The Flower of the Chapdelaines eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 160 pages of information about The Flower of the Chapdelaines.

She kissed my hand as she added good-by.  “Why, Sidney!” I laughed, “you mean good night, don’t you?”

She bent low, tittered softly, and then, with a swift return to her beautiful straightness, said:  “But still, Miss Maud, who eveh know when dey say good night dat it ain’t good-by?” She fondled my hand between her two as she backed away, kissed it fervently again, and was gone.

When I awoke my aunt stood in broad though sunless daylight at the bedside, with the waking cup of coffee which it was Sidney’s wont to bring.  I started from the pillow.  “Oh! what—­who—­wh’—­where’s Sidney?  Why—­how long has it been raining?”

“It began at break of day,” she replied, adding pensively, “thank God.”

“Oh! were we in such bad need of rain?”

They were—­precisely when it came.  Rain never came straighter from heaven.”

“They?”—­I stared.

“Yes; Silas and Hester—­and Sidney—­and Mingo.  They must have started soon after moonrise, and had the whole bright night, with its black shadows, for going.”

“For going where, auntie; going where?”

“Then the rain came in God’s own hour,” she continued, as if wholly to herself, “and washed out their trail.”

I sprang from the bed.  “Aunt ’Liza!”

“Yes, Maud, they’ve run away, and if only they may get away.  God be praised!”

Of course, I cried like an infant.  I threw myself upon her bosom.  “Oh, auntie, auntie, I’m afraid it’s my fault!  But when I tell you how far I was from meaning it——­”

“Don’t tell me a word, my child; I wish it were my fault; I’d like to be in your shoes.  And, I don’t care how right slavery is, I’ll never own a darky again!”

One day some two months after, at home again with father.  Just as I was leaving the house on some errand, Sidney—­ragged, wet, and bedraggled as a lost dog—­sprang into my arms.  When I had got her reclothed and fed I eagerly heard her story.  Three of the four had come safely through; poor Mingo had failed; if I ever tell of him it must be at some other time.  In the course of her tale I asked about the compass.

“Dat little trick?” she said fondly.  “Oh, yass’m, it wah de salvation o’ de Lawd ‘pon cloudy nights; but time an’ ag’in us had to sepa’ate, ‘llowin’ fo’ to rejine togetheh on de bank o’ de nex’ creek, an’ which, de Lawd a-he’pin’ of us, h-it al’ays come to pass; an’ so, afteh all, Miss Maud, de one thing what stan’ us de bes’ frien’ night ’pon night, next to Gawd hisse’f, dat wah his clock in de ske-eye.”

VI

“Landry,” Chester said next day, bringing back the magazine barely half an hour after the book-shop had reopened, “that’s a true story!”

“Ah, something inside tells you?”

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The Flower of the Chapdelaines from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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