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Title: Crisis, the — Volume 04
Author: Churchill, Winston, 1871-1947
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Crisis, the — Volume 04" ***

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THE CRISIS

By Winston Churchill


Volume 4.



CHAPTER VII

AN EXCURSION

I am going ahead two years. Two years during which a nation struggled in
agony with sickness, and even the great strength with which she was
endowed at birth was not equal to the task of throwing it off. In 1620 a
Dutch ship had brought from Guinea to his Majesty's Colony of Virginia
the germs of that disease for which the Nation's blood was to be let so
freely. During these years signs of dissolution, of death, were not
wanting.

In the city by the Father of Waters where the races met, men and women
were born into the world, who were to die in ancient Cuba, who were to be
left fatherless in the struggle soon to come, who were to live to see new
monsters rise to gnaw at the vitals of the Republic, and to hear again
the cynical laugh of Europe. But they were also to see their country a
power in the world, perchance the greatest power. While Europe had
wrangled, the child of the West had grown into manhood and taken a seat
among the highest, to share with them the responsibilities of manhood.

Meanwhile, Stephen Brice had been given permission to practise law in the
sovereign state of Missouri. Stephen understood Judge Whipple better. It
cannot be said that he was intimate with that rather formidable
personage, although the Judge, being a man of habits, had formed that of
taking tea at least once a week with Mrs. Brice. Stephen had learned to
love the Judge, and he had never ceased to be grateful to him for a
knowledge of that man who had had the most influence upon his life,
--Abraham Lincoln.

For the seed, sowed in wisdom and self-denial, was bearing fruit. The
sound of gathering conventions was in the land, and the Freeport Heresy
was not for gotten.

We shall not mention the number of clients thronging to Mr. Whipple's
office to consult Mr. Brice. These things are humiliating. Some of
Stephen's income came from articles in the newspapers of that day. What
funny newspapers they were, the size of a blanket! No startling headlines
such as we see now, but a continued novel among the advertisements on the
front page and verses from some gifted lady of the town, signed Electra.
And often a story of pure love, but more frequently of ghosts or other
eerie phenomena taken from a magazine, or an anecdote of a cat or a
chicken. There were letters from citizens who had the mania of print,
bulletins of different ages from all parts of the Union, clippings out of
day-before-yesterday's newspaper of Chicago or Cincinnati to three-weeks
letters from San Francisco, come by the pony post to Lexington and then
down the swift Missouri. Of course, there was news by telegraph, but that
was precious as fine gold,--not to be lightly read and cast aside.

In the autumn of '59, through the kindness of Mr. Brinsmade, Stephen had
gone on a steamboat up the river to a great convention in Iowa. On this
excursion was much of St. Louis's bluest blood. He widened his circle of
acquaintances, and spent much of his time walking the guards between Miss
Anne Brinsmade and Miss Puss Russell. Perhaps it is unfair to these young
ladies to repeat what they said about Stephen in the privacy of their
staterooms, gentle Anne remonstrating that they should not gossip, and
listening eagerly the while, and laughing at Miss Puss, whose mimicry of
Stephen's severe ways brought tears to her eyes.

Mr. Clarence Colfax was likewise on the boat, and passing Stephen on the
guards, bowed distantly. But once, on the return trip, when Stephen had a
writing pad on his knee, the young Southerner came up to him in his
frankest manner and with an expression of the gray eyes which was not to
be withstood.

"Making a case, Brice?" he said. "I hear you are the kind that cannot be
idle even on a holiday."

"Not as bad as all that," replied Stephen, smiling at him.

"Reckon you keep a diary, then," said Clarence, leaning against the rail.
He made a remarkably graceful figure, Stephen thought. He was tall, and
his movements had what might be called a commanding indolence. Stephen,
while he smiled, could not but admire the tone and gesture with which
Colfax bade a passing negro to get him a handkerchief from his cabin. The
alacrity of the black to do the errand was amusing enough. Stephen well
knew it had not been such if he wanted a handkerchief.

Stephen said it was not a diary. Mr. Colfax was too well bred to inquire
further; so he never found out that Mr. Brice was writing an account of
the Convention and the speechmaking for the Missouri Democrat.

"Brice," said the Southerner, "I want to apologize for things I've done
to you and said about you. I hated you for a long time after you beat me
out of Hester, and--" he hesitated.

Stephen looked up. For the first time he actually liked Colfax. He had
been long enough among Colfax's people to understand how difficult it was
for him to say the thing he wished.

"You may remember a night at my uncle's, Colonel Carvel's, on the
occasion of my cousin's birthday?"

"Yes," said Stephen, in surprise.

"Well," blurted Clarence, boyishly, "I was rude to you in my uncle's
house, and I have since been sorry."

"He held out his hand, and Stephen took it warmly.

"I was younger then, Mr. Colfax," he said, "and I didn't understand your
point of view as well as I do now. Not that I have changed my ideas," he
added quickly, "but the notion of the girl's going South angered me. I
was bidding against the dealer rather than against you. Had I then known
Miss Carvel--" he stopped abruptly.

The winning expression died from the face of the other.

He turned away, and leaning across the rail, stared at the high bluffs,
red-bronzed by the autumn sun. A score of miles beyond that precipice was
a long low building of stone, surrounded by spreading trees,--the school
for young ladies, celebrated throughout the West, where our mothers and
grandmothers were taught,--Monticello. Hither Miss Virginia Carvel had
gone, some thirty days since, for her second winter.

Perhaps Stephen guessed the thought in the mind of his companion, for he
stared also. The music in the cabin came to an abrupt pause, and only the
tumbling of waters through the planks of the great wheels broke the
silence. They were both startled by laughter at their shoulders. There
stood Miss Russell, the picture of merriment, her arm locked in Anne
Brinsmade's.

"It is the hour when all devout worshippers turn towards the East," she
said. "The goddess is enshrined at Monticello."

Both young men, as they got to their feet, were crimson. Whereupon Miss
Russell laughed again. Anne, however, blushed for them. But this was not
the first time Miss Russell had gone too far. Young Mr. Colfax, with the
excess of manner which was his at such times, excused himself and left
abruptly. This to the further embarrassment of Stephen and Anne, and the
keener enjoyment of Miss Russell.

"Was I not right, Mr. Brice?" she demanded. "Why, you are even writing
verses to her!"

"I scarcely know Miss Carvel," he said, recovering. "And as for writing
verse--"

"You never did such a thing in your life! I can well believe it."

Miss Russell made a face in the direction Colfax had taken.

"He always acts like that when you mention her," she said.

"But you are so cruel, Puss," said Anne. "You can't blame him."

"Hairpins!" said Miss Russell.

"Isn't she to marry him?" said Stephen, in his natural voice.

He remembered his pronouns too late.

"That has been the way of the world ever since Adam and Eve," remarked
Puss. "I suppose you meant to ask: Mr. Brice, whether Clarence is to
marry Virginia Carvel."

Anne nudged her.

"My dear, what will Mr. Brice think of us?"

"Listen, Mr. Brice," Puss continued, undaunted. "I shall tell you some
gossip. Virginia was sent to Monticello, and went with her father to
Kentucky and Pennsylvania this summer, that she might be away from
Clarence. Colfax."

"Oh, Puss!" cried Anne.

Miss Russell paid not the slightest heed.

"Colonel Carvel is right," she went on. "I should do the same thing. They
are first cousins, and the Colonel doesn't like that. I am fond of
Clarence. But he isn't good for anything in the world except horse racing
and--and fighting. He wanted to help drive the Black Republican emigrants
out of Kansas, and his mother had to put a collar and chain on him. He
wanted to go filibustering with Walker, and she had to get down on her
knees. And yet," she cried, "if you Yankees push us as far as war, Mr.
Brice, just look out for him."

"But--" Anne interposed.

"Oh, I know what you are going to say,--that Clarence has money."

"Puss!" cried Anne, outraged. "How dare you!"

Miss Russell slipped an arm around her waist.

"Come, Anne," she said, "we mustn't interrupt the Senator any longer. He
is preparing his maiden speech."

That was the way in which Stephen got his nickname. It is scarcely
necessary to add that he wrote no more until he reached his little room
in the house on Olive Street.

They had passed Alton, and the black cloud that hung in the still autumn
air over the city was in sight. It was dusk when the 'Jackson' pushed her
nose into the levee, and the song of the negro stevedores rose from below
as they pulled the gang-plank on to the landing-stage. Stephen stood
apart on the hurricane deck, gazing at the dark line of sooty warehouses.
How many young men with their way to make have felt the same as he did
after some pleasant excursion. The presence of a tall form beside him
shook him from his revery, and he looked up to recognize the benevolent
face of Mr. Brinsmade.

"Mrs. Brice may be anxious, Stephen, at the late hour," said he. "My
carriage is here, and it will give me great pleasure to convey you to
your door."

Dear Mr. Brinsmade! He is in heaven now, and knows at last the good he
wrought upon earth. Of the many thoughtful charities which Stephen
received from him, this one sticks firmest in his remembrance: A
stranger, tired and lonely, and apart from the gay young men and women
who stepped from the boat, he had been sought out by this gentleman, to
whom had been given the divine gift of forgetting none.

"Oh, Puss," cried Anne, that evening, for Miss Russell had come to spend
the night, "how could you have talked to him so? He scarcely spoke on the
way up in the carriage. You have offended him."

"Why should I set him upon a pedestal?" said Puss, with a thread in her
mouth; "why should you all set him upon a pedestal? He is only a Yankee,"
said Puss, tossing her head, "and not so very wonderful."

"I did not say he was wonderful," replied Anne, with dignity.

"But you girls think him so. Emily and Eugenie and Maude. He had better
marry Belle Cluyme. A great man, he may give some decision to that
family. Anne!"

"Yes."

"Shall I tell you a secret?"

"Yes," said Anne. She was human, and she was feminine.

"Then--Virginia Carvel is in love with him."

"With Mr. Brice!" cried astonished Anne. "She hates him!"

"She thinks she hates him," said Miss Russell, calmly.

Anne looked up at her companion admiringly. Her two heroines were Puss
and Virginia. Both had the same kind of daring, but in Puss the trait had
developed into a somewhat disagreeable outspokenness which made many
people dislike her. Her judgments were usually well founded, and her
prophecies had so often come to pass that Anne often believed in them for
no other reason.

"How do you know?" said Anne, incredulously.

"Do you remember that September, a year ago, when we were all out at
Glencoe, and Judge Whipple was ill, and Virginia sent us all away and
nursed him herself?"

"Yes," said Anne.

"And did you know that Mr. Brice had gone out, with letters, when the
Judge was better?"

"Yes," said Anne, breathless.

"It was a Saturday afternoon that he left, although they had begged him
to stay over Sunday. Virginia had written for me to come back, and I
arrived in the evening. I asked Easter where Jinny was, and I found her
--"

"You found her--?" said Anne.

Sitting alone in the summer-house over the river. Easter said she had
been there for two hours. And I have never known Jinny to be such
miserable company as she was that night."

"Did she mention Stephen?" asked Anne.

"No."

"But you did," said Anne, with conviction.

Miss Russell's reply was not as direct as usual.

"You know Virginia never confides unless she wants to," she said.

Anne considered.

"Virginia has scarcely seen him since then," she said. "You know that I
was her room-mate at Monticello last year, and I think I should have
discovered it."

"Did she speak of him?" demanded Miss Russell.

"Only when the subject was mentioned. I heard her repeat once what Judge
Whipple told her father of him; that he had a fine legal mind. He was
often in my letters from home, because they have taken Pa's house next
door, and because Pa likes them. I used to read those letters to Jinny,"
said Anne, "but she never expressed any desire to hear them."

"I, too, used to write Jinny about him," confessed Puss.

"Did she answer your letter?"

"No," replied Miss Puss,--"but that was just before the holidays, you
remember. And then the Colonel hurried her off to see her Pennsylvania
relatives, and I believe they went to Annapolis, too, where the Carvels
come from."

Stephen, sitting in the next house, writing out his account, little
dreamed that he was the subject of a conference in the third story front
of the Brinsmades'. Later, when the young ladies were asleep, he carried
his manuscript to the Democrat office, and delivered it into the hands of
his friend, the night editor, who was awaiting it.

Toward the end of that week, Miss Virginia Carvel was sitting with her
back to one of the great trees at Monticello reading a letter. Every once
in a while she tucked it under her cloak and glanced hastily around. It
was from Miss Anne Brinsmade.

"I have told you all about the excursion, my dear, and how we missed you.
You may remember" (ah, Anne, the guile there is in the best of us), "you
may remember Mr. Stephen Brice, whom we used to speak of. Pa and Ma take
a great interest in him, and Pa had him invited on the excursion. He is
more serious than ever, since he has become a full-fledged lawyer. But he
has a dry humor which comes out when you know him well, of which I did
not suspect him. His mother is the dearest lady I have ever known, so
quiet, so dignified, and so well bred. They come in to supper very often.
And the other night Mr. Brice told Pa so many things about the people
south of Market Street, the Germans, which he did not know; that Pa was
astonished. He told all about German history, and how they were
persecuted at home, and why they came here. Pa was surprised to hear that
many of them were University men, and that they were already organizing
to defend the Union. I heard Pa say, 'That is what Mr. Blair meant when
he assured me that we need not fear for the city.'

"Jinny dear, I ought not to have written you this, because you are for
Secession, and in your heart you think Pa a traitor, because he comes
from a slave state and has slaves of his own. But I shall not tear it up.

"It is sad to think how rich Mrs. Brice lived in Boston, and what she has
had to come to. One servant and a little house, and no place to go to in
the summer, when they used to have such a large one. I often go in to sew
with her, but she has never once mentioned her past to me.

"Your father has no doubt sent you the Democrat with the account of the
Convention. It is the fullest published, by far, and was so much admired
that Pa asked the editor who wrote it. Who do you think, but Stephen
Brice! So now Pa knows why Mr. Brice hesitated when Pa asked him to go up
the river, and then consented. This is not the end. Yesterday, when I
went in to see Mrs. Brice, a new black silk was on her bed, and as long
as I live I shall never forget how sweet was her voice when she said, 'It
is a surprise from my son, my dear. I did not expect ever to have
another.' Jinny, I just know he bought it with the money he got for the
article. That was what he was writing on the boat when Clarence Colfax
interrupted him. Puss accused him of writing verses to you."

At this point Miss Virginia Carvel stopped reading. Whether she had read
that part before, who shall say? But she took Anne's letter between her
fingers and tore it into bits and flung the bits into the wind, so that
they were tossed about and lost among the dead leaves under the great
trees. And when she reached her room, there was the hated Missouri
Democrat lying, still open, on her table. A little later a great black
piece of it came tossing out of the chimney above, to the affright of
little Miss Brown, teacher of Literature, who was walking in the grounds,
and who ran to the principal's room with the story that the chimney was
afire.



