“There are a great many Americans that think as you do,” said Frowenfeld, quietly.
“But,” said the little doctor, “what did that fellow mean by your Creole partner? Mandarin is in charge of your store, but he is not your partner, is he? Have you one?”
“A silent one,” said the apothecary
“So silent as to be none of my business?”
“Well, who is it, then?”
“It is Mademoiselle Nancanou.”
“Your partner in business?”
“Well, Joseph Frowenfeld,—”
The insinuation conveyed in the doctor’s manner was very trying, but Joseph merely reddened.
“Purely business, I suppose,” presently said the doctor, with a ghastly ironical smile. “Does the arrangem’—” his utterance failed him—“does it end there?”
“It ends there.”
“And you don’t see that it ought either not to have begun, or else ought not to have ended there?”
Frowenfeld blushed angrily. The doctor asked:
“And who takes care of Aurora’s money?”
They both smiled more good-naturedly.
“She’s a coon;” and the little doctor rose up and crawled away, ostensibly to see another friend, but really to drag himself into his bedchamber and lock himself in. The next day—the yellow fever was bad again—he resumed the practice of his profession.
“’Twill be a sort of decent suicide without the element of pusillanimity,” he thought to himself.
LOVE LIES A-BLEEDING
When Honore Grandissime heard that Doctor Keene had returned to the city in a very feeble state of health, he rose at once from the desk where he was sitting and went to see him; but it was on that morning when the doctor was sitting and talking with Joseph, and Honore found his chamber door locked. Doctor Keene called twice, within the following two days, upon Honore at his counting-room; but on both occasions Honore’s chair was empty. So it was several days before they met. But one hot morning in the latter part of August,—the August days were hotter before the cypress forest was cut down between the city and the lake than they are now,—as Doctor Keene stood in the middle of his room breathing distressedly after a sad fit of coughing, and looking toward one of his windows whose closed sash he longed to see opened, Honore knocked at the door.
“Well, come in!” said the fretful invalid. “Why, Honore,—well, it serves you right for stopping to knock. Sit down.”
Each took a hasty, scrutinizing glance at the other; and, after a pause, Doctor Keene said:
“Honore, you are pretty badly stove.”
M. Grandissime smiled.
“Do you think so, Doctor? I will be more complimentary to you; you might look more sick.”