"what the deuce are you doing in this mess, anyway? Such

pcgwi 2023-12-03 19:09:48internet 51

He ran out to the road and looked up at Mrs. Frost, as if to implore assistance.

"That's Chloe's child," said Mrs. Frost. "Stop the horse, Frank; I'll get out and see what has happened."

Chloe, as Frank very well knew, was a colored woman, who until a few months since had been a slave in Virginia. Finally she had seized a favorable opportunity, and taking the only child which the cruel slave system had left her, for the rest had been sold South, succeeded in making her way into Pennsylvania. Chance had directed her to Rossville, where she had been permitted to occupy, rent free, an old shanty which for some years previous had been uninhabited. Here she had supported herself by taking in washing and ironing. This had been her special work on the plantation where she had been born and brought up, and she was therefore quite proficient in it. She found no difficulty in obtaining work enough to satisfy the moderate wants of herself and little Pomp.

The latter was a bright little fellow, as black as the ace of spades, and possessing to the full the mercurial temperament of the Southern negro. Full of fun and drollery, he attracted plenty of attention when he came into the village, and earned many a penny from the boys by his plantation songs and dances.

Now, however, he appeared in a mood entirely different, and it was easy to see that he was much frightened.

"What's the matter, Pomp?" asked Frank, as he brought his horse to a standstill.

"Mammy done killed herself," he repeated, wringing his hands in terror.

A moan from the interior of the house seemed to make it clear that something had happened.

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