THE MORNING AFTER
Next morning, when it was discovered that Eliza had run away with her little boy, there was great excitement and confusion all over the house.
Mrs. Shelby was very glad. ‘Thank God!’ she said. ‘I hope Eliza will get right away. I could not bear to think of Harry being sold to that cruel man.’
Mr. Shelby was angry. ‘Haley knew I didn’t want to sell the child,’ he said. ‘He will blame me for this.’
One person only was quite silent, and that was Aunt Chloe. She went on, making the breakfast as if she heard and saw nothing of the excitement round her.
All the little black boys belonging to the house thought it was fine fun. Very soon, about a dozen young imps were roosting, like so many crows, on the railings, waiting for Haley to come. They wanted to see how angry he would be, when he heard the news.
And he was dreadfully angry. The little black boys thought it was grand. They shouted and laughed and made faces at him to their hearts’ content.
At last Haley became so angry, that Mr. Shelby offered to give him two men to help him to find Eliza.
But these two men, Sam and Andy, knew quite well that Mrs. Shelby did not want Eliza to be caught, so they put off as much time as they could.
They let loose their horses and Haley’s too. Then they frightened and chased them, till they raced like mad things all over the great lawns which surrounded the house.
Whenever it seemed likely that a horse would be caught, Sam ran up, waving his hat and shouting wildly, ‘Now for it! Cotch him! Cotch him!’ This frightened the horses so much that they galloped off faster than before.
Haley rushed up and down, shouting and using dreadful, naughty words, and stamping with rage all the time.
At last, about twelve o’clock, Sam came riding up with Haley’s horse. ‘He’s cotched,’ he said, seemingly very proud of himself. ‘I cotched him!’
Of course, now it was too late to start before dinner. Besides, the horses were so tired with all their running about, that they had to have a rest.
When at last they did start, Sam led them by a wrong road. So the sun was almost setting before they arrived at the village where Haley hoped to find Eliza.