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principal products of Canada are of the class which the world needs-food, clothing, and building materials. Her geographical position is commanding, her eastern ports being nearer Europe and her western ports nearer Asia than any other accessible harbors on the seaboard of America. Much has been said recently of the dependence of the Dominion upon the United States for a winter outlet; and if the views expressed by numerous newspaper writers and others are indicative of the general opinion of the United States public, the commonly received idea in that country is that in the winter Canadian railways are long stretches of unbroken snow, extending from vast drifts in the interior to ice-bound harbors on the coast. As a matter of fact the Canadian railway system is probably not more interrupted by snow than are the railways in the Northern States, while the harbors on the east, at Halifax, St. John, and elsewhere, and on the
west on Queen Charlotte Sound, are open and safe to vessels of all classes every day in the year. If not a self-contained nation, Čanada has too many and too great resources to render it necessary for her to become a suppliant for commercial favors. Undoubtedly it is in her interest to obtain the most intimate trade relations possible with her southern neighbor. To the people of this continent the trade of the continent is of greater importance than commerce with the other hemisphere, and hence whatever tends to promote this trade ought to be a matter of paramount consideration. The expensive and unnatural tariff wall between the United States and Canada ought to be removed; but Canadians are unwilling to admit that the benefit of such a step would be all on their side, and that if it is not taken the Dominion will disintegrate and drop piecemeal into the arms of the Republic.
Charles H. Lugrin.
By the author of "The White Cowl," "Two Gentlemen of Kentucky," etc.
T had been a year of strange disturbances-a desolating drought, a hurlyburly of destructive tempests, killing frosts in the tender valleys, mortal fevers in the tender homes. Now came tidings that all day the wail of myriads of locusts was heard in the green woods of Virginia and Tennessee; now that Lake Erie was blocked with ice on the very verge of summer, so that in the Niagara new rocks and islands showed their startling faces. In the blue-grass region of Kentucky countless caterpillars were crawling over the ripening apple orchards and leaving the trees as stark as when tossed in the thin air of bitter February days.
Then, flying low and heavily through drought and tempest and frost and plague, like the royal presence of disaster, that had been but heralded by all its mournful train, came nearer and nearer the dark angel of the pestilence.
M. Xaupi had given a great ball only the night before in the dancing-rooms over the confectionery of M. Giron-that M. Giron who made the tall pyramids of méringues and macaroons for wedding suppers, and spun around them a cloud of candied webbing as white and misty as the veil of the bride. It was the opening cotillon party of the summer. The men came in blue cloth coats with brass buttons, buff waistcoats, and laced and ruffled shirts; the ladies came in white satins with ethereal silk overdresses, embroidered in the figure of a gold beetle or an oak leaf of green. The walls of the ball-room were painted to represent landscapes of blooming orange trees, set here and there in clustering tubs; and the chandeliers and sconces were lighted with innumerable wax candles, yellow and green and rose.
Only the day before, also, Clatterbuck had opened for the summer a new villa-house six miles out in the country, with a dancingpavilion in a grove of maples and oaks, a pleasure boat on a sheet of crystal water, and a cellar stocked with old sherry, Sauterne, and Château Margaux wines, with anisette, "Perfect Love," and Guigholet cordials.
Down on Water street, near where now stands a railway station, Hugh Lonney, urging that the fear of cholera was not the only incen
tive to cleanliness, had just fitted up a sumptuous bath-house, where cold and shower baths might be had at twelve and a half cents each, or hot ones at three for half a dollar.
Yes, the summer of 1833 was at hand, and there must be new pleasures, new luxuries; for Lexington was the Athens of the West and the Kentucky Birmingham.
