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CHAPTER II.
Several weeks had passed away since Judy's visit, when, one day, as Cornelia stood leaning her little curly head against her mother's knee, she said:

"Mother, who is Judy? Has she a husband or children?"

"I do not know of any, my daughter. She may have some living; but you know Judy was a slave, and they have probably been sold away from her, and are still in slavery."

"In slavery, mother! and sold? Why, do they sell little children away from their mothers?"

"Yes, Cornelia, there are persons guilty of such a wicked thing; mothers and children, and whole families, are often separated from each other, never, perhaps, to meet again!"

"So Judy was a slave, mother?"

"Yes, Cornelia, she was: and from all I have learned of her history, I am sure she has led a very unhappy and sorrowful life."

"O! now I understand what you meant when you said that she had a thorny path through life. Have you ever heard her history, mother? if you have, won't you tell it to us?"

"Yes, do, mother, do!" exclaimed the children together.

"I should like very much to gratify you, my dear children, but it is not in my power to do so, as I am not very well acquainted with her history. But I will tell you how we can arrange it. Judy will he here to-night, as, I promised to give her some Indian cakes, of which she is very fond, and I have no doubt that she will tell you the story of her sad life."

The idea of hearing Judy's story occupied the mind of the children all the afternoon, and the evening was looked forward to with great impatience by them.

It was twilight, and Mrs. Ford and the children had gathered around the warm, comfortable grate to await the return of papa. The wind whistled without, and the snow-flakes fell silently and steadily to the frozen ground.

"Mother, can't I bring in the lights?" asked Cornelia, who was getting a little impatient; only a little, for Cornelia was remarkable for her sweet and placid disposition.

"Yes, dear, I think you may. Hark! yes, that is his footstep in the hall. Go, Alfred, and tell Bessie to bring up the tea. And you, Cornelia, bring your father's dressing-gown and slippers to the fire."

"Yes, wife, let us have some of Bessie's nice hot tea, for I am chilled through and through; and such a cutting wind! I thought my nose would have been blown off; and what would my little girl have said if she had seen her papa come home without a nose? Would you have run?" asked Mr. Ford.

"No, indeed, papa, if your nose were blown off, and your teeth all pulled out, and you were like 'Uncle Ned,' who had 'no eyes to see, and had no hair on the top of his head,' I would just get on your lap as I do now; so you see you could not frighten me away if you tried ever so hard," said Cornelia, laughingly.

Supper was hastily dispatched, by the children, who were eager and impatient for the coming of Aunt Judy.

"O mother! do you think she will come?" asked Alfred, as his mother arose from the table to look at the weather.

"Well, indeed, Alfred, I am sorry to disappoint you, but I think there is little probability of seeing Judy to-night."

"Why, no, mother, I thought that as soon as I saw what a stormy night it was; and although it will disappoint us very much, I hope she will not come," said little Cornelia.

"Why, how you talk, sis! Not come, indeed! Humph! I hope she will, then. This little snow wouldn't hurt me, so it wouldn't hurt her," said the impetuous Alfred.

"You must remember, my son, that Judy is old and infirm, and subject, as she says, to a 'touch of the rheumatiz.' But I am sorry that she has not come to-night. She may be sick; I think I will call down and see her to-morrow," said Mrs. Ford, drawing out the table and arranging the shade on the lamp, so that the light fell on the table and the faces of those around it. They were cheerful, happy faces, and everything around them wore the same look; and from the aspect of things, it seemed as if they were going to spend a pleasant and profitable evening.

"Dear papa, tell us a story with a poor slave in it, won't you? and I will give you as many kisses as you please," said Cornelia, twining her arms around her father's neck.

"No, no, papa, not about the slave, but the poor Indian, who has been far worse treated than the slave was or ever will be. Only to think of the white people coming here, plundering their villages, and building on their hunting grounds, just as if it belonged to them, when all the while it was the Indians'. Now, if they had bought it and paid for it, honorably, as William Penn did, it would have been a different thing; but they got it meanly, and I'm ashamed of them for it," said Alfred, his eyes flashing and his cheeks glowing with indignation.

"All that you have said is true, my son, but the Indians were also guilty of great cruelty toward the white people," said Mr. Ford.

"But, papa, don't you think the Indians had good cause for their hatred to the whites?" asked Harry.

"Why, Harry, they had no reason sufficient to justify them in their cruel and vindictive course; but they did no more than was to be expected from an entirely barbarous nation, and I am sure they had no good example in the conduct of the white people, from whom much better behavior might have been expected."

"Well, papa, what were some of the wrongs that the Indians endured!"

"The Indians regarded the whites as intruders, and maddened by some acts of injustice and oppression committed by the early settlers, they conceived a deadly hatred, which the whites returned with equal intensity; and for each crime committed by either of them, the opposite party inflicted a retribution more terrible than the act which provoked it, and the Indian, being less powerful, but equally wicked, was the victim."

"Well, although I think the Indians were very wicked, I pity them, but I feel a great deal more for the poor slave," said little Cornelia.

"I think they were very cruel, sis, but I still think that they were very badly treated," said Alfred.

"There is no doubt of that," answered his father; "but, my son, when you began the argument you said that you thought the Indians were more deserving of compassion than the Africans. Now this is the difference. The Indians were always a warlike and treacherous race; their most solemn compacts were broken as soon as their own purposes had been served. And they were continually harassing the settlers; indeed they have not ceased yet, for at the present time they are attacking and murdering the traders who cross the plains, if they are not well armed, and in sufficiently large companies to keep them in check. Now the Americans had never this cause of complaint against the Africans, for, although like all heathen, they were debased, and were cruel and warlike among each other, they never annoyed us in America. And the Americans had not, therefore, even this insufficient excuse for enslaving them. The Indians were robbed of their lands, and driven from their homes; but the Africans not only lost their country, but were compelled to work in slavery, for men to whom they owed no allegiance, in a different climate, and with the ever-galling thought that they were once free. It argues well for their peaceable disposition, that they have not long ago revolted, and by a terrible massacre shaken off their yoke as they did in St. Domingo. Now, which was the worst used in this case?"

"O! the slave, papa. I willingly surrender," said Alfred, laughing.

"Well, if you have finished, I move we go to bed, and thence to the land of dreams," said Mrs. Ford, rising and putting away her sewing.

It was unanimously agreed that this was the best plan, and, after giving thanks to God for his many mercies, they retired.


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