All heroes are not héros de
romans. Not all preux chevaliers would be attractive as cavaliers, and one
admires many things that one does not care to appropriate.
Tippoo Saib was neither handsome, nor accomplished, nor
gently bred. He was a middle-aged negro of Congo descent, and formed after the ultra type
of his race, with misshapen skull, immense lips, close-curled wool, and skin as nearly as
black as human skin was ever tinted. He was heavy both of motion and intellect, and
entirely ignorant of almost every thing a man should know. But at the end of my story
deny, if you dare, that he was a hero, a preux chevalier, a man to be admired and
When North Carolina joined the rebellion and began to
raise troops, Mr. John Fernald got himself transformed into Captain John Fernald. When,
furthermore, he was requested to furnish one or more negroes to labor upon the
fortifications of Roanoke Island, he magnificently replied, "Certainly," and
went home to consider how it was to be done. For John Fernald, the needy heir of a
spendthrift sire and grandsire, owned no lands save his heavily-mortgaged plantation of
Mossmoor, no stock save the fine horse who was destined to bear his master to the wars, a
few cows and pigs, Tippoo Saib, his wife Marcy, their child Scipio Africanus (Mr. Fernald
had a fine taste in nomenclature), and Aphrodite, commonly called Frite, a girl upon whom
devolved the house-labor while Marcy wrought with her husband in the fields, except in
some great domestic emergency, when she was summoned to the assistance of Frite.
The household was a meagre one, and its affairs
administered in a spirit of fretful economy, inculcated upon Frite by her master with
oaths, by her mistress with peevish complaints as to its necessity.
Such scanty revenue as the farm still yielded was to be
credited to Tippoo, who, with Marcy and the occasional help of hired service, both
directed and executed all its operations.
This trusty auxiliary was not then to be lightly parted
with, and yet he was the only chattel in Captain Fernalds possession answering to
the description of the contribution he was called upon to make; nor had he funds or
available property of any kind for the purchase of a substitute. One course was left, and
but one. Marcy and Scipio Africanus must be bartered for a laborer; and Frite, who was
retained as being less valuable as a piece of merchandise, and more so as a household
drudge, must be urged to redoubled exertions in her own province, as Tippoo in his, to
make good her place.
The plan, once resolved on, was soon executed, and Marcy
and her child were attached to a coffle of slaves traveling south.
And what did Tippoo feel or say at being thus a day bereft
of wife and child, and such poor ties to home and love as a slave may know?
What he felt the God who made him only know. What he said
"Masr, you loves lilly Missy?"
"Of course I do, Tip."
"An what way would you fix it to pear de
right ting, Masr, dat lilly Missy should be toted off where woudnt nebber see
her no more?"
"Oh well, TipI know, of course. But then you
see, boy, it is different. You know such things are a matter of course. My childwhy
it is altogether another thing."
"Don see it, Masr," replied Tippoo,
with a slow shake of his poor, bewildered head. "Scip he brack, I know, and lilly
Missy she white as an egg; but den Is brack myself, an don tink de wuss
of my chile fer bein like his daddy. Don see it nohow, Masr."
He stood leaning on his hoe and looking gloomily at the
ground, not sullen or vindictive, only sorrowfully seeking a solution to the terrible
injustice of his lot, dimly felt.
Captain Fernald, confusedly switching the weeds and the
flowers about him, found no reply to make; and after standing for a few moments,
presenting a remarkable contrast by his nervous irritability of manner to the solemn calm
of Tippoos mood, he muttered some incoherent words of vague consolation, and
Nothing more was ever said between them on the subject;
but in the week intervening between that day and the one when the volunteer Captain joined
his regiment he treated his silent slave with not only unwonted kindness, but in a certain
apologetic and deprecatory manner, involuntary on his part, and unperceived by
Tippoos dim and preoccupied mind, but yet not without its effect on each.
The Captain joined his regiment. Tippoo Saib toiled early
and late at his thankless tasks. Frite groaned and drudged unaided. And poor, feeble Mrs.
Fernald took to her bed, with a complication of nervous disorders and distresses.
