creole, who
knew his secret; and I could not help admiring the
chivalric fortitude with which he kept it to himself.
I saw his cheek glow, and his eye sparkle with vexa-
tion; and I felt satisfied, that had he been called upon
to make that promise then, he would not have done
so for the privilege of carrying all the freight upon the
river.
Just then, as if to escape the importunities that
beset him, I saw him steal back and pass through the
ladies' cabin. There he was at once recognized, and
a general onset was made upon him by his fair pas-
sengers, who were almost as noisy in their petitions as
the men. Several threatened him, laughingly, that
they would never travel by his boat again; while
others accused him of a want of gallantry. Surely it
was impossible to resist such banterings; and I
watched the Captain closely, expecting a crisis one
way or the other. The crisis was at hand:
Drawing himself up in the midst of a knot of these
importunates, he thus addressed tllem:-
'Ladies Nothing would give me more pleasure
than to gratify you, but before leaving New Orleans I
gave my promise-in fact, passed my word of honour
to a lady-' Here the gallant speech was interrupted
by a young lady, who, rushing up from another part of
the boat, cried out-
'Oh, Capitaine! cher Capitainel do not let that
wicked boat get a-head of us! do put on more steam,
and pass her-that is a dear Captain!'
'Why, Mademoiselle!' replied the Captain, in
astonishment, 'it was to you I gave the promise not
to run-it was- '
'Pardieu I' exclaimed Mademoiselle Besangon, for it








56 THE QUADROON.

was she. So you did. I had quite forgotten it. Oh,
cher Capitaine, I release you from that promise.
Iluas! I hope it is not too late. For Heaven's sake,
try to pass her! Ecoutez! les polissons how they
taunt us !'
The Captain's face brightened up for a moment, and
then suddenly resumed its vexed expression. He re-
plied-
Mademoiselle, although grateful to you, I regret
to say that under the circumstances I cannot hope
to run successfully against the Magnolia. We are
not on equal terms. She is burning bacon 7ams, of
which she has a large supply. I should have had
the same, but after promising you not to run, I, of
course, did not take any on board. It would be use-
less to attempt a race with only common cordwood-
unless indeed the Belle be much the faster boat,
which we do not yet know, as we have never tried
her speed.'
Here appeared to be a dilemma, and some of the
ladies regarded Mademoiselle BesanCon with looks of
displeasure.
'Bacon hams!' she exclaimed; 'bacon hams did
you say, cher Capitaine? How many would be
enough? Would two hundred be enough?'
'Oh! less than that,' replied the Captain.
'Here! Antoine! Antoine !' continued she, calling
to the old steward. How many bacon hams have
you on board ?'
'Ten barrels of them, Mademoiselle,' answered the
steward, bowing respectfully.
Ten barrels! that will do, I suppose? Cher Capi-
taine, they are at your service!'
Mademoiselle, I shall pay you for them,' said the








A NEW MODE OF RAISING THE STEAM.


Captain, brightening up, and becoming imbued with
the general enthusiasm.
'No-no-no! Let the expense be mine. I have
hindered you. They were for my plantation people,
but they are not in wftnt. We shall send down for
more. Go, Antoine I go to the firemen. Knock in
the heads of the barrels! Use them as you please,
but do not let us be beaten by that wicked Magnolia!
Hark! how they cheer! Ha! we shall pass them
yet.'
So saying, the fiery Creole rushed back to the
guardway, followed by a group of admirers.
The Captain's 'dander' was now fairly up; and the
story of the bacon hams soon spreading over the boat,
still further heightened the enthusiasm of both pas-
sengers and crew. Three loud cheers were given for
the young lady, which seemed to mystify the Mag-
nolians, who had now been for some time in the
enjoyment of their triumph, and had forged a con-
siderable distance a-head.
All hands went to work with a will-the barrels
were rolled up, their heads knocked in, and part of
their contents 'chucked' up the blazing furnace.
The iron walls soon grew red-the steam rose-the
boat trembled under the increased action of the
engine-the bells of the engineers tinkled their signals
-the wheels revolved more rapidly, and an increase
of velocity was soon perceptible.
Hope had stifled clamour-comparative silence was
restored. There was heard only an occasional utter-
ance-the expression of an opinion upon the speed of
the rival boats-the fixing the conditions of a bet-
and now and then some allusion to the story of the
bacon hams.








58 THE QUADROON.

At intervals, all eyes were bent upon the water,
eagerly glancing along the line that separated the
rival steamers.




CHAPTER XI.
A BOAT-RACE UPON THE MISSISSIPPI.
IT had now become quite dark. There was no moon
in the sky-not a speck of a star. A clear heaven
over the lower region of the Mississippi, at night, is
rather rare than otherwise. The film of the swamp
too often obscures it.
There was light enough for the race. The yellow
water shone clear. It was easily distinguishable
from the land. The track was a wide one; and the
pilots of both boats-old hands-knew every shutt'
and sand-bar of the river.
The rival steamers were quite visible to one
another. No lamps needed to be hung out, although
the gaff over the bow of each boat carried its coloured
signal. The cabin windows of both were full of light,
and the blaze of the bacon fires flung a vermilion
glare far over the water.
Upon each boat the spectators could be seen from
the other in their state-room windows, or leaning
against the guards, in attitudes that betokened their
interest.
By the time the Belle had fairly got up steam, the
Magnolia was a full half-mile in advance of her. This
distance, though nothing where there is a large differ-
ence of speed, is not so easily overtaken where the








A BOAT-RACE UPON THE MISSISSIPPI.


swiftness of the boats approximates to anything like
an equality. It was a long while, therefore, before
the people of the Belle could be certain as to whether
she was gaining upon her rival; for it is somewhat
difficult to tell this when one vessel is running in the
wake of the other. Questions were put by passengers
to the various officials and to one another, and
'guesses' were continually being made on this in-
teresting point.
At length an assurance was derived from the
Captain, that several hundred yards had been already
taken up. This produced general joy, though not
universal; for there were some unpatriotic individuals
on board the Belle who had risked their dollars on
the Magnolia.
In another hour, however, it was clear to all that
our boat was fast gaining upon the Magnolia, as she
was now within less than a quarter of a mile of her.
A quarter of a mile on smooth water appears but a
short distance, and the people of the two boats could
hold converse at will. The opportunity was not
neglected by those of the Belle to pay back the boasts
of the Magnolians. Shouts of banter reached their
ears, and their former taunts were now returned with
interest.
'Have you any message for St. Louis? We 're
going up there, and will be happy to carry it for you,'
shouted one from the Belle.
'Hurraw for the bully-boat Belle vociferated
another.
How are you off for bacon hams ?' asked a third.
'We can lend you a few, if you're out.'
Where shall we say we left you ?' inquired a fourth.
'In Shirt-tail Bend?' And loud peals of laughter fol-
E2








60 THE QUADROON.

lowed this joking allusion to a point in the river well
known to the boatmen.
It had now approached the hour of midnight, and
not a soul on either boat had thought of retiring to
rest. The interest in the race precluded the idea of
sleep, and both men and women stood outside the
cabins, or glided out and in at short intervals to note
the progress. The excitement had led to drinking,
and 1 noticed that several of the passengers were
already half intoxicated. The officers, too, led on by
these, were indulging too freely, and even the Captain
showed symptoms of a similar condition. No one
thought of censure-prudence had fled from the boat.

It is near midnight,' and amidst the growling and
grinding of the machinery, the boats are moving on!
There is deep darkness upon the water, but this is no
impediment. The red fires glow; the blaze stands
high above the tall funnels; steam booms from the
iron pipes; the huge paddles lash the water into
foam; the timbers creak and tremble under the fierce
pressure, and the boats move on!
It is near midnight. A space of two hundred yards
alone separates the steamers-the Belle is bounding
upon the waves of the Magnolia. In less than ten
minutes her head will overlap the stern of her rival!
In less than twenty, and the cheer of victory rising
from her deck will peal from shore to shore!

I was standing by the Captain of our boat, regarding
him not without a feeling of solicitude. I regretted
to see him pass so often to the bar.' He was drink-
ing deeply.








A BOAT-RACE UPON THE MISSISSIPPI.


He had returned to his station by the wheel-house,
and was gazing a-head. Some straggling lights were
gleaming on the right bank of the river, a mile farther
up. The sight of these caused him to start, and
utter a wild exclamation:-
'By Heavens! it is Bringiers!'
Ye-e-s,' drawled the pilot at his elbow. We'vo
reached it in quick time, I reckon.'
'Great God! I must lose the race!'
'How?' said the other, not comprehending him;
'what has that got to do with it?'
'I must land there. I must-I must-the lady
who gave us the hams-I must land her 1'
'Oh! that-' replied the phlegmatic pilot; 'a
darned pity it is,' he added; 'but if you must, you
must. Darn the luck! We'd a-beat them into shucks
in another quarter, I reckon. Darn the luck!'
'We must give it up,' said the Captain. 'Turn her
head in.'
Saying this, he hurried below; and, observing his
excited manner, I followed him.
A group of ladies stood upon the guardway where
the Captain descended over the wheel-house. The
Creole was among them.
'Mademoiselle,' said the Captain, addressing him-
self to this lady, we must lose the race after all.'
'Why?' asked she in surprise; 'are there not
enough ? Antoine! have you delivered them all ?'
'No, Mademoiselle,' replied the Captain, 'it is not
that, thanks to your generosity. You see those
lights ?'
'Yes-well?'
'That is Bringiers.'
'Oh! it is, is it?'









62 THE QUADROON.

'Yes ;-and of course you must be landed there.
'And that would lose you the race ?'
'Certainly.'
'Then, of course, I must not be landed there. What
care I for a day? I am not so old but that I can
spare one. Ha! ha! ha! You shall not lose your
race, and the reputation of your fine boat, on my ac-
count. Think not of landing, cher Capitaine! Take
me on to Baton Rouge. I can get back in the morn-
ing!'
A cheer rose from the auditory; and the Captain,
rushing back to the pilot, countermanded his late
order.
!* *
The Belle again stands in the wake of the Magnolia,
and again scarce two hundred yards of the river lie
between. The rumbling of their machinery-the
booming of their steam-the plashing of their paddles
-the creaking of their planks-the shouts of those on
board, mingle in rude concert.
Up forges the Belle-up-up-gaining in spite of
the throes of her antagonist. Up, nearer still-
nearer, till her head laps upon the stern, then the
wheel-house, then the foredeck of the Magnolia!
Now the lights of both cross each other-their fires
glow together upon the water-they are head and
head!
Another foot is gained-the Captain waves his hat
-and the cheer of triumph peals forth!
*
That cheer was never finished. Its first notes had
scarce broke upon the midnight air, when it was in-
terrupted by an explosion like the bursting of some








THE LIFE-PRESERVER. 63

vast magazine-an explosion that shook the air, the
earth, and the water! Timbers crashed and flew
upward-men shouted as their bodies were projected
to the heavens-smoke and vapour filled the air-
and one wild cry of agony arose upon the night !




CHAPTER XII.
THE LIFE-PRESERVEB.
THE concussion, unlike anything I had ever heard,
was, nevertheless, significant of the nature of the
catastrophe. I felt an instantaneous conviction that
the boilers had burst, and such in reality was the fact.
At the moment, I chanced to be on the balcony in
rear of my state-room. I was holding by the guard-
rail-else the shock and the sudden lurch of the boat
would have flung me headlong.
Scarce knowing what I did, I staggered into my
state-room, and through the opposite door into tho
main saloon.
Here I paused and looked around me. The whole
forward part of the boat was shrouded in steam and
smoke, and already a portion of the hot scalding va-
pour floated through the cabin.
Dreading the contact of this, I rushed aft; but by a
fortunate chance the lurch of the boat had brought
her stern to windward, and the breeze blew the
dangerous element away.
The engine was now silent-the wheels had ceased
to move-the 'scape-pipe no longer gave out its boom-
ing notes; but instead of these sounds, others of ter-








64 THE QUADROON.

rible import fell upon the ear. The shouts of men,
mingled with oaths-wild, awful imprecations-the
more shrill piercing shrieks of women-the groans of
wounded from the deck below-the agonised cry of
those blown into the water and drowning-all rang
upon the ear with terrible emphasis!
How changed the tones from those that, but a
moment before, pealed from the self-same lips!
The smoky vapour was soon partially blown off,
and I could catch a glimpse of the forward part of
the boat. There a complete chaos met the eye. The
smoking saloon, the bar with its contents, the front
awning, and part of the starboard wheel-house, were
completely carried away-blown up as if a mine had
been sprung beneath them-and the huge sheet-iron
funnels had fallen forward upon the deck! At a
glance I was convinced that captain, pilots, all who
had been upon that part of the boat, must have
perished!
Of course such reflections passed with the rapidity
of thought itself, and occupied me not a moment of
time. I felt that I was still unhurt, and my first
natural thought was that of preserving my life. I
had sufficient presence of mind to know there was no
danger of a second explosion; but I perceived that
the bodt was badly injured, and already leaning to
one side. How long would she swim?
I had hardly asked myself the question when it
was answered by a voice that, in terrified accents,
shouted out:-
'Good God! she is sinking! she is sinking!'
This announcement was almost simultaneous with
the cry of 'Fire!' and at the same moment flames
were seen bursting forth and shooting up to the








THE LIFE-PRESERVER.


height of the hurricane deck! Whetner by burning
up or going down, it was evident the wreck would
afford us but short refuge.
The thoughts of the survivors were now turned to
the Magnolia. I looked in the direction of that boat.
I perceived that she was doing her best to back, and
put round toward us; but she was still several hun-
dred yards off! In consequence of the Belle having
steered a while towards the Bringiers landing, the
boats no longer ran in the same track; and, although
they were head and head at the moment of the ex-
plosion, they were separated from each other by a
wide stretch of the river. A full quarter of a mile
distant appeared the Magnolia; and it was evident
that a considerable time must elapse before she could
get alongside. Would the wreck of the Belle keep
afloat so long?
At a glance I was convinced it would not. I felt
it settling down under my feet inch by inch; and the
blaze already threatened the after-part of the boat,
licking the light woodwork of the gaudy saloon as if
it had been flax! Not a moment was to be lost: we
must take voluntarily to the water, be drawn in by
the sinking wreck, or driven to it by the fire. One of
the three was inevitable!
You will fancy me to have been in a state of extreme
terror at this moment. Such, however, was not the
case. I had not the slightest fear for my own safety:
not that I was redeemed fronrthe common lot by any
superior courage, but simply that I had confidence in
my resources. Though sufficiently reckless in my tem-
perament, I have never been a fatalist. I have saved
my life more than once by acts of volition-by pre-
sence of mind and adroitness. The knowledge of this








66 THE QUADROON.

has freed me from the superstitions of fore-ordination
and fatalism; and therefore, when not too indolent, I
take precautions against danger.
I had done so on the occasion of which I am writ-
ing. In my portmanteau I carried-I do so habitually
-a very simple contrivance, a life-preserver. I
always carry it in such a position as to be ready to
the hand. It is but the work of a moment to adjust
this, and with it around my body I feel no fear of
being plunged into the broadest river, or even a
channel of the sea. It was the knowledge of this,
and not any superior courage, that supported me.
I ran back to my state-room-the portmanteau was
open-and in another moment I held the piece of
quilted cork in my hands. In a few seconds its strap
was over my head, and the strings securely knotted
around my waist.
Thus accoutred, I stood inside the state-room, in-
tending to remain there till the wreck should sink
nearer the surface of the water. Settling rapidly as it
was, I was convinced I should not have long to wait.
I closed the inner door of the room, and turned the
bolt. The outer one I held slightly ajar, my hand
firmly clutching the handle.
I had my object in thus shutting myself up. I
should be less exposed to the view of the terror-
stricken wretches that ran to and fro like spectres-
for any fear I now had was of them-not of the water.
I knew that, should the life-preserver be discovered, I
should have a crowd around me in a moment-in fact,
that escape by such means would be hopeless.
Dozens would follow me into the water-would cling
to my limbs-would drag me, in their despairing
grasp, to the bottom!








BLESSSA'


I knew this; and, clutching the venetian door with
firmer grasp, I stood peering through the apertures in
stealthy silence.





CHAPTER XIII.

BLESSS]'
I HAD not been in this position more than a few
seconds, when some figures appeared in front of the
door, and voices fell upon my ear that I thought I
recognized. Another glance revealed the speakers.
They were the young Creole and her steward.
The conversation passing between them was not a
dialogue, but a series of exclamations-the hurried
language of terror. The old man had got together a
few cabin chairs; and with trembling hands was en-
deavouring to bind them together, with the design of
forming a raft. He had no other cord than a hand-
kerchief, and some strips of silk, which his young
mistress was tearing from her dress It would have
been but a feeble raft, had it been completed-not fit
to have floated a cat. It was but the effort of the
drowning man 'catching at straws.' I saw at a
glance that it would afford to neither of them the
respite of a minute's life. The chairs were of heavy
rosewood; and, perchance, would have gone to the
bottom of themselves!
The scene produced upon me an impression in-
describably strange. I felt myself standing upon a
crisis. I felt called upon to choose between self and









68 THE QUADROON.

self-sacrifice. Had the choice left no chance of
saving my own life, I fear I should have obeyed the
'first law of nature;' but, as already stated, of my
own life I felt secure; the question was, whether it
would be possible for me also to save the lady ?
I reasoned rapidly, and as follows --Thc life-pre-
server-a very small one-will not sustain us both!
What if I fasten it upon her, and swim alongside? A
little help from it now and then will be sufficient to
keep me afloat. I am a good swimmer. How far is
it to the shore ?
I looked in that direction. The glare of the blazing
boat lit up the water to a wide circumference. I
could see the. brown bank distinctly. It was full a
quarter of a mile distant, with a sharp cross-current
running between it and the wreck.
Surely I can swim it?' thought I: sink or swim,
I shall make the attempt to save her!'
I will not deny that other reflections passed through
my mind as I was forming this resolve. I will not
deny that there was a little French gallantry mixed
up with better motives. Instead of being young and
lovely, had Mademoiselle Besangon been old and
plain, I think-that is-I-I fear-she would have
been left to Antoine and his raft of chairs! As it
was, my resolve was made; and I had no time to
reflect upon motives.
'Mademoiselle Besangon!' I called out of the door.
'Ha Some one calls me;' said she, turning sud-
denly. 'Mon Dieu who is there?'
'One who, Mademoiselle-'
'Peste!' muttered the old steward, angrily, as his
eyes fell upon my face. He was under the belief that
I wished to share his raft.








' BLESSA.'


lPeste!' he repeated; "twill not carry two, mon-
sieur.'
Nor one,' I replied. 'Mademoiselle,' I continued,
addressing myself to the lady; 'those chairs will not
serve,-they will rather be the means of drowning
you,-here-take this! it will save your life.'
As I spoke I had pulled off the preserver, and held
it towards her.
'What is this?' she inquired hastily; and then,
comprehending all, she continued, 'No -no -no,
Monsieur! Yourself-yourself!'
I believe I can swim ashore without it. Take it,
Mademoiselle! Quick! quickI there is no time to
be lost. In three minutes the boat will go down.
The other is not near yet: besides, she may fear to
approach the fire! See the flames! they come this
way Quick Permit me to fasten it for you ?'
My God !-my God! generous stranger- !'
'No words; now-now it is on I Now to the
water Have no fear plunge in, and strike out from
the wreck! fear not! I shall follow and guide you!
Away!'
The girl, partly influenced by terror, and partly
yielding to my remonstrances, sprang off into the
water; and the next moment I saw her body afloat,
distinguishable by the whitish drapery of her dress,
that still kept above the surface.
At that instant I felt some one grasping me by the
hand. I turned round. It was Antoine.
'Forgive me, noble youth! forgive me!' he cried,
while the tears ran down his cheeks.
I would have replied, but at the moment I per-
ceived a man rush forward to the guards, over which
the girl had just passed. I could see that his eye








70 THE QUADROON.

was fixed upon her, and that he had marked the life-
preserver! His intention was evident.
He had mounted the guard-rail, and was just
springing off as I reached the spot. I caught him by
the collar, and drew him back. As I did so his face
came under the blaze, and I recognized my betting
bully.
'Not so fast, Sir!' said I, still holding him.
He uttered but one word in reply-and that was a
fearful oath-but at the moment I saw in his uplifted
hand the shining blade of a bowie-knife I So unex-
pectedly did this weapon appear, that I had no
chance of evading the blow; and the next moment I
felt the cold steel passing through my arm. It was
not a fatal stab, however; and before the brute could
repeat it I had, in the phraseology of the ring,
'planted' a blow upon his chin, that sent him
sprawling over the chairs, while at the same time the
knife flew out of his grasp. This I caught up, and
hesitated for a moment whether to use it upon the
ruffian; but my better feelings overcame my passion,
and I flung the weapon into the river.
Almost instantaneously I plunged after. I had no
time to tarry. The blaze had reached the wheel-
house, close to which we were, and the heat was no
longer to be borne. My last glance at the spot
showed me Antoine and my antagonist struggling
among the chairs!
The white drapery served me for a beacon, and I
swam after it. The current had already carried it some
distance from the boat, and directly down stream.
I had hurriedly divested myself of coat and boots,
and as my other garments were of light material they
did not impede me. After a few strokes I swam









THE QUADROON.


\


I caught him by the collar, and drew him back.-p. 70.


,,











' BLESSf.'


perfectly free; and, keeping the white dress before
my eyes, I continued on down the river.
Now and then I raised my head above the surface
and looked back. I still had fears that the ruffian
might follow; and I had nerved myself for a struggle
in the water!
In a few minutes I was alongside my protegie; and,
after half-a-dozen hurried words of encouragement,
I laid hold of her with one hand, and with the other
endeavoured to direct our course towards the shore.
In this way the current carried us in a diagonal
line, but we still floated down stream at a rapid rate.
A long and weary swim it seemed to me. Had it
been much longer I never should have reached the
end of it.
At length we appeared to be near the bank; but as
we approached it my strokes became feebler, and my
left hand grasped my companion with a sort of con-
vulsive effort.
I remember reaching land, however; I remember
crawling up the bank with great difficulty, my com-
panion assisting me! I remember seeing a large house
directly in front of where we had come ashore; I re-
member hearing the words,-
C'est drole! c'est ma maison-ma maison veritable!
I remember staggering across a road, ledjby a soft
hand, and entering a gate, and a garden where there
were benches, and statues, and sweet-smelling flowers
-I remember seeing servants come from the house
with lights, and that my arms were red, and my sleeves
dripping with blood! I remember from a female
voice the cry,-
'Blessd!' followed by a wild shriek; and of that
scene I remember no more I








( 72 )


CHAPTER XIV.
WHERE AM I?
WHEN I awoke to consciousness, it was day. A
bright sun was pouring his yellow light across the
floor of my chamber; and from the diagonal slanting
of the beam, I could perceive that it was either very
early in the morning, or near sunset.
But birds were singing without. It must be morn-
ing, reasoned I.
I perceived that I was upon a low couch of elegant
construction-without curtains-but in their stead a
mosquito-netting spread its gauzy meshes above and
around me. The snow-white colour and fineness of
the linen, the silken gloss of the counterpane, and the
soft yielding mattress beneath, imparted to me the
knowledge that I lay upon a luxurious bed. But for
its extreme elegance and fineness, I might not have
noticed this; for I awoke to a sense of severe bodily
pain.
The incidents of the preceding night soon came into
my memory, and passed rapidly one by one as they
had occurred. Up to our reaching the bank of the
river, and climbing out of the water, they were all
clear enough. Beyond that time I could recall nothing
distinctly. A house, a large gateway, a garden, trees,
flowers, statues, lights, black servants, were all
jumbled together on my memory.
There was an impression on my mind of having
beheld amid this confusion a face of extraordinary
beauty-the face of a lovely girl! Something angelic








WHERE AM I? 73

it seemed; but whether it had been a real face that I
had seen, or only the vision of a dream, I could net
now tell. And yet its lineaments were still before me,
so plainly visible to the eye of my mind, so clearly
outlined, that, had I been an artist, I could have por-
trayed them! The face alone I could remember-
nothing else. I remembered it as the opium-eater his
dream, or as one remembers a beautiful face seen
during an hour of intoxication, when all else is for-
gotten! Strange to say, I did not associate this face
with my companion of the night; and my remem-
brance painted it not at all like that of Eugdnie
Besangon!
Was there any one besides-any one on board the
boat that my dream resembled ? No, not one-I could
not think of one. There was none in whom I had
taken even a momentary interest-with the exception
of the Creole-but the lineaments my fancy, or me-
mory, now conjured up were entirely unlike to hers:
in fact, of quite an opposite character!
Before my mind's eye hung masses of glossy black
hair, waving along the brows and falling over the
shoulders in curling clusters. Within this ebon frame-
work were features to mock the sculptor's chisel
The mouth, with its delicate rose-coloured ellipse;
the nose, with smooth straight outline, and small re-
curvant nostril; the arching brows of jet; the long
fringes upon the eyelids; all were vividly before me,
and all unlike the features of Eugenie Bcsancon.
The colour of the skin, too-even that was different.
It was not that Circassian white that characterized
the complexion of the Creole, but a colour equally
clear, though tinged with a blending of brown and
olive, which gave to the red upon the cheeks a tint of
F








74 TIHE QUADROON.

crimson. The eye I fancied, or remembered well--
better than aught else. It was large, rounded, and of
dark brown colour; but its peculiarity consisted in a
certain expression, strange but lovely. Its brilliance
was extreme, but it neither flashed nor sparkled. It
was more like a gorgeous gem viewed by the spectator
while at rest. Its light did not blaze-it seemed
rather to burn.
Despite some pain which I felt, I lay for many
minutes pondering over this lovely portrait, and won-
dering whether it was a memory or a dream. A sin-
gular reflection crossed my mind. I could not help
thinking, that if such a face were real, I could forget
Mademoiselle Besancon, despite the romantic incident
that had attended our introduction I
The pain of my arm at length dissipated the beau-
tiful vision, and recalled me to my present situation.
On throwing back the counterpane, I observed with
surprise that the wound had been dressed, and evi-
dently by a surgeon! Satisfied on this head, I cast
my eye abroad to make a reconnaissance of my quar-
ters.
The room I occupied was small, but, notwithstand-
ing the obstruction of the mosquito bar, I could see
that it was furnished with taste and elegance. The
furniture was light-mostly canework-and the floor
was covered with a matting of sea-grass finely woven,
and stained into various colours. The windows were
garnished with curtains of silk damask and muslin,
corresponding to the colour of the wood-work. A
table richly inlaid was near the centre of the floor.
another, with portefeuille, pens, and ornamental ink"
stand, stood by the wall, and over this last was a col.
election of books ranged upon shelves of red cedar-








WHERE AM I?


wood. A handsome clock adorned the mantelpiece
and in the open fireplace was a pair of small and-
irons,' with silver knobs, cast after a fanciful device,
and richly chased. Of course, there was no fire at
that season of the year. Even the heat caused by the
mosquito bar would have been annoying, but that the
large glass-door on one side, and the window on the
other, both standing open, gave passage to the breeze
that penetrated through the netting of my couch.
Along with this breeze came the most delicious fra-
grance-the essence of flowers. Through both door
and window I could see their thousand clustering
corollas-roses, red, pink, and white-the rare camelia
-azaleas, and jessamines-the sweet-scented China-
tree-and farther off a little I could distinguish the
waxen leaves and huge lily-like blossoms of the great
American laurel-the Magnolia grandiflora. I could
hear the voices of many singing-birds, and a low mo-
notonous hum that I supposed to be the noise of
falling water. These were the only sounds that
reached my ears.
Was I alone? I looked inquiringly around the
chamber. It appeared so-no living thing met my
glance.
I was struck with a peculiarity in the apartment I
occupied. It appeared to stand by itself, and did not
communicate with any other! The only door I could
see, opened directly to the outside. So did the win-
dow, reaching door-like to the ground. Both appeared
to lead into a garden filled with shrubs and flowers.
Excepting the chimney, I could perceive no other
inlet or outlet to the apartment!
This at first seemed odd; but a moment's reflection
explained it. It is not uncommon upon American
F 2








THE QUADROON.


plantations to have a kind of office or summer-house
apart from the main building, and often fitted up in a
style of comfort and luxuriance. This becomes upon
occasions the 'stranger's room.' Perhaps I was in
such an apartment.
At all events, I was under an hospitable roof, and
in good hands; that was evident. The manner in
which I was encouched, along with certain prepara-
tions,-the signs of a projected ddjetiner that appeared
upon the table, attested this. But who was my host?
or was it a hostess? Was it Euginie Besangon? Did
she not say something of her house-' ma masonn' or
did I only dream it ?
I lay guessing and reflecting over a mass of confused
memories; but I could not from these arrive at any
knowledge of whose guest I was. Nevertheless, I had
a sort of belief that I was in the house of my last
night's companion.
I became anxious, and in my weakness perhaps felt
a little vexed at being left alone. I would have rung,
but no bell was within reach. At that moment, how-
ever, I heard the sound of approaching footsteps.
Romantic miss! you will fancy that those footsteps
were light and soft, made by a small satin slipper,
scarcely discomposing the loosest, tiniest pebble-
stealthily drawing near lest their sound might awake
the sleeping invalid-and then, in the midst of bird-
music, and humming waters, and the sweet perfume of
flowers, a fair form appeared in the doorway, and I
saw a gentle face, with a pair of soft, lovely eyes, in a
timid inquiring glance, gazing upon me. You will
fancy all this, no doubt; but your fancy is entirely at
fault, and not at all like the reality.
The footsteps I heard were made by a pair of thick








WHERE AM I? .77

broganss' of alligator leather, and full thirteen inches
in length; which brogans the next moment rested
upon the sill of the door directly before my eyes.
On raising my glance a little higher, I perceived a
pair of legs, in wide copper-coloured 'jeans,' panta-
loons; and carrying my eye still higher, I perceived a
broad, heavy chest, covered with a striped cotton
shirt; a pair of massive arms and huge shoulders,
surmounted by the shining face and woolly head of a
jet black negro !
The face and head came under my observation
last; but on these my eyes dwelt longest, scanning
them over and over, until I at length, despite the
pain I was suffering, burst out into a sonorous laugh I
If I had been dying, I could not have helped it;
there was something so comic, so irresistibly ludicrous,
in the physiognomy of this sable intruder.
He was a full-grown and rather large negro, as
black as charcoal, with a splendid tier of 'ivories;'
and with eyeballs, pupil and irides excepted, as white
as his teeth. But it was not these that had tickled
my fancy. It was the peculiar contour of his head,
and the set and size of his ears. The former was as
round as a globe, and thickly covered with small
kinky curlets of black wool, so closely set that they
seemed to root at both ends, and form a 'nap!'
From the sides of this sable sphere stood out a pair
of enormous ears, suggesting the idea of wings, and
giving to the head a singularly ludicrous appearance.
It was this peculiarity that had set me laughing;
and, indecorous though it was, for the life of me I
could not help it.
My visitor, however, did not seem to take it amiss.
On the contrary, he at once opened his thick lips, and








THE QUADROON.


displaying the splendid armature of his mouth in a
broad and good-natured grin, began laughing as
loudly as myself I
Good-natured was he. His bat-like ears had in-
fused nothing of the vampire into his character.
No-the very type of jolility and fun was the broad
black face of 'Scipio Bcsancon,' for such was the
cognomen of my visitor.




CHAPTER XV.
'OLE ZIP.'
SOIPIo opened the dialogue:-
'Gollies, young mass'r Ole Zip 'joiced to see um
well 'gain-daat he be.'
'Scipio is it '
'Ye' mass'r-daat same ole nigger. Doctor told
um to nuss do white genl'um. Won't young missa be
glad haself!-white folks, black folks-all be glad.
Wugh !'
T'he finishing exclamation was one of those thoracic
efforts peculiar to the American negro, and bearing a
strong resemblance to the snort of a hippopotamus.
Its utterance signified that my companion had
finished his sentence, and waited for me to speak.
And who is "young missa ?"' I inquired.
'Gorramighty! don't mass'r know? Why, do
young lady you fetch from de boat, when twar all
ober a blaze. Lor! what a swum you make-half
cross de riber! 'Wugh !'
And am I in her house ?'








'OLE ZIP.'


Ob sartin, mass'r-daat ar in de summer-house--
for de big house am on oder side ob do garden-all do
same, mass'r.'
And how did I get here ?'
'Golly! don't mass'r 'member how? Why, ole
Zip carried 'im in yar in dese berry arms. Mass'r an
young missa come 'shore on do Lebee, down dar jes
by de gate. Missa shout-black folks come out an
find um-white genl'um all blood-he faint, an missa
have him carried in yar.'
'And after?'
'Zip he mount fastest hoss-olo White Fox-an
gallop for de doctor-gallop like de debil, too. Ob
course de doctor he come back along and dress up
mass'r's arm.
But,' continued Scipio, turning upon me an in-
quiring look, 'how'd young mass'r come by de big
ugly cut? Dat's jes wha de Doe wanted to know, an
dat's jes wha young missa didn't know nuffin 'tall
'bout.'
For certain reasons I forbore satisfying the curiosity
of my sable nurse, but lay for a moment reflecting.
True, the lady knew nothing of my encounter with
the bully. Ha! Antoine-then. Had he not come
ashore? Was he- ? Scipio anticipated the ques-
tion I was about to put. His face became sad as he
recommended speaking.
Ah young mass'r, Mamsello 'Ginie be in great
'stress dis mornin-all do folks be in great 'stress.
Mass'r Toney! Poor Mass'r Toney!'
'The steward, Antoine ? What of him? Tell me,
has he not come home ?'
No, mass'r-I'se afeerd he ncbber, nebber will-
ebberybody 'feerd he be drownded-folks a been to do








80 THE QUADROON.

village-up an down de Lebee-ebery wha. No
Toney. Captain ob de boat blowed clar into do sky,
an fifty passengers gone to do bottom.. Oder boat
save some; some, like young mass'r, swum 'shore:
but no Toney-no Mass'r Toney!'
'Do you know if he could swim?' I asked.
'No, mass'r, ne'er a stroke. I knows daat, 'kasehe
once failed into de bayou, and Ole Zip pull 'im out.
No-he nebber swim-nebber.'
'Then I fear he is lost indeed.'
I remembered that the wreck wont down before the
Magnolia had got close alongside. I had noticed this
on looking around. Those who could not swim, there-
fore, must have perished.
'Poor Pierre, too. We hab lost Pierre.'
'Pierre? Who was he?'
'De coachman, mass'r, he war.'
'Oh I remember. You think he is drowned,
also ?'
I'se afeerd so, mass'r. Ole Zip sorry, too, for
Pierre. A good nigger war daat Pierre. But, Mass'r
Toney, Mass'r Toney, ebberybody sorry for Mass'r
Toney.'
'He was a favourite among you?'
'Ebberybody like 'im-black folks, white folks, all
lub 'im. Missa 'Genie lub 'im. He live wi' ole Mass'r
SanQon all him life. I believe war one ob Missy
'Gdnie gardiums, or whatever you call 'em. Gorra-
mighty! what will young Missa do now? She hab
no friends leff; and daat ole fox Gayarre-he no
good-'
Here the speaker suddenly interrupted himself, as
if he feared that his tongue was going too freely.
The name he had pronounced and the expression








'OI.E ZIP.'


by which it was qualified, at once awakened my
curiosity-the name more than the qualification.
If it be the same,' thought I, Scipio has charac-
terised him not otherwise than justly. Can it be the
same ?'
You mean M. Dominique Gayarre, the avocat ?' I
asked, after a pause.
Scipio's great white eyeballs rolled about with an
expression of mingled surprise and apprehension, and
rather stammeringly lie replied:-
Daat am de genl'um's name. Know 'im, young
mass'r ?'
Only very slightly,' I answered, and this answer
seemed to set my companion at his ease again.
The truth is, I had no personal acquaintance with
the individual mentioned; but during my stay in New
Orleans, accident had brought me in contact with the
name. A little adventure had befallen me, in which
the bearer of it figured-not to advantage. On the
contrary, I had conceived a strong dislike for the
man, who, as already stated, was a lawyer, or avocat
of the New Orleans bar. Scipio's man was no doubt
the same. The name was too rare a one to be borne
by two individuals; besides, I had heard that he was
owner of a plantation somewhere up the coast-at
Bringiers, I remembered. The probabilities were it
was he. If so, and Mademoiselle Besanqon had no
other friend, then, indeed, had Scipio spoken truly
when he said, 'She hab no friends leff.'
Scipio's observation had not only roused my curio-
sity, but had imparted to me a vague feeling of un-
easiness. It is needless to say that I was now deeply
interested in this young Creole. A man who has
saved a life-the life of a beautiful woman-and under








ba THE QUADROON.

such peculiar circumstances, could not well be indiffer-
ent to the after-fate of her he has rescued.
Was it a lover's interest that had been awakened
within me?
My heart answered, No! To my own astonishment,
it gave this answer. On the boat I had fancied
myself half in love with this young lady; and now,
after a romantic incident-one that might appear a
very provocative to the sublime passion-I lay on my
couch contemplating the whole affair with a coolness
that surprised even myself! I felt that I had lost
much blood-had my incipient passion flowed out of
my veins at the same time ?
I endeavoured to find some explanation for this rare
psychological fact; but at that time I was but an
indifferent student of the mind. The land of love
was to me a terre inconnue.
One thing was odd enough. Whenever I essayed to
recall the features of the Creole, the dream-face rose
up before me more palpable than ever !
Strange !' thought I,' this lovely vision this dream
of my diseased brain! Oh! what would I not give to
embody this fair spectral form !'
I had no longer a doubt about it. I was certain
I did not love Mademoiselle Besanqon, and yet I was
far from feeling indifferent towards her. Friendship
was the feeling that now actuated me. The interest
I felt for her was that of a friend. Strong enough
was it to render me anxious on her account-to make
me desirous of knowing more both of herself and her
affairs.
Scipio was not of secretive habit; and in less than
half an hour I was the confidant of all he know.
Euginie Besangon was the daughter and only child








'OLE ZIP.' 83

of a Creole planter, who had died some two years
before, as some thought wealthy, while others believed
that his affairs were embarrassed. M. Dominique
Gayarre had been left joint-administrator of the
estate with the steward Antoine, both being 'guar-
diums' (sic Scipio) of the young lady. Gayarre had
been the lawyer of Besanqon, and Antoine his faithful
servitor. Hence the trust reposed in the old steward,
who in latter years stood in the relation of friend
and companion rather than of servant to Besanqon
himself.
In a few months mademoiselle would be of age; but
whether her inheritance was large, Scipio could not
tell. He only knew that since her father's death,
M. Dominique, the principal executor, had furnished
her with ample funds whenever called upon; that she
had not been restricted in any way; that she was
generous; that she was profuse in her expenditure,
or, as Scipio described it, 'berry wasteful, an flung
about de shinin dollars as ef dey war domicks!'
The black gave some glowing details of many a
grand ball and f'te champetre that had taken place on
the plantation, and hinted at the expensive life which
'young missa' led while in the city, where she usually
resided during most part of the winter. All this I
could easily credit. From what had occurred on the
boat, and other circumstances, I was impressed with
the belief that Eugdnie Besancon was just the person
to answer to the description of Scipio. Ardent of soul
-full of warm impulses-generous to a fault-reckless
in expenditure-living altogether in the present-and
not caring to make any calculation for the future.
Just such an heiress as would exactly suit the pur-
poses of an unprincipled administrator.








84 THE QUADROON.

I could see that poor Scipio had a great regard for
his young mistress; but, even ignorant as he was, he
had some suspicion that all this profuse outlay boded
no good. He shook his head as he talked of these
matters, adding-
I'se afeerd, young mass'r, it'll nebber, nebber last.
De Planters' bank hisseff would be broke by such a
constant drawin ob money.'
When Scipio came to speak of Gayarre he shook his
head still more significantly He had evidently some
strange suspicions about this individual, though he
was unwilling, just then, to declare them.
I learnt enough to identify M. Dominique Gayarre
with my avocat of the Rue New Orleans. No
doubt remained on my mind that it was the same. A
lawyer by profession, but more of a speculator in
stocks-a money-lender, in other words, usurer. In
the country a planter, owning the plantation adjoining
that of Besancon, with more than a hundred slaves,
whom he treats with the utmost severity. All this is
in correspondence with the calling and character of
my M. Dominique. They are the same.
Scipio gives me some additional details of him. Ho
was the law adviser and the companion of Monsieur
Besanpon-Scipio says, 'Too often for ole mass'r's
good,' and believes that the latter suffered much from
his acquaintance: or, as Scipio phrases it, 'Mass'r
Gayarre humbug ole mass'r; he cheat 'im many an
many a time, I'se certain.'
Furthermore, I learn from my attendant, that
Gayarre resides upon his plantation during the sum-
mer months; that he is a daily visitor at the 'big
house'-the residence of Mademoiselle Besancon-
where he makes himself quite at home; acting, says








tI. DOMINIQUE GAYARRE.


Scipio, 'as ef de place 'longed to him, and he war do
boss ob de plantation.'
I fancied Scipio knew something more about this
man-some definite matter that he did not like to talk
about. It was natural enough, considering our recent
acquaintance. I could see that he had a strong
dislike towards Gayarre. Did he found it on some
actual knowledge of the latter, or was it instinct-a
principle strongly developed in these poor slaves, who
are not permitted to reason ?
His information, however, comprised too many facts
to be the product of mere instinct: it savoured of
actual knowledge. He must have learnt these things
from some quarter. Where could he have gathered
them?
Who told you all this, Scipio ?'
Aurore, mass'r.'
Aurore!'





CHAPTER XVI.
M. DOMINIQUE GAYAIRE.
I FELT a sudden desire, amounting almost to anxiety,
to learn who was 'Aurore.' Why? Was it the sin-
gularity and beauty of the name,-for novel and beau-
tiful it sounded in my Saxon ears ? No. Was it the
mere euphony of the word; its mythic associations;
its less ideal application to the rosy hours of the
Orient, or the shining phosphorescence of the North 7
Was it any of these associate thoughts that awoke








86 TIfE QtADItOOt.

within me this mysterious interest in the name
' Aurore V'
I was not allowed time to reflect, or question Scipio
farther. At that moment the door was darkened by
the entrance of two men; who, without saying a word,
stepped inside the apartment.
Da doctor, mass'r,' whispered Scipio, falling back,
and permitting the gentlemen to approach.
Of the two it was not difficult to tell which was the
'doctor.' The professional face was unmistakable:
and I knew that the tall pale man, who regarded me
with interrogative glance, was a disciple of Esculapius,
as certainly as if he had carried his diploma in one
hand and his door-plate in the other.
He was a man of forty, not ill-featured, though the
face was not one that would be termed handsome. It
was, however, interesting, from a quiet intellectuality
that characterized it, as well as an habitual expression
of kind feeling. It had been a German face some two
or three generations before, but an American climate,
-political, I mean,-had tamed down the rude lines
produced by ages of European despotism, and had
almost restored it to its primitive nobility of feature.
Afterwards, when better acquainted with American
types, I should have known it as a Pennsylvanian face,
and such in reality it was. I saw before me a graduate
of one of the great medical schools of Philadelphia,
Dr.Edward Reigart. The name confirmed my suspicion
of German origin.
Altogether my medical attendant made a pleasing
impression upon me at first sight.
How different was that I received on glancing
toward his companion antagonism, hatred, con-
tempt, disgust! A face purely French ;-not that








1I. DO1MXIQUE GAYARRE. 87

noble French face we see in the Duguesclins, the Jean
Barts, and among many of the old Huguenot heroes;
and in modern days in a Rollin, a Hugo, an Arago, or
a Pyat;-but such an one as you may see any day by
hundreds sneaking around the Bourse or the coulisses
of the Opera, or in thousands scowling from under a
shako in the ranks of a ruffian soldiery. A counte-
nance that I cannot describe better than by saying
that its features forcibly reminded me of those of a
fox.' I am not in jest. I observed this resemblance
plainly. I observed the same obliquity of eyes, the
same sharp quick glance that betokened the presence
of deep dissimulation, of utter selfishness, of cruel
inhumanity.
In the Doctor's companion I beheld a type of this
face,--the fox in human form, and with all the attri-
butes of this animal highly developed.
My instincts chimed with Scipio's, for I had not the
slightest doubt that before me stood M. Dominique
Gayarre. It was he.
A man of small stature he was, and thinly built, but
evidently one who could endure a great deal before
parting with life. He had all the subtle wiry look of
the carnivora, as well as their disposition. The eyes,
as already observed, obliqued strongly downwards.
The balls were not globe-shaped, but rather obtuse
cones, of which the pupil was the apex. Both pupils
and irides were black, and glistened like the eyes of a
weasel. They seemed to sparkle in a sort of habitual
smile; but this smile was purely cynical and deceptive.
If any one knew themselves guilty of a weakness or a
crime they felt certain that Dominique Gayarre knew
it, and it was at this he was laughing. 'When a case
of misfortune did really present itself to his knowledge,








88 THE QUADnOOW.

his smile became more intensely satirical, and his
small prominent eyes sparkled with evident delight.
He was a lover of himself and a hater of his kind.
For the rest, he had black hair, thin and limp-
shaggy dark brows, set obliquely-face without beard,
of pale cadaverous hue, and surmounted by a parrot-
beak nose of large dimensions. His dress had some-
what of a professional cut, and consisted of dark
broadcloth, with vest of black satin; and around his
neck, instead of cravat, he wore a broad black ribbon.
In age he looked fifty.
The doctor felt my pulse, asked me how I had slept,
looked at my tongue, felt my pulse a second time, and
then in a kindly way desired me to keep myself 'as
quiet as possible.' As an inducement to do so he told
me I was still very weak, that I had lost a good deal of
blood, but hoped that a few days would restore me to
my strength. Scipio was charged with my diet, and
was ordered to prepare tea, toast, and broiled chicken,
for my breakfast.
The doctor did not inquire how I came by my
wound. This I thought somewhat strange, but
ascribed it to his desire that I should remain quiet.
He fancied, no doubt, that any allusion to the circum-
stances of the preceding night might cause me un-
necessary excitement. I was too anxious about An-
toine to remain silent, and inquired the news. Nothing
more had been heard of him. He was certainly lost.
I recounted the circumstances under which I had
parted with him, and of course described my encounter
with the bully, and how I had received the wound. I
could not help remarking a strange expression that
marked the features of Gayarre as I spoke. He was
all attention, and when I told of the raft of chairs, and








MI. DOMINIQUE GAYARRE.


expressed my conviction that they would not support
the steward a single moment, I fancied I saw the dark
eyes of the avocat flashing with delight! There cer-
tainly was an expression in them of ill-concealed
satisfaction that was hideous to behold. I might not
have noticed this, or at all events not have understood
it, but for what Scipio had already told me. Now its
meaning was unmistakable, and notwithstanding the
' poor M. Antoine !' to which the hypocrite repeatedly
gave utterance, I saw plainly that he was secretly
delighted at the idea of the old steward's having gone
to the bottom!
When I had finished my narrative, Gayarre drew
the doctor aside; and the two conversed for some
moments in a low tone. I could hear part of what
passed between them. The doctor seemed not to care
whether I overheard him, while the other appeared
equally anxious that their conversation should not
reach me. From the replies of the doctor I could
make out that the wily lawyer wished to have me
removed from my present quarters, and taken to an
hotel in the village. He urged the peculiar position
in which the young lady (Mademoiselle Besanvon)
would be placed-alone in her house with a stranger
-a young man, &c. &c.
The doctor did not see the necessity of my removal
on such grounds. The lady herself did not wish it-
in fact, would not hear of it; he pooh-poohed the
' peculiarity' of the 'situation,' good Doctor Reigart!
-the accommodation of the hotel was none of the
best; besides, it was already crowded with other
sufferers; and here the speaker's voice sank so low I
could only catch odd phrases, as 'stranger,' 'not an
American,' lost everything,' friends far away,' the
G








THE QUADROON.


hotel no place for a man without money.' Gayarre's
reply to this last objection was that he would be re-
sponsible for my hotel bill.
This was intentionally spoken loud enough for me
to hear it; and I should have felt grateful for such an
offer, had I not suspected some sinister motive for the
lawyer's generosity. The doctor met the proposal
with still further objections.
'Impossible,' said he ; 'bring on fever,' great risk,'
'would not take the responsibility,' 'bad wound,'
'much loss of blood,' must remain where he is for the
present at least,' 'might be taken to the hotel in a day
or two when stronger.'
The promise of my removal in a day or two appeared
to satisfy the weasel Gayarre, or rather he became
satisfied that such was the only course that could be
taken with me, and the consultation ended.
Gayarre now approached the bed to take leave, and
I could trace that ironical expression playing in the
pupils of his little eyes as he pronounced some pre-
tended phrases of consolation. He little knew to
whom he was speaking. Had I uttered my name it
would perhaps have brought the colour to his pale
cheek, and caused him to make an abrupt exit. Pru-
dence prevented me from declaring it; and when the
doctor requested to know upon whom he had the
honour of attending, I adopted the pardonable strategy,
in use among distinguished travellers, of giving a nom
du voyage. I assumed my maternal patronymic of
Rutherford,-Edward Rutherford.
Recommending me to keep myself quiet, not to
attempt leaving my bed, to take certain prescriptions
at certain hours, &c. &c., the doctor took his leave;
Gayarre having already gone out before him,








( 91 )


CHAPTER XVII.
'AUROBE.'
I was for the moment alone, Scipio having betakenn
himself to the kitchen in search of the tea, toast, and
chicken 'fixings.' I lay reflecting upon the interview
just ended, and especially upon the conversation be-
tween the doctor and Gayarre, in which had occurred
several points that suggested singular ideas. The
conduct of the doctor was natural enough, indeed be-
tokened the true gentleman; but for the other there
was a sinister design-I could not doubt it.
Why the desire-an anxiety, in fact-to have me
removed to the hotel? Evidently there was some
strong motive, since he proposed to pay the expenses;
for from my slight knowledge of the man I knew him
to be the very opposite to generous!
What can be his motive for my removal ?' I asked
myself.
'Ha! I have it-I have the explanation! I see
through his designs clearly! This fox, this cunning
avocat, this guardian, is no doubt in love with his
own ward! She is young, rich, beautiful, a belle, and
he old, ugly, mean, and contemptible; but what of
that? He does not think himself either one or the
other; and she-bah!-he may even hope: far less
reasonable hopes have been crowned with success.
He knows the world; he is a lawyer; he knows at
least her world. He is her solicitor; holds her affairs
entirely in his hands; he is guardian, executor, agent
-all; has perfect and complete control. With such
G2








yU THE QUADROON.

advantages, what can he not effect? All that he may
desire-her marriage, or her ruin. Poor lady! I
pity her!'
Strange to say, it was only pity. That it was not
another feeling was a mystery I could not compre-
hend.
*
The entrance of Scipio interrupted my reflections.
A young girl assisted him with the plates and dishes.
This was Chloe,' his daughter, a child of thirteen, or
thereabouts, but not black like the father! She was
a 'yellow girl,' with rather handsome features.
Scipio explained this. The mother of his 'leettle
Chlo,' as he called her, was a nmulatta, and 'Chlo'
hab taken arter de ole 'oman. Hya i hya !'
The tone of Scipio's laugh showed that he was
more than satisfied-proud, in fact-of being the
father of so light-skinned and pretty a little creature
as Chloe!
Chloe, like all her kind, was brimful of curiosity,
and in rolling about the whites of her eyes to get a
peep at the buckra stranger who had saved her mis-
tress' life, she came near breaking cups, plates, and
dishes; for which negligence Scipio would have boxed
her ears, but for my intercession. The odd expres-
sions and gestures, the novel behaviour of both father
and daughter, the peculiarity of this slave-life, inte-
rested me.
I had a keen appetite, notwithstanding my weak-
ness. I had eaten nothing on the boat; in the ex-
citement of the race, supper had been forgotten by
most of the passengers, myself among the number.
Scipio's preparations now put my palate in tune, and
I did ample justice to the skill of Chloe's mother,









AURORE.' 93

who, as Scipio informed me, was 'de boss in do kit-
chen.' The tea strengthened me; the chicken, deli-
cately fricassded and garnished upon rice, seemed to
refill my veins with fresh blood. With the exception
of the slight pain of my wound, I already felt quite
restored.
My attendants removed the breakfast things, and
after awhile Scipio returned to remain in the room
with me, for such were his orders.
'And now, Scipio,' I said, as soon as we were alone,
'tell me of Aurore 1'
''Rore, mass'r !'
'Yes-Who is Aurore ?'
'Poor slave, mass'r; jes like Ole Zip heamseff.'
The vague interest I had begun to feel in Aurore'
vanished at once.
'A slave!' repeated I, involuntarily, and in a tone
of disappointment.
'She Missa 'Genie's maid,' continued Scipio; 'dress
missa's hair-wait on her-sit wi' her-read to her-
do ebbery ting-'
Read to her! what!-a slave ?'
My interest in Aurore began to return.
Ye, mass'r-daat do 'Rore. But I 'splain to you.
Ole Mass'r 'Sangon berry good to de coloured people
-teach many ob um read de books-'specially 'Rore.
'Rore he struckt read, write, many, many tings, and
young Missa 'Genie she teach her de music. 'Rore
she 'complish gal-berry 'complish gal. Know many
ting; jes like de white folks. Plays on de peany-
-plays on de guitar-guitar jes like banjo, an Olo
Zip play on daat heamseff-he do. Wugh !'
'And withal, Auroro is a poor slave just liko the
rest of you, Scipio ?'




