Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Richard Carvel — Volume 07
Author: Churchill, Winston, 1871-1947
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Richard Carvel — Volume 07" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



RICHARD CARVEL

By Winston Churchill


Volume 7.


XLII.   My Friends are proven
XLIII.  Annapolis once more
XLIV.   Noblesse Oblige
XLV.    The House of Memories
XLVI.   Gordon's Pride
XLVII.  Visitors
XLVIII. Multum in Parvo
XLIX.   Liberty loses a Friend



CHAPTER XLII

MY FRIENDS ARE PROVEN

At the door of my lodgings I was confronted by Banks, red with
indignation and fidgety from uneasiness.

"O Lord, Mr. Carvel, what has happened, sir?" he cried. "Your honour's
agent 'as been here since noon. Must I take orders from the likes o'
him, sir?"

Mr. Dix was indeed in possession of my rooms, lounging in the chair Dolly
had chosen, smoking my tobacco. I stared at him from the threshold.
Something in my appearance, or force of habit, or both brought him to his
feet, and wiped away the smirk from his face. He put down the pipe
guiltily. I told him shortly that I had heard the news which he must
have got by the packet: and that he should have his money, tho' it took
the rest of my life: and the ten per cent I had promised him provided he
would not press my Lord Comyn. He hesitated, and drummed on the table.
He was the man of business again.

"What security am I to have, Mr. Carvel?" he asked.

"My word," I said. "It has never yet been broken, I thank God, nor my
father's before me. And hark ye, Mr. Dix, you shall not be able to say
that of Grafton." Truly I thought the principal and agent were now well
matched.

"Very good, Mr. Carvel," he said; "ten per cent. I shall call with the
papers on Monday morning."

"I shall not run away before that," I replied.

He got out, with a poor attempt at a swagger, without his customary
protestations of duty and humble offers of service. And I thanked Heaven
he had not made a scene, which in my state of mind I could not have
borne, but must have laid hands upon him. Perhaps he believed Grafton
not yet secure in his title. I did not wonder then, in the heat of my
youth, that he should have accepted my honour as security. But since I
have marvelled not a little at this. The fine gentlemen at Brooks's with
whom I had been associating were none too scrupulous, and regarded
money-lenders as legitimate prey. Debts of honour they paid but tardily,
if at all. A certain nobleman had been owing my Lord Carlisle thirteen
thousand pounds for a couple of years, that his Lordship had won at
hazard. And tho' I blush to write it, Mr. Fox himself was notorious in
such matters, and was in debt to each of the coterie of fashionables of
which he was the devoted chief.

The faithful Banks vowed, with tears in his eyes, that he would never
desert me. And in that moment of dejection the poor fellow's devotion
brought me no little comfort. At such times the heart is bitter. We
look askance at our friends, and make the task of comfort doubly hard for
those that remain true. I had a great affection for the man, and had
become so used to his ways and unwearying service that I had not the
courage to refuse his prayers to go with me to America. I had not a
farthing of my own--he would serve me for nothing--nay, work for me.
"Sure," he said, taking off my coat and bringing me my gown,--"Sure, your
honour was not made to work." To cheer me he went on with some foolish
footman's gossip that there lacked not ladies with jointures who would
marry me, and be thankful. I smiled sadly.

"That was when I was Mr. Carvel's heir, Banks."

"And your face and figure, sir, and masterful ways! Faith, and what more
would a lady want!" Banks's notions of morality were vague enough, and he
would have had me sink what I had left at hazard at Almack's. He had
lived in this atmosphere. Alas! there was little chance of my ever
regaining the position I had held but yesterday. I thought of the
sponging-house, and my brow was moist. England was no place, in those
days, for fallen gentlemen. With us in the Colonies the law offered
itself. Mr. Swain, and other barristers of Annapolis, came to my mind,
for God had given me courage. I would try the law. For I had small
hopes of defeating my Uncle Grafton.

The Sunday morning dawned brightly, and the church bells ringing brought
me to my feet, and out into Piccadilly, in the forlorn hope that I might
see my lady on her way to morning service,--see her for the last time in
life, perhaps. Her locket I wore over my heart. It had lain upon hers.
To see her was the most exquisite agony in the world. But not to see
her, and to feel that she was scarce quarter of a mile away, was beyond
endurance. I stood beside an area at the entrance to Arlington Street,
and waited for an hour, quite in vain; watching every face that passed,
townsmen in their ill-fitting Sunday clothes, and fine ladies with the
footmen carrying velvet prayerbooks. And some that I knew only stared,
and others gave me distant bows from their coach windows. For those that
fall from fashion are dead to fashion.

Dorothy did not go to church that day.

It is a pleasure, my dears, when writing of that hour of bitterness, to
record the moments of sweetness which lightened it. As I climbed up to
my rooms in Dover Street, I heard merry sounds above, and a cloud of
smoke blew out of the door when I opened it.

"Here he is," cried Mr. Fox. "You see, Richard, we have not deserted you
when we can win no more of your money."

"Why, egad! the man looks as if he had had a calamity," said Mr.
Fitzpatrick.

"And there is not a Jew here," Fox continued. "Tho' it is Sunday,
the air in my Jerusalem chamber is as bad as in any crimps den in St.
Giles's. 'Slife, and I live to be forty, I shall have as many
underground avenues as his Majesty Louis the Eleventh."

"He must have a place," put in my Lord Carlisle.

"We must do something for him," said Fox, "albeit he is an American and a
Whig, and all the rest of the execrations. Thou wilt have to swallow thy
golden opinions, my buckskin, when we put thee in office."

I was too overwhelmed even to protest.

"You are not in such a cursed bad way, when all is said, Richard," said
Fitzpatrick. "Charles, when he loses a fortune, immediately borrows
another."

"If you stick to whist and quinze," said Charles, solemnly, giving me the
advice they were forever thrusting upon him, "and play with system, you
may make as much as four thousand a year, sir."

And this was how I was treated by those heathen and cynical macaronies,
Mr. Fox's friends. I may not say the same for the whole of Brooks's
Club, tho' I never darkened its doors afterwards. But I encountered my
Lord March that afternoon, and got only a blank stare in place of a bow.

Charles had collected (Heaven knows how!) the thousand pounds which he
stood in my debt, and Mr. Storer and Lord Carlisle offered to lend me as
much as I chose. I had some difficulty in refusing, and more still in
denying Charles when he pressed me to go with them to Richmond, where he
had rooms for play over Sunday.

Banks brought me the news that Lord Comyn was sitting up, and had been
asking for me that day; that he was recovering beyond belief. But I was
resolved not to go to Brook Street until the money affairs were settled
on Monday with Mr. Dix, for I knew well that his Lordship would insist
upon carrying out with the agent the contract he had so generously and
hastily made, rather than let me pay an abnormal interest.

On Monday I rose early, and went out for a bit of air before the scene
with Mr. Dix. Returning, I saw a coach with his Lordship's arms on the
panels, and there was Comyn himself in my great chair at the window,
where he had been deposited by Banks and his footman. I stared as on one
risen from the dead.

"Why, Jack, what are you doing here?" I cried.

He replied very offhand, as was his manner at such times:

"Blicke vows that Chartersea and Lewis have qualified for the College of
Surgeons," says he. "They are both born anatomists. Your job under the
arm was the worst bungle of the two, egad, for Lewis put his sword, pat
as you please, between two of my organs (cursed if I know their names),
and not so much as scratched one."

"Look you, Jack," said I, "I am not deceived. You have no right to be
here, and you know it."

"Tush!" answered his Lordship; "I am as well as you." And he took snuff
to prove the assertion. "Why the devil was you not in Brook Street
yesterday to tell me that your uncle had swindled you? I thought I was
your friend," says he, "and I learn of your misfortune through others."

"It is because you are my friend, and my best friend, that I would not
worry you when you lay next door to death on my account," I said, with
emotion.

And just then Banks announced Mr. Dix.

"Let him wait," said I, greatly disturbed.

"Show him up!" said my Lord, peremptorily.

"No, no!" I protested; "he can wait. We shall have no business now."

But Banks was gone. And I found out, long afterward, that it was put up
between them.

The agent swaggered in with that easy assurance he assumed whenever he
got the upper hand. He was the would-be squire once again, in top-boots
and a frock. I have rarely seen a man put out of countenance so easily
as was Mr. Dix that morning when he met his Lordship's fixed gaze from
the arm-chair.

"And so you are turned Jew?" says he, tapping his snuffbox. "Before
you go ahead so fast again, you will please to remember, d--n you, that
Mr. Carvel is the kind that does not lose his friends with his fortune."

Mr. Dix made a salaam, which was so ludicrous in a squire that my Lord
roared with laughter, and I feared for his wound.

"A man must live, my Lord," sputtered the agent. His discomfiture was
painful.

"At the expense of another," says Comyn, dryly. "That is your motto in
Change Alley."

"If you will permit, Jack, I must have a few words in private with Mr.
Dix," I cut in uneasily.

His Lordship would be damned first. "I am not accustomed to be thwarted,
Richard, I tell you. Ask the dowager if I have not always had my way.
I am not going to stand by and see a man who saved my life fall into the
clutches of an usurer. Yes, I said usurer, Mr. Dix. My attorney, Mr.
Kennett, of Lincoln's Inn, has instructions to settle with you."

And, despite all I could say, he would not budge an inch. At last I
submitted under the threat that he would never after have a word to say
to me. By good luck, when I had paid into Mr. Dix's hand the thousand
pounds I had received from Charles Fox, and cleared my outstanding bills,
the sum I remained in Comyn's debt was not greatly above seven hundred
pounds. And that was the end of Mr. Dix for me; when he had backed
himself out in chagrin at having lost his ten per centum, my feelings got
the better of me. The water rushed to my eyes, and I turned my back upon
his Lordship. To conceal his own emotions he fell to swearing like mad.

"Fox will get you something," he said at length, when he was a little
calmed.

I told him, sadly, that my duty took me to America.

"And Dorothy?" he said; "you will leave her?"

I related the whole miserable story (all save the part of the locket),
for I felt that I owed it him. His excitement grew as he listened, until
I had to threaten to stop to keep him quiet. But when I had done, he saw
nothing but good to come of it.

"'Od's life! Richard, lad, come here!" he cried. "Give me your hand.
Why, you ass, you have won a thousand times over what you lost. She
loves you! Did I not say so? And as for that intriguing little puppy,
her father, you have pulled his teeth, egad. She heard what you said to
him, you tell me. Then he will never deceive her again, my word on't.
And Chartersea may come back to London, and be damned."



CHAPTER XLIII

ANNAPOLIS ONCE MORE

Three days after that I was at sea, in the Norfolk packet, with the
farewells of my loyal English friends ringing in my ears. Captain
Graham, the master of the packet, and his passengers found me but a poor
companion. But they had heard of my misfortune, and vied with each other
in heaping kindnesses upon me. Nor did they intrude on my walks in the
night watches, to see me slipping a locket from under my waistcoat--ay,
and raising it to my lips. 'Twas no doubt a blessing that I had lesser
misfortunes to share my attention. God had put me in the way of looking
forward rather than behind, and I was sure that my friends in Annapolis
would help me to an honest living, and fight my cause against Grafton.

Banks was with me. The devoted soul did his best to cheer me, tho'
downcast himself at leaving England. To know what to do with him gave
me many an anxious moment. I doubted not that I could get him into a
service, but when I spoke of such a thing he burst into tears, and
demanded whether I meant to throw him off. Nor was any argument of mine
of use.

After a fair and uneventful voyage of six weeks, I beheld again my native
shores in the low spits of the Virginia capes. The sand was very hot and
white, and the waters of the Chesapeake rolled like oil under the July
sun. We were all day getting over to Yorktown, the ship's destination.
A schooner was sailing for Annapolis early the next morning, and I barely
had time to get off my baggage and catch her. We went up the bay with a
fresh wind astern, which died down at night.

The heat was terrific after England and the sea-voyage, and we slept on
the deck. And Banks sat, most of the day, exclaiming at the vast scale
on which this new country was laid out, and wondering at the myriad
islands we passed, some of them fair with grain and tobacco; and at the
low-lying shores clothed with forests, and broken by the salt marshes,
with now and then the manor-house of some gentleman-planter visible on
either side. Late on the second day I beheld again the cliffs that mark
the mouth of the Severn, then the sail-dotted roads and the roofs of
Annapolis.

We landed, Banks and I, in a pinnace from the schooner, and so full was
my heart at the sight of the old objects that I could only gulp now and
then, and utter never a word. There was the dock where I had paced up
and down near the whole night, when Dolly had sailed away; and Pryse the
coachmaker's shop, and the little balcony upon which I had stood with my
grandfather, and railed in a boyish tenor at Mr. Hood. The sun cast
sharp, black shadows. And it being the middle of the dull season, when
the quality were at their seats, and the dinner-hour besides, the town
might have been a deserted one for its stillness, as tho' the inhabitants
had walked out of it, and left it so. I made my way, Banks behind me,
into Church Street, past the "Ship" tavern, which brought memories of
the brawl there, and of Captain Clapsaddle forcing the mob, like chaff,
before his sword. The bees were humming idly over the sweet-scented
gardens, and Farris, the clock-maker, sat at his door, and nodded. He
jerked his head as I went by with a cry of "Lord, it is Mr. Richard
back!" and I must needs pause, to let him bow over my hand. Farther up
the street I came to mine host of the Coffee House standing on his steps,
with his hands behind his back.

"Mr. Claude," I said.

He looked at me as tho' I had risen from the dead.

"God save us!" he shouted, in a voice that echoed through the narrow
street. "God save us!"

