The girls have known him since they were babies, of course, and it is such fun to hear him talking to them, a mixture of authority, worshipping affection, and familiarity, which I believe only old niggers can have.
“A pretty sight to see dem tree young ladies as happy as birds in dar nests;” we heard him telling Gaston just outside, when he met on his way to the bath (there are two lovely bath-rooms).
So Gaston said he was sure the coffee-pot was heavy and he could not hold so many plates, and he would with pleasure help him with our breakfast. But Tom, who joined them, said Marcus Aurelius must not set fire to tinder, and that he was the only one of the party who could be considered suitable to be morning waiter, being my cousin and a married man. We were so entertained beyond the open door, and were quite surprised at Gaston’s silence, until we saw his face reflected in the looking glass, where he had been gazing at us all the time through the crack! What a mercy on a picnic of this kind that we all look so lovely in bed! We felt it our duty to scream, and then Marcus Aurelius shut the door. Are you fearfully shocked at my being so schoolgirlish, Mamma? Don’t be, I shall get old directly I get back home, and it is all the infectious gaiety of these dear merry girls.
Everybody was ready for breakfast, and we had rather a squash to get seated, and had to be very near. Mr. Renour was next me, and he is simply delightful in a party; and the friend, Octavia says, is exactly her affair, as she is past thirty, and he is a charming boy of twenty-two.
There is a nigger cook and he makes such lovely corn cakes and rolls and agreeable breakfast dishes, and we were all so hungry.
Mr. Renour had been down to this other place on business, and there waited to board us sooner.
The country seemed to grow more desolate and grim as we went on. After breakfast we sat outside in the observation car together, and he told me all about it, and the way they prospect to find the ore. And everything one hears makes one respect their pluck and endurance more. He asked me to call him Nelson; he said Mr. Renour was so “kinder stiff” and he wasn’t used to it, so I did, but the good taste which characterizes everything about him made him never suggest he should be familiar with me. He was just as gentle and dear as anyone could be, and seemed to be trying to efface the remembrance in my mind that he had ever rather made love to me.
Life had always been so kind to him, he said, even though from a child he had always had to work so hard. He said the Senator was the biggest man he had ever seen (meaning by that the biggest soul), and it was owing to his help and encouragement and splendid advice, that he had been able to stand out against the other sharks who wanted to get the shares of his mine when at one moment he was a “bit shaky”; and now all was well, and he would soon be many times