“Very well: if I cannot love I can have my revenge.” She took the letter from him and bowed her thanks, still adding, in the same tongue, “There is now no longer anything to prevent.”
The apothecary understood the dark speech. She meant that, with no hope of Honore’s love, there was no restraining motive to withhold her from wreaking what vengeance she could upon Agricola. But he saw the folly of a debate.
“That is all I can do?” asked he.
“Oui, merci, Miche” she said; then she added, in perfect English, “but that is not all I can do,” and then—laughed.
The apothecary had already turned to go, and the laugh was a low one; but it chilled his blood. He was glad to get back to his employments.
We have now recorded some of the events which characterized the five months during which Doctor Keene had been vainly seeking to recover his health in the West Indies.
“Is Mr. Frowenfeld in?” he asked, walking very slowly, and with a cane, into the new drug-store on the morning of his return to the city.
“If Professo’ Frowenfel’ ’s in?” replied a young man in shirt-sleeves, speaking rapidly, slapping a paper package which he had just tied, and sliding it smartly down the counter. “No, seh.”
A quick step behind the doctor caused him to turn; Raoul was just entering, with a bright look of business on his face, taking his coat off as he came.
“Docta Keene! Teck a chair. ‘Ow you like de noo sto’? See? Fo’ counters! T’ree clerk’! De whole interieure paint undre mie h-own direction! If dat is not a beautiful! eh? Look at dat sign.”
He pointed to some lettering in harmonious colors near the ceiling at the farther end of the house. The doctor looked and read:
MANDARIN, AG’T, APOTHECARY.
“Why not Frowenfeld?” he asked.
“’Tis better dis way.”
That was his explanation.
“Not the De Brahmin Mandarin who was Honore’s manager?”
“Yes. Honore was n’ able to kip ‘im no long-er. Honore is n’ so rich lak befo’.”
“And Mandarin is really in charge here?”
“Oh, yes. Profess-or Frowenfel’ all de time at de ole corner, w’ere ’e continue to keep ‘is private room and h-use de ole shop fo’ ware’ouse. ‘E h-only come yeh w’en Mandarin cann’ git ’long widout ’im.”
“What does he do there? He’s not rich.”
Raoul bent down toward the doctor’s chair and whispered the dark secret:
Doctor Keene went out.