Who could hope to catch and reproduce the continuous lively thrill which traversed the frame of the escaped book-worm as every moment there was repeated to his consciousness the knowledge that he was walking across the vault of heaven with the evening star on his arm—at least, that he was, at her instigation, killing time along the dim, ill-lighted trottoirs of the rue Chartres, with Aurora listening sympathetically at his side. But let it go; also the sweet broken English with which she now and then interrupted him; also the inward, hidden sparkle of her dancing Gallic blood; her low, merry laugh; the roguish mental reservation that lurked behind her graver speeches; the droll bravados she uttered against the powers that be, as with timid fingers he brushed from her shoulder a little remaining dust of the late encounter—these things, we say, we let go,—as we let butterflies go rather than pin them to paper.
They had turned into the rue Bienville, and were walking toward the river, Frowenfeld in the midst of a long sentence, when a low cry of tearful delight sounded in front of them, some one in long robes glided forward, and he found his arm relieved of its burden and that burden transferred to the bosom and passionate embrace of another—we had almost said a fairer—Creole, amid a bewildering interchange of kisses and a pelting shower of Creole French.
A moment after, Frowenfeld found himself introduced to “my dotter, Clotilde,” who all at once ceased her demonstrations of affection and bowed to him with a majestic sweetness, that seemed one instant grateful and the next, distant.
“I can hardly understand that you are not sisters,” said Frowenfeld, a little awkwardly.
“Ah! ecoutez!” exclaimed the younger.
“Ah! par exemple!” cried the elder, and they laughed down each other’s throats, while the immigrant blushed.
This encounter was presently followed by a silent surprise when they stopped and turned before the door of Number 19, and Frowenfeld contrasted the women with their painfully humble dwelling. But therein is where your true Creole was, and still continues to be, properly, yea, delightfully un-American; the outside of his house may be as rough as the outside of a bird’s nest; it is the inside that is for the birds; and the front room of this house, when the daughter presently threw open the batten shutters of its single street door, looked as bright and happy, with its candelabra glittering on the mantel, and its curtains of snowy lace, as its bright-eyed tenants.
“‘Sieur Frowenfel’, if you pliz to come in,” said Aurora, and the timid apothecary would have bravely accepted the invitation, but for a quick look which he saw the daughter give the mother; whereupon he asked, instead, permission to call at some future day, and received the cordial leave of Aurora and another bow from Clotilde.