“I think,” said Mr. Garie, “I can show you at least one exception, and that too without much trouble. Sarah,” he cried, “bring me a light.”
“Oh,” said Mrs. Stevens, “I suppose you refer to Walters—it is true he is an exception; but he is the only coloured person I ever saw that could make the least pretension to anything like refinement or respectability.
“Let me show you another,” said Mr. Garie, as he took the lamp from the servant and placed it upon the table near his wife.
As the light fell on her face, their visitor saw that she belonged to the very class that she had been abusing in such unmeasured terms and so petrified was she with confusion at the faux pas she had committed, that she was entirely unable to improvise the slightest apology.
Mrs. Garie, who had been reclining on the lounge, partially raised herself and gave Mrs. Stevens a withering look. “I presume, madam,” said she, in a hurried and agitated tone, “that you are very ignorant of the people upon whom you have just been heaping such unmerited abuse, and therefore I shall not think so hardly of you as I should, did I deem your language dictated by pure hatred; but, be its origin what it may, it is quite evident that our farther acquaintance could be productive of no pleasure to either of us—you will, therefore, permit me,” continued she, rising with great dignity, “to wish you good evening;” and thus speaking, she left the room.
Mrs. Stevens was completely demolished by this unexpected denouement of her long-meditated visit, and could only feebly remark to Mr. Garie that it was getting late, and she would go; and rising, she suffered herself to be politely bowed out of the house. In her intense anxiety to relate to her husband the scene which had just occurred, she could not take time to go round and through the gate, but leaped lightly over the low fence that divided the gardens, and rushed precipitately into the presence of her husband.
“Good heavens! George, what do you think?” she exclaimed; “I’ve had such a surprise!”
“I should think that you had, judging from appearances,” replied he. “Why, your eyes are almost starting out of your head! What on earth has happened?” he asked, as he took the shade off the lamp to get a better view of his amiable partner.
“You would not guess in a year,” she rejoined; “I never would have dreamed it—I never was so struck in my life!”
“Struck with what? Do talk sensibly, Jule, and say what all this is about,” interrupted her husband, in an impatient manner. “Come, out with it—what has happened?”
“Why, would you have thought it,” said she; “Mrs. Garie is a nigger woman—a real nigger—she would be known as such anywhere?”
It was now Mr. Stevens’s turn to be surprised. “Why, Jule,” he exclaimed, “you astonish me! Come, now, you’re joking—you don’t mean a real black nigger?”