George Streynsham Master.

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Sie house. Valentine looked at the zenith,
then at his shoe-buckles, tossed his cigar
quietly into the grass and passed around a
comer of the house to meet Sylvestre in the

Honor6 had aheady nodded to his imcle
to come aside with him, and Agricola had
done so. The rest of the company, save a
few male figures down in the garden, after
some feeble efforts to keep up their spirits on
the veranda, remarked the growing coolness
or the waning daylight, and singly or in
pairs withdrew. It was not long before
Raoul, who had come up upon the veranda,
was left alone. He seemed to wait for some-
thing, as, leaning over the rail while the
stars came out, he sang to himself, in a soft
undertone, a snatch of a Creole song :

" La pluie — ^la pluie tom}>ait,
Crapaud criait,
Moustique chaniait *'

The moon shone so brightly that the chil-
dren in the garden did not break off their
hide-and-seek, and now and then Raoul sus-
pended the murmur of his song, absorbed in
the fate of some littie elf gliding firom one
black shadow to crouch in another. He was
himself in the deep shade of a magnolia,
over whose outer boughs the moonlight was
trickling, as if the whole tree had been
dipped in quicksilver.

In the broad walk running down to the
garden gate some six or seven dark forms
sat in chairs, not too far away for the light
of their cigars to be occasionally seen and
their voices to reach his ear ; but he did not
listen. In a Uttie while there came a Hght
footstep and a soft, mock-startled " Who is
that ? " and one of that same sparkling
group of girls that had lately hung upon
Honore came so close to Raoul, in her
attempt to ^Jiscem his lineaments, that their
lips accidentally met They had but a

moment of hand-in-hand converse before
they were hustled forth by a feminine scout-
ing party and thrust along into one of the
great rooms of the house, where the youth
and beauty of the Grandissimes were gath-
ered in an expansive semicircle around a
languishing fire, waiting to hear a story, or a
song, or both, or half a dozen of each, from
that master of narrative and melody, Raoul

"But mark," they cried imitedly, "you
have got to wind up with the story of Bras-
Coup6 ! "

" A song ! A song ! "

" Une chanson CrioU / Un€ chanson des
negres I "

" Sing * Y6 tol6 danc6 la doimg y doung
doung ! ' " cried a black-eyed girl.

Raoul explained that it £ul too many
objectionable phrases.

" Oh, just hum the objectionable phrases
and go nght on."

But instead he sang them this :



h — *-i — *T

^ V ^-


p #

-r— r

Jl kL


■I I *






** La pr/miff' fois mo U ^oir It,

Li ti^posi au bord so lit ;

Mo df^ Bouton^ bel fiamourhef

Vauf fois It U 'ji* so la saise

Comme vif Madam dans so fauteil,

Quand It vrvi c6U soleiL

So giis yi ti pits noir passi la nouittef

So d/ la lev" pits dotix passe la quitUf

Tom* mo la vie, zamein ma oir

Ein rCamcurise toll comme fa !

Mo^ blU tftantZ—md' bit/ boir* —
Mo' bit/ tout dipt f* UmpS'ld-^
Mo' blU parU^mo" blii dormi,
Qttand mo pens/ aprh wamil "

"And you have heard Bras-Coup^ sin|
that, yourself? "

" Once upon a time," said Raoul, warm
ing with his subject, " we were coming down
from Pointe Macarty in three pirogues. We
had been three days fishing and hunting in
Lake Salvador. Bras-Coup^ had one pi-
rogue with six paddles "

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" Oh, yes ! " cried a youth named Balta-
zar; " sing that, Raoul ! "

And Jie sang that

" But oh, Raoul, sing that song the ne-
groes sing when they go out in the bayous
at night, stealing pigs and chickens ! "

"That boat song, do you mean, which
they sing as a signal to those on shore ? "
He hummed :

"1)6 zabs, d^ zabs, d^ counou ouale ouale,
D^ zabs, d6 zabs, d6 counou ouale ouale,
Counou ouale ouale oua!e ouaie,
Counou ouale ouale ouaie ouaie,
Counou ouale ouaie ouale, momza.
Momza, momza, momza, momza,
Roza, roza, roza-et — momza."

