“I mus’ take special care ob dis chile,” she’ said. “Mebbe it’s one of de Lo’d’s angels, fo’ wif Him it doan make no diff’rance what is de colah of de skin. Dey’s all His chillun, an’ He lubs dem all alike. Doan yo’ nebber fo’git dat, Missie Jean. Dis may be one of de Lo’d’s angels undewares.”
BENEATH THE SPREADING MAPLE
The little community of Loyal had most things in common, as is generally the custom in pioneer settlements. All took to their hearts the little Indian child, and felt somewhat responsible for its welfare. It seemed to them an omen of good will, and they believed that so long as it was with them they would not be disturbed by the Indians. Old Mammy was very strong on this point, and was the one who first suggested the idea.
“If a cat comes to yo’ it’s a sign of good luck,” she declared. “Now, we didn’t send fo’ dis chile; it jes came to us, so why shouldn’t it bring us better luck den a cat?”
The colored woman considered the baby her special property, and only on rare occasions would she allow anyone else to look after it. Jean was delighted to have it in the house, and both she and her father became very fond of the little one. They called it “Babby,” not knowing its Indian name, and were greatly pleased at its cunning ways.
The days and weeks sped rapidly by, and August was close edging into September before Jean realised that summer was almost gone. It had been a busy time at the settlement, and the bright beautiful days glided uneventfully by. Once again the Polly had come up river with a load of provisions, and all had listened eagerly to the latest scraps of news brought by Captain Leavitt. They learned from him that another fleet with a band of Loyalists was coming in the fall. He expected to take many of the newcomers on his boat up river, and promised to call on his way back. This important piece of information, as well as other bits of news, was discussed for days at Loyal. They longed for some word from their old homes, and the friends they had left behind. If they could but see the Loyalists when they arrived in the fall they might hear much. Anyway, Captain Leavitt had promised to call, and no doubt he would have a fund of information.
Every fine Sunday was a great day for Jean. During the morning the Colonel gathered the people of the settlement about him, and read the service from the Prayer Book. The responses and the singing of a few old familiar hymns were very hearty, and the Doxology and the National Anthem were invariably sung at the close. It was but natural that the eyes of the older ones should become misty during this service, for it brought back memories of other days before the war.
After dinner the Colonel and Jean always went for a walk, either through the woods or along the shore to the large point which ran far out into the river. Here at this latter place they would sit under the great oak trees and talk to their hearts’ content.