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Title: The Cavaliers of Virginia, vol. 1 of 2 - or, The Recluse of Jamestown; An historical romance of the Old Dominion
Author: Caruthers, William A. (Alexander), 1802-1843
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                      THE CAVALIERS OF VIRGINIA,


               AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE OF THE OLD DOMINION.

                        BY WILLIAM A. CARUTHERS

               THE AUTHOR OF "THE KENTUCKIAN IN NEW-YORK."


    IN TWO VOLUMES.
    VOL. I.

    NEW-YORK:
    PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS,
    NO. 82 CLIFF-STREET,
    AND SOLD BY THE PRINCIPAL BOOKSELLERS THROUGHOUT
    THE UNITED STATES.
    1834.


Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1834, by HARPER &
BROTHERS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern
District of New-York.



THE CAVALIERS OF VIRGINIA.



CHAPTER I.


The romance of history pertains to no human annals more strikingly than
to the early settlement of Virginia. The mind of the reader at once
reverts to the names of Raleigh, Smith, and Pocahontas. The traveller's
memory pictures in a moment the ivy-mantled ruin of old Jamestown.

About the year 16--, the city of Jamestown, then the capital of
Virginia, was by no means an unapt representation of the British
metropolis; both being torn by contending factions, and alternately
subjected to the sway of the Roundheads and Royalists.

First came the Cavaliers who fled hither after the decapitation of their
royal master and the dispersion of his army, many of whom became
permanent settlers in the town or colony, and ever afterwards influenced
the character of the state.

These were the first founders of the aristocracy which prevails in
Virginia to this day; these were the immediate ancestors of that
generous, fox-hunting, wine-drinking, duelling and reckless race of men,
which gives so distinct a character to Virginians wherever they may be
found.

A whole generation of these Cavaliers had grown up in the colony during
the interregnum, and, throughout that long period, were tolerated by
those in authority as a class of probationers. The Restoration was no
sooner announced, however, than they changed places with their late
superiors in authority. That stout old Cavalier and former governor, Sir
William Berkley (who had retired to the shades of Accomack,) was now
called by the unanimous voice of the people, to reascend the vice-regal
chair.

Soon after his second installation came another class of refugees, in
the persons of Cromwell's veteran soldiers themselves, a few of whom
fled hither on account of the distance from the court and the magnitude
of their offences against the reigning powers. It will readily be
perceived even by those not conversant with the primitive history of the
Ancient Dominion, that these heterogeneous materials of Roundheads and
Cavaliers were not the best calculated in the world to amalgamate in the
social circles.

Our story commences a short time after the death of Cromwell and his
son, and the restoration of Charles the Second to the throne of his
fathers.

The city of Jamestown was situated upon an island in the Powhatan, about
twenty leagues from where that noble river empties its waters into those
of the Chesapeake Bay.

This island is long, flat on its surface, and presents a semicircular
margin to the view of one approaching from the southeast; indeed it can
scarcely be seen that it is an island from the side facing the
river--the little branch which separates it from the main land having
doubtless worn its way around by a long and gradual process.

At the period of which we write, the city presented a very imposing and
romantic appearance, the landscape on that side of the river being
shaded in the back ground by the deep green foliage of impenetrable
forests standing in bold relief for many a mile against the sky. Near
the centre of the stream, and nearly opposite the one just mentioned,
stands another piece of land surrounded by water, known to this day by
the very unromantic name of Hog Island, and looking for all the world
like a nest for pirates, so impenetrable are the trees, undergrowth, and
shrubbery with which it is thickly covered.

To prevent the sudden incursions of the treacherous savage, the city was
surrounded with a wall or palisade, from the outside of which, at the
northwestern end, was thrown a wooden bridge, so as to connect the first
mentioned island with the main land. A single street ran nearly parallel
with the river, extending over the upper half of the island and divided
in the centre by the public square. On this were situated the Governor's
mansion, state house, church, and other public buildings. Near where the
line was broken by the space just mentioned, stood two spacious
tenements, facing each other from opposite sides of the street. These
were the rival hotels of the ancient city; and, after the fashion of
that day, both had towering signposts erected before their respective
doors, shaped something like a gibbet, upon which swung monotonously in
the wind two huge painted sign-boards. These stood confronting each
other like two angry rivals--one bearing the insignia of the Berkley
arms, by which name it was designated,--and the other the Cross Keys,
from which it also received its cognomen. The Berkley Arms was the
rendezvous of all the Cavaliers of the colony, both old and young, and
but a short time preceding the date of our story, was honoured as the
place of assembly for the House of Burgesses.

The opposite and rival establishment received its patronage from the
independent or republican faction.

It was late in the month of May, and towards the hour of twilight; the
sun was just sinking behind the long line of blue hills which form the
southwestern bank of the Powhatan, and the red horizontal rays fell
along the rich volume of swelling waters dividing the city of Jamestown
from the hills beyond with a line of dazzling yet not oppressive
brilliance.

As the rich tints upon the water gradually faded away, their place was
supplied in some small degree from large lanterns which now might be
seen running half way up the signposts of the two hotels before
mentioned, together with many lights of less magnitude visible in the
windows of the same establishments and the various other houses within
reflecting distance of the scene. The melancholy monotony of the
rippling and murmuring waters against the long graduated beach now also
began to give place to louder and more turbulent sounds, as the negroes
collected from their work to gossip in the streets--Indians put off from
the shore in their canoes, or the young Cavaliers collected in the
Berkley Arms to discuss the news of the day or perhaps a few bottles of
the landlord's best. On this occasion the long, well-scrubbed oaken
table in the centre of the "News Room" was graced by the presence of
some half dozen of the principal youths of the city. In the centre of
the table stood the half-emptied bottle, and by each guest a full bumper
of wine, and all were eager to be heard as the wine brightened their
ideas and the company received fresh accessions from without.

"Oh, here comes one who can give us some news from the Governor's," said
the speaker _pro tempore_, as a handsome and high-born youth of
twenty-one entered the room with a proud step and haughty mien, and
seated himself at the table as a matter of course, calling for and
filling up a wine glass, and leisurely and carelessly throwing his cap
upon the seat and his arm over the back of the next vacant chair, as he
replied--"No, I bring no news from the Governor's, but I mistake the
signs of the times if we do not soon hear news in this quarter."

All eyes were now turned upon the youth as he tossed off his wine. He
was generally known among his companions by the familiar name of Frank
Beverly, and was a distant kinsman and adopted son of the Governor, Sir
William Berkley. News was no sooner mentioned than our host, turning a
chair upon its balance, and resting his chin upon his hand, was all
attention.

"What is it, Frank?" inquired Philip Ludwell, his most intimate friend
and companion.

"Some mischief is brewing at the Cross Keys to-night," replied Frank, as
the landlord moved up his chair nearer to the table, more than ever on
the _qui vive_, when the Cross Keys became the subject of discussion.

"There is no one in the Tap of the Keys, as I can see from here," said
another of the party, "and there is no light in any other portion of the
house except the apartments of the family."

"They hide their lights under a bushel," continued Frank, with an
affected nasal twang and a smile of contempt. Taking his nearest
companion by the lappel of his doublet, and drawing him gently to where
the rival establishment was visible through the door--"Do you not see a
line of light just perceptible along the margin of the upper window? and
if you will observe steadily for a moment, you will see numerous dim
shadows of moving figures upon the almost impenetrable curtain which is
drawn over it."

"Master Beverly is right, by old Noll's nose," said the landlord, as
they all grouped together to catch a glimpse of the objects mentioned.

"You may well swear by Noll's nose in this case," returned Frank, "for
unless I am much mistaken, those motions and gestures proceed from some
of his late followers; indeed I know it. I was accidentally coming up
the alley-way between the Keys and the next house, when I saw four or
five of them cross the fence into the yard, and from thence enter the
house by the back door."

"That's true, I'll swear," said the host, "for there they are, some
dozen of them at least, and I'm a Rumper if a soul has darkened his
front door this night. But couldn't you, Master Beverly, or one of the
other young gentry, just step to the stout Sir William's, and make an
affidavy to the facts? My word for it, he'd soon be down upon 'em with a
fiery facias or a capias, or some such or another invention of the law."

The youths all burst into a loud cachinnation at the zeal of the
landlord to unmask his rival, and reseating themselves, called for
another bottle, which our friend of the Arms was not slow to produce, by
way of covering his retreat and hiding his disinterested zeal. As they
all refilled their glasses, Frank waved his hand for silence. "Has any
gentleman here seen Mr. Nathaniel Bacon very lately?"

"I have not--I have not," replied each of the party, and the
interrogator then continued, "I would give the best pair of spurs that
ever graced a Cavalier's heels to know whether his long absence has had
any thing to do with the getting up of yonder dark conclave?"

Whether any of the party were Bacon's immediate friends, or whether they
suspected Frank's motives in the case, we shall not undertake to
determine at present; but certain it is they were all silent on the
point except his intimate friend Ludwell, who replied--"By St. George,
Beverly, I believe you are jealous of Bacon on account of the favourable
light in which he is said to stand in the eyes of your fair little
mistress."

"If I thought that Virginia Fairfax would entertain a moment's
consideration for a person of such doubtful parentage and more doubtful
principles as Mr. Nathaniel Bacon, the ill-advised protegé of her
father, I would forswear her for ever, and dash this glass against the
floor, with which I now invite you all to join me in pledging her,--What
say you? Will you join me, one and all?" All rose at the invitation, and
while standing with glasses suspended midway to their lips, Ludwell
added the name of "the pretty Harriet Harrison." It was drunk with three
times three, and then the landlord was brought up by the collar of his
jerken between two of the liveliest of the party, and made to tell the
reckoning upon the table with his well-worn chalk. Having settled the
score, they proceeded to decant full half the remaining bottle into one
of his own pint flagons, seized from his shelves for that purpose. "Mine
host" made sundry equivocal contortions of the countenance, and
practised by anticipation several downward motions of the muscles of
deglutition, and then swallowed the enormous potation without a groan.

"There now," said Ludwell, "bear it always in your remembrance that a
like fate awaits you, whenever your wine bears evidence of having passed
rather far into the state of acetous fermentation." As the party were
now leaving the room in pairs, linked arm in arm, "Stop! stop!" cried
Beverly; "I have one proposition to make before we separate. It is this.
You know that there is to be a grand celebration the day after
to-morrow, which is the anniversary of the restoration. The whole to
conclude with a ball at the Governor's, to which I feel myself
authorized to say that you will all be invited. Now I propose that we
all go at different hours to-morrow and engage the hand of the fair
Virginia for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sets. So
that when Mr. Nathaniel Bacon returns, as he assuredly will, to claim
her hand, to which he seems to think he has a prescriptive right, he
will find no less than six different successful competitors. What say
you, gentlemen?"

The proposition was instantly acceded to by all the party, and then the
landlord of the Arms was left to digest the pint of his own sour wine in
solitude, as he leaned his overgrown person against the casings of the
door and watched the youths as they departed one by one in different
directions to their respective places of abode.

"Natty Bacon is a goodly youth, however," he muttered in soliloquy; "ha,
ha, ha; but he shall know of the plot if I can only clap eyes on him
before they see the young lady. Let me see; can it be possible that
Natty can have any thing to do with yonder dark meeting of Noll's men?
I'll not believe it; he is too good a youth to meddle with such a
canting, snivelling set as are congregated there. He always pays his
reckoning like any gentleman's son of them all; and a gentleman's son
I'll warrant he is, for all that no one knows his father but Mr. Gideon
Fairfax."

The Cromwellians alluded to, who were supposed by the youths to be
assembled at the Cross Keys, were a few of the late Protector's veteran
soldiers, and were the most desperate, reckless and restless of the
republicans who, as has been already mentioned, had fled to Jamestown
after the restoration. These soldiers were unfitted for any kind of
business, and generally lived upon the precarious hospitality of those
of their own party who had settled themselves as industrious citizens of
the new community.

The names of the leaders of these veteran soldiers and furious bigots
were Berkinhead, Worley, Goodenough and Proudfit; and of these the
reader will hear more anon.



CHAPTER II.


Late in the afternoon of the day succeeding the one designated in the
last chapter, towards the southwestern extremity of the beach and
outside of the palisade, a young and gentle creature, of most surpassing
loveliness, moved thoughtfully along the sandy shore, every now and then
casting a wistful glance over the water, and as often heaving a gentle
sigh, as a shade of girlish disappointment settled upon her blooming
face. Her dress was simple, tasteful, and exquisitely appropriate to her
style of beauty. She had apparently scarce passed her sixteenth
birthday; and of course her figure was not yet rounded out to its full
perfection of female loveliness. So much of her neck as was visible
above a rather high and close cut dress, was of that pure, chaste and
lovely white which gives such an air of heavenly innocence to the
budding girl of that delightful age. The face although exceeding the
neck in the height, variety and richness of its colouring, was not
disfigured by a single freckle, scar or blemish. The features were
generally well proportioned and suited to each other, the lips full and
gently pouting, with a margin of as luxurious tinting as that with which
nature ever adorned the first budding rose of spring, and when parted,
as they often were, by the most gentle and _naïve_ laughter, displayed
a set of teeth beautifully white and regular. Yet one could scarcely
fasten the eye upon them for the admiration excited by the exquisite
expression of the dimpled mouth, ever varying, and as it seemed, more
lovely with each succeeding change. The motion of her eyes was so rapid
that it was difficult to ascertain their colour; but certain it is they
were soft and brilliant, the latter effect produced in no small degree
by long fair dewy lashes which rose and fell over the picture, as lights
and shadows fall from the pencil of an inspired painter.

The fair flaxen ringlets fell beneath the small gipsey hat in short
thick curls, and were clustered around her brow, so as to form the most
natural and appropriate shade imaginable to a forehead of polished
ivory. She was about the medium height, symmetrically proportioned, with
an exquisitely turned ankle and little foot, which _now_ bounded over
the beach with an impatience only surpassed by her own impetuous
thoughts, as her eyes became intently riveted upon a moving speck upon
the distant waters. The wild and startled expression, excited in the
first moment of surprise, might now be seen merging into one of perfect
satisfaction, as the distant object began to grow into distinct outlines
at every plunge of the buoyant waves; her heart heaving its own little
current to her face in perfect unison with their boisterous movements.

A beautifully painted canoe soon ran its curled and fantastic head right
under the bank upon which she stood, and in the next moment a gallant
and manly youth leaped upon the shore by her side, and taking her
unresisting hand, gently removed the gipsey hat so as to bring into view
a certain crimsoning of the neck and half averted face. Nathaniel Bacon,
the youth just landed, was about twenty-one, and altogether presented an
appearance of the most attractive and commanding character. He wore a
green hunting jerken, buttoned close up to his throat so as to show off
to the best advantage a broad and manly chest. Upon his head was a broad
brimmed unstiffened castor, falling over his shoulders behind, and
looped up in front by a curiously wrought broach.

A small brass hunting horn swung beneath one shoulder, while to the
other was suspended a short cut and thrust sword. In his hand he bore a
fishing rod and tackle.

Few as evidently were his years, much painful thought had already
shadowed his handsome and commanding features with a somewhat precocious
maturity. It was obviously, however, not the natural temperament of the
man which now shone out in his features, after the subsiding of the
first glow of delighted feeling visible for an instant as he watched the
heightened bloom on the countenance of the maiden.

"You were not irreconcilably offended then at my rash and disrespectful
behaviour to your father at our last meeting?"

"Certainly not irreconcilably so, Nathaniel, if offended at all; but I
will confess to you candidly, that I was hurt and mortified, as much on
your own, as on my father's account."

"You are always kind, considerate and forgiving, Virginia, and it
behooves me in presence of so much gentleness, to ease my conscience in
some measure by a confession. You have sometimes, but I have never,
forgotten that I was thrown upon your father's hospitality an orphan and
an outcast. This fact constantly dwells upon my mind, and sometimes
harrows up my feelings to such a degree that I am scarcely conscious of
my words or actions. It was so on the occasion alluded to. I forgot your
presence, the respect due to your father and my benefactor, as well as
what was due to myself. I had been endeavouring to revive some of the
drunken reminiscences of that eccentric fellow who sits in the canoe
there, but they tended only to inflame my ardent desire to know
something more of myself. Certainly some allowances must be made for me,
Virginia, under the mortifying circumstances in which I am placed. I
thought your father could and ought to relieve this cruel suspense!"

"He will if he can, Nathaniel; and that he does not do so immediately,
is the best evidence to my mind either that he knows nothing on the
subject, or that some powerful reason exists why he should not disclose
his knowledge at present. Come, then, return with me to our house; my
father will take no notice of your absence or its cause, unless to jest
with you upon your want of success in your fishing expedition, which it
seems was the ostensible motive of your absence."

"It was my purpose to return, but I had not so amiably settled the how
and the when; indeed the objects I had in view were so urgent that I
determined to brave even your father's continued anger in order to
obtain an interview with you."

"With me, Nathaniel!"

"Ay, with you, Virginia! You know that there are on the island some
restless and turbulent spirits--late soldiers of the Protector. They
have some dangerous project brewing I am well satisfied, from
circumstances which accidentally fell under my own observation. You know
too that the Recluse is said to have unbounded influence with these
desperate men, and to be familiar with all their designs and movements.
And notwithstanding your childish dread of him, you know that he loves
you more than any living creature."

"I know all the things you speak of, except the last, and for that I
suspect I am indebted to your imagination; but to what does all this
lead?"

"I have just returned from a visit to that strange and mysterious old
man, and as I have already hinted, hastened hither for the purpose of
seeking an interview with you, which fortune has so opportunely thrown
in my way."

"But I am yet in the dark. Why did you hasten from the Recluse to me,
after discovering the things you speak of?"

"I will tell you; but you must be cool, calm and considerate while I do
so, because I have that to tell and that to propose which will astound
you!"

"Oh do tell it at once then, and not play upon my feelings thus."

"Your father's and your uncle's life is in danger, Virginia! Heaven,
what have I done?" he continued, as he saw his companion turn deadly
pale and lean against the palisade for support. But instantly recovering
herself she asked--

"Whence does this danger come?"

"That I do not know exactly; but the Recluse knows, and I have been
vainly endeavouring to learn it from him; and this brings me to the
proposition which I have to make. You must visit him this night! 'Ay,
Virginia! start not, you must do it for your father's and your uncle's
sake!"

"Visit the Recluse, and at night! What will my parents say to it, think
you?"

"They must not know one word of it."

"Then it is absolutely out of the question."

"Do not say so, Virginia, till you hear me out. As I have already said,
the Recluse loves you better than he does any creature in the colony. He
knows all the plots and counterplots that are going on, and if you will
surprise him with a visit to-night, he will divulge the whole affair to
you."

"Why must it be to-night?"

"Because there is no time to be lost. To-morrow is the anniversary of
the Restoration. There is to be a grand celebration during the day, and
a ball at night; this opportunity is to be taken advantage of in some
way or other by the desperate men alluded to. If we wait till to-morrow,
and make our visit publicly, these men will all know of it, and its very
object be counteracted by that circumstance."

"Your reasons are plausible I confess, Nathaniel, and secret enemies are
at all times dreadful, but your alternative is scarcely less so."

"I will pledge my life for your safety. You have the keys of your
father's house at command, you can go and return through the servants'
hall when they are all asleep. No sentinels are placed on the walls
since the general peace with the confederated tribes of Indians. My
canoe lies under the first abutment of the bridge. I will watch you from
your father's door till you arrive there. We can then cross the creek in
the canoe, so that no one will see us at the bridge. Brian O'Reily shall
wait on the opposite shore with my horse and pillion for you, and
another for himself. What then is there so much to be dreaded in this
simple nocturnal excursion to a retired old man, who, to say the worst
of him, is nothing more than fanatical on religious subjects, and
certainly he is very wise and learned upon all others."

"It is the clandestine nature of the expedition that I object to,
Nathaniel; it is so hurried--at such a strange hour too. At all events I
must have a little time to consider of the propriety of the step."

"Certainly, you shall have as much time as the nature of the case will
admit of. But see, the long shadows of the trees are already extending
across the river and the birds are seeking their resting places for the
night."

"Oh, happy little songsters! would to Heaven that my rest could be as
sweet and tranquil as theirs this night? But Nathaniel, at what hour
shall I meet you at the bridge, provided I determine upon the step you
propose?"

"As the clock from the tower of the church strikes eleven I will be at
my post." And as he stepped into his canoe, he continued, "Remember,
Virginia, that it is your own peace and your father's safety that I am
endeavouring to secure in the course I urge you to adopt."

As the little vessel rose and sunk over the swelling waves in its
passage round the town, Virginia stood on the brink of the river and
gazed upon the scene in a deeply meditative mood, very new to her young
and hitherto careless heart. At length when her late companion had long
disappeared from her sight, and the sombre shadows of evening were fast
closing around the ancient city, she slowly passed into the gates of the
palisade and sought her father's dwelling.



CHAPTER III.


Violent was the struggle of contending emotions within the bosom of
Virginia Fairfax, when she had gained her own apartment, and strove to
form her determination in the matter proposed by Nathaniel Bacon. On
such occasions feeling usurps the place of reason, and the longer we
deliberate, the more perplexing seem to grow our doubts and
difficulties. If, however, there were powerful feelings contending
against the enterprise, there were equally if not more powerful ones
operating in its favour. Not the least among these was the estimation in
which she held both him who proposed the nocturnal expedition and him
whose advice and aid were expected to be gained. Bacon himself, it was
generally believed, had acquired most of his knowledge of books from the
mysterious personage alluded to, and he in his turn had been the
instructer of his fair young associate and playmate. It is true that
these relations of the several parties had somewhat changed of late
years, as the two younger ones approached the age at which their
continuance might be deemed improper, to say nothing of any little
misgivings of which, they might themselves be conscious, as to the
nature of many strange and novel impressions, the growth of years and
intimacy, perhaps, but not suspected until with advancing years came
change of relative situation and prospect for the future.

All the various relations of our heroine to the other parties presented
themselves in successive aspects to her view, as she endeavoured
honestly to decide the matter according to the dictates of duty. While
she was thus deliberating, the usual evening meal was announced. As she
entered the apartment, and beheld her father and mother waiting for her
to assume the head of the table, which on account of the latter's
delicate health had been her custom of late, all the contending emotions
which had so lately occupied her mind were renewed with increasing force
by the sight of the beloved objects in whose behalf she was solicited to
undertake the strange adventure.

Gideon Fairfax, the father of Virginia, was one of the Cavaliers, before
alluded to, who fled to Jamestown during the interregnum. He was
brother-in-law to the Governor of the colony, and was, at the time of
which we write, a member of the council. He was one of that remarkable
race of men which has so powerfully influenced the destinies of the
Ancient Dominion from that day to the present. He was rather above the
medium height, with light hair and eyes, and although he had
considerably passed the prime of life, there was a sparkling of boyish
vivacity in his eyes, and a cheerful expression always hovering about
his mouth, which instantly dispelled any thing like formality in his
intercourse with others. Yet withal there was a bold, reckless daring
in his look, together with an open-hearted sincerity which served to
give a manly dignity to the lighter expressions already mentioned. To
his only daughter he was most devotedly attached.

Mrs. Emily Fairfax seemed about the same age as her husband, and though
she still preserved some evidence of former beauty, her countenance was
now mostly indebted for any charm that it possessed to a mild, lady-like
and placid serenity, which was occasionally shadowed by an air of
melancholy so profound, that more than once her friends were alarmed for
her reason. As Virginia assumed her place at the board, the conflict in
her mind was in nowise subdued by observing that one of these melancholy
visitations was just settling upon her mother's countenance; indeed
there seemed to be a mutual discovery on the part of mother and
daughter, that each had some secret cause of uneasiness; but the effect
was by far the most painful to the mother's heart, as it was the first
time that she had ever seen her daughter's gay and happy temperament
seriously disturbed. The parting hour for the night arrived, without
making either of them wiser as to the cause of the other's
pre-occupation and evident anxiety; the mother having sought an
explanation in vain, and the daughter being too much accustomed to her
present state of mind to intrude farther upon her sorrows, whatever
might be their cause or nature. Bacon's arguments prevailed, and long
before the hour appointed, Virginia was sitting at the window, her light
extinguished, mantle drawn close around her to exclude the damp air from
the river, and her hat tied on in readiness for the expedition.

At length the town clock began to send its slow and solemn sounds across
the water. The house was still and dark, and the inmates apparently
wrapped in profound slumber. Her own clandestine movements, so new to
her, seemed like the trampling of armed heels rather than the footfalls
of her own slight figure. More than once she was on the point of
retracing her steps, so tumultuous and painful were her emotions in
prosecuting an adventure which still appeared to her of such
questionable propriety. The servants' hall, garden, and postern gate
were all passed without the slightest interruption, save an occasional
start at her own shadow, or the impetuous beating of her agitated heart.
The moon was at her zenith, and the clouds coursing high in the heavens,
so as every now and then to obscure her reflected beams, and present
alternate and fantastic contrasts of light and shade upon the
surrounding objects. The river for one moment looked like a dark abyss,
and the next a mirror of light as the silver rays fell sparkling upon
the rippling waters beneath the bridge. The interminable forest beyond
was at one moment dark as Erebus, and the next as light as fairy land.
There is no appearance of the heavens, perhaps, which produces a
greater tendency in the mind to undefined and superstitious terror than
that which we have attempted to describe. Our own shadow, visible as it
is only for an instant, will startle us; and the ill-omened birds of
night acquire huge and unnatural proportions as they flit swiftly by on
noiseless wings in this rapid alternation of light and gloom. The wolves
and other beasts of prey might be heard at long intervals, as their wild
and savage howls broke upon the ear, reverberating from cliff to cliff
as they fell upon and were borne across the water. Under these
circumstances it may be readily imagined that our heroine was not a
little relieved at the sight of Bacon leaning against the nearest
abutment of the bridge, anxiously watching for her approach. In a few
moments he had seated his companion in the boat, upon a cushion formed
of his cloak, and was rapidly approaching the opposite shore. When they
arrived at the appointed rendezvous, a very unexpected source of
uneasiness was speedily discovered. As has been already intimated, Bacon
had early in the evening despatched his usual attendant, Brian O'Reily,
across the bridge to wait their arrival. The horses were indeed
there--and O'Reily was there, but so intoxicated as to be apparently in
no condition to guide the motions of a horse, even should he be able to
keep the saddle. Bacon lost all patience at this discovery, and would
perhaps have taken summary and not very agreeable means to sober his
attendant, had he not been reminded by his gentle companion of the
peculiar and privileged position which Brian had from time immemorial
enjoyed in his service, as well as that of their own family. "How comes
it, sir," said the young man, "that I find you in this predicament when
I gave you such strict injunctions to keep yourself sober? Now of all
other times!--when I had taken so much trouble to instruct you whom you
were to guard, and upon what expedition?"

"By the five crasses, but you've hit the very nail upon the head. By the
contints of the book but that's the very rason I took a dhrop of the
crathur!"

"What is the reason, you drunken old fool?"

"The business were an to be sure! you wouldn't be after axing a sinner
like Brian O'Reily to ixpose himself to sich a temptation widout taking
a dhrop, and may be your haner would do that same for all your spaking
aginst it so intirely."

"And what may the nature of the temptation be of which you speak?"

"And is it Brian you're after axin? O begorra, but that's runnin away
wid the story intirely, so it is; sure it's me should be axin your haner
after that same!"

"None of your subterfuges, sir! I am determined to know your ideas of
this dreadful temptation."

"By my purty an is it Brian's idaas you're axin after, divil a miny o'
them he's got any way, barrin a small bit of a smotherin about the
heart whenever I think of the business we're on, and the gintleman
we're goin to see, savin your prisence and the beauty o' the world by
your side."

"What gentleman--speak out and I will forgive your drunkenness, provided
you give me up that bottle I see peeping from the pouch of your jerkin."

"An is'nt it the man widout the shadow you're after making a tay party
wid?"

"And who is the man without a shadow, Brian?" inquired Virginia, willing
to forget her own misgivings in the more ludicrous superstition of the
son of the Emerald Isle, whose countrymen, it may be remarked, formed no
inconsiderable part of the inferior population of the city at that day.

"Oh bad cess to me, but I'm as glad to see you as two tin pinnies, you
beauty o' the world; but it bates all the love I had for you and ever
had these ten years past to see where you'r going."

"Well, where is it, Brian?"

"Hav'nt I tould your ladyship it was to a tay party wid the inimy
himself."

"Come, see if you can assist Virginia to the pillion," said Bacon, as he
sprang into the saddle.

"By my purty and I'll do that same;" kneeling upon one knee and taking
one foot in his hand, and then seating her as easily and gracefully as
if he had been a stranger to the bottle for a month.

"I had no idea that you were such a coward, Brian," continued his
master.

"Sorra a dhrop o' coward's blood runs in Brian O'Reily's heart, iny way.
It's one thing to trate the grate inimy with dacent respect, and its
another to fight the yellow nagres that go dodgin from tree to tree like
so many frogs; the devil fly away wid the one and the t'other o' them
for me, I say."

"And who is the great enemy?"

"Sure hav'nt I tould your haner and the beauty o' the world by your
side, it was the man widout a shadow what lives in the stone house
widout windows, as well he may, seein the light o' his own counthenance
may be seen across the river the darkest night any day."

"Sit your horse straight, you drunken piece of stupidity, or you will
break your neck."

"Oh! an if Brian never breaks his neck till he falls from a horse, sure
he'll live to take many a dhrop of the crathur yet before he dies. Sure
I was only crassin myself, divil a word o' lie's in that, iny way."

"There, I have broken one of your necks at least," said Bacon, as with
the butt of his riding whip he struck the neck from a bottle which every
now and then peeped from Brian's pocket as the motions of the horse
raised him in the saddle.

"Oh! murther all out, but you'll come to want yet before you die. Oh
sure, but the crathur's safe after all. Wo, ye divil of a baste, don't
you hear the crathur all runnin down the wrang side o' me. Wo, I say! Oh
but the bottle sticks as tight to the pouch as if it growed there. Oh
murther all out, I'm ruined, I'm ruined intirely."

"Draw your arm from your jerken, Brian, and then you can drink out of
your pocket," said Virginia, suppressing a laugh.

"Oh you beauty o' the world, see what it is to have the larnin," replied
the Irishman, immediately adopting the expedient; but here a new
difficulty presented itself. "Oh murther, but the gable end's all
knocked off and fax the chimney went along with it. Oh, but the crokery
sticks up all round like pike staffs. Wo you murthur'n baste; Now I've
got it, now I've got it, you beauty; sorra one of the lane cows at
Jamestown gives sich milk as that, fax if they did, I'd be head dairyman
to the Governor any way."

Thus our adventurers beguiled the way through a dreary and trackless
forest of some miles, until they approached a spot where Bacon signified
to the party that they had accomplished so much of their journey as was
to be performed on horseback. What farther befell them will be described
in the ensuing chapter.



CHAPTER IV.


