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however they may afterward cackle, like to lay their plans noiselessly, like a hen in a barn. There was a very general confidence in this old institution, a kind of inward assurance that "mother wouldn't tell;" though, after all, there could not be any great secrets connected with a mere burial society.
Before the hour of meeting, the Café des Exilés always sent away her children and closed her door. Presently they would commence returning, one by one, as a flock of wild fowl will do, that has been startled up from its accustomed haunt. Frequenters of the Café des Réfugiés also would appear. A small gate in the close garden fence let them into a room behind the café proper, and by and by the apartment would be full of dark-visaged men conversing in the low, courteous tone common to their race. The shutters of doors and windows were closed and the chinks stopped with cotton; those people are so jealous of observation.
On a certain night after one of these meetings had dispersed in its peculiar way, the members retiring two by two at intervals, Manuel Mazaro and M. D'Hemecourt were left alone, sitting close together in the dimly lighted room, the former speaking, the other, with no pleasant countenance, attending. It seemed to the young Cuban a proper precaution-he was made of precautions-to speak in English. His voice was barely audible.
sayce to me, 'Manuel, she t-theeng I want-n to marry hore.' Señor, you shouth 'ave see' him laugh!"
M. D'Hemecourt lifted up his head, and laid his hand upon the young man's arm. "Manuel Mazaro," he began, "iv dad w'ad you say is nod
The Cuban interrupted.
"If is no' t-thrue you will keel Manuel Mazaro ?-a' r-r-right-a!"
"No," said the tender old man, "no, bud h-I am positeef dad de Madjor will shood you."
Mazaro nodded, and lifted one finger for
While the old man was speaking these vehement words, the Cuban was emphatically nodding approval.
"Co-rect-a, co-rect-a, Señor," he replied. "Señor, you' r-r-right-a; escuse-a me, Señor, escuse-a me. Señor D'Hemecourt, Mayor Shaughness', when he talkin' wi' me he usin' hore-a name o the t-thime-a!"
"My fren'," said M. D'Hemecourt, rising and speaking with labored control, “I muz tell you good nighd. You 'ave sooprise me a verry gred deal. I s'all investigade doze ting; an', Manuel Mazaro, h-I am a hole man; bud I will requez you, iv dad wad you say is nod de true, my God! not to h-ever ritturn again ad de Café des Exilés.”
Mazaro smiled and nodded. His host opened the door into the garden, and, as the young man stepped out, noticed even then how handsome was his face and figure. The odor of the night jessamine filled the air with an almost insupportable sweetness. The Cuban paused a moment, as if to speak, but checked himself, lifted his girlish face, and looked up to where the daggers of the palmetto tree were crossed upon the face of the moon, dropped his glance, touched his Panama, and silently followed by the bare-headed old man, drew open the little garden gate, looked cautiously out, said good-night, and stepped into the street.
As M. D'Hemecourt returned to the door through which he had come, he uttered an ejaculation of astonishment. Pauline stood before him. She spoke hurriedly in French. “Papa, papa, it is not true.”
"No, my child," he responded, "I am sure it is not true; I am sure it is all false; but why do I find you out of bed so late, little bird? The night is nearly gone."
He laid his hand upon her cheek. "Ah, papa, I cannot deceive you. thought Manuel would tell you something of this kind, and I listened."
The father's face immediately betrayed a new and deeper distress.
"Pauline, my child," he said with tremulous voice, "if Manuel's story is all false, in the name of Heaven how could you think he was going to tell it ?"
He unconsciously clasped his hands. The good child had one trait which she could not have inherited from her father; she was quick-witted and discerning; yet now she stood confounded.
"Speak, my child," cried the alarmed old man; "speak! let me live, and not die."
Oh, papa," she cried, "I do not know!" The old man groaned.
"Papa, papa," she cried again, "I felt it; | night; he never said those things; not he; I know not how; something told me." "Alas!" exclaimed the old man, "it was your conscience!"
"No, no, no, papa," cried Pauline, "but I was afraid of Manuel Mazaro, and I think he hates him—and I think he will hurt him in any way he can—and I know he will even try to kill him. Oh! my God!"
