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Title: The victory

Author: Molly Elliot Seawell

Illustrator: John Wolcott Adams

Release date: February 11, 2024 [eBook #72927]

Language: English

Original publication: New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1906

Credits: D A Alexander, David E. Brown, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)



Took her little hand in his and raised it to his lips

“Took her little hand in his and raised it to his lips.”

[Page 43]

title page


Author of
“The Sprightly Romance of Marsac,”
“The Chateau of Montplasir,” etc.

publisher's logo


Copyright, 1906, by

Published October, 1906

To the Dear Memory of


I.Harrowby 1
II.Angela 21
III.The Point of Honor 39
IV.Love is a Mist 57
V.The Hour of Fate 74
VI.The Quaking of the Earth 88
VII.The Parting 102
VIII.The Meeting 117
IX.Spartans All! 132
X.The Arrival of the Strangers 155
XI.How the Days went on at Harrowby 173
XII.The Iron Hand of War and Circumstance     188
XIII.Warp and Woof 210
XIV.Snowbound 232
XV.The Hegira 248
XVI.The Tongue of Calumny 264
XVII.Like the Little Trianon 282
XVIII.The Visitations of War 295
XIX.“I can’t get out!” said the Starling 309
XX.A Soldier’s Errand 327
XXI.Dust and Ashes 349
XXII.Love and Life 367
XXIII.The Aftermath 398


“Took her little hand in his and raised it to his lips” Frontispiece
“And so Angela Vaughn became Neville Tremaine’s wife” 114
“He lay watching Angela with her quick-changing expression” 236
“‘Missis, I done brought Marse Richard back to you’” 350




BRIGHT was the Christmas of 1860 at the old manor house of Harrowby in lowland Virginia. It lay upon the broad, bright river which ran laughing into the arms of the great bay, and from there bay and river rushed together to the windy floors of the wide Atlantic. Nearly two hundred years before, the first Tremaine, a discontented gentleman, who found life very uncomfortable in England after Monmouth’s rebellion, had made the beginning of the Harrowby mansion. It was built quite flat to the ground, with the low ceilings and steep, narrow stairs of the seventeenth-century country house.

This first Harrowby house, with a room clapped on here and there, as each successive inheritor fancied, answered well enough for the Tremaines until the end of the eighteenth century. Then Mr. Jefferson having brought back with him from France some noble architectural conceptions, these became embodied in many Virginia country houses, including Harrowby. There, a new and commodious house was built, with a vast entrance hall, lofty ceilings, spacious rooms, and wide[2] staircases. It was connected by a narrow corridor with the original house, and although frankly swearing at the first incumbent of the ground, yet conformed to it enough to make the whole both picturesque and comfortable. The modern part of the house was reserved for the master and mistress, for guests, and for those Virginia dinner parties which lasted from noon until midnight, the Virginia balls where the dancers’ feet beat the floor from the first rising of the stars until the rosy dawn, and the Virginia weddings which took three weeks’ frolicking to carry through in style. There were always sons in the Tremaine family, and these sons required tutors and dogs, so that the old part of the house, with its shabby Colonial furniture, was always in possession of men and boys and dogs. The newer part, with its furniture all curves, its Empire mirrors, its elaborate cornices, and decorative fireplaces, was reserved for more ceremonious uses.

The house sat upon a great, smooth lawn, which sloped down to the river, now a dull, steel blue in the red and waning Christmas eve. A short, rude wharf lay a little way in the river, which softly lapped the wooden piles. A little distance from the house, to the left, lay a spacious, old, brick-walled garden, now all russet brown and gold and purple in ragged splendor like a beggar princess. Great bare clumps of crape-myrtle and syringas and ancient rose trees bordered the wide walk which led from the rusty iron garden gate down to the end of the garden. Here a long line of gnarled and twisted lilac bushes clung to the brick wall; lilacs and crumbling wall had held each other in[3] a strong embrace for more than a hundred years. Outside the garden, the wide lawn was encircled by what had once been a shapely yew hedge, which had grown into a ragged rampart of ancient trees, black and squat and melancholy as yew trees always grow. A great gap in this hedge opened upon a long, straight lane leading to the highroad and beyond that lay the primeval woods. On each side of the lane were cedar trees which had once stood young and straight like soldiers, but were now, as the yew trees, old and bent like a line of veterans tottering in broken ranks.

Under the somber branches of the yew hedge was a walk of cracked flagstones, known, since Harrowby was first built, as the “Ladies’ Walk.” For when the paths and lanes about the place were too wet for the dainty feet of ladies, this flagged path was their exercise ground. The negroes, of course, peopled it with the dead and gone ladies of Harrowby, who generally took, upon those broken stones, their last walk upon earth, and who found it haunted, not by the ghosts of their predecessors but by the joys, the griefs, the hopes, the fears, the perplexities, the loves, and the hates which had walked with them there, in cool summer eves, in red autumn afternoons, in bitter winter twilights, and in the soft and dewy mornings of the springtime.

Far off in the open field beyond the garden lay the family burying ground, where, according to the Virginia custom, the dead were laid near the homestead instead of the church. The brick wall around the burying ground was decaying, and the tombstones, never[4] properly set up, were beaten all manner of ways by storm and wind, and trained into strange positions by the soft insistence of the roots of huge weeping willows, those melancholy trees which give a touch of poetic beauty to the most commonplace landscape. Yet the aspect of Harrowby was usually far from melancholy. On the other side of the house from the garden, still farther off, were the negro quarters, slovenly but comfortable, and the stables, which were partly hidden by the straggling yew hedge that extended all around the lawn. In these quarters were housed the two hundred negroes on the plantation, and as twenty-five of them were occupied about the house and garden and stables there was always life and movement around the place.

Especially was this true at Christmas time, and on the Christmas eve of 1860, never was there more merriment, gayety, color, and loud laughter known at Harrowby. Lyddon, the English tutor there for ten years was struck by this, when returning from his afternoon’s tramp through the wintry woods, he passed across the lawn to the house. The air was sharp, like a saber, and the stars were already shining gloriously in the deep blue field of heaven. He watched a half dozen negro men who, with guttural laughter and shouts and merry gibes, carried into the house the great back log for the Christmas fire. From the time that this back log was placed upon the iron fire dogs of the yawning hall fireplace until it was entirely consumed, the negroes had holiday. According to the privileged practical joke of long custom, the log was of black gum, a wood hard to burn at any time. It had lain soaking for weeks in the[5] inky mud of the salt marsh on the inward bend of the river, where the cows stood knee-deep in water at high tide, and hoof-deep in black ooze at low tide. The union of marsh mud and black gum was certain to insure at least a week’s holiday, when no work was required of the negroes, except the waiting on the house full of guests which always made the roof of Harrowby ring during the Christmas time. Great pyramids of wood towered at the woodpile to the left of the house, where the joyous sound of the ax was heard for a week before Christmas, that there should be oak and hickory logs to feed the great fireplaces, and lightwood knots to make the ruddy flames leap high into the wide-throated chimneys.

