Page:Aunt Phillis's Cabin.djvu/99

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95
SOUTHERN LIFE AS IT IS


"'Laws! why railroads have to be made, and have to be made the right way. I aint afraid of the laws. I think no more of knocking an Irishman over, sir, than I do of eating my dinner. One is as necessary as the other.'

"Now," continued Mr. Chapman, "if an Abolitionist sees a slave knocked over, he runs home to tell his mammy; it's enough to bring fire and brimstone, and hail, and earthquakes on the whole country. A man must have a black skin or his sorrows can never reach the hearts of these gentlemen. They had better look about at home. There is wrong enough there to make a fuss about."

"Well," said the Englishman, "you had both better come back to the mother country. The beautiful words, so often quoted, of Curran, may invite you: 'No matter with what solemnities he may have been devoted upon the altar of slavery, the moment he touches the sacred soil of Britain, the altar and the God sink together in the dust, and he stands redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled, by the irresistible genius of universal emancipation.'"

"Thank you, sir, for your invitation," said Mr. Chapman, "but I'll stay in Virginia. The old State is good enough for me. I have been to England, and I saw some of your redeemed, regenerated, disenthralled people—I saw features on women's faces that haunted me afterward in my dreams. I saw children with shrivelled, attenuated limbs, and countenances that were old in misery and vice—such men, women, and children as Dickens and Charlotte Elizabeth tell about. My little grand-daughter was recovering from a severe illness, not long ago, and I found her weeping in her old nurse's arms. 'O! grandpa,' said she, as I inquired the cause of her distress, 'I have been reading "The Little Pin-headers."' I wept over it too, for it was true. No, sir; if I must see slavery, let me see it in its best form, as it exists in our Southern country."

"You are right, sir, I fear," said the Englishman.