This was followed by another and still
another, until the hour began to grow late.
And then they gathered closer round him
and heard the promised story. At the same
hour, Honors Grandissime, wrapping him-
self in a great-coat and giving himself up to
sad and somewhat bitter reflections, had
wandered from the paternal house, and by
and by from the grounds, not knowing why
or whither, but after a time soUciting, at
Frowenfeld's closing door, the favor of his
company. He had been feeling a kind of
suffocation. This it was that made him seek
and prize the presence and hand-grasp of
the inexperienced apothecary. He led him
out to the edge of the river. Here they sat
down, and with a laborious attempt at a
hard and jesting mood, Honor^ told the
same dark story.


" A VERY little more than eight years ago,"
began Honor6 — but not only Honors, but
Raoul also ; and not only they, but another,
earlier on the same day, — Honor6, the f. m.
c. But we shall not exactiy follow the
words of any one of these.

Bras-Coup6, they said, had been, in Africa
and under another name, a prince among his
people. In a certain war of conquest, to
which he had been driven by ennui^ he was
captured, stripped of his royalty, marched
down upon the beach of the Adantic, and,
attired as a true son of Adam, with two
goodly arms intact, became a commodity.
Pasrfng out of first hands in barter for a
looking-glass, he was shipped in good order
and condition on board the good schooner
EgaliUy whereof Blank was master, to be
deUvered without delay at the port of Nou-

velle Orleans (the dangers of fire and navi-
gation excepted), unto Blank Blank. In
witness whereof. He that made men's skins
of difi*erent colors, but all blood of one, hath
entered the same upon His book, and sealed
it to the day of judgment.

Of the voyage little is recorded — here
below ; the less the better. Part of the Uv-
ing merchandise failed to keep ; the weather
was rough, the cargo large, the vessel small.
However, the captain discovered there was
room over the side, and there — all flesh is
grass — from time to time during the voyage
he jettisoned the unmerchantable.

Yet, when the re-opened hatches let in the
sweet smell of the land, Bras-Coup6 had
come to the upper — ^the favored — the but-
tered side of the world; the anchor slid
with a rumble of relief down through the
muddy fathoms of the Mississippi, and the
prince could hear through the schooner's
side the savage ciurent of the river, leaping
and hcking about the bows, and whimper-
ing low welcomes home. A splendid pict-
mre to the eyes of the royal captive, as
his head came up out of the hatchway, was ,
the litde Franco-Spanish-American city that
lay on the low, brimming bank. There
were little forts that showed their white-
washed teeth; there was a green parade-
ground, and yellow barracks, and cabildo,
and hospital, and cavalry stables, and cus-
tom-house, and a most inviting jail, conven-
ient to the cathedral — all of dazzling white
and yellow, with a black stripe marlang the
track of the conflagration of 1794, and here
and there among the low roo& a lofty one
with round-topped dormer windows and a
breezy belvidere looking out upon the
plantations of coffee and mdigo beyond the

When Bras-Coup6 staggered ashore, he
stood but a moment among a drove of
" likely boys," before Agricola Fusilier,
managing die business adventures of the
Grandissune estate, as well as the residents
therein, and struck with admiration for the
physical beauties of the chieftain (a man
may even fancy a negro— as a negro),
bought the lot, and loth to resell him with
the rest to some imappreciative 'Cadian,
induced Don Jos6 Martinez' overseer to
become his purchaser.

Down in the rich parish of St. Bernard
(whose boundary line now touches that of
the distended city) lay the plantation, known
before Bras-Coup6 passed away, as La
Renaissance. Here it was that he entered
at once upon a chapter of agreeable sur-

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prises. He was humanely met, presented
with a clean garment, lifted into a cart
drawn by oxen, taken to a whitewashed
cabin of logs, finer than his palace at
home, and made to comprehend that it was
a free gift. He was also ^ven some clean
food, whereupon he fell sick. At home it
would have been the part of piety for the
magnate next the throne to laimch him
heavenward at once ; but now, healing doses
were administered, and to lus amazement
he recovered. It reminded him that he
was no longer king.

His name, he replied to an inquiry touch-
ing that subject, was y something

in the Jaloff tongue, which he by and by
condescended to render into Congo : Mioko-
Koanga, in French Bras-Coup6, The Arm
Cut Off. Truly it would have been easy to
admit, had this been his meaning, that his
tribe, in losing him, had lost its strong right
arm close off at the shoulder; not so easy
for his high-paying purchaser to allow, if
this other was his intent ; that the arm which
might no longer shake the spear or swing
. the wooden sword, was no better than a
useless stump never to be lifted for aught
else. But whether easy to allow or not,
that was his meaning. He made himself a
t)rpe of all Slavery, turning into flesh and
blood the truth that all Slavery is maiming.

