“Is it that—that trouble of mules, Monsieur Clendenning?” I asked of him softly in a woman’s way for administering sympathy for distress but without the masculine discretion that I was to learn swiftly thereafter to employ.
“Don’t talk about it, for I don’t know how much either of us knows or our chief wants us to know, but Governor Williamson Faulkner is a man of honor and I’d stake my life on that. He’s being pushed hard and—Gee! Here we are at the General’s and I can smell Kizzie’s cream gravy with my mind’s nose. I understand that your father was the last Henry Carruthers of five born up in the old mahogany bedstead that the General inhabits between the hours of one and five A.M. Some shack, this of the General’s, isn’t it? Nothing finer in the State.” And as he spoke that Mr. Buzz Clendenning stopped the car before the home of my Uncle, the General Robert, and we alighted from it together.
I do not know how it is that I can put into words the beautiful feeling that rose from the inwardness of me as I stood in front of the home of my fathers in this far-away America. The entire city of Hayesville is a city of old homes, I had noticed as I drove in the gray car so rapidly along with Mr. Buzz Clendenning while he was speaking to me, but no house had been so beautiful as was this one. It was old, with almost the vine-covered age of the Chateau de Grez, but instead of being of gray stone it was of a red brick that was as warm as the embers of an oak fire with the film of ashes crusting upon it. Thus it seemed to be both red and gray beneath the vines that were casting delicate green traceries over its walls. Great white pillars were to the front of it like at the Mansion of the Gouverneur, and many wide windows and doors opened out from it. Two old oak trees which give to it the name of Twin Oaks stood at each side of the old brick walk that led from the tall gate, and as I walked under them I felt that I had from a cruel world come home.
THE GIRL BUNCH
And, if I felt in that manner as I entered the house, I felt it to a still greater degree when I was welcomed by that most lovely old black slave woman of the high temper and good cookery. She opened the door for us herself, though a nice boy the color of a chocolate bonbon stood in waiting to perform that office. She had a spoon in her hand and upon her head was a spotless white turban, as also was an apron of an equal spotlessness tied around her very large waist.
“You, Mas’ Robert, you done come home from the heathen land to keep my food waiting jest like yo’ father did from the minute I ontied him from my apron string. Come right into the dining room ’fore my gravy curdles and the liver wing I done saved for you gits too brown in the skillet,” was all of the introduction or greeting that she gave to me as she waddled along behind Mr. Buzz Clendenning