Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston

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Public Domain Books

Chapter XXXIX: Unity and Jacqueline

The library at Fontenoy lay west and north. In the afternoon the sun struck through the windows and through the glass door, brightening the tall clock-face, the faint gilt and brown of old books, and the portrait of Henry Churchill with the swords crossed beneath. Upon the forenoon in question, and even though the month was May, the room looked a sombre place, chill and dusk, shaded and grave as a hermit’s cell.

In the great chair upon the hearth sat Colonel Churchill, somewhat bowed together and with his hand over his eyes. By the window stood Major Edward, very upright, very meagre, soldierly, and grey. The northern light was upon him; with his pinned-up sleeve and lifted head he looked a figure of old defeats and indomitable mind. From the middle of the room Fairfax Cary faced both the Churchills.

In his dark riding-dress, standing with his gloved hand upon the table, he gave in look and attitude a suggestion of formality, a subtle conveyance of determination. He had been speaking, and now, after an interruption from one of the brothers, he continued. “That was two weeks ago. I have it clear, and I have my witness. The murderer, leaving the body of my brother beside Indian Run, turned his horse, and, at a point just east of the rock where grows the mountain ash, he quitted the road for the mountain-side. It is desperate riding over that ridge, but he made it as, two weeks ago, I made it, and he came out, as I came out, upon the high bank above the main road, a few yards below the blasted oak. That, Colonel Churchill, is what he did, and what a jury shall see that he did.”

Colonel Dick let fall his hand. “Fair, Fair, I never gainsaid that he was a villain–”

“He appeared,” continued the younger man, “before my witness, torn and breathless. There was blood upon his sleeve. Now see what he does. He rejoins his negro, and, if I know my man, he intimidates this boy into silence like the grave. Together they pause at Red Fields, a precaution that quite naturally suggests itself to the lawyer mind. But it is in the gloom of the storm, and he does not dismount–a course which, again, he knows to be wise. Apparently Red Fields notices nothing. He rides on. But he has yet to pass through town, to be accosted here, there, at the Eagle, the post-office, to be forced, perhaps, under peril of his refusal being scanned, to get down from his horse, answer questions, drink and talk with acquaintances. He is torn, dishevelled. There is blood upon his sleeve. What does he think as he rides from Red Fields? He thinks, ’Where can I best put myself in order, and remove this witness?’ That would be his thought, and he would have the answer ready. He rode on to the edge of town, and there he stopped at Tom Mocket’s.”

Major Edward left the window. As he passed his brother, he laid for a moment his hand upon the elder’s shoulder. The touch was protective, almost tender. “It’s a rough wind, Dick! Bow your head and let it go over.” He marched away, dragged a chair to the table, and sat down. “Very well,” he said. “He stopped at Tom Mocket’s.”

“Yes, but not merely at the gate, as he testified. He went into the house, and there he washed the blood-stain from his sleeve.”

“Can you prove that?”

“I can prove that he went into the house. A negro, running from the storm, saw him enter. When that girl–Vinie Mocket–is put upon the stand, I expect to prove the remainder. Now, the pistol–”

Colonel Dick rose, walked heavily to the glass door, then back to the hearth. “You stand there, as I have seen your father stand. Well, go on! We are men, Edward and I.”

“His pistols are handsome ones, the gift of Mr. Jefferson. The murderer’s name is engraved upon them. He has made, since September, a number of journeys, and he travels always with holsters to his saddle. Well, not long ago, I bribed the hostler of a tavern where I knew he was to sleep. I have seen the arms he carries. Two holsters, two pistols–but the latter do not match! A different maker, a heavier weight, and the owner’s name but indifferently etched. And yet there is in Richmond a man who will swear to Mr. Rand’s leaving town with the President’s gift intact! The inference is, I think, that somewhere between Indian Run and Roselands the weapon vanished–how and when and where I have yet to find. I expect to recover it, and in the mean time I expect to force an explanation of those mismatched pistols.”

He had been standing without motion–manner, voice, and attitude restrained and somewhat formal. He now moved, took his hand from the table, and folded his arms. “I came,” he said, “to tell you, Colonel Churchill, and you, Major Edward, you who were my brother’s friends and my father’s friends, I came to tell you that I shall apply for and obtain a warrant for the arrest of Lewis Rand.”

The words fell heavily, and when they were spoken, there was a silence in the library. Major Edward broke it. “You are determined, and I waste no breath in challenging the inevitable. So be it! The child will come home to us, Dick.”

The elder brother walked the length of the room and paused before the picture of Henry Churchill. When at last he turned, his ruddy face was pale, his eyes wet. “Henry was a proud man. We grow old, and we grow to be thankful that the dead are dead! Well, Edward, well! we’ve weathered much–I reckon we can weather more.” He halted at the glass door and stared out into the flowering garden. “My little Jack!” he muttered, and drew his hand across his eyes.

