The invalid lay quite still for several minutes, looking steadily at his friend, and finally let a faint smile play about his mouth,—a wan reminder of his habitual roguery.
“Good boy,” he whispered.
Frowenfeld rose and straightened the bedclothes, took a few steps about the room, and finally returned. The Doctor’s restless eye had followed him at every movement.
“Yes,” replied the apothecary, hat in hand; “where is it?”
“Corner Bienville and Bourbon,—upper river corner,—yellow one-story house, doorsteps on street. You know the house?”
“I think I do.”
“Good-night. Here!—I wish you would send that black girl in here—as you go out—make me better fire—Joe!” the call was a ghostly whisper.
Frowenfeld paused in the door.
“You don’t mind my—bad manners, Joe?”
The apothecary gave one of his infrequent smiles.
He started toward Number 19 rue Bienville, but a light, cold sprinkle set in, and he turned back toward his shop. No sooner had the rain got him there than it stopped, as rain sometimes will do.
WARS WITHIN THE BREAST
The next morning came in frigid and gray. The unseasonable numerals which the meteorologist recorded in his tables might have provoked a superstitious lover of better weather to suppose that Monsieur Danny, the head imp of discord, had been among the aerial currents. The passionate southern sky, looking down and seeing some six thousand to seventy-five hundred of her favorite children disconcerted and shivering, tried in vain, for two hours, to smile upon them with a little frozen sunshine, and finally burst into tears.
In thus giving way to despondency, it is sad to say, the sky was closely imitating the simultaneous behavior of Aurora Nancanou. Never was pretty lady in cheerier mood than that in which she had come home from Honore’s counting-room. Hard would it be to find the material with which to build again the castles-in-air that she founded upon two or three little discoveries there made. Should she tell them to Clotilde? Ah! and for what? No, Clotilde was a dear daughter—ha! few women were capable of having such a daughter as Clotilde; but there were things about which she was entirely too scrupulous. So, when she came in from that errand profoundly satisfied that she would in future hear no more about the rent than she might choose to hear, she had been too shrewd to expose herself to her daughter’s catechising. She would save her little revelations for disclosure when they might be used to advantage. As she threw her bonnet upon the bed, she exclaimed, in a tone of gentle and wearied reproach:
“Why did you not remind me that M. Honore Grandissime, that precious somebody-great, has the honor to rejoice in a quadroon half-brother of the same illustrious name? Why did you not remind me, eh?”