Old Pete Leuba felt the truth of this, as he stepped smiling out of his little music-store on Main street and, rubbing his hands briskly together, surveyed once more his newly arranged windows, in which were displayed gold and silver epaulets, bottles of Jamaica rum, garden seeds from Philadelphia, drums and guitars and harps. Dewees & Grant felt it in their drug-store on Cheapside, as they sent off a large order for calomel and superior Maccoboy, rappee, and Lancaster snuff. Bluff little Daukins Tegway felt it, as he hurried on the morning of that day to the office of the "Observer and Reporter" and advertised that he would willingly exchange his beautiful assortment of painted muslins and Dunstable bonnets for flax and feathers. On the threshold he met a florid farmer, who had just offered ten dollars' reward for a likely runaway boy with a long fresh scar across his face; and to-morrow the paper would contain one more of those tragical little cuts representing an African slave scampering away at the top of his speed, with a stick swung across his shoulder and a bundle dangling down his back. In front of Postlethwaite's Tavern, where now stands the Phoenix Hotel, a company of idlers, leaning back in Windsor chairs and planting their feet against the opposite wall on a level with their heads, smoked and chewed and yawned, as they discussed the administration of Jackson and arranged for the coming of Daniel Webster in June, when they would give him a great barbecue and roast in his honor a buffalo bull taken from the herd emparked near Ashland. They hailed a passing merchant, who, however, would hear nothing of the bull, but fell to praising his Rocky Mountain beaver and Goose Creek salt; and another, who turned a deaf ear to Daniel Webster, and invited them all to drop in and examine his choice essences of peppermint, bergamot, and lavender.
But of all the scenes that might have been observed in Lexington on that day, the most remarkable occurred in front of the old courthouse at the hour of high noon. On the mellow stroke of the clock in the steeple above, the sheriff stepped briskly forth, closely followed by a man of powerful frame, whom he commanded to station himself on the pavement several feet off. A crowd of men and boys had already collected in anticipation, and others came quickly up as the clear voice of
the sheriff was heard across the open public square and old market-place.
He stood on the topmost step of the courthouse and for a moment looked down on the crowd with the usual air of official severity.
"Gentlemen," he then cried out sharply, "by an ordah of the cou't I now offah this man at public sale to the highes' biddah. He is able-bodied but lazy, without visible property or means of suppoht, an' of dissolute habits. He is therefoh adjudged guilty of high misdemeanahs an' is to be sole into labah foh a twelvemonth. How much, then, am I offahed foh the vagrant? How much am I offahed foh ole King Sol'mon?"
Nothing was offered for old King Solomon. The spectators formed themselves into a ring around the big vagrant and settled down to enjoy the performance.
"Staht 'im, somebody."
Somebody started a laugh, which rippled around the circle.
The sheriff looked on with an expression of unrelaxed severity, but catching the eye of an acquaintance on the outskirts, he exchanged a lightning wink of secret appreciation. Then he lifted off his tight beaver hat, wiped out of his eyes a little shower of perspiration which rolled suddenly down from above, and warmed a degree to his theme.
"Come, gentlemen," he said, more suasively, "it's too hot to stan' heah all day. Make me an offah! You all know ole King Sol'mon; don't wait to be interduced. How much, then, to staht 'im? Say fifty dollahs! Twenty-five! Fifteen! Ten! Why, gentlemen! Not ten dollahs? Remembah this is the blue-grass region of Kentucky - the land of Boone an' Kenton, the home of Henry Clay!" he added, in an oratorical crescendo.
"He ain't wuth his victuals," said an oily little tavern-keeper, folding his arms restfully over his own stomach and cocking up one piggish eye into his neighbor's face. "He ain't wuth his 'taters."
"Buy 'im foh 'is rags!" cried a young lawstudent, with a Blackstone under his arm, to the town rag-picker opposite, who was unconsciously ogling the vagrant's apparel.
"I might buy 'im foh 'is scalp," drawled a farmer, who had taken part in all kinds of scalp contests and was now known to be busily engaged in collecting crow scalps for a match soon to come off between two rival counties.
"I think I'll buy 'im foh a hat-sign," said a manufacturer of ten-dollar Castor & Rhorum. hats. This sally drew merry attention to the vagrant's hat, and the merchant felt rewarded for his humor.
"You'd bettah say the town ought to buy 'im an' put 'im up on top of the cou't-house
as a scarecrow foh the cholera," said some one else.
"What news of the cholera did the stagecoach bring this mohning?" quickly inquired his neighbor in his ear; and the two immediately fell into low, grave talk, forgot all about the auction, and turned away.
