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Lewis Rand
by Mary Johnston
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"I ceased to write to you. Through all the years in which I had written, we had been in perfect accord. Now I saw the rift between us, and that it would widen, and I threw no futile bridges."

"You are frank. I have indeed letters from you, written in this room"—There was upon the table an orderly litter of books and papers. From a packet of the latter Jefferson drew a letter, unfolded it, and, stretching out his long arm, laid it on the table before his visitor. "There is one," he said, "written not three years ago, on the evening of the day when you were elected to the General Assembly. I shall ask you to do me the favour to read it through."

Rand took the letter and ran his dark eye down the sheets. As he read, the blood stained his cheek, brow, and throat, and presently, with a violent movement, he rose and, crossing the room to a window, stood there with his face to the night. The clock had ticked three minutes before he turned and, coming back to the table, dropped the letter upon its polished surface. "You have your revenge," he said. "Yes, I was like that—and less than three years ago. I remember that night very well, and had a spirit whispered to me then that this night would come, I would have told the spirit that he lied! And it has come. Let us pass to the next count in the indictment."

"The Albemarle Resolutions—"

"I carried them."

"I wished them carried, but I should rather have seen them lost than that in your speech—a speech that resounded far and wide—you should have put the face you did upon matters! You knew my sentiments and convictions; until I read that speech, I thought they were your own. The Albemarle Resolutions! I have heard it said that your zeal for the Albemarle Resolutions was largely fanned by the fact that your personal enemy was chief among your opponents!"

"May I ask who said that?"

"You may ask, but I shall not answer. We are now at late February."

"The Assembly adjourned. I returned to Albemarle."

"You took first a journey to Philadelphia."

"Yes. Is there treason in that?"

"That," said Jefferson, with calmness, "is a word not yet of my using."

Rand leaned forward. "Yet?" he repeated, with emphasis.

There fell a silence in the room. After a moment of sitting quietly, his hands held lightly on the arm of his chair, Mr. Jefferson rose and began to pace the floor. The action was unusual; in all personal intercourse his command of himself was remarkable. An inveterate cheerful composure, a still sunniness, a readiness to settle all jars of the universe in an extremely short time and without stirring from his chair, were characteristics with which Rand was too familiar not to feel a frowning wonder at the pacing figure and the troubled footfall. He was a man bold to hardihood, and well assured of a covered trail, so assured that his brain rejected with vehemence the thought that darted through it. To Mr. Jefferson the word that he had audaciously used could have no significance. Treason! Traitor! Aaron Burr and his Jack-o'-Lantern ambitions, indeed, had long been looked upon with suspicion, vague and ill-directed, now slumbering and now idly alert. In this very room—in this very room the man had been talked of, discussed, analysed, and puffed away by the two who now held it with their estranged and troubled souls. Burr was gone; this August night he was floating down the Ohio toward New Orleans and the promised blow. Had some fool or knave or sickly conscience among the motley that was conspiring with him turned coward or been bought? It was possible. Burr might be betrayed, but hardly Lewis Rand. That was a guarded maze to which Mr. Jefferson could have no clue.

Jefferson came back to the table and the great chair. "You were, of course, as free as any man to travel to Philadelphia or where you would. I heard that you were upon such a journey, and I felt a certitude that you would also visit Washington. Had you done this, I should have received you with the old confidence and affection. I should have listened to the explanation I felt assured you would wish to make. At that time it was my belief that there needed but one long conversation between us to remove misapprehension, to convince you of your error, and to recall you to your allegiance. Do not mistake me. I craved no more than was human, no more than was justified by our relations in the past—your allegiance to me. But I wished to see you devoutly true to the principles you professed, to the Republican Idea, and to all that you, no less than I, had once included in that term. I looked for you in Washington, and I looked in vain."

"You make it hard for me," said Rand, with lowered eyes. "I had no explanation to give."

"When you neither came nor wrote, I assumed as much. It was in April that you returned to Albemarle. Since then I have myself been twice in the county."

"We have met—"

"But never alone. Had you forgotten the Monticello road? After the Three-Notched Road, I should have thought it best known to you."

"I have not forgotten it, sir. But I might doubt my welcome here."

"You might well doubt it," answered the other sternly. "But had there been humility in your heart—ay, or common remembrance!—that doubt would not have kept you back. When I saw at last that you would not come, I—"

He paused, took from the table a book and turned its leaves, then closed and laid it down again. "I whistled you down the wind," he said.

There was a silence, then, far away in the hot night, a dog howled. The hall clock struck the hour. Rand drew his breath sharply and turned in his chair. "And you brought me here to-night to tell me so?"

"I will answer that presently. In these three years you have made yourself a great name in Virginia; and now your party—It is still your party?"

"It is still my party."

"Your party wishes to make you Governor. You have travelled fast and far since the days when you walked with your father! Yesterday I was astounded to hear that you had refused the nomination."

"Why should you be 'astounded'?"

"Because I hold you for a most ambitious man, and this is the plain, the apparent step in your fortunes. At what goal are you aiming?"

"I did not want the governorship, sir."

"Then you want a greater thing. What it is—what it is"—With a sudden movement he rested his elbow on the table and regarded Rand from under the shelter of his hand. "And so," he said at last, in an altered voice,—"and so you will not be Governor. Well, it is an honourable post. This is late August, and in November you return to Richmond—"

"I go first across the mountains to examine a tract of land I have bought."

"Indeed? When do you go?"

"I have not altogether decided."

"Will you take Mrs. Rand with you?"

"I think so. Yes."

"It is," said Mr. Jefferson, "a rough journey and a wild country for a lady."

As he spoke he rose, and, going to a small table, poured for himself a little wine in a glass and drank it slowly, then, putting the glass gently down, passed to a long window and stood, as Rand had stood before him, looking out into the night. When he turned, the expression of his face had again changed. "It is growing late," he said. "In two days I return to Washington. The world will have grown older ere we meet again. Who knows? We may never meet again. This night we may be parting forever. You ask me if I brought you here to tell you that I acquiesced in this quarrel of your making, shook you from my thoughts, and bade you an eternal farewell. That is as may be. Even now—even now the nature of our parting is in your hands!"

Rand also had risen. "In this room, what can I say? Your kindness to me has been very great. My God, sir, I should be stock or stone not to feel abashed! And yet—and yet—Will you have it at last? You ask discipleship—you must have about you tame and obedient spirits—a Saint James the Greater and a Saint James the Less to hearken to your words and spread them far and wide, and all the attentive band to wait upon your wisdom! Free! We are tremendously free, but you must still be Lord and Master! Well, say that I rebel—"

"I see that you have done so," said Jefferson, with irony. "I am not your Lord and Master."

"I would not, if I could, have shunned this interview to-night. For long we have felt this strain, and now the sharp break is over. I shall sleep the better for it."

"I am glad, sir, that you view it so."

"For years I have worn your livery and trudged your road,—that fair, wide country road with bleating sheep and farmer folk, all going to markets dull as death! I've swincked and sweated for you on that road. Now I'll tread my own, though I come at last to the gates of Tartarus! My service is done, sir; I'm out of livery."

"Your road!" exclaimed the other. "Where does it lie, and who are your fellow travellers? John Randolph of Roanoke and the new Republicans? or monarchism and the Federalists? Or have I the honour, to-night, to entertain a Virginian Caesar?—perhaps even a Buonaparte?" His voice changed. "Have you reflected, sir, that there is some danger in so free an expression of your mind?"

"I have reflected," answered Rand, "that there is no danger so intolerable as the chafing of a half-acknowledged bond. The clock is striking again. I owe you much, sir. I thank you for it. While I served you, I served faithfully. It is over now. I look you in the face and tell you this, and so I give you warning that I am free. Henceforth I act as my free will directs."

"Act, then!" said the other. "Act, and find a weight upon your genius heavier than all behests of duty, friendship, faith, and loyalty rolled in one! Single out from all humanity one man alone, and that yourself, surround him with a monstrous observance, sacrifice before him every living thing that shall cross his path, crown him with gold, and banish from his court every idea that will not play the sycophant! Seat him, a chained king, high in some red star!—and still, like a wandering wind, large and candid thought, straying some day past your gloomy windows, shall look within and say, 'See this slave to himself chained upon his burning throne!' When at last you hear the voice, try to break away."

He left the window and, crossing to the mantel, pulled the bell-rope. Old Burwell appeared at the door. "Mr. Rand's horse, Burwell," directed the master, in a cheerful voice, then, when the negro was gone, spoke on without change of tone. "The night has altered while we talked. There is a great bank of cloud in the west, and I think the drouth is broken. You will reach Roselands, however, before the rain comes down. Pray present my respectful salutations to Mrs. Rand."

"You are very good," said Rand. "My wife"—He hesitated, then, "I would have you aware that my wife's hand would keep me in that same country road I spoke of, among those same green fields and peaceful, blameless folk! Her star is not like mine—"

"I esteem her the more highly for it," answered the other. "I hear your horse upon the gravel—Selim, still, is it not? A pleasant ride to you home through this fresher air! Good-night—and good-bye."

"I am not the monster I appear to you," said Rand. "A man may go through life and never encounter the irresistible current. When he does—I am as little superstitious as you, but I tell you I am borne on! All the men and women whose blood is in my veins hurry me on, and there is behind me a tide of circumstance. For all past kindnesses I thank you, sir. I admire you much, reverence you no little, and bid you a long farewell."

He walked to the door, then, turning, swept the room with one slow look. "I was fifteen," he said, "the day I first came here. There was a glass of lilies on the table. Good-night, sir,—and good-bye."

Without, the night was indeed cooler, with a sighing wind, and in the west a thickening wrack of clouds. It was very dark. The restless and multitudinous flicker of the fireflies but emphasized the shadow, and the stars seemed few and dim. It was near midnight, and the wide landscape below the mountain lay in darkness, save for one distant knoll where lights were burning. That was Fontenoy, and Rand, looking toward it with knitted brows, wondered why the house was so brightly lighted at such an hour. In another moment the road descended, the heavy trees shut out the view of the valley, and with very much indeed upon his mind, he thought no more of Fontenoy. It was utterly necessary to him to find a remedy for the sting, keen and intolerable, which he bore with him from Monticello. He felt the poison as he rode, and his mind searched, in passion and in haste, for the sovereign antidote. He found it and applied it, and the rankling pain grew less. Now more than ever was it necessary to go on. Now more than ever he must commit himself without reserve to the strong current. When it had borne him to a fair and far country, to kingship, sway, empire, and vast renown, then would this night be justified!

