“If it were only fifty dollars, it would not seem so bad,” she thought. Hugh could manage it some way, and Mr. Harney was so good natured; he could wait a year, she knew. But the making would cost ten dollars more, for that was the price Miss Allis charged, to say nothing of the trimmings. “No, I can’t,” she said, quite decidedly, at last, asking for the lace with which she at first intended renovating her old pink silk, “She must see Miss Allis first to know how much she wanted,” and promising to return, she tripped over to Frankfort’s fashionable dressmaker, whom she found surrounded with dresses for the party.
As some time would elapse ere Miss Allis could attend to her, she went back to Harney’s just for one more look at the lovely fabric. It was, if possible, more beautiful than before, and Harney was more polite, while the result of the whole was that, when ’Lina at four o’clock that afternoon entered her carriage to go home, the despised pink silk, still unpaid on Haney’s books, was thrown down anywhere, while in her hands she carefully held the bundle Harney brought himself, complimenting her upon the sensation she was sure to create, and inviting her to dance the first set with him. Then with a smiling bow he closed the door upon her, and returning to his books wrote down Hugh Worthington his debtor to fifty dollars more.
“That makes three hundred and fifty,” he said to himself. “I know he can’t raise that amount of ready money, and as he is too infernal proud to be sued, I’m sure of Rocket or Lulu, it matters but little which,” and with a look upon his face which made it positively hideous, the scheming Harney closed his books, and sat down to calculate the best means of managing the rather unmanageable Hugh!
It was dark when ’Lina reached home, but the silk looked well by firelight, better even than in the light of day, and ’Lina would have been quite happy but for her mother’s reproaches and an occasional twinge as she wondered what Hugh would say. He had not yet returned, and numerous were Mrs. Worthington’s surmises as to what was keeping him so late. A glance backward for an hour or so will let us into the secret.
It was the day when a number of negroes were to be sold in the courthouse. There was no trouble in disposing of them all, save one, a white-haired old man, whom they called Uncle Sam.
With tottering steps the old man took his place, while his dim eyes wandered wistfully over the faces around him congregated, as if seeking for their owner. But none was found who cared for Uncle Sam.
“Won’t nobody bid for Sam? I fetched a thousan’ dollars onct,” and the feeble voice trembled as it asked this question.
“What will become of him if he is not sold?” Hugh asked of a bystander, who replied, “Go back to the old place to be kicked and cuffed by the minions of the new proprietor, Harney. You know Harney, of Frankfort?”