“You’ll be careful about ’Lina?”
Yes, Adah would be careful, and to Alice she whispered:
“I’ll write after I get there, but you must not answer it at least not till I say you may. Good-by.”
* * * * *
“Come, mother, we are waiting for you,” Hugh said.
At the sound of Hugh’s voice she started and replied:
“Oh, yes, I remember—we are to visit the penitentiary. Dear me,” and in a kind of absent way, Mrs. Worthington took Hugh’s arm, and the party proceeded on their way to the huge building known as the Frankfort Penitentiary. Hugh was well acquainted with the keeper, who admitted them cheerfully, and ushered them at once into the spacious yard.
Pleased with Alice’s enthusiastic interest in everything he said, the keeper was quite communicative, pointing out the cells of any noted felons, repeating little incidents of daring attempts to escape, and making the visit far more entertaining than the party had expected.
“This,” he said, opening a narrow door, “this belongs to the negro stealer, Sullivan. You know him, Mrs. Worthington. He ran off the old darky you now own, old Sam, I mean.”
“I’d like to see Mr. Sullivan,” Alice said. “I saw old Sam when he was in Virginia.”
“We’ll find him on the ropewalk. We put our hardest customers there. Not that he gives us trouble, for he does not, and I rather like the chap, but we have a spite against these Yankee negro stealers,” was the keeper’s reply, as he led the way to the long low room, where groups of men walked up and down—up and down—holding the long line of hemp, which, as far as they were concerned, would never come to an end until the day of their release.
“That’s he,” the keeper whispered to Alice, who had fallen behind Hugh and his mother. “That’s he, just turning this way—the one to the right.”
Alice nodded in token that she understood, and then stood watching while he came up. Mrs. Worthington and Hugh were watching too, not him particularly, for they did not even know which was Sullivan, but stood waiting for the whole long line advancing slowly toward them, their eyes cast down with conscious shame, as if they shrank from being seen. One of them, however, was wholly unabashed. He thought it probable the keeper would point him out; he knew they used to do so when he first came there, but he did not care; he rather liked the notoriety, and when he saw that Alice seemed waiting for him, he fixed his keen eyes on her, starting at the sight of so much beauty, end never even glancing at the other visitors, at Mrs. Worthington and Hugh, who, a little apart from each other, saw him at the same moment, both turning cold and faint, the one with surprise, and the other with a horrid, terrible fear.