Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston

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Chapter XXXIV: Fairfax Cary

The December frost lay hard upon the ground, and a pale winter sky gleamed above and between bare limbs of trees. In Vinie Mocket’s garden withered and bent stalk showed where had been zinnia and prince’s feather, and the grapevine over the porch was but a mass of twisted stems. The sun shone bright, however, on this day, and as there was no wind, it was not hard to imagine it warm out-of-doors and the spring somewhere in keeping. It was the week before Christmas, and the season unwontedly mild.

Vinie, seated upon the doorstep in the sun, a grey shawl around her shoulders and her pink chin in her hand, stared at the Ragged Mountains and wondered when Tom was coming to dinner. A grey cat purred in the sun beside her. Smut the dog, lying in a patch of light upon the porch floor, broke out of a dream, got up, and wagged his tail.

“Who do you hear, Smut?” asked Vinie. ’I think it ith Mr. Adam.”

Adam came through the gate that had never been mended and up the little, sunny path. He had his gun, and in addition a great armful of holly and mistletoe, and he deposited all alike upon the porch floor. “A green Christmas we’re having,” he announced cheerfully, “so we might as well make it greener! I thought these would look pretty over your chimney glass.”

“They’ll be lovely,” answered Vinie. “I just somehow didn’t think of fixing things up this Christmas. I’ll put them all around the parlour, Mr. Adam.”

“I’ll put them for you,” said Adam. “This isn’t mistletoe like you get in the big trees south, and it isn’t holly such as grows down Williamsburgh way–but it’s mistletoe and it’s holly.”

“Yeth,” agreed Vinie listlessly. “I don’t know which ith the prettier, the little white waxen berries or the red.”

“I like the red,” returned the hunter. “That in your hand–bright and quick as blood-drops.”

“No,” said Vinie, and let the spray drop to the floor. “Blood ith darker than that.”

“Not if it’s heart’s blood–that’s bright enough. What is the matter, little partridge?”

“Nothing,” Vinie replied, with an effort. “I’ve been baking cake all morning, and I’m tired. I reckon you couldn’t have Christmas without baking and scrubbing and sweeping and dusting and making a whole lot of fuss about nothing–nothing at all.” Her voice dragged away.

“You couldn’t have it without hanging up mistletoe and holly,” quoth Adam. “I’ve been a month in these parts, and I’ve come around mighty often to see you and Tom. Why won’t you tell me?”

Vinie turned upon him startled eyes. “Tell you?”

“Tell me what ails you. Why, you aren’t any more like–Don’t you remember that morning, a’most four years ago, when I found you sitting by the blackberry bushes on the Fontenoy road? Yes, you do. The blackberries were in bloom, and you had on a pink sunbonnet, and I broke you a lot of wild cherry for your very same parlour in there. You had been crying that day, too,–oh, I knew!–but you plucked up spirit and put the wild cherry all around the parlour. And now, look at you!–you aren’t a partridge any longer, you’re a dove without a mate. Well, why don’t you cry, little dove?”

“I don’t feel like crying,” said Vinie. “There isn’t anything the matter with me. I’m going to put the green stuff up, and Tom’s got ever so many wax candles and two bottles of Madeira, and you’ll come to supper–”

“I’ll send you a brace of wild turkeys Christmas Eve. I’ll shoot them over on Indian Run.”

Vinie shrank back. “You look,” exclaimed Adam, “as though you were on Indian Run, and I had turned my gun on you! Why did you go white and sick like that?”

He glanced at her again with keen, deep blue eyes. “Now the colour has come back. Were you frightened over there in those woods when you really were a bird? Indian Run! It is more than three months, isn’t it, since Mr. Cary’s death?”

“December,” answered Vinie, in a fluttering voice, “December, November, October, and part of September–yeth, more than three months. Suppose we go now and put the holly up?”

“Let’s stay here a little in the sun. The holly won’t wither. I don’t know a doorstep, East or West, that I like to sit on better than this. There’s a variety of log cabins that I’m fond of, and maybe as many as four or five wigwams, but I’d like to grow old sitting in the sun before this little grey house! It isn’t going to be long before the sap runs in the sugar trees and it’s spring. Then all the pretty flowers will come up again and I’ll help you draw cool water from the well. Don’t you ever wear that Spanish comb I brought you?”

“I’ve got it put away. It’s lovely.”

“It oughtn’t to be put away. It ought to be stuck there, dark shell above your yellow hair. You’ll wear it, won’t you, Christmas Day?”

“Yeth, I’ll wear it, Mr. Adam. Who’s coming now, Smut?”

