Accordingly, as it was now dark, the children were set at work gathering blocks, chips, sticks, dried twigs, and leaves, and by the time John Jr. appeared, they had collected quite a pile. Not knowing how he would like it, they all took to their heels, except Thomas Jefferson, who, having some of his mother’s spirit, stood his ground, replying, when asked what they were about, that they were “gwine to celebrate Miss ’Lena.” Taking in the whole fun at once, John Jr. called out, “Good! come back here, you scapegraces.”
Scarcely had he uttered these words, when from behind the lye-leach, the smoke-house and the trees, emerged the little darkies, their eyes and ivories shining with the expected frolic. Taught by John Jr., they hurrahed at the top of their voices when the flames burst up, and one little fellow, not yet able to talk plain, made his bare, shining legs fly like drumsticks as he shouted, “Huyah for Miss ’Leny Yivers Gayum——”
“Bellmont, too, say,” whispered John Jr., as he saw Carrie on the back piazza.
“Bellmont, too, say,” yelled the youngster, leaping so high as to lose his balance.
Rolling over the green-sward like a ball, he landed at the feet of Carrie, who, spurning him as she would a toad, went back to the parlor, where for more than an hour she cried from pure vexation.
ARRIVAL AT WOODLAWN.
It was a warm September night at Woodlawn. The windows were open, and through the richly-wrought curtains the balmy air of evening was stealing, mingling its delicious perfume of flowers without with the odor of those which drooped from the many costly vases which adorned the handsome parlors. Lamps were burning, casting a mellow light over the gorgeous furniture, while in robes of snowy white the mistress of the mansion flitted from room to room, a little nervous, a little fidgety, and, without meaning to be so, a little cross. For more than two hours she had waited for her husband, delaying the supper, which the cook, quite as anxious as herself, pronounced spoiled by the delay.
According to promise the party from Maple Grove had arrived, with the exception of John Jr., who had generously remained with his grandmother, she having been purposely omitted in the invitation. From the first, Mrs. Graham had decided that Mrs. Nichols should never live at Woodlawn, and she thought it proper to have it understood at once. Accordingly, as she was conducting Mrs. Livingstone and Carrie to ’Lena’s room, she casually remarked, “I’ve made no provision for Mrs. Nichols, except as an occasional visitor, for of course she will remain with her son. She is undoubtedly much attached to your family, and will be happier there!”
“This ’Lena’s!” interrupted Carrie, ere her mother had time to reply. “It’s the very best chamber in the house—Brussels carpets, marble and rosewood furniture, damask curtains. Why, she’ll hardly know how to act,” she continued, half unconsciously, as she gazed around the elegant apartment, which, with one of her unaccountable freaks, Mrs. Graham had fitted up with the utmost taste.