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Watch and Wait

OR

THE YOUNG FUGITIVES



A STORY FOR YOUNO PEOPLE



By OLIVER OPTIC

Aqthorof "TheBoatClub," ** Rich and Humble," **The Soldier
Boy," '* The Sailor Boy," etc.



A* L. BURT COMPANY, PUBLISHERS
NEW YORK



TO

WALTER F. POPE

THIS BOOK

IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED
BY HIS UNCLE



PREFACE

However much the author of "Watch and
Wait" may sympathize with that portion of the
population of our country to which the principal
characters of the story belong, he is forced to ac-
knowledge that his book was not written in the
interests of the anti-slavery cause. His young
friends require stirring incidents of him, and the
inviting field of adventure presented by the topic
he has chosen was the moving spring which brought
the work Into existence; and if the story shall kin-
dle any new emotion of sympathy for the oppressed
and enslaved, it will have more than answered
the purpose for which it was Intended, and the
writer will be all the more thankful for this happy
influence.

As a story of exciting adventure, the writer hopes
it will satisfy all his young readers; that they will
love the gentle Lily, respect the manly Independ-
ence of Dan, and smile at the oddities of Cyd,

I



£ PREFACE

and that the book will confirm and increase their
love of liberty and their hatred of tyranny. If
the young fugitives were resolute, even to shedding
the blood of the slave hunter, they had forgiving
and Christian hearts, in which there was neither
malice nor revenge; and In this respect, If In no
other, they are worthy exemplars for the young
and the old.

With this explanation, I give the third volume of
the Woodvllle Stories Into the hands of my young
friends, bespeaking for It the same favor which
has been bestowed upon Its predecessors.

WILLIAM T. ADAMS.
Dorchester, August 15, 1864.



WATCH AND WAIT

CHAPTER I

THE PLANTATION OF REDLAWN

One soft summer evening, when Woodvllle was
crowned with the glory and beauty of the joyous
season, three strangers presented themselves before
the Grant family, and asked for counsel and as-
sistance. The party consisted of two boys and a
girl, and they belonged to that people which the
traditions of the past have made the ''despised
race'' ; but the girl was whiter and fairer than many
a proud belle who would have scorned her In any
other capacity than that of a servant; and one of
the boys was very nearly white, while the other
was as black as ebony undefiled. They were fugi-
tives and wanderers from the far southwest; and
the story which they told to Mr. Grant and his

3



4 WATCH AND WAIT

happy family will form the substance of this vol-
ume.



The plantation of Colonel Baylie Raybone was
situated on one of the numerous bayous which
form a complete network of water communications
in the western part of the parish of Iberville, in the
State of Louisiana. The ''colonel," whose military
title was only a courtesy accorded to his distin-
guished position, was a man of immense possessions,
and consequently of large influence. His acres and
his negroes were numbered by thousands, and he
was largely engaged in growing sugar and rice.
The estate on which he resided went by the name
of Redlawn. His mansion was palatial in its
dimensions, and was furnished in a style of regal
magnificence.

The region in which Redlawn was situated was
a low country, subject to inundation in the season
of high water. The sugar plantation was located
on a belt of land not more than a mile in width,
upon the border of the bayou, which, contrary
to the usual law, was higher ground than portions
farther from the river. The lower lands were used
for the culture of rice, which, our young readers



WATCH AND WAIT 5

know, must be submerged during a part of the
jyear.

A short distance from the splendid mansion of
the princely planter was a large village of negro
huts, where the "people" of the estate resided. As
Colonel Raybone was a liberal and progressive man,
the houses of the negroes were far superior to
those found upon many of the plantations of the
South. They were well built, neatly white-washed,
and no doubt the negroes who dwelt In them re-
garded It as a fortunate circumstance that they were
the slaves of Colonel Raybone.

Along the front of the negro hamlet, and of
the mansion house, ran the public highway, while
in the rear of them, and at a distance of nearly
half a mile, was the bayou, which was generally
called the ** Crosscut," because it joined the two
larger rivers. At the foot of a gravel walk, lead-
ing from the mansion down to the bayou, was a
pier, upon which was built a tasty summer house,
after the style of a Chinese pagoda, so that the
planter and his family could enjoy the soft breezes
that swept over the surface of the stream. There
they spent many of their summer evenings; and
truly it was a delightful place.

