It was not surprising, therefore, that Todd’s recital to Harry came in a more or less disjointed and disconnected form.
“You say, Todd,” he exclaimed in astonishment, “that my father was here!” Our young hero was convinced that the visit did not concern himself, as he was no longer an object of interest to any one at home except his mother and Alec.
“Dat he was, sah, an’ b’ilin’ mad. Dey bofe was, on’y Marse George lay low an’ de colonel purty nigh rid ober de top ob de fence. Fust Marse George sass him an’ den de colonel sass him back. Purty soon Marse George say he gwinter speak his min’—and he call de colonel a brute an’ den de colonel riz up an’ say Marse George was a beggar and a puttin’ on airs when he didn’t hab ’nough money to buy hisse’f a ‘tater; an’ den Marse George r’ared and pitched—Oh I tell ye he ken be mighty sof’ and persimmony when he’s tame—and he’s mos’ allers dat way—but when his dander’s up, and it suttinly riz to-day, he kin make de fur fly. Dat’s de time you wanter git outer de way or you’ll git hurted.”
“Who did you say was the beggar?” It was all Greek to Harry.
“Why, Marse George was—he was de one what was gwine hongry. De colonel ’lowed dat de bank was busted an’—”
“Why de ’Tapsco—whar Marse George keep his money. Ain’t you see me comin’ from dar mos’ ebery day?”
“But it hasn’t failed, has it?” He was still wondering what the quarrel was about.
“Wall, I dunno, but I reckon sumpin’s de matter, for no sooner did de colonel git on his horse and ride away dan Marse George go git his hat and coat hisse’f and make tracks th’ou’ de park by de short cut—and you know he neber do dat ’cept when he’s in a hurry, and den in ’bout a ha’f hour he come back ag’in lookin’ like he’d seed de yahoo, only he was mad plump th’ou’; den he hollered for me quick like, and sont me down underneaf yere to Mr. Pawson to know was he in, and he was, and I done tol’ him, and he’s dar now. He ain’t neber done sont me down dar ’cept once sence I been yere, and dat was de day dat Gadgem man come snuffin’ roun’. Trouble comin’.”
Harry had now begun to take in the situation. It was evidently a matter of some moment or Pawson would not have been consulted.
“I’ll go down myself, Todd,” he said with sudden resolve.
“Better lem’me tell him you’re yere, Marse Harry.”
“No, I’ll go now,” and he turned on his heel and descended the front steps.
On the street side of the house, level with the bricks, was a door opening into a low-ceiled, shabbily furnished room, where in the old days General Dorsey Temple, as has been said, shared his toddies with his cronies. There he found St. George seated at a long table piled high with law books and papers—the top covered with a green baize cloth embroidered with mice holes and decorated with ink stains. Beside him was a thin, light-haired, young man, with a long, flexible neck and abnormally high forehead, over-doming a shrewd but not unkindly face. The two were poring over a collection of papers.