Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston

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Chapter XVII: Fairfax and Unity

“Bah!” exclaimed Major Churchill. “Long ago Hamilton said the last word on the subject. Aaron Burr’s sole political principle is to mount. The Gazette says he has started West–gone, I’ll swear, to light the fuse.”

“Then I hope the mine will blow up under him,” said Fairfax Cary. “Can you tell me, sir, if Miss Dandridge is at home?”

The Major looked over the top of his Gazette. “Miss Dandridge is sitting beneath the catalpa tree.” The other made a movement towards the door. “Mr. Page is with her. He is reading aloud–Eloïsa to Abelard, or some such impassioned stuff. Don’t apologize! I have no objection to expletives.”

The younger Cary laid down his hat, took a chair with great deliberation, and flecked his boot with his riding-whip. “The catalpa shall be sacred for me. Eloïsa to Abelard! Is it a long poem, sir?”

“It is longer than its author was. Sentimental rubbish!”

Major Edward folded the Gazette with his one hand, laid it on the library table, and leaned back in his leather chair. “It is not my opinion that Unity cares for Mr. Page. She cares for what many men and an occasional woman have cared for–liberty.”

“I would give her liberty.”

“She may possibly prefer it,” said the Major dryly, “first hand.”

The young man laughed ruefully. “So little liberty as she has left me! I am bound hand and foot to her chariot wheels. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her, short of hearing Page read aloud.”

“You’ll win in the end, I think. And I hope you may. Unity Dandridge is wilful, but she is a fine woman.”

“The finest in the world–the most beautiful–the most sparkling–the most loyal–”

“You’ll not find her lacking in spirit. She will speak her mind, will Miss Dandridge! The Carys, fortunately, have a certain fine obstinacy of their own. It is a saving grace.”

The other laughed. “I never heard that the Churchills lacked it, sir. Anyhow, I mean to marry Miss Dandridge. I’ve told her and the world my intention, and they may count upon my carrying it out. If she only knew how lonely it is at Greenwood! Breakfast, dinner, and supper–Ludwell at the head of the table and I at the foot, and a company of ghosts in between–”

“Ludwell may yet marry.”

Fairfax Cary shook his head. “No. He’ll never marry. If the Carys are obstinate, sir, they are also constant.”

Major Churchill rose, turned to the bookshelves, and drew forth a volume. “Is he not over that?” he asked harshly.

“No, he is not. He’ll never be over it. And they say matches are made in heaven!”

“Bah! They are made on earth, and cracked hearts can be mended like any other cracked ware. ’A little crudded milk, fantastical puff-paste,’ with a woman’s name–and it has power to turn the sunshine black! Let him play the man and put her out of mind!”

“He does play the man,” answered the other, with spirit. “He neither sulks nor shirks. It remains that there was but one woman in the world for him, and that she is at Roselands with Lewis Rand.”

The Major’s book fell with a crash to the floor. He stooped quickly and recovered it before the younger man could give him service. “I shall run Mustapha on the sixteenth at Staunton against Carter’s York,” he said, in a shaking voice. “Have you seen that Barbary mare Dick has gotten over from England?”

“No,” answered the young man. “I’ll take a look at the stables before I go. What is your book, sir?”

“It is"–said the Major. “I’m damned if I know what it is!” and he looked at the volume in his hand. “Paul and Virginia–faugh!” He threw the book down and stalked to the window. Fairfax Cary sat in silence, one booted knee over the other, an arm upon the back of his chair, and the riding-whip depending from his hand. The Major turned. “They have laid down Pope, and Mr. Page is making his adieux! Humph! I can remember a day when the poem was considered vastly moving. I would advise you to strike while the iron is hot.”

“Sometimes I think it will take an earthquake to move her toward me," said the other. “I’ll give Page three minutes in which to clear out, and then I’ll try again. It would amuse you, sir, to know how many times I have tried. If to have an object in life is praiseworthy, I am much to be lauded!”

“You have always evinced a fine determination,” admitted the Major. “Well, life must have an object, fair or foul. With it, cark and care; without it, ditchwater! This way disappointment; that, fungi on a log. Vanity in either direction, but a man of honour must prefer the rack to the stocks.”

