Part 3 out of 4
the dismal night, she found her own future as black, and it seemed no
wonder that the Sisters loved the convent life; that the pale nuns forsook
the world wherein there was so much useless unkindness; where women were
petty and jealous, like that cowardly Fanchon, and men who looked great
were tricksters, like Fanchon's betrothed. Miss Betty clenched her
delicate fingers. She would not remember that white, startled face again!
Another face helped her to shut out the recollection: that of the man who
had come to mass to meet her yesterday morning, and with whom she had
taken a long walk afterward. He had shown her a quaint old English
gardener who lived on the bank of the river, had bought her a bouquet, and
she had helped him to select another to send to a sick friend. How
beautiful the flowers were, and how happy he had made the morning for her,
with his gayety, his lightness, and his odd wisdom! Was it only yesterday?
Her father's coming had made yesterday a fortnight old.
But the continuously pattering rain and the soft drip-drop from the roof,
though as mournful as she chose to find them, began, afterwhile, to weave
their somnolent spells, and she slowly drifted from reveries of unhappy
sorts, into half-dreams, in which she was still aware she was awake; yet
slumber, heavy-eyed, stirring from the curtains beside her with the small
night breeze, breathed strange distortions upon familiar things, and
drowsy impossibilities moved upon the surface of her thoughts. Her chin,
resting upon her hand, sank gently, until her head almost lay upon her
"That is mine, Crailey Gray!"
She sprang to her feet, immeasurably startled, one hand clutching the back
of her chair, the other tremulously pressed to her cheek, convinced that
her father had stooped over her and shouted the sentence in her ear. For
it was his voice, and the house rang with the words; all the rooms, halls,
and even the walls, seemed still murmurous with the sudden sound, like the
tingling of a bell after it had been struck. And yet--everything was
She pressed her fingers to her forehead, trying to untangle the maze of
dreams which had evolved this shock for her, the sudden clamor in her
father's voice of a name she hated and hoped never to hear again, a name
she was trying to forget. But as she was unable to trace anything which
had led to it, there remained only the conclusion that her nerves were not
what they should be. The vapors having become obsolete for young ladies
as an explanation for all unpleasant sensations, they were instructed to
have "nerves." This was Miss Betty's first consciousness of her own, and,
desiring no greater acquaintance with them, she told herself it was
unwholesome to fall asleep in a chair by an open window when the night was
as sad as she.
Turning to a chair in front of the small oval mirror of her bureau, she
unclasped the brooch. which held her lace collar, and, seating herself,
began to unfasten her hair. Suddenly she paused, her uplifted arms
falling mechanically to her sides.
Someone was coming through the long hall with a soft, almost inaudible
step, a step which was not her father's. She knew at once, with
instinctive certainty, that it was not he. Nor was it Nelson, who would
have shuffled; nor could it be the vain Mamie, nor one of the other
servants, for they did not sleep in the house. It was a step more like a
woman's, though certainly it was not Mrs. Tanberry's.
Betty rose, took a candle, and stood silent for a moment, the heavy
tresses of her hair, half-unloosed, falling upon her neck and left
shoulder like the folds of a dark drapery.
At the slight rustle of her rising, the steps ceased instantly. Her heart
set up a wild beating and the candle shook in her hand. But she was brave
and young, and, following an irresistible impulse, she ran across the
room, flung open the door, and threw the light of the candle into the
hall, holding it at arm's length before her.
She came almost face to face with Crailey Gray.
The blood went from his cheeks as a swallow flies down from a roof; he
started back against the opposite wall with a stifled groan, while she
stared at him blankly, and grew as deathly pale as he.
He was a man of great resource in all emergencies which required a quick
tongue, but, for the moment, this was beyond him. He felt himself lost,
toppling backward into an abyss, and the uselessness of his destruction
made him physically sick. For he need not have been there; he had not
wished to come; he had well counted the danger to himself, and this one
time in his life had gone to the cupola-room out of good-nature. But
Bareaud had been obstinate and Crailey had come away alone, hoping that
Jefferson might follow. And here he was, poor trapped rat, convicted and
ruined because of a good action! At last he knew consistency to be a
jewel, and that a greedy boy should never give a crust; that a fool should
stick to his folly, a villain to his deviltry, and each hold his own; for
the man who thrusts a good deed into a life of lies is wound about with
perilous passes, and in his devious ways a thousand unexpected damnations
Beaten, stunned, hang-jawed with despair, he returned her long, dumfounded
gaze hopelessly and told the truth like an inspired dunce.
"I came--I came--to bring another man away," he whispered brokenly; and,
at the very moment, several heavy, half-suppressed voices broke into eager
The white hand that held the candle wavered, and the shadows glided in a
huge, grotesque dance. Twice she essayed to speak before she could do so,
at the same moment motioning him back, for he had made a vague gesture
"I am not faint. Do you mean, away from up there?" She pointed to the
"Have-have you seen my father?"
The question came out of such a depth of incredulousness that it was more
an articulation of the lips than a sound, but he caught it; and, with it
not hope, but the shadow of a shadow of hope, a hand waving from the far
shore to the swimmer who has been down twice. Did she fear for his sake?
"No--I have not seen him." He was groping blindly.
"You did not come from that "
"How did you enter the house?"
The draught through the hall was blowing upon him; the double doors upon
the veranda had been left open for coolness. "There," he said, pointing
"But--I heard you come from the other direction."
He was breathing quickly; he saw his chance-- if Jefferson Bareaud did not
"You did not hear me come down the stairs." He leaned toward her, risking
it all on that.
"Ah!" A sigh too like a gasp burst from Crailey. His head lifted a
little, and his eyes were luminous with an eagerness that was almost
anguish. He set his utmost will at work to collect himself and to think
hard and fast.
"I came here resolved to take a man away, come what would!" he said. "I
found the door open, went to the foot of that stairway; then I stopped. I
remembered something; I turned, and was going away when you opened the
"You remembered what?"
Her strained attitude did not relax, nor, to his utmost scrutiny, was the
complete astonishment of her distended gaze altered one whit, but a hint
of her accustomed high color was again upon her cheek and her lip trembled
a little, like that of a child about to weep. The flicker of hope in his
breast increased prodigiously, and the rush of it took the breath from his
throat and choked him. Good God! was she going to believe him?
"What?" she said, wonderingly.
Art returned with a splendid bound, full-pinioned, his beautiful and
treacherous Familiar who had deserted him at the crucial instant; but she
made up for it now, folding him in protective wings and breathing through
his spirit. In rapid and vehement whispers he poured out the words upon
the girl in the doorway.
"I have a friend, and I would lay down my life to make him what he could
be. He has always thrown everything away, his life, his talents, all his
money and all of mine, for the sake of--throwing them away! Some other
must tell you about that room; but it has ruined my friend. Tonight I
discovered that he had been summoned here, and I made up my mind to come
and take him away. Your father has sworn to shoot me if I set foot in his
house or on ground of his. Well, my duty was clear and I came to do it.
And yet--I stopped at the foot of the stair--because--because I remembered
that you were Robert Carewe's daughter. What of you, if I went up and
harm came to me from your father? For I swear I would not have touched
him! You asked me not to speak of `personal' things, and I have obeyed
you; but you see I must tell you one thing now: I have cared for this
friend of mine more than for all else under heaven, but I turned and left
him to his ruin, and would a thousand times, rather than bring trouble
upon you! `A thousand times?' Ah! I swear it should be a thousand times
He had paraded in one speech from the prisoner's dock to Capulet's garden,
and her eyes were shining into his like a great light when he finished.
"Go quickly," she whispered. "Go quickly! Go quickly!"
"But do you understand?"
"Not yet, but I shall. Will you go? They might come-my father might
come-at any moment."
"Do you want to drive me quite mad? Please go!" She laid a trembling,
urgent hand upon his sleeve.
"Never, until you tell me that you understand," replied Crailey firmly,
listening keenly for the slightest sound from overhead. "Never--until
"When I do I shall tell you; now I only know that you must go."
"But tell me- "
"You must go!"
There was a shuffling of chairs on the floor overhead, and Crailey went.
He went even more hastily than might have been expected from the adaman-
tine attitude he had just previously assumed. Realizing this as he
reached the wet path, he risked stealing round to her window:
"For your sake! "he breathed; and having thus forestalled any trifling
imperfection which might arise in her recollection of his exit from the
house, he disappeared, kissing his hand to the rain as he ran down the
Miss Betty locked her door and pulled close the curtains of her window. A
numerous but careful sound of footsteps came from the hall, went by her
door and out across the veranda. Silently she waited until she heard her
father go alone to his room.
She took the candle and went in to Mrs. Tanberry. She set the light upon
a table, pulled a chair close to the bedside, and placed her cool hand
lightly on the great lady's forehead.
"Isn't it very late, child? Why are you not asleep?"
"Mrs. Tanberry, I want to know why there was a light in the cupola-room
"What?" Mrs. Tanberry rolled herself as upright as possible, and sat with
"I want to know what I am sure you know, and what I am sure everybody
knows, except me. What were they doing there tonight, and what was the
quarrel between Mr. Vanrevel and my father that had to do with Mr. Gray?"
Mrs. Tanberry gazed earnestly into the girl's face. After a long time she
said in a gentle voice:
"Child, has it come to matter that much?"
"Yes," said Miss Betty.
Tom Vanrevel always went to the post-office soon after the morning
distribution of the mail; that is to say, about ten o'clock, and returned
with the letters for the firm of Gray and Vanrevel, both personal and
official. Crailey and he shared everything, even a box at the post-
office; and in front of this box, one morning, after a night of rain, Tom
stood staring at a white envelope bearing a small, black seal. The
address was in a writing he had never seen before, but the instant it fell
under his eye he was struck with a distinctly pleasurable excitement.
Whether through some spiritual exhalation of the writer fragrant on any
missive, or because of a hundred microscopic impressions, there are
analysts who are able to select, from a pile of letters written by women
(for the writing of women exhibits certain phenomena more determinably
than that of men) those of the prettiest or otherwise most attractive.
And out upon the lover who does not recognize his mistress's hand at the
first glimpse ever he has of it, without post-mark or other information to
aid him! Thus Vanrevel, worn, hollow-eyed, and sallow, in the Rouen post-
office, held the one letter separate from a dozen (the latter not, indeed,
from women), and stared at it until a little color came back to his dark
skin and a great deal of brightness to his eye. He was no analyst of
handwritings, yet it came to him instantly that this note was from a
pretty woman. To see that it was from a woman was simple, but that he
knew--and he did know--that she was pretty, savors of the occult. More
than this: there was something about it that thrilled him. Suddenly, and
without reason, he knew that it came from Elizabeth Carewe.
He walked back quickly to his office with the letter in the left pocket of
his coat, threw the bundle of general correspondence upon his desk, went
up to the floor above, and paused at his own door to listen. Deep
breathing from across the hall indicated that Mr. Gray's soul was still
encased in slumber, and great was its need, as Tom had found his partner,
that morning at five, stretched upon the horsehair sofa in the office,
lamenting the emptiness of a bottle which had been filled with fiery
Bourbon in the afternoon.
