“Black or white?”
“A young lady, I said. Don’t be sarcastic.”
“I heard you. I did not know whether you were using our language or others’.”
“She’s really unusual, and seems to understand things. She’s planning to call some day—shall you be at home?”
“Certainly not, Harry; you’re crazy.” And she strolled out to the porch, exchanged some remarks with a passing servant, and then nestled comfortably into a hammock. She helped herself to a chocolate and called out musically:
“Pa, are you going to town today?”
“Can I go?”
“I’m going in an hour or so, and business at the bank will keep me until after lunch.”
“I don’t care, I just must go. I’m clean out of anything to read. And I want to shop and call on Dolly’s friend—she’s going soon.”
“All right. Can you be ready by eleven?”
“Yes—I reckon,” she drawled, prettily swinging her foot and watching the tree-tops above the distant swamp.
Harry Cresswell, left alone, rang the bell for the butler.
“Still thinking of going, are you, Sam?” asked Cresswell, carelessly, when the servant appeared. He was a young, light-brown boy, his manner obsequious.
“Why, yes, sir—if you can spare me.”
“Spare you, you black rascal! You’re going anyhow. Well, you’ll repent it; the North is no place for niggers. See here, I want lunch for two at one o’clock.” The directions that followed were explicit and given with a particularity that made Sam wonder. “Order my trap,” he finally directed.
Cresswell went out on the high-pillared porch until the trap appeared.
“Oh, Harry! I wanted to go in the trap—take me?” coaxed his sister.
“Sorry, Sis, but I’m going the other way.”
“I don’t believe it,” said Miss Cresswell, easily, as she settled down to another chocolate. Cresswell did not take the trouble to reply.
Miss Taylor was on her morning walk when she saw him spinning down the road, and both expressed surprise and pleasure at the meeting.
“What a delightful morning!” said the school-teacher, and the glow on her face said even more.
“I’m driving round through the old plantation,” he explained; “won’t you join me?”
“The invitation is tempting,” she hesitated; “but I’ve got just oodles of work.”
“What! on Saturday?”
“Saturday is my really busy day, don’t you know. I guess I could get off; really, though, I suspect I ought to tell Miss Smith.”
He looked a little perplexed; but the direction in which her inclinations lay was quite clear to him.
“It—it would be decidedly the proper thing,” he murmured, “and we could, of course, invite Miss—”
She saw the difficulty and interrupted him:
“It’s quite unnecessary; she’ll think I have simply gone for a long walk.” And soon they were speeding down the silent road, breathing the perfume of the pines.