HotFreeBooks.com
The Garies and Their Friends
by Frank J. Webb
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

"Why, my child!" exclaimed her father, "what on earth, is the matter with you, have you lost your senses?" and as he spoke, he held her at arm's length from him to get a better look at her. "What are you dressed up in this style for?" he continued, as he surveyed her from head to foot; and then bursting into a loud laugh at her comical appearance, he released her, and she made the quickest possible retreat into the house by the way she came out.

Bushing breathless upstairs, she exclaimed, "Oh, mother, mother, I've done it now! They've come, and I've beat him over the head with a broom!"

"Beat whom over the head with a broom?" asked Mrs. Ellis.

"Oh, mother, I'm so ashamed, I don't know what to do with myself. I struck Mr. Winston with a broom. Mr. Winston, the gentleman father has brought home."

"I really believe the child is crazy," said Mrs. Ellis, surveying the chagrined girl. "Beat Mr. Winston over the head with a broom! how came you to do it?"

"Oh, mother, I made a great mistake; I thought he was a beggar."

"He must be a very different looking person from what we have been led to expect," here interrupted Esther. "I understood father to say that he was very gentlemanlike in appearance."

"So he is," replied Caddy.

"But you just said you took him for a beggar?" replied her mother.

"Oh, don't bother me, don't bother me! my head is all turned upside down. Do, Esther, go down and let them in—hear how furiously father is knocking! Oh, go—do go!"

Esther quickly descended and opened the door for Winston and her father; and whilst the former was having the dust removed and his hat straightened, Mrs. Ellis came down and was introduced by her husband. She laughingly apologized for the ludicrous mistake Caddy had made, which afforded great amusement to all parties, and divers were the jokes perpetrated at her expense during the remainder of the evening. Her equanimity having been restored by Winston's assurances that he rather enjoyed the joke than otherwise—and an opportunity having been afforded her to obliterate the obnoxious marks from the door-steps—she exhibited great activity in forwarding all the arrangements for tea.

They sat a long while round the table—much time that, under ordinary circumstances, would have been given to the demolition of the food before them, being occupied by the elders of the party in inquiries after mutual friends, and in relating the many incidents that had occurred since they last met.

Tea being at length finished, and the things cleared away, Mrs. Ellis gave the girls permission to go out. "Where are you going?" asked their father.

"To the library company's room—to-night is their last lecture."

"I thought," said Winston, "that coloured persons were excluded from such places. I certainly have been told so several times."

"It is quite true," replied Mr. Ellis; "at the lectures of the white library societies a coloured person would no more be permitted to enter than a donkey or a rattle-snake. This association they speak of is entirely composed of people of colour. They have a fine library, a debating club, chemical apparatus, collections of minerals, &c. They have been having a course of lectures delivered before them this winter, and to-night is the last of the course."

"Wouldn't you like to go, Mr. Winston?" asked Mrs. Ellis, who had a mother's desire to secure so fine an escort for her daughters.

"No, no—don't, George," quickly interposed Mr. Ellis; "I am selfish enough to want you entirely to myself to-night. The girls will find beaux enough, I'll warrant you." At this request the girls did not seem greatly pleased, and Miss Caddy, who already, in imagination, had excited the envy of all her female friends by the grand entree she was to make at the Lyceum, leaning on the arm of Winston, gave her father a by no means affectionate look, and tying her bonnet-strings with a hasty jerk, started out in company with her sister.

"You appear to be very comfortable here, Ellis," said Mr. Winston, looking round the apartment. "If I am not too inquisitive—what rent do you pay for this house?"

"It's mine!" replied Ellis, with an air of satisfaction; "house, ground, and all, bought and paid for since I settled here."

"Why, you are getting on well! I suppose," remarked Winston, "that you are much better off than the majority of your coloured friends. From all I can learn, the free coloured people in the Northern cities are very badly off. I've been frequently told that they suffer dreadfully from want and privations of various kinds."

"Oh, I see you have been swallowing the usual dose that is poured down Southern throats by those Northern negro-haters, who seem to think it a duty they owe the South to tell all manner of infamous lies upon us free coloured people. I really get so indignant and provoked sometimes, that I scarcely know what to do with myself. Badly off, and in want, indeed! Why, my dear sir, we not only support our own poor, but assist the whites to support theirs, and enemies are continually filling the public ear with the most distressing tales of our destitution! Only the other day the Colonization Society had the assurance to present a petition to the legislature of this State, asking for an appropriation to assist them in sending us all to Africa, that we might no longer remain a burthen upon the State—and they came very near getting it, too; had it not been for the timely assistance of young Denbigh, the son of Judge Denbigh, they would have succeeded, such was the gross ignorance that prevailed respecting our real condition, amongst the members of the legislature. He moved a postponement of the vote until he could have time to bring forward facts to support the ground that he had assumed in opposition to the appropriation being made. It was granted; and, in a speech that does him honour, he brought forward facts that proved us to be in a much superior condition to that in which our imaginative enemies had described us. Ay! he did more—he proved us to be in advance of the whites in wealth and general intelligence: for whilst it was one in fifteen amongst the whites unable to read and write, it was but one in eighteen amongst the coloured (I won't pretend to be correct about the figures, but that was about the relative proportions); and also, that we paid, in the shape of taxes upon our real estate, more than our proportion for the support of paupers, insane, convicts, &c."

"Well," said the astonished Winston, "that is turning the tables completely. You must take me to visit amongst the coloured people; I want to see as much of them as possible during my stay."

"I'll do what I can for you, George. I am unable to spare you much time just at present, but I'll put you in the hands of one who has abundance of it at his disposal—I will call with you and introduce you to Walters."

"Who is Walters?" asked Mr. Winston.

"A friend of mine—a dealer in real estate."

"Oh, then he is a white man?"

"Not by any means," laughingly replied Mr. Ellis. "He is as black as a man can conveniently be. He is very wealthy; some say that he is worth half a million of dollars. He owns, to my certain knowledge, one hundred brick houses. I met him the other day in a towering rage: it appears, that he owns ten thousand dollars' worth of stock, in a railroad extending from this to a neighbouring city. Having occasion to travel in it for some little distance, he got into the first-class cars; the conductor, seeing him there, ordered him out—he refused to go, and stated that he was a shareholder. The conductor replied, that he did not care how much stock he owned, he was a nigger, and that no nigger should ride in those cars; so he called help, and after a great deal of trouble they succeeded in ejecting him." "And he a stockholder! It was outrageous," exclaimed Winston. "And was there no redress?"

"No, none, practically. He would have been obliged to institute a suit against the company; and, as public opinion now is, it would be impossible for him to obtain a verdict in his favour."

The next day Winston was introduced to Mr. Walters, who expressed great pleasure in making his acquaintance, and spent a week in showing him everything of any interest connected with coloured people.

Winston was greatly delighted with the acquaintances he made; and the kindness and hospitality with which he was received made a most agreeable impression upon him.

It was during this period that he wrote the glowing letters to Mr. and Mrs. Garie, the effects of which will be discerned in the next chapter.



CHAPTER V.

The Garies decide on a Change.

We must now return to the Garies, whom we left listening to Mr. Winston's description of what he saw in Philadelphia, and we need not add anything respecting it to what the reader has already gathered from the last chapter; our object being now to describe the effect his narrative produced.

On the evening succeeding the departure of Winston for New Orleans, Mr. and Mrs. Garie were seated in a little arbour at a short distance from the house, and which commanded a magnificent prospect up and down the river. It was overshadowed by tall trees, from the topmost branches of which depended large bunches of Georgian moss, swayed to and fro by the soft spring breeze that came gently sweeping down the long avenue of magnolias, laden with the sweet breath of the flowers with which the trees were covered.

A climbing rose and Cape jessamine had almost covered the arbour, and their intermingled blossoms, contrasting with the rich brown colour of the branches of which it was constructed, gave it an exceedingly beautiful and picturesque appearance.

This arbour was their favourite resort in the afternoons of summer, as they could see from it the sun go down behind the low hills opposite, casting his gleams of golden light upon the tops of the trees that crowned their summits. Northward, where the chain of hills was broken, the waters of the river would be brilliant with waves of gold long after the other parts of it were shrouded in the gloom of twilight. Mr. and Mrs. Garie sat looking at the children, who were scampering about the garden in pursuit of a pet rabbit which had escaped, and seemed determined not to be caught upon any pretence whatever.

"Are they not beautiful?" said Mr. Garie, with pride, as they bounded past him. "There are not two prettier children in all Georgia. You don't seem half proud enough of them," he continued, looking down upon his wife affectionately.

Mrs. Garie, who was half reclining on the seat, and leaning her head upon his shoulder, replied, "Oh, yes, I am, Garie; I'm sure I love them dearly—oh, so dearly!" continued she, fervently—"and I only wish"—here she paused, as if she felt she had been going to say something that had better remain unspoken.

"You only wish what, dear? You were going to say something," rejoined her husband. "Come, out with it, and let me hear what it was."

"Oh, Garie, it was nothing of any consequence."

"Consequence or no consequence, let me hear what it was, dear."

"Well, as you insist on hearing it, I was about to say that I wish they were not little slaves."

"Oh, Em! Em!" exclaimed he, reproachfully, "how can you speak in that manner? I thought, dear, that you regarded me in any other light than that of a master. What have I done to revive the recollection that any such relation existed between us? Am I not always kind and affectionate? Did you ever have a wish ungratified for a single day, if it was in my power to compass it? or have I ever been harsh or neglectful?"

