“Well, Marse George, I won’t—but I ain’t neber like him f’om de fust. He ain’t quality an’ he neber kin be. How Miss Kate don’ stan’ him is mo’n I kin tell.”
Kate drove up to her father’s house in state, with Ben as special envoy to see that she and her belongings were properly cared for. St. George with Todd and the four dogs—six in all—arrived, despite Kate’s protestations, on foot.
Pawson met him at the door. He had given up his boarding-house and had transferred his traps and parcels to the floor above—into Harry’s old room, really—in order that the additional rent—(he had now taken entire charge of Temple’s finances)—might help in the payment of the interest on the mortgage. He had thought this all out while St. George was at Wesley and had moved in without notifying him, that being the best way to solve the problem—St. George still retaining his bedroom and dining-room and the use of the front door. Jemima, too, had gone. She wanted, so she had told her master the day he left with Kate, to take a holiday and visit some of her people who lived down by the Marsh Market in an old rookery near the Falls, and would come back when he sent for her; but Todd had settled all that the morning of his arrival, the moment he caught sight of her black face.
“Ain’t no use yo’ comin’ back,” the darky blurted out. “I’m gwineter do de cookin’ and de chamber-wo’k. Dere ain’t ‘nough to eat fo’ mo’n two. When dem white-livered, no-count, onery gemmens dat stole Marse George’s money git in de chain-gang, whar dey b’longs, den may be we’ll hab sumpin’ to go to market on, but dat ain’t yit; an’ don’t ye tell Marse George I tol’ yer or I’ll ha’nt ye like dat witch I done heared ’bout down to Wesley—ha’nt ye so ye’ll think de debble’s got ye.” To his master, his only explanation was that Jemima had gone to look after her sister, who had been taken “wid a mis’ry in her back.”
If St. George knew anything of the common talk going on around him no one was ever the wiser. He continued the even tenor of his life, visiting and receiving his friends, entertaining his friends in a simple and inexpensive way: Once Poe had spent an evening with him, when he made a manly, straightforward apology for his conduct the night of the dinner, and on another occasion Mr. Kennedy had made an especial point of missing a train to Washington to have an hour’s chat with him. In the afternoons he would have a rubber of whist with the archdeacon who lived across the Square—a broad-minded ecclesiastic, who believed in relaxation, although, of course, he was never seen at the club; or he might drop into the Chesapeake for a talk with Richard or sit beside him in his curious laboratory at the rear of his house where he worked out many of the problems that absorbed his mind and inspired his hopes. At night, however late or early—whenever he reached home—there was always a romp with his dogs. This last he rarely omitted. The click of the front-door latch, followed by his firm step overhead, was their signal, and up they would come, tumbling over each other in their eagerness to reach his cheeks—straight up, their paws scraping his clothes; then a swoop into the dining-room, when they would be “downed” to the floor, their eyes following his every movement.