Full Text



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The quadroon, or, Adventures in the Far West
author Reid, Mayne 1818-1883
extent 447 p., <12> leaves of plates : ill. ; 18 cm.
publisher J. & C. Brown and Co., <18--?> (London : W. Clowes and Sons)
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1858
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16
The Baldwin Library
RUnivwiry
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Matter
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Frontispiece
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FRONTISPIECE.
An Adventure with the Norway Rats.-p. 246.
Title Page
6 00008.jpg
THE QUADROON;
OR,
brienutres in fre fjar Wiest.
BY
CAPTAIN MAYNE REID,
AUTHOR OF 'THB RIFLE RANGERS,' 'THE WHITE CHIEP,'
'THE SCALP-HUNTETS,' ETO.
WITH TWELVE ILLUSTRATIONS BY TW. HARVEY,
ENGRAVED BY EVANS.
LONDON:
J. & C. BROWN AND Co., AVE MARIA LANE.
[Right of Translation served by the Author.1
7 00009.jpg
LONDON: PIINTED UY VW. CLOWES AND O NS, STANI ORD LTI:1 .T.
Preface
8 00010.jpg
PREFACE.
REAIDER! a word with you before starting.
This book is a romance-nothing more.
The author is not the hero.
9 00011.jpg
Table of Contents
10 00012.jpg
CONTENTS.
PAGE
CHAP. I. THE FATHER OF WATERS - 9
II. SIX MONTHS IN TIE CRESCENT CITY 14
III. THE BELLE OF THE WEST' - 20
IV. THE RIVAL BOATS - 24
V. A DESIRABLE FELLOW-PASSENGER - 27
VI. ANTOINE THE STEWARD - 31
VII. TlHE STARTING - - 35
VIII. THE 'COAST' OF THE MISSISSIPPI 40
IX. EUGENIE BESAKNON - - 44
X. A NEW MODE OF RAISING TllE STEAM 50
XI. A BOAT-RACE UPON THE MISSISSIPPI 58
XII. TIE LIFE-PRESERVEI - 63
XIII. 'BLESSE' - - 67
XIV. WIIERI AM I - - 72
XV. 'OLE ZIP' - - 78
XVI. M. DOMINIQUE CAYARRE - 85
XVII. 'AURORE' - - 91
XVIII. TIE CREOLE AND QUADROON - 98
XIX. A LOUISIANA LANDSCAPE
XX. MY JOURNAL -
XXI. A CHANGE OF QUARTERS
XXII. AURORE LOVES ME
XXIII. A SURPRISE -
XXIV. A RIVAL - -
XXV. AN IOUR OF BLISS
XXVI. THE 'NIGGER QUARTER'-
XXVII. TIE DEVIL'S DOUCIIE
- - 102
- 110
- 119
- 126
- - 132
137
- 144
151
- - 156
XXVIII. GAYARRE AND 'BULLY BILT,'
11 00013.jpg
CONTENTS.
CHAP. XXIX. 'ELLE T'AIME!'
XXX. THOUGHTS
XXXI. DREAMS - -
XXXII. STUNG BY A SNAKE
XXXIII. THE RUNAWAY
XXXIV. GABRIEL THE BAMBARRA
XXXV. THE SNAKE-DOCTOR
XXXVI. CHARMING TIE CROTALUS
XXXVII. KILLING A TRAIL
XXXVIII. THE P1ROGUE -
XXXIX. THE TREE-CAVERN
XL. HOTEL GOSSIP -
XLI. THE LETTER -
XLII. THE WHARF-BOAT
XLIII. THE NORWAY RAT -
XLIV. THE HOUMA -
XLV. JEALOUSY - -
XLVI. A SCIENTIFIC JULEP
XLVII. A GAME OF WHIST -
PAGE
- 19
- 173
- 179
- 183
- 189
- 194
- 198
- 203
- 210
- 214
- 219
- 223
- 231
237
- 243
248
- 253
260
- 265
XLVIII. THE GAME INTERRUPTED -
XLIX. THE SPORTSMEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI
L. THE CITY
LI. VENTE IMPORTANT DES NEGRES
LII. BROWN AND CO. - -
LIII. EUGENE D'HAUTEVILLE
LIV. PITY FOR LOVE - -
LV. ON GAMES AND GAMBLING
LVI. THE FARO BANK - -
LVII. THE WATCH AND RING -
LVIII. MY FORLORN HOPE -
LIX. THE ROTUND - -
LX. THE SLAVE-MART - -
LXI. BIDDING FOR MY BETROTHED
LXII. TIE IIACKNEY CARRIAGE
LXIII. TO BRINGIERS - -
LXIV. TWO VILLAINS - -
272
- 275
284
- 290
295
- 300
304
- 310
317
- 322
328
- 333
340
- 345
352
- 355
361
12 00014.jpg
CONTENTS.
CHAP. LXV. TIE PAWPAW THICKET
LXVI. TIE ELOPEMENT
LXVII. THE LOST MUSTANGS -
LXVIII. A NIGHT IN TIE WOODS
LXIX. LOVE'S VENGEANCE
LXX. HOUNDS ON OUR TRAIL
LXXI. THE SIGNAL - -
LXXII. THE SLEUTII-OUNDS -
LXXIII. THE MAN-IUNTE -
LXXIV. SHOT FOR SHOT
LXXV. LOVE IN THE HOUR OF PERIL
LXXVI. A TERRIBLE FATE -
LXXVII. TIE SENTENCE OF JUDGE LYNCH
LXXVIII. IN THE IIANDS OF TIIE SHERIFF
LXXIX. THE CRISIS - -
vii
PAGE
- 368
- 373
-379
- 384
- 390
395
- 399
- 405
- 409
- 413
- 417
423
-427
431
-435
List Illustrations
13 00015.jpg
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
PAGE
I CAUGHT HIM BY THE.-COLLAR, AND DREW HIM BACK 70
ANOTHER WORD, AND THE UPLIFTED WHIP WOULD
HAVE FALLEN ON HIS SHOULDERS - 144
THE DEVIL'S DOUCHE - - 161
TIE RUNAWAY - - - 193
HOTEL GOSSIP - - - 223
AN ADVENTURE WITH THE NORWAY RATS - 240
TIE GAME INTERRUPTED - - 274
PITY FOR LOVE - - - 304
BIDDING FOR MY BETROTHED - - 345
DARK AS IT WAS, WE COULD SEE THEM IN PASSING 366
HUNTED LIKE A WOLF - - 408
LYNCH LAW - - - 430
Main
14 00016.jpg
THE QUADROON.
CHAPTER I.
THE FATHER OF WATERS.*
FATHER Of Waters! I worship thy mighty stream!
As the Hindoo by the shores of his sacred river, I
kneel upon thy banks, and pour forth my soul in wild
adoration !
Far different are the springs of our devotion. To
him, the waters of his yellow Ganges are the symbols
of a superstitious awe, commingled with dark fears
for the mystic future; to me, thy golden waves are
the souvenirs of joy, binding the present to the known
and happy past. Yes, mighty river! I worship thee
in the past. My heart fills with joy at the very men-
tion of thy name I
Father of Waters I know thee well. In the land
of a thousand lakes, on the summit of the Hauteur de
terre,' I have leaped thy tiny stream. Upon the
bosom of the blue lakelet, the fountain of thy life, I
have launched my birchen boat; and yielding to thy
current, have floated softly southward.
I have passed the meadows where the wild rice
* For explanatory notes, see Appendix at the end of volume.
15 00017.jpg
10 THE QUADROON.
ripens on thy banks, where the white birch mirrors
its silvery stem, and tall coniferce fling their pyramid
shapes, on thy surface. I have seen the red Chippewa
cleave thy crystal waters in his bark canoe-the giant
moose lave his flanks in thy cooling flood-and the
stately wapiti bound gracefully along thy banks. I
have listened to the music of thy shores-the call of
the cacawee, the laugh of the wa-wa goose, and the
trumpet-note of the great northern swan. Yes,
mighty river! Even in that far northern land, thy
wilderness home, have I worshipped thee I
Onward through many parallels of latitude-through
many degrees of the thermal line 1
I stand upon thy banks where thou leapest the
rocks of St. Antoine, and with bold frothing current
cleavest thy way to the south. Already I note a
change in the aspect of thy shores. The coniferce have
disappeared, and thou art draped with a deciduous
foliage of livelier hue. Oaks, elms, and maples,
mingle their frondage, and stretch their broad arms
over thee. Though I still look upon woods that seem
illimitable, I feel that the wilderness is past. My
eyes are greeted by the signs of civilisation-its
sounds fall upon my ear. The hewn cabin-pictu-
resque in its rudeness-stands among prostrate trunks ;
and the ring of the lumberer's axe is heard in the far
depths of the forest. The silken blades of the maize
wave in triumph over fallen trees, its golden tassels
giving promise of a rich return. The spire of the
church peers above the green spray of the woods, and
the prayer of the Christian ascends to heaven sub-
limely mingling with the roar of thy waters I
* * * *
16 00018.jpg
TIE FATHER OF WATERS. 11
I launch my boat once more on thy buoyant wave;
and, with heart as buoyant, glide onward and south-
ward. I pass between bold bluffs that hem thy surg-
ing waves, and trace with pleasant wonder their
singular and varied outlines-now soaring abruptly
upward, now carried in gentle undulations along the
blue horizon. I behold the towering form of that
noted landmark 'La mnontaigne gui trempe a reau,' and
the swelling cone on whose summit the soldier-tra-
veller pitched his tent. I glide over the mirrored
bosom of Pepin's lake, regarding with admiration its
turreted shores. I gaze with deeper interest upon
that precipitous escarpment, the 'Lover's Leap,'
whose rocky wall has oft echoed back the joyous
chaunt of the light-hearted voyageur, and once a
sadder strain-the death-song of Wanona-beautiful
Wanona, who sacrificed life to love 1
Onward I glide, where the boundless prairies of the
West impinge upon thy stream; and my eye wanders
with delight over their fadeless green.
I linger a moment to gaze upon the painted warrior
spurring his wild steed along thy banks-to gaze upon
the Dacotah girls bathing their lithe limbs in thy
crystal wave-then on again past the Cornice Rocks'
-the metalliferous shores of Galena and Dubuque-
the aerial tomb of the adventurous miner.
I reach the point where the turbid Missouri rushes
rudely upon thee, as though he would force thee from
thy onward course. Poised in my light canoe, I
watch the struggle. Fierce but short it is, for thou
triumphest, and thy conquered rival is compelled to
pay his golden tribute to thy flood that rolls majesti-
cally onward I
17 00019.jpg
12 THE QUADROON.
Upon thy victorious wave I am borne still south-
ward. I behold huge green mounds-the sole monu-
ments of an ancient people-who once trod thy shores.
Near at hand I look upon the dwellings of a far diffe-
rent race. I behold tall spires soaring to the sky;
domes, and cupolas glittering in the sun; palaces
standing upon thy banks, and palaces floating upon
thy wave. I behold a great city-a metropolis!
I linger not here. I long for the sunny South; and
trusting myself once more to thy current I glide on-
ward.
I pass the sea-like estuary of the Ohio, and the
embouchure of another of thy mightiest tributaries,
the famed river of the plains. How changed the
aspect of thy shores! I no longer look upon bold
bluffs and beetling cliffs. Thou hast broken from the
hills that enchained thee, and now rollest far and free,
cleaving a wide way through thine own alluvion.
Thy very banks are the creation of thine own fancy-
the slime thou hast flung from thee in thy moments of
wanton play-and thou canst break through their
barriers at will. Forests again fringe thee-forests
of giant trees-the spreading platanus, the tall tulip-
tree, and the yellow-green cotton-wood rising in ter-
raced groves from the margin of thy waters. Forests
stand upon thy banks, and the wreck of forests is
borne upon thy bubbling bosom!
I pass thy last great affluent, whose crimson flood
just tinges the hue of thy waters. Down thy delta I
glide, amid scenes rendered classic by the sufferings
of De Soto-by the adventurous daring of Iberville
and La Salle.
18 00020.jpg
THE FATHER OF WATERS.
And here my soul reaches the acme of its admira-
tion. Dead to beauty must be heart and eye that
could behold thee here, in this thy southern land,
without a thrill of sublimest emotion!
I gaze upon lovely landscapes ever changing, like
scenes of enchantment, or the pictures of a panorama.
They are the loveliest upon earth-for where are
views to compare with thine? Not upon the Rhine,
with its castled rocks-not upon the shores of that
ancient inland sea-not among the Isles of the Ind.
No. In no part of the world are scenes like these;
nowhere is soft beauty blended so harmoniously with
wild picturesqueness.
And yet not a mountain meets the eye-not even a
hill-but the dark cyprieres, draped with the silvery
tillandsia, form a background to the picture with all
the grandeur of the pyrogenous granite!
The forest no longer fringes thee here. It has long
since fallen before the planter's axe; and the golden
sugar-cane, the silvery rice, and the snowy cotton-
plant, flourish in its stead. Forest enough has been
left to adorn the picture. I behold vegetable forms
of tropic aspect, with broad shining foliage-the Sabal
palm, the anona, the water-loving tupelo, the catalpa
with its large trumpet flowers, the melting liquid-
ambar, and the wax-leaved mangolia. Blending their
foliage with these fair indignes are an hundred lovely
exotics-the orange, lemon, and fig; the Indian lilac
and tamarind; olives, myrtles, and bromelias; while
the Babylonian willow contrasts its drooping fronds
with the erect reeds of the giant cane, or the lance-
like blades of the yucca gloriosa.
Embowered amidst these beautiful forms I behold
villas and mansions of grand and varied aspect-varied
19 00021.jpg
14 THE QUADROON.
as the races of men who dwell beneath their roofs.
And varied are they; for the nations of the world
dwell together upon thy banks-each having sent its
tribute to adorn thee with the emblems of a glorious
and universal civilisation. Father of Waters, fare-
well !
* * * *
Though not born in this fair southern land, I have
long lingered there; and I love it even better than the
land of my birth. I have there spent the hours of
bright youth, of adventurous manhood; and the
retrospect of these hours is fraught with a thousand
memories tinged with a romance that can never die.
There my young heart yielded to the influence of
Love-a first and virgin love. No wonder the spot
should be to me the most hallowed on earth!
Reader! listen to the story of that love
CHAPTER II.
SIX MONTHS IN THE CRESCENT CITY.
LIKE other striplings escaped from college, I was no
longer happy at home. The yearning for travel was
upon me; and I longed to make acquaintance with
that world, as yet only known to me through the
medium of books.
My longing was soon to be gratified; and without
a sigh I beheld the hills of my native land sink behind
the black waves-not much caring whether I should
ever see them again.
Though emerging from the walls of a classic college,
20 00022.jpg
SIX MONTHS IN THE CRESCENT CITY.
I was far from being tinctured with classic sympathies.
Ten years spent in pondering over the wild hyperbole
of Homer, the mechanical versework of Virgil, and
the dry indelicacies of Horatius Flaccus, had failed
to imbue me with a perception of that classic beauty
felt, or pretended to be felt, by the spectacled savan.
My mind was not formed to live on the ideal, or dream
over the past. I delight rather in the real, the posi-
tive, and the present. Don Quixotes may play the
troubadour among ruined castles, and mincing misses
cover the ground of the guide-books. For my part I
have no belief in the romance of old-world life. In
the modern Tell I behold a hireling, ready to barter
his brawny limbs to the use of whatever tyrant; and
the picturesque Mazzaroni, upon closer acquaintance,
dwindles down to the standard of a hen-roost thief.
Amid the crumbling walls of Athens and the ruins of
Rome I encounter inhospitality and hunger. I am
not a believer in the picturesqueness of poverty. 1
have no relish for the romance of rags.
And yet it was a yearning for the romantic that
called me from home. I longed for the poetic and
picturesque, for I was just at that age when the mind
is imbued with its strongest faith in their reality.
Ha! mine is not yet disabused of this belief. I am
older now, but the hour of disenchantment has not yet
come upon me-nor ever will. There is a romance in
life, that is no illusion. It lives not in the effete forms
and childish ceremonies of the fashionable drawing-
room-it has no illustration in the tinsel trappings
and gaudy puerilities of a Court. Stars, garters, and
titles are its antidotes; red cloth and plush the upas-
trees of its existence.
Its hoine is elsewhere, amid the grand and sublime
21 00023.jpg
16 THE QUADROON.
scenes of Nature-though these are not necessary
accompaniments. It is no more incidental to field
and forest, rock, river, and mountain, than to the well-
trodden ways of the trading-town. Its home is in
human hearts-hearts that throb with high aspirations
-bosoms that burn with the noble passions of Liberty
and Love!
My steps then were not directed towards classic
shores, but to lands of newer and more vigorous life.
Westward went I in search of romance. I found it in
its most attractive form under the glowing skies of
Louisiana..
* * * *
In the month of January, 18-, I set foot upon the
soil of the New World-upon a spot stained with
English blood. The polite skipper, who had carried
me across the Atlantic, landed me in his gig. I was
curious to examine the field of this decisive action;
for at that period of my life I had an inclination for
martial affairs. But something more than mere
curiosity prompted me to visit the battle-ground of
New Orleans. I then held an opinion deemed hete-
rodox-namely, that the improvised soldier is under
certain circumstances quite equal to the professional
hireling, and that long military drill is not essential to
victory. The story of war, superficially studied,
would seem to antagonise this theory, which conflicts
also with the testimony of all military men. But the
testimony of mere military men on such a matter is
without value. Who ever heard of a military man
who did not desire to have his art considered as
mythical as possible ? Moreover, the rulers of the
world have spared no pains to imbue their people with
false ideas upon this point. It is necessary to put for-
22 00024.jpg
SIX MIONTIS IN THE CRESCENT CITY. 17
ward some excuse for that terrible incubus upon the
nations, the standing army.'
My desire to view the battle-ground upon the banks
of the Mississippi had chiefly reference to this question.
The action itself had been one of my strong arguments
in favour of my belief; for upon this spot some six
thousand men-who had never heard the absurd
command, Eyes right !'-out-generalled, 'whipped,'
in fact nearly annihilated, a well-equipped and veteran
army of twice their number!
Since standing upon that battle-ground I have
carried a sword in more than one field of action.
What I then held only as a theory, I have since
proved as an experience. The 'drill' is a delusion.
The standing army a cheat.
* * * *
In another hour I was wandering through the streets
of the Crescent City, no longer thinking of military
affairs. My reflections were turned into a far different
channel. The social life of the New World, with all
its freshness and vigour, was moving before my eyes,
like a panorama; and despite of my assumption of
the nil admirari, I could not help wondering as I
went.
And one of my earliest surprises-one that met me
on the very threshold of Transatlantic existence-was
the discovery of my own utter uselessness. I could
point to my desk and say, There lie the proofs of my
erudition-the highest prizes of my college class.'
But of what use they ? The dry theories I had been
taught had no application to the purposes of real life.
My logic was the prattle of the parrot. My classic
lore lay upon my mind like lumber; and I was
altogether about as well prepared to struggle with
23 00025.jpg
18 THE QUADROON.
life-to benefit either my fellow-man or myself-as if
I had graduated in Chinese mnemonics.
And oh! ye pale professors, who drilled me in syn-
tax and scansion, ye would deem me ungrateful indeed
were I to give utterance to the contempt and indig-
nation which I then felt for ye-then, when I looked
back upon ten years of wasted existence spent under
your tutelage-then, when, after believing myself an
educated man, the illusion vanished, and I awoke to
the knowledge that I knew nothing!
* * * *
With some money in my purse, and very little
knowledge in my head, I wandered through the
streets of New Orleans, wondering as I went.
Six months later, and I was traversing the same
streets, with very little money in my purse, but with
my stock of knowledge vastly augmented. During
this six months I had acquired an experience of the
world more extensive, than in any six years of my
previous life.
I had paid somewhat dearly for this experience.
My travelling fund had melted away in the alembic of
caf6s, theatres, masquerades, and quadroonn' balls.
Some of it had been deposited in that bank (faro)
which returns neither principal nor interest!
I was almost afraid to take stock' of my affairs.
At length with an effort I did so; and found, after
paying my hotel bills, a balance in my favour of ex-
actly twenty-five dollars I Twenty-five dollars to live
upon until I could write home, and receive an answer
-a period of three months at the least-for I am
talking of a time antecedent to the introduction of
Atlantic steamers.
24 00026.jpg
SIX MONTHS IN THE CRESCENT CITY.
For six months I had been sinning bravely. I was
now all repentance, and desirous of making amends.
I was even willing to engage in some employment.
But my cold classic training, that had not enabled me
to protect my purse, was not likely to aid me in re-
plenishing it; and in all that busy city I could find no
office that I was fitted to fill!
Friendless-dispirited-a little disgusted-not a
little anxious in regard to my immediate future, I
sauntered about the streets. My acquaintances were
becoming scarcer every day. I missed them from
their usual haunts-the haunts of pleasure. Whither
had they gone ?
There was no mystery in their disappearance. It
was now mid-June. The weather had become in-
tensely hot, and every day the mercury mounted
higher-upon the scale. It was already dancing in the
neighbourhood of 1000 of Fahrenheit. In a week or
two might be expected that annual but unwelcome
visitor known by the soubriquet of 'Yellow Jack,'
whose presence is alike dreaded by young and old;
and it was the terror inspired by him that was driving
the fashionable world of New Orleans, like birds of
passage, to a northern clime.
I am not more courageous than the rest of mankind.
I had no inclination to make the acquaintance of this
dreaded demon of the swamps; and it occurred to me,
that I, too, had better get out of his way. To do
this, it was only necessary to step on board a steam-
boat, and be carried to one of the up-river towns,
beyond the reach of that tropical malaria in which
the vomito delights to dwell.
St. Louis was at this time the place of most attrac-
tive name; and I resolved to go thither; though how
25 00027.jpg
20 THE QUADROON.
I was to live there I.could not tell-since my funds
would just avail to land me on the spot.
Upon reflection, it could scarce be 'out of the fry-
ingpan into the fire,' and my resolution to go to St.
Louis became fixed. So, packing up my impedimenta,
I stepped on board the steamboat Belle of the West,'
bound for the far '.City of the Mounds.'
CHAPTER III.
THE 'BELLE OF THE WEST.
I was on board at the advertised time ; but punctuality
on a Mississippi steamboat must not be expected; and
I found myself too early, by a couple of hours at
least.
The time was not thrown away. I spent it to some
profit in examining the peculiar craft in which I had
embarked. I say, peculiar; for the steamers employed
upon the Mississippi and its tributary waters are
unlike those of any other country-even unlike those
in use in the Atlantic or Eastern States.
They are strictly 'river boats,' and could not live in
anything like a rough sea; though the reckless
owners of some of them have occasionally risked
them along the coast from Mobile to Galveston,
Texas!
The hull is built like that of a sea boat, but differs
materially from the latter in depth of hold. So shal-
low is it, that there is but little stowage-room allowed;
and the surface of the main deck is but a few inches
above the water-line. Indeed, when the boat is
26 00028.jpg
THE ELLE OF TIIHE WEST.' 21
heavily laden, the waves lip over the gunwales.
Upon the deck is placed the machinery; and there
rest the huge cast-iron boilers, and the grates or
'furnaces,' necessarily large, because the propelling
power is produced from logs of wood. There, also,
most of the freight is stowed, on account of the light
capacity of the hold; and on every part, not occupied
by the machinery and boilers, may be seen piles of
cotton-bales, hogsheads of tobacco, or bags of corn,
rising to the height of many feet. This is the freight
of a down-river boat. On the return trip, of course,
the commodities are of a different character, and con-
sist of boxes of Yankee furniture, farming implements,
and 'notions,' brought round by ship from Boston;
coffee in bags from the West Indies, rice, sugar,
oranges, and other products of the tropical South.
On the after-part of this deck is a space allotted to
the humbler class of travellers known as deck pas-
sengers.' These are never Americans. Some are
labouring Irish-some poor German emigrants on
their way to the far North-West; the rest are negroes
-free, or more generally slaves.
I dismiss the hull by observing that there is a good
reason why it is built with so little depth of hold. It
is to allow the boats to pass the shoal water in many
parts of the river, and particularly during the season
of drought. For such purpose the lighter the draught,
the greater the advantage; and a Mississippi captain,
boasting of the capacity of his boat in this respect,
declared, that all he wanted was a heavy dew upon the
grass, to enable him to propel her across the prairies
If there is but little of a Mississippi steamboat under
the water, the reverse is true of what may be seen
above its surface. Fancy a two-story house some two
27 00029.jpg
22 THE QUADROON.
hundred feet in length, built of plank, and painted to the
whiteness of snow; fancy along the upper story a row
of green-latticed windows, or rather doors, thickly set,
and opening out upon a narrow balcony; fancy a
flattish or slightly rounded roof covered with tarred
canvas, and in the centre a range of sky-lights like
glass forcing-pits; fancy, towering above all, two
enormous black cylinders of sheet iron, each ten feet
in diameter, and nearly ten times as high, the 'funnels'
of the boat; a smaller cylinder to one side, the 'scape
pipe;' a tall flag-staff standing up from the extreme
end of the bow, with the 'star-spangled banner' flying
from its peak;-fancy all these, and you may form
some idea of the characteristic features of a steamboat
on the Mississippi.
Enter the cabin, and for the first time you will be
struck with the novelty of the scene. You will there
observe a splendid saloon, perhaps a hundred feet in
length, richly carpeted and adorned throughout. You
will note the elegance of the furniture,-costly chairs,
sofas, tables, and lounges; you will note the walls,
richly gilded and adorned with appropriate designs;
the crystal chandeliers suspended from the ceiling;
the hundred doors that lead to the 'state rooms' on
each side, and the immense folding-door of stained or
ornamental glass, which shuts in the sacred precinct
of the 'ladies' saloon.' In short, you will note all
around you a style and luxuriance to which you, as a
European traveller, have not been accustomed. You
have only read of such a scene in some Oriental tale-
in Mary Montagu, or the Arabian Nights.'
And yet all this magnificence is sometimes sadly at
variance with the style of the company that occupies
it-for this splendid saloon is as much the property of
28 00030.jpg
THE 'BELLE OF THE WEST.' 23
the coarse 'rowdy' as of the refined gentleman. You
are startled by the apparition of a rough horse-skin
boot elevated along the edge of the shining mahogany;
and a dash of brown nicotian juice may have somewhat
altered the pattern of the carpet! But these things
are exceptional-more exceptional now than in the
times of which I write.
Having satisfied myself with examining the interior
structure of the Belle of the West,' I sauntered out
in front of the cabin. Here a large open space, usually
known as the awning,' forms an excellent lounging-
place for the male passengers. It is simply the con-
tinuation of the 'cabin deck,' projected forward and
supported by pillars that rest upon the main deck
below. The roof, or 'hurricane deck,' also carried
forward to the same point, and resting on slight
wooden props, screens this part from sun or rain, and
a low guard-rail running around it renders it safe.
Being open in front and at both sides, it affords the
best view; and having the advantage of a cool breeze,
brought about by the motion of the boat, is usually a
favourite resort. A number of chairs are here placed
to accommodate the passengers, and smoking is per-
mitted.
He must take very little interest in the movements
of human life, who cannot kill an hour by observing
it upon the 'Levee' of New Orleans; and having
seated myself and lighted my cigar, I proceeded to
spend an hour in that interesting occupation.
29 00031.jpg
( 24 )
CHAPTER IV.
THE RIVAL BOATS.
THE part of the 'Levee' under my eyes was that
known as the Steamboat Landing.' Some twenty or
thirty boats lay along a series of wooden wharves that
projected slightly into the river. Some had just arrived
from up-river towns, and were discharging their freight
and passengers, at this season a scanty list. Others,
surrounded by a bustling swarm, were getting up
steam; while still others appeared to be abandoned
by both officers and crew-who were no doubt at the
time enjoying themselves in the brilliant cafes and
restaurants. Occasionally might be seen a jauntily-
dressed clerk, with blue cottonade trowsers, white
linen coat, costly Panama hat, shirt with cambric
ruffles, and diamond studs. This stylish gentleman
would appear for a few minutes by one of the deserted
boats-perhaps transact a little business with some
one-and then hurry off again to his more pleasant
haunts in the city.
There were two points upon the Levee where the
bustle of active life was more especially observable.
These were the spaces in front of two large boats.
One was that on which I had taken passage. The
other, as I could read upon her wheel-house, was the
'MIagnolia.' The latter was also upon the eve of
starting, as I could tell by the movements of her peo-
ple, by the red fires seen in her furnaces, and the
hissing of steam, that every now and then screamed
sharply from the direction of her boilers.
30 00032.jpg
THEIR RIVAL BOATS. 25
On the Levee directly in front of her 'drays' were
depositing their last loads, passengers were hurrying
forward hat-box in hand, in fear they might be too
late; trunks, boxes, bags, and barrels were being
rudely pushed or rolled over the staging-planks; the
gaily-dressed clerks, armed with book and pencil,
were checking them off; and everything denoted the
intention of a speedy departure. A scene exactly
similar was being enacted in front of the Belle of the
West.'
I had not been regarding these movements very
long, before I observed that there was something un-
usual 'in the wind.' The boats lay at no great dis-
tance from each other; and their crews, by a slight
elevation of voice, could converse. This they were
freely doing; and from some expressions that reached
me, coupled with a certain tone of defiance in which
they were uttered, I could perceive that the Mag-
nolia' and the Belle of the West' were rival boats.'
I soon gathered the further information, that they
were about to start at the same time, and that a race'
was in contemplation!
I knew that this was no unusual occurrence among
what are termed crack' boats, and both the Belle'
and her rival came under that category. Both were
of the first class in size and magnificence of fitting;
both ran in the same 'trade,' that is, from New Orleans
to St. Louis; and both were commanded by well-
known and popular river captains.' They could not
be otherwise than rivals; and this feeling was shared
in by the crews of both, from captain to cabin-slave.
As regards the owners and officers in such cases,
there is a substantial money motive at the bottom of
this rivalry. The boat that 'whips' in one of these
0
31 00033.jpg
26 THE QUADROON.
races, wins also the future patronage of the public.
The fast boat' becomes the fashionable boat, and is
ever afterwards sure of a strong list of passengers at a
high rate of fare-for there is this peculiarity among
Americans: many of them will spend their last dollar
to be able to say at the end of his journey that he
came upon the fashionable boat, just as in England
you find many people desirous of making it known
that they travelled first class.' Snobbery is peculiar
to no country-it appears to be universal.
With regard to the contemplated trial of speed
between the Belle of the West' and the Magnolia,'
the feeling of rivalry pervaded not only the crews of
both boats, but I soon discovered that the passengers
were affected with it. Most of these seemed as eager
for the race as an English blackleg for the Derby.
Some no doubt looked forward to the sport and ex-
citement, but I soon perceived that the greater num-
ber were betting upon the result
' The Belle's boun' to win!' cried a gold-studded
vulgar-looking fellow at my shoulder. I'll go twenty
dollars on the Belle! Will you bet, stranger?'
' No,' I replied, somewhat angrily, as the fellow had
taken a liberty by laying his hand on my shoulder.
'Well,' retorted he, 'jest as you like 'bout that;'
and addressing himself to some one else he continued,
' The Belle's the conquering boat for twenty dollars I
Twenty dollars on the Belle !'
I confess I had no very pleasant reflections at that
moment. It was my first trip upon an American
steamboat, and my memory was brimful of stories of
'boiler burstings,' snaggings,' blowing up,' and
boats on fire. I had heard that these races not un-
frequently resulted in one or other of the above-named
32 00034.jpg
A DESIRABLE FELLOW-PASSENGER. 27
catastrophes, and I had reason to know that my m-
formation was correct.
Many of the passengers-the more sober and re-
spectable ones-shared my feelings; and some talked
of appealing to the Captain not to allow the race.
But they knew they were in the minority, and held
their peace.
I had made up my mind at least to ask the Captain
'his intentions.' I was prompted rather by curiosity
than by any other motive.
I left my seat, therefore, and having crossed the
staging, walked toward the top of the wharf, where
this gentleman was standing.
CHAPTER V.
A DESIRABLE FELLOW-PASSENGER.
BEFORE I had entered into conversation with the
Captain, I saw a barouche approaching on the oppo-
site side, apparently coming from the French quarter
of the city. It was a handsome equipage, driven by
a well-clad and evidently well-fed black, and as it
drew near, I could perceive that it was occupied by a
young and elegantly attired lady.
I cannot say why, but I felt a presentiment, accom-
panied perhaps by a silent wish, that the occupant of
the barouche was about to be a fellow-passenger. It
was not long before I learnt that such was her inten-
tion.
The barouche drew up on the crest of the Levee,
and I saw the lady directing some inquiry to a by-
c2
33 00035.jpg
28 THE QUADROOX.
stander, who immediately pointed to our Captain.
The latter, perceiving that he was the object inquired
after, stepped up to the side of the carriage, and
bowed to the lady. I was close to the spot, and every
word reached me.
' Monsieur are you the captain of the Belle of the
West ?'
The lady spoke in French, a smattering of which
the Captain in his intercourse with the Creoles had
picked up.
'Yes, madame,' was the reply.
'I wish to take passage with you.'
'I shall be most happy to accommodate you,
madame. There is still one state-room disengaged, I
believe, Mr. Shirley?'
Here the Captain appealed to the clerk, in order to
ascertain if such was the case.
'Never mind' said the lady, interrupting him,
'for the matter of a state-room it is of no importance!
You will reach my plantation before midnight, and
therefore I shall not require to sleep aboard.'
The phrase, 'my plantation,' evidently had an effect
upon the Captain. Naturally not a rude man, it
seemed to render him still more attentive and polite.
The proprietor of a Louisiana plantation is a somebody
not to be treated with nonchalance; but, when that
proprietor chances to be a young and charming lady,
who could be otherwise than amiable? Not Captain
B., commander of the 'Belle of the West!' The very
name of his boat negatived the presumption!
Smiling blandly, he inquired where he was to land
his fair charge.
'At Bringiers,' replied the lady. My residence is
a little below, but our landing is not a good one;
34 00036.jpg
A DESIRABLE FELLOW-PASSENGER. 29
besides, there is some freight which it would be better
to put ashore at Bringiers.'
Here the occupant of the barouche pointed to a
train of drays, loaded with barrels and boxes, that
had just driven up, and halted in the rear of the
carriage.
The sight of the freight had a still further pleasant
effect on the Captain, who was himself part owner of
his boat. He became profuse in offers of service, and
expressed his willingness to accommodate his new
passenger in every way she might desire.
' Monsieur Capitaine,' continued this handsome
lady, still remaining seated in her carriage, and speak-
ing in a tone of good-natured seriousness, 'I must
make one condition with you.'
'Please to name it, madame.'
'Well then! It is reported that your boat is likely
to have a race with some other one. If that be so, I
cannot become your passenger.'
The Captain looked somewhat disconcerted.
' The fact is,' continued she,' I had a narrow escape
once before, and I am determined to run no such
risk in future.'
' Madame ,' stammered the Captain-then hesi-
tating-
'Oh, then!' interrupted the lady, 'if you cannot
give me the assurance that you will not race, I must
wait for some other boat.'
The Captain hung his head for some seconds. He
was evidently reflecting upon his answer. To be thus
denied the anticipated excitement and pleasure of the
race-the victory which he confidently expected, and
its grand consequences; to appear, as it were, afraid
of trying the speed of his boat; afraid that she would
35 00037.jpg
30 THE QUADROON.
be beaten; would give his rival a large opportunity
for future bragging, and would place himself in no
enviable light in the eyes of his crew and passengers-
all of whom had already made up their minds for a
race. On the other hand, to refuse the request of
the lady-not very unreasonable when properly
viewed-and still more reasonable when it was consi-
dered that that lady was the proprietress of several
drayloads of freight, and when still further considered
that that lady was a rich plantress of the 'French
coast,' and might see fit next fall to send several hun-
dred casks of sugar and as many hogsheads of tobacco
down on his (the Captain's) boat;-these considera-
tions, I say, made the request quite reasonable. And
so we suppose, upon reflection, it must have appeared
to Captain B--, for after a little hesiation he
granted it. Not with the best grace, however. It
evidently cost him a struggle; but interest prevailed,
and he granted it.
' I accept your conditions, madame. The boat shall
not run. I give you my promise to that effect.'
'Assez! thanks! Monsieur le Capitaine; I am
greatly obliged to you. If you will be so good as to
have my freight taken aboard. The carriage goes
along. This gentleman is my steward. Here, An-
toine 1 He will look to everything. And now pray,
Capitaine, when do you contemplate starting ?'
'In fifteen minutes, madame, at the latest.'
'Are you sure of that, mon Capitaine ?' she inquired,
with a significant laugh, which told she was no
stranger to the want of punctuality of the boats.
'Quite sure, madame,' replied the Captain; 'you
may depend on the time.'
'Ah! then, I shall go aboard at once!'. And, so
36 00038.jpg
ANTOINE THE STEWARD. 31
saying, she lightly tripped down the steps of the
barouche, and giving her arm to the Captain, who had
gallantly proffered himself, was conducted to the
ladies' cabin, and of course for a time lost to the
admiring eyes, not only of myself, but of a goodly
number of others who had already been attracted to
gaze upon this beautiful apparition.
CHAPTER VI.
ANTOINE THE STEWARD.
I HAm been very much struck by the appearance of
this dame. Not so much on account of her physical
beauty-though that was of a rare kind-as by the
air that characterized her. I should feel a difficulty
in describing this, which consisted in a certain braverie
that bespoke courage and self-possession. There was
no coarseness of manner-only the levity of a heart
gay as summer, and light as gossamer, but capable,
when occasion required, of exhibiting a wonderful
boldness and strength. She was a woman that would
be termed beautiful in any country; but with her
beauty there was combined elegance, both in dress
and manner, that told you at once she was a lady
accustomed to society and the world. And this,
although still young-she certainly could not have
been much over twenty. Louisiana has a precocious
climate, however; and a Creole of twenty will count
for an Englishwoman of ten years older.
Was she married? I could not bring myself to
think so; besides the expressions, my plantation' and
37 00039.jpg
32 THE QUADRCO.
'my steward,' would scarcely have been used by a
lady who had 'somebody' at home, unless, indeed,
that somebody were held in very low estimation-in
short, considered a nobody.' A widow she might be
-a very young widow -but. even that did not seem
to me probable. She had not the cut' of a widow in
my eyes, and there was not the semblance of a weed'
either about hor dress or her looks. The Captain had
styled her Madame, but he was evidently unacquainted
with her, and also with the French idiom. In a
doubtful case such as this, it should have been
' Mademoiselle.'
Inexperienced as I was at the time-' green,' as the
Americans have it-I was not without some curiosity
in regard to women, especially when these chanced to
be beautiful. My curiosity in the present case had
been stimulated by several circumstances. First, by
the attractive loveliness of the lady herself; second,
by the style of her conversation and the facts it had
revealed; third, by the circumstance that the lady
was, or I fancied her to be, a' Creole.'
I had as yet had but little intercourse with people
of this peculiar race, and was somewhat curious to
know more about them. I had found them by no
means ready to open their doors to the Saxon stranger
-especially the old 'Creole noblesse,' who even to this
hour regard their Anglo-American fellow-citizens
somewhat in the light of invaders and usurpers!
This feeling was at one time deeply rooted. With
time, however, it is dying out.
A fourth spur to my curiosity was found in the fact,
that the lady in passing had eyed me with a glance of
more than ordinary inquisitiveness. Do not be too
hasty in blaming me for this declaration. Hear me
38 00040.jpg
ANTOINE THE STEWARD.
first. I did not for a moment fancy that that glance
was one of admiration. I had no such thoughts. I
was too young at the time to flatter myself with such
fancies. Besides, at that precise moment I was far
from being in my zenith.' With scarce five dollars
in my purse, I felt rather forlorn; and how could I
have fancied that a brilliant beauty such as she-a
star of first magnitude-a rich proprietress-the
owner of a plantation, a steward, and a host of slaves-
would condescend t6 look admiringly on such a friend-
less wretch as I?
In truth, I did not flatter myself with such thoughts.
I supposed that it was simple curiosity on her part-
and no more. She saw that I was not of her own
race. My complexion-the colour of my eyes-the
cut of my garments-perhaps something gauche in my
manner-told her I was a stranger to the soil, and
that had excited her interest for a passing moment.
A mere ethnological reflection-nothing more.
The act, however, had helped to pique my curiosity;
and I felt desirous of knowing at least the name of
this distinguished creature.
The 'steward,' thought I, may serve my purpose;
and I turned towards that individual.
He was a tall, grey-haired, lathy, old Frenchman,
well-dressed, and sufficiently respectable-looking to
have passed for the lady's father. His aspect, too,
was quite venerable, giving you the idea of long ser-
vice and a very old family.
I saw, as I approached him, that my chances were
but indifferent. I found him as 'close as a clam.'
Our conversation was very brief; his answers laconic.
' Monsieur, may I ask who is your mistress ?'
'A lady.'
39 00041.jpg
64: THE QUADROON.
'True: any one may tell that who has the good
fortune of looking at her. It was her name I asked
for.'
'It does not concern you to know it.'
'Not if it be of so much importance to keep it a
secret '
'Sacr-r-rel'
This exclamation, muttered, rather than spoken
aloud, ended the dialogue; and the old fellow turned
away on giving expression to it-no doubt cursing me
in his heart as a meddling Yankee.
I applied myself to the sable Jehu of the barouche,
but with no better success. He was getting his
horses aboard, and not liking to give direct answers
to my questions, he dodged' them by dodging around
his horses, and appearing to be very busy on the off-
side. Even the name I was unable to get out of him,
and I also gave him up in despair.
The name, however, was furnished me shortly after
from an unexpected source. I had returned to the
boat, and had seated myself once more under the
awning, watching the boatmen, with rolled-up red
shirts, use their brawny arms in getting their freight
aboard. I saw it was the same which had been de-
livered from the drays-the property of the lady. It
consisted, for the most part, of barrels of pork and
flour, with a quantity of dried hams, and some bags of
coffee.
'Provisions for her large establishment,' solilo-
quised I.
Just then some packages of a different character
were pushed upon the staging. These were leather
trunks, travelling bags, rosewood cases, bonnet-boxes,
and the like.
40 00042.jpg
THE STARTING.
' Ha I her personal luggage,' I again reflected, and
continued to puff my cigar. Regarding the transfer
of the trunks, my eye was suddenly attracted to some
lettering that appeared upon one of the packages-a
leather portmanteau. I sprang from my seat, and as
the article was carried up the gangway stair I met it
halfway. I glanced my eye over the lettering, and
read-
'Mademoiselle Eugenie Besanpon.'
CHAPTER VII.
THE STARTING.
THc last bell rings-the 'can't-get-away' folks rush
ashore-the staging plank is drawn in-some heedless
wight has to jump for it-the cable is pulled aboard
and coiled-the engineer's bell tinkles-the great
wheels revolve, lashing the brown water into foam-
the steam whistles' and screams at the boilers, and
booms from the 'scape-pipe in regular repetitions-
neighbouring boats are pressed out of their places-
their planks cringe and crackle-guards are broken,
or the slight timbers of wheel-houses, causing a
cross-fire of curses between the crews-and after some
minutes of this pandemoniac confusion, the huge craft
clears herself, and rides out upon the broad bosom of
the river.
She heads up stream; a few strokes of the re-
volving paddles and the current is mastered; and
the noble boat yielding to the mighty propulsion,
41 00043.jpg
dii THE QUADROON.
cleaves her liquid way, 'walking the water like a
thing of life!'
Perchance the boom of a cannon announces her
departure ; perchance it is animated by the harmonious
swell of brazen instruments; or still more appropriate,
some old' boatman's song,' with its lively chorus, is
heard issuing from the rude, though not unmusical
throats of the 'hands' below.
Lafayette and Carrolton are soon passed; the
humbler roofs of stores and dwellings sink out of
sight; and the noble dome of St. Charles, the spires
of churches, and the towers of the great cathedral,
are all of the Crescent City that remain above the
horizon. These, at length, go down; and the float-
ing palace' moves on in stately grandeur between the
picturesque shores of the Mississippi.
I have said 'picturesque.' This word does not
satisfy me, nor can I think of one that will delineate'
my idea. I must make use of a phrase, picturesquely
beautiful,' to express my admiration of the scenery of
those shores. I have no hesitation in pronouncing it
the finest in the world.
I am not gazing upon it with a mere cold eye-
glance. I cannot separate scenery from its associa-
tions-not its associations of the past, but with the
present. I look upon the ruined castles of the Rhine,
and their story impresses me with a feeling of disgust
for what has been. I look upon its modern homes and
their dwellers; I am equally filled with disgust for
what is. In the Bay of Naples I experience a similar
feeling, and roaming around' the lordly parks of Eng-
land, I see them through an enclosure of wretched-
ness and rags, till their loveliness seems an illusion!
Here alone, upon the banks of this majestic river,
42 00044.jpg
THE STARTING. 37
do I behold wealth widely diffused, intelligence broad-
cast, and comfort for all. Hero, in almost every
house, do I meet the refined taste of high civilisation
-the hospitality of generous hearts combined with
the power to dispense it. Here can I converse with
men by thousands, whose souls are free-not politically
alone, but free from vulgar error and fanatic supersti-
tion; here, in short, have I witnessed, not the per-
fectedness-for that belongs to a far future time-but
the most advanced stage of civilisation yet reached
upon the globe.
A dark shadow crosses my eye-glance, and my heart
is stung with sudden pain. It is the shadow of a
human being with a black skin. IHe is a slave!
For a moment or two the scene looks black! What
is there to admire here-in these fields of golden
sugar-cane, of waving maize, of snow-white cotton ?
What to admire in those grand mansions, with their
orangeries, their flowery gardens, their drooping
shade-trees, and their soft arbours? All this is but
the sweat of the slave !
For a while I behold without admiring. The scene
has lost its couleur de rose; and a gloomy wilderness is
before me! I reflect. Slowly and gradually the cloud
passes away, and the brightness returns. I reflect and
compare.
True, he with the black skin is a slave-but not
a voluntary slave. That is a difference in his favour
at least.
In other lands-mine own among them--I see
around me slaves as well, and far more numerous. Not
the slaves of an individual, but of an association of
individuals-a class-an oligarchy. Not slaves of the
corvme-serfs of the feud-but victims of its modern
43 00045.jpg
jBT THE QUADROON.
representative the tax, which is simply its commuta-
tion, and equally baneful in its effects.
On my soul, I hold that the slavery of the Louisiana
black is less degrading than that of the white pleb of
England. The poor, woolly-headed helot is the victim
of conquest, and may claim to place himself in the
honourable category of a prisoner of war. He has not
willed his own bondage; while you, my grocer, and
butcher, and baker-aye, and you, my fine city mer-
chant, who fondly fancy yourself a freeman-ye are
voluntary in your serfdom; ye are loyal to a political
juggle that annually robs ye of half your year's
industry; that annually requires some hundred thou-
sands of your class to be sloughed off into exile, lest
your whole body should gangrene and die. And all
this without even a protest. Nay, worse-you are
ever ready to cry' crucify' to him who would attempt
to counteract this condition-ever ready to glorify the
man and the motion that would fix another rivet in
your fetters!
Even while I write, the man who loves you least;
he who for forty years-for all his life, in fact-has
been your systematic enemy, is the most popular of
your rulers Even while I write the Roman wheel is
revolving before your eyes, squibs and crackers sound
sweetly in your ears, and you are screaming forth
your rejoicings over the acts of a convention that had
for its sole object the strengthening of your chains !
But a short twelve months ago, you were just as
enthusiastic for a war that was equally antagonistic
to your interests, equally hostile to the liberties of
your kind I Miserable delusion!
I repeat what I have uttered with a feeling of
solemnity. On my soul, I hold that the slavery of the
44 00046.jpg
THE STARTING. 39
Louisiana black is less degrading than that of the
white pleb of England.
True, this black man is a slave, and there are three
millions of his race in the same condition. Painful
thought! but less painful when accompanied by the
reflection that the same broad land is trodden by
twenty millions of free and sovereign men. Three
millions of slaves to twenty millions of masters! In
mine own land the proportion is exactly reversed!
The truth may be obscure. For all that, I dare say
there are some who will understand it.
Ah! how pleasant to turn from these heart-stirring
but painful thoughts to the calmer contemplation of
themes furnished by science and nature. How sweet
was it to study the many novel forms that presented
themselves to my eyes on the shores of that magnifi-
cent stream! There is a pleasaunce even in the
retrospect; and as I now sit dreaming over them far
away-perhaps never more to behold them with
mortal eye-I am consoled by a fond and faithful
memory, whose magic power enables me to recall them
before the eye of my mind in all their vivid colouring
of green and gold!
45 00047.jpg
( 40 )
CHAPTER VIII.
THE 'COAST' OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
As soon as we had fairly started, I ascended to the
'hurricane deck,' in order to obtain a better view of
the scenery through which we were passing. In
this place I was alone; for the silent pilot, boxed up
in his little tower of glass, could hardly be called a
companion.
I make the following observations:
The breadth of the Mississippi river has been much
exaggerated. It is here about half a mile wide.
Sometimes more, occasionally less. (This average
width it preserves for more than a thousand miles
from its mouth.) Its waters run at the rate of three
or four miles to the hour, and are of a yellowish cast,
with a slight tincture of red. The yellow colour it
derives from the Missouri, while the deeper tint is
obtained by the influx of the Red.'
Driftwood floats thickly upon its surface; here in
single logs, there in raft-like clusters. To run a boat
against one of these is attended with danger, and the
pilot avoids them. Sometimes one swimming below
the surface escapes his eye; and then a heavy bump-
ing against the bows shakes the boat, and startles the
equanimity of the less experienced passengers. The
'snag' is most dreaded. That is a dead tree with
heavy roots still adhering. These, from their weight,
have settled upon the bottom, and the ddbris gathering
around holds them firmly imbedded. The lighter top,
riven of its branches, rises towards the surface; but
46 00048.jpg
THE COAST' OF THE MISSISSIPPI. 41
the pressure of the current prevents it from attaining
to the perpendicular, and it is held in a slanting
position. When its top rises above the water, the
danger is but trifling-unless in a very dark night-
It is when the top is hidden a foot or two below
the surface that the snag is feared. Then a boat
running upon it up stream, is lost to a certainty.
The roots firmly imbedded in the bottom mud, prevent
the pile from yielding; and the top, usually a spiky
one, penetrates the bow timbers of the boat, sinking
her almost instantly. A boat properly snagged' will
go down in a few minutes.
The sawyer' is a log fixed in the water similarly to
the snag, but kept bobbing up and down by the
current, thus suggesting the idea of a sawyer engaged
at his work-hence the name. A boat getting a-ground
upon a sunken log crosswise, is sometimes snagged upon
its branches, and sometimes broken into two pieces by
the pressure of her own weight.
Among the drift, I notice odd matters that interest
me. Stalks of sugar-cane that have been crushed in
the press-mill (a hundred miles farther up I should
not meet these), leaves and stems of the maize plant,
corn cobs, pieces of broken gourd-shell, tufts of raw
cotton, split fence-rails, now and then the carcase of
some animal, with a buzzard or black vulture (Cath-
artes aura- and atratus) perched upon it, or hovering
above.
I am within the geographical range of the alligator
but here the great Saurian is seldom seen. He prefers
the more sluggish bayous, or the streams whose shores
are still wild. In the rapid current of the Mississippi,
and along its well-cultivated banks, he is but rarely
observed by the passing traveller.
47 00049.jpg
42 THE QUADROOT.
Alternately the boat approaches both shores of the
river (' coasts' they are called). The land is an
alluvion of no very ancient formation. It is a mere
strip of terra firma, varying in breadth from a few
hundred yards to several miles, and gradually de-
clining from the banks, so that the river is actually
running along the top of a ridge Beyond this strip
commences the 'Swamp,' a tract that is annually
inundated, and consists of a series of lagoons and
marshes covered with coarse grass and reeds. This
extends in some places for a score of miles, or even
farther-a complete wilderness of morass. Some
portions of this-where the inundation is only annual
-are covered with dark and almost impenetrable
forests. Between the cultivated strip on the imme-
diate 'bank of the river, and the Swamp' in the rear,
runs a belt of this forest, which forms a kind of
background to the picture, answering to the mountain-
ranges in other lands. It is a high, dark forest, prin-
cipally composed of cypress-trees (Cupressus disticha).
But there are other kinds peculiar to this soil, such as
the sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), the live oak
(Quercus virens), the tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), the water.-
locust (Gleditschia aguatica), the cotton-wood (Populus
angulata), with carya, celtis, and various species of
acer, cornus, juglans, magnolia, and oaks. Here an
underwood of palmettoes (Sabal palms), smilax, lines,
and various species of vitis; there thick brakes of
cane (Arundo gigantea), grow among the trees; while
from their branches is suspended in long festoons that
singular parasite, the 'Spanish moss' (Tillandsia us-
neaides), imparting a sombre character to the forest.
Between this dank forest and the river banks lie the
cultivated fields. The river current is often several
48 00050.jpg
THE COAST' OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
feet above their level; but they are protected by the
'Levee,' an artificial embankment which has been
formed on both sides of the river, to a distance of
several hundred miles from its mouth.
In these fields I observe the culture of the sugar-
cane, of the rice-plant, of tobacco and cotton, of
indigo and maize. I see the gangs' of black slaves
at their work, in their cotton dresses of striped and
gaudy colours, in which sky-blue predominates. I
see huge waggons drawn by mules or oxen returning
from the cane-fields, or slowly toiling along the banks.
I see the light-bodied Creole, in cottonade' jacket
and trousers of bright blue, mounted upon his small
Spanish horse, and galloping along the Levee road.
I see the grand mansion of the planter, with its
orange-groves and gardens, its green venetians, cool
verandahs, and pretty palings. I see the huge sugar-
house, or tobacco-shed, or cotton pickery ;' and there,
too, are the neat cabins,' clustering together or run-
ning in a row, like the bathing-boxes at a fashionable
watering-place.
Now we are passing a plantation where they are
making merry--a fete champetre. Many horses stand
under the trees, hitched' in the shade with saddles
on, not a few of which are 'ladies' saddles.' In the
verandah, the lawn, and through the orange shrub-
bery, may be seen moving about gentlemen and ladies
richly attired. Music is heard, and there is dancing
in the open air. One cannot help envying these
happy Creoles the enjoyment of their Arcadian life.
Scenes varied and lovely were passing panorama-
like before my eyes. Lost in admiration of them, I
had for the moment forgotten Eugenie Besangon.
D2
49 00051.jpg
CHAPTER IX.
EUGLNIE BESANqON.
No, Eugnnie Besanuon was not forgotten. Every now
and then her sylph-like form flitted before my imagina-
tion, and I could not help associating it with the
scenery through which we were passing, and amidst
which, no doubt, she was born and nurtured-its fair
indigene. The glimpse of the f6te champetre, where
several Creole-like girls, were conspicuous, brought
her more forcibly into my thoughts; and, descending
from the hurricane deck, I entered the cabin with
some curiosity, once more to look upon this interest-
ing lady.
For some time I dreaded disappointment. The
great glass folding-door of the ladies' cabin was closed;
and although there were several ladies outside in the
main saloon, the Creole was not among the number.
The ladies' cabin, which occupies the after-part of the
boat, is a sacred precinct, into which bachelors are
admitted only when they enjoy the privilege of having
a friend inside-then only at certain hours.
I was not one of the privileged. Out of the hundred
and odd passengers on board, I did not know a soul,
male or female; and I had the happiness or mis-
fortune of being equally unknown to them. Under
these circumstances my entry into the ladies' cabin
would have been deemed an intrusion; and I sat
down in the main saloon, and occupied myself in
studying the physiognomy and noting the movements
of my fellow-passengers.
50 00052.jpg
EUGbNIE. BESANg O. 45
They were a mixed throng. Some were wealthy
merchants, bankers, money or commission brokers
from New Orleans, with their wives and daughters, on
their annual migration to the north, to escape from
the yellow fever, and indulge in the more pleasant
epidemic of life at a fashionable watering-place.
There were corn and cotton-planters from the up-
countiy, on their return home, and storekeepers from
the up-river towns; boatmen who, in jean trousers
and red flannel shirts, had pushed a flat' two thou-
sand miles down stream, and who were now making
the back trip in shining broad-cloth and snow-white
linen. What 'lions' would these be on getting back
to their homes about the sources of Salt River, the
Cumberland, the Licking, or the Miami There were
Creoles, too-old wine merchants of the French
quarter-and their families; the men distinguished by
a superabundance of ruffles, plaited pantaloons, shining
jewellery, and light-coloured cloth boots.
There was a sprinkling of jauntily-dressed clerks,
privileged to leave New Orleans in the dull season;
and there were some still more richly-dressed gentle-
men, with the finest of cloth in their coats, the
whitest of linen and ruffles, the brightest of diamonds
in their studs, and the most massive of finger-rings.
These last were 'sportsmen.' They had already
gathered around a table in the 'smoking-saloon,' and
were fingering a span new pack of cards-the imple-
ments of their peculiar industry.
Among these I observed the fellow who had so
loudly challenged me to bet upon the boat-race. He
had passed me several times, regarding me with a
glance that appeared anything but friendly.
Our close friend the steward was seated in the
51 00053.jpg
46 THE QUADROON.
saloon. You must not suppose that his holding the
office of steward, or overseer, disentitled him to the
privileges of the first-class cabin. There is no 'second
saloon' on board an American steamer. Such a dis-
tinction is not known so far west as the Mississippi.
The 'overseers' of plantations are usually men of
rude and brutal dispositions. The very nature of their
calling makes them so. This Frenchman, however,
seemed to be an exception. He appeared a most re-
spectable old gentleman. I rather liked his looks,
and began to feel quite an interest in him, though he
by no means appeared to reciprocate the feeling.
Some one complained of the mosquitoes, and sug-
gested the opening of the folding-doors of the ladies,
cabin. This suggestion was backed up by several
others-ladies and gentlemen. The clerk of the boat is
the man charged with such responsibilities. He was
at length appealed to. The appeal was reasonable-
it was successful; and the great gates of the steam-
boat Paradise were thrown open. The result was a
current of air which swept through the long saloon
from stem to stern; and in less than five minutes not
a mosquito remained on board, except such as had
escaped the blast by taking shelter in the state rooms.
This was certainly a great relief.
The folding-doors were permitted to remain open-
an arrangement quite satisfactory to all, but parti-
cularly to a number of the gaily-dressed young clerks,
who could now command a full view of the interior of
the harem. Several of them might be observed taking
advantage of the new arrangement-not staring broad-
ly, as that would be accounted rude and noted against
them. They only appealed to the sacred shrine by
52 00054.jpg
EUGANIE BESAN .. 47
side-glances, or ovve books which they pretended to
read, or pacing up and down approached the favoured
limit, glancing in at intervals, as if undesignedly. Some
appeared to have acquaintances inside, though not
upon terms of sufficient familiarity to give them the
right of entry. Others were in hopes of making ac-
quaintances, should opportunity offer. I could detect
expressive looks, and occasionally a smile that seemed
to denote a mutual intelligence. Many a pleasant
thought is conveyed without words. The tongue is
often a sad disenchanter. I have known it td spoil
many a nice love-plot silently conceived, and almost
ripe for being carried out.
I was amused at this speechless pantomime, and sat
for some minutes regarding it. My eyes wandered at
intervals towards the interior of the ladies' saloon,
guided thither partly by a common curiosity. I have
an observant habit. Anything new interests me, and
this cabin-life on an American steamboat was entirely
new, and not a little piquante. I desired to study it.
Perhaps I was somewhat interested in another way-
desirous of having one more look at the young Creole,
Besangon.
My desire, then, was gratified. I saw the lady at
last. She had come out of her state-room, and was
moving around the saloon, graceful and gay. She was
now unbonneted, and her rich golden tresses were
arranged a la Chinoise-a Creole fashion as well. The
thick masses, coiled into a large club' at the back of
the head, denoted the luxuriance of her hair; and the
style of coiffure, displaying her noble forehead and
finely-formed neck, became her well. Fair hair with
blonde complexion, although rare among the Creoles,
is sometimes met with. Dark hair with a brunette
53 00055.jpg
48 TIE QUADROOX,
skin is the rule, to which Euginie Besangon was a re-
markable exception.
Her features expressed gaiety, approaching to vola-
tility; yet one could not help feeling that there was
firmness of character en perdu. Her figure was beyond
criticism; and the face, if not strikingly beautiful,
was one that you could not look upon without emo-
tions of pleasure.
She appeared to know some of her fellow-passengers
-at least she was conversing with them in a style of
easy freedom. Women, however, rarely exhibit em-
barrassment among themselves; women of French
race, never.
One thing I observed-her cabin companions ap-
peared to regard her with deference. Perhaps they
had already learnt that the handsome carriage and
horses belonged to her. That was very, very likely!
I continued to gaze upon this interesting lady.
Girl I cannot call her, for although young enough, she
had the air of a woman-a woman of experience. She
appeared quite at ease; seemed mistress of herself,
and indeed of everything else.
'What an air of insouciance!' thought I. 'That
woman is not in love!'
I cannot tell why I should have made these reflec-
tions, or why the thought pleased me; but certainly
it did. Why? She was nothing to me-she was far
above me. I dared scarce look upon her. I regarded
her as some superior being, and with timid stolen
glances, as I would regard beauty in a church. Ho!
she was nothing to me. In another hour it would be
night, and she was to land in the night; I should
never see her again! I should think of her though
for an hour or two, perhaps for a day-the longer that
54 00056.jpg
EUGaNIE BESAN'ON. 49
I was now foolish enough to sit gazing upon her! I
was weaving a net for myself-a little agony that
might last for some time after she was gone.
I had formed a resolution to withdraw from the
fascinating influence, and return to my meditation on
the hurricane deck. A last look at the fair Creole,
and I should depart.
Just at that moment she flung herself into a chair.
It was of the kind known as a 'rocking-chair,' and its
motions displayed the fine proportion and outlines of
her form. As she now sat she was facing the door,
and her eye for the first time rested upon me. By
Heavens she was gazing on me just as before! What
meant that strange glance? those burning eyes?
Stedfast and fixed, they remained bent upon mine-
and mine trembled to answer them!
Thus for some moments her eyes dwelt upon me,
without motion or change of direction. I was too
young at that time to understand the expression that
was in them. I could translate such an one after-
wards, but not then.
At length she rose from her seat with an air of un-
easiness, as if displeased either with herself or me;
and, turning away her head, she opened the latticed
door and passed into her state-room.
Had I done anything to give offence ? No not by
word, nor look, nor gesture. I had not spoken-I
had not moved, and my timid glance could not have
been construed into one of rudeness.
I was somewhat bewildered by the conduct of
Mademoiselle Besangon; and, in the full belief that I
should never see her again, I hurried away from the
saloon, and once more climbed up to the hurricane deck.
55 00057.jpg
( 50 )
CHAPTER X.
A NEW MODE OF RAISING THE STEAM.
IT was near sunset-the fiery disc was going down
behind the dark outline of cypress forest that belted
the western horizon, and a yellow light fell upon the
river. Promenading back and forward upon the
canvass-covered roof, I was gazing upon the scene,
wrapt in admiration of its glowing beauty.
My reverie was interrupted. On looking down the
river I saw that a large boat was in our wake, and
coming rapidly after us. The volume of smoke rolling
up out of her tall funnels, and the red glowing of her
fires, showed that she was moving under a full head of
steam. Her size, as well as the loud reports of her
'scape-pipe, told that she was a boat of the first class.
She was the Magnolia.' She was moving with great
velocity, and I had not watched her long, before I
perceived that she was fast gaining upon us.
At this moment my ears were assailed by a variety
of sounds coming from below. Loud voices in earnest
tones, the stamping and pattering of feet, as of men
rushing over the wooden decks and along the guard-
ways. The voices of women, too, were mingled in the
medley.
I surmised what all this meant. The approach of
the rival boat was the cause of the excitement.
Up to this time the boat-race seemed to have been
nearly forgotten. It had got abroad among both
' hands' and passengers that the Captain did not intend
to 'run;' and although this backing-out had been
56 00058.jpg
A NEW BMODE OF RAISING THE STEAM. 51
loudly censured at first, the feeling of disappointment
had partially subsided. The crew had been busy at
their work of stowage-the firemen with their huge
billets of cordwood-the gamblers with their cards-
and the passengers, in general, with their portman-
teaus, or the journal of the day. The other boat not
starting at the same time, had been out of sight
until now, and the feeling of rivalry almost out of
mind.'
The appearance of the rival produced a sudden
change. The gamblers flung down the half-dealt
pack, in hopes of having something more exciting to
bet upon; the readers hastily closed their books, and
tossed aside their newspapers; the rummagers of
trunks banged down the lids; the fair occupants of
rocking-chairs suddenly sprang to their feet; and all
ran out of the cabins, and pressed towards the after-
part of the boat.
My position on the hurricane deck was the best
possible for a good view of the rival boat, and I was
soon joined by a number of my fellow-passengers. I
wished, however, to witness the scene on the cabin-
deck, and went below.
On reaching the main saloon, I found it quite for-
saken. All the passengers, both male and female, had
gone out upon the guardway; and leaning against the
guards were anxiously watching the approach of the
Magnolia.
I found the Captain under the front-cabin awning.
He was surrounded by a crowd of gentlemen-passen-
gers, all of whom appeared to be in a high state of
excitement. One after the other was proffering
speech to him. They were urging him to 'raise the
steam.'
57 00059.jpg
OW THE QUADROON.
The Captain, evidently wishing to escape from these
importunities, kept passing from place to place. It
was to no purpose. Wherever he went he was met
or followed by a knot of individuals, all with the
same request in their mouths-some even begging
him for 'God's sake' not to let the Magnolia pass
him!
'Wal, Cap!' cried one, 'if the Belle don't run, I
guess she'll never be heerd of on these waters agin, she
wont.'
'You're right!' added another. 'For my part the
next trip I make I'll try the Magnolia.'
'She's a fast boat that 'ere Magnolia!' remarked a
third.
'She ain't anything else,' rejoined the first speaker:
'she's got her steam on a few, I reckon.'
I walked out on the guardway in the direction of
the ladies' cabin. The inmates of the latter were
clustered along the guards, and seemingly as much
interested in the boat-race as the men. I could hear
several of them expressing their wishes aloud that the
boats would run. All idea of risk or fear of conse-
quences had departed; and I believe that if the com-
pany had been 'polled' at the moment in favour of
the race, there would not have been three dissentient
voices. I confess that I, myself, would have voted
for running,-I had caught the infection, and no
longer thought of 'snags,' 'sawyers,' or bursting
boilers.
As the Magnolia drew near the excitement increased.
It was evident that in a few minutes more she would
be alongside, and then pass us. The idea was unsup-
portable to some of the passengers; and loud words
could be heard, now and then interspersed with an
58 00060.jpg
A NEW MODE OF RAISING THE STEAM.
angry oath. The poor Captain had to bear all this-
for it was known that the rest of the officers were well
disposed for a trial of speed. It was the Captain only
who showed the white feather.'
The Magnolia was close in our wake; her head
bearing a little to one side. She was evidently pre-
paring to pass us!
Her officers and crew were moving actively about;
both pilots were seen above at the wheel-house; the
firemen were all at work upon the deck; the furnace-
doors were glowing red-hot; and the bright blaze
stood several feet above the tops of her tall funnels!
One might have fancied she was on fire!
'They are burning bacon hams!' shouted a voice.
'They are by-- !' exclaimed another. See, yon-
der's a pile of them in front of the furnace !'
I turned my eyes in that direction. It was quite
true. A pyramidal-shaped mass of dark-brown objects
lay upon the deck in front of the fires. Their size,
shape, and colour told what they were-dried hams of
bacon. The firemen were seen taking them from the
pile, and thrusting them one after another up the red
tunnels of the furnace !
The Magnolia was still gaining upon us. Already
her head was even with the wheelhouse of the Belle.
On the latter boat the excitement increased, and the
noise along with it. An occasional taunt from the
passengers of the rival boat added fuel to the flame;
and the Captain was once more abjured to run. Men
almost threatened him with violence!
The Magnolia continued to advance. She was now
head for head with us. Another minute passed-a
minute of deep silence-the crews and passengers of
both boats watched their progress with hearts too full
59 00061.jpg
04 THE QUADROON.
for utterance. Another minute, and the Magnolia had
shot a-head I
A triumphant cheer rang along her decks, mingled
with taunting shouts and expressions of insult.
'Throw us a line, and we'll tow you!' cried one.
' Whar's yer old ark now ?' shouted another.
'Hurraw for the Magnolia! Three groans for the
Belle of the West! Three groans for the old dug-
out!' vociferated a third, amidst jeers and shouts of
laughter.
I can hardly describe the mortification felt by those
on board the Belle. It was not confined to the officers
and crew. The passengers, one and all, seemed to
partake of the feeling. I shared it myself, more than
I could have believed to be possible.
One dislikes to be among the conquered, even on
any terms of association. Besides, one involuntarily
catches the impulse of the moment. The sentiment
that surrounds you-perhaps by physical laws which
you cannot resist-for the moment becomes your own;
and even when you know the object of exultation to
be worthless or absurd, you are controlled by the
electric current to join in the enthusiasm. I remember
once being thus carried away, and mingled my voice
with the rude throats that cheered the passing cortEgo
of royalty. The moment it was past, however, my
heart fell, abashed at its own meanness and wicked-
ness.
Both his crew and passengers seemed to think our
Captain imprudent in his prudence: and a general
clamour, mingled with cries of 'Shame!' was heard
all over the boat.
The poor Captain! I had my eyes upon him all
this while. I really pitied him. I was perhaps the
60 00062.jpg
A NEW MODE OF RAISING THE STEAM. 55
only passenger on board, beside the fair Creole, who
knew his secret; and I could not help admiring the
chivalric fortitude with which he kept it to himself.
I saw his cheek glow, and his eye sparkle with vexa-
tion; and I felt satisfied, that had he been called upon
to make that promise then, he would not have done
so for the privilege of carrying all the freight upon the
river.
Just then, as if to escape the importunities that
beset him, I saw him steal back and pass through the
ladies' cabin. There he was at once recognized, and
a general onset was made upon him by his fair pas-
sengers, who were almost as noisy in their petitions as
the men. Several threatened him, laughingly, that
they would never travel by his boat again; while
others accused him of a want of gallantry. Surely it
was impossible to resist such banterings; and I
watched the Captain closely, expecting a crisis one
way or the other. The crisis was at hand:
Drawing himself up in the midst of a knot of these
importunates, he thus addressed tllem:-
'Ladies Nothing would give me more pleasure
than to gratify you, but before leaving New Orleans I
gave my promise-in fact, passed my word of honour
to a lady-' Here the gallant speech was interrupted
by a young lady, who, rushing up from another part of
the boat, cried out-
'Oh, Capitaine! cher Capitainel do not let that
wicked boat get a-head of us! do put on more steam,
and pass her-that is a dear Captain!'
'Why, Mademoiselle!' replied the Captain, in
astonishment, 'it was to you I gave the promise not
to run-it was- '
'Pardieu I' exclaimed Mademoiselle Besangon, for it
61 00063.jpg
56 THE QUADROON.
was she. So you did. I had quite forgotten it. Oh,
cher Capitaine, I release you from that promise.
Iluas! I hope it is not too late. For Heaven's sake,
try to pass her! Ecoutez! les polissons how they
taunt us !'
The Captain's face brightened up for a moment, and
then suddenly resumed its vexed expression. He re-
plied-
' Mademoiselle, although grateful to you, I regret
to say that under the circumstances I cannot hope
to run successfully against the Magnolia. We are
not on equal terms. She is burning bacon 7ams, of
which she has a large supply. I should have had
the same, but after promising you not to run, I, of
course, did not take any on board. It would be use-
less to attempt a race with only common cordwood-
unless indeed the Belle be much the faster boat,
which we do not yet know, as we have never tried
her speed.'
Here appeared to be a dilemma, and some of the
ladies regarded Mademoiselle BesanCon with looks of
displeasure.
'Bacon hams!' she exclaimed; 'bacon hams did
you say, cher Capitaine? How many would be
enough? Would two hundred be enough?'
'Oh! less than that,' replied the Captain.
'Here! Antoine! Antoine !' continued she, calling
to the old steward. How many bacon hams have
you on board ?'
'Ten barrels of them, Mademoiselle,' answered the
steward, bowing respectfully.
' Ten barrels! that will do, I suppose? Cher Capi-
taine, they are at your service!'
' Mademoiselle, I shall pay you for them,' said the
62 00064.jpg
A NEW MODE OF RAISING THE STEAM.
Captain, brightening up, and becoming imbued with
the general enthusiasm.
'No-no-no! Let the expense be mine. I have
hindered you. They were for my plantation people,
but they are not in wftnt. We shall send down for
more. Go, Antoine I go to the firemen. Knock in
the heads of the barrels! Use them as you please,
but do not let us be beaten by that wicked Magnolia!
Hark! how they cheer! Ha! we shall pass them
yet.'
So saying, the fiery Creole rushed back to the
guardway, followed by a group of admirers.
The Captain's 'dander' was now fairly up; and the
story of the bacon hams soon spreading over the boat,
still further heightened the enthusiasm of both pas-
sengers and crew. Three loud cheers were given for
the young lady, which seemed to mystify the Mag-
nolians, who had now been for some time in the
enjoyment of their triumph, and had forged a con-
siderable distance a-head.
All hands went to work with a will-the barrels
were rolled up, their heads knocked in, and part of
their contents 'chucked' up the blazing furnace.
The iron walls soon grew red-the steam rose-the
boat trembled under the increased action of the
engine-the bells of the engineers tinkled their signals
-the wheels revolved more rapidly, and an increase
of velocity was soon perceptible.
Hope had stifled clamour-comparative silence was
restored. There was heard only an occasional utter-
ance-the expression of an opinion upon the speed of
the rival boats-the fixing the conditions of a bet-
and now and then some allusion to the story of the
bacon hams.
63 00065.jpg
58 THE QUADROON.
At intervals, all eyes were bent upon the water,
eagerly glancing along the line that separated the
rival steamers.
CHAPTER XI.
A BOAT-RACE UPON THE MISSISSIPPI.
IT had now become quite dark. There was no moon
in the sky-not a speck of a star. A clear heaven
over the lower region of the Mississippi, at night, is
rather rare than otherwise. The film of the swamp
too often obscures it.
There was light enough for the race. The yellow
water shone clear. It was easily distinguishable
from the land. The track was a wide one; and the
pilots of both boats-old hands-knew every shutt'
and sand-bar of the river.
The rival steamers were quite visible to one
another. No lamps needed to be hung out, although
the gaff over the bow of each boat carried its coloured
signal. The cabin windows of both were full of light,
and the blaze of the bacon fires flung a vermilion
glare far over the water.
Upon each boat the spectators could be seen from
the other in their state-room windows, or leaning
against the guards, in attitudes that betokened their
interest.
By the time the Belle had fairly got up steam, the
Magnolia was a full half-mile in advance of her. This
distance, though nothing where there is a large differ-
ence of speed, is not so easily overtaken where the
64 00066.jpg
A BOAT-RACE UPON THE MISSISSIPPI.
swiftness of the boats approximates to anything like
an equality. It was a long while, therefore, before
the people of the Belle could be certain as to whether
she was gaining upon her rival; for it is somewhat
difficult to tell this when one vessel is running in the
wake of the other. Questions were put by passengers
to the various officials and to one another, and
'guesses' were continually being made on this in-
teresting point.
At length an assurance was derived from the
Captain, that several hundred yards had been already
taken up. This produced general joy, though not
universal; for there were some unpatriotic individuals
on board the Belle who had risked their dollars on
the Magnolia.
In another hour, however, it was clear to all that
our boat was fast gaining upon the Magnolia, as she
was now within less than a quarter of a mile of her.
A quarter of a mile on smooth water appears but a
short distance, and the people of the two boats could
hold converse at will. The opportunity was not
neglected by those of the Belle to pay back the boasts
of the Magnolians. Shouts of banter reached their
ears, and their former taunts were now returned with
interest.
'Have you any message for St. Louis? We 're
going up there, and will be happy to carry it for you,'
shouted one from the Belle.
'Hurraw for the bully-boat Belle vociferated
another.
' How are you off for bacon hams ?' asked a third.
'We can lend you a few, if you're out.'
' Where shall we say we left you ?' inquired a fourth.
'In Shirt-tail Bend?' And loud peals of laughter fol-
E2
65 00067.jpg
60 THE QUADROON.
lowed this joking allusion to a point in the river well
known to the boatmen.
It had now approached the hour of midnight, and
not a soul on either boat had thought of retiring to
rest. The interest in the race precluded the idea of
sleep, and both men and women stood outside the
cabins, or glided out and in at short intervals to note
the progress. The excitement had led to drinking,
and 1 noticed that several of the passengers were
already half intoxicated. The officers, too, led on by
these, were indulging too freely, and even the Captain
showed symptoms of a similar condition. No one
thought of censure-prudence had fled from the boat.
It is near midnight,' and amidst the growling and
grinding of the machinery, the boats are moving on!
There is deep darkness upon the water, but this is no
impediment. The red fires glow; the blaze stands
high above the tall funnels; steam booms from the
iron pipes; the huge paddles lash the water into
foam; the timbers creak and tremble under the fierce
pressure, and the boats move on!
It is near midnight. A space of two hundred yards
alone separates the steamers-the Belle is bounding
upon the waves of the Magnolia. In less than ten
minutes her head will overlap the stern of her rival!
In less than twenty, and the cheer of victory rising
from her deck will peal from shore to shore!
I was standing by the Captain of our boat, regarding
him not without a feeling of solicitude. I regretted
to see him pass so often to the bar.' He was drink-
ing deeply.
66 00068.jpg
A BOAT-RACE UPON THE MISSISSIPPI.
He had returned to his station by the wheel-house,
and was gazing a-head. Some straggling lights were
gleaming on the right bank of the river, a mile farther
up. The sight of these caused him to start, and
utter a wild exclamation:-
'By Heavens! it is Bringiers!'
' Ye-e-s,' drawled the pilot at his elbow. We'vo
reached it in quick time, I reckon.'
'Great God! I must lose the race!'
'How?' said the other, not comprehending him;
'what has that got to do with it?'
'I must land there. I must-I must-the lady
who gave us the hams-I must land her 1'
'Oh! that-' replied the phlegmatic pilot; 'a
darned pity it is,' he added; 'but if you must, you
must. Darn the luck! We'd a-beat them into shucks
in another quarter, I reckon. Darn the luck!'
'We must give it up,' said the Captain. 'Turn her
head in.'
Saying this, he hurried below; and, observing his
excited manner, I followed him.
A group of ladies stood upon the guardway where
the Captain descended over the wheel-house. The
Creole was among them.
'Mademoiselle,' said the Captain, addressing him-
self to this lady, we must lose the race after all.'
'Why?' asked she in surprise; 'are there not
enough ? Antoine! have you delivered them all ?'
'No, Mademoiselle,' replied the Captain, 'it is not
that, thanks to your generosity. You see those
lights ?'
'Yes-well?'
'That is Bringiers.'
'Oh! it is, is it?'
67 00069.jpg
62 THE QUADROON.
'Yes ;-and of course you must be landed there.
'And that would lose you the race ?'
'Certainly.'
'Then, of course, I must not be landed there. What
care I for a day? I am not so old but that I can
spare one. Ha! ha! ha! You shall not lose your
race, and the reputation of your fine boat, on my ac-
count. Think not of landing, cher Capitaine! Take
me on to Baton Rouge. I can get back in the morn-
ing!'
A cheer rose from the auditory; and the Captain,
rushing back to the pilot, countermanded his late
order.
* !* * *
The Belle again stands in the wake of the Magnolia,
and again scarce two hundred yards of the river lie
between. The rumbling of their machinery-the
booming of their steam-the plashing of their paddles
-the creaking of their planks-the shouts of those on
board, mingle in rude concert.
Up forges the Belle-up-up-gaining in spite of
the throes of her antagonist. Up, nearer still-
nearer, till her head laps upon the stern, then the
wheel-house, then the foredeck of the Magnolia!
Now the lights of both cross each other-their fires
glow together upon the water-they are head and
head!
Another foot is gained-the Captain waves his hat
-and the cheer of triumph peals forth!
* * * *
That cheer was never finished. Its first notes had
scarce broke upon the midnight air, when it was in-
terrupted by an explosion like the bursting of some
68 00070.jpg
THE LIFE-PRESERVER. 63
vast magazine-an explosion that shook the air, the
earth, and the water! Timbers crashed and flew
upward-men shouted as their bodies were projected
to the heavens-smoke and vapour filled the air-
and one wild cry of agony arose upon the night !
CHAPTER XII.
THE LIFE-PRESERVEB.
THE concussion, unlike anything I had ever heard,
was, nevertheless, significant of the nature of the
catastrophe. I felt an instantaneous conviction that
the boilers had burst, and such in reality was the fact.
At the moment, I chanced to be on the balcony in
rear of my state-room. I was holding by the guard-
rail-else the shock and the sudden lurch of the boat
would have flung me headlong.
Scarce knowing what I did, I staggered into my
state-room, and through the opposite door into tho
main saloon.
Here I paused and looked around me. The whole
forward part of the boat was shrouded in steam and
smoke, and already a portion of the hot scalding va-
pour floated through the cabin.
Dreading the contact of this, I rushed aft; but by a
fortunate chance the lurch of the boat had brought
her stern to windward, and the breeze blew the
dangerous element away.
The engine was now silent-the wheels had ceased
to move-the 'scape-pipe no longer gave out its boom-
ing notes; but instead of these sounds, others of ter-
69 00071.jpg
64 THE QUADROON.
rible import fell upon the ear. The shouts of men,
mingled with oaths-wild, awful imprecations-the
more shrill piercing shrieks of women-the groans of
wounded from the deck below-the agonised cry of
those blown into the water and drowning-all rang
upon the ear with terrible emphasis!
How changed the tones from those that, but a
moment before, pealed from the self-same lips!
The smoky vapour was soon partially blown off,
and I could catch a glimpse of the forward part of
the boat. There a complete chaos met the eye. The
smoking saloon, the bar with its contents, the front
awning, and part of the starboard wheel-house, were
completely carried away-blown up as if a mine had
been sprung beneath them-and the huge sheet-iron
funnels had fallen forward upon the deck! At a
glance I was convinced that captain, pilots, all who
had been upon that part of the boat, must have
perished!
Of course such reflections passed with the rapidity
of thought itself, and occupied me not a moment of
time. I felt that I was still unhurt, and my first
natural thought was that of preserving my life. I
had sufficient presence of mind to know there was no
danger of a second explosion; but I perceived that
the bodt was badly injured, and already leaning to
one side. How long would she swim?
I had hardly asked myself the question when it
was answered by a voice that, in terrified accents,
shouted out:-
'Good God! she is sinking! she is sinking!'
This announcement was almost simultaneous with
the cry of 'Fire!' and at the same moment flames
were seen bursting forth and shooting up to the
70 00072.jpg
THE LIFE-PRESERVER.
height of the hurricane deck! Whetner by burning
up or going down, it was evident the wreck would
afford us but short refuge.
The thoughts of the survivors were now turned to
the Magnolia. I looked in the direction of that boat.
I perceived that she was doing her best to back, and
put round toward us; but she was still several hun-
dred yards off! In consequence of the Belle having
steered a while towards the Bringiers landing, the
boats no longer ran in the same track; and, although
they were head and head at the moment of the ex-
plosion, they were separated from each other by a
wide stretch of the river. A full quarter of a mile
distant appeared the Magnolia; and it was evident
that a considerable time must elapse before she could
get alongside. Would the wreck of the Belle keep
afloat so long?
At a glance I was convinced it would not. I felt
it settling down under my feet inch by inch; and the
blaze already threatened the after-part of the boat,
licking the light woodwork of the gaudy saloon as if
it had been flax! Not a moment was to be lost: we
must take voluntarily to the water, be drawn in by
the sinking wreck, or driven to it by the fire. One of
the three was inevitable!
You will fancy me to have been in a state of extreme
terror at this moment. Such, however, was not the
case. I had not the slightest fear for my own safety:
not that I was redeemed fronrthe common lot by any
superior courage, but simply that I had confidence in
my resources. Though sufficiently reckless in my tem-
perament, I have never been a fatalist. I have saved
my life more than once by acts of volition-by pre-
sence of mind and adroitness. The knowledge of this
71 00073.jpg
66 THE QUADROON.
has freed me from the superstitions of fore-ordination
and fatalism; and therefore, when not too indolent, I
take precautions against danger.
I had done so on the occasion of which I am writ-
ing. In my portmanteau I carried-I do so habitually
-a very simple contrivance, a life-preserver. I
always carry it in such a position as to be ready to
the hand. It is but the work of a moment to adjust
this, and with it around my body I feel no fear of
being plunged into the broadest river, or even a
channel of the sea. It was the knowledge of this,
and not any superior courage, that supported me.
I ran back to my state-room-the portmanteau was
open-and in another moment I held the piece of
quilted cork in my hands. In a few seconds its strap
was over my head, and the strings securely knotted
around my waist.
Thus accoutred, I stood inside the state-room, in-
tending to remain there till the wreck should sink
nearer the surface of the water. Settling rapidly as it
was, I was convinced I should not have long to wait.
I closed the inner door of the room, and turned the
bolt. The outer one I held slightly ajar, my hand
firmly clutching the handle.
I had my object in thus shutting myself up. I
should be less exposed to the view of the terror-
stricken wretches that ran to and fro like spectres-
for any fear I now had was of them-not of the water.
I knew that, should the life-preserver be discovered, I
should have a crowd around me in a moment-in fact,
that escape by such means would be hopeless.
Dozens would follow me into the water-would cling
to my limbs-would drag me, in their despairing
grasp, to the bottom!
72 00074.jpg
BLESSSA'
I knew this; and, clutching the venetian door with
firmer grasp, I stood peering through the apertures in
stealthy silence.
CHAPTER XIII.
BLESSS]'
I HAD not been in this position more than a few
seconds, when some figures appeared in front of the
door, and voices fell upon my ear that I thought I
recognized. Another glance revealed the speakers.
They were the young Creole and her steward.
The conversation passing between them was not a
dialogue, but a series of exclamations-the hurried
language of terror. The old man had got together a
few cabin chairs; and with trembling hands was en-
deavouring to bind them together, with the design of
forming a raft. He had no other cord than a hand-
kerchief, and some strips of silk, which his young
mistress was tearing from her dress It would have
been but a feeble raft, had it been completed-not fit
to have floated a cat. It was but the effort of the
drowning man 'catching at straws.' I saw at a
glance that it would afford to neither of them the
respite of a minute's life. The chairs were of heavy
rosewood; and, perchance, would have gone to the
bottom of themselves!
The scene produced upon me an impression in-
describably strange. I felt myself standing upon a
crisis. I felt called upon to choose between self and
73 00075.jpg
68 THE QUADROON.
self-sacrifice. Had the choice left no chance of
saving my own life, I fear I should have obeyed the
'first law of nature;' but, as already stated, of my
own life I felt secure; the question was, whether it
would be possible for me also to save the lady ?
I reasoned rapidly, and as follows --Thc life-pre-
server-a very small one-will not sustain us both!
What if I fasten it upon her, and swim alongside? A
little help from it now and then will be sufficient to
keep me afloat. I am a good swimmer. How far is
it to the shore ?
I looked in that direction. The glare of the blazing
boat lit up the water to a wide circumference. I
could see the. brown bank distinctly. It was full a
quarter of a mile distant, with a sharp cross-current
running between it and the wreck.
' Surely I can swim it?' thought I: sink or swim,
I shall make the attempt to save her!'
I will not deny that other reflections passed through
my mind as I was forming this resolve. I will not
deny that there was a little French gallantry mixed
up with better motives. Instead of being young and
lovely, had Mademoiselle Besangon been old and
plain, I think-that is-I-I fear-she would have
been left to Antoine and his raft of chairs! As it
was, my resolve was made; and I had no time to
reflect upon motives.
'Mademoiselle Besangon!' I called out of the door.
'Ha Some one calls me;' said she, turning sud-
denly. 'Mon Dieu who is there?'
'One who, Mademoiselle-'
'Peste!' muttered the old steward, angrily, as his
eyes fell upon my face. He was under the belief that
I wished to share his raft.
74 00076.jpg
' BLESSA.'
lPeste!' he repeated; "twill not carry two, mon-
sieur.'
' Nor one,' I replied. 'Mademoiselle,' I continued,
addressing myself to the lady; 'those chairs will not
serve,-they will rather be the means of drowning
you,-here-take this! it will save your life.'
As I spoke I had pulled off the preserver, and held
it towards her.
'What is this?' she inquired hastily; and then,
comprehending all, she continued, 'No -no -no,
Monsieur! Yourself-yourself!'
' I believe I can swim ashore without it. Take it,
Mademoiselle! Quick! quickI there is no time to
be lost. In three minutes the boat will go down.
The other is not near yet: besides, she may fear to
approach the fire! See the flames! they come this
way Quick Permit me to fasten it for you ?'
' My God !-my God! generous stranger- !'
'No words; now-now it is on I Now to the
water Have no fear plunge in, and strike out from
the wreck! fear not! I shall follow and guide you!
Away!'
The girl, partly influenced by terror, and partly
yielding to my remonstrances, sprang off into the
water; and the next moment I saw her body afloat,
distinguishable by the whitish drapery of her dress,
that still kept above the surface.
At that instant I felt some one grasping me by the
hand. I turned round. It was Antoine.
'Forgive me, noble youth! forgive me!' he cried,
while the tears ran down his cheeks.
I would have replied, but at the moment I per-
ceived a man rush forward to the guards, over which
the girl had just passed. I could see that his eye
75 00077.jpg
70 THE QUADROON.
was fixed upon her, and that he had marked the life-
preserver! His intention was evident.
He had mounted the guard-rail, and was just
springing off as I reached the spot. I caught him by
the collar, and drew him back. As I did so his face
came under the blaze, and I recognized my betting
bully.
'Not so fast, Sir!' said I, still holding him.
He uttered but one word in reply-and that was a
fearful oath-but at the moment I saw in his uplifted
hand the shining blade of a bowie-knife I So unex-
pectedly did this weapon appear, that I had no
chance of evading the blow; and the next moment I
felt the cold steel passing through my arm. It was
not a fatal stab, however; and before the brute could
repeat it I had, in the phraseology of the ring,
'planted' a blow upon his chin, that sent him
sprawling over the chairs, while at the same time the
knife flew out of his grasp. This I caught up, and
hesitated for a moment whether to use it upon the
ruffian; but my better feelings overcame my passion,
and I flung the weapon into the river.
Almost instantaneously I plunged after. I had no
time to tarry. The blaze had reached the wheel-
house, close to which we were, and the heat was no
longer to be borne. My last glance at the spot
showed me Antoine and my antagonist struggling
among the chairs!
The white drapery served me for a beacon, and I
swam after it. The current had already carried it some
distance from the boat, and directly down stream.
I had hurriedly divested myself of coat and boots,
and as my other garments were of light material they
did not impede me. After a few strokes I swam
76 00078.jpg
THE QUADROON.
\
I caught him by the collar, and drew him back.-p. 70.
,,
77 00079.jpg
78 00080.jpg
' BLESSf.'
perfectly free; and, keeping the white dress before
my eyes, I continued on down the river.
Now and then I raised my head above the surface
and looked back. I still had fears that the ruffian
might follow; and I had nerved myself for a struggle
in the water!
In a few minutes I was alongside my protegie; and,
after half-a-dozen hurried words of encouragement,
I laid hold of her with one hand, and with the other
endeavoured to direct our course towards the shore.
In this way the current carried us in a diagonal
line, but we still floated down stream at a rapid rate.
A long and weary swim it seemed to me. Had it
been much longer I never should have reached the
end of it.
At length we appeared to be near the bank; but as
we approached it my strokes became feebler, and my
left hand grasped my companion with a sort of con-
vulsive effort.
I remember reaching land, however; I remember
crawling up the bank with great difficulty, my com-
panion assisting me! I remember seeing a large house
directly in front of where we had come ashore; I re-
member hearing the words,-
' C'est drole! c'est ma maison-ma maison veritable!
I remember staggering across a road, ledjby a soft
hand, and entering a gate, and a garden where there
were benches, and statues, and sweet-smelling flowers
-I remember seeing servants come from the house
with lights, and that my arms were red, and my sleeves
dripping with blood! I remember from a female
voice the cry,-
'Blessd!' followed by a wild shriek; and of that
scene I remember no more I
79 00081.jpg
( 72 )
CHAPTER XIV.
WHERE AM I?
WHEN I awoke to consciousness, it was day. A
bright sun was pouring his yellow light across the
floor of my chamber; and from the diagonal slanting
of the beam, I could perceive that it was either very
early in the morning, or near sunset.
But birds were singing without. It must be morn-
ing, reasoned I.
I perceived that I was upon a low couch of elegant
construction-without curtains-but in their stead a
mosquito-netting spread its gauzy meshes above and
around me. The snow-white colour and fineness of
the linen, the silken gloss of the counterpane, and the
soft yielding mattress beneath, imparted to me the
knowledge that I lay upon a luxurious bed. But for
its extreme elegance and fineness, I might not have
noticed this; for I awoke to a sense of severe bodily
pain.
The incidents of the preceding night soon came into
my memory, and passed rapidly one by one as they
