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Title: A Man of Honor
Author: Eggleston, George Cary, 1839-1911
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Man of Honor" ***

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



                               A MAN OF HONOR.

                          BY GEORGE CARY EGGLESTON.


    ILLUSTRATED
    BY M. WOOLF

    NEW YORK:
    ORANGE JUDD COMPANY,
    245 BROADWAY.

    Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1878, by the
    ORANGE JUDD COMPANY,
    In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



    TO MARION, MY WIFE.



[Illustration: "I'VE GOT YOU NOW."]



PREFACE.


I have long been curious to know whether or not I could write a pretty
good story, and now that the publishers are about to send the usual
press copies of this book to the critics I am in a fair way to have my
curiosity on that point satisfied.



CONTENTS.


       Chapter I.--Mr. Pagebrook gets up and Calls an Ancient
                   Lawgiver                                            11

      Chapter II.--Mr. Pagebrook is Invited to Breakfast               22

     Chapter III.--Mr. Pagebrook Eats his Breakfast                    26

      Chapter IV.--Mr. Pagebrook Learns something about the
                   Customs of the Country                              35

       Chapter V.--Mr. Pagebrook Makes Some Acquaintances              42

      Chapter VI.--Mr. Pagebrook Makes a Good Impression               48

     Chapter VII.--Mr. Pagebrook Learns Several Things                 54

    Chapter VIII.--Miss Sudie Makes an Apt Quotation                   61

      Chapter IX.--Mr. Pagebrook Meets an Acquaintance                 65

       Chapter X.--Chiefly Concerning "Foggy."                         70

      Chapter XI.--Mr. Pagebrook Rides                                 79

     Chapter XII.--Mr. Pagebrook Dines with his Cousin Sarah Ann       84

    Chapter XIII.--Concerning the Rivulets of Blue Blood               95

     Chapter XIV.--Mr. Pagebrook Manages to be in at the Death        102

      Chapter XV.--Some very Unreasonable Conduct                     109

     Chapter XVI.--What Occurred Next Morning                         118

    Chapter XVII.--In which Mr. Pagebrook Bids his Friends Good-by    123

   Chapter XVIII.--Mr. Pagebrook Goes to Work                         128

     Chapter XIX.--A Short Chapter, not very interesting, perhaps,
                   but of some Importance in the Story, as the
                   Reader will probably discover after awhile         134

      Chapter XX.--Cousin Sarah Ann Takes Robert's Part               138

     Chapter XXI.--Miss Barksdale Expresses some Opinions             143

    Chapter XXII.--Mr. Sharp Does His Duty                            150

   Chapter XXIII.--Mr. Pagebrook Takes a Lesson in the Law            158

    Chapter XXIV.--Mr. Pagebrook Cuts himself loose from the Past
                   and Plans a Future                                 163

     Chapter XXV.--In which Miss Sudie Acts very Unreasonably         166

    Chapter XXVI.--In which Miss Sudie Adopts the Socratic Method.    175

   Chapter XXVII.--Mr. Pagebrook Accepts an Invitation to Lunch
                   and another Invitation                             181

  Chapter XXVIII.--Major Pagebrook asserts himself                    188

    Chapter XXIX.--Mr. Barksdale, the Younger, Goes upon a Journey    198

     Chapter XXX.--The younger Mr. Barksdale Asks to be put upon
                   His Oath                                           204

    Chapter XXXI.--Mr. William Barksdale Explains                     208

   Chapter XXXII.--Which Is also The Last                             216



ILLUSTRATIONS.



"I've got You Now."                                      _Frontispiece_.

Mr. Robert Pagebrook was "Blue."                                  13

"I fall at once into a Chronic State of Washing up Things."       57

"Foggy."                                                          73

Cousin Sarah Ann                                                  87

The Rivulets of Blue Blood                                        98

Miss Sudie declares herself "so glad."                           116

"Let him Serve it at once, then."                                156

"Very well, then."                                               194

"I'm as Proud and as Glad as a Boy with Red Morocco Tops
to his Boots."                                                   218



A MAN OF HONOR.



CHAPTER I.

_Mr. Pagebrook gets up and calls an Ancient Lawgiver._


Mr. Robert Pagebrook was "blue." There was no denying the fact, and for
the first time in his life he admitted it as he lay abed one September
morning with his hands locked over the top of his head, while his
shapely and muscular body was stretched at lazy length under a scanty
covering of sheet. He was snappish too, as his faithful serving man had
discovered upon knocking half an hour ago for entrance, and receiving a
rather pointed and wholly unreasonable injunction to "go about his
business," his sole business lying just then within the precincts of Mr.
Robert Pagebrook's room, to which he was thus denied admittance. The old
servant had obeyed to the best of his ability, going not about his
business but away from it, wondering meanwhile what had come over the
young gentleman, whom he had never found moody before.

[Illustration: "MR. ROBERT PAGEBROOK WAS 'BLUE.'"]

It was clear that Mr. Robert Pagebrook's reflections were anything but
pleasant as he lay there thinking, thinking, thinking--resolving not to
think and straightway thinking again harder than ever. His disturbance
was due to a combination of causes. His muddy boots were in full view
for one thing, and he was painfully conscious that they were not likely
to get themselves blacked now that he had driven old Moses away. This
reminded him that he had showed temper when Moses's meek knock had
disturbed him, and to show temper without proper cause he deemed a
weakness. Weaknesses were his pet aversion. Weakness found little
toleration with him, particularly when the weakness showed itself in his
own person, out of which he had been all his life chastising such
infirmities. His petulance with Moses, therefore, contributed to his
annoyance, becoming an additional cause of that from which it came as an
effect.

Our young gentleman acknowledged, as I have already said, that he was
out of spirits, and in the very act of acknowledging it he contemned
himself because of it. His sturdy manhood rebelled against its own
weakness, and mocked at it, which certainly was not a very good way to
cure it. He denied that there was any good excuse for his depression,
and scourged himself, mentally, for giving way to it, a process which
naturally enough made him give way to it all the more. It depressed him
to know that he was weak enough to be depressed. To my thinking he did
himself very great injustice. He was, in fact, very unreasonable with
himself, and deserved to suffer the consequences. I say this frankly,
being the chronicler of this young man's doings and not his apologist by
any means. He certainly had good reason to be gloomy, inasmuch as he had
two rather troublesome things on his hands, namely, a young man without
a situation and a disappointment in love, or fancy, which is often
mistaken for love. A circumstance which made the matter worse was that
the young man without a situation for whose future Mr. Robert Pagebrook
had to provide was Mr. Robert Pagebrook himself. This alone would not
have troubled him greatly if it had not been for his other trouble; for
the great hulking fellow who lay there with his hands clasped over his
head "cogitating," as he would have phrased it, had too much physical
force, too much of good health and consequent animal spirits, to
distrust either the future or his own ability to cope with whatever
difficulties it might bring with it. To men with broad chests and great
brawny legs and arms like his the future has a very promising way of
presenting itself. Besides, our young man knew himself well furnished
for a fight with the world. He knew very well how to take care of
himself. He had done farm labor as a boy during the long summer
vacations, a task set him by his Virginian father, who had carried a
brilliant intellect in a frail body to a western state, where he had
married and died, leaving his widow this one son, for whom in his own
weakness he desired nothing so much as physical strength and bodily
health. The boy had grown into a sturdy youth when the mother died,
leaving him with little in the way of earthly possessions except
well-knit limbs, a clear, strong, active mind, and an independent,
self-reliant spirit. With these he had managed to work his way through
college, turning his hand to anything which would help to provide him
with the necessary means--keeping books, "coaching" other students,
canvassing for various things, and doing work of other sorts, caring
little whether it was dignified or undignified provided it was honest
and promised the desired pecuniary return. After graduation he had
accepted a tutorship in the college wherein he had studied--a position
which he had resigned (about a year before the time at which we find him
in a fit of the blues) to take upon himself the duties of "Professor of
English Language and Literature, and Adjunct Professor of Mathematics,"
in a little collegiate institute with big pretensions in one of the
suburbs of Philadelphia. In short, he had been knocked about in the
world until he had acquired considerable confidence in his ability to
earn a living at almost anything he might undertake.

Under the circumstances, therefore, it is not probable that this
energetic and self-confident young gentleman would have suffered the
loss of his professorship to annoy him very seriously if it had not been
accompanied by the other trouble mentioned. Indeed, the two had come so
closely together, and were so intimately connected in other ways, that
Mr. Robert Pagebrook was inclined to wonder, as he lay there in bed,
whether there might not exist between them somewhere the relation of
cause and effect. Whether there really was any other than an accidental
blending of the two events I am sure I do not know; and the reader is at
liberty, after hearing the brief story of their happening, to take
either side he prefers of the question raised in Mr. Rob's mind. For
myself, I find it impossible to determine the point. But here is the
story, as young Pagebrook turned it over and over in his mind in spite
of himself.

President Currier, of the collegiate institute, had a daughter, Miss
Nellie, who wanted to study Latin more than anything else in the world.
President Currier particularly disliked conjugations and parsings and
everything else pertaining to the study of language; and so it happened
that as Miss Nellie was quite a good-looking and agreeable damsel, our
young friend Pagebrook volunteered to give her the coveted instruction
in her favorite study in the shape of afternoon lessons. The tutor soon
discovered that his pupil's earnest wish to learn Latin had been
based--as such desires frequently are in the case of young women--upon
an entire misapprehension of the nature and difficulty of the study. In
fact, Miss Nellie's clearest idea upon the subject of Latin before
beginning it was that "it must be so nice!" Her progress, therefore,
after the first week or two, was certainly not remarkable for its
rapidity; but the tutor persisted. After awhile the young lady said
"Latin wasn't nice at all," a remark which she made haste to qualify by
assuring her teacher that "it's nice to take lessons in it, though."
Finally Miss Nellie ceased to make any pretense of learning the lessons,
but somehow the afternoon _séances_ over the grammar were continued,
though it must be confessed that the talk was not largely of verbs.

By the time commencement day came the occasional presence of Miss Nellie
had become a sort of necessity in the young professor's daily existence,
and the desire to be with her led him to spend the summer at Cape May,
whither her father annually took her for the season. Now Cape May is an
expensive place, as watering places usually are, and so Mr. Robert
Pagebrook's stay of a little over two months there made a serious
reduction in his reserve fund, which was at best a very limited one.
Before going to Cape May he had concluded that he was in love with Miss
Nellie, and had informed her of the fact. She had expressed, by manner
rather than by spoken word, a reasonable degree of pleasure in the
knowledge of this fact; but when pressed for a reply to the young
gentleman's impetuous questionings, she had prettily avoided committing
herself beyond recall. She told him she might possibly come to love him
a little after awhile, in a pretty little maidenly way, which satisfied
him that she loved him a good deal already. She said she "didn't know"
with a tone and manner which convinced him that she did know; and so the
Cape May season passed off very pleasantly, with just enough of
uncertainty about the position of affairs to keep up an interest in
them.

As the season drew near its close, however, Miss Nellie suddenly
informed her lover one evening that her dear father had "plans" for her,
and that of course they had both been amusing themselves merely; and she
said this in so innocent and so sincere a way that for the moment her
stunned admirer believed it as he retired to his room with an unusual
ache in his heart. When the young man sat down alone, however, and began
meditating upon the events of the past summer, he was unreasonable
enough to accuse the innocent little maiden of very naughty trifling,
and even to think her wanting in honesty and sincerity. As he sat there
brooding over the matter, and half hoping that Miss Nellie was only
trying him for the purpose of testing the depth of his affection, a
servant brought him a note, which he opened and read. It was a very
formal affair, as the reader will see upon running his eye over the
following copy:

     CAPE MAY, Sept. 10th, 18--.

     _Dear Sir_:--It becomes my duty to inform you that the authorities
     controlling the collegiate institute's affairs, having found it
     necessary to retrench its expenses somewhat, have determined to
     dispense altogether with the adjunct professorship of Mathematics,
     and to distribute the duties appertaining to the chair of English
     Language and Literature among the other members of the faculty. In
     consequence of these changes we shall hereafter be deprived of your
     valuable assistance in the collegiate institute. There is yet due
     you three hundred dollars ($300) upon your salary for the late
     collegiate year, and I greatly regret that the treasurer informs me
     of a present lack of funds with which to discharge this obligation.
     I personally promise you, however, that the amount shall be
     remitted to whatever address you may give me, on or before the
     fifteenth day of November next. I send this by a messenger just as
     I am upon the point of leaving Cape May for a brief trip to other
     parts of the country. I remain, sir, with the utmost respect,

     Your obedient servant,

     DAVID CURRIER,

     President, etc.

     _To Professor Robert Pagebrook._

This letter had come to Mr. Robert very unexpectedly, and its immediate
consequence had been to send him hastily back to his city lodgings. He
had arrived late at night, and finding no matches in his room, which was
situated in a business building where his neighbors were unknown to him,
he had been compelled to go to bed in the dark, without the possibility
of ascertaining whether or not there were any letters awaiting him on
his table.

Our young gentleman was not, ordinarily, of an irritable disposition,
and trifling things rarely ever disturbed his equanimity, but he was
forced to admit, as he lay there in bed, that he had been a very
unreasonable young gentleman on several recent occasions, and naturally
enough he began to catalogue his sins of this sort. Among other things
he remembered that he had worked himself into a temper over the
emptiness of the match-safe; and this reminded him that he had not even
yet looked to see if there were any letters on the table at his elbow,
much as he had the night previously bewailed the impossibility of doing
so at once. Somehow this matter of his correspondence did not seem half
so imperative in its demands upon his attention now that he could read
his letters at once as it had seemed the night before when he could not
read them at all. He stretched out his hand rather languidly, therefore,
and taking up the half dozen letters which lay on the table, began to
turn them over, examining the superscriptions with small show of
interest. Breaking one open he muttered, "There's another forty dollars'
worth of folly. I did not need that coat, but ordered it expressly for
Cape May. The bill must be paid, of course, and here I am, out of work,
with no prospects, and about five hundred dollars less money in bank
than I ought to have. ----!"

I am really afraid he closed that sentence with an ejaculation. I have
set down an exclamation point to cover the possibility of such a thing.

He went on with his letters. Presently he opened the last but one, and
immediately proceeded to open his eyes rather wider than usual. Jumping
out of bed he thrust his head out of the door and called,

"Moses!"

"_Moses!!_"

"MOSES!!!"

"MOSES!!!!"



CHAPTER II.

_Mr. Pagebrook is invited to Breakfast._


After he had waked up whatever echoes there were in the building by his
crescendo calling for Moses, besides spoiling the temper of the night
editor who was just then in the midst of his first slumber in the room
opposite, Mr. Rob remembered that the old colored janitor, who owned the
biblical name, and who for a trifling consideration ministered in the
capacity of servant to the personal comfort of the occupants of the
rooms under his charge, was never known to answer a call. He was sure to
be within hearing, but would maintain a profound silence until he had
disposed of whatever matter he might happen to have in hand at the
moment, after which he would come to the caller in the sedate and
dignified way proper to a person of his importance. Remembering this,
and hearing some ominous mutterings from the night editor's room, our
young gentleman withdrew his head from the corridor, put on his
dressing-gown and slippers, and sat down to await the leisurely coming
of the serving man.

Taking up the note again he reread it, although he knew perfectly well
everything in it, and began speculating upon what it could possibly
mean, knowing all the while that no amount of speculation could throw
the slightest ray of light on the subject in the absence of further
information. He read it aloud, just as you or I would have done, when
there was nobody by to listen. It was as brief as a telegram, and merely
said: "Will you please inform me at once whether we may count upon your
acceptance of the position offered you?" It was signed with an
unfamiliar name, to which was appended the abbreviated word "Pres't."

"I shall certainly be very happy to inform the gentleman," thought the
perplexed young man, "whether he may or may not (by the way he very
improperly omits the alternative 'or not' after his 'whether'), whether
he may or may not 'count upon' (I must look up that expression and see
if there is good authority for its use), whether he may or may not count
upon my acceptance of the position offered me, just as soon as I can
inform myself upon the matter. As I have not at present the slightest
idea of what the 'position' is, it is somewhat difficult for me to make
up my mind concerning it. However, as I am without employment and
uncomfortably short of money, there seems to be every probability that
my unknown correspondent's proposition, whatever it is, will be
favorably considered. Moses will come after awhile, I suppose, and he
probably has the other letter caged as a 'vallable.' Let me see what we
have here from William."

With this our young gentleman opened his only remaining letter, which
he had already discovered by a glance at the postmark was from a
Virginian cousin. It was a mere note, in which his cousin wrote:

"A little matter of business takes me to Philadelphia next week. Shall
be at Girard Ho., Thrsd morn'g. Meet me there at breakfast, but don't
come too early. Train won't get in till three, so I'll sleep a little
late. Sh'd you wake me too early, I'll be as cross as a $20 bank-note,
and make a bad impression on you."

An amused smile played over Mr. Robert's face as he read this note over
and over. What he was thinking I do not know. Aloud he said:

"What a passion my cousin has for abbreviations! One would think he had
a grudge against words from the way in which he cuts them up. And what a
figure of speech that is! 'As cross as a twenty-dollar bank-note!' Let
me see. I may safely assume that the letters 'Thrs' with an elevated 'd'
mean Thursday, and as this is Thursday, and as the letter was written
last week, and as my watch tells me it is now ten o'clock, and as my
boots are still unblacked, and as Moses has not yet made his appearance,
it seems altogether probable that my cousin's breakfast will be
postponed until the middle of the day if he waits for me to help him eat
it. I am afraid he will be as cross as half a dozen bank notes of the
largest denomination issued when we meet."

"Did you call, sah?" asked Moses, coming very deliberately into the
room.

"I am under the impression that I did, though it requires an
extraordinary exercise of the memory to recall an event which happened
so long ago. Have you any 'vallables' for me?"

Moses _thought_ he had. This was as near an approach to anything like a
positive statement as Moses ever made. He would go to his room and
ascertain. Among many other evidences of unusual wisdom on the part of
the old negro was this, that he believed himself fully capable of
recognizing a valuable letter whenever he saw it; and it was one of his
self-imposed duties, whenever the post brought letters for any absent
member of his constituency, to look them over and sequestrate all the
"vallables" until the return of the owner, so that they might be
delivered with his own hand. Returning now he brought two "vallables"
for Mr. Pagebrook. One of them was a printed circular, but the other
proved to be the desired letter, which was a formal tender of a
professorship in a New England college, with an entirely satisfactory
salary attached. Accompanying the official notice of election was a note
informing him that his duties, in the event of acceptance, would not
begin until the first of January, the engagement of the retiring
professor terminating at that time.

Under the influence of this news our young friend's face brightened
quite as perceptibly as his boots did in the hands of the old servitor.
He wrote his letter of acceptance at once, and then proceeded to dress
for breakfast at the Girard House, whither he walked with as light a
step and as cheerful a bearing as if he had not been a sadly
disappointed lover at all.



CHAPTER III.

_Mr. Pagebrook Eats his Breakfast._


Robert Pagebrook had never seen his cousin, and yet they were not
altogether strangers to each other. Robert's father and William
Barksdale's mother were brother and sister, and Shirley, the old
Virginian homestead, which had been in the family for nearly two
centuries, had passed to young Barksdale's mother by the voluntary act
of Robert's father when, upon coming of age, he had gone west to try his
fortune in a busier world than that of the Old Dominion. The two boys,
William and Robert, had corresponded quite regularly in boyhood and
quite irregularly after they grew up, and so they knew each other pretty
well, though, as I have said, they had never met.

"I am glad, very glad to see you, William," said Robert as he grasped
his cousin's hand.

"Now don't, I beg of you. Call me Billy, or Will, or anything else you
choose, old fellow, but don't call me William, whatever you do. Nobody
ever did but father, and he never did except of mornings when I wouldn't
get up. Then he'd sing out 'Will-_yum_' with a sort of a horsewhip snap
at the end of it. 'William' always reminds me of disturbed slumbers.
Call me Billy, and I'll call you Bob. I'll do that anyhow, so you might
as well fall into familiar ways. But come, tell me how you are and all
about yourself. You haven't written to me since the flood; forgot to
receive my last letter I suppose."

"Probably I did. I have been forgetting a good many things. But I hope I
have not kept you too long from your breakfast, and especially that I
have not made you 'as cross as a twenty dollar bank-note.' Pray tell me
what you meant by that figure of speech, will you not? I am curious to
know where you got it and why."

"Ha! ha!" laughed Billy. "You'll have a lively time of it if you mean to
unravel all my metaphors. Let me see. I must have referred to the big
X's they print on the bank bills, or something of that sort. But let's
go to breakfast at once. I'm as hungry as a village editor. We can talk
over a beefsteak, or you can at least. I mean to be as still as a
mill-pond of a cloudy night while you tell me all about yourself."

And over their breakfast they talked. But in telling his story, while he
remembered to mention all the details of his situation losing and his
situation getting, Mr. Robert somehow forgot to say anything about his
other disappointment. He soon learned to know and to like his cousin,
and, which was more to the purpose, he began to enjoy him right
heartily, in his own way, bantering him on his queer uses of English,
half in sport, half in earnest, until the Virginian declared that they
had grown as familiar with each other "as a pair of Irishmen at a
wake."

"I suppose you're off at once for your new place, a'n't you? This is
September," said Billy after his cousin had finished so much of his
story as he cared to reveal.

"No," said Robert. "My duties will not begin until January, and meantime
I must go off on a tramp somewhere to get my muscles, physical and
financial, up again. To tell the truth I have been dawdling at Cape May
this summer instead of going off to the mountains or the prairies, as I
usually do, for a healthful and economical foot journey, and the result
is that my legs and arms are sadly run down. I have been spending too
much money too, and so cannot afford to stay around Philadelphia until
January. I think I must go off to some of the mountain counties, where
the people think five dollars a fortune and call anything less than a
precipice rising ground."

"Well, I reckon you won't," said the Virginian; "I've been inviting you
to the 'home of your fathers' ever since I was born, and this is the
very first time I ever got you to own up to a scrap of leisure as big as
your thumb nail. I've got you now with nothing to do and nowhere to go,
and I mean to take you with me this very evening to Virginia. We'll
leave on the eleven o'clock train to-night, get to Richmond to-morrow at
two, and go up home next morning in time for snack."

"But, my dear Billy----"

"But, my dear Bob, I won't hear a word, and I won't take no for an
answer. That's poz roz and the king's English. I'm managing this little
job. You can give up your rooms to-day, sell out your plunder, and stop
expenses. Then you needn't open your pocket-book again for so long that
you'll forget how it looks inside. Put a few ninepences into your
breeches pocket to throw at darkeys when they hold your horse, and the
thing's done. And won't we wake up old Shirley? I tell you it's the
delightfulest two hundred year old establishment you ever saw or didn't
see. As the Irish attorney said of his ancestral home: 'there isn't a
table in the house that hasn't had jigs danced upon it, and there's not
a chair that you can't throw at a friend's head without the slightest
fear of breaking it.' When we get there we'll have as much fun as a pack
of hounds on a fresh trail."

"Upon my word, Billy," said the professor cousin, "your metaphors have
the merits of freshness and originality, at the least, though now and
then, as in the present instance, they are certainly not very
complimentary. However, it just occurs to me that I have been wanting to
go to Shirley 'ever since I was born,' if you will allow me to borrow
one of your forcible phrases, and this really does seem to be a
peculiarly good opportunity to do so. I am a good deal interested in
dialects and provincialisms, so it would be worth my while to visit you,
if for no other reason, because my stay at Shirley will give me an
excellent opportunity to study some of your own expressions. 'Poz roz,'
now, is entirely new to me, and I might make something out of it in a
philological way."

"Upon my word" said Mr. Billy, "that's a polite speech. If you'll only
say you'll go, though, I don't care the value of a herring's left fore
foot what use you make of me. I'm yours to command and ready for any
sport that suits you, unless you take a notion to throw rocks at me."

"Pray tell me, Billy, do Virginians ever throw rocks? I am interested in
muscle, and should greatly like to see some one able to throw rocks. I
have paid half a dollar many a time to see a man lift extraordinary
weights, but the best of the showmen never dream of handling anything
heavier than cannon-balls. It would be decidedly entertaining to see a
man throwing rocks and things of that sort about, even if he were to use
both hands in doing it."

"Nonsense," said Billy; "I'm not one of your students getting a
dictionary lesson. Waiter!"

"What will you have, sir?" asked the waiter.

"Some hot biscuit, please."

"They a'n't no hot biscuits, sir."

"Well some hot rolls then, or hot bread of some sort. Cold bread for
breakfast is an abomination."

"They a'n't no hot bread in the house, sir. We never keep none. Hot
bread a'n't healthy, sir."

"You impertinent----"

"My dear Billy," said Mr. Bob, "pray keep your temper. 'Impertinent' is
not the word you wish to use. The _man_ can not well be impertinent. He
is a trifle impudent, I admit, but we can afford to overlook the
impudence of his remark for the sake of the philological interest it
has. Waiter, you ought to know, inasmuch as you have been brought up in
a land of free schools, that two negatives, in English, destroy each
other, and are equivalent to an affirmative; but the matter in which I
am most interested just now is your remark that hot bread is not
_healthy_. Your statement is perfectly true, and it would have been
equally true if you had omitted the qualifying adjective 'hot.' No bread
can be 'healthy,' because health and disease are not attributes or
conditions of inanimate things. You probably meant, however, that hot
bread is not wholesome, a point on which my friend here, who eats hot
bread every day of his life, would naturally take issue with you. Please
bring us some buttered toast."

The waiter went away bewildered--questioning the sanity of Mr. Bob in
all probability; a questioning in which Billy was half inclined to join
him.

"What on earth do you mean, Bob, by talking in that way to a waiter who
don't know the meaning of one word in five that you use?"

"Well, I meant for one thing to keep you from losing your temper and so
spoiling your digestion. Human motives are complicated affairs, and
hence I am by no means sure that I can further unravel my purpose in
this case."

"Return we to our muttons, then," said Billy; "I'll finish the business
that brought me here, which is only to be present at the taking of a
short deposition, by two or three o'clock. While I'm at it you can get
your traps together, send your trunk to the depot, and get back here to
dinner by four. Then we must get through the rest of the time the best
way we can, and at eleven we'll be off. I'm crazy to see you with Phil
once."

"Phil, who is he?"

"Oh! Phil is a character--a colored one. I want to see how his 'dialect'
will affect you. I'm half afraid you'll go crazy, though, under it."

"Tell me--"

"No, I won't describe Phil, because I can't, and no more can anybody
else. Phil must be seen to be appreciated. But come, I'm off for the
notary's, and you must get you gone too, for you mustn't be late at
dinner--that's poz."

With this the two young men separated, the Virginian lawyer to attend to
the taking of some depositions, and his cousin to surrender his
lodgings, pack his trunk, and make such other arrangements as were
necessary for his journey.

This opportunity to visit the old homestead where his father had passed
his boyhood was peculiarly welcome to Mr. Robert just now. There had
always been to him a sort of glamour about the names Virginia and
Shirley. His father's stories about his own childhood had made a deep
impression on the mind of the boy, and to him Shirley was a palace and
Virginia a fairy land. Whenever, in childhood, he was allowed to call a
calf or a pig his own, he straightway bestowed upon it one or the other
of the charmed names, and fancied that the animal grew stronger and more
beautiful as a consequence. He had always intended to go to Shirley, but
had never done so; just as you and I, reader, have always meant to do
several scores of things that we have never done, though we can hardly
say why. Just now, however, Mr. Billy's plan for his cousin was more
than ever agreeable to Mr. Robert for various present and unusual
reasons. He knew next to nobody in or about Philadelphia outside the
precincts of the collegiate institute, and to hunt up acquaintances
inside that institution was naturally enough not exactly to his taste.
He had several months of time to dispose of in some way, and until Billy
suggested the visit to Virginia, the best he had been able to do in the
way of devising a time-killer was to plan a solitary wandering among the
mountainous districts of Pennsylvania. Ordinarily he would have enjoyed
such a journey very much, but just now he knew that Mr. Robert Pagebrook
could hardly find a less agreeable companion than Mr. Robert Pagebrook
himself. That little affair with Miss Nellie Currier kept coming up in
his memory, and if the reader be a man it is altogether probable that he
knows precisely how the memory of that story affected our young
gentleman. He wanted company, and he wanted change, and he wanted
out-door exercise, and where could he find all these quite so abundant
as at an old Virginian country house? His love for Miss Nellie, he was
sure, was a very genuine one; but he was equally sure that it was
hopeless. Indeed, now that he knew the selfish insincerity of the damsel
he did not even wish that his suit had prospered. This, at any rate, is
what he thought, as you did, my dear sir, when you first learned what
the word "Another" means when printed with a big A; and, thinking this,
he felt that the first thing to be done in the matter was to forget
Miss Nellie and his love for her as speedily as possible. How far he
succeeded in doing this we shall probably see in the sequel. At present
we have to do with the attempt only. New scenes and new people, Mr.
Pagebrook thought, would greatly aid him in his purpose, and so the trip
to Virginia seemed peculiarly fitting. It thus comes about that the
scene of this young man's story suddenly shifts from Philadelphia to a
Virginian country house, in spite of all I can do to preserve the
dramatic unity of place. Ah! if I were _making_ this story now, I could
confine it to a single room, compress its action into a single day, and
do other dramatic and highly proper things; but as Mr. Robert Pagebrook
and his friends were not stage people, and, moreover, as they were not
aware that their goings and comings would ever weave themselves into the
woof of a story at all, they utterly failed to regulate their actions in
accordance with critical rules, and went roving about over the country
quite in a natural way and without the slightest regard for my
convenience.