He seemed to go all to pieces. To my bated questions he replied at
length, when he had got his breath, that Captain Clapsaddle had come to
town but the day before, and was even then in the coffee-room at his
dinner. Alone? Yes, alone. Almost tottering, I mounted the steps, and
turned in at the coffee-room door, and stopped. There sat the captain at
a table, the roast and wine untouched before him, his waistcoat thrown
open. He was staring out of the open window into the inn garden beyond,
with its shade of cherry trees. Mr. Claude's cry had not disturbed his
reveries, nor our talk after it. I went forward. I touched him on the
shoulder, and he sprang up, and looked once into my face, and by some
trick of the mind uttered the very words Mr. Claude had used.

"God save us! Richard!" And he opened his arms and strained me to his
great chest, calling my name again and again, while the tears coursed
down the furrows of his cheeks. For I marked the furrows for the first
time, and the wrinkles settling in his forehead and around his eyes.
What he said when he released me, nor my replies, can I remember now,
but at last he called, in his ringing voice, to mine host:

"A bottle from your choicest bin, Claude! Some of Mr. Bordley's.
For he that was lost is found."

The hundred questions I had longed to ask were forgotten. A peace stole
upon me that I had not felt since I had looked upon his face before. The
wine was brought by Mr. Claude, and opened, and it was mine host who
broke the silence, and the spell.

"Your very good health, Mr. Richard," he said; "and may you come to your
own again!"

"I drink it with all my heart, Richard," replied Captain Daniel. But he
glanced at me sadly, and his honest nature could put no hope into his
tone. "We have got him back again, Mr. Claude. And God has answered our
prayers. So let us be thankful." And he sat down in silence, gazing at
me in pity and tenderness, while Mr. Claude withdrew. "I can give you
but a sad welcome home, my lad," he said presently, with a hesitation
strange to him. "'Tis not the first bad news I have had to break in my
life to your family, but I pray it may be the last." He paused. I knew
he was thinking of the black tidings he had once brought my mother.
"Richard, your grandfather is dead," he ended abruptly.

I nodded wonderingly.

"What!" he exclaimed; "you have heard already?"

"Mr. Manners told me, in London," I said, completely mystified.

"London!" he cried, starting forward. "London and Mr. Manners! Have you
been to London?"

"You had my letters to Mr. Carvel?" I demanded, turning suddenly sick.

His eye flashed.

"Never a letter. We mourned you for dead, Richard. This is Grafton's
work!" he cried, springing to his feet and striking the table with his
great fist, so that the dishes jumped. "Grafton Carvel, the prettiest
villain in these thirteen colonies! Oh, we shall hang him some day."

"Then Mr. Carvel died without knowing that I was safe?" I interrupted.

"On that I'll lay all my worldly goods," replied Captain Daniel,
emphatically. "If any letters came to Marlboro' Street from you, Mr.
Carvel never dropped eyes on 'em."

"What a fool was I not to have written you!" I groaned.

He drew his chair around the table, and close to mine.

"Had the news that you escaped death been cried aloud in the streets, my
lad, 'twould never have got to your grandfather's ear," he said, in lower
tones. "I will tell you what happened, tho' I have it at second hand,
being in the North, as you may remember. Grafton came in from Kent and
invested Marlboro' Street. He himself broke the news to Mr. Carvel, who
took to his bed. Leiden was not in attendance, you may be sure, but that
quack-doctor Drake. Swain sent me a message, and I killed a horse
getting here from New York. But I could no more gain admittance to your
grandfather, Richard, than to King George the Third. I was met in the
hall by that crocodile, who told me with too many fair words that I
could not see my old friend; that for the present Dr. Drake denied him
everybody. Then I damned Dr. Drake, and Grafton too. And I let him know
my suspicions. He ordered me off, Richard--from that house which has
been my only home for these twenty years." His voice broke.

"Mr. Carvel thought me dead, then."

"And most mercifully. Your black Hugo, when he was somewhat recovered,
swore he had seen you killed and carried off. Sooth, they say there was
blood enough on the place. But we spared no pains to obtain a clew of
you. I went north to Boston, and Lloyd's factor south to Charleston.
But no trace of the messenger who came to the Coffee House after you
could we find. Hell had opened and swallowed him. And mark this for
consummate villany: Grafton himself spent no less than five hundred
pounds in advertising and the like."

"And he is not suspected?" I asked. This was the same question I had put
to Mrs. Manners. It caused the captain to flare up again.

"'Tis incredible how a rogue may impose upon men of worth and integrity
if he but know how to smirk piously, and never miss a service. And then
he is an exceeding rich man. Riches cover a multitude of sins in the
most virtuous community in the world. Your Aunt Caroline brought him a
pretty fortune, you know. We had ominous times this spring, with the
associations forming, and the 'Good Intent' and the rest being sent back
to England. His Excellency was at his wits' end for support. It was
Grafton Carvel who helped him most, and spent money like tobacco for the
King's cause, which, being interpreted, was for his own advancement. But
I believe Colonel Lloyd suspects him, tho' he has never said as much to
me. I have told Mr. Swain, under secrecy, what I think. He is one of
the ablest lawyers that the colony owns, Richard, and a stanch friend of
yours. He took your case of his own accord. But he says we have no
foothold as yet."

When I asked if there was a will the captain rapped out an oath.

"'Sdeath! yes," he cried, "a will in favour of Grafton and his heirs,
witnessed by Dr. Drake, they say, and another scoundrel. Your name does
not occur throughout the length and breadth of it. You were dead. But
you will have to ask Mr. Swain for those particulars. My dear old friend
was sadly gone when he wrote it, I fear. For he never lacked shrewdness
in his best days. Nor," added Captain Daniel, with force, "nor did he
want for a proper estimation of Grafton."

"He has never been the same since that first sickness," I answered sadly.

When the captain came to speak of Mr. Carvel's death, the son and
daughter he loved, and the child of his old age in the grave before him,
he proceeded brokenly, and the tears blinded him. Mr. Carvel's last
words will never be known, my dears. They sounded in the unfeeling ears
of the serpent Grafton. 'Twas said that he was seen coming out of his
father's house an hour after the demise, a smile on his face which he
strove to hide with a pucker of sorrow. But by God's grace Mr. Allen had
not read the prayers. The rector was at last removed from Annapolis, and
had obtained the fat living of Frederick which he coveted.

"As I hope for salvation," the captain concluded, "I will swear there is
not such another villain in the world as Grafton. The imagination of a
fiend alone could have conceived and brought to execution the crime he
has committed. And the Borgias were children to him. 'Twas not only the
love of money that urged him, but hatred of you and of your father. That
was his strongest motive, I believe. However, the days are coming, lad,
when he shall have his reward, unless all signs fail. And we have had
enough of sober talk," said he, pressing me to eat. "Faith, but just
now, when you came in, I was thinking of you, Richard. And--God forgive
me! complaining against the lot of my life. And thinking, now that you
were taken out of it, and your father and mother and grandfather gone,
how little I had to live for. Now you are home again," says he, his eyes
lighting on me with affection, "I count the gray hairs as nothing. Let
us have your story, and be merry. Nay, I might have guessed you had been
in London, with your fine clothes and your English servant."

'Twas a long story, as you know, my dears. He lighted his pipe and laid
his big hand over mine, and filled my glass, and I told him most of that
which had happened to me. But I left out the whole of that concerning
Mr. Manners and the Duke of Chartersea, nor did I speak of the
sponging-house. I believe my only motive for this omittance was a
reluctance to dwell upon Dorothy, and a desire to shield her father for
her sake. He dropped many a vigorous exclamation into my pauses, but
when I came to speak of my friendship with Mr. Fox, his brow clouded
over.

"'Ad's heart!" he cried, "'Ad's heart! And so you are turned Tory, and
have at last been perverted from those principles for which I loved you
most. In the old days my conscience would not allow me to advise you,
Richard, and now that I am free to speak, you are past advice."

I laughed aloud.

"And what if I tell you that I made friends with his Grace of Grafton,
and Lord Sandwich, and was invited to Hichinbroke, his Lordship's seat?"
said I.

His honest face was a picture of consternation.

"Now the good Lord deliver us!" he exclaimed fervently. "Sandwich!
Grafton! The devil!"

I gave myself over to the first real merriment I had had since I had
heard of Mr. Carvel's death.

"And when Mr. Fox learned that I had lost my fortune," I went on, "he
offered me a position under Government."

"Have you not friends enough at home to care for you, sir?" he said,
his face getting purple. "Are you Jack Carvel's son, or are you an
impostor?"

"I am Jack Carvel's son, dear Captain Daniel, and that is why I am here,"
I replied. "I am a stouter Whig than ever, and I believe I might have
converted Mr. Fox himself had I remained at home sufficiently long,"
I added, with a solemn face. And, for my own edification, I related how
I had bearded his Majesty's friends at Brooks's, whereat he gave a great,
joyful laugh, and thumped me on the back.

"You dog, Richard! You sly rogue!" And he called to Mr. Claude for
another bottle on the strength of that, and we pledged the Association.
He peppered me with questions concerning Junius, and Mr. Wilkes, and Mr.
Franklin of Philadelphia. Had I seen him in London? "I would not doubt
a Carvel's word," says the captain, "(always excepting Grafton and his
line, as usual), but you may duck me on the stool and I comprehend why
Mr. Fox and his friends took up with such a young rebel rapscallion as
you--and after the speech you made 'em."

I astonished him vastly by pointing out that Mr. Fox and his friends
cared a deal for place, and not a fig for principle; that my frankness
had entertained rather than offended them; and that, having a taste for
a bit of wild life and the money to gratify it, and being of a tolerant,
easy nature withal, I had contrived to make many friends in that set,
without aiming at influence. Whereat he gave me another lick between the
shoulders.

"It was so with Jack," he cried; "thou art a replica. He would have made
friends with the devil himself. In the French war, when all the rest of
us Royal Americans were squabbling with his Majesty's officers out of
England, and cursing them at mess, they could never be got to fight with
Jack, tho' he gave them ample provocation. There was Tetherington, of
the 22d foot,--who jeered us for damned provincials, and swaggered
through three duels in a week,--would enter no quarrel with him. I can
hear him say: 'Damn you, Carvel, you may slap my face and you will, or
walk in ahead of me at the general's dinner and you will, but I like you
too well to draw at you. I would not miss your company at table for all
the world.' And when he was killed," Captain Daniel continued, lowering
his voice, "some of them cried like women, Tetherington among 'em,--and
swore they would rather have lost their commissions at high play."

We sat talking until the summer's dusk grew on apace, and one thing this
devoted lover of my family told me, which lightened my spirits of the
greatest burden that had rested upon them since my calamity befell me.
I had dwelt at length upon my Lord Comyn, and upon the weight of his
services to me, and touched upon the sum which I stood in his debt. The
captain interrupted me.

"One day, before your mother died, she sent for me," said he, "and I came
to Carvel Hall. You were too young to remember. It was in September,
and she was sitting on the seat under the oak she loved so well,--by Dr.
Hilliard's study.

"The lace shawl your father had given her was around her shoulders, and
upon her face was the smile that gave me a pang to see. For it had
something of heaven in it, Richard. She called me 'Daniel' then for the
second time in her life. She bade me be seated beside her. 'Daniel,'
she said, 'when I am gone, and father is gone, it is you who will take
care of Richard. I sometimes believe all may not be well then, and that
he will need you.' I knew she was thinking of Grafton," said the
captain. "'I have a little money of my own, Daniel, which I have saved
lately with this in view. I give it into your charge, and if trouble
comes to him, my old friend, you will use it as you see fit.'

"It was a bit under a thousand pounds, Richard. And when she died I put
it out under Mr. Carroll's direction at safe interest. So that you have
enough to discharge your debt, and something saved against another
emergency."

He fell silent, sunk into one of those reveries which the memory of my
mother awoke in him. My own thoughts drifted across the sea. I was
again at the top of the stairs in Arlington Street, and feeling the
dearest presence in the world. The pale oval of Dorothy's face rose
before me and the troubled depths of her blue eyes. And I heard once
more the tremble in her voice as she confessed, in words of which she
took no heed, that love for which I had sought in vain.

The summer dusk was gathering. Outside, under the cherry trees, I saw
Banks holding forth to an admiring circle of negro 'ostlers. And
presently Mr. Claude came in to say that Shaw, the town carpenter, and
Sol Mogg, the ancient sexton of St. Anne's, and several more of my old
acquaintances were without, and begged the honour of greeting me.



CHAPTER XLIV

NOBLESSE OBLIGE

I lay that night in Captain Clapsaddle's lodgings opposite, and slept
soundly. Banks was on hand in the morning to assist at my toilet, and
was greatly downcast when I refused him this privilege, for the first
time. Captain Daniel was highly pleased with the honest fellow's
devotion in following me to America. To cheer him he began to question
him as to my doings in London, and the first thing of which Banks must
tell was of the riding-contest in Hyde Park, which I had omitted. It is
easy to imagine how this should have tickled the captain, who always had
my horsemanship at heart; and when it came to Chartersea's descent into
the Serpentine, I thought he would go into apoplexy. For he had put on
flesh with the years.

The news of my return had spread all over town, so that I had a deal more
handshaking to do when we went to the Coffee House for breakfast. All
the quality were in the country, of course, save only four gentlemen of
the local Patriots' committee, of which Captain Daniel was a member, and
with whom he had an appointment at ten. It was Mr. Swain who arrived
first of the four.

This old friend of my childhood was a quiet man (I may not have
specified), thin, and a little under stature, with a receding but
thoughtful forehead. But he could express as much of joy and welcome in
his face and manner as could Captain Daniel with his heartier ways.

"It does me good to see you, lad," he said, pressing my hand. "I heard
you were home, and sent off an express to Patty and the mother last
night."

"And are they not here?" I asked, with disappointment.

Mr. Swain smiled.

"I have done a rash thing since I saw you, Richard, and bought a little
plantation in Talbot, next to Singleton's. It will be my ruin," he
added. "A lawyer has no business with landed ambitions."

"A little plantation!" echoed the captain. "'Od's life, he has bought
one of his Lordship's own manors--as good an estate as there is in the
province."

