“He went to town this morning, but he’ll be back pretty soon. He has done his best to make it pleasant for you, and I do believe he doted on your coming after he got a little used to thinking about it. You’ll like Hugh when you get accustomed to him. There, try to go to sleep,” and kind Aunt Eunice bustled from the room just as poor Densie, who had been entirely overlooked, entered it, together with Aunt Chloe. The old negress was evidently playing the hostess to Densie, for she was talking quite loud, and all about “Mas’r Hugh.” “Pity he wasn’t thar, ’twould seem so different; ’tain’t de same house without him. You’ll like Mas’r Hugh,” and she, too, glided from the room.
Was this the password at Spring Bank, “You’ll like Mas’r Hugh?” It would seem so, for when at last Hannah brought up the waffles and tea, which Aunt Eunice had prepared, she set down her tray, and after a few inquiries concerning Alice’s head, which was now aching sadly, she, too, launched forth into a panegyric on Mas’r Hugh, ending, as the rest had done, “You’ll like Mas’r Hugh.”
ALICE AND MUGGINS
Had an angel appeared suddenly to the blacks at Spring Bank they would not have been more surprised or delighted than they were with Alice when she came down to breakfast, looking so beautiful in her muslin wrapper, with a simple white blossom and geranium leaf twined among her flowing curls, and an expression of content upon her childish face, which said that she had resolved to make the best of the place to which Providence had so clearly led her for some wise purpose of his own. She had arisen early and explored the premises in quest of the spots of sunshine which she knew were there as well as elsewhere, and she had found them, too, in the grand old elms and maples which shaded the wooden building, in the clean, grassy lawn and the running brook, in the well-kept garden of flowers, and in the few choice volumes arranged in the old bookcase at one end of the hall. Who reads those books, her favorites, every one of them? Not ’Lina, most assuredly, for Alice’s reminiscences of her were not of the literary kind; nor yet Mrs. Worthington, kind, gentle creature as she seemed to be. Who then but Hugh could have pored over those pages? And Alice felt a thrill of joy as she felt there was at least one bond of sympathy between them. There was no Bible upon the shelves, no religious book of any kind, if we except a work of infidel Tom Paine, at sight of which Alice recoiled as from a viper. Could Hugh believe in Tom Paine? She hoped not, and with a sigh she was turning from the corner, when the patter of little naked feet was heard upon the stairs, and a bright mulatto child, apparently seven or eight years old, appeared, her face expressive of the admiration with which she regarded Alice, who asked her name.
Curtseying very low, the child replied: