THE RESEMBLANCE OF THE COUSINS
Among Mr. Middleton's negroes there was a boy twelve years of age whose name was Bob. On the morning following the incidents narrated in the last chapter, Bob was sent up to make a fire for "the young marsters." He had just coaxed the coal and kindlings into a blaze, when Raymond awoke, and spying the negro, called out, "Hello, there! Tom, Dick, Harry, what may be your name?"
"My name is Bob, sar."
"Oh, Bob is it? Bob what? Have you no other name?"
"No, sar, 'cept it's Marster Josh. I 'longs to him."
"Belong to Master Josh, do you? His name isn't Josh, it is Joshua."
"Well, then, Bob, if his name is Joshua, what must yours be?" said Raymond.
"Dun know, unless it's Bobaway," answered the negro, with a broad grin.
"Bobaway! That's rich," said Raymond, laughing heartily at the rapid advancement of his pupil.
After a moment's pause, he again called out, "I say, Bobaway, did it snow last night?"
"No, sar, it didn't snow; it done frosted," said Bob.
"Done frosted, hey?" said Raymond. "You're a smart boy, Bob. What'll you sell yourself for?"
"Dun know; hain't nothing to sell 'cept my t'other hat and a bushel of hickory-nuts," answered Bob; "but I reckon how marster ax about five hundred, 'case I's right spry when I hain't got the rheumatiz."
"Got the rheumatiz, have you, Bob? Where?"
"In my belly, sar," answered Bob. Here the young men burst into a loud laugh, and Raymond said, "Five hundred is cheap, Bob; I'll give more than that."
Bob opened his large white eyes to their utmost extent, and looking keenly at Raymond slowly quitted the room. On reaching the kitchen he told Aunt Judy, who was his mother, "that ef marster ever acted like he was goin' for to sell him to that ar chap, what poked fun at him, he'd run away, sartin."
"And be cotched and git shet up," said Aunt Judy.
"I'd a heap rather be shet up 'tarnally than to 'long to anybody 'sides Marster Josh," said Bob.
During breakfast Mr. Middleton suddenly exclaimed, while looking at Stanton, "I've been tryin' ever since you've been here to think who you look like, and I've jest thought. It's Dr. Lacey."
"Who, sir?" said Stanton in some surprise.
"Dr. Lacey. D'ye know him?" asked Mr. Middleton.
"Dr. Lacey of New Orleans?" asked Stanton.
"The same," returned Mr. Middleton. "You look as much like him as two peas, only you wear goggles. Connection of your'n I reckon?"
"Yes, sir," answered Stanton, "he is my cousin. I have been told that we resemble each other."
"By Jupiter!" said Mr. Middleton, "that's just the checker. No wonder I like you so well. And Dr. Lacey goin' to marry Sunshine, too. Your sweetheart ought to look like Fanny. Got her picter, hey?"
Stanton handed him Nellie's daguerreotype, and he pretended to discover a close resemblance between her and Fanny; but neither Mrs. Middleton, nor Mr. Ashton could trace any, for which Mr. Middleton called them both blockheads.
"I think," said Mrs. Middleton, "that she looks more like Mr. Ashton than she does like Fanny."
"It is similarity of name which makes her resemble him," said Raymond.
"Why, is her name Ashton?" asked Middleton.
"Yes, sir," said Stanton.
"Mebbe she's your sister, Ashton. But Lord knows she don't look no more like you than she does like old Josh."
"She cannot be my sister," said Ashton, "for I had but one, and she is dead."
After breakfast Mr. Middleton ordered out his carriage and bade Ike drive the gentlemen to Frankfort.
"I'd go myself," said he, "but I've got a fetched headache. Give my love to my gals and tell them I'm comin' to see 'em shortly. You'd better go to the Whizzakor House, till you find out whether or not Miss Crane 'll board you."
The young men thanked him for his hospitality, and bade him good morning. As they were leaving the yard they passed Bob, who was still limping with the "rheumatiz." Raymond bade Ike stop, while he threw "Bobaway" some pennies. Bob picked them up and looked at them with a rueful face.
"What's the matter, Bobaway?" asked Raymond. "Don't they suit?"
"No, sir," said Bob. "I like fopences; I don't want nothin' of these old iron rocks."
