some remarkable reason, ghostly legends were uncommonly rife, about this time,
among the servants on Legree's place.
It was whisperingly asserted that
footsteps, in the dead of night, had been heard descending the garret stairs,
and patrolling the house. In vain
the doors of the upper entry had been locked; the ghost either carried a
duplicate key in its pocket, or availed itself of a ghost's immemorial privilege
of coming through the keyhole, and promenaded as before, with a freedom that was
Authorities were somewhat divided, as to
the outward form of the spirit, owing to a custom quite prevalent among
negroes,--and, for aught we know, among whites, too,--of invariably shutting the
eyes, and covering up heads under blankets, petticoats, or whatever else might
come in use for a shelter, on these occasions. Of course, as everybody knows, when the bodily eyes are thus
out of the lists, the spiritual eyes are uncommonly vivacious and perspicuous;
and, therefore, there were abundance of full-length portraits of the ghost,
abundantly sworn and testified to, which, as if often the case with portraits,
agreed with each other in no particular, except the common family peculiarity of
the ghost tribe,--the wearing of a _white sheet_. The poor souls were not versed in ancient history, and did
not know that Shakspeare had authenticated this costume, by telling how
"The sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the streets of Rome."
 _Hamlet_, Act
I, scene 1, lines 115-116
therefore, their all hitting upon this is a striking fact in pneumatology, which
we recommend to the attention of spiritual media generally.
Be it as it may, we have private reasons
for knowing that a tall figure in a white sheet did walk, at the most approved
ghostly hours, around the Legree premises,--pass out the doors, glide about the
house,--disappear at intervals, and, reappearing, pass up the silent stairway,
into that fatal garret; and that, in the morning, the entry doors were all found
shut and locked as firm as ever.
Legree could not help overhearing this
whispering; and it was all the more exciting to him, from the pains that were
taken to conceal it from him. He
drank more brandy than usual; held up his head briskly, and swore louder than
ever in the daytime; but he had bad dreams, and the visions of his head on his
bed were anything but agreeable. The
night after Tom's body had been carried away, he rode to the next town for a
carouse, and had a high one. Got
home late and tired; locked his door, took out the key, and went to bed.
After all, let a man take what pains he
may to hush it down, a human soul is an awful ghostly, unquiet possession, for a
bad man to have. Who knows the
metes and bounds of it? Who knows
all its awful perhapses,--those shudderings
and tremblings, which it can no more live down than it can outlive its own
eternity! What a fool is he who
locks his door to keep out spirits, who has in his own bosom a spirit he dares
not meet alone,--whose voice, smothered far down, and piled over with mountains
of earthliness, is yet like the forewarning trumpet of doom!
But Legree locked his door and set a
chair against it; he set a night-lamp at the head of his bed; and put his
pistols there. He examined the
catches and fastenings of the windows, and then swore he "didn't care for
the devil and all his angels," and went to sleep.
Well, he slept, for he was tired,--slept
soundly. But, finally, there came
over his sleep a shadow, a horror, an apprehension of something dreadful hanging
over him. It was his mother's
shroud, he thought; but Cassy had it, holding it up, and showing it to him.
He heard a confused noise of screams and groanings; and, with it all, he
knew he was asleep, and he struggled to wake himself.
He was half awake. He was
sure something was coming into his room. He
knew the door was opening, but he could not stir hand or foot.
At last he turned, with a start; the door _was_ open, and he saw a hand
putting out his light.
It was a cloudy, misty moonlight, and
there he saw it!--something white, gliding in!
He heard the still rustle of its ghostly garments.
It stood still by his bed;--a cold hand touched his; a voice said, three
times, in a low, fearful whisper, "Come! come! come!"
And, while he lay sweating with terror, he knew not when or how, the
thing was gone. He sprang out of
bed, and pulled at the door. It was
shut and locked, and the man fell down in a swoon.
After this, Legree became a harder
drinker than ever before. He no
longer drank cautiously, prudently, but imprudently and recklessly.