"Oh, no, dear, no—forgive me, Garie—do, pray, forgive me—you are kindness itself—believe me, I did not think to hurt your feelings by saying what I did. I know you do not treat me or them as though we were slaves. But I cannot help feeling that we are such—and it makes me very sad and unhappy sometimes. If anything should happen that you should be taken away suddenly, think what would be our fate. Heirs would spring up from somewhere, and we might be sold and separated for ever. Respecting myself I might be indifferent, but regarding the children I cannot feel so."

"Tut, tut, Em! don't talk so gloomily. Do you know of any one, now, who has been hired to put me to death?" said he, smiling.

"Don't talk so, dear; remember, 'In the midst of life we are in death.' It was only this morning I learned that Celeste—you remember Celeste, don't you?—I cannot recall her last name."

"No, dear, I really can't say that I do remember whom you refer to."

"I can bring her to your recollection, I think," continued she. "One afternoon last fall we were riding together on the Augusta-road, when you stopped to admire a very neat cottage, before the door of which two pretty children were playing."

"Oh, yes, I remember something about it—I admired the children so excessively that you became quite jealous."

"I don't remember that part of it," she continued. "But let me tell you my story. Last week the father of the children started for Washington; the cars ran off the track, and were precipitated down a high embankment, and he and some others were killed. Since his death it has been discovered that all his property was heavily mortgaged to old MacTurk, the worst man in the whole of Savannah; and he has taken possession of the place, and thrown her and the children into the slave-pen, from which they will be sold to the highest bidder at a sheriff's sale. Who can say that a similar fate may never be mine? These things press upon my spirit, and make me so gloomy and melancholy at times, that I wish it were possible to shun even myself. Lately, more than ever, have I felt disposed to beg you to break up here, and move off to some foreign country where there is no such thing as slavery. I have often thought how delightful it would be for us all to be living in that beautiful Italy you have so often described to me—or in France either. You said you liked both those places—why not live in one of them?"

"No, no, Emily; I love America too much to ever think of living anywhere else. I am much too thorough a democrat ever to swear allegiance to a king. No, no—that would never do—give me a free country."

"That is just what I say," rejoined Mrs. Garie; "that is exactly what I want; that is why I should like to get away from here, because this is not a free country—God knows it is not!"

"Oh, you little traitor! How severely you talk, abusing your native land in such shocking style, it's really painful to hear you," said Mr. Garie in a jocular tone.

"Oh, love," rejoined she, "don't joke, it's not a subject for jesting. It is heavier upon my heart than you dream of. Wouldn't you like to live in the free States? There is nothing particular to keep you here, and only think how much better it would be for the children: and Garie," she continued in a lower tone, nestling close to him as she spoke, and drawing his head towards her, "I think I am going to—" and she whispered some words in his ear, and as she finished she shook her head, and her long curls fell down in clusters over her face.

Mr. Garie put the curls aside, and kissing her fondly, asked, "How long have you known it, dear?"

"Not long, not very long," she replied. "And I have such a yearning that it should be born a free child. I do want that the first air it breathes should be that of freedom. It will kill me to have another child born here! its infant smiles would only be a reproach to me. Oh," continued she, in a tone of deep feeling, "it is a fearful thing to give birth to an inheritor of chains;" and she shuddered as she laid her head on her husband's bosom.

Mr. Garie's brow grew thoughtful, and a pause in the conversation ensued. The sun had long since gone down, and here and there the stars were beginning to show their twinkling light. The moon, which had meanwhile been creeping higher and higher in the blue expanse above, now began to shed her pale, misty beams on the river below, the tiny waves of which broke in little circlets of silver on the shore almost at their feet.

Mr. Garie was revolving in his mind the conversation he had so recently held with Mr. Winston respecting the free States. It had been suggested by him that the children should be sent to the North to be educated, but he had dismissed the notion, well knowing that the mother would be heart-broken at the idea of parting with her darlings. Until now, the thought of going to reside in the North had never been presented for his consideration. He was a Southerner in almost all his feelings, and had never had a scruple respecting the ownership of slaves. But now the fact that he was the master as well as the father of his children, and that whilst he resided where he did it was out of his power to manumit them; that in the event of his death they might be seized and sold by his heirs, whoever they might be, sent a thrill of horror through him. He had known all this before, but it had never stood out in such bold relief until now.

"What are you thinking of, Garie?" asked his wife, looking up into his face. "I hope I have not vexed you by what I've said."

"Oh, no, dear, not at all. I was only thinking whether you would be any happier if I acceded to your wishes and removed to the North. Here you live in good style—you have a luxurious home, troops of servants to wait upon you, a carriage at your disposal. In fact, everything for which you express a desire."

"I know all that, Garie, and what I am about to say may seem ungrateful, but believe me, dear, I do not mean it to be so. I had much rather live on crusts and wear the coarsest clothes, and work night and day to earn them, than live here in luxury, wearing gilded chains. Carriages and fine clothes cannot create happiness. I have every physical comfort, and yet my heart is often heavy—oh, so very heavy; I know I am envied by many for my fine establishment; yet how joyfully would I give it all up and accept the meanest living for the children's freedom—and your love."

"But, Emily, granted we should remove to the North, you would find annoyances there as well as here. There is a great deal of prejudice existing there against people of colour, which, often exposes them to great inconveniences."

"Yes, dear, I know all that; I should expect that. But then on the other hand, remember what George said respecting the coloured people themselves; what a pleasant social circle they form, and how intelligent many of them are! Oh, Garie, how I have longed for friends!—we have visitors now and then, but none that I can call friends. The gentlemen who come to see you occasionally are polite to me, but, under existing circumstances, I feel that they cannot entertain for me the respect I think I deserve. I know they look down upon and despise me because I'm a coloured woman. Then there would be another advantage; I should have some female society—here I have none. The white ladies of the neighbourhood will not associate with me, although I am better educated, thanks to your care, than many of them, so it is only on rare occasions, when I can coax some of our more cultivated coloured acquaintances from Savannah to pay us a short visit, that I have any female society, and no woman can be happy without it. I have no parents, nor yet have you. We have nothing we greatly love to leave behind—no strong ties to break, and in consequence would be subjected to no great grief at leaving. If I only could persuade you to go!" said she, imploringly.

"Well, Emily," replied he, in an undecided manner, "I'll think about it. I love you so well, that I believe I should be willing to make any sacrifice for your happiness. But it is getting damp and chilly, and you know," said he, smiling, "you must be more than usually careful of yourself now."

The next evening, and many more besides, were spent in discussing the proposed change. Many objections to it were stated, weighed carefully, and finally set aside. Winston was written to and consulted, and though he expressed some surprise at the proposal, gave it his decided approval. He advised, at the same time, that the estate should not be sold, but be placed in the hands of some trustworthy person, to be managed in Mr. Garie's absence. Under the care of a first-rate overseer, it would not only yield a handsome income, but should they be dissatisfied with their Northern home, they would have the old place still in reserve; and with the knowledge that they had this to fall back upon, they could try their experiment of living in the North with their minds less harassed than they otherwise would be respecting the result.

As Mr. Garie reflected more and more on the probable beneficial results of the project, his original disinclination to it diminished, until he finally determined on running the risk; and he felt fully rewarded for this concession to his wife's wishes when he saw her recover all her wonted serenity and sprightliness.

They were soon in all the bustle and confusion consequent on preparing for a long journey. When Mr. Garie's determination to remove became known, great consternation prevailed on the plantation, and dismal forebodings were entertained by the slaves as to the result upon themselves.

Divers were the lamentations heard on all sides, when they were positively convinced that "massa was gwine away for true;" but they were somewhat pacified, when they learned that no one was to be sold, and that the place would not change hands. For Mr. Garie was a very kind master, and his slaves were as happy as slaves can be under any circumstances. Not much less was the surprise which the contemplated change excited in the neighbourhood, and it was commented on pretty freely by his acquaintances. One of them—to whom he had in conversation partially opened his mind, and explained that his intended removal grew out of anxiety respecting the children, and his own desire that they might be where they could enjoy the advantages of schools, &c.—sneered almost to his face at what he termed his crack-brained notions; and subsequently, in relating to another person the conversation he had had with Mr. Garie, spoke of him as "a soft-headed fool, led by the nose by a yaller wench. Why can't he act," he said, "like other men who happen to have half-white children—breed them up for the market, and sell them?" and he might have added, "as I do," for he was well known to have so acted by two or three of his own tawny offspring.

Mr. Garie, at the suggestion of Winston, wrote to Mr. Walters, to procure them a small, but neat and comfortable house, in Philadelphia; which, when procured, he was to commit to the care of Mr. and Mrs. Ellis, who were to have it furnished and made ready to receive him and his family on their arrival, as Mr. Garie desired to save his wife as much as possible, from the care and anxiety attendant upon the arrangement of a new residence.

One most important matter, and on which depended the comfort and happiness of his people, was the selection of a proper overseer. On its becoming known that he required such a functionary, numbers of individuals who aspired to that dignified and honourable office applied forthwith; and as it was also known that the master was to be absent, and that, in consequence, the party having it under his entire control, could cut and slash without being interfered with, the value of the situation was greatly enhanced. It had also another irresistible attraction, the absence of the master would enable the overseer to engage in the customary picking and stealing operations, with less chance of detection.

In consequence of all these advantages, there was no want of applicants. Great bony New England men, traitors to the air they first breathed, came anxiously forward to secure the prize. Mean, weasen-faced, poor white Georgians, who were able to show testimonials of their having produced large crops with a small number of hands, and who could tell to a fraction how long a slave could be worked on a given quantity of corn, also put in their claims for consideration. Short, thick-set men, with fierce faces, who gloried in the fact that they had at various times killed refractory negroes, also presented themselves to undergo the necessary examination.

