Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston

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Chapter XXXIII: Greenwood

The murder, by an unknown hand, of Ludwell Cary, shot through the heart, beside Indian Run, as he rode from Malplaquet to Greenwood, became the overwhelming topic of interest in Albemarle, and a chief subject far and wide throughout the great state. His kinsmen and connections were numerous, and he had himself been a man widely known, by many greatly liked, and by a few well loved. There arose from town and country a cry of grief and wrath, a great wave of sympathy for the one man left of all the Greenwood Carys, solitary now in the old brick house behind the line of oaks, and a loud demand for the speedy discovery and apprehension of the murderer. Indignation was high, the Court House and the Court House yard crowded on the morning of the inquest, the verdict brought in by the coroner’s jury received by the county at large with incredulous disappointment. Death at the hands of a person unknown.

No evidence was produced in the court room which threw any clear light upon the commission of the deed, its motive, or its perpetrator. There were ample accounts of the capture of the horse, the finding of the body, its position, and the nature of the wound,–medical opinion in addition that death had been instantaneous, and probably received before the breaking of the storm. If there had been any telltale track or mark in the soil of the river road, the continued and beating rain had made the way impossible to read. Witnesses from Malplaquet told of Ludwell Cary’s setting forth that morning, and Forrest, the blacksmith, vouched for his passing the forge, alone. Men from the mill at the ford swore to his pausing to answer their questions as to the trial of Aaron Burr, and to his riding on–by the main road. Here arose the confusion. They were certain that Mr. Cary had taken the main road. They thought so then, and they did not see yet how they were mistaken. They told the next man who came riding by that he had taken that road–the main road. It was not the next man,–boatmen and others had passed going up country,–but when Mr. Rand came up, they told him that Mr. Cary was on the road before him–the main road. Yes, sir, it was Mr. Rand and his negro boy, and he could speak for it that Mr. Cary was supposed to be riding to Greenwood by the usual road–the main road. The river road was after all very little shorter, and everybody knew that it was mortal bad.

Lewis Rand was called. He testified that he had left Richmond upon the third, having with him a negro boy known as Young Isham. The night of the sixth he had slept at the Cross Roads Tavern and gone on the next morning, passing Malplaquet about nine. His horse loosening a shoe, he stopped at Forrest’s forge, and there learned from the smith that there was considerable travel, and that Mr. Cary of Greenwood had passed some time before. “You remember, Forrest? I asked you if Mr. Cary had mentioned which road he would take at the ford, and you answered that he had not, but that you supposed the main road the other had been very bad all summer. Again, at the mill below the ford where I paused to ask for water, the miller, remarking on the travel home from Richmond, informed me that Mr. Cary had passed not long before. I asked him which road Mr. Cary had taken, the main road or the river road. He answered–or the men behind him answered, I cannot now remember which–’The main road.’”

“Ay, that’s what we said, and what we thought,” interjected the miller.

“It was thus my impression, gained first at the forge,” continued the witness, “that Mr. Cary was before me upon the main road. Until then, knowing him to have left Richmond several days before me, I had supposed him at Greenwood. I was not averse to a word with him on certain matters, and I rode rapidly, hoping to overtake him–”

“Upon the main road, sir?”

“The main road, of course. As I did not do so, I concluded that the approaching storm had caused him to hasten. It was very threatening, and the few that my boy and I passed were hurrying to shelter. At Red Fields I paused for a moment"–He looked toward a well-known planter, standing near. “Certainly, Mr. Rand,” said the latter promptly. “We tried to make you stay out the storm, but you would be getting home.”

“From Red Fields my boy and I rode on into town. I stopped at my partner’s house to tell his sister when to expect him home from Richmond, and at the Eagle I drew rein for a moment and exchanged greetings with two or three gentlemen upon the porch. The rain was close at hand, and my boy and I pushed on to Roselands–where, next morning, a neighbour brought the news of this murder. I corroborate, sir, as I have been called to do, the statements of Mr. Forrest and Mr. Bates that it was the impression of all who greeted him as he passed that Mr. Cary was riding home by the usual road–the main road. I have nothing further to offer, sir.”

“Thank you, Mr. Rand,” said the coroner, and the witness left the stand.

He was followed by the keeper of a small ordinary upon the main road, halfway between the ford and Red Fields. “No, sir, Mr. Ludwell Cary didn’t travel by the main road. I sat in my door with my glass and my pipe almost the whole day–until after the storm broke, anyhow. There wasn’t any custom–folk seemed to know it was going to rain like Noah’s flood. There was hardly anybody on the road after about ten. Yes, I might have shut my eyes now and then, though I don’t doze over my pipe and glass half as much as some people say I do. Anyhow, Mr. Ludwell Cary didn’t ride that way–events prove that, don’t they, sir? Yes, I remember well enough when Mr. Rand passed. I wasn’t dozing then, for the negro boy spoke to me, said there was going to be a big storm. It must have been after midday, Mr. Rand?”