"You overdo it, Daniel," said he, reprovingly.

At that moment there was a stir in the doorway, and in came Mr. Carroll,
the barrister, and Mr. Bordley and Colonel Lloyd. These gentlemen gave
me such a welcome as those warm-hearted planters and lawyers knew how to
bestow.

"What, he!" cried Mr. Lloyd, "I'm stamped and taxed if it isn't young
Richard Carvel himself. Well," says he, "I know one who will sleep
easier o' nights now,--one Clapsaddle. The gray hairs are forgot,
Daniel. We had more to-do over your disappearance than when Mr.
Worthington lost his musical nigger. Where a deuce have you been, sir?"

"He shall tell us when we come back," said Mr. Bordley. "He has brought
our worthy association to a standstill once, and now we must proceed
about our business. Will you come, Richard? I believe you have proved
yourself a sufficiently good patriot, and in this very house."

We went down Church Street, I walking behind with Colonel Lloyd, and so
proud to be in such company that I cared not a groat whether Grafton had
my acres or not. I remembered that the committee all wore plain and
sober clothes, and carried no swords. Mr. Swain alone had a wig. I had
been away but seven months, and yet here was a perceptible change. In
these dignified and determined gentlemen England had more to fear than in
all the mobs at Mr. Wilkes's back. How I wished that Charles Fox might
have been with me.

The sun beat down upon the street. The shopkeepers were gathered at
their doors, but their chattering was hushed as the dreaded committee
passed. More than one, apparently, had tasted of its discipline.
Colonel Lloyd whispered to me to keep my countenance, that they were
not after very large game that morning,--only Chipchase, the butcher.
And presently we came upon the rascal putting up his shutters in much
precipitation, although it was noon. He had shed his blood-stained smock
and breeches, and donned his Sunday best,--a white, thick-set coat,
country cloth jacket, blue broadcloth breeches, and white shirt. A
grizzled cut wig sat somewhat awry under his bearskin hat. When he
perceived Mr. Carroll at his shoulder, he dropped his shutter against the
wall, and began bowing frantically.

"You keep good hours, Master Chipchase," remarked Colonel Lloyd.

"And lose good customers," Mr. Swain added laconically.

The butcher wriggled.

"Your honours must know there be little selling when the gentry be out of
town. And I was to take a holiday to-day, to see my daughter married."

"You will have a feast, my good man?" Captain Daniel asked.

"To be sure, your honour, a feast."

"And any little ewe-lambs?" says Mr. Bordley, very innocent.

Master Chipchase turned the colour of his meat, and his wit failed him.

"'Fourthly,'" recited Mr. Carroll, with an exceeding sober face,
"'Fourthly, that we will not kill, or suffer to be killed, or sell, or
dispose to any person whom we have reason to believe intends to kill, any
ewe-lamb that shall be weaned before the first day of May, in any year
during the time aforesaid.' Have you ever heard anything of that sound,
Mr. Chipchase?"

Mr. Chipchase had. And if their honours pleased, he had a defence to
make, if their honours would but listen. And if their honours but knew,
he was as good a patriot as any in the province, and sold his wool to
Peter Psalter, and he wore the homespun in winter. Then Mr. Carroll drew
a paper from his pocket, and began to read: "Mr. Thomas Hincks,
personally known to me, deposeth and saith,--"

Master Chipchase's knees gave from under him.

"And your honours please," he cried piteously, "I killed the lamb, but
'twas at Mr. Grafton Carvel's order, who was in town with his
Excellency." (Here Mr. Swain and the captain glanced significantly at
me.) "And I lose Mr. Carvel's custom, there is twelve pounds odd gone
a year, your honours. And I am a poor man, sirs."

"Who is it owns your shop, my man?" asks Mr. Bordley, very sternly.

"Oh, I beg your honours will not have me put out--"

The wailing of his voice had drawn a crowd of idlers and brother
shopkeepers, who seemed vastly to enjoy the knave's discomfiture.
Amongst them I recognized my old acquaintance, Weld, now a rival
butcher. He pushed forward boldly.

"And your honours please," said he, "he has sold lamb to half the Tory
gentry in Annapolis."

"A lie!" cried Chipchase; "a lie, as God hears me!"

Now Captain Clapsaddle was one who carried his loves and his hatreds to
the grave, and he had never liked Weld since the day, six years gone by,
he had sent me into the Ship tavern. And when Weld heard the captain's
voice he slunk away without a word.

"Have a care, Master Weld," says he, in a quiet tone that boded no good;
"there is more evidence against you than you will like."

Master Chipchase, after being frightened almost out of his senses, was
pardoned this once by Captain Daniel's influence. We went thence to Mr.
Hildreth's shop; he was suspected of having got tea out of a South River
snow; then to Mr. Jackson's; and so on. 'Twas after two when we got back
to the Coffee House, and sat down to as good a dinner as Mr. Claude could
prepare. "And now," cried Colonel Lloyd, "we shall have your adventures,
Richard. I would that your uncle were here to listen to them," he added
dryly.

I recited them very much as I had done the night before, and I warrant
you, my dears, that they listened with more zest and eagerness than did
Mr. Walpole. But they were all shrewd men, and kept their suspicions,
if they had any, to themselves. Captain Daniel would have me omit
nothing,--my intimacy with Mr. Fox, the speech at Brooks's Club,
and the riding-match at Hyde Park.

"What say you to that, gentlemen?" he cried. "Egad, I'll be sworn he
deserves credit,--an arrant young spark out of the Colonies, scarce
turned nineteen, defeating a duke of the realm on horseback, and
preaching the gospel of 'no taxation' at Brooks's Club! Nor the favour
of Sandwich or March could turn him from his principles."

Modesty, my dears, does not permit me to picture the enthusiasm of these
good gentlemen, who bore the responsibility of the colony of Maryland
upon their shoulders. They made more of me than I deserved. In vain did
I seek to explain that if a young man was but well-born, and had a full
purse and a turn for high play, his principles might go hang, for all
Mr. Fox cared. Colonel Lloyd commanded that the famous rose punch-bowl
be filled to the brim with Mr. Claude's best summer brew, and they drank
my health and my grandfather's memory. It mattered little to them that
I was poor. They vowed I should not lose by my choice. Mr. Bordley
offered me a home, and added that I should have employment enough in the
days to come. Mr. Carroll pressed me likewise. And big-hearted Colonel
Lloyd desired to send me to King's College, as was my grandfather's wish,
where Will Fotheringay and my cousin Philip had been for a term. I might
make a barrister of myself. Mr. Swain alone was silent and thoughtful,
but I did not for an instant doubt that he would have done as much for
me.

Before we broke up for the evening the gentlemen plied me with questions
concerning the state of affairs in England, and the temper of his Majesty
and Parliament. I say without vanity that I was able to enlighten them
not a little, for I had learned a deeper lesson from the set into which
I had fallen in London than if I had become the confidant of Rockingham
himself. America was a long way from England in those days. I regretted
that I had not arrived in London in time to witness Lord Chatham's
dramatic return to politics in January, when he had completed the work
of Junius, and broken up the Grafton ministry. But I told them of the
debate I had heard in St. Stephen's, and made them laugh over Mr. Fox's
rescue of the King's friends, and the hustling of Mr. Burke from the
Lords.

They were very curious, too, about Mr. Manners; and I was put to much
ingenuity to answer their queries and not reveal my own connection with
him. They wished to know if it were true that some nobleman had flung a
bottle at his head in a rage because Dorothy would not marry him, as Dr.
Courtenay's letter had stated. I replied that it was so. I did not add
that it was the same nobleman who had been pitched into the Serpentine.
Nor did I mention the fight at Vauxhall. I made no doubt these things
would come to their ears, but I did not choose to be the one to tell
them. Mr. Swain remained after the other gentlemen, and asked me if I
would come with him to Gloucester Street; that he had something to say to
me. We went the long way thither, and I was very grateful to him for
avoiding Marlboro' Street, which must needs bring me painful
recollections. He said little on the way.

I almost expected to see Patty come tripping down from the vine-covered
porch with her needlework in her hand, and the house seemed strangely
empty without her. Mr. Swain had his negro, Romney, place chairs for us
under the apple tree, and bring out pipes and sangaree. The air was
still, and heavy with the flowers' scent, and the sun was dipping behind
the low eaves of the house. It was so natural to be there that I scarce
realized all that had happened since last I saw the back gate in the
picket fence. Alas! little Patty would never more be smuggled through it
and over the wall to Marlboro' Street. Mr. Swain recalled my thoughts.

"Captain Clapsaddle has asked me to look into this matter of the will,
Richard," he began abruptly. "Altho' we thought never to see you again,
we have hoped against hope. I fear you have little chance for your
property, my lad."

I replied that Captain Daniel had so led me to believe, and thanked him
for his kindness and his trouble.

"'Twas no trouble," he replied quickly. "Indeed, I wish it might have
been. I shall always think of your grandfather with reverence and with
sorrow. He was a noble man, and was a friend to me, in spite of my
politics, when other gentlemen of position would not invite me to their
houses. It would be the greatest happiness of my life if I could restore
his property to you, where he would have had it go, and deprive that
villain, your uncle, of the fruits of his crime."

"Then there is nothing to be got by contesting the will?" I asked.

He shook his head soberly.

"I fear not at present," said he, "nor can I with honesty hold out any
hope to you, Richard. Your uncle, by reason of his wealth, is a man of
undue influence with the powers of the colony. Even if he were not so, I
doubt greatly whether we should be the gainers. The will is undoubtedly
genuine. Mr. Carvel thought you dead, and we cannot prove undue
influence by Grafton unless we also prove that it was he who caused
your abduction. Do you think you can prove that?"

"There is one witness," I exclaimed, "who overheard my uncle and Mr.
Allen talking of South River and Griggs, the master of the slaver,
in the stables at Carvel Hall."

"And who is that?" demanded Mr. Swain, with more excitement than I
believed him capable of.

"Old Harvey."

Your grandfather's coachman? Alas, he died the day after Mr. Carvel, and
was buried the same afternoon. Have you spoken of this?"

"Not to a soul," said I.

"Then I would not. You will have to be very careful and say nothing,
Richard. Let me hear what other reasons you have for believing that your
uncle tried to do away with you."

I told him, lucidly as possible, everything I have related in these
pages, and the admission of Griggs. He listened intently, shaking his
head now and then, but not a word out of him.

"No," he said at length, "nothing is there which will be admitted, but
enough to damn him if you yourself might be a witness. I will give you
the law, briefly: descendible estates among us are of two kinds, estates
in fee simple and estates in fee tail. Had your grandfather died without
a will, his estate, which we suppose to be in fee simple, would have
descended to you as the son of his eldest son, according to the fourth of
the canons of descent in Blackstone. But with us fee simple estates are
devisable, and Mr. Carvel was wholly within his right in cutting off the
line of his eldest son. Do you follow me?"

I nodded.

"There is one chance," he continued, "and that is a very slim one.
I said that Mr. Carvel's estate was supposed to be in fee simple.
Estates tail are not devisable. Our system of registration is far from
infallible, and sometimes an old family settlement turns up to prove that
a property which has been willed out of the direct line, as in fee
simple, is in reality entailed. Is there a possibility of any such
document?"

I replied that I did not know. My grandfather had never brought up the
subject.

"We must bend our efforts in that direction," said the barrister.
"I shall have my clerks make a systematic search."

He ceased talking, and sat sipping his sangaree in the abstracted manner
common to him. I took the opportunity to ask about his family, thinking
about what Dolly had said of Patty's illness.

"The mother is as well as can be expected, Richard, and Patty very rosy
with the country air. Your disappearance was a great shock to them
both."

"And Tom?"

He went behind his reserve. "Tom is a d--d rake," he exclaimed, with
some vehemence. "I have given him over. He has taken up with that
macaroni Courtenay, who wins his money,--or rather my money,--and your
cousin Philip, when he is home from King's College. How Tom can be son
of mine is beyond me, in faith. I see him about once in two months, when
he comes here with a bill for his satins and his ruffles, and along face
of repentance, and a lot of gaming debts to involve my honour. And that
reminds me, Richard," said he, looking straight at me with his clear,
dark eyes: "have you made any plans for your future?"

I ventured to ask his advice as to entering the law.

"As the only profession open to a gentleman," he replied, smiling a
little. "No, you were no more cut out for an attorney, or a barrister,
or a judge, than was I for a macaroni doctor. The time is not far away,
my lad," he went on, seeing my shame and confusion, "when an American may
amass money in any way he chooses, and still be a gentleman, behind a
counter, if he will."

"I do not fear work, Mr. Swain," I remarked, with some pride.

"That is what I have been thinking," he said shortly. "And I am not a
man to make up my mind while you count three, Richard. I have the place
in Talbot, and no one to look after it. And--and in short I think you
are the man."

He paused to watch the effect of this upon me. But I was so taken aback
by this new act of kindness that I could not say a word.

"Tom is fast going to the devil, as I told you," he continued. "He
cannot be trusted. If I die, that estate shall be Patty's, and he may
never squander it. Captain Daniel tells me, and Mr. Bordley also, that
you managed at Carvel Hall with sense and ability. I know you are very
young, but I think I may rely upon you."

Again he hesitated, eying me fixedly.

"Ah," said he, with his quiet smile, "it is the old noblesse oblige. How
many careers has it ruined since the world began!"



CHAPTER XLV

THE HOUSE OF MEMORIES

I was greatly touched, and made Mr. Swain many awkward acknowledgments,
which he mercifully cut short. I asked him for a while to think over his
offer. This seemed to please rather than displease him. And my first
impulse on reaching the inn was to ask the captain's advice. I thought
better of it however, and at length resolved to thrash out the matter for
myself.