CHAPTER VIII

THE COLONEL IS WARNED

It is difficult to refrain from mention of the leave-taking of Miss
Virginia Carvel from the Monticello "Female Seminary," so called in the
'Democrat'. Most young ladies did not graduate in those days. There were
exercises. Stephen chanced to read in the 'Republican' about these
ceremonies, which mentioned that Miss Virginia Carvel, "Daughter of
Colonel Comyn Carvel, was without doubt the beauty of the day. She wore
--" but why destroy the picture? I have the costumes under my hand. The
words are meaningless to all males, and young women might laugh at a
critical time. Miss Emily Russell performed upon "that most superb of all
musical instruments the human voice." Was it 'Auld Robin Gray' that she
sang? I am sure it was Miss Maude Catherwood who recited 'To My Mother',
with such effect. Miss Carvel, so Stephen learned with alarm, was to read
a poem by Mrs. Browning, but was "unavoidably prevented." The truth was,
as he heard afterward from Miss Puss Russell, that Miss Jinny had refused
point blank. So the Lady Principal, to save her reputation for
discipline, had been forced to deceive the press.

There was another who read the account of the exercises with intense
interest, a gentleman of whom we have lately forborne to speak. This is
Mr. Eliphalet Hopper. Eliphalet has prospered. It is to be doubted if
that somewhat easy-going gentleman, Colonel Carvel, realized the full
importance of Eliphalet to Carvel & Company. Mr. Hood had been
superseded. Ephum still opened the store in the mornings, but Mr. Hopper
was within the ground-glass office before the place was warm, and through
warerooms and shipping rooms, rubbing his hands, to see if any were late.
Many of the old force were missed, and a new and greater force were come
in. These feared Eliphalet as they did the devil, and worked the harder
to please him, because Eliphalet had hired that kind. To them the Colonel
was lifted high above the sordid affairs of the world. He was at the
store every day in the winter, and Mr. Hopper always followed him
obsequiously into the ground-glass office, called in the book-keeper, and
showed him the books and the increased earnings.

The Colonel thought of Mr. Hood and his slovenly management, and sighed,
in spite of his doubled income. Mr. Hopper had added to the Company's
list of customers whole districts in the growing Southwest, and yet the
honest Colonel did not like him. Mr. Hopper, by a gradual process, had
taken upon his own shoulders, and consequently off the Colonel's,
responsibility after responsibility. There were some painful scenes, of
course, such as the departure of Mr. Hood, which never would have
occurred had not Eliphalet proved without question the incapacity of the
ancient manager. Mr. Hopper only narrowed his lids when the Colonel
pensioned Mr. Hood. But the Colonel had a will before which, when roused,
even Mr. Hopper trembled. So that Eliphalet was always polite to Ephum,
and careful never to say anything in the darkey's presence against
incompetent clerks or favorite customers, who, by the charity of the
Colonel, remained on his books.

One spring day, after the sober home-coming of Colonel Carvel from the
Democratic Convention at Charleston, Ephum accosted his master as he came
into the store of a morning. Ephum's face was working with excitement.

"What's the matter with you, Ephum?" asked the Colonel, kindly. "You
haven't been yourself lately."

"No, Marsa, I ain't 'zactly."

Ephum put down the duster, peered out of the door of the private office,
and closed it softly.

"Marse Comyn?"

"Yes?"

"Marse Comyn, I ain't got no use fo' dat Misteh Hoppa', Ise kinder
sup'stitious 'bout him, Marsa."

The Colonel put down his newspaper.

"Has he treated you badly, Ephum?" he asked quietly.

The faithful negro saw another question in his master's face. He well
knew that Colonel Carvel would not descend to ask an inferior concerning
the conduct of a superior.

"Oh no, suh. And I ain't sayin' nuthin' gin his honesty. He straight, but
he powerful sharp, Marse Comyn. An' he jus' mussiless down to a cent."

The Colonel sighed. He realized that which was beyond the grasp of the
negro's mind. New and thriftier methods of trade from New England were
fast replacing the old open-handedness of the large houses. Competition
had begun, and competition is cruel. Edwards, James, & Company had taken
a Yankee into the firm. They were now Edwards, James, & Doddington, and
Mr. Edwards's coolness towards the Colonel was manifest since the rise of
Eliphalet. They were rivals now instead of friends. But Colonel Carvel
did not know until after years that Mr. Hopper had been offered the place
which Mr. Doddington filled later.

As for Mr. Hopper, increase of salary had not changed him. He still lived
in the same humble way, in a single room in Miss Crane's boarding-house,
and he paid very little more for his board than he had that first week in
which he swept out Colonel Carvel's store. He was superintendent, now, of
Mr. Davitt's Sunday School, and a church officer. At night, when he came
home from business, he would read the widow's evening paper, and the
Colonel's morning paper at the office. Of true Puritan abstemiousness,
his only indulgence was chewing tobacco. It was as early as 1859 that the
teller of the Boatman's Bank began to point out Mr. Hopper's back to
casual customers, and he was more than once seen to enter the president's
room, which had carpet on the floor.

Eliphalet's suavity with certain delinquent customers from the Southwest
was A wording to Scripture. When they were profane, and invited him into
the street, he reminded them that the city had a police force and a jail.
While still a young man, he had a manner of folding his hands and smiling
which is peculiar to capitalists, and he knew the laws concerning
mortgages in several different states.

But Eliphalet was content still to remain in the sphere in which
Providence had placed him, and so to be an example for many of us. He did
not buy, or even hire, an evening suit. He was pleased to superintend
some of the details for a dance at Christmas-time before Virginia left
Monticello, but he sat as usual on the stair-landing. There Mr. Jacob
Cluyme (who had been that day in conversation with the teller of the
Boatman's Bank) chanced upon him. Mr. Cluyme was so charmed at the
facility with which Eliphalet recounted the rise and fall of sugar and
cotton and wheat that he invited Mr. Hopper to dinner. And from this meal
may be reckoned the first appearance of the family of which Eliphalet
Hopper was the head into polite society. If the Cluyme household was not
polite, it was nothing. Eliphalet sat next to Miss Belle, and heard the
private history of many old families, which he cherished for future use.
Mrs. Cluyme apologized for the dinner, which (if the truth were told)
needed an apology. All of which is significant, but sordid and
uninteresting. Jacob Cluyme usually bought stocks before a rise.

There was only one person who really bothered Eliphalet as he rose into
prominence, and that person was Captain Elijah Brent. If, upon entering
the ground-glass office, he found Eliphalet without the Colonel, Captain
Lige would walk out again just as if the office were empty. The inquiries
he made were addressed always to Ephum. Once, when Mr. Hopper had bidden
him good morning and pushed a chair toward him, the honest Captain had
turned his back and marched straight to the house or Tenth Street, where
he found the Colonel alone at breakfast. The Captain sat down opposite.

"Colonel," said he, without an introduction. "I don't like this here
business of letting Hopper run your store. He's a fish, I tell you."

The Colonel drank his coffee in silence.

"Lige," he said gently, "he's nearly doubled my income. It isn't the old
times, when we all went our own way and kept our old customers year in
and year out. You know that."

The Captain took a deep draught of the coffee which Jackson had laid
before him.

"Colonel Carvel," he said emphatically, "the fellow's a damned rascal,
and will ruin you yet if you don't take advice."

The Colonel shifted uneasily.

"The books show that he's honest, Lige."

"Yes," cried Lige, with his fist on the table. "Honest to a mill. But if
that fellow ever gets on top of you, or any one else, he'll grind you
into dust."

"He isn't likely to get on top of me, Lige. I know the business, and keep
watch. And now that Jinny's coming home from Monticello, I feel that I
can pay more attention to her--kind of take her mother's place," said the
Colonel, putting on his felt hat and tipping his chair. "Lige, I want
that girl to have every advantage. She ought to go to Europe and see the
world. That trip East last summer did her a heap of good. When we were at
Calvert House, Dan read her something that my grandfather had written
about London, and she was regularly fired. First I must take her to the
Eastern Shore to see Carvel Hall. Dan still owns it. Now it's London and
Paris."

The Captain walked over to the window, and said nothing. He did not see
the searching gray eyes of his old friend upon him.

"Lige!" said the Colonel.

The Captain turned.

"Lige, why don't you give up steamboating and come along to Europe?
You're not forty yet, and you have a heap of money laid by."

The Captain shook his head with the vigor that characterized him.

"This ain't no time for me to leave," he said. "Colonel; I tell you
there's a storm comin'."

The Colonel pulled his goatee uneasily. Here, at last, was a man in whom
there was no guile.

"Lige," he said, "isn't it about time you got married?"

Upon which the Captain shook his head again, even with more vigor. He
could not trust himself to speak. After the Christmas holidays he had
driven Virginia across the frozen river, all the way to Monticello, in a
sleigh. It was night when they had reached the school, the light of its
many windows casting long streaks on the snow under the trees. He had
helped her out, and had taken her hand as she stood on the step.

"Be good, Jinny," he had said. "Remember what a short time it will be
until June. And your Pa will come over to see you."

She had seized him by the buttons of his great coat, and said tearfully:
"O Captain Lige! I shall be so lonely when you are away. Aren't you going
to kiss me?"

He had put his lips to her forehead, driven madly back to Alton, and
spent the night. The first thing he did the next day when he reached St.
Louis was to go straight to the Colonel and tell him bluntly of the
circumstance.

"Lige, I'd hate to give her up," Mr. Carvel said; "but I'd rather you'd
marry her than any man I can think of."



CHAPTER IX

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

In that spring of 1860 the time was come for the South to make her final
stand. And as the noise of gathering conventions shook the ground,
Stephen Brice was not the only one who thought of the Question at
Freeport. The hour was now at hand for it to bear fruit.

Meanwhile, his hero, the hewer of rails and forger of homely speech,
Abraham Lincoln, had made a little tour eastward the year before, and had
startled Cooper Union with a new logic and a new eloquence. They were the
same logic and the same eloquence which had startled Stephen.

Even as he predicted who had given it birth, the Question destroyed the
great Democratic Party. Colonel Carvel travelled to the convention in
historic Charleston soberly and fearing God, as many another Southern
gentleman. In old Saint Michael's they knelt to pray for harmony, for
peace; for a front bold and undismayed toward those who wronged them. All
through the week chosen orators wrestled in vain. Judge Douglas, you
flattered yourself that you had evaded the Question. Do you see the
Southern delegates rising in their seats? Alabama leaves the hall,
followed by her sister stakes. The South has not forgotten your Freeport
Heresy. Once she loved you now she will have none of you.

Gloomily, indeed, did Colonel Carvel return home. He loved the Union and
the flag for which his grandfather Richard had fought so bravely. That
flag was his inheritance. So the Judge, laying his hand upon the knee of
his friend, reminded him gravely. But the Colonel shook his head. The
very calmness of their argument had been portentous.

"No, Whipple," said he. "You are a straightforward man. You can't
disguise it. You of the North are bent upon taking away from us the
rights we had when our fathers framed the Constitution. However the
nigger got to this country, sir, in your Bristol and Newport traders, as
well as in our Virginia and Maryland ships, he is here, and he was here
when the Constitution was written. He is happier in slavery than are your
factory hands in New England; and he is no more fit to exercise the
solemn rights of citizenship, I say, than the halfbreeds in the South
American states."

The Judge attempted to interrupt, but Mr. Carvel stopped him.

"Suppose you deprive me of my few slaves, you do not ruin me. Yet you do
me as great a wrong as you do my friend Samuels, of Louisiana, who
depends on the labor of five hundred. Shall I stand by selfishly and see
him ruined, and thousands of others like him?"

Profoundly depressed, Colonel Carvel did not attend the adjourned
Convention at Baltimore, which split once more on Mason and Dixon's line.
The Democrats of the young Northwest stood for Douglas and Johnson, and
the solid South, in another hall, nominated Breckenridge and Lane. This,
of course, became the Colonel's ticket.

What a Babel of voices was raised that summer! Each with its cure for
existing ills. Between the extremes of the Black Republican Negro
Worshippers and the Southern Rights party of Breckenridge, your
conservative had the choice of two candidates,--of Judge Douglas or
Senator Bell. A most respectable but practically extinct body of
gentlemen in ruffled shirts, the Old Line Whigs, had likewise met in
Baltimore. A new name being necessary, they called themselves
Constitutional Unionists Senator Bell was their candidate, and they
proposed to give the Nation soothing-syrup. So said Judge Whipple, with a
grunt of contempt, to Mr. Cluyme, who was then a prominent Constitutional
Unionist. Other and most estimable gentlemen were also Constitutional
Unionists, notably Mr. Calvin Brinsmade. Far be it from any one to cast
disrespect upon the reputable members of this party, whose broad wings
sheltered likewise so many weak brethren.

One Sunday evening in May, the Judge was taking tea with Mrs. Brice. The
occasion was memorable for more than one event--which was that he
addressed Stephen by his first name for the first time.

"You're an admirer of Abraham Lincoln," he had said.

Stephen, used to Mr. Whipple's ways, smiled quietly at his mother. He had
never dared mention to the Judge his suspicions concerning his journey to
Springfield and Freeport.

"Stephen," said the Judge (here the surprise came in), "Stephen, what do
you think of Mr. Lincoln's chances for the Republican nomination?"

"We hear of no name but Seward's, sir," said Stephen, When he had
recovered.

The Judge grunted.

"Do you think that Lincoln would make a good President?" he added.

"I have thought so, sir, ever since you were good enough to give me the
opportunity of knowing him."

It was a bold speech--the Judge drew his great eyebrows together, but he
spoke to Mrs. Brice.

"I'm not as strong as I was once, ma'am," said he. "And yet I am going to
that Chicago convention."

Mrs. Brice remonstrated mildly, to the effect that he had done his share
of political work. He scarcely waited for her to finish.

"I shall take a younger man with me, in case anything happens. In fact,
ma'am, I had thought of taking your son, if you can spare him."

And so it was that Stephen went to that most dramatic of political
gatherings,--in the historic Wigwam. It was so that his eyes were opened
to the view of the monster which maims the vitality of the Republic,
--the political machine. Mr. Seward had brought his machine from New York,
--a legion prepared to fill the Wigwam with their bodies, and to drown
with their cries all names save that of their master.

Stephen indeed had his eyes opened. Through the kindness of Judge Whipple
he heard many quiet talks between that gentleman and delegates from other
states--Pennsylvania and Illinois and Indiana and elsewhere. He perceived
that the Judge was no nonentity in this new party. Mr. Whipple sat in his
own room, and the delegates came and ranged themselves along the bed.
Late one night, when the delegates were gone, Stephen ventured to speak
what was in his mind.

"Mr. Lincoln did not strike me as the kind of man, sir; who would permit
a bargain."

"Mr. Lincoln's at home playing barn-ball," said the Judge, curtly. "He
doesn't expect the nomination."

"Then," said Stephen, rather hotly, "I think you are unfair to him."

You are expecting the Judge to thunder. Sometimes he liked this kind of
speech.

"Stephen, I hope that politics may be a little cleaner when you become a
delegate," he answered, with just the suspicion of a smile. "Supposing
you are convinced that Abraham Lincoln is the only man who can save the
Union, and supposing that the one way to get him nominated is to meet
Seward's gang with their own methods, what would you do, sir? I want a
practical proposition, sir," said Mr. Whipple, "one that we can use
to-night. It is now one 'clock."

As Stephen was silent, the Judge advised him to go to bed. And the next
morning, while Mr. Seward's henchmen, confident and uproarious, were
parading the streets of Chicago with their bands and their bunting, the
vast Wigwam was quietly filling up with bony Westerners whose ally was
none other than the state of Pennsylvania. These gentlemen possessed wind
which they had not wasted in processions. And the Lord delivered Seward
and all that was his into their hands.

