It was a much abashed and still tearful though not a repentant Jeanne who embraced her mistress, after the simple little wedding of Jeanne and Hector, when they had repaired to the wedding feast at the maison Fournier.
“But come, Madame,” said Jeanne. “Behold my new home. Is it not delightful? This is the mother of Hector, Madame, and this—ah, this is the home of Hector and myself. To-night also it is yours. I am rejoiced. Madame,” she added, in an aside, while Lily, stupid and awkward, was for the time out of the way, “I can not bear to think of your going away with but that impossible niggaire there to care for you. Almost—were it not for Hector and for this home—could you take Hector also—I should forget all and go with you even yet. To-morrow I shall go with you to the boat.”
But alas! in the morning Jeanne had again forgotten.
When at last the busy little steamer swung inshore, presently to churn her way out again into the current, Josephine went aboard with only the colored girl for her company. Her heart sank strangely, and she felt more lonely than ever in her life before. She leaned against the rail for a time, looking at the banks slip back across the turbid stream. The truth was coming into her heart that it was not with exultation she now was turning back to the East to take up her life again. Something was different now—was it the loss of Jeanne? Again surprise, terror, shame, withal wonder.
Meantime, the storm dreaded as so immediate by the administration at Washington—the organization of a new political party, born of the unrest over the slavery question—had spent its force, and, temporarily, long since had muttered away in the distance, leaving scarce a trace behind it on the political sky. Austria, England, the Old World creeds of monarchies arrayed against popular governments, had their way at our capital, where the birth of an actual democracy impended. Active leadership by revolutionists trained in Europe was suppressed, removed; as in one instance we have seen. One abolitionist mass-meeting followed another in those days, but the results of all were much the same. Protests and declamation abounded, plan and leadership lacked. The strained compromise held. Neither war nor a new party came as yet, disunion was not yet openly attempted. Moreover, there was a deliberate intent upon an era of good feeling. Whig and Democrat alike forced themselves to settle down into the belief that peace had come. If men were slaves, why, let them be slaves. At that time the national reflex was less sensitive than it later became with increased telegraphic and news facilities. Washington was not always promptly and exactly advised of the political situation in this or that more remote portion of the country. This very fact, however, meant a greater stability in the political equilibrium. Upon the western borders the feeling of unrest now became most marked; and, more swiftly than was generally recognized, important matters there were going forward; but even in that direction, declared the prophets of peace, all now was more calm than it had been for years.