had occurred. Up to our reaching the bank of the
river, and climbing out of the water, they were all
clear enough. Beyond that time I could recall nothing
distinctly. A house, a large gateway, a garden, trees,
flowers, statues, lights, black servants, were all
jumbled together on my memory.
There was an impression on my mind of having
beheld amid this confusion a face of extraordinary
beauty-the face of a lovely girl! Something angelic
80 00082.jpg
WHERE AM I? 73
it seemed; but whether it had been a real face that I
had seen, or only the vision of a dream, I could net
now tell. And yet its lineaments were still before me,
so plainly visible to the eye of my mind, so clearly
outlined, that, had I been an artist, I could have por-
trayed them! The face alone I could remember-
nothing else. I remembered it as the opium-eater his
dream, or as one remembers a beautiful face seen
during an hour of intoxication, when all else is for-
gotten! Strange to say, I did not associate this face
with my companion of the night; and my remem-
brance painted it not at all like that of Eugdnie
Besangon!
Was there any one besides-any one on board the
boat that my dream resembled ? No, not one-I could
not think of one. There was none in whom I had
taken even a momentary interest-with the exception
of the Creole-but the lineaments my fancy, or me-
mory, now conjured up were entirely unlike to hers:
in fact, of quite an opposite character!
Before my mind's eye hung masses of glossy black
hair, waving along the brows and falling over the
shoulders in curling clusters. Within this ebon frame-
work were features to mock the sculptor's chisel
The mouth, with its delicate rose-coloured ellipse;
the nose, with smooth straight outline, and small re-
curvant nostril; the arching brows of jet; the long
fringes upon the eyelids; all were vividly before me,
and all unlike the features of Eugenie Bcsancon.
The colour of the skin, too-even that was different.
It was not that Circassian white that characterized
the complexion of the Creole, but a colour equally
clear, though tinged with a blending of brown and
olive, which gave to the red upon the cheeks a tint of
F
81 00083.jpg
74 TIHE QUADROON.
crimson. The eye I fancied, or remembered well--
better than aught else. It was large, rounded, and of
dark brown colour; but its peculiarity consisted in a
certain expression, strange but lovely. Its brilliance
was extreme, but it neither flashed nor sparkled. It
was more like a gorgeous gem viewed by the spectator
while at rest. Its light did not blaze-it seemed
rather to burn.
Despite some pain which I felt, I lay for many
minutes pondering over this lovely portrait, and won-
dering whether it was a memory or a dream. A sin-
gular reflection crossed my mind. I could not help
thinking, that if such a face were real, I could forget
Mademoiselle Besancon, despite the romantic incident
that had attended our introduction I
The pain of my arm at length dissipated the beau-
tiful vision, and recalled me to my present situation.
On throwing back the counterpane, I observed with
surprise that the wound had been dressed, and evi-
dently by a surgeon! Satisfied on this head, I cast
my eye abroad to make a reconnaissance of my quar-
ters.
The room I occupied was small, but, notwithstand-
ing the obstruction of the mosquito bar, I could see
that it was furnished with taste and elegance. The
furniture was light-mostly canework-and the floor
was covered with a matting of sea-grass finely woven,
and stained into various colours. The windows were
garnished with curtains of silk damask and muslin,
corresponding to the colour of the wood-work. A
table richly inlaid was near the centre of the floor.
another, with portefeuille, pens, and ornamental ink"
stand, stood by the wall, and over this last was a col.
election of books ranged upon shelves of red cedar-
82 00084.jpg
WHERE AM I?
wood. A handsome clock adorned the mantelpiece
and in the open fireplace was a pair of small and-
irons,' with silver knobs, cast after a fanciful device,
and richly chased. Of course, there was no fire at
that season of the year. Even the heat caused by the
mosquito bar would have been annoying, but that the
large glass-door on one side, and the window on the
other, both standing open, gave passage to the breeze
that penetrated through the netting of my couch.
Along with this breeze came the most delicious fra-
grance-the essence of flowers. Through both door
and window I could see their thousand clustering
corollas-roses, red, pink, and white-the rare camelia
-azaleas, and jessamines-the sweet-scented China-
tree-and farther off a little I could distinguish the
waxen leaves and huge lily-like blossoms of the great
American laurel-the Magnolia grandiflora. I could
hear the voices of many singing-birds, and a low mo-
notonous hum that I supposed to be the noise of
falling water. These were the only sounds that
reached my ears.
Was I alone? I looked inquiringly around the
chamber. It appeared so-no living thing met my
glance.
I was struck with a peculiarity in the apartment I
occupied. It appeared to stand by itself, and did not
communicate with any other! The only door I could
see, opened directly to the outside. So did the win-
dow, reaching door-like to the ground. Both appeared
to lead into a garden filled with shrubs and flowers.
Excepting the chimney, I could perceive no other
inlet or outlet to the apartment!
This at first seemed odd; but a moment's reflection
explained it. It is not uncommon upon American
F 2
83 00085.jpg
THE QUADROON.
plantations to have a kind of office or summer-house
apart from the main building, and often fitted up in a
style of comfort and luxuriance. This becomes upon
occasions the 'stranger's room.' Perhaps I was in
such an apartment.
At all events, I was under an hospitable roof, and
in good hands; that was evident. The manner in
which I was encouched, along with certain prepara-
tions,-the signs of a projected ddjetiner that appeared
upon the table, attested this. But who was my host?
or was it a hostess? Was it Euginie Besangon? Did
she not say something of her house-' ma masonn' or
did I only dream it ?
I lay guessing and reflecting over a mass of confused
memories; but I could not from these arrive at any
knowledge of whose guest I was. Nevertheless, I had
a sort of belief that I was in the house of my last
night's companion.
I became anxious, and in my weakness perhaps felt
a little vexed at being left alone. I would have rung,
but no bell was within reach. At that moment, how-
ever, I heard the sound of approaching footsteps.
Romantic miss! you will fancy that those footsteps
were light and soft, made by a small satin slipper,
scarcely discomposing the loosest, tiniest pebble-
stealthily drawing near lest their sound might awake
the sleeping invalid-and then, in the midst of bird-
music, and humming waters, and the sweet perfume of
flowers, a fair form appeared in the doorway, and I
saw a gentle face, with a pair of soft, lovely eyes, in a
timid inquiring glance, gazing upon me. You will
fancy all this, no doubt; but your fancy is entirely at
fault, and not at all like the reality.
The footsteps I heard were made by a pair of thick
84 00086.jpg
WHERE AM I? .77
broganss' of alligator leather, and full thirteen inches
in length; which brogans the next moment rested
upon the sill of the door directly before my eyes.
On raising my glance a little higher, I perceived a
pair of legs, in wide copper-coloured 'jeans,' panta-
loons; and carrying my eye still higher, I perceived a
broad, heavy chest, covered with a striped cotton
shirt; a pair of massive arms and huge shoulders,
surmounted by the shining face and woolly head of a
jet black negro !
The face and head came under my observation
last; but on these my eyes dwelt longest, scanning
them over and over, until I at length, despite the
pain I was suffering, burst out into a sonorous laugh I
If I had been dying, I could not have helped it;
there was something so comic, so irresistibly ludicrous,
in the physiognomy of this sable intruder.
He was a full-grown and rather large negro, as
black as charcoal, with a splendid tier of 'ivories;'
and with eyeballs, pupil and irides excepted, as white
as his teeth. But it was not these that had tickled
my fancy. It was the peculiar contour of his head,
and the set and size of his ears. The former was as
round as a globe, and thickly covered with small
kinky curlets of black wool, so closely set that they
seemed to root at both ends, and form a 'nap!'
From the sides of this sable sphere stood out a pair
of enormous ears, suggesting the idea of wings, and
giving to the head a singularly ludicrous appearance.
It was this peculiarity that had set me laughing;
and, indecorous though it was, for the life of me I
could not help it.
My visitor, however, did not seem to take it amiss.
On the contrary, he at once opened his thick lips, and
85 00087.jpg
THE QUADROON.
displaying the splendid armature of his mouth in a
broad and good-natured grin, began laughing as
loudly as myself I
Good-natured was he. His bat-like ears had in-
fused nothing of the vampire into his character.
No-the very type of jolility and fun was the broad
black face of 'Scipio Bcsancon,' for such was the
cognomen of my visitor.
CHAPTER XV.
'OLE ZIP.'
SOIPIo opened the dialogue:-
'Gollies, young mass'r Ole Zip 'joiced to see um
well 'gain-daat he be.'
'Scipio is it '
'Ye' mass'r-daat same ole nigger. Doctor told
um to nuss do white genl'um. Won't young missa be
glad haself!-white folks, black folks-all be glad.
Wugh !'
T'he finishing exclamation was one of those thoracic
efforts peculiar to the American negro, and bearing a
strong resemblance to the snort of a hippopotamus.
Its utterance signified that my companion had
finished his sentence, and waited for me to speak.
' And who is "young missa ?"' I inquired.
'Gorramighty! don't mass'r know? Why, do
young lady you fetch from de boat, when twar all
ober a blaze. Lor! what a swum you make-half
cross de riber! 'Wugh !'
' And am I in her house ?'
86 00088.jpg
'OLE ZIP.'
' Ob sartin, mass'r-daat ar in de summer-house--
for de big house am on oder side ob do garden-all do
same, mass'r.'
' And how did I get here ?'
'Golly! don't mass'r 'member how? Why, ole
Zip carried 'im in yar in dese berry arms. Mass'r an
young missa come 'shore on do Lebee, down dar jes
by de gate. Missa shout-black folks come out an
find um-white genl'um all blood-he faint, an missa
have him carried in yar.'
'And after?'
'Zip he mount fastest hoss-olo White Fox-an
gallop for de doctor-gallop like de debil, too. Ob
course de doctor he come back along and dress up
mass'r's arm.
' But,' continued Scipio, turning upon me an in-
quiring look, 'how'd young mass'r come by de big
ugly cut? Dat's jes wha de Doe wanted to know, an
dat's jes wha young missa didn't know nuffin 'tall
'bout.'
For certain reasons I forbore satisfying the curiosity
of my sable nurse, but lay for a moment reflecting.
True, the lady knew nothing of my encounter with
the bully. Ha! Antoine-then. Had he not come
ashore? Was he- ? Scipio anticipated the ques-
tion I was about to put. His face became sad as he
recommended speaking.
' Ah young mass'r, Mamsello 'Ginie be in great
'stress dis mornin-all do folks be in great 'stress.
Mass'r Toney! Poor Mass'r Toney!'
'The steward, Antoine ? What of him? Tell me,
has he not come home ?'
' No, mass'r-I'se afeerd he ncbber, nebber will-
ebberybody 'feerd he be drownded-folks a been to do
87 00089.jpg
80 THE QUADROON.
village-up an down de Lebee-ebery wha. No
Toney. Captain ob de boat blowed clar into do sky,
an fifty passengers gone to do bottom.. Oder boat
save some; some, like young mass'r, swum 'shore:
but no Toney-no Mass'r Toney!'
'Do you know if he could swim?' I asked.
'No, mass'r, ne'er a stroke. I knows daat, 'kasehe
once failed into de bayou, and Ole Zip pull 'im out.
No-he nebber swim-nebber.'
'Then I fear he is lost indeed.'
I remembered that the wreck wont down before the
Magnolia had got close alongside. I had noticed this
on looking around. Those who could not swim, there-
fore, must have perished.
'Poor Pierre, too. We hab lost Pierre.'
'Pierre? Who was he?'
'De coachman, mass'r, he war.'
'Oh I remember. You think he is drowned,
also ?'
' I'se afeerd so, mass'r. Ole Zip sorry, too, for
Pierre. A good nigger war daat Pierre. But, Mass'r
Toney, Mass'r Toney, ebberybody sorry for Mass'r
Toney.'
'He was a favourite among you?'
'Ebberybody like 'im-black folks, white folks, all
lub 'im. Missa 'Genie lub 'im. He live wi' ole Mass'r
SanQon all him life. I believe war one ob Missy
'Gdnie gardiums, or whatever you call 'em. Gorra-
mighty! what will young Missa do now? She hab
no friends leff; and daat ole fox Gayarre-he no
good-'
Here the speaker suddenly interrupted himself, as
if he feared that his tongue was going too freely.
The name he had pronounced and the expression
88 00090.jpg
'OI.E ZIP.'
by which it was qualified, at once awakened my
curiosity-the name more than the qualification.
' If it be the same,' thought I, Scipio has charac-
terised him not otherwise than justly. Can it be the
same ?'
' You mean M. Dominique Gayarre, the avocat ?' I
asked, after a pause.
Scipio's great white eyeballs rolled about with an
expression of mingled surprise and apprehension, and
rather stammeringly lie replied:-
' Daat am de genl'um's name. Know 'im, young
mass'r ?'
' Only very slightly,' I answered, and this answer
seemed to set my companion at his ease again.
The truth is, I had no personal acquaintance with
the individual mentioned; but during my stay in New
Orleans, accident had brought me in contact with the
name. A little adventure had befallen me, in which
the bearer of it figured-not to advantage. On the
contrary, I had conceived a strong dislike for the
man, who, as already stated, was a lawyer, or avocat
of the New Orleans bar. Scipio's man was no doubt
the same. The name was too rare a one to be borne
by two individuals; besides, I had heard that he was
owner of a plantation somewhere up the coast-at
Bringiers, I remembered. The probabilities were it
was he. If so, and Mademoiselle Besanqon had no
other friend, then, indeed, had Scipio spoken truly
when he said, 'She hab no friends leff.'
Scipio's observation had not only roused my curio-
sity, but had imparted to me a vague feeling of un-
easiness. It is needless to say that I was now deeply
interested in this young Creole. A man who has
saved a life-the life of a beautiful woman-and under
89 00091.jpg
ba THE QUADROON.
such peculiar circumstances, could not well be indiffer-
ent to the after-fate of her he has rescued.
Was it a lover's interest that had been awakened
within me?
My heart answered, No! To my own astonishment,
it gave this answer. On the boat I had fancied
myself half in love with this young lady; and now,
after a romantic incident-one that might appear a
very provocative to the sublime passion-I lay on my
couch contemplating the whole affair with a coolness
that surprised even myself! I felt that I had lost
much blood-had my incipient passion flowed out of
my veins at the same time ?
I endeavoured to find some explanation for this rare
psychological fact; but at that time I was but an
indifferent student of the mind. The land of love
was to me a terre inconnue.
One thing was odd enough. Whenever I essayed to
recall the features of the Creole, the dream-face rose
up before me more palpable than ever !
' Strange !' thought I,' this lovely vision this dream
of my diseased brain! Oh! what would I not give to
embody this fair spectral form !'
I had no longer a doubt about it. I was certain
I did not love Mademoiselle Besanqon, and yet I was
far from feeling indifferent towards her. Friendship
was the feeling that now actuated me. The interest
I felt for her was that of a friend. Strong enough
was it to render me anxious on her account-to make
me desirous of knowing more both of herself and her
affairs.
Scipio was not of secretive habit; and in less than
half an hour I was the confidant of all he know.
Euginie Besangon was the daughter and only child
90 00092.jpg
'OLE ZIP.' 83
of a Creole planter, who had died some two years
before, as some thought wealthy, while others believed
that his affairs were embarrassed. M. Dominique
Gayarre had been left joint-administrator of the
estate with the steward Antoine, both being 'guar-
diums' (sic Scipio) of the young lady. Gayarre had
been the lawyer of Besanqon, and Antoine his faithful
servitor. Hence the trust reposed in the old steward,
who in latter years stood in the relation of friend
and companion rather than of servant to Besanqon
himself.
In a few months mademoiselle would be of age; but
whether her inheritance was large, Scipio could not
tell. He only knew that since her father's death,
M. Dominique, the principal executor, had furnished
her with ample funds whenever called upon; that she
had not been restricted in any way; that she was
generous; that she was profuse in her expenditure,
or, as Scipio described it, 'berry wasteful, an flung
about de shinin dollars as ef dey war domicks!'
The black gave some glowing details of many a
grand ball and f'te champetre that had taken place on
the plantation, and hinted at the expensive life which
'young missa' led while in the city, where she usually
resided during most part of the winter. All this I
could easily credit. From what had occurred on the
boat, and other circumstances, I was impressed with
the belief that Eugdnie Besancon was just the person
to answer to the description of Scipio. Ardent of soul
-full of warm impulses-generous to a fault-reckless
in expenditure-living altogether in the present-and
not caring to make any calculation for the future.
Just such an heiress as would exactly suit the pur-
poses of an unprincipled administrator.
91 00093.jpg
84 THE QUADROON.
I could see that poor Scipio had a great regard for
his young mistress; but, even ignorant as he was, he
had some suspicion that all this profuse outlay boded
no good. He shook his head as he talked of these
matters, adding-
' I'se afeerd, young mass'r, it'll nebber, nebber last.
De Planters' bank hisseff would be broke by such a
constant drawin ob money.'
When Scipio came to speak of Gayarre he shook his
head still more significantly He had evidently some
strange suspicions about this individual, though he
was unwilling, just then, to declare them.
I learnt enough to identify M. Dominique Gayarre
with my avocat of the Rue New Orleans. No
doubt remained on my mind that it was the same. A
lawyer by profession, but more of a speculator in
stocks-a money-lender, in other words, usurer. In
the country a planter, owning the plantation adjoining
that of Besancon, with more than a hundred slaves,
whom he treats with the utmost severity. All this is
in correspondence with the calling and character of
my M. Dominique. They are the same.
Scipio gives me some additional details of him. Ho
was the law adviser and the companion of Monsieur
Besanpon-Scipio says, 'Too often for ole mass'r's
good,' and believes that the latter suffered much from
his acquaintance: or, as Scipio phrases it, 'Mass'r
Gayarre humbug ole mass'r; he cheat 'im many an
many a time, I'se certain.'
Furthermore, I learn from my attendant, that
Gayarre resides upon his plantation during the sum-
mer months; that he is a daily visitor at the 'big
house'-the residence of Mademoiselle Besancon-
where he makes himself quite at home; acting, says
92 00094.jpg
tI. DOMINIQUE GAYARRE.
Scipio, 'as ef de place 'longed to him, and he war do
boss ob de plantation.'
I fancied Scipio knew something more about this
man-some definite matter that he did not like to talk
about. It was natural enough, considering our recent
acquaintance. I could see that he had a strong
dislike towards Gayarre. Did he found it on some
actual knowledge of the latter, or was it instinct-a
principle strongly developed in these poor slaves, who
are not permitted to reason ?
His information, however, comprised too many facts
to be the product of mere instinct: it savoured of
actual knowledge. He must have learnt these things
from some quarter. Where could he have gathered
them?
' Who told you all this, Scipio ?'
' Aurore, mass'r.'
' Aurore!'
CHAPTER XVI.
M. DOMINIQUE GAYAIRE.
I FELT a sudden desire, amounting almost to anxiety,
to learn who was 'Aurore.' Why? Was it the sin-
gularity and beauty of the name,-for novel and beau-
tiful it sounded in my Saxon ears ? No. Was it the
mere euphony of the word; its mythic associations;
its less ideal application to the rosy hours of the
Orient, or the shining phosphorescence of the North 7
Was it any of these associate thoughts that awoke
93 00095.jpg
86 TIfE QtADItOOt.
within me this mysterious interest in the name
' Aurore V'
I was not allowed time to reflect, or question Scipio
farther. At that moment the door was darkened by
the entrance of two men; who, without saying a word,
stepped inside the apartment.
' Da doctor, mass'r,' whispered Scipio, falling back,
and permitting the gentlemen to approach.
Of the two it was not difficult to tell which was the
'doctor.' The professional face was unmistakable:
and I knew that the tall pale man, who regarded me
with interrogative glance, was a disciple of Esculapius,
as certainly as if he had carried his diploma in one
hand and his door-plate in the other.
He was a man of forty, not ill-featured, though the
face was not one that would be termed handsome. It
was, however, interesting, from a quiet intellectuality
that characterized it, as well as an habitual expression
of kind feeling. It had been a German face some two
or three generations before, but an American climate,
-political, I mean,-had tamed down the rude lines
produced by ages of European despotism, and had
almost restored it to its primitive nobility of feature.
Afterwards, when better acquainted with American
types, I should have known it as a Pennsylvanian face,
and such in reality it was. I saw before me a graduate
of one of the great medical schools of Philadelphia,
Dr.Edward Reigart. The name confirmed my suspicion
of German origin.
Altogether my medical attendant made a pleasing
impression upon me at first sight.
How different was that I received on glancing
toward his companion antagonism, hatred, con-
tempt, disgust! A face purely French ;-not that
94 00096.jpg
1I. DO1MXIQUE GAYARRE. 87
noble French face we see in the Duguesclins, the Jean
Barts, and among many of the old Huguenot heroes;
and in modern days in a Rollin, a Hugo, an Arago, or
a Pyat;-but such an one as you may see any day by
hundreds sneaking around the Bourse or the coulisses
of the Opera, or in thousands scowling from under a
shako in the ranks of a ruffian soldiery. A counte-
nance that I cannot describe better than by saying
that its features forcibly reminded me of those of a
fox.' I am not in jest. I observed this resemblance
plainly. I observed the same obliquity of eyes, the
same sharp quick glance that betokened the presence
of deep dissimulation, of utter selfishness, of cruel
inhumanity.
In the Doctor's companion I beheld a type of this
face,--the fox in human form, and with all the attri-
butes of this animal highly developed.
My instincts chimed with Scipio's, for I had not the
slightest doubt that before me stood M. Dominique
Gayarre. It was he.
A man of small stature he was, and thinly built, but
evidently one who could endure a great deal before
parting with life. He had all the subtle wiry look of
the carnivora, as well as their disposition. The eyes,
as already observed, obliqued strongly downwards.
The balls were not globe-shaped, but rather obtuse
cones, of which the pupil was the apex. Both pupils
and irides were black, and glistened like the eyes of a
weasel. They seemed to sparkle in a sort of habitual
smile; but this smile was purely cynical and deceptive.
If any one knew themselves guilty of a weakness or a
crime they felt certain that Dominique Gayarre knew
it, and it was at this he was laughing. 'When a case
of misfortune did really present itself to his knowledge,
95 00097.jpg
88 THE QUADnOOW.
his smile became more intensely satirical, and his
small prominent eyes sparkled with evident delight.
He was a lover of himself and a hater of his kind.
For the rest, he had black hair, thin and limp-
shaggy dark brows, set obliquely-face without beard,
of pale cadaverous hue, and surmounted by a parrot-
beak nose of large dimensions. His dress had some-
what of a professional cut, and consisted of dark
broadcloth, with vest of black satin; and around his
neck, instead of cravat, he wore a broad black ribbon.
In age he looked fifty.
The doctor felt my pulse, asked me how I had slept,
looked at my tongue, felt my pulse a second time, and
then in a kindly way desired me to keep myself 'as
quiet as possible.' As an inducement to do so he told
me I was still very weak, that I had lost a good deal of
blood, but hoped that a few days would restore me to
my strength. Scipio was charged with my diet, and
was ordered to prepare tea, toast, and broiled chicken,
for my breakfast.
The doctor did not inquire how I came by my
wound. This I thought somewhat strange, but
ascribed it to his desire that I should remain quiet.
He fancied, no doubt, that any allusion to the circum-
stances of the preceding night might cause me un-
necessary excitement. I was too anxious about An-
toine to remain silent, and inquired the news. Nothing
more had been heard of him. He was certainly lost.
I recounted the circumstances under which I had
parted with him, and of course described my encounter
with the bully, and how I had received the wound. I
could not help remarking a strange expression that
marked the features of Gayarre as I spoke. He was
all attention, and when I told of the raft of chairs, and
96 00098.jpg
MI. DOMINIQUE GAYARRE.
expressed my conviction that they would not support
the steward a single moment, I fancied I saw the dark
eyes of the avocat flashing with delight! There cer-
tainly was an expression in them of ill-concealed
satisfaction that was hideous to behold. I might not
have noticed this, or at all events not have understood
it, but for what Scipio had already told me. Now its
meaning was unmistakable, and notwithstanding the
' poor M. Antoine !' to which the hypocrite repeatedly
gave utterance, I saw plainly that he was secretly
delighted at the idea of the old steward's having gone
to the bottom!
When I had finished my narrative, Gayarre drew
the doctor aside; and the two conversed for some
moments in a low tone. I could hear part of what
passed between them. The doctor seemed not to care
whether I overheard him, while the other appeared
equally anxious that their conversation should not
reach me. From the replies of the doctor I could
make out that the wily lawyer wished to have me
removed from my present quarters, and taken to an
hotel in the village. He urged the peculiar position
in which the young lady (Mademoiselle Besanvon)
would be placed-alone in her house with a stranger
-a young man, &c. &c.
The doctor did not see the necessity of my removal
on such grounds. The lady herself did not wish it-
in fact, would not hear of it; he pooh-poohed the
' peculiarity' of the 'situation,' good Doctor Reigart!
-the accommodation of the hotel was none of the
best; besides, it was already crowded with other
sufferers; and here the speaker's voice sank so low I
could only catch odd phrases, as 'stranger,' 'not an
American,' lost everything,' friends far away,' the
G
97 00099.jpg
THE QUADROON.
hotel no place for a man without money.' Gayarre's
reply to this last objection was that he would be re-
sponsible for my hotel bill.
This was intentionally spoken loud enough for me
to hear it; and I should have felt grateful for such an
offer, had I not suspected some sinister motive for the
lawyer's generosity. The doctor met the proposal
with still further objections.
'Impossible,' said he ; 'bring on fever,' great risk,'
'would not take the responsibility,' 'bad wound,'
'much loss of blood,' must remain where he is for the
present at least,' 'might be taken to the hotel in a day
or two when stronger.'
The promise of my removal in a day or two appeared
to satisfy the weasel Gayarre, or rather he became
satisfied that such was the only course that could be
taken with me, and the consultation ended.
Gayarre now approached the bed to take leave, and
I could trace that ironical expression playing in the
pupils of his little eyes as he pronounced some pre-
tended phrases of consolation. He little knew to
whom he was speaking. Had I uttered my name it
would perhaps have brought the colour to his pale
cheek, and caused him to make an abrupt exit. Pru-
dence prevented me from declaring it; and when the
doctor requested to know upon whom he had the
honour of attending, I adopted the pardonable strategy,
in use among distinguished travellers, of giving a nom
du voyage. I assumed my maternal patronymic of
Rutherford,-Edward Rutherford.
Recommending me to keep myself quiet, not to
attempt leaving my bed, to take certain prescriptions
at certain hours, &c. &c., the doctor took his leave;
Gayarre having already gone out before him,
98 00100.jpg
( 91 )
CHAPTER XVII.
'AUROBE.'
I was for the moment alone, Scipio having betakenn
himself to the kitchen in search of the tea, toast, and
chicken 'fixings.' I lay reflecting upon the interview
just ended, and especially upon the conversation be-
tween the doctor and Gayarre, in which had occurred
several points that suggested singular ideas. The
conduct of the doctor was natural enough, indeed be-
tokened the true gentleman; but for the other there
was a sinister design-I could not doubt it.
Why the desire-an anxiety, in fact-to have me
removed to the hotel? Evidently there was some
strong motive, since he proposed to pay the expenses;
for from my slight knowledge of the man I knew him
to be the very opposite to generous!
' What can be his motive for my removal ?' I asked
myself.
'Ha! I have it-I have the explanation! I see
through his designs clearly! This fox, this cunning
avocat, this guardian, is no doubt in love with his
own ward! She is young, rich, beautiful, a belle, and
he old, ugly, mean, and contemptible; but what of
that? He does not think himself either one or the
other; and she-bah!-he may even hope: far less
reasonable hopes have been crowned with success.
He knows the world; he is a lawyer; he knows at
least her world. He is her solicitor; holds her affairs
entirely in his hands; he is guardian, executor, agent
-all; has perfect and complete control. With such
G2
99 00101.jpg
yU THE QUADROON.
advantages, what can he not effect? All that he may
desire-her marriage, or her ruin. Poor lady! I
pity her!'
Strange to say, it was only pity. That it was not
another feeling was a mystery I could not compre-
hend.
* * * *
The entrance of Scipio interrupted my reflections.
A young girl assisted him with the plates and dishes.
This was Chloe,' his daughter, a child of thirteen, or
thereabouts, but not black like the father! She was
a 'yellow girl,' with rather handsome features.
Scipio explained this. The mother of his 'leettle
Chlo,' as he called her, was a nmulatta, and 'Chlo'
hab taken arter de ole 'oman. Hya i hya !'
The tone of Scipio's laugh showed that he was
more than satisfied-proud, in fact-of being the
father of so light-skinned and pretty a little creature
as Chloe!
Chloe, like all her kind, was brimful of curiosity,
and in rolling about the whites of her eyes to get a
peep at the buckra stranger who had saved her mis-
tress' life, she came near breaking cups, plates, and
dishes; for which negligence Scipio would have boxed
her ears, but for my intercession. The odd expres-
sions and gestures, the novel behaviour of both father
and daughter, the peculiarity of this slave-life, inte-
rested me.
I had a keen appetite, notwithstanding my weak-
ness. I had eaten nothing on the boat; in the ex-
citement of the race, supper had been forgotten by
most of the passengers, myself among the number.
Scipio's preparations now put my palate in tune, and
I did ample justice to the skill of Chloe's mother,
100 00102.jpg
' AURORE.' 93
who, as Scipio informed me, was 'de boss in do kit-
chen.' The tea strengthened me; the chicken, deli-
cately fricassded and garnished upon rice, seemed to
refill my veins with fresh blood. With the exception
of the slight pain of my wound, I already felt quite
restored.
My attendants removed the breakfast things, and
after awhile Scipio returned to remain in the room
with me, for such were his orders.
'And now, Scipio,' I said, as soon as we were alone,
'tell me of Aurore 1'
''Rore, mass'r !'
'Yes-Who is Aurore ?'
'Poor slave, mass'r; jes like Ole Zip heamseff.'
The vague interest I had begun to feel in Aurore'
vanished at once.
'A slave!' repeated I, involuntarily, and in a tone
of disappointment.
'She Missa 'Genie's maid,' continued Scipio; 'dress
missa's hair-wait on her-sit wi' her-read to her-
do ebbery ting-'
' Read to her! what!-a slave ?'
My interest in Aurore began to return.
' Ye, mass'r-daat do 'Rore. But I 'splain to you.
Ole Mass'r 'Sangon berry good to de coloured people
-teach many ob um read de books-'specially 'Rore.
'Rore he struckt read, write, many, many tings, and
young Missa 'Genie she teach her de music. 'Rore
she 'complish gal-berry 'complish gal. Know many
ting; jes like de white folks. Plays on de peany-
-plays on de guitar-guitar jes like banjo, an Olo
Zip play on daat heamseff-he do. Wugh !'
'And withal, Auroro is a poor slave just liko the
rest of you, Scipio ?'
101 00103.jpg
V4 THE QUADROON.
'Oh! no, mass'r; she be berry different from de
rest. She lib different life from de other nigga-she
no hard work-she berry vallyble-she fotch two
thousand dollar!'
'Fetch two thousand dollars !'
' Ye, mass'r, ebbery cent-ebbery cent ob daat.'
'How know you ?'
''Case daat much war bid for her. Mass'r Marigny
want buy 'Rore, an Mass'r Crozat, and de American
Colonel on de oder side ob ribber-dey all bid two
thousand dollar-ole mass'r he only larf at um, and
say he won't sell de gal for no money.'
' This was in old master's time ?'
'Ye-ye-but one bid since-one boss ob riber-
boat-he say he want 'Rore for de lady cabin. He
talk rough to her. Missa she angry-tell 'im go.
Mass'r Toney he angry, tell 'im go; and de boat
captain he go angry like de rest. Hya hya! hya!'
'And why should Aurore command such a price ?'
'Oh she berry good gal-berry good gal-but- '
Scipio hesitated a moment-' but- '
' Well?'
'I don't believe, mass'r, daat's de reason.'
'What, then ?'
' Why, mass'r, to tell de troof, I believe dar all bad
men daat wanted to buy de gal.'
Delicately as it was conveyed, I understood the
insinuation.
'Ho! Aurore must be beautiful, then? Is it so,
friend Scipio ?'
'Mass'r, 'taint for dis ole nigger to judge 'bout
daat ;but folks dey say-bof white folks an black' folks
-daat she am de best-lookin' an hansomest quad-
eroom in all Loozyanna.'
102 00104.jpg
'Ha! a quadroon?'
'Daat are a fack, mass'r, daat same-she be a gal
ob colour-nebber mind-she white as young missa
herseff. Missa larf and say so many, many time-
but fr'all daat dar am great difference-one rich lady
-t'other poor slave-jes like Ole Zip-aye, jes like
Ole Zip-buy 'em, sell 'em, all de same.'
' Could you describe Aurore, Scipio ?'
It was not idle curiosity that prompted me to put
this question. A stronger motive impelled me. The
dream-face still haunted me-those features of strange
type-its strangely-beautiful expression, not Cau-
casian, not Indian, not Asiatic. Was it possible-
probable-
'Could you describe her, Scipio ?' I repeated.
''Scribe her, mass'r; daat what you mean? ye-
yes.'
I had no hope of a very lucid painting, but perhaps
a few 'points' would serve to identify the likeness of
my vision. In my mind the portrait was as plainly
drawn as if the real face were before my eyes. I
should easily tell if Aurore and my dream were one.
I began to think it was no dream, but a reality.
'Well, mass'r, some folks says she am proud, case
de common niggers envy ob her-daat's de troof.
She nebber proud to Ole Zip, daat I knows-she talk
to 'im, an tell 'im many tings-she help teach Ole Zip
read, and de ole Chloe, and de leettle Chloe, an she-'
'It is a description of her person I ask for, Scipio.'
'Oh I a 'scription ob her person-ye-daat is, what
am she like ?'
'So. What sort of hair, for instance ? What colour
is it?'
'Brack, mass'r; brack as a boot.'
' AURORE.'
103 00105.jpg
96 THE QUADROON.
'Is it straight hair ?'
'No, mass'r-ob course not-Aurore am a quade-
room.'
' It curls ?'
'Well, not dzactly like this hyar;' here Scipio
pointed to his own kinky head-covering; 'but for all
daat, mass'r, it curls-what folks call de wave.'
' I understand; it falls down to her shoulders ?'
' Daat it do, mass'r, down to de berry small ob her
back.'
' Luxuriant ?'
' What am dat, mass'r ?
'Thick-bushy.'
' Golly! it am as bushy as de ole coon's tail.'
' Now the eyes?'
Scipio's description of the quadroon's eyes was
rather a confused one. He was happy in a simile,
however, which I felt satisfied with: 'Dey am big
an round-dey shine like de eyes of a deer.' The
nose puzzled him, but after some elaborate question-
ing, I could make out that it was straight and small.
The eyebrows-the teeth-the complexion-were all
faithfully pictured-that of the cheeks by a simile,
'like de red ob a Georgium peach.'
Comic as was the description given, I had no
inclination to be amused with it. I was too much
interested in the result, and listened to every detail
with an anxiety I could not account for.
The portrait was finished at length, and I felt
certain it must be that of the lovely apparition.
When Scipio had ended speaking, I lay upon my
couch burning with an intense desire to see this fair-
this priceless quadroon.
Just then a bell rang from the house.
104 00106.jpg
' AURnOE.' 97
'Scipio wanted, mass'r-daat him bell-be back
'gain in a minute, mass'r.'
So saying, the negro left me, and ran towards the
house.
I lay reflecting on the singular-somewhat romantic
-situation in which circumstances had suddenly
placed me. But yesterday-but the night before-a
traveller, without a dollar in my purse, and not know-
ing what roof would next shelter me-to-day the guest
of a lady, young, rich, unmarried-the invalid guest-
laid up for an indefinite period; well cared for and
well attended.
These thoughts soon gave way to others. The
dream-face drove them out of my mind, and I found
myself comparing it with Scipio's picture of the
quadroon. The more I did so, the more I was struck
with their correspondence. How could I have dreamt
a thing so palpable? Scarce probable. Surely I
must have seen it? Why not? Forms and faces
were around me when I fainted and was carried in;
why not hers among the rest? This was, indeed,
probable, and would explain all. But was she among
them? I should ask Scipio on his return.
The long conversation I had held with my attendant
had wearied me, weak and exhausted as I was. The
bright sun shining across my chamber did not prevent
me from feeling drowsy; and after a few minutes I
sank back upon my pillow, and fell asleep.
105 00107.jpg
( 98 )
CHAPTER XVIII.
THE CREOLE AND QUADBOON.
I SLEPT for perhaps an hour soundly. Then some-
thing awoke me, and I lay for some moments only
half sensible to outward impressions.
Pleasant impressions they were. Sweet perfumes
floated around me; and I could distinguish a soft,
silky rustling, such as betokens the presence of well-
dressed women.
' He wakes; ma'amselle!' half whispered a sweet
voice.
My eyes, now open, rested upon the speaker. For
some moments I thought it was but the continuation
of my dream. There was the dream-face, the black
profuse hair, the brilliant orbs, the arching brows, the
small, curving lips, the damask cheek-all before me I
'Is it a dream ? No-she breathes; she moves-
she speaks!'
' See! ma'amselle-he looks at us! Surely he is
awake!'
' It is no dream, then-no vision; it is she-it is
Aurore !'
Up to this moment I was still but half conscious.
The thought had passed from my lips; but, perhaps,
only the last phrase was uttered loud enough to be
heard. An ejaculation that followed fully awoke me,
and I now saw two female forms close by the side of
my couch. They stood regarding each other with
looks of surprise. One was Euginie; beyond doubt,
the other was Aurore I
106 00108.jpg
THE CREOLE AND QUADROON.
'Your name !' said the astonished mistress.
' My name !' repeated the equally astonished slave.
' But how?--he knows your name-how?'
'I cannot tell, ma'amselle.'
' Have you been here before ?'
'No; not till this moment.'
''Tis very strange 1' said the young lady, turning
towards me with an inquiring glance.
I was now awake, and in full possession of my
senses-enough to perceive that I had been talking too
loud. My knowledge of the quadroon's name would
require an explanation, and for the life of me I knew
not what to say. To tell what I had been thinking--
to account for the expressions I had uttered-would
have placed me in a very absurd position; and yet to
maintain silence might leave Ma'amselle BesanCon
busy with some strange thoughts. Something must
be said-a little deceit was absolutely necessary.
In hopes she would speak first, and, perchance, give
me a key to what I should say, I remained for some
moments without opening my lips. I pretended to
feel pain from my wound, and turned uneasily on the
bed. She seemed not to notice this, but remained in
her attitude of surprise, simply repeating the words-
' 'Tis very strange he should know your name!'
My imprudent speech had made an impression. I
could remain silent no longer; and, turning my face
once more, I pretended now for the first time to be
aware of Mademoiselle's presence, at the same time
offering my congratulations, and expressing my joy at
seeing her.
After one or two anxious inquiries in relation to my
wound, she asked-
' But how came you to name Aurore ?
107 00109.jpg
THE QUADROO.
' Aurore I' I replied. Oh! you think it strange
that I should know her name? Thanks to Scipio's
faithful portraiture, I knew at the first glance that
this was Aurore.'
I pointed to the quadroon, who had retired a pace
or two, and stood silent and evidently astonished.
' Oh! Scipio has been speaking of her ?'
' Yes, ma'amselle. He and I have had a busy morn-
ing of it. I have drawn largely on Scipio's knowledge
of plantation affairs. I am already acquainted with
Aunt Chloe, and little Chloe, and a whole host of your
people. These things interest me who am strange to
your Louisiana life.'
'Monsieur,' replied the lady, seemingly satisfied
with my explanation, I am glad you are so well.
The doctor has given me the assurance you will soon
recover. Noble stranger! I have heard how you
received your wound. For me it was-in my defence.
Oh! how shall I ever repay you ?-how thank you for
my life?'
' No thanks, ma'amselle, are necessary. It was the
fulfilment of a simple duty on my part. I ran no
great risk in saving you.'
'No risk, monsieur! Every risk-from the knife
of an assassin-from the waves. No risk! But,
monsieur, I can assure you my gratitude shall be in
proportion to your generous gallantry. My heart tells
me so ;-alas, poor heart! it is filled at once with
gratitude and grief.'
' Yes, ma'amselle, I understand you have much to
lament, in the loss of a faithful servant.'
'Faithful servant, monsieur! say, rather, friend.
Faithful, indeed! Sine my poor father's death, he
has been my father. All my cares were his; all my
108 00110.jpg
THE CREOLE AND QUADROON. 101
affairs in his hands. I knew not trouble.' But now,
alas! I know not what is before me.'
Suddenly changing her manner, she eagerly in-
quired-
' When you last saw him, monsieur, you say he
was struggling with the ruffian who wounded you?'
' He was.-It was the last I saw of either.'
'There is no hope-none-the boat went down a
few moments after. Poor Antoine! poor Antoine!'
Again she burst into tears, for she had evidently
been weeping before. I could offer no consolation. I
did not attempt it. It was better she should weep.
Tears alone could relieve her.
'The coachman, Pierre, too-one of the most
devoted of my people-he, too, is lost. I grieve for
him as well; but Antoine was my father's friend-he
was mine-Oh! the loss-the loss!-friendless; and
yet, perhaps, I may soon need friends. Pauvre Antoine!'
She wept as she uttered these phrases. Aurore
was also in tears. I could not restrain myself-the
eyes of childhood returned, and I too wept.
This solemn scene was at length brought to a termi-
nation by Eugenie, who appearing suddenly to gain
the mastery over her grief, approached the bed-side.
' Monsieur,' said she, I fear for some time you will
find in me a sad host. I cannot easily forget my
friend, but I know you will pardon me for thus
indulging in a moment of sorrow. For the present,
adieu! I shall return soon, and see that you are
properly waited upon. I have lodged you in this
little place, that you might be out of reach of noises
that would disturb you. Indeed I am to blame for
this present intrusion. The doctor has ordered you
not to be visited, but-I-I could not rest till I had
109 00111.jpg
102 THE QUADROON.
seen the preserver of my life, and offered him my
thanks. Adieu, adieu Come, Aurore !'
* * *
I was left alone, and lay reflecting upon the
interview. It had impressed me with a profound
feeling of friendship for Eugdnie Besangon;-more
than friendship-sympathy : for I could not resist the
belief that, somehow or other, she was in peril-that
over that young heart, late so light and gay, a cloud
was gathering.
I felt for her regard, friendship, sympathy,-nothing
more. And why nothing more? Why did I not love
her, young, rich, beautiful ? Why ?
Because I loved another-I loved Aurore!
CHAPTER XIX.
A LOUISIAN LANDSCAPE.
LIFE in the chamber of an invalid-who cares to listen
to its details ? They can interest no one-scarce the
invalid himself. Mine was a daily routine of trifling
acts, and consequent reflections-a monotony, broken,
however, at intervals, by the life-giving presence
of the being I loved. At such moments I was no
longer ennuyd; my spirit escaped from its death-like
lassitude; and the sick chamber for the time seemed
an Elysium.
Alas! these scenes were but of a few minutes'
duration, while the intervals between them were
hours-long hours-so long, I fancied them days.
110 00112.jpg
A LOUISIAN LANDSCAPE. 103
Twice every day I was visited by my fair host and her
companion. Neither ever came alone!
There was constraint on my part, often bordering
upon perplexity. My conversation was with the
Creole, my thoughts dwelt upon the Quadroon. With
the latter I dare but exchange glances. Etiquette
restrained the tongue, though all the conventionalities
of the world could not hinder the eyes from speaking
in their own silent but expressive language.
Even in this there was constraint. My love-glances
were given by stealth. They were guided by a
double dread. On one hand, the fear that their
expression should not be understood and reciprocated
by the Quadroon. On the other, that they might be
too well understood by the Creole, who would regard
me with scorn and contempt. I never dreamt that
they might awaken jealousy-I thought not of such a
thing. Eug6nie was sad, grateful, and friendly, but in
her calm demeanour and firm tone of voice there was
no sign of love. Indeed the terrible shock occasioned
by the tragic occurrence, appeared to have produced
a complete change in her character. The sylph-like
elasticity of her mind, formerly a characteristic,
seemed to have quite forsaken her. From a gay girl
she had all at once become a serious woman. She
was not the less beautiful, but her beauty impressed
me only as that of the statue. It failed to enter my
heart, already filled with beauty of a still rarer and
more glowing kind. The Creole loved me not; and,
strange to say, the reflection, instead of piquing my
vanity, rather gratified me !
How different when my thoughts dwelt upon the
Quadroon! Did she love me? This was the question,
for whose answer my heart yearned with fond eager-
111 00113.jpg
104 THE QUADROON.
ness. She always attended upon Mademoiselle during
her visits; but not a word dare I exchange with her,
although my heart was longing to yield up its secret.
I even feared that my burning glances might betray
me. Oh if Mademoiselle but knew of my love, she
would scorn and despise me. What! in love with a
slave! her slave!
I understood this feeling well-this black crime of
her nation. What was it to me ? Why should I care
for customs and conventionalities which I at heart
despised, even outside the levelling influence of love ?
But under that influence, less did I care to respect
them. In the eyes of Love, rank loses its fictitious
charm-titles seem trivial things. For me, Beauty
wears the crown.
So far as regarded my feelings, I would not have
cared a straw if the whole world had known of my
love-not a straw for its scorn. But there were other
considerations-the courtesy due to hospitality-to
friendship; and there were considerations of a less
delicate but still graver nature-the promptings of
prudence. The situation in which I was placed was
most peculiar, and I knew it. I knew that my passion,
even if reciprocated, must be secret and silent. Talk
of making love to a young miss closely watched by
governess or guardian-a ward in Chancery-an heiress
of expectant thousands! It is but child's play' to
break through the entourage that surrounds one of
such. To scribble sonnets and scale walls is but an
easy task, compared with the bold effrontery that
challenges the passions and prejudices of a people!
My wooing promised to be anything but easy; my
love-path was likely to be a rugged one.
* 'I * *
112 00114.jpg
A LOtjISIAN LANDSCAPE. 105
Notwithstanding the monotony of confinement to
my chamber, the hours of my convalescence passed
pleasantly enough. Everything was furnished me
that could contribute to my comfort or recovery.
Ices, delicious drinks, flowers, rare and costly fruits,
were constantly supplied to me. For my dishes I
was indebted to the skill of Scipio's helpmate, Chloe,
and through her I became acquainted with the Creole
delicacies of 'gumbo,' 'fish chowder,' fricassded frogs,
hot waffles,' stewed tomatoes, and many other dainties
of the Louisiana cuisine. From the hands of Scipio
himself I did not refuse a slice of roasted 'possum,'
and went even so far as to taste a 'coon steak,'-but
only once, and I regarded it as once too often. Scipio,
however, had no scruples about eating this fox-like
creature, and could demolish the greater part of one
at a single sitting!
By degrees I became initiated into the little habi-
tudes and customs of life upon a Louisiana plantation.
' Ole Zip' was my instructor, as he continued to be
my constant attendant. When Scipio's talk tired me,
I had recourse to books, of which a good stock
(mostly French authors,) filled the little book-case in
my apartment. I found among them nearly every
work that related to Louisiana-a proof of rare judg-
ment on the part of whoever had made the collection.
Among others, I read the graceful romance of Chateau-
briand, and the history of Du Pratz. In the former I
could not help remarking that want of vraisemblance
which, in my opinion, forms the great charm of a
novel; and which must ever be absent where an
author attempts the painting of scenes or costumes not
known to him by actual observation.
With regard to the historian, he indulges largely in
H
113 00115.jpg
106 THE QUADROO.00
those childish exaggerations so characteristic of the
writers of the time. This remark applies, without
exception, to all the old writers on American subjects
-whether English, Spanish, or French-the chron-
iclers of two-headed snakes, crocodiles twenty yards
long, and boas big enough to swallow both horse and
rider! Indeed, it is difficult to conceive how these
old authors gained credence for their incongruous
stories; but it must be remembered that science
was not then sufficiently advanced 'to audit their
accounts.'
More than in anything else was I interested in the
adventures and melancholy fate of La Salld; and I
could not help wondering that American writers have
done so little to illustrate the life of the brave cheva-
lier-surely the most picturesque passage in their
early history-the story and the scene equally
inviting.
' The scene! Ah! lovely indeed!'
With such an exclamation did I hail it, when, for
the first time, I sat at my window and gazed out upon
a Louisiana landscape.
The windows, as in all Creole houses, reached down
to the floor; and seated in my lounge-chair, with the
sashes wide open, with the beautiful French curtains
thrown back, I commanded an extended view of the
country.
A gorgeous picture it presented. The pencil of
the painter could scarcely exaggerate its vivid co-
louring.
My window faces westward, and the great river
rolls its yellow flood before my face, its ripples
glittering like gold. On its farther shore I can see
cultivated fields, where wave the tall graceful culms
114 00116.jpg
A LOUISIAN LANDSCAPE.
of the sugar-cane, easily distinguished from the
tobacco-plant, of darker hue. Upon the bank of the
river, and nearly opposite, stands a noble mansion,
something in the style of an Italian villa, with green
venetians and verandah. It is embowered in groves
of orange and lemon-trees, whose frondage of yellowish
green glistens gaily in the distance. No mountains
meet the view-there is not a mountain in all
Louisiana; but the tall dark wall of cypress, rising
against the western rim of the sky, produces an effect
very similar to a mountain back-ground.
On my own side of the river the view is more
gardenesque, as it consists principally of the enclosed
pleasure-ground of the plantation Besangon. Here I
study objects more in detail, and am able to note the
species of trees that form the shrubbery. I observe
the Magnolia, with large white wax-like flowers,
somewhat resembling the giant nympha of Guiana.
Some of these have already disappeared, and in their
stead are seen the coral-red seed-cones, scarce less
ornamental than the flowers themselves.
Side by side with this western-forest queen, almost
rivalling her in beauty and fragrance, and almost
rivalling her in fame, is a lovely exotic, a native of
Orient climes-though here long naturalized. Its
large doubly-pinnate leaves of dark and lighter green,
-for both shades are observed on the same tree; its
lavender-coloured flowers hanging in axillary clusters
from the extremities of the shoots; its yellow cherry-
like fruits-some of which are already formed,-all
point out its species. It is one of the meliacece, or
honey-trees,-the 'Indian-lilac,' or 'Pride of China'
(Melia azedaracl). The nomenclature bestowed upon
this fine tree by different nations indicates the estima-
H2
115 00117.jpg
108 THE QUADROObt.
tion in which it is held. Tree of Pre-eminence,' says
the poetic Persian, of whose land it is a native; 'Tree
of Paradise' (Arbor de Paraiso), echoes the Spaniard,
of whose land it is an exotic. Such are its titles.
Many other trees, both natives and exotics, meet
my gaze. Among the former I behold the 'catalpa,'
with its silvery bark and trumpet-shaped blossoms;
the 'Osage orange,' with its dark shining leaves; and
the red mulberry, with thick shady foliage, and long
crimson calkin-like fruits. Of exotics I note the
orange, the lime, the West Indian guava (Psidium
pyriferum), and the guava of Florida, with its box-
wood leaves; the tamarisk, with its spreading minute
foliage, and splendid panicles of pale rose-coloured
flowers; the pomegranate, symbol of democracy-
'the queen who carries her crown upon her bosom'--
and the legendary but flowerless fig-tree, here not
supported against the wall, but rising as a standard to
the height of thirty feet.
Scarcely exotic are the yuccas, with their spherical
heads of sharp radiating blades; scarcely exotic the
cactaccee, of varied forms-for species of both are in-
digenous to the soil, and both are found among the
flora of a not far-distant region.
The scene before my window is not one of still life.
Over the shrubbery I can see the white-painted gates
leading to the mansion, and outside of these runs the
Levee road. Although the foliage hinders me from a
full view of the road itself, I see at intervals the
people passing along it. In the dress of the Creoles
the sky-blue colour predominates, and the hats are
usually palmetto, or 'grass,' or the costlier Panama,
with broad sun-protecting brims. Now and then a
negro gallops past, turbaned like a Turk; for the
116 00118.jpg
A LOUISIAN LANDSCAPE.
chequered Madras 'toque' has much the appearance
of the Turkish head-dress, but is lighter and even more
picturesque. Now and then an open carriage rolls
by, and I catch a glimpse of ladies in their gossamer
summer-dresses. I hear their clear ringing laughter;
and I know they are on their way to some gay festive
scene. The travellers upon the road-the labourers in
the distant cane-field, chanting their chorus songs-
occasionally a boat booming past on the river-more
frequently a flat silently floating downward-a keel,'
or a raft with its red-shirted crew-are all before my
eyes, emblems of active life.
Nearer still are the winged creatures that live and
move around my window. The mock-bird (Turdus
polyglotta) pipes from the top of the tallest magnolia;
and his cousin, the red-breast (Turdus migratorius),
half intoxicated with the berries of the melia, rivals
him in his sweet song. The oriole hops among the
orange-trees, and the bold red cardinal spreads his
scarlet wings amidst the spray of the lower shrubbery.
Now and then I catch a glimpse of the ruby-throat,'
coming and going like the sparkle of a gem. Its
favourite haunt is among the red and scentless flowers
of the buckeye, or the large trumpet-shaped blossoms
of the bignonia.
Such was the view from the window of my chamber.
I thought I never beheld so fair a scene. Perhaps I
was not looking upon it with an impartial eye. The
love-light was in my glance, and that may have
imparted to it a portion of its couleur de rose. I could
not look upon the, scene without thinking of that fair
being, whose presence alone was wanted to make the
picture perfect.
117 00119.jpg
( 110 )
CHAPTER XX.
MY JOURNAL.
I VARIED the monotony of my invalid existence by
keeping a journal.
The journal of a sick chamber must naturally be
barren of incident. Mine was a diary of reflections
rather than acts. I transcribe a few passages from it
-not on account of any remarkable interest which
they possess-but because, dotted down at the time,
they represent more faithfully some of the thoughts
and incidents that occurred to me during the re-
mainder of my stay on the plantation BesanCon.
July 12th.-To-day I am able to sit up and write a
little. The weather is intensely hot. It would be
intolerable were it not for the breeze which sweeps
across my apartment, charged with the delicious
perfume of the flowers. This breeze blows from the
Gulf of Mexico, by Lakes Borgne, Pontchartrain, and
Maauepas. I am more than one hundred miles from
the Gulf itself-that is, following the direction of the
river-but these great inland seas deeply penetrate
the delta of the Mississippi, and through them the
tidal wave approaches within a few miles of New
Orleans, and still farther to the north. Sea-water
might be reached through the swamps at a short
distance to the rear of Bringiers.
This sea-breeze is a great benefit to the inhabitants
of Lower Louisiana, Without its cooling influence
118 00120.jpg
MY JOURNAL. 111
New Orleans during the summer months would hardly
be habitable.
* * * *
Scipio tells me that a new overseer' has arrived on
the plantation, and think that he has been appointed
through the agency of' Mass'r Dominick.' He brought
a letter from the avocat. It is therefore probable
enough.
My attendant does not seem very favourably im-
pressed with the new comer, whom he represents as a
'poor white man from do norf, an a Yankee at daat.'
Among the blacks I find existing an antipathy
towards what they are pleased to call 'poor white
men '-individuals who do not possess slave or landed
property. The phrase itself expresses this antipathy ;
and when applied by a negro to a white man is
regarded by the latter as a dire insult, and usually
procures for the imprudent black a scoring with the
' cowskin,' or a slight rubbing down' with the 'oil of
hickory.'
Among the slaves there is a general impression that
their most tyrannical 'overseers' are from the New
England States, or 'Yankees,' as they are called in the
South. This term, which foreigners apply contempt-
uously to all Americans, in the United States has a
restricted meaning ; and when used reproachfully it is
only applied to natives of New England. At other
times it is used jocularly in a patriotic spirit; and in
this sense every American is proud to call himself a
Yankee. Among the southern blacks, 'Yankee' is a
term of reproach, associated in their minds with
poverty of fortune, meanness of spirit, wooden nut-
megs, cypress hams, and such-like chicanes. Sad and
strange to say, it is also associated with the whip, the
119 00121.jpg
112 THE QUADROON.
shackle, and the cowhide. Strange, because these
men are the natives of a land peculiarly distinguished
for its Puritanism! A land where the purest religion
and strictest morality are professed.
This would seem an anomaly, and yet perhaps it is
not so much an anomaly after all. I had it explained
to me by a Southerner, who spoke thus:-
' The countries where Puritan principles prevail are
those which produce vice, and particularly the smaller
vices, in greatest abundance. The villages of New
England-the foci of blue laws and Puritanism-fur-
nish the greatest number of the nymphes du pave of
New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New Orleans;
and even furnish a large export of them to the Catholic
capital of Cuba! From the same prolific soil spring
most of the sharpers, quacks, and cheating traders,
who disgrace the American name. This is not an
anomaly. It is but the inexorable result of a pseudo-
religion. Outward observance, worship, Sabbath-
keeping, and the various forms, are engrafted in the
mind; and thus, by complicating the true duties which
man owes to his fellow-man, obscure or take prece-
dence of them. The latter grow to be esteemed as
only of secondary importance, and are consequently
neglected.'
The explanation was at least ingenious.
July 14th.-To-day, twice visited by Mademoiselle;
who, as usual, was accompanied by Aurore.
Our conversation does notr flow easily or freely, nor
is it of long continuance. She (Mademoiselle) is still
evidently suffering, and there is a tone of sadness in
everything she says. At first I attributed this to her
sorrow for Antoine, but it has now continued too long
120 00122.jpg
MY JOURNAL. 113
to be thus explained. Some other grief presses upon
her spirit. I suffer from restraint. The presence of
Aurore restrains me; and I can ill give utterance to
those common-places required in an ordinary conver-
sation. She (Aurore) takes no part in the dialogue;
but lingers by the door, or stands behind her mistress,
respectfully listening. When I regard her stedfastly,
her fringed eyelids droop, and shut out all communion
with her soul. Oh that I could make her understand me I
July 15th.-Scipio is confirmed in his dislike for the
new overseer. His first impressions were correct.
From two or three little matters which I have heard
about this gentleman, I am satisfied that he is a bad
successor to the good Antoine.
Apropos of poor Antoine, it was reported that his
body had been washed up among some drift-timber
below the plantation; but the report proved incorrect.
A body was found, but not that of the steward. Some
other unfortunate, who had met with a similar fate.
I wonder if the wretch who wounded me is yet above
water!
There are still many of the sufferers at lBringiers.
Some have died of the injuries they received on board
the boat. A terrible death is this scalding by steam.
Many who fancied themselves scarce injured, are now
in their last agonies. The doctor has given me some
details that are horrifying.
One of the men, a 'fireman,' whose ncse is nearly
gone, and who is conscious that he has but a short
while to live, requested to see his face in a looking-
glass. Upon the request being granted, he broke into
a diabolical laugh, crying out at the same time, in a
loud voice, What a d-d ugly corpse I'll make.'
121 00123.jpg
114 THE QUADROON.
This reckless indifference to life is a characteristic
of these wild boatmen. The race of 'Mike Fink' is
not extinct: many true representatives of this demi-
savage still navigate the great rivers of the West.
July 20th.-Much better to-day. The doctor tells
me that in a week I may leave my room. This is
cheering; and yet a week seems a long while to one
not used to being caged in this way. The books
enable me to kill time famously. All honour to the
men who make books!
July 2lst.-Scipio's opinion of the new overseer is
not improved. His name is 'Larkin.' Scipio says
that he is well known in the village as 'Bully Bill
Larkin'-a soubriquet which may.serve as a key to
his character. Several of the field-hands' complain
(to Scipio) of his severity, which they say is daily on
the increase. He goes about constantly armed with a
' cowhide,' and has already, once or twice, made use
of it in a barbarous manner.
To-day is Sunday, and I can tell from the 'hum'
that reaches me from the negro quarters,' that it is a
day of rejoicing. I can see the blacks passing the
Levee road, dressed in their gayest attire-the men in
white beaver hats, blue long-tailed coats, and shirts
with enormous ruffles; the women in gaudy patterns
of cotton, and not a few in silks brilliant enough for a
ball-room! Many carry silk parasols, of course of the
brightest colours. One would almost be tempted to
believe that in this slave-life there was no great hard-
ship, after all; but the sight of Mr. Larkin's cowhide
must produce a very opposite impression.
* * * *
122 00124.jpg
MY JOURNAL.
Jnly 24th.-I noticed to-day more than ever the
melancholy that seems to press upon the spirit of
Mademoiselle. I am now convinced that Antoine's
death is not the cause of it. There is some present
source of distraction, which renders her ill at ease. I
have again observed that singular glance with which
she at first regarded me; but it was so transitory, I
could not read its meaning, and my heart and eyes
were searching elsewhere. Aurore gazes upon me
less timidly, and seems to be interested in my con-
versation, though it is not addressed to her. Would
that it were! Converse with her would perhaps
relieve my heart, which burns all the more fiercely
under the restraint of silence.
July 25th.-Several of the 'field-hands' indulged
too freely on yesternight. They had passes' to the
town, and came back late. 'Bully Bill' has flogged
them all this morning, and very severely-so as to
draw the blood from their backs. This is rough
enough for a new overseer; but Scipio learns that he
is an old hand' at the business. Surely Mademoiselle
does not know of these barbarities !
* * * *
July 26th.-The doctor promises to let me out in
three days. I have grown to esteem this man-
particularly since I made the discovery that he is not
a friend of Gayarre. He is not his medical attendant
either. There is another medico in the village, who
has charge of Monsieur Dominique and his blacks, as
also the slaves of the Besangon plantation. The latter
chanced to be out of the way, and so Reigart was
called to me. Professional etiquette partly, and
123 00125.jpg
THE QUADROON.
partly my own interference, forbade any change in
this arrangement; and the latter continued to attend
me. I have seen the other gentleman, who came
once in Reigart's company, and he appears much more
suited to be the friend of the avocat.
Reigart is a stranger in Bringiers, but seems to be
rapidly rising in the esteem of the neighboring
planters. Indeed, many of these-the 'grandees'
among them-keep physicians of their own, and pay
them handsomely, too It would be an unprofitable
speculation to neglect the health of the slave; and on
this account it is better looked after than that of the
'poor white folks' in many a European state.
I have endeavoured to draw from the doctor some
facts, regarding the connexion existing between
Gayarre and the family of Besanqon. I could only
make distant allusion to such a subject. I obtained
no very satisfactory information. The doctor is what
might be termed a close man,' and too much talking
would not make one of his profession very popular in
Louisiana. He either knows but little of their affairs,
or affects not to know; and yet, from some expressions
that dropped from him, I suspect the latter to be the
more probable.
'Poor young lady!' said he; 'quite alone in the
world. I believe there is an aunt, or something of the
kind,who lives in New Orleans, but she has no male
relation to look after her affairs. Gayarre seems to
have everything in his hands.'
I gathered from the doctor that Euginie's father
had been much richer at one period-one of the most
extensive planters on the coast; that he had kept a
sort of 'open house,' and dispensed hospitality in
princely style. 'Fetes' on a grand scale had been
124 00126.jpg
dMY JOURNAL.
given, and this more particularly of late years. Even
since his 'death profuse hospitality has been carried
on, and Mademoiselle continues to receive her father's
guests after her father's fashion. Suitors she has in
plenty, but the doctor has heard of no one who is
regarded in the light of a 'lover.'
Gayarre had been the intimate friend of Besanqon.
Why, no one could tell; for their natures were as
opposite as the poles. It was thought by some that
their friendship had a little of the character of that
which usually exists between debtor and creditor.
The information thus imparted by the doctor
confirms what Scipio has already told me. It con-
firms, too, my suspicions in regard to the young
Creole, that there is a cloud upon the horizon of her
future, darker than any that has shadowed her past-
darker even than that produced by the memory of
Antoine!
* * * *
July 28th.-Gayarre has been here to-day-at the
house, I mean. In fact, he visits Mademoiselle nearly
every day; but Scipio tells me something new and
strange. It appears that some of the slaves who had
been flogged, complained of the overseer to their
young mistress ; and she in her turn spoke to Gayarre
on the subject. His reply was that the black rascals
deserved all they had got, and more,' and somewhat
rudely upheld the ruffian Larkin, who is beyond a
doubt his protged. The lady was silent.
Scipio learns these facts from Aurore. There is
something ominous in all this.
Poor Scipio has made me the confidant of another,
and a private grief. He suspects that the overseer is
looking too kindly upon 'him Icettle Chloe.' The
125 00127.jpg
118 THE QUADROOT.
brute! if this be so !-My blood boils at the thought
-oh slavery I
* * * *
August 2d.-I hear of Gayarre again. He has been
to the house, and made a longer stay with Made-
moiselle than usual. What can he have to do with
her? Can his society be agreeable to her? Surely
that is impossible! And yet such frequent visits-
such long conferences! If she marry such a man as
this I pity her, poor victim !-for victim will she be.
He must have some power over her to act as he is
doing. He seems master of the plantation, says
Scipio, and issues his orders to every one with the air
of its owner. All fear him and his 'nigger driver,' as
the ruffian Larkin is called. The latter is more
feared by Scipio, who has noticed some further rude
conduct on the part of the overseer towards him
leettle Chloe.' Poor fellow he is greatly distressed;
and no wonder, when even the law does not allow
him to protect the honour of his own child !
I have promised to speak to Mademoiselle about the
affair; but I fear, from what reaches my ears, that
she is almost as powerless as Scipio himself!
August 3rd.-To-day, for the first time, I am able
to go out of my room. I have taken a walk through
the shrubbery and garden. I encountered Aurore
among the orange-trees, gathering the golden fruit;
but she was accompanied by little Chloe, who held the
basket. What would I not have given to have found
her alone! A word or two only was I able to
exchange with her, and she was gone.
She expressed her pleasure at seeing me able to
126 00128.jpg
A CiAXGE OF QUARTERS.
* be abroad.' She seemed pleased ; I fancied she felt so,
I never saw her look so lovely. The exercise ol
shaking down the oranges had brought out the rich
crimson bloom upon her cheeks, and her large brown
eyes were shining like sapphires. Her full bosom
rose and fell with her excited breathing, and the light
wrapper she wore enabled me to trace the noble
outlines of her form.
I was struck with the gracefulness of her gait as
she walked away. It exhibited an undulating motion,
produced by a peculiarity of figure-a certain
embonpoint characteristic of her race. She was large
and womanly, yet of perfect proportion and fine
delicate outlines. Her hands were small and slender,
and her little feet seemed hardly to press upon the
pebbles. My eyes followed her in a delirium of ad-
miration. The fire in my heart burned fiercer as I
returned to my solitary chamber.
* * S *
CHAPTER XXI.
A CHANGE OF QUARTERS.
I WAs thinking over my short interview with Aurore
-congratulating myself upon some expressions she
had dropped-happy in the anticipation that such
encounters would recur frequently, now that I was
able to be abroad when in the midst of my pleasant
reverie the door of my apartment became darkened.
I looked up, and beheld the hated face of M. D)omi-
nique Gayarre.
127 00129.jpg
120 THE QTCUAmOOt.
It was his first visit since the morning after my
arrival upon the plantation. What could he want
with me ?
I was not kept long in suspense, for my visitor,
without even apologising for his intrusion, opened his
business abruptly and at once.
' Monsieur,' began he, I have made arrangements
for your removal to the hotel at Bringiers.'
' You have?' said I, interrupting him in a tone as
abrupt and something more indignant than his own.
'And who, sir, may I ask, has commissioned you to
take this trouble ?'
' Ah-oh!' stammered he, somewhat tamed down
by his brusque reception, 'I beg pardon, Monsieur.
Perhaps you are not aware that I am the agent-the
friend-in fact, the guardian of Mademoiselle Besanqon
-and-and-'
' Is it Mademoiselle Besancon's wish that I go to
Bringiers ?'
' Well-the truth is-not exactly her wish ; but you
see, my dear sir, it is a delicate affair-your remaining
here, now that you are almost quite recovered, upon
which I congratulate you-and-and- '
SGo on, sir!'
'Your remaining here any longer-under the cir-
cumstances-would be-you can judge for yourself,
sir-would be, in fact, a thing that would be talked
about in the neighbourhood-in fact, considered highly
improper.'
' Hold, M. Gayarre! I am old enough not to require
lessons in etiquette from you, sir.'
' I beg pardon, sir. I do not mean that-but-I-
you will observe-I, as the lawful guardian of the
young lady-'
128 00130.jpg
A CHANGE OF QUARTERS.
'Enough, sir. I understand you perfectly. For
your purposes, whatever they be, you do not wish me
to remain any longer on this plantation. Your
desire shall be gratified. I shall leave the place,
though certainly not with any intention of accommo-
dating you. I shall go hence this very evening.'
The words upon which I had placed emphasis,
startled the coward like a galvanic shock. I saw him
turn pale as they were uttered, and the wrinkles
deepened about his eyes. I had touched a chord,
which he deemed a secret one, and its music sounded
harsh to him. Lawyer-like, however, he commanded
himself, and without taking notice of my insinuation,
replied in a tone of whining hypocrisy-
' My dear monsieur! I regret this necessity; but
the fact is, you see-the world-the busy, meddling
world-'
' Spare your homilies, sir! Your business, I fancy,
is ended; at all events your company is no longer
desired.'
' Humph!' muttered he. I regret you should take
it in this way-I am sorry- '
And with a string of similar incoherent phrases
he made his exit.
I stepped up to the door and looked after, to see
which way he would take. He walked direct to the
house! I saw him go in!
This visit and its object had taken me by surprise,
though I had not been without some anticipation of
such an event. The conversation I had overheard
between him and the doctor rendered it probable
that such would be the result; though I hardly ex-
pected being obliged to change my quarters so soon.
For another week or two I had intended to stay
I
129 00131.jpg
122 THE QUADROON.
where I was. When quite recovered, I should have
moved to the hotel of my own accord.
I felt vexed, and for several reasons. It chagrined
me to think that this wretch possessed such a con-
trolling influence; for I did not believe that Made-
moiselle Besanqon had anything to do with my re-
moval. Quite the contrary. She had visited me but
a few hours before, and not a word had been said of
the matter. Perhaps she might have thought of it,
and did not desire to mention it? But no. This
could hardly be. I noticed no change in her manner
during the interview. The same kindness-the same
interest in my recovery-the same solicitude about
the little arrangements of my food and attendance,
were shown by her up to the last moment. She
evidently contemplated no change so sudden as that
proposed by Gayarre. Reflection convinced me that
the proposal had been made without any previous
communication with hler.
What must be the influence of this man, that he
dare thus step between her and the rites of hos-
pitality? It was a painful thought to me, to see this
fair creature in the power of such a villain.
But another thought was still more painful-the
thought of parting with Aurore. Though I did not
fancy that parting was to be for ever. No! Had I
believed that, I should not have yielded so easily.
I should have put M. Dominique to the necessity of a
positive expulsion. Of course, I had no apprehension
that by removing to the village I should be debarred
from visiting the plantation as often as I felt inclined.
Had that been the condition, my reflections would
have been painful indeed.
After all, the change would signify little. I should
130 00132.jpg
A CHANGE OF QUARTERS. 123
return as a visitor, and in that character be moro
independent than as a guest-more free, perhaps, to
approach the object of my love! I could come as
often as I pleased. The same opportunities of seeing
her would still be open to me. I wanted but one-
one moment alone with Aurore-and then bliss or
blighted hopes!
But there were other considerations that troubled
me at this moment. How was I to live at the hotel?
Would the proprietor believe in promises, and wait
until my letters, already sent off, could be answered ?
Already I had been provided with suitable apparel,
mysteriously indeed. I awoke one morning and found
it by my bedside. I made no inquiry as to how it
came there. That would be an after-consideration;
but with regard to money, how was that to be ob-
tained? Must I become her debtor? Or am I to be
under obligations to Gayarre? Cruel dilemma!
At this juncture I thought of Reigart. His calm,
kind face came up before me.
' An alternative !' soliloquised I; 'he will help
me!
The thought seemed to have summoned him ; for at
that moment the good doctor entered the room, and
became the confidant of my wishes.
I had not misjudged him. His purse lay open upon
the table; and I became his debtor for as much of its
contents as I stood in need of.
'Very strange !' said he, 'this desire of hurrying
you off on the part of M. Gayarre. There is some-
thing more in it than solicitude for the character of
the lady. Something more : what can it all mean?'
The doctor said this partly in soliloquy, and as if
searching his own thoughts for an answer.
131 00133.jpg
12- THE QUADROON.
' I am almost a stranger to Mademoiselle Besanqon,'
he continued, else I should deem it my duty to know
more of this matter. But M. Gayarre is her guardian ;
and if he desire you to leave, it will perhaps be wiser
to do so. She may not be her own mistress entirely. Poor
thing! I fear there is debt at the bottom of the
mystery; and if so, she will be more a slave than any
of her own people. Poor young lady!'
Reigart was right. My remaining longer might
add to her embarrassments. I felt satisfied of this.
'I am desirous to go at once, doctor.'
'My barouche is at the gate, then. You can have
a seat in it. I can set you down at the hotel.'
' Thanks, thanks! the very thing I should have
asked of you, and I accept your offer. I have but
few preparations to make, and will be ready for you
in a moment.'
' Shall I step over to the house, and prepare Made-
moiselle for your departure ?'
SBe so kind. I believe Gayarre is now there ?'
' No. I met him near the gate of his own planta-
tion, returning home. I think she is alone. I shall
see her and return for you.'
The doctor left me, and walked over to the house.
He was absent but a few minutes, when he returned
to make his report. He was still further perplexed at
what he had learnt.
Mademoiselle had heard from Gayarre, just an hour
before, that I had expressed my intention of removing
to the hotel! She had been surprised at this, as I
had said nothing about it at our late interview. She
would not hear of it at first, but Gayarre had used
arguments to convince her of the policy of such a step;
and the doctor, on my part, had also urged it. She
132 00134.jpg
A CHANGE OF QUARTERS. 25
had at length, though reluctantly, consented. Such
was the report of the doctor, who further informed
me that she was waiting to receive me.
Guided by Scipio, I made my way to the drawing-
room. I found her seated; but upon my entrance
she rose, and came forward to meet me with both
hands extended. I saw that she was in tears!
'Is it true you intend leaving us, Monsieur ?'
'Yes, Mademoiselle; I am now quite strong again.
I have come to thank you for your kind hospitality,
and say adieu.'
'Hospitality !-ah, Monsieur, you have reason to
think it cold hospitality since I permit you to leave us
so soon. I would you had remained; but- Hero
she became embarrassed: 'but-you are not to be a
stranger, although you go to the hotel. Bringiers is
near; promise that you will visit us often-in fact,
every day?'
I need not say that the promise was freely and joy-
fully given.
'Now,' said she, 'since you have given that promise,
with less regret I can say adieu!'
She extended her hand for a parting salute. I took
her fingers in mine, and respectfully kissed them. I
saw the tears freshly filling in her eyes, as she turned
away to conceal them.
I was convinced she was acting under constraint,
and against her inclination, else I should not have
been allowed to depart. Hers was not the spirit to
fear gossip or scandal. Some otherpressure was upon
her.
I was passing out through the hall, my eyes eagerly
turning in every direction. Where was she ? Was 1
not to have even a parting word?
133 00135.jpg
12~ THE QUADROON.
At that moment a side-door was gently opened.
My heart beat wildly as it turned upon its hinge;
Aurore !
I dare not trust myself to speak aloud. It would
have been overheard in the drawing-room. A look, a
whisper, a silent pressure of the hand, and I hurried
away; but the return of that pressure, slight and
almost imperceptible as it was, fired my veins with
delight; and I walked on towards the gate with the
proud step of a conqueror.
CHAPTER XXII.
AURORE LOVES ME.
' AUSons loves me !'
The thought thus expressed was of younger date
than the day of my removing to Bringiers from the
plantation. A month had elapsed since that day.
The details of my life during that month would
possess but little interest for you, reader; though to
me every hour was fraught with hopes or fears that
still hold a vivid place in my memory. When the
heart is charged with love, every trifle connected with
that love assumes the magnitude of an important
matter; and thoughts or incidents that otherwise
would soon be forgotten, hold a firm place in the
memory. I could write a volume about my affairs of
that month, every line of which would be deeply
interesting to me, but not to you. Therefore I write
it not; I shall not even present you with the journal
that holds its history.
134 00136.jpg
AURORE LOVES ME.
I continued to live in the hotel at Bringiers. I
grew rapidly stronger. I spent most of my time in
rambling through the fields and along the Levee-
boating upon the river-fishing in the bayous-hunt-
ing through the cane-breaks and cypress-swamps, and
occasionally killing time at a game of billiards, for
every Louisiana village has its billiard salon.
The society of Reigart, whom I now called friend, I
enjoyed-when his professional engagements per-
mitted.
His books, too, were my friends; and from these I
drew my first lessons in botany. I studied the sylva
of the surrounding woods, till at a glance I could dis-
tinguish every tree and its kind-the giant cypress,
emblem of sorrow, with tall shaft shooting out of the
apex of its pyramidal base, and crowned with its full
head of sad dark foliage,-sadder from its drapery of
tillandsia; the 'tupelo' (Nyssa aquatica, that nymph
that loves the water, with long delicate leaves and
olive-like fruit-the persimmon,' or American lotus'
(Diospyros Virginiana), with its beautiful green foliage
and red date-plums-the gorgeous magnolia gran-
diflora, and its congener, the tall tulip-tree (Lirioden-
dron tulipifera)-the water-locust (Gleditschia mono-
sperma); and, of the same genus, the three-thorned
honey-locust triacanthoss), whose light pinnated
leaves scarce veil the sun-the sycamore (platanus),
with its smooth trunk and wide-reaching limbs of
silvery hue-the sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua),
exuding its golden drops-the aromatic but sanitary
'sassafras' (Laurus sassafras)-the 'red-bay' (Laurus
Caroliniensis), of cinnamon-like aroma-the oaks of
many species, at the head of which might be placed
that majestic evergreen of the southern forests, the
135 00137.jpg
128 THE QUADROOt.
'live-oak' (Quercus virens)-the 'red ash,' with its
hanging bunches of samarce-the shady nettle-tree
(Celtis crassifolia), with its large cordate leaves and
black drupes-and last, though not least interesting,
the water-loving cotton-wood (Populus angulata).
Such is the sylva that covers the alluvion of
Louisiana.
It is a region beyond the limits of the true palm-
tree; but this has its representative in the palmetto
-'latanier' of the French-the Sabal palm of the
botanist, of more than one species, forming in many
places the underwood, and giving a tropical character
to the forest.
I studied the parasites-the huge lianas, with
branches like tree-trunks, black and gnarled; the
cane-vines, with pretty star-like flowers; the mus-
cadine grape-vines, with their dark purple clusters;
the bignonias, with trumpet-shaped corollas; the
smilacce, among which are conspicuous the Smilax
rotundifolia, the thick bamboo-brier, and the balsamic
sarsaparilla.
Not less interesting were the vegetable forms of
cultivation-the 'staples' from which are drawn the
wealth of the land. These were the sugar-cane, the
rice-reed, the maize and tobacco-plants, the cotton
shrub, and the indigo. All were new to me, and I
studied their propagation and culture with interest.
Though a month apparently passed in idleness, it
was, perhaps, one of the most profitably employed of
my life. In that short month I acquired more real
knowledge than I had done during years of classic
study.
But I had learnt one fact that I prized above all;
and that was, that I was beloved by Aurore !
136 00138.jpg
AURORE LOVES ME.
I learnt it not from her lips-no words had given
me the assurance-and yet I was certain that it was
so ; certain as that I lived. Not all the knowledge in
the world could have given me the pleasure of that
one thought !
' Aurore loves me !'
This -was my exclamation, as one morning I
emerged from the village upon the road leading to the
plantation. Three times a-week-sometimes even
more frequently-I had made this journey. Some-
times I encountered strangers at the house-friends
of Mademoiselle. Sometimes I found her alone, or in
company with Aurore. The latter I could never find
alone Oh! how I longed for that opportunity!
My visits, of course, were ostensibly to Made-
moiselle. I dared not seek an interview with the
slave.
Eug6nie still preserved the air of melancholy, that
now appeared to have settled upon her. Sometimes
she was even sad,-at no time cheerful. As I was
not made the confidant of her sorrows, I could only
guess at the cause. Gayarre, of course, I believed to
be the fiend.
Of him I had learnt little. He shunned me on the
road, or in the fields; and upon his grounds I never
trespassed. I found that lie was held in but little
respect, except among those who worshipped his
wealth. How he was prospering in his suit with
Eugdnie I knew not. Thb world talked of such a
thing as among the" probabilities '-though one of the
strange ones, it was deemed. I had sympathy for the
young Creole, but I might have felt it more pro-
137 00139.jpg
130 THE QUADROON..
foundly under other circumstances. As it was, my
whole soul was under the influence of a stronger
passion-my love for Aurore.
'Yes-Aurore loves me !' I repeated to myself as I
passed out from the village, and faced down the Levee
road.
I was mounted. Reigart, in his generous hospi-
tality, had even made me master of a horse-a fine
animal that rose buoyantly under me, as though he
was also imbued by some noble passion.
My well-trained steed followed the path without
need of guidance, and dropping the bridle upon his
neck, I left him to go at will, and pursued the train of
my reflections.
I loved this young girl-passionately and devotedly
I loved her. She loved me. She had not declared it
in words, but her looks; and now and then a slight
incident-scarce more than a fleeting glance or ges-
ture-had convinced me that it was so.
Love taught me its own language. I needed no in-
terpreter-no tongue to tell I was beloved.
These reflections were pleasant, far more than
pleasant; but others followed them of a very different
nature.
With whom was I in love? A slave! True, a
beautiful slave-but still a slave! How the world
would laugh! how Louisiana would laugh-nay, scorn
and persecute! The very proposal to make her
my wife would subject me to derision and abuse.
' What! marry a slave! 'Tis contrary to the laws of
the land!' Dared I to marry her-even were she
free?-she, a quadroon !-I should be hunted from the
land, or shut up in one of its prisons!
All this I knew, but not one straw cared I for it.
138 00140.jpg
AURORE LOVES ME. 131
The world's obloquy in one scale, my love for Aurore
in the other-the former weighed but a feather.
True, I had deep regret that Aurore was a slave,
but it sprang not from that consideration. Far dif-
ferent was the reason of my regret. How was I to
obtain her freedom? That was the question that
troubled me.
Up to this time I had made light of the matter.
Before I knew that I was beloved it seemed a
sequence very remote. But it was now brought
nearer, and all the faculties of my mind became con-
centrated on that one thought-' How was I to obtain
her freedom?' Had she been an ordinary slave, the
answer would have been easy enough; for though not
rich, my fortune was still equal to the price of a human
being I
In my eyes Aurore was priceless. Would she also
appear so in the eyes of her young mistress? Was
my bride for sale on any terms ? But even if money
should be deemed an equivalent, would Mademoiselle
sell her to me? An odd proposal, that of buying her
slave for my wife I What would Eug6nie Besanqon
think of it ?
The very idea of this proposal awed me; but the
time to make it had not yet arrived.
'I must first have an interview with Aurore, demand
a confession of her love, and then, if she consent to
become mine,-my wife,-the rest may be arranged.
I see not clearly the way, but a love like mine will
triumph over everything. My passion nerves me with
power, with courage, with energy. Obstacles must
yield; opposing wills be coaxed or crushed; every-
thing must give way that stands between myself and
mylove! 'Aurore! Icome! Icome!'
139 00141.jpg
( 132 )
CHAPTER XXIII.
A SURPRISE.
MY reflections were interrupted by the neighing of my
horse. I glanced forward to ascertain the cause. I
was opposite the plantation Besangon. A carriage
was just wheeling out from the gate. The horses
were headed down the Levee road, and going off at a
trot, were soon lost behind the cloud of dust raised by
the hoofs and wheels.
I recognized the carriage. It was the barouche of
Mademoiselle Besancon. I could not tell who were
its occupants, though, from the slight glimpse I had
got of them, I saw there were ladies in it.
' Mademoiselle herself, accompanied by Aurore, no
doubt.'
I believed that they had not observed me, as the
high fence concealed all but my head, and the car-
riage had turned abruptly on passing out of the gate.
I felt disappointed. I had had my ride for nothing,
and might now ride back again to Bringiers.
I had drawn bridle with this intent, when it occurred
to me I could still overtake the carriage and change
words with its occupants. With her, even the inter-
change of a glance was worth such a gallop.
I laid the spur to the ribs of my horse and sprang
him forward.
As I came opposite the house I saw Scipio by the
gate. He was just closing it after the carriage.
'Oh !' thought I,' I may as well be sure as to whom
I am galloping after.'
140 00142.jpg
1 SURPRISE.
With this idea I inclined my horse's head a little,
and drew up in front of Scipio.
' Gullies! how young mass'r ride! Ef he don't
do daat business jes up to do hub! Daat 'im do.
Wugh!'
Without taking notice of his complimentary speech,
I inquired hastily if Mademoiselle was at home.
'No, mass'r, she jes dis moment gone out-she
drive to Mass'r Marigny.'
'Alone ?'
'Ye, mass'r.'
Of course Aurore is with her ?'
'No, mass'r; she gone out by harseff. 'Bore, she
tay at home.'
If the negro had been observant he might have
noticed the effect of this announcement upon me, for
I am sure it must have been sufficiently apparent. I
felt it in the instant upheaving of my heart, and the
flushing that suddenly fevered my cheeks.
SAurore at home, and alone !'
It was the first time during all the course of my
wooing that such a chance' had offered; and I
almost gave expression to my agreeable surprise.
Fortunately I did not; for even the faithful Scipio
was not to be trusted with such a secret.
With an effort I collected myself, and tamed down
my horse, now chafing to continue his gallop. In
doing so his head was turned in the direction of the
village. Scipio thought I was going to ride back.
'Sure mass'r not go 'till he rest a bit? Missa
'Genie not home, but dar am 'Rore. 'Rore get mass'r
glass ob claret; Ole Zip make um sangaree. Day
berry, berry hot. Wugh!'
'You are about right, Scipio,' I replied, pretending
141 00143.jpg
134 THE QUADROON.
to yield to his persuasion. Take my horse round to
the stable. I shall rest a few minutes.'
I dismounted, and, passing the bridle to Scipio,
stepped inside the gate.
It was about a hundred paces to the house, by the
direct walk that led from the gate to the front door.
But there were two other paths, that wound around
the sides of the shrubbery, through copses of low
trees-laurels, myrtles, and oranges. A person ap-
proaching by either of these could not be seen from
the house until close to the very windows. From
each of these paths the low verandah could be reached
without going by the front. There were steps leading
into it-into the interior of the house as well-for the
windows that fronted upon the verandah were, after
the Creole fashion, glass folding-doors, that opened to
the bottom, so that the floors of the rooms and
verandah-platform were upon the same level.
On passing through the gate, I turned into one of
these side-paths (for certain reasons giving it the
preference), and walked silently on towards the house.
I had taken the longer way, and advanced slowly
for the purpose of composing myself. I could hear
the beating of my own heart, and feel its quick
nervous throbs, quicker than my steps, as I approached
the long-desired interview. I believe I should have
been more collected in going up to the muzzle of an
antagonist's pistol!
The long yearning for such an opportunity-the
well-known difficulty of obtaining it-the anticipation
of that sweetest pleasure on earth-the pleasure of
being alone with her I loved-all blended in my
thoughts. No wonder they were wild and somewhat
bewildered.
142 00144.jpg
A SURPRISE. 135
I should now meet Aurore face to face alone, with
but Love's god as a witness. I should speak unre-
strainedly and free. I should hear her voice, listen to
the soft confession that she loved me. I should fold
her in my arms-against my bosom I I should drink
love from her swimming eyes, taste it on her crimson
cheek, her coral lips! Oh, I should speak love, and
hear it spoken! I should listen to its delirious
ravings I
A heaven of happiness was before me. No wonder
my thoughts were wild-no wonder I vainly strove to
calm them.
I reached the house, and mounted the two or three
steps that led up into the verandah. The latter was
carpeted with a mat of sea-grass, and my chaussure
was light, so that my tread was as silent as that of a
girl. It could scarce have been. heard within the
chamber whose windows I was passing.
I proceeded on toward the drawing-room, which
opened to the front by two of the large door-windows
already mentioned. I turned the angle, and the next
moment would have passed the first of these windows,
had a sound not reached me that caused me to arrest
my steps. The sound was a voice that came from the
drawing-room, whose windows stood open. I listened
-it was the voice of Aurore!
'In conversation with some one! with whom?
Perhaps little Chloe? her mother? some one of the
domestics ?'
I listened.
' By Heaven! it is the voice of a man Who can
he be? Scipio? No; Scipio cannot yet have left the
stable. It cannot be he. Some other of the planta-
tion people? Jules, the wood-chopper? the errand-
143 00145.jpg
136 THE QUADROON.
boy, Baptiste ? Ha! it is not a negro's voice. No, it
is the voice of a white man! the overseer?'
As this idea came into my head, a pang at the same
time shot through my heart-a pang, not of jealousy,
but something like it. I was angry at him rather than
jealous with her. As yet I had heard nothing to
make me jealous. His being present with her, and in
conversation, was no cause.
' So, my bold nigger-driver,' thought I, you have
got over your predilection for the little Chloe. Not
to be wondered at! Who would waste time gazing at
stars when there is such a moon in the sky? Brute
that you are, you are not blind. I see you, too, have
an eye to opportunities, and know when to enter the
drawing-room.'
' Hush!
Again I listened. When I had first halted, it was
through motives of delicacy. I did not wish to appear
too suddenly before the open window, which would
have given me a full view of the interior of the apart-
ment. I had paused, intending to herald my approach
by some noise-a feigned cough, or a stroke of my
foot against the floor. My motives had undergone a
change. I now listened with a design. I could not
help it.
Aurore was speaking.
I bent my ear close to the window. The voice
was at too great a distance, or uttered too low, for
me to hear what was said. I could hear the silvery
tones, but could not distinguish the words. She must
be at the further end of the room, thought I. Per-
haps upon the sofa! This conjecture led me to painful
imaginings, till the throbbings of my heart drowned
the murmur that was causing them.
144 00146.jpg
A RIVAL. 137
At length Aurore's speech was ended. I waited for
the reply. Perhaps I might gather from that what
she had said. The tones of the male voice would be
loud enough to enable me-
Hush! hark!
I listened-I caught the sound of a voice, but not
the words. The sound was enough. It caused me to
start as if stung by an adder. It was the voice of M.
Dominique Gayarre!
CHAPTER XXIV.
A RIVAL.
I CANNOT describe the effect produced upon me by this
discovery. It was like a shock of paralysis. It nailed
me to the spot, and for some moments I felt as rigid
as a statue, and almost as senseless. Even had the
words uttered by Gayarre been loud enough to reach
me, I should scarce have heard them. My surprise
for the moment had rendered me deaf.
The antagonism I had conceived towards the
speaker, so long as I believed it to be the brute
Larkin, was of a gentle character compared with that
which agitated me now. Larkin might be young and
handsome ; by Scipio's account, the latter he certainly
was not: but even so, I had little fear of his rivalry.
I felt confident that I held the heart of Aurore, and I
knew that the overseer had no power over her person.
He was overseer of the field hands, and other slaves of
the plantation-their master, with full license of
tongue and lash; but with all that, I knew that he
E
145 00147.jpg
TIHE QUADROON.
had no authority over Aurore. For reasons I could
not fathom, the treatment of the quadroon was, and
had always been, different from the other slaves of
the plantation. It was not the whiteness of her skin
-her beauty neither-that had gained her this dis-
tinction. These, it is true, often modify the hard lot
of the female slave, sometimes detailing upon her a
still more cruel fate ; but in the case of Aurore, there
was some very different reason for the kindness
shown her, though I could only guess at it. She had
been tenderly reared alongside her young mistress,
had received almost as good an education, and, in
fact, was treated rather as a sister than a slave.
Except from Mademoiselle, she received no commands.
The 'nigger-driver' had nothing to do with her. I
had therefore no dread of any unlawful influence on
his part.
Far different were my suspicions when I found the
voice belonged to Gayarre. iHe had power not only
over the slave, but the mistress as well. Though
suitor,-as I still believed him,-of Mademoiselle, he
could not be blind to the superior charms of Aurore.
Hideous wretch as I thought him, he might for all be
sensible to love. The plainest may have a passion for
the fairest. The Beast loved Beauty.
The hour he had chosen for his visit, too! that was
suspicious of itself. Just as Mademoiselle had driven
out! Had he been there before she went out and
been left by her in the house? Not likely. Scipio
know nothing of his being there, else he would have
told me. The black was aware of my antipathy to
Gayarre, and that I did not desire to meet him. He
would certainly have told me.
' No doubt,' thought I, the visit is a stolen one,-
146 00148.jpg
A RIVAL. 139
the lawyer has come the back way from his own plan-
tation, has watched till the carriage drove off, and
then skulked in for the very purpose of finding the
quadroon alone!'
All this flashed upon my mind with the force of
conviction, I no longer doubted that his presence
there was the result of design, and not a mere accident.
He was after Aurore. My thoughts took this homely
shape.
When the first shock of my surprise had passed