He left the mountain, and, riding rapidly, soon found himself upon the road to Roselands. It was also the Greenwood road. Between the two plantations lay a deep wood, and as he emerged from this, he saw before him in the dim starlight a horseman, coming towards him from Roselands. "Is that you, Mocket?" he called.

The other drew rein. "It is Ludwell Cary. Good-evening, Mr. Rand. I have just left Roselands."

"Indeed?" exclaimed Rand. "May I ask—"

"I came from Fontenoy at the request of Colonel Churchill. Mrs. Churchill fell suddenly very ill to-night. They think she will not last many hours, and she asks continually for her niece. Colonel Churchill sent me to beg Mrs. Rand to come without delay to Fontenoy. I have delivered my message, and she but waits your return to Roselands—"

"I will hurry on," said Rand. "Be so good as to tell Colonel Churchill that Joab will bring her in the chaise—Mammy Chloe with her. I am sorry for your news. Accept, too, our thanks for the trouble to which you have put yourself—"

"It is nothing," answered Cary. "My brother and I chanced to be at Fontenoy. Mrs. Rand is much distressed, and I'll detain you no longer—"

He bowed, touched his horse, and rode into the wood. Rand turned in his saddle and looked after him for a long moment, then shook his reins, broke into a gallop, and passed presently through the Roselands gates and up the dark drive to the stone steps and open door. Jacqueline met him on the threshold. She was trembling, but not weeping; there was even a wistful fire and passion in her dark eyes and a rose-leaf colour in her cheeks. "Did you meet him?" she said. "Did he tell you? I am all ready. He says that Aunt Nancy thinks that it is years ago, and that I'm Jacqueline Churchill still. I thought you would never, never come"—She turned and threw herself into his arms. "Oh, Lewis, we are going to Fontenoy!"



CHAPTER XX

THE NINETEENTH OF FEBRUARY

"That's true," quoth Gaudylock. "It's the cracked I pitcher that goes oftenest to the well, and a delicate lady that's lain a-dying on her bed this twenty year may live to see you and me and the blacksmith buried! There never was a Churchill that I didn't like, and I'm certainly glad she's better this morning. If you're going to Greenwood, I'll bear you company for a bit. I'm bound for Roselands myself."

Ludwell Cary dismounted and, with his bridle across his arm, walked beside the hunter. "Albemarle has not seen you for a long while," he said pleasantly. "The county is fond of you, and glad to have you home again."

"So a lady told me the other day!" answered Adam. "It has been a year since I was in Albemarle,—but I saw you, sir, last winter in Richmond."

"Last winter? I don't recall—"

"At Lynch's Coffee House. The twentieth of February. The day the Albemarle Resolutions were passed."

"Ah!" breathed Cary. The two walked on, now in sun, now in shade, upon the quiet road. The drouth was broken. There had been a torrential rain, then two days of sunshine. A cool wind now stirred the treetops; the mountains drew closer in the crystal air, and the washed fields renewed their green. So bright and sunny was the morning that the late summer wore the air of spring. Cary stood still beside a log, huge and mossy, that lay beside the road. "Let us rest here a moment," he said, and, taking his seat, began to draw in the dust before him with the butt of his whip. "I do not remember seeing you that day. I did not know that you were in Richmond."

"I was there," answered Adam cheerfully, "on business." He took an acorn from the ground and balanced it upon a brown forefinger. "It's a handsome place—Lynch's—and, my faith, one sees the best of company! I was there with Lewis Rand."

"Ah!"

The sound was sharp, and long like an indrawn breath. Adam, who could read the tones of a man's voice, glanced aside and remembered the quarrel. "Thin ice there, and crackling twigs!" he thought. "Look where you set your moccasin, Golden-Tongue!" Aloud he said, "You and your brother came in out of the snow, and read your letters by the fire. It had fallen thick the day before."

"Yes, I remember. A heavy fall all day, but at night it cleared."

"Yes," went on the other blithely. "I was at Lewis Rand's on Shockoe Hill, and when I walked home, the stars were shining. What's the matter, sir?"

"Nothing. Why?"

"I thought," quoth Adam, "that some varmint had stung you." He looked thoughtfully at the acorn. "You are a schollard, Mr. Cary. Is the whole oak, root, branch, and seed, in the acorn—bound to come out just that way?"

"So they say," answered Cary. "And in the invisible acorn of that oak a second tree, and that second holds a third, and the third a fourth, and so on through the magic forest. Consequences to the thousandth generation. You were saying that you were at Mr. Rand's the night of the nineteenth of February."

"Was I?" asked Adam, with coolness. "Oh, yes! I went over to talk with him about a buffalo skin and some antlers of elk that he wanted for Roselands—and the stars were shining when I came away." To himself he said, "Now why did he start like that a moment back? It wasn't because the snow had stopped and the stars were shining. Where was he that night?"

Cary drew a circle in the dust with the handle of his whip. "You were at Lynch's with Mr. Rand the next afternoon. And immediately after that you returned to the West?"

Adam nodded. The acorn was yet poised upon his finger, but his keen blue eyes were for the other's face and form, bent over the drawing in the dusty road. "Ay, West I went," he said cheerfully. "I'm just a born wanderer! I can't any more stay in one town than a bird can stay on one bush."

"A born wanderer," said Cary pleasantly, "is almost always a born good fellow. How long this time will be your stay in Albemarle?"

"Why, that's as may be," answered Adam, with vagueness. "I'm mighty fond of this country in the fall of the year, and I've a hankering for an old-time Christmas at home—But, my faith; wanderers never know when the fit will take them! It may be to-morrow, and it may be next year."

"You and Mr. Rand are old friends?"

"You may say that," exclaimed the hunter. "There's a connection somewhere between the Gaudylocks and the Rands, and I knew Gideon better than most men. As for Lewis, I reckon there was a time when I was almost his only friend. I've stood between him and many a beating, and 'twas I that taught him to shoot. A fine place he's making out of Roselands!"

"Yes," agreed Cary, with a quick sigh; "a beautiful place. The West is in a ferment just now, is it not? One hears much talk of dissatisfaction."

"Why, all that sort of thing is told me when I come home," said Adam. "The Indians call such idle speech talk of singing birds. My faith, I think all the singing birds in the Mississippi Territory have flown East! In the West we don't listen to them. That's a fine mare you're riding, sir! You should see the wild horses start up from the prairie grass."

"That would be worth seeing. Have you ever, in your wanderings, come across Aaron Burr?"

Adam regarded the other side of the acorn. "Aaron Burr! Why, I wouldn't say that I mayn't have seen him somewhere. A man who traps and trades, and hunts and fishes, up and down a thousand miles of the Mississippi River is bound to come across a mort of men. But 'twould be by accident. He's a gentleman and a talker, and he was the Vice-President. I reckon he runs with the Governor and the General and the gentleman-planter and the New Orleans ladies." Adam laughed genially. "I know a red lip or two in New Orleans myself, but they're not ladies! and I drink with the soldiers, but not with the General. What's your interest, sir, in Aaron Burr?"

"The common interest," said Cary, rising. "When you quit Albemarle this time, you quit it alone?"

Gaudylock tossed aside the acorn. "That is my fortune," he answered coolly.

Cary swung himself into his saddle. "The woods, I see, teach but half the Spartan learning. We'll part here, I think, unless you'll come by Greenwood?"

"Thank you kindly, sir, but I've a bit of a woodsman's job to look after at Roselands. What was the Spartan learning?"

"You are going," replied the other, "to the house of a gentleman who knows the classics. Ask him. Good-day!"

"Good-day," said Adam somewhat abruptly, and with a thoughtful face watched the other ride away. "He has been listening," thought the hunter, "to singing birds. Now when, and where, and to how loud a singing? The nineteenth of February—and the snowstorm—and the stars shining as I walked home from Shockoe Hill. He didn't know that I was in Richmond! Then, was he on Burr's trail? Humph! Where was Mr. Ludwell Cary the night of the nineteenth of February?" Adam took up his gun and coonskin cap. "I'll see if Lewis can make that light," he said, and turned his face to Roselands.

Ludwell Cary rode to Greenwood, dismounted, and, going into the library, took from the drawer of his desk a letter, opened it, and ran it over. "As to your enquiries," said the letter, "Swartwout and Bollman are believed to be in New Orleans, Ogden in Kentucky, and Aaron Burr himself at a Mr. Harman Blennerhassett's on the Ohio. Rumour has it that Burr's daughter and her son are travelling to meet him. It says, moreover, that a number of gentlemen in the East are winding up their affairs preparatory to leaving for the West. One and all look more innocent than lambs, but they dream at night of senoritas, besieged cities, and the mines of Montezuma! There's a report to-day that Burr is levying troops. That's war. If these men go, they'll not return." Cary laid down the letter. "If these men go, they'll not return. Is Lewis Rand so fixed in Albemarle?"

He moved from the desk to an old chess table and, sitting down, began to move the pieces this way and that. "The nineteenth of February—the nineteenth of February." He saw again a firelit room, and heard the tapping of maple boughs against a window. There she sat in her dress of festive white, listening to a denunciation of Aaron Burr and those concerned with him—and all the time the man beneath her roof! Cary sighed impatiently and moved another piece. Adam Gaudylock, who had let slip that he had been there as well—and then had been careful to let slip no other fact of value, except, indeed, the fact that he was thus careful! Cary covered his lips with his hand and sat staring at the board. The problem, then, was to construct from the hunter's character the hunter's part. A keen trader, scout, and enthusiast of the West, known to and knowing the men of those parts, and able to bend the undercurrents—a delighter in danger, with a boy's zest for intrigue, risk, and daring—an uncomplex mind, little troubled by theories of political obligation, political faith and unfaith, loyalty to government or its reverse—a being born to adventure, but to adventure under guidance, skilled and gay subaltern to some graver, abler leader—that, he thought, would be Adam Gaudylock. An old, old friend of Lewis Rand's—"There's a connection somewhere between the Gaudylocks and the Rands."

Cary put out his hand and moved a piece with suddenness. "Granted the connection," he said aloud. His eye gleamed. "That night Rand agreed with Burr. Gaudylock would have been there to give information; probably, seeing that he went West immediately afterwards, to receive instructions. But he is an asset of Lewis Rand's, not of Burr's."

