The Flower of the Chapdelaines eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 160 pages of information about The Flower of the Chapdelaines.

Chester explained, but said that to admit one’s untruthfulness by even a nickname implied some compunction.  Whereat two or three put in: 

“Ah! if he acknowledge’ his compunction he’s all right!  But we are stopping the story.”

It went on.]

XIV

I was awakened, after the breakfast hour, by a tap on my door.  Why it gave me consternation I could not have told; I dare say my inveracities of the day before had failed to digest.  “Come in,” I called, and in stepped my two fishermen.

Their good mornings were pleasant, but, “Fact is,” said one, “we’re bothered about your client.”

“The lady who passed through here last evening?”

“Yes, it looks as though——­”

“Go on while I dress.  Looks as though—­what?”

“As though she wa’n’t what you thought, or else——­”

I smiled aggressively:  “Pardon, I know that lady.  ‘Or else,’ you say?  What else?  Go on.”

“Oh, you go on dressing.  Do you know them darkies are hers?”

“Hoh!  Are your teeth yours?  Why do you ask?”

He handed me a newspaper clipping: 

Two Hundred Dollars Reward.   Ran away from my plantation in ——­ county
of this State, on the ------ day of ------ the following named and
described slaves; father, mother, daughter, and son:  . . .   A reward of
fifty dollars will be paid to any person for the capture and
imprisonment in any jail, of each or either of the above named.   Etc.

With a laugh I returned the thing and went on dressing.  “It doesn’t,” I said aloud to my busy image in the mirror, “describe my client’s darkies at all.”  I faced round:  “Why, gentlemen, if this isn’t the most astonishing——­”

“Ho-old on.  Ho-old on!  Finish your dressing.  We’re told it does describe two of them and we thought we’d just come and see for ourselves.”

“And you followed the unprotected lady?”

“We followed four runaway niggers, sir!  Else why did they take to the woods inside of a mile from that house where you left the coach?  Oh, you’re dressed; come along; time’s flying!”

Determined to waste all the time I could, “Wait,” I said, strapping on my pistol.  “Now, gentlemen, we’ll follow this matter to the end, beginning now, instantly.  But it must be done as——­”

“Oh, as privately as possible!  Certainly!”

“Certainly.  You want the reward and you want it all.  But understand, I know you’re in error, and I go with you solely to prove you are.  Now, by your theory——­”

“Oh, come along!” We went.  I killed time over my coffee, and in getting a saddle for one of my hired span.  “You must excuse us if we’re not polite,” my friends apologized after another flash of impatience.  “Of course those niggers are not on the run in broad day, but their trail’s getting cold!”

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The Flower of the Chapdelaines from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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