Lizzy Part II

The first stop on the long journey was Hades. It had seemed years to the natives rather than weeks. Twenty-five percent had already perished, and the living soon would consider the dead blessed. When the ship pulled into port, it was muggy and hot.

All the captives except Lamb Chop had been chained together and marched off the ship. They were taken to holding pens and were prepared for the upcoming sale. This meant a meal, and some exercise only where they wouldn’t be staggering when it came their time to cross the auction block.

Lamb Chop, on the other hand, was stripped and bathed, and then light oil was rubbed into her skin that made her glisten. If any of the sailors that were preparing her seemed to enjoy this task too much, the Captain would back hand him and threaten him with some form of punishment. He watched everything that was going on to assure she looked her best for the upcoming auction.

They’re second day in port Lamb Chop was fitted with a leather collar and a light chain. Two crewmen escorted her to the auction. She would be the last slave of the Captain’s to pass over the block. He had stated to the crowd that he would keep the best for last. There was not anyone in the crowd that could disagree.

The Captain was a very shrewd businessperson. He had only sold one hundred of the three hundred slaves he had run across the auction block. The fact that a mother was sold, and her babies weren’t, meant little to this heartless flesh trader.

The babies that were left motherless after the auction were assigned to one of the winches that had been spared the auctioneer’s block. The slaves that were sold at this auction were considered the lower of the herd. They had deformities and bad teeth. Maybe their bodies had been scared or their head looked too nappy. Their fate would be that of a field slave on one of the many sugar cane plantations.

Their life would be short lived, yet the short length would not cause the days to be any easier. They would be awakened before the sun came up and not allowed to rest too well after it had set. Eventually they would simply be worked to death. None of these poor souls would ever know old age.

After the last offer was taken or refused there was a short pause and then Lamb Chop was marched out across and placed on the block. She seemed to be completely subdued, as if she knew this would not be her final place of residence.

A hush fell over the crod. No one  had ever seen a winch that looked quite like this one. Her royal blood showed through, even under these circumstances. There was an air about the young woman. Even in a strange world in the front of a mass of strange people, she never forgot who and what she was.

The auctioneer after seeing that he had everybody’s attention shouted, “We’ll start the bidding at one thousand dollars gentlemen” The Captain suddenly jumped to his feet, interrupted the auctioneer, and stated that the bidding would start at five thousand in gold or it would not start at all.

Before the shocked auctioneer could respond there was a voice in the back shouting, “Five thousand one hundred and fifty-dollar’s sir. Twin golden eagles if that is what the good Captain wants. ” The Captain smiled and the auctioneer was amazed. Within seconds, the bidding was at six thousand dollars. Then from the middle of the crowd came a voice “I bid six thousand two hundred and fifty-dollar’s.”

A soft yet powerful voice in the back of the crowd spoke, “Ten thousand dollars in gold, Mr. Auctioneer. ”

With this said the bidding war was over. Never before had a slave brought this much across this auction block. Even this unheard of amount wasn’t enough. Before the excited auctioneer could say “going twice” out of his mouth, the Captain once again stood.

This time he caught the sleeve of the now very frustrated auctioneer and said, “Sorry I can’t take that little for such a princess. ”

He turned to the last bidder, “Thank you so much for your bid my good man but it simply is not enough to make me separate with such a fine piece of stock. ”

The now red faced auctioneer turned to the Captain, “Sir, have you lost control of all your senses? That is five times more than any Negro has every brought through this auction. ”

The Captain looked at the auctioneer as if he just been insulted, “Sir, this is no common field slave you are trying to auction here. This is her majesty the Queen of all Africa. I wouldn’t be surprised if she wasn’t an ancestor of Cleopatra herself. ” The Captain thanked the man once again and then turned to Lamb Chop’s handlers, “Back to the ship with my queen you sea going dogs. Look alive with your sorry selves. Be careful not to bruise the merchandise for tomorrow we sail for the Crescent City. There we will find someone that knows royalty when they see it. ”

Tomorrow, came and the ship once again set sail. The days turned to night and nights melted back into days until one morning the ship again rested in the port of New Orleans. Lamb Chop had no idea where she was; yet, she knew that again she was on dry land. Although it was the dry land of a country, that she was a total stranger in.

Soon she was taken off the ship and put into a cage that sat on four wheels. There she was pulled by six sailors through the streets of this strange village she had been brought to. There were white faces everywhere. She thought to herself, she had been brought to some sort of white hell. Even the black faces in this strange village were like nothing she had ever seen.

They all wore strange outfits and the blacks all seemed to be in some from of bondage to the white devils. All of this was quite confusing to a young woman who was used to being treated like royalty and not set in a cage like a trapped animal.

Soon there were white devils and blacks following the wagon. She couldn’t speak the language, yet she knew by the pointing that they weren’t following a queen. When she could no longer hold back her temper, she began to rattle the bars that kept her in.

She screamed at the top of her voice and cursing her followers for the devils and pigs that they were. This seemed to bring great pleasure to the crowds and caused even more to follow and taunt her. They would have been more respected if they could have understood the tongue she spoke in.

