Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston

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Chapter XIV: The Law Office

“If you were not so damned particular–” said the weasel disconsolately.

“I’m not damned particular,” answered Rand. “I’ve wanted wealth and I’ve wanted power ever since I went barefoot and suckered tobacco–as you know who know me better than almost any one else! But this"–he tapped the papers on the table before him–"this is cheating.”

“Oh, you!” complained the scamp. “You are of the elect. What you want you’ll take by main force. You are a strong man! You’ve taken a deal since that day we went into the bookshop by the bridge. But I’m no Samson or David–I’m just Tom Mocket–and still, why shouldn’t I have my pennyworth?”

Rand paused in his walking up and down the office in Main Street. It was the late winter, a year and more from that evening when he and Jacqueline had first come to the house on Shockoe Hill. Standing by the rough deal table, he laid an authoritative hand upon the documents with which it was strewn. “You’ll never get your pennyworth here. The scheme these gentry have afoot is just a Yazoo business. If these lands exist, they’re only a hunting-ground of swamp, Indians, and buffalo. The survey is paper, the cleared fields a fable, the town Manoa, the scheme a bubble, the purchasers fools, and the sellers knaves,–and there’s your legal opinion in a nutshell!”

“I didn’t ask for a legal opinion,” said Mocket. “I’m a lawyer myself. There’s land there, you’ll not deny, and a river, and plenty of game If a Yankee doesn’t find it Paradise, he had no chance anyhow, and a Kentuck can care for himself! There’s no sense in calling it a bubble, or being so damned scrupulous!”

Rand made a gesture of contempt. “You let Yazoo companies and the Promised Land alone! People are ceasing to be fools. To-day they demand a hair of the mammoth or a sample of the salt mountain.”

Mocket ceased rustling the papers on the table, and turned to regard his chief more closely. “Lewis, I’ve heard you say things like that more than once lately. A year ago you were mighty respectful to Mr. Jefferson’s salt mountain and strange bones and great elk and silk grass and all the rest of it. That was a curious letter of yours in the Examiner. If’t was meant to defend his neutrality doings, ’twas a damned lukewarm defence! If I hadn’t known ’twas yours, sink me if I wouldn’t have thought it a damned piece of Federal sarcasm!–Did you send that paper to the President?”

“No, I did not send it.”

“Lewis,” said the scamp slowly, “are you breaking with Mr. Jefferson?”

Rand walked to the window and stood looking out upon the winter afternoon. It was snowing hard, and through the drifting veil the trees across the way could hardly be discerned. “Yes,” he said deliberately. “Yes,–if you call it breaking with a man to have grown away from him. If he served me once–yes, and greatly!–have I not worked for him since, hand and foot? We are quits, I think. I shall not cease to esteem him.”

Mocket breathed hard with excitement. “You haven’t been natural for a long time–but I didn’t know ’t was this–”

“I am being natural now,” said Rand somewhat sternly. “I’ve told you, Tom, and now let it alone. Least said is soonest mended.”

“But–but–” stammered the scamp, “are you going over to the other camp?”

Rand did not at once answer. From a plate on the windowsill he took a crust of bread, and, raising the sash, crumbled it upon the snow without. The sparrows came at once, alighting near his hand with a tameness that spoke of pleasing association with the providence above them. “No,” said Rand at last, “I am not going over to the other camp–if by that you mean the Federalist camp. Must one forever sign under a captain? It is not my instinct to serve.–Now let it alone.”

