From as early as they could remember, Nicey and Lanky, a tall, dark, handsome negro had loved each other; and during the brief stolen moments that they were able to spend together, they had talked about becoming free persons, getting married, and having children whom they would give proper names like John, Tom, Sarah and Jane, instead of descriptive names like theirs; and whom they would make sure be granted the privilege that they hadn’t – the opportunity of being able to learn to read and write like the white planters’ children.
Now in those days when Emancipation talks were being finalised, the male planters, sensing that their heyday, especially in having promiscuous, unprincipled sex with black girls was coming to an end, had started acting even more wildly and indiscriminately; and sad, quite sad to relate, a middle-aged planter forced Nicey who was then a blooming and beautiful 15-year-old girl to lie with him. The child that came from this union was a girl whom they named Blacky.
It pained Lanky greatly that Nicey should be thus spoiled; and although he never stopped loving her, he vowed to have nothing whatever to do with Blacky. This he told firmly to Nicey. Two years later, as they made plans for marriage, he told her, “Nicey, I love you dearly, but I couldn’t bear to have Blacky live with us, and be constantly reminded of what that white bastard did to me by spoiling you. You will either have to part with her or with me.”
For a whole year Nicey pondered the situation: – which love should she part with? Nothing, she reasoned, could stop Blacky who was blood of her blood and flesh of her flesh, from belonging to her. She couldn’t, wouldn’t stop loving Lanky, but if he left her for someone else, her love would be in vain.
She eventually decided to give away Blacky to a white widow who was childless; and she and Lanky married and started a family. Years later when the widow died, she bequeathed all her possessions to Blacky, who pleaded incessantly with her mother to bring the whole family to share the home.
“Go, if you want to; but here I stay,” Lanky always told Nicey.
“Where you stay, there I stay too,” Nicey always answered.
One Sunday morning while Lanky was preparing salt fish for their Sunday morning breakfast, fat accidentally spilled in the fire. As he tried to put out the blaze, a towel caught fire. This he thoughtlessly tossed aside, and their house caught fire. In trying to put it out, he received severe burns, and their house was burnt flat.
Blacky who was always in close touch with her mother, was the first to go to their aid. Without asking any questions, she took Lanky to her home, and with the help of a housekeeper tenderly nursed him. At first, he was too weak and helpless to demur. In fact, sometimes, especially at night when his pains were severe he would holler out for her to come and sit beside him, and nurse him.
A whole year passed before he was sufficiently healed to move around. He was then so much a part of the household that no mention was made of his leaving. As a matter of fact, he had no home to go to, and he had grown to love Blacky as his own child.