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Title: When Men Grew Tall, or The Story Of Andrew Jackson
Author: Lewis, Alfred Henry
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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WHEN MEN GREW TALL OR THE STORY OF ANDREW JACKSON

By Alfred Henry Lewis

Illustrated

D. Appleton And Company New York

1907

[Illustration: 0001]

[Illustration: 0008]

[Illustration: 0009]

TO

THEODORE ROOSEVELT THAT MAN OF THE PUBLIC FOR WHOM I HAVE MOST REGARD
AND FROM WHOSE FUTURE I AS AN AMERICAN MOST HOPE THIS VOLUME IS
DEDICATED

A. H. L.



CHAPTER I--SALISBURY AND THE LAW

IN this year of our Lord's grace, 1787, the ancient town of Salisbury,
seat of justice for Rowan County, and the buzzing metropolis of its
region, numbers by word of a partisan citizenry eight hundred souls.
Its streets are unpaved, and present an unbroken expanse of red North
Carolina clay from one narrow plank sidewalk to another. In the summer,
if the weather be dry, the red clay resolves itself into blinding
brick-red dust. In the spring, when the rains fall, it lapses into
brick-red mud, and the Salisbury streets become bottomless morasses, the
despair of travelers. Just now, it being a bright October afternoon and
a shower having paid the town a visit but an hour before, the streets
offer no suggestion of either mud or dust, but are as clean and straight
and beautiful as a good man's morals. Trees rank either side, and their
branches interlock overhead. These make every street a cathedral aisle,
groined and arched in leafy green.

In one of the suburbs, that is to say about pistol shot from the town's
commercial center, stands a two-story mansion. It is painted white, and
thereby distinguished above its neighbors, and has a heavily columned
veranda all across its wide face. This edifice is the residence of
Spruce McCay, a foremost member of the Rowan County bar.

In a corner of the lawn, which unfolds verdantly in front of the house,
is a one-story one-room structure, the law office of Spruce McCay.
Inside are two or three pine desks, much visited of knives in the past,
and a half-dozen ramshackle chairs, which have seen stronger if not
better days. Also there is a collection of shelves; and these latter
hold scores of law books, among which "Blackstone's Commentaries," "Coke
on Littleton," and "Hales's Pleas of the Crown" are given prominent
place. The books show musty and dog-eared, and it is many years since
the youngest among them came from the printing press.

On this October afternoon, the office has but one occupant. He is tall,
being six feet and an inch, and so slim and meager that he seems six
inches taller. Besides, he stands as straight as a lance, with nothing
of stoop to his narrow shoulders, and this has the effect of augmenting
his height.

The face is a boy's face. It is likewise of the sort called "horse";
with hollow cheeks and lantern jaws. The forehead is high and narrow.
The yellow hair is long, and tied in a cue with an eelskin--for eelskins
are according to the latest fashionable command sent up from Charleston.
The redeeming feature to the horse face is the eyes. These are big and
blue and deep, and tell of a mighty power for either love or hate.
They are Scotch-Irish eyes, loyal eyes, steadfast eyes, and of that
inveterate breed which if aroused can outstare, outdomineer Satan.

As adding to the horse face a look of command, which sets well with
those blue eyes--so capable of tenderness and ferocity--is a high
predatory nose. The mouth, thin-lipped and wide, is replete of what folk
call character, but does nothing to soften a general expression which is
nothing if not iron. And yet the last word is applicable only at times.
The horse face never turns iron-hard unless danger presses, or perilous
deeds are to be done. In easier, relaxed hours one finds no sternness
there, but gayety and lightness and a love of pleasure.

In dress the horse-faced boy is rather the fop, with a bottle-green
surtout of latest cut, high-collared, long-tailed, open to display a
flowered waistcoat of as many hues as May, from which struggles a ruffle
stiff with starch. The horsefaced boy has his predatory nose buried in
a law book. This is as it should be, for he is a student of the learned
Spruce McCay.

There comes a step at the door; the horsefaced boy takes his nose
from between the covers of the book. Spruce McCay walks in, and throws
himself carelessly into a seat. He is a square, hearty man, with nose
up-tilted and eager, as though somewhere in the distance it sniffed an
orchard. He is of middle years, and well arrived at that highest ground,
just where the pathway of life begins to slope downward toward the final
yet still distant grave.

Spruce McCay glances at a paper or two on his desk. Then, shoving all
aside, he fills and lights a corn-cob pipe. Through the smoke rings he
surveys the horse-faced boy; plainly he meditates a communication.

"Andy, I've been thinking you over."

Andy says "Yes?" expectantly.

"You should cross the mountains."

The blue eyes take on a bluer glint, and light up the horse face like
azure lamps.

"Yes, a new country is the place for you. You are now about to be
admitted to practice law; not because you know law, but for the reason
that I have recommended it. As I say, you have little law knowledge; but
you possess courage, brains, perseverance, honesty, prudence and divers
other traits, which you take from your Carrickfergus ancestors. These
should carry you farther in the wilderness than any knowledge of the
books."

The predatory nose snorts, and the horse face begins to glow
resentfully.

"You think I know no law?"

"No more than does Necessity! Not enough to keep you from being laughed
at in Rowan County! How should you? Your attention and your interest
have both run away to other things. I've watched you for two years
past. You are deep in the lore of cockfighting, but guiltless of the
Commentaries of our worthy Master Blackstone. If I were to ask you for
the Rule in Shelly's Case, you would be posed. At the same time you
could expound every rule that governs a horse race. In brief you are
accomplished in many gentlemanly things, while as barren of law learning
as a Hottentot. Now if you were a lad of fortune, instead of being as
poor as the crows, you might easily cut a figure of elegant idleness on
the North Carolina circuits. But you lack utterly of that money required
to gild and make tolerable your ignorance here at home. In the woods
along the Cumberland, that is to say in the Nashville and Jonesboro
courts, where ignorance and poverty are the rule, your deficiencies
will count for trifles. Also you will be surrounded by conditions that
promote courage, honesty and quickness to a first importance. On the
Cumberland the fact that you are a dead shot with rifle or pistol, and
can back the most unmanageable horse that ever looked through a bridle,
will place you higher in the confidence of men than would all the law
that Hobart, Hales and Hawkins ever knew. Now don't get angry. Think
over what I've said; the longer you look at it, the more you'll feel
that I am right. I'll see that you are given your sheepskin as a lawyer;
and, when you decide to migrate, I'll have you commissioned in that new
country as attorney for the state. This last will send you headlong into
the midst of a backwoods practice, where those native virtues you
own should find a field for their exercise, and your talents for
cockfighting and horse racing, added to your absolute genius for
firearms, be sure to advance you far."

Spruce McCay raps the ashes from his corncob pipe. Just then one of the
house negroes taps at the door, as preliminary to intruding a respectful
head. The respectful head announces that visitors have arrived at
the big white mansion. Spruce McCay at this quits the office, and the
horse-faced Andy finds himself alone.

For one hour he ponders the unpalatable words of his worthy master. His
vanity has been hurt; his self-love ruffled. None the less he feels that
a deal of truth lies tucked away in what Spruce McCay has said. Besides
a plunge into the untried wilderness rather matches his taste, and a
promised state's attorneyship is not to be despised.

As the horse-faced Andy ruminates these things, laughter and much joyous
clatter is heard at the door. This time it is his two fellow students,
Crawford and McNairy. These young gentlemen have been out with their
guns, and now present themselves with a double backload of quails as the
fruits of it. The pair begin vociferously to inform the horse-faced Andy
concerning their day's adventures. He halts the conversational flow with
a repressive lift of the hand.

"Gentlemen," says he, with a vast affectation of dignity, and as though
sixty were the years of each instead of twenty, "I desire your company
at supper in my rooms. Come at 7 o'clock. I shall have news for
you--news, and a proposition."



CHAPTER II--THE ROWAN HOUSE SUPPER


THE horse-faced Andy precedes the coming of his two friends to that
supper by two hours. As he moves up the street toward the Rowan House,
fair faces beam on him and fair hands wave him a salutation from certain
Salisbury verandas. In return he doffs his hat with an exaggerated
politeness, which becomes him as the acknowledged beau of the town. One
cannot blame those beaming fair faces and those saluting hands. Slim,
elegant, confident with a kind of polished cockyness that does not ill
become his years, our horse-faced one possesses what the world calls
"presence." No one will look on him without being impressed; he is
congenitally remarkable, and to see him once is to ever afterward expect
to hear him. Besides, for all his foppishness, there is a scar on his
sandy head, and a second on his hand, which were made by an English
saber when he had no more than entered upon his teens. Also he has shed
English blood to pay for those scars; and in a day which still heaves
and tosses with the ground swells of the Revolution, such stark matters
brevet one to the respect of men and the love of women.

The foppish, horse-faced Andy strides into the Rowan House. In the
long-room he meets mine host Brown, who has fame as a publican, and none
as a sinner, throughout North Carolina.

"Supper in my rooms, Mr. Brown," commands our hero; "supper for three.
Have it hot and ready at sharp seven. Also let us have plenty of whisky
and tobacco."

Mine host Brown says that all shall be as ordered.

The foppish Andy, with that grave manner of dignity which laughs at his
boyish twenty years, explains to his landlord that he will call for his
bill in the morning.

"Have my horse, Cherokee," he says, "well groomed and saddled. To-morrow
I leave Salisbury."

"Going West?"

"West," returns Andy.

"As to the bill," ventures mine host Brown, "would you like to play a
game of all-fours, and make it double or nothing?"

Andy the horse-faced hesitates.

"You have such vile luck," he says, as though remonstrating with mine
host Brown for a fault. "It seems shameful to play with you, since you
never win."

Mine host Brown looks sheepishly apologetic.

"For one as eager to play as I am," he responds, "it does look as though
I ought to know more about the game. However, since it's your last
night, we might as well preserve a record."

Andy the horse-faced yields to the rabid anxiety of mine host Brown
to gamble. The game shall be played presently; meanwhile, there is an
errand which takes him to his rooms.

Andy goes to his rooms; mine host Brown, after preparing a table in
the long-room for the promised game, saunters fatly--being rotund as
a publican should be--into the kitchen, to leave directions concerning
that triangular supper. There he encounters his wife, as rotund as
himself, supervising the energies of a phalanx of black Amazons, who
form the culinary forces of the Rowan House.

"Young Jackson leaves in the morning, mother," observes mine host Brown
to Mrs. Brown, whom he always addresses as "mother."

"For good?" asks Mrs. Brown, who is singeing the pin feathers from a
chicken of much fatness, and exceeding yellow as to leg.

"Oh, I knew he was going," returns mine host Brown, rather irrelevantly.
"Spruce Mc-Cay told me that he was about to advise him to emigrate to
the western counties. Spruce says the Cumberland country is just the
place for him."

"And now I suppose," remarks Mrs. Brown, "you'll let him win a good-by
game of cards, to square his bill."

"Why not?" returns mine host Brown. "He's got no money; never had any
money. You yourself said, when he came here, to give him his board free,
because you knew and loved his dead mother. Now the Christian thing is
to let him win it. In that way his pride is saved; at the same time it
gives me amusement."

"Well, Marmaduke," says Mrs. Brown, moving off with the yellow-legged
fowl, "I'm sure I don't care how you manage, only so you don't take his
money."

"There never was a chance, mother. He never has any money, after his
clothes are bought."

The game of all-fours is played; and is won by Andy of the horse face,
who thereby rounds off a run of card-luck that has continued unbroken
for two years.

"It looks as though I'd never beat you!" exclaims mine host Brown,
pretending sadness and imitating a sigh.

"You ought never to gamble," advises the horse-faced Andy solemnly.

Mine host Brown produces his bill, wherein the charges for board,
lodging, laundry, tobacco, and whisky in pints, quarts and gallons are
set down on one side, to be balanced and acquitted by divers sums lost
at all-fours, the same being noted opposite.

"There you are! All square!" says mine host Brown.

"But the charges for to-night's supper?"

"Mother"--meaning Mrs. Brown--"says the supper is to be with her
compliments."

Steaming hot, the supper comes promptly at seven. It is followed,
steaming hot, by unlimited whisky punch. Pipes are lighted, and, with
glasses at easy hand, the three boys draw about the fire. The punch, the
pipes, and the crackling log fire are very comfortable adjuncts on an
October night.

"And now," cries Crawford, who is full of life and interest, "now for
the news and the proposition!"

McNairy nods owlish assent to the words of his volatile friend. He
intends one day to be a judge, and, while quite as lively as Crawford,
seizes on occasions such as this to practice his features in a
formidable woolsack gravity.

"First," observes Andy, soberly sipping his punch, "let me put a
question: What is my standing in Rowan County?"

"You are the recognized authority," cries Crawford, "on dog fighting,
cockfighting, and horse racing."

McNairy nods.

"Humph!" says Andy. Then, on the heels of a pause: "And what should you
say were my chief accomplishments?"

Again Crawford takes it upon himself to reply.

"You ride, shoot, run, jump, wrestle, dance and make love beyond
expression."

McNairy the judicial nods.

"Humph!" says Andy.

The trio puff and sip in silence.

"You say nothing for my knowledge of law?" This from the disgruntled
Andy, with a rising inflection that is like finding fault.

"No!" cry the others in hearty concert.

"You wouldn't believe us if we did," adds McNairy of the future
woolsack.

"Neither would the Judge," returns Andy cynically. "The Judge" is the
title by which the three designate their master, Spruce Mc-Cay. Andy
goes on: "The news I promised is this. To-morrow I leave Salisbury. The
Judge has recommended my admission to the bar, and I shall take the oath
and get my license before I start. I shall transfer myself to the region
along the Cumberland, where I am told a barrister of my singular lack of
ability should find plenty of practice."

"Why do you leave old Rowan?" asks woolsack McNairy, beginning to take
an interest.

"Because I have no education, less law, and still less money. It seems
that these are conditions precedent to staying in Rowan with credit."

"Well," cries McNairy the judicial, grasping Andy's long bony hand, "you
have as much education, as much law, and as much money as I. Under the
circumstances I shall go with you."

"And I," breaks in the lively Crawford, "since I have none of those
ignorant and poverty-eaten qualifications you name, but on the contrary
am rich, wise and learned--I shall remain here. When the wilderness
casts you fellows out, come back and I shall welcome you. Pending
which--as Parson Hicks would say--receive my blessing."

The evening wears on amid clouds of tobacco smoke and rivers of punch.
At the close the three take hold of hands, and sing a farewell song very
badly. Then, since they look on the evening as a sacred one, they wind
up by breaking the pipes they have smoked and the glasses they have
drunk from, to save them in the hereafter from profane and vulgar uses.
At last, rather deviously, they make their various ways to bed.

The next day, young Andrew Jackson, barrister and counselor at law, with
all his belongings--save the rifle he carries, and the pistols in
his saddle holsters--crowded into a pair of saddlebags, rides out of
Salisbury on his bay horse Cherokee. He will stop at Martinsville for a
space, awaiting the judicial McNairy.

Then the pair are to set their willing, hopeful faces for the
Cumberland.

As Andy the horse-faced rides away that October afternoon, Henry Clay
is a fatherless boy of nine, living with his mother at the Virginia
Slashes; Daniel Webster, a sickly child of six, is toddling about his
father's New Hampshire farm; John C. Calhoun is a baby four years old
in a South Carolina farmhouse; John Quincy Adams, nineteen and just home
from a polishing trip to France, is a Harvard student; Martin Van Buren,
aged four, is playing about the tap room of his Dutch father's tavern at
Kinder-hook; while Aaron Burr, fortunate, foremost and full of promise,
has already won high station at the New York bar. None of these has ever
heard of Andy the horse-faced, nor he of them; yet one and all they are
fated to grow well acquainted with one another in the years to come,
and before the curtain is rung finally down on that tragedy-comedy-farce
which, played to benches ever full and ever empty, men call Existence.



CHAPTER III--THE BLOOMING RACHEL


NASHVILLE is the merest scrambling huddle of log houses. The most
imposing edifice is a blockhouse, built of logs squared by the broadaxe.
It is the home of the widow Donelson; and, since it is all her husband
left her when the Indians shot him down at the plow-stilts, and because
she must live, the widow Donelson has turned the blockhouse into a
boarding house.

With the widow Donelson dwells her daughter Rachel, a beautiful brunette
of twenty, and the belle of the Cumberland. Rachel is vivacious and
bright; and, while there is much confusion among her nouns, pronouns,
verbs and adverbs in the matters of case, number, and tense, she shines
forth an indomitable conversationist. With frontier freedom she
laughs with everybody, jests with everybody, delights in everybody's
admiration; and this does not please her husband, Lewis Robards, who is
ignorant, suspicious, narrow, lazy, shiftless, jealous, and generally
drunk. One time and another he has accused Rachel of a tenderness for
every man in the settlement, and their quarrels have been frequent and
fierce.

It is evening; the widow Donelson is preparing supper for the half
dozen boarders, assisted by the blooming Rachel. The moody Robards, half
soaked in corn whisky, sits by the open door, ear on the conversation,
eye on the not-over-distant woods. If the worthless Robards will not
work, at least he may maintain a halfbright lookout for murderous
Indians; and he does.

The widow Donelson glances across from the corn bread she is mixing.

"The runner who came on ahead," she says, addressing the blooming
Rachel, "reports the party as being due to-morrow. Mr. Jackson, the new
State's Attorney, who will come with it, is to board and lodge with us."

The blooming Rachel looks brightly up. The drunken Robards likewise
looks up; but his face is gloomy with incipient jealousy.

"A Mr. Jackson, eh?" he sneers. Then, to the blooming Rachel: "It's
mighty likely you'll find in him a new lover to try your wiles on."

The blooming Rachel colors and her black eyes snap, but she holds her
tongue. The widow Donelson is also silent. The mother and daughter have
found wordlessness the best return to those insults, which it is the
habit of the jealous drunkard to hurl at his pretty wife.

The runner made true report, and the party in which travels the
horse-faced Andy makes its appearance next day. Tall, slender, elegant,
self-possessed, and with a manner which marks him above the common, he
is disliked by the drunken Robards on sight. When he declines to drink
with that sot, the dislike crystallizes into hatred. The outrageous
jealousy of Robards has found a new reason for its green-eyed existence,
and he already goes drunkenly pondering the slaughter of the horse-faced
Andy. Since he will never advance beyond the pondering stage, for
certain reasons called "craven" among men of clean courage, his
homicidal lucubrations are the less important.

Andy the horse-faced does not notice Robards. He does, however, notice
with a thrill of pleasure the beautiful Rachel, and is glad to find his
lines are down in such pleasant places.

He is vastly taken with the boarding house of the widow Donelson, and
incautiously says as much. He praises her corn pone and fried squirrel,
and vehemently avers that her hog and hominy are the best he ever ate.

Rachel the blooming does not allow her husband's jealousy to interrupt
hospitality, and piles high the young State's Attorney's plate with
these delicacies. She even brings out a store of wild honey and
cream--dainties sparse and few and far between in these rude regions.
She calls this "hospitality"; her jealous drunkard of a husband calls
it "making advances." He says that in the course of a long, and he might
have added misspent, life, he has observed that a coquette, with designs
on a man's heart, never fails to begin by making an ally of his stomach.

"Hence," says the drunken deductionist, "that honey and cream."

That night, after Rachel the blooming and her drunken husband retire, a
bitter quarrel breaks out between them. It rages with such fury that
the bicker arouses one Overton, who occupies the adjoining chamber.
Mr. Overton is a severe character, firm and clear as to his rights. He
objects to having his rest disturbed, alleging that he has troubles
of his own. Taking final offense at the language of the brute Robards,
which is more emphatic than nice, he gets his pistols. Rapping on the
intervening wall to invoke attention, he informs that vituperative
drunkard of his intention to instantly put him (Robards) to death,
should he so much as raise his voice above a whisper for the balance of
the night.

Rachel seeks her mother, and the jealous drunkard quiets down. He is not
unacquainted with Mr. Overton, who is reputed to possess as restless
a brace of hair triggers as ever owned flint and pan. Altogether he is
precisely the one whose word would carry weight with such as Robards,
and, on the back of his interference in the domestic affairs of that
inebriate, a great peace settles upon the blockhouse of the widow
Donelson which abides throughout the night.

As for the horse-faced State's Attorney, he knows nothing of the
differences between Rachel and the jealous Robards. He does not sleep
in the blockhouse, having been appointed to a blanket couch in the
"Bunk House," a separate dormitory structure which stands at a little
distance.

During breakfast, the blooming Rachel again freights daintily deep the
plate of the young State's Attorney. Thereupon the favored one beams his
thanks, while behind his back as though to soothe his hate, the
malevolent Rob-ards sits cleaning a rifle, casting upon him the while an
occasional midnight look. Just across is the taciturn Overton,
proprietor of those restless hair triggers, wondering over his bacon and
eggs where this drama of love and threatened murder is to end.



CHAPTER IV--COLONEL WAIGHTSTILL AVERY OFFENDS


NOW, when the horse-faced Andy finds himself in the Cumberland country,
he begins to look about him. Being a lawyer, his instinct leads him
to consider those opposing ranks of commerce, the debtor and creditor
classes. He finds the former composed of persons of the highest honor.
Also, their honor is sensitive and easily touched, being sensitive and
touchy in proportion as the bulk of their debts is increased. The debtor
class, as the same finds representation about those two Cumberland
forums, Nashville and Jonesboro, holds it to be the privilege of
every gentleman, when dunned, to challenge and if practicable kill his
creditor honorably at ten paces.

So firm indeed is the debtor class in this belief, that the creditor
class, less warlike and with more to lose, seldom presents a bill.
Neither does it refuse the opposition credit; for the debtor class also
clings to the no less formidable theory, that to refuse credit is an
insult quite as stinging as a dun direct.

In short, the horse-faced Andy discovers the region to be a very Arcadia
for debtors. Their credit is without a limit and their debts are never
due. He resolves to disturb these commercial Arcadians; he will break
upon them as a Satan of solvency come to trouble their debt paradise.

The horse-faced Andy, as has been noted, is Scotch-Irish. Being Irish,
his honor is as sensitive and his soul as warlike as are those of
the most debt-eaten individual along the Cumberland. Being Scotch, he
believes debts should be paid, and holds that a creditor may ask for
his money without forfeiting life. He urges these views in tavern and
street; and thereupon the creditors, taking heart, come to him with
their claims. He accepts the trusts thus proffered; as a corollary,
having now flown in the face of the militant debtor class, he is soon to
prove his manhood.

The horse-faced Andy files a declaration for a client, on a mixed claim
based upon bacon, molasses and rum. The defendant, a personage yclept
Irad Miller, genus debtor, species keel boatman, is a very patrician
among bankrupts, boasting that he owes more and pays less than any
man south of the Ohio river. Also, having been already offended by the
foppish frivolity of that ruffled shirt and grass-green surtout, he is
outraged now, when the ruffled grass-green one brings suit against him.

Breathing fire and smoke, the insulted Irad lowers his horns, and starts
for the horse-faced Andy. His methods at this crisis are characteristic
of the Cumberland; he merely grinds the horse-faced Andy's polished boot
beneath his heel, mentioning casually the while that he himself is "half
hoss, half alligator," and can drink the Cumberland dry at a draught.

This is fighting talk, and the horse-faced Andy so accepts it. He
surveys the truculent Irad with the cautious tail of his eye, and finds
him discouragingly tall and broad and thick. The survey takes time, but
the injured Irad prevents it being wasted by again grinding the polished
toes.

Andy the strategic suddenly seizes a rail from the nearby fence, and
charges the indebted one. The end of the rail strikes that insolvent
in what is vulgarly known as the pit of the stomach, and doubles him up
like a two-foot rule. At that, he who is "half hoss, half alligator,"
gives forth a screech of which an injured wild cat might be proud, and
perceiving the rail poised for a second charge makes off. This small
adventure gives the horse-faced Andy station, and an avalanche of claims
pours in upon him.

Having established himself in the confidence of common men, it still
remains with our horsefaced hero to conquer the esteem of the bar. The
opportunity is not a day behind his collision with that violent one of
equine-alligator genesis. In good sooth, it is an offshoot thereof.

The bruised Irad's case is up for trial. His counsel, Colonel
Waightstill Avery, hails from a hamlet, called Morganton, on the thither
side of the Blue Ridge. Colonel Waightstill is of middle age, pompous
and high, and the youth of Andy--slim, lean, eager, horse face as
hairless as an egg--offends him.

"Your honor," cries Colonel Waightstill, addressing the bench, "who,
pray, is the opposing counsel?" The boyish Andy stands up. "Must I,
your honor," continues the outraged Colonel Waightstill, "must I cross
forensic blades with a child? Have I journeyed all the long mountain
miles from Morganton to try cases with babes and sucklings? Or perhaps,
your honor"--here Colonel Waightstill waxes sarcastic--"I have mistaken
the place. Possibly this is not a court, but a nursery."

Colonel Waightstill sits down, and the horsefaced Andy, on the leaf of a
law book, indites the following:

_August 12, 1788._

_Sir: When a man's feelings and charector are injured he ought to seek
speedy redress. My charector you have injured; and further you have
Insulted me in the presunce of a court and a large aujence. I therefore
call upon you as a gentleman to give me satisfaction for the same;
I further call upon you to give me an answer immediately without
Equivocation and I hope you can do without dinner until the business
is done; for it is consistent with the character of a gentleman when he
injures a man to make speedy reparation; therefore I hope you will not
fail in meeting me this day._

_From yr Hbl st.,_

_Andw Jackson._

The horse-faced one spells badly; but Marlborough did, Washington does
and Napoleon will spell worse. It is a notable fact that conquering
militant souls have ever been better with the sword than with the
spelling book.

The judge is a gentleman of quick and apprehensive eye, as frontier
jurists must be.

Also, he is of finest sensibilities, and can appreciate the feelings of
a man of honor. He sees the note shoved across to Colonel Waightstill
by the horse-faced Andy, and at once orders a recess. The judge, with
delicate tact, says the Cumberland bottoms are heavy with the seeds of
fever, and that it is his practice to consume prudent rum and quinine at
this hour.

While the judge goes for his rum and quinine, Colonel Waightstill and
the horse-faced Andy repair to a convenient ravine at the rear of the
log courthouse. A brother practitioner attends upon Colonel Waightstill,
while the interests of the horse-faced Andy are conserved by Mr.
Overton, who espouses his cause as a fellow boarder at the widow
Donelson's. Mr. Overton has with him his invaluable hair triggers; and,
since he wins the choice, presents them politely, butt first, to the
second of Colonel Waightstill, who selects one for his principal. The
ground is measured and pegged; the fight will be at ten paces.

As Mr. Overton gives the horse-faced Andy his weapon, he asks:

"What can you do at this distance?"

"Snuff a candle."

"Good! Let me offer a word of advice: Don't kill; don't even wound. The
_casus belli_ does not justify it, and you can establish your credit
without. Should your adversary require a second shot, it will then be
the other way. His failure to apologize, coupled with a demand for
another shot, should mean his death warrant."

The horse-faced Andy approves this counsel. And yet, if he must not
wound he may warn, and to that admonitory end sends his ounce of lead
so as to all but brush the ear of Colonel Waightstill. That gentleman's
bullet flies safely wild. After the exchange of shots, the seconds hold
a consultation. Mr. Overton says that his principal must receive an
apology, or the duel shall proceed.

Colonel Waightstill's second talks with that gentleman, and finds him
much softened as to mood. The flying lead, brushing his ear like the
wing of a death angel, has set him thinking. He now distrusts that
simile of "babes and sucklings," and is even ready to concede the
intimation that the horse-faced Andy is a child to be far-fetched.
Indeed, he has conceived a vast respect, almost an affection, for his
youthful adversary, and will not only apologize, but declares that, for
purposes of litigation, he shall hereafter regard the horse-faced Andy
as a being of mature years. All this says Colonel Waight-still, under
the respectful spell of that flying lead; and if not in these phrases,
then in words to the same effect.

The horse-faced Andy shakes hands with Colonel Waightstill, and they
return to the log courthouse, where the rum-and-quinine jurist is
pleasantly awaiting them. The trial is again called, and the horse-faced
Andy secures a verdict. What is of more consequence, he secures the
respect of bench and bar; hereafter no one will so much as dream of
disputing his word, should he lay claim to the years of Methuselah. That
careful grazing shot at Colonel Waightstill, ages the horse-faced Andy
wondrously in Cumberland estimation.

Good fortune is not yet done with Andy of the horse face. Within hours
after the meeting in that convenient ravine, he is given new opportunity
to fix himself in the good regard of folk.

It is on the verge of midnight. A gentleman, unsteady with his cups,
seeks temporary repose on the grassy litter which surrounds the tavern
haystack. Being comfortable, and safe against a fall, he of the too many
cups refreshes himself with his pipe. Pipe going, he falls into thought;
and next, in the midst of his preoccupation, he sets the hay afire. It
burns like tinder, and the flames, wind-flaunted, catch the thatched
roof of the stable.

The settlement is threatened; the wild cry of "Fire!" is raised; from
tavern and dwelling, men, women and children come trooping forth, clad
in little besides looks of terror. The scene is one of confusion and
misdirection; no one knows what to do. Meanwhile, the flames leap from
the stable to the tavern itself.

It is Andy the horse-faced who brings order out of chaos. Born for
leadership, command comes easy to him. He calls for buckets, and with
military quickness forms a double line of men between the river and
the flames. The full buckets chase each other along one line, while the
empties are returned by the second to be refilled. When the lines are
working in watery concord, he organizes the balance of the community
into a wet-blanket force. By his orders, coverlets, tablecloths,
blankets, anything, everything that will serve, are dipped in the river
and spread on exposed roofs. In an encouragingly short space, the fire
is checked and the settlement saved.

While the excitement is at its height, that pipe incendiary, who started
the conflagration, breaks through the double line of water passers, and
begins to give orders. He is as wild as was Nero at the burning of
Rome. Finding this person disturbing the effective march of events, the
horse-faced Andy--who is nothing if not executive--knocks him down with
a bucket. The Cumberland Nero falls into the river, and the ducking,
acting in happy conjunction with the stunning thump, brings him to the
shore a changed and sobered man. That bucket promptitude, wherewith he
deposed Nero, becomes one of those several immediate arguments which
make mightily for the communal advancement of Andy the horse-faced.



CHAPTER V--THE WINNING OF A WIFE


ALL these energetic matters happen at aforesaid, is dancing attendance
upon the court. The fame of them travels to Nashville in advance of his
return, and works a respectful change toward him in the attitude of the
public. Hereafter he is to be called "Andrew" by ones who know him well;
while others, less acquainted, will on military occasions hail him as
"Cap'n" and on civil ones as "Square." On every hand, reference to him
as "horse-faced" is to be dropped; wherefore this history, the effort of
which is to follow close in the wake of the actual, will from this point
profit by that polite example.

The household at the widow Donelson's learns of the Jonesboro valor and
executive promptitude of the young State's Attorney. The blooming Rachel
rejoices, while her Jonesboro, where the horse-faced one, in the
interests of the creditor class drunken spouse turns sullen. His
jealousy of Andrew is multiplied, as that young gentleman's fame
increases. The fame, however, is of a sort that seriously mislikes the
drunken Robards, who is at heart a hare. Wherefore, while his jealousy
grows, he no longer makes it the tavern talk, as was his sottish wont.

