Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston

Presented by

Public Domain Books

Chapter XI: In the Garden

In the forenoon of the next day Rand closed, for the second time that morning, the door of the blue room behind him, descended the stairs, and, passing through the quiet house, went out into the flower garden. He was going away that afternoon. Breakfast had been taken in his own room, but afterward, with some dubitation, he had gone downstairs. There Colonel Churchill met him heartily enough, but presently business with his overseer had taken the Colonel away. Rand found himself cornered by Major Edward and drawn into a discussion of the impeachment of Judge Chase. Rand could be moved to the blackest rage, but he had no surface irritability of temper. To his antagonists his self-command was often maddening. Major Churchill was as disputatious as Arthur Lee, and an adept at a quarrel, but the talk of the impeachment went tamely on. The Republican would not fight at Fontenoy, and at last the Major in a cold rage went away to the library–first, however, watching the young man well on his way up the stairs and toward the blue room. But Rand had not stayed in the blue room. Restless and unhappy, the garden, viewed through his window, invited him. He thought: “I’ll walk in it once again; I’ll find the summer-house where I sat beside her,” and he had acted upon his impulse. No one was about. Within and without, the house seemed lapped in quiet. He had been given to understand that the ladies were busy with household matters, and he believed the Carys to have ridden to Greenwood. That afternoon he would mount Selim, and with Joab would go home to the house on the Three-Notched Road.

After the rain of the night before the garden was cool and sweet. The drops yet lay on the tangle of old-fashioned flowers, on the box and honeysuckle and the broad leaves of the trees where all the birds were singing. The gravel paths were wet and shining. Rand walked slowly, here and there, between the lines of box or under arching boughs, his mind now trying to bring back the day when he had walked there as a boy, now wondering with a wistful passion if he was to leave Fontenoy without again seeing Jacqueline. He meant to leave without one word that the world might not hear, but he thought it hard that he must go without a touch of the hand, without a “From my heart I thank you for your kindness. Good-bye, good-bye!” That would not be much; Fontenoy might give him that.

He reached an edge of the garden where a thread-like stream trickled under a bank of periwinkle, phlox, and ivy, and on through a little wood of cedars. The air was cool beneath the trees, and Rand raised his forehead to the blowing wind. The narrow pathway turned, and he came upon Deb and Miranda seated upon the bare, red earth and playing with flower dolls.

Deb had before her a parade of morning-glories, purple and white, pink and blue, while Miranda sat in a ring of marigolds and red columbines. Each was slowly swaying to and fro, murmuring to herself, and manipulating with small, darting fingers her rainbow throng of ladies. Rand, unseen, watched the manoeuvres for a while, then coughed to let them know he was there, and presently sat down upon a root of cedar, and gave Deb his opinion of the flower people. Children and he were always at their ease together.

“Hollyhocks make the finest ladies,” he announced gravely. “Little Miss Randolph puts snapdragon caps upon them and gives them scarfs of ribbon grass.”

“Hollyhocks are not in bloom,” said Deb. “I use snapdragon for caps, too.–Now she has on a red and gold cap. This is a currant-leaf shawl.”

“Do you name them?” asked Rand, poising a columbine upon the back of his hand.

“Of course,” answered Deb. “All people have names. That is Sapphira.”

Miranda advanced a flourishing zinnia. “Dishyer Miss Keren-Happuch–Marse Job’s daughter.”

Deb regarded with shining eyes a pale blue morning-glory with a little cap of white. “This is Ruth–I love her! The dark one is Hagar–she was dark, you know–and those two are Rachel and Leah.”

“Ol’ Miss Babylon!” said Miranda succinctly, and put forth a many-petalled red lady.

     “Babylon, Babylon,
     Red an’ sinnin’ Babylon,
     Wash her han’s in Jordan flood,
     Still she’s sinnin’ Babylon!”

“And, these three?” asked Rand.

“Faith, Hope, and Charity,” answered Deb. “Faith is blue, Hope is pink, and that white one is Charity.”

“She has a purple edge to her gown.”

“Yes,” said Deb, “and I am going to give her a crown, ’for the greatest of these is Charity!’ That yellow lily is the Shulamite. Miranda and I are going now to gather more ladies.” She looked at Rand with large child’s eyes. “If you want somebody to talk to, my sister Jacqueline is reading over there in the summer-house.”

The blood rushed to Rand’s face. His heart beat so loud and fast that it stifled a voice within him. He did not even hear the voice. He rose at once, turned, and took the path that Deb’s brown finger indicated. Had he been another man, had he been, perhaps, Ludwell Cary, he might not have gone. But he was Lewis Rand, the product and effect of causes inherited and self-planted, and his passion, rising suddenly, mastered him with a giant’s grip. The only voice that he heard was the giant’s urgent cry, and he went without protest.