CHAPTER IV.

_Mr. Pagebrook learns something about the Customs of the Country._


When our two young men reached the station at which they were to leave
the cars, they found awaiting them there the lumbering old carriage
which had been a part of the Shirley establishment ever since Mr. Billy
could remember. This vehicle was known to everybody in the neighborhood
as the Shirley carriage, not because it was older or clumsier or uglier
than its fellows, for indeed it was not, but merely because every
carriage in a Virginian neighborhood is known to everybody quite as well
as its owner is. To Mr. Robert Pagebrook, however, the vehicle presented
itself as an antique and a curiosity. Its body was suspended by leathern
straps which came out of some high semicircular springs at the back, and
it was thus raised so far above the axles that one could enter it only
by mounting quite a stairway of steps, which unfolded themselves from
its interior. Swinging thus by its leathern straps, the great heavy
carriage body really seemed to have no support at all, and Mr. Robert
found it necessary to exercise all the faith there was in him in order
to believe that to get inside of the vehicle was not a sure and speedy
way of securing two or three broken bones. He got in, however, at his
cousin's invitation, and soon discovered that although the motion of the
suspended carriage body closely resembled that of a fore and aft
schooner in a gale, it was by no means unpleasant, as the worst that the
roughest road could do was to make the vibratory motion a trifle more
decided than usual in its nature. A jolt was simply impossible.

As soon as he got his sea legs on sufficiently to keep himself tolerably
steady on his seat, Mr. Rob began to look at the country or, more
properly, to study the road-side, there being little else visible, so
thickly grew the trees and underbrush on each side.

"How far must we drive before reaching Shirley?" he asked after awhile,
as the carriage stopped for the opening of a gate.

"About four miles now," said his cousin. "It's five miles, or nearly
that, from the Court House."

"The court house? Where is that?"

"O the village where we left the train! That's the Court House."

"Ah! you Virginians call a village a court house, do you?"

"Certainly, when it's the county-seat and a'n't much else. Now and then
court houses put on airs and call themselves names, but they don't often
make much of it. There's Powhatan Court House now, I believe it tried to
get itself called 'Scottsville,' or something of that sort, but nobody
knows it as anything but Powhatan Court House. Our county-seat has
always been modest, and if it has any name I never heard of it."

"That's one interesting custom of the country, at any rate. Pray tell
me, is it another of your customs to dispense wholly with public roads?
I ask for information merely, and the question is suggested by the fact
that we seem to have driven away from the Court House by the private
road which we are still following."

"Why, this isn't a private road. It's one of the principal public roads
of the county."

"How about these gates then?" asked Robert as the negro boy who rode
behind the carriage jumped down to open another.

"Well, what about them?"

"Why, I never saw a gate across a public thoroughfare before. Do you
really permit such things in Virginia?"

"O yes! certainly. It saves a great deal of fencing, and the Court never
refuses permission to put up a gate in any reasonable place, only the
owner is bound to make it easy to open on horseback--or, as you would
put it, 'by a person riding on horseback.' You see I'm growing
circumspect in my choice of words since I've been with you. May be
you'll reform us all, and make us talk tolerably good English before you
go back. If you do, I'll give you some 'testimonials' to your worth as a
professor."

"But about those gates, Billy. I am all the more interested in them now
that I know them as another 'custom of the country.' How do their owners
keep them shut? Don't people leave them open pretty often?"

"Never; a Virginian is always 'on honor' so far as his neighbors are
concerned, and the man who would leave a neighbor's gate open might as
well take to stealing at once for all the difference it would make in
his social standing."

It was not only the gates, but the general appearance of the road as
well, that astonished young Pagebrook: a public road, consisting of a
single carriage track, with a grass plat on each side, fringed with
thick undergrowth and overhung by the branches of great trees, was to
him a novelty, and a very pleasant novelty too, in which he was greatly
interested.

"Who lives there?" asked Robert, as a large house came into view.

"That's The Oaks, Cousin Edwin's place."

"And who is your Cousin Edwin?"

"_My_ Cousin Edwin? He's yours too, I reckon. Cousin Edwin Pagebrook. He
is our second cousin or, as the old ladies put it, first cousin once
removed."

"Pray tell me what a first cousin once removed is, will you not, Billy?
I am wholly ignorant on the subject of cousinhood in its higher
branches, and as I understand that a good deal of stress is laid upon
relationships of this sort in Virginia, I should like to inform myself
in advance if possible."

"I really don't know whether I can or not. Any of the old ladies will
lay it all out to you, illustrating it with their keys arranged like a
genealogical tree. I don't know much about it, but I reckon I can make
you understand this much, as I have Cousin Edwin's case to go by. It's a
'case in point' as we lawyers say. Let's see. Cousin Edwin's
grandfather was our great grandfather; then his father was our
grandfather's brother, and that makes him first cousin to my mother and
your father. Now I would call mother's first cousin my second cousin,
but the old ladies, who pay a good deal of attention to these matters,
say not. They say that my mother's or my father's first cousin is my
first cousin once removed, and his children are my second cousins, and
they prove it all, too, with their keys."

"Well then," asked Robert, "if that is so, what is the exact
relationship between Cousin Edwin's children and my father or your
mother?"

"O don't! You bewilder me. I told you I didn't know anything about it.
You must get some old lady to explain it with her keys, and when she
gets through you won't know who you are, to save you."

"That is encouraging, certainly," said Mr. Robert.

"O it's no matter! You're safe enough in calling everybody around here
'cousin' if you're sure they a'n't any closer kin. The fact is, all the
best families here have intermarried so often that the relationships are
all mixed up, and we always claim kin when there is any ghost of a
chance for it. Besides, the Pagebrooks are the biggest tadpoles in the
puddle; and so, if they don't 'cousin' all their kin-folks people think
they're stuck-up."

"Thank you, Billy; but tell me, am I, being a Pagebrook, under any
consequent obligation to consider myself a tadpole during my stay in
Virginia?"

Billy's only answer was a laugh.

"Now, Billy," Robert resumed, "tell me about the people of Shirley. I
am sadly ignorant, you understand, and I do not wish to make mistakes.
Begin at top, and tell me how I shall call them all."

"Well, there's father; you will call him Uncle Carter, of course. He is
Col. Carter Barksdale, you know."

"I knew his name was Carter, of course, but I did not know he had ever
been a military man."

"A military man! No, he never was. What made you think that?"

"Why you called him 'Colonel.'"

"O that's nothing! You'll find every gentleman past middle age wearing
some sort of title or other. They call father 'Colonel Barksdale,' and
Cousin Edwin 'Major Pagebrook,' though neither of them ever saw a tent
that I know of."

"Ah! another interesting custom of the country. But pray go on."

"Well, mother is 'Aunt Mary,' you know, and then there's Aunt
Catherine."

"Indeed! who is she? Is she my aunt?"

"I really don't know. Let me see. No, I reckon not; nor mine either, for
that matter. I think she's father's fourth or fifth cousin, with a
remove or two added, possibly, but you must call her 'Aunt' anyhow; we
all do, and she'd never forgive you if you didn't. You see she knew your
father, and I reckon he called her 'Aunt.' It's a way we have here. She
is a maiden lady, you understand, and Shirley is her home. You'll find
somebody of that sort in nearly every house, and they're a delightful
sort of somebody, too, to have round. She'll post you up on
relationships. She can use up a whole key-basket full of keys, and run
'em over by name backwards or forwards, just as you please. You needn't
follow her though if you object to a headache. All you've got to do is
to let her tell you about it, and you say 'yes' now and then. She puts
me through every week or so. Then there's Cousin Sudie, my father's
niece and ward. She's been an orphan almost all her life, and so she's
always lived with us. Father is her guardian, and he always calls her
'daughter.' You'll call her 'Cousin Sue,' of course."

"Then she is akin to me too, is she?"

"Of course. She's father's own brother's child."

"But, Billy, your father is only my uncle by marriage, and I do not
understand how----"

"O bother! If you're going to count it up, I reckon there a'n't any real
relationship; but she's your cousin, anyhow, and you'll offend her if
you refuse to own it. Call her 'Cousin,' and be done with it."

"Being one of the large Pagebrook tadpoles, I suppose I must. However,
in the case of a young lady, I shall not find it difficult, I dare
say."



CHAPTER V.

_Mr. Pagebrook makes Some Acquaintances._


Mr. Robert had often heard of "an Old Virginian welcome," but precisely
what constituted it he never knew until the carriage in which he rode
drove around the "circle" and stopped in front of the Shirley mansion.
The first thing which struck him as peculiar about the preparations made
for his reception was the large number of small negroes who thought
their presence necessary to the occasion. Little black faces grinned at
him from behind every tree, and about a dozen of them peered out from a
safe position behind "ole mas'r and ole missus." Mr. Billy had
telegraphed from Richmond announcing the coming of his guest, and so
every darkey on the plantation knew that "Mas' Joe's son" was "a comin'
wid Mas' Billy from de Norf," and every one that could find a safe
hiding place in the yard was there to see him come.

Col. Barksdale met him at the carriage while the ladies were in waiting
on the porch, as anybody but a Virginian would put it--_in_ the porch,
as they themselves would have phrased it. The welcome was of the right
hearty order which nobody ever saw outside of Virginia--a welcome which
made the guest feel himself at once a very part of the establishment.

Inside the house our young friend found himself sorely puzzled. The
furniture was old in style but very elegant, a thing for which he was
fully prepared, but it stood upon absolutely bare white floors. There
were both damask and lace curtains at the windows, but not a vestige of
carpet was anywhere to be seen. Mr. Robert said nothing, but wondered
silently whether it was possible that he had arrived in the midst of
house-cleaning. Conversation, luncheon, and finally dinner at four,
occupied his attention, however, and after dinner the whole family
gathered in the porch--for really I believe the Virginians are right
about that preposition. I will ask Mr. Robert himself some day.

He soon found himself thoroughly at home in the old family mansion,
among relatives who had never been strangers to him in any proper sense
of the term. Not only was Mrs. Barksdale his father's sister, but Col.
Barksdale himself had been that father's nearest friend. The two had
gone west together to seek their fortunes there; but the Colonel had
returned after a few years to practice his profession in his native
state and ultimately to marry his friend's sister. Mr. Robert soon felt
himself literally at home, therefore, and the feeling was intensely
enjoyable, too, to a young man who for ten years had not known any home
other than that of a bachelor's quarters in a college community. His
reception at Shirley had not been the greeting of a guest but rather the
welcoming of a long wandering son of the house. To his relatives there
he seemed precisely that, and their feeling in the case soon became his
own. This "clannishness," as it is called, may not be peculiar to
Virginia of all the states, but I have never seen it half so strongly
manifested anywhere else as there.

Toward evening Maj. Pagebrook and his son Ewing rode over to call upon
their cousin Robert, and after the introductions were over, "Cousin
Edwin" went on to talk of Robert's father, for whom he had felt an
unusual degree of affection, as all the relatives had, for that matter,
Robert's father having been an especial favorite in the family. Then the
conversation became more general.

"When are you going to cut that field of tobacco by the prize barn,
Cousin Edwin?" asked Billy. "I see it's ripening pretty rapidly."

"Yes, it is getting pretty ripe in spots, and I wanted to put the hands
into it yesterday," replied Maj. Pagebrook; "but Sarah Ann thought we'd
better keep them plowing for wheat a day or two longer, and now I'm
afraid it's going to rain before I can get a first cutting done."

"How much did you get for the tobacco you sent to Richmond the other
day, Edwin?" asked the colonel.

"Only five dollars and three cents a hundred, average."

"You'd have done a good deal better if you'd sold in the spring,
wouldn't you?"

"Yes, a good deal. I wanted to sell then, but Sarah Ann insisted on
holding it till fall. By the way, I'm going to put all my lots, except
the one by the creek, in corn next year, and raise hardly any tobacco."

"All but the creek lot? Why that's the only good corn land you have,
Edwin, and it isn't safe to put tobacco in it either, for it overflows a
little."

"Yes, I know it. But Sarah Ann is discouraged by the price we got for
tobacco this year, and doesn't want me to plant the lots next season at
all."

"Why didn't you bring Cousin Sarah Ann over and come to dinner to-day,
Cousin Edwin?" asked Miss Barksdale, coming out of the dining-room,
key-basket in hand, to speak to the guests.

"Oh! we've only one carriage horse now, you know. I sold the black last
week, and haven't been able to find another yet."

"Sold the black! Why, what was that for, Cousin Ed! I thought you
specially liked him?" said Billy.

"So I did; but Sarah Ann didn't like a black and a gray together, and
she wouldn't let me sell the gray on any terms, though I could have
matched the black at once. Winger has a colt well broken that's a
perfect match for him. Come, Ewing, we must be going. Sarah Ann said we
must be home to tea without fail. You'll come to The Oaks, Robert, of
course. Sarah Ann will expect you very soon, and you mustn't stand on
ceremony, you know, but come as often as you can while you stay at
Shirley."

"What do you think of Cousin Edwin, Bob?" asked Billy when the guests
had gone.

"That he is a very excellent person, and----"

"And what? Speak out. Let's hear what you think."

"Well, that he is a very dutiful husband."

"Bob, I'd give a pretty for your knack at saying things. Your tongue's
as soft as a feather bed. But wait till you know the madam. You'll
say----"

"My son, you shouldn't prejudice Robert against people he doesn't know.
Sarah Ann has many good qualities--I suppose."

"Well, then, I don't suppose anything of the sort, else she would have
found out how good a man Cousin Edwin is long ago, and would have
behaved herself better every way."

"William, you are uncharitable!"

"Not a bit of it, mother. Your charity is like a microscope when it is
hunting for something good to say of people. Did you ever hear of the
dead Dutchman?"

"Do pray, Billy, don't tell me any of your anecdotes now."

"Just this one, mother. There was a dead Dutchman who had been the worst
Dutchman in the business. When the people came to sit up with his
corpse--don't run, mother, I'm nearly through--they couldn't find
anything good to say about him, and as they didn't want to say anything
bad there was a profound silence in the room. Finally one old Dutchman,
heaving a sigh, remarked: 'Vell, Hans vas vone goot schmoker, anyhow.'
Let me see. Cousin Sarah Ann gives good dinners, anyhow, only she piles
too much on the table. See how charitable I am, mother. I have actually
found and designated the madam's one good point."

"Come, come, my son," said the colonel, "you shouldn't talk so."

Shortly after tea the two young men pleaded the weariness of travelers
in excuse for an early bed going. Mr. Bob was offered his choice between
occupying alone the Blue Room, which is the state guest chamber in most
Virginian houses, and taking a bed in Billy's room. He promptly chose
the latter, and when they were alone, he turned to his cousin and asked:

"Billy, have you such a thing as a dictionary about?"

"Nothing but a law dictionary, I believe. Will that do?"

"Really I do not know. Perhaps it might."

"What do you want to find?" asked Billy.

"I only wish to ascertain whether or not we arrived here in time for
'snack.' You said we would, I believe."

"Well, we did, didn't we?"

"That is precisely what I wish to find out. Having never heard of
'snack' until you mentioned it as one of the things we should find at
Shirley, I have been curious to know what it is like, and so I have been
watching for it ever since we got here. Pray tell me what it is?"

"Well, that's a good one. I must tell Sudie that, and get her to
introduce you formally to-morrow."

"It is another interesting custom of the country, I suppose."

"Indeed it is; and it isn't one of those customs that are 'more honored
in the breach than the observance,' either."



CHAPTER VI.

_Mr. Pagebrook makes a Good Impression._


Young Pagebrook was an early riser. Not that he was afflicted with one
of those unfortunate consciences which make of early rising a penance,
by any means. He was not prejudiced against lying abed, nor bigoted
about getting up. He quoted no adages on the subject, and was not
illogical enough to believe that getting up early and yawning for an
hour or two every morning would bring health, wisdom, or wealth to
anybody. In short, he was an early riser not on principle but of
necessity. Somehow his eyelids had a way of popping themselves open
about sunrise or earlier, and his great brawny limbs could not be kept
in bed long after this happened. He got up for precisely the same reason
that most people lie abed, namely, because there was nothing else to do.
On the morning after his arrival at Shirley he awoke early and heard two
things which attracted his attention. The first was a sound which
puzzled him more than a little. It was a steady, monotonous scraping of
a most unaccountable kind--somewhat like the sound of a carpenter's
plane and somewhat like that of a saw. Had it been out of doors he
would have thought nothing of it; but clearly it was in the house, and
not only so, but in every part of the house except the bedrooms. Scrape,
scrape, scrape, scrape, scrape. What it meant he could not guess. As he
lay there wondering about it he heard another sound, greatly more
musical, at which he jumped out of bed and began dressing, wondering at
this sound, too, quite as much as at the other, though he knew perfectly
well that this was nothing more than a human voice--Miss Sudie's, to
wit. He wondered if there ever was such a voice before or ever would be
again. Not that the young woman was singing, for she was doing nothing
of the sort. She was merely giving some directions to the servants about
household matters, but her voice was music nevertheless, and Mr. Bob
made up his mind to hear it to better advantage by going down-stairs at
once. Now I happen to know that this young woman's voice was in no way
peculiar to herself. Every well-bred girl in Virginia has the same rich,
full, soft tone, and they all say, as she did, "grauss," "glauss"
"bausket," "cyarpet," "cyart," "gyarden," and "gyirl." But it so
happened that Mr. Bob had never heard a Virginian girl talk before he
met Miss Barksdale, and to him her rich German a's and the musical tones
of her voice were peculiarly her own. Perhaps all these things would
have impressed him differently if "Cousin Sudie" had been an ugly girl.
I have no means of determining the point, inasmuch as "Cousin Sudie" was
certainly anything else than ugly.

Mr. Robert made a hasty toilet and descended to the great hall, or
passage, as they call it in Virginia. As he did so he discovered the
origin of the scraping sound which had puzzled him, as it puzzles
everybody else who hears it for the first time. Dry "pine tags" (which
is Virginian for the needles of the pine) were scattered all over the
floors, and several negro women were busy polishing the hard white
planks by rubbing them with an indescribable implement made of a section
of log, a dozen corn husks ("shucks," the Virginians call them--a "corn
husk" in Virginia signifying a _cob_ always), and a pole for handle.

"Good morning, Cousin Robert. You're up soon," said the little woman,
coming out of the dining-room and putting a soft, warm little hand in
his great palm.

Now to young Pagebrook this was a totally new use of the word "soon,"
and I dare say he would have been greatly interested in it but for the
fact that the trim little woman who stood there, key-basket in hand,
interested him more.

"You've caught me in the midst of my housekeeping, but never mind; only
be careful, or you'll slip on the pine tags; they're as slippery as
glass."

"And is that the reason they are scattered on the floor?"

"Yes, we polish with them. Up North you wax your floors instead, don't
you?"

"Yes, for balls and the like, I believe, but commonly we have carpets."

"What! in summer time, too?"

"O yes! certainly, Why not?"

"Why, they're so warm. We take ours up soon in the spring, and never put
them down again until fall."

This time Mr. Robert observed the queer use of the word "soon," but said
nothing about it. He said instead:

"What a lovely morning it is! How I should like to ride horseback in
this air!"

"Would you let me ride with you?" asked the little maiden.

"Such a question, Cousin Sudie!"

Now I am free to confess that this last remark was unworthy Mr.
Pagebrook. If not ungrammatical, it is at least of questionable
construction, and so not at all like Mr. Pagebrook's usage. But the
demoralizing effect of Miss Sudie Barksdale's society did not stop here
by any means, as we shall see in due time.

"If you'd really like to ride, I'll have the horses brought," said the
little lady.

"And you with me?"

"Yes, if I may."

"I shall be more than happy."

"Dick, run up to the barn and tell Uncle Polidore to saddle Patty for me
and Graybeard for your Mas' Robert. Do you hear? Excuse me, Cousin
Robert, and I'll put on my habit."

Ten minutes later the pair reined in their horses on the top of a little
hill, to look at the sunrise. The morning was just cool enough to be
thoroughly pleasant, and the exhilaration which comes of nothing else so
surely as of rapid riding began to tell upon the spirits of both.
Cousin Sudie was a good rider and a graceful one, and she knew it.
Robert's riding hitherto had been done, for the most part, in cities,
and on smooth roads; but he held his horse with a firm hand, and
controlled him perforce of a strong will, which, with great personal
fearlessness and a habit of doing well whatever he undertook to do at
all, and undertaking whatever was expected of him, abundantly supplied
the lack he had of experience in the rougher riding of Virginia on the
less perfectly trained horses in use there. He was a stalwart fellow,
with shapely limbs and perfect ease of movement, so that on horseback he
was a very agreeable young gentleman to look at, a fact of which Miss
Sudie speedily became conscious. Her rides were chiefly without a
cavalier, as they were usually taken early in the morning before her
cousin Billy thought of getting up; and naturally enough she enjoyed the
presence of so agreeable a young gentleman as Mr. Rob certainly was, and
her enjoyment of his company--she being a woman--was not diminished in
the least by the discovery that to his intellectual and social
accomplishments, which were very genuine, there were added a handsome
face, a comely person, and a manly enthusiasm for out-door exercise.
When he pulled some wild flowers which grew by the road-side without
dismounting--a trick he had picked up somewhere--she wondered at the
ease and grace with which it was done; when he added to the flowers a
little cluster of purple berries from a wild vine, of which I do not
know the name, and a sprig of sumac, still wet with dew, she admired his
taste; and when he gallantly asked leave to twine the whole into her
hair, for her hat had come off, as good-looking young women's hats
always do on such occasions, she thought him "just nice."

It is really astonishing how rapidly acquaintanceships form under
favorable circumstances. These two young people were shy, both of them,
and on the preceding day had hardly spoken to each other at all. When
they mounted their horses that morning they were almost strangers, and
they might have remained only half acquaintances for a week or a
fortnight but for that morning's ride. They were gone an hour, perhaps,
in all, and when they sat down to breakfast they were on terms of easy
familiarity and genuine friendship.



CHAPTER VII.

_Mr. Pagebrook Learns Several Things._


After breakfast Robert walked out with Billy to see the negroes at work
cutting tobacco, an interesting operation always, and especially so when
one sees it for the first time.

"Gilbert," said Billy to his "head man," "did you find any ripe enough
to cut in the lot there by the prize barn?"

"No sah; dat's de greenest lot of tobawkah on de plantation, for all
'twas plaunted fust. I dunno what to make uv it."

"Why, Billy, I thought Cousin Edwin owned the 'prize' barn!" said
Robert.

"So he does--his."

"Are there two of them then?"

"Two of them? What do you mean? Every plantation has its prize barn, of
course."

"Indeed! Who gives the prizes?"

"Ha! ha! Bob, that's good; only you'd better ask _me_ always when you
want to know about things here, else you'll get yourself laughed at. A
prize barn is simply the barn in which we prize tobacco."

"And what is 'prizing' tobacco?"

"Possibly 'prize' a'n't good English, Bob, but it's the standard
Ethiopian for pressing, and everybody here uses it. We press the tobacco
in hogsheads, you know, and we call it prizing. It never struck me as a
peculiarly Southern use of the word, but perhaps it is for all that.
You're as sharp set as a circular saw after dialect, a'n't you?"

"I really do not know precisely how sharp set a circular saw is, but I
am greatly interested in your peculiar uses of English, certainly."

Upon returning to the house Billy said:

"Bob I must let you take care of yourself for two or three hours now, as
I have some papers to draw up and they won't wait. Next week is court
week, and I've got a great deal to do between now and then. But you're
at home you know, old fellow."

So saying Mr. Billy went to his office, which was situated in the yard,
while Robert strolled into the house. Looking into the dining-room he
saw there Cousin Sudie. Possibly the young gentleman was looking for
her. I am sure I do not know. But whether he had expected to find her
there or not, he certainly felt some little surprise as he looked at
her.

"Why, Cousin Sudie, is it possible that you are washing the dishes?"

"O certainly! and the plates and cups too. In fact, I wash up all the
things once a day."

"Pray tell me, cousin, precisely what you understand by 'dishes,' if I'm
not intruding," said Robert.

"O not at all! come in and sit down. You'll find it pleasanter there by
the window. 'Dishes?' Why, that is a dish, and that and that," pointing
to them.

"I see. The word 'dishes' is not a generic term in Virginia, but applies
only to platters and vegetable dishes. What do you call them in the
aggregate, Cousin Sudie? I mean plates, platters, cups, saucers, and
everything."

"Why 'things,' I suppose. We speak of 'breakfast things,' 'tea things,'
'dinner things.' But why were you astonished to see me washing them,
Cousin Robert?"

"Perhaps I ought to have known better, but the fact is I had an
impression that Southern ladies were wholly exempt from all work except,
perhaps, a little embroidery or some such thing."

"O my! I wish you could see me during circuit court week, when Uncle
Carter and Cousin Billy bring the judge and the lawyers home with them
at all sorts of odd hours; and they always bring the hungriest ones
there are too. I fall at once into a chronic state of washing up things,
and don't recover until court is over."

[Illustration: "I FALL AT ONCE INTO A CHRONIC STATE UP WASHING UP
THINGS."]

"But really, cousin--pardon me if I am inquisitive, for I am greatly
interested in this life here in Virginia, it is so new to me--how is it
that _you_ must wash up things at all?"

"Why, I carry the keys, you know. I'm housekeeper."

"Well, but you have servants enough, certainly, and to spare."

"O yes! but every lady washes up the things at least once a day. It
would never do to trust it altogether to the servants, you know."

"None of them are sufficiently careful and trustworthy, do you mean?"

"Well, not exactly that; but it's our way here, and if a lady were to
neglect it people would think her a poor housekeeper."

"Are there any other duties devolving upon Virginian housekeepers
besides 'washing up things?' You see I am trying to learn all I can of a
life which is as charmingly strange to me as that of Turkey or China
would be if I were to go to either country."

"Any other duties? Indeed there are, and you shall learn what they are,
if you won't find it stupid to go my rounds with me. I'm going now."

"I should find dullness itself interesting with you as my fellow
observer of it."

"Right gallantly said, kind sir," said Miss Sudie, with an exaggerated
curtsy. "But if you're going to make pretty speeches I'll get impudent
directly. I'm dreadfully given to it anyhow, and I've a notion to say
one impudent thing right now."

"Pray do. I pardon you in advance."

"Well, then, what makes you say 'Virginian housekeepers?'"

"What else should I say?"

"Why, Virginia housekeepers, of course, like anybody else."

"But 'Virginia' is not an adjective, cousin. You would not say 'England
housekeepers' or 'France housekeepers,' would you?" asked Robert.

"No, but I would say 'New York housekeepers,' 'Massachusetts
housekeepers,' or 'New Jersey housekeepers,' and so I say 'Virginia
housekeepers,' too. I reckon you would find it a little troublesome to
carry out your rule, wouldn't you, Cousin Robert?"

"I am fairly beaten, I own; and in consideration of my frank
acknowledgment of defeat, perhaps you will permit _me_ to be a trifle
impudent."

"After that gallant speech you made just now, I can hardly believe such
a thing possible. But let me hear you try, please."

"O it's very possible, I assure you!" said Robert. "See if it is not.
What I want to ask is, why you Virginians so often use the word 'reckon'
in the sense of 'think' or 'presume,' as you did a moment since?"

"Because it's right," said Sudie.

"No, cousin, it is not good English," replied Robert.

"Perhaps not, but it's _good Virginian_, and that's better for my
purposes. Besides, it must be good English. St. Paul used it twice."

"Did he? I was not aware that the Apostle to the Gentiles spoke English
at all."

"Come, Cousin Robert, I must give out dinner now. Do you want to carry
my key-basket?"



CHAPTER VIII.

_Miss Sudie makes an Apt Quotation._


My friend who writes novels tells me that there is no other kind of
exercise which so perfectly rests an over-tasked brain as riding on
horseback does. His theory is that when the mind is overworked it will
not quit working at command, but goes on with the labor after the tools
have been laid aside. If the worker goes to bed, either he finds it
impossible to go to sleep or sleeping he dreams, his mind thus working
harder in sleep than if he were awake. Walking, this novelist friend
says, affords no relief. On the contrary, one thinks better when walking
than at any other time. But on horseback he finds it impossible to
confine his thoughts to any subject for two minutes together. He may
begin as many trains of thought as he chooses, but he never gets past
their beginning. The motion of the animal jolts it all up into a jumble,
and rest is the inevitable result. The man's animal spirits rise, in
sympathy, perhaps, with those of his horse, and as the animal in him
begins to assert itself his intellect yields to its master and suffers
itself to become quiescent.