He closed the window and, turning again to the table, bent over an unrolled map which covered half its surface. The chart was a large one, showing the vast territory drained by the Ohio, the Missouri, and the Mississippi, and the imagination of the cartographer had made good his lack of information. Rivers and mountains appeared where nature had made no such provision, while the names, quaint and uncouth, with which Jefferson proposed to burden states yet in embryo sprawled in large letters across the yellow plain. “Assenispia–Polypotamia–Chersonesus–Michigania,” read Rand. “Barbarous! I could name them better out of Ossian!” He traced with his finger the lower Ohio. “This is where Blennerhasset’s island should be." The finger went on down the Mississippi. “What a river! When it is in flood, it is a sea. And the rich black fields on either side! Cotton! Our Fortunatus purse shall be spun of that. They call the creeks bayous. All these little towns–French and Spanish. To speak to them of Washington is to speak of the moon–so distant and so cold. Here are Indians. Here are settlers from the East, and the burden of their song is, ’We are so far from the Old Thirteen that we care not if we are farther yet!’”

“Hey!” exclaimed Mocket. “That’s treason!”

“Here Adam Gaudylock met Wilkinson. The river narrows here, and runs deep and strong.” Rand’s hand rested on the coast-line. “New Orleans," he said, “but capable of becoming a new Rome. Here to the westward is the Perdido that they call the boundary,–then Mexico and the City of Mexico. If not New Orleans, then Mexico!” He straightened himself with a laugh. “I am dreaming, Tom–just as I used to dream in the fields! Ugh! I feel the hot sun, and the thick leaves draw through my hands! Let’s get back to every day. To-morrow in the House I am going to carry the Albemarle Resolutions. The last debate is on. Wirt speaks first, and then I speak.”

“Ludwell Cary is fighting you,” said Mocket. “Fighting hard.”


“Well, I’ll be there to hear you speak. Lord! if I could speak like you, Lewis, and plan like you, and if whiskey would let me alone, and if I wasn’t afraid of the dark, I’d make a stir in the country–I’d go higher than a Franklin kite!”

“You might manage the rest,” said Rand, with good-natured scorn; “but it doesn’t do to be afraid of the dark.”

From the pegs behind the door he took his greatcoat and beaver. “I am going home now,” he said. “I have company to supper.”

“Who, then?” asked Mocket. “Adam Gaudylock? He’s in town.”

Rand laughed. “Who, then?’ Tom, Tom, you’ve the manners of the West Indian skippers you consort with! No, it’s not Adam Gaudylock. It is–" He hesitated, then took up a pen and wrote two words. “That’s his name–but you are to keep it dark.”

Mocket’s tilted chair came noisily to the floor. “What! In Richmond!–he in Richmond! When did he come? Where’s he staying?”

“He came last night, and he’s staying quietly at Bowler’s Tavern. It isn’t known that he’s here, and he is not anxious that it should be known. He’s here on business, and he goes to-morrow. That is all–and you’re to say no word of what I tell you.”

“All right,” quoth Tom. “I won’t blab. But I’d mightily like to see the man who shot Alexander Hamilton.”

“I’ve told you he’s not anxious for company.”

“Oh, I know!” said Tom, not without humility. “I’m small fry. Well, there are curious things said about him, and you and he are strange bedfellows! How did it happen?”

“Tom, Tom,” answered Rand, “you ask too many questions! It was an accident, or it was predestined and foreordained when I was dust blown about by the wind. You may take your choice according to your theology! I’m going now. Be at the House early to-morrow.”

“Are you going to take that Mathews case? Young Mathews was here yesterday, swearing that if he couldn’t get you, he would hang himself.”

“I’ve said that I would take it.”

“Ludwell Cary’s for the other side.”

“Yes, I know. I’ll win.”

“Well, you’re fairly pitted. Half the town backs one and half the other. That letter signed ’Aurelius’ in the Gazette–did you know ’twas his?”

Rand dropped his hand from the latch. The colour rushed to his face, then ebbed as quickly. “No, I did not know,” he said, in a voice that was not quite steady. “I thought of quite another man.”

“It is Ludwell Cary’s, and every Black Cockade in Richmond, and not a few Republicans, are quoting it. My certie! it was a commentary in caustic–and so damned courteous all the time!”

“I don’t care for such courtesy,” answered Rand “Ludwell Cary had best look where he treads.”

“Well, I thought I’d tell you,” said his colleague “I don’t like the Carys, either!–And so I’m not to go into that land scheme?”