Cary spoke from where he yet stood beside the table. “I am aware–how can I be other than aware?–of the sorrow and anxiety which I bring upon this house. As regards myself, you have but to indicate your wishes, sir. I will come no more to Fontenoy, if my coming is unwelcome. One interest here I confidently entrust to your generosity. For the rest I will bow to your decision. If you tell me so, sir, I will come no more–though Fontenoy is well nigh as dear to me as Greenwood, and though I love and honour every inmate here.”

His voice broke a little. There was a silence, then Colonel Dick swung around from the glass door. “Don’t talk damned nonsense, Fair,” he said gruffly.

Major Edward spoke from the old green chair. “We’ll bring no unnecessary factors into this business, Fairfax. I don’t conceive that it is necessary for us to quarrel. It is not you who have wrought the harm–that burden rests elsewhere. Have you seen Unity?”

“No, sir.”

“Then we had better send for her.” The Major rose and pulled the bell-rope. “Some one must go to Roselands. When do you propose to act?”

“Very soon, sir. Almost at once. I anticipate no resistance and no flight. I’ll give him his due. He is bold and he is ready, and the court room is his chosen field, where his gods fight for him. He’ll give battle.”

The last of the Greenwood Carys moved from his place, walked to the window, and stood there in the light from the north. “Before Unity comes, sir, there is something I would like to say. It pertains to myself. You have known me, both of you, all my life, and you knew my father before me. You know what my brother was to me–brother, guardian, friend. You two have lived your life together; think, each of you, how bitter now would be the other’s loss. What if all was yet youth and fire and promise–and a villain struck one down, put out life at a blow, and denied the deed! Denied! went on with trumpets to place and honour! What would you do, Colonel Churchill, or you, Major Edward? You would do as I have done, and you would weigh no circumstance, as I have weighed none. Moreover, right is right, and law and justice must not curtsy even to pity for the innocent and tenderness for those who suffer! It is right that this man should feel the hand of Justice. And I can see it as no other than right that I–when all her paid soldiers failed–should have taken it on myself to bring him there, before her bar. It is this which I shall do, and the end is not with me, but with right and law and order, with the weal of society, yes, and with the man’s own proper reaping of the harvest which he sowed! Else he also is monstrous, and there is nothing not awry.” He paused, made a slight and dignified gesture with his hands, and went on. “I have done that which I had to do. I abide the consequences. But it is hard to bring trouble on you here, and to bring great trouble on–on one other. I wish you to know that, though I go my way, I go with a pained and heavy heart.”

He broke off, and stood with his eyes upon the younger of the two brothers; then, after a moment and with a note of appeal in his voice, “Major Edward–”

Major Edward raised his hawk eyes and resolute face. “Trouble enough, yes, heavy trouble–but I should have done as you have done! It is all in the great battle, Fair. We’ll be friends still, Fontenoy and Greenwood. There is Unity at the door.”


From the Fontenoy coach Unity, who had not been to Roselands since December, regarded the quiet old place through a sudden mist of tears. The driveway from the gate was sunk in green; a hundred trees kept the place secluded, sylvan, and still. Hardly any bloom appeared,–the flowers were all in the quiet garden hidden by the house,–but through a small open space could be seen the giant beech tree by the doorstone.

Unity dried her eyes with her handkerchief, and bit her lips until they were red again. “If you’re nothing but a bird of omen,” she said to herself, “at least you needn’t show it! Oh, this world!” then, “What if he is not from home?”

In the early winter she had advanced several pretexts for not troubling Roselands, had found them accepted by Jacqueline with an utter lack of comment, and had ceased to make them. She kept away, and her cousin made no complaint. What pretext, now, she wondered, would serve to explain this visit? She thought that pretext would be needed at first–just at first. And what if Lewis Rand were at home?

He was not at home. Jacqueline met her upon the great doorstone, kissed her, and held her hand, but made no exclamation of surprise and asked no questions. The coach and four, with old Philip and Mingo, rolled away to the stable, and the cousins entered the cool, wide hall. “You will lay aside your bonnet?” said Jacqueline. “Such a lovely bonnet, Unity!–and your blue lutestring! Come to my room.”

In the chamber Unity untied her blue bonnet-strings and laid the huge scoop of straw upon the white counterpane; then, at the mirror, slowly drew off her long gloves, and took from her silken bag her small handkerchief. The action of her hands, now deliberate, now hurried, was strange for Unity, whose habit it was to be light and sure. “Do you remember,” she asked, with her face still to the mirror,–"do you remember the last time I wore this gown?”