Affairs run briskly prosperous with Andrew, and he finds himself engaged
in half the litigation of the Cumberland. There is little money, but
the region owns a currency of its own. Some wise man has said that the
circulating medium of Europe is gold, of Africa men, of Asia women, of
America land. The client's of Andrew reward his labors with land, and
many a "six-forty," by which the slang of the Cumberland identifies
a section of land, becomes his. Finally he owns such an array of
wilderness square miles, polka-dotted about between the Cumberland and
the Mississippi, that the aggregate acreage swells into the thousands.
Those acres, however, are hardly more valuable than are the brown leaves
wherewith each autumn carpets them.

While the ardent Andrew is pushing his way at the bar, and accumulating
"six-forties," he continues to board at the widow Donelson's.

The blooming Rachel delights in his society--so polished, so splendidly
different from that of the drunkard Robards! Once or twice, too,
when Andrew, in his saddlebag excursions from court to court, has
a powder-burning brush with Indians and saves his sandy scalp by a
narrowish margin, the red cheek of Rachel is seen to whiten. That is to
say, the drunkard Robards sees it whiten; the purblind Andrew never once
observes that mark of tender concern. The pistol repute of the decisive
Andrew serves when he is by to stifle remark on the lip of the recreant
Robards. But there come hours when the latter has the blooming Rachel to
himself, at which time he raves like one demon-possessed. He avers that
the unconscious Andrew is the lover of the blooming Rachel, and in so
doing lies like an Ananias. However, the drunken one has the excuse of
jealousy; which emotion is not only green-eyed but cross-eyed, and of
all things--as history shows--most apt to mislead the accurate vision of
folk.

[Illustration: 0063]

Andrew overflows of sentiment, and often in moments of loneliness turns
homesick. This is the more marvelous, since never from his very cradle
days has he had a home. Being homesick--one may as well call it that,
for want of a better word--he goes out to the orchard fence, a lonely
spot, cut off from view by intercepting bushes, and devotes himself
to melancholy. This melancholy, as often happens with high-strung,
vanity-bitten young gentlemen, is for the greater part nothing more than
the fomentations of his egotism and conceit. But Andrew does not know
this truth, and wears a fine tragic air as one beset of what poets term
"a nameless grief."

One day the blooming Rachel discovers the melancholy Andrew, dreamily
mournful by the orchard fence. She watches him unperceived, and her
gentle bosom yearns over him. The blooming Rachel is not wanting in that
taint of romanticism to which all border folk are born; and now, to
see this Hector!--this lion among men!--so bent in sadness, moves her
tenderly. At that it is only a kind of maternal tenderness; for the
blooming Rachel has a wealth of mother love, and no children upon whom
to lavish it. She stands looking at the melancholy one, and would give
worlds if she might only take his head to her sympathetic bosom and
cherish it.

The blooming Rachel approaches, and cheerily greets the gloomy one. She
seeks to uplift his spirits. Under the sweet spell of her, he tells how
wholly alone he is. He speaks of his mother and how her very grave is
lost. He relates how the Revolution swallowed up the lives of his two
brothers.

"And your father?"

"He was buried the week before I was born."

The two stay by the orchard fence a long while, and talk on many things;
but never once on love.

The drunken Robards, fiend-guided, gets a green-eyed glimpse of them.
With that his jealousy receives added edge, and--the better to decide
upon a course--he hurries to a grog-gery to pour down rum by the cup.
Either he drinks beyond his wont, or that rum is of sterner impulse than
common; for he becomes pot-valorous, and with curses vows the death of
Andrew.

The drunken Robards, filled with rum to the brim, issues forth to
execute his threats. He finds his victim still sadly by the orchard
fence; but alone, since the blooming Rachel has been called to aid
in supper-getting. The pot-valorous Robards bursts into a torrent of
jealous recrimination.

The melancholy Andrew cannot believe his ears! His melancholy takes
flight when he does understand, and in its stead comes white-hot anger.

"What! you scoundrel!" he roars. The blue eyes blaze with such ferocity
that Robards the craven starts back. In a moment the other has control
of himself. "Sir!" he grits, "you shall give me satisfaction!"

Robards the drunken says nothing, being frozen of fear. The enraged
Andrew stalks away in quest of the taciturn Overton who owns those hair
triggers.

"Let us take a walk," says hair-trigger Overton, running his arm inside
the lean elbow of Andrew. Once in the woods, he goes on: "What do you
want to do?"

"Kill him! I would put him in hell in a second!"

"Doubtless! Having killed him, what then will you do?"

"I don't understand."

"Let me explain: You kill Robards. His wife is a widow. Also, because
you have killed Robards in a quarrel over her, she is the talk of
the settlement. Therefore, I put the question: Having made Rachel the
scandal of the Cumberland, what will you do?"

There is a long, embarrassed pause. Presently Andrew lifts his gaze to
the cool eyes of his friend.

"I shall offer her marriage. She shall, if she accept it, have the
protection of my name."

"And then," goes on the ice-and-iron Overton, "the scandal will be
redoubled. They will say that you and Rachel, plotting together, have
murdered Robards to open a wider way for your guilty loves."

Andrew takes a deep breath. "What would you counsel?" he asks.

"One thing,"--laying his hand on Andrew's shoulder--"under no
circumstances, not even to save your own life, must you slay Robards.
You might better slay Rachel; since his death by your hand spells her
destruction. Good people would avoid her as though she were the plague.
Never more, on the Cumberland, should she hold up her head."

That night the fear-eaten Robards solves the situation which his crazy
jealousy has created. He starts secretly for the North. He tells two or
three that he will never more call the blooming Rachel wife.

For a month there is much silence, and some restraint, at the widow
Donelson's. This condition wears away; and, while no one says so,
everybody feels relaxed and relieved by the absence of the drunken
Robards. No one names him, and there is tacit agreement to forget
the creature. The drunken Robards, however, has no notion of being
forgotten. Word comes down from above that he will return and reclaim
his wife. At this the black eyes of Rachel sparkle dangerously.

"That monster," she cries, "shall never kiss my lips, nor so much as
touch my hand again!"

By advice of her mother, and to avoid the drunken Robards--who promises
his hateful appearance with each new day--the blooming Rachel resolves
to take passage on a keel boat for Natchez. Andrew, in deep concern,
declares that he shall accompany her. He says that he goes to protect
her from those Indians who make a double fringe of savage peril along
the Cumberland, the Ohio, and the Mississippi. Overton, the taciturn,
shrugs his shoulders; the keel-boat captain is glad to have with him
the steadiest rifle along the Cumberland, and says as much; the blooming
Rachel is glad, but says so only with her eyes; the Nashville good
people say nothing, winking in silence sophisticated eyes.

Robards the drunken, now when they are gone, plays the ill-used husband
to the hilts. He seems to revel in the rôle, and, to keep it from
cooling in interest, petitions the Virginia Legislature for a divorce.
In course of time the news climbs the mountains, and descends into the
Cumberland, that the divorce is granted; while similar word floats down
to Natchez with the keel boats.

The slow story of the blooming Rachel's release reaches our two in
Natchez. Thereupon Andrew leads Rachel the blooming before a priest; and
the priest blesses them, and names them man and wife. That autumn they
are again at the widow Donelson's; but the blooming Rachel, once Mrs.
Robards, is now Mrs. Jackson.

Slander is never the vice of a region that goes armed to the teeth.
Thus it befalls that now, when the two are back on the Cumberland,
those sophisticated ones forget to wink. There comes not so much as the
arching of a brow; for no one is so careless of life as all that. The
whole settlement can see that the dangerous Andrew is watching with
those steel-blue eyes.

At the first suggestion that his Rachel has been guilty of wrong, he
will be at the throat of her maligner like a panther.

Time flows on, and a horrible thing occurs. There comes a new word
that no divorce was granted by that Legislature; and this new word is
indisputable. There _is_ a divorce, one granted by a court; but, as an
act of separation between Rachel the blooming and the drunken Robards,
that decree of divorce is long months younger than the empowering act of
the Richmond Legislature, which mistaken folk regarded as a divorce.
The good priest's words, when he named our troubled two as man and wife,
were ignorantly spoken. During months upon months thereafter, through
all of which she was hailed as "Mrs. Jackson," the blooming Rachel was
still the wife of the drunken Robards.

The blow strikes Andrew gray; but he says never a word. He blames
himself for this shipwreck; where his Rachel was involved, he should
have made all sure and invited no chances.

The injury is done, however; he must now go about its repair. There is a
second marriage, at which the silent Overton and the widow Donelson are
the only witnesses, and for the second time a priest congratulates our
storm-tossed ones as man and wife. This time there is no mistake.

The young husband sends to Charleston; and presently there come to
him over the Blue Ridge, the finest pair of dueling pistols which the
Cumberland has ever beheld. They are Galway saw-handles, rifle-barreled;
a breath discharges them, and they are sighted to the splitting of a
hair.

"What are they for?" asks Overton the taciturn, balancing one in each
experienced hand.

In the eyes of Andrew gathers that steel-blue look of doom. "They are to
kill the first villain who speaks ill of my wife," says he.



CHAPTER VI--DEAD-SHOT DICKINSON


THE sandy-haired Andrew now devotes himself to the practice of law and
the domestic virtues. In exercising the latter, he has the aid of the
blooming Rachel, toward whom he carries himself with a tender chivalry
that would have graced a Bayard. Having little of books, he is earnest
for the education of others, and becomes a trustee of the Nashville
Academy.

About this time the good people of the Cumberland, and of the regions
round about, believing they number more than seventy thousand souls, are
seized of a hunger for statehood. They call a constitutional convention
at Knoxville, and Andrew attends as a delegate from his county of
Davidson. Woolsack McNairy, his fellow student in the office of Spruce
Mc-Cay, is also a delegate. The woolsack one has-realized that dream of
old Salisbury, and is now a judge.

Andrew and woolsack McNairy are members of the committee which draws
a constitution for the would-be commonwealth. The constitution, when
framed, is brought by its authors into open convention, and wranglingly
adopted. Also, "Tennessee" is settled upon for a name, albeit the ardent
Andrew, who is nothing if not tribal, urges that of "Cumberland."

The constitution goes, with the proposition of statehood, before
Congress in Philadelphia; and, following a sharp fight, in which such
fossilized ones as Rufus King oppose and such quick spirits as Aaron
Burr sustain, the admission of "Tennessee," the new State is created.

Its hunting-shirt citizenry, well pleased with their successful step in
nation building, elect Andrew to the House of Representatives. A little
later, he is taken from the House and sent to the Senate. There he
meets with Mr. Jefferson, who is the Senate's presiding officer, being
vice-president of the nation, and that accurate parliamentarian and
polished fine gentleman writes of him:

"He never speaks on account of the rashness of his feelings. I have seen
him attempt it repeatedly, but as often choke with rage." There also he
encounters Aaron Burr; and is so far socially sagacious as to model
his deportment upon that of the American Chesterfield, ironing out
its backwoods wrinkles and savage creases, until it fits a _salon_ as
smoothly well as does the deportment of Burr himself. Our hero finds but
one other man about Congress for whom he conceives a friendship equal to
that which he feels for Aaron Burr, and he is Edward Livingston.

Andrew the energetic discovers the life of a senator to be one of
dawdling uselessness, overlong drawn out; and says so. He anticipates
the acrid Randolph of Roanoke, and declares that he never winds his
watch while in Congress, holding all time spent there as wasted and
thrown away.

Idleness rusts him; and, being of a temper even with that of best
Toledo steel, he refuses to rust patiently. Preyed upon and carked of
an exasperating leisure, which misfits both his years and his
fierce temperament, he seeks refuge in what amusements are rife in
Philadelphia. He goes to Mr. McElwee's Looking-glass Store, 70 South
Fourth Street, and pays four bits for a ticket to the readings of Mr.
Fennell, who gives him Goldsmith, Thompson and Young. The readings
pall upon him, and athirst for something more violent, he clinks down
a Mexican dollar, witnesses the horsemanship at Mr. Rickett's
amphitheater, and finds it more to his horse-loving taste. When all else
fails, he buys a seat in a box at the Old Theater in Cedar Street, and
is entertained by the sleight of hand of wizard Signor Falconi. On
the back of it all he grows heartily sick of the Senate, and of
civilization, as the latter finds exposition in Philadelphia, and
resigns his place and goes home.

When he arrives in Nashville, the Legislature--which still holds that
he should be engaged upon some public work--elects him to the supreme
bench....

_{There are missing paragraphs which are not found in any online edition
of this ebook}_

....objectionable Mr. Bean with those Galway saw-handles; and that
violent person surrenders unconditionally. In elucidating his sudden
tameness and its causes, Mr. Bean subsequently explains to a disgusted
admirer:

"I looks at the Jedge, an' I sees shoot in his eye; an' thar warn't
shoot in nary 'nother eye in the crowd. So I says to myse'f, says I, 'Old
Hoss, it's about time to sing small!' An' I does."

Notwithstanding those leaden exchanges with the Governor, and
the conquest of the discreet Mr. Bean, our jurist finds the bench
inexpressibly tedious. At last he resigns from it, as he did from the
Senate, and again retreats to private life.

Here his forethoughtful Scotch blood begins to assert itself, and he
goes seriously to the making of money. With his one hundred and fifty
slaves, he tills his plantation as no plantation on the Cumberland was
ever tilled before; and the cotton crops he "makes" are at once the
local boast and wonder. He starts an inland shipyard, and builds keel
and flat boats for the river commerce with New Orleans. He opens a
store, sells everything from gunpowder to quinine, broadcloth by the
bolt to salt by the barrel, and takes his pay in the heterogeneous
currency of the region, whereof 'coon skins are a smallest subsidiary
coin. Also, it is now that he is made Major General of Militia, an honor
for which he has privily panted, even as the worn hart panteth for the
water brook.

When he is a general, the blooming Rachel cuts and bastes and stitches a
gorgeous uniform for her Bayard, in which labor of love she exhausts the
Nashville supply of gold braid. Once the new General dons that effulgent
uniform, which he does upon the instant it is completed, he offers a
spectacle of such brilliancy that the bedazzled public talks facetiously
of smoked glass. The new General in no wise resents this jest, being
blandly tolerant of a backwoods sense of humor which suggests it.
Besides, while the public has its joke, he has the uniform and his
commission; and these, he opines, give him vastly the better of the
situation.

Many friends, many foes, says the Arab, and now the popular young
General finds his path grown up of enemies. There be reasons for the
sprouting of these malevolent gentry. The General is the idol of the
people. He can call them about him as the huntsman calls his hounds.
At word or sign from him, they follow and pull down whatsoever man or
measure he points to as his quarry of politics. This does not match with
the ambitions of many a pushing gentleman, who is quite as eager for
popular preference, and--he thinks--quite as much entitled to it, as is
the General.

These disgruntled ones, baffled in their political advancement by the
General, take darkling counsel among themselves. The decision they
arrive at is one gloomy enough. They cannot shake the General's hold
upon the people. Nothing short of his death promises a least ray of
relief. He is the sun; while he lives he alone will occupy the popular
heavens. His destruction would mean the going down of that sun. In the
night which followed, those lesser plotting luminaries might win for
themselves some twinkling visibility.

It is the springtime of the malevolent ones' conspiracy, and the plot
they make begins to blossom for the bearing of its lethal fruit. There
is in Nashville one Charles Dickinson. By profession he is a lawyer,
albeit of practice intermittent and scant. In figure he is tall,
handsome, graceful with a feline grace. If there be aught in the old
Greek's theory touching the transmigration of souls, then this Dickinson
was aforetime and in another life a tiger. He is sinuous, powerful,
vain, narrowly cruel, with a sleek purring gloss of manner over all.
Also, he is of "good family"--that defense and final refuge of folk
who would else sink from respectable sight in the mire of their own
well-earned disrepute.

Mr. Dickinson has one accomplishment, a physical one. So nicely does his
eye match his hand, that he may boast himself the quickest, surest shot
in all the world. Knowing his vanity, and the deadly certainty of his
pistols, the conspirators work upon him. They point out that to kill the
General under circumstances which men approve, will be an easy instant
step to greatness. Urged by his vanity, permitted by his cruelty,
dead-shot Dickinson rises to the glittering lure.

Give a man station and fortune, and while his courage is not sapped
his prudence is promoted. The poor, obscure man will risk himself more
readily than will the eminent rich one, not that he is braver, but he
has less to lose. The General--who has been in both Houses of Congress,
and was a judge on the bench besides--will not be hurried to the field,
as readily as when he was merely Andrew the horse-faced. However, those
malignant secret ones are ingenious. They know a name that cannot
fail to set him ablaze for blood. They whisper that name to dead-shot
Dickinson.

It is a banner day at the Clover Bottom track. The General's Truxton is
to run--that meteor among race horses, the mighty Truxton! The blooming
Rachel, seated in her carriage, is where she can view the finish. The
General--one of the Clover Bottom stewards--is in the judge's stand.
Dead-shot Dickinson, as the bell rings on the race, takes his stand at
the blooming Rachel's carriage wheel. He is not there to see a race, but
to plant an insult.

"Go!" cries the starter.

Away rushes the field, the flying Truxton in the lead! Around they
whirl, the little jockeys plying hand and heel! They sweep by the
three-quarters post! The great Truxton, eye afire, nostrils wide, comes
down the stretch with the swiftness of the thrown lance! Behind, ten
generous lengths, trail the beaten ruck! The red mounts to the cheek of
the blooming Rachel; her black eyes shine with excitement! She applauds
the invincible Truxton with her little hands.

"He is running away with them!" she cries.

Dead-shot Dickinson turns to the friend who is conveniently by his side.
The chance he waited for has come.

"Running away with them!" he sneers, repeating the phrase of the
blooming Rachel. "To be sure! He takes after his master, who ran away
with another man's wife."



CHAPTER VII--HOW THE GENERAL FOUGHT


THE General seeks the taciturn Over-ton--that wordless one of the
uneasy hair triggers.

"It is a plot," says the General. "And yet this man shall die."

Hair-trigger Overton bears a challenge to dead-shot Dickinson, and is
referred to that marksman's second, Hanson Catlet. Hair-trigger Overton
and Mr. Catlet agree on Harrison's Mills, a long Day's ride away in
Kentucky. There are laws against dueling in Tennessee; wherefore her
citizens, when bent on blood, repair to Kentucky. To make all equal,
and owning similar laws, the Kentuckians, when blood hungry, take one
another to Tennessee. The arrangement is both perfect and polite, not
to say urbane, and does much to induce friendly relations between these
sister commonwealths.

Place selected, Mr. Catlet insists upon putting off the fight for a
week. His principal is nothing if not artistic. He must send across the
Blue Ridge Mountains for a famous brace of pistols. His duel with the
General will have its page in history. He insists, therefore, upon
making every nice arrangement to attract the admiration of posterity.
He will kill the General, of course; and, by way of emphasizing his
gallantry, offers wagers to that effect. He bets three thousand dollars
that he will kill the General the first fire.

The General makes no wagers, but holds long pow-wows with hair-trigger
Overton over their glasses and pipes. The fight is to be at
twelve paces, each man toeing a peg. The word agreed on is:
"Fire--one--two--three--stop!" Both are free to kill after the word
"Fire," and before the word "Stop."

Hair-trigger Overton and the General give themselves up to a heartfelt
study of what advantages and disadvantages are presented by the
situation. They decide to let the gifted Dickinson shoot first. He is
so quick that the General cannot hope to forestall his fire. Also, any
undue haste on the General's part might spoil his aim. By the pros and
cons of it, as weighed between them, it is plain that the General must
receive the fire of dead-shot Dickinson. He will be hit; doubtless the
wound will bring death. He must, however, bend every iron energy to the
task of standing on his feet long enough to kill his adversary.

"Fear not! I'll last the time!" says the General. "He shall go with me;
for I've set my heart on his blood."

Those wonderful pistols come over the Blue Ridge, and dead-shot
Dickinson with his friends set out for that far-away Kentucky fighting
ground. They make gala of the business, and laugh and joke as they ride
along. By way of keeping his hand in, and to give the confidence of
his admirers a wire edge, dead-shot Dickinson unbends in sinister
exhibitions of his pistol skill. At a farmer's house a gourd is hanging
by a string from the bough of a tree. Deadrshot Dickinson, at twenty
paces, cuts the string; the gourd falls to the ground.

"Some gentlemen will be along presently," he says. "Show them that
string, and tell them how it was cut."

At a wayside inn he puts four bullets into a mark the size of a silver
dollar.

"When General Jackson arrives," he observes, tossing a gold piece to the
innkeeper, "say that those shots were fired at twenty-four paces."

And so with song and shout and jest and pistol firing, the Dickinson
party troop forward. They arrive in the early evening and put up at
Harrison's tavern. The fight is for seven o'clock in the morning.

Behind this gay cavalcade are journeying the General and hair-trigger
Overton. The farmer repeats the story of the gourd and its bullet-broken
string. A bit farther, and the innkeeper calls attention to that
quartette of shots, which took effect within the little circumference
of a dollar piece. The stern pair behold these marvels unmoved;
hair-trigger Overton merely shrugs his shoulders, while the General's
lip curls contemptuously. Dead-shot Dickinson has thrown away his lead
and powder if he hoped to shake these men of granite. Upon coming to the
battle ground, the General and hair-trigger Overton avoid the Harrison
tavern, which shelters the jovial Dickinson _coterie_, and put up at the
inn of David Miller. That evening, they hold their final conference in
a cloud of tobacco smoke, like a couple of Indians. Finally, the General
goes to bed, and sleeps like a tree.

With the first blue streaks of morning our two war parties are up
and moving. They meet in a convenient grove of poplars. The ground is
stepped off and pegged; after which hair-trigger Overton and Mr. Catlet
pitch a coin. The impartial coin awards the choice of positions to Mr.
Catlet, and gives the word to hair-trigger Overton. There is a third
toss which settles that the weapons are to be those Galway saw-handles.
At this good fortune a steel-blue point of fire shows in the satisfied
eye of the General. He recalls how he procured those weapons to kill the
first man who spoke evil of the blooming Rachel, and is pleased to think
a benignant destiny will not permit them to be robbed of that original
right.

The men are led to their respective pegs by Mr. Catlet and hair-trigger
Overton. The General, through the experienced strategy of hair-trigger
Overton, wears a black coat--high of collar, long of skirt. It buttons
close to the chin; not a least glimpse of bullet-guiding white, whether
of shirt collar or cravat, is allowed to show. The black coat is
purposely voluminous; and the whereabouts of the General's lean frame,
tucked away in its folds, is a question not readily replied to. The only
mark on the whole sable expanse of that coat is a row of steel-bright
buttons. These are not in the middle, but peculiarly to one side. Those
steel-bright buttons will draw the fire of dead-shot Dickinson like a
magnet. Which is precisely what hair-trigger Overton had in mind.

As the two stand at the pegs, dead-shot Dickinson calls loudly to a
friend:

"Watch that third button! It's over the heart! I shall hit him there!"

The grim General says nothing; but the look on his gaunt face reads like
a page torn from some book of doom. As he stands waiting the word, he is
observed by the watchful Overton to slip something into his mouth. Then
his jaws set themselves like flint.

"Gentlemen, are you ready?"

They are ready, dead-shot Dickinson cruelly eager, the somber General
adamant. There is a soundless moment, still as death:

"Fire!"

Instantly, like a flash of lightning, the pistol of dead-shot Dickinson
explodes. That objective third button disappears, driven in by the
vengeful lead! The General rocks a little on his feet with the awful
shock of it; then he plants himself as moveless as an oak. Through the
curling smoke dead-shot Dickinson makes out the stark, upstanding
form. For a moment it is as though he were planet-struck. He shrinks
shudderingly from his peg.

"God!" he whispers; "have I missed him?"

Hair-trigger Overton cocks the pistol he holds in his hand and covers
the horror-smitten Dickinson.

"Back to your mark, sir!" he roars.

Dead-shot Dickinson steps up to his peg, his cheek the hue of ashes. He
reads his sentence in those implacable steel-blue eyes, and the death
nearness touches his heart like ice.

"One!" says hair-trigger Overton.

At the word, there is a sharp "klick!" The General has pulled the
trigger, but the hammer catches at half cock. The General's inveterate
steel-blue glance never for one moment leaves his man. He recocks the
weapon with a resounding "kluck!"

"Two!" says hair-trigger Overton.

"Bang!"

There comes the flash and roar, and dead-shot Dickinson is seen to
stagger. He totters, stumbles slowly forward, and falls all along on his
face. The bullet has bored through his body.

The General stays by his peg--cold and hard and stern. Hair-trigger
Overton approaches the wounded Dickinson. One glance is enough. He
crosses to the General and takes his arm.

"Come!" he says. "There is nothing more to do!"

Hair-trigger Overton leads the General back to their inn. As the pair
journey through the poplar wood, he asks:

"What was that you put in your mouth?"

"It was a bullet," returns the General; "I placed it between my teeth.
By setting my jaws firmly upon it I make my hand as steady as a church."

As the General says this, he gives that steadying pellet of lead to
hair-trigger Overton, who looks it over curiously. It has been crushed
between the clenched teeth of the General until now it is as flat and
thin as a two-bit piece. As the two approach the tavern they come upon
a negress churning butter, and the General pauses to drink a quart of
milk.

Once in his room, hair-trigger Overton pulls off the General's boot,
which is full of blood.

"Not there!" says the General. "His bullet found me here"; and he throws
open the black coat.

Dead-shot Dickinson's aim was better than his surmise. He struck that
indicated third button; but, thanks to the strategy of hair-trigger
Overton which prompted the voluminous coat, the button did not cover the
General's heart. The deceived bullet has only broken two ribs and grazed
the breastbone.

The surgeon is called; the wound is dressed and bandaged. He describes
it as serious, and shakes his head.

"Still," he observes, "you are more fortunate than Mr. Dickinson. He
cannot live an hour." As the man of probe and forceps is about to retire
the General detains him.

"You are not to speak of my wound until we are back in Nashville."

He of the probe and forceps bows assent. When he has left the room
hair-trigger Overton asks:

"What was that for?"

The brow of the General grows cloudy with a reminiscent war frown.

"Have you forgotten those four shots inside the circle of a dollar, and
that bullet-severed string? I want the braggart to die thinking he has
missed a man at twelve paces."

The two light pipes and hair-trigger Overton sends for his whisky. Once
it has come he gives the General a stiff four fingers, and under the
fiery spell of the liquor the color struggles into the pale hollow of
his cheek.

He of the probe and forceps comes to the door.

"Gentlemen," he says, palms outward with a sort of deprecatory
gesture--"gentlemen, Mr. Dickinson is dead."

The General knocks the ashes from his pipe. Then he crosses to the open
window and looks out into the May sunshine. From over near the poplar
wood drifts up the liquid whistle of a quail. Presently he returns to
his seat and begins refilling his pipe.

"It speaks worlds for your will power, that you should have kept your
feet after being hit so hard. Not one in ten thousand could have held
himself together while he made that shot!" This is a marvelous burst of
loquacity for hair-trigger Overton, who deals out words as some men deal
out ducats.

"I was thinking on _her_, whom his slanderous tongue had hurt. I should
have stood there till I killed him, though he had shot me through the
heart!"



CHAPTER VIII--ENGLAND AND GRIM-VISAGED WAR


THE saw-handles are cleaned and oiled and laid away to that repose
which they have won. No more will they be summoned to defend the
blooming Rachel. No one now speaks evil of her; for that tragedy which
reddened a May Kentucky morning has sealed the lips of slander. The
General does not speak of that battle at twelve paces in the poplar
wood; and yet the blooming Rachel knows. She, like her lover-husband,
never refers to it; but her worship of him finds multiplication, while
he, towards her, grows more and more the Bayard. Much are they revered
and looked up to along the Cumberland, he for his gentle loyalty, she
for her love; and the common tongue is tireless in reciting the story of
their perfect happiness.

The currents of time roll on and the General is busy with his planting,
his storekeeping, and his boat building. He is fortunate; and the
three-sided profits pile themselves into moderate riches. In the midst
of his prosperity he is visited by Aaron Burr. The late vice-president
has killed Alexander Hamilton--a name despised along the Cumberland.
Also he was aforetime the champion of Tennessee, when she asked the boon
of statehood.

For these sundry matters, as well as for what good unconscious lessons
in deportment were taught him by the courtly Colonel Burr, the General
fails not to take that polished exile to his heart and to his hearth.
Colonel Burr is in and out of Nashville many times. He comes and goes
and comes and goes and comes again; and writes his daughter Theodosia:

"I am housed with General Jackson, who is one of those prompt, frank,
loyal souls whom I like."

Colonel Burr has been in France, and tells the General of Napoleon. He
draws a battle map of Quebec, shows where Montgomery fell, and relates
how he, Colonel Burr, bore that dead chieftain from the field. In the
end, he gives a dim outline of his dreams for the conquest of that
Spanish America, lying on the thither side of the Mississippi; and to
these latter tales of empire the General lends eager ear.

By the General's suggestion a dinner is given at the Nashville Inn in
honor of Colonel Burr. The General presides, and, with a heart full of
anger against Barbary pirates, offers among others the toast:

"Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute!"

Colonel Burr, being dined, confides to the General how he is not without
an ally in the Southwest, and says that Commander Wilkinson, in
control for the Government at New Orleans, stands ready to advance his
anti-Spanish projects. At the name of "Wilkinson" the General shakes
his prudent head. He declares that Commander Wilkinson is a faithless,
caitiff creature, with a brandified nose, a coward heart, and a weakness
for breaking his word. The crafty Burr, confident to vanity of his own
genius for intrigue, insists that he can trust Commander Wilkinson.
Then he arranges with the General for the building of a flotilla of
flat-boats at the latter's yards, and goes his scheming way. Later, when
Colonel Burr is on trial for treason in Richmond, the General will ride
over the Blue Ridge to give him aid and comfort, and make street-corner
speeches defending him, wherein he will say things more explicit than
flattering concerning President Jefferson, who is urging the prosecution
of Colonel Burr.

The hours, never resting, never sleeping, march onward with our
planter-General, until the procession in its passing is remembered and
spoken of as years. Then comes the war with England. That saber scar on
the General's head begins to throb, and he sends word to Washington that
he is ready, with twenty-five hundred of his hunting-shirt militia, to
kill British wherever they shall be found.

The Government thanks him, and orders him with his hunting-shirt
followers to report to General Wilkinson at New Orleans. The General
does not like this, the Wilkinson in question being that red-nosed
renegade one, against whom long ago he warned the ambitious Colonel
Burr. For all that, orders are orders; and besides a fight under any
commander is not to be despised. The General presently hurries his
hunting-shirt forces aboard flatboats, and floats away on the convenient
bosom of the Cumberland. He will go down that stream to the Ohio, and so
to the Mississippi and to New Orleans. As they float downward with the
stream, the General recalls a former voyage when love and the blooming
Rachel were his companions, and is heard to sigh.

At Natchez, word from Commander Wilkinson meets the General. He is told
to land, and wait for further orders. The General takes his boys of the
hunting shirts ashore, and pitches camp. Privily he unbends in oaths and
maledictions, all addressed to the ex-grocer Wilkinson; for he thinks
the order, preventing his entrance into New Orleans, born of the mean
rivalry of that red-nosed ignobility.

