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she was a swarthy little creature, with a huge mouth, and woolly hair, but had been a joyous little being,—a slave only by name, but a free-hearted creature, bounding from mountain to mountain, culling the freshest flowers to present to the grandmother she loved.
And the poor child was actually employed in that innocent recreation, actually breathing childish imaginings of pleasing others, when her hands were rudely seized, and her cries more rudely hushed — and stunned, unhappy, half dead with fright, poor Rosa found herself a slave in a vessel which was shortly to sail far, far away.
How she wrung those tiny hands, not yet shackled by the chains of slavery; how the tears streamed down her cheeks! and then she threw herself on her knees, she clasped the captain's hands, and he, monster!-he laughed.
He laughed at her childish burst of sorrow; and young as that Negro heart was, it was proud, and Rosa arose from her knees sadly, determined to kneel no more at the captain's feet. Poor Rosa !
Suddenly she ceased her tears; she remembered that she had heard there was One good and holy who dwelt beyond this world of sin; she remembered that He had said He would look upon little children ; so once again Rosa knelt, not to mortal man stained with sin, but to the Father of the fatherless.
Blessings on the Christian man who had planted the seeds of faith in that little Negro heart; how rewarded he would have been had he seen the effect of his pastoral instructions. Even the rude captain dared not repeat that laugh, when he involuntarily listened to Rosa's words :
“ Dem wicked men,” she cried, “ dey
hab take poor leetel Rosa, dem want her for wark in dem foreign land; but de great and good God, who lib in de blue sky, He look upon Him child, and Him pity Rosa, and Him take him under Him care, and some day, when poor Rosa under de ground, God call him to Himself, and him be berry happy in heaven.”
"Take the child below,” cried the captain ; “ those missionaries have been busy with her.”
And Rosa was taken away, but he who led her took hold of her hand so gently that the child looked at him with unfeigned astonishment. Eldrido, the Spanish youth, for such was the name of the person whom the reader has heard conversing with the baron, smiled sadly as he caught that astonished expression, and he softly whispered, “ All men are not hard-hearted.”
But little Rosa only shook her head :
alas ! if one man could deprive her of liberty, another might impose upon her credulity; young and so distrustful! Rosa had received her first lesson in distrust.
The child cried and prayed, and prayed and cried by turns; and she thought of her home at the farmhouse and of her grandmother, and she slept; she did not usually dream, but now she dreamed, and woke, and slept, and dreamed again.
Thus several days elapsed, the captain was often on shore, and Eldrido took many opportunities of comforting the hapless child, who was convulsed with weeping.
“ Sabe me! sabe me!" was ever her cry, and before the baron had spoken to Eldrido he had already seriously contemplated her deliverance; for Eldrido thought of his own and only sister, and of his widowed mother, and the memory of those we love very frequently steers us to the haven of good resolutions.
One evening Rosa had sobbed herself to sleep, when Eldrido gently entered her cabin ; he stood for some time with a lantern in his hand, contemplating the child, who certainly looked not Hebe-like in her slumbers.
But she was a child-helpless-injured — and Eldrido was much touched when even in her sleep the same words, “ Sabe me ! sabe me !” fell upon his ears.
“ Wake up, and listen to me,” said Eldrido; “ nay, start not, I am your friend.”
“ God bless you! God bless you!” and the child passionately pressed his arm.
“Compose yourself, Rosa, and listen to me. I am sent on shore, and the captain is fast asleep, the night is dark, and there are other slaves on board; dress yourself quickly, and follow me: don't thank me, I hate thanks--make haste.”
The child was very soon equipped, and