The next morning, as I sat reflecting, an overwhelming desire seized me
to go to Marlboro' Street. Hitherto I could not have borne the sight of
the old place. I gulped down my emotion as the gate creaked behind me,
and made my way slowly to the white seat under the big chestnut behind
the house, where my grandfather had been wont to sit reading his prints,
in the warm weather. The flowers and the hedges had grown to a certain
wildness; and the smell of the American roses carried me back-as odours
will-to long-forgotten and trivial scenes. Here I had been caned many a
day for Mr. Daaken's reports, and for earlier offences. And I recalled
my mother as she once ran out at the sound of my cries to beg me off. So
vivid was that picture that I could hear Mr. Carvel say: "He is yours,
madam, not mine. Take him!"

I started up. The house was still, the sun blistering the green paint of
the shutters. My eye was caught by those on the room that had been hers,
and which, by my grandfather's decree, had lain closed since she left it.
The image of it grew in my mind: the mahogany bed with its poppy
counterpane and creamy curtains, and the steps at the side by which she
was wont to enter it; and the 'prie-dieu', whence her soul had been
lifted up to God. And the dresser with her china and silver upon it,
covered by years of dust. For I had once stolen the key from Willis's
bunch, crept in, and crept out again, awed. That chamber would be
profaned, now, and those dear ornaments, which were mine, violated.
The imagination choked me.

I would have them. I must. Nothing easier than to pry open a door or
window in the north wing, by the ball-room. When I saw Grafton I would
tell him. Nay, I would write him that day. I was even casting about me
for an implement, when I heard a step on the gravel beside me.

I swung around, and came face to face with my uncle.

He must have perceived me. And after the first shock of my surprise had
passed, I remarked a bearing on him that I had not seen before. He was
master of the situation at last,--so it read. The realization gave him
an easier speech than ever.

"I thought I might find you here, Richard," he said, "since you were not
at the Coffee House."

He did not offer me his hand. I could only stare at him, for I had
expected anything but this.

"I came from Carvel Hall to get you," he proceeded smoothly enough.
"I heard but yesterday of your return, and some of your miraculous
adventures. Your recklessness has caused us many a trying day, Richard,
and I believe killed your grandfather. You have paid dearly, and have
made us pay dearly, for your mad frolic of fighting cut-throats on the
highroad."

The wonder was that I did not kill him on the spot. I cannot think what
possessed the man,--he must have known me better.

"My recklessness!" I shouted, fairly hoarse with anger. I paid no heed
to Mr. Swain's warning. "You d--d scoundrel!" I cried, "it was you
killed him, and you know it. When you had put me out of the way and he
was in your power, you tortured him to death. You forced him to die
alone with your sneering face, while your shrew of a wife counted cards
downstairs. Grafton Carvel, God knows you better than I, who know you
two well. And He will punish you as sure as the crack of doom."

He heard me through, giving back as I came forward, his face blanching
only a little, and wearing all the time that yellow smile which so fitted
it.

"You have finished?" says he.

"Ay, I have finished. And now you may order me from this ground you have
robbed me of. But there are some things in that house you shall not
steal, for they are mine despite you."

"Name them, Richard," he said, very sorrowful.

"The articles in my mother's room, which were hers."

"You shall have them this day," he answered.

It was his way never to lose his temper, tho' he were called by the
vilest name in the language. He must always assume this pious grief
which made me long to throttle him. He had the best of me, even now,
as he took the great key from his pocket.

"Will you look at them before you go?" he asked.

At first I was for refusing. Then I nodded. He led the way silently
around by the front; and after he had turned the lock he stepped aside
with a bow to let me pass in ahead of him. Once more I was in the
familiar hall with the stairs dividing at the back. It was cool after
the heat, and musty, and a touch of death hung in the prisoned air. We
paused for a moment on the landing, beside the high, triple-arched window
which the branches tapped on windy winter days, while Grafton took down
the bunch of keys from beside the clock. I thought of my dear
grandfather winding it every Sunday, and his ruddy face and large figure
as he stood glancing sidewise down at me. Then the sound of Grafton's
feet upon the bare steps recalled the present.

We passed Mr. Carvel's room and went down the little corridor over the
ball-room, until we came to the full-storied wing. My uncle flung open
the window and shutters opposite and gave me the key. A delicacy not
foreign to him held him where he was. Time had sealed the door, and when
at last it gave before my strength, a shower of dust quivered in the ray
of sunlight from the window. I entered reverently. I took only the
silverbound prayer-book, cast a lingering look at the old familiar
objects dimly defined, and came out and locked the door again. I said
very quietly that I would send for the things that afternoon, for my
anger was hushed by what I had seen.

We halted together on the uncovered porch in front of the house, that had
a seat set on each side of it. Marlboro' Street was still, the wide
trees which flanked it spreading their shade over walk and roadway. Not
a soul was abroad in the midday heat, and the windows of the long house
opposite were sightless.

"Richard," said my uncle, staring ahead of him, "I came to offer you a
home, and you insult me brutally, as you have done unreproved all your
life. And yet no one shall say of me that I shirk my duty. But first
I must ask you if there is aught else you desire of me."

"The black boy, Hugo, is mine," I said. I had no great love for Hugo,
save for association's sake, and I had one too many servants as it was;
but to rescue one slave from Grafton's clutches was charity.

"You shall have him," he replied, "and your chaise, and your wardrobe,
and your horses, and whatever else I have that belongs to you. As I was
saying, I will not shirk my duty. The memory of my dear father, and of
what he would have wished, will not permit me to let you go a-begging.
You shall be provided for out of the estate, despite what you have said
and done."

This was surely the quintessence of a rogue's imagination. Instinctively
I shrank from him. With a show of piety that 'turned me sick he
continued:

"Let God witness that I carry out my father's will!"

"Stop there, Grafton Carvel!" I cried; "you shall not take His name in
vain. Under this guise of holiness you and your accomplice have done the
devil's own work, and the devil will reward you."

This reference to Mr. Allen, I believe, frightened him. For a second
only did he show it.

"My--my accomplice, sir!" he stammered. And then righting himself:
"You will have to explain this, by Heaven."

"In ample time your plot shall be laid bare, and you and his Reverence
shall hang, or lie in chains."

"You threaten, Mr. Carvel?" he shouted, nearly stepping off the porch in
his excitement.

"Nay, I predict," I replied calmly. And I went down the steps and out of
the gate, he looking after me. Before I had turned the corner of
Freshwater Lane, he was in the seat, and fanning himself with his hat.

I went straight to Mr. Swain's chambers in the Circle, where I found the
good barrister and Captain Daniel in their shirt-sleeves, seated between
the windows in the back room. Mr. Swain was grave enough when he heard
of my talk with Grafton, but the captain swore I was my father's son (for
the fiftieth time since I had come back), and that a man could no more
help flying at Grafton's face than Knipe could resist his legs; or
Cynthia his back, if he went into her stall. I had scarce finished my
recital, when Mr. Renwick, the barrister's clerk, announced Mr. Tucker,
which caused Mr. Swain to let out a whistle of surprise.

"So the wind blows from that quarter, Daniel," said he. "I thought so."

Mr. Tucker proved to be the pettifogger into whose hands Grafton had put
his affairs, taking them from Mr. Dulany at Mr. Carvel's death. The man
was all in a sweat, and had hardly got in the door before he began to
talk. He had no less astonishing a proposition to make than this, which
he enunciated with much mouthing of the honour and sense of duty of Mr.
Grafton Carvel. His client offered to Mr. Richard Carvel the estate
lying in Kent County, embracing thirty-three hundred acres more or less
of arable land and woodland, with a fine new house, together with the
indented servants and negroes and other chattels thereon. Mr. Richard
Carvel would observe that in making this generous offer for the welfare
of his nephew, Mr. Tucker's client was far beyond the letter of his
obligations; wherefore Mr. Grafton Carvel made it contingent upon the
acceptance of the estate that his nephew should sign a paper renouncing
forever any claims upon the properties of the late Mr. Lionel Carvel.
This condition was so deftly rolled up in law-Latin that I did not
understand a word of it until Mr. Swain stated it very briefly in
English. His quiet laugh prodigiously disconcerted the pettifogger,
who had before been sufficiently ill at ease in the presence of the
great lawyer. Mr. Tucker blew his nose loudly to hide his confusion.

"And what say you, Richard?" said Mr. Swain, without a shade of accent in
his voice.

I bowed my head. I knew that the honest barrister had read my heart
when he spoke of noblesse oblige. That senseless pride of cast, so
deep-rooted in those born in our province, had made itself felt. To be a
factor (so I thought, for I was young) was to renounce my birth. Until
that moment of travail the doctrine of equality had seemed very pretty
to me. Your fine gentleman may talk as nobly as he pleases over his
Madeira, and yet would patronize Monsieur Rousseau if he met him; and he
takes never a thought of those who knuckle to him every day, and clean
his boots and collect his rents. But when he is tried in the fire, and
told suddenly to collect some one else's rents and curse another's
negroes, he is fainthearted for the experiment. So it was with me when
I had to meet the issue. I might take Grafton's offer, and the chance
to marry Dorothy was come again. For by industry the owner of the Kent
lands would become rich.

The room was hot, and still save for the buzzing of the flies. When I
looked up I discovered the eyes of all three upon me.

"You may tell your client, Mr. Tucker, that I refuse his offer," I said.

He got to his feet, and with the customary declaration of humble
servitude bowed himself out.

The door was scarce closed on him when the captain had me by the hands.

"What said I, Henry?" he cried. "Did I not know the lad?"

Mr. Swain did not stir from his seat. He was still gazing at me with a
curious expression. And then I saw the world in truer colour. This good
Samaritan was not only taking me into his home, but would fight for my
rights with the strong brain that had lifted him out of poverty and
obscurity. I stood, humbled before him.

"I would accept your kindness, Mr. Swain," I said, vainly trying to
steady my voice, "but I have the faithful fellow, Banks, who followed me
here from England, dependant on me, and Hugo, whom I rescued from my
uncle. I will make over the black to you and you will have him."

He rose, brushed his eyes with his shirt, and took me by the arm.
"You and the captain dine with me to-day," says he. "And as for Banks, I
think that can be arranged. Now I have an estate, I shall need a trained
butler, egad. I have some affairs to keep me in town to-day, Richard.
But we'll be off for Cordon's Pride in the morning, and I know of one
little girl will be glad to see us."

We dined out under the apple tree in Gloucester Street. And the captain
argued, in his hopeful way, that Tucker's visit betrayed a weak point in
Grafton's position. But the barrister shook his head and said that
Grafton was too shrewd a rogue to tender me an estate if he feared me.
It was Mr. Swain's opinion that the motive of my uncle was to put himself
in a good light; and perhaps, he added, there was a little revenge mixed
therein, as the Kent estate was the one Mr. Carvel had given him when he
cast him off.

A southerly wind was sending great rolls of fog before it as Mr. Swain
and I, with Banks, crossed over to Kent Island on the ferry the next
morning. We traversed the island, and were landed by the other ferry on
the soil of my native county, Queen Anne's. In due time we cantered past
Master Dingley's tavern, the sight of which gave me a sharp pang, for it
is there that the by-road turns over the bridge to Carvel Hall and Wilmot
House; and force of habit drew my reins to the right across the horse's
neck, so that I swerved into it. The barrister had no word of comment
when I overtook him again.

'Twas about two o'clock when we came to the gate Mr. Swain had erected at
the entrance to his place; the land was a little rolling, and partly
wooded, like that on the Wye. But the fields were prodigiously unkempt.
He drew up, and glanced at me.

"You will see there is much to be done with such fallows as these,"
said he. "The lessees from his Lordship were sportsmen rather than
husbandmen, and had an antipathy to a constable or a sheriff like a
rat to a boar cat. That is the curse of some of your Eastern Shore
gentlemen, especially in Dorchester," he added; "they get to be
fishmongers."

Presently we came in sight of the house, long and low, like the one in
Gloucester Street, with a new and unpainted wing just completed. That
day the mist softened its outline and blurred the trees which clustered
about it. Even as we swung into the circle of the drive a rounded and
youthful figure appeared in the doorway, gave a little cry, and stood
immovable. It was Patty, in a striped dimity gown with the sleeves
rolled up, and her face fairly shone with joy as I leaped from my horse
and took her hands.

"So you like my surprise, girl?" said her father, as he kissed her
blushing face.

For answer she tore herself away, and ran through the hall to the broad
porch in front.

"Our barrister is come, mother," we heard her exclaiming, "and whom do
you think he has brought?"

"Is it Richard?" asked the gentler voice, more hastily than usual.

I stepped out on the porch, where the invalid sat in her armchair. She
was smiling with joy, too, and she held out her wasted hands and drew me
toward her, kissing me on both cheeks.

"I thank God for His goodness," said she.

"And the boy has come to stay, mother," said her husband, as he stooped
over her.

"To stay!" cries Patty.

"Gordon's Pride is henceforth his home," replied the barrister. "And now
I can return in peace to my musty law, and know that my plantation will
be well looked after."

Patty gasped.

"Oh, I am so glad!" said she, "I could almost rejoice that his uncle
cheated him out of his property. He is to be factor of Gordon's Pride?"

"He is to be master of Gordon's Pride, my dear," says her father, smiling
and tilting her chin; "we shall have no such persons as factors here."

At that the tears forced themselves into my own eyes. I turned away, and
then I perceived for the first time the tall form of my old friend, Percy
Singleton.

"May I, too, bid you welcome, Richard," said he, in his manly way; "and
rejoice that I have got such a neighbour?"

"Thank you, Percy," I answered. I was not in a state to say much more.

"And now," exclaims Patty, "what a dinner we shall have in the prodigal's
honour! I shall make you all some of the Naples biscuit Mrs. Brice told
me of."

She flew into the house, and presently we heard her clear voice singing
in the kitchen.



CHAPTER XLVI

GORDON'S PRIDE

The years of a man's life that count the most are often those which may
be passed quickest in the story of it. And so I may hurry over the first
years I spent as Mr. Swain's factor at Gordon's Pride. The task that
came to my hand was heaven-sent.

