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  --  OCTOROON LIFE IN NEW ORLEANS.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER X.

Mattison, Hiram
Louisa Picquet, the Octoroon



" Then , in about a month or three weeks, he died. I didn't cry nor nothin', for I was glad he was dead; for I thought I could have some peace and happiness then. I was left free, and that made me so glad I could hardly believe it myself.

"Then, on Sunday, I dressed myself and went out to go to

church; and that was the first time I had been to church in six years. I used to go to the colored church in Georgia, with my mother, in the afternoon. When I got there, to the church in New Orleans, the minister talked just as though he knew all about me, and talked about the vows I had made to the Lord about my husband. Then I said in my mind, he wan't my husband; but then I determined to go there to church. Then I asked the people what church it was, and they said, a Methodist church. Then Mr. Williams' brother came, and told me I must go out of that house, because he would not pay the rent. Then a woman there, a friend of mine, let me come in one of her rooms. She was very kind to me, and used to give me victuals when I did not know where to get it."

Q. --"Who was this woman?"

A. --"Her name was Helen Hopkins; she was a colored woman that used to take in washing. I never knew how it was that she was so kind to me. I always thought it was the Lord takin' care of the widow and the fatherless.

"One day I met Mr. Williams' brother, and he asked me what I was doin'; and I told him, nothin'. He said that by rights I belonged to him, because his brother had not paid him the money that he borrowed to help buy me. Mr. Williams--John Williams--had said before that he would give me somethin' for the children. Then he asked me why I did not go away, as his brother told me. Then I told him it was because I had not money enough to go with, and asked him to give me some. Then he said I had better thank God for my freedom; and that his brother had got enough from him. Then I told this friend of mine, who had given me victuals, and she advised me to get away as soon as I could.

"Then Mr. John Williams sent the things I had to a secondhand furniture store, and sold them all; and I took the money and my two children, and went to Cincinnati. I had just money enough to get there, and a little bit over."

Q. --"What made you stop at Cincinnati?"

A. --"Because I had no money to go further; and I met all my friends there that I knew, when I was small, in Georgia. One of them was a Mrs. Nelson, who was once a slave in Georgia

with my mother. Her husband had bought her, and she was livin' with him in Cincinnati. I went right to her house. Then, when I saw her free, and was free myself, I began to think more about my mother."

Q. --"When had you seen your mother last?"

A. --"At the auction, where we were all sold. It is now most twenty years ago."

Q. --"Had you never heard from her?"

A. --"Yes. I had one letter from her when I was in New Orleans. Mr. Williams read the letter to me, and told me that my mother wanted me to send her some tea and sugar. That was just like the mornin' we parted. It grieved me so to think that she was where she could have no sugar and tea. She could always get it in Georgia, if she had to take in workin' and do it at night. But I had no money, and could not send her any thing; and I felt bad to think my mother could not have any of these things. Whenever I set down to eat ever since, I always think of my mother. When Mr. Williams was sick, before he died, he promised me, if he ever got up off from that bed, he would buy my mother, and set us all free. But he never did it."

Q. --"Are the two children you brought with you from New Orleans now living?"

A. --"No; one of them died soon after I got to Cincinnati. I have only one of them livin'--a daughter, about eighteen years old."

Q. --"Is she as white as you are?"

A. --"Oh yes; a great deal whiter."

  --  OCTOROON LIFE IN NEW ORLEANS.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER X.