The Lane That Had No Turning, Volume 2

Book cover
THE ABSURD ROMANCE OF P'TITE LOUISONThe five brothers lived with Louison, three miles from Pontiac, andMedallion came to know them first through having sold them, at anauction, a slice of an adjoining farm. He had been invited to theirhome, intimacy had grown, and afterwards, stricken with a severe illness,he had been taken into the household and kept there till he was wellagain. The night of his arrival, Louison, the sister, stood with abrother on either hand--Octave and Florian--and received him with acourtesy more stately than usual, an expression of the reserve andmodesty of her single state. This maidenly dignity was at all timesshielded by the five brothers, who treated her with a constant andreverential courtesy. There was something signally suggestive in theirhomage, and Medallion concluded at last that it was paid not only to thesister, but to something that gave her great importance in their eyes.He puzzled long, and finally decided that Louison had a romance. Therewas something which suggested it in the way they said "P'tite Louison";in the manner they avoided all gossip regarding marriages and marriage-feasting; in the way they deferred to her on questions of etiquette (as,for instance, Should the eldest child be given the family name of thewife or a Christian name from her husband's family?). And P'titeLouison's opinion was accepted instantly as final, with satisfiednods on the part of all the brothers, and whispers of "How clever!how adorable!"P'tite Louison affected never to hear these remarks, but lookedcomplacently straight before her, stirring the spoon in her cup, orbenignly passing the bread and butter. She was quite aware of the homagepaid to her, and she gracefully accepted the fact that she was an objectof interest.Medallion had not the heart to laugh at the adoration of the brothers,or at the outlandish sister, for, though she was angular, and sallow, andthin, and her hands were large and red, there was a something deep in hereyes, a curious quality in her carriage commanding respect. She hadruled these brothers, had been worshipped by them, for near half acentury, and the romance they had kept alive had produced a grotesquesort of truth and beauty in the admiring "P'tite Louison"--anaffectionate name for her greatness, like "The Little Corporal" forNapoleon. She was not little, either, but above the middle height,and her hair was well streaked with grey.Her manner towards Medallion was not marked by any affectation. She wasfriendly in a kind, impersonal way, much as a nurse cares for a patient,and she never relaxed a sort of old-fashioned courtesy, which might havebeen trying in such close quarters, were it not for the real simplicityof the life and the spirit and lightness of their race. One nightFlorian--there were Florian and Octave and Felix and Isidore and Emile--the eldest, drew Medallion aside from the others, and they walkedtogether by the river. Florian's air suggested confidence and mystery,and soon, with a voice of hushed suggestion, he told Medallion theromance of P'tite Louison. And each of the brothers at different timesduring the next fortnight did the same, differing scarcely at all indetails, or choice of phrase or meaning, and not at all in general factsand essentials. But each, as he ended, made a different exclamation."Voila, so sad, so wonderful! She keeps the ring--dear P'tite Louison!"said Florian, the eldest."Alors, she gives him a legacy in her will! Sweet P'tite Louison," saidOctave."Mais, the governor and the archbishop admire her--P'tite Louison:" saidFelix, nodding confidently at Medallion."Bien, you should see the linen and the petticoats!" said Isidore, thehumorous one of the family. "He was great--she was an angel, P'titeLouison!""Attends! what love--what history--what passion!--the perfect P'titeLouison!" cried Emile, the youngest, the most sentimental. "Ah,Moliere!" he added, as
add to favoritesadd

Users who have this book

Users who want this book

What readers are saying

What do you think? Write your own comment on this book!

write a comment

What do you think? Write your own comment on this book

Info about the book







4/5 (3)

Your rating:




Do you want to exchange books? It’s EASY!

Get registered and find other users who want to give their favourite books to good hands!