It was of no small importance to the object, that Millhouse did not lose his appetite, and a full enjoyment of the feast, made him soon forgetful of the tempest he had provoked. Warnt that old nigger here, that nuss of yourn, as skinny as a dry peach skin–all skin and bone,–warnt she setting thar for a good hour, a-telling us of her da’ters in the swamp, and their children and their husbands, and of the boy Jupe, that broke his neck a’ter the coon, and them two bow-legged gals, his sisters. Now, jist be sensible, Cappin, and tell all about it, as I seed and heard it my own self.”
But the recollection of the widow’s strong box consoled him for the moment. He had hidden it beyond the search and suspicion even of his comrades, and he chuckled to himself, even in that gloomy hour, at the cleverness with which he had succeeded in doing so. He began to calculate how long they were to last, according to the life of riot, drinking and gaming which he led. He made no appropriations of any portion to his family. They, too, must be in that box; and these papers, according to the inadvertent admissions of McKewn, were important to his safety. But then came up the last suggestion of the sanguine Corporal.
On ’em that never kin git back,–all off your place,–and he sold ’em to Moncreiff; and many more besides; but here’s the box; it’s got the pretickilar papers to convict him and to hang him, the villain, and the nigger thief, and murderer. You seed him how he wanted to murder me in my own bed, and all to git the papers, and to hush up my evidence; but he’ll hev the justice done to him at last, and I’ll be a witness agin him ef they’ll let me go free, and pardon me for what I did for him. “I have! There are a hundred guineas here, in this bag; but I’ll not give you one of them, Bostwick, until I see that box of papers–until I get it delivered into my own hands.” The child obeyed, and she sang for him a well known rustic ditty.
At all events, he showed no regard whatever to the obvious impatience of his companion. At length, having drank, and struck down the cup upon the chest, he turned to McKewn, and confronted him. “I don’t know what to make of your conduct, Bostwick, tonight. “And who does that?” demanded Barton and Drummond in a breath. “I’m agreeable to that!” answered the Squatter; and the cups were filled in a twinkling. Bostwick drained the fiery liquid in its native state, disdaining the qualifying aid of water.
Porgy had prepared and brought with him the necessary bill of sale. He had signed it in the presence of Lance Frampton, the night before. The widow asked if he did not desire any written engagement, from her, to resell the negro to him, according to their private understanding; but, with his usual indifference to his own securities, the Captain declined it. The lady gave him an order upon the city for a hundred guineas, and received, and put away, the Bill of Sale. The wages of Tom, while he remained in the service of his former owner were then easily adjusted; and the parties were still engaged in conversation, the Captain very low in spirits, and the lady, with a judicious delicacy, striving to soothe and conciliate him, when Arthur Eveleigh bounced into the room.
Near neighbourhood of the river, or rather that arm of the sea which afforded harbourage to the brigantines, or transport vessels, to which, he and others, engaged in illicit trade, were about to furnish stolen cargo. But, though approaching this neighbourhood, he was not yet disposed to show himself to his confederates. He had to solve his problems, in secret meditation, before he required their coöperation. Exercising gas line supplies dyersburg tn our peculiar privilege, we, however, are enabled to report the subject of his thoughts and the conclusions to which they conducted him. As might be expected, his meditations all related to the Squatter, Bostwick, and the embarrassments which threatened him from that quarter. “Well, but Bostwick, I have not refused to reward you for what you have done. I’ve paid you punctually for all your services.”
“Why, what’s this, McKewn?” growled the Squatter, as he looked at the handful of coin, which the former had given him. “Nothing but silver, and pretty much shillings and sixpences all.” It is curious that all primitive periods, in all countries, are distinguished by the passion for gaming and drinking, and by such a degree of invention as will enable men to gratify both. The fact illustrates the necessity of the race for mental exercise, and for the excitement of the nervous system. And this is in what we vulgarly and ignorantly call a state of nature, as if man, who is a born creature of art, ever knew such a condition, in the sense in which nature is commonly understood. But we must not philosophize, having to deal with our present company.
“But what’s the need for you to go, Cappin?” demanded Fordham and Millhouse in the same breath. “We kin bury these blackguards, and look up for the box without troubling you; and you see the rain keeps on.” “That’s as it happens, and seems advisable. He wouldn’t resk a hair of his head on a visit to them at any time, though the niggers do say that he loves the eldest gal child.” Have received ‘the flower of all,’ leaving to the belly the bran only.
The feast has, already, in a great measure, been enjoyed. The only persons who still show an unrelaxing appetite, are the Corporal, Millhouse, the one-armed veteran, and Tom, the African. You may see that each of these carries in hand certain fragments of bread, and broiled ham of corresponding dimensions, the latter done to a turn. The Sergeant eats as if duly conscious of Tom’s excellence as a cook, and–for no other reason. He is not silent when the expression of his gratitude is becoming.