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.

“There’s the place,” he said.  “Now watch the dogs find it.”

As the pair sprang from Hardy’s hands one began to nose the air, the other the earth, to left, to right, and to cross each other’s short, swift circuits.  With stony face while assuming a voice of wildest eagerness he cried in searching whispers:  “Niggeh thah, Dandy!  Niggeh thah, Charmer!  Take him, my lady!”

Skimming the ground with hungry noses, the dogs answered each cry with a single keen yap of preoccupied affirmation.  Almost at once Charmer came to the spot pointed out to me, reared her full length upon the rails and let out a new note; long, musical, fretful, overjoyed.  Hardy mounted breast-high to the fence’s top, wreathed two fingers in the willing brute’s collar, lifted her, and dropped her on the other side.  There she instantly resumed her search.

At the same time her yoke-mate’s deep bay pealed like a trumpet, from a few yards up the roadway.  He had struck the broad, frank trail of the other three negroes.  The “puppy,” still in leash, replied in a note hardly less deep and mellow, but the whip of cool discipline cut him off.  From an ox-horn the master blew a short, sharp recall and at once Dandy returned and began his work over, knowing now which runaway to single out.

Hardy remained on the fence, watching his favorite, over in the brush.  By a stir of the bushes, now here, now there, we could see how busy she was, and every now and then she sent us, as if begging our patience, her eager promissory yelp.

Suddenly her master had a new thought.  He stepped onward to the next lock of the fence, scrutinized its top rail, moved to, the next lock, examining the top rail there, then to the next, the next, the next, and at the seventh or eighth beckoned us.

“See, here?” he asked.  “Think that ain’t a runaway nigger?  Look.”  A splinter had been newly rubbed off the rail.  “What you reckon done that, sir; a bird or a fish?  That’s where he jumped.  Look yonder, where he landed and lit out.”

The merest fraction of a note from the horn brought the two free dogs to their master, and before he could lift Dandy over the fence Charmer was on the trail.  She threw her head high and for the first time filled the resounding timber with the music of her bay.

["Mr. Chester,” murmured Mlle. Chapdelaine, and once more he ceased to read.  Mme. Castanado had laid her hands tightly to her face.  Yet now she smilingly dropped them, saying:  “Seraphine—­Marcel—­please to pazz around that cake an’ wine.  Well, I su’pose there are yet in the worl’—­in Afrique—­Asia—­even Europe—­several kin’ of cuztom mo’ wicked than that.  And still I’m sorry that ever tranzpire.  But, Mr. Chezter, if you’ll resume?”

Chester once more resumed.]

XV

Hardy’s incitements were no longer whispers.

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