|CHAPTER V. -- INTRIGUES OF A MARRIED "SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN."|
Q. --" Did Mr. Cook always treat you well, as to any insults?"
A. --"No. After we went to Mobile, I went to Mr. Bachelor's, after I was at Mr. English's, and Mr. Cook was boarding there. I was a little girl, not fourteen years old. One day Mr. Cook told me I must come to his room that night, and take care of him. He said he was sick, and he want me and another slave girl to come to his room and take care of him. In the afternoon he went to his room, and said he was sick. I was afraid to go there that night, and I told Mrs. Bachelor what Mr. Cook said to me. Then she whispered with her sister, Mrs. Simpson, and then told me I need not go. She said she would go up and see Mr. Cook, and have some one else go and take care of him. Then I went up after Mrs. Bachelor, not to let him see me, and listen to the door. Mrs. Bachelor went in and ask him how he done. She said, 'I heard you was sick, and I thought I would come up and see if there was any thing serious. He groaned, and seemed to get worse than ever--told how bad he felt about his head, and one thing an'other. Then her reply was, that she would have some water put on to bathe his feet and some mustard, and have one of the boys come up and take care of him. She went right on in that way, without his asking, and smooth it off in that way, so as not to let on that she thought any thing, at the same time clearing me.
"Then he thanked her very kindly. So she went down, and had the water sent up. Then, pretty soon, he sent down by the boy, to tell me to bring up some more mustard. Then Mrs. Bachelor, she understood it, and she took up the mustard herself. Then the boy stay with him all night, and just about daylight he come down. When he come down he come to the room (you see, I slept in Mrs. Bachelor's room)--he call me and says, 'Your massa, Henry, says you must take him up a fresh pitcher of water;' and Mrs. Bachelor told him to go and take it up himself; that I was busy.
Q. --"Were you hired to Mrs. Bachelor then?"
A. --"I don't know. I was workin' there; it might have been in part for his board, for aught I know. Mrs. Bachelor kept boarding-house. She was Scotch; came from Scotland."
Q. --"Well, what happened next?"
A. --"I didn't go up till breakfast-time. At breakfast-time I had to take his breakfast up to his room, on a waiter. He had not got up yet--I take the waiter up to the bed. Well, him thinking that all the boarders gone down, talk rather louder than he would if he'd a thought they were there. The door was open wide enough for a person to come in.
"Then he order me, in a sort of commanding way (I don't want to tell what he said), and told me to shut the door. At the same time he was kind a raising up out of the bed; then I began to cry; but before I had time to shut the door, a gentleman walk out of another room close by, picking his nails, and looking in the room as he passed on. Then Mr. Cook turned it off very cute. He said, 'What you stand there crying for, you dam' fool? Go 'long down stairs, and get me some more salt.' Same time he had not taste his breakfast, to see whether he want any salt, or not. That was to blind with that gentleman, because he see me there crying, or heard me, or something. Then I was very glad to get out to get the salt, but still I knew I should have to come back again, and it would not be much better. Then I went down to get the salt, and Mrs. Bachelor caught my looks, and spoke and said, 'Louisa, one of the boys will take that salt up, I want you a minute.' Then I thought she was the best friend I had in the world. She had such a nice way of turning off things. Then I didn't go up till that day, some time. He did not come down, but call out of the window for me to bring him up a pitcher of water. Then I brought the water up, and he want to know why I did not come up with the salt. I told him the reason, that Mrs. Bachelor said she wanted me, and sent it up by one of the boys. Then he said he wanted me to understand that I belong to him, and not to Mrs. Bachelor--that when he called, or wanted me, I was not to consult with Mrs. Bachelor, or any person else.
"Then he told me I must come up in his room that night; if
"Then in the mornin' he want to know why I didn't come up, and I told him I forget it. Then he said, I don't believe you forgot it; but if you forget that, I won't forget what I told you. So he whip me, so that I won't forget another time.
Q. --"Well, how did he whip you?"
A. --"With the cowhide."
Q. --"Around your shoulders, or how?"
A. --"That day he did."
Q. --"How were you dressed--with thin clothes, or how?"
A. --"Oh, very thin; with low-neck'd dress. In the summertime we never wore but two pieces--only the one under, and the blue homespun over. It is a striped cloth they make in Georgia just for the colored people. All the time he was whippin' me I kept sayin' I forgot it, and promisin' I would come another time."