The General waits, and curses Commander Wilkinson, for divers weeks.
Then occurs one of those imbecilities, of which only the witlessness of
Government is capable, and whereof the archives at Washington carry
so many examples. The General receives a curt dispatch from the war
secretary, "dismissing" him and his hunting-shirt soldiers from the
service of the United States. Not a word is said as to pay, or provision
for returning to the Cumberland. Having gotten the General and his
little army several hundred wilderness miles from home, the thick-head
Government, with no intelligence and as little heart, coolly reduces him
and them to the practical status of vagrants; which feat accomplished,
it walks away, as it were, hands in pockets, whistling "Yankee Doodle."
Possibly, the Government thinks that the General and his hunting-shirt
friends can float upstream as they floated down. The angry General,
however, makes no such marine mistake, and the intricate oaths which he
now evolves and fulminates, as expressive of his feelings, would have
won the admiration of any army that ever fought in Flanders.

The General's credit is golden, since he has ever been a fanatic about
paying debts. Invoking that credit, he cashes a handful of drafts, and
marches home with his hunting-shirt contingent at his own expense. Also
he indites a letter to that war secretary which reddens the latter's
departmental ears, and causes his departmental head to buzz like a nest
of hornets. Later, the Government pays the General the amount of those
drafts; not because it is right--since the argument of right has little
Washington weight--but for the far more moving reason that Tennessee,
in a rage, is preparing to desert the boneless President Madison for the
Federalists. It is the latter thought which brings a ray of common sense
to the besotted Government, and his money to our General, now back in
Tennessee.

The bellicose General is vastly disappointed at missing a brush with
invading British; for, aside from a saber-engrafted hatred of all
English things and men, he is one to dote on fighting for fighting's
crimson sake, and is almost as well pleased with mere battle as with
victory. However, he is given scanty room for sorrowful reflections,
since fate is hurrying to his relief with a private war of his own.

The General, ever an expositor of the duello, and the peaceful hours
resting heavy on his hands, goes out as second for a Captain Carroll
against Mr. Jesse Benton. Captain Carroll is shot in the toe, and Mr.
Benton in the leg; whereat the General and the Cumberland public groan
over results so inadequate.

Being thus shot in the leg, Mr. Benton displays his bad taste by
falling into a fury with the General. He recounts what he regards as his
"wrongs" to his brother Thomas, and that intemperate individual loses
no time in taking up his brother's quarrel. The pair say things of the
General which would arouse the wrath of an image; with that, the General
calls for his saw-handles, and begins to plan trouble for those verbally
reckless Bentons.

The General takes with him as guide, philosopher and friend, his
faithful subaltern, Colonel Coffee. The two establish themselves,
strategically, at the Nashville Inn.

Across the corner of the public square upon which the Nashville Inn
finds hospitable frontage, stands the City Hotel. Sunning themselves in
the veranda of the latter caravansary, but with war written upon their
angry visages, the General and the faithful Coffee perceive the brothers
Benton. The enemies glare at one another, and the General says to
Colonel Coffee that they will now go to the post office. Since a trip to
the post office is calculated to bring them within touching distance of
the brothers Benton, Colonel Coffee at once discerns the propriety of
such a journey.

The pair go to the post office, staring haughtily at the brothers Benton
as they pass. The brothers Benton, for their side, being apoplectic of
habit, grow black in the face with rage.

Having visited the post office, and being now upon their return, the
General and Colonel Coffee again draw near the apoplectic Bentons,
glowering from their veranda. When within three feet of them, the
General abruptly whips out one of those celebrated saw-handles, and jams
its muzzle against the horrified stomach of brother Thomas Benton. That
imperiled personage thereupon backs rapidly away from the saw-handle,
which as rapidly follows; while the public, assembling on the run,
confidently expects the General to shoot brother Thomas Benton in two.

The General might have done so, and thus gratified the public, but
the unexpected occurs. As brother Thomas Benton backs briskly from the
muzzle of the saw-handle, brother Jesse, who is not wanting in a genius
for decision, whirls, and from a huge horse pistol plants two balls in
the General's left shoulder. As the warrior goes down, Colonel Coffee
empties his pistol at brother Thomas, who avoids having his head blown
off only by the fortunate fact of a cellar, into whose receptive depths
he tumbles, just in what novelists call "the nick of time." As brother
Thomas lapses into the cellar, young Hays, a nephew of the blooming
Rachel, hurls brother Jesse to the floor, to which he makes heartfelt
attempts to pin him with a dirk, but is baffled by the activity of the
restless brother Jesse, who will not lie still to be pinned.

The whole riot has not covered the space of sixty seconds, when the
public, suddenly conceiving its duty to lie in that direction, seizes
young Hays, releases the recumbent brother Jesse, disarms Colonel
Coffee, fishes brother Thomas out of that receptive cellar, and carries
the badly wounded General to a bed in the Nashville Inn. The City Hotel
mentions its own beds, and lays claim to the injured General, on the
argument that the battle has been fought in its bar. The claim is
disallowed and the General conveyed to the rival hostelry aforesaid,
as being peculiarly his own proper inn, since it is there he has ever
repaired for billiards, mint juleps, and to hold conferences over pipe
and glass with his friends.

Once in bed, the local surgeons burst in and offer to cut off the
General's arm. The offer is declined fiercely and a poultice of
slippery-elm bark is substituted for that proposed surgery. This
latter medicament works wonders; under its soothing influences, and the
revivifying effects of whisky--both being remedies much in vogue along
the Cumberland--the General begins to mend.

The General, the patient object of a deal of slippery-elm bark and
whisky--the one applied externally and the other internally--lies in bed
a month. Then the awful word arrives of the massacre at Fort Mims.
Five hundred and fifty-three souls have been slaughtered, and Chief
Weathersford with all his Creeks, valor sharpened by English gold and
English firewater, is reported on the warpath. The news brings the
General out of bed in a moment. His friends remonstrate, the doctors
command, the blooming Rachel pleads; but he puts them aside. Gaunt of
cheek, face paper-white with weakness, left arm in a sling, he climbs
painfully into the saddle and takes command.

The General sends Colonel Coffee and his mounted riflemen to the fore,
with orders to wait for him at Fayettesville. Meanwhile, he himself
lingers briefly to enroll and organize his little army. A few weeks
later he follows the doughty Coffee, and the entire command--horns full
of powder, pouches heavy with bullets, hunting knives whetted to a razor
edge--moves southward after hostile Creeks.



CHAPTER IX--THE GENERAL AT THE HORSESHOE


THE General goes to Fayettesville, and orders Colonel Coffee with his
eager five hundred to Huntsville, as a point nearer the heart of savage
war. Volunteers, each bringing his own rifle and riding his own horse,
join Colonel Coffee, who sends back inspiring word that his five
hundred have grown to thirteen hundred, all thirsting for Creek blood.
Meanwhile, the General, weak and worn to a shadow, can hardly keep
the saddle, and must be bathed hourly in whisky to hold soul and body
together. Unable to eat, he lives by his will alone. The shot-shattered
left arm, lest he faint with the awful agony which attends its least
disturbance, is bound tightly to his side.

The General takes the field, and presently comes up with the Creeks. He
smites them hip and thigh at Tallushatches, Talladega, and divers other
places of equally complicated names, slaying hundreds while losing few
himself. The Creeks give way before the invincible General. Wherever he
goes they scatter like an affrighted flock of blackbirds.

The Indian is terrible only when he is winning. He is not upholstered,
whether mentally or morally, for an uphill, losing war. The General
would like it better if this were otherwise. Could he but coax his
evanescent enemy into a pitched battle, he would break both his heart
and his power with one and the same blow.

Chief Weathersford is as well aware of this defect in the Indian make-up
as is the General. He himself is half white, and knows what points of
strength and weakness belong with either race. Wherefore, when now his
Creeks have been beaten, and their hearts are low in defeat, he makes
no effort to lead them against the General's front; but breaks them into
squads and little bands, with directions to harass the hunting-shirt
men and hang about their flanks in the name of flea-bite annoyance and
isolated scalps. Thus is the General plagued and fatigued nigh unto
death, without once being able to lay hand upon those skulking, hiding,
flying foot-Parthians against whom he has come forth.

Also, he and his hunting-shirt men are getting farther and farther
from anything that might be termed a base of supplies. At last, many a
pathless mile through wood and swamp, and many an unbridged river, lie
between the nearest barrel of flour and their stomachs clamorous for
food.

The military stomach is the first great base of every military
operation. The war-wise Frederick had it for his aphorism, that an
army is so much like a snake it can move forward only on its belly.
The General is made painfully aware of this truism when he and his
hunting-shirt men find themselves penned up with starvation at Fort
Strother. In the teeth of his troubles, however, he makes shift to send
home an orphaned papoose for the blooming Rachel to raise.

Famine takes command at Fort Strother, and the General writes: "He is
an enemy I dread more than hostile Creeks--I mean the meager monster,
Famine!" There is murmuring among the hunting-shirt men, who have, with
the appetite common to bordermen, that contempt of discipline which
belongs to their rude caste. They are reduced to roots and berries, with
an occasional pigeon or squirrel, which latter diminutive deer no one
waits to cook, but devours raw. One day a backwoods boy, whose appetite
is even with his effrontery, waylays the General on his rounds and
demands food.

"Here is what I was saving for supper," says the General; "you may have
that." And he tosses the hungry one a double handful of acorns.

The starving hunting-shirt men mutiny; they draw themselves up
preparatory to marching north, to find that home-fatness which waits
for them on the Cumberland. At this the General changes his manner.
Heretofore he has been the symbol of fatherly sympathy and toleration.
He can make excuses for the grumbling of hungry men, and makes them. But
this goes beyond grumbling, which, when all is in, comes to be no
more than a healthful blowing off of angry steam; this is desertion by
wholesale.

As the lean-flanked, rancorous ones line up to begin their homeward
march, the General, haggard and emaciated by those Benton wounds and a
want of food, rides out in front. Halting forty yards from the foremost
mutineers, he swings from the saddle. In his right hand he carries a
long eight-square rifle. This, since he has no left hand to support
his aim, he runs across the empty saddle. Being ready, he calls on the
hunting-shirt men to give the order to march, if they dare.

"For by the Eternal," says he, "I'll shoot down the first of you who
takes a forward step!"

The sulky, hungry hunting-shirt men scowl at the General. He scowls back
at them, with the wicked ferocity of a tiger and an iron determination
not to be revoked. And thus they stand glaring--one against hundreds!
Then the courage of the hungry hundreds oozes away, and they fall back
before that menacing apparition which glowers at them along the rifle
barrel. They melt away by the rear, those hunting-shirt men, and lurk
off to their quarters--ashamed of their weakness, yet afraid to go on.

At last, a herd of beef, quite as gaunt as the starved hunting-shirt men
themselves, arrives. Fires are set going and knives drawn. There is a
measureless eating. Belts are let out to the full-fed holes of other
days; mutiny, like an evil spirit, takes its flight. The gorged
hunting-shirt men, as though in amends for their scowl-ings and mutinous
grumblings, beg to be led instantly against the Creeks. This the General
is very willing to do, since he suspects the Creeks of possessing corn.

The General's scouts tell him that the scattered Creeks are collecting
in force at the Horseshoe. Upon this news, one bright morning the
General rides out of Fort Strother, and his recuperated hunting-shirt
men, two thousand strong, are at his back.

The Horseshoe is a loop-like bend in the Tallapoosa, which incloses a
round one hundred heavily-timbered acres. Across the open end, three
hundred and fifty yards wide, the British engineers have taught the
Creeks to throw up a fortification of logs. Behind this bulwark is
gathered the fighting flower of the Creeks, more than one thousand
warriors in all.

Arriving in front of the log bulwark, the General, with the experienced
Coffee, pushes forward to reconnoiter.

"We can thank the British for that," says the General, tossing his
indignant right hand toward the Creek defenses. "Billy Weathers-ford,
even with the half-white blood that's in him, would never have designed
it."

The astute Coffee makes a suggestion and, acting on it, the General
dispatches him by a roundabout march to take the Creeks from behind. The
fatuous savages flatter themselves that the wide-flowing Tallapoosa will
defend their rear. All they need do, they think, is lie behind those
English-log breastworks and knock over whatever obnoxious paleface shows
his head. This is an admirable programme, and comforting to the cockles
of the aboriginal heart. There is but one trouble; it won't work.

As the circuitous Coffee begins to swing wide for his stealthy creep
to the rear, the General covers the strategy with a brace of brawling
nine-pounders. Inside the log breastworks, he hears the "tunk! tunk!"
of the "medicine" drum, and the measured chant of the prophets promising
victory. In the midst of the prophetic chantings and the dull thumping
of the tomtoms, the nine-pounders roar and bury their shot in the log
breastworks. The shot do no harm, and serve but to excite the ribald
mirth of the Creeks. The latter can speak enough English for the
purposes of insult, and scoff and jeer at the General, whom they
describe--having in mind his lean form--as a lance shaft, harmless,
because wanting a keen head. They storm at him with opprobrious epithet,
and invite him, unless he be a coward, to come to them over their
breastworks. The General pays no heed to the contumely of the Creeks;
he is bending his ear to catch, above the din of his nine-pounders, the
earliest signal of the redoubtable Coffee's attack.

Colonel Coffee and his riflemen, horses at a walk, pick their difficult
way through the woods. It is a matter of no little time before they find
themselves at the toe of the Horseshoe, and in the ignorant rear of the
Creeks. Between them and those one hundred tree-grown acres held by the
enemy flows the Tallapoosa--turbid, wide and deep. Across, they see the
canoes, which the stupidity of the Creeks has left without so much as a
squaw or a papoose to guard them. In a moment, a score have thrown
off their hunting shirts, and are in the river. They swim like so many
Newfoundlands, and come out dripping, but happy, on the farther side.
Presently each of the swimming score is upon his return trip, towing a
dozen of the largest canoes.

Leaving a horse guard to look after the mounts, Colonel Coffee embarks
his command in the canoes; ten minutes later, the last fighting man jack
of them is on the other side. They hear the boom of the nine-pounders,
and the yells and war shouts of the Creeks. Also they discover the
wickiups of the Creeks, hidden away, with their squaws and papooses, in
a thickety corner of the wood.

Colonel Coffee, who, for all he is a backwoodsman, is not without
certain sparks and spunks of military skill, sets fire to the wickiups,
as an excellent sure method of wringing the withers and distracting the
attention of the fighting Creeks at the front. The flames go crackling
skyward; the squaws and papooses rush yelling from the slight houses
of wattled willow twigs and bark, and scuttle into the underbrush like
rabbits. Unlike rabbits, being in the underbrush, they set up such a
dismal tempest of howls, that those rearmost Creeks who hear it come
running to learn what disaster has seized upon their households.

Before they can make extensive inquiry, Colonel Coffee and his riflemen
open on them with a storm of bullets; and next, each man takes a tree.
The war now proceeds Creek fashion, every man--white and red--fighting
for himself. There is a difference, however; for while the hunting-shirt
men are dead shots, the Creeks prove themselves such wretchedly bad
marksmen--not understanding a rear sight, which article of gun furniture
is a mystery to the Indian mind even unto this day--as to provoke a deal
of hunting-shirt laughter.

Slowly but surely the Creeks give way before that low-flying sleet
of lead. As they give way, running from one tree to another, their
hunting-shirt foe presses forward--as deadly a skirmish line as ever
commander threw out!

The quick ear of the General catches the firing down at the toe of the
Horseshoe. It tells him that Colonel Coffee is busy with the Creek rear.
Also, he gets a far-off glimpse, through the trees, of the smoke and
flames from those burning wickiups, and understands the message of them.

Drawing off the futile nine-pounders, the General orders a charge, the
amateur artillerists taking up their rifles with the others. At
the word, the hunting-shirt men rush forward, and go over the log
breastworks like cats.

The one earliest to scale the breastworks--quick as a panther, strong
as a bear--is Ensign Sam Houston. The Southwest will hear more of him
before all is done. That lively youth, however, is not thinking of the
future; for an arrow, excessively of the present, has just pierced his
thigh, and is demanding his whole attention. Shutting his teeth like a
trap to control the pain, he snaps the shaft and draws the arrow from
the wound. A moment later, the surgeon bandages it.

The General is standing near, and waxes conservative touching Ensign Sam
Houston.

"Don't go back!" commands the General shortly. "That arrow through your
leg should be enough."

Ensign Sam Houston says nothing, but the moment his commander's back
is turned rushes headlong over those log breastworks again. Later he
is picked up with two bullets in him, which serve to keep him quiet for
nigh a fortnight.

Once the hunting-shirt men are across the log breastworks, a slow
and painstaking killing ensues. Not a Creek asks quarter; not a Creek
accepts it when tendered. It is to be a fight to the death--a fight
unsparing, relentless, grim!

"Remember Fort Mims!" shout the hunting-shirt men, working away with,
rifle and axe and knife.

The Creeks, caught between the General and Colonel Coffee, hide
in clumps of bushes or behind logs. From these slight coverts, the
hunting-shirt men flush them, as setters flush birds, and shoot them as
they fly. Once a Creek is down, out flashes the ready hunting knife and
a Creek scalp is torn off; for the hunting-shirt men, on a principle
that fights Satan with fire, have adopted the war habits of their red
enemy.

The hunting-shirt men range up and down, quartering those one hundred
acres of Horseshoe wood like hounds, killing out in all directions.
Now and then a warrior, sorely crowded, leaps into the Tallapoosa, and
strikes forth for the opposite shore. His feather-tufted head is seen
bobbing on the muddy surface of the river. To gentlemen who, offhand,
make nothing of a turkey's head at one hundred yards, those brown
bobbing feather-tufted Creek heads are child's play. A rifle cracks;
the shot-pierced Creek springs clear of the water with a death yell, and
then goes bubbling to the bottom. Sometimes two rifles crack; in which
double event the Creek takes with him to the bottom two bullets instead
of one.

The slaughter moves forward slowly, but satisfactorily, for hours. It
is ten o'clock in the night when the last Creek is killed, and the
hunting-shirt men, hungry with a hard day's work, may think on supper.
Of the red one thousand and more who manned those British-built
fortifications in the morning, not two-score get away. It is the Creek
Thermopylae.

The General's triumph at the Horseshoe puts the last paragraph to the
last chapter of the Creek wars. Also, it disappoints certain English
prospects, and defeats for all time those savage hopes of a general race
battle against the paleface, the fires of which the dead Tecumseh so
long supported by his eloquence and fed with deeds of valor. By way of
a finishing touch, from which the hue of romance is not wanting, the
terrible Weathersford rides in, on his famous gray war horse, and gives
himself up to the General.

"You may kill me," says Weathersford. "I am ready to die, for I have
beheld the destruction of my people. No one will hereafter fear the
Creeks, who are broken and gone. I come now to save the women and little
children starving in the forest."

[Illustration: 0127]

The hunting-shirt men, not at all sentimental, lift up their voices in
favor of slaying the chief. At that the General steps in between.

"The man who would kill a prisoner," he cries, "is a dog and the son of
a dog. To him who touches Weathersford I promise a noose and the nearest
tree."

The General leads his hunting-shirt men by easy marches back to that
impatient plenty which awaits their coming on the Cumberland. The public
welcomes him with shout and toss of hat, while the blooming Rachel gives
her hero measureless love and tenderness. The General's one hundred and
fifty slaves, agog with joy and fire water, make merry for two round
days. They would have enlarged that festival to three days, but the
stern overseer intervenes to recall them to the laborious realities of
life.

As the General begins to have the better of his fatigue and
sickness--albeit that Benton-wounded left arm is still in a sling--a
note is put in his hands. The note is from the War Department in
Washington, and reads: "Andrew Jackson of Tennessee is appointed Major
General in the Army of the United States, vice William Henry Harrison,
resigned."



CHAPTER X--FLORIDA DELENDA EST


THE General, at the behest of the blooming Rachel, rests for three
round weeks, which seem to his fight-loving soul like three round years.
Then the Government sends him to Fort Jackson to dictate terms of peace
to the broken Creeks.

The latter assemble, war paints washed off, in a deeply thoughtful, if
not a peaceful, mood.

The General proposes terms which well nigh amount to a wiping out of the
Creek landed possessions. The Creeks go into secret council, as it
were executive session, and bemoan their desperate lot. They curse the
English who urged them to that butchery of Fort Mims and then deserted
them. Beyond relieving their minds, however, the curses accomplish no
Creek good. They must still face the inveterate General, whose word is,
"Your lives or your lands!"

The mournful, beaten Creeks come forth from executive session, and
the great formal conference begins. The council is called on the flat
field-like expanse in front of the General's imposing marquee--for he
has come to this mission with no little of pompous style, to the end
that the Creek mind be impressed.

The Creek chiefs, blanketed to the ears, feathered to the eyes, sit
about, crosslegged like tailors, in a half circle, their only weapon a
sacred red-stone pipe. The General, blazing in a new uniform, comes
out of his marquee. With him are Colonel Coffee, Colonel Hawkins, and
lastly, Colonel Hayne, the brother of him who will one day cross blades
in Senate debate with the lion-faced Webster, and have the worst of it.

As the General steps forward an orderly leads up his great war horse, as
though the conference might lapse into battle, and he must be ready
to mount and fight. To the rear, his hunting-shirt men, one thousand
strong, are drawn out, as following forth those precautions which
produce the General's war horse. The Creeks, at these evidences of
suspicious alertness, never move a bronze muscle; they pass the sacred
redstone pipe with gravity unmoved, and puff away as though the last
thing they suspect is suspicion.

Big Warrior makes a speech, and is followed by She-lok-tah, the tribal
Demosthenes. The General shakes his grim head at their protests; there
is no help for it, they must give him his way or fight. The Creeks bow
to the inevitable, and give the General his way; which bowing submission
is the less disgraceful, since both the Spanish at Pensacola and the
English at New Orleans, in a brief handful of months, under pressures
less stringent than are those which now and here in front of the
Generali great marquee bear down the broken hopeless Creeks, will follow
their abject example.

Having made peace with the Creeks on the Tallapoosa, the General lets
his angry, warseeking eye rove in the direction of Florida. Many of the
hostile Creek Red Sticks have fled to cover there, where they are made
welcome by the Spanish Governor Maurequez, and petted and pampered
by Colonel Nichols and Captain Woodbine of the English. The besotted
Governor Maurequez has permitted these latter to land an English force,
and, inspired by his native hatred of Americans and the sight of British
ships of war in Pensacola harbor, has surrendered to them the last
stitch of Florida control.

The General guesses these things and sends out scouts to make
discoveries. Meanwhile, he marches his hunting-shirt men to Mobile,
which his instincts--never at fault in war--warn him will be the
next English point of attack. Word has reached him of the downfall of
Napoleon, and he foresees that this will release against America the
utmost energies of England, who in thirty odd years has not forgotten
Yorktown nor despaired of its repair.

The General's scouts are a sleepless, observant, close-going set of
gentlemen, and fairly enter Pensacola. Presently, they are back with the
news that two flags float in friendly partnership on the battlements of
Fort St. Michael, one English and one Spanish. Also, seven English war
ships ride in the harbor.

They likewise say that the popinjay Colonel Nichols is issuing
proclamations to "The People of Louisiana," demanding that, as
"Frenchmen, Spaniards, and English," they arise and "throw off the
American yoke"; that Captain Woodbine is assembling the fugitive Red
Sticks by scores, and reviving their drooping spirits with English gold,
English guns, English gin, and English red coats.

Captain Woodbine, it appears, is so dull as to think he may make regular
soldiers of the untamed Red Sticks, and drills them in the Pensacola
plaza, where they handle their new muskets much as a cow might a cant
hook, and look like copper-colored apes in those gorgeous red coats. The
tactical, yet tactless, Captain Woodbine even makes his red command a
speech, and is so unguarded as to refer to "General Jackson." This is
a blunder, since instantly half the assembled Red Sticks desert, taking
with them the guns, gin, and jackets which have been conferred upon
them. The oratorical Captain Woodbine is deeply impressed by the awful
effect of the General's name upon his red recruits, and their terror
communicates itself to him. He has difficulty in restraining himself
from deserting with them, but takes final courage and remains. Only he
is at pains to delete "General Jackson" from subsequent eloquence,
and never again mentions that paladin of the Cumberland in the quaking
presence of a Red Stick Creek.

By way of adding to these hardy doings, the wordy popinjay, Colonel
Nichols, fulminates new proclamations, comic in their ignorance and
bombast. He believes that the formidable General can be whipped by
manifestoes. As against this belief, however, most careful preparations
move forward aboard the English ships, looking to the destruction
of Fort Bowyer and the capture of Mobile; for Captain Percy of the
_Hermes_, who has command of the fleet, is altogether a practical
person, and pins no faith to proclamations and Indians in red coats when
it comes to bringing a foe to his knees.

All these interesting items are laid before the General by his
painstaking scouts, and he is peculiarly struck with the word about
Captain Percy and Mobile. He sends back his scouts for another bagful
of news, and begins to strengthen and stiffen Fort Bowyer, thirty miles
below the town.

Having patched up this redoubt to his taste, the General puts Major
Lawrence in command, and tells him to fight his batteries while a man
remains alive. Major Lawrence says he will; and, not having a ship,
but a fort, to defend, he follows as nearly as he may the motto of his
heroic relative, and issues the watchword, "Don't give up the Fort!"
Leaving Major Lawrence in this high vein, the General goes back to
Mobile to concert plans for its protection.

Captain Percy of the _Hermes_ is a gallant man, but a bad judge of
Americans. He tells the proclaiming Colonel Nichols that he will take
four ships and capture Fort Bowyer in twenty minutes. Colonel Nichols
has so little trouble in believing this that he conceives the deed of
conquest already done. Full of hope and strong waters--for the English
have not given the thirsty Red Sticks all their gin--he is so far
worked upon by Captain Percy's turgid prophecies as to issue a new
proclamation, declaring Fort Bowyer taken, and showing how, presently,
the English intend doing likewise at New Orleans. Having taken time so
conspicuously by the forelock, the anticipatory Colonel Nichols--who
has never been in the chicken trade, and therefore knows nothing of
what perils attend a count of poultry noses before the poultry are
hatched--goes aboard the _Hermes_, with Captain Woodbine and others of
his staff; for he would be on the ground, when Fort Bowyer and Mobile
succumb, ready to assume control of those strongholds.

It is no mighty voyage from Pensacola to Mobile, and a half day's sail
will bring Colonel Nichols and Captain Percy within point-blank range
of Fort Bowyer. Taking a bright, cool morning for it, Captain Percy lets
fall his topsails, and forges seaward, followed by the cordial wishes
of Governor Maurequez who, glass in hand, drinks "Good voyage!" from the
ramparts of St. Michael.

"All I regret is," cries the valorous Governor Maurequez, in the
politest phrases of Castile, "that you brave English will destroy these
vagabonds, and thus deprive me and my heroic soldiery of the pleasure of
their obliteration, when they shall have invaded our beloved Florida."

Away go the English war ships in line, like a quartette of geese
crossing a mill pond, the _Hermes_, Captain Percy, in the van. The
fleet rounds the lower extremity of Mobile Point, out of range from Fort
Bowyer, and lands Colonel Nichols with a force of foot soldiers and a
howitzer. This military feat accomplished, the fleet, still like geese
in line, bear up until abreast of the Fort, which is a musket shot away.

There is no time wasted. The _Hermes_ lets go her anchors and swings
broadside-on to the Fort. The others follow suit. Then, with a crashing
discharge of big guns by way of overture, the fight is on.

Five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes go by; shots fly and shells
burst, and Major Lawrence still holds the fort. Evidently Captain Percy
cut his time too fine! Then, one hour, two hours follow, and Major
Lawrence's twenty-four pounders are making matches of the _Hermes_.

As the merry war progresses, Colonel Nichols, with much ardor and no
discernment, drags his howitzer to a strategic sand hill, and fires
one shot at Fort Bowyer. It is a badly considered movement, the instant
effect being to draw the Fort's horns his way. The southern battery
of the Fort opens upon him like a tornado, and he and his fellow
artillerists retire--without their howitzer. The most discouraging
feature is that a stone, sent flying from the strategic sand hill by
a cannon ball, knocks out one of Colonel Nichols's eyes. After this
exploit, the one-eyed proclamationist, much saddened, but with wisdom
increased, is content to stand afar off, and leave the down-battering of
Fort Bowyer to the fleet.

This down-battering Captain Percy and his sailormen do their tarry best
to bring about. But, as hour after hour drifts to leeward in the smoke
of their broadsides, and the stubborn Lawrence continues to send his
hail of twenty-four-pound shot aboard, it begins to creep upon Captain
Percy, like mosses upon stone, that Fort Bowyer is a nut beyond the
power of even his iron teeth to crack. As a red-hot shot sets fire
to the _Hermes_ and explodes her magazine, the impression deepens to
apprehension, which, when the _Sophia_ is reported sinking, ripens
rapidly into conviction. Major Lawrence, with his "Don't give up the
Fort!" all but blots Captain Percy--who has tenfold his force--off the
face of the Gulf, and he does it with a loss of eight men killed and
wounded to an English loss of over three hundred.

Captain Percy, whipped and broken-hearted, shifts his flag and what
is left of his _Hermes'_ crew to the _Sophia_, and, pumps clanking
hysterically to keep-himself afloat, goes limping back to Pensacola,
lighted on his defeated way by the flare and glare from the blazing
_Hermes_. As the English pass the extreme southern tip of Mobile Point,
as far from the unmannerly batteries of Fort Bowyer as the lay of
the land permits, they pick up the one-eyed proclamationist, Colonel
Nichols, and his howitzerless men.

The fleet, battered, torn, sails adroop, with the _Sophia_ three feet
below her trim from shot-admitted water in her hold, reaches Pensacola.
Governor Maurequez looks scornfully dark, but, Spaniard-like, shrugs his
vainglorious shoulders and says to an aide:

"It is nothing! They are but English pigs! When this General Jackson
reaches Pensacola--if he should be so great a fool as to come--we
cavaliers of old Spain will tear him to pieces, as tigers rend their
prey. Yes, _amigo_, we will show these beaten pigs of English how the
proud blood of the Cid can fight."

The Red Stick Creeks, furnished of a better intelligence, in no wise
adopt the high-flying sentiments of Governor Maurequez. The moment
the English come halting into the harbor, the awful name of "General
Jackson!" leaps from aboriginal lip to lip. Hastily tearing off Captain
Woodbine's red coats as garments full of probable trouble, but taking
with them his new guns, the frightened Red Sticks head south for the
Everglades, first drinking up what remains of their gin. Not a hostile
Creek will thereafter be found within a day's ride of the General; all
of those English plans, which seek the aid of savage axe and knife and
torch, are to fall to pieces.

Captain Percy, made ten years older by that fight and failure at Fort
Bowyer, goes about the repair of his ships; Colonel Nichols, omitting
for the nonce all further proclamations, nurses his wounds; Captain
Woodbine, having now no Indians, abandons his daily drills on the plaza;
Governor Maurequez, whispering with his aide, brags in chosen Spanish
of what he will do to thick-skull vagabond Americans should they put
themselves in his devouring path; while over at Mobile the General
hugs Major Lawrence to his bosom in a storm of approval, and gives that
sterling soldier a sword of honor.



CHAPTER XI--THE TWO FLAGS AT PENSACOLA


THOSE two flags, one the red flag of England, flying at Pensacola,
haunt the General night and day. His hunting-shirt men, twenty-eight
hundred from his beloved Tennessee and twelve hundred from the
territories of Mississippi and Alabama, are lusting for battle. He
resolves to lead them into Florida, across the Spanish line.

"We must rout the English out of Pensacola!" he explains to Colonel
Coffee.

