The Color of My Heart by writerforever

Chapter 1

Bogart, Georgia 1841

Thunder rolled over head as a young man astride a white horse rode across the southern countryside. He smiled as the warm wind hit his face. He loved riding across his father's plantation grounds because it was so beautiful and refreshing.

"Come on Assyrian!" he cried out to the white horse.

The horse stretched its sleek neck out and ran faster. The young man leaned down on the horse's back and laughed.

"Good boy!" the young man said.

He steered the horse past a large cotton field where the slaves were hard at work. Riding up the graveled road that led up to the plantation house, the young man smiled when he saw his mother standing on the front porch. She looked very displeased and the look on her face made the young man chuckle. When he reached the front of the plantation house, the young man pulled the horse to an abrupt stop.

"That's a good boy," he said as he climbed down off the horse and patted it's wet neck.

"Eli Bogart Rosswood! You are goin' to kill yourself ridin' that recklessly," his mother said from where she stood on the front porch.

"Oh Mother, you worry too much," the young man said stepping up onto the porch and kissing his mother on the cheek.

"Don't try to butter me up Eli because you're goin' to get a lecture from me," Leah Rosswood said trying to look angry.

Eli chuckled at his mother and stepped inside the large Rosswood plantation house. The Rosswood plantation was one of the biggest and most beautiful plantations in Bogart, Georgia. Gerald Rosswood had first built it when he and his wife, Leah, had moved to Bogart. They had desperately wanted a child but due to some problems it had been several years later before Leah was with child.

When Eli had been born there had been rejoicing throughout the whole household. After Eli was born Leah was told by the family physician that she could not bear anymore children. That news had broken her heart and Gerald's. They had cherished Eli from the moment he was born and knowing that he was to be their only child made them cherish him even more.

Now Eli was in his twenties and both Leah and Gerald were trying to find him a young woman that he could be engaged to. Unfortunately they had been unsuccessful. Eli had his own ideas about what kind of young woman he wanted to settle down with.

"I want to marry a woman because I love her, not because she has good breeding or because she's wealthier than we are," Eli would always say.

"Well you can grow to love someone if you're with them long enough. You must get married soon. You're already in your twenties. Most young men are done married with three kids by this time," Gerald, Eli's father, would say.

The argument between father and son would go on and on until finally Gerald would lose his patience and threaten to find a young woman for Eli and force him to marry her. But of course he hadn't tried to do so because he knew how stubborn Eli was.

That evening at the Rosswood plantation house Eli and his parents sat at the large oak table in the dining room sipping on coffee. Soon a knock sounded at the door and Benjamin, one of the house slaves, went to answer it. He soon returned.

"Masta, Mista Jonathan Pierce is here to see ya," Benjamin said.

"Send him in Benjamin," Gerald said.

The slave exited the room and soon returned with a tall man who was dressed in a blue suite.

"Ah, Mr. Pierce, I've been expecting you," Gerald said standing and shaking the man's hand.

"Yes Sir, I know. The property I was telling you about yesterday is outside," Mr. Pierce said.

"Very well," Gerald said.

"I'll be back soon darling," Gerald said to his wife.

"I think I'll accompany them," Eli said standing and exiting the room.

He stepped out onto the porch and watched as his father and Mr. Pierce stood talking in the graveled driveway. An old wagon was sitting in the graveled driveway and several Negroes were sitting in the back of the wagon. Eli stepped down off the porch to hear what his father and Mr. Pierce were saying.

"I brought you several of them, Mr. Rosswood. You can just pick out which ones you want," Mr. Pierce was saying.

"Johnny, let down the back of the wagon," Mr. Pierce said to a young boy who was sitting in the drivers seat of the old wagon.

The young boy climbed down and went to the back of the wagon and let the tail down.

"Alright all of you get out!" Mr. Pierce ordered the Negroes.

They all began to climb out of the wagon and line up in a row. Eli noticed a young woman among the Negroes and her skin looked more of that of a white person's or an Indian's. Her long black hair was shiny with several curls in it. The warm breeze blew it across her face but she didn't reach up to push the strands aside. She was dressed in a plain dark skirt and dark button-up blouse. Eli was curious as to what the young woman was doing with Negroes when she didn't even look like one. And for a moment he thought of how beautiful she was. It surprised him that he would even think such a thing, but he did.

"This one here is a good one," Mr. Pierce said pointing to the young woman.

"Why she doesn't even look like a Negro," Gerald said looking closely at the girl.

"Her mother was Cherokee and her father was a Negro," Mr. Pierce said.

"Hmm. . ." was all Gerald said.

Soon Gerald had picked out several of the slaves, among them the part Indian and part Negro girl.

"I thank you Mr. Pierce," Gerald said paying Mr. Pierce for the slaves.

"Anytime Mr. Rosswood," Jonathon Pierce said climbing up onto the seat of the wagon. He, along with the rest of the unsought slaves, drove off.

The three slaves that Gerald had bought stood in the graveled driveway not moving an inch.

"Alright now, Henry here will show you to your cabins and he'll show you what work it is you're going to be doin'," Gerald said nodding to Henry, one of the hardest working slaves at Rosswood plantation.

Henry led the three slaves away from the plantation house and as he did, Eli watched as they walked away. The young woman he had been watching glanced up and their eyes met for only a second. She gasped and looked down at her feet when their eyes met. Eli sighed and turned to his father who was stepping up onto the porch.

"Papa, how come that girl that's part Indian and part Negro a slave? Looks to me like she shouldn't be," Eli asked.

"Well she's got Negro blood in her so that pretty much makes her a slave," Gerald replied.

After Gerald has went back inside Eli stayed on the porch staring out across the country side. He had never really thought much about the slaves before. He had always looked them as property and nothing more. But when he had seen that young woman he had seen her as something different. He couldn't explain, nor did he understand the strange feeling he had felt when he had looked upon that young woman. Secretly he hoped that he could meet her and talk to her but that seemed impossible.

To Be Continued. . .