Lyddon, a gaunt, brown, keen-eyed man, who had watched this backlog business with great interest for ten successive Christmases, studied it anew as a type of the singular and unpractical relations existing between the master and the slave. All of these relations were singular and unpractical, and were a perpetual puzzle to Lyddon. One of the strangest things to him was that the word slave was absolutely tabooed and all sorts of euphemisms were used, such as “the servants,” “the black people,” in order to avoid this uncomely word.

Another typical puzzle was taking place on the side porch. There stood Hector, Colonel Tremaine’s body servant, and general factotum of Harrowby, engaged in his usual occupation of inciting the other negroes to work, while carefully abstaining therefrom himself. He was tall, and had by far the most imposing air and[6] manner of any person at Harrowby. Having accompanied his master several times to the White Sulphur Springs, to say nothing of two trips to Richmond and one to Baltimore, where he saw a panorama of the city of New York; and most wonderful of all, having attended Colonel Tremaine through a campaign in the Mexican War, Hector held a position of undisputed superiority among all the negroes in five counties. He classified himself as a perfect man of the world, a profound expounder of the Gospels, an accomplished soldier, and military critic.

As regards Hector’s heroic services during the Mexican War, he represented that he was always at General Scott’s right hand except when his presence was imperatively demanded by General Zachary Taylor. According to Hector’s further account he led the stormers at Chapultepec, supported Jefferson Davis when he made his celebrated stand at Buena Vista, and handed the sword of General Santa Anna to General Scott when the former surrendered. Colonel Tremaine, on the contrary, declared that Hector never got within five miles of the firing line during the Mexican War, and that whenever there was the remotest sign of an attack, Hector always took refuge under the nearest pile of camp furniture and had to be dragged out by the heels when the danger was overpast. He modeled his toilet upon Colonel Tremaine’s, whose cast-off wardrobe he inherited. The colonel claimed to be the last gentleman in Virginia who wore a ruffled shirt, and Hector shared this distinction. Great billows of cotton lace poured out of the breast of his blue coat, decorated with[7] brass buttons, which was too short in the waist and too long in the tails for Hector, and for whom the colonel’s trousers were distinctly too small, and were kept from crawling up to his knees by straps under the heels of his boots.

What Hector’s business in life was, beyond shaving Colonel Tremaine once a day, Lyddon had never been able to discover. Colonel Tremaine always said, “my boy Hector,” although, like the colonel himself, he had passed the line of seventy; but having become the colonel’s personal attendant when both were in their boyhood, he remained “my boy, sir,” until Time should hand him over, a graybeard, to Death. Another anomaly, scarcely stranger to Lyddon than Hector’s eternal boyhood, was that, having an incurable propensity to look upon the wine when it is red, he had entire charge of the cellar at Harrowby, and when upon occasions of ceremony his services might have been of some slight use, he was tolerably sure to be a little more than half-seas over. He made up for this by an Argus-eyed vigilance over his two postulates, Jim Henry and Tasso, gingerbread-colored youths, who did the work of the dining room under Hector’s iron rule. So careful was he of their morals that he made a point of himself drinking the wine left in the glasses at dinner, “jes’ to keep dem wuffless black niggers f’um turnin’ deyselves into drunkards, like Joshua did arter he got outen de ark.”

Now, from Hector’s unctuous voice and unsteady gait, it was perfectly obvious to Lyddon that Hector had not escaped the pitfall into which he alleged Joshua[8] had fallen. Lyddon passed along and entered the great hall, where the work of putting up the Christmas decorations was not yet finished. A noble fire roared upon the broad hearth and the rose-red light danced upon the darkened, polished leaves of the holly wreaths, which hung on the walls and the family portraits that seemed still to live and speak. Before the fireplace stood Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine, with Archie, the sixteen-year-old son, who, with exception of Angela Vaughn, a slip of a girl older than Archie, was the best pupil Lyddon had ever known. Lyddon himself, with the abstracted eyes of a scholar and an observer of men, walked up to the fireplace and listened with patient amusement to the perplexities of Mrs. Tremaine.

She was of a type of woman which he had never seen until he came to Virginia—delicate, soft-voiced, pious, the chief and only hard worker on the estate, carrying easily the burden of thought and care for her family, her unbroken stream of guests, and army of servants. Lyddon, who looked deep into souls, knew the extraordinary courage, the singular tenacity, the silent, passionate loves and hates of women like Mrs. Tremaine. One of the ever strange problems to him was that this type of woman was remarkably pleasant to live with, and was ever full of the small, sweet courtesies of life. He reckoned these women, however, dangerous when they were roused. Mrs. Tremaine, nearly sixty, when sixty was considered old, had a faded rose beauty around which the fragrance of the summer ever lingered. She gave the impression of a woman who had lived a life of luxury and seclusion when, as a matter[9] of fact, she had, ever since her marriage, carried the burden of a general who organizes and directs an army. She had, however, that which gives to women perpetual youth, the adoration of her husband, of her three sons, and of all who lived in daily contact with her.

Colonel Tremaine, tall, thin, and somewhat angular, with a face clear-cut like a cameo, had been reckoned the handsomest man of his day and the most superb dandy in the State of Virginia. He adhered rigidly to the fashions of forty years before, when he had been in the zenith of his beauty. He wore his hair plastered down in pigeon wings on each side of his forehead and these pigeon wings were of a beautiful dark brown in spite of Colonel Tremaine’s seventy-two years. The secret of the colonel’s lustrous locks was known only to himself and to Hector, and even Mrs. Tremaine maintained a delicate reserve concerning it. Colonel Tremaine also held tenaciously to a high collar with a black silk stock, and his shirt front was a delicate mass of thread cambric ruffles, hemstitched by Mrs. Tremaine’s own hands. His manners were as affected as his dress and he was given to genuflections, gyrations, and courtly wavings of his hands in addressing persons from Mrs. Tremaine down to the smallest black child on the estate. But under his air of an elderly Lovelace lay sense, courage, honor, and the tenderest heart in the world.