“No. It’s a small thing, and not honest. Some day, Tom, I’ll help you to a larger thing than that.”

“And honest?” said Mocket shrewdly.

The other turned upon him with anger, black as it was sudden. “Honest! Yes, honest as this storm, honest as any struggle for any piece of earth wider than a coffin space! Who are you to question me? I give you warning–”

“Gently, gently!” exclaimed the scamp, and started back. “Lord, how Gideon peeps out of you now and then!”

“You need not say that, either,” retorted Rand grimly. He stood for a moment, a cloudy presence in the darkening room, then with a short laugh recovered himself. “I thought the black dog was dead,” he said. “It’s this gloomy day–and I did not sleep last night. Honest! We’re all indifferent honest!”

“Well, well,” answered the pacific Tom, “I’ll sink or swim with you. I’ve followed where you have led this many a day.”

Outside the red brick office the snow lay deep. It was still falling steadily, in large flakes, grey in the upper air, feathery white and pure against the opposite houses and the boles of leafless trees. The day was closing in. Up and down the street merchants were putting up their shutters; customers had been few on such a snowy day. Here and there appeared a figure, booted and greatcoated, emerging from a tavern or from a law office such as Rand’s. A sledge passed, laden with pine and hickory, drawn by mules with jangling bells; and a handful of boys loosed from school threw down their bags of books and fell to snowballing. A negro shuffled by with a spade on his shoulder, singing as he went,–

     “Didn’t my Lawd deliber Daniel,
     Didn’t my Lawd deliber Daniel,
         An’ why not ebery man?
     He delibered Daniel from de lions’ den,
     An’ de Hebrew Chillern from de furnace,
     He delibered David from de han’ of Saul,
         An’ why not ebery man?”

Rand turned into Governor Street, climbed its white ascent, and struck across the Capitol Square. Above him every bough had its weight of snow, and seen through the drifting veil the pillared Capitol looked remote as that building of which it was a copy. He walked quickly, with a light and determined step, a handsome figure in a many-caped coat of bottle green, striding through the snow toward the cheer of home. In his outer man, at least, the eighteen months since his marriage had wrought a change. What was striking then was more striking now,–his ease and might of frame, the admirable poise of his head, and the force expressed in every feature, the air of power that was about him like an emanation. The difference was that what had been rude strength was now strength polished and restrained. The deeps might hide abrupt and violent things, but the surface had assumed a fine amenity. Where he wished to learn he was the aptest pupil, and from the days of the tobacco-field he had longed for this smooth lustre. Not Gideon, but the mother, spoke in the appreciation and the facility. Manner counted for much in Lewis Rand’s day; the critical point was not what you did, but the way you did it. Rand set himself to learn from his wife all the passwords of the region native to her, but into which he had broken. She taught him that code with a courtesy and simplicity exquisitely high-minded and sweet, and he learned with quickness, gratitude, and lack of any false shame. What else he might have learned of her he dimly felt, but he had not covenanted with existence for qualities that would war with a hundred purposes of his brain and will. He and Jacqueline were lovers yet. At the sight of each other the delicate fire ran through their veins; in absence the mind felt along the wall and dreamed of the gardens within. If the woman who had given all was the more constant lover; if the man, while his passion sweetened all his life, yet bowed before his great idol and fought and slaved for Power, it was according to the nature of the two, and there was perhaps no help.