He beheld more luxury 'in a week than
all his subjects had seen in a century.
Here Congo girls were dressed in cottons
and flannels worth, where he came from, an
elephant's tusk apiece. Everybody wore
clothes — children and lads alone excepted.
Not a lion had invaded the settlement since
his immigration. The serpents were as
nothing; an occasional one coming up
through the floor — that was all. True,
there was more emaciation than unassisted
conjecture could explain — a profusion of
enlarged jomts and diminished muscles,
which, thank God, was even then confined
to a narrow section and disappeared with
Spanish rule. He had no experimental
knowledge of it ; nay, regular meals, on the
contrary, gave him anxious concern, yet had
the effect — ^spite of his apprehension that he
was being fattened for a purpose — of restor-
ing the herculean puissance which formerly
in Africa had made him the terror of the

When one day he had come to be quite
himself, he was invited out into the sun-
shine, and escorted by the driver (a sort of
foreman to the overseer), went forth dimly

ondering. They reached a field where

some men and women were hoeing. He
had seen men and women — subjects of his —
labor — a little — in Africa, The . driver
handed him a hoe; he examined it with
silent interest — until by signs he was re-
quested to join the pastime.

" What ? "

He spoke, not with his lips, but with the
recoil of his splendid frame and the ferocious
expansion of his eyes. This invitation was
a cataract of Hghtning leaping down an ink-
black sky. In one instant of all-pervading
clearness he read his sentence — ^Work.

Bras-Couj)^ was six feet five. With a
sweep as quick as instinct the back of the
hoe smote the driver full in the head. Next,
the prince lifted the nearest Congo cross-
wise, brought thirty-two teeth together in
his wildly-lucking leg and cast him away as a
bad morsel ; then, throwing another into the
branches of a wiQow, and a woman over
his head into a draining-ditch, he made one
bound for freedom, and fell to his knees,
rocking from side to side imder the effect of
a pistol-ball fix)m the overseer. It had
struck him in the forehead, and running
around the skull in search of a penetrable
spot, tradition — ^which sometimes jests —
says came out despairingly, exactly where
it had entered.

It so happened that, except the overseer,
the whole company were black. Why
should the trivial scandal be blabbed ? A
plaster or two made everything even in a
short time, except in the drivers case — for
the driver died. The woman whom Bras-
Coup6 had thrown over his head lived to
sell calas to Joseph Frowenfeld.

Don Jos^, young and austere, knew noth-
ing about agriculture and cared as much about
human nature. The overseer often thought
this, but never said it; he would not
trust even himself with the dangerous criti-
cism. When he ventured to reveal the fore-
going incidents to the senor he laid all the
blame possible upon the man whom death
had removed beyond the reach of correction,
and brought his account to a climax by-
hazarding the assertion that Bras-Coup^ was
an animal that could not be whipped.

" Caramba ! " exclaimed the master, with
gentle emphasis, "how so ? "

" Perhaps senor had better ride down to
the quarters," replied the overseer.

It was a great sacrifice of dignity, but the
master made it

" Bring him out."

They brought him out — chains on his feet,
chains on his wrists, an iron yoke on his

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neck. The Spanish-Creole master had often
seen the bull, with his long, keen horns and
blazing eye, standing in the arena ; but this
was as though he had come face to face with
a rhinoceros.

" This man is not a Congo," he said

" He is a Jalofii" replied the encouraged
overseer. "See his fine, straight nose;
moreover, he is a candia — a prince. If I
whip him he will die."

The daimtless captive and fearless master
stood looking into each other's eyes imtil
each recognized in the other his peer in
physical courage, and each was struck with
an admiration for the other which no after
difference was sufficient entirely to destroy.
Had Bras-Coupe's eye quailed but once —
just for one little instant — ^he would have
got the lash ; but, as it was

" Get an interpreter J' said Don Jos^ ;
then, more privately, " and come to an
understanding. I shall require it of you."

Where might one find an interpreter —
one not merely able to render a Jaloff's
meaning into Creole French or Spanish, but
with such a turn for diplomatic correspond-
ence as would bring about an " understand-
ing " with this Afiican buffalo ? The over-
seer was left standing and thinking, and
Clemence, who had not forgotten who
threw her into the draining-ditch, cunningly
passed by.

"Ah, Clemence "

" Mo pas capabe / Mo pas capabe / f I

.cannot, I cannot!) Yayya^yal ^oir Mickd

AgricoP Fusilier I ouala yune bon moniure^

aui / " — which was to signify that Agricola

could interpret the very Papa L^bat.