Both Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine bore all the marks of race, and Lyddon had often wondered where Archie, the youngest child by ten years of the sons of the house, could have inherited his merry, inconsequential snub[10] nose, his round face like a young English squireling, and his frankly red hair. He had neither the beauty nor the intellect of his older brothers, Neville, the young army officer, and Richard, who after taking high honors at the university was just graduated in law; but for sweetness, courage, and an odd sort of humor, Lyddon reckoned Archie not inferior to any boy he had ever taught. He was his parents’ Benjamin, the afterclap which had come to them almost in their old age, and was in some sort different to them from their older sons. He was to be classed rather with Angela Vaughn, the baby girl whom, in her infancy, Mrs. Tremaine had taken because the child was an orphan and the stepchild of a remote cousin. Angela and Archie had grown up together, a second crop, as the colonel explained, and they would ever be but children to both Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine.

At that moment, Archie, with Jim Henry and Tasso to assist, mounted on a table, to finish the hanging of the Christmas wreaths, that the old hall might look its best when Neville, his mother’s darling, and Richard, her pride, should arrive for the Christmas time. Neville had succeeded in getting a few days’ leave from his regiment, and Richard, the most intimate of brothers, had himself driven to the river landing to meet Neville. They might arrive at any moment and would be certain to be chilled with the ten miles’ drive in the winter afternoon, and there was not a drop of liquor of any sort to give them, according to the universal custom of the time. Hector, having helped himself to a little fine old brandy left in Colonel Tremaine’s private[11] liquor case, was quite oblivious of what he had done with the keys both of the cellar and sideboard, and was struggling to explain this to Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine.

“I ’clare ’fore Gord, Mist’iss—” he protested with solemn emphasis as Lyddon came up to the fireplace.

“Come, Hector,” answered Mrs. Tremaine, in a voice of quiet authority, “don’t take the name of the Almighty in that trifling manner. What have you done with the cellar keys?”

“Mist’iss, I ’clare ’fore Gord——”

“My love,” interrupted Colonel Tremaine anxiously, addressing Mrs. Tremaine, “perhaps a little persuasion might discover the truth.” The colonel, although he swore liberally at Hector himself, never relished any fault-finding with him by anyone else, even Mrs. Tremaine. Hector, knowing by an experience of more than sixty years that he had a devoted ally in Colonel Tremaine, announced with easy confidence: “I recommember now what I done wid dem keys. I give dem cellar keys to old Marse, an’ I give him dem sidebo’d keys——”

“You did nothing of the sort,” replied Mrs. Tremaine, in her soft, even voice, but with a ring of displeasure and authority in it which was disquieting to both Hector and Colonel Tremaine. “And besides, Hector, you’ve been drinking, it is perfectly plain.”

“Mist’iss, I ’clare I ain’t tech’ one single drap o’ liquor sence I had de rheumatiz week ’fore lars’.”

Mrs. Tremaine cut him short by appealing to Colonel Tremaine. Usually she addressed him as “My dear,” and he replied with “My dearest Sophie”; but when[12] discussions concerning Hector came about Mrs. Tremaine addressed the colonel as “Colonel” and he responded by calling her “Sophia.”

“Colonel, have you seen those keys?”

“Really, Sophia, I have not,” replied the colonel, with as much tartness as he ever used toward Mrs. Tremaine. The discussion grew warm, and Hector gave various accounts of what he had done with the keys, but no one thought of the practical solution of looking for them until Archie, having hung the last wreath, came up, and diving into Hector’s coat pockets, the first place which should have been searched, fished out two bunches of keys.

“I tole you, Missis,” began Hector, still very unsteady upon his legs, “I had done put dese yere keys somewar. I jes’ disrecollected whar it was.”

“Very well. Go at once and bring the decanter with brandy in it here, with sugar and glasses, for your young masters.” Hector walked toward the dining room, the picture of injured innocence, protesting under his breath—“I ain’t never teched a drap of liquor sence I had de rheumatiz.”

Lyddon, standing with his arm on the mantelpiece, smiled and wondered. This sort of thing had been going on, he felt sure, ever since Colonel Tremaine had been able to grow hair on his face, and would continue to the end of the chapter, and Hector, having already had more liquor than was good for him, was in a position to help himself still further. Lyddon marveled if such a state of things could exist anywhere on earth outside of Virginia, and tried to fancy a similar case[13] of the butler in an English family, but his imagination was not equal to such a flight. When Hector appeared, however, in a minute or two with the brandy and the glasses and put them on the polished mahogany table near the fire, both Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine relaxed their air of being slightly offended with each other. Colonel Tremaine, looking at his watch, remarked, with a courtly bow:

“I think, my dearest Sophie, that our sons may be expected within half an hour, that is, if the boat was punctual.”

“A half hour, my dear, is long to wait for those we love,” answered Mrs. Tremaine, laying her small white hand affectionately on Colonel Tremaine’s sleeve, at which the colonel took the hand and kissed it gallantly.

“You will understand, Mr. Lyddon,” said he, turning to the tutor, who was still leaning on the mantelpiece, “the very great interest and importance of our army son’s visit to us at this juncture. The time will shortly be at hand when every son of Virginia must determine whether he will stand for or against his State, and it is not necessary for us to say that we feel certain the services of our son, Neville, are at the disposition of his State the instant they are required.”

Yes, Lyddon knew the whole story. He had heard it talked about ever since the news had come a week ago that South Carolina having seceded from the Union, the day must shortly come when Virginia must cast her lot either for or against the Union. One of the sources of strength most counted upon was the resignation[14] of every Southern officer from the army and the navy, and Colonel Tremaine, having some knowledge of military life, was proud to think that he had in Neville a trained artillerist to offer to the new cause.

“The position of a Southern officer in the United States army at present is a very difficult one,” remarked Lyddon; “there is a question of honor and conscience involved which each man must settle for himself.”

“By God!” exclaiming Colonel Tremaine, and then fell silent. The mere notion of discussing such a thing was to him like discussing the morality of the Ten Commandments.

