Ardelia lumbered out, after a while, to sit near by, her slow movements and her beaming smile far from conducive to a state of excitement.
“Mighty purty out here, ain’t it?”
“I reckon Massa Jarvis be mighty glad to be home, a-sittin’ here a-seedin’ cherries ’longside ob you?”
“Jarvis never did anything so useful. As for being alongside of me, that doesn’t interest him at all.”
“Yo’re suttinly the onlovingest bride and groom I’ve eber seen. You ain’t neber lovin’ nor kissin’ nor nottin’, when I come aroun’.”
“Mercy no, Ardelia!”
“I ‘low if I was married to such a han’som’ man, like Massa Jarvis, I’d be a lovin’ ob him all the time.”
“Suppose he wouldn’t let you?”
“Can’t tell me der’s a man libin’ who wouldn’t be crazy fur yo’ to lub him, Miss Bambi. Look at dat Mister Strong keeps a-comin’ here.”
“What about him?” asked Bambi in surprise.
“I see him lookin’ at you. I see him.”
“Nonsense! He has to look at me to talk with me.”
“He don’ need to do no talkin’, wid his eyes a-workin’ like dat.”
“You old romancer!”
“Look a-heah, chile, dose cherries fo’ to preserve. Dey ain’t fo’ eatin’. You’re eatin’ two and puttin’ one in de pan.”
Bambi made a face at her.
“What is your opinion of men, Ardelia?”
“I tink dey’s all right in dey place.”
“Where’s their place?”
“Out in the kennel wid the dawg!” said Ardelia, shaking with laughter. “All ‘cepin’ the Perfessor and Massa Jarvis,” she added.
“You think they are a lower order, do you?”
“Yassum. I sho’ do. Mos’ of dem just clutterin’ up the earth.”
“That’s the reason you don’t take that Johnson man on for good, is it?”
“Sho’! I ain’t a-goin’ to cook and wash fo’ no nigger dat ain’t got no appreciashun, when I can cook and wash fo’ the Perfessor dat know a lady when he sees her.”
“But he so infrequently sees her,” giggled Bambi, sotto voce.
“No, ma’am, I’s eatin’ my white bread right here, and I knows it. I ain’t goin’ to experimentify wid no marryin’, nor givin’ in marriage.”
“In your case, I believe you’re right. In my own, however, I know that, mad as I am this morning, ‘experimentification’ is the breath of life to me.”
They spent the morning in such peaceful converse. While Bambi may not have added greatly to the cherry-pitting, she rose rested and with a collected mind.
“Ardelia, I thank you for a dose of calm,” she said, laying her hand affectionately on the black woman’s broad shoulder.
“Law, honey, I done enjoyed your sassiety,” she said, laughing and patting her hand.
Within the course of a few days Bambi had an appeal from Jarvis:
“Are you ill? Is anything the matter? Are you merely tired of me that you do not write? Your letters are the only event of my days.”