Valcour was waiting. A negro who had come to the store for rations told me that he was down below around the bend and wanted to see me. It never would have entered my mind to put myself the least bit out of the way for the sake of a rendez-vous with Valcour; he might have waited till the crack of doom. But it was the hour for my afternoon walk and I did not mind stopping on the way, to see what the vagabond wanted with me.
The weather was a little warm for April, and of course it had been raining. But with the shabby skirt which I wore and the clumsy old boots, the wet and the mud distressed me not at all; beside, I walked along the grassy edge of the road. The river was low and sluggish between its steep embankments that were like slimy pit-falls. Valcour was sitting on the fallen trunk of a tree near the water, waiting.
I saw at a glance that he was sober; though his whole appearance gave evidence of his having been drunk at no very remote period. His clothes, his battered hat, his skin, his straggling beard which he never shaved, were all of one color -- the color of clay. He made but the faintest offer to rise at my approach; and I saved him the complete effort by seating myself at once beside him on the log. I was glad that he showed no disposition to shake hands, for his hands were far from clean; and moreover he might have discovered the dollar bill which I had slipped into my glove in case of emergencies. He greeted me with his usual:
"How you come on, cousin?"
There exists a tradition outside the family that Valcour is a relation of ours. I am the only one, somehow, who does not strenuously deny the charge.
"Me, I'm well enough, Valcour."
I long ago discovered that there is no need of wasting fine language on Valcour. Such effort could only evince a pride and affectation from which I am happily free.
"W'at you mean," I continued, "by sending me word you want to see me. You don' think fo' an instant I'd come down here o' purpose to see an object like you."