Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston

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Chapter XV: Company to Supper

Jacqueline arranged the flowers, cut from her window stand, in the porcelain vase, and set the vase with care in the centre of the polished table. All was in order, from the heavy damask napkins and the Chelsea plates to the silver candlesticks and the old cut-glass. She turned her graceful head, and called to her husband, whose step she heard in the adjoining room. He came, and, standing beside her, surveyed the mahogany field. “Is there anything lacking?” she asked.

He turned and kissed her. “Only that you should be happy!” he said.

“If I am not,” she answered, “he will never find it out! But when I see him, I shall hear that fatal shot!”

“He will make you quite forget it. All women like him.”

“Then I shall be the exception. General Hamilton was Uncle Edward’s friend. At Fontenoy they’ll call it insult that I have talked with this man!”

“They will not know,” Rand replied. “It was an honest duel fought nigh two years ago. Forget–forget! There’s so much one must forget. Besides, others are forgiving. There is not now the old enmity between him and the Federalists.” “No?” said Jacqueline. “Why is that?”

“I cannot tell you, but old differences are being smoothed over. It is rather the Republicans who are out with him.”

“I know that he is no friend to Mr. Jefferson.”

“No, he is no friend to Mr. Jefferson. The room looks well, sweetheart. But some day you shall have a much grander one, all light and splendour, and larger flowers than these–”

His wife rested her head against his shoulder. “I don’t want it, Lewis. It is only you who care for magnificence. Sometimes I wonder that you should so care.”

“It is my mother in me,” he answered. “She cared–poor soul. But I don’t want magnificence for myself. I want it for you–”

“You must not want it for me,” cried Jacqueline, with wistful passion. “I am happy here, and I am happy at Roselands–but I was happiest of all in the house on the Three-Notched Road!”

There was a moment’s silence, then Rand spoke slowly. “I was not born for content. I am urged on–and on–and I cannot always tell right from wrong. There is a darkness within me–I wish it were light instead!” He laughed. “But if wishes were horses, beggars might ride!–And you’ve cut all your pretty bright flowers! After supper, before we begin our talk, you must sing to him. They say his daughter is an accomplished and beautiful woman. But you–you are Beauty, Jacqueline!”

The knocker sounded. “That is he,” exclaimed Rand, and went into the hail to welcome his guest. Jacqueline returned to the drawing-room, and waited there before the fire. She was dressed in white, with bare neck and arms and her mother’s amethysts around her throat. In a moment the two men entered. “This is my wife, Colonel Burr,” said Rand.

Jacqueline curtsied. A small, slight, black-eyed, and smiling gentleman bowed low, and with much grace of manner took and kissed her hand. “Mr. Rand, now I understand the pride in your voice! Madam, I wish my daughter Theodosia were with me. She is my pride, and when I say that you two would be friends, I pay you both a compliment!”

“I have heard much of her,” answered Jacqueline, “and nothing but good. My husband tells me that you have been in the South–and in Virginia we are welcoming you with a snowstorm!”

“The cold is all outside,” said Colonel Burr. “Permit me–”

He handed his hostess to the green-striped sofa, and seated himself beside her with a sigh of appreciation for the warmth and soft light of the pleasant room, and the presence of woman. “Your harp!” he exclaimed. “I should have brought a sheaf of Spanish songs such as the ladies sing to the guitar in New Orleans!–My dear sir, your fair wife and my Theodosia must one day sing together, walk hand in hand together, in that richer, sweeter land! They shall use the mantilla and wield the fan. Crowns are too heavy–they shall wear black lace!”