Only bright little Alice remained untouched by sorrow or
wrong, to illuminate with the sunshine of her three summers some portion of the gloom of
that dreary household.
"Hows Mists?" asked Tippoo Saib, one
evening, about a month after his masters departure, as he entered the kitchen for
"Wuss," responded Frite, sulkily; and after an
embarrassed pause, added, "Ise comin out to help you milk, Tip,
quicks I put lilly Missy to bed."
"You dont need to, Frite. Id as good be
doin as restin," said Tippoo, heavily, as he went out.
But Aphrodite, who had her own purposes to further, soon
followed him, and after a little preliminary complaint of the hardships she endured, said,
"Is gwine off, Tip."
"Off!" Whars you gwine, Frite?"
"Wy to de Norf, or somewhere bout dere.
You see, old Tip, Mists she getting wuss berry fas, an to-night
she tol me sen you for de doctor.
"Dere aint none short o Weston, an
Mists said wen you was dar you mout go tell her brudders folks how she
sick and not spectin to get well no more."
"Hebbenly Marster! Am she dat bad, Frite?"
"I reckon she am," returned Aphrodite,
Stoically; and immediately added, "So Is gwine to cut an run fore
Masr Charles git here. I reckon he look sharp nough arter us, Tip, wedder he
sister lib or die. I knows whar ders some cullud folks in de swamp waitin for
to git Norf."
"Has you seen Pete?" asked Tip, referring to a
brother of Frites, who disappeared from a neighboring plantation some weeks
"Nebber you min bout dat, ole man,"
retorted Frite, nodding her head shrewdly. "Ony if youd like to git your
freedom easy, you com long o me to-night to de Big Swamp."
"But be you gwine to leave Mists an lilly
Missy all lone," asked Tippoo, incredulously, "an she so sick as you
"She aint no sicker dan I be, o
slavin here for noffin," returned Frite, angrily. "An
to-nights de las chance fer jinin dem folks. Dey specs to move
fore mornin. I tole Pete Is be dar fore midnight."
"Be whar fore midnight?"
"Whar Is gwine to jine him," retorted
Frite, dryly. "Ef yous a min ter go long, yerll find out all
bout it; an if you aint agwine, wy taint no
"Wouldn it do to-morrer mornin arter
Is ben to sen de doctor to Mists?"
"Tell ye no, nigger, twont. Deys
gwine to start dis berry night arter moonrise, an I aint a gwine to gib ye no
drections whar deys gwine neider. Pete didn want I should even say wot I
has, but I wornt agwine to cut thout gibin you a chance fer to go long
too. So now say, ole Tip, right smart, wotll ye do?"
"Tank ye kinly, Frite," replied Tippoo,
after a long pause, during which he softly smoothed and patted the head of Snowdrop, his
favorite heifer. "Tank ye kinly, but I reckin Ill stop."
"Den all Is got to say is, de more fool
you," responded Frite, venomously, as she lifted the full pail and turned toward the
"Stop a minute, honey. Don yer tink dat
Is ongrateful for de chance, nor yet dat I doesn keer for freedom. But dere
aint no way to get to Weston an back fore mornin, an dat you sez
is too late. Den dere aint no house tween here an dar, an dere
aint never no one comes dis way, now Masr gone, and poor Mists mout die
an lilly Missy too, fore any one d know ont."
"Masr want so tender o your
ole woman and pickaninny," retorted the disappointed Frite.
The thrust was unexpected, and the great, loving, ignorant
heart was unshielded by any philosophy, any hope, any faith that what seemed so wrong must
yet be right. Tippoo abruptly hid his face in the white heifers neck, and great
heaving sobs began to shake his brawny frame, and the hot tears rolled down wondering
Snowdrops neck and mingled with the dust.
"I didn mean to make you feel so bad,
Tip," said Frite, at last, in an awe-struck voice; "ony I didn see
wy yer couldn do same as Masr jes done by you. Look arter yerself
an nebber min what come to oder folks."
Tippoo stood up wiping his eyes on the sleeve of his
coarse shirt, and looked at the girl with a patient smile as he replied,
Pears like, Frite, Id ruther do de way dat
Id ha like Masr to ha done by me."
