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Up-street, and across
the Rue du Canal, one could get glimpses of the gardens in Faubourg
Ste.-Marie standing in silent wretchedness, so many tearful Lucretias,
tattered victims of the storm. Short remnants of the wind now and then
came down the narrow street in erratic puffs heavily laden with odors of
broken boughs and torn flowers, skimmed the little pools of rain-water
in the deep ruts of the unpaved street, and suddenly went away to
nothing, like a juggler's butterflies or a young man's money.

It was very picturesque, the Rue Royale. The rich and poor met together.
The locksmith's swinging key creaked next door to the bank; across the
way, crouching, mendicant-like, in the shadow of a great
importing-house, was the mud laboratory of the mender of broken combs.
Light balconies overhung the rows of showy shops and stores open for
trade this Sunday morning, and pretty Latin faces of the higher class
glanced over their savagely-pronged railings upon the passers below. At
some windows hung lace certains, flannel duds at some, and at others
only the scraping and sighing one-hinged shutter groaning toward Paris
after its neglectful master.

M. St.-Ange stood looking up and down the street for nearly an hour. But
few ladies, only the inveterate mass-goers, were out. About the entrance
of the frequent _cafés_ the masculine gentility stood leaning on canes,
with which now one and now another beckoned to Jules, some even adding
pantomimic hints of the social cup.

M. St.-Ange remarked to his servant without turning his head that
somehow he felt sure he should soon return those _bons_ that the mulatto
had lent him.

"What will you do with them?"

"Me!" said Baptiste, quickly; "I will go and see the bull-fight in the
Place Congo."

"There is to be a bull-fight? But where is M. Cayetano?"

"Ah, got all his affairs wet in the tornado. Instead of his circus, they
are to have a bull-fight--not an ordinary bull-fight with sick horses,
but a buffalo-and-tiger fight. I would not miss it"--

Two or three persons ran to the opposite corner, and commenced striking
at something with their canes. Others followed. Can M. St.-Ange and
servant, who hasten forward--can the Creoles, Cubans, Spaniards, San
Domingo refugees, and other loungers--can they hope it is a fight? They
hurry forward. Is a man in a fit? The crowd pours in from the
side-streets. Have they killed a so-long snake? Bareheaded shopmen leave
their wives, who stand upon chairs. The crowd huddles and packs. Those
on the outside make little leaps into the air, trying to be tall.

"What is the matter?"

"Have they caught a real live rat?"

"Who is hurt?" asks some one in English.

"_Personne_," replies a shopkeeper; "a man's hat blow' in the gutter;
but he has it now. Jules pick' it. See, that is the man, head and
shoulders on top the res'."

"He in the homespun?" asks a second shopkeeper. "Humph! an
_Américain_--a West-Floridian; bah!"

"But wait; 'st! he is speaking; listen!"

"To who is he speak----?"

"Sh-sh-sh! to Jules."

"Jules who?"

"Silence, you! To Jules St.-Ange, what howe me a bill since long time.
Sh-sh-sh!"

Then the voice was heard.

Its owner was a man of giant stature, with a slight stoop in his
shoulders, as if he was making a constant, good-natured attempt to
accommodate himself to ordinary doors and ceilings. His bones were those
of an ox. His face was marked more by weather than age, and his narrow
brow was bald and smooth. He had instantaneously formed an opinion of
Jules St.-Ange, and the multitude of words, most of them lingual
curiosities, with which he was rasping the wide-open ears of his
listeners, signified, in short, that, as sure as his name was Parson
Jones, the little Creole was a "plum gentleman."

M. St.-Ange bowed and smiled, and was about to call attention, by both
gesture and speech, to a singular object on top of the still uncovered
head, when the nervous motion of the _Américain_ anticipated him, as,
throwing up an immense hand, he drew down a large roll of bank-notes.
The crowd laughed, the West-Floridian joining, and began to disperse.

"Why, that money belongs to Smyrny Church," said the giant.

"You are very dengerous to make your money expose like that, Misty
Posson Jone'," said St.-Ange, counting it with his eyes.

The countryman gave a start and smile of surprise.

"How d'dyou know my name was Jones?" he asked; but, without pausing for
the Creole's answer, furnished in his reckless way some further
specimens of West-Floridian English; and the conciseness with which he
presented full intelligence of his home, family, calling, lodging-house,
and present and future plans, might have passed for consummate art, had
it not been the most run-wild nature. "And I've done been to Mobile, you
know, on busi_ness_ for Bethesdy Church. It's the on'yest time I ever
been from home; now you wouldn't of believed that, would you? But I
admire to have saw you, that's so. You've got to come and eat with me.
Me and my boy ain't been fed yit. What might one call yo' name? Jools?
Come on, Jools. Come on, Colossus. That's my niggah--his name's Colossus
of Rhodes. Is that yo' yallah boy, Jools? Fetch him along, Colossus. It
seems like a special provi_dence_.--Jools, do you believe in a special
provi_dence?_"

Jules said he did.

