Thus, in the performance of first one little job and then another, the day wore away; and as the hour approached at which the guests were invited, Charlie, after being taken into the dining-room by Robberts, where he was greatly amazed at the display of silver, cut glass, and elegant china, was posted at the door to relieve the guests of their coats and hats, which duty he performed to the entire satisfaction of all parties concerned.
At dinner, however, he was not so fortunate. He upset a plate of soup into a gentleman’s lap, and damaged beyond repair one of the elegant china vegetable dishes. He took rather too deep an interest in the conversation for a person in his station; and, in fact, the bright boy alluded to by Mr. Winston, as having corrected the reverend gentleman respecting the quotation from Chaucer, was no other than our friend Charlie Ellis.
In the evening, when the guests were departing, Charlie handed Mr. Winston his coat, admiring the texture and cut of it very much as he did so. Mr. Winston, amused at the boy’s manner, asked—
“What is your name, my little man?”
“Charles Ellis,” was the prompt reply. “I’m named after my father.”
“And where did your father come from, Charlie?” he asked, looking very much interested.
“From Savanah, sir. Now tell me where you came from,” replied Charles.
“I came from New Orleans,” said Mr. Winston, with a smile. “Now tell me,” he continued, “where do you live when you are with your parents? I should like to see your father.” Charlie quickly put his interrogator in possession of the desired information, after which Mr. Winston departed, soon followed by the other guests.
Charlie lay for some time that night on his little cot before he could get to sleep; and amongst the many matters that so agitated his mind, was his wonder what one of Mrs. Thomas’s guests could want with his father. Being unable however, to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion respecting it, he turned over and went to sleep.
In which Mr. Winston finds an old Friend.
In the early part of Mr. Winston’s career, when he worked as a boy on the plantation of his father, he had frequently received great kindness at the hands of one Charles Ellis, who was often employed as carpenter about the premises.
On one occasion, as a great favour, he had been permitted to accompany Ellis to his home in Savanah, which was but a few miles distant, where he remained during the Christmas holidays. This kindness he had never forgotten; and on his return to Georgia from New Orleans he sought for his old friend, and found he had removed to the North, but to which particular city he could not ascertain.
As he walked homewards, the strong likeness of little Charlie to his old friend forced itself upon him, and the more he reflected upon it the more likely it appeared that the boy might be his child; and the identity of name and occupation between the father of Charlie and his old friend led to the belief that he was about to make some discovery respecting him.