That manor-house, I am sure, was the tidiest in all Maryland, thanks to
Patty's New England blood. She was astir with the birds of a morning,
and near the last to retire at night, and happy as the days were long.
She was ever up to her elbows in some dish, and her butter and her
biscuits were the best in the province. Little she cared to work
samplers, or peacocks in pretty wools, tho' in some way she found the
time to learn the spinet. As the troubles with the mother country
thickened, she took to a foot-wheel, and often in the crisp autumn
evenings I would hear the bumping of it as I walked to the house, and
turn the knob to come upon her spinning by the twilight. She would have
no English-made linen in that household. "If mine scratch your back,
Richard," she would say, "you must grin and bear, and console yourself
with your virtue." It was I saw to the flax, and learned from Ivie
Rawlinson (who had come to us from Carvel Hall) the best manner to ripple
and break and swingle it. And Mr. Swain, in imitation of the high
example set by Mr. Bordley, had buildings put up for wheels and the
looms, and in due time kept his own sheep.

If man or woman, white or black, fell sick on the place, it was Patty
herself who tended them. She knew the virtue of every herb in the big
chest in the storeroom. And at table she presided over her father's
guests with a womanliness that won her more admiration than mine. Now
that the barrister was become a man of weight, the house was as crowded
as ever was Carvel Hall. Carrolls and Pacas and Dulanys and Johnsons,
and Lloyds and Bordleys and Brices and Scotts and Jennings and Ridouts,
and Colonel Sharpe, who remained in the province, and many more families
of prominence which I have not space to mention, all came to Gordon's
Pride. Some of these, as their names proclaim, were of the King's side;
but the bulk of Mr. Swain's company were stanch patriots, and toasted
Miss Patty instead of his Majesty. By this I do not mean that they
lacked loyalty, for it is a matter of note that our colony loved King
George.

I must not omit from the list above the name of my good friend, Captain
Clapsaddle.

Nor was there lack of younger company. Betty Tayloe, who plied me with
questions concerning Dorothy and London, but especially about the dashing
and handsome Lord Comyn; and the Dulany girls, and I know not how many
others. Will Fotheringay, when he was home from college, and Archie
Brice, and Francis Willard (whose father was now in the Assembly) and
half a dozen more to court Patty, who would not so much as look at them.
And when I twitted her with this she would redden and reply: "I was
created for a housewife, sir, and not to make eyes from behind a fan."
Indeed, she was at her prettiest and best in the dimity frock, with the
sleeves rolled up.

'Twas a very merry place, the manor of Gordon's Pride. A generous bowl
of punch always stood in the cool hall, through which the south winds
swept from off the water, and fruit and sangaree and lemonade were on the
table there. The manor had no ball-room, but the negro fiddlers played
in the big parlour. And the young folks danced till supper time. In
three months Patty's suppers grew famous in a colony where there was no
lack of good cooks.

The sweet-natured invalid enjoyed these festivities in her quiet way,
and often pressed me to partake. So did Patty beg me, and Mr. Swain.
Perhaps a false sense of pride restrained me, but my duties held me all
day in the field, and often into the night when there was curing to be
done, or some other matters of necessity. And for the rest, I thought
I detected a change in the tone of Mr. Fotheringay, and some others, tho'
it may have been due to sensibility on my part. I would put up with no
patronage.

There was no change of tone, at least, with the elder gentlemen. They
plainly showed me an added respect. And so I fell into the habit, after
my work was over, of joining them in their suppers rather than the sons
and daughters. There I was made right welcome. The serious conversation
spiced with the wit of trained barristers and men of affairs better
suited my changed condition of life. The times were sober, and for those
who could see, a black cloud was on each horizon. 'Twas only a matter of
months when the thunder-clap was to come-indeed, enough was going on
within our own province to forebode a revolution. The Assembly to which
many of these gentlemen belonged was in a righteous state of opposition
to the Proprietary and the Council concerning the emoluments of colonial
officers and of clergymen. Honest Governor Eden had the misfortune to
see the justice of our side, and was driven into a seventh state by his
attempts to square his conscience. Bitter controversies were waging in
the Gazette, and names were called and duels fought weekly. For our
cause "The First Citizen" led the van, and the able arguments and
moderate language of his letters soon identified him as Mr. Charles
Carroll of Carrollton, one of the greatest men Maryland has ever known.
But even at Mr. Swain's, amongst his few intimate friends, Mr. Carroll
could never be got to admit his 'nom de guerre' until long after
'Antilon' had been beaten.

I write it with pride, that at these suppers I was sometimes asked to
speak; and, having been but lately to England, to give my opinion upon
the state of affairs there. Mr. Carroll honoured me upon two occasions
with his confidence, and I was made clerk to a little club they had, and
kept the minutes in my own hand.

I went about in homespun, which, if good enough for Mr. Bordley, was good
enough for me. I rode with him over the estate. This gentleman was the
most accomplished and scientific farmer we had in the province. Having
inherited his plantation on Wye Island, near Carvel Hall, he resigned his
duties as judge, and a lucrative practice, to turn all his energies to
the cultivation of the soil. His wheat was as eagerly sought after as
was Colonel Washington's tobacco.

It was to Mr. Bordley's counsel that the greater part of my success was
due. He taught me the folly of ploughing with a fluke,--a custom to
which the Eastern Shore was wedded, pointing out that a double surface
was thus exposed to the sun's rays; and explained at length why there was
more profit in small grain in that district than heavy tobacco. He gave
me Dr. Eliot's "Essays on Field Husbandry," and Mill's "Husby," which I
read from cover to cover. And I went from time to time to visit him at
Wye Island, when he would canter with me over that magnificent
plantation, and show me with pride the finished outcome of his
experiments.

Mr. Swain's affairs kept him in town the greater part of the twelve
months, and Mrs. Swain and Patty moved to Annapolis in the autumn. But
for three years I was at Cordon's Pride winter and summer alike. At the
end of that time I was fortunate enough to show my employer such
substantial results as to earn his commendation--ay, and his confidence,
which was the highest token of that man's esteem. The moneys of the
estate he left entirely at my order. And in the spring of '73, when the
opportunity was suddenly offered to buy a thousand acres of excellent
wheat land adjoining, I made the purchase for him while he was at
Williamsburg, and upon my own responsibility.

This connected the plantation on the east with Singleton's. It had been
my secret hope that the two estates might one day be joined in marriage.
For of all those who came a-courting Patty, Percy was by far the best.
He was but a diffident suitor; he would sit with me on the lawn evening
after evening, when company was there, while Fotheringay and Francis
Willard made their compliments within,--silly flatteries, at which Patty
laughed.

Percy kept his hounds, and many a run we had together' in the sparkling
days that followed the busy summer, when the crops were safe in the
bottoms; or a quiet pipe and bottle in his bachelor's hall, after a
soaking on the duck points.

And this brings me to a subject on which I am loth to write. Where Mr.
Singleton was concerned, Patty, the kindest of creatures, was cruelty
itself. Once, when I had the effrontery to venture a word in his behalf,
I had been silenced so effectively as to make my ears tingle. A thousand
little signs led me to a conclusion which pained me more than I can
express. Heaven is my witness that no baser feeling leads me to hint of
it here. Every day while the garden lasted flowers were in my room, and
it was Banks who told me that she would allow no other hands than her own
to place them by my bed. He got a round rating from me for violating the
pledge of secrecy he had given her. It was Patty who made my shirts, and
on Christmas knitted me something of comfort; who stood on the
horse-block in the early morning waving after me as I rode away, and
at my coming her eyes would kindle with a light not to be mistaken.

None of these things were lost upon Percy Singleton, and I often wondered
why he did not hate me. He was of the kind that never shows a hurt.
Force of habit still sent him to Gordon's Pride, but for days he would
have nothing to say to the mistress of it, or she to him.



CHAPTER XLVII

VISITORS

It was not often that Mr. Thomas Swain honoured Gordon's Pride with his
presence. He vowed that the sober Whig company his father brought there
gave him the vapours. He snapped his fingers at the articles of the
Patriots' Association, and still had his cocked hats and his Brussels
lace and his spyglass, and his top boots when he rode abroad, like any
other Tory buck. His intimates were all of the King's side,--of the
worst of the King's side, I should say, for I would not be thought to
cast any slur on the great number of conscientious men of that party.
But, being the son of one of the main props of the Whigs, Mr. Tom went
unpunished for his father's sake. He was not uncondemned.

Up to 1774, the times that Mr. Swain mentioned his son to me might be
counted on the fingers of one hand. It took not a great deal of
shrewdness to guess that he had paid out many a pretty sum to keep Tom's
honour bright: as bright, at least, as such doubtful metal would polish.
Tho' the barrister sought my ear in many matters, I never heard a whimper
out of him on this score.

Master Tom had no ambition beyond that of being a macaroni; his
easy-going nature led him to avoid alike trouble and responsibility.
Hence he did not bother his head concerning my position. He appeared
well content that I should make money out of the plantation for him to
spend. His visits to Gordon's Pride were generally in the late autumn,
and he brought his own company with him. I recall vividly his third or
fourth appearance, in October of '73. Well I may! The family was
preparing to go to town, and this year I was to follow them, and take
from Mr. Swain's shoulders some of his private business, for he had been
ailing a little of late from overwork.

The day of which I have spoken a storm had set in, the rain falling in
sheets. I had been in the saddle since breakfast, seeing to an hundred
repairs that had to be made before the cold weather. 'Twas near the
middle of the afternoon when I pulled up before the weaving house. The
looms were still, and Patty met me at the door with a grave look, which I
knew portended something. But her first words were of my comfort.

"Richard, will you ever learn sense? You have been wet all day long,
and have missed your dinner. Go at once and change your clothes, sir!"
she commanded severely.

"I have first to look at the warehouse, where the roof is leaking," I
expostulated.

"You shall do no such thing," replied she, "but dry yourself, and march
into the dining room. We have had the ducks you shot yesterday, and some
of your experimental hominy; but they are all gone."

I knew well she had laid aside for me some dainty, as was her habit.
I dismounted. She gave me a quick, troubled glance, and said in a low
voice:

"Tom is come. And oh, I dare not tell you whom he has with him now!"

"Courtenay?" I asked.

"Yes, of coarse. I hate the sight of the man. But your cousin, Philip
Carvel, is here, Richard. Father will be very angry. And they are
making a drinking-tavern of the house."

I gave Firefly a slap that sent her trotting stable-ward, and walked
rapidly to the house. I found the three of them drinking in the hall,
the punch spilled over the table, and staining the cards.

"Gad's life!" cries Tom, "here comes Puritan Richard, in his broad rim.
How goes the crop, Richard? 'Twill have to go well, egad, for I lost an
hundred at the South River Club last week!"

Next him sat Philip, whom I had not seen since before I was carried off.
He was lately come home from King's College; and very mysteriously, his
father giving out that his health was not all it should be. He had not
gained Grafton's height, but he was broader, and his face had something
in it of his father. He had his mother's under lip and complexion.
Grafton was sallow; Philip was a peculiar pink,--not the ruddy pink of
heartier natures, like my grandfather's, nor yet had he the peach-like
skin of Mr. Dix. Philip's was a darker and more solid colour, and I have
never seen man or woman with it and not mistrusted them. He wore a red
velvet coat embroidered with gold, and as costly ruffles as I had ever
seen in London. But for all this my cousin had a coarse look, and his
polished blue flints of eyes were those of a coarse man.

He got to his feet as Tom spoke, looking anywhere but at me, and came
forward slowly. He was loyal to no one, was Philip, not even to his
father. When he was got within three paces he halted.

"How do you, cousin?" says he.

"A little wet, as you perceive, Philip," I replied.

I left him and stood before the fire, my rough wool steaming in the heat.
He sat down again, a little awkwardly; and the situation began to please
me better.

"How do you?" I asked presently.

"I have got a devilish cold," said he. "Faith, I'll warrant the doctor
will be sworn I have been but indifferent company since we left the Hall.
Eh, doctor?"

Courtenay, with his feet stretched out, bestowed an amiable but languid
wink upon me, as much as to say that I knew what Mr. Philip's company was
at best. When I came out after my dinner, they were still sitting there,
Courtenay yawning, and Tom and Philip wrangling over last night's play.

"Come, my man of affairs, join us a hand!" says the doctor to me.
"I have known the time when you would sit from noon until supper."

"I had money then," said I.

"And you have a little now, or I am cursed badly mistook. Oons! what do
you fear?" he exclaimed, "you that have played with March and Fox?"

"I fear nothing, doctor," I answered, smiling. "But a man must have a
sorry honour when he will win fifty pounds with but ten of capital."

"One of Dr. Franklin's maxims, I presume," says he, with sarcasm.

"And if it were, it could scarce be more pat," I retorted. "'Tis Poor
Richard's maxim."

"O lud! O my soul!" cries Tom, with a hiccup and a snigger; "'tis time
you made another grand tour, Courtenay. Here's the second Whig has got
in on you within the week!"

"Thank God they have not got me down to osnabrig and bumbo yet," replies
the doctor. Coming over to me by the fire, he tapped my sleeve and added
in a low tone: "Forbearance with such a pair of asses is enough to make a
man shed bitter tears. But a little of it is necessary to keep out of
debt. You and I will play together, against both the lambs, Richard.
One of them is not far from maudlin now."

"Thank you, doctor," I answered politely, "but I have a better way to
make my living." In three years I had learned a little to control my
temper.

He shrugged his thin shoulders. "Eh bien, mon bon," says he, "I dare
swear you know your own game better than do I." And he cast a look up
the stairs, of which I quite missed the meaning. Indeed, I was wholly
indifferent. The doctor and his like had passed out of my life, and I
believed they were soon to disappear from our Western Hemisphere. The
report I had heard was now confirmed, that his fortune was dissipated,
and that he lived entirely off these young rakes who aspired to be
macaronies.

