« ZurückWeiter »
sees that the commands of the master are not even
pretended to be for any other than the master's pleasure. The slave, even if he feels that he has more strength and more disposition to do good than his master, sees that he is treated as an inferior being. He labours, at the will of another, knowing that his own good is not intended ; and that he must not seek his own good, if, by so doing, he interferes with his master's plea
He receives food as it is given to the horse, -the ox, and the ass, to repair the strength that labour for his master has exhausted. Like the horse and the ass he is subjected to blows; and like them he is transferred to another master and another country, when his master wants money to supply his wine-cellar, or to pay his losses at the gaming-table. The slave cannot think that to be forced from his wife and children is for his good. The child of a good parent may think and feel that all is intended for his good; but not the man of mature age, controlled by the will of one, perhaps neither wiser nor better than himself.”
“ You state an extreme case. Few masters would separate husband from wife.”
“I am sorry, Miss, that we happened to talk on this subject. I have known masters who inherited slaves, and who acted conscientiously for their good. My master was one. He did better for me, than I probably could have done for myself."
“ His superior knowledge enabled him to do so.
• True, Miss. I had no right to expect more from him than he did. He had me taught reading, writing, and arithmeticgave me a trade—and though that is often done by slave-holders for their own interest, I did not mean to say that my master acted from that motive. That he had me taught to read was my greatest blessing! You know, Miss Emmy, that many slave-holders are afraid to let their slaves read, even the word of God.”
" It is the comment of the slave-holder upon his own prac. tice, and proves more than all Clarkson or Wilberforce has said. I am glad to leave Mrs. Kent so much better; and now, Mr. Kent, if you will prepare the lantern you shall accompany me home-whether you will or no, she said smiling.
“God bless you, Miss! I wish all the world was as willing to serve you as I am.”
“Before you go, Miss Emma,” said the sick woman, " if it is not too late, please to read one chapter in the New Testament.”
“ I will. What chapter shall it be ?" “ You know best what will suit." Emma opened the book. She read feelingly. Kent sat with his eyes fixed on the floor, and his hands clasped, and resting on his knees.
As the reading progressed, the sick woman sighed, and occasionally sobbed; but not so as to occasion interruption. After a time, Emma heard a groan; but considering it only as the effect of the passage she was reading, from the book of wisdom, on the feelings of the patient, prepared by long suffering to experience a more powerful effect than the same words would produce on the strong and happy, she continued her reading until she had finished the chapter. She then shut the book, and turned her eyes to the bed; preparatory to taking leave. What was her surprise on perceiving that she had been reading to the dead! The woman was a corpse.
Accustomed as she was to self-command, she could not re|
press a cry; and not until then did the old man see that the (companion of years passed in slavery and in freedom, had left | him childless and alone, for the remaining portion of his life.
Emma recovered her self-possession before the man ; who was so utterly bewildered, at an event as unexpected at the moment as if the woman had been in health, that he could do nought but utter broken and unintelligible exclamations. Emma directed him to run for the nearest physician.
“ Yes! yes !” he exclaimed. “ Is there any hope ?”
“Run quickly! It may be. But all will depend upon your speed.”
The old man hastened for aid. Emma raised the head of the corpse, after feeling in vain for pulsation. She was soon convinced that life had fled. The interval had been so long between the groan, which had passed almost unheeded, and the conclusion of the lecture, that the body which then parted with its last breath, had become nearly stark and cold.
Long appeared the time before the bereaved old man returned. Emma had no fears for herself, but thought that her aunt and cousin would be made uneasy by her long protracted visit. The wind howled without, and the snow, mingled with hail, beat upon the windows and the roof.
Emma Portland prayed.
At length Kent returned, and brought with him Doctor McLean, the kind physician who had long administered to the comfort of the patient; but who immediately ascertained that his skill was of no avail.
Some females living in the house were brought to the apartment by the unusual stir this catastrophe had occasioned; and, leaving the corpse to their care, Emma, (unnoticed by Kent or the doctor), stole out of the room, taking with her the mantle and hood which sheltered her from the storm when she
As she descended the stairs, she wrapped herself in these convenient garments, and trusted herself again to the well-known pavement, which she had thought not again to venture on, unaccompanied.