Bacon and his companion having left O'Reily with the horses, now
commenced descending an immense hill which formed one side of a dark and
dismal looking glen. The tall pine trees with which the higher grounds
were covered seemed to reach half way to the clouds. A cold midnight
breeze swept through the damp and dewy foliage of the trees and
shrubbery. The birds of night chimed mournfully and dismally in unison
with the monotonous rustling of the leaves, and the rippling of a little
brook just before them. When they had stepped across the stream, and
cast their eyes up the face of the opposite hill, the rays of the moon
suddenly broke through a fissure of the clouds, revealing to them rather
the darkness around than any distinct traces of the path which they were
to pursue. Bacon stood for an instant, and gazed intently upon a little
spot of partially cleared ground half way to the summit, then gently
drawing his companion to the same place where he stood, and pointing
upwards, he said "Do you not perceive something moving yonder? It is he!
you must now proceed alone!"

"Alone, Nathaniel? Impossible!"

"You must, Virginia; he will not admit more than one person at a time
within his cell. Fear not there is no earthly danger; I will be within
call. Rouse your drooping courage! the worst half of your undertaking is
now accomplished."

"By far the worst half is yet to come, Nathaniel; you can form no
conception of the awe with which I look upon that being! You forget that
I have never seen more of him than I see now, notwithstanding you say
that he is so much attached to me."

"It is strange, I confess Virginia, but it is nevertheless true."

"His affection, if it exists, must be the fruit of your representations
as to some imaginary proficiency in my studies."

"Not at all; he seems to know every one in Jamestown, and all the
circumstances connected with their history: but come, Virginia, we are
losing precious time. Move on and fear nothing."

Clasping her hands, and internally summoning up all her resolution, she
advanced with a sort of desperate determination. Having arrived within
some forty yards of the spot before alluded to, the outlines of a
gigantic figure could easily be discerned as his footfalls were
distinctly heard moving restlessly to and fro on a sort of platform or
level space, left by nature or formed by art, in the side of the hill.
His head towered far above the stunted undergrowth, interspersed among
the rugged outlines of the scene. And as he impatiently measured the
narrow limits of this outer court to his castle, he seemed not unlike a
chafed and hungry monarch of the forest when making the narrow rounds of
his iron bound limits. Having gone thus far, she was sensible that it
was nearly as bad to recede as go forward, and that if she retreated now
upon the very eve of the fulfilment of all that Bacon had promised, her
past anxieties would have been endured for nothing: she braced her
nerves therefore, and endeavoured to subdue the overpowering terror
which the distant view of this strange and mysterious man had excited.
Summoning all her resolution for one desperate effort, she threw herself
forward and fell at the feet of the huge mortal, who stood apparently
astounded at the abrupt appearance of his unwonted and untimely visiter.
When Virginia found courage enough to raise her lately closed eyes, she
was not a little astonished to see him leaning against the stone walls
of his cell, no less agitated than herself. He was apparently about
sixty years of age, his hair slightly silvered, and his features worn
and weatherbeaten, yet eminently handsome. His person was very
remarkable, being about six feet and a half in height and perfectly
proportioned. His dress conformed in some degree to the military
fashions of the day, having however rather the appearance of undress
than full uniform. The expression of his countenance was decidedly
intellectual; and about the lower part of his face there were some
indications of a disposition to sensuality, but tempered and controlled
in no ordinary degree by some other fierce and controlling passion. His
eye was wild and unsettled at times, and again assumed the mild serenity
of the profound student. Altogether, his presence was intellectual and
commanding in the highest degree.

As he stood against the wall of his cell quaking like an aspen, an
indifferent observer would have been at a loss to determine which was
the most agitated, he or his gentle visiter. Virginia noted with more
than one furtive glance his strange and unexpected embarrassment, still
however, preserving her humble and supplicating posture. At length,
struggling with the emotions which unmanned him, muttering all the while
broken sentences which fell strangely upon her ear, and among which she
could distinguish repeated allusions to herself, and to events of long
passed years, recalled as it appeared by some fancied resemblance traced
by his excited imagination in her form and features. He approached the
kneeling maiden, and taking her hand, he raised her from the ground, and
said in a tone of kindness, "My wayward fancies frighten thee, my child;
be not alarmed, however--there is nothing here to harm thee. My house is
poor and cheerless, but such as it is, thou art welcome to its shelter,
and to any services which I can render to thee. Come, my daughter, let
us in from the damps of the night."

The cell of the Recluse was formed on three sides by stone walls without
windows, as O'Reily had described them, the fourth being furnished by
the side of the hill, and the roof an arch of masonry overgrown with
moss, grass and weeds.[1]

[Footnote 1: A house very similar to that we have described stands to
this day near the Ancient City. Its former objects and uses are entirely
unknown.]

Pressing open the rude door, he entered, followed by Virginia. Near one
corner of the room stood a common deal table, on which was placed a
small iron lamp, and near to it a three legged stool of the rudest
construction. These were the only articles of furniture of which the
apartment could boast. The floor, which consisted of the earth, as
nature had made it, was overgrown with weeds and bushes. "This," said
he, with a bitter smile upon his countenance, "is my hall of audience!
Here I receive my guests, with one solitary exception; thou shalt be
another." Having thus spoken, he took the lamp from the table, and
drawing aside some dried bushes which were piled against the side formed
by the hill in apparent carelessness, he exhibited to her view the mouth
of a cavern, not sufficient in height by several feet to admit his
person in the erect position. "This," said he as he stooped to enter,
"is not a house made with hands, and it is built upon a rock of ages.
The rains may descend, floods may come, winds blow and beat upon it, but
it falleth not. It is proper that thou shouldst see it, and such has
long been my intention. I have much to say to thee, and doubtless thou
hast something to communicate to me, or thou wouldst not have made this
visit. But not a whisper of what thou mayst see or hear must ever pass
thy lips, save to those I shall authorize thee to make partakers of thy
knowledge. This is a condition which thou must impress upon thy mind."
Stepping in a bent position within the mouth of the cavern, he moved
forward and downward, motioning her to follow. They descended many rude
and natural steps, which were imperfectly seen by the light of the lamp
borne by her singular guide, the rays being often obscured by the bulk
and great height of his person in the narrow passages of the cave, so
that she was more than once compelled to grope her way by sliding her
hand along the cold damp and dripping walls, and by slipping her feet
over the uneven ground, without raising them in the act of stepping.
Having completed the descent, she found herself in a long natural
vestibule to the inner apartments. Her guide had gained rapidly upon
her, so that when once more upon level ground, some thirty feet below
the outer surface of the earth, he was almost out of sight. She would
have cried out, had she not been restrained by a counteracting feeling,
which placed her in a grievous dilemma between horror at the dismal
place, and fear of the singular being who had undertaken to guide her
through its recesses. Commending herself however to her Maker in mental
prayer, and trusting in his protection the more confidently on account
of the motive for her undertaking, she hastened forward so as with great
exertions to keep within sight of the rising and sinking light of the
lamp, and the devious windings of the cavern. The footfalls of her
Herculean guide reëchoed along the damp and gloomy tunnels with an awful
and dismal effect, amidst the grave-like stillness of the place.
Occasionally flickering shadows were reflected against the walls, when
the light turned suddenly round a projecting rock, affording to her
imagination the most startling and frightful images. While her mind was
combatting these unreal terrors, she was surprised by the tone of a deep
hoarse voice abruptly rumbling through the high dark arches far above
her head, with that reverberating sound peculiar to these secret places
of the earth. But her amazement was still greater, when lifting her eyes
in the direction of the lamp she beheld the Recluse standing upon a
lofty but narrow ledge of rock, the lamp flickering and sinking every
now and then so as to threaten total darkness. He was pointing with his
finger, and directing her to a projecting and winding pathway by which
she must ascend to the platform upon which he stood. This once gained,
she had a complete view of the resting place of her mysterious guide.

Immediately fronting the platform was a natural doorway, about as high
as her own head, leading into the inner chamber. From the high and
vaulted arches hung thousands of the fantastic creations of hoary time,
and from the centre of these a cord swung into the middle of the area,
to which was suspended a burning lamp, the rays of which were
brilliantly reflected from a thousand shining mirrors of nature's
forming. In one corner she discovered, as they entered, several pieces
of firearms, and against the wall on one side hung huge swords, long
enough for two-handed weapons to ordinary mortals, together with Indian
war clubs, moccasins, wampum, pipes, tomahawks, spears, arrows, and
other implements of savage warfare. In another corner stood a rude
bedstead, evidently constructed by the hands of its nightly occupant, a
small table, two or three chairs, and a few culinary articles,--some the
manufacture of the savages, and others the product of civilized
ingenuity. By far the largest part of one side of the room was occupied
by coarsely constructed shelves, bearing many volumes of the most
venerable appearance. One of these was lying open upon the table, a pair
of horn spectacles upon the page to mark the place where the owner had
last been engaged. The very letters in which it was printed were entire
strangers to the eyes of our heroine. Some thirty yards distant, in the
remotest part of the room, a little furnace diffused a narrow circle of
glowing light through its otherwise gloomy precincts. These completed
the establishment, so far as the eye could discover its arrangement.

When he had led Virginia into the habitable part of this area, he placed
a chair, and motioned for her to be seated, drawing a stool near the
table at the same time for himself, and resting his head upon the palm
of his hand. "I will not affect ignorance of thy name and person, my
daughter, nor yet of thy errand here. The first I should most certainly
have known, if I had not surmised the last. Alas! my child, thou wilt
think no doubt that I speak in riddles when I tell thee that those
features have been engraven upon the heart of one who has forsworn the
world for many a long and irksome year. Thou mayest well look amazed, my
poor bewildered child, but it is true! I cannot explain it to thee now,
however; some day perhaps thou mayest know all. Oh, if thou couldst
imagine what events must take place in this little isolated world around
Jamestown, before the mysteries of which I speak can rightfully be made
clear to thee, thou wouldst fall upon thy knees and pray that such
disastrous knowledge might never come to thy understanding!"

As his eye rested from time to time, while he spoke, upon the features
of the beautiful girl, he covered his face with his hands, and seemed
for an instant to give way to an agitation similar to that which
unnerved him at her first appearance on the platform. Occasionally too,
when not speaking himself, he became profoundly abstracted for a moment,
and his eye was wild and restless, and not a little alarming to his
gentle visiter, as it ever and anon fell upon herself, and seemed to
gather in her face the solution of some subtle doubt of his troubled
mind. But observing that his glances, wild as they were, always became
humanized and softened as they rested upon her face, she seized the
first opportunity to complete the object of her journey, not well
knowing how it might terminate, being herself ignorant of its especial
object, and indeed of the very nature of the threatened danger.

"Father, I came here to seek your aid and protection for those who are
near and dear to me; My honoured parents--my mother"--she would have
proceeded, but at the mention of her mother's name he was seized with
such a convulsive shudder that she paused in astonishment. It seemed as
if the hand of death was already laying its cold grasp upon his vitals.
His eye gleamed wildly--his lips trembled, and his hands shook as one
stricken with the palsy, or overwhelmed by some sudden stroke of
calamity. By a desperate effort of resolution, he speedily resumed his
attention to the discourse, and she proceeded: "I have been advised and
urged in my resort to this step by one not unknown to you, under the
vain hope, I fear, that you were cognizant of some threatened danger to
my dear parents and kindred, and that you would communicate the
knowledge to me rather than to him."

"As I have already said, my daughter, I surmised that something of this
nature was the object of thy visit, and I will now confess to thee that
this appeal places me in an embarrassing position between some friends
of former and better days and my desire to grant thy request." Pausing
and apparently soliloquizing, he continued: "But have they not acted
against my advice? Did I not tell them, that we had had enough of that
already? Did I not warn them against this very result? I cannot betray
them, however; no, no, my old comrades, I will give you another warning,
and then your blood, if it must flow, be upon your own heads." He was
about to resume his discourse to his visiter, but stopping suddenly and
raising his finger in the attitude of one listening in the profoundest
attention, he seized the small lamp, rushed past the little furnace in
the direction of the cave through the hill opposite the entrance, at one
time rising and anon descending, until Virginia (who had followed,
fearing to be left alone) supposed they must be again near the surface
of the earth. He paused once more to listen, motioning her at the same
time to be silent. He had scarcely done so, when the distant sound of
running water struck upon her ear,--sometimes distinct, and again as if
buried in the bowels of the earth. Then came the noise as of a stone
splashing in the water. The eye of the Recluse sparkled as he turned
with a quick and expressive glance towards his companion. He hastily
applied his ear to the rocky side of the cavern and listened for a
second, then hurried back, taking Virginia by the hand in his return,
and leading her to her former seat. He then busied himself for a few
moments in exchanging the short cutlass by his side for one of the huge
weapons hanging on the wall, and placed a pair of large and richly
inlaid petronels in his belt, as if about to march on some secret and
desperate expedition.

Whether these were really for such a purpose, or were his usual
preparations for repose, Virginia was entirely at a loss to determine.
Meantime she had an opportunity to survey the features and expression of
his countenance, as he from time to time faced towards her, intently
engaged with his occupation, and muttering all the while words to her
altogether inexplicable at the time.

His large and light blue eye had an expression of forced resignation and
calmness, drops of cold perspiration stood upon his brow, lip, and bald
head, which was now uncovered. His features were large and striking, but
well proportioned, the lips protuberant, the teeth large, white, and
regular, and as a smile, indicative more of wretchedness than mirth,
played upon his face, the impression was irresistible that the wrinkles
which marked his features were the impress of suffering rather than of
age. In his personal as well as mental attributes he was eminently
gifted, though there seemed to be a settled design, as much to clothe
the one in the garb of age, as to exhibit the other, if at all, in
meekness and humility.

"It is not consistent with my duty to all parties in this business, my
daughter, to enlighten thee as to the nature of the danger which
threatens thy friends, or as to the means of preventing it. I owe it to
myself, first to warn those from whom it comes, yet once more against
their undertaking, as I have already done--but thus far in vain. If they
are still deaf to my admonition and entreaties, rest assured that I will
leave no power or influence within my control unexerted to thwart their
purposes. Thou mayest therefore direct him who must have conducted thee
hither, to see me early on the morrow, and I will inform him as to the
result of my endeavours and the best means to pursue in case they are
unsuccessful. Rest thou contented yet a little while; I see thou art
impatient, but I have some things to say to thee concerning other
matters than those which brought thee hither. I see thou art studying
these evidences of years in my features as the forester examines the
rings in the fallen tree to estimate its age, but these (pointing to the
wrinkles) are records which years alone could not have wrought. Few of
us, my daughter, can read these marks of time and destiny, and trace
through them one by one, the disappointed hopes, the cruel mishaps, the
hair-breadth adventures, their failure, sealed perhaps in the blood of
those who had basked together with us in the sunshine of youth and hope,
without a sinking of the heart within us, and a deep sense of the utter
worthlessness of all those gay illusions which beam so brightly on thy
own youthful features.

"I allude to this subject now, my daughter, because there seems to be
some connexion between it and the one upon which I have been so anxious
to commune with thee. Although we have never met before, it is not the
first time I have seen thee, nor is this, which thou hast given me, the
first information I have received concerning thee and thine. I have
taken some pains to learn even the minutest circumstances connected with
thy past history, present occupation and future prospects. I see thy
surprise, but it was not done in idle gossip thou mayest be well
assured. My motives will all be made plain enough to thee some day. In
the mean time I must approach a subject which I fear will give thee
pain, but my duty is imperative, I mean the state of thy mind and
feelings."

"Alas, father, I fear you will find them but too deeply engrossed with
the cares and pleasures of this world."

"Thy mistake is a natural one," said he, (one of those smiles of
wretchedness passing over his pale countenance, as a flash of
electricity darting along the horizon sometimes shows us the extent and
depth of the darkness beyond) "my situation and past misfortunes would
indeed seem to fit me for a teacher of holy things, but my present
business is with thy worldly affections. Start not, my daughter; I have
the most urgent reasons which a mortal can have for thus endeavouring to
intrude myself into thy feminine secrets; believe me, no trifling cause
could impel me thus to startle thy maidenly delicacy, nor indeed needest
thou be startled on one account which I see agitates thee. Thou very
naturally supposest me to have some charge to bring against thee for
want of proper spirit and maidenly reserve; I see it by thy blushes; but
there is no such thought within my breast; thou mayest have been even
more guarded than is customary with females of thy age. My business is
with facts, and facts of such a nature that however stubborn they may
be, I fear that thou art unconscious of them, though they relate to
thyself and one other person only. However, without bringing thee to
confessional, I think I can sufficiently put thee upon thy guard without
wounding thy delicacy. The only question in my own mind is, whether the
time to speak has not already passed."

"I am at a loss to comprehend you, father."

"I will speak more plainly then. Thou hast been associating for some
years with a youth of little more than thine own age. He is noble and
gifted with every manly and generous attribute; well instructed too for
his time and country. To thee I will give credit for corresponding
qualities suitable to thy own sex, and I have no doubt that thou
possessest them. Thinkest thou then that two such persons could grow up
together constantly within the influence of each other's expanding
personal attractions, besides the nobler ones of mind and heart, without
feeling more towards each other than two ordinary mortals of the same
sex? Oh, I see the crimson tell-tale mounting in thy cheeks; thou
hangest thy head too in tacit acknowledgement, that I have surmised no
more than the truth." His visiter for some time made a vain effort to
speak, and at length overcoming her confusion and surprise, in broken
sentences exclaimed, "Indeed" indeed, father, you wrong me! indeed you
wrong us both! such a subject was never mentioned between us to this
hour! Nay more, it never entered our"--as she looked up and perceived
his searching glance riveted upon her countenance, her head again sunk
in embarrassment, and the words died upon her lips.

"Cease, cease, my daughter, to punish thyself. I will give thee credit
for all thou wouldst say. I am willing to believe that neither of you
has ever mentioned this subject, and perhaps that neither has ever been
conscious of more than a brotherly affection towards the other.
Nevertheless, the last half hour has fully convinced me that
self-examination, some sudden prospect of separation, or some untoward
circumstance in the ordinary current of your intercourse was only
necessary to awaken both to the perception of the truth. But my business
now is of a far more painful nature than the mere finding of the facts.
I am bound in duty to warn thee! solemnly warn thee that this passion
must be subdued in its inception. I beg of thee not to suppose for one
moment, that my warning has reference merely to obstacles which commonly
obstruct the current of young and mutual affection! They are absolutely
insurmountable,--far more so than any that could arise from difference
of rank, or faith, or country! Nay, if death itself had put its seal
upon one or both, the gulf could not have been more impassable!" His
language began gradually to grow more impassioned, his eye shot forth a
continued instead of occasional gleam of wildness--he rose upon his
feet, and as he pronounced the barrier to be impassable, he took down a
large and ancient manuscript volume, bound in leather, threw it open
upon the table, and to her astonishment a bloody hand was all that was
visible upon the page which seemed to have been accidentally turned up.
He pointed to this singular sign-manual--his finger trembling with
emotion--"See there," said he--"see what it is to neglect a solemn
warning. There is the diary of my eventful life--the transactions of
every day for more than twenty-seven years are there written, save one!
There is the only record of that day! Its history is written in blood!
The seal of Cain is stamped upon all the events of the succeeding pages.
Since that bloody token was placed there, its author has been a wanderer
and an outcast. I was born among the haughty and the proud of a proud
land--there is my coat of arms," said he, with a horrid laugh which sent
the blood coursing back to the heart of our heroine chilled and
horrified. "These are not or should not be uninteresting records to
thee!--had that crimson attestation never been imprinted there, thou
wouldst never have been born! but this will suffice for the first
lesson," (and he closed the book and replaced it upon the shelf;) "at
some more convenient season I will reveal another page of the history of
one with whom henceforth thou wilt be more connected than thou now
imaginest. Now, my daughter, before thou takest leave, let me entreat
thee to remember and ponder well upon what I have said to thee. Shouldst
thou ever be in any sudden strait of danger or difficulty send to me a
memento of the bloody seal and I will come to thee, if within the
compass of mortal means; and remember likewise, should I ever send such
an emblem to thee--pause well upon what thou art about to do. Now thou
mayest depart in peace, but say nothing of what thou hast seen or heard
farther than I have directed thee to do." And thus speaking he took the
lamp and conducted her out by the same opening at which they had
entered.

They stood upon the platform overlooking the shadowy mazes of moonlit
foliage down the glen; all nature was as silent as when it first came
from the hands of its Creator. Looking towards heaven, and placing his
hand upon her flaxen ringlets, now wafted about in the richest
reflections and deepest contrasts of light and shadow, as a cold breeze
from the valley beneath sought an opening to the plains beyond, he said,
"May God Almighty bless and preserve thee, my daughter!" And then led
her some distance down the hill--bade her adieu, and left her to seek
her more youthful guide, and to ponder upon some novel and not very
pleasing passages in the diary of her own experience.

Her ideas were any thing but clear and definite. The whole scene of her
late interview was so new--the subject so startling to her young and
innate delicacy. Taking it for granted, however, that all the surmises
of the Recluse were true with regard to herself, that person has studied
human nature to little purpose, who supposes that she, after all that
had been so solemnly announced, admitted the undefined obstacles
mentioned to be as insuperable as the person who suggested them seemed
to imagine. Nevertheless an injunction so grave and authoritative had
its minor effects--the first of which were visited upon the head of our
hero, who impatiently awaited her approach at the foot of the hill.



CHAPTER V.


When Virginia arrived at the foot of the hill, and looked back, she
could see the Herculean figure of the Recluse, throwing its tall shadow
far down the face of the cliff, as he paced his narrow court exactly as
she had found him doing.

The surrounding scenery now looked doubly brilliant to her confused
senses, after the gloomy contrasts of her late subterranean journey. The
fleeting clouds were entirely dispersed, and the moonbeams shone clearly
forth in undimmed splendour, tipping with silver light each tree and
shrub, on the hill side and in the dale, and sparkling like gems along
the rippling current of the purling brook on the banks of which Bacon
waited her approach.

Although the language of the Recluse was somewhat dark and oracular, it
was sufficiently explicit to produce a very sensible effect upon the
mind of Virginia, which our hero was not long in discovering; for as he
extended his hand to assist her across the brook, she tacitly declined
the proffered aid, as if unobservant of his intention, and leaped the
streamlet unassisted. He was the more astonished, that in the whole of
their long intercourse he could not recollect such a whim or freak
occurring towards himself. She seemed reserved and formal too, as they
moved up the opposite hill; but without remarking on her altered mood,
he sought to draw from her the result of her expedition. Barely
communicating so much as she had been directed to do, however, she
remained to him inexplicably silent.

While he was revolving these things in his mind his companion, silently
and moodily walking at his side, without availing herself of his offered
arm, they met Brian O'Reily somewhat farther down the hill than the spot
where they had left him--the bridle of a horse slung upon each arm--a
handkerchief tied round his waist, into which were stuck two pertronels
from his own saddlebow; and in his hand his master's ready for use.

"In the name of all the saints in Ireland, what is the matter, Brian?"
exclaimed Bacon.

"Oh! an be the Holy Father at Rome, is it there'ye are? Sure as death,
but I'm the boy that thought ye were clane murthered iny'way."

"Murdered! why who was to murder us?"

"Faix, an there's enough iv them to do that same in _this_ bloody place.
Barrin the tay party wid the great inimy in the side iv the hill
yonther, a'int there enough iv the bloody nagurs (the savages,) ranting
about like so many wild bastes, ready to peale the tap iv your heads
like a pair of onions or murpheys--divil a word a lie's in that iny
way."

"Are there any of the savages abroad to-night?"

"Be the contints iv the book, but there is five yallow rascals gone
over the hill towards the city half an hour since. Oh, by my purty, but
I was as near putting a key note to one of their whistles, as two tin
pinnies, only, that I was jalous iv your own safety, and the beauty by
your side at that same reckning."

"I commend your discretion in not shooting--and I wonder at your
sobriety, considering the condition in which we left you."

"Oh, is it Brian O'Reily's discretion your haner's after namin?--an
is'nt it me that's a pathern o' sobriety? Oh, by the five crasses, but
it all comes iv the dhrap o' the crathur I got by the larnin iv you, ye
beauty; divil a word a lie's in that."

"Gone towards the town have they?" said Bacon, musing--and then
examining the priming of his petronels, he took them--placed them in
their holsters, and mounted his horse, motioning to his attendant at the
same time, to assist Virginia to the pillion. She being mounted, he
continued his discourse to her. "Keep up your courage my brave pupil; no
danger shall molest you unencountered."

"Strange as it may appear," replied she, for the first time uttering
something more than a monosyllable. "The real danger in which we seem
placed, has few terrors, after my late subterranean visit." This last
part of the sentence was said in an under tone, as they cantered over
the hill.

"You have done bravely, Virginia, and now Brian it is our turn. Do you
ride foremost--but on no account pull trigger, or draw your sword,
without my orders. We are at peace with the confederated tribes of the
peninsula:--should the party therefore prove to be any of these,
bloodshed will be, unnecessary. Remember, and be watchful!"

"Oh! be the powers iv mud and darkness, but there's no more profit in
watchin these skulking nagurs, than there is in spakin to the fish to
make them take the bate; both the one and the tother o' them bites when
you laste expect it. Oh! would'nt it be a fine thing to have a praste to
walk along afore ye wid the contints of the book spread out before him?"

"Get along O'Reily with your nonsense; one would suppose, to hear you
talk, that you were the greatest coward in Christendom."

The conversation of the Hibernian was at all times amusing to our
adventurers, and was enjoyed with more zest, doubtless, on account of
the many excellent qualities which they knew him to possess, being as
they knew, brave, devotedly attached to them both, and of unvarying good
humour. On the present occasion, Bacon encouraged his volubility in
order to divert his companion's attention from dwelling upon the danger
which he but too clearly saw might await them on their passage to the
city; and thus was the time beguiled, until they arrived at the top of
the hill commanding the town and river, without encountering a single
foe, or meeting with any adventure worth recording. As they descended
towards the river, and O'Reily was just felicitating himself "that there
was a clane path intirely across the stream." A sudden exclamation of
surprise from Bacon, induced him to rein up his steed, in order to
ascertain the cause. This however was clearly seen before the retrograde
movement was completed.

"Oh! the murtherin thaves iv the world," said O'Reily, "there they are
in our boat too, as sure as my name's Brian O'Reily. Your haner's a good
shot across that same little river, any way, and by these pair o'
beauties that never lie nor chate" he continued, unslinging his arms,
"but I'll be bound for a couple or three more iv them. By the vestments
but we'll put some o' them to slape, wid a tune that'll ring in their
ears to the day o' their deaths."

"Softly! softly, O'Reily" said Bacon, "you are as far on the one extreme
now as I thought you on the other a while ago. Don't you see that two
watch on this side, besides the three in the boat? And as I live, they
are preparing to push off. Quick, Brian, dismount and follow me behind
these bushes! we must despatch these two, at least, without the use of
firearms. And you, my gentle pupil, must remain with the horses. If we
fall, remain quiet until they have carried off whatever it is they are
endeavouring to steal, and then leave the horses, and seek a passage by
the bridge. I know your situation is a trying one, but it is the best
we can do under the circumstances."

"Oh! no, no, Nathaniel!" said Virginia, suddenly recovering her feelings
as well as her voice. "It is not the best we can do. Stay here yourself,
and I can slip round, unperceived, to the gate of the bridge, and from
thence alarm the city. Do, Nathaniel, suffer me to go."

"Not for worlds!" answered Bacon; "do you not perceive that it would be
impossible for you to pass the two on this side unnoticed? Besides, were
you even to gain the gate, they would tomahawk you before you could
arouse one person in the town. No, no, you must remain. Seat yourself on
the sward and hide your eyes, if you will, until we despatch these two,
and then we can hold the others at bay."

"But what is the necessity of attacking them at all, Nathaniel?"

"Do you not see that they have been committing some
depredation?--perhaps worse, and would be sure to make fight were we to
show ourselves in so small force. But come, O'Reily, we are losing
precious time; follow me, and for your life do not shoot."

This short and earnest dialogue was held in whispers, and in much less
time than we have taken to record it.

The precaution against using firearms was doubtless given for fear of
betraying to the inhabitants of the town the delicate and apparently
equivocal position in which Virginia was placed. "We must be upon these
two with our good swords, O'Reily," said Bacon, "before the others can
join them, and if possible before they perceive us."

"Devil burn me but my hand itches to get acquainted wid the taste o'
their skulls any way. Oh! if we can only smash these two but we'll keep
the others to see their own funerals iny way."

In a few moments, Bacon and his trusty follower were silently gliding
through the bushes on the banks of the river, and advanced to within a
few rods of the savages, unperceived either by the party on the beach or
those loading the boat on the opposite shore. But as they were just
emerging from the last bush which protected their movements, a
characteristic and startling exclamation "hugh!" from the watch
stationed in the boat, at once precipitated their movements, and put the
two on their guard whom they were about to attack.

There was at that day no male inhabitant of Jamestown or the surrounding
Colony, arrived at the years and vigour of manhood, who was entirely
unacquainted with the mode and usual end of Indian warfare. Of course,
on such occasions as the present, the contest was for life or death.

Bacon, notwithstanding his youth, had already acquired some renown as a
warrior in these desperate single-handed conflicts, which doubtless gave
him and his companion more assurance of success on this occasion,
notwithstanding the fearful odds which it was possible might be brought
against them. Springing upon their adversaries, who, as has been seen,
were on their guard, the conflict at once became desperate, while those
in the boat made the utmost efforts to join their companions and
overpower their unexpected enemies. No sooner were the two good swords
of Bacon and O'Reily flashing in the moonbeams, than corresponding
motions of the savage war clubs gave evidence that they also were ready
for battle. Many and hard were the blows which were given on both sides
in the struggle, a mere protraction of which Bacon perceived was
destruction. Accordingly bracing up his own nerves, and cheering
O'Reily, he made a vigorous and successful lunge at his immediate
antagonist, but not before the reinforcement of the enemy was on the
ground to take his place. A contest of this kind, when the parties were
any thing like equal in number, was generally not long doubtful--victory
in most instances being upon the side of superior skill and weapons. But
O'Reily, although a veteran soldier, had met his match in this instance,
his antagonist being a tall and brawny warrior of most fearful
proportions. Yet he laid about him stoutly, while Bacon, merely having
time to catch his breath, renewed the unequal contest with two of the
new assailants, the third at the same time joining his already too
powerful chief against the Irishman. The conflict was now desperate and
bloody; our adventurers fought well and skilfully, every blow was
followed by a crimson stream, and they too in their turn were more than
once beaten to their knees by the terrific sweep of the war clubs. At
one time Bacon was entirely prostrated, but instantly recovering and
rising to his knees he continued to defend himself until he had once
more regained his feet.

This warfare had now lasted for some minutes, which seemed an age to the
trembling maiden who stood an unwilling yet enchained spectator on the
side of the hill above them. But victory appeared at length about to
crown the desperate efforts of her friends, whose assailants were now
reduced to exactly their own number, and one; the tall old chief opposed
to Brian, covered with his own blood and just ready to fall, when a
sudden and terrific yell immediately behind them announced a
reinforcement; and Virginia sank upon the earth in terror and despair.