Now it is possible that Mr. Robert Pagebrook had found out this fact
about horseback exercise, and determined to profit by it to the extent
of securing all the intellectual rest he could during his stay at
Shirley. At any rate, his early morning ride with "Cousin Sudie" was
repeated, not once, but every day when decided rain did not interfere.
He became greatly interested, too, in the Virginian system of
housekeeping, and made daily study of it in company with Miss Sudie,
whose key-basket he carried as she went her rounds from dining-room to
smoke-house, from smoke-house to store-room, from store-room to garden,
and from garden to the shady gable of the house, where Miss Sudie "set"
the churn every morning, a process which consisted of scalding it out,
putting in the cream, and wrapping wet cloths all over the head of it
and far up the dasher handle, as a precaution against the possible
results of carelessness on the part of the half dozen little darkeys
whose daily duty it was to "chun." Mr. Robert soon became well versed in
all the mysteries of "giving out" dinner and other things pertaining to
the office of housekeeper--an office in which every Virginian woman
takes pride, and one in the duties of which every well-bred Virginian
girl is thoroughly skilled. (Corollary--good dinners and general
comfort.)

Old "Aunty" cooks are always extremely slow of motion, and so the young
ladies who carry the keys have a good deal of necessary leisure during
their morning rounds. Miss Sudie had a pretty little habit, as a good
many other young women there have, of carrying a book in her key-basket,
so that she might read while aunt Kizzey (I really do not know of what
proper noun this very common one is an abbreviation) made up her tray.
Picking up a volume he found there one morning, Robert continued a
desultory conversation by saying:

"You don't read Montaigne, do you, Cousin Sudie?"

"O yes! I read everything--or anything, rather. I never saw a book I
couldn't get something out of, except Longfellow."

"Except Longfellow!" exclaimed Robert in surprise. "Is it possible you
don't enjoy Longfellow? Why, that is heresy of the rankest kind!"

"I know it is, but I'm a heretic in a good many things. I hate
Longfellow's hexameters; I don't like Tennyson; and I can't understand
Browning any better than he understands himself. I know I ought to like
them all, as you all up North do, but I don't."

Mr. Robert was shocked. Here was a young girl, fresh and healthy, who
could read prosy old Montaigne's chatter with interest; who knew Pope by
heart, and Dryden almost as well; who read the prose and poetry of the
eighteenth century constantly, as he knew; and who, on a former
occasion, had pleaded guilty to a liking for sonnets, but who could find
nothing to like in Tennyson, Longfellow, or Browning. Somehow the
discovery was not an agreeable one to him though he could hardly say
why, and so he chose not to pursue the subject further just then. He
said instead:

"That is the queerest Virginianism I've heard yet--'you all.'"

"It's a very convenient one, you'll admit, and a Virginian don't care
to go far out of his way in such things."

"You will think me critical this morning, Cousin Sudie, but I often
wonder at the carelessness, not of Virginians only, but of everybody
else, in the use of contractions. 'Don't,' for instance, is well enough
as a contraction for 'do not, but nearly everybody uses it, as you did
just now, for 'does not.'"

"Do don't lecture me, Cousin Robert. I'm a heretic, I tell you, in
grammar."

"'Do don't' is the richest provincialism I have heard yet, Cousin Sudie.
I really must make a note of that."

"Cousin Robert, do you read Montaigne?"

"Sometimes. Why?"

"Do you remember what he says about custom and grammar?"

"No. What is it?"

"He says it, remember, and not I. He says 'they that fight custom with
grammar are fools.' What a rude old fellow he was, wasn't he?"

Mr. Pagebrook suddenly remembered that he was to dine that day at his
cousin Edwin's house, and that it was time for him to go, as he intended
to walk, Graybeard having fallen lame during that morning's gallop with
Miss Sudie.



CHAPTER IX.

_Mr. Pagebrook Meets an Acquaintance._


Mr. Robert left the house on his way to The Oaks in an excellent humor
with himself and with everybody else. His cousin Billy and his uncle
Col. Barksdale were both absent, in attendance upon a court in another
county, and so Mr. Robert had recently been left almost alone with Miss
Sudie, and now that they had become the very best of friends our young
man enjoyed this state of affairs right heartily. In truth Miss Sudie
was a young lady very much to Mr. Robert's taste, in saying which I pay
that young gentleman as handsome a compliment as any well regulated man
could wish.

Mr. Robert walked briskly out of the front gate and down the road,
enjoying the bright sun and the rich coloring of the October woodlands,
and making merry in his heart by running over in his memory the chats he
had been having of late with the little woman who carried the keys at
Shirley. If he had been forced to tell precisely what had been said in
those conversations, it must be confessed that a stranger would have
found very little of interest in the repetition, but somehow the
recollection brought a frequent smile to our young friend's face and
put an additional springiness into his step. His intercourse with this
cousin by brevet may not have been especially brilliant or of a nature
calculated to be particularly interesting to other people, but to him it
had been extremely agreeable, without doubt.

"Mornin' Mas' Robert," said Phil, as Robert passed the place at which
the old negro was working. "How is ye dis mornin'?"

"Good morning, Phil. I am very well, I thank you. How are you, Phil?"

"Poorly, thank God. Ha! ha! ha! Dat's de way Bro' Joe and all de folks
always says it. Dey never will own up to bein' rale well. But I tell ye
now Mas' Robert, Phil's a well nigger _always_. I keeps up my eend de
row all de time. I kin knock de spots out de work all day, daunce jigs
till two o'clock, an' go 'possum huntin' till mornin' comes. Is ye ever
been 'possum huntin', Mas' Robert?"

"No; I believe I never hunted opossums, but I should greatly like to try
it, Phil."

"Would ye? Gim me yer han' Mas' Robert. You jes set de time now, and if
Phil don't show you de sights o' 'possum huntin' you ken call me a po'
white folkses nigger. Dat's a fac'."

Robert promised to make the necessary appointment in due time, and was
just starting off again on his tramp, when Phil asked:

"Whare ye boun' dis mornin', Mas' Robert?"

"I'm going over to dine at The Oaks, Phil."

"Yer jest out de house in time. Dar comes Mas' Charles Harrison."

"I do not understand you, Phil. Why do you say I am out of the house
just in time?"

"Mas' Robert, is you got two good eyes? Mas' Charles is a doctor you
know, but dey a'n't nobody sick at Shirley. May be he's afraid Miss
Sudie's gwine to get sick. Hi! git up Roley! dis a'n't plowin' mauster's
field: g'long I tell ye!"

As Phil turned away Dr. Harrison rode up.

"Good morning, Mr. Pagebrook. On your way to The Oaks?"

"I was, but if you are going to Shirley I will walk back with you!"

"O no! no! I am only going to stop there a moment. I am on my way to see
some patients at Exenholm, and as I had to go past Shirley I brought the
mail, that's all. I'll not be there ten minutes, and I know they're
expecting you at The Oaks. I brought Ewing along with me from the Court
House. Foggy had been too much for him again."

"Why the boy promised me he would not gamble again."

"Oh! it's hardly gambling. Only a little game of loo. Every gentleman
plays a little. I take a hand myself, now and then; but Foggy is a
pretty old bird, you know, and he's too much for your cousin. Ewing
oughtn't to play with _him_, of course, and that's why I brought him
away with me. By the way, we're going to get a fox up in a day or two
and show you some sport. The tobacco's all cut now, and the dogs are in
capital order--as thin as a lath. You must be with us, of course. We'll
get up one in pine quarter, and he's sure to run towards the river; so
you can come in as the hounds pass Shirley."

"I should like to see a fox hunt, certainly, but I have no proper
horse," said Robert.

"Why, where's Graybeard? Billy told me he had turned him over to you to
use and abuse."

"So he did, and he is riding his bay at present. But Graybeard is quite
lame just now."

"Ride the bay then. Billy will be back from court to-night, won't he?"

"Yes; but he will want to join in the chase, I suppose."

"I reckon he will, but he can ride something else. He don't often care
to take the tail, and he can see as much as he likes on one of his
'conestogas.' I'll tell you what you can do. Winger's got a splendid
colt, pretty well broken, and you can get him for a dollar or two if you
a'n't afraid to ride him. You must manage it somehow, so as to be 'in at
the death!' I want you to see some riding."

Mr. Robert promised to see what he could do. He greatly wanted to ride
after the hounds for once at least, though it must be confessed he would
have been better pleased had the hounds to be ridden after belonged to
somebody else besides the gentleman familiarly known as "Foggy," a
personage for whom Mr. Robert had certainly not conceived a very great
liking. That the reader may know whether his prejudice was a
well-founded one or not it will be necessary for me to go back a little
and gather up some of the loose threads of my story, while our young man
is on his way to The Oaks. I have been so deeply interested in the
ripening acquaintanceship between Mr. Rob and Miss Sudie that I have
neglected to introduce some other personages, less agreeable perhaps,
but not less important to the proper understanding of this history.
Leaving young Pagebrook on the road, therefore, let me tell the reader,
in a new chapter, something about the people he had met outside the
hospitable Shirley mansion.



CHAPTER X.

_Chiefly Concerning "Foggy."_


Dr. Charles Harrison was a young man of twenty-five or six, a distant
relative of the Barksdales--so distant indeed that he would never have
known himself as a relative at all, if he and they had not been
Virginians. He was a young man of good parts, fond of field sports,
reasonably well behaved in all external matters, but without any very
fixed moral principles. He was a gentleman, in the strict Virginian
sense of the term. That is to say he was of a good family, was well
educated, and had never done anything to disgrace himself; wherefore he
was received in all gentlemen's houses as an equal. He drank a little
too freely on occasion, and played bluff and loo a trifle too often, the
elderly people thought; but these things, it was commonly supposed, were
only youthful follies. He would grow out of them--marry and settle down
after awhile. He was on the whole a very agreeable person to be with,
and very much of a gentleman in his manner.

"Foggy" Raves was an anomaly. His precise position in the social scale
was a very difficult thing to discover, and is still more difficult to
define. His father had been an overseer, and so "Foggy" was certainly
not a "gentleman." Other men of parentage similar to his knew their
places, and when business made it necessary for them to visit the house
of a gentleman they expected to be received in the porch if the weather
were tolerable, and in the dining-room if it were not. They never
dreamed of being taken into the parlor, introduced to the family, or
invited to dinner. All these things were well recognized customs; the
line of demarkation between "gentlemen" and "common people" was very
sharply drawn indeed. The two classes lived on excellent terms with each
other, but they never mixed. The gentleman was always courteous to the
common people out of respect for himself; while the common people were
very deferential to every gentleman as a matter of duty. Now this man
Raves was not a "gentleman." That much was clear. And yet, for some
inscrutable reason, his position among the people who knew him was not
exactly that of a common man. He was never invited into gentlemen's
houses precisely as a gentleman would have been, it is true; and yet
into gentlemen's houses he very often went, and that upon invitation
too. When young men happened to be keeping bachelors' establishments,
either temporarily or permanently, "Foggy" was sure to be invited pretty
frequently to see them. As long as there were no ladies at home "Foggy"
knew himself welcome, and he had played whist and loo and bluff in many
genteel parlors, into which he never thought of going when there were
ladies on the plantation. He kept a fine pack of hounds too, and was
clearly at the head of the "fox-hunting interest" of the county; and
this was an anomaly also, as fox-hunting is an eminently aristocratic
sport, in which gentlemen engage only in company with gentlemen--except
in "Foggy's" case.

[Illustration: "FOGGY."]

Precisely what "Foggy's" business was it is difficult to say. He was
constable, for one thing, and _ex-officio_ county jailor. One half the
jail building was fitted up as his residence, and there he lived, a
bachelor some fifty years old. He hired out horses and buggies in a
small way now and then, but his earnings were principally made at
"bluff" and "loo." Once or twice Colonel Barksdale and some other
gentlemen had tried to oust "Foggy" from the jail, believing that his
establishment there was ruining a good many of the young men, as it
certainly was. Failing in this they had him indicted for gambling in a
public place, but the prosecution failed, the court holding that the
jailor's private rooms in the jail could not be called a public place,
though all rooms in a hotel had been held public within the meaning of
the statute.

This man's Christian name was not "Foggy," of course, though hardly
anybody knew what it really was. He had won his sobriquet in early life
by paying the professional gambler, Daniel K. Foggy, to teach him "how
to beat roulette," and then winning his money back by putting his
purchased knowledge to the proof at Daniel's own roulette table.
Everybody agreed that "Foggy" was a good fellow. He would go far out of
his way to oblige anybody, and, as was pretty generally agreed, had a
good many of the instincts of a gentleman. He was not a professional
gambler at all. He never kept a faro bank. He played cards merely for
amusement, he said, and there was a popular tendency to believe his
statement. The betting was simply to "make it interesting," and
sometimes the play did grow very "interesting" indeed--interesting to
the extent of several hundred dollars frequently.

Now only about a week before the morning on which Mr. Robert met Dr.
Harrison, he had gone to the Court House for the purpose of calling upon
the doctor. While there young Harrison had proposed that they go up to
Foggy's, explaining that Foggy was "quite a character, whom you ought to
know; not a gentleman, of course, but a good fellow as ever lived."

Upon going to Foggy's, Robert had found his cousin Ewing Pagebrook there
playing cards. The boy--for he was not yet of age--was flushed and
excited, and Robert saw at a glance that he had been losing heavily. On
Robert's entrance he threw down his cards and declared himself tired of
play.

"I'll arrange that, Foggy," said the boy, with a nod.

"O any time will do!" replied the other. "How d'ye do, Charley? Come
in."

Dr. Charley introduced Robert, and the latter, barely recognizing
Foggy's greeting, turned to Ewing and asked:

"What have you been doing, Ewing? Not gambling, I hope."

"O no! certainly not," said Foggy; "only a little game of draw-poker,
ten cents ante."

"Well, but how much have you lost, Ewing?" asked Robert. "How much more
than you can pay in cash, I mean? I see you haven't settled the score."

Ewing was inclined to resent his cousin's questioning, but his rather
weak head was by no means a match for his cousin's strong one. This
great hulking Robert Pagebrook was "big all over," Billy Barksdale had
said. His will was law to most men when he chose to assert it strongly.
He now took his cousin in hand, and made him confess to a debt of fifty
dollars to the gambler. Then turning to Foggy he said:

"Mr. Raves, you have won all of this young man's money and fifty dollars
more, it appears. Now, as I understand the matter, this fifty dollars is
'a debt of honor,' in gambling parlance, and so it must be paid. But you
must acknowledge that you are more than a match for a mere boy, and you
ought to 'give him odds.' I believe that is the correct phrase, is it
not?"

"Yes, that's right; but how can you give odds in draw-poker?"

"I am going to show you, though I am certainly not acquainted with the
mysteries of that game. You and he think he owes you fifty dollars. Now
my opinion is that he owes you nothing, while you owe him the precise
amount of cash you have won from him; and I propose to effect a
compromise. The law of Virginia is pretty stringent, I believe, on the
subject of gambling with people under age, and if I were disposed I
could give you some trouble on that score. But I propose instead to pay
you ten dollars--just enough to make a receipt worth while--and to take
your receipt in full for the amount due. I shall then take my cousin
home, and he can pay me at his leisure. Is that satisfactory, sir?"

Mr. Robert was in a towering rage, though his manner was as quiet as it
is possible to conceive, and his voice was as soft and smooth as a
woman's. Had Foggy been disposed to presume upon his antagonist's
apparent calmness and to play the bully, he would unquestionably have
got himself into trouble of a physical sort there and then. To speak
plainly, Robert Pagebrook was quite prepared to punish the gambler with
his fists, and would undoubtedly have made short work of it had Foggy
provoked him with a word. But Foggy never quarreled. He knew his
business too well for that. He never gave himself airs with gentlemen.
He knew his place too well. He never got himself involved in any kind of
disturbance which would attract attention to himself. He knew the
consequences too well. He was always quiet, always deferential, always
satisfied; and so, while he had no reason to anticipate the thrashing
which Robert Pagebrook was aching to give him, he nevertheless was as
complacent as possible in his reply to that gentleman.

"Why certainly, Mr. Pagebrook. I never meant to take the money at all. I
only wanted to frighten our young friend here, and teach him a lesson.
He thinks he can play cards when he can't, and I wanted to 'break him of
sucking eggs,' that's all. I meant to let him think he had to pay me so
as to scare him, for I feel an interest in Ewing. 'Pon my word I do. Now
let me tell you, Ewing, we'll call this square, and you mustn't play no
more. You play honest now, but if you keep on you'll cheat a little
after awhile, and when a man cheats at cards, Ewing, he'll steal. Mind,
I speak from experience, for I've seen a good deal of this thing. Come,
Charley, you and Mr. Pagebrook, let's take something. I've got some
splendid Shield's whisky."

Mr. Pagebrook summoned sufficient courtesy to decline the alcoholic
hospitality without rudeness, and, with his cousin, took his leave.

Ewing entreated Robert to keep the secret he had thus stumbled upon, and
Robert promised to do so upon the express condition that Ewing would
wholly refrain from playing cards for money in future. This the youth
promised to do, and our friend Robert congratulated himself upon his
success in saving his well-meaning but rather weak-headed cousin from
certain ruin.



CHAPTER XI.

_Mr. Pagebrook Rides._


In view of the circumstances detailed in the preceding chapter, it was
quite natural that Robert Pagebrook should feel some annoyance when he
learned from young Harrison that his cousin had again fallen into the
hands of Foggy Raves. And he did feel annoyance, and a good deal of it,
as he resumed his walk toward The Oaks. Aside from his interest in his
cousin, Robert disliked to be beaten at anything, and to find that the
gambler had fairly beaten him in his fight for the salvation of Ewing
was anything but agreeable to him. Then again his cousin had shown
himself miserably weak of moral purpose, and weaknesses were always
unpleasant things for Robert Pagebrook to contemplate. He had no
sympathy with irresolution of any sort, and no patience with unstable
moral knees. He was half angry and wholly grieved, therefore, when he
heard of Ewing's violation of his promise. His first impulse was to go
before the next grand jury and secure Foggy's indictment for gambling
with a minor, but a maturer reflection convinced him that while this
would be an agreeable thing to do under the circumstances, it would be
an unwise one as well. To expose Ewing was to ruin him hopelessly,
Robert felt, knowing as he did that reformation in the face of public
disgrace requires a good deal more of moral stamina than Ewing Pagebrook
ever had. Precisely what to do Robert did not know. He would talk with
Cousin Sudie about the matter, and see what she thought was best. Her
judgment, he had discovered, was particularly good, and it might help
him to a determination.

This thinking of Cousin Sudie brought back to his mind Phil's hint as to
the purpose of Dr. Harrison's visit, and his face burned as the
conviction came to him that this man might be Cousin Sudie's accepted or
acceptable lover. He knew well enough that Harrison called frequently at
Shirley; but surely Cousin Sudie would have mentioned the man often in
conversation if he had been largely in her mind. Would she though? This
was a second thought. Was not her silence, on the contrary, rather an
indication that she did think of the man? If she recognized him as a
lover, would she not certainly avoid all unnecessary mention of his
name? Was not Phil likely to be pretty well informed in the case? All
these things ran rapidly through his perturbed mind. But why should he
worry himself over a matter that in no way concerned him? _He_ was not
interested in Cousin Sudie except as a friend. Of course not. Was not
his heart still sore from its suffering at the hands of Miss Nellie
Currier? No; upon the whole he was forced to confess that it was not. In
truth he had not thought of that young lady for at least a fortnight;
and now that he did think of her he could not possibly understand how
or why he had ever cared for her at all. But he was not in love with
Cousin Sudie. Of that he was certain. And yet he could not avoid a
feeling of very decided annoyance at the thought suggested by Phil's
remark. He knew young Harrison very slightly, but he was accustomed to
take men's measures pretty promptly, and he was not at all satisfied
with this one as a suitor for Cousin Sudie. He knew that Foggy was the
young physician's pretty constant associate. He knew that Harrison drank
at times to excess, and he felt that he was not over scrupulous upon
nice points of morality. In short, our young man was in a fair way to
work himself into a very pretty indignation when he met Maj. Pagebrook's
overseer, Winger. A negotiation immediately ensued, ending in an
agreement that Robert should ride the black colt so long as Graybeard's
lameness should continue, paying Winger a moderate hire for the animal.

The bargain concluded, Winger dismounted and Robert took his place on
the colt's back, borrowing Winger's saddle until his return to Shirley
in the evening.

Horseback exercise is a curious thing, certainly, in some of its
effects. When Robert was afoot that morning several things had combined,
as we have seen, to make him gloomy, despondent, and generally out of
sorts. Ewing's backsliding had annoyed him, and the possibility or
probability of Phil's accuracy of information and judgment in the matter
of Cousin Sudie and Dr. Harrison had depressed him sorely. When he found
himself on the back of this magnificent colt, whose delight it was to
carry a strong, fearless rider, he fell immediately into hearty sympathy
with the high spirits and bounding pulses of the animal. He struck out
into a gallop, and in an instant felt himself in a far brighter world
than that which he had been traversing ten minutes since. His spirits
rose. His hopefulness returned. The world became better and the future
more promising. Mr. Robert Pagebrook felt the unreasonable but
thoroughly delightful exhilaration to which Billy Barksdale referred
when he said, "Bob is the happiest fellow in the world; he gets glad
sometimes just because he is alive." That was precisely the state of
affairs. Mr. Robert on this high-mettled horse was superlatively alive,
and was glad because of it. There is more of joy than many people know
in the mere act of living; but it is only they who have clear
consciences, springy muscles, and perfect health of both mind and body
who fully share this joy. Robert Pagebrook had all of these, and was
astride a perfect horse to boot; and that, as all horsemen know, is an
important element in the matter.

He galloped on toward The Oaks, leaving his troubles just where he
mounted his horse. He forgot Ewing's apostasy; he forgot Dr. Harrison,
but he remembered Cousin Sudie, and that right pleasantly too. Naturally
enough, being on horseback, he projected himself into the future, which
is always a bright world when one is galloping toward it. He would
heartily enjoy the coming fox-chase--particularly on such an animal as
that now under him. Then his thoughts pushed themselves still further
forward, and he dreamed dreams. His full professorship would pay him a
salary sufficient to justify him in setting up a little establishment of
his own, and he should then know what it was to have a home in which
there should be love and purity and peace and domestic comfort. The
woman who was to form the center of all this bliss was vaguely undefined
as to identity and other details. She existed only in outline, in the
picture, but that outline strikingly resembled the young woman who
carried the key-basket at Shirley--an accidental resemblance, of course,
for Mr. Robert Pagebrook was positive that he was not in love with
Cousin Sudie.



CHAPTER XII.

_Mr. Pagebrook Dines with his Cousin Sarah Ann._


How largely Mr. Robert's high spirits were the result of rapid riding on
a good horse, and how far other causes aided in producing them, I am
wholly unprepared to say. Whatever their cause was they were not
destined to last long after he dismounted at The Oaks. Indeed his day at
that country seat was not at all an agreeable one. His cousin Sarah Ann
was a rather depressing person to be with at any time, and there were
circumstances which made her especially so on this particular occasion.
Cousin Sarah Ann had a chronic habit of being ostentatiously sorry for
herself, which was very disagreeable to a healthy young man like Robert.
She nursed and cherished her griefs as if they had been her children,
and like children they grew under the process. She had several times
told Robert how lonely she was since the death of her mother, three
years before, and with tears in her eyes she had complained that there
was nobody to love her now that poor mother was gone--a statement which
right-thinking and logical Robert felt himself almost guilty in hearing
from a woman with a husband and a house full of children. She
complained a good deal of her poverty, too, a complaining which shocked
this truthful young man, knowing, as he did, that his cousin Edwin was
one of the wealthiest men in the country round about, with a good
plantation at home, a very large and profitable one in Mississippi,
twenty or thirty business buildings, well leased, in Richmond, a surplus
of money in bank, and no debts whatever, which last circumstance served
to make him almost a curiosity in a state in which it was hardly
respectable to owe no money. She complained, too, that her boys were
dull and her girls not pretty, both of which complaints were very well
founded indeed. When Robert on his first visit said something in praise
of her comfortable and really pretty house, she replied:

"Oh! I can't pretend to live in an aristocratic house like your Aunt
Mary's. I didn't inherit a 'family mansion' you know, and so we had to
build this house. It hasn't a bit of wainscoting, you see, and no old
pictures. I reckon I a'n't as good as you Pagebrooks, and somehow my
husband a'n't as aristocratic as the rest of you. I reckon he's only a
half-blood Pagebrook, and that's why he condescended to marry poor me."

This was Cousin Sarah Ann's favorite way of speaking of herself, and she
said "poor me" with a degree of pathos in her tone which always brought
tears to her eyes.

On the present occasion, as I have said, there were circumstances which
enabled this estimable lady to make herself unusually disagreeable. She
had a fresh affliction, and so she reveled in an ecstasy of woe. It was
her ambition in life to be exceptionally miserable, and accordingly she
welcomed sorrow with a keenness of relish which few people can possibly
know. She wouldn't be happy in heaven, Billy Barksdale said, unless she
could convince people there that she was snubbed by the saints and put
upon by the angels.

When Robert arrived at The Oaks that morning Major Pagebrook met him at
the gate, according to custom, but without his customary cheerfulness of
countenance. He offered no explanation, however, and Robert asked no
questions. The two went into the parlor, Robert catching sight of Ewing
in the orchard back of the house, but having no opportunity to speak to
the young man.

Robert had not been in the parlor many minutes before Major Pagebrook
went out and Cousin Sarah Ann entered and greeted him with her
handkerchief to her eyes. She made one or two ostentatious efforts to
control herself, and then ostentatiously burst into tears.

[Illustration: COUSIN SARAH ANN.]

"Oh! Cousin Robert, I didn't mean to betray myself this way. But I'm so
miserable. Ewing has been led away again by that man, Foggy Raves."

"I am heartily sorry to know it, Cousin Sarah Ann," replied Robert. "Did
he lose much?"

"O Ewing never gambles! I don't mean that. Thank heaven my boy never
plays cards, except with small stakes for amusement. But he went over to
the Court House last night to stay with Charley Harrison, and they went
up to Foggy's and they drank a little too much. And now Cousin Edwin
(Mrs. Pagebrook always called her husband Cousin Edwin) is terribly
angry about it and has scolded the poor boy cruelly, cruelly. He even
threatened to cut him off with nothing at all in his will, and leave the
poor boy to starve. Men are so hard-hearted! The idea that I should live
to hear my boy talked to in that way, and by his own father too, almost
kills me. Poor me! there's nobody to love me now."

"Tell me, Cousin Sarah Ann," said Robert, "for I am deeply concerned in
Ewing's behalf, and I mean to reform him if I can--does he often get
drunk?"

"Get drunk! My boy never gets drunk! You talk just like Cousin Edwin. He
only drinks a little, as all young gentlemen do, and if he drinks too
much now and then I'm sure it isn't so very dreadful as you all make it
out. I don't see why the poor boy must be kept down all the time and
scolded and scolded and talked about, just because he does like other
people; and that's what distresses me. Cousin Edwin scolds Ewing, and
then scolds me for taking the poor boy's part, and it's more than I can
bear. And now you talk about 'reforming' him!"

Robert explained that he had misunderstood the cause of Cousin Sarah
Ann's grief, but he thought it would be something worse than useless to
tell her that she was ruining the boy, as he saw clearly enough that she
was. He turned the conversation, therefore, and Cousin Sarah Ann
speedily dried her eyes.

"You're riding Mr. Winger's horse, I see. What's become of Graybeard?"
she asked, after a little time.

"He is a little lame just now. Nothing serious, but I thought I would
hire Winger's colt until he gets well."

"Ah! I understand. The rides soon in the morning must not be given up
on any terms. But you'd better look out, Cousin Robert. I'm sorry for
you if you lose your heart there."

"Why, Cousin Sarah Ann, what do you mean? I really am not sure that I
understand you."

"Oh! I say nothing; but those rides every morning and all that
housekeeping that I've heard about, are dangerous things, cousin. I was
a belle once myself."

It was one of Cousin Sarah Ann's favorite theories that she knew all
about bellehood, having been a belle herself--though nobody else ever
knew anything about that particular part of her career.

"Well, Cousin Sarah Ann, I do not think I have lost my heart, as you
phrase it; but pray tell me why you should be sorry for me if I had?"

Mr. Robert was at first about to declare positively that he had not
fallen in love with Cousin Sudie, but just at that moment it occurred to
him that he might possibly be mistaken about the matter, and being
thoroughly truthful he chose the less positive form of denial,
supplementing it, as we have seen, with a question.

"Well, for several reasons," replied Cousin Sarah Ann: "they do say that
Charley Harrison is before you there, and anyhow, it would never do.
Sudie hasn't got much, you know. Her father didn't leave her anything
but a few hundred dollars, and that's all spent long ago, on her clothes
and schooling."

Mr. Robert Pagebrook certainly did not wish ill to Cousin Sudie, and yet
he was heartily though illogically glad when he learned that that young
lady was poor. The feeling surprised him, but he had no time in which
to analyze it just then.

"Why, Cousin Sarah Ann, you certainly do not think me so mercenary as
your remark would seem to indicate?"

"Oh! it's well enough to talk about not being mercenary, but I can tell
you that some money on one side or the other is very convenient. I know
by experience what it is to be poor. I might have married rich if I'd
wanted to, but I had lofty notions like you."