Vanrevel went to his own room, locked the door, and took the letter from
his pocket. He held it between his fingers carefully, as though it were
alive and very fragile, and he looked at it a long time, holding it first
in one hand, then in the other, before he opened it. At last, however,
after examining all the blades of his pocketknife, he selected one
brighter than the others, and loosened the flap of the envelope as gently
and carefully as if it had been the petal of a rose-bud that he was
"Dear Mr. Vanrevel:
"I believed you last night, though I did not understand. But I
understand, now--everything--and, bitter to me as the truth is, I must
show you plainly that I know all of it, nor can I rest until I do show
you. I want you to answer this letter--though I must not see you again
for a long time--and in your answer you must set me right if I am anywhere
mistaken in what I have learned.
"At first, and until after the second time we met, I did not believe in
your heart, though I did in your mind and humor. Even since then, there
have come strange, small, inexplicable mistrustings of you, but now I
throw them all away and trust you wholly, Monsieur Citizen Georges
Meilbac!--I shall always think of you in those impossible garnishments of
my poor great-uncle, and I persuade myself that he must have been a little
"I trust you because I have heard the story of your profound goodness.
The first reason for my father's dislike was your belief in freedom as the
right of all men. Ah, it is not your pretty exaggerations and flatteries
(I laugh at them!) that speak for you, but your career, itself, and the
brave things you have done. My father's dislike flared into hatred
because you worsted him when he discovered that he could not successfully
defend the wrong against you and fell back upon sheer insult.
"He is a man whom I do not know--strange as that seems as I write it. It
is only to you, who have taught me so much, that I could write it. I have
tried to know him and to realize that I am his daughter, but we are the
coldest acquaintances, that is all; and I cannot see how a change could
come. I do not understand him; least of all do I understand why he is a
gambler. It has been explained to me that it is his great passion, but
all I comprehend in these words is that they are full of shame for his
"This is what was told me: he has always played heavily and skillfully--
adding much to his estate in that way--and in Rouen always with a certain
coterie, which was joined, several years ago, by the man you came to save
"Your devotion to Mr. Gray has been the most beautiful thing in your life.
I know all that the town knows of that, except the thousand hidden
sacrifices you have made for him, those things which no one will ever
know. (And yet, you see, I know them after all!) For your sake, because
you love him, I will not even call him unworthy.
"I have heard--from one who told unwillingly--the story of the night two
years ago, when the play ran so terribly high; and how, in the morning
when they went away, all were poorer except one, their host!--how Mr. Gray
had nothing left in the world, and owed my father a great sum which was to
be paid in twenty-four hours; how you took everything you had saved in the
years of hard work at your profession, and borrowed the rest on your word,
and brought it to my father that afternoon; how, when you had paid your
friend's debt, you asked my father not to play with Mr. Gray again; and my
father made that his excuse to send you a challenge. You laughed at the
challenge--and you could afford to laugh at it.
"But this is all shame, shame for Robert Carewe's daughter. It seems to
me that I should hide and not lift my head; that I, being of my father's
blood, could never look you in the face again. It is so unspeakably
painful and ugly. I think of my father's stiff pride and his look of the
eagle, --and he still plays with your friend, almost always
`successfully!' And your friend still comes to play!--but I will not speak
of that side of it
"Mr. Gray has made you poor, but I know it was not that which made you
come seeking him last night, when I found you there in the hail. It was
for his sake you came--and you went away for mine. Now that I know, at
last--now that I have heard what your life has been (and oh I heard so
much more than I have written!)--now that my eyes have been opened to see
you as you are, I am proud, and glad and humble that I can believe that
you felt a friendship for me strong enough to have made you go `for my
sake.' You will write to me just once, won't you? and tell me if there
was any error in what I listened to; but you must not come to the garden.
Now that I know you, I cannot meet you clandestinely again. It would hurt
the dignity which I feel in you now, and my own poor dignity--such as it
is! I have been earnestly warned of the danger to you. Besides, you must
let me test myself. I am all fluttering and frightened and excited. You
will obey me, won't you ?--do not come until I send for you.
Mr. Gray, occupied with his toilet about noon, heard his partner
descending to the office with a heavy step, and issued from his room to
call a hearty greeting. Tom looked back over his shoulder and replied
cheerily, though with a certain embarrassment; but Crailey, catching sight
of his face, uttered a sharp ejaculation and came down to him.
"Why, what's the matter, Tom? You're not going to be sick? You look like
the devil and all!"
"I'm all right, never fear!" Tom laughed, evading the other's eye. "I'm
going out in the country on some business, and I dare say I shall not be
back for a couple of days; it will be all up and down the county." He set
down a travelling-bag he was carrying, and offered the other his hand.
"Can't I go for you? You don't look able "
"No, no. It's something I'll have to attend to myself."
"Ah, I suppose," said Crailey, gently, "I suppose it's important, and you
couldn't trust me to handle it. Well--God knows you're right! I've shown
you often enough how incompetent I am to do anything but write jingles!"
"You do some more of them--without the whiskey, Crailey. They're worth
more than all the lawing Gray and Vanrevel have ever done or ever will do.
Good-by---and be kind to yourself."
He descended to the first landing, and then, "Oh, Crailey," he called,
with the air of having forgotten something he had meant to say.
"This morning at the post-office I found a letter addressed to me. I
opened it and--" He hesitated, and uneasily shifted his weight from one
foot to the other, with a feeble, deprecatory laugh.
"Yes, what of it?"
"Well--there seemed to be a mistake. I think it must have been meant for
you. Somehow, she--she's picked up a good many wrong impressions, and,
Lord knows how, but she's mixed our names up and--and I've left the letter
for you. It's on my table."
He turned and calling a final good-by over his shoulder, went clattering
noisily down to the street and vanished from Crailey's sight.
Noon found Tom far out on the National Road, creaking along over the
yellow dust in a light wagon, between bordering forests that smelt spicily
of wet underbrush and May-apples; and, here and there, when they would
emerge from the woods to cleared fields, liberally outlined by long snake-
fences of black walnut, the steady, jog-trotting old horse lifted his head
and looked interested in the world, but Tom never did either. Habitually
upright, walking or sitting, straight, keen, and alert, that day's sun saw
him drearily hunched over, mile after mile, his forehead laced with lines
of pain. He stopped at every farm-house and cabin, and, where the young
men worked in the fields, hailed them from the road, or hitched his horse
to the fence and crossed the soft furrows to talk with them. At such
times he stood erect again, and spoke stirringly, finding eager listeners.
There was one question they asked him over and over:
"But are you sure the call will come?"
"As sure as that we stand here; and it will come before the week is out.
We must be ready!"
Often, when he left them, they would turn from the work in hand, leaving
it as it was, to lie unfinished in the fields, and make their way slowly
and thoughtfully to their homes, while Tom climbed into his creaking
little wagon once more, only to fall into the same dull, hunched-over
attitude. He had many things to think out before he faced Rouen and
Crailey Gray again, and more to fight through to the end with himself.
Three days he took for it, three days driving through the soft May weather
behind the kind, old jog-trotting horse; three days on the road, from
farm-house to farm-house and from field to field, from cabin of the woods
to cabin in the clearing. Tossing unhappily at night, he lay sleepless
till dawn, though not because of the hard beds; and when daylight came,
journeyed steadily on again, over the vagabond little hills that had
gypsied it so far into the prairie-land in their wanderings from their
range on the Ohio, and, passing the hills, went on through the flat
forest-land, always hunched over dismally in the creaking wagon.
But on the evening of the third day he drove into town, with the stoop out
of his shoulders and the lustre back in his eyes. He was haggard, gray,
dusty, but he had solved his puzzle, and one thing was clear in his mind
as the thing that he would do. He patted the old horse a hearty farewell
as he left him with the liveryman from whom be had hired him, and strode
up Main Street with the air of a man who is going somewhere. It was late,
but there were more lights than usual in the windows and more people on
the streets. Boys ran shouting, while, here and there, knots of men
argued loudly, and in front of the little corner drug-store a noisily
talkative, widely gesticulative crowd of fifty or more had gathered. An
old man, a cobbler, who had left a leg at Tippecanoe and replaced it with
a wooden one, chastely decorated with designs of his own carving, came
stumping excitedly down the middle of the street, where he walked for fear
of the cracks in the wooden pavement, which were dangerous to his art-leg
when he came from the Rouen House bar, as on the present occasion. He
hailed Tom by name.
"You're the lad, Tom Vanrevel," he shouted. "You're the man to lead the
boys out for the glory of the State! You git the whole blame Fire De-
partment out and enlist `em before morning! Take `em down to the Rio
Grande, you hear me?
And you needn't be afraid of their puttin' it out, if it ketches afire,
Tom waved his hand and passed on; but at the open doors of the Catholic
Church he stopped and looked up and down the street, and then, unnoticed,
entered to the dim interior, where the few candles showed only a bent old
woman in black kneeling at the altar. Tom knew where Elizabeth Carewe
knelt each morning; he stepped softly through the shadowy silence to her
place, knelt, and rested his head upon the rail of the bench before him.
The figure at the altar raised itself after a time, and the old woman
limped slowly up a side aisle, mumbling her formulas, courtesying to the
painted saints, on her way out. The very thinnest lingerings of incense
hung on the air, seeming to Tom like the faint odor that might exhale from
a heavy wreath of marguerites, worn in dark-brown hair. Yet, the place
held nothing but peace and good-will. And he found nothing else in his own
heart. The street was quiet when he emerged from that lorn vigil; the
corner groups had dissolved; shouting youths no longer patrolled the
sidewalks. Only one quarter showed signs of life: the little clubhouse,
where the windows still shown brightly, and whence came the sound of many
voices settling the destinies of the United States of America. Thither
Tom bent his steps, thoughtfully, and with a quiet mind. There was a
small veranda at the side of the house; here he stood unobserved to look
in upon his noisy and agitated friends.
They were all there, from the old General and Mr. Bareaud, to the latter's
son, Jefferson, and young Frank Chenoweth. They were gathered about a big
table upon which stood a punch-bowl and Trumble, his brow as angry red as
the liquor in the cup he held, was proposing a health to the President in
a voice of fury.
"In spite of all the Crailey Grays and traitors this side of hell!" he
Crailey emerged instantaneously from the general throng and mounted a
chair, tossing his light hair back from his forehead, his eyes sparkling
and happy. "You find your own friends already occupying the place you
mentioned, do you, General?" he asked.
General Trumble stamped and shook his fist.
"You're a spawn of Aaron Burr!" he vociferated. "There's not a man here
to stand by your infernal doctrines. You sneer at your own State, you
sneer at your own country, you defile the sacred ground! What are you, by
the Almighty, who attack your native land in this, her hour of peril!"
"Peril to my native land!" laughed Crailey. "From Santa Anna?"
"The General's right, sir," exclaimed the elder Chenoweth indignantly, and
most of the listeners appeared to agree with him. "It's a poor time to
abuse the President when he's called for volunteers and our country is in
"Who is in danger?" answered Crailey, lifting his hand to still the clamor
of approbation that arose. "Is Polk in danger? Or Congress? But that
would be too much to hope! Do you expect to see the Greasers in
Washington? No, you idiots, you don't! Yet there'll be plenty of men to
suffer and die; and the first should be those who thrust this war on us
and poor little Mexico; but it won't be they; the men who'll do the
fighting and dying will be the country boys and the like of us from the
towns, while Mr. Polk sits planning at the White House how he can get
elected again. I wish Tom were here, confound you! You listen to him
because he always has the facts and I'm just an embroiderer, you think.