Fairfax Cary looked at his watch. “Page’s time is up. I’ll go pursue my object, sir.”

The pursuit took him over the greensward to the bench built around the great catalpa. The heat of the day was broken and the evening shadows lay upon the grass. Mr. Page was gone. Unity sat beneath the catalpa, elbow on knee and chin in hand, studying a dandelion at her feet. The poetical works of Mr. Alexander Pope lay at a distance, face down. The sky between the broad catalpa leaves was very blue, and a long ray of sunshine sifted through to gild the tendrils of Miss Dandridge’s hair and to slide in brightness down her flowery gown. She glanced at the young man striding towards her from the house, then again admired the dandelion.

Fairfax Cary stooped, picked up Pope, and regarded the open pages with disfavour. “And at home he probably reads only The Complete Farrier–on Sundays maybe the Gentleman’s Magazine or The Book of Dreams!”

“Who?” asked Unity.

“My rival. If he read Greek, he would yet be my rival and an ignorant fellow.”

“He does read Greek,” said Miss Dandridge severely, “and ’ignorant fellow’ is the last thing that could be applied to him. Did you ride over from Greenwood to be scornful?”

“I rode over to be as meek as Moses and as patient as Job–”

“They were never my favourites in Scripture.”

“Nor mine.” He closed the book, swung his arm, and Pope crashed into a lilac bush. “There,” he said, “goes meekness, patience, and the eighteenth century. This is the nineteenth. Time is no endless draught, no bottomless cup. Waste of life is the cankered rose. You know that you treat me badly.”

“Do I?–I did not mean to.”

“You do. Now you’ve got to say to me, ’I love you and I’ll marry you,’ or ’I love you not and I’m going to marry some one else.’ If it’s the first, I’ll be the happiest man on earth; if the second, I’ll go far away and try to forget.”

“Won’t you sit down?”

“You have kept me standing in spirit these three years. Standing!–kneeling! Now, will you or won’t you?”

“I do not care in the least for Mr. Page. He is merely an agreeable acquaintance.”

“And Mr. Dabney?”

“The same. He entertains me–”

“Mr. Lee–Mr. Minor–Ned Hunter–”

“What applies to one applies to all.”

“I am glad to hear it. All merely agreeable acquaintances. And Mr. Fairfax Cary? He is, perhaps, in the same category?”

“Perhaps. Oh, what a beautiful butterfly!–there, on that trumpet flower! I think it is a Tawny Emperor.”

“I see,” said the young man. “Excuse me a moment while I frighten him away.” He gravely shook the trumpet vine, and the light splendour spread its wings and sailed to a securer realm. “Now that the Emperor is gone perhaps you will pay attention. Am I merely an agreeable acquaintance?”

“Oh–agreeable!” murmured Miss Dandridge.

“I am not trying to be agreeable. I am looking for the truth. Am I, then, merely an acquaintance?”

Unity sighed. “Why not say ’friend’?”

“’Friend’ is good as far as it goes. It does not go far enough.”

“Yes, it does,” said Miss Dandridge. “It goes further than all your less sober travellers.

“Love me little, love me long.

“You want such violent things!”

“I want you. Is it, then, only a poor, pale friendship?”

“Why call it poor and pale? Friendship can be rosy-cheeked as well as–as other things. Look how the grass is burned–and all the locusts are singing of the heat!”

“It is beneath you to trifle so. If this is all, it is poor and pale, and the sooner it dies, the better! Unity, I’m waiting for your coup de grâce.”

“I’m tired,” said Unity. “You hurt me, and I’m tired.”

“I never heard you say that before. Look at me! the tears are in your eyes.”

“Everybody cries over Eloïsa to Abelard.

     “O death all-eloquent! you only prove
     What dust we dote on, when’t is man we love!

“Where are you going?”

“Home first, then–I don’t know where. Good-bye.”

“Don’t go.”

“I’m afraid the book in the lilac bush is spoiled. If you’ll allow me, I’ll send you another copy.”

“Please don’t go.”

“The tears are on your cheeks. It is a moving poem.

“Oh, may we never love as those have loved!

“This is the third and last good-bye. Good-bye.”