“He hears a horse. Wear the Spanish comb, and Tom shall brew us a bowl of punch, and we might get in some gay folk and a fiddle and have a dance. I’d like to stand up with you, little partridge.”

Vinie put down her head and began to cry. “It’s nothing, nothing! There isn’t anything the matter! Don’t think it, Mr. Adam. I jutht get tired and cold, and Christmas isn’t like it used to be. Now I’ve stopped–and I’ll dance with you with pleasure, Mr. Adam.”

“That’s right,” said Adam. “Now, you dry your eyes, and we’ll go into the parlour and I’ll make a fire, and we’ll put leaves and berries all around. Who is it coming by? Mr. Fairfax Cary.”

“Yeth,” answered Vinie. “He rides a black horse.”

The hunter glanced at her again. “Little bird,” he thought, “your voice didn’t use to have so many notes.” Aloud he said, “He’s grown to look like his brother. I met him in the road the other day and we talked awhile. He’s too stern and quiet, though. All the time we talked I was thinking of a Cherokee whom I once met following a war party that had killed his wife. Fairfax Cary had just the same air as that Indian–still, like an afternoon on a mountain-top. There’s no clue yet as to who shot his brother.”

Fairfax Cary, going by on Saladin, lifted his hat to the woman on the porch. “Yes, he’s like that Cherokee,” repeated Adam. “Where’s he riding?–to Fontenoy, I reckon. Now, little partridge, let’s go make the parlour look like Christmas.”

Vinie rose, and the hunter gathered up the green stuff. She spoke again in the same fluttered voice. “Mr. Adam, do you think–do you think they’ll ever find out–”

“Find out who shot Mr. Cary?” asked Gaudylock. “They may–there’s no telling. Every day makes a trail like that more overgrown and hard to read. But if Fairfax Cary is truly like my Cherokee, I’d not care to be the murderer, even five years and a thousand miles from here and now. You may be sure the Cherokee got his man. Now you take the mistletoe and I’ll take the holly, and we’ll make a Christmas bower to dance in." He raised his great armful and went into the house singing,–

     “Once I was in old Kentucky,
     Christmas time, by all that’s lucky!
     Bear meat, deer meat, coon and possum,
     Apple-jack we did allow some,
               In Kentucky.

     “Roaring logs and whining fiddle,
     Up one side and down the middle!
     Two foot snow and ne’er a flower,–
     But Molly Darke she danced that hour,
               In Kentucky!”

The hunter’s surmise was correct. Fairfax Cary rode slowly on upon the old, familiar way to Fontenoy. All the hills were brown, winter earth and winter air despite the brightness of the sunshine. A blue stream rippled by, pine and cedar made silhouettes against a tranquil sky, and crows were cawing in a stubble-field. Cary rode slowly, plodding on with a thoughtful brow. The few whom he met greeted him respectfully, and he answered them readily enough, then pursued his way, again in a brown study. The Fontenoy gates were reached at last, and he was about to bend from his saddle and lift the heavy latch, when a slim black girl in a checked gown made a sudden appearance in the driveway upon the other side. “I’ll open hit, sah! Don’ you trouble. Dar now!”

The gate swung open, Cary rode through, and Deb appeared beside Miranda. “We’ve been walking a mile,” she announced. “Down the drive and back again, through the hollow, round the garden, and up to the glass door–that’s a mile. Are you going to stay to supper?”

Cary dismounted and walked beside her, his bridle over his arm. “I don’t think so, Deb,–not to-night.”

“I wish you would,” said Deb wistfully. “You used to all the time, and you most never do now. And–and it’s Christmas, and we aren’t going to decorate, or have a party, or people staying!” Deb’s chin trembled. “I don’t like houses in mourning.”

“Neither do I, Deb.”

The colour streamed into his companion’s small face. “I didn’t mean–I didn’t mean–I forgot! Oh, Mr. Fairfax,–”

“Dear Deb, don’t mind. I wish you were going to have a Christmas as bright as bright! Won’t there be any brightness for you?”

“Why, of course,” answered Deb, with bravery. “I am going to have a lovely time. Uncle Dick says I can do what I please with the schoolroom, and Miranda and I and the quarter children–we’re going to decorate. Unity’s going to show us how, and Scipio’s going to put up the wreaths. The quarter’s to have its feast just the same, and I’m going to help Unity give out the presents. I expect it will be beautiful!”

The two walked on, Miranda following. Cary took the child’s hand. “I expect it will be beautiful too, Deb. Sometimes ever so much brightness in just a little place makes up for the grey all around. Aren’t you going to let me see the schoolroom?”