Fastened to the pier were several small boats,



6 WATCH AND WAIT

including a light wherry, and a four-oared race boat.
Moored in the middle of the stream lay a large
sail boat, in which the planter often made long trips
for pleasure; for, by the network of rivers with
which the bayou was connected, he could explore
a vast tract of country, and even reach the Red
River on the north, and the Gulf of Mexico on
the south.

The family that dwelt in the *'great house," as
the negroes called the mansion, were Colonel Ray-
bone, his wife, and two children. The planter him-
self was a genial,, pleasant man, when nothing
disturbed him ; but he was quick and impulsive, and
exacted the homage due to his position from his
inferiors. Mrs. Raybone was an easy, indolent
woman, who would submit to injury rather than
endure the effort required to redress it.

Master Archibald Raybone, his older child, was
a youth of fifteen, and was as much like his father
as Miss Edith, a young lady of fourteen, was like
her mother. Archy, as he was familiarly called
by black and white, was fond of having his own
way; and, as long as it did not conflict with that
of his imperious father, he was indulged to the
fullest extent. Miss Edith was fond of repose,
and could not even speak French or play upon the



WATCH AND WAIT 7

piano, because it was too much trouble to obtain
these accomplishments, though private tutors had
labored sedulously for several years to meet the
exigencies of the case.

Besides those who were properly members of
the family, there was a small army of servants,
ranging from the purest white to the blackest black ;
all slaves, of course. There were cooks, laun-
dresses, waiters, valets, lackeys, coachmen, body-
servants, and lady's-maids; every kind of servitor
which ingenuity could devise or luxury demand.
Master Archy had a body-servant, and Miss Edith
had a lady's-maid. As these individuals are im-
portant personages In our story, we must give our
young friends a better idea of who and what they
were.

The body-servant of the son and heir was a
youth of sixteen. He was nearly white, his com-
plexion being very slightly tinted with the yellow
hue of the mulatto. He was tall of his age, and
exceedingly well formed. As the servant and com-
panion of Master Archy, of course it was necessary
he should make a good appearance; and he was
always well dressed, and managed his apparel with
singularly good taste and skill. His name was
Daniel; but his graceful form and excellent taste



S WATCH AND WAIT

in dress had caused his name to be corrupted from
"Dan," by which short appellative he had formerly
been called, into "Dandy," and this was now the
only name by which he was known on the planta-
tion.

Dandy was a boy of good parts. He could read
and write, and had a better understanding of the
ordinary branches of knowledge than his young
master, for Archy was always attended by his body-
servant when engaged in his studies. Though no
efforts had been wasted upon the "chattel," he had
learned the lessons better than the son and heir,
upon whose education a small fortune had been
lavished. Dandy was quick to see and comprehend
what Archy had to have explained to him over and
over again. Though the slave was prudent enough
to conceal his attainments, he was wise enough to
profit by the opportunities which were afforded to
him. In the solitude of his chamber, while his
young master slept, he diligently used the books
he had privately secured for study. And the in-
structions of the tutor were not wasted upon him,
though he often seemed to be asleep during the les-
sons. He listened and remembered; he pondered
and reasoned.

Dandy's mother was dead. She had been a



WATCH AND WAIT

house-servant of Colonel Raybone. It was said
that she had become refractory, and had been sold
in New Orleans; but the son had only a faint re-
membrance of her. Of his father he knew nothing.
Though he had often asked about him, he could
obtain no information. If the people In the house
knew anything of him, they woud not tell the In-
quisitive son. Such was Dandy, the body-servant of
Master Archy. He led an easy life, having no
other occupation than that of pleasing the lordly
heir of Redlawn.

Miss Edith's lady's-maid was whiter and fairer
than her young mistress. The keenest observer
could detect no negro characteristic In her looks or
her manner. So fair and white was she, that her
mistress had given her the name of *'Lily." And
yet she was a slave, and that which made her fas-
cinating to the eye had given her a value which
could be estimated only In thousands of dollars.
Of her father and mother Lily knew nothing. One
of her companions told her that she had been
bought, when a child, on board of a Red River
steamboat. That was all she knew, and all she
ever was to know. Those who are familiar with
the slave system of the South can surmise who and
what she was.



aO WATCH AND WATT

Miss Edith was indolent, but she was sour and
petulant, and poor Lily's daily life was not a bed
of roses. All day long she had to stand by her
exacting young mistress, obey her slightest gesture,
and humor all her whims. Though she was highly
valued as a piece of property by her owner, she
had only one real friend in this wide world — a
cold, desolate, and dreary world to her, though
her lot was cast in the midst of the sweet flowers
and bright skies of the sunny South — only one
friend, and that was Dandy. He knew how hard
It was to indulge all the caprices of a wa)rward
child; how hard It was to be spurned and Insulted
by one who was his Inferior In mind and heart.