The summer-house was a small, latticed place, overgrown with the Seven Sisters rose, and set in a breast-high ring of box opening here and there to the garden paths. A tulip tree towered above the gravel space before it, and two steps led to a floor chequered with light and shade, and to a rustic chair and table. Jacqueline was not within the summer-house; she sat in the doorway, upon the step. She was not reading. She sat bowed together, her head upon her folded arms, a figure still and tragic as a sphinx or sibyl. Rand’s eyes upon her roused her from her brooding. She lifted her head, saw him, and her face, which had been drawn and weary, became like the face of the young dawn.

As Rand crossed the space between them, she rose. He saw the colour and the light, and he uttered only her name–"Jacqueline, Jacqueline!” A moment, and they were in each other’s arms.

It was their golden hour. Neither thought of right or wrong, of the conditions of life beyond their ring of box, of wisdom or its contrary. It was as though they had met in the great void of space, the marvel called man and the wonder that is woman, each drawn to each over the endless fields and through the immeasurable ages. Each saw the other transfigured, and each wished for lover and companion the other shining one.

They moved to the summer-house, and sat down upon the step. About them was the Seven Sisters rose, and above towered the tulip tree with a mockingbird singing in its branches. The place was filled with the odour of the box. To the end of their lives the smell of box brought back that hour in the Fontenoy garden. The green walls hid from view all without their little round. They had not heard step or voice when suddenly, having strolled that way by accident, there emerged from the winding path into the space about the summer-house Colonel Churchill and Ludwell Cary. There was a second’s utter check, then, “Sir!” cried the Colonel, in wrathful amazement.

The hands of the lovers fell apart. Rand rose, but Jacqueline sat still, looking at her uncle with a paling cheek and a faint line between her brows. The mockingbird sang on, but the garden appeared to darken and grow cold. The place seemed filled with difficult breathing. Then, before a word was spoken, Cary turned, made a slight gesture with his hand, and went away, disappearing between the lines of box. The sound of his footsteps died in the direction of the stream and the dark wood. Colonel Churchill moistened his lips and spoke in a thick voice. “You scoundrel! Was it for this? You are a scoundrel, sir!”

“I have asked Miss Churchill to be my wife,” said Rand, with steadiness. “She has consented. I love your niece, sir, with all my heart, most truly, most dearly! I will ask you to believe that it was not in my mind to speak to her to-day, or to speak at all without your knowledge. I confess the impropriety of my course. But we met unawares. It is not to be helped. In no way is she to blame.”

Jacqueline rose, came to her uncle, and tried to take his hand. He repulsed her. “Is this true–what this man says?”

“Yes, yes,” said Jacqueline. “It is true. Oh, forgive him!”

The Colonel struck down her outstretched hands. “I do not believe you are Henry’s child! Your mother was a strange woman. You are not a Churchill. My God! Henry’s child talking of marrying this–this–this gentleman. You are mad, or I am mad. Come away from him, Jacqueline!”

“I love him!” cried Jacqueline. “Oh, Uncle Dick, Uncle Dick!–”

“I loved your niece, sir, when I was a boy,” said Rand; “and I love her now that I am a man. I grant that I should not have spoken to her to-day. I ask your pardon for what may seem to you insult and thanklessness. But the thing itself–is it so impossible? Why is it impossible that I should wed where I love with all my heart?” He broke a piece of the box beside him and drew it through his hands, then threw it away, and squarely faced the elder man. “I had my way to make in life. Well, I am making it fast. I am making it faster, perhaps, than any other man in the county, be he who he may! I am poor, but I am not so poor as once I was, and I shall be richer yet. My want of wealth is perhaps the least–why should I not say that I know it is the least objection in your mind? My party? Well, I shall become a leader of my party–and Republicans are white as well as Federalists. It is not forgery or murder to detest Pitt and George the Third, or to believe in France! Is it so poor a thing to become a leader of a party that has gained an empire, that has put an end to the Algerine piracy, that has reduced the debt, that has made easier every man’s condition, and that stands for freedom of thought and deed and advance of all knowledge? Party! Now and then, even in Virginia, there is a marriage between the parties! My family–or my lack of family? The fact that my father rolled tobacco, and that now and then I broke a colt for you?” He smiled. “Well, you must allow that I broke them thoroughly–and Goldenrod was a very demon! Pshaw! This is America, and once we had an ideal! For the rest, though I do not go to church, I believe in God, and though I have been called an unscrupulous lawyer, I take no dirty money. Some say that I am a demagogue–I think that they are wrong. I love your niece, sir, and more than that–oh, much more than that!–she says that she loves me. She says that she will share my life. If I make not that sharing sweet to her, then indeed–But I will! I will give her wealth and name and place, and a heart to keep. Again I say that the fault of this meeting is all mine. I humbly beg your pardon, Colonel Churchill, and I beg your consent to my marriage with your niece–”

[Illustration: YOU ARE A SCOUNDREL, SIR!]

