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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Republican Journal [Columbus, WI], June 30, 1858.
 
Proverb Proved
by Hartzel Cope

  the old wives’ rule that men and women’s looks are developed contrary to the apparent promise of infancy, Pierre would have carried off the prize at any baby show contemporaneous with this earlier years though all the nations in the [world] (always excepting Russia) had contributed competitors. But though ugly, there was in Pierre’s eyes a kindling light that always shone for those who looked for it. He was Blanquard’s antidote—if the master snapped like a bonbon cracker, Pierre was as hardy as a pastille.

Beside Pierre there was Sophie—Mlle. Sophie—saleswoman, bookkeeper and cashier.  She was a distant relative of the master. She had been taken into the house a year before, and developed that character for business which lies latent in so many women, and which we, sharp Yankees, are only beginning to find out. She also superintended the domestic affairs of Blanquard’s household, of which only Pierre and she were members. . . .

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Chapter I

MONSIEUR BLANQUARD was, and I hope still is, a glover in a street of Paris, of only secondary importance in the eyes of the fashionable. He was short, polite, stout, honest, industrious, irascible and slightly bald. Indeed a small coterie of his phrenological developments had assumed the appearance of a white billiard ball concealed with rather indifferent success amid his thin crop of sandy hair. Monsieur B. was also very active in his habits, as is often the case with impulsive people, and his movements in shop and workroom, partook of the character prefigured in the antique simile of a pea on a hot shovel.

Pierre Boutillier was man-of-all-work—his foreman, salesman, and occasional scolding target. In the latter capacity Pierre, however, acted but seldom, for he was a good fellow, with his heart, that “noble entrail,” in its right place, though the ugliest man out of Russia.  If

   

 

 


 

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