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.

“Even a right to cross two races?” I once asked Luke, smilingly, though with intense aversion.

“No, suh; no, suh!  De same Lawd what give’ ev’y man a wuck he cayn’t do ef he ain’t dat man, give’ ev’y ra-ace a wuck dey cayn’t do ef dey ain’t dat ra-ace.”  I fancy he had been years revolving that into a formula; or—­he may have merely heard some master or mistress say it.

“Still,” I suggested, “races have crossed, and made new and better ones.”

“I don’t ’spute dat, suh; no, suh.  But de Lawd ain’t neveh gwine to make a betteh ra-ace by cross’n’ one what done-done e’en-a’ most all what even yit been done, on to anotheh what, eh——­”

Sidney (Onesimus) put in:  “What ain’t neveh yit done noth’n’!” And her mother sighed, “Amen!”

XVIII

“Yes?” inquired Mme. Castanado.  “Well?”

“Ah, surely!” cried several, “Tha’z not all?”

Mme. De l’Isle appealed to her husband:  “Even two, three hun’red mile’, that din’n’ bring the line of Canada, I think.”

“No, but, I suppose, of the Ohio.”

“And that undergroun’ railway!” said Scipion.

“Yes,” Mme. Alexandre agreed, “but that story remain’ unfinizh’ whiles that uncle of Mr. Chezter couldn’ return at his home.”

“Not even his State,” ventured mademoiselle.

“But he did,” Chester said; “he came back.”

M. Dubroca spoke up:  “Oh, ’tis easy to insert that, at the en’—­foot-note.”

“And Hardy?” asked Beloiseau, “him and yo’ uncle, they di’n’ shoot either the other?”

“I believe they did, each the other.  I never quite understood the hints I got of it, till now.  I know that six months in bed with a back full of somebody’s buckshot saved my uncle’s life.”

“From lynching!  That also muz’ be insert’!”

Chester thought not.  “No, centre the interest in the runaway family, as in mademoiselle’s ‘Clock in the Sky.’” And so all agreed.

A second time he walked home with mademoiselle, under the same lenient escort as before.  One thus occupied, by moonlight, can moralize as he cannot with any larger number.  “It’s hard enough at best,” he said, “for us, in our pride of race, to sympathize—­seriously—­in the joys, the hopes, the sufferings of souls under dark skins yet as human as ours if not as white.”

“Yes, ’tis true.  Only one man, Mr. Chester, I ever knew, myself, who did that.”

“Your father?”

“Yes, my dear father.”

“Will you not some day tell me his story?”

“Mr. Castanado will tell you it.  Any of those will tell you.”

“I can’t question them about you, and besides——­”

“Well, here is my gate.  ‘And besides—­’ what?”

“Besides, why can’t you tell me?”

“Ah, I’ll do that—­’some day,’ as you say.”

The gate-key went into the lock.

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