“The question is already settled,” added Mrs. Tremaine coldly, and Lyddon knew there was nothing more to be said. He had realised long before that there was really no liberty of conscience, much less of speech, concerning the separation of the South from the North, or the future of slavery. The minds of these people were made up and compromise was impossible. They scarcely tolerated what Lyddon had to say, even though he were an Englishman and an outsider, considering his doctrine of liberty of conscience concerning slavery and States’ rights to be so dangerous and pernicious that it could not be freely spoken for fear it might corrupt, as it certainly offended; and Lyddon, recognizing the adamantine prejudices around him, kept his sentiments chiefly to himself; only with Richard Tremaine, whose mind was too comprehensive to be wholly dominated by prejudice, could Lyddon speak freely. He smiled a little at Colonel Tremaine’s exclamation, but, being the last man on earth to engage in controversy, let the[15] subject drop. And Tasso beginning vigorous operations with the broom to sweep up the remnants of the now complete decorations, Lyddon fled to his city of refuge, the old, shabby, low-ceiled study across the corridor.

In this old part of the house reigned comfort, quiet, and shabbiness, sometimes an excellent combination. This was the one room forever sacred to men, boys, dogs, books, and Angela Vaughn. There, with the door shut, all was silent, still, and serene—the serenity of books and bachelorhood. Lyddon drew up a great worn leather chair to the fire, which glowed ruddily and steadily, and, placing his feet on the fender, reflected upon the stupendous changes which he knew were at hand, and which the whole community seemed to comprehend as little as did the Harrowby family. War and revolution and evolution were imminent, the upsetting of the whole economic and social order, the leap in the dark which Lyddon felt sure meant the fall into an abyss; yet the people talked about it lightly and sentimentally, and seemed to think it would be a mere holiday parade. But if it should be otherwise, Lyddon knew enough of the character and temper of the people around him to understand that they were by nature the most furious and indomitable of fighters; that the women, if softer, were, if anything, fiercer than the men.

His thoughts then turned to Angela Vaughn. He often, in his own mind, compared himself to a gardener who has taken a ragged seedling and has nurtured it until, grown tall and fair, it is ready to burst into all the glory of its blooming and then be gathered by other hands than those which trained and watered it[16] and gave it the fresh air and the blessed sun. He remembered her when he had first come to Harrowby to prepare Neville Tremaine for West Point, and Richard for the University of Virginia. Angela was then a nine-year-old, in pinafores, and had reminded Lyddon of a Skye terrier, being all eyes and hair. She was as light as a feather, and Lyddon, accustomed to the heavier proportions of English children, thought that this wisp of a child, with her tangle of chestnut hair hanging down her back, and her laughing, black-lashed eyes of no color and all colors, must be indeed a delicate blossom; but she led the life of the most robust boy, and had never known a day’s illness in all those ten years. Lyddon recalled her, pattering about in the snow, her red hood and mantle making her look like a redbird. He could see her swinging on the branches of the cherry trees in the orchard in the springtime, her laughing face and her little white ruffled sunbonnet making her look like a cherry blossom herself. He had often watched her scrambling, with the agility of a boy rather than a girl, on and off her pony, or merrily dancing the schottische with Archie in the big hall, their music being their own childish singing; or dashing down the garden path to a little nook on a wooden bench under the lilac trees, at the end, and always full of a strange activity. But tucked away under her arm or in her pocket was pretty sure to be found a book from her own special library, which consisted of four volumes—a book of good old fairy tales, “The Arabian Nights,” “Robinson Crusoe,” and an odd volume of the “Odyssey,” telling of Penelope and the suitors,[17] which she frankly confessed to Lyddon she could not understand, and read because she liked to be puzzled by it. Lyddon, who had never before in his life taught a girl, and hated the thought of it, at first turned his back resolutely upon the child, but she had a way of stealing up to him and putting her little hand in his, and saying: “Please, Mr. Lyddon, won’t you read me out of this book?” The book was generally the “Odyssey,” for Angela found out by some occult means that at the mention of this book, the eyes of the grave and somewhat curt tutor would be certain to soften, and Lyddon relenting would ask the child sternly: “How do you pronounce the name of this book?”

“I don’t know,” Angela would reply, casting down her eyes and toying with her little white apron. “I can spell it, but I can’t say it, and I don’t know what it means, either, unless you read it to me.” The way in which she said those last words, accompanied with a shy, sidelong look, always captivated Lyddon, and he had begun with reading the sonorous lines to her, Angela leaning on his knee and listening with her head turned a little to one side like a watchful bird. After reading awhile, Lyddon would again ask: “Now, do you understand it?”

“No,” Angela would reply, shaking her mass of chestnut hair, “but I like it. Please go on, Mr. Lyddon.” In course of time, to Lyddon’s amazement, he found himself regularly teaching the child her lessons. There was a pretense that she was taught with Archie, but as a matter of fact, not only was she nearly four years older than Archie, but her capacity for[18] books was so much greater that there was no classifying her with the boy or, indeed, with any pupil whom Lyddon had ever taught.

Not that Angela was universally teachable; she could not, or at least would not, learn arithmetic or mathematics in any form, and Lyddon, whose soul abhorred a mathematical woman, was not sorry for this. He loved Latin, however, as a cat loves cream, and Angela, finding this out, learned her Latin lessons with amazing facility. Lyddon had some notion of teaching her Greek, but forebore from conscientious scruples. He had no mind to make her a woman like Pallas of the green eyes, “that dreadful and indomitable virgin,” as Pantagruel says, but would rather that Angela should grow up to resemble the enchanting maid, the silver-footed Thetis. He imparted French, too, however, which she picked up readily; history she learned of herself, and the piano was taught her by Mrs. Tremaine, who played neatly in the old-fashioned style. Angela’s gift for music was considerable, and she sang and played with much natural expression and loved to accompany Archie, who fiddled prettily. There was always more or less talk of getting a governess for Angela, and Mrs. Tremaine actually proposed sending her to a finishing school, but Angela managed to evade both of these nefarious plans. All the education which was required of the women in her day consisted of graceful and housewifely accomplishments. These Angela easily mastered and under Lyddon’s instructions carefully concealed exactly how much Latin she knew, although a little boastful of knowing French.

