“I think, as I said to you the last time, that he is one of the best, as I know that he is one of the kindest and most enlightened gentlemen in the city,” said the apothecary.
“Ah, ‘Sieur Frowenfel’! ha, ha!”
“That is my conviction.”
The lady went on with her story.
“Hanny’ow, I know she continue in love wid ‘im all doze ten year’ w’at ’e been gone. She baig Mademoiselle Grandissime to wrad dad ledder to my papa to ass to kip her two years mo’.”
Here Aurora carefully omitted that episode which Doctor Keene had related to Frowenfeld,—her own marriage and removal to Fausse Riviere, the visit of her husband to the city, his unfortunate and finally fatal affair with Agricola, and the surrender of all her land and slaves to that successful duellist.
M. de Grapion, through all that, stood by his engagement concerning Palmyre; and, at the end of ten years, to his own astonishment, responded favorably to a letter from Honore’s sister, irresistible for its goodness, good sense, and eloquent pleading, asking leave to detain Palmyre two years longer; but this response came only after the old master and his pretty, stricken Aurora had wept over it until they were weak and gentle,—and was not a response either, but only a silent consent.
Shortly before the return of Honore—and here it was that Aurora took up again the thread of her account—while his mother, long-widowed, reigned in the paternal mansion, with Agricola for her manager, Bras-Coupe appeared. From that advent, and the long and varied mental sufferings which its consequences brought upon her, sprang that second change in Palmyre, which made her finally untamable, and ended in a manumission, granted her more for fear than for conscience’ sake. When Aurora attempted to tell those experiences, even leaving Bras-Coupe as much as might be out of the recital, she choked with tears at the very start, stopped, laughed, and said:
“C’est tout—daz all. ‘Sieur Frowenfel’, oo you fine dad pigtu’ to loog lag, yonnah, hon de wall?”
She spoke as if he might have overlooked it, though twenty times, at least, in the last hour, she had seen him glance at it.
“It is a good likeness,” said the apothecary, turning to Clotilde, yet showing himself somewhat puzzled in the matter of the costume.
The ladies laughed.
“Daz ma grade-gran’-mamma,” said Clotilde.
“Dass one fille a la cassette,” said Aurora, “my gran’-muzzah; mais, ad de sem tarn id is Clotilde.” She touched her daughter under the chin with a ringed finger. “Clotilde is my gran’-mamma.”
Frowenfeld rose to go.
“You muz come again, ’Sieur Frowenfel’,” said both ladies, in a breath.
What could he say?
A RIDE AND A RESCUE
“Douane or Bienville?”