Mr. Garie sickened as he contemplated the motley mass of humanity that presented itself with such eagerness for the attainment of so degrading an office; and as he listened to their vulgar boastings and brutal language, he blushed to think that such men were his countrymen.

Never until now had he had occasion for an overseer. He was not ambitious of being known to produce the largest crop to the acre, and his hands had never been driven to that shocking extent, so common with his neighbours. He had been his own manager, assisted by an old negro, called Ephraim—most generally known as Eph, and to him had been entrusted the task of immediately superintending the hands engaged in the cultivation of the estate. This old man was a great favourite with the children, and Clarence, who used to accompany him on his pony over the estate, regarded him as the most wonderful and accomplished coloured gentleman in existence.

Eph was in a state of great perturbation at the anticipated change, and he earnestly sought to be permitted to accompany them to the North. Mr. Garie was, however, obliged to refuse his request, as he said, that it was impossible that the place could get on without him.

An overseer being at last procured, whose appearance and manners betokened a better heart than that of any who had yet applied for the situation, and who was also highly-recommended for skill and honesty; nothing now remained to prevent Mr. Garie's early departure.



CHAPTER VI.

Pleasant News.

One evening Mr. Ellis was reading the newspaper, and Mrs. Ellis and the girls were busily engaged in sewing, when who should come in but Mr. Walters, who had entered without ceremony at the front door, which had been left open owing to the unusual heat of the weather.

"Here you all are, hard at work," exclaimed he, in his usual hearty manner, accepting at the same time the chair offered to him by Esther.

"Come, now," continued he, "lay aside your work and newspapers, for I have great news to communicate."

"Indeed, what is it?—what can it be?" cried the three females, almost in a breath; "do let us hear it!"

"Oh," said Mr. Walters, in a provokingly slow tone, "I don't think I'll tell you to-night; it may injure your rest; it will keep till to-morrow."

"Now, that is always the way with Mr. Walters," said Caddy, pettishly; "he always rouses one's curiosity, and then refuses to gratify it;—he is so tantalizing sometimes!"

"I'll tell you this much," said he, looking slily at Caddy, "it is connected with a gentleman who had the misfortune to be taken for a beggar, and who was beaten over the head in consequence by a young lady of my acquaintance."

"Now, father has been telling you that," exclaimed Caddy, looking confused, "and I don't thank him for it either; I hear of that everywhere I go—even the Burtons know of it."

Mr. Walters now looked round the room, as though he missed some one, and finally exclaimed, "Where is Charlie? I thought I missed somebody—where is my boy?"

"We have put him out to live at Mrs. Thomas's," answered Mrs. Ellis, hesitatingly, for she knew Mr. Walters' feelings respecting the common practice of sending little coloured boys to service. "It is a very good place for him," continued she—"a most excellent place."

"That is too bad," rejoined Mr. Walters—"too bad; it is a shame to make a servant of a bright clever boy like that. Why, Ellis, man, how came you to consent to his going? The boy should be at school. It really does seem to me that you people who have good and smart boys take the very course to ruin them. The worst thing you can do with a boy of his age is to put him at service. Once get a boy into the habit of working for a stipend, and, depend upon it, when he arrives at manhood, he will think that if he can secure so much a month for the rest of his life he will be perfectly happy. How would you like him to be a subservient old numskull, like that old Robberts of theirs?"

Here Esther interrupted Mr. Walters by saying, "I am very glad to hear you express yourself in that manner, Mr. Walters—very glad. Charlie is such a bright, active little fellow; I hate to have him living there as a servant. And he dislikes it, too, as much as any one can. I do wish mother would take him away."

"Hush, Esther," said her mother, sharply; "your mother lived at service, and no one ever thought the worse of her for it."

Esther looked abashed, and did not attempt to say anything farther.

"Now, look here, Ellen," said Mr. Walters. (He called her Ellen, for he had been long intimate with the family.) "If you can't get on without the boy's earning something, why don't you do as white women and men do? Do you ever find them sending their boys out as servants? No; they rather give them a stock of matches, blacking, newspapers, or apples, and start them out to sell them. What is the result? The boy that learns to sell matches soon learns to sell other things; he learns to make bargains; he becomes a small trader, then a merchant, then a millionaire. Did you ever hear of any one who had made a fortune at service? Where would I or Ellis have been had we been hired out all our lives at so much a month? It begets a feeling of dependence to place a boy in such a situation; and, rely upon it, if he stays there long, it will spoil him for anything better all his days."

Mrs. Ellis was here compelled to add, by way of justifying herself, that it was not their intention to let him remain there permanently; his father only having given his consent for him to serve during the vacation.

"Well, don't let him stay there longer, I pray you," continued Walters. "A great many white people think that we are only fit for servants, and I must confess we do much to strengthen the opinion by permitting our children to occupy such situations when we are not in circumstances to compel us to do so. Mrs. Thomas may tell you that they respect their old servant Robberts as much as they do your husband; but they don't, nevertheless—I don't believe a word of it. It is impossible to have the same respect for the man who cleans your boots, that you have for the man who plans and builds your house."

"Oh, well, Walters," here interposed Mr. Ellis, "I don't intend the boy to remain there, so don't get yourself into an unnecessary state of excitement about it. Let us hear what this great news is that you have brought."

"Oh, I had almost forgotten it," laughingly replied Walters, at the same time fumbling in his pocket for a letter, which he at length produced. "Here," he continued, opening it, "is a letter I have received from a Mr. Garie, enclosing another from our friend Winston. This Mr. Garie writes me that he is coming to the North to settle, and desires me to procure them a house; and he says also that he has so far presumed upon an early acquaintance of his wife with Mrs. Ellis as to request that she will attend to the furnishing of it. You are to purchase all that is necessary to make them comfortable, and I am to foot the bills."

"What, you don't mean Emily Winston's husband?" said the astonished Mrs. Ellis.

"I can't say whose husband it is, but from Winston's letter," replied Mr. Walters, "I suppose he is the person alluded to."

"That is news," continued Mrs. Ellis. "Only think, she was a little mite of a thing when I first knew her, and now she is a woman and the mother of two children. How time does fly. I must be getting quite old," concluded she, with a sigh.

"Nonsense, Ellen," remarked Mr. Ellis, "you look surprisingly young, you are quite a girl yet. Why, it was only the other day I was asked if you were one of my daughters."

Mrs. Ellis and the girls laughed at this sally of their father's, who asked Mr. Walters if he had as yet any house in view.

"There is one of my houses in Winter-street that I think will just suit them. The former tenants moved out about a week since. If I can call for you to-morrow," he continued, turning to Mrs. Ellis, "will you accompany me there to take a look at the premises?"

"It is a dreadful long walk," replied Mrs. Ellis. "How provoking it is to think, that because persons are coloured they are not permitted to ride in the omnibuses or other public conveyances! I do hope I shall live to see the time when we shall be treated as civilized creatures should be."

"I suppose we shall be so treated when the Millennium comes," rejoined Walters, "not before, I am afraid; and as we have no reason to anticipate that it will arrive before to-morrow, we shall have to walk to Winter-street, or take a private conveyance. At any rate, I shall call for you to-morrow at ten. Good night—remember, at ten." "Well, this is a strange piece of intelligence," exclaimed Mrs. Ellis, as the door closed upon Mr. Walters. "I wonder what on earth can induce them to move on here. Their place, I am told, is a perfect paradise. In old Colonel Garie's time it was said to be the finest in Georgia. I wonder if he really intends to live here permanently?"

"I can't say, my dear," replied Mrs. Ellis; "I am as much in the dark as you are."

"Perhaps they are getting poor, Ellis, and are coming here because they can live cheaper."

"Oh, no, wife; I don't think that can be the occasion of their removal. I rather imagine he purposes emancipating his children. He cannot do it legally in Georgia; and, you know, by bringing them here, and letting them remain six months, they are free—so says the law of some of the Southern States, and I think of Georgia."

The next morning Mrs. Ellis, Caddy, and Mr. Walters, started for Winter-street; it was a very long walk, and when they arrived there, they were all pretty well exhausted.

"Oh, dear," exclaimed Mrs. Ellis, after walking upstairs, "I am so tired, and there is not a chair in the house. I must rest here," said she, seating herself upon the stairs, and looking out upon the garden. "What a large yard! if ours were only as large as this, what a delightful place I could make of it! But there is no room to plant anything at our house, the garden is so very small."

After they were all somewhat rested, they walked through the house and surveyed the rooms, making some favourable commentary upon each.

"The house don't look as if it would want much cleaning," said Caddy, with a tone of regret.

"So much the better, I should say," suggested Mr. Walters.

"Not as Caddy views the matter," rejoined Mrs. Ellis. "She is so fond of house-cleaning, that I positively think she regards the cleanly state of the premises as rather a disadvantage than otherwise." They were all, however, very well pleased with the place; and on their way home they settled which should be the best bedroom, and where the children should sleep. They also calculated how much carpet and oilcloth would be necessary, and what style of furniture should be put in the parlour.

"I think the letter said plain, neat furniture, and not too expensive, did it not?" asked Mrs. Ellis.

"I think those were the very words," replied Caddy; "and, oh, mother, isn't it nice to have the buying of so many pretty things? I do so love to shop!"

"Particularly with some one else's money," rejoined her mother, with a smile.

"Yes, or one's own either, when one has it," continued Caddy; "I like to spend money under any circumstances."