"Since your factor is become a damned Lutheran, Tom," said he, returning
to the table and stripping a pack, "it will have to be picquet. You
promised me we could count on a fourth, or I had never left Inman's."

It was Tom, as I had feared, who sat down unsteadily opposite. Philip
lounged and watched them sulkily, snuffing and wheezing and dipping into
the bowl, and cursing the house for a draughty barn. I took a pipe on
the settle to see what would come of it. I was not surprised that
Courtenay lost at first, and that Tom drank the most of the punch. Nor
was it above half an hour before the stakes were raised and the tide
began to turn in the doctor's favour.

"A plague of you, Courtenay!" cries Mr. Tom, at length, flinging down the
cards. His voice was thick, while the Selwyn of Annapolis was never
soberer in his life. Tom appealed first to Philip for the twenty pounds
he owed him.

"You know how damned stingy my father is, curse you," whined my cousin,
in return. "I told you I should not have it till the first of the
month."

Tom swore back. He thrust his hands deep in his pockets and sank into
that attitude of dejection common to drunkards. Suddenly he pulled
himself up.

"'Shblood! Here's Richard t' draw from. Lemme have fifty pounds,
Richard."

"Not a farthing," I said, unmoved.

"You say wha' shall be done with my father's money!" he cried. "I call
tha' damned cool--Gad's life! I do. Eh, Courtenay?"

Courtenay had the sense not to interfere.

"I'll have you dishcharged, Gads death! so I will!" he shouted. "No
damned airs wi' me, Mr. Carvel. I'll have you know you're not wha' you
once were, but, only a cursht oversheer."

He struggled to his feet, forgot his wrath on the instant, and began to
sing drunkenly the words of a ribald air. I took him by both shoulders
and pushed him back into his chair.

"Be quiet," I said sternly; "while your mother and sister are here you
shall not insult them with such a song." He ceased, astonished. "And as
for you, gentlemen," I continued, "you should know better than to make a
place of resort out of a gentleman's house."

Courtenay's voice broke the silence that followed.

"Of all the cursed impertinences I ever saw, egad!" he drawled. "Is
this your manor, Mr. Carvel? Or have you a seat in Kent?"

I would not have it in black and white that I am an advocate of fighting.
But a that moment I was in the mood when it does not matter much one way
or the other. The drunken man carried us past the point.

"The damned in--intriguing rogue'sh worked himself into my father's
grashes," he said, counting out his words. "He'sh no more Whig than me.
I know'sh game, Courtenay--he wants t' marry Patty. Thish place'll be
hers."

The effect upon me of these words, with all their hideous implication of
gossip and scandal, was for an instant benumbing. The interpretation of
the doctor's innuendo struck me then. I was starting forward, with a
hand open to clap over Tom's mouth, when I saw the laugh die on
Courtenay's face, and him come bowing to his legs. I turned with a
start.

On the stairs stood Patty herself, pale as marble.

"Come with me, Tom," she said.

He had obeyed her from childhood. This time he tried, and failed
miserably.

"Beg pardon, Patty," he stammered, "no offensh meant. Thish factor
thinks h' ownsh Gordon's now. I say, not'll h' marries you. Good
fellow, Richard, but infernal forward. Eh, Courtenay?"

Philip turned away, while the doctor pretended to examine the silver
punch-ladle. As for me, I could only stare. It was Patty who kept her
head, and made us a stately curtsey.

"Will you do me the kindness, gentlemen," said she, "to leave me with my
brother?"

We walked silently into the parlour, and I closed the door.

"Slife!" cried Courtenay, "she's a vision. What say you, Philip? And I
might see her in that guise again, egad, I would forgive Tom his five
hundred crowns!"

"A buxom vision," agreed my cousin, "but I vow I like 'em so." He had
forgotten his cold.

"This conversation is all of a piece with the rest of your conduct," said
I, hotly.

The candles were burning brightly in the sconces. The doctor walked to
the glass, took snuff, and burnished his waistcoat before he answered.

"Sure, a fortune lies under every virtue we assume," he recited. "But
she is not for you, Richard," says he, tapping his box.

"Mr. Carvel, if you please," I replied. I felt the demon within me. But
I had the sense to realize that a quarrel with Dr. Courtenay, under the
circumstances, would be far from wise. He had no intention of
quarrelling, however. He made me a grand bow.

"Mr. Carvel, your very obedient. Hereafter I shall know better than to
forget myself with an overseer." And he gave me his back. "What say you
to a game of billiards, Philip?"

Philip seemed glad to escape. And soon I heard their voices, mingling
with the click of the balls. There followed for me one of the bitterest
half hours I have had in my life. Then Patty opened the hall door.

"Will you come in for a moment, Richard?" she said, quite calmly.

I followed her, wondering at the masterful spirit she had shown. For
there was Tom all askew in his chair, his feet one way and his hands
another, totally subdued. What was most to the point, he made me an
elaborate apology. How she had sobered his mind I know not. His body
was as helpless as the day he was born.

Long before the guests thought of rising the next morning, Patty came to
me as I was having the mare saddled. The sun was up, and the clouds were
being chased, like miscreants who have played their prank, and were now
running for it. The sharp air brought the red into her cheeks. And for
the first time in her life with me she showed shyness. She glanced up
into my face, and then down at the leaves running on the ground.

"I hope they will go to-day," said she, when I was ready to mount.

I began to tighten the girths, venting my feelings on Firefly until the
animal swung around and made a vicious pass at my arm.

"Richard!"

"Yes."

"You will not worry over that senseless speech of Tom's?"

"I see it in a properer light now, Patty," I replied. "I usually do--in
the morning."

She sighed.

"You are so--high-strung," she said, "I was afraid you would--"

"I would--?"

She did not answer until I had repeated.

"I was very silly," she said slowly, her colour mounting even higher,"
I was afraid that you would--leave us." Stroking the mare's neck, and
with a little halt in her voice, "I do not know what we should do
without you."

Indeed, I was beginning to think I would better leave, though where I
should go was more than I could say. With a quick intuition she caught
my hand as I put foot in the stirrup.

"You will not go away!" she cried. "Say you will not! What would poor
father do? He is not so well as he used to be."

The wild appeal in her eyes frightened me. It was beyond resisting. In
great agitation I put my foot to the ground again.

"Patty, I should be a graceless scamp in truth," I exclaimed. "I do not
forget that your father gave me a home when mine was taken away, and has
made me one of his family. I shall thank God if I can but lighten some
of his burdens."

But they did not depart that day, nor the next; nor, indeed, for a week
after. For Philip's cold brought on a high fever. He stuck to his bed,
and Patty herself made broth and dainties for him, and prescribed him
medicine out of the oak chest whence had come so much comfort. At first
Philip thought he would die, and forswore wine and cards, and some other
things the taste for which he had cultivated, and likewise worse vices
that had come to him by nature.

I am greatly pleased to write that the stay profited the gallant Dr.
Courtenay nothing. Patty's mature beauty and her manner of carrying off
the episode in the hall had made a deep impression upon the Censor. I
read the man's mind in his eye; here was a match to mend his fortunes,
and do him credit besides. However, his wit and his languishing glances
and double meanings fell on barren ground. No tire-woman on the
plantation was busier than Patty during the first few days of his stay.
After that he grew sulky and vented his spleen on poor Tom, winning more
money from him at billiards and picquet. Since the doctor was too much
the macaroni to ride to hounds and to shoot ducks, time began to hang
exceeding heavy on his hands.

Patty and I had many a quiet laugh over his predicament. And, to add
zest to the situation, I informed Singleton of what was going forward.
He came over every night for supper, and to my delight the bluff
Englishman was received in a fashion to make the doctor writhe and snort
with mortification. Never in his life had he been so insignificant a
person. And he, whose conversation was so sought after in the gay season
in town, was thrown for companionship upon a scarce-grown boy whose talk
was about as salted, and whose intellect as great, as those of the
cockerouse in our fable. He stood it about a se'nnight, at the end of
which space Philip was put on his horse, will-he-nill-he, and made to
ride northward.

I sat with my cousin of an evening as he lay in bed. Not, I own, from
any charity on my part, but from other motives which do me no credit.
The first night he confessed his sins, and they edified me not a little.
On the second he was well enough to sit up and swear, and to vow that
Miss Swain was an angel; that he would marry her the very next week and
his father Grafton were not such a stickler for family.

"Curse him," says his dutiful and loyal son, "he is so bally stingy with
my stipend that I am in debt to half the province. And I say it myself,
Richard, he has been a blackguard to you, tho' I allow him some little
excuse. You were faring better now, my dear cousin, and you had not
given him every reason to hate you. For I have heard him declare more
than once 'pon my soul, I have--that he would rather you were his friend
than his enemy."

My contempt for Philip kept me silent here. I might quarrel with
Grafton, who had sense enough to feel pain at a well deserved thrust.
Philip had not the intelligence to recognize insult from compliment. It
was but natural he should mistake my attitude now. He leaned forward in
his bed.

"Hark you, Richard," whispers he, with a glance at the door, "I might
tell you some things and I chose, and--and it were worth my while."

"Worth your while?" I repeated vaguely.

He traced nervously the figures on the counterpane. Next came a rush of
anger to redden his face.

"By Gad, I will tell you. Swear to Gad I will." Then, the little
cunning inherited from his father asserting itself, he added, "Look you,
Richard, I am the son of one of the richest men in the colony, and I get
the pittance of a backwoods pastor. I tell you 'tis not to be borne
with. And I am not of as much consideration at the Hall as Brady, the
Irish convict, who has become overseer."

I little wondered at this. Philip sank back, and for some moments eyed
me between narrowed lids. He continued presently with shortened breath:

"I have evidence--I have evidence to get you back a good share of the
estate, which my father will never miss. And I will do it," he cries,
suddenly bold, "I will do it for three thousand pounds down when you
receive it."

This was why he had come with Tom to Talbot! I was so dumfounded that my
speech was quite taken away. Then I got up and began pacing the room.
Was it not fair to fight a scoundrel with his own weapons? Here at last
was the witness Mr. Swain had been seeking so long, come of his own free
will. Then--Heaven help me!--my mind flew on. As time had passed I had
more than once regretted refusing the Kent plantation, which had put her
from whom my thought never wandered within my reach again. Good Mr.
Swain had erred for once. 'Twas foolish, indeed, not to accept a portion
of what was rightfully mine, when no more could be got. And now, if what
Philip said was true (and I doubted it not), here at last was the chance
come again to win her without whom I should never be happy. I glanced at
my cousin.

"Gad's life!" says he, "it is cheap enough. I might have asked you
double."

"So you might, and have been refused," I cried hotly. For I believe that
speech of his recalled me to my senses. It has ever been an instinct
with me that no real prosperity comes out of double-dealing. And
commerce with such a sneak sickened me. "Go back to your father,
Philip, and threaten him, and he may make you rich. Such as he live by
blackmail. And you may add, and you will, that the day of retribution
is coming for him."



CHAPTER XLVIII

MULTUM IN PARVO

I lost no time after getting to Annapolis in confiding to Mr. Swain the
conversation I had had with my cousin Philip. And I noticed, as he sat
listening to my account in the library in Gloucester Street, that the
barrister looked very worn. He had never been a strong man, and the
severe strain he had been under with the patriots' business was beginning
to tell.

He was very thoughtful when I had finished, and then told me briefly that
I had done well not to take the offer. "Tucker would have made but short
work of such evidence, my lad," said he, "and I think Master Philip would
have lied himself in and out a dozen times. I cannot think what witness
he would have introduced save Mr. Allen. And there is scarcely a doubt
that your uncle pays him for his silence, for I am told he is living in
Frederick in a manner far above what he gets from the parish. However,
Philip has given us something more to work on. It may be that he can put
hands on the messenger."

I rose to go.

"We shall bring them to earth yet, Richard, and I live," he added. "And
I have always meant to ask you whether you ever regretted your decision
in taking Gordon's Pride."

"And you live, sir!" I exclaimed, not heeding the question.

He smiled somewhat sadly.

"Of one thing I am sure, my lad," he continued, "which is that I have had
no regrets about taking you. Mr. Bordley has just been here, and tells
me you are the ablest young man in the province. You see that more eyes
than mine are upon you. You have proved yourself a man, Richard, and
there are very few macaronies would have done as you did. I am resolved
to add another little mite to your salary."

The "little mite" was of such a substantial nature that I protested
strongly against it. I thought of Tom's demands upon him.

"I could afford to give you double for what you have made off the place,"
he interrupted. "But I do not believe in young men having too much." He
sighed, and turned to his work.

I hesitated. "You have spent time and labour upon my case, sir, and have
asked no fee."

"I shall speak of the fee when I win it," he said dryly, "and not before.
How would you like to be clerk this winter to the Committee of
Correspondence?"

I suppose my pleasure was expressed in my face.

"Well," said he, "I have got you the appointment without much difficulty.
There are many ways in which you can be useful to the party when not
helping me with my affairs."

This conversation gave me food for reflection during a week. I was
troubled about Mr. Swain, and what he had said as to not living kept
running in my head as I wrote or figured. For I had enough to hold me
busy.

In the meantime, the clouds fast gathering on both sides of the Atlantic
grew blacker, and blacker still. I saw a great change in Annapolis. Men
of affairs went about with grave faces, while gay and sober alike were
touched by the spell. The Tory gentry, to be sure, rattled about in
their gilded mahogany coaches, in spite of jeers and sour looks. My Aunt
Caroline wore jewelled stomachers to the assemblies,--now become dry and
shrivelled entertainments. She kept her hairdresser, had three men in
livery to her chair, and a little negro in Turk's costume to wait on her.
I often met her in the streets, and took a fierce joy in staring her, in
the eye. And Grafton! By a sort of fate I was continually running
against him. He was a very busy man, was my uncle, and had a kind of
dignified run, which he used between Marlboro' Street and the Council
Chamber in the Stadt House, or the Governor's mansion. He never did me
the honour to glance at me. The Rev. Mr. Allen, too, came a-visiting
from Frederick, where he had grown stout as an alderman upon the living
and its perquisites and Grafton's additional bounty. The gossips were
busy with his doings, for he had his travelling-coach and servant now.
He went to the Tory balls with my aunt. Once I all but encountered him
on the Circle, but he ran into Northeast Street to avoid me.

