Grace and Mammy Esther called for Sylvia on Monday morning, and Sylvia at once told her friend that she had been named from the song. This seemed very wonderful to Grace, and she listened to Sylvia’s explanation of “excelling” instead of “spelling,” and said she didn’t think it was of any consequence.
But when Sylvia told her what Captain Carleton had said about the forts, Grace shook her head and looked very serious.
“Don’t tell Elinor Mayhew, Sylvia. Because really South Carolina does own the forts. My father said so. He said that South Carolina was a Sovereign State,” she concluded.
“What’s that? What’s a ’sovereign’?” questioned Sylvia.
Grace shook her head. It had sounded like a very fine thing when her father had spoken it, so she had repeated it with great pride.
“We can ask Miss Rosalie,” she suggested.
Mammy Esther left the girls at the gate of Miss Patten’s garden. As they went up the path Flora Hayes came to meet them.
“I was waiting for you,” she said. “I want to ask you both to come out to our plantation next Saturday and spend Sunday. My mother is going to write and ask your mothers if they will give me the pleasure of your company.”
“I am sure I can come,” declared Grace, “and I think it’s lovely of you to ask me.”
“You’ll come, won’t you, Sylvia?” said Flora, putting her arm over the little girl’s shoulders as they went up the steps.
“Yes, indeed; thank you very much for asking me,” replied Sylvia. She had visited the Hayes plantation early in the summer, and thought it a more wonderful place even than the big mansion on Tradd Street where the Hayes family lived in the winter months. Mr. Hayes owned hundreds of negroes, and raised a great quantity of cotton. The house at the plantation was large, with many balconies, and cool, pleasant rooms. Flora had a pair of white ponies, and there were pigeons, and a number of dogs. Sylvia was sure that it would be a beautiful visit, especially as Grace would be there.
As she went smilingly toward her seat in the schoolroom she passed Elinor Mayhew, who was already seated.
“Yankee!” whispered Elinor sharply, looking at her with scornful eyes.
But Sylvia, remembering that her father had said that all Americans were Yankees, nodded to the older girl and responded: “Yankee your-self!”
SYLVIA IN TROUBLE
The Hayes plantation was about ten miles distant from Charleston, on the opposite side of the Ashley River. Flora told Sylvia and Grace that the Hayes coachman would drive them out, and that they would start early on Saturday morning. Sylvia, remembering her former visit, knew well how delightful the drive would be, and thinking of the pleasure in store quite forgot to be troubled by Elinor Mayhew’s hostility.
At recess the girls usually walked about in the garden, or tossed a ball back and forth. Miss Rosalie would sit on the broad piazza overlooking the garden, her fingers busy with some piece of delicate embroidery.