The younger Cary turned and resolutely walked away. Miss Dandridge rose and followed him. He did not turn his head, and the thick turf could not echo her light footfall. He walked firmly, with the port of a man who hears a distant drum beat to action. Miss Dandridge admired the attitude through her tears. He walked rapidly and the sweep of greensward between them widened. It was no great distance to the driveway and the white pillars of the house. Uncle Dick and Uncle Edward, Deb, the servants, any one, might be looking out of the windows. For one moment Unity stopped short as Atalanta when she saw the golden apple, then she began to run. She touched her goal within ten feet of the house, and he stood still and looked at the hand upon his arm. “Oh!” she panted. “Don’t go! I–I–I–”


“I love you. Oh!”

If any window saw, it was discreet and never told, remembering perhaps a youth of its own. The embrace was not prolonged beyond a minute. Unity, red and beautiful, released herself, looked about her like a startled dryad, and made again for the catalpa. Fairfax Cary followed, and they took that portion of the circular bench which had between it and the house the giant bole of the tree. Before them dipped the shady hollow, filled with the rustling of leaves, cool and retired as its parent forest.

“Oh, yes, yes; it’s true, gospel true!” cried Unity. “But I’ll not be married for a long, long year!”

“A year! You’re going to be cruel again.”

“No, no, I’m not cruel! I never was. ’Twas all your imagination. When I marry, I’ll be married hard and fast, hand and foot, wind and rain, sleet and snow, June and December, forever and a day, world without end, amen! holidays and all! I may live forever, and I’ll be married all that time. I want just one little year to say good-bye to Unity Dandridge in.”

“We’ll take her to Greenwood with us.”

“No, no. We’ll bury her in the flower garden the day before. Just one year–please!”

“Oh, Unity, when you say ’please’!”

“This is August. I’ll marry you twelve little months from now–please!”

“A thousand things may happen–”

“They won’t–they won’t. Don’t you love Unity Dandridge? Then let her live a little longer!”

“Kiss me–”

Unity did as she was bid. The sunlight left the hollow, but stayed bright upon the hills beyond. It was August, but in a treetop somewhere a solitary bird was singing. Nearer the earth the crickets and cicadas began their evening concert, a shrill drumming in the warm, still air. There was a scent of dry grass, a feeling of summer at its full. Dewy freshness, tender green, mist of bloom, and a thousand songs were far away, and yet upon the bench beneath the catalpa there was spring.

“The sun is setting,” said Unity at last. “Let us go speak to Uncle Dick.”

“He’ll be glad, I think. May I stay to supper? I want to hear Unity Dandridge sing afterwards.”

“Yes, Uncle Dick will be glad–he and Uncle Edward will be very glad. I don’t believe that Unity Dandridge will want to sing to-night. She’ll be thinking of that grave in the flower garden.”

“No! She shall think of the sunrise at Greenwood–sunrise and splendid roses and the million harps of heaven playing!”

“Oh!” cried Unity, “the sunrise at Greenwood should have been for your brother!”

“Yes, for him and your cousin. Blind fate! He is worth a thousand of me, and he sits lonely there in his house–and I am here!”

“There’s no pure joy.”

“When I tell him to-night, he will feel but pure joy for me–not one thought of self, of the sunrise he might have watched at Greenwood! Oh, Justice and her balances! There goes the last rim of the sun.”

“I’ll sing to you what you will–and you may stay as long as you like–and I’ll love you all my life. Oh! Now let’s go find Uncle Dick.”

Uncle Dick was easily found, being in fact upon the porch in his especial chair, with the dogs around him, and in his hand a silver goblet of mint and apple brandy. “Hey! What, what!” he cried, “has the jade said Yes at last? Where’s Edward? Edward, Edward! Kiss me, you minx! Fair, I wish that my dear friend, your father, were alive. Well, well, patience does it, and the Lord knows, Unity, he’s been patient! Oh, you black-eyed piece, you need a bit and bridle! Here’s Edward! Edward, the shrew’s tamed at last! Such a wedding as Fontenoy will have!”