His hand touched the piece again. "An asset of Lewis Rand's—Rand and Burr—Rand and Burr. What was it that they plotted that night while she talked to me of the new song she had learned? An expedition against Mexico, an attack upon the dominions of the King of Spain with whom we are at peace? Or a revolution in the country west of the Ohio? The one's a misdemeanour; the other's treason." He moved a rook. "Most like 'twas both—the first to mask the second. The boldest, simplest, most comprehensive stroke; there, there would show the mind of Lewis Rand!"

He rose and paced the long, cool room, then came back to the chess table. "They parted. Burr to the North, as I found the next morning; this trader, as he says, back to the West; Lewis Rand quiet in Richmond, quiet here in Albemarle. Quiet! That speech of his—those letters in the Enquirer. How long has he been breaking with Mr. Jefferson? That journey, too, to Philadelphia—whom did he see there? Swartwout, Bollman, perhaps Burr himself? Home he comes to Albemarle and begins improving Roselands. Cases too, in court, and a queue of waiting clients, and Richmond to return to in November. Granted there's a strange emigration West; but Lewis Rand—Lewis Rand's as fixed in Virginia as are the Churchills and the Carys!"

He slowly lifted and as slowly moved a queen. "And what other course, from time out of mind, does the disloyal pursue? A mask—all a mask. He, too, is for the West. He goes to join Burr; goes, if his fate stands true, to supplant Burr. Matters draw to a point, and he has little time to spare! Say that he goes"—A movement of his arm, involuntary and sharp, jarred the table and disarranged the board. "Will he go alone?"

Cary rose and walked the floor. "I must know—I must know." He paused at a western window, and with unseeing eyes gazed into the blue distance. "Were he Ludwell Cary, would he fare forth on his adventure alone? Perhaps. Being Lewis Rand, will he go without her, leave her behind? A thousand times, no! Even now this daughter of Burr's is hurrying by day and by night over rough and over smooth, to join her father; how much more, then, shall lover go with lover, the faithful wife with the all-conquering husband! She shall be there to buckle on our armour, to heal us with her kiss when the long day's work is over!" He bent his brow upon his arm. "O God, O God!"

From the hall without there sounded a clear whistle, and Fairfax Cary appeared in the library door. "Are you there, Ludwell? It's all dark in here after the sun outside. I am going to town."

The elder brother left the window. "Wait a little, Fair. I want to talk to you. Do you remember the night of the nineteenth of February?"

"Yes," said the other. "It had been snowing, and then it cleared brilliantly. I went to the Mayos, and I stopped by Bowler's Tavern. It was the night that Aaron Burr slept in Richmond. I told you, you know, that he was supping out."

"Yes. With Lewis Rand."

There was a silence, then, "So!" exclaimed Fairfax Cary, with a long whistle.

"You are not surprised?"

"No. It explains."

"Yes," assented the other sombrely, "it explains. Fair, I want to find out when Adam Gaudylock goes West."

"Gaudylock!" cried the other; then after a moment, "Well, I'm not surprised at that, either. I can tell you now when he's going. In two weeks' time."

"How do you know?"

"Unity sent a message about some work or other to Tom Mocket's sister Vinie. I gave the message, and the girl fell to talking about Adam. She was wearing a Spanish comb which he had brought her. I told her 't was pretty, and she said 'Yes: 'twas from New Orleans, and if Miss Unity would like one, Mr. Adam was going there again in two weeks.'"

"Two weeks!" brooded the other. "Fair, would you not say from every appearance that Lewis Rand is as fixed in Albemarle and in Virginia as you or I or any honest man? He improves Roselands; he has an important case coming on; it is supposed that in November he will return to Richmond. I happen to know that he has retaken the house on Shockoe Hill." He moved restlessly. "Why should I dream that he is preparing a moonlight flitting? dream that I see him in the gold southwest, treading his appointed road, triumphant there as here? A moonlight flitting! When he goes, he'll go by day—walk forth in bronze and purple, unconcerned and confident, high and bold as any Caesar! From what egg did he spring that he can play the traitor and the parricide—and yet, and yet the rose bend to his hand? Does it look, Fair, as though he were in marching order?"

The other considered. "Do you believe that he is going West to join Burr?"

"I do. And yet this week he is defending a case in court, and there are others coming on. He is busy, too, at Roselands, and he has taken the Richmond house. I am, perhaps, a suspicious, envious, and vindictive fool."

"Roselands and the Richmond house might be a mask, He refused the nomination for Governor."

Ludwell Cary started violently. "I had forgotten that! You have it, Fair. He would do that—he would refuse the nomination. Lewis Rand, Lewis Rand!"

"Have you any proof that he is conspiring with Burr?"

"None that I could advance—none. I have an inward certainty, that is all. Nor can I—nor can I, Fair, even speak of such a suspicion. You see that?"

"Yes, I see that."

"I repented last winter of having written that letter signed 'Aurelius.' I knew nothing, and it seemed beneath me to have made that guesswork public. That he was my enemy should have made me careful, but I was under strong feeling, and I wrote. He has neither forgotten nor forgiven. Denounce him now as a conspirator against his party and his country? That is impossible. Impossible from lack of proof, and impossible to me were proofs as thick as blackberries! But if I can help it, he shall not leave Virginia."

"Is it your opinion that he would take her with him?"

"Yes, it is."

"Would she go?"

Cary rose, moved to the window, and stood there a moment in silence. When, presently, he came back to the table, his face was pale, but lifted, controlled, and quiet. There was a saying in the county,—"The high look of the Carys." He wore it now, the high look of the Carys. "Yes, Fair, she would go with him."

There was a silence, then the younger spoke. "She is at Fontenoy. Mrs. Churchill may linger long, and her niece is always with her. Rand could not take his wife away."

"It's a check to his plans, no doubt," said the other wearily.

"He's frowning over it now. He'll wait as long as may be. He would sin, but he would not sin meanly. In his conception of himself a greatness, even in transgression, must clothe all that he does. He'll wait, gravely and decently, even though to wait is his heavy risk." He made a gesture with his hand. "Do I not know him, know him well? Sometimes I think that for three years I've had no other study!"

"You should have let me challenge him that first election day," said Fairfax Cary gloomily. "If we had met and I had put a bullet through him, then all this coil would have been spared. What do you propose to do now?"

"At the moment I am going to Fontenoy."

"I would speak, I think, to Major Edward."

"Yes: that was in my mind. If there is any right, it lies with the men of her family. Fair, on the nineteenth of February I was at Lewis Rand's!"

"Ah!" exclaimed his brother.

"I was admitted, as I have since come to see, by mistake, and against orders. I found her alone in her drawing-room, and we sat by the dying fire and we talked of this very thing, this very plot, this very Aaron Burr—yes, and of the part a stronger than Burr might play in the West and in Mexico! She told me that her husband was busy that night—excused him because he was engaged with a client from the country. A client from the country! and I, who would have taken her word against an angel's, I sat there and wondered why she was distrait and pale! She was pale because there was danger, she was absent because she was contriving how she might soonest rid the house of one who was not wanted there that night! She was dressed in gauze and gems; she had supped with Aaron Burr—"

"I see—I see!"

"When at last I perceived, though I could not guess the reason, that she wished to be alone, I bade her good-night, and she watched me—oh, carefully!—through the hall and past the other doors and out of the house. I came home through the starlight and over the snow to the Eagle. I found you there by the fire, and you told me that Aaron Burr was in Richmond. Then, then, Fair, I knew. I knew with whom Lewis Rand was engaged, I knew who was the client from the country! The next morning I made my inquiries. Burr had gone at dawn, muffled and secret and swift—one man to see him off. That man, I learned to-day, was Adam Gaudylock. He, too, was at Rand's the night before. A triumvirate, was it not? Well, she knew, she knew—and women, too, have dreamed of crowns!"

He rose. "I'm going to ride to Fontenoy. You can bear me witness that I've kept away since her return. Now I shall keep away no longer. I will speak to Major Edward. Her family may draw a circle out of which she may not step."

"There's been," said the other, "no true reconciliation. She's only at Fontenoy because the Churchills could not refuse a dying woman. They speak to her as to a stranger to whom, as gentlemen, they must needs be courteous. And she's proud, too. Unity says they are far apart."

"I know. But though the Churchill men are stubborn, they are Virginians and they are patriots. This touches their honour and the honour of their house. If Rand plots at all, he's plotting treason. How much does she know, how little does she not know? God knows, not I! But they may make a circle she cannot overstep—no, not for all the magician's piping!" He rested his forehead upon his clasped hands. "Fair, Fair, she was my Destiny! Why did he come like a shape of night, with the power of night? And now he draws her, too, into the shadow. He's treading a road beset—and they are one flesh; she travels with him. Oh, despair!"

"Have out a warrant against him."

"What proofs? and what disgrace if proved! No, Fair, no."

"Then let me challenge him."

The other smiled. "Should it come to that, I will be the challenger! I am your senior there. Don't forget it, Fair." He rose from the table. "Do you remember that first day we rode to Fontenoy when I came home from England? The place was all in sunshine, all fine gold. She was standing on the porch beside Major Edward; she lifted her hand and shaded her eyes with a fan—there was a flower in her hair. Three years! I am worn with those three years." For a moment he rested his hand on the other's shoulder. "Fair, Fair, you know happy love—may you never know unhappy love! I am going now to Fontenoy. Is there a message for Unity?"



CHAPTER XXI

THE CEDAR WOOD

Jacqueline closed the door of her aunt's chamber softly behind her, passed through the Fontenoy hall, and came out upon the wide porch. There, in the peace of the September afternoon, she found Unity alone with the Lay of the Last Minstrel. "Aunt Nancy is asleep," she said. "I left Mammy Chloe beside her. Unity, I think she's better."

"So the doctor said this morning."

"I think she's beginning to remember. She looks strangely at me."

"If she does remember, she'll want you still!"

Jacqueline shook her head. "I think not. How lovely it is, this afternoon! The asters are all in bloom in the garden, and the gum tree is turning red." She threw a gauze scarf over her head. "I am going down to the old gate by the narrow road."

"I wish," said Unity, "that I had the ordering of the universe for just one hour! Then Christians would become Christian, and you wouldn't have to meet your husband outside the gates of home."

