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of the land who will spring up by thousands to welcome their brethren of the North, whose interests, like theirs, lie in universal freedom and justice.”
“You do not, then, believe those who tell us there is an eternal incompatibility between the people of the slaveholding and non-slaveholding States?”
“ Bah! These exaggerations, the rhetoric of feeble spirits, and the logic of false, are stuff and rubbish to any true student of human nature. There is no incompatibility between North and South, except what slavery engenders and strives to intensify. Strike away slavery, and the people gravitate to each other by laws higher than the bad passions of your Rhetts, Yanceys, and Maurys. The small-beer orators and forciblefeeble writers of the South, who are eternally raving about the mean, low-born Yankees, and laboring to excite alienation and prejudice, are merely the tools of a few plotting oligarchs who hope to be the chiefs of a Southern Confederacy.”
“ And must civil war necessarily follow from a separation ?"
“ As surely as thunder follows from the lightning-rent ! Yes, Webster is undoubtedly right: there can be no such thing as peaceable secession, and I rejoice that there cannot be.”
“But would not a civil war render inevitable that alienation which these Richmond scribblers are trying to antedate ?"
“No. Enmity would be kept up long enough for the slavepower to be scotched and killed, and then the people of both sections would see that there was nothing to keep them apart, that their interests are identical. The true people of the South would soon realize that the three hundred thousand slaveholders are even more their enemies than enemies of the North. A reaction against our upstart aristocracy (an aristocracy resting on tobacco-casks and cotton-bales) would ensue, and the South would be republicanized, - a consummation which slavery has thus far prevented. South Carolina was Tory in the Revolution, just as she is now. Abolish slavery, and we should be United States in fact as well as in name. Abolish slavery, and you abolish sectionalism with it. Abolish slavery, and you let the masses North and South see that their welfare lies in the preservation of the republic, one and indivisible.”
“And do you anticipate civil war?”
“ Yes, such a civil war as the world has never witnessed.* The devil of slavery must go out of us, and as it is the worst of all the devils that ever afflicted mankind, it can go out only through unprecedented convulsions and tearings and agonies. The North must suffer as well as the South, for the North shares in the guilt of slavery, and there are thousands of men there who shut their eyes to its enormities. Believe me, their are high spiritual laws underlying national offences; and the Nemesis that must punish ours is near at hand. Slavery must be destroyed, and war is the only instrumentality that I can conceive of energetic enough to do it. Through war, then, must slavery be destroyed."
" And I care not how soon!” said Vance. Then, lowering his tone, he remarked : “ Have you not been imprudent in confiding your views to a stranger, who could have you lynched at the next landing-place by reporting them ? "
Perhaps. But I bide the risk; you have not been so shrewd an actor, sir, that I have not seen behind the mask.”
Vance started at the word actor, then said, looking up at the stars : “ What a beautiful night! Does not the Champion seem to be gaining on us ? ”
“I have been thinking so for some minutes,” replied Onslow. “ Good night, Mr.
Excuse me. I have n't the pleasure of knowing your name.”
“ And yet we have met before, Mr. Onslow, and under circumstances that ought to make me remembered.” “ To what do you
allude ?” I was once brought before you for horse-stealing, and, what is more, you found me guilty of the charge, and rightly."
“ Then my recollection was not at fault, after all !” exclaimed Onslow, astonished. “ But were you indeed guilty ?”
“I certainly took a horse, but it was a case of necessity. A friend of mine, a colored man, in defence of his liberty, had wounded his master, so called, and was flying for life. To save him I robbed the robber, — took his horse and gave it to his victim, enabling the latter to get off safely. The fact of my taking the horse was clearly proved, but my motive was not discovered. If it had been, Judge Lynch would surely have relieved
* This prediction was merely one among many hundred such which every reader of newspapers will remember.
of the care of me. You, as justice of the peace, remanded me to prison for trial. That night I escaped. In an outer room of the jail I found a knife and half of a slaughtered calf. The knife I put in my pocket. The carcass I threw over my shoulder, and ran. In the morning I found five valuable bloodhounds on my track. I climbed a tree, and when they came under it, I fed them till they were all tame, and allowed me to descend; and then I cut their throats, lest they should be used to hunt down fugitives from slavery. Two days afterwards I was safe on board a steamboat, on my way North."
