But if it is lost, Hiram, and if Levi should come back, it will go well to ruin ye.”
So Hiram White invested seven hundred pounds in the Jamaica venture and every farthing of it was burned by Blueskin, off Currituck Sound.
Sally Martin was said to be the prettiest girl in Lewes Hundred, and when the rumor began to leak out that Hiram White was courting her the whole community took it as a monstrous joke. It was the common thing to greet Hiram himself with, “Hey, Hiram; how’s Sally?” Hiram never made answer to such salutation, but went his way as heavily, as impassively, as dully as ever.
The joke was true. Twice a week, rain or shine, Hiram White never failed to scrape his feet upon Billy Martin’s doorstep. Twice a week, on Sundays and Thursdays, he never failed to take his customary seat by the kitchen fire. He rarely said anything by way of talk; he nodded to the farmer, to his wife, to Sally and, when he chanced to be at home, to her brother, but he ventured nothing further. There he would sit from half past seven until nine o’clock, stolid, heavy, impassive, his dull eyes following now one of the family and now another, but always coming back again to Sally. It sometimes happened that she had other company—some of the young men of the neighborhood. The presence of such seemed to make no difference to Hiram; he bore whatever broad jokes might be cracked upon him, whatever grins, whatever giggling might follow those jokes, with the same patient impassiveness. There he would sit, silent, unresponsive; then, at the first stroke of nine o’clock, he would rise, shoulder his ungainly person into his overcoat, twist his head into his three-cornered hat, and with a “Good night, Sally, I be going now,” would take his departure, shutting the door carefully to behind him.