Each of the men threw Bob a sixpence, for which they were rewarded with a sight of his ivories and a loud "thank-ee-sar." After a ride of two hours they reached the Weisiger House in Frankfort. Soon after arriving there, Mr. Ashton introduced Stanton into one of the best law offices in the town, and then repaired to his former lodgings.
In the course of the afternoon Raymond sought out Mr. Miller, and with a somewhat quizzical face handed him Mr. Middleton's letter of introduction. After reading it, Mr. Miller offered his hand to Raymond, and said, "I am glad, Mr. Raymond, that you happened here just at this time, for my school is large, and I am in want of a classical teacher. You are a graduate of Yale, it seems?"
"Yes, sir," returned Raymond; "and by the way, Mr. Middleton told me that you had won a New Haven girl--Miss Kate Wilmot. I knew her very well."
"Ah, is it possible?" said Mr. Miller, his face beaming. "Come with me to Mrs. Crane's," said he. "Kate will be glad to see an old friend."
"Thank you," answered Raymond; "but I have a companion with me, a Mr. Stanton, who also knew Miss Wilmot. He is going into a law office here. We both of us intend calling at Mrs. Crane's this evening, and if possible we shall procure board there."
So they parted, and Raymond returned to the Weisiger House, while Mr. Miller hastened home to make some inquiries concerning his new assistant, and to inform Mrs. Crane of her prospect for more boarders.
That evening Stanton and Raymond called. They found assembled in Mrs. Crane's parlor, Mr. and Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Carrington and Julia. Kate instantly recognized the young gentlemen as old acquaintances, and presented them to her friends. When Stanton entered the room all observed the strong resemblance between him and Dr. Lacey. At last Mr. Miller spoke of it, and Stanton replied, "Yes, I've been told so before. Dr. Lacey is my cousin."
"Indeed!" said Mr. Miller. Then turning to his wife, he added, "Where is Fanny? She ought to be here. It might do her as much good as seeing the doctor himself."
"I should like to see Miss Fanny," said Stanton, "as I am told she is to be my cousin."
A malicious smile curled Julia's lip, as she thought, "I think it is very doubtful whether she is ever your cousin"; but Mrs. Miller arose and said, "I think she is in her room. I will call her."
Going to Fanny's room she knocked gently at the door; there was no response, and she knocked again more loudly. But still there was no answer; and Mrs. Miller thought she could distinguish a low, stifled sob. Pushing open the door, she saw the usually gay-hearted Fanny seated on the floor, her head resting on a chair, over which her hair fell like a golden gleam of sunlight. A second glance convinced Kate that Fanny was weeping.
"Why, Fanny," said she, "what is the matter? What are you crying for?"
Fanny did not reply, but as Mrs. Miller drew her up from the floor and placed her on the sofa, she laid her head in Kate's lap and wept still more passionately. At length Mrs. Miller succeeded in soothing her, and then insisted on knowing what was the cause of her distress.
"Oh," said Fanny, "do not ask me, for I can only tell you that nobody loves me long at a time--nobody but my dear old father, mother, and the blacks."
"You should not say so, Fanny dear," said Kate. "You know we all love you very much, and you say that within a few weeks Julia has been uniformly kind and affectionate to you."
"Yes, I know she is, but--"
"But what?" said Mrs. Miller. "Anything the trouble with Dr. Lacey?"
"Yes, that's it! That's it!" said Fanny in a low voice.
"Why, what's the matter? Is he sick?" asked Kate.
"Oh, no. If he were I would go to him. But, Mrs. Miller, for four long weeks he has not written me one word. Now if he were sick or dead, somebody would write to me; but it isn't that--I am afraid he's false. Julia thinks he is, and she is sorry for me, there is some comfort in that."
"Not written in four weeks? Perhaps he has written and his letters have been miscarried," said Kate.
"Oh, no, that cannot be," answered Fanny. "His first four letters came in the course of two weeks, but since then I have not had a word."
"Have you written to him since his letters ceased?" asked Kate.
"Yes, once, and I am sorry I did," answered Fanny; "but I asked Julia if I had better, and she said it would do no harm."
