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'And every hedge and copse was bright
Stately palms rose conspicuously in the midst of mango, orange, shaddock, pear, star-apple, banana and other fruit-trees; and here and there the monster ceiba or silk-cotton tree towered aloft and spread out its enormous limbs covered with densest foliage. The houses of masters and overseers, standing in the midst of sugar estates and coffee properties, and made conspicuous by whitewash, dotted the landscape here and there. Approaching yet nearer, they beheld. towns and negro villages along the coast or nestling among the foliage, and surrounded with beautiful cane-fields, whose plumy cones waved and whispered in the breeze. Ancass tells us that he was delighted with the scenery.
Slowly the ship rounded the strip of land which surrounds and almost encloses the Kingston harbour, called the palisades ;' then, passing the town of Port Royal, which stands on the point, they glided on until they came near to one of the Kingston wharves; the anchor was dropped, and Ancass's first and last voyage was ended.
The wretched beings who had so long been huddled together in the hold, were now brought on deck, formed into gangs, and sent on shore to be prepared for sale. Ancass was eager to land, and wondered, as day after day passed away, why he was still detained on the ship, when all his companions had gone. One day he learnt that the captain had taken a particular fancy to him and wished to keep him as his cabin-boy. To this arrangement Ancass, however, very strongly objected, and having, in a very determined manner, informed the captain that if he attempted to keep him any longer, he would jump overboard, he was placed in a boat, and committed to the care of a white man to be sold.
They who have never been brought face to face with slavery, may possibly be persuaded to question whether it is really the execrable thing which it has so frequently been described to be; but not those who have seen it. Leaving out of the question altogether the physical suffering so frequently endured by the slave, who can hesitate to acknowledge the iniquity of consigning a fellow-creature, body and mind, to another, whose will or caprice is to be the only law of his life?
But slavery is not, nor has it ever been, the same horrible thing in (very case. There have been many slaves whose condition was in some
respects more comfortable than that of many a London servant-girl whose life is one ceaseless round of hardship and drudgery. If a slave were fortunate enough to get into the hands of a kind master, and be put to domestic service, or to learn a trade, his condition was frequently tolerably comfortable.
It was Ancass's good fortune to meet with a kind master, and to be taken into the overseer's house, instead of being sent to the canefield to toil in the gang, under the blazing sun, with the driver's whip hanging over him.
He was entered on the estate's book and known on the property by the name TOBY. For twelve months he remained in that position, and acquitted himself so well about the house that he secured the 'busha's' good word. He was then removed to the Great House, as the master's residence was called, to be a kind of guardian and playfellow for the children, and to assist them in every possible way. In this position eleven years were passed; and, on the whole, he must have had an exceptionally pleasant time of it, for a slave.
An important change now took place in his position and circumstances. His master, who had but recently returned from England, was taken ill and died. Unfeigned distress sat on the countenances of the negroes, and grave questions were started in their minds when they heard of it. Would they be sold? parted friend from friend? After a few days their minds were set at rest, it had been arranged that the eldest son should take charge of the estate, and that things should go on much as they had been going on in the past.
Ancass had now developed into a fine-looking negro. Intelligence sparkled in his eye, and his superior character and bearing marked him out for something higher than the drudgery of an ordinary slave. His deceased master's children had been much in his company in their earlier years, they understood him, felt they could trust him, and therefore voted him worthy of a superior position, and believed that it would be to their own advantage so to employ him. An overseer was needed. Such a position was usually occupied by white men, and only such white men as had worked their way up inferior positions, but it was felt on all hands that a better could not be found for the office than Ancass, and he was accordingly appointed.
The lines had truly fallen' to him in pleasant places,' and he was doubtless regarded by his fellow slaves as a very highly-favoured individual.
An Act had passed the Colonial Parliament which required slaveowners to have their slaves baptized, and upon some properties the
Act was at least partially carried out. Buchner tells us that many of the planters having been convinced of the fruitlessness of all their endeavours to hinder the slaves from seeking the truth and hearing the Gospel, were led to adopt one of the most extraordinary methods which the enemy of souls could suggest, in the vain hope of quieting the consciences of the slaves and keeping them at home. They invited the rector of the parish to come and baptize their negroes at once, and agreed to pay a certain amount for each. There are many still living who can tell of the profane manner in which this sacred rite was performed. The slaves being all assembled, generally in the mill-house, the Minister went round, accompanied by the housekeeper or concubine of the overseer, carrying a basin of water, and naming each slave by a new name, while he sprinkled the water upon them. After this followed a dance, with a large allowance of rum. In one instance the Minister played the fiddle and joined in the dance! This profanation of religion had of course an evil effect upon the people. Forms and ceremonies practised in this way only served to disquiet them. Very rarely were the slaves instructed as to the meaning of the rite, or questioned as to their fitness for Christian baptism. Most of them, like Ancass, regarded it as being, for some occult reason, a proper thing, and believed that it would be an advantage to them, in some way or other, in the future to die Christians.