The other laughed a little. "Oh, Unity, Christians won't be Christian, and even as it is, 'tis sweet to be at home! Until you go away to Greenwood, you'll not know how dear was Fontenoy! To hear the poplars rustling and to smell the box again—Is it not strange that I should have a light heart when they look so cold upon me?"

"I have hopes of Uncle Dick, but Uncle Edward"—Unity shook her head. "I don't understand Uncle Edward."

"I do," answered Jacqueline, "and I love him most. I'll go now and leave you to the Last Minstrel. Does Fairfax Cary come to-night?"

"He may—"

Jacqueline laughed. "'He may.' Yes, indeed, I think he may! Oh, Unity, smell the roses, and look at the light upon the mountains! Good-bye! I'm for Lewis now."

She passed down the steps and through the garden toward the cedar wood which led to the old gate on the narrow road. Unity heard her singing as she went. The voice died in the distance. A door opened, Uncle Edward's step was heard in the hall, and his voice, harsh and strange, came out to his niece upon the porch: "Unity, I want you in the library a moment."

Jacqueline kept her tryst with Rand under the great oak that stood without the old gate, on land that was not the Churchills'. It was their custom to walk a little way into the wood that lay hard by, but this afternoon the narrow road, grass-grown and seldom used, was all their own. They sat upon the wayside, beneath the tree, and Selim grazed beside them. There was her full report of all that concerned them both, and there was what he chose to tell her. They talked of Fontenoy, and then of Roselands—talked freely and with clasped hands. Her head rested on his shoulder; they sat in deep accord, bathed by the golden light of the afternoon; sometimes they were silent for minutes at a time, while the light grew fairer on the hills. When an hour had passed they rose and kissed, and he watched her across the road and through the gate into the circle of Fontenoy. She turned, and waited to see him mount Selim and ride away. He spoke from the saddle, "At the same hour to-morrow," and she answered, "The same hour." Her hands were clasped upon the top-most bar of the gate. He wheeled Selim, crossed the road, half swung himself from the saddle, and pressed his lips upon them. "Come home soon!" he said, and she answered, "Soon."

When the bend of the road had hidden horse and rider, she left the gate and began her return to the house. Her path lay through a field, through the cedar wood, and through the flower garden. In the field beside a runlet grew masses of purple ironweed. She broke a stately piece, half as tall as herself, and with it in her hand left the autumn-coloured field and entered the little wood where the cedars grew dark and close, with the bare, red earth beneath. At the end of the aisle of trees could be seen the bright-hued garden and a fraction of blue heaven. Holding the branch of ironweed before her, Jacqueline passed through the wood toward the light of sky and flowers, and came at the edge of the open space upon a large old tree, twisted like one of those which Dante saw. As she stepped beneath the dark and spreading boughs a man, leaving the sunlit flower garden for the shadow of the cedars, met her face to face. "You!" he cried, and stopped short.

The branch of ironweed dropped from her hand. "I did not know that you were at Fontenoy. I have not seen you this long while—except for that moment the other night. Is it not—is it not the loveliest day?"

"I came from the library into the flower garden and on to this wood because I wished to think, to be alone, to gain composure before I returned to the house—and you front me like a spectre in the dimness! Once before, I entered this wood from the flower garden—and it was dark, dark as it is to-day, though the weather was June. Nor do I, either, count the other night when I came to Roselands as Colonel Churchill's messenger. It has been long, indeed, since we truly met."

"You are not well, Mr. Cary!"

"I am—I am," said Cary. "Give me a moment."

He rested his arm against the red trunk of the cedar and covered his eyes with his hand. Jacqueline stood, looking not at him but at the coloured round of garden. Her heart was fluttering, she knew not why. The moment that he asked went by and, dropping his arm, he turned upon her a face that he had not yet schooled to calmness.

"The evening of the nineteenth of February," he said. "That was the last time we really met. Do you remember?"

"Yes, I remember. It was the day of the deep snow."

Cary regarded her mutely; then, "Yes, that was the important thing. We all remember it because of the snow. You were learning a new song that you promised to sing to me when I came again. But I never heard it—I never came again."

"I know. Why was that?"

"Do you ask?" he cried, and there was pain and anger in his voice. "I thought it not of you."

The crimson surged over Jacqueline's face and throat. She bent toward him impetuously, with a quick motion of her hands. "Ah, forgive me!" she cried. "I know—I know. I was told of the quarrel next day in the coffee house. I—I was more sorry than I can say. I understood. You could not, after that, come again to the house. Oh, more than almost anything, I wish that you and Lewis were friends! It is wrong to try to make you think that that evening does not live in my memory. It does—it does!"

"I am willing to believe as much," he returned, with a strange dryness. "I know that you remember that evening, but I hardly think it altogether on my account—"

The colour faded from her cheek. "On whose, then? My husband's?"

"And your guest's."

"You were my guest."

"Oh," cried Cary, "I'll not have it! You shall not so perjure yourself! He has taken much from me; if your truth is his as well, then indeed he has taken all! I know, I know who was the guest that night, the man with whom you supped, the 'client from the country.'"

She gazed at him with large eyes, her hand upon her heart, then, with an inarticulate word or two, she moved to the gnarled and protruding roots of the cedar and took her seat there facing his troubled figure and indignant eyes. "Who was the guest,—the client from the country?"

"Aaron Burr."

She drew a difficult breath. "How long have you known?"

"Since that night. No—do not be distressed! I learned it not from you,—you kept faithful guard. But when I left you, within the hour I knew it."

"And—and if he were there, what harm?"

Cary regarded her in silence; then, "The letter that I read you that night from your uncle, from one of the heads of your house, from a patriot and a man of stainless honour, that letter was, I think, sufficiently explicit! There was the harm. But Major Churchill's opinion, too, is perhaps forgot."

"No," cried Jacqueline, "no; you do not understand! Listen to me!" She rose, drawing herself to her full height, the red again in her cheek, her eyes dark and bright. "I am going to tell you the truth of this matter. Are you not my friend, whose opinion I value for me and mine? You are a true and honourable gentleman—I speak with no fear that what I say will ever pass beyond this wood! Uncle Edward's letter! You think that what was said in Uncle Edward's letter—ay, and what you, too, said in comment—was already known to me that night! Well, it was not. Oh, it is true that Colonel Burr had supped with us, and it is also true that I was most heartily sorry for it! At table, while he talked, I saw only that green field so far away, and General Hamilton bleeding to his death,—yes, and I thought, 'Oh me, what would they say to me at Fontenoy?' But I knew no worse of Colonel Burr than that one deed, and I bore myself toward him as any woman must toward her husband's guest! I am telling you all. He was Lewis's guest, Lewis's correspondent, and this was an arranged meeting. I knew that and I knew no more. After supper they talked together, and I sat alone by the fire in the empty drawing-room. I was bidden—yes, I will tell you this!—I was bidden to keep all visitors out, since it must not be known that Colonel Burr was then in Richmond! You came, and by mistake you were admitted. I was lonely at heart and hungry for news from home, I let you stay, and you read to me what my uncle had to say of the man who was at that instant beneath my roof, engaged in talk with my husband! You read, and then you, too, took up the tale! 'Traitor—treason.... A man whom, had you the power, you would arrest at once.... False to his honour, false to his country.... Traitor and maker of traitors.... And where is your husband to-night?' Well, I did not choose to tell you where was my husband that night—and, since I was frightened, and cold at heart, and knew not what to say, and—and was frightened, I lied to you! But as for that which I now see that you have thought of me—you are much mistaken there! Until you read me Uncle Edward's letter, I did not know what men said of Aaron Burr!"

"I wronged you," said Cary, with emotion. "I doubted you, and I have been most wretched in the doubting. Forgive me!"

"You wronged me, yes!" she cried. "But am I the only one you've wronged? Oh, I see, I see what since that night you have thought of Lewis! It was the next day that you quarrelled in the coffee house! Oh, all these months, have you been mistrusting Lewis Rand, believing him concerned with that man, suspecting him of—of—of treason? There, too, you are mistaken. Listen!"

She came closer to him, all colour, light, and fire against the dark cedars. "I am going to tell you. You are generous, open-minded, candid, fair—you will understand, and you will know him better, and you and he may yet be friends! I have that at heart—you would hardly believe how much I have that at heart. Have you been dreaming of Lewis Rand as the aider and abetter of Colonel Burr's designs, whatever they may be! as a conspirator with him against the peace of the country, against Virginia, against the Republic? You have, you have,—I read it in your face! Well, you are wrong. Oh, I will tell you the clean truth! He was tempted—he saw below him the kingdoms of the earth—and oh, remember that around him are not the friendly arms, the old things, the counsel of the past, the watchword in the blood, the voice that cries to you or to my uncles and so surely points to you the road! I will tell the whole truth. I will not say that his mind sees always by the light by which we rest. He has come another way and through another world. How should he think our thoughts, see just with our eyes? He has come through night and hurrying clouds; his way has been steep, and there are stains upon his nature. I that love him will not deny them! He was tempted as Ludwell Cary would not have been. Oh, perhaps if I had not been there, he would have made his compact. But I was there! and I besought him—and that night he swore to me—"

Cary threw out his arm with a cry. "Stop, stop! I take God to witness that I never thought of this!"

She went on, unheeding. "He swore to me that whatever in that world of his he had thought of Aaron Burr and of his projects, however keenly he had seen the dazzling fortune that lay in that western country, yet, as I had left my world for his, so would he leave that night, in this, his world for mine! And he did so—he did so that night before the dawn!"

She raised her hand to her eyes and dashed away the bright drops. "You have done an injustice. All this time you have thought him what that night you called Aaron Burr. I know not where Colonel Burr is now, but since the night of the nineteenth of February, he and my husband have had no dealings."

"My God!" said Cary, in a low voice; then, "This is all your assurance?"

"All?" she echoed proudly. "It is enough."

He turned away and, walking to the edge of the wood, stood there, striving for some measure of self-command. His hands opened and shut. Lewis Rand was a perjured traitor, and it only remained to tell Jacqueline as much.