away, my senses -returned, fuller and more vigorous
than ever. My nerves seemed freshly strung, and my
ears new set. I placed them as close to the open
window as prudence would allow, and listened. It
was not honourable, I own, but in dealing with this
wretch I seemed to lose all sense of honour. By the
peculiar circumstances of that moment I was tempted
from the strict path, but it was the eavesdropping'
of a jealous lover, and I cry you mercy for the act.
I listened. With an effort I stifled the feverish
throbbings of my heart, and listened.
And I heard every word that from that moment
was said. The voices had become louder, or rather
the speakers had approached nearer. They were
but a few feet from the window! Gayarre was
speaking.
' And does this young fellow dare to make love to
your mistress ?'
' Monsieur Dominique, how should I know ? I am
sure I never saw aught of the kind. He is very
modest, and so Mademoiselle thinks him. I never
knew him to speak one word of love,-not he.'
I fancied I heard a sigh.
' If he dare,' rejoined Gayarre in a tone of bravado;
K 2
147 00149.jpg
140 THE QUADTCo o .
'if he dare hint at such a thing to Mademoiselle-ay,
or even to you, Aurore-I shall make the place too hot
for him. He shall visit here no more, the naked
adventurer! On that I am resolved.'
'Oh, M. Gayarre! I'm sure that would vex Made-
moiselle very much. Remember! he saved her life.
She is full of gratitude to him. She continually talks
of it, and it would grieve her if Monsieur Edouard
was to come no more. I am sure it would grieve
her.'
There was an earnestness, a half-entreaty, in the
tone of the speaker that sounded pleasant to my
ears. It suggested the idea that she, too, might be
grieved if Monsieur Edouard were to come no more.
A like thought seemed to occur to Gayarre, upon
whom, however, it made a very different sort of im-
pression. There was irony mixed with anger in his
reply, which was half interrogative.
'Perhaps it would grieve some one else? Perhaps
you? Ah, indeed! Is it so? You love him?
'acr-r-r-r !'
There was a hissing emphasis upon the concluding
word, that expressed anger and pain,-the pain of
bitter jealousy.
' Oh monsieur!' replied the quadroon, 'how can you
speak thus? I love! I,-a poor slave! Alas
alas!'
Neither the tone nor substance of this speech
exactly pleased me. I felt a hope, however, that it
was but one of the little stratagems of love: a species
of deceit I could easily pardon. It seemed to produce
a pleasant effect on Gayarro, for all at once his voice
changed,to a lighter and gayer tone.
'You a slave, beautiful Aurore No, in my eyes
148 00150.jpg
A RIVAL.
you are a queen, Aurore. Slave It is your fault if
you remain so. You know who has the power to
make you free; ay, and the will too,-the will,-
Aurore !'
'Please not to talk thus, M. Dominique! I have
said before I cannot listen to such speech. I repeat I
cannot, and will not!'
The firm tone was grateful to my ears.
'Nay, lovely Aurore !' replied Gayarro, entreatingly,
'don't be angry with me! I cannot help it. I
cannot help thinking of your welfare. You shall be
free;-no longer the slave of a capricious mis-
tress-'
' M. Gayarre !' exclaimed the quadroon, interrupt-
ing him, 'speak not so of Mademoiselle You wrong
her, Monsieur. She is not capricious. What if she
heard- '
' Peste!' cried Gayarre, interrupting in his turn, and
again assuming his tone of bravado. What care I if
she did? Think you I trouble my head about her?
The world thinks so! ha! ha! ha! Let them!-the
fools! ha! ha! One day they may find it different!
ha! ha! They think my visits here are on her
account! ha! ha! ha! No, Aurore,-lovely Aurore!
it is not Mademoiselle I come to see, but you, -
you, Aurore,-whom I love,-ay, love with all- '
' M. Dominique! I repeat- '
'Dearest Aurore say you will but love me; say
but the word! Oh, speak it! you shall be no longer a
slave,-you shall be free as your mistress is;-you
shall have everything,-every pleasure,-dresses,
jewels, at will; my house shall be under your con-
trol,-you shall command in it, as if, you were my
wife---'
149 00151.jpg
142 THE QUADROON.
'Enough, Monsieur! enough! Your insult- I
hear no more!'
The voice was firm and indignant. Hurrah !
'Nay, dearest, loveliest Aurore! do not go yet,-
hear me-'
'I hear no more, Sir,-Mademoiselle shall know
'A word, a word! one hiss, Aurore! on my knees, 1
beg-'
I heard the knocking of a pair of knees on the floor,
followed by a struggling sound, and loud angry ex-
clamations on the part of Aurore.
This I considered to be my cue, and three steps
brought me within the room, and within as many feet
of the kneeling gallant. The wretch was actually on
his 'marrow-bones,' holding the girl by the wrist, and
endeavouring to draw her towards him. She, on the
contrary, was exerting all her women's strength to get
away; which, not being so inconsiderable, resulted in
the ludicrous spectacle of the kneeling suitor being
dragged somewhat rapidly across the carpet!
His back was toward me as I entered, and the first
intimation he had of my presence was a boisterous
laugh, which for the life of me I could not restrain.
It lasted until long after he had released his captive,
and gathered his limbs into an upright position; and,
indeed, so loud did it sound in my own ears, that I did
not hear the threats of vengeance he was muttering
in return.
' What business have you here, Sir?' was his first
intelligible question.
' I need not ask the same of you, Monsieur Domi-
nique Gayarre. Your business I can tell well enough;
ha! ha! ha!'
150 00152.jpg
A rIVAL. 143
'I ask you, Sir,' he repeated, in a still angrier tone,
what's your business here?'
' I did not come here on business, Monsieur,' said I,
still keeping up the tone of levity. 'I did not come
here on business, any more than yourself.'
The emphasis on the last words seemed to render
him furious.
' The sooner you go the better, then,' he shouted,
with a bullying frown.
' For whom ?' I inquired.
'For yourself, Sir,' was the reply.
I had now also lost temper, though not altogether
command of myself.
' Monsieur,' said I, advancing and confronting him,
'I have yet to learn that the house of Mademoisello
Besanqon is the property of M. Dominique Gayarre.
If it were so, I would be less disposed to respect the
sanctity of its roof. You, Sir, have not respected it.
You have acted infamously towards this young girl-
this young lady, for she merits the title as much as
the best blood in your land. I have witnessed your
dastardly conduct, and heard your insulting pro-
posals- '
Here Gayarre started, but said nothing. I con-
tinued-
' You are not a gentleman, Sir; and therefore not
worthy to stand before my pistol. The owner of this
house is not at home. At present it is as much mine
as yours; and I promise you, that if you are not out
of it in ten seconds you shall have my whip laid with
severity upon your shoulders.'
I said all this in a tone sufficiently moderate, and in
cool blood. Gayarre must have seen that I meant it,
for I did mean it.
151 00153.jpg
144 THE QUADROON.
' You shall pay dearly for this,' he hissed out.
'You shall find that this is not the country for a
' Go, Sir!'
' And you, my fine pattern of quadroon virtue,' lie
added, bending a malicious glance upon Aurore,
'there may come a day when you'll be less prudish:
a day when you'll not find such a gallant protector.'
' Another word, and- '
The uplifted whip would have fallen on his shoul-
ders. He did not wait for that, but gliding through
the door, shuffled off over the verandah.
I stepped outside to make sure that lie was gone.
Advancing to the end of the platform I looked over
the paling. The chattering of the birds told me that
some one was passing through the shrubbery.
I watched till I saw the gate open. I could just
distinguish a head above the palings moving along the
road. I easily recognized it as that of the disappointed
seducer.
As I turned back towards the drawing-room I
forgot that such a creature existed !
CHAPTER XXV.
AN HOUR OF BLISS.
SWEET is gratitude under any circumstances; how
much sweeter when expressed in the eyes and uttered
by the lips of those we love!
I re-entered the room, my heart swelling with de-
lightful emotions. Gratitude was poured forth in
lavish yet graceful expressions. Before I could utter
a word, or stretch out a hand to hinder, the beautiful
152 00154.jpg
THE QUADROON.
Auwithlr word. and the uplifted whip would have fallen on his shoulders.-p. 144.
153 00155.jpg
154 00156.jpg
AN HOUR OF BLISS. 145
girl had glided across the room, and fallen into a
kneeling posture at my foot! Her thanks came from
her heart.
' Rise, lovely Aurore!' said I, taking her unresisting
hand, and leading her to a seat. What I have done
is scarce worth thanks like thine. Who would have
acted otherwise ?'
' Ah, Monsieur!-many, many. You know not this
land. There are few to protect the poor slave. The
chivalry, so much boasted here, extends not to us.
We, in whose veins runs the accursed blood, are
beyond the pale both of honour and protection. Ah
me, noble stranger! you know not for how much I
am your debtor!'
' Call me not stranger, Aurore. It is true we have
had but slight opportunity of conversing, but our
acquaintance is old enough to render that title no
longer applicable. I would you would speak to me
by one more endearing.'
' Endearing Monsieur, I do not understand you !'
Her large brown eyes were fixed upon me in a gaze
of wonder, but they also interrogated me.
'Yes, endearing-I mean, Aurore-that you will
not shun me-that you will give me your confi-
dence-that you will regardme as a friend-a-a-
brother.'
'You, Monsieur! you as my brother-a white-a
gentleman, high-born and educated! I-I-oh Hea-
vens! what am I? A slave-a slave-whom men
love only to ruin. 0 God !-why is my destiny so
hard? 0 God!'
' Aurore!' I cried, gathering courage from her
agony,' Aurore, listen to me! to me, your friend,
your-'
155 00157.jpg
THE QUADROON.
She removed her hands that had been clasped
across her face, and looked up. Her swimming eyes
were bent stedfastly upon mine, and regarded me with
a look of interrogation.
At that moment a train of thought crossed my
mind. In words it was thus: How long may we be
alone ? We may be interrupted ? So fair an oppor-
tunity may not offer again. There is no time to
waste in idle converse. I must at once to the object
of my visit.'
' Aurore!' I said, 'it is the first time we have met
alone. I have longed for this interview. I have a
word that can only be spoken to you alone.'
'To me alone, Monsieur! What is it?'
' Aurore, I love you!'
' Love me! Oh, Monsieur, it is not possible !'
'Ah! more than possible-it is true. Listen,
Aurore! From the first hour I beheld you-I might
almost say before that hour, for you were in my heart
before I was conscious of having seen you-from that
first hour I loved you-not with a villain's love, such
as you have this moment spurned, but with a pure
and honest passion. And passion I may well call it,
for it absorbs every other feeling of my soul. Morn-
ing and night, Aurore, I think but of you. You are
in my dreams, and equally the companion of my
waking hours. Do not fancy my love so calm, because
I am now speaking so calmly about it. Circumstances
render me so. I have approached you with a deter-
mined purpose-one long resolved upon-and that,
perhaps, gives me this firmness in declaring my love.
I have said, Aurore, that I love you. I repeat it
again-with my heart and soul, I love you!'
'Love me poor girl!'
156 00158.jpg
AN HOUR OF BLISS. 147
There was something so ambiguous in the utterance
of the last phrase, that I paused a moment in my
reply. It seemed as though the sympathetic interjec-
tion had been meant for some third person rather
than herself!
' Aurore,' I continued, after a pause, I have told
you all. I have been candid. I only ask equal can-
dour in return. Do you love me ?'
I should have put this question less calmly, but
that I felt already half-assured of the answer.
We were seated on the sofa, and near each other.
Before I had finished speaking, I felt her soft fingers
touch mine-close upon them, and press them gently
together. When the question was delivered, her head
fell forward on my breast, and I heard murmuring
from her lips the simple words-
' Itoo from the first hour!'
My arms, hitherto restrained, were now twined
around the yielding form, and for some moments
neither uttered a word. Love's paroxysm is best
enjoyed in silence. The wild intoxicating kiss, the
deep mutual glance, the pressure of hands and arms
and burning lips, all these need no tongue to make
them intelligible. For long moments ejaculations of
delight, phrases of tender endearment, were the only
words that escaped us. We were too happy to con-
verse. Our lips paid respect to the solemnity of our
hearts.
* * * *
It was neither the place nor time for Love to go
blind, and prudence soon recalled me to myself. There
was still much to be said, and many plans to be dis-
cussed before our new-sprung happiness should be
secured to us. Both were aware of the abyss that
157 00159.jpg
146 THE QUADROON.
still yawned between us. Both wore aware that a
thorny path must be trodden before we could reach
the elysium of our hopes. Notwithstanding our
present bliss, the future was dark and dangerous; and
the thought of this soon startled us from our short
sweet dream.
Aurore had no longer any fear of my love. She did
not even wrong me with suspicion. She doubted not
my purpose to make her my wife. Love and gratitude
stifled every doubt, and we now conversed with a
mutual confidence which years of friendship could
scarce have established.
But we talked with hurried words. We knew not the
moment we might be interrupted. We knew not when
again we might meet alone. We had need to be brief.
I explained to her my circumstances-that in a few
days I expected a sum of money-enough, I believed,
for the purpose. What purpose? The purchase of my
bride!
'Then,' added I, 'nothing remains but to get married,
Aurore!'
' Alas!' replied she with a sigh, even were I free,
we could not be married here. Is it not a wicked law
that persecutes us even when pretending to give us
freedom?'
I assented.
'We could not get married,' she continued, evi-
dently suffering under painful emotion, we could not
unless you could swear there was African blood in
your veins! Only think of such a law in a Christian
land!'
'Think not of it, Aurore,' said I, wishing to cheer
her. 'There shall be no difficulty about swearing
that. I shall take this gold pin from your hair, open
158 00160.jpg
AN nOUn OF ULISS. 149
this beautiful blue vein in your arm, drink from it,
and take the oath!'
The quadroon smiled, but the moment after her look
of sadness returned.
' Come, dearest Aurore! chase away such thoughts!
What care we to be married here ? We shall go else-
where. There are lands as fair as Louisiana, and
churches as fine as St. Gabriel to be married in. We
shall go northward-to England-to France-any-
where. Let not that grieve you!'
'It is not that which grieves me.'
'What then, dearest?'
'Oh! It is-I fear- '
SFear not to tell me.'
That you will not be able- '
Declare it, Aurore.'
'To become my master-to-to buy me!'
Here the poor girl hung her head, as if ashamed to
speak of such conditions. I saw the hot tears spring-
ing from her eyes.
'And why do you fear ?' I inquired.
'Others have tried. Large sums they offered-
larger even than that you have named, and they could
not. They failed in their intentions, and oh! how
grateful was I to Mademoiselle! That was my only
protection. She would not part with me. How glad
was I then! but now-now how different!-the very
opposite i'
' But I shall give more-my whole fortune. Surely
that will suffice. The offers you speak of were in-
famous proposals, like that of M. Gayarre. Mademoi-
selle knew it; she was too good to accept them.'
' That is true, but she will equally refuse yours. I
fear it, alas! alas !'
159 00161.jpg
150 THE QUADROON.
'Nay, I shall confess all to Mademoiselle. I shall
declare to her my honourable design. I shall implore
her consent. Surely she will not refuse. Surely she
feels gratitude---'
'Oh, Monsieur!' cried Aurorc, interrupting me,
'she is grateful-you know not how grateful; but
never, never will she- You know not all-alas!
alas!'
With a fresh burst of tears filling her eyes, the
beautiful girl sank down on the sofa, hiding her face
under the folds of her luxuriant hair.
I was puzzled by these expressions, and about to
ask for an explanation, when the noise of carriage-
wheels fell upon my ear. I sprang forward to the
open window, and looked over the tops of the orange-
trees. I could just see the head of a man, whom I
recognized as the coachman of Mademoiselle Besangon.
The carriage was approaching the gate.
In the then tumult of my feelings I could not trust
myself to meet the lady, and, bidding a hurried adieu
to Aurore, I rushed from the apartment.
When outside I saw that, if I went by the front
gate I should risk an encounter. I knew there was a
small side-wicket that led to the stables, and a road
ran thence to the woods. This would carry me to
Bringiers by a back way, and stopping off from the
verandah, I passed through the wicket, and directed
myself towards the stables in the rear.
160 00162.jpg
( 151 )
CHAPTER XXVI.
'HE 'NIGGER QUARTER.
I soox reached the stables, where I was welcomed
by a low whimper from my horse. Scipio was not
there.
' He is gone upon some other business,' thought I;
'perhaps to meet the carriage. No matter, I shall not
summon him. The saddle is on, and I can bridle the
steed myself-only poor Scipio loses his quarter-
dollar.'
I soon had my steed bitted and bridled; and, lead-
ing the animal outside, I sprang into the saddle, and
rode off.
The path I was taking led past the 'negro quarters,'
and then through some fields to the dark cypress and
tupelo woods in the rear. From these led a cross-way
that would bring me out again upon the Levee road.
I had travelled this path many a time, and knew it
well enough.
The 'nigger quarter' was distant some two hundred
yards from the 'grande maison,' or big house,' of the
plantation. It consisted of some fifty or sixty little
'cabins,' neatly built, and standing in a double row,
with a broad way between. Each cabin was a fac-
simile of its neighbour, and in front of each grew a
magnolia or a beautiful China tree, under the shade of
whoso green leaves and sweet-scented flowers little-
negroes might be seen all the livelong day, disporting
their bodies in the dust. These, of all sizes, from the
piccaninnyy' to the good-sized chunk of a boy,' and
161 00163.jpg
15b THE QUADROON.
of every shade of slave-colour, from the fair-skinned
quadroon to the black Bambara, on whom, by an
American witticism of doubtful truthfulness; charcoal
would make a white mark !' Divesting them of dust,
you would have no difficulty in determining their
complexion. Their little plump bodies were nude,
from the top of their woolly heads to their long pro-
jecting heels! There roll they, black and yellow
urchins, all the day, playing with pieces of sugar-
cane, or melon-rind, or corn-cobs-cheerful and happy
as any little lords could be in their well-carpeted
nurseries in the midst of the costliest toys of the
German bazaar!
On entering the negro quarter, you cannot fail to
observe tall papaw poles or cane-reeds stuck up in
front of many of the cabins, and carrying upon their
tops large yellow gourd-shells, each perforated with a
hole in the side. These are the dwellings of the
purple martin, (Hirundo purpurea,)-the most beauti-
ful of American swallows, and a great favourite
among the simple negroes, as it had been, long before
their time, among the red aborigines of the soil. You
will notice, too, hanging in festoons along the walls of
the cabins, strings of red and green popper-pods
(species of capsicum); and here and there a bunch of
some dried herb of medicinal virtue, belonging to the
negro pharmacopeia. All these are the property of
'aunt Phoebe,' or 'aunty Cleopatra,' or 'ole aunt
Phillis;' and the delicious 'pepper pot' that any one
of these aumts' can make out of the aforesaid green
and red capsicums, assisted by a few other ingre-
dients from the little garden 'patch' in the rear of
the cabin, would bring water to the teeth of an
epicure.
162 00164.jpg
THE NIGGER QUARTER.'
Perhaps on the cabin walls you will see suspended
representatives of the animal kingdom-perhaps the
skin of a rabbit, a raccoon, an opossum, or the grey
fox-perhaps also that of the musk-rat (Fiber zibe-
thicuts), or, rarer still, the swamp wild-cat (bay lynx-
JLynx rufis). The owner of the cabin upon which
hangs the lynx-skin will be the Nimrod of the hour;
for the cat is among the rarest and noblest game of
the Mississippi fauna. The skin of the panther
(cougar) or deer you will not see, for although both
inhabit the neighboring forest, they are too high
game for the negro hunter, who is not permitted the
use of a gun. The smaller 'varmints' already enu-
merated can be captured without such aid, and the
pelts you see hanging upon the cabins are the pro-
duce of many a moonlight hunt undertaken by COsar,'
or Scipio,' or Hannibal,' or 'Pompey.' Judging by
the nomenclature of the ncgro quarter, you might
fancy yourself in ancient Rome or Carthage !
The great men above named, however, are never
trusted with such a dangerous weapon as a rifle. To
their skill alone do they owe their success in the
chase; and their weapons are only a stick, an axe,
and a ''coon dog' of mongrel race. Several of these
last you may see rolling about in the dust among the
piccaninniess,' and apparently as happy as they. But
the hunting trophies that adorn the walls do not hang
there as mere ornaments. No, they are spread out to
dry, and will soon give place to others-for there is a
constant export going on. When uncle Ceez, or Zip,
or IIanny, or Pomp, get on their Sunday finery, and
repair to the village, each carries with him his stock
of small pelts. There the storekeeper has a talk with
them, and a pic' (picayune) for the mussrat,' a bit'
L
163 00165.jpg
154 THE QUADROON.
(Spanish real) for the ''coon,' and a 'quarter' for the
fox or 'cat,' enable those four avuncular hunters to
lay in a great variety of small luxuries for the four
'aunties' at home; which little comforts are most
likely excluded from the regular rice-and-pork rations
of the plantation.
So much is a little bit of the domestic economy of
the negro quarter.
On entering the little village,- for the negro
quarter of a grand plantation merits the title,-you
cannot fail to observe all of these little matters. They
are the salient points of the picture.
You will observe, too, the house of the 'overseer'
standing apart; or, as in the case of the plantation
Besangon, at the end of the double row, and fronting
the main avenue. This, of course, is of a more pre-
tentious style of architecture; can boast of venetian
blinds to the windows, two stories of height, and a
' porch.' It is enclosed with a paling to keep off the
intrusion of the children, but the dread of the painted
'cowhide' renders the paling almost superfluous.
As I approached the 'quarter,' I was struck with
the peculiar character of the picture it presented,-
the overseer's house towering above the humbler
cabins, seeming to protect and watch over them, sug-
gesting the similarity of a hen with her brood of
chickens.
Here and there the great purple swallows boldly
cleft the air, or, poised on wing by the entrance of
their gourd-shell dwellings, uttered their cheerful
'tweet-tweet-tweet;' while the fragrant odour of
the China-trees and magnolias scented the atmosphere
to a long distance around.
164 00166.jpg
THE 'NIGGER QUARTER,' 155
When nearer still, I could distinguish the hum of
human voices-of men, women, and children-in that
peculiar tone which characterises the voice of the
African. I fancied the little community as I had
before seen it-the men and women engaged in
various occupations-some resting from their labour,
(for it was now after field hours,) seated in front of
their tent-like cabins, under the shade-tree, or
standing in little groups gaily chatting with each
other-some by the door mending their fishing-nets
and tackle, by which they intended to capture the
great 'cat' and 'buffalo fish' of the bayous-some
'chopping' fire-wood at the common 'wood-pile,'
which half-grown urchins were totingng' to the
cabins, so that 'aunty' might prepare the evening-
meal.
I was musing on the patriarchal character of such a
picture, half-inclined towards the one-man power'-
if not in the shape of a slaveholder, yet something
after the style of Rapp and his 'social economists.'
' What a saving of state machinery,' soliloquised I,
'in this patriarchal form! How charmingly simple l
and yet how complete and efficient !'
Just so, but I had overlooked one thing, and that
was the imperfectness of human nature-the possi-
bility-the probability-nay, the almost certainty,
that the patriarch will pass into the tyrant.
Hark! a voice louder than common! It is a cry!
Of cheerful import? No-on the contrary, it
sounds like the utterance of some one in pain. It is a
cry of agony! The murmur of other voices, too,
heard at short intervals, carries to my car that deep
portentous sound which accompanies some unnatural
occurrence.
165 00167.jpg
10U( THE QUADROON.
Again I hear the cry of agony-deeper and louder
than before! It comes from the direction of the
negro quarter. What is causing it ?
I gave the spur to my horse, and galloped in the
direction of the cabins.
CHAPTER XXVII.
THE DEVIL'S DOUCHE.
IN a few seconds I entered the wide avenue between
the cabins, and drawing bridle, sat glancing around
mo.
My patriarchal dreams vanished at the sight that
met my eyes.' Before me was a scene of tyranny, of
torture-a scene from the tragedy of slave-life!
At the upper end of the quarter, and on one side of
the overseer's house, was an enclosure. It was the
enclosure of the sugar-mill-a large building which
stood a little further back. Inside the fence was a
tall pump, rising full ten feet in height, with the spout
near its top. The purpose of this pump was to yield
a stream of water, which was conducted to the sugar-
house by means of a slender trough, that served as an
aqueduct.
A platform was raised a few feet above the ground,
so as to enable the person working the pump to reach
its handle.
To this spot my attention was directed by seeing
that the negroes of the quarter were grouped around
it, while the women and children, clinging along the
fence, had their eyes bent in the same direction.
The faces of all-men, women, and children-wore
166 00168.jpg
THE DEVIL'S DOUCHE.
An ominous and gloomy expression; and the attitudes
in which they stood betokened terror and alarm.
Murmurs I could hear-now and then ejaculations-
and sobs that bespoke sympathy with some one who
suffered. I saw scowling brows, as if knit by thoughts
of vengeance. But these last were few-the more
general expression was one of terror and submission.
It was not difficult to tell that the cry I had
heard proceeded from the neighbourhood of the pump,
and a glance unfolded the cause. Some poor slave
was undergoing punishment!
A group of negroes hid the unfortunate from my
view, but over their heads I could see the slave
Gabriel, his body naked to the breech, mounted upon
the platform and working the pump with all his
might.
This Gabriel was a Bambara negro, of huge size
and strength, branded on both shoulders with the
fleur-de-lis. He was a man of fierce aspect, and, as I
had heard, of fierce and brutal habit-feared not only
by the other negroes, but by the whites with whom
he came in contact. It was not he that was under-
going punishment. On the contrary, he was the in.
strument of torture.
And torture it was-I knew the punishment well.
The trough or aqueduct had been removed; and
the victim was placed at the bottom of the pump,
directly under the spout. He was fast bound in a
species of stocks; and in such a position that he could
not move his head, which received the continuous jet in
the very centre of the crown !
* Torture? No doubt, you are incredulous? You
fancy there can be no great torture in that. A simple
shock-a shower-bath-nothing more!
167 00169.jpg
158 THE QUADROON.
You are right. For the first half-minute or so it is
but a shock, a shower-bath, but then -
Believe me when I declare to you-that a stream of
molten lead-an axe continually crashing through the
skull-would not be more painful than the falling of
this cold-water jet! It is torture beyond endurance
-agony indescribable. Well may it be called the
' devil's douche.'
Again the agonised cry came from the pump, almost
curdling my blood.
As I have said, I could not see the sufferer at first.
A row of bodies was interposed between him and me.
The negroes, however, seeing me ride up, eagerly
opened their ranks and fell back a pace, as if desiring
I should be a witness to what was going forward.
They all knew. me, and all had some impression that I
sympathised with their unfortunate race.
This opening gave me a full view of the horrid
spectacle, disclosing a group that made me start in
the saddle. Under the torture was the victim-a man
of sable hue. Close by him, a large mulatto woman
and a young girl of the same complexion-mother and
daughter-stood folded in each other's arms, both
weeping bitterly. I could hear their sobs and ejacu-
lations, even at the distance of a score of yards, and
above the plashing sound of the falling water. I
recognized at a glance who these were-they were the
little Chloe and her mother!
Quick as lightning my eyes were directed towards
the sufferer. The water, as it bounded from his
crown, spread into a glassy sheet, that completely
concealed his head, but the huge, fin-like, projecting
ears told me who was the victim. It was Scipio!
Again his cry of agony pealed upon my ears, deep and
168 00170.jpg
THE QUADROON.
-II
"The Devil's Douche "-p. 158.
169 00171.jpg
170 00172.jpg
THE DEVIL'S DOUCHE. 159
prolonged, as though it issued from the innermost
recesses of his soul!
I did not wait till that cry was ended. A fence of
six rails separated me from the sufferer; but what of
that ? I did not hesitate a moment, but winding my
horse round to give him the run, I headed him at the
leap, and with a touch of the spur lifted him into the
inclosure. I did not even stay to dismount, but
galloping up to the platform, laid my whip across the
naked shoulders of the Bambara with all the force
that lay in my arm. The astonished savage dropped
the pump-handle as if it had been iron at a white
heat; and leaping from the platform, ran off howling
to his cabin!
Exclamations and loud murmurings of applause
followed; but my horse, brought so suddenly to this
exciting work, snorted and plunged, and it was some
time before I could quiet him. While thus engaged,
I observed that the exclamations were suddenly dis-
continued; and the murmurs of applause were suc-
ceeded by a dead, ominous silence! I could hear
several of the negroes nearest me muttering some
words of caution, as though meant for me; among
others the cry of-
' De oberseer I de oberseer Look out, mass'r !
Dar he kum 1'
At that moment an abominable oath, uttered in a
loud voice, reached my ears. I looked in the direction
whence it came. As I anticipated, it was the over-
seer.
He was just issuing from the back-door of his
house, from a window of which he had been all the
while a spectator of Scipio's torture !
I had not come in contact with this person before;
171 00173.jpg
160 THE QUADROON.
and I now saw approaching a man of fierce and brutal
aspect, somewhat flashily dressed, and carrying in his
hand a thick waggon-whip. I could see that his face
was livid with rage, and that he was directing himself
to attack me. I had no weapon but my riding-whip,
and with this I prepared to receive his assault.
He came on at a run, all the while venting the most
diabolical curses.
When he had got nearly up to my horse's head, lh
stopped a moment, and thundered out-
' Who the h-11 are you, meddling with my affairs ?
Who the d-n are-'
He suddenly paused in his speech, and stood staring
in astonishment. I reciprocated that astonishment,
for I had now recognized in the brutal overseer my
antagonist of the boat! the hero Qf the bowie-knifo !
At the same instant he recognized me!
The pause which was the result of our mutual
surprise, lasted but a moment.
' H-11 and furies!' cried the ruffian, changing his
former tone only into one more horribly furious-
'It's you, is it? Whip be d- d! I've something
else for you.'
And as he said this he drew a pistol from his coat,
and hastily cocking it, aimed it at my breast.
I was still on horseback and in motion, else he
would no doubt have delivered his fire at once; but
my horse reared up at the gleam of the pistol, and
his body was thus interposed between mine and its
muzzle.
As I have said, I had no weapon but the whip.
Fortunately it was a stout hunting-whip, with loaded
butt. I hastily turned it in my hand, and just as the
hoofs of my horse came back to the earth, I drove the
172 00174.jpg
THE DEVIL'S DOUCIE.
spur so deeply into his ribs that he sprang forward
more than his own length. This placed me in the
very spot I wanted to be-alongside my ruffian
antagonist, who, taken aback by my sudden change
of position, hesitated a moment before taking fresh
aim. Before he could pull trigger, the butt of my
whip descended upon his skull, and doubled him up in
the dust! His pistol went off as he fell, and the
bullet ploughed up the ground between my horse's
hoofs, but fortunately hit no one. The weapon itself
flow out of his hand, and lay beside him where he had
fallen.
It was a mere lucky hit-all owing to the spur
being touched, and my horse having sprung forward
in good time. Had I missed the blow, I should not
likely have had a second chance. The pistol was
double-barrelled, and on examination I found he
carried another of a similar kind.
He was now lying as still as if asleep, and I began
to fear I had killed him. This would have been a
serious matter. Although perfectly justifiable in me
to have done so, who was to show that? The
evidence of those around me-the whole of them
together-was not worth the asseveration of one
white man; and under the circumstances not worth a
straw. Indeed, considering what had immediately
led to the rencontre, such testimony would have been
more likely to damage my case than otherwise! I
felt myself in an awkward situation.
I now dismounted, and approached the prostrate
form, around which the blacks were congregating.
They made way for me.
I knelt down and examined the head. It was cut
and bleeding, but the skull was still sound!
173 00175.jpg
162 THE QUADROON.
The knowledge of this fact set my mind at rest,
and before I rose to my feet I had the satisfaction to
see that the fellow was coming to his senses, under
the influence of a douche of cold water. The butt of
the second pistol came under my eye, as it stuck out
from the breast of his coat. I drew it forth, and
along with its fellow took them into my own keep-
ing.
' Tell him,' said I, as soon as he comes to himself,
that when he next attacks me, I shall have pistols as
well as he!'
Having ordered him to be carried into the house, I
now turned my attention to his victim. Poor Scipio!
he had been most cruelly tortured, and it was some
time before he recovered his faculties, so as to be able
to tell me why he had been thus punished.
The relation he at length gave, and it made the
blood boil afresh within my veins. He had surprised
the overseer in some of the out-buildings with little
Chloe in his arms, the child crying out and struggling
to get free. Natural indignation on the part of the
father led to a blow-an offence for which Scipio
might have lost an arm; but the white wretch,
knowing that he dare not, for his own sake, expose
the motive, had commuted Scipio's legal punishment
to a little private torture under the pump !
My first impulse on hearing this sad story was to
return to the house, report what had occurred to
Mademoiselle, and urge upon her the necessity of
getting rid of this savage overseer at all risk.
After a little reflection I changed my mind. I
purposed to return upon the morrow, on business of-
to me-much greater importance. To-morrow it was
my intention to bid for Aurore I
174 00176.jpg
GAYARRE AND BULLY BILL.'
I can then,' thought I,' introduce the case of poor
Soipio. Perhaps it may be an introduction to the
" graver theme P" '
Having promised this much to my old attendant, I
mounted my horse, and rode off, amidst a shower of
blessings.
As I passed through the avenue at a walk, women
and half-grown girls hurried from their doors, and
kissed my feet as they hung in the stirrups!
The burning love which so late filled my heart was
for a moment unfelt. Its place was occupied by a
calm, sweet happiness-the happiness that springs
from benefaction I
CHAPTER XXVIII.
GAYARRE AND 'BULLY BILL.
ON riding out from the quarter I changed my inten-
tion of taking the back road. My visit would no
doubt become known to Mademoiselle, and it differed
not if I should now be seen from the house. My
blood was up-so was that of my horse. A rail-fence
was nothing to either of us now; so heading round, I
cleared a couple of palings; and then striking across
a cotton-field arrived once more on the Levee road.
After a while, as soon as I had. cooled down my
horse, I rode slowly, reflecting upon what had just
happened.
It was evident that this ruffian had been put upon
the plantation by Gayarre for some secret purpose.
Whether he and the lawyer had had previous ac-
175 00177.jpg
1i4 THE QUADROON.
quaintanco I could not guess; but such men have a
sort of instinctive knowledge of one another, and he
might be only a waif that the latter had picked up
since the night of the wreck. On the boat I had
supposed him to be some rough gambler, by the pro-
pensity he exhibited for betting; and possibly he
might have been playing that rile of late. It was
evident, however, that 'negro-driving' was his trade;
at all events it was not new to him.
Strange that he had been all this time on the
plantation without knowing of me! But that could
be easily accounted for. He had never seen me
during my stay at the house. Moreover, he may
have been ignorant that Mademoiselle was the lady
with whom he intended to have shared the life-pre-
server. This last hypothesis was probable enough,
for there were other ladies who escaped by means of
rafts, and sofas, and life-preservers. I fancied he had
not seen Mademoiselle until she was springing over
the guards, and would therefore scarce recognize her
again.
The cause of my being an invalid was only known
to Mademoiselle, Aurore, and Scipio ; and the latter
had been charged not to carry this knowledge to the
negro quarter. Then the fellow was but new on the
plantation, and had but little intercourse with its
mistress, as he received most of his orders from
Gayarre; besides, he was but a dull brute after all.
It was just like enough that, up to the moment of
our late encounter, he had no suspicion either that I
was his former antagonist on the boat, or Eugdnie
Besannon the lady who had escaped him. He must
have known of my presence on the plantation, but
only as one of the survivors of the wreck, badly
176 00178.jpg
GAYARBE AND 'BULLY BILL.' 165
wounded,-scalded, perhaps,-but there had been a
number of others, picked up,-scarce a house for some
distance along the coast but had given shelter to
some wounded or half-drowned unfortunate. He had
been busy with his own affairs; or rather, perhaps,
those of Gayarre: for I had no doubt there was some
conspiracy between them in which this fellow was to
play a part. Dull as he was, he had something which
his employer might regard of more value than in-
tellect; something, too, which the latter himself
lacked,-brute strength and brute courage. Gayarro
no doubt had a use for him, else he would not have
been there.
He knew me now, and was not likely soon to forget
me. Would he seek revenge? Beyond doubt he
would, but I fancied it would be by some base under-
hand means. I had no fear that he would again
attack me openly, at least by himself. I felt quite
sure that I had conquered, and encowardiced him. I
had encountered his like before. I knew that his
courage was not of that character to outlive defeat.
It was the courage of the bravo.
I had no fear of an open attack. All I had to
apprehend was some secret revenge, or perhaps the
law !
You will wonder that any thought or dread of the
latter should have occurred to me: but it did; and I
had my reasons.
The knowledge of Gayarre's designs, the detection
of his villanous purpose with Aurore, and my rencontre
with Larkin, had brought matters to a crisis. I was
filled with anxiety, and convinced of the necessity of
a speedy interview with Mademoiselle, in relation to
177 00179.jpg
166 THE QUADROON.
what was nearest to my heart, the purchase of the
quadroon. There was no reason why a single hour
should be wasted, now that Aurore and I understood
each other, and had, in fact, betrothed ourselves.
I even thought of riding back at once, and had
turned my horse for the purpose. I hesitated. My
resolution wavered. I wheeled round again, and
kept on to Bringiers, with the determination to return
to the plantation at an early hour in the morning.
I entered the village and proceeded straight to the
hotel. On my table I found a letter containing a
cheque for two hundred pounds on the Bringiers bank.
It was from my banking agent in New Orleans, who
had received it from England. The letter also con-
tained the information that five hundred more would
reach me in a few days. The sum received was a
pleasant relief, and would enable me to discharge my
pecuniary obligations to Reigart; which in the next
hour I had the pleasure of doing.
I passed a night of great anxiety,-almost a sleep-
less night. No wonder. To-morrow was to be a
crisis. For me, happiness or misery was in the womb
of to-morrow. A thousand hopes and fears hung
suspended on the result of my interview with Eugduio
Besancon. I actually looked forward to this inter-
view with more anxiety than I had done but a few
hours ago to that with Aurore Perhaps, because I
had less confidence in a favourable result.
As early as etiquette would allow of a morning
visit, I was in the saddle, and heading towards the
plantation Besancon.
As I rode out of the village I noticed that men
regarded me with glances that bespoke an unusual
interest.
178 00180.jpg
GAYARRE AND 'BULLY BILL.' 167
'My affair with the overseer is already known,'
thought I. 'No doubt the negroes have spread the
report of it. Such matters soon become public.'
I was unpleasantly impressed with an idea that
the expression on people's faces was anything but a
friendly one. Had I committed an unpopular act in
protecting myself? Usually the conqueror in such an
encounter is rather popular than otherwise, in the
chivalric land of Louisiana. Why, then, did men
look scowling upon me ? What had I done to merit
reproach? I had 'whipped' a rude fellow, whom
men esteemed a 'bully;' and in self-defence had I
acted. The act should have gained me applause,
according to the code of the country. Why then,
- ha! stay! I had interfered between white and
black. I had protected a slave frompunishment. Perhaps
that might account for the disagreeable expression I
had observed!
I could just guess at another cause, of a very dif-
ferent and somewhat ludicrous character. It had
got rumoured abroad that I 'was upon good terms
with Mademoiselle Besangon,' and that it was not
unlikely that one of these fine days the adventurer,
whom nobody knew anything about, would carry off
the rich plantress!
There is no part of the world where such a bonnefor-
tune is not regarded with envy. The United States is
no exception to the rule; and I had reason to know that
on account of this absurd rumour I was not very
favourably regarded by some of the young planters
and dandy storekeepers who loitered about the streets
of Bringiers.
I rode on without heeding the 'black looks' that
were cast upon me, and indeed soon ceased thinking
179 00181.jpg
168 THE QUADROON.
of them. My mind was too full of anxiety about the
approaching interview to be impressed with minor
cares.
Of course Eugenie would have heard all about the
affair of yesterday. What would be her feelings in
relation to it? I felt certain that this ruffian was
forced upon her by Gayarre. She would have no
sympathy with him. The question was, would she
have the courage-nay, the power to discharge him
from her service ? Even on hearing who he was ? It
was doubtful enough!
I was overwhelmed with sympathy for this poor
girl. I felt satisfied that Gayarre must be her cre-
ditor to a large amount, and in that way had her in
his power. What he had said to Aurore convinced
me that such -was the case. Indeed, Reigart had
heard some whisper that his debt had already been
proved before the courts in New Orleans; that no
opposition had been made; that he had obtained a
verdict, and could seize upon her property, or as
much of it as would satisfy his demands, at any
moment! It was only the night before Reigart had
told me this, and the information had rendered me all
the more anxious to hasten my business in relation to
Aurore.
I spurred into a gallop, and soon came in sight of
the plantation. Having arrived at the gate, I dis-
mounted. There was no one to hold my horse, but
that is a slight matter in America, where a gate-post
or a branch of a tree often serves as a groom.
Bethinking me of this ready expedient I tossed my
rein over one of the palings, and walked toward the
house.
180 00182.jpg
( 169 )
CHAPTER XXIX.
'ELLE T'AIME!'
IT was natural I should have thoughts about my
yesterday's antagonist. Would I encounter him?
Not likely. The butt of my whip had no doubt given
him a headache that would confine him for some days
to his quarters. But I was prepared for any event.
Under my waistcoat were his own double-barrelled
pistols, which I intended to use, if attacked. It was
my first essay at carrying concealed weapons,' but it
was the fashion of the country at the time-a fashion
followed by nineteen out of every twenty persons you
met-by planters, merchants, lawyers, doctors, and
even divines! So prepared, I had no fear of an en-
counter with Bully Bill.' If my pulse beat quick,
and my step was nervous, it was on account of the
anticipated interview with his mistress.
With all the coolness I could command, I entered
the house.
I found Mademoiselle in the drawing-room. She
received me without reserve or embarrassment. To
my surprise as well as gratification she appeared
more cheerful than usual. I could even detect a
significant smile! I fancied she was pleased at what
had occurred; for of course she was aware of it all. I
could understand this well enough.
Aurore was not present. I was glad she was not.
I hoped she would not come into the room-at least
for a time. I was embarrassed. I scarce knew how
bi
181 00183.jpg
170 THE QUADROON.
to open the conversation, much less to break to
Mademoiselle the matter that was nearest my heart.
A few ordinary phrases passed between us, and then
our conversation turned upon the affair of yesterday.
I told her all-everything-except the scene with
Aurore. That was omitted.
I hesitated for some time whether I should let her
know who her overseer was. When she should ascer-
tain that he was the fellow who had wounded me on
the boat, and who but for me would have taken away
her chances of safety, I felt certain she would insist
upon getting rid of him at all risks.
For a moment I reflected upon the consequences.
'She will never be safe,' thought I, 'with such a
ruffian at her side. Better for her to make stand at
once.' Under this belief I boldly came out with the
information.
She seemed astounded, and clasping her hands, re-
mained for some moments in an attitude of mute agony.
At length she cried out-
' Gayarre-Gayarre I it is you, M. Gayarre 1 Oh !
mon Dieu! mon Dieu! Where is my father? where is
Antoine? God have mercy upon me!'
The expression of grief upon her lovely countenance
went to my heart. She looked an angel of sorrow,
sad but beautiful.
I interrupted her with consolatory phrases of the
ordinary kind. Though I could only guess the nature
of her sorrow, she listened to me patiently, and I
fancied that what I said gave her pleasure.
Taking courage from this, I proceeded to inquire
more particularly the cause of her grief. 'Mademoi-
selle,' said I, 'you will pardon the liberty I am
taking; but for some time I have observed, or
182 00184.jpg
'ELLE T'AIME.' 171
fancied, that you have a cause of-of-unhappi-
ness-'
She fixed her eyes upon me in a gaze of silent
wonder. I hesitated a moment under this strange
regard, and then continued,-
'Pardon me, Mademoiselle, if I speak too boldly; I
assure you my motive--'
'Speak on, Monsieur!' she said, in a calm sad
voice.
'I noticed this the more, because when I first had
the pleasure of seeing you, your manner was so very
different-in fact, quite the reverse- '
A sigh and a sad smile were the only reply. These
interrupted me for but a moment, and I proceeded:-
' When first observing this change, Mademoiselle, I
attributed it to grief for the loss of your faithful
servitor and friend.'
Another melancholy smile.
' But the period of sorrowing for such a cause is
surely past, and yet- '
' And yet you observe that I am still sad '
'Just so, Mademoiselle.'
'True, Monsieur; it is even so.'
' I have ceased therefore to regard that as the cause
of your melancholy; and have been forced to think of
some other- '
The gaze of half surprise, half interrogation, that
now met mine, caused me for a moment to suspend
my speech. After a pause, I resumed it, determined
to come at once to the point.
'You will pardon me, Mademoiselle, for this free
interest'in your affairs-you will pardon me for asking.
Do I not recognize in M. Gayarre the cause of your
unhappiness ?'
183 00185.jpg
172 THE QUADiOON.
She started at the question, and turned visibly paler.
In a moment, however, she seemed to recover herself,
and replied calmly, but with a look of strange signifi-
cance:-
' I'las! Monsieur, your suspicions are but partially
correct. H6las! Oh! God, support me!' she added,
in a tone that sounded like despair. Then, as if by
an effort, her manner seemed to undergo a sudden
alteration, and she continued:-
' Please, Monsieur, let us change the subject ? I owe
you life and gratitude. Would I knew how to repay
you for your generous gallantry-your-your-friend-
ship! Perhaps some day you may know all. I would
tell you now, but-but-Monsieur-there are-I
cannot-'
' Mademoiselle Besanqon, I entreat you, do not for a
moment let the questions I have asked have any con-
sideration. They were not put from idle curiosity. I
need not tell you, Mademoiselle, that my motive was
of a higher kind--'
' I know it, Monsieur-I know it; but no more of
it now, I pray you-let us speak on some other
subject.'
Some other subject I had no longer the choice of
one. I had no longer control of my tongue. The
subject which was nearest my heart sprang spon-
taneously to my lips; and in hurried words I declared
my love for Aurore.
I detailed the whole course of my passion, from the
hour of my dream-like vision up to that when we had
plighted our mutual troth.
My listener was seated upon the low ottoman
directly before me; but from motives of bashfulness I
had Ircpt my eyes averted during the time I wvas
184 00186.jpg
THOUGHTS. 173
speaking. She heard me without interruption, and I
augured well from this silence.
I concluded at length, and with trembling heart was
awaiting her reply; when a deep sigh, followed by a
rustling sound, caused me suddenly to turn. Eug6lic
had fallen vpon the floor !
With a glance I saw she had fainted. I flung my
arms around her, and carried her to the sofa.
I was about to call for assistance when the door
opened, and a form glided into the room. It was
Aurore !
'Mmlon Dieu!' exclaimed the latter; 'vous Vl'es
fire mourir eie t'aime-elle t'aime !'
CHAPTER XXX.
THOUGHTS.
THAT night I passed without repose. How was it
with Eugenie? How with Aurore?
Mine was a night of reflections, in which pleasure
and pain were singularly blended. The love of the
quadroon was my source of pleasure; but, alas pain
predominated as my thoughts dwelt upon the Creole!
That the latter loved me I no longer doubted; and
this assurance, so far from giving me joy, filled mo
with keen regret. Accursed vanity, that can enjoy
such a triumph !-vile heart, that can revel in a love
it is unable to return! Mine did not: it grieved
instead.
In thought I reviewed the short hours of inter-
course that had passed between us-Eug6nie Besangon
185 00187.jpg
174 THE QUADROON.
and myself. I communed with my conscience, asking
myself the question, Was I innocent ? Had I done
aught, either by word, or look, or gesture, to occasion
this love ?-to produce the first delicate impression,
that upon a heart susceptible as hers soon becomes
a fixed and vivid picture? Upon the boat? Or
afterwards? I remembered that at first sight I had
gazed upon her with admiring eyes. I remembered
that in hers I had beheld that strange expression of
interest which I had attributed to curiosity or some
other cause-I knew not what. Vanity, of which no
doubt I possess my share, had not interpreted those
tender glances aright-had not even whispered me
they were the flowers of love, easily ripened to its
fruits. Had I been instrumental in nurturing those
flowers of the heart ?-had I done aught to beguile
them to their fatal blooming?
I examined the whole course of my conduct, and
pondered over all that had passed between us. I
thought of all that had occurred during our passage
upon the boat-during the tragic scene that followed.
I could not remember aught, either of word, look, or
gesture, by which I might condemn myself. I gave
full play to my conscience, and it declared me innocent.
Afterwards-after that terrible night-after those
burning eyes and that strange face had passed dream-
like before my disordered senses-after that moment
I could not have been guilty of aught that was trivial.
During the hours of my convalescence-during the
whole period of my stay upon the plantation-I could
remember nothing in my intercourse with Eugdnie
Besangon to give me cause for regret. Towards her
I had observed a studied respect-nothing more.
Secretly I felt friendship and sympathy; more espe-
186 00188.jpg
THOUGHTS.
cially after I had noted the change in her manner,
and feared that some cloud was shadowing her
fortune. Alas, poor Eug4nie I Little did I guess the
nature of that cloud! Little did I dream how dark it
was!
Notwithstanding my self-exculpation, I still felt
pain. Had Eugenie Besanqon been a woman of
ordinary character I might have borne my reflections
more lightly. But to a heart so highly attuned, so
noble, so passionate, what would be the shock of an
unrequited love? Terrible it must be; perhaps the
more so at thus finding her rival in her own slave I
Strange confidante had I chosen for my secret!
Strange ear into which I had poured the tale of my
love! Oh that I had not made my confession! What
suffering had I caused this fair, this unfortunate lady !
Such painful reflections coursed through my mind;
but there were others equally bitter, and with bitter-
ness springing from a far different source. What
would be the effect of the disclosure ? How would it
affect our future-the future of myself and Aurore?
How would Eug6nie act? Towards me? towards
Aurore-her slave ?
My confession had received no response. The mute
lips murmured neither reply nor adieu. I had gazed
but a moment on the insensible form. Aurore had
beckoned me away, and I had left the room in a state
of embarrassment and confusion-I scarce remem-
bered how.
What would be the result? I trembled to think.
Bitterness, hostility, revenge ?
Surely a soul so pure, so noble, could not harbour
such passions as these ?
'No,' thought I; Eug6nie Besanqon is too gentle,
187 00189.jpg
176 THE QUADROON.
too womanly, to give way to them. Is there a hope
that she may have pity on me, as I pity her ? Or is
there not? She is a Creole-she inherits the fiery
passions of her race. Should these be aroused to
jealousy, to revenge, her gratitude will soon pass
away-her love be changed to scorn. Her own slave!'
Ah I well understood the meaning of this relation-
ship, though I cannot make it plain to you. You can
ill comprehend the horrid feeling. Talk of a mesal-
liance of the aristocratic lord with the daughter of his
peasant retainer, of the high-born dame with her
plebeian groom-talk of the scandal and scorn to
which such rare events give rise All this is little-
is mild, when compared with the positive disgust and
horror felt for the white' who would ally himself in
marriage with a slave! No matter how white she be,
no matter how beautiful-even lovely as Aurore-he
who would make her his wife must bear her away
from her native land, far from the scenes where she
has hitherto been known! His mistress-ah! that is
another affair. An alliance of this nature is pardon-
able. The society' of the South is satisfied with the
slave-mistress; but the slave-wife-that is an impossi-
bility, an incongruity not to be borne !
I knew that the gifted Eug6nie was above the
common prejudices of her class; but I should have
expected too much to suppose that she was above
this one. No; noble, indeed, must be the soul that
could have thrown off this chain, coiled around it by
education, by habit, by example, by every form of
social life. Notwithstanding all-notwithstanding the
relations that existed between herself and Auroro, I
could not expect this much. Aurore was her com-
panion, her friend; but still Auroro was her slave!
188 00190.jpg
THOUGHTS. I i
I trembled for the result. I trembled for our next
interview. In the future I saw darkness and danger.
I had but one hope, one joy-the love of Aurore !
* * * *
I rose from my sleepless couch. I dressed and ate
my breakfast hurriedly, mechanically.
That finished, I was at a loss what to do next.
Should I return to the plantation, and seek another
interview with Eug6nie. No-not then. I had not
the courage. It would be better, I reflected, to
permit some time to pass-a day or two-before going
back. Perhaps Mademoiselle would send for me?
Perhaps- At all events, it would be better to
allow some days to elapse. Long days they would be
to me!
I could not bear the society of any one. I shunned
conversation; although I observed, as on the pre-
ceding day, that I was the object of scrutiny-the
subject of comment among the loungers of the bar,'
and my acquaintances of the billiard-room. To avoid
them, I remained inside my room, and endeavoured to
kill time by reading.
I soon grew tired of this chamber-life; and upon
the third morning I seized my gun, and plunged into
the depth of the forest.
I moved amidst the huge pyramidal trunks ot the
cypresses, whose thick umbellated foliage, meeting
overhead, shut out both sun and sky. The very
gloom occasioned by their shade was congenial to my
thoughts; and I wandered on, my steps guided rather
by accident than design.
I did not search for game. I was not thinking of sport.
My gun rested idly in the hollow of my arm. The
raccoon, which in the more open woods is nocturnal, is
189 00191.jpg
178 TIE QUADROON.
here abroad by day. I saw the creature plunging his
food into the waters of the bayou, and skulking around
the trunks of the cypresses. I saw the opossum
gliding along the fallen log, and the red squirrel, like
a stream of fire, brushing up the bark of the tall tulip-
tree. I saw the large 'swamp-hare' leap from her
form by the selvage of the cane-brake; and, still more
tempting game, the fallow-deer twice bounded before
me, roused from its covert in the shady thickets of the
pawpaw-trees. The wild turkey, too, in all the glitter
of his metallic plumage, crossed my path; and upon
the bayou, whose bank I for some time followed, I
had ample opportunity of discharging my piece at the
blue heron or the egret, the summer duck or the
snake-bird, the slender ibis or the stately crane. Even
the king of winged creatures, the white-headed eagle,
was more than once within range of my gun, scream-
ing his maniac note among the tops of the tall taxo-
diums.
And still the brown tubes rested idly across my
arm; nor did I once think of casting my eye along
their sights. No ordinary game could have tempted
me to interrupt the current of my thoughts, that
were dwelling upon a theme to me the most interest-
ing in the world-Aurore the quadroon !
190 00192.jpg
( 179 )
CHAPTER XXXI.
DREAMS.
YIELDING up my soul to its sweet love-dream, I
wandered on-where and how long I cannot tell,
for I had taken no note either of distance or direc-
tion.
I was roused from my reverie by observing a
brighter light gleaming before me; and soon after I
emerged from the darker shadow of the forest. My
steps, chance-directed, had guided me into a pretty
glade, where the sun shone warmly, and the ground
was gay with flowers. It was a little wild garden,
enamelled by blossoms of many colours, among which,
bignonias and the showy corollas of the cotton-rose
were conspicuous. Even the forest that bordered and
enclosed this little parterre was a forest of flowering-
trees. They were magnolias of several kinds; on
some of which the large liliaceous blossoms had given
place to the scarcely less conspicuous seed-cones of
glowing red, whose powerful but pleasant odour filled
the atmosphere around. Other beautiful trees grew
alongside, mingling their perfume with that of the
magnolias. Scarce less interesting were the honey-
locusts' (gleditschias), with their pretty pinnate leaves,
and long purple-brown legumes; the Virginian lotus,
with its oval amber-coloured drupes, and the singular
bow-wood tree (maclura), with its large orange-like
pericarps, reminding one of the flora of the tropics.
The Autumn was just beginning to paint the forest,
191 00193.jpg
1IU THE QUADROON.
and already some touches from his glowing palette
appeared among the leaves of the sassafras laurel, the
sumach (rOhs), the persimmon (diospyros), the nymph-
named tupelo, and those other species of the Ameri-
can sylva that love to array themselves so gorgeously
before parting with their deciduous foliage. Yellow,
orange, scarlet, crimson, with many an intermediate-
tint, met the eye; and all these colours, flashing
under the brilliant beams of a noonday sun, produced
an indescribable coup-d'ceil. The scene resembled the
gaudy picture-work of a theatre, more than the sober
reality of a natural landscape.
I stood for some minutes wrapt in admiration.
The dream of love in which I had been indulging
became heightened in its effect; and I could not help
thinking that if Aurore were but present to enjoy
that lovely scene-to wander with me over that
flowery glade-to sit by my side under the shade of
the magnolia laurel-then, indeed, would my happi-
ness be complete. Earth itself had no fairer scene
than this. A very love-bower it appeared!
Nor was it unoccupied by lovers; for two pretty
doves-birds emblematic of the tender passion-sat
side by side upon the bough of a tulip-tree, their
bronzed throats swelling at intervals with soft
amorous notes.
Oh, how I envied those little creatures! How I
should have rejoiced in a destiny like theirs Thus
mated and happy-amidst bright flowers and sweet
perfumes, loving the live-long day-loving through all
their lives!
They deemed me an intruder, and rose on whirring
wing at my approach. Perchance they feared my
glittering gun. They had not need. I had no inten-
192 00194.jpg
DREAMS.
tion of harming them. Far was it from my heart to
spoil their perfect bliss.
But no-they feared me not-else their flight would
have been more distant. They only flitted to the
next tree; and there again, seated side by side,
resumed their love-converse. Absorbed in mutual
fondness, they had already forgotten my presence I
I followed to watch these pretty creatures-the
types of gentleness and love. I flung me on the
grass, and gazed upon them, tenderly kissing and
cooing. I envied their delight.
My nerves, that for days had been dancing with
more than ordinary excitement, were now expe-
riencing the natural reaction, and I felt weary.
There was a drowsiness in the air-a narcotic influ-
ence produced by the combined action of the sun's
rays and the perfume of the flowers. It acted upon
my spirit, and I fell asleep.
* * * *
I slept only about an hour, but it was a sleep of
dreams; and during that short period I passed
through many scenes. Many a visionary tableau
appeared before the eye of my slumbering soul, and
then melted away. There were more or less charac-
ters in each; but in all of them two were constant,
both well defined in form and features. They were
Eugnnie and Aurore.
Gayarre, too, was in my dreams; and the ruffian
overseer, and Scipio, and the mild face of Reigart,
and what I could remember of the good Antoine.
Even the unfortunate Captain of the boat, the boat
herself, the Magnolia, and the scene of the wreck-all
were reproduced with a painful distinctness!
Bu. my visions were not all of a painful character
193 00195.jpg
182 THE QUADROON.
Some were the very opposite-scenes of bliss. In
company with Auroro, I was wandering through
flowery glades, and exchanging the sweet converse of
mutual love. The very spot where I lay-the scene
around me-was pictured in the dream.
Strangest of all, I thought that Eugenie was with
us, and that she, too, was happy; that she had con-
sented to my marrying Aurore, and had even assisted
us in bringing about this happy consummation!
In this vision Gayarre was the fiend; and I thought
that after awhile he endeavoured to drag Aurore
from me. A struggle followed, and then the scene
ended with confused abruptness.
A new tableau arose-a new vision. In this
Eugdnie played the part of the evil genius. I thought
she had refused my request-refused to sell Aurore.
I fancied her jealous, hostile, vengeful. I thought
she was loading me with imprecations, my betrothed
with threats. Aurore was weeping. It was a painful
vision.
* * * *
The scene changed again. Aurore and I were
happy-she wasfree-she was now mine, and we were
married. But there was a cloud upon our happiness.
Eugedie was dead!
Yes, dead. I thought I was bending over her, and
had taken her hand. Suddenly her fingers closed
upon mine, and held them with a firm pressure. I
thought that the contact was disagreeable; and I
endeavoured to withdraw my hand, but could not.
My fingers remained bound within that cold clammy
grasp; and with all my strength I was unable to
release them! Suddenly I was stung; and at the
194 00196.jpg
STUNG BY A SNAKE.
same instant the chill hand relaxed its grasp, and set
me free.
The stinging sensation, however, awoke me; and
my eyes mechanically turned towards the hand, where
I still felt pain.
Sure enough my wrist was punctured and bleeding!
A feeling of horror ran through my veins, as the
'sker-r-rr' of the crotalus sounded in my ear; and,
looking around, I saw the glittering body of the
reptile extended along the grass, and gliding rapidly
away!
CHAPTER XXXII.
STUNG BY A SNAKE.
THE pain was not a dream; the blood upon my wrist
was no illusion. Both were real. I was bitten by a
rattlesnaaee !
Terror-stricken I sprang to my feet; and, witn an
action altogether mechanical, passed my hand over
the wound, and wiped away the blood. It was but a
trifling puncture, such as might have been made by
the point of a lancet, and only a few drops of blood
oozed from it.
Such a wound need not have terrified a child, so far
as appearance went; but I, a man, was terrified, for I
knew that that little incision had been made by a
dread instrument-by the envenomed fang of a serpent
-and in one hour I might be dead
My first impulse was to pursue the snake and
destroy it; but before I could act upon that impulse
195 00197.jpg
TIE QUADROON.
the reptile had escaped beyond my reach. A hollow
log lay near-the trunk of a large tulip-tree, with the
heart-wood decayed and gone. The snake had made
for this-no doubt its haunt-and before I could come
up with it, I saw the long slimy body, with its
rhomboid spots, disappear within the dark cavity.
Another sker-r-rr' reached my cars as it glided out
of sight. It seemed a note of triumph, as if uttered to
tantalize me!
The reptile was now beyond my reach, but its
destruction would not have availed me. Its death
could not counteract the effect of its poison already
in my veins. I knew that well enough, but for all I
would have killed it, had it been in my power to do
so. I felt angry and vengeful.
This was but my first impulse. It suddenly became
changed to a feeling of terror. There was something
so weird in the look of the reptile, something so
strange in the manner of its attack and subsequent
escape, that, on losing sight of it, I became suddenly
impressed with a sort of supernatural awe-a belief
that the creature was possessed of a fiendish intelli-
gence!
Under this impression I remained for some moments
in a state of bewilderment.
The sight of the blood, and the stinging sensation of
the wound, soon brought me to my senses again, and
admonished me of the necessity of taking immediate
steps to procure an antidote to the poison. But what
antidote ?
What knew I of such things ? I was but a classical
scholar. True, I had lately given some attention to
botanical studies; but my new knowledge extended
only to the trees of the forest, and none of these with
196 00198.jpg
STUNG BY A SNAKE. 185
which I was acquainted possessed alexipharmic
virtues. I knew nothing of the herbaceous plants, the
milkworts, and aristolochias, that would now have
served me. The woods might have been filled with
antidotal remedies, and I have died in their midst.
Yes, I might have lain down upon a bed of Seneca
root, and, amidst terrible convulsions, have breathed
my last breath, without knowing that the rhizome of
the humble plant crushed beneath my body would, in
a few short hours, have expelled the venom from my
veins, and given me life and health.
I lost no time in speculating upon such a means of
safety. I had but one thought-and that was to reach
Bringiers at the earliest possible moment. My hopes
rested upon Reigart.
I hastily took up my gun; and, plunging once
more under the dark shadows of the cypress trees, I
hurried on with nervous strides. I ran as fast as my
limbs would carry me; but the shock of terror I had
experienced seemed to have enfeebled my whole
frame, and my knees knocked against each other as I
went.
On I struggled, regardless of my weakness, regard-
less of everything but the thought of reaching
Bringiers and Reigart. Over fallen trees, through
dense cane-brakes, through clumps of palmettoes and
pawpaw thickets, I passed, dashing the branches from
my path, and lacerating my skin at every step.
Onward, through sluggish rivulets of water, through
tough miry mud, through slimy pools, filled with
horrid newts, and the spawn of the huge rana pipiens,
whose hoarse loud croak at every step sounded
ominous in my ear. Onward !
'lHo! whither am I going? Where is the path?
N
197 00199.jpg
186 THE QUADROON.
where the tracks of my former footsteps? Not here-
not there. Good God I have lost them I-lost I lost '
Quick as lightning came these thoughts. I looked
around with eager glances. On every side I scanned
the ground. I saw no path, no tracks, but those I
had just made. I saw no marks that I could remem-
ber. I had lost my way. Beyond a doubt I was lost .
A thrill of despair ran through me-the blood
curdled cold in my veins at the thought of my peril.
No wonder. If lost in the forest, then was I lost
indeed. A single hour might be enough. In that
time the poison would do its work. I should be found
only by the wolves and vultures. O God!
As if to make my horrid fate appear more certain,
I now remembered to have heard that it was the very
season of the year-the hot autumn-when the venom
of the crotalus is most virulent, and does its work in
the shortest period of time. Cases are recorded
where in a single hour its bite has proved fatal.
'Merciful heaven thought I, 'in another hour I
shall be no more 1' and the thought was followed by a
groan.
The danger nerved me to renewed efforts. I turned
back on my tracks. It seemed the best thing I could
do; for in the gloomy circle around, there was no
point that indicated my approach to the open ground
of the plantations. Not a bit of sky could I discover,
-that welcome beacon to the wood-ranger, denoting
the proximity of the clearings. Even the heaven
above was curtained from my view; and when I
appealed to it in prayer, my eyes rested only upon the
thick black foliage of the cypress-trees, with their
mournful drapery of tillandsia.
I had no choice but to go back, and endeavour to
198 00200.jpg
STUNG BY A SNAKE.
find the path I had lost, or wander on trusting to mere
chance.
I chose the former alternative. Again I broke
through the cane-brakes and palmetto-thickets-again
I forded sluggish bayous, and waded across muddy
pools.
I had not proceeded more than a hundred yards on
the back track, when that also became doubtful. I
had passed over a roach of ground higher and drier
than the rest. Hero no footprints appeared, and I
know not which way I had taken. I tried in several
directions, but could not discover my way. I became
confused, and at length completely bewildered. Again
was I lost
To have been lost in the forest under ordinary
circumstances would have mattered little,-an hour
or two of wandering-perhaps a night spent under
the shade of some tree, with the slight inconvenience
of a hungry stomach. But how very different was my
prospect then, with the fearful thoughts that were
pressing upon me I The poison was fast inoculating
my blood. I fancied I already felt it crawling through
my veins!
One more struggle to find the clearings!
I rushed on, now guided by chance. I endeavoured
to keep in a straight line, but to no purpose. The
huge pyramidal buttresses of the trees, so charac-
teristic of these conferce, barred my way; and, in
passing around them, I soon lost all knowledge of my
direction.
I wandered on, now dragging wearily across the
dull ditches, now floundering through tracts of
swamp, or climbing over huge prostrate logs. In
my passage I startled the thousand denizens of the
N2
199 00201.jpg
188 THE QUADROON.
dank forest, who greeted me with their cries. The
qua bird screamed; the swamp-owl hooted; the
bullfrog uttered his trumpet note; and the hideous
alligator, horribly bellowing from his gaunt jaws,
crawled sulkily out of my way, at times appearing as
if he would turn and assail me!
'Ho yonder is light !-the sky !'
It was but a small patch of the blue heaven-a
disc, not larger than a dining-plate. But, oh! you
cannot understand with what joy I greeted that bright
spot. It was the lighthouse to the lost mariner.
It must be the clearings ? Yes, I could see the sun
shining through the trees, and the horizon open as I
advanced. No doubt the plantations were before me.
Once there I should soon cross the fields, and reach
the town. I should yet be safe. Reigart would
surely know how to extract the poison, or apply some
antidote ?
I kept on with bounding heart and straining eyes-
on, for the bright meteor before me.
The blue spot grew larger-other pieces of sky
appeared-the forest grew thinner as I advanced-I
was drawing nearer to its verge.
The ground became firmer and drier at every step,
and the timber of a lighter growth. The shapeless
cypress knees' no longer impeded my progress. I
now passed among tulip-trees, dogwoods, and mag-
nolias. Less densely grew the trunks, lighter and
less shadowy became the foliage above; until at
length I pushed through the last selvage of the under-
wood, and stood in the open sunshine.
A cry of agony rose upon my lips. It was wrung
from me by despair. I had arrived at my point of
starting-I was once more within the glade!
200 00202.jpg
TIE RUNAWAY. 189
I sought not to go farther. Fatigue, disappoint-
ment, and chagrin, had for the moment paralysed my
strength. I staggered forward to a prostrate trunk,
-the very one which sheltered my reptile assassin!-
and sat down in a state of irresolution and bewilder-
ment.
It seemed as though I were destined to die in that
lovely glade-amidst those bright flowers-in the
midst of that scene I had so lately admired, and upon
the very spot where I had received my fatal wound !
CHAPTER XXXIII.
THE RUNAWAY.
MAN rarely yields up his life without an extreme
effort to preserve it. Despair is a strong feeling, but
there are those whose spirit it cannot prostrate. In
later life mine own would not have given way to such
circumstances as surrounded me at that time; but I
was then young, and little experienced in peril.
The paralysis of my thoughts did not continue long.
My senses returned again; and I resolved to mako a
new effort for the salvation of my life.
I had conceived no plan, further than to endeavour
once more to escape out of the labyrinth of woods and
morass in which I had become entangled, and make
as before for the village. I thought I knew the
direction in which it lay, by observing the side at
which I had first entered the glade. But, after all,
there was no certainty in this. It was mere con-
jecture. I had entered the glade with negligent steps.
201 00203.jpg
190 THE QUADROON.
I had strayed all around it before lying down to sleep.
Perhaps I had gone around its sides before entering it
-for I had been wandering all the morning.
While these reflections were passing rapidly through
my mind, and despair once more taking possession of
my spirits, I all at once remembered having heard
that tobacco is a powerful antidote to snake poison.
Strange the idea had not occurred to me before. But,
indeed, there was nothing wonderful that it did not,
as up to that moment I had only thought of making
my way to Bringiers. With no reliance upon my own
knowledge, I had thought only of a doctor. It was
only when I became apprehensive of not being able to
get to him, that I began to think of what resources
lay within my reach. I now remembered the tobacco.
Quick as the thought my cigar-case was in my
fingers. To my joy one cigar still remained, and
drawing it out I proceeded to macerate the tobacco
by chewing. This I had heard was the mode of
applying it to the snake-bite.
Dry as was my mouth at first, the bitter weed soon
supplied me with saliva, and in a few moments I had
reduced the leaves to a pulp, though nauseated-almost
poisoned by the powerful nicotine.
I laid the moistened mass upon my wrist, and at the
same time rubbed it forcibly into the wound. I now
perceived that my arm was sensibly swollen-even up
to the elbow-and a singular pain began to be felt
throughout its whole length 1 0 God the poison was
spreading, surely and rapidly spreading! I fancied I
could feel it like liquid fire crawling and filtering
through my veins!
Though I had made application of the nicotine, I
had but little faith in it. I had only heard it casually
202 00204.jpg
THE RUNAWAY.
talked of as a remedy. It might, thought I, be one of
the thousand fancies that people love to indulge in;
and I had only used it as a' forlorn hope.'
I bound the mass to my wrist-a torn sleeve
serving for lint; and then, turning my face in the
direction I intended to take, I started off afresh.
I had scarce made three strides when my steps
were suddenly arrested. I stopped on observing a
man on the edge of the glade, and directly in front of
me.
He had just come out of the underwood, towards
which I was advancing, and, on perceiving me, had
suddenly halted-perhaps surprised at the sight of
one of his own kind in such a wild place.
I hailed his appearance with a shout of joy. A
guide!-a deliverer thought I.
What was my astonishment-my chagrin-my in-
dignation-when the man suddenly turned his back
upon me; and, plunging into the bushes, disappeared
from my sight!
I was astounded at this strange conduct. I had
just caught a glimpse of the man's face as he turned
away. I had seen that he was a negro, and I had
noticed that he appeared to be frightened. But what
was there about me to terrify him ?
I called out to him to stop-to come back. I
shouted in tones of entreaty-of command-of
menace. In vain. He made neither stop nor stay.
I heard the branches crackle as he broke through the
thicket-each moment the noise appearing more
distant.
It was my only chance for a guide. I must not
lose it; and, bracing myself for a run, I started after
him.
203 00205.jpg
ly2 THE QUADROON.
If I possess any physical accomplishment in which
I have confidence it is my fleetness of foot. At that
time an Indian runner could not have escaped me,
much less a clumsy, long-heeled negro. I knew that
if I could once more get my eyes upon the black, I
would soon overhaul him; but therein lay the
difficulty. In my hesitation I had given him a long
start; and he was now out of sight in the depth of
the thicket.
But I could hear him breaking through the bushes
like a hog; and, guiding myself by the sound, I kept
up the pursuit.
I was already somewhat jaded by my previous ex-
ertions; but the conviction that my life depended on
overtaking the negro kindled my energies afresh, and I
ran like a greyhound. Unfortunately it was not a
question of simple speed, else the chase would soon
have been brought to an end. It was in getting
through the bushes, and dodging round the trunks of
the trees, that the hindrance lay; and I had many a
struggle among the branches, and many a zigzag turn
to make, before I could get my eyes upon the object I
was in pursuit of.
However, I at length succeeded in doing so. The
underwood came to an end. The misshapen cypress
trunks alone stood up out of the miry, black soil; and
far off, down one of their dark aisles, I caught sight of
the negro, still running at the top of his speed.
Fortunately his garments were light coloured, else
under the sombre shadow I could not have made him
out. As it was, I had only a glimpse of him, and at a
good distance off.
But I had cleared the thicket, and could run freely.
Swiftness had now everything to do with the race;
204 00206.jpg
205 00207.jpg
THE QUADROON.
The Runaway.--p. 193.
206 00208.jpg
THE RUNAWAY.
and in less than five minutes after I was close upon
the heels of the black, and calling to him to halt.
'Stop!' I shouted. For God's sake, stop!'
No notice was taken of my appeals. The negro did
not even turn his head, but ran on, floundering
through the mud.
'Stop!' I repeated, as loudly as my exhausted breath
would permit. 'Stop, man! why do you run from
me? I mean you no harm.'
Neither did this speech produce any effect. No
reply was given. If anything, I fancied that lie
increased his speed; or rather, perhaps, he had got
through the quagmire, and was running upon firm
ground while I was just entering upon the former.
I fancied that the distance between us was again
widening; and began to fear he might still elude me.
I felt that my life was on the result. Without him to
guide mo from the forest, I would miserably perish.
He must guide me. Willing or unwilling, I should
force him to the office.
' Stop,' I again cried out; halt, or I fire !'
I had raised my gun. Both barrels were loaded.
I had spoken in all seriousness. I should in reality
have fired-not to kill, but to detain him. The shot
might injure him, but I could not help it. I had no
choice-no other means of saving my own life.
I repeated the awful summons:-
'Stop-or I fire !'
This time my tone was earnest. It left no doubt of
my intention ; and this seemed to be the impression it
produced upon the black; for, suddenly halting in his
tracks, he wheeled about, and stood facing me.
'Fire! and be dam!' cried he; 'have a care, white
man-don't you miss. By Goramighty! if ya do,
207 00209.jpg
194 THE QUADROON.
your life's mine. See dis knife! fire now and be
dam '
As he spoke he stood full fronting me, his broad
chest thrown out as if courageously to receive the
shot, and in his uplifted hand I saw the shining blade
of a knife!
A few steps brought me close up; and in the man
that stood before me I recognized the form and fero-
cious aspect of Gabriel the Bambarra I
CHAPTER XXXIV.
GABRIEL THE BAMBARRA.
THE huge stature of the black-his determined attitude
-the sullen glare of his lurid bloodshot eyes, set in a
look of desperate resolve-the white gleaming file-
pointed teeth-rendered him a terrible object to
behold. Under other circumstances I might have
dreaded an encounter with such a hideous-looking
adversary-for an adversary I deemed him. I remem-
bered the flogging I had given him with my whip, and
I had no doubt that he remembered it too. I had no
doubt that he was now upon his errand of revenge-
instigated partly by the insult I had put upon him,
and partly set on by his cowardly master. He had
been dogging me through the forest-all the day,
perhaps-waiting for an opportunity to execute his
purpose.
But why had he run away from me? Was it
because he feared to attack me openly ? Certainly it
was-he feared my double-barrelled gun!
208 00210.jpg
GABRIEL THE BAMBARRA.
But I had been asleep. He might have approached
me then-he might have-Ha!
This ejaculation escaped my lips, as a singular
thought flashed into my mind. The Bambarra was a
'snake-charmer'-I had heard so-could handle the
most venomous serpents at will-could guide and
direct them! Was it not he who had guided the
crotalus to where I lay-who had caused me to be
bitten?
Strange as it may appear, this supposition at that
moment crossed my mind, and seemed probable; nay,
more-I actually believed it. I remembered that I
had been struck with a peculiarity about the reptile
-its weird look-the superior cunning exhibited in
its mode of escape-and not less peculiar the fact of
its having stung me unprovoked-a rare thing for the
rattlesnake to do! All these points rushing simul-
taneously into my mind, produced the conviction that
for the fatal wound on my wrist I was indebted, not
to chance, but to Gabriel the snake-charmer!
Not half the time I have been telling you of it-not
the tenth nor the hundredth part of the time, was I in
forming this horrid conviction. It was done with the
rapidity of thought-the more rapid that every cir-
cumstance guiding to such a conclusion was fresh in
my memory. In fact the black had not changed his
attitude of menace, nor I mine of surprise at recog-
nising him, until all these thoughts had passed through
my mind!
Almost with equal rapidity was I disabused of the
singular delusion. In another minute I became aware
that my suspicions were unjust. I had been wronging
the man who stood before me.
All at once his attitude changed. His uplifted arm
209 00211.jpg
10U THE QUADROON.
fell by his side; tho expression of fierce menace
disappeared; and in as mild a tone as his rough voice
was capable of giving utterance to, he said-
'Oh! you mass'-brack man's friend! Daml
thought 'twar da cussed Yankee driber!'
'And was that why you ran from me ?'
'Ye, mass'; ob course it war.'
'Then you are--'
'Am runaway ; ye, mass', jes so-runaway. Don't
mind tell you. Gabr'el truss you-He know you am
poor nigga's friend. Look-ee-dar.'
As he uttered this last phrase, he pulled off the
scanty copper-coloured rag of a shirt that covered his
shoulders, and bared his back before my eyes !
A horrid sight it was. Besides the fleur-de-lis and
many other old brands, there were scars of more
recent date. Long wales, purple-red and swollen,
traversed the brown skin in every direction, forming a
perfect network. Here they were traceable by the
darker colour of the extravasated blood, while there
the flesh itself lay bare, where it had been exposed to
some prominent fold of the spirally-twisted cowskin.
The old shirt itself was stained with black blotches
that had once been red-the blood that had oozed out
during the infliction! The sight sickened me, and
called forth the involuntary utterance-
' Poor fellow !'
This expression of sympathy evidently touched the
rude heart of the Bambarra.
'Ah, mass'!' he continued, you flog me with hoss-
whip-dat nuffin! Gabr'l bress you for dat. He
pump water on ole Zip againstt him will-glad when
young mass' druv im way from de pump.'
' Ha! you were forced to it, then?'
210 00212.jpg
GABRIEL THE BAMBARRA. 197
'Ye, mass', forced by da Yankee driber. Try mako
me do so odder time. I 'fuse punish Zip odder time
-dat's why you see dis yeer-dam!'
'You were flogged for refusing to punish Scipio ?'
' Jes so, mass' Edwad; 'bused, as you see ; but- '
here the speaker hesitated, while his face resumed its
fierce expression; 'but,' continued he, I'se had
rebenge on de Yankee-dam '
'What ?-revenge ? What have you done to him ?'
' Oh, not much, mass'. Knock im down; he drop
like a beef to de axe. Dat's some rebenge to poor
nigga. Beside, I'se a runaway, an' dat's rebenge Ha!
ha! Dey lose good nigga-good hand in de cotton-
feel-good hand among de cane. Ha! ha!'
The hoarse laugh with which the 'runaway' ex-
pressed his satisfaction sounded strangely on my ear.
'And you have run away from the plantation?'
'Jes so, mass' Edward-nebber go back.' After a
pause, he added, with increased emphasis, 'N ebber go
back 'live!'
As he uttered these words he raised his hand to his
broad chest, at the same time throwing his body into
an attitude of earnest determination.
I saw at once that I had mistaken the character of
this man. I had had it from his enemies, the whites,
who feared him. With all the ferocity of expression
that characterized his features, there was evidently
something noble in his heart. He had been flogged
for refusing to flog a fellow-slave. He had resented
the punishment, and struck down his brutal oppressor.
By so doing he had risked a far more terrible punish-
ment-even life itself!
It required courage to do all this. A spirit of
liberty alone could have inspired him with that
211 00213.jpg
198 THE QUADROON.
courage-the same spirit which impelled the Swiss
patriot to strike down the cap of Gessler.
As the negro stood with his thick muscular fingers
spread over his brawny chest, with form erect, with
head thrown back, and eyes fixed in stern resolve, I
was impressed with an air of grandeur about him, and
could not help thinking that in the black form before
me, scantily clad in coarse cotton, there was the soul
and spirit of a man 1
CHAPTER XXXV.
THE SNAKE-DOCTOR.
WITH admiring eyes I looked for some moments on
this bold black man-this slave-hero. I might have
gazed longer, but the burning sensation in my arm
reminded me of my perilous situation.
' You will guide me to Bringiers ? was my hurried
interrogatory.
' Aren't, mass'.'
'Daren't! Why?'
'Mass' forget I'se a runaway. White folk cotchl
Gabr'l-cut off him arm.'
' What ? Cut off your arm ?'
' Saten sure, mass'-dat's da law of Loozyaney.
White man strike nigga, folk laugh, folk cry out,
"Lap de dam nigga lap him !" Nigga strike white
man, cut off nigga's arm. Like berry much to 'blccgo
mass' Edwad, but aren't go to de clearing. White
men after Gabr'l last two days. Cuss'd blood-dogs
212 00214.jpg
THE SNAKE-DOCTOR.
and nigga-hunters out on im track. Thought young
mass' war one o' dem folks; dat's why um run.'
' If you do not guide me, then I must die.'
' Die !-die! why for mass' say dat ?'
' Because I am lost. I cannot find my way out of
the forest. If I do not reach the doctor in less than
twenty minutes, there is no hope. 0 God !'
' Doctor !-mass' Edwad sick? What ail um ? Tell
Gabr'l. If dat's da case, him guide de brack man's
friend at risk ob life. What young mass' ail?'
' See! I have been bitten by a rattlesnake.'
I bared my arm, and showed the wound and the
swelling.
' Ho I dat indeed I sure 'nuff-it are da bite ob do
rattlesnake. Doctor no good for dat. Tobacc'-juico
no good. Gabr'l best doctor for de rattlesnake. Come
'long, young mass'!'
' What! you are going to guide me, then?'
'I'so a gwine to cure you, mass'.'
' You ?'
'Ye, mass' tell you doctor no good-know nuffin'
't all 'bout it-he kill you-truss Ole Gabe-he cure
you. Come 'long, mass', no time t' be loss.'
I had for the moment forgotten the peculiar repu-
tation which the black enjoyed-that of a snake-
charmer and snake-doctor as well, although I had so
late been thinking of it. The remembrance of this
fact now returned, accompanied by a very different
train of reflections.
' No doubt,' thought I, he possesses the requisite
knowledge-knows the antidote, and how to apply it.
No doubt he is the very man. The doctor, as he
says, may not understand how to treat me.'
I had no very great confidence that the doctor
213 00215.jpg
200 THE QUADIEOON
could cure me. I was only running to him as a sort
of dernier resort.
' This Gabriel-this snake-charmer, is the very man.
How fortunate I should have met with him!'
After a moment's hesitation-during the time these
reflections were passing through my mind-I called
out to the black-
'Leadon! Ifollowyou!'
Whither did he intend to guide me? What was he
going to do? Where was he to find an antidote ?
How was he to cure me ?
To these questions, hurriedly put, I received no
reply.
'You truss me, mass' Edward; you foller me '
were all the words the black would utter as he strode
off among the trees.
I had no choice but to follow him.
After proceeding several hundred yards through the
cypress swamp, I saw some spots of sky in front of us.
This indicated an opening in the woods, and for that
I saw my guide was heading. I was not surprised on
reaching this opening to find that it was the glade-
again the fatal glade!
To my eyes how changed its aspect! I could not
bear the bright sun that gleamed into it. The sheen
of its flowers wearied my sight-their perfume made
me sick!
Maybe I only fancied this. I was sick, but from a
very different cause. The poison was mingling with
my blood. It was setting my veins on fire. I was
tortured by a choking sensation of thirst, and already
felt that spasmodic compression of the chest, and diffi-
culty of breathing-the well-known symptoms expe-
rienced by the victims of snake-poison.
214 00216.jpg
TIIE SNAKKE-IOCTOR. 201
It may be that I only fancied most of this. I knew
that a venomous serpent had bitten me; and that
knowledge may have excited my imagination to an
extreme susceptibility. Whether the symptoms did in
reality exist, I suffered them all the same. My fancy
had all the painfulness of reality!
My companion directed me to be seated. Moving
about, he said, was not good. He desired me to be
calm and patient, once more begging me to 'truss
Gabr'l.'
I resolved to be quiet, though patient I could not
be. My peril was too great.
Physically I obeyed him. I sat down upon a log-
that same log of the liriodendron-and under the
shade of a spreading dogwood-tree. With all the
patience I could command, I sat awaiting the orders
of the snake-doctor. He had gone off a little way,
and was now wandering around the glade with eyes
bent upon the ground. He appeared to be searching
for something.
' Some plant,' thought I, he expects to find grow-
ing there.'
I watched his movements with more than ordinary
interest. I need hardly have said this. It would have
been sufficient to say that I felt my life depended on
the result of his search. His success or his failure
were life or death to me.
How my heart leaped when I saw him bend forward,
and then stoop still lower, as if clutching something
upon the ground! An exclamation of joy that escaped
his lips was echoed in a louder key from my own;
and, forgetting his directions to remain quiet, I sprang
up from the log, and ran towards him.
As I approached he was upon his knees, and with
0
215 00217.jpg
202 THE QUADROON.
his knife-blade was digging around a plant, as if to
raise it by the roots. It was a small herbaceous
plant, with erect simple stem, oblong lanceolate leaves,
and a terminal spike of not very conspicuous white
flowers. Though I knew it not then, it was the
famed 'snake-root' (Polygala senega).
In a few moments he had removed the earth, and
then, drawing out the plant, shook its roots free of
the mould. I noticed that a mass of woody contorted
rhizomes, somewhat thicker than those of the sar-
saparilla briar, adhered to the stem. They were
covered with ash-coloured bark, and quite inodorous.
Amid the fibres of these roots lay the antidote to the
snake poison-in their sap was the saviour of my
life!
Not a moment was lost in preparing them. There
were no hieroglyphics nor Latinic phraseology em-
ployed in the prescription of the snake-charmer. It
was comprised in the phrase, haw it!' and, along
with this simple direction, a piece of the root scraped
clear of the bark was put into my hand. I did as I
was desired, and in a moment I had reduced the root
to a pulp, and was swallowing its sanitary juices.
The taste was at first rather sweetish, and engen-
dered a slight feeling of nausea; but, as I continued
to chew, it became hot and pungent, producing a
peculiar tingling sensation in the fauces and throat.
The black now ran to the nearest brook, filled one
of his broganss' with water, and, returning, washed
my wrist until the tobacco juice was all removed
from the wound. Having himself chewed a number
of the leaves of the plant into a pulpy mass, he placed
it directly upon the bitten part, and then bound up
the wound as before.
216 00218.jpg
CHARMING THE CROTALUS.
Everything was now done that could be done. I
was instructed to abide the result patiently and with-
out fear.
* $ * *
In a very short time a profuse perspiration broke
out over my whole body, and I began to expectorate
freely. I felt, moreover, a strong inclination to vomit
-which I should have done had I swallowed any
more of the juice, for, taken in large doses, the seneca
root is a powerful emetic.
But of the feelings I experienced at that moment,
the most agreeable was the belief that I was cured!
Strange to say, this belief almost at once impressed
my mind with the force of a conviction. I no longer
doubted the skill of the snake-doctor.
CHAPTER XXXVI.
CHARMING TIE CROTALUS.
I was destined to witness still further proofs of the
wonderful capabilities of my new acquaintance.
I felt the natural joy of one whose life has been
saved from destruction-singularly, almost miracu-
lously saved. Like one who has escaped from drown-
ing, from the field of slaughter, from the very jaws of
death. The reaction was delightful. I felt gratitude,
too, for him who had saved me. I could have em-
braced my sable companion, black and fierce as he
was, like a brother.
217 00219.jpg
201 THE QUADROON.
We sat side by side upon the log, and chatted gaily;
-gaily as men may whose future is dark and un-
settled. Alas! it was so with both of us. Mine had
been dark for days past; and his-what was his, poor
helot?
But even in the gloom of sadness the mind has'its
moments of joy. Nature has not allowed that grief
may be continuous, and at intervals the spirit must
soar above its sorrows. Such an interval was upon
me then. Joy and gratitude were in my heart. I had
grown fond of this slave,-this runaway slave,-and
was for the moment happy in his companionship.
It was natural our conversation should be of snakes
and snake-roots, and many a strange fact he imparted
to me relating to reptile life. A herpetologist might
have envied me the hour I spent upon that log in the
company of Gabriel the Bambarra.
In the midst of our conversation my companion
abruptly asked the question, whether I had killed the
snake that had bitten me.
'No,' I replied. 'It escaped.'
'Scaped, mass'! whar did um go ?'
'It took shelter in a hollow log,-the very one on
which we are seated.'
The eyes of the negro sparkled with delight.
'Dam!' exclaimed he, starting to his feet; 'mass'
say snake in dis yeer log? Dam he repeated, 'if de
varmint yeer in dis log, Gabr'l soon fotch 'im out.'
' What you have no axe 1'
'Dis nigga axe no want for dat.'
'How, then, can you get at the snake? Do you
intend to set fire to the log 1'
'Ho! fire no good. Dat log burn whole month.
Fire no good: smoke white men soe,-b'lieve 'im run-
218 00220.jpg
CHARMING THE CROTALUS. 205
away,-den come de blood-dogs. Dis nigga aren't
make no fire.'
'How, then?'
'Wait a bit, mass' Edwad, you see. Dis nigga
fotch de rattlesnake right out ob 'im boots. Please,
young mass', keep still; don't speak abovee de breff:
ole varmint, he hear ebbery word.'
The black now talked in whispers, as he glided
stealthily around the log. I followed his directions,
and remained perfectly 'still,' watching every move-
ment of my singular companion.
Some young reeds of the American bamboo (Arundo
gigantea) were growing near. A number of these he
cut down with his knife; and then, sharpening their
lower ends, stuck them into the ground, near the end
of the log. He arranged the reeds in such a manner
that they stood side by side, like the strings of a harp,
only closer together. He next chose a small sapling
from the thicket, and trimmed it so that nothing re-
mained but a straight wand with a forked end. With
this in one hand, and a piece of split cane in the
other, he placed himself flat along the log, in such a
position that his face was directly over the entrance
to the cavity. He was also close to the row of canes,
so that with his outstretched hand he could conve-
niently reach them. His arrangements were now
completed, and the charm' commenced.
Laying aside the forked sapling ready to his hand,
he took the piece of split reed, and drew it backward
and forward across the row of upright canes. This
produced a sound which was an exact imitation of the
'skorr' of the rattlesnake; so like, that a person
hearing it, without knowing what caused it, would
undoubtedly have mistaken it for the latter; so like,
219 00221.jpg
206 THE QUADROON.
that the black knew the reptile itself would be de-
ceived by it! He did not, however, trust to this
alone to allure his victim. Aided by an instrument
which he had hastily constructed out of the lanceolate
leaves of the cane, he at the same time imitated the
scream and chatter of the red cardinal (Loxia car-
dinalis), just as when that bird is engaged in battle,
either with a serpent, an opossum, or some other of its
habitual enemies.
The sounds produced were exactly similar to those
often heard in the depths of the American forest,
when the dread crotalus plunders the nest of the
Virginian nightingale.
The stratagem proved successful. In a few mo-
ments the lozenge-shaped head of the reptile ap-
peared outside the cavity. Its forking tongue was
protruded at short intervals, and its small dark eyes
glittered with rage. Its rattle could be heard, an-
nouncing its determination to take part in the fray-
which it supposed was going on outside.
It had glided out nearly the full length of its body,
and seemed to have discovered the deception, for it
was turning round to retreat. But the crotalus is one
of the most sluggish of snakes; and, before it could
got back within the log, the forked sapling descended
upon its neck, and pinned it fast to the ground!
Its body now writhed over the grass in helpless
contortions-a formidable creature to behold. It was
a snake of the largest size for its species, being nearly
eight feet in length, and as thick as the wrist of the
]3ambarra himself. Even he was astonished at its pro-
portions; and assured me it was the largest of its
kind he had ever encountered.
I expected to see the black put an end to its
220 00222.jpg
CHARMING THE CROTALUS.
struggles at once by killing it; and I essayed to help
him with my gun.
'No, mass',' cried he, in a tone of entreaty, 'for lub