[19]From the first, Lyddon had been forced to yield to the soft seduction of the child’s nature. He early recognized the difference of sex in mind, the scintillant feminine intelligence, unlike that of any boy he had ever taught, sharper in some respects, far duller in others, quick of apprehension but difficult of comprehension in the large sense. All this was delightfully obvious to Lyddon as he watched the unfolding of Angela’s mind. The absence of the creative faculty in women had been borne in upon Lyddon in his general view of human achievement. He studied the convolutions in the budding mind of his pupil and it gave him insight concerning the immense interest far greater than its value which the intellectual performance of a woman arouses. He recalled that much had been written about Sappho, but the lady’s poems not having the germ of eternal life had gone to the limbo of forgotten things, all except about forty lines. He reckoned that a woman’s personality and reputation was all of her which could really survive; her work invariably perished, and Madame de Staël, as a writer, was as dead as Sappho. Nevertheless, he found himself more interested in Angela’s divination of books and things than in Neville’s keen and analytical mind, in the fine and comprehensive intellect of Richard Tremaine or Archie’s sturdy good sense. Lyddon laughed at himself for the interest with which he watched Angela’s mental growth, in preference to that of any boy whom he had ever taught, just as one watches the dancing light of a firefly with greater interest than a candle’s steady glow. Nor was Angela’s nature less interesting[20] to him than her mind. He had been used to the simple nature of boys, but here was a creature not only of another sex, but, it seemed to Lyddon, of another order, who was not always merry when she laughed nor sad when she wept nor angry when she scowled. Angela had moreover a spirit of pure adventure stronger than he had ever known in any boy. She longed to see the outside world and was strangely conscious from the beginning of the narrowness of the life lived by her own people. Their horizon was bounded by the State of Virginia. Not so Angela’s. She was always teasing Lyddon to tell her stories of across the seas and planned with him triumphal journeys to the glorious cities of the Old World, marvelous explorations in the heart of India and to the very extremities of the earth. Lyddon humored her in these childish imaginings as he did in everything else. Angela was now nineteen years old. Like all women she was wise and simple, frank and sly, brave and timid, and consistently contradictory. When Lyddon thought of her he recalled the words of another maiden of a far-off country and a bygone time:

“Take care of thyself if thou lovest me.”

And as he sat thinking, the study door opened and Angela quietly entered.



THE study by that time was dark, and Angela, who had learned not to disturb Lyddon in his reveries, came softly and seated herself without speaking at the table in the middle of the room. Neither did Lyddon speak, but he recognized in himself the feeling of subtle pleasure which Angela’s nearness always gave him. It was as if the fragrance of spring had been wafted toward him, something silent, intangible, but deliciously sweet. He could catch from the corner in which he sat the outline of her slender, supple figure in a pearl-gray gown, her graceful head leaning upon her clasped hands.

The two sat silent in the dusky twilight of the firelit room for ten minutes. Then Angela with a peculiar, noiseless grace moved to the fireplace and, thrusting a wisp of paper into the bed of coals, lighted the two candles in tall, brass candlesticks which sat upon the study table and opening a book before her began to read. She had naturally a good omnivorous appetite for books, an appetite which Lyddon had sedulously cultivated. At that moment she was demurely studying a page of Adam Smith which happened to be the book before her. The two candles only half-illumined the[22] low-ceiled, shadow-haunted room and appeared like two glowing disks amidst the gloom, but their yellow light fell full upon Angela. Lyddon, who never wearied of examining her, concluded it was doubtful whether she would ever be classed as a beauty. She was too thin, too slight, too immature as yet to be called beautiful or anything approaching it, but one day she might have much beauty. Her features were charming, though irregular, and her coloring, generally pale, was sometimes vivid. Her hair, of a rich bronze with glints of gold in it, was beautiful and abundant; and her dark lashes and delicately arched eyebrows were extremely pretty. But except those and her exquisite grace of movement and sweetness of voice, neither Lyddon nor anyone else could exactly tabulate her beauty. Her eyes were not large, but were full of expression and continually changing color. When she was pleased they were bright and light; when she was angry or thoughtful they became almost black.

The book remained open before her, but she was not turning the leaves, and Lyddon, knowing quite well of what she was thinking, said, presently: “I wonder what makes them so late?” Angela, knowing that he meant Neville and Richard Tremaine, turned her head toward him and answered quickly in the sweetest voice imaginable:

“They will be here soon; I feel it all over me. I always know in advance when I am to be happy and also when I am to be wretched.”

Lyddon smiled. What did this girl of nineteen know of the wretchedness of which she spoke so glibly?

[23]“Uncle Tremaine and Aunt Sophia thought that Neville wouldn’t be able to come at all,” Angela kept on, “but I knew he would, even if it were only for a very little time.”

“Perhaps you wrote and urged him to come,” suggested Lyddon. “You know that is the way some people receive an answer to their prayers—by working like Trojans for the thing themselves.”

“Oh, I wrote him often enough,” answered Angela laughing. “Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Neville. I recollect four perfectly dreadful Christmases when he was at West Point and couldn’t come home. I was so miserable then, I remember.”

“So do I remember,” answered Lyddon. “I remember that you made a great outcry about your misery, but you laughed and were as merry as any child I ever saw on Christmas day, and danced in the evening until Mrs. Tremaine sent you to bed.”

“Oh, yes, of course, I danced! I can’t help that. When the music is playing it runs through my veins and makes me dance in spite of myself.”

“Now that Neville is a soldier you can’t expect him to be home every Christmas.”

“Yes, I know there will be dreadful Christmas times without him——”

“And you will do as you did when you were a little girl, cry and lament and then enjoy yourself very much. That is, until the war begins.”

“Oh, that won’t make any difference,” replied Angela easily and adopting the tone of her elders; “the war won’t last long and we shall be victorious, of course,[24] and there will be comings and goings and great happenings all the time. Anything is better than this life of deadly dullness. Neville and Richard will both be officers. Neville, I suppose, will be a general at twenty-six or seven as the young lieutenants and captains became in the time of the French Revolution.”

“‘O sancta simplicitas!’ as Mephistopheles says. So they may, my little girl, and there will be a great many things in this war, if it comes, very like the French Revolution. But you remember there were lieutenants who went away and never came back any more at all.”

“O Mr. Lyddon, nobody says such dreadful things except yourself.”

“I know it. War is a merry jest to these people in Virginia. The notion will be spoiled soon enough; meanwhile, dream your dream of victory. It is a fine dream, as Marshal Saxe said.”

“At least, let us dream while Neville is here. He will only be here at Harrowby three days, think of that!”

“And in those three days there will scarcely be a quiet minute after to-night. Let me see. To-morrow being Christmas day, there will be a hullabaloo from daylight until midnight; next morning the hunting party, dinner at Greenhill; a dance in the evening; each day festivities; and Neville leaves at daylight on Saturday morning.”