The garden swam before his eyes, then the mist passed and he saw with distinctness. There was a path before him that led away between walls of box to the green and flowery heart of the place, and at the heart was a summer-house. He saw it all again. There was the morning in June, there was the blowing rose, there was the sudden vision—Rand and Jacqueline, hand in hand, with mingled breath! It was into this path that he had turned—it was to this wood that he had stumbled, leaving them there. He felt again the icy shock, the death and wormwood in his soul. They had had the gold, they had loved and embraced while, with his face to the earth, he had lain there beneath that tree where now she stood. Well, Time's globe was turning—there were shadows now for the lovers' country! Their land, too, would have its night; perhaps an endless night. He entertained the fierce, triumphant thought, but not for long. He had loved Jacqueline Churchill truly, and her happiness was more to him than his own. When, presently, he reached the consideration of her in that darkened country, moving forever over ash and cinder beneath an empty, leaden heaven, he found the contemplation intolerable. A tenderness crept into his heart, divine enough as things go in the heart of man. The summer-house mocked him still, and the image of Rand walked with armed foot through every chamber of his brain, but he wished no worse for Jacqueline than unending light and love. After the first red moment, it was not possible to him to put out one lamp, to break one flower, in her paradise. It hung like a garden in Babylon over the dust and sorrow of the common way, over the gulf of broken gods and rent illusions. To jar that rainbow tenure by the raising of his voice, to bring that phantom bliss whirling down to the trodden street, lay not within the quality of the man. He closed his eyes and fought with the memory of that June morning when he and Colonel Churchill had come upon the summer-house; fought with that and with a hundred memories besides, then looked again, and quietly, at the autumn place, bright with late flowers and breathed over by the haunting fragrance of the box. Another moment and he turned back to the wood and the great tree.

Jacqueline sat beneath the cedar, the branch of ironweed again within her hand. She had found it natural that Ludwell Cary should turn away. It was not easy to struggle against a misconception, to re-marshal facts and revise judgments—often it was hard. She waited quietly, fingering the tufts of purple bloom, her eyes upon the clear sky between the cedar boughs. When at last she heard his step and looked up, it was with an exquisite kindness in her large, dark eyes. "It was a natural mistake," she said. "Do not think that I blame you. It is hard to believe in good when we think we see evil."

"I am thankful," he answered, "that you are back in your shrine. Forgive me my error."

She looked at him fixedly. "But concerning Lewis—there, too, was error. Why should you continue enemies?"

There was a silence, then Cary spoke, sadly and bitterly. "You must leave me that. There are men who are born to be antagonists. When that is so, they find each other out over half the world, and circumstance may be trusted to square for them a battle-ground. Mr. Rand and I, I fear, will still be enemies."

"Then what I have told you makes no difference—"

"You are mistaken there. What you have told me shall have its weight."

"Why, then," cried Jacqueline, "you cannot judge him as you have been judging throughout a spring and summer! You are just and generous—will you not try to be friends? Ere this men have left off being foes, and many and many a battlefield is now thick with wild flowers. I should be happy if you and Lewis would clasp hands."

Her voice was persuasion's own, and there was a tremulous smile upon her red lips, and a soft light in her dark eyes. "There is a thing that I have long divined," she said, "and that is the strange regard for what you think and what you are that exists deep, deep down in his mind. It lies so deep that he is mainly ignorant that it is there. He thinks that you and he are all inimical. But it is there like an ancient treasure far down in the ocean depths, far below the surface storm. There is in him a preoccupation with you. Often and often, when questions of right and wrong arise, I know that his thought descends to that secret place where he keeps an image of you! I know that he interrogates that image, 'Is it thus or so that you would do?' And if, at times, scornfully or sullenly or with indifference, he does the opposite to what the image says, yet none the less at the next decision will his thought fly to that same judgment bar! It is an attraction that he fights against, a habit of the mind that he would break if he could—but it is there—indeed, indeed it is there! It is despotic—I do not think that he can escape. Ah, if you and he were friends, you would be friends indeed!" She looked at him pleadingly, with her hand outstretched.

Cary shook his head. "You are mistaken," he said harshly. "I am conscious of no place where my spirit and that of Mr. Rand may touch. I cannot explain; we are enemies: you must let us fight it out."

"Does it so much matter that you are Federalist and he Republican?"

"It matters very little."

"Or that you are a Cary, with all that that means, while he is Lewis Rand from the Three-Notched Road?"

"That matters not at all."

"Or that you are rival lawyers? Or that in politics he has defeated you? Or—Oh, my friend, now I am dealing unjustly! Forgive me—forgive me and make friends!"

"Would he," asked Cary sombrely—"would he agree? I think not. I am sure not. I think rather that he cherishes this enmity, feeds it, and fans it. Our lines in life have crossed, and now there is no force can lay them parallel. The sun is sinking, and I must see Major Edward again."

She rose from her seat beneath the cedar. "I'll hope on," she said. "Some day, if we live long enough, all clouds will break. Time withstands even the stony heart."

"Do you think," he demanded, "that mine is a stony heart? Well, be it so, since this is a game of misunderstanding! I will say this. If I could come, the next nineteenth of February, to your house on Shockoe Hill, and find him there, and find you happy with him there, then, then I think I would clasp hands—"

"Ah," she cried, "do not wait until February! We shall be there on Shockoe Hill in November."

He stooped and lifted her branch of ironweed. "You are sure?"

"Why, yes," she answered. "The house has been retaken. We go to Richmond as soon as Lewis comes back from over the mountains."

"From—"

"He has bought land in the western part of the state. He is going on a journey soon to examine it."

"Toward the Ohio?"

"Yes; toward the Ohio. How did you know?"

"And you—you will not go with him?"

"He has talked of my going. But I cannot now that my aunt is ill."

"Perhaps he will wait?"

"Yes; he says that he will. How pale you are! I am sure you are not well?"

They had stepped from out the wood into the light of the garden. She looked at him with concern, but be dismissed her question with a gesture of his hand and a laugh that sounded strangely in her ears. "It is," he said, "the fading light. Are you going in now?"

"Not yet. Daphne is ill at the quarter, and I'll walk down to her cabin first. Do you stay to supper?"

"No, not to-night. But I wish to see Major Edward again. If you'll allow me, I will go on to the library."

"Certainly," answered Jacqueline, and, when he had kissed her hand and said good-bye, watched him across the flower garden and up the steps that led to the glass doors. He passed into the room, out of her sight, but she still stood there among the asters and the box. His look was strange, she thought, and her hand had been crushed, rather than held, to his lips. She drew her scarf about her; the September evening was falling chill. The sunset light struck full upon the glass doors. She wondered why, for the second time in an afternoon, Ludwell Cary wished to see Uncle Edward, there in the library. Only once or twice, in the fortnight that she had been at Fontenoy, had she entered the library, and it was the room of all others that she loved. She thought now of the old green chair and of her father's portrait, and of every loved and dreamed-of detail, and she felt shut out in the dusk and chill. A sensation of strangeness crept over her. She thought, "If I were dead and trying to make the living hear, I should feel this way. And they would not even try to hear; they would shut the door and keep me out, all alone in the dark."

She stood for a full minute staring at the panes and the red reflected glare of the sun, then drew the scarf closer over her head, and took the path that led to the quarter.



CHAPTER XXII

MAJOR EDWARD

Rand rose from the supper-table and led the way into the dim, high-ceilinged room that served him as study and library. "Bring the candles," he said over his shoulder, and Tom Mocket obediently took up the heavy candelabra. With the clustered lights illuminating freckled face and sandy hair, he followed his chief. "Don't you want me to start the fire?" he asked. "These October nights are mortal cold."

"Yes," answered Rand. "Put a light to it and make the room bright. Fire is like a woman's presence."

As he spoke, he walked to the windows and drew the curtains, then took from his desk a number of papers and began to lay them in an orderly row upon the table in the middle of the room. "Mrs. Churchill is quite out of danger. My wife returns to Roselands to-morrow."

"That's fortunate," quoth Mocket, on his knees before the great fireplace. "You always did cut things mighty close, Lewis, and I must say you are cutting this one close! Adam, he goes along from day to day laughing and singing, with a face as smooth as an egg, but I'll warrant he's watching the sun, the clock, and the hourglass!"

"I know—I know," said Rand. "The sun is travelling, and the clock is striking, and the sands are running. This was a cursed check, this illness at Fontenoy. But for it I should be now upon the Ohio." He left the table and began to pace the room, his hands clasped behind him. "Two weeks from here to this island—then eight weeks for that twelve hundred miles of river, and to gather men from New Madrid and Baton Rouge and Bayou Pierre. October, November, December. Say New Orleans by the New Year. There will be some seizing there,—the banks, the shipping. If the army joins us, all will be well. But there, Tom, there! there is the 'if' in this project!"

"But you are sure of General Wilkinson!"

Rand paused to take a letter from his pocket. "Burr is. I have this to-day from him in cipher. Listen!" He unfolded the paper, brought it into the firelight, and began to read in a clear, low voice. "Burr has written to Wilkinson in substance as follows: Funds are obtained and operations commenced. The eastern detachment will rendezvous on the Ohio the first of November. Everything internal and external favours our views. The naval protection of England is secured. Final orders are given to my friends and followers. It will be a host of choice spirits. Burr proceeds westward never to return. With him go his daughter and grandson. Our project, my dear friend, is brought to a point so long desired. Burr guarantees the result with his life and honour, with the lives and honour and fortune of hundreds, the best blood of our country. Burr's plan of operation is to move down rapidly from the falls on the fifteenth of November, with the first five hundred or one thousand men, in light boats, now constructing for that purpose, to be at Natchez between the fifth and fifteenth of December, there to meet Wilkinson, there to determine whether it will be expedient in the first instance to seize on, or pass by, Baton Rouge. The people of the country to which we are going are prepared to receive us; their agents, now with Burr, say that if we will protect their religion, and will not subject them to a foreign power, then in three weeks all will be settled. The gods invite us to glory and fortune; it remains to be seen whether we deserve the boon.'"

Rand ceased to read and refolded the paper. "So Colonel Burr, with more to the same effect. If he writes thus to General Wilkinson, he is undoubtedly very sure of that gentleman and of the army which he commands. I am not of as confident a temper, and I am sure of no one save Lewis Rand."

The other blew the flames beneath the pine knots. "There's Gaudylock."

"I except Gaudylock."

Tom rose from the brick hearth and dusted his knees. "And there's me."

Rand smiled down upon his old lieutenant. "Ah, yes, there's you, Tom,—you and Vinie! Well, if we are fortunate, you shall come to me in the spring. By then we'll know if we are conquerors and founders of empire, or if we're simply to be hanged as traitors. If the fairer lot is ours, you shall have your island, my good old Panza!"