After being paraded down Canal Street she was taken, back through Jackson Square and then to the market area where the slave auctions took place. Upon her arrival, and that of her many followers, the Captain met the huge parade. The act had worked as he had planned and he was well pleased with his brilliant idea that he had conjured together. He walked over to the make shift wagon and climbed to the top of the cage. There he perched himself as if he was an eagle protecting his young.

He announced in a very loud voice. “Ladies and gentlemen of the great port city of New Orleans, it is my greatest pleasure to bring to you the queen of the Dark Continent of Africa. Never before have you seen such wonderful Negro flesh and possibly never again will you witness such a beautiful creature of nature. ”

As the crowd roared their approval, a short fat man waddled through the audience and started to reach in the cage to feel Lamb Chops privates in order to access her ability to carry babies and birth without any problems. This was a common practice. Before he could reach the frightened child the captain had leaped from the top of the cage and grabbed the man’s arm. He embarrassed, as well as, shocked the fellow.

Before he could speak the Captain said, “Sorry sir there will be no sampling of the merchandises, like I said, you are in the presence of royalty. ”

The man jerked his arm back and announced that he had never heard such nonsense in his life. Then he turned with a very red face and stomped off cussing under his breath. The captain called out an apology behind him and then turned to the crowd and announced that some people just had no respect for royalty.

The crowd loved these remarks as much as the embarrassed look on the fat man’s face. The captain now knew he had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

He could in reality have cared less what the man did to Lamb Chop. He was wise enough to know people paid for entertainment. This was acting at it’s best. He often thought that he had wasted his life on the seas. His true calling was the theater. He had pulled this same act two years ago in Atlanta and sold a girl for twice her worth. The poor new owner never realized she had been crippled at sea until the Captain already had the money and was well out of town.

After four hours in the hot New Orleans sun, Lamb Chop was taken from her cage and striped naked. The light greasing she had been given earlier and the heat from the noon sun made her glisten as if she were made of black gold.

She stood scared and humiliated as the crowd looked at her every nook and cranny. She no longer cursed them but stood as the beaten child.  After a few more minutes, the auction began. This time the auctioneer didn’t have to be coached. He started the biding at five thousand dollars in gold. Within minutes, the bidding had escalated to more than twelve thousand dollars.

It seemed to peak at twelve thousand five hundred. The crowd the auctioneer was ready to holler, “Twelve thousand five hundred going once, going twice. ”

Before he could speak sold, the Captain again was in the scene. He was standing beside Lamb Chop now staring at the audience shaking his head.

“Is the queen of Africa  only worth twelve thousand five hundred dollars.
He then turned and stared at the young girl admiringly and said, “Gentlemen, this is most likely the best piece of breeding stock you will have a chance to bid on in your life time. Don’t, I beg you, cheat you and your plantations out of the chance to own this fine winch. Gentlemen, if you force me, I will take her to Atlanta where there are people who appreciate royalty when they see it. ”

From the back of the crowd came a voice, “My dear Captain, I am sure you would drown her in the gulf before you would haul her all the way to Atlanta. ”

“Sir, the voice is very familiar, yet the face and port I don’t seem to be able to place at this time. ”

“The place, the Port of Prince; the time, a little less than a month ago; the name, you have never asked; the bid though you may remember it was eleven thousand five hundred in gold eagles. ”

The Captain without losing any composure said, “Of course the man that knows premium nigger flesh when he sees it. I remember you sir. Again, welcome to my most humble auction.”

“Thank you Captain yet the name you still haven’t asked. Please, allow me to introduce myself. I am R. G. Thornhill of the Thornhill plantation that so comfortably lies next to the Mississippi River in Washington County, Mississippi. ”

“Thank you, sir and please forgive my manners. As you may know, the name I am most interested in is the one that will be at the bottom of this fine winch’s bill of sale. ”

“Sir, I can appreciate your need to know. Now based on that need maybe you will be kind enough to spit out what the bottom dollar on this young winch might be. ”

“Sir, you are a man after my own heart “

“Captain, I have no interest in your black heart. I only want to know the bottom dollar price.”

“Mr. Thornhill, that will be eighteen thousand five hundred dollars in gold.”

“Sir, I understand about gold. What I don’t understand is how you come up with these foolish prices. Yet, even with this, I am willing to pay twelve thousand six hundred just to end this foolishness. ”

“Seventeen thousand, no less. ”

A rather irritated Thornhill replied, “Fourteen thousand four hundred and ninety-nine or let the winch drown. ”

“Never let it be said that I wasted such a prize. The winch is yours, sir, and today you have succeeded in making a liar of me. ”

“Captain the gold piece has turned ladies into whores and wise men to fools, please don’t be so heart broken that it has turned a salty sailor as yourself into a liar. ”

The Captain jumped from the block; “Today I have truly met a southern gentleman. “ With this, he extended his hand to seal the deal. After a few drinks at a local tavern, the papers were signed.

The ownership papers would read Queenie Marie Thornhill. The place of birth would be simply unknown. The address would be the Thornhill Plantation, Washington County, Mississippi. With two signatures, a once proud princess would become the sole property of another.

To be continued

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