"Plunge into the stream and swim for your life," shouted Brian--"Oh! but
I'll keep their hands busy till ye go clear, even wid a stack of the
yellow devils afore me!"

Six horrid and painted human monsters, (so they seemed to our
adventurers) now leaped into the midst of the conflict, relieving their
own brethren and thundering their blows upon the heads of their already
exhausted adversaries. In vain they made furious lunges, forgetting the
cunning of fence in the perfect desperation of the hopeless conflict.
At length they both fell under the weapons of their new enemies and two
of the savages, flashing their knives from their sheaths, prepared to
complete the sacrifice; indeed a despairing yell from O'Reily announced
that the butchery had already commenced; when in an instant the head of
the old Chief stooping over him was severed from the trunk, and in the
next a second blow from the same gigantic arm prostrated the one about
to tear the bloody trophy from the fallen Cavalier.

Virginia had by this time ventured another despairing look upon the fate
of him who was the cherished companion of her childhood. In that moment,
doubtless, all the warnings and injunctions of the Recluse were
forgotten, or if remembered, instantly set aside as the over prudential
suggestions of pride in rank, or wealth, or power, governing the
feelings of her friends, or of him who undertook to give her counsel in
their stead.

But there were still enemies left besides the two who had flourished the
scalping knife over our prostrate adventurers. With these the Recluse
(for he it was who had come so opportunely to the rescue) at once
renewed the conflict. Placing his back against a tree, and throwing away
his castor and scabbard, he joined in the strife with a zest like that
of an epicure who bares his arm to the exercise of the carving
knive--whirling his enormous weapon amidst the falling clubs with the
precision, ease and coolness of a professor exhibiting his skill with
the harmless foils. His first exertions were, of course, on the
defensive, among so many assailants, but if his blows were rare they
were sure and fatal. He was evidently but putting in practice a sort of
exercise in which he must have both delighted and excelled in days long
past.

At every blow or thrust a savage went down to rise no more, Bacon, too,
now rallied his scattered senses and exhausted strength, and resumed his
part in the conflict, with enough of both to render him a valuable
auxiliary in the way of defence, which the Recluse perceiving, sprang
into the midst of the enemy and speedily put to flight, or the sword,
the exhausted and disheartened remnant. When Virginia saw this
devoutly-prayed-for termination to the battle, she sank upon the ground
as powerless and exhausted as if she too had been actively engaged. The
Recluse stooping over O'Reily and feeling his head and wrist, hastened
to the boat, and seizing the wooden vessel with which the water was
usually bailed out, returned and bathed his face and temples. Not so
swift were his motions however as to prevent his stopping for a moment
at the boat and gazing with astonishment at Something which it
contained; but there was little time for wonder, and he hastened on his
errand. When Brian's face was cleansed from blood it was found that the
scalping knife of the old warrior had probably been struck from its
intended destination so that the point had caught in one corner of his
mouth and inflicted a wound of some magnitude across his face. While he
was thus attended, Bacon hastened, with what speed he was able to exert,
toward the spot where he had left his helpless companion. He found her
just recovering from the listless stupor in which we left her. "Oh,
Nathaniel!" was all that she was enabled to articulate as she fell into
his arms, forgetting in the deep excitement of the moment every feeling
save the strong and innocent affection which had so long existed between
them.

Bacon placed her upon his horse, and taking the bridle in one hand, and
holding her steady in her seat with the other, proceeded to the scene of
the late mortal struggle. They found O'Reily sitting up, with his mouth
already bandaged, and his late assistant and protector gone, having
first, as Brian indistinctly muttered, pointed to the boat, as if there
were something there which craved attention. Their own perceptions were
now startled from the same quarter, by the sound of groans. Bacon ran to
the spot, and found a female bound, and lying upon her face in the
bottom of the boat. Having cut the cords and bathed her swollen face and
temples, he speedily restored her to something like consciousness, and
then bore her to the shore and laid her upon the ground. O'Reily now
recognised her as Mrs. Jamieson, wife of Jamie Jamieson, principal
fisherman to the town, whose hut, for convenient purposes in his
avocation, was situated without the protection of the fort. This
statement also accounted to Bacon for the presence of a quantity of fish
netting in the boat, which doubtless excited the cupidity of the poor
ignorant savages, who lay cold and lifeless at his feet.

New embarrassments seemed to stare our wanderers in the face at every
step on this eventful night. Scarcely was O'Reily restored to his
senses, and Mrs. Jamieson to such a state as to give hopes of recovery,
when it occurred to our hero that something must be done with the dead
bodies. But when he came to reflect upon the appearance which the battle
ground itself would present, he determined to leave the rest to chance,
and to say nothing himself or through his follower, and thus leave the
gossips of the town to account for the slaughter of the Indians as they
might. Mrs. Jamieson was now carefully replaced in the boat, and O'Reily
assisted to his post at the _tiller_, while Bacon, having seated
Virginia, occupied Brian's usual place at the oar, being the least
injured of the two.

The former was for once in his life perfectly silent, perhaps owing to
the awkward accident which had happened to his mouth, thereby rendering
it difficult for him to enunciate with the true Hibernian pathos.

The females having been landed, Bacon desiring Virginia to sit by the
still benumbed Mrs. Jamieson, returned for his horses, which were led by
the side of the boat without any difficulty.

The whole party now proceeded to the fisherman's hut, Bacon supporting
the feeble steps of its exhausted mistress. Here a new disaster awaited
them. A few yards from the house towards the river, they discovered the
body of the fisherman himself, cold, stiff, and lifeless. O'Reily was
directed to remain with the woman of the house until she should
completely recover her senses, but on no account to stay longer, or
enter into any explanations.

Bacon and Virginia entered the gate of the fort unchallenged, and
proceeded to the house of Mr. Fairfax, when the latter entered as
quietly and as unperceived as she had sallied forth; while he officiated
as ostler to his own steed, which service being finished to his
satisfaction he sought his apartment; the morning being far advanced
towards the dawn of day. His slumbers, it may be readily imagined, were
not profound and undisturbed,--the restless nervousness of over exertion
in mind and body, being very similar in its effects to that of too much
repose.



CHAPTER VI.


On the morning of the Anniversary of the Restoration, the sun was just
emerging above the eastern horizon, the sky was unclouded and serene,
the air balmy and elastic, and the volumes of misty drapery from the
river were fast rolling away over the hills, as the Recluse stood upon
one of the highest points of the river cliffs, with folded arms,
surveying the scene around him.

Far back as the eye could reach to the west, all was interminable
forest--the foreground exhibiting occasional specks of cleared land,
where some planter, more adventurous than his fellows, had boldly
trusted his fortunes to the mercy of the savage.

He looked upon the little city beneath, as the weary mariner on a long
voyage may be supposed to look upon a green island in the midst of a
desert of waters. His chest heaved as the swelling emotions of pent up
years burst from his over-loaded heart. Bacon, the manly and ingenuous
youth, whom the reader will remember as having been appointed to visit
him on this morning, had just sprung upon a mettled and pawing charger,
which was now throwing the fire and pebbles from his heels in thick
volleys, as his master with a fire and impetuosity scarcely inferior to
his own, bent over his uncurbed neck as he descended into the plain.
Several pieces of light artillery, together with volleys of musketry in
quick succession, thundered over the smooth waters of the Powhatan, and
reverberated in multiplied peals under the feet of the Recluse. There
was something connected with this day, and its celebration, which seemed
powerfully to have stirred up the still waters within him. Thick coming
fancies connected with by-gone days were rolling over his soul in an
uncontrolled torrent. But we must leave him for a time to his own
reflections, amidst the solitary grandeur of the scene, while we pursue
the road of the flying Cavalier towards the city.

The bells from the Church and State House were now also heard in the
intervals of the cannonade, and as we approach nearer to the scene, a
strange confusion of many sounds greet the ear. Drums and fifes, violins
and banjoes, and even jews-harps, all lent their aid to swell the burst
of joy and gratulation. Smiling and happy faces were grouped along the
streets, while gay damsels, in their holyday finery, adorned the doors
and windows of the busy citizens. A perfect Babel of commingled noises
issued from the spacious area of a tobacco warehouse, which, after the
usual fashion, consisted of an extensive roof, supported by colonnades
to every front. Here was congregated the rising generation--boisterous
and happy in the midst of their games and sports. No schoolmaster was
abroad on that day, to rush in upon the unwary urchins, and wreak upon
them the vengeance of Samson upon the Philistines.

Our forefathers suffered their children to follow very much their own
humours in the selection of those amusements suited to their age and
condition. We see not but the result was as happy as that of the systems
of our day, when every thing is regulated by system, even to the games
and amusements of our children. The time is certainly not far distant
when Geography will be taught by a game at cards; Chemistry by set
_conversations_ upon the constituents of our edibles, and Natural
Philosophy developed in nursery rhymes, that we may imbibe it with our
lullabies.

On the morning in question, as merry a set of boisterous lads kicked up
the dust in the old warehouse, as ever fought over a game of marbles, or
laughed through one of leap-frog. And while the merry urchins, whom we
have taken under our special protection, were thus enjoying a glorious
holyday, their elders and superiors were moved by the same impulses. The
mansion of the Governor itself was in visible commotion; servants
swelling with importance, aped the grandeur of their masters' looks,
while they ran from room to room on their various duties. A provincial
band of music was stationed under the windows, uniting their sweet
sounds to the Babel-like uproar, in the well known tune of "Over the
waters to Charley."

There was one little green spot upon the common inviting the
contemplative mind to pleasing reveries. Here a few of the humbler
maidens of the city were adorning the overhanging bushes with gay
garlands of flowers, preparatory to the evening dance, which they
contemplated celebrating in imitation of their superiors, who were to
move in more stately measures at the mansion of the Governor.

The household of Gideon Fairfax was likewise earlier than usual on the
alert, and he being one of the council of the Colony, came in also for a
share of the honours noised forth under the windows of the most
distinguished Cavaliers.

Breakfast had been some time waiting at the table, and the fondly
indulged daughter had been repeatedly summoned, but still she came not.
This excited the more surprise in the minds of her parents, as they
supposed, that on this eventful morning, of all others in the year, she
would be up with the lark. The truth was, that after retiring at such an
unusual hour of the night, or rather morning--her slumbers were
disturbed between sleeping and waking, by shadowy dreams of yelling
savages, chivalrous youths, and mighty giants.

At length, however, she appeared, but instead of bounding into the room
with gay and elastic steps, and more buoyant spirits, in happy
anticipation of the promised enjoyments of the day, her movements were
slow and heavy--her eyes red and swollen, and her whole appearance
indicative of languor and dejection. Her fond parents were instantly at
her side--each taking a hand as she walked into the room, and striving
to learn from the fancied invalid the nature of her sufferings. She
assured them that she had nothing to complain of but want of rest, and
with this they were the more readily satisfied, as towards morning there
had indeed been much firing of guns, and other demonstrations of
loyalty. Her parents being thus satisfied, that her account of the
matter was the true one, Virginia was suffered to assume her place at
the head of the table--a place she had for some time occupied on account
of the delicate state of her mother's health. Meanwhile the anxious
parents assumed their own places, and endeavoured to beguile their
daughter's languor by allusions to the merry sounds, and gay group
without, not forgetting the assembly at the Governor's; and it is more
than probable that they would have succeeded, as few spirited and
blooming beauties of sixteen can long listen unmoved to such details,
had not Virginia, raising her half cheerful face at that moment to a
large mirror which hung opposite, caught the reflection of a person in
whose welfare she took a lively interest, standing in one corner of the
room, and partly behind her chair, with a countenance and attitude which
expressed the deepest misery. This was no other that Wyanokee, her own
little Indian attendant, who officiated near the person of her
mistress, in a medium capacity between friend and servant; the mistress
only requiring the companion, and the maid spontaneously offering the
services due both from affection and gratitude.

The figure of Wyanokee was diminutive, but like most of the aboriginal
females, exquisitely proportioned, and graceful, after the fashion of
nature's finest schooling. Her face was oval and between a brown and
yellow colour, yet there was a vital tinge occasionally illuminating
this predominant dark ground, which bespoke the refined female, in
language intelligible to all, and far more eloquently than the tongue.
Her hair was jet black, and folded upon her small round head after the
fashion of the Europeans; and her brilliant teeth exhibited a striking
contrast to the dark shades of her skin, and darker sparkling eyes. The
delicately penciled brows, arched beautifully over a countenance
strikingly feminine and lady-like; and the general expression was that
calm sadness which has been remarked as characteristic of the
domesticated aborigines from that day to the present. Her dress was
essentially after the fashion of the whites of that day, just retaining
sufficient of the Indian costume, however, to set off her slight but
graceful figure to the best advantage. The exquisite proportions of her
finely shaped foot and ankle were displayed in a closely fitting deer
skin moccasin, studded around the eyelet holes, and wrought in curious,
but not unpleasing figures, with party-coloured beads and porcupine
quills. Around her neck, and falling upon her gently swelling bosom,
were many ingeniously wrought ornaments of wampum and silver--and around
her wrists, bracelets of the same materials. Wyanokee was of the
Chickahominy tribe, and had been taken prisoner after the murder of her
parents by one of the neighbouring tribes, who at the time were at war
with the Chickahominies. Nathaniel Bacon saw her in one of his hunting
excursions, and struck with her native beauty, and pleading countenance,
redeemed her from captivity at the expense of a string of blue beads.
From thence he brought her to Jamestown, to remain until some
opportunity should occur of restoring her to her tribe. Her parents
having been slain, however, as we have already said, and much time
necessarily having elapsed before such opportunity occurred, Virginia
took advantage of it, and by mild and affectionate treatment,
endeavoured to win her to herself. A mutual and peculiar attachment was
the consequence, so that when the opportunity actually occurred,
Wyanokee refused to return to the almost extinct tribe of her fathers.
Two years had now elapsed since her introduction into the Fairfax
family, during which time Virginia, an assiduous pupil herself, became
in her turn instructress to her little protegée. Already had she learned
many of the little feminine arts and accomplishments of civilized life,
and made considerable proficiency in the English language--which,
however, she never employed except in private to her instructress, or
on some urgent occasion. Half the young Cavaliers in Jamestown would
have been willing devotees at the shrine of Wyanokee's beauty, after the
corrupt fashions of the parent court and country. But such celebrity was
not suited to the taste or ambition of the Indian maiden. Whenever the
little errands of her patroness led her to the shops of the city,
instead of encouraging the forward and impudent gallantries of the young
profligates, she would trip along like a frightened partridge--always
turning a deaf ear to their flatteries, and keeping her eyes fixed upon
the earth, in the most modest, natural and simple guise. Notwithstanding
her habitual indifference to the flatteries of her many admirers, there
was one youth whose very step upon the door sill her practised ear could
detect. Not that her deliverer had ever taken advantage of her gratitude
to him--her ignorance of civilized refinements, or her dependent
situation, to poison her mind with the deceitful flatteries too common
with his comrades of that day. The passion was perhaps the growth of
time and reflection and the effect of gratitude, as the little Indian
maiden became capable of instituting comparisons between his conduct
towards herself and that of the young Cavaliers, whose assiduities have
been already mentioned. Certain it is, that if it had been from some
sudden impulse in their earlier intercourse, the customs of her race
would have fully borne her out in declaring her passion to its object
at once. At the time of which we write, however, this feeling was a
profound secret within her own bosom, as she hoped and believed; and the
more Virginia impressed upon her mind the necessity of reserve and
modesty in her intercourse with the other sex, the more jealous she
became in concealing the passion that possessed her heart. Nevertheless,
it influenced all her after life, and gave a touching interest to the
progress of her moral and intellectual development.

Some few of her Indian peculiarities were still retained by Wyanokee;
her gesticulation was far more powerful and expressive than her small
compass of language, and the ordinary indifference of her race to
passing and exciting themes, was yet preserved by her. Her gentle
mistress could indeed work upon her sensibilities through the medium of
her affection and gratitude, like a skilful musician upon a finely toned
instrument, but the master key was still wanting even to her. There was
one peculiarity of her race not quite so agreeable or inoffensive as
those already mentioned--namely, the silence and celerity of her
movements; sometimes she would appear to Virginia in the middle of the
night with the imagined abruptness of an unearthly spirit. Often would
the fair maiden awake from her slumbers and find her stooping over her
couch--with the saddest and most intense interest expressed in her
countenance--and again she would glide through the silent apartments of
the spacious mansion with a movement so shadowy and noiseless, that it
seemed almost impossible to be effected by a substantial being.

When Virginia raised her eyes from the breakfast-table, and beheld
Wyanokee's mute despair, as exhibited in the opposite mirror, her former
nervous alarm and agitation instantly returned.

She was entirely at a loss to account for the unusual feeling exhibited
by her attendant, except by connecting it in some way with her late
nocturnal adventures. And it was a fearful supposition which flashed
through her mind, that Wyanokee was acquainted with her last night's
undertaking; yet at the same time ignorant of her motives. Hurrying
mechanically through the meal, she rose, and taking the hand of the
young Indian, was about to retire; but at that moment Nathaniel Bacon
rode up to the door, his charger covered with dust and foam; leaping
from his back and throwing the rein to an attendant, he entered the room
at the very moment when the two maidens were about to make their exit.
Under the peculiar circumstances of the case perhaps no one could have
entered more mal-appropos. Mr. Fairfax himself and Bacon had parted, at
the termination of their last interview, with excited and unpleasant
feelings, both having lost command of temper. Virginia had last seen him
under circumstances also which in themselves were calculated to excite
no very pleasing reminiscences; but considering the precise attitude in
which she stood at that moment with regard to Wyanokee, the interview
promised to be still more embarrassing. Nor was the promise
falsified--the salutations of the gentlemen were cold, formal, and
embarrassing to both parties, while the two maidens stood on the eve of
departure, each labouring under her own peculiar difficulties. Virginia
felt as if all the adventures of the preceding night stood revealed to
her parents, without any of the justificatory motives which had
satisfied her own mind for embarking in them--while her attendant looked
to her as if she too was labouring under a weight of surreptitious
knowledge. Mrs. Fairfax was the only one of the party who preserved
self-possession enough to welcome their young friend, after so long an
absence, in intelligible language.

With the peculiar tact of the cultivated female mind she judiciously led
the conversation to such subjects of universal interest at the time, as
to induce her husband and the young Cavalier to forget their late
unpleasant difference, and Virginia to resume her seat at the table,
where she busied herself in helping the visiter to his breakfast. It was
singular enough too, as Virginia no doubt thought, that one of these
subjects should have direct reference to some personages who had so
lately and so intently occupied her own thoughts--namely the Roundheads
and Independents. Frank Beverly it seems had already blown abroad the
meeting of these persons in secret conclave, as mentioned in the first
chapter. The meal being concluded, Bacon again sprang upon his horse and
hurried forward to the portico of the Berkley Arms, in which were now
displayed no very equivocal evidences of loyalty, from the master of the
house and his numerous guests, who thronged its area upon his approach.
All the _elite_ of the Cavalier youth were there in a perfect throng.

No sooner had Bacon alighted and made his way into the throng, than the
tumultuous discussion of the youths was hushed into silence. This was
not so much owing to any sternness in the dignity of the youth as to the
peculiar nature of the discussion which was going on between Dudley and
Beverly, and their several partizans, at the very moment of his
entrance. The tumblers of julip were held in suspense, while heavy bets
were offered, and about to be taken, upon the disputed question whether
the very person who so suddenly appeared among them would be present at
the celebration. No sooner had he set foot on the premises, however,
than the fat landlord came waddling up, grasping the hand of our hero in
one of his own, while in the other he presented him with a goblet of the
national beverage.

"A pledge! a pledge!" now resounded from several quarters of the well
filled Tap. It may well be supposed that the suspected one had no very
great relish for julip after breakfast, but knowing the importance of
such trifles on an occasion like the present, and under all the peculiar
circumstances in which he was placed he took the cup, and elevating it,
said--"Here's to the merry king Charles, who shall be king but Charley."

"Bravely done," shouted the host--and "huzzah for Bacon," shouted his
own immediate partisans, many of whom belonged to a volunteer military
company of which he was the commander, and whom to see was the very
object of his visit to the Arms. Taking Dudley therefore by the arm, and
calling to others of the corps, he invited them to a private interview
in another apartment. As Bacon passed Frank Beverly a mutual but cold
salutation was exchanged--dignified and polite on the part of the
former, and cold, haughty and sneering on that of the latter--the
ungracious feeling not at all lessened, it is probable, by the pointed
exclusion of Beverly and his partisans from the private meeting just
alluded to.

Although this was Bacon's first appearance in public, since his abrupt
departure from the house of his friend and patron, it was not the first
visit he had paid to the hotel, where he and his partisans now held
their meeting. He had privately visited the landlord on the preceding
evening, previous to the adventures related in the last chapter, for
some purposes connected with the present meeting of his friends, but
which he was by no means willing should be generally known. At that
visit he was informed by the landlord of the mischievous plot laid by
his rival to deprive him of the pleasure of Virginia's hand during the
approaching festivities at the Mansion of the Governor, and his first
intention was to counteract their machinations. But so intensely had his
mind been engaged with the adventures of the preceding evening, that all
minor interests escaped his recollection. It was the object of his visit
on this morning, to remedy that oversight; but so cold and formal was
his reception by Mr. Fairfax, and so embarrassed was that of his
daughter, that he gave up the scheme for the present, leaving the house
with any thing but pleasant emotions. Indeed, from the various
combinations of parties and factions, he saw his own position becoming
hourly more embarrassing and difficult, and still more so from the
neutral position in which he was thrown--partly from the mystery
connected with his origin, and partly from his connexion with the
Recluse. But let the Independents on the one hand, and the Cavaliers on
the other, plot and counterplot as they might, his course was clearly
taken in his own mind. None of the doubts as to what cause he should
espouse, which had been hinted at by some of the personages of our
narrative, really existed in his mind. His course was plain, manly,
upright, and straight forward. Nevertheless, as has been seen, he had
not thus far entirely escaped suspicion. But trusting to the uprightness
of his intentions, he took his measures on this eventful morning with a
single eye to the public peace and the cause of truth, justice and
humanity. It was to promote these great ends, that he now assembled the
members of the military company of which he was the commander. Upon what
service they were to be engaged, will appear in the succeeding
chapters.



CHAPTER VII.


While Bacon and his partisans were deliberating in one of the upper
rooms of the Berkley Arms, and Beverly, Ludwell and their friends, still
kept up their potations in the Tap below, all of a sudden the bells
ceased to chime, and the cannons to roar, and the various other
demonstrations of noisy mirth that pervaded the city, were hushed into
silence. A corresponding stillness instantly prevailed throughout both
the assembled parties, for a moment, in order to ascertain if possible
the cause of this interruption to the public rejoicings. No one in
either being able to explain the matter, both parties at the same moment
rushed tumultuously into the street. They beheld men, women, and
children, thronging in the direction of the public square, and naturally
fell into the current, and were borne on its tide into the very centre
of attraction. Here they found several oxcarts standing in the street,
in the beds of which were stretched the dead bodies of eight
Indians--fearfully mangled, and one with his head entirely severed from
the body. Twenty voices at once were interrogating the gaping negroes
who bestrode the cattle, but no other satisfaction could be gained from
them than a mute reference to their master; a little busy important
man, who resided on the main land, and was now holding forth with great
energy and amplitude of expression, touching his various adventures of
the morning, to a crowd of eager loungers gathered around him, as if to
appropriate his wonderful disclosure entirely to themselves.

He stated that he had found the dead bodies upon the banks of the river,
where there were still many evidences of a desperate conflict of both
horse and foot. That the ground was covered with blood, and that one
party must have been driven into the river, and drowned, as he had been
enabled to trace them by their footmarks to the very edge of the water.

It will be readily imagined by the reader that Nathaniel Bacon was no
unmoved spectator of this scene, or of the various conjectural
explanations that were now given in his hearing, of a transaction in
which he had been such a principal actor, and of which he could have
given such an authentic history. He was rather rejoiced than otherwise,
that the little planter of the main seemed so much disposed to indulge
his imagination, as a discovery of his own part in the matter, and of
Virginia's delicate position on the occasion, was thereby rendered less
probable. But his self congratulations were too hasty; for scarcely had
he revolved these things in his mind, before a sudden rush of the crowd
towards some new object of surprise arrested his attention. This was no
other than Brian O'Reily, bearing into the crowd upon his back the dead
body of Jamie Jamieson, and followed by his wife, who to her bruises and
misfortunes had applied the comfort of whiskey in great profusion.
O'Reily, it seemed, had fully sympathised with the widowed lady, for his
motions were anything but accordant with the solemnity of the occasion.
Bacon could scarce suppress a smile as he caught a glimpse of this group
through the crowd. His first object; however, was to catch O'Reily's
eye, and make him understand, if possible by a look, that he was to
volunteer no evidence in the case. He had no sooner succeeded in gaining
the notice of his attendant, than the latter applied his finger slyly to
his lip, looking another way at the same time, and thus indicating that
he understood the policy to be pursued, and that he was not so much
intoxicated as he thought proper to seem. With this doubtful assurance
Bacon was compelled to rest satisfied, walking about the square all the
while in visible agitation.

The corpse of the fisherman being laid out in the market-place, the
officer, whose duty it was, proceeded to summon an inquest to inquire
into the manner and cause of his death. The first witness summoned
before this tribunal, was, of course, the wife of the deceased. She
testified that a party of savages had on the preceding night entered
their house, and after having cruelly murdered her husband, beaten
herself, and bound her limbs with cords, had carried away all their
fishing nets. That having placed these in a canoe, they laid her in it
also, and paddled across the river--where they were met by another party
of savages, about fifty in number, as she supposed, and while they were
busily engaged in dividing the spoil, a gigantic man, with a face
flaming like fire, and a sword as long as a fishing pole, had suddenly
fallen upon the murderers, and quickly put them to flight, or the sword.
That having thus conquered the whole horde, he had placed her in the
boat again, and brought her to her own house, where he left her, and
where she remained alone until morning, when she was found by Mr. Brian
O'Reily, who happened to be coming that way.

Improbable as some parts of this story were, it met with a ready
credence from nearly the whole of the multitude; no tale, having any
relation to the Recluse, being so marvellous that they would not readily
believe it. But in no one of the assembled listeners did it excite
greater surprise than in Bacon himself. It is true, that he readily
recognised in the whole invention the joint influence of whiskey, and
O'Reily's ingenuity, but even to these he had not supposed that he
should be indebted for such downright falsehoods in his behalf. Mrs.
Jamieson, too, seemed firmly to believe all that she had testified.
Under these circumstances he did not feel himself called upon to set the
matter right at the expense of Virginia's feelings, and the inevitable
defeat of the measures in which he was that very morning deeply
engaged. How the Irishman was to manage his part of the narrative when
called upon, as he certainly would be, and that so speedily that no time
would be allowed to exchange a word with his master, Bacon could not
divine. He knew right well that O'Reily was gifted with a strong
tendency to the most outrageous and even ridiculous exaggeration, and
that he would carry through whatever he should undertake to say, with
wonderful shrewdness and imperturbable confidence; but how he was to
make his story agree with that which he had put into the mouth of Mrs.
Jamieson, and at the same time explain the wound upon his own face, and
the contusion upon his head, without being guilty of some direct and
palpable falsehood, was more than his master could imagine. At length
Brian O'Reily was called to state what he knew touching the death of the
fisherman. The first question propounded by the officer was, "Well,
O'Reily, tell the jury how, and when you came to the house of the
deceased."

"Oh! thin, and I'm bothered to know whether I got there by land or
wather, and faix, I'm after b'leiven it was naither uv them."

"How then did you get there, if you went neither by land nor water?"

"An by the vestments, may be I wouldn't be far wrang, if I said it was
the crathur that took me there, seein I can't deny it iny way, your
haner."

"You saw no one strike or maltreat the deceased.".

"It would be but ill manners in me to be conthradictin your haner."

"You are sure you did not strike him yourself."

"As sure as two tin-pinnies--Divil burn the man that Brian O'Reily ever
ill used when he was down--much less when he was dead, your haner."
(crossing himself.)

"How then came that cut upon the corner of your mouth?"

"Oh! murther, and is it these your haner's axing after?" and he
ingeniously placed his finger upon a smaller wound made by his bottle on
the previous night. "Yes, O'Reily, we wish you to state how you came by
those wounds."

"Oh! but I'm bowld to show your haner, seein its you that axed me--sure
here's the wapon that kilt me all out!" and as he spoke, he pulled out
his broken necked bottle and handed it to his catechist.

"I see it has blood upon it, O'Reily, and this may explain the cut on
your mouth, but how came that contusion on your temple?"

"Be dad but I run aginst a good big shelaleigh, an it broke me head so
it did--sorra much head I had left at that same recknin, for the
crather."

"You ran against a club, O'Reily? Was it growing in the ground or was it
in the hands of an enemy?"

"It might be growin, your haner, or it might be in the hands of the
great inimy himself, for all that Brian O'Reily knows--sure your haner
isn't very particular in examinin the tixture of the timber that knocks
you down. It might be a door-post--or may be the gate of the foort--as
the thimber grows as thick here as paraties, and this gate was always
too small for me when I had a dhrap of the whiskey."

"You ran against the gate-post, or the facings of Jamieson's door,
then?"

"By the five crasses, an I've done that same many's the time--barrin
always that it would be ill manners in me to conthradict your haner if I
hadn't."

"You saw nothing then of the treacherous and thieving savages on the
night of Jamieson's murder?"

"Oh then but I'm puzzled now intirely. By the holy father, I saw a power
of sights on that same night. The whiskey was clane too strong for me. I
saw all sorts of yeller nagres and men widout shadows, and flamin
counthenances, and the fire sparklin from the very eyes of me, by the
same token. Divil a word of a lie's in that iny way."

"But you saw no person strike or maltreat this man who lies dead here?"

"Divil the one, your haner! Brian O'Reily's the boy that wouldn't see
foul-play to man nor baste. I never saw Jamie, till I saw him stretched
all out as you see him there."

"You do not know then but that you may have encountered the murderers in
your own drunken travels?"

"Faix and you may say that, your haner, widout a word of a lie in it; it
bothers me intirely to tell what I did see. And, by the five crasses, if
it wasn't for the wapon you've got in your hand--and poor Jamie that I
brought here on my back--and this thump upon my head, I should, say it
was all a dhrame clane out."

"Well, you may go, O'Reily. I believe you know little of what happened
to yourself or any one else last night."

"An that's thrue for you iny way; many thanks to your haner for your
kindness and civility," said O'Reily, as he left the crowd, slily
tipping a wink of triumph to his master.

Bacon certainly began to breathe more freely towards the conclusion, as
having edged in with the crowd, he heard O'Reily's ingenious parries of
the official's thrusts. But his trials were not yet over, for scarcely
had he followed his attendant with his eye out of the crowd, before Mr.
Fairfax stepped up to the officer and whispered something in his ear. In
a few moments after a deputy was seen leading Wyanokee into the
market-place--a look of the most profound dejection, still visible
through her fright, at being brought into the presence of such a
multitude.