The Colonel, who had heard so far in stormy silence, broke in with, “Marry my niece, sir! I had rather see my niece dead and laid in her grave! Consent! I’d as soon consent to her death or dishonour! Name and place! you neither have them nor will have them!” He turned upon Jacqueline. “I’ll forgive you,” he said, breathing heavily, “there in the library, when you have written and signed a letter to Mr. Lewis Rand explaining that both he and you were mistaken in your sentiments towards him. I’ll forgive you then, and I’ll do my best to forget. But not else, Jacqueline, not else on God’s earth! That’s sworn. As for you, sir, I should think that your awakened sense of propriety might suggest–”

“I am going, sir,” answered Rand. “I return to the house but to take my papers from the blue room. Joab shall saddle my horse at once. You shall not anger me, Colonel Churchill. I owe you too much. But your niece has said that she will be my wife, and before God, she shall be! And that’s sworn, too, sir! I leave Fontenoy at once, as is just, but I shall write to your niece. Part us you cannot–”

“Jacqueline,” cried the Colonel, “the sight of you there beside that man is death to my old heart. You used to care–you used to be a good child! I command you to leave him; I command you to say good-bye to him now, at once and forever! Tell him that you have been dreaming, but that now you are awake. God knows that I think that I am dreaming! Come, come, my little Jack!”

“Will you tell me that?” asked Rand. “Will you tell me that, Jacqueline?”

“No!” cried Jacqueline; “I will tell you only the truth! I love you–love you. Oh, my heart, my heart!” She turned from them both, sank down upon the summer-house step, and lay with her forehead on her arm.

There was a moment’s silence, then, “You see,” said Rand, not without gentleness, to the elder man.

Colonel Churchill leaned on his walking-stick, and his breath came heavily. He wondered where Edward was–Edward could always find words that would hurt. At last, “We part, Mr. Rand,” he said, with dignity. “In parting I have but to say that your conduct has been such as I might have expected, and that I conceive it to be my duty to protect my misguided niece from the consequences of her folly. I warn you neither to write to her nor to attempt to see her. If she writes to you otherwise than as I shall dictate; if she does not, when she has bethought herself, break with you once and forever,–all’s over between us! She is no niece of mine. She is dead to me. I’ll not speak to her, nor willingly look upon her face again. I am a man of my word. I have the honour, sir, to bid you a very good-day.” He drew out and looked at his ponderous watch. “I shall remain here with my niece for an hour. Perhaps in that time she will awaken to her old truth, her old duty; and perhaps you will require no more in which to gather your papers and remove yourself from Fontenoy?”

“I shall not need the hour,” answered Rand. “I will be gone presently. God knows, sir, I had not thought to go this way.” He turned from his host and bent for a moment over Jacqueline. “Good-bye,” he said. “Good-bye for a little while! My heart is in your hands. I trust you for constancy. Good-bye–good-bye!”

He was gone, moving rapidly toward the house. Colonel Churchill drew a long sigh, wiped his face with his handkerchief, and looked miserably up to the green boughs where the mockingbird was singing. He wished again for Edward, and he wished that Henry had not died. He believed in Heaven, and he knew that Henry was there, but then the thought came into his mind that Henry was here, too, in the person of his child, prone on the summer-house steps. Henry, also, had been a man of his word, had known his own mind, and exercised his will. There, too, had been the veil of sweetness! The Colonel sighed more heavily, wished again impatiently for Edward, then marched to the summer-house, and, sitting down, began to reason with Henry’s daughter.

Rand passed through the Fontenoy garden, in his heart a pain that was triumph, an exaltation that was pain. Mounting the porch steps, he found himself in the presence of Major Edward playing Patience in the shade of the climbing rose. The player started violently. “I thought, sir,” he said, wheeling in his chair, “I thought you yet in the blue room! How the deuce!–I was on guard–” the Major caught himself. “I was waiting to renew our very interesting discussion. Where have you been?”

“I have been in the garden,” said Rand. He hesitated, standing by the table. There was a debate in his mind. “Should I speak to him, too? What is the use? He’ll be no kinder to her!” He put out his hand uncertainly, and touched one of the Major’s cards. “Is it an interesting game?”

