“I’ll see him to-day. I’ll know the worst at once,” he said, and mounting Rocket, who never looked more beautiful than he did that afternoon, he dashed down the Frankfort turnpike, and was soon closeted with Harney.
HOW HUGH PAID HIS DEBTS
The perspiration was standing in great drops about Hugh’s quivering lips, and his face was white as ashes, as, near the close of that interview, he hoarsely asked:
“Do I understand you, sir, that Rocket will cancel this debt and leave you my debtor for one hundred dollars?”
“Yes, that was my offer, and a most generous one, too, considering how little horses are bringing,” and Harney smiled villainously as he thought within himself: “Easier to manage than I supposed. I believe my soul I offered too much. I should have made it an even thing.”
Hugh knew how long this plan had been premeditated, and his blood boiled madly when he heard it suggested, as if that moment had given it birth. Still he restrained himself, and asked the question we have recorded, adding, after Harney’s reply:
“And suppose I do not care to part with Rocket?”
Harney winced a little, but answered carelessly:
“Money, of course, is just as good. You know how long I’ve waited. Few would have done as well.”
Yes, Hugh knew that, but Rocket was as dear to him as his right eye, and he would almost as soon have plucked out the one as sold the other.
“I have not the money,” he said, frankly, “and I cannot part with Rocket. Is there nothing else? I’ll give a mortgage on Spring Bank.”
Harney did not care for a mortgage, but there was something else, and the rascally face brightened, as, stepping back, while he made the proposition, he faintly suggested “Lulu.” He would give a thousand dollars for her, and Hugh could keep his horse. For a moment the two young men regarded each other intently, Hugh’s eyes flashing gleams of fire, and his whole face expressive of the contempt he felt for the wretch who cowed at last beneath the look, and turned away muttering that “he saw nothing so very heinous in wishing to purchase a nigger wench.”