Emmeline and Cassy
Cassy entered the room, and found Emmeline sitting, pale with fear, in the furthest corner of it. As she came in, the girl started up nervously; but, on seeing who it was, rushed forward, and catching her arm, said, O Cassy, is it you? Im so glad youve come! I was afraid it was. O, you dont know what a horrid noise there has been, down stairs, all this evening!
I ought to know, said Cassy, dryly. Ive heard it often enough.
O Cassy! do tell me,couldnt we get away from this place? I dont care where,into the swamp among the snakes,anywhere! Couldnt we get somewhere away from here?
Nowhere, but into our graves, said Cassy.
Did you ever try?
Ive seen enough of trying and what comes of it, said Cassy.
Id be willing to live in the swamps, and gnaw the bark from trees. I ant afraid of snakes! Id rather have one near me than him, said Emmeline, eagerly.
There have been a good many here of your opinion, said Cassy; but you couldnt stay in the swamps,youd be tracked by the dogs, and brought back, and thenthen
What would he do? said the girl, looking, with breathless interest, into her face.
What wouldnt he do, youd better ask, said Cassy. Hes learned his trade well, among the pirates in the West Indies. You wouldnt sleep much, if I should tell you things Ive seen,things that he tells of, sometimes, for good jokes. Ive heard screams here that I havent been able to get out of my head for weeks and weeks. Theres a place way out down by the quarters, where you can see a black, blasted tree, and the ground all covered with black ashes. Ask anyone what was done there, and see if they will dare to tell you.
O! what do you mean?
I wont tell you. I hate to think of it. And I tell you, the Lord only knows what we may see tomorrow, if that poor fellow holds out as hes begun.
Horrid! said Emmeline, every drop of blood receding from her cheeks. O, Cassy, do tell me what I shall do!
What Ive done. Do the best you can,do what you must,and make it up in hating and cursing.
He wanted to make me drink some of his hateful brandy, said Emmeline; and I hate it so
Youd better drink, said Cassy. I hated it, too; and now I cant live without it. One must have something;things dont look so dreadful, when you take that.
Mother used to tell me never to touch any such thing, said Emmeline.
Mother told you! said Cassy, with a thrilling and bitter emphasis on the word mother. What use is it for mothers to say anything? You are all to be bought and paid for, and your souls belong to whoever gets you. Thats the way it goes. I say, drink brandy; drink all you can, and itll make things come easier.
O, Cassy! do pity me!
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