There were reports around the country,
soon after that he was sick and dying. Excess
had brought on that frightful disease that seems to throw the lurid shadows of a
coming retribution back into the present life.
None could bear the horrors of that sick room, when he raved and
screamed, and spoke of sights which almost stopped the blood of those who heard
him; and, at his dying bed, stood a stern, white, inexorable figure, saying,
"Come! come! come!"
By a singular coincidence, on the very
night that this vision appeared to Legree, the house-door was found open in the
morning, and some of the negroes had seen two white figures gliding down the
avenue towards the high-road.
It was near sunrise when Cassy and
Emmeline paused, for a moment, in a little knot of trees near the town.
Cassy was dressed after the manner of
the Creole Spanish ladies,--wholly in black.
A small black bonnet on her head, covered by a veil thick with
embroidery, concealed her face. It
had been agreed that, in their escape, she was to personate the character of a
Creole lady, and Emmeline that of her servant.
Brought up, from early life, in
connection with the highest society, the language, movements and air of Cassy,
were all in agreement with this idea; and she had still enough remaining with
her, of a once splendid wardrobe, and sets of jewels, to enable her to personate
the thing to advantage.
She stopped in the outskirts of the
town, where she had noticed trunks for sale, and purchased a handsome one.
This she requested the man to send along with her.
And, accordingly, thus escorted by a boy wheeling her trunk, and Emmeline
behind her, carrying her carpet-bag and sundry bundles, she made her appearance
at the small tavern, like a lady of consideration.
The first person that struck her, after
her arrival, was George Shelby, who was staying there, awaiting the next boat.
Cassy had remarked the young man from
her loophole in the garret, and seen him bear away the body of Tom, and observed
with secret exultation, his rencontre with Legree. Subsequently she had gathered, from the conversations she had
overheard among the negroes, as she glided about in her ghostly disguise, after
nightfall, who he was, and in what relation he stood to Tom.
She, therefore, felt an immediate accession of confidence, when she found
that he was, like herself, awaiting the next boat.
Cassy's air and manner, address, and
evident command of money, prevented any rising disposition to suspicion in the
hotel. People never inquire too
closely into those who are fair on the main point, of paying well,--a thing
which Cassy had foreseen when she provided herself with money.
In the edge of the evening, a boat was
heard coming along, and George Shelby handed Cassy aboard, with the politeness
which comes naturally to every Kentuckian, and exerted himself to provide her
with a good state-room.
Cassy kept her room and bed, on pretext
of illness, during the whole time they were on Red river; and was waited on,
with obsequious devotion, by her attendant.
When they arrived at the Mississippi
river, George, having learned that the course of the strange lady was upward,
like his own, proposed to take a state-room for her on the same boat with
himself,--good-naturedly compassionating her feeble health, and desirous to do
what he could to assist her.
Behold, therefore, the whole party
safely transferred to the good steamer Cincinnati, and sweeping up the river
under a powerful head of steam.
Cassy's health was much better.
She sat upon the guards, came to the table, and was remarked upon in the
boat as a lady that must have been very handsome.
From the moment that George got the
first glimpse of her face, he was troubled with one of those fleeting and
indefinite likenesses, which almost every body can remember, and has been, at
times, perplexed with. He could not
keep himself from looking at her, and watchin her perpetually.
At table, or sitting at her state-room door, still she would encounter
the young man's eyes fixed on her, and politely withdrawn, when she showed, by
her countenance, that she was sensible to the observation.
Cassy became uneasy.
She began to think that he suspected something; and finally resolved to
throw herself entirely on his generosity, and intrusted him with her whole
George was heartily disposed to
sympathize with any one who had escaped from Legree's plantation,--a place that
he could not remember or speak of with patience,--and, with the courageous
disregard of consequences which is characteristic of his age and state, he
assured her that he would do all in his power to protect and bring them through.
The next state-room to Cassy's was
occupied by a French lady, named De Thoux, who was accompanied by a fine little
daughter, a child of some twelve summers.
