Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston

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Chapter XXI: The Cedar Wood

Jacqueline closed the door of her aunt’s chamber softly behind her, passed through the Fontenoy hall, and came out upon the wide porch. There, in the peace of the September afternoon, she found Unity alone with the Lay of the Last Minstrel. “Aunt Nancy is asleep,” she said. “I left Mammy Chloe beside her. Unity, I think she’s better.”

“So the doctor said this morning.”

“I think she’s beginning to remember. She looks strangely at me.”

“If she does remember, she’ll want you still!”

Jacqueline shook her head. “I think not. How lovely it is, this afternoon! The asters are all in bloom in the garden, and the gum tree is turning red.” She threw a gauze scarf over her head. “I am going down to the old gate by the narrow road.”

“I wish,” said Unity, “that I had the ordering of the universe for just one hour! Then Christians would become Christian, and you wouldn’t have to meet your husband outside the gates of home.”

The other laughed a little. “Oh, Unity, Christians won’t be Christian, and even as it is, ’tis sweet to be at home! Until you go away to Greenwood, you’ll not know how dear was Fontenoy! To hear the poplars rustling and to smell the box again–Is it not strange that I should have a light heart when they look so cold upon me?”

“I have hopes of Uncle Dick, but Uncle Edward"–Unity shook her head. “I don’t understand Uncle Edward.”

“I do,” answered Jacqueline, “and I love him most. I’ll go now and leave you to the Last Minstrel. Does Fairfax Cary come to-night?”

“He may–”

Jacqueline laughed. “’He may.’ Yes, indeed, I think he may! Oh, Unity, smell the roses, and look at the light upon the mountains! Good-bye! I’m for Lewis now.”

She passed down the steps and through the garden toward the cedar wood which led to the old gate on the narrow road. Unity heard her singing as she went. The voice died in the distance. A door opened, Uncle Edward’s step was heard in the hall, and his voice, harsh and strange, came out to his niece upon the porch: “Unity, I want you in the library a moment.”

Jacqueline kept her tryst with Rand under the great oak that stood without the old gate, on land that was not the Churchills’. It was their custom to walk a little way into the wood that lay hard by, but this afternoon the narrow road, grass-grown and seldom used, was all their own. They sat upon the wayside, beneath the tree, and Selim grazed beside them. There was her full report of all that concerned them both, and there was what he chose to tell her. They talked of Fontenoy, and then of Roselands–talked freely and with clasped hands. Her head rested on his shoulder; they sat in deep accord, bathed by the golden light of the afternoon; sometimes they were silent for minutes at a time, while the light grew fairer on the hills. When an hour had passed they rose and kissed, and he watched her across the road and through the gate into the circle of Fontenoy. She turned, and waited to see him mount Selim and ride away. He spoke from the saddle, “At the same hour to-morrow," and she answered, “The same hour.” Her hands were clasped upon the top-most bar of the gate. He wheeled Selim, crossed the road, half swung himself from the saddle, and pressed his lips upon them. “Come home soon!” he said, and she answered, “Soon.”

When the bend of the road had hidden horse and rider, she left the gate and began her return to the house. Her path lay through a field, through the cedar wood, and through the flower garden. In the field beside a runlet grew masses of purple ironweed. She broke a stately piece, half as tall as herself, and with it in her hand left the autumn-coloured field and entered the little wood where the cedars grew dark and close, with the bare, red earth beneath. At the end of the aisle of trees could be seen the bright-hued garden and a fraction of blue heaven. Holding the branch of ironweed before her, Jacqueline passed through the wood toward the light of sky and flowers, and came at the edge of the open space upon a large old tree, twisted like one of those which Dante saw. As she stepped beneath the dark and spreading boughs a man, leaving the sunlit flower garden for the shadow of the cedars, met her face to face. “You!” he cried, and stopped short.

The branch of ironweed dropped from her hand. “I did not know that you were at Fontenoy. I have not seen you this long while–except for that moment the other night. Is it not–is it not the loveliest day?”

“I came from the library into the flower garden and on to this wood because I wished to think, to be alone, to gain composure before I returned to the house–and you front me like a spectre in the dimness! Once before, I entered this wood from the flower garden–and it was dark, dark as it is to-day, though the weather was June. Nor do I, either, count the other night when I came to Roselands as Colonel Churchill’s messenger. It has been long, indeed, since we truly met.”

“You are not well, Mr. Cary!”

“I am–I am,” said Cary. “Give me a moment.”

He rested his arm against the red trunk of the cedar and covered his eyes with his hand. Jacqueline stood, looking not at him but at the coloured round of garden. Her heart was fluttering, she knew not why. The moment that he asked went by and, dropping his arm, he turned upon her a face that he had not yet schooled to calmness.