The reader will please remember that I am no more responsible for Mrs.
Pagebrook's syntax than for her sins.

"But, Cousin Sarah Ann," said Robert, "you would not wish one to marry a
young woman's money or lands, would you?"

"That's only your romantic way of putting it. I don't see why you can't
love a rich girl as well as a poor one, for my part. If you had plenty
of money yourself it wouldn't matter; but as it is you ought to marry so
as to hang up your hat."

"I confess I do not exactly understand your figure of speech, Cousin
Sarah Ann! What do you mean by hanging up my hat?"

"Didn't you ever hear that before? It's a common saying here, when a man
marries a girl with a good plantation and a 'dead daddy,' so there can't
be any doubt about the land being her's--they say he's got nothing to do
but walk in and hang up his hat."

This explanation was lucid enough without doubt, but it, and indeed the
entire conversation, was extremely disagreeable to Robert, who was
sufficiently old-fashioned to think that marriage was a holy thing, and
he, being a man of good taste, disliked to hear holy things lightly
spoken of. He was relieved, therefore, by Maj. Pagebrook's entrance, and
not long afterwards he was invited to go up to the blue-room, the way to
which he knew perfectly well, to rest awhile before dinner.

In the blue-room he found Ewing, with a headache, lying on a lounge. The
youth had purposely gone thither, probably, in order that his meeting
with Robert might be a private one, for meet him he must, as he very
well knew, at dinner if not before.

Robert sat down by him and held his head as tenderly as a woman could
have done, and speaking gently said:

"I am very sorry to find you suffering, Ewing. You must ride with me
after dinner, and the air will relieve your head, I hope."

The boy actually burst into tears, and presently, recovering from the
paroxysm, said:

"I didn't expect that, Cousin Robert. Those are the first kind words
I've heard to-day. Mother has called me hard names all the morning."

"Your _mother_!" exclaimed Robert, thrown off his guard by surprise, for
he would never have thought of questioning the boy on such a subject.

"O yes! she always does. If she'd ever give me any credit when I do try
to do right, I reckon I would try harder. But she calls me a drunkard
and gambler whenever there is the least excuse for it; and if I don't do
anything wrong she says I am pokey and a'n't got any spirit. She told me
this morning she didn't mean to leave me anything in her will, because
I'd squander it. You know all pa's property is in her name now. I got
mad at last and told her I knew she couldn't keep me from getting my
share, because nearly half of everything here belonged to Grandfather
Taylor and is willed to us children when we come of age. She didn't know
I knew that, and when I told her----"

"Come, Ewing, don't talk about that. You have no right to tell me such
things. Bathe your head now, and hold it up as a man should. You are
responsible to yourself for yourself, and it is your duty to make a man
of yourself--such a man as you need not be ashamed of. If you think you
do not receive the recognition you ought for your efforts to do well,
you should remember that things are not perfectly adjusted in this
world, so far at least as we can understand them. The reward of
manliness is the manliness itself; and it is well worth living for too,
even though nobody recognizes its existence but yourself. Of that,
however, there need be no fear. People will know you, sooner or later,
precisely as you are."

Robert had other encouraging things to say to the youth, and finally
said:

"Now, Ewing, I shall ask you to make no promises which you may not be
strong enough to keep; but if you will promise me to make an earnest
effort to let whisky and cards alone, and to make a man of yourself,
refusing to be led by other people, I will talk with your father and get
him to agree never to mention the past again, but to aid you with every
encouragement in his power for the future."

"Why, Cousin Robert, pa never says anything to me. When ma scolds he
just goes out of the house, and he don't come in again till he's obliged
to. It a'n't pa at all, it's ma, and it a'n't any use to talk to her.
I'll be of age pretty soon, and then I mean to take my share of
grandpa's estate, and put it into money and go clear away from here."

Robert saw that it would be idle to remonstrate with the young man at
present, and equally idle to interfere with the domestic governmental
system practiced by Cousin Sarah Ann. He devoted himself, therefore, to
the task of getting Ewing to bathe his head; and after a little time the
two went down to dinner, Ewing thinking Robert the only real friend he
could claim.

His head aching worse after dinner than before, he declined Robert's
invitation to go to Shirley, and our friend rode back alone.



CHAPTER XIII.

_Concerning the Rivulets of Blue Blood._


Mr. Robert was heartily glad to get away from the uncomfortable presence
of Cousin Sarah Ann, and yet it can not be said that our young gentleman
was buoyant of spirit as he rode from The Oaks to Shirley. Ewing's case
had depressed him, and Cousin Sarah Ann had depressed him still further.
His confidence in woman nature was shaken. His ideas on the subject of
women had been for the most part evolved--wrought out, _a priori_, from
his mother as a premise. He had known all the time that not every woman
was his mother's equal, if indeed any woman was; he had observed that
sometimes vanity and weakness and in one case, as we know, faithlessness
entered into the composition of women, but he had never conceived of
such a compound of "envy, hatred and malice, and all uncharitableness"
as his cousin Sarah Ann certainly was; and as he applied the quotation
mentally he was constrained also to utter the petition which accompanies
it in the litany--"Good Lord deliver us!" This woman was a mystery to
him. She not only shocked but she puzzled him. How anybody could
consent to be just such a person as she was was wholly incomprehensible.
Her departures from the right line of true womanhood were so entirely
purposeless that he could trace them to no logical starting-point. He
could conceive of no possible training or experience which ought to
result in such a character as hers.

[Illustration: THE RIVULETS OF BLUE BLOOD.]

After puzzling himself over this human problem for half an hour he gave
it up, and straightway began to work at another. He asked himself how it
could be possible that Cousin Sudie should be attracted by Dr. Charley
Harrison. Possibly the reader has had occasion to work at a similar
problem in his time, and if so I need not tell him how incapable it
proved of solution. Of the fact Robert was now convinced, and the fact
annoyed him. It annoyed him too that he could not account for the fact;
and then it annoyed him still more to know that he could be annoyed at
all in the case, for he was perfectly sure--or nearly so--that he was
not himself in love with his little friend at Shirley. And yet he felt a
strange yearning to battle in some way with young Harrison, and to
conquer him. He wanted to beat the man at something, it mattered little
what, and to triumph over him. But he did not allow himself even
mentally to formulate this feeling. If he had he would have discovered
its injustice, and cast it from him as unworthy. His instinct warned him
of this, and so he refused to put his wish into form lest he should
thereby lose the opportunity of entertaining it.

With thoughts like these the young man rode homewards, and naturally
enough he was not in the best of humors when he sat down in the parlor
at Shirley.

The conversation, in some inscrutable way, turned upon Cousin Sarah Ann,
and Robert so far forgot himself as to express pleasure in the thought
that that lady was in no way akin to himself.

"But she is kin to you, Robert," said Aunt Catherine.

"How can that be, Aunt Catherine?" asked the young gentleman.

"Show him with the keys, Aunt Catherine, show him with the keys," said
Billy, who had returned from court that day. "Come, Sudie, where's your
basket? I want to see if Aunt Catherine can't muddle Bob's head as badly
as she does mine sometimes. Here are the keys. Explain it to him, Aunt
Catherine, and if he knows when you get through whether he is his great
grandfather's nephew or his uncle's son once removed, I'll buy his skull
for tissue paper at once. A skull that can let key-basket genealogy
through it a'n't thick enough to grow hair on."

The task was one that the old lady loved, and so without paying the
slightest attention to Billy's bantering she began at once to arrange
the keys from Sudie's basket upon the floor in the shape of a
complicated genealogical table. "Now my child," said she, pointing to
the great key at top, "the smoke-house key is your great great
grandmother, who was a Pembroke. The Pembrokes were always
considered----"

"Always considered smoke-house keys--remember, Bob."

"Will you keep still, William? The Pembrokes were always considered an
excellent family. Now your great great grandmother, Matilda Pembroke,
married John Pemberton, and had two sons and one daughter, as you see.
The oldest son, Charles, had six daughters, and his third daughter
married your grandfather Pagebrook, so she was your grandmother--the
store-room key, you see----"

"See, Bob, what it is to be well connected," said Billy; "your own dear
grandmother was a store-room key."

"Hush, Billy, you confuse Robert."

"Ah! do I? I only wanted him to remember who his grandmother was."

"Well," said the old lady, "Matilda Pemberton's daughter, your great
grand aunt, married a man of no family--a carpenter or something--the
corn-house key there."

"There it is, Bob. A'n't you glad you descended from a respectable
smoke-house key, through an aristocratic store-room key, instead of
having a plebeian corn-house key in the way? There's nothing like blue
blood, I tell you, and ours is as blue as an indigo bag; a'n't it, Aunt
Catherine?"

"Will you never learn, Billy, not to make fun of your ancestors? I have
explained to you a hundred times how much there is in family. Now don't
interrupt me again. Let me see, where was I? O yes! Your great grand
aunt married a carpenter, and his daughter Sarah was your second cousin
if you count removes, fourth cousin if you don't. Now Sarah was your
Cousin Sarah Ann's grandmother, as you see; so Sarah Ann is your third
cousin if you count removes, and your sixth cousin if you don't. Do you
understand it now?"

"Of course he does," said Billy; "but I must break up the family now, as
I see Polidore's waiting for the madam's great grandfather, to wit, the
corn-house key. Come Bob, let's go up to the stable and see the horses
fed."



CHAPTER XIV.

_Mr. Pagebrook Manages to be in at the Death._


Not many days after Robert's uncomfortable dinner at The Oaks, a servant
came over with a message from Major Pagebrook, to the effect that a
grand fox-chase was arranged for the next morning. Foggy and Dr.
Harrison had originated it, but Major Pagebrook's and several other
gentlemen's hounds would run, and Ewing invited his cousins, Robert and
Billy, to take part in the sport. Accordingly our two young gentlemen
ate an early breakfast and rode over to that part of The Oaks plantation
known as "Pine quarter," where the first fox-hunt of the season was
always begun. They arrived not a moment too soon, and found the hounds
just breaking away and the riders galloping after them. The first five
miles of country was comparatively open, a fact which gave the fox a
good start and promised to make the chase a long and a rapid one.

Robert Pagebrook had never seen a fox-chase, and his only knowledge of
the sport was that which he had gleaned from descriptions, but he was on
a perfect horse as inexperienced as himself; he was naturally very
fearless; he was intensely excited, and it was his habit to do whatever
he believed to be the proper thing on any occasion. From books he had
got the impression that the proper thing to do in fox-hunting was to
ride as hard as he could straight after the hounds, and this he did with
very little regard for consequences. He galloped straight through clumps
of pine, "as thick," Billy said, "as the hair on Absalom's head," while
others rode around them. He plunged through creek "low grounds" without
a thought of possible mires or quicksands. He knew that fox-hunters made
their horses jump fences, but he knew nothing of their practice in the
matter of knocking off top rails first, and accordingly he rode straight
at every fence which happened to stand in his way, and forced his horse
to take them all at a flying leap.

On and on he went, straight after the hounds, his pulse beating high and
his brain whirling with excitement. The more judicious hunters of the
party would have been left far behind but for the advantage they
possessed in their knowledge of the country and their consequent ability
to anticipate the fox's turnings, and to save distance and avoid
difficulties by following short cuts. Robert rode right after the hounds
always.

"That cousin of yours is crazy," said one gentleman to Billy; "but what
a magnificent rider he is."

"Why don't you stop your cousin?" asked another, "he'll kill himself, to
a certainty, if you don't."

"O I will!" replied Billy, "and I'll remonstrate with all the streaks of
lightning I happen to overtake, too. I'm sure to catch a good many of
them before I come up with him."

The fox "doubled" very little now, and it became evident that he was
making for the Appomattox River, but whether he would cross it or double
and run back was uncertain. Billy earnestly hoped he would double, as
that might enable him to see Robert and check his mad riding, if indeed
that gentleman should manage to reach the river with an unbroken neck.

On and on they went, fox running for dear life, hounds in perfect trim
and full cry, and riders each bent upon "taking the tail" if possible.
Robert remained in advance of all the rest, jumping every fence over
which he could force his horse, and making the animal knock down those
which he could not leap. His horse blundered at a ditch once and fell,
but recovered himself with his rider still erect in the saddle, before
anybody had time to wonder whether his neck was broken or not. Billy now
saw a new danger ahead of his cousin. They were nearing the river, and
the fox, an old red one, who knew his business, was evidently running
for a crossing place where mire and quicksands abounded. Of this Robert
knew nothing, and after his performances thus far there was no reason to
hope that any late-coming caution would save him now. A thicket of young
oaks lay just ahead, and the hounds going through it Robert followed
quite as a matter of course. Billy saw here his chance, and putting
spurs to his horse he rode at full speed around the end of the thicket,
hoping to reach the other side in time to intercept his cousin, in whose
behalf he was now really alarmed. As he swept by the end of the
thicket, however, he passed two gentlemen whom he could not see through
the bushes, but whose voices he knew very well. They were none other
than Mr. Foggy Raves and Dr. Charles Harrison, and Billy heard what they
were saying.

"You _must_ take the tail, Charley, and not let that city snob get it.
The fool rides like Death on the pale horse, and don't seem to know
there ever was a fence too high to jump. He'd try to take the Blue Ridge
at a flying leap if it got in his way. I'd rather kill a dozen horses
than let him beat us. He put his finger into our little game with that
saphead Ewing, and----"

"But my horse is thumped now, Foggy."

"Well, take mine then. He's fresh. I sent him over last night to meet me
here, and I just now changed. I've hurt my knee and can't ride. Take, my
horse and ride him to death but what you beat that----"

This was all that Billy had time to hear, but it was enough to change
his entire purpose. He no longer thought of Robert's neck, but hurried
on for the sole purpose of spurring his cousin up to new exertion. He
reached the edge of the thicket just as Robert came out bare-headed,
having lost his hat in the brush. His face was bleeding, too, from
scratches and bruises received in the struggle through the oak thicket.
The river was just ahead, but the fox doubled to the right instead of
crossing.

"Come, Bob," said Billy, "you've got to take the tail to-day or die.
Foggy and Charley Harrison have been setting up a game on you, and
Charley has a fresh horse, borrowed from Foggy on purpose to beat you.
But this double gives you a quarter start of him. Don't _run_ your horse
up hills, or you'll blow him out, and shy off from such thickets as
that. You can ride round quicker than you can go through. _Don't break
your_ NECK, BUT TAKE THE TAIL ANYHOW."

He fairly yelled the last words at Robert, who was already a hundred
yards ahead of him and getting further off every second.

The effect of his words on his cousin was not precisely what might have
been expected. Before this Robert had been intensely excited and had
enjoyed being so, but his excitement had been the result of his high
spirits and his keen zest for the sport in which he was engaged. He had
astonished everybody by the utter recklessness of his riding, but had
not shared at all in their astonishment or known that his riding was
reckless. He had ridden hard simply because he thought that the proper
thing to do and because he enjoyed doing it. He rode now for victory.
His features lost the look of wild enjoyment which they had worn, and
settled themselves into a firm, hard expression of dogged determination.
Here was his opportunity to do battle with young Harrison; and from
Billy's manner, rather than from his words, he knew that the contest was
not one of generous rivalry on Harrison's part. He felt that there was a
contemptuous sneer somewhere back of Billy's words, and the thought
nettled him sorely. But he did not lose his head in the excitement. On
the contrary, he felt the necessity now for care and coolness, and
accordingly he immediately took pains to become both cool and careful.
He knew that Harrison had an advantage in knowing the country, and he
resolved to share that advantage. To this end he brought his horse down
to an easy canter and waited for Harrison to come up. He then kept his
eye constantly on his rival and used him as a guide. When Harrison
avoided a thicket he avoided it also. If Harrison left the track of the
hounds for the sake of cutting off an angle, Robert kept by his side.
This angered Harrison, who had counted confidently upon having an
advantage in these matters, and under the influence of his anger he
spurred his horse unnecessarily and soon took a good deal of his
freshness out of him.

The two rode on almost side by side for miles. The fox was beginning to
show his fatigue, and it was evident that the chase would soon end. Both
the foremost riders discovered this, and both put forth every possible
exertion to win. Just ahead of them lay a very dense thicket through
which ran a narrow bridle-path barely wide enough for one horse, as
Robert knew, for the thicket lay on Shirley plantation, the fox having
run back almost immediately over his own track. It was evident now that
"the catch" would occur in the field just beyond this thicket, and it
was equally evident that as the two could not possibly ride abreast
along the bridle-path, the one who could first put his horse into it
would almost certainly be first in at the death. They rode like madmen,
but Robert's horse was greatly fatigued and Harrison shot ahead of him
by a single length into the path. There was hardly a chance for Robert
now, as it was impossible in any case for him to pass his rival in the
thicket, and he could see that the dogs had already caught the fox in
the field, less than a rod beyond its edge.

"I've got you now, I reckon," shouted Harrison looking back, but at the
moment his horse stumbled and fell. Robert could no more stop his own
horse than he could have stopped a hurricane, and the animal fell
heavily over Harrison, throwing Robert about ten feet beyond and almost
among the dogs. Getting up he ran in among the bellowing hounds and,
catching the fox in his hand, he held him up in full view of the other
gentlemen, now riding into the field from different directions and
cheering as lustily as possible.



CHAPTER XV.

_Some very Unreasonable Conduct._


Quite naturally Robert was elated as he stood there bare-headed, and
received the congratulations of his companions, who had now come up and
gathered around him. Loudest among them was Foggy, who leaping from his
horse cried out:

"By Jove, Mr. Pagebrook, I must shake your hand. I never saw prettier
riding in my life, and I've seen some good riding too in my time. But
where's your horse? Did you turn him loose when you jumped off?"

This served to remind Robert of the animal and of Harrison too, and
going hastily into the thicket he found the Doctor repairing his girth,
which had been broken in the fall. The Doctor was not hurt, nor was his
horse injured in any way, but the black colt which had carried Robert so
gallantly lay dead upon the ground. An examination showed that in
falling he had broken his neck.

It was not far that our young friend had to walk to reach Shirley, but a
weariness which he had not felt before crept over him as he walked. His
head ached sorely, and as the excitement died away it was succeeded by
a numbness of despondency, the like of which he had never known before.
He had declined to "ride and tie" with Billy, thinking the task a small
one to walk through by a woods path to the house, while Billy followed
the main road. With his first feeling of despondency came bitter
mortification at the thought that he had allowed so small a thing as a
fox-chase to so excite him. The exertion had been well enough, but he
felt that the object in view during the latter half of the chase,
namely, the defeat of young Harrison, was one wholly unworthy of him,
and the color came to his cheek as he thought of the energy he had
wasted on so small an undertaking. Then he remembered the gallant animal
sacrificed in the blind struggle for mere victory, and he could hardly
force the tears back as the thought came to him in full force that the
nostrils which had quivered with excitement so short a time since, would
snuff the air no more forever. He felt guilty, almost of murder, and
savagely rejoiced to know that the death of the horse would entail a
pecuniary loss upon himself, which would in some sense avenge the wrong
done to the noble brute.

The numbness and weariness oppressed him so that he sat down at the root
of a tree, and remained there in a state of half unconsciousness until
Billy came from the house to look for him. Arrived at the house he went
immediately to bed and into a fever which prostrated him for nearly a
week, during which time he was not allowed to talk much; in point of
fact he was not inclined to talk at all, except to Cousin Sudie, who
moved quietly in and out of the room as occasion required and came to
sit by his bedside frequently, after Billy and Col. Barksdale quitted
home again to attend court in another of the adjoining counties, as they
did as soon as Robert's physician pronounced him out of danger. At first
Cousin Sudie was disposed to enforce the doctor's orders in regard to
silence; but she soon discovered, quick-witted girl that she was, that
_her_ talking soothed and quieted the patient, and so she talked to him
in a soft, quiet voice, securing, by violating the doctor's injunction,
precisely the result which the injunction was intended to secure. As
soon as the fever quitted him Robert began to recover very rapidly, but
he was greatly troubled about the still unpaid-for horse.

Now he knew perfectly well that Cousin Sudie had no money at command,
and he ought to have known that it was a very unreasonable proceeding
upon his part to consult her in the matter. But love laughs at logic as
well as at locksmiths, and so our logical young man very illogically
concluded that the best thing to do in the premises was to consult
Cousin Sudie.

"I am in trouble, Cousin Sudie," said he, as he sat with her in the
parlor one evening, "about that horse. I know Mr. Winger is a poor man,
and I ought to pay him at once, but the truth is I have hardly any money
with me, and there is no bank nearer than Richmond at which to get a
draft cashed."

"You have money enough, then, somewhere?" asked Cousin Sudie.

"O yes! I have money in bank in Philadelphia, but Winger has already
sent me a note asking immediate payment, and telling me he is sorely
pressed for money; and I dislike exceedingly to ask his forbearance even
for a week, under the circumstances."

"Why can't you get Cousin Edwin to cash a check for you?" asked the
business-like little woman; "he always has money, and will do it gladly,
I know."

"That had not occurred to me, but it is a good suggestion. If you will
lend me your writing-desk I will write and----"

"Ah, there comes Cousin Edwin now, and Ewing too, to see you," said Miss
Sudie, hearing their voices in the porch.

The visitors came into the parlor, and after a little while Sudie
withdrew, intent upon some household matter. Ewing followed her. Robert
spoke frankly of his wish to pay Winger promptly, and asked:

"Can you cash my check on Philadelphia for me, Cousin Edwin, for three
hundred dollars? Don't think of doing it, pray, if it is not perfectly
convenient."

"O it isn't inconvenient at all," said Major Pagebrook. "I have more
money at home than I like to keep there, and I can let you have the
amount and send your check to the bank in Richmond and have it credited
to me quite as well as not. In fact I'd rather do it than not, as it'll
save expressage on money."

Accordingly Robert drew a check for three hundred dollars on his bankers
in Philadelphia, making it payable to Major Pagebrook, and that
gentleman undertook to pay the amount that evening to Winger. Shortly
after this business matter had been settled, Ewing and Miss Sudie
returned to the parlor and the callers took their departure.

Robert and Sudie sat silent for some time watching the flicker of the
fire, for the days were cool now and fires were necessary to in-door
comfort. How long their silence might have continued but for an
interruption, I do not know; but an interruption came in the breaking of
the forestick, which had burned in two. A broken reverie may sometimes
be resumed, but a pair of broken reveries never are. Had Mr. Robert been
alone he would have rearranged the fire and then sat down to his
thoughts again. As it was he rearranged the fire and then began to talk
with Miss Sudie.

"I am glad to get that business off my hands. It worried me," he said.

"So am I," said his companion, "very glad indeed."

There must have been something in her tone, as there was certainly
nothing in her words, which led Mr. Pagebrook to think that this young
lady's remark had an unexpressed meaning back of it. He therefore
questioned her.

"Why, Cousin Sudie? had it been troubling you too?"

"No; but it would have done so, I reckon."

"I do not understand you. Surely you never doubted that I would pay for
the horse, did you?"

"No indeed, but--"

"What is it Cousin Sudie? tell me what there is in your mind. I shall
feel hurt if you do not."

"I ought not to tell you, but I must now, or you will imagine
uncomfortable things. I know why Mr. Winger wrote you that note."

"You know why? There was some reason then besides his need of money?"

"He was not pressed for the money at all. That wasn't the reason."

"You surprise me, Cousin Sudie. Pray tell me what you know, and how."

"Well, promise me first that you won't get yourself into any trouble
about it--no, I have no right to exact a blind promise--but do don't get
into trouble. That detestable man, Foggy Raves, made Mr. Winger uneasy
about the money. He told him you were 'hard up' and couldn't pay if you
wanted to; and I'm glad you have paid him, and I'm glad you beat Charley
Harrison in the fox-chase, too."

With this utterly inconsequent conclusion, Cousin Sudie commenced
rocking violently in her chair.

"How do you know all this, Cousin Sudie?" asked Robert.

"Ewing told me this evening. I'd rather you'd have killed a dozen horses
than to have had Charley Harrison beat you."

"Why, Cousin Sudie?"

"O he's at the bottom of all this. He always is. Foggy is his
mouth-piece. And then he told Aunt Catherine, the day you went to The
Oaks, that he 'meant to have some fun when he got you into a fox-hunt on
Winger's colt.' He said you'd find out how much your handsome city
riding-school style was worth when you got on a horse you were afraid
of. I'm _so_ glad you beat him!"

[Illustration: MISS SUDIE DECLARES HERSELF "SO GLAD."]

Now it would seem that Cousin Sudie's rejoicing must have been of a
singular sort, as she very unreasonably burst into tears while in the
very act of declaring herself glad.

Mr. Robert Pagebrook was wholly unused to the task of soothing a woman
in tears. It was his habit, under all circumstances, to do the thing
proper to be done, but of what the proper thing was for a man to do or
say to a woman in tears without apparent cause, Mr. Robert Pagebrook had
not the faintest conception, and so he very unreasonably proceeded to
take her hand in his and to tell her that he loved her, a fact which he
himself just then discovered for the first time.

Before he could add a word to the blunt declaration, Dick thrust his
black head into the door-way with the announcement, "Supper's ready,
Miss Sudie."



CHAPTER XVI.

_What Occurred Next Morning._


The reader thinks, doubtless, that Master Dick's entrance at the precise
time indicated in the last chapter was an unfortunate occurrence, and I
presume Mr. Pagebrook was of a like opinion at the moment. But maturer
reflection convinced him that the interruption was a peculiarly
opportune one. He was a conscientious young man, and was particularly
punctilious in matters of honor; wherefore, had he been allowed to
complete the conversation thus unpremeditatedly begun, without an
opportunity to deliberate upon the things to be said, he would almost
certainly have suffered at the hands of his conscience in consequence.
There were circumstances which made some explanations on his part
necessary, and he knew perfectly well that these explanations would not
have been properly made if Master Dick's interruption had not come to
give him time for reflection.

All this he thought as he drank his tea; for when supper was announced
both he and Miss Sudie went into the dining-room precisely as if their
talk in the parlor had been of no unusual character. This they did
because they were creatures of habit, as you and I and all the rest of
mankind are. They were in the habit of going to supper when it was
ready, and it never entered the thought of either to act differently on
this particular occasion. Miss Sudie, it is true, ran up to her room for
a moment--to brush her hair I presume--before she entered the
dining-room, but otherwise they both acted very much as they always did,
except that Robert addressed almost the whole of his conversation during
the meal to his Aunt Mary and Aunt Catherine, while Miss Sudie, sitting
there behind the tea-tray, said nothing at all. After tea the older
ladies sat with Robert and Sudie in the parlor, until the early bed-time
prescribed for the convalescent young gentleman arrived.

It thus happened that there was no opportunity for the resumption of the
interesting conversation interrupted by Dick, until the middle of the
forenoon next day. Miss Sudie, it seems, found it necessary to go into
the garden to inspect some late horticultural operations, and Mr.
Robert, quite accidentally, followed her. They discussed matters with
Uncle Joe, the gardener, for a time, and then wandered off toward a
summer-house, where it was pleasant to sit in the soft November
sunlight.

The conversation which followed was an interesting one, of course. Let
us listen to it.

"The vines are all killed by the frost," said Cousin Sudie.

"Yes; you have frosts here earlier than I thought," said Robert.

"O we always expect frost about the tenth of October; at least the
gentlemen never feel safe if their tobacco isn't cut by that time. This
year frost was late for us, but the nights are getting very cool now,
a'n't they?"

"Yes; I found blankets very comfortable even before the tenth of
October."

"It's lucky then that you wa'n't staying with Aunt Polly Barksdale."

"Why? and who is your Aunt Polly?"

"Aunt Polly? Why she is Uncle Charles's widow. She is the model for the
whole connection; and I've had her held up to me as a pattern ever since
I can remember, but I never saw her till about a year ago, when she came
and staid a week or two with us; and between ourselves I think she is
the most disagreeably good person I ever saw. She is good, but somehow
she makes me wicked, and I don't think I'm naturally so. I didn't read
my Bible once while she staid, and I do love to read it. I suppose I
shall like to have her with me in heaven, if I get there, because there
I won't have anything for her to help me about, but here 'I'm better
midout' her."

"I quite understand your feeling; but you haven't told me why I'm lucky
not to have her for my hostess these cold nights."

"O you'd be comfortable enough now that tobacco is cut; but when Cousin
Billy staid with her, a good many years ago, he used to complain of
being cold--he was only a boy--and ask her for blankets, and she would
hold up her hands and exclaim: 'Why, child, your uncle's tobacco isn't
cut yet! It will never do to say it's cold enough for blankets when your
poor uncle hasn't got his tobacco cut. Think of your uncle, child! he
can't afford to have his tobacco all killed.' But come, Cousin Robert,
you mustn't sit here; besides I want to show you an experiment I am
trying with winter cabbage."

This, I believe, is a faithful report of what passed between Robert and
Sudie in the summer-house. I am very well aware that they ought to have
talked of other things, but they did not; and, as a faithful chronicler,
I can only state the facts as they occurred, begging the reader to
remember that I am in no way responsible for the conduct of these young
people.

The cabbage experiment duly explained and admired, Mr. Robert and Miss
Sudie walked out of the garden and into the house. There they found
themselves alone again, and Robert plunged at once into the matter of
which both had been thinking all the time.