“Oh, would you like to?” cried Deb, brightening. “Certainly, Mr. Fairfax. Christmas is lovely, isn’t it? Unity says that maybe she and I will slip down to the quarter and watch them dancing. I’m sure I don’t want parties, nor people staying!”

Deb squeezed her companion’s hand, and kept silence from the big elm to the lilac-bushes. Then she broke out. “But I don’t understand–I don’t understand at all–”

Cary, looking down upon her, saw her little pointed chin quiver again, and her brown eyes swim. “What don’t you understand, poor little Deb?”

“I don’t understand why I can’t go to Roselands. I’ve always gone the day after every Christmas, and it is always like Christmas over again! And now Uncle Dick says, ’Stay at home, chicken, this year,’ and Uncle Edward says he needs me to tell him stories, and Unity begged them at first to let me go, but when they wouldn’t, she said that she couldn’t beg them any more, and that she didn’t think the world was going right anyhow.” The tears ran over. “And Jacqueline,” continued Deb, in a stifled little voice,–"Jacqueline wrote me a letter and said not to come this year if Uncle Dick and Uncle Edward wanted me at home. She told me I must always obey and love them–just as if I didn’t anyhow. She said she loved me more than most anything, but I don’t think that is loving me–to think I’d better not come to Roselands. She said I was most a woman, and so I am,–I’m more than twelve,–and that I was to love her always and know that she loved me. Of course I shall love Jacqueline always–but I wanted to go to Roselands.” Deb felt in her pocket, found a tiny handkerchief, and applied it to her eyes. “It’s not like Christmas not to go to Roselands the day after–and I think people are cruel.”

“I wouldn’t think that of your sister, Deb,” said Cary, with gentleness. “Your sister isn’t cruel. Don’t cry.”

“I’m not,” answered Deb, and put carefully away a wet ball of handkerchief. “I hope you’ll like the schoolroom, Mr. Fairfax. It’s all cedar and red berries, and Miranda’s and my dolls are sitting in the four corners. It’s lovely weather for Christmas–though I wanted it to snow.”

Major Edward, seated at an old desk, going over old papers, looked up as Cary entered the library. A fire of hickory crackled and flamed on the hearth, making a light to play over the portrait of Henry Churchill and over the swords crossed beneath. An old hound named Watch slept under the table, the tall clock ticked loudly, and through the glass doors, beyond the leafless trees, showed the long wave of the Blue Ridge.

“Is it you, Fair?” demanded the Major. “Come in–come in! I am merely going over old letters. They can wait. The men who wrote them are all dead.” He turned in his chair. “Have you just come in?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Unity was here awhile ago. She went through the glass door–down to the quarter, I suppose.”

“I will stay here for a while, sir, if I may. Don’t let me disturb you. I will take a book.”

“You do not disturb me,” answered the Major. “I was reading a letter from Hamilton, written long ago–long ago.

“I met Deb in the driveway and we walked to the house together. Poor little maid! She is mightily distressed because she thinks there’s a lack of Christmas cheer. I wish, sir, that she might have a merry Christmas.”

“We’ll do our best, Fair. Unity shall make it bright.”

“The servants, too,–I give mine the usual feast at Greenwood, and I’m going down to the quarter for half an hour.”

“The Carys make good masters. In that respect all here, too, goes on as usual. As for Deb, the child shall have the happiest day we can give her.” He took from a drawer a small morocco case and opened it. “She’ll have from Dick a horse and saddle, and I give her this.” He held out the case, and Cary praised the small gold watch with D.C. marked in pearls. “The only thing,” continued Major Edward wearily, “is that she cannot go to Roselands. She has cried her heart out over that.”

“You declined the invitation for her?”

“Yes. I made Dick do so. She is growing into womanhood. It will not answer.”

“Then, sir, Colonel Churchill must know–”

“He doesn’t ’know,’” said the Major doggedly. “Nobody really knows. We may be all pursuing a spectre. I told Dick enough to make him see that Deb should not be brought into contact–”

There was a silence. Cary studied the fire, and Major Churchill unfolded deftly with his one hand a yellowing paper, glanced over it, and laid it in a separate drawer. “An order from General Washington–the André matter. Deb shall not visit Roselands again. Dick and I are not going to have both of Henry’s children"–The Major’s voice broke. “Pshaw! this damned weather gives a man a cold that Valley Forge itself couldn’t give!” He unfolded another paper. “What’s this? Benedict Arnold! Faugh!" Rising, he approached the fire and threw the letter in, then turned impatiently upon the younger man. “Well, Fairfax Cary?”

