LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 423
He was pushed from the block ; the short, bullet-headed man, seizing him roughly by the shoulder, pushed him to one side, saying, in a harsh voice, " Stand there, you ! '
Tom hardly realized anything ; but still the bidding went on, —rattling, clattering, now French, now English. Down goes the hammer again, — Susan is sold! She goes down from the block, stops, looks wistfully back, — her daughter stretches her hands towards her. She looks with agony in the face of the man who has bought her, — a respectable, middle-aged man, of benevolent countenance. " Oh, Mas'r, please do buy my daughter ! "
" I 'd like to, but I 'm afraid I can't afford it! " said the gentleman, looking, with painful interest, as the young girl mounted the block, and looked around her with a frightened and timid glance.
The. blood flushes painfully in her otherwise colorless cheek, her eye has a feverish fire, and her mother groans to see that she looks more beautiful than she ever saw her before. The auctioneer sees his advantage, and expatiates volubly in mingled French and English, and bids rise in rapid succession.
" I '11 do anything in reason," said the benevolent-looking gentleman, pressing in and joining with the bids. In a few moments they have run beyond his purse. He is silent; the auctioneer grows warmer ; but bids gradually drop off. It lies now between an aristocratic old citizen and our bullet-headed acquaintance. The citizen bids for a few turns, contemptuously measuring his opponent; but the bullet-head has the advantage over him, both in obstinacy and concealed length of purse, and the controversy lasts but a moment; the hammer falls, — he has got the girl, body and soul, unless God help her.
Her master is Mr. Legree, who owns a cotton plantation on the Red River. She is pushed along into the same lot with Tom and two other men, and goes off, weeping as she goes.
The benevolent gentleman is sorry; but, then, the