Sam had turned away from Hugh, and with his usual politeness was about making his obeisance to Alice, when the words, “Your servant, miss,” were changed into a howl of joy, and falling upon his knees, he clutched at Alice’s dress, exclaiming:
“Now de Lord be praised, I’se found her again. I’se found Miss Ellis, I has, an’ I feels like singin’ ‘Glory Hallelujah.’ Does ye know me, lady? Does you ’member shaky ole darky, way down in Virginny? You teached him de way, an’ he’s tried to walk dar ever sence. Say, does you know ole Sam?” and the dim eyes looked eagerly into Alice’s face.
She did remember him, and for a moment seemed speechless with surprise, then, stooping beside him, she took his shriveled hand and pressed it between her own, asking how he came there, and if Hugh had always been his master.
“You ’splain, Miss Adah. You speaks de dictionary better than Sam,” the old man said, and thus appealed to, Adah told what she knew of Sam’s coming into Hugh’s possession.
“He buy me just for kindness, nothing else, for Sam ain’t wo’th a dime, but Massah Hugh so good. I prays for him every night, and I asks God to bring you and him together. Miss Ellis will like Massah Hugh much, so much, and Massah Hugh like Miss Ellis. Oh, I’se happy chile to-night. I prays wid a big heart, ’case I sees Miss Ellis again,” and in his great joy Sam kissed the hem of Alice’s dress, crouching at her feet and regarding her with a look almost idolatrous.
They watched together that night, attending Hugh so carefully that when the morning broke and the physician came, he pronounced the symptoms so much better that there was much hope, he said, if the faithful nursing were continued.
ALICE AND ADAH
At Alice’s request, Adah and Sam stayed altogether at Spring Bank, but Alice was the ruling power—Alice, the one whom Chloe and Claib consulted; one concerning the farm, and the other concerning the kitchen—Alice, to whom Aunt Eunice looked for counsel, and Densie for comfort—Alice, who remembered all the doctor’s directions, taking the entire charge of Hugh’s medicines herself—and Alice, who wrote to Mrs. Worthington, apprising her of Hugh’s serious illness. They hoped he was not dangerous, she said, but he was very sick, and Mrs. Worthington would do well to come at once. She did not mention ’Lina, but the idea never crossed her mind that a sister could stay away from choice when a brother was so ill; and it was with unfeigned surprise that she one morning saw Mrs. Worthington and Lulu alighting at the gate, but no ’Lina with them.
“She was so happy at Saratoga,” Mrs. Worthington said, when a little over the first flurry of her arrival. “So happy, too, with Mrs. Richards that she could not tear herself away, unless her mother should find Hugh positively dangerous, in which case she should, of course, come at once.”