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   Chapter 11 A STORMY INTERVIEW.

Unfettered By Sutton E. Griggs Characters: 5446

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


On a night shortly subsequent to the day on which the playing and singing of Morlene had so greatly affected Dorlan, he had a visitor.

"How goes it, Dorl, old boy" said his visitor, slapping Dorlan on the shoulder familiarly.

"I am doing well, I hope, Congressman Bloodworth. Accept a seat in my humble quarters," Dorlan replied. Congressman Bloodworth dropped into a chair, crossed his short legs and began stroking his red mustache.

Congressman Bloodworth was a white man, with an abnormally large head and a frame somewhat corpulent. His complexion was sallow and his skin very coarse. His eyes were large but exceedingly tame in appearance. He lifted his hat from his head revealing an abundance of hair of a brilliantly red hue.

Dorlan took a seat at some little distance from Congressman Bloodworth anticipating that the interview was not to end pleasantly.

"Well, Dorlan, I have come for my answer," said Congressman Bloodworth in his gross voice.

"Mr. Bloodworth, when we were last together I gave you to understand very fully what to expect of me. Nothing has transpired since to cause me to change and I am sure that I shall adhere to the course which I have chosen, unto the end," said Dorlan, in a pleasant but most positive manner.

"Dorlan, have you a memory?" queried Congressman Bloodworth.

Dorlan nodded assent.

"Then bear me witness, sir." So saying he took from his pocket a typewritten document, which he proceeded to read.

He began, "From the year 1619 until January 1, 1863, the Negro race was subjected to slavery in the United States. The superior numbers, greater intelligence and determined spirit of the enslavers prevented the enslaved from cherishing any hope of setting themselves free. The great task of redemption which the Negroes saw no way of accomplishing for themselves, the Republican party accomplished for them at a cost of much treasure and of hundreds of thousands of precious lives. This party enacted such laws as made a recurrence of slavery absolutely impossible. It clothed the freedman with the rights of a citizen. It extended to him the strong arm of the Federal Government in the protection of those rights. The claim that these facts establish over the allegiance of every Negro, I leave to the judgment of any sane mind. So much for the relationship which by implication should exist between you and the political party named.

"I now advert to my own peculiar claims upon you. Your early years you spent in school and received great mental development. You found employment as a stable boy in the home of an eminent statesman. During your leisure hours you perused his library and became thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the statesman

. Owing to your residence in the South, there was no outlet for your powers, as the South was not permitting men with black faces to aid in running the government. By accident we met, you and I. I discovered that you had great talent. I was lacking in native ability. I decided that, as you had the necessary brains and I the white face, we might form a combination. You planned, I executed; you acquired information, I exhibited it. By your secret aid I went to Congress. Through you I arose from the ranks to a commanding place in the public eye. For the past few years my speeches in and out of Congress have been regarded as so full of merit that they have been used as highly acceptable campaign documents. These speeches were composed by you. In return for your furnishing me brain I have paid you every cent of money which I have received as compensation for public service. Making use of my white face you have been able to allow full play to your intellect, which delights in grappling with great questions.

"Dorlan Warthell, I come to you to-night with this carefully prepared statement, that I may secure your final answer. Will you or will you not, continue working through me and for the Republican party?"

Congressman Bloodworth folded the paper from which he had read and looked steadily at Dorlan.

Dorlan replied, "Congressman Bloodworth, I am thoroughly convinced that the Republican party is in error in the chief tenet of its present day creed. My devotion to truth is far greater than my devotion to party. And, Mr. Bloodworth, it was truth that set my people free. The Republican party became the willing instrument of truth to effect that result. Now that the result has been achieved, I must not confound the power with its instrument. I worship at the shrine of truth, not at that of its temporary agents. My spirit is free to choose its own allegiance, for no human instrumentality has freed my spirit; its freedom came from God."

"Sir," spoke out Congressman Bloodworth, "You deny my and the Republican party's authority over you, in spite of what we have done for you?"

"I assert that no event in the history of the world has yet happened that makes it my duty to follow error," said Dorlan vehemently.

"You shall die the death of a dog," shouted Congressman Bloodworth in rage.

The two men had now risen and were glaring fiercely at each other. Congressman Bloodworth looked as though it would please him to tear Dorlan to shreds; but Dorlan's powerful, well constructed frame was too potent an argument against such an attempt.

Congressman Bloodworth turned away and left the room. Murder was in his heart and stamped its impress on every lineament of his face.

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