The continued absence of Durward was now the only drawback to ’Lena’s happiness, and with a comparatively light heart, she began to anticipate her journey home. Most liberally did Mr. Graham pay for both himself and ’Lena, and Uncle Timothy, as he counted the shining coin, dropping it upon the table to make sure it was not bogus, felt quite reconciled to his recent loss of fifty dollars. Jerry, the driver, was also generously rewarded for his kindness to the stranger-girl, and just before he left, Mr. Graham offered to make him his chief overseer, if he would accompany him to Kentucky.
“You are just the man I want,” said he, “and I know you’ll like it. What do you say?”
For the sake of occasionally seeing ’Lena, whom he considered as something more than mortal, Jerry would gladly have gone, but he was a staunch abolitionist, dyed in the wool, and scratching his head, he replied, “I’m obleeged to you, but I b’lieve I’d rather drive hosses than niggers!”
“Mebby you could run one on ’em off, and so make a little sumthin’,” slyly whispered Uncle Timothy, his eyes always on the main chance, but it was no part of Jerry’s creed to make anything, and as ’Lena at that moment appeared, he beat a precipitate retreat, going out behind the church, where he watched the departure of his southern friends, saying afterward, to Mrs. Aldergrass, who chided him for his conduct, that “he never could bid nobody good-bye, he was so darned tender-hearted!”
EXCITEMENT AT MAPLE GROVE.
“’Lena been gone four weeks and father never stirred a peg after her! That is smart, I must say. Why didn’t you let me know it before!” exclaimed John Jr., as he one morning unexpectedly made his appearance at Maple grove.
During his absence Carrie had been his only correspondent, and for some reason or other she delayed telling him of ’Lena’s flight until quite recently. Instantly forgetting his resolution of not returning for a year, he came home with headlong haste, determining to start immediately after his cousin.
“I reckon if you knew all that has been said about her, you wouldn’t feel quite so anxious to get her back,” said Carrie. “For my part, I feel quite relieved at her absence.”
“Shut up your head,” roared John ’Jr. “’Lena is no more guilty than you. By George, I most cried when I heard how nobly she worked to save Anna from old Baldhead. And this is her reward! Gracious Peter! I sometimes wish there wasn’t a woman in the world!”
“If they’d all marry you, there wouldn’t be long!” retorted Carrie.
“You’ve said it now, haven’t you?” answered John Jr., while his father suggested that they stop quarreling, adding, as an apology for his own neglect, that Durward had gone after ’Lena, who was probably at Mr. Everett’s, and that he himself had advertised in all the principal papers.