Yes, that was the winter when the wise foresaw the inevitable, and the
first sharp split occurred between men who had been brothers. The old
order of things had plainly passed, and I was truly thankful that my
grandfather had not lived to witness those scenes. The greater part of
our gentry stood firm for America's rights, and they had behind them the
best lawyers in America. After the lawyers came the small planters and
most of the mechanics. The shopkeepers formed the backbone of King
George's adherents; the Tory gentry, the clergy, and those holding office
under the proprietor made the rest.

And it was all about tea, a word which, since '67, had been steadily
becoming the most vexed in the language. The East India Company had put
forth a complaint. They had Heaven knows how many tons getting stale in
London warehouses, all by reason of our stubbornness, and so it was
enacted that all tea paying the small American tax should have a rebate
of the English duties. That was truly a master-stroke, for Parliament to
give it us cheaper than it could be had at home! To cause his Majesty's
government to lose revenues for the sake of being able to say they had
caught and taxed us at last! The happy result is now history, my dears.
And this is not a history, tho' I wish it were. What occurred at Boston,
at Philadelphia, and Charleston, has since caused Englishmen, as well as
Americans, to feel proud. The chief incident in Annapolis I shall
mention in another chapter.

When it became known with us that several cargoes were on their way to
the colonies, excitement and indignation gained a pitch not reached since
the Stamp Act. Business came to a standstill, plantations lay idle, and
gentry and farmers flocked to Annapolis, and held meetings and made
resolutions anew. On my way of a morning from Mr. Swain's house to his
chambers in the Circle I would meet as many as a dozen knots of people.
Mr. Claude was one of the few patriots who reaped reward out of the
disturbance, for his inn was crowded. The Assembly met, appointed
committees to correspond with the other colonies, and was prorogued once
and again. Many a night I sat up until the small hours copying out
letters to the committees of Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and
Massachusetts. The gentlemen were wont to dine at the Coffee House,
and I would sit near the foot of the table, taking notes of their plans.
'Twas so I met many men of distinction from the other colonies. Colonel
Washington came once. He was grown a greater man than ever, and I
thought him graver than when I had last seen him. I believe a trait of
this gentleman was never to forget a face.

"How do you, Richard?" said he. How I reddened when he called me so
before all the committee. "I have heard your story, and it does you vast
credit. And the gentlemen tell me you are earning laurels, sir."

That first winter of the tea troubles was cold and wet with us, and the
sun, as if in sympathy with the times, rarely showed his face. Early in
February our apprehensions concerning Mr. Swain's health were realized.
One day, without a word to any one, he went to his bed, where Patty found
him. And I ran all the way to Dr. Leiden's. The doctor looked at him,
felt his pulse and his chest, and said nothing. But he did not rest that
night, nor did Patty or I.

Thus I came to have to do with the good barrister's private affairs. I
knew that he was a rich man, as riches went in our province, but I had
never tried to guess at his estate. I confess the sums he had paid out
in Tom's behalf frightened me. With the advice of Mr. Bordley and Mr.
Lloyd I managed his money as best I could, but by reason of the
non-importation resolutions there was little chance for good investments,
--no cargoes coming and few going. I saw, indeed, that buying the Talbot
estate had been a fortunate step, since the quantities of wheat we grew
there might be disposed of in America.

When Dr. Leiden was still coming twice a day to Gloucester Street, Mr.
Tom must needs get into a scrape with one of the ladies of the theatre,
and come to me in the Circle chambers for one hundred pounds. I told
him, in despair, that I had no authority to pay out his father's money.
"And so you have become master, sure enough!" he cried, in a passion.
For he was desperate. "You have worked your way in vastly well, egad,
with your Whig committee meetings and speeches. And now he is on his
back, and you have possession, you choose to cut me off. 'Slife, I know
what will be coming next!"

I pulled him into Mr. Swain's private room, where we would be free of the
clerks. "Yes, I am master here," I replied, sadly enough, as he stood
sullenly before me. "I should think you would be ashamed to own it.
When I came to your father I was content to be overseer in Talbot, and
thankful for his bounty. 'Tis no fault of mine, but your disgrace, that
his son is not managing his business, and supporting him in the rights of
his country. I am not very old, Tom. A year older than you, I believe.
But I have seen enough of life to prophesy your end and you do not
reform."

"We are turned preacher," he says, with a sneer.

"God forbid! But I have been in a sponging-house, and tasted the lowest
dregs. And if this country becomes free, as I think it will some day,
such as you will be driven to England, and die in the Fleet."

"Not while my father lives," retorts he, and throws aside the oiled silk
cape with a London name upon it. The day was rainy. I groaned. My
responsibility lay heavy upon me. And this was not my first scene with
him. He continued doggedly:--"You have no right to deny me what is not
yours. 'Twill be mine one day."

"You have no right to accuse me of thoughts that do not occur to men of
honour," I replied. "I am slower to anger than I once was, but I give
you warning now. Do you know that you will ruin your father in another
year and you continue?"

He gave me no answer. I reached for the ledger, and turning the pages,
called off to him the sums he had spent.

"Oh, have done, d--n it!" he cried, when I was not a third through.
"Are you or are you not to give me the money?"

"And you are to spend it upon an actress?" I should have called her by
a worse name.

"Actress!" he shouted. "Have you seen her in The Orphan? My soul, she
is a divinity!" Then he shifted suddenly to whining and cringing.
"I am ruined outright, Richard, if I do not get it."

Abjectly he confessed the situation, which had in it enough material for
a scandal to set the town wagging for a month. And the weight of it
would fall; as I well knew, upon those who deserved it least.

"I will lend you the money, or, rather, will pay it for you," I said, at
last. For I was not so foolish as to put it into his hands. "You shall
have the sum under certain conditions."

He agreed to them before they were out of my mouth, and swore in a dozen
ways that he would repay me every farthing. He was heartily tired of the
creature, and, true to his nature, afraid of her. That night when the
play was over I went to her lodging, and after a scene too distressing to
dwell upon, bought her off.

I sat with Mr. Swain many an hour that spring, with Patty sewing at the
window open to the garden. Often, as we talked, unnoticed by her father
she would drop her work and the tears glisten in her eyes. For the
barrister's voice was not as strong as it once was, and the cold would
not seem to lift from his chest. So this able man, who might have sat in
the seats of Maryland's high reward, was stricken when he was needed
most.

He was permitted two visitors a day: now 'twas Mr. Carroll and Colonel
Lloyd, again Colonel Tilghman and Captain Clapsaddle, or Mr. Yaca and Mr.
Bordley. The gentlemen took turns, and never was their business so
pressing that they missed their hour. Mr. Swain read all the prints, and
in his easier days would dictate to me his views for the committee,
or a letter signed Brutes for Mr. Green to put in the Gazette. So I
became his mouthpiece at the meetings, and learned to formulate my
thoughts and to speak clearly.

For fear of confusing this narrative, my dears, I have referred but
little to her who was in my thoughts night and day, and whose locket I
wore, throughout all those years, next my heart. I used to sit out under
the stars at Gordon's Pride, with the river lapping at my feet, and
picture her the shining centre of all the brilliant scenes I had left,
and wonder if she still thought of me.

Nor have I mentioned that faithful correspondent, and more faithful
friend, Lord Comyn. As soon as ever I had obtained from Captain Daniel
my mother's little inheritance, I sent off the debt I owed his Lordship.
'Twas a year before I got him to receive it; he despatched the money back
once, saying that I had more need of it than he. I smiled at this, for
my Lord was never within his income, and I made no doubt he had signed a
note to cover my indebtedness.

Every letter Comyn writ me was nine parts Dolly, and the rest of his
sheet usually taken up with Mr. Fox and his calamities: these had fallen
upon him very thick of late. Lord Holland had been forced to pay out a
hundred thousand pounds for Charles, and even this enormous sum did not
entirely free Mr. Fox from the discounters and the hounds. The reason
for this sudden onslaught was the birth of a boy to his brother Stephen,
who was heir to the title. "When they told Charles of it," Comyn wrote,
"said he, coolly: 'My brother Ste's son is a second Messiah, born for the
destruction of the Jews.'"

I saw no definite signs, as yet, of the conversion of this prodigy, which
I so earnestly hoped for. He had quarrelled with North, lost his place
on the Admiralty, and presently the King had made him a Lord of the
Treasury, tho' more out of fear than love. Once in a while, when he saw
Comyn at Almack's, he would desire to be remembered to me, and he always
spoke of me with affection. But he could be got to write to no one, said
my Lord, with kind exaggeration; nor will he receive letters, for fear he
may get a dun.

Alas, I got no message from Dorothy! Nor had she ever mentioned my name
to Comyn. He had not seen her for eight months after I left England, as
she had been taken to the Continent for her health. She came back to
London more ravishing than before, and (I use his Lordship's somewhat
extravagant language) her suffering had stamped upon her face even more
of character and power. She had lost much of her levity, likewise. In
short, my Lord declared, she was more of the queen than ever, and the
mystery which hung over the Vauxhall duel had served only to add to her
fame.

Dorothy having become cognizant of Mr. Marmaduke's trickery, Chartersea
seemed to have dropped out of the race. He now spent his time very
evenly between Spa and Derresley and Paris. Hence I had so much to be
thankful for,--that with all my blunders, I had saved her from his Grace.
My Lord the Marquis of Wells was now most conspicuous amongst her
suitors. Comyn had nothing particular against this nobleman, saying that
he was a good fellow, with a pretty fortune. And here is a letter, my
dears, in which he figures, that I brought to Cordon's Pride that spring:

                  "10 SOUTH PARADE, BATH,
                    "March 12, 1774.

   "DEAR RICHARD:--Miss Manners has come to Bath, with a train behind
   her longer than that which followed good Queen Anne hither, when she
   made this Gehenna the fashion. Her triumphal entry last Wednesday
   was announced by such a peal of the abbey bells as must have cracked
   the metal (for they have not rung since) and started Beau Nash
   a-cursing where he lies under the floor. Next came her serenade by
   the band. Mr. Marmaduke swore they would never have done, and
   squirmed and grinned like Punch when he thought of the fee, for he
   had hoped to get off with a crown, I warrant you. You should have
   seen his face when they would accept no fee at all for the beauty!
   Some wag has writ a verse about it, which was printed, and has set
   the whole pump-room laughing this morning.

   "She was led out by Wells in the Seasons last night. As Spring she
   is too bewildering for my pen,--all primrose and white, with the
   flowers in her blue-black hair. Had Sir Joshua seen her, he would
   never rest content till he should have another portrait. The Duc de
   Lauzun, who contrived to get two dances, might give you a
   description in a more suitable language than English. And there was
   a prodigious deal of jealousy among the fair ones on the benches,
   you may be sure, and much jaundiced comment.

   "Some half dozen of us adorers have a mess at the Bear, and have
   offered up a prize for the most appropriate toast on the beauty.
   This is in competition with Mrs. Miller. Have you not heard of her
   among your tobacco-hills? Horry calls her Mrs. 'Calliope' Miller.
   At her place near here, Bath Easton Villa, she has set up a Roman
   vase bedecked with myrtle, and into this we drop our bouts-rimes.
   Mrs. Calliope has a ball every Thursday, when the victors are
   crowned. T'other day the theme was 'A Buttered Muffin,' and her
   Grace of Northumberland was graciously awarded the prize. In faith,
   that theme taxed our wits at the Bear,--how to weave Miss Dolly's
   charms into a verse on a buttered muffin. I shall not tire you with
   mine. Storer's deserved to win, and we whisper that Mrs. Calliope
   ruled it out through spite. 'When Phyllis eats,' so it began, and I
   vow 'twas devilish ingenious.

   "We do nothing but play lasquenet and tennis, and go to the
   assembly, and follow Miss Dolly into Gill's, the pastry-cook's,
   where she goes every morning to take a jelly. The ubiquitous Wells
   does not give us much chance. He writes 'vers de societe' with the
   rest, is high in Mr. Marmaduke's favour, which alone is enough to
   damn his progress. I think she is ill of the sight of him.

   "Albeit she does not mourn herself into a tree, I'll take oath your
   Phyllis is true to you, Richard, and would live with you gladly in a
   thatched hut and you asked her. Write me more news of yourself.

                  "Your ever affectionate
                         "COMYN


   "P.S. I have had news of you through Mr. Worthington, of your
   colony, who is just arrived here. He tells me that you
   have gained a vast reputation for your plantation, and likewise that
   you are thought much of by the Whig wiseacres, and that you hold
   many seditious offices. He does not call them so. Since your
   modesty will not permit you to write me any of these things, I have
   been imagining you driving slaves with a rawhide, and seeding
   runaway convicts to the mines. Mr. W. is even now paying his
   respects to Miss Manners, and I doubt not trumpeting your praises
   there, for he seems to like you. So I have asked him to join the
   Bear mess. One more unfortunate!

   "P.S. I was near forgetting the news about Charles Fox. He sends
   you his love, and tells me to let you know that he has been turned
   out of North's house for good and all. He is sure you will be
   cursed happy over it, and says that you predicted he would go over
   to the Whigs. I can scarce believe that he will. North took a
   whole week to screw up His courage, h-s M-j-sty pricking him every
   day. And then he wrote this:

   "'Sir, his Majesty has thought proper to order a new Commission of
   the Treasury to be made out, in which I do not see your name.' Poor
   Charles! He is now without money or place, but as usual appears to
   worry least of all of us, and still reads his damned Tasso for
   amusement.
                       "C."

