LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 293
nature, the same ; that is, appropriating one set of human beings to the use and improvement of another, without any regard to their own."
" I never thought of the matter in this light," said Miss Ophelia. *
" Well, I 've traveled in England some, and I 've looked over a good many documents as to the state of their lower classes ; and I really think there is no denying Alfred, when he says that his slaves are better off than a large class of the population of England. You see, you must not infer, from what I have told you, that Alfred is what is called a hard master ; for he is n't. He is despotic, and unmerciful to insubordination ; he would shoot a fellow down with as little remorse as he would shoot a buck, if he opposed him. But, in general, he takes a sort of pride in having his slaves comfortably fed and accommodated.
" When I was with him, I insisted that he should do something for their instruction; and, to please me, he did get a chaplain, and used to have them catechized Sunday, though, I believe, in his heart, that he thought it would do about as much good to set a chaplain over his dogs and horses. And the fact is, that a mind stupefied and ani-malized by every bad influence from the hour of birth, spending the whole of every week-day in unreflecting toil, cannot be done much with by a few hours on Sunday. The teachers of Sunday-schools among the manufacturing population of England, and among plantation-hands in our country, could perhaps testify to the same result, there and here. Yet some striking exceptions there are among us, from the fact that the negro is naturally more impressible to religious sentiment than the white."
" Well," said Miss Ophelia, " how came you to give up your plantation/life ? "
" Well, we jogged on together some time, till Alfred saw plainly that I was no planter. He thought it absurd after he had reformed, and altered, and improved everywhere, to suit my notions, that I still remained unsatisfied.