"Pensacola!" repeats Colonel Coffee, looking thoughtful. "It is Spanish
territory, General! There is the boundary; and diplomacy, I believe,
although it is an art whereof I know little, lays stress on the word
boundary."

"Boundary!" snorts the General in dudgeon. "The English are there! Where
my foe goes, I go; my diplomacy is of the sword."

The General elaborates; for he is not without liking the sound of his
own voice. Governor Maurequez, he says, has welcomed the English; he
must enlarge that welcome to include Americans.

"For I tell you," goes on the General, "that I shall expect from him
the same courtesy he extends to Colonel Nichols. Nor do I despair of
receiving it, since I shall take my artillery. With both Americans and
English among his guests, if trouble fall out it will be his own
fault, and should teach him to practice hereafter a less complicated
hospitality."

The General prepares for the journey to Pensacola. The treasure chest
shows the usual emptiness, and he exerts his own credit, as he did on
a Natchez occasion, to provide for his hunting-shirt men. This time the
Government will honor his drafts promptly, for election day is drawing
near.

One sun-filled autumn morning, the General and his hunting-shirt men
march away for Pensacola, their hearts full of cheering anticipations of
a fight, and eight days provant in the commissariat.

"We should be there in eight days," says the General hopefully, "and
Governor Maurequez and the English must provide for us after that."

The General does not overstate the powers of his hunting-shirt men, and
the eighth morning finds them and him within striking distance of Fort
St. Michael. The General shades his blue eyes with his hand and scans
the walls with vicious lynxlike intentness in search of that hated red
flag. His heart chills when he does not find it. There is the flag of
Arragon and Castile; but the staff which only yesterday supported the
flag of England stands an unfurnished, naked spar of pine.

The General heaves a sigh.

"Coffee," he says, pathos in his tones, "they have run away."

"Possibly," returns the excellent Coffee, who sees that the General's
regrets are leveled at an absence of English, and is anxious to console
him, "possibly they've only retired to Fort Barrancas, six miles below,
and are waiting for us there."

The disappointed General shakes his head; he does not share the
confidence of the optimistic Coffee.

"Send Major Piere," he says, "with a flag of truce to announce to the
Spaniard our purpose of lunching with him. We will ask him, now we're
here, by what license he gives shelter to our enemies."

Major Piere goes forward, white flag fluttering, and is promptly fired
upon by Governor Maurequez at the distance of six hundred yards. The
balls fly wide and high, for the Spaniard shoots like a Creek. Finding
himself a target, the disgusted Major Piere returns and reports his
uncivil reception. The General's eyes blaze with a kind of blue fury.

"Turn out the troops!" he roars.

The drums sound the long roll. The hunting-shirt men are about the
cookery--being always hungry--of the last of those eight days' rations.
When they fall into line, the General makes them a speech. It is brief,
but registers the point of better provender in Pensacola than that which
now bubbles in their coffee pots and burns on their spits. Whereat the
hunting-shirt men cheer joyously.

"The English, too, are there," concludes the General. Then, in a
burst of flattering eloquence: "And I know that you would sooner fight
Englishmen than eat."

At the name of Englishmen, the hunting-shirt men give such a cheer that
it quite throws that former cheer into the vocal shade. Everyone is in
immediate favor of rushing on Pensacola.

The General becomes cunning, and sends Colonel Coffee with a detachment
of cavalry to threaten Fort St. Michael from the east. The Spaniards are
singularly guileless in matters military. That feigned attack succeeds
beyond expression, and the befogged Governor Maurequez hurries his
entire garrison to those menaced eastern walls.

While the excited Spaniards are making a chattering, magpie fringe along
the eastern ramparts, the General moves the bulk of his hunting-shirt
forces, under cover of the woods, to the fort's western face. Once they
are placed, he gives the order:

"Charge!"

The word sends the hunting-shirt men at that mud-built citadel with a
whoop.

The Spaniards are unstrung by surprise, and fall to pattering prayers
and telling beads. In the very midst of their orisons, the hunting-shirt
men, as in the fight at the Horseshoe, pour like a cataract over the
parapet and sweep the praying, helpless Spaniards into a corner.

The work, however, is not altogether done. When Governor Maurequez gives
the order to man the eastern walls against the deploying Coffee, he does
not remain to see it executed.

Having sublime faith in the heroism of his followers, for him to
personally remain, he argues, would be superfluous. Nay, it might even
be construed into a criticism of his devoted soldiery, as implying a
fear that they will not fight if relieved of his fiery presence, not to
say the fiery pressure of his commanding eye. Having thus defined his
position, the valorous Governor Maurequez, acting in that spirit of
compliment toward his people which has ever characterized his speech,
gathers up his gubernatorial skirts and scuttles for his palace like a
scared hen pheasant.

Having swept the walls of St. Michael clean of magpie Spaniards, and run
up the stars and stripes on the vacant English staff, the General and
his hunting-shirt men make ready to follow Governor Maurequez to the
palace. He is to be their host; it is their polite duty to find him with
all dispatch and offer their compliments.

Full of this urbane purpose, they wheel their bristling ranks on the
town. Approaching double-quick, they casually lick up, as with a tongue
of flame, a brace of abortive blockhouses which obstruct their path. At
this, an interior fort opens fire with grapeshot and shrapnel, and the
hunting-shirt men spring upon it with the ruthless ferocity of panthers.
To quench it is no more than the fighting work of a moment. The General,
with his flag already on the ramparts of Fort St. Michael, now feels his
clutch at the very throat of Pensacola.

Governor Maurequez, equipped in his turn of a milk-white flag, bursts
from the palace portals.

"Oh, Senores Americanos," he cries, "spare, for the love of the Virgin,
my beautiful Pensacola! As you hope for heaven's mercy, spare my
beautiful city!"

The wild hunting-shirt men are in a jocular mood. The terrified rushing
about of Governor Maurequez excites their laughter.

"Where is your humane General Jackson?" wails Governor Maurequez, in
appeal to the hunting-shirt men. "Where is he--I beseech you? I hear he
is the soul of merciful forbearance!"

At this the hunting-shirt laughter breaks out with double volume, as
though Governor Maurequez has evolved a jest.

The alarmed Governor, catching sight of a couple of dead Spaniards,
fresh killed in the struggle with the foolish interior fort, expresses
his grief in staccato shrieks, which serve as weird marks of punctuation
to the laughter of the rude hunting-shirt men. The laughter ceases when
the General himself rides up.

"Thar's the Gin'ral," says a hunting-shirt man, biting his merriment
short off. "Thar's the man of mercy you're asking for."

Governor Maurequez starts back at sight of the gaunt face, emaciated by
sickness born of those Benton bullets, and yellowed to primrose hue
with the malaria of the Alabama swamps. The lean figure on the big war
stallion might remind him of Don Quixote--for he has read and remembers
his Cervantes--save for the frown like the look of a fighting falcon,
and the fire-sparkle in the dangerous blue eyes. As it is, he feels that
his visitor is a perilous man, and begins to bow and cringe.

"I beg the victorious Senor General," says he, pressing meanwhile a
right hand to his heart, and presenting the white square of truce with
the other--"I beg the victorious Senor General to spare my beautiful
Pensacola!"

"You are Governor Maurequez!" returns the General, hard as flint.

"Yes, Senor General; I am Governor Maurequez, as you say. Also"--here
his voice begins to shake--"I must remind your excellency that this is a
province of Spain, and ask by what right you invade it."

"Right!" returns the General, anger rising. "Did you not fire on my
messenger? Sir, if you were Satan and this your kingdom, it would be the
same! I would storm the walls of hell itself to get at an Englishman."

There comes the whiplike crack of a rifle almost at the General's elbow.
Far up the narrow street, full four hundred yards and more, a flying
Spanish soldier throws up his hands with a death yell, and pitches
forward on his face. At this, the hunting-shirt man who fired tosses his
coonskin cap in the air and shouts:

"Thar, Bill Potter, the jug of whisky's mine! Thar's your Spaniard too
dead to skin! If the distance ain't four hundred yard, you kin have the
gun!"

"What's this?" cries the General fiercely. "Nothin', Gin'ral!" replies
the hunting-shirt man, abashed at the forbidding manner of the General,
"nothin', only Bill Potter, from the 'Possum Trot, bets me a jug of
whisky that old Soapstick here"--holding up his rifle as identifying
"old Soapstick"--"won't kill at four hundred yard."

"Betting, eh!" retorts the General, assuming the coldly implacable. "Now
it's in my mind, Mr. Soapstick, that unless you mend your morals, some
one about your size will pass an hour strung up by the thumbs so high
his moccasins won't touch the grass! How often must I tell you that I'm
bound to break up gambling among my troops?"

The rebuked soapstick one slinks away, and the General turns to Colonel
Coffee.

"Give the word, Coffee, to cease firing."

The General's glance comes around to Governor Maurequez, still bowing
and presenting his white flag.

"Where are those English?" he demands.

The frightened Governor Maurequez makes the sign of the cross. He is
sorry, but the pig English withdrew to Fort Barrancas at the first signs
of the coming of the victorious Senor General, taking with them their
hateful red flag. Also, it was they who fired on the messenger. If the
victorious Senor General will but move quickly, he may catch the pig
English before they escape.

The General, half his hunting-shirt men at his back, starts for Fort
Barrancas. They are two miles on their way when the earth is shaken by a
thunderous explosion. Over the tops of the forest pines a gush of black
smoke shoots upward toward the sky.

"They have blown up the fort!" says the explanatory Coffee.

The General says nothing, but urges speed. At last they come in sight of
what has been Fort Barrancas. It is as the astute Coffee surmised. The
one-eyed Colonel Nichols and his English have fled, leaving a slow-match
and the magazine to destroy what they dared not defend. Far away in the
offing Captain Percy's English fleet--upon which the one-eyed Colonel
Nichols and his fugitive followers have taken refuge--wind aft and an
ebb tide to help, is speeding seaward like gulls.



CHAPTER XII--THE GENERAL GOES TO NEW ORLEANS


Governor maurequez evolves into the very climax of the affable, not to
say obsequious. He assures the General that he is relieved by the
flight of the pig English, whom he despises as hare-hearts. Also, he is
breathless to do anything that shall prove his affectionate admiration
for his friend, the valorous Senor General.

The General accepts the affectionate admiration of Governor Maurequez,
and leaves in his care Major Laval, who has been too severely wounded
to move; and Governor Maurequez subsequently smothers that convalescent
with nursing solicitude and kindness. Those other twenty wounded
hunting-shirt men the General takes back with him to Mobile.

The General now gives himself up to a profound study of maps. His
invasion of Florida has paled the cheek of the Spanish Minister at
Washington and given European diplomacy a chill; he knows nothing of
that, however, and would care even less if he did. After poring over
his maps for divers days, he comes to sundry sagacious conclusions, and
sends for the indispensable Coffee to confer. That commander makes an
admirable counselor for the General, since he seldom speaks, and then
only to indorse emphatically the General's views. For these splendid
qualities, and because he is as brave as Richard the Lion Heart, the
General makes a point of consulting the excellent Coffee concerning
every move.

"Coffee," says the General, as that warrior casts himself upon a bench,
which creaks dolorously beneath his giant weight, "Coffee, they'll
attack New Orleans next."

The listening Coffee grunts, and the General, correctly construing the
Coffee grunt to mean agreement, proceeds:

"England has now no foe in Europe. That allows her to turn upon us with
her whole power. Even as we talk, I've no doubt but an immense fleet is
making ready to pounce upon our coasts. Now, Coffee, the question is,
Where will it pounce?"

The General pauses as though for answer. The admirable Coffee emits
another grunt, and the General understands this second grunt to be a
grunt of inquiry. Stabbing the map before him, therefore, with his long,
slim finger, he says:

"Here, Coffee, here at New Orleans. It's the least defended, and, fairly
speaking, the most important port we have, for it locks or unlocks the
Mississippi. Besides, it's midwinter, and such points as New York and
Philadelphia are seeing rough, cold weather. Yes, I'm right; you may
take it from me, Coffee, the English are aiming a blow at New Orleans."
The convinced Coffee testifies by a third grunt that his own belief is
one and the same with the General's, and the council of war breaks up.
As the big rifleman swings away for his quarters the General observes:

"Coffee, you will never realize how much I am aided by your opinions.
Two heads are better than one, particularly when one of them is capable
of such a clean, unfaltering grasp of a situation as is yours."

The General burns to be at New Orleans, and leaving Colonel Coffee to
bring on his three thousand hunting-shirt men as fast as he may, gallops
forward with four of his staff. It is a rough, evil road that threads
those one hundred and seventy-five miles which lie between the General
and the Mississippi, but he puts it behind him with amazing rapidity. At
last the wide, sullen river rolls at his horse's feet.

As the General traverses the rude forest roads, difficult with
November's mud and slush, a few days' sail away on the Jamaica coast may
be seen proof of the pure truth of his deductions. The English admiral
is reviewing his fleet of fifty ships, preparatory to a descent upon New
Orleans.

It is a formidable flotilla, with ten thousand sailors and nine thousand
five hundred soldiers and marines, and mounts one thousand cannon. The
flagship is the _Tonnant_, eighty guns, and there sail in her company
such invincibles as the _Royal Oak_, the _Norge_, the _Asia_, the
_Bedford_, and the _Ramillies_, each carrying seventy-four guns. With
these are the _Dictator_, the _Gorgon_, the _Annide_, the _Sea Horse_,
and the _Belle Poule_, and the weakest among them better than a
two-decked forty-four.

In command of this armada are such doughty spirits as Sir Alexander
Cockrane, admiral of the red, Admiral Sir Edward Codrington, Rear
Admiral Malcolm, and Captain Sir Thomas Hardy--"Nelson's Hardy," who
commanded the one-armed fighter's flagship _Victory_ at Trafalgar.
These, with their followers, have grown gray and tired in unbroken
triumph. Now, when they are making ready to spring on New Orleans, their
war word is "Beauty and Booty!"

Review over, Admiral Cockrane in the van with the _Tonnant_, the fleet
sails out of Negril Bay for Louisiana. As the General's horse cools his
weary muzzle in the Mississippi, the English fleet has been two days on
its course.

It is a dull, lowering December morning when the General, on his great
war stallion, following the Bayou road, rides into New Orleans. He finds
the city in a tumult, and nothing afoot for its defense. He is received
by Governor Claiborne, a stately Virginian, and Mayor Girod, plump and
little and gray and French, with a delegation of citizens. Among the
latter is one whom the General recognizes. He is Edward Livingston,
aforetime of New York, and the General's dearest friend in those old
Philadelphia Congressional days. The General gives the Livingston hand a
squeeze and says: "It's like medicine in wine, Ned, to see you at such a
time as this."

Governor Claiborne makes a speech in English, Mayor Girod makes a
speech in French-leading citizens make speeches in English, Spanish,
and French. The speeches are fiery, but inconclusive. All are excited,
confused, ani without a plan. The General replies in little more than a
word:

"I have come to defend your city," says he: "and I shall defend it or
find a grave among you."

Following this ultimatum, the General goes to dinner with Mr.
Livingston.

Governor Claiborne, Mayor Girod, and the leading citizens remain
behind to talk the General over in their several tongues. They are
disappointed, it seems.

There be those who wish he hadn't come. Among them is the Speaker of the
Territorial House of Representatives--A French creole of anti-American
sentiments.

"His presence will prove a calamity!" cries this legislative person. "He
seems to me to be a desperado, who will make war like a savage and bring
destruction and fire on our city and the neighboring plantations."

There is no retort to this, for the local spirit of treason is
widespread.

While the citizens of New Orleans are discussing the General, he with
his friend Livingston is discussing them.

"What is the state of affairs here, Ned?" asks the General.

"It could not be worse," is the reply. "All is confusion, contradiction,
and cross-purposes. The whole city seems to be walking in a circle."
"We'll see, Ned," returns the General grimly, "if we can't make it walk
in a straight line." Commodore Patterson comes to call on the General.
He is one who says little and looks a deal--precisely a gentleman after
the General's own heart, for while he himself likes to talk, he prefers
silence in others.

Commodore Patterson sets forth the naval defenses of the town. An enemy
entering from the sea must come by way of Lake Borgne, and there are six
baby gunboats on Lake Borgne. The flotilla is commanded by Lieutenant
Jones, who is Welsh and therefore obstinate; he will fight to the final
gasp. The General beams approval of Lieutenant Jones, who he thinks has
a right notion of war.

"But of course," says Commander Patterson, "he will be overcome in the
end."

The General nods to this. He does not expect Lieutenant Jones to defend
the city alone. Commodore Patterson continues: "There are the schooner
_Carolina_ and the ship _Louisiana_ in the river, but they are out of
commission and have no crews."

"Enlist crews at once!" urges the General.

The General appoints Mr. Livingston to his staff, and the pair make
a tour of the suburbs and the flat, marshy regions round about. The
General is alert, inquisitive; he is studying the strategic advantages
and disadvantages of the place. When he returns he orders a muster of
the city's military strength for the next day. The review occurs, and
the General declares himself pleased with the display.

Commodore Patterson comes to say that, while the streets are full
of sailors, not one will enlist. The General asks the Legislature to
suspend the habeas corpus. That done, he will organize press gangs and
enlist those reluctant "volunteers" by force. The Legislature refuses,
and the General's eyes begin to sparkle.

"To-morrow, Ned," says he, "I shall clap your city under martial law."

"But, my dear General," urges Mr. Livingston, who, being a lawyer,
reveres the law, "you haven't the authority."

"But, my dear Ned," replies the determined General, "I have the power.
Which is more to the point."

The General declares civil rule suspended, and puts the city under
martial law. It is as though he lays his strong, bony hand on the
shoulder of every man, and, the first shock over, every man feels safer
for it. The press gangs are formed, and scores of seafaring "volunteers"
are carried aboard the _Carolina_ and _Louisiana_ in irons. Once aboard
and irons off, the "volunteers" become miracles of zeal and patriotic
fire, furbishing up the dormant broadside guns, filling the shot racks,
and making ready the magazines, hearts light as larks, as though to
fight invading English is the one pleasant purpose of their lives; for
such is the seafaring nature.

The General's "press" does not confine itself to sailors. Negroes,
mules, carts, shovels, and picks are brought under his rigid thumb.
Every gun, every sword, every pistol is collected and stored for use
when needed. Meanwhile, the indefatigable Coffee arrives, marching
seventy miles the last day and fifty the day before to join his beloved
chief. Also Captain Hinds of the dragoons is no less headlong, and
brings his command two hundred and thirty miles in four days, such is
his heat to fight beneath the blue, commanding eye of the General.

Nor is this all. A day goes by, and Colonel Carroll steps ashore from
a fleet of flatboats, at the head of a hunting-shirt force from the
Cumberland country. The backwoods cheer which goes up when the new
hunting-shirt men see the General, brings the water to his eyes with
thoughts of home. Lastly, Colonel Adair appears with his force of
Kentuckians. These latter are a disappointment, being practically
unarmed, owning but one gun among ten.

"Ain't you got no guns for us, Gin'ral?" asks one of the Kentucky
captains anxiously.

"I am sorry to say I have not," returns the General.

"Well," responds the Kentuckian, while a look of satisfaction begins
to struggle into his face, as though he has hit upon a solution of the
tangle, "well, I'll tell you what we'll do, then. Which the boys'll just
nacherally go out on the firin' line with the rest, an' then as fast
as one of them Tennesseans gets knocked over, we'll up an' inherit his
gun."



CHAPTER XIII--THE WATCH FIRES OF THE ENGLISH


THESE are busy times for the General. He lives on rice and coffee, and
goes days and nights without sleep. He sends the tireless Coffee, with
his hunting-shirt men, to take position below the city, between the
morass and the river. Finally he orders all his forces below--Colonel
Carroll with his new hunting-shirt men, Colonel Adair with his unarmed
Kentuckians, the hard-riding Captain Hinds with his dragoons, as well as
the muster of local military companies, among the rest Major Plauche's
battalion of "Fathers of Families." There are a great many filial as
well as paternal tears shed when the "Fathers of Families" march away to
the field of certain honor and possible death; even Papa Plauche himself
does not refrain from a sob or two. The "Fathers of Families" take with
them their band, which musical organization plays the _Chant du
Depart_, whereat, catching the _tempo_, they strut heroically. The rough
hunting-shirt men are much interested in the "Fathers of Families," and
think them as good as a play.

The General busies himself about his headquarters, and waits for news of
the English, of whose coming he has word. One afternoon appears a lean
little dark man, with black, beady eyes, like a rat. He introduces
himself; he is Jean Lafitte, the "Pirate of Barrataria." Only he
explains that he is really no pirate at all, not even a sailor; at
the worst he is simply the innocent shore agent or business manager of
pirates. Also, he declares that he is very patriotic and very rich, and
might add "very criminal" without startling the truth.

Why has he come to see Monsieur General? Only to show him a letter from
the English Admiralty, brought by the General's old friend, Captain
Percy, late of H. R. H. Ship _Hermes_, offering him, Jean Lafitte,
a captain's commission in the royal navy, thirty thousand dollars in
English gold, and the privilege of looting. New Orleans, if he will but
aid in the city's capture. Now he, Jean Lafitte, scorning these base
attempts upon his honor, desires to offer his own and the services of
his buccaneers to the General in repulsing those villain English, whom
he looks upon with loathing as Greeks bearing gifts.

"Only," concludes Jean Lafitte, his black rat eyes taking on a sly
expression, "my two best captains, Dominique and Bluche, together with
most of their crews, are locked up in the New Orleans calaboose."

The General considers a moment, looking the while deep into the rat eyes
of Jean Lafitte. The scrutiny is satisfactory; there is nothing there
save an anxiety to get his men out of jail. This the General is pleased
to regard as creditable to Jean Lafitte. He comes back to the question
in hand.

"Dominique and Bluche," he repeats. "Can they fight?"

"They can do anything with a cannon, Monsieur General, which your
sharpshooters do with their squirrel rifles."

The General has the caged Dominique and Bluche brought before him.
They are hardy, daring, brown men of the sea, with bushy hair, curling
beards, gold rings in their ears, crimson handkerchiefs about their
heads, gay shirts, sashes of silk, short voluminous trousers, like
Breton fisherman, and loose sea boots--altogether of the brine briny
are Dominique and Bluche. One glance convinces the General. The order
is issued, and the two pirates with their followers take their places as
artillerists where the wary Coffee may keep an eye on them.

The English fleet arrives and anchors off the Louisiana coast. Loaded
scuppers-deep with soldiers and sailors and marines, the lighter craft
enter Lake Borgne. They sight the six cockleshells of Lieutenant Jones,
and make for them.

Lieutenant Jones, with his cockleshells, slowly and carefully retreats.
He retreats so carefully that one after another the English boats, to
the round number of a score, run aground on divers mud banks, where they
stick, looking exceeding foolish. When the last pursuing boat is fast on
the mud banks, Lieutenant Jones anchors his six cockleshells where the
English may only get at him in small boats, and awaits results.

The English are in no wise backward. Down splash the small boats, in
tumble the men, and presently they are pulling down upon the waiting
Lieutenant Jones--twelve men for every one of his. The small boats have
swivels mounted in their bows, and by way of preliminary, stand off from
the six cockleshells, waging battle with their little bow guns. This
is a mistake. Lieutenant Jones returns the fire from his cockleshells,
sinks four of the small boats, and spills out the crews among the
alligators. Unhappily, it is winter, and the alligators are sound asleep
in the mud below, by which effect of the season the spilled ones are
pulled aboard their sister boats with legs and arms intact.

Being reorganized, and having enough of swivel war, the English fleet of
small boats rush the six cockleshells, and after a fierce struggle, take
them by weight of numbers. The English Captain Lockyer, following the
fight, wipes the blood from his face, which has been scratched by a
cutlass, and reports to Admiral Cockrane his success, and adds:

"The American loss is, killed and wounded, sixty; English, ninety-four."

Being masters of Lake Borgne, the English go about the landing of troops
on Pine Island. The sixteen hundred first ashore are formed into an
advance battalion and ordered forward. They go splashing through the
swamps toward the river like so many muskrats, and in the wet, cold,
dripping end crawl out on a narrow belt of sugar-cane stubble which
bristles between the levee and the swamp from which they have emerged.
Finding dry land under their feet, they cheer up a bit, and build fires
to make comfortable their bivouac while waiting the coming of their
comrades, still wallowing in the swamp.

Night descends, but finds those sixteen hundred of the English advance
reasonably gay; for, while the present is distressing, their fellows by
brigades will be with them in the morning, and they may then march on
to sumptuous New Orleans, where--as goes their war word--theirs shall
be the "Beauty and Booty" for which they have come so far. And so the
chilled, starved sixteen hundred of that English advance hold out their
benumbed hands to the fires, and console themselves with what the poet
describes as "The Pleasures of Anticipation." And in this instance,
of course, the anticipations are sure of fulfillment, for what shall
withstand them? The raw, cowardly militia of the country? Absurd!

As confirmatory of this, a subaltern hands about a copy of the _London
Sun_ which has a description of Americans. The others peruse it by the
light of their camp fires. It makes timely reading, since it is ever
worth while to gather--so that they be reliable--what scraps one may
descriptive of an enemy. The English, crouched about their fires, are
much benefited by the following:

"_The American armies of Copper Captains and Falstaff recruits defy
the pen of satire to paint them worse than they are--worthless, lying,
treacherous, false, slanderous, cowardly, and vaporing heroes, with
boasting on their loud tongues and terror in their quaking hearts. Were
it not that the course of punishment they are to receive is necessary to
the ends of moral and political justice, we declare before our country
that we should feel ashamed of victory over such ignoble foes. The
quarrel resembles one between a gentleman and a sweep--the former may
beat the low scoundrel to his heart's content, but there is no honor in
the exploit, and he is sure to be covered with the soil and dirt of
his ignominious antagonist. But necessity will sometimes compel us
to descend from our station to chastise a vagabond, and endure the
degradation of such a contest in order to repress, by wholesome
correction, the presumptuous insolence and mischievous designs of the
basest assailant."_

The young English officers find this refreshing as literature. It might
have been less uplifting could they have foreseen how ninety years later
England will fawn upon and flatter and wheedle America to the point
which sickens, while her bankrupt nobility make that despised region a
hunting ground where, equipped of a title and a coat of arms, they track
heiresses to lairs of gold and marry them.

Now that the satisfied English are asleep about their fires, it behooves
one to hear how the General is faring. The day with him is one fraught
with work. Word reaches him of the captured cockleshells on Lake Borgne.
Also it reaches that valuable Legislature--honeycombed of treason.

The Legislature sends a committee to ask the General what will be his
course if he's beaten back. The General is hardly courteous:

"Tell your honorable body," says he, "that if disaster overtake me and
the fate of war drives me from my lines to the city, they may expect to
have a very warm session."

Mr. Livingston catches the adjective. The committee having departed, he
propounds a query.

"A warm session, General!" says he. "What do you mean by that?"

"Ned," replies the General, "if I am beaten here, I shall fall back
on the city, fire it, and fight it out in the flames! Nothing for the
maintenance of the enemy shall be left. New Orleans destroyed, I shall
occupy a position on the river above, cut off supplies, and, since I
can't drive, I shall starve the English out of the country. There is
this difference, Ned, between me and those fellows from the Legislature.
They think only of the city and its safety. For my side, I'm not here to
defend the city, but the nation at large."

On the heels of this, the Legislature whispers of surrendering Louisiana
to the English by resolution. It is scarcely feasible as a plan, but it
angers the General. He stations a guard at the door of the chamber and
turns the members away.

"We can dispense with your sessions," says he. "We have laws enough; our
great need now is men and muskets at the front."

The patricians of the Legislature are scandalized as being shut out of
their chamber.

"Did I not tell you," cries the prophetic House Speaker, "did I not tell
you this fellow was a desperado, and would wage war like a savage?"

The members retire from the guarded doors, cursing the General under
their breath. Their doorkeeper, a low, common person, is so struck by
what the General has said anent men and muskets, that he gets a gun and
joins that "desperado." And wherefore no? Patriotism has been the mark
of vulgar souls in every age.

Colonel Coffee's hunting-shirt scouts come in and report the watch fires
of those sixteen hundred of the English advance winking and blinking
among the sugar stubble.

"Ah!" says the General, "I've a mind to disturb their dreams."

The General dispatches word to Commodore Patterson to have the
_Carolina_ in readiness to act with his forces. Then he sends for the
indispensable Coffee.

"Coffee, we shall attack them to-night."

The wise Coffee gives the grunt acquiescent.

"Thank you, Coffee!" says the General.

The council over, Colonel Coffee goes to turn out the troops. This is to
be done softly, as a surprise is aimed at.

Now on the dread threshold of battle, Papa Plauche of the "Fathers of
Families" is overcome. As the intrepid "Fathers" fall into line, tears
fill Papa Plauche's eyes, and he appeals to neighbor St. Geme.

"I am a Frenchman!" cries Papa Plauche, tossing his arms; "I am a
Frenchman, and do not fear to die! But, alas! mon St. Geme, I fear I
have not the courage to lead the 'Fathers of Families' to slaughter."

"Hush, Papa Plauche!" returns the good St. Geme, made wretched by
the grief of his friend. "Hush! Command yourself! Do not let the wild
General hear you; he will not, with his coarse nature, understand such
sentiments."

Captain Roche, of the "Fathers of Families," steps in front of his
company. Striking his breast melodramatically, he sings out:

"Sergeant Roche, advance!"

Sergeant Roche advances.

"Embrace me, brother!" cries Captain Roche in broken utterances,
"embrace me! It is perhaps for the last time."

The brothers Roche embrace, and the "Fathers of Families" are melted by
the tableau.

"Sergeant Roche, return to your place!" commands the devoted Captain
Roche, and the sergeant, weeping, lapses into the ranks.

The hunting-shirt men, witnesses of these touching scenes, are rude
enough to laugh, and by way of parody embrace one another effusively.
As they depart through the dark for their station, they break into
whispered debate as to whether the theatrical grief of Papa Plauche,
the brothers Roche, and the "Fathers of Families" is due to their creole
blood, or their city breeding, either, according to the theories of the
hunting-shirt men, being calculated to promote the effeminate in a
man. While they thus wrangle, there comes an angry hissing whisper from
Colonel Coffee, like the hiss of a serpent:

"Silence!"

Every hunting-shirt man is stricken dumb. They move forward like
shadows, right flank skirting the cypress swamp. To the far left they
hear the moccasined, half-muffled tramp of Colonel Carroll's men--their
hunting-shirt brothers from the Cumberland. As they turn a bend in the
swamp, they see not a furlong away the flickering and shadow dancing of
the watch fires of the tired English. At this every hunting-shirt
man makes certain the flint is secure in the hammer of his rifle, and
loosens the knife and tomahawk in his rawhide belt.



CHAPTER XIV--THE BATTLE IN THE DARK


AS the hunting-shirt men come within sight of the blinking lights,
which polka-dot the sugar stubble in front and mark the bivouac of the
English, Colonel Coffee sends the whispered word along the line to halt.
At this, the hunting-shirt men crouch in the lee of the cypress swamp,
and wait. Colonel Coffee is lying by for the signal which shall tell him
to begin.

Before the movement commences, the General calls Colonel Coffee to one
of their celebrated conferences.