Four hours later, when supper was over, and Aunt Nancy in the “chamber" had been visited by the affianced pair, and all matters had been discussed, and Unity at the harpsichord had sung without protest a number of very sentimental songs, and Deb had gone unwillingly to bed, and first one uncle and then the other had thoughtfully faded from the drawing-room, and good-night, when it came to be said in the moonlit porch, took ten minutes to say, and the boy who brought around the visitor’s horse had caught with a grin and a “Thank’e, sah!” the whirling silver dollar, and Major Edward’s voice had sounded from the hail door behind Unity, “Good-night, Fair; bring Ludwell with you to-morrow night,” and Unity had echoed softly, “Yes, bring Ludwell,” and the last wave of the hand had been given, Fairfax Cary cantered down the driveway and through the lower gates. Out upon the red highway he put his horse to the gallop, and rode with his bared head high to the wind and the stars of night.

At Greenwood there was but one light burning. He saw it half a mile from the house, lost it, then caught it again, crowning like a star the low hilltop. Bending from the saddle, he opened the gate, passed through, and rode on beneath the oaks to the house door. The light shone from the library. When a negro had taken his horse, the younger Cary entered to find his brother sitting before a mass of books and papers, wine on the table, and a favourite dog asleep upon the hearth. “You are late,” said the elder, looking up with a smile. “Fontenoy, of course?”

“Fontenoy, of course. Ludwell, I’ve won!”

The elder brother pushed back his chair, rose, and, going to the younger, put both hands upon his shoulders. “Fair. I’m glad! I told you that you would. She’s the loveliest black-eyed lady–and as for you, you deserve your fortune! Monsieur mon frère, I make you my congratulations!”

“What a blaze of light you’ve got in here! All the way home my horse’s hoofs were saying, Unity Cary–Unity Cary.”

Ludwell laughed. “You’re drunk with joy. The room is not brightly lit. Sit down and tell me all about it.”

“’Twas underneath the catalpa tree. We quarrelled–”

“As usual.”

“Page had been there, reading aloud,–reading Eloïsa to Abelard.”


“We quarrelled. I said good-bye forever, and walked away. She came after me over the grass. Ludwell, to hold the woman that you love in your arms, close, close–”

“I can guess ’twas bliss. And then?”

“Heaven still–only quieter. We went back to the bench under the catalpa.”

“Happy tree! And I never thought it a poetic growth–the flowers are so sticky! Now Unity shall plant one at Greenwood.”

“’Unity’! Isn’t it sweet to say just ’Unity’?”

The other laughed again. “I think you are a very satisfactory lover! And when’s the marriage, Fair?”

“Not for a whole year–she won’t marry me for a whole year to come!”

“Why, that’s too long,” said the elder kindly. “What reason?”

“Time to say farewell. Once she’s married, she will never see Unity Dandridge again!”

Both laughed, but there was much tenderness in their laughter. “Oh, she’s individual!” said Ludwell. “Even when you add the Cary, she’ll be Unity Dandridge still. A year! Perhaps she may relent.”

“I’ve given my word not to ask her.”

“Ah!–well, a year’s not so long, Fair. She’s a lovely witch–she’ll charm the hours away. This time next year how gay we’ll make the old house!”

The younger paced the room. “I can’t go to bed. Michaelmas–Christmas–St. Valentine’s–Easter–the Fourth–then August again. Twelve months!”

“You’ll ride to Fontenoy in the morning.”

“That’s true–and you’ll ride with me. The last thing that she said was that I was to bring you. Ludwell, I want to say that not even Unity, though I love her so much, could ever make me love you an iota the less. You know that, don’t you?”

“Yes, I know, Fair,” said the other from the great chair. “We are friends as well as brothers. I’m as glad for your happiness as if it were my own, and I’ll ride with you to Fontenoy to kiss my new sister. You’ve both chosen wisely, and it’s a great day for Greenwood! Stop that striding here and there like an ecstatic lion! Sit down and tell me all about it again. The wine’s good, and I’ll light more candles. There!”

“You’re the best fellow in the world, Ludwell,” said the younger gratefully. “She had on a gown with little flowers all over a yellowy ground, and there was a curl that came down on her white neck–and when I had gone away forever and then felt her hand upon my arm, it was like a sword-stroke opening Paradise. It isn’t really late, is it? I could talk till dawn!”


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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