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might have been saved from this shocking fate. Our interlocutor is assez bon diable, and, besides, the archangel's eyebrows, and the prospect of not having to pay for them, have softened him. So he shows no indignation at our remark, and only says
Wal, if he had got her off to Canada or to the South it might have done. But if he had married her, and not unliminated himself and her pretty smart, she'd have got larrupped all the same.
But they took care to get him off to New York, or somewhere, on some business or another, before they took hold of her. I ’spect he'll be back right away, and it will be a caution to snakes if he is not tarnation ugly about it. He was quite a fool about that critter.”
“If he is not, he will not be worthy of the name of a man,” say we, who, as hospitality demands, have also been partaking of archangel's eyebrow pretty freely.
Our friend sees what our feeling is, and civilly does his best to enter into it.
" Wal, stranger, I am not sure but what you're right. It was kinder cruel to slash a gal like that, just because she was pretty. I was quite sorry myself,” he adds, warming up to an almost chivalrous pitch of humanity. “I was quite sorry, really now, I was, to hear her squalling, and see the blood running down, and—”
Yes, yes,” say we, who recollect the scene per
fectly, and do not wish to hear any very minute description of it. To check the flow of his reminiscences we ask him whether he will not have some more to drink.
“ Thank you; if you don't mind, I don't care if I do liquor up again;" and therewith he calls for a tumbler of oh-be-joyful. But, you see,” he continues, “ fact is, our citizens don't like niggers; and our laws don't either. If a man complains that any nigger in his service is lazy or disorderly, or won't do what he tells him, the nigger gets a whipping, by sentence of the Court. I've seen that done myself many times. And we've got a law against niggers dancing, or anything of that kind, in any barn or outhouse. We don't like their noise. Tell you we had a case of that only last week.
There was a Southern gentleman, from Missouri I believe, came to look after a place he got left him in our State, and he brought some niggers with him, both men and women. Wal, not long after he came in, there was some day which is made a good deal of in his family-wedding-day, or something of that sort. So he gives his niggers some money to get some whisky and a fiddle, and lets them have a spree. In the middle of it all, as they were dancing and making a pretty tall noise, the constables, who guessed something was likely to be going on, comes up and
ketches 'em at it. There was some ten or a dozen of 'em, and as not more than three are allowed to be together like that, they were taken up and brought before the judges. The master got fined twenty dollars for letting 'em do it. As for the darkies, they got sarved out with thirty-nine lashes apiece. You never heard such a screeching as they made.”
“For a free State, then, this can be no very pleasant abode for persons of colour.”
“No, it isn't; and that's a fact. We don't want it to be. We don't mind slaves so much—that is, if they come with their masters. But free niggers don't suit us nohow. They are the most disreputable, drunken, demoralised set that you
If you wanted to find anything as bad, you may jest start and circumnavigate the airth, and you won't find anything to set alongside of 'em from the time you leave San Francisco to the time you get to New York. We do all we can to keep the critters out. Look yer! It's about ten years since we made a State law that no nigger, free or slave, should come in on their own hook. If they did, they were to be fined, that's what the bill said
i and if they couldn't pay the fine, as was most likely, the law provided that they were to be sold, and obliged to work their fine out.”
“What! even if they were free ?”
“Yes ; even if they were free. And that's our law still."
“Your law is somewhat surprising,” we say. "But now, if a nigger, as you call them, does not come in on his own hook, but is brought in by his master, and set free while in the State, what happens then?”
"I guess we take pretty good care of that. If a fellow brings any of his niggers in here, he is bound over for a thousand dollars not to emancipate any of them, or, at least, to take care that they shan't be a burden on us. How can he prevent their being a burden unless he takes them away when he goes ? And how can he do that if he makes 'em free? If the fellow steals a march on us, and slips, giving us his bond, he gets pretty smartly fined.”
“Why, you could not have a law more opposed to negro liberty if you were on the Gulf of Mexico."
“Guess not. By the by, talking of that puts me in mind. A man from one of the Gulf States whom I met last time I was transacting business in Chicago, told me that they have laws in the States down there to prevent their carrying off free niggers to make slaves of 'em. If a fellow is found out doing it in South Carolina, he gets larrupped just as if he was a nigger. It seems kinder curis, don't it?”
“So it seems that in the South they punish those who turn freemen into slaves, and in the North they punish those who turn slaves into freemen?”
· Wal, I would not say that,” says our friend, who does not like seeing the thing put quite in this way; “ but you don't liquor-up yourself. As you say you are a Britisher, maybe you don't know our evangelist's shin-scraper. I reckon you'll find it an almighty good drink; it fixes a fellow up pretty considerable.”
So we call for an evangelist's shin-scraper for ourselves and one for him, which he drinks in order to keep us company. We pronounce his eulogium on that beverage to be merited, and the conversation turns for a while upon American drinks. But we return to the charge. “ Is not the President one of
citizens? Surely the man who has proclaimed the freedom of the Southern negroes cannot approve the laws of his own State, if they are as you have described them?”
“Ha! ha! Old Abe! Wal, stranger, mayhap you wouldn't think it, but we're kinder proud of Old Abe. He is a 'cute old hoss. He has got, at least for the present, all the Abolitionist votes, by declaring that the slaves were free in just those States where his proclamation wasn't of no 'count, and nowhere else. One of our citizens was at Norfolk when it came out. They got all the niggers in the place together, made