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Old Creole Days eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 199 pages of information about Old Creole Days.

’Sieur George’s door, though ever so slowly opened, protested with a loud creak.  The landlord, wet with cold sweat from head to foot, and shaking till the floor trembled, paused for several minutes, and then entered the moon-lit apartment.  The tenant, lying as if he had not moved, was sleeping heavily.  And now the poor coward trembled so, that to kneel before the trunk, without falling, he did not know how.  Twice, thrice, he was near tumbling headlong.  He became as cold as ice.  But the sleeper stirred, and the thought of losing his opportunity strung his nerves up in an instant.  He went softly down upon his knees, laid his hands upon the lid, lifted it, and let in the intense moonlight.  The trunk was full, full, crowded down and running over full, of the tickets of the Havana Lottery!

A little after daybreak, Kookoo from his window saw the orphan, pausing on the corner.  She stood for a moment, and then dove into the dense fog which had floated in from the river, and disappeared.  He never saw her again.

But her Lord is taking care of her.  Once only she has seen ’Sieur George.  She had been in the belvedere of the house which she now calls home, looking down upon the outspread city.  Far away southward and westward the great river glistened in the sunset.  Along its sweeping bends the chimneys of a smoking commerce, the magazines of surplus wealth, the gardens of the opulent, the steeples of a hundred sanctuaries and thousands on thousands of mansions and hovels covered the fertile birthright arpents which ‘Sieur George, in his fifty years’ stay, had seen tricked away from dull colonial Esaus by their blue-eyed brethren of the North.  Nearer by she looked upon the forlornly silent region of lowly dwellings, neglected by legislation and shunned by all lovers of comfort, that once had been the smiling fields of her own grandsire’s broad plantation; and but a little way off, trudging across the marshy commons, her eye caught sight of ’Sieur George following the sunset out upon the prairies to find a night’s rest in the high grass.

She turned at once, gathered the skirt of her pink calico uniform, and, watching her steps through her tears, descended the steep winding-stair to her frequent kneeling-place under the fragrant candles of the chapel-altar in Mother Nativity’s asylum.

’Sieur George is houseless.  He cannot find the orphan.  Mother Nativity seems to know nothing of her.  If he could find her now, and could get from her the use of ten dollars for but three days, he knows a combination which would repair all the past; it could not fail, he—­thinks.  But he cannot find her, and the letters he writes—­all containing the one scheme—­disappear in the mail-box, and there’s an end.

MADAME DELICIEUSE

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