How the light of Mr. Seward's hope went out after the first ballot, and
how some of the gentlemen attached to his person wept; and how the voices
shook the Wigwam, and the thunder of the guns rolled over the tossing
water of the lake, many now living remember. That day a name was
delivered to the world through the mouths political schemers which was
destined to enter history that of the saviour of the Nation.

Down in little Springfield, on a vacant lot near the station, a tall man
in his shirt sleeves was playing barn-ball with some boys. The game
finished, he had put on his black coat and was starting homeward under
the tree--when a fleet youngster darted after him with a telegram. The
tall man read it, and continued on his walk his head bent and his feet
taking long strides, Later in the day he was met by a friend.

"Abe," said the friend, "I'm almighty glad there somebody in this town's
got notorious at last."

In the early morning of their return from Chicago Judge Whipple and
Stephen were standing in the front of a ferry-boat crossing the
Mississippi. The sun was behind them. The Judge had taken off his hat,
and his gray hair was stirred by the river breeze. Illness had set a
yellow seal on the face, but the younger man remarked it not. For
Stephen, staring at the black blur of the city outline, was filled with a
strange exaltation which might have belonged to his Puritan forefathers.
Now at length was come his chance to be of use in life,--to dedicate the
labor of his hands and of his brains to Abraham Lincoln uncouth prophet
of the West. With all his might he would work to save the city for the
man who was the hope of the Union.

The bell rang. The great paddles scattered the brow waters with white
foam, and the Judge voiced his thoughts.

"Stephen," said he, "I guess we'll have to put on shoulders to the wheel
this summer. If Lincoln is not elected I have lived my sixty-five years
for nothing."

As he descended the plank, he laid a hand on Stephen's arm, and tottered.
The big Louisiana, Captain Brent's boat, just in from New Orleans, was
blowing off her steam as with slow steps they climbed the levee and the
steep pitch of the street beyond it. The clatter of hooves and the crack
of whips reached their ears, and, like many others before them and since,
they stepped into Carvel & Company's. On the inside of the glass
partition of the private office, a voice of great suavity was heard. It
was Eliphalet Hopper's.

"If you will give me the numbers of the bales, Captain Brent, I'll send a
dray down to your boat and get them."

It was a very decisive voice that answered.

"No, sir, I prefer to do business with my friend, Colonel Carvel. I guess
I can wait."

"I could sell the goods to Texas buyers who are here in the store right
now."

"Until I get instructions from one of the concern," vowed Captain Lige,
"I shall do as I always have done, sir. What is your position here, Mr.
Hopper?"

"I am manager, I callate."

The Captain's fist was heard to come down on the desk.

"You don't manage me," he said, "and I reckon you don't manage the
Colonel."

Mr. Hopper's face was not pleasant to see as he emerged. But at sight of
Judge Whipple on the steps his suavity returned.

"The Colonel will be in any minute, sir," said he.

But the Judge walked past him without reply, and into the office. Captain
Brent, seeing him; sprang to his feet.

"Well, well, Judge," said he, heartily, "you fellows have done it now,
sure. I'll say this for you, you've picked a smart man."

"Better vote for him, Lige," said the Judge, setting down.

The Captain smiled at Stephen.

"A man's got a lot of choice this year;" said he. "Two governments,
thirty-three governments, one government patched up for a year ox two."

"Or no government," finished the Judge. "Lige, you're not such a fool as
to vote against the Union?"

"Judge," said the Captain, instantly, "I'm not the only one in this town
who will have to decide whether my sympathies are wrong. My sympathies
are with the South."

"It's not a question of sympathy, Captain," answered the Judge, dryly.
"Abraham Lincoln himself was born in Kentucky."

They had not heard a step without.

"Gentlemen, mark my words. If Abraham Lincoln is elected, the South
leaves this Union."

The Judge started, and looked up. The speaker was Colonel Carvel himself.

"Then, sir," Mr. Whipple cried hotly, "then you will be chastised and
brought back. For at last we have chosen a man who is strong enough,
--who does not fear your fire-eaters,--whose electors depend on Northern
votes alone."

Stephen rose apprehensively, So did Captain Lige The Colonel had taken a
step forward, and a fire was quick to kindle in his gray eyes. It was as
quick to die. Judge Whipple, deathly pale, staggered and fell into
Stephen' arms. But it was the Colonel who laid him on the horsehair sofa.

"Silas!" he said, "Silas!"

Nor could the two who listened sound the depth of the pathos the Colonel
put into those two words.

But the Judge had not fainted. And the brusqueness in his weakened voice
was even more pathetic-- "Tut, tut," said he. "A little heat, and no
breakfast."

The Colonel already had a bottle of the famous Bourbon day his hand, and
Captain Lige brought a glass of muddy iced water. Mr. Carvel made an
injudicious mixture of the two, and held it to the lips of his friend. He
was pushed away.

"Come, Silas," he said.

"No!" cried the Judge, and with this effort he slipped back again. Those
who stood there thought that the stamp of death was already on Judge
Whipple's face.

But the lips were firmly closed, bidding defiance, as ever, to the world.
The Colonel, stroking his goatee, regarded him curiously.

"Silas," he said slowly, "if you won't drink it for me, perhaps you will
drink it--for--Abraham--Lincoln."

The two who watched that scene have never forgotten it. Outside, in the
great cool store, the rattle of the trucks was heard, and Mr. Hopper
giving commands. Within was silence. The straight figure of the Colonel
towered above the sofa while he waited. A full minute passed. Once Judge
Whipple's bony hand opened and shut, and once his features worked. Then,
without warning, he sat up.

"Colonel," said he, "I reckon I wouldn't be much use to Abe if I took
that. But if you'll send Ephum after, cup of coffee--"

Mr. Carvel set the glass down. In two strides he had reached the door and
given the order. Then he came hack and seated himself on the sofa.

Stephen found his mother at breakfast. He had forgotten the convention He
told her what had happened at Mr. Carvel's store, and how the Colonel had
tried to persuade Judge Whipple to take the Glencoe house while he was in
Europe, and how the Judge had refused. Tears were in the widow's eyes
when Stephen finished.

"And he means to stay here in the heat and go through, the campaign?" she
asked.

"He says that he will not stir."

"It will kill him, Stephen," Mrs. Brice faltered.

"So the Colonel told him. And he said that he would die willingly--after
Abraham Lincoln was elected. He had nothing to live for but to fight for
that. He had never understood the world, and had quarrelled with at all
his life."

'He said that to Colonel Carvel?"

"Yes."

"Stephen!"

He didn't dare to look at his mother, nor she at him. And when he reached
the office, half an hour later, Mr. Whipple was seated in his chair,
defiant and unapproachable. Stephen sighed as he settled down to his
work. The thought of one who might have accomplished what her father
could not was in his head. She was at Monticello.

Some three weeks later Mr. Brinsmade's buggy drew up at Mrs. Brice's
door. The Brinsmade family had been for some time in the country. And
frequently, when that gentleman was detained in town by business, he
would stop at the little home for tea. The secret of the good man's visit
came out as he sat with them on the front steps afterward.

"I fear that it will be a hot summer, ma'am," he had said to Mrs. Brice.
"You should go to the country."

"The heat agrees with me remarkably, Mr. Brinsmade," said the lady,
smiling.

"I have heard that Colonel Carvel wishes to rent his house at Glencoe,"
Mr. Brinsmade continued, "The figure is not high." He mentioned it. And
it was, indeed nominal. "It struck me that a change of air would do you
good, Mrs. Brice, and Stephen. Knowing that you shared in our uneasiness
concerning Judge Whipple, I thought--"

He stopped, and looked at her. It was a hard task even for that best and
roost tactful of gentlemen, Mr. Brinsmade. He too had misjudged this calm
woman.

"I understand you, Mr. Brinsmade," she said. She saw, as did Stephen, the
kindness behind the offer--Colonel Carvel's kindness and his own. The
gentleman's benevolent face brightened:

"And, my dear Madam, do not let the thought of this little house trouble
you. It was never my expectation to have it occupied in the summer. If we
could induce the Judge to go to Glencoe with you for the summer; I am
sure it would be a relief for us all."

He did not press the matter; but begged Stephen to call on him in a day
or two, at the bank.

"What do you think, Stephen," asked his mother, when Mr. Brinsmade was
gone, Stephen did not reply at once. What, indeed, could he say? The
vision of that proud figure of Miss Virginia was before him, and he
revolted. What was kindness from Colonel Carvel and Mr. Brinsmade was
charity from her. He could not bear the thought of living in a house
haunted by her. And yet why should he let his pride and his feelings
stand in the way of the health--perhaps of the life--of Judge Whipple?

It was characteristic of his mothers strength of mind not to mention the
subject again that evening. Stephen did not sleep in the hot night. But
when he rose in the morning he had made up his mind. After breakfast he
went straight to the Colonel's store, and fortunately found. Mr. Carvel
at his desk, winding up his affairs.

The next morning, when the train for the East pulled out of Illinoistown,
Miss Jinny Carvel stood on the plat form tearfully waving good-by to a
knot of friends. She was leaving for Europe. Presently she went into the
sleeping-car to join the Colonel, who wore a gray liners duster. For a
long time she sat gazing at the young, corn waving on the prairie,
fingering the bunch of June roses on her lap. Clarence had picked them
only a few hours ago, in the dew at Bellegarde. She saw her cousin
standing disconsolate under the train sheds, just as she had left him.
She pictured him riding out the Bellefontaine Road that afternoon, alone.
Now that the ocean was to be between them, was it love that she felt for
Clarence at last? She glanced at her father. Once or twice she had
suspected him of wishing to separate them. Her Aunt Lillian, indeed, had
said as much, and Virginia had silenced her. But when she had asked the
Colonel to take Clarence to Europe, he had refused. And yet she knew that
he had begged Captain Lige to go.

Virginia had been at home but a week. She had seen the change in Clarence
and exulted. The very first day she had surprised him on the porch at
Bellegarde with "Hardee's tactics". From a boy Clarence had suddenly
become a man with a Purpose,--and that was the Purpose of the South.

"They have dared to nominate that dirty Lincoln," he said.--"Do you think
that we will submit to nigger equality rule? Never! never!" he cried. "If
they elect him, I will stand and fight them until my legs are shot from
under me, and then I will shoot down the Yankees from the ground."

Virginia's heart had leaped within her at the words, and into her eyes
had flashed once more the look for which the boy had waited and hoped in
vain. He had the carriage of a soldier, the animation and endurance of
the thoroughbred when roused. He was of the stuff that made the
resistance of the South the marvel of the world. And well we know,
whatever the sound of it, that his speech was not heroics. Nor was it
love for his cousin that inspired it, save in this: he had apotheosized
Virginia. To him she was the inspired goddess of the South--his country.
His admiration and affection had of late been laid upon an altar. Her
ambition for him he felt was likewise the South's ambition for him.

His mother, Virginia's aunt, felt this too, and strove against it with
her feeble might. She never had had power over her son; nor over any man,
save the temporal power of beauty. And to her mortification she found
herself actually in fear of this girl who might have been her daughter.
So in Virginia's presence she became more trivial and petty than ever. It
was her one defence.

It had of course been a foregone conclusion that Clarence should join
Company A. Few young men of family did not. And now he ran to his room to
don for Virginia that glorious but useless full dress,--the high bearskin
rat, the red pigeon-tailed coat, the light blue trousers, and the
gorgeous, priceless shackle. Indeed, the boy looked stunning. He held his
big rifle like a veteran, and his face was set with a high resolve there
was no mistaking. The high color of her pride was on the cheek of the
girl as he brought his piece to the salute of her, his mistress. And yet,
when he was gone, and she sat alone amid the roses awaiting him, came
wilfully before her another face that was relentless determination,--the
face of Stephen Brice, as he had stood before her in the summer house at
Glencoe. Strive as she might against the thought, deny it to herself and
others, to Virginia Carvel his way become the face of the North. Her
patriotism and all that was in her of race rebelled. To conquer that face
she would have given her own soul, and Clarence's. Angrily she had arisen
and paced the garden walks, and cried out aloud that it was not
inflexible.

And now, by the car window, looking out over the endless roll of the
prairie, the memory of this was bitter within her.

Suddenly she turned to her father.

"Did you rent our house at Glencoe?" she asked.

"No, Jinny."

"I suppose Mr. Brice was too proud to accept it at your charitable rent,
even to save Mr, Whipple's life."

The Colonel turned to his daughter in mild surprise. She was leaning back
on the seat, her eyes half closed.

"Once you dislike a person, Jinny, you never get over it. I always had a
fancy for the young man, and now I have a better opinion of him than ever
before. It was I who insulted them by naming that rent."

"What did he do?" Virginia demanded.

"He came to my office yesterday morning. 'Colonel Carvel,' said he, 'I
hear you wish to rent your house.' I said yes. 'You rented it once
before, sir,' said he. 'Yes,' said I. 'May I ask you what price you got
for it?' said he."

"And what did you say?" she asked, leaning forward.

"I told him," said the Colonel, smiling. "But I explained that I could
not expect to command that price now on short notice. He replied that
they would pay it, or not consider the place."

Virginia turned her head away and stared out over the fields.

"How could they afford it!" she murmured.

"Mr. Brinsmade tells me that young Brice won rather a remarkable case
last winter, and since then has had some practice. And that he writes for
the newspapers. I believe he declined some sort of an editorial position,
preferring to remain at the law."

"And so they are going into the house?" she asked presently.

"No," said the Colonel. "Whipple refused point-blank to go to the
country. He said that he would be shirking the only work of his life
likely to be worth anything. So the Brices remain in town."

Colonel Carvel sighed. But Virginia said nothing.



CHAPTER X.

RICHTER'S SCAR

This was the summer when Mr. Stephen Brice began to make his appearance
in public. The very first was rather encouraging than otherwise, although
they were not all so. It was at a little town on the outskirts of the
city where those who had come to scoff and jeer remained to listen.

In writing that speech Stephen had striven to bear in mind a piece of
advice which Mr. Lincoln had given him. "Speak so that the lowest may
understand, and the rest will have no trouble." And it had worked. At the
halting lameness of the beginning an egg was thrown,--fortunately wide of
the mark. After this incident Stephen fairly astonished his audience,
--especially an elderly gentleman who sat on a cracker-box in the rear, out
of sight of the stand. This may have been Judge Whipple, although we have
no proof of the fact.

Stephen himself would not have claimed originality for that speech. He
laughs now when it is spoken of, and calls it a boyish effort, which it
was. I have no doubt that many of the master's phrases slipped in, as
young Mr. Brice could repeat most of the Debates, and the Cooper Union
speech by heart. He had caught more than the phrasing, however. So imbued
was he with the spirit of Abraham Lincoln that his hearers caught it; and
that was the end of the rotten eggs and the cabbages. The event is to be
especially noted because they crowded around him afterward to ask
questions. For one thing, he had not mentioned abolition. Wasn't it true,
then, that this Lincoln wished to tear the negro from his master, give
him a vote and a subsidy, and set him up as the equal of the man that
owned him? "Slavery may stay where it is," cried the young orator. "If it
is content there, so are we content. What we say is that it shall not go
one step farther. No, not one inch into a northern territory."

On the next occasion Mr. Brice was one of the orators at a much larger
meeting in a garden in South St. Louis. The audience was mostly German.
And this was even a happier event, inasmuch as Mr. Brice was able to
trace with some skill the history of the Fatherland from the Napoleonic
wars to its Revolution. Incidentally he told them why they had emigrated
to this great and free country. And when in an inspired moment he coupled
the names of Abraham Lincoln and Father Jahn, the very leaves of the
trees above them trembled at their cheers.