What's become of the gaudy campaign cry you were all wearing your lungs
out with a few months ago? `Fifty-four-forty or fight!' Bah! Polk
twisted the lion's tail with that until after election. Then he saw he
had to make you forget it, or fight England and be ruined, so he forces
war on Mexico, and the country does forget it. That's it: he asks three
regiments of volunteers from this State to die of fevers and get shot, so
that he can steal another country and make his own elect him again. And
you ask me to drink the health of the politician who sits at home and
sends his fellowmen to die to fix his rotten jobs for him?" Crailey had
persuaded himself into such earnestness, that the depth of his own feeling
almost choked him, but he finished roundly in his beautiful, strong voice:
"I'll drink for the good punch's sake--but that health ?--I'll see General
Trumble in heaven before I'll drink it!"
There rose at once a roar of anger and disapproval, and Crailey became a
mere storm centre amid the upraised hands gestulating madly at him as he
stood, smiling again, upon his chair.
"This comes of living with Tom Vanrevel!" shouted the General furiously.
"This is his damned Abolition teaching! You're only his echo; you spend
half your life playing at being Vanrevel!"
"Where is Vanrevel?" said Tappingham Marsh.
"Ay, where is he!" raged Trumble, hammering the table till the glasses
rang. "Let him come and answer for his own teaching; it's wasted time to
talk to this one; he's only the pupil. Where is the traitor?"
"Here," answered a voice from the doorway; and though the word was spoken
quietly it was nevertheless, at that juncture, silencing. Everyone turned
toward the door as Vanrevel entered. But the apoplectic General, whom
Crailey's speech had stirred to a fury beyond control, almost leaped at
"Here's the tea-sipping old Granny," he bellowed hoarsely. (He was
ordinarily very fond of Tom.) "Here's the master! Here's the man whose
example teaches Crailey Gray to throw mud at the flag. He'll stay here at
home with Crailey, of course, and throw more, while the others boys march
out to die under it."
"On the contrary, answered Tom, raising his voice, "I think you'll find
Crailey Gray the first to enlist, and as for myself, I've raised sixty men
in the country, and I want forty more from Rouen, in order to offer the
Governor a full company. So it's come to `the King, not the man'; Polk is
a pitiful trickster, but the country needs her sons; that's enough for us
to know; and while I won't drink to James Polk "--he plunged a cup in the
bowl and drew it out brimming-- "I'll empty this to the President!"
It was then that from fifty throats the long, wild shout went up that
stirred Rouen, and woke the people from their midnight beds for half a
The Firm of Gray and Vanrevel
For the first time it was Crailey who sat waiting for Tom to come home.
In a chair drawn to his partner's desk in the dusty office, he half-
reclined, arms on the desk, his chin on his clenched fists. To redeem the
gloom he had lit a single candle, which painted him dimly against the
complete darkness of his own shadow, like a very old portrait whose
background time has solidified into shapeless browns; the portrait of a
fair-haired gentleman, the cavalier, or the Marquis, one might have said
at first glance; not describing it immediately as that of a poet, for
there was no mark of art upon Crailey, not even in his hair, for they all
wore it rather long then. Yet there was a mark upon him, never more vivid
than as he sat waiting in the loneliness of that night for Tom Vanrevel;
though what the mark was and what its significance might have been
puzzling to define. Perhaps, after all, Fanchon Bareaud had described it
best when she told Crailey one day, with a sudden hint of apprehensive
tears, that he had a "look of fate."
Tom took his own time in coming; he had stayed at the club to go over his
lists--so he had told Crailey--with the General and old Bareaud. His
company was almost complete, and Crailey had been the first to volunteer,
to the dumfounding of Trumble, who had proceeded to drink his health again
and again. But the lists could not detain Tom two hours, Crailey knew,
and it was two hours since the new volunteers had sung "The Star Spangled
Banner" over the last of the punch, and had left the club to Tom and the
two old men. Only once or twice in that time had Crailey shifted his
position, or altered the direction of his set gaze at nothing. But at
last he rose, went to the window and, leaning far out, looked down the
street toward the little clubhouse. Its lights were extinguished and all
was dark up and down the street. Abruptly Crailey went back to the desk
and blew out the candle, after which he sat down again in the same
position. Twenty minutes later he heard Tom's step on the stair, coming
up very softly. Crailey waited in silence until his partner reached the
landing, then relit the candle.
"Tom," he called. "Come in, please, I've been waiting for you."
There was a pause before Tom answered from the hall:
"I'm very tired, Crailey. I think I'll go up to bed."
"No," said Crailey, "come in."
The door was already open, but Tom turned toward it reluctantly. He
stopped at the threshold and the two looked at each other.
"I thought you wouldn't come as long as you believed I was up," said
Crailey, " so I blew out the light. I'm sorry I kept you outside so long."
"Crailey, I'm going away to-morrow," the other began. "I am to go over
and see the Governor and offer him this company, and to-night I need
sleep, so please-
"No," interrupted Crailey quietly, "I want to know what you're going to
"To do about what?"
"Oh!" Tom's eyes fell at once from his friend's face and rested upon the
floor. Slowly he walked to the desk and stood in embarrassed
contemplation of the littered books and papers, while the other waited.
"I think it's best for you to tell me," said Crailey.
"You think so?" Tom's embarrassment increased visibly, and there was
mingled with it an odd appearance of apprehension, probably to relieve
which he very deliberately took two long cheroots from his pocket, laid
one on the desk for Crailey and lit the other himself, with extreme
carefulness, at the candle. After this ceremonial he dragged a chair to
the window, tilted back in it with his feet on the low sill, his back to
the thin light and his friend, and said in a slow, gentle tone:
"I suppose you mean that I ought to offer my explanation first," said the
other, still standing. "Well, there isn't any." He did not speak dog-
gedly or sullenly, as one in fault, but more with the air of a man
curiously ready to throw all possible light upon a cloudy phenomenon.
"It's very simple--all that I know about it. I went there first on the
evening of the Madrillon masquerade and played a little comedy for her, so
that some of my theatrical allusions--they weren't very illuminating!--to
my engagement to Fanchon, made her believe I was Vanrevel when her father
told her about the pair of us. I discovered that the night his warehouses
burned--and I saw something more, because I can't help seeing such things:
that yours was just the character to appeal to a young girl fresh from the
convent and full of honesty and fine dreams and fire. Nobody could
arrange a more fatal fascination for a girl of nineteen than to have a
deadly quarrel with her father. And that's especially true when the
father's like that mad brute of a Bob Carewe! Then, too, you're more or
less the town model of virtue and popular hero, in spite of the
Abolitionism, just as I am the town scamp. So I let it go on, and played
a little at being you, saying the things that you only think--that was
all. It isn't strange that it's lasted until now, not more than three
weeks, after all. She's only seen you four or five times, and me not much
oftener. No one speaks of you to her, and I've kept out of sight when
others were about. Mrs. Tanberry is her only close friend, and,
naturally, wouldn't be apt to mention that you are dark and I am fair, or
to describe us personally, any more than you and I would mention the
general appearance of people we both meet about town. But you needn't
tell me that it can't last much longer. Some petty, unexpected trifle
will turn up, of course. All that I want to know is what you mean to do."
"To do?" repeated Tom softly, and blew a long scarf of smoke out of the
"Ah!" Crailey's voice grew sharp and loud. "There are many things you
needn't tell me! You need not tell me what I've done to you--nor what you
think of me! You need not tell me that you have others to consider, that
you have Miss Carewe to think of. Don't you suppose I know that? And you
need not tell me that you have a duty to Fanchon--"
"Yes," Tom broke in, his tone not quite steady. "Yes, I've thought of
"Have you--did you--" he hesitated, but Crailey understood immediately.
"No; I haven't seen her again."
"Yes--I wrote. I answered the letter."
"Yes; I signed your name. I told you that I had just let things go on,"
Crailey answered, with an impatient movement of his hands. "What are you
going to do?"
"I'm going over to see the Governor in the morning. I'll be away two or
three days, I imagine."
"Vanrevel!" exclaimed Crailey hotly, "Will you give me an answer and not
beat about the bush any longer? Or do you mean that you refuse to
Tom dropped his cigar upon the brick window-ledge with an abysmal sigh.
"Oh, no, it isn't that," he answered mildly "I've been thinking it all
over for three days in the country, and when I got back tonight I found
that I had come to a decision without knowing it, and that I had come to
it even before I started; my leaving the letter for you proved it. It's a
little like this Mexican war, a mixed-up problem and only one thing clear.
A few schemers have led the country into it to increase the slave-power
and make us forget that we threatened England when we couldn't carry out
the threat. And yet, if you look at it broadly, these are the smaller
things and they do not last. The means by which the country grows may be
wrong, but its growth is right; it is only destiny, working out through
lies and blood, but the end will be good. It is bound to happen and you
can't stop it. I believe the men who make this war for their own uses
will suffer in hell-fire for it; but it is made, and there's only one
thing I can see as the thing for me to do. They've called me every name
on earth--and the same with you, too, Crailey--because I'm an
Abolitionist, but now, whether the country has sinned or not, a good many
thousand men have got to do the bleeding for her, and I want to be one of
them. That's the one thing that is plain to me."
"Yes," returned Crailey. "You know I'm with you; and I think you're
always right. Yes; we'll all be on the way in a fortnight or so. Do you
mean you won't quarrel with me because of that? Do you mean it would be a
poor time now, when we're all going out to take our chances together?"
"Quarrel with you!" Tom rose and came to the desk, looking across it at
his friend. "Did you think I might do that?"
"Yes--I thought so."
"Crailey!" And now Tom's expression showed desperation; it was that of a
man whose apprehensions have culminated and who is forced to face a crisis
long expected, long averted, but imminent at last. His eyes fell from
Crailey's clear gaze and his hand fidgeted among the papers on the desk.
"No," he began with a painful lameness and hesitation. "I did not mean
it--no; I meant, that, in the same way, only one thing in this other--this
other affair that seems so confused and is such a problem--only one thing
has grown clear. It doesn't seem to me that--that--" here he drew a deep
breath, before he went on with increasing nervousness--" that if you like
a man and have lived with him a good many years; that is to say, if you're
really much of a friend to him, I don't believe you sit on a high seat and
judge him. Judging, and all that, haven't much part in it. And it seems
to me that you've got yourself into a pretty bad mix-up, Crailey."
"Yes," said Crailey. "It's pretty bad."
"Well," Tom looked up now, with an almost tremulous smile, "I believe that
is about all I can make of it. Do you think it's the part of your best
friend to expose you? It seems to me that if there ever was a time when I
ought to stand by you, it's now."
There was a silence while they looked at each other across the desk in the
faint light. Tom's eye fell again as Crailey opened his lips.
"And in spite of everything," Crailey said breathlessly, "you mean that
you won't tell?"
"How could I, Crailey?" said Tom Vanrevel as be turned away.
