"That old servant," continued the colonel, watching Chad leave the room, and drawing his chair nearer the fire, "has been in my fam'ly ever since he was bawn. But for him and his old wife, Mammy Henny, I would be homeless to-night."
From among his discarded treasures he chose the model in clay of a kid, jumping, the best he had ever made. He tucked it into his bundle; then he picked up the bundle, and walked out into the great room, kitchen, sitting and dining room combined. Mrs. Leighton and mammy were seated at the table. Beside them stood Natalie. They turned and looked at Lewis, surprised. Lewis stared at Natalie.
"My sister Harriett and brudder John was fine fiel' hands an' Marster kep' 'em in de fiel' most of de time, tryin' to dodge other white folks. "Den dere was Sister Vice an' brudder George. Befo' I could 'member much, I 'members Lee King had a saloon close to Bob Allen's store in Russell County, Alabama, and Marse John Bussey drunk my mammy up.
We got a boat and went aboard. When I came upon the deck I asked the black people, "Is there any one here for me?" "Yes," they said, "your mother." I thought they said this in jest I could scarcely believe them for joy; but when I saw my poor mammy my joy was turned to sorrow, for she had gone from her senses. "Mammy," I said, "is this you?" She did not know me.
Sometimes Elsie would ask very earnestly, "Do you thing papa loves Jesus, mammy?" And Chloe would reply with a doubtful shake of the head, "Dunno, darlin'; but ole Chloe prays for him ebery day." "And so do I," Elsie would answer; "dear, dear papa, how I wish he would come home!" And so the winter glided away, and spring came, and Miss Allison must soon return home.
"And to think," she cried, rising upon tiptoe, swaying there in the February sunlight, "just to think that it's a Camp Fire Girl a Camp Fire Girl of America with the eyes of the world upon her, who will push the button, throw the switch upon a mountain-top, launch the Thunder Bird upon its glor-i-ous way, send off send off the first earth-valentine to Mammy Moon!... Oh! Toandoah oh!
"Who told ye that?" panted Dannie, hiding behind a horse. "Nobody told me! Mammy just SAID it to Daddy, and I heard," answered the little maid. "And I'm glad of it, and so are all of us glad. Mammy said she'd just love to come here now, whin things would be like white folks. Mammy said Aunt Mary had suffered a lot more'n her share. Say, you won't make her suffer any more, will you?"
Poor Mammy cried and cried. All night long she wondered which enemy had captured her oldest son. Could it be old Thomas Cat? Was he caught in some dreadful trap, or had he eaten poison like poor Daddy? At last she fell asleep. In the morning as she prepared the little bowls of oat-meal, she kept wiping her eyes. "How shall I ever tell the poor dears that their brother is dead?" she sighed.
And here, as at Fairview, Evelyn received her full share of pleased attention. Elsie delivered her mother's messages and directions, and taking Evelyn with her, went through the house to see that all was in order for the reception of her brother and his wife, then sat down in the veranda for a chat with "mammy" before returning to Fairview.
Always the oldest and strongest climbed on top of the youngest and fooled his mammy into feeding him most by having his head highest, his mouth widest, and begging loudest. There could be no mistake. I was so amazed I forgot the blow, as I stared at the fool woman. "I don't see why you slap me!" I cried. "It's the truth!