And afterwards there was a long-remembered supper in the moonlit grove
with Richter and a party of his college friends from Jena. There was Herr
Tiefel with the little Dresden-blue eyes, red and round and jolly; and
Hauptmann, long and thin and sallow; and Korner, redbearded and
ponderous; and Konig, a little clean-cut man with a blond mustache that
pointed upward. They clattered their steins on the table and sang
wonderful Jena songs, while Stephen was lifted up and his soul carried
off to far-away Saxony,--to the clean little University town with its
towers and crooked streets. And when they sang the Trolksmelodie,
"Bemooster Bursche zieh' ich aus,--Ade!" a big tear rolled down the scar
on Richter's cheek.

       "Fahrt wohl, ihr Strassen grad and krumm
        Ich zieh' nicht mehr in euch herum,
        Durchton euch nicht mehr mit Gesang,
        Mit Larm nicht mehr and Sporenklang."

As the deep tones died away, the soft night was steeped in the sadness of
that farewell song. It was Richter who brought the full force of it home
to Stephen.

"Do you recall the day you left your Harvard, and your Boston, my
friend?" he asked.

Stephen only nodded. He had never spoken of the bitterness of that, even
to his mother. And here was the difference between the Saxon and the
Anglo-Saxon.

Richter smoked his pipe 'mid dreamy silence, the tear still wet upon his
face.

"Tiefel and I were at the University together," he said at length. "He
remembers the day I left Jena for good and all. Ah, Stephen, that is the
most pathetic thing in life, next to leaving the Fatherland. We dine with
our student club for the last time at the Burg Keller, a dingy little
tavern under a grim old house, but very dear to us. We swear for the last
time to be clean and honorable and patriotic, and to die for the
Fatherland, if God so wills. And then we march at the head of a slow
procession out of the old West Gate, two and two, old members first, then
the fox major and the foxes."

"The foxes?" Stephen interrupted.

"The youngsters--the freshmen, you call them," answered Richter, smiling.

"And after the foxes," said Herr Tiefel, taking up the story, "after the
foxes comes the empty carriage, with its gay postilion and four. It is
like a long funeral. And every man is chanting that song. And so we go
slowly until we; come to the Oil Mill Tavern, where we have had many a
schlager-bout with the aristocrats. And the president of our society
makes his farewell speech under the vines, and we drink to you with all
the honors. And we drank to you, Carl, renowned swordsman!" And Herr
Tiefel, carried away by the recollection, rose to his feet.

The others caught fire, and stood up with their mugs high in the air,
shouting:

"Lebe wohl, Carl! Lebe wohl! Salamander, salamander, salamander! Ein ist
ein, zwei ist zwei, drei ist drei! Lebe wohl!"

And so they toasted every man present, even Stephen himself, whom they
complimented on his speech. And he soon learned to cry Salamander, and to
rub his mug on the table, German fashion. He was not long in discovering
that Richter was not merely a prime favorite with his companions, but
likewise a person of some political importance in South St. Louis. In the
very midst of their merriment an elderly man whom Stephen recognized as
one of the German leaders (he afterwards became a United States general)
came and stood smiling by the table and joined in the singing. But
presently he carried Richter away with him.

"What a patriot he would have made, had our country been spared to us!"
exclaimed Herr Konig. "I think he was the best man with the Schlager that
Jena ever saw. Even Korner likes not to stand against him in mask and
fencing hat, all padded. Eh, Rudolph?"

Herr Korner gave a good-natured growl of assent.

"I have still a welt that he gave me a month since," he said. "He has
left his mark on many an aristocrat."

"And why did you always fight the aristocrats?" Stephen asked.

They all tried to tell him at once, but Tiefel prevailed.

"Because they were for making our country Austrian, my friend," he cried.
"Because they were overbearing, and ground the poor. Because the most of
them were immoral like the French, and we knew that it must be by
morality and pure living that our 'Vaterland' was to be rescued. And so
we formed our guilds in opposition to theirs. We swore to live by the
standards of the great Jahn, of whom you spoke. We swore to strive for
the freedom of Germany with manly courage. And when we were not duelling
with the nobles, we had Schlager-bouts among ourselves."

"Broadswords?" exclaimed Stephen, in amazement.

"Ja wohl," answered Korner, puffing heavily. The slit in his nose was
plain even in the moonlight. "To keep our hands in, as you would say. You
Americans are a brave people--without the Schlager. But we fought that we
might not become effete."

It was then that Stephen ventured to ask a question that, had been long
burning within him.

"See here, Mr. Korner," said he, "how did Richter come by that scar? He
always gets red when I mention it. He will never tell me."

"Ah, I can well believe that," answered Korner. "I will recount that
matter,--if you do not tell Carl, lieber Freund. He would not forgive me.
I was there in Berlin at the time. It was a famous time. Tiefel will bear
me out."

"Ja, ja!" said Tiefel, eagerly.

"Mr. Brice," Herr Korner continued, "has never heard of the Count von
Kalbach. No, of course. We at Jena had, and all Germany. Many of us of
the Burschenschaft will bear to the grave the marks of his Schlager. Von
Kalbach went to Bonn, that university of the aristocrats, where he was
worshipped. When he came to Berlin with his sister, crowds would gather
to look at them. They were like Wodan and Freya. 'Donner'!" exclaimed
Herr Korner, "there is something in blood, when all is said. He was as
straight and strong as an oak of the Black Forest, and she as fair as a
poplar. It is so with the Pomeranians.

"It was in the year '47, when Carl Richter was gone home to Berlin before
his last semester, to see his father: One fine morning von Kalbach rode
in at the Brandenburg gate on a great black stallion. He boasted openly
that day that none of the despised 'Burschenschaft' dare stand before
him. And Carl Richter took up the challenge. Before night all Berlin had
heard of the temerity of the young Liberal of the Jena 'Burschenschaft'.
To our shame be it said, we who knew and loved Carl likewise feared for
him.

"Carl chose for his second Ebhardt, a man of our own Germanian Club at
Jena, since killed in the Breite Strasse. And if you will believe me, my
friend. I tell you that Richter came to the glade at daybreak smoking his
pipe. The place was filled, the nobles on one side and the Burschenschaft
on the other, and the sun coming up over the trees. Richter would not
listen to any of us, not even the surgeon. He would not have the silk
wound on his arm, nor the padded breeches, nor the neck covering
--Nothing! So Ebhardt put on his gauntlets and peaked cap, and his apron
with the device of the Germanians.

"There stood the Count in his white shirt in the pose of a statue. And
when it was seen that Richter likewise had no protection, but was calmly
smoking the little short pipe, with a charred bowl, a hush fell upon all.
At the sight of the pipe von Kalbach ground his heel in the turf, and
when the word was given he rushed at Richter like a wild beast. You, my
friend, who have never heard the whistle of sharp Schlager cannot know
the song which a skilled arm draws from the blade. It was music that
morning: You should have seen the noble's mighty strokes--'Prim und
Second und Terz und Quart'. You would have marked how Richter met him at
every blow. Von Kalbach never once took his eyes from the blue smoke from
the bowl. He was terrible in his fury, and I shiver now to think how we
of the Burschenschaft trembled when we saw that our champion was driven
back a step, and then another. You must know that it is a lasting
disgrace to be forced over one's own line. It seemed as if we could not
bear the agony. And then, while we counted out the last seconds of the
half, came a snap like that of a whip's lash, and the bowl of Richter's
pipe lay smouldering on the grass. The noble had cut the stem as clean as
it were sapling twig, and there stood Richter with the piece still
clenched in his teeth, his eyes ablaze, and his cheek running blood. He
pushed the surgeon away when he came forward with his needles. The Count
was smiling as he put up his sword, his friends crowding around him, when
Ebhardt cried out that his man could fight the second mensur,--though the
wound was three needles long. Then Kalbach cried aloud that he would kill
him. But he had not seen Carl's eyes. Something was in them that made us
think as we washed the cut. But when we spoke to him he said nothing. Nor
could we force the pipe stems from his teeth.

"Donner Schock!" exclaimed Herr Korner, but reverently, "if I live to a
hundred I never hope to see such a sight as that 'Mensur'. The word was
given. The Schlager flew so fast that we only saw the light and heard the
ring alone. Before we of the Burschenschaft knew what had happened the
Count von Kalbach was over his line and had flung his Schlager into a
great tree, and was striding from the place with his head hung and the
tears streamin down his face."

Amid a silence, Herr Korner lifted his great mug and emptied it slowly. A
wind was rising, bearing with it song and laughter from distant groups,
--Teutonic song and, laughter. The moonlight trembled through the shifting
leaves. And Stephen was filled with a sense of the marvelous. It was as
if this fierce duel, so full of national significance to a German, had
been fought in another existence, It was incredible to him that the
unassuming lawyer he knew, so wholly Americanized, had been the hero of
it. Strange, indeed, that the striving life of these leaders of European
Revolution had been suddenly cut off in its vigor. There came to Stephen
a flash of that world-comprehension which marks great statesmen. Was it
not with a divine purpose that this measureless force of patriotism and
high ideal had been given to this youngest of the nations, that its high
mission might be fulfilled?

Miss Russell heard of Stephen's speeches. She and her brothers and Jack
Brinsmade used to banter him when he came a-visiting in Bellefontaine
Road. The time was not yet come when neighbor stared coldly upon
neighbor, when friends of long standing passed each other with averted
looks. It was not even a wild dream that white-trash Lincoln would be
elected. And so Mr. Jack, who made speeches for Breckenridge in the face
of Mr. Brinsmade's Union leanings, laughed at Stephen when he came to
spend the night. He joined forces with Puss in making clever fun of the
booby Dutch, which Stephen was wise enough to take good-naturedly. But
once or twice when he met Clarence Colfax at these houses he was aware of
a decided change in the attitude of that young gentleman. This troubled
him more than he cared to admit. For he liked Clarence, who reminded him
of Virginia--at once a pleasure and a pain.

It is no harm to admit (for the benefit of the Society for Psychical
Research) that Stephen still dreamed of her. He would go about his work
absently all the morning with the dream still in his head, and the girl
so vividly near him that he could not believe her to be travelling in
England, as Miss Russell said. Puss and Anne were careful to keep him
informed as to her whereabouts. Stephen set this down as a most natural
supposition on their part that all young men must have an interest in
Virginia Carvel.

How needless to add that Virginia in her correspondence never mentioned
Stephen, although Puss in her letters took pains to record the fact every
time that he addressed a Black Republican meeting: Miss Carvel paid no
attention to this part of the communications. Her concern for Judge
Whipple Virginia did not hide. Anne wrote of him. How he stood the rigors
of that campaign were a mystery to friend and foe alike.



CHAPTER XI

HOW A PRINCE CAME

Who has not heard of the St. Louis Agricultural Fair. And what memories
of its October days the mere mention of at brings back to us who knew
that hallowed place as children. There was the vast wooden amphitheatre
where mad trotting races were run; where stolid cattle walked past the
Chinese pagoda in the middle circle, and shook the blue ribbons on their
horns. But it was underneath the tiers of seats (the whole way around the
ring) that the chief attractions lay hid. These were the church booths,
where fried oysters and sandwiches and cake and whit candy and ice-cream
were sold by your mothers and sister for charity. These ladies wore white
aprons as they waited on the burly farmers. And toward the close of the
day for which they had volunteered they became distracted. Christ Church
had a booth, and St. George's; and Dr. Thayer's, Unitarian, where Mrs.
Brice might be found and Mr. Davitt's, conducted by Mr. Eliphalet Hopper
on strictly business principles, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral, where
Miss Renault and other young ladies of French descent presided: and Dr.
Posthelwaite's, Presbyterian, which we shall come to presently. And
others, the whole way around the ring.

There is one Fair which old St. Louisans still delight to recall,--that
of the autumn of 1860--Think for a minute. You will remember that
Virginia Carvel came back from Europe; and made quite a stir in a town
where all who were worth knowing were intimates. Stephen caught a glimpse
of her an the street, received a distant bow, and dreamed of her that
night. Mr. Eliphalet Hopper, in his Sunday suit, was at the ferry to pay
his respects to the Colonel, to offer his services, and to tell him how
the business fared. His was the first St. Louis face that Virginia saw
(Captain Lige being in New Orleans), and if she conversed with Eliphalet
on the ferry with more warmth than ever before, there is nothing strange
in that. Mr. Hopper rode home with them in the carriage, and walked to
Miss Crane's with his heart thumping against his breast, and wild
thoughts whirling in his head.

The next morning, in Virginia's sunny front room tears and laughter
mingled. There was a present for Eugenie and Anne and Emily and Puss and
Maude, and a hear kiss from the Colonel for each. And more tears and
laughter and sighs as Mammy Easter and Rosetta unpacked the English
trunks, and with trembling hands and rolling eyes laid each Parisian gown
upon the bed.

But the Fair, the Fair!

At the thought of that glorious year my pen fails me. Why mention the
dread possibility of the negro-worshiper Lincoln being elected the very
next month? Why listen, to the rumblings in the South? Pompeii had
chariot-races to the mutterings of Vesuvius. St. Louis was in gala garb
to greet a Prince.

That was the year that Miss Virginia Carvel was given charge of the booth
in Dr. Posthelwaite's church,--the booth next one of the great arches
through which prancing horses and lowing cattle came.

Now who do you think stopped at the booth for a chat with Miss Jinny? Who
made her blush as pink as her Paris gown? Who slipped into her hand the
contribution for the church, and refused to take the cream candy she
laughingly offered him as an equivalent?

None other than Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, Duke of Saxony, Duke of
Cornwall and Rothesay, Earl of Chester and Carrick, Baron Renfrew, and
Lord of the Isles. Out of compliment to the Republic which he visited, he
bore the simple title of Lord Renfrew.

Bitter tears of envy, so it was said, were shed in the other booths.
Belle Cluyme made a remark which is best suppressed. Eliphalet Hopper, in
Mr. Davitt's booths, stared until his eyes watered. A great throng peered
into the covered way, kept clear for his Royal Highness and suite, and
for the prominent gentlemen who accompanied them. And when the Prince was
seen to turn to His Grace, the Duke of Newcastle, and the subscription
was forthcoming, a great cheer shook the building, while Virginia and the
young ladies with her bowed and blushed and smiled. Colonel Carvel, who
was a Director, laid his hand paternally on the blue coat of the young
Prince. Reversing all precedent, he presented his Royal Highness to his
daughter and to the other young ladies. It was done with the easy grace
of a Southern gentleman. Whereupon Lord Renfrew bowed and smiled too, and
stroked his mustache, which was a habit he had, and so fell naturally
into the ways of Democracy.

Miss Puss Russell, who has another name, and whose hair is now white,
will tell you how Virginia carried off the occasion with credit to her
country.

It is safe to say that the Prince forgot "Silver Heels" and "Royal Oak,"
although they had been trotted past the Pagoda only that morning for his
delectation. He had forgotten his Honor the Mayor, who had held fast to
the young man's arm as the four coal-black horses had pranced through the
crowds all the way from Barnum's Hotel to the Fair Grounds. His Royal
Highness forgot himself still further, and had at length withdrawn his
hands from the pockets of his ample pantaloons and thrust his thumbs into
his yellow waistcoat. And who shall blame him if Miss Virginia's replies
to his sallies enchained him?

