Dedicated to all those oppressed by that which they had
no control over...God Bless You...
no control over...God Bless You...
"I got your bath ready, Miss Miranda. Do you want me to help you undress?"
"Yes, Megie. Thank you."
Miranda turned so Megie could undo the many buttons down her back.
"Your mama been lookin' for you and she all in a dither."
"Yes, I heard." Miranda looked over at her bed and saw the red gown.
"I won't be wearing the red gown, Megie. I'll be wearing the burgundy one that Papa bought me last week.
"I figured so, Miss Miranda. I know you not as fond of the red one. I got the red one out cause your mama said so but I got the other one ready for you anyway," she said as she undid the last button.
Miranda turned and faced her.
"Thank you. I knew I could count on you!" she said giving her a tight hug.
Miranda didn't know what she'd do without Megie. The girl knew her so well.
Taken from her mother's side in the cotton fields and given to her as a child on her sixth birthday, Megie had been her servant and companion for nearly her whole life. She didn't even understand until she was ten years old that Megie, this pretty, young girl with chocolate brown skin who did things for her, and who she considered her friend, was her slave. Even then she couldn't comprehend how one could own another human being and since that time it had bothered her. She understood the need for labor in the south but was never able to understand why people had to be owned to acquire the labor.
At sixteen years of age when asking her papa about it, all he said to her was "That's the southern way, Miranda. Slaves are needed to work the fields and help the family. That's what's done. It's just our Christian duty to see that they're fed proper, to look after their needs and to treat them well. Now don't bother your pretty little head about it." And with a kiss on her cheek he had sent her off.
That was when she also learned that Megie had been tormented by the other slaves who were all of pure black descent; tormented not only because of her white blood but because of a dark birth mark on her left collar bone, shaped almost like a bolt of lightning. The other slaves, superstitious as they were, considered it a curse, leaving Megie, only a small child, chastised for an accident of birth. Even Megie's own mother feared her small child because of the mark and was glad when the Massa took her to work in the bid house.
"It's not a curse," Miranda told Megie early on. "It's a blessing. You have been kissed by God. God creates life, does He not?"
Through tears Megie had nodded in the affirmative. She believed it...
By Karen Chalfant
Miranda may have been a southern woman and lived on a farm with slaves, she had begun to form her own opinions early from her own conscience, or perhaps God's teachings, and her compassion, not accepting that people had a right to own other people. Fortunately, her father had adjusted to his own opinions and his workers were quite happy staying on the plantation.
Megie, who have been "given" to her when younger, now was a dear friend who helped her, rather than a personal slave... And now as they were both getting older, Miranda was happy to have met a young man for whom she had strong feelings which were returned. Her younger sister was not so lucky, as she was asked to marry, via her parents who gave permission, and then wasn't quite sure she even loved him... Yes, arranged marriages apparently was alive and well in the south at that time...
Miranda was soon married to the owner of another plantation, a larger one where she would become mistress... and Megie came with her, thankfully, because soon she would need a friend to help her as the confusion and suspicion started...
First, she had overheard just a small part of a discussion among her husband, his father and their lawyer. She had heard a woman's name...and her father-in-law was recommending that they get rid of her!
Morgan seemed to be leaving for business much more often and longer than he had and Miranda feared he was having an affair. She was so confused that even when she became pregnant, she did not share it with him...
While Morgan was gone, though, Miranda had done much to improve and share the lives of the slaves at the plantation. She began to help the woman who took care of illnesses and other physical issues of the people... She had hats ordered for all of them so that they would be more protected from the hot sun beating down on them in the fields... And she also spoke up when the man in charge of productivity used a whip... and then much worse...
But when Megie fell in love with a new slave and wanted to marry, Miranda was very disappointed when Morgan would not allow it... Disappointing her best friend, Megie, and also not understanding Morgan's reasoning for not approving, pulled Miranda even further into a state of anxiety...
And finding out the truth that the woman's name was actually the name of a ship...a slave ship...didn't help! Her husband was illegally involved in bringing in more slaves!
And as things moved rapidly toward a climatic ending, Miranda sought information on the nearest location to find an Underground Railroad for escape...and Miranda told Megie and her husband, who had been married by "stepping over the broom..." to get ready because she was going with them!
I've always had feelings much like the author...that God never intended man to be owned by another man...and, even today, treated by some with hate and disdain... I think it is important that books such as this be written by White people to show that so many of us still care and hurt for how God's children was and can be treated through prejudice.
Although there are some proofreading issues, they did not detract from the wonderful story that is being shared by Karen Chalfant. I met Karen through her book, Deep in Time. Do check out my review of that book, which made me decide that I wanted to read another by this warm, sensitive author. I'm not sure whether they are listed as Christian books, but they certainly share His love in her stories... Highly recommended.
Love God, Live Life, And Write It All Down..