"Cousin Sudie," he said, "have you thought about what I said to you last
night?"

"Yes--a little."

"I will not ask you just yet _what_ you have thought," said Robert,
taking her unresisting hand into his, "because there are some
explanations which I am in honor bound to make to you before asking you
to give me an answer, one way or the other. When I told you I loved you,
of course I meant to ask you to be my wife, but that I must not ask you
until you know exactly what I am. I want you to know precisely what it
is that I ask you to do. I am a poor man, as you know. I have a good
position, however, with a salary of two thousand dollars a year, and
that is more than sufficient for the support of a family, particularly
in an inexpensive college town; so that there is room for a little
constant accumulation. If I marry, I shall insure my life for ten
thousand dollars, so that my death shall not leave my wife destitute. I
have a very small reserve fund in bank too--thirteen hundred dollars
now, since I paid for that horse. And there is still three hundred
dollars due me for last year's work. These are my means and my
prospects, and now I tell you again, Sudie, that I love you, and I ask
you bluntly will you marry me?"

The young lady said nothing.

"If you wish for time to think about it Sudie--"

"I suppose that would be the proper way, according to custom; but,"
raising her eyes fearlessly to his, "I have already made up my mind, and
I do not want to act a falsehood. There is nothing to be ashamed of, I
suppose, in frankly loving such a man as you, Robert. I will be your
wife."

The little woman felt wonderfully brave just then, and accordingly,
without further ado, she commenced to cry.

The reader would be very ill-mannered indeed should he listen further to
a conversation which was wholly private and confidential in its
character; wherefore let us close our ears and the chapter at once.



CHAPTER XVII.

_In which Mr. Pagebrook Bids his Friends Good-by._


The next two or three days passed away very quickly with Mr. Robert and
Miss Sudie. Robert made to his aunt a statement of the results, without
entering into the details of his conferences with Miss Sudie, and was
assured of Col. Barksdale's approval when that gentleman and Billy
should return from the court they were attending. The two young people,
however, were in no hurry for the day appointed for that return to come.
They were very happy as it was. They discussed their future, and laid
many little plans to be carried out after awhile. It was arranged that
Robert should return to Virginia at the beginning of the next long
vacation; that the wedding should take place immediately upon his
coming; and that the two should make a little trip through the mountains
and, returning to Shirley, remain there until the autumn should bring
Robert's professional duties around again.

They were in the very act of talking these matters over for the
twentieth time, one afternoon, when Maj. Pagebrook rode up. He seemed
absent and nervous in manner, and after a few moments of general
conversation asked to see Robert alone upon business. When the two were
closeted together Maj. Pagebrook opened his pocket-book and taking out a
paper he slowly unfolded it, saying: "I have just received this, Robert,
and I suppose there is a duplicate of it awaiting you in the
post-office."

Robert looked at the paper in blank astonishment.

"What does this mean?" he cried; "my draft protested! Why I have sixteen
hundred dollars in that bank, and my draft was for only three hundred."

"It appears that the bank has failed," said Maj. Pagebrook. "At least I
reckon that's what the Richmond people mean. They say, in a note to me,
that it 'went to pot' a week ago. It seems there are a good many banks
failing this fall. I hope you won't lose everything, though, Robert."

The blow was a terrible one to the young man. In a moment he took in the
entire situation. To lose the money he had in bank was to be forced to
begin the world over again with absolutely nothing; but at any rate he
could pay the debt he owed to his cousin very shortly, and to be free
from debt is in itself a luxury to a man of his temperament. He thought
but a moment and then said:

"Cousin Edwin, I shall have to ask you to carry that protested draft for
me a few days if you will. There is some money due me on the fifteenth
of this month, and it is now the ninth. I asked that it should be sent
to me here, but I shall go to Philadelphia at once, and I'll collect it
when I get there and send you the amount. I promise you faithfully that
it shall be remitted by the fifteenth at the very furthest."

"O don't trouble yourself to be so exact, Robert," replied Maj.
Pagebrook. "Send it when you can; I'm in no very great hurry. Sarah Ann
says we must invest all our spare money in the new railroad stock; but I
needn't pay anything on that till the twenty-third, so there will be
time enough. But for that I wouldn't care how long I waited."

"I shall not let it remain unpaid after the fifteenth at furthest," said
Robert. "I do not like to let it lie even that long."

Maj. Pagebrook took his departure and Robert told Sudie of the bad news,
telling her also that he must leave next morning for Philadelphia, to
see if it were possible to save something from the wreck of the bank.

"Besides," said he, "I must get to work. There are nearly two months of
time between now and the first of January, and I cannot afford to lose
it now that I have lost this money."

"What will you do, Robert? You can't do anything teaching in that time."

"No, but I can do a good many things. I write a little now and then for
the papers and magazines, for one thing. I can pick up something, I
think, which will at least pay expenses."

He then told her of his arrangement with Maj. Pagebrook about the
protested draft, and finished by repeating what that gentleman had said
about the investment in railroad stock.

This troubled Miss Sudie more than all the rest, and Robert seeing it
pressed her for a reason. But no reason would she give, and Robert was
forced to content himself with the thought that his trouble naturally
brought trouble to her. To her aunt, however, she expressed her
conviction that Cousin Sarah Ann had suggested the railroad investment
merely for the sake of compelling her husband to press Robert for
payment. She was troubled to know that the payment must be deferred even
for a few days, but rejoiced in the knowledge of Robert's ability to
discharge his indebtedness speedily. It galled her to think of the
unpleasant things which the amiable mistress of The Oaks would manage to
say about Robert pending the payment. There was no help for it, however,
and so the brave little woman persuaded herself that it was her duty to
appear cheerful in order that Robert might be so; and whatever Miss
Sudie believed to be her duty in any case Miss Sudie did, however
difficult the doing might be. She accordingly wore the pleasantest
possible smile and the most cheerful of countenances whenever Robert was
present, doing every particle of her necessary crying in her own room
and carefully washing away all traces of the process before opening the
door.

Robert made all his preparations for departure that afternoon, and on
the following morning was driven to the Court House in the family
carriage. When he arrived there he got what letters there were for him
in the post-office, read them, and talked a few moments with Ewing
Pagebrook, who had spent the preceding night with Foggy and Dr.
Harrison, and was now deeply contrite and rather anxious than otherwise
that Robert should scold him. There was no time, however, even for the
giving of advice, as the train had now come, and Robert must go at once.
A hasty hand-shaking closed the interview, and Robert was gone.



CHAPTER XVIII.

_Mr. Pagebrook Goes to Work._


When Robert arrived in Philadelphia his first care was to make inquiries
with regard to the bank in which his money was deposited. He learned
that it had suspended payment about one week before, and that its
affairs were in the hands of an assignee. This was all he could find out
on the afternoon of his arrival, and with this he was forced to content
himself until the next day, when he succeeded with some little
difficulty in securing an interview with the assignee. To him he said:
"My only purpose is to ascertain the exact state of the bank's affairs,
in order that I may know what to do."

"That I cannot tell you, sir. The books are still in confusion, and
until they can be straightened out it is impossible to say what the
result will be."

"Tell me, then, are the assets anything like equal to the liabilities?"

"That is exactly what the books must show. I can't say till we get a
statement."

"You can at least tell me then," said Robert, provoked at the man's
reticence, "whether there are any assets at all, or not."

"No, I can make no statement until the books are examined. Then a
complete exhibit of affairs will be made."

"Pardon me," said Robert, "but this question is one of serious moment
to me. You have been examining this bank's affairs for a week, I
believe?"

"Yes, about a week."

"You must have some idea, then, whether or not there is likely to be
anything at all left for depositors, and you will oblige me very much
indeed by giving me your personal opinion on the subject. I understand
how impossible it is to give exact figures; but you cannot have failed
to discover by this time whether or not the assets amount to anything
worth considering, as compared with the amount of the bank's
liabilities. I would like the little information you can give me,
however inexact it may be."

"My dear sir," said the assignee, "I'm afraid you don't understand these
things. Our statement is not ready yet, and I can not possibly tell you
what its nature will be until it is."

"When will it be ready, sir?" asked Robert.

"That I can not say as yet, but it will be forthcoming in due time, sir;
in due time."

"Will it require a week, or a month, or two or three months? You can, at
least, make an approximate estimate of the time necessary for its
preparation."

"Well, no," said the man of business, "I should not like to make any
promises; I am hard at work, and the statement will be ready in due
time, sir; in due time."

Robert left the man's presence thoroughly disgusted. Thinking the matter
over he concluded that the affairs of the bank must be in a very bad
way. Otherwise, he argued, the man would not be so silent on the
subject.

Now the assignee was perfectly right in saying that Robert did not
understand these things. If he had understood them he would have known
that the reticence from which he thus argued the worst, meant just
nothing at all. Business men are not apt to commit themselves
unnecessarily in any case, and especially in such a case as the one
concerning which Robert had been inquiring. The bank might have been
utterly bankrupt or entirely solvent, and that assignee would in either
case have given precisely the same answers to our young friend's
questions. He knew nothing with absolute certainty as yet, and could
know nothing certainly until the last column of figures should be added
up and the final balances struck. Then he could make a statement, but
until then he would say nothing at all. He acted after his kind.
Business is business; and, as a rule, business men know only one way of
doing things.

Robert, however, was not a business man. He knew nothing about these
things, and accordingly, making no allowance for a business habit as one
of the factors in the problem, he proceeded to argue that if the affairs
of the bank were in the least degree hopeful the man would have said so.
As he had carefully and persistently avoided saying anything of the
kind, Robert could only conclude that there was no hope at all to be
entertained.

He quickly determined, therefore, to waste no more time. Abandoning his
sixteen hundred dollars as utterly lost, he packed his valise and went
at once to New York to find work of some kind. How he succeeded we shall
best see from his letter to Cousin Sudie, from which I am allowed to
quote a passage or two.

"I am very busy with some topical articles, as the newspaper folk call
them. That is to say, I am visiting factories of various kinds and
writing detailed accounts of their operations, coupling with the facts
gathered thus, a gossipy account of the origin, history, etc., of the
industry. I find the work very interesting, and it promises to be quite
remunerative too. I fell into it by accident. About a year ago I spent
an evening with a friend, Mr. Dudley, in New York, and while at his
house his seven year old boy showed me some of his toys--little German
contrivances; and I, knowing something about the toys and the people who
make them--you know I made a summer trip through Europe once--fell to
telling him about them. His father was as much interested as he, but the
matter soon passed from my mind. When I came over here a week ago to
look for something to do I visited the office of this paper, hoping that
I should be allowed to do a little reporting or drudgery of some sort
till something better should turn up. Who should I find in the editor's
chair but my friend Dudley. I told him my errand, and his reply was:

"'I haven't a moment now, Pagebrook, but you're the very man I want;
come up and see me this evening. We dine at half-past six, and over our
roast-beef I can explain fully what I mean.'

"I went, as a matter of course, and at dinner Dudley said:

"'Our paper, Pagebrook, is meant to be a kind of American Penny
Magazine. That is to say, we want to fill it full of _entertaining_
information, partly for the sake of the information but more for the
sake of the entertainment. Now I have tried at least fifty people, in
the hope of finding somebody who could tell, in writing, just such
things as you told our Ben when you were here a year ago. I never
dreamed of getting you to do it, but you're just the man, and about the
only one, too, I begin to think. Now, if you've a mind to do it, I can
keep you busy as long as you like. I don't mean to confine you to this
particular kind of work, but I'd rather have articles of that sort than
any others, and the publishers won't grumble if I pay you twenty dollars
apiece for them. They mustn't exceed two of our columns--say two
thousand words in all--but if you can't tell your story in any
particular instance within those limits, you can make two articles out
of it. I've already told your toy story, but you can easily hunt up
plenty of other things to tell about. Common things are best--things
people see every day but know nothing about.'

"I set to work the next day, and have been busy ever since. I like to
visit factories and learn all the petty details of their operations, and
I find that it is the petty details which go to make the description
interesting. I like the work so well that I almost wish I had no
professorship, so that I might follow as a business this kind of
writing, and some other sorts in which I seem to succeed--for I do not
confine myself to one class of articles, or to one paper either, for
that matter, but am trying my hand at a variety of things, and I find
the work very fascinating. But it is altogether better, I suppose, that
I should retain my position in the college, even if I could be sure of
always finding as good a market as I do just now for my wares, which is
doubtful. I have lost the whole of my little reserve fund--as the bank
seems hopelessly broken; and if I had nothing to depend upon except the
problematic sale of articles, I would do you a wrong to ask you to let
our wedding-day remain fixed. As it is, my salary from the college is
more than sufficient for our support, and as my expenses from now until
the time appointed will be very small indeed, I shall have several
hundred dollars accumulated by that time; wherefore if Uncle Carter does
not object, pray let our plans remain undisturbed, will you not, Sudie?"

The rest of this letter, which is a very long one, is not only personal
in its character, but is also of a strictly private nature; and while I
am free to copy here so much of this and other letters in my possession
as will aid me in the telling of my story, I do not feel myself at
liberty to let the reader into the sacred inner chambers of a
correspondence with which we have properly no concern, except as it
helps us to the understanding of this history.



CHAPTER XIX.

_A Short Chapter, not very interesting, perhaps, but of some Importance
in the Story, as the Reader will probably discover after awhile._


When the letter from which a quotation was made in the preceding chapter
came to Miss Sudie, that young lady was not at Shirley but at The Oaks,
where Ewing was lying very ill. He had been prostrated suddenly, a few
days before, and from the first had been delirious with fever. The
doctor had appeared unusually anxious regarding his patient ever since
he was first summoned to see him, and Cousin Sarah Ann having given way
to her alarm at the evident danger in which her son lay to such an
extent as to be wholly useless to herself or to anybody else, Miss Sudie
had been called in to act as temporary mistress of the mansion.

The very next mail after the one which brought her letter, had in it one
from Robert addressed to Ewing himself. Miss Sudie, upon discovering it
in the bag, carried it to Cousin Sarah Ann, and was very decidedly
shocked when that estimable lady without a word broke the seal and read
the letter, putting it carefully away afterwards in Ewing's desk, of
which she had the key. Miss Sudie said nothing, however, and the matter
was almost forgotten when in the evening the doctor came and sat down by
the sick boy's bed.

"I think it my duty to tell you," said he to Cousin Sarah Ann, "that the
crisis of the disease is rapidly approaching, and I must wait here until
it passes. Your son is in very great danger; but we shall know within a
few hours whether there is hope for him or not. I confess that while I
hope the best I fear the worst."

Mrs. Pagebrook was thoroughly overcome by her fright. She loved her son,
in her own queer way; and being a very weak woman she gave way entirely
when she understood in how very critical a condition the boy was. It was
necessary to exclude her from the room, and the doctor remained, with
Miss Sudie and Maj. Pagebrook. About midnight he stood and looked
intently at the sick man's features, listening also to his hard-coming
breath. He stood there full half an hour--then turning to Miss Sudie, he
said:

"It's of no use, Miss Barksdale. Our young friend is beyond hope. He
cannot live an hour. Perhaps you'd better inform his mother."

But before Miss Sudie could leave the bedside, Ewing roused himself for
a moment, and tried to say something to her.

"Tell Robert--I got sick the very day--twenty-one--"

This was all Miss Sudie could hear, and she thought the patient's mind
was wandering still, as it had been throughout his illness. And these
incoherent words were the last the young man ever uttered.

About a week after Ewing's death Cousin Sarah Ann said to Maj.
Pagebrook:

"Cousin Edwin, are you ever going to collect that money from Robert? He
promised to pay you on or before the fifteenth of November, and now it's
nearly the last of the month and you haven't a line of explanation from
him yet. I told you he wouldn't pay it till we made him. You oughtn't
to've let him run away in your debt at all, and you wouldn't either, if
you'd a'listened to me. Why don't you write to him?"

"Well, I don't like to press the poor fellow. He's lost his money you
know, and I reckon he finds it hard to pull through till January. He'll
pay when he can, I reckon."

"O that's always the way with you! For my part I don't believe he had
any money in the bank; and besides he said there was some money coming
to him on his salary, and he promised faithfully to pay you out of that.
I told you he wouldn't, because I knew him. He tried to make out he was
so much superior to the rest of us, and talked about 'reforming' poor
Ewing, just as if the poor boy was a drunkard and--and--and--if you
don't write I will, and I'll make him pay that money too, or I'll know
why."

The conversation ended as such conversations usually did in Maj.
Pagebrook's family, namely, by the abrupt departure of that gentleman
from the house.

Cousin Sarah Ann evidently meant what she said, and her husband was no
sooner out of the house than she got out her desk and wrote; not to
Robert, however, but to Messrs. Steel, Flint & Sharp, attorneys and
counselors at law, in New York city. Her note was not a long one, but it
told the whole story of Robert's indebtedness from a not very favorable
point of view, and closed with a request that the attorneys should "push
the case by every means the law allows." This note was signed not with
Cousin Sarah Ann's own but with her husband's name, and her first
proceeding, after sealing the letter, was to send it by a servant to the
post-office. She then ordered her carriage and drove over to Shirley.



CHAPTER XX.

_Cousin Sarah Ann Takes Robert's Part._


Cousin Sarah Ann talked a good deal. Ill-natured people sometimes said
she talked a good deal of nonsense, and possibly she did, but she never
talked without a purpose, and she commonly managed to talk pretty
successfully, too, so far as the accomplishment of her ends was
concerned. In the present case, while I am wholly unprepared to say
exactly why she wanted to talk, I am convinced that this excellent
lady's visit to Shirley was undertaken solely for the purpose of
securing an opportunity to talk.

Arrived there, she greeted her friends with her black-bordered
handkerchief over her eyes, and for a time seemed hardly able to speak
at all, so overpowering was her emotion. Then she said:

"I wouldn't think of visiting at such a time as this, of course, but
Shirley seems so much like home, and I felt like I must have somebody to
talk to who could sympathize with me. Dear Sudie was _so_ good to me
during--during it all."

After a time Cousin Sarah Ann composed herself, and controlled her
emotion sufficiently to converse connectedly without making painful
pauses, though her voice continued from first to last to be
uncomfortably suggestive of recent weeping.

"Have you had any news of Robert lately?" she asked; "I do hope he's
doing well."

"We've had no letters since Sudie's came while she was at your house,"
said Colonel Barksdale. "He was doing very well then, I believe, though
he thought there was no hope of recovering anything from the bank."

"I'm _so_ sorry," said Cousin Sarah Ann, "for I love Robert. He was so
like an older brother to my poor boy. I feel just like a mother to him,
and I can't bear to have anybody say anything against him."

"Nobody ever does say anything to his discredit, I suppose," said Col.
Barksdale. "He is really one of the finest young men I ever knew, and
the very soul of honor, too. He comes honestly by that, however, for his
father was just so before him."

"That's just what I tell Cousin Edwin," said Cousin Sarah Ann. "I tell
him dear Robert means to do right, and will do it just as soon as ever
he can. Poor fellow! he has been _so_ unfortunate. Somebody must have
made Cousin Edwin suspicious of him, else he wouldn't think so badly of
poor Robert."

"Why, Sarah Ann, what do you mean?" asked Col. Barksdale. "Surely Edwin
has no reason to think ill of Robert."

"No, that he hasn't; and that's what I tell him. But he's been
prejudiced and won't hear a word. He says nothing about it to anybody
but me, but he really suspects Robert of meaning to cheat him, and--"

"Cheat him!" cried all in a breath, "Why, how can that be?"

"O it _can't_ be, and so I tell Cousin Edwin; but he insists that Robert
told him he would pay that three hundred dollars on or before the
fifteenth, and I reckon the poor boy hasn't been able to do it, or he
would."

"Why, Sarah Ann, you don't tell me that Robert has failed to pay Edwin
that money!" said the Colonel.

"Why, I thought you knew that, or I wouldn't have told you about it. No,
he hasn't sent it yet; but he will, of course, if I can keep Cousin
Edwin from writing him violent letters about it."

"Hasn't he written to explain the delay?" asked the Colonel.

"No; and that's what Cousin Edwin always reminds me of when I try to
take Robert's part. He says if he meant to be honest he would have
written. I tell him I know how it is. I can fully understand Robert's
silence. He has failed to get money when he expected it, I reckon, and
has naturally hated to write till he could send the money. Poor boy! I'm
afraid he'll overwork himself and half starve himself, too, trying to
get that money together, when we could wait for it just as well as not."

"There certainly can be no apology for his failure to write, after
promising payment on a definite day," said Col. Barksdale; "and I am
both surprised and grieved that he should have acted in so unworthy a
way!"

With this the Colonel arose and paced the room in evident anger.
Robert's champion, Cousin Sarah Ann, could not stand this.

"Surely _you_ are not going to turn against poor Robert without giving
him a hearing, are you, Cousin Carter? I thought you too just for that,
though I should never have mentioned the subject at all if I hadn't
thought you all knew about it, and would take Robert's part like me."

"I shall give him a hearing," said the Colonel; "but in the meantime I
must say his conduct has been very singular--very singular indeed."

"O he's only thoughtless!" said the excellent woman, in her anxiety to
shield "dear Robert."

"No; he is not thoughtless. He never is thoughtless, whatever else he
may be. If you wish to defend him, Sarah Ann, you must find some other
excuse for his conduct. Confound the fellow! I can't help loving him,
but if he isn't what I took him for, I'll----"

The Colonel did not finish his threat; perhaps he hardly knew how.

"Now, Cousin Carter, please don't you fly into a passion like Cousin
Edwin does," said Cousin Sarah Ann, pleadingly, "but wait till you find
out all the facts. Write to Robert, and I'm sure he will explain it all.
I wish I hadn't said a word about it."

"You did perfectly right, perfectly," said Colonel Barksdale. "If Robert
has failed in a point of honor, I ought to know it, because in that case
I have a duty to do--a painful one, but a duty nevertheless."

"O you men have no charity at all. You're _so_ hard on one another, and
I'm so sorry I said anything about it. Good-by, Cousin Mary. Good-by,
Sudie dear. Come and see me, won't you? I miss you _so_ much in my
trouble. Come often. Come and stay some with me. Do. That's a dear."

And so Cousin Sarah Ann drove away, rejoicing in the consciousness that
she had vigorously defended the absent Robert; and perhaps rejoicing too
in the conviction that that gentleman could not possibly explain his
conduct to the satisfaction of Colonel Barksdale.



CHAPTER XXI.

_Miss Barksdale Expresses some Opinions._


Miss Sudie Barksdale was a very brave little woman, and she needed all
her courage on the present occasion. She felt the absolute necessity
there was that she should sit out Cousin Sarah Ann's conversation, and
she sat it out, in what agony it is not hard to imagine. When that lady
drove away Miss Sudie ran off to her room, where she remained for two or
three hours. Upon her privacy we will not intrude.

Col. Barksdale called Billy from his office, and giving him the newly
discovered facts, asked his opinion. Billy was simply thunderstruck.

"I can't understand it," said he; "Bob certainly had that money coming
to him from his last year's salary, for he told me about it the day we
first met in Philadelphia. If Bob isn't a man of honor, in the strictest
sense of the term, I never was so deceived in anybody in my life. And
yet this business looks as ugly as home-made sin. Bob knew perfectly
well that if you or I had been at home when he left we wouldn't have
allowed his protested draft to stand over at all, but would have paid it
on the spot. He knew too that if he couldn't pay when he promised he
could have written to me or to you explaining the matter, and we would
have lent him the money for twenty years if necessary. I don't
understand it at all. It looks ugly. It looks as if he meant to make
that money clear."

"Well, my son," said Col. Barksdale, "I'll give him one chance to
explain at any rate. I'll write to him immediately."

Accordingly the old gentleman went to his library and was engaged for
some time in writing. After awhile there came a knock at his door, and
Miss Sudie entered.

"Come in, daughter," said he, tenderly. "I want to talk with you."

"I thought you would," said the sad-eyed little maiden, "and that's why
I came. I wanted our talk to be private."

"You're a good girl, my child." Then, after a pause, "This is bad news
about Robert."

"Yes; and from a bad source," said Sudie.

"I do not understand you, daughter."

"We have the best of authority, Uncle Carter, for saying that 'men do
not gather grapes of thorns!'"

"But, my child, I suppose there can be no doubt of the facts in this
case, so far as we have them. We know the circumstances of Robert's
indebtedness to Edwin, and whatever her motives may have been, Sarah Ann
would hardly venture to say that he has neither paid nor written in
explanation of his failure to do so, if he had done either."

"Perhaps not."

"Robert ought to have paid at any cost to himself if it were possible;
and if it were not, then he should have written in a frank, manly way,
explaining his inability to fulfill his promise. Appearances are so
strongly against him that I have written with very little hope of
eliciting any satisfactory reply."

"Will you mind letting me see what you have written, Uncle Carter?"

"No; you may read the letter. Here it is."

Miss Sudie read it. It ran thus:

"I have just now learned that you have wholly failed to fulfill your
solemn and deliberate promise, made on the eve of your departure from
Shirley, to the effect that you would, without fail, take up your
protested draft for three hundred dollars ($300), held by your Cousin
Major Edwin Pagebrook, on or before the fifteenth (15th), day of this
current month. It is now the thirtieth (30th), and hence your promise is
fifteen (15) days over due. I learn also that you have failed to write
in explanation of your delinquency or in any way to account or apologise
for it. Permit me to say that as your conduct presents itself to me at
this time, it is unworthy the gentleman which you profess to be, and I
now demand of you either that you shall give me immediately a
satisfactory explanation of the matter--and that, I must confess, sir,
seems hardly possible--or that you shall at once write to my niece and
adopted daughter, releasing her from her engagement with you."

Having finished reading the letter Sudie handed it back to her uncle
without a word of comment. Not that she was in this or in any other case
afraid to express her opinion. Her uncle knew very well when he gave her
the letter that she would say absolutely nothing about it until he
should ask her, and he knew equally well that upon asking her he would
get a perfectly honest expression of her thought, whatever it might
happen to be. But Colonel Barksdale was, for the time, afraid to ask her
opinion. He was a brave man and an honest one. He was known throughout
the state as a lawyer of great ability and as a gentleman of the most
undoubted sort. And yet at this moment he found himself afraid of a
young girl, who stood in the relation of daughter to him--a girl who was
never violent in word or act, a girl who honored him as a father and
loved him with all her heart. He knew she would unhesitatingly speak the
truth, and it was the truth of which he was afraid. He had not been
aware, when he wrote, of any disposition to do Robert injustice, else,
being a just man, he would have spurned the thought from him; but now
that he felt bound to ask Miss Sudie for her opinion of his course, he
became uncomfortably conscious that there had been other impulses than
just ones governing him in his choice of language. At last he asked the
dreaded question.

"What do you think, daughter?"

"I think you have not done yourself justice, Uncle Carter, in writing
such a letter as that. The letter is not like you, at all."

"Well?"

"Do you mean why and wherefore?"

"Yes. Why and wherefore, Sudie?"

"Because it is not like you to do an act of injustice, and when you are
betrayed into one you misrepresent yourself."

"But wherein is my letter an act of injustice, my child?"

"It assumes unproved guilt; and I believe even criminals are entitled to
a more favorable starting-point than that in their efforts to clear
themselves."

"But, Sudie, I have not assumed that Robert is guilty. I have asked him
to explain."

"Yes; and in the very act of asking him to explain to you, his judge,
you have assured him from the bench that the court believes an
explanation impossible."

"Have I? Let me see."

After looking at the letter again he resumed:

"I believe you are right about that; I will rewrite the letter, omitting
the objectionable clause. Is that all Sudie?"

"Perhaps when you come to rewrite the letter you will see that its tone
is as unjust as any words could possibly be. It seems so to me."

"Let me try my hand again, daughter. Keep your seat please while I write
a new letter instead of rewriting the old one."

"There. How will that do?" he asked, as he handed the young woman this
hastily-written note.

     "MY DEAR ROBERT: We have just been hearing some news of you, which
     I trust you will be able to contradict or explain. It is that you
     have failed to keep your promise in the matter of your indebtedness
     to Major Pagebrook, and that you have not even offered a word by
     way of apology or explanation. The peculiar relations in which you
     now stand to my family justify me, I think, in asking you to
     explain a matter which, unexplained, must reflect upon your
     character as an honorable man. Please write to me by return mail."

"That is more like you, Uncle Carter. But I am sorry to find that you
are convinced, in advance, of Robert's guilt. You propose to sit in
judgment upon his case, and a court should not only appear but be free
from bias."

"Why, my daughter, I can hardly see how there can be any possible excuse
in a case like this. You cannot deny that both facts and appearances are
against him."

"I doubt whether we have the facts yet, Uncle Carter. Aside from my
knowledge of Cous--of Sarah Ann Pagebrook's general character, I saw
her do a dishonorable thing once. I saw her open and read a letter which
was not addressed to her, and I have no faith whatever in her, or in any
statement which comes from her or through her."

Colonel Barksdale was probably not sorry that the conversation was
interrupted at this point by the entrance of a servant announcing a
client. He felt that it would be idle to argue with Sudie in a matter in
which her feelings were strongly enlisted, and he felt that in calling
Robert to an account he was doing a simple duty. He was, therefore,
rather pleased than otherwise to have an accident terminate a
conversation which did not promise to terminate itself agreeably.