The night was cold, and the snow feil thick. She hastened on, anxious to reach home and quiet the fears of her expecting relatives. It was so late, and so inclement, that the streets were abandoned. This circumstance rather assured than discouraged the courageous girl; and well protected by her long and warm mantle, and close well-padded hood, drawn over head and face, she speeded on, congratulating herself that none of the usual frequenters of Theatre-alley were seen or heard. The entertainments of the play-house were over, and the crowds who attended them, or assisted in them, were dispersed.
She had left the theatre and its alley behind, and met, on turning the first corner, the full force of the piercing blast, drifting the snow before it, and threatening to overwhelm her; but, shrinking from the gale for a moment, she recovered her strength, and encouraged by the knowledge, that on her way home she should pass the door of one to whom she had made frequent visits of charity (in its highest sense) and love, she pressed on. Arrived opposite to the door of Mrs. Johnson, she hesitated whether she should not stop, and ask a companion for the remainder of the way. But the very lateness of the hour determined her not to disturb the repose of one whom she knew to be in a state little fitted to bear a night alarm. " I shall only be later in getting home; and I may injure her." So she thought, and on she passed, opposing her delicate form to the furious blast, but speeding with the untiring elasticity of youth. On! on!
Effects of intemperance. A scene from real life.
"You shall make no noise in the streets; for, for the watch to babble and talk, is most tolerable, and not to be endured." "We will rather sleep than talk; we know what belongs to a watch." “Why you speak like an ancient and most quiet watchman."
-perseverance, my lord,
-Then was I as a tree,
-how like a swine he lies !
“She as a veil, down to her slender waist
"Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night,
EMMA PORTLAND passed the house of her beloved sick friend, Mrs. Johnson ; but had not gone more than half a square in the direction of Broadway, which she had to cross, when she saw the figure of a man prostrate, and white with the falling snow, directly in her pathway. This object, owing to the night and the blinding effect of the snow, was not seen ? until she was within a few steps of him.
The consciousness of her unprotected situation now flashed upon her; she feared that she had rashly exposed herself to insult or danger; for the thought of the person being dead, or one perishing in the streets of a populous and well-guarded city, did not, at first, occur to her as a possibility. She started back; and the first impulse was to cross the narrow street, and thus avoid notice or danger. She however observed that the figure was motionless. The thought of a person having fallen in a fit, and left to perish by cold, occurred. She had been reading but a few hours before, among other lessons of humanity and love, the parable of the good Samaritan. That beautiful fiction by which its great author inculcated truth--the love and duty due to a neighbour—and that the word neighbour meant, one of the human race, though of an adverse nation and religion.
Such lessons were not lost on Emma Portland. As she turned to cross to the other side of the street, the Levite who passed by and avoided the abused and wounded traveller," arrested her steps. She advanced towards the object which had alarmed her, and with feelings of mingled terror and compassion gazed on a being so pitiably exposed to suffering and death.
A lamp-post stood near ; but the chilled oil scarcely served the purpose of feeding the wick of the lamp; and it was only a fitful and glimmering light which was shed through the flakes of falling snow on the surrounding objects. She advanced nearer, and the light flickered and expired. She had stooped over the object, that now interested her, at the moment the exhausted lamp shot forth a feeble and a last ray. She saw that the thin, dishevelled grey hair of an aged man, was the only covering of the head,
which lay pillowed on a pile of snow that had been shoveled from the side-walk. The light of the lamp was now extinguished; but amid snow there is no perfect darkness.
Emma had too much of the good Samaritan in her composition to think a second time of passing on the other side of the way. She saw, that this poor creature, instead of being an object to create alarm, was a subject for compassion and active assistance. Her own lonely and unprotected situation was forgotten. She again stooped over the prostrate and fallen
fallen indeed !-lo ascertain whether he was living or dead. She saw by his colour and breathing that life was not extinct—that it was a “foul and loathsome" image of death