Not the least impressive of those who stood by, smiling, was the figure
of the tall Colonel, his hat off for once, and pride written on his face.
Oh, that his dear wife might have lived to see this!

What was said in that historic interview with a future Sovereign of
England, far from his royal palaces, on Democratic sawdust, with an
American Beauty across a board counter, was immediately recorded by the
Colonel, together with an exact description of his Royal Highness's blue
coat, and light, flowing pantaloons, and yellow waist-coat, and colored
kids; even the Prince's habit of stroking his mustache did not escape the
watchful eye. It is said that his Grace of Newcastle smiled twice at Miss
Virginia's retorts, and Lord Lyons, the British Minister, has more than
two to his credit. But suddenly a strange thing happened. Miss Virginia
in the very midst of a sentence paused, and then stopped. Her eyes had
strayed from the Royal Countenance, and were fixed upon a point in the
row of heads outside the promenade. Her sentence was completed--with
some confusion. Perhaps it is no wonder that my Lord Renfrew, whose
intuitions are quick, remarked that he had already remained too long,
thus depriving the booth of the custom it otherwise should have had. This
was a graceful speech, and a kingly. Followed by his retinue and the
prominent citizens, he moved on. And it was remarked by keen observers
that his Honor the Mayor had taken hold once more of the Prince's elbow,
who divided his talk with Colonel Carver.

Dear Colonel Carvel! What a true American of the old type you were. You,
nor the Mayor, nor the rest of the grave and elderly gentlemen were not
blinded by the light of a royal Presence. You saw in him only an amiable
and lovable young man, who was to succeed the most virtuous and lovable
of sovereigns, Victoria. You, Colonel Carvel, were not one to cringe to
royalty. Out of respect for the just and lenient Sovereign, his mother,
you did honor to the Prince. But you did not remind him, as you might
have, that your ancestors fought for the King at Marston Moor, and that
your grandfather was once an intimate of Charles James Fox. But what
shall we say of Mr. Cluyme, and of a few others whose wealth alone
enabled them to be Directors of the Fair? Miss Isabel Cluyme was duly
presented, in proper form, to his Royal Highness. Her father owned a
"peerage," and had been abroad likewise. He made no such bull as the
Colonel. And while the celebrated conversation of which we have spoken
was in progress, Mr. Cluyme stood back and blushed for his countryman,
and smiled apologetically at the few gentlemen of the royal suite who
glanced his way.

His Royal Highness then proceeded to luncheon, which is described by a
most amiable Canadian correspondent who sent to his newspaper an account
of it that I cannot forbear to copy. You may believe what he says, or
not, just as you choose: "So interested was his Royal Highness in the
proceedings that he stayed in the ring three and a half hours witnessing
these trotting matches. He was invited to take lunch in a little wooden
shanty prepared for the Directors, to which he accordingly repaired, but
whether he got anything to eat or not, I cannot tell. After much trouble
he forced his way to the table, which he found surrounded by a lot of
ravenous animals. And upon some half dozen huge dishes were piled slices
of beef, mutton, and buffalo tongue; beside them were great jugs of lager
beer, rolls of bread, and plates of a sort of cabbage cut into thin
shreds, raw, and mixed with vinegar. There were neither salt spoons nor
mustard spoons, the knives the gentlemen were eating with serving in
their stead; and, by the aid of nature's forks, the slices of beef and
mutton were transferred to the plates of those who desired to eat. While
your correspondent stood looking at the spectacle, the Duke of Newcastle
came in, and he sat looking too. He was evidently trying to look
democratic, but could not manage it. By his side stood a man urging him
to try the lager beer, and cabbage also, I suppose. Henceforth, let the
New York Aldermen who gave to the Turkish Ambassador ham sandwiches and
bad sherry rest in peace."

Even that great man whose memory we love and revere, Charles Dickens, was
not overkind to us, and saw our faults rather than our virtues. We were a
nation of grasshoppers, and spat tobacco from early morning until late at
night. This some of us undoubtedly did, to our shame be it said. And when
Mr. Dickens went down the Ohio, early in the '40's, he complained of the
men and women he met; who, bent with care, bolted through silent meals,
and retired within their cabins. Mr. Dickens saw our ancestors bowed in a
task that had been too great for other blood,--the task of bringing into
civilization in the compass of a century a wilderness three thousand
miles it breadth. And when his Royal Highness came to St. Louis and
beheld one hundred thousand people at the Fair, we are sure that he knew
how recently the ground he stood upon had been conquered from the forest.

A strange thing had happened, indeed. For, while the Prince lingered in
front of the booth of Dr. Posthelwaite's church and chatted with
Virginia, a crowd had gathered without. They stood peering over the
barricade into the covered way, proud of the self-possession of their
young countrywoman. And here, by a twist of fate, Mr. Stephen Brice found
himself perched on a barrel beside his friend Richter. It was Richter who
discovered her first.

"Himmel! It is Miss Carvel herself, Stephen," he cried, impatient at the
impassive face of his companion. "Look, Stephen, look there."

"Yes," said Stephen, "I see."

"Ach!" exclaimed the disgusted German, "will nothing move you? I have
seen German princesses that are peasant women beside her. How she carries
it off! See, the Prince is laughing!"

Stephen saw, and horror held him in a tremor. His one thought was of
escape. What if she should raise her eyes, and amid those vulgar stares
discern his own? And yet that was within him which told him that she
would look up. It was only a question of moments, and then,--and then she
would in truth despise him! Wedged tightly between the people, to move
was to be betrayed. He groaned.

Suddenly he rallied, ashamed of his own false shame. This was because of
one whom he had known for the short, space of a day--whom he was to
remember for a lifetime. The man he worshipped, and she detested. Abraham
Lincoln would not have blushed between honest clerks and farmers Why
should Stephen Brice? And what, after all, was this girl to him? He could
not tell. Almost the first day he had come to St. Louis the wires of
their lives had crossed, and since then had crossed many times again,
always with a spark. By the might of generations she was one thing, and
he another. They were separated by a vast and ever-widening breach only
to be closed by the blood and bodies of a million of their countrymen.
And yet he dreamed of her.

Gradually, charmed like the simple people about him, Stephen became lost
in the fascination of the scene. Suddenly confronted at a booth in a
public fair with the heir to the English throne, who but one of her own
kind might have carried it off so well, have been so complete a mistress
of herself? Since, save for a heightened color, Virginia gave no sign of
excitement. Undismayed, forgetful of the admiring crowd, unconscious of
their stares until--until the very strength of his gaze had compelled her
own. Such had been the prophecy within him. Nor did he wonder because, in
that multitude of faces, her eyes had flown so straightly homeward to
his.

With a rough effort that made an angry stir, Stephen flung the people
aside and escaped, the astonished Richter following in his wake. Nor
could the honest German dissuade him from going back to the office for
the rest of the day, or discover what had happened.

But all through the afternoon that scene was painted on the pages of
Stephen's books. The crude booth in the darkened way. The free pose of
the girl standing in front of her companions, a blue wisp of autumn
sunlight falling at her feet. The young Prince laughing at her sallies,
and the elderly gentleman smiling with benevolence upon the pair.



CHAPTER XII

INTO WHICH A POTENTATE COMES

Virginia danced with the Prince, "by Special Appointment," at the ball
that evening. So did her aunt, Mrs. Addison Colfax. So likewise was Miss
Belle Cluyme among those honored and approved. But Virginia wore the most
beautiful of her Paris gowns, and seemed a princess to one watching from
the gallery. Stephen was sure that his Royal Highness made that
particular dance longer than the others. It was decidedly longer than the
one he had with Miss Cluyme, although that young lady had declared she
was in heaven.

Alas, that princes cannot abide with us forever! His Royal Highness bade
farewell to St. Louis, and presently that same 'City of Alton' which bore
him northward came back again in like royal state, and this time it was
in honor of a Democrat potentate. He is an old friend now, Senator and
Judge and Presidential Candidate,--Stephen Arnold Douglas,--father of the
doctrine of Local Sovereignty, which he has come to preach. So goes the
world. We are no sooner rid of one hero than we are ready for another.

Blow, you bandsmen on the hurricane deck, let the shores echo with your
national airs! Let the gay bunting wave in the river breeze! Uniforms
flash upon the guards, for no campaign is complete without the military.
Here are brave companies of the Douglas Guards, the Hickory Sprouts, and
the Little Giants to do honor to the person of their hero. Cannon are
booming as he steps into his open carriage that evening on the levee,
where the piles of river freight are covered with people. Transparencies
are dodging in the darkness. A fresh band strikes up "Hail Columbia," and
the four horses prance away, followed closely by the "Independent Broom
Rangers." "The shouts for Douglas," remarked a keen observer who was
present, "must have penetrated Abraham's bosom at Springfield."

Mr. Jacob Cluyme, who had been a Bell and Everett man until that day, was
not the only person of prominence converted. After the speech he assured
the Judge that he was now undergoing the greatest pleasure of his life in
meeting the popular orator, the true representative man of the Great
West, the matured statesman, and the able advocate of national
principles. And although Mr. Douglas looked as if he had heard something
of the kind before, he pressed Mr. Cluyme's hand warmly.

So was the author of Popular Sovereignty, "the great Bulwark of American
Independence," escorted to the Court House steps, past houses of his
stanch supporters; which were illuminated in his honor. Stephen, wedged.
among the people, remarked that the Judge had lost none of his
self-confidence since that day at Freeport. Who, seeing the Democratic
candidate smiling and bowing to the audience that blocked the wide
square, would guess that the Question troubled him at all, or that he
missed the votes of the solid South? How gravely the Judge listened to
the eulogy of the prominent citizen, who reminded him that his work was
not yet finished, and that he still was harnessed to the cause of the
people! And how happy was the choice of that word harnessed!

The Judge had heard (so he said) with deep emotion the remarks of the
chairman. Then followed one of those masterful speeches which wove a
spell about those who listened,--which, like the most popular of novels,
moved to laughter and to tears, to anger and to pity. Mr. Brice and Mr
Richter were not the only Black Republicans who were depressed that
night. And they trudged homeward with the wild enthusiasm still ringing
in their ears, heavy with the thought that the long, hot campaign of
their own Wide-Awakes might be in vain.

They had a grim reproof from Judge Whipple in the morning.

"So you too, gentlemen, took opium last night," was all he said.

The dreaded possibility of Mr. Lincoln's election did not interfere with
the gayeties. The week after the Fair Mr. Clarence Colfax gave a great
dance at Bellegarde, in honor of his cousin, Virginia, to which Mr.
Stephen Brice was not invited. A majority of Company A was there.
Virginia would have liked to have had them in uniform.

It was at this time that Anne Brinsmade took the notion of having a ball
in costume. Virginia, on hearing the news, rode over from Bellegarde, and
flinging her reins to Nicodemus ran up to Anne's little dressing-room.

"Whom have you invited, Anne?" she demanded.

Anne ran over the long list of their acquaintance, but there was one name
she omitted.

"Are you sure that that is all?" asked Virginia, searchingly, when she
had finished.

Anne looked mystified.

"I have invited Stephen Brice, Jinny," she said. But!--"

"But!" cried Virginia. "I knew it. Am I to be confronted with that Yankee
everywhere I go? It is always 'Stephen Brice', and he is ushered in with
a but."

Anne was quite overcome by this outburst. She had dignity, however, and
plenty of it. And she was a loyal friend.

"You have no right to criticise my guests, Virginia."

Virginia, seated on the arm of a chair, tapped her foot on the floor.

"Why couldn't things remain as they were?" she said. "We were so happy
before these Yankees came. And they are not content in trying to deprive
us of our rights. They must spoil our pleasure, too."

"Stephen Brice is a gentleman," answered Anne. "He spoils no one's
pleasure, and goes no place that he is not asked."

"He has not behaved according to my idea of a gentleman, the few times
that I have been unfortunate enough to encounter him," Virginia retorted.

"You are the only one who says so, then." Here the feminine got the
better of Anne's prudence, and she added. "I saw you waltz with him once,
Jinny Carvel, and I am sure you never enjoyed a dance as much in your
life."

Virginia blushed purple.

"Anne Brinsmade!" she cried. "You may have your ball, and your Yankees,
all of them you want. But I shan't come. How I wish I had never seen that
horrid Stephen Brice! Then you would never have insulted me."

Virginia rose and snatched her riding-whip. This was too much for Anne.
She threw her arms around her friend without more ado.

"Don't quarrel with me, Jinny," she said tearfully. "I couldn't bear it.
He--Mr. Brice is not coming, I am sure."

Virginia disengaged herself.

"He is not coming?"

"No," said Anne. "You asked me if he was invited. And I was going on to
tell you that he could not come."

She stopped, and stared at Virginia in bewilderment. That young lady,
instead of beaming, had turned her back. She stood flicking her whip at
the window, gazing out over the trees, down the slope to the river. Miss
Russell might have interpreted these things. Simple Anne!

"Why isn't he coming?" said Virginia, at last.

"Because he is to be one of the speakers at a big meeting that night.
Have you seen him since you got home, Jinny? He is thinner than he was.
We are much worried about him, because he has worked so hard this
summer."

"A Black Republican meeting!" exclaimed Virginia, scornfully ignoring the
rest of what was said. "Then I'll come, Anne dear," she cried, tripping
the length of the room. "I'll come as Titania. Who will you be?"

She cantered off down the drive and out of the gate, leaving a very
puzzled young woman watching her from the window. But when Virginia
reached the forest at the bend of the road, she pulled her horse down to
a walk.

She bethought herself of the gown which her Uncle Daniel had sent her
from Calvert House, and of the pearls. And she determined to go as her
great-grandmother, Dorothy Carvel.

Shades of romance! How many readers will smile before the rest of this
true incident is told?

What had happened was this. Miss Anne Brinsmade had driven to town in her
mother's Jenny Lind a day or two before, and had stopped (as she often
did) to pay a call on Mrs. Brice. This lady, as may be guessed, was not
given to discussion of her husband's ancestors, nor of her own. But on
the walls of the little dining-room hung a Copley and two Stuarts. One of
the Stuarts was a full length of an officer in the buff and blue of the
Continental Army. And it was this picture which caught Anne's eye that
day.

"How like Stephen!" she exclaimed. And added. "Only the face is much
older. Who is it, Mrs. Brice?"

"Colonel Wilton Brice, Stephen's grandfather. There is a marked look
about all the Brices. He was only twenty years of age when the Revolution
began. That picture was painted much later in life, after Stuart came
back to America, when the Colonel was nearly forty. He had kept his
uniform, and his wife persuaded him to be painted in it."

"If Stephen would only come as Colonel Wilton Brice!" she cried. "Do you
think he would, Mrs. Brice?"

Mrs. Brice laughed, and shook her head.

"I am afraid not, Anne," she said. "I have a part of the uniform
upstairs, but I could never induce him even to try it on."

As she drove from shop to shop that day, Anne reflected that it certainly
would not be like Stephen to wear his grandfather's uniform to a ball.
But she meant to ask him, at any rate. And she had driven home
immediately to write her invitations. It was with keen disappointment
that she read his note of regret.

However, on the very day of the ball, Anne chanced to be in town again,
and caught sight of Stephen pushing his way among the people on Fourth
Street. She waved her hand to him, and called to Nicodemus to pull up at
the sidewalk.

