“Fortunately, the most of us,” said Honore, with something of the doctor’s smile, “do not love hard enough to be killed by it.”
“Very few.” The doctor paused, and his blue eyes, distended in reverie, gazed upon the glass which he was slowly turning around with his attenuated fingers as it stood on the board, while he added: “However, one may love as hopelessly and harder than that man upstairs, and yet not die.”
“There is comfort in that—to those who must live,” said Honore with gentle gravity.
“Yes,” said the other, still toying with his glass.
He slowly lifted his glance, and the eyes of the two men met and remained steadfastly fixed each upon each.
“You’ve got it bad,” said Doctor Keene, mechanically.
“And you?” retorted the Creole.
“It isn’t going to kill me.”
“It has not killed me. And,” added M. Grandissime, as they passed through the carriage-way toward the street, “while I keep in mind the numberless other sorrows of life, the burials of wives and sons and daughters, the agonies and desolations, I shall never die of love, my-de’-seh, for very shame’s sake.”
This was much sentiment to risk within Doctor Keene’s reach; but he took no advantage of it.
“Honore,” said he, as they joined hands on the banquette beside the doctor’s gig, to say good-day, “if you think there’s a chance for you, why stickle upon such fine-drawn points as I reckon you are making? Why, sir, as I understand it, this is the only weak spot your action has shown; you have taken an inoculation of Quixotic conscience from our transcendental apothecary and perpetrated a lot of heroic behavior that would have done honor to four-and-twenty Brutuses; and now that you have a chance to do something easy and human, you shiver and shrink at the ‘looks o’ the thing.’ Why, what do you care—”
“Hush!” said Honore; “do you suppose I have not temptation enough already?”
He began to move away.
“Honore,” said the doctor, following him a step, “I couldn’t have made a mistake—It’s the little Monk,—it’s Aurora, isn’t it?”
Honore nodded, then faced his friend more directly, with a sudden new thought.
“But, Doctor, why not take your own advice? I know not how you are prevented; you have as good a right as Frowenfeld.”
“It wouldn’t be honest,” said the doctor; “it wouldn’t be the straight up and down manly thing.”
The doctor stepped into his gig—
“Not till I feel all right here.” (In his chest.)
FROWENFELD AT THE GRANDISSIME MANSION
One afternoon—it seems to have been some time in June, and consequently earlier than Doctor Keene’s return—the Grandissimes were set all a-tremble with vexation by the discovery that another of their number had, to use Agricola’s expression, “gone over to the enemy,”—a phrase first applied by him to Honore.