He spoke with not unpleasant brusqueness, a military manner tempered with gallantry, and he looked at Rand with quick black eyes. “Yes, they must meet,” said Rand simply. He spoke composedly, but he had nevertheless a moment’s vision of Jacqueline, away from the snow and the storm, walking in beauty through the gardens of a far country. He saw her with a circlet of gold upon her head, a circlet of Mexican gold. Crowns were heavy, but men–ay, and women, too!–fought for them. Hers should be light and fanciful upon her head. She should wear black lace if she chose,–though always he liked her best in white, in her kingdom, in the kingdom he was going to help Aaron Burr establish.–No! in the kingdom Aaron Burr should help Lewis Rand establish! His dream broke. He was not sure that he meant to come to an understanding with Burr. It depended–it depended. But still he saw Jacqueline in trailing robes, with the gold circlet on her head.

Joab at the door announced supper, and the three went into the dining-room, where the red geraniums glowed between the candles. Jacqueline took her place behind the coffee-urn, and Joab waited.

The meal went pleasantly on. Colonel Burr was accomplished in conversation, now supple and insinuating as a courtier, now direct, forceful, even plain, as became an old soldier of the Revolution, always agreeable, and always with a fine air of sincerity. The daughter of Henry Churchill did not lack wit, charm, and proper fire, and the Virginia hostess never showed her private feelings to a guest. She watched over the stranger’s comfort with soft care, and met his talk with graceful readiness. He spoke to her of her family: of her grandfather, whose name had been widely known, of her father, whose praises he had heard sung, of Major Churchill, whom he had met in Philadelphia in General Washington’s time. He spoke of her kinsmen with an admiration which went far toward including their opinions. Jacqueline marvelled. Surely this gentleman was a Democrat-Republican, lately the Vice-President of that party’s electing. It was not two years since he had slain General Hamilton; and now, in a quiet, refined voice, he was talking of Federalists and Federal ways with all the familiarity, sympathy, and ease of one born in the fold and contented with his lot. She wondered if he had quarrelled with his party, and while he was talking she was proudly thinking, “The Federalists will not have him–no, not if he went on his knees to them!” And then she thought, “He is a man without a country.”

Rand sat somewhat silent and distrait, his mind occupied in building, building, now laying the timbers this way and now that; but presently, upon his guest’s referring to him some point for elucidation, he entered the conversation, and thenceforth, though he spoke not a great deal, his personality dominated it. The acute intelligence opposite him took faint alarm. “I am bargaining for a supporter,” Burr told himself, “not for a rival,” and became if possible more deferentially courteous than before. The talk went smoothly on, from Virginia politics to the triumphal march of Napoleon through Europe; from England and the death of Pitt to the Spanish intrigues, and so back to questions of the West; and to references, which Jacqueline did not understand, to the Spanish Minister, Casa Yrujo, to the English Mr. Merry, and to Messieurs Sauvé, Derbigny, and Jean Noël Destréhan of New Orleans.

Joab took away the Chelsea plates and dishes, brushed the mahogany, and placed before his master squat decanters of sherry and Madeira. The flowing talk took a warmer tone, and began to sing with the music of the South and the golden West; to be charged with Spanish, French, and Indian names, with the odour of strange flowers, the roll of the Mississippi, and the flashing of coloured wings. It was the two men now who spoke. Jacqueline, leaning back in her chair, half listened to the talk of the Territory of Orleans, the Perdido, and the road to Mexico, half dreamed of what they might be doing at Fontenoy this snowy night. The knocker sounded. “That is Adam Gaudylock,” exclaimed Rand. “Joab, show Mr. Gaudylock in.”

Jacqueline rose, and Colonel Burr sprang to open the door for her. “We may sit late, Jacqueline,” said Rand, and their guest, “Madam, I will make court to you in a court some day!”

Gaudylock’s voice floated in from the hall: “Is a little man with him?–a black-eyed man?” She passed into the drawing-room, and, pressing her brow against the window-pane, looked out into the night. The snow had ceased to fall, and the moon was struggling with the breaking clouds. The door opened to admit her husband, who came for a moment to her side. “It is not snowing now,” he said. “A visitor will hardly knock on such a night. If by chance one should come, say that I am engaged with a client, make my excuses, and as soon as possible get rid of him. On no account–on no account, Jacqueline, would I have it known that Aaron Burr is here to-night. This is important. I will keep the doors shut, and we will not speak loudly.” He turned to go, then hesitated. “On second thoughts, I will tell Joab to excuse us both at the door. For you–do not sit up, dear heart! It will be late before our business is done.”