He left the Capitol Square and went on toward the house he had retaken for the second winter in Richmond. Few were afoot, though now and then a sleigh went by. Rand’s mind as he walked was busy, not with the debate of to-morrow or the visitor of to-night, the Mathews trial or Tom Mocket’s puerile schemes, but with the letter in the Gazette signed “Aurelius.” It had been an attack, able beyond the common, certainly not upon Lewis Rand, but upon the party which, in the eyes of the generality, he yet most markedly represented. In the inflamed condition of public sentiment such attacks were of weekly occurrence; the wise man was he who put them by unmoved. For the most part Rand was wise. Federal diatribes upon the Tripoli war, the Florida purchase, the quarrel with Spain, Santo Domingo, Neutral Trade, and Jefferson’s leanings toward France left him cold. This letter in the Gazette had not done so. It had gone to the sources of things, analyzing with a coolness and naming with a propriety the more remarkable that it acknowledged, on certain sides, a community of thought with the party attacked. The result was that, as in civil war, the quarrel, through understanding, was the more determined. The man who signed “Aurelius” had not spared to point out, with a certain melancholy sternness, the plague spots, the defenceless places. Moreover, throughout his exposition there ran a harsh and sombre thread, now felt in denunciation and now in ironic praise. There was more than unveiling of the weakness of any human policy or party; the letter was in part a commination of individual conduct. No name was used, no direct reference given or example quoted; but one with acumen might guess there was a man in mind when the writer sat in judgment. The writer himself was perhaps not aware of the fulness of this betrayal, but Lewis Rand was aware. The paper had angered him, and he had not lacked intention of discovering at whose door it was to be laid. He had enemies enough–but this one was a close observer. The subtlety of the rebuke shook him. How had the writer who signed “Aurelius” known or divined? He thought of Major Edward Churchill, but certain reasons made him sure the letter was not his. And now it seemed that it was Ludwell Cary’s.

Rand’s lips set closely. Ludwell Cary might not know where all his shafts were striking, but Rand felt the sting. Fair fight in the courtroom,–that was one thing,–but this paper was wrought of sterner stuff. There was in it even a solemnity of warning. Rand’s soul, that was in the grasp of Giant Two-Ways, writhed for a moment, then lay still again. With his characteristic short laugh, he shook off the feeling that he mistook for weakness, dismissed the momentary abashment, and pursued his way through the snowy streets. The question now in his mind was whether or no he should make his resentment plain to Ludwell Cary. At long intervals, three or four times in the winter, perhaps, it was the latter’s custom to lift the knocker of Rand’s door, and to sit for an hour in Jacqueline’s drawing-room. Sometimes Rand was there, sometimes not; Cary’s coming had grown to be a habit of the house, quiet, ordered, and urbane as all its habits were. Its master now determined, after a moment’s sharp debate, to say nothing that he might not have said before he knew the identity of that writer to the Gazette. He was conscious of no desire for immediate retaliation; these things settled themselves in the long run. He did not intend speaking of the matter to Jacqueline. Pride forbade his giving Cary reason to surmise that he had hit the truth. Rand was willing to believe that many of the shafts were chance-sent. The reflection hardly lessened his anger, but it enabled him to thrust the matter behind him to the limbo of old scores.

He was crossing Broad Street when the door of a house before him opened, and a young man, with a gay word of farewell to some one in the doorway, ran down the steps and into the snowy street. It was Fairfax Cary. Rand and he, passing, lifted their hats, but they did not speak. Had it been the elder Cary, there would have been a moment’s tarrying, an exchange of courteous speech. But Fairfax Cary made no secret of his enmity. If he did not offensively publish it, if he was, indeed, for so young a man, somewhat grimly silent upon those frequent occasions when Rand was talked of, the hostility was defined, and at times frank. He went on now with his handsome head held high. Rand looked after him with a curious, even a wistful smile upon his lips. He was himself a man young in years and strength of passion, but older far in experience and in thought. He did not dislike Fairfax Cary; he thought indeed that the young man’s spirit, bearing, and partisanship were admirable. His smile was for the thought that had lightened through his mind: “If in after years I could have a son like that!” He wanted children; he wanted a son. Rand sighed. The day had been vexatious, and there were heavy questions yet to settle before the evening closed. After all, what was the use, since Jacqueline cared nothing for baubles, and there was no child! Better live out his days at Roselands, a farmer and a country lawyer! He shook off the weight, summoned all his household troop of thoughts, and went on homewards through the falling snow.


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

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Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston
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