“Mi-frien’,” said Raoul, with mingled pity and superiority, “you haven’t got doze inside nooz; Louisiana is goin’ to state w’at she want.”
On his way back toward the shop Mr. Innerarity easily learned Louisiana’s wants and don’t-wants by heart. She wanted a Creole governor; she did not want Casa Calvo invited to leave the country; she wanted the provisions of the Treaty of Cession hurried up; “as soon as possible,” that instrument said; she had waited long enough; she did not want “dat trile bi-ju’y”—execrable trash! she wanted an unwatched import trade! she did not want a single additional Americain appointed to office; she wanted the slave trade.
Just in sight of the bareheaded and anxious Frowenfeld, Raoul let himself be stopped by a friend.
The remark was exchanged that the times were exciting.
“And yet,” said the friend, “the city was never more peaceable. It is exasperating to see that coward governor looking so diligently after his police and hurrying on the organization of the Americain volunteer militia!” He pointed savagely here and there. “M. Innerarity, I am lost in admiration at the all but craven patience with which our people endure their wrongs! Do my pistols show too much through my coat? Well, good-day; I must go home and clean my gun; my dear friend, one don’t know how soon he may have to encounter the Recorder and Register of Land-titles.”
Raoul finished his errand.
“‘Sieur Frowenfel’, excuse me—I take dat lett’ to ’Polyte for you if you want.” There are times when mere shopkeeping—any peaceful routine—is torture.
But the apothecary felt so himself; he declined his assistant’s offer and went out toward the Veau-qui-tete.
FROWENFELD FINDS SYLVESTRE
The Veau-qui-tete restaurant occupied the whole ground floor of a small, low, two-story, tile-roofed, brick-and-stucco building which still stands on the corner of Chartres and St. Peter streets, in company with the well-preserved old Cabildo and the young Cathedral, reminding one of the shabby and swarthy Creoles whom we sometimes see helping better-kept kinsmen to murder time on the banquettes of the old French Quarter. It was a favorite rendezvous of the higher classes, convenient to the court-rooms and municipal bureaus. There you found the choicest legal and political gossips, with the best the market afforded of meat and drink.
Frowenfeld found a considerable number of persons there. He had to move about among them to some extent, to make sure he was not overlooking the object of his search.
As he entered the door, a man sitting near it stopped talking, gazed rudely as he passed, and then leaned across the table and smiled and murmured to his companion. The subject of his jest felt their four eyes on his back.
There was a loud buzz of conversation throughout the room, but wherever he went a wake of momentary silence followed him, and once or twice he saw elbows nudged. He perceived that there was something in the state of mind of these good citizens that made the present sight of him particularly discordant.