“Yes, something after midday.”

The witness knew, for he always had his glass at noon. He might have been dozing when the negro spoke to him, but he spoke plain enough. “’It’s going to be an awful storm,’ he said, and then I believe you said something, sir, though I don’t remember what it was, and you both rode on. I wasn’t that sleepy that I couldn’t see straight. That’s all that I know, Mr. Galt.”

Two or three other witnesses were called, but they were of the main road, and the main road had nothing to show further than that it had been travelled upon by Lewis Rand and his negro boy. They had not seen Mr. Ludwell Cary since he rode to Richmond early in the summer. Yes, they were sure they had seen Mr. Rand and his negro boy–but the clouds were dark, and the dust blowing so that you had to hold your head down, and people were thinking of getting indoors. The boy was riding a mare with a white foot.

“I think we can leave the main road, gentlemen,” declared the coroner. “Now the river road and the stream where this thing was done–”

Indian Run–where did Indian Run come from or lead to, and who might have been upon that lonely road, or lurking in the laurel and hemlock that clothed the banks of the stream? Three miles up the water was a camping-ground used by gypsies; at a greater distance down the stream a straggling settlement of poor whites, long looked at askance by the county. It might be that some wandering gypsy, some Ishmaelite with a grudge–The enquiry turned again to Fairfax Cary.

“When you went on, Mr. Cary, from Elm Tree, you too supposed that your brother would follow by the same road? You thought–”

“I did not think at all,” answered Cary harshly. “I was lost in my own self and my own concerns. I was a selfish and heedless wretch, and I hurried away without a thought or care. What he told me I forgot at the time. But I have remembered it since. He told me that he would take the river road.”

“And on your own way home you repeated that to no one?”

“To no one. I never spoke of him, I do not know that I ever thought of him from Elm Tree to Greenwood. Oh, my brother!”

A sigh like the wind over corn went through the room. The coroner bent forward. “Mr. Cary, can you think of any one who bore him ill-will–a runaway negro, perhaps, or some vagrant who might have been along that stream?”

“No. His slaves loved him. We had no runaways. I do not believe there is a man on Indian Run who would have touched him.”

“Mr. Cary, had he any enemy?”

“He had one. He sits yonder. You have heard his testimony.”

The court room murmured again. The old rivalry between Lewis Rand and Ludwell Cary, the antagonism of years, and the fact of a duel were sufficiently in men’s minds–but what of it all? The duel was a year gone by; political animosities in Virginia might be, and often were, bitter enough, but they led no further than to such a meeting. The coroner looked disturbed. The murmur was followed by a curious hush; but if for an instant an idea was poised in the air of the court room, it did not descend, it was banished as preposterous. The moment’s silence was broken by Lewis Rand. From his place at the side of the room he spoke with a grave simplicity and straightforwardness, characteristic and impressive, familiar to most there who had heard him before now, in this court room, on questions of life and death. “Everything is to be pardoned to Mr. Fairfax Cary’s most natural grief. My testimony, sir, is as I gave it.”

The coroner’s voice broke in upon a deep murmur of assent. “I presume, Mr. Cary, that you bring no accusation against Mr. Rand?”

Fairfax Cary looked from under the hand with which, as he sat, he shaded his brow. “I have, here and now, no sufficient proof whereon to base accusation of any man. I will only say that I shall seek such proof.”

A little longer, and the proceedings were over. The crowd dispersed, unsatisfied, hungry for further details and hazardous of solutions. The better class went home, but others hung long about the Court House yard, reading the notices pasted upon the Court House doors, the “WHEREAS upon the seventh day of September and on the river road where it is crossed by Indian Run"–commenting upon the rewards offered, relating this or that story of the Greenwood Carys, and recalling every murder in Albemarle since the Revolution. “Dole was shot down like that, three years ago, in North Garden–but then, Fitch was suspected from the first. Fitch had been heard to swear he’d do it, and they knew, too, it was his gun, and a child had seen him come and go. Lewis Rand was for the State. Don’t you remember the speech he made? No; Tom Mocket made it, but Mr. Rand wrote it! Either way it hung Fitch. Curious, wasn’t it, that passage between Mr. Rand and Fairfax Cary? D’ye suppose he thought–d’ye suppose Fairfax Cary thought–”

“It isn’t what a man thinks,” stated a surly farmer. “It’s what a man can prove.”

