Im sorry, if it is. I think I was premature in promising. Im not sure, now, but its the best way to tell Chloe, and let her make up her mind to it. Tomll have another wife, in a year or two; and she had better take up with somebody else.
Mr. Shelby, I have taught my people that their marriages are as sacred as ours. I never could think of giving Chloe such advice.
Its a pity, wife, that you have burdened them with a morality above their condition and prospects. I always thought so.
Its only the morality of the Bible, Mr. Shelby.
Well, well, Emily, I dont pretend to interfere with your religious notions; only they seem extremely unfitted for people in that condition.
They are, indeed, said Mrs. Shelby, and that is why, from my soul, I hate the whole thing. I tell you, my dear, I cannot absolve myself from the promises I make to these helpless creatures. If I can get the money no other way I will take music-scholars;I could get enough, I know, and earn the money myself.
You wouldnt degrade yourself that way, Emily? I never could consent to it.
Degrade! would it degrade me as much as to break my faith with the helpless? No, indeed!
Well, you are always heroic and transcendental, said Mr. Shelby, but I think you had better think before you undertake such a piece of Quixotism.
Here the conversation was interrupted by the appearance of Aunt Chloe, at the end of the verandah.
If you please, Missis, said she.
Well, Chloe, what is it? said her mistress, rising, and going to the end of the balcony.
If Missis would come and look at dis yer lot o poetry.
Chloe had a particular fancy for calling poultry poetry,an application of language in which she always persisted, notwithstanding frequent corrections and advisings from the young members of the family.
La sakes! she would say, I cant see; one jis good as turry,poetry suthin good, any how; and so poetry Chloe continued to call it.
Mrs. Shelby smiled as she saw a prostrate lot of chickens and ducks, over which Chloe stood, with a very grave face of consideration.
Im a thinkin whether Missis would be a havin a chicken pie o dese yer.
Really, Aunt Chloe, I dont much care;serve them any way you like.
Chloe stood handling them over abstractedly; it was quite evident that the chickens were not what she was thinking of. At last, with the short laugh with which her tribe often introduce a doubtful proposal, she said,
Laws me, Missis! what should Masr and Missis be a troublin theirselves bout de money, and not a usin whats right in der hands? and Chloe laughed again.
I dont understand you, Chloe, said Mrs. Shelby, nothing doubting, from her knowledge of Chloes manner, that she had heard every word of the conversation that had passed between her and her husband.
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