Thus in conversation relative to the house and its fixtures, they beguiled the time until they reached their home. On arriving there, Mrs. Ellis found Robberts awaiting her return with a very anxious countenance. He informed her that Mrs. Thomas wished to see her immediately; that Charlie had been giving that estimable lady a world of trouble; and that her presence was necessary to set things to rights.

"What has he been doing?" asked Mrs. Ellis.

"Oh, lots of things! He and aunt Rachel don't get on together at all; and last night he came nigh having the house burned down over our heads."

"Why, Robberts, you don't tell me so! What a trial boys are," sighed Mrs. Ellis.

"He got on first rate for a week or two; but since that he has been raising Satan. He and aunt Rachel had a regular brush yesterday, and he has actually lamed the old woman to that extent she won't be able to work for a week to come."

"Dear, dear, what am I to do?" said the perplexed Mrs. Ellis; "I can't go up there immediately, I am too tired. Say to Mrs. Thomas I will come up this evening. I wonder," concluded she, "what has come over the boy." "Mother, you know how cross aunt Rachel is; I expect she has been ill-treating him. He is so good-natured, that he never would behave improperly to an old person unless goaded to it by some very harsh usage."

"That's the way—go on, Esther, find some excuse for your angel," said Caddy, ironically. "Of course that lamb could not do anything wrong, and, according to your judgment, he never does; but, I tell you, he is as bad as any other boy—boys are boys. I expect he has been tracking over the floor after aunt Rachel has scrubbed it, or has been doing something equally provoking; he has been in mischief, depend upon it."

Things had gone on very well with Master Charlie for the first two weeks after his introduction into the house of the fashionable descendant of the worthy maker of leathern breeches. His intelligence, combined with the quickness and good-humour with which he performed the duties assigned him, quite won the regard of the venerable lady who presided over that establishment. It is true she had detected him in several attempts upon the peace and well-being of aunt Rachel's Tom; but with Tom she had little sympathy, he having recently made several felonious descents upon her stores of cream and custards. In fact, it was not highly probable, if any of his schemes had resulted seriously to the spiteful protege of aunt Rachel, that Mrs. Thomas would have been overwhelmed with grief, or disposed to inflict any severe punishment on the author of the catastrophe.

Unfortunately for Mrs. Thomas, Charlie, whilst going on an errand, had fallen in with his ancient friend and adviser—in short, he had met no less a person than the formerly all-sufficient Kinch. Great was the delight of both parties at this unexpected meeting, and warm, indeed, was the exchange of mutual congratulations on this auspicious event.

Kinch, in the excess of his delight, threw his hat several feet in the air; nor did his feelings of pleasure undergo the least abatement when that dilapidated portion of his costume fell into a bed of newly-mixed lime, from which he rescued it with great difficulty and at no little personal risk.

"Hallo! Kinch, old fellow, how are you?" cried Charlie; "I've been dying to see you—why haven't you been up?"

"Why, I did come up often, but that old witch in the kitchen wouldn't let me see you—she abused me scandalous. I wanted to pull her turban off and throw it in the gutter. Why, she called me a dirty beggar, and threatened to throw cold water on me if I didn't go away. Phew! ain't she an old buster!"

"Why, I never knew you were there."

"Yes," continued Kinch; "and I saw you another time hung up behind the carriage. I declare, Charlie, you looked so like a little monkey, dressed up in that sky-blue coat and silver buttons, that I liked to have died a-laughing at you;" and Kinch was so overcome by the recollection of the event in question, that he was obliged to sit down upon a door-step to recover himself.

"Oh, I do hate to wear this confounded livery!' said Charlie, dolefully—" the boys scream 'Johnny Coat-tail' after me in the streets, and call me 'blue jay,' and 'blue nigger,' and lots of other names. I feel that all that's wanting to make a complete monkey of me, is for some one to carry me about on an organ."

"What do you wear it for, then?" asked Kinch.

"Because I can't help myself, that's the reason. The boys plague me to that extent sometimes, that I feel like tearing the things into bits—but mother says I must wear it. Kinch," concluded he, significantly, "something will have to be done, I can't stand it."

"You remember what I told you about the wig, don't you?" asked Kinch; and, on receiving an affirmative reply, he continued, "Just try that on, and see how it goes—you'll find it'll work like a charm; it's a regular footman-expatriator—just try it now; you'll see if it isn't the thing to do the business for you." "I'm determined to be as bad as I can," rejoined Charlie; "I'm tired enough of staying there: that old aunt Rach is a devil—I don't believe a saint from heaven could get on with her; I'm expecting we'll have a pitched battle every day."

Beguiling the time with this and similar conversation, they reached the house to which Charlie had been despatched with a note; after which, he turned his steps homeward, still accompanied by the redoubtable Kinch.

As ill luck would have it, they passed some boys who were engaged in a game of marbles, Charlie's favourite pastime, and, on Kinch's offering him the necessary stock to commence play, he launched into the game, regardless of the fact that the carriage was ordered for a drive within an hour, and that he was expected to fill his accustomed place in the rear of that splendid vehicle.

Once immersed in the game, time flew rapidly on. Mrs. Thomas awaited his return until her patience was exhausted, when she started on her drive without him. As they were going through a quiet street, to her horror and surprise, prominent amidst a crowd of dirty boys, she discovered her little footman, with his elegant blue livery covered with dirt and sketches in white chalk; for, in the excitement of the game, Charlie had not observed that Kinch was engaged in drawing on the back of his coat his favourite illustration, to wit, a skull and cross-bones.

"Isn't that our Charlie?" said she to her daughter, surveying the crowd of noisy boys through her eye-glass. "I really believe it is—that is certainly our livery; pull the check-string, and stop the carriage."

Now Robberts had been pressed into service in consequence of Charlie's absence, and was in no very good humour at being compelled to air his rheumatic old shins behind the family-carriage. It can therefore be readily imagined with what delight he recognized the delinquent footman amidst the crowd, and with what alacrity he descended and pounced upon him just at the most critical moment of the game. Clutching fast hold of him by the collar of his coat, he dragged him to the carriage-window, and held him before the astonished eyes of his indignant mistress, who lifted up her hands in horror at the picture he presented. "Oh! you wretched boy," said she, "just look at your clothes, all covered with chalk-marks and bespattered with lime! Your livery is totally ruined—and your knees, too—only look at them—the dirt is completely ground into them."

"But you haven't seed his back, marm," said Robberts; "he's got the pirate's flag drawn on it. That boy'll go straight to the devil—I know he will."

All this time Charlie, to his great discomfiture, was being shaken and turned about by Robberts in the most unceremonious manner. Kinch, with his usual audacity, was meanwhile industriously engaged in tracing on Robbert's coat a similar picture to that he had so skilfully drawn on Charlie's, to the great delight of a crowd of boys who stood admiring spectators of his artistic performances. The coachman, however, observing this operation, brought it to a rather hasty conclusion by a well directed cut of the whip across the fingers of the daring young artist. This so enraged Kinch, that in default of any other missile, he threw his lime-covered cap at the head of the coachman; but, unfortunately for himself, the only result of his exertions was the lodgment of his cap in the topmost bough of a neighbouring tree, from whence it was rescued with great difficulty.

"What shall we do with him?" asked Mrs. Thomas, in a despairing tone, as she looked at Charlie.

"Put him with the coachman," suggested Mrs. Morton.

"He can't sit there, the horses are so restive, and the seat is only constructed for one, and he would be in the coachman's way. I suppose he must find room on behind with Robberts."

"I won't ride on the old carriage," cried Charlie, nerved by despair; "I won't stay here nohow. I'm going home to my mother;" and as he spoke he endeavoured to wrest himself from Robberts' grasp. "Put him in here," said Mrs. Thomas; "it would never do to let him go, for he will run home with some distressing tale of ill-treatment; no, we must keep him until I can send for his mother—put him in here."

Much to Mrs. Morton's disgust, Charlie was bundled by Robberts into the bottom of the carriage, where he sat listening to the scolding of Mrs. Thomas and her daughter until they arrived at home. He remained in disgrace for several days after this adventure; but as Mrs. Thomas well knew that she could not readily fill his place with another, she made a virtue of necessity, and kindly looked over this first offence.

The situation was, however, growing more and more intolerable. Aunt Rachel and he had daily skirmishes, in which he was very frequently worsted. He had held several hurried consultations with Kinch through the grating of the cellar window, and was greatly cheered and stimulated in the plans he intended to pursue by the advice and sympathy of his devoted friend. Master Kinch's efforts to console Charlie were not without great risk to himself, as he had on two or three occasions narrowly escaped falling into the clutches of Robberts, who well remembered Kinch's unprecedented attempt upon the sacredness of his livery; and what the result might have been had the latter fallen into his hands, we cannot contemplate without a shudder.

These conferences between Kinch and Charlie produced their natural effect, and latterly it had been several times affirmed by aunt Rachel that, "Dat air boy was gittin' 'tirely too high—gittin' bove hissef 'pletely—dat he was gittin' more and more aggriwatin' every day—dat she itched to git at him—dat she 'spected nothin' else but what she'd be 'bliged to take hold o' him;" and she comported herself generally as if she was crazy for the conflict which she saw must sooner or later occur.

Charlie, unable on these occasions to reply to her remarks without precipitating a conflict for which he did not feel prepared, sought to revenge himself upon the veteran Tom; and such was the state of his feelings, that he bribed Kinch, with a large lump of sugar and the leg of a turkey, to bring up his mother's Jerry, a fierce young cat, and they had the satisfaction of shutting him up in the wood-house with the belligerent Tom, who suffered a signal defeat at Jerry's claws, and was obliged to beat a hasty retreat through the window, with a seriously damaged eye, and with the fur torn off his back in numberless places. After this Charlie had the pleasure of hearing aunt Rachel frequently bewail the condition of her favourite, whose deplorable state she was inclined to ascribe to his influence, though she was unable to bring it home to him in such a manner as to insure his conviction.



