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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 327 pages of information about The Grandissimes.

“That boat song, do you mean, which they sing as a signal to those on shore?” He hummed.

[Illustration:  Music]

     “De zabs, de zabs, de counou ouaie ouaie,
     De zabs, de zabs, de counou ouaie ouaie,
     Counou ouaie ouaie ouaie ouaie,
     Counou ouaie ouaie ouaie ouaie,
     Counou ouaie ouaie ouaie, momza;
     Momza, momza, momza, momza,
     Roza, roza, roza-et—­momza.”

This was followed by another and still another, until the hour began to grow late.  And then they gathered closer around him and heard the promised story.  At the same hour Honore Grandissime, wrapping himself in a greatcoat and giving himself up to sad and somewhat bitter reflections, had wandered from the paternal house, and by and by from the grounds, not knowing why or whither, but after a time soliciting, at Frowenfeld’s closing door, the favor of his company.  He had been feeling a kind of suffocation.  This it was that made him seek and prize the presence and hand-grasp of the inexperienced apothecary.  He led him out to the edge of the river.  Here they sat down, and with a laborious attempt at a hard and jesting mood, Honore told the same dark story.

CHAPTER XXVIII

THE STORY OF BRAS-COUPE

“A very little more than eight years ago,” began Honore—­but not only Honore, but Raoul also; and not only they, but another, earlier on the same day,—­Honore, the f.m.c.  But we shall not exactly follow the words of any one of these.

Bras-Coupe, they said, had been, in Africa and under another name, a prince among his people.  In a certain war of conquest, to which he had been driven by ennui, he was captured, stripped of his royalty, marched down upon the beach of the Atlantic, and, attired as a true son of Adam, with two goodly arms intact, became a commodity.  Passing out of first hands in barter for a looking-glass, he was shipped in good order and condition on board the good schooner Egalite, whereof Blank was master, to be delivered without delay at the port of Nouvelle Orleans (the dangers of fire and navigation excepted), unto Blank Blank.  In witness whereof, He that made men’s skins of different colors, but all blood of one, hath entered the same upon His book, and sealed it to the day of judgment.

Of the voyage little is recorded—­here below; the less the better.  Part of the living merchandise failed to keep; the weather was rough, the cargo large, the vessel small.  However, the captain discovered there was room over the side, and there—­all flesh is grass—­from time to time during the voyage he jettisoned the unmerchantable.

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