Miss Sudie went to her room and wrote to Robert on her own account. I am
not at liberty to print her letter here, as I should greatly like to do,
but the reader will readily guess its general nature. She told Robert in
detail everything that had been said concerning him that day. She told
him of her uncle's anger, and of the probability that everybody would
believe him guilty if he failed to establish his innocence; but she
assured him that she, at least, had no idea of doubting him for a
moment.

"For your sake," she wrote, "I hope you will be able to offer a
convincing explanation; but whether you can do that or not, Robert, _I
know_ that you are true and manly, and not even facts shall ever make me
doubt your truth. I may never be able to see how your action has been
right, but I shall know, nevertheless, that it has been so. My woman
love is truer, to me at least, than logic--truer than fact--truer than
truth itself."

All this was very illogical--very unreasonable, but very natural. It was
"just like a woman" to set her emotions up in a holy place and compel
her reason to do homage to them as to a god. And that is the very best
thing there is about women, too. You and I, sir, would fare badly if in
naming a woman wife we could not feel assured that her love will ever
override her reason in matters concerning us.



CHAPTER XXII.

_Mr. Sharp Does His Duty._


The law firm of Steel, Flint & Sharp was a thoroughly well constituted
one. Its organization was an admirable example of means perfectly
adapted to the accomplishment of ends. It was not an eminent firm but it
was an eminently successful one, particularly in the lines of business
to which it gave special attention, and the leading one of these was
collecting doubtful debts, as Cousin Sarah Ann had learned from one of
the firm's cards which had fallen in her way. Indeed it was the
accidental possession of this card which enabled her to put the matter
of Robert's indebtedness into the hands of New York attorneys, and I
suspect that she would never have thought of doing so at all but for the
enticing words, fairly printed upon the card--"particular attention
given to the collection of doubtful debts, due to non-residents of New
York."

A prophet, we know, is not without honor save in his own country, and so
it is not strange that the people who familiarly knew the countenances
of the gentlemen composing the firm of Steel, Flint & Sharp, esteemed
these gentlemen less highly than did those other people, resident
outside of New York, who could know these counselors at law only through
their profusely distributed cards and circulars. Such was the fact; and
as a result it happened that the clients of the firm were chiefly people
who, living in other parts of the country, were compelled to intrust
their business in New York to the hands of whatever attorneys they
believed were the leading ones in the metropolis. And it was to let
people know who were the leading lawyers of the city, that Messrs.
Steel, Flint & Sharp industriously scattered their cards and circulars
throughout the country.

Who Mr. Steel was I do not know, and I am strongly inclined to suspect
that the rest of the world, including his partners, were in a state of
equal ignorance. He was never seen about the firm's offices, and never
represented anybody in court, but he was frequently referred to by his
partners, especially when clients were disposed to complain of
apparently exorbitant charges.

"Mr. Steel can not give his attention to a case, sir, for nothing. His
reputation is at stake, sir, in all we undertake. I really do not feel
at liberty to ask Mr. Steel to authorize any reduction in this case,
sir. He gave his personal attention to the papers--his personal
attention, sir."

And this would commonly send clients away suppressed, if not satisfied.

Mr. Flint was well enough known. He managed the business of the firm. It
was he who always knew precisely what Mr. Steel's opinion was. He
alone, of all the world, was able to speak positively of matters
concerning Mr. Steel. Mr. Sharp was his junior in the firm, though
considerably his senior in years. For Mr. Sharp Mr. Flint entertained
not one particle of respect, because that gentleman was not always what
his name implied. Mr. Sharp left to himself would have been hopelessly
honest and straightforward. He would have gone to the dogs, speedily,
Mr. Flint said, but for his association with himself.

"But you have excellent ability in your way, Sharp, excellent ability,"
he would say when in a good humor. "You are a capital executive
officer--a very good lieutenant. Your ideas of what to do in any given
case are not always good, but when I tell you what to do you do it,
Sharp. I always know you will do what I tell you, and do it well too."

Mr. Sharp usually came to the office an hour earlier than Mr. Flint did,
in order that he might have everything ready for Mr. Flint's examination
when that gentleman should arrive. He read the letters, drew up papers,
and was prepared to give his partner in each case the facts upon which
his opinion or advice was necessary.

On the morning of December 3d, Mr. Flint came softly into his office
and, after hanging up his overcoat and warming his hands at the
register, went into his inner den, saying, as he sat down:

"I'm ready for you now, Sharp."

Mr. Sharp arose from his desk and entered the private room, with his
hands full of papers.

"What's the first thing on docket, Sharp?"

"Well, here's a collection to be made. Debtor, Robert Pagebrook,
temporarily in the city. Boarding place not known. Writes for the
newspapers, so I can easily find him. Creditor Edwin Pagebrook, of ----
Court House, Virginia. Debtor got creditor to cash draft for three
hundred dollars. Draft protested. Debtor came away, and promised to take
up paper by fifteenth November. Hasn't done it. Instructions 'push
him.'"

"Any limitations?"

"No."

"What have you done?"

"Nothing yet; I'll look him up to-day and dun him."

"Yes, and let him get away from you. Sharp do you know that Julius Cæsar
is dead?"

"Certainly."

"I'm glad to hear that you do know something then. Don't you see the
point in this case? Go and make out affidavits on information. This
fellow Robert what's his name is a 'transient,' and we'll get an order
of arrest all ready and then you can dun him with some sense. Have your
officer with you or convenient, and if he don't pay up, chuck him in
jail. That's the way to do it. Never waste time dunning 'transients'
when there's a ghost of a chance to cage them."

"Well, but there don't seem to be any fraud here. The man seems to have
had funds in the bank, only the bank suspended."

"Sharp, you'll learn a little law after awhile, I hope. Don't you know
the courts never look very sharply after cases where transients are
concerned? How do we know he had money in the bank? Is there anything to
show it?"

"No; I believe not."

"Well, then, don't you go to making facts in the interest of the other
side. Let him make that out if he can. You just draw your affidavits to
suit our purposes, not his. Go on to state that he drew a certain bill
of exchange, and represented that he had funds, and so fraudulently
obtained money, and all that; and then go on to say that his draft upon
presentation was protested, and that instead of making it good he
absconded. Be sure to say absconded, Sharp, it's half the battle. Courts
haven't much use for men that abscond and then turn up in New York. Make
your case strong enough, though. We only swear on information, you know,
so if we do put it a little strong it don't matter. There. Go and fix it
up right away, and then catch your man."

A few hours later, as Robert Pagebrook sat writing in his room, Mr.
Sharp and another man were shown in. Mr. Sharp opened the conversation.

"This is Mr. Pagebrook, I believe?"

"Yes, sir."

"Mr. _Robert_ Pagebrook?"

"Yes. That is my name."

"Thank you. My name is Sharp, of the firm of Steel, Flint & Sharp.
That's our card, sir. I have called to solicit the payment, sir, of a
small amount due Mr. Edwin Pagebrook, who has written asking us to
collect it for him. The amount is three hundred dollars, I think.
Yes. Here is the draft. Can you let me have the money to-day, Mr.
Pagebrook?"

"I have already remitted one third the amount, sir," said Robert, "and I
hope to send the remainder in installments very soon. At present it is
simply impossible for me to pay anything more."

"Have you a receipt for the amount remitted?" asked the lawyer.

"No. It was sent only yesterday. But if you will hold the draft a week
or ten days longer, I will be able, within that time, to earn the whole
of the amount remaining due, and your client will advise you, I am sure,
of the receipt of the hundred dollars already sent."

"We are not authorised to wait, sir," said Mr. Sharp. "On the contrary
our instructions are positive to push the case."

"But what can I do?" asked Robert. "I have already sent every dollar I
had, and until I earn more I can pay no more."

"The case is a peculiar one, sir. It has the appearance of a fraudulent
debt and an attempt to run away from it. I must do my duty by my client,
sir; and so this gentleman, who is a sheriff's officer, has an order for
your arrest, which I must ask him to serve if you do not pay the debt to
day."

[Illustration: "LET HIM SERVE IT AT ONCE, THEN."]

"Let him serve it at once, then," said Robert. "I can not pay now."



CHAPTER XXIII.

_Mr. Pagebrook Takes a Lesson in the Law._


As Robert was unable to give bail without calling upon his friend
Dudley, which he determined not to do in any case, he was taken to the
jail and locked up. Upon his arrival there he employed a messenger to
carry a note to a young lawyer with whom he happened to be slightly
acquainted, asking him to come to the jail at once. When he arrived
Robert said to him:

"Let me tell you in the outset, Mr. Dyker, that I have no money and no
friends; wherefore if you allow me to consult you at all, it must be
with the understanding that I cannot possibly pay you for your services
until I can make the money. If you are willing to trust me to that
extent, we can proceed to business."

"You are very honorable, sir, to inform me, beforehand, of this fact.
Pray go on. I will do what I can for you."

"In the first place, then," said Robert, "I am a little puzzled to know
how or why I am locked up. You have the papers, will you tell me how it
is?"

"O it's plain enough. You are held under an order of arrest."

"But I don't understand. I thought imprisonment for debt was a thing of
the past, in this country at least, and my only offense is indebtedness.
Is it possible that men may still be imprisoned for debt in America?"

"Well, that is about it," said the lawyer. "We have abolished the name
but retain the thing in a slightly modified form--in New York at least.
Theoretically you are not imprisoned, but merely held to answer. The
plaintiffs have made out a case of fraud and non-residence, and so they
had plain sailing."

"But I always understood that our constitution or our law or something
else secured every man against imprisonment except by due process of
law, and gave to every accused person the right to be confronted with
his accusers, to cross-examine witnesses, and to have his guilt or
innocence passed upon by a jury of his countrymen."

"That is the theory; but there are some classes of cases which are
practically exceptions, and yours is one of them."

"Then," said Robert, "it is true, is it, that an American may be
arrested and sent to jail without trial, upon the mere strength of
affidavits made by lawyers who know nothing of the facts except what
they have heard from distant, irresponsible, and personally interested
clients--affidavits upon information, I believe you call them?"

"Well, you put it a little strongly, perhaps, but those are the facts in
New York. Respectable lawyers, however, are careful to satisfy
themselves of the facts before proceeding at all in such cases; and so
the law, which is a very convenient one, rarely ever works injustice, I
think--not once in twenty times, I should say."

"But," said Robert, "the personal liberty of every non-resident and some
resident debtors is, or in some cases may be, dependent solely upon the
character of attorneys, as I understand you."

"In some cases, yes. But pardon me. Had we not better come to the matter
in hand?"

"As we are not a legislature perhaps it would be better," said Robert.
He then proceeded to relate the facts of the case, beginning with his
drawing of the draft in good faith, its protest, and his consequent
perplexity.

"I did not 'abscond' at all," he continued, "but came away to see if I
could save something from the wreck of the bank, and to seek work. In
leaving, I promised to pay the debt on or before the fifteenth of last
month, feeling certain that I could do so. I failed to do it,
through----never mind, I failed to do it, but I have been trying hard
ever since to get the money and discharge the obligation. I yesterday
remitted a hundred dollars, and should have sent the rest as fast as I
could make it. These are the facts. Now how am I to get out of here?"

"You have nobody to go your bail?"

"Nobody."

"And no money?"

"None. I sold my watch in order to get money on which to live while I
was looking for work."

"You did have money enough to your credit in that bank to have made your
draft good if the bank hadn't suspended?"

"Yes."

"You can swear to that?"

"Certainly."

"Then I think we can manage this matter without much difficulty. We can
admit the facts but deny the fraudulent intent, in affidavits of our
own, and get discharged on that ground. I think we can easily overthrow
the theory of fraud by showing that you actually had the money in bank
and swearing that you drew against it in good faith."

"Pardon me; but in doing that I should be bound, should I not, in honor
if not in law, to state all the facts of the case in my affidavit? The
theory of the proceeding is that I am putting the court in possession of
all the facts and withholding nothing, is it not?"

"Well--yes. I suppose it is."

"Then let us abandon that plan forthwith."

"But my dear sir----"

"Pray don't argue the point. My mind is fully made up. Is there no other
mode of securing my release?"

"Yes; you might schedule out under article 5 of the Non-Imprisonment
Act, I think."

"How is that?"

"It is a sort of insolvency or bankruptcy proceeding, by which you come
into court--any court of record--and offer to give up everything you
have to your creditors, giving a sworn catalogue of all your debts and
all your property, and praying release on the ground that you are
unable to do more."

"Well, as I have literally nothing in the way of property just now, that
mode of procedure seems to fit my case precisely," said Robert, whose
courage and good humor and indomitable cheerfulness stood him in good
stead in this time of very sore trial. The world looked gloomy enough to
him then in whatever way he chose to look at it, but the instinct of
fight was large within him, and in the absence of other joys he felt a
savage pleasure in knowing that his life henceforth must be a constant
struggle against fearful odds--odds of prejudice as well as of poverty;
for who could now take him by the hand and say to others this is my
friend?

"It's too late to accomplish anything to-day, Mr. Pagebrook," said the
lawyer, looking at his watch; "but I will be here by ten o'clock
to-morrow morning, and we will then go to work for your deliverance,
which we can effect, I think, pretty quick. Good evening, sir."



CHAPTER XXIV.

_Mr. Pagebrook Cuts himself loose from the Past and Plans a Future._


When the lawyer had gone Robert sat down to deliberate upon the
situation and to decide what was to be done in matters aside from the
question of his release. He had that morning received Col. Barksdale's
letter and Miss Sudie's. These must be answered at once, and he was not
quite certain how he should answer them. After turning the matter over
he determined upon his course and, according to his custom, having
determined what to do he at once set about doing it. Having brought a
supply of paper and envelopes from his room he had only to borrow pen
and ink from the attendant.

His first letter was addressed to the president of the college from
which he had received his appointment as professor, and it consisted of
a simple resignation, with no explanation except that contained in the
sentence:

"I can ill afford to surrender the position or the salary, but there are
painful circumstances surrounding me, which compel me to this course.
Pray excuse me from a fuller statement of the case."

To Col. Barksdale he wrote:

"Your letter surprises me only in its kindness and gentleness of tone.
Under the circumstances I could have forgiven a good deal of harshness.
For your forbearance, however, you have my hearty thanks. And now as to
the subject matter of your note: I am sorry to say I can offer neither
denial nor satisfactory explanation of the facts alleged against me. I
must bear the blame that attaches to what I have done, and bearing that
blame I know my duty to you and your family. I shall write by this mail
to Miss Barksdale volunteering a release, which otherwise you would have
a right to demand of me."

Sealing this and directing it, Robert came to the hardest task of
all--the writing of a letter to Cousin Sudie.

"I hardly know how to write to you," he wrote. "Your generous faith in
me in spite of everything is more than I had any right to expect, and
more, I think, than you have any right, in justice to yourself, to give
me. I thank you for it right heartily, but I feel that I must not accept
it. When you listened to my words of love and gave them a place in your
heart, I was a gentleman without reproach. Now a stain is upon my name,
which I can never remove. The man to whom you promised your hand was not
the absconding debtor who writes you this from a jail. I send this
letter, therefore, to offer you a release from your engagement with me,
if indeed any release be necessary. You cannot afford to know me or even
to remember me hereafter. Forget me, then, or, if you cannot wholly
forget, remember me only as an adventurer, who for a paltry sum sold his
good name.

"Good-by. I wish you well with all my heart."

As he sealed these letters Robert felt that his hopes for the future
were sealed up with them, and that the post which should bear them away
would carry with it the better part of his life. And yet he did not
wholly surrender himself to despair, as a weaker man might have done.
The old life was gone from him forever. The only people whom he had
known as in any sense his own would grasp his hand no more, and if they
ever thought of him again it would be only to regret that they had known
him at all. All this he felt keenly, but it did not follow that he
should abandon himself, as a consequence. He was still a young man, and
there was time enough for him to make a new life for himself--to find
new friends and to do some worthy work in the world; and to the planning
of this new life he at once addressed himself.

He would teach no longer, and now that he had cut himself loose from
that profession there was opportunity to do something at the business
which he had found so agreeable of late. He would devote himself
hereafter wholly to writing, and at the first opportunity he would
become a regular member of the staff of some paper. Even if his earnings
with his pen should prove small, what did that matter? He could never
think of marrying now, and a very little would suffice to supply all his
wants, his habits of life being simple and regular. It stung him when he
remembered that there was a stain upon his name which could never be
removed; but that, he knew, he must bear, and so he resolved to bear it
bravely, as it becomes a man to bear all his burdens.

With thoughts like these the stalwart young fellow sank to sleep on the
bed assigned him in the jail.



CHAPTER XXV.

_In which Miss Sudie Acts very Unreasonably._


The men who make up mails and handle great bags full of letters every
day of their lives grow accustomed to the business, I suppose, and learn
after awhile to regard the bags and their contents merely as so many
pounds of "mail matter." Otherwise they would soon become unfit for
their duties. If they could weigh those bags with other than material
scales--if they could know how many human hopes and fears; how much of
human purpose and human despair; how many joys and how much of
wretchedness those bags contain; if they could hear the moans that utter
themselves inside the canvas; if they could know the varying purposes
with which all those letters have been written, and the various effects
they are destined to produce; if our mail carriers could know and feel
all these things, or the half of them, we should shortly have no mail
carriers at all. But fortunately there are prosaic souls enough in the
world to make all necessary mail agents and postmasters, and undertakers
and grave-diggers out of.

In the small mail bag thrown off at the Court House one December
morning, there was one little package of New York letters--three
letters in all, but on those three letters hung the happiness of several
human lives. Of one of them we shall learn nothing for the present. The
other two, from Robert Pagebrook to his uncle and Miss Barksdale, we
have already been permitted to read. When these were received at
Shirley, Miss Sudie took hers to her own room and read it there, after
which she sat down and answered it. Col. Barksdale read his with no
surprise, as he had not been able to imagine any possible explanation of
Robert's conduct; and now that that gentleman frankly confessed that
there was none, he accepted the confession as a bit of evidence in the
case, for which he had waited merely as a matter of form. It was his
duty now to talk again with his niece, but he was very tender always in
his dealings with her, and felt an especial tenderness now that she must
be suffering sorely. He quietly inquired where she was, and learning
that she was in her own room, he refrained from summoning her himself,
and gave her maid particular instructions to allow no one else to
intrude upon her privacy upon any pretense whatsoever.

"Lucy," he said, to the colored woman, "your Miss Sudie wishes to be
alone for awhile. Sit down in the passage near her door, but don't
knock, and don't allow any one else to knock. When she wishes to see any
one she will open the door herself, and until then I do not want her
disturbed."

Then going into the dining-room, where Dick was polishing the mahogany
with a large piece of cork, he said:

"Dick, go out to the office and ask your Mas' Billy if he will be good
enough to come to me in the library. I want to talk with him."

When Billy came in his father showed him Robert's letter.

"The thing looks very ugly," said the younger gentleman.

"Very ugly, indeed," said his father; "but the confounded rascal holds
up his head under it all, and acts as honorably in Sudie's case as if he
had never acted otherwise than as a gentleman should. He is a puzzle to
me. But, of course, this must end the matter. We can have nothing
whatever to do with him hereafter."

"But how is it, father, that they have managed to imprison him?"

"I presume they have secured an order of arrest under that New York
statute which seems to have been devised as a means of securing to
creditors all the advantages of imprisonment for debt without shocking
the better sense of the community, which is clearly against such
imprisonment. The majority of people rarely ever pay any attention to
the fact so long as they are spared the name of odious things. No
debtors' prison would be allowed to stand in the United States, of
course, but the common jails answer all purposes when a way for getting
debtors locked up in them has been devised."

"But how does it happen, father," asked Mr. Billy, "that only New York
has such a statute?"

"Well, in New York the commercial interest overrides every other, and
commercial men naturally attach undue importance to the collection of
debts, and look with favor upon everything which tends to facilitate
it. These things always reflect the feeling rather than the opinion of a
community. In new countries, where horses are of more importance than
anything else, horse-stealing is pretty sure to be punished with death,
either by law or by the mob, which is only public sentiment embodied.
Here in Virginia you know how impossible it is to get anything like an
effective statute for the suppression of dueling, simply because the
ultimate public sentiment practically approves of personal warfare. But,
I confess, I did not know that the New York statute could be stretched
to cover a case like Robert's. As I understand it, there must be some
evidence of fraud in the inception of the transaction."

"They proceed upon affidavits, I believe," said Billy, "and when that is
done it isn't hard to make out a case, if the attorney is unscrupulous
enough."

"That's true. But isn't it curious that Edwin should have proceeded so
promptly to harsh measures? He is so mild of temper that this surprises
me."

"Cousin Edwin doesn't always act out his own character, you know,
father. His wife is the stronger willed of the two."

"True. I hadn't thought of that. However, it serves the young rascal
right."

At this point of the conversation Cousin Sudie's knock was heard at the
inner door, and Col. Barksdale opening the outer one said:

"You'd better go out this door, William. It would embarrass Sue to find
you here just now."

"Come in my daughter," he said, admitting Miss Sudie. "Sit down. I am
greatly pained, on his account as well as yours, to find that Robert has
no explanation to offer. But, of course, this ends it all, and you must
take a little trip somewhere, my dear, until you forget all about it.
Where shall we go?"

"I do not care to go anywhere, Uncle Carter," replied the little maiden,
without the faintest echo of a sob in her voice. "I am sorry for poor
Robert, but not because I think him guilty of any dishonorable action,
for indeed I do not."

"But, my dear, it will never do----"

"Pray hear me out, Uncle Carter, and then I will listen to anything you
have to say. I love you as a father, as you know perfectly well. Indeed
I have never known you as anything else. I have always obeyed you
unquestioningly, and I shall not begin to disobey you now. I shall do
precisely what you tell me to do, _so long as I remain in your house_."

"What do you mean by that, daughter?" asked her uncle, startled by the
singular emphasis which Miss Sudie gave to the last clause of the
sentence.

"Merely this, Uncle Carter. I cannot consent to do that which my
conscience teaches me is a crime, even at your command; but while I
remain at Shirley as a daughter of the house I must obey as a daughter.
If you command me to do anything which I cannot do without sinning
against my conscience, then I must not obey you, and when I can't obey
you I must cease to be your daughter. I shall conceal nothing from you,
Uncle Carter; you know that, and I beg of you don't command me to do
the things which I must not do. I love you and it would kill me--no, it
would not do that, but it would pain me more than I can possibly say, to
leave Shirley."

Col. Barksdale leaned his head sorrowfully upon his hand. He loved this
girl and held her as his own. Moreover, he had solemnly promised his
dying brother to care for her always as a father cares for his children,
and an oath could not have been more sacred in his eyes than this
promise was. Without raising his head he asked:

"You mean, Sudie, that you will not accept Robert's release?"

"Yes, uncle, that is what I mean." This was sorrowfully and gently said,
but firmly too.

"He has offered to release you; has he not?"

"Yes."

"And in so offering, did he express or hint a wish that you should not
accept his release?"

"No. On the contrary he assumed that I would accept it, and that I must
do so in justice to myself. Here is his letter. Read it if you please."

Col. Barksdale read the letter, with which the reader is already
familiar, and, handing it back, said:

"A very proper and manly letter."

"Because it came from a very proper and manly man," said Miss Sudie.

"You don't believe he has been guilty of the dishonorable acts laid to
his charge, then?"

"Of the acts, yes. Of the dishonor, no," said the girl.

"On what ground do you base your persistent good opinion of him?"

"On my persistent faith in him."

"Your faith is very unreasonable, my dear."

"Perhaps so, but it exists nevertheless."

"Have you answered his letter?"

"Yes, sir; and I have brought my answer for you to read, if you care to
do so," she said, taking her letter out of her desk, which lay in her
lap, and giving it to her uncle, who read as follows:

    "MY DEAR ROBERT:--I am not in the least surprised by your letter. I
    knew you would offer to release me from my engagement, because I
    knew you were a man of honor. I have never for a moment doubted
    that, and I do not doubt it now. Your character weighs more with me
    than any mere facts can. I know you are an honorable man, and
    knowing that I shall not let other people's doubts upon the subject
    govern my action. When I 'listened to your words of love, and gave
    them a place in my heart,' you were, as you say, 'a gentleman
    without reproach'; and the reproach which lies upon you now does not
    make you less a gentleman. It is an unjust reproach, and your
    manliness in bearing it and offering to accept its consequences,
    only serves to mark you still more distinctly as a gentleman. Shall
    I be less honorable, less fearlessly true than you? When I gave you
    my heart and promised you my hand, you had friends in abundance. Now
    that you have none, I have no idea of withdrawing either the gift or
    the promise.

    "You say you can never clear your name of the stain which is upon
    it now. For that I am heartily sorry, for your sake, but as I know
    that the stain does not rightly belong there it becomes my duty and
    my pleasure to bear it with you. I shall retain my faith in you and
    my love for you, and I shall profess them too on all proper
    occasions, and when you claim me as your wife I shall hold up Mrs.
    Robert Pagebrook's head as proudly as I now hold Susan Barksdale's.

    "Under other circumstances I should have thought it unmaidenly to
    write in this way, but there must be no doubt of my meaning now. If
    you ever ask a release from your promise, with or without reason, I
    trust you know me well enough to know that it will be granted--but
    from my promise I shall ask none. Another reason for the frankness
    of this letter is that I want you, in your trouble, to know how
    implicitly I trust your honor; and I should certainly never trust
    such a letter in any but the cleanest of hands.

    "Uncle Carter will see this before it goes, and he will know, as it
    is right that he should, that I have not availed myself of your
    proffered release...."

The omitted sentences with which the letter closed are not for our eyes.
Even Colonel Barksdale refused to read them, feeling that they were
sacred, and that the permission given him to read the letter extended no
further than the end of the sentence last set down in the extract above
given.

Returning the sheet he said: "I suppose you have written this after
giving the matter full consideration, daughter?"

"I never act without knowing what I am doing, Uncle Carter."

"Well, my child, I think you are wrong, but I shall not ask you to do
anything which your conscience condemns. I shall not ask you to withhold
your letter, or to alter it, but I would prefer that you hold it until
to-morrow, so that you may be quite sure you want to send it as it is.
Will you mind doing that?"

"No, Uncle Carter. I will keep it till to-morrow, if you wish, but I
shall not change my mind concerning it. You are very good to me. Thank
you;" and kissing his forehead, she left him, not to return to her room
as a more sentimental woman would have done, but to go about her daily
duties, with a sober face, it is true, but with all her accustomed
regularity and attention to business.



CHAPTER XXVI.

_In which Miss Sudie Adopts the Socratic Method._


When Miss Sudie left him Col. Barksdale again sent for his son and told
him of that young woman's unreasonable determination.

"I expected that, father, and am not at all surprised," said the young
man.

"Why, my son? Had you talked the matter over with her?"

"No. But I know Sudie too well to expect her to give up her faith in Bob
while he is under a cloud and in trouble too. She has a mighty good head
on her shoulders; but what's a woman's head worth when her heart pulls
the other way? She overrides her own reason as coolly as if it were
worth just nothing at all, and puts everybody else's out of the way with
the utmost indifference. I know her of old. She used to take my part
that way whenever I got into a boyish scrape, and before she had done
with it she always convinced me, along with everybody else, that I had
done nothing to be ashamed of. The fact is, father, I like that in
Sudie. She's the truest little woman I ever saw, and she sticks to her
friends like mutton gravy to the roof of your mouth," said Billy,
unable, even at such a time as this, to restrain his passion for strange
metaphors.

"The trait is a noble one, certainly," said the old gentleman; "but for
that very reason, if for no other, we must do what we can to keep her
from sacrificing herself to a noble faith in an unworthy man. Don't you
think so?"

"Without doubt. But what can we do? You say you do not feel free to
control her."

"We can at least do our duty. I have talked with her, and now I want you
to do the same. She will not shun the conversation, I think, for she is
a brave girl."

"I will see what I can do, father," said the young man. "Possibly I may
persuade her to let the matter rest where it is, for the present at
least, and even that will be something gained."

Col. Barksdale was right in thinking that Miss Sudie would not seek to
avoid a conversation with Billy. On the contrary she wished especially
to say something to this young gentleman, and for that very purpose she
sought him in the office. He and she had been brought up as brother and
sister, and there was no feeling of restraint between them now that they
were grown man and woman.

"Cousin Billy," she said, sitting down near him, "I want to talk with
you about Robert. I want to remind you, if you will let me, of your duty
to him."

"What do you conceive my duty to be in the case, Sudie?" asked Billy.

"To defend him," said Miss Sudie.

"But how can I do that, Sudie, in face of the facts?"

"You believe then that Robert Pagebrook, whom you know thoroughly, has
done the dishonorable things laid to his charge?"

"Well," said Billy, feeling himself hardly prepared for this kind of
attack, "I confess I should never have thought him capable of doing such
things."

"Why would you never have thought him capable of doing them, Cousin
Billy?"

"O well, because he always seemed to be such an honorable fellow," said
Billy.

"You did believe him honorable, then?" asked this young female Socrates.

