Mr. and Mrs. Shelby, after their protracted discussion of the night before, did not readily sink to repose, and, in consequence, slept somewhat later than usual, the ensuing morning.
I wonder what keeps Eliza, said Mrs. Shelby, after giving her bell repeated pulls, to no purpose.
Mr. Shelby was standing before his dressing-glass, sharpening his razor; and just then the door opened, and a colored boy entered, with his shaving-water.
Andy, said his mistress, step to Elizas door, and tell her I have rung for her three times. Poor thing! she added, to herself, with a sigh.
Andy soon returned, with eyes very wide in astonishment.
Lor, Missis! Lizys drawers is all open, and her things all lying every which way; and I believe shes just done clared out!
The truth flashed upon Mr. Shelby and his wife at the same moment. He exclaimed,
Then she suspected it, and shes off!
The Lord be thanked! said Mrs. Shelby. I trust she is.
Wife, you talk like a fool! Really, it will be something pretty awkward for me, if she is. Haley saw that I hesitated about selling this child, and hell think I connived at it, to get him out of the way. It touches my honor! And Mr. Shelby left the room hastily.
There was great running and ejaculating, and opening and shutting of doors, and appearance of faces in all shades of color in different places, for about a quarter of an hour. One person only, who might have shed some light on the matter, was entirely silent, and that was the head cook, Aunt Chloe. Silently, and with a heavy cloud settled down over her once joyous face, she proceeded making out her breakfast biscuits, as if she heard and saw nothing of the excitement around her.
Very soon, about a dozen young imps were roosting, like so many crows, on the verandah railings, each one determined to be the first one to apprize the strange Masr of his ill luck.
Hell be rael mad, Ill be bound, said Andy.
Wont he swar! said little black Jake.
Yes, for he does swar, said woolly-headed Mandy. I hearn him yesterday, at dinner. I hearn all about it then, cause I got into the closet where Missis keeps the great jugs, and I hearn every word. And Mandy, who had never in her life thought of the meaning of a word she had heard, more than a black cat, now took airs of superior wisdom, and strutted about, forgetting to state that, though actually coiled up among the jugs at the time specified, she had been fast asleep all the time.
When, at last, Haley appeared, booted and spurred, he was saluted with the bad tidings on every hand. The young imps on the verandah were not disappointed in their hope of hearing him swar, which he did with a fluency and fervency which delighted them all amazingly, as they ducked and dodged hither and thither, to be out of the reach of his riding-whip; and, all whooping off together, they tumbled, in a pile of immeasurable giggle, on the withered turf under the verandah, where they kicked up their heels and shouted to their full satisfaction.
If I had the little devils! muttered Haley, between his teeth.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|