Dandy had another friend, though the richest
treasures of his friendship were bestowed upon the
fair and gentle Lily. A wild, rollicking, careless
piece of ebony, a pure negro, was his other friend.
He was a stable boy, and one of the crew who pulled
the four-oared race boat, when Master Archy chose
to indulge In an excursion upon the water. His
master, who In his early years had made the ac-
quaintance of the classics, had facetiously named
him Thucydides — ^a long, hard word, which no
negro could attempt to utter, and which the white
folks were too indolent to manage. The name,



WATCH AND WAIT It

therefore, had been suitably contracted, and this
grinning essence of fun and frolic was called
"Cyd" — with no reference, however, to the dis-
tinguished character of Spanish history. But Cyd
was a character himself, and had no need to borrow
any of the luster of Spain or Greece. He shone
upon his own account.

With this introduction to Redlawn, and those
who lived there, our readers are prepared to em-
bark with us in the story of the young fugitives.



CHAPTER II

THE EDITH GOES DOWN TO GREEN POINT

"Shove off!" cried Master Archy, in the most
dignified manner, as he sank upon the velvet cush-
ions in the stern sheets of the four-oared boat.

"Shove off!" repeated Dandy, who, as coxswain
.of the boat, was charged with the execution of the
orders delivered by his imperial master.

Cyd, who was the bow oarsman, opened his
mouth from ear to ear, displaying a dual set of
ivories which a dentist would have been proud to
exhibit as specimens of his art, and with a vigor-
ous thrust of the boat-hook, forced the light craft
far out into the stream, thus disturbing the repose
of a young alligator which was sunning himself
upon a snag. Cyd was fond of the water, and
had no taste for the various labors that were re-
quired of him about the house and stable. He was
delighted with the prospect of a sail on the river;
and being a slave, and not permitted to express



WATCH AND WAIT 1^

his views in the ordinary way, he did so by distend-
ing his mouth into a grin which might have in-
timidated the alligator on the log.

"Toss!" added Dandy; and up went the four
oars of the rowers.

"Let fall!" and with a precision which would
have been creditable to the crew of a commodore's
barge, the blades struck the water as one.

"Give way!" and the boat dashed down the
stream, impelled by the vigorous strokes of the
dusky oarsmen.

The crew were boys of sixteen, or thereabouts,
selected from the hands on the plantation with
reference to their size and muscular development.
They were clothed in white duck pants, blue cot-
ton frocks, trimmed with white, and wore uni-
form straw hats, encircled by black bands, upon
which was inscribed, in gilt letters, the name of the
boat, "Edith," in compliment to the young boat-
man's sister.

The Edith was a magnificent craft, built in New
York, and fitted, furnished, and ornamented with-
out regard to cost. Colonel Raybone had a nephew
who was a passed midshipman in the navy, who,
while on a visit to Redlawn, had instructed the
crew in the elements of boating. The black boys



14 WATCH AND WAIT

did not regard their labors as work, and took so
much pride in making themselves proficient in their
duties, that they might well have challenged com-
parison v/ith the best boat club in the country.

Master Archy was very dignified and magnifi-
cent as he reclined in the stern of the beautiful
craft. He said nothing, and of course the cox-
swain, who sat behind him, was not privileged to
say anything. It was his duty to speak when he
was spoken to, and with a keen eye he watched
the progress of the boat, as she cut her way through
the sluggish waters of the bayou.

Dandy, as we have before remarked, was a youth
of quick parts, and under the scientific instruction
of Mr. Midshipman Raybone, he had thoroughly
mastered the art of boating, not only in its appli-
cation to row boats, but also in reference to sailing
crafts; and there was no person on the place more
skilful in the management of the schooner than the
body-servant of Master Archy.