“Is it still,” asked Cary slowly, “your opinion that she does not know?”


“Mrs. Rand.”

Major Edward dragged a chair to the corner of the hearth and sat heavily down. He bent forward, a brooding, melancholy figure, a thin old veteran, grey and scarred. The fire-light showed strongly square jaw, hawk nose, and beetle brows. When he spoke, it was in a voice inexpressibly sombre. “I have seen my niece but three times since September. If you ask me now what you asked me then, I shall answer differently. I do not know–I do not know if she knows or not!”

“I think, sir, that I have a clue. The hour when he passed Red Fields–”

Major Churchill put up a shaking hand. “No, sir! Remember our bargain. I’ll not hear it. I’ll weigh no evidence on this subject. Enough for me to know in my heart of hearts that this man murdered Ludwell Cary, and that he dwells free at Roselands, blackening my niece–that he rides free to town–pleads his cases–does his work–ingratiates himself, and grows, grows in the esteem of his county and his state! That, I say, is enough, sir! If you have your clue, for God’s sake don’t impart it to me! I’ve told you I will not make nor meddle.” Major Edward began to cough. “Open the window, will you? The room is damned hot. Well, sir, well?”

“I’ll say no more, then, sir, as to that,” Cary answered from the window. “I wish absolutely to respect your position. It will do no harm, however, to tell you that I am going to Richmond the day after Christmas.”

“To Richmond! What are you going to Richmond for?”

“I want,” replied the other, with restrained passion,–"I want to ride from Shockoe Hill at three o’clock in the afternoon, with my face to Roselands, and in my heart the knowledge that I have been foiled and thwarted in deep-laid and cherished schemes by the one whom, for no especially good reason, I have singled out of the world to be my enemy! I want to feel the black rage of the Rands in my heart. I want to sleep, the third night, at the Cross Roads Tavern, and I want to go on in the morning by Malplaquet I want to learn at Forrest’s forge that Ludwell Cary is on the road before me. Perhaps, by the time I reach the mill and cross the ford, I will remember what it was that I did next, and how I managed to be on two roads at once.”

He turned, and took up from a chair his hat and riding-whip “’Tis no easy feat,” he said, with grimness, “to put one’s self in the place of Lewis Rand. But then, other things are not easy either. I’ll not grudge a little straining.” He stood before the Major, holding out his hand–a handsome figure in his mourning dress, resolute, quiet, no longer breathing outward grief, ready even, when occasion demanded, to smile or to laugh, but essentially altered and fixed to one point. “I think, sir, I will look now for Unity. There is something I wish to say to her. Good-bye, sir. I shall not come again until after New Year.”

Miss Dandridge, mounting the hill from the quarter, and sitting down to rest upon a great, sun-bathed stone beside the foot-path, heard a quick step and looked up to greet her betrothed. “It is so warm and bright," she said, “in this fence-corner that I feel as though summer were on the way. The stone is large–there’s room for you, too, here in the sunshine.”

He sat down beside her. “You have been making Christmas for the quarter?”

“I’ve been telling them that Christmas is to be bright. I have not seen you for a week.”

He took her hand and pressed it to his lips. “Unity, I have been sitting there at home at Greenwood, thinking, thinking! Page came to see me, but I was such poor company that he did not tarry long. I rode here to-day to say something to you–Unity, don’t you think you had better give me up?”

“No! I don’t–”

“I do not think it is fair to you. I am not the man you knew–except in loving you I am not the man who sat with you beneath the catalpa. I am bereaved of the better part of me, and I see one object held up before me like a wand. I must reach that wand or all effort is fruitless, and there is no achievement and no harvest in my life. I may be years in reaching it. I love you dearly and deeply, but I am not given over to love. I am given over to reaching that wand. It has seemed to me, sitting there at Greenwood, it has seemed to me after Page’s visit, that I should give you freedom–”

“It seems to me, sitting here upon this stone,” answered Unity, “that I will not take it! And what under the sun Mr. Page’s visit–I will wait until you are at leisure to love me as–as–as you loved me that day under the catalpa when you flung Eloïsa to Abelard into the rosebushes! Don’t–don’t! I like to cry a little.”

“I have determined,” he said, “to tell you what I am doing. You know that I seek to discover my brother’s murderer, but you have not guessed that I know his name. It is Lewis Rand whom I pursue, and it is Lewis Rand whom I will convict of that deed on Indian Run!”

She gave a cry. “Lewis Rand! Fair, Fair, that’s impossible!”