Perchance he was to be the Saint Paul of English politics, after all.



CHAPTER XLIX

LIBERTY LOSES A FRIEND

Mr. Bordley's sloop took Mr. Swain to Gordon's Pride in May, and placed
him in the big room overlooking the widening river. There he would lie
all day long, staring through the leaves at the water, or listening to
the sweet music of his daughter's voice as she read from the pompous
prints of the time. Gentlemen continued to come to the plantation,
for the barrister's wisdom was sorely missed at the councils. One day,
as I rode in from the field, I found Colonel Lloyd just arrived from
Philadelphia, sipping sangaree on the lawn and mopping himself with his
handkerchief. His jolly face was troubled. He waved his hand at me.

"Well, Richard," says he, "we children are to have our first whipping.
At least one of us. And the rest are resolved to defy our parent."

"Boston, Mr. Lloyd?" I asked.

"Yes, Boston," he replied; "her port is closed, and we are forbid any
intercourse with her until she comes to her senses. And her citizens
must receive his gracious Majesty's troopers into their houses. And if
a man kill one of them by any chance, he is to go to England to be tried.
And there is more quite as bad."

"'Tis bad enough!" I cried, flinging myself down. And Patty gave me a
glass in silence.

"Ay, but you must hear all," said he; "our masters are of a mind to do
the thing thoroughly. Canada is given some score of privileges. Her
French Roman Catholics, whom we fought not long since, are thrown a sop,
and those vast territories between the lakes and the Ohio and Mississippi
are given to Quebec as a price for her fidelity. And so, if the worst
comes to worst, George's regiments will have a place to land against us."

Such was the news, and though we were some hundreds of miles from
Massachusetts, we felt their cause as our own. There was no need
of the appeal which came by smoking horses from Philadelphia, for the
indignation of our people was roused to the highest pitch. Now Mr. Swain
had to take to his bed from the excitement.

This is not a history, my dears, as I have said. And time is growing
short. I shall pass over that dreary summer of '74. It required no very
keen eye to see the breakers ahead, and Mr. Bordley's advice to provide
against seven years of famine did not go unheeded. War was the last
thing we desired. We should have been satisfied with so little, we
colonies! And would have voted the duties ten times over had our rights
been respected. Should any of you doubt this, you have but to read the
"Address to the King" of our Congress, then sitting in Philadelphia. The
quarrel was so petty, and so easy of mending, that you of this generation
may wonder why it was allowed to run. I have tried to tell you that the
head of a stubborn, selfish, and wilful monarch blocked the way to
reconciliation. King George the Third is alone to blame for that hatred
of race against race which already hath done so much evil. And I pray
God that a great historian may arise whose pen will reveal the truth,
and reconcile at length those who are, and should be, brothers.

By October, that most beautiful month of all the year in Maryland, we
were again in Annapolis: One balmy day 'twas a Friday, I believe, and a
gold and blue haze hung over the Severn--Mr. Chase called in Gloucester
Street to give the barrister news of the Congress, which he had lately
left. As he came down the stairs he paused for a word with me in the
library, and remarked sadly upon Mr. Swain's condition. "He looks like
a dying man, Richard," said he, "and we can ill afford to lose him."

Even as we sat talking in subdued tones, the noise of a distant commotion
arose. We had scarce started to our feet, Mr. Chase and I, when the
brass knocker resounded, and Mr. Hammond was let in. His wig was awry,
and his face was flushed.

"I thought to find you here," he said to Mr. Chase. "The Anne Arundel
Committee is to meet at once, and we desire to have you with us."
Perceiving our blank faces, he added: "The 'Peggy Stewart' is in this
morning with over a ton of tea aboard, consigned to the Williams's."

The two jumped into a chaise, and I followed afoot, stopped at every
corner by some excited acquaintance; so that I had the whole story, and
more, ere I reached Church Street. The way was blocked before the
committee rooms, and 'twas said that the merchants, Messrs. Williams,
and Captain Jackson of the brig, were within, pleading their cause.

Presently the news leaked abroad that Mr. Anthony Stewart, the brig's
owner, had himself paid the duty on the detested plant. Some hundreds
of people were elbowing each other in the street, for the most part quiet
and anxious, until Mr. Hammond appeared and whispered to a man at the
door. In all my life before I had never heard the hum of an angry crowd.
The sound had something ominous in it, like the first meanings of a wind
that is to break off great trees at their trunks. Then some one shouted:
"To Hanover Street! To Hanover Street! We'll have him tarred and
feathered before the sun is down!" The voice sounded strangely like
Weld's. They charged at this cry like a herd of mad buffalo, the weaker
ones trampled under foot or thrust against the wall. The windows of Mr.
Aikman's shop were shattered. I ran with the leaders, my stature and
strength standing me in good stead more than once, and as we twisted into
Northwest Street I took a glance at the mob behind me, and great was my
anxiety at not being able to descry one responsible person.

Mr. Stewart's house stood, and stands to-day, amid trim gardens, in plain
sight of the Severn. Arriving there, the crowd massed in front of it,
some of the boldest pressing in at the gate and spreading over the circle
of lawn enclosed by the driveway. They began to shout hoarsely, with
what voices they had left, for Mr. Stewart to come out, calling him names
not to be spoken, and swearing they would show him how traitors were to
be served. I understood then the terror of numbers, and shuddered. A
chandler, a bold and violent man, whose leather was covered with grease,
already had his foot on the steps, when the frightened servants slammed
the door in his face, and closed the lower windows. In vain I strained
my eyes for some one who might have authority with them. They began to
pick up stones, though none were thrown.

Suddenly a figure appeared at an upper window,--a thin and wasted woman
dressed in white, with sad, sweet features. It was Mrs. Stewart.
Without flinching she looked down upon the upturned faces; but a mob of
that kind has no pity. Their leaders were the worst class in our
province, being mostly convicts who had served their terms of indenture.
They continued to call sullenly for "the traitor." Then the house door
opened, and the master himself appeared. He was pale and nervous, and
no wonder; and his voice shook as he strove to make himself heard. His
words were drowned immediately by shouts of "Seize him! Seize the d--d
traitor!" "A pot and a coat of hot tar!"

Those who were nearest started forward, and I with them. With me 'twas
the decision of an instant. I beat the chandler up the steps, and took
stand in front of the merchant, and I called out to them to fall back.

To my astonishment they halted. The skirts of the crowd were now come to
the foot of the little porch. I faced them with my hand on Mr. Stewart's
arm, without a thought of what to do next, and expecting violence. There
was a second's hush. Then some one cried out:

"Three cheers for Richard Carvel!"

They gave them with a will that dumfounded me.

"My friends," said I, when I had got my wits, "this is neither the
justice nor the moderation for which our province is noted. You have
elected your committee of your free wills, and they have claims before
you."

"Ay, ay, the committee!" they shouted. "Mr. Carvel is right. Take him
to the Committee!"

Mr. Stewart raised his hand.

"My friends," he began, as I had done, "when you have learned the
truth, you will not be so hasty to blame me for an offence of which I am
innocent. The tea was not for me. The brig was in a leaky and dangerous
state and had fifty souls aboard her. I paid the duty out of humanity--"

He had come so far, when they stopped him.

"Oh, a vile Tory!" they shouted. "He is conniving with the Council.
'Twas put up between them." And they followed this with another volley
of hard names, until I feared that his chance was gone.

"You would best go before the Committee, Mr. Stewart," I said.

"I will go with Mr. Carvel, my friends," he cried at once. And he
invited me into the house whilst he ordered his coach. I preferred to
remain outside.

I asked them if they would trust me with Mr. Stewart to Church Street.

"Yes, yes, Mr. Carvel, we know you," said several. "He has good cause to
hate Tories," called another, with a laugh. I knew the voice.

"For shame, Weld," I cried. And I saw McNeir, who was a stanch friend of
mine, give him a cuff to send him spinning.

To my vast satisfaction they melted away, save only a few of the idlest
spirits, who hung about the gate, and cheered as we drove off. Mr.
Stewart was very nervous, and profuse in his gratitude. I replied that
I had acted only as would have any other responsible citizen. On the way
he told me enough of his case to convince me that there was much to be
said on his side, but I thought it the better part of wisdom not to
commit myself. The street in front of the committee rooms was empty, and
I was informed that a town meeting had been called immediately at the
theatre in West Street. And I advised Mr. Stewart to attend. But
through anxiety or anger, or both, he was determined not to go, and drove
back to his house without me.

I had got as far as St. Anne's, halfway to the theatre, when it suddenly
struck me that Mr. Swain must be waiting for news. With a twinge I
remembered what Mr. Chase had said about the barrister's condition, and I
hurried back to Gloucester Street, much to the surprise of those I met on
their way to the meeting. I was greatly relieved, when I arrived, to
find Patty on the porch. I knew she had never been there were her father
worse. After a word with her and her mother, I went up the stairs.

It was the hour for the barrister's nap. But he was awake, lying back
on the pillows, with his eyes half closed. He was looking out into the
garden, which was part orchard, now beginning to shrivel and to brown
with the first touch of frosts.

"That is you, Richard?" he inquired, without moving. "What is going
forward to-day?"

I toned down the news, so as not to excite him, and left out the
occurrence in Hanover Street. He listened with his accustomed interest,
but when I had done he asked no questions, and lay for a long time
silent. Then he begged me to bring my chair nearer.

"Richard,--my son," said he, with an evident effort, "I have never
thanked you for your devotion to me and mine through the best years of
your life. It shall not go unrewarded, my lad."

It seemed as if my heart stood still with the presage of what was to
come.

"May God reward you, sir!" I said.

"I have wished to speak to you," he continued, "and I may not have
another chance. I have arranged with Mr. Carroll, the barrister, to take
your cause against your uncle, so that you will lose nothing when I am
gone. And you will see, in my table in the library, that I have left my
property in your hands, with every confidence in your integrity, and
ability to care for my family, even as I should have done."

I could not speak at once. A lump rose in my throat, for I had come to
look upon him as a father. His honest dealings, his charity, of which
the world knew nothing, and his plain and unassuming ways had inspired
in me a kind of worship. I answered, as steadily as I might:

"I believe I am too inexperienced for such a responsibility, Mr. Swain.
Would it not be better that Mr. Bordley or Mr. Lloyd should act?"

"No, no," he said; "I am not a man to do things unadvisedly, or to let
affection get the better of my judgment, where others dear to me are
concerned. I know you, Richard Carvel. Scarce an action of yours has
escaped my eye, though I have said nothing. You have been through the
fire, and are of the kind which comes out untouched. You will have Judge
Bordley's advice, and Mr. Carroll's. And they are too busy with the
affairs of the province to be burdened as my executors. But," he added a
little more strongly, "if what I fear is coming, Mr. Bordley will take
the trust in your absence. If we have war, Richard, you will not be
content to remain at home, nor would I wish it."

I did not reply.

"You will do what I ask?" he said.

"I would refuse you nothing, Mr. Swain," I answered. "But I have heavy
misgivings."

He sighed. "And now, if it were not for Tom, I might die content," he
said.

If it were not for Tom! The full burden of the trust began to dawn upon
me then. Presently I heard him speaking, but in so low a voice that I
hardly caught the words.

"In our youth, Richard," he was saying, "the wrath of the Almighty is
but so many words to most of us. When I was little more than a lad, I
committed a sin of which I tremble now to think. And I was the fool to
imagine, when I amended my life, that God had forgotten. His punishment
is no heavier than I deserve. But He alone knows what He has made me
suffer."

I felt that I had no right to be there.

"That is why I have paid Tom's debts," he continued; "I cannot cast off
my son. I have reasoned, implored, and appealed in vain. He is like
Reuben,--his resolutions melt in an hour. And I have pondered day and
night what is to be done for him."

"Is he to have his portion?" I asked. Indeed, the thought of the
responsibility of Tom Swain overwhelmed me.

"Yes, he is to have it," cried Mr. Swain, with a violence to bring on a
fit of coughing. "Were I to leave it in trust for a time, he would have
it mortgaged within a year. He is to have his portion, but not a penny
additional."

He lay for a long time breathing deeply, I watching him. Then, as he
reached out and took my hand, I knew by some instinct what was to come.
I summoned all my self-command to meet his eye. I knew that the
malicious and unthinking gossip of the town had reached him, and
that he had received it in the simple faith of his hopes.

"One thing more, my lad," he said, "the dearest wish of all--that you
will marry Patty. She is a good girl, Richard. And I have thought,"
he added with hesitation, "I have thought that she loves you, though her
lips have never opened on that subject."

So the blow fell. I turned away, for to save my life the words would not
come. He missed the reason of my silence.

"I understand and honour your scruples," he went on. His kindness was
like a knife.

"No, I have had none, Mr. Swain," I exclaimed. For I would not be
thought a hypocrite.

There I stopped. A light step sounded in the hall, and Patty came in
upon us. Her colour at once betrayed her understanding. To my infinite
relief her father dropped my fingers, and asked cheerily if there was any
news from the town meeting.

On the following Wednesday, with her flag flying and her sails set, the
Peggy Stewart was run ashore on Windmill Point. She rose, a sacrifice to
Liberty, in smoke to heaven, before the assembled patriots of our city.

That very night a dear friend to Liberty passed away. He failed so
suddenly that Patty had no time to call for aid, and when the mother had
been carried in, his spirit was flown. We laid him high on the hill
above the creek, in the new lot he had bought and fenced around. The
stone remains:

                HERE LIETH

            HENRY SWAIN, BARRISTER.
            BORN MAY 13, 1730 (O.S.);
             DIED OCTOBER 19, 1774.
           Fidus Amicis atque Patrice.

The simple inscription, which speaks volumes to those who knew him, was
cut after the Revolution. He was buried with the honours of a statesman,
which he would have been had God spared him to serve the New Country
which was born so soon after his death.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Richard Carvel — Volume 07" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home