When June Came
"Methought I met a Damsel Fair
And tears were in her eyes;
Her head and arms were bare,
I heard her bursting sighs.
"I stopp'd and looked her in the face,
`Twas then she sweetly smiled.
Her features shone with mournful grace,
Far more than Nature's child.
"With diffident and downcast eye,
In modest tones she spoke;
She wiped a tear and gave a sigh,
And then her silence broke--"
So sang Mrs. Tanberry at the piano, relieving the melancholy which
possessed her; but Nelson, pausing in the hail to listen, and exceedingly
curious concerning the promised utterance of the Damsel Fair, was to
suffer disappointment, as the ballad was broken off abruptly and the
songstress closed the piano with a monstrous clatter. Little doubt may be
entertained that the noise was designed to disturb Mr. Carewe, who sat
upon the veranda consulting a brown Principe, and less that the intended
insult was accomplished. For an expression of a vindictive nature was
precipitated in that quarter so simultaneously that the bang of the piano-
lid and the curse were even as the report of a musket and the immediate
cry of the wounded.
Mrs. Tanberry at once debouched upon the piazza, showing a vast, clouded
countenance. "And I hope to heaven you already had a headache!" she
"The courtesy of your wish, madam," Carewe replied, with an angry flash of
his eye, "is only equaled by the kindness of heaven in answering it. I
have, in fact, a headache. I always have, nowadays."
"That's good news," returned the lady heartily.
"I thank you," retorted her host.
"Perhaps if you treated your daughter even a decent Indian's kind of
politeness, you'd enjoy better health."
"Ah! And in what failure to perform my duty toward her have I incurred
"Where is she now?" exclaimed the other excitably. "Where is she now?"
"I cannot say."
"Yes, you can, Robert Carewe!" Mrs. Tanberry retorted, with a wrathful
gesture. "You know well enough she's in her own room, and so do I--for I
tried to get in to comfort her when I heard her crying. She's in there
with the door bolted, where you drove her!"
"I drove her!" he sneered.
"Yes, you did, and I heard you. Do you think I couldn't hear you raging
and storming at her like a crazy man? When you get in a temper do you
dream there's a soul in the neighborhood who doesn't know it? You're a
fool if you do, because they could have heard you swearing down on Main
Street, if they'd listened. What are you trying to do to her?--break her
spirit?--or what? Because you'll do it, or kill her. I never heard
anybody cry so heart-brokenly." Here the good woman's own eyes filled.
"What's the use of pretending?" she went on sorrowfully. "You haven't
spoken to her kindly since you came home. Do you suppose I'm blind to
that? You weren't a bad husband to the poor child's mother; why can't you
be a good father to her?"
"Perhaps you might begin by asking her to be a good daughter to me."
"What has she done?"
"The night before I went away she ran to a fire and behaved there like a
common street hoyden. The ladies of the Carewe family have not formerly
acquired a notoriety of that kind."
"Bah!" said Mrs. Tanberry.
"The next morning, when I taxed her with it, she dutifully defied and
"I can imagine the delicacy with which you `taxed' her. What has that to
do with your devilish tantrums of this afternoon, Robert Carewe?"
"I am obliged to you for the expression," he returned. "When I came home,
this afternoon, I found her reading that thing." He pointed to many very
small fragments of Mr. Cummings's newspaper, which were scattered about
the lawn near the veranda. "She was out here, reading an article which I
had read downtown and which appeared in a special edition of that rotten
sheet, sent out two hours ago."
"Do you know what that article was, madam, do you know what it was?"
Although breathing heavily, Mr. Carewe had compelled himself to a certain
outward calmness, but now, in the uncontrollable agitation of his anger,
he sprang to his feet and struck one of the wooden pillars of the porch a
shocking blow with the bare knuckles of his clenched hand. "Do you know
what it was? It was a eulogy of that damned Vanrevel! It pretended to be
an account of the enrollment of his infernal company, but it was nothing
more than a glorification of that nigger-loving hound! His company--a lot
of sneaks, who'll run like sheep from the first Greaser--elected him
captain yesterday, and today he received an appointment as major! It
dries the blood in my veins to think of it!--that black dog a major! Good
God! am I never to hear the last of him? Cummings wrote it, the fool, the
lying, fawning, slobbering fool; he ought to be shot for it! Neither he
nor his paper ever enter my doors again! And I took the dirty sheet from
her hands and tore it to pieces--"
"Yes," interposed Mrs. Tanberry, "it looks as if you had done it with your
"--And stamped it into the ground!"
"Oh, I heard you!" she said.
Carewe came close to her, and gave her a long look from such bitter eyes
that her own fell before them. "If you've been treacherous to me, Jane
Tanberry," he said, "then God punish you! If they've met--my daughter and
that man--while I was away, it is on your head. I don't ask you, because I
believe if you knew anything you'd lie for her sake. But I tell you that
as she read that paper, she did not hear my step on the walk nor know that
I was there until I leaned over her shoulder. And I swear that I suspect
He turned and walked to the door, while the indomitable Mrs. Tanberry,
silenced for once, sank into the chair he had vacated. Before he disap-
peared within the house, he paused.
"If Mr. Vanrevel has met my daughter," he said, in a thick voice,
stretching out both hands in a strange, menacing gesture toward the town
that lay darkling in the growing dusk, "if he has addressed one word to
her, or so much as allowed his eyes to rest on her overlong, let him take
care of himself!"
"Oh, Robert, Robert," Mrs. Tanberry cried, in a frightened whisper to
herself, "all the fun and brightness went out of the world when you came
For, in truth, the gayety and light-heartedness which, during the great
lady's too brief reign, had seemed a vital adjunct of the house to make
the place resound with music and laughter, were now departed. No more did
Mrs. Tanberry extemporize Dan Tuckers, mazourkas, or quadrilles in the
ball-room, nor Blind-Man's Buff in the library; no more did serenaders
nightly seek the garden with instrumental plunkings and vocal gifts of
harmony. Even the green bronze boy of the fountain seemed to share the
timidity of the other youths of the town where Mr. Carewe was concerned,
for the goblet he held aloft no longer sent a lively stream leaping into
the sunshine in translucent gambols, but dribbled and dripped upon him
like a morbid autumn rain. The depression of the place was like a drape
of mourning purple; but not that house alone lay glum, and there were
other reasons than the return of Robert Carewe why Rouen had lost the joy
and mirth that belonged to it. Nay, the merry town had changed beyond all
credence; it was hushed like a sick-room, and dolefully murmurous with
forebodings of farewell and sorrow.
For all the very flower of Rouen's youth had promised to follow Tom
Vanrevel on the long and arduous journey to Mexico, to march burning miles
under the tropical sun, to face strange fevers and the guns of Santa Anna.
Few were the houses of the more pretentious sort that did not mourn, in
prospect, the going of son, or brother, or close friend; mothers already
wept not in secret, fathers talked with husky bravado; and everyone was
very kind to those who were to go, speaking to them gently and bringing
them little foolish presents. Nor could the hearts of girls now longer
mask as blocks of ice to the prospective conquistadores; Eugene
Madrillon's young brother, Jean, after a two years' Beatrice-and-Benedict
wooing of Trixie Chenoweth (that notable spitfire) announced his
engagement upon the day after his enlistment, and recounted to all who
would listen how his termagant fell upon his neck in tears when she heard
the news. "And now she cries about me all the time," finished the frank
But there was little spirit for the old merriments: there were no more
carpet-dances at the Bareauds', no masquerades at the Madrillons', no
picnics in the woods nor excursions on the river; and no more did light
feet bear light hearts through the "mazes of the intricate schottische,
the subtle mazourka, or the stately quadrille," as Will Cummings remarked
in the Journal. Fanchon, Virginia, and five or six others, spent their
afternoons mournfully, and yet proudly, sewing and cutting large pieces of
colored silk, fashioning a great flag for their sweethearts and brothers
to bear southward and plant where stood the palace of the Montezumas.
That was sad work for Fanchon, though it was not for her brother's sake
that she wept, since, as everyone knew, Jefferson was already so full of
malaria and quinine that the fevers of the South and Mexico must find him
invulnerable, and even his mother believed he would only thrive and grow
hearty on his soldiering. But about Crailey, Fanchon had a presentiment
more vivid than any born of the natural fears for his safety; it came to
her again and again, reappearing in her dreams; she shivered and started
often as she worked on the flag, then bent her fair head low over the gay
silks, while the others glanced at her sympathetically. She had come to
feel quite sure that Crailey was to be shot.
"But I've dreamed it--dreamed it six!" she cried, when he laughed, at her
and tried to cheer her. "And it comes to me in the day-time as though I
saw it with my eyes: the picture of you in an officer's uniform, lying on
the fresh, green grass, and a red stain just below the throat."
"That shows what dreams are made of, dear lady," he smiled. "We'll find
little green grass in Mexico, and I'm only a corporal; so where's the
Then Fanchon wept the more, and put her arms about him, while it seemed to
her that she must cling to him so forever and thus withhold him from
fulfilling her vision, and that the gentle pressure of her arms must
somehow preserve him to life and to her. "Ah, you can't go, darling," she
sobbed, while he petted her and tried to soothe her. "You can't leave me!
You belong to me! They can't, can't, can't take you away from me!"
And when the flag was completed, save for sewing the stars upon the blue
ground, she took it away from the others and insisted upon finishing the
work herself. To her own room she carried it, and each of the white stars
that the young men of Rouen were to follow in the struggle that would add
so many others to the constellation, was jewelled with her tears and
kissed by her lips as it took its place with its brothers. Never were
neater stitches taken, for, with every atom of her body yearning to
receive the shot that was destined for Crailey, this quiet sewing was all
that she could do! She would have followed him, to hold a parasol over
him under the dangerous sun, to cook his meals properly, to watch over him
with medicines and blankets and a fan; she would have followed barefoot
and bareheaded, and yet, her heart breaking with the crucial yearning to
mother him and protect him, this was all that she could for him, this
small stitching at the flag he had promised to follow.
When the work was quite finished, she went all over it again with double
thread, not facing the superstition of her motive, which was to safeguard
her lover: the bullet that was destined for Crailey might, in the myriad
chances, strike the flag first and be deflected, though never so slightly,
by one of these last stitches, and Crailey's heart thus missed by the same
margin. It was at this juncture, when the weeping of women was plentiful,
when old men pulled long faces, and the very urchins of the street
observed periods of gravity and even silence, that a notion entered the
head of Mrs. Tanberry--young Janie Tanberry--to the effect that such
things were all wrong. She declared energetically that this was no decent
fashion of farewell; that after the soldiers went away there would be time
enough to enact the girls they had left behind them; and that, until then,
the town should be made enlivening. So she went about preaching a revival
of cheerfulness, waving her jewelled hand merrily from the Carewe carriage
to the volunteers she saw upon the street, calling out to them with
laughter and inspiring quip; everywhere scolding the mourners viciously in
her husky voice, and leaving so much of heartening vivacity in her wake
that none could fail to be convinced that she was a wise woman.
