Black Ajax by George MacDonald Fraser

By George MacDonald Fraser

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He agrees readily to my suggestion that Mollybird should accompany us, which I assure him must inspire his champion. I do not add that her distress as her hero is thrashed to pulp will be as a sauce piquant to my enjoyment of the occasion. The fight is appointed for the following evening, in the garden of one of the larger exclusive brothels of the Vieux Carre, an establishment familiar to me from my youth, when debauchery was an occupation, not an art. All has been arranged to delight the popular taste, with coloured lanterns among the trees to light the raised stage; couches placed for the more favoured patrons with row upon row of chairs behind for the sporting fraternity, and benches for the untouchables; buffets from which wines and delicacies are conveyed to the foremost spectators; an orchestra on the balcony plays the primitive plantation rhythms; black and yellow strumpets in the most garish of costumes flaunt their uncovered bosoms in parade about the stage, or lounge on the couches with the patrons; the bawds, hovering like so many bedizened harpies, despatch their choicest trollops to the richest clients; runners pass among the great crowd giving the latest odds and collecting wagers for the leading gamesters, who are seated at tables before the front rank; and on the stage itself the dancers of the establishment, stalwart young bucks and nubile wenches stimulated by the intolerable din of the musicians, perform measures of the most tedious obscenity to cries of encouragement and advice from the vulgar herd.

It is all he can do to retreat, shielding his head from those dreadful blows, the blood running down his face and chest, until another ponderous swing of that terrible arm hurls him to the boards, to be stamped and trampled underfoot. It is the end, before it has begun, think I, but he seizes the Ghost's ankle, tumbling him down, and grips him in a wrestler's lock. The Ghost howls and raves, but he cannot break the hold, and Tom has a moment to recover while my Richard shouts without meaning, the spectators deafen us with their cheering, the little Spicer's admonitions are lost in the uproar, and the fat Blenkinsop settles himself at more ease, laughing as he nuzzles his whore.

This astonishes me. “You permit your slaves to marry, then? My good Richard, why? They will breed as well without benefit of a sacrament which Le Bon Dieu never intended for such creatures. ” He puts out his great American lip. “Doan' breed nigras for sale. Ma nigras mo' like to family. Why, this boy Tom heah, he Tom Molineaux. He ma nigra, he bear ma name, take pride in bein' a Molineaux. ” He cuffs the brute again. “You jes' itchin' for her, Tom, ain't that so? Well, you whup the Black Ghost, an' she's yo's, boy – in a real white dress, an' Ah give her a locket fo' a bride gift!

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