LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 453
THE QUADROON'S STORY.
" And behold the tears of such as are oppressed ; and on the side of their oppressors there was power. Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead more than the living that are yet alive." —Eccl. iv. 1.
It was late at night, and Tom lay groaning and bleeding alone, in an old forsaken room of the gin-house, among pieces of broken machinery, piles of damaged cotton, and other rubbish which had there accumulated.
The night was damp and close, and the thick air swarmed with myriads of mosquitoes, which increased the restless torture of his wounds ; whilst a burning thirst — a torture beyond all others — filled up the uttermost measure of physical anguish.
" O good Lord ! Do look down, — give me the victory ! — give me the victory over all! " prayed poor Tom, in his anguish.
A footstep entered the room, behind him, and the light of a lantern flashed on his eyes.
" Who's there ? Oh, for the Lord's massy, please give me some water! "
The woman Cassy — for it was she — set down her lantern, and, pouring water from a bottle, raised his head, and gave him drink. Another and another cup were drained, with feverish eagerness.
" Drink all ye want," she said ; " I knew how it would be. It is n't the first time I 've been out in the night, carrying water to such as you."
" Thank you, Missis," said Tom, when he had done drinking.
" Don't call me Missis! I 'm a miserable slave, like