"It is my purpose, Coffee," explains the General, "merely to shake them
up a bit. An attack will cure them of overconfidence, and break the
teeth of their conceit. This should hold them in check, and give us time
for certain earthworks I meditate. The signal will be a gun from the
_Carolina_. When you hear the gun, Coffee, attack everything wearing
a red coat. But be careful!" Here the General lifts a long, admonitory
finger. "Do not follow too far! Reinforcements are crawling out of the
swamp to the rear of the English every hour, and the only certainty is
that, even as we talk, they outnumber us two for one."

The faithful Coffee departs. As he reaches the door, the General calls
after him:

"Don't forget, Coffee! The gun from the _Carolina!_"

The hunting-shirt men lie waiting by the cypress swamp. On their near
left is Papa Plauche and his "Fathers of Families." Beyond these is
a half company of regulars, which the General has brought up from the
near-by post. On the Bayou Road, between the regulars and the river, is
the General himself, with a brace of small field pieces.

It is a moonless night, and what light the stars might furnish is
withheld by a blanket-screen of thick clouds. No night could be darker;
for, lest an occasional star find a cloud-rift and peer through, a fog
drifts up from the river. This is good for the English, since it hides
their watch fires, which one by one are lost in the mists. The darkness
deepens until even the hawk-eyed hunting-shirt men, trained by much
night fighting to a nocturnal keenness of vision, are unable to make out
their nearest comrades.

The pitch blackness, and the fog chill creeping over him, tell on Papa
Plauche. He whispers sorrowfully to his friend St. Geme.

"Neighbor St. Geme," he says, "these differences should be adjusted by
argument, and not by deadly guns. I see that he who would either shoot
or be shot by his fellow-man; is in an erroneous position."

Before the kindly St. Geme may frame response, a liquid tongue of flame
illuminates the broad dark bosom of the river. It is followed sharply by
a crashing "Boom!" This is the word from the _Carolina._

The signal carries dismay into the hearts of the English, since
Commodore Patterson, whose genius is thoroughgoing, is at pains to load
the gun with two pecks of slugs, and eighty-four killed and wounded are
the red English harvest of that one discharge. The frightened drums beat
the alarm, and the ranks of English form. As they grasp their arms the
nine broadside guns of the Carolina begin to rake them. With this the
English fall slowly back from the river.

The rearward movement, while managed slowly because of the darkness,
brings discouraging results. The English retreat into the hunting-shirt
men, who are skirmishing up from the cypress swamp. The English are
first told of this new danger by the spitting flashes which remind them
of needles of fire, and the crack of the long squirrel rifles like
the snapping of a whip. Here and there, too, a groan is heard, as the
sightless lead finds some English breast. This augments the blind horror
of the hour.

The trapped English reply in a desultory fashion, and make a bad matter
worse. The hunting-shirt men locate them by the flash of their guns,
at which they shoot with incredible quickness and accuracy. With men
falling like November's leaves, the English give ground to the south,
which saves them somewhat from both the _Carolina_ and the hunting-shirt
men.

Guessing the English direction, the hunting-shirt men follow, loading
and firing as they advance. Now and then a hunting-shirt man overtakes
an individual foe, and settles the national differences which divide
them with tomahawk and knife. It is cruel work--this unseeing bloodshed
in the dark, and disturbingly new to the English, who express their
dislike for it.

[Illustration: 0193]

While the hunting-shirt men drive the English along the fringe of the
cypress swamp, the General, a half mile nearer the river, is working his
two field pieces. Affairs proceed to his warlike satisfaction--and
this is saying a deal for one so insatiate in matters of blood--until a
flying ounce of lucky English lead wounds a horse on the number two gun.
This brings present relief to those English in the General's front; for
the hurt animal upsets the gun into the ditch. It takes fifteen minutes
to put it on its proper wheels again. The accident disgruntles the
General; but he bears it with what philosophy he may, and in good truth
is pleased to find that the gun carriage has not been smashed in the
upset.

"Save the gun!" is his word to the artillery men; and when it is saved
he praises them.

At the booming signal from the _Carolina_, the intrepid Papa Plauche
cries out:

"Forwards, brave Fathers of Families! Forwards, heroes!"

The "Fathers" respond, and go on with the hunting-shirt men. But their
pace is sedate; and this last results in an impoliteness which disturbs
the excellent Papa Plauche to the core.

The hunting-shirt men are, for the major portion, riotous young blades
from the backwoods. Moreover, they are used to this prowling warfare of
the night. Is it wonder then that they advance more rapidly than does
Papa Plauche with his "Fathers," whose step is measured and dignified as
becomes the heads of households?

Thus it befalls that, do their dignified best, Papa Plauche and his
"Fathers" are left behind by the hunting-shirt men, who, deploying more
and still more to the left, extend themselves in front of Papa Plauche.
This does not suit the latter's hardy tastes, and he frets ferociously.
He grows condemnatory, as the spitting rifle flashes show him that the
vainglorious hunting-shirt men are between him and those English whom he
hungers to destroy. Indeed, he fumes like tiger cheated of its prey.

"But we shall extricate ourselves, neighbor St. Geme!" cries Papa
Plauche. "We shall yet extricate ourselves! Behold!"

The "Behold!" is the foreword of certain masterly maneuvers by Papa
Plauche among the sugar stubble. The maneuvers free the farseeing
Papa Plauche and his "Fathers" from those obstructive, unmannerly
hunting-shirt men, who have cut off their advance even in its
indomitable bud. The "Fathers" being better used to shop floors than
plowed fields, however, make difficult work of it. At last courage has
its reward, and the "Fathers" uncover their dauntless front.

"Oh, my brave St. Geme!" cries Papa Plauche, when his strategy has put
the hunting-shirt men on his right, where they belong, "nothing can save
the caitiff English now! Those ruffians in hunting tunics who protected
them no longer impede our front. Forwards!"

The final word has hardly issued from between the clenched teeth of Papa
Plauche when a rustling in the stubble apprises him of the foe.

"Fire, Fathers of Families, fire!" shouts Papa Plauche, and such is the
fury which consumes him that the shout is no shout, but a screech.

It is enough! One by one each "Father" discharges his flintlock. The
procession of reports is rather ragged, and now and again a considerable
wait occurs between shots, like a great gap in a picket fence. Still,
the last "Father" finally finds the trigger, and the command of Papa
Plauche is obeyed.

The "Fathers" hurt no one by this savage volley, for their aim
like their hearts is high. It is quite as well they do not. The
stubble-disturbing force in front chances to be none other than that
half company of regulars, to whose rear it seems the inadvertent
Papa Plauche, in freeing them from the hunting-shirt men, has led his
"Fathers." The regulars are in a towering rage with Papa Plauche;
but since no one has been injured, and Papa Plauche is profuse in his
apologies, their anger presently subsides. The regulars again take up
their bloody work upon the retreating English, while the discouraged
Papa Plauche and the "Fathers," full of confusion and chagrin at twice
being balked, remain where they are.

"After all, neighbor St. Geme," observes Papa Plauche, "the mistake was
theirs. Did they not usurp the place which belonged to the English, in
thus getting in front of us? It should teach them to beware how they put
themselves in the path of my 'Fathers,' whose wrath is terrible."

For two black, sightless hours the huntingshirt men crowd the English
to the south. Then the General draws them off. They come, bringing
as captives one colonel, two majors, three captains, and sixty-four
privates. Also they have killed and wounded two hundred and thirteen
of the English, which comforts them marvelously. They themselves have
suffered but slightly, and the backloads of English guns they carry will
gladden many an unarmed Kentucky heart.

Now when he has them together, the beloved Coffee at their head, the
General leads the way to the thither side of the Roderiquez Canal, where
he plans a line of breastworks. Arriving, the weary hunting-shirt men
build fires, and make themselves easy for the balance of the night.

After a brief rest, the thoughtful General detaches a party with one of
the field guns, to interest the English until daylight.

"For I think, Coffee," says he, "that if we keep them awake, they will
be apt to sleep tomorrow; and so leave us free to work on our defenses."



CHAPTER XV--COTTON BALES AND SUGAR CASKS


IT is the day before Christmas when the General lays out his line for
fortifications. The Roderiquez Canal is no canal at all, but a disused
mill race, which an active man can leap and any one may wade. The
General will make a moat of it, and raise his breastworks along its
mile-length muddy course, between the river and the cypress swamp. He
keeps an army of mules and negroes, with scrapers and carts, hard at
work, heaping up the earth. A boat load of cotton is lying at the levee.
The cotton bales are rolled ashore, and added to the heaped-up earth.
This pleases Papa Plauche.

"It is singular," he remarks to neighbor St. Geme, "that cotton, which
has been my business support for years, should now defend my life."

There is a low place to the General's front. He cuts the levee; and
soon the Mississippi furnishes three feet of water, to serve as a wet
drawback to any English advance. The latter, however, are not thinking
on an advance. Supports have come dripping from the swamp, and swollen
their numbers to threefold the General's force; but none the less their
hearts are weak. That horrifying night attack, when their blood was shed
in the dark, has broken the heart of their vanity, and a paralyzing fear
of those dangerous hunting-shirt men lies all across the English like
a cloud. More and worse, the _Carolina_ swings downstream, abreast of
their position, and her broadsides drive them to hide in ditches and the
cypress borders of the swamp. There is no peace, no safety, on the flat,
stubble ground, while light remains by which to point the _Carolina's_
guns.

Nor does nightfall bring relief. Those empty-handed Kentuckians must
be provided for; and, no sooner does the sun go down, than the
hunting-shirt men by two and three go forth in search of English
muskets. They shoot down sentries, and carry away their dead belongings.
Does an English group assemble round a camp fire, it becomes an
invitation seldom neglected. A party of hunting-shirt men creep within
range and begin the butchery. There is never the moment, daylight and
dark, when the unhappy English are not within the icy reach of death.
There is no repose, no safety! A chill dread claims them like a palsy!

The English complain bitterly at this bushwhacking; which, to the
hunting-shirt men, reared in schools of Indian war, is the merest A B C
of battle. The harassed English denounce the General as a barbarian, in
whose savage bosom burns no spark of chivalry. They recall how in their
late campaigns in Spain, English and French pickets spent peace-filled
weeks within fifty yards of one another, exchanging nothing more deadly
than coffee and compliments.

The grim General refuses to be affected by the French-English example.
He continues to pile up his earthworks, while the hunting-shirt men
go forth to pot nightly English as usual. The situation wears away the
courage of the English to a white and paper thinness.

While the General is fortifying his lines, and the hunting-shirt men are
stalking English sentinels, peace is signed in Europe between America
and England. But Europe is far away; and there is no Atlantic cable. And
so the General continues at his congenial labors undisturbed.

Christmas does not go unrecognized in the General's camp. He himself
attempts nothing of festival sort, and only drives his fortifying mules
and negroes the harder. But the hunting-shirt men celebrate by cleaning
their rifles, molding bullets, refilling powder horns, and whetting
knives and tomahawks to a more lethal edge.

As for Papa Plauche and the "Fathers of Families," they become jocund.
Their wives and daughters purvey them roast fowls in little wicker
baskets, and the warmest wines of Burgundy in bottles. Whereupon Papa
Plauche and his "Fathers" wax blithe and merry, singing the songs of
France and talking of old loves.

And now Sir Edward Pakenham arrives, and relieves General Keane in
command of the English. With him comes General Gibbs. The two listen to
the reports of General Keane, and shrug polite shoulders as he speaks of
the savage valor of the Americans. It is preposterous that peasants
clad in skins, and not a bayonet among them, should check the flower of
England. General Keane does not reply to the polite shrug. He reflects
that the General, with his hunting-shirt men, can be relied upon to
later make convincing answer.

Upon the morning which follows the advent of General Pakenham, the
English see a moment of good fortune. A red-hot shot sets fire to
the _Carolina_, as she swings downstream on her cable for that daily
bombardment, and burns her to the water line. This cheers the English
mightily; and does not discourage Commodore Patterson, who transfers his
activities to the decks of the _Louisiana._

Sir Edward gives the General three uninterrupted days. This the latter
warrior improves so far as to rear his earthworks to a height of four
feet, and mount five guns. On the fourth day the English are led out to
the assault. Sir Edward does not say so, but he expects to march over
those four-foot walls of mud and cotton bales as he might over any other
casual four-foot obstruction, and go up to the city beyond.

The sequel does not justify Sir Edward's optimism. The moment the
English approach within two hundred yards of the General's line, a sheet
of fire hisses all along. The English melt away like smoke. They break
and run, seeking refuge in the cross ditches which drain the stubble
lands. Once in the ditches, they are made to sit fast by the watchful
hunting-shirt men, whose aim is death and who shoot at every exposed two
square inches of English flesh and blood.

All day the English must crouch in the saving mud and water of those
ditches, and it ruffles their self-regard. With darkness for a shield,
Sir Edward brings them off. He explains the disaster to his staff
by calling it a "reconnoissance." General Keane also calls it a
"reconnoissance"; but there is a satisfied grin on his war-worn face.
Sir Edward has received a taste of the mettle of those "peasants," and
may now take a more tolerant, and less politely cynical, view of what
earlier setbacks were experienced by General Keane. As for the seventy
dead who lie, faces to the quiet stars, among the sugar stubble, they
say nothing. And whether it be called a "reconnoissance" or a defeat
matters little to them.

"What do you think of it?" asks Sir Edward of his friend, General Gibbs,
as the two confer over a bottle of port.

"Sir Edward," returns the General, "I should call a council of war."

Sir Edward winces. It is too great an honor for the brother-in-law of
Lord Wellington to pay a "Copper Captain" like the General. For all that
he calls it; and the call assembles, besides Generals Gibbs and Keane,
those saltwater soldiers, Admirals Cochrane, Codrington and Malcolm,
and Captain Hardy whom Nelson loved. Sir John Burgoyne, the chief of
the English engineers, is also there. The solemn debate lasts hours. The
decision is to regard the General's position as "A walled and fortified
place, to be reduced by regular and formal approaches." Which is
flattering to the General's engineering skill.

The council breaks up. The next morning Sir John Burgoyne commits a
stroke of genius. He rolls out of the storehouses to the English rear
countless hogsheads of sugar. Night sets in, foggy and black. Under its
protecting cover, Sir John trundles his hundreds of hogsheads to a point
not six hundred yards from the General's mud walls. Till daybreak
the English work. They set the hogsheads on end--four close-packed
thicknesses of them, two tier high. Ingenious portholes are left to
receive the muzzles of the guns, and thirty cannon, which have been
dragged through the cypress swamp from the fleet, are placed in
position.

Those hogsheads of sugar, with the thirty black muzzles frowning forth,
impress folk as a most formidable fortalice, when the upshooting sun
rolls back the fog and offers a view of them. The General, however, does
not hesitate; he instantly opens with his five, and the thirty guns
of the English bellow their iron response. Hardly a whit behind the
General, the active Commodore Patterson drops downstream with the
_Louisiana_, and throws the weight of her broadsides against the
English.

The big-gun duel is hot and furious, and the rolling clouds of powder
smoke shut out the fighters from one another. They do not pause for
that, but fire blindly through the smoke, sighting their guns by guess.
When the smoke has cloaked the scene, Sir Edward orders two columns of
the English foot to storm the General's mud walls.

The columns advance, and run headforemost into the hunting-shirt men.
The sleety rain of lead which greets them rolls the columns up like two
red carpets. The recoiling columns break, and the English take cover
for a second time in those saving ditches. They declare among themselves
that mortal man might more easily face the fires of hell itself, than
the flame-filled muzzles of the hunting-shirt men, who seem to be
Death's very agents upon earth.

As the broken English crouch in those ditches the fire of Sir John
Burgoyne's big guns begins to falter. The smoke is so thick that no one
may tell the cause. At last the English volleys altogether end, and the
General orders Dominique and Bluche, with their swarthy pirate crews
from Barrataria, and what other artillerists are serving his quintette
of guns, to cease their stormy work. With that a silence falls on both
sides.

The breeze from the river tears the smoky veil aside; and lo! that
noble fortification of sugar hogsheads is heaped and piled in ruins. The
General's solid shot go through and through those hogsheads of sugar, as
though they are hogsheads of snow. Five of the thirty English guns are
smashed. The proud work of Sir John Burgoyne presents a spectacle of
desolation, while the English who serve the batteries go flying for
their lives. Not all! The three-score dead remain--the only English
whose honor is saved that day!

Sir Edward's cheek is white as death. He blames Sir John Burgoyne, who
has erred, he says, in constructing the works. Sir John did err, and Sir
Edward is right. Forty years later, the same Sir John will repeat the
same mistake at Sebastapol; which shows how there be Bourbons among the
English, learning nothing, forgetting nothing.

As the English skulk in clusters, and ragged, beaten groups for their
old position beyond the General's long reach, the fear of death is
written on their faces. It will take a long rest, and much must be
forgotten, e'er they may be brought front to front with the General
again.

Among the hunting-shirt men are exultation and crowing triumph. Only
Papa Plauche is sad. During the fight, the cotton bales in front of Papa
Plauche and the "Fathers" are sorely knocked about. As though this be
not enough, what must a felon hot shot do but set one of them ablaze!
The smoke fills the noses of Papa Plauche and his "Fathers," and makes
them sneeze. It burns their eyes until the tears the "Fathers" shed
might make one think them engaged upon the very funeral of Papa Plauche
himself.

In the tearful sneezing midst of this anguish, a vagrant flying flake
of cotton, all afire, explodes an ammunition wagon to the heroic rear of
Papa Plauche and the "Fathers," and the shock is as the awful shock of
doom.

The fortitude of Hercules would fail at such a pinch! Papa Plauche and
the "Fathers" actually and for the moment think on flight! But whither
shall they fly? They are caught between Satan and a deepest sea--the
ammunition wagon and the English! Also to the right, plying sponge and
rammer, are the pirate Barratarians who are as bad as the English!
While to the left is the General, who is worse than the ammunition
wagon.

"It is written!" murmurs Papa Plauche; "our fate is sure! We must perish
where we stand!" Papa Plauche extends his hands, and cries: "Courage,
my heroes! Give your hearts to heaven, your fame to posterity, and show
history how 'Fathers of Families' can die!" From the cypress swamp a
last detachment of reënforcements emerges, and meets the beaten English
coming back. General Lambert, with the reënforcements, is shocked as he
reads their broken-hearted story in their eyes. "What is it, Colonel?"
he whispers to Colonel Dale of the Highlanders. "In heaven's name, what
stopped you?"

"Bullets, mon!" returns the Scotchman. "Naught but bullets! The fire of
those de'ils in lang shirts wud 'a' stopped Caesar himsel'!"



CHAPTER XVI--THE EIGHTH OF JANUARY


BACK to his negroes and mules and carts and scrapers goes the General,
and sets them to renewed hard labor on those immortal mud walls which
he will never get too high. Those cotton bales, so distressing to
Papa Plauche and the "Fathers," are eliminated, at which that paternal
commander breathes freer. The hunting-shirt men, with each going down
of the sun, resume their nighthawk parties, which swoop upon English
sentinels, taking lives and guns.

The English themselves are a prey to dejection. The foe against whom
they war is so strange, so savage, so sleepless, so coldly inveterate!
Also those incessant night attacks sap their manhood. They build no
fires now, but sit in darkness through the nights. A fire is but the
attractive prelude to a shower of nocturnal lead, and the woefully
lengthening list of dead and wounded tells strongly against it. To even
light a cigar after dark is an approach to suicide; and so the English
wrap themselves in blackness--very miserable! Their earlier horror of
the hunting-shirt men is increased; for they have three times studied
backwoods marksmanship from the standpoint of targets, and the dumb
chill about their heart-roots is a testimony to its awful accuracy.

The General, who reads humanity as astronomers read the heavens, is
not wanting in notions of the gloom which envelops the English like a
funeral pall.

"Coffee," says he, at one of those famous war councils of two, "in their
souls we have them beaten. They will fight again; but only from pride.
Their hope is gone, Coffee; we have broken their hearts."

The reports of the General's scouts teach him that the English will
put a force across the river. In anticipation, he dispatches Commodore
Patterson, with a mixed command of soldiers and sailors, to fortify
the west bank. Commodore Patterson emulates the General's four-foot
mud walls and throws up a redoubt of his own, mounting thereon twelve
eighteen-pounders taken from the Louisiana.

He tries one on the English opposite. The result is gratifying; the gum
pitches a solid shot all across the Mississippi and into the English
lines.

Eight days pass by in Indian file, and Sir Edward Pakenham with his
English feels that, for his safety as much as his honor, he must attack
the General, whose mud walls increase with each new sunset. The General
foresees this, and has reports of Sir Edward's movements brought him
every hour.

On the morning of the eighth the General's scouts wake him at two
o'clock and say that the English are astir. He is instantly abroad;
the word goes down the line; by four o'clock every rifle is ready, each
hunting-shirt man at his post.

The weak spot, the one at which Sir Edward will level his utmost force,
is where the General's line finds an end in the moss-hung cypress swamp.
It is there he stations the reliable Coffee with his hunting-shirt men.
To the rear, as a reserve, is General Adair with what Kentuckians the
good, unerring offices of those night-prowling hunting-shirt men have
armed at the red expense of the English.

In the center is the redoubtable Papa Plauche and his "Fathers." The
"Fathers" are between the pirates Dominique and Bluche and Captain
Humphries of the regular artillery.

Papa Plauche is rejoiced at being thus thrust into the center.

"For my heroes!" cries Papa Plauche, in a speech which he makes the
"Fathers," the center is the heart--the home of honor! "On us, my
Fathers, devolves the main defense of our beloved city, where sleep our
wives and children. Wherefore, be brave as vigilant--vigilant as brave!"

Papa Plauche's voice is husky, but not from fear. No, it is husky by
reason of a cold which, despite certain woolen nightcaps wherewith the
excellent Madam Plauche equipped him for the field, he has contracted in
sleeping damply among the stubble and the river fogs.

Six hundred yards in front of the General's mud walls, and near the
river, are a huddle of plantation buildings. The English, he
argues, will mask a part of their advance with these structures. The
forethoughtful General prepares for this, and has furnaces heating shot,
to set those buildings blazing at the psychological moment.

Also, in response to a comic cynicism not usual with him, he has out
the brass band of Papa Plauche, with instructions to strike up "Yankee
Doodle" as the first gun is fired. The band, in compliment to the
General, has been privily rehearsing "'Possum up a Gum Tree," which
it understands is the national anthem of Tennessee, and offers to play
that.

The General thanks the band, but declines "'Possum up a Gum Tree." It
will not be understood by the English; whereas "Yankee Doodle" they have
known and loathed for forty years.

"Give 'em 'Yankee Doodle,'" says the General. "Since they are so eager to
dance, we'll furnish the proper music."

Sir Edward is as soon afoot as is the General. He finds his English
steady yet dull; they will fight, but not with spirit. As the General
assured the conferring Coffee, the hunting-shirt men, with their long
rifles like wands of death, have broken the English heart.

The English are to advance in three columns; General Keane on the right
with Rennie's Rifles, in the center Dale's Highlanders, on the left,
where the main attack is to be launched, General Gibbs, with three
thousand of the pride of England at his back. General Lambert is to hold
himself in the rear of General Gibbs, with two regiments as a reserve.
As the columns form, there are eighty-five hundred of the English;
against which the-General opposes a scanty thirty-two hundred. And
yet, upon those overpowering eighty-five hundred hangs a silence like a
sadness, as though they are about to go marching to their graves.

The solemn fear in which the English hold the hunting-shirt men finds
pathetic evidence. As the columns wheel into position, Colonel Dale of
the Highlanders gives a letter and his watch to the surgeon.

"Carry them to my wife," says he.

"I'll peel for no American!" and twenty-four hours later he is buried in
that cloak.

The English stand to their arms, and wait the breaking of day. Slowly
the minutes drag their leaden length along; morning comes at last.

With the first streaks of livid dawn, a Congreve rocket flashes skyward
from Sir Edward's headquarters. The rocket is the English signal to
advance. In a moment, General Gibbs, General Keane, and Colonel Dale
with his "praying" Highlanders are in motion.

The signal rocket uncouples thousands upon thousands of fellow rockets;
the air is on fire with them as they blaze aloft in mighty arcs, to fall
and explode among the hunting-shirt men.

"Toys for children, boys," cries the General, as he observes
the hunting-shirt men watching the flaming shower with curious,
non-understanding eyes; "toys for children! They'll hurt no one!"

The General is right. Those congreve rockets are supposed to be as
deadly as artillery. Like many another commodity of war, however, meant
primarily to fatten contractors, they prove as innocuous as so many
huge fireflies. The hunting-shirt men laugh at them. The battery of
eighteen-pounders, wherewith the English second that flight of rockets,
is a more serious affair.

As the sun shoots up above the cypress swamp and rolls back the mists
of morning, the English make a gallant picture. The dull yellow of the
stubble in front of the General's line is gay with splotches of red and
gray and green and tartan, the colors of the various English corps.

The hunting-shirt men, however, are not given much space for admiration;
for, with one grand crash, the big guns go into action and the
red-green-gray-tartan picture is swallowed up in powder smoke. Also,
it is now that Papa Plauche's band blares forth "Yankee Doodle," while
those anticipatory hot shot set fire to the plantation buildings. As the
latter burst out at door and window in smoke and flames, Colonel Rennie
and his riflemen are driven into the open. The conflagration gets much
in the English way, and spoils the drill-room nicety of Sir Edward's
onset as he has it planned.

Colonel Rennie, being capable of brisk decision, makes the best of a
disconcerting situation. When the flames and smoke from those fired
plantation buildings drive him into the open before he is ready, he
promptly orders a charge. This his riflemen obey; for the inexorable
Patterson, across the river, is already upon them with those
eighteen-pounders, and his solid shot are mowing ghastly swaths through
the rifle-green ranks, tossing dead men in the air like old bags. With
so little inducement to stand still, the riflemen hail that word to
charge as a relief, and head for the General's mud walls at double
quick.

The oncoming Colonel Rennie and his English are met full in the face by
a tempest of grape, from Major Humphrey and the pirates Dominique and
Bluche, which throws them backward upon themselves. They bunch up
and clot into lumps of disorder, like clumps of demoralized sheep in
rifle-green. At that, Commodore Patterson serves his eighteen-pounders
with multiplied speed, and the great balls tear those sheep-clumps to
pieces, staining with crimson the rifle-green. The English marvel at
the artillery work of the General's men, whose every shot comes on, well
aimed and low, bringing death in its whistling wake.

They should reflect: The theory, not to say the eye, which aims a
squirrel rifle will point a cannon.

Colonel Rennie, when his English recoil, keeps on--face red with grief
and rage.

"It's my time to die!" says he to Captain Henry. "But before I die, I
shall at least see the inside of those mud walls."

Colonel Rennie is wrong. A bullet finds his brain as he lifts his head
above the breastworks, and he slips back dead in the ditch outside.
Major King and Captain Henry die with him, pierced each by a handful of
bullets.

When the English flinch and Colonel Rennie falls, the bugler--a boy of
fourteen--climbs a tree, not one hundred yards from the General's line.
Perched among the branches, he sounds his dauntless charges. The General
gives orders to let the boy alone. And so the little bugler, protected
by the word of the General, sings his shrill onsets to the last.

Finally an artillery-man goes out to him.

"Come down, my son!" says the cannoneer. "The war's about over!"

The little bugler comes down, and is at once taken to the fatherly heart
of Papa Plauche, who declares him to be a sucking Hector, and is for
adopting him as his son on the spot, but is restrained by thoughts of
Madam Plauche.

Sir Edward's main assault, with General Gibbs, meets no fairer fortune
than falls to Colonel Rennie by the river. Confusion prevails on the
threshold of the movement; for Colonel Mullins with his Forty-fourth
refuses to go forward. Later he will be courtmartialed, and dismissed in
disgrace. Just now, however, the recreant makes a shameful tangle of
the English van. As a quickest method of setting the tangle straight,
General Gibbs, as did Colonel Rennie, orders a charge. The column moves
forward, the mutinous Forty-fourth on the right flank, led by its major.

General Gibbs advances, brushing with the shoulder of his corps,
the cypress swamp. Behind the mud walls in his front, the steady
hunting-shirt men are waiting. The General is there, to give the latter
patience and hold them in even check.

"Easy, boys!" he cries. "Remember your ranges! Don't fire until they are
within two hundred yards!"

On rush the English. At six hundred yards they are met by the fire of
the artillery. They heed it not, but press sullenly forward, closing up
the gaps in their ranks, where the solid shot go crashing through, as
fast as made. Five hundred yards, four hundred, three hundred! Still
they come! Two hundred yards!

And now the hunting-shirt men! A line of fire unending glances from
right to left and left to right, along the crest of those mud walls, and
Death begins his reaping. The head of the English column burns away, as
though thrust into a furnace! The column wavers and welters like a red
ship in a murky sea of smoke! It pauses, falteringly--disdaining to fly,
yet unable to advance!

"Forward, men!" shouts General Gibbs. "This is the way you should go!"

As he points with his sword to those terrible mud walls, he falls
riddled by the hunting-shirt men.



CHAPTER XVII--THE SLAUGHTER AMONG THE STUBBLE


WHEN the main advance begins, Sir Edward is in the center with the
Highlanders. The latter are not to move until he has word of their
success from General Keane with Rennie's rifle corps, and General Gibbs
with the main column--the one by the river and the other by the cypress
swamp. He has not long to wait; a courier dashes up from the river--eye
haggard, disorder in his look!

"General Keane?" cries Sir Edward, his apprehension on edge.

"Fallen!" returns the courier hoarsely.

"And Rennie?"

"Dead. The Rifles are in full retreat!" Sir Edward stands like one
stricken. Then he pulls himself together.

"Bring on your Highlanders!" he cries to Colonel Dale. "We must force
their lines in front of General Gibbs. It is our only chance!"

Sir Edward dashes across to General Gibbs, in the shadow of that
significant cypress swamp. He sees General Gibbs go down! He sees
the red column torn and twisted by that storm of lead which the
hunting-shirt men unloose.

As the English reel away from those low-flying messengers of death, Sir
Edward seeks to rally them.

"Are you Englishmen?" he cries. "Have you but marched upon a battlefield
to stain the glory of your flag?"

Sir Edward's gesticulating arm falls, smashed by a bullet from some
sharp-shooting hunting-shirt man. He seems not to know his hurt! He is
on fire with the thought that those honors, won upon forty fields,
are to be wrested from him by a "Copper Captain," backed by a mob of
peasants in buckskin! He rushes among the shaken English to check the
panic which is seizing them!

The Highlanders come up!

"Hurrah! brave Highlanders!" he shouts.

At Sir Edward's welcoming shout, Colonel Dale waves a salute! It is his
last; the huntingshirt men are upon him with those unerring rifles, and
he falls dead before his General's eyes. Coincident with the fall of his
beloved Dale, Sir Edward is struck by a second bullet. It enters near
the heart. As his aide catches him in his arms, he beckons feebly to Sir
John Tylden.

"Call up Lambert with the reserves!" he whispers.

As he lies supported in the arms of his aide, a third bullet puffs out
his lamp of life, and England loses a second Sir Philip Sidney.

The main column falls into renewed disorder! It begins to retreat;
the retreat becomes a rout! Only the Highlanders stay! They cannot go
forward; they will not go back! There they stand rooted, until five
hundred and forty of their nine hundred and fifty are shot down.

As the main column breaks, Major Wilkinson turns to Lieutenant Lavack.

"This is too much disgrace to take home!" says he.