But do no think that Tippoo Saib, thus speaking, echoed
mechanically, as so many of his white brethren do, that Golden Rule which is in all our
mouths, and so few of our hearts. He had never heard of itin fact, his religious
education had progressed very little beyond that Mumbo Jumbo faith, in the odor of whose
sanctity his ancestors had lived and died.
He did but speak out of the fullness of that childs
heart of his, whose dumb anguish shook the uncouth frame that held it, but found no other
expression than the tears that had rolled down Snowdrops neck.
Frite lingered a moment or two, but not finding any better
argument than those she had already used, and feeling also a little injured by Tips
superiority, she finally went into the house and slammed the door violently, after which
demonstration her mind relapsed into its former placidity.
Tippoo Saib went to his lonely cabin, cooked his scanty
supper, and then slept as a man who labors fourteen hours out of twenty-four must sleep
whatever may be his mental disquietude.
Early in the morning he went up to the house to receive
his directions for Weston from his mistress, and not without curiosity as to Frites
movements. The kitchen door stood open, and the autumn sunshine streamed merrily in, but,
except the cat purring in the ashes, no creature was visible, nor any preparations for
breakfast going on.
"Shes cut and lef pore Mists all
lone," soliloquized Tip; and his slow mind began a process of inquiry as to his
own first duty in the case.
While he still stood pondering and scratching his wooly
head the quick patter of small bare feet was heard along the passage, and in the open
doorway stood a rosy little maid, her trailing night-dress deftly gathered in one hand,
while the other "shed by the yellow hair" from her sweet but troubled face.
"Uncle Tip, go call Frite," began she, eagerly.
"Baby wants her supper, and Frite all gone. Uncle Tip make Frite come dress baby, and
get baby's supper."
"Poor lilly Missy!" was all Tip found to say,
but his voice was tender as a womans.
Lilly Missy came forward and put her morsel of a hand into
his black paw, and when he knelt upon one knee and placed her upon the other she threw
both arms round his neck and nestled close to his broad breast.
"Uncle Tips good. Baby loves Uncle Tip; but
baby wants her supper," remarked she, persistently.
"Lilly Missy go and get into her bed again, an
Tip ll go an git her some nice warm milk from the mooly cow, will she?"
"And give milk to poor mamma, too; nice warm milk,
for mamma all cold, and dont want to talk to baby. Mamma dont wake up at all,
when baby tells she to wake up."
A sudden horror woke in Tips bewildered mind.
"Lilly Missy, show Tip where her mammy is, an
hell ask if she wants some milk," suggested he; and Alice, sliding from his
knee, seized his finger and led him on through the passage to the door of a large bedroom,
where Mrs. Fernald had chosen to lie, after she was confined to her bed.
Standing at the door, with head reverently bared and
breath suspended, Tip looked earnestly at the pale, pretty face turned toward him on the
pillow. He needed not to approach. There is an unnamed sense, keener than sight, keener
than touch, that unerringly warns living man of his neighborhood to deatha
chilla repugnancea nervous desire to flee. Such it was that now crept through
Tippoos blood, and turned the rich brown of his honest skin to a muddy yellow. Such
it was that, laying its chill hand even upon the innocent heart of the child, made her
cling closer to the side of her strange comrade, murmuring:
"Babys cold. Baby dont want stay
Releasing himself from her grasp, Tippoo Saib stole on
tip-toe across the room, and reverently drew the fair linen sheet over that face as white
as cold; then drew down the blinds and left the room, closing the door behind him.
"Come, show ole Tip whars its little closes,
an hell try to dress you. Den youll go long wid him, milkin
de cows, an den hell gib you some breaksus."
"And give mamma some nice warm milk, so she feel all
well again, and talk to baby?" asked the little maid.
"Mammy don want for nothin, lilly Missy,
an de nex she eats an drinks will be better nor any thing we could gib
her," said Tip, solemnly, with hazy visions of a very objective sort of Paradise
flitting through his mind.
The child was satisfied with the vague assurance, and
patted off to fetch her clothes. These, with much trouble and anxious effort to understand
the probable intent of their construction, Tip finally adjusted, with some little aid from
Alice herself, and then lifting her in one arm, and taking his pails upon the other, he
went out to milk.
