“I don’t believe it was Holden. I believe it was all a plan between you and some other fellow to git me into the scrape. Come, now, Prime,” he said, moderating his voice into a less ill-natured tone, “tell us, and I’ll let you off this time.”
“O, Lord!” exclaimed Primus, lifting up his hands, with open palms, and rolling up his eyes towards the moon, “de man is crazy wid de fright, and he see Missa Holden, too, widin two tree feet.”
He turned now on his way home, as if disdaining longer converse with one who refused to listen to reason. The constable followed at his side, growling the whole way, and reproaching the General with his perfidy, the latter protesting it was Basset’s own fault, “when he knew dere was a hole dere,” and that he would have nothing to do with him, or with the cunning old man, for the future. Upon arriving at the bars, Primus, notwithstanding his indignation at the suspicion cast on his honor, courteously invited Basset to take a drink with him, but the latter, suspecting, perhaps, another snare, was in no humor to accept the invitation; and, turning away without even noticing the black’s good-night, directed hasty steps towards the lights of the town.
“Who called you forth from night
and utter death,
From dark and icy caverns, called you forth,
Down those precipitous black-jagged rocks,
For ever shattered, and the same for ever?
Who gave you your invulnerable life,
Your strength, your speed, your fury, and your joy,
Unceasing thunder and eternal foam?”
William Bernard had, of late, been more than usually attracted to the society of Faith. In habits of familiar intercourse with the family of the Armstrongs, from his childhood, and admitted to almost the same degree of intimacy which exists between brothers and sisters with the little black-eyed girl whom, in winter, he drew on his sled, with Anne, to school, and, to fill whose apron, he shook chestnuts and walnuts from the trees, in autumn, he and Faith had never had, during the earlier period of their acquaintance, feelings other than those attaching one to another, members of the same household. The fact that Faith had no brother, taken in connection with her love for Anne, had caused her to lean more on William, and be willing to call upon him for a thousand little services, which he was as ready to grant as she to ask. These, in the years of childhood, were rewarded by a kiss, or permission to ride on her rocking-horse, or to make calls, with Anne and herself, on their dolls, and so forth; but as years rolled on, and vague feelings and shadowy intimations assumed definiteness, a delicate veil of reserve imperceptibly interposed itself, as effectual to bar the former familiarity as if a Chinese wall had been built between them. Yet, for years, no warmer sentiment succeeded; and, though William Bernard felt pleasure in the society of his beautiful neighbor, he experienced no uneasiness in her absence.