He was gone. Jacqueline went back to the fire and, sitting down beneath the high mantel, opened the fifth volume of Clarissa Harlowe. She read for a while, then closed the book, and with her chin in her hand fell to studying the ruddy hollows and the dropping coals. Perhaps half an hour passed. The door opened, and she looked up from her picture in the deep hollows to see Ludwell Cary smiling down upon her and holding out his hand. “Perhaps I should have drifted past with the snow,” he said, “but the light in the window drew me, and I heard to-day from Fontenoy. Mr. Rand, I know, is at home.”

“Yes,” answered Jacqueline, rising, “but he is much engaged to-night with–with a friend. Did Joab not tell you?”

“Mammy Chloe let me in. I did not see Joab. I am sorry–”

He hesitated. There came a blast of wind that rattled the boughs of the maple outside the window. The fire leaped and the shadows danced in the corners of the room. Jacqueline knew that it was cold outside–her visitor’s coat was wet with snow. Sitting there before the fire she had been lonely, and her heart was hungry for news from home.

“May I stay a few minutes?” asked Cary. “I will read you what Major Edward says of Fontenoy.”

She was far from dreaming how little Rand would wish this visitor to know of his affairs that night. Her knowledge extended no further than the fact that for some reason Colonel Burr did not wish it known that he was in Richmond. She listened, but the walls were thick, and she heard no sound from the distant dining-room. Cary would know only what she told him, and in a few minutes he would be gone. “I should like to hear the letter,” she said, and motioned to the armchair beside the hearth. He took it, and she seated herself opposite him, upon an old, embroidered tabouret. Between them the fire of hickory logs burned softly; without the curtained windows the maple branches, moved by the wind, struck at intervals against the eaves. Jacqueline faced the door. It was her intention, should she hear steps, to rise and speak to Lewis in the hail without.

The letter which Cary drew from his breast pocket was from Major Churchill. That he did not read it all was due to his correspondent’s choice of subjects and great plainness of speech; but he read what the Major had to say of Fontenoy, of the winter weather and the ailing slaves, of Mustapha, of county deaths and marriages, of the books he had been reading, and the men to whom he wrote. Major Edward’s strain was ironic, fine, and very humanly lonely. Jacqueline’s eyes filled with tears, and all the flames of the fire ran together like shaken jewels.

“Almost all the rest,” said Cary, “has to do with politics. I will not read you what he has to say of us slight, younger men and the puny times in which we live. But this will interest you–this is of general import.”

He turned the page and read: “I have to-day a letter from G. Morris with the latest mischief from the North. Aaron Burr is going West, but with, I warrant you, no thought of the setting sun. The Ancient Iniquity in Washington smiles with thin lips and pronounces that all men and Aaron Burr are unambitious, unselfish, and peace-loving–but none the less, he looks askance at the serpent’s windings. The friends of Burr are not the friends of Jefferson. There are Federalists–’tis said they increase in numbers–who do not wish the former ill; myself I am not of them. Colonel Burr desired that duel; he lay in wait for the affront which should be his opportunity; he murdered Hamilton. He risked his own life–very true, the majority of murderers do the same. The one who does not is a dastard in addition–voila tout! “Burr quits the East, and all men know that the West, like Israel of old, is weary of an Idea and would like to have a King. If the world revolves this way much longer, the Man of the People will not be asked to write the next Declaration of Independence, and the country west of the Ohio will be celebrating not the Fourth of July but an eighteenth Prairial. Aaron Burr and his confederates intend an Empire. ’Tis said there are five hundred men in his confidence here in the East, and that the chief of these wait but for a signal from him or from Wilkinson–whereupon they’ll follow him and he’ll make them dukes and princes.

