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.

“Ah, so papa told me, after grandpere was long gone, and me on his knee asking questions.  ‘Reconstruction, my dear child—­’ once he answered me, ’’twas like trying to drive, on the right road, a frantic horse in a rotten harness, and with the reins under his tail!’ Ah, I wish you could have known him, Mr. Chester—­my father!”

“I know his daughter.”

“Well, I suppose—­I suppose we must go in.”

“With the story almost finished?”

“We’ll, maybe finish inside—­or—­some day.”

XXIV

T. CHAPDELAINE & SON

The seniors were found at a table for four.

Mme. De l’Isle explained:  “But! with only four to sit down there, how was it possib’ to h-ask for a tab’e for six?  That wou’n’ be logical!”

When the waiter offered to add a smaller table and make one snug board for six—­“No,” she said; “for feet and hands that be all right; but for the mind, ah!  You see, Mr. Chezter, M. De l’Isle he’s also precizely in the mi’l’ of a moze overwhelming story of his own------”

“Hiztorical!” the aunts broke in.  “Well-known! abbout old house! in the vieux carre!”

“And,” madame insisted, “’twould ruin that story, to us, to commenze to hear it over, while same time ’twould ruin it to you to commenze to hear it in the mi’l’.  And beside’, Aline, you are doubtlezz yet in the mi’l’ of your own story and—­waiter! make there at that firz’ window a tab’e for two, and” [to the pair] “we’ll run both storie’ ad the same time—­if not three!”

“Like that circ’”—­the aunts fell into tears of laughter.  They touched each other with finger-tips, cried, “Like that circuz of Barnum!” and repeated to the De l’Isles and then to Aline, “Like that circuz of Barnum an’ Bailey!”

At the table for two, as the gumbo was uncovered and Chester asked how it was made, “Ah!” said Aline, “for a veritable gumbo what you want most is enthusiasm.  The enthusiasm of both my aunts would not be too much.  And to tell how ’tis made you’d need no less, that would be a story by itself, third ring of the circus.”

“Then tell me, further, of ‘grandpere’”

“And grand’mere?  Yes, I must, as I learned about them on papa’s knee.  Mamma never saw them; they had been years gone when papa first knew her.  But Sidney I knew, when she was old and had seen all those dreadful times; and, though she often would not tell me the story, she would tell me what to ask papa; you see?  You would have liked to talk with Sidney about old buildings.  Mr. Chester, I think it is not that in New Orleans we are so picturesque, but that all the rest of our country—­in the cities—­is so starved for the picturesque.  Sidney would have told you that story monsieur is telling now as well as all the strange history of that old Hotel St. Louis.  First, after the war it was changed back from a hospital to a hotel.  I think ’twas then they called it Hotel Royal.  Anyhow ’twas again very fine.  Grandpere and grand’mere were often in that salon where he had first—­as they say—­spoken.  Because, for one thing, there they met people of the outside world without the local prejudices, you know?”

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