Like Colonel Rennie, a mile away by the river, Major Wilkinson charges
the mud walls. Lieutenant Lavack, sharing his feelings, shares with him
that desperate, disgrace-defying charge. Through the singing, droning
"zip! zip!" of the bullets, they press on! They reach the ditch, and
splash through! Up the mud walls they swarm! Major Wilkinson falls
inside, dead, three times shot through and through! Lieutenant
Lavack, with a luck that is like a charm, lands in the midst of the
hunting-shirt men without a scratch! They receive him hilariously,
offer whisky and compliments, and assure him that they like his style.
Lieutenant Lavack accepts the whisky and the compliments, and gains
distinction as the one live Englishman over the General's mud walls this
January day.

The field is swept of hostile English; all is silent in front, and not
a shot is heard. Now when the firing is wholly on one side, the General
passes the word for the hunting-shirt men to cease.

The hard-working Coffee comes up, face a-smudge of powder stains; for he
has been taking his turn with a rifle, like any other hunting-shirt man.
He finds the General as drunk on battle as some folk are on brandy.

"They can't beat us, Coffee!" cries the General, wringing his friend's
big hand. "By the living Eternal they can't beat us!"

The General unslings his ramshackle telescope, and leaps upon the mud
walls for a survey of the field. The less curious Coffee devotes himself
to wiping the sweat and powder smudges from his face. His impromptu
toilet results only in unhappy smears, which make him resemble an
overgrown sweep. He looks at his watch.

"Sharp, short work!" he mutters, as he notes that they have been
fighting but twenty-five minutes.

[Illustration: 0235]

Those plantation buildings are still blazing, no more than half-burned
down, and the smoke hides the scene toward the river. The General turns
his ramshackle spyglass upon his immediate front. The ground is fairly
carpeted with dead English. As he gazes he calls to Colonel Coffee, who
is now broadening the powder smears ingeniously with the sleeve of his
hunting shirt.

"Jump up here, Coffee!" cries the General. "It's like resurrection day!"

Thus urged, Colonel Coffee abandons his attempts to improve his looks,
and joins the General on the mud walls. He is in time to behold four
hundred odd Highlanders scramble to their brogues among those five
hundred and forty who will never march again, and come forward to
surrender.

It has been a hot and bloody morning. Of those six thousand whom Sir
Edward takes into action--for the reserves with General Lambert are
never within range--over twenty-one hundred are fallen. Seven hundred
and thirty are killed as they stand in their ranks; and of the fourteen
hundred marked "wounded," more than six hundred are to die within the
week. Among the twenty-one hundred killed and wounded, sixteen hundred
go to swell the red record of the dire hunting-shirt men.

The two attacks, being at the ends of the General's lines, involve no
more than two-thirds of his thirty-two hundred. Papa Plauche's "Fathers"
in the center, as well as General Adair's Kentuckians who act as
reserves, are merest spectators.

That his "Fathers" are not called upon to fire a shot, in no wise
depresses Papa Plauche. He harangues his brave followers, and eloquently
explains:

"It is because of your sanguinary fame, my heroes!" vociferates Papa
Plauche. "The English knew your position, and avoided you. They went as
far to the right and to the left as they could, to escape that
destruction you else would have infallibly meted out to them. Ah! my
'Fathers,' see what it is to have a terrible name! You must sit idle in
battle, because no foe dare engage you! Be comforted, my glorious
heroes! Achilles could have done no more!"

Colonel Coffee, still busy with the powder smears, calls the General's
attention to an English group of three, made up of a colonel, a bugler,
and a soldier bearing a white flag. The trio halt six hundred respectful
yards away. The bugler sounds a fanfare; the soldier waves his white
flag.

The General dispatches Colonel Butler with two captains to receive
their message. It is a note signed "Lambert," asking an armistice of
twenty-four hours to bury the dead.

"Who is Lambert?" asks the General, and sends to the English colonel,
with his bugler and white flag, to find out.

The three presently return; this time the note is signed "John Lambert,
Commander-in-Chief." The alteration proves to the General's liking, and
the armistice is arranged.

The seven hundred and thirty dead English are buried where they fell.
Thereafter the superstitious blacks will defy lash and torture rather
than plow the land where they lie. It will raise no more sugar cane; but
in time a cypress grove will sorrowfully cover it, as though in mournful
memory of those who sleep beneath. The General carries his own dead to
the city. They are not many, four dead and four wounded being the limit
of his loss.

General Lambert and the beaten English go wallowing, hip-deep, through
the swamps to their boats. They will not fight again. The booming of
the batteries, or mayhap the unusual warmth of the sun, has roused from
their winter beds a scaly host of alligators. These saurians uplift
their hideous heads and gaze sleepily, yet inquisitively, at the
wallowing retreating English. Now and then one widely yawns, and the
spectacle sends an icy thrill along what English spines bear witness to
it.

In the end the beaten English are all departed. That tremendous invasion
which, with "Beauty and Booty!" for its cry, sailed out of Negril Bay
six weeks before to the sack of New Orleans, is abandoned, and the
last defeated man jack once more aboard the ships and mighty glad to be
there. The fleet sails south and east; but not until the tallest ship is
hull down in the horizon does the General march into New Orleans.

The General cannot bring himself to believe that the retreat of the
English is genuine. They have still, as they sail away, full thirteen
thousand fighting men aboard those ships, with a round one thousand
cannon, and munitions and provisions for a year's campaign. He judges
them by himself, and will not be convinced that they have fled. With
this on his mind, he plants his pickets far and wide, and insists on
double vigilance.

Now when fear of the English is rolled like a stone from their breasts,
the folk of New Orleans fret under the General's iron rule. With that
the prudent General tightens his grip. Even so excellent a soldier
as Papa Plauche complains. He says that the hearts of the "Fathers
of Families" are bursting with victory. His valiant "Fathers" burn to
express their joy.

The General suggests that the joy-swollen "Fathers" repair to the
Cathedral, and hear the Abbé Duborg conduct a _Te Deum_.

Papa Plauche points out that, while a _Te Deum_ is all very well in
its way, it is a rite and not a festival. What his "Fathers"--who are
thunderbolts of war!--desire is to give a ball.

The General says that he has no objections to the ball.

Papa Plauche explains that a ball is not possible, with the city held
fast in the controlling coils of military law. The rule that all lights
must be out at nine o'clock, of itself forbids a ball. As affairs stand
the "Fathers" are helpless in their happiness. No one may dance by
daylight; that would be too fantastic, too bizarre! And yet who,
pray, can rejoice in the dark? It is against human nature, argues Papa
Plauche.

The General refuses to be moved; but continues to hold the city in his
unrelenting clutch--maintaining the while a wary eye for sly returning
English, with an occasional glance at the local treason which is
simmering about him.

The public murmur grows louder and deeper. A rumor of the peace comes
ashore, no one knows how. The General refuses the rumor, fearing an
English ruse to throw him off his guard. At the peace whisper, the
popular discontent increases. The General, in the teeth of it, remains
unchanged.

Citizen Hollander expresses himself with more heat than prudence. The
General locks up the vituperative Citizen Hollander. M. Toussand, Consul
for France, considers such action high-handed; and says so. The General
marches Consul Toussand out of town, with a brace of bayonets at the
consular back. Legislator Louaillier protests against the casting out
of Consul Toussand. The General consigns the protesting Legislator
Louaillier to a cell in the calaboose. Jurist Hall of the District Court
issues a writ of habeas corpus for the relief and release of the captive
Louaillier. The General responds by arresting Jurist Hall, who is given
a cell between captives Louaillier and Hollander, where by raising his
voice he may condole with them through the intervening stone walls.

Thus are affairs arranged when official notice of the peace reaches the
General from Washington. Instantly he withdraws his grip from the
city, restores the civil rule, and releases from captivity Jurist Hall,
Citizen Hollander, and Legislator Louaillier.

Upon the disappearance of martial law, Papa Plauche, with his immortal
"Fathers of Families," gives that ball of victory, the exiled Consul
Toussand creeps back into town, while Jurist Hall signalizes his
restoration to the woolsack by fining the General one thousand dollars
for contempt of court--which he pays.

The Legislature, guards withdrawn from its treasonable doors, expands
into lawmaking. Its earliest action is a resolution of thanks for their
brave defense of the city to officers Coffee, Carroll, Hinds, Adair,
and Patterson. The Legislature pointedly does not thank the General, who
grins dryly.

Colonel Coffee, upon receiving the vote of thanks, writes a letter of
acknowledgment, in which he intimates his opinions of the General, the
Legislature, and himself. This missive is a remarkable outburst on the
part of Colonel Coffee, who fights more easily than he writes, and shows
how he is stirred to his hunting-shirt depths.

Through the clouds of pestiferous jurists and treason-hatching
legislators descends a grand burst of sunshine. The blooming Rachel, as
unlooked for as an angel, joins her gaunt hero in New Orleans, and the
General forgets alike his triumphs and his troubles.

Papa Plauche--foremost in peace as in war--at once seizes on the advent
of the blooming Rachel to give another ball. The whole city attends the
function; the heroic "Fathers" in full panoply and very splendid. The
band plays "'Possum up a Gum Tree," in the execution whereof it soars to
vainest heights.

Papa Plauche dances with the blooming Rachel. The General unbuckles in
certain intricate breakdowns, with which he challenged admiration in
those days long ago when he was the beau of old Salisbury and read law
with Spruce McCay. The "Fathers" are not only edified but excited by the
General's dancing; for he dances as he fights, violently.

Colonel Coffee, not being a dancing man, goes looking about him. He
discovers a flower-piece, prepared by Papa Plauche, that is like unto a
piece of flattery, and spells "Jackson and Victory!" in deepest red and
green. He shows it to the General, who suggests that if Papa Plauche
had made it "Hickory and Victory!" it would mean the same, and save the
euphony.

While the blooming Rachel, the General, the non-dancing Coffee, and the
ardent Papa Plauche, with the beauty and chivalry of New Orleans about
them, are at the ball, Colonel Burr, gray and bent and cynical, is
talking with his friend Swartwout in far-away New York.

"It was a glorious, a most convincing victory!" exclaims Mr. Swartwout.
"President Madison cannot do the General too much honor. He has saved
the country!"

"He has saved," returns the ironical Colonel Burr, "what President
Madison holds in much greater esteem. He has saved the Madison
administration!"



CHAPTER XVIII--ODDS AND ENDS OF TIME


THE General, the blooming Rachel by his side, takes up his homeward
journey. Now when they are on their way and a world has time to observe
them, it is to be noted that changes have befallen with the lengthened
flight of time. The eye of the blooming Rachel is as liquidly black and
deep, her hair as raven-blue, her cheek as round as on a rearward day
when she won the heart of that bottle-green beau from old Salisbury. The
alteration is in her form, which has grown plump and full and stout in
these her matronly middle years. As to the bottle-green beau, his sandy
hair is deeply shot with iron-gray, while his features show haggard,
and seamed of care. To the inquiring eye he looks at once dangerous and
rusty, like an old sword. His form, always spare, is more emaciated than
ever. The last is due in part to those Benton bullets, and the Dickinson
shot fired in that poplar, May-sweet wood on a certain Kentucky morning.
Besides, one is not to forget those southern swamps, which have never
had fame for building a man up. As the General, with his blooming
Rachel, draws near home, the whole Cumberland country rushes forth to
greet him.

From that earliest day when Time began swinging his scythe in the
meadows of humanity, mankind has owned but two ways of honoring a hero.
One is the "parade," the other is the "dinner." In the one instance,
half the people march in the middle of the street, while the remaining
half line the curbs and look on. In the other, which has the merit of
exclusion, a select great few set a board with meat and drink; and then,
installing the hero where all may see, they bombard him with toasts and
speeches and applause. All attend the "parade" since it is free. Few
avoid the dinner, because, besides the honor and the honoring, it
affords lawful occasion for being drunk--a manifest advantage to many
in a strait-laced community. The General when he arrives in Nashville is
exhaustively "paraded" and deeply "dined." Also he is given a sword.

Now, having been "paraded" and "dined," and with honors thick upon him,
the General sets about his duties as a major general in days of peace.
General Adair and he have a letter-quarrel concerning the courage of
Kentuckians. General Scott and he have a letter-quarrel on grounds more
personal. As the upshot of the latter correspondence, the General
evinces an eagerness to shoot his over-epauletted opponent at ten paces,
oiling up the saw-handles to that hopeful end, but is balked by the
over-epauletted one, who declines on grounds of piety and patriotism.

[Illustration: 0251]

While the General is fuming with ink and paper against those
distinguished warriors, he cools at intervals sufficiently to build
the blooming Rachel a little church. The blooming Rachel is a devout
Presbyterian; and, while the General is far too busy with this world to
think much on the next, she prevails with him--for he never says "No" to
her--to put her up a church. It is not much bigger than a drygoods box;
but there are forty pews, besides a pulpit for Parson Blackburn, and
the blooming Rachel is supremely happy. She owns to some illogical
impression that, should the General build a church, he'll "join." In
this she goes wrong; for the General only builds.

The General mounts his horse, and rides to Washington. He meets Mr.
Jefferson in Lynchburg, and that aged fine gentleman and maker of
constitutions is struck by the graceful manners of the General, who has
become all ease and polish where once he was as rough as a woods' colt.
In Washington he is much feted and feasted, and the trump of celebration
is tireless to sound his name. He gets back home in time to put a roof
on the blooming Rachel's almost finished church, and listen to Parson
Blackburn's dedicatory sermon.

The Red Stick Creeks from across the Florida line take to marauding and
murdering in Southern Georgia, and the General decides to see about it.
He sends an officer, with a force of men, to reduce Negro Fort on the
Appalachicola. In giving that officer his instructions, the General
expands touching the military virtues of red-hot shots; and with such
satisfactory results that the first one fired at Negro Fort blows it to
ruins, and with it three hundred and thirty-one of the three hundred and
thirty-four blacks and reds who infest it. Three crawl from the blazing
chaos, to be hilariously knocked on the head by friendly Creeks, who
have attended the expedition with that fond hope and purpose. The world
is much rejoiced at the demolition of Negro Fort; since murder and
pillage have been the one business of its robber garrison, and the
fire-torture of prisoners their one amusement.

The General presently appears at the head of his hunting-shirt men, and
destroys the village of Chief Billy Bowlegs on the oft-sung Suwannee
River. Then he takes St. Marks from the feeble Spaniards, and arrests a
brace of conspiring English, Ambrister and Arbuthnot. The arrested ones
have come across from the Bahamas, bringing English guns and lead
and powder and promises to the hostile blacks and reds; and all in
accordance with that policy, dear to England, of preferring bloodshed
by proxy to shedding blood herself. The General hangs conspirator
Arbuthnot, and shoots conspirator Ambrister; while England, in
accordance with a second policy as dear as the first, disavows them
both.

The General goes on to Pensacola. Here he hauls down the flag of Spain,
runs up the stars and stripes, drives out the Spanish Governor, and
installs one of his own with a garrison to back him. Having executed
conspirators Ambrister and Arbuthnot, he now seizes on two
Creek-Seminole chiefs and hangs them, to preserve, so to speak, a racial
equilibrium. Having thus wound up the Spanish, the English, the negroes
and the Indians in Florida, the General returns to his home, serene in
the sense of duty well performed.

The General's serenity is misplaced; trouble breaks out in Washington.
Mr. Monroe is President, and Statesmen Clay and Crawford and Calhoun
and Adams desire to be. The quartette last named suspect in the
General--about whom a responsive public is running mad--a growing
rival. They decide to cripple him in the very cradle of his White House
prospects. If they do not he may grow up to snatch from them the
crown. Moved of this high thought, they charge the General with waging
unauthorized war; and with invading Spanish territory, we at peace
with Spain. They call him a "murderer" for snuffing out conspirators
Ambrister and Arbuthnot and those superfluous Creek-Seminole chiefs.
Also, giving a moral snuffle, they demand that he be courtmartialed and
cashiered.

President Monroe shakes his head at the conniving quartette, replying as
on a somewhat similar occasion did the Russian Catherine:

"We never punish conquerors."

The General by the Cumberland hears of these weird doings in Washington,
and again rides over the mountains. His object is to discover, by
personal observation, who in his case, are the sheep and who the goats,
and separate in his own mind his friends from his enemies. Upon his
arrival the General finds himself an issue of politics. As such he is
voted upon by Congress, which affirms heavily in his favor. The people
have long ago decided in his favor; and Congress, ever quick to locate
the butter on its bread, sharply follows the popular example. Statesman
Clay and others among the General's foes express themselves freely to
his disadvantage. However, the General expresses himself freely to their
disadvantage, and profound judges of vituperation say that he has the
sulphurous best of the exchange.

Being upheld by Congress, and having freed his mind touching his foes,
the General goes to Baltimore and Philadelphia, and is extravagantly
wined and dined. Then he proceeds to New York, where Fitz Greene Halleck
and Joseph Rodman Drake write doggerel at him in the _Evening Post_;
and where, also, he is "paraded" and "dinner"-honored to a degree
which lays all former "parading" and "dinner"-honoring, by less fervent
communities, deep within the shade.

Spain cedes Florida to the United States; just as she would cede a bad
hot penny that, besides being worthless, is burning her fingers. The
President appoints the General governor of the new domain. Whereupon the
new Governor lays down his Major General's commission, bids farewell to
the army, and journeys south. He does not relish being Governor; and,
after locking up his Spanish predecessor for stealing divers papers of
state, and expatriating a scandalous bevy whose talk sounds like treason
to his sensitive ear, he resigns.

When the General gets back to the Cumberland country, he finds that his
former quartermaster, Major Lewis, has decided to send him to the White
House. The General is mightily taken aback, and declares himself unfit.
Major Lewis retorts that he is far more fit than any of his quartette
of Washington enemies, laying especial emphasis on Statesman Clay. The
accurate force of the retort strikes the General wordless.

Major Lewis is rich, wise, cunning, cool, college-bred, and eighteen
years younger than the General. He is a born manager, a natural
wire-puller, and can play politics by ear as some folk play the fiddle.
Congenitally a Warwick, he prefers making a President to being one, and
would sooner hold a baby than hold an office.

Major Lewis seizes on the General as so much raw material wherefrom to
construct a President. As a best method of having his man on the ground,
he gives a hint, and the Tennessee Legislature sends the General to
Washington as Senator. The blooming Rachel accompanies him; they live at
a tavern in Pennsylvania Avenue called the "Indian Queen."

This caravansary is kept by one O'Neal, who has a pretty daughter
Peg. Later the pretty Peg will dissolve a Cabinet, make Mr. Van Buren
President, and come within an ace of getting Mr. Calhoun hanged. All
this, however, is in the unpierced future. The blooming, childless
Rachel makes a pet of pretty Peg; which rivets the latter forever in the
good regards of the General, who loves what the blooming Rachel loves.

Major Lewis proves a wizard of politics. Under his quiet legerdemain,
here and there and everywhere political fires break forth in favor of
the General. They break forth in North Carolina, in Pennsylvania, in New
York; and, so deft and secret is his work, none suspects Wizard Lewis as
the incendiary. Wizard Lewis is counseled by Colonel Burr who, like some
old gray fox, sits in the mouth of his New York law-burrow in Nassau
Street, peering out at events as they pass.

In these days, the lion-faced Webster writes his brother:

"His (the General's) manners are more presidential than those of any
of the candidates. He is grave, mild, and reserved. My wife is for him
decidedly."

There are four candidates for the White House, _vide, licet_, the
General, and Statesmen Adams and Crawford and Clay. The popular vote
falls in the order given, with the General a long flight shot ahead of
Statesman Adams, who is next on the list. And yet, while far in advance
of the others, the General is without that electoral majority required
by the Constitution, and the choice is thrown into the House of
Representatives.

Statesman Clay is now out of the running; for the President must be
chosen from among the three candidates having the highest electoral
vote, and he is fourth and lowest. Statesman Crawford, who ranks third,
is also out. He is stricken of paralysis; and, while this wins him
sympathy, it loses him White House strength. The fight is to be between
the General and Statesman Adams.

While Statesman Clay is out of the coil, so far as any personal chance
of becoming the House selection is concerned, he is in it decisively in
another fashion. As a chief force in the House, he holds that important
body in the hollow of his hand; and, while he cannot be its choice,
he can control its choice. He controls it for Statesman Adams, on
the underground understanding that he, Statesman Clay, shall sit at
Statesman Adams' right hand as Secretary of State. Statesman Clay hopes
to run presidentially another day, and thinks to make his calling and
election sure while head of the Cabinet of Statesman Adams. As events
forge and fuse themselves in the blast furnaces of the future, it will
be discovered that in thus opining Statesman Clay falls into grievous
error.

It is four o'clock in the afternoon when the Clay-guided House counts
Statesman Adams into a Presidency. Five hours afterward the General
meets Statesman Adams in the East Room, where both are in attendance
upon the last reception of outgoing President Munroe. The contrast
between them tells in the General's favor. There is no gloom of
disappointment on his brow, no cloud of defeat in his hawkish blue eyes.
The General has a lady on his arm. He greets Statesman Adams gracefully
and extends his hand:

"How is Mr. Adams?" cries he. "I give you my left hand, sir, since my
right is devoted to the fair."

Statesman Adams is a diplomat, and used to courts and salons. The
General is of the wilderness and its battlefields. And yet the General
shines out the more polished of the two. Statesman Adams takes the
extended hand; but he does it awkwardly, backwardly, and with a wooden
manner, as though his deportment is seized of some sudden, bashful
stiffness of the joints. At last he manages to say:

"Very well, sir! I hope you are well!"



CHAPTER XIX--THE KILLING EDGE OF SLANDER


WIZARD LEWIS boldly re-begins his work of White House capturing. He
becomes busy to the elbows in the General's destinies before Statesman
Adams is inaugurated. When the latter names Statesman Clay to be his
Secretary of State, Wizard Lewis lays bare the deal which thus exalts
the Kentuckian. He raises the cry of "Bargain and Corruption!" and the
public takes it up. Statesman Adams and Statesman Clay are pilloried as
conspirators who have wronged the General of a Presidency, and the State
portfolio in the hands of Statesman Clay is pointed to as proof. The
General writes the blooming Rachel, just now at home by the Cumberland:

"The Judas of the West has closed the contract and received the thirty
pieces of silver." Statesman Clay defends himself badly. He declares
that he objects to the General's White House ambitions only because he
is a "Military Chieftain." He speaks as though the world knows that a
"Military Chieftain" will make a perilous Chief Magistrate. The world
knows nothing of the sort; the cry of "Bargain and Corruption" gains
head.

In retort to that arraignment of being a "Military Chieftain"--made as
if the phrase be merely another name for "buccaneer"--the General writes
the old friendly fox, Colonel Burr:

"It is not strange that he (Statesman Clay) should indulge himself in
such reasoning, since it comes somewhat to his own personal defense. Our
blue-grass Secretary has been ever remarkable for his caution, to give
it a no worse name, and has not yet risked himself for his country, or
moved from safe repose to repel an invading foe."

The General is not the only one who comments upon the astounding
copartnership in politics and policies between Statesman Adams and
Statesman Clay. John Randolph, of Roanoke, remarks concerning it, from
his bitter place in the Senate:

"Sir, it is a coming together of the puritan and the blackleg--Blifil
and Black George!"

This view seems hugely to excite Statesman Clay, and he challenges the
picturesque Randolph to a duel by Little Falls. They meet; but, since
both are at pains to miss, no good comes of it.

[Illustration: 0267]

Wizard Lewis goes teaching the General's merits in every State of the
Union. In his White House siege, Wizard Lewis receives his best help
from Statesman Adams himself.

The latter publicist is a personage of ice-cold ideas, and lists
ingratitude at the top of the virtues. There be folk--descended,
doubtless, of ancestors that heated the pincers and turned the
thumbikins, and worked the straining rack for the Inquisitions as mere
day laborers at torture--who delight in doing mean, hateful, punishing
things to their fellow mortals, if they may but call such doing "duty."
They will weep hypocritically while burning a victim, and aver,
between sobs, that they pile the fagots and apply the torch only from
a "sternest conviction of duty." The word "duty," like the venom of
a serpent, is ever in their mouths; by it they break hearts, destroy
hopes, create blackness, blot out light, forbid happiness, foster grief,
and plant pain in breasts innocent of every crime save that of helping
them. Statesman Adams--heart as hollow as a bell and quite as brazen--is
one of these. He demonstrates his purity by refusing his obligations,
and proves himself great by turning his back on his friends. Made up of
a multitude of littlenesses, he offers no trait of breadth or bigness
as an offset. He is not wise; he is not brave; he is not generous; he
is not--even in wrongdoing--original. He will guide by some maxim; or
he will permit himself to be posed by a proverb; and, while ever
breathlessly respectable, he is never once right. As President he
proposes for himself an inhuman goodness, and declares that he will
remove no one from office on "account of politics"--a catch phrase which
has protected incompetency in place in every age.

Although he is so fond of them, Statesman Adams, in taking the latter
snow-white position, overlooks an aphorism that will be vital while time
lasts. He forgets that "The President who makes no removals will himself
be removed."

"Strike, lest you be stricken!" murmured Queen Elizabeth, as seizing the
pen she signed the warrant of block and axe for Scottish Mary, and it
might be well and wise for Statesman Adams to wear in constant mind that
illustrious example.

The thought is vain. Statesman Adams ignores his friends, consults
his foes, and offers a base picture of the ungrateful that draws the
public's honest wrath his way. Wizard Lewis is no one to miss such
opportunities to upbuild the General's fortunes at the expense of the
enemy; and so the General grows each day stronger, while Statesman
Adams--who hopes to succeed himself--owns less and less of strength.

The currents of time flow swiftly now, and four years go by--four years
wherein the old friendly far-seeing fox, Colonel Burr, in his Nassau
Street burrow, teaches the General's leaders intrigue as a pedagogue
teaches the alphabet to his pupils. And day after day the purblind
Adams, with the purblind Clay at the elbow of his hopes and fears, sets
traps against his own prospects, and does his unwitting best or worst to
destroy himself. Then comes the canvass: the General against Statesman
Adams, who courts a reelection.

The moment the rival forces march upon the field, the dullest marks
the superiority of the General's. With that, Statesman Clay--in the war
saddle for Statesman Adams, whose battle is his battle and whose defeat
means his downfall--loses his head. He accuses the General of every
offense except that of theft, calls him every name save that of coward.
The accusations fail; the epithets fall harmless to the ground; the
people know, and draw the closer about the General's standards.
The latter's popularity rises as might a hurricane, and sweeps away
opposition like down of thistles!

Statesman Clay becomes frantic. Possessed as by a demon, he issues
instructions to assail the blooming Rachel. His hound-pack obey the
call. From that moment the General's marriage is the issue. He is
charged with "stealing another's wife," and every shaft of mendacious
villification is shot against the unoffending bosom of the blooming
Rachel. Those are fire-swept moments of anguish for the General,
who feels the pain the more, since his hands are tied against what
saw-handle methods silenced the dead Dickinson one May Kentucky morning
in that poplar wood.

The blooming Rachel, for her wronged part, says never a word. She goes
the oftener to the little church, but that is all. And yet, while she
seems so resigned and patient beneath the slandrous lash, the thong is
biting always to her soul's source.

The election takes place, and now the people speak. They set the
grinding heel of their anger upon those slanders; they throw down that
ladder of lies by which Statesman Adams hopes to climb. Wizard Lewis,
Burr-guided, foils Statesman Clay at every point; the General rides down
Statesman Adams like a coach and six.

New England is tribal and narrow, with the reeking taint of old
Federalism in its veins; it gives itself for Statesman Adams, unredeemed
save by a single district in Maine. There, indeed, rises up one
electoral vote for the General. It shows in the gray waste of Adams
sentiment about it, like a green tree and a fountain against the gray
wastes of Sahara. New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland follow in New England's
dreary wake for Statesman Adams; while New York gives him sixteen
electoral votes out of thirty-six. That offers the round circumference
of his Clay-collected strength--an electoral vote of eighty-three!

For the General, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois
go headlong; while New York gives him twenty electoral votes, with
Tennessee his own by a popular count of twenty for one. Statesman Clay,
as a retort to the slanders he fulminated, beholds his own State
of Kentucky reject him, and aid in swelling those one hundred and
seventy-eight electoral votes which declare for the General. The world
at large, seated by its fireside and sagely thumbing those returns
of one hundred and seventy-eight for the General against a meager
eighty-three for Statesman Adams, finds therein a stunning rebuke to
both the ambitions and the methods of Statesman Clay.

When word of the General's election reaches the blooming Rachel, she
smiles wearily and says:

"For the General's sake I'm glad! For myself I never wished it."

Now that the war of the votes is over and the General victor, mankind
relaxes into its customary dinners and parades. The Cumberland good
people resolve to outparade all former parades, outdine all former
dinners. They engage themselves with tremendous gala preparations. It
shall be a time when oxen are eaten whole, and whisky is drunk by the
barrel.

The day set apart as sacred to the coming parade, and that dinner yet to
be devoured, breaks brightly full of promise. There is never a cloud in
the Cumberland sky, never a care on the Cumberland heart. In a moment
all is reversed!--light gives way to blackness, happiness to grief! Like
a bolt from a heaven smiling, the word descends that the blooming Rachel
lies dead. The word is true. The monstrous weight of slander heaped upon
it breaks her gentle heart.

[Illustration: 0275]

They bury the blooming Rachel at the foot of the garden where her
best-loved flowers grow. The General is ten years older in a night; the
tall form, yesterday as straight as a lance, is bent and broken. The
blue eyes, once hawklike, are dimmed with tears. Friends come to press
his hand--he chokes and cannot speak! But the awful agony of his soul is
written in the sweat drops on his wrung brow.

As the General stands by the grave that is smothering for him all the
song and the sweet sunshine of life, the ever-faithful, never-failing
Coffee is by his side. The poor General reaches blindly out and takes
hold of the rough, big, loyal hand for support. His beloved Coffee, who
flanked the Red Stick Creeks for him at the Horseshoe and held his low
mud walls against England's boast and best at New Orleans, will not
fail him now in this his sternest trial by the graveside of the blooming
Rachel.

The General, doubly quiet, doubly stern, issues forth of that ordeal
another man. He is as one who lives because it is his duty, and not
for love of life. Plainly, his hopes like his heart are buried with the
blooming Rachel. In his soul he lays her death to the doors of Statesman
Adams and Statesman Clay; throughout the years to follow he will never
forget nor forgive. To the end he will cultivate his hatred of them, and
tend it as he might a flower. Time cannot remold him in this belief; and
a decade later he will say to his friend Lewis, while his eye flashes
like some sudden-drawn rapier:

"Major, she was stung to death by slander! It was such adders as John
Quincy Adams, such pit-vipers as Henry Clay, that killed her!"



CHAPTER XX--THE GENERAL GOES TO THE WHITE HOUSE


THIS is of a steamboat day, and keel boats are but a memory. The
General makes his tedious eight-weeks' way to Washington via the
Cumberland, the Ohio, the mountains, and the Potomac valley. It is like
the progress of a conqueror. The people throng about him until Wizard
Lewis, remembering his broken state, fears for his life. The fears are
without grounds to stand on. Applause never kills, and the General finds
in it the milk of lions. He enters Washington renewed, and was never so
fit for hard work. The General is inaugurated. As he is cheered into the
White House by jubilant thousands, Statesman Clay, beaten and bitter,
retires to Kentucky; while Statesman Adams goes back to Massachusetts,
where his ice-waterisms, let us hope, will be appreciated, and from
which frigid region he ought never to have been drawn.

