The Brother Clerks - A Tale of New-Orleans

The Brother Clerks - A Tale of New-Orleans

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190 Pages
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Published 08 December 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Brother Clerks, by Xariffa This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: The Brother Clerks A Tale of New-Orleans Author: Xariffa Release Date: July 31, 2006 [EBook #18958] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE BROTHER CLERKS *** Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Sjaani and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images produced by the Wright American Fiction Project.) THE BROTHER CLERKS; A TALE OF NEW-ORLEANS. BY XARIFFA. NEW-YORK: DERBY & JACKSON, 119 NASSAU-STREET. 1857. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, BY DERBY & JACKSON, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for Southern District of New-York. [Pg 9] THE BROTHER CLERKS. CHAPTER I. There, stranger lips shall give the greeting, There, stranger eyes shall mark the meeting; While the bosom, sad and lone, Turns its heavy heart-beats home. A September sun was casting its parting rays far over the dull waters of the Mississippi, as a steamer, with steady course, ploughed her way through the thick waves and "rounded to" at the thronged and busy wharf of New Orleans. Upon her deck, apart from all other passengers, stood two youths gazing with anxious eyes on the vast city spread out before them. The taller and elder of the two, bore upon his brow the flush of his twentieth summer. His figure seemed already to have gained its full proportions, and in his carriage and tone of voice [Pg 10] there was all the pliant grace of youth, combined with manhood's strength and ease. His hair was of that purplish black so rarely seen save in the raven's wing, or the exquisite portraits of the old masters. The full broad forehead, shadowed by its dark locks, the clear black eye, the hue of health upon the check, and the smile upon the red lips as they parted over the snowy teeth, formed a picture of fresh and manly beauty over which the wing of this wicked world had as yet never hung darkly. The younger was a mere boy; and stood beside his brother in that autumn hour, like a pure memory of other days; so marked was his whole bearing with that pureness of grace and refinement which circles some young brows like a halo. His figure was slender and delicate as a girl's; while his hair, almost golden in its hue, hung in curls about the blue-veined temples, and a brow of solid and exquisite formation, such as the lover of the intellectual delights to behold. His eyes were like the blue which lies revealed when the storm ceases and the clouds part in the sunshine; and the long lashes curled upon a cheek of almost invariable whiteness. His nose was of a pure Grecian cast, his mouth one of great expression and most beautifully cut. No one ever looked upon that young face without turning to look again, and felt holier for the gaze, in their hearts. Dear reader, do not imagine this an over-drawn sketch from a romantic fancy. I [Pg 11] have only too weakly delineated the reality, as the portrait which hangs before me, looking down with its golden-fringed blue eyes upon my task, can fully testify. During the whole passage the brothers had attracted universal attention, and won the good will of all; and now, as they stood arm in arm, amid all the hurry and bustle of the "first hour in port," not a sailor passed them but raised his dusty tarpaulin with a hearty "good e'en to the lads," and the passengers, as they reached the shore, would look up through the crowd once more at their young faces, to gain one more smile or one more parting wave of the hand, thinking, perhaps, it might be the last time forever. "Guly," said the elder of the two, suddenly throwing his right arm around the slight figure of his brother, and drawing him closer to him, "tell me what makes you silent and thoughtful at this moment, when the scene of our future action lies before us, and our destination is gained. Of what are you thinking? "I was thinking," replied the boy, as he laid his cheek caressingly upon his brother's shoulder, while his thoughtful eyes became suffused with emotion, "I was thinking of home. The sun is setting, and you know, at this hour our mother prays for her absent boys—were you thinking of the same thing, brother?" There came no reply for a moment; Arthur only pressed his brother closer to him, but he answered at last, while a faint blush stole over his cheek: "No, Guly, [Pg 12] I must confess my thoughts were far from that. I wish I could always think as rightly as you do, but it isn't my nature so to do. I was thinking of the untried path before us, the probable events of the next few years, the fair home so recently torn from us, the possibility of regaining possession of it through our efforts, and re-establishing ourselves in that station where we have ever moved. We must do this, Guly, for our mother's sake." "With God's help we will." Again Arthur's clasp tightened round his brother's figure, and again for a few moments he was silent; then suddenly resuming he said: "You must strive to make a good impression on Mr. Delancey, Guly; don't be timid or shrinking —such things have a bad effect. Be every inch a man, as you so well know how to be; bear always in mind how much depends on us two, and we shall get on bravely." It was evident Arthur dreaded more for his brother than he thought of for himself. "I dread the meeting," returned Guly; "from the tone of his letter I learned to dread the man, and a boy-novice, as I am, in mercantile business, I shrink from the examination I may have to undergo, while you, with your experience, of course, scarce give it a thought. I have pictured Mr. Delancey as a very stern man." They put themselves and their baggage into a cab, and at length brought up before a large and brilliantly lighted store, with the name "Delancey," in gilt block letters over the door. The cabman set the trunks which comprised the brothers' baggage, within, and pocketing his fare, drove off, leaving