Lewis Rand
By Mary Johnston

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Public Domain Books

Chapter XI: The Way of the Transgressor

Rand closed the heavy ledger. “It is all straight,” he said.

“It’s as straight as if ’twas a winding-up forever,” answered Tom. “Are you going home now?”


“There’s almost nothing on the docket. I’ve seen no such general clearance since you began to practise and took me in. You say you’re going to refuse the Amherst case?”

“I have refused it.”

“Then,” quoth Tom, “I might as well go fishing. The weather’s right, and every affair of yours is so cleaned and oiled and put to rights that there’s nothing here for a man to do. One might suppose you were going a long journey. If you don’t want me to-morrow, I’ll call on old Mat Green–”

“Don’t go fishing to-morrow, Tom,” said Rand from the desk, “but don’t come here either. Stay at home with Vinie.”

“You won’t be coming in from Roselands?”

“I won’t be coming here.” Rand left the desk and stood at the small window where the roses were now in bloom. “I shall send you a note, Tom, to-morrow morning. It will tell you what"–He paused for a moment. “What comes next,” he finished. “There will be a message in it for Vinie.” He turned from the window. “I am going home now.”

“It’s a good time for a holiday,” remarked Tom, “and you needn’t tell me that you don’t need it, Lewis! I’ll lock up and go to the Eagle for a while. What are you looking for?”

“Nothing,” answered the other. “I was looking at the room itself. I always liked this office, Tom.”

As he passed, he touched his subaltern upon the shoulder. There was fondness in the gesture. “Good-bye,” he said, and was gone before Tom could answer.

Outside, in the bloom and glow of the May evening, he mounted Selim and rode out of the town. The people whom he met he greeted slightly, but with no change of manner which they afterwards could report. It was sunset when he passed the last houses, and turned toward the west and his own home. He rode slowly, with his eyes upon a great sea of vivid gold. By degrees the brightness faded, changing to an amethyst, out of which suddenly swam the evening star. The land rose into hills, the summits of the highest far and dark against the cold violet of the sky. From the road to Roselands branched the road to Greenwood. It was dusk when horse and rider reached this opening. Selim had come to know the altered grasp upon the rein just here, and now, according to wont, he fell into the slower pace. Rand turned in his saddle and looked across the darkening fields to the low hill, crowned with oaks, from which arose the Greenwood house. He gazed for a full minute, then spoke to his horse and they went on at speed. A little longer and he was at the gates of home.

His wife met him upon the doorstone. “I heard you at the gate–”

He put his arm around her. “What have you been doing all the long day?”

“I worked,” she answered, “and saw to the house, and read to Hagar at the quarter. She’s going fast. How tired your voice sounds! Come into the light. Supper is ready–and Mammy Chloe has said a charm to make you sleep to-night.”

They went indoors to the lighted rooms. “You are wearing your amethysts,” said Rand, “and the ribbon in your hair–”

She turned upon him a face exquisite in expression. “They are the jewels that you like–the ribbon as I wore it long ago. Come in–come in to supper.”

The brief meal ended, they returned to the drawing-room. Rand stood irresolutely. “I have yet a line to write,” he told her. “I will do it here at your desk. When I have finished, Jacqueline, then there is something I must say.”

He sat down and began to write. She moved to the window, then restlessly back to the lighted room and sat down before the hearth, but in a moment she left this, too, and moved again through the room. She passed her harp, and as she did so, she drew her hand across the strings. The sweet and liquid sound ran through the room. Rand turned. “I have not heard," he said, in a low voice,–"I have not heard that sound since–since last August. Will you sing to me now?”

She touched the harp again. “Yes, Lewis. What shall I sing?”

He rose, walked to the window, and stood with his face to the night. “Sing those verses you sang that night at Fontenoy"; then, as she struck a chord, “No, not To Althea–the other.”

She sang. The noble contralto, pure, rich, and deep, swelled through the room.

     “The thirst that from the soul doth rise
        Doth ask a drink divine"–

Her voice broke and her hands dropped from the strings. She rose quickly and left the harp. “I cannot–I cannot sing to-night. The air is faint–the flowers are too heavy. Come out–come out to the wind and the stars!”

Without the house the evening wind blew cool, moving the long branches of the beech tree, and rustling through the grass. To the west the mountains showed faintly, in the valley a pale streak marked the river. The sky was thick with stars. Behind them, through the open door, they heard the tall clock strike. “I did not tell you,” said Jacqueline, “of all my day. Unity was here this afternoon.”


“Yes. For an hour. She came with–with messages. My uncles send me word that they love me, and that Fontenoy is my home always–as it used to be. Whenever I wish, I am to come home.”

“What did you answer?”

“I answered that they were all dear to me, but that my home was here with you. I told Unity to tell them that–and to tell it, too, to Fairfax Cary.”

There was a silence; then, “It does not matter,” said Rand slowly. “Whether it is done my way, or whether it is done his way, Fairfax Cary will not care. He is concerned only that it shall be done. You understood the message, Jacqueline?”

She answered almost inaudibly. “Yes, I understood.”

“Seven months–and Ludwell Cary lies unavenged. I have been slow. But I had to break a strong chain, Jacqueline. I had fastened it, link by link, around my soul. It was not easy to break–it was not easy! And I had to find a path in a desert place.”

She bowed her head upon her arms. “Do I not know what it was? I have seen–I have seen. O Lewis, Lewis!”

“It is broken,” he said, “and though the desert is yet around me, my feet have found the path. To-morrow, Jacqueline, I give myself up.”

She uttered a cry, turned, and threw herself into his arms. “To-morrow! O Love!”


