The time for the departure of the Garies having been fixed, all in the house were soon engaged in the bustle of preparation. Boxes were packed with books, pictures, and linen; plate and china were wrapped and swaddled, to prevent breakage and bruises; carpets were taken up, and packed away; curtains taken down, and looking-glasses covered. Only a small part of the house was left in a furnished state for the use of the overseer, who was a young bachelor, and did not require much space.
In superintending all these arrangements Mrs. Garie displayed great activity; her former cheerfulness of manner had entirely returned, and Mr. Garie often listened with delight to the quick pattering of her feet, as she tripped lightly through the hall, and up and down the long stairs. The birds that sang about the windows were not more cheerful than herself, and when Mr. Garie heard her merry voice singing her lively songs, as in days gone by, he experienced a feeling of satisfaction at the pleasant result of his acquiescence in her wishes. He had consented to it as an act of justice due to her and the children; there was no pleasure to himself growing out of the intended change, beyond that of gratifying Emily, and securing freedom to her and the children. He knew enough of the North to feel convinced that he could not expect to live there openly with Emily, without being exposed to ill-natured comments, and closing upon himself the doors of many friends who had formerly received him with open arms. The virtuous dignity of the Northerner would be shocked, not so much at his having children by a woman of colour, but by his living with her in the midst of them, and acknowledging her as his wife. In the community where he now resided, such things were more common; the only point in which he differed from many other Southern gentlemen in this matter was in his constancy to Emily and the children, and the more than ordinary kindness and affection with which he treated them. Mr. Garie had for many years led a very retired life, receiving an occasional gentleman visitor; but this retirement had been entirely voluntary, therefore by no means disagreeable; but in the new home he had accepted, he felt that he might be shunned, and the reflection was anything but agreeable. Moreover, he was about to leave a place endeared to him by a thousand associations. Here he had passed the whole of his life, except about four years spent in travelling through Europe and America.
Mr. Garie was seated in a room where there were many things to recall days long since departed. The desk at which he was writing was once his father’s, and he well remembered the methodical manner in which every drawer was carefully kept; over it hung a full-length portrait of his mother, and it seemed, as he gazed at it, that it was only yesterday that she had taken his little hand in her own, and walked with him down