"Agricola Fusilier! The last man on
earth to make peace."

But there seemed to be no choice, and to
Agricola the overseer went. It was but a
littie ride to the Grandissime place.

" I, Agricola Fusilier, stand as interpreter
to a negro ? H-sir ! "

" But I thought you might know of some
person," said the weakening applicant, rub-
bing his ear with his hand.

" Ah I " replied Agricola, addressing the
surrounding scenery, "if I did not — who
would ? You may take Palmyre."

The overseer softly smote his hands to-
gether at the happy thought.

"Yes," said Agricola, "take Palmyre;
she has picked up as many negro dialects as
I know European languages."

And she went to the don*s plantation as
interpretess, followed by Agricola's prayer to
Fate that she might in some way be over-

taken by disaster. The two hated each
other with all the strength they had. He
knew not only her pride, but her passion for
the absent Honor^. He hated her, also, for
her intelligence, for the high favor in which
she stood with her mistress, and for her in-
vincible spirit, which was more offensively
patent to him than to others, since he was
himself the chief object of her silent detes-

It was Palmyre's habit to do nothing
without painstaking. "When Mademoi-
selle comes to be S^ora," thought she — she
knew that her mistress and the don were
affianced — " it will be well to have Senor's
esteem. I shall endeavor to succeed." It
was fix)m this motive, then, that with the
aid of her mistress she attired herself in a
resplendence of scarlet and beads and feath-
ers that could not fail the double piupose
of connecting her with the children of Ethi-
opia and commanding the captive's instant

Alas for those who succeed too well!
No sooner did the Afiican turn his tiger
glance upon her than the fire of his eyes
died out ; and when she spoke to him in the
dear accents of his native tongue, the matter
of strife vanished from his mind. He loved.

He sat down tamely in his irons and lis-
tened to Palmyre's argument as a wrecked
mariner would listen to ghostly church-bells.
He would give a short assent, feast his eyes,
again assent, and feast his ears; but when
at length she made bold to approach the
actual issue, and finally uttered the loathed
word, IVorky he rose up, six feet five, a
statue of indignation in black marble.

And then Palmyre, too, rose up, glorying
in him, and went to explain to master and
overseer. Bras-Coup^ understood, she said,
that he was a slave — it was the fortune
of war, and he was a warrior ; byt, accord-
ing to a generally recognized principle in
African international law, he could not
reasonably be expected to work.

"As senor will remember I told him,"
remarked the overseer; "how can a man
expect to plow with a zebra ? "

Here he recalled a fact in his early experi-
ence. An Afiican of this stripe had been
found to answer admirably as a " driver " to
make others work. A second and third par-
ley, extending through two or three days,
were held with the prince, looking to his
appointment to the vacant office of driver ;
yet what was the master's amazement to
learn at length that his Highness declined
the proffered honor.

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" Stop ! " spoke the overseer again, de- '
tecting a look of alann in Palmyre*s face as
she turned away, " he doesn't do any such
thing. If Senor will let me take the man to
Agricola "

" No ! " cried Palmyre, with an agonized
look, " I will telL He will take the place
and fill it if you will give me to him for his
own — but oh, messieurs, for the love of
God — I do not want to be his wife I "

The overseer looked at the Senor, ready
to approve whatever he should decide.
Bras-Coup6's intrepid audacity took the
Spaniard's heart by irresistible assault

" I leave it entirely with Senor Fusilier,"
he said.

" But he is not my master ; he has no
right "


And she was silent ; and so, sometimes,
is fire in the walL

Agricola's consent was given with mali-
cious promptness, and as Bras-Coupe's fet-
ters fell off it was decreed that, should he
fill his office efficiendy, there should be a
wedding on the rear veranda of the Grand-
issime mansion simultaneously with the one
already appointed to take place in the
grand hall of the same house six months
fix)m that present day. In the meanwhile
Palmyre should remain with Mademoiselle,
who had promptiy but quiedy made up her
mind that Palmyre should not be wed im-
less she wished to be. Bras-Coup6 made
no objection, was royally worthless for a
time, but learned fjast, mastered the
" gumbo " dialect in a few weeks, and in
six months was the most valuable man ever
bought for gourde dollars. Nevertheless,
there were but three persons within as many
square miles who were not most vividly
afraid of him.