She testified, that two of the Indians slain were her nearest kinsmen.
That the one with his head severed from the body, was old King Fisher;
and, upon examination, the blue feathers of his patronymic bird were
found still sticking in the matted tuft of hair upon his crown. She
farther stated that he was her father's only brother, and that another
of the slain was his son--the only two remaining male relatives she had
in the world. That all these savages were of the Chickahominy tribe; and
that there were not more than two hundred warriors, left of all that,
brave and powerful nation which had once thronged the banks of the
Chickahominy river. And here the little Indian maiden seemed almost
suffocated with overpowering emotions, as the memory of former days came
gushing over her heart. No tear relieved her swelling emotions, but ever
and anon she cast her eyes over the mangled bodies of her kinsmen, and
once or twice turned with looks more rapid and of darker meaning towards
Bacon. The general expression of her countenance; however, was one of
profound and overwhelming sadness. Her soul seemed fully capable of
realizing the melancholy destiny which awaited all the nations of the
aborigines then inhabiting the country, from the sea board to the blue
mountains,[2] and whose fiat was fast bearing her race from the loved
places which had known them so long. It was doubtless in her mind a poor
compensation for the destruction of her native tribe and their
contemporaries, that she herself had been reclaimed from the happy
ignorance of savage, to the more painful knowledge of civilized life.

[Footnote 2: The Indians possessed no knowledge of any of the tribes
beyond.]

She was asked if she knew of the visit of these unfortunate men on the
preceding night. Her eye furtively ran over the eager faces gathered
around, until it fell upon that of Bacon, when a momentary flash of some
internal impulse illumined her countenance. It might be vengeance, or
the hatred of unrequited passion--but let the cause be what it might, it
glimmered with a demoniacal fire but for an instant, and then, like the
expiring taper in the socket after its last flash, sunk for ever. The
sadness of past and coming years seemed concentrated in the despair of
are moment. She waived her hand and shook her head in silence, thus
indicating, that she could say no more--that human endurance had been
stretched to its utmost verge. Walking deliberately out of the crowd
until she came to the trunkless head of the last of the Chickahominy
chiefs, she bent over the mutilated remains for a moment in unutterable
sorrow, and then throwing her eyes to heaven, dark in despair, she
stooped to pluck one of the blue feathers from the scalp, and then with
sad and lingering steps, proceeded to her home.

All were impressed with involuntary respect for the bereaved maiden, and
even the hardened officer suffered her to depart without having finished
his examination. Sufficient, however, had been gleaned for the jury to
bring in a verdict of murder by the hands of some of the Chickahominy
tribe of savages. This tribe of Indians inhabited a small town called
Orapacks, on the banks of the river which gave its name to the nation.
They formed a part of the grand confederation which had first been
united under Powhatan, and afterwards his successor, Opechancanough; the
latter of whom so unfortunately fell, while a prisoner at Jamestown, by
the hands of a dastardly soldier, who took his life in revenge for some
petty wrong, real or imaginary. The depredation related in the foregoing
pages, and the unfortunate result to so many of its perpetrators, was
the first interruption to the general peace which Sir William Berkley
had been enabled to secure for the colony, after various sanguinary
massacres and conflicts, with the numerous tribes composing the empire
of Virginia, as it was sometimes called, and reaching from the Peninsula
to the present seat of Richmond.

It may be well, perhaps, to state that a process had been despatched,
for form's sake, to summon the Recluse, but it was returned as similar
messages had always been before--he was _non est inventus_.

The dead bodies were now removed,--that of Jamieson to the more
consecrated ground around the church, and those of the Indians to a sort
of Potter's-field or general burying ground, such as every city has
possessed from the time of Judas Iscariot to the present day.

The necessary and justifiable sacrifice of some half a dozen savages
was, at that time, too common a circumstance in Jamestown, long to
affect the gayeties-of-the day. Accordingly the afternoon found the
daughters and wives of the hardy citizens gayly tripping it over the
green common, to which we have already introduced the reader, inspired
by the music of two sable musicians, who rattled and scraped defiance to
all untoward interruptions whatsoever. The town was full of strangers
from the neighbouring plantations, together with many members of the
House of Burgesses from surrounding counties, who had arrived in
preparation for the meeting of that body, summoned to be held on the
third succeeding day. Many of these dignified personages had collected
on the green, to witness the enjoyment of the humbler citizens and their
wives and daughters.

A merry set of joyful lads and lasses were whirling through the giddy
dance; when all at once a savage yell abruptly struck upon the ear; the
music ceased, the youths stood still in the circle, while some of the
maidens fled toward the public square, and others sought the protection
of their fathers, husbands, or lovers. Consternation was visible in the
boldest countenances. The transactions of the morning had unstrung the
nerves of the females, and urged the sterner sex to thoughts of war,
which had lain dormant since the general peace and the death of
Opechancanough. But soon a jingle of little bells was heard, and the
next moment the multitude burst into a loud laugh, and simultaneously
cast their eyes up to a tall tree which overhung the green, and upon
which was seen a painted savage, descending with great agility, he soon
leaped into the middle of the area, where the dance had been in
progress, and commenced shuffling away at a most indefatigable rate, the
fiddlers striking at the same moment into the humour of this strange
visiter, and he himself dexterously rattling a number of little bones
which he held between his fingers--the bells all the while continuing to
jingle, and producing the strangest effect upon the ear. His face was
painted in the ordinary warrior guise, his head shaved close to the
cranium, save a lock upon the crown, to which hung a tuft of scarlet
feathers--his person was grotesquely ornamented with beads, bells and
buttons in great profusion, interspersed with hundreds of red feathers,
from which he took his name. He was called Red Feather Jack, and was
remarkably fond of the music and all the ordinary diversions of the
whites. In this respect he was the most remarkable Indian of his
day--that race having been peculiar for the haughty and dignified
contempt with which they looked upon the amusements of their civilized
neighbours. He was known to be as desperate in battle as he was light
hearted and merry at the sports of the white man, and had never been
known guilty of any kind of treachery, and was a universal favourite at
Jamestown among all the young people of both sexes. It may be readily
imagined, therefore, that a shout of "Red Feather Jack," which was
instantly raised by the assembled throng, brought no slight accession to
their numbers. The amusement thus afforded was kept up, intermingled
with dances of their own, to which Jack beat time with his loudest
bells, until the hour had arrived for the commencement of the more
imposing and aristocratic ceremonies and amusements at the gubernatorial
mansion.

Red Feather Jack was believed by many to be an admirer of Wyanokee's,
though of a different tribe. He had once, on an occasion nearly similar
to the one just related, offered to lead her to the dance, but the more
refined maiden looked upon him with ineffable scorn and contempt,
produced as much, doubtless, by his undignified and unnational habits,
as by what she considered his inferior rank and understanding. After the
cessation of the various sports upon the green--in the warehouse, and
throughout the town, Jack was taken to the Berkley Arms, where his merry
performances were kept up until a late hour of the night, to the great
amusement of the loungers and the disappointed youths who had vainly
aspired to a participation in the celebration of the Cavaliers.

There was one peculiar circumstance attending this day's celebration
which became generally the subject of after remark. Not a sign of
festivity or rejoicing was visible at the Cross Keys. Its master sat a
solitary spectator in his own door, apparently regarding the passing
levities with sovereign contempt. This of course did not escape without
many comments from the more jovial landlord of "the Arms." It was
likewise remarkable that none of the Independents were visible on this
general holyday, and this was the more singular as many of the humbler
followers of the late Lord Protector had been sold into temporary
bondage, and of course might be supposed eager to enjoy one day's
cessation from labour, even if they did not care to join the humbler
citizens in their demonstrations of loyalty.



CHAPTER VIII.


As the sun went down upon the boisterous revellers in the ancient city,
and closed the festivities of the day among the plebeians, the
aristocracy of the vice-regal court began to roll along the streets in
their carriages, and surround the door of the stout old knight who
represented the person of his royal master in the colony. The members of
the Council and of the house of Burgesses, with their wives and
daughters, and all other citizens and sojourners of distinction were
among the number. Now came the crash of Carriages--swearing of
footmen--cracking of whips rattling of wheels--clattering of steps, and
the pompous announcement of the man in office, as each party was
marshalled into the long suite of apartments brilliantly lighted for the
occasion. At the head of the largest room stood Sir William and Lady
Berkley. The old knight was dressed in a blue velvet doublet, which
being sashed below the belt or waistband, protruded out all round so as
to show the yellow silk linings of the aforesaid garment, fringing and
ornamenting the waist. His breeches were of pink satin, and were cut in
what was called at that day[3] "the petticoats;" they were tied to the
large mouthed silk hose with gay ribands, and the lining of the breeches
being longer than the garment itself, formed a sort of ornament for the
overhanging hose; immediately over this row of knotted ribands
ornamenting the knee, his breeches hung in ample folds. The sleeves of
his doublet reached nearly to the elbow; and from the end of these the
shirt was so fashioned as to bulge out in large flowing plaits to his
ruffled wrists. His stockings were of white silk, and shoes ornamented
with a profusion of ribands, knotted and bound into the shape of
flowers. On one shoulder hung a short mantle, reaching to the haunches
and falling in rich folds over one side of his person. Lady Berkley
appeared For the first time without her farthingale, but still retained
its contemporary, the French hood. In place of the starched ruff, she
wore the graceful and flowing collar, falling in folds and terminated in
rich pointed lace round the upper half of the bust; she wore a stomacher
indeed, but greatly modified from the long strait jacket fashion of the
preceding reign.

[Footnote 3: See Holmes.]

A slight degree of pomp and formality characterized the profound
inclination of the knight's magisterial person, as some guest of
distinction was from time to time announced, while his lady performed
her part of the ceremony in exact accordance with the stately habits of
her lord, but softened by a native blandness of manner and sweetness of
disposition. She was a lady in the most refined and polished acceptation
of the term. They were both just sufficiently advanced in years to add
the dignity, of age to that resulting from their station, and command,
respect from those who moved within their sphere. The ladies began now
to re-appear, after the momentary retouch of the toilet, and arrange
themselves round the apartment apparently appropriated to the dance,
from a band of musicians stationed some six feet above the floor in a
temporary orchestra. The first touch upon the string of the leader's kit
was magical--the chords of every young female heart in the room vibrated
in unison. No letting down of one string and raising of another was
required to bring them to concert pitch; like the blooded charger in the
field, in whose veins, the first clang of the trumpet sends the vital
stream glistening to the very eye-balls, their gayly decorated persons
were at once glowing with animation; their eyes sparkling and their
bosoms heaving with impatience, joy, and anticipated triumph. But when
the bow of an evident master was drawn over the strings of his rusty
cremona in a long single sweep, every heart palpitated in eagerness. The
eyes of the gentlemen wandered over the multitude of youthful and lovely
faces beaming with a delighted expression, and all were keenly alive to
the coming pleasures of the dance. But there was a precedence in the
arrangement of the first set which, we must by no means neglect.
Virginia Fairfax, by right of birth and consanguinity to the governor,
invariably assumed her aunt's place at the head of the set. The
blooming Hebe issued forth from the impenetrable ranks of her compeers
with the blushing grace and beauty of a nymph--her hand was slightly
extended as though its owner were conscious that scores of the opposite
ranks would have perilled life and fortune for its possession. She was
clad in simple white; not a colour marring the chaste and perfect purity
of her attire, save the transparent shadow of a crimson tint which rose
and fell in vivid flashes over her complexion with the rapidity of
thought. Near her stood a youth, his finely formed person set off to the
best advantage by the gay and tasteful fashion of his time, and his dark
hazel eye, brilliant with the momentary fire of excitement.
Instinctively he moved forward to receive the outstretched and now
trembling little hand, but scarcely had he gained it before a competitor
appeared upon the field, of not less personal and far more aristocratic
pretension. "With your leave, sir," said Frank Beverly, with a profound
inclination of his finely dressed person, as he took the hand which
Bacon, in the abstraction of the moment, was about to usurp. The latter
retired in the most undisguised mortification; his rival moving to the
head of the set with all the grace and ease of self-possession, rank,
and consciousness of right in the present instance.

Sir William himself bent his dignity to enjoy this scene, the most
evident satisfaction beaming upon his countenance as he cast an
intelligent glance toward his lady.

Our heroine had been too finely schooled in the etiquette and manners of
the ball-room, to allow the most penetrating observer any means of
ascertaining whether the incident just related was as pleasing to her as
to her partner. Bacon's mortification was not long visible, for with a
desperate sort of boldness, quite foreign to his general demeanour, he
crossed the room and approached a young lady whose beauty shone
conspicuous amid all the gay throng by which she was surrounded. Harriet
Harrison was the daughter of one of the proudest and most wealthy
families in the colony. They moved in the front ranks of those who
radiated around the fashionable orbit of which the Governor and his
family were the principal luminaries, and were esteemed by them as among
their most honoured friends and supporters. Harriet was the intimate
friend of Virginia Fairfax, and, after her mother, the most esteemed
repository of her confidence. Though an idea of rivalry in any shape or
form had never entered their young and guileless hearts, the youthful
Cavaliers who floated upon the same fashionable tide, had frequently
placed them in this attitude in their private discussions of the various
personal and mental attractions of the maidens, each in her turn proving
the reigning favourite, as their respective admirers happened to possess
the supremacy over the minds of their companions. She was near the same
age with Virginia, and undoubtedly possessed attractions of the most
captivating quality, both in mind and person, yet they were finely
contrasted with those of her friend. Harriet's complexion was
brunette--her hair dark and shining as the raven's plumage--her eye
black, keen and sparkling, her finely pencilled brows beautifully
overshadowing the native archness of her countenance, and her mouth
always expressive of amiable feelings, just sufficiently characterized
perhaps by a dash of innocent humour and coquetry; or rather that
coquetry which is the result of archness and humour as distinguished
from premeditated design. Her figure was slight but finely proportioned.
As Bacon approached this laughing little belle, his boldness visibly
diminished beneath her sparkling eye, and his petition for her hand was
uttered with the most courtly and deferential humility. The brunette
cast a significant glance toward her friend at the head of the set, and
then with promptitude accepted the offered partner, her intelligent and
sparkling countenance turning towards Charles Dudley, who stood near,
with a speaking archness, which conveyed as plainly as it could have
been in words, her perfect understanding of the byplay which was going
on at the expense of his friend. The set being completed, the music now
struck up its enlivening notes, and the various contending passions and
emotions of those engaged were soon lost for the time in the giddy whirl
of excitement which succeeded. Every countenance was clad in joy and
hilarity--Bacon himself seeming to forget, in the secret pleasure
created by the occasional touch of Virginia's hand, that he himself was
not the honoured partner. Nor was the exhilirating effect of the dance
confined to those who partook in the exercise--the young enjoyed it
present, the old by retrospection. The latter lived over again the gay
and brilliant dreams of their own youth, and were what they beheld. The
music perhaps touched upon some long forgotten associations of other
days and other friends, when and with whom they had mingled in the merry
dance under circumstances like the present. These hallowed and blessed
associations were not unmixed with melancholy, but it was of the softest
and most soothing kind; the tide of feeling flowed over the heart to the
cadences of the music, rising and swelling like the waves of the
subsiding storm, and irresistibly inviting to mental calm and repose.
The elder matrons sat under its influence--their eyes half closed in a
sort of pleasing abstraction--while a gentle and subdued smile of mixed
emotions played upon their lips. They lived again in the persons of
their gay and happy daughters, and with no more selfish wish than to see
their offspring following quietly in their own footsteps.

The formality which had somewhat characterized the opening ceremonies
was entirely banished--it could not live in the atmosphere of music and
the dance. Sir William and his compeers in dignity seemed early to be
sensible of this, for no sooner had the motion of "hands round"
commenced, than he collected his forces, and retreated to the card room,
where, from the excitement of the game and wine, they endeavoured to
compensate themselves for their want of the more sentimental retrospects
of their ladies.

Conversation, which till now had flagged under the withering influence
of etiquette, burst forth in all the vivacity of unrestrained and
unsophisticated nature. The eyes of Harriet Harrison sparkled like gems,
as she and Virginia laughed and chatted together, when they occasionally
met in the figures of the dance. But with all Virginia's hilarity, an
acute observer might have perceived a shade more than once passing over
the sunshine of her countenance; whether owing to some vague
presentiment of coming evil--to better defined apprehensions from those
events which had so lately passed under her eyes--to the mysterious
injunctions of the Recluse, or to some not altogether satisfactory
arrangements of the dance, we shall leave the sagacity of the reader to
determine. Certain it is, however, that she underwent no little badinage
from her lively friend and confidant.

A certain emphatic declination in the notes of the leader, which all the
initiated will understand, warned those in possession of the floor, that
there is an order of rotation in happiness on these joyful occasions, a
cadence, any thing but musical to those happily and mutually suited in
partners, while to those not so fortunately coupled, it was a joyful
relief. Each gentleman led his partner to her seat, which she had
scarcely taken, perhaps, if one of the favoured few, before new
applications for the honour of her hand were laid at her feet. Bacon had
no sooner escorted Harriet to her place, than turning to her friend he
again put in his claim in more formal parlance than his former
instinctive aspirations, but again he was doomed to disappointment;
Philip Ludwell on this occasion, with a smirking smile upon his
countenance, claiming a prior engagement. Bacon scowled upon him with
mingled scorn and rage, as he turned upon his heel and besought the
honour of the first hand within his reach. But if he was disappointed,
his friend Dudley seemed more fortunate, for at the same moment that the
former led out his partner, he encountered the latter escorting the
pretty Harriet--and certainly no one in the room claimed a larger
portion of his sympathy. But he was struck with the change in the
countenance of the lively brunette in the very short time which had
elapsed between the two sets. During the first, there was a free,
untramelled, mischievous expression in her countenance, which was now
merged in one of partial embarrassment. The guileless and confiding air
with which she had looked into the face of her former partner, was now
exchanged for one of consciousness, as if the lively little belle
expected retributive justice from her friends for her own previous
badinage. The unpractised Dudley interpreted these appearances any thing
but favourably to his own ardent hopes.

Bacon was more deeply studied in the workings of the "human face
divine," especially when feeling no personal interest in their meaning,
and he therefore amused himself in his ungrateful situation, by watching
the changes of his friend's arch little mistress. He doubtless
considered it a beautiful and interesting development of character, to
see this lively little romp--so lately overflowing with vivacity and
animal spirits--all at once transformed into the sensitive, sedate, and
downcast maiden. He was certainly not less amused to perceive that these
two interesting young personages were unconsciously playing at cross
purposes. First the gentleman became cold and moody at the reserve
exhibited by his mistress, which did undoubtedly exist, but from which
his jealous anxiety made him draw a most erroneous conclusion; while
she, on the other hand, resented this apparently ungrateful return for a
partiality which her own consciousness induced her to believe was
perceptible to its object; indeed this very fear of his knowledge was
perhaps the moving impulse of her own wayward conduct. The resentment
occasioned by his apparent coldness, and assumed indifference, produced
a corresponding feeling in her bosom, and thus they mutually acted and
reacted upon each other, departing farther and farther from a mutual
understanding at every renewed attempt, until at the close of the set,
Dudley retired, as he imagined, irreconcilably offended, folding his
arms upon his breast, and looking the very picture of love in despair.
While in this mood Bacon approached him, and tapped him on the shoulder,
saying, "Hah, Charles, would'st drown thyself? Thou dost not set thy
life at a pin's fee I'll warrant me. Why, what would'st thou have, man?
Thou would'st not have her forward and pert enough to run unbidden into
thy arms?"

"Run into my arms, forsooth! I think she was nearer running into thine
own."

"Tut man, does thy knowledge of the sex extend no farther? Dost not know
thou art quarrelling with the light of thine own eyes? Art thou not yet
acquainted with the windings and apparent inconsistencies of the female
heart? I say apparent, because when the _primum mobile_ is once
understood, all these little perversities of lovers' quarrels are
beautifully consistent, and always traceable to the one great original
cause. Once gain an insight of this leading motive, and you will admire
where you now condemn--you will attribute to maidenly modesty and proper
reserve, what you now censure as perverse and whimsical."

"I understand you not, Sir Professor."

"No, because you are interested in the matter. You cannot truly place
the small end of the telescope to your eye, and see yourself at the
other. You cannot stand, for instance, as I stand, and see yourself as
I see you. But study the subject a little before you give way to the
identical petulant humours with which you would quarrel in your
mistress."

"And how long is it, pray, Sir Sage, since you took the beam from your
own eye. If mine deceived me not, I saw you but a little while since
swelling with all the offended dignity of majesty itself--merely because
some more fortunate swain had previously secured the hand of the
Governor's fair niece."

"You are as far wrong in my affairs, Charles, as you were just now in
your own. You seem peculiarly predisposed to-night, to see only the
surface of things. Suppose that some half a dozen of those butterflies
who are now congregating round Lady Berkley, were to form a plot by
which you were to be deprived of the hand of that lady whom you most
desired to lead to the dance? Nay, more, suppose that you considered it
all important to your interests that you should possess the hand on this
particular night, and that you should be thwarted by such a contrivance
of _sub vice-royalty_! What would you do? Would you content yourself
with spending your rage upon your own lips between your teeth?"

"No, by heavens, I would tweak the nose of a small sprig of royalty
itself."

"What, under the circumstances and responsibilities that environ us
to-night?"

"No! not to-night certainly; there is no hurry in the business--his
nasal organ will be as tangible a week hence as now, I suppose; but who
is it that has done this deed? I see you have many rivals."

"Frank Beverly, to be sure."

"I supposed as much."

"You see," continued Bacon, "that I have now removed the mote from my
own eye, and that you did in my case exactly what you did in your
own--you looked only at the surface. But really, Charles, between
ourselves, I begin to entertain some fears that they will at last affect
Virginia with their own aristocratic notions and pretensions, for the
absence of which we have so often praised her. I have seen a strange
unusual something stealing over her countenance whenever I have
approached her of late, which I do not like. She evidently struggles
with it herself, but it has obtained the mastery in every instance, so
far. Think you they will succeed at last?"

"I know not, my friend! but step with me into the entry--a word in your
ear." The parties stepped just behind the casings to the door of the
room in which they had been dancing, so as to occupy a small entry-way
between the two largest apartments of the mansion, and there Dudley
continued in an under tone.--

"Do you think they will dare _the deed_ to-night?"

"As sure as there is truth in that strange old man--and he has never yet
deceived me!"

"Tis well! and are all things prepared for their reception?"

"They are! As for myself, never did such occasion come more opportunely.
I will raise a bloody monument to perpetuate the events of this night
upon more than one memory in yonder gay assembly! And since the thought
strikes me, Dudley, tis pity I disturbed the savage moroseness which was
just stealing over you; however I shall retain a _quantum sufficit_ for
us both!"

At that moment they were about to return to the party which they had
left, when Dudley elevating his finger, said, "Hist!"--and Bacon heard
his own name pronounced, just on the other side of the partition against
which they were leaning. The voice was Ludwells. "Can you tell me
Beverly," said he, "the reason why Bacon does not wear the love lock!"

"Yes, I can, nature stamped him for a Roundhead and Crop-ear at his
birth. Have you not observed how obstinately his curling locks are
matted to his head? I'll warrant me if the truth could be known, his
father was as pestilent a Rumper as ever sung a psalm on horseback."

Bacon heard no more; he was seized with the most ungovernable rage, and
the utmost endeavours and remonstrances of his friend could scarcely
prevent him from bursting in upon the speakers. In his endeavours to
effect this object he forced his person partly in front of the doorway,
just sufficiently to perceive that Virginia sat near, for whom, he
doubted not these observations were intended. Again he became nearly
unmanageable, until Dudley said to him in a harsh tone. "Rash man, would
you sacrifice the whole colony for the purpose of chastising a piece of
unmannerly insolence upon the spur of the moment, when you can as well
do it to-morrow? Nay, it is the more manly course of the two."

Bacon by a powerful effort seemed to master his feelings, and
compressing his lips, and folding his arms so as entirely to deceive his
companion, he marched deliberately into the room, as if he intended to
cross to the opposite side. But when not more than three paces from the
door, he wheeled suddenly round and addressed Beverly. "This is no place
for a personal reencounter, Sir Slanderer, and I will no farther break
through the rules of good breeding than to hurl defiance in your teeth,
and even this much I would not do, only that the defiance may go abroad
with the calumny;" and with these words he flung his glove in the face
of him to whom they were addressed. Beverly was taken entirely by
surprise; and for some moments did not seem to realize the extent of the
insult, and the greater personal indignity which had been offered to
him. He was not long, however, in comprehending the nature of the case,
and deliberately stooping to pick up the glove he answered, "This, as
you have better said than acted, is no place to quarrel, but I accept
your gage, and dearly shall it be redeemed on your part."

During this short but pertinent dialogue, Virginia screamed and ran to
the protection of her father and uncle, followed by the other ladies in
that part of the room. A crowd instantly collected round each of the
parties to hear their statements of the case. But Sir William, always
prompt and energetic, ordered the orchestra to strike up and the dance
to be resumed, which had ceased for the purpose of affording
refreshment. "A mere boy's quarrel," said the old Knight with smiling
visage, and the dance was resumed, as if nothing unusual had occurred.

General joy and hilarity were soon restored, for though the serenity and
happiness of several important personages of our narrative might have
been disturbed, there were still plenty of those left who were both
light of heart and nimble of foot. The dance was again going round, wine
circulating, wit sparkling, and merry faces and loud voices in all
quarters, when a sudden explosion like the discharge of a broadside from
a line of battle ship, seemed to shake the very foundations of the
earth; windows rattled and fell--plastering came tumbling down--and
ladies screamed and leaped from the casements, while others were borne
off fainting to their friends. Bacon seized Virginia and Harriet, one
under each arm, and bore them to a carriage, while Mr. Fairfax and
Governor Berkley forced their ladies into the same vehicle, ordering the
driver to speed for his life to the residence of the former. A bright
red light in the midst of a dark column of smoke was now seen to ascend
from behind the Governor's house. The powder magazine had been fired by
the Cromwellians who were now in open revolt against the government. The
schemes which they had been so long meditating, and which Bacon so truly
anticipated, had now arrived at the crisis--the struggle was commenced
which was to test whether a few scores of misguided but brave zealots
were to triumph over the constituted authorities of the land, as they
had before done in England.



CHAPTER IX.


The night was dark and lowering, and masses of heavy clouds enveloped
the city, a bright red column of fire ever and anon shot fitfully up
from the smouldering ruins of the magazine, tipping the clouds with a
crimson tinge, and illuminating the city to the light of noonday, and
again suddenly giving place to volumes of thick sulphureous smoke which
involved the surrounding objects in tenfold darkness. Drums were heard
beating to arms--trumpets sounding the charge--fifes piercing the
air--bells ringing the alarm--muskets and petronels discharged in quick
succession, swords clashing, women shrieking, and men were seen running
hither and thither in all the tumult of popular commotion. Bacon had no
sooner lifted his frightened protegées into the carriage, than rushing
into the back court, he found Dudley at the head of their youthful corps
already desperately engaged with the Roundheads. He immediately threw
himself into the thickest of the fight. With all their desperate valour,
however, the two young officers were quickly sensible that they had
entirely miscalculated the number and appointments of their enemies. In
vain they endeavoured to repulse the hardy veterans who forced their way
to the doors and windows of the gubernatorial mansion. The assailants
moved to their work in a solid phalanx, that veteran soldier Worley,
conspicuous at their head, and literally hewing down all opposition. One
line after another of the valiant and high born youths fell before the
murderous weapons of the insurgents. In vain did Bacon and Dudley, and
Beverly and Ludwell, all now united in a common cause, enact prodigies
of valour; their impetuous lunges fell powerless upon the iron frames of
their opponents. Crowds of citizens now rushed against the insurgents
some armed with swords, others with scythe blades, others again with
bludgeons, and the rest with such means of destruction as they could
seize in the street as they hurried to the contest. The accession of
strength to the cause of the government was as yet of little avail,
Bacon and his followers being driven to the walls, while the insurgents
were protected on each side by a high wooden fence or barricade. Tables,
chairs and bedsteads were hurled upon the heads of the besiegers, and
the lower windows were thronged with eager citizens throwing their
hastily seized weapons upon the heads of the foe in a vain effort to
come within reach. The Cromwellians were now likewise receiving
momentary reinforcements of those who leapt the high fences, and filled
up the vacancies in the rear, as the front ranks fell in the desperate
encounter with the youths and citizens. To whom the victory would fall
could not long prove doubtful, situated as they now were; this Sir
William Berkley and his kinsman Fairfax had no doubt perceived early in
the engagement, for a shout from a multitude without the enclosure, in
the midst of which might be heard the voice of Brian O'Reily, now
announced the presence of the Governor. The welcome sound was speedily
and cheerily answered by the sinking youths within, who took courage at
the approach of succour, and fought with renewed spirit. The wooden
barricade, was now seen to heave and shake, with every motion and creak
of which O'Reily shouted in chorus, until at length the whole yielded
and fell with aloud crash. A rush of citizens quickly filled up the
breach, and poured their blows into the flank of the Roundheads, who now
changing their front charged upon their new assailants at the head of
whom were the Governor and Gideon Fairfax. The two old Cavaliers laid
about them in a style worthy of their best and most chivalrous days, and
the citizens as stoutly supported them although but poorly armed and
equipped for such a rencounter. By this change of front the gallant
little corps which had so long maintained its ground, was now in some
measure relieved, and no longer subject to the murderous strokes of the
iron-handed Cromwellians. By the order of Bacon they now poured their
fire into the flank of the enemy, and by this double annoyance to their
phalanx, would doubtless have speedily terminated the conflict, but the
friends of the Insurgents without, taking example by the manoeuvre of
the governor and his party, now broke down the barricade on the other
side, and rushed in their turn to the scene of conflict. As this new
reinforcement were pushing through the court to join their friends, in
storming the first breach, a loud explosion from Sir William's quarter
was heard, followed by the groans and shrieks of a whole phalanx of the
old and new assailants, in whose ranks a perfect lane was cut by this
discharge of grape shot through the very centre of their column. A rush
was now instantly made for the possession of the cannon, and as the
citizens poured through the governor's house and the Roundheads through
the new breach in the party-wall, a deadly scuffle ensued, which became
more and more ferocious and sanguinary as each party received fresh
accessions from their friends without. And though the Cavaliers and
their supporters outnumbered their enemies, the latter had decidedly the
advantage in equipment, strength and discipline; more especially in the
hand-to-hand mode of warfare which now became necessary from the numbers
crowded into so small a space. But there was another advantage which
they possessed--they had but one commander, the veteran Worley, while
the Cavaliers and citizens of the town were at one time commanded by
Bacon, and at another by Sir William Berkley.