She struck her hands together above her head, and burst into a flood of tears. Her father looked upon her with such sad sternness as his tender nature was capable of. He laid hold of one of her arms to draw a hand from the face whither both hands had gone.
The next evening Galahad Shaughnessy and Manuel Mazaro met at that "very different" place, the Café des Réfugiés. There was much free talk going on about Texan annexation, about chances of war with Mexico, about San Domingan affairs, about Cuba and many et-cæteras. Galahad was in his usual gay mood. He strode about among a mixed company of Louisianais, Cubans, and Américains, keeping them in a great laugh with his account of one of Ole Bull's concerts, and how he had there extorted an invitation from M. and Mme. Devoti to attend one of their famous children's fancy dress balls.
"Halloo!" said he as Mazaro approached, "heer's the etheerial Angelica herself. Look out heer, sissy, why ar'n't ye in the maternal arms of the Café des Exilés ?"
Mazaro smiled amiably and sat down. A moment after, the Irishman, stepping away from his companions, stood before the young Cuban, and asked, with a quiet business air: D'ye want to see me, Mazaro ?”
"You know something else," he said; "you know that the Major loves you, or you think so; is it not true ?"
She dropped both hands, and, lifting her streaming eyes that had nothing to hide straight to his, suddenly said:
"I would give worlds to think so!" and sunk upon the floor.
He was melted and convinced in one instant.
"O, my child, my child," he cried, trying to lift her. "O, my poor little Pauline, your papa is not angry. Rise, my little one; so; kiss me; Heaven bless thee! ure, what shall I do with thee? Where shall I hide thee?"
The Cuban nodded, and they went aside. Mazaro, in a few quick words, looking at his pretty foot the while, told the other on no Pauline, treas-account to go near the Café des Exilés, as there were two men hanging about there, evidently watching for him, and
"You have my counsel already, papa." "Yes, my child, and you were right. The Café des Exilés never should have been opened. It is no place for you; no place at all."
"Let us leave it," said Pauline.
"Ah! Pauline, I would close it to-morrow if I could, but now it is too late; I cannot."
"Why?" asked Pauline pleadingly. She had cast an arm about his neck. Her tears sparkled with a smile.
"My daughter, I cannot tell you; you must go now to bed; good-night-or goodmorning; God keep you!"
"Well, then, papa," she said, "have no fear; you need not hide me; I have my prayer-book, and my altar, and my garden, and my window; my garden is my fenced city, and my window my watch-tower; do you see ?"
"Ah! Pauline," responded the father, "I have been letting the enemy in and out at pleasure."
"Good-night," she answered, and kissed him three times on either cheek; "the blessed Virgin will take care of us; good
"Wut's the use o' that?" asked Galahad; "I say, wut's the use o' that?”
Major Shaughnessy's habit of repeating part of his words arose from another, of interrupting any person who might be speaking.
"They must know-I say they must know that whenever I'm nowhurs else I'm heer. What do they want?"
Mazaro made a gesture, signifying caution and secrecy, and smiled, as if to say "you ought to know."
"Aha!" said the Irishman softly. "Why don't they come here ?"
"Z-afrai'," said Mazaro; "d'they frai' to do an'teen een d-these-a crowth."
"That's so," said the Irishman; "I say, that's so. If I don't feel very much like go-un, I'll not go; I say, I'll not go. We've no business to-night, eh, Mazaro ?"
A second evening was much the same, Mazaro repeating his warning. But when, on the third evening, the Irishman again repeated his willingness to stay away from the Café des Exilés unless he should feel strongly impelled to go, it was with the
mental reservation that he did feel very much in that humor, and, unknown to Mazaro, should thither repair, if only to see whether some of those deep old fellows were not contriving a practical joke.
"Mazaro," said he, "I want ye to wait heer till I come back. I say I want ye to wait heer till I come back; I'll be gone about three-quarters of an hour."
Mazaro assented. He saw with satisfaction the Irishman start in a direction opposite that in which lay the Café des Exilés, tarried fifteen or twenty minutes, and then, thinking he could step around to the Café des Exilés and return before the expiration of the allotted time, hurried out.
