CHAPTER XXIII. HENRIQUE.
ABOUT this time, St. Clare's brother Alfred, with his eldest son, a boy of twelve, spent a day or two with the family. Henrique, the eldest son of Alfred, was a noble, dark-eyed boy, full of vivacity and spirit; and, from the first moment of introduction, seemed to be perfectly fascinated by the graces of his cousin Evangeline.
Eva had a little pet pony, of a snowy whiteness. It was easy as a cradle, and as gentle as its little mistress; and this pony was now brought up to the verandah by Tom, while a little mulatto boy led along a small black Arabian, which had just been imported, at a great expense, for Henrique. As he advanced and took the reins out of the hands of his little groom, his brow darkened.
"What 's this, Dodo, You little lazy dog! You have n't rubbed my horse down, this morning."
"Yes, mas'r," said Dodo, submissively, "he got that dust on his own self."
"You rascal, shut your mouth!" said Henrique, violently raising his riding whip. "How dare you speak?"
"Mas'r Henrique!—" he began.
Henrique struck him across the face with his riding-
whip, and, seizing one of his arms, forced him on to his knees, and beat him till he was out of breath.
"There, you impudent dog! Now will you learn not to answer back when I speak to you? Take the horse back, and clean him properly. I'll teach you your place!"
"Young Mas'r," said Tom, "I spects what he was gwine to say was, that the horse would roll when he was bringing him up from the stable; he 's so full of spirits,—that 's the way he got that dirt on him; I looked to his cleaning."
"You hold your tongue till you 're asked to speak!" said Henrique. "Dear cousin, I 'm sorry this stupid fellow has kept you waiting," he said. "What 's the matter, you look sober."
"How could you be so cruel and wicked to poor Dodo?" said Eva.
"Cruel,—wicked!" said the boy, with unaffected surprise. "What do you mean, dear Eva?"
"I don't want you to call me dear Eva, when you do so," said Eva.
"Dear cousin, you do n't know Dodo; it 's the only way to manage him, he's so full of lies and excuses."
"But Uncle Tom said it was an accident, and he never tells what is n't true."
"He 's an uncommon old nigger, then!" said Henrique. "Dodo will lie as fast as he can speak; but I won't beat him again before you, if it troubles you."
Eva was not satisfied, but found it in vain to try to make her cousin understand her feelings.
Dodo soon appeared, with the horses.
"Well, Dodo, you 've done pretty well, this time," said his young
master, with a more gracious air. "Come, now,
and hold Miss Eva's horse, while I put her on to the saddle."
When he had placed the reins in her hands, Eva bent to the other side of the horse, where Dodo was standing, and said, "That's a good boy, Dodo;—thank you!"
Dodo looked up. The blood rushed to his cheeks, and the tears to his eyes.
"Here, Dodo," said his master, imperiously.
Dodo sprang and held the horse, while his master mounted. "There's something for you to buy candy with, Dodo," said he, and cantered down the walk after Eva.
St. Clare and his brother were playing a game of backgammon when the children returned from their ride. Eva was dressed in a blue riding-dress, with a cap of the same color. Exercise had given a brilliant hue to her cheeks, and heightened the effect of her singularly transparent skin, and golden hair.
"What perfectly dazzling beauty!" said Alfred. "I tell you, Auguste, won't she make some hearts ache, one of these days?"
"She will, too truly,—God knows I 'm afraid so!" said St. Clare, in a tone of sudden bitterness, as he hurried down to take her off her horse.
"Eva, darling! you 're not much tired?" he said, as he clasped her in his arms.
"No, papa," said the child; but her short, hard breathing alarmed her father.
"How could you ride so fast, dear?—you know it's bad for you."
"I felt so well, papa, and liked it so much, I forgot."
St. Clare carried her in his arms into the parlor and laid her on the sofa, and she soon found herself much better. Her father and uncle resumed their game, and the children were left together.
"Do you know, Eva, I don't mean to treat Dodo ill; but, you know,
I 've got such a quick temper. I 'm not really
bad to him, though. I give him money now and then; and you see he dresses well. I think, on the whole, Dodo 's pretty well off."
"Would you think you were well off, if there were not one creature in the world near you to love you?"
"I? Well, of course not."
"And you have taken Dodo away from all the friends he
ever had, and now he has not a creature to love him,—nobody can be good that way."
"Well, I can't help it, as I know of. I can't get his mother, and I can't love him myself, nor anybody else, as I know of."
"Why can't you?" said Eva.
"Love Dodo! Why Eva, you would n't have me! I may like him well enough; but you don't love your servants."
"I do, indeed."
"Don't the Bible say we must love everybody?"
"O, the Bible! To be sure, it says a great many such things; but, then, nobody ever thinks of doing them. You know, Eva, nobody does."
Eva did not speak; her eyes were fixed and thoughtful, for a few moments.
"At any rate," she said, "dear cousin, do love poor Dodo, and be kind to him, for my sake!"
The dinner-bell put an end to the interview.