Tempest and Sunshine (Chapter 5, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 5

Julia and Fanny had been gone from home about four weeks when Mr.
Middleton suddenly determined "to go and see his gals" and bring them
home. Accordingly he "fixed up right smart," as he thought, which meant
that he took off his beard and put on "a bran new pair of jeens." He
preferred driving his own carriage, so he set off alone for Frankfort.

It was Friday morning, and as his daughters were in school, he stalked
into Mrs. Crane's parlor to wait for them. Spying the piano, he sat down
to it, and commenced producing a series of unearthly sounds, not
altogether unlike the fashionable music of the present day. Mrs.
Carrington chanced to be crossing the hall and, hearing the noise from the
parlor, looked in. As her eye fell upon the strange-looking, giant form of
Mr. Middleton, she uttered a very delicate scream, and as she just then
saw Dr. Lacey entering the house, she staggered back a few paces, and
tried to faint very gracefully. But the doctor caught her in his arms just
in time to restore her to consciousness!

Mr. Middleton now came toward them, exclaiming, "Lightning guns! What's to
pay now? Skeered at me, are you, madam or miss, whichever you be? I won't
hurt a har of your soft skull!"

"Ugh-u-u!" said Mrs. Carrington, shrinking from him in disgust, as he
advanced toward her, and laid his large hand on her head, "just to see,"
as he said, "if she were made of anything besides jewelry, curls and
paint."

At this allusion to her brilliant color, Mrs. Carrington relieved Dr.
Lacey from the delightful duty of supporting her, and disappeared up the
stairs, saying in no very gentle tones, "What an old brute!"

"Fire away thar," called our Mr. Middleton. "I am an old brute, I
suppose."

"But your right name is Mr. Middleton, I conclude," said Dr. Lacey.

Mr. Middleton started and answered, "How d'ye know that? Just as you'd
know his satanic majesty, if he should appear to you?"

"Something upon that principle," said Dr. Lacey, laughing, "but," he
continued, "I am glad to see you, Mr. Middleton. I suppose you have come
to visit your daughters."

"Yes, and to take them home and let their mother and the rest of the
blacks see them," answered Mr. Middleton; then after a pause he added,
"They'll be right glad to see me, I reckon, or at least Sunshine will."

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