"Stop, gentlemen, stop!" cried the sheriff, who had watched the rising tide of good-humor, and now saw his chance to float in on it with spreading sails. "You are runnin' the price in the wrong direction — down, not up. The law requires that he be sole to the highes' biddah, not the lowes'. As loyal citizens, uphole the constitution of the commonwealth of Kentucky an' make me an offah; the man is really a great bargain. In the first place, he would cost his ownah little or nothin', because, as you see, he keeps himself in cigahs an' clo'es; then, his main article of diet is whisky a supply of which he always has on han'. He does n't even need a bed, foh you know he sleeps jus' as well on any doohstep; noh a chair, foh he prefers to sit roun' on the curbstones. Remembah, too, gentlemen, that ole King Sol'mon is a Virginian from the same neighbohhood as Mr. Clay. Remembah that he is well educated, that he is an awful Whig, an' that he has smoked mo' of the stumps of Mr. Clay's cigahs than any other man in existence. If you don't b'lieve me, gentlemen, yondah goes Mr. Clay now; call him ovah an' ask 'im foh yo'se'ves."
He paused, and pointed with his right forefinger towards Main street, along which the spectators, with a sudden craning of necks, beheld the familiar figure of the passing states
"But you don't need anybody to tell you these fac's, gentlemen," he continued. "You merely need to be reminded that ole King Sol'mon is no ohdinary man. Mo'ovah he has a kine heaht, he nevah spoke a rough wohd to anybody in this worl', an' he is as proud as Tecumseh of his good name an' charactah. An', gentlemen," he added, bridling with an air of mock gallantry and laying a hand on his heart, "if anythin' fu'thah is required in the way of a puffect encomium, we all know that there is n't anothah man among us who cuts as wide a swath among the ladies. The'foh, if you have any appreciation, any magnanimity; if you set a propah valuation upon the descendants of Virginia, that mothah of presidents; if you believe in the proud laws of Kentucky as a State of the Union; if you love America an' love the worl'-make me a gen'rous, high-toned offah foh ole King Sol'mon!" He ended his peroration amid a shout of laughter and applause, and, feeling satisfied that it was a good time for returning to a
more practical treatment of his subject, proceeded in a sincere tone:
"He can easily earn from one to two dollahs a day an' from three to six hundred a yeah. There's not anothah white man in town capable of doin' as much work. There's not a niggah han' in the hemp factories with such muscles an' such a chest. Look at 'em! An', if you don't b'lieve me, step fo'wahd and feel 'em. How much, then, is bid foh 'im?"
"One dollah!" said the owner of a hemp factory, who had walked forward and felt the vagrant's arm, laughing, but coloring up also as the eyes of all were quickly turned upon him. In those days it was not an unheard-of thing for the muscles of a human being to be thus examined when being sold into servitude to a new master.
"Thank you!" cried the sheriff, cheerily. "One precinc' heard from! One dollah! I am offahed one dollah foh ole King Sol'mon. One dollah foh the king! Make it a half. One dollah an' a half. Make it a half. One doldol-dol-dollah!"
Two medical students, returning from lectures at the old Medical Hall, now joined the group, and the sheriff explained:
"One dollah is bid foh the vagrant ole King Sol'mon, who is to be sole into labah foh a twelvemonth. Is there any othah bid? Are you all done? One dollah, once-"
"Dollah and a half," said one of the students, and remarked half jestingly under his breath to his companion, "I'll buy him on the chance of his dying. I want to dissect him."
"Would you own his body if he should die ?"
"If he dies while bound to me I'll arrange that."
"One dollah an' a half," resumed the sheriff; and falling into the tone of a facile auctioneer he rattled on :
"One dollah an' a half foh ole Sol'monsol, sol, sol,- do, re, mi, fa, sol,- do, re, mi, fa, sol! Why, gentlemen, you can set the king to music!"
All this time the vagrant had stood in the center of that close ring of jeering and humorous bystanders-a baffling text from which to have preached a sermon on the infirmities of our imperfect humanity. Some years before, perhaps as a master-stroke of derision, there had been given him that title which could but heighten the contrast of his personality and estate with every suggestion of the ancient sacred magnificence; and never had the mockery seemed so fine as at this moment, when he was led forth into the streets to receive the lowest sentence of the law upon his poverty and dissolute idleness. He was apparently in the very
prime of life—a striking figure, for nature at least had truly done some royal work on him. Over six feet in height, erect, with limbs well shaped and sinewy, with chest and neck full of the lines of great power, a large head thickly covered with long reddish hair, eyes blue, face beardless, complexion fair but discolored by low passions and excesses-such was old King Solomon. He wore a stiff, high, black castor hat of the period, with the crown smashed in and the torn rim hanging down over one ear; a black cloth coat in the old style, ragged and buttonless; a white cotton shirt, with the broad collar crumpled, wide open at the neck and down his sunburnt bosom; blue jeans pantaloons, patched at the seat and the knees; and ragged cotton socks that fell down over the tops of his dusty shoes, which were open at the heels.
