Since that time his master had had various ups and downs, but although he was still weak he was very much stronger than he had been any time since he had taken to his bed. Only once had he been delirious; then he talked ramblingly about Miss Kate and Marse Harry. This had so scared Aunt Jemima that she had determined to go to Mammy Henny and have her tell Miss Kate, so he could get a doctor—something he had positively forbidden her to do, but he grew so much better the next day that she had given it up; since that time his mind had not again given way. All he wanted now, so Todd concluded, was a good soup and “a drap o’ sumpin warmin’—an’ he’d pull thu’. But dere warn’t no use tryin’ ter git him to take it ‘cause all he would eat was taters an’ corn pone an’ milk—an’ sich like, ’cause he said dere warn’t money ’nough fer de three—” whereupon Todd turned his head away and caught his breath, and then tried to pass it off as an unbidden choke—none of which subterfuges deceived Harry in the least.
When the two arrived off the dimly burning lantern—it was past ten o’clock—and pushed in the door of the Sailors’ House, Todd received another shock—one that sent his eyes bulging from his head. That Marse Harry Rutter, who was always a law unto himself, should grow a beard and wear rough clothes, was to be expected—“Dem Rutters was allus dat way—do jes’s dey mineter—” but that the most elegant young man of his day “ob de fustest quality,” should take up his quarters in a low sailors’ retreat, and be looked upon by the men gathered under the swinging lamp around a card table—(some of whom greeted Harry familiarly)—as one of their own kind, completely staggered him.
The pedler was particularly gracious—so much so that when he learned that Harry was leaving for good, and had come to get his belongings—he jumped up and insisted on helping—at which Harry laughed and assented, and as a further mark of his appreciation presented him with the now useless silks, in addition to the money he gave him—an act of generosity which formed the sole topic of conversation in the resort for weeks thereafter.
Board and lodging paid, the procession took up its return march: Harry in front, Todd, still dazed and still at sea as to the meaning of it all, following behind; the pedler between with Harry’s heavy coat, blankets, etc.—all purchased since his shipwreck—the party threading the choked-up street until they reached the dingy yard, where the pedler dumped his pack and withdrew, while the darky stowed his load in the basement. This done, the two tiptoed once more up the stairs to where Aunt Jemima awaited them, St. George having fallen asleep.