Roads of Destiny HTML version

Cherchez La Femme
Robbins, reporter for the Picayune, and Dumars, of L'Abeille—the old French newspaper
that has buzzed for nearly a century—were good friends, well proven by years of ups and
downs together. They were seated where they had a habit of meeting—in the little,
Creole-haunted café of Madame Tibault, in Dumaine Street. If you know the place, you
will experience a thrill of pleasure in recalling it to mind. It is small and dark, with six
little polished tables, at which you may sit and drink the best coffee in New Orleans, and
concoctions of absinthe equal to Sazerac's best. Madame Tibault, fat and indulgent,
presides at the desk, and takes your money. Nicolette and Mémé, madame's nieces, in
charming bib aprons, bring the desirable beverages.
Dumars, with true Creole luxury, was sipping his absinthe, with half-closed eyes, in a
swirl of cigarette smoke. Robbins was looking over the morning Pic., detecting, as young
reporters will, the gross blunders in the make-up, and the envious blue-pencilling his own
stuff had received. This item, in the advertising columns, caught his eye, and with an
exclamation of sudden interest he read it aloud to his friend.
Public Auction.—At three o'clock this afternoon there will be sold to the highest bidder
all the common property of the Little Sisters of Samaria, at the home of the Sisterhood, in
Bonhomme Street. The sale will dispose of the building, ground, and the complete
furnishings of the house and chapel, without reserve.
This notice stirred the two friends to a reminiscent talk concerning an episode in their
journalistic career that had occurred about two years before. They recalled the incidents,
went over the old theories, and discussed it anew from the different perspective time had
There were no other customers in the café. Madame's fine ear had caught the line of their
talk, and she came over to their table—for had it not been her lost money—her vanished
twenty thousand dollars—that had set the whole matter going?
The three took up the long-abandoned mystery, threshing over the old, dry chaff of it. It
was in the chapel of this house of the Little Sisters of Samaria that Robbins and Dumars
had stood during that eager, fruitless news search of theirs, and looked upon the gilded
statue of the Virgin.