No sight could be more singular and beautiful than that of these twin brothers. Nature, instead of instituting resemblances between them, had made them opposites on every point; yet a mysterious tie seemed to unite them in a closer friendship than ordinary.
They used to saunter, arm in arm, up and down the alleys and walks of the garden. Augustine, with his blue eyes and golden hair, his ethereally flexible form and vivacious features; and Alfred, dark-eyed, with haughty Roman profile, firmly-knit limbs, and decided bearing. They were always abusing each others opinions and practices, and yet never a whit the less absorbed in each others society; in fact, the very contrariety seemed to unite them, like the attraction between opposite poles of the magnet.
Henrique, the eldest son of Alfred, was a noble, dark-eyed, princely boy, full of vivacity and spirit; and, from the first moment of introduction, seemed to be perfectly fascinated by the spirituelle graces of his cousin Evangeline.
Eva had a little pet pony, of a snowy whiteness. It was easy as a cradle, and as gentle as its little mistress; and this pony was now brought up to the back verandah by Tom, while a little mulatto boy of about thirteen led along a small black Arabian, which had just been imported, at a great expense, for Henrique.
The boy was a handsome, bright-eyed mulatto, of just Henriques size, and his curling hair hung round a high, bold forehead. He had white blood in his veins, as could be seen by the quick flush in his cheek, and the sparkle of his eye, as he eagerly tried to speak.
Young Masr, said Tom, I specs what he was gwine to say was, that the horse would roll when he was bringing him up from the stable; he s so full of spirits,that s the way he got that dirt on him; I looked to his cleaning.
Dear Cousin, you dont know Dodo; it s the only way to manage him, he s so full of lies and excuses. The only way is to put him down at once,not let him open his mouth; that s the way papa manages.
O, well, it may go for some time when he does, and dont get it. A few cuts never come amiss with Dodo,he s a regular spirit, I can tell you; but I wont beat him again before you, if it troubles you.
And Henrique cantered down the walk after Eva. Dodo stood looking after the two children. One had given him money; and one had given him what he wanted far more,a kind word, kindly spoken. Dodo had been only a few months away from his mother. His master had bought him at a slave warehouse, for his handsome face, to be a match to the handsome pony; and he was now getting his breaking in, at the hands of his young master.
Because, said Alfred, we can see plainly enough that all men are not born free, nor born equal; they are born anything else. For my part, I think half this republican talk sheer humbug. It is the educated, the intelligent, the wealthy, the refined, who ought to have equal rights, and not the canaille.
That is past praying for, said Augustine; educated they will be, and we have only to say how. Our system is educating them in barbarism and brutality. We are breaking all humanizing ties, and making them brute beasts; and, if they get the upper hand, such we shall find them.
That s one of your red republican humbugs, Augustine! Why did nt you ever take to the stump;you d make a famous stump orator! Well, I hope I shall be dead before this millennium of your greasy masses comes on.
Greasy or not greasy, they will govern you, when their time comes, said Augustine; and they will be just such rulers as you make them. The French noblesse chose to have the people sans culottes, and they had sans culotte governors to their hearts content. The people of Hayti
O, come, Augustine! as if we had nt had enough of that abominable, contemptible Hayti! The Haytiens were not Anglo Saxons; if they had been, there would have been another story. The Anglo Saxon is the dominant race of the world, and is to be so.
Well, there is a pretty fair infusion of Anglo Saxon blood among our slaves, now, said Augustine. There are plenty among them who have only enough of the African to give a sort of tropical warmth and fervor to our calculating firmness and foresight. If ever the San Domingo hour comes, Anglo Saxon blood will lead on the day. Sons of white fathers, with all our haughty feelings burning in their veins, will not always be bought and sold and traded. They will rise, and raise with them their mothers race.
Well, said Augustine, there goes an old saying to this effect, As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be;they ate, they drank, they planted, they builded, and knew not till the flood came and took them.
On the whole, Augustine, I think your talents might do for a circuit rider, said Alfred, laughing. Never you fear for us; possession is our nine points. We ve got the power. This subject race, said he, stamping firmly, is down, and shall stay down! We have energy enough to manage our own powder.
Sons trained like your Henrique will be grand guardians of your powder-magazines, said Augustine,so cool and self-possessed! The proverb says, They that cannot govern themselves cannot govern others.
There is a trouble there said Alfred, thoughtfully; there s no doubt that our system is a difficult one to train children under. It gives too free scope to the passions, altogether, which, in our climate, are hot enough. I find trouble with Henrique. The boy is generous and warm-hearted, but a perfect fire-cracker when excited. I believe I shall send him North for his education, where obedience is more fashionable, and where he will associate more with equals, and less with dependents.
It does not for some things, said Alfred; for others, again, it does. It makes boys manly and courageous; and the very vices of an abject race tend to strengthen in them the opposite virtues. I think Henrique, now, has a keener sense of the beauty of truth, from seeing lying and deception the universal badge of slavery.
You might as well set Mount Ætna on them flat, and tell them to stand up under it, as tell me to elevate my servants under all the superincumbent mass of society upon them. One man can do nothing, against the whole action of a community. Education, to do anything, must be a state education; or there must be enough agreed in it to make a current.
There come the children, said Augustine, rising. Look here, Alf! Did you ever see anything so beautiful? And, in truth, it was a beautiful sight. Henrique, with his bold brow, and dark, glossy curls, and glowing cheek, was laughing gayly, as he bent towards his fair cousin, as they came on. She was dressed in a blue riding-dress, with a cap of the same color. Exercise had given a brilliant hue to her cheeks, and heightened the effect of her singularly transparent skin, and golden hair.
Do you know, Eva, I m so sorry papa is only going to stay two days here, and then I shant see you again for ever so long! If I stay with you, I d try to be good, and not be cross to Dodo, and so on. I dont mean to treat Dodo ill; but, you know, I ve got such a quick temper. I m not really bad to him, though. I give him a picayune, now and then; and you see he dresses well. I think, on the whole, Dodo s pretty well off.
I could love anything, for your sake, dear Cousin; for I really think you are the loveliest creature that I ever saw! And Henrique spoke with an earnestness that flushed his handsome face. Eva received it with perfect simplicity, without even a change of feature; merely saying, I m glad you feel so, dear Henrique! I hope you will remember.