The new-made friends moved briskly off, followed by Baptiste and a
short, square, old negro, very black and grotesque, who had introduced
himself to the mulatto, with many glittering and cavernous smiles, as
"d'body-sarvant of d'Rev'n' Mr. Jones."

Both pairs enlivened their walk with conversation. Parson Jones
descanted upon the doctrine he had mentioned, as illustrated in the
perplexities of cotton-growing, and concluded that there would always be
"a special provi_dence_ again' cotton untell folks quits a-pressin' of
it and haulin' of it on Sundays!"

"_Je dis_," said St.-Ange, in response, "I thing you is juz right. I
believe, me, strong-strong in the improvidence, yes. You know my papa he
hown a sugah-plantation, you know. 'Jules, me son,' he say one time to
me, 'I goin' to make one baril sugah to fedge the moze high price in New
Orleans.' Well, he take his bez baril sugah--I nevah see a so careful
man like me papa always to make a so beautiful sugah _et sirop_. 'Jules,
go at Father Pierre an' ged this lill pitcher fill with holy water, an'
tell him sen' his tin bucket, and I will make it fill with _quitte_.' I
ged the holy-water; my papa sprinkle it over the baril, an' make one
cross on the 'ead of the baril."

"Why, Jools," said Parson Jones, "that didn't do no good."

"Din do no good! Id broughd the so great value! You can strike me dead
if thad baril sugah din fedge the more high cost than any other in the
city. _Parce-que_, the man what buy that baril sugah he make a mistake
of one hundred pound"--falling back--"_Mais_ certainlee!"

"And you think that was growin' out of the holy-water?" asked the
parson.

"_Mais_, what could make it else? Id could not be the _quitte_, because
my papa keep the bucket, an' forget to sen' the _quitte_ to Father
Pierre."

Parson Jones was disappointed.

"Well, now, Jools, you know, I don't think that was right. I reckon you
must be a plum Catholic."

M. St.-Ange shrugged. He would not deny his faith.

"I am a _Catholique, mais_"--brightening as he hoped to recommend
himself anew--"not a good one."

"Well, you know," said Jones--"where's Colossus? Oh! all right. Colossus
strayed off a minute in Mobile, and I plum lost him for two days. Here's
the place; come in. Colossus and this boy can go to the kitchen.--Now,
Colossus, what _air_ you a-beckonin' at me faw?"

He let his servant draw him aside and address him in a whisper.

"Oh, go 'way!" said the parson with a jerk. "Who's goin' to throw me?
What? Speak louder. Why, Colossus, you shayn't talk so, saw. 'Pon my
soul, you're the mightiest fool I ever taken up with. Jest you go down
that alley-way with this yalla boy, and don't show yo' face untell yo'
called!"

The negro begged; the master wrathily insisted.

"Colossus, will you do ez I tell you, or shell I hev to strike you,
saw?"

"O Mahs Jimmy, I--I's gwine; but"--he ventured nearer--"don't on no
account drink nothin', Mahs Jimmy."

Such was the negro's earnestness that he put one foot in the gutter, and
fell heavily against his master. The parson threw him off angrily.

"Thar, now! Why, Colossus, you most of been dosted with sumthin'; yo'
plum crazy.--Humph, come on, Jools, let's eat! Humph! to tell me that
when I never taken a drop, exceptin' for chills, in my life--which he
knows so as well as me!"

The two masters began to ascend a stair.

"_Mais_, he is a sassy; I would sell him, me," said the young Creole.

"No, I wouldn't do that," replied the parson; "though there is people in
Bethesdy who says he is a rascal. He's a powerful smart fool. Why, that
boy's got money, Jools; more money than religion, I reckon. I'm shore he
fallen into mighty bad company"--they passed beyond earshot.

Baptiste and Colossus, instead of going to the tavern kitchen, passed to
the next door and entered the dark rear corner of a low grocery, where,
the law notwithstanding, liquor was covertly sold to slaves. There, in
the quiet company of Baptiste and the grocer, the colloquial powers of
Colossus, which were simply prodigious, began very soon to show
themselves.

"For whilst," said he, "Mahs Jimmy has eddication, you know--whilst he
has eddication, I has 'scretion. He has eddication and I has 'scretion,
an' so we gits along."

He drew a black bottle down the counter, and, laying half his length
upon the damp board, continued:

"As a p'inciple I discredits de imbimin' of awjus liquors. De imbimin'
of awjus liquors, de wiolution of de Sabbaf, de playin' of de fiddle,
and de usin' of by-words, dey is de fo' sins of de conscience; an' if
any man sin de fo' sins of de conscience, de debble done sharp his fork
fo' dat man.--Ain't that so, boss?"

The grocer was sure it was so.

"Neberdeless, mind you"--here the orator brimmed his glass from the
bottle and swallowed the contents with a dry eye--"mind you, a roytious
man, sech as ministers of de gospel and dere body-sarvants, can take a
_leetle_ for de weak stomach."

But the fascinations of Colossus's eloquence must not mislead us; this
is the story of a true Christian; to wit, Parson Jones.

The parson and his new friend ate.



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