When the General is declared President, Statesman Calhoun is made
Vice-President. From his high perch in the Senate Statesman Calhoun
begins at once to scan the plain of the possible for ways and means to
name himself the General's successor. He proves dull in the furtherance
of his ambitions, and conceives that the only best path to victory lies
over the General himself. He must break down that demigod in the hearts
of the people, and teach them to hate where now they trust and love.

The General is not a day in Washington before Statesman Calhoun is
intriguing to cut the ground of popularity from beneath his feet. As
frequently happens with dark-lantern strategists, his plottings in their
very inception go off on the wrong foot. Statesman Calhoun is so foolish
as to commence his campaign against the General with an attack upon a
woman. The woman thus malevolently distinguished is the pretty Peg, once
belle of the Indian Queen.

Between that time when the General came last to Washington as Senator
and the pretty Peg was petted and loved by the blooming Rachel, and now
when the General occupies the White House as President, destiny has been
moving rapidly and not always gayly with the pretty Peg. In that interim
she becomes the wife of Purser Timberlake of the Navy, who later cuts
his drunken throat and walks overboard to his drunken death in the
Mediterranean.

In her widow's weeds the pretty Peg looks prettier than before--since
black is ever the best setting for beauty, and shows it off like a
diamond. Major Eaton, Senator from Tennessee and per incident friend of
the General, is smitten of the pretty Peg, and marries her. The wedding
bells are ringing as the General rides into Washington.

It is an hour wherein Vice-Presidents have more to say than they will
later on. Statesman Calhoun, scheming his own advantage, puts forward
covert efforts to place his friends about the General as cabineteers.
This is not so difficult; since the General is not thinking on Statesman
Calhoun. His eyes, hate-guided, are fastened upon Statesman Adams and
Statesman Clay; his single aim is to advance no follower of theirs.
These are happy conditions for Statesman Calhoun, who comes up unseen on
the General's blind side, and presents him--all unnoticed--with three of
his Cabinet six.

Statesman Calhoun, who prefers four to three, next tries all he secretly
knows to control the General's choice of a War Secretary. In this he
meets defeat; the General selects Major Eaton, just wedded to the pretty
Peg. His completed Cabinet includes Van Buren, Secretary of State;
Ingham, Secretary of the Treasury; Eaton, Secretary of War; Branch,
Secretary of the Navy; Berrien, Attorney General; and Barry, Postmaster
General. Of these, Statesman Calhoun, craftily reviewing the list from
his perch in the Senate, may call Cabi-neteers Ingham, Branch, and
Berrien his henchmen.

The General is not aware of this Calhoun color to his Cabinet. The last
man of the six hates Statesman Clay and Statesman Adams; which is the
consideration most upon the General's mind. He does not like Statesman
Calhoun. But he in no sort suspects him; and, at this crisis of Cabinet
making, that plotting Vice-President is not at all upon the General's
slope of thought.

Not content with half the Cabinet, Statesman Calhoun resents privily his
failure to control the war portfolio. He resolves to attack Major Eaton,
and drive him from the place. As much wanting in chivalry as in a wisdom
of the popular, he decides to assail him through the pretty Peg. It
is the error of Statesman Calhoun's career, which now becomes one
blundering procession of mistakes.

Statesman Calhoun's attack on the pretty Peg begins with hidden
adroitness. There lives in Philadelphia a smug dominie named Ely. On
the merest Calhoun hint in the dark, Dominie Ely--who has a mustard-seed
soul--writes the General a letter, wherein he charges the pretty Peg
with every immorality. Dominie Ely prayerfully protests against the
husband of a woman so morally ebon making one of the General's official
family.

The General is in flames in a moment. His loved and blooming Rachel was
stabbed to death by slander! The pretty Peg was the blooming Rachel's
favorite, in that old day at the Indian Queen! The General possesses
every angry reason for being aroused, and he sends fiercely for smug
Dominie Ely.

The villifying Dominie Ely appears before the General in fear and
trembling--color stricken from his fat cheek. He falteringly confesses
that he has been inspired to his slanders by a Dominie Campbell. The
furious General summons Dominie Campbell, about whom there is a Calhoun
atmosphere of jackal and buzzard in even parts. The General hurls
pointed questions at Dominie Campbell, and catches him in lies.

While the General is putting to flight the two black-coat buzzards
of slander, the war breaks out in a new quarter. The "Ladies of
Washington," compared to whom the Red Stick Creeks at the Horseshoe and
the redcoat English at New Orleans are as children's toys, fall upon
the General's social flank. They hate the pretty Peg because she is
more beautiful than they. They resent her as the daughter of a tavern
keeper--a common tapster!--who is now being lifted to a social eminence
equal with their own. These reasons bring the "Ladies of Washington" to
the field. But with militant sapiency they conceal them, and adopt as
the pretended cause of their onslaught the slanders of those ophidians,
Dominie Ely and Dominie Campbell.

Mrs. Calhoun, wife of Statesman Calhoun, at the head of Capital fashion
and social war-chief of the "Ladies of Washington," says she will not
"recognize" the pretty Peg. Mrs. Ingham, Mrs. Branch, and Mrs. Berrien,
wives of the three Cabineteers who wear in private the colors of
Statesman Calhoun, say they will not "recognize" the pretty Peg. Mrs.
Donelson, wife of the General's private secretary and _ex officio_
"Lady of the White House," says she will not "recognize" the pretty Peg.
The latter drawing-room Red Stick is the General's niece. Also, she is
in fashionable leading strings to Mrs. Calhoun, who as social war-chief
of the "Ladies of Washington" dazzles and benumbs her.

Mrs. Donelson approaches the General concerning the pretty Peg.

"Anything but that, Uncle!" she says. "I am sorry to offend you, but I
cannot 'recognize' Mrs. Eaton."

"Then you'd better go back to Tennessee, my dear!" returns the General,
between puffs at his clay pipe.

Mrs. Donelson and her unwilling spouse go back to Tennessee. The war
against the pretty Peg goes on.

The General's Cabinet is a house divided against itself. Cabineteers
Ingham, Branch, and Berrien align themselves with Statesman Calhoun on
this issue of the pretty Peg. For each has a ring in his nose, a wedding
ring, and his wife leads him about by it socially, hither and yon as
she chooses. Cabineteers Van Buren and Barry range themselves with
Cabineteer Eaton and the pretty Peg.

Cabineteer Van Buren is short, round, fat, smooth, adroit, ambitious,
and so much the mental tree-toad that, now when he is in contact with
the positive General, his every opinion takes its color from that
warrior. Also Cabineteer Van Buren is a widower, with no wife to lead
him socially by the nose. Hat in hand, he calls upon the pretty Peg--a
politeness which pleases the General tremendously.

Cabineteer Van Buren gives dinners, and asks the pretty Peg to perform
as hostess. With a wise eye on the General, he incites Cabineteer Barry,
who is a bachelor, to burst into similar dinners, with the pretty Peg in
command. By his suggestion, Minister Vaughn of the English and Minister
Krudener of the Russians, who like Cabineteer Barry are bachelors,
follow amiable suit. They give legation dinners, at which the pretty
Peg presides. The General adopts these brilliant examples with the White
House. The pretty Peg finds herself in control of such society high
ground as the English and Russian legations, two Cabinet houses besides
her own, and last and most important the White House itself. It is a
merry even if a savage war, and the pretty Peg is everywhere victorious.

Not everywhere! Mrs. Calhoun, as war-chief of the "Ladies of
Washington," with Mrs. Ingham, Mrs. Branch, and Mrs. Berrien about
her as a staff, refuses to yield. These four indomitables and their
beflounced and be-feathered followers, noses uptilted in scorn of the
pretty Peg, prosecute their battle to the acrid end.

In the earlier stages, the General, his angry thoughts on Statesman
Clay, inclines to the belief that these attacks on the pretty Peg are of
that defeated personage's connivance, and says so to Wizard Lewis.

Wizard Lewis, when the General is inaugurated, is for returning to his
Cumberland home, but finds himself restrained by the lonesome General.

"What!" cries the latter, "would you leave me now, after doing more than
all the rest to land me here?"

Upon which reproach, Wizard Lewis remains, and lives in the White House
with the General. It befalls that with the earliest slanders of the
ophidians, Dominie Ely and Dominie Campbell, the General goes to Wizard
Lewis with accusations against Statesman Clay.

"It's that pit-viper, Henry Clay!" cries the General. "Major, the pet
employment of that scoundrel is the vindication of good women!"

Wizard Lewis holds to a different view. He declares that the secret
impulse of this base war is Statesman Calhoun, and proves it as events
unfold.

"And yet," asks the General, "why should he assail little Peg? Both he
and Mrs. Calhoun called upon her and Major Eaton, and congratulated them
on their marriage."

"That was while Major Eaton was a senator," Wizard Lewis responds, "and
before he became War Secretary and got in the way of the Calhoun plans.
Your Vice-President, General, is mad to be President. Also, he is so
blurred in his strategy as to imagine that these attacks on little Peg
will advance his prospects."

The General snorts suspiciously; a light breaks upon him.

"Then your theory is," he says, "that Calhoun assails Peg as a step
toward the presidency."

"Precisely, General! Rightly construed, it is not an attack on Peg, but
you. He is trying to put you before the people in the role of one who
countenances the immoral, and upholds a bad woman. In that he hopes to
array every virtuous fireside against you. He looks for you to ask a
second term; and, by any means in his power, he will strive to destroy
you out of his path."

"Now, was there ever such infamy!" cries the General. "Here is a man so
vile that he would pave his way to the White House with the slain honor
of a woman!"

The hate of the General is now focused upon Statesman Calhoun. That
ignoble strategist, he resolves, shall never achieve the presidency.

As one wherewith to defeat Statesman Calhoun and succeed himself, the
General picks upon Cabineteer Van Buren--that suave one, who is so much
to the urbane fore for the pretty Peg.

"Yes, sir," says the General to Wizard Lewis; "I'll take a second term!
And then, Major, we will make Matt President after me."

"We'll do more," returns Wizard Lewis. "When we elect you President the
second time, we'll shove aside the plotting Calhoun, and make Van Buren
Vice-President."

"Right!" exults the General. "Then, should I die, Matt will at once step
into my shoes."

Neither the General nor Wizard Lewis is at pains to conceal their
design. The sallow cheek of Statesman Calhoun grows sallower; for the
news is like an icicle through his heart. It in no wise abates his war
upon the pretty Peg, however; which--as Wizard Lewis guesses--is only
meant to break down the General with good people.

Vindicated; in all quarters she rises in triumph over Mrs. Calhoun,
Mrs. Ingham, Mrs. Branch, Mrs. Berrien, and what other "society Red
Sticks"--as he terms them--seek her destruction. The next thing is
to shear away the cabinet strength of Statesman Calhoun. Wizard Lewis
recommends a dissolution of the Cabinet. He lays his thought before the
General, who sits listening in the smoke of his long pipe. Cabineteer
Van Buren will resign. Cabi-neteers Eaton and Barry will emulate his
example and turn over their portfolios. With half his Cabinet gone,
should the Calhoun three prove backward, the General shall demand their
portfolios.

"And then?" asks the General, his iron-gray head in a cloud of tobacco
smoke.



CHAPTER XXI--WIZARD LEWIS URGES A CHANGE IN FRONT


WIZARD LEWIS, bending his brows to the situation, now counsels an
extreme step.

"Then you will make Van Buren Minister to England, and give Major Eaton
the governorship of Florida. Little Peg should look well in the palace
at St. Augustine."

"By the Eternal!" cries the General, as he hurls his clay pipe into
the fireplace where hundreds of its brittle predecessors have gone
crashing--"by the Eternal, we'll do it! The last vestige of a Calhoun
cabinet influence shall be wiped out!"

It comes to pass as Wizard Lewis programmes. Cabineteer Van Buren
resigns, and Cabineteers Eaton and Barry hasten to follow his lead. The
three other cabineteers sit dazed; the suddenness of the thing takes
away their cabinet breaths. They sit dazed so long that the General
loses patience and asks for their portfolios. One by one they hand them
in, as it were at the White House door--Cabineteer Ingham being last and
most reluctant of all.

There be tears and mournful wailings now among the society Red Sticks.
Mrs. Ingham, Mrs. Branch, and Mrs. Berrien are shaken in their social
souls, never for one moment having foreseen this movement in disastrous
flank. However, there is no help for it. The deposed three wash off
their social war paint, and go their divers ways lamenting; while the
General and Wizard Lewis grin sourly over their fireside pipes. As for
Statesman Calhoun, his schemes experience a chill; for in thus sending
Cabineteers Ingham, Branch, and Berrien into political exile, the
General drives a knife to the very heart of his selfish diplomacy.

Cabinet wiped out, the General constructs another, with his old-time
friend and comrade Livingston as Secretary of State. Also, the agreeable
Van Buren departs for the Court of St. James as the General's envoy to
England, while Major Eaton and the villified yet victorious Peg wend
southward among the flowers to rule over Florida.

Before he leaves Washington, the ill-used Eaton makes praiseworthy
attempts to fasten a duel upon ex-Cabineteer Ingham, who hires a whole
stage coach and gallops off to Baltimore--the fear of death upon him--to
avoid being sacrificed. The flight of ex-Cabineteer Ingham is a shock to
the General.

"I knew he was a bad, designing man," says the General with a sigh;
"but, upon my soul, Major, I didn't think him a coward!"

Statesman Calhoun, weaker by virtue of that Cabinet lopping off, is
still too narrowly set in his White House ambitions to give up the war.
In this he is much sustained by the Senate, which jealous body pretends
to possess its own causes of complaint. Chief among these is the obvious
manner in which the General promotes the importance of that old
fox, Colonel Burr. The General shows that he cares more for the
appointment-indorsement of Colonel Burr than for the recommendations of
half the Senate. This does not set well on the proud senatorial stomachs
of the togaed ones; and, with Statesman Calhoun to lead them, they are
willing to obstruct and baffle the General in his policies. Moved of
this spirit, and at the instigation of Statesman Calhoun, the Senate
refuses to confirm the appointment of Minister Van Buren--a Burrite--who
thereupon makes his farewell unruffled bow to the great ones at St.
James and returns amiably home.

That Thomas Benton, who was so fortunate as to fall into a receptive
cellar on a certain Nashville occasion when the muzzle of the General's
saw-handle was at his breast, and who is now in the Senate from
Missouri, gives Statesman Calhoun notice of what he may expect:

"You have broken a minister," observes the farsighted Benton--"you have
broken a Minister to make a Vice-President."

While the slander battle against the pretty Peg is raging, a storm
cloud of a different character is gathering over the General. Although
Statesman Clay has no part in that war upon the pretty Peg, he by no
means sits with folded hands in idleness.

[Illustration: 0299]

There is a certain money-creature called the United States Bank. It is
controlled by one Biddle of Philadelphia. Banker Biddle is a glistening,
serpentine personage, oily and avaricious--a polished composite
of assurance, greed, and lies. He is a proven and unscrupulous
corruptionist, and a majority of both Senate and House wait upon his
money-bidding. Under the Biddle influence, the Bank never fails to
consider the mere "name" of a Congressman as perfect collateral for a
loan. Even so incorrigible a bankrupt as the lion-faced Webster is good
at the Biddle Bank for thousands.

Secure in its hold on Congress, and insolent--as Money ever is when it
feels secure--the Biddle Bank thinks to crack a political whip. The main
bank is in Philadelphia. There are twenty-five branch banks scattered
here and there throughout the country. In pursuance of its determination
to dominate politics, the Biddle Bank suddenly refuses loans to the
General's friends. Banker Biddle and the Bank are secretly moved to
these doughty attitudes by Statesman Clay, who, with his party of the
Whigs, has for long been their ally.

Statesman Clay, in possession of the machinery of his party, is resolved
to put his own name forward at the head of the next Whig ticket against
the formidable General. He foresees that Statesman Calhoun--who is of
the General's party of the Democrats--will come to utter grief in his
intrigues to supplant the General and make himself a candidate. And
yet, the blue-grass Machiavelli can use Statesman Calhoun. The latter
is powerful with the Senate. The Senate hates the General as blindly as
does Statesman Calhoun.

Machiavelli Clay resolves to have advantage of this double condition
of hatred. He will beguile the General to attack the Biddle Bank. The
attack can only be made by message to Congress. That should be the
opportunity of Machiavelli Clay. He will have the Senate for the battle
ground; and it shall go hard if he do not emerge with the General
defeated and the Bank and Banker Biddle at his back. With such friends
in the campaign to come later he should have the General and his party
of democracy at his mercy. Thus dreams Machiavelli Clay.

It is a beautiful dream--this long-drawn chicane of Machiavelli Clay. As
a move toward its realization he suggests the policy of a loan hostility
toward the General's friends; for the General will fight almost as
quickly for a friend as for a woman.

Banker Biddle adopts it, and the Bank develops it in Portsmouth. The
paper of one of the General's friends--a Mr. Isaac Hill--is dishonored,
and the General's friendship is understood to be the reason. The thing
is managed like a challenge, and has the instant effect of bringing
the General--ever ready for such a war--to the field. In its invidious
attitude toward his friends, the Bank throws down the glove; and the
General promptly picks it up. In a message to Congress, he assails the
Bank; and the fight is on.

Money is always a coward, and commonly a fool. Also its instinct is the
weak instinct of corruption. Its attitude toward a public is ever that
of the threatening, bullying, bragging terrorist, who will either rule
or ruin. It works by fear, and resorts to every quack device. It will
gnash its jaws, lash its tail, spout fire and smoke in the face of
a quailing world. And yet all this tail-lashing and jaw-gnashing and
fire-spouting is a sham. Money, for all its appearance of ferocity,
is no more perilous to folk who face it than is the fire-spouting,
jaw-gnashing, tail-lashing papier-maché dragon of grand opera. Attack
it, and what follows? A couple of rueful supernumeraries crawl abjectly,
if grumblingly, from its papier-maché stomach--the complete yet harmless
reason of the jaw-gnashing, fire-spouting, tail-lashing from which a
frightened world shrunk back.

Besides these furious matters, Money does another lying thing. It seeks
to teach the public to regard it as the palpitant heart of the country
itself.

"I am the seat of life!" cries Money. "Touch me, and you die!"

The advantage of this lie is clear; that is, if the lie win credit.
Being the heart, however corrupt, no law surgery may reach it. If Money
were the hand of a people, or the fingers on that hand, then it might be
dealt with. It could be statute-lanced or poulticed or even amputated,
and no threat to life ensue. Money foresees this; and, with that lying
cunning which is ever the scoundrel sword and shield of cowards, it
declares itself to be the heart. Thus is it safeguarded against the
honest least correction of communal saw and knife. Being the heart, its
vileness may be deplored but cannot be mended. For who is the mediciner
that shall handle the heart to any result save death?

And yet while Money thus proclaims itself the nation's heart it lies. It
is not even so reputable a member as the hand. At the most it comes to
be no more than just a thumb, or a forefinger, and the farthest possible
remove from any source of life. Folk who would aid their money-throttled
hour must remember these things.

Banker Biddle and the Bank, now when the General advances upon them,
go through that furious charlatanry of jaw-gnashing, tail-lashing, and
fire-spouting. The General is unconvinced, unterrified. His hawk eyes
pierce the miserable masquerade. He knows the Bank for a dragon of paper
and pretense, and does not hesitate.

Failing to arouse his personal-political fear, Banker Biddle and the
Bank attempt to stay the General by proclaiming a peril to the country
at large.

"We are the throbbing heart of all prosperity!" they cry.

The General recognizes the lie. He knows that prosperity comes from the
rain and the sun and the soil, and not from banks or bankers. As well
might the two-bushel sacks declare themselves to be the harvest reason
of a nation's wheat. The General continues his advance. There shall be
no evasion, no hiding, no safety by lies; masks are not to avail nor
pretenses protect.

The General in his attack on Banker Biddle and the Bank displays a
genius even with that which he employed against the English at New
Orleans. Banker Biddle and the Bank are the petted custodians of all the
millions of Government. The General "removes" those millions--a yellow
mountain of gold! Incidentally, he dismisses a weak-kneed Secretary of
the Treasury as a preliminary.

"Remove the deposits!" says the General.

"I dare not!" whines the weak-kneed one.

"I will take the responsibility!" urges the General.

Still the weak-kneed one falters. At that the General sets him aside.

The "removal" of those Government millions, which is as the drawing off
of half their life blood, leaves the Bank and Banker Biddle exceeding
pale in the face. They look appealingly at Statesman Clay, who, the
better to manage his side of the conflict, has taken a Kentucky seat
in the Senate. Statesman Clay encourages the Bank and Banker Biddle. It
will all come right, he says; there is a Senate bomb preparing.

To bring the General squarely before the public as the Bank's destroyer,
Statesman Clay anticipates the years and offers a measure renewing the
charter of that money temple. Statesman Calhoun, with every Senate foe
of the General, is for it. The measure gallops through both Senate and
House. It is sent whirling to the White House.

"Will he sign it?" wonders Statesman Clay, in consultation with his own
thoughts.

For an anxious moment Statesman Clay fears the coming of that signature;
he cannot conceive of courage greater than his own. His anxiety is
misplaced. The General will not sign. When the Clay-constructed measure
renewing the charter of the Bank is laid before him, with about what ado
might attend the killing of a garter snake he breaks its back with his
veto.

Statesman Clay rubs his satisfied hands.

"Now," says he to Banker Biddle, who is becoming a bit weak, "we have
him helpless! That veto is his death warrant! The campaign is at hand;
I shall be the candidate of my party, he of his. That veto shall be the
issue! Money, you know, is all powerful. Being so, who shall doubt the
result when now the public is driven to choose between the Bank and the
White House--Prosperity and Andrew Jackson?"



CHAPTER XII--THE DOWNFALL OF MACHIAVELLI CLAY


MACHIAVELLI CLAY is one who looks seldom from the window and often in
the glass. No man carries himself more upon the back of his own regard
than does Machiavelli Clay. He believes in the wisdom of the classes,
the ignorance of the masses, and thinks that government should be of
people, by statesmen, for statesmen. Also he has a profound respect for
Money, and little for perishing flesh and blood. As to each of these
thought-conditions he lives in head-on collision with the General, who
in all things is his precise contradiction.

As a guide by which the popular view may direct itself, Machiavelli Clay
asks the Senate to pass a vote of censure upon the General. With
the help of Statesman Calhoun, he puts it through. The Clay-invoked
"censure" strikes these sparks from the General:

"Major," he cries, thinking on his saw-handles as he and Wizard Lewis
sit with their evening pipes, "if I live to get these robes of office
off, I may yet bring that rascal to a dear account."

Banker Biddle, now when his precious Bank for its life or death will be
made the campaign issue, is not without those pale misgivings which
ever shake the livid heart of Money on the eve of war. Observing
this knee-knocking trepidation, Machiavelli Clay attempts to give him
courage. This is no difficult task for Machiavelli Clay to undertake;
since, in his native ignorance of the popular, he harbors no doubt of
the General's downfall. Also he extends cheering word the more readily
to the quaking Banker Biddle, because the latter and his jeopardized
Bank are to furnish those golden sinews of war, which will be required
for the Whig campaign.

Machiavelli Clay uplifts the confidence of Banker Biddle to a point
where the latter, from his money lair in Philadelphia, writes him the
following:

"_He (the General) has all the fury of a chained panther biting the bars
of its cage--a condition which I think should contribute to relieve
the country of the tyranny of this miserable man. You, my dear sir, are
destined to be the instrument of that deliverance, and at no period of
your life has the public had a deeper stake in you._"

In so writing to Machiavelli Clay, Banker Biddle permits his hopes
to overrun his intelligence. Machiavelli Clay is not to become "the
deliverer" of his hour, nor shall the "chained panther" in the White
House be cast out. Machiavelli Clay, however, is no Elijah gifted of
prophecy; but, on the wooden-witted other hand, proves quite as besotted
touching the future as does Banker Biddle. He replies to that financier
in these words:

"_Fear not; there shall come a cleansing of the Augean stables! Our
cause cannot fail! That veto of the Bank charter is a broad confession
of the incompetency of the Administration, and shows him (the General)
unfit to carry on the business of government. I think we are authorized
to confidently anticipate his defeat_."

Now when the candidates of the Democratic party are about to be
named, Statesman Calhoun foresees that he himself will be ignored, and
ex-Cabineteer Van Buren supplant him, nominationally, for the place of
Vice-President.

To save his chagrin, and on the principle that when one is about to be
thrown out it is wise to go out, he resigns from his vice-presidential
perch, lays down the Senate gavel, and returns to his home-state
of South Carolina. Once there, following the Kentucky example of
Machiavelli Clay, he sees to it that his own Legislature returns him to
Washington as a Senator.

Statesman Calhoun abandons hope of making his appearance as a White
House candidate in the campaign at hand. What then? He is of middle
years, and can wait. He will lie back and watch the struggle between
the General and Machiavelli Clay. Let victory fall where it may, he,
Statesman Calhoun, will prepare himself for his own sure triumph in the
conflict four years away. Which demonstrates that, while his judgment
is crippled, his ambition stands as tall and as straight as a mountain
pine.

The tickets are brought to the field--the General against Machiavelli
Clay, with ex-Cabineteer Van Buren, and a Whig obscurity named Sargent
running for second place. The issue presents the alternative--the
General or the Bank, humanity in a death-hug with Money.

Machiavelli Clay and Banker Biddle have no fears; for they are
gold-blind and can see nothing beyond themselves. They are given a rude
awakening. The people speak; and when the sound of that speaking dies
out, the General has overwhelmed Machiavelli Clay with two hundred and
nineteen electoral votes against the latter's sixty-nine. Machiavelli
Clay and Banker Biddle and the Bank go down, while the General--ever the
conqueror and never once the conquered--sweeps back to the presidency.
Also ex-Cabineteer Van Buren is made Vice-President, as aforetime
resolved upon by the General and Wizard Lewis, and from that Senate
eminence, so lately vacated by Statesman Calhoun, will wield the gavel
over togaed discussion.

The General, President the second time, picks up the reins, settles
himself upon the box, and proceeds to drive his governmental times after
this wise. He kills out what few sparks of life still animate the Biddle
Bank. He removes the Creeks and Cherokees from Florida and Georgia, and
thereby guarantees the scalp on many an innocent head. He throws open
the public lands for settlement at nominal figures. He fosters a gold
currency and discourages paper.

He pays off the last splinter of the national debt, and offers to the
wondering eyes of history the spectacle of a country that doesn't owe
a dollar. He makes commercial treaties with every tribe of Europe.
Finally, he compels France to pay five millions in gold for outrages
long ago committed upon the sailors of America.

The last is not brought about without some show of force. France, at the
General's demand, falls into a white heat of rage and froths for instant
war. The General takes France at her warlike word, notifies Congress,
and orders his fleet into the Mediterranean, the flagship _Constitution_
in the van.

The cool vigor of the move sets France gasping. She consults England
across the Channel, and is privily assured that whipping a Yankee
eighty-gun ship is a feat so difficult of marine accomplishment that,
like the blossoming of the century plant, it would be foolish to
look for it oftener than once in one hundred years. It is England's
impression, whispered in the Frankish ear, that it will be cheaper to
pay the five millions. Whereupon, France breaks into diplomatic smiles,
assures the General that her late war-rage was mere humor and her froth
a jest. And pays.

By way of a little junket, the General visits New England, and at
the genial sight of him that chill region thaws like icicles in July.
Indeed, the New England temperature rises to a height where Harvard
College confers upon the General the degree of Doctor of Laws. At which
Statesman Adams nurses his wrath with this entry in his sour diary:

"Seminaries of learning have been timeservers and sycophants in every
age."

The General has done his people many a service. He has defended them
from savage Red Stick Creeks, and savage Red-coat English with their war
cry of "Beauty and Booty!" Now he will do his foremost work of all, and
buckler them against the javelins of treason, save them from between the
jaws of a conspiracy--wolfish and widespread for national destruction.

The conspiracy has its birth in the ambition-crazed bosom of Statesman
Calhoun; its shiboleth is "Nullification!"

"I would sooner," said Caesar, when his courtiers were laughing at the
pompous mayor of a little mud town in Spain--"I would sooner be first
here than second in Rome!" And, centuries after, the sentiment wakes a
responsive echo in the jealous breast of Statesman Calhoun.

Statesman Calhoun aims to follow the General in the headship of American
affairs. Defeated of that, he is resolved to sever those constitutional
links which bind his home-state of South Carolina to her sister States
in Federal Union, and declare her a nation by and of herself.

In his new rôle of "seceder," Statesman Calhoun makes this impression
on the English Harriet Martineau. After speaking of him as involving
himself tighter and tighter in spinnings of political mysticism and
fantastic speculation, she calls him a "cast-iron man" and says:

"_He (Calhoun) is eager, absorbed, overspeculative. I know of no one who
lives in such intellectual solitude. He meets men and harangues them by
the fireside as in the Senate. He is wrought like a piece of machinery,
set going vehemently by a weight, and stops while you answer. He either
passes by what you say, or twists it into suitability with what is
in his head, and begins to lecture again. He is full of his
'Nullification,' and those who know the force that is in him and his
utter incapacity for modification by other minds, will no more expect
repose and self-retention from him than from a volcano in full force.
Relaxation is no longer in the power of his will. I never saw anyone who
gave me so completely the idea of 'possession._'"

By which the English woman would say that she thinks Statesman Calhoun
insane. She overstates, however, his "incapacity for modification" and
"self-retention." There will come a day when he does not pause, nor
close his eyes in sleep, between Washington and his home in South
Carolina, such is his fear-spurred eagerness--with the shadow of the
gibbet all across him!--to stamp out what fires of treason he has been
at pains to kindle, and avoid that halter which the General promises as
their reward.

It is in Senate debate that Statesman Calhoun removes the mask from his
intended treason, and gives the world a glimpse of its blackness. He
threatens, unless the tariff be changed to match his pleasure, that
South Carolina will prevent its enforcement within her borders. He
declares South Carolina superior to the nation in her powers, and
proclaims for her the right to "nullify" what Federal laws she deems
inimical to her peculiar interest. He shows how South Carolina will,
as against the tariff contemplated, invoke that inherent right to
"nullify," and says, should the Washington government attempt to coerce
her, she will take herself out of the Union.

To this exposition of States rights, the General in the White House
listens with gathering scorn. He turns to Wizard Lewis:

"Why, sir," he cries, addressing that Merlin of politics, "if one is to
believe Calhoun, the Union is like a bag of meal open at both ends. No
matter how you pick it up, the meal all runs out. I shall tie the bag
and save the country!"

Treason, however base, will have its friends, and Statesman Calhoun goes
not without "Nullification" followers. In his own mischievous State
the doctrine is received with open arms. The Governor issues his
proclamation; a convention of the people is authorized by the
Legislature. They are to meet at Columbia and settle the details of
"Nullification" in its practical workings out. They do meet; and adopt
unanimously an "Ordinance of Nullification" which declares the tariff
just made in Washington "Null, void, and no law, nor binding upon this
State, its officers or citizens." They decree that no duties, enjoined
by such tariff, shall be paid or permitted to be paid in any port of
South Carolina. The closing assertion of the "Ordinance" runs that,
should the Government of the United States try by force to collect
the tariff duties, "The people of South Carolina will thenceforth hold
themselves absolved from all further obligation to maintain or preserve
their political connection with the people of the other States, and will
proceed to organize a separate government, and do all other acts and
things which sovereign and independent States may of right do."