In one corner of his sensual mouth rested the stump of a cigar. Once during the proceedings he had produced another, lighted it, and continued quietly smoking. If he took to himself any shame as the central figure of this ignoble performance, no one knew it. There was something almost royal in his unconcern. The humor, the badinage, the open contempt, of which he was the public target, fell thick and fast upon him, but as harmlessly as would balls of pith upon a coat of mail. In truth, there was that in his great, lazy, gentle, goodhumored bulk and bearing which made the gibes seem all but despicable. He shuffled from one foot to the other as though he found it a trial to stand up so long, all the while looking the spectators full in the eyes without the least impatience. He suffered the man of the factory to walk round him and push and pinch his muscles as calmly as though he had been the show bull at a country fair. Once only, when the sheriff had pointed across the street at the figure of Mr. Clay, he had looked quickly in that direction with a kindling light in his eye and a passing flush on his face. For the rest, he seemed like a man who has drained his cup of human life and has nothing left him but to fill again and drink without the least surprise or eagerness.
The bidding between the man of the factory and the student had gone slowly on. The price had reached ten dollars. The heat was intense, the sheriff tired. Then something occurred to revivify the scene. Across the market-place and towards the steps of the courthouse there suddenly came trundling along in breathless haste a huge old negress, carrying on one arm a large shallow basket containing apple crab-lanterns and fresh gingerbread. With a series of half-articulate grunts and snorts she approached the edge of the crowd and tried to force her way through. She
coaxed, she begged, she elbowed and pushed and scolded, now laughing, and now with the passion of tears in her thick, excited voice. All at once, catching sight of the sheriff, she lifted one ponderous brown arm, naked to the elbow, and waved her hand to him above the heads of those in front.
"Hole on, marseter! Hole on !" she cried, in a tone of humorous entreaty. “Don' knock 'im off till I come! Gim me a bid at 'im!"
The sheriff paused and smiled. The crowd made way tumultuously, with broad laughter and comment.
"Stan' aside theah an'let Aun' Charlotte in!" "Now you'll see biddin'!"
"Get out of the way foh Aun' Charlotte!" "Up, my free niggah! Hurrah foh Kentucky!"
A moment more and she stood inside the ring of spectators, her basket on the pavement at her feet, her hands plumped akimbo into her fathomless sides, her head up, and her soft, motherly eyes turned eagerly upon the sheriff. Of the crowd she seemed unconscious, and on the vagrant before her she had not cast a single glance.
She was dressed with perfect neatness. A red and yellow Madras kerchief was bound about her head in a high coil, and another was crossed over the bosom of her stiffly starched and smoothly ironed blue cottonade dress. Rivulets of perspiration ran down over her nose, her temples, and around her ears, and disappeared mysteriously in the creases of her brown neck. A single drop accidentally hung glistening like a diamond on the circlet of one of her large brass ear-rings.
The sheriff looked at her a moment, smiling, but a little disconcerted. The spectacle was unprecedented.
"What do you want heah, Aun' Charlotte?" he asked kindly. "You can't sell yo' pies an' gingerbread heah."
"I don' wan' sell no pies en gingerbread," she replied contemptuously. "I wan' bid on him," and she nodded sidewise at the vagrant.
"White folks allers sellin' niggahs to wuk fuh dem; I gwine buy a white man to wuk fuh me. En he gwine t' git a mighty hard mistiss, you heah me!"
The eyes of the sheriff twinkled with delight. "Ten dollahs is offahed foh ole King Sol'mon. Is theah any othah bid? Are you all done?"
"'Leben," she said.
Two young ragamuffins crawled among the legs of the crowd up to her basket and filched pies and cake beneath her very nose.
"Twelve!" cried the student, laughing. "Thirteen!" she laughed too, but her eyes flashed.
