The rents of Number 19 rue Bienville and of numerous other places, including the new drug-store in the rue Royale, were collected regularly by H. Grandissime, successor to Grandissime Freres. Rumor said, and tradition repeats, that neither for the advancement of a friendless people, nor even for the repair of the properties’ wear and tear, did one dollar of it ever remain in New Orleans; but that once a year Honore, “as instructed,” remitted to Madame—say Madame Inconnue—of Bordeaux, the equivalent, in francs, of fifty thousand dollars. It is averred he did this without interruption for twenty years. “Let us see: fifty times twenty—one million dollars. That is only a part of the pecuniary loss which this sort of thing costs Louisiana.”
But we have wandered.
The sun is once more setting upon the Place d’Armes. Once more the shadows of cathedral and town-hall lie athwart the pleasant grounds where again the city’s fashion and beauty sit about in the sedate Spanish way, or stand or slowly move in and out among the old willows and along the white walks. Children are again playing on the sward; some, you may observe, are in black, for Agricola. You see, too, a more peaceful river, a nearer-seeming and greener opposite shore, and many other evidences of the drowsy summer’s unwillingness to leave the embrace of this seductive land; the dreamy quietude of birds; the spreading, folding, re-expanding and slow pulsating of the all-prevailing fan (how like the unfolding of an angel’s wing is ofttimes the broadening of that little instrument!); the oft-drawn handkerchief; the pale, cool colors of summer costume; the swallow, circling and twittering overhead or darting across the sight; the languid movement of foot and hand; the reeking flanks and foaming bits of horses; the ear-piercing note of the cicada; the dancing butterfly; the dog, dropping upon the grass and looking up to his master with roping jaw and lolling tongue; the air sweetened with the merchandise of the flower marchandes.
On the levee road, bridles and saddles, whips, gigs, and carriages,—what a merry coming and going! We look, perforce, toward the old bench where, six months ago, sat Joseph Frowenfeld. There is somebody there—a small, thin, weary-looking man, who leans his bared head slightly back against the tree, his thin fingers knit together in his lap, and his chapeau-bras pressed under his arm. You note his extreme neatness of dress, the bright, unhealthy restlessness of his eye, and—as a beam from the sun strikes them—the fineness of his short red curls. It is Doctor Keene.