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    CHAPTER IV.
  --  COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE--A SLAVEHOLDER'S IDEA OF ITS
  --  REQUIREMENTS--SEPARATION.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER VI.
  --  MOTHERHOOD--CHANGE OF MASTERS--SAD EXPERIENCE--
  --  TAKEN TO RICHMOND--AUCTION-BLOCK--RETURN.

Veney, Bethany
The Narrative of Bethany Veney, slave woman

- CHAPTER V. -- MEETING--A LAST INTERVIEW--SEPARATION.

CHAPTER V.
MEETING--A LAST INTERVIEW--SEPARATION.


The place where I was to meet Jerry was, as I have said, across the run, in a corn-field, near the blacksmith's shop, the time Friday night.

It had rained hard all day, and the stream was swollen, and pouring and rushing at a fearful rate. I waited till everybody was in bed and asleep, when I lighted my pine knot, and started for the Pass. It was still raining, and the night was very dark. Only by my torch could I see a step before me; and, when I attempted to wade in, as I did in many different places, I found it was no use. I should surely be drowned if I persisted. So, disappointed and grieved, I gave up and went home. The next morning I was able to get over on horseback to milk the cows, but I neither heard nor saw anything of Jerry.

Saturday night came. I knew well that, if not caught by White, Jerry would be round. At last, every one was in bed, and all was still. I waited and listened. I listened and waited. Then I heard his step at the door. I hurriedly opened it, and he came in. His clothes were still damp and stiff from the rain of yesterday. He was frightened and uneasy. He had been hiding around in different places, constantly fearing detection. He had seen me from behind the old blacksmith's shop when I had tried the night before, with my pine knot, to ford the stream; and he was glad, he would, when he saw me go back, for he knew I should be carried

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down by the current and be drowned, if I had persisted. I went to my mistress's bedroom, and asked her if I might go to the cellar. She knew at once what I meant, and whispered softly, "Betty, has Jerry come?" then, without waiting for reply, added, "get him some milk and light bread and butter." I was not long in doing so; and the poor fellow ate like one famishing. Then he wanted to know all that had happened, and what White had said when he found he was gone. We talked a long time, and tried to devise some plans for our mutual safety and possible escape from slavery altogether; but, every way we looked, the path was beset with danger and exposure. We were both utterly disheartened. But sleep came at last and, for the time being, relieved us of our fears.

In the morning, which was Sunday, we had our breakfast together, and, as the hours passed, began to feel a little comforted. After dinner, we walked out to the field and strolled about for some time; and, when ready to go back to the house, we each took an armful of fodder along for the horses. As we laid it down and turned to go into the house, David McCoy rode up on horseback. He saw Jerry at once, and called him to come to the fence. The excitement of the last days--the fasting and the fear--had completely cowed and broken whatever of manhood, or even of brute courage, a slave might by any possibility be presumed at any time to be possessed of, and the last remains of these qualities in poor Jerry were gone. He mutely obeyed; and when, with an oath, McCoy commanded him to mount the horse behind him, he mutely seated himself there. McCoy then called to me to go to the house and bring Jerry's clothes. "Never,--I screamed back to him,--"never, not to save your miserable life." But Jerry said: "O Betty, 'tis no use. We

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can't help it." I knew this was so. I stifled my anger and my grief, brought his little bundle, into which I tucked a testament and catechism some one had given me, and shook hands "good-by" with him. So we parted forever , in this world.
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    CHAPTER IV.
  --  COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE--A SLAVEHOLDER'S IDEA OF ITS
  --  REQUIREMENTS--SEPARATION.   Table of Contents     CHAPTER VI.
  --  MOTHERHOOD--CHANGE OF MASTERS--SAD EXPERIENCE--
  --  TAKEN TO RICHMOND--AUCTION-BLOCK--RETURN.