He bent over her with broken words of self-reproach. She stopped him with her hand against his lips. “No, I am not all unhappy–no, you have not broken my heart–you have not ruined my life! Don’t say it–don’t think it! I love you as I loved you in the garden at Fontenoy, as I loved on our wedding eve, in the house on the Three-Notched Road! I love you more deeply now than then–”

“I have come,” he answered, “to be sorry for almost all my life. Even to my father I might have been a better son. The best friend a young man ever had–that was Mr. Jefferson to me! and it all ended in the letter which he wrote last August. I was a leader in a party in whose principles I believed and still believe, and I betrayed my party. To-night I think I could give my life for one imperilled field, for one green acre of this land–and yet I was willing to bring upon it strife and dissension. Ingrate and traitor–hard words and true, hard words and true! I might have had a friend–and always I knew he was the man I would have wished to be–but, instead, I thought of him as my foe and I killed him. I have brought trouble on many, and good to very few. I have wronged you in very much. But I never wronged you in my love–never, never, Jacqueline! That is my mountain peak–that is my cleansing sea–that is that in my life which needs no repenting, that is true, that is right! Oh, my wife, my wife!”

The night wind blew against them. Fireflies shone and grey moths went by to the lighted windows; above the treetops a bat wheeled and wheeled. The clock struck again, then from far away a whippoorwill began to call. They sat side by side upon the doorstone, her head against his shoulder, their hands locked.

“What will you do?” he said. “What will you do? Day and night I think of that!”

“Could I stay on here? I would like to.”

“I have put all affairs in order. The place and the servants are yours. I’vee paid every debt, I think. Mocket knows–he’ll show you. But to live on here alone–”

“It will be the less alone. Don’t fear for me–don’t think for me. I will find courage. To-morrow!”

“It is best,” he said, “that I should tell you that which others may think to comfort you with. It is possible, but I do not consider it probable, that the sentence will be death. It will be, I think, the Penitentiary. I had rather it was the other.”

After a time she spoke, though with difficulty. “Yes–I had rather–for you. For myself, I feel to-night that just to know you were alive would be happiness enough. Either way–either way–to have loved you has been for me my crown of life!”

“I have written to Colonel Churchill, and a line to Fairfax Cary. There was much to do at the last. Now it is all done, and I will go early in the morning. You knew that it was drawing to this end–”

“Yes, I knew–I knew. Lewis, Lewis! what will you do yonder all the days the months–the–the years to come? Oh, unendurable! O God, have mercy!”

“I will work,” he answered. “It is work, Jacqueline, with me–it is work or die! I will work. That which I have brought upon myself I will try to endure. And out of effort may come at last–I know not what.”

They sat still upon the stone. The wind sank, the air grew colder; near and far there gathered a feeling of the north, a sense of loneliness and untrodden space. The whippoorwill called again.

Rand shuddered. “Our last night–it is our last night. Look!–a star shot over the Three-Notched Road.”

Jacqueline slipped from his clasp and stood upright, with her hands over her ears. “Come indoors–come indoors! I cannot bear the whippoorwill!”

Early the next morning he rode away. Halfway down the drive he looked back and saw her standing under the beech tree. She raised her hand, her scarf fluttering back from it. It was the gesture of a princess, watching a knight ride from her tower. The green boughs came between them; he was gone, and she sank down upon the bench beneath the tree. It was there that Major Edward found her, an hour later.

Rand passed along the old, familiar road. He travelled neither fast nor slow, and he kept a level gaze. The May morning was fresh and sweet, the land to either side ploughed earth or vernal green, the little stream laughing through the meadow. He passed a field where negroes were transplanting tobacco, and his mind noted the height and nature of the leaf. At the Greenwood road he looked mechanically toward the distant house, but upon this morning he hardly thought of Cary. He thought of Gideon Rand, and of the great casks of tobacco which he and his father used to roll; of the old, strong horses, and of a lean and surly dog that they had owned; of the slow journeys, and of their fires at night, beneath the gum and the pine, beside wastes of broom sedge.

He came into Charlottesville and rode down Main Street to the Eagle, where he dismounted. A negro took his horse. “Put him up,” directed Rand, “until he is called for.” He kept his hand for a moment upon Selim’s neck, then turned and walked down the street and into the Court House yard.

The shady place had always a contingent of happy idlers, men and boys lounging under the trees or upon the Court House steps. These greeted Lewis Rand with deference, and turned from their bountiful lack of occupation to watch him cross the grass and enter the Court House. “He’s gone,” remarked one, “straight to the sheriff’s office. What’s his business there?”

The next day and the next the idlers in the Court House yard knew all the business, and rolled it under their tongues. They loved a tragedy, and this curtain had gone up with promise. Had they not seen Lewis Rand walk into the yard–had they not spoken to him and he to them–had they not watched him enter the Court House? The boy who minded the sheriff’s door found himself a hero, and the words treasured that fell from his tongue. It was true that he had been sent away and so had heard but little, but the increasing crowd found that little of interest. “Yes, sir, that’s what he said, and just as quiet as you are! ’Is the sheriff in, Michael?’ he asked. ’Tell him, please, that I want to see him.’ That’s what he said, and Mr. Garrett he calls out, ’Come in, Mr. Rand, come in!’”

Other voices claimed attention. “And when they dragged Indian Run yesterday, there was the pistol at the bottom of a pool–his name upon it, just as he told them it would be–”

“Fairfax Cary was in the court room yesterday when he was committed. He and Lewis Rand spoke to each other, but no one heard what they said.”

The boy came to the front again. “I didn’t hear much that morning before Mr. Garrett sent me away, but I heard why he gave himself up. I thought it wasn’t much of a reason–”

The crowd pressed closer, “What was it, Michael, what was it?”

“It sounds foolish,” answered the boy, “but I’ve got it right. He said he must have sleep.”


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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