Nor was her vigor spent in vain. It was decided that a ball should be
given to the volunteers of Rouen two nights before their departure for the
State rendezvous, and it should be made the noblest festival in Rouen's
history; the subscribers took their oath to it. They rented the big
dining-room at the Rouen House, covered the floor with smooth cloth, and
hung the walls solidly with banners and roses, for June had come. More,
they ran a red carpet across the sidewalk (which was perfectly dry and
clean) almost to the other side of the street; they imported two extra
fiddles and a clarionet to enlarge the orchestra; and they commanded a
supper such as a hungry man beholds in a dream.
Miss Betty laid out her prettiest dress that evening, and Mrs. Tanberry
came in and worshipped it as it rested, like foam of lavender and white
and gray, upon the bed, beside the snowy gloves with their tiny, stiff
lace gauntlets, while two small white sandal-slippers, with jeweled
buckles where the straps crossed each other, were being fastened upon Miss
Betty's silken feet by the vain and gloating Mamie.
"It's a wicked cruelty, Princess!" exclaimed Mrs. Tanberry. "We want
cheer the poor fellows and help them to be gay, and here do you
deliberately plan to make them sick at the thought of leaving the place
that holds you! Or have you discovered that there's one poor vagabond of
the band getting off without having his heart broken, and made up your
mind to do it for him tonight?"
"Is father to go with us?" asked Betty. It was through Mrs. Tanberry that
she now derived all information concerning Mr. Carewe, as he had not
directly addressed her since the afternoon when he discovered her reading
the Journal's extra.
"No, we are to meet him' there. He seems rather pleasanter than usual
this evening," remarked Mrs. Tanberry, hopefully, as she retired.
"Den we mus' git ready to share big trouble tomorrer!" commented the
kneeling Mamie, with a giggle.
Alas! poor adoring servitress, she received a share unto herself that very
evening, for her young mistress, usually as amiable as a fair summer sky,
fidgetted, grumbled, found nothing well done, and was never two minutes in
the same mind. After donning the selected dress, she declared it a
fright, tried two others, abused each roundly, dismissed her almost
weeping handmaiden abruptly, and again put on the first. Sitting down to
the mirror, she spent a full hour over the arrangement of her hair,
looking attentively at her image, sometimes with the beginning of doubtful
approval, often angrily, and, now and then, beseechingly, imploring it to
When Mrs. Tanberry came in to tell her that Nelson was at the block with
the carriage, Miss Betty did not turn, and the elder lady stopped on the
threshold and gave a quick, asthmatic gasp of delight. For the picture
she saw was, without a doubt in the world, what she proclaimed it, a
moment later, ravishingly pretty: the girlish little pink and white room
with all its dainty settings for a background, lit by the dozen candles in
their sconces and half as many slender silver candlesticks, and, seated
before the twinkling mirror, the beautiful Miss Carewe, in her gown of
lace and flounces that were crisp, yet soft, her rope of pearls, her white
sandals, and all the glory of her youth. She had wound a wreath of white
roses into her hair, her cheeks were flushed, and her eyes warm and
glowing, yet inscrutable in their long gaze into the mirror.
"Oh," said Mrs. Tanberry, "you make me want to be a man! I'd pick you up
and run to the North Pole, where no one could ever follow. And I can tell
you that it hurts not to throw my arms round you and kiss you; but you're
so exquisite I don't want to touch you!"
In answer, Miss Betty ran to her and kissed her rapturously on both
cheeks. "Am I--after all?" she cried. "Am I? Is it? Will the roses
do?" And without heeding her companion's staccatoes of approval she went
rapidly to the open bureau, snatched up a double handful of ribbons and
furbelows, and dashed out of the room in search of the disgraced Mamie.
She found her seated on the kitchen door-step in lonely lamentation, and
showered the gifts into her lap, while the vain one shrieked inimitably
with pride in the sudden vision of her mistress and joy of the incredible
"Here, and here,and here!" said Miss Betty in a breath, hurling the
fineries upon her. "I'm an evil-tongued shrew, Mamie, and these aren't to
make up for the pain I gave you, but just to show that I'd like to if I
knew how! Good-by!" And she was off like an April breeze.
"Dance wid the han'somdest," screamed Mamie, pursuing uproariously to see
the last of her as she jumped into the carriage, "bow to de wittriest, an'
kiss de one you love de bes'!"
"That will be you!" said Miss Betty to Mrs. Tanberry, and kissed the good
"Those Endearing Young Charms"
It is a matter not of notoriety but of the happiest celebrity that Mrs.
Tanberry danced that night, and not only that she danced, but that she
waltzed. To the lot of Tappingham Marsh (whom she pronounced the most
wheedlmg vagabond, next to Crailey Gray, of her acquaintance) it fell to
persuade her; and, after a quadrille with the elder Chenoweth, she was
with Tappingham. More extraordinary to relate, she danced down both her
partner and music. Thereupon did Mr. Bareaud, stung with envy, dare
emulation and essay a schottische with Miss Trixie Chenoweth, performing
marvelously well for many delectable turns before he unfortunately fell
down. It was a night when a sculptured god would have danced on his
pedestal: June, but not over-warm, balm in the air and rose leaves on the
breeze; and even Minerva's great heels might have marked the time that
orchestra kept. Be sure they waltzed again to "Those Endearing Young
"Oh, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close:
as the sunflower turns on her god when he sets,
The same look that she gave when he rose."
Three of the volunteers were resplendent in their regimentals: Mr. Marsh
(who had been elected captain of the new company to succeed Vanrevel), and
Will Cummings and Jean Madrillon, the lieutenants. This glory was
confined to the officers, who had ordered their uniforms at home, for the
privates and non-commissioned officers were to receive theirs at the State
rendezvous. However, although this gala adornment was limited to the three
gentlemen mentioned, their appearance added "an indescribable air of
splendor and pathos to the occasion," to quote Mr. Cummings once more. A
fourth citizen of the town who might have seized upon this opportunity to
display himself as a soldier neglected to take advantage of it and stole
in quietly, toward the last, in his ordinary attire, leaving his major's
uniform folded on a chair in his own room. The flag was to be presented to
the volunteers at the close of the evening, and Tom came for that--so he
claimed to his accusing soul.
He entered unobserved and made his way, keeping close to the wall, to
where Mrs. Bareaud sat, taking a chair at her side; but Robert Carewe,
glancing thither by chance, saw him, and changed countenance for an
instant. Mr. Carewe composed his features swiftly, excused himself with
elaborate courtesy from Miss Chenoweth, with whom he was talking, and
crossed the room to a corner near his enemy. Presently, as the music
ceased, the volunteers were bidden to come forward, whereupon Tom left
Mrs. Bareaud and began to work his way down the room. Groups were forming
and breaking up in the general movement of the crowd, and the dissolving
of one brought him face to face with Elizabeth Carewe, who was moving
slowly in the opposite direction, a small flock of suitors in her train.
The confrontation came so suddenly and so unexpectedly that, before either
was aware, they looked squarely into each other's eyes, full and straight,
and both stopped instantly as though transfixed, Miss Betty leaving a
sentence forever half-complete. There was a fierce, short vocal sound
from the crowd behind Vanrevel; but no one noticed Mr. Carewe; and then
Tom bowed gravely, as in apology for blocking the way, and passed on.
Miss Betty began to talk again, much at random, with a vivacity too
greatly exaggerated to be genuine, while the high color went from her
cheeks and left her pale. Nothing could have enraged her more with
herself than the consciousness, now suddenly strong within her, that the
encounter had a perceptible effect upon her. What power had this man to
make her manner strained and mechanical? What right had his eyes always
to stir her as they did? It was not he for whom she had spent an hour
over her hair; not he for whom she had driven her poor handmaiden away in
tears: that was for one who had not come, one great in heart and goodness,
one of a pure and. sacrificial life who deserved all she could give, and
for whose sake she had honored herself in trying to look as pretty as she
could. He had not come; and that hurt her a little, but she felt his gen-
erosity, believing that his motive was to spare her, since she could not
speak to him in Mr Carewe's presence without open and public rupture with
her father. Well, she was almost ready for that, seeing how little of a
father hers was! Ah! that other should have come, if only to stand
between her and this tall hypocrite whose dark glance had such strength to
disturb her. What lies that gaze contained, all in the one flash!--the
strange pretence of comprehending her gently but completely, a sad
compassion, too, and with it a look of farewell, seeming to say: "Once
more I have come for this--and just, `Good-by!" For she knew that he was
going with the others, going perhaps forever, only the day after tomorrow-
--then she would see him no more and be free of him. Let the day after
tomorrow come soon! Miss Betty hated herself for understanding the adieu,
and hated herself more because she could not be sure that, in the startled
moment of meeting before she collected herself, she had let it go
She had done more than that: without knowing it she had bent her head to
his bow, and Mr. Carewe had seen both the salutation and the look.
The young men were gathered near the orchestra, and, to the hilarious
strains of "Yankee Doodle," the flag they were to receive for their
regiment was borne down the room by the sisters and sweethearts who had
made it, all of whom were there, except Fanchon Bareaud. Crailey had
persuaded her to surrender the flag for the sake of spending this evening-
-next to his last in Rouen--at home alone with him.
The elder Chenoweth made the speech of presentation, that is, he made part
of it before he broke down, for his son stood in the ranks of the devoted
band. Until this incident occurred, all had gone trippingly, for everyone
had tried to put the day after to-morrow from his mind. Perhaps there
might not have been so many tears even now, if the young men had not stood
together so smilingly to receive their gift; it was seeing them so gay and
confident, so strong in their youth and so unselfish of purpose; it was
this, and the feeling that all of them must suffer and some of them die
before they came back. So that when Mr. Chenoweth, choking in his
loftiest flight, came to a full stop, and without disguise buried his face
in his handkerchief, Mrs. Tanberry, the apostle of gayety, openly sobbed.
Chenoweth, without more ado, carried the flag over to Tappingham Marsh,
whom Vanrevel directed to receive it, and Tappingham thanked the donors
without many words, because there were not then many at his command. .
Miss Carewe bad been chosen to sing "The Star Spangled Banner," and she
stepped out a little from the crowd to face the young men as the orchestra
sounded the first chord. She sang in a full, clear voice, but when the
volunteers saw that, as she sang, the tears were streaming down her cheeks
in spite of the brave voice, they began to choke with the others. If Miss
Betty found them worth weeping for, they could afford to cry a little for
themselves. Yet they joined the chorus nobly, and raised the roof with
the ringing song, sending the flamboyant, proud old words thunderously to
That was not the last song of the night. General Trumble and Mr.
Chenoweth had invited their young friends to attend, after the ball, a
collation which they chose to call a supper, but which, to accord with the
hour, might more aptly have been designated a breakfast. To afford a
private retreat for the scene of this celebration, they had borrowed the
offices of Gray and Vanrevel, and Crailey hospitably announced that any
guest was welcome to stay for a year or two, since, probably, neither of
the firm would have need of an office for at least that length of time.