Bacon perceiving the effect of this circumstance, singled out and
attacked the opposite leader in person, determined, if he lost his life
in the unequal conflict, to make the attempt at least to place the two
parties on a more equal footing. But Worley quickly detected his aim,
and being a not less expert swordsman than his antagonist, took
advantage of an impetuous thrust, and quickly brought him to the grapple
of close quarters. One excelled in strength, and the other in activity,
but notwithstanding the latter, superior powers of endurance would soon
have ended the duel unfavourably for our hero, had not a blow from
behind brought his powerful enemy to the ground. Before Bacon discovered
O'Reily, he was well convinced that the bludgeon which had interfered so
opportunely in his behalf, was wielded by no tyro at the weapon.
However, he lost but few seconds, either upon his assailant or
deliverer, but quickly directed his attention to matters of more
absorbing importance in the direction of cannon. Meantime O'Reily seized
the opportunity afforded by the engrossing nature of the conflict, in
the quarter just mentioned, and stooping down he took one of Worley's
feet under each arm, using his legs as shafts, and dragged him off to a
horse stall hard by, where having deposited the insensible veteran upon
the straw, he turned the key and consigned it to his pouch.

The battle now consisted almost entirely of numerous desperate
individual conflicts, each citizen as he arrived singling out some hated
Roundhead neighbour, and he in his turn as anxious to vent the party and
personal hatred which had been so long festering within his bosom. Sir
William Berkley perceiving that their veteran foes had a decided
advantage in the position now occupied by the parties respectively,
quickly devised a scheme, in concert with Mr. Fairfax, by which, while
the Governor kept the enemy engaged over the cannon, the latter should
take a score of sturdy citizens, and rushing in, regardless of
consequences, drag this sole apparent cause of contention into the
public square, and thus change the scene of action to a more open
position, where the superior bodily strength of the insurgents could no
longer avail them. The measure was executed with great spirit and
promptitude, and succeeded beyond their most sanguine expectations; for
no sooner had the citizens commenced dragging the piece at a brisk trot,
than both parties tumultuously pressed round its wheels, and thus
unconsciously were brought into a fair field of action. Bacon, as soon
as he saw the design of the movement, wheeled his hardy youths through
the Governor's house, and formed a line at the critical moment when the
confused combatants arrived fighting over the gun: thus affording a
rallying point for the friends of order and the government. The
governmental troops immediately formed upon the line already partly
established by Bacon and his corps, and thus the gun was at length
brought to bear for a time upon the opposing ranks. The light which had
hitherto fitfully gleamed upon the strife, was now sinking after long
intervals, and emitting that unsteady and wavering flame which announces
rapidly approaching extinction. A few rounds of musketry and one or two
discharges from the small fieldpiece, and the arena of conflict was
shrouded in impenetrable darkness, save from the momentary glare which
preceded the explosions. The Cromwellians, locking their column more
compactly together, rushed in a solid body upon the newly formed line of
the citizens. So sudden and so impetuous was this movement, and so
skilfully executed, that the brave but ill disciplined combatants,
against whom it was directed, gave way before the solid phalanx of the
enemy, leaving the long disputed fieldpiece surrounded by the
Insurgents. They immediately turned its muzzle upon its late owners, and
were about charging it with the usual silence and promptitude of their
movements, when a bright light from a burning torch was seen forcing its
way almost undisputed through their ranks. The Cromwellians stood aside
for its passage with an irresolute sort of tardiness, produced by a
doubt whether the bearer were a friend or an enemy. But they were not
left long in suspense, for he had no sooner arrived at this point, now
forming the line between the contending parties, than he sprang upon the
carriage of the gun, holding his torch aloft, so as to shed a glaring
light upon the assembled multitude of both parties, who stood now for a
moment of truce, in wonder at the strange and gigantic figure before
them.

"Hold!" said he in a loud authoritative voice, and waving his hand with
a commanding gesture over the ranks of the Roundheads who crowded round
him. "Where is your commander, Worley?"

"He is slain," answered twenty voices.

"His blood be upon his own head. Where is he who commandeth in his
stead?"

"Here am I," said a short black visaged thick-set man. "Here am I,
Ananias Proudfit, whom the Lord hath commissioned this night to take
away the wicked from the land, and to root out the Amalekite, and the
Jebusite, and the Perizzite, and the Hittite, and the Girgashite and the
Amorite. And are not this council and this wicked Governor justly
comparable to the five Kings who took shelter in the cave of Makkeda,
who were"--

"Peace, brawler, peace," thundered the gigantic umpire, "and cease to
pervert the word of God to thy murderous and unholy purposes. Take
warning by the fate of thy predecessor. Thou would'st not listen to a
more safe and peaceable admonition, administered in humility and good
faith. Now I tell thee that if thou art still deaf, this good sword
shall cleave thy hardened skull," and he drew his formidable weapon and
brandished it over the torch. "Hah! sayest thou so," said the enraged
Proudfit, aiming a deadly blow at the gigantic figure towering above
him, but which the stranger struck aside with the ease of a wary and
practised swordsman, and in the next moment as he had promised, drove
his ponderous weapon into the skull of his assailant. Then hurling his
torch into the advancing throng of the Independents, he brandished the
huge glittering blade in fearful circles around the besieged gun, and
quickly cleared a space for its more dexterous and effectual employment.

The fight was now renewed in all quarters, but evidently to greater
disadvantage on the part of the Insurgents, than they yet had to contend
with. The loss of their commander a second time, even in the ordinary
course of warfare, would doubtless have disheartened them, but the
circumstances under which the last had fallen--the superstitious
reverence in which they were accustomed to hold the Recluse--all
contributed to damp their ardour, to say nothing of the bloody barricade
he had already piled around his person. They were now, too, in a
comparatively open field, where the greater numbers of their enemies
could avail much, and where no opportunity was afforded for the fatal
grapple which had so well served the rebels in the earlier stages of the
conflict. They were assailed from all points of the square at the same
moment, while the Recluse, in the very heart of their ranks, was
literally hewing them down like weeds and cumberers of the ground. No
quarter was asked or given--they had staked their all upon the success
of their enterprise, and seemed determined, long after all hope of
success in their first project must have failed, to leave a bloody
monument to their foolhardy courage, if not to their wisdom and
fore-thought. Nathaniel Bacon, exhausted by the loss of blood from
wounds received in the desperate repulse of the insurgents during the
early part of the engagement, and feeling his tremendous responsibility
for his inadequate preparations, no longer so onerous or so urgent upon
himself, fell upon the field, and was borne to the house of his early
friend and patron.

With the powerful aid of the Recluse, and the accumulating
reinforcements from the loyal citizens of the town, the remainder of the
gallant but misguided zealots were soon either cut down, captured, or
put to flight. The slain of the Cavalier party were laid out in the
State House, while those of the opposite faction were deposited in the
tobacco warehouse, so lately the scene of youthful revels.

The wounded were removed to the houses of their friends and relations
throughout the city, and in a short time as profound silence reigned
along its deserted streets as if no one had arisen to disturb its peace.
Not an individual could be found who had seen the Recluse after the
termination of the struggle. The slain were carefully examined, but no
such huge proportions as his lay stretched in death, among the gory
trophies of his prowess.

The veteran soldiers, so many of whom had fallen, while others were
confined within the jail of the colony, were a remnant of Cromwell's
soldiers who had been sent from the parent country, on account of their
restless and dangerous propensities, some of them had been sold into
temporary bondage, while others established themselves in business or
planting on their own account. They had formed the desperate resolution
of rising upon the governor and his guests while seated over their wine,
supposing that, in the promiscuous massacre which they had intended to
perpetrate, all the councillors, and leading men of the colony would be
swept away, and themselves thereby enabled to revolutionize the
government.

The Recluse had doubtless been vainly urged to join their desperate
faction, and it would appear that they had either depended upon their
threats of vengeance as a sufficient warrant for his fidelity, or
trusted to his supposed predilection for their cause, and hatred against
the authorities then at the head of colonial affairs. Nor does it appear
that he did openly and boldly betray them. Bacon had by some means or
other of his own, pryed so far into the secret of the incipient
rebellion as to learn who were the prominent leaders--by the suggestion
of the Recluse, obtained through the agency of Virginia, he had found
access to the ear of one Berkenhead, an influential man among them, who,
influenced by gold and liberal promises, betrayed so much of the
conspirators' designs as enabled Bacon to adopt the preparations of
which we have just seen the result. And though they were of themselves
totally inadequate, yet they served the purpose of keeping the murderers
at bay, until time was afforded for the intervention of the citizens,
and thus had preserved the lives of the Governor and his Council,
together with those of many members of the House of Burgesses. The
Assembly, which convened three days afterward, unanimously voted three
thousand weight of tobacco to the traitor Berkenhead, and passed sundry
pious resolutions of thanks to the Almighty for their deliverance,
besides setting the day apart as one of thanksgiving for ever after.

The ancient city presented a strange and desolate appearance on the
succeeding morning, in the neighbourhood of the public square. Houses
were deserted by their tenants, windows shattered, palings pulled down,
the ground stained with blood; guns, petronels, swords, hats, and
missiles of various descriptions lay scattered about in strange
confusion.

At length the drowsy citizens were awakened to the importance of the
day. A court of inquiry was assembled for the purpose of investigating
the conspiracy which had so nearly proved fatal to the existing order of
things on the previous night. The prisoners were brought from the jail
to the Court House in irons, and all the witnesses supposed to know any
thing of the matter, were in readiness. Nathaniel Bacon was the first
called, but Mr. Fairfax came forward and stated that his wounds were so
much more dangerous than had previously been supposed, that the surgeon
strictly enjoined quiet and repose, and recommended if possible to
postpone taking his deposition for the present. As the testimony was
ample and satisfactory without his attendance, the examination of course
proceeded. Berkenhead's deposition was essentially what we have already
more succinctly stated in explanation of the insurrection, and most of
the other witnesses testified only to what the reader has already seen
or surmised. There was one witness, however, whose testimony was so
novel and amusing, amidst the general scene of confusion and bloodshed,
that we must by no means neglect it. Brian O'Reily was called in his
turn to give evidence on behalf of the crown on a charge of treason
against the prisoners at the bar.

"Well, O'Reily," said the examining officer, "please to tell the court
what you know of the treasonable practices of any of the prisoners at
the bar."

"Be the twelve Apostles and St. Patrick into the bargain, I caught one
iv them in the very act."

"What act did you see, O'Reily, and which of these men was the
perpetrator?"

"Faix it was just trason itself I caught him at; sure if I hadn't
brought his head acquainted wid my shelaleigh, he'd iv murthered one of
the king's officers iny way--young master Bacon."

"Well, tell us which of these men it was, and any thing you know
concerning the getting up of this rebellion."

"The man's not there at all at all--he's at another bar, and has been
this ten hours gone."

"He's at the bar of God, you mean?"

"I mane no sich thing, axing your honour's pardon for conthradictin you.
Here's the key that's turned an 'im; besides, didn't I slape by the
door all night wid nobody for company but a small dhrop iv whiskey, and
didn't I spake to him this morning through the key hole, and didn't he
coax and palaver wid me to let him out, and didn't he come over me wid
his wife and nine childre, one at the breast, barrin that I knew it was
a d--d lie at that same recknin, savin your presence, an didn't he fret
about bein cooped up in sich a place all night wid nothin to ate an the
same, to dhrink, barrin the hay that was in the rack, an didn't I answer
him from the contints iv the book, sayin that many a betther man than
him had been born and brought up in a manger, (crossing himself) an
didn't he call me all sorts iv hathen names; indeed an he did--the best
iv them was cut-throat and horse-thaif, only they were in the Habrew
language, an didn't I tell him he was a Judaite, an a wolf in sheep's
clothin, an that he hated the very name iv Bacon. And may be he didn't
call me a dam'd papist? An didn't I tell him he'd live to see his own
funeral iny way? an didn't he answer me all about popes and bulls and
papists? Oh! get away wid your blarney, says I, you're safe now as the
Governor's old bull wid the short tail and the shambles on two of his
legs, only I tould him he'd perhaps be likein the darbies on his hands
instead of his trotters."

"And who was this, Brian, that you held this long discourse with through
a key hole? You're giving us another of your drunken dreams I fear?"

"Divil a word iv a lie's in it, your haner, hav'nt I just come from the
stable door, and didn't I set ould growler, the bull dog to watch by him
till I came back--sure he cant come over him wid his blarney about the
wife and the nine childer--O be gorra I'm so tender hearted, it was a
clane temptation to me."

"Who was it had the nine children?"

"Auld Nick fly away wid the nine he's got iv them; didn't I tell your
haner it was all blarney to move the tinder feelings of Brian O'Reily?"

"Who was it then, you were talking to through the key hole?"

"An 'is it his name your haner's axing after all this time? couldn't you
just say so at wanst, an not throw me out wid the story all thegither?
It's the Divil's own aid-the-camp I'm thinkin. It's the man that makes
swords all the time he's makin horse shoes, they call him Worley I'm
thinkin."

"Worley! is it possible? have you seen him this morning?"

"Be the contints iv the book but I saw him not an hour gone, through the
key hole; he was stanin up to hay like the Governor's horse, but his
appetite seemed to uv left him intirely."

"Can you show the officers where he is?"

"I can do that same, I'm bould to say; didn't I tell your haner it's the
key I had was turned an im?"

"And what is it the key of, O'Reily?"

"Faix it's the key to the Governor's stable." (This answer produced a
loud laugh from the spectators.) "Divel a word o lie's in it."

"Well, O'Reily, the officers are waiting on you; only prove to us that
this is not another of your drunken reveries, and it shall turn out
better for you than you now expect. Since it has been ascertained that
this man Worley was not to be found among the slain, the Governor has
issued his proclamation, offering two hundred pounds for his
apprehension, dead or alive."

"Oh!" said O'Reily, as he was going out of the door, "but I'm afeard
you'll find him rather in a state iv thribulation, I did some killen an
im myself: Oh wasn't that a beauty iv a shelaleigh? Only to think of two
hundred pounds; faix if I get it but I'll have it set in brass."

The officers in attendance, with Brian at their head, soon emerged from
the Governor's stable amidst the shouts and cheers of the multitude. The
unfortunate Roundhead commander was brought into courts suffering
severely from thirst, and the effects of the contusion, produced by the
violence of O'Reily's blow.

We will not detain the reader over revolting portions of the trial
either now or hereafter; suffice it to say, therefore, in brief, that
O'Reily received the interest of two hundred pounds ever afterwards for
his capture of the Rebel Chief. Four of the ringleaders at the second,
and final trial were condemned and speedily executed, and the others
recommended to mercy. Thus was terminated this sanguinary conflict, the
last convulsive throe of the Independent faction in the British
dominions of North America.

As our tale is no farther directly connected with this ill-advised and
hopeless insurrection, we proceed in the next chapter with the direct
thread of our narrative, the principal personages of which were so
directly concerned in the bloody affair just related, that we could not
pass it over with any kind of regard to historical accuracy.



CHAPTER X.


During the whole of the day succeeding the insurrection, our hero lay in
the most precarious and dangerous state; and the violent inflammatory
action produced by several large sabre wounds so much unsettled his
reason, that the surgeon was compelled still farther to deplete his
already exhausted frame. Towards night his mind recovered its powers,
but his strength was still gone, and he lay upon his couch in all the
helplessness of infantile impotency; and toward evening, exhausted by
the previous night of turmoil and strife, succeeded by a day of feverish
restlessness, he at length fell asleep.

There was one never-wearying eye that watched the fitful slumbers of the
invalid. Conscious, perhaps, that Bacon could never be more to her than
a friend and protector, Wyanokee delighted in rendering him those quiet,
but constant and indispensable services which his situation required.
Not a change of his ever-varying countenance, as the workings of a
diseased and excited imagination, were from time to time portrayed upon
his pale and already attenuated features, escaped her, while her own
beautiful and expressive countenance, vividly displayed, in rapid and
corresponding changes, her sympathy with the sleeping sufferer. If any
one approached the door, her keen glance immediately arrested the
intruder, her finger upon her lip, and a frown upon her brow, in her
powerful and national pantomimic token of silence. If the eye of the
sleeper opened for an instant in bewildered amazement at the difference
between the real scene before him, and the one from which in sleeping
fancy he had just escaped, her wild and imaginative susceptibilities
were instantly on the alert.

The mind of the aboriginal, even when partially cultivated, is overcome
with superstitious reverence and awe, in the presence of one under the
excitement of a diseased imagination. Such had been the state of feeling
with Wyanokee during the whole of Bacon's mental hallucinations
throughout the day, and now as she watched at his bed-side, during his
uneasy slumbers, her keen perceptions were tremendously alive to each
successive demonstration. There was one member of the family, however,
who entered and departed from the room unchallenged--Virginia! At this
moment she entered--her own tender sympathies wrought upon by all the
late harassing events; although differing in their developments and
cause in some respects, they were in no wise inferior in degree to those
of her protegée. She moved with noiseless step and suppressed
respiration until she stood over the couch of the wounded youth. Long
and feelingly she gazed upon the sharp and pallid features; there was
naught of passion in that gaze--it was pure and heavenly in its origin,
as in its motive. Her moistened eye, with a movement almost peculiar to
the sick room, or the funeral chamber, turned slowly upon her attendant.
No melting and sympathizing tear softened the brilliant and penetrating
eye which met her gaze; there was excitement, deep excitement, but not
the mellowed emotion of regulated sympathy; in Wyanokee, the imagination
controlled the heart--in Virginia, the heart subdued and softened the
imagination.

There was something touchingly beautiful in the moral development of
these two young and innocent hearts. There was a mutual instinctive
understanding of each, with regard to the position of the other, in
relation to the wounded youth before them; yet it had never been
admitted even to their own consciousness, because they had never
analyzed their own feelings, and circumstances as yet had never openly
betrayed them to each other. As they mutually exchanged glances,
something like an electric thrill passed chilly through their veins, but
it was only for an instant; the reasoning faculties of the mind examined
it not--they were not in a situation to examine it--imagination
controlled the whole mental organization of the one, and the tenderest
and purest emotions of the heart that of the other. Virginia came to
relieve the faithful and indefatigable Indian maiden, and as the only
practicable means, sent her under some pretext to her mother. She now
occupied a seat near the foot of the couch, in full view of the
sleeper's countenance, faintly illuminated by the subdued rays of a
shaded lamp. She had watched the varying and magnetic vibration of
muscle and nerve for nearly an hour, when the eyes of the sleeping youth
slowly and wildly opened upon her in a bewildered stare, and at length
he spoke.

"The senses are not the only vehicles for communicating passing events
to the mind," said he, his voice already hollow and sepulchral from the
previous excitement of the brain. Virginia understood him not, but
supposed that his mind was again wandering, but it was not so; his
mental perceptions were preternaturally clear, as they sometimes are
after painful cerebral excitements.

She made him no answer, hoping that he would again close his eyes to
repose. But he continued, "How else can we gain knowledge of things
which have transpired when all the senses are shut up in profound
slumber? Just now I slept deeply, but not soothingly, and I thought I
was on the brink of destruction, from which none but you could save me;
and that Wyanokee persisted in attempting the rescue, and the more she
struggled the more irremediable became my difficulties. At length you
appeared upon the scene, leaning upon your mother's arm; and she carried
away Wyanokee while you redeemed me from destruction. This is indeed no
farther true than that you have taken the place of your attendant, and
that your mild sympathizing countenance is far more genial to my present
weakened state, than her wild and startling glances. But does it not
seem as if my mental perceptions had caught a glimpse of passing events
without the intervention of the animal senses?"

Virginia put her finger upon her lip and shook her head, to remind her
charge that strict silence was enjoined. For this there were other
motives acting upon her perturbed feelings besides the injunction of the
surgeon, had they been wanting.

The invalid closed his eyes, and in a short time seemed to sleep more
calmly and soundly than he had yet done. It being the portion of the
night through which Virginia had insisted upon watching, she moved
quietly to a couch by the window looking upon the river, and the blue
hills beyond, and threw herself upon it and gazed out at the enchanting
scene. Her own flower garden lay beneath the window, stretching away
towards the river, and ornamented midway with a tasteful little
summer-house designed by herself, and decorated by the hands of the
ingenious youth who now lay so helpless before her. The air was balmy
and serene; and redolent of the richest perfumes of fruits and flowers
just bursting into maturity with the advancing summer. Millions of stars
twinkled in the high cerulean arch of heaven, and were reflected back
from the broad expanse of waters beneath, with an enchanting
brilliancy. The murmuring waters of the Powhatan rippled along the sandy
shore with a melancholy monotony, indescribably soothing to her harassed
and troubled mind. The various noises of the busy world around were one
by one sinking into silence. Occasionally the profound stillness which
succeeded, disturbed by the distant bark of a watch-dog, or the more
rural cackling of geese, faded away in the distance so imperceptibly as
to leave the mind at a loss to know whether they were real sounds, or
those associations with the scene which the imagination often conjures
up to bewilder us on such occasions. Her eyes were half closed for a
moment under these soothing and seducing influences, and the next,
quickly opened to catch the fiery track of some darting meteor as it
winged its way through the starry heavens, or to follow the humbler
lights borne through the air by myriads of fire flies which brilliantly
floated upon the transparent atmosphere. A wild and startling note from
some beast of prey, as it roamed through the trackless and unsubdued
forests beyond the river, occasionally struck upon her ear, and ever and
anon she turned her eyes toward her sleeping charge, and all the painful
and harassing feelings of the last few days returned. It was like
awaking from a delicious dream, to the stern reality of some pressing
and constantly obtrusive misfortune. Her previous life had been tranquil
and unruffled; until now her spirits buoyant and elastic. Suddenly the
scene had changed, and all the unmarked and unrecorded pleasures of her
youthful years were lost in the cares and troubles of the present. She
imagined herself the most irremediably wretched being in existence. So
new was unhappiness to her, that the slight cloud which now hung between
her and the happiness she had enjoyed seemed fearfully dark and
lowering.

But again the soothing influences of the scene without imperceptibly
stole upon her senses, and she fell into a slumber. Her imagination, now
uncontrolled by the sterner qualities of mind, mingled the images
retained from the stirring events of the last few days in the most
fantastic forms. She saw her mother enter the garden with a slow and
solemn step, clad in the habiliments of the grave.

Her form was aerial and graceful, and her features supernaturally
beautiful and glorious. Presently this figure was met by another of
colossal proportions, approaching the summer house from the opposite end
of the garden; his step was grand and majestic, and his countenance
stern and warlike. He was clad in complete armour, and his mailed heel
as it struck the gravel, sent the blood cold to her heart, and at once
convinced her of the reality of the scene. As the figures met they
paused and seemed to hold communion for a time, and then pursued their
way together; but when they returned to view, the relations of the
parties were changed, the colossal figure was using the most violent
gesticulation, to which his companion seemed to bow her head in meekness
and submission, but not in conviction. At this the other suddenly sprang
forward, seized his victim, and was about to leap the garden walls when
an attempt to scream dispelled the illusion. Virginia opened her eyes
and glanced around the room to assure herself of the reality of the
scene before her. The wounded youth still slept soundly, and the lamp
still threw its flickering shadows on the wall. By a slower and more
cautious movement of the eyes she next examined the garden without; all
was still and quiet as the grave, and gazing long and abstractedly upon
the little arbour she again gave way to the exhaustion of her physical
powers, and again the same figures rose upon her fancy. Now all doubt of
their reality was discarded from the very circumstance of the former's
having proved a delusion. She knew the other was a dream, but this she
felt was truth, and she even went so far as to reason in her mind upon
the strange coincidence of the dream, and the present real scene. The
gigantic figure was now clad in the gray garb of the Recluse, his limbs
manacled with chains, while her mother knelt apart in the attitude of
deep and unutterable wo. A crowd was gathered round as if to witness a
public execution; soldiers and citizens, knights and nobles mingled in
the confused throng. The criminal was kneeling upon his coffin, the cap
was drawn over his face, and the fatal word was given! She awoke with
the sound of firearms still ringing in her ears, and the piercing
shrieks of the female figure thrilling through her veins.

It may be readily imagined that her startled perceptions were by no
means tranquillized on perceiving, as she opened her eyes, the shadows
of moving figures upon the wall before her. In order to see from whom
these reflections came she must turn her head and look in the direction
of the opposite wall, but for her life she dared not move! Terror
chained her to the couch. At length the shadows moved towards the door!
By a desperate effort she turned her head in that direction, and to her
amazement beheld her mother dressed in white, exactly as she had seen
her in her dream, slowly and steadily leaving the apartment. She clasped
her hand to her forehead and endeavoured to recall her bewildered
senses. The confused images of her slumbering and waking perceptions
were so inextricably mingled together that for a time she was utterly at
a loss to know whether the whole was real or a dream. Certainly the
actors were the same, and the impressions continuous. She had not long
lain in this bewilderment when she heard the door leading into the
garden, just beneath her window, softly opened, and her mother in a few
moments walked down the avenue in the very direction she had before seen
her take.

Her eyes were intently riveted upon the movements of her parent, until
they were hid from her view by the intervening trees and shrubbery.

But she removed them not--they were still fixed upon the spot where she
had last seen her, until her white robes emerged here and there from the
foliage, when her eyes instinctively followed her, straining her already
weakened organs to catch the slightest change of position, and seemingly
desirous to penetrate the sombre shadows of the night, whenever the
figure upon which she gazed was lost to view. At length the door again
softly opened beneath her window; and she saw the figure no more. But a
very few moments elapsed, however, before another appeared upon the
scene, of far more gigantic proportions and questionable business at
that place and hour. It was the same figure which she had before seen
associated with the one which had just departed; and now that she really
saw them in flesh and blood, she was more than ever at a loss to know
which and how many of her visions of the night were real and which
illusory.

The one now before her eyes was clad in his usual, half puritanical,
half military tunic, and as usual he was fully armed, but the weapons
hung quietly by his side; his arms were folded upon his breast, and his
whole carriage and demeanour was subdued, sad, and melancholy. He stood
leaning against the vine-clad column of the arbour, with his eyes
intently fixed upon the spot where the preoccupant of the scene had
disappeared. His chest heaved with emotion, which ever and anon found
vent in laboured respirations of unspeakable misery.

At this moment a fierce watch-dog sprung at the intruder with savage
ferocity, and to one less accustomed to danger in all its shapes, would
doubtless have proved a formidable foe; but in an instant a heavy blow
from his iron sheathed sabre laid the animal struggling at his feet. He
stood leaning upon his weapon for an instant, and then moved slowly away
until he came near the river, when he laid his hand upon the palisade
running along the foot of the garden, and leapt upon the beach like a
youth of twenty. In a short time Virginia saw his boat upon the water,
his gigantic form rising and bending to his work with desperate and
reckless efforts, the frail bark gliding over the smooth waters, "like a
thing of life," until it faded away in the distance to a mere speck.

Her eye followed the receding object as it became more and more
indistinct, until a mere undefined point was left upon the retina, her
own voluntary powers sinking more deeply in repose from the intentness
with which she pursued the single object.

How long she slept she knew not, but when she awoke the horizontal rays
of the rising sun were beaming through the parted curtains, and the
misty drapery from the river was rolling over the hills, and pouring
through the intervening valleys in thousands of fantastic forms,
weaving, here a rich festoon round the summit of one blue hill, and
there spreading out a curtain of mellow tints before another.

The cool and invigorating morning breeze from the river, joined to the
effects of her last refreshing and uninterrupted sleep, completely
dispelled the shadowy illusions of the night, and she arose
comparatively cheerful and happy. She was frightened when she cast her
eyes upon the couch of the sufferer and found him awake, to think how
much and how long she had neglected him. There was one indefatigable and
untiring nurse watching by the bed-side, however! She had stolen in
unperceived during the night, and now sat upon an humble seat at the
foot of the couch; her eye as brilliant as if it was not subject to the
ordinary fatigues of humanity. The invalid too had slept soundly, and
awakened this morning refreshed and invigorated, and with all his
inflammatory symptoms much abated.

With all these cheering influences around her, Virginia's countenance
would have been soon clad in her wonted smiles, had it not been for an
unbidden scene which every now and then was conjured up before her
imagination, in which those near and dear to her were principal actors.
But these, painful and inexplicable as they seemed to her, were far from
being well defined in her own mind. For her life, she could not separate
the real evidences of her drowsy senses from the vivid images of her
imagination. She was firmly impressed, however, with the belief, that
some parts of them were true and real transactions! She firmly believed
that she had seen her mother and the Recluse during the night--not
together certainly, but near the same spot and in quick succession; and
she as firmly believed that she had seen the latter disable the
watch-dog, mount over the palisade, and hurry away in his boat. So much
was indeed true; her mother had actually visited the wounded youth
during the night, and she had actually walked in the garden, and the
Recluse was actually there, but no meeting took place, except in the
imagination of the worn-out maiden.

She entered the breakfast room with these various impressions, real and
imaginary, curiously mingled and confused, and bearing upon her own
countenance an expression of embarrassment not less surprising to her
mother, who was the first person she encountered. Twenty times she was
on the point of asking her mother whether she had walked in the garden
during the night, but as often a strange embarrassment came over her,
resulting partly from what she thought she had seen, and partly from
words dropped by the Recluse in her hearing--the whole confused,
unarranged and undigested--the latter perhaps being entirely
unrecognised by her consciousness, but still operating imperceptibly
upon her conduct. She was not a little astonished, therefore, when her
mother came directly to the point occupying her own thoughts at the
moment, saying, as she approached her, and affectionately smoothed down
the clustering ringlets upon her brow. "You slept upon your post last
night, my dear daughter? Nay--no excuses--there needs none. You wanted
rest, little less than he whom you watched."

"I did not sleep so soundly as you imagine, my dear mother; I saw you,
methought, either sleeping or waking, and to speak truly, I scarcely
know which state I was in;" and as she spoke she cast a searching glance
at her mother, but her countenance was calm and unruffled as she
replied, "You must have been sleeping, my dear Virginia, I stooped over
you and kissed your cheek as you slept."

"And did you not walk in the garden?"

"Yes I did! is it possible you saw me and spoke not?"

"I did see you, dear mother, but I was afraid to speak."

"Afraid to speak! Oh! you were afraid of waking Nathaniel?"

"No! no! I was frightened at the appearance of your companion in the
garden."

"My companion in the garden! my poor child, you must indeed have
dreamed; I had no companion in the garden."

Mr. Fairfax coming in at this moment, Virginia hastily took her chair at
the head of the table, and busily commenced her duties at the table, her
thoughts all the while occupied upon any thing else.

"What a strange being is that Recluse," said Mr. Fairfax, with apparent
_non chalance_, "have you ever seen him, my dear?" addressing his wife.

Virginia dropped the plate she was in the act of handing to her father
and was seized with, to her parents, the most unaccountable
embarrassment. She endeavoured to make some excuse in order, as she
supposed, to hide her mother's inevitable confusion. But the latter
calmly replied, "No, my dear, I have never seen him. I have always had
some curiosity to behold him, but now that he has proved himself such a
public benefactor, I shall not be satisfied till the wish is gratified.
Nathaniel had before excited us much by his account of him, but now I
suppose the whole city will be eager to pay him their respects."