“Is it?” he asked sombrely. “Impossible to prove, perhaps, though I’m not prepared to grant that either, but true, Unity, true as many another black ’impossible’ has been!”

“But–but–No one thinks–no one suspects. Fair, Fair! are you not mistaken?”

“No. Nor am I quite alone in my conviction. And one day the world that suspects nothing shall know.”

There was a silence; then, “But Jacqueline,” she whispered, with whitening lips. “Jacqueline"–

“She chose,” he answered. “I cannot help it. She took her road and her companion.”

“And you mean–you mean–”

“I mean to bring him to justice.”

“To break her heart and ruin her life–to bring down wretchedness, misery, disgrace! Oh!” She caught her breath. “And Deb–and Uncle Dick and Uncle Edward–Fair, Fair, leave him alone!”

“You must not ask me that.”

“But Ludwell would–Ludwell would have asked it! Oh, do you think he would have endured to bring woe like that upon her! Oh, Fair, Fair,–”

Cary sprang to his feet, walked away, and stood with his back to the great stone and his face toward Greenwood. He saw but one thing there, the graveyard on the hill beneath the leafless trees. When he came back to Unity, he looked as he had looked beside the dead, that day on Indian Run.

“We are alike, Ludwell and I,” he said, “but we are not that much alike. I am little now but an avenger of blood. I shall be that until this draws to an end.” He came closer and touched her shoulder with his hand. “Take me or leave me as I am, Unity. I shall not change, not even for you.”

“But for tenderness,” she cried, “for mercy, for consideration of an old house, for Jacqueline whom your brother loved as you love–as once you said you loved–me! For just pity, Fair!”

“On the other side,” he answered, “is justice. Don’t urge me, Unity. That is something your uncle has not done.”

“Uncle Edward?”


There was a silence; then, “I see now,” said Unity slowly. “I haven’t understood. I thought–I didn’t know what to think. Uncle Edward, too,–oh me! oh me! That is why Deb is not to go to Roselands.” She considered through blinding tears a little patch of sere grass. “But Jacqueline,” she whispered,–"Jacqueline does not know?”

Cary looked at her. “Do you think that, Unity?”

Unity stared at the grass until the tears all dried. “She knows–she knows! That was a heart-breaking letter to Deb, and I couldn’t–I couldn’t understand it! She does not ask me there–does not seem to want to meet–I’ve hardly seen her since–since–And when we meet, she’s strange–too gay at first for her, and then too still, with wide eyes she will not let me read. And she talks and talks–she talks now more than I do. She’s not truly Jacqueline–she’s acting a part. Oh, Jacqueline, Jacqueline!”

“Be very sure,” he said, “that I have for her only pity, admiration, yes, and understanding!”

“But you intend–you intend–”

“To bring Lewis Rand to justice. Yes, I intend that.”

From the quarter below them came the blowing of the afternoon horn. The short, bright winter day was waning, and though the sun yet dwelt upon the hill-top, the hollow at its base was filled with shadow. Unity rose from the stone. “I must go back to the house. I promised Deb I would read to her.” She caught her breath. “It is the Arabian Nights–and he gave it to her, and she’s always talking of him. Oh, all of us poor children! Oh, I used to think the world so sweet and gay!”

“What do you think,” he said, “of the one who turns it bitter?”

She looked at him with pleading eyes. “Fair, Fair, will you not forego it–forego vengeance?”

“It is not vengeance,” he answered. “It is something deeper than that. I don’t think that I can explain. It seems to me that it is destiny and all that destiny rests upon.” He drew her to him and kissed her twice. “Will you wait for me, wait on no other terms than these? If you will, God bless you! If it is a task beyond your strength, God bless you still. You will do right to give it up. Which, Unity, which? And if you wait for me, you must go no more to that man’s house. If you wait for me, my brother is your brother.”

“I will never give up Jacqueline!”

“I do not ask it. But you’ll go no more to that house, speak no more to the man she most unhappily wedded. That is my right–if you wait for me.”

She turned and threw herself into his arms. “Oh, Fair, if it is only he himself–if it is only that dark and wicked man–if you do not ask me to stop loving her, or writing to her, or seeing her when I can–”

“That is all–only to speak no more to that dark and wicked man.”

“Then I’ll wait–I’ll wait till doomsday! Oh, the world! Oh, the thing called love! Don’t–don’t speak to me until I cry it out.”

She wept for a while, then dried her eyes and tried to smile. “That’s over. Let us go now and–and read the Arabian Nights. Oh me, oh me, if we are not merry here, what must Christmas be at Roselands!”


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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