Meanwhile the Café des Exilés sat in the moonlight with her children about her feet. The company outside the door was somewhat thinner than common. M. D'Hemecourt was not among them, but was sitting in the room behind the café. The long table which the burial society used at their meetings extended across the apartment, and a lamp had been placed upon it. M. D'Hemecourt sat by the lamp. Opposite him was a chair, which seemed awaiting an expected occupant. Beside the old man. sat Pauline. They were talking in cautious undertones, and in French.
"No," she seemed to insist; "we do not know that he refuses to come. We only know that Manuel says so."
The father shook his head sadly. "When has he ever stayed away three nights together before ?" he asked. "No, my child; it is intentional. Manuel urges him to come, but he only sends poor excuses."
know it's against rules to come in here, but-" smiling, "I want to have a private wurd with ye. I say, I want to have a private wurd with ye."
In the closet of bottles the maiden smiled triumphantly. She also wiped the dew from her forehead, for the place was very close and warm.
With her father was no triumph. In him sadness and doubt were so mingled with anger that he dared not lift his eyes, but gazed at a knot in the wood of the table, which looked like a caterpillar curled up. Mazaro, he concluded, had really asked the Major to come.
"Mazaro tol' you?" he asked.
"Yes," answered the Irishman. “Mazaro told me I was watched, and asked—”
"Madjor," unluckily interrupted the old man, suddenly looking up and speaking with subdued fervor. "For w'y-iv Mazaro tol' you-for w'y you din come more sooner? Dad is one'eavy charge again' you."
"Didn't Mazaro tell ye why I didn't come?" asked the other, beginning to be puzzled at his host's meaning.
Yez," replied M. D'Hemecourt, “bud one brev zhenteman should not be afraid of "
The young man stopped him with a quiet laugh.
"Munsher D'Himecourt," said he, "I'm nor afraid of any two men living—I say I'm nor afraid of any two men living, and certainly not of the two that's bean a-watchin' me lately."
M. D'Hemecourt flushed in a way quite incomprehensible to the speaker, but he continued:
"It was the charges," he said, with some slyness in his smile. "They're heavy, as ye say, and that's the very reason-I say that's the very reason why I stayed away, ye see, eh? I say that's the very reason I stayed away."
Then, indeed, there was a dew for the maiden to wipe from her brow. The old man was agitated.
"Bud, sir," he began, shaking his head and lifting his hand :
"Bless yer soul, Munsher D'Himecourt,” interrupted the Irishman. "Wut's the use o' grapplin' two cut-throats, when-”
"Madjor Shaughnessy!" cried M. D' Hemecourt, losing all self-control. "H-I am nod a cud-troad, Madjor Shaughnessy, h-an I 'ave a r-r-righd to wadge you."
The Major rose from his chair. "What d'ye mean?" he asked vacantly,
and then: "Look-ut here, Munsher D'Himecourt, one of uz is crazy. I say one—”
"No, sar-r-r!" cried the other, rising and clenching his trembling fist. "H-I am nod crezzy. I 'ave de righd to wadge dad man wad mague rim-ark aboud me dotter." "I never did no such a thing." "You did."
"I never did no such a thing." "Bud you 'ave jus hacknowledge'." "I never did no such a thing, I tell ye, and the man that's told ye so is a liur."
"Ah-h-h-h!" said the old man, wagging his finger. "Ah-h-h-h! You call Manuel Mazaro one liar ?"
The Irishman laughed out. "Well, I should say so!" He motioned the old man into his chair, and both sat down again.
"Why, Munsher D'Himecourt, Mazaro's been keepin' me away from heer with a yarn about two Spaniards watchin' for me. That's what I came in to ask ye about. My dear sur, do ye s'pose I wud talk about the goddess—I mean, yer daughter-to the likes o' Mazaro-I say to the likes o' Mazaro ?"
To say the old man was at sea would be too feeble an expression-he was in the trough of the sea, with a hurricane of doubts and fears whirling around him. Somebody had told a lie, and he, having struck upon its sunken surface, was dazed and stunned. He opened his lips to say he knew not what, when his ear caught the voice of Manuel Mazaro, replying to the greeting of some of his comrades outside the front door.
"He is comin'!" cried the old man. "Mague you'sev hide, Madjor; do not led 'im kedge you, Mon Dieu!"
