“I shan’t live long to trouble anybody,” said she when asked if she would like to go, “and I’m nothin’ without ’Leny.”
So it was arranged that she should go with him, and when ’Lena returned to the house, she found her grandmother in her chamber, packing up, preparatory to her departure.
“We’ll have to come agin,” said she, “for I’ve as much as two loads.”
“Don’t take them,” interposed ’Lena. “You won’t need them, and nothing will harm them here.”
After a little, grandma was persuaded, and her last charge to Mrs. Livingstone and Carrie was, “that they keep the dum niggers from her things.”
Habit with Mrs. Nichols was everything. She had lived at Maple Grove for years, and every niche and corner of her room she understood. She knew the blacks and they knew her, and ere she was half-way to Woodlawn, she began to wish she had not started. Politely, but coldly, Mrs. Graham received her, saying “I thought, perhaps, you would return with them to spend the day!” laying great emphasis on the last words, as if that, of course, was to be the limit of her visit Grandma understood it, and it strengthened her resolution of not remaining long.
“Miss Graham don’t want to be pestered with me,” said she to ’Lena, the first time they were alone, “and I don’t mean that she shall be. ’Tilda is used to me, and she don’t mind it now, so I shall go back afore long. You can come to see me every day, and once in a while I’ll come here.”
That afternoon a heavy rain came on, and Mrs. Graham remarked to Mrs. Nichols that “she hoped she was not homesick, as there was every probability of her being obliged to stay over night!” adding, by way of comfort, that “she was going to Frankfort the next day to make purchases for ’Lena, and would take her home.”
Accordingly, the next morning Mrs. Livingstone was not very agreeably surprised by the return of her mother-in-law, who, Mrs. Graham said, “was so home-sick they couldn’t keep her.”
That night when Mrs. Graham, who was naturally generous, returned from the city, she left at Maple Grove a large bundle for grandma, consisting of dresses, aprons, caps, and the like, which she had purchased as a sort or peace-offering, or reward, rather, for her having decamped so quietly from Woodlawn. But the poor old lady did not live to wear them. Both her mind and body were greatly impaired, and for two or three years she had been failing gradually. There was no particular disease, but a general breaking up of the springs of life, and a few weeks after ’Lena’s arrival at Woodlawn,, they made another grave on the sunny slope, and Mabel no longer slept alone.