Nine men gathered about the table which replaced Tom's work-a-day old
desk: the two Chenoweths, Eugene Madrillon, Marsh, Jefferson Bareaud, the
stout General, Tom Vanrevel, Crailey, and Will Cummings, the editor coming
in a little late, but rubbing his hands cheerfully over what he declared
was to be the last column from his pen to rear its length on the Journal's
front page for many a long day--a description of the presentation of the
flag, a bit of prose which he considered almost equal to his report of the
This convivial party made merry and tried to forget that most of them had
"been mighty teary," as Marsh said, an hour earlier; while Mr. Chenoweth
sat with his hand on his son's shoulder, unconsciously most of the time,
apologetically removing, it when he observed it. Many were the witticisms
concerning the difference in rank hence forth to be observed between the
young men, as Tom was now a major, Marsh a captain, Will Cummings a second
lieutenant, and the rest mere privates, except Crailey, who was a
corporal. Nevertheless, though the board was festive, it was somewhat
subdued and absent until they came to the toasts.
It was Tappingham who proposed Miss Betty Carewe. "I know Tom Vanrevel
will understand--nay, I know he's man enough to join us," said Marsh as he
rose. "Why shouldn't I say that we may hail ourselves as patriots,
indeed, since at the call of our country we depart from the town which is
this lady's home, and at the trumpet's sound resign the gracious blessing
of seeing her day by day, and why shouldn't we admit loyally and openly
that it is her image alone which shines in the hearts of most of us here?"
And no man arose to contradict that speech, which appears to have rung
true, seeing that four of those present had proposed to her (again) that
same evening. "So I give you," cried Tappingham, gallantly, "the health
of Miss Betty Carewe, the loveliest rose of our bouquet! May she remember
us when we come home!"
They rose and drank it with a shout. But Tom Vanrevel, not setting down
his cup, went to the window and threw wide the shutters, letting in a
ruddy shaft of the morning sun, so that as he stood in the strong glow he
looked like a man carved out of red gold. He lifted his glass, not toward
the table and his companions, while they stared at him, surprised, but
toward the locusts of Carewe Street.
"To Miss Betty Carewe," he said, "the finest flower of them all! May she
remember those who never come home!"
And, without pausing, he lifted his rich baritone in an old song that had
been vastly popular with the young men of Rouen ever since the night of
Miss Betty's debut; they had hummed it as they went about their daily
work, they had whistled it on the streets; they had drifted, into dreams
at night with the sound of it still chiming in their ears; and now, with
one accord, as they stood gathered together for the last time in Rouen,
they joined Tom Vanrevel and sang it again. And the eyes of Crailey Gray
rested very gently upon his best friend as they sang:
"Believe me, If all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,
Were to change by to-morrow and fleet from my arms,
Like fairy gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored as this moment thou art:
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin, each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still."
The Price of Silence
It was the misfortune of Mr. Cummings's first literary offering to annoy
one of the editor's friends. The Journal was brought to the corporal at
noon, while he was considering whether he should rise from his couch or
sleep another hour. Reclining among his pillows, he glanced through
Cummings's description with the subdued giggle he always had for the good
William's style but as his eye fell upon one paragraph he started sat
upright, and proceeded to read the passage several times with anxious
"Only two or three sources of regret occurred to mar the delight (in which
young and old participated) of that festal and dazzling scene. One was
the absence of Miss Fanchon Bareaud, one the donors; another, that of
Corporal Gray; a third was the excessive modesty of Major Vanrevel,
although present at the time, refused to receive the ladies' sumptuous
offering and insisted that Captain Marsh was the proper person to do the
honors, to which the latter reluctantly, though gracefully consented.
Also, we were sorry that the Major appeared in citizen's dress, as all
were anxious to witness him in his uniform. However, in our humble
judgment, he will be compelled by etiquette to don it this afternoon, to
receive the officers of the regular army, who will arrive by the stage
about five o'clock, it is expected, to inspect the company and swear them
into the service of the Federal Government at the Court House. We, for
one, have little doubt that, owing to the Major's well-known talent in
matters of apparel, his appearance will far eclipse in brilliancy that of
Crailey dressed slowly, returning to the paper, now and then, with a
perturbed countenance. How would Miss Betty explain this paragraph to
herself, and how account for the fact that she had not seen Crailey, how
for the fact that she had seen Tom? It seemed unlikely that she could
have overlooked the latter--Tom was one of those whom everybody saw,
wherever he went. And what inquiries would she make? For Crailey had no
means of knowing that she would not see the Journal. Tomorrow he would be
gone, it would be all over, but he wanted this last day to run smoothly.
What wild hopes he had of things that should happen when they all came
marching home, no one can say; even if it were not to be doubted that
Crailey ever entertained hopes of any kind whatever, since to hope is to
bestow thought upon the future.
But, however affairs ran with him so far as hope was concerned, he seldom
lacked an idea; and one came to him presently, a notion that put the frown
to rout and brought the old smile to his lips, his smile of the world-worn
and tolerant prelate. He flicked the paper lightly from him, and it sped
across the room like a big bird in awkward flight. For he knew how to
preserve his last day as he wished, and to make all smooth.
He finished his toilet with particular care, took a flower from a vase on
his table, placed it in his coat, and went down to the dusty street, where
everything was warm and bright with summer. It was joy to be alive; there
was wine enough in the air; and Crailey made up his mind not to take a
drink that day--the last day! The last day! The three words kept ringing
through his head like a minor phrase from a song. Tomorrow, at noon, they
would be churning down the river; and this was the last day--the last day!
"Still not too late to make another friend at home," he said, stopping to
pat the head of a mangy street cur that came crouching and wobbling toward
him like a staveless little keg worried by scurries of wind. Dogs and
children always fell in love with Crailey at first sight, and he never
failed to receive them in the spirit of their approach. Now the mongrel,
at his touch, immediately turned himself over and lay upon the pavement
with all paws in air, to say: "Great lord, magnificent in the graciousness
which deigns to cast a glimpse upon this abject cluster of ribs, I
perceive that your heart is too gentle to kick me in my present
helplessness; yet do with me as you will."
"I doubt if you've breakfasted, brother," Crailey responded aloud, rubbing
the dog's head softly with the tip of his boot. "Will you share the
meagre fare of one who is a poet, should be a lawyer, but is about to
become a soldier? Eh, but a corporal! Rise, my friend. Up! and be in
your own small self a whole Corporal's Guard! And if your Corporal
doesn't come home from the wars, perhaps you'll remember him kindly?
He made a vivacious gesture, the small animal sprang into the air,
convoluted with gratitude and new love, while Crailey, laughing softly,
led the way to the hotel. There, while he ate sparsely himself, he
provided munificently for his new acquaintance, and recommended him, with
an accompaniment of silver, to the good offices of the Rouen House
kitchen. After that, out into the sunshine again he went, with elastic
step, and a merry word and a laugh for everyone he met. At the old
English gardener's he bought four or five bouquets, and carried them on a
round of visits of farewell to as many old ladies who had been kind to
him. This done, leaving his laughter and his flowers behind him, he went
to Fanchon and spent part of the afternoon bringing forth cunning ar-
guments cheerily, to prove to her that General Taylor would be in the
Mexican capital before the volunteers reached New Orleans, and urging upon
her his belief that they would all be back in Rouen before the summer was
But Fanchon could only sob and whisper, "Hush, hush!" in the dim room
where they sat, the windows darkened so that, after he had gone, he should
not remember how red her eyes were, and the purple depths under them, and
thus forget how pretty she had been at her best. After a time, finding
that the more he tried to cheer her, the more brokenly she wept, he grew
silent, only stroking her head, while the summer sounds came in through
the window: the mill-whir of locusts, the small monotone of distant farm-
bells, the laughter of children in the street, and the gay arias of a
mocking-bird singing in the open window of the next house. So they sat
together through the long, still afternoon of the last day.
No one in Rouen found that afternoon particularly enlivening. Even Mrs.
Tanberry gave way to the common depression, and, once more, her doctrine
of cheerfulness relegated to the ghostly ranks of the purely theoretical,
she bowed under the burden of her woe so far as to sing "Methought I Met a
Damsel Fair" (her of the bursting sighs) at the piano. Whenever sadness
lay upon her soul she had acquired the habit of resorting to this unhappy
ballad; today she sang it four times. Mr. Carewe was not at home, and had
announced that though he intended to honor the evening meal by his
attendance, he should be away for the evening itself; as comment upon
which statement Mrs. Tanberry had offered ambiguously the one word,
"Amen!" He was stung to no reply, and she had noted the circumstance as
unusual, and also that he had appeared to labor with the suppression of a
keen excitement, which made him anxious to escape from her sharp little
eyes; an agitation for which she easily accounted when she recalled that
he had seen Vanrevel on the previous evening. Mr. Carewe had kept his
promise to preserve the peace, as he always kept it when the two met on
neutral ground, but she had observed that his face showed a kind of hard-
leashed violence whenever he had been forced to breathe the air of the
same room with his enemy, and that the thing grew on him.
Miss Betty exhibited not precisely a burning interest in the adventure of
the Damsel Fair, wandering out of the room during the second rendition,
wandering back again, and once more away. She had moved about the house
in this fashion since early morning, wearing what Mamie described as a
"peak-ed look." White-faced and restless, with distressed eyes, to which
no sleep had come in the night, she could not read; she could no more than
touch her harp; she could not sleep; she could not remain quiet for three
minutes together. Often she sank into a chair with an air of languor and
weariness, only to start immediately out of it and seek some other part of
the house, or to go and pace the garden. Here, in the air heavy with
roses and tremulous with June, as she walked rapidly up and down, late in
the afternoon, at the time when the faraway farm-bells were calling men
from the fields to supper, the climax of her restlessness came. That
anguish and desperation, so old in her sex, the rebellion against the law
that inaction must be her part, had fallen upon her for the first time.
She came to an abrupt stop and struck her hands together despairingly, and
"What shall I do! What shall I do!"
"Ma'am?" asked a surprised voice, just behind her.
She wheeled quickly about, to behold a shock-headed urchin of ten in the
path near the little clearing. He was ragged, tanned, dusty, neither
shoes nor coat trammelling his independence; and be had evidently entered
the garden through the gap in the hedge.
"I thought you spoke to me?" he said, inquiringly.
"I didn't see you," she returned. "What is it?"
"You Miss Carewe?" he asked; but before she could answer he said,
reassuringly, "Why, of course you are! I remember you perfect, now I git
the light on you, so to speak. Don't you remember me?"
"No, I don't think I do."
"Lord!" he responded, wonderingly. "I was one of the boys with you on
them boxes the night of your pa's fire!" Mingled with the surprise in his
tone was a respectful unction which intimated how greatly he honored her
father for having been the owner of so satisfactory a conflagration.
"Were you? Perhaps I'll remember you if you give me time."
But at this point the youth recalled the fact that he had an errand to
discharge, and, assuming an expression of businesslike haste too pressing
to permit farther parley, sought in his pocket and produced a sealed
envelope, with which he advanced upon her.
"Here. There's an answer. He told me not to tell nobody who sent it, and
not to give it to nobody on earth but you, and how to slip in through the
hedge and try and find you in the garden when nobody was lookin', and he
give a pencil for you to answer on the back of it, and a dollar."
Miss Betty took the note, glancing once over her shoulder at the house,
but Mrs. Tanberry was still occupied with the Maiden, and no one was in
sight. She read the message hastily.