The Irishman smiled.
"The little yellow wretch!" said he quietly, his blue eyes dancing. "I'm goin' to catch him."
A certain hidden hearer instantly made up her mind to rush out between the two young men and be a heroine.
"Non, non!" exclaimed M. D'Hemecourt excitedly. "Nod in de Café des Exilés-nod now, Madjor. Go in dad door, hif you pliz, Madjor. You will heer 'im w'at he 'ave to say. Mague you'sev de troub'. Nod dad door-diz one."
The Major laughed again and started. toward the door indicated, but in an instant stopped.
"I can't go in theyre," he said. "That's yer daughter's room."
"Oui, oui, mais!" cried the other softly, but Mazaro's step was near.
all his force and rose as if to ask his questioner to leave him; but the handsome Cuban motioned him down with a gesture that seemed to beg for only a moment more. "Señor, if a-was one man whath lo-va you' thaughter, all is possiblee to lo-va."
Pauline, nervously braiding some bits of wire which she had unconsciously taken from a shelf, glanced up-against her will, of course-into the eyes of Galahad. They were looking so steadily down upon her that with a great leap of the heart for joy she closed her own and half turned away. But Mazaro had not ceased.
"All is possiblee to lo-va, Señor, you shouth-a let marry hore an' tak'n' 'way frone d'these plaze, Señor."
"Manuel Mazaro," said M. D'Hemecourt, again rising, "you 'ave say enough."
"No, no, Señor; no, no; I want tell-a you-is a-one man-whath lo-va you' thaughter; an' I knowce him!"
Was there no cause for quarrel, after all? Could it be that Mazaro was about to speak for Galahad? The old man asked in his simplicity:
Madjor Shaughnessy?" Mazaro smiled mockingly.
"Mayor Shaughness'," he said; "oh, no; not Mayor Shaughness'!"
Pauline could stay no longer; escape she must, though it be in Manuel Mazaro's very face. Turning again and looking up into Galahad's face in a great fright, she opened her lips to speak, but
"Mayor Shaughness';" continued the Cuban; "he nev'r-a lo-va you' thaughter." Galahad was putting the maiden back with his hand.
"Pauline," he said, "it's a lie!" "An', Señor," pursued the Cuban, “if a was possiblee you' thaughter to lo-va heem, a-wouth-a be worse-a kine in worlt; but, Señor, I- — "
M. D'Hemecourt made a majestic sign for silence. He had resumed his chair, but he rose up once more, took the Cuban's hat from the table and tendered it to him.
"Manuel Mazaro, you 'ave
"Manuel Mazaro, you
"Huzh!" cried the old man. Mazaro, you 'ave desceive' me! mocque me, Manu"
"Manuel You 'ave
He stopped aghast. Galahad and Pauline stood before him, side by side.
"Is what?" asked the blue-eyed man, with a look of quiet delight on his face, such as Mazaro instantly remembered to have seen on it one night when Galahad was being shot at in the Sucking Calf Restaurant in St. Peter street.
The table was between them, but Mazaro's hand went upward toward the back of his coat collar.
"Ah, ah!" cried the Irishman, shaking his head with a broader smile and thrusting his hand threateningly into his breast; "don't ye do that! just finish_yer speech." "Was-a notthin'," said the Cuban, trying to smile back.
"Yer a liur," said Galahad.
"No," said Mazaro, still endeavoring to smile through his agony; "z-was on'y tellin' Señor D'Hemecourt someteen z-was t-thrue."
"And I tell ye," said Galahad, “ye'r a liur, and to be so kind an' get yersel' to the front stoop, as I'm desiruz o' kickin' ye before the crowd."
Madjor!" cried D'Hemecourt— "Go," said Galahad, advancing a step toward the Cuban.
Had Manuel Mazaro wished to personate the prince of darkness, his beautiful face had just the expression for it. He slowly turned, opened the door into the café, sent one glowering look behind and disappeared.
Pauline laid her hand upon her lover's
"Señor," cried Mazaro, "I swear-a to you des Exilés closed her windows, then her that all-a what I sayin' ees-a
doors, winked a moment or two through