Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston

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Chapter XX: The Nineteenth of February

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

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

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

“Last winter? I don’t recall–”

“At Lynch’s Coffee House. The twentieth of February. The day the Albemarle Resolutions were passed.”

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

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


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

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

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

“Nothing. Why?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You and Mr. Rand are old friends?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes. With Lewis Rand.”

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

“You are not surprised?”

“No. It explains.”

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

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

“How do you know?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Have you any proof that he is conspiring with Burr?”

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

“Yes, I see that.”

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

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

“Yes, it is.”

“Would she go?”

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

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

“It’s a check to his plans, no doubt,” said the other wearily.

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

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

“At the moment I am going to Fontenoy.”

“I would speak, I think, to Major Edward.”

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

“Ah!” exclaimed his brother.

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

“I see–I see!”

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

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

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

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

“Have out a warrant against him.”

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

“Then let me challenge him.”

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


Chapter 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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