All the King's Men
How we cite our quotes:
Then he [the Frenchman] let his hand fall to the side, with the crop. "Open your mouth," he said to the girl.(4.133)
When Cass tries to find Phebe he goes to a place where young women are being "shown" to prospective buyers. They will be shipped to brothels to maximize their earning potential. The scene that precedes this quote is one of the most uncomfortable in the novel.
"For many cannot bear their eyes upon them, and enter into evil and cruel ways in their desperation." (4.151)
Cass is suggesting that the institution of slavery has so corrupted those who practice it, that its practitioners can no longer tamp down the shame. As talk of abolition becomes prominent, slave owners across America begin to see the evil of their ways.
In the end he repaid his debt, and set free his slaves. He had some notion of operating the plantation with the same force on a wage basis. (4.145)
In Cass's society, giving former slaves a salary was unheard of; this practice eventually leads to tragedy. The light bulb has gone of in Cass Mastern's head, but the problem is too big for him to solve alone.