"I have obeyed you, and shall always. You have not sent for me. Perhaps
that was because there was no time when you thought it safe. Perhaps you
have still felt there would be a loss of dignity. Does that weigh with
you against good-by? Tell me, if you can, that you have it in your heart
to let me go without seeing you once more, without good-by--for the last
time. Or was it untrue that you wrote me what you did? Was that dear
letter but a little fairy dream of mine? Ah, will you see me again, this
once--this once--let me look at you, let me talk with you, hear your
voice? The last time!"
There was no signature.
Miss Betty quickly wrote four lines upon the same sheet: "Yes--yes! I
must see you, must talk with you before you go. Come at dusk. The
garden--near the gap in the hedge. It will be safe for a little while.
He will not be here." She replaced the paper in its envelope, drew a line
through her own name on the letter, and wrote "Mr. Vanrevel" underneath.
"Do you know the gentleman who sent you? "she asked.
"No'm; but he'll be waitin' at his office, `Gray and Vanrevel,' on Main
Street, for the answer."
"Then hurry!" said Betty.
He needed no second bidding, but, with wings on his bare heels, made off
through the gap in the hedge. At the corner of the street he encountered
an adventure, a gentleman's legs and a heavy hand at the same time. The
hand fell on his shoulder, arresting his scamper with a vicious jerk; and
the boy was too awed to attempt an escape, for he knew his captor well by
sight, although never before had he found himself so directly in the
company of Rouen's richest citizen. The note dropped from the small
trembling fingers, yet those fingers did not shake as did the man's when,
like a flash, Carewe seized upon the missive with his disengaged hand and
saw what two names were on the envelope.
"You were stealing, were you! " he cried, savagely. "I saw you sneak
through my hedge!"
"I didn't, either!"
Mr. Carewe ground his teeth, "What were you doing there?"
"Nothing!" mocked Carewe. "Nothing!
You didn't carry this to the young lady in there and get her answer?"
"No, sir!" answered the captive, earnestly.
"Cross my heart I didn't. I found it!"
Slowly the corrugations of anger were levelled from the magnate's face,
the white heat cooled, and the prisoner marvelled to find himself in the
presence of an urbane gentleman whose placidity made the scene of a moment
ago appear some trick of distorted vision. And yet, curious to behold,
Mr. Carewe's fingers shook even more violently than before, as he released
the boy's shoulder and gave him a friendly tap on the head, at the same
time smiling benevolently.
"There, there," he said, bestowing a wink upon the youngster. "It's all
right; it doesn't matter--only I think I see the chance of a jest in this.
You wait, while I read this little note, this message that you found!" He
ended by winking again with the friendliest drollery.
He turned his back to the boy, and opened the note; continuing to stand in
that position while he read the two messages. It struck the messenger
that, after this, there need be no great shame in his own lack of this
much-vaunted art of reading, since it took so famous a man as Mr. Carewe
such length of time to peruse a little note. But perhaps the great
gentleman was ill, for it appeared to the boy that he lurched several
times, once so far that he would have gone over if he had not saved
himself by a lucky stagger. And once, except for the fact that the face
that had turned away had worn an expression of such genial humor, the boy
would have believed that from it issued a sound like the gnashing of
But when it was turned to him again, it bore the same amiable jocosity of
mouth and eye, and nothing seemed to be the matter, except that those
fingers still shook so wildly, too wildly, indeed, to restore the note to
"There," said Mr. Carewe, "put it back, laddie, put it back yourself.
Take it to the gentleman who sent you. I see he's even disguised his hand
a trifle-ha! ha!--and I suppose he may not have expected the young lady to
write his name quite so boldly on the envelope! What do you suppose?"
"I d'know," returned the boy. "I reckon I don't hardly understand."
"No, of course not," said Mr. Carewe, laughing rather madly. "Ha, ha, ha!
Of course you wouldn't. And how much did he give you?"
"Yay!" cried the other, joyously. "Didn't he go and hand me a dollar!"
"How much will you take not to tell him that I stopped you and read it;
how much not to speak of me at all?"
"It's a foolish kind of joke, nothing more. I'll give you five dollars
never to tell anyone that you saw me today."
"Don't shoot, Colonel," exclaimed the youth, with a riotous fling of bare
feet in the air, "I'll come down!"
"You'll do it?"
"Five!" he shouted, dancing upon the boards. "Five! I'll cross my heart
to die I never hear tell of you, or ever knew they was sich a man in the
Carewe bent over him. "No! Say: `God strike me dead and condemn me
eternally to the everlasting flames of hell if I ever tell!"
This entailed quick sobriety, though only benevolence was in the face
above him. The jig-step stopped, and the boy pondered, frightened.
"Have I got to say that?"
Mr. Carewe produced a bank-bill about which the boy beheld a halo.
Clearly this was his day; heaven showed its approval of his conduct by an
outpouring of imperishable riches. And yet the oath misliked him; there
was a savor of the demoniacal contract; still that was to be borne and the
plunge taken, for there fluttered the huge sum before his dazzled eyes.
He took a deep breath. "`God strike me dead' "--he began, slowly--"` if I
"No. `And condemn me to the everlasting flames of hell `--"
"Have I got to?"
--" `And condemn me to--to the everlasting flames of--of hell, if I ever
He ran off, pale with the fear that he might grow up, take to drink and
some day tell in his cups, but so resolved not to coquet with temptation
that he went round a block to avoid the door of the Rouen House bar.
Nevertheless, the note was in his hand and the fortune in his pocket
And Mr. Carewe was safe. He knew that the boy would never tell, and he
knew another thing, for he had read the Journal, though it came no more to
his house: he knew that Tom Vanrevel wore his uniform that evening, and
that, even in the dusk, the brass buttons on an officer's breast make a
good mark for a gun steadied along the ledge of a window. As he entered
the gates and went toward the house he glanced up at the window which
overlooked his garden from the cupola.
Crailey was not the only man in Rouen who had been saying to himself all
day that each accustomed thing he did was done for the last time. Many of
his comrades went about with "Farewell, old friend," in their hearts, not
only for the people, but for the usual things of life and the actions of
habit, now become unexpectedly dear and sweet to know or to perform. So
Tom Vanrevel, relieved of his hot uniform, loose as to collar, wearing a
big dressing-gown, and stretched in a chair, watched the sunset from the
western window of the dusty office, where he had dreamed through many sun-
sets in summers past, and now took his leave of this old habit of his in
silence, with a long cigar, considering the chances largely against his
ever seeing the sun go down behind the long wooden bridge at the foot of
Main Street again.
The ruins of the warehouses had been removed, and the river was laid clear
to his sight; it ran between brown banks like a river of rubies, and, at
the wharf, the small evening steamboat, ugly and grim enough to behold
from near by, lay pink and lovely in that broad glow, tooting imminent
departure, although an hour might elapse before it would back into the
current. The sun widened, clung briefly to the horizon, and dropped
behind the low hills beyond the bottom lands; the stream grew purple, then
took on a lustre of pearl as the stars came out, while rosy distances
changed to misty blue; the chatter of the birds in the Main Street maples
became quieter, and, through lessening little choruses of twittering, fell
gradually to silence. And now the blue dusk crept on the town, and the
corner drug-store window-lights threw mottled colors on the pavement.
>From the hall, outside the closed office-door, came the sound of quick,
light footsteps; it was Crailey going out; but Tom only sighed to himself,
and did not hail him. So these light footsteps of Crailey Gray echoed but
a moment in the stairway and were heard no more.
A few moments later a tall figure, dressed from neck to heels in a gray
cloak crossed the mottled lights, and disappeared into Carewe Street.
This cloaked person wore on his head a soldier's cap, and Tom, not
recognizing him surely, vaguely wondered why Tappingham Marsh chose to
muffle himself so warmly on a evening. He noted the quick, alert tread as
like Marsh's usual gait, but no suspicion crossed his mind that the figure
might be that of partner.
A rocket went up from the Rouen House, then another, followed by a salvo
of anvils and rackety discharge of small-arms; the beginning a noble
display of fireworks in celebration of prospective victories of the United
States and utter discomfiture of the Mexicans when the Rouen Volunteers
should reach the seat of war, an Exhibition of patriotism which brought
little pleasure to Mr. Vanrevel.
But over the noise of the street he heard his own name shouted from the
stairway, and almost instantly a violent knocking assailed the door. Be-
fore he could bid the visitor enter, the door was flung open by a stout
and excited colored woman, who, at sight of him, threw up her hands in
tremulous thanksgiving. It was the vain Mamie.
She sank into a chair, and rocked herself to and fro, gasping to regain
her lost breath. "Bless de good God `Imighty you am' gone out!" she
panted. "I run an' I run, an' I come so fas' I got stitches in de side
f'um head to heel!"
Tom brought her a glass of water, which she drank between gasps.
"I nevah run so befo' enduin' my livin' days," she asserted. "You knows
me, who I am an' whum I cum f'um, nigh's well's I knows who you is, I
reckon, Maje' Vanrevel?"
"Yes, yes, I know. Will you tell me who sent you?"
"Miz Tanberry, suh, dat who sended me, an' in a venomous hurry she done de
"Yes. Why? Does she want me?"
Mamie emitted a screech. "`Deed she mos' everlas'in'ly does not! Dat de
ve'y exackindes' livin' t'ing she does not want!"
"Then what is it, Mamie?"
"Lemme git my bref, suh, an' you hole yo'ne whiles I tell you! She say to
me, she say: `Is you `quainted Maje' Vanrevel, Mamie?' s' she, an' I
up'n' ansuh, `Not to speak wid, but dey ain; none on `em I don' knows by
sight, an' none betterer dan him,' I say. Den she say, she say: `You run
all de way an' fin' dat young man,' she say, s' she, `an' if you don' git
dah fo' he leave, er don' stop him on de way, den God `imighty fergive
you!' she say. `But you tell him f'um Jane Tanberry not to come nigh dis
house or dis gyahden dis night! Tell him dat Jane Tanberry warn him he
mus' keep outer Carewe's way ontel he safe on de boat to-morrer. Tell him
Jane Tanberry beg him to stay in he own room dis night, an' dat she beg it
on her bented knees!' An' dis she say to me when I tole her what Nelson
see in dat house dis evenin'. An' hyuh I is, an' hyuh yew is, an' de
blessed Jesus be thank', you ir hyuh!"
Tom regarded her with a grave attention. "What made Mrs. Tanberry think I
might be coming there to-night?"
"Dey's cur'ous goin's-on in dat house, suh! De young lady she ain' like
herself; all de day long she wanduh up an' down an' roun' about. Miz
Tanberry are a mighty guessifying woman, an' de minute I tell her what
Nelse see, she s'pec' you a-comin' an' dat de boss mos' pintedly preparin'
"Can you make it a little clearer for me, Mamie? I'm afraid I don't
"Well, suh, you know dat ole man Nelson, he allays tell me ev'yt'ing he
know, an' ev'yt'ing he think he know, jass de same, suh. An' dat ole
Nelse, he mos' `sessful cull'd man in de worl' to crope roun' de house an'
pick up de gossip an' git de `fo' an' behine er what's goin' on. So `twas
dat he see de boss, when he come in to'des evenin', tek dat heavy musket
offn' de racks an' load an' clean her, an' he do it wid a mighty bad look
`bout de mouf. Den he gone up to de cupoly an' lef' it dah, an' den come
down ag'in. Whiles dey all is eatin', he `nounce th'ee time' dat he goin'
be `way endu'in' de evenin'. Den he gone out de front do', an' out de
gates, an' down de street. Den, su, den, suh, `tain't no mo'n a half-'n-
'our ago, Nelse come to me an' say dat he see de boss come roun' de
stable, keepin' close in by de shrubbery, an' crope in de ball-room win-
der, w'ich is close to de groun', suh. Nelse `uz a cleanin' de harness in
de back yo'd an' he let on not to see him, like. Miss Betty, she walkin'
in her gyahden an' Miz Tanberry fan' on de po'ch. Nelse, he slip de house
whuh de lights ain' lit, an' stan' an' listen long time in de liberry at
de foot er dem sta'hs; an' he hyuh dat man move, suh! Den Nelse know dat
he done crope up to de cupoly room an'--an' dat he settin' dah, waitin'!