This process completed, they returned to the house, and
Tip, discovering some bread in a cupboard, prepared bread and milk for a family of perhaps
six hungry boys, and setting it before lilly Missy, who had forgotten all her troubles in
a frolic with the cat, he bade her "eat it all up, like a blessed lamb," and she
should have some more.
Then seating himself upon the door-step, with his elbows
upon his knees, and his chin in the palms of his hands, Tippoo Saib unconsciously entered
upon the crisis of his life.
Before him lay two courses. The one led to
freedomand remember that this word to a slave carries the same illimitable blessing
that the word Heaven does to a freemanthe other to continued, nay, aggravated
slavery, for Mr. Bennett, the brother of Mrs. Fernald, was well known as a hard master,
and to him, should Captain Fernald never return from the war, Tip would become thrall.
Tip raised his head and looked steadfastly Northward,
until in his dull eyes began to glow a fire, a manhood they never knew before. Then
suddenly turning his head, he fixed them upon the little child, who, chattering gayly to
the kitten as she fed her with the remnant of her breakfast, did not know that her own
life hung in the balance, and that the untaught man whom the father had so bitterly
wronged was its arbiter.
Tippoo knew the forest paths for miles about his home. He
knew the course the party of fugitives would necessarily travel. He did not doubt that by
arduous exertion he could overtake them, or failing in that, make his own way to the North
and to Freedom. But he knew, too, that for weeks no visitor might seek the lonely
plantation house, that the child was entirely incapable of providing her own subsistence
even for a day, or of making her own way to those who might care for her. Slow visions of
the bright-haired child moaning for food, pining from weary day to day, until, lying
exhausted in the lonely night, she should wail her little life away, or perhaps wandering
to the forest perish miserably there; visions of the dead woman, who had been a kind
mistress to him and his, lying unburied in that darkened room, until she who had been so
beautiful became a thing of nameless horror; visions even of poor Snowdrop and her mates
calling vainly to him for help, and suffering miserably for its want, passed in slow
procession through his unaccustomed mind, and burying his face in his broad hands, Tippoo
made his decision, chose his course, and with a deep groan closed his mental eyes upon
those alluring dreams of liberty and manhood that had for one brief moment seemed within
Rising heavily he went and took the child in his arms.
"Will lilly Missy kiss Uncle Tip jes
once?" asked he, humbly.
The white little arms closed about his neck in an instant,
and the rose-bud mouth was pressed to his swarthy cheek in a merry shower of kisses.
"Baby love Uncle Tip ever so much. He very
good," said she, as he replaced her on the floor, and with his large heart full of
love and peace, the man who had freedom within his grasp elected slavery instead.
The only horse remaining on the place was lame, and it was
on his own feet that Tippoo Saib traveled the twelve miles to Weston, carrying little
Alice in his arms, besides a bundle containing some clothes for her and food should she
need it on the road.
Reaching Mr. Bennetts house in the middle of the
afternoon, he asked for the master, and telling his simple story, delivered up his charge,
and waited to hear what should be his own fate.
"Dead! Your mistress dead? It is very sudden. Sit
here, boy, till I carry the child to her aunt," said Mr. Bennett.
"Baby wont go. Baby like Uncle Tip, and stay
with him," declared the little lady, quietly, but so resolutely that she could only
be presented in the drawing-room in the arms of her uncouth nurse. Here, however, the
affectionate caresses of her aunt, and the attractions of a kitten even prettier than the
one she had left at home, soon overcame her shyness, and she at last consented that Tip
should withdraw to the kitchen, where he vainly tried to eat the dainties set before him
by the sable aunty there presiding.
The next day Mr. Bennett, accompanied by Tip, upon whose
movements he kept a jealous eye, and two assistants and a clergyman, sought the lonely
house; and after conferring upon his sisters remains the rites of Christian
sepulture, he took possession of such valuables as remained in the house, and closing the
doors and windows, abandoned it to the desolation that already had laid its hand upon the
A letter, informing Captain Fernald of his bereavement,
returned, after many weeks, unopened to Weston, with the brief notice indorsed upon the
back that Captain Fernald was severely wounded in the head, was perfectly unconscious, and
could not probably survive many days. Under these circumstances Mr. Bennett considered
himself justified in taking possession of such part of his nieces inheritance as
could be made available, and converting it either into cash or to his own use.
