Herein lies a love story. Shortly after the Revolutionary War, Pierre Antoine Dubois moved to South Carolina from his family's cotton plantations in the Caribbean. He brought with him a wife named Clothilde Martin. Theirs was an arranged marriage, designed to give Clothilde's father a connection in the new United States. Clothilde was bad-tempered and discontented, and Pierre's interest in her dwindled. But in her entourage was a lovely mulatto slave named Ernestine, and Pierre was soon smitten by this exotic beauty.
Despite Clothilde's efforts to send Ernestine out into the cotton fields, Pierre protected her, and eventually had a son by her. Pierre loved and favored Thomas, admitting to all that that little black slave was his son. Clothilde was furious and turned all her attention to her own son, Georg Louis Dubois. Pierre, however, treated his two sons as equals and raised them together.
When the two boys grew up, they each married and had a daughter. Georg was the father of Susan Grenville, while Thomas was the father of Sarah, Susan's slave from the time they were both children. No one in the family seemed to notice -- or find it odd -- that Susan and Sarah could be both first cousins and also mistress and slave.
Sarah appeared in "Damned Yankee" as a slave still, married to a fellow slave, Hector Gresham, and as the mother of Rosie and Eli, also working for Susan and Jonathan as slaves. The two cousins have such tight bonds that Sarah struggles with the idea of ever being "free." She cannot imagine her life without her relationship to Susan, and even after the war, she refers to her cousin as Miss Susan. The turmoil of Reconstruction threatens everything she knows about human relationships.