Estralla had scrambled to her feet and now stood looking at the little white girls with a half-frightened look in her big eyes.
“Oh, Missy! I ain’t gwine to be sold, be I?” she whispered.
Sylvia put her arm around Estralla’s shoulders. “No!” she said, “you shall not be sold. Now, don’t look so frightened. We will have a tea-party for Molly and Polly, and you shall wait on them. Run down and ask your mother to give us some little cakes.”
Estralla was off in an instant, and while she was away Sylvia and Grace spread the little table, brought cushions from the window-seats and advised Molly and Polly to forgive the disturbance.
When Mrs. Fulton came up-stairs a little later to tell Grace that her black Mammy had come to take her home she found three very happy little girls. Sylvia and Grace were being entertained at tea by Misses Molly and Polly, while Estralla with shining eyes and a wide smile carried tiny cups and little cakes to the guests, and chuckled delightedly over the clever things which Sylvia and Grace declared Molly and Polly had said.
“A candle-light tea-party,” exclaimed Mrs. Fulton, as she came into the room and smiled down on the happy group.
“Perhaps Flora will own up,” Grace said, as the two girls followed Mrs. Fulton down the stairs. “Anyway, you are mighty fair about it, and you’re good to that stupid little darky.”
“Oh, Estralla isn’t stupid. Not a bit,” replied Sylvia laughingly.
Estralla, who was carefully putting the little table in order, heard Sylvia’s defense of her, and for a moment she stood very straight, holding one of the tiny cups in each hand.
“I jes’ loves Missy Sylvia, I do, I jes’ wish ez how I could do somethin’ so she’d know how I loves her,” and two big tears rolled down the black cheeks of the little slave girl who had known so little of kindness or of joy.
It was a week after Sylvia’s visit to the Hayes plantation before Flora returned to school. A heavy rain had made the roads nearly impassable, and a little scar on Flora’s forehead reminded Sylvia and Grace of her unlucky tumble. On Flora’s first appearance at school Sylvia was confident that she would at once confess her part in “Lady Caroline’s” appearance, and at recess she and Grace were eager to walk with Flora. It was now the first of November, but the air was warm and the garden had many blossoming plants and shrubs.
Flora said that she was glad to be back at school. She told the girls that her father had returned from a northern trip and that he had given Dinkie and her children to Philip.
“Phil teased him so that Father was tired of hearing him. He said Phil was a regular abolitionist,” Flora explained with her pretty smile.
“What’s an abbylitionzist?” asked Grace.