ob de Ormighty! don't fire de gun. Mass' forget dat
dis poor nigga am runaway.'
I understood his meaning, and lowered the piece.
'B'side,' continued he, 'I'se got something' show
mass' yet-he like see curious thing-he like see de
big snake trick ?'
I replied in the affirmative.
'Well, den, please, mass', hold dis stick. I for
something go. Jes now berry curious plant I see-
berry curious-berry scace dat plant. I seed it in de
cane-brake. Catch 'old, mass', while I go get um.'
I took hold of the sapling, and held it as desired,
though not without some apprehension of the hideous
reptile that curled and writhed at my feet. I had no
need to fear, however. The fork was exactly across
the small of the creature's neck, and it could not raise
its head to strike me. Large as it was, there was no
danger from anything but its fangs ; for the crotalus,
unlike serpents of the genus constrictor, possesses but a
very feeble power of compression.
Gabriel had gone off among the bushes, and in a
few minutes I saw him returning. He carried in his
hand a plant which, as before, he had pulled up by
the roots. Like the former, it was a herbaceous plant,
but of a very different appearance. The leaves of
this one were heart-shaped and acuminate, its stem
sinuous, and its flowers of a dark purple colour.
As the black approached, I saw that he was chew-
ing some parts both of the leaves and root. What did
he mean to do?
I was not left long in suspense. As soon as he
221 00223.jpg
THE QUADROON.
had arrived upon the ground, he stooped down, and
spat a quantity of the juice over the head of the
snake. Then, taking the sapling out of my hand, he
plucked it up and flung it away.
To my dismay, the snake was now set free; and I
lost no time in springing backward, and mounting
upon the log.
Not so my companion, who once more stooped
down, caught hold of the hideous reptile, fearlessly
raised it from the ground, and flung it around his
neck as coolly as if it had been a piece of rope!
The snake made no effort to bite him. Neither did
it seem desirous of escaping from his grasp. It ap-
peared rather to be stupefied, and without the power
of doing injury!
After playing with it for some moments, the Bam-
barra threw it back to the ground. Even there it
made no effort to escape!
The charmer now turned to me, and said, in a tone
of triumph,
' Now, mass' Edward, you shall hab rebenge. Look
at dis!'
As he spoke he pressed his thumb against the fauces
of the serpent, until its mouth stood wide open. I
could plainly see its terrible fangs and poison glands.
Then, holding its head close up to his lips, he injected
the dark saliva into its throat, and once more flung it
to the ground. Up to this time he had used no
violence-nothing that would have killed a creature
so retentive of life as a snake; and I still expected to
see the reptile make its escape. Not so, however.
It made no effort to move from the spot, but lay
stretched out in loose irregular folds, without any per-
ceptible motion beyond a slight quivering of the body.
222 00224.jpg
CHARMING THE CROTALUS. 209
In less than two minutes after, this motion ceased;
and the snake had all the appearance of being dead !
'It am dead, mass',' replied the black to my in-
quiring glance, dead as Julinm Casar.'
'And what is this plant, Gabriel?'
' Ah, dat is a great yerb, mass'; dat is a scace plant
-a berry scace plant. Eat some ob dat-no snake
bite you, as you jes seed. Dat is de plant ob de siake-
charmer.'
The botanical knowledge of my sable companion went
no farther. In after years, however, I was enabled
to classify his charm,' which was no other than the
Aristolochia serpentaria-a species closely allied to the
'bejuco de guaco,' that alexipharmic rendered so
celebrated by the pens of Mutis and Humboldt.
My companion now desired me to chew some of the
roots; for though he had every confidence in the other
remedy, he deemed it no harm to make assurance
doubly sure. He extolled the virtues of the new-
found plant, and told me he should have administered
it instead of the seneca root, but he had despaired
of finding it-as it was of much more rare occurrence
in that part of the country.
I eagerly complied with his request, and swallowed
some of the juice. Like the seneca root, it tasted
hot and pungent, with something of the flavour of
Ppirits of camphor. But the polygala is quite inodo-
rous, while the guaco gives forth a strong aromatic
smell, resembling valerian.
I had already experienced relief-this would have
given it to me almost instantaneously. In a very
short time time the swelling completely subsided ; and
had it not been for the binding around my wrist, I
should have forgotten that I had been wounded.
223 00225.jpg
( 210 )
CHAPTER XXXVYI
KILLING A TRAIL.
Ax hour or more we had spent since entering the
glade-now no longer terrible. Once more its flowers
looked bright, and their perfume had recovered its
sweetness. Once more the singing of the birds and
the hum of the insect-world fell soothingly upon my
ears; and there, as before, sat the pretty doves, still
repeating their soft 'co-co-a'-the endearing ex-
pression of their loves.
I could have lingered long in the midst of this fair
scene-long have enjoyed its sylvan beauty; but the
intellectual must ever yield to the physical. I felt
sensations of hunger, and soon the appetite began to
distress me.
Where was I to obtain relief from this pain-where
obtain food? I could not ask my companion to guide
me to the plantations, now that I knew the risk he
would run in so doing. I knew that it really was as
he had stated-the loss of an arm, perhaps of life, should
he be caught. There was but little hope of mercy for
him-the less so as he had no master with power to
protect him, and who might be interested in his not
being thus crippled I
By approaching the open country on the edge of
the clearings, he would not only run the hazard of
being seen, but, what he feared still more, being
tracked by hounds! This mode of searching for
' runaways was not uncommon, and there were even
224 00226.jpg
KILLING A TRAIL. 211
white men base enough to follow it as a calling! So
learnt I from my companion. His information was
afterwards confirmed by my own experience!
I was hungry-what was to be done ? I could not
find my way alone. I might again get lost, and have
to spend the night in the swamp. What had I best
do?
I appealed to my companion. He had been silent
for some time-busy with his thoughts. They were
running on the same subject as my own. The brave
fellow had not forgotten me.
' Jes what dis nigga am thinking' 'bout,' replied he.
'Well, mass',' he continued, when sun go down, den
I guide you safe-no fear den. Gabr'l take you close
to do Lebee road. Mass' must wait till sun go
down.'
' But-
' Mass' hungry ?' inquired he, interrupting me.
I assented.
' Jes thot so. Dar's nuffin' yeer to eat 'cept dis ole
snake. Mass' no care to cat snake: dis nigga eat 'im.
Cook 'im at night, when smoke ob de fire not seen
ober de woods. Got place to cook 'im, mass' see.
Gabr'l truss mass' Edwad. He take him to caboose ob
de runaway.'
He had already cut off the head of the reptile while
he was talking; and having pinned neck and tail
together with a sharp stick, he lifted the glittering
body, and flinging it over his shoulders, stood ready to
depart.
' Come, now, mass',' continued he, come 'long wi'
Ole Gabe ; he find you something' to eat.'
So saying, he turned round and walked off into the
bushes.
225 00227.jpg
21i THE QUADROON.
I took up my gun and followed. I could not do
better. To have attempted to find my own way back
to the clearings might again have resulted in failure,
since I had twice failed. I had nothing to hurry me
back. It would be quite as well if I returned to the
village after night-the more prudent course, in fact
-as then my mud-bedaubed and blood-stained habili-
ments would be less likely to attract attention; and
this I desired to avoid. I was contented, therefore,
to follow the runaway to his lair,' and share it with
him till after sunset.
For some hundred yards he led on in silence. His
eyes wandered around the forest, as though he was
seeking for something. They were not directed upon
the ground, but upward to the trees; and, therefore,
I knew it was not the path he was in search of.
A slight exclamation escaped him, and, suddenly
turning in his tracks, he struck off in a direction
different to that we had been following. I walked
after; and now saw that he had halted by a tall tree,
and was looking up among its branches.
The tree was the frankincense, or loblolly pine
(Pinus tcrda). That much of botany I knew. I could
tell the species by the largo spinous cones and light-
green needles. Why had he stopped there ?
SMass' Edwad soon see,' he said, in answer to my
interrogatory. Please, mass',' he continued,' hold de
snake a bit-don't let um touch de groun'-dam dogs
dey smell um!'
I relieved him of his L.urdn ; and, holding it as he
desired, stood watching him in silence.
The loblolly pine grows with a straight, naked
shaft and pyramidal head, often without branches, to
the height of fifty feet. In this case, however,
226 00228.jpg
KILLING A TRAIL
several fronds stood out from the trunk, at less than
twenty feet from the ground. These were loaded
with large green cones, full five inches in length; and
it appeared to be these that my companion desired to
obtain-though for what purpose I had not the re-
motest idea.
After a while he procured a long pole; and with
the end of this knocked down several of the cones,
along with pieces of the branchlets to which they
adhered.
As soon as he believed he had a sufficient quantity
for his purpose, he desisted, and flung the pole away.
What next ? I watched with increasing interest.
He now gathered up both the cones and the
adhering spray; but to my surprise he flung the
former away. It was not the cones, then, he wanted,
but the young shoots that grew on the very tops of
the branches. These were of a brownish-red colour,
and thickly coated with resin-for the Pinus tceda is
moro resinous than any tree of its kind-emitting a
strong aromatic odour, which has given to it one of
its trivial names.
Having collected the shoots until he had both
hands full, my guide now bent down, and rubbed the
resin over both the soles and upper surface of his
coarse brogans. He then advanced to where I stood,
stooped down again, and treated my boots to a similar
polishing !
' Now, mass', all right-de dam blood-dogs no scent
Ole Gabe now-dat kill de trail. Come, mass' Edwad,
como 'long.'
Saying this, he again shouldered the snake and
started off, leaving me to follow in his tracks.
227 00229.jpg
( 214 )
CHAPTER XXXVIII.
THE PIROGUE.
WE soon after entered the cyprihre. There the
surface was mostly without underwood. The black
taxodiums, standing thickly, usurped the ground,
their umbellated crowns covered with hoary epi-
phytes, whose pendulous drapery shut out the sun,
that would otherwise have nourished on that rich
soil a luxuriant herbaceous vegetation. But we were
now within the limits of the annual inundation; and
but few plants can thrive there.
After a while I could see we were approaching a
stagnant water. There was no perceptible descent,
but the dank damp odour of the swamp, the noise
of the piping frogs, the occasional scream of some
wading bird, or the bellowing of the alligator, ad-
monished me that some constant water-some lake or
pond-was near.
We were soon upon its margin. It was a largo
pond, though only a small portion of it came under
the eye ; for, as far as I could see, the cypress-trees
grew up out of the water, their huge buttresses
spreading out so as almost to touch each other! Hero
and there the black knees' protruded above the
surface, their fantastic shapes suggesting the idea of
horrid water-demons, and lending a supernatural cha-
racter to the scene. Thus canopied over, the water
looked black as ink, and the atmosphere felt heavy
and oppressive. The picture was one from which
Dante might have drawn ideas for his Inferno.'
228 00230.jpg
THE PIROGUE.
On arriving near this gloomy pond, my guide came
to a stop. A huge tree that had once stood near the
edge had fallen, and in such a position that its top
extended far out into the water. Its branches were
yet undecayed, and the parasites still clung to them
in thick tufts, giving the whole the appearance of a
mass of hay loosely thrown together. Part of this
was under water, but a still larger portion remained
above the surface, high and dry. It was at the root of
this fallen tree that my guide had halted.
He remained but a moment, waiting only till I
came up.
As soon as I had reached the spot, he mounted upon
the trunk; and, beckoning me to follow him, walked
along the log in the direction of its top. I climbed
up, and balancing myself as well as I could, followed
him out into the water.
On reaching the head of the tree, we entered among
the thick limbs; and, winding around these, kept
still farther towards the top branches. I expected
that there we should reach our resting-place.
At length my companion came to a stop, and I now
saw, to my astonishment, a small 'pirogue' resting
upon the water, and hidden under the moss! So
completely was it concealed, that it was not possible
to have seen it from any point except that where we
now stood.
' This, then,' thought I, is the object for which we
have crawled out upon the tree.'
The sight of the pirogue led me to conjecture that
we had farther to go. The black now loosed the
canoe from its moorings, and beckoned me to get in.
I stepped into the frail craft and sat down. My
companion followed, and, laying hold of the branches,
229 00231.jpg
216 THE QUADROON.
impelled the vessel outward till it was clear of the
tops of the tree. Then, seizing the paddle, under its
repeated strokes we passed silently over the gloomy
surface of the water.
For the first two or three hundred yards our
progress was but slow. The cypress knees, and huge
' buttocks' of the trees, stood thickly in the way, and
it was necessary to observe some caution in working
the pirogue through among them. But I saw that
my companion well understood the manage of his craft,
and wielded a paddle with the skill of a Chippewa.
He had the reputation of being a great ''coon hunter'
and 'bayou fisherman;' and in these pursuits no
doubt he had picked up his canoe-craft.
It was the most singular voyage I had ever made.
The pirogue floated in an element that more resembled
ink than water. Not a ray of sun glanced across our
path. The darkness of twilight was above and
around us.
We glided along shadowy aisles, and amidst huge
black trunks that rose like columns supporting a
canopy of close-woven fronds. From this vegetable
root hung the mournful bromelia, sometimes drooping
down to the very surface of the water, so as to sweep
our faces and shoulders as we passed under it.
We were not the only living things. Even this
hideous place had its denizens. It was the haunt and
secure abode of the great saurian, whose horrid form
could be distinguished in the gloom, now crawling
along some prostrate trunk, now half mounted upon
the protruding knees of the cypresses, or swimming
with slow and stealthy stroke through the black
liquid. Huge water-snakes could be seen, causing a
tiny ripple as they passed from tree to tree, or lying
230 00232.jpg
THE PIROGUE.
coiled upon the projecting buttocks. The swamp-owl
hovered on silent wing, and large brown bats pursued
their insect prey. Sometimes these came near, flutter-
ing in our very faces, so that we could perceive the
mephitic odour of their bodies, while their horny jaws
gave forth a noise like the clinking of castanets.
The novelty of the scene interested me; but I could
not help being impressed with a slight feeling of awe.
Classic memories, too, stirred within me. The fancies
of the Roman poet were here realized. I was upon
the Styx, and in my rower I recognized the redoubt-
able Charon.
Suddenly a light broke through the gloom. A few
more strokes of the paddle, and the pirogue shot out
into the bright sunlight. What a relief!
I now beheld a space of open water,-a sort of cir-
cular lake. It was in reality the lake, for what we
had been passing over was but the inundation; and at
certain seasons this portion covered with forest be-
came almost dry. The open water, on the contrary,
was constant, and too deep even for the swamp-loving
cypress to grow in it.
The space thus clear of timber was not of very large
extent,--a surface of half-a-mile or so. On all sides
it was enclosed by the moss-draped forest that rose
around it, like a grey wall; and in the very centre
grew a clump of the same character, that in the dis-
tance appeared to be an island.
This solitary tarn was far from being silent. On
the contrary, it was a scene of stirring life. It seemed
the rendezvous for the many species of wild winged
creatures that people the great marais of Louisiana.
There were the egrets, the ibises-both white and
scarlet-the various species of Ardeidce, the cranes,
p
231 00233.jpg
218 THE QUADROON.
and the red flamingoes. There, too, was the singular
and rare darter, swimming with body immersed, and
snake-like head just appearing above the water; and
there were the white unwieldy forms of the tyrant
pelicans standing on the watch for their finny prey.
Swimming birds speckled the surface; various species
of Anatidcs-swans, geese, and ducks,-while the air
was filled with flights of gulls and curlews, or was cut
by the strong whistling wings of the mallards.
Other than waterfowl had chosen this secluded spot
for their favourite dwelling-place. The osprey could
be seen wheeling about in the air, now shooting down
like a star upon the unfortunate fish that had ap-
proached too near the surface, and anon yielding up
his prey to the tyrant Haliaetus. Such were the varied
forms of feathered creatures that presented themselves
to my eye on entering this lonely lake of the woods.
I looked with interest upon the scene. It was a
true scene of nature, and made a vivid impression
upon me at the moment. Not so with my companion,
to whom it was neither novel nor interesting. It was
an old picture to his eyes, and he saw it from a differ-
ent point of view. He did not stay to look at it, but,
lightly dipping his paddle, pressed the pirogue on in
the direction of the island.
A few strokes carried us across the open water, and
the canoe once more entered under the shadow of
trees. But to my surprise, there was no island! What
I had taken for an island was but a single cypress-
tree, that grew upon a spot where the lake was
shallow. Its branches extending on every side were
loaded with the hoary parasites that drooped down to
the very surface of the water, and shadowed a space
of half an acre in extent. Its trunk rested upon a
232 00234.jpg
THE TREE-CAVERN. 219
base of enormous dimensions. Huge buttresses
flanked it on every side, slanting out into the water
and rising along its stem to a height of many yards,
the whole mass appearing as large as an ordinary
cabin. Its sides were indented with deep bays; and,
as we approached under the screen, I could perceive
a dark cavity which showed that this singular
'buttock' was hollow within.
The bow of the pirogue was directed into one of the
bays, and soon struck against the tree. I saw several
steps cut into the wood, and leading to the cavity
above. My companion pointed to these steps. The
screaming of the startled birds prevented me from
hearing what he said, but I saw that it was a sign for
me to mount upward. I hastened to obey his direc-
tion; and, climbing out of the canoe, sprawled up the
sloping ridge.
At the top was the entrance, just large enough to
admit the body of a man; and, pressing through this,
I stood inside the hollow tree.
We had reached our destination-I was in the lair
of the runaway!
CHAPTER XXXIX.
THE TREE-CAVERN.
THE interior was dark, and it was some time before I
could distinguish any object. Presently my eyes
became accustomed to the sombre light, and I was
enabled to trace the outlines of this singular tree-
cavern.
233 00235.jpg
220 THE QUADROON.
Its dimensions somewhat astonished me. A dozen
men could have been accommodated in it, and thero
was ample room for that number either sitting or
standing. In fact, the whole pyramidal mass which
supported the tree was nothing more than a thin
shell, all the heart having perished by decay. The
floor, by the falling of this debris of rotten wood, was
raised above the level of the water, and felt firm and
dry underfoot. Near its centre I could perceive the
ashes and half-burnt embers of an extinct fire; and
along one side was strewed a thick covering of dry
tillandsia, that had evidently been used as a bed. An
old blanket lying upon the moss gave further testi-
mony that this was its purpose.
There was no furniture. A rude block,--a cypress
knee that had been carried there-formed the only
substitute for a chair, and there was nothing to' servo
for a table. He who had made this singular cave his
residence required no luxuries to sustain him. Neces-
saries, however, he had provided. As my eyes grew
more accustomed to the light, I could make out a
number of objects I had not at first seen. An earthen
cooking-pot, a large water gourd, a tin cup, an old
axe, some fishing-tackle, and one or two coarse rags
of clothing. What interested me more than all these
was the sight of several articles that were eatable.
There was a good-sized 'chunk' of cooked pork, a
gigantic 'pone' of corn-bread, several boiled cars of
maize, and the better half of a roast fowl. All these
lay together upon a large wooden dish, rudely carved
from the wood of the tulip-tree-of such a fashion as
I had often observed about the cabins of the negro
quarter. Beside this dish lay several immense egg-
shaped bodies of dark-green colour, with other smaller
234 00236.jpg
THE TREE-CAVEPN.
ones of a yellow hue. These were water and musk
melons,-not a bad prospect for a dessert.
I had made this reconnaissance while my companion
was engaged in fastening his pirogue to the tree. I
had finished my survey as he entered.
' Now, mass',' said he,' dis am ole Gabe's nest; de
dam man-hunter no found 'im yeer.'
' Why, you are quite at home here, Gabriel! How
did you ever find such a place ?'
' Lor, mass', knowd it long time. He not de fust dar-
kie who hid in dis old cypress,-nor de fust time for
Gabr'l neidcr. He runaway afore,-dat war when he
libbed with Mass' Hicks, 'fore ole mass' bought him.
He nebber had 'casion to run away from old Mass'
'Sangon. He good to de back folks, and so war Mass
Antoine-he good too, but now de poor nigga can't
stan no longer; de new oberseer, he flog hard,-he
flog till de blood come,-he use de cobbin board, an
dat pump, an de red cowhide, an de wagon whip,-
ebberything he use,-dam! I nebber go back,-nebber!'
'But how do you intend to live? you can't always
exist in this way. Where will you get your pro-
visions?'
'Nebber fear, mass' Edwad, always get nuff to eat;
no fear for dat. Da poor runaway hab some friend on
do plantations. Beside he steal nuff to keep 'im 'live
-hya! hya!'
'Oh!'
' Gabr'l no need steal now, 'ceptin' de roastin' yeers
and de millyuns. See! what Zip fotch im! Zip come
las night to de edge ob de woods an' fotch all dat
plunder. But, mass', you 'skoose me. Forgot you am
hungry. Hab some pork, some chicken. Chloe cook
'em-is good-you eat.'
235 00237.jpg
THE QUADROON.
So saying he set the wooden platter with its contents
before me; and the conversation was now interrupted,
as both myself and my companion attacked the viands
with right good-will.
The 'millyuns' constituted a delicious dessert, and
for a full half-hour we continued to fight against the
appetite of hunger. Wo conquered it at length, but
not until the store of the runaway had been greatly
reduced in bulk.
After dinner we sat conversing for a long time.
We were not without the soothing nicotian weed.
My companion had several bunches of dry tobacco-
leaf among his stores; and a corn-cob with a piece of
cane-joint served for a pipe, through which the smoke
was inhaled with all the aromatic fragrance of the
costliest Havanna.
Partly from gratitude for the saving of my life, 1
had grown to feel a strong interest in the runaway, and
his future prospects became the subject of our con-
verse. He had formed no plan of escape-though
some thoughts of an attempt to reach Canada or
Mexico, or to get off in a ship by New Orleans, had
passed through his mind.
A plan occurred to me, though I did not commu-
nicate it to him, as I might never be able to carry it
out. I begged of him, however, not to leave his
present abode until I could see him again, promising
that I should do what I could to find him a kinder
master.
He readily agreed to my proposal; and as it was
now sunset, I made preparations for my departure
from the lake.
A signal was agreed upon, so that when 1 should
return to visit him, he could bring the pirogue to ferry
236 00238.jpg
237 00239.jpg
THE QUADROON.
~I-
z1J;
Hotel Gossip.-p 223,
I '
J
238 00240.jpg
HOTEL GOSSIP. 223
mo across; and this being arranged, we once moro
entered the canoe, and set out for the plantations.
We soon recrossed the lake; and, leaving the little
boat safely moored by the fallen tree, started off
through the woods. The path, with Gabriel for my
guide, was now easy; and at intervals, as we went
along, he directed my attention to certain blazes upon
the trees, and other marks by which I should know it
again.
In less than an hour after, we parted on the edge of
the clearings-he going to some rendezvous already
appointed-whilst I kept on to the village, the road to
which now ran between parallel fences that rendered
it impossible for me to go astray.
CHAPTER XL.
HOTEL GOSSIP.
IT was yet early when I entered the village. I glided
stealthily through the streets, desirous to avoid
observation. Unfortunately I had to pass through
the bar of the hotel in order to reach my room. It
W'as just before the hour of supper, and the guests
had assembled in the bar saloon and around the
porch.
My tattered habiliments, in places stained with
blood, and profusely soiled with mud, could not escape
notice; nor did they. Men turned and gazed after
me. Loiterers looked with eyes that expressed their
astonishment. Some in the portico, and others in the
239 00241.jpg
224 THE QUADROON.
bar, hailed me as I passed, asking me where I had
been to. One cried out: Hillow, mister! you've had
a tussle with the cats: ain't you?'
I. did not make reply. I pushed on up stairs, and
found relief in the privacy of my chamber.
I had been badly torn by the bushes. My wounds
needed dressing. I despatched a messenger for
Reigart. Fortunately he was at home, and in a
few minutes followed my messenger to the hotel. He
entered my room, and stood staring at me with a look
of surprise.
'My dear R- where have you been ?' he inquired
at length.
' To the swamp.'
'And these wounds-your clothes torn-blood ?'
'Thorn-scratches-that's all.'
'But where have you been?'
' In the swamp.'
' In the swamp 1 but how came you to get such a
mauling ?'
'I have been bitten by a rattlesnake.'
'What! bitten by a rattlesnake? Do you speak
seriously?'
' Quite true it is-but I have taken the antidote. I
am cured.'
' Antidote! Cnred! And what cure? who gave
you an antidote ?'
'A friend whom I met in the swamp !'
'A friend in the swamp!' exclaimed Reigart, his
astonishment increasing.
I had almost forgotten the necessity of keeping my
secret. I saw that I had spoken imprudently. In-
quisitive eyes were peeping in at the door. Ears
were listening to catch every sound.
240 00242.jpg
HOTEL GOSSIP. 225
Although the inhabitant of the Mississippi is by no
means of a curious disposition-malyrd the statements
of gossiping tourists-the unexplained and forlorn
appearance I presented on my return was enough to
excite a degree of interest even among the most
apathetic people; and a number of the guests of the
hotel had gathered in the lobby around the door of my
chamber, and were eagerly asking each other what had
happened to me. I could overhear their conversation,
though they did not know it.
' He's been fighting' a painter?' said one, interroga-
tively.
' A painter or a bar,' answered another.
''Twur some desprit varmint anyhow-it hez left
its mark on him,-that it hez.'
'It's the same fellow that laid out Bully Bill: ain't
it?'
'The same,' replied some one.
' English, ain't he ?'
'Don't know. He's a Britisher, I believe. English,
Irish, or Scotch, he's a hull team an' a cross dog under
the wagon. By G- he laid out Bully Bill straight
as a fence-rail, wi' nothing' but a bit o' a whup, and
then tuk Bill's pistols away from him! Ha! hal
ha!'
'Jehosophat '
'He's jest a feller to whip his weight in wild cats.
He's killed the catamount, I reckon.'
'No doubt he's done that.'
I had supposed that my encounter with Bully Bill
had made me enemies among his class. It was
evident from the tone and tenor of their conversation
that such was not the case. Though, perhaps, a little
piqued that a stranger-a mere youth as I then was-
241 00243.jpg
226 THE QUADROON.
should have conquered one of their bullies, these
backwoodsmen are not intensely clannish, and Bully
Bill was no favourite. Had I 'whipped' him on any
other grounds, I should have gained a positive popu-
larity by the act. But in defence of a slave-and I a
foreigner-a Britisher, too-that was a presumption
not to be pardoned. That was the drawback on my
victory, and henceforth I was likely to be a 'marked
man' in the neighbourhood.
These observations had served to amuse me while I
was awaiting the arrival of Reigart, though, up to a
certain point, I took but little interest in them. A
remark that now reached my ears, however, suddenly
changed the nature of my thoughts. It was this:-
' He's after Miss Besanpon, they say.'
I was now interested. I stepped to the door, and,
placing my ear close to the keyhole, listened.
'I guess he's arter the plantation,' said another; and
the remark was followed by a significant laugh.
'Well, then,' rejoined a voice, in a more solemn
and emphatic tone, 'he's after what he won't get.'
'How? how?' demanded several.
'He may get thee lady, preehaps,' continued the
same voice, in the same measured tones; but not thee
plantation.'
'How? What do you mean, Mr. Moxley?' again
demanded the chorus of voices.
'I mean what I say, gentlemen,' replied the solemn
speaker; and then repeated again his former words in
a like measured drawl. He may get thee lady, pree-
haps, but not thee plantation.'
'Oh! the report's true, then?' said another voice,
interrogatively. Insolvent? Eh? Old Gayarre-'
' Owns thee plantation.'
242 00244.jpg
HOTEL GOSSIP. 227
'And niggers?'
'Every skin o' them; the sheriff will take possession
to-morrow.'
A murmur of astonishment reached my ears. It
was mingled with expressions of disapprobation or
sympathy.
'Poor girl! it's a pity o' her!'
'Well, it's no wonder. She made the money fly
since the old 'un died.'
' Some say he didn't leave so much after all. 'Twar
most part mortgaged before -'
The entrance of the doctor interrupted this conver-
sation, and relieved me for the moment from the tor-
ture which it was inflicting upon me.
* * .* *
' A friend in the swamp, did you say ?' again inter-
rogated Reigart.
I had hesitated to reply, thinking of the crowd by
the door. I said to the doctor in a low earnest
voice,-
' My dear friend, I have met with an adventure; am
badly scratched, as you see. Dress my wounds, but
do not press me for details. I have my reasons for
being silent. You will one day learn all, but not now.
Therefore- '
'Enough, enough!' said the doctor, interrupting
me; 'do not be uneasy. Let me look at your
scratches.'
The good doctor became silent, and proceeded to
the dressing of my wounds.
Under other circumstances the manipulation of my
wounds, for they now felt painful, might have caused
me annoyance. It did not then. What I had just
243 00245.jpg
228 THE QUADROON.
heard had produced a feeling within that neutralised
the external pain, and I felt it not.
I was really in mental agony.
I burned with impatience to question Reigart about
the affairs of the plantation,-about Eugenie and
Aurore. I could not,-we were not alone. The land-
lord of the hotel and a negro attendant had entered
the room, and were assisting the doctor in his opera-
tions. I could not trust myself to speak on such a
subject in their presence. I was forced to nurse my
impatience until all was over, and both landlord and
servant had left us.
'Now, doctor, this news of Mademoiselle Besangon ?'
'Do you not know all?'
'Only what I have heard this moment from these
gossips outside the room.'
I detailed to Eeigart the remarks that had been
made.
'Really I thought you must have been acquainted
with the whole matter. I had fancied that to be the
cause of your long absence to-day; though I did not
even conjecture how you might be engaged in the
matter.'
'I know nothing more than what I have thus acci-
dentally overheard. For heaven's sake tell me all! Is
it true ?'
' Substantially true, I grieve to say.'
'Poor Eugdnie I'
'The estate was heavily mortgaged to Gayarre. I
have long suspected this, and fear there has been some
foul play. Gayarre has foreclosed the mortgage, and,
indeed, it is said, is already in possession. Everything
is now his.'
'Everything ?'
244 00246.jpg
HOTEL GOSSIP. 229
'Everything upon the plantation.'
'The slaves?'
' Certainly.'
' All-all-and-and-Aurore ?'
I hesitated as I put the interrogatory, Reigart had
no knowledge of my attachment to Aurore.
'The quadroon girl, you mean ?-of course, she with
the others. She is but a slave like the rest. She will
be sold.'
' But a slave! sold with the rest!'
This reflection was not uttered aloud.
I cannot describe the tumult of my feelings as I
listened. The blood was boiling within my veins, and
I could scarce restrain myself from some wild expres-
sion. I strove to the utmost to hide my thoughts,
but scarce succeeded; for I noticed that the usually
cold eye of Reigart was kindled in surprise at my
manner. If he divined my secret he was generous,
for he asked no explanation.
' The slaves are all to be sold then?' I faltered out.
'No doubt,-everything will be sold,-that is the
law in such cases. It is likely Gayarre will buy in
the whole estate, as the plantation lies contiguous to
his own.'
'Gayarre! villain! oh! And Mademoiselle Besan-
con, what will become of her ? Has she no friends ?'
'I have heard something of an aunt who has some,
though not much, property. She lives in the city. It
is likely that Mademoiselle will live with her in future.
I believe the aunt has no children of her own, and
Eug4nie will inherit. This, however, I cannot vouch
for. I know it only as a rumour.'
Reigart spoke these words in a cautious and reserved
manner. I noticed something peculiar in the tone in
245 00247.jpg
260 TIE QUADROON.
which he uttered them; but I know his reason for
being cautious. He was under a mistaken impression
as to the feelings with which I regarded Eug6nie! I
did not undeceive him.
'Poor Eugdniel a double sorrow,-no wonder at
the change I had observed of late,-no wonder she
appeared sad!'
All this was but my own silent reflections.
'Doctor!' said I, elevating my voice; 'I must go to
the plantation.'
'Not to night.'
'To-night,-now!'
' My dear Mr. R., you must not.'
'Why?'
'It is impossible,-I cannot permit it,-you will
have a fever; it may cost you your life!'
'But- '
'I cannot hear you. I assure you, you are now on
the verge of a fever. You must remain in your room
-at least, until to-morrow. Perhaps then you may
go out with safety. Now it is impossible.'
I was compelled to acquiesce, though I am not
certain but that had I taken my own way it would
have been better for my 'fever.' Within me was a
cause of fever much stronger than any exposure to the
night air. My throbbing heart and wildly-coursing
blood soon acted upon my brain.
'Aurore the slave of Gayarre! Ha! ha! ha! His
slave! Gayarre! Aurore! ha! ha! ha! Is it his
throat I clutch? ha, no! It is the serpent! here-
help-help Water! water! I am choking. No,
Gayarro is! I have him now! Again it is the serpent!
0 God! it coils around my throat-it strangles mel
Help I Aurore! lovely Aurore I do not yield to him!'
246 00248.jpg
'I will die rather than yield '
'I thought so, noble girl! I come to release you
How she struggles in his grasp Fiend! off-off,
fiend! Aurore, you are free-free! Angels of
heaven!'
Such was my dream,-the dream of a fevered brain.
CHAPTER XLI.
THE LETTER.
DURING all the night my sleep was broken at intervals,
and the hours divided between dreaming and half deli-
rium.
I awoke in the morning not much refreshed with my
night's rest. I lay for some time passing over in my
mind the occurrences of yesterday, and considering
what course I should pursue.
After a time I determined upon going direct to the
plantation, and learning for myself how matters stood
there.
I arose with this intention. As I was dressing, my
eye fell upon a letter that lay upon the table. It bore
no postmark, but the writing was in a female hand,
and I guessed whence it came.
I tore open the seal, and read:-
' Monsieur!
'To-day, by the laws of Louisiana, I am, a
woman,-and none more unhappy in all the land. The
THE LETTER.
- 231
247 00249.jpg
THE QUADROON.
same sun that has risen upon the natal day of my majority
looks down upon the ruin of my fortune
SIt was my design to have made you happy : to have
proved that I am not ungrateful. Alas! it is no longer
in my power. I am no more the proprietor of the plan-
tation Besangon,-no more the mistress of Aurore! All is
gone from me, and Euginie Besangon is now a beggar. Ah,
Mlonsieur I it is a sad tale, and I know not what will be
its end.
' Alas! there are griefs harder to bear than the loss of
fortune. That may in time be repaired, but the anguish of
unrequited love,-love strong, and single, and pure, as
mine is,-must long endure, perchance for ever!
' Know, Monsieur, that in the bitter cup it is my destiny
to drink, there is not one drop of jealousy or reproach. I
alone have made the misery that is my portion.
'Adieu, Monsieur! adieu, and farewell! It is better
we should never meet again. 0 be happy! no plaint of
mine shall ever reach your ear, to cloud the sunshine of
your happiness. Henceforth the walls of Sacrd Coeur shall
alone witness the sorrows of the unfortunate but grateful
'EUGENIE.'
The letter was dated the day before. I knew that
that was the birthday of the writer; in common
parlance, the day on which she was 'of age.'
' Poor Eugenie!' reflected I. 'Her happiness has
ended with her girlhood. Poor Eugdnie!'
The tears ran fast over my cheeks as I finished
reading. I swept them hastily away, and ringing
the bell I ordered my horse to be saddled. I hurried
through with my toilet; tlhe horse was soon brought
to the door; and, mounting him, I rode rapidly for
the plantation.
248 00250.jpg
THE LETTER. 233
Shortly after leaving the village, I passed two men,
who were also on horseback-going in the same direc-
tion as myself, but riding at a slower pace than I.
They were dressed in the customary style of planters,
and a casual observer might have taken them for
such. There was something about them, however,
that led me to think they were not planters, nor
merchants, nor men whose calling relates to any of
the ordinary industries of life. It was not in their
dress I saw this something, but in a certain expres-
sion of countenance. This expression I cannot well
describe, but I have ever noticed it in the faces and
features of men who have anything to do with the
execution of the laws. Even in America, where dis-
tinctive costume and badge are absent, I have been
struck with this peculiarity,-so much so that I believe
I could detect a detective in the plainest clothes.
The two men in question had this expression strongly
marked. I had no doubt they were in some way con-
nected with the execution of the laws. I had no doubt
they were constables or sheriffs officers. With such
a slight glance as I gave to them in passing, I might
not have troubled myself with this conjecture, had it
not been for other circumstances then in my thoughts.
I had not saluted these men; but as I passed, I
could perceive that my presence was not without
interest to them. On glancing back, I saw that one
of them had ridden close up to the other, that they
were conversing earnestly; and from their gestures
I could tell that I was the subject of their talk.
I had soon ridden far ahead, and ceased to think
any more about them.
I had hurried forward without any preconceived
plan of action. I had acted altogether on the
Q
249 00251.jpg
234 THE QUADROON.
impulse, of'the moment, and thought only of reaching
the house, and ascertaining the state of affairs, either
from Eug6nie or Aurore herself.
Thus impromptu I had reached the borders of the
plantation.
It now occurred to me to ride more slowly, in order
to gain a few moments to manage my thoughts. I
even halted awhile. There was a slight bend in the
river-bank, and the road crossed this like a chord to
its are. The part cut off was a piece of waste-a
common-and as there was no fence I forsook the
road, and walked my horse out on the river-bank.
There I drew up, but remained seated in my saddle.
I endeavoured to sketch out some plan of action.
What should I say to Eugdnie what to Aurore ?
Would the former see me after what she had written?
In her note she had said farewell,' but it was not a
time to stand upon punctilious ceremony. And if not,
should I find an opportunity to speak with Aurore ?
I must see her. Who should prevent me ? I had much
to say to her; my heart was full. Nothing but an in-
terview with my betrothed could relieve it.
Still without any definite plan, I once more turned
my horse's head down the river, used the spur, and
galloped onward.
On arriving near the gate I was somewhat surprised
to see two saddled horses standing there. I instantly
recognized them as the horses I had passed on the
road. They had overtaken me again while I was
halted by the bend of the river, and had arrived at the
gate before me. The saddles were now empty. The
riders had gone into the house.
A black man was holding the horses. It was my
old friend 'Zip.'
250 00252.jpg
THE LETTER.
I rode up, and without dismounting addressed my-
self to Scipio. Who were they who had gone in?
I was hardly surprised at the answer. My conjec-
ture was right. They were men of the law,-tho
deputy sheriff of the parish and his assistant.
It was scarce necessary to inquire their business. I
guessed that.
I only asked Scipio the details.
Briefly Scipio gave them; at least so far as I
allowed him to proceed without interruption. A
sheriff's officer was in charge of the house and all its
contents; LArkin still ruled the negro quarter, but
the slaves were all to be sold; Gayarre was back and
forward; and 'Missa 'Ginie am gone away.'
'Gone away! and whither ?'
'Don't know, mass'r. B'lieve she gone to de city.
She leab last night in de night-time.'
'And
I hesitated a moment till my heart should still its
heavy throbbings.
'Aurore ?' I interrogated with an effort.
"Rore gone too, mass'r;-she gone long wi' Missa
'Gdnie.'
'Aurore gone!'
'Yes, mass'r, she gone; daat's de troof.'
I was astounded by the information, as well as
puzzled by this mysterious departure. Eugenie gone
and in the night! Auroro gone with her! What
could it mean ? Whither had they gone ?
My reiterated appeal to the black throw no light
upon the subject. He was ignorant of all their move-
ments,-ignorant of everything but what related to
the negro quarter. He had heard that himself, his
wife, his daughter,-' the leetle Chloe,'-with all their
Q2
251 00253.jpg
236 THE QUADROON.
fellow-slaves, were to be carried down to the city, and
to be sold in the slave-market by auction. They were
to be taken the following day. They were already
advertised. That was all he knew. No, not all,-one
other piece of information he had in store for me. It
was authentic: he had heard the 'white folks' talk of
it to one another:-Larkin, Gayarre, and a 'negro-
trader,' who was to be concerned in this sale. It re-
garded the quadroon. Sh1e was to be sold among the
rest!
The blood boiled in my veins as the black imparted
this information. It was authentic. Scipio's state-
ment of what he had heard, minutely detailed, bore
the internal evidence of authenticity. I could not
doubt the report. I felt the conviction that it was
true.
The plantation Besangon had no more attractions.
I had no longer any business at Bringicrs. New
Orleans was now the scene of action for me!
With a kind word to Scipio, I wheeled my horse
and galloped away from the gate. The fiery animal
caught my excitement, and sprang wildly along the
road. It required all his buoyant spirit to keep pace
with the quick dancing of my nerves.
In a few minutes I had consigned him to his groom;
and, climbing to my chamber, commenced preparing
for my departure.
252 00254.jpg
( 237 )
CHAPTER XLII.
THE WHARF-BOAT.
I Now only waited a boat to convey me to New
Orleans. I knew that I should not have long to wait.
The annual epidemic was on the decline, and the
season of business and pleasure in the Crescent City'
was about commencing. Already the up-river steamers
were afloat on all the tributary streams of the mighty
Mississippi, laden with the produce of its almost
limitless valley, and converging towards the great
Southern entrepot of American commerce. I might
expect a 'down-boat' every day, or rather indeed
every hour.
I resolved to take the first boat that came along.
The hotel in which I dwelt, as well as the whole
village, stood at a considerable distance from the boat-
'landing.' It had been built so from precaution.
The banks of the Mississippi at this place, and for a
thousand miles above and below, are elevated but a
few feet above the surface level of its water; and, in
consequence of the continuous detrition, it is no un-
common occurrence for large slips to give way, and
be swept off in the red whirling current. It might be
supposed that in time this never-ceasing action of the
water would widen the stream to unnatural di-
mensions. But, no. For every encroachment on one
bank there is a corresponding formation against the
opposite,-a deposit caused by the eddy which the
new curve has produced, so that the river thus pro-
253 00255.jpg
THE QUADROON.
serves its original breadth. This remarkable action
may be noted from the embouchure of the Ohio to the
mouth of the Mississippi itself, though at certain
points the extent of the encroachment and the for-
mation that neutralises it is much greater than at
others. In some places the 'wearing away' of the
bank operates so rapidly that in a few days the whole
site of a village, or even a plantation, may disappear.
Not infrequently, too, during the high spring-floods
this eccentric stream takes a 'near cut' across the
neck of one of its own bends,' and in a few hours a
channel is formed, through which pours the whole
current of the river. Perhaps a plantation may have
been established in the concavity of this bend,-
perhaps three or four of them,-and the planter who
has gone to sleep under the full belief that he had
built his house upon a continent, awakes in the morn-
ing to find himself the inhabitant of an island! With
dismay he beholds the vast volume of red-brown water
rolling past, and cutting off his communication with
the mainland. He can no longer ride to his neigh-
bouring village without the aid of an expensive ferry.
His wagons will no longer serve him to 'haul' to
market his huge cotton bales or hogsheads of sugar
and tobacco; and, prompted by a feeling of insecurity
-lest the next wild sweep of the current may carry
himself, his house, and his several hundred half-naked
neg oes along with it-he flees from his home, and retires
to some other part of the stream, where he may deem
the land in less danger of such unwelcome intrusion.
In consequence of these eccentricities a safe site for
a town is extremely rare upon the Lower Mississippi.
There are but few points in the last five hundred
miles of its course where natural elevations offer this
254 00256.jpg
THE WHARF-BOAT. 239
advantage. The artificial embankment, known as the
'Levee,' has in some measure remedied the deficiency,
and rendered the towns and plantations comparatively
secure.
As already stated, my hotel was somewhat out of
the way. A boat might touch at the landing and be
off again without my being warned of it. A down-
river boat, already laden, and not caring to obtain
further freight, would not stop long; and in a
' tavern' upon the Mississippi you must not confide
in the punctuality of 'Boots,' as you would in a
London hotel. Your chances of being waked by
Sambo, ten times sleepier than yourself, are scarcely
one in a hundred.
I had ample experience of this; and, fearing that
the boat might pass if I remained at the hotel, I came
to the resolve to settle my affairs in that quarter
and at once transport myself and my impedimenta to
the landing.
I should not be entirely without shelter. There
was no house; but an old steamboat, long since con-
demned as not 'river-worthy,' lay at the landing.
This hulk, moored by strong cables to the bank,
formed an excellent floating wharf; while its spacious
deck, cabins, and saloons, served as a storehouse for
all sorts of merchandise. It was, in fact, used both as
a landing and warehouse, and was known as the
' wharf-boat.'
It was late,-nearly midnight,-as I stepped aboard
the wharf-boat. Stragglers from the town, who may
have had business there, had all gone away, and the
owner of the store-boat was himself absent. A drowsy
negro, his locum teens, was the only human thing
that offered itself to my.eyes. The lower deck of the
255 00257.jpg
240 THE QUADROON.
boat was tenanted by this individual, who sat behind
a counter that enclosed one corner of the apartment.
Upon this counter stood a pair of scales, with weights,
a large ball of coarse twine, a rude knife, and such
other implements as may be seen in a country store ;'
and upon shelves at the back were ranged bottles of
coloured liquors, glasses, boxes of hard biscuit,
' Western reserve' cheeses, kegs of rancid butter,
plugs of tobacco, and bundles of inferior cigars,-in
short, all the etceteras of a regular 'grocery.' The
remaining portion of the ample room was littered with
merchandise, packed in various forms. There were
boxes, barrels, bags, and bales; some on their way
up-stream, that had come by New Orleans from
distant lands, while others were destined downward:
the rich product of the soil, to be borne thousands of
miles over the wide Atlantic. With these various
packages every part of the floor was occupied, and I
looked in vain for a spot on which to stretch myself.
A better light might have enabled me to discover
such a place; but the tallow candle, guttering down
the sides of an empty champagne bottle, but dimly lit
up the confusion. It just sufficed to guide me to the
only occupant of the place, upon whose sombre face
the light faintly flickered.
'Asleep, uncle?' I said, approaching him.
A gruff reply from an American negro is indeed a
rarity, and never given to a question politely put.
The familiar style of my address touched a sympa-
thetic chord in the bosom of the darkie,' and a smile
of satisfaction gleamed upon his features as he made
answer. Of course he was not asleep. But my idle
question was only meant as the prelude to further
discourse.
256 00258.jpg
THE WHARF-BOAT. 241
'Ah, Gollys! it be massa Edward. Uncle Sam
know'd you, massa Edward. You good to brack folk.
Wat can do uncle Sam for massa ?'
'I am going down to the city, and have come here
to wait for a boat. Is it likely one will pass to-
night?'
'Sure, massa-sure be a boat dis night. Bossy
aspectt a boat from de Red ribber dis berry night-
either de Houma or de Choctuma.'
'Good! and now, uncle Sam, if you will find me
six feet of level plank, and promise to rouse me when
the boat comes in sight, I shall not grudge you this
half dollar.'
The sudden enlargement of the whites of uncle
Sam's eyes showed the satisfaction he experienced at
the sight of the shining piece of metal. Without
more ado he seized the champagne-bottle that held
the candle; and, gliding among the boxes and bales,
conducted me to a stairway that led to the second or
cabin-deck of the boat. We climbed up, and entered
the saloon.
'Dar, massa, plenty of room-uncle Sam he sorry
dar's ne'er a bed, but if massa could sleep on these
yeer coffee-bags, he berry welcome-berry welcome.
I leave dis light wi' massa. I can get anoder for self
b'low. Good night, massa Edward-don't fear I wake
you-no fear ob dat.'
And so saying, the kind-hearted black set the
bottle-candlestick upon the floor; and, passing down
the stair again, left me to my reflections.
With such poor light as the candle afforded, I took
a careless survey of my apartment. There was plenty
of room, as uncle Sam had said. It was the cabin of
the old steamboat; and as the partition-doors had
257 00259.jpg
24t THE QUADROON.
been broken off and carried away, the ladies' cabin,
main saloon, and front, were now all in one. Together
they formed a hall of more than a hundred feet in
length, and from where I stood, near the centre, both
ends were lost to my view in the darkness. The
state-rooms on each side were still there, with their
green venetian doors. Some of these were shut,
while others stood ajar, or quite open. The gilding
and ornaments, dim from age and use, adorned the
sides and ceiling of the hall; and over the arched
entrance of the main saloon the word 'Sultana,' in
gold letters that still glittered brightly, informed me
that I was now inside the carcasee' of one of the
most famous boats that ever cleft the waters of the
Mississippi.
Strange thoughts came into my mind as I stood
regarding this desolate saloon. Silent and solitary it
seemed-even more so I thought than would some
lonely spot in the midst of a forest. The very absence
of those sounds that one is accustomed to hear in such
a place-the grinding of the machinery-the hoarse
detonations of the 'scape-pipe-the voices of men-
the busy hum of conversation, or the ringing laugh
-the absence of the sights, too-the brilliant chan-
deliers-the long tables sparkling with crystal-the
absence of these, and yet the presence of the scene
associated with such sights and sounds-gave to the
place an air of indescribable desolation. I felt as one
within the ruins of some old convent, or amidst the
tombs of an antique cemetery.
No furniture of any kind relieved the monotony of
the place. The only visible objects were the coarse
gunny-bags strewed over the floor, and upon which
uncle Sam had made me welcome to repose myself.
258 00260.jpg
THE NORWAY LAT.
After surveying my odd chamber, and giving way
to some singular reflections, I began to think of dis-
posing of myself for sleep. I was wearied. My
health was not yet restored. The clean bast of the
coffee-bags looked inviting. I dragged half-a-dozen
of them together, placed them side by side, and then,
throwing myself upon my back, drew my cloak over
me. The coffee-berries yielded to the weight of my
body, giving me a comfortable position, and in less
than five minutes I fell asleep.
CHAPTER XLII1.
THE NORWAY BAT.
I MUST have slept an hour or more. I did not think
of consulting my watch before going to sleep, and I
had little thought about such a thing after I awoke.
But that I had slept at least an hour, I could tell by
the length of my candle.
A fearful hour that was, as any I can remember to
have spent-an hour of horrid dreaming. But I am
wrong to call it so. It was no dream, though at the
time I thought it one.
Listen!
As I have said, I lay down upon my back, covering
myself with my ample cloak from the chin to the
ankles. My face and feet were alone free. I had
placed one of the bags for a pillow, and thus raised
my head in such a position, that I had a full view of
the rest of my person. The light, set just a little way
beyond my heels, was right before my eyes; and I
259 00261.jpg
244 THE QUADROON.
could see the floor in that direction to the distance of
several yards. I have said that in five minutes I was
asleep. I thought that I was asleep, and to this hour
I think so, and yet my eyes were open, and I plainly
saw the candle before them, and that portion of the
floor illumined by its rays. I thought that I endea-
voured to close my eyes, but could not; nor could I
change my position, but lay regarding the light and
the surface of the floor around it. Presently a strange
sight was presented to me. A number of small shin-
ing objects began to dance and scintillate in the dark-
ness beyond. At first I took them for 'lightning-
bugs,' but although these were plenty enough without,
it was not usual to find them inside an enclosed
apartment. Moreover, those I saw were low down
upon the floor of the saloon, and not suspended in the
air, as they should have been.
Gradually the number of these shining objects in-
creased. There were now some dozens of them, and,
what was singular, they seemed to move in pairs.
They were not fire-flies!
I began to experience a sensation of alarm. I
began to feel that there was danger in these fiery
spots, that sparkled in such numbers along the floor.
What on earth could they be ?
I had scarce asked myself the question, when I was
enabled to answer it to the satisfaction of my senses,
but not to the tranquillising of my fears. The horrid
truth now flashed upon me-each pair of sparkling
points was a pair of eyes!
It was no relief to me to know they were the eyes
of rats. You may smile at my fears; but I tell you in
all seriousness that I would not have been more
frightened had I awaked and found a panther crouch-
260 00262.jpg
THE NORWAY RAT.
ing to spring upon me. I had heard such tales of
these Norway rats-had, in fact, been witness to their
bold and ferocious feats in New Orleans, where at
that time they swarmed in countless numbers-that
the sight of them filled me with disgust and horror.
But what was most horrible of all-I saw that they
were approaching me-that they were each moment
coming nearer and nearer, and that I was unable to get
out of their way !
Yes. I could not move. My arms and limbs felt
like solid blocks of stone, and my muscular power
was quite gone! I now thought that I was dreaming !
'Yes!' reflected I, for I still possessed the power of
reflection. 'Yes-I am only dreaming! A horrid
dream though-horrid-would I could wake myself-
'tis nightmare! I know it-if I could but move some-
thing-my toes-my fingers-oh!'
These reflections actually passed through my mind.
They have done so at other times when I have been
under the influence of nightmare; and I now no longer
dread this incubus, since I have learnt how to throw
it off. Then I could not. I lay like one dead, whoso
eyelids have been left unclosed; and I thought I was
dreaming.
Dreaming or awake, my soul had not yet reached
its climax of horror. As I continued to gaze, I per-
ceived that the number of the hideous animals in-
creased every moment. I could now see their brown
hairy bodies-for they had approached close to the
candle, and were full under its light. They were thick
upon the floor. It appeared to be alive with them, and
in motion like water under a gale. Hideous sight to
behold!
Still nearer they came. I could distinguish their
261 00263.jpg
246 THE QUADROON.
sharp teeth-the long grey bristles upon their snouts
-the spiteful expression in their small penetrating
eyes.
Nearer still! They climb upon the coffee-bags-
they crawl along my legs and body-they chase each
other over the folds of my cloak-they are gnawing
at my boots !-Horror! horror! they will devour me !
They are around me in myriads. I cannot see on
either side, but I know that they are all around. I
can hear their shrill screaming, the air is loaded with
the odour of their filthy bodies. I feel as though it
will suffocate me. Horror horror! oh! merciful
God! arouse me from this terrible dream!
Such were my thoughts-such my feelings at that
moment. I had a perfect consciousness of all that
was passing-so perfect that I believed it a dream.
I made every effort to awake myself-to move hand
and limb. It was all in vain. I could not move a
muscle. Every nerve of my body was asleep. My
blood lay stagnant within my veins!
I lay suffering this monstrous pain for a long, long
while. I lay in fear of being eaten up piecemeal!
The fierce animals had only attacked my boots and
my cloak, but my terror was complete. I waited to
feel them at my throat!
Was it my face and my eyes staring open that kept
them off? I am certain my eyes were open all the
while. Was it that that deterred them from attack-
ing me? No doubt it was. They scrambled over all
parts of my body, even up to my breast, but they
seemed to avoid my head and face I
Whether they would have continued under the
restraint of this salutary fear, I know not, for a
sudden termination was put to the horrid scene.
262 00264.jpg
THE NORWAY RAT.
The candle had burnt to its end, and the remnant
fell with a hissing sound through the neck of the
bottle, thus extinguishing the light.
Frightened by the sudden transition from light to
darkness, the hideous animals uttered their terrible
squeaking, and broke off in every direction. I could
hear the pattering of their feet upon the planks as
they scampered away.
The light seemed to have been the spell that bound
me in the iron chain of the nightmare. The moment
it went out, I found myself again in possession of
muscular strength; and, springing to my feet, I
caught up my cloak and swept it wildly around me,
shouting at the top of my voice.
The cold perspiration was running from every pore
in my skin, and my hair felt as if on end. I still be-
lieved I was dreaming; and it was not until the as-
tonished negro appeared with a light, and I had
evidence of the presence of my hairy visitors in the
condition of my cloak and boots, that I was convinced
the terrible episode was a reality.
I remained no longer in the saloon,' but, wrapping
my cloak around me, betook myself to the open air.
263 00265.jpg
( 248 )
CHAPTER XLIV.
THE HOUMA.
I HAD not much longer to remain on the wharf-boat.
The hoarse barking of a 'scape-pipe fell upon my ear
and shortly after the fires of a steam-boat furnace
appeared, glittering red upon the stream. Then was
heard the crashing plunging sound of the paddle-
wheels as they beat the brown water, and then the
ringing of the bell, and the shouts of command passing
from captain to mate, and from mate to 'deck hands,'
and in five minutes after, the 'Houma'-Red River
boat,-lay side by side with the old Sultana.'
I stepped aboard, threw my luggage over the
guard, and, climbing up stairs, seated myself under
the awning.
Ten minutes of apparent confusion-the quick
trampling of feet over the decks and staging-half-a-
dozen passengers hastening ashore-others hurrying
in the opposite direction-the screeching of the steam
-the rattling of huge fire-logs thrust endways up the
furnace-at intervals the loud words of command-a
peal of laughter at some rude jest, or the murmur of
voices in the sadder accents of adieu. Ten minutes of
these sights and sounds, and again was heard the
ringing of the large bell-the signal that the boat was
about to continue her course.
I had flung myself into a chair that stood beside
one of the awning-posts, and close to the guards.
264 00266.jpg
THE IIOUMA.
From my position I commanded a view of the gang-
way, the staging-plank, and the contiguous wharf-
boat, which I had just left.
I was looking listlessly on what was passing below,
taking note of nothing in particular. If I had a
special thought in my mind the subject of it was not
there, and the thought itself caused me to turn my
eyes away from the busy groups and bend them
downward along the left bank of the river. Perhaps
a sigh was the concomitant of these occasional
glances; but in the intervals between, my mind dwelt
upon nothing in particular, and the forms that hurried
to and fro impressed me only as shadows.
This apathy was suddenly interrupted. My eyes,
by pure accident, fell upon two figures whose move-
ments at once excited my attention. They stood
upon the deck of the wharf-boat-not near the stage-
plank, where the torch cast its glare over the hurry-
ing passengers, but in a remote corner under the
shadow of the awning. I could see them only in an
obscure light,-in fact, could scarce make out their
forms, shrouded as they were in dark cloaks-but the
attitudes in which they stood, the fact of their keep-
ing thus apart in the most obscure quarter of the
boat, the apparent earnestness with which they were
conversing-all led me to conjecture that they were
lovers. My heart, guided by the sweet instinct of
love, at once accepted this explanation, and looked
for no other.
'Yes-lovers! how happy! No-perhaps not so
happy-it is a parting! Some youth who makes a
trip down to the city-perhaps some young clerk or
merchant, who goes to spend his winter there. What
of that? He will return in spring, again to press
B
265 00267.jpg
200 THE QUADROON.
those delicate fingers, again to fold that fair form in
his arms, again to speak those tender words that will
sound all the sweeter after the long interval of
silence.
'Happy youth! happy girl I Light is the misery of
a parting like yours! How easy to endure when
compared with that violent separation which I have
experienced Aurore!-Aurore !-Would that you
were free! Would that you were some high-born
dame! Not that I should love you the more-impos-
sible-but then might I boldly woo, and freely win.
Then I might hope-but now, alas this horrid gulf
-this social abyss that yawns between us. Well! it
cannot separate souls. Our love shall bridge it-Ha!'
'Hilloa, Mister! What's gwine wrong? Anybody
fell overboard!'
I heeded not the rude interrogatory. A deeper
pang absorbed my soul, forcing from me the wild ex-
clamation that had given the speaker cause.
The two forms parted-with a mutual pressure of
the hand, with a kiss they parted! The young man
hastened across the staging. I did not observe his
face, as he passed under the light. I had taken no
notice of him, my eyes by some strange fascination re-
maining fixed upon her. I was curious to observe
how she would act in this final moment of leave-
taking.
The planks were drawn aboard. The signal-bell
sounded. I could perceive that we were moving
away.
At this moment the shrouded form of the lady
glided forward into the light. She was advancing to
catch a farewell glance of her lover. A few steps
brought her to the edge of the wharf-boat, where the
266 00268.jpg
THE HOUMA.
torch was glaring. Her hood-like sun-bonnet was
thrown back. The light fell full upon her face, glis-
tened along the undulating masses of black hair that
shrouded her temples, and danced in her glorious
eyes. Good God! they were the eyes of Aurore!
No wonder I uttered the wild ejaculation,-
'It is she!'
'What? a female! overboard, do you say?
Where? Where?'
The man was evidently in earnest. My soliloquy
had been loud enough to reach his cars.
He believed it to be a reply to his previous question,
and my excited manner confirmed him in the belief,
that a woman had actually fallen into the river I
His questions and exclamations were overheard
and repeated in the voices of others who stood near.
Like wildfire an alarm ran through the boat. Pas-
sengers rushed from the cabins, along the guards, and
out to the front awning, and mingled their hurried
interrogatories, Who ? What? Where?' A loud
voice cried out-
' Some one overboard! A woman! it's a woman!'
Knowing the cause of this ridiculous alarm, I gave
no heed to it. My mind was occupied with a far
different matter. The first shock of a hideous pas-
sion absorbed my whole soul, and I paid no attention
to what was going on around me.
I had scarce recognized the face, when the boat
rounding up-stream brought the angle of the cabin
between it and me. I rushed forward, as far as the
gangway. I was too late-the wheel-house ob-
structed the view. I did not halt, but ran on, direct-
ing myself towards the top of the wheel-house. Pas-
sengers in their excitement were rushing along the
n2
267 00269.jpg
2O3 THE QUADROON.
guards. They hindered my progress, and it was
some time before I could climb up the wheel-house,
and stand upon its rounded roof. I did so at length,
but too late. The boat had forged several hundred
yards into the stream. I could see the wharf-boat
with its glaring lights. I could even see human forms
standing along its deck, but I could no longer distin-
guish that one that my eyes were in search of.
Disappointed I stepped on to the hurricane-deck,
which was almost a continuation of the roof of the
wheel-house. There I could be alone, and commune
with my now bitter thoughts.
I was not to have that luxury just then. Shouts,
the trampling. of heavy boots bounding over the
planks, and the pattering of lighter feet, sounded in
my ears ; and next moment a stream of passengers,
male and female, came pouring up the sides of the
wheel-house.
' That's the gentleman-that's him!' cried a voice.
In another instant the excited throng was around
me, several inquiring at once,-
'Who's overboard? Who? Where?'
Of course I saw that these interrogatories were
meant for me. I saw, too, that an answer was neces-
sary to allay their ludicrous alarm.
' Ladies and gentlemen!' I said, 'there is no one
overboard that I am aware of. Why do you ask me ?'
'Hilloa, Mister !' cried the cause of all this con-
fusion, didn't you tell me ?'
' I told you nothing.'
' But didn't I ask you if thar wan't some one over-
board-?'
'You did.'
'And you said in reply '
268 00270.jpg
JEALOUSY.
'I said nothing in reply.'
' Darned if you didn't 1 you said Thar she is I" or,
"It was she !" or something o' that sort.'
I turned towards the speaker, who I perceived was
rather losing credit with his auditory.
' Mister!' said I, imitating his tone, it is evident
you have never heard of the man who grew immensely
rich by minding his own business.'
My remark settled the affair. It was received by
a yell of laughter, that completely discomfited my
meddling antagonist, who, after some little swaggering
and loud talk, at length went below to the 'bar' to
soothe his mortified spirit with a 'gin-sling.'
The others dropped away one by one, and dispersed
themselves through the various cabins and saloons;
and I found myself once more the sole occupant of the
hurricane-deck.
CHAPTER XLV.
JEALOUSY.
HAVE you ever loved in humble life ? some fair young
girl, whose lot was among the lowly, but whose
brilliant beauty in your eyes annihilated all social
inequalities? Love levels all distinctions, is an adage
old as the hills. It brings down the proud heart, and
teaches condescension to the haughty spirit; but its
tendency is to elevate, to ennoble. It does not make
a peasant of the prince, but a prince of the peasant.
Behold the object of your adoration engaged in her
ordinary duties! She fetches a jar of water from the
269 00271.jpg
Z54 THE QUADROON.
well. Barefoot she treads the well-known path.
Those nude pellucid feet are fairer in their nakedness
than the most delicate chaussure of silk and satin.
The wreaths and pearl circlets, the pins of gold and
drupes of coral, the costliest coiffures of the dress circle,
-all seem plain and poor compared with the glossy
se'gligd of those bright tresses. The earthen jar sits
upon her head with the grace of a golden coronet-
every attitude is the pose of a statue, a study for a
sculptor; and the coarse garment that drapes that
form is in your eyes more becoming than a robe of
richest velvet. You care not for that. You are not
thinking of the casket, but of the pearl it conceals.
She disappears within the cottage-her humble
home. Humble? In your eyes no longer humble;
that little kitchen, with its wooden chairs, and
scoured dresser, its deal shelf, with mugs, cups, and
willow-pattern plates, its limewashed walls and
cheap prints of the red soldier and the blue sailor-
that little museum of the pcnates of the poor, is now
filled with a light that renders it more brilliant than
the gilded saloons of wealth and fashion. That
cottage with its low roof, and woodbine trellis, has
become a palace. The light of love has transformed
it! A paradise you are forbidden to enter. Yes,
with all your wealth and power, your fine looks and
your titles of distinction, your superfine cloth and
bright lacquered boots, mayhap you dare not enter
there.
And oh! how you envy those who dare !-how you
envy the spruce apprentice, and the lout in the smdck
who cracks his whip, and whistles with as much
nonchalance as if he was between the handles of his
plough as though the awe of that fair presence should
270 00272.jpg
JEALOUSY. 255
not freeze his lips to stone I Gauche that he is, how
you envy him his opportunities! how you could
slaughter him for those sweet smiles that appear to
be lavished upon him!
There may be no meaning in those smiles. They
may be the expressions of good-nature, of simple
friendship, perhaps of a little coquetry. For all that,
you cannot behold them without envy-without sus-
picion. If there be a meaning-if they be the smiles
of love,-if the heart of that simple girl has made its
lodgment either upon the young apprentice or him of
the smock-then are you fated to the bitterest pang
that human breast can know. It is not jealousy of
the ordinary kind. It is far more painful. Wounded
vanity adds a poison to the sting. Oh it is hard to
bear!
A pang of this nature I suffered, as I paced that
high platform. Fortunately they had left me alone.
The feelings that worked within me could not be
concealed. My looks and wild gestures must have
betrayed them. I should have been a subject for
satire and laughter. But I was alone. The pilot in
his glass-box did not notice me. His back was towards
me, and his keen eye, bent steadily upon the water,
was too busy with logs and sand-bars, and snags and
sawyers, to take note of my delirium.
It was Aurore Of that I had no doubt whatever.
Her face was not to be mistaken for any other.
There was none like it-none so lovely-alas! too
fatally fair.
Who could he be? Some young spark of the
town? Some clerk in one of the stores? a young
planter? who ? Maybe-and with this thought came
that bitter pang-one of her own proscribed race-a
271 00273.jpg
Z50 THE QUADROON.
y)ung man of 'colour'-a mulatto-a quadroon-a
slave! Ha! to be rivalled by a slave !-worse than
rivalled.-Infamous coquette! Why had I yielded to
her fascinations ? Why had I mistaken her craft for
naivetd?-her falsehood for truth?
Who could he be? I should search the boat till I
found him. Unfortunately I had taken no marks,
either of his face or his dress. My eyes had remained
fixed upon her after their parting. In the shadow I
had seen him only indistinctly; and as he passed
under the lights I saw him not. How preposterous
then to think of looking for him! I could not recog-
nise him in such a crowd.
I went below, and wandered through the cabins,
under the front awning, and along the guardways.
I scanned every face with an eagerness that to some
must have appeared impertinence. Wherever one
was young and handsome, he was an object of my
scrutiny and jealousy. There were several such
among the male passengers; and I endeavoured to
distinguish those who had come aboard at Bringiers.
There were some young men who appeared as if they
had lately shipped themselves, but I had no clue to
guide me, and I failed to find my rival.
In the chagrin of disappointment I returned onco
more to the roof; but I had hardly reached it, when
a new thought came into my mind. I remembered
that the slaves of the plantation were to be sent down
to the city by the first boat. Were they not tra-
velling by that very one? I had seen a crowd, of
blacks-men, women, and children-hastily driven
aboard. I had paid but little heed to such a common
272 00274.jpg
JEALOUSY. 257
spectacle-one that may be witnessed daily, hourly.
I had not thought of it, that these might be the slaves
of the plantation Besangon!
If they were, then indeed there might still be hope;
Aurore had not gone with them-but what of that ?
Though, like them, only a slave, it was not probable
she would have been forced to herd with them upon
the deck. But she had not come aboard! The
staging had been already taken in, as I recognized
her on the wharf-boat. On the supposition that the
slaves of Besangon were aboard, my heart felt re-
lieved. I was filled with a hope that all might yet bo
well.
Why? you may ask. I answer-simply because the
thought occurred to me, that the youth, who so ten-
derly parted from Aurore, might be a brother, or some
near relative. I had not heard of such relationship.
It might be so, however; and my heart, reacting from
its hour of keen anguish, was eager to relieve itself by
any hypothesis.
I could not endure doubt longer; and turning on
my heel, I hastened below. Down the kleets of the
wheel-house, along the guardway, then down the
main stairs to the boiler deck. Threading my way
among bags of maize and hogsheads of sugar, now
stooping under the great axle, now climbing over
huge cotton bales, I reached the after part of the
lower deck, usually appropriated to the deck passen-
gers '-the poor immigrants of Ireland and Germany,
who here huddle miscellaneously with the swarthy
bondsmen of the South.
As I had hoped, there were they,-those black but
friendly faces,-every one of them. Old Zip, and
Aunt Chloe, and the little. Chloe; Hannibal, the new
273 00275.jpg
258 THE QUADROON.
coachman, and Caesar and Pompey, and all,-all on
their way to the dreaded mart.
I had halted a second or two before approaching
them. The light was in my favour, and I saw them
before discovering my presence. There were no signs
of mirth in that sable group. I heard no laughter,
no light revelry, as was their wont to indulge in in
days gone by, among their little cabins in the quarter.
A deep melancholy had taken possession of the
features of all. Gloom was in every glance. Even
the children, usually reckless of the unknown future,
seemed impressed with the same sentiment. They
rolled not about, tumbling over each other. They
played not at all. They sat without stirring, and
silent. Even they, poor infant helots, knew enough
to fear for their dark future,-to shudder at the
prospect of the slave-market.
All were downcast. No wonder. They had been
used to kind treatment. They might pass to a hard
taskmaster. Not one of them knew where in another
day should be his home-what sort of tyrant should
be his lord. But that was not all. Still worse.
Friends, they were going to be parted; relatives, they
would be torn asunder-perhaps never to meet more.
Husband looked upon wife, brother upon sister, father
upon child, mother upon infant, with dread in the
heart and agony in the eye.
It was painful to gaze upon this sorrowing group, to
contemplate the suffering, the mental anguish that
spoke plainly in every face; to think of the wrongs
which one man can legally put upon another-the
deep sinful wrongs, the outrage of every human prin-
ciple. Oh, it was terribly painful to look on that
picture!
274 00276.jpg
JEALOUSY.
It was some relief to me to know that my presence
threw at least a momentary light over its shade.
Smiles chased away the sombre shadows as I ap-
peared, and joyous exclamations hailed me. Had I
been their saviour, I could not have met a more eager
welcome.
Amidst their fervid ejaculations I could distinguish
earnest appeals that I would buy them-that I would
become their master-mingled with zealous protesta-
tions of service and devotion. Alas! they knew not
how heavily at that moment the price of one of their
number lay upon my heart.
I strove to be gay, to cheer them with words of
consolation. I rather needed to be myself consoled.
During this while my eyes were busy. I scanned
the faces of all. There was light enough glimmering
from two oil-lamps to enable me to do so. Several
were young mulattoes. Upon these my glance
rested, one after the other. How my heart throbbed
in this examination! It triumphed at length. Surely
there was no face there that she could love? Were
they all present? Yes, all-so Scipio said; all but
Aurore.
' And Aurore ?' I asked; 'have you heard any more
of her?'
' No, mass'; believee 'Rore gone to de city. She go
by de road in a carriage-not by de boat, some ob de
folks say daat, I believe. '
This was strange enough. Taking the black
aside-
' Tell me, Scipio,' I asked, has Aurore any relative
among you ?-any brother, or sister, or cousin?'
' No, mass', ne'er a one. Golly, mass' 'Bore she
near white as missa 'G6nie, all de rest be black, or
275 00277.jpg
26U THE QUADROON.
leas'wiso yeller 'Roro she quaderoom, yeller folks all
mulatto-no kin to 'Rore-no.'
I was perplexed and puzzled. My former doubts
came crowding back upon me. My jealousy returned.
Scipio could not clear up the mystery. His answer
to other questions which I put to him gave me no
solution to it; and I returned up-stairs with a heart
that suffered under the pressure of disappointment.
The only reflection from which I drew comfort was,
that I might have been mistaken. Perhaps, after all,
it was not Auroro!
CHAPTER XLVI.
A SCIENTIFIC JULEP.
To drown care and sorrow men drink. The spirit of
wine freely quaffed will master either bodily pain or
mental suffering-for a time. There is no form of the
one or phase of the other so difficult to subdue as the
pang of jealousy. Wine must be deeply quaffed
before that corroding poison can be washed free from
the heart.
But there is a partial relief in the wine-cup, and I
sought it. I knew it to be only temporary, and that
the sorrow would soon return. But even so-even a
short respite was to be desired. I could bear my
thoughts no longer.
I am not brave in bearing pain. I have more than
once intoxicated myself to deaden the pitiful pain of a
toothache. By the same means I resolved to relieve
the dire aching of my heart.
276 00278.jpg
A SCIENTIFIC JULEP.
The spirit of wine was nigh at hand, and might be
imbibed in many forms.
In one corner of the smoking-saloon' was the
'bar,' with its elegant adornments-its rows of de-
canters and bottles, with silver stoppers and labels-
its glasses, and lemons, and sugar-crushers-its bou-
quet of aromatic mint and fragrant pines-its bunches
of straw tubes for 'sucking' the 'mint julep,' the
'sherry-cobbler,' or the claret sangaree.'
In the midst of this entourage stood the 'barkeeper,'
and in this individual do not picture to yourself some
seedy personage of the waiter class, with bloodless
cheeks and clammy skin, such as those monstrosities
of an English hotel who give you a very degoit for
your dinner. On the contrary, behold an hliqant of
latest fashion-that is, the fashion of his country and
class, the men of the river. He wears neither coat
nor vest while in the exercise of his office, but his
shirt will merit an observation. It is of the finest
fabric of the Irish loom-too fine to be worn by those
who have woven it-and no Bond Street furnishing-
house could equal its 'make up.'
Gold buttons glance at the sleeves, and diamonds
sparkle amid the profuse ruffles on the bosom. The
collar is turned down over a black silk riband, knotted
a la Byron; but a tropic sun has more to do with this
fashion than any desire to imitate the sailor-poet.
Over this shirt stretch silk braces elaborately needle-
worked, and still further adorned by buckles of pure
gold. A hat of the costly grass from the shores of
the South Sea crowns his well-oiled locks, and thus
you have the 'barkeeper of the boat.' His nether
man need not be described. That is the unseen por-
tion of his person, which is below the level of the
277 00279.jpg
262 THE QUADROON.
bar. No cringing, smirking, obsequious counter-
jumper he, but a dashing sprig, who, perhaps, owns
his bar and all its contents, and who holds his head
as high as either the clerk or captain.
As I approached this gentleman, he placed a glass
upon the counter, and threw into it some broken
fragments of ice. All this was done without a word
having passed between us.
I had no need to give an order. He saw in my eye
the determination to drink.
' Cobbler?'
' No,' said I; a mint julep.'
' Very well, I'll mix you a julep that'll set your
teeth for you.'
' Thank you. Just what I want.'
The gentleman now placed side by side two glasses
-tumblers of large size. Into one he put, first, a
spoonful of crushed white sugar-then a slice of
lemon-ditto of orange-next a few sprigs of green
mint-after that a handful of broken ice, a gill of
water, and, lastly, a large glass measure of cognac.
This done, he lifted the glasses one in each hand, and
poured the contents from one to the other so rapidly
that ice, brandy, lemons, and all, seemed to be con-
stantly suspended in the air, and oscillating between
the glasses. The tumblers themselves at no time
approached nearer than two feet from each other!
This adroitness, peculiar to his craft, and only ob-
tained after long practice, was evidently a source of
professional pride. After some half-score of these
revolutions the drink was permitted to rest in one
glass, and was then set down upon the counter.
There yet remained to be given the 'finishing
touch.' A thin slice of pine-apple was cut freshly
278 00280.jpg
A SCIENTIFIC JULEP. 263
from the fruit. This held between the finger and
thumb was doubled over the edge of the glass, and
then passed with an adroit sweep round the circum-
ference.
' That's the latest Orleans touch,' remarked the
barkeeper with a smile, as he completed the ma-
noeuvre.
There was a double purpose in this little operation.
The pine-apple not only cleared the glass of the
grains of sugar and broken leaves of mint, but left
its fragrant juice to mingle its aroma with the
beverage.
The latest Orleans touch,' he repeated; scientific
style.'
I nodded my assent.
The julep was now 'mixed'-which fact was made
known to me by the glass being pushed a little nearer,
across the marble surface of the counter.
' Have a straw?' was the laconic inquiry.
' Yes; thank you.'
A joint of wheaten straw was plunged into the
glass, and taking this between my lips I drew in large
draughts of perhaps the most delicious of all intoxi-
cating drinks-the mint-julep.
The aromatic liquid had scarce passed my lips
when I began to feel its effects. My pulse ceased its
wild throbbing. My blood became cool, and flowed
in a more gentle current through my veins, and my
heart seemed to be bathing in the waters of Lethe.
The relief was almost instantaneous, and I only won-
dered I had not thought of it before. Though still
far from happy, I felt that I held in my hands what
would soon make me so. Transitory that happiness
might be, yet the reaction was welcome at the
279 00281.jpg
THE QUADROON.
moment, and the prospect of it pleasant to my soul.
I eagerly swallowed the inspiring beverage-swal-
lowed it in large draughts, till the straw tube, rat-
tling among the fragments of ice at the bottom of the
glass, admonished me that the fluid was all gone.
' Another, if you please I'
' You liked it, I guess ?'
' Most excellent !'
'Said so. I reckon, stranger, we can get up a
mint-julep on board this here boat equal to either
St. Charles or Verandah, if not a leetle superior to
either.'
'A superb drink !'
'We can mix.a sherry cobbler too, that ain't hard
to take.'
'I have no doubt of it, but I'm not fond of sherry.
I prefer this.'
'You're right. So do I. The pine-apple's a new
idea, but an improvement, I think.'
'I think so too.'
'Have a fresh straw ?'
'Thank you.'
This young fellow was unusually civil. I fancied
that his civility proceeded from my having eulogised
his mint-juleps. It was not that, as I afterwards as-
certained. These Western people are little accessible
to cheap flattery. I owed his good opinion of me to
a far different cause-the discomfiture I had put on the
meddling passenger! I believe he had also learnt, that
it was I who had chastised the Bully Larkin! Such
'feats of arms' soon become known in the region of
the Mississippi Valley, where strength and courage are
qualities of high esteem. Hence, in the barkeeper's
view, I was one who deserved a civil word; and thus
280 00282.jpg
A GAME OF WHIST. 265
talking together on the best of terms, I swallowed
my second julep, and called upon him for a third,
Aurore was for the moment forgotten, or when
remembered, it was with less of bitterness. Now and
then that parting scene came uppermost in my
thoughts; but the pang that rose with it was each
moment growing feebler, and easier to be endured.
CHAPTER XLVII.
A GAME OF WHIST.
IN the centre of the smoking saloon, there was a
table, and around it some half-dozen men were seated.
Other half-dozen stood behind these, looking over
their shoulders. The attitudes of all, and their eager
glances, suggested the nature of their occupation.
The flouting of pasteboard, the chink of dollars, ai.d
the oft-recurring words of ace,' jack,' and 'trump,'
put it beyond a doubt that that occupation was
gaming. 'Euchro' was the game.
Curious to observe this popular American game, I
stepped up and stood watching the players. My
friend who had raised the false alarm was one of
them; but his back was towards me, and I remained
for some time unseen by him.
Some two or three of those who played were ele-
gantly-dressed men. Their coats were of the finest
cloth, their ruffles of the costliest cambric, and jewels
sparkled in their shirt bosoms an d glittered upon their
fingers. These fingers, however, told a tale. They
told plainly as words, that they to whom they bo-
s
281 00283.jpg
266 THE QUADEOON.
longed had not always been accustomed to such
elegant adornment. Toilet soap had failed to soften
the corrugated skin, and obliterate the abrasions-the
souvenirs of toil.
This was nothing. They might be gentlemen for
all that. Birth is of slight consequence in the Far
West. The plough-boy may become the President.
Still there was an air about these men-an air I
cannot describe, but which led me at the moment to
doubt their gentility. It was not from any swagger or
assumption on their part. On the contrary, they ap-
peared the most gentlemanly individuals around the
table !
They were certainly the most sedate and quiet.
Perhaps it was this very sedateness-this polished
reserve-that formed the spring of my suspicion.
True gentlemen, bloods from Tennessee or Kentucky,
young planters of the Mississippi coast, or French
Creoles of Orleans, would have offered different cha-
racteristics. The cool complacency with which these
individuals spoke and acted-no symptoms of pertur-
bation as the trump was turned, no signs of ruffled
temper when luck went against them-told two
things; first, that they were men of the world, and,
secondly, that they were not now playing their
maiden game of Euchre.' Beyond that I could form
no judgment about them. They might be doctors,
lawyers, or 'gentlemen of elegant leisure'-a class by
no means uncommon in the work-a-day world of
America.
At that time I was still too new to Far West
society, to be able to distinguish its features. Besides,
in the United States, and particularly in the western
portion of the country, those peculiarities of dress and
282 00284.jpg
A GAME OF WHIST. 267
habit, which in the Old World form, as it were, the
landmarks of the professions, do not exist. You may
meet the preacher wearing a blue coat and bright
buttons; the judge with a green one; the doctor in
a white linen jacket; and the baker in glossy black
broadcloth from top to toe i
Where every man assumes the right to be a gentle-
man, the costumes and badges of trade are studiously
avoided. Even the tailor is undistinguishable in the
mass of his 'fellow-citizens.' The land of character-
dresses lies farther to the south-west-Mexico is that
land.
I stood for some time watching the gamesters and
the game. Had I not known something of the bank-
ing peculiarities of the West, I should have believed
that they were gambling for enormous sums. At each
man's right elbow lay a huge pile of bank-notes,
flanked by a few pieces of silver-dollars, halves, and
quarters. Accustomed as my eyes had been to bank-
notes of five pounds in value, the table would have
presented to me a rich appearance, had I not known
that these showy parallelograms of copper-plate and
banking-paper, were mere shinplasters,' representing
amounts that varied from the value of one dollar to
that of six and a quarter cents! Notwithstanding,
the bets were far from being low. Twenty, fifty, and
even a hundred dollars, frequently changed hands in a
single game.
I perceived that the hero of the false alarm was one
of the players. His back was towards me where I
stood, and he was too much engrossed with his game
to look around.
In dress and general appearance he differed alto-
gether from the rest. He wore a white beaver hat
s2
283 00285.jpg
268 TIE QUADROON.
with broad brim, and a coat of great 'jeans,' wide-
sleeved and loose-bodied. He had the look of a
well-to-do corn-farmer from Indiana or a pork-mer-
chant from Cincinnati. Yet there was something in
his manner that told you river-travelling was not new
to him. It was not his first trip down South.' Most
probably the second supposition was the correct one
-he was a dealer in hog-meat.
One of the fine gentlemen I have described sat
opposite to where I was standing. He appeared to
be losing considerable sums, which the farmer or
pork-merchant was winning. It proved that the luck
of the cards was not in favour of the smartest-looking
players-an inducement to other plain people to try a
hand.
I began to feel sympathy for the elegant gentleman,
his losses were so severe. I could not help admiring
the composure with which he bore them.
At length he looked up, and scanned the faces of
those who stood around. He seemed desirous of
giving up the play. His eye met mine. He said, in
a careless way-
' Perhaps, stranger, you wish to take a hand ? You
may have my place if you do. I have no luck. I
could not win under any circumstances to-night. I
shall give up playing.'
This appeal caused the rest of the players to turn
their faces towards me, and among others the pork-
dealer. I expected an ebullition of anger from this
individual. I was disappointed. On the contrary, he
hailed me in a friendly tone.
' Hilloa, mister !' cried he, I hope you can't miffed
at me ?'
' Not in the least,' I replied.
284 00286.jpg
A GAME OF WHIST.
' Fact, I meant no offence Did think thar war a
some 'un overboard. Dog-gone me, if I didn't!'
' Oh! I have taken no offence,' rejoined I; 'to
prove it, I ask you now to drink with me.'
The juleps and the late reaction from bitter thought
had rendered me of a jovial disposition. The free
apology at once won my forgiveness.
' Good as wheat!' assented the pork-dealer. 'I 'in
your man; but, stranger, you must allow me to pay.
You see, I've won a trifle hero. My right to pay for
the drinks.'
'Oh I have no objection.'
'Well, then, let's all licker! I stand drinks all
round. What say you, fellars ?' A murmur of assent
answered the interrogatory.
' Good!' continued the speaker. Hyar, barkeeper!
drinks for the crowd!'
And so saying, he of the white hat and jeans coat
stepped forward to the bar, and placed a couple of
dollars upon the counter. All who were near followed
him, shouting each out the name of the beverage
most to his liking in the various calls of gin-sling,'
' cocktail," cobbler,' julep,' 'brandy-smash,' and such-
like interesting mixtures.
In America men do not sit and sip their liquor, but
drink standing. Running, one might say-for, be it
hot or cold, mixed or 'neat,' it is gone in a gulp, and
then the drinkers retire to their chairs to smoke,
chew, and wait for the fresh invitation, 'Let's all
licker!'
In a few seconds we had all liquored, and the
players once more took their seats around the table.
The gentleman who had proposed to me to become
his successor did not return to his place. He had no
285 00287.jpg
THE QUADROON.
luck, he again said, and would not play any more that
night.
Who would accept his place and his partner? I
was appealed to.
I thanked my new acquaintances, but the thing
was impossible, as I had never played Euchre, and
therefore knew nothing about the game, beyond the
few points I had picked up while watching them.
' That ar awkward,' said the pork-dealer. 'Ain't
we nohow able to get up a set? Come, Mr. Chorley-
I believe that's your name, sir ?' (This was addressed
to the gentleman who had risen.) You ain't a-goin'
to desert us that away ? We can't make up a game
if you do?'
' I should only lose if I played longer,' reiterated
Chorley. No,' continued he, I won't risk it.'
' Perhaps this gentleman plays "whist,"' suggested
another, alluding to me. 'You're an Englishman,
sir, I believe. I never knew one of your countrymen
who was not a good whist-player.'
' True, I can play whist,' I replied carelessly.
' Well, then, what say you all to a game of whist?'
inquired the last speaker, glancing around the table.
' Don't know much about the game,' bluntly
answered the pork-dealer. Mout play it on a pinch
rather than spoil sport; but whoever hez me for a
partner 'll have to keep a sharp look-out for himself,
I reckon.'
'I guess you know the game as well as I do,'
replied the one who had proposed it.
' I hain't played a rubber o' whist for many a year,
but if we can't make up the set at Euchre, let's try
one.'
' Oh! if you're going to play whist,' interposed the
286 00288.jpg
A GAME OF WHIST. 271
gentleman who had seceded from the game of Euchro
-' if you're going to play whist, I don't mind taking
a hand at that-it may change my luck-and if this
gentleman has no objection, I'd like him for my
partner. As you say, sir, Englishmen are good whist-
players. It's their national game, I believe.'
' Won't be a fair match, Mr. Chorley,' said the
dealer in hog-meat; 'but since you propose it, if
Mr. Hatcher here-your name, sir, I believe ?'
' Hatcher is my name,' replied the person addressed,
the same who suggested whist.
' If Mr. Hatcher here,' continued white-hat, has no
objection to the arrangement, I'll not back out. Dog-
goned, if I do!'
' Oh! I don't care,' said Hatcher, in a tone of reck-
less indifference, anything to get up a game.'
Now, I was never fond of gambling, either amateur
or otherwise, but circumstances had made me a
tolerable whist-player, and I knew there were few
who could beat me at it. If my partner knew the
game as well, I felt certain we could not be badly
damaged; and according to all accounts he under-
stood it well. This was the opinion of one or two of
the bystanders, who whispered in my ear that he was
a whole team' at whist.
Partly from the reckless mood I was in-partly
that a secret purpose urged me on-a purpose which
developed itself more strongly afterwards-and partly
that I had been bantered, and, as it were. cornered'
into the thing, I consented to play-Chorley and I
versus Hatcher and the pork-merchant.
We took our seats-partners vis-a-vis-the cards
were shuffled, cut, dealt, and the game began.
287 00289.jpg
( 272 )
CHAPTER XLVIII.
THE GAME INTERRUPTED.
WE played the first two or three games for low stakes
-a dollar each. This was agreeable to the desire of
Hatcher and the pork-merchant--who did not like to
risk much as they had nearly forgotten the game.
Both, however, made hedge bets' freely against my
partner, Chorley, and against any one who chose to
take them up. These bets were on the turn-up, the
colour, the honours,' or the odd trick.'
My partner and I won the two first games, and
rapidly. I noted several instances of bad play on the
part of our opponents. I began to believe that they
really were not a match for us. Chorley said so with
an air of triumph, as though we were playing merely
for the honour of the thing, and the stakes were of no
consequence. After a while, as we won another
game, he repeated the boast.
The pork-dealer and his partner seemed to get a
little nettled.
'It's the cards,' said the latter, with an air of
pique.
"F coorse it's the cards,' repeated white-hat,
'Had nothing but darned rubbish since the game
begun. Thar again!'
' Bad cards again?' inquired his partner with a
sombre countenance.
' Bad as blazes! couldn't win corn-shucks with
'em.'
288 00290.jpg
TIIE GAME INTERRUPTED. 273
'Come, gentlemen!' cried my partner, Chorley;
'not exactly fair that-no hints.'
'Bah!' ejaculated the dealer. 'Mout show you
my hand, for that matter. Thar ain't a trick in it.'
We won again!
Our adversaries, getting still more nettled at our
success, nowproposed doubling the stakes. This was
agreed to, and another game played.
Again Chorley and I were winners, and the pork-
man asked his partner if he would double again. The
latter consented after a little hesitation, as though he
thought the amount too high. Of course we, the
winners, could not object, and once more we 'swept
the shinplasters,' as Chorley euphoniously expressed
it.
The stakes were again doubled, and possibly would
have increased in the same ratio again and again had
I not made a positive objection. I remembered the
amount of cash I carried in my pocket, and knew that
at such a rate, should fortune go against us, my purse
would not hold out. I consented, however, to a stake
of ten dollars each, and at this amount we continued
the play.
It was well we had not gone higher, for from this
time fortune seemed to desert us. We lost almost
every time, and at the rate of ten dollars a game. I
felt my purse grow sensibly lighter. I was in a fair
way of being 'cleared out.'
My partner, hitherto so cool, seemed to lose
patience, at intervals anathematising the cards, and
wishing he had never consented to a game of 'nasty
whist.' Whether it was this excitement that caused
it I could not tell, but certainly he played badly-
much worse than at the beginning. Several times he
289 00291.jpg
274 THE QUADROON.
flung down his cards without thought or caution.
It seemed as if his temper, ruffled at our repeated
losses, rendered him careless, and even reckless, about
the result. I was the more surprised at this, as but
an hour before at Euchre I had seen him lose sums of
double the amount apparently with the utmost in-
difference.
We had not bad luck neither. Each hand our
cards were good; and several times I felt certain we
should have won, had my partner played his hand
more skilfully. As it was, we continued to lose, until
I felt satisfied that nearly half of my money was in
the pockets of Hatcher and the pork-dealer.
No doubt the whole of it would soon have found its
way into the same receptacles, had not our game
been suddenly, and somewhat mysteriously, inter-
rupted.
Some loud words were heard-apparently from the
lower deck-followed by a double report, as of two
pistols discharged in rapid succession, and the moment
after a voice called out, 'Great God! there's h~a an
shot !'
The cards fell from our fingers-each seized hi
share of the stakes, springing to his feet as he did so;
and then players, backers, lookers-on, and all, making
for front and side entrances, rushed pell-mdll out of
the saloon.
Some ran down stairs-some sprang up to the
hurricane-deck-some took aft, others forward, all
crying out 'Who is it?' 'Where is he?' 'Who
fired ?' Ts he killed ?' and a dozen like interrogatories,
interrupted at intervals by the screams of the ladies
in their cabins. The alarm of the 'woman overboard'
was nothing to this new scene of excitement and
290 00294.jpg
THE QUADIIOON.
. i'l
'41^1
' -- ~ -^~ r/ /w .5 _
E.' ANc. 5i t p.
Th'Ie u lle illc icrrultud. p. 271.
i

