The severe lady is superintending the movements of the brisk negro boy who attends to breakfast, when the Squire himself, a fat, rosy, good-humored old gentleman, in short breeches and ruffles, makes his appearance, rubbing his hands and laughing.
Then, behind him, rosier than her father, dewy like the morning, and angelic generally, behold our little heroine—Miss Redbud Summers.
Redbud—she received this pretty name when she was a baby, and as usually befalls Virginia maidens, never has been able to get rid of it. Redbud is a lovely little creature, whom it is a delight to look upon. She has a profusion of light, curling hair, a fine fresh, tender complexion, deep, mild eyes, and a mouth of that innocent and artless expression which characterizes childhood. She is about sixteen, and has just emerged from short dresses, by particular request and gracious permission from Miss Lavinia, who is major-domo and manager in general. Redbud is, therefore, clad in the morning-dress of young ladies of the period. Her sleeves are ornamented with fluttering ribbons, and her hair is brushed back in the fashion now styled Pompadour, but quite unpowdered. Her ears, for even heroines are possessed of them, are weighed down by heavy golden ear-rings, and a cloud of plain lace runs round her neck, and gently rubs her throat. Pensiveness and laughter chase each other over her fresh little face, like floating clouds;—she is a true child of the South.
The Squire sits down in the large chair, in the corner of the fire-place, and takes Miss Redbud on his knee. Then commences a prattle on the part of the young lady, interrupted by much laughter from the old gentleman; then the Squire swears profanely at indolent Caesar, his spaniel, who, lying on the rug before the fire, stretches his hind feet sleepily, and so makes an assault upon his master’s stockings; then breakfast is ready, and grace being devoutly said, they all sit down, and do that justice to the meal which Virginians never omit. Redbud is the soul of the room, however, and even insists upon a romp with the old gentleman, as he goes forth to mount his horse.
The Squire thus disappears toward the barn. Miss Lavinia superintends the household operation of “washing up the tea things,” and Redbud puts on her sun-bonnet, and goes to take a stroll.
Verty and his companions.
Redbud is sauntering over the sward, and listening to the wind in the beautiful fallwoods, when, from those woods which stretch toward the West, emerges a figure, which immediately rivets her attention. It is a young man of about eighteen, mounted on a small, shaggy-coated horse, and clad in a wild forest costume, which defines clearly the outline of a person, slender, vigorous, and graceful. Over his brown forehead and smiling face, droops a wide hat, of soft