“Her mother cannot be aware of it, then; for she has forbidden her children to associate with mine,” rejoined Mrs. Garie. “I wonder she permits her little girl to go to the same school. I don’t think she knows it, or it is very likely she would take her away.”
“Has she ever spoken to you since the night of her visit?” asked Esther.
“Never! I have seen her a great many times since; she never speaks, nor do I. There she goes now. That,” continued Mrs. Garie, with a smile, “is another illustration of the truthfulness of the old adage, ’Talk of—well, I won’t say who,—’and he is sure to appear.’” And, thus speaking, she turned from the window, and was soon deeply occupied in the important work of preparing for the expected little stranger. Mrs. Garie was mistaken in her supposition that Mrs. Stevens was unaware that Clarence and little Em attended the same school to which her own little girl had been sent; for the evening before the conversation we have just narrated, she had been discussing the matter with her husband.
“Here,” said she to him, “is Miss Jordan’s bill for the last quarter. I shall never pay her another; I am going to remove Lizzy from that school.”
“Remove her! what for? I thought I heard you say, Jule, that the child got on excellently well there,—that she improved very fast?”
“So she does, as far as learning is concerned; but she is sitting right next to one of those Garie children, and that is an arrangement I don’t at all fancy. I don’t relish the idea of my child attending the same school that niggers do; so I’ve come to the determination to take her away.”
“I should do no such thing,” coolly remarked Mr. Stevens. “I should compel the teacher to dismiss the Garies, or I should break up her school. Those children have no right to be there whatever. I don’t care a straw how light their complexions are, they are niggers nevertheless, and ought to go to a nigger school; they are no better than any other coloured children. I’ll tell you what you can do, Jule,” continued he: “call on Mrs. Kinney, the Roths, and one or two others, and induce them to say that if Miss Jordan won’t dismiss the Garies that they will withdraw their children; and you know if they do, it will break up the school entirely. If it was any other person’s children but his, I would wink at it; but I want to give him a fall for his confounded haughtiness. Just try that plan, Jule, and you will be sure to succeed.”
“I am not so certain about it, Stevens. Miss Jordan, I learn, is very fond of their little Em. I must say I cannot wonder at it. She is the most loveable little creature I ever saw. I will say that, if her mother is a nigger.”
“Yes, Jule, all that may be; but I know the world well enough to judge that, when she becomes fully assured that it will conflict with her interests to keep them, she will give them up. She is too poor to be philanthropic, and, I believe, has sufficient good sense to know it.”