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the captain, who was a humane man, permitted them to remain together to the end of the voyage. She is with her father now, and a prettier little maid I never saw.”
“By the mass! I will go and see her,” cried Hull. “If she be all you say, I will buy them both."
“But she is not for sale."
With the cold, heartless laugh of a natural tyrant, Hull answered:
“It will be all the same. He who purchases the father will have the maid also."
He went to the place where the slaves were confined and gazed on the lot, very much as a cattle dealer might look upon a herd he contemplated purchasing. His gaze soon fastened on a fine, manly person in whose proud eye the sullen fires were but half subdued. He stood with his arms folded across his broad chest and his eye fixed upon a beautiful girl at his side.
The captive spoke not. A pair of handcuffs were on his wrists, and the chains came almost to the ground; but slavery and chains could not subdue the proud captive.
Hull delighted in punishing those whom he disliked. He was a papist at heart and consequently
in sympathy with James II., so for this indented slave he incurred from the very first a most bitter dislike. When the slave was brought forth to be sold, he bid twelve pounds for him. This was two pounds more than the required price, and he became the purchaser.
“You are mine,” cried Hull to the servant. “Come with me.
The father turned his great brown eyes dim with moisture upon his child, and Hull, interpreting the look, added, “Hold, I will buy the maid also."
“She cannot be sold,” the officer in charge of the slaves answered, “unless the master of the ship sees fit to sell her for passage money."
The master of the ship was present and declared he would do nothing of the kind.
“I will take her back to England, if she wishes to return,” he added.
The child was speechless, her great blue eyes fixed on her father.
“What will you do with the maid ?" asked Hull, who, having the father, felt sure the child would follow.
“I will return her to England free of charge, if she wills it."
" Who will care for her there?” asked Hull. “Do you
know her relatives?” “No; all are strangers to me.”
U. OF ILL. LIB.
The father, with his proud breast heaving with tumultuous emotion, stood silently gazing on the
He was a slave and he remembered that a slave must not speak unless permission be granted him by his master; but it was his child, the only link that bound him to earth, whose fate they were to decide, and, had he been unfettered, he might have clasped her to his bosom.
“Speak with the maid,” suggested a by-stander, “and see if she has a friend in England who will care for her."
The master of the ship went to the bewildered child and, taking her little hand in his broad palm, said:
“Sweet little maid, you are not afraid to trust me?"
She turned her great blue eyes up to him and, in a whisper, answered:
“I am not."
“Where did you live before your father enlisted in the army of Monmouth ?”
“We travelled; we lived at no one place." “Have you no friends or relatives in England ?” “None.'
The captain then asked permission to talk with the father. The permission was given by Hull, for he saw that his slave had the sympathy of all present, and it would not be safe to refuse him some privileges. The master of the vessel and the magistrate who had superintended the selling of the slaves for the crown found the slave a very intelligent gentleman. He said he had but one relative living so far as he knew. He had a brother who had come to America two or three years before; but he had not heard from him, and he might be dead.
“Do you know any one in England to whom your child could be sent?”
"I do not."
“What were you doing before you entered the duke's army?”
“I was a strolling player," the man answered, his fine tragic eyes fixed firmly on the officers. “My company had reached a town one day, in which we were to play at night, and just as I was getting ready to go to the theatre, the Duke of Monmouth entered. He was on his way to Sedgemore, and I was forced to join him. My child followed on foot and watched the battle as it raged. When it was over I could have escaped, had I not come upon Cora, who was seeking me. I took her up in my arms and was hurrying away, when
the cavalry of the enemy overtook me and I was made a prisoner."
The simple story made an impression on all who heard it save the obdurate master. The magistrate asked the slave what he would have done with his child.
“Let her stay in the colony until my term of service is ended, then I will labor to remunerate any who would keep her."
At this Hull said he would take the maid, and she might always be near the father. All who knew Hull looked with suspicion on the proposition.
A new-comer had arrived on the scene. This was a young man of about the same age as the prisoner. He was a wealthy Virginian named Robert Stevens, noted for his kindness of heart and charity. He did not arrive on the scene until after the indented slave had been sold; but he soon heard the story of the captive from Sedgemore and his child. Robert Stevens' heart at once went out to these unfortunates, and he resolved on a scheme to make the father practically free.
“Has the slave been sold ?” he asked.
“He has, and I am the purchaser,” answered Hull.
“How much did you give for him?”