Strange True Stories of Louisiana eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 268 pages of information about Strange True Stories of Louisiana.

I thanked him and departed, with but the one regret that the tale was true so many more times than was necessary.

In all this collection the story of the so-called haunted house in Royal street is the only one that must ask a place in literature as partly a twice-told tale.  The history of the house is known to thousands in the old French quarter, and that portion which antedates the late war was told in brief by Harriet Martineau as far back as when she wrote her book of American travel.  In printing it here I fulfill an oft-repeated promise; for many a one has asked me if I would not, or, at least, why I did not, tell its dark story.

So I have inventoried my entire exhibit—­save one small matter.  It turned out after, all that the dear old Creole lady who had sold us the ancient manuscript, finding old paper commanding so much more per ton than it ever had commanded before, raked together three or four more leaves—­stray chips of her lovely little ancestress Francoise’s workshop, or rather the shakings of her basket of cherished records,—­to wit, three Creole African songs, which I have used elsewhere; one or two other scraps, of no value; and, finally, a long letter telling its writer’s own short story—­a story so tragic and so sad that I can only say pass it, if you will.  It stands first because it antedates the rest.  As you will see, its time is something more than a hundred years ago.  The writing was very difficult to read, owing entirely to the badness—­mainly the softness—­of the paper.  I have tried in vain to find exactly where Fort Latourette was situated.  It may have had but a momentary existence in Galvez’s campaign against the English.  All along the Gulf shore the sites and remains of the small forts once held by the Spaniards are known traditionally and indiscriminately as “Spanish Fort.”  When John Law,—­author of that famed Mississippi Bubble, which was in Paris what the South Sea Bubble was in London,—­failed in his efforts at colonization on the Arkansas, his Arkansas settlers came down the Mississippi to within some sixty miles of New Orleans and established themselves in a colony at first called the Cote Allemande (German Coast), and later, owing to its prosperity, the Cote d’Or, or Golden Coast.  Thus the banks of the Mississippi became known on the Rhine, a goodly part of our Louisiana Creoles received a German tincture, and the father and the aunt of Suzanne and Francoise were not the only Alsatians we shall meet in these wild stories of wild times in Louisiana.

FOOTNOTES:  [1] Name of the parish, or county.—­Translator. [2] Royalist refugees of ’93.—­TRANSLATOR.

THE YOUNG AUNT WITH WHITE HAIR.

1782.

The date of this letter—­I hold it in one hand as I write, and for the first time noticed that it has never in its hundred years been sealed or folded, but only doubled once, lightly, and rolled in the hand, just as the young Spanish officer might have carried it when he rode so hard to bear it to its destination—­its date is the last year but one of our American Revolution.  France, Spain, and the thirteen colonies were at war with Great Britain, and the Indians were on both sides.

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Strange True Stories of Louisiana from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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