“But, then, there will be three mornings when I shall see Neville’s shoes outside of his door. Oh, what a comfort that will be! And I shall hear him swearing[25] at Peter, and Richard swearing at Neville for swearing at Peter, because Richard says that as Peter is his boy nobody except himself shall swear at him. And Neville will waltz with me in the hall while Aunt Sophia plays the ‘Evening Star Waltz.’ You remember he taught me to waltz by that tune. And when Richard makes fun of me, Neville will say, ‘Never mind, Angela, Richard is a scoundrel and I will punch his head for him.’ And when Archie will come after me to find his things for him and to take my watch away because his own is broken, Neville will say, ‘Go away, you brat, hunt for your own things instead of asking Angela; and let her watch alone.’ Oh, I always have a friend when Neville is here! There he is now—I hear the wheels on the gravel.”

Before Lyddon could turn in his chair Angela had sped swiftly out of the room. Lyddon rose and went to the small uncurtained window which looked out upon the front of the house toward the highroad. An open trap was coming rapidly around the gravel drive, the horses snorting in the keen night air. Already a dozen negroes were running out, and the heavy doors of the hall leading upon the pillared portico were open and Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine were standing on the threshold, while Archie rushed down the steps. As Richard Tremaine pulled up the horses with a sharp turn, Neville sprang to the ground, the negroes already greeting him with “Howdy, Marse Neville, howdy, suh.” Neville, straight, soldierly, and keen-eyed, threw a rapid glance around as if looking for some one. He ran up the steps and was within reach of his mother[26] when Angela slipped into his arms. He kissed her frankly and openly as a brother might, then let her go and the next moment held his mother close to his heart. Her head barely reached his shoulder. She was small to be the mother of such stalwart sons. Then Neville grasped both of his father’s hands while Archie claimed a boy’s privilege and kissed him on the cheek. The Tremaines were a demonstrative family; they loved each other well and were not ashamed to show it. Neville next found himself in the embrace of his mammy, Aunt Tulip, inky black, the size and shape of a hogshead, wearing a white apron of vast circumference, and a big plaid handkerchief wound round about her head.

“‘Bres de lam’,” shouted Aunt Tulip. “I done got my chile home agin. The Lord done heah my pra’r.” Here Mammy Tulip was rudely interrupted by Hector.

“You heish your mouf,” he remarked. “Gord A’mighty, he didn’ sen’ Marse Neville hom’ cuz you bawls out ‘Amen, bres de Lord,’ ev’y night at pra’r time. Marse Neville, I hopes I sees you well, suh, an’ in de enjoyment ob your profession, suh.”

“Thank you, Hector,” answered Neville, shaking hands cordially with him. “Of course, I haven’t enjoyed such advantages in my profession as you did, campaigning in Mexico, but I’m doing pretty well just the same.”

Then all trooped into the hall, where Lyddon was found.

“How do you do, Mr. Lyddon,” cried Neville. “It[27] is pleasant to see you once more. I hope you will keep on teaching these two brats, Angela and Archie, for the next ten years.”

Angela, who had drawn a little away from Neville, smiled with the superiority of nineteen at being classed as a brat. And then Lyddon watched one of the sights always amusing and unintelligible to him—all the negroes crowding around Neville asking him innumerable questions and being questioned in return while his father and mother, his brothers and Angela withdrew into the background until these children of another race had made their greetings. By the time the negroes were through, Richard had come in, and the family group was assembled around the great hall fire. Lyddon compared the two elder brothers, who were singularly alike in figure and carriage, both men of medium height and size, well made, sinewy, and graceful. They were, however, quite unlike in feature, Richard resembling Colonel Tremaine, while Neville had the darker coloring and more irregular features of his mother. But each had what Lyddon called a fighting eye. Their minds were as unlike as their features, yet in character they resembled each other as in figure. Richard had a softness of manner and subtlety of speech which differentiated him strongly from Neville, who was taciturn and spoke with soldierly plainness.

Home-coming at Christmas time when there are no yawning gaps in the circle, no vacant places at the board, no empty chairs round the fire is full of joy, and Lyddon thought he had never in his life seen more of family peace and love than the roof of Harrowby that[28] night sheltered. Mrs. Tremaine sat on the old-fashioned sofa close to the hall fire with Neville’s arm around her. She patted him on the shoulder, speaking meanwhile to Richard and Archie.

“Dear sons, I love you as much as this one, but you I have all the year round while he I have for only three days.” When Mrs. Tremaine said that all her sons were equally dear to her she uttered an unconscious falsehood. Neville, her firstborn, had ever been her favorite, if a favorite can be known where all were so much loved. And between Neville and his father also existed a peculiar bond in Colonel Tremaine’s fondness for military life and his attachment to old friends and comrades who were known only to Neville. The father and son talked animatedly of army life and military matters in which neither Richard nor Archie could bear any part. To Colonel Tremaine, Neville’s visits home were a special delight in this respect, and the two exchanged stories, theories, and reminiscences to which the others listened with sympathy, but in silence. When supper was announced, all gathered around the old mahogany table in the large dining room. There was enough to feed a regiment and all specially provided for Neville. Jim Henry forced upon him mountains of batter cakes cooked to a turn, while Tasso handed him oysters done in four different ways. Hector whispered in Neville’s ear recommendations of everything on the table. Neville was indeed lord and master of the feast. All talked to him at once except Angela, who looked at him with wide sparkling eyes of pleasure and suddenly electrified everybody by asking in a voice pitched high[29] so as to be heard over the others, “Neville, are you engaged to be married?”

“Good God, no,” replied Neville with the utmost sincerity, at which Tasso suddenly burst into a guffaw and retired to the pantry to indulge.

“You don’t think he would tell you if he was,” remarked Archie, with the cool assumption of sixteen. “Girls do ask such foolish questions.”

“I shall select my successor,” said Mrs. Tremaine, smiling placidly. “She shall be a Virginia girl of good lineage and she must know how to make mango pickle. In every other respect, my son, you may please yourself.”

“Now, I, as a good father,” cried Colonel Tremaine, beaming and pulling up his high collar, “shall welcome my son’s wife even if she be a Mexican señorita. Women, my dearest Sophie, are invariably jealous of each other, even you. That you are the most judicious of your sex, I have shown by leaving my estate absolutely to you in the event of my death. Nevertheless, I would be inclined to doubt your judgment when it comes to selecting wives for our sons.” Colonel Tremaine’s heart, like his thread cambric ruffles, was perpetually rushing out of his bosom and no matter how generous Mrs. Tremaine might be, the colonel had to be more generous still.

Lyddon looked, listened, and quietly relished this all-embracing family affection. It was something so new to him. In England, the law of primogeniture set a ban upon it. He knew something of the antagonism between the incumbent and the heir, of the niggardliness[30] toward younger sons and daughters, and the inconvenience of a large jointure upon an estate. But here everything was different. Like the patriarchs of old all shared alike.

