Senator North by Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
Betty took Harriet to her own room and put her to bed. She had dinner for both sent upstairs, but Harriet would not eat; neither would she speak. She lay in the bed, half on her face, as limp as the newly dead. Occasionally she sighed or groaned. Betty tried several times to rouse her, but she would not respond. Finally she shook her.
"You shall listen," she said sternly. "As you seem to have left your common-sense up there with those negroes, you are not to leave this room until you have recovered it--until I give you permission. Do you understand?" She had calculated upon striking the slavish chord in the demoralized creature, and her intelligence had acted unerringly. Harriet bent her head humbly, and muttered that she would do what she was told.
When Betty heard Jack return, she went out to meet him, locking the door behind her.
"Harriet is with me for to-night," she said. "She needs constant care, for she is both excited and worn out; and as you still are angry with her--"
"Oh, I am sorry if she is really ill, and I will do anything I can--"
"Then leave her with me for to-night. You know nothing about taking care of women."
Jack, who was sleepy and still sulky, thanked her and went off to his room. She returned to Harriet, who finally appeared to sleep.
Betty took the key from the door and put it in her pocket, then lay down on the sofa to sleep while she could: she anticipated a long and difficult day with Harriet. She was awakened suddenly by the noise of a door violently slammed. Immediately, she heard the sound of running feet.
She looked at the bed. Harriet was not there. A draught of cold air struck her, and she saw a curtain flutter. She ran to the window. It was open. She stepped out upon the roof of the veranda, and went rapidly round the corner to Emory's room. One of the windows was open. Betty looked up at the dark forest behind the lonely house and caught her breath. What should she see? But she went on. A candle burned in the room. Harriet sat on a chair in her nightgown, her black hair hanging about her.
"I told him," she said, in a hollow but even voice. "I was drunk with religion, and I told him. I didn't come to my senses till I looked up --I was on the floor--and saw his face. He has gone away."
"What did he say?"
"Nothing. Not a word."
She drew a long sigh. "I'm so tired," she said. "I reckon I'll go to bed."