CHAPTER VII.

Mrs. Thomas has her Troubles.

Mrs. Thomas was affected, as silly women sometimes are, with an intense desire to be at the head of the ton. For this object she gave grand dinners and large evening parties, to which were invited all who, being two or three removes from the class whose members occupy the cobbler's bench or the huckster's stall, felt themselves at liberty to look down upon the rest of the world from the pinnacle on which they imagined themselves placed. At these social gatherings the conversation never turned upon pedigree, and if any of the guests chanced by accident to allude to their ancestors, they spoke of them as members of the family, who, at an early period of their lives, were engaged in mercantile pursuits.

At such dinners Mrs. Thomas would sit for hours, mumbling dishes that disagreed with her; smiling at conversations carried on in villanous French, of which language she did not understand a word; and admiring the manners of addle-headed young men (who got tipsy at her evening parties), because they had been to Europe, and were therefore considered quite men of the world. These parties and dinners she could not be induced to forego, although the late hours and fatigue consequent thereon would place her on the sick-list for several days afterwards. As soon, however, as she recovered sufficiently to resume her place at the table, she would console herself with a dinner of boiled mutton and roasted turnips, as a slight compensation for the unwholesome French dishes she had compelled herself to swallow on the occasions before mentioned. Amongst the other modern fashions she had adopted, was that of setting apart one morning of the week for the reception of visitors; and she had mortally offended several of her oldest friends by obstinately refusing to admit them at any other time. Two or three difficulties had occurred with Robberts, in consequence of this new arrangement, as he could not be brought to see the propriety of saying to visitors that Mrs. Thomas was "not at home," when he knew she was at that very moment upstairs peeping over the banisters. His obstinacy on this point had induced her to try whether she could not train Charlie so as to fit him for the important office of uttering the fashionable and truthless "not at home" with unhesitating gravity and decorum; and, after a series of mishaps, she at last believed her object was effected, until an unlucky occurrence convinced her to the contrary.

Mrs. Thomas, during the days on which she did not receive company, would have presented, to any one who might have had the honour to see that venerable lady, an entirely different appearance to that which she assumed on gala days. A white handkerchief supplied the place of the curling wig, and the tasty French cap was replaced by a muslin one, decorated with an immense border of ruffling, that flapped up and down over her silver spectacles in the most comical manner possible. A short flannel gown and a dimity petticoat of very antique pattern and scanty dimensions, completed her costume. Thus attired, and provided with a duster, she would make unexpected sallies into the various domestic departments, to see that everything was being properly conducted, and that no mal-practices were perpetrated at times when it was supposed she was elsewhere. She showed an intuitive knowledge of all traps set to give intimation of her approach, and would come upon aunt Rachel so stealthily as to induce her to declare, "Dat old Mrs. Thomas put her more in mind of a ghost dan of any other libin animal."

One morning, whilst attired in the manner described, Mrs. Thomas had been particularly active in her excursions through the house, and had driven the servants to their wits' ends by her frequent descents upon them at the most unexpected times, thereby effectually depriving them of the short breathing intervals they were anxious to enjoy. Charlie in particular had been greatly harassed by her, and was sent flying from place to place until his legs were nearly run off, as he expressed it. And so, when Lord Cutanrun, who was travelling in America to give his estates in England an opportunity to recuperate, presented his card, Charlie, in revenge, showed him into the drawing-room, where he knew that Mrs. Thomas was busily engaged trimming an oil-lamp. Belying on the explicit order she had given to say that she was not at home, she did not even look up when his lordship entered, and as he advanced towards her, she extended to him a basin of dirty water, saying, "Here, take this." Receiving no response she looked up, and to her astonishment and horror beheld, not Charlie, but Lord Cutanrun. In the agitation consequent upon his unexpected appearance, she dropped the basin, the contents of which, splashing in all directions, sadly discoloured his lordship's light pants, and greatly damaged the elegant carpet.

"Oh! my lord," she exclaimed, "I didn't—couldn't—wouldn't—" and, unable to ejaculate further, she fairly ran out of the apartment into the entry, where she nearly fell over Charlie, who was enjoying the confusion his conduct had created. "Oh! you limb!—you little wretch!" said she. "You knew I was not at home!"

"Why, where are you now?" he asked, with the most provoking air of innocence. "If you ain't in the house now, you never was."

"Never mind, sir," said she, "never mind. I'll settle with you for this. Don't stand there grinning at me; go upstairs and tell Mrs. Morton to come down immediately, and then get something to wipe up that water. O dear! my beautiful carpet! And for a lord to see me in such a plight! Oh! it's abominable! I'll give it to you, you scamp! You did it on purpose," continued the indignant Mrs. Thomas. "Don't deny it—I know you did. What are you standing there for? Why don't you call Mrs. Morton?" she concluded, as Charlie, chuckling over the result of his trick, walked leisurely upstairs. "That boy will be the death of me," she afterwards said, on relating the occurrence to her daughter. "Just to think, after all the trouble I've had teaching him when to admit people and when not, that he should serve me such a trick. I'm confident he did it purposely." Alas! for poor Mrs. Thomas; this was only the first of a series of annoyances that Charlie had in store, with which to test her patience and effect his own deliverance.

A few days after, one of their grand dinners was to take place, and Charlie had been revolving in his mind the possibility of his finding some opportunity, on that occasion, to remove the old lady's wig; feeling confident that, could he accomplish that feat, he would be permitted to turn his back for ever on the mansion of Mrs. Thomas.

Never had Mrs. Thomas appeared more radiant than at this dinner. All the guests whose attendance she had most desired were present, a new set of china had lately arrived from Paris, and she was in full anticipation of a grand triumph. Now, to Charlie had been assigned the important duty of removing the cover from the soup-tureen which was placed before his mistress, and the little rogue had settled upon that moment as the most favourable for the execution of his purpose. He therefore secretly affixed a nicely crooked pin to the elbow of his sleeve, and, as he lifted the cover, adroitly hooked it into her cap, to which he knew the wig was fastened, and in a twinkling had it off her head, and before she could recover from her astonishment and lay down the soup-ladle he had left the room. The guests stared and tittered at the grotesque figure she presented,—her head being covered with short white hair, and her face as red as a peony at the mortifying situation in which she was placed. As she rose from her chair Charlie presented himself, and handed her the wig, with an apology for the accident. In her haste to put it on, she turned it wrong side foremost; the laughter of the guests could now no longer be restrained, and in the midst of it Mrs. Thomas left the room. Encountering Charlie as she went, she almost demolished him in her wrath; not ceasing to belabour him till his outcries became so loud as to render her fearful that he would alarm the guests; and she then retired to her room, where she remained until the party broke up.

It was her custom, after these grand entertainments, to make nocturnal surveys of the kitchen, to assure herself that none of the delicacies had been secreted by the servants for their personal use and refreshment. Charlie, aware of this, took his measures for an ample revenge for the beating he had received at her hands. At night, when all the rest of the family had retired, he hastily descended to the kitchen, and, by some process known only to himself, imprisoned the cat in a stone jar that always stood upon the dresser, and into which he was confident Mrs. Thomas would peep. He then stationed himself upon the stairs, to watch the result. He had not long to wait, for as soon as she thought the servants were asleep, she came softly into the kitchen, and, after peering about in various places, she at last lifted up the lid of the jar. Tom, tired of his long confinement, sprang out, and, in so doing, knocked the lamp out of her hand, the fluid from which ignited and ran over the floor.

"Murder!—Fire!—Watch!" screamed the thoroughly frightened old woman. "Oh, help! help! fire!" At this terrible noise nearly every one in the household was aroused, and hurried to the spot whence it proceeded. They found Mrs. Thomas standing in the dark, with the lid of the jar in her hand, herself the personification of terror. The carpet was badly burned in several places, and the fragments of the lamp were scattered about the floor.

"What has happened?" exclaimed Mr. Morton, who was the first to enter the kitchen. "What is all this frightful noise occasioned by?"

"Oh, there is a man in the house!" answered Mrs. Thomas, her teeth chattering with fright. "There was a man in here—he has just sprung out," she continued, pointing to the bread-jar.

"Pooh, pooh—that's nonsense, madam," replied the son-in-law. "Why an infant could not get in there, much less a man!"

"I tell you it was a man then," angrily responded Mrs. Thomas; "and he is in the house somewhere now."

"Such absurdity!" muttered Mr. Morton; adding, in a louder tone: "Why, my dear mamma, you've seen a mouse or something of the kind."

"Mouse, indeed!" interrupted the old lady. "Do you think I'm in my dotage, and I don't know a man from a mouse?"

Just then the cat, whose back had got severely singed in the melee, set up a most lamentable caterwauling; and, on being brought to light from the depths of a closet into which he had flown, his appearance immediately discovered the share he had had in the transaction.

"It must have been the cat," said Robberts. "Only look at his back—why here the fur is singed off him! I'll bet anything," continued he, "that air boy has had something to do with this—for it's a clear case that the cat couldn't git into the jar, and then put the lid on hissef."