“Well, he couldn’t prove that if he tried till doomsday!” cried another. “That’s not Lewis Rand’s trade!”

“You’re right there, Jim,” assented the group. “WHEREAS upon the seventh day of September and on the river road where it is crossed by Indian Run–”

Upon a September afternoon, clear and fair, full of the ripeness and strength of the year, the body of Ludwell Cary was given back to the earth. There was a service at Saint Anne’s, after which, carried by faithful slaves and followed by high and low of the county, he was borne to the Cary burial-ground at Greenwood. It crowned a low hill at no great distance from the oaks about the house–a place of peace and quietness, with bird-haunted trees and a tangle of old flowers. Ludwell Cary was laid beside Fauquier Cary, the “Dust to dust” was spoken, and the grave filled in. All mourned who heard the falling earth, and the negroes wailed aloud, but Fairfax Cary stood like a rock. It was over. The throng melted away, leaving only the house servants, two or three old and privileged friends, and the living Cary. The last spoke to the first, thanked them, and sent them away; then, addressing himself to the two Churchills and the old minister, asked that he be left alone. They went, Major Edward turning at once, the others following more slowly He watched them below the hill-top, then sat down beside the grave that was so raw and red for all the masking flowers.

At sunset Eli and Major Edward, grey and anxious, watching from the shadow of the oaks, saw him leave the burying-ground, look back once as he closed the gate, and come slowly down the hill. When he reached the house, and, after going to his own room, came down into the library, it was to find Major Churchill ensconced in an old chair by the western window, with a book in his hand. He looked up with eyes yet keen and dark beneath their shaggybrows. “If you’ll allow me, Fair, I’ll borrow this Hobbes of yours. It is printed larger than mine, and it has no damned annotation!”

Major Edward spent the night at Greenwood, and the two played chess until very late. The next morning, coming stiffly down at an early hour, he found no host. Fairfax Cary, he discovered on enquiry, had ordered his horse the night before, and as soon as it was light, had ridden off alone. Major Churchill passed the morning as best he might. He looked once from the windows toward the little graveyard on the hill, and thought of going there, then shook his head and pressed his lips together. He was old, and now, when he could, he evaded woe. The young had fibre and nerve to squander; brittle folk must walk lightly. The Major stared at the feathery trees that marked the place. The green became a blur; he stamped his foot upon the floor with violence, said something between his teeth, and turned from the window to a desolate contemplation of the backs of books.

It was after midday when Fairfax Cary returned. He came in, white and steady, apologized for his absence, and ordered dinner. The two ate little, hardly spoke, but drank their wine. As they passed out of the dining-room, the elder said, “You have been–”

“Yes. The river road.”

They reŽntered the library and, at Cary’s suggestion, sat down again at the chess-table. They played one game, then fell idle, the young man staring straight before him at some invisible object, the elder watching him covertly but keenly.

“When,” said the Major at last,–"when will you come with me, Fair, to Fontenoy?”

The other shook his head. “I do not know. Not now. I must not keep you here, sir.”

“I have little to occupy me at home. You will tell me when I can do nothing for you here. You must remember, Fair, that Dick and Nancy and Unity and I and even little Deb want you, very heartily and lovingly want you, with us there. Unity–”

The young man took from his breast a folded note. “I have this from Unity. Read it. It is like her.”

He unfolded it and gave it to the Major, who read the line it contained.

     FAIRFAX,–I will marry you to-morrow if you wish. I know–I know it
     is lonely at Greenwood. UNITY.

Major Churchill cleared his throat. “Yes, it is like her. And why not, Fair? Upon my soul, I do advise it! I advise it strongly. Not to-morrow, perhaps, but next day or the next. It can be quietly arranged–there could have been no wiser suggestion! Take her at her word, Fair.”

Cary shook his head, thrust the note back in its place, and, rising with a quivering sigh, walked to the window. He stood there for some moments, his brow pressed to the pane, then returned to the table and, standing before the Major, spoke with harsh passion “Is marriage, sir, a thing for me to think of now? No! not even marriage with Unity Dandridge. To marry now–to forget with all possible haste–to lie close and warm and happy and leave him there, cold, alone, and unavenged! No. I’ll not do that. Wedding-bells, even slowly rung, would sound strangely, I think, to his ears. And as for that murderer, he might say when he heard them, ’Are the dead so soon forgot? Then up, heart! for this bridegroom will not trouble me.’ Major Churchill, I will live alone at Greenwood until I have proof which will convince a judge and jury that my brother was not the only man who spurred from that ford by the river road! Lewis Rand may wind and double, but I’ll scotch him yet, there by Indian Run! I’ll transfix him there, there on that very strand, and call the world to see the man who murdered Ludwell Cary! When that’s done, I’ll rest, maybe, and think of happiness.”

