M. Honore Grandissime turned on his heel and very soon left the ball.
“Now, sir,” thought he to himself, “we’ll return to our senses.”
“Now I’ll put my feathers on again,” says the plucked bird.
THE FATE OF THE IMMIGRANT
It was just a fortnight after the ball, that one Joseph Frowenfeld opened his eyes upon Louisiana. He was an American by birth, rearing and sentiment, yet German enough through his parents, and the only son in a family consisting of father, mother, self, and two sisters, new-blown flowers of womanhood. It was an October dawn, when, long wearied of the ocean, and with bright anticipations of verdure, and fragrance, and tropical gorgeousness, this simple-hearted family awoke to find the bark that had borne them from their far northern home already entering upon the ascent of the Mississippi.
We may easily imagine the grave group, as they came up one by one from below, that morning of first disappointment, and stood (with a whirligig of jubilant mosquitoes spinning about each head) looking out across the waste, seeing the sky and the marsh meet in the east, the north, and the west, and receiving with patient silence the father’s suggestion that the hills would, no doubt, rise into view after a while.
“My children, we may turn this disappointment into a lesson; if the good people of this country could speak to us now, they might well ask us not to judge them or their land upon one or two hasty glances, or by the experiences of a few short days or weeks.”
But no hills rose. However, by and by they found solace in the appearance of distant forest, and in the afternoon they entered a land—but such a land! A land hung in mourning, darkened by gigantic cypresses, submerged; a land of reptiles, silence, shadow, decay.
“The captain told father, when we went to engage passage, that New Orleans was on high land,” said the younger daughter, with a tremor in the voice, and ignoring the remonstrative touch of her sister.
“On high land?” said the captain, turning from the pilot; “well, so it is—higher than the swamp, but not higher than the river,” and he checked a broadening smile.
But the Frowenfelds were not a family to complain. It was characteristic of them to recognize the bright as well as the solemn virtues, and to keep each other reminded of the duty of cheerfulness. A smile, starting from the quiet elder sister, went around the group, directed against the abstracted and somewhat rueful countenance of Joseph, whereat he turned with a better face and said that what the Creator had pronounced very good they could hardly feel free to condemn. The old father was still more stout of heart.
“These mosquitoes, children, are thought by some to keep the air pure,” he said.
“Better keep out of it after sunset,” put in the captain.