“Like Macbeth, he has done his murder and is on his way to be crowned at Scone. He has not a wife, but he has a daughter ambitious as himself. She has a son. He sees his line secured. He has suborned other murderers and made traitors of honest men–and our Laputa philosopher at Washington smiles and says there is nothing amiss!

“May I be gathered soon out of this cap-and-bells democracy to some Walhalla where I may find Hamilton and General Washington and be at peace! This world is growing wearisome to me.

“G. Morris speaks of the bulk of his news as report merely, but I’ll stake my head the report is true.”

Cary ceased to read. Jacqueline sat motionless, and in the silence of the room they heard the wind outside and the tapping of the maple branches.

“If I were Mr. Jefferson,” said Cary presently, “I would arrest Colonel Burr this side of the Ohio. He has been West too often; he is in the East now, and I would see to it that he remained here. But Mr. Jefferson will temporize, and Burr will make his dash for a throne. Well! he is neither Cæsar nor Buonaparte; he is only Aaron Burr. He is the adventurer, not the Emperor. The danger is that in all the motley he is enlisting there may be a Buonaparte. Then farewell to this poor schemer and any delusions he may yet nourish as to a peaceful, federated West! War and brazen clamour and the yelling eagles of a conqueror!”

He spoke with conviction, but now, as though to lighten his own mood, he laughed. “All this may not be so,” he said. “It may be but a dream of our over-peaceful night.”

Jacqueline rose, motioned him with a smile to keep his seat, and, moving to an escritoire standing near the door, wrote a line upon a sheet of paper, then rang the bell and when Joab appeared, put the paper into his hand. “Give this to your master,” she said, and came back to Cary beside the fire. She smiled, but he saw with concern that she was very pale, and that the amethysts were trembling at her throat. “I should not have read you this letter,” he exclaimed. “It is over-caustic, over-bitter. Do not let it trouble you. You have grown pale!”

She bent over the fire as if she were cold. “It is nothing. Yes, I was troubled–I am always troubled when I think of Fontenoy. But it is over now–and indeed I wanted to hear Uncle Edward’s letter.” She straightened herself and turned to him a smiling face. “And now tell me of yourself! You are looking worn. Men work too hard in Richmond. Oh, for the Albemarle air! The snow will be white to-morrow on my fir tree, and Deb will have to throw crumbs for the birds. I have learned a new song. When next you come, I will sing it to you.”

“Will you not,” asked Cary,–"will you not sing it to me now?”

She shook her head. “Not now. How the branches strike against the roof to-night!”

As she spoke she moved restlessly, and Cary saw the amethysts stir again. A thought flashed through his mind. It had to do with Lewis Rand, of whom he often thought, sometimes with melancholy envy, sometimes with strong dislike, sometimes with unwilling admiration, and always with painful curiosity. Now, the substance of Major Churchill’s letter strongly in mind, with senses rendered more acute and emotions heightened as they always were in the presence of the woman he had not ceased to love, troubled, too, by something in her demeanor, intangibly different from her usual frank welcome, he suddenly and vividly recalled a much-applauded speech that Rand had made three days before in a public gathering. It had included a noteworthy display of minute information of western conditions, extending to the physical features of the country and to every degree of its complex population. One sentence among many had caught Cary’s attention, had perplexed him, and had remained in his memory to be considered afterwards, closely and thoughtfully. There was one possible meaning–

Cary crumpled the letter in his hand. Rand’s speech perplexed him no longer. That was it–that was it! His breath came quickly. He had builded better–he had builded better than he knew, when he wrote that paper signed “Aurelius”!

With fingers that were not quite steady he smoothed and refolded Major Churchill’s letter He was saying to himself, “What does she know She grew pale Thou suspicious fool! That was for thought of home He will have told her nothing–nothing! Her soul is clear.”