Who, then, are you, sir ?” asked Onslow. Vance whispered a word in reply.
Mr. Onslow seemed agitated for a moment, and then exclaimed, “ But I thought he was dead ! ”
“ The report originated with those who took the reward offered for his head. Mr. Onslow, I have repaid your frankness with a similar frankness of my own. To-morrow morning, at ten o'clock, meet me here, and you shall hear more of my story. Good night."
The gentlemen parted, each retiring to his state-room for repose.
THE STORY OF ESTELLE.
“ Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
ALMY, bright, and beautiful broke the succeeding morn
ing. Every passenger as he came on deck looked astern to see what had become of the Champion. She still kept her usual distance, dogging the Pontiac with the persistency of a fate. Captain Crane said nothing, but it was noticeable that he puffed away at his cigar with increased vigor.
Mr. Vance encountered the Berwicks once more on the hurricane deck and interchanged greetings. Little Clara recognized her friend of the day before, and, jumping from Hattie's lap, ran and pulled his coat, looking up in his face, and pouting her lips for a kiss.
“I fancy I see two marked traits in your little girl, already," said Vance to the mother, after he had saluted the child ; “she is strong in the affections, and has a will-power that shows itself in self-control.”
“You are right,” replied the mother ; “I have known her to bite her lips till the blood came, in her effort to keep from crying.”
“Such is her individuality,” continued Vance. “I doubt if circumstances of education could do much to misshape her moral being."
“ Ah! that is a fearful consideration," said the lady; cannot say how far the best of us would have been perverted if our early training had been unpropitious." knew your
father, Mrs. Berwick. He found me, a stranger stricken down by fever, forsaken and untended, in a miserable shanty called a tavern, in Southern Illinois, in the sickly sea
He devoted himself to me till I was convalescent. I shall never forget his kindness. Will you allow me to look at that little seal on your watch-chain? It ought to bear the letters W. C. to R. A.' Thank you. Yes, there they are! I sent him the seal as a memento. The cutting is my own.”
“I shall regard it with a new interest,” said Mrs. Berwick, as she took it back.
Mr. Onslow here appeared and bade the party good morning.
“ I feel that I am among friends,” said Vance. “I last night promised Mr. Onslow a story. Did you ever hear of the redoubtable Gashface, Mr. Berwick ?”
“Yes, and I warn you, sir, that I am quite enough of an Abolitionist to hold his memory in a sort of respect.”
“ Bold words to utter on the Southern Mississippi ! But do not be under concern : I myself am Gashface. Yes. The report of his being killed is a lie. Are you in a mood to hear his story, Mrs. Berwick?”
“I shall esteem it a privilege, sir.”
“ The last time I told it was to your father. Be seated, and try and be as patient as he was in listening."
The party afranged themselves in chairs; and Mr. Vance was about to take up his parable, when the figure of Colonel Delancy Hyde was seen emerging from the stairs leading from the lower deck.
“ Hah! Mr. Vance, I'm yourn,” exclaimed the Colonel, with effusion. “ Been lookin' fur yer all over the boat. Introduce yer friends ter me.”
Vance took from his pocket the Colonel's card, and read aloud the contents of it.
“From Virginia, ma'am," supplemented the Colonel, who was already redolent of Bourbon ; “ the name of Delancy Hyde hahz been in the family more 'n five hunderd yarz. Fak, ma’am! My father owned more slaves nor he could count. Ef it hahd n't been fur a damned Yankee judge, we sh'd hahv held more land nor you could ride over in a day. Them lowborn Yankees, ma’am, air jes' fit to fetch an' carry for us as air the master race; to larn our childern thar letters an’ make our shoes, as the Greeks done fur the Romans, ma'am. Ever read the Richmond newspapers, ma'am ? John Randolph wunst