And with these thoughts in my mind, and remembering a certain very grave talk I had once held with Eliza in the Exchange about the North and the South, in which it was my good fortune to make her see that there is on our soil nowadays such a being as an American, who feels, wherever he goes in our native land, that it is all his, and that he belongs everywhere to it, I looked at the little John Mayrant, and then I said to his mother:—
“And will you teach him ‘Dixie’ and ‘Yankee Doodle’ as well?”
But Eliza smiled at me with friendly, inscrutable eyes.
“Oh,” said John, “you mustn’t ask too much of the ladies. I’ll see to all that.”
Perhaps he will. And an education at Harvard College need not cause the boy to forget his race, or his name, or his traditions, but only to value them more, as they should be valued. And the way that they should be valued is this: that the boy in thinking of them should say to himself, “I am proud of my ancestors; let my life make them proud of me.”
But, in any case, is it not pleasant to think of the boy being brought up by Eliza, and not by Hortense?
And so my portrait of Kings Port is finished. That the likeness is not perfect, I am only too sensible. No painter that I have heard of ever satisfies the whole family. But, should any of the St. Michaels see this picture, I trust they may observe that if some of the touches are faulty, true admiration and love of his subject animated the artist’s hand; and if Miss Josephine St. Michael should be pleased with any of it, I could wish that she might indicate this by sending me a Lady Baltimore; we have no cake here that approaches it.