Tom's inability to accomplish this feat being most readily admitted on all sides, inquiry was immediately made as to the whereabouts of Charlie; his absence from the scene being rather considered as evidence of participation, for, it was argued, if he had been unaware of what was to transpire, the noise would have drawn him to the spot at once, as he was always the first at hand in the event of any excitement. Robberts was despatched to see if he was in his bed, and returned with the intelligence that the bed had not even been opened. Search was immediately instituted, and he was discovered in the closet at the foot of the stairs. He was dragged forth, shaken, pummelled, and sent to bed, with the assurance that his mother should be sent for in the morning, to take him home, and keep him there. This being exactly the point to which he was desirous of bringing matters, he went to bed, and passed a most agreeable night.

Aunt Rachel, being one of those sleepers that nothing short of an earthquake can rouse until their customary time for awaking, had slept soundly through the stirring events of the past night. She came down in the morning in quite a placid state of mind, expecting to enjoy a day of rest, as she had the night before sat up much beyond her usual time, to set matters to rights after the confusion consequent on the dinner party. What was her astonishment, therefore, on finding the kitchen she had left in a state of perfect order and cleanliness, in a condition that resembled the preparation for an annual house-cleaning.

"Lord, bless us!" she exclaimed, looking round; "What on yarth has happened? I raly b'lieve dere's bin a fire in dis 'ere house, and I never knowed a word of it. Why I might have bin burnt up in my own bed! Dere's de lamp broke—carpet burnt—pots and skillets hauled out of the closet—ebery ting turned upside down; why dere's bin a reg'lar 'sturbance down here," she continued, as she surveyed the apartment.

At this juncture, she espied Tom, who sat licking his paws before the fire, and presenting so altered an appearance, from the events of the night, as to have rendered him unrecognizable even by his best friend.

"Strange cat in de house! Making himself quite at home at dat," said aunt Rachel, indignantly. Her wrath, already much excited, rose to the boiling point at what she deemed a most daring invasion of her domain. She, therefore, without ceremony, raised a broom, with which she belaboured the astonished Tom, who ran frantically from under one chair to another till he ensconced himself in a small closet, from which he pertinaciously refused to be dislodged. "Won't come out of dere, won't you?" said she. "I'll see if I can't make you den;" and poor Tom dodged behind pots and kettles to avoid the blows which were aimed at him; at last, thoroughly enraged by a hard knock on the back, he sprang fiercely into the face of his tormentor, who, completely upset by the suddenness of his attack, fell sprawling on the floor, screaming loudly for help. She was raised up by Robberts, who came running to her assistance, and, on being questioned as to the cause of her outcries, replied:—

"Dere's a strange cat in de house—wild cat too, I raly b'lieve;" and spying Tom at that moment beneath the table, she made another dash at him for a renewal of hostilities.

"Why that's Tom," exclaimed Robberts; "don't you know your own cat?"

"Oh," she replied, "dat ar isn't Tom now, is it? Why, what's the matter wid him?"

Robberts then gave her a detailed account of the transactions of the previous night, in which account the share Charlie had taken was greatly enlarged and embellished; and the wrathful old woman was listening to the conclusion when Charlie entered. Hardly had he got into the room, when, without any preliminary discussion, aunt Rachel—to use her own words—pitched into him to give him particular fits. Now Charlie, not being disposed to receive "particular fits," made some efforts to return the hard compliments that were being showered upon him, and the advice of Kinch providentially occurring to him—respecting an attack upon the understanding of his venerable antagonist—he brought his hard shoes down with great force upon her pet corn, and by this coup de pied completely demolished her. With a loud scream she let him go; and sitting down upon the floor, declared herself lamed for life, beyond the possibility of recovery. At this stage of the proceedings, Robberts came to the rescue of his aged coadjutor, and seized hold of Charlie, who forthwith commenced so brisk an attack upon his rheumatic shins, as to cause him to beat a hurried retreat, leaving Charlie sole master of the field. The noise that these scuffles occasioned brought Mrs. Thomas into the kitchen, and Charlie was marched off by her into an upstairs room, where he was kept in "durance vile" until the arrival of his mother.

Mrs. Thomas had a strong liking for Charlie—not as a boy, but as a footman. He was active and intelligent, and until quite recently, extremely tractable and obedient; more than all, he was a very good-looking boy, and when dressed in the Thomas livery, presented a highly-respectable appearance. She therefore determined to be magnanimous—to look over past events, and to show a Christian and forgiving spirit towards his delinquencies. She sent for Mrs. Ellis, with the intention of desiring her to use her maternal influence to induce him to apologize to aunt Rachel for his assault upon her corns, which apology Mrs. Thomas was willing to guarantee should be accepted; as for the indignities that had been inflicted on herself, she thought it most politic to regard them in the light of accidents, and to say as little about that part of the affair as possible.

When Mrs. Ellis made her appearance on the day subsequent to the events just narrated, Mrs. Thomas enlarged to her upon the serious damage that aunt Rachel had received, and the urgent necessity that something should be done to mollify that important individual. When Charlie was brought into the presence of his mother and Mrs. Thomas, the latter informed him, that, wicked as had been his conduct towards herself, she was willing, for his mother's sake, to look over it; but that he must humble himself in dust and ashes before the reigning sovereign of the culinary kingdom, who, making the most of the injury inflicted on her toe, had declared herself unfit for service, and was at that moment ensconced in a large easy-chair, listening to the music of her favourite smoke-jack, whilst a temporary cook was getting up the dinner, under her immediate supervision and direction. "Charlie, I'm quite ashamed of you," said his mother, after listening to Mrs. Thomas's lengthy statement. "What has come over you, child?"—Charlie stood biting his nails, and looking very sullen, but vouchsafed them no answer.—"Mrs. Thomas is so kind as to forgive you, and says she will look over the whole affair, if you will beg aunt Rachel's pardon. Come, now," continued Mrs. Ellis, coaxingly, "do, that's a good boy."

"Yes, do," added Mrs. Thomas, "and I will buy you a handsome new suit of livery."

This was too much for Charlie; the promise of another suit of the detested livery quite overcame him, and he burst into tears.

"Why, what ails the boy? He's the most incomprehensible child I ever saw! The idea of crying at the promise of a new suit of clothes!—any other child would have been delighted," concluded Mrs. Thomas.

"I don't want your old button-covered uniform," said Charlie, "and I won't wear it, neither! And as for aunt Rachel, I don't care how much she is hurt—I'm only sorry I didn't smash her other toe; and I'll see her skinned, and be skinned myself, before I'll ask her pardon!"

Both Mrs. Thomas and Charlie's mother stood aghast at this unexpected declaration; and the result of a long conference, held by the two, was that Charlie should be taken home, Mrs. Ellis being unable to withstand his tears and entreaties.

As he passed through the kitchen on his way out, he made a face at aunt Rachel, who, in return, threw at him one of the turnips she was peeling. It missed the object for which it was intended, and came plump into the eye of Robberts, giving to that respectable individual for some time thereafter the appearance of a prize-fighter in livery.

Charlie started for home in the highest spirits, which, however, became considerably lower on his discovering his mother's view of his late exploits was very different from his own. Mrs. Ellis's fondness and admiration of her son, although almost amounting to weakness, were yet insufficient to prevent her from feeling that his conduct, even after making due allowance for the provocation he had received, could not be wholly excused as mere boyish impetuosity and love of mischievous fun. She knew that his father would feel it his duty, not only to reprimand him, but to inflict some chastisement; and this thought was the more painful to her from the consciousness, that but for her own weak compliance with Mrs. Thomas's request, her boy would not have been placed in circumstances which his judgment and self-command had proved insufficient to carry him through. The day, therefore, passed less agreeably than Charlie had anticipated; for now that he was removed from the scene of his trials, he could not disguise from himself that his behaviour under them had been very different from what it ought to have been, and this had the salutary effect of bringing him into a somewhat humbler frame of mind. When his father returned in the evening, therefore, Charlie appeared so crest-fallen that even Caddy could scarcely help commiserating him, especially as his subdued state during the day had kept him from committing any of those offences against tidiness which so frequently exasperated her. Mr. Ellis, though very strict on what he thought points of duty, had much command of temper, and was an affectionate father. He listened, therefore, with attention to the details of Charlie's grievances, as well as of his misdemeanours, and some credit is due to him for the unshaken gravity he preserved throughout. Although he secretly acquitted his son of any really bad intention, he thought it incumbent on him to make Charlie feel in some degree the evil consequences of his unruly behaviour. After giving him a serious lecture, and pointing out the impropriety of taking such measures to deliver himself from the bondage in which his parents themselves had thought fit to place him, without even appealing to them, he insisted on his making the apologies due both to Mrs. Thomas and aunt Rachel (although he was fully aware that both had only got their deserts); and, further, intimated that he would not be reinstated in his parents' good graces until he had proved, by his good conduct and docility, that he was really sorry for his misbehaviour. It was a severe trial to Charlie to make these apologies; but he well knew that what his father had decided upon must be done—so he made a virtue of necessity, and, accompanied by his mother, on the following day performed his penance with as good a grace as he was able; and, in consideration of this submission, his father, when he came home in the evening, greeted him with all his usual kindness, and the recollection of this unlucky affair was at once banished from the family circle.



CHAPTER VIII.

Trouble in the Ellis Family.

Since the receipt of Mr. Garie's letter, Mrs. Ellis and Caddy had been busily engaged in putting the house in a state of preparation for their reception. Caddy, whilst superintending its decoration, felt herself in Elysium. For the first time in her life she had the supreme satisfaction of having two unfortunate house-cleaners entirely at her disposal; consequently, she drove them about and worried them to an extent unparalleled in any of their former experience. She sought for and discovered on the windows (which they had fondly regarded as miracles of cleanliness) sundry streaks and smears, and detected infinite small spots of paint and whitewash on the newly-scrubbed floors. She followed them upstairs and downstairs, and tormented them to that extent, that Charlie gave it as his private opinion that he should not be in the least surprised, on going up there, to find that the two old women had made away with Caddy, and hidden her remains in the coal-bin. Whilst she was thus engaged, to Charlie was assigned the duty of transporting to Winter-street her diurnal portion of food, without a hearty share of which she found it impossible to maintain herself in a state of efficiency; her labours in chasing the women about the house being of a rather exhausting nature.

