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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 126 [01-31-1861]

              116
	The Selling of a Negro,
on the stand.    He was rather a stumpy �boy,� com-
monly dressed, ordinary looking, and his black
face wore an expression of wistfulness as his
white eyeballs turned towards the auctioneer, a
stout man in black, with a heavy gold watch-
chain, a pencil and note-book (like those
used by boys in writing copies at school), who
stood on the table beside the human merchan-
dize.     At the further end, near but not on
the table, were the other �boys� awaiting their
turn.      The auctioneer said that he believed the
boy was �sound� � his master averred it, so
did Isaac himself � he invited bidders to question
and examine him.      The bidding was not brisk,
Secession having damaged the market, and the
auctioneer endeavored to stimulate it by �Going!
Once! Twice!� when he generally obtained a
bid in advance.    Once he said �Cane, gentle-
men! it�s what we are fighting for!�   Sitting
or standing around, some smoking cigars, the
spectators outnumbered the bidders.   Once a negro
woman passed through the hall, half laughing
in recognition of the black faces awaiting her at
the gate, where, too, some white idlers were loun-
ging indifferently in the sunshine.     Isaac was
sold for $655, a very low price.           Then �Prince�               
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