"We are all so sorry that you are not coming," said she, impulsively. And
there she stopped short. For Anne was a sincere person, and remembered
Virginia. "That is, I am so sorry," she added, a little hastily.
"Stephen, I saw the portrait of your grandfather, and I wanted you to
come in his costume."

Stephen, smiling down on her, said nothing. And poor Anne, in her fear
that he had perceived the shade in her meaning, made another unfortunate
remark.

"If you were not a--a Republican--" she said.

"A Black Republican," he answered, and laughed at her discomfiture. "What
then?"

Anne was very red.

"I only meant that if you were not a Republican, there would be no
meeting to address that night."

"It does not make any difference to you what my politics are, does it?"
he asked, a little earnestly.

"Oh, Stephen!" she exclaimed, in gentle reproof.

"Some people have discarded me," he said, striving to smile.

She wondered whether he meant Virginia, and whether he cared. Still
further embarrassed, she said something which she regretted immediately.

"Couldn't you contrive to come?"

He considered.

"I will come, after the meeting, if it is not too late," he said at
length. "But you must not tell any one."

He lifted his hat, and hurried on, leaving Anne in a quandary. She wanted
him. But what was she to say to Virginia? Virginia was coming on the
condition that he was not to be there. And Anne was scrupulous.

Stephen, too, was almost instantly sorry that he had promised. The little
costumer's shop (the only one in the city at that time) had been
ransacked for the occasion, and nothing was left to fit him. But when he
reached home there was a strong smell of camphor in his mother's room.
Colonel Brice's cocked hat and sword and spurs lay on the bed, and
presently Hester brought in the blue coat and buff waistcoat from the
kitchen, where she had been pressing them. Stephen must needs yield to
his mother's persuasions and try them on--they were more than a passable
fit. But there were the breeches and cavalry boots to be thought of, and
the ruffled shirt and the powdered wig. So before tea he hurried down to
the costumer's again, not quite sure that he was not making a fool of
himself, and yet at last sufficiently entered into the spirit of the
thing. The coat was mended and freshened. And when after tea he dressed
in the character, his appearance was so striking that his mother could
not refrain from some little admiration. As for Hester, she was in
transports. Stephen was human, and young. But still the frivolity of it
all troubled him. He had inherited from Colonel Wilton Brice, the
Puritan, other things beside clothes. And he felt in his heart as he
walked soberly to the hall that this was no time for fancy dress balls.
All intention of going was banished by the time his turn had come to
speak.

But mark how certain matters are beyond us. Not caring to sit out the
meeting on the platform, he made his way down the side of the crowded
hall, and ran into (of all people) big Tom Catherwood. As the Southern
Rights politics of the Catherwood family were a matter of note in the
city, Stephen did not attempt to conceal his astonishment. Tom himself
was visibly embarrassed. He congratulated Stephen on his speech, and
volunteered the news that he had come in a spirit of fairness to hear
what the intelligent leaders of the Republican party, such as Judge
Whipple, had to say. After that he fidgeted. But the sight of him started
in Stephen a train of thought that closed his ears for once to the
Judge's words. He had had before a huge liking for Tom. Now he admired
him, for it was no light courage that took one of his position there. And
Stephen remembered that Tom was not risking merely the displeasure of his
family and his friends, but likewise something of greater value than,
either. From childhood Tom had been the devoted slave of Virginia Carvel,
with as little chance of marrying her as a man ever had. And now he was
endangering even that little alliance.

And so Stephen began to think of Virginia, and to wonder what she would
wear at Anne's party; and to speculate how she would have treated him if
had gone. To speak truth, this last matter had no little weight in his
decision to stay away. But we had best leave motives to those whose
business and equipment it is to weigh to a grain. Since that agonizing
moment when her eyes had met his own among the curiously vulgar at the
Fair, Stephen's fear of meeting Virginia had grown to the proportions of
a terror. And yet there she was in his mind, to take possession of it on
the slightest occasion.

When Judge Whipple had finished, Tom rose. He awoke Mr. Brice from a
trance.

"Stephen," said he, "of course you're going to the Brinsmade's."

Stephen shook his head.

"Why not?" said Tom, in surprise. "Haven't you a costume?"

"Yes," he answered dubiously.

"Why, then, you've got to come with me," says Tom, heartily. "It isn't
too late, and they'll want you. I've a buggy, and I'm going to the
Russells' to change my clothes. Came along"

Steven went.



CHAPTER XIII

AT MR. BRINSMADE'S GATE

The eastern side of the Brinsmade house is almost wholly taken up by the
big drawing-room where Anne gave her fancy-dress ball. From the windows
might be seen, through the trees in the grounds, the Father of Waters
below. But the room is gloomy now, that once was gay, and a heavy coat of
soot is spread on the porch at the back, where the apple blossoms still
fall thinly in the spring. The huge black town has coiled about the place
the garden still struggles on, but the giants of the forest are dying and
dead. Bellefontaine Road itself, once the drive of fashion, is no more.
Trucks and cars crowd the streets which follow its once rural windings,
and gone forever are those comely wooded hills and green pastures,--save
in the memory of those who have been spared to dream.

Still the old house stands, begrimed but stately, rebuking the sordid
life around it. Still come into it the Brinsmades to marriage and to
death. Five and sixty years are gone since Mr. Calvin Brinsmade took his
bride there. They sat on the porch in the morning light, harking to the
whistle of the quail in the corn, and watching the frightened deer
scamper across the open. Do you see the bride in her high-waisted gown,
and Mr. Calvin in his stock and his blue tail-coat and brass buttons?

Old people will tell you of the royal hospitality then, of the famous men
and women who promenaded under those chandeliers, and sat down to the
game-laden table. In 1835 General Atkinson and his officers thought
nothing of the twenty miles from Jefferson Barracks below, nor of dancing
all night with the Louisville belles, who were Mrs. Brinsmade's guests.
Thither came Miss Todd of Kentucky, long before she thought of taking for
a husband that rude man of the people, Abraham Lincoln. Foreigners of
distinction fell in love with the place, with its open-hearted master and
mistress, and wrote of it in their journals. Would that many of our
countrymen, who think of the West as rough, might have known the quality
of the Brinsmades and their neighbors!

An era of charity, of golden simplicity, was passing on that October
night of Anne Brinsmade's ball. Those who made merry there were soon to
be driven and scattered before the winds of war; to die at Wilson's
Creek, or Shiloh, or to be spared for heroes of the Wilderness. Some were
to eke out a life of widowhood in poverty. All were to live soberly,
chastened by what they had seen. A fear knocked at Colonel Carvel's heart
as he stood watching the bright figures.

"Brinsmade," he said, "do you remember this room in May, '46?"

Mr. Brinsmade, startled, turned upon him quickly.

"Why, Colonel, you have read my very thoughts," he said. "Some of those
who were here then are--are still in Mexico."

"And some who came home, Brinsmade, blamed God because they had not
fallen," said the Colonel.

"Hush, Comyn, His will be done," he answered; "He has left a daughter to
comfort you."

Unconsciously their eyes sought Virginia. In her gown of faded primrose
and blue with its quaint stays and short sleeves, she seemed to have
caught the very air of the decorous century to which it belonged. She was
standing against one of the pilasters at the side of the room, laughing
demurely at the antics of Becky Sharp and Sir John Falstaff,--Miss Puss
Russell and Mr. Jack Brinsmade, respectively.

Mr. Tennyson's "Idylls" having appeared but the year before, Anne was
dressed as Elaine, a part which suited her very well. It was strange
indeed to see her waltzing with Daniel Boone (Mr. Clarence Colfax) in his
Indian buckskins. Eugenie went as Marie Antoinette. Tall Maude Catherwood
was most imposing as Rebecca; and her brother George made a towering
Friar Tuck, Even little fifteen-year-old Spencer Catherwood, the
contradiction of the family, was there. He went as the lieutenant
Napoleon, walking about with his hands behind his back and his brows
thoughtfully contracted.

The Indian summer night was mild. It was at tine very height of the
festivities that Dorothy Carvel and Mr. Daniel Boone were making their
way together to the porch when the giant gate-keeper of Kenilworth Castle
came stalking up the steps out of the darkness, brandishing his club in
their faces. Dorothy screamed, and even the doughty Daniel gave back a
step.

"Tom Catherwood! How dare you? You frightened me nearly to death."

"I'm sorry, Jinny, indeed I am," said the giant, repentant, and holding
her hand in his.

"Where have you been?" demanded Virginia, a little mollified. "What makes
you so late?"

"I've been to a Lincoln meeting," said honest Tom; "where I heard a very
fine speech from a friend of yours."

Virginia tossed her head.

"You might have been better employed," said she, and added, with dignity,
"I have no friends who speak at Black Republican meetings."

"How about Judge Whipple?" said Tom.

She stopped. "Did you mean the Judge?" she asked, over her shoulder.

"No," said Tom, "I meant--"

He got no further. Virginia slipped her arm through Clarence's, and they
went off together to the end of the veranda. Poor Tom! He passed on into
the gay drawing-room, but the zest had been taken out of his antics for
that night.

"Whom did he mean, Jinny?" said Clarence, when they were on the seat
under the vines.

"He meant that Yankee, Stephen Brice," answered Virginia, languidly. "I
am so tired of hearing about him."

"So am I," said Clarence, with a fervor by no means false. "By George, I
think he will make a Black Republican out of Tom, if he keeps on. Puss
and Jack have been talking about him all summer, until I am out of
patience. I reckon he has brains. But suppose he has addressed fifty
Lincoln meetings, as they say, is that any reason for making much of him?
I should not have him at Bellegarde. I am surprised that Mr. Russell
allows him in his house. I can see why Anne likes him."

"Why?"

"He is on the Brinsmade charity list."

"He is not on their charity list, nor on any other," said Virginia,
quickly. "Stephen Brice is the last person who would submit to charity."

"And you are the last person who I supposed would stand up for him,"
cried her cousin, surprised and nettled.

There was an instant's silence.

"I want to be fair, Max," she said quietly. "Pa offered them our Glencoe
House last summer at a low price, and they insisted on paying what Mr.
Edwards gave five years ago,--or nothing. You know that I detest a Yankee
as much as you do," she continued, indignation growing in her voice. "I
did not come out here with you to be insulted."

With her hand on the rail, she made as if to rise. Clarence was perforce
mollified.

"Don't go, Jinny," he said beseechingly. "I didn't mean to make you
angry--"

"I can't see why you should always be dragging in this Mr. Brice," she
said, almost tearfully. (It will not do to pause now and inquire into
Virginia's logic.) "I came out to hear what you had to tell me."

"Jinny, I have been made second lieutenant of Company A."

"Oh, Max, I am so glad! I am so proud of you!"

"I suppose that you have heard the result of the October elections,
Jinny."

"Pa said something about them to-night," she answered; why?"

"It looks now as if there were a chance of the Republicans winning," he
answered. But it was elation that caught his voice, not gloom.

"You mean that this white trash Lincoln may be President?" she exclaimed,
seizing his arm.

"Never!" he cried. "The South will not submit to that until every man who
can bear arms is shot down." He paused. The strains of a waltz mingled
with talk and laughter floated out of the open window. His voice dropped
to a low intensity. "We are getting ready in Company A," he said; "the
traitors will be dropped. We are getting ready to fight for Missouri and
for the South."

The girl felt his excitement, his exaltation.

"And if you were not, Max, I should disown you," she whispered.

He leaned forward until his face was close to hers.

"And now?" he said.

"I am ready to work, to starve, to go to prison, to help--"

He sank back heavily into the corner.

"Is that all, Jinny?"

"All?" she repeated. "Oh, if a woman could only do more!"

"And is there nothing--for me?"

Virginia straightened.

"Are you doing this for a reward?" she demanded.

"No," he answered passionately. "You know that I am not. Do you remember
when you told me that I was good for nothing, that I lacked purpose?"

"Yes, Max."

"I have thought it over since," he went on rapidly; "you were right. I
cannot work--it is not in me. But I have always felt that I could make a
name for myself--for you--in the army. I am sure that I could command a
regiment. And now the time is coming."

She did not answer him, but absently twisted the fringe of his buckskins
in her fingers.

"Ever since I have known what love is I have loved you, Jinny. It was so
when we climbed the cherry trees at Bellegarde. And you loved me then--I
know you did. You loved me when I went East to school at the Military
Institute. But it has not been the same of late," he faltered. "Something
has happened. I felt it first on that day you rode out to Bellegarde when
you said that my life was of no use. Jinny, I don't ask much. I am
content to prove myself. War is coming, and we shall have to free
ourselves from Yankee insolence. It is what we have both wished for. When
I am a general, will you marry me?"

For a wavering instant she might have thrown herself into his
outstretched arms. Why not, and have done with sickening doubts? Perhaps
her hesitation hung on the very boyishness of his proposal. Perhaps the
revelation that she did not then fathom was that he had not developed
since those childish days. But even while she held back, came the beat of
hoofs on the gravel below them, and one of the Bellegarde servants rode
into the light pouring through the open door. He called for his master.

Clarence muttered his dismay as he followed his cousin to the steps.

"What is it?" asked Virginia, alarmed.

"Nothing; I forgot to sign the deed to the Elleardsville property, and
Worington wants it to-night." Cutting short Sambo's explanations,
Clarence vaulted on the horse. Virginia was at his stirrup. Leaning over
in the saddle, he whispered: "I'll be back in a quarter of an hour Will
you wait?"

"Yes," she said, so that he barely heard.

"Here?"

She nodded.

He was away at a gallop, leaving Virginia standing bareheaded to the
night, alone. A spring of pity, of affection for Clarence suddenly welled
up within her. There came again something of her old admiration for a
boy, impetuous and lovable, who had tormented and defended her with the
same hand.

Patriotism, stronger in Virginia than many of us now can conceive, was on
Clarence's side. Ambition was strong in her likewise. Now was she all
afire with the thought that she, a woman, might by a single word give the
South a leader. That word would steady him, for there was no question of
her influence. She trembled at the reckless lengths he might go in his
dejection, and a memory returned to her of a day at Glencoe, before he
had gone off to school, when she had refused to drive with him. Colonel
Carvel had been away from home. She had pretended not to care. In spite
of Ned's beseechings Clarence had ridden off on a wild thoroughbred colt
and had left her to an afternoon of agony. Vividly she recalled his
home-coming in the twilight, his coat torn and muddy, a bleeding cut on
his forehead, and the colt quivering tame.

In those days she had thought of herself unreservedly as meant for him.
Dash and courage and generosity had been the beacon lights on her
horizon. But now? Were there not other qualities? Yes, and Clarence
should have these, too. She would put them into him. She also had been at
fault, and perhaps it was because of her wavering loyalty to him that he
had not gained them.

Her name spoken within the hall startled Virginia from her reverie, and
she began to walk rapidly down the winding drive. A fragment of the air
to which they were dancing brought her to a stop. It was the Jenny Lind
waltz. And with it came clear and persistent the image she had sought to
shut out and failed. As if to escape it now, she fairly ran all the way
to the light at the entrance and hid in the magnolias clustered beside
the gateway. It was her cousin's name she whispered over and over to
herself as she waited, vibrant with a strange excitement. It was as
though the very elements might thwart her wail. Clarence would be
delayed, or they would miss her at the house, and search. It seemed an
eternity before she heard the muffled thud of a horse cantering in the
clay road.