When he made the visits in question, Charlie was generally reconnoitred by his sister from a window over the door, and was compelled to put his shoes through a system of purification, devised by her for his especial benefit. It consisted of three courses of scraper, and two of mat; this being considered by her as strictly necessary to bring his shoes to such a state of cleanliness as would entitle him to admission into the premises of which she was the temporary mistress.

Charlie, on two or three occasions finding a window open, made stealthy descents upon the premises without first having duly observed these quarantine regulations; whereupon he was attacked by Caddy, who, with the assistance of the minions under her command, so shook and pummelled him as to cause his precipitate retreat through the same opening by which he had entered, and that, too, in so short a space of time as to make the whole manoeuvre appear to him in the light of a well-executed but involuntary feat of ground and lofty tumbling. One afternoon he started with his sister's dinner, consisting of a dish of which she was particularly fond, and its arrival was therefore looked for with unusual anxiety. Charlie, having gorged himself to an almost alarming extent, did not make the haste that the case evidently demanded; and as he several times stopped to act as umpire in disputed games of marbles (in the rules of which he was regarded as an authority), he necessarily consumed a great deal of time on the way.

Caddy's patience was severely tried by the long delay, and her temper, at no time the most amiable, gathered bitterness from the unprecedented length of her fast. Therefore, when he at length appeared, walking leisurely up Winter-street, swinging the kettle about in the most reckless manner, and setting it down on the pavement to play leap-frog over the fire-plugs, her wrath reached a point that boded no good to the young trifler.

Now, whilst Charlie had been giving his attention to the difficulties growing out of the games of marbles, he did not observe that one of the disputants was possessed of a tin kettle, in appearance very similar to his own, by the side of which, in the excitement of the moment, he deposited his own whilst giving a practical illustration of his view of the point under consideration. Having accomplished this to his entire satisfaction, he resumed what he supposed was his kettle, and went his way rejoicing.

Now, if Caddy Ellis had a fondness for one dish more than any other, it was for haricot, with plenty of carrots; and knowing she was to have this for her dinner, she, to use her own pointed expression, "had laid herself out to have a good meal." She had even abstained from her customary lunch that she might have an appetite worthy of the occasion; and accordingly, long ere the dinner hour approached, she was hungry as a wolf. Notwithstanding this fact, when Charlie made his appearance at the door, she insisted on his going through all the accustomed forms with the mat and scraper before entering the house; an act of self-sacrifice on her part entirely uncalled for, as the day was remarkably fine, and Charlie's boots unusually clean.

He received two or three by no means gentle shoves and pokes as he entered, which he bore with unusual indifference, making not the slightest effort at retaliation, as was his usual practice. The fact is, Charlie was, as lions are supposed to be, quite disinclined for a fight after a hearty meal, so he followed Caddy upstairs to the second story. Here she had got up an extempore dining-table, by placing a pasting board across two chairs. Seating herself upon a stool, she jerked off the lid of the kettle, and, to her horror and dismay, found not the favourite haricot, but a piece of cheese-rind, a crust of dry bread, and a cold potatoe. Charlie, who was amusing himself by examining the flowers in the new carpet, did not observe the look of surprise and disgust that came over the countenance of his sister, as she took out, piece by piece, the remains of some schoolboy's repast.

"Look here," she at last burst forth, "do you call this my dinner?"

"Yes," said Charlie, in a deliberate tone, "and a very good one too, I should say; if you can't eat that dinner, you ought to starve; it's one of mother's best haricots." "You don't call this cold potatoe and cheese-rind haricot, do you?" asked Caddy, angrily.

At this Charlie looked up, and saw before her the refuse scraps, which she had indignantly emptied upon the table. He could scarcely believe his eyes; he got up and looked in the kettle, but found no haricot. "Well," said he, with surprise, "if that don't beat me! I saw mother fill it with haricot myself; I'm clean beat about it."

"Tell me what you've done with it, then," almost screamed the angry girl.

"I really don't know what has become of it," he answered, with a bewildered air. "I saw—I saw—I—I—"

"You saw—you saw," replied the indignant Caddy, imitating his tone; and taking up the kettle, she began to examine it more closely. "Why, this isn't even our kettle; look at this lid. I'm sure it's not ours. You've been stopping somewhere to play, and exchanged it with some other boy, that's just what you've done."

Just then it occurred to Charlie that at the place where he had adjusted the dispute about the marbles, he had observed in the hands of one of the boys a kettle similar to his own; and it flashed across his mind that he had then and there made the unfortunate exchange. He broke his suspicion to Caddy in the gentlest manner, at the same time edging his way to the door to escape the storm that he saw was brewing. The loss of her dinner—and of such a dinner—so enraged the hungry girl, as to cause her to seize a brush lying near and begin to belabour him without mercy. In his endeavour to escape from her his foot was caught in the carpet, and he was violently precipitated down the long flight of stairs. His screams brought the whole party to his assistance; even Kinch, who was sitting on the step outside, threw off his usual dread of Caddy, and rushed into the house. "Oh, take me up," piteously cried Charlie; "oh, take me up, I'm almost killed." In raising him, one of the old women took hold of his arm, which caused him to scream again. "Don't touch my arm, please don't touch my arm; I'm sure it's broke."

"No, no, it's not broke, only sprained, or a little twisted," said she; and, seizing it as she spoke, she gave it a pull and a wrench, for the purpose of making it all right again; at this Charlie's face turned deathly pale, and he fainted outright.

"Run for a doctor," cried the now thoroughly-alarmed Caddy; "run for the doctor! my brother's dead!" and bursting into tears, she exclaimed, "Oh, I've killed my brother, I've killed my brother!"

"Don't make so much fuss, child," soothingly replied one of the old women: "he's worth half a dozen dead folk yet. Lor bless you, child, he's only fainted."

Water was procured and thrown in his face, and before Kinch returned with the doctor, he was quite restored to consciousness.

"Don't cry, my little man," said the physician, as he took out his knife and ripped up the sleeve of Charlie's coat. "Don't cry; let me examine your arm." Stripping up the shirt-sleeve, he felt it carefully over, and shaking his head (physicians always shake their heads) pronounced the arm broken, and that, too, in an extremely bad place. At this information Charlie began again to cry, and Caddy broke forth into such yells of despair as almost to drive them distracted.

The physician kindly procured a carriage, and saw Charlie comfortably placed therein; and held in the arms of Kinch, with the lamenting and disheartened Caddy on the opposite seat, he was slowly driven home. The house was quite thrown into confusion by their arrival under such circumstances; Mrs. Ellis, for a wonder, did not faint, but proceeded at once to do what was necessary. Mr. Ellis was sent for, and he immediately despatched Kinch for Dr. Burdett, their family physician, who came without a moment's delay. He examined Charlie's arm, and at first thought it would be necessary to amputate it. At the mere mention of the word amputate, Caddy set up such a series of lamentable howls as to cause her immediate ejectment from the apartment. Dr. Burdett called in Dr. Diggs for a consultation, and between them it was decided that an attempt should be made to save the injured member. "Now, Charlie," said Dr. Burdett, "I'm afraid we must hurt you, my boy—but if you have any desire to keep this arm you must try to bear it."

"I'll bear anything to save my arm, doctor; I can't spare that," said he, manfully. "I'll want it by-and-by to help take care of mother and the girls."

"You're a brave little fellow," said Dr. Diggs, patting him on the head, "so then we'll go at it at once."

"Stop," cried Charlie, "let mother put her arm round my neck so, and Es, you hold the good hand. Now then, I'm all right—fire away!" and clenching his lips hard, he waited for the doctor to commence the operation of setting his arm. Charlie's mother tried to look as stoical as possible, but the corners of her mouth would twitch, and there was a nervous trembling of her under-lip; but she commanded herself, and only when Charlie gave a slight groan of pain, stooped and kissed his forehead; and when she raised her head again, there was a tear resting on the face of her son that was not his own. Esther was the picture of despair, and she wept bitterly for the misfortune which had befallen her pet brother; and when the operation was over, refused to answer poor Caddy's questions respecting Charlie's injuries, and scolded her with a warmth and volubility that was quite surprising to them all.

"You must not be too hard on Caddy," remarked Mr. Ellis. "She feels bad enough, I'll warrant you. It is a lesson that will not, I trust, be thrown away upon her; it will teach her to command her temper in future."

Caddy was in truth quite crushed by the misfortune she had occasioned, and fell into such a state of depression and apathy as to be scarcely heard about the house; indeed, so subdued was she, that Kinch went in and out without wiping his feet, and tracked the mud all over the stair-carpet, and yet she uttered no word of remonstrance.

Poor little Charlie suffered much, and was in a high fever. The knocker was tied up, the windows darkened, and all walked about the house with sad and anxious countenances. Day after day the fever increased, until he grew delirious, and raved in the most distressing manner. The unfortunate haricot was still on his mind, and he was persecuted by men with strange-shaped heads and carrot eyes. Sometimes he imagined himself pursued by Caddy, and would cry in the most piteous manner to have her prevented from beating him. Then his mind strayed off to the marble-ground, where he would play imaginary games, and laugh over his success in such a wild and frightful manner as to draw tears from the eyes of all around him. He was greatly changed; the bright colour had fled from his cheek; his head had been shaved, and he was thin and wan, and at times they were obliged to watch him, and restrain him from tossing about, to the great peril of his broken arm.