This lady, having gathered, from
George's conversation, that he was from Kentucky, seemed evidently disposed to
cultivate his acquaintance; in which design she was seconded by the graces of
her little girl, who was about as pretty a plaything as ever diverted the
weariness of a fortnight's trip on a steamboat.
George's chair was often placed at her
state-room door; and Cassy, as she sat upon the guards, could hear their
Madame de Thoux was very minute in her
inquiries as to Kentucky, where she said she had resided in a former period of
her life. George discovered, to his
surprise, that her former residence must have been in his own vicinity; and her
inquiries showed a knowledge of people and things in his vicinity, that was
perfectly surprising to him.
"Do you know," said Madame de
Thoux to him, one day, "of any man, in your neighborhood, of the name of
"There is an old fellow, of that
name, lives not far from my father's place," said George.
"We never have had much intercourse with him, though."
"He is a large slave-owner, I
believe," said Madame de Thoux, with a manner which seemed to betray more
interest than she was exactly willing to show.
"He is," said George, looking
rather surprised at her manner.
"Did you ever know of his
having--perhaps, you may have heard of his having a mulatto boy, named
"O, certainly,--George Harris,--I
know him well; he married a servant of my mother's, but has escaped, now, to
"He has?" said Madame de
Thoux, quickly. "Thank
George looked a surprised inquiry, but
Madame de Thoux leaned her head on her
hand, and burst into tears.
"He is my brother," she said.
"Madame!" said George, with a
strong accent of surprise.
"Yes," said Madame de Thoux,
lifting her head, proudly, and wiping her tears, "Mr. Shelby, George Harris
is my brother!"
"I am perfectly astonished,"
said George, pushing back his chair a pace or two, and looking at Madame de
"I was sold to the South when he
was a boy," said she. "I
was bought by a good and generous man. He
took me with him to the West Indies, set me free, and married me.
It is but lately that he died; and I was going up to Kentucky, to see if
I could find and redeem my brother."
"I heard him speak of a sister
Emily, that was sold South," said George.
I am the one," said Madame de Thoux;--"tell me what sort of
"A very fine young man," said
George, "notwithstanding the curse of slavery that lay on him.
He sustained a first rate character, both for intelligence and principle.
I know, you see," he said; "because he married in our
"What sort of a girl?" said
Madame de Thoux, eagerly.
"A treasure," said George;
"a beautiful, intelligent, amiable girl.
Very pious. My mother had
brought her up, and trained her as carefully, almost, as a daughter.
She could read and write, embroider and sew, beautifully; and was a
"Was she born in your house?"
said Madame de Thoux.
Father bought her once, in one of his trips to New Orleans, and brought
her up as a present to mother. She
was about eight or nine years old, then. Father
would never tell mother what he gave for her; but, the other day, in looking
over his old papers, we came across the bill of sale.
He paid an extravagant sum for her, to be sure.
I suppose, on account of her extraordinary beauty."
George sat with his back to Cassy, and
did not see the absorbed expression of her countenance, as he was giving these
At this point in the story, she touched
his arm, and, with a face perfectly white with interest, said, "Do you know
the names of the people he bought her of?"
"A man of the name of Simmons, I
think, was the principal in the transaction.
At least, I think that was the name on the bill of sale."
"O, my God!" said Cassy, and
fell insensible on the floor of the cabin.
George was wide awake now, and so was
Madame de Thoux. Though neither of
them could conjecture what was the cause of Cassy's fainting, still they made
all the tumult which is proper in such cases;--George upsetting a wash-pitcher,
and breaking two tumblers, in the warmth of his humanity; and various ladies in
the cabin, hearing that somebody had fainted, crowded the state-room door, and
kept out all the air they possibly could, so that, on the whole, everything was
done that could be expected.
Poor Cassy! when she recovered, turned
her face to the wall, and wept and sobbed like a child,--perhaps, mother, you
can tell what she was thinking of! Perhaps
you cannot,--but she felt as sure, in that hour, that God had had mercy on her,
and that she should see her daughter,--as she did, months afterwards,--when--but