"You are bidding against a niggah," whispered the student's companion in his ear. "So I am; let's be off," answered the other, with a hot flush on his proud face.
Thus the sale was ended, and the crowd variously dispersed. In a distant corner of the courtyard the ragged urchins were devouring their unexpected booty. The old negress drew a red handkerchief out of her bosom, untied a knot in a corner of it, and counted out the money to the sheriff. Only she and the vagrant were now left on the spot.
"You have bought me. What do you want me to do?" he asked quietly.
"Lohd, honey!" she answered, in a low tone of affectionate chiding, "I don' wan' you to do nothin'! I wuz n' gwine t' 'low dem white folks to buy you. Dey 'd wuk you till you dropped dead. You go 'long en do ez you please."
She gave a cunning chuckle of triumph in thus setting at naught the ends of justice, and, in a voice rich and musical with tender affection, she said, as she gave him a little push: "You bettah be gittin' out o' dis blazin' sun. Go on home! I be 'long by en by."
He turned and moved slowly away in the direction of Water street, where she lived; and she, taking up her basket, shuffled across the market-place towards Cheapside, muttering to herself all the while :
"I come mighty nigh gittin' dah too late, foolin' 'long wid dese pies. Sellin' him 'ca'se he don' wuk! Umph! If all de men in dis town dat don' wuk wuz to be tuk up en sole, d' would n' be 'nough money in de town to buy 'em! Don' I see 'em settin' 'roun' dese taverns f'om mohnin' till night?"
She snorted out her indignation and disgust, and sitting down on the sidewalk, under a Lombardy poplar, uncovered her wares and kept the flies away with a locust bough, not discovering in her alternating good and ill humor that half of them had been filched by her old tormenters.
This was the memorable scene enacted in Lexington on that memorable day of the year 1833-a day that passed so briskly. For whoever met and spoke together asked the one question: Will the cholera come to Lexington? And the answer always gave a nervous haste to business — a keener thrill to pleasure. It was of the cholera that the negro woman heard two sweet passing ladies speak as she spread her wares on the sidewalk. They were on their way to a little picture gallery just opened opposite M. Giron's ball-room, and in one breath she heard them discussing their toilets for the evening and in the next a large painting representing Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.
So the day passed, the night came on, and M. Xaupi gave his brilliant ball. Poor old Xaupi-poor little Frenchman! whirled as a gamin of Paris through the mazes of the Revolution, and lately come all the way to Lexington to teach the people how to dance. Hop about blithely on thy dry legs, basking this night in the waxen radiance of manners and melodies and graces! Where will be thy tunes and airs to-morrow? Aye, smile and prompt away! On and on! Swing corners, ladies and gentlemen! Form the basket! Hands all around!
While the bows were still darting across the strings, out of the low, red east there shot a long, tremulous bow of light up towards the zenith. And then, could human sight have beheld the invisible, it might have seen hovering over the town, over the ball-room, over M. Xaupi, the awful presence of the plague.
But knowing nothing of this, the heated revelers went merrily home in the chill air of the red and saffron dawn. And knowing nothing of it also, a man awakened on the doorstep of a house opposite the ball-room, where he had long since fallen asleep. His limbs were cramped and a shiver ran through his frame. Staggering to his feet, he made his way down to the house of Free Charlotte, mounted to his room by means of a stairway opening on the street, threw off his outer garments, kicked off his shoes, and taking a bottle from a closet pressed it several times to his lips with long outward breaths of satisfaction. Then, throwing his great white bulk upon the bed, in a minute more he had sunk into a heavy sleep - the usual drunken sleep of old King Solomon.
He too had attended M. Xaupi's ball, in his own way and in his proper character, being drawn to the place for the pleasure of seeing the fine ladies arrive and float in, like large white moths of the summer night; of looking in through the open windows at the manycolored waxen lights and the snowy arms and shoulders; of having blown out to him the perfume and the music; not worthy to go in, being the lowest of the low, but attending from a doorstep of the street opposite- with a certain rich passion in his nature for all splendor and revelry and sensuous beauty.
ABOUT 10 o'clock the sunlight entered through the shutters and awoke him. He threw one arm up over his eyes to intercept the burning rays. As he lay outstretched and stripped of grotesque rags, it could be better seen in what a mold nature had cast his figure. His breast, bare and tanned, was barred by full,