Virginia stood out in the light fairly between the gate posts. Too late
she saw the horse rear as the rider flew back in his seat, for she had
seized the bridle. The beams from the lamp fell upon a Revolutionary
horseman, with cooked hat and sword and high riding-boots. For her his
profile was in silhouette, and the bold nose and chin belonged to but one
man she knew. He was Stephen Brice. She gave a cry of astonishment and
dropped the rein in dismay. Hot shame was surging in her face. Her
impulse was to fly, nor could she tell what force that stayed her feet.

As for Stephen, he stood high in his stirrups and stared down at the
girl. She was standing full in the light,--her lashes fallen, her face
crimson. But no sound of surprise escaped him because it was she, nor did
he wonder at her gown of a gone-by century. Her words came first, and
they were low. She did not address him by name.

"I--I thought that you were my cousin," she said. "What must you think of
me!"

Stephen was calm.

"I expected it," he answered.

She gave a step backward, and raised her frightened eyes to his.

"You expected it?" she faltered.

"I can't say why," he said quickly, "but it seems to me as if this had
happened before. I know that I am talking nonsense--"

Virginia was trembling now. And her answer was not of her own choosing.

"It has happened before," she cried. "But where? And when?"

"It may have been in a dream," he answered her, "that I saw you as you
stand there by my bridle. I even know the gown you wear."

She put her hand to her forehead. Had it been a dream? And what mystery
was it that sent him here this night of all nights? She could not even
have said that it was her own voice making reply.

"And I--I have seen you, with the sword, and the powdered hair, and the
blue coat and the buff waistcoat. It is a buff waistcoat like that my
great-grandfather wears in his pictures."

"It is a buff waistcoat," he said, all sense of strangeness gone.

The roses she held dropped on the gravel, and she put out her hand
against his horse's flank. In an instant he had leaped from his saddle,
and his arm was holding her. She did not resist, marvelling rather at his
own steadiness, nor did she then resent a tenderness in his voice.

"I hope you will forgive me--Virginia," he said. "I should not have
mentioned this. And yet I could not help it."

She looked up at him rather wildly.

"It was I who stopped you," she said; "I was waiting for--"

"For whom?"

The interruption brought remembrance.

"For my cousin, Mr. Colfax," she answered, in another tone. And as she
spoke she drew away from him, up the driveway. But she had scarcely taken
five steps whey she turned again, her face burning defiance. "They told
me you were not coming," she said almost fiercely. "Why did you come?"

It was a mad joy that Stephen felt.

"You did not wish me to come?" he demanded.

"Oh, why do you ask that?" she cried. "You know I would not have been
here had I thought you were coming. Anne promised me that you would not
come."

What would she not have given for those words back again

Stephen took astride toward her, and to the girl that stride betokened a
thousand things that went to the man's character. Within its compass the
comparison in her mind was all complete. He was master of himself when he
spoke.

"You dislike me, Miss Carvel," he said steadily. "I do not blame you. Nor
do I flatter myself that it is only because you believe one thing, and I
another. But I assure you that it is my misfortune rather than my fault
that I have not pleased you,--that I have met you only to anger you."

He paused, for she did not seem to hear him. She was gazing at the
distant lights moving on the river. Had he come one step farther?--but he
did not. Presently she knew that he was speaking again, in the same
measured tone.

"Had Miss Brinsmade told me that my presence here would cause you
annoyance, I should have stayed away. I hope that you will think nothing
of the--the mistake at the gate. You may be sure that I shall not mention
it. Good night, Miss Carvel."

He lifted his hat, mounted his horse, and was gone. She had not even
known that he could ride--that was strangely the first thought. The
second discovered herself intent upon the rhythm of his canter as it died
southward upon the road. There was shame in this, mingled with a
thankfulness that he would not meet Clarence. She hurried a few steps
toward the house, and stopped again. What should she say to Clarence now?
What could she say to him?

But Clarence was not in her head. Ringing there was her talk with Stephen
Brice, as though it were still rapidly going on. His questions and her
replies--over and over again. Each trivial incident of an encounter real
and yet unreal! His transformation in the uniform, which had seemed so
natural. Though she strove to make it so, nothing of all this was
unbearable now, nor the remembrance of the firm torch of his arm about
her nor yet again his calling her by her name.

Absently she took her way again up the drive, now pausing, now going on,
forgetful. First it was alarm she felt when her cousin leaped down at her
side,--then dread.

"I thought I should never get back," he cried breathlessly, as he threw
his reins to Sambo. "I ought not to have asked you to wait outside. Did
it seem long, Jinny?"

She answered something, There was a seat near by under the trees. To lead
her to it he seized her hand, but it was limp and cold, and a sudden fear
came into his voice.

"Jinny!"

"Yes."

She resisted, and he dropped her fingers. She remembered long how he
stood in the scattered light from the bright windows, a tall, black
figure of dismay. She felt the yearning in his eyes. But her own
response, warm half an hour since, was lifeless.

"Jinny," he said, "what is the matter?"

"Nothing, Max. Only I was very foolish to say I would wait for you."

"Then--then you won't marry me?"

"Oh, Max," she cried, "it is no time to talk of that now. I feel to-night
as if something dreadful were to happen."

"Do you mean war?" he asked.

"Yes," she said. "Yes."

"But war is what we want," he cried, "what we have prayed for, what we
have both been longing for to-night, Jinny. War alone will give us our
rights--"

He stopped short. Virginia had bowed her head an her hands, and he saw
her shoulders shaken by a sob. Clarence bent over her in bewilderment and
anxiety.

"You are not well, Jinny," he said.

"I am not well," she answered. "Take me into the house."

But when they went in at the door, he saw that her eyes were dry.

Those were the days when a dozen young ladies were in the habit of
staying all night after a dance in the country; of long whispered talks
(nay, not always whispered) until early morning. And of late breakfasts.
Miss Russell had not been the only one who remarked Virginia's long
absence with her cousin; but Puss found her friend in one of those moods
which even she dared not disturb. Accordingly Miss Russell stayed all
night with Anne.

And the two spent most of the dark hours remaining in unprofitable
discussion as to whether Virginia were at last engaged to her cousin, and
in vain queried over another unsolved mystery. This mystery was taken up
at the breakfast table the next morning, when Miss Carvel surprised Mrs.
Brinsmade and the male household by appearing at half-past seven.

"Why, Jinny," cried Mr. Brinsmade, "what does this mean? I always thought
that young ladies did not get up after a ball until noon."

Virginia smiled a little nervously.

"I am going to ask you to take me to town when you go, Mr. Brinsmade."

"Why, certainly, my dear," he said. "But I under stood that your aunt was
to send for you this afternoon from Bellegarde."

Virginia shook her head. There is something I wis to do in town."

"I'll drive her in, Pa," said Jack. "You're too old. Will you go with me,
Jinny?"

"Of course, Jack."

"But you must eat some breakfast, Jinny," said Mrs Brinsmade, glancing
anxiously at the girl.

Mr. Brinsmade put down his newspaper.

"Where was Stephen Brice last night, Jack?" he asked. "I understood Anne
to say that he had spoke; of coming late."

"Why, sir," said Jack, "that's what we can't make out. Tom Catherwood,
who is always doing queer things, you know, went to a Black Republican
meeting last night, and met Stephen there. They came out in Tom's buggy
to the Russells', and Tom got into his clothes first and rode over.
Stephen was to have followed on Puss Russell's horse. But he never got
here. At least I can find no one who saw him. Did you, Jinny?"

But Virginia did not raise her eyes from her plate. A miraculous
intervention came through Mrs. Brinsmade.

"There might have been an accident, Jack," said that lady, with concern.
"Send Nicodemus over to Mrs. Russell's at once to inquire. You know that
Mr. Brice is a Northerner, and may not be able to ride."

Jack laughed.

"He rides like a dragoon, mother," said he. "I don't know where he picked
it up."

"The reason I mentioned him," said Mr. Brinsmade, lifting the blanket
sheet and adjusting his spectacles, "was because his name caught my eye
in this paper. His speech last night at the Library Hall is one of the
few sensible Republican speeches I have read. I think it very remarkable
for a man as young as he." Mr. Brinsmade began to read: "'While waiting
for the speaker of the evening, who was half an hour late, Mr. Tiefel
rose in the audience and called loudly for Mr. Brice. Many citizens in
the hall were astonished at the cheering which followed the mention of
this name. Mr. Brice is a young lawyer with a quiet manner and a
determined face, who has sacrificed much to the Party's cause this
summer. He was introduced by Judge Whipple, in whose office he is. He had
hardly begun to speak before he had the ear of everyone in the house. Mr.
Brice's personality is prepossessing, his words are spoken sharply, and
he has a singular emphasis at times which seems to drive his arguments
into the minds of his hearers. We venture to say that if party orators
here and elsewhere were as logical and temperate as Mr. Brice; if, like
him, they appealed to reason rather than to passion, those bitter and
lamentable differences which threaten our country's peace might be
amicably adjusted.' Let me read what he said."

But he was interrupted by the rising of Virginia. A high color was on the
girl's face as she said:

"Please excuse me, Mrs. Brinsmade, I must go and get ready."

"But you've eaten nothing, my dear."

Virginia did not reply. She was already on the stairs.

"You ought not have read that, Pa," Mr. Jack remonstrated; "you know that
she detests Yankees"



CHAPTER XIV

THE BREACH BECOMES TOO WIDE
ABRAHAM LINCOLN!

At the foot of Breed's Hill in Charlestown an American had been born into
the world, by the might of whose genius that fateful name was sped to the
uttermost parts of the nation. Abraham Lincoln was elected President of
the United States. And the moan of the storm gathering in the South grew
suddenly loud and louder.

Stephen Brice read the news in the black headlines and laid down the
newspaper, a sense of the miraculous upon him. There again was the
angled, low-celled room of the country tavern, reeking with food and
lamps and perspiration; for a central figure the man of surpassing
homeliness,--coatless, tieless, and vestless,--telling a story in the
vernacular. He reflected that it might well seem strange yea, and
intolerable--to many that this comedian of the country store, this crude
lawyer and politician, should inherit the seat dignified by Washington
and the Adamses.

And yet Stephen believed. For to him had been vouchsafed the glimpse
beyond.

That was a dark winter that followed, the darkest in our history. Gloom
and despondency came fast upon the heels of Republican exultation. Men
rose early for tidings from Charleston, the storm centre. The Union was
cracking here and there. Would it crumble in pieces before Abraham
Lincoln got to Washington?

One smoky morning early in December Stephen arrived late at the office to
find Richter sitting idle on his stool, concern graven on his face.

"The Judge has had no breakfast, Stephen," he whispered. "Listen!
Shadrach tells me he has been doing that since six this morning, when he
got his newspaper."

Stephen listened, and he heard the Judge pacing and pacing in his room.
Presently the door was flung open, And they saw Mr. Whipple standing in
the threshold, stern and dishevelled. Astonishment did not pause here. He
came out and sat down in Stephen's chair, striking the newspaper in his
hand, and they feared at first that his Mind had wandered.

"Propitiate!" he cried, "propitiate, propitiate, and again propitiate.
How long, O Lord?" Suddenly he turned upon Stephen, who was frightened.
But now his voice was natural, and he thrust the paper into the young
man's lap. "Have you read the President's message to Congress, sir? God
help me that I am spared to call that wobbling Buchanan President. Read
it. Read it, sir. You have a legal brain. Perhaps you can tell me why, if
a man admits that it is wrong for a state to abandon this Union, he
cannot call upon Congress for men and money to bring her back. No, this
weakling lets Floyd stock the Southern arsenals. He pays tribute to
Barbary. He is for bribing them not to be angry. Take Cuba from Spain,
says he, and steal the rest of Mexico that the maw of slavery may be
filled, and the demon propitiated."

They dared not answer him. And so he went back into his room, shutting
the door. That day no clients saw him, even those poor ones dependent on
his charity whom had never before denied. Richter and Stephen took
counsel together, and sent Shadrach out for his dinner.

Three weeks passed. There arrived a sparkling Sunday, brought down the
valley of the Missouri from the frozen northwest. The Saturday had been
soggy and warm.

Thursday had seen South Carolina leave that Union into which she was
born, amid prayers and the ringing of bells. Tuesday was to be Christmas
day. A young lady, who had listened to a solemn sermon of Dr.
Posthelwaite's, slipped out of Church before the prayers were ended, and
hurried into that deserted portion of the town about the Court House
where on week days business held its sway.

She stopped once at the bottom of the grimy flight of steps leading to
Judge Whipple's office. At the top she paused again, and for a short
space stood alert, her glance resting on the little table in the corner,
on top of which a few thumbed law books lay neatly piled. Once she made a
hesitating step in this direction. Then, as if by a resolution quickly
taken, she turned her back and softly opened the door of the Judge's
room. He was sitting upright in his chair. A book was open in his lap,
but it did not seem to Virginia that he was reading it.

"Uncle Silas," she said, "aren't you coming to dinner any more?"

He looked up swiftly from under his shaggy brows. The book fell to the
floor.

"Uncle Silas," said Virginia, bravely, "I came to get you to-day."

Never before had she known him to turn away from man or woman, but now
Judge Whipple drew his handkerchief from his pocket and blew his nose
violently. A woman's intuition told her that locked tight in his heart
was what he longed to say, and could not. The shiny black overcoat he
wore was on the bed. Virginia picked it up and held it out to him, an
appeal in her eyes.

He got into it. Then she handed him his hat. Many people walking home
from church that morning marvelled as they saw these two on Locust Street
together, the young girl supporting the elderly man over the slippery
places at the crossings. For neighbor had begun to look coldly upon
neighbor.

Colonel Carvel beheld them from his armchair by the sitting-room window,
and leaned forward with a start. His lips moved as he closed his Bible
reverently and marked his place. At the foot of the stairs he surprised
Jackson by waving him aside, for the Colonel himself flung open the door
and held out his hand to his friend. The Judge released Virginia's arm,
and his own trembled as he gave it.

"Silas," said the Colonel, "Silas, we've missed you."

Virginia stood by, smiling, but her breath came deeply. Had she done
right? Could any good come of it all? Judge Whipple did not go in at the
door--He stood uncompromisingly planted on the threshold, his head flung
back, and actual fierceness in his stare.

"Do you guess we can keep off the subject, Comyn?" he demanded.

Even Mr. Carvel, so used to the Judge's ways, was a bit taken aback by
this question. It set him tugging at his goatee, and his voice was not
quite steady as he answered:

"God knows, Silas. We are human, and we can only try."

Then Mr. Whipple marched in. It lacked a quarter of an hour of dinner,
--a crucial period to tax the resources of any woman. Virginia led the
talk, but oh, the pathetic lameness of it. Her own mind was wandering
when it should not, and recollections she had tried to strangle had
sprung up once more. Only that morning in church she had lived over again
the scene by Mr. Brinsmade's gate, and it was then that a wayward but
resistless impulse to go to the Judge's office had seized her. The
thought of the old man lonely and bitter in his room decided her. On her
knees she prayed that she might save the bond between him and her father.
For the Colonel had been morose on Sundays, and had taken to reading the
Bible, a custom he had not had since she was a child.

In the dining-room Jackson, bowing and smiling, pulled out the Judge's
chair, and got his customary curt nod as a reward. Virginia carved.