Tippoo was no favorite with his new master, nor did he
find his life so comfortable as it had been under his former more independent
circumstances. He did not complain in any manner, however, but the silent resolution to
escape became more and more confirmed in his mind.
A suspicion of this determination in the mind of his
master increased the disfavor he already entertained for his new chattel, and he resolved
to forestall its execution by presenting him to Government, in compliance with a new
requisition for laborers on the fortifications.
The transfer was accordingly made, and at the same time
Mr. Bennett applied for and received a commission as captain of a volunteer company just
raised in Weston, and already under marching orders.
Tip made no remark on being informed of his new destiny,
but his dark face darkened with a gleam of satisfaction. Any change was to him a welcome
"Please, Masr, Id like to say good-by to
lilly Missy fore I go."
"Nonsense, boy, what should she care for you?
Shes something else to do, and Ive no time to wait; follow me right
Tip patiently turned to do as he was ordered, but his mind
went back to the morning when, sitting on the sunny door-step, he had given up his own
cherished hope for the sake of that little child, and now he might not even hear her voce
But of a sudden came the rush of little feet behind them,
and a sweet voice crying, breathlessly, "I will, I will, I will see Uncle Tip again!
Let me go, old Chrissy. I will speak to dear old Tip!"
Master and slave turned to see the cause of this tiny
clamor. It was Alice, who, escaping from her nurse, came flying down the street, her
golden curls streaming in the air, one little foot unshod, and her face all aglow with
rebellious love and determination.
Tippoo stooped, and catching her in his arms, raised her
to his breast, where she clung and kissed him as she had done once before in the sunny
kitchen of the old home.
"Tank you, lilly Missy," said Tip, solemnly, as
he set her down. "Peared like Uncle Tip couldn ha gone way
widout dat. Hebbenly Masr bress you, lilly Missy; an ef you don nebber
see Tip no more, yerll member onst in a wile how he toted ye from de ole home
down here, an how hed ha ben glad to lay down his life, ef so be
twould ha done lilly Missy any good."
"I love Uncle TipUncle Tip is good. Why is he
sorry?" asked the child, with a perplexed cloud upon her sunny face.
"Good-by, lilly Missy." And Tippoo, with no word
more, hurried after his master, who had walked on impatiently.
Roanoke Island was in possession of the Federal forces,
and its rebel defenders had made a retreat more rapid than dignified to the main land.
In the camp of the conquerors all was exultation, mirth,
and proud anticipation of future successes. In that of the vanquished reigned gloom,
wrath, and the desire of vengeance. Plans for a counter-surprise, for a sudden dash, that
should sweep away the invading force in one swift destruction, were loudly canvassed among
the knot of officers, who had not lost heart and hope in the defeat of that dark night;
but as a preliminary to any action it was necessary to learn accurately the position and
force of the enemy; for of these particulars as many varying estimates were held as there
were tongues to announce them.
A reconnaissance was obviously necessary, and of several
volunteers for this delicate and dangerous service Captain Bennett and Lieutenant Fosdick
were selected; and so soon as night again fell to conceal their movements they prepared to
set about it. A light canoe was provided with muffled oars, the two officers seated
themselves in the stern, and Tippoo Saib was elected to the onerous duty of oarsman, with
a stern injunction from his former master to beware of any species of treachery, as
himself should be its first victim.
To this intimation Tip meekly responded, "Yis,
Masr," and noiselessly plying his oars, soon placed his little craft close
under the lee of the island.
The night was intensely dark, with occasional showers of
rain, and this circumstance, while favoring the movement of the spies in some respects,
rendered them more difficult in others, especially as the most absolute silence, both of
voice and motion, was necessary to avoid the observation of the sentinels, who would, of
course, be posted at every point they might approach.
