“Yes,” said Lawrence, emphasizing his remark with an encircling arm, “so far as we are concerned, that is the end of her.”
On the next day, old Aunt Patsy was buried. Mrs Keswick and Annie attended the ceremonies in the cabin, but they did not go to the burial. After a time, it might be in a week or two, or it might be in a year, the funeral sermon would be preached in the church, and they would go to hear that. Aunt Patsy never finished her crazy quilt, several pieces being wanted to one corner of it; but in the few days preceding her burial two old women of the congregation, with trembling hands and uncertain eyes, sewed in these pieces, and finished the quilt, in which the body of the venerable sister was wrapped, according to her well-known wish and desire. It is customary among the negroes to keep the remains of their friends a very short time after death, but Aunt Patsy had lived so long upon this earth that it was generally conceded that her spirit would not object to her body remaining above ground until all necessary arrangements should be completed, and until all people who had known or heard of her had had an opportunity of taking a last look at her. As she had been so very well known to almost everybody’s grandparents, a good many people availed themselves of this privilege.
After Mrs Keswick’s return from Aunt Patsy’s cabin, where, according to her custom, she made herself very prominent, it was noticeable that she had dropped some of the grave reserve in which she had wrapped herself during the preceding day. It was impossible for her, at least but for a very short time, to act in a manner unsuited to her nature; and reserve and constraint had never been suited to her nature. She, therefore, began to speak on general subjects in her ordinary free manner to the various persons in her house; but it must not be supposed that she exhibited any contrition for the outrageous way in which she had spoken to Annie and Lawrence, or gave them any reason to suppose that the laceration of their souls on that occasion was a matter which, at present, needed any consideration whatever from her. An angel, born of memory and imagination, might come to her from heaven, and so work upon her superstitious feelings as to induce her to stop short in her course of reckless vengeance; but she would not, on that account, fall upon anybody’s neck, or ask forgiveness for anything she had done to anybody. She did not accuse herself, nor repent; she only stopped. “After this,” she said, “you all can do as you please. I have no further concern with your affairs. Only don’t talk to me about them.”