Soze he come an' tole me, an' I beg Miz Tanberry come in de kitchen, an' I
shet de do' an' I tole her. An' she sended me hyuh to you, suh. An' if
you `uz a-goin', de good God `lmighty mus' er kep' you ontel I got hyuh!"
"No; I wasn't going." Tom smiled upon her sadly. "I dare say there's a
simpler explanation. Don't you suppose that if Nelson was right and Mr.
Carewe really did come back, it was because he did not wish his daughter
and Mrs. Tanberry to know that--that he expected a party of friends,
possibly, to join him there later?"
"What he doin' wid dat gun, suh? Nobody goin' play cyahds ner frow dice
wid a gun, is dey?" asked Mamie, as she rose and walked toward the door.
"Oh, that was probably by chance."
"No, suh!" she cried, vehemently. "An' dem gelmun wouldn' play t'-night,
no way; mos' on `em goin' wid you to-morrer an' dey sayin' goodby to de'r
folks dis evenin', not gamblin'! Miz Tanberry'll be in a state er mine
ontel she hyuh f'um me, an' I goin' hurry back. You won' come dah, suh?
I kin tell her dat you say you sutney ain' comin' nigh our neighborhood
"I had not dreamed of coming, tell her, please. Probably I shall not go
out at all this evening. But it was kind of you to come. Good-night."
He stood with a candle to light her down the stairs, but after she had
gone he did not return to the office. Instead, he went slowly up to his
own room, glancing first into Crailey's--the doors of neither were often
locked--to behold a chaos of disorder and unfinished packing. In his own
chamber it only remained for him to close the lids of a few big boxes, and
to pack a small trunk which he meant to take with him to the camp of the
State troops, and he would be ready for departure. He set about this
task, arid, concluding that there was no necessity to wear his uniform on
the steamboat, decided to place it in the trunk, and went to the bed where
he had folded and left it. It was not there. Nor did a thorough search
reveal it anywhere in the room. Yet no one could have stolen it, for when
he had gone down to the office Crailey had remained on this floor. Mamie
had come within a few minutes after Crailey went out, and during his
conversation with her the office-door had been open; no one could have
passed without being seen. Also, a thief would have taken other things as
well as the uniform; and surely Crailey must have heard; Crailey would--
Then Tom remembered the figure in the long cloak and the military cap,
and, with a sick heart, began to understand. He had read the Journal, and
he knew why Crailey might wish to masquerade in a major's uniform that
night. If Miss Carewe read it too, and a strange wonder rose in her mind,
this and a word would convince her. Tom considered it improbable that the
wonder would rise, for circumstances had too well established her in a
mistake, trivial and ordinary enough at first, merely the confusing of two
names by a girl new to the town, but so strengthened by every confirmation
Crailey's wit could compass that she would, no doubt, only set Cummings's
paragraph aside as a newspaper error. Still, Crailey had wished to be on
the safe side!
Tom sighed rather bitterly. He was convinced that the harlequin would
come home soon, replace the uniform (which was probably extremely becoming
to him, as they were of a height and figure much the same), and afterward,
in his ordinary dress, would sally forth to spend his last evening with
Fanchon. Tom wondered how Crailey would feel and what he would think
about himself while he was changing his clothes, but he remembered his
partner's extraordinary powers of mental adjustment--and for the first
time in his life Vanrevel made no allowance for the other's temperament,
and there came to him a moment when he felt that he could almost dislike
At all events, he would go out until Crailey had come and left again, for
he had no desire to behold the masquerader's return. So he exchanged his
dressing-gown for a coat, fastened his collar, and had begun to arrange
his cravat at the mirror, when, suddenly, the voice of the old negress
seemed to sound close beside him in the room
" He's settin' dah--waitin'!"
The cravat was never tied; Tom's hands dropped , to his sides as he
started back from the staring face in the mirror. Robert Carewe was
waiting--and Crailey-- All at once there was but one vital necessity in
the world for Tom Vanrevel, that was to find Crailey; he must go to
Crailey--even in Carewe's own house--he must go to Crailey!
He dashed down the stairs and into the street. The people were making a
great uproar in front of the hotel, exploding bombs, firing muskets in the
air, sending up rockets; and rapidly crossing the outskirts of the crowd,
he passed into Carewe Street, unnoticed. Here the detonations were not so
deafening, though the little steamboat at the wharf was contributing to
the confusion with all in her power, screeching simultaneously approval of
the celebration and her last signals of departure.
At the first corner Tom had no more than left the sidewalk when he came
within a foot of being ridden down by two horsemen who rode at so des-
perate a gallop that (the sound of their hoof-beats being lost in the
uproar from Main Street) they were upon him before he was aware of them.
He leaped back with an angry shout to know who they were that they rode so
wildly. At the same time a sharp explosion at the foot of the street sent
a red flare over the scene, a flash, gone with such incredible swiftness
into renewed darkness that he saw the flying horsemen almost as equestrian
statues illumined by a flicker of lightning, but he saw them with the same
distinctness that lightning gives, and recognized the foremost as Robert
Carewe. And in the instant of that recognition, Tom knew what had
happened to Crailey Gray, for he saw the truth in the ghastly face of his
Carewe rode stiffly, like a man frozen upon his horse, and his face was
like that of a frozen man; his eyes glassy and not fixed upon his course,
so that it was a deathly thing to see. Once, long ago, Tom had seen a man
riding for his life, and he wore this same look. The animal bounded and
swerved under Vanrevel's enemy in the mad rush down the street, but he sat
rigid, bolt upright in the saddle, his face set to that look of coldness.
The second rider was old Nelson, who rode with body crouched forward, his
eyeballs like shining porcelain set in ebony, and his arm like a flail,
cruelly lashing his own horse and his master's with a heavy whip. "De
steamboat!" be shouted, hoarsely, bringing down the lash on one and then
on the other. "De steamboat, de steamboat--f o' God's sake, honey, de
They swept into Main Street, Nelson leaning far across to the other's
bridle, and turning both horses toward the river, but before they had made
the corner, Tom Vanrevel was running with all the speed that was in him
toward his enemy's house. The one block between him and that forbidden
ground seemed to him miles long, and he felt that he was running as a man
in a dream, and, at the highest pitch of agonized exertion, covering no
space, but only working the air in one place, like a treadmill. All that
was in his mind, heart, and soul was to reach Crailey. He had known by
the revelation of Carewe's face in what case he would find his friend; but
as he ran he put the knowledge from him with a great shudder, and resolved
upon incredulity in spite of his certainty. All he let himself feel was
the need to run, to run until he found Crailey, who was somewhere in the
darkness of the trees about the long, low house on the corner. When he
reached the bordering hedge, he did not stay for gate or path, but, with a
loud shout, hurled himself half over, half through, the hedge, like a bolt
from a catapult.
Lights shone from only one room in the house, the library; but as he ran
toward the porch a candle flickered in the hall, and there came the sound
of a voice weeping with terror.
At that he called more desperately upon his incredulity to aid him, for
the voice was Mrs. Tan-berry's. If it had been any other than she, who
sobbed so hopelessly--she who was always steady and strong! If he could,
he would have stopped to pray, now, before he faced her and the truth; but
his flying feet carried him on.
"Who is it?" she gasped, brokenly, from the hall. "Mamie? Have you
"It's I," he cried, as he plunged through the doorway. "It's Vanrevel."
Mrs. Tanberry set the iron candlestick down upon the table with a crash.
"You've come too late!" she sobbed. "Another man has taken your death on
He reeled back against the wall. "Oh, God!" he said. "Oh, God, God, God!
"Yes," she answered. "It's the poor vagabond that you loved so well."
Together they ran through the hall to the library. Crailey was lying on
the long sofa, his eyes closed, his head like a piece of carven marble,
the gay uniform, in which he had tricked himself out so gallantly, open at
the throat, and his white linen stained with a few little splotches of
Beside him knelt Miss Betty, holding her lace handkerchief upon his
breast; she was as white as he, and as motionless; so that, as she knelt
there, immovable beside him, her arm like alabaster across his breast,
they might have been a sculptor's group. The handkerchief was stained a
little, like the linen, and like it, too, stained but a little. Nearby, on
the floor, stood a flask of brandy and a pitcher of water.
"You!" Miss Betty's face showed no change, nor even a faint surprise, as
her eyes fell upon Tom Vanrevel, but her lips soundlessly framed the word.
Tom flung himself on his knees beside her.
"Crailey!" he cried, in a sharp voice that had a terrible shake in it.
"Crailey! Crailey, I want you to hear me!" He took one of the limp hands
in his and began to chafe it, while Mrs. Tanberry grasped the other.
"There's still a movement in the pulse," she faltered. . .
"Still!" echoed Tom, roughly. "You're mad! You made me think Crailey was
dead! Do you think Crailey Gray is going to die? He couldn't, I tell
you--he couldn't; you don't know him! Who's gone for the doctor?" He
dashed some brandy upon his handkerchief and set it to the white lips.
"Mamie. She was here in the room with me when it happened."
"`Happened'! `Happened'!" he mocked her, furiously. "`Happened' is a
"God forgive me!" sobbed Mrs. Tanberry. " I was sitting in the library,
and Mamie had just come from you, when we heard Mr. Carewe shout from the
cupola room: `Stand away from my daughter, Vanrevel, and take this like a
dog!' Only that;--and Mamie and I ran to the window, and we saw through
the dusk a man in uniform leap back from Miss Betty--they were in that
little open space near the hedge. He called out something and waved his
hand, but the shot came at the same time, and he fell. Even then I was
sure, in spite of what Mamie had said, I was as sure as Robert Carewe was,
that it was you. He came and took one look--and saw--and then Nelson
brought the horses and made him mount and go. Mamie ran for the doctor,
and Betty and I carried Crailey in. It was hard work."
Miss Betty's hand had fallen from Crailey's breast where Tom's took its
place. She rose unsteadily to her feet and pushed back the hair from her
forehead, shivering convulsively as she looked down at the motionless
figure on the sofa.
"Crailey!" said Tom, in the same angry, shaking voice. "Crailey, you've
got to rouse yourself! This won't do; you've got to be a man! Crailey!"
He was trying to force the brandy through the tightly clenched teeth. "
"Crailey!" whispered Miss Betty, leaning. heavily on the back of a chair.
"Crailey?" She looked at Mrs. Tanberry with vague interrogation, but Mrs.
Tanberry did not understand.