The first was Palmyre. His bearing in
her presence was ever one of solemn, ex-
alteci respect, which, whether from pure
magnanimity in himself, or by reason of her
magnetic eye, was something worth being
there to see. "It was royal ! " said the over-

The second was not that official. When
Bras-Coup6 said — as, at stated intervals, he
did say — ^^Mo courri c'tz AgricoU Fusilier
^poti 01 f^ n amourouse (I go to Agricola Fusil-
ier to see my betrothed)," the overseer would
sooner have intercepted a score of painted
Chickasaws than that one lover. He
would look after him and shake a prophetic
head. "Trouble coming; better not de-
ceive that fellow;" yet that was the very

thing Palmyre dared do. Her adnuratkm
for Bras-Coup6 was almost boimdless. She
rejoiced in lus stature; she reveled in the
contemplation of his untamable spirit; be
seemed to her the gigantic emlxxfiment of
her own dark, fierce will, the expanded real-
ization of her life-time longing for terrible
strength. But the single deficiency in aD
this impassioned regard was — what so many
fairer loves have found impossiUe to ex-
plain to so many gender lovers — an oitire
absence of preference ; her heart she could
not give him — she did not have it. Yet after
her first prayer to the Spaniard and his
overseer for deliverance, to the secret air-
prise and chagrin of her young mistress, she
simulated content It was artifice; she knew
Agricola's power, and to seem to consent
was her one chance with him. He might
thus be beguiled into withdrawing his own
consent That failing, she had Mademoi-
selle's promise to come to the rescue, which
she could use at the last moment ; and that
failing, there was a dirk in her bosom, for
which a certain hard breast was not too
hard. Another element of safety, of which
she knew nothing, was a letter from the
Cannes Brul6e. The word had reached
there that love had conquered — ^that, de-
spite all hard words, and rancor, and posi-
tive injury, the Grandissime hand — the fair-
est of Grandissime hands — was about to be
laid into that of one who without much
stretch might be called a De Grapion ; that
there was, moreover, positive efibrt being
made to induce a restitution of old gam-
ing-table spoils. Honor^ and MadeoKM-
selle, his sister, one on each side of the
Adantic, were striving for this end. Don
Jos6 sent this intelligence to his kinsman as
glad tidings (a lover never imagines there
are two sides to that which makes him
happy) and, to add a touch of humor, toW
how Palmyre, also, was given to the chief-
tain. The letter that came back to the
young Spaniard did not blame him so much :
he was ignorant of all the facts ; but a very
formal one to Agricola begged to notif}-
him that if Palmyre*s imion with Bras-
Coup6 should be completed, as sure as
there was a God in heaven, the writer
would have the life of the man who know-
ingly had thus endeavored to dishonor one
who shared the blood of the De Grapi^ms.
Thereupon Agricola, contrary to his general
character, began to drop hints to Don Jos^
that the engagement of Bras-Coup6 and
Palm)rre need not be considered irrevosi-
ble ; but the don was not desirous of disap-

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pointing his terrible pet Palmjrre, unluck-
ily, played her game a little too deeply.
She thought the moment had come for her-
self to insist on the match, and thus provoke
Agricola to forbid it. To her incalculable
dismay she saw him a second time recon-
sider and become silent.

The second person who did not fear Bras-
Coup6 was Mademoiselle. On one of the
giant's earliest visits to see Palm)rre he
obeyed the summons which she brought
him, to appear before the lady. A more
artificial man might have objected on the
score of dress, his attire being a single
gaudy garment tightly enveloping the waist
and thighs. As his eyes fell upon the
beautiful white lady he prostrated himself
upon the ground, his arms outstretched be-
fore him. He would not move till she was
gone. Then he rose hke a hermit who has
seen a vision. ^^ Bras-CoupS n' pas oule
oir zombis (Bras-Coupe dares not look upon a
spirit)." From that hour he worshiped.
He saw her often; every time, after one
glance at her countenance, he would pros-
trate his gigantic length with his face in the

The third person who did not fear him
'was — Agricola? Nay, it was the Span-
iard — a man whose capability to fear any-
thing in nature or beyond had never been

Long before the end of his probation
Bras-Coup6 would have slipped the en-
tanglements of bondage, though as yet he
felt them only as one feels a spider's web
across the face, had not the master, accord-
ing to a little affectation of the times, pro-
moted him to be his ^ame-keeper. Many a
day did these two livmg magazines of wrath
spend together in the dismal swamps and
on the meager intersecting ridges, making
war upon deer and bear and wildcat ; or on
the Mississippi after wild goose and pelican ;
when even a word misplaced would have
made 'either the slayer of the other. Yet
the months ran smoothly round and the
wedding night drew nigh.* A goodly Com-

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