He pocketed his letter and, rising, spoke to her with a chivalrous gentleness “I will go now Do not let the thought of Fontenoy distress you Do you remember the snow man we made there once, wreathing his head with holly? But I’ll tell you a strange thing,–even on such a night as this, I always see Fontenoy bathed in summer weather!”

“Yes, yes,” she answered “I, too. Oh, home!”

He held out his hand “You’ll give my compliments to Mr. Rand?”

“Yes,” she said. “He is busy to-night with a client from the country. He works too hard.”

“Take him soon to Roselands and tie him there. Sing him To Althea and make him forget.” He bent and kissed her hand. “Good-night–good-night!”

“Good-night,” she answered, and moved with him to the door. Standing there, she watched him through the hail and out of the house, then turned and, going to the window, pressed her brow against the pane and watched him down the street. The night had cleared; there was a high wind and many stars.

In Rand’s dining-room the three men sat late over the wine and the questions that had brought them together, but at last the conference was somewhat stormily over. Burr and Adam Gaudylock left the house together, the hunter volunteering to guide the stranger to his inn. It was midnight, and Colonel Burr did not see his hostess. He sent her courtly messages, and he pressed Rand’s hand somewhat too closely, then with his most admirable military air and frankest smile, thrust his arm through Gaudylock’s and marched away. Rand closed the door, put down the candle that he held, and turned into the drawing-room.

Before the dying fire he found Jacqueline in her white gown, the amethysts about her throat, and her scarf of silver gauze fallen from her hand upon the floor. In her young face and form there should have been no hint, no fleeting breath of tragedy, but to-night there was that hint and that breath. The fire over which she bent and brooded seemed to leave her cold. The room was no longer brightly lighted, and she appeared mournfully a part of the hovering shadows. Her spirit had power to step forth and clothe the flesh. Almost always she looked the thing she felt. Now, in the half light, bent above the fading coals, she looked old. Her husband, with his hand upon the mantel-shelf, gazed down upon her. “It was wise of you to send me that note. Burr and I might have walked in here, or we might have spoken loudly. I heard Cary when he went out. How did you manage?”

“He asked for you. I told him that you were engaged with a client from the country. Oh, Lewis!”

Rand stooped and kissed her. “It was the best thing you could say. I would not have had him guess our visitor to-night. You are trembling like a leaf!”

“The best that I could say!–I don’t know that. I feel like a leaf in the wind! I did not understand–but I was afraid for you. It is done, but I prefer to tell the truth!”

“I prefer it for you,” said Rand. “To-night was mere unluckiness. And he suspected nothing?”

“He went without knowing who was in the dining-room. Lewis, what is there to suspect?”

He stood looking down upon her with a glow in his dark eyes and an unwonted red in his cheek. “Suspect? There is nothing to suspect. But to expect–there might be expectations, my Queen!”

“As long as you live you are my King” she said. “To-night I am afraid for my King. I do not like Colonel Burr!”

“I am sorry for that. He is said to be a favourite with women.”

“Lewis!” she cried, “what does he want with you? Tell me!”

So appealing was her voice, so urgent the touch of her hand, that with a start Rand awoke from his visions to the fact of her emotion. His eye was hawklike, and his intuition unfailing. “What did Ludwell Cary say to you?” he demanded.

She took her scarf from the floor, wound her hands in it, and clasped them tightly before her. “When I told him,–Mammy Chloe let him in,–when I told him that you were busy with your client, he thought no more of it. And then we talked of Fontenoy, and he read me a letter from Uncle Edward. Much of the letter was about Colonel Burr, and–and suspicions that were aroused. Uncle Edward called him a traitor and a maker of traitors. That is an ugly name, is it not? Ludwell Cary did not think the rumour false. He said that if he were Mr. Jefferson, he would arrest Colonel Burr. He, also, called him traitor. I can tell you what he said. He said, ’But Mr. Jefferson will temporize, and Burr will make his dash for a throne. Well! he is neither Cæsar nor Buonaparte; he is only Aaron Burr. The danger is that in all the motley he is enlisting there may be a Buonaparte. Then farewell to this poor schemer and any delusions he may yet nourish as to a peaceful, federated West! War and brazen clamour and the yelling eagles of a conqueror!’ That is what he said.”

