MY FIRST GREAT TRIAL.
" down south ; " the almost certainty that one mem¬
ber of a family will be torn from another ; the anxious
scanning of purchasers' faces ; the agony at parting,
often for ever, with husband, wife, child—these must
be seen and felt to be fully understood. Young as I
was then, the iron entered into my soul. The re¬
membrance of the breaking up of McPherson's estate
is photographed in its minutest features in my mind.
The crowd collected round the stand, the huddling
group of negroes, the examination of muscle, teeth,
the exhibition of agility, the look of the auctioneer,
the agony of my mother—I can shut my eyes and
see them all.
My brothers and sisters were bid off first, and one
by one, while my mother, paralysed by grief, held
me by the hand. Her turn came, and she was
bought by Isaac Riley, of Montgomery county
Then I was offered to the assembled purchasers.
My mother, half-distracted with the thought of
parting for ever from all her children, pushed
through the crowd, while the bidding for me was
going on, to the spot where Riley was standing.
She fell at his feet, and clung to his knees, entreat¬
ing him in tones that a mother only could command,
to buy her baby as well as herself, and spare to her
one, at least, of her little ones. Will it, can it be
believed that this man, thus appealed to, was capable
not merely of turning a deaf ear to her supplication,
but of diseno-asinp- himself from her with such
violent blows and kicks, as to reduce her to the
necessity of creeping out of his reach, and mingling
the groan of bodily suffering with the sob of a break-