:I!
I
~1ic'i;lilP1
~ ' ' 'ae I
I I
19
291 00295.jpg
292 00296.jpg
THE SPORTSMEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI. 275
confusion, But what was most mysterious was the
fact that no killed or wounded individual could be
found, nor any one who had either fired a pistol or
had seen one fired! no man had been shot, nor had
any man shot him!
What the deuce could it mean? Who had cried
out that some one was shot? That no one could
tell! Mystery, indeed. Lights were carried round
into all the dark corners of the boat, but neither
dead nor wounded, nor trace of blood, could be dis-
covered; and at length men broke out in laughter,
and stated their belief that the hul thing was a hoax.'
So declared the dealer in hog-meat, who seemed
rather gratified that he no longer stood alone as a
contriver of false alarms.
CHAPTER XLIX.
THE SPORTSMEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
BEFORE things had reached this point, I had gained
an explanation of the mysterious alarm. I alone
knew it, along with the individual who had caused it.
On hearing the shots, I had run forward under the
front awning, and stood looking over the guards. I
was looking down upon the boiler-deck-for it ap-
peared to me that the loud words that preceded the
reports had issued thence, though I also thought that
the shots had been fired at some point nearer.
Most of the people had gone out by the side en-
trances, and were standing over the gangways, so
that I was alone in the darkness, or nearly so.
293 00297.jpg
276 THE QUADROON.
I had not been many seconds in this situation, when
some one glided alongside of me, and touched me on
the arm. I turned and inquired who it was, and
what was wanted. A voice answered me in French,-
'A friend, Monsieur, who wishes to do you a service.'
'Ha, that voice! It was you, then, who called
out-'
' It was.'
'And -'
'I who fired the shots-precisely.'
' There is no one killed, then ?'
' Not that I know of. My pistol was pointed to the
sky-besides it was loaded blank.'
'I'm glad of that, Monsieur; but for what purpose,
may I ask, have you- '
'Simply to do you a service, as I have said.'
'But how do you contemplate serving mo by
firing off pistols, and frightening the passengers of
the boat out of their senses?'
'Oh! as to that, there's no harm done. They'll
soon get over their little alarm. I wanted to speak
with you alone. I could think of no other device to
separate you from your new acquaintances. The
firing of my pistol was only a ruse to effect that pur-
pose. It has succeeded, you perceive.'
'Ha! Monsieur, it was you then who whispered
the word in my ear as I sat down to play ?'
'Yes; have I not prophesied truly ?'
'So far you have. It was you who stood opposite
me in the corner of the saloon ?'
'It was I.'
Let me explain these two last interrogatories. As
I was about consenting to the game of whist, some
one plucked my sleeve, and whispered in French,-
294 00298.jpg
TIE SPORTSMEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI. 277
'Don't play, Monsieur; you are certain to lose.'
I turned in the direction of the speaker, and saw a
young man just leaving my side; but was not certain
whether it was he who had given this prudent
counsel. As is known, I did not heed it.
Again, while engaged in the game, I noticed this
same young man standing in front of me, but in a
distant and somewhat dark corner of the saloon.
Notwithstanding the darkness, I saw that his eyes
were bent upon me, as I played. This fact would
have drawn my attention of itself, but there was also
an expression in the face that at once fixed my
interest; and, each time, while the cards were being
dealt, I took the opportunity to turn my eyes upon
this strange individual.
He was a slender youth, under the medium height,
and apparently scarce twenty years of age, but a
melancholy tone that pervaded his countenance made
him look a little older. His features were small, but
finely chiselled-the nose and lips resembling more
those of a woman. His cheek was almost colourless,
and dark silky hair fell in profuse curls over his neck
and shoulders; for such at that time was the Creole
fashion. I felt certain the youth was a Creole,
partly from his French cast of countenance, partly
from the fashion and material of his dress, and partly
because he spoke French-for I was under the im-
pression it was he who had spoken to me. His cos-
tume was altogether of Creole fashion. He wore a
blouse of brown linen-not after the mode of that
famous garment as known in France-but as the
Creole 'hunting-shirt,' with plaited body and grace-
fully-gathered skirt. Its material, moreover,-the
fine unbleached linen,-showed that the style was
295 00299.jpg
ZY Z THE QUADROON.
one of choice, not a mere necessary covering. His
pantaloons were of the finest sky-blue cottonade-the
produce of the looms of Opelousas. They were
plaited very full below the waist, and open at the
bottoms with rows of buttons to close them around
the ankles when occasion required. There was no
vest. Its place was supplied by ample frills of
cambric lace, that puffed out over the breast. The
claussure consisted of gaiter-bootees of drab lasting-
cloth, tipped with patent leather, and fastened over
the front with a silk lace. A broad-brimmed Panama
hat completed the dress, and gave the finishing touch
to this truly Southern costume.
There was nothing outrd about either the shirt, the
pantaloons, the head-dress, or foot-gear. All were in
keeping-all were in a style that at that period was
the mode upon the lower Mississippi. It was not,
therefore, the dress of this youth that had arrested
my attention. I had been in the habit of seeing such
every day. It could not be that. No-the dress had
nothing to do with the interest which he had excited.
Perhaps my regarding him as the author of the brief
counsel that had been uttered in my ear had a little
to do with it-but not all. Independent of that,
there was something in the face itself that forcibly
attracted my regard-so forcibly that I began to
ponder whether I had ever seen it before. If there
had been a better light, I might have resolved the
doubt, but he stood in shadow, and I could not get a
fair view of him.
It was just about this time that I missed him from
his station in the corner of the saloon, and a minute
or two later were heard the shouts and shots from
without.
296 00300.jpg
TIE SPORTSMEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
' And now, Monsieur, may I inquire why you wish
to speak to me, and what you have to say ?'
I was beginning to feel annoyed at the interference
of this young fellow. A man does not relish being
suddenly pulled up from a game of whist; and not a
bit the more that he has been losing at it.
' Why I wish to speak to you is, because I feel an
interest in you. What I have to say you shall hear.'
'An interest in me! And pray, Sir, to what am I
indebted for this interest ?'
'Is it not enough that you are a stranger likely to
be plundered of your purse ?-a green-horn- '
'How, Monsieur?'
'Nay, do not be angry with me. That is the
phrase which I have heard applied to you to-night by
more than one of your new acquaintances. If you
return to play with them, I think you will merit the
title.'
'Come, Mousieur, this is too bad: you interfere in
a matter that does not concern you.'
'True, it does not; but it concerns you, and yet-
ah !'
I was about to leave this meddling youth, and
hurry back to the game, when the strange melancholy
tone of his voice caused me to hesitate, and remain
by him a little longer.
' Well,' I said, you have not yet told me what you
wished to say.'
' Indeed, I have said already. I have told you not
to play-that you would lose if you did. I repeat
that counsel.'
'True, I have lost a little, but it does not follow
that fortune will be always on one side. It is rather
my partner's fault, who seems a bad player.'
297 00301.jpg
280 THE QUADROON.
'Your partner, if I mistake not, is one of the best
players on the river. I think I have seen that gentle-
man before.'
' Ha! you know him them?'
'Something of him-not much, but that much I
know. Do you know him?'
'Never saw him before to-night.'
'Nor any of the others ?'
'They are all equally strangers to me.'
'You are not aware, then, that you are playing
with sportsmen '
'No, but I am very glad to hear it. I am something
of a sportsman myself-as fond of dogs, horses, and
guns, as any of the three, I warrant.'
'Ha! Monsieur, you misapprehend. A sportsman
in your country, and a sportsman in a Mississippi
steamboat, are two very distinct things. Foxes,
hares, and partridges, are the game of your sports-
man. Greenhorns and their purses are the game of
gentry like these.'
'The men with whom I am playing, then, are '
'Professional gamblers-steamboat sharpers.'
'Are you sure of this, Monsieur?'
'Quite sure of it. Oh! I often travel up and
down to New Orleans. I have seen them all before.'
'But one of them has the look of a farmer or a
merchant, as I'thought-a pork-merchant from Cin-
cinnati-his talk ran that way.'
'Farmer-merchant, ha! ha! ha! a farmer without
acres-a merchant without trade! Monsieur, that
simply-dressed old fellow is said to be the 'smartest'
-that is the Yankee word-the smartest sportsman
in the Mississippi valley, and such are not scarce, I
trow.'
298 00302.jpg
THE SPORTSMEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI. 281
'After all, they are strangers to each other, and
one of them is my partner-I do not see how they
can-'
'Strangers to each other!' interrupted my new
friend. Since when have they become acquainted?
I myself have seen the three in company, and at the
same business, almost every time I have journeyed on
the river. True, they talk to each other as if they
had accidentally met. That is part of their arrange-
ment for cheating such as you.'
' So you believe they have actually been cheating
me ?'
'Since the stakes have been raised to ten dollars
they have.'
'But how ?'
'Oh, it is very simple. Sometimes your partner
designedly played the wrong card -
' Ha I see now; I believe it.'
' It did not need that though. Even had you had
an honest partner, it would have been all the same in
the end. Your opponents have a system of signals by
which they can communicate to each other many
facts-the sort of cards they hold,-the colour of the
cards, their value, and so forth. You did not observe
how they placed their fingers upon the edge of the
table. I did. One finger laid horizontally denoted
one trump-two fingers placed in a similar manner,
two trumps--hree for three, and so on. A slight
curving of the fingers told, how many of the trumps
were honours; a certain movement of the thumbs
bespoke an ace; and in this way each of your adver-
saries knew almost to a card what his partner had
got. It needed not the third to bring about the de-
sired result. As it was, there were seven knaves
T
299 00303.jpg
Zaz THE QUADROON.
about the table-four in the cards, and three among
the players.'
'This is infamous!'
'True, I would have admonished you of it sooner;
but, of course, I could not find an opportunity. It
would have been no slight danger for me to have told
you openly, and exposed the rascals. Hence, the ruse I
have been compelled to adopt. These are no common
swindlers. Any of the three would resent the slightest
imputation upon their honour. Two of them are
noted duellists. Most likely I should have been called
out to-morrow and shot, and you would scarce have
thanked me for my interference." '
' My dear sir, I am exceedingly grateful to you. I
am convinced that what you say is true. How would
you have me act?'
' Simply give up the game-let your losses go-you
cannot recover them.'
But I am not disposed to be thus outraged and
plundered with impunity. I shall try another game,
watch them, and- '
'No, you would be foolish to do so. I tell you,
Monsieur, these men are noted duellists as well as
black-legs, and possess courage. One of them, your
partner, has given proof of it by having travelled over
three hundred miles to fight with a gentleman who
had slandered him, or rather had spoken the truth
about him! He succeeded, moreover, in killing his
man. I tell you, Monsieur, you can gain nothing
by quarrelling with such men, except a fair chance of
having a bullet through you. I know you are a stranger
in our country. Be advised, then, and act as I have said.
Leave them to their gains. It is late. Retire to your
state-room, and think no more on what you have lost.'
300 00304.jpg
THE SPORTSMEN OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
Whether it was the late excitement consequent
upon the false alarm, or whether it was the strange
development I had just listened to, aided by the cool
river breeze, I know not; but the intoxication passed
away, and my brain became clear. I doubted not for
a moment that the young Creole had told me the
truth. His manner as well as words, connected with
the circumstances that had just transpired, produced
full conviction.
I felt impressed with a deep sense of gratitude to
him for the service he had rendered, and at such risk
to himself-for even the ruse he had adopted might
have had an awkward ending for him, had any one
seen him fire off his pistols.
Why had he acted thus? Why this interest in my
affairs ? Had he assigned the true reason? Was it a
feeling of pure chivalry that had prompted him? I
had heard of just such instances of noble nature
among the Creole French of Louisiana. Was this
another illustration of that character?
I say I was impressed with a deep sense of gratitude,
and resolved to follow his advice.
' I shall do as you say,' I replied, on one con-
dition.'
' Name it, Monsieur.'
SThat you will give me your address, so that when
we arrive in New Orleans, I may have the opportunity
of renewing your acquaintance, and proving to you
my gratitude.'
' Alas, Monsieur! I have no address.'
I felt embarrassed. The melancholy tone in which
these words were uttered was not to be mistaken;
some grief pressed heavily on that young and generous
heart.
T2
301 00305.jpg
284 THE QUADROON.
It was not for me to inquire into its cause, least of
all at that time; but my own secret sorrow enabled
me to sympathise the more deeply with others, and I
felt I stood beside one whose sky was far from serene.
I felt embarrassed by his answer. It left me in a
delicate position to make reply. I said at length-
' Perhaps you will do me the favour to call upon
me ? I live at the Hotel St. Luis.'
'I shall do so with pleasure.'
'To-morrow?'
STo-morrow night.'
' I shall stay at home for you. Bon soir, Monsieur.'
We parted, each taking the way to his state-room.
In ten minutes after I lay in my shelf-like bed,
asleep; and in ten hours after I was drinking my cufe
in the Hotel St. Luis.
CHAPTER L.
THE CITY.
I AM strongly in favour of a country life. I am a
lover of the chase and the angle.
Perhaps if I were to analyse the feeling, I might
find that these predilections have their source in a
purer fountain-the love of Nature herself. I follow
the deer in his tracks, because they lead me into the
wildest solitudes of the forest-I follow the trout in
its stream, because I am guided into still retreats, by
the margin of shady pools, where human foot rarely
treads. Once in the haunts of the fish and the game,
my sporting energy dies within me. My rod-spear
pierces the turf, my gun lies neglected by my side,
302 00306.jpg
THE CITY. 285
and I yield up my soul to a diviner dalliance with the
beauties of Nature. Oh, I am a rare lover of the
sylvan scene!
And yet, for all this, I freely admit that the first
hours spent in a great city have for me a peculiar
fascination. A world of new pleasures is suddenly
placed within reach-a world of luxury opened up.
The soul is charmed with rare joys. Beauty and
song, wine and the dance, vary their allurements.
Love, or it may be passion, beguiles you into many an
incident of romantic adventure; for romance may be
found within the walled city. The human heart is its
home, and they are but Quixotic dreamers who fancy
that steam and civilisation are antagonistic to the
purest aspirations of poetry. A sophism, indeed, is
the chivalry of the savage. His rags, so picturesque,
often cover a shivering form and a hungry stomach.
Soldier though I may claim to be, 1 prefer the cheer-
ing roll of the busy mill to the thunder of the cannon
-I regard the tall chimney, with its banner of black
smoke, a far nobler sight than the fortress turret with
its flouting and fickle flag. I hear sweet music in the
plashing of the paddle-wheel; and in my cars a
nobler sound is the scream of the iron horse than the
neigh of the pampered war-steed. A nation of
monkeys may manage the business of gunpowder;
they must be men to control the more powerful
element of steam.
These ideas will not suit the puling sentimentalism
of the boudoir and the boarding-school. The Quixot-
ism of the modern time will be angry with the rough
writer who thus rudely lays his hand upon the helm
of the mailed knight, and would deflower it of its
glory and glossy plumes. It is hard to yield up
303 00307.jpg
286 THE QUADROON.
prejudices and preconceptions, however false; and
the writer himself in doing so confesses to the cost of
a struggle of no ordinary violence. It was hard to
give up the Homeric illusion, and believe that Greeks
were men, not demigods-hard to recognize in the
organ-man and the opera-singer the descendants of
those heroes portrayed in the poetic pictures of a
Virgil; and yet in the days of my dreamy youth,
when I turned my face to the West, I did so under
the full conviction that the land of prose was before
me and the land of poetry behind my back!
Thanks to St. Hubert and the golden ring of the
word Mexico,' I did turn my face in that direction:
and no sooner had I set foot on those glorious shores,
trodden by a Columbus and a Cortez, than I recog-
nised the home both of the poetic and the picturesque.
In that very land, called prosaic-the land of dollars
-I inhaled the very acmd of the poetic spirit; not
from the rhythm of books, but expressed in the most
beautiful types of the human form, in the noblest
impulses of the human soul, in rock and stream, in
bird, and leaf and flower. In that very city, which,
thanks to perjured and prejudiced travellers, I had
been taught to regard as a sort of outcast camp, I
found humanity in its fairest forms-progress blended
with pleasure-civilisation adorned with the spirit of
chivalry as with a wreath. Prosaic indeed! a dollar-
loving people! I make bold to assert, that in the
concave of that little crescent where lies the city of
New Orleans will be found a psychological milange
of greater variety and interest than exists in any space
of equal extent on the globe's surface. There the
passions, favoured by the clime, reach their fullest,
highest development. Love and hate, joy and grief,
304 00308.jpg
THE CITY. 287
avarice, ambition-all attain to perfect vigour. There,
too, the moral virtues are met with in full purity.
Cant has there no home, hypocrisy must be deep
indeed to avoid exposure and punishment. Genius
is almost universal-universal, too, is activity. The
stupid and the slothful cannot exist in this moving
world of busy life and enjoyment.
An ethnological melange as well this singular city
presents. Perhaps no other city exhibits so great a
variety of nationalities as in its streets. Founded by
the French, held by the Spaniards, 'annexed' by the
Americans, these three nations form the elements of
its population. But you may, nevertheless, there
meet with representatives of most other civilised, and
of many 'savage people. The Turk in his turban,
the Arab in his burnouse, the Chinaman with shaven
scalp and queue, the black son of Africa, the red
Indian, the swarthy Mestize, yellow Mulatto, the
olive Malay, the light graceful Creole, and the not less
graceful Quadroon, jostle each other in its streets, and
jostle with the red-blooded races of the North, the
German and Gael, the Russ and Swede, the Fleming,
the Yankee, and the Englishman. An odd human
mosaic-a mottled piebald mixture is the population
of the Crescent City.
In truth, New Orleans is a great metropolis, more
of a city than places of much greater population
either in Europe or America. In passing through its
streets you feel that you are not in a provincial town.
Its shops exhibit the richest goods, of best workman-
ship. Palace-like hotels appear in every street.
Luxurious cafis invite you into their elegant saloons.
Theatres are there-grand architectural temples-
in which you may witness the drama well performed
305 00309.jpg
THE QUADROON.
in French, and German, and English, and in its season
you may listen to the soul-moving music of the
Italian opera. If you are a lover of the Terpsichorean
art, you will find New Orleans, par excellence, the
town to your taste.
I knew the capacities of New Orleans to afford
pleasure. I was acquainted with the sources of
enjoyment, yet I sought them not. After a long
interval of country life I entered the city without a
thought of its gaieties-a rare event in the life even
of the most sedate. The masquerades, the quadroon-
balls, the drama, the sweet strains of the Opera, had
lost their attractions for me. No amusement could
amuse me at that moment. One thought alone had
possession of my heart-Aurore! There was room
for no other.
I pondered as to how I should act.
Place yourself in my position, and you will surely
acknowledge it a difficult one. First, I was in love
with this beautiful quadroon-in love beyond redemp-
tion. Secondly, she, the object of my passion, wasfor
sale, and by public auction! Thirdly, I was jealous-
ay jealous, of that which might be sold and bought
like a bale of cotton,-a barrel of sugar! Fourthly,
I was still uncertain whether I should have it in my
power to become the purchaser. I was still uncertain
whether my banker's letter had yet reached New
Orleans. Ocean steamers were not known at this
period, and the date of a European mail could not be
relied upon with any degree of certainty. Should
that not come to hand in due time, then indeed
should my misery reach its culminating point. Some
one else would become possessed of all I held dear on
306 00310.jpg
THE CITY. 289
earth-would be her lord and master-with power to
do aught- oh God! the idea was fearful. I could
not bear to dwell upon it.
Again, even should my letter reach me in time,
would the amount I expected be enough ? Five
hundred pounds sterling-five times five-twenty-
five hundred dollars! Would twenty-five hundred be
the price of that which was priceless ?
I even doubted whether it would. I knew that a
thousand dollars was at that time the 'average value'
of a slave, and it was rare when one yielded twice
that amount. It must be a strong-bodied man-a
skilful mechanic, a good blacksmith, an expert barber,
to be worth such a sum!
But for Aurore. Oh! I had heard strange tales of
'fancy prices,' for such a 'lot'-of brisk competition
in the bidding-of men with long purses and lustful
thoughts eagerly contending for such a prize.
Such thoughts might harrow the soul even under
the most ordinary circumstances! what was their
effect upon me? I cannot describe the feelings I
experienced.
Should the sum reach me in time-should it prove
enough-should I even succeed in becoming the
owner of Aurore, what then ? What if my jealousy
were well founded? What if she loved me not?
Worse dilemma than ever. I should only have her
body-then her heart and soul would be another's. I
should live in exquisite torture-the slave of a slave!
Why should I attempt to purchase her at all?
Why not make a bold effort, and free myself from
this delirious passion? She is not worthy of the
sacrifice I would make for her. No-she has de-
ceived me-surely she has deceived me. Why not
307 00311.jpg
290 THE QUADROON.
break my promise, plighted though it be in words of
fervid love ? Why not flee from the spot, and en-
deavour to escape the torture that is maddening both
my heart and brain? Oh! why not?
In calmer moments, such questions might be
thought worthy of an answer. I could not answer
them. I did not even entertain them,-though, like
shadows, they flitted across my mind. In the then
state of my feelings, prudence was unknown. Ex-
pediency had no place. I would not have listened to
its cold counsels. You who have passionately loved
can alone understand me. I was resolved to risk
fortune, fame, life-all-to possess the object I so
deeply adored.
CHAPTER LI.
VENTE IMPORTANT DES NOGRES.
' L'ABEILL, Monsieur '
The garpon who helped me to the fragrant cup, at
the same time handed me a newspaper fresh from the
press.
It was a large sheet, headed upon one side' L'Abeille,'
on the reverse its synonyme in English, The Bee.'
Half of its contents were in French, half in English:
each half was a counterpart-a translation of the
other.
I mechanically took the journal from the hand of
the waiter, but without either the design or inclination
308 00312.jpg
VENTE IMPORTANT DES NEGRES. 291
to read it. Mechanically my eyes wandered over its
broad-sheet-scarce heeding the contents.
All at once, the heading of an advertisement fixed
my gaze and my attention. It was on the 'French
side' of the paper.
' ANiONCEMENT.
'Vente important des Negres!'
Yes-it was they. The announcement was no
surprise to me. I expected as much.
I turned to the translation on the reverse page, in
order to comprehend it more clearly. There it was in
all its broad black meaning:-
' Important Sale of Negroes!'
I read on:-
'Estate in Bankruptcy. Plantation Besangon !
'Poor Eugenic!'
Farther:-
' orty able-bodied field-hands, of different ages.
Several first-rate domestic servants, coachman, cooks,
chamber-maids, wagon-drivers. A number of likely mu-
latto boys and girls, from ten to twenty,' &c. &c.
The list followed in extenso. I read-
'Lot 1. Scipio, 48. Able-bodied black, 5ft. llin.,
understands house-work, and the management of horses.
Sound and without blemish.
Lot 2. Hannibal, 40; Dark mulatto, 5ft. 9in., good
coachman, sound and steady.
' Lot 3. Cesar, 43. Black field-hand. Sound,' &c. &c.
My eyes could not wait for the disgusting details.
They ran down the column in search of that name.
They would have lit upon it sooner, but that my
309 00313.jpg
232 TII!E QUADROON.
hands trembled, and the vibratory motion of the
sheet almost prevented me from reading. It was
there at length-last upon the list! 'Why last?' No
matter-her description' was there.
Can I trust myself to read it? Down, burning
heart, still your wild throbbings !
' Lot 65. Aurore. 19. Quadroon. Likely-good
housekeeper, and seamstress.'
Portrait sketched by refined pen-brief and graphic.
'Likely,' ha! ha! ha! 'Likely,' ha! ha! The
brute who wrote that paragraph would have de-
scribed Venus as a'likely gal.' 'Sdeath! I cannot
jest-this desecration of all that is lovely-all that
is sacred-all that is dear to my heart, is torture
itself. The blood is boiling in my veins-my bosom
is wrung with dire emotions!
The journal fell from my hands, and I bent forward
over the table, my fingers clutching each other. I
could have groaned aloud had I been alone. But I
was not. I sat in the great refectory of the hotel.
Men were near who would have jeered at my agony
had they but known its cause.
Some minutes elapsed before I could reflect on what
I had read. I sat in a kind of stupor, brought on by
the violence of my emotions.
Reflection came at length, and my first thought
was of action. More than ever did I now desire to
become the purchaser of the beautiful slave-to re-
deem her from this hideous bondage. I should buy
her. I should set her free. True or false to me, I
should accomplish this all the same. I should make
no claim for gratitude. She should choose for herself.
She should be free, if not in the disposal of her grati-
310 00314.jpg
VENTE IMPORTANT DES -NEGRES. 203
tude, at least in that of her love. A love based only
on gratitude would not content me. Such could not
last. Her heart should freely bestow itself. If I had
already won it, well. If not, and it had fixed its
affection upon another-mine be the grief. Aurore,
at all events, shall be happy.
My love had elevated my soul-had filled it with
such noble resolves.
And now to set her free.
When was this hideous exhibition-this 'Important
Sale,' to come off? When was my betrothed to be
sold, and I to assist at the spectacle ?
I took up the paper again to ascertain the time and
place. The place I knew well-the Rotundo of the
St. Louis exchange-adjoining the hotel, and within
twenty yards of where I sat. That was the slave-
market. But the time-it was of more importance-
-indeed of all importance. Strange I did not think
of this before Should it be at an early date, and my
letter not have arrived! I dared not trust myself
with such a supposition. Surely it would be a week
-several days, at the least-before a sale of so much
importance would take place. Ha I it may have been
advertised for some days. The negroes may have
been brought down only at the last moment!
My hands trembled, as my eyes sought the para-
graph. At length they rested upon it. I read with
painful surprise :-
' To-morrow at twelve!'
I looked to the date of the journal. All correct.
It was the issue of that morning. I looked to the
dial on the wall. The clock was on the stroke of
twelve! Just one day to elapse.
' 0 God! if my letter should not have arrived!'
311 00315.jpg
294 THE QUADROON.
I drew forth my purse, and mechanically told over
its contents. I knew not why I did so. I knew it
contained but a hundred dollars. The 'sportsmen'
had reduced it in bulk. When I had finished count-
ing it, I could not help smiling at the absurdity of
the thing. 'A hundred dollars for the quadroon!
Likely-good housekeeper, &c.! a hundred dollars bid!'
The auctioneer would not be likely to repeat the bid.
All now depended on the English mail. If it had
not arrived already, or did not before the morning, I
would be helpless. Without the letter on my New
Orleans banker, I could not raise fifty pounds-
watch, jewels, and all. As to borrowing, I did not
think of such a thing. Who was to lend me money?
Who to an almost perfect stranger would advance
such a sum as I required? No one I felt certain.
Reigart could not have helped me to so large an
amount, even had there been time to communicate
with him. No-there was no one who would, that
could have favoured me. No one I could think of.
'Stop!-the banker himself! Happy thought, the
banker Brown! Good, generous Brown, of the
English house, Brown and Co., who, with smiling
face, has already cashed my drafts for me. He will
do it! The very man! Why did I not think of him
sooner? Yes; if the letter have not reached him I
shall tell him that I expect it every day, and its
amount. He will advance the money.
'Twelve o'clock gone. There is no time to be lost.
He's in his counting-house by this. I shall at once
apply to him.'
I seized my hat, and hastening out of the hotel,
took my way through the streets towards the bank-
ing-house of Brown and Co.
312 00316.jpg
( 295 )
CHAPTER LII.
BROWN AND CO.
THE banking-house of Brown and Co. was in Canal
Street. From the St. Louis Exchange, Canal Street
may be approached by the Rue Conti, or the parallel
street of the Rue Royale. The latter is the favourite
promenade of the gay Creole-French, as St. Charles
Street is for the fashionable Americans.
You will wonder at this melange of French and
English in the nomenclature of streets. The truth is,
that New Orleans has a peculiarity somewhat rare.
It is composed of two distinct cities-a French and
an American one. I might even say three, for there
is a Spanish quarter with a character distinct from
either, and where you may see on the corner the
Spanish designation Calle,' as the Calle de Casacalvo,
Calle del Obispo, &c. This peculiarity is explained by
referring to the history of Louisiana. It was
colonised by the French in the early part of the
eighteenth century, New Orleans being founded in
1717. The French held Louisiana till 1762, when it
was ceded to Spain, and remained in her possession
for a period of nearly fifty years-till 1798, when
France once more became its master. Five years
after, in 1803, Napoleon sold this valuable country to
the American government for 15,000,000 of dollars-
the best bargain which Brother Jonathan has ever
made, and apparently a slack one on the part of
Napoleon. After all, Napoleon was right. The
313 00317.jpg
296 THE QUADROON.
sagacious Corsican, no doubt, foresaw that it could
not have long remained the property of France.
Sooner or later the American flag would wave over
the Crescent City, and Napoleon's easy bargain has
no doubt saved America a war, and France a humilia-
tion.
This change of masters will explain the peculiarity
of the population of New Orleans. The character-
istics of all three nations are visible in its streets, in
its houses, in the features, habits, and dress of its
citizens. In nothing are the national traces more
distinctly marked than in the different styles of archi-
tecture. In the American quarter you have tall
brick dwellings, .several stories in height, their shin-
ing fronts half occupied with rows of windows, com-
bining the light and ornamental with the substantial
and useful. This is typical of the Anglo-American.
Equally typical of the French character are the light
wooden one-story houses, painted in gay colours, with
green verandah palings; windows that open as doors,
and a profusion of gauzy curtains hanging behind
them.
Equally a type of the grand solemn character of
the Spaniard, are the massive sombre structures of
stone and lime, of the imposing Moorish style, that is
still seen in many of the streets of New Orleans. Of
these, the Great Cathedral is a fine specimen-that
will stand as a monument of Spanish occupancy, long
after both the Spanish and French population has
been absorbed and melted down in the alembic of the
Anglo-American propagandism. The American part
of New Orleans is that which is highest on the river-
known as the Faubourgs St. Mary and Annunciation.
Canal Street separates it from the French quarter-
314 00318.jpg
BROWN AND CO.
which last is the old city, chiefly inhabited by Creole
French and Spaniards.
A few years ago, the French and American popula-
tions were about equal. Now the Saxon element pre-
dominates, and rapidly absorbs all the others. In
time the indolent Creole must yield to the more ener-
getic American-in other words, New Orleans will be
Americanised. Progress and civilisation will gain by
this, at the expense-according to the sentimental
school-of the poetic and picturesque.
Two distinct cities, then, are there in New Orleans.
Each has its Exchange distinct from the other-a dis-
tinct municipal court and public offices-each has its
centre of fashionable resort-its favourite promenade
for the flaneurs, of which the South-western metro-
polis can boast a large crowd-its own theatres, ball-
rooms, hotels, and cafes. In fact, a walk of a few
paces transports one into quite a different world.
The crossing of Canal Street is like being transferred
from Broadway to the Boulevards.
In their occupations there is a wide difference be-
tween the inhabitants of the two quarters. The
Americans deal in the strong staples of human life.
The great depots of provisions, of cotton, of tobacco,
of lumber, and the various sorts of raw produce, will
be found among them. On the other hand, the finer
fabrics, the laces, the jewels, the modes and modistes,
the silks and satins, and all articles of bijouterie and
virtue, pass through the lighter fingers of the Creoles-
for these inherit both the skill and taste of their
Parisian progenitors. Pine old rich wine-merchants,
too, will be found in the French part, who have
made fortunes by importing the wines of Bordeaux
qnd Champagne-for claret and champagne are thp
U
315 00319.jpg
208 THE QUADROON.
wines that flow most freely on the banks of the
Mississippi.
A feeling of jealousy is not wanting between the
two races. The strong energetic Kentuckian affects
to despise the gay pleasure-loving Frenchman, while
the latter-particularly the old Creole noblesse-
regard with contempt the bizarrerie of the Northern,
so that feuds and collisions between them are not
unfrequent. New Orleans is, par excellence, the city
of the duello. In all matters of this kind the Ken-
tuckian finds the Creole quite his equal-his full
match in spirit, courage, and skill. I know many
Creoles who are notorious for the number of their
duels. An opera-singer or danseuse frequently causes
half a score or more-according to her merits, or
nayhap her demerits. The masqued and quadroon-
balls are also frequent scenes of quarrel among the
wine-heated bloods who frequent them. Let no one
fancy that life in New Orleans is without incident or
adventure. A less prosaic city it would be hard to
find.
These subjects did not come before my mind as I
walked towards the banking-house of Brown and
Co. My thoughts were occupied with a far different
theme-one that caused me to press on with an
agitated heart and hurried steps.
The walk was long enough to give me time for
many a hypothetic calculation. Should my letter and
the bill of exchange have arrived, I should be put in
possession of funds at once,-enough, as I supposed,
for my purpose-enough to buy my slave-bride!
If not yet arrived, how then ? Would Brown advance
the money ? My heart throbbed audibly as I asked
316 00320.jpg
BROWN AND CO.
myself this question. Its answer, affirmative or nega-
tive, would be to me like the pronouncement of a
sentence of life or death.
And yet I felt more than half certain that Brown
would do so. I could not fancy his smiling generous
John-Bull face clouded with the seriousness of a
refusal. Its great importance to me at that moment
-the certainty of its being repaid, and in a few days,
or hours at the farthest-surely he would not deny
me! What to him, a man of millions, could be the
inconvenience of advancing five hundred pounds?
Oh! he would do it to a certainty. No fear but he
would do it!
I crossed the threshold of the man of money, my
spirits buoyant with sweet anticipation. When I re-
crossed it my soul was saddened with bitter dis-
appointment. My letter had not yet arrived-Brown
refused the advance !
I was too inexperienced in business to comprehend
its sordid calculations-its cold courtesy. What
cared the banker for my pressing wants ? What to
him was my ardent appeal? Even had Itold him my
motives, my object, it would have been all the same.
That same cold denying smile would have been the
reply-ay, even had my life depended upon it.
I need not detail the interview. It was brief
enough. I was told, with a bland smile, that my
letter had not yet come to hand. To my proposal for
the advance the answer was blunt enough. The
kind generous smile blanked off Brown's ruddy face.
It was not business. It could not be done. There
was no sign thrown out-no invitation to talk farther.
I might have appealed in a more fervent strain. I
might have confessed the purpose for which I wanted
u2
317 00321.jpg
TIE QUADROON.
the money, but Brown's face gave me no encourage-
ment. Perhaps it was as well I did not. Brown
would have chuckled over my delicate secret. The
town, over its tea-table, would have relished it as a
rich joke.
Enough-my letter had not arrived-Brown refused
the advance. With Hope behind me and Despair in
front, I hurried back to the hotel.
CHAPTER LIII.
EUGBNE D'HAUTEVILLE.
THE remainder of the day I was occupied in searching
for Aurore. I could learn nothing of her-not even
whether she had yet reached the city!
In search of her I went to the quarters where the
others had their temporary lodgment. She was not
there. She had either not yet arrived, or was kept at
some other place. They had not seen her! They
knew nothing about her.
Disappointed and wearied with running through
the hot and dusty streets, I returned to the hotel.
I waited for night. I waited for the coming of
Eugene d'Hauteville, for such was the name of my
new acquaintance.
I was strangely interested in this young man. Our
short interview had inspired me with a singular con-
fidence in him. IIo had given proof of a friendly
design towards me ; and still more had impressed me
with a high idea of his knowledge of the world.
;i3UU
318 00322.jpg
EUIE E I 'IIAUTEVILLE. 301
Young as he was, I could not help fancying him a
being possessed of some mysterious power. I could
not help thinking that in some way lie might aid me.
There was nothing remarkable in his being so young
and still au-fait to all the mysteries of life. Precocity
is the privilege of the American, especially the native
of New Orleans. A Creole at fifteen is a man.
I felt satisfied that D'Hautevillc-about my own
age-knew far more of the world than I, who had
been half my life cloistered within the walls of an
antique university.
I had an instinct that lie both could and would serve
me.
How ? you may ask. By lending me the money I
required ?
It could not be thus. I believed that he was him-
self without funds, or possessed of but little-far too
little to be of use to me. My reason for thinking so was
the reply he had made when I asked for his address.
There was something in the tone of his answer that
led me to the thought that lie was without fortune-
even without a home. Perhaps a clerk out of place,
thought I; or a poor artist. His dress was rich
enough-but dress is no criterion on a Mississippi
steam-boat.
With these reflections it was strange I should have
been impressed with the idea he could serve me!
But I was so, and had therefore resolved to make
him the confidant of my secret-the secret of my love
-the secret of my misery.
Perhaps another impulse acted upon me, and aided
in bringing me to this determination. He whoso
heart has been charged with a deep grief must know
the relief which sympathy can afford. The sympathy
319 00323.jpg
3SU2 THE QUADROON.
of friendship is sweet and soothing. There is balm in
the counsel of a kind companion.
My sorrow had been long pent up within my own
bosom, and yearned to find expression. Stranger
among strangers, I had no one to share it with me.
Even to the good Reigart I had not confessed myself.
With the exception of Aurore herself, Eugenie-poor
Eug6nie-was alone mistress of my secret. Would
that she of all had never known it!
Now to this youth Eugene-strange coincidence of
name!-I was resolved to impart it-resolved to
unburden my heart. Perhaps, in .so doing I might
find consolation or relief.
I waited for the night. It was at night he had
promised to come. I waited with impatience-with
my eyes bent almost continuously on the index finger
of time, and chafing at the slow measured strokes of
the pendulum.
I was not disappointed. He came at length. His
silvery voice rang in my ears, and he stood before me.
As he entered my room, I was once more struck
with the melancholy expression of his countenance-
the pale cheek-the resemblance to some face I
had met before.
The room was close and hot. The summer had not
yet quite departed. I proposed a walk. We could
converse as freely in the open air, and there was a
lovely moon to light us on our way.
As we sallied forth, I offered my visitor a cigar.
This he declined, giving his reason. He did not
smoke.
Strange, thought I, for one of a race, who almost
universally indulge in the habit. Another peculiarity
in the character of my new acquaintance!
320 00324.jpg
EUGENE 1'IIAUTEVILLE. 303
We passed up the Rue Royale, and turned along
Canal Street in the direction of the Swamp.' Pre-
sently we crossed the Rue des Rampartes, and soon
found ourselves outside the limits of the city.
Some buildings appeared beyond, but they were not
houses-at least not dwelling-places for the living.
The numerous cupolas crowned with crosses-the
broken columns-the monuments of white marble,
gleaming under the moon, told us that we looked
upon a city of the dead. It was the great cemetery
of New Orleans-that cemetery where the poor after
death are drowned, and the rich fare no better, for
they are baked!
The gate stood open-the scene within invited me
-its solemn character was in unison with my spirit.
My companion made no objection, and we entered.
After wending our way among tombs, and statues,
and monuments; miniature temples, columns, obelisks,
sarcophagi carved in snow-white marble-passing
graves that spoke of recent affliction-others of older
date, but garnished with fresh flowers-the symbols
of love or affection that still lingered-wo seated
ourselves upon a moss-grown slab, with the fronds of
the Babylonian willow waving above our heads, and
drooping mournfully around us.
321 00325.jpg
( 304 )
CHAPTER LIV.
PITY FOR LOVE.
ALONG the way we had conversed upon several topics
indifferently-of my gambling adventure on the boat
-of the 'sportsmen' of New Orleans-of the fine
moonlight.
Until after entering the cemetery, and taking our
seats upon the tomb, I had disclosed nothing of that
which altogether engrossed my thoughts. The time
had now arrived for unbosoming myself, and half-an-
hour after Eugine D'Hauteville knew the story of my
love.
I confided to him all that had occurred from the
time of my leaving New Orleans, up to the period of
our meeting upon the Houma. My interview with
the banker Brown, and my fruitless search that day
for Aurore, were also detailed.
From first to last he listened without interrupting
me; only once, when I described the scene of my
confession to Eug6nie, and its painful ending. The
details of this seemed to interest him exceedingly-in
fact, to give him pain. More than once I was inter-
rupted by his sobs, and by the light of the moon I
could see that he was in tears!
'Noble youth!' thought I, thus to be affected by
the sufferings of a stranger !'
' Poor Eugdnie!' murmured he, 'is sie not to be
pitied?'
' Pitied! ah, Monsieur; you know not how much I
322 00326.jpg
THE QUADROON.
1~S I'`
K! \ !
Pity for Love.-p. 301.
323 00327.jpg
324 00328.jpg
PITY FOR LOVE.
pity her! That scene will never be effaced front my
memory. If pity-friendship-any sacrifice could
make amends, how willingly would I bestow it upon
her-all but that which is not in my power to give-
my love. Deeply, Monsieur D'Hauteville-deeply do I
grieve for that noble lady. Oh, that I could pluck the
sting from her heart which I have been the innocent
cause of placing there. But surely she will recover
from this unfortunate passion? Surely in time- '
' Ah! never! never!' interrupted D'Hauteville,
with an earnestness of manner that surprised me.
' Why say you so, Monsieur?'
' Why?-because I have some skill in such affairs;
young as you think me, I have experienced a similar
misfortune. Poor Eugdnie! Such a wound is hard to
heal; she will not recover from it. Ah-never !'
'Indeed, I pity her-with my whole soul I pity
her.'
' You should seek her and say so.'
'Why?' I asked, somewhat astonished at the
suggestion.
'Perhaps your pity expressed to her might give
consolation.'
'Impossible. It would have the contrary effect.'
' You misjudge, Monsieur. Unrequited love is far
less hard to bear when it meets with sympathy. It is
only haughty contempt and heartless triumph that
wring blood-drops from the heart. Sympathy is balm
to the wounds of love. Believe me it is so. 1 feel it
to be so. Oh! I feel it to be so!'
The last two phrases he spoke with an earnestness
that sounded strangely in my ears.
'Mysterious youth!' thought I. 'So gentle, so
compassionate, and yet so worldly-wise !'
325 00329.jpg
306 THE QUADROON.
I felt as though I conversed with some spiritual
being-some superior mind, who comprehended all.
His doctrine was new to me, and quite contrary to
the general belief. At a later period of my life I
became convinced of its truth.
'If I thought my sympathy would have such an
effect,' replied I, I should seek Eugdnie-I should
offer her- '
' There will be a time for that afterward,' said
D'Hauteville, interrupting me; 'your present business
is more pressing. You purpose to buy this quadroon ?'
'I did so this morning. Alas! I have no longer a
hope. It will not be in my power.'
' How much money have these sharpers left you?'
'Not much over one hundred dollars.'
'Ha! that will .not do. From your description of
her she will bring ten times the amount. A mis-
fortune, indeed! IMy own purse is still lighter than
yours. I have not a hundred dollars. Pardieu! it is
a sad affair.'
D'Hauteville pressed his head between his hands,
and remained for some moments silent, apparently in
deep meditation. From his manner I could not help
believing that he really sympathised with me, and
that he was thinking of some plan to assist me.
' After all,' he muttered to himself, just loud enough
for me to hear what was said, 'if she should not
succeed-if she should not find the papers-then
she, too, must be a sacrifice. Oh! it is a terrible
risk. It might be better not-it might be-- '
' Monsieur!' I said, interrupting him, 'of what are
you speaking?'
' Oh !-ah! pardon me: it is an affair Iwas thinking
of-n'importe. We had better return, Monsieur. It
326 00330.jpg
PITY FOR LOVE.
is cold. The atmosphere of this solemn place chills
me.'
He said all this with an air of embarrassment,
as though he had been speaking his thoughts un-
intentionally.
Though astonished at what he had uttered, I could
not press him for an explanation; but, yielding to his
wish, I rose up to depart. I had lost hope. Plainly
he had it not in his power to serve me.
At this moment a resource suggested itself to my
mind, or rather the forlorn hope of a resource.
I communicated it to my companion.
' I have still these two hundred dollars,' said I.
'They are of no more service to me for the purchase
of Aurore than if they were so many pebbles. Suppose
I try to increase the amount at the gaming-table ?'
' Oh, I fear it would be an idle attempt. You
would lose as before.'
' That is not so certain, Monsieur. The chances at
least are equal. I need not play with men of skill,
like those upon the boat. Here in New Orleans there
are gaming-houses, plenty of them, where games of
chance are carried on. These are of various kinds-as
faro, craps, loto, and roulette. I can choose some one
of these, where bets are made on the tossing of a die
or the turning of a card. It is just as likely I may
win as lose. What say you, Monsieur? Give me
your counsel.'
' You speak truly,' replied he. There is a chance
in the game. It offers a hope of your winning. If
you lose, you will be no worse off as regards your
intentions for to-morrow. If you win--'
' True, true-if I win- '
'You must not lose time, then. It is growing late.
327 00331.jpg
JU3 THE QUADROON.
These gaming-houses should be open at this hour: no
doubt they are now in the very tide of their business.
Let us find one.'
' You will go with me ? Thanks, M. D'Hauteville !
Thanks-allons !'
We hastily traversed the walk that led to the
entrance of the cemetery; and, issuing from the gate,
took our way back into the town.
We headed for our point of departure-the Iue
St. Louis; for I knew that in that neighbourhood lay
the principal gambling hells.
It was not difficult to find them. At that period
there was no concealment required in such matters.
The gambling passion among the Creoles, inherited
from the original possessors of the city, was too rife
among all classes to be put down by a police. The
municipal authorities in the American quarter had
taken some steps toward the suppression of this vice;
but their laws had no force on the French side of
Canal Street; and Creole police had far different ideas,
as well as different instructions. In the French
faubourgs gaming was not considered so hideous a
crime, and the houses appropriated to it were open
and avowed.
As you passed along Rue Conti, or St. Louis, or the
Rue Bourbon, you could not fail to notice several
large gilded lamps, upon which you might read faro '
and 'craps' 'loto' or 'roulette,'-odd words to the
eyes of the uninitiated, but well enough understood by
those whose business it was to traverse the streets of
the 'First Municipality.'
Our hurrying steps soon brought us in front of
one of these establishments, whose lamp told us in
plain letters that 'faro' was played inside.
328 00332.jpg
PITY FOR LOVE.
It was the first that offered; and, without hesi-
tating a moment, I entered, followed by 1y)lauteville.
We had to climb a wide stairway, at the top of
which we were received by a whiskered and mous-
tached fellow in waiting. I supposed that he was
about to demand some fee for admission. I was
mistaken in my conjecture. Admission was perfectly
free. The purpose of this individual in staying us
was to divest us of arms, for which he handed us a
ticket, that we might reclaim them in going out.
That he had disarmed a goodly number before our
turn came, was evident from the numerous butts of
pistols, hafts of bowie-knives, and handles of daggers,
that protruded from the pigeon-holes of a shelf-like
structure standing in one corner of the passage.
The whole proceeding reminded me of the scenes I
had often witnessed-the surrender of canes, um-
brellas, and parasols, on entering a picture-gallery or
a museum. No doubt it was a necessary precaution
--the non-observance of which would have led to
many a scene of blood over the gaming-table.
Wo yielded up our weapons-I a pair of pistols,
and my companion a small silver dagger. These
were ticketed, duplicates delivered to us, and we
were allowed to pass on into the 'saloon.'
329 00333.jpg
( 310 )
CHAPTER LV.
ON GAMES AND GAMBLING.
THE passion of gaming is universal amongst men.
Every nation indulges in it to a greater or less extent.
Every nation, civilised or savage, has its game, from
whist and cribbago at Almacks to 'chuck-a-luck'
and 'poke-stick' upon the prairies.
Moral England fancies herself clear of the stain.
Her gossiping traveller rarely fails to fling a stone
at the foreigner on this head. French, German,
Spaniard, and Mexican, are in turn accused of an
undue propensity for this vice. Cant-all cant!
There is more gambling in moral England than in any
country of my knowing. I do not speak of card-
playing about the purlieus of Piccadilly. Go to
Epsom races on a 'Derby day,' and there you may
form an idea of the scale upon which English gaming
is carried on-for gaming it is in the very lowest
sense of the word. Talk of 'noble sport,'-of an
admiration for that fine animal-the horse. Bah!
Noble, indeed! Fancy those seedy scamps, who in
thousands and tens of thousands flock upon every
race-course,-fancy them and their harlotic com-
panions possessed with the idea of anything fine or
noble! Of all who crowd there the horse alone is
noble-naught could be more ignoble than his en-
tourage.
No, moral England! You are no pattern for the
nations in this respect. You are not free from the
330 00334.jpg
ON GAMES AND GAMBLING.
stain, as you imagine yourself. You have a larger
population of gamblers,-horse-gamblers if you will,
than any other people; and, however noble be your
game, I make bold to affirm that your gamesters are
the seediest, snobbiest, and most revolting of the
tribe. There is something indescribably mean in the
life and habits of those hungry-looking vultures who
hang about the corners of Coventry Street and the
Haymarket, out at elbows, out at heels, sneaking
from tavern to betting-house, and from betting-house
to tavern. There is a meanness, a positive cowardice
in the very nature of their game,-their small
ventures and timid hedging' of bets. In comparison,
the bold ringer of dice has something almost noble in
him. Your apathetic Don, who stakes his gold onzas
on a single throw of the ivory-your Mexican mont&-
player, who risks his doubloons on each turn of the
cards,-are, to some extent, dignified by the very
boldness of their venture. With them gambling is a
passion-its excitement their lure; but Brown, and
Smith, and Jones, cannot even plead the passion.
Even that would exalt them.
Of all gamblers by profession the 'sportsman' of
the Mississippi Valley is perhaps the most picturesque.
I have already alluded to their elegant style of attire,
but, independent of that, there is a dash of the gen-
tleman-a certain chivalresqueness of character which
distinguishes them from all others of their calling.
During the wilder episodes of my life I have been
hoiouIrcd with the acquaintance of more than one of
these gentlemen, and I cannot help bearing a somewhat
high testimony in their favour. Several have I met of
excellent moral character,-though, perhaps, not
quite up to the standard of Exeter Hall. Some I
331 00335.jpg
I 1 TIHE QUADROON.
have known of noble and generous hearts-doers of
noble actions-who, though outcasts in society, were
not outcasts to their own natures; men who would
bravely resent the slightest insult that might be put
upon them. Of course there were others, as the
Chorlcys and Hatchers, who would scarce answer to
this description of Western sportsmen'-but I really
believe that such are rather the exception than the rule.
A word about the games of America.' The true
national game of the United States is the 'election.'
The local or state elections afford so many oppor-
tunities of betting, just as the minor horse-races do in
England; while the great quadrennial, the Presidential
election, is the Derby day' of America. The enor-
mous sums that change hands upon such occasions,
and the enormous number of them, would be in-
credible. A statistic of these bets, could such be
given, and their amount, would surprise even the
most 'enlightened citizen' of the States themselves.
Foreigners cannot understand the intense excitement
which is felt during an election time throughout the
United States. It would be difficult to explain it, in
a country where men generally know that the fate of
the particular candidate has, after all, but a slight
influence on their material interests. True, party
spirit and the great stake of all-the spoils' of office
-will account for some of the interest taken in the
result, but not for all. I am of opinion that the
'balance' of the excitement may be set down to the
credit of the gaming passion. Nearly every second
man you meet has a bet, or rather a 'book,' upon the
Presidential election!
Election, therefore, is the true national game, in-
dulged in by high, low, rich, and poor.
V _
332 00336.jpg
ON GAMPS AND GAMBLING.
To bet upon an election, however, is not considered
infra dig. It is not professional gambling.
The games for that purpose are of various kinds-
in most of which cards are relied upon to furnish the
chances. Dice and billiards are also in vogue-
billiards to a considerable extent. It is a very mean
village in the United States-particularly in the
South and West-that does not furnish one or more
public billiard-tables; and among Americans may be
found some of the most expert (crack) players in the
world. The Creoles' of Louisiana are distinguished
at this game.
' Ten pins' is also a very general game, and every
town has its ten-pin alley.' But billiards' and ten-
pins' are not true 'gambling games.' The first is
patronised rather as an elegant amusement, and the
latter as an excellent exercise. Cards and dice are
the real weapons of the 'sportsman,' but particularly
the former. Besides the English games of whist and
cribbage, and the French games of 'vingt-un,'
'rouge-et-noir,' &c., the American gambler plays
' poker,' euchre,' seven-up,' and a variety of others.
In New Orleans there is a favourite of the Creoles
called 'craps,' a dice game, and 'keno,' and 'loto,'
and 'roulette,' played with balls and a revolving
wheel. Farther to the South, among the Spano-
Mexicans, you meet the game of 'montd,'-a card
game, distinct from all the others. Montd is the
national game of Mexico.
To all other modes of getting at your money, the
South-Western sportsman prefers 'faro.' It is a
game of Spanish origin, as its name imports; indeed,
it differs but little from montd, and was no doubt
obtained from the Spaniards of New Orleans. Whether
x
333 00337.jpg
314 THE QUADROON.
native or exotic to the towns of the Mississippi
Valley, in all of them it has become perfectly
naturalised; and there is no sportsman of the West
who does not understand and practise it.
The game of faro is simple enough. The following
are its leading features:-
A green cloth or baize covers the table. Upon this
the thirteen cards of a suite are laid out in two rows,
with their faces turned up. They are usually attached
to the cloth by gum, to prevent them from getting out
of place.
A square box, like an overgrown snuff-box, is next
produced. It is of the exact size and shape to hold
two packs of cards. It is of solid silver. Any other
metal would serve as well; but a professed faro
dealer' would scorn to carry a mean implement of his
calling. The object of this box is to hold the cards to
be dealt, and to assist in dealing them. I cannot
explain the internal mechanism of this mysterious
box; but I can say that it is without a lid, open at
one edge-where the cards are pressed in-and con-
tains an interior spring, which, touched by the finger
of the dealer, pushes out the cards one by one as they
lie in the pack. This contrivance is not at all essen-
tial to the game, which may be played without the
box. Its object is to insure a fair deal, as no card
can be recognized by any mark on its back, since up
to the moment of drawing they are all invisible
within the box. A stylish faro box' is the ambition
of every 'faro dealer' the specific title of all 'sports-
men' whose game is faro.
Two packs of cards, well shuffled, are first put into
the box; and the dealer, resting the left hand upon it,
and holding the right in readiness, with the thumb
334 00338.jpg
ON GAMES AND GAMBLING.
extended, pauses a moment until some bets are made.
The dealer' is in reality your antagonist in the
game; he is the 'banker' who pays all your gains,
and pockets all your losses. As many may bet as can
sit or stand around the table; but all are betting
against the dealer himself. Of course, in this case,
the faro dealer must be something of a proprietor
to play the game at all; and the 'faro bank' has
usually a capital of several thousands of dollars-
often hundreds of thousands to back it! Not unfre-
quently, after an unlucky run, the bank gets 'broke ;'
and the proprietor of it may be years before he can
establish another. An assistant or croupier' usually
sits beside the dealer. His business is to exchange
the cheques' for money, to pay the bets lost, and
gather in those which the bank has won.
The cheques used in the game are pieces of ivory of
circular form, of the diameter of dollars: they are
white, red, or blue, with the value engraved upon
them, and they are used as being more convenient
than the money itself. When any one wishes to
leave off playing, lie can demand from the bank to
the amount specified on the cheques he may then
hold.
The simplest method of betting against faro' is by
placing the money on the face of any particular one
of the cards that lie on the table. You may choose
which you will of the thirteen. Say you have selected
the ace, and placed your money upon the face of that
card. The dealer then commences, and draws' the
cards out of the box one by one. After drawing each
two he makes a pause. Until two aces follow each
other, with no other card between, there is no
decision. When two aces come together the bet is
x2
335 00339.jpg
THE QUADROON.
declared. If both appear in the drawing of the two
cards, then the dealer takes your money; if only one
is pulled out, and the other follows in the next
drawing, you have won. You may then renew your
bet upon the ace-double it if you will, or remove it
to any other card-and these changes you may make
at any period of the deal-provided it is not done
after the first of the two cards has been drawn.
Of course the game goes on, whether you play or
not. The table is surrounded by betters; some on
one card, some on another; some by 'paralec,' on
two or more cards at a time; so that there is a
constant falling due' of bets, a constant rattling of
cheques and chinking of dollars.
It is all a game of chance. Skill' has naught to
do with the game of faro ; and you might suppose, as
many do, that the chances are exactly equal for the
dealer and his opponents. Such, however, is not the
case; a peculiar arrangement of the cards produces a
percentage in favour of the former, else there would
be no faro bank; and although a rare run of ill
fortune may go against the dealer for a time, if he can
only hold out long enough, he is 'bound to beat you'
in the end.
A similar percentage will be against you in all
games of chance-' faro,' montd,' or craps,' wherever
you bet against a 'banker.' Of course the banker will
not deny this, but answers you, that that small per-
centage is to pay for the game.' It usually does, and
well.
Such is faro-the game at which I had resolved to
empty my purse, or win the price of my betrothed.
336 00340.jpg
( 317 )
CHAPTER LVI.
THE FARO BANK.
WE entered the saloon. The game voila!
At one end was the table-the bank. We could see
neither bank nor dealer; both were hidden by the
double ring of betters, who encircled the table-one
line seated, the other standing behind. There were
women, too, mingled in the crowd-seated and stand-
ing in every attitude -gay and beautiful women,
decked out in the finery of fashion, but with a certain
Ibraverie of manner that betokened their unfortunate
character.
D'Hauteville had guessed aright-the game was at
its height. The look and attitudes of the betters-
their arms constantly in motion, placing their stakes-
the incessant rattling of the ivory cheques, and the
clinking together of dollars-all told that the game
was progressing briskly.
A grand chandelier, suspended above the table,
cast its brilliant light over the play and the players.
Near the middle of the saloon stood a large table,
amply furnished with 'refreshments.' Cold fowls,
ham and tongue, chicken salad, and lobsters, cut-
glass decanters filled with wine, brandy, and other
liquors, garnished this table. Some of the plates and
glasses bore the traces of having been already used,
whilo others were clean and ready for an.y one who
chose to play knife and fork a while. It was, in fact,
a free lunch,' or rather supper-free to any guest
337 00341.jpg
318 THE QUADROON.
who chose to partake of it. Such is the custom of an
American gambling-house.
The rich viands did not tempt either my companion
or myself. We passed the table without halting, and
walked directly up to the 'bank.'
We reached the outer circle, and looked over the
shoulders of the players. Shade of Fortuna! Chorley
and Hatcher!'
Yes-there sat the two sharpers, side by side,
behind the faro table-not as mere betters, but acting
respectively as banker and croupier of the game I
Chorley held the dealing-box in his fingers, while
Hatcher sat upon his right, with cheques, dollars,
and bank-notes piled upon the table in front of him !
A glance around the ring of faces showed us the
pork-merchant as well. There sat he in his loose
jeans coat and broad white hat, talking farmer-like,
betting bravely, and altogether a stranger to both
banker and croupier !
My companion and I regarded each other with a
look of surprise.
After all, there was nothing to surprise us: A faro
bank needs no charter, no further preliminaries to its
establishment than to light up a table, spread a green
baize over it, and commence operations. The sports-
men were no doubt quite at home here. Their
up-river excursion was only by way of a little variety
-an interlude incidental to the summer., The
' season' of New Orleans was now commencing, and
they had just returned in time for it. Therefore
there was nothing to be surprised at, in our finding
them where we did.
At first seeing them, however, I felt astonishment,
and my companion seemed to share it. I turned
338 00342.jpg
THE FARO DANK. 319
towards him, and was about proposing that we should
leave the room again, when the wandering eye of the
pseudo pork-merchant fell upon me.
' Hilloa, stranger!' he cried out, with an air of
astonishment, 'you hyar ?'
'I believe so,' I replied unconcernedly.
' Wal! wal! I tho't you war lost. Whar did you
go, anyhow?' he inquired in a tone of vulgar
familiarity, and loud enough to turn the attention of
all present upon myself and my companion.
' Ay-whar did I go?' I responded, keeping my
temper, and concealing the annoyance I really felt at
the fellow's impudence.
' Yes-that's jest what I wanted to know.'
' Are you very anxious?' I asked.
' Oh, no-not particklerly so.'
' I am glad of that,' I responded, as I don't intend
telling you.'
With all his swagger I could see that his crest fell
a little at the general burst of laughter that my some-
what bizarre remark had called forth.
'Come, stranger,' he said, in a half-deprecatory,
half-spiteful tone, 'you needn't a be so short-horned
about it, I guess; I didn't mean no offence-but you
know you left us so suddintly-never mind-'taint
no business o' mine. You're going to take a hand at
faro, ain't you?
'Perhaps.'
' Wal, then, it appears a nice game. I'm jest trying
it for the first time myself. It's all chance, I believe
-jest like odds and evens. I'm a winning' anyhow.'
He turned his face to the bank, and appeared to
busy himself in arranging his bets.
A fresh deal had commenced, and the players,
339 00343.jpg
THE QUADROON.
drawn off for a moment by our conversation, became
once more engaged in what was of greater interest to
them-the little money-heaps upon the cards.
Of course, both Chorley and Hatcher recognized
me; but they had restricted their recognition to a
friendly nod, and a glance that plainly said-
' He's here! all right! he'll not go till he has tried
to get back his hundred dollars-he'll have a shy at
the bank-no fear but he will.'
If such were their thoughts they were not far
astray. My own reflections were as follows:-
' I may as well risk my money here as elsewhere.
A faro bank is a faro bank all the same. There is no
opportunity for cheating, where cards are thus dealt.
The arrangement of the bets precludes every possi-
bility of such a thing. Where one player loses to the
bank, another may win from it by the very same turn,
and this of course checks the dealer from drawing the
cards falsely, even if it were possible for him to do so.
So I may as well play against Messrs. Chorley and
Hatcher's bank as any other-better, indeed; for if I
am to win I shall have the satisfaction of the revanche,
which these gentlemen owe me. I shall play hero
then. Do you advise me, Monsieur?'
Part of the above reflections, and the interrogatory
that wound them up, were addressed in a whisper to
the young Creole.
He acknowledged their justice. He advised me to
remain. He was of the opinion I might as well tempt
fortune there as go farther.
Enough-I took out a five-dollar gold-piece, and
placed it upon the ace.
No notice was taken of this-neither banker nor
croupier even turning their eyes in the direction of
340 00344.jpg
Til11 FARO BANLK.
the bet. Such a sum as five dollars would not
decompose the well-practised nerves of these gentle-
men-where sums of ten, twenty, or even fifty times
the amount, were constantly passing to and from
their cash-box.
The deal proceeded, Chorley drawing the cards
with that air of imperturbable sang-froid so character-
istic of his class.
' Ace wins,' cried a voice, as two aces came forth
together.
' Pay you in cheques, sir?' asked the croupier.
I assented, and a flat round piece of ivory, of a red
colour, with the figure 5 in its centre, was placed
upon my half-eagle. I permitted both to remain
upon the ace. The deal went on, and after a while
two aces came out together, and two more of the red
cheques were mine.
I suffered all four pieces, now worth twenty dollars,
to lie. I had not come there to amuse myself. My
purpose was very different; and, impelled by that
purpose, I was resolved not to waste time. If Fortune
was to prove favourable to me, her favors were as
likely to be mine soon as late; and when I thought of
the real stake for which I was playing, I could not
endure the suspense. No more was I satisfied at
contact with the coarse and bawd company that
surrounded the table.
The deal went on-and after some time aces again
came out. This time I lost.
Without a word passing from his lips, the croupier
drew in the cheques and gold-piece, depositing them
in his japanned cash-box.
I took out my purse, and tried ten dollars upon the
queen. I won. I doubled the bet, and lost again.
341 00345.jpg
322 THE QUADROON.
Another ten dollars won-another lost-another and
another, and so on, now winning, now losing, now
betting with cheques, now with gold-pieces-until at
length I felt to the bottom of my purse without
encountering a coin!
CHAPTER LYII.
THE WATCH AND RING.
I ROSE from my seat, and turned towards D'Hauteville
with a glance of despair. I needed not to tell him
the result. My look would have announced it, but
he had been gazing over my shoulder and knew all.
'Shall we go, Monsieur?' I asked.
'Not yet-stay a moment,' replied he, placing his
hand upon my arm.
' And why?' I asked ; 'I have not a dollar. I have
lost all. I might have known it would be so. Why
stay here, sir?'
I spoke somewhat brusquely. I confess I was at
the moment in anything but an amiable mood. In
addition to my prospects for the morrow, a suspicion
had flashed across my mind that my new friend was
not loyal. His knowledge of these men-his having
counselled me to play there-the accident, to say the
least, a strange one, of our again meeting with the
' sportsmen' of the boat, and under such a new phase
-the great celerity with which my purse had been
' cleared out '-all these circumstances passing rapidly
through my mind, led me naturally enough to suspect
342 00346.jpg
THE WATCH AND RING.
D'Hauteville of treason. I ran rapidly over our late
conversation. I tried to remember whether he had
said or done anything to guide me into this particular
hell. Certainly he had not proposed my playing, but
rather opposed it; and I could not remember that by
word or act he had endeavoured to introduce me to
the game. Moreover, he seemed as much astonished
as myself at seeing these gentlemen behind the
table.
What of all that ? The surprise might have been
well feigned. Possibly enough; and after my late
experience of the pork-merchant, probably enough,
Monsieur D'Hauteville was also a partner in the firm
of Chorley, Hatcher, and Co. I wheeled round with
an angry expression on my lips, when the current of
my thoughts was suddenly checked, and turned into
a new channel. The young Creole stood looking up
in my face-he was not so tall as I-gazing upon me
out of his beautiful eyes, and waiting until my
moment of abstraction should pass. Something glit-
tered in his outstretched hand. It was a purse. I
could see the yellow coins shining through the silken
network. It was a purse of gold!
STake it !' he said, in his soft silvery voice.
My heart fell abashed within me. I could scarce
stammer forth a reply. Had he but known my latest
thoughts, he might have been able to read the flush of
shame that so suddenly mantled my cheeks.
' No, Monsieur,' I replied; 'this is too generous of
you. I cannot accept it.'
' Come-come! Why not? Take it, I pray-try
Fortune again. She has frowned on you of late, but
remember she is a fickle goddess, and may yet smile
on you. Take the purse, man 1'
343 00347.jpg
324: Ti;' QUADROON.
' Indeed, Monsicur, I cannot after what I--pardon
me-if you know- '
' Then must I play for you-remember the purpose
that brought us here! Remember Aurore!'
' Oh!'
This ejaculation, wrung from my heart, was the
only answer I could make, before the young Creole
had turned to the faro-table, and was placing his gold
upon the cards.
I stood watching him with feelings of astonish-
ment and admiration, mingled with anxiety for the
result.
What small white hands! What a brilliant jewel,
sparkling on his finger-a diamond! It has caught
the eyes of the players, who gloat upon it as it passes
back and forward to the cards. Chorlcy and Hatcher
have both noticed it. I saw them exchange their
peculiar glance as they did so. Both are polite to
him. By the large bets he is laying he has won their
esteem. Their attention in calling out the card when
he wins, and in handing him his cheques, is marked
and assiduous. He is the favoured better of the ring;
and oh! how the eyes of those fair lemans gleam
upon him with their wild and wicked meaning! Not
one of them that would not love him for that spark-
ling gem!
I stood on one side watching with great anxiety-
greater than if the stake had been my own. But it
was my own. It was for me. The generous youth was
playing away his gold for me.
My suspense was not likely to be of long duration.
He was losing rapidly-recklessly losing. He had
taken my place at the table, and along with it my
ill-luck. Almost every bet he made was raked' into
344 00348.jpg
THE WATCH AND RING. 325
the bank, until his last coin lay upon the cards.
Another turn, and that, too, chinked as it fell into the
cash-box of the croupier!
' Come now, D'Hauteville! Come away!' I whis-
pered, leaning over, and laying hold of his arm.
' How much against this ?' he asked the banker,
without heeding me-' how much, sir?'
As he put the question, he raised the gold guard
over his head, at the samo time drawing forth his
watch.
I suspected this was his intention when I first
spoke. I repeated my request in a tone of entreaty-
all in vain. He pressed Chorley for a reply.
The latter was not the man to waste words at such
a crisis.
' A hundred dollars,' said he, for the watch-fifty
more upon the chain.'
' Beautiful!' exclaimed one of the players.
' They're worth more,' muttered another.
Even in the blazd hearts around that table there
were human feelings. There is always a touch of
sympathy for him who loses boldly; and an expression
of this in favour of the Creole youth could be heard,
from time to time, as his money parted from him.
' Yes, that watch and chain are worth more,' said a
tall dark-whiskered man, who sat near the end of the
table. This remark was made in a firm confident
tone of voice, that seemed to command Chorley's
attention.
' I'll look at it again, if you please?' said he,
stretching across the table to D'Hauteville, who still
held the watch in his hand.
The latter surrendered it once moro to the gambler,
who opened the case, and commenced inspecting the
345 00349.jpg
326 THE QUADROON.
interior. It was an elegant watch, and chain also--of
the fashion usually worn by ladies. They were worth
more than Chorley had offered, though that did not
appear to be the opinion of the pork-merchant.
' It's a good pile o' money, is a hundred an' fifty
dollars,' drawled he; 'a good biggish pile, I reckon.
I don't know much about such fixins myself, but
it's full valley for that ar watch an' chain, I shed
say.'
'Nonsense!' cried several: 'two hundred dollars-
it's worth it all. See the jewels!'
Chorley cut short the discussion.
' Well,' said he, 'I don't think it worth more than
what I've bid, sir. But since you wish to get back
what you've already lost, I don't mind staking two
hundred against watch and chain together. Does that
satisfy you ?'
'Play on!' was the only answer made by the im-
patient Creole, as he took back his watch, and laid it
down upon one of the cards.
It was a cheap watch to Chorley. It cost him but
the drawing out of half-a-dozen cards, and it became
his!
' How much against this ?'
D'Hauteville drew off his ring, and held it before
the dazzled eyes of the dealer.
At this crisis I once more interfered, but my remon-
strance was unheeded. It was of no use trying to
stay the fiery spirit of the Creole.
The ring was a diamond, or rather a collection of
diamonds in a gold setting. It, like the watch, was
also of the fashion worn by ladies; and I could hear
some characteristic remarks muttered around the
table, such as, 'That young blood's got a rich girl
346 00350.jpg
TIE WATCH AND lING.
somewhere,' 'There's more where they come from,'
and the like!
The ring was evidently one of much value, as
Chorley, after an examination of it, proposed to stake
four hundred dollars. The tall man in dark whiskers
again interfered, and put it at five hundred. The
circle backed him, and the dealer at length agreed to
give that sum.
' Will you take cheques, sir ?' he inquired, address-
ing D'Hauteville, or do you mean to stake it at one
bet?'
'At one bet,' was the answer.
'No, no !' cried several voices, inclined to favour
D'Hautevillo.
' At one bet,' repeated he, in a determined tone.
'Place it upon the ace !'
' As you wish, sir,' responded Chorley, with perfect
sang-froid, at the same time handing back the ring to
its owner.
D'Iauteville took the jewel in his slender white
fingers, and laid it on the centre of the card. It was
the only bet made. The other players had become so
interested in the result, that they withheld their
stakes in order to watch it.
Chorley commenced drawing the cards. Each one
as it came forth caused a momentary thrill of expec-
tancy; and when aces, deuces, or tr6s with their
broad white margins appeared outside the edge of
that mysterious box, the excitement became intense.
It was a long time before two aces came together.
It seemed as if the very importance of the stakes
called for more than the usual time to decide the bet.
It was decided at length. The ring followed the
watch.
347 00351.jpg
3268 THE QUADROON.
I caught D'Hauteville by the arm, and drew him
away from the table. This time he followed me un-
resistingly-as he had nothing more to lay.
' What matters it?' said he, with a gay air as we
passed together out of the saloon. 'Ah! yes-' he
continued, changing his tone, ah, yes, it does matter!
It matters to you, and Arore !'
CIIHATER LVIII.
MY FORLORN HOPE.
IT was pleasant escaping from that hot hell into the
cool night air-into the soft light of a Southern
moon. It would have been pleasant under other cir-
cumstances; but then the sweetest clime and loveliest
scene would have made no impression upon me.
My companion seemed to share my bitterness of
soul. His words of consolation were not without
their influence ; I knew they were the expressions of
a real sympathy. His acts had already proved it.
It was, indeed, a lovely night. The white moon
rode buoyantly through fleecy clouds, that thinly
dappled the azure sky of Louisiana, and a soft breeze
played through the now silent streets. A lovely
night-too sweet and balmy. My spirit would have
preferred a storm. Oh! for black clouds, red light-
ning, and thunder rolling and crashing through the
sky. Oh! for the whistling wind, and the quick
pattering of the rain-drops. Oh! for a hurricane
without, consonant to the storm that was raging
within me!
348 00352.jpg
MY FORLORN HOPE.
It was but a few steps to the hotel; but we did not
stop there. We could think better in the open air,
and converse as well. Sleep had no charms for me,
and my companion seemed to share my impulses; so
passing once more from among the houses, we kept
on towards the Swamp, caring not whither we
went.
We walked side by side for some time without
exchanging speech. Our thoughts were running
upon the same theme,-the business of to-morrow.
To-morrow no longer, for the tolling of the great
cathedral clock had just announced the hour of
midnight. In twelve hours more the vente de l'enfan
would commence-in twelve hours more they would
be bidding for my betrothed!
Our steps were towards the 'Shell Road,' and soon
our feet crunched upon the fragments of unios and
bivalves that strewed the path. Here was a scene
more in unison with our thoughts. Above and around
waved the dark solemn cypress-trees, fit emblems of
grief-rendered doubly lugubrious in their expression
by the hoary tillandsia, that draped them like a couch
of the dead. The sounds, too, that here saluted our
ears had a soothing effect; the melancholy 'coo-
whoo-a' of the swamp-owl-the creaking chirp of the
tree-crickets and cicadas-the solemn 'tong-tong' of
the bell-frog-the hoarse trumpet note of the greater
batrachian-and high overhead the wild treble of the
bull-bat, all mingled together in a concert, that,
however disagreeable under other circumstances, now
fell upon my ears like music, and even imparted a
kind of sad pleasure to my soul.
And yet it was not my darkest hour. A darker
was yet in store for me. Despite the very hopelessness
Y
349 00353.jpg
THE QUADROON.
of the prospect, I still clung to hope A vague feeling
it was; but it sustained me against despair. The
trunk of a taxodium lay prostrate by the side of our
path. Upon this we sat down.
We had exchanged scarce a dozen words since
emerging from the hell. I was busy with thoughts
of the morrow : my young companion, whom I now
regarded in the light of an old and tried friend, was
thinking of the same.
What generosity towards a stranger! what self-
sacrifice Ah! little did I then know of the vast extent
-the noble grandeur of that sacrifice !
'There now remains but one chance,' I said; 'the
chance that to-morrow's mail, or rather to-day's, may
bring my letter. It might still arrive in time; the
mail is due by ten o'clock in the morning.'
'True,' replied my companion, seemingly too busy
with his own thoughts to give much heed to what I
had said.
'If not,' I continued, then there is only the hope
that he who shall become the purchaser, may after-
wards sell her to me. I care not at what price, if
I -
' Ah!' interrupted D'Hauteville, suddenly waking
from his reverie; 'it is just that which troubles me-
that is exactly what I have been thinking upon.
I fear, Monsieur, I fear-'
' Speak on !'
'I fear there is no hope that he who buys her will
be willing to sell her again.'
'And why ? Will not a large sum- ?'
'No-no-I fear that he who buys will not give her
up again, at any price.'
'Ha Why do you think so, M. D'Hautevillo.'
350 00354.jpg
MY FORLORN HOPE.
'I have my suspicion that a certain individual
designs- '
'Who ?'
' M. Dominique Gayarre.'
'Oh! heavens! Gayarre! Gayarre!'
'Yes; from what you have told me-from what I
know myself-for I, too, have some knowledge of
Dominique Gayarre.'
' Gayarre Gayarre Oh, God I'
I could only ejaculate. The announcement had
almost deprived me of the power of speech. A sen-
sation of numbness seemed to creep over me-a pros-
tration of spirit, as if some horrid danger was im-
pending and nigh, and I without the power to avert
it.
Strange this thought had not occurred to me before.
I had supposed that the quadroon would be sold to
some buyer in the ordinary course; some one who
would be disposed to resell at a profit-perhaps an
enormous one; but in time I should be prepared for
that. Strange I had never thought of Gayarre be-
coming the purchaser. But, indeed, since the hour
when I first heard of the bankruptcy, my thoughts
had been running too wildly to permit me to reflect
calmly upon anything.
Now it was clear. It was no longer a conjecture;
most certainly, Gayarre would become the master of
Aurore. Ere another night her body would be his
property. Her soul- Oh, God! Am I awake ?-
do I dream?
'I had a suspicion of this before,' continued
D'Hauteville; 'for I may tell you I know something
of this family history-of Eugdnie BesanCon-of
.urore-of 'Gayarre the avocat. I had a suspicion
Y2
351 00355.jpg
332 THE QUADROON.
before that Gayarre might desire to be the owner of
Aurore. But now that you have told me of the scene
in the dining-room, I no longer doubt this villain's
design. Oh! it is infamous.
' Still further proof of it,' continued D'Hauteville.
SThere was a man on the boat-you did not notice
him, perhaps-an agent for Gayarre in such matters.
A negro-trader-a fit tool for such a purpose. No
doubt his object in coming down to the city is to be
present at the sale-to bid for the poor girl.'
' But why,' I asked, catching at a straw of hope,-
'why, since he wishes to possess Aurore, could he
not have effected it by private contract ?-why send
her to the slave-market to public auction ?'
' The law requires it. The slaves of an estate in
bankruptcy must be sold publicly to the highest
bidder. Besides, Monsieur, bad as may be this man,
he dare not for the sake of his character act as you
have suggested. He is a thorough hypocrite, and,
with all his wickedness, wishes to stand well before
the world. There are many who believe Gayarre
a good man! He dare not act openlyin this villanous
design, and will not appear in it. To save scandal,
the negro-trader will be supposed to purchase for
himself. It is infamous I'
'Beyond conception! Oh! what is to be done to
save her from this fearful man ? to save me-'
"It is of that I am thinking, and have been for the
last hour. Be of good cheer, Monsieur! all hope is
not lost. There is still one chance of saving Aurore.