There was a silence, then Rand spoke in a curious voice, “Saul among the prophets! In the future, let us have less of Ludwell Cary.”

“Lewis, why did Colonel Burr come here to-night?”

Rand turned from the fire and began to pace the room, head bent and hand at mouth, thinking rapidly. His wife raised her hands, still wrapped in the silver scarf, to her heart, and waited. As he passed for the third time the tall harp, he drew his hand heavily across the strings. The room vibrated to the sound. Rand came back to the hearth, took the armchair in which Cary had sat, and drew it closer to the glowing embers. “Come,” he said. “Come, Jacqueline, let us look at the pictures in the fire.”

She knelt beside him on the braided rug. “Show me true pictures! Home in Virginia, and honourable life, and noble service, and my King a King indeed, and this Colonel Burr gone like a shadow and an ugly dream!–that is the picture I want to see.”

For a moment there was silence before the white ash and the dying heart of the wood, then Rand with the tongs squared a flaky bed and drew from top to bottom a jagged line. “This,” he said, “is the great artery; this is the Mississippi River.” He drew another line. “Here to the southwest is Mexico, and that is a country for great dreams. There the plantain and the orange grow and there are silver and gold–and the warm gulf is on this side, and the South Sea far, far away, and down here is South America. The Aztecs lived in Mexico, and Cortez conquered them. He burned his ships so that he and his Spaniards might not retreat. Here is the land west of the Mississippi, unknown and far away. There are grassy plains that seem to roll into the sun, and there are great herds of game, and warlike Indians, and beyond the range of any vision there are vast mountains white with snow. Gold, too, may be there. It is a country enormous, grandiose, rich, and silent,–a desert waiting dumbly for the strong man’s tread.” He turned a little and drew another line. “To this side, away, away to the east, here where you and I are sitting, watching, watching, here are the Old Thirteen,–the Thirteen that the English took from the Indians, that the children of the English took from England. It is the law of us all, Jacqueline, the law of the Three Kingdoms: the battle is to the strong and the race to the swift. The Old Thirteen are stable; let them rest! Together they make a great country, and they will be greater yet But here is the Ohio–la belle Rivière, the Frenchmen call it. And beyond and below the Ohio, through all the gigantic valley of a river so great that it seems a fable, south to New Orleans, and westward to the undiscovered lies the country that is to be! And Napoleon, in order that he may brandish over England one thunderbolt the more, sells it for a song!–and we buy it for a song–and not one man in fifty guesses that we have bought the song of the future! The man who bought it knows its value–but Mr. Jefferson cares only for Done lays. He’ll not have the Phrygian. He dreams of cotton and olives, of flocks and herds, rock salt and peaceful mines, and the manors of the Golden Age,–all gathered, tended, worked, administered by farmers, school-teachers, and philosophers! The ploughshare (improved) and the pruning-hook, a pulpit for Dr. Priestley, and a statue of Tom Paine, a glass house where the study of the mastodon may lead to a knowledge of man, slavery abolished, and war abhorred, the lion and the lamb to lie down together and Rousseau to come true–all the old mirage–perfectibility in plain sight! That is his dream, and it is a noble one. There is no room in it for the wicked man. In the mean time he proposes to govern this land of milk and honey, this bought-and-paid-for Paradise, very much as an eastern Despot might govern a conquered province. The inconsistencies of man must disconcert even the Thinker up in the skies. Well–it happens that the West and this great new city of ours, there at the mouth of the river, with her levees and her ships, her merchants, priests, and lawyers, do not want government by a satrap. They want an Imperial City and a Cæsar of their own. Throughout the length and breadth of this vast territory there is deep dissatisfaction–within and without, for Spain is yet arrogant upon its borders. The Floridas–Mexico–fret and fever everywhere! It is so before all changes, Jacqueline. The very wind sighs uneasily. Then one comes, bolder than the rest, sees and takes his advantage. So empires and great names are made.”