"Certainly; you know that Sudie."

"On what did you base that belief, Cousin Billy?"

"Why, on his way of doing things, on my knowledge of him, of course;"
replied Billy.

"Well, then, is that knowledge of him of no value now?" asked Sudie.

"How do you mean?"

"I mean does your knowledge of Robert weigh nothing now? Are you ready
to believe on imperfect evidence, that Robert Pagebrook, who you know
was an honorable man, is not now an honorable man? Doesn't his character
weigh anything with you? Do you believe his character has changed, or do
you think it possible that he simulated that character and did it so
perfectly as to deceive us all? Doesn't it seem more probable that there
is some mistake about this business? In short, how can you believe
Robert guilty of a thing which you know very well he wouldn't do for
his head? If you 'wouldn't have believed it,' why do you believe it?"

Mr. Billy was stunned. He had been prepared for tears. He had expected
to find in Sudie an unreasoning faith. He had looked for an obstinate
determination on her part to adhere to her purpose. But for this kind of
illogical logic he had made no preparation whatever. It had never
entered his head that Miss Sudie would seriously undertake to argue the
matter. The evidence against Robert he had accepted as unquestionable,
and he had not expected Miss Sudie to question it in this way.

"But, Cousin Sudie, you overlook the fact that Robert has confessed the
very thing which you say is unlikely."

"No; he has not confessed anything of the sort. Indeed he seems to have
carefully avoided doing so. In his letter to Uncle Carter he merely
says, 'I can offer neither denial nor explanation of the facts alleged
against me.' To me he only says, 'a stain is upon my name.' He nowhere
says, 'I am guilty.'"

"But, Sudie," said Billy, "if he a'n't guilty, why can't he offer either
'denial or explanation'?"

"That I do not know; but I don't find it half as hard to believe that
there may be good reasons for that, as to believe that an honorable
man--a man whom we both know to be an honorable one--has done a
dishonorable thing."

"But, Sudie, why didn't Bob borrow the money of father or of me, if he
honestly couldn't pay? He knew we would gladly lend it to him."

"I'm glad you mentioned that. If Robert had wanted to swindle anybody,
how much easier it would have been for him to write to you or Uncle
Carter, saying he couldn't pay and asking you to take up his protested
draft for him. He knew you would have done it, and he could then have
accomplished his purpose without any exposure. Almost any excuse would
have satisfied you or Uncle Carter, and so the thing would have gone on
for years. Wouldn't he have done exactly that, Cousin Billy, if he had
wanted to swindle anybody? Men don't often covet a bad name for its own
sake."

"Clearly, Sudie, I am getting the worst of this argument. You are a
better sophist than I ever gave you credit for being. But it's hard to
believe that black is white. I'll tell you what I'll do, though, Sudie.
I'll do my very best to believe that there is some sort of faint
possibility that facts a'n't facts, and hold myself, as nearly as I can,
in readiness to believe that something may turn up in Bob's favor. If
anything were to turn up I'd be as glad of it as anybody."

"But I'm not satisfied with that, Cousin Billy."

"What more do you ask, Sudie?"

"That you shall hold yourself in readiness to help turn something up
whenever an opportunity offers. Keep a sharp lookout for things which
may possibly have a bearing upon this matter, and follow up any clue you
may get. Won't you do that for my sake, Cousin Billy?"

"I'd do anything for your sake, Sudie, and I'd give a hundred dollars
for your faith."

And so ended the conversation. Mr. Billy, it must be confessed, had
done little toward the accomplishment of the task he had set himself.
But as he himself put it: "What on earth was a fellow to do with a faith
which made incontestable truths out of impossibilities, and scattered
facts before it like a flock of partridges?" Mr. Billy fully appreciated
the unreasonableness of Miss Sudie's logic, and yet, in spite of all, he
could not help entertaining a sort of half hope that something would
occur to vindicate Robert--a hope born of nothing more substantial than
Miss Sudie's enthusiastic belief in her lover.



CHAPTER XXVII.

_Mr. Pagebrook Accepts an Invitation to Lunch and another Invitation._


On the morning after Robert's incarceration, his attorney came at the
appointed hour for the purpose of preparing the papers on which
application was to be made for his discharge.

"I have the affidavits all ready, I believe, Mr. Pagebrook, and we have
only to make a complete list of your property."

"That will be easily done, sir," said Robert, with a feeling of grim
amusement; "as I have literally nothing except my trunk and its
contents."

"You have your claim on that bank for money deposited. I suppose that
must be included, though it is only a _chose_ in action."

"O put it in, by all means," said Robert. "I do not wish to misrepresent
anything or to withhold anything. I only wish the _chose_ in action, as
you call it, were of sufficient value to discharge the debt. I should
then quit here free from all indebtedness, except to you for your fee;
and should not have this thing to pay.'

"Your discharge, I think, will free you, in law, from----"

"But it will not free me in honor sir. It will give me time, however;
and the very first use I shall make of that time will be to earn the
money with which to pay off this, my only debt. I should never ask a
discharge at all if the asking supposed any purpose on my part to avoid
the payment of the debt. Pardon me; this talk must sound odd to you,
coming from a man in my present position. I forgot that I am an
absconding debtor. You will think my talk a cheap kind of honesty,
costing nothing."

"No, Pagebrook--if you will allow me to drop the 'Mister'--I should
trust you in any transaction, though I have not known you a week. I
don't believe you are an absconding debtor, and I'm not going to believe
it on the strength of any oaths Messrs. Steel, Flint & Sharp may make."
As he said this the young lawyer took Robert's hand, and Robert found
himself wholly unable to utter a word by way of reply. He did not want
to shed tears in the presence of his jail attendants, but the lawyer saw
them standing in his eyes, and prevented any effort at replying by
turning at once to the matter in hand.

"Come, Pagebrook," he said, "this isn't business. Let me see; what bank
was it that you deposited with?"

"The Essex," said Robert.

"The Essex!" said the lawyer. "What was that I saw in the Tribune this
morning about that bank? I think it was the Essex. Let me see;" running
his eye over the columns of the newspaper, which he had taken from his
pocket.

"Ah! here it is. By George! My dear Pagebrook, I congratulate you. Your
bank has resumed. See, here is the item:

"'PHILADELPHIA, DEC. 3D.--The Essex Bank, of this city, which suspended
payment some weeks since, will resume business to-morrow. Its affairs
were found to be in a very favorable condition, and at a meeting of the
stockholders, held to-day, the deficit in its assets was covered, and
its capital made good by subscription. It is not thought that any run
will be made upon it, but ample preparations have been made to meet such
a contingency.'

"Again I congratulate you, right heartily."

"This means then, that my sixteen hundred dollars--that was the total
amount of my deposit--is intact, and that I may check against it as soon
as I choose, does it?"

"Certainly."

"Then let us suspend our preparations for securing my release. I will
pay out of this instead of begging out. I will draw at once for enough
to cover this debt and your fees, and ask you to put the draft into bank
for collection. We will have returns by the day after to-morrow,
doubtless, and I shall then go out of here with my head up."

"We'll end this business sooner than that, Pagebrook," said the lawyer.
"Draw your draft, I'll indorse it, take it to the bank where I deposit,
get it cashed at once, and have you out of here in time for a two
o'clock lunch. You'll lunch with me, of course."

"Pardon me, but you have no means of knowing that I have any money in
that bank," said Robert.

"Yes, indeed I have."

"What is it?"

"Your word. I told you I would trust you."

Robert looked at the man a moment, and then taking his hand, said:

"I accept your confidence frankly. Thank you. Draw the draft, please,
and I will sign it."

The draft was soon drawn, and at two o'clock that day--just twenty-four
hours after his arrest--Robert sat down to lunch with his friend, in a
down-town eating-house.

While the two gentlemen were engaged with their lunch, Robert's friend
Dudley, who had been eating a chop at the farther end of the room,
espied his acquaintance, and approaching him said:

"How are you, Pagebrook? Are you specially engaged for this afternoon?"

"No, I believe not," said Robert. "I have nothing to do except to finish
an article which I want to offer you to-morrow, and I can do that
to-night."

"Suppose you come up to the office, then, after you finish your lunch. I
want to talk with you."

"I will be there within half an hour, if that will suit you," said
Robert.

"Very well; I'll expect you."

Accordingly, Robert bade his friend adieu after lunch, and went
immediately to the editor's room.

Mr. Dudley closed the door, first saying to his messenger, who sat in
the anteroom;

"I shall be busy for some time, Eddie, and can't see anybody. If any
one calls, tell him I am closeted with a gentleman on important business
and can see nobody. Now, Pagebrook," he resumed, taking his seat, "you
ought to quit teaching."

"Why?" asked Robert.

"Well, you're a born writer certainly, and if I am not greatly mistaken,
a born journalist too. You have a knack of knowing just what points
people want to hear about. I've been struck with that in every article
you have written for me, and especially in this last one. Do you know
I've rejected no less than a dozen well-written articles on that very
subject, just because they treated every phase of it except the right
one, and didn't come within a mile of that. Now you've hit it exactly,
as you always do. You've got hold of precisely the things that nobody
knows anything about and everybody wants to know all about, and that's
journalism."

"Thank you," said Robert. "You really think, then, that I might make
myself a successful journalist if I were to try?"

"I know you would. You have precisely the right sort of ideas. You
discriminate between the things that are wanted and the things that are
not. I have long since discovered that this thing that men call writing
ability and journalistic ability isn't like anything else. It crops out
where you would never look for it, and where you think it ought to be it
isn't. You can't coax or nurse it into existence to save your life. If a
man has it he has it, and if he hasn't it he hasn't it, and nobody can
give it to him. It isn't contagious, and I honestly believe it isn't
acquirable. And that's why I'm certain of you. You've shown that you
have it, and one showing is as good as a hundred."

"I am greatly pleased," said Robert, "to know that you think so well of
me in this respect, for I have resigned my professorship and determined
to make my way, to the best of my ability, as a journalist, hereafter?"

"You have?"

"Yes; I sent my letter of resignation yesterday."

"I'm heartily glad of it, old fellow, and selfishly glad, too, for it
was to persuade you to do that that I sat down to talk to you. You see
my health is not very good lately; the fact is I have been using the
spur too much, and am pretty well run down with overwork. The publishers
have been urging me to get an assistant, and the trouble is to get one
who can really relieve me of a share of the work. I can get plenty of
people to undertake it, but I have to go over their work to be sure of
it, and it's easier to do it myself from the first. Now you are just the
man I want, if you can stand the salary. The publishers will let me pay
forty dollars a week. You can make more than that from the outside, I
suppose, but it's better to be in a regular situation, I think. How
would you like to try the thing?"

"Nothing could be more to my taste. I think I should like this better
than daily paper work, and besides it gives one a better opportunity for
growth. But before we talk any more about it I feel myself in honor
bound to tell you what has happened to me lately. If you care then to
repeat your offer, I shall gladly accept it, but if you feel the
slightest hesitation about it, I shall not blame you for not renewing
it."

And Robert told him everything, but Dudley declined to believe that
there had been any just cause for the arrest, or that Robert had in any
way violated the strictest canons of honor.

This young man seemed, indeed, to be perfect master of the art of making
people believe in him in spite of the most damaging facts. Miss Sudie's
faith in him never wavered for an instant. Even Billy had to keep a
synopsis of the evidence against his cousin constantly in mind to keep
himself from "believing that he couldn't see through glass," as he
phrased it. The New York lawyer, summoned to get the young man out of
jail, backed his faith in him, as we have seen, by indorsing his draft
for several hundred dollars; and now Dudley, after hearing a plain
statement of the facts from Robert's own lips, dismissed them as of no
consequence, and set up his own unreasonable faith as a complete answer
to them. He renewed his offer, and Robert accepted it, becoming office
editor of the weekly paper for which he had recently been writing.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

_Major Pagebrook asserts himself._


It now becomes necessary to a proper understanding of this history that
we shall go back a day or two, to the day, in fact, on which Robert's
letters were received at Shirley. I said there were three New York
letters in the mail-bag thrown off at the Court House that morning. The
third letter there referred to was from the law firm of Steel, Flint &
Sharp. It was addressed to Edwin Pagebrook, Esq., and quite by accident
it fell into that gentleman's hands. I say by accident, because Cousin
Sarah Ann had taken unusual precautions to prevent precisely this
result. After writing to the lawyers, it occurred to that estimable lady
that a reply would come in due time, and that as she had taken the
liberty of signing her husband's name to her letter, the reply would be
addressed to him rather than to her, and she greatly feared that he
would have an opportunity to read it. She particularly wished that this
should not happen. She knew her mild-mannered and long-suffering husband
thoroughly, and, while she felt free to torment him in various ways, she
had learned, from one or two bits of experience, that it was not the
part of wisdom to tax his endurance too far. Accordingly she took pains
to prevent him from visiting the Court House while she was expecting the
letter. She laid various plans for the purpose of keeping him occupied
on the plantation every day, and took care to secure the first look into
the family postbag whenever the servant returned with it. On the morning
in question, however, as Maj. Pagebrook was riding over his plantation,
inspecting work, he met a neighbor who was going to the Court House, and
having some small matters to attend to there he determined to join the
neighbor in his ride. Upon his arrival he called for his letters, and so
it came about that the note in which Messrs. Steel, Flint & Sharp,
"begged to inform him" of Robert's arrest in accordance with his
instructions, fell into his hands. At first he was puzzled, and thought
there must have been some mistake, but after awhile a glimmering of the
truth dawned upon him, and in his smothered way he was exceedingly
angry. He had condemned Robert's misconduct as severely as anybody, but
had never dreamed of proceeding to harsh measures in the matter.
Besides, it was only the day before that Robert's remittance of one
hundred dollars had come to him, and, in acknowledging its receipt, he
had partially satisfied his resentment by telling his cousin "what he
thought of him," and to learn now that the young man was in jail for the
fault, and apparently at his behest, was sorely displeasing to him. And
worse than all, his wife had taken an unwarrantable liberty in the
affair, and this he determined to resent. He mounted his horse,
therefore, and was on the point of starting homeward when Dr. Harrison
accosted him.

"Good morning, Maj. Pagebrook. May I speak to you a moment?"

"Good morning, Charles."

"Has there been any administrator appointed for Ewing's estate?"

"No, not yet. I reckon I must take out papers next court day, as he was
of age when he died. It's only a matter of form, I reckon, as there are
no debts."

"Well, my only reason for asking is I hold Ewing's note for two hundred
and twenty-five dollars. I'm in no hurry, only I wanted to act regularly
and get it in shape by presenting it."

"You have Ewing's note? Why, what is it for?" asked Major Pagebrook in
astonishment.

"Borrowed money," answered the doctor.

"Borrowed money? But how did he come to borrow it?"

"Well, the fact is Ewing got to playing bluff with Foggy one day just
before he got sick, and Foggy fleeced him pretty badly, and I lent him
the money to pay out with. He didn't want to owe it to Foggy, you know."

"Have you the note with you?" asked Maj. Pagebrook.

"No. It's in my office; but I can get it if you'd like to look at it."

"No; it's no matter, if you can tell me the date."

"It bears date November 19th, I think."

"Just one day after he came of age," said Maj. Pagebrook. "Well, I'll
see about it, Charles," and with this the two gentlemen separated.

Major Pagebrook rode homeward, meditating upon the occurrences of the
morning. He had determined to manage his own business hereafter without
tolerating improper interference upon the part of his wife, and he was
in position to do this, too, except with regard to the home plantation,
which, as Ewing had informed Robert, was held in Cousin Sarah Ann's
name. Major Pagebrook was a quiet man and a long-suffering one. He liked
nothing so much as peace, and to keep the peace he had always yielded to
the more aggressive nature of his wife. But he felt now that the time
had come for him to assert his supremacy in business matters, and he
determined to assert it very quietly but very positively. One point was
as good as another, he thought, for the purpose, and this
newly-discovered debt of Ewing's gave him an excellent occasion for the
self-assertion upon which he had resolved. Several times of late he had
mildly suggested to Cousin Sarah Ann the propriety of putting Ewing's
papers into Billy Barksdale's hands for examination, so that the boy's
affairs might be properly and legally adjusted. To every such suggestion
Cousin Sarah Ann, who carried the key of Ewing's portable desk, had
turned a deaf ear, saying that there were no debts one way or the other,
and that she "wouldn't have anybody overhauling the poor boy's private
papers." Now, however, Major Pagebrook had made up his mind to put the
desk into Billy's hands without asking the excellent lady's consent.

"Don't take my horse, Jim," he said to his servant upon arriving at
home, "I am going to ride again presently. Just tie him to the rack till
I want him."

Going into the house, he met Cousin Sarah Ann, to whom he said:

"Sarah Ann, I will write my own letters and attend to my own business
hereafter, and I'll thank you not to sign my name for me again. You have
placed me in a very awkward position, and I can't explain it to anybody
without exposing you. Understand me now, please. I will not tolerate any
such interference in future."

Ordinarily Cousin Sarah Ann would have been ready enough with a reply to
such a remark as this, but just now she was fairly frightened by her
husband's tone and manner. She saw at a glance that he was in very
serious earnest, and she knew him well enough to know that it would not
do to provoke him further. She was always afraid of him, even when she
was riding rough-shod over him. When he seemed most submissive and she
most aggressive, she was in the habit of scanning his countenance very
carefully, as an engineer watches his steam gauge. When she saw steam
rising, she usually had the safety valve--a flood of tears--ready for
immediate use. Just now she saw indications of an explosion, which
appalled her, and she dared not face the danger for a moment. Without
reply, therefore, she sank, weeping, into the nearest chair, while her
husband walked into her room, opened her wardrobe, and took from it the
little desk in which his son's letters and papers were locked. Coming
back to her he said:

"I will take the key to this desk, if you please."

She looked up with a frightened countenance, and asked:

"What for?"

"I want to open the desk."

"What are you going to do with it?"

"I'm going to put it into my lawyer's hands."

"Wait then. I must look over the papers first."

"No; Billy will do that."

"But there's some of mine in it, private ones."

"It doesn't matter. Billy will sort them and return yours to you."

"But he _sha'n't_ look at my papers."

"Give me the key, Sarah Ann."

"I can't. It's lost."

"Very well, then," said he, taking his knife from his pocket, breaking
the frail lock, and walking out of the house without another word.

[Illustration: "VERY WELL, THEN."]

Cousin Sarah Ann was thoroughly overcome. She knew that her husband had
received the reply to her letter, which she had meant to receive
herself, and she knew too that her mastery over him was at an end, for
the present at least. Worse than all, she knew that the desk and its
contents would inevitably go into Billy Barksdale's hands, and she had
her own reasons for thinking this the sorest affliction possible to her.
There was no help for it now, however, and she could do nothing except
throw herself on her bed and shed tears of bitter mortification,
vexation, and dread.

Meanwhile Major Pagebrook galloped over to Shirley, with the desk under
his arm. The conversation already reported between Billy and Miss Sudie,
was hardly more than finished when he dismounted and walked into the
young lawyer's office.

He opened his business by telling Billy about the note held by Dr.
Harrison.

"I don't understand it," he said. "Harrison says the note is dated
November 19th, which was just one day after Ewing came of age, and I
remember that Ewing was taken sick on the morning of his birthday--very
sick, as you know, and never left his bed afterwards."

"When was Ewing at the Court House last?" asked Billy.

"Not since the day Robert left."

"Did he owe Harrison any money that you know of?"

"No; but Harrison says Foggy won that much from him, and he had to
borrow to pay it."

"You are sure, however, that Ewing could not possibly have had a chance
to sign the note after he came of age?"

"Of course he couldn't. He was delirious from the very first, and we
never left him."

"I think I see how it is," said Billy. "Foggy and Charley Harrison are
too intimate for any straight dealings. I reckon Charley was as deeply
interested in the winnings as Foggy was, but they have made Ewing
execute the note to Charley for money borrowed to pay Foggy with so that
it would be legally good. They made him date it ahead, too, so that it
would appear to have been executed after Ewing came of age. They didn't
anticipate his sickness, and they haven't thought to compare dates. I
think we can beat them this time, when they get ready to sue."

"But we mustn't let them sue, Billy," said Major Pagebrook. "I would
never consent to plead the baby act or to get out of it by any legal
quibble if the signature is genuine, as I reckon it is. That wouldn't be
honorable. No, I shall pay the note off; and I only want to know whether
I must charge it to Ewing's estate or not, after taking out
administration papers. If I can, I ought to, in justice to the other
children. If I can't, I must pay it myself. Look into it, please, and
let me know about it. I have brought you Ewing's desk, so you can look
over all his papers and attend to all his affairs for me. I want to get
everything straight." So saying he took his leave.



CHAPTER XXIX.

_Mr. Barksdale, the Younger, Goes upon a Journey._


Not until the next morning did Mr. Billy find time to examine the papers
in Ewing's desk. Indeed, even then he deemed the matter one of very
little consequence, inasmuch as the papers, whatever they might happen
to be, were probably of no legal importance, being of necessity the work
of a minor. There might be memoranda there, however, and possibly a will
disposing of personal property, which, under the law of Virginia, would
be good if executed by a minor over eighteen years of age.

In view of these possibilities, therefore, Billy sat down to the task of
examining the papers, which were pretty numerous, such as they were.
After awhile he became interested in the very miscellaneousness of the
assortment. Little memoranda were there--of the date on which a horse
had been shod; of the amount paid for a new pair of boots; of the times
at which the boy had written letters to his friends, and of a hundred
other unimportant things. There were bits of poor verse, too, such as
may be found in the desk of almost every boy. Old letters, full of
nothing, were there in abundance, but nothing which could possibly be of
any value to anybody. On all the letters, except one, was marked, in
Ewing's handwriting, "To be burned without reading, in case of my
death." The one exception attracted Billy's attention, and opening it,
he was surprised to find Robert Pagebrook's name appended to it. It was,
in fact, the letter which Cousin Sarah Ann had opened during her son's
last illness. After reading it Mr. Billy sat down to think. Presently,
looking at his watch, he went to the door and called a servant.

"Go and ask your Miss Sudie to put two or three shirts, and some socks
and handkerchiefs into my satchel for me, and then you go and tell
Polidore to saddle Graybeard and the bay, and get ready to go with me to
the Court House directly. Do you hear?"

The servant made no answer to the question with which Mr. Billy closed
his speech. Indeed that gentleman expected none. Virginians always ask
"do you hear?" when they give instructions to servants, and they never
get or expect an answer. Without the question, however, they would never
secure attention to the instruction. To say, "do so and so," without
adding, "do you hear?" would be the idlest possible waste of words on
the part of any one giving an order to the average Virginian house
servant.

Mr. Billy was in the habit of making sudden journeys on business,
without giving the slightest warning to the family except that contained
in a request that his satchel or saddle-bags be packed, so that Miss
Sudie was not in the least surprised when his present message came to
her. She was surprised, however, when, instead of riding away without a
word of farewell, as he usually did, he came into the house, and,
kissing her tenderly, said:

"Keep your spirits up, Sudie, and don't let things worry you too much.
I'm going to Richmond on the two o'clock train, and don't know how long
I'll be gone. Good-by, little girl," and he kissed her again. All this
was quite out of character, Miss Sudie felt. Billy was affectionate
enough, at all times, but he detested leave-takings, and always avoided
them when he could. To seek one was quite unlike him, and Miss Sudie was
puzzled to know what prompted him to do it on this particular occasion.
He rode away, however, without offering any explanation whatever.

Mr. Billy went to Richmond, as he had said he intended doing, but he did
not remain there an hour. He went to the cashier of a bank, a gentleman
with whom he was well acquainted, got from him a letter of introduction
to a prominent man in Philadelphia, and left for that city on the first
train.

Arriving in Philadelphia about nine o'clock the next day, Mr. Billy ate
a hasty breakfast and proceeded to the little collegiate institute in
which Robert had once been a professor, as the reader will remember.
Introducing himself to President Currier he asked for a private
interview, and was invited for the purpose into Dr. Currier's inner
office.

"I believe, doctor," he said, after telling that gentleman who he was,
"that there was something due Professor Pagebrook on his salary at the
time his connection with this college terminated, was there not?"

"Yes, sir; there was about three hundred dollars due him, if I remember
correctly, but it has been paid, I think."

"Have you any way of ascertaining precisely how and when?" asked Billy.

"Yes; my own letter-book should show. Let me see," turning over the
leaves, "Ah, here it is. A draft for the amount was sent to him by
letter on the eighth of November, addressed to ---- Court House,
Virginia."

"Thank you," said Billy. "The draft, I suppose, was regular New York
Exchange?"

"Of course."

"Would you mind telling me from what bank you bought it, and to whose
order, in the first place, it was made payable? Pardon my asking such
questions, but I need this information for use in the cause of justice."

"O you need offer no apology, I assure you, sir," returned the
president. "I have nothing to conceal in the matter. The draft was drawn
by the Susquehanna Bank, and to my order, I think. Yes, I remember
indorsing it."

"Thank you, sir," said Billy. "You are very courteous, and I am indebted
to you for information which I should have found it difficult to get
from any other source. Good morning, sir."

Leaving the college, which was situated in one of the suburbs, Mr. Billy
took a carriage and drove into the city. There he delivered his letter
of introduction, and secured from the gentleman to whom it was
addressed a personal introduction to the cashier of the Susquehanna
Bank. To this latter person he said:

"I am looking up evidence in a case, and, if I am not greatly mistaken,
you can help me in an effort to set a wrong right. On the eighth of last
month you sold a draft on New York for three hundred dollars, payable to
the order of David Currier. Now, in the ordinary course of business I
suppose that draft has been returned to you after payment."

"Yes, if it was paid before the first of the month. We settle with our
New York correspondents once a month. I'll look at the last batch of
returned checks and see."

"Thank you. I should be glad to see the indorsements on the paper, if
possible."

The cashier went to the vault, and returning with a large bundle of
canceled checks soon found the one wanted. Billy turned it over and
examined the indorsements on the back. Then, turning to the banker, he
asked:

"Would it be possible for me to get temporary possession of this draft
by depositing the amount of its face with you until its return?"

"You merely wish it for use in evidence?" asked the banker.

"That's all," said Billy.

"You can take it, then, without a deposit, Mr. Barksdale. It is of no
value now, but we usually keep our canceled exchange, so I shall be
obliged if you will return this when you've done with it."

This was precisely what Robert had come to Philadelphia to secure, and
after finding what the indorsements on the draft were, he would
willingly have paid its face outright, if that had been necessary, to
get possession of it.

Who knows what the value of a bit of writing may be, even after its
purpose has to all appearance been fully answered? I know a great
commercial house in which it is an inexorable law that no bit of paper
once written on in the way of business shall ever be destroyed, however
valueless it may seem to be; and on more than one occasion the wisdom of
the rule has been strikingly made manifest. So it was with this paid,
canceled, and returned draft. Worthless in all eyes but his, to Billy it
was far more precious than if it had been crisp and new, and payable to
his own order.



CHAPTER XXX.

_The younger Mr. Barksdale Asks to be put upon His Oath._


It was nearly noon when the train which brought Billy Barksdale back
from Philadelphia stopped at the Court House, and that young gentleman
went from the station immediately to the court room, where the Circuit
Court, as he knew, was in session.

"Has the grand jury been impaneled yet?" he asked the commonwealth's
attorney.

"Yes; it has just gone out, but as usual there is nothing for it to do,
so it will report 'no bills' in an hour or so, I reckon."

"Have me sworn and sent before it then," said Billy. "I think I can put
it in the way of finding something to do."

The official was astonished, but he lost no time in complying with the
rather singular request. Billy went before the grand jury, and remained
there for a considerable time. This was a very unusual occurrence in
every way, and it quickly produced a buzz of excitement in and about the
building. There was rarely ever anything for grand juries to do in this
quiet county, and when there was anything it usually hinged upon some
publicly known and talked of matter. Everybody knew in advance what it
was about, and the probable result was easy to predict. Now, however,
all was mystery. A prominent young lawyer had been sworn and sent before
the grand jury at his own request, and the length of time during which
he was detained there effectually dispelled the belief which at first
obtained, that he merely wanted to secure the presentment of some
negligent road overseer. Even the commonwealth's attorney could not
manage to look wise enough, as he sat there stroking his beard, to
deceive anybody into the belief that he knew what was going on. The
minutes were very long ones. The excitement soon extended beyond the
court house, and everybody in the village was on tiptoe with suppressed
curiosity. The court room was full to overflowing when Billy came
quietly out of the grand jury's apartment and took his seat in the bar
as if nothing out of the ordinary course of affairs had happened.

It did not tend to allay the excitement, certainly, when the deputy
sheriff on duty at the door of the jury room beckoned to the
commonwealth's attorney and that gentleman went up-stairs three steps at
a time, disappearing within the chamber devoted to the secret inquest
and remaining there. When half an hour later Major Edwin Pagebrook was
called, sworn and sent up as a witness, wild rumors of a secret crime
among the better classes began to circulate freely in the crowd,
starting from nowhere and gradually taking definite shape as they spread
from one to another of the eager villagers.

The excitement was now absolutely painful in its intensity, and even the
judge himself began walking restlessly back and forth in the space set
apart for the bench.

