Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #73
…”Young lady, people, no matter what color,” Martha Asserts, “are not meant to be property of a fellow human being – period, and end of subject”…
Back to the real world. Abigail and James manage to maintain a several-step-stagger for their stairway decent, for appearance sake at least, that they may not have been spending quality time exploring bodily nooks & crannies.
Introductions are made, though one is not needed. Herb Love is her rescuer, warmly received – kind of a stabilizing influence.
Willy Campbell is another story. She is startled to see him. He immediately reverts to his subservient roots, dropping his head to avoid eye contact.
And she is bright enough to make the connection between her late father’s former slave and Herbert Love; awful recollections, previously buried beneath tons of denial. The destruction of Fort Sumter South, flood back to the present.
‘The Campbells is gone!’ are the cries she remembers hearing that fateful day, more than a year hence.
“You killed my father!” is Abbey’s cry now. “You killed my father and destroyed our lives.”
“I weren’t there, Miss Abigail, I swear!” Willy scrambles to explain.
“Yes, I believe you are correct, Willy Campbell. You were not there and because you were not, the rest of our people revolted against us and burned and pillaged and killed every white man they could lay their hands on… including my own Father. Why, why… why!!!???,” she asks futilely as she beats her small hands against the chest of the obviously dismayed black man.
Herbert Love steps to Willy’s defense, pulling the distraught girl away. She is detached from reason, to the point of not responding to even her dear James’s loving touch.
“You are all in this together, aren’t you. It makes sense to me now!” Her alleged co-conspirators are guilty of nothing, excepting a deep-seated dislike of the “business as usual” in the south that they treasure. “You just happened to be passing by that day? I think not, sir. I remember seeing every one of you, just like it were yesterday!”
“We did not intend for any harm to come to your father. There was no way to know what effect the freeing of the Campbells would have on others,” Love appraises. He is not in the business of apologetics.
“You had no right stealing our property!” she furthers.
“Young lady,” Martha sternly asserts, “people, no matter what color, are not meant to be property of a fellow human being – period, and end of subject.”
“You have slaves, Joseph and his helpers.” Abbey tries to make a weak connection.
“Wrong, wrong, wrong! Joseph is a paid foreman and is free to leave if he no longer likes his job or position.” Martha is fighting the girl’s preconceived notions. “Take Olla, for instance. She left out our house for different situation. She did not even bother properly explaining why she wanted to leave, but that is not the point. The point is, is that she wanted to leave, free to keep her money, in her name at the Lewis State Bank as a matter of fact…
… Free is the key word. Were the Campbells or any of the others, free to leave? … I will answer for you in your mute ignorance. NO! If you would take the time, look at things long and hard you might get a clue as to why you are clinging to archaic belief system.”
Abigail Smythwick-Ferrell shrinks in the face of Martha’s human rights passion. She falls to the floor in a heap, like her legs had suddenly turned to gelatin. The shock of recurring lost memories has sapped her strength. James rushes to her side, cradling Abbey’s head, stroking her long, light brown hair.
Martha Ferrell retrieves smelling salts from her handbag, opening the tiny jar and waving it in front of the young woman’s nose. Ammonia inhalants, along with subconscious realization cause her to stir, to the great relief of all.
Sometimes pain must precede progress.
Alpha Omega M.D.