“Then I’ll see you again soon,” she said and smiled at me as I stood with my hat in my hand as she went away from me down the street.
“Vive la France and Harpeth America!” I said to myself as I ascended the steps, was admitted by the Bonbon and conducted up the stairway to my apartments by good Kizzie, whom I met in the wide hall.
And there ensued an hour of the greatest interest to me as the very good old slave woman led me from one of the rooms in the large house to another, with many stories of great interest. At last we came to that room in which had been deposited my bags and my other equipment for my journey and there we made a very long pause.
“This is your Grandma Carruthers’ room, the General’s grandma, and she was the high-headedest lady of the whole family. That am her portrait over the mantelshelf. You is jest like her as two peas in the pod and I reckin I’ll have to take a stick to you like I did to yo’ father when he was most growed up and stole all the fruitcake I had done baked in July fer Christmas,” she said with a wide smile of great affection upon her very large mouth.
“I beg that you put under a key that cake, beloved Madam Kizzie,” I made answer to her with also a laugh.
“Never was no key to nothing in this house, chile,” she answered to me. “I ’lowed to the Gener’l that he had oughter git a lock and key fer this here flowered silk dress in the glass case on the wall dat de ole Mis’ wore at the ball where she met up with Mas’ Carruthers, but they do say that she comes back and walks as a ha’nt all dressed in it and these here slippers and stockings and folderols in the carved box on the table here under her picture. Is you ’fraid of ha’nts, honey?”
“I will not be afraid of this beautiful Grandmamma in this dress of so great magnificence, my good Kizzie,” I made answer to her with more of courage than I at that moment felt.
“Well, it’s only in case of a death in the house that she—Lands alive, am that my cake burning?” With which exclamation the good Kizzie left me to the company of the beautiful Grandmamma.
After having unpacked and nicely put away all of the apparel from my two large bags, the fine Bonbon retired below to answer a summons from good Kizzie, and left me alone for the first time since I had opened my eyes that morning while being whirled in the railway train down into the State of Harpeth. I looked at the hunting watch strapped to my wrist, which I had worn while traveling, and saw that it was after five o’clock, and I felt that I must sleep before dining, if for only a moment.
Thereupon I immediately climbed slowly and awkwardly out of that gray tweed suit of clothes. I did so wonder what could be the best method of releasing one’s self from trousers. It is a feat of balance to stand on one foot and remove one portion of the two sides of the trousers, and yet it is an entanglement to drop the two portions upon the floor and attempt to step out of them with the shoes upon your feet. Having succeeded in getting out of them the last night when prone upon the sleeping shelf of the railroad train, without injury to them, I again prostrated myself upon the huge bed in my room and disentangled myself from them while in that position.