At last his situation became so critical that Dr. Burdett began to entertain but slight hopes of his recovery; and one morning, in the presence of Caddy, hinted as much to Mr. Ellis.

"Oh, doctor, doctor," exclaimed the distracted girl, "don't say that! oh, try and save him! How could I live with the thought that I had killed my brother! oh, I can't live a day if he dies! Will God ever forgive me? Oh, what a wretch I have been! Oh, do think of something that will help him! He mustn't die, you must save him!" and crying passionately, she threw herself on the floor in an agony of grief. They did their best to pacify her, but all their efforts were in vain, until Mr. Ellis suggested, that since she could not control her feelings, she must be sent to stay with her aunt, as her lamentations and outcries agitated her suffering brother and made his condition worse. The idea of being excluded from the family circle at such a moment had more effect on Caddy than all previous remonstrances. She implored to have the sentence suspended for a time at least, that she might try to exert more self-command; and Mr. Ellis, who really pitied her, well knowing that her heart was not in fault, however reprehensible she was in point of temper, consented; and Caddy's behaviour from that moment proved the sincerity of her promises; and though she could not quite restrain occasional outbursts of senseless lamentation, still, when she felt such fits of despair coming on, she wisely retired to some remote corner of the house, and did not re-appear till she had regained her composure.

The crisis was at length over, and Charlie was pronounced out of danger. No one was more elated by this announcement than our friend Kinch, who had, in fact, grown quite ashy in his complexion from confinement and grief, and was now thrown by this intelligence into the highest possible spirits. Charlie, although faint and weak, was able to recognize his friends, and derived great satisfaction from the various devices of Kinch to entertain him. That young gentleman quite distinguished himself by the variety and extent of his resources. He devised butting matches between himself and a large gourd, which he suspended from the ceiling, and almost blinded himself by his attempts to butt it sufficiently hard to cause it to rebound to the utmost length of the string, and might have made an idiot of himself for ever by his exertions, but for the timely interference of Mr. Ellis, who put a final stop to this diversion. Then he dressed himself in a short gown and nightcap, and made the pillow into a baby, and played the nurse with it to such perfection, that Charlie felt obliged to applaud by knocking with the knuckles of his best hand upon the head-board of his bedstead. On the whole, he was so overjoyed as to be led to commit all manner of eccentricities, and conducted himself generally in such a ridiculous manner, that Charlie laughed himself into a state of prostration, and Kinch was, in consequence, banished from the sick-room, to be re-admitted only on giving his promise to abstain from being as funny as he could any more. After the lapse of a short time Charlie was permitted to sit up, and held regular levees of his schoolmates and little friends. He declared it was quite a luxury to have a broken arm, as it was a source of so much amusement. The old ladies brought him jellies and blanc-mange, and he was petted and caressed to such an unparalleled extent, as to cause his delighted mother to aver that she lived in great fear of his being spoiled beyond remedy. At length he was permitted to come downstairs and sit by the window for a few hours each day. Whilst thus amusing himself one morning, a handsome carriage stopped before their house, and from it descended a fat and benevolent-looking old lady, who knocked at the door and rattled the latch as if she had been in the daily habit of visiting there, and felt quite sure of a hearty welcome. She was let in by Esther, and, on sitting down, asked if Mrs. Ellis was at home. Whilst Esther was gone to summon her mother, the lady looked round the room, and espying Charlie, said, "Oh, there you are—I'm glad to see you; I hope you are improving."

"Yes, ma'am," politely replied Charlie, wondering all the time who their visitor could be.

"You don't seem to remember me—you ought to do so; children seldom forget any one who makes them a pleasant promise."

As she spoke, a glimmer of recollection shot across Charlie's mind, and he exclaimed, "You are the lady who came to visit the school."

"Yes; and I promised you a book for your aptness, and," continued she, taking from her reticule a splendidly-bound copy of "Robinson Crusoe," "here it is."

Mrs. Ellis, as soon as she was informed that a stranger lady was below, left Caddy to superintend alone the whitewashing of Charlie's sick-room, and having hastily donned another gown and a more tasty cap, descended to see who the visitor could be.

"You must excuse my not rising," said Mrs. Bird, for that was the lady's name; "it is rather a difficulty for me to get up and down often—so," continued she, with a smile, "you must excuse my seeming rudeness."

Mrs. Ellis answered, that any apology was entirely unnecessary, and begged she would keep her seat. "I've come," said Mrs. Bird, "to pay your little man a visit. I was so much pleased with the manner in which he recited his exercises on the day of examination, that I promised him a book, and on going to the school to present it, I heard of his unfortunate accident. He looks very much changed—he has had a very severe time, I presume?"

"Yes, a very severe one. We had almost given him over, but it pleased God to restore him," replied Mrs. Ellis, in a thankful tone. "He is very weak yet," she continued, "and it will be a long time before he is entirely recovered."

"Who is your physician?" asked Mrs. Bird.

"Doctor Burdett," was the reply; "he has been our physician for years, and is a very kind friend of our family."

"And of mine, too," rejoined Mrs. Bird; "he visits my house every summer. What does he think of the arm?" she asked.

"He thinks in time it will be as strong as ever, and recommends sending Charlie into the country for the summer; but," said Mrs. Ellis, "we are quite at a loss where to send him."

"Oh! let me take him," said Mrs. Bird—"I should be delighted to have him. I've got a beautiful place—he can have a horse to ride, and there are wide fields to scamper over! Only let me have him, and I'll guarantee to restore him to health in a short time."

"You're very kind," replied Mrs. Ellis—"I'm afraid he would only be a burthen to you—be a great deal of trouble, and be able to do but little work."

"Work! Why, dear woman," replied Mrs. Bird, with some astonishment, "I don't want him to work—I've plenty of servants; I only want him to enjoy himself, and gather as much strength as possible. Come, make up your mind to let him go with me, and I'll send him home as stout as I am."

At the bare idea of Charlie's being brought to such a state of obesity, Kinch, who, during the interview, had been in the back part of the room, making all manner of faces, was obliged to leave the apartment, to prevent a serious explosion of laughter, and after their visitor had departed he was found rolling about the floor in a tempest of mirth.

After considerable conversation relative to the project, Mrs. Bird took her leave, promising to call soon again, and advising Mrs. Ellis to accept her offer. Mrs. Ellis consulted Dr. Burdett, who pronounced it a most fortunate circumstance, and said the boy could not be in better hands; and as Charlie appeared nothing loth, it was decided he should go to Warmouth, to the great grief of Kinch, who thought it a most unheard-of proceeding, and he regarded Mrs. Bird thenceforth as his personal enemy, and a wilful disturber of his peace.



CHAPTER IX.

Breaking up.

The time for the departure of the Garies having been fixed, all in the house were soon engaged in the bustle of preparation. Boxes were packed with books, pictures, and linen; plate and china were wrapped and swaddled, to prevent breakage and bruises; carpets were taken up, and packed away; curtains taken down, and looking-glasses covered. Only a small part of the house was left in a furnished state for the use of the overseer, who was a young bachelor, and did not require much space.

In superintending all these arrangements Mrs. Garie displayed great activity; her former cheerfulness of manner had entirely returned, and Mr. Garie often listened with delight to the quick pattering of her feet, as she tripped lightly through the hall, and up and down the long stairs. The birds that sang about the windows were not more cheerful than herself, and when Mr. Garie heard her merry voice singing her lively songs, as in days gone by, he experienced a feeling of satisfaction at the pleasant result of his acquiescence in her wishes. He had consented to it as an act of justice due to her and the children; there was no pleasure to himself growing out of the intended change, beyond that of gratifying Emily, and securing freedom to her and the children. He knew enough of the North to feel convinced that he could not expect to live there openly with Emily, without being exposed to ill-natured comments, and closing upon himself the doors of many friends who had formerly received him with open arms. The virtuous dignity of the Northerner would be shocked, not so much at his having children by a woman of colour, but by his living with her in the midst of them, and acknowledging her as his wife. In the community where he now resided, such things were more common; the only point in which he differed from many other Southern gentlemen in this matter was in his constancy to Emily and the children, and the more than ordinary kindness and affection with which he treated them. Mr. Garie had for many years led a very retired life, receiving an occasional gentleman visitor; but this retirement had been entirely voluntary, therefore by no means disagreeable; but in the new home he had accepted, he felt that he might be shunned, and the reflection was anything but agreeable. Moreover, he was about to leave a place endeared to him by a thousand associations. Here he had passed the whole of his life, except about four years spent in travelling through Europe and America.

Mr. Garie was seated in a room where there were many things to recall days long since departed. The desk at which he was writing was once his father's, and he well remembered the methodical manner in which every drawer was carefully kept; over it hung a full-length portrait of his mother, and it seemed, as he gazed at it, that it was only yesterday that she had taken his little hand in her own, and walked with him down the long avenue of magnolias that were waving their flower-spangled branches in the morning breeze, and loading it with fragrance. Near him was the table on which her work-basket used to stand. He remembered how important he felt when permitted to hold the skeins of silk for her to wind, and how he would watch her stitch, stitch, hour after hour, at the screen that now stood beside the fire-place; the colours were faded, but the recollection of the pleasant smiles she would cast upon him from time to time, as she looked up from her work, was as fresh in his memory as if it were but yesterday. Mr. Garie was assorting and arranging the papers that the desk contained, when he heard the rattle of wheels along the avenue, and looking out of the window, he saw a carriage approaching.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse