It was from Aunt Carola that I heard to-day. Only a little of what she said will interest you. There had been a delightful meeting of the Selected Salic Scions. The Baltimore Chapter had paid her Chapter a visit. Three ladies and one very highly connected young gentleman had come—an encouragingly full and enthusiastic meeting. They had lunched upon cocoa, sherry, and croquettes, after which all had been more than glad to listen to a paper read by a descendant of Edward the Third and the young gentleman, a descendant of Catherine of Aragon, had recited a beautiful original poem, entitled “My Queen Grandmother.” Aunt Carola regretted that I could not have had the pleasure and the benefit of this meeting, the young gentleman had turned out to be, also, a refined and tasteful musician, playing, upon the piano a favorite gavotte of Louis the Thirteenth “And while you are in Kings Port,” my aunt said; “I expect you to profit by associating with the survivors of our good American society—people such as one could once meet everywhere when I was young, but who have been destroyed by the invasion of the proletariat. You are in the last citadel of good-breeding. By the way, find out, if you can, if any of the Bombo connection are extant; as through them I should like, if possible, to establish a chapter of the Scions in South Carolina. Have you, met a Miss Rieppe, a decidedly striking young woman, who says she is from Kings Port, and who recently passed through here with a very common man dancing attendance on her? He owns the Hermana, and she is said to be engaged to him.”
This wasn’t as good as meeting Miss Rieppe myself; but the new angle at which I got her from my Aunt was distinctly a contribution toward the young woman’s likeness; I felt that I should know her at sight, if ever she came within seeing distance. And it would be entertaining to find that she was a Bombo; but that could wait; what couldn’t wait was the Hermana. I postponed the Fannings, hurried by the door where they waited for me, and, coming to the end of Court Street, turned to the right and sought among the wharves the nearest vista that could give me a view of the harbor. Between the silent walls of commerce desolated, and by the empty windows from which Prosperity once looked out, I threaded my way to a point upon the town’s eastern edge. Yes, that was the steam yacht’s name: the Hermana. I didn’t make it out myself, she lay a trifle too far from shore; but I could read from a little fluttering pennant that her owner was not on board; and from the second loafer whom I questioned I learned, besides her name, that she had come from New York here to meet her owner, whose name he did not know and whose arrival was still indefinite. This was not very much to find out; but it was so much more than I had found out about the Fannings that, although I now faithfully returned to my researches, and sat over open books until noon, I couldn’t tell you a word of what I read. Where was Miss Rieppe, and where was the owner of the Hermana? Also, precisely how ill was the hero of Chattanooga, her poor dear father?