"And if it's the other?" demanded Tom, with a wry face.

Rand gave his characteristic short laugh. "It shall not be the other. The hemp is not planted that shall trouble us. There are no more astrologers now that we are grown wise,—and still a man trusts in his star! I trust in mine. Well, next week you'll open the office as usual, and to all that come you'll state that I've gone, between courts, to look at a purchase of land in Wood County. I'll bring that forgery case to an end day after to-morrow, and by Monday Adam and I will be out of Albemarle."

Mocket drew a long breath. "Monday! That's soon, but the sooner, I reckon, the better. Sometimes just any delay is fatal. For all his singing, I know that Adam is anxious—and he's weatherwise, is Adam! There's something in the air. The papers have begun to talk, and everywhere you turn there's the same damned curiosity about Aaron Burr and New Orleans and Mexico and the Washita lands! Moreover, when a man's as quiet as Mr. Jefferson is just now, I suspect that man. Best to get quite out of reach of a countermine. You've gone too far not to go a deal farther."

"Just so," agreed the other. "Many and many a league farther. Now, this paper of directions. I'll go over it carefully with you, and then I'll burn it. First, as to Roselands, the stock, and the servants. Joab and Isham go with us, starting on horseback an hour behind the chaise."

"You take no maid for Mrs. Rand?"

"It cannot be managed. When we reach this island, I can doubtless purchase a woman from Mr. Blennerhassett."

"Mrs. Rand does not know yet, does she, Lewis?"

"She does not know. She will not know until we are over the mountains and return is impossible." He turned from the fire, walked the room again, and spoke on as to himself. "When I tell her, there will be my first battle, and the one battle that I dread! But I'll win it,—I'll win because I must win. She will suffer at first, but I will make her forget,—I will love her so that I will make her forget. If all goes well and greatness is in our horoscope, she shall yet be friends with the crown upon her brow! Yes, and gracious friends with all that she has left behind, and with her Virginian kindred! When all's won, and all's at peace, and the clash and marvel an old tale, then shall her sister and her cousin visit her."

He paused at the fireplace and stirred the logs with his foot. "But that's a vision of the morrow. Between now and then, and here and there, it never fails that there's an ambushed road." He stood a moment, staring at the leaping flames, then returned to the table. "Back to business, Tom! When Roselands is sold—"

"Do you know," suggested Tom, "I've been thinking that, now he is going to be married, a purchaser might be found in Fairfax Cary."

"Fairfax Cary!" exclaimed the other, and drummed upon the table. "No; they will not want it, those two. Poor old Tom! your intuitions are not very fine, are they?"

"Well, I just thought he might," said the underling. "But he may live on at Greenwood with Ludwell Cary."

Rand struck his foot against the floor. "Don't let us speak that name to-night! I am weary of it. It haunts me like a bell—Ludwell Cary! Ludwell Cary! And why it should haunt me, and why the thought of him always, for one moment, palsies my will and my arm, I know no more than you! When I shake the dust of this county from my feet, it shall go hard but I will shake this obsession from my soul! Somewhere, when this world was but a fiery cloud, all the particles of our being were whirled into collision. Well, enough of that! Whoever purchases Roselands, it will not be a Cary. What's the matter now?"

"There's a horse coming up the drive."

Rand dropped the paper in his hand and sat listening. "Unlucky! I wanted no visitor to-night. It may be but a messenger. Ring the bell, will you, for Joab."

The horse came on and stopped before the great doorstone. There was the sound of some one dismounting, Joab speaking, and then the voice of the horseman. Rand started violently. "Are we awake?" he said, rising. "That is Major Churchill's voice."

Joab appeared at the door. "Marse Lewis, Marse Edward Churchill say kin he trouble you fer a few minutes' conversation? He say he lak ter see you alone—"

"One moment, Joab," said the master, gathering the papers from the table as he spoke. "Tom, you'll go back to the dining-room and wait for me there. No; not by that door—there's no use in his meeting you. What imaginable thing has brought him here?" He replaced the papers in a drawer, closed and locked it, looked up to see that Mocket was gone, and spoke to the negro. "Show Major Churchill in here."

The Major entered, dry, withered, his empty sleeve pinned to the front of his riding-coat. "Mr. Rand, good-evening. Ha, a cheerful fire against a frosty night! I come in out of the cold to a blaze like that, sir, and straightway, by a trick of the mind that never fails, I am back at Valley Forge!"

Rand looked at him keenly. "Permit me to hope, sir, that there is nothing wrong at Fontenoy? My wife is well?"

"Fontenoy is much as usual, sir," answered his visitor, "and my niece is very well. It is natural that my appearance here should cause surprise."

Rand pushed forward a great chair. "Yes, I am surprised," he said, with a smile. "Very much surprised. But since you bring no bad news, I am also glad. Won't you sit, sir? You are welcome to Roselands."

Major Edward took the edge of the chair, and held out his long, thin fingers to the blaze. "Yes; Valley Forge," he repeated, with his dry deliberation. "Valley Forge—and starving soldiers moaning through the icy night! Washington rarely slept; he sat there in his tent, planning, planning, in the cold, by the dim light. There was a war—and there were brave men—and there was a patriot soul!"

"I learn from Jacqueline that Colonel Churchill and you too, sir, have shown her for some days past much kindness, tenderness, and consideration. She has been made happy thereby."

"My niece has never been other than dear to me, sir," said the Major, and still warmed his hand. "I believe, Mr. Rand, that your father fought bravely in the war?"

"He did his part, sir. He was a scout with General Campbell and, I have heard, fought like a berserker at King's Mountain."

"If he did his part," the Major replied, "he did well, and is to be reckoned among the patres patriae. It is a good inheritance to derive from a patriot father."

"So I have read, sir," said Rand dryly.

There was a silence while the flames leaped and roared. The Major broke it. "You would take me, would you not, Mr. Rand, to be a man of my word?"

"I should, sir."

"It has been my reputation. The last time that I spoke to you—"

Rand smiled gravely. "That was two years and a half ago, and your speech was to the effect that never should you speak to me again. Well! opinion and will have their mutations. Men of their word, Major Churchill, know better than most how little worth are the words of men. However you come here to-night, pray believe that you are welcome, and that I would gladly be friends."

Major Edward drew a long breath, pushed back his chair somewhat from the warmth of the fire, and from under shaggy brows regarded his nephew-in-law with the eyes of an old eagle, sombre and fierce. "Be so good, then, as to conceive that I come with an olive branch."

"It is difficult," said Rand, after a pause and with a smile, "to conceive that, but if it be true, sir, then hail to the olive! This feud was not of my seeking." He leaned forward from his chair and held out his hand. "Ever since the days of the blue room and that deep draught of Fontenoy kindness, a light has dwelt for me over the place. Will you not shake hands, sir?"

The other made an irresolute movement, then drew back. "Let us wait a little," he exclaimed harshly. "Perhaps I will, sir, in the end, perhaps I will! It is in the hope that eventually we will strike hands that I sit here. But such signs of amity come with better grace at the battle's end—" He paused and glared at the fire.

"There is, then, to be a battle?"

The Major swung around from the red light of the logs. "Mr. Rand, we—my brother Dick and I—propose a lasting peace between the two houses, between Fontenoy and Roselands. My brother Henry, sir, the father of—of your wife, sir, was as near to us in love as in blood, and the honour, safety, and peace of mind of his daughter are very much our concern! You will say that by perseverance in this long estrangement we have ignored the last of these. Perhaps, sir, perhaps! Old men are obstinate, and their wounds do not heal like those of youth. Enough of that! We—my brother Dick and I—are prepared to let bygones be bygones. We have cudgelled our brains—I mean, we have talked matters over. We are prepared, Mr. Rand, to meet you halfway—"

"Thank you," said Rand. "On what specific proposition?"

Major Edward rose, took a short turn in the room, and came back to his chair. "Mr. Rand, in the matter of the nomination for Governor, is it too late to recall your refusal? I think not, sir. Your party has named no other candidate. As a Federalist, I know, sir, but little of that party's inner working, but I am told that you would sweep the state. Far be it from me to say that I wish to see a Democrat-Republican Governor of Virginia! I do not. But since the gentleman for whom I myself, sir, shall vote, is undoubtedly destined to defeat, we—my brother Dick and I—consider that that post may as well be filled by you, sir, as by any other of your Jacobinical party. No one doubts your ability—you are diabolically able! But, sir, I would bury this arm where a damned cutthroat barber surgeon buried the other before I would cry on to such a post any man who did not enter the race with heart and hands washed clean of all but honour, plain intents, and loyalty! In the past he may have been tempted—he may have listened to the charmer, charming never so wisely—there is in man an iron capacity for going wrong. He may have done this, planned that—I know not; we all err. It is not too late; he may yet put behind him all this—"

"I do not think that I understand," said Rand. "All what, sir?"

The Major faced around from the fire with a jerk. "All this. I am explicit, sir. All this."

"Ah!" answered Rand. "I am dull, I suppose. All this. Well, sir?"

"I should," continued the Major, with emphasis, "regard the acceptance of the nomination as proof positive of the laying aside of all conflicting ideas, uneasy dreams, and fallacious reasoning, of all intents and purposes that might war with a sober and honourable discharge of exalted public duties. They are exalted, sir, and they may be so highly discharged, so ably and so loftily, as to infinitely dignify the office that has already great traditions. A Governor of Virginia may be the theme, sir, of many a far distant panegyric—"

Again he rose and stalked across the room, then, returning to the hearth, stood before Rand, his high, thin features somewhat flushed and his deep old eyes alight. "Mr. Rand, it would be idle to deny to you that I have had for you both dislike and mistrust. You may, if you choose, even strengthen these terms and say that I have regarded you with hatred and contempt. I am a man of strong feelings, sir, and you outraged them—you outraged them! Well, I am prepared to bury all that. Become a great Governor of Virginia, serve your land truly, according to the lights vouchsafed to a Republican, and, though we may not vote for you, sir, yet we—my brother Dick and I—we will watch your career with interest—yes, damn me, sir! with interest, pride, and affection!" He broke off to stare moodily into the fire and, with his foot, to thrust farther in a burning log.

