Page:Aunt Phillis's Cabin.djvu/136

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132
AUNT PHILLIS'S CABIN; OR,

weeks at a plantation belonging to a family with whom we were intimate. One of the sons and I went on the river, two of the servants rowing us. I said to one of them, a large fat negro, 'What's your name, uncle?' 'Meschach, sir,' he said. 'Meschach,' said I; 'why, you ought to have two brothers, one named Shadrach and the other Abednego.' 'So I had, sir.' 'Well, what has become of them?' said I. 'Shadrach, he's dead,' he answered. 'And where is Abednego?' said I. 'He's gone, too,' he replied, in a low voice. My friend gave me a look, and told me afterwards that Abednego had ran away, and that his family considered it a disgrace, and never spoke of him. I hear of a negro boy who absconded, and when he was found and being brought home, an old washerwoman watched him as he went up the street. 'La,' said she, 'who'd a thought he'd a beginned to act bad so young,' But let us leave off Abolition and take a walk. Our cigars are out and we will resume the subject to-morrow afternoon, when we light some more."

* * * * * *

"Now," said Abel, "having a couple of particularly good cigars, where did we leave off?"

"Its too warm for argument," said Arthur, watching the curling of the gray smoke as it ascended.

"We need not argue," said Abel; "I want to catechize you."

"Begin."

"Do you think that the African slave-trade can be defended?"

"No, assuredly not."

"Well," said Abel, "how can you defend your right to hold slaves as property in the United States?"

"Abel," said Arthur, "when a Yankee begins to question there is no reason to suppose he ever intends to stop. I shall answer your queries from the views of Governor Hammond, of Carolina. They are at least worthy of con-