[Illustration: 0321]

Following this doughty setting-out of what one might call the
Palmetto-rattlesnake position, the Governor suggests military
associations on the model of the Minute Men of the Revolution, and makes
ready for what blood-letting shall be required to sustain Statesman
Calhoun in his new preachment. Altogether it is a South Carolina day of
bombast and blue cockades, with Statesman Calhoun already chosen as the
president of a coming "Southern Confederacy." While these dour matters
are in process of Palmetto transaction, Statesman Hayne encounters
the lion-faced Webster on the floor of the Senate, and the latter
establishes forever the rightful supremacy of the Federal Union, and
demonstrates that the "Nullification" set up by Statesman Calhoun is but
the chimera of a jaundiced, ambition-bitten mind. Thus canters the hour
in the Senate and in South Carolina; while up in the White House the
General sits reading a book.



CHAPTER XXIII--THE FEDERAL UNION: IT MUST BE PRESERVED


THE General is reading his book, when in walks Wizard Lewis. The latter
necromancer casually alludes to Statesman Calhoun, and his pet infamy of
"Nullification." At this the General's honest rage begins to mount.

"You bear witness, Major," he cries--"you bear witness how Calhoun
is trying me! But by the living heavens, I'll uphold the law!" Then,
shaking the ponderous tome at Wizard Lewis, his finger marking the
place--"Here! I've been reading what old John Marshall said in the
case of Aaron Burr. He makes treason in its definition as plain as a
pikestaff. A man can't _think_ treason; he can't _talk_ treason; he can
only _act_ treason. It requires an act--an overt act! Calhoun is safe
while he only talks or conspires. But let one of his followers perform
one act of opposition to the law, even if it be no more than hand on
sword hilt or just the snapping of a fireless flint against an empty
rifle-pan, and I have him. There would be the overt act demanded by
old Marshall; and he goes on to say that the overt act, once committed,
attaches to all of the conspirators and becomes the act of each. I
shall keep my ear as well as my eye, Major, on Calhoun's State of South
Carolina; and, at the first crackling of a treasonable twig beneath a
traitorous foot, into a felon's cell goes he. Then we shall see what a
hempen noose will do for him and his 'Nullification.'"

The General, the better to deliver this long oration, gets up and walks
the floor. Having concluded, down he drops into his chair again, and to
grubbing at old John Marshall.

The General and Wizard Lewis decide that a perfect White House silence
concerning "Nullification" is the proper course. The General will sit
mute, and never by so much as the arching of a bushy brow intimate
what he will do, should Statesman Calhoun push his treason to that
last extreme--that overt act of opposition to the Federal law and its
enforcement, demanded by the great Chief Justice. And so, while arises
all this turmoil of treason in the Senate and South Carolina, the White
House is as voiceless as a tomb.

While the General is silent, he is in no sort idle. He makes secret
preparations to bruise the head of the serpent of secession with a heel
of steel. He sends General Scott to South Carolina. Into Castle Pinckney
he conveys thousands of rifles. One by one his warships drop into
Charleston harbor, until, with broadsides trained upon the town, scores
of them ride at ominous anchor.

The General gets word to his ever-reliable Coffee. In those well-nigh
twenty years which have come and gone since the English were swept up in
fire at New Orleans, the hunting-shirt men in the General's country of
Tennessee have increased and multiplied. Their numbers are such that
at the end of twenty days the energetic Coffee stands ready to cataract
twenty-five thousand of them into South Carolina at the lifting of the
General's bony finger, and follow these in forty days with twenty-five
thousand more. Not content with his fifty thousand hunting-shirt men
from Tennessee, the General arranges for an equal force from North
Carolina and Georgia.

If ever a people stood within the shadow of doom it is our
treason-forging ones of South Carolina in these days of Nullification,
Columbia Conventions, Minute Men, and Blue Cockades.

Some of them are not so dim of eye but what they perceive as much, and
begin to catch their breath. Still a wrong, once it be set rolling like
a stone down hill, is difficult to overtake and stop. So, while the
heart of would-be Treason beats a little faster, and its cheek turns a
little whiter, as inklings of what the wordless General is doing begin
to creep about among Palmetto-rattlesnake coteries, the work of making
ready for black revolt proceeds.

In Washington, that grim silence of the White House grows oppressive.
There be prudent ones, among the nullifying adherents of Statesman
Calhoun, who are willing to play the part of traitor if no peril attend
the rôle. They are highly averse to the character if it promise
to thrust their sensitive necks into gallows danger. The questions
everywhere on the whispering lips of these timid treason mongers are:

"What is the Jackson intention? What will the President do? Will he look
upon Nullification as merely some minor sin of politics? Or, will he
treat it as stark treason, and fall back on courts and hangman's ropes?"

No one answers, for no one knows. As for the General himself, his lips
are as dumb as a statue's. Traitors may go wrong, or go right; he will
light no lamp for their guidance. The awful suspense is carrying many
of the treason mongers to the brink of hysteria. Even Statesman Calhoun,
morbid and ambition-mad, is made to pause. He himself begins to wonder
if it would not be as well and as wise to measure in advance those
iron-bound anti-treason lengths to which the General stands ready to go.

To help them in their perplexity, Statesman

Calhoun and his Nullifying followers evolve a cunning scheme. In its
amiable execution, it should lay bare, they think, the purposes of the
General. Statesman Calhoun and his coconspirators have long ago laid
claim to the dead Jefferson as their patron saint of "Nullification,"
asserting that precious tenet to be his invention. They decide to give
a dinner in honor of the departed publicist. The dinner shall take place
on the dead Jefferson's birthday at the Indian Queen. The General shall
come as a guest. Statesman Calhoun and his co-conspirators will be
there. Statesman Calhoun will offer a toast, declaratory of those
superior rights over the Federal government which he asserts in favor of
the separate States. It shall be a Nullification toast, one redolent of
a State's right to secede from the Federal Union.

Statesman Calhoun having launched his fireship of sentiment, the General
will be requested to give a toast. Should he comply, it is believed
by Statesman Calhoun and his co-conspirators that he will in partial
measure at least unlock his plans. If he refuse--why then, under the
circumstances, his refusal will be pregnant of meaning. In either event,
he will be beneath the batteries of five hundred eyes, and much should
be read in his face.

That Jefferson dinner is an admirable device, one adapted to draw the
General's fire. Its authors go about felicitating themselves upon their
sagacity in evolving it.

"What say you, Major?" asks the General, when he receives the invitation
upon which so much of national good or ill may pend; "what say you?
Shall we humor them? You know what these Calhoun traitors are after."

"True!" responds Wizard Lewis; "they want to count us, and measure us,
in that business of their proposed treason."

"I'll tell you what I think," says the General, after a pause. "I'll
fail to attend; but you shall go, and be counted in my stead. Also,
since they'll expect a toast from me, I'll send them one in your care.
I hope they may find it to their villain liking--they and their
archtraitor Calhoun!"

The Indian Queen is a crowded hostelry that Jefferson night. The halls
and waiting rooms are thronged of eminent folk. Some are there to attend
the dinner; others for gossip and to hear the news. As Wizard Lewis
climbs the stairs to the banquet room on the second floor, he encounters
the lion-faced Webster coming down.

"There's too much secession in the air for me," says the lion-faced one,
shrugging his heavy shoulders.

"If that be so," returns Wizard Lewis, "it's a reason for remaining."

Wizard Lewis mingles with the groups in the corridors and parlors,
for the banquet hall is not yet thrown open. Among these, he nods his
recognition of Colonel Johnson, of Kentucky, tall of form, grave of
brow, he who slew Tecumseh; Senator Benton, once of that safe receptive
cellar; the lean Rufus Choate, eaten of Federalism and the worship of
caste; Tom Corwin, round, humorous, with a face of ruddy fun; Isaac
Hill, gray and lame, the General's Senate friend from New Hampshire
whose insulted credit started the war on Banker Biddle's bank; Editor
Noah, of New York, as Hebraic and as red of head as Absalom; the
quick-eyed Amos Kendall; Editor Blair, who conducts the _Globe_, the
General's mouthpiece in Washington; the reckless Marcy, who declares
that he sees "no harm in the aphorism that 'to the victor belong the
spoils of the enemy.'"

The dinner is spread. The decorations are studied in their democracy.
Hundreds of candles in many-armed iron branches blaze and gutter about
the great room. The high ceilings and the walls are festooned of flags.
The stars and stripes are draped over a portrait of the dead Jefferson.
Here and there are hung the flags of the several States. With peculiar
ostentation, and as though for challenge, next to the national colors
flows the Palmetto-rattlesnake flag of South Carolina--Statesman
Calhoun's emblem.

The dinner is profuse, and folk of appetite and fineness declare it
elegant. There is none of your long-drawn courses, so dear to Whigs and
Federalists. Black servants come and go, to shift plates and knives,
and carve at the call of a guest. At hopeful intervals along the tables
repose huge sirloins, and steaming rounds of beef. There are quail pies;
chickens fried and turkeys roasted; pies of venison and rabbits, and
pot pies of squirrels; soups and fishes and vegetables; boiled hams, and
giant dishes of earthenware holding baked beans; roast suckling pigs,
each with a crab-apple in his jaws; corn breads and flour breads, and
pancakes rolled with jellies; puddings--Indian, rice, and plum; mammoth
quaking custards. Everywhere bristle ranks and double ranks of bottles
and decanters; a widest range of drinks, from whisky to wine of the
Cape, is at everybody's elbow. Also on side tables stand wooden bowls
of salads, supported by weighty cheeses; and, to close in the flanks,
pies--mince, pumpkin, and apple; with final coffee and slim, long pipes
of clay in which to smoke tobacco of Trinidad.

As the guests seat themselves, Chairman Lee proposes:

"The memory of Thomas Jefferson."

The toast is drunk in silence. Then, with clatter of knife and fork,
clink of glasses, and hum of conversation, the feast begins.

The General's absence is a daunting surprise to many who do not know
how to construe it. Wizard Lewis, through Chairman Lee, presents
the General's regrets. He expected to be present, but is unavoidably
detained at the White House. The "regrets" are received uneasily; the
General's absence plainly gives concern to more than one.

As the dinner marches forward, "Nullification" and secession are much
and loudly talked. They become so openly the burden of conversation and
are withal so loosely in the common air, that sundry gentlemen--more
timorous than loyal perhaps--make pointless excuses, and withdraw.

Statesman Calhoun sits on the right hand of Chairman Lee. The festival
approaches the glass and bottle stage, and toasts are offered. There are
a round score of these; each smells of secession and State's rights.
The speeches which follow are even more malodorous of treason than the
toasts.

The hour is hurrying toward the late. Statesman Calhoun whispers a word
to Chairman Lee; evidently the urgent moment is at hand.

Statesman Calhoun hands a slip of paper to Chairman Lee. There falls a
stillness; laughter dies and talk is hushed.

Chairman Lee rises to his feet. He pays Statesman Calhoun many flowery
compliments.

"The distinguished statesman from South Carolina," says Chairman Lee in
conclusion, "begs to propose this sentiment." He reads from the slip:
"'The Federal Union! Next to our liberty, the most dear! May we all
remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the
States, and distributing equally the burdens and the benefits of that
Union!'"

The stillness of death continues--marked and profound; for, as Chairman
Lee resumes his seat, Wizard Lewis rises. All know his relations with
the General; every eye is on him with a look of interrogation. Now when
the Calhoun toast has been read, they scan the face of Wizard Lewis,
representative of the absent General, to note the effect of the shot.
Wizard Lewis is admirable, and notably steady.

"The President," says Wizard Lewis, "when he sent his regrets, sent also
a sentiment."

Wizard Lewis passes a folded paper to Chairman Lee, who opens it and
reads:

"'The Federal Union! It must be preserved!"'

The words fall clear as a bell--for some, perhaps, a bell of warning.
Statesman Calhoun's face is high and insolent. But only for a moment.
Then his glance falls; his brow becomes pallid, and breaks into a
pin-point sprinkle of sweat. He seems to shrink and sear and wither,
as though given some fleeting picture of the future, and the gallows
prophecy thereof. In the end he sits as though in a kind of blackness
of despair. The General is not there, but his words are there, and
Statesman Calhoun is not wanting of an impression of the terrible
meaning, personal to himself, which underlies them.

It is a moment ominous and mighty--a moment when a plot to stampede
history is foiled by a sentiment, and Treason's heart and Treason's
hand are palsied by a toast of seven words. And while Statesman Calhoun,
white and frightened and broken, is helpless in the midst of his
followers, the General sits alone and thoughtful with his quiet White
House pipe.

For all the plain sureness of that toast, the would-be rebellionists now
crave a surer sign. A member of Congress from South Carolina, polite and
insinuating, calls on the General.

"Mr. President," says the insinuating signseeking one, suavely
deferential, "to-morrow I go back to my home. Have you any message for
the good folk of South Carolina?"

"Yes," returns the General grimly, his hard blue eyes upon the
insinuating one, while his heavy brows are lowered in that falcon-trick
of menace--"yes; I have a message for the 'good folk of South Carolina.'
You may say to the 'good folk of South Carolina' that if one of them so
much as lift finger in defiance of the laws of this government, I shall
come down there. And I'll hang the first man I lay hands on, to the
first tree I can reach."



CHAPTER XXIV--THE ROUT OF TREASON


DEMOCRACY goes not without its defects, and there be times when that
very freedom wherewith it invests the citizen spreads a snare to his
feet. For a chief fault, Democracy is apt to mislead ambitious ones,
dominated of ego and a want of patriotism in even parts. Such are prone
to run liberty into license in following forth the appetites of their
own selfishness, and forget where the frontiers of loyalty leave off and
those of black treason begin.

In a democracy, for your clambering narrowist to turn traitor is never
a far-fetched task. Being free to speak as he politically will and, per
incident, think as he politically will, he finds it no mighty journey to
the perilous assumption that he may act as he politically will. Knowing
his duty to guard the temple, he argues therefrom his right to deface
it. Treason fades into a mere abstraction--a crime curious in this, that
it is impossible of concrete commission.

Statesman Calhoun is among these ill-guided ones of topsy-turvy
patriotism. Blurred by ambition, soured of disappointment, license and
liberty have grown with him to be unconscious synonyms. The laws against
treason carry only a remonstrance, never a warning, and--as he reads
them--but deplore that civic villainy, while threatening nothing of
grief for what dark souls shall be guilty of it. In this frame the
General's stark sentiment, "The Federal Union! It must be preserved!"
and that subsequent hanging promise which, by the mouth of the suave
insinuating one, he sends to "the good folk of South Carolina," go
beyond surprise with Statesman Calhoun, and provide a shock. It is as
though, walking in a trance of treason, he knocks his head against the
White House wall; his awakening is rudely, painfully complete. That
dream of a separate nation, with himself at its head, gives way to
hangman visions of rope and gallows tree; and, from bending his energies
to methods by which he may take South Carolina out of the Union, he
gives himself wholly to the more tremulous enterprise of keeping himself
out of jail.

Some hint of that recent literature, which the General found so
interesting, gets abroad, and many go reading the lucid dictum of
old Marshall. Treason as a crime becomes better understood; and--by
Statesman Calhoun at least--better feared. Moved of these fears,
Statesman Calhoun sends message after message into his restless
Palmetto-rattlesnake State of South Carolina commanding, nay imploring,
a present suspension of "Nullification." His Palmetto-rattlesnake
adherents, while not understanding the danger which fringes them about,
have already found enough that is alarming in the very air; and, for
their own safety as much as his, are heedful to regard that prayer for
a "Nullification" passivity. The South Carolina shouting ceases; the
Minute Men rest on their traitorous arms; the manufacture of blue
cockades is abandoned; while the Columbia convention devotes itself to
innocuous adjournments from innocent day to day.

While Palmetto-rattlesnake affairs are thus timidly quiescent, the
Senate itself--having read old Marshall, and being, moreover, somewhat
instructed by the watchful attitude of the General, who sits in
the White House a figure of frowning menace, both relentless and
fateful--devotes itself to the scaffold extrication of Statesman
Calhoun. Machiavelli Clay leads the rescue party. His is of an opposite
political church to that of Statesman Calhoun; but the pair meet on
the warm, common ground of a deathless hatred of the General. Under
the mollifying guidance of Machiavelli Clay, Senator after Senator
surrenders those pet schedules of tariff desired of his own people,
and puts the surrender on the expressive basis of "saving the neck of
Calhoun."

When every possible tariff cut has been arranged, and Congress adjourns,
Statesman Calhoun makes his memorable homeward flight. Horse after horse
he rides down, night becomes as day; for Death crouches on his crupper,
and he must stay the Nullifying hand of South Carolina to save his own
neck. He succeeds beyond his deserts, and comes powdering into Columbia,
worn and wan and anxious, yet none the less ahead of that "overt act"
whereof old Marshall spoke, and for which the somber General waits.

Once among his own treason-hatching coterie, Statesman Calhoun loses no
moments, but breaks up the "Nullification" nest. Secession dies in
the shell, and the Columbia convention, with more speed even than it
displayed in passing it, repeals that "Ordinance of Nullification."
Thereupon Statesman Calhoun draws his breath more freely, as one who has
been grazed by the sinister fangs of Fate; while the inveterate General
heaves a sigh of regret.

Wizard Lewis overhears the sigh, and questions it. At this the General
explains his disappointment.

"It would have been better," says he, "had we shed a little blood.
This is not the end, Major; the serpent of treason is only bruised,
not slain. Had Calhoun run his course, a handful of hundreds might have
died. As affairs stand, however, the country must one day wade knee-deep
in blood to save itself. These men are not honest. Their true purpose is
the downfall of the Union. Their present pretext is tariff; next time it
will be slavery."

By way of bringing the iniquity of "Nullification" before the people,
together with his views concerning it, the General seizes his big iron
pen, and scratches off a proclamation.

"I consider," says he, "the power to annul a law of the United States,
assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union,
contradicted expressly by the Constitution, unauthorized by either its
letter or its spirit, inconsistent with every principle upon which
it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was
formed."

The country, reading the General's exposition of the Union and its
Gibraltar-like character, breaks into bonfires, oratory, dinners,
barbecues, parades, and what other schemes of jubilation are practiced
by a free people. That is to say the country breaks into these sundry
jubilant things, if one except the truant State of South Carolina. In
that Palmetto-rattlesnake-ridden commonwealth there prevails a sulky
silence. No bonfires blaze, no barbecues scorch, no dinners smoke, no
parades march. Baffled in its would-be treasons, afraid to stretch forth
its nullifying hand lest the sword of retribution strike it off at the
wrist, it comports itself like a spoiled child thwarted, and upholds
its little dignity with a pout. No one heeds, however; and, beyond an
occasional baleful glance from the General, the rest of the world leaves
it to recover from that pout in its own time and way.

When Congress reconvenes, Statesman Calhoun creeps back to his Senate
place. But the perils through which he has passed have left their
furrowing traces, and now he offers nothing, says nothing, does nothing.
His heart is water; his evil potentialities have oozed away. Haunted of
that hangman fear which still hag-rides him, he abides mute, motionless,
impotent, like some Satan in chains.

To further wound Statesman Calhoun, and in the mean, protesting teeth
of Machiavelli Clay, the Senate expunges from its record the vote of
censure it once passed upon the General. The resolution to expunge is
offered by Senator Benton who, as against a far-off Nashville hour
when only a generous cellar saved him from the General's saw-handle, is
to-day the latter's partisan and friend. The General is hugely pleased
by the censure-expunging resolution, and has what Senate ones supported
it--being fairly the whole Senate, when one forgets Machiavelli Clay,
and our chained, embittered Satan, Statesman Calhoun--to a grand dinner
in the East Room.

And now the official times wag prosperously with the General. His
friends are everywhere dominant, his enemies everywhere in retreat. Also
his hair, from iron gray, fades to milk-white.

Since nothing peculiar presses upon him in the way of opposition, the
General falls ill. He makes little of this, however; and cures himself
with tobacco, coffee, calomel, and lancets, while outraged doctors
groan. Likewise, he burns midnight oil in planning with Wizard Lewis the
elevation of Vice-President Van Buren, who he is resolved shall have the
presidency after him.

While thus the General lays his Van Buren plans, misguided admirers
bombard him with such marks of their regard as a phaëton built of
unbarked hickory, and a cheese weighing fourteen hundred pounds. The
latter sturdy confection is trundled into the White House kitchen, from
which coign of vantage it sends on high a perfume so utterly urgent
that none may stay in the White House until it is removed. Following
its going, the executive windows are thrown open throughout a wind-swept
afternoon, to the end that the last suffocating reminder of that cheese
shall be eliminated.

The General's hours as President are drawing to a close. His hopes
touching a successor carry through triumphantly, and Vice-President Van
Buren is selected to follow him. Neither Machiavelli Clay for the Whigs,
nor Statesman Calhoun among the Democrats, has the courage to offer his
own name to the people.

[Illustration: 0353]

Statesman Calhoun, aiming to subtract as much as he may from the
fortunes of nominee Van Buren, produces a bolting ticket, headed by one
Mangum; and, for Mangum, Palmetto-rattlesnake South Carolina--still in
a tearful pout--wastes its lonely arrow in the air. It was, it will be,
ever thus with South Carolina, who might do herself a good, and come to
some true notion of her own peevish inconsequence, if she would but take
a long, hard look in the glass. She is as one who attends the fairs, but
so over-esteems herself as to defeat every bargain she might make. Her
best chances are cast away, a cheap sacrifice to vanity, since no one
will either buy her or sell her at the figure she sets on herself. Thus,
too, will it continue. Her frayed prospects, already behind a fashion,
are to wax more shopworn and more threadbare as the years unfold.

Nominee Van Buren is elected to succeed the General in the White House,
and every friend of the latter votes for the little polite man of
Kinderhook. The General is delighted, since the elevation of nominee Van
Buren provides for a continuation of his darling policies.

Wizard Lewis is delighted, because the new situation permits the return
of himself and his beloved General to their homes by the Cumberland.
Nor does it detract from the satisfaction of either that, with the
presidential coming of the Kinderhook one, the final door of political
hope is barred fast in the faces of Machiavelli Clay and Statesman
Calhoun; for both the General and Wizard Lewis hate these two as though
that hatred were a religious rite.

At last dawns President Van Buren's inauguration morning, and the
General stands for the last time before a people whose good and whose
honor he has so jealously guarded. Of this farewell appearance, poet
Willis writes:

"_The air was elastic; the day bright and still. More than twenty
thousand people had assembled. The procession, the General and Mr. Van
Buren riding uncovered, arrived a little after noon. Their carriage,
drawn by four grays, paused. Descending from it at the foot of the
steps, a passage was made through the crowd, and the tall white head of
the old chieftain went steadily up. The crowd of diplomats and senators
to the rear gave way. A murmur of feeling rose up from the moving mass
below, as the infirm old General, coming as he had from a sick chamber
which his physicians had thought it impossible he should leave, stood
bowed before the people_."

In his address the General touches many things. He closes by saying: "My
own race is nearly run. Advanced age and failing health warn me that I
must soon pass beyond the reach of human events. I thank God my life has
been spent in a land of liberty, and that He gave me a heart wherewith
to love my country. Filled with gratitude, I bid you farewell."



CHAPTER XXV--THE GRAVE AT THE GARDEN'S FOOT


THE General wends his slow way homeward, and is two months about the
journey. His progress, broken by many stops, is like both a triumph
and a funeral; for double ranks of worshipers line the route and sob or
cheer as he passes. The harsh horse-face is seamed of care and worn by
sickness; but the slim form is still erect and lance-like, and the blue
eyes gleam as hawkishly dangerous as when, behind his low mud walls with
the faithful Coffee and his hunting-shirt men, he broke down England's
pride at New Orleans. Everywhere the people press about him; for
republics are not ungrateful, and for once in a way of politics it is
the setting, not the rising sun upon which all eyes are centered. In
the end he reaches home, and his country of the Cumberland, as on many a
former day, opens its arms to receive him.

And now the General, for all his sickness and his well-nigh threescore
years and ten, must bend himself to his labors as a planter; for he has
come back very poor. He has his acres and his slaves; but debts have
piled themselves high, and the tooth of decay can do a devastating deal
in eight years.

The General goes to work as though life is just begun. The fences are
renewed, the buildings repaired, while the plow breaks fresh furrows in
fields that have lain fallow too long. To finance his plans, he borrows
ten thousand dollars from Editor Blair. Later, by a huddle of months,
Congress repays him that one-thousand-dollar fine, of which a quarter
of a century before he was mulcted in New Orleans. This latter, interest
swollen, is twenty-seven hundred dollars--a sum not treated lightly in
this hour of his narrowed fortunes!

All goes prosperously. The generous soil, as though for welcome to the
General, grants such crops of cotton that the wondering Cumberland folk,
as once they did aforetime, come miles to view his fields. When not
busy with his planting, the General is immersed in politics. Each day he
rides down to Wizard Lewis four miles below; or Wizard Lewis rides those
four miles up to the Hermitage. Being together, the pair, over pipe and
moderate glass, sagely consider the state of the nation.

Down by the General's gate is a large-stomached mail box. Each morning
finds it stuffed to suffocation with sheaves of letters and papers
tied in bundles. Also there are shoals and shoals of visitors. For the
General's home is a Mecca of politics, to which pilgrims of party turn
their steps by ones and twos and tens. Some come to do the stark old
General honor; some are one-time comrades, or friends who rose up around
him on fields of party war. For the most, however, and because humanity
is selfish before it is either just or generous, the visitors are
office-seeking folk, who ask the magic of the General's signature to
their appeals.

These selfish ones become, in their vermin number and persistency, a
very plague. They wring from the suffering General the following:

"The good book, Major," says he to Wizard Lewis, "tells us that at the
beginning there were in Eden a man, a woman, and an office seeker who
had been kicked out of heaven for preaching 'Nullification' I To judge
of the visiting procession, as it streams in and out of my front gate,
I should say that the latter in his descendants has increased and
multiplied far beyond the other two."

The French king forgets and forgives those grievous five millions, and
dispatches an artist of celebration to paint the General's portrait. The
artist finds the latter of a mind to humor the French king. The portrait
is painted--a striking likeness!--and the gratified artist carries it
victoriously across seas to his royal master.

[Illustration: 0365]

The General becomes concerned in keeping England from stealing Oregon,
and writes letters to the Government at Washington in protest against
it.

"Oregon or war!" is his counsel.

Just as deeply does he involve himself for the admission of Texas into
the Union, declaring that of right the nation's boundary should be, and,
save for the criminal carelessness of Statesman Adams on the occasion
of the last treaty with Spain--made in a Monroe hour--would be, the
Rio Grande. Statesman Adams, now in his icy old age, makes a speech in
Boston and denies this; whereat the General retorts in an open letter
that Statesman Adams is "a monarchist in disguise," a "traitor," a
"falsifier," and his "entire address full of statements at war with
truth, and sentiments hostile to every dictate of patriotism."

Machiavelli Clay foolishly invades the Cumberland country on a broad
mission of personal politics, and he like Statesman Adams makes a
speech. Machiavelli Clay, however, does not talk of Oregon, or Texas, or
what shall be the nation's foreign policy, whether timid or warlike.
His is wholly and solely a party oration, and in it he pays left-handed
tribute to Aaron Burr, dead a decade. Machiavelli Clay escapes no better
with his offensive eloquence than does Statesman Adams. The perilous old
General from his Hermitage is instantly out upon him with another open
letter, of which the closing paragraph says:

"_How contemptible does this lying demagogue appear, when he descends
from his high place in the Senate, and roams over the country retailing
slanders against the dead_."

The General is much refreshed by these outbursts, and, in that
contentment of soul which follows, resolves to join the church. Long ago
he promised the blooming Rachel, fast asleep at the foot of the garden,
that once he be free from the muddy yoke of politics he will accept
religion, and now he keeps his word. He unites himself with the
congregation which worships in that little chapel, aforetime built for
the blooming Rachel, and, upon his coming into the fold, there arises
vast rejoicing throughout the ardent length and breadth of Cumberland
Presbyterianism.

The pastor, Dominie Edgar, calls often at the Hermitage; for he feels
that the General may require some special spiritual grooming. One day he
observes that convert's saw-handles, oiled and neat and ready for blood,
on a mantel, prayerfully crossed beneath a portrait of the blooming
Rachel. The good dominie is shocked, but does not show it. He picks up
one of the saw-handles.

"This has seen service, doubtless," he remarks tentatively.

"Ay!" responds the General grimly; "it has seen good service."

Dominie Edgar puts the saw-handle back in place, and his curiosity
pushes no farther afield. He rightly conjectures it to be the weapon
which cut down the slanderous Dickinson, and mentally holds that it will
more advantage the soul of his convert to touch as scantily as may be
upon topics so ferocious. Shifting his ground, Dominie Edgar asks:

"General, do you forgive your enemies?"

"Parson," says the convert, "I forgive _my_ enemies, and welcome. But I
shall never"--here he points up at the portrait of the blooming Rachel,
which seems to lovingly follow his every motion with its painted patient
eyes--"I shall never forgive _her_ enemies. My feud shall follow them,
and the memory of them, to the end of time."

Dominie Edgar sits down with his convert to show him the error of his
obdurate ways. He lectures cogently. It is to be feared, however, that
his doctrinal seed of forgiveness falls upon hard, intractable ground;
for, while the convert says never a word, the lecture serves but to
light again in those blue eyes what lamps of hateful battle burned there
on a certain fierce May morning in that popular Kentucky wood.

The long days come and go, and the General lives on in fortune,
peace, and honor. Then the end draws down; for the General has run his
threescore years and ten, and well-nigh ten years more. Wizard Lewis
sits by his bedside, and never leaves him.

"I want to go, Major," murmurs the General to Wizard Lewis; "for she is
over there." He raises his eyes to the portrait of the blooming Rachel,
and looks upon it long and lovingly. "Major!"--Wizard Lewis presses
the thin hand--"see that they make my grave by her side at the garden's
foot!"

The General drifts into a stupor, Wizard Lewis holding fast his hand.
The good dominie Edgar is on his knees at prayer. From the porch outside
the sick room are heard the sobs and moans of the mourning blacks.

Wizard Lewis attempts to recall the dying General.

"What would you have done with Calhoun," he asks, "had he persisted in
his 'Nullification' designs?"

The blue eyes rouse, and sparkle and glance with old-time fire.

"What would I have done with Calhoun?" repeats the General, his voice
renewed and strong; "Hanged him, sir!--hanged him as high as Haman! He
should have been a warning to traitors for all time!"

The sparkle subsides; the blue eyes close again in the dullness of
coming death. Wizard Lewis holds the poor thin hand, while Dominie Edgar
prays on to the accompaniment of the sobbing and the moaning of the
sorrowing blacks.

The prayer ends; the good dominie rises to his feet.

"Do you know me, General?" he whispers. The dim eyes are lifted to those
of Dominie Edgar. The latter goes on: "The love of the Lord is infinite!
In it you shall find heaven!"

The General turns with looks of love to the portrait of the blooming
Rachel.

"Parson," says he, "I must meet her there, or it will be no heaven for
me."

The General's head droops heavily forward. Dominie Edgar falls upon his
knees, and the voice of his praying goes upward with the moaning and
the sobbing of the slaves. Wizard Lewis places his hand on the General's
breast. He sighs, and shakes his head. That mighty heart, all love, all
iron, is still.


THE END





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