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In Three Books.



HAPPILY unconscious of the new calamity at
home, Miss Pross threaded her way along the
narrow streets and crossed the river by the
bridge of the Pont-Neuf, reckoning in her mind
the number of indispensable purchases she had
to make. Mr. Cruncher, with the basket, walked
at her side. They both looked to the right and
to the left into most of the shops they passed,
had a wary eye for all gregarious assemblages
of people, and turned out of their road to avoid
any very excited group of talkers. It was a raw
evening, and the misty river, blurred to the eye
with blazing lights and to the ear with harsh
noises, showed where the barges were stationed
in which the smiths worked, making guns for
the Army of the Republic. Woe to the man
who played tricks with that Army, or got
undeserved promotion in it! Better for him that
his beard had never grown, for the National
Razor shaved him close.

Having purchased a few small articles of
grocery, and a measure of oil for the lamp, Miss
Pross bethought herself of the wine they wanted.
After peeping into several wine-shops, she
stopped at the sign of The Good Republican
Brutus of Antiquity, not far from the National
Palace, once (and twice) the Tuileries, where
the aspect of things rather took her fancy. It
had a quieter look than any other place of the
same description they had passed, and, though
red with patriotic caps, was not so red as the
rest. Sounding Mr. Cruncher and finding him
of her opinion, Miss Pross resorted to the Good
Republican Brutus of Antiquity, attended by
her cavalier.

Slightly observant of the smoky lights; of the
people, pipe in mouth, playing with limp cards
and yellow dominoes; of the one bare-breasted,
bare-armed, soot-begrimed workman reading a
journal aloud, and of the others listening to
him; of the weapons worn, or laid aside to be
resumed; of the two or three customers fallen
forward asleep, who in the popular, high-
shouldered shaggy black spencer looked, in that
attitude, like slumbering bears or dogs; the two
outlandish customers approached the counter, and
showed what they wanted.

As their wine was measuring out, a man parted
from another man in a corner, and rose to
depart. In going, he had to face Miss Pross. No
sooner did he face her, than Miss Pross uttered
a scream, and clapped her hands.

In a moment, the whole company were on
their feet. That somebody was assassinated by
somebody vindicating a difference of opinion,
was the likeliest occurrence. Everybody looked
to see somebody fall, but only saw a man and
woman standing staring at each other; the man
with all the outward aspect of a Frenchman and
a thorough Republican; the woman, evidently

What was said in this disappointing anti-
climax, by the disciples of the Good Republican
Brutus of Antiquity, except that it was something
very voluble and loud, would have been as
so much Hebrew or Chaldean to Miss Pross and
her protector, though they had been all ears.
But, they had no ears for anything in their
surprise. For, it must be recorded, that not only
was Miss Pross lost in amazement and agitation;
but, Mr. Cruncherthough it seemed
on his own separate and individual account
was in a state of the greatest wonder.

"What is the matter?" said the man who
had caused Miss Pross to scream; speaking in
a vexed, abrupt voice (though in a low tone),
and in English.

"Oh, Solomon, dear Solomon!" cried Miss
Pross, clapping her hands again. "After not
setting eyes upon you or hearing of you for so
long a time, do I find you here!"

"Don't call me Solomon. Do you want to be
the death of me?" asked the man, in a furtive,
frightened way.

"Brother, brother!" cried Miss Pross, bursting
into tears. "Have I ever been so hard with
you that you ask me such a cruel question!"

"Then hold your meddlesome tongue," said
Solomon, "and come out, if you want to speak
to me. Pay for your wine, and come out. Who's
this man?"

Miss Pross, shaking her loving and dejected
head at her by no means affectionate brother,
said, through her tears, "Mr. Cruncher."

"Let him come out too," said Solomon.
"Does he think me a ghost?"

Apparently, Mr. Cruncher did, to judge from
his looks. He said not a word, however, and