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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Grandissimes - Chapter 35. "Fo' Wad You Cryne?"
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The Grandissimes - Chapter 35. 'Fo' Wad You Cryne?' Post by :dr3tz Category :Long Stories Author :George Washington Cable Date :May 2012 Read :3339

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The Grandissimes - Chapter 35. "Fo' Wad You Cryne?"


Clotilde, a step or two from home, dismissed her attendant, and as Aurora, with anxious haste, opened to her familiar knock, appeared before her pale and trembling.

"_Ah, ma fille_--"

The overwrought girl dropped her head and wept without restraint upon her mother's neck. She let herself be guided to a chair, and there, while Aurora nestled close to her side, yielded a few moments to reverie before she was called upon to speak. Then Aurora first quietly took possession of her hands, and after another tender pause asked in English, which was equivalent to whispering:

"Were you was, _cherie?_"

"'Sieur Frowenfel'--"

Aurora straightened up with angry astonishment and drew in her breath for an emphatic speech, but Clotilde, liberating her own hands, took Aurora's, and hurriedly said, turning still paler as she spoke:

"'E godd his 'ead strigue! 'Tis all knog in be'ine! 'E come in blidding--"

"In w'ere?" cried Aurora.

"In 'is shob."

"You was in dad shob of 'Sieur Frowenfel'?"

"I wend ad 'is shob to pay doze rend."

"How--you wend ad 'is shob to pay--"

Clotilde produced the bracelet. The two looked at each other in silence for a moment, while Aurora took in without further explanation Clotilde's project and its failure.

"An' 'Sieur Frowenfel'--dey kill 'im? Ah! _Ma chere_, fo' wad you mague me to hass all dose question?"

Clotilde gave a brief account of the matter, omitting only her conversation with Frowenfeld.

"_Mais_, oo strigue 'im?" demanded Aurora, impatiently.

"Addunno!" replied the other. "Bud I does know 'e is hinnocen'!"

A small scouting-party of tears reappeared on the edge of her eyes.

"Innocen' from wad?"

Aurora betrayed a twinkle of amusement.

"Hev'ryt'in', iv you pliz!" exclaimed Clotilde, with most uncalled-for warmth.

"An' you crah bic-ause 'e is nod guiltie?"

"Ah! foolish!"

"Ah, non, my chile, I know fo' wad you cryne: 't is h-only de sighd of de blood."

"Oh, sighd of blood!"

Clotilde let a little nervous laugh escape through her dejection.

"Well, then,"--Aurora's eyes twinkled like stars,--"id muz be bic-ause 'Sieur Frowenfel' bump 'is 'ead--ha, ha, ha!"

"'Tis nod tru'!" cried Clotilde; but, instead of laughing, as Aurora had supposed she would, she sent a double flash of light from her eyes, crimsoned, and retorted, as the tears again sprang from their lurking-place, "You wand to mague ligue you don't kyah! But _I know! I know verrie well! You kyah fifty time' as mudge as me! I know you! I know you! I bin wadge you!"

Aurora was quite dumb for a moment, and gazed at Clotilde, wondering what could have made her so unlike herself. Then she half rose up, and, as she reached forward an arm, and laid it tenderly about her daughter's neck, said:

"Ma lill dotter, wad dad meggin you cry? Iv you will tell me wad dad mague you cry, I will tell you--on ma _second word of honor_"--she rolled up her fist--"juz wad I thing about dad 'Sieur Frowenfel'!"

"I don't kyah wad de whole worl' thing aboud 'im!"

"_Mais_, anny'ow, tell me fo' wad you cryne!"

Clotilde gazed aside for a moment and then confronted her questioner consentingly.

"I tole 'im I knowed 'e was h-innocen'."

"Eh, Men, dad was h-only de poli-i-idenez. Wad 'e said?"

"E said I din knowed 'im 'tall."

"An' you," exclaimed Aurora, "it is nod pozzyble dad you--"

"I tole 'im I know 'im bette'n 'e know annyt'in' 'boud id!"

The speaker dropped her face into her mother's lap.

"Ha, ha!" laughed Aurora, "an' wad of dad? I would say dad, me, fo' time' a day. I gi'e you my word 'e don godd dad sens' to know wad dad mean."

"Ah! don godd sens'!" cried Clotilde, lifting her head up suddenly with a face of agony. "'E reg--'e reggo-ni-i-ize me!"

Aurora caught her daughter's cheeks between her hands and laughed all over them.

"_Mais_, don you see 'ow dad was luggy? Now, you know?--'e goin' fall in love wid you an' you goin' 'ave dad sadizfagzion to rif-use de biggis' hand in Noo-'leans. An' you will be h-even, ha, ha! Bud me--you wand to know wad I thing aboud 'im? I thing 'e is one--egcellen' drug-cl--ah, ha, ha!"

Clotilde replied with a smile of grieved incredulity.

"De bez in de ciddy!" insisted the other. She crossed the forefinger of one hand upon that of the other and kissed them, reversed the cross and kissed them again. "_Mais_, ad de sem tam," she added, giving her daughter time to smile, "I thing 'e is one _noble gen'leman_. Nod to sood me, of coze, _mais, ca fait rien_--daz nott'n; me, I am now a h'ole woman, you know, eh? Noboddie can' nevva sood me no mo', nod ivven dad Govenno' Cleb-orne."

She tried to look old and jaded.

"Ah, Govenno' Cleb-orne!" exclaimed Clotilde.

"Yass!--Ah, you!--you thing iv a man is nod a Creole 'e bown to be no 'coun'! I assu' you dey don' godd no boddy wad I fine a so nize gen'leman lag Govenno' Cleb-orne! Ah! Clotilde, you godd no lib'ral'ty!"

The speaker rose, cast a discouraged parting look upon her narrow-minded companion and went to investigate the slumbrous silence of the kitchen.

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