When Major Pagebrook came out of the room with a downcast face he went
immediately home, and Rosenwater, a merchant in the village, was called.
When he came out, distinct efforts were made to worm the secret from
him. He was mindful of his oath, however, and refused to say anything.

Finally the members of the grand jury marched slowly down stairs, and
took their stand in front of the clerk's desk.

"Poll the grand jury," said the judge. When that ceremony was over, the
question which everybody in the building had been mentally asking for
hours was formulated by the court.

"Gentlemen of the grand jury, have you any presentments to make?"

"We have, your honor," answered the foreman.

"Read the report of the grand jury, Mr. Clerk."

The official rose and after adjusting his spectacles very deliberately,
read aloud:

"We, the grand jury, on our oaths present Dr. Charles Harrison and James
Madison Raves, for forgery and for a conspiracy to defraud Edwin
Pagebrook, on or about the tenth day of November in this present year
within the jurisdiction of this honorable court."

The crowd was fairly stunned. Nobody knew or could guess what it meant.
The commonwealth's attorney was the first to speak.

"As the legal representative of the commonwealth, I move the court to
issue a warrant for the arrest of Charles Harrison and James Madison
Raves, and I ask that the grand jury be instructed to return to their
room and to put their indictments in proper form."

The two men thus accused of crime being present in court were taken in
charge by the sheriff.

"If the commonwealth's attorney has no further motions to make in this
case," said the judge, "the court will take a recess, in order to give
time for the preparation of indictments in due form."

"May it please the court," said the official addressed, "I have only to
ask that your honor will instruct the sheriff to separate the two
prisoners during the recess. I do not know that this is necessary, but
it may tend to further the interests of justice."

"The court sees no reason to refuse the request," said the judge. "Mr.
Sheriff, you will see that your two prisoners are not allowed to confer
together in any way until after the reassembling of the court, at four
o'clock."



CHAPTER XXXI.

_Mr. William Barksdale Explains._


Precisely what Dr. Harrison's emotions were when he found himself in the
sheriff's hands, nobody is likely ever to know, as that gentleman was
always of taciturn mood in matters closely concerning himself, and on
the present occasion was literally dumb.

With Foggy the case was different. He was always a prudent man. He was
not given to the taking of unnecessary risks for the sake of abstract
principles. He made no pretensions to the possession of heroic fortitude
under affliction, and he had no special reputation for high-toned honor
to lose. The clutch of the law was to him an uncomfortable one, and he
was prepared to escape it by any route which might happen to be open to
him. This disposition upon his part was an important factor in the
problem which Billy had set out to solve. He knew Foggy was a moral
coward, and upon his cowardice he depended, in part, for the success of
his undertaking.

As soon as court adjourned the commonwealth's attorney requested the
members of the grand jury to make themselves as comfortable as might be
while he should be engaged in the preparation of formal indictments
against the two prisoners. Going then to his office he closeted himself
with Billy Barksdale, who had preceded him thither by his request.

"You'll help me with this prosecution, won't you Billy?" he asked.

"With as good a will as I ever carried to a fish fry," said Billy.

"Well, then," said the attorney, "tell me just how the thing stands. I
confess I'm all in a jumble about it. Begin at the beginning and tell
the whole story. Then we'll know where we stand and how to proceed."

Accordingly Billy recounted the history of the protested draft; the
promise to pay; its nonfulfillment and the trouble which ensued. He then
continued:

"My suspicions as to the real facts of the case were aroused by
accident. Maj. Pagebrook consulted me a few days ago about a note signed
by Ewing Pagebrook, drawn in favor of Charley Harrison, which, Harrison
said, had been given him when he advanced money to Ewing with which to
pay a gambling debt to Foggy. That note was evidently dated ahead, as it
bore date of November 19th, one day after Ewing attained his majority,
when, in fact, the boy was taken ill on the morning of his twenty-first
birthday, and never left his bed afterwards. This confirmed me in the
belief that Foggy and Harrison were confederates in their gambling
operations. They fleeced the boy, and then had him borrow the money with
which to pay from Harrison, and give a note for it, so as to make the
consideration good; and they took pains to have him date it ahead, so as
to get rid of the minority trouble. This by itself would have amounted
to nothing, but in looking over Ewing's papers I found a letter there
from Bob Pagebrook, which I happened accidentally to know was received
during Ewing's illness. Here it is. I'll read it.

"'MY DEAR EWING:--I can not tell you how grieved I am at the news your
letter brings me. I can ill afford to lose the three hundred dollars
which I intrusted to you to hand to your father, and even if you do make
it good when you come of age, as you so solemnly promise me you will, I
am, meanwhile, placed in a very awkward position with regard to it. I
promised your father to pay him that money by a certain day, and was
greatly pleased, as you know, when, upon arriving at the Court House on
my way north, I found the remittance awaiting me there, as it enabled me
to make the payment in advance of the time agreed upon. When I, in my
haste to catch the train, gave you the check to give to your father, I
dismissed the subject from my mind, and set about the work of repairing
my fortunes with a light heart, little thinking that matters would turn
out as they have.

"'But while I am sorely annoyed by the fact that this may place me in an
awkward position, I am willing to trust my reputation in your hands.
Remember that you are now bound in honor, not merely to pay this money
as soon as you shall attain your majority, but also to protect me from
undeserved disgrace by frankly stating the facts of the case to your
father in the event of his entertaining doubts of my integrity. This
much you are in honor bound to do in any case, and you have also given
me your word that you will do it. If your father shall seem disposed to
think me not unduly dilatory in the matter of payment, you need tell him
nothing. You may spare yourself that mortification, send me the money,
and I will remit it to him, merely saying that unavoidable circumstances
which I am not at liberty to explain have prevented the earlier payment
which I intended to make.

"'But in agreeing to do this, Ewing, I am moved solely by my desire to
shield you from disgrace and consequent ruin. When I gave you that money
for your father it was a sacred trust, and in converting it to other
uses you not only wronged me, but you made yourself guilty of something
very like a crime. Pardon me if I speak plainly, for I am speaking only
for your good and I speak only to you. I want you to understand how
terribly wrong and altogether dishonorable your act was, so that you may
never be guilty of another such. I am not disposed to reproach you, but
I do want to warn you. You are the son of a gentleman, and you have no
right to bring disgrace upon your father's name. You ought not to
gamble, and if you do gamble you have no right to surrender your honor
in payment of your losses. I promise you, as you ask me to do, that I
will not tell what you have done; and you know I never break a promise
under any circumstances whatever. But in promising this I place my own
reputation in your keeping, depending upon you, in the event of
necessity, to frankly acknowledge your fault, so that I may not appear
to have run away from a debt which in fact I have paid.'

"When I read that letter," continued Billy, "I began to see daylight.
Bob had given his word of honor to Ewing not to expose him. Ewing had
died before he could make the money matter good, and Bob, like the
great, big, honorable, dear old fellow that he is, allowed himself to go
to jail and bear the reputation of an absconding debtor, rather than
break his promise to the dead boy. He paid the money again, too. I
suspected, of course, that Foggy and Charley Harrison were mixed up in
the matter some way, particularly as the very last visit Ewing ever made
to the Court House was made on the day that Bob went away. I went to
Philadelphia, and there found the canceled draft, drawn in favor of
David Currier; indorsed to Robert Pagebrook; and by him indorsed to
Edwin Pagebrook. Then followed, as you know, an indorsement to James M.
Raves, signed 'E. Pagebrook.' That, of course, was written by Ewing, who
at the suggestion of these two men made the draft over to them--or to
one of them--by signing his own name, which happened, when written with
the initial only, to be the same as his father's. Foggy then indorsed it
to Harrison, and he, being respectable, had no difficulty in getting
Rosenwater to cash it for him. It never entered Rosenwater's head, of
course, to question any of the signatures back of Harrison's. Now my
theory is that this draft did not cover Ewing's losses by two hundred
and twenty-five dollars; and so the two thrifty gentlemen made the boy
execute the note that Harrison holds for that amount, dating it ahead,
and making it for borrowed money."

"You're right, Barksdale, without a doubt," said the commonwealth's
attorney; "but how are we going to make a jury see it? There's plenty of
evidence to found an indictment on, but I'm afraid there a'n't enough to
secure a conviction."

"That's true," said Billy. "But we must do our very best. If we can't
convict both, we may one; and even if we fail altogether in the
prosecution, we will at least expose the rascals, and this county will
be too hot for them afterwards. Foggy is always shaky in the knees, and
if we give him half a chance will turn state's evidence. Why not sound
him on the subject?"

Foggy needed very little sounding indeed. At the first intimation that
there might be hope for him if he would tell what he knew he volunteered
a confession, which bore out Billy's theory to the letter. From his
statement, too, it appeared that Harrison was the author of the whole
scheme. He had overborne Ewing's scruples, and by dint of threats
compelled him to commit a practical forgery by writing his own name in
such a way as to make it appear to be his father's. While Foggy was at
it he made a clean breast, telling all about his partnership with
Harrison in the gambling operations, and admitting that the note
Harrison held was dated ahead and given solely for a gambling debt.

The commonwealth's attorney agreed to enter a _nolle prosequi_ in
Foggy's case, and to transfer him, at the trial, from the prisoner's box
to the witness stand.

When Billy came out from this conference he found Major Pagebrook
awaiting an opportunity to speak to him. The major, it seems, after
going home had returned to the Court House.

"Billy," he said, "I know now about that letter from Robert to Ewing.
Sarah Ann has told me she read it when it came. What is to be done about
it?"

"Nothing," said Billy, "except that you will of course return Robert the
extra three hundred dollars he has paid you."

"Of course I'll do that. But I mean--the fact is I don't want that
letter to appear on the trial. You will have to tell where you got it,
and it will come out, in spite of everything, that Sarah Ann knew of
it."

"Well, Cousin Edwin, what am I to do? This has been a wretched business
from first to last. Poor Bob has suffered severely for Ewing's fault,
and--I must speak plainly--through Cous--through your wife's iniquity.
Not only has he had to pay the money twice, he has been sent to jail,
and but for a lucky accident his reputation as an honorable man would
have been destroyed forever, and that merely to gratify your wife's
petty and unreasonable spite against him. It became my duty to unravel
this mystery for the sake of freeing Bob from an unjust and undeserved
disgrace. In doing that I have accidentally stumbled upon the discovery
of a crime, and even if it were not illegal I am not the man to compound
a felony. For you I am heartily sorry, but your wife is only reaping
what she has sown. I would do anything honorable to spare your feelings,
Cousin Edwin, but I can not help giving evidence in this case. I really
do not see, however, precisely how Bob's letter can be used as evidence.
If it had been sufficient in itself to establish the facts to which it
referred I should have used it to set Bob right, and the thing would
have ended there. But Bob's statement was of course an interested one,
and I feared that after a time, if not immediately, gossip would seize
upon that point and say the whole thing was made up merely to clear Bob.
I knew he would never show Ewing's letter to which his was a reply, and
so I set myself to work hunting up the draft. I don't see how the letter
can well come up on the trial, but if it should become necessary for me
to tell about it, I must tell all about it, of course."

Major Pagebrook walked away, his head bowed as if there were a heavy
weight upon his shoulders, and Billy pitied him heartily. This woman,
who, in her groundless malignity, had wrought so much wrong and brought
so much of sorrow upon the good old man, was his wife, and he could not
free himself from the fact or its consequences. He had never willingly
done a wrong in his life, and it seemed peculiarly hard that he should
now have to suffer so sorely for the sins of the woman whom he called
wife.



CHAPTER XXXII.

_Which Is also The Last._


Upon leaving Major Pagebrook Billy mounted his horse and galloped away
toward Shirley, not caring to remain till the court should reassemble at
four, as there could hardly be any business done beyond the formal
presentation of the indictments by the grand jury and the committal of
the prisoners to await trial.

When he entered the yard gate at Shirley he found his father, who had
returned from the court house some time before, awaiting him.

"I have not told Sudie, my son," said the old gentleman. "I found it
hard to keep my lips closed, but you have managed this affair grandly,
my boy, and you ought to have the pleasure of telling the story in your
own way. Go into the office, and I'll send Sudie to you."

Miss Sudie was naturally enough alarmed when her uncle, repressing
everything like an expression of joy, and in doing that managing to look
as solemn as a death warrant, told her that Billy wanted to see her in
the office immediately. But Billy's look, as she entered, reassured her.
He met her just inside the door, and taking her face between his hands,
said:

"I'm as proud and as glad as a boy with red morocco tops to his boots,
little girl."

[Illustration: "I'M AS PROUD AND AS GLAD AS A BOY WITH RED MOROCCO TOPS
TO HIS BOOTS."]

"What about, Cousin Billy?" asked Miss Sudie in a tremor of uncertainty.

"Because I've been doing the duty you set me. I've been 'turning
something up.' I've torn the mask off of that dear old rascal Bob
Pagebrook, and shown him up in his true colors. It's just shameful the
way he's been deceiving us, making us think him an absconding debtor and
all that when he a'n't anything of the sort. He's as true as--as you
are. There; that's a figure of speech he'd approve if he could hear it,
and he shall too. I'm going to write him a letter to-night, telling him
just what I think of him."

There was a little flutter in Miss Sudie's manner as she sat down,
unable to stand any longer.

"Tell me about it, please," was all she could say.

"Well, in a word, Bob's all right, with a big balance over. He's as
straight as a well rope when the bucket's full. Let me make you
understand that in advance, and then I'll tell my story."

And with this Billy proceeded in his own way to tell the young woman all
about the visit to Philadelphia and its results. When he had finished
Miss Sudie simply sat and looked at him, smiling through her tears the
thankfulness she could not put into words. When after awhile she found
her voice she said some things which were very pleasant indeed to Mr.
Billy in the hearing.

The next day's mail carried three letters to Mr. Robert Pagebrook. What
Miss Sudie said in hers I do not know, and if I did I should not tell.
Col. Barksdale wrote in a stately way, as he always did when he meant to
be particularly affectionate, the gist of his letter lying in the
sentence with which he opened it, which was:

"I did not know, until now, how much of your father there is in you."

Mr. Billy's letter would make the fortune of any comic paper if it could
be published. Robert insists that there were just three hundred and
sixty-five hitherto unheard of metaphors in the body of it, and
twenty-one more in the postscript. He says he counted them carefully.

Naturally enough, after all that had happened, everybody at Shirley
wanted Robert to come back again as soon as possible, and one and all
entreated him to spend the Christmas there. This he promised to do, but
at the last moment he was forced to abandon his purpose in consequence
of the utter failure of Mr. Dudley's health, an occurrence which left
Robert with the entire burden of the paper upon him, and made it
impossible for him to leave New York during the holidays. Even with
Robert there the publishers were anxious about the management of the
paper at so critical a time; but Robert's single-handed success fully
justified the confidence Mr. Dudley had felt and expressed in his
ability to conduct the paper, and when, a month later, Dudley resigned
entirely, to go abroad in search of health, our friend Robert Pagebrook
was promoted to his place and pay, having won his way in a few months to
a position in his new profession which he had not hoped to gain without
years of patient toil.

The rest of my story hardly needs telling. The winter was passed in hard
work on Robert's part, but the work was of a sort which it delighted him
to do. He knew the worth of printed words, and rejoiced in the
possession of that power which the printing-press only can give to a
man, multiplying him, as it were, and enabling him to give utterance to
his thought in the presence of an audience too vast and too widely
scattered ever to be reached by any one human voice. It was a favorite
theory of his, too, that printed words carry with them some of the force
expended upon them by the press itself--that a sentence which would fall
meaningless from its author's lips may mold a score of human lives if it
be put in type. He was and is an enthusiast in his work, and never
apostle went forth to preach a new gospel with more of earnestness or
with a stronger sense of responsibility than Robert Pagebrook brings
with him daily to his desk.

The winter softened into spring, and when the spring was richest in its
promise there was a quiet wedding at Shirley.

       *       *       *       *       *

My story is fully told, but my friend who writes novels insists that I
must not lay down the pen until I shall have gathered up what he calls
the loose threads, and knitted them into a seemly and unraveled end.

Major Pagebrook, dreading the possible exposure of his wife's
misconduct, placed money in the hands of a friend, and that friend
became surety for Dr. Harrison's appearance when called for trial. Of
course Dr. Harrison betook himself to other parts, going, indeed, to the
West Indies, where he died of yellow fever a year or two later. Foggy
disappeared also, but whither he went I really do not know.

Billy Barksdale is still a bachelor, and still likes to listen while
Aunt Catherine explains relationships with her keys.

Col. Barksdale has retired from practice, and lives quietly at Shirley.

Cousin Sarah Ann is still Cousin Sarah Ann, but she lives in Richmond
now, having discovered years ago that the air of the country did not
agree with her.

Robert and Sudie have a pretty little place in the country, within half
an hour's ride of New York, and I sometimes run out to spend a quiet
Sunday with Cousin Sudie. Robert I can see in his office any day. Their
oldest boy, William Barksdale Pagebrook, entered college last
September.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE Hoosier School-Master.

By EDWARD EGGLESTON.


Finely Illustrated, with 12 full-page Engravings and Numerous other
Cuts.


CONTENTS.

    Chapter      I.--A Private Lesson from a Bull-dog.
    Chapter     II.--A Spell Coming.
    Chapter    III.--Mirandy, Hank, and Shocky.
    Chapter     IV.--Spelling down the Master.
    Chapter      V.--The Walk Home.
    Chapter     VI.--A Night at Pete Jones's.
    Chapter    VII.--Ominous Remarks of Mr. Jones.
    Chapter   VIII.--The Struggle in the Dark.
    Chapter     IX.--Has God Forgotten Shocky?
    Chapter      X.--The Devil of Silence.
    Chapter     XI.--Miss Martha Hawkins.
    Chapter    XII.--The Hardshell Preacher.
    Chapter   XIII.--A Struggle for the Mastery.
    Chapter    XIV.--A Crisis with Bud.
    Chapter     XV.--The Church of the Best Licks.
    Chapter    XVI.--The Church Militant.
    Chapter   XVII.--A Council of War.
    Chapter  XVIII.--Odds and Ends.
    Chapter    XIX.--Face to Face.
    Chapter     XX.--God Remembers Shocky.
    Chapter    XXI.--Miss Nancy Sawyer.
    Chapter   XXII.--Pancakes.
    Chapter  XXIII.--A Charitable Institution.
    Chapter   XXIV.--The Good Samaritan.
    Chapter    XXV.--Bud Wooing.
    Chapter   XXVI.--A Letter and its Consequences.
    Chapter  XXVII.--A Loss and a Gain.
    Chapter XXVIII.--The Flight.
    Chapter   XXIX.--The Trial.
    Chapter    XXX.--"Brother Sodom."
    Chapter   XXXI.--The Trial Concluded.
    Chapter  XXXII.--After the Battle.
    Chapter XXXIII.--Into the Light.
    Chapter  XXXIV.--"How it Came Out."

       *       *       *       *       *


THE END OF THE WORLD.

A LOVE STORY.

BY EDWARD EGGLESTON.

Author of "The Hoosier School-master," etc.

With 15 full page Engravings, and numerous other Fine Illustrations.


CONTENTS.

    Chapter
          I.--In Love with a Dutchman.
         II.--An Explosion.
        III.--A Farewell.
         IV.--A Counter-Irritant.
          V.--At the Castle.
         VI.--The Backwoods Philosopher.
        VII.--Within and Without.
       VIII.--Figgers won't Lie.
         IX.--The New Singing-Master.
          X.--An Offer of Help.
         XI.--The Coon-dog Argument.
        XII.--Two Mistakes.
       XIII.--The Spider Spins.
        XIV.--The Spider's Web.
         XV.--The Web Broken.
        XVI.--Jonas Expounds the Subject.
       XVII.--The Wrong Pew.
      XVIII.--The Encounter.
        XIX.--The Mother.
         XX.--The Steam-Doctor.
        XXI.--The Hawk in a New Part.
       XXII.--Jonas Expresses his Opinion on Dutchmen.
      XXIII.--Somethin' Ludikerous.
       XXIV.--The Giant Great-heart.
        XXV.--A Chapter of Betweens.
       XXVI.--A Nice Little Game.
      XXVII.--The Result of an Evening with Gentlemen.
     XXVIII.--Waking up an Ugly Customer.
       XXIX.--August and Norman.
        XXX.--Aground.
       XXXI.--Cynthy Ann's Sacrifice.
      XXXII.--Julia's Enterprise.
     XXXIII.--The Secret Stairway.
      XXXIV.--The Interview.
       XXXV.--Getting Ready for the End.
      XXXVI.--The Sin of Sanctimony.
     XXXVII.--The Deluge.
    XXXVIII.--Scaring a Hawk.
      XXXIX.--Jonas takes an Appeal.
         XL.--Selling Out.
        XLI.--The Last Day and What Happened in it.
       XLII.--For Ever and Ever.
      XLIII.--The Midnight Alarm.
       XLIV.--Squaring Accounts.
        XLV.--New Plans.
       XLVI.--The Shiveree.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MYSTERY OF METROPOLISVILLE.

By EDWARD EGGLESTON,

_Author of "The Hoosier School-Master," "The End of the World," etc._

With Thirteen Illustrations.


CONTENTS.

Preface.--Words Beforehand. Chapter 1. The Autocrat of the
Stage-Coach.--2. The Sod Tavern.--3. Land and Love.--4. Albert and
Katy.--5. Corner Lots.--6. Little Katy's Lover.--7. Catching and getting
Caught.--8. Isabel Marlay.--9. Lovers and Lovers.--10. Plausaby, Esq.,
takes a Fatherly Interest.--11, About Several Things.--12. An
Adventure.--13. A Shelter.--14. The Inhabitant.--15. An Episode.--16.
The Return.--17. Sawney and his Old Love.--18. A Collision.--19.
Standing Guard in Vain.--20. Sawney and Westcott.--21. Rowing.--22.
Sailing.--23. Sinking.--24. Dragging.--25. Afterwards.--26. The
Mystery.--27. The Arrest.--28. The Tempter.--29. The Trial.--30. The
Penitentiary.--31. Mr. Lurton.--32. A Confession.--33. Death.--34. Mr.
Lurton's Courtship.--35. Unbarred.--36. Isabel.--37. The Last.--Words
Afterwards.


ILLUSTRATIONS.--BY FRANK BEARD.

His Unselfish Love found a Melancholy Recompense.--The Superior
Being.--Mr. Minorkey and the Fat Gentleman.--Plausaby sells Lots.--"By
George! He! he! he!"--Mrs. Plausaby.--The Inhabitant.--A Pinch of
Snuff.--Mrs. Ferret--One Savage Blow full in the face.--"What on Airth's
the Matter?"--The Editor of "The Windmill."--"Get up and Foller!"

       *       *       *       *       *

PRACTICAL FLORICULTURE; A Guide to the Successful Propagation and
Cultivation OF FLORISTS' PLANTS.

By PETER HENDERSON, Bergen City, N. J.,

AUTHOR OF "GARDENING FOR PROFIT."


MR. HENDERSON is known as the largest Commercial Florist In the country.
In the present work he gives a full account of his modes of propagation
and cultivation. It is adapted to the wants of the amateur, as well as
the professional grower.

The scope of the work may be judged from the following


TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    Aspect and Soil.
    Laying out Lawn and Flower Gardens.
    Designs for Flower Gardens.
    Planting of Flower Beds.
    Soils for Potting.
    Temperature and Moisture.
    The Potting of Plants.
    Cold Frames--Winter Protection.
    Construction of Hot-Beds.
    Greenhouse Structures.
    Modes of Heating.
    Propagation by Seeds.
    Propagation by Cuttings.
    Propagation of Lilies.
    Culture of the Rose.
    Culture of the Verbena.
    Culture of the Tuberose.
    Orchid Culture.
    Holland Bulbs.
    Cape Bulbs.
    Winter-Flowering Plants.
    Construction of Bouquets.
    Hanging Baskets.
    Window Gardening.
    Rock-Work.
    Insects.
    Nature's Law of Colors.
    Packing Plants.
    Plants by Mail.
    Profits of Floriculture.
    Soft-Wooded Plants.
    Annuals.
    Hardy Herbaceous Plants.
    Greenhouse Plants.
    Diary of Operations for each Day of the Year.

       *       *       *       *       *

PARSONS ON THE ROSE.

A TREATISE ON THE Propagation, Culture, and History of the Rose.

By SAMUEL B. PARSONS.

NEW AND REVISED EDITION.

ILLUSTRATED.


The Rose is the only flower that can be said to have a history. It is
popular now, and was so centuries ago. In his work upon the Rose, Mr.
Parsons has gathered up the curious legends concerning the flower, and
gives us an idea of the esteem in which it was held in former times. A
simple garden classification has been adopted, and the leading varieties
under each class enumerated and briefly described. The chapters on
multiplication, cultivation, and training, are very full, and the work
is altogether the most complete of any before the public.

The following is from the author's Preface:

     "In offering a new edition of this work, the preparation of which
     gave us pleasure more than twenty years ago, we have not only
     carefully revised the garden classification, but have stricken out
     much of the poetry, which, to the cultivator, may have seemed
     irrelevant, if not worthless. For the interest of the classical
     scholar, we have retained much of the early history of the Rose,
     and its connection with the manners and customs of the two great
     nations of a former age.

     "The amateur will, we think, find the labor of selection much
     diminished by the increased simplicity of the mode we have adopted,
     while the commercial gardener will in nowise be injured by the
     change.

     "In directions for culture, we give the results of our own
     experience, and have not hesitated to avail ourselves of any
     satisfactory results in the experience of others, which might
     enhance the utility of the work."


CONTENTS:

    CHAPTER I.--BOTANICAL CLASSIFICATION.
    CHAPTER II.--GARDEN CLASSIFICATION.
    CHAPTER III.--GENERAL CULTURE OF THE ROSE.
    CHAPTER IV.--SOIL, SITUATION, AND PLANTING.
    CHAPTER V.--PRUNING, TRAINING, AND BEDDING.
    CHAPTER VI.--POTTING AND FORCING.
    CHAPTER VII.--PROPAGATION.
    CHAPTER VIII.--MULTIPLICATION BY SEED AND HYBRIDIZING.
    CHAPTER IX.--DISEASES AND INSECTS ATTACKING THE ROSE.
    CHAPTER X.--EARLY HISTORY OF THE ROSE, AND FABLES RESPECTING ITS
      ORIGIN.
    CHAPTER XI.--LUXURIOUS USE OF THE ROSE.
    CHAPTER XII.--THE ROSE IN CEREMONIES AND FESTIVALS, AND IN THE
      ADORNMENT OF BURIAL-PLACES.
    CHAPTER XIII.--THE ROSE IN THE MIDDLE AGES.
    CHAPTER XIV.--PERFUMES OF THE ROSE.
    CHAPTER XV.--MEDICAL PROPERTIES OF THE ROSE.
    CHAPTER XVI.--GENERAL REMARKS.

       *       *       *       *       *

BEAUTIFYING COUNTRY HOMES.

_A Hand-Book of Landscape Gardening._

BY J. WEIDENMANN.

A SPLENDID QUARTO VOLUME.

Beautifully Illustrated with numerous fine food Engravings, and with 17
Full-Page and 7 Double-Page Colored Lithographs OF PLACES ALREADY
IMPROVED.

MAKE HOME BEAUTIFUL.

NOTICES BY THE PRESS.


A home! A home in the country! and a home made beautiful by taste! Here
are three ideas which invest with a triple charm the subject of this
exquisite volume. We know of nothing which indicates a more healthy
progress among our countrymen than the growing taste for such homes. The
American people are quick to follow a fashion, and it is getting to be
the fashion to have a place in the country, and to beautify it; and this
is at once fed and guided by such books as this, which lay down the just
principles of landscape gardening; and teach all how to use the means at
their disposal. This book is prepared with careful judgment. It includes
many plans, and furnishes minute instruction for the laying out of
grounds and the planting of trees. We have found very great pleasure in
a first inspection, and doubt not that when another summer returns, we
shall find the book as practically useful, as it is beautiful to the eye
and exciting to the imagination.--_N. Y. Evangelist._

We have from Orange Judd & Co. a magnificent manual, entitled
_Beautifying Country Homes; a Hand-Book of Landscape Gardening_. It is a
brief treatise on landscape gardening and architecture, explaining the
principles of beauty which apply to it, and making just those practical
suggestions of which every builder and owner of a little land, who
desires to make the most of it in the way of convenience and taste,
stands in need, in regard to lawns, drainage, roads, drives, walks,
grading, fences, hedges, trees--their selection and their
grouping--flowers, water, ornamentation, rock-work, tools, and general
improvements. The chapter on "improving new places economically" would
be worth much more than the cost of the book ten times over to many
persons. The whole is illustrated, not only by little sketches, but by a
series of full-page lithographs of places which have been actually
treated in accordance with the principles laid down, with lists of trees
and shrubs, and other useful suggestions. We have never met with any
thing--and we have given a good deal of attention to the subject, and
bought a great many books upon it--which seemed to us so helpful and, in
general, so trustworthy as this treatise, which we heartily commend. We
omitted to say that it has been done by Mr. J. Weidenmann,
Superintendent of the City Park, and of Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford,
Conn.--_Congregationalist_, (Boston.)





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