"An olive branch!" exclaimed Rand, smiling. "This is a whole grove of olives! I am sorry about the governorship—"

"I have made enquiries," interrupted the other harshly. "You have but to signify your change of mind to your committee, and your name is up. The governorship—the governorship is not all! It is but a step from Richmond to Washington. There's field enough for even a towering ambition." He looked around him. "And Roselands. This place has always had a charm. In the old days it was famed for hospitality—for hospitality and for the beauty of its women."

"In neither respect, sir, has it lost its reputation."

Major Edward made a gesture of acquiescence. "I dare say not, sir, I dare say not. I am told that Republicans flock here. And Jacqueline is a beautiful woman. Well, sir, why should not pilgrimages be made to Roselands as to Monticello? You have begun to improve it. Continue, and make the place a Garden of Eden, a Farm of Cincinnatus, a—a—what you will! Dick thinks that you may not be in funds to plant and build as you desire. If that is so, sir, either he or I might with ease accommodate you—" He paused.

"I take your offer as it is meant," said Rand, "and thank you both. But my affairs are in order, and I am not straitened for money."

The Major made a courteous gesture. "It was but a supposition. Well, Mr. Rand, why not? Why not make the picture real that we are painting? Eminent in public affairs—eminent in the law—ay, there, sir, I will praise you unreservedly. You are a great lawyer—worshipped by your party and in the line of succession to its highest gift, fixed in your state and county and happy in your home, rounding out your life with all that makes life worthy to be lived,—

"Honour, love, obedience, troops of friends.

"Is not the picture fair enough, sir? There is in it no mirage, no Fata Morgana, no marsh fire. You are a man of great abilities, with ample power to direct those inner forces to outward ends that shall truly gild your name. Truly, sir, not falsely. Gold, not pinchbeck. Clear glory of duty highly done, not a cloudy fame whose wings are drenched with blood and tears. Come, sir, come—make an old man happy!" He dragged his chair nearer to Rand and held out his hand.

"I cannot accept the nomination for Governor, sir," said Rand. "There are various considerations which put it out of the question. I cannot go into these with you. You must take it from me that it is impossible."

The Major drew back. "That is final, sir?"

"That is final."

There was a silence. Rand sat, chin in hand, thoughtfully regarding his visitor. Major Churchill, erect, rigid, grey, and arid, stared before him as though indeed he saw only snowy plains, fallen men, and a forlorn hope. At last he spoke in a dry and difficult voice. "You persevere in your intention of returning to Richmond and to your house on Shockoe Hill in November?"

"It is my plan, sir, to go to Richmond in November."

"Immediately upon your return from over the mountains?"

Rand shot a glance at his interlocutor. "Immediately."

"These lands that you are going to see, sir—they are not as far as the Washita?"

"No; they are not as far as the Washita." Rand sat upright and let his hand fall heavily upon the arm of his chair. "That is a curious question, Major Churchill."

"Do you find it so?" asked the Major grimly. "I should, were it asked of me—so damned strange a question that it would not pass without challenge! But then, I am not declining governorships nor travelling West."

Rand rose from his chair. "Major Churchill"—He stopped short, bit his lip, and walked away to the window. There he drew the curtain slightly aside and stood with brow pressed against a pane, gazing out into the frosty darkness. A half moon just lifted the wide landscape out of shadow, and from the interlacing boughs of trees the coloured leaves were falling. Rand looked at the distant mountains, but the eye of his mind travelled farther yet and saw all the country beyond, all the land of the To Be, all the giant valley of the Mississippi, all the rolling, endless plains, all Mexico with snowy peaks and mines of gold. The apparition did not come dazzlingly. He was no visionary. He weighed and measured and reckoned carefully with his host. But there, beyond the mountains, lay no small part of the habitable world,—and the race of conquerors had not died with Alexander or Caesar, Cortez or Pizarro! Witness Marengo and Austerlitz and that throne at Fontainebleau! He dropped the curtain from his hand and turned to the firelit room and to the tense grey figure on the hearth. "Major Churchill, if, softened by Jacqueline's presence there at Fontenoy, you came to-night to Roselands with the simple purpose of making friends with the man she loves, then, sir, that man would be a heartless churl indeed if he were not touched and gratified, and did not accept with eagerness such an overture. But, sir, but! There is more, I think, in your visit to-night than meets the eye. You demand that I shall become my party's candidate for the governorship. I answer it is not now possible. You insist that I shall busy myself with improvements here at Roselands, and to that end you offer to reinforce my purse. I answer that Roselands does very well, and that I am not in need of money. You preach to me patriotism and refer to General Washington; you speak poetically of gold versus pinchbeck, and true glory versus fame with drenched wings; you ask me certain questions in a voice that has hardly the ring of friendship—and last but not least you wish to know if a parcel of land that I have bought over the mountains is situate upon the Washita! The Washita, Major Churchill, is on the far side of the Mississippi, in Spanish Territory. May I ask, sir, before I withdraw my welcome to Roselands, by what right you are entitled to put such a question to me, and what is, indeed, the purport of your visit here to-night?"

Major Edward Churchill rose, stark and grey, with narrowed eyes and deliberating, pointing hand. "You are a villain, sir; yes, sir, a damned, skilled, heart-breaking villain! Bold! yes, you are bold—bold as others of your tribe of whom the mythologies tell! Arrogant as Lucifer, you are more wretched than the slave in your fields! You might have been upon the side of light; you have chosen darkness. It will swallow you up, and I, for one, shall say, 'The night hath its own.' You have chosen wrongly where you might have chosen rightly, and you have not done so in blind passion but in cold blood, fully and freely, under whatever monstrous light it is by which you think you walk! I have warned you of the gulf, and I have warned in vain. So be it! But do not think, sir, do not think that you will be allowed to drag with you, down into the darkness, the woman whom you have married! I wish that my niece had died before she saw your face! Do you know what she thinks you, sir? She thinks you a lover so devoted that at her pleading you put forever from you a gilded lure; a gentleman so absolutely of your word that for her to doubt it would be the blackest treason; a statesman and a patriot who will yet nobly serve Virginia and the country! God knows what she doesn't think you—the misguided child! She's happy to-night, at Fontenoy, because she's coming home to you to-morrow. That I should have lived to say such a thing of Henry Churchill's daughter! When I rode away to-night, she was singing." He burst into spasmodic and grating laughter. "It was that song of Lovelace's! By God, sir, she must have had you in mind.

"I could not love thee, dear, so much, Loved I not honour more.

"Yes, by God, she was thinking of you! Ha ha, ha ha!"

"You are an old man," said Rand. "It is well for you that you are. I wish to know who is responsible for these conjectures, suspicions, charges—whatever term you choose, sir, for all are alike indifferent to me—which brought you here to-night? Who, sir, is the principal in this affair? You are an old man, and you are my wife's kinsman; doubly are you behind cover; but who, who, Major Churchill, set you on to speak of towering ambition and blood-drenched wings and broken vows and deceived innocence, and all the rest of this night's farrago? Who, I say—who?"

"Ask on, sir," answered the Major grimly. "There is no law against asking, as there is none to compel an answer. Sir, I am about to remove myself from a house that I shall not trouble again, and I have but three words to say before I bid you good-night. I warn you not to proceed with your Luciferian schemes, whatever they may be, sir, whatever they may be! I warn you that it is ill travelling over the mountains at this season of the year, and I solemnly protest to you that my niece shall not travel with you!"

"And who," asked Rand calmly,—"and who will prevent that?"

"Sir," answered the other, "a grain of sand or a blade of grass, if rightly placed." He shook his long forefinger at the younger man. "You have been fortunate for a long turn in the game, Lewis Rand, and you have grown to think the revolving earth but a pin-wheel for your turning. You will awake some day, and since there is that in you which charity might call perverted greatness, I think that you will suffer when you awake. In which hope, sir, I take my leave. Mr. Rand, I have the honour to bid you a very good-night."

The master of Roselands rang the bell. "Good-night, Major Churchill. I am sorry that we part no better friends, and I regret that you will not tell me what gatherer up of rumour and discoverer of mares' nests was at the pains to procure me the honour of this visit. I might hazard a guess—but no matter. Joab, Major Churchill's horse. Good-night, sir."

He bowed formally. Major Churchill stood for a moment looking straight before him with a somewhat glassy stare, then, "Good-night, Mr. Rand," he said, in a voice like a wind through November reeds, made a bow as low and as studied as that with which he had once honoured Rand in the Fontenoy drawing-room, turned with martial precision, and stalked from the room.

Lewis Rand stood long upon the hearth, staring down into the fire. He heard Major Edward's horse go down the drive and out upon the highroad with a swiftness that spoke of a rider in a passion. The sound of hoofs died away, and he still stood looking into the red hollows, but at last with a short and angry laugh he turned away and opened the door which led to the dining-room. "Are you still there, Tom? Come in, man! The accusing angel has gone."

Tom appeared, and the two went back to the great table in the centre of the room. Rand unlocked the drawer and took out the papers in the perusal of which they had been interrupted. Mocket snuffed the candles and tossed another log of hickory upon the fire. "It falls in with what Gaudylock suspected," said Rand's measured voice behind him, "and it all dates back to the nineteenth of February. When he left the house that night, he must have known—"

"Of whom are you talking?" asked Tom at the fire. "Major Edward?"

"No, not Major Edward. And now he is using his knowledge. She told me to-day that he was often at Fontenoy. Too often, too often, Ludwell Cary!"

"Now, after stopping my mouth, you have spoken his name yourself!" remarked Tom. "You and he are over against each other in that case to-morrow, aren't you?"

"In every case we are over against each other," said the other abruptly. "And we shall be so until Judgment Day. Come, man, come! we have all these to go through with before cockcrow."



CHAPTER XXIII

A CHALLENGE

The Charlottesville Robbery Case was one of no great importance save to those directly concerned. It had to do with a forged note, a robbery by night, and an absconding trusted clerk of a company of British Merchants. When the case came up for trial on this October day, the Court House was well filled indeed, but rather on account of the lawyers engaged than because of the matter's intrinsic interest. The British Merchants had retained Mr. Ludwell Cary. The side of the prisoner, mentioning that fact in a pitiful scrawl addressed to the law office of Messrs. Rand and Mocket, found to its somewhat pathetic surprise that Mr. Rand himself would take the case and oppose Mr. Cary.