Q. --"Did he whip you hard, so as to raise marks?"
A. --"Oh yes. He never whip me in his life but what he leave the mark on, I was dressed so thin. He kept asking me, all the time he was whippin' me, if I intended to mind him. Of course I told him I would, because I was gettin' a whippin'. At the same time, I did not mean to go to his room; but only did it so that he would stop whippin' me. He want to know what I was afraid of--if I could not sleep as well there as anywhere else? Of course I told him, yes, sir; and that I wan't afraid of any thing. At the same time, I was afraid of him; but I wouldn't tell him. Then he let me go. Then, as luck would have it, he got playin' cards with some gentlemen after dinner, about two or three o'clock, and never stop all night; so I thought from appearance of things in the mornin'. They were playin' and drinkin' together all night; so I did not go to his room till mornin'. I had my excuse all made up--because
"Then, in the mornin', I went up to call him to breakfast; and, as I knock at the door to call him, to tell him that breakfast was ready, he told me to come in. He came to the door, and I smelt his breath, and see from the way he spoke to me that he had been drinkin'. He told me to come in, that he had somethin' for me. At the same time, he took hold of my hand, and kind a pull me, and put a whole handful of half-dollars in my hand. Then I knew he was drunk, but it surprise me so that I didn't know what to think. At the same time, he was holdin' on to me, and askin' me if I would come back. I told him, yes. But I thought he was so drunk he would forget, and so I have all that money. I never had any money but copper and five cents before; and, of course, my hand full of half-dollars looked to me like a fortune. I thought he had got it that night playin' cards. I went on, then, down stairs; and in the afternoon, when he got a little sober, he ask me what I done with that money. First I ask him, what money? I thought he would forget it, and didn't let on that I knew any thing about it. Then he said, that money I let you have this mornin'. Then I knew he had not forgot.
"Then, you see, I had seen a flowered muslin dress in the store several times, and I take a fancy to it; I thought it look beautiful. It was perfectly white, with a little pink leaf all over it. So I went to the store, and ask the man what's the price of it. Then he told me, but I could not reckon it, so I lay the money out, and told him to give just as many yards as I had half-dollars. Then he told me that would be too large a pattern for me; but I told him, no, I wanted a nice full dress. That was the largest pattern I ever had afore, or since. Then I told Mr. Cook I put the money away, and could not find it. I had sense enough to know he would not dare tell any one that he gave me the money, and would hardly dare to whip me for it. Then he say no more about it, only he told me to come up there that night. He said he want to see some more about that money; he didn't believe I lost it. Then I told Mrs. Bachelor
"Well, about tea-time he wanted water. That was sent up. Then he wanted to know where I was; he wanted a button sewed on his wristband. Then Mrs. Bachelor sent him word that, if he could not find me, to send the shirt down, and her sister, or one of the girls, would put a button on for him, if he was in a hurry. The shirt came down, and the button was sewed on. I suppose he just took the button off for an excuse. Then, when they went up with the shirt, he sent word down that, when I came, I must come up and get his boots and black them. He did not care about waitin'so long for them in the mornin'. He thought I'd give out somewhere. Then, about bedtime, he call one of the boys to know if they told me about the boots; and they said they hadn't seen me. I was all the time in Mrs. Bachelor's room, but none of them knew it. I sewed the button on, but he didn't know it. Then he pretended to be mad because I was gone out at night, and she excuse me, and said, perhaps I had gone out with some children, and got to playin', and didn't know it was so late. He was mad, and told her his wife never allowed me to go out nights, and she must not; and allowed he would give me a floggin' for it. He said I knew better than to go out. He thought I was out, or, perhaps, he thought it was a trick to keep me from him and that made him so mad.
"In the mornin' he came down, and want to know where I was. You see, I'd made up my mind to take the whippin'. I knew he would not kill me, and I'd get over it the same as I had before. So I told him I was down stairs asleep.
"Then he came to me in the ironin'-room, down stairs, where I was, and whip me with the cowhide, naked, so I'spect I'll
Q. --"Did he cut through your skin?"
A. --"Oh yes; in a good many places. I don't believe he would whip me much worse, if I struck his wife or children; and I didn't do any thing. He pretended it was because I was out, but I knew what it was for When he came out of the room, after he had whipped me, he said, to make Mrs. Bachelor believe, 'I'll be bound she won't go out another time without permission.' Then, when he was whippin' me so awfully, I made up my mind 'twas of no use, and I'd go, and not be whipped any more; and told him so. I saw he was bent on it, and I could not get Mrs. Bachelor to protect me any more. Then he went away, and that was the last I ever saw him. That very day, about noon, we was taken by the sheriff, and was all sold the next mornin'. I tell you I was glad when I heard I was taken off to be sold, because of what I escape; but I jump out of the fryin'-pan into the fire. Mrs. Bachelor said it was a good thing, when I went away."
Q. --"Where was Mrs. Cook all this time?"
A. --"She was up the country, in Georgia, with a sister of hers. When he failed in Georgia, he sent her up to her sister. I suppose she was willing to do it; she must have understood it."
Q. --"How many children had she?"
A. --"I could not tell; they had a lot of them. I know I been nursin' all my life up to that time."