* * * * *
Some two months later, the governor and I happened to be strolling through the flower-market of the Madeleine. He had been selecting plants for the windows of his apartment, and needed a reliable man to arrange them in suitable boxes.
“That fellow Baeader lives down here somewhere; perhaps he might know of some one,” he said, consulting his notebook. “Yes; No. 21 Rue Chambord. Let us look him up.”
In five minutes we stood before a small, two-story house, with its door and wide basement-window protected by an awning. Beneath this, upon low shelves, was arranged a collection of wicker baskets, containing the several varieties of oysters from Normandy and Brittany coasts greatly beloved by Parisian epicures of Paris. On the top of each lid lay a tin sign bearing the name of the exact locality from which each toothsome bivalve was supposed to be shipped. These signs were all of one size.
The governor is a great lover of oysters, especially his own Chesapeakes, and his eye ran rapidly over the tempting exhibit as he read aloud, perhaps, unconsciously, to himself, the several labels: “Dinard, Parame, Dieppe petite, Cancale speciale.” Then a new light seemed to break in upon him.
“Dieppe petite, Cancale speciale,”—here his face was a study,—“why, that’s what Baeader always called Cancale. By thunder! I believe that’s where that fellow got his names. I don’t believe the rascal was ever in Normandy in his life until I took him. Here, landlord!” A small shop-keeper, wearing an apron, ran out smiling, uncovering the baskets as he approached. “Do you happen to know a courier by the name of Baeader?”
“Never as courier, messieurs—always as commissionaire; he sells wood and charcoal to ze hotels. See! zare is his sign.”
“Where does he live?”
Above the Schweizerhof Hotel, and at the end of the long walk fronting the lake at Lucerne,—the walk studded with the round, dumpy, Noah’s-ark trees,—stands a great building surrounded by flowers and palms, and at night ablaze with hundreds of lamps hung in festoons of blue, yellow, and red. This is the Casino. On each side of the wide entrance is a bill-board, announcing that some world-renowned Tyrolean warbler, famous acrobat, or marvelous juggler will sing or tumble or bewilder, the price of admission remaining the same, despite the enormous sum paid for the appearance of the performer.
Inside this everybody’s club is a cafe, with hurrying waiters and a solid brass band, and opening from its smoke and absinthe laden interior blazes a small theatre, with stage footlights and scenery, where the several world-renowned artists redeem at a very considerable discount the promissory notes of the bill-boards outside.