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Pondering the pages – Day 5

January 25, 2009

Today’s ponderings:

soulcatcherI’m currently reading Soul Catcher by Michael White.

Soul catcher: That’s what blacks called men like them, as bad as it was to have their bodies brought back to bondage, it was a thing far worse that their very souls were being snatched from them. [Soul Catcher, Kindle section 643-48]

As the book opens Cain must pay off a gambling debt. Unfortunately for him he doesn’t have the cash handy to do so. He offers to make good on this debt but the note holder is having none of it. Cain finds that in his drunken stupidity he has the done the one thing he vowed never to do no matter the situation, he’s put his horse, Hermes, up as collateral. Cain loves his horse beyond measure. Right now I’m pretty sure it’s the one thing, maybe the only thing, Cain truly cares about. For Cain not to lose Hermes he agrees to track down two runaway slaves. While this is the last thing Cain wants to do he sees no other way out. And Cain is good at what he does, in fact very good. He’s made his reputation tracking runaway slaves. While he’s vowed many a time to quit his love of drinking, gambling and women keep him tied to a profession he wants no part of.

Cain was raised the son of small plantation owner. His father owned maybe a dozen or so slaves but had dreams of marrying his son into a wealthier family and increasing the family holdings. Cain had other ideas. He didn’t want to be tied to the land and ledgers. He wanted to move around, explore, experience life, and seek adventure. As a young adult his love of the outdoors and adventure leads Cain into his livelihood. He takes up tracking slaves because it allows him freedom and he finds he has aptitude for it. Eventually he leaves home, goes off to war and is disowned. This brings us to where we are now …

Cain isn’t working alone as he’d choose to do. He’s tracking with 3 other men. Two men from the plantation and one hired solely to keep any eye on Cain. Unlike Preacher, traveling in this party, and many others in his profession Cain isn’t your usual soul catcher. Whereas some in his profession have been turned into sadists inflicting pain and harm at free will Cain isn’t one of those. Oh he’s done harm or killed, black and white alike, but only of necessity and not because his could. In Cain’s profession he saw a good deal of this…cruelty. A kind of sadism born out of wielding power over another living thing, to do cruelty simply because you could…[Soul Catcher Kindle section 928-39]

I’m about a quarter way through the book. I’m finding it very enjoyable and interesting reading. Every time I pick up a book about the civil war I find new details or details that have escaped my memory. In this case Fort Mose, the first free black settlement legally sanctioned in the U.S. Cain has tracked his runaway slaves to the fictionalized free black settlement of Timbucto. Such settlements offered sanctuary to blacks, both free and slave.

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The weeks I’m hosting By the Chapter there will be no Pondering the pages posts.

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