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friends of his wretched infancy, as well as for the higher loves of his manhood's prime.
Ishmael was at ease with the old odd-job man, and he would have been at ease with his imperial majesty, had circumstances brought him into the immediate circle of the Czar; because from the depths of his soul he was intensely conscious of the innate majesty of man.
Ishmael had no more need of a servant than a coach has of a fifth wheel. He took the professor into his service for no other purpose than to take care of the poor old man and make him happy, never foreseeing how really useful and important this gray-haired retainer would eventually become to him. He was planning only the professor's happiness, not his own convenience. But he found both.
As they rode along that pleasant September morning he was pleasing himself with thinking how that intelligent old man, starved all his life for mental food, would delight himself amid the intellectual wealth of his new life.
They were approaching the turn-stile at the cross-roads, memorable for the weary watchings of Lady Hurstmonceux.
As they reached the spot and took the road leading to Baymouth Ishmael looked back to the professor, who, as he felt in duty bound to do, rode in the rear of his master, and, as was natural, looked a little serious.
"Do you remember, professor, how often you and I have traveled afoot up and down this road in the exercise of our useful calling of odd- jobbing? Your great shoulders bowed under an enormous load of pots, pans, kettles, umbrellas, and everything that required your surgical skill; and my little back bent beneath the basket of tools?" inquired Ishmael, by way of diverting him.
"Ah, do I not, sir! But why recall those days? You have left them far behind, sir," said the professor, in grave consideration of his master's dignity.
"Because I like to recall them, professor. It quickens my gratitude to the Lord for all his marvelous mercies, and it deepens my love for my friends for their goodness to me then," said Ishmael fervently.
"The Lord knows I don't know who was good to you then! Of course, now, sir, there are multitudes of people who would be proud to be numbered among your friends. But then, of all the abandoned children that ever I saw, you were about the most friendless," said the professor, with much feeling.
"You, for one, were good to me, professor; and I do not forget it."
"Ah, the Lord knows it was but little I could do."
"What you did do was vital to me, professor. My life was but a little flame, in danger of dying out. You fed it with little chips, and kept it alive."
"And it burns great hickory logs now, and warms the world," said the professor, looking proudly and fondly upon the fine young man before him.
"It shall at least warm and shelter your age, professor. And whatever of prosperity the Lord accords me, you shall share."
As he said these words he turned an affectionate look on his retainer, and saw the tears rolling down the old man's cheeks.
"It was but a few, poor crumbs I cast upon the waters, that all this bread should come back to me after many days," he muttered in a broken voice.
"We were really very happy, professor, when we used to trudge the road together, plying our profession; but we are going to be much happier now, because our lives will be enlarged."
The professor smiled assent and they rode on.
They passed through Baymouth, where the professor directed his master's attention to the new signs of the mechanics who had taken his custom from him,
"But it is a true saying, sir, that there never was one door closed but what there was another opened. Many doors were closed against me at once; but just see what a broad, beautiful door you have opened to me, letting me into a glorious new life!"
"Life is what we make of it, professor. To you, who will appreciate and enjoy every good thing in it, no doubt your new life will be very happy," replied Ishmael.
And so conversing they passed through the town and entered the deep forest that lay along the shores of the river between Baymouth and Shelton.
They rode all the morning through the pleasant woods and stopped an hour at noon to rest and refresh themselves and their horses; and then resumed their journey and rode all the afternoon and arrived at Woodside just as the sun was setting.
As before, Reuben, Hannah, Sam, Sally, the children, and the dog, all rushed out to welcome Ishmael.
Much astonished was Hannah to see her old friend, the professor, and much delighted to hear that he was going up to Washington to fill the place of major-domo to Ishmael. For Hannah shared the old woman's superstition, that the young man is never able to take care of himself; and notwithstanding all that had come and gone-- notwithstanding that Ishmael had taken care of himself and her too, from the time he was eight years old, for years more, still she thought that he would be all the safer for having "an old head to look after him."
There was plenty of news to tell, too.
As soon as the bounteous supper that Reuben and Hannah always provided for favored guests was over, and they were all gathered around the bright little wood fire that the capricious autumn weather rendered desirable, the budget was opened.
Lord and Lady Vincent were to have an evening reception, at Tanglewood.
And on the first of October they were to sail for Europe.
Lady Vincent was going to take three of the servants with her--old Aunt Katie, Jim, and Sally.
Jim was to go as lady's footman; Sally as lady's maid; and old Aunt Katie in no particular capacity, but because she refused to be separated from the two beings she loved the most of all in the world.
She had nursed Miss Claudia, and she was bound to nurse Miss Claudia's children, she said.
Lady Vincent had decided to take her, and was rather glad to do it.
Lord Vincent, it was supposed, did not like the arrangement, and stigmatized the black servants as "gorillas," but Lady Vincent, it was confidently asserted, never deigned to consult his lordship, or pay the slightest attention to his prejudices. And so matters stood for the present.
All this was communicated to Ishmael by Reuben and Hannah. And in the midst of their talk, in walked one of the subjects of their conversation--Aunt Katie.
She was immediately welcomed and provided with a seat in the chimney-corner. She was inflated with the subject of her expected voyage and glowing with the importance of her anticipated office. She expatiated on the preparations in progress.
"But don't you feel sorry to leave your native home, Aunt Katie?" inquired Hannah.
"Who, me? No, 'deed! I takes my native home along with me when I takes Miss Claudia and Jim and Sally! For what says the catechism?-- 'tis home where'er de heart is!' And my heart is 'long o' de chillun. 'Sides which I don't want to be allus stuck down in one place like an old tree as can't be moved without killing of it. I'm a living soul, I am, and I wants to go and see somethin' of this here world afore I goes hence and bees no more," said Katie briskly.
Evidently Katie was a progressive spirit, and would not have hesitated to emigrate to Liberia or any other new colony where she could better herself or her children, and begin life afresh at fifty.
At last Katie got up to go, and bade them all a patronizing farewell.
Sally, and Jim, who as usual was spending his evening with her, arose to accompany Katie.
And Ishmael took his hat and walked out after them.
Very much embarrassed they were at this unusual honor, which they could in no wise understand, until at length when they had gone some little way into the woods Ishmael said:
"I have something to say to you three."
"Yes, sir," said Katie, speaking for the rest.
"Katie, you are acquainted with that psychological mystery called presentiment, for I have heard you speak of it," said Ishmael, smiling half in doubt, half in derision of his present feelings.
"Ye-es, sir," answered Katie hesitatingly, "I believe in persentiments; though what you mean by sigh-what's-its-name, I don't know."
"Never mind, Katie, you believe in presentiments?"
"Indeed do I! and got reason to, too! Why, law! the month before Mrs. Merlin, as was Miss Claudia's mother, died. I sperienced the most 'stonishing--"
"Yes, I know. You told me all about that before, Katie."
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