LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 551
" Did n't say nothin' 'bout my old man, s'pose?" said Chloe, still fidgeting with the teacups.
" No, he did n't. He did not speak of anything, Chloe. He said he would tell all when he got home."
" Jes like Mas'r George, — he 's allers so ferce for tell-in' everything hisself. I allers minded dat ar in Mas'r George. Don't see, for my part, how white people gen'lly can bar to hev to write things much as they do, writin' 's such slow, oneasy kind o' work."
Mrs. Shelby smiled.
"I 'm a-thinkin' my old man won't know de boys and de baby. Lor'! she 's de biggest gal, now, — good she is, too, and peart, Polly is. She 's out to the house, now, watchin' de hoe-cake. I 's got jist de very pattern my old man liked so much, a-bakin'. Jist sich as I gin him the mornin' he was took off. Lord bless us ! how I felt dat ar morning! "
Mrs. Shelby sighed, and felt a heavy weight on her heart, at this allusion. She had felt uneasy, ever since she received her son's letter, lest something should prove to be hidden behind the veil of silence which he had drawn.
" Missis has got dem bills ? " said Chloe, anxiously.
" Yes, Chloe."
" 'Cause I wants to show my old man dem very bills de perfectioner gave me. ' And,' says he, ' Chloe, J wish you 'd stay longer.' ' Thank you, Mas'r,' says I, ' I would, only my old man 's coming home, and Missis, — she can't do without me no longer.' There 's jist what I telled him. Bery nice man, dat Mas'r Jones was."
Chloe had pertinaciously insisted that the very bills in which her wages had been paid should be preserved, to show to her husband, in memorial of her capability. And Mrs. Shelby had readily consented to humor her in the request.
" He won't know Polly, — my old man won't. Laws, it 's five years since they tuck him! She was a baby den,