“I find it so,” answered the other dryly. “Else I should not play it.”

“Why do you like it? It is poor amusement to play against yourself.”

“I like it, sir,” snapped the Major, “because I am assured of playing against a gentleman.”

Rand let his hand fall from the table. “Major Churchill, I am leaving Fontenoy immediately. Perhaps I ought to tell you what I have just told your brother: I love Miss Churchill–”

The Major rose from his chair. “Have you spoken to her?”

“Yes, I have asked her to marry me.”

“Indeed!” said the Major huskily. “May I ask what Miss Churchill replied?”

“Miss Churchill loves me,” answered Rand. “She will do what I wish.”

The silence grew painful. The words, acid and intolerable, that Rand expected, did not seem to come easily to the Major’s dry lips. He looked small, thin, and frozen, grey and drawn of face, as though the basilisk had confronted him. When at last he spoke, it was in a curiously remote voice, lucid and emotionless. “Well, why not? All beliefs die–die and rot! A vain show–and this, too, was of the charnel!”

He turned upon Rand as if he would have struck him, then drew back, made in the air an abrupt and threatening gesture, and with a sound like a stifled cry passed the other and entered the house. Rand heard him go down the hall, and the closing of the library door.

The young man’s heart was hot and sore. He went up to the blue room, where he found Joab packing his portmanteau. A few peremptory words sent the man to the stables, while his master with rapid fingers collected and laid together the papers with which the room was strewn. The task finished, he threw himself for a moment into the great chair and looked about him. He was capable of great attachment to place, and he had loved this room. Now the mandarin smiled obliquely on him, and the moon-clock ticked the passing moments, the impossible blue roses flowered on thornless stems, and the picture of Washington looked calmly down from the opposite wall. He put his hand over his eyes, and sat still, trying to calm the storm within him. There were in his mind joy and gratitude, hurt pride and bitter indignation, and a thousand whirling thoughts as to ways and means, the overcoming of obstacles, and the building of a palace fit to shelter his happiness. The clock struck, and he started up. Not for much would he have overstayed his hour.

He left the room and passed through the silent house, mounted his horse, and rode away. A crowd had witnessed his arrival there; only a few wondering servants were gathered to see him depart. He gave them gold, but though they thanked him, they thanked him with a difference. He felt it, and that more keenly than he might have felt a greater thing. Could he not even give largesse like one to the manner born, or was it only that all the air was hostile? He rode away. From the saddle he could have seen the distant summer-house, but he forced himself not to look. The lawn fell away behind him, and the trees hid the house. The gleam of a white pillar kept with him for a while, but the driveway bent, and that too was hidden. With Joab behind him on the iron grey, he passed through the lower gate, and took the way that led to Mrs. Jane Selden’s on the Three-Notched Road.


Chapter I: The Road to Richmond  •  Chapter II: Mr. Jefferson  •  Chapter III: Fontenoy  •  Chapter IV: The Two Candidates  •  Chapter V: Monticello  •  Chapter VI: Rand Comes to Fontenoy  •  Chapter VII: The Blue Room  •  Chapter VIII: Cary and Jacqueline  •  Chapter IX: Expostulation  •  Chapter X: To Althea  •  Chapter XI: In the Garden  •  Chapter XII: A Marriage At Saint Margaret’s  •  Chapter XIII: The Three-Notched Road  •  Chapter XIV: The Law Office  •  Chapter XV: Company to Supper  •  Chapter XVI: At Lynch’s  •  Chapter XVII: Fairfax and Unity  •  Chapter XVIII: The Green Door  •  Chapter XIX: Monticello Again  •  Chapter XX: The Nineteenth of February  •  Chapter XXI: The Cedar Wood  •  Chapter XXII: Major Edward  •  Chapter XXIII: A Challenge  •  Chapter XXIV: The Duel  •  Chapter XXV: Old Saint John’s  •  Chapter XXVI: The Trial of Aaron Burr  •  Chapter XXVII: The Letter  •  Chapter XXVIII: Rand and Mocket  •  Chapter XXIX: The River Road  •  Chapter XXX: Homeward  •  Chapter XXXI: Husband and Wife  •  Chapter XXXII: The Brothers  •  Chapter XXXIII: Greenwood  •  Chapter XXXIV: Fairfax Cary  •  Chapter XXXV: The Image  •  Chapter XXXVI: In Pursuit  •  Chapter XXXVII: The Simple Right  •  Chapter XXXVIII: M. De Pincornet  •  Chapter XXXIX: Unity and Jacqueline  •  Chapter XI: The Way of the Transgressor

[Buy at Amazon]
Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston
At Amazon