She could not restrain the tears as she dressed little Em, whose eyes were large with astonishment at being sent home from school at so early an hour.
“Teacher, is school out?” asked she.
“No, dear, not quite; I wanted to send a note to your pa, and so I have let Clary go home sooner than usual,” replied Miss Jordan, kissing her repeatedly, whilst the tears were trickling down her cheek.
“Don’t cry, teacher, I love you,” said the little blue-eyed angel, whose lip began to quiver in sympathy; “don’t cry, I’ll come back again to-morrow.”
This was too much for the poor teacher, who clasped the child in her arms, and gave way to a burst of uncontrollable sorrow. At last, conquering herself with an effort, she led the children down stairs, kissed them both again, and then opening the door she turned them forth into the street—turned away from her school these two little children, such as God received into his arms and blessed, because they were the children of a “nigger woman.”
Mr. Stevens makes a Discovery.
“Well, Jule, old Aunt Tabitha is gone at last, and I am not at all sorry for it, I assure you; she’s been a complete tax upon me for the last eight years. I suppose you won’t lament much, nor yet go into mourning for her,” continued Mr. Stevens, looking at her jocularly.
“I’m not sorry, that I admit,” rejoined Mrs. Stevens; “the poor old soul is better off, no doubt; but then there’s no necessity to speak of the matter in such an off-hand manner.”
“Now, Jule, I beg you won’t attempt to put on the sanctified; that’s too much from you, who have been wishing her dead almost every day for the last eight years. Why, don’t you remember you wished her gone when she had a little money to leave; and when she lost that, you wished her off our hands because she had none. Don’t pretend to be in the least depressed; that won’t do with me.”
“Well, never mind that,” said Mrs. Stevens, a little confused; “what has become of her things—her clothing, and furniture?”
“I’ve ordered the furniture to be sold; and all there is of it will not realize sufficient to pay her funeral expenses. Brixton wrote me that she has left a bundle of letters directed to me, and I desired him to send them on.”
“I wonder what they can be,” said Mrs. Stevens.
“Some trash, I suppose; an early love correspondence, of but little value to any one but herself. I do not expect that they will prove of any consequence whatever.”
“Don’t you think one or the other of us should go to the funeral?” asked Mrs. Stevens. “Nonsense. No! I have no money to expend in that way—it is as much as I can do to provide comfortably for the living, without spending money to follow the dead,” replied he; “and besides, I have a case coming on in the Criminal Court next week that will absorb all my attention.”