“So good names are lost!” she cried. “It is not thus that you spoke one October evening on our way from Albemarle!”

Rand dropped the iron from his hand. “That was a year and a half ago, and all things move with rapidity. A man’s mind changes. That evening!–I was in Utopia. And yet, if we reigned,–if we two reigned, Jacqueline,–we might reign like that. We might make a kingdom wise and great.”

“And Mr. Jefferson, and all that you owe to him? And your letter to him every month with all the public news?”

“That was before this winter,” he answered. “We have almost ceased to write. I am not like James Madison or James Monroe. I cannot follow always. Mr. Jefferson is a great man–but it is hungry dwelling in the shadow of another.”

“Better dwell in the shadow forever,” cried Jacqueline, with passion, “than to reign with faithlessness in the sun!”

“I am not faithless–”

“So Benedict Arnold thought! Oh, Lewis!”

“You speak,” said Rand slowly, “too much like the Churchills and the Carys.”

In the silence that followed, Jacqueline rose and stood over against him, the scarf trailing from her hand and the amethysts rising and falling with her laboured breathing. He glanced at her and then went on: “Burr leaves Richmond to-morrow. He does not go West till summer, and all his schemes may come to naught. What he does or does not do will depend on many things, chiefly on whether or not we go to war with Spain. I am not going West with him–not yet. I have let him talk. I have brought him and Adam Gaudylock together; I have put a little money in this land purchase of his upon the Washita, and I have given him some advice. That is all there is of rebellion, treason, and sedition,–all the cock-a-hoop story! Ludwell Cary may keep his own breath to cool his own porridge. And you, Jacqueline, you who married me, you have not a soul to be frighted with big words! You and I shall walk side by side.”

“Shall we?” she said. “That will depend. I’ll not walk with you over the dead–dead faith, dead hope, dead honour!”

“I shall not ask you to,” he answered. “You are not yourself. You are using words without thought. It is the cold, the lateness, and this dying fire–Ludwell Cary’s arrogance as well. Dead faith, hope, honour!–is this your trust, your faith?”

“Lewis, Lewis!”

He rose, crossed the shadowy space between them, and took her hands. “Don’t fear–don’t fear! We two will always love. Jacqueline, there is that within me that will not rest, that cries for power, and that overrides obstacles! See what I have overridden since the days beneath the apple tree! I am not idly dreaming. Conditions such as exist to-day will not arise again. Upon this continent it is the time of times for the bold–the wisely bold. This that beckons is no mirage in the West; it is palpable fact. Say that I follow Burr–follow! overtake and pass him! He has a tarnished name and fifty years,–a supple rapier but a shrunken arm. He’s daring; but I can be that and more. He plans; I can achieve. I am no dreamer and no braggart when I say that in the West I can play the Corsican. What can I do here? Become, perhaps, Governor of Virginia; wait until Mr. Jefferson is dead, and Mr. Madison is dead, and Mr. Monroe is dead, and then, if the world is yet Republican, become President? The governorship I do not want; the presidency is but a chance, and half a lifetime off! But this–this, Jacqueline, is real and at hand. Say that I go, say that I gain a throne where you and I may sit and rule, wise and great and sovereign, holding kingdoms for our children–”

“Oh!” exclaimed Jacqueline.

Rand drew her to him. “Don’t fear–don’t fear! The child will come–we want him so!”

“Promise me,” she cried,–"promise me that you will see Colonel Burr no more, write to him no more! Promise me that you will put all this away, forever, forever! Oh, Lewis, give me your word!”

