“Isn’t he honest?” I asked.
“Oh, yes, I suppose so,” he grunted; “but he’s not my kind.”
“Is the other man?” I asked.
Even the burly animal before me flushed. The other man was but a tricky politician of the creeping sort, a caterer to all prejudices, and a flatterer and favorer. This everybody knew. But he had become a part of the machine, was shrewd, and, with the machine behind him, was a power.
“I’ve nothing to say about that; but Harlson’s not my kind. He’s like one of those stag-hounds. He has nothing to do with the other dogs.”
“He’s fought some of the other dogs,” I suggested.
The man grunted, again: “He’s not my kind.” And I left the place. I had little hope of the Ninth Ward.
THE NINTH WARD.
Unaccustomed to story-telling, it is possible that I have neglected chronology in this account. I referred just now to the time we couldn’t get into Harlson’s house because we hadn’t carried the Ninth Ward and to the Ape crowing at the window in his mother’s arms. Time passed after that, and, we all grew older, though, somehow, Jean did not seem to change, nor, for that matter, did Grant, though he was years her elder. But the Ape changed amazingly. He grew into a stalwart youth of fourteen, and became, about that time, addicted to a bad habit for which I reproved him in vain. He had discovered that he could pick up his little mother and carry her about in his arms, and he did so frequently. And his two younger brothers looked on enviously, and his pretty sister, the youngest of the group, with gravest apprehension. But Jean seemed rather to like it, though it was most undignified, and Grant, though he ruled his children well, seemed rather to approve of their treatment of her majesty. They were a happy lot together. The Ape was a good deal interested in the election, but was not allowed to talk outside the house. And Jean wore a serious look. She lived for one man.
I attended a party soon after my visit to Gunderson, and a very pretty affair it was. A very pretty incident I saw there, too.
What I saw was the advent of a big, blowsy woman, who was blazing with diamonds, whose face was good-natured, but who seemed ill at ease. She was like a Muscovy duck among game fowl. She was well received by the mass and overlooked by the few, and, being a woman, though of no acute comprehension, she understood vaguely her condition. She was unhappy, and there was a flush, upon her face.
I saw a small woman, neat in a gown of the Directory, it seemed to me, though of course not so pronounced, brought by apparent accident in contact with the big, blazing creature. The smaller woman was self-contained and of the blue-blooded in look and unconsciousness from head to heel. The two engaged in conversation, the one affable and interested, the other flushed and happy.