“You wore it,” said Jacqueline, in a trembling voice, “to church, in August–to Saint John’s.”

“Yes. That Sunday when all the world was there. I smell the honeysuckle again, and hear FitzWhyllson’s viol! That was our last old, happy day together.”

“Was it?”

“Yes, it was. The very next day the world seemed somehow to change.”

“Isn’t that a way the world has?” asked Jacqueline. “Change and change and change again–”

“Yes,” answered Unity, “but never to the same, never to the same again–”

A silence fell in the room that was all flowered chintz. Unity, raising her eyes to the glass, saw within it her cousin where she leaned against a chair–saw the face, the eyes, the lips–saw the mask off. Unity gasped, wheeled, ran to the chair, and, falling on her knees beside it, clasped her cousin in her arms. “O Jacqueline! O Jacqueline, Jacqueline!”

Jacqueline rested her hands upon the other’s shoulders. “Why did you come to-day, Unity? The last time was December.”

“I came–I came"–sobbed Unity, “just to bring you their love–Uncle Dick’s and Uncle Edward’s and Aunt Nancy’s–and to say that Fontenoy is still home, and–and–”

“Yes,” said Jacqueline. “But this is my home now, Unity. It has been"–she raised her arms–"it has been my home for many and many a day! You may tell them that; you may tell it to Fairfax Cary.”

“Don’t–don’t think of him as an enemy!”

“I think of him as he is. What is the message, Unity?”

“I have none–I have none,” cried Unity, “except that whatever happens–whatever happens, Jacqueline, you are the darling of us all–of the old home and Uncle Dick and Uncle Edward and Aunt Nancy and Deb and me and all the servants! There is none at Fontenoy that does not love and honour you! Think of us, and come to us–”

“When? When, Unity?”

Unity rose. “Now, if you will, darling–dearest–”

Jacqueline smiled. “Now? When you are married, you will find that you cannot leave home so easily.” She crossed the bedroom floor to a window, and stood with her hands on either side of the casement, and with her face lifted to the pure blue heaven.

Unity waited with held breath. “She knows–she knows,” said her beating heart.

Jacqueline came back to the middle of the room. “Thank them for me, Unity, and tell them that I cannot leave my husband now.” Her touch, clay-cold and fluttering, fell upon her cousin’s arm. “There are wisdom and goodness in the world, and they wish to see things rightly, if only they had the power. Tell them at Fontenoy, and tell Fairfax Cary, too, that they have not altogether understood! Even he–even the one who is dead–did not quite do that, though he came more nearly than any. It is my hope and my belief that now he understands, forgives, and sees–and sees the dawn in the land!”

She raised her head, and the expression of her face was exquisite. No longer wan, she stood as though the flush of dawn were upon her. It paled, and the air of tragedy enfolded her again, but the light had been there, and it left her majestic. The grace within her and the sweetness were unfailing. She came now to her cousin, put an arm around her, and kissed her on the cheek. “You love truly, too,” she whispered. “When trouble comes, you’ll understand–you’ll understand!”

Unity held her to her and wept. “O Jacqueline!–O Jacqueline!”

“You put on the blue gown to remind me, didn’t you?” asked Jacqueline. “I didn’t need any reminding, dear. It is all with me, all the old, frank, happy days; all the time when I was a girl and we used to sit, just you and I, by my window and watch the stars come out between the fir branches! And I love you all, every one of you. And I do not blame Fairfax Cary. It is destiny, I think, with us all. But I want you to know–and you can tell them that, too,–that there is one whom I love beyond every one else, beyond life, death, fear, anguish, meeting, and parting. Loving him so, and not despairing of a life to come when we are all washed clean, my dear, when we are all washed clean–”

Her voice broke and she moved again to the window. The clock ticked, the sun came dazzling in, a fly buzzed against the pane. Jacqueline turned. “Tell them that they are all dear to me, but that my home is here with my husband. Tell them that Lewis Rand–that Lewis Rand"–She put her hands to her breast. “No. I have not power to tell you that–not yet, not yet! But this I say–my uncles were soldiers, and they fought bravely and witnessed much, but I have seen a battlefield"–She shuddered strongly and brought her hands together as if to wring them, then let them fall instead and turned upon her cousin a face colourless but almost smiling. “It is strange,” she said, “what pain we grow to call Victory. Let’s talk of it no more, Unity.” She caressed the other’s hand, raised it to her lips, and kissed it.

“I did not come to stay,” said Unity brokenly. “You had rather be alone. The evening is falling and they look for me at home. When you call me, I will come again. Are you sure–are you sure, Jacqueline, that you understand what they–what they sent me to say?”

“I understand enough,” said Jacqueline, in a very low voice, and kissed her cousin upon the brow.


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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