There is one hope left. Alas! I have known the
time,-I, too, have been unfortunate-sadly-sadly-
unfortunate. No matter now. We shall not talk
of my sorrows till yours have been relieved. Perhaps,
352 00356.jpg
TIE ROTUNDO.
at some future time you may know me, and my griefs
--no more of that now. There is still one chance for
Aurore, and she and you-both-may yet be happy.
It must be so; I am resolved upon it. 'Twill be a
wild act; but it is a wild story. Enough-I have no
time to spare-I must be gone. Now to your hotel!
-go and rest. To-morrow at twelve I shall be with
you-at twelve in the Rotundo. Good night! Adieu.'
Without allowing me time to ask for an explanation,
or make any reply, the Creole parted from me; and,
plunging into a narrow street, soon passed out of
sight!
Pondering over his incoherent words over his
unintelligible promise-upon his strange looks and
manner,-I walked slowly to my hotel.
Without undressing I flung myself on my bed, with-
out a thought of going to sleep.
CHAPTER LIX.
THE ROTUNDO.
THE thousand and one reflections of a sleepless night
-the thousand and one alternations of hope, and
doubt, and fear-the theoretic tentation of a hundred
projects-all passed before my waking spirit. Yet
when morning came, and the yellow sunlight fell
painfully on my eyes, I had advanced no farther in
any plan of proceeding. All my hopes centered upon
353 00357.jpg
334 THE QUADROON.
D'Hauteville-for I no longer dwelt upon the chances
of the mail.
To be assured upon this head, however, as soon as
it had arrived, I once more sought the banking-house of
Brown and Co. The negative answer to my inquiry
was no longer a disappointment. I had anticipated
it. When did money ever arrive in time for a crisis ?
Slowly roll the golden circles-slowly are they passed
from hand to hand, and reluctantly parted with. This
supply was due by the ordinary course of the mail;
yet those friends at home, into whose executive hands
I had intrusted my affairs, had made some cause of
delay.
Never trust your business affairs to a friend. Never
trust to a day for receiving a letter of credit, if to a
friend belongs the duty of sending it. So swore I, as I
parted from the banking-house of Brown and Co.
It was twelve o'clock when I returned to the Rue
St. Louis. I did not re-enter the hotel-I walked
direct to the Rotundo.
My pen fails to paint the dark emotions of my soul,
as I stepped under the shadow of that spacious dome.
I remember no feeling akin to what I experienced at
that moment.
I have stood under the vaulted roof of the grand
cathedral, and felt the solemnity of religious awe-I
have passed through the gilded saloons of a regal
palace, that inspired me with pity and contempt-
pity for the slaves who had sweated for that gilding,
and contempt for the sycophants who surrounded me
-I have inspected the sombre cells of a prison with
feelings of pain-but I remembered no scene that had
so painfully impressed me as that which now presented
itself before my eyes.
354 00358.jpg
THE ROTUNDO. 335
Not sacred was that spot. On the contrary, I stood
upon desecrated ground-desecrated by acts of the
deepest infamy. This was the famed slave market of
New Orleans-the place where human bodies-I might
almost say human souls-were bought and sold !
Many a forced and painful parting had these walls
witnessed. Oft had the husband been here severed
from his wife-the mother from her child. Oft had
the bitter tear bedewed that marble pavement-oft
had that vaulted dome echoed back the sigh-nay
more-the cry of the anguished heart!
I repeat it-my soul was filled with dark emotions
as I entered within the precincts of that spacious
hall. And no wonder-with such thoughts in my
heart, and such a scene before my eyes, as I then
looked upon.
You will expect a description of that scene. I
must disappoint you. I cannot give one. Had I been
there as an ordinary spectator-a reporter cool and
unmoved by what was passing-I might have noted
the details, and set them before you. But the case
was far otherwise. One thought alone was in my
mind-my eyes sought for one sole object-and that
prevented me from observing the varied features of
the spectacle.
A few things I do remember. I remember that the
Rotundo, as its name imports, was a circular hall, of
large extent, with a flagged floor, an arched ceiling,
and white walls. These were without windows, for
the hall was lighted from above. On one side, near
the wall, stood a desk or rostrum upon an elevated
dais, and by the side of this a large block of cut stone
of the form of a parallelopipedon. The use of these
two objects I divined.
355 00359.jpg
336 THE QUADROON.
A stono kerb," or banquette, ran around one
portion of the wall. The purpose of this was equally
apparent.
The hall when I entered was half filled with people.
They appeared to be of all ages and sorts. They
stood conversing in groups, just as men do when
assembled for any business, ceremony, or amusement,
and waiting for the affair to begin. It was plain, how-
ever, from the demeanour of these people, that what
they waited for did not impress them with any feelings
of solemnity. On the contrary a merry-meeting might
have been anticipated, judging from the rough jests
and coarse peals of laughter that from time to time
rang through the hall.
There was one group, however, which gave out no
such signs or sounds. Seated along the stono ban-
quette, and standing beside it, squatted down upon
the floor, or leaning against the wall in any and every
attitude, were the individuals of this group. Their
black and brown skins, the woolly covering of their
skulls, their rough red' brogans,' their coarse garments
of cheap cottonade, of jeans, of nigger cloth' died
cinnamon colour by the juice of the catalpa-tree,-
these characteristics marked them as distinct from all
the other groups in the hall-a distinct race of beings.
But even without the distinctions of dress or
complexion-even without the thick lips or high cheek-
bones and woolly hair, it was easy to tell that those
who sat upon the banquette were under different
circumstances from these who strutted over the floor.
While these talked loudly and laughed gaily, those
were silent and sad. These moved about with the air
of the conqueror-those were motionless with the
passive look and downcast mien of the captive. These
356 00360.jpg
THi IOTUNDO.
were masters-those were slaves! They were the
slaves of the plantation Besangon,
All were silent, or spoke only in whispers. Most of
them seemed ill at ease. Mothers sat holding their
piccaninniess' in their sable embrace, murmuring
expressions of endearment, or endeavouring to hush
them to rest. Here and there big tears rolled over
their swarthy cheeks, as the maternal heart rose and
fell with swelling emotions. Fathers looked on with
drier eyes, but with the stern helpless gaze of despair,
which bespoke the consciousness, that they had no
power to avert their fate-no power to undo whatever
might be decreed by the pitiless wretches around
them.
Not all of them wore this expression. Several of
the younger slaves, both boys and girls, were gaily
dressed in stuffs of brilliant colours, with flounces,
frills, and ribbons. Most of these appeared indifferent
to their future. Some even seemed happy-laughing
and chatting gaily to each other, or occasionally
changing a light word with one of the white folks.'
A change of masters could not be such a terrible idea,
after the usage they had lately had. Some of them
rather anticipated such an event with hopeful pleasure.
Those were the dandy young men, and the yellow
belles of the plantation. They wou!d, perhaps, be
allowed to remain in that great city, of which they
had so often heard-perhaps a brighter future was
before them. Dark must it be to be darker than their
proximate past.
I glanced over the different groups, but my eyes
rested not long upon them. A glance was enough to
satisfy me that she was not there. There was no
danger of mistaking any one of those forms or faces
357 00361.jpg
338 THE QUADROON.
for that of Aurore. She was not there, Thank
Heaven! I was spared the humiliation of seeing her
in such a crowd! She was, no doubt, near at hand
and would be brought in when her turn came.
I could ill brook the thought of seeing her exposed
to the rude and insulting glances-perhaps insulting
speeches-of which she might be the object. And
yet that ordeal was in store for me.
I did not discover myself to the slaves. I knew
their impulsive natures, and that a scene would be
the result. I should be the recipient of their salu-
tations and entreaties, uttered loud enough to draw
the attention of all upon me.
To avoid this, I took my station behind one of the
groups of white men that screened me from their
notice, and kept my eyes fixed upon the entrance,
watching for D'Hauteville. In him now lay my last
and only hope.
I could not help noting the individuals who passed
out and in. Of course they were all of my own sex,
but of every variety. There was the regular 'negro-
trader,' a -tall lathy fellow, with harsh horse-dealer
features, careless dress, loose coat, slouching broad-
brimmed hat, coarse boots, and painted quirt of raw
hide,-the cowskin,'-fit emblem of his calling.
In strong contrast to him was the elegantly-attired
Creole, in coat of claret or blue, full-dress, with gold
buttons, plated pantaloons, gaiter booteess,' laced
shirt, and diamond studs.
An older variety of the same might be seen in
trousers of buff, nankeen jacket of the same material,
and hat of Manilla or Panama set over his short-
cropped snow-white hair.
The American merchant from Poydras or Tchou-
358 00362.jpg
THE ROTUNDO.
pitoulas Street, from Camp, New Levee, or St.
Charles, in dress-coat of black cloth, vest of black
satin shining like glaze--trousers of like material
with the coat-boots of calf-skin, and gloveless hands.
The dandy clerk of steam-boat or store, in white
grass frock, snowy ducks, and beaver hat, long furred
and of light yellowish hue. There, too, the snug
smooth banker-the consequential attorney, here no
longer sombre and professional, but gaily ca-
parisoned-the captain of the river-boat, with no
naval look-the rich planter of the c-ast-the pro-
prietor of the cotton press or 'pickery'-with a
sprinkling of nondescripts made up the crowd that
had now assembled in the Rotundo.
As I stood noting these various forms and costumes,
a large heavy-built man, with florid fac and dressed
in a green 'shad-bellied' coat, passed through the
entrance. In one hand he carried a bundle of papers,
and in the other a small mallet with ivory head-
that at once proclaimed his calling.
His entrance produced a buzz, and set the various
groups in motion. I could hear the phrases, 'Here
he comes!' 'Yon's him!' Here comes the major I'
This was not needed to proclaim to all present, who
was the individual in the green 'shadbelly.' The
beautiful dome of St. Charles itself was not better
known to the citizens of New Orleans than was Major
B- the celebrated auctioneer.
In another minute, the bright bland face of the
major appeared above the rostrum. A few smart
raps of his hammer commanded silence, and the sale
began.
Scipio was ordered first upon the lock The
Scipio was ordered first upon the block. The
359 00363.jpg
340 THE QUADROON.
crowd of intended bidders pressed around him, poked
their fingers between his ribs, felt his limbs as if he
had been a fat ox, opened his mouth and examined his
teeth as if he had been a horse, and then bid for him
just like he had been one or the other.
Under other circumstances I could have felt com-
passion for the poor fellow; but my heart was too full
-there was no room in it for Scipio; and I averted
my face from the disgusting spectacle.
CHAPTER LX.
THE SLAVE-MART.
I ONCE more fixed my eyes upon the entrance, scru-
tinising every form that passed in. As yet no appear-
ance of D'Hauteville I Surely he would soon arrive.
He said at twelve o'clock. It was now one, and still
ho had not come.
No doubt he would come, and in proper time.
After all, I need not be so anxious as to the time.
Her name was last upon the list. It would be a long
time. i_
I had full reliance upon my new friend-almost
unknown, but not untried. His conduct on the
previous night had inspired me with perfect con-
fidence. He would not disappoint me. His being
thus late did not shake my faith in him. There was
some difficulty about his obtaining the money, for it
was money I expected him to bring. He had hinted as
much. No doubt it was that that was detaining him;
360 00364.jpg
THE SLAVE-MART.
but he would be in time. He knew that her name
was at the bottom of the list-the last lot-Lot 65!
Notwithstanding my confidence in D'Hauteville I
was ill-at-ease. It was very natural I should be so,
and requires no explanation. I kept my gaze upon
the door, hoping every moment to see him enter.
Behind me I heard the voice of the auctioneer, in
constant and monotonous repetition, interrupted at
intervals by the smart rap of his ivory mallet. I
knew that the sale was going on; and, by the frequent
strokes of the hammer, I could tell that it was rapidly
progressing. Although but some half-dozen of the
slaves had yet been disposed of, I could not- help
fancying that they were galloping down the list, and
that her turn would soon come-too soon. With the
fancy my heart beat quicker and wilder. Surely
D'Hauteville will not disappoint me !
A group stood near me, talking gaily. They were
all young men, and fashionably dressed,-the scions I
could tell of the Creole noblesse. They conversed in
a tone sufficiently loud for me to overhear them.
Perhaps I should not have listened to what they were
saying, had not one of them mentioned a particular
name that fell harshly upon my ear. The name was
Marigny. I had an unpleasant recollection associated
with this name. It was a Marigny of whom Scipio
had spoken to me-a Marigny who had proposed to
purchase Aurore. Of course I remembered the name.
' Marigny !' I listened.
'So, Marigny, you really intend to bid for her?'
asked one.
' Oui,' replied a young sprig, stylishly and some-
what foppishly dressed. Oui-oui-oui,' he con-
tinued with a languid drawl, as he drew tighter his
361 00365.jpg
a41 THE QUADROON.
lavender gloves, and twirled his tiny cane. 'I do
intend--nafoi !-yes.'
'How high will you go ?'
' Oh-ah une petite some, mol cher ami.'
' A little sum will not do, Marigny,' said the first
speaker. I know half-a-dozen myself who intend
bidding for her-rich dogs all of them.'
' Who ?' inquired Marigny, suddenly awaking from
his languid indifference, Who, may I inquire ?'
'Who? Well there's Gardetto the dentist, who's
half crazed about her; there's the old Marquis;
there's planter Villareau and Lebon, of Lafourche;
and young Moreau, the wine-merchant of the Ruo
Dauphin; and who knows but half-a-dozen of those
rich Yankee cotton-growers may want her for a
housekeeper! Ha! ha! ha!'
' I can name another,' suggested a third speaker.
'Name !' demanded several; 'yourself, perhaps,
Le Ber; you want a sempstress for your shirt-
buttons.'
'No, not myself,' replied the speaker; 'I don't
buy coturiers at that price-deux mille dollars, at the
least, my friends. Pardieu! no. I find my semp-
stresses at a cheaper rate in the Faubourg Tremd.'
'Who, then? Name him!'
'Without hesitation I do,-the old wizen-face
Gayarre.'
'Gayarre the avocat ?'
'M. Dominique Gayarre!'
'Improbable,' rejoined one. M. Gayarre is a
man of steady habits-a moralist-a miser!'
' Ha! ha!' laughed Le Ber; 'it's plain, Messieurs,
you don't understand the character of M. Gayarre.
Perhaps I know him better. Miser though he be, in
362 00366.jpg
TIE SLAVE-MART.
a general sense, there's one class with whom he's
generous enough. 11 a une douzaine des mattresses!
Besides, you must remember that M. Dominique is a
bachelor. He wants a good housekeeper-a fenme-
de-clhimbre. Come, friends, I have heard something-
un petite close. I'11 lay a wager the miser outbids
every one of you,-even rich generous Marigny here !'
Marigny stood biting his lips. His was but a feel-
ing of annoyance or chagrin-mine was utter agony.
I had no longer a doubt as to who was the subject of
the conversation.
' It was at the suit of Gayarre the bankruptcy was
declared, was it not?' asked one.
' 'Tis so said.'
'Why, he was considered the great friend of the
family-the associate of old Besangon ?'
'Yes, the lawyer-friend of the family-Ha! ha!'
significantly rejoined another.
' Poor Eugdnie! she '11 be no longer the belle.
She'll now be less difficult to please in her choice of a
husband.'
' That's some consolation for you, Le Ber. Ha!
ha !'
' Oh!' interposed another, Le Ber had no chance
lately. There's a young Englishman the favourite
now-the same who swam ashore with her at the
blowing-up of the Belle steamer. So I have heard.
at least. Is it so, Le Ber?'
' You had better inquire of Mademoiselle Besangon,'
replied the latter, in a peevish tone, at which the
others laughed.
' I would,' replied the questioner, but I know not
where to find her. Where is she ? She's not at her
plantation. I was up there, and she had left two
363 00367.jpg
344 TIHE QUADROOn.
days before. She's not with the aunt here. Where is
she, Monsieur '
I listened for the answer to this question with a
degree of interest. I, too, was ignorant of the
whereabouts of Euginie, and had sought for her that
day, but in vain. It was said she had come to the
city, but no one could tell me anything of her. And
I now remembered what she had said in her letter of
'Sacrd Ccur.' Perhaps, thought I, she has really
gone to the convent. Poor Eugenie !
' Ay, where is she, Monsieur ?' asked another of the
party.
' Very strange !' said several at once. Where can
she be ? Le Ber, you must know.'
' I know nothing of the movements of Mademoiselle
Besancon,' answered the young man, with an air of
chagrin and surprise, too, as if he was really ignorant
upon the subject, as well as vexed by the remarks
which his companions were making.
'There's something mysterious in all this,' con-
tinued one of the number. 'I should be astonished at
it, if it were any one else than Eugenie Besanqon.'
It is needless to say that this conversation interested
me. Every word of it fell like a spark of fire upon my
heart; and I could have strangled these fellows, one
and all of them, as they stood. Little knew they that
the 'young Englishman' was near, listening to them,
and as little the dire effect their words were pro-
ducing.
It was not what they said of Euginie that gave me
pain. It was their free speech about Aurore. I have
not repeated their ribald talk in relation to her-their
jesting inuendoes, their base hypotheses, and coldly-
brutal sneers whenever her chastity was named.
364 00368.jpg
365 00369.jpg
TIE QUADROON.
j.r l" '
Bidding for my Betrothed.-p. 345.
366 00370.jpg
BIDDING FOR McY BETROTIIHD. 345
One in particular, a certain N. Sdvign4, was more
bizarre than any of his companions; and once or twice
I was upon the point of turning upon him. It cost
me an effort to restrain myself, but that effort was
successful, and I stood unmoved. Perhaps I should
not have been able to endure it much longer, but for
the interposition of an event, which at once drove
these gossips and their idle talk out of my mind.
That event was the entrance of Aurore!
They had again commenced speaking of her-of her
chastity-of her rare charms. They were discussing
the probabilities as to who would become possessed of
her, and the certainty that she would be the maitresse
of whoever did; they were waxing warmer in their
culogium of her beauty, and beginning to lay wagers
on the result of the sale, when all at once the clack
of their conversation ceased, and two or three cried
out-
' Voila voil elle vient !'
I turned mechanically at the words. Aurore was in
the entrance.
CIIAPTER LXI.
BIDDING FOR MY BETROTHED.
YEs, Aurore appeared in the doorway of that infernal
hall, and stood timidly pausing upon its threshold.
She was not alone. A mulatto girl was by her side
-like herself a slave-like herself brought there to be
sold i
A third individual was of the party, or rather with
z
367 00371.jpg
THE QUADROON.
it; for he did not walk by the side of the girls, but in
front, evidently conducting them to the place of sale.
This individual was no other than Larkin, the brutal
overseer.
' Come along!' said he, roughly, at the same time
beckoning to Aurore and her companion: this way,
gals-foller me!'
They obeyed his rude signal, and, passing in, fol-
lowed him across the hall towards the rostrum.
I stood with slouched hat and averted face. Aurore
saw me not.
As soon as they were fairly past, and their backs
towards me, my eyes followed them. Oh, beautiful
Aurore !-beautiful as ever !
I was not single in my admiration. The appearance
of the Quadroon created a sensation. The din ceased
as if by a signal; every voice became hushed, and
every eye was bent upon her as she moved across the
floor. Men hurried forward from distant parts of the
hall to get a nearer glance; others made way for her,
stepping politely back as if she had been a queen.
Men did this who would have scorned to offer polite-
ness to another of her race-to the 'yellow girl' for
instance, who walked by her side! Oh, the power of
beauty! Never was it more markedly shown than in
the entire of that poor slave.
I heard the whispers, I observed the glances of
admiration, of passion. I marked the longing eyes
that followed her, noting her splendid form and its
undulating outlines as she moved forward.
All this gave me pain. It was a feeling worse than
mere jealousy I experienced. It was jealousy embit-
tered by the very brutality of my rivals.
Aurore was simply attired. There was no affecta-
368 00372.jpg
BIDDING FOR MY BETROTHED. 347
tion of the fine lady-none of the ribbons and flounces
that bedecked the dresses of her darker-skinned com-
panion. Such would have ill assorted with the noble
melancholy that appeared upon her beautiful counte-
nance. None of all this.
A robe of light-coloured muslin, tastefully made,
with long skirt and tight sleeves-as was the fashion
of the time-a fashion that displayed the pleasing
rotundity of her figure. Her head-dress was that
worn by all quadroons-the 'toque' of the Madras
kerchief, which sat upon her brow like a coronet, its
green, crimson, and yellow checks contrasting finely
with the raven blackness of her hair. She wore no
ornaments excepting the broad gold rings that glit-
tered against the rich glow of her cheeks; and upon
her finger one other circlet of gold-the token of her
betrothal. I knew it well.
I buried myself in the crowd, slouching my hat on
that side towards the rostrum. I desired she should
not see me, while I could not help gazing upon hier.
I had taken my stand in such a situation, that I could
still command a view of the entrance. More than
over was I anxious about the coming of D'Hauteville.
Aurore had been placed near the foot of the ros-
trum. I could just see the edge of her turban over
the shoulders of the crowd. By elevating myself on
my toes, I could observe her face, which by chance
was turned towards me. Oh! how my heart heaved
as I struggled to read its expression-as I endeavoured
to divine the subject of her thoughts!
She looked sad and anxious. That was natural
enough. But I looked for another expression-that
unquiet anxiety produced by the alternation of hope
and fear.
369 00373.jpg
346 THE QUADROON.
Her eye wandered over the crowd. She scanned
the sea of faces that surrounded her. She was search-
ing for some one. Was it for me?
I held down my face as her glance passed over the
spot. I dared not meet her gaze. I feared that I
could not restrain myself from addressing her. Sweet
Aurore!
I again looked up. Her eye was still wandering in
fruitless search-oh! surely it is for me!
Again I cowered behind the crowd, and her glance
was carried onward.
I raised myself once more. I saw the shadow
darkening upon her face. Her eye filled with a
deeper expression-it was the look of despair.
' Courage! courage!' I whispered to myself. Look
again, lovely Aurore! This time I shall meet you.
I shall speak to you from mine eyes-I shall give
back glance for glance- '
' She sees-she recognizes me! That start-the
flash of joy in her eyes-the smile curling upon her
lips! Her glance wanders no more-her gaze is fixed
-proud heart! It was for me !'
Yes, our eyes met at length-met, melting and
swimming with love. Mine had escaped from my
control. For some moments I could not turn them
aside, but surrendered them to the impulse of my
passion. It was mutual. I doubted it not. I felt as
though the ray of love-light was passing between us.
I had almost forgotten where I stood !
A murmur from the crowd, and movement, restored
me to my senses. Her stedfast gaze had beennoticed,
and by many-skilled to interpret such glances-had
been understood. These, in turning round to see who
was the object of that glance, had caused the move-
370 00374.jpg
BIDDING FOR MIY BE1'ROTIIED. 349
ment. I had observed it in time, and turned my face
in another direction.
I watched the entrance for D'Hautevillo. Why had
he not arrived? My anxiety increased with the
minutes.
True, it would still be an hour-perhaps two-
before her time should come.- Ha !-what?
There was silence for a moment-something of
interest was going on. I looked towards the rostrum
for an explanation. A dark man had climbed upon
one of the steps, and was whispering to the auc-
tioneer.
He remained but a moment. He appeared to have
asked some favour, which was at once conceded him,
and he stepped back to his place among the crowd.
A minute or two intervened, and then, to my horror
and astonishment, I saw the overseer take Aurore by
the arm, and raise her upon the block! The intention
was plain. She was to be sold next!
In the moments that followed, I cannot remember
exactly how I acted. I ran wildly for the entrance.
I looked out into the street. Up and down I glanced
with anxious eyes. No D'Hauteville !
I rushed back into the hall-again through the
outer circles of the crowd, in the direction of the
rostrum.
The bidding had begun. I had not heard the pre-
liminaries, but as I re-entered there fell upon my ears
the terrible words-
' A thousand dollars for the Quadroon.-A thousand
dollars bid!'
' 0 Heaven! D'Hauteville has deceived me. She is
lost !-lost !'
In my desperation I was about to interrupt the
371 00375.jpg
350 THE QUADROON.
sale. I was about to proclaim aloud its unfairness, in
the fact that the Quadroon had been taken out of the
order advertised! Even on this poor plea I rested a
hope.
It was the straw to the drowning man, but I was
determined to grasp it.
I had opened my lips to call out, when some one
pulling me by the sleeve caused me to turn round.
It was D'Hauteville! Thank Heaven, it was D'Haute-
ville !
I could scarce restrain myself from shouting with
joy. His look told me that he was the bearer of
bright gold.
' In time, and none to spare,' whispered he, thrust-
ing a pocket-book between my fingers; 'there is three
thousand dollars-that will surely be enough; 'tis all
I have been able to procure. I cannot stay here-
there are those I do not wish to see. I shall meet
you after the sale is over. Adieu !'
I scarce thanked him. I saw not his parting. My
eyes were elsewhere.
' Fifteen hundred dollars bid for the Quadroon!-
good housekeeper-sempstress-fifteen hundred dol-
lars !'
' Two thousand I' I called out, my voice husky with
emotion.
The sudden leap over such a large sum drew the
attention of the crowd upon me. Looks, smiles, and
inuendoes were freely exchanged at my expense.
I saw, or rather heeded them not. I saw Aurore,
only Aurore, standing upon the dais like a statue upon
its pedestal-the type of sadness and beauty. The
sooner I could take her thence, the happier for me;
and with that object in view I had made my 'bid.'
372 00376.jpg
BIDDING FOR MY BETROTHED.
' Two thousand dollars bid-two thousand-twenty-
one hundred dollars-two thousand, one, two-twenty-
two hundred dollars bid-twenty-two- '
' Twenty-five hundred dollars!' I again cried out,
in as firm a voice as I could command.
'Twenty-five hundred dollars,' repeated the auc-
tioneer, in his monotonous drawl; twenty-five-six
-you, sir ? thank you twenty-six hundred dollars for
the Quadroon-twenty-six hundred !'
'Oh God! they will go above three thousand; if
they do-'
'Twenty-seven hundred dollars!' bid the fopMarigny.
' Twenty-eight hundred!' from the old Marquis.
'Twenty-eight hundred and fifty!' assented the
young merchant, Moreau.
' Nine !' nodded the tall dark man who had whis-
pered to the auctioneer.
Twenty-nine hundred dollars bid-two thousand
nine hundred.
' Three thousand !' I gasped out in despair.
It was my last bid. I could go no farther.
I waited for the result, as the condemned waits for
the falling of the trap or the descent of the axe. My
heart could not have endured very long that terrible
suspense. But I had not long to endure it.
' Three thousand one hundred dollars !-three thousand
one hundred bid-thirty-one hundred dollars-'
I cast one look upon Aurore. It was a look of
hopeless despair; and turning away, I staggered
mechanically across the hall.
Before I had reached the entrance I could hear the
voice of the auctioneer, in the same prolonged drawl,
calling out, 'Three thousand five hundred bid for the
Quadroon girl!'
373 00377.jpg
352 THE QUADROON.
I halted and listened. The sale was coming to its
close.
' Three thousand five hundred-going at three
thousand five hundred-going-going- '
The sharp stroke of the hammer fell upon my ear.
It drowned the final word 'gone!' but my heart
pronounced that word in the emphasis of its agony.
There was a noisy scene of confusion, loud words
and high excitement among the crowd of disappointed
bidders. Who was the fortunate one?
I leant over to ascertain. The tall dark man was
in conversation with the auctioneer. Aurore stood
beside him. I now remembered having seen the man
on the boat. Ho was the agent of whom D'Hauteville
had spoken. The Creole had guessed aright, and so,
too, had Le Ber.
Gayarre had outbid them all I
CHAPTER LXII.
TIIE HACKNEY CARRIAGE.
FoB a while I lingered in the hall, irresolute and
almost without purpose. She whom I loved, and who
loved me in return, was wrested from me by an
infamous law, ruthlessly torn from me. She would be
borne away before my eyes, and I might, perhaps,
never behold her again. Probable enough was this
thought-I might never behold her again Lost. to
me, more hopelessly lost, than if she had become the
374 00378.jpg
THE IIACKNEY-CAURIAGE. Zjb33
bride of another. Far more hopelessly lost. Then, at
least, she would have been free to think, to act, to go
abroad, to- Then I might have hoped to meet
her again, to see her, to gaze upon her, even if only
at a distance, to worship her in the secret silence
of my heart, to console myself with the belief that she
still loved me. Yes; the bride, the wife of another !
Even that I could have borne with calmness. But
now, not the bride of another, but the slave, the
forced, unwilling leman, and that other- Oh! how
my heart writhed under its horrible imaginings!
What next? How was I to act? Resign myself to
the situation ? Make no further effort to recover, to
save her ?
No! It had not come to that. Discouraging as the
prospect was, a ray of hope was visible; one ray yet
illumed the dark future, sustaining and bracing my
mind for further action.
The plan was still undefined ; but the purpose had
been formed, and that purpose was to free Aurore,
to make her mine at every hazard! I thought no
longer of buying her. I knew that Gayarre had
become her owner. I felt satisfied that to purchase
her was no longer possible. He who had paid such
an enormous sum would not be likely to part with
her at any price. My whole fortune would not
suffice. I gave not a thought to it. I felt certain it
would be impossible.
Far different was the resolve that was already
forming itself in my mind, and cheering me with
new hopes. Forming itself, do I say? It had
already taken a definite shape, even before the echoes
of the salesman's voice had died upon my ears!. With
the clink of his hammer my mind was made up. The
375 00379.jpg
aU6 THE QUADROON.
purpose was formed; it was only the plan that re-
mained indefinite.
I had resolved to outrage the laws-to become thief
or robber, whichever it might please circumstances to
make me. I had resolved to steal my betrothed!
Disgrace there might be-danger I knew there was,
not only to my liberty, but my life. I cared but little
about the disgrace; I recked not of the danger. My
purpose was fixed-my determination taken.
Brief had been the mental process that conducted
me to this determination-the more brief that the
thought had passed through my mind before-the
more brief that I believed there was positively no
other means I could adopt. It was the only course
of action left me-either that, or yield up all that I
loved without a struggle-and, passion-led as I was,
I was not going to yield. Certain disgrace,-even
death itself, appeared more welcome than this alter-
native.
I had formed not yet the shadow of a plan. That
must be thought of afterwards; but even at that mo-
ment was action required. My poor heart was on the'
rack; I could not bear the thought that a single night
should pass and she under the same roof with that
hideous man I
Wherever she should pass the night, I was deter-
mined that I should not be far distant from her.
Walls might separate us, but she should know I was
near. Just that much of a plan had I thought of.
Stepping to a retired spot, I took out my note-book,
and wrote upon one of its leaves:
'Ce soir viendrai !-EDOUARD.'
I had no time to be more particular, for I feared
every moment she would be hurried out of my sight.
376 00380.jpg
TO BRINGIERS. 355
I tore out the leaf; and, hastily folding it, returned to
the entrance of the Rotundo.
Just as I got back to the door a hackney-carriago
drove up, and halted in front. I conjectured its use,
and lost no time in providing another from a stand
close by. This done, I returned within the hall. I
was yet in time. As I entered, I saw Aurore being
led away from the rostrum.
I pressed into the crowd, and stood in such a
position that she would have to pass near me. And
she did so, our hands met, and the note parted from
my fingers. There was no time for a further recogni-
tion-not even a love-pressure-for the moment after
she was hurried on through the crowd, and the
carriage-door closed after her.
The mulatto girl accompanied her, and another of
the female slaves. All were put into the carriage. The
negro-dealer climbed to the box alongside the coach-
man, and the vehicle rattled off over the stony pave-
ment.
A word to my driver was enough, who, giving the
whip to his horses, followed at like speed.
CHAPTER LXIII.
TO BRINGIERS.
COACHiME of New Orleans possess their full share of
intelligence, and the ring of a piece of silver, extra of
their fare, is a music well understood by them. They
are the witnesses of many a romantic adventure-the
necessary confidants ofmany a love-secret. A hundred
yards in front rolled the carriage that had taken
Aurore; now turning round corners, now passing
377 00381.jpg
THE QUADROON.
among drays laden with huge cotton bales or hogs-
heads of sugar-but my driver had fixed his knowing
eye upon it, and I had no need to be uneasy.
It passed up the Rue Chartres but a short distance,
and then turned into one of the short streets that ran
from this at right angles towards the Levee. I
fancied for a moment, it was making for the steamboat
wharves; but on Teaching the corner, I saw that it
had stopped about half way down the street. My
driver, according to the instructions I had given him,
pulled up at the corner, and awaited my further orders.
The carriage I had followed was now standing in
front of a house; and just as I rounded the corner, I
caught a glimpse of several figures crossing the
banquette and entering the door. No doubt, all that
had ridden in the carriage-Aurore with the rest-bad
gone inside the house.
Presently a man came out, and handing his fare to
the hackney-coachman, turned and went back into
the house. The latter, gathering up his reins, gave
the whip to his horses, and, wheeling round, came back
by the Rue Chartres. As he passed me, I glanced
through the open windows of his vehicle. It was
empty. She had gone into the house, then.
I had no longer any doubt as to where she had been
taken. I read on the corner, Rue Bienville.' The
house where the carriage had stopped was the town
residence of M. Dominique Gayarre.
I remained for some minutes in the cab, considering
what I had best do. Was this to be her future home ?
or was she only brought here temporarily, to be
afterwards taken up to the plantation?
Some thought, or instinct perhaps, whispered me
that she was not to remain in the Rue Bienville;
378 00382.jpg
TO BRINGIERS.
but would be carried to the gloomy old mansion at
Bringiers. I cannot tell why I thought so. Perhaps
it was because I wished it so.
I saw the necessity of watching the house-so that
she might not be taken away without my knowing
it. Wherever she went I was determined to follow.
Fortunately I was prepared for any journey. The
three thousand dollars lent me by D'Hauteville re-
mained intact. With that I could travel to the ends
of the earth.
I wished that the young Creole had been with me.
I wanted his counsel-his company. How should I
find him ? he had not said where we should meet -
only that he would join me when the sale should be
over. I saw nothing of him on leaving the Rotundo.
Perhaps he meant to meet me there or at my hotel;
but how was I to get back to either of these places
without leaving my post?
I was perplexed as to how I should communicate
with D'Hauteville. It occurred to me that the
haclmey-coachman-I had not yet dismissed him-
might remain and watch the house, while I went in
search of the Creole. I had only to pay the Jehu; lie
would obey me, of course, and right willingly.
I was about arranging with the man, and had
already given him some instructions, when I heard
wheels rumbling along the street; and a somewhat old-
fashioned coach, drawn by a pair of mules, turned into
the Rue Bienville. A negro driver was upon the box.
There was nothing odd in all this. Such a carriage
and such a coachman were to be seen every hour
in New Orleans, and drawn by mules as often as
horses. But this pair of mules, and the negro who
drove them, I recognized.
379 00383.jpg
'58 THE QUADROON.
Yes! I recognized the equipage. I had often met
it upon the Levee Road near Bringiers. It was the
carriage of M. Dominique !
I was further assured upon this point by seeing the
vehicle draw up in front of the avocat's house.
I at once gave up my design of going back for
D'Hauteville. Climbing back into the hack, I en-
sconced myself in such a position, that I could com-
mand a view of what passed in the Rue Bienvillc.
Some one was evidently about to become the
occupant of the carriage. The door of the house
stood open, and a servant was speaking to the coach-
man. I could tell by the actions of the latter, that
he expected soon to drive off.
The servant now appeared outside with several
parcels, which he placed upon the coach; then a man
came out-the negro-trader-who mounted the box.
Another man shot across the banquette, but in such
a hurried gait that I could not recognize him. I
guessed, however, who he was. Two others now
came from the house-a mulatto woman and a young
girl. In spite of the cloak in which she was enveloped
I recognisedAurore. The mulatto woman conducted
the girl to the carriage, and then stepped in after.
At this moment a man on horseback appeared in the
street, and riding up, halted by the carriage. After
speaking to some one inside, he again put his horse in
motion and rode off. This horseman was Larkin the
overseer.
The clash of the closing door was immediately
followed by the crack of the coachman's whip; and
the mules, trotting off down the street, turned to the
right, and headed up the Levee.
My driver, who had already been instructed, gave
380 00384.jpg
TO BRINGlERS.
the whip to his hack, and followed, keeping a short
distance in the rear.
It was not till we had traversed the long street of
Tchoupitoulas, through the Faubourg Marigny, and
were some distance upon the road to the suburban
village of Lafayette, that I thought of where I was
going. My sole idea had been to keep in sight the
carriage of Gayarre.
I now bethought me for what purpose I was
driving after him. Did I intend to follow him to his
house, some thirty miles distant, in a hackney-coach?
Even had I been so determined, it was questionable
whether the driver of the vehicle could have been
tempted to humour my caprice, or whether his
wretched hack could have accomplished such a feat.
For what purpose, then, was I galloping after?
To overtake these men upon the road, and deliver
Aurore from their keeping? No, there were three of
tlhin-well armed, no doubt-and I alone.
But it was not until I had gone several miles that I
began to reflect on the absurdity of my conduct. I
then ordered my coachman to pull up.
I remained seated; and from the window of the
hack gazed after the carriage, until it was hidden by
a turn in the road.
' After all,' I muttered to myself, I have done
right in following. I am now sure of their destination.
Back to the Hotel St. Luis!'
The last phrase was a command to my coachman,
who turning his horse drove back.
As I had promised to pay for speed, it was not
long before the wheels of my hackney rattled over
the pave of the Rue St. Luis.
Having dismissed the carriage, I entered the hotel.
381 00385.jpg
360 THE QUADROON.
To my joy I found D'Hauteville awaiting my return;
and in a few minutes I had communicated to him my
determination to carry off Aurorc.
Rare friendship his! he approved of my resolve.
Rare devotion! he proposed to take part in my enter-
prise.
I warned him of its perils-to no purpose. With
an enthusiasm I could not account for, and that
greatly astonished me at the time, he still insisted
upon sharing them.
Perhaps I might more earnestly have admonished
him against such a purpose, but I felt how much I
stood in need of him.
I could not explain the strange feeling of confidence,
with which the presence of this gentle but heroic
youth had inspired me. The reluctance with which I
accepted his offer was only apparent-it was not felt.
My heart was struggling against my will. I was but
too glad when he stated his determination to accom-
pany me.
There was no boat going up that night; but we
were not without the means to travel. A pair of
horses wore hired-the best that money could procure
-and before sun-down we had cleared the suburbs of
the city, and were riding along the road that conducts
to the village of Bringiors.
382 00386.jpg
( 361 )
CHAPTER LXIV.
TWO VILLAINS.
WE travelled rapidly. There were no hills to impede
our progress. Our route lay along the Levee Road,
which leads from New Orleans by the bank of the
river, passing plantations and settlements at every
few hundred yards' distance. The path was as level
as a race-course, and the hoof fell gently upon the
soft dusty surface, enabling us to ride with case. The
horses we bestrode were mustangs from the prairies of
Texas, trained to that gait, the pace' peculiar to
the saddle-nags of the South-western States. Ex-
cellent pacerss' both were; and, before the night
came down, we had made more than half of our
journey.
Up to this time we had exchanged only a few
words. I was busy with my thoughts-busy planning
my enterprise. My young companion appeared equally
occupied with his.
The darkening down of the night brought us closer
together; and I now unfolded to D'Hauteville the
plan which I had proposed to myself.
There was not much of plan about it. My inten-
tion was simply this: To proceed at once to the
plantation of Gayarre-stealthily to approach the
house-to communicate with Aurore through some of
the slaves of the plantation; failing in this, to find
out, if possible, in what part of the house she would
2A
383 00387.jpg
362 THE QUADROON.
pass the night-to enter her room after all had gone
to sleep-propose to her to fly with me-and then
make our escape the best way we could.
Once clear of the house, I had scarce thought of a
plan of action. That seemed easy enough. Our
horses would carry us back to the city. There we
might remain concealed, until some friendly ship
should bear us fom the country.
This was all the plan I had conceived, and having
communicated it to D'Hauteville, I awaited his
response.
After some moments' silence, he replied, signifying
his approval of it. Like me, he could think of no
other course to be followed. Aurore must be carried
away at all hazards.
We now conversed about the details. We debated
every chance of failure and success.
Our main difficulty, both agreed, would be in com-
municating with Aurore. Could we do so? Surely
she would not be locked in ? Surely Gayarre would
not be suspicious enough to have her guarded and
watched ? He was now the full owner of this coveted
treasure-no one could legally deprive him of his slave
-no one could carry her away without the risk of a
fearful punishment; and although he no doubt sus-
pected that some understanding existed between the
quadroon and myself, he would never dream of such a
love as that which I felt-a love that would lead me
to risk even life itself, as I now intended.
No. Gayarre, judging from his own vile passion,
might believe that I, like himself, had been 'struck'
with the girl's beauty, and that I was willing to pay
a certain sum-three thousand dollars-to possess
her. But the fact that I had bid no more-no doubt
384 00388.jpg
TWO VILLAINS.
exactly reported to him by his agent-was proof that
my love had its limits, and there was an end of it.
As a rival he would hear of me no more. No. M.
Dominique Gayarre would never suspect a passion
like mine-would never dream of such a purpose
as the one to which that passion now impelled me.
An enterprise so romantic was not within the bounds
of probability. Therefore-so reasoned D'Hauteville
and I-it was not likely Aurore would be either
guarded or watched.
But even though she might not be, how were we to
communicate with her? That would be extremely
difficult.
I built my hopes on the little slip of paper-on the
words Ce soir viendrai.' Surely upon this night
Aurore would not sleep. My heart told me she would
not, and the thought rendered me proud and sanguine.
That very night should I make the attempt to carry
her off. I could not bear the thought that she should
pass even a single night under the roof of her tyrant.
And the night promised to befriend us. The sun
had scarcely gone down, when the sky became sullen,
turning to the hue of lead. As soon as the short
twilight passed, the whole canopy had grown so dark,
that we could scarce distinguish the outline of the
forest from the sky itself. Not a star could be seen.
A thick pall of smoke-coloured clouds hid them from
the view. Even the yellow surface of the river was
scarce perceptible from its bank, and the white dust
of the road alone guided us.
In the woods, or upon the darker ground of the
plantation fields, to find a path would have been
impossible-so intense was the darkness that en-
veloped us.
2A2
385 00389.jpg
364 THE QUADROON.
We might have augured trouble from this-we
might have feared losing our way. But I was not
afraid of any such result. I felt assured that the
star of love itself would guide me.
The darkness would be in our favour. Under its
friendly shadow we could approach the house, and
act with safety; whereas had it been a moonlight
night, we should have been in great danger of being
discovered.
I read in the sudden change of sky no ill augury,
but an omen of success.
There were signs of an approaching storm. What
to me would have been kindly weather? Anything
-a rain-storm-a tempest-a hurricane-anything
but a fine night was what I desired.
It was still early when we reached the plantation
Besan9on-not quite midnight. We had lost no time
on the road. Our object in hurrying forward was to
arrive at the place before the household of Gayarre
should go to rest. Our hopes were that we might
find some means of communicating with Aurore-
through the slaves.
One of these I knew. I had done him a slight
favour during my residence at Bringiers. I had
gained his confidence -enough to render him accessible
to a bribe. He might be found, and might render us
the desired assistance.
All was silent upon the plantation Besancon. The
dwelling-house appeared deserted. There were no
lights to be seen. One glimmered in the rear, in a
window of the overseer's house. The negro quarter
was dark and silent. The buzz usual at that hour
was not heard. They whose voices used to echo
through its little street were now far away. The
386 00390.jpg
TWO VILLAINS.
cabins were empty. The song, the jest, and the
cheerful laugh, were hushed; and the 'coon-dog
howling for his absent master, was the only sound
that broke the stillness of the place.
We passed the gate, riding in silence, and watching
the road in front of us. We were observing the
greatest caution as we advanced. We might meet
those whom above all others we desired not to
encounter-the overseer, the agent, Gayarre himself.
Even to have been seen by one of Gayarre's negroes
might have resulted in the defeat of our plans. So
fearful was I of this, that but for the darkness of the
night, I should have left the road sooner, and tried a
path through the woods which I knew of. It was too
dark to traverse this path without difficulty and loss
of time. We therefore clung to the road, intending
to leave it when we should arrive opposite the
plantation of Gayarre.
Between the two plantations a wagon-road for
wood-hauling led to the forest. It was this road I
intended to take. We should not be likely to meet
any one upon it; and it was our design to conceal our
horses among the trees in the rear of the cane-fields.
On such a night not even the negro 'coon-hunter
would have any business in the woods.
Creeping along with caution, we had arrived near
the point where this wood-road debouched, when
voices reached our ears. Some persons were coming
down the road.
We reined up and listened. There were men in
conversation; and from their voices each moment
growing more distinct, we could tell that they were
approaching us.
They were coming down the main road from the
387 00391.jpg
o(;I TIIE QUADROON.
direction of the village. The hoof-stroke told us
they were on horseback, and, consequently, that they
were white men.
A large cotton-wood tree stood on the waste
ground on one side of the road. The long flakes of
Spanish moss hanging from its branches nearly
touched the ground. It offered the readiest place of
concealment, and we had just time to spur our horses
behind its giant trunk, when the horsemen came
abreast of the tree.
Dark as it was, we could see them in passing.
Their forms-two of them there were-were faintly
outlined against the yellow surface of the water.
Had they been silent, we might have remained in
ignorance as to who they were, but their voices
betrayed them. They were Larkin and the trader.
' Good!' whispered D'Hauteville, as we recognized
them; 'they have left Gayarre's-they are on their
way home to the plantation Besangon.'
The very same thought had occurred to myself. No
doubt they were returning to their homes-the over-
seer to the plantation Besangon, and the trader to his
own house-which I knew to be farther down the
coast. I now remembered having often seen this man
in company with Gayarre.
The thought had occurred to myself as D'Hauteville
spoke, but how knew he? He must be well ac-
quainted with the country, thought I.
I had no time to reflect or ask him any question.
The conversation of these two ruffians-for ruffians
both were-occupied all my attention. They were
evidently in high glee, laughing as they went, and
jesting as they talked. No doubt their vile work had
been remunerative.
388 00392.jpg
'THE' QUADROON.
Dark as it was we could see them in passing.-p. 360.
389 00393.jpg
390 00394.jpg
TWO VILLAINS. 367
'Wal, Bill,' said the trader, 'it air the biggest
price I ever gin for a nigger.'
'Darn the old French fool! He's paid well for his
whistle this time-he ain't allcrs so open-fisted. Dog
darned if he is!'
' Wal-she air dear; an she ain't when a man has
the dollars to spare. She's as putty a piece o' goods
as there air in all Louisiana. I wouldn't mind
myself- '
'Ha! ha! ha!' boisterously laughed the overseer.
'I guess you can get a chance if you've a mind to,' he
added, in a significant tone.
'Say, Bill!-tell me-be candid, old feller-have
you ever--?'
' Wal, to tell the truth, I hain't; but I reckon 1
mout if I had pushed the thing. I wan't long enough
on the plantation. Beside, she's so stuck up with
cussed pride an larnin', that she thinks herself as good
as white. I calclate old Foxey '11 bring down her
notions a bit. She won't be long wi' him till she '11 be
glad to take a ramble in the woods wi' anybody
that asks her. There'll be chance enough yet, I
reckon.'
The trader muttered some reply to this prophetic
speech; but both were now so distant that their con-
versation was no longer audible. What I had heard,
absurd as it was, caused me a feeling of pain, and, if
possible, heightened my desire to save Aurore from
the terrible fate that awaited her.
Giving the word to my companion, we rode out
from behind the tree, and a few minutes after turned
into the by-path that led to the woods.
391 00395.jpg
( 368 )
CHAPTER LXV.
THE PAWPAW THICKET.
OUn progress along this by-road was slow. There
was no white dust upon the path to guide us. We
had to grope our way as well as we could between the
zigzag fences. Now and then our horses stumbled in
the deep ruts made by the wood-wagons, and it was
with difficulty we could force them forward.
My companion seemed to manage better than I, and
whipped his horse onward as if he were more familiar
with the path, or else more reckless I wondered at
this without making any remark.
After half-an-hour's struggling we reached the
angle of the rail-fence, where the enclosure ended and
the woods began. Another hundred yards brought
us under the shadow of the tall timber; where we
reined up to take breath, and concert what was next
to be done.
I remembered that there was a pawpaw thicket
near this place.
' If we could find it,' I said to my companion,' and
leave our horses there ?'
' We may easily do that,' was the reply; though
'tis scarce worth while searching for a thicket-the
darkness will sufficiently conceal them.-Ha! not so
- Voila 'dclair!'
As D'Hauteville spoke, a blue flash lit up the whole
canopy of heaven. Even the gloomy aisles of the
forest were illuminated, so that we could distinguish
392 00396.jpg
THE PAWPAW THICKET.
the trunks and branches of the trees to a long distance
around us. The light wavered for some seconds, like
a lamp about being extinguished; and then went
suddenly out, leaving the darkness more opaque than
before.
There was no noise accompanying this phenomenon
-at least none produced by the lightning itself. It
caused some noise, however, among the wild creatures
of the woods. It woke the white-headed halia6tus,
perched upon the head of the tall taxodium, and his
maniac laugh sounded harsh and shrill. It woke the
grallatores of the swamp-the qua-bird, the curlews,
and the tall blue herons-who screamed in concert.
The owl, already awake, hooted louder its solemn
note; and from the deep profound of the forest came
the howl of the wolf, and the more thrilling cry of the
cougar.
All nature seemed startled by this sudden blaze of
light that filled the firmament. But the moment after
all was darkness and silence as before.
' The storm will soon be on ?' I suggested.
' No,' said my companion, 'there will be no storm-
you hear no thunder-when it is thus we shall have
no rain-a very black night, with lightning at
intervals-nothing more. Again I'
The exclamation was drawn forth by a second
blaze of lightning, that like the first lit up the woods
on all sides around us, and, as before, unaccompanied
by thunder. Neither the slightest rumble nor clap
was heard, but the wild creatures once more uttered
their varied cries.
' We must conceal the horses, then,' said my com-
panion; 'some straggler might be abroad, and with
this light they could be seen far off. The pawpaw
393 00397.jpg
370 THE QUADROON.
thicket is the very place. Let us seek it! It lies in
this direction.'
D'Hauteville rode forward among the tree-trunks.
I followed mechanically. I felt satisfied he knew the
ground better than I! He must- have been here
before, was my reflection.
We had not gone many steps before the blue light
blazed a third time; and we could see, directly in
front of us, the smooth shining branches and broad
green leaves of the Asiminas, forming the underwood
of the forest.
When the lightning flashed again, we had entered
the thicket.
Dismounting in its midst, we hastily tied our
bridles to the branches; and then, leaving our horses
to themselves, we returned towards the open ground.
Ten minutes' walking enabled us to regain the
zigzag railing that shut in the plantation of Gayarre.
Directing ourselves along this, in ten minutes after
we arrived opposite the house-which by the electric
blaze we could distinguish shining among the tall
cotton-wood trees that grew around it. At this point
we again made a stop to reconnoitre the ground, and
consider how we should proceed.
A wide field stretched from the fence almost to the
walls. A garden enclosed by palings lay between the
field and the house; and on one side we could perceive
the roofs of numerous cabins denoting the negro
quarter. At some distance in the same direction,
stood the sugar-mill and other outbuildings, and near
these the house of Gayarre's overseer.
This point was to be avoided. Even the negro
quarter must be shunned, lest we might give alarm.
The dogs would be our worst enemies. I knew that
394 00398.jpg
THE IAWPAW TIIICKET.
Gayorre kept several. I had often seen the i along
the roads. Large fierce animals they were. How
were they to be shunned? They would most likely
be rambling about the outbuildings or the negro
cabins ; therefore, our safest way would be to approach
from the opposite side.
If we should fail to discover the apartment of
Aurore, then it would be time to make rcconnoissanco
in the direction of the 'quarter,' and endeavour to
find the boy Caton.
We saw lights in the house. Several windows-
all upon the ground-floor-were shining through the
darkness. More than one apartment therefore was
occupied.
This gave us hope. One of them might be occupied
by Aurore.
' And now, Monsieur!' said D'Hauteville, after we
had discussed the various details, 'suppose we fail ?
suppose some alarm be given, and we be detected
before- ?'
I turned, and looking my young companion full in
the face, interrupted him in what he was about to
say. D'Hauteville!' said I, 'perhaps, I may never
be able to repay your generous friendship. It has
already exceeded all bounds-but life you must not
risk for me. That I cannot permit.
'And how risk life, Monsieur ?'
'If I fail-if alarm be given-if I am opposed,
voila-- !'
I opened the breast of my coat, exposing to his
view my pistols.
SYes!' I continued; 'I am reckless enough. I
shall use them if necessary. I shall take life if it
stand in the way. I am resolved; but you must not
395 00399.jpg
S2 THE QUADROON.
risk an encounter. You must remain here-I shall go
to the house alone.'
'No-no!' he answered promptly; 'I go with
you.'
' I cannot permit it, Monsieur. It is better for you
to remain here. You can stay by the fence until I
return to you-until we return, I should say, for 1
come not back without her.'
' Do not act rashly, Monsieur 1'
'No, but I am determined. I am desperate. You
must not go farther.'
' And why not? I, too, have an interest in this
qafair.'
' You?' I asked, surprised at the words as well as
the tone in which they were spoken. 'You an in-
terest ?'
' Of course,' coolly replied my companion. I love
adventure. That gives me an interest. You must
permit me to accompany you-I must go along with
you !'
' As you will then, Monsieur D'Hauteville. Fear
not! I shall act with prudence. Come on1'
I sprang over the fence, followed by my companion;
and, without another word having passed between us,
we struck across the field in the direction of the
house.
396 00400.jpg
( 373 )
CHAPTER LXVI.
THE ELOPEMENT.
IT was a field of sugar-cane. The canes were of that
species known as 'ratoons'--suckers from old roots-
and the thick bunches at their bases, as well as the
tall columns, enabled us to pass among them unob-
served. Even had it been day, we might have ap-
proached the house unseen.
We soon reached the garden-paling. Here we
stopped to reconnoitre the ground. A short survey
was sufficient. We saw the very place where we
could approach and conceal ourselves.
The house had an antique weather-beaten look-
not without some pretensions to grandeur. It was a
wooden building, two stories in height, with gable
roofs, and large windows-all of which had venetian
shutters that opened to the outside. Both walls and
window-shutters had once been painted, but the
paint was old and rusty; and the colour of the
venetians, once green, could hardly be distinguished
from the grey wood-work of the walls. All round
the house ran an open gallery or verandah, raised
some three or four feet from the ground. Upon this
gallery the windows and doors opened, and a paling
or guardrail encompassed the whole. Opposite the
doors, a stairway of half-a-dozen steps led up; but at
all other parts the space underneath was open in
397 00401.jpg
S1-4 THE QUADROON.
front, so that, by stooping a little, one might get
under the floor of the gallery.
By crawling close up in front of the verandah, and
looking through the rails, we should be able to
command a full view of all the windows in the
house; and in case of alarm, we could conceal our-
selves in the dark cavity underneath. We should be
safe there, unless scented by the dogs.
Our plan was matured in whispers. It was not
much of a plan. We were to advance to the edge of
the verandah, peep through the windows until we
could discover the apartment of Aurore; then do our
best to communicate with her, and get her out.
Our success depended greatly upon accident or good
fortune.
Before we could make a move forward, fortune
seemed as though she was going to favour us. In
one of the windows, directly before our face, a figure
appeared. A glance told us it was the Quadroon!
The window, as before stated, reached down to the
floor of the verandah; and as the figure appeared
behind the glass, we could see it from head to foot.
The Madras kerchief on the head, the gracefully
undulating figure, outlined upon the background of
the lighted room, left no doubt upon our minds as to
who it was.
''Tis Aurore !' whispered my companion.
How could he tell? Did he know her? Ah! I
remembered-he had seen her that morning in the
Rotundo.
' It is she I replied, my beating heart scarce al-
lowing me to make utterance.
The window was curtained, but she had raised the
curtain in one hand, and was looking out. There
398 00402.jpg
THE ELOPEMENT.
was that in her attitude that betokened earnestness.
She appeared as if trying to penetrate the gloom.
Even in the distance I could perceive this, and my
heart bounded with joy. She had understood my
note. She was looking for me!
D'Hauteville thought so as well. Our prospects
were brightening. If she guessed our design, our
task would be easier.
She remained but a few moments by the window.
She turned away and the curtain dropped into its
place; but before it had screened the view, the dark
shadow of a man fell against the back wall of the
room. Gayarre, no doubt!
I could hold back no longer; but climbing over the
garden-fence, I crept forward, followed by D'Haute-
ville.
In a few seconds both. of us had gained the desired
position-directly in front of the window, from which
we were now separated only by the wood-work of the
verandah. Standing half-bent our eyes were on a
level with the floor of the room. The curtain had
not fallen properly into its place. A single pane of
the glass remained unscreened, and through this we
could see nearly the whole interior of the apartment.
Our cars, too, were at the proper elevation to catch
every sound; and persons conversing within the
room we could hear distinctly.
Wo were right in our conjecture. It was Aurore
we had seen. Gayarre was the other occupant of the
room.
I shall not paint that scene. I shall not repeat
the words to which we listened. I shall not detail
the speeches of that mean villain-at first fulsome
and flattering--then coarse, boll, and brutal; until
399 00403.jpg
7(i THE QUADROON.
at length, failing to effect his purpose by entreaties,
he had recourse to threats.
D'Hauteville held me back, begging me in earnest
whispers to be patient. Once or twice I had almost
determined to spring forward, dash aside the sash,
and strike the ruffian to the floor. Thanks to the
prudent interference of my companion, I restrained
myself.
The scene ended by Gayarre going out of the room
indignant, but somewhat crest-fallen. The bold,
upright bearing of the Quadroon-whose strength, at
least, equalled that of her puny assailant-had
evidently intimidated him for the moment, else he
might have resorted to personal violence.
His threats, however, as he took his departure. left
no doubt of his intention soon to renew his brutal
assault. He felt certain of his victim-she was his
slave, and must yield. He had ample time and oppor-
tunity. He need not at once proceed to extremes.
He could wait until his valour, somewhat cowed,
should return again, and imbue him with a fresh
impulse.
The disappearance of Gayarre gave us an oppor-
tunity to make our presence known to Aurore. I was
about to climb up to the verandah and tap on the
glass; but my companion prevented me from doing so.
' It is not necessary,' he whispered; she certainly
knows you will be here. Leave it to her. She will
return to the window presently. Patience, Monsieur!
a false step will ruin all. Remember the dogs !'
There was prudence in these counsels, and I gave
way to them. A few minutes would decide; and we
both crouched close, and watched the movements of
the Quadroon.
400 00404.jpg
THE ELOPEMENT.
The apartment in which she was attracted our
notice. It was not the drawing-room of the house,
nor yet a bedroom. It was a sort of library or studio
-as shelves filled with books, and a table, covered
with papers and writing-materials, testified. It was,
no doubt, the office of the avocat, in which he was
accustomed to do his writing.
Why was Aurore in that room? Such a question
occurred to us; but we had little time to dwell upon
it. My companion suggested that as they had just
arrived, she may have been placed there while an
apartment was being prepared for her. The voices of
servants overhead, and the noise of furniture being
moved over the floor, was what led him to make this
suggestion; it was just as if a room was being set in
order.
This led me into a new train of reflection. She
might be suddenly removed from the library, and
taken up stairs. It would then be more difficult to
communicate with her. It would be better to make
the attempt at once.
Contrary to the wish of D'Hauteville, I was about
to advance forward to the window, when the move-
ments of Aurore herself caused me to hesitate.
The door through which Gayarre had just made his
exit was visible from where we stood. I saw the
Quadroon approach this with silent tread, as if
meditating some design. Placing her hand upon the
key, she turned it in the lock, so that the door was
thus bolted inside. With what design had she done
this?
It occurred to us that she was about to make her
escape out by the window, and that she had fastened
the door for the purpose of delaying pursuit. If so, it
2B
401 00405.jpg
378 THE QUADROON.
would be better for us to remain quiet, and leave her
to complete the design. It would be time enough to
warn her of our presence when she should reach the
window. This was D'Hauteville's advice.
In one corner of the room stood a large mahogany
desk, and over its head was ranged a screen of box-
shelves-of the kind known as 'pigeon-holes.' These
were filled with papers and parchments-no doubt,
wills, deeds, and other documents relating to the
business of the lawyer.
To my astonishment I saw the Quadroon, as soon
as she had secured the door, hastily approach this
desk, and stand directly in front of it-her eyes
eagerly bent upon the shelves, as though she was in
search of some document I
Such was in reality the case, for she now stretched
forth her hand, drew a bundle of folded papers from
the box, and after resting her eyes upon them for a
moment, suddenly concealed them in the bosom of her
dress I
'Heavens!' I mentally ejaculated, 'what can it
mean ?'
I had no time to give way to conjectures-for in a
second's time Aurore had glided across the floor, and
was standing in the window.
As she raised the curtain, the light streamed full on
the faces of myself and my companion, and at the
first glance she saw us. A slight exclamation escaped
her, but it was of joy, not surprise; and she suddenly
checked herself.
The ejaculation was not loud enough to be heard
across the room. The sash opened noiselessly-with
silent tread the verandah was crossed-and in another
moment my betrothed was in my arms I I lifted her
402 00406.jpg
THE LOST MUSTANGS.
over the balustrade, and we passed hastily along the
walks of the garden.
The outer field was reached without any alarm
having been given; and, directing ourselves between
the rows of the canes, we speeded on towards the
woods, that loomed up like a dark wall in the distance.
CHAPTER LXVII.
THE LOST MUSTANGS.
THE lightning continued to play at intervals, and we
had no difficulty in finding our way. We recrossed
near the same place where we had entered the field;
and, guiding ourselves along the fence, hurried on
towards the thicket of pawpaws, where we had left
our horses.
My design was to take to the road at once, and
endeavour to reach the city before daybreak. Once
there, I hoped to be able to keep concealed-both
myself and my betrothed-until some opportunity
offered of getting out to sea, or up the river to one of
the free states. I never thought of taking to the
woods. Chance had made me acquainted with a rare
hiding-place, and no doubt we might have found con-
cealment there for a time. The advantage of this
had crossed my mind, but I did not entertain the idea
for a moment. Such a refuge could be but temporary.
We should have to flee from it in the end, and the
difficulty of escaping from the country would be as
great as ever. Either for victim or criminal there is
2 2
403 00407.jpg
380 TIlE QUADROON.
no place of concealment so safe as the crowded
haunts of the populous city; and in New Orleans-
half of which consists of a 'floating' population-
incognito is especially easily to be preserved.
My design, therefore-and D'Hauteville approved
it-was to mount our horses, and make direct for the
city.
Hard work I had cut out for our poor animals,
especially the one that should have to carry double.'
Tough hacks they were, and had done the journey up
cleverly enough, but it would stretch all their muscle
to take us back before daylight.
Aided by the flashes, we wound our way, amid
the trunks of the trees, until at length we came
within sight of the pawpaw thicket-easily distin-
guished by the large oblong leaves of the asiminiers,
which had a whitish sheen under the electric light.
We hurried forward with joyful anticipation. Once
mounted, we should soon get beyond the reach of
pursuit.
' Strange the horses do not neigh, or give some sign
of their presence! One would have thought our
approach would have startled them. But no, there is
no whimper, no hoof-stroke; yet we must be close
to them now. I never knew of horses remaining so
still ? What can they be doing ? Where are they?'
'Ay, where are they?' echoed D'Hauteville;
'surely this is the spot where we left them ?'
' Here it certainly was! Yes-here-this is the very
sapling to which I fastened my bridle. See here are
their hoof-prints. By Heaven! the horses are gone!'
I uttered this with a full conviction of its truth.
There was no room left for doubt. There was the
trampled earth where they had stood-there the very
404 00408.jpg
THE LOST MUSTANGS, 381
tree to which we had tied them. I easily recognized
it-for it was the largest in the grove.
Who had taken them away ? This was the question
that first occurred to us. Some one had been dogging
us? Or had it been some one who had come across
the animals by accident ? The latter supposition was
the less probable. Who would have been wandering
in the woods on such a night ? or even if any one had,
what would have taken them into the pawpaw
thicket? Ha! a new thought came into my head-
perhaps the horses had got loose of themselves?
That was likely enough. Well, we should be able
to tell as soon as the lightning flashed again, whether
they had set themselves free; or whether some human
hand had undone the knotted bridles.
We stood by the tree waiting for the light.
It did not tarry long; and when it came it enabled
us to solve the doubt. My conjecture was correct;
the horses had freed themselves. The broken
branches told the tale. Something-the lightning-
or more likely a prowling wild beast, had stampeded
them; and they had broken off into the woods.
We now reproached ourselves for having so neg-
ligently fastened them-for having tied them to a
branch of the asiminier, whose soft succulent wood
possesses scarcely the toughness of an ordinary
herbaceous plant. I was rather pleased at the dis-
covery that the animals had freed themselves. There
was a hope they had not strayed far. We might yet
find them near at hand, with trailing bridles, cropping
the grass.
Without loss of time we went in search of them-
D'Hautevillo took one direction, I another, while
Aurore remained in the thicket of the pawpaws.
405 00409.jpg
382 THE QUADROON.
I ranged around the neighbourhood, went back to
the fence, followed it to the road, and even went some
distance along the road. I searched every nook
among the trees, pushed through thickets and cane-
brakes, and, whenever it flashed, examined the ground
for tracks. At intervals I returned to the point of
starting, to find that D'Hauteville had been equally
unsuccessful.
After nearly an hour spent in this fruitless search,
I resolved to give it up. I had no longer a hope of
finding the horses; and, with despairing step, I
turned once more in the direction of the thicket.
D'Hauteville had arrived before me.
As I approached, the quivering gleam enabled me
to distinguish his figure. He was standing beside
Aurore. He was conversing familiarly with her. I
fancied he was polite to her, and that she seemed
pleased. There was something in this slight scene
that made a painful impression upon me.
Neither had he found any traces of the missing
steeds. It was no use looking any longer for them;
and we agreed to discontinue the search, and pass the
night in the woods.
It was with a heavy heart that I consented to this;
but we had no alternative. Afoot we could not
possibly reach New Orleans before morning; and to
have been found on the road after daybreak would
have insured our capture. Such as we could not pass
without observation; and I had no doubt that, at the
earliest hour, a pursuing party would take the road
to the city.
Our most prudent plan was to remain all night
where we were, and renew our search for the horses
as soon as it became day. If we should succeed in
406 00410.jpg
THE LOST MUSTANGS. 383
finding them, we might conceal them in the swamp
till the following night, and then make for the city.
If we should not recover them, then, by starting at
an earlier hour, we might attempt the journey on foot.
The loss of the horses had placed us in an unex-
pected dilemma. It had seriously diminished our
chances of escape, and increased the peril of our
position.
Peril I have said, and in such we stood-peril of no
trifling kind. You will with difficulty comprehend
the nature of our situation. You will imagine your-
self reading the account of some ordinary lover's
escapade-a mere runaway match, a la Gretna Green.
Rid yourself of this fancy. Know that all three of
us had committed an act for which we were amenable.
Know that my crime rendered me liable to certain and
severe punishment by the laws of the land; that a still
more terrible sentence might be feared outside the laws
of the land. I knew all this-I knew that life itself
was imperilled by the act I had committed!
Think of our danger, and it may enable you to form
some idea of what were our feelings after returning
from our bootless hunt after the horses.
We had no choice but stay where we were till
morning.
We spent half-an-hour in dragging the tillandsia
from the trees, and collecting the soft leaves of the
pawpaws. With these I strewed the ground; and,
placing Aurore upon it, I covered her with my cloak.
For myself I needed no couch. I sat down near
my beloved, with my back against the trunk of a tree.
I would fain have pillowed her head upon my breast,
but the presence of D'Hauteville restrained me. Even
that might not have hindered me, but the slight pro-
407 00411.jpg
384 THE QUADROON.
posal which I made had been declined by Aurore.
Even the hand that I had taken in mine was respect-
fully withdrawn !
I will confess that this coyness surprised and
piqued me.
CHAPTER LXVIII.
A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
LIGHTLY clad as I was, the cold dews of the night
would have prevented me from sleeping; but I needed
not that to keep me awake. I could not have slept
upon a couch of eider.
D'Hauteville had generously offered me his cloak,
which I declined. He, too, was clad in cottonade and
linen-though that was not the reason for my de-
clining his offer. Even had I been suffering, I could
not have accepted it. I began to fear him!
Aurore was soon asleep. The lightning showed me
that her eyes were closed, and I could tell by her soft
regular breathing that she slept. This, too, annoyed
me!
I watched for each new gleam that I might look
upon her. Each time as the quivering light illumined
her lovely features, I gazed upon them with mingled
feelings of passion and pain. Oh! could there be
falsehood under that fair face? Could sin exist in
that noble soul? After all was I not beloved ?
Even so, there was no withdrawing now-no going
back from my purpose. The race in which I had
408 00412.jpg
A NIGHT IN TILE WOODS. 385
embarked must be run to the end-even at the sacrifice
both of heart and life. I thought only of the pur-
pose that had brought us there.
As my mind became calmer, I again reflected on
the means of carrying it out. As soon as day should
break, I would go in search of the horses-track them,
if possible, to where they had strayed-recover them,
and then remain concealed in the woods until the
return of another night.
Should we not recover the horses, what then?
For a long time, I could not think of what was best
to be done in such a contingency.
At length an idea suggested itself-a plan so
feasible that I could not help communicating it to
D'Hauteville, who like myself was awake. The plan
was simple enough, and I only wondered I had not
thought of it sooner. It was that he (D'Hautevillo)
should proceed to Bringiers, procure other horses or
a carriage there, and at an early hour of the following
night meet us on the Levee Road.
What could be better than this ? There would be
no difficulty in his obtaining the horses at Bringiers
-the carriage more likely. D'Hauteville was not
known-at least no one would suspect his having any
relations with me. I was satisfied that the disappear-
ance of the quadroon would be at once attributed to
me. Gayarre himself would know that; and there-
fore I alone would be suspected and sought after.
D'Hauteville agreed with me that this would be the
very plan to proceed upon, in case our horses could
not be found; and having settled the details, we
awaited with less apprehension for the approach of day.
Day broke at length. The grey light slowly strug-
409 00413.jpg
THE QUADROON.
gled through the shadowy tree-tops, until it became
clear enough to enable us to renew the search.
Aurore remained upon the ground; while D'Haute-
ville and I, taking different directions set out after
the horses.
D'Hauteville went farther into the woods, while I
took the opposite route.
I soon arrived at the zigzag fence bounding the
fields of Gayarre; for we were still upon the very
borders of his plantation. On reaching this, I turned
along its edge, and kept on for the point where the
bye-road entered the woods. It was by this we had
come in on the previous night, and I thought it pro-
bable the horses might have taken it into their heads
to stray back the same way.
I was right in my conjecture. As soon as I entered
the embouchure of the road, I espied the hoof-tracks
of both animals going out towards the river. I saw
also those we had made on the previous night coming
in. I compared them. The tracks leading both ways
were made by the same horses. One had a broken shoe,
which enabled me at a glance to tell they were the
same. I noted another 'sign' upon the trail. I noted
that our horses in passing out dragged their bridles,
with branches adhering to them. This confirmed
the original supposition, that they had broken loose.
It was now a question of how far they had gone.
Should I follow and endeavour to overtake them? It
was now bright daylight, and the risk would be great.
Long before this, Gayarre and his friends would be up
and on the alert. No doubt parties were already
traversing the Levee Road as well as the bye-paths
among the plantations. At every step I might expect
to meet either a scout or a pursuer.
410 00414.jpg
A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
The tracks of the horses showed they had been
travelling rapidly and straight onward. They had
not stopped to browse. Likely they had gone direct
to the Levee Road, and turned back to the city.
They were livery horses, and no doubt knew the road
well. Besides, they were of the Mexican breed-
'mustangs.' With these lively animals the trick of
returning over a day's journey without their riders
is not uncommon.
To attempt to overtake them seemed hopeless as
well as perilous, and I at once gave up the idea and
turned back into the woods. As I approached the
pawpaw thicket, I walked with lighter tread. I am
ashamed to tell the reason. Foul thoughts were in
my heart.
The murmur of voices fell upon my ear.
'By Heaven! D'Hauteville has again got back
before me!'
I struggled for some moments with my honour. It
gave way; and I made my further approach among
the pawpaws with the silence of a thief.
' D'Hauteville and she in close and friendly con-
verse! They stand fronting each other. Their faces
almost meet-their attitudes betoken a mutual interest.
They talk in an earnest tone-in the low murmuring
of lovers 1 OGod!'
At this moment the scene on the wharf-boat
flashed on my recollection. I remembered the youth
wore a cloak, and that he was of low stature. It was
he who was standing before me! That puzzle was
explained. I was but a waif-a foil-a thing for a
coquette to play with !
There stood the true lover of Aurore !
I stopped like one stricken. The sharp aching of
411 00415.jpg
THE QUADROON.
my heart, oh! I may never describe. It felt as if a
poisoned arrow had pierced to its very core, and there
remained fixed and rankling. I felt faint and sick.
I could have fallen to the ground.
She has taken something from her bosom. She is
handing it to him! A love-token-a gage d'amour!
No. I am in error. It is the parchment-the
paper taken from the desk of the avocat. What does
it mean? What mystery is this? Oh! I shall
demand a full explanation from both of you. I shall
-patience, heart!-patience!
D'Hauteville has taken the papers, and hidden them
under his cloak. He turns away. His face is now
towards me. His eyes are upon me. I am seen!
' Ho I Monsieur ?' he inquired, advancing to meet
me. 'What success? You have seen nothing of the
horses!'
I made an effort to speak calmly.
' Their tracks,' I replied.
Even in this short phrase my voice was quivering
with emotion. He might easily have noticed my
agitation, and yet he did not seem to do so.
' Only their tracks, Monsieur! Whither did they
lead ?'
' To the Levee Road. No doubt they have returned
towards the city. We need have no farther depend-
ence on them.'
' Then I shall go to Bringiers at once ?'
This was put hypothetically.
The proposal gave me pleasure. I wished him
away.
I wished to be alone with Aurore.
'It would be as well,' I assented, 'if you do not
deem it too early?'
412 00416.jpg
A NIGHT IN TIE WOODS. 389
' Oh, no! besides, I have business in Bringiers that
will occupy me all the day.'
'Ah!'
' Doubt not my return to meet you. I am certain
to procure either horses or a carriage. Half-an-hour
after twilight you will find me at the end of the
bye-road. Fear not, Monsieur I I have a strong pre-
sentiment that for you all will yet be well. For me-
ah '
A deep sigh escaped him as he uttered the last
phrase.
What did it mean? Was he mocking me? Had
this strange youth a secret beyond my secret? Did he
know that Aurore loved him ? Was he so confident-
so sure of her heart, that he reeked not thus leaving
her alone with me? Was he playing with me as
the tiger with its victim? Were both playing with
me?
These horrid thoughts crowding up, prevented me
from making a definite rejoinder to his remarks. I
muttered something about hope, but he seemed hardly
to heed my remark. For some reason he was evi-
dently desirous of being gone; and bidding Aurore
and myself adieu, he turned abruptly off, and with
quick, light steps, threaded his way through the
woods.
With my eyes I followed his retreating form, until
it was hidden by the intervening branches. I felt
relief that he was gone. I could have wished that
he was gone for ever. Despite the need we had of his
assistance-despite the absolute necessity for his
return-at that moment I could have wished that we
should never see him again I
413 00417.jpg
( 390 )
CHAPTER LXIX.
LOVE'S VENGEANCE.
Now for an explanation with Aurore! Now to give
vent to the dire passion of jealousy-to relieve my
heart with recriminations-with the bitter-sweet
vengeance of reproach!
I could stifle the foul emotion no longer-no longer
conceal it. It must have expression in words.
I had purposely remained standing with my face
averted from her, till D'Hautevillo was gone out of
sight. Longer, too. I was endeavouring to still the
wild throbbings of my breast-to affect the calmness
of indifference. Vain hypocrisy! To her eyes my
spite must have been patent, for in this the keen
instincts of woman are not to be baffled.
It was even so. She comprehended all. Hence
the wild act-the abandon to which at that moment
she gave way.
I was turning to carry out my design, when I felt
the soft pressure of her body against mine-her arms
encircled my neck-her head, with face upturned,
rested upon my bosom, and her large lustrous eyes
sought mine with a look of melting inquiry.
That look should have satisfied me. Surely no
eyes but the eyes of love could have borne such
expression?
And yet I was not content. I faltered out-
'Aurore, you do not love me !'
' A, Monsieur! pourquoi cette cruautW? Je t'aii;e--
mon Dieu avec tout mon cceur je t'aime!'
414 00418.jpg
LOVE'S VENGEANCE.
Even this did not still my suspicious thoughts.
The circumstances had been too strong-jealousy had
taken too firm a hold to be plucked out by mere
assurances. Explanation alone could satisfy me.
That or confession.
Having made a commencement, I went on. I
detailed what I had seen at the landing-thle after
conduct of D'Hauteville-what I had observed the
preceding night-what I had just that moment
witnessed. I detailed all. I added no reproaches.
There was time enough for them when I should
receive her answer.
It came in the midst of tears. She had known
D'Hauteville before-that was acknowledged. There
was a mystery in the relations that existed between
them. I was solicited not to require an explanation.
My patience was appealed to. It was not her secret.
I should soon know all. In due time all would be
revealed.
How readily my heart yielded to these delicious
words! I no longer doubted. How could I, with
those large eyes, full of love-light, shining through
the tear-bedewed lashes ?
My heart yielded. Once more my arms closed