"Perhaps," said Mrs. Miller, "he is intending to return soon and wishes to surprise you, or it may be he is testing the strength of your attachment. But I would not suffer myself to be so much distressed until I was sure he was false. Come, dry your eyes and go with me to the parlor. There are some young gentlemen here from New York. One of them is Dr. Lacey's cousin. He wishes to see you."
"Oh, no, no!" said Fanny, quickly. "I cannot go down. You must excuse me to him."
So Mrs. Miller returned to the parlor, and said Fanny was not feeling very well and wished to be excused.
Stanton and Raymond passed a very pleasant evening, and ere its close they had arranged with Mrs. Crane for rooms and board. On their way to the hotel, Raymond suddenly exclaimed, "I say, Bob, I'm head over heels in love!"
"In love with whom?" was Stanton's quiet reply.
"In love with whom?" repeated Raymond. "Why, Bob, is it possible your head is so full of Nellie Ashton that you do not know that we have been in company this evening with a perfect Hebe, an angel, a divine creature?"
"Please stop," said Stanton, "and not deal in so many superlatives. Which of the fair ladies made such havoc with your heart? Was it Mrs. Crane?"
"Mrs. Crane! Witch of Endor just as soon," answered Raymond. "Why, man alive, 'twas the beautiful Mrs. Carrington. I tell you what, Bob, my destiny is upon me and she is its star. I see in her my future wife."
"Why, Fred," said Mr. Stanton, "are you crazy? Mrs. Carrington is at least nearly thirty-five, and you are not yet twenty-five."
"I don't care for that," replied Raymond. "She may be thirty, and she may be a hundred, but she looks sixteen. Such glorious eyes I never saw. And she almost annihilated me with one of her captivating smiles. Her name, too, is my favorite."
"Her name? Pray, how did you learn her name?" asked Stanton.
"Why," answered Raymond, "you know we were talking together a part of the evening. Our conversation turned upon names, and I remarked that Ida was my favorite. Bob, you ought to have seen her smile as she told me Ida was her own name. Perhaps I said something foolish, for I replied that Ida was a beautiful name and only fitted for such as she; but she smiled still more sweetly and said I knew how to flatter."
"Well," answered Stanton. "I hardly think you will win her, if what our friend Ashton said is true. You have no million to offer her."
"Oh, fly on your million!" said Raymond. "She's got to have me any way. If I can't get her by fair means, I'll resort to stratagem."
Thus the young man raved for nearly half an hour about Mrs. Carrington, whose handsome features, glossy curls, bright eyes, brilliant complexion and agreeable manners had nearly turned his head. Mrs. Carrington, too, had received an impression. There was something in Raymond's dashing manner, which she called "air," and she felt greatly pleased with his flattering compliments. She thought he would be a very pleasant companion to flirt with for an hour or two; but could she have known what his real intentions concerning her were she would have spurned him with contempt--as she afterward did.
The next day at dinner Stanton and Raymond took their seats at Mrs. Crane's table. To Raymond's great delight Mrs. Carrington sat opposite him. Stanton occupied Dr. Lacey's seat, which brought Fanny directly in front of him. Fanny had been prepared in a measure for the striking resemblance between Stanton and Dr. Lacey; but when she was introduced to him, his looks brought Dr. Lacey so forcibly before her that she instantly grew pale and half wished to leave the room. But a look from Mrs. Miller reassured her, and she took her accustomed place at the table.
Ere dinner was over she had forgotten for the time her lover's neglect, and was in the midst of an animated conversation with Stanton, who was much pleased with his cousin's choice. Stanton's looks and manners were so much like Dr. Lacey's that Fanny felt herself irresistibly drawn toward him and her face assumed a brighter aspect than it had worn for many days. Julia watched her closely and felt that nothing could please her better than a flirtation between Stanton and her sister.
But such was not a part of Fanny's intentions. She liked Stanton because he was agreeable, intelligent and Dr. Lacey's cousin; but she would sooner have parted with her right hand than have done anything inconsistent with her engagement with Dr. Lacey. On the other hand, Stanton's heart was too strongly fortified with Nellie's charms to admit of an entrance to the gentle Fanny. But he admired her very much, and seemed to think that she had some claim upon him in the absence of his cousin.
Thus, as days went on, his polite attentions toward Fanny increased, and Julia resolved to make this fact work for the accomplishment of her designs.