“The evening of the nineteenth of February,” he said. “That was the last time we really met. Do you remember?”

“Yes, I remember. It was the day of the deep snow.”

Cary regarded her mutely; then, “Yes, that was the important thing. We all remember it because of the snow. You were learning a new song that you promised to sing to me when I came again. But I never heard it–I never came again.”

“I know. Why was that?”

“Do you ask?” he cried, and there was pain and anger in his voice. “I thought it not of you.”

The crimson surged over Jacqueline’s face and throat. She bent toward him impetuously, with a quick motion of her hands. “Ah, forgive me!” she cried. “I know–I know. I was told of the quarrel next day in the coffee house. I–I was more sorry than I can say. I understood. You could not, after that, come again to the house. Oh, more than almost anything, I wish that you and Lewis were friends! It is wrong to try to make you think that that evening does not live in my memory. It does–it does!”

“I am willing to believe as much,” he returned, with a strange dryness. “I know that you remember that evening, but I hardly think it altogether on my account–”

The colour faded from her cheek. “On whose, then? My husband’s?”

“And your guest’s.”

“You were my guest.”

“Oh,” cried Cary, “I’ll not have it! You shall not so perjure yourself! He has taken much from me; if your truth is his as well, then indeed he has taken all! I know, I know who was the guest that night, the man with whom you supped, the ’client from the country.’”

She gazed at him with large eyes, her hand upon her heart, then, with an inarticulate word or two, she moved to the gnarled and protruding roots of the cedar and took her seat there facing his troubled figure and indignant eyes. “Who was the guest,–the client from the country?”

“Aaron Burr.”

She drew a difficult breath. “How long have you known?”

“Since that night. No–do not be distressed! I learned it not from you,–you kept faithful guard. But when I left you, within the hour I knew it.”

“And–and if he were there, what harm?”

Cary regarded her in silence; then, “The letter that I read you that night from your uncle, from one of the heads of your house, from a patriot and a man of stainless honour, that letter was, I think, sufficiently explicit! There was the harm. But Major Churchill’s opinion, too, is perhaps forgot.”

“No,” cried Jacqueline, “no; you do not understand! Listen to me!” She rose, drawing herself to her full height, the red again in her cheek, her eyes dark and bright. “I am going to tell you the truth of this matter. Are you not my friend, whose opinion I value for me and mine? You are a true and honourable gentleman–I speak with no fear that what I say will ever pass beyond this wood! Uncle Edward’s letter! You think that what was said in Uncle Edward’s letter–ay, and what you, too, said in comment–was already known to me that night! Well, it was not. Oh, it is true that Colonel Burr had supped with us, and it is also true that I was most heartily sorry for it! At table, while he talked, I saw only that green field so far away, and General Hamilton bleeding to his death,–yes, and I thought, ’Oh me, what would they say to me at Fontenoy?’ But I knew no worse of Colonel Burr than that one deed, and I bore myself toward him as any woman must toward her husband’s guest! I am telling you all. He was Lewis’s guest, Lewis’s correspondent, and this was an arranged meeting. I knew that and I knew no more. After supper they talked together, and I sat alone by the fire in the empty drawing-room. I was bidden–yes, I will tell you this!–I was bidden to keep all visitors out, since it must not be known that Colonel Burr was then in Richmond! You came, and by mistake you were admitted. I was lonely at heart and hungry for news from home, I let you stay, and you read to me what my uncle had to say of the man who was at that instant beneath my roof, engaged in talk with my husband! You read, and then you, too, took up the tale! ’Traitor–treason.... A man whom, had you the power, you would arrest at once.... False to his honour, false to his country.... Traitor and maker of traitors.... And where is your husband to-night?’ Well, I did not choose to tell you where was my husband that night–and, since I was frightened, and cold at heart, and knew not what to say, and–and was frightened, I lied to you! But as for that which I now see that you have thought of me–you are much mistaken there! Until you read me Uncle Edward’s letter, I did not know what men said of Aaron Burr!”

“I wronged you,” said Cary, with emotion. “I doubted you, and I have been most wretched in the doubting. Forgive me!”

“You wronged me, yes!” she cried. “But am I the only one you’ve wronged? Oh, I see, I see what since that night you have thought of Lewis! It was the next day that you quarrelled in the coffee house! Oh, all these months, have you been mistrusting Lewis Rand, believing him concerned with that man, suspecting him of–of–of treason? There, too, you are mistaken. Listen!”