Finally, however, the Lieutenant was set ashore at the
point of a long tongue of land, whose connection with the island was near enough to the
camp fires to enable him to make a fair survey of its position without leaving the
sheltering woods. Captain Bennett meantime was, according to previous agreement, to be
rowed some distance farther north with a view of reconnoitering the fort, and the position
and apparent numbers of the Federal forces in that quarter.
Arrived at a suitable point for landing, Bennett, with a
whispered word, ordered Tip to guide the canoe inshore, and it soon grounded noiselessly
upon the sandy beach.
After waiting a few moments to make sure that his approach
was undiscovered, the Captain rose cautiously to his feet, and was in the act of stepping
over the bows of the boat, when, with a sudden motion, a noose of small rope slipping over
his head, settled down to his middle and was then drawn tight, effectually pinioning his
arms to his side, while coil after coil of the same was rapidly passed about his lower
limbs, his body, and one turn laid with grim pleasantry about his neck.
So sudden was the operation, and so perfectly taken by
surprise was the Captain, that he was already securely bound before he succeeded in
"You scoundrel! what devils trick is
"Sh, Masr," returned Tip, with an
effectation of great caution"don ee speak so loud; mabbe dem dam
Yankee somewhar about, an oberhear us."
A tremendous oath expressed Captain Bennetts
appreciation of his slaves pleasantry, but suddenly remembering that his only hope
of escape lay in the patient and amicable temper of his captor, he succeeded in smothering
his wrath, and saying, in a tone where forced friendliness and vehement passion struggled
strangely for the mastery,
"Come, Tip, you dont want to hurt me, you know.
You wouldnt give me up to theseYankees. Think of my wife and children.
"An member you, Masr, how you
tought it couldn be shed keer to bid ole Tip good-by, an how you
alluz grudged de pooty creter saying a word to de pore nigger dat lubbed her so.
Taint dat, dough, Masr, dats fetched you here. I tinks you idees
bout de Yankees all wrong, an Is gwine to gib you de chance to git
em straightened out. Specs youll come back a puffeck postle
o freedom, Masr. Now spose we go up an look at dis yur fort
togedder, Masr? Specs de Yankees will show us de insides wells de
out, an dats more nor you bargained for, Masr."
So saying, Tip raised his captive in his arms and carried
him ashore as easily as if he had been a child.
"Now, Masr," said he, placing him
carefully on the beach, "yous got you chice. Will you be toted up yander
like an armful o cornshucks, or will you walk?"
"How can I walk, you black scoundrel, with my legs
tied?" sullenly demanded the captive.
"Is gwine to loose em some, ef
yerll say yerll walk right long straight widout a fuss."
"Untie them, then, you"
"Now, Masr, dat aint mannerly no how.
Specs Id better tote ye," said Tip, in a tone of grave rebuke; and he was
again about to raise the helpless form of his late master in his arms, when he, keenly
alive to the ridicule of appearing before his enemies in such a position, hastened to make
the required promise in more civil terms. Tippoo, signifying his satisfaction at the
concession, proceeded immediately to loosen the bonds of his captive sufficiently to allow
him to walk with some degree of ease, but not to run or to use his arms at all. Then
inserting his brawny hand in the loose turn of the rope about the Captains neck, he
called his attention to the fact that a slight movement would be sufficient to tighten it
to a very unpleasant extent, and that such movement would be the result of any attempt of
escape or resistance on his part.
This intimation the Captain received in sullen silence,
but showed his appreciation of its intent by following, or rather preceding, his captor
(who guided him by the rope about his neck much as he would have done a refractory steer)
to the neighborhood of the earth-works dignified by the name of fort, where they
encountered a sentinel, to whom Tip briefly told his story, and was ordered to proceed to
head-quarters, where he was relieved of his charge, amidst the wonder and merriment of a
goodly crowd of spectators.
Tip, on leaving the boat, had taken the precaution of
shoving it off shore, to prevent the escape of Lieutenant Fosdick, and that officer was
captured in the course of the next day, and soon after accompanied Captain Bennett and
numerous other of his countrymen on a voyage Northward, and a prolonged residence in one
of Uncle Samuels Marine Villas.