The Edith flew on her course, frightening from
their repose the herons and the alligators that were
enjoying the sunshine of the bright spring morn-
ing. Master Archy did speak sometimes, but this
morning he was unusually taciturn. He seemed
to be brooding over something: those who did



WATCH AND WAIT 15

not know him might have supposed that he was
thinking; but the son and heir of Redlawn did not
often give himself up to meditation In Its higher
sense. It was more likely that he was wondering
what he should do next, for time hung heavy on
his hands. He had nothing to do but amuse him-
self, and he had completely exhausted his slender
Ingenuity in devising new amusements.

"Stop her," said he, languidly, after the boat
had gone about two miles.

Dandy obeyed the order without a question, and
the Kdith soon floated listlessly on the water, wait-
ing the pleasure of her magnificent owner.

"Back to the pier," added Archy; and under
the orders of her skilful coxswain, she was put
about, and darted up the river on her return.

The shining ebony face of the great Athenian
philosopher's namesake looked glum and discon-
tented. He was not satisfied with the order; but
not being a free agent, he was cruelly deprived
of the luxury of grumbling. Roaming In the cane-
brake, or sunning himself on a log like the juvenile
alligators, while Master Archy took his walk, or
even pulling the boat, was much more to his taste
than rubbing down the horses and digging weeds
out of the gravel walks In front of the mansion,



16 WATCH AND WAIT

The order to return, therefore, was a grievous
disappointment to him; for the head gardener or
the head groom would be sure to find a job for
him that would last all day.

Master Archy did not know his own mind; and
he did not have the same mind for a great while
at a time. Cyd supposed he had thought of some-
thing that would please him better on the estate.
No doubt if the surfeited young devotee of pleas-
ure had permitted his dark companions to think for
him, they might have Invented a new pleasure;
but he seldom spoke to them, and they were not
allowed to speak to him, except in a case of
emergency.

The boat reached the pier, and was brought
alongside the landing steps, in a style that was
above criticism. Poor Cyd was disgusted and In-
dignant at the Idea of having his day spoiled In
this capricious manner. If he had been bom under
the free skies of New England, he would, no doubt,
have remonstrated; but his social position and the
discipline of the boat did not permit him to utter
even a word of disapprobation. But Cyd was
needlessly disturbed in the present instance, for
his lordly master had no Intention of abandoning
the cruise, though if he had been so condescending



WATCH AND WAIT H

as to say so when he ordered the Edith to return,
he would have saved her crew all the bitter pangs
of disappointment which they had endured during
the retrograde passage.

*'CydI" said Master Archy, when the boat came
up to the steps, and the rowers had tossed their
oars.

"Sar!" replied Cyd, exploding the word as
though he had been a member of Monsieur
Crapeau's class in French elementary sounds, and
with a start which seemed to shake every fiber in
his wiry frame.

"Do you know where my boxing gloves are?"

"Yes, Massa Archy; in de gym-shum," an-
swered Cyd, again exhibiting his ivories, for the
case began to look slightly hopeful.

"In the what?" demanded Archy, a languid
smile appearing upon his face.

"In de gym-shum," said Cyd, taking advantage
of his faint smile, and exploding the two syllables
with all the vigor of a pair of healthy lungs.

"In the gymnasium, you black rascal !"

"Yes, Massa Archy, de's um — in de gym-shum.
Dat's jest what I say, massa — in de gym-shum."

"Go up and get them ; and mind you don't keep
me waiting all day," continued Archy, who was



18 WATCH x\ND WAIT

not equal to the effort of making the boy pro-
nounce the word correctly.

Cyd darted off with a speed that promised the
best results.

*'I feel stupid to-day, and I think a bout with
the gloves will do me good," yawned Archy, with
a hideous gape, as he stretched himself at full
length upon the velvet cushions, with his feet hang-
ing out over the water.

"Perhaps it would, sir," replied Dandy, to
whom the remark was supposed to be addressed.

"We will go down to Green Point," added he.

"Yes, sir."

The conversation ended here, the young mag-
nate of Redlawn closing his eyes and gaping by
turns for the next ten minutes, till Cyd, puffing like
a grampus, appeared on the steps.

"Here's de glubs, Massa Archy," said he, as
he handed them to the attentive coxswain.

"Where's the other pair, you black rascal?"
roared Archy, springing up from his recumbent
posture.

