“Don’t for mercy’s sake,
let Alice Johnson get a sight of this
letter. I wonder if Dr. Richards did fancy her. Send the money,
send the money.
“P.S.—One day later. Rejoice, oh, rejoice! and give ear. The doctor has actually asked the question, and I blushingly referred him to mamma, but he seemed to think this unnecessary, took alarm at once, and pressed the matter until I said yea. Aren’t you glad? But one thing is sure—Hugh must sell a nigger to get me a handsome outfit. There’s Mug, always under foot, doing no one any good. She’ll bring six hundred any day, she’s so bright and healthy. Lulu he must give out and out for a waiting maid. Madam expects it. And now one word more; if Adah Hastings has not got over her idea of going to Terrace Hill, she must get over it. Coax, advise, plead with, threaten, or even throttle her, if necessary—anything to keep her back.
“Yours, in ecstatic distress,
So absorbed were Hugh and his mother in that letter as not to hear the howl of fear echoing through the hall, as Mug fled in terror from the dreaded new owner to whom Master Hugh was to sell her. Neither did they hear the catlike tread with which Lulu glided past the door, taking the same direction Mug had gone, namely, to Alice Johnson’s room.
Lulu had been sitting by the open window at the end of the hall, and had heard every word of this letter, while Mug had reached the threshold in time to hear all that was said about selling her. Instinctively both turned for protection to Alice, but Mug was the first to reach her. Throwing herself upon her knees, she sobbed frantically.
“You buys me, Miss Alice. You give Mar’s Hugh six hundred dollars for me, so’t he can get Miss ‘Lina’s weddin’ finery. I’ll be good, I will. I’ll learn do Lord’s Prar, an’ de Possums Creed, ebery word on’t; will you, Miss Alice, say?”
Alice tried to wrest her muslin dress from the child’s grasp, asking what she meant.
“I know, I’ll tell,” and Lulu, scarcely less excited, but far more capable of restraining herself, advanced into the room, and ere the bewildered Alice could well understand what it all meant, or make more than a feeble attempt to stop her, she had repeated rapidly the entire contents of ’Lina’s letter.