154 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
" Buy me too, Mas'r, for de dear Lord's sake ! — buy me, — I shall die if you don't! "
" You '11 die if I do, that's the kink of it," said Haley, — "no!" And he turned on his heel.
The bidding for the poor old creature was summary. The man who had addressed Haley, and who seemed not destitute of compassion, bought her for a trifle, and the spectators began to disperse.
The poor victims of the sale, who had been brought up in one place together for years, gathered round the despairing old mother, whose agony was pitiful to see.
"Could n't dey leave me one? Mas'r allers said I should have one, — he did," she repeated over and over, in heart-broken tones.
"Trust in the Lord, Aunt Hagar," said the oldest of the men, sorrowfully.
" What good will it do ? " said she, sobbing passionately.
" Mother, mother, — don't! don't! " said the boy. " They say you 's got a good master."
" I don't care, — I don't care. Oh, Albert! Oh, my boy, you's my last baby. Lord, how ken I ? "
" Come, take her off, can't some of ye ?" said Haley, dryly ; " don't do no good for her to go on that ar way."
The men of the company, partly by persuasion and partly by force, loosed the poor creature's last despairing hold, and, as they led her off to her new master's wagon, strove to comfort her.
" Now!' said Haley, pushing his three purchases together, and producing a bundle of handcuffs, which he proceeded to put on their wrists; and fastening each handcuff to a long chain, he drove them before him to the jail.
A few days saw Haley, with his possessions, safely deposited on one of the Ohio boats. It was the commencement of his gang, to be augmented, as the boat moved on, by various other merchandise of the same kind, which he, or his agent, had stored for him in various points along shore.