Virginia stared at her mother during this speech in the most undisguised
astonishment, until she saw the calm serenity of her countenance--the
expression of truth and sincerity, which had never deceived her, so
strongly portrayed there, when she was again lost in bewilderment, which
lasted throughout the meal. Her parents, however, were too much engaged
with their own subject of discourse to observe her unusual abstraction,
and the meal therefore and the dialogue came to a close without any
farther development pertaining to our narrative.



CHAPTER XI.

    "The eager pack from couples freed,
      Dash through the bush, the briar, the brake,
    While answering hound, and horn, and steed,
      The mountain echoes startling wake."
                                 _The Wild Huntsman_.


A few days after the events recorded in the last chapter, the denizens
of the ancient city were roused betimes by the sounds of the hunter's
horn, the echoing chorus of the eager hounds, and the neighing of the
fiery steeds, as they were led forth to the gallant pastime of the
chase. The river and overhanging hills were enveloped in an impenetrable
veil of mist, and the dew settled in a snowy cloud, upon the hair and
castors of the Cavaliers as they issued from their doors, rubbing their
eyes and preparing to mount the mettled coursers which pawed the earth
and blew thick volumes of smoke from their expanded nostrils. These
preparations for the enlivening sports of the field were not confined to
a small number of the civic youth, or to the keener sportsmen among
their elders--all the gentry of the town and colony, with few
exceptions, were assembled on the occasion.

Sir William Berkley with his numerous guests, Gideon Fairfax, with his
fellows of the Council, the members of the House of Burgesses, now
principally occupying the hotel of the "Berkley Arms," Frank Beverly,
Philip Ludwell, Charles Dudley, with the Harrisons, the Powells, &c. all
now came curvetting into the public square, dressed in their gay hunting
jerkens and neat foraging caps, some with bugles swinging from their
shoulders, and others with firearms suspended at their backs.

A stately gray-headed old negro, known by the cognomen of Congo, was in
command of some half score of more youthful footmen of his own colour,
in the livery of the Governor, each of whom held the leashes of a pair
of hounds.

These, from time to time as old Congo wound a skilful blast upon his
bugle, opened a deafening chorus, which echoed through the surrounding
forests, and awakened from their slumbers the drowsy citizens of the
town. Many a damsel peeped from her lattice to catch a glimpse of the
gay Cavaliers as they wheeled into the place of rendezvous in parties of
tens and twenties, all noisy and boisterous; some with the anticipation
of the promised sports, and others from the more artificial stimulus of
a morning julep. The sound of Congo's bugle had reverberated through the
silent streets in signal blasts to the grooms of the gentry at a much
earlier hour of the morning, so that many of the high-born damsels
inhabiting the purlieus of this little court, were also on the alert.
Among these our heroine, awakened by the echoing chorus of the "hunter's
horn," was already dressed and smiling from her window, like one of her
own sweet flowers, upon the gay young Cavaliers, as they passed in
review before her.

In an adjoining window was another inhabitant of the same mansion,
roused by the same cheering notes, but he smiled not upon the joyous
throng as they gathered around the spot occupied by Congo and his canine
favourites, nor yet upon those of the gay youths who rode up and touched
their beavers respectfully to the smiling maiden as they singly or in
pairs cantered away over the bridge in pursuit of their day's sport. It
was Bacon! his head bandaged and his countenance pale and wan from his
late illness and loss of blood.

Nevertheless he was dressed, and as eager for the sport as any youth
among them, but exhausted nature negatived his feeble efforts and
longing aspirations, and he had seated himself at the window in sullen
disappointment. This latter feeling was in nowise subdued by the sight
of Frank Beverly, already recovered from his slight wounds, dressed in a
scarlet jerken and hunting cap, a bugle over his shoulder, and mounted
upon a noble animal apparently as eager to display his fine proportions
as his master. The thundering clatter of the chargers' heels as this
numerous cavalcade now passed in long succession over the bridge before
the gazing citizens, thus untimely awakened from their slumbers, at
length began to die away in silence, broken at intervals by the measured
tramp of an occasional party of the more staid, older and less eager
Cavaliers, pursuing the main body at a pace more suited to their age; or
by the gallop of some slumbering sluggard hastening to overtake his more
punctual comrades of the chase. Now and then a note from the bugle of
some overjoyous youth, as he entered the forest, brought a frown upon
the brow of old Congo, whose look was turned in silent appeal against
these irregular proceedings, to his master, who rode apart in earnest
conversation with Mr. Fairfax. While our sportsmen are thus joyously
moving on their way to the appointed spot, we will pursue the thread of
the dialogue between the two dignitaries just alluded to, as it had
reference to the leading personages of our story.

"Nay, treat not my apprehensions lightly, Fairfax; is not that youth who
leans so disconsolately out of your window this morning, a proper knight
to catch the errant fancies of a girl of sixteen?" said Sir William.

"He is indeed a right well-favoured boy," replied Mr. Fairfax, "and one
calculated to win his way to a colder heart than that of a maiden near
his own age. Was he not the means of your own preservation, Sir William,
from the knives of yonder murderous fanatics cooped up in the jail of
the city?"

"Ay!" said his companion, drily, "I grant him to be all that you say he
is, but does not that enforce more powerfully what I have been saying?
Ought you not under such circumstances, to acquaint him with the
necessity of his finding another house than your's for his home, where
your daughter is constantly before his eyes, and what is more important,
where he is constantly before her's, not only with the attractions of
his own well-favoured person, but in the interesting character of her
father's and her uncle's preserver?"

"If the poor youth had ever presumed upon his position in my family, to
make advances to my daughter, then indeed there might be some propriety
in the course you recommend, Sir William. But I have observed him
closely since our last conversation on this subject, and I am satisfied
that there is nothing more than fraternal affection between them."

"It is very difficult, Fairfax, for the parties themselves to draw an
exact line, where the one kind of affection ends, and the other begins;
the gradation from mere brotherly regard to love is so very
imperceptible, that the very persons in whom it takes place are often
unconscious of it, until accident or warning from others forces it upon
their apprehension."

"But where is the necessity of examining into these fine distinctions
now, Sir William? Where is the point of the matter."

"To that it was my purpose to come presently, but you are always so
impetuous and sanguine, if you will permit me to say so, that I have
found it difficult to discuss this matter in your presence, with all the
coolness and deliberation which ought to attend the negotiation of an
alliance between the kinsman of his majesty's representative in the
Colony, and the daughter of his nearest relative--the heiress probably
of both their fortunes."

"But has not the match between Virginia and Frank been a settled matter
for years?"

"Ay, truly, Fairfax, and I am rejoiced that you remember it; but was it
not also agreed, for wise purposes, that the parties themselves should
know nothing of the contract until Frank became of age?"

"True, and what then?"

"That time has been passed some months."

"Indeed!"

"Ay, and what is more important to the happiness of the young pair,
Frank himself has moved in the business without any prompting from me.
This, you know, was what we desired, and the very end for which the
matter was kept from their knowledge."

"He has then proposed himself to Virginia, and she has doubtless
accepted him! All right, all right, Sir William. I always told you it
would turn out just in this way. Every thing turns out for the best. You
see the advantage of leaving the young people to themselves."

"Yes, yes, it has all turned out very happily in your sanguine
imagination; but you run away with the matter without hearing me out."

"Did you not say it was all settled? I certainly understood you so!"

"No, I said nothing like it. I said that my young kinsman had moved in
the business without my prompting; and I intended to say, if you had
permitted me, that he had authorized me, this day, to make a formal
tender of his hand and fortune to your daughter, through you; which I
now do."

"Well, why did you not say so at first, Sir William, and there could
have been no trouble about the matter. Instead of that, you read me a
long lecture about the danger of harbouring handsome young fellows in my
house generally, concluding in particular, with a recapitulation of the
various debts of gratitude due from me and my family, and yourself, to
poor Bacon. But as far as I am concerned, I give my hearty consent to
the proposed union, and you may so assure Frank from me, and tell him
that he has nothing more to do, but to appear as every way worthy in the
eyes of Virginia as he does in mine."

"There, you see, you are coming in your own immethodical and precipitate
way, to the very point with which I set out. I was merely hazarding a
few observations upon the various prepossessing qualities of your
protegée, and expressing some fears of the intercourse subsisting
between him and your daughter, with a view to put you on your guard at
once. This was not done with a view to read you a lecture, as you are
pleased to say, but from the best grounded apprehensions that things
were not proceeding well for our scheme."

"Is there any ground for the fears you mention?"

"There is, Fairfax! Lady Berkley has often of late mentioned her
apprehensions to me, that there is a growing and mutual attachment
between your ward and your daughter. Frank has observed the same thing,
and indeed the very proposals I have just had the honour of making to
you, have probably resulted from a desire on his part to bring the
matter to an eclaircissement at once."

"I will speak to Virginia and her mother on the subject, and my word for
it, my daughter will show you that she knows what is due to her birth
and standing in society. But as to turning Nathaniel out of my house! I
could as soon turn Virginia herself out. Poor boy, he has a farm of his
own, it is true, but my house has always been a home to him, and it
always shall be, as long as he continues worthy, and I continue the head
of it."

"Ay, that farm! There was another ill-advised piece of generosity; not
content with bringing up a foundling like your own son, you must
purchase him a farm and stock it."

"Indeed, Governor, you give me credit for much more generosity than I
have exercised. _I_ purchased him no farm, or if I did, it was merely
as his agent and guardian. He furnished the means himself."

"That was very strange! Very strange indeed, that a youth without
occupation, and without any visible fortune, should purchase and stock
one of the most valuable plantations in the colony."

As they arrived at this point in their discourse, they had ascended to
the top of one of the highest hills within many miles of the city. Here
they found the sportsmen who had preceded them, closely grouped
together, and all talking at once, while Old Cong, (as he was familiarly
called by the youths,) was engaged in slipping the leashes. One pair
after another of the fleet animals snuffed the air for a moment, and
then bounded down the slope of the hill, carrying their noses close to
the earth, and eagerly questing backward and forward through the
shrubbery; sometimes retracing their steps to the very point from which
they started.

At length one of the foremost of the pack opened a shrill note as he
ran, indicative to the uninitiated, only of eagerness and impatience in
the pursuit of the game, but Old Congo's experienced eye instantly
brightened up, as with head erect, he uttered a sharp shrill whoop, and
mounting his fleet courser, he shot down the hill with the fleetness of
the wind, making the woods echo with his merry _hip halloo_, as he
cheered them on. By this time the pack were following the leader in the
devious trail on which he was now warm; the whole chorus sometimes
opening in joyous and eager concert as they came upon the scent, just
from the impress of sly Reynard's feet, and then again relapsing into
silence. These intervals in the cheerful cry announced the doubt which
as yet existed, whether the trail upon which they had struck was any
thing more than the devious windings made by the game on emerging from
his den, for the purpose, as the negroes stoutly affirmed, of throwing
his pursuers out. It seemed indeed as if such had been the intention of
the cunning animal, for a plan of the intricate mazes which the pack
were threading, if laid down upon paper, would very much resemble a
complicated problem in Euclid, or the track of a ship upon a voyage of
discovery in unknown seas. Meanwhile Old Congo was in the thickest of
them; now cursing one refractory member, and again cheering a favourite.
The Cavaliers stood in groups--one foot in the stirrup and a hand on the
pummel of the saddle, or smoothing down the curling mane of their
impatient chargers. At length the problem was solved, and the hounds
were seen coursing in a circle round the brow of the hill, a continuous
yelp from the leader, and an answering chorus from the pack, announcing
to the waiting gentry, that the game was up. They instantly mounted, and
were presently flying over the uneven ground at a speed and with a
reckless, yet skilful horsemanship, which bade defiance to all the
perils of the chase. Here one lost his cap by the limb of a tree; there
another measured his length upon the ground by the stumble of his
charger; the main party speeding apace, regardless of all, save the fox
and his pursuers.

The chase, like misfortune, is a wonderful leveller of distinctions.
Foremost in the field were the proud Sir William and the keener Fairfax;
one upon either side of Congo, whooping and yelling in unison, and all
distinctions forgotten for the moment, but the speed and bottom of their
coursers; the countenances of the three alike expressive of concentrated
eagerness in the sport. To a spectator on the summit of the hill, the
scene was not wanting in picturesque and striking features. The sun was
just peeping over the blue hills, and lifting the vapours from the
valleys beneath, in all the variegated and beauteous tints of the
rainbow, as they arose in majestic masses and encircled the summits of
the cliffs. The cool and invigorating breeze of a young summer morn, as
it was wafted through the romantic dales and glens, came loaded with the
richest sweets of forest and of flower. And when the music of the hounds
was softened in the distance to a faint harmonious swell upon the air,
the feathered tribes, luxuriant in beauty, warbled forth their richest
strains of nature's melody as they hopped from twig to twig, flashing
their brilliant colours in dazzling contrast to the pendant dew-drops
glittering in the sunbeams. On the other hand the rays fell in broad
sheets of light upon the tranquil waters of the noble Powhatan, as seen
through the deep green foliage of the woodland vista. The city too was
dimly visible in the distance, its towering columns of smoke shooting
high up towards heaven through the clear calm air, and expanding into
fleecy waves as they were lost or scattered in the higher regions of the
atmosphere. These morning glories of a southern sunrise were, however,
lost upon our sportsmen, who now came sweeping round the base of the
hill from the opposite side, the horses covered with foam, and riders
making the welkin ring again with their shouts of gladness and
excitement. The dignity of station and of birth, affairs of state, and
all other considerations foreign to the business of the time, were
utterly forgotten and abandoned, while their late proud possessors vied
with the youngest and the humblest in seizing the pleasures of the
chase. The horses seemed in the distance as if their bodies were moving
through the air, a foot and a half nearer the ground than they were
wont, their legs nearly invisible; while their riders bent over their
necks as if impatient even of this headlong speed.

Hitherto the hounds as usual, when in pursuit of the fox, had moved in
the figure of a rude circle, never departing to any great distance from
the point whence they had started, but moving round and round the hill;
and there was every appearance that the chase would be thus continued
until the game was either fairly run down, or had gained the shelter of
his hole.

In the present instance, however, an unexpected reprieve was granted to
the hard pressed animal. The dogs, as they came round the brow of the
hill for the third or fourth time, struck off abruptly from their
regular circuit; the foremost chargers were reined up and in a short
time the whole cavalcade was brought to a stand at the point where the
dogs had quitted the track.

The cause of this interruption to the sport was readily understood by
the experienced Cavaliers. A buck had crossed between the dogs and the
fox, and the former, contrary to their usual discipline and stanchness,
broke off to follow the newest scent. Many were the imprecations hurled
at the head of Old Congo and his deputies for this misconduct of their
charge, the consequence, as was affirmed, of their having been set upon
the trail of a buck on the previous Sabbath. It was now, however, too
late to remedy the evil, as Congo's bugle itself was not sufficient to
recall the eager pack.

Firearms were immediately unslung from the shoulders of such as bore
them, and Mr. Fairfax, as the keenest sportsman, leading the way, nearly
half of the youths were quickly seen following him up the opposite hill.
Sir William Berkley and such of the company as had already been worn
out, retraced their steps to the picturesque point from which they had
set out, and which has already been described.

Here some of the footmen, retained for the purpose, speedily
constructed a rude table under an umbrageous tree, upon which was laid
out a tempting display of cold viands, wines and strong waters. Horses
were now tied to the surrounding trees, and their riders threw
themselves upon the sward to repose their wearied limbs, and regale
their longing eyes upon the good things which only awaited the return of
their comrades. This delay seemed likely, however, to prove rather
tedious to the longing appetites of the former, who had not as yet
broken their fast.

Full two hours had elapsed, and yet no token came of hounds or huntsmen.
The patience even of the formal and ceremonious Sir William began to
flag, and he forthwith ordered the bugles to sound a recall from the
highest spot in the neighbourhood. In vain the reverberating blasts
reëchoed from hill to hill, and from river to cliff; in vain they,
paused to listen for the music of the hounds or an answering signal from
the keener sportsmen. After repeated trials the patience of the Governor
gave way, and having set apart a share of the provision for their
comrades, they fell upon the tempting display with knife and dagger.
Cups of horn, and silver flagons were speedily, produced, and in a short
time their absent compeers were almost forgotten in the general
destruction of cold capons, tongue and ham.

Towards the conclusion of the repast, the absent sportsmen began to drop
in singly and at intervals. The bridles of their foaming horses were
thrown to the grooms, and they fell upon the wine and fowls like
famished soldiers, after a long day's march. Then came a panting hound,
crouching beneath the legs of a horse, with his tongue hanging from his
mouth; then another, and another, until they had all obeyed the summons
of the bugle.

None of the huntsmen who had returned as yet, had been in at the death;
but it was supposed that Mr. Fairfax, the only one now missing, had been
more fortunate, as the hounds that came in last were covered with blood.
He was momentarily expected, but they listened in vain for the sound of
his horn. Old Congo was despatched over the hills to summon him with his
bugle, but he likewise returned without any tidings of the absent
Cavalier, and without having heard any answering notes to those of his
own horn. Hours were spent in waiting for him, at first occupied by the
younger Cavaliers in various games and athletic sports, but as the day
waned apace, and still no news of him arrived, uneasiness began to
engross the minds of his associates.

By the orders of the Governor, the whole Cavalcade spread themselves,
and scoured the forests for miles in the direction he had been seen to
take, but no answer was returned to their shouts and bugles, and no
token of his presence and safety was discovered. Occasionally two
parties were brought together by a supposed answer from his bugle, but
it was found to be only the reply of one scouring party to another.

After a long and fruitless search, they resolved to hasten to the city,
in hopes that he had reached his home by some other route, and in case
this supposition should prove fallacious it was resolved that the whole
male population should be called out to the search. The distance was
accomplished with a speed and recklessness quite equal to that with
which they had performed it in the morning, but with feelings very
different. A general and gloomy silence pervaded their ranks. Gideon
Fairfax was one of the most universally popular Cavaliers in the Colony;
he was generous, hospitable, and sincere, with his equals, and humane
and affable to his inferiors. His own slaves idolized him, and would
have readily perilled life and limb in defence either of his person or
his reputation.

When, the cavalcade arrived at the bridge, their painful suspense and
anxiety were little relieved by perceiving an immense crowd assembled
round the house of Mr. Fairfax. That some accident must have befallen
him they had too good reason now to apprehend, else what could have
drawn the multitude together? The arrival of a successful huntsman, was
an affair of too frequent occurrence at Jamestown to excite the present
visible commotion. The returning and anxious Cavaliers were soon met by
the eager throng, who pressed around them in crowds, each party
demanding of the other news respecting their absent fellow-citizen.

The assemblage of the crowd around the house was soon explained by the
appearance of his favourite charger, upon which he had set out in the
morning, so full of health, vigour and animation. He was held in the
midst of the assemblage, his head-gear broken, the saddle bloody, and
his sides dripping with mud and water, as if he had just crossed through
the river. In this condition he had presented himself at the stable door
where he was usually kept, without his rider, and this was all they knew
in the city concerning the fate of the missing horseman. This was enough
to excite the most distracting fears in the minds of his own family, and
the worst apprehensions, in those of his immediate friends and more
humble admirers.

Horses and men were speedily volunteered for the purpose of scouring the
whole forest in the direction of the chase. Many of the Cavaliers barely
dismounted from one horse to mount another; and in a very few minutes,
hundreds of citizens, some on horseback and others on foot, had
assembled. While they were thus speedily collecting their forces, a
scream from some washerwomen on the bank of the river, quickly drew the
crowd in that direction. Men, women and children rushed to the spot with
feelings of anxiety and alarm, wrought to the highest pitch. They were
not left long in doubt, for a boat was just nearing the shore, in which
were two men rowing, while another supported upon his lap the head of
the still living but wounded Cavalier.



CHAPTER XII.


Mr. Fairfax was borne to his own dwelling upon a litter, amidst the
universal regrets and lamentations of the people. The condition of his
own immediate family may be more easily imagined than described. The
most heart-rending shrieks pierced the air when it was announced to the
female part of it that the amiable and generous head of their house had
been basely shot,--by whom he knew not, nor could he form a conjecture.
The deed was perpetrated a few moments after he had himself shot the
buck. He immediately fell from his horse and was for a time perfectly
unconscious of his condition. When he revived he found his horse gone
and himself so weakened from loss of blood that he was unable to stand.
His only resource was his trumpet, upon which he made repeated efforts
to summon his companions, but even the sound of his horn was so feeble
that it could not have been heard more than a few rods from the spot.
While he was in this helpless condition he chanced to discover three men
fishing at the base of the river bank, whom he attempted to summon to
his aid, but the sound of the water prevented them from hearing him.
With great difficulty and suffering he was at length enabled to crawl
down the hill to such a distance that he might be heard, and was thence
borne to the city in their boat, as the reader has already been
informed.

The surgeon, after examining his wound, pronounced it to be of the most
alarming character, and assured Bacon, apart from the family that he had
little hopes for the life of his patron, who after the exhaustion of his
painful journey and the succeeding intense pain caused by the probing of
his wounds had fallen into a deep sleep.

Sometime during the morning which has been described in the preceding
chapter, and while the hunting party were yet enjoying themselves
undisturbed by any untoward accident, Bacon had invited Virginia to
accompany him in his first stroll through the garden since his illness.
She complied with more alacrity than had been usual with her of late,
hoping that the refreshing sweets of a summer morning and the cheering
sight of birds and flowers, would dispel the gloomy misanthropy which
had settled upon his countenance since his disappointment at not being
able to join the chase.

After a silent promenade through the shady walks, they seated themselves
in the little summer house already mentioned, and Bacon thus broke the
embarrassing silence.

"Virginia, the current of events seems to be hurrying us on to a painful
crisis! It is impossible for me to shut my eyes to such of them at
least, as relate more particularly to myself. My position in the
society in which I now move, is daily becoming more painful to me. I am
constantly subjected to the impertinence of those who imagine that they
have, or perhaps really have, some reason to complain of the protection
and countenance afforded to me by your noble father."

"Trust then, Nathaniel, to his and our continued confidence and esteem,
and less to the morbid sensibility which disturbs you, and all will soon
be well again."

"Not so, Virginia. If we were in a little community by ourselves, I
could indeed give my whole mind and soul to such enjoyments as the
society of your family has already afforded to me, forgetting all the
world besides, and never listening for a moment to ambitious hopes and
aspiring thoughts. But in this proud and aristocratic circle, I must
soon be either more or less than I am at present."

"Why must you be more or less than you are, Nathaniel?" said Virginia,
with unaffected and bewitching _naivete_.

"Is it possible, Virginia, that you do not see the reason why? Have you
witnessed the fierce struggles contending at my heart and never formed a
surmise as to the real cause?"

"Except the morbid sensitiveness to which I have already alluded, and
its very insufficient cause, I declare that I know of none."

"Is it possible. Good Heavens! and must I at last break through the
restraints which I had imposed upon myself? Must I trample upon the
generous hospitality of the father to lay my heart open before his
daughter?" Her countenance underwent an instantaneous change, and while
he continued, her eyes fell beneath his ardent gaze, and her head sank
upon her bosom in confusion.

"I will indeed trust to the flattering delusion which hope whispers in
my ear, that perhaps your father himself knows enough of me and of my
origin to absolve me from these restraints. It must be so,
Virginia--else he had never trusted a heart, young and susceptible like
mine, to the constant influence of beauty like yours," and he took her
unresisting hand, "joined with such perfect innocence and such childlike
simplicity as never till this moment to be conscious of its power. Oh,
Virginia, I would fain believe, that he foresaw and approved of the
result which he could not but anticipate. What he approves will his
daughter's voice confirm?--No answer! Will you not vouchsafe one little
word to keep my sinking hopes alive!--You are offended; your countenance
speaks the language which your tongue is unaccustomed to utter!"

"What should I say?" answered Virginia; "would you have me promise a
return of love whose indulgence is dependent on contingency? Is it kind,
is it proper to urge me upon this subject under existing circumstances?"

"By heavens, Virginia, there shall be no contingency of my making! I
have crossed the Rubicon, and you shall have the knowledge as you have
had possession of my whole soul from the days of our infancy. 'Tis
yours, Virginia, wholly yours; soul, mind and heart, all yours. Mould
them as you will, reject me if you must, they are still yours. I swear
never to profane the shrine of this first and only love by offering them
up on any other. They are offered now, because my destiny so wills it.
We are the creatures of circumstances. I have vainly struggled against
the overwhelming tide which has borne me to this point. I am goaded
onward by insult--beset with menaces, and torn by the storms of such a
passion as never man before encountered. Can you, dear Virginia,
vouchsafe to me some measure of relief from these distracting emotions?
Say that you would have been mine under other circumstances! Say that
you will never wed that proud and imperious Beverly! Say any thing,
Virginia, which shall calm the tumults of my bosom, and feed my hopes
for the future." While he thus spoke, the blushing maiden was evidently
labouring under emotions little less powerful than his own. Her previous
air of offended feminine dignity was fast melting into sympathy, with
the impassioned feelings of the excited youth. She felt for his peculiar
griefs and cares, and shared his warmer sentiments. The youth perceived
the softening mood, and continued.

"Speak, I pray you, Virginia, I am in your hands. Speak me into
existence, or banish me from your presence!"

"I do not know, Nathaniel," said Virginia, after many attempts to give
utterance to her thoughts, "whether it is proper at all times to speak
the truth, but I will not deceive you now. There does indeed seem to be
a peculiar concurrence of circumstances around us, and more perhaps than
you are yourself aware of. I did not intend to deceive you, or lead you
astray; when I told you a few moments since that I knew nothing of any
other struggle than that arising from your own excited feelings, I spoke
the truth, but perhaps not the entire truth;" and as she spoke, a lovely
blush suffused her neck and downcast face; "I knew of other struggles
indeed, but not your's, Nathaniel."

"Were they yours, Virginia, and of the same nature? say they were, and
heaven bless for ever the tongue that utters it."

"That you have to ask, does more honour to my discretion, than I have
ascribed to it myself of late. I have had painful fears that I should
have little to tell on an occasion like the present, should it ever
come, with my father's approbation. And if I have now overstepped the
bounds of that proviso, it was in the hope of calming your troubled
spirits, and preventing a catastrophe upon which I have looked with
dreadful anticipation, since the night of the insurrection."

"And will you indeed be mine?"

"I will, Nathaniel, whenever you gain my father's approbation; but
without it, never."

At this moment the garden gate was heard to creak upon its hinges, (most
unmusically to Bacon's ears,) and Harriet Harrison came tripping over
beds and flowers, all out of breath, her cheeks glowing with the
heightened colour of exercise, and her eyes sparkling with mischief just
ready to explode.

"Oh, Virginia! Virginia! such news!" was her first exclamation; "But
shall I tell it before Mr. Bacon?"

"Yes, if it is of the usual kind."

"Well, upon your own head be the consequences. I have accidentally
overheard such a secret! You must know that your Aunt Berkley has been
at our house this morning, and I overheard her tell my mother that there
was to be a great wedding immediately, and that I was to be one of the
brides-maids. What! no tell-tale guilty blush? Well, who do you think is
to be the bride-groom, and who the bride?"

"Indeed, Harriet, I cannot even guess."

"The blissful man, then is Beverly--but can you name his bride?"

"I should not go far hence for an answer, if you had not announced your
nomination for a secondary office."

"O fie, fie, Virginia, I did not think you could play the hypocrite so
well. I will tell you who it is then, but you must not breathe it even
to the winds, nor you, Mr. Bacon. It is a sly arch little damsel, about
your age and figure; by name Virginia Fairfax!" And with, these words,
she burst into a loud laugh, pointing to her companion with her finger,
and then tripped away again towards the gate without waiting to see the
effect of her communication; but stopping with the gate in her hand, she
cried--"But remember, Virginia, Charles Dudley is not to stand up with
me; we don't speak now." And then she flew away, her hat hanging by the
riband round her neck, and her raven ringlets flying loose around her
temples. Virginia sat as one without life or motion, her face deadly
pale, and her eye preternaturally clear and glassy, but without a tear.
Her respiration was hurried and oppressed, and her countenance
expressive of high and noble resolves in the midst of the keenest mental
suffering. She knew whence her aunt obtained her information, and in its
communication to others in the confidence of the Governor, before she
had been consulted, she saw the tyrannical determination of that
arbitrary old man to consummate this hated union without the least
regard to her wishes or her feelings.

As these convictions flashed upon her mind, they called up firm and
resolute determinations, even in her gentle bosom! she was stung into
resistance by the tyrannical and high handed measures of her uncle, and
resolved to resist upon the threshold. Bacon's physical frame was not so
steady, or his nerves in his present mood so well strung by high
resolves of independent action. He too saw by whom the blow was aimed,
and upon whose head it would principally fall, and he trembled for the
consequences to his gentle companion. He did not know the strength of
her independent mind, and the endurance and fortitude with which she
would carry her purposes into execution. He knew her to be gentle and
kind and superlatively lovely, but as yet she had endured no
trials,--her courage and fortitude had been put to no test. The very
amiable qualities which had won his affections, served only to increase
his doubts as to her capacity to resist and endure what he too plainly
saw awaited her. He had yet to learn that these are almost always found
united in the female bosom with a signal power of steady and calm
resistance to oppression. To this resolution had Virginia arrived, when
his more turbulent and masculine emotions burst from his tongue as he
seized her hand, "Swear to me, Virginia, before high Heaven, that you
will never marry this proud heir of wealth, and worldly honours."

"Upon one Condition."

"Name it! if it is possible, it is done!"

"That you from this moment give up all idea of a meeting with Frank
Beverly, which I know has only thus long been delayed by your wounds and
illness." He dropped her hand and writhed upon his seat in agony--the
cold perspiration bursting from his pale forehead, as he covered it
with his hands. But presently standing up he exclaimed, "Great God! and
can you ask this of me, Virginia? Is my honour of so little value to
you, that you can ask me to betray it? You heard the insult! You saw the
dagger aimed in the dark! Ay, and saw it strike upon a bare and wounded
nerve! Shall I not resist? Is an assassin to thrust the point of his
steel into the very apple of my eye, and meet with no resistance?
Instinct itself would strike back the cowardly blow. Another might
forego the measure of his revenge for an ordinary insult, but placed as
I am, an elevated mark for impertinence and malignity to shoot at, with
nothing but my single arm to defend me; no line of noble and heroic
ancestors to support my pretensions, and my rank in the community; no
living relations to give the lie to his calumnies! Standing alone amidst
a host of powerful enemies, shall I be stricken down by a cowardly
maligner, and never turn to strike one blow for my good name, my
mother's honour, my father's memory, and my own standing in society? No,
no, Virginia; you cannot, you will not, require me to promise this. One
evidence I must and will give to the calumniator, that I come of no
churl's blood."

"But, Nathaniel, did you not resent and thus return his injury upon the
spot?"

"Ay, truly, I did hurl defiance in the craven's teeth, but that only
throws the demand for satisfaction upon his shoulders, so that when it
is made, I may at once atone for his, and take ample reparation for my
own deep wrongs."

"Promise me, then, that you will but act with Frank henceforth on the
defensive? Remember he is my kinsman."