"I only fotched ober de one pair, massa," re-
plied Cyd, with an exceedingly troubled expression.

"Cyd, you are a fool !"

"Yes, Massa Archy," answered the black boy,



WATCH AND WAIT 19

who seemed to be perfectly willing to grant the
position.

*'What do you suppose I want of one pair of
gloves?" continued Archy, angrily, as he seized
one of the oars, and aimed a blow at the head of
the culprit, which, however, Cyd was expert
enough to dodge. "Go and get the other pair; and
if you are gone as long as you were before, I'll
have you flogged."

The eye of Dandy kindled for a moment — for
the same blood flowed in the veins of both — as he
listened to the brutal words of his young master.

"That boy is a fool!" said Archy, as he settled
down into his reclining posture again. "He needs
a whipping to sharpen his understanding."

Dandy wholly and entirely dissented from this
view; but of course he was not so impolitic as to
state his views. In ten minutes more, Cyd reap-
peared with another pair of boxing gloves; but
these were not the right ones. They were too
large either for Dandy or his master, and the poor
boy was solemnly assured that he should be
whipped when they returned from the excursion.
The coxswain was then sent, and during his ab-
sence, Archy amused himself in pointing out the
enormity of Cyd's conduct, first in bringing only



m WATCH AND WAIT,

one pair, and then bringing the wrong pair of
gloves.

Dandy returned In fifteen minutes, and after
snarling at him for being so long, Master Archy
gave the order for the boat to push off. All the
forms were gone through with as before and
again the Edith darted down the bayou. After
a pull of five miles down the Crosscut, they reached
another and larger river. Green Point was the
tongue of land between the two streams, and here
Master Archy and his coxswain landed.



CHAPTER III

MASTER ARCHY RECEIVES AN UNLUCKY BLOW

Green Point was a very pleasant place, to
which the luxurious occupants of the mansion at
Redlawn occasionally resorted to spend a day. The
land was studded with a growth of sturdy forest
trees. Formerly it had been covered with a thick
undergrowth of canes; but these, near the Point,
had been cut away, and the place otherwise pre-
pared for the visits of the grand people.

The day was cool and pleasant for that locality,
and perhaps the magnificent son and heir of the
planter of Redlawn felt that a little sharp exer-
cise would be beneficial to him. He never per-
formed any useful labor; never saddled his own
pony, or polished his own boots; never hoed a hill
of corn, or dug up a weed in the garden. He had
been taught that labor was degrading, and only
suited to the condition of the negro.

Master Archy, therefore, never degraded him-

31



^2 WATCH AND WAIT

self. His indolence and his aristocratic principles
were in accord with each other. Though he actu-
ally suffered for the want of something to do, he
was not permitted to demean himself by doing any-
thing that would develop the resources of the fruit-
ful earth, and add to the comfort of his fellow-
beings. I am quite sure, If the young seignior had
been compelled to hoe corn, pick cotton, or cut
cane for a few hours every day, or even been forced
to learn his lessons In geography, grammar, and
histor}^ he would have been a better boy, and a
happier one.

Idleness Is not only the parent of mischief, but
it is the fruitful source of human misery. Master
Archy, with everything that ingenuity could de-
vise and wealth purchase to employ his time, was
one of the most unhappy young men in the coun-
try. He never knew what to do with himself.
He turned coldly from his boats to his pony; then
from the pony to the gymnasium ; then to the bowl-
ing alley; and each in turn was rejected, for It
could not furnish the needed recreation.

Master Archy landed at Green Point, and he
was fully of the opinion that he could amuse him-
self for an hour with the boxing gloves. For the
want of a white companion of his own age, he



WATCH AND WAIT S5

had been compelled to practise the manly art of
self-defense with his body-servant. Perhaps also
there was some advantage in having Dandy for his
opponent, for, being a slave, he would not dare
to give as good as he received.

Dandy had taken lessons in the art with his
young master, and though he was physically and
"scientifically'^ his superior, he was cunning enough
to keep on the right side of Master Archy, by let-
ting him have the set-to all his own way. It was
no easy matter to play at fisticuffs with the young
lord, even with gloves on, for his temper was not
particularly mild when he was crossed. If he hap-
pened to get a light rap, it made him mad; and
in one way or another he was sure to wreak ample
vengeance upon the offender. Dandy was there-
fore obliged to handle his master with extreme


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