The two had fought it with a determination apparent to every bystander, and now, on the last day of the trial, the counsel for the prosecution rose to sum up his case. He was listened to with attention, and his speech was effective. The theme was the individual who, after forgery and embezzlement, had taken French leave, quitting a post of trust and credit for regions where he hoped to enjoy his ill-gotten gains in peace and quietness. The regions had proved inhospitable, and a sheriff had escorted the unlucky adventurer with that which was not his own back to the spot whence he had started. His transgression was now to be traced from the moment—day or night, or sunrise or sunset; what mattered the moment?—when the thought passed through his brain, "Why should I plod on like other men?"

"'Passed through,' did I say?—nay, it tarried; at first like a visitor who will one day take his leave, then a cherished inmate, and at last lord and master of every crevice of that petty mansion! It dwelled there, and day by day it fed itself with remembered examples. 'There was Tom, over on the Eastern Shore, grew tired, too, of working for his employers,—and he robbed the till one night, and got off on a sloop to the Havana, and now they say he has a pirate ship of his very own! And Dick. Dick got tired, too, in a tan-yard in Alexandria, and when his master sent him on a mission to Washington, he took his foot in his hand and went farther. He had his expenses in his pocket, so why not? He's prospering now in a bigger and gayer town than Alexandria! And Harry. Harry was more trusted than them all, but he, too, got tired—in a warehouse at Rocket's—of plod, plod, plod! serve, serve, serve! So he forged a name, and took the gold that lay beneath his hand, tore up his indentures, and fled in the night-time—over the hills and far away! He's a rich man now, somewhere near the sunset, rich and great, with clerks of his own. He had the advantage of education, had Harry! Examples! Examples thick as hops! What's Buonaparte himself but a poor Corsican lieutenant that stole an empire? I'll be bold, too. I'll steal, and then I'll steal away!'

"So scullion soul to pliant body. His thought is father to his deed, and there is the usual resemblance between son and parent. What matters it that he has lived in his employer's house, and has found him no Egyptian taskmaster, but a benefactor, lavish of favours? What matters it that he has in charge things of trust and moment which, by miscarrying, will work distress to many? What matters it that others are about him, engaged in this same drudgery of doing one's duty, to whom, should he succeed in villainy as he trusts to do, his example will remain, a wrecker's light to entice the storm-tossed upon a rocky shore? What matters it,—I am told, gentlemen, that the prisoner has a good and industrious sister,—what matters it that rarely, rarely, is there ill-doing without, somewhere in the shadowed background, some bruised and broken heart? What does it matter that he betrays his trust, breaks his oath, blackens his name, slurs his friends, and recruits the army, wan and sinister, of all the fallen since time began? To him, apparently, it matters less than a drifting leaf in the wind of this October day. He remembers all that he should forget, and forgets all that should be remembered. There pass by him in long parade Tom and Dick and Harry and others of their ilk. He sees them, and he sees little else. It is a host of choice spirits, and they have banners flying. His courage mounts. Brave emulation! noble rivalry! He, too, will be bold; he, too, will join their regiment! For him, too, the spoils of opportunity and a daughter of the game! He feels the summer in the air, and all Brummagem rises upon his horizon. Farewell to patient drudgery and the slow playing over of the tune of life! He's for a brisker air, he's for 'Over the hills and far away.'

"His little plans are laid. I say 'little,' gentlemen, advisedly, for in all this there is no greatness. We speak of a self-seeker here, and all the ends of such an one are small, and he himself has not attained the full stature of a man. The ambitious soul before us! By stealth he practises until he can sign his employer's name, more lifelike almost than life! By stealth he gains impressions of the keys. By stealth he eyes the only wealth that his mole mind can value! By stealth he makes his preparations, and by stealth he cons the miles and the post-houses between him and the country to which he means to carry himself and his stolen goods! He is assiduous at his desk; his employers nod approval, praise him for a lad of parts, and hold him up for emulation. In his brain one air continues,—'Over the hills and far away.'

"The day approaches. The forgery is done, the accustomed hand slips easily in and out of the golden drawer, and all the roads are got by heart. We have the loan of a horse—before another dawn we will be gone. O Fortune of great thieves, stand pat! and kindly tune run on! 'Over the hills and far away.'

"We have been told by the worthy gentlemen, his employers, that so trustworthy did they consider the prisoner at the bar, so able in their affairs and assiduous in their service, that this very day it was in their minds to increase his pay and to raise him quite above his fellow clerks to an honourable post indeed. He did not give them time, gentlemen, he did not give them time! The hour is here, the notes are sewn within the lining of our well-brushed riding-coat, the master key is in our itching palm! We'll lurk until midnight, then in the dark room we will unlock the drawer. If we are heard, softly as we step in the silence of the night—if a watchman come—the worse for the watchman! We carry pistols, and the butt of one against his forehead will do the work. For we are bold, gentlemen, we are as bold as Caesar or Buonaparte! We won't be stopped—we won't! We're for 'Over the hills and far away.'"

The counsel for the prisoner addressed the Judge. "Your Honour, no watchman, dead or alive, being among the witnesses, and there being no capable proof of what were or were not my client's thoughts upon the night in question, I indignantly protest—"

The objection was sustained. The interruption over, the attorney for the British Merchants went evenly on. "We have Mr. Rand's word for it that the prisoner had no thought of the watchman, and no intention of using, even in case of need, the weapons with which it has been proved he was provided. Mr. Rand must know. As a rule, gentlemen bearing arms about their persons may be considered the potential users of said arms, whether the antiquated rapier or the modern pistol—but then, I bethink me, we are not speaking of men of honour. We are speaking of a small criminal in a small way, and Mr. Rand assures us that his thoughts matched his estate—they were humble, they were creeping. Headstrong, proud, and bold are words too swelling for this low and narrow case. To wear a weapon with intent to use is one thing, to buckle it on as a mere trivial, harmless, modish ornament and gewgaw is quite another! We have Mr. Rand's word for it that it was so worn. Gentlemen, the prisoner, armed, indeed, as has been proved, was absolutely innocent of even the remotest intent to use under any provocation beneath high heaven the pistols—oiled, primed, and duelling type—with which, by chance or for the merest whim of ornament, he had decked his person upon this eventful night. Mr. Rand tells us so, and doubtless he knows whereof he speaks.

"So armed and so harmless, gentlemen, the prisoner, having committed forgery, does now his second crime—the pitiful robbery. The key that he has forged with care is true to him, the gold lies at his mercy, underneath his hand; he lifts it up, the shining thing; he bears it away. The hour has struck, the deed is done; irrevocable, it takes its place upon the inexpugnable record. He has stolen, and there is no power in heaven or earth to change that little fact. We are grown squeamish in these modern days, and no longer brand a thief with heated iron. No letter will appear, seared on his shoulder or his hand, but is he less the thief for that? He himself has done the branding, and Eternity cannot wear out the mark. He goes. With his stolen gold he steals away. It is night. There are only the stars to watch his flight, and he cares not for the stars—they never tell. Have they not, time out of mind, stood the friend of all gentlemen of the road? He quits the house that has seen his crime; he leaves dull and honest men asleep; he bestows no parting glance upon the dim, familiar ways. His native land is naught—he's for green fields and pastures new—he's for Tom and Dick and Harry, and all their goodly company—he's for 'Over the hills and far away.'"

The counsel for the prosecution finished his speech. The judge summed up the case, the jury retired, and very shortly returned with the expected verdict of Guilty. The chalk-white and shaking prisoner stood up, was sentenced and removed, and, the business of the day being over, the court adjourned.

Good-naturedly, laughing and talking after the morning's restraint, the crowd, gentle and simple, from the lower part of the room, was in the course of jostling toward the door, when there came a sudden check coupled with exclamations from those nearest the bar, and with a general turning of heads and bodies in that direction.

The lawyer for the prosecution and the lawyer for the defence stood opposed, a yard of court-room floor between them, and around them a ring of excited friends and acquaintances. There had been high voices, but now a silence fell, and the throng held its breath in cheerful expectation of the bursting of a long predicted storm.

"This," said Cary's clear and even voice, not raised, but smoothly distinct,—"this is a challenge, sir. I take it rightly, Mr. Rand?"

"You take it rightly, Mr. Cary. I shall presently send a friend to wait upon you."

"He will find me, sir, at the Swan. As the challenged party, it is my prerogative to name hour and place. You shall shortly be advised of both."

"I am going to my office, sir, where I will await your messenger. You cannot name an hour too soon, a place too near for me."

"Of that I am aware, Mr. Rand. I will make no delay that I conceive to be unnecessary. I am, sir, your very humble servant."

"I am yours, Mr. Cary."

The two bowed profoundly and parted company, making their several ways through the throng to the Swan and to the office with the green door. With them went their immediate friends and backers. The crowd of spectators, talking loud or talking low, conjecturing, explaining, and laying down the law, jesting, disputing, hotly partisan, and on the whole very agreeably excited, finally got itself out of the Court House and the Court-House yard, and the autumn stillness settled down upon the place.

At Roselands, in the late afternoon, Jacqueline came out upon the doorstone and sat there, listening for Selim's hoofs upon the road. The weather was Indian summer, balmy, mild, and blue with haze. On the great ring of grass before the stone yellow beech leaves were lying thick, and the grey limbs of the gigantic, solitary tree rose bare against the blue. Jacqueline sat with her chin in her hand, watching the mountains, more visible now that the leaves were gone. She saw the cleft through which ran the western road, and she thought with pleasure of the days before her. She loved the journeys to Richmond, and this one would be more beautiful, and new. They would be gone ten days, perhaps,—ten days of slow, bright travel through sumptuous woods, of talk close and dear. She was exquisitely happy as she sat there with her eyes upon the Blue Ridge. The last fortnight of her stay at Fontenoy had been almost a blissful time. Her uncles changed, and no longer passed her with averted eyes, or, when they spoke, used so cold a ceremony as to chill her heart. They grew almost natural, they seemed even tender of her. Uncle Dick had once again called her "My little Jack," though he groaned immediately afterwards and, getting up, looked out of the window, and Uncle Edward left the library door ajar. Jacqueline laid her head upon her arm and laughed. It was coming right—it was coming right!—and next year they would all dance at Fontenoy with light hearts, at Unity's wedding. It had begun to come right the evening of the day that she had met Ludwell Cary in the cedar wood. She wondered, slightly, at that coincidence, and then she fell again to dreaming.

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