“Gi’h-e-you!” she exclaimed. “If young missus aint nappin’ just so nice! I likes to cotch ’em just so;” and setting her tray upon a stand, she views Franconia intently, and in the exuberance of her feelings seats herself in front of her chair, fanning her with the palmetto. The inquisitive and affectionate nature of the good old slave was here presented in its purity. Nothing can be stronger, nothing show the existence of happy associations more forcibly. The old servant’s attachment is proverbial,-his enthusiasm knows no bounds,-Mas’r’s comfort absorbs all his thoughts. Here, Aunt Rachel’s feelings rose beyond her power of restraint: she gazed on her young missus with admiration, laughed, fanned her more and more; then grasping her little jewelled hand, pressed it to her spacious mouth and kissed it. “Young Missus! Franconia, I does lub ye so!” she whispers.
“Why, Aunt Rachel!” ejaculated Franconia, starting suddenly: “I am glad you wakened me, for I dreamed of trouble: it made me weak-nervous. Where is Clotilda?” And she stared vacantly round the room, as if unconscious of her position. “Guess ’e aint ’bout nowhere. Ye see, Miss, how she don’t take no care on ye,-takes dis child to stir up de old cook, when ye comes to see us.” And stepping to the stand she brings the salver; and in her excitement to serve Missus, forgets that the coffee is cold. “Da’h he is; just as nice as ’em get in de city. Rachel made ’em!”
“I want Clotilda, Rachel; you must bring her to me. I was dreaming of her and Annette; and she can tell dreams-”
The old slave interrupts her. “If Miss Franconia hab had dream, ’e bad, sartin. Old Mas’r spoil dat gal, Clotilda,-make her tink she lady, anyhow. She mos’ white, fo’h true; but aint no better den oder nigger on de plantation,” she returns. Franconia sips her coffee, takes a waf from the plate as the old servant holds it before her, and orders Dandy to summon Clotilda.
Things are not so bright as they seem.
The following morning broke forth bright and serene. Marston and his guests, after passing a pleasant night, were early at breakfast. When over, they joined him for a stroll over the plantation, to hear him descant upon the prospects of the coming crop. Nothing could be more certain, to his mind, than a bountiful harvest. The rice, cotton, and corn grounds had been well prepared, the weather was most favourable, he had plenty of help, a good overseer, and faithful drivers. “We have plenty,-we live easy, you see, and our people are contented,” he says, directing his conversation to the young Englishman, who was suspected of being Franconia’s friend. “We do things different from what you do in your country. Your countrymen will not learn to grow cotton: they manufacture it, and hence we are connected in firm bonds. Cotton connects