Major Churchill sat back in the deep old armchair and rested his head upon his hand. The hand was a trembling hand; the old soldier, grey and stark, with his pinned-up sleeve, looked suddenly a beaten soldier, conquered and fugitive. The young man saw the shaking hand. “You need no proof, sir,” he said harshly. “I know that you know. You knew there beside the stream, the day we found him.”

“Yes, Fair.”

“And did you not know that I knew?”

“I have not been perfectly certain, but–yes, I believed you to know.”

“I will not say that, knowing me,–for until now I have hardly known myself,–but knowing my father, sir, could you look for another course from his son? My brother’s blood cries from the ground. There is no rest and no peace for me until his murderer pays!”

“Yes, Fair.”

“I cannot tell you what my brother was to me. Brother of the flesh and of the spirit too–David–Jonathan. His friends mine and his enemies mine, his honour mine–”

“Yes, Fair. It was so I loved Henry Churchill.”

The young man checked his speech, gazed at his guest a moment in silence, and turned away. The quiet held in the old room where bygone Carys looked from the walls, but at last the Major spoke with violence. “Don’t think that I do not hate that man! Spare him, in himself, one iota of the penalty–not I! Cheat justice, see the law futile to protect an outraged people, stay the hangman’s hand–am I one to will that? No man can accuse me of a forgiving spirit! I, too, loved your brother; I, too, believe in the blood debt! Ask me of this man himself, and I say, ’Right! Let him have it to the hilt–death and shame!’ But–but–”

The Major’s voice, high and shaking with passion, broke with a gasp. He had sat erect to speak, but now he sank back, and with his chin upon his hand looked again mere grey defeat.

Fairfax Cary turned from the window. “I am sorry,” he said coldly and harshly. “In a lesser thing, Major Churchill, that consideration might stop me. It cannot do so, sir, in this.”

“I am not asking that it should,” answered the other. “I seldom ask too much of this humanity. You will do what you must, and what you will, and I shall comprehend your motive and your act. But I will stand clear of you, Fair. After to-day, you plan without my knowledge, and work without my aid!”

“If it must be so, sir.”

“I have called myself,” said Major Edward sombrely, “a Spartan and a Stoic. I believe in law and the payment of debts. I believe that a murderer should be tracked down and shown that civilization has no need of him. I loved your brother. And I sit here, a weak old man, and say, ’Not if it strikes through a woman’s heart!’ What a Stoic the Most High must be!”

“I think that I should know one thing, sir. Is it your belief that he has told your niece?”

The Major grew dark red, and straightened himself with a jerk. “Told my niece? Made her, sir, a confidante of his villainy, leagued her to aid him in cajoling the world? I think not, sir; I trust not! I would not believe even him so universal an enemy. If I thought that, sir,–but no! I have seen my niece Jacqueline twice since–” the Major spoke between his teeth–"since Mr. Rand’s return from Richmond.” He sat a moment in silence, then continued. “Her grief is deep, as is natural–do we not all grieve? But if I have skill to read a face, she carries in her heart no such black stone as that! Remember, please, that he told her nothing of his plot with Burr. You will oblige me by no longer indulging such an idea.”

“Very well, sir. I know that Colonel Churchill has no suspicion. He contends that it was some gypsy demon–will not even have it that some poor white from about the still–says that no man in this county–Well! I, too, would have thought that once.”

“My brother Dick has the innocence of a child. But others apparently suspect as little. You and I are alone there. And we have only the moral conviction, Fairfax. They were enemies, and they were in the same county on the same day. That is all you have to go upon. He has somehow made a coil that only the serpent himself can unwind.”

“A man can but try, sir. I shall try. If you talk of an inner conviction, I have that conviction that I shall not try in vain.”

Major Edward shaded his eyes with his hand. “God forbid that I should wish the murder of Ludwell Cary unavenged! But–but–shame and sorrow–and Henry Churchill’s child"–He rose from his chair and stalked across the room. “I am tired of it all,” he said, “tired of the world, life, death, pro and con, affections, hatreds, sweets that cloy, bitterness that does not nourish, the gash of events, and the salt with which memory rubs the wound! Man that is born of woman–Pah!” He straightened himself, flung up his grey head, and moved stiffly to a bookcase. “Where’s Gascoigne’s Steel Glasse? I know you’ve got a copy–Ludwell told me so.”

“It is on the third shelf, the left side. Major Churchill, you understand that, for all that has been said, I must yet go my way?”

“Yes, Fair, I understand,” said the other. “Do what you must–and God help us all!”

Continue...

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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