After supper they went back to the hall where, according to the custom established when Angela was a little girl, Mrs. Tremaine played the piano in the drawing-room while out in the hall Angela and Archie danced polkas, waltzes, and schottisches. Colonel Tremaine and his two elder sons with Lyddon, sitting around the fire, listened to the quiet music and watched Angela’s willowy figure as she floated around the hall with Archie, who, short and stocky, yet danced beautifully. Outside on the back porch could be heard the shuffling of feet. It was Jim Henry with Lucy Anne, whose business was to keep the flies off of “ole Missus,” as Mrs. Tremaine was called, in the summer, and to bring the eggs in from the chicken houses in the winter, and Mirandy, whose sole occupation was to hunt for “ole Marse’s” specks, and Sally, whose business no one exactly knew, were disporting themselves in the dance.

Presently Neville turned and asked, “Have you two children learned to dance the French two-step?”

Angela and Archie had never heard of it before, but immediately Angela seized Neville and, dragging him from his comfortable corner on the old sofa, obliged him to teach her the new dance. In two minutes she had acquired it; her sense of rhythm was perfect, and for ten minutes she and Neville danced around the hall together. He was a good dancer, doing his steps with military precision, but nothing like so exquisitely graceful[31] as the red-haired Archie. Lyddon, who had been accustomed to seeing Angela skipping about the hall with Archie, realized that she was now a woman grown and almost as tall as Neville, but among them all she was yet treated as a child, and when she begged Neville for a second dance he tweaked her ear and told her to go and dance with Archie; he himself was too old to dance with children.

At half past nine, according to invariable custom, the whole family, including the house servants, assembled in the library for family prayers. This, like all the other rooms in the new part, was spacious and high-ceiled. It was lined with those books which no gentleman’s library should be without: solemn sets of library books with undimmed gilt lettering and which were only taken from their library shelves to be dusted. All the books which were ever read were in the shabby old study across the corridor. Everything at Harrowby was done in a certain fixed and unvarying manner. The candles used at prayers were always of wax, in tall silver candlesticks, which were placed with the great open Bible on a round mahogany table in the middle of the room. The family sat ranged about in chairs, the servants standing, Hector behind Colonel Tremaine and Mammy Tulip behind Archie, who as a small boy had required watching at “pra’r time.” Colonel Tremaine read in a deep sonorous voice the Gospel, and Mrs. Tremaine made a prayer short and conventional, but with sometimes a phrase or two added that stirred the heart. To-night she thanked God for all their blessings adding, “and last of all for having our children[32] Neville, Richard, Archibald, and Angela about us in health and well-being.”

Angela Vaughn had ever been included as a child of Harrowby since as a wailing infant she had first been held in Mrs. Tremaine’s arms. She was no blood relationship to them and had no fortune, but she had never felt the want of either love or money.

After prayers, it was bedtime for Mrs. Tremaine and Angela. The girl kissed Colonel Tremaine good night to which he responded, “Good night, my daughter, and God keep you.” Latterly, in the dignity of her nineteen years, she had acquired the habit of putting up her cheek to be kissed by Richard and Archie instead of placing her arms about their necks as she did with Colonel Tremaine. When she held her smooth, pale cheek toward Neville, he brushed his dark mustache over it, and Lyddon saw something which amazed him—a deep red color showed suddenly under Neville’s tan and sunburn. Richard saw it, too; nothing escaped his vigilant eye.

Another Harrowby custom was that after the ladies had retired Lyddon with his pupils would repair to their own habitat, the old study, where they read and smoked until the small hours. Colonel Tremaine took that time for writing his diary, a voluminous record of seedtime and harvest, colts and calves, and all the minutiæ of a landed estate, together with moral reflections and sage observations on the weather, and long excerpts from Pope’s “Iliad” and Wordsworth’s “Excursion.” He therefore bade his sons and Lyddon good night, who began their symposium in the study. Little had been[33] said about the great impending struggle in those first hours of Neville’s home-coming. Once or twice during Colonel Tremaine’s inquiries about his old friends in the army, he had said of certain Southern officers, “I suppose they will resign their commissions when their States secede,” to which Neville had replied calmly, “I suppose so, sir, or it is generally understood that such will be the case.”

Lyddon, Neville, and Richard, once in the study with a roaring fire going and with pipes and cigars, began to enjoy those evening hours which are to men the cream of the day. Archie by virtue of his sixteen years was good-humoredly allowed in the company of his elders, but strictly forbidden to touch either pipe or cigar, cigarettes being unknown in that time and place. Finding the conversation beyond his years, Archie soon grew tired and marched off to bed. Lyddon had never acquired the American habit of cocking his feet up over his head, but stretching his legs out toward the ruddy blaze, he began to speak of the impending conflict in terms which were perfectly familiar to both his listeners.

“The doom of slavery is sounded,” he said. “All the forces of civilization are arrayed against it. Up to 1830 the problem of slavery was manageable; the South let the golden moment pass and after 1830 the problem became unmanageable. So the South shut its eyes and passed within the gates of sleep. You know that island in the Euxine Sea whose inhabitants never dream—well, the South has done nothing but dream for the last thirty years. Meanwhile the genie of slavery has got[34] out of the box. Rivers of blood will be shed in settling this question because everything of value in the life of a nation has its blood price. But the emancipation of the negroes really means your emancipation, my dear fellows, and that of your children.”

Richard combated this with all the brilliant sophistries of the school of Calhoun which lost nothing in the handling. Richard was a born reasoner, and Lyddon always admired his masterly presentation of the case of the South. He frankly admitted that the South must return to the teachings of the fathers and some day abolish slavery, but never under the pressure of threats and fanaticism from the North and from Great Britain. As for defeat in battle, Richard could not grasp this idea at all. This caused Lyddon to smile.

“Your unmixed Anglo-Saxon blood makes it impossible for you to imagine defeat, and like all men and women of your race you prove to be bad losers. You will appeal to the arbitrament of the sword, but you will never abide by it. After the South has been drenched in blood will come the great problem of reorganization and the birth of a national life which slavery has stifled. Now you are all Virginians or Georgians or Louisianians, but the day will come when you will all be Americans.”

Neville sat and smoked in silence except for an occasional word full of pith and sense interjected in the conversation. It had always been like this. Neville was the listener, even as a boy, while Lyddon and Richard delighted in the attrition of minds. Their talk usually ranged far afield, but to-night they spoke of[35] nothing except the coming conflict, and matters referring to it.