“I will do nothing rash,” he said. “We will go back to Roselands,–we will watch and wait awhile. Burr himself does not go West until the summer. Ere then I will persuade you. That first July evening, under the mimosa at the gate, even then this thing was vaguely, vaguely in my mind.”

“Was it?” she cried. “Oh me, oh me!”

“You are wearied,” he said, “chilled and trembling. I wish that Ludwell Cary had aired his views elsewhere to-night! Put it all from your mind and come to rest–”

“Lewis, if ever you loved me–if ever you said that you would give me proof–”

“You know that I love you.”

“Then, as I gave up friends and home for you, give up this thing for me! No, no, I’ll not cease to beg"–She slipped from his arm to her knees. “Lewis, Lewis, this is not the road–this is not the way to freedom, goodness, happiness Promise me! Oh, Lewis, if ever you loved me, promise me!”

From Rand’s house on Shockoe Hill Ludwell Cary walked quickly homeward to the Eagle, where he and his brother lodged. As he walked he thought at first, hotly and bitterly enough, of Lewis Rand and painfully of himself, but at length the solemnity of the white night and the high glitter of the stars made him impatient of his own mood. He looked at the stars, and at the ivory and black of the tall trees, and his mind calmed itself and turned to think of Jacqueline.

In the Eagle’s best bedroom, before a blazing fire and a bottle of port, he found Fairfax Cary deep in a winged chair and a volume of Fielding. “Well, Fair?” he said, with his arm upon the mantel-shelf and his booted foot upon the fender.

The younger Cary closed his book and hospitably poured wine for his brother. “Were you at the Amblers’?” he asked. “It’s a night for one’s own fireside. I went to the Mayos’, but the fair Maria is out of town. On the way I stopped at Bowler’s Tavern to see his man about that filly we were talking of, and I had a glass with old Bowler himself. He let out a piece of news. Who d’ye think is in town and under Bowler’s roof?–Aaron Burr!”

There was a silence, then Cary said quietly, “Aren’t you mistaken, Fair?”

“Not in the least,” answered the other. “He came in a sloop from Baltimore yesterday. It is not known that he’s in town; he does not want it known. He’s keeping quiet,–perhaps he has another duel on his conscience. I don’t believe old Bowler knew he had let the cat out. Burr leaves to-morrow. He was out visiting to-night.”

“How do you know that?” Cary demanded, with sudden sharpness.

“Bowler’s best bedroom in darkness–no special preparations for supper–Burr’s man idling in the kitchen–mine host taking no cake to speak low,–in short, the wedding guest was roaming. I wonder where he was!”

The elder Cary raised and drained the glass of wine. He knew where Aaron Burr had supped and passed the evening, and a coldness that was not of the night crept upon him. As for Lewis Rand, he cared not what he did nor why he did it, but for Jacqueline Churchill. This had been the client from the country! All the time she was keeping it secret that Burr was there. She had turned pale. No wonder!–the faithful wife!

“Take care, that glass is thin–you’ll break it!” warned the younger Cary, but the glass had snapped in the elder’s fingers.

“Pshaw!” said Cary; “too frail for use! I’m off to bed, Fair. That bill comes up to-morrow, and it means a bitter fight. Good-night,–and I say, Fair, hold your tongue about Aaron Burr. Good-night!”

In his room he put out the candle, parted the window curtains, and looked upon Orion, icily splendid in the midnight sky. “What is there that is steadfast?” he thought. “Does she love him so?” He stood for a long time looking out into the night. He thought of that evening at Fontenoy when he had come in from the sultry and thunderous air and had found Rand seated in the drawing-room and Jacqueline at her harp, singing To Althea,–

     “Minds innocent and quiet take
        That for a hermitage.”

The words and the vision of Fontenoy that night were yet with him when at last he turned from the window and threw himself upon the bed, where he finally fell asleep with his arm flung up and across his eyes.


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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