Hey! Beth baby I know you're daddy ain't tell me this shipment was coming in! Ooh Oh he is gonna get it. If all this china has to be clean by tonight I might need you to help me sugar." Phillis chuckles.
I sit in the dining room staring out the window at the large shipment of enslaved negros boarding the dock of our private harbor. Chains and shackles weaved through them like barbed wired fences.
"Did my father neglect to inform you of the auction?" I stand up and try to wash my plate in the sink but am shooed away by Phillis our house maid, however I would recognize her as my non biological mother.
Phillis has been there since birth, she was my mothers first maid. When my mother got ill she made sure my father knew that he was not to marry again and have another lady raise me,
She wanted Phillis and only Phillis.
My father and Phillis developed a solid relationship. He taught her how to read, write, and of course bath and groom properly.
They became great friends, and my father a proud slave owner has not treated Phillis with any less respect then he would treat me.
My father walks through the double french doors with a look of disappointment on his face.
He starts, "Did I not-oh no"
"Yeah you better be sayin oh no and wipe that sly look off that baby face of yours Mr. Wheeler."
My father chuckles, "Phillis how many times have I told you to call me Thomas? And do not worry, I'll push the auction back a day. Not all the state men are in for the bidding any how. I am truly sorry I forgot to inform you of this event."
he walks away and but then looks back behind the corner, "You must forgive me".
She gives him a slight smile and says, "I always do, don't I?"
I am truly grateful that they have a genuine relationship. My father is by no means a bad man. Even though we own slaves, he still treats them with respect. He offers them Sunday's off, and feeds them lunches on Wednesday.
After breakfast I walked into my bedroom and on my freshly made bed laid an outfit picked out by my first maid Cecilia.
It was a baby blue gown with a round top hat and my favorite silk bow.
Cecilia knocked on the door and I called her in, "I hope you are fond of the gown I picked out" she hesitates. I speak softly, "Of course everything you lay out for me is delightful. Do you mind lacing me up?" she begins lacing the corset.
After I am finished getting dressed, I meet my father out on the front garden, over looking the slave quarters.
Negros are still being transferred from this mornings shipment.
I see negros being tossed and turned, beaten and bruised. Mother and child being separated and thousands of them as thin as a stray horse.
I cannot help but shed a tear, I am appalled by the way they are treated by my fathers men that are sent to "handle" them.
"Bethy, I am sorry you are here to see this. I truly am, you understand this is not how we treat our slaves. For the auctions purpose, and the over load of negros we simply have to direct with force." He scratches his head and looks at me sincerely.
"Daddy this is sinister." I run off in despite, he calls after me but I dare not turn my head.
I run to the only spot on the plantation I feel truly contempt. A spot my mother had shown me.
At the age of five we walked along the slave quarters, through the woods and into this slight dip in earths surface.
four oak trees surrounded it creating a perfect square. Over the years I'd planted white rose bushes throughout the square.
My mothers favorite.
The only person that knew about this hide away was her and I.
It was as if it was my way of still feeling her presence.
When I was in distraught I came and talked to her.
After a while I started walking back there was only a few more hours of daylight left and I needed to be home for dinner.
I get to the edge of the woods not fully ready to come back to reality.
I look past the slave quarters and see a few of them walking and sitting, I did not pay that much attention. I continued walking.
I hear a faint call, "Miss! Miss! Hello?" I turn my head and see a black man waving my silk bow in his hand.
I run over to him, "Thank you kindly Sir." I smile.
Then soon realize, a black man,
speaking to me,
"Sir" I smile.
"If I may ask you, how is it that you speak English?"
He begins, "Well ma'am, my homeland is indeed Africa. I'm not sure if that was evident." I laugh, and he finishes. "However, you see I have been on a plantation like this very one. Your father takes good care of my people, he is known for that. My former master was a friend to me as well."
"How did you know I am the daughter of the plantation owner?" I say hesitantly.
"Well you aren't a negro are you?" he chuckles.
We both laugh for a minute and I say, "No I am not, Mr.-"
"Mr. Allen, Sam Allen." he kisses my hand, "and you, my lady?"
in an original setting I would never allow a negro to kiss my hand. However something about Sam Allen intrigued me. He made me want more.
"Bethany Wheeler, Mr. Allen" I say.
"Please. Call me Sam" he says.
Before I can reply he speaks again, "It's getting late, I would very much like to walk you to your home however we both know how that would end."
I smile politely, "It was a pleasure, Sam."
"The pleasure was all mine, Miss Wheeler" he says.
Before I could correct him he disappears, and I walk up to the house.