“By the way,” said Richard, “I had a letter this afternoon from Philip Isabey in New Orleans. He returned from Paris months earlier than he expected because he foresees war, and the first news that reached him was of the secession of South Carolina. I have always looked forward to having you, Mr. Lyddon, know Isabey. He writes that he is already taking steps toward raising a battery of artillery, just the branch of the service which I shall join when the war breaks out. Isabey is a man born for success at whatever he undertakes as you well know by all I have told you of him.”

Ever since Richard’s college days Isabey had been a part of Richard’s life. Many plans had been made for Isabey to visit Harrowby, but so far accident had prevented any of the family from knowing him except Neville, who had readily adopted his brother’s friend as his own during their brief periods of intercourse. After Richard’s graduation from the University of Virginia, of which Isabey was also an alumnus, they had spent two years together in Europe and the tie between them had thus become more closely knit. Lyddon had profound confidence in Richard’s judgment of men and was willing to believe that Isabey was all he was represented to be. It was plain that Isabey was as distinctively French in blood and training as Richard Tremaine was Anglo-Saxon. Isabey was a young man of fortune and, like Richard, contemplated entering public life. His letters, which Richard read aloud with[36] pride, were full of sound sense, acute observation of men and things, and illuminated with French wit. There was a daguerreotype of him hanging in Richard’s room, representing him as a dark, slender young man, rather handsome, and unmistakably thoroughbred. There were, besides, half a dozen pen and pencil sketches of him illustrating some of the gay scenes through which he had lived with Richard in the Latin quarter. Each, while in Paris, had a handsome allowance which permitted him to enter the best society, to which each had the right of entrance. But it being contrary to the traditions of the Latin quarter that students should always have money to pay their bills, Richard and Isabey managed to squander their respective allowances in plenty of time to know the conventional delights of impecuniosity before their next checks arrived. The stories of their student days were infinitely diverting, and so linked were the two that Isabey’s personality actually seemed to have a place at Harrowby. Between war and politics, it was one o’clock in the morning before Neville, rising, said: “The fire is out and so are the cigars. I have been traveling for two days, so I shall go to bed. Good night.”

He went out of the room and Lyddon watching him was struck, as he often was, at the resemblance in the air and figure of the two brothers, while their faces and voices were so dissimilar that they gave no indication of a blood relationship.

As Neville closed the door behind him, Richard turning to Lyddon said significantly, “Neville will not resign from the army when the war breaks out.”

[37]Lyddon remained silent for five minutes and then replied, “That is the most tragic thing I have heard for a long time.”

“Yes,” said Richard. “It will break my father’s heart and my mother’s, too.”

“Has Neville told you that he didn’t mean to resign?” asked Lyddon.

“Not in so many words, but on our way here this afternoon he made me understand it. You know we have always understood each other perfectly without going into details.”

“Yes, I have never seen two men with a better understanding than you and your brother. And it seems never to have been interrupted.”

“Well, we don’t need to thresh things out, Neville and I. He was always rather a silent fellow and a word from him means a good deal. I am quite certain he feels that this is perhaps his last visit to Harrowby and also he knows that whoever may turn against him, I shall not, but I shall be probably the only one who will not.”

“Except Angela,” said Lyddon coolly. “I always thought that Neville’s fondness for Angela would develop into a strong passion as soon as she was grown and I saw it to-night with my own eyes, but nobody else did, unless it be yourself.”

“I saw it. Neville’s face turned red when he kissed Angela on the cheek and Neville is not given to blushing. However, I am by no means certain that Angela will stand by him. She is like most of our Southern women—a creature outwardly all impulse, inwardly of[38] the most fixed and determined character. It is a chance whether love or patriotism will win the day.”

“Yes, it depends upon whether she falls in love with Neville or not. Come, the fire is out, let us go. It is already Christmas day.”



WHILE it was yet dark on Christmas morning, the silvery notes of a bugle, like the horns of elfland, floated out upon the wintry fields, the black flowing river, and lost itself in the echoing woods and far-off uplands. It was the signal for the awakening of life upon the estate. The bugle was played by Hector from his bachelor quarters over the carriage house. Hector scorned matrimony and, like Benedick, thought he should not live until he were married. It was Hector’s duty by this call to rouse the sleeping black people—a duty which he cheerfully and punctually performed and then went back to his own bed to snooze comfortably until he felt like getting up to perform his sole, regular duty in life—the shaving of Colonel Tremaine.

On Christmas morning, however, all were awake before the sounding of the bugle call; candles and fires were lighted in the old house and crowds of negro children with shining eyes and gleaming teeth came trooping in the early dawn toward the old mansion. Shouts of laughter resounded, the older negroes appearing and joining in the merry hubbub and laughing excitement. Santa Claus for them was in the hall of Harrowby, where were piled up gifts for everyone on[40] the estate. Each negro child was given a coarse woolen stocking filled to the top with sweets, and in each stocking was a switch which was understood as an admonishment to good behavior. The dogs about the place waked; long, lean, red deerhounds and short-legged beagles, all yelping and barking in unison. Within the house, as each servant entered the sleeping rooms to make the fires, the occupant was greeted with “Chris’mus gif’,” “Chris’mus gif’,” the theory being that the first who claimed a Christmas gift should get it. There was no more sleeping in the house after daylight. By seven o’clock all were up and dressed and the hall doors were opened for the negroes to come in and get their Christmas gifts. These were distributed by Angela and Archie, the children of the house.

It was a happy, noisy, primitive occasion and had about it the true Christmas spirit, the making of a holiday for each dependent. After the younger negroes had departed, half a dozen old negro men, the veterans of the place, long since retired from work, remained to have a glass of apple toddy with Colonel Tremaine. The great family punch bowl was filled with this concoction of apple brandy, sugar, and roasted apples. And Colonel Tremaine, filling the glass of each of the old men, wished him health and long life, to which each responded with the politeness characteristic of his race, “Sarvint, suh, the same to you, suh, an’ ole Missis an’ young Marse an’ de little Missis.” Hector departed from this form as not being elegant enough for a person who had been to Richmond, Baltimore, had seen a panorama of the city of New York, and who had accompanied[41] his master during the Mexican War, and always answered as follows: “Colonel Tremaine’s felicitations. I beg, suh, you will accept, suh, the assurances of my distinguished consideration,” a phrase which he had mastered with great effort and which invariably revealed how much liquor Hector had imbibed. He was able to say it without hesitation at taking his first swig of apple toddy in the morning, but was likely to become a little