Chapter V: A Vacancy

This morning the sun rose with that beauty known to a southern sky in the last month of autumn. The day was Sabbath, and with it was ushered in every reminiscence common to the customs of that day and locality.
That she might spend the day at church for the diversion of her mind, Mrs. Franks was brought in to her city residence; and Natchez, which is usually gay, seemed more so on this day than on former occasions.
When the bells began to signalise the hour of worship, the fashionable people seemed en masse to crowd the streets. The carriages ran in every direction, bearing happy hearts and cheerful faces to the various places of worship—there to lay their offerings on the altar of The Most High for the blessings they enjoyed, whilst peering over every gate, out of every ally, or every kitchen door, could be seen the faithful black servants, who staying at home to prepare them food and attend to other domestic duties, were satisfied to look smilingly upon their masters and families as they rode along, without for a moment dreaming that they had a right to worship the same God, with the same promise of life and salvation.
' God bless you, missus! pray fah me,' was the honest request of many a simple-hearted slave who dared not aspire to the enjoyment of praying for themselves in the Temple of the living God.
5But amidst these scenes of gayety and pleasure, there was one much devoted to her church, who could not be happy that day, as there, to her, was a seeming vacancy which could not be filled—the seat of her favorite maid-servant. The Colonel, as a husband and father, was affectionate and indulgent ; but his slave had offended, disobeyed his commands, and consequently, had to be properly punished, or he be disrespected by his own servants. The will of the master being absolute, his commands should be enforced, let them be what they may, and the consequences what they would. If slavery be right, the master is justifiable in enforcing obedience to his will; deny him this, and you at once deprive him of the right to hold a slave—the one is a necessary sequence of the other. Upon this principle colonel Franks acted, and the premise justified the conclusion.
When the carriage drove to the door, Mrs. Franks wept out most bitterly, refusing to enter because her favorite maid could not be an incumbant. Fears being entertained of seriousness in her case, it was thought advisable to let her remain quietly at home.
Daddy Joe and mammy Judy were anxious spectators of all that transpired at the door of the mansion, and that night, on retiring to their humble bed, earnestly petitioned at the altar of Grace, that the Lord would continue upon her his afflictions, until their master convinced of his wrongs, would order the return of their child.
This the Colonel would have most willingly done without the petition of Joe or Judy, but the case had gone too far, the offense was too great, and consequently there could be no reconsideration.
' Poor thing,' uttered Mrs. Franks in a delirium, ' she served him right! And this her only offense ! Yes, she was true to me !'
10Little Joe, the son of Maggie, in consequence of her position to the white children—from whom her separation had been concealed—had been constantly with his grand-mother, and called her ' mammy.' Accustomed to being without her, he was well satisfied so long as permitted to be with the old woman Judy.
So soon as her condition would permit, Mrs. Franks was returned to her country seat, to avoid the contingencies of the city.
To Chapter VI

Textual Notes

3en masse] 59; en masse 61
3ally] 59; alley 61
4fah] 59; fer 61
5;] 59; : 61
5principle] 59; this principle, colonel 61
6out] 59; not in 61
7Judy] 59; mammy Judy, were 61
8was] 59; not in 61
3delirium] 59; delirium 61
10grand-mother] 59; grandmother 61