"Oh, Uncle Silas," she cried, "I am so glad that we have a wild turkey.
And you shall have your side-bone." The girl carved deftly, feverishly,
talking the while, aided by that most kind and accomplished of hosts, her
father. In the corner the dreaded skeleton of the subject grinned
sardonically. Were they going to be able to keep it off? There was to be
no help from Judge Whipple, who sat in grim silence. A man who feels his
soul burning is not given to small talk. Virginia alone had ever
possessed the power to make him forget.

"Uncle Silas, I am sure there are some things about our trip that we
never told you. How we saw Napoleon and his beautiful Empress driving in
the Bois, and how Eugenie smiled and bowed at the people. I never saw
such enthusiasm in my life. And oh, I learned such a lot of French
history. All about Francis the First, and Pa took me to see his chateaus
along the Loire. Very few tourists go there. You really ought to have
gone with us."

Take care, Virginia!

"I had other work to do, Jinny," said the Judge.

Virginia rattled an.

"I told you that we stayed with a real lord in England, didn't I?" said
she. "He wasn't half as nice as the Prince. But he had a beautiful house
in Surrey, all windows, which was built in Elizabeth's time. They called
the architecture Tudor, didn't they, Pa?"

"Yes, dear," said the Colonel, smiling.

"The Countess was nice to me," continued the girl, "and took me to garden
parties. But Lord Jermyn was always talking politics."

The Colonel was stroking his goatee.

"Tell Silas about the house, Jinny--Jackson, help the Judge again."

"No," said Virginia, drawing a breath. "I'm going to tell him about that
queer club where my great-grand-father used to bet with Charles Fox. We
saw a great many places where Richard Carvel had been in England. That
was before the Revolution. Uncle Daniel read me some of his memoirs when
we were at Calvert House. I know that you would be interested in them,
Uncle Silas. He sailed under Paul Jones."

"And fought for his country and for his flag, Virginia," said the Judge,
who had scarcely spoken until then. "No, I could not bear to read them
now, when those who should love that country are leaving it in passion."

There was a heavy silence. Virginia did not dare to look at her father.
But the Colonel said, gently:

"Not in passion, Silas, but in sorrow."

The Judge tightened his lips. But the effort was beyond him, and the
flood within him broke loose.

"Colonel Carvel," he cried, "South Carolina is mad--She is departing in
sin, in order that a fiendish practice may be perpetuated. If her people
stopped to think they would know that slavery cannot exist except by
means of this Union. But let this milksop of a President do his worst. We
have chosen a man who has the strength to say, 'You shall not go!'"

It was an awful moment. The saving grace of it was that respect and love
for her father filled Virginia's heart. In his just anger Colonel Carvel
remembered that he was the host, and strove to think only of his
affection for his old friend.

"To invade a sovereign state, sir, is a crime against the sacred spirit
of this government," he said.

"There is no such thing as a sovereign state, sir," exclaimed the Judge,
hotly. I am an American, and not a Missourian."

"When the time comes, sir," said the Colonel, with dignity, "Missouri
will join with her sister sovereign states against oppression."

"Missouri will not secede, sir."

"Why not, sir!" demanded the Colonel.

Because, sir, when the worst comes, the Soothing Syrup men will rally for
the Union. And there are enough loyal people here to keep her straight."

"Dutchmen, sir! Hessians? Foreign Republican hirelings, sir," exclaimed
the Colonel, standing up. "We shall drive them like sheep if they oppose
us. You are drilling them now that they may murder your own blood when
you think the time is ripe."

The Colonel did not hear Virginia leave the room, so softly had she gone,
He made a grand figure of a man as he stood up, straight and tall, those
gray eyes a-kindle at last. But the fire died as quickly as it had
flared. Pity had come and quenched it,--pity that an unselfish life of
suffering and loneliness should be crowned with these. The Colonel longed
then to clasp his friend in his arms. Quarrels they had had by the
hundred, never yet a misunderstanding. God had given to Silas Whipple a
nature stern and harsh that repelled all save the charitable few whose
gift it was to see below the surface, and Colonel Carvel had been the
chief of them. But now the Judge's vision was clouded.

Steadying himself by his chair, he had risen glaring, the loose skin
twitching on his sallow face. He began firmly but his voice shook ere he
had finished.

"Colonel Carvel," said he, "I expect that the day has come when you go
your way and I go mine. It will be better if--we do not meet again, sir."

And so he turned from the man whose friendship had stayed him for the
score of years he had battled with his enemies, from that house which had
been for so long his only home. For the last time Jackson came forward to
help him with his coat. The Judge did not see him, nor did he see the
tearful face of a young girl leaning over the banisters above. Ice was on
the stones. And Mr. Whipple, blinded by a moisture strange to his eyes,
clung to the iron railing as he felt his way down the steps. Before he
reached the bottom a stronger arm had seize his own, and was helping him.

The Judge brushed his eyes with his sleeve, and turned a defiant face
upon Captain Elijah Brent--then his voice broke. His anger was suddenly
gone, and his thought had flown back to the Colonel's thousand charities.

"Lige," he said, "Lige, it has come."

In answer the Captain pressed the Judge's hand, nodding vigorously to
hide his rising emotion. There was a pause.

"And you, Lige?" said Mr. Whipple, presently.

"My God!" cried the Captain, "I wish I knew."

"Lige," said the Judge, gravely, "you're too good a man to be for
Soothing Syrup."

The Captain choked.

"You're too smart to be fooled, Lige," he said, with a note near to
pleading. "The time has come when you Bell people and the Douglas people
have got to decide. Never in my life did I know it to do good to dodge a
question. We've got to be white or black, Lige. Nobody's got much use for
the grays. And don't let yourself be fooled with Constitutional Union
Meetings, and compromises. The time is almost here, Lige, when it will
take a rascal to steer a middle course."

Captain Lige listened, and he shifted from one foot to the other, and
rubbed his hands, which were red. Some odd trick of the mind had put into
his head two people--Eliphalet Hopper and Jacob Cluyme. Was he like them?

"Lige, you've got to decide. Do you love your country, sir? Can you look
on while our own states defy us, and not lift a hand? Can you sit still
while the Governor and all the secessionists in this state are plotting
to take Missouri, too, out of the Union? The militia is riddled with
rebels, and the rest are forming companies of minute men."

"And you Black Republicans," the Captain cried "have organized your Dutch
Wideawakes, and are arming them to resist Americans born."

"They are Americans by our Constitution, sir, which the South pretends to
revere," cried the Judge. "And they are showing themselves better
Americans than many who have been on the soil for generations."

"My sympathies are with the South," said the Captain, doggedly, "and my
love is for the South."

"And your conscience?" said the Judge.

There was no answer. Both men raised their eyes to the house of him whose
loving hospitality had been a light in the lives of both. When at last
the Captain spoke, his voice was rent with feeling.

"Judge," he began, "when I was a poor young man on the old 'Vicksburg',
second officer under old Stetson, Colonel Carvel used to take me up to
his house on Fourth Street to dinner. And he gave me the clothes on my
back, so that I might not be ashamed before the fashion which came there.
He treated me like a son, sir. One day the sheriff sold the Vicksburg.
You remember it. That left me high and dry in the mud. Who bought her,
sir? Colonel Carvel. And he says to me, 'Lige, you're captain now, the
youngest captain on the river. And she's your boat. You can pay me
principal and interest when you get ready.'

"Judge Whipple, I never had any other home than right in, this house. I
never had any other pleasure than bringing Jinny presents, and tryin' to
show 'em gratitude. He took me into his house and cared for me at a time
when I wanted to go to the devil along with the stevedores when I was a
wanderer he kept me out of the streets, and out of temptation. Judge, I'd
a heap rather go down and jump off the stern of my boat than step in here
and tell him I'd fight for the North."

The Judge steadied himself on his hickory stick and walked off without a
word. For a while Captain Lige stood staring after him. Then he slowly
climbed the steps and disappeared.



CHAPTER, XV

MUTTERINGS

Early in the next year, 1861,--that red year in the Calendar of our
history,--several gentlemen met secretly in the dingy counting-room of a
prominent citizen to consider how the state of Missouri might be saved to
the Union. One of these gentlemen was Judge Whipple, another, Mr.
Brinsmade; and another a masterly and fearless lawyer who afterward
became a general, and who shall be mentioned in these pages as the
Leader. By his dash and boldness and statesmanlike grasp of a black
situation St. Louis was snatched from the very bosom of secession.

Alas, that chronicles may not stretch so as to embrace all great men of a
time. There is Captain Nathaniel Lyon,--name with the fateful ring.
Nathaniel Lyon, with the wild red hair and blue eye, born and bred a
soldier, ordered to St. Louis, and become subordinate to a wavering
officer of ordnance. Lyon was one who brooked no trifling. He had the
face of a man who knows his mind and intention; the quick speech and
action which go with this. Red tape made by the reel to bind him, he
broke. Courts-martial had no terrors for him. He proved the ablest of
lieutenants to the strong civilian who was the Leader. Both were the men
of the occasion. If God had willed that the South should win, there would
have been no occasion.

Even as Judge Whipple had said, the time was come for all men to decide.
Out of the way, all hopes of compromises that benumbed Washington. No
Constitutional Unionists, no Douglas Democrats, no Republicans now.

All must work to save the ship. The speech-making was not done with yet.
Partisanship must be overcome, and patriotism instilled in its place. One
day Stephen Brice saw the Leader go into Judge Whipple's room, and
presently he was sent for. After that he was heard of in various
out-of-the-way neighborhoods, exhorting all men to forget their quarrels
and uphold the flag.

The Leader himself knew not night from day in his toil,--in organizing,
conciliating, compelling when necessary. Letters passed between him and
Springfield. And, after that solemn inauguration, between him and
Washington. It was an open secret that the Governor of Missouri held out
his arms to Jefferson Davis, just elected President of the new Southern
Confederacy. It soon became plain to the feeblest brain what the Leader
and his friends had perceived long before, that the Governor intended to
use the militia (purged of Yankee sympathizers) to save the state for the
South.

The Government Arsenal, with its stores of arms and ammunition, was the
prize. This building and its grounds lay to the south of the City,
overlooking the river. It was in command of a doubting major of ordnance;
the corps of officers of Jefferson Barracks hard by was mottled with
secession. Trade was still. The Mississippi below was practically closed.
In all the South, Pickens and Sumter alone stood stanch to the flag. A
general, wearing the uniform of the army of the United States,
surrendered the whole state of Texas.

The St. Louis Arsenal was next in succession, and the little band of
regulars at the Barracks was powerless to save it. What could the Leader
and Captain Lyon do without troops? That was the question that rang in
Stephen's head, and in the heads of many others. For, if President
Lincoln sent troops to St. Louis, that would precipitate the trouble. And
the President had other uses for the handful in the army.

There came a rain-sodden night when a mysterious message arrived at the
little house in Olive Street. Both anxiety and pride were in Mrs. Brice's
eyes as they followed her son out of the door. At Twelfth Street two men
were lounging on the corners, each of whom glanced at him listessly as he
passed. He went up a dark and narrow stair into a lighted hall with
shrouded windows. Men with sober faces were forming line on the sawdust
of the floors. The Leader was there giving military orders in a low
voice. That marked the beginning of the aggressive Union movement.

Stephen, standing apart at the entrance, remarked that many of the men
were Germans. Indeed, he spied his friend Tiefel there, and presently
Richter came from the ranks to greet him.

"My friend," he said, "you are made second lieutenant of our company, the
Black Jaegers."

"But I have never drilled in my life," said Stephen.

"Never mind. Come and see the Leader."

The Leader, smiling a little, put a vigorous stop to his protestations,
and told him to buy a tactics. The next man Stephen saw was big Tom
Catherwood, who blushed to the line of his hair as he returned Stephen's
grip.

"Tom, what does this mean?" He asked.

"Well," said Tom, embarrassed, "a fellow has got to do what he think's
right."

"And your family?" asked Stephen.

A spasm crossed Tom's face.

"I reckon they'll disown me, Stephen, when they find it out."

Richter walked home as far as Stephen's house. He was to take the Fifth
Street car for South St. Louis. And they talked of Tom's courage, and of
the broad and secret military organization the Leader had planned that
night. But Stephen did not sleep till the dawn. Was he doing right? Could
he afford to risk his life in the war that was coming, and leave his
mother dependent upon charity?

It was shortly after this that Stephen paid his last visit for many a
long day upon Miss Puss Russell. It was a Sunday afternoon, and Puss was
entertaining, as usual, a whole parlor-full of young men, whose leanings
and sympathies Stephen divined while taking off his coat in the hall.
Then he heard Miss Russell cry:

"I believe that they are drilling those nasty Dutch hirelings in secret."

"I am sure they are," said George Catherwood. "One of the halls is on
Twelfth Street, and they have sentries posted out so that you can't get
near them. Pa has an idea that Tom goes there. And he told him that if he
ever got evidence of it, he'd show him the door."

"Do you really think that Tom is with the Yankees?" asked Jack Brinsmade.

"Tom's a fool," said George, with emphasis, "but he isn't a coward. He'd
just as soon tell Pa to-morrow that he was drilling if the Yankee leaders
wished it known."

"Virginia will never speak to him again," said Eugenie, in an awed voice.

"Pooh!" said Puss, "Tom never had a chance with Jinny. Did he, George?
Clarence is in high favor now. Did you ever know any one to change so,
since this military business has begun? He acts like a colonel. I hear
that they are thinking of making him captain of a company of dragoons."

"They are," George answered. "And that is the company I intend to join."

"Well," began Puss, with her usual recklessness, "it's a good thing for
Clarence that all this is happening. I know somebody else--"

Poor Stephen in the hall knew not whether to stay or fly. An accident
decided the question. Emily Russell came down the stairs at that instant
and spoke to him. As the two entered the parlor, there was a hush
pregnant with many things unsaid. Puss's face was scarlet, but her hand
was cold as she held it out to him. For the first time in that house he
felt like an intruder. Jack Brinsmade bowed with great ceremony, and took
his departure. There was scarcely a distant cordiality in the greeting of
the other young men. And Puss, whose tongue was loosed again, talked
rapidly of entertainments to which Stephen either had not been invited,
or from which he had stayed away. The rest of the company were almost
moodily silent.

Profoundly depressed, Stephen sat straight in the velvet chair, awaiting
a seasonable time to bring his visit to a close.

This was to be the last, then, of his intercourse with a warmhearted and
lovable people. This was to be the end of his friendship with this
impetuous and generous girl who had done so much to brighten his life
since he had come to St: Louis. Henceforth this house would be shut to
him, and all others save Mr. Brinsmade's.

Presently, in one of the intervals of Miss Russell's feverish talk, he
rose to go. Dusk was gathering, and a deep and ominous silence penetrated
like the shadows into the tall room. No words came to him. Impulsively,
almost tearfully, Puss put her hand in his. Then she pressed it
unexpectedly, so that he had to gulp down a lump that was in his throat.
Just then a loud cry was heard from without, the men jumped from their
chairs, and something heavy dropped on the carpet.

Some ran to the window, others to the door. Directly across the street
was the house of Mr. Harmsworth, a noted Union man. One of the third
story windows was open, and out of it was pouring a mass of gray wood
smoke. George Catherwood was the first to speak.

"I hope it will burn down," he cried.

Stephen picked up the object on the floor, which had dropped from his
pocket, and handed it to him.

It was a revolver.





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