She came closer to him, all colour, light, and fire against the dark cedars. “I am going to tell you. You are generous, open-minded, candid, fair–you will understand, and you will know him better, and you and he may yet be friends! I have that at heart–you would hardly believe how much I have that at heart. Have you been dreaming of Lewis Rand as the aider and abetter of Colonel Burr’s designs, whatever they may be! as a conspirator with him against the peace of the country, against Virginia, against the Republic? You have, you have,–I read it in your face! Well, you are wrong. Oh, I will tell you the clean truth! He was tempted–he saw below him the kingdoms of the earth–and oh, remember that around him are not the friendly arms, the old things, the counsel of the past, the watchword in the blood, the voice that cries to you or to my uncles and so surely points to you the road! I will tell the whole truth. I will not say that his mind sees always by the light by which we rest. He has come another way and through another world. How should he think our thoughts, see just with our eyes? He has come through night and hurrying clouds; his way has been steep, and there are stains upon his nature. I that love him will not deny them! He was tempted as Ludwell Cary would not have been. Oh, perhaps if I had not been there, he would have made his compact. But I was there! and I besought him–and that night he swore to me–”

Cary threw out his arm with a cry. “Stop, stop! I take God to witness that I never thought of this!”

She went on, unheeding. “He swore to me that whatever in that world of his he had thought of Aaron Burr and of his projects, however keenly he had seen the dazzling fortune that lay in that western country, yet, as I had left my world for his, so would he leave that night, in this, his world for mine! And he did so–he did so that night before the dawn!”

She raised her hand to her eyes and dashed away the bright drops. “You have done an injustice. All this time you have thought him what that night you called Aaron Burr. I know not where Colonel Burr is now, but since the night of the nineteenth of February, he and my husband have had no dealings.”

“My God!” said Cary, in a low voice; then, “This is all your assurance?”

“All?” she echoed proudly. “It is enough.”

He turned away and, walking to the edge of the wood, stood there, striving for some measure of self-command. His hands opened and shut. Lewis Rand was a perjured traitor, and it only remained to tell Jacqueline as much.

The garden swam before his eyes, then the mist passed and he saw with distinctness. There was a path before him that led away between walls of box to the green and flowery heart of the place, and at the heart was a summer-house. He saw it all again. There was the morning in June, there was the blowing rose, there was the sudden vision–Rand and Jacqueline, hand in hand, with mingled breath! It was into this path that he had turned–it was to this wood that he had stumbled, leaving them there. He felt again the icy shock, the death and wormwood in his soul. They had had the gold, they had loved and embraced while, with his face to the earth, he had lain there beneath that tree where now she stood. Well, Time’s globe was turning–there were shadows now for the lovers’ country! Their land, too, would have its night; perhaps an endless night. He entertained the fierce, triumphant thought, but not for long. He had loved Jacqueline Churchill truly, and her happiness was more to him than his own. When, presently, he reached the consideration of her in that darkened country, moving forever over ash and cinder beneath an empty, leaden heaven, he found the contemplation intolerable. A tenderness crept into his heart, divine enough as things go in the heart of man. The summer-house mocked him still, and the image of Rand walked with armed foot through every chamber of his brain, but he wished no worse for Jacqueline than unending light and love. After the first red moment, it was not possible to him to put out one lamp, to break one flower, in her paradise. It hung like a garden in Babylon over the dust and sorrow of the common way, over the gulf of broken gods and rent illusions. To jar that rainbow tenure by the raising of his voice, to bring that phantom bliss whirling down to the trodden street, lay not within the quality of the man. He closed his eyes and fought with the memory of that June morning when he and Colonel Churchill had come upon the summer-house; fought with that and with a hundred memories besides, then looked again, and quietly, at the autumn place, bright with late flowers and breathed over by the haunting fragrance of the box. Another moment and he turned back to the wood and the great tree.

Jacqueline sat beneath the cedar, the branch of ironweed again within her hand. She had found it natural that Ludwell Cary should turn away. It was not easy to struggle against a misconception, to re-marshal facts and revise judgments–often it was hard. She waited quietly, fingering the tufts of purple bloom, her eyes upon the clear sky between the cedar boughs. When at last she heard his step and looked up, it was with an exquisite kindness in her large, dark eyes. “It was a natural mistake," she said. “Do not think that I blame you. It is hard to believe in good when we think we see evil.”

“I am thankful,” he answered, “that you are back in your shrine. Forgive me my error.”

She looked at him fixedly. “But concerning Lewis–there, too, was error. Why should you continue enemies?”

There was a silence, then Cary spoke, sadly and bitterly. “You must leave me that. There are men who are born to be antagonists. When that is so, they find each other out over half the world, and circumstance may be trusted to square for them a battle-ground. Mr. Rand and I, I fear, will still be enemies.”

