LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 151
self on a strictly honest and upright course of life. Yes, Tom, we must confess it, was rather proud of his honesty, poor fellow, — not having very much else to be proud of; — if he had belonged to some of the higher walks of society, he, perhaps, would never have been reduced to such straits. However, the day wore on, and the evening saw Haley and Tom comfortably accommodated in Washington, — the one in a tavern, and the other in a jail.
About eleven o'clock the next day, a mixed throng was gathered around the court-house steps, — smoking, chewing, spitting, swearing, and conversing, according to their respective tastes and turns, — waiting for the auction to commence. The men and women to be sold sat in a group apart, talking in a low tone to each other. The woman who had been advertised by the name of Hagar was a regular African in feature and figure. She might have been sixty, but was older than that by hard work and disease, was partially blind, and somewhat crippled with rheumatism. By her side stood her only remaining son, Albert, a bright-looking little fellow of fourteen years. The boy was the only survivor of a large family, who had been successively sold away from her to a Southern market. The mother held on to him with both her shaking hands, and eyed with intense trepidation every one who walked up to examine him.
" Don't be 'feard, Aunt Hagar," said the oldest of the men. " I spoke to Mas'r Thomas 'bout it, and he thought he might manage to sell you in a lot both together."
" Dey need n't call me worn out yet," said she, lifting her shaking hands. "I can cook yet, and scrub, and scour, — I'm wuth a-buying, if I do come cheap; — tell 'em dat ar, — you tell 'em," she added, earnestly.
Haley here forced his way into the group, walked up to the oldest man, pulled his mouth open and looked in, felt of his teeth, made him stand and straighten himself, bend his back, and perform various evolutions to show his muscles ; and then passed on to the next, and put him through