“You, too, are out of humor,” she said, looking archly into Arthur’s face, “and I won’t stay here any longer. I mean to go away and talk with Judy about Abel.”
So saying, she ran off to the kitchen where she was now a great favorite, and sitting down at Judy’s feet, began to ask her of Florida and Sunnybank, her former home.
“Tell me more of the magnolias,” she said, “It almost seems to me as if I had seen those beautiful white blossoms and that old house with its wide hall.”
“Whar was you raised?” asked Judy, and Edith replied,
“I told you once, in New York, but I have such queer fancies, as if I had lived before I came into this world.”
“Jest the way Miss Nina used to go on, muttered the old woman, looking steadily into the fire.
“Nina!” and Edith started quickly. “Did you know Nina, Aunt Judy? Do you know her now? Where is she? Who is she, and that black-eyed baby in the frame? Tell me all about them.”
“All about what?” I asked Phillis, suddenly appearing and casting a warning glance at her mother, who replied, “’Bout marster’s last wife, the one you say she done favors.” Then, in an aside to Edith, she added, “I kin pull de wool over her eyes. Bimeby mabby I’ll done tell you how that ar is de likeness of Miss Nina’s half sister what is dead, and ’bout Miss Nina, too, the sweetest, most misfortinest human de Lord ever bornd.”
“She isn’t a great ways from here, is she?” whispered Edith, as Phillis bustled into the pantry, hurrying back ere Judy could more than shake her head significantly.
“Dear Aunt Phillis, won’t you please tell Ike to bring up Bedouin,” Edith said coaxingly, hoping by this ruse to get rid of the old negress; but Phillis was too cunning, and throwing up the window sash, she called to Ike, delivering the message.
Edith, however, managed slily to whisper, “In Worcester, isn’t she?” while Judy as slily nodded affirmatively, ere Phillis’ sharp eyes were turned again upon them. Edith’s curiosity concerning the mysterious Nina was thoroughly roused, and determining to ferret out the whole affair by dint of quizzing Judith whenever an opportunity should occur, she took her leave.
“Mother,” said Phillis, the moment Edith was out of hearing, “havn’t you no sense, or what possessed you to talk of Miss Nina to her? Havn’t you no family pride, and has you done forgot that Marster Arthur forbade our talkin’ of her to strangers?”
Old Judy at first received the rebuke in silence, then bridling up in her own defense, she replied, “Needn’t tell me that any good will ever come out o’ this kiverin’ up an’ hidin’, and keeping whist. It’ll come out bimeby, an’ then folks’ll wonder what ’twas all did for. Ole marster didn’t act so by Miss Nina’s mother, an’ I believe thar’s somethin’ behind, some carrying on that we don’t know; but it’s boun’ to come out fust or last. That ar Miss Edith