"I do promise; and now promise me in your turn never to marry this
kinsman, unless I give my consent, or you should be absolved from your
obligation by my death, or some other irremediable barrier."

"I promise, Nathaniel."

Scarcely had the words issued from her lips, when the clanking of
stirrups and clattering of a horse's hoofs at full speed, were heard
outside the garden wall.

Into what a state of consternation and dismay the family was thrown by
the appearance of the bloody and panting charger at his stable door
without his master, the reader may already have imagined.



CHAPTER XIII.


It was the hour of midnight; the softened rays of a shaded lamp threw a
flickering and uncertain light upon the paraphernalia of the sick
chamber, as our hero sat a solitary watcher at the side of the wounded
Cavalier. The long and apparently profound sleep into which the invalid
had fallen, completely deceived the females of the family, so that they
were more easily persuaded by Nathaniel to leave the charge, during the
first half of the night, to his sole care. He had for a long time sat a
sad and silent beholder of the unconscious sleeper, watching with
breathless eagerness every change of muscle, as some sharp and inward
pain vibrated in horrible contortions upon the countenance of the
wounded Cavalier. In one of these he started suddenly up in the bed, his
eyes glaring wildly upon his unrecognised attendant in utter amazement.
First looking into his face and then to the bandages around his own
person, he fell back on his couch--a grim and frightful smile of
remembrance and recognition playing for a moment upon his features, as
he placed his cold hand within that of Bacon, which had been softly laid
upon his breast to soothe his startled perceptions.

"Nathaniel," said he, his voice already hollow and thrilling, "My hour
is come! It is useless to disguise it. I feel and know it to be so,
whatever the surgeon may pretend. You need not place your finger upon
your lip; I owe to you a duty which I must perform while yet I may. You
have often importuned me, and sometimes impatiently, which I did not
enough, perhaps, consider to be natural to your situation, but you must
forgive me--you have often importuned me upon the subject of your
origin. If I had possessed any full or satisfactory knowledge on the
subject, you may be sure I would not long have detained it from you.
Indeed, I was little less anxious than yourself to place you upon an
equal footing in every respect with your associates." Here a smile of
inward satisfaction beamed upon his auditor's countenance, unobserved,
however, by the speaker, as he continued: "There were some reasons too,
connected with the history of my own family, which prevented me from
divulging what little I did know of your's. If I have erred, for this
too you must forgive me. The wrong shall now be repaired. You have now
been a member of my household for fifteen or sixteen years.

"One cold and rainy day our sympathies were excited, by seeing an
athletic young Irishman in the street, near our door, carrying upon his
back a well dressed boy, apparently six or seven years of age. The child
was crying most piteously with cold and hunger. We called in the
Irishman, and after furnishing him and his little charge with food,
inquired whose child it was, and whither he was taking it. He answered,
in his own expressive language, that he did not know to whom the child
belonged, nor whither he was taking it. That it had been a fellow
passenger with him across the ocean, until they were shipwrecked at the
mouth of the river, outside of the Capes. That a woman who had two boys
near the same age, either of her own, or under her protection, he did
not know which, had most earnestly prayed him to take one of them upon
his back, as he was preparing to swim to the beach. He did so, and
succeeded in landing with his charge in perfect safety. What became of
the woman and the other child he never knew, as shortly after the waves
broke over the vessel, and she went to pieces. Many of the passengers
and crew, however, had been saved and were scattered about through the
neighbouring plantations, driven to seek employment by the urgency of
their immediate wants. Whether the woman and the child were among the
number he could not learn, as those who were saved had necessarily
landed at distant points upon the shore. He brought the child to
Jamestown in hopes that it would be recognised, and if not, that some
humane person would take charge of it. His hopes had thus far proved
fruitless, as to the first expectation, but we undertook cheerfully the
latter task, and likewise gave employment to the kind-hearted Hibernian.
I caused it to be made as generally known through the Colony, as our
limited means of communication would permit, that such a child was in
our possession, particularly describing his person and clothes, but all
in vain. I also caused search to be made for the woman with the other
child, through the southern plantations, but no tidings of them were
ever heard, and we naturally concluded that they had gone down with the
vessel.

"Some months after the little stranger had been thus domiciliated among
us, I one day received an anonymous letter, which stated that the writer
knew who were the parents of the child, but for important reasons of a
political nature, he could not then divulge their names or history. He
stated so many circumstances connected with the shipwreck, and described
so exactly the child, that we were compelled to believe him. This letter
was followed by others at various intervals, from that time to the
present, often enclosing drafts for large sums to be drawn for in
England, for the benefit of the child. I need scarcely tell you that the
child was yourself--and your preserver, Brian O'Reily. The name by which
you are called is the nearest that we could come to that by which, both
yourself and Brian stated, you were known on board the vessel. The money
enclosed for your benefit, has been suffered to accumulate until the
late purchase of the plantation at the falls, of which you are now in
possession. Around your neck, at the time of your arrival, was a small
trinket, enclosing the hair of two individuals, curiously interwoven,
and on its outside were some initials corresponding with your own name,
and the date of a marriage. This, together with the letters I have
mentioned, you will find in the left hand drawer of the secretary which
stands in the corner of my library. After opening the outside door, you
will perceive the key hanging beside the drawer. These letters were
never shown, nor the contents mentioned to my wife, for a reason which I
am now about to explain to you, if my strength will permit, and which
will also unfold to you the cause of my reluctance to communicate with
you on this subject.

"When I first saw Emily in England, she was a young and beautiful widow.
Early in life a mutual attachment was formed between her and the son of
a neighbouring gentleman, in rather more humble circumstances than the
father of my Emily. In consequence of this disparity in the fortunes and
standing of the two families, their attachment was kept a profound
secret between themselves, until the youth having joined the army of the
Commonwealth, they eloped. This was their last and only resort, because
her father was as determined a Loyalist as his was indefatigable in the
cause of the Independents and Roundheads. For two whole years she
followed the perilous fortunes of her husband, now become a
distinguished officer, during which time she gave birth to a son. For a
season she resided with her infant at a retired farm-house, in a distant
part of the country from the scene of strife; but her husband becoming
impatient of her absence, directed her to procure a nurse for her boy
and again partake of his hazardous fortunes. Her child was accordingly
left in the charge of the nurse, and she set out to join her husband. On
the eve of meeting him, as she supposed, she was met by the news of a
desperate engagement, in which the party opposed to her husband had been
victorious, and very shortly afterward, she was herself, with her
attendants, overtaken in the highway, and captured by a party commanded
by one of her own brothers. He immediately sent her under a strong
escort to her father's house, not however before she had time to learn
from some of the prisoners taken in the engagement, the heart-rending
news of the death of her husband. She gained these sad tidings from one
of his comrades, who saw him receive the wound and fall at his side.

"She found her father so exasperated against her that she dared not even
mention to him or her brothers the existence of her child, lest they
should take some desperate means to separate them for ever. For a time,
therefore, she contented herself with such clandestine communications
with her nurse as the perilous nature of the times permitted. At length,
the sum of her afflictions was consummated by the death of her infant,
the account of which was brought to her by the nurse in person.

"When I first saw her, these many and severe misfortunes had been
somewhat softened down in the lapse of years. She was still a melancholy
being, however, but I belonging to her father's party, and being of a
gay and volatile turn of mind, and much pleased with her beauty and
amiable temperament, offered to bring her out to America as my wife,
whither the success of the Protector's arms was then driving so many of
the Nobles and Cavaliers of England, and where I already had a sister
married to the then late, and now present Governor of Virginia. After
candidly stating all the foregoing circumstances, she agreed to accept
my hand. And we were accordingly married and sailed for the Capes of
Virginia. You will perceive, upon a perusal of the anonymous letters,
that the writer displays a most intimate knowledge of all the foregoing
particulars of our family history. The design, as you will doubtless
perceive, was to operate upon our superstitious feelings, by this
mysterious display of knowledge, in matters so carefully guarded from
the world. This was not at all necessary, because we had already
adopted, and treated you as one of our own family. Nevertheless he
partially succeeded with me. I confess to you that it has always
appeared to me one of the strangest circumstances that ever came under
my knowledge, that any living person should be acquainted with the facts
contained in those letters. I have made the most strenuous and unceasing
efforts to discover their author, by means of the European drafts, but
all to no purpose. You will now readily comprehend the reason, why I did
not communicate with Emily on this subject. It would only have been
opening old wounds afresh, and would probably have excited her more
sensitive feelings to a painful state of anxiety and, suspense. The same
reasons which influenced my conduct in this respect, will doubtless
operate upon your own judgment when I am gone. In the same drawer is a
will, by which you will perceive, when it is properly authenticated,
that I have left to you, in conjunction with others, the most sacred of
all human trusts. You will find yourself associated in the management of
my affairs, with persons whom I knew at the time to be uncongenial with
you in your general feelings, but upon this one subject you will all be
influenced by one desire. Governor Berkley and Mr. Harrison will never
thwart you in the active management, which I have left principally in
trust to you.

"I have now rapidly sketched what you will better understand from the
papers themselves, and I have finished none too soon, as I am admonished
by the return of these cutting pains."

After another agonizing paroxysm, he fell again into one of those
death-like slumbers, which often fill up the intervals of suffering
after a mortal wound.

When Bacon perceived that he slept profoundly, he at once gave way to
the restless anxiety to see the papers, by which he was consumed.
Eagerly, but softly, he sought the library, opened the doors of the high
old fashioned black walnut secretary, with its Lion's claws for feet,
and his grisly beard and shining teeth, conspicuous from every brass
ornament with which it was adorned.[4]

[Footnote 4: Some idea of the rude state of the mechanic arts of the
period may be formed by those who have seen the antiquated chair, in
which the speaker of the Virginia house of delegates sits to this day.
There are many specimens too of ancient furniture still preserved in the
older Counties of Virginia.]

He returned to his post and opened the package of papers with a
trembling anxiety, and intense interest, similar to what one might be
supposed to feel who was about to unseal the book of fate.

He had no sooner cast his eye upon the handwriting, than the package
fell from his grasp in the most evident disappointment. Until this
moment he had indulged a vague undefined hope that from a single glance
at the characters, he should at once possess a clue to unravel the whole
mystery. His mind had instantly settled upon one peculiar and remarkable
individual in the Colony, as the only one likely to possess such
knowledge, and from the interest which that person had always manifested
in his fate, he had almost persuaded himself that he would prove to be
the writer. With his handwriting and the peculiarly dignified and
stately character of his language, he had long been familiar. The first
few lines over which his eye glanced rapidly and eagerly, convinced him
of his error; neither the characters nor the language were his.
Nevertheless they possessed sufficient interest, after the momentary
disappointment had passed away, to induce him to grasp them again and
once more commence their perusal. In this occupation he was soon so
completely absorbed as to be unconscious of the time which elapsed, the
situation and circumstances in which he was placed as regarded himself,
as well as the wounded Cavalier, who lay in the same apartment. In
unfolding one of the papers he came upon the gold trinket mentioned by
his benefactor. Here again was a new subject of intense interest.
"This," said he to himself, "was worn by my mother and was placed around
my neck at our last parting." Here was a fragment of her tresses
precisely similar in character and colour to his own, interwoven with
the darker shades of those of his father. Here too was the date of their
marriage and the initials of their names agreeing sufficiently well with
his own supposed age. These were all subjects of earnest contemplation
to the excited imagination of a youth rendered morbidly sensitive on the
subject of his birth and parentage, by many painful occurrences with his
aristocratic young associates, and still more by recent developments
with the idol of his affections. The trinket was laid down and the
manuscript resumed, of whose contents as much as is important to our
narrative has already been communicated to the reader. The characters in
which it was written, were successively compared in his mind to those of
every person in the Colony who handled the pen. In that day it was not
hard to remember who they were from their great number, chirography
having been an art with which the Cavaliers were less familiar than with
the use of the small and broad sword. Not a scribe in the country wrote
in characters similar to the one he held in his hand, so far as he could
recollect. He thought they resembled those of Governor Berkley more than
of any other, yet that sturdy old knight had invariably frowned so much
on his attempts to assume the place and standing in society to which his
education and intelligence entitled him, that he could not believe him
concerned in benefiting him, even as an agent.

The Recluse was the only individual upon whom his mind could rest as the
probable author, notwithstanding the variance of the writing. Yet
against this conclusion there were many powerful arguments. The first
that suggested itself to his mind was the money. Could he command such
large sums? And if he could, was it possible with his known habits and
peculiarities, not to mention his occasional aberration, to arrange
complicated pecuniary affairs in Europe? Then again, if he was the
writer, why were these communications continued after he had himself
arrived at years of discretion? Every reason seemed to favour the idea
that he himself would have been chosen as the depository of these
communications, had the Recluse been the man, especially when he
reflected that he was at that very time possessed of more of his
confidence than any other person in the Colony. The papers were perused
and re-perused, and the locket turned over and over listlessly in his
fingers, while a shade of deep sadness and disappointment settled upon
his countenance.

From this unpleasing revery he was suddenly aroused by the groans of the
wounded sufferer, who now awoke in the greatest agony. When Bacon came
to his bed-side a melancholy change was visible in his countenance. He
was making his last struggle with the grim monster. He was however
enabled to express a desire that his family should be called, but when
they arrived, he could not give utterance to his ideas. He took first
the hand of his wife, and next that of his daughter, and successively
resigned them into those of his young executor. This, under the existing
circumstances of the moment, attracted no particular attention, but was
the subject of many an after-thought and remark. A few convulsive
struggles followed, and then the generous and noble spirit of the
Cavalier deserted its prison house.

We will not attempt to describe the heart-rending scene which ensued.
Suffice it to say, that after a decent and respectful delay, (far more
than is allowed in our day,) the much loved and much lamented Mr.
Fairfax was borne to the grave, amidst the lamentations and regrets of
the whole assembled gentry of the Colony. The long line of mournful
pageantry moved in slow and melancholy steps to the sound of a solemn
dirge through the streets of the ancient city, and after the usual sad,
but appropriate rites of the established church, the corpse was
deposited in the burying ground, which to this day preserves the
crumbling ruins of many monuments of the ancient Cavaliers.



CHAPTER XIV.


It was some weeks after the funeral of Gideon Fairfax, that Bacon,
attracted by the genial warmth of a summer day, sauntered out for the
first time, in company with his friend Dudley, to seek the usual
_rendezvous_ of the young Cavaliers. Scarcely were they seated in the
Tap of the "Arms," before Philip Ludwell hastily entered, touched his
castor formally to Bacon and Dudley, and handed to the former a note,
fastened with a silken cord, and sealed with the arms of the House of
Berkley. Bacon cut the cord and read the note, without changing
countenance, and then handed it to Dudley, who had no sooner perused its
contents, than they both arose, retired to a private room, and called
for pen, ink and paper. The latter soon returned with an answer, sealed
in like manner, and handed it to Ludwell, who again formally bowing
retired. The first ran thus:

          Jamestown, June --, 16--.
     To Nathaniel Bacon, Esq.

     SIR--I seize the first moment of your appearance in public,
     restored to health, to demand the satisfaction due for the
     grievous insult put upon me, on the night of the Anniversary
     Celebration, in presence of the assembled gentry of the
     Colony. All proper arrangements will be made by my friend
     Ludwell, who will also await your answer. I have the honour to
     be your most obedient servant,

     FRANCIS BEVERLY.

Bacon's answer was no less courteous and explicit.


          Berkley Arms, June --, 16--.
     To Francis Beverly, Esq.

     SIR--Your note by the hands of Mr. Ludwell was this moment
     received. Your challenge is accepted. To-morrow morning at
     sunrise I will meet you. The length of my weapon will be
     furnished by my friend Dudley, who will convey this to Mr.
     Ludwell, as well as make all other arrangements on my behalf. I
     have the honour to be, yours, &c.

     NATHANIEL BACON.

The following morning at sunrise, two parties of Cavaliers landed from
their boats at a secluded inlet, on the southern extremity of Hog
Island, immediately opposite the city, but screened from view by the
depth of the overshadowing forest. A surgeon with his assistant soon
followed.

The two parties exchanged formal but courtly salutations, and
immediately proceeded to the business of their meeting. A level
grass-plot, firm under the pressure of the foot, and sufficiently
cleared for the purpose, had long been set apart as the battle ground on
similar occasions, and was now easily found.

When all the parties were arrived at this spot, the seconds proceeded to
measure the swords in presence of their principals. This of course was a
mere formality required by the usages of the times, as the length of the
weapons was already known and settled between themselves.

The two young Cavaliers about to engage in deadly strife, were perhaps
as nearly matched in skill and courage as any that could be found in the
Colony. Both were in the daily practice of the foils, as a matter of
education no less than of amusement. Both were impetuous by nature, and
rash in their actions, and both came upon the field longing for
vengeance in requital of wrongs which each supposed he had received at
the hands of the other.

Beverly was in the enjoyment of ruddy health, and buoyant animal
impulses, but his antagonist was pale, thin, and evidently labouring
under depression of spirits, as well as feebleness of body. To a hasty,
and superficial observer, this state of the parties would have seemed
decidedly unfavourable to the latter; but it is very questionable
whether the high health and robust strength of Beverly were not more
than counterbalanced by the subdued but steady composure evinced by his
antagonist, the result of long confinement and depletion.

With a slight inclination of the head in formal salutation, each
advanced a foot and crossed his blade with that of his antagonist. The
eyes of each were instantly riveted upon his enemy, with the steady and
deadly ferocity of two wild beasts of prey. The pause continued a few
moments, as if each were striving to measure the hatred of the other; a
few rapid and skilful thrusts and parries were exchanged, and then
another interval of suspense and inactivity ensued. The next effort was
longer and more fiercely contested, and the intentions of each in this
uncomplicated warfare were more readily distinguished. Beverly was at
each successive trial becoming more and more ferocious, while his
antagonist was as evidently acting on the defensive, if not attempting
to disarm him. This now apparent intention of the latter, might be the
necessary result of his present comparative debility, of policy--aiming
to take advantage of his opponent's impetuosity, or of his promise to
Virginia. But from whatever cause it sprung, Dudley thought it a most
hazardous experiment to depend upon disarming so skilful a swordsman,
and was accordingly under the most lively apprehensions for the fate of
his friend. These were not however of long continuance, for at the next
onset, Beverly, forgetting himself for a moment, as he impetuously
flashed his weapon in deadly and rapid thrusts, cried, "Ha, Sir Bastard,
have at your coward's heart." In the next instant Bacon's sword pierced
his body--his eyes glared wildly for an instant, his sword fell from
his powerless hand, and as Bacon withdrew the weapon, Beverly uttered a
groan and fell prostrate upon the earth.

Bacon stood listlessly wiping his sword-blade upon his handkerchief, his
eyes abstractedly fixed upon the fallen youth, like one without thought
or reason, or rather so deeply buried in thought as to be almost
unconscious of the scene before him. His thoughts were upon his promise
to Virginia, to act only upon the defensive. This he had interpreted far
more literally than the fair girl herself had designed, and it was his
intention so to act throughout the struggle, had not his patience and
forbearance been overcome by the taunting exclamation of his adversary,
just preceding the last fatal onset.

All the circumstances passed rapidly through his mind, until his
meditations settled into the most poignant regret; not a little
aggravated when Beverly opened his eyes, and held up his hand to Bacon,
feebly exclaiming, "Bacon, forgive me; I wronged you both first and
last. I see it now when it is too late, but it is never too late to ask
forgiveness for an injury." Bacon grasped his hand, and flung himself
prostrate at his side in an instant. "Before God, Beverly, it was not my
intention, when I came to the field, to do this deed; my whole effort at
first was to disarm you. Forgiveness lies with you, not with me. I have
done you an irreparable injury, yours was but the result of thoughtless
impetuosity, for which I as freely forgive you, as it was hastily and
heedlessly offered. May God forgive us both."

The surgeon and his assistant now interfered in the prosecution of their
professional duties. While these were in progress, all parties were
silent in breathless attention; not a change of the doctor's countenance
escaped them. At length he arose, and deliberately wiping and replacing
his instruments in their case, walked thoughtfully some paces from the
wounded youth.

Bacon dared not follow to ask the fate of his patient, but Dudley, with
breathless eagerness pursued his footsteps, and demanded to know in few
words his fate. "Life or death, Doctor?" he hastily exclaimed, as if he
expected an answer in like short and expressive terms.

"Ours is not one of the exact sciences as to prognostication," said Dr.
Roland. "The wound extends from the anterior part of the thorax."

"Don't tell me about the thorax, doctor, tell me whether there is life
or death?"

"The pleura and the right lobe of the lungs have been wounded,
consequently there will be great inflammation succeeding, both from the
pleuretic and pulmonary excitement. These are the unchangeable laws of
the animal economy, and will not yield were the son of Charles himself
lying before us."

"O damn the animal economy. Can't you say in one word, life or death?"

"No, I cannot, Master Dudley. All I can say at present is, that it is my
hope and belief, if properly managed, that he will not die from the
hemorrhage, and that his chance of life depends upon his weathering out
the inflammation mentioned."

"There is a reasonable hope then! Thank you, doctor, thank you; may God
send that his life be spared." Uttering this fervent ejaculation he
joined his companions, who now held a consultation as to the most
judicious plan of removing the wounded youth. One proposed that he
should remain at a cottage upon the island; but the surgeon decided that
he might be removed in a boat to the city as easily as he could be
carried to the cottage. He was accordingly extended upon a rude litter,
and deposited in the most convenient boat, upon such a bed as they could
hastily construct of cloaks and bushes.

They had scarcely emerged from the shrubbery overhanging the margin of
the river, when a rustling noise was heard, similar to that made by the
flight of a large flock of birds, and in the next instant a shower of
Indian arrows fell harmless in the water, succeeded by an astounding
yell of twenty or more savages, indistinctly seen through the dense fog
rising from the stream. Their light bark canoes, of variegated colours,
could scarcely be distinguished as they rode upon the waves like huge
aquatic birds. The savage warriors were standing perfectly erect,
notwithstanding the motion of the waves and the vigorous exertions of
those squaws who officiated at the oar and helm. Bows were already
strung in their hands, and they were again in the act of leveling them
upon the party, when Bacon, seizing a duck gun from the bottom of the
boat, fired into the midst of the foremost canoe. Three huge painted
warriors leaped into the water and yelled and struggled for an instant
before they sunk to rise no more. Another discharge of arrows, and
another shot from Bacon's weapon, with like success, considerably damped
the ardour of the pursuit. Bacon and his party had in the mean time
urged the boat containing Beverly and the surgeon far ahead and out of
reach of their missiles, while they protected their retreat. Having
suffered the enemy to come within striking distance, he was now enabled
to see that they were Chickahominies, and readily comprehended their
motives. He was himself the object of their pursuit. They had watched
his movements for the purpose of avenging the death of their chief and
his followers. So prompt and efficient, however, was the defence of the
party sought, that after a few harmless flights of arrows, and a few
returns from the firearms of the white party, they hastily retreated,
and in a short time their canoes were only seen like distant specks on
the circumscribed horizon, as they scudded away before the rising
volumes of vapour for fear the dawning day should betray them and their
hostile attitude to the notice of the citizens.

As Bacon and Dudley stepped upon the shore in front of the palisade, the
other party having landed and disappeared before their arrival, they
stood to gaze over the water for an instant to ascertain whether any of
the savages yet lingered upon the scene. The fog was rapidly rising from
the water, so that their line of vision was uninterrupted for some
distance over the bay between the islands.

They could just perceive their late enemies doubling the southern point
of the island upon which they stood, and were about to retire, supposing
all further apprehension from that quarter at an end, when they
discovered the dim outlines of some one upon the southern end of the
island, making signals with a white handkerchief. They immediately and
silently moved along the shore, under cover of the palisade, until they
came within such a distance of the object which had attracted their
attention, that they could discern who it was themselves, at the same
time remaining undiscovered. It was Wyanokee! Her appearance at this
early hour and solitary place, and her equivocal employment, produced
the greatest astonishment and mortification in the mind of Bacon. Until
this moment he would have pledged his life for her truth and fidelity.
Ever since the encounter with the Indians, he had been wondering in his
own mind, how they had pursued him so exactly to the secret place of
their rendezvous. Now he recollected that Wyanokee had passed through
the gallery of the State House on the preceding evening, where Dudley
and himself were practising. She might have overheard some of their
conversation. Her presence at such a place had excited a momentary
surprise at the time, but it all passed over, under the usual idea that
Wyanokee was every where. She often glided about like a spirit, yet no
one knew whither she was going, or the purpose of her movements. "Can it
be possible," said Bacon to himself, "that Wyanokee has been
treacherous?"

All these corroborating circumstances, together with her present
attitude, answered in the affirmative. Notwithstanding the strong
conviction of this unwelcome fact which now settled on his mind, he
could not believe her deliberately bent on his destruction. He had seen
her exhibit many noble traits of character in trying situations.
Besides, she was somewhat under his protection, and we are always
inclined to love those whom we have served. She was also Virginia's
pupil, and the latter was proud of her as such, and he himself had felt
a sort of complacency at the progress of the maiden under her tuition.
His imagination had often dwelt upon her imaginary perfections, as so
many reflected beauties from Virginia's guileless heart and cultivated
mind. No, he could not believe her thus meanly treacherous. Some native
impulse must have been roused, some secret spring of her long hidden and
dormant nature, must have been touched. Her savage ideas of patriotism
had fired her to revenge the death of her nation's chief.

Notwithstanding these palliating suggestions which rose in his mind on
the doubtful attitude in which he had detected her, his reflections were
by no means pleasing, as he locked his arm in Dudley's, and retired
from the shore. Every thing seemed to him to conspire against his
happiness. First, there was the old and ever present cause of solicitude
in relation to his own origin, the doubtful nature of which had been the
remote cause of the unhappy rencounter of the morning. Then there was
the new attitude in which he was placed towards Virginia, by the death
of her father, together with the tantalizing, partial revelations of the
anonymous letters and gold locket, which that event had thrown into his
possession, with the thousand surmises, half formed hopes, and
resolutions resulting from them. Upon the whole, however, he could not
but feel, in the midst of these various depressing circumstances, that
his chance for success in an application for the hand of Virginia was
greater with the widowed lady of the murdered Fairfax than it would have
been were he alive. He knew the high position in which he stood in that
lady's favour. He knew her contempt for worldly show, pomp and
circumstance--he had always known it, but now he knew something of the
cause in the revelations of her own history. He knew that she had boldly
indulged the first predilections of her own young heart at the expense
of her father's and her brother's favour; and his hopes were strong,
that when he should present himself before her in something of a like
attitude, as an applicant for the hand of her fair daughter, her own
recollections would rise up before her in his favour. That there would
be difficulties to surmount, and prejudices to subdue, he knew full
well. That Sir William Berkley would exert his power to the utmost, to
prevent such a consummation he also knew; but the consent of Mrs.
Fairfax once gained, he resolved to brave the opposition if he could not
subdue the prejudices of the Governor.

The unhappy business of the morning would in all probability hasten the
contending elements to a crisis. The Governor would soon know of the
meeting and its result; he would in all probability inquire into the
cause of the quarrel, and his shrewd insight into the motives of human
action would very soon discover that there were hidden impulses
operating, which caused the insult to be given, and kindred ones in the
opposite party which rendered the offence so much the more heinous and
unpardonable. In short, he would discover that there was a lady at the
bottom of the whole affair; and that this lady was his own fair niece;
and that the two gentlemen who had just contended in deadly strife, were
rivals for the possession of her favour. Such being the process of
reasoning in the Governor's mind, Bacon knew him too well to suppose
that he would delay the matter long before he endeavoured to bring it to
a conclusion. Indeed he believed (and the reader knows how truly) that
his excellency already saw the advantages of the connexion as vividly as
his nephew apprehended the sterling qualities of the lady. Such being
the case, the result of the morning's meeting, if it did not prove
fatal to his rival's life, would in all probability precipitate the
matter at once to an issue. The Governor would no sooner ascertain that
Beverly was out of danger than he would take the business in his own
hands, and how he would manage it, and what means he would take to
accomplish his ends, Bacon's personal experience in other matters fully
taught him. He resolved therefore to be beforehand with him, to present
his own claims first, to attempt to conciliate the lady of his late
patron, before her ear had been poisoned by the violent abuse which he
knew would be heaped upon him, as well as by contempt for his origin.
But could he imbrue his hand in the blood of his rival and then present
it for acceptance? Could he precipitate his claims before the family in
their present melancholy state?

These were the subjects of his reflection, as the two youths entered the
gates of the city,--and here another difficulty arose; if he should
immediately present himself before the family, the news of the meeting
having preceded him, even without broaching the subject before alluded
to, would not the feelings excited in the mind of Virginia and her
mother be unfavourable to his claims? Then again, should he leave rumour
with her hundred tongues to explain to the maiden the reasons which had
induced him to accept the challenge from her kinsman, would not his
cause be still more prejudiced? Finally, therefore, after taking all
these things into consideration, he came to the conclusion that it was
best to wait some favourable news from his wounded rival before
presenting himself, or in case of the worst result, to absent himself
from the city altogether for a time.

Accordingly the youths bent their footsteps to Dudley's lodgings, there
to await intelligence concerning Beverly. It is hardly necessary to
remind the reader that duelling in that day, so far from being
considered criminal, was the sole test to which all differences between
gentlemen were submitted. The influence of the custom has been handed
down, variously modified by the circumstances of the times, from one
generation to another, until it has reached our own.



CHAPTER XV.


For more than a week Frank Beverly lay in the most precarious state, and
more than once during that period his friends were summoned to his
bed-side, expecting every moment to be his last. Bacon, torn and racked
with suspense, moved about the house of his late patron like one
distracted. He had already made his peace with Virginia, by explaining
to her the unequivocal and unconditional demand for satisfaction made
upon him by Beverly, as well as the unjustifiable taunt upon the field,
by which he had been driven from his defensive attitude. But even her
society failed in its usual attractions, while Beverly remained in
danger. Doctor Roland, with all his technical formality, was as
indefatigable in his attentions as he was oracular and mysterious in his
announcements from hour to hour, and day to day, concerning the state of
his patient. These, reported to his master from the lips of Brien
O'Reily, would form no unamusing subject for the reader, were not our
attention called to the more important personages and graver incidents
of our narrative.

As Bacon had surmised, Sir William Berkley was not long in understanding
the real cause of the quarrel; he had himself heard partial reports of
the affront and its cause on the night of its occurrence. As Bacon had
also expected, he seemed to await the fate of his young kinsman, before
he took any farther steps towards promoting the alliance between him and
Virginia. This however did not prevent him from giving way to the most
ungovernable rage at Frank's condescension in meeting an adventurer,
"the son of no one knew whom."

At length the invalid was unequivocally pronounced to be out of danger,
by Dr. Roland himself. The Governor had no sooner received the
information, than he despatched a footman with his most respectful
compliments to Mrs. Fairfax, and requested the pleasure of an hour's
conversation with her, on the most important business; in answer to
which, a message was returned to the Governor, that she would be pleased
to see him, at any moment which might suit his convenience. That time
soon arrived, and the formal old gentleman, after many apologies for the
untimely intrusion upon the privacy of her sorrows, and condolence for
their cause, thus introduced the subject to which he solicited her
attention.