affectionately around the form of my betrothed, and a
fervent kiss renewed the vow of our betrothal.
We could have remained long upon this love-
hallowed spot, but prudence prompted us to leave it.
We were too near to the point of danger. At the
distance of two hundred yards was the fence that
separated Gayarre's plantation from the wild woods;
and from that could even be seen the house itself,
far off over the fields. The thicket concealed us, it
415 00419.jpg
ZUa THE QUADROON.
was true; but should pursuit lead that way, the
thicket would be the first place that would be searched.
It would be necessary to seek a hiding-place farther
off in the woods.
I bethought me of the flowery glade-the scene of
my adventure with the crotalus. Around it the under-
wood was thick and shady, and there were spots
where we could remain screened from the observation
of the keenest eyes. At that moment I thought only
of such concealment. It never entered my head that
there were means of discovering us, even in the heart
of the tangled thicket, or the pathless maze of the
cane-brake. I resolved, therefore, to make at once for
the glade.
The pawpaw thicket, where we had passed the
night, lay near the south-eastern angle of Gayarre's
plantation. To reach the glade it would be necessary
for us to pass a mile or more to the northward. By
taking a diagonal line through the woods, the chances
were ten to one we should lose our way, and perhaps
not find a proper place of concealment. The chances
were, too, that we might not find a path, through
the network of swamps and bayous that traversed the
forest in every direction.
I resolved, therefore, to skirt the plantation, until
I had reached the path that I had before followed to
the glade, and which I now remembered. There
would be some risk until we had got to the northward
of Gayarre's plantation; but we should keep at a
distance from the fence, and as much as possible in
the underwood. Fortunately a belt of 'palmetto'
land, marking the limits of the annual inundation,
extended northward through the woods, and parallel
to the line of fence. This singular vegetation, with
416 00420.jpg
LOVE'S VENGEANCE.
its broad fan-like fronds, formed an excellent cover;
and a person passing through it with caution could
not be observed from any great distance. The partial
lattice-work of its leaves was rendered more complete
by the tall flower-stalks of the altheas, and other
malvaceous plants that shared the ground wlth the
palmettos.
Directing ourselves within the selvage of this rank
vegetation, we advanced with caution; and soon
came opposite the place where we had crossed the
fence on the preceding night. At this point the
woods approached nearest to the house of Gayarre.
As already stated, but one field lay between, but it
was nearly a mile in length. It was dead level, how-
ever, and did not appear half so long. By going
forward to the fence, we could have seen the house at
the opposite end, and very distinctly.
I had no intention of gratifying my curiosity at
that moment by such an act, and was moving on,
when a sound fell upon my ear that caused me sud-
denly to halt, while a thrill of terror ran through my
veins.
My companion caught me by the arm, and looked
inquiringly in my face.
A caution to her to be silent was all the reply I
could make; and, leaning a little lower, so as to bring
my ear nearer to the ground, I listened.
The suspense was short. I heard the sound again.
My first conjecture was right. It was the 'growl' of
a hound!
There was no mistaking that prolonged and deep-
toned note. I was too fond a disciple of St. Hubert
not to recognize the bay of a long-eared Molossian.
Though distant and low, like the hum of a forest bee,
2c
417 00421.jpg
394 THE QUADROON.
I was not deceived in the sound. It fell upon my
ears with a terrible import !
And why terrible was the baying of a hound P To
me above all others, whose ears, attuned to the tally
ho !' and the 'view hilloa i' regarded these sounds as
the sweetest of music ? Why terrible Ah! you
must think of the circumstances in which I was placed
-you must think, too, of the hours I spent with the
snake-charmer-of the tales he told me in that dark
tree-cave-the stories of runaways, of sleuth-dogs, of
man-hunters, and 'nigger-hunts,'-practices long
thought to be confined to Cuba, but which I found as
rife upon the soil of Louisiana,-you must think of
all these, and then you will understand why I trem-
bled at the distant baying of a hound.
The howl I heard was still very distant. It came
from the direction of Gayarre's house. It broke forth
at intervals. It was not like the utterance of a hound
upon the trail, but that of dogs just cleared from the
kennel, and giving tongue to their joy at the prospect
of sport.
Fearful apprehensions were stirred within me at
the moment. A terrible conjecture rushed across my
brain. They were after us with hounds!
418 00422.jpg
( 395 )
CHAPTER LXX.
HOUNDS ON OUR TRAIL.
0 GOD after us with hounds!
Either after us, or about to be, was the hypothetic
form of my conjecture.
I could proceed no farther upon our path till I had
become satisfied.
Leaving Aurore among the palmettoes. I ran
directly forward to the fence, which was also the
boundary of the woods. On reaching this, I grasped
the branch of a tree, and swung myself up to such an
elevation as would enable me to see over the tops of
the cane. This gave me a full view of the house
shining under the siu that had now risen in all his
splendour.
At a glance I saw that I had guessed aright.
Distant as the house was, I could plainly see men
around it, many of them on horseback. Their heads
were moving above the canes; and now and then the
deep bay of hounds told that several dogs were loose
about the enclosure. The scene was just as if a
party of hunters had assembled before going out upon
a deer drive;' and but for the place, the time, and
the circumstances that had already transpired, I
might have taken it for such. Far different, however,
was the impression it made upon me. I knew well
why was that gathering around the house of Gayarre.
I know well the game they were about to pursue.
I lingered but a moment upon my perch--long
0 2
419 00423.jpg
THE QUADROON.
enough to perceive that the hunters were all mounted
and ready to start.
With quick-beating pulse I retraced my steps; and
soon rejoined my companion, who stood awaiting me
with trembling apprehension.
I did not need to tell her the result of my recon-
noissance: she read it in my looks. She, too, had
heard the baying of the dogs. She was a native, and
knew the customs of the land: she knew that hounds
were used to hunt deer and foxes and wild cats of the
woods; but she knew also that on many plantations
there were some kept for a far different purpose-
sleuth-dogs, trained to the hunting of men!
Had she been of slow comprehension, I might have
attempted to conceal from her what I had learnt;
but she was far from that, and with quick instinct she
divined all.
Our first feeling was that of utter hopelessness.
There seemed no chance of our escaping. Go where
we would, hounds, trained to the scent of a human
track, could not fail to follow and find us. It would
be of no use hiding in the swamp or the bush. The
tallest sedge or the thickest underwood could not
give us shelter from pursuers like these.
Our first feeling, then, was that of hopelessness-
quickly followed by a half-formed resolve to go no
farther, to stand our ground and be taken. We had
not death to fear; though I knew that if taken I
might make up my mind to some rough handling. I
knew the feeling that was abroad in relation to the
Abolitionists-at that time raging like a fever. I
had heard of the barbarous treatment which some of
these 'fanatics'-as they were called-had ex-
perienced at the hands of the incensed slave-owners.
420 00424.jpg
HOUNDS ON OUR TRAIL. 397
I should no doubt be reckoned in the same category,
or maybe, still worse, be charged as a nigger-stealer.'
In any case I had to fear chastisement, and of no light
kind either.
But my dread of this was nothing when compared
with the reflection that, if taken, Aurore must go back
to Gayarre!
It was this thought more than any other that made
my pulse beat quickly. It was this thought that
determined me not to surrender until after every effort
to escape should fail us.
I stood for some moments pondering on what course
to pursue. All at once a thought came into my mind
that saved me from despair. That thought was of
Gabriel the runaway.
Do not imagine that I had forgotten him or his
hiding-place all this time. Do not fancy I had not
thought of him before. Often, since we had entered
the woods, had he and his tree-cave arisen in my
memory; and I should have gone there for conceal-
ment, but that the distance deterred me. As we in-
tended to return to the Levee Road after sunset, I
had chosen the glade for our resting-place, on account
of its being nearer.
Even then, when I learnt that hounds would be
after us, I had again thought of making for the
Bambarra's hiding-place; but had dismissed the idea,
because it occurred to me that the hounds could follow
us anywhere, and that, by taking shelter with the
runaway, we should only guide his tyrants upon him.
So quick and confused had been all these reflections,
that it had never occurred to me that the hounds
could not trail us across water. It was only at that
moment when pondering how I could throw them off
421 00425.jpg
3Ju9 THE QUADROON.
the track-thinking of the snake-charmer and his
pine-cones-that I remembered the water.
Sure enough, in that still lay a hope; and I could
now appreciate the remarkable cunning with which
the lair of the runaway had been chosen. It was
just the place to seek refuge from 'de dam blood-
dogs.'
The moment I thought of it, I resolved to flee
thither.
I would be sure to know the way. I had taken
especial pains to remember it; for even on the day of
my snake-adventure, some half-defined thoughts-
something more like a presentiment than a plan-had
passed through my mind, vaguely pointing to a
contingency like the present. Later events, and
particularly my design of escaping to the city at once,
had driven these thoughts out of my mind. For all
that, I still remembered the way by which the Bam-
barra had guided me, and could follow it with hurried
steps-though there was neither road nor path, save
the devious tracks made by cattle or the wild animals
of the forest.
But I was certain I knew it well. I should remem-
ber the signs and 'blazes' to which the guide had
called my attention. I should remember where it
crossed the 'big bayou' by the trunk of a fallen tree
that served as a foot-bridge. I should remember
where it ran through a strip of marsh impassable for
horses, through the cane-brake, among the great
knees and buttocks of the cypresses, down to the
edge of the water. And that huge tree, with its
prostrate trunk projecting out into the lake, and its
moss-wrapped branches-that cunning harbour for
the little pirogue-I should be sure to remember.
422 00426.jpg
THE SIGNAL. 399
Neither had I forgotten the signal, by which I was
to warn the runaway whenever I should return. It
was a peculiar whistle he had instructed me to give,
and also the number of times I was to utter it.
I had not waited for all these reflections. Many
of them were after-thoughts, that occurred along the
way. The moment I remembered the lake, I resolved
upon my course; and, with a word of cheer to my
companion, we again moved forward.
CHAPTER LXXI.
THE SIGNAL.
THE change in our plans made no change in the di-
rection. We continued on in the same course. The
way to the lake passed by the glade, where we had
purposed going-indeed, through the middle of it lay
the nearest path to the lair of the runaway.
Not far from the north-east angle of Gayarre's
plantation, was the spot where I had parted with the
black on the night of my adventure with him. It
was at this point the path entered the woods. The
blaze upon a sweet-gum tree, which I remembered well,
showed me the direction. I was but too glad to turn
off here, and leave the open woods; the more so that,
just as we had reached the turning-point, the cry of
the hounds came swelling upon the air, loud and pro-
longed. From the direction of the sound, I had no
doubt but that they were already in the cane-field,
and lifting our trail of the preceding night.
For a few hundred yards farther the timber was
423 00427.jpg
400 THE QUADROON.
thin. The axe had been flourished there, as the
numerous 'stumps' testified. It was there the
' firewood was procured for the use of the plantation,
and 'cords' of it, already cut and piled, could be
seen on both sides of our path. We passed among
these with trembling haste. We feared to meet with
some of the woodcutters, or the driver of a wood-
wagon. Such an encounter would have been a great
misfortune; as, whoever might have seen us would
have guided our pursuers on the track.
Had I reasoned calmly I would not have felt un-
easiness on this head. I might have known, that if
the dogs succeeded in tracking us thus far, they
would need no direction from either wagoner or
wood-chopper. But in the hurry of the moment I
did not think of this; and I felt relief when we had
passed through the tract of broken woods, and were
entering under the more sombre shadow of the virgin
forest.
It was now a question of time-a question of
whether we should be able to reach the lake, summon
the Bambarra with his pirogue, and be paddled out of
sight, before the dogs should trail us to the edge of
the water. Should we succeed in doing so, we should
then have a fair prospect of escape. No doubt the
dogs would guide our pursuers to the place of our
embarkation-the fallen tree-but then both dogs and
men would be at fault. That gloomy lake of the
woods was a rare labyrinth. Though the open water
was a surface of small extent, neither it, nor the
island-like motte of timber in its centre, was visible
from the place of embarkation; and, besides the lake
itself, the inundation covered a large tract of the
forest. Even should our pursuers be certain that wo
424 00428.jpg
THE SIGNAL. 401
had escaped by the water, they might despair of
finding us in the midst of such a maze-where the
atmosphere at that season of full foliage had the lhu
of a dark twilight.
But they would hardly be convinced of our escape
in that way. There was no trace left where the
pirogue was moored-no mark upon the tree. They
would scarce suspect the existence of a canoe in such
an out-of-the-way spot, where the water-a mere
stagnant pond-had no communication either with
the river or the adjacent bayous. We were leaving
no tracks-I took care of that-that could be per-
ceived under the forest gloom; and our pursuers
might possibly conclude that the dogs had been
running upon the trail of a bear, a cougar, or the
swamp wild-cat (Lynx rufus)-all of which animals
freely take the water when pursued. With such
probabilities I was cheering myself and my companion,
as we kept rapidly along our course i
My greatest source of apprehension was the delay
we should have to make, after giving the signal to
the runaway. Would he hear it at once? Would he
attend to it in due haste ? Would he arrive in time ?
These were the points about which I felt chiefly
anxious. Time was the important consideration; in
that lay the conditions of our danger. Oh! that I
had thought of this purpose before !-oh! that we
had started earlier !
How long would it take our pursuers to come up ?
I could scarce trust myself to think of a reply to this
question. Mounted as they were, they would travel
faster than we: the dogs would guide them at a
run!
One thought alone gave me hope. They woil l
425 00429.jpg
402 THE QUADROON.
soon find our resting-place of the night; they would
see where we had slept by the pawpaw-leaves and the
moss; they could not fail to be certain of all that;
but would they so easily trail us thence? In our
search after the horses, we had tracked the woods in
all directions. I had gone back to the bye-road, and
some distance along it. All this would surely baffle
the dogs for a while; besides, D'Hauteville, at starting,
had left the pawpaw thicket by a different route from
that we had taken. They might go off on his trail.
Would that they might follow D'Hauteville
All these conjectures passed rapidly through my
mind as we hurried along. I even thought of making
an attempt to throw the hounds off the scent. I
thought of the ruse practised by the Bambarra with
the spray of the loblolly pine; but, unfortunately, I
could not see any of these trees on our way, and
feared to lose time by going in search of one. I had
doubts, too, of the efficacy of such a proceeding,
though the black had solemnly assured me of it.
The common red onion, he had afterwards told me.
would be equally effective for the like purpose! But
the red onion grew not in the woods, and the pin de
l'encens I could not find.
For all that I did not proceed without precautions.
Youth though I was, I was an old hunter, and had
some knowledge of 'woodcraft,' gathered in deer-
stalking, and in the pursuit of other game, among my
native hills. Moreover, my nine months of New-
world life had not all been passed within city walls;
and I had already become initiated into many of the
mysteries of the great American forest.
I did not proceed, then, in mere reckless haste.
Whore precautions could be observed, I adopted them.
426 00430.jpg
THE SIGNAL. 403
A strip of marsh had to be crossed. It was stag-
nant water, out of which grew flags, and the shrub
called 'swamp-wood' (Buis de marais). It was knee-
deep, and could be waded. I knew this, for I had
crossed it before. Hand in hand we waded through,
and got safe to the opposite side; but on entering
I took pains to choose a place, where we stepped at
once from the dry ground into the water. On going
out, I observed a like precaution-so that our tracks
might not appear in the mud.
Perhaps I should not have taken all this trouble,
had I known that there were 'hunters' among those
who pursued us. I fancied the crowd I had seen
were but planters, or people of the town-hurriedly
brought together by Gayarro and his friends. I
fancied they might not have much skill in tracking,
and that my simple trick might be sufficient to
mislead them.
Had I known that at their head was a man, of
whom Gabriel had told me much-a man who made
ncgro-hunting his profession, and who was the most
noted 'tracker' in all the country-I might have
saved myself both the time and the trouble I was
taking. But I knew not that this ruffian and his
trained dogs were after us, and I did my utmost to
throw my pursuers off.
Shortly after passing the marsh, we crossed the
'big bayou' by means of its tree-bridge. Oh! that I
could have destroyed that log, or hurled it from its
position. I consoled myself with the idea, that
though the dogs might follow us over it, it would
delay the pursuers awhile, who, no doubt, were all on
horseback.
We now passed through the glad, but I halted
427 00431.jpg
404 THE QUADROON.
not there. We stopped not to look upon its bright
flowers-we perceived not their fragrance. Once I
had wished to share this lovely scene in the company
of Aurore. We were now in its midst, but under
what circumstances! What wild thoughts were
passing through my brain, as we hurried across this
flowery tract under bright sunshine, and then plunged
once more into the sombre atmosphere of the woods!
The path I remembered well, and was able to
pursue it without hesitancy. Now and then only did
I pause-partly to listen, and partly to rest my com-
panion, whose bosom heaved quick and high with the
rude exertion. But her glance testified that her
courage was firm, and her smile cheered me on.
At length we entered among the cypress-trees that
bordered the lake; and, gliding around their massive
trunks, soon reached the edge of the water.
We approached the fallen tree; and, climbing up,
advanced along its trunk until we stood among its
moss-covered branches.
I had provided myself with an instrument-a
simple joint of the cane which grew plenteously
around, and which with my knife I had shaped after
a fashion I had been already taught by the Bambarra.
With this I could produce a sound, that would be
heard at a great distance off, and plainly to the
remotest part of the lake.
Taking hold of the branches, I now bent down,
until my face almost touched the surface of the water,
and placing the reed to my lips, I gave utterance to
the signal.
428 00432.jpg
( 405 )
CHAPTER LXXII.
THE SLEUTH-HOUNDS.
THE shrill whistle, pealing along the water, pierced
the dark aisles of the forest. It aroused the wild
denizens of the lake, who, startled by such an unusual
sound, answered it with their various cries in a
screaming concert. The screech of the crane and
the Louisiana heron, the hoarse hooting of owls, and
the hoarser croak of the pelican, mingled together;
and, louder than all, the scream of the osprey and
the voice of the bald eagle-the last falling upon the
ear with sharp metallic repetitions that exactly re-
sembled the filing of saws.
For some moments this commotion was kept up;
and it occurred to me that if I had to repeat the
signal then it would not have been heard. Shrill as it
was, it could scarce have been distinguished in such a
din!
Crouching among the branches, we remained to
await the result. We made no attempts at idle
converse. The moments were too perilous for aught
but feelings of extreme anxiety. Now and then a
word of cheer-a muttered hope-were all the com-
munications that passed between us.
With earnest looks we watched the water-with
glances of fear we regarded the land. On one side
we listened for the plashing of a paddle; on the other
we dreaded to hear the howl' of a hound. Never
429 00433.jpg
406 THE QUADROON.
can I forget those moments-those deeply-anxious
moments. Till death I may not forget them.
Every thought at the time-every incident, however
minute-now rushes into my remembrance, as if it
were a thing of yesterday.
I remember that once or twice, away under the
trees, we perceived a ripple along the surface of the
water. Our hearts were full of hope-we thought it
was the canoe.
It was a fleeting joy. The waves were made by
the great saurian, whose hideous body-large almost
as the pirogue itself-next moment passed before our
eyes, cleaving the water with fish-like velocity.
I remember entertaining the supposition that the
runaway might not be in his lair! He might be off in
the forest-in search of food-or on any other errand.
Then the reflection followed-if such were the case, I
should have found the pirogue by the tree ? Still he
might have other landing-places around the lake-on
the other side perhaps. He had not told me whether
or no, and it was probable enough. These hypothetic
conjectures increased my anxiety.
But there arose another, far more dreadful, because
far more probable-
Tle black might be asleep !
Far more probable, because night was his day, and
day his night. At night he was abroad, roaming and
busy-by day he was at home and slept.
' Oh, Heavens I if he should be asleep, and not have
heard the signal!'
Such was the terrible fancy that rushed across my
brain.
I felt suddenly impelled to repeat the signal-
though I thought at the time, if my conjecture were
430 00434.jpg
THE SLEUTH-IOUNDS.
correct, there was but little hope he would hear me.
A negro sleeps like a torpid bear. The report of a
gun or a railway-whistle alone could awake one.
There was no chance for a puny pipe like mine-
the more especially as the screaming concert still
continued.
' Even if he should hear it, he would hardly be able
to distinguish the whistle from- Merciful heavens!'
I was speaking to my companion when this ex-
clamation interrupted me. It came from my own
lips, but with involuntary utterance. It was called
forth by a sound of dread import-a sound that I
could hear above the shrill screaming of the birds, and
hearing could interpret. It was the trumpet-like
baying of a hound I
I stood bent, and listening; I heard it again. There
was no mistaking that note. I had the ears of a
hunter. I knew the music well.
Oh, how unlike to music then! It fell upon my
cars like a cry of vengeance-like a knell of death!
I thought no longer of repeating the signal; even
if heard, it would be too late. I flung the reed away,
as a useless toy. I drew Aurore along the tree,
passing her behind me; and raising myself erect,
stood fronting the land.
Again the gowl' broke out-its loud echoes rolling
through the woods-this time so near, that every mo-
ment I expected to see the animal that had uttered it.
I had not long to wait. A hundred yards off was a
cane-brake. I could perceive a motion among the
tall reeds. Their tops swayed to and fro, and their
hollow culms rattled against each other, as they were
jerked about, and borne downward. Some living
thing was pressing through their midst.
431 00435.jpg
408 THE QUADROON.
The motion reached their verge-the last canes
gave way, and I now saw what I had looked for-the
spotted body of a hound! With a spring the animal
came forth, paused for a moment in the open ground,
and then, uttering a prolonged howl, took up the
scent, and galloped forward.
Close upon his heels came a second; the waving
cane closed behind them, and both ran forward in the
direction of the log.
As there was no longer any underwood, I had a
full view of their bodies. Gloomy as the place was, I
could see them with sufficient distinctness to note
their kind-huge, gaunt deer-hounds, black and tan.
From the manner of their approach, they had evidently
been trained to their work, and that was not the
hunting of deer. No ordinary hound would have
run upon a human track, as they were running upon
ours.
The moment I saw these dogs I made ready for a
conflict. Their huge size, their broad heavy jaws,
and ferocious looks, told what savage brutes they
were; and I felt satisfied they would attack me as
soon as they came up.
With this belief I drew forth a pistol; and, laying
hold of a branch to steady me, I stood waiting their
approach.
I had not miscalculated. On reaching the prostrate
trunk, he scarcely made a pause ; but, leaping upward,
came running along the log. He had dropped the
scent, and now advanced with eyes glaring, evidently
meditating to spring upon me.
My position could not have been better, had I spent
an hour in choosing it. From the nature of the
ground, my assailant could neither dodge to the right
432 00436.jpg
THE QUADROON.
- .r ,
u 'N.
Hunted like a Wolf.-p. 408.
433 00437.jpg
434 00438.jpg
THE MAN-HUNTER.
nor the left; but was compelled to approach me in a
line as straight as an arrow. I had nought to do but
hold my weapon firm and properly directed. A
novice with fire-arms could hardly have missed such
an object.
My nerves were strung with anger-a feeling of
intense indignation was burning in my breast, that
rendered me as firm as steel. I was cool from very
passion-at the thought of being thus hunted like a
wolf!
I waited until the muzzle of the hound almost met
that of the pistol, and then I fired. The dog tumbled
from the log.
I saw the other close upon his heels. I aimed
through the smoke, and again pulled trigger.
The good weapon did not fail me. Again the
report was followed by a plunge.
The hounds were no longer upon the log. They
had fallen right and left into the black water below!
CHAPTER LXXIII.
THE MAN-IIUNTER.
THE hounds had fallen into the water-one dead, the
other badly wounded. The latter could not have
escaped, as one of his legs had been struck by the
bullet, and his efforts to swim were but the throes of
desperation. In a few minutes he must have gone to
the bottom ; but it was not his fate to die by drowning.
It was predestined that his howling should be brought
to a termination in a far different manner.
435 00439.jpg
410 THE QUADROON.
The voice of the dog is music to the ear of the
alligator. Of all other animals, this is the favourite
prey of the great saurian; and the howl of hound or
cur will attract him from any distance where it may
be heard.
Naturalists have endeavoured to explain this in a
different way. They say-and such is the fact-that
the howling of a dog bears a resemblance to the voice
of the young alligator, and that the old ones are
attracted towards the spot where it is heard-the
mother to protect it, and the male parent to devour it!
This is a disputed point in natural history; but
there can be no dispute that the alligator eagerly
preys upon the dog whenever an opportunity offers-
seizing the canine victim in his terrible jaws, and
carrying it off to his aqueous retreat. This he does
with an air of such earnest avidity, as to leave no
doubt but that he esteems the dog a favourite morsel.
I was not surprised, then, to see half-a-dozen of
these gigantic reptiles emerging from amid the dark
tree-trunks, andhastily swimming towards the wounded
hound.
The continued howling of the latter guided them;
and in a few seconds they had surrounded the spot
where he struggled, and were dashing forward upon
their victim.
A shoal of sharks could not have finished him more
expeditiously. A blow from the tail of one silenced
his howling-three or four pair of gaunt jaws closed
upon him at the same time-a short scuffle ensued-
then the long bony heads separated, and the huge
reptiles were seen swimming off again-each with a
morsel in his teeth. A few bubbles and blotches of
red froth mottling the inky surface of the water, were
436 00440.jpg
THE MAN-HUNTER.
all that remained where the hound had lately been
plunging.
Almost a similar scene occurred on the opposite
side of the log-for the water was but a few feet in
depth, and the dead hound was visible as he lay at the
bottom. Several of the reptiles approaching on that
side, had seen this one at the same time, and, rushing
forward, they served him precisely as his companion
had been served by the others. A crumb of bread
could not have disappeared sooner among a shoal of
hungry minnows, than did the brace of deer-hounds
down the throats of these ravenous reptiles.
Singular as was the incident, it had scarce drawn
my notice. I had far other things to think of.
After firing the pistol, I remained standing upon
the tree, with my eyes fixed in the direction whence
came the hounds.
I gazed intently among the tree-trunks, away up
the dark vistas of the forest. I watched the cane-
brake, to note the slightest motion in the reeds. I
listened to every sound, while I stood silent myself,
and enjoined silence upon my trembling companion.
I had but little hope then. There would be more
dogs, no doubt-slower hounds following in the dis-
tance-and with them the mounted man-hunters.
They could not be far behind-they could not fail to
come up soon-the sooner that the report of my
pistol would guide them to the spot. It would be
of no use making opposition to a crowd of angry
men. I could do nothing else than surrender to
them.
My companion entreated me to this course; ab-
jured me not to use my weapons-for I now held the
second pistol in my hand. But I had no intention of
2D2
437 00440a.jpg
412 THE QUADROON.
using them should the crowd of men come up; I had
only taken out the pistol as a precaution against the
attack of the dogs-should any more appear.
For a good while I heard no sounds from the forest,
and saw no signs of our pursuers. What could be
detaining them? Perhaps the crossing of the bayou,
or the tract of marsh. I knew the horsemen must
there leave the trail; but were they all mounted?
I began to hope that Gabriel might yet be in time.
If he had not heard the signal-whistle, he must have
heard the reports of my pistol? But, on second
thoughts, that might only keep him back. He would
not understand the firing, and might fear to come
with the pirogue!
Perhaps he had heard the first signal, and was now
on his way. It was not too late to entertain such a
supposition. Notwithstanding what had passed, we
had been yet but a short while upon the spot. If on
the way, he might think the shots were fired from my
double-barrelled gun-fired at some game. He might
not be deterred. There was still a hope he might
come in time. If so, we would be able to reach his
tree-cave in safety.
There was no trace of the dogs, save a blotch or
two of blood upon the rough bark of the log, and that
was not visible from the shore. Unless there were
other dogs to guide them to the spot, the men might
not in the darkness so easily discover these marks.
We might yet baffle them!
With fresh hope I turned once more towards the
water, and gazed in the direction in which I expected
the pirogue to come. Alas! there was no sign of it.
No sound came from the lake save the wild calling of
the affrighted birds,
438 00440b.jpg
SHOT FOR SHOT.
I turned once more to the land.
I saw the cane-brake in motion. The tall culms
vibrated and crackled under the heavy tread of a
man, who the next moment emerging into the open
ground, advanced at a slinging trot towards the
water I
He was alone and a-foot-there were no dogs with
him-but the long rifle poised upon his shoulder, and
the hunting accoutrements around his body, told me
at a glance he was the owner of the deer-hounds.
His black bushy beard, his leggings, and buckskin
shirt, his red neckcloth and raccoon cap-but above
all, the brutal ferocity of his visage, left me in no
doubt as to who this character was. The description
of the runaway answered him in every particular.
He could be no other than uffin the man-hunter I
CHAPTER LXXIV.
SHOT FOR SHOT.
YEs, the individual who now advanced was Ruffin the
man-hunter; and the dogs I had killed were his-a
brace of sleuth-hounds, well known in the settlement
as being specially trained to tracking the unfortunate
blacks, that, driven by cruel treatment, had taken to
the woods.
Well known, too, was their master-a dissipated
brutal fellow, half hunter, half hog-thief, who dwelt
in the woods like an Indian savage, and hired himself
out to such of the planters as needed the aid of him
and his horrid hounds I
439 00441.jpg
THE QUADROON.
As I have said, T bad never seen this individual,
though I had heard of him often-from Scipio, from
the boy Caton, and, lastly, from Gabriel. The Bam-
barra had described him minutely-had told me wild
stories of the man's wickedness and ferocious cruelty
-how he had taken the lives of several runaways
while in pursuit of them, and caused others to be torn
and mangled by his savage dogs !
He was the terror and aversion of every negro
quarter along the coast; and his name-appropriate
to his character-oft served the sable mother as a
'bogey' to frighten her squalling piccaninny into
silence I
Such was Ruffin the man-hunter, as he was known
among the black helots of the plantations. The 'cob-
bing-board' and the red cowhide were not half so terri-
ble as he. In comparison with him, such characters as
' Bully Bill,' the flogging overseer, might be esteemed
mild and humane.
The sight of this man at once deprived me of all
farther thought of escape. I permitted my pistol
arm to drop loosely by my side, and stood awaiting
his advance, with the intention of surrendering our-
selves up. Resistance would be vain, and could only
lead to the idle spilling of blood. With this intention
I remained silent, having cautioned my companion to
do the same.
On first emerging from the cane-brake, the hunter
did not see us. I was partially screened by the moss
where I stood-Aurore entirely so. Besides, the
man's eyes were not turned in our direction.
They were bent upon the ground. No doubt he had
heard the reports of my pistol; but he trusted more
to his tracking instincts; and, from his bent attitude,
440 00442.jpg
SHOT FOR SHOT. 415
I could tell that he was trailing his own dogs-
almost as one of themselves would have done!
As he neared the edge of the pond, the smell of the
water reached him; and, suddenly halting, he raised
his eyes and looked forward. The sight of the pond
seemed to puzzle him, and his astonishment was
expressed in the short sharp expression,-
' H- 11!'
The next moment his eyes fell upon the prostrate
tree, then quickly swept along its trunk, and rested
full upon me.
' H---1 and scissors!' he exclaimed, thar are ye !
Whar's my dogs ?'
I stood eyeing him back, but made no reply.
'You hear, d- n yer! Whar's my dogs?'
I still remained silent.
His eyes fell upon the log. He saw the blood-spots
upon the bark. He remembered the shots.
' H-- l and d- n!' cried he, with horrid em-
phasis, 'you've kilt my dogs!' and then followed a
volley of mingled oaths and threats, while the ruffian
gesticulated as if he had suddenly gone mad!
After a while he ceased from these idle demon-
strations; and, planting himself firmly, he raised his
rifle muzzle towards me, and cried out:-
' Come off that log, and fetch your blue-skin
with you! Quick, d- n yer! Come off that log!
Another minnit, an' I'll plug ye !'
I have said that at first sight of the man I had
given up all idea of resistance, and intended to sur-
render at once; but there was something so arrogant
in the demand-so insulting in the tone with which
the ruffian made it-that it fired my very flesh with
indignation, and determined me to stand at bay.
441 00443.jpg
410 TIHE QUADROON,
Anger, at being thus hunted, now-nerved both my
heart and my arm. The brute had bayed me, and I
resolved to risk resistance.
Another reason for changing my determination-I
now saw that he was al&ne. He had followed the dogs
afoot, while the others on horseback had no doubt
been stopped or delayed by the bayou and morass.
Had the crowd come up, I must have yielded nolens
volens; but the man-hunter himself-formidable an-
tagonist though he appeared-was still but one, and
to surrender tamely to a single individual, was more
than my spirit-inherited from border ancestry-
could brook. There was too much of the moss-
trooper blood in my veins for that, and I resolved,
code que coute, to risk the encounter.
My pistol was once more firmly grasped; and look-
ing the ruffian full into his blood-shot eyes, I shouted
back,-
'Fire at your peril! Miss and you are mine!'
The sight of my uplifted pistol caused him to quail;
and I have no doubt that had opportunity offered, he
would have withdrawn from the contest. He had
expected no such a reception.
But he had gone too far to recede. His rifle was
already at his shoulder, and the next moment I saw
the flash, and heard the sharp crack. The thud' of
his bullet, too, fell upon my ear, as it struck into the
branch against which I was leaning. Good marks-
man as he was reputed, the sheen of my pistols had
spoiled his aim, and he had missed me!
I did not miss him. He fell to the shot with a
demoniac howl; and as the smoke thinned off, I
could see him writhing and scrambling in the black
mud!
442 00444.jpg
LOVE IT TIE HOUR OF PERIL. 417
I hesitated whether to give him the second barrel-
for I was angry and desired his life-but at this
moment noises reached me from behind. I heard the
plunging paddle, with the sounds of a manly voice;
and turning, I beheld the Bambarra.
The latter had shot the pirogue among the tree-
tops close to where we stood, and with voice and
gesture now urged us to get aboard.
' Quick, mass'. Quick, 'Rore gal! jump into do
dug-out! Jump in! Truss Ole Gabe!-he stand by
young mass' to de deff!'
Almost mechanically I yielded to the solicitations
of the runaway-though I now saw but little chance
of our ultimate escape-and, having assisted Aurore
into the pirogue, I followed and took my seat beside
her.
The strong arm of the negro soon impelled us far
out from the shore; and in five minutes after we
were crossing the open lake toward the cypress clump
in its midst.
CHAPTER LXXV.
LOVE IN THE noun OF PERIL.
WE glided into the shadow of the tree, and passed
under its trailing parasites. The pirogue touched its
trunk. Mechanically I climbed along the sloping
buttress-mechanically assisted Aurore.
We stood within the hollow chamber-the lurking-
place of the runaway-and for the present were safe
from pursuit. But there was no joy in our hearts.
443 00445.jpg
418 TIHE QUADROON.
We knew it was but a respite, without any hope of
ultimate concealment.
The encounter with Ruffin had ruined all our pros-
pects. Whether the hunter were yet dead or alive,
his presence would guide the pursuit. The way we
had got off would easily be conjectured, and our
hiding-place could not long remain undiscovered.
What had passed would be likely to aggravate our
pursuers, and strengthen their determination to
capture us. Before Ruffin came up, there was yet a
chance of safety. Most of those engaged in the pur-
suit would regard it as the mere ordinary affair of a
chase after a runaway negro-a sport of which they
might get tired whenever they should lose the track.
Considering for whom the hunt was got up-a man
so unpopular as Gayarrc,-none would have any great
interest in the result, excepting himself and his
ruffian aids. Had we left no traces where we em-
barked in the pirogue, the gloomy labyrinth of forest-
covered water might have discouraged our pursuers-
most of whom would have given up at the doubtful
prospect, and returned to their homes. We might
have been left undisturbed until nightfall, and it was
my design to have then recrossed the lake, landed at
some new point, and, under the guidance of the
Bambarra, get back to the Levee Road, where we
were to meet D'Hauteville with the horses. Thence,
as originally agreed upon, to the city.
All this programme, I had hastily conceived; and
previous to the appearance of Ruffin, there was every
probability I should succeed in carrying it out.
Even after I had shot the dogs, I did not wholly
despair. There were still many chances of success
that occurred to me. The pursuers, thought I, de-
444 00446.jpg
LOVE IN THE HOUR OF PERIL.
trained by the bayou, might have lost the dogs, and
would not follow their track so easily. Some time
would be wasted at all events. Even should they
form a correct guess as to the fate of the hounds,
neither men afoot nor on horseback could penetrate to
our hiding-place. They would need boats or canoes.
More time would be consumed in bringing these from
the river, and perhaps night would be down before
this could be effected. On night and D'Hauteville I
still had confidence.
That was previous to the conflict with the man-
hunter.
After that affair, circumstances had undergone a
change. Alive or dead, Ruffin would guide the pursuit
to where we were. If still living-and now that my
angry feeling had passed away I hoped he was-lie
would at once direct the pursuers upon us.
I believed he was not dead-only wounded. His
behaviour, after receiving the shot, had not been like
that of a man mortally wounded. I believed, and
hoped, that he still lived-not that I felt at all
remorseful at what had happened, but from mere
prudential considerations. If dead, his body by the
prostrate tree would soon be discovered, and would
tell the tale to those who came up. We should be
captured all the same, and might expect the more
terrible consequences.
The rencontre with this ruffian had been altogether
unfortunate. It had changed the face of affairs.
Blood had been spilt in defence of a runaway. The
news would return rapidly to the town. It would
spread through the plantations with lightning-speed.
The whole community would be fired and roused-the
number of our pursuers quadrupled. I should be
445 00447.jpg
420 THE QUADROON.
hunted as a double outlaw, and with the hostile energy
of vengeance !
I knew all this, and no longer speculated upon the
probabilities of deliverance. There was not the
remotest prospect of our being able to get away.
I drew my betrothed near me. I folded her in my
arms, and pressed her to my heart. Till death she
would be mine! She swore it in that shadowy spot-
in that dread and darksome hour. Till death she
would be mine!
Her love inspired me with courage; and with
courage I awaited the result.
* * * *
Another hour passed.
Despite our fearful anticipations, that hour was
pleasantly spent. Strange it is to say so, but it was
in reality one of the happiest hours I can remember.
It was the first time I had been enabled to hold free
converse with Aurore since the day of our betrothal.
We were now alone-for the faithful black stood
sentinel below by the hawser of his pirogue.
The reaction, consequent upon my late jealousy,
had kindled my love to a renewed and fiercer life-for
such is the law of nature. In the very ardour of
my affection, I almost forgot our desperate situation.
Over and over again we vowed eternal troth-over
and over plighted our mutual faith, in fond, burning
words-the eloquence of our heartfelt passion. Oh !
it was a happy hour !
Alas! it came to an end. It ended with a painful
regret, but not with surprise. I was not surprised to
hear horns sounding through the woods, and signal
shouts answering each other in different directions.
I was not surprised when voices came pealing across
446 00448.jpg
LOVE IN THE HOUR OF PERIL. 421
the water-loud oaths and ejaculations-mingled with
the plashing of paddles and the plunging of oars;
and, when the negro announced that several boats
filled with armed men were in the open water and
approaching the tree, it did not take me by surprise.
I had foreseen all this.
I descended to the base of the cypress, and, stoop-
ing down, looked out under the hanging moss. I
could see the surface of the lake. I could see the
men in their canoes and skiffs, rowing and gesticu-
lating.
When near the middle of the open water, they lay
upon their oars, and held a short consultation. After
a moment they separated, and rowed in circles around,
evidently with the design of encompassing the tree.
In a few minutes they had executed this manoeuvre,
and now closed in, until their vessels floated among
the drooping branches of the cypress. A shout of
triumph told that they had discovered our retreat;
and I now saw their faces peering through the curtain
of straggling tillandsia.
They could see the pirogue, and both the negro
and myself standing by the bow.
' Surrender!' shouted a voice in a loud, firm tone.
'If you resist, your lives be on your own heads !'
Notwithstanding this summons, the boats did not
advance any nearer. They knew that I carried
pistols, and that I knew how to handle them-the
proofs were fresh. They approached, therefore, with
caution-thinking I might still use my weapons.
They had no need to be apprehensive. I had not
the slightest intention of doing so. Resistance against
twenty men-for there were that number in the boats,
twenty men well armed-would have been a piece of
447 00449.jpg
422 THE QUADROON.
desperate folly. I never thought of such a thing;
though, if I had, I believe the Bambarra would have
stood by me to the death. The brave fellow, steeled
to a supernatural courage by the prospect of his
punishment, had even proposed fight But his courage
was madness; and I entreated him not to resist-as
they would certainly have slain him on the spot.
I meant no resistance, but I hesitated a moment in
making answer.
'We 're all armed,' continued the speaker, who
seemed to have some authority over the others. It
is useless for you to resist-you had better give up '
' D-n them !' cried another and a rougher voice;
'don't waste talk on them. Let's fire the tree, and
smoke 'em out; that moss'll burn, I reckon!'
I recognized the voice that uttered this inhuman
suggestion. It came from Bully Bill.
SI have no intention of making resistance,' I called
out in reply to the first speaker. I am ready to go
with you. I have committed no crime. For what I
have done I am ready to answer to the laws.'
'You shall answer to us,' replied one who had not
before spoken; we are the laws here.'
There was an ambiguity in this speech that I liked
not; but there was no further parley. The skiffs and
canoes had suddenly closed in around the tree. A
dozen muzzles of pistols and rifles were pointed at me,
and a dozen voices commanded the negro and myself
to get into one of the boats.
From the fierce, determined glances of these rough
men, I saw it was death or obedience.
I turned to bid adieu to Aurore, who had rushed
out of the tree-cave, and stood near me weeping.
As I faced round, several men sprang upon the
448 00450.jpg
A TERRIBLE FATE. 423
buttress; and, seizing me from behind, held me in
their united grasp. Then drawing my arms across
my back, tied them fast with a rope.
I could just speak one parting word with Auroro,
who, no longer in tears, stood regarding my captors
with a look of scornful indignation. As they led me
unresistingly into the boat, her high spirit gave way
to words, and she cried out in a voice of scorn-
' Cowards! cowards! Not one of you dare meet
him in a fair field-no, not one of you!'
The lofty spirit of my betrothed echoed mine, and
gave me proof of her love. I was pleased with it, and
could have applauded; but my mortified captors gave
me no time to reply; for the next moment the pirogue
in which I had been placed shot out through the
branches, and floated on the open water of the lake.
CHAPTER LXXVI.
A TERRIBLE FATE.
I SAW no more of Aurore. Neither was the black
brought along. I could gather from the conversation
of my captors, that they were to be taken in one of
the skiffs that had stayed behind-that they were to
be landed at a different point from that to which we
were steering. I could gather, too, that the poor
Bambarra was doomed to a terrible punishment-the
same he already dreaded-the losing of an arm!
I was pained at such a thought, but still more by
the rude jests I had now to listen to. My betrothed
449 00453.jpg
"424 THE QUADROON.
and myself were reviled with a disgusting coarseness,
which I cannot repeat.
I made no attempt to defend either her or myself.
I did not even reply. I sat with my eyes bent
gloomily upon the water; and it was a sort of relief
to me when the pirogue again passed in among the
trunks of the cypress-trees, and their dark shadow
half concealed my face from the view of my captors.
I was brought back to the landing by the old tree-
trunk.
On nearing this I saw that a crowd of men awaited
us on the shore; and among them I recognized the
ferocious Ruffin, with his arm slung in his red
kerchief, bandaged and bloody. He was standing up
with the rest.
' Thank Heaven! I have not killed him!' was my
mental ejaculation. So much the less have I to
answer for.'
The canoes and skiffs-with the exception of that
which carried Aurore and the black-had all arrived
at this point, and my captors were landing. In all
there were some thirty or forty men, with a propor-
tion of half-grown boys. Most of them were armed
with either pistols or rifles. Under the grey gloom of
the trees, they presented a picturesque tableau; but
at that moment my feelings were not attuned to
enjoy it.
I was landed among the rest; and with two armed
men, one before and another immediately at my back,
I was marched off through the woods. The crowd
accompanied us, some in the advance, some behind,
while others walked alongside. These were the boys
and the more brutal of the men, who occasionally
taunted me with rude speech.
450 00454.jpg
A TERRIBLE FATE. 425
T might have lost patience and grown angry, had
that served me; but I know it would only give plea-
sure to my tormentors, without bettering my condition.
I therefore observed silence, and kept my eyes averted
or turned upon the ground.
We passed on rapidly-as fast as the crowd could
make way through the bushes-and I was glad of
this. I presumed I was about to be conducted before
a magistrate, or 'justice of the peace,' as there called.
Well, thought I. Under legal authority, and in the
keeping of the officers, I should be protected from
the gibes and insults that were being showered upon
me. Everything short of personal violence was
offered; and there were some that seemed sufficiently
disposed even for this.
I saw the forest opening in front. I supposed we
had gone by some shorter way to the clearings. It
was not so, for the next moment we emerged into the
glade. Again the glade l
Here my captors came to a halt; and now in the
open light I had an opportunity to know who they
were. At a glance I saw that I was in the hands of a
desperate crowd.
Gayarre himself was in their midst, and beside him
his own overseer, and the negro-trader, and the
brutal Larkin. With these were some half-dozen
Creole Frenchmen of the poorer class of proprietaires,
weavers of cottonade, or small planters. The rest of
the mob was composed of the very scum of the
settlement-the drunken boatmen whom I had used
to see gossiping in front of the 'groceries,' and other
dissipated rowdies of the place. Not one respectable
planter appeared upon the ground-not one respect-
able man !
451 00455.jpg
426 THE QUADROON.
For what had they stopped in the glade? I was
impatient to be taken before the justice, and chafed
at the delay.
' Why am I detained here?' I asked in a tone of
anger.
' Ho, mister!' replied one; 'don't be in such a
h--ll of a hurry! Yu'll find out soon enough, I
reckon.'
' I protest against this,' I continued. 'I insist
upon being taken before the justice.'
' An' so ye will, d- n you! You ain't got far to
go. The justice is hyar.'
'Who? where?' I inquired, under the impression
that a magistrate was upon the ground. I had heard
of wood-choppers acting as justices of the peace-in
fact, had met with one or two of them-and among the
rude forms that surrounded me there might be one of
these.
' Where is the justice ?' I demanded.
' Oh, he's about-never you fear!' replied one.
' Whar's the justice ?' shouted another.
SAy, whar's the justice ?-whar are ye, judge?'
cried a third, as if appealing to some one in the crowd.
' Come on hyar, judge !' he added. Come along!-
hyar's a fellar wants to see you!'
I really thought the man was in earnest. I really
believed there was such an individual in the mob.
The only impression made upon me was astonishment
at this rudeness towards the magisterial representative
of the law.
My misconception was short-lived, for at this
moment Ruffin-the bandaged and bloody Ruffin-
came close up to me; and, after scowling upon me
with his fierce, bloodshot eyes, bent forward until
452 00456.jpg
THE SENTENCE OF JUDGE LYNCH. 427
his lips almost touched my face, and then hissed
out,-
' Perhaps, Mister nigger-stealer, you've niver hccrd
ov Justice Lynch ?'
A thrill of horror run through my veins. The fear-
ful conviction flashed before my mind that tiny were
going to Lynch me !
CHAPTER LXXVII.
THE SENTENCE OF JUDGE LYNCH.
AN undefined suspicion of something of this sort had
already crossed my thoughts. I remembered the
reply made from the boats, You shall answer to us.
We are the law.' I had heard some mysterious
inuendoes as we passed through the woods-I had
noticed too, that on our arrival in the glade, we found
those who had gone in the advance halted there, as if
waiting for the others to come up; and I could not
comprehend why we had stopped there at all.
I now saw that the men of the party were drawing
to one side, and forming a sort of irregular ring, with
that peculiar air of solemnity that bespeaks some
serious business. It was only the boys, and some
negroes-for these, too, had taken part in our capture
-who remained near me. Ruffin had simply ap-
proached to gratify his revengeful feelings by tanta-
lising me.
All these appearances had aroused wild suspicions
within me, but up to that moment they had assumed
no definite form. I had even endeavoured to keep back
such a suspicion, under the vague belief, that by the
2E2
453 00457.jpg
TIIE QUADROON.
very imagination of it, I might in some way aid in
bringing it about!
It was no longer suspicion. It was now conviction.
They were going to Lynch me!
The significant interrogatory, on account of the
manner in which it was put, was hailed by the boys
with a shout of laughter. Ruffin continued,-
' No; I guess you hadn't heerd ov that ar justice,
since yur a stranger in these parts, an' a Britisher.
You han't got sich a one among yur bigwigs, I reckin.
He's the fellar that ain't a goin' to keep you long in
Chancery. No, by G- d! he'll do yur business in
double-quick time. H--11 and scissors! yu'll see if
he don't.'
Throughout all this speech the brutal fellow taunted
me with gestures as well as words-drawing from his
auditory repeated bursts of laughter.
So provoked was I that, had I not been fast bound,
I should have sprung upon him; but, bound as I was,
and vulgar brute as was this adversary, I could not
hold my tongue.
' Were I free, you ruffian, you would not dare taunt
me thus. At all events you have come off but second
best. I've crippled you for life; though it don't
matter much, seeing what a clumsy use you make of a
rifle.'
This speech produced a terrible effect upon the
brute-the more so that the boys now laughed at him.
These boys were not all bad. They were incensed
against me as an Abolitionist-or 'nigger-stealer,'
as they phrased it-and, under the countenance and
guidance of their elders, their worst passions were
now at play; but for all that, they were not essentially
wicked. They were rough backwoods' boys, and the
454 00458.jpg
THE SENTENCE OF JUDGE LYNCH. 429
spirit of my retort pleased them. After that they hold
back from jeering me.
Not so with Ruffin, who now broke forth into a
string of vindictive oaths and menaces, and appeared
as if about to grapple me with his one remaining hand.
At this moment he was called off by the men, who
needed him in the 'caucus;' and, after shaking his
fist in my face, and uttering a parting imprecation, he
left me.
I was for sone minutes kept in suspense. I could
not tell what this dread council were debating, or
what they meant to. do with me-though I now felt
quite certain that they did not intend taking me
before any magistrate. From frequent phrases that
reached my ears, such as, 'flog the scounlrel,''tar
and feathers,' I began to conjecture that some such
punishment awaited me. To my astonishment, how-
ever, I found, upon listening a while, that a number
of my judges were actually opposed to these punish-
ments as being too mild Some declared openly,
that nothing but my life could satisfy the outraged laws!
The majority took this view of the case; and it was
to add to their strength that Ruffin had been sum-
moned !
A feeling of terrible fear crept over me-say rather
a feeling of horror-but it was only complete when
the ring of men suddenly broke up, and I saw two of
their number lay hold of a rope, and commence
reeving it over the limb of a gum-tree that stood by
the edge of the glade.
There had been a trial and a sentence too. Even
Judge Lynch has his formality.
When the rope was adjusted, one of the men-the
negro-trader it was-approached me; and in a sort of
455 00459.jpg
430 THE QUADROON.
rude paraphrase of a judge, summed up and pronounced
the sentence!
I had outraged the laws; I had committed two
capital crimes. I had stolen slaves, and endeavoured
to take away the life of a fellow-creature. A jury of
twelve men had tried-and found me guilty; and
sentenced me to death by hanging. Even this was
not permitted to go forth in an informal manner. The
very phraseology was adopted. I was to be hung by
the neck until I should be dead-dead I
You will deem this relation exaggerated and im-
probable. You will think that I am sporting with
you. You will not believe that such lawlessness can
exist in a Christian-a civilised land. You will fancy
that these men were sporting with me, and that in the
end they did not seriously intend to hang me.
I cannot help it if you think so; but I solemnly
declare that such was their design: and I felt as
certain at that moment that they intended to have
hanged me, as I now feel that I was not hanged!
Believe it or not, you must remember that I would
not have been the first victim by many, and that
thought was vividly before my mind at the time.
Along with it, there was the rope-there the tree-
there stood my judges before me. Their looks alone
might have produced conviction. There was not a
ray of mercy to be seen.
At that awful moment I knew not what I said or
how I acted.
I remember only that my fears were somewhat
modified by my indignation. That I protested,
menaced, swore-that my ruthless judges answered
me with mockery.
They were actually proceeding to put the sentence
456 00460.jpg
THE QUADROON.
7
, vt
L-^--lnF'X S
Lynch Law.-p 430.
457 00461.jpg
458 00462.jpg
IN THE HANDS OF THE SHERIFF.
into execution-and had already carried me across to
the foot of the tree-when the sound of trampling
hoofs fell upon our ears, and the next moment a
party of horsemen galloped into the glade.
CHAPTER LXXVIII.
IN THE HANDS OF THE SHERIFF.
AT sight of these horsemen my heart leaped with joy,
for among the foremost I beheld the calm, resolute
face of Edward Reigart. Behind him rode the sheriff
of the parish, followed by a 'posse' of about a dozen
men-among whom I recognized several of the most
respectable planters of the neighbourhood. Every
one of the party was armed either with a rifle or
pistols; and the manner in which they rode forward
upon the ground, showed that they had come in great
haste, and with a determined purpose.
I say my heart leaped with joy. An actual
criminal standing upon the platform of the gallows
could not have been more joyed at sight of the
messenger that brought him reprieve or pardon.
In the new-comers I recognized friends: in their
countenances I read rescue. I was not displeased.,
therefore, when the sheriff, dismounting, advanced to
my side, and placing his hand upon my shoulder, told
me I was his prisoner 'in the name of the law.'
Though brusquely done, and apparently with a
degree of rudeness, I was not displeased either by the
act or the manner. The latter was plainly assumed
for a purpose; and in the act itself I hailed the
salvation of my life. I felt like a rescued man.
459 00463.jpg
432 THE QUADROON.
The proceeding did not equally content my former
judges, who loudly murmured their dissatisfaction.
They alleged that I had already been tried by a jury
of twelve free citizens-that I had been found guilty of
nigger-stealing-that I had stolen two niggers-that
I had resisted when pursued, and had wownded' one
of my pursuers; and that, as all this had been clearly
made out,' they couldn't see what more was wanted
to establish my guilt, and that I ought to be hung on
the spot, without further loss of time.
The sheriff replied that such a course would be
illegal; that the majesty of the law must be respected ;
that if I was guilty of the crimes alleged against me,
the law would most certainly measure out full punish-
ment to me; but that I must first be brought before a
justice, and the charge legally and formally made out;
and, finally, expressed his intention to take me before
Justice Claiborne, the magistrate of the district.
An angry altercation ensued between the mob and
the sheriff's party-in which but slight show of
respect was paid to the high executive-and for some
time I was actually in dread that the ruffians would
carry their point. But an American sheriff is entirely
a different sort of character from the idle gentleman
who fills that office in an English county. The former
is, in nine cases out of ten, a man of proved courage
and action; and Sheriff Hickman, with whom my
quasi judges had to deal, was no exception to this rule.
His posse,' moreover, hurriedly collected by my friend
Reigart, chanced to have among their number several
men of a similar stamp. Reigart himself, though a
man of peace, was well known to possess a cool and
determined spirit; and there was the landlord of my
hotel, and several of the planters who accompanied
460 00464.jpg
IN THE HANDS OF THE SHERIFF.
the sheriff-sterling men, who wore lovers of the law
and lovers of fair play as well-and those, armed to
the teeth, would have laid down their lives on the
spot in defence of the sheriff and his demand. True,
they were in the minority in point of numbers; but
they had the law upon their side, and that gave them
strength.
There was one point in my favour above all others,
and that was, my accusers chanced to be unpopular
men. Gayarre, as already stated, although professing
a high standard of morality, was not esteemed by the
neighboring planters-particularly by those of Ame-
rican origin. The others most forward against me
were known to be secretly instigated by the lawyer.
As to Ruffin, whom I had wownded,' those upon the
ground had heard the crack of his rifle, and knew
that he had fired first. In their calmer moments my
resistance would have been deemed perfectly justifiable
-so far as that individual was concerned.
Had the circumstances been different-had the 'two
niggers' I had stolen belonged to a popular planter,
and not to M. Dominique Gayarre-had Ruffin been a
respectable citizen, instead of the dissipated half
outlaw that he was-had there not been a suspicion
in the minds of many present that it was not a case of
ordinary nigger-stealing, then indeed might it have
gone ill with me, in spite of the sheriff and his party.
Even as it was, a long and angry altercation ensued
-loud words, oaths, and gestures of menace, were
freely exchanged-and both rifles and pistols were
cocked and firmly grasped before the discussion
ended.
But the brave sheriff remained resolute; Reigart
acted a most courageous part; my fi-devant host, and
461 00465.jpg
434 THE QUADROON,
several of the young planters, behaved in a handsome
manner; and the law prevailed.
Yes! thank Heaven and half-a-dozen noble men, the
law prevailed-else I should never have gone out of
that glade alive!
Justice Lynch had to give way to Justice Claiborne,
and a respite was obtained from the cruel verdict of
the former. The victorious sheriff and his party bore
me off in their midst.
But though my ferocious judges had yielded for
the present, it was not certain that they would not
still attempt to rescue me from the hands of the law.
To prevent this, the sheriff mounted me upon a horse
-he himself riding upon one side, while an assistant
of tried courage took the opposite. Reigart and the
planters kept close to me before and behind; while
the shouting, blaspheming mob followed both on
horseback and a-foot. In this way we passed through
the woods, across the fields, along the road leading
into Bringiers, and then to the residence of Squire'
Claiborne-Justice of the Peace for that district.
Attached to his dwelling was a large room or office
where the Squire was used to administer the magis-
terial law of the land. It was entered by a separate
door from the house itself, and had no particular
marks about it to denote that it was a hall of justice,
beyond the fact that it was furnished with a bench or
two to serve as seats, and a small desk or rostrum in
one corner.
At this desk the Squire was in the habit of settling
petty disputes, administering affidavits at a quarter of
a dollar each, and arranging other small civic matters,
But oftener was his magisterial function employed in
sentencing the mutinous 'darkie' to his due propor-
462 00466.jpg
TILE CRISIS.
tion of stripes on the complaint of a conscientious
master-for, after all, such theoretical protection does
the poor slave enjoy.
Into this room, then, was I hurried by the sheriff
and his assistants-the mob rushing in after, until
every available space was occupied.
CHAPTER LXXIX.
THE CRISIS.
No doubt a messenger had preceded us, for we found
Squire Claiborne in his chair of office, ready to hear
the case. In the tall, thin old man, with white hair
and dignified aspect, I recognized a fit representative
of justice-one of those venerable magistrates, who
command respect not only by virtue of age and office,
but from the dignity of their personal character. In
spite of the noisy rabble that surrounded me, I read
in the serene, firm look of the magistrate the deter-
mination to show fair play.
I was no longer uneasy. On the way, Reigart had
told me to be of good cheer. He had whispered
something about 'strange developments to be made ;'
but I had not fully heard him, and was at a loss to
comprehend what he meant. In the hurry and crush,
I had found no opportunity for an explanation.
' Keep up your spirits!' said he, as he pushed his
horse alongside me. 'Don't have any fear about the
result. It's rather an odd affair, and will have an
odd ending-rather unexpected for somebody, I should
say-ha! ha! ha!'
463 00467.jpg
436 THE QUADROON.
Reigart actually laughed aloud, and appeared to be
in high glee I What could such conduct mean?
I was not permitted to know, for at that moment
the sheriff, in a high tone of authority, commanded
that no one should 'hold communication with the
prisoner;' and my friend and I were abruptly sepa-
rated. Strange, I did not dislike the sheriff for this !
I had a secret belief that his manner-apparently
somewhat hostile to me-was assumed for a purpose.
The mob required conciliation; and all this brusqueric
was a bit of management on the part of Sheriff Hick-
man.
On arriving before Justice Claiborne, it required all
the authority of both sheriff and justice to obtain
silence. A partial lull, however, enabled the latter to
proceed with the case.
' Now, gentlemen!' said he, speaking in a firm,
magisterial tone, I am ready to hear the charge
against this young man. Of what is he accused,
Colonel Hickman?' inquired the justice, turning to
the sheriff.
' Of negro-stealing, I believe,' replied the latter.
' Who prefers the charge ?'
'Dominique Gayarre,' replied a voice from the
crowd, which I recognized as that of Gayarre himself.
' Is Monsieur Gayarre present?' inquired the justice.
The voice again replied in the affirmative, and the
fox-like face of the avocat now presented itself in front
of the rostrum.
' Monsieur Dominique Gayarre,' said the magis-
trate, recognizing him, what is the charge you bring
against the prisoner? State it in full and upon oath.'
Gayarre having gone through the formula of the
oath, proceeded with his plaint in true lawyer style.
464 00468.jpg
TIE CRISIS. 437
I need not follow the circumlocution of legal
phraseology. Suffice it to say, that there were
several counts in his indictment.
I was first accused of having endeavoured to
instigate to mutiny and revolt the slaves of the
plantation Besangon, by having interfered to prevent
one of their number from receiving his just punish-
ment! Secondly, I had caused another of these to
strike down his overseer; and afterwards had induced
him to run away to the woods, and aided him in so
doing This was the slave Gabriel, who had just
that day been captured in my company. Thirdly,
and Gayarre now came to the cream of his accusa-
tion.
' Thirdly,' continued he, 'I accuse this person of
having entered my house on the night of October the
18th, and having stolen therefrom the female slave
Aurore Besancon.'
'It is false!' cried a voice, interrupting him. 'It
is false! Aurore Besangon is not a slave!'
Gayarro started, as though some one had thrust a
knife into him.
' Who says that?' he demanded, though with a
voice that evidently faltered.
'I!' replied the voice; and at the same instant a
young man leaped upon one of the benches, and stood
with his head overtopping the crowd. It was
D'Hauteville!
' I say it he repeated, in the same firm tone.
'Aurore Besangon is no slave, but a free Quadroon !
Here, Justice Claiborne,' continued D'Hauteville, do
me the favour to read this document!' At the same
time the speaker handed a folded parchment across
the room.
465 00469.jpg
416 THE QUADROON.
The sheriff passed it to the magistrate, who opened
it and read aloud.
It proved to be the free papers' of Aurore the
Quadroon-the certificate of her manumission-regu-
larly signed and attested by her master, Auguste
Besancon, and left by him in his will.
The astonishment was extreme-so much so that
the crowd seemed petrified, and preserved silence.
Their feelings were on the turn.
The effect produced upon Gayarre was visible to all.
He seemed covered with confusion. In his embar-
rassment he faltered out-
' I protest against this-that paper has been stolen
from my bureau, and--'
' So much the better, Monsieur Gayarre!' said
D'Hauteville, again interrupting him; 'so much the
better i You confess to its being stolen, and therefore
you confess to its being genuine. Now, sir, having
this document in your possession, and knowing its
contents, how could you claim Aurore Besanqon as
your slave ?'
Gayarre was confounded. His cadaverous face
became of a white, sickly hue; and his habitual look
of malice rapidly gave way to an expression of terror.
He appeared as if he wanted to be gone; and already
crouched behind the taller men who stood around
him.
' Stop, Monsieur Gayarre !' continued the inexorable
D'Hauteville, I have not done with you yet. Here,
Justice Claiborne I have another document that may
interest you. Will you have the goodness to give it
your attention ?'
Saying this, the speaker held out a second folded
parchment, which was handed to the magistrate-
466 00470.jpg
THE CRISIS. 439
who, as before, opened the document and read it
aloud.
This was a codicil to the will of Auguste Besanion,
by which the sum of fifty thousand dollars in bank
stock was bequeathed to his daughter, Eugdnic
Bcsangon, to be paid to her upon the day on which
she should be of age by the joint executors of the
estate--M. Dominique Gayarre and Antoine Lereux-
and these executors were instructed not to make
known to the recipient the existence of this sum in
her favour, until the very day of its payment.
' Now, Monsieur Dominique Gayarre !' continued
D'Hauteville, as soon as the reading was finished, I
charge you with the embezzlement of this fifty thou-
sand dollars, with various other sums-of which more
hereafter. I charge you with having concealed the
existence of this money-of having withheld it from
the assets of the estate Besanqon-of having appro-
priated it to your own use!'
' This is a serious charge,' said Justice Claiborne,
evidently impressed with its truth, and prepared to
entertain it. 'Your name, sir, if you please?' con-
tinued he, interrogating D'Hauteville, in a mild tone
of voice.
It was the first time I had seen D'Hauteville in the
full light of day. All that had yet passed between us
had taken place either in the darkness of night or by
the light of lamps. That morning alone had we been
together for a few minutes by daylight; but even
then it was under the sombre shadow of the woods-
where I could have but a faint view of his features.
Now that he stood in the light of the open window,
I had a full, clear view of his face. The resemblance
to some one I had seen before again impressed me.
467 00471.jpg
440 THE QUADROON.
It grew stronger as I gazed; and before the magis-
trate's interrogatory had received its reply, the shock
of my astonishment had passed.
Your name, sir, if you please?' repeated the jus-
tice.
' Eugeie Besan2on !'
At the same instant the hat was pulled off-:-the
black curls were drawn aside-and the fair, golden
tresses of the beautiful Creole exhibited to the view.
A loud huzza broke out-in which all joined,
excepting Gayarre and his two or three ruffian ad-
herents. I felt that I was free.
The conditions had suddenly changed, and the
plaintiff had taken the place of the defendant. Even
before the excitement had quieted down, I saw the
sheriff, at the instigation of Reigart and others, stride
forward to Gayarre, and placing his hand upon the
shoulder of the latter, arrest him as his prisoner.
' It is false !' cried Gayarro; a plot-a damnable
plot! These documents are forgeries! the signatures
are false-false !'
* Not so, M. Gayarre,' said the justice, interrupting
him. 'Those documents are not forgeries. This is
the handwriting of Auguste Besancon. I knew him
well. This is his signature-I could myself swear
to it.'
' And I!' responded a voice, in a deep solenm tone,
which drew the attention of all.
The transformation of EugEne D'Hauteville to
Eugdnie Besanvon had astonished the crowd; but a
greater surprise awaited them in the resurrection of
the steward Antoine!
Reader! my story is ended. Here upon our little
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THE CRISIS.
drama must the curtain drop. I might offer you
other tableaux to illustrate the after history of our
characters, but a slight summary must suffice. Your
fancy will supply the details.
It will glad you to know, then, that Eugenie Be-
sangon recovered the whole of her property-which
was soon restored to its flourishing condition under
the faithful stewardship of Antoine.
Alas there was that that could never be restored-
the young cheerful heart-the buoyant spirit-the
virgin love!
But do not imagine that Euginio BesanQon yielded
to despair-that she was ever after the victim of that
unhappy passion. No-hers was a mighty will; and
all its energies were employed to pluck the fatal arrow
from her heart.
Time and a virtuous life have much power; but
far more effective was that sympathy of the object
beloved-that pity for love-which to her was fully
accorded.
Her heart's young hope was crushed-her gay spirit
shrouded-but there are other joys in life besides the
play of the passions; and, it may be, the path of love
is not the true road to happiness. Oh! that I could
believe this! Oh! that I could reason myself into
the belief, that that calm and unruffled mien-
that soft sweet smile were the tokens of a heart at
rest. Alas! I cannot. Fate will have its victims.
Poor Eugdnie! God be merciful to thee! Oh, that I
could steep thy heart in the waters of Lethe!
And Reigart? You, reader, will be glad to know
that the good doctor prospered-prospered until he
was enabled to lay aside his lancet, and become a
grandee planter-nay, more, a distinguished legislator,
2F
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THE QUADROON.
-one of those to whom belongs the credit of having
modelled the present system of Louisiana law-the
most advanced code in the civilised world.
You will be glad to learn that Scipio, with his
Chloe and the 'leetle Chloe,' were brought back to
their old and now happy home-that the snake-
charmer still retained his brawny arms, and never
afterwards had occasion to seek refuge in his tree-
cavern.
You will not be grieved to know, that Gayarre
passed several years of his after-life in the palace-
prison of Baton Rouge, and then disappeared al-
together from the scene. It was said that under a
changed name he returned to France, his native
country. His conviction was easy. Antoine had
long suspected him of a design to plunder their joint
ward, and had determined to put him to the proof.
The raft of chairs had floated after all; and by the
help of these the faithful steward had gained the
shore, far down the river. No one knew of his
escape; and the idea occurred to this strange old
man to remain for a while en perdu-a silent spectator
of the conduct of M. Dominique. No sooner did
Gayarre believe him gone, than the latter advanced
boldly upon his purpose, and hurried events to the
described crisis. It was just what Antoine had ex-
pected; and acting himself as the accuser, the con-
viction of the avocat was easy and certain. A
sentence of five years to the State Penitentiary
wound up Gayarre's connexion with the characters of
our story.
It will scarce grieve you to know that 'Bully Bill'
experienced a somewhat similar fate-that Ruffin, the
man-hunter, was drowned by a sudden rising of the
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THE CRISIS.
swamp-and that the 'nigger-trader' afterwards
became a 'nigger-stealer;' and for that crime was
sentenced at the court of Judge Lynch to the punish-
ment of 'tar and feathers.'
The sportsmen,' Chorley and Hatcher, I never saw
again-though their future is not unknown to me.
Chorley-the brave and accomplished, but wicked
Chorlcy-was killed in a duel by a Creole of Now
Orleans, with whom he had quarrelled at play.
Hatcher's bank 'got broke' soon after; and a
series of ill-fortune at length reduced him to the con-
dition of a race-course thimble-rig, and small sharper
in general.
The pork-merchant I met many years afterward,
as a successful montd dealer in the Halls of the Mon-
tczumas.' Thither he had gone,-a camp-follower of
the American army-and had accumulated an enor-
mous fortune by keeping a gambling-table for the
officers. He did not live long to enjoy his evil gains.
The vomito prieto' caught him at Vera Cruz; and
his dust is now mingled with the sands of that dreary
shore.
Thus, reader, it has been my happy fortune to
record poetical justice to the various characters that
have figured in the pages of our history.
I hear you exclaim, that two have been forgotten,
the hero and heroine?
Ah no-not forgotten. Would you have me paint
the ceremony-the pomp and splendour-the ribbons
and rosettes-the after-scenes of perfect bliss ?
Hymen, forbid! All these must be left to your
fancy, if your fancy deign to act. But the interest of
a 'lover's adventures' usually ends with the con-
summation of his hopes-not even always extending
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444 THE QUADROON.
to the altar-and you, reader, will scarce be curious
to lift the curtain, that veils the tranquil after-life of
myself and my beautiful
QUADROON.
NOTE TO THE PREFACE.
AFTER what has been stated in the Preface, it will scarce be neces-
sary to say that the names and some of the places mentioned in
this book are fictitious. Some of the scenes, and many of the
characters that figure in these pages, are real, and there are those
living who will recognize them.
The book is founded' upon an actual experience. It was
written many years ago, and would have been then published, but
for the interference of a well-known work, which treated of similar
scenes and subjects. That work appeared just as the Quadroon'
was about to be put to press; and the author of the the latter, not
willing to risk the chances of being considered an imitator had de-
termined on keeping the 'Quadroon' from the public.
Circumstances have ruled it otherwise; and having re-written
some parts of the work, he now presents it to the reader as a
painting-somewhat coarse and crude, perhaps-of life in Louis-
iana.
The author disclaims all' intention.' The book has been written
neither to aid the Abolitionist nor glorify the planter. The author
does not believe that by such means he could benefit the slave,
else he would not fear to avow it. On the other hand, lie is too
true a Republican, to be the instrument that would add one drop
to the bad blood' which, unfortunately for the cause of human
freedom, has already arisen between North and South.' o ;
he will be the last man to aid European despots in this, their
dearest wish and desperate hope.
London, Jtdy, 1856.
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EXPLANATORY NOTES.
Father of Waters.'-Page 9.] A poetic appellation of the
Mississippi-an Indian idea. The word Mississippi itself is an
Indian (Chipewa and Cree) compound of' misi' or mitchi' great,
and sipi' river.
'Rocks of St. Antoine.'-Page 10. The Falls of St. Anthony '
-the only cataract of the Mississippi-received their name from
the earliest explorers, the French Jesuit Fathers. A town now
stands near these falls, and settlements have been pushed into the
wilderness much higher up.
' The aerial tomb of the adventurous miner.'-Page 11.] 'Du-
buque's Grave,' another of these high bluffs, is a place of great
notoriety, on the Upper Mississippi. It was the residence of the
first mining pioneer of these regions, who held his title under a
grant from the Mexican Government before the United States had
extended its authority over the Louisiana territory. On the
pinnacle of the bluff Dubuque erected his own tomb, and placed
over it a cross and inscription. After his death, at his own
request, his body was placed in this tomb upon a large flat stone,
and here lay in state in his winding-sheet, exposed to the gaze of
every traveller who might take the trouble of climbing to the
summit of the bluff. The windows of the tomb are protected by
iron gratings, through which the bones of the miner may still be
seen mouldering where they were laid.
' Golden tribute.'-Page 11.] The colour of the Missouri is
yellow. This colour it derives from one of its largest tributaries
-the 'Yellow Stone.' Below the influx of the Missouri, the
waters of the Mississippi are changed to the hue of its mighty
brother.'
' T/e standing army a cheat.'-Page 17.] The hero (?) of Kars
warns England in these words,-' Woe to the nation that neglects
the military art !'
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THE QUADROON.
To make this phrase truthful, it must be altered thus:-' Woo
to the nation that cultivates the military art I'
Upon what achievement does General Williams's heroism rest?
Where is Kmety-the true hero of Kars ? Ah I brave Kmety !
You are but a poor Hungarian-without country, without home,
without friends!
' Creole of twenty.'--Page 31.] Creole and Quadroon girls
often become women and mothers at the age of twelve-some even
earlier The same observation applies to the Spanish American
Creoles of Mexico and South America.
' A Creole.'-Page 32.] Creole,' is a term often misunderstood,
even by Anglo-Americans. Some suppose that a Creole is a
person of mixed blood. Not so. The Creole is the descendant of
French parents born in America. The synonyme' Criollo is used
throughout all Spanish America to distinguish people of Spanish
race, but of American birth, from Spaniards of old Spain. The
French Creole' and the Spanish Criollo' bear respectively the
same sort of relationship to a Frenchman and a Spaniard that a
Yankee bears to an Englishman. Creole' and Criollo' signify
Nativee' But the true Creole is not of mixed race-that is, not
mixed as regards Indian or African descent. A Creole of mixed
blood is termed Creole mulatto,' Creole mestizo,' Creole
quadroon,' &c.; but never simply Creole.'
' The silent pilot.'-Page 40.] The man at the wheel' of an
American steamer is not stationed on the poop as upon sea-going
vessels. His wheel is placed within a little glass house, upon the
most prominent point of the roof, far forward, so that he commands
a perfect view of his course.
' A Quadroon.'-Page 95.] The progeny of a mulatto mother
and a white father-often as white as the male parent himself, but
not the less doomed to the accursed destiny of the slave mother.
Many of the quadroons of New Orleans are the most beautiful women
in the place. In this respect they are quite as distinguished as the
Creole ladies, who are themselves justly distinguished for great
personal beauty.
' Fleur-de-lis.'-Page 157.] Under the old French code of
Louisiana branding with the fleur-de-lis was one of the modes of
punishing the slave. Some of the old brands' may yet be seen
among the plantation negroes.
' Tracked by hounds.'-Page 210.] It will hardly be credited
that such a practice exists in the Southern States of civilised
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EXPLANATORY NOTiS.
America. Such, however, is unfortunately the fact, as might be
easily shown. Indeed, a report of a negro-hunting by dogs is :o
uncommon thing in the pages of the public newspapers.
S~Uncle.'-Page 240.] Old negroes are thus familiarly addressed
by their white masters.
'A reality.'-Page 244.] Only those who have witnessed the
boldness and ferocity of the Norway rat, when in large numbers
and hungered, can give credit to the adventure described. The author
can assure the reader, there is truth in tie incident. At the time
of its occurrence the towns upon the Mississippi swarmed with
Norway rats; and so predatory had they become, that it was
found necessary to offer a bounty for their destruction. The
night police were particularly charged with this duty, and i
passing through the streets at midnight, you might see tile watch-
man accompanied by a pair of stout rat dogs, carrying out his
commission with great energy. The vast stores of cotton bales and
lumber in New Orleans, as also its wooden wharves, insured the
rats a place of refuge ; and in that climate of rank vegetation, these
animals had multiplied exceedingly. Their numbers made them
bold ; and in passing through the street on a moonlight night, you
might see hundreds of them, running before your feet, and scarcely
frightened by your presence.
' Camp-follower.'-Page 443.] This man was a Georgian by
birth. He will be remembered by all who served in Scott's
campaign in Mexico. He had accumulated 200,000 dollars by
gambling with the officers of the American army, and was return-
ing with his money to the United States when he was taken by
'Yellow Jack' at Vera Cruz, and died there.
THE END.
LOeS'DO : PI TED i" w. CLOWES AND SONS, STAMPORD STREET.
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