Tippoo Saib also traveled North, although not as a
prisoner. For the first time in a life of forty years, and with a bewildering joy that no
man who has never been a slave may appreciate, he now found himself free to move in
whatever direction or to whatever distance he might find most to his own advantage, and
his first impulse was to breathe the air of a free State.
For something more than a year he supported himself in
Massachusetts by such labor as he could find to do; but as soon as the enlistment of
colored troops was permitted by Government, Tippoo hastened to enroll himself among the
first of the sable volunteers; nor among the hundreds of thousands of brave men who have
fought beneath the Federal banners in this great war, has one soldier, black or white,
given himself to the contest more ardently, more purely, more entirely than this poor
His uniform courage and good conduct slowly won him such
advancement as is at present possible to a man of his color, and on the tenth day of July,
1863, he followed his captain to the assault of Fort Wagner with the stripes of a sergeant
upon his arm.
We all know who led that assault. A nation mourns, a
nation glories, over the hero who there won himself a name that shall not be forgotten
while his country holds a memory, a tongue, a pen; who, yet in brilliant youth, closed a
career all glorious promise by its most glorious fulfillment; who lies where he fell,
"buried with his niggers," more proudly, more honored than a prince or conqueror
beneath an abbeys marble dome.
But no nation mourns, no poet sings, no history, save this
rude tale, will chronicle the closing scene of another life as brave, as devoted, as
earnest, as beautiful to those who have eyes to read the hearts of men as that of his
Foremost in that wild charge, dauntless in the front of
that dauntless band, rushed Tippoo Saib upon the enemy, and fighting as he fights who
feels that freedom or slavery for him and his hangs upon the contest. He had with as many
blows sent three of his opponents to their doom, when he caught the gleam of a sabre
descending with desperate force upon the head of the Colonel, who stood beside him
cheering on his men.
Quick as light Tippoos bayonet was interposed and
caught the blow, delivered with such force as to shiver the blade close to the hilt.
Changing the direction of the bayonet, Tip was about to plunge it into the breast of the
disarmed officer, when, glancing up, he recognized with astonishment Captain Fernald, his
It was but an instant that he hesitated, but who shall
limit thought by time? In that instant the man remembered the wife of his youth, torn from
his arms, sold to a slavery so barbarous that she had soon died under its severity: he
remembered his merry boy, his one child, whom he had loved with all his loving heart, and
of whose life or death not one echo had reached him in all these years; he remembered his
own enslaved youth and manhood, and the bitter passions of his strong nature rose within
him, and tightened with savage vigor the hand that still held uplifted the gleaming
But before the blow fell, before the benumbed arm of
Captain Fernald could be upraised in defense of the life that in one anguished pang
resigned itself as lost, another memory shot athwart the vengeance of Tippoos mood.
It was the vision of a little maid, all aglow with loving
energy, with golden curls flowing back as she ran, with white arms uplifted to his
embrace, with rosy lips that asked no better than to press themselves upon his swarthy
The vision flashed and passed, but it had wrought its
work. Dropping his arm with its deadly weapon, Tippoo hoarsely cried,
"Go long, Masr, I wont kill lilly
Missys fader." With a wild shout he was bounding forward to seek another
antagonist, when the white man with an oath drew the revolver from his belt, and with
deliberate aim discharged its contents full into the generous heart that has so faithfully
garnered and so well repaid the one love that had illumined his gloomy life.
The fierce battle-cry ended in a wild shriek upon the
negros lips, and he fell forward upon his face dead, just as, a few paces from him,
the noble life he had shielded a moment since was smitten down by the blow that gave a
hero to deathless glory.
Tippoo Saib was one of the honored band that the fierce
victors upon that bloody field laid down to their eternal rest in the same grave with
their young champion, thinking thus to do dishonor to his remains, but in reality
surrounding him with a guard of honor that, when the last trumpet shall sound revéillé,
shall arise with him; the corruptible body exchanged for the incorruptible, the faithful
and noble spirit giving form and color to its new tabernacle.
And in this glorious hope rest peacefully and well, brave
Tippoo Saib, satisfied that if thy life was lowly and thy death unsung, not less hath the
Eternal Judge knowledge of thy temptations and thy triumph, thy loving heart and earnest