The day was just beginning to come with its light from behind the very large and crooked old mountain that is called Old Harpeth, when my Gouverneur Faulkner made me to turn my good Cherry from off the main road into a little road, of much narrowness and of beautiful brown dirt the color of the riding trousers that I wore, and stop beside a very humble, small house, which was covered with a vine in beautiful bud, and around which many chickens hovered in waiting for a morning breakfast. Behind the small house was a large barn and as I made a nice turn and stop beside the white gate a man in a blue garment that I now know is called overalls, came to the door of the barn.
“Hello, Bud. Are Lightfoot and Steady in good condition for a trip across to Turkey-Gulch?” called my Gouverneur Faulkner as he alighted from the car.
“Fit as fiddles, Governor Bill,” answered the man as he came to the gate to shake hands with the Gouverneur Faulkner. “’Light and come in to breakfast. Granny has got a couple of chickens already in the skillet. And say, I want you to see what Mandy have got in the bed with her. Ten pounds, Gov.”
“Congratulations, Bud; that is some—boy?” said my Gouverneur Faulkner with a question as he again grasped the hand of the large man.
“Naw, Gov; we didn’t have no luck this first shot but I tells Mandy that we’ve got about a dozen more chanstes if she does as well by me as she oughter. Anyway what’s the matter with a gal child?” And the nice young father of the poor little female made a bristle of his disposition in defense of his daughter.
“Not a thing on earth, Bud; except that the whole sex are the unknown quantity. This is my secretary, Robert Carruthers, the General’s nephew. Come in, Robert, and you’ll have one square meal in your life if you never get another. Get me the usual food wallet together, Bud, please, and let me have it and the horses the very moment I’ve swallowed the last bite of my drum bone, will you? We’ve got to ride fast and far to-day and I want nobody on my trail. Understand?”
“Yep, Gov,” was the answer that good Bud man made as my Gouverneur Faulkner and I took our way through many chickens into the low little house.
“God bless my soul, if here ain’t the Governor come for a bite with Granny Bell this fine morning!” exclaimed a very nice old lady from above a stove, which was steaming with food of such an odor as to create a madness in my very empty stomach.
“More than any bite, Granny,” answered my Gouverneur Faulkner as he came beside the stove to shake hands with the nice hostess.
“I’d like to feed you some gold, fried in silk. Governor Bill, fer that mercy to my nephew Timms. I can’t say what I feels and finish this cream gravy the right color for you,” and as she spoke the fine old friend of my Gouverneur Faulkner wept as she shook a steaming sauce in a black pan and turned with the left hand a golden piece of bread upon another part of the stove.