As St. Clare turned to go back his eye fell upon Tom, who was standing uneasily, shifting from one foot to the other, while Adolph stood negligently leaning against the banisters, examining Tom through an opera-glass, with an air that would have done credit to any dandy living.
"Puh! you puppy," said his master, striking down the opera glass; "is that the way you treat your company? Seems to me, Dolph," he added, laying his finger on the elegant figured satin vest that Adolph was sporting, "seems to me that's my vest."
"O! Master, this vest all stained with wine; of course, a gentleman in Master's standing never wears a vest like this. I understood I was to take it. It does for a poor nigger-fellow, like me."
And Adolph tossed his head, and passed his fingers through his scented hair, with a grace.
"So, that's it, is it?" said St. Clare, carelessly. "Well, here, I'm going to show this Tom to his mistress, and then you take him to the kitchen; and mind you don't put on any of your airs to him. He's worth two such puppies as you."
"Master always will have his joke," said Adolph, laughing. "I'm delighted to see Master in such spirits."
"Here, Tom," said St. Clare, beckoning.
Tom entered the room. He looked wistfully on the velvet carpets, and the before unimagined splendors of mirrors, pictures, statues, and curtains, and, like the Queen of Sheba before Solomon, there was no more spirit in him. He looked afraid even to set his feet down.
"See here, Marie," said St. Clare to his wife, "I've bought you a coachman, at last, to order. I tell you, he's a regular hearse for blackness and sobriety, and will drive you like a funeral, if you want. Open your eyes, now, and look at him. Now, don't say I never think about you when I'm gone."
Marie opened her eyes, and fixed them on Tom, without rising.
"I know he'll get drunk," she said.
"No, he's warranted a pious and sober article."
"Well, I hope he may turn out well," said the lady; "it's more than I expect, though."
"Dolph," said St. Clare, "show Tom down stairs; and, mind yourself," he added; "remember what I told you."
Adolph tripped gracefully forward, and Tom, with lumbering tread, went after.
"He's a perfect behemoth!" said Marie.
"Come, now, Marie," said St. Clare, seating himself on a stool beside her sofa, "be gracious, and say something pretty to a fellow."
"You've been gone a fortnight beyond the time," said the lady, pouting.
"Well, you know I wrote you the reason."
"Such a short, cold letter!" said the lady.
"Dear me! the mail was just going, and it had to be that or nothing."
"That's just the way, always," said the lady; "always something to make your journeys long, and letters short."
"See here, now," he added, drawing an elegant velvet case out of his pocket, and opening it, "here's a present I got for you in New York."
It was a daguerreotype, clear and soft as an engraving, representing Eva and her father sitting hand in hand.
Marie looked at it with a dissatisfied air.
"What made you sit in such an awkward position?" she said.
"Well, the position may be a matter of opinion; but what do you think of the likeness?"
"If you don't think anything of my opinion in one case, I suppose you wouldn't in another," said the lady, shutting the daguerreotype.
"Hang the woman!" said St. Clare, mentally; but aloud he added, "Come, now, Marie, what do you think of the likeness? Don't be nonsensical, now."
"It's very inconsiderate of you, St. Clare," said the lady, "to insist on my talking and looking at things. You know I've been lying all day with the sick-headache; and there's been such a tumult made ever since you came, I'm half dead."
"You're subject to the sick-headache, ma'am!" said Miss Ophelia, suddenly rising from the depths of the large arm-chair, where she had sat quietly, taking an inventory of the furniture, and calculating its expense.
"Yes, I'm a perfect martyr to it," said the lady.
"Juniper-berry tea is good for sick-headache," said Miss Ophelia; "at least, Auguste, Deacon Abraham Perry's wife, used to say so; and she was a great nurse."
"I'll have the first juniper-berries that get ripe in our garden by the lake brought in for that special purpose," said St. Clare, gravely pulling the bell as he did so; "meanwhile, cousin, you must be wanting to retire to your apartment, and refresh yourself a little, after your journey. Dolph," he added, "tell Mammy to come here." The decent mulatto woman whom Eva had caressed so rapturously soon entered; she was dressed neatly, with a high red and yellow turban on her head, the recent gift of Eva, and which the child had been arranging on her head. "Mammy," said St. Clare, "I put this lady under your care; she is tired, and wants rest; take her to her chamber, and be sure she is made comfortable," and Miss Ophelia disappeared in the rear of Mammy.