“You’se workin’ yourself to death,” he said to her, as late on Saturday night she sat bending to the tallow candle, her hair brushed back from her forehead and a purplish glow upon her cheek.
“I know I’m working too hard,” she said. “I’m very tired, but Monday is the party. Oh, I am so hot and feverish,” and, as if even the slender chain of gold about her neck were a burden, she undid the clasp, and laid upon the stand the locket which had so interested Hugh.
Naturally inquisitive Sam took it in his hand, and touching the spring held it to the light, uttering an exclamation of surprise.
“Dat’s de bery one, and no mistake,” he said, his old withered face lighting up with eager joy.
“Who is she, Sam?” Adah asked, forgetting her work in her new interest.
“Miss Ellis. I done forgot de other name. Ellis they call her way down thar whar Sam was sold, when dat man with the big splot on his forerd like that is on your’n steal me away and sell me in Virginny. Miss, ever hearn tell o’ dat? We thinks he’s takin’ a bee line for Canada, when fust we knows we’s in ole Virginny, and de villain not freein’ us at all. He sell us. Me he most give away, ’case I was so old, and the mas’r who buy some like Mas’r Hugh, he pity, he sorry for ole shaky nigger. Sam tell him on his knees how he comed from Kaintuck, but Mas’r Sullivan say he bought ’em far, and that the right mas’r sell ’em sneakin’ like to save rasin’ a furse, and he show a bill of sale. They believe him spite of dis chile, and so Sam ’long to anodder mas’r.”
“Yes; but the lady, Miss Ellis. Where did you find her?” Adah asked, and Sam replied:
“I’se comin’ to her d’rectly. Mas’r Fitzhugh live on big plantation—big house, too, with plenty company; and one day she comed, with great trunk, a visitin’ you know. She’d been to school with Miss Mabel, Mas’r Fitzhugh’s daughter.”
“Are you sure it’s the same?” Adah asked.
“Yes, miss, Sam sure, he ’members them curls—got a heap of ’em; and that neck—oh, wear that neck berry low, so low, so white, it make even ole Sam feel kinder, kinder, yes, Sam feel very much that way.”
Adah could not repress a smile, but she was too much interested to interrupt him, and he went on:
“They all think heap of Miss Ellis, and I hear de blacks tellin’ how she berry rich, and comed from way off thar wher white niggers live—Masser-something.”
“Massachusetts?” suggested Adah.
“Yes; that’s the very mas’r, I ’member dat.”
“Was Ellis her first or last name?” Adah asked, and Sam replied:
“It was neider, ’twas her Christian name.
I’se got mizzable memory, and
I disremembers her last name. The folks call her Ellis, and the blacks
“A queer name for a first one,” Adah thought, while Sam continued: