He immediately went to the door, when the old lady informed him, that as Letty had not come back, and did not appear to be intending to come back, and that as none of the other servants on the place had made their appearance, he might as well come into the house, and try to satisfy his hunger on what cold food she and Mrs Null had managed to collect.
The most biting and spicy condiments of the little meal, to which the three sat down, were supplied by Mrs Keswick, who reviled without stint those utterly thoughtless and heedless colored people, who, once in the midst of their crazy religious exercises, totally forgot that they owed any duty whatever to those who employed them. Lawrence and Annie did not say much, but there was something peculiarly piquant in the way in which Annie brought and poured out the tea she had made, and which, with the exception of the old lady’s remarks, was the only warm part of the repast; and there was an element of buoyancy in the manner of Mr Croft, as he took his cup to drink the tea. Although he said little at this meal, he thought a great deal, listening not at all to Mrs Keswick’s tirades. “What a charmingly inconsiderate affair this has been!” he said to himself. “Nothing planned, nothing provided for, or against; all spontaneous, and from our very hearts. I never thought to tell her that she must say nothing to her aunt, until we had agreed how everything should, be explained, and I don’t believe the idea that it is necessary to say anything to anybody, has entered her mind. But I must keep my eyes away from her if I don’t want to bring on a premature explosion.”
Whatever might be the result of the reasoning which this young man had to do with himself, it was quite plain that he was abundantly satisfied with things as they were.
It was beginning to be dark, when Letty and Uncle Isham returned and explained why they had been so late in returning.
Old Aunt Patsy had died in church.
“Lawrence,” said Annie, on the forenoon of the next day, as they were sitting together in the parlor with the house to themselves, Mrs Keswick having gone to Aunt Patsy’s cabin to supervise proceedings there, “Lawrence, don’t you feel glad that we did not have a chance to speak to dear old Aunt Patsy about those little shoes? Perhaps she had forgotten that she had stolen them, and so went to heaven without that sin on her soul.”
“That is a very comfortable way of looking at it,” said Lawrence, “but wouldn’t it be better to assume that she did not steal them?”
“I am very sorry,” said Annie, “but that is not easy to do. But don’t let us think anything more about that. And, don’t you feel very glad that the poor old creature, who looked so happy as she sat singing and clapping her hands on her knees, didn’t die until after we had left the church? If it had happened while we were there, I don’t believe—”