“Then what I have told you makes no difference–”

“You are mistaken there. What you have told me shall have its weight.”

“Why, then,” cried Jacqueline, “you cannot judge him as you have been judging throughout a spring and summer! You are just and generous–will you not try to be friends? Ere this men have left off being foes, and many and many a battlefield is now thick with wild flowers. I should be happy if you and Lewis would clasp hands.”

Her voice was persuasion’s own, and there was a tremulous smile upon her red lips, and a soft light in her dark eyes. “There is a thing that I have long divined,” she said, “and that is the strange regard for what you think and what you are that exists deep, deep down in his mind. It lies so deep that he is mainly ignorant that it is there. He thinks that you and he are all inimical. But it is there like an ancient treasure far down in the ocean depths, far below the surface storm. There is in him a preoccupation with you. Often and often, when questions of right and wrong arise, I know that his thought descends to that secret place where he keeps an image of you! I know that he interrogates that image, ’Is it thus or so that you would do?’ And if, at times, scornfully or sullenly or with indifference, he does the opposite to what the image says, yet none the less at the next decision will his thought fly to that same judgment bar! It is an attraction that he fights against, a habit of the mind that he would break if he could–but it is there–indeed, indeed it is there! It is despotic–I do not think that he can escape. Ah, if you and he were friends, you would be friends indeed!” She looked at him pleadingly, with her hand outstretched.

Cary shook his head. “You are mistaken,” he said harshly. “I am conscious of no place where my spirit and that of Mr. Rand may touch. I cannot explain; we are enemies: you must let us fight it out.”

“Does it so much matter that you are Federalist and he Republican?”

“It matters very little.”

“Or that you are a Cary, with all that that means, while he is Lewis Rand from the Three-Notched Road?”

“That matters not at all.”

“Or that you are rival lawyers? Or that in politics he has defeated you? Or–Oh, my friend, now I am dealing unjustly! Forgive me–forgive me and make friends!”

“Would he,” asked Cary sombrely–"would he agree? I think not. I am sure not. I think rather that he cherishes this enmity, feeds it, and fans it. Our lines in life have crossed, and now there is no force can lay them parallel. The sun is sinking, and I must see Major Edward again.”

She rose from her seat beneath the cedar. “I’ll hope on,” she said. “Some day, if we live long enough, all clouds will break. Time withstands even the stony heart.”

“Do you think,” he demanded, “that mine is a stony heart? Well, be it so, since this is a game of misunderstanding! I will say this. If I could come, the next nineteenth of February, to your house on Shockoe Hill, and find him there, and find you happy with him there, then, then I think I would clasp hands–”

“Ah,” she cried, “do not wait until February! We shall be there on Shockoe Hill in November.”

He stooped and lifted her branch of ironweed. “You are sure?”

“Why, yes,” she answered. “The house has been retaken. We go to Richmond as soon as Lewis comes back from over the mountains.”


“He has bought land in the western part of the state. He is going on a journey soon to examine it.”

“Toward the Ohio?”

“Yes; toward the Ohio. How did you know?”

“And you–you will not go with him?”

“He has talked of my going. But I cannot now that my aunt is ill.”

“Perhaps he will wait?”

“Yes; he says that he will. How pale you are! I am sure you are not well?”

They had stepped from out the wood into the light of the garden. She looked at him with concern, but be dismissed her question with a gesture of his hand and a laugh that sounded strangely in her ears. “It is,” he said, “the fading light. Are you going in now?”

“Not yet. Daphne is ill at the quarter, and I’ll walk down to her cabin first. Do you stay to supper?”

“No, not to-night. But I wish to see Major Edward again. If you’ll allow me, I will go on to the library.”

“Certainly,” answered Jacqueline, and, when he had kissed her hand and said good-bye, watched him across the flower garden and up the steps that led to the glass doors. He passed into the room, out of her sight, but she still stood there among the asters and the box. His look was strange, she thought, and her hand had been crushed, rather than held, to his lips. She drew her scarf about her; the September evening was falling chill. The sunset light struck full upon the glass doors. She wondered why, for the second time in an afternoon, Ludwell Cary wished to see Uncle Edward, there in the library. Only once or twice, in the fortnight that she had been at Fontenoy, had she entered the library, and it was the room of all others that she loved. She thought now of the old green chair and of her father’s portrait, and of every loved and dreamed-of detail, and she felt shut out in the dusk and chill. A sensation of strangeness crept over her. She thought, “If I were dead and trying to make the living hear, I should feel this way. And they would not even try to hear; they would shut the door and keep me out, all alone in the dark.”

She stood for a full minute staring at the panes and the red reflected glare of the sun, then drew the scarf closer over her head, and took the path that led to the quarter.


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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