"It was perhaps not known to you, Madam, that your late lamented husband
and myself had long since formed a prospective arrangement, by which we
hoped to dispose of our fortunes in such a manner as to add honour and
dignity to our families, at the same time that we should preserve them
united, and confer happiness upon our nearest relatives and presumptive
heirs. His will, as I understand, has not yet been authenticated, but
doubtless when it is so you will find that he has provided for the
fulfilment of this design."

"I do not fully comprehend your Excellency."

"I mean, madam, that we contemplated uniting in marriage, your fair
daughter and my young kinsman, Beverly; by this means I will be enabled
to entail my fortune on their male descendants, which will meet all my
desires concerning my niece, at the same time that it will be doing no
injustice to my young relative."

"The plan seems ingeniously contrived, Sir William, to prevent future
heart-burnings concerning the disposal of your estate; but were the
young people to know nothing of the arrangement?"

"The knowledge of it was kept from them, at the suggestion of your late
lamented husband, in order that they might imbibe no prejudices against
the scheme as they grew up, but rather be thrown into each other's way,
as the time for its consummation approached, and thus perhaps discover
its propriety themselves. This has in part proved true, for on the very
day of the unfortunate accident which deprived your house of its
inestimable head, I had the honour to lay Frank's proposals before him."

"Sir William--I do not know my daughter's sentiments on the
subject,--the fulfilment of the scheme will depend entirely on her
feelings."

"With due deference, madam, would it not be more politic to treat the
matter as already, and long since settled, between her father and
myself, and sacredly sealed by his death?"

"I must be plain and candid with your Excellency--I have no desire to
use policy in the affair; if my daughter gives her free and hearty
consent, you have mine; but if the match is repugnant to her feelings we
will drop the subject, with many thanks to your Excellency for your kind
purposes, and to Mr. Beverly for the intended honour."

Virginia was now called in; but while the servant performed that duty,
Sir William replied, "I am exceedingly mortified, madam, that you seem
to place the fulfilment of this long-treasured scheme upon a contingency
so light."

"Do you then consider a young lady's being permitted to have a voice in
choosing her partner for life, a light contingency, Sir William?"

"I think, madam, that her parents are more capable of making a selection
which will confer honour upon them and her, than she can possibly be.
Our best families would soon arrive at a very plebeian level, were every
female descendant to be permitted to indulge her love-sick fancies,
instead of consulting the interest and honour of her house. But it may
be that this discussion is useless in the present instance. Here, madam,
comes your daughter, who will decide."

Virginia entered, pale and trembling with alarm and vague presentiments
of evil; her hands were crossed upon her breast, and her eyes downcast.
After making a reverential courtesy to the Governor, she instinctively
stood before him, awaiting his commands as one upon trial. However harsh
the Governor's opinions to the mother, policy dictated a very different
course toward the daughter; he accordingly led her to a seat beside
himself, and with the most bland and courteous manner, thus addressed
her,

"I come, my niece, as an ambassador from poor Frank, with full powers to
ask of your mother this fair hand in marriage; and I must take the same
opportunity to declare the happiness it would give Lady Berkley and
myself, to receive you into our mansion as the wife of our kinsman, and
the daughter of our affections."

The mildness and the unusual condescension of her formal uncle
completely threw Virginia from the stately and unequivocal answer which
she had meditated when first summoned; for it will be recollected that
she had already had an intimation of his intentions. She could do no
less than feel grateful for his own undoubted affection, and she felt it
extremely difficult properly to express this feeling, connected as it
must be with the overthrow of his dearest hopes. After the most painful
embarrassment, she was enabled to answer: "To you, my dear uncle, I have
always felt grateful for the more than paternal affection which you have
shown to me, and I must feel not less so for the motives which prompted
you to undertake the present mission; but with all my affection for
yourself and desire to please you, and all my gratitude to Mr. Beverly
for the honour which he intended me, I must beg leave to decline his
offer."

"Wherefore must you decline it, Virginia?" asked Sir William, with the
most evident chagrin and surprise.

"Simply because I cannot reciprocate the affection which I am informed
Mr. Beverly entertains for me."

"You have never made the trial, niece; you have not taken five minutes
to consider the importance of the proposition which I have had the
honour to lay before you. Reconsider your hasty answer; take time to
form a mature opinion of the many advantages which the connexion holds
out. See Frank himself when he recovers, and my word for it, he will
make as many love-sick speeches as would woo a lady from Charles'
court."

"It is not necessary, my dear uncle; I have long meditated upon the
subject, having by accident heard of the proposed union before you were
pleased to communicate it in person."

"What is your objection to Frank? It is certainly no satisfactory
answer, to say you cannot reciprocate his affection, when you have never
yet given him an opportunity to plead his cause in person. He is
unquestionably as well favoured a youth in regard to personal
attributes, as any in the Colony, and I flatter myself as well born and
of as bright expectations?"

"I have no objections to urge, Sir William; Mr. Beverly is undoubtedly
all that you say he is, but he never can be more to me than he is at
present; for this determination I have many reasons satisfactory to my
own sense of propriety, but which it is neither necessary nor proper for
me to urge. One I will however give you, with the hope of for ever
setting the question at rest. My affections are already engaged!"

Had a thunderbolt hurled the old Cavalier from his seat, he could not
have been more astounded. Mrs. Fairfax was scarcely less so. Sir William
glanced from her countenance to that of her daughter, as if he expected
the former to overwhelm her daughter with reproaches, his own anger all
the while displaying itself in the contortions of his inflamed and
glowing countenance. But seeing her astonishment subsiding into
complacency instead of anger, his own broke forth--

"What! bestow your affections unasked? and upon whom pray!"

"I have not bestowed them unasked, Sir."

"Has any gentleman asked and obtained permission of you, to address your
daughter?" he inquired, turning to Mrs. Fairfax.

"None, Sir."

"Who then is the favoured swain? Who has dared to interfere in this
matter unauthorized by the consent of your only surviving parent or
myself?"

"For him I have neither the right nor the will to speak. At the proper
time he will doubtless do it for himself," said Virginia, as she arose
with offended dignity to leave the room.

"Hear me yet a moment," cried Sir William, with the most ill disguised
efforts to appear calm. "If the person, who has thus intruded into your
family, is of proper birth, connexions, and expectations, and his suit
should meet with your mother's approbation, I of course have no right to
interfere. But remember, should you attempt to form an alliance with an
individual who would disgrace my family, to which you are nearly
connected, I will, if there be none other to perform the office, with
mine own hands tear him from the very foot of the altar, and mete to him
such a reward as his temerity demands."

At this moment the door opened, and Nathaniel Bacon entered, with an
expression of unalloyed delight upon his countenance. He had just heard
the joyful tidings from the medical attendant of his rival. He met
Virginia face to face, just within the sweep of the door, and perceiving
no other object at the moment, attempted gayly to seize her hand, but no
corresponding movement being perceptible, he paused to examine her
countenance, at the same time glancing at the offended visiter, whose
scowling eyes were fixed upon him. Virginia's countenance was like a
mirror to reflect her feelings, and had there been no intelligible
expression upon the face of the Governor, Bacon would readily have
comprehended the attitude of the various parties. These observations,
however, were the work of an instant, for Sir William no sooner
perceived his presence, than he sprung to his feet, his brow growing
darker every moment. He had entirely misinterpreted Bacon's appearance
at that critical juncture. His suspicions had all along pointed to him,
and he now imagined that his presence was the result of preconcerted
design. "To what motive, Sir," he cried, "am I indebted for this
intrusion? Have you come to congratulate me upon the recovery of my
young kinsman, of whom your murderous hand had well nigh deprived me?"

Bacon wheeled partly upon his heel, as if endeavouring to force himself
out of the room, without answering the choleric old Cavalier, but seeing
Virginia turn her head and cast an indignant glance at the offender, his
own hard schooled feelings broke forth also. "To no particular motive,
Sir, are you indebted for this visit: it was the result of the purest
accident. I knew not that your Excellency was in the house, and came
into this room in the ordinary free and unchallenged mode of
intercourse, to which the inmates of this most hospitable and generous
family are accustomed."

"Ay, Sir Stripling, and unless I am grossly deceived, your intercourse
has not gone unchallenged for nothing."

"To what is your Excellency pleased to allude."

"Have you not studiously endeavoured to undermine the most important
family arrangements of those who cherished and protected your infancy?
Have you not stung the bosom that warmed you into existence? Have you
not been callous to the claims of gratitude, due alike to the living and
the dead? Have you not attempted to beguile the only daughter of your
patron into a disgraceful alliance?"

Bacon resisted the mild and persuasive endeavours of Mrs. Fairfax to
lead him from the room, whence Virginia had already departed, while he
replied, drawing himself up to an erect and perfectly composed and
dignified attitude,

"If your Excellency chooses so far to forget, what is alike due to your
station--to yourself, to the present company, and to me, as to permit
yourself to ask such questions, you cannot expect me so far to forget
myself as to answer them!" and with this reply he left the room.

The Governor, after indulging in the most vehement bursts of passion,
and threats of vengeance against Bacon, should he dare to connect
himself with his family, and in vain endeavours to extort a promise from
Mrs. Fairfax, never to give her consent, left the house in the most
towering and ungovernable rage.

He had scarcely crossed the threshold, before Bacon returned to the same
room, leading Virginia by the hand, having held a very interesting
conversation with her in another apartment. Mrs. Fairfax was sitting
apparently absorbed in the most painful reflections. As the youthful
pair entered, a slight clearing away of the clouds which had gathered
upon her countenance might be perceived. They walked deliberately up to
where she sat, and seated themselves one on each side of her: when Bacon
thus spoke--

"It was not my intention, dear madam, thus to intrude upon your sorrows,
but I may be pardoned for presenting myself as a petitioner at your
feet, when another, high in station and dignity, has thought proper to
forget those claims. Had he confined himself to the legitimate object of
his mission, I had perhaps still forborne, but when he has stepped out
of his way rudely to thrust me before you as the disorganizer of your
family arrangements, and as the serpent who has stolen into your house
in order to poison your brightest hopes and fondest anticipations, I
have thought it became me at once to state to you how far I have
offended.

"It is true, dear madam, that I have not been insensible to the many
charms of your daughter's person and disposition. You have witnessed, I
would fain hope, not unobservantly, the dear delights of our first
childish intercourse, when our minds and hearts were drawn together by
an affection and a congeniality of taste and sentiment which we
supposed, if we thought of it at all, was purely fraternal; and then
when our minds began to expand, and our affections to assume and to
display their real character, and finally when we came thoroughly to
understand each other and ourselves, you were not a heedless spectator
of these progressive changes and developments; and having seen, I cannot
believe that you would have permitted this mutual affection to grow to
its present maturity and strength, intending to deny its sanction at the
last, when the cure might so easily have been made by nipping the tender
flower in the bud. Speak, I pray you madam! Our fate hangs upon your
words!"

"I will not pretend to you, my children, that I have not observed the
mutual affection which has grown up between you from its earliest dawn.
Nor will I disguise from you that it gave me pleasure mingled with much
pain. Many long and dreary nights have I lain upon my pillow,
anticipating what I then supposed would be the fierce struggles of this
moment. I calculated with the usual short sightedness of mortals, that
he who will ne'er partake in our councils more, would have been here to
decide upon your wishes.

"I supposed that his own family pride would first have been to conquer,
then I thought of the fierce resistance which the greater pride of his
kinsman, Sir William, would offer--the interview of this morning shows
how truly. After all these painful misgivings, however, and the maturest
judgment that I could bestow upon the subject, I came to the resolution
to suffer what seemed the predestined current of events to run its
course. Providence has by a most painful process removed the only
obstacle you had to fear, my children, and he, had he been alive, would
doubtless have finally given his consent rather than attempt to tear up
forcibly by its roots a passion like yours, the growth of years and
intimate knowledge of each other. I therefore give you my consent, my
children, that you be united in marriage, and the sooner the better, as
the first storm upon its announcement once over, all these contending
passions which drive you into broils and strife will cease."

As she concluded speaking, Virginia, down whose cheeks the tears had
been rapidly coursing each other, sunk upon her knees, in which position
she was instantly joined by her now acknowledged and betrothed lover.
Mrs. Fairfax placed her hands upon their heads, tears bedimming her own
eyes, and blessed them, and then kissed her daughter as she was about to
leave the room. When she was gone, Bacon resumed the subject of their
discourse. "O say, dear Madam, how soon will you consent to the
completion of our happiness? I address myself to you in the first
instance, in order that I may use your name in my appeal to your
daughter for an early day."

"As soon as you can persuade Virginia to consent. I would seriously and
earnestly recommend two things with regard to your nuptials, the rest I
leave to yourselves, namely, that they take place as privately as
possible, for fear of Sir William's violence; and secondly, as soon as
possible, in order that you may anticipate the complete recovery of
young Mr. Beverly."

"Oh, madam, may Heaven bless your wisdom and benevolence. I am now
doubly armed, and will seek your daughter, and I hope soon return with a
favourable answer."

Accordingly he flew out of the room, and in a few moments she heard him
loudly calling her daughter's name through all the portals of the house,
and rapping at every door, but no Virginia was to be found. At length,
however, he sallied forth into the garden, when he found her in her
summer-house, apparently in profound study of some favourite Author's
new publication, perhaps Milton's "Paradise Regained." His arguments
fell apparently upon a deaf ear. She continued to read, regardless of
his passionate gesticulations and burning words. Her cheeks glowed
vividly enough, but she gave no other evidence that she was conscious of
his presence. At length he seized her hand, and forcibly but gently led
her before her mother, like a culprit, as she doubtless felt herself,
for her eyes were downcast, and a crimson blush suffused her neck and
temples. Mrs. Fairfax attempted in vain to assume a grave and judicial
expression. She succeeded, however, in convincing the young pair that
the safety and the peace of many of their family circle depended upon
their speedy nuptials. It was doubtless for these reasons alone, that
they soon agreed amicably upon an early day, until which time we will
leave the imagination of the reader to follow the young pair through
flowery beds of roses and tulips, and the more flowery anticipations of
"Love's young dream."



CHAPTER XVI.


The appointed day at length arrived--it was ushered in by no cheering
omens from without or within the mansion of Mrs. Fairfax. No warbling
songsters from the feathered tribes perched upon the window of our
heroine, or hopped from flower to flower through the garden beneath, to
woo her from her slumbers; and the heavens themselves gave lowering and
sultry evidence of an approaching storm. In the east it was misty and
unsettled; while a long curtain of dark frowning clouds, heavily charged
with electric fire, hung in portentous masses along the whole line of
the western horizon. The atmosphere was hot and oppressive, the whole
aspect of the weather such as invariably casts a damp upon the spirits.

Virginia required no sweet serenade to call her from her slumbers. She
was already awake, as indeed she had been through most of the night. A
feverish dread of undefined approaching evil, had dimly floated through
her excited brain during her waking hours, and yet more shadowy horrors
disturbed her partial and unrefreshing sleep. Her morning habiliments
were donned earlier than usual, without the assistance of her Indian
attendant; yet she marvelled at her unwonted absence. She usually slept
in an adjoining apartment, and hither Virginia bent her steps to chide
the tardy maiden for her strange neglect on so important an occasion. No
little surprise was visible in her countenance, when she found not only
the apartment untenanted, but that the bed upon which Wyanokee usually
slept, was undisturbed, or that if used at all, it had been slightly
disarranged, only as if with a deceptive purpose. She repeated her name
throughout the house and garden, but no answer was returned. Her voice
soon aroused her mother, who was no less surprised at the circumstances
related by her daughter. Together they went to the apartment, and again
examined the bed, which had evidently not been slept in. And now other
appearances struck them, which had not before attracted their attention.
The dress she had worn on the previous day, hung in a closet answering
the purposes of a wardrobe, together with the whole of her apparel, the
gift of Virginia or her mother. Not an article could be recollected of
these, which was not there. They seemed, moreover, to have been
studiously arranged so as to attract attention in this particular. On
the other hand, every garment of Indian fabric which she had preserved
through her captivity, was gone. The moccasins she had worn on the
previous day--the Indian beads, wampum, and other ornaments of native
origin, were nowhere to be seen.

All the gifts of Bacon and Mr. Fairfax, some of which were of gold and
silver, were conspicuously arranged upon a shelf in the same apartment.
Many of these she had hitherto constantly worn in her ears, and upon her
wrists and ankles.

As they were pursuing their researches Virginia discovered the window of
the room in which her attendant had always slept, shut down upon the end
of an Indian arrow. She raised the sash and drew in the missile, in the
end of which, inserted in a split and bound with a strip of the fibre of
a sinew, was the identical blue feather Wyanokee had plucked from the
gory locks of the slain King Fisher, the last of the Chickahominy
chiefs. The arrow was pointed in the direction of the nation's hunting
ground. The language of these symbols Virginia understood but too well;
she had too long made Wyanokee a subject of study, as well as of
instruction, not to understand that the feather indicated her flight to
the dwellings of her tribe. She also thought she saw many collateral
indications in the time chosen for her elopement--the arrangements of
her English garments, and more especially of the gifts she had received
from Bacon. She doubted not in her own mind that the resolution of
Wyanokee was in some way connected with the approaching ceremony, but
she did not communicate her suspicions to her mother, because they were
as yet not clearly defined in her own thoughts. They received momentary
corroboration however, as many circumstances recurred to her mind,
which were trivial in themselves, but important in connexion with the
present discovery, and which have been from time to time hinted at in
the progress of our narrative.

The impression left upon the mind of our Heroine by these incidents
produced any thing but the joyous, elastic and happy mood, her young
dreams had always anticipated for her wedding day. There were many other
subjects of apprehension to mar the pleasures of the time. Governor
Berkley had left her mother's house overflowing with wrath, and
threatening speedy vengeance against her betrothed.

Few persons ever became indebted to Sir William Berkley in a matter of
personal hatred or ill will, who did not sooner or later find him a hard
and exacting creditor. With all her love for her uncle she knew his
harsh and unyielding nature, and dreaded his power.

The natural apprehensions of a modest, gentle, and tenderly educated
maiden on her wedding day, are at all times sufficiently powerful of
themselves; but joined to the unfavourable omens and sources of anxiety
by which Virginia was surrounded, they were overpowering. Her breakfast
remained before her untouched, notwithstanding her mother's endeavours
to cheer her drooping spirits.

A short and animated conversation with her lover, as the day began to
wane, partially recalled her wonted cheerfulness, but when he was gone
she relapsed into her former mood. The aspect of the heavens seemed to
her to grow momentarily more portentous. Already the thunder was heard
rolling in the west, and black masses of threatening clouds were
gradually closing in from every point of the horizon. The wrath of
Heaven itself seemed to our heroine gathering over the city. This
nervous excitement of mind will not be wondered at when it is remembered
that a short time only had intervened since dark and mysterious
injunctions had been urged against the marriage, of which the appointed
time was now so near at hand; and to this must be added the state of
alarm and agitation in which she had since been kept by insurrections,
outrages, personal strifes and deadly feuds between her friends; and
above all, by the violent and sudden death of her father. In the short
space of a few weeks her once tranquil and happy existence had been
changed into one of painful trials and vicissitudes. The night was
rapidly closing in. There hung the bridal garments, and there stood the
tire woman waiting her commands. At this juncture a carriage drove up to
the door, steps were let down, the knocker sounded, and in the next
moment the gay brides-maid bounded into the room, arrayed for the
occasion. Her countenance was radiant with smiles as she entered, but
perceiving her friend's sombre mood she walked round her sundry times
and then raised her hands and eyes in pretended astonishment, as she
exclaimed, "Do I mistake! Was it indeed to your wedding that I was
invited? For shame, Virginia! shake off these sickly fancies. Come,
rouse yourself, and I will be your tire woman. Our family will soon be
here, the carriage has gone back for them. Will that not move you? Then
your lawful lord and"--

Here Virginia rose and placed her hand upon the lips of the lively girl,
yet with a look which seemed at the same time to intimate no
unwillingness to be cajoled or rallied from her present serious humour.

The wedding was to be kept a profound secret from all but the invited
guests, and those who were to officiate at the ceremony. The former
consisted only of Mr. Harrison's family, and the latter of the clergyman
of the Established Church, who officiated at Jamestown--Charles Dudley
who was to give away the bride, and Harriet as brides-maid.

The appointed hour of nine at length arrived. Assembled in the parlour
below, the various parties awaited the appearance of the bride.
Carriages were already at the door; the chapel lighted, and the priest
habited in the robes of his sacred office.

Bacon, after sundry movements towards the door at which she was expected
to enter, could subdue his impatience no longer, and at once mounted the
staircase. He met the two maidens on their way down; Virginia apparently
having imbibed some of her friend's spirit and vivacity, which she so
much needed. She placed her hand timidly but confidingly in that of
Bacon as they entered the room. Both she, and her attendant, were
robed in virgin white--and certainly never were dresses more
appropriate;--they were both young, innocent, beautiful, and intensely
interesting, in the position which they now occupied.

Bacon and Dudley were dressed exactly alike, and rather in the costume
of the preceding, than of the present reign; the latter not yet having
made its way to Jamestown. They wore doublets of scarlet velvet, with
large loose sleeves slashed up the front; the collar covered by a
falling band of the richest point lace, with a vandyke edging. Their
breeches were of white silk, and fringed at the bottom, where they
united with their silk stockings, amidst a profusion of ribands and
ornaments of lace. Their shoes were ornamented over the buckle straps,
with white bridal roses wrought in silk. Hanging gallantly upon one
shoulder, they wore the short and graceful blue cloak of the period: not
in such a manner, however, as to conceal in any degree the gay
appearance of the costume which it completed, but so as to be thrown
aside and resumed at a moment's notice. This latter article being light
and graceful, and worn more for ornament than use, was always thrown
aside for the military buff coat on warlike occasions.

The party, preceded by the priest, entered the waiting vehicles. Just as
they were seated according to the order of previous arrangement, a
vivid flash of lightning shot athwart the horizon, succeeded by a crash
of thunder loud and fearful, as if the eternal hills themselves had
again been shattered into chaos. The females drew themselves into the
corners of the carriage, covering their eyes, and the gentlemen were
silent, while the God of the Universe, spoke through his thunders.

The drive to the church was as short as it was silent. The priest
entered his desk and laid open the sacred volume, while the various
parties arranged according to order in a semicircle round the altar,
waited upon his words.

The chapel was dimly lighted, except immediately around the parties, in
accordance with the strict privacy of the celebration. Mrs. Fairfax was
as calm and benignant as was consistent with her usual settled
melancholy. Virginia was pale as a marble statue, her head just
sufficiently inclined forward to suspend her bridal veil in graceful and
flowing folds before her exquisitely formed figure. Harriet's vivacity
was subdued to respectful and mute attention. The sound of the
clergyman's voice could just be heard at intervals between the awful
peals of thunder, while the lurid flashes contrasting with the feeble
rays of the lamps, rendered the surrounding gloom more impressive. The
words which fell from the lips of the sacred functionary were something
like the following:

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and
in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in
holy matrimony; which is an honourable estate instituted of God in the
time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is
betwixt Christ and his church; which holy estate Christ adorned and
beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana
of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all
men; and therefore is not by any to be enterprised or taken in hand
unadvisedly--lightly, or wantonly--to satisfy men's carnal lusts and
appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently,
discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in fear of God, duly considering the
causes for which matrimony was ordained.

"First, it was ordained for the procreation of children to be brought up
in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy name.

"Secondly, it was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid
fornication, that such persons as have not the gift of continency might
marry and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body.

"Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort that
the one ought to have of the other--both in prosperity and adversity.

"Into which holy estate, these two persons present come now to be
joined. Therefore if any man can show any just cause, why they may not
lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for
ever hold his peace."

A solemn silence prevailed through the dimly lighted aisles, as the
usual pause was allowed for the answer. At this juncture, and while the
small party around the altar held their breath in mute astonishment and
wonder, the door was rudely thrust open, and a gigantic figure strode
down the hollow sounding aisle. His heavy footfalls rung upon Virginia's
sensitive organs like the funeral knell of departed peace. He walked
directly towards the altar, until he stood immediately behind the
youthful pair about to plight their faith, his tall figure towering far
above their heads.[5] Over his face he held a black mask, as he thus
spoke, in answer to the general challenge of the priest.

[Footnote 5: The reader will perceive when the proper time comes for
disclosing from what authentic annals this character is taken--that we
have but described his person, as the grave words of History portrayed
him.]

"Well mayest thou say that now or never is the time to speak the just
cause which interposes to prevent the consummation of this union. That
cause know I. But its revelation, now rendered imperative, will be like
unto tearing up with irreverent hands the mysterious secrets of the
charnel house beneath our feet. Oh God, why could not this duty have
been spared to me!"

His huge frame shuddered with convulsive emotion as he paused and seemed
to view from beneath his mask his astounded and breathless auditors. The
clergyman seized the opportunity to repeat with solemnity the challenge.
"If any man can show any just cause why this youthful pair may not
lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for
ever hold his peace!"

"They cannot lawfully be joined together because they are the children
of the same mother!"

The silence of death prevailed throughout the chapel. Respiration and
reflection itself seemed suspended upon the awful announcement of the
Recluse, while he fell back upon one of the seats of the aisle and
covered his face with his hands in unutterable anguish.

Mrs. Fairfax had been visibly agitated from the first moment of this
startling interruption, by some more dreadful emotion than the surprise
and vague alarm of those about her, but now desperation itself nerved
her sinking powers, as she stepped a pace forward and uttered in a
distinct voice. "It is false! proceed with the ceremony." Harrison and
Dudley instinctively felt for their arms, the former exclaiming, "He is
mad--staring mad! be it our business to prevent this irreverent
interruption!"

But the Recluse immediately sprung upon his feet, throwing his mask upon
the floor as he stood full in front of Mrs. Fairfax, and exclaimed,
pointing with his index finger to his time-worn countenance; "Look thou
upon these long forgotten lineaments, and then upon these (laying his
hand upon Bacon's head) and testify before Heaven and earth whether I
have not spoken truth! a fearful truth!"

The person appealed to stood for some moments like a statue, her eyes
protruding from their sockets, as if a tenant of the grave indeed stood
before her--her hand at length slowly rose from her side and wandered
through the vacant air as if she would have submitted the spectre to the
test of feeling--imperfectly measuring the distance however between her
own person and the object sought, it fell again powerless by her side.
Her lips moved as if she were in the act of holding a conversation with
the being who had addressed her, but no sound issued from them. The
pupils of her eyes were painfully distended, and their whole expression
wild and bewildered. At length her chest began to heave convulsively,
when she made a wild and desperate effort to rush upon the object of her
gaze, but fell prostrate on the floor before she had attained half the
distance between them. As she fell she cried in the most piteous
accents, "Charles! Charles!" and then swooned away.

Charles Dudley, who had till now assisted Bacon in supporting his
fainting bride, resigned his charge to Mr. Harrison and ran to Mrs.
Fairfax, supposing himself to be the person thus piteously
apostrophized. He took the fallen lady in his arms and raised her partly
from the floor, but no symptoms of returning animation were visible.
While he thus supported her head upon one knee, kneeling upon the other,
assisted by the clergyman and friends, and Bacon and Mr. Harrison
supporting Virginia, who was in little better condition, a tumultuous
crowd rushed in at the door, headed by Sir William Berkley himself,
exclaiming to his minions, "Tear him from the altar! tear the upstart
from the altar."

But as he ran with his drawn sword towards the pulpit, something in the
attitude and expression of the various parties at once arrested his hand
and voice.

There is a power of expression in deep and irremediable sorrow which
cannot be looked upon without emotion. Boisterous and outrageous as Sir
William Berkley had entered the chapel, his fierce nature was instantly
subdued by the appearance of his sister-in-law and her daughter. The
crowd which followed were instinctively awed into silence by the same
powerful and speaking appeals.

When the announcement of the lawful cause which prevented the
consummation of the union first fell upon Bacon's ear, his head sank
upon his breast, and although he mechanically clasped Virginia round the
waist, as he felt her clinging to him, and sinking at his side; he stood
stupefied with horror, holding up his lifeless burden, entirely enable
to think or act. His habitual and superstitious reverence for every
thing uttered by the Recluse, induced him to receive the first
impression of his words unchallenged even in his own mind.

By the time that Sir William Berkley and his party arrived, the Recluse
had disappeared; every one was so much absorbed by the instant and
pressing calls for assistance and sympathy from the suffering females,
that the time of his departure was entirely unnoticed.

The Governor had no sooner recovered from his first shock and surprise,
than he made his way to one of the young Harrisons to learn the cause of
the present appearance of the parties, so different from what he had
been taught to expect. Although he did not believe that there was one
word of truth in the cause assigned for the interruption of the
ceremony, he was well enough satisfied that the parties themselves, and
Mrs. Fairfax should believe it. No matter to him what horrors they
suffered, he considered it all but a just punishment for their attempted
mesalliance. As for Bacon, and his horror-stricken feelings, Sir William
did not deign to bestow a thought or word upon them, after the first
hasty exclamation with which he had entered the door. By his orders, the
female sufferers were placed in a carriage, and removed to his own
house. Bacon resigned his charge with a listless apathy, bordering on
stupefaction, and to a superficial observer, such would doubtless have
been the impression; but his was the deadly deceitful calm which
precedes the coming storm. The most horrible of all human sufferings is
that where no tear is or can be shed--where no enemy presents himself
for vengeance--no hope for the future, all having been perilled and
lost upon a single throw. Bacon felt himself thus situated--the
cherished hopes of a lifetime were blasted in an instant, not only for
the present, but under such circumstances as to cut off all hope for the
future. The object of his passion could not henceforth be enshrined in a
holy secret worship of the soul, such as is sometimes kept up through a
long life of celibacy for the lost one.

No mortified pride arose to his relief! he could not hate--he dared not
love the object around which his whole heart and soul were entwined. The
very light of his eyes--the sun of his existence--his delights of the
present--hopes of the future--all, all were blotted from existence in a
moment. The very retrospects of the past were poisoned. Could he bear to
dwell upon the enrapturing delights of their young loves, when the
object and participator was now discovered to be his own sister? To
whichever aspect of the case he turned, he as speedily revolted in
horror. It was while these things were tearing and racking his soul,
that he appeared to feel externally less than might have been expected.
His mind and feelings were precipitately rolled back upon their own
resources, and the suddenly dammed up waters of bitterness sought vent
at every avenue. Virginia was no sooner taken from him, however, than
his perceptions seemed roused at once to the full horror and
hopelessness of his fate. Without his castor, and still decked in his
gay bridal attire, he burst from the crowd, prostrating the Governor's
minions to the right and left, as he felled a passage to the door. His
eye had lost its abstracted expression; it was deadly fierce and
terrifically wild as he rushed forth into the kindred storm without--no
one knew whither.

END OF VOLUME FIRST.





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