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Page:Sketch of Connecticut, Forty Years Since.djvu/31

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FORTY YEARS SINCE     19

the eloquence and humanity of a more favoured age. Clarkson, and Wilberforce had not then arisen to unlock "indignantly the secrets of their prison-house," nor Cowper, to bid the eye of sensibility weep over their wrongs. In the community, where the lot of this venerable patriarch had been cast, they were found in the families of a few men of wealth, nurtured as dependants, but never oppressed as slaves. Under his roof they were treated with uniform kindness, and after the accession of his son to the paternal estate, received their freedom.

Two descendants of these "servants born in the house," still continued with Madam Lathrop, one as a hireling, the other for the sake of his clothing, board and education, until his minority should cease. Beulah, who had reached her twenty-second winter, was an athletic, industrious female, grave in her deportment, and of strict honesty. Cuff, her brother, was her junior by six years, active, and of an affectionate disposition, with some mixture of African humour. Both were attached to their mistress, like the vassals of feudal times, regarding her as "but a little lower than the angels."[1] She cherished their unaffected regard, by a sway of equanimity, and gentleness, professing herself to be, like the Vicar of Wakefield, an "admirer of happy human faces."[2]

It was now Saturday night, and the setting sun ushered in that stillness which used to mark its return, forty years since, in Connecticut. Every ware-house, and shop was shut, and man, like the creation around him, seemed

  1. Psalm 8:5.
  2. Goldsmith, Oliver. The Vicar of Wakefield. Chapter 3.