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Esquire Garnsey emerged from the house and stepped into the conversation. “Samuel, would you please pack a small shovel on my horse?” Samuel agreed and disappeared into the carriage house.

 

“Slave?” Grandfather asked.

 

“Oh no”, Esquire Garnsey replied. “Mr. and Mrs. Juliand are opposed to that behavior. He was a slave owned by Mr. Squire across the river. Mr. Squire fell on hard business times so Mr. Juliand purchased Samuel for a fair price and immediately made him a freeman. Mr. Juliand had horse work at his place. Samuel was always good around horses. Does some minor farrier work also. A good man indeed.”

 

The subject of slavery made Grandfather very uncomfortable. He changed the subject. “The shovel, what is the purpose?”

 

The Esquire avoided a direct answer with “You just never know when you will need one Mr. Birdsall.”

 

The open question was never pursued.

 

Mrs. Juliand called from the kitchen door, “Breakfast is almost ready. Please come inside.”

 

Her commanding presence was justly softened by her charming smile and natural charisma. Mr. Juliand joined them and the four were served breakfast by the help. Mr. Juliand opened the conversation. “Well apparently I did not have to wake you gentlemen this morning.”

 

 “The birds, Mr. Juliand, – – – the birds.” replied the Esquire.

 

The other people around the table understood the Esquire’s typical short and repeated response.

 

After a short silence Mr. Juliand added, “Mrs. Juliand and I are planning our annual trip to France. We have arranged with Mr. Benjamin Van Orden for a boarding cabin on his sloop ‘Catherine’. We have received confirmation in last week’s letters.”

 

Mrs. Juliand broke in, “Yes, we are receiving letters on a weekly basis. It is because of the new Susquehanna Turnpike. Isn’t that wonderful?”

 

Picking up his original theme Mr. Juliand continued. He informed the Esquire that they would be leaving on September 7th and would be returning at the end of April. “We will be making an intermediate layover in Port-a-Prince, the Caribbean, to check on our sugar holdings in Hispaniola.”

 

Esquire Garnsey asked Mr. Juliand about some sort of business in France. Mr. Juliand replied “Yes, I received a hand delivered and notarized copy of the promissory note. I should have no trouble in collecting what is owed to us when I reach Leon.”

 

“Good” replied the Esquire.

© wtomosky

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