One day, soon after Ancass had been appointed overseer, he noticed an unusual stir and excitement at the Great House, and learnt that his master's children were going to Black River Church to be baptized. He was asked to accompany them and be baptized likewise. He consented. The clergyman, he says, offered as a great favour to baptize him for nothing, but he was afterwards required to pay one shilling.
LONDON Minister said to a friend one day, 'Seven persons were received into my Church last Sunday, and they were all brought in by a smile.'
'Brought in by a smile! What do you mean?'
'Let me explain. Several months ago, as I passed by a certain house on my way to church, I saw in its nurse's arms a beautiful infant, and as it fixed its bright black eyes on me, I smiled, and the
dear child returned the smile. The next Sunday the babe was again before the window. Again I smiled, and the smile was returned as before. The third Sabbath, as I passed the window, I threw the little one a kiss. Instantly its hand was extended, and a kiss thrown back to me. And so it came to pass that I learned to watch for the baby on my way to church; and as the weeks went by, I noticed that the nurse and baby were not alone. Other members of the family pressed to the window to see the gentleman who always had a smile for the dear baby, the household pet.
'One Sunday morning as I passed, two children, a boy and a girl, stood at the window beside the baby. That morning, the father and mother had said to the children, "Get ready for church, for we think that the gentleman who always smiles to the children is a Minister. When he passes you may follow him and see where he preaches."
'The children were quite willing to follow the suggestion of their parents, and kept near me till I entered my church. They went in also, and seats were given them.
When they returned home, they sought their parents, and eagerly exclaimed, “He is a Minister, and we have found his church. He preached a beautiful sermon this morning. You must go and hear him next Sunday."
'It was not difficult to persuade the parents to go, and guided by the children, they found their way to the church. They, too, were pleased, and other members of the family were induced to come to the house of God. God blessed what they heard to the good of their souls, and seven members have been led to become Christians and to join the Church; and I repeat what I said before, they were all brought in by a smile.'
BY THE REV. JULIUS BRIGG.
'Now that day is ended, Toil exchanged for rest,
Lord, by Thee befriended,
Let me still be blest :
Thou, to Whom 'tis always light,
Ere in peaceful slumber
Wearied nature lies,
Grateful memories rise:
As in vision holy
To the patriarch showed,
Angel pathway glowed,
So to me may night hours bring
Then when nature waking
Guiding me to that bright shore
BY S. J. HALL.
LD MELODY' was an antiquated dame. She had seen her seventyfifth birthday, and the many sorrows and troubles of her protracted life had traced deep furrows on her brow. Age and suffering had stolen the vigour from her frame, and left the once active and sprightly woman to hobble about with the aid of a stout stick. Her dress had been out of date for half a century or more. A faded cotton gown, crimson figured with large yellow leaves, was the one in which she appeared on the Sabbath, and when she went to the town to do her shopping. Over this she wore a brown cloak with a very deep collar, and surmounting all an immense bonnet made of Justy green velvet. Few could look at that bonnet without a smile; fewer still could repress one at sight of the face almost hidden in its length. Nor would the smile be one of derision or amusement, but an answer to the kindly, happy light beaming forth from Old Melody's bright, gray eyes and pleasant, cheerful countenance. One glance at it would put you on the right track for discovering the reason why so strange a name had been bestowed upon this aged woman. 'Ah,' you would say, her heart is in tune, causing her to hear music and harmony where many would find only discordances.' And you would judge rightly. Through the poverty and trial which had marked her lot, she passed day after day and year after year 'making melody' in her 'heart unto the Lord.'
But were you to listen for a moment at the door of her dilapidated cottage as she moved about with tottering step or knitted by her scanty fire, or if you were to follow her either to the market or to the house of God, you would ascertain most certainly the origin as well as the appropriateness of the appellation by which she was known among her neighbours. Whatever Old Melody might be doing, or wherever she might be going, she was sure to be singing to herself in a sweet, low, tremulous voice some hymn expressive of her state of mind.
Her proper name was never applied to her in the small country town in which she lived. Young and old, rich and poor, knew her only as Old Melody,' and the good soul at last became so accustomed to her title, that she used it in speaking of herself. Were a stranger to meet her, and, wondering to whom the ancient garments and quaint figure belonged, to ask her name, she would reply, with a bright smile and a respectful curtsy, 'Old Melody, at your service.'
Nearly opposite to Old Melody's cottage stood a large house sur