LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 405
her thoughts towards her Northern home. It rose, in silent terrors, to the minds of the servants, who well knew the unfeeling, tyrannical character of the mistress in whose hands they were left. All knew, very well, that the indulgences which had been accorded to them were not from their mistress, but from their master; and that, now he was gone, there would be no screen between them and every tyrannous infliction which a temper soured by affliction might devise.
It was about a fortnight after the funeral, that Miss Ophelia, busied one day in her apartment, heard a gentle tap at the door. She opened it, and there stood Rosa, the pretty young quadroon, whom we have before often noticed, her hair in disorder, and her eyes swelled with crying.
" Oh, Miss Feely," she said, falling on her knees, and catching the skirt of her dress, " do, do go to Miss Marie for me ! do plead for me ! She 's goin' to send me out to be whipped, — look there ! " And she handed to Miss Ophelia a paper.
It was an order, written in Marie's delicate Italian hand, to the master of a whipping establishment, to give the bearer fifteen lashes.
"What have you been doing?" said Miss Ophelia.
" You know, Miss Feely, I 've got such a bad temper; it's very bad of me. I was trying on Miss Marie's dress, and she slapped my face; and I spoke out before I thought, and was saucy, and she said that she 'd bring me down, and have me know, once for all, that I was n't going to be so topping as I had been; and she wrote this, and says I shall carry it. I 'd rather she 'd kill me, right out."
Miss Ophelia stood considering, with the paper in her hand.
" You see, Miss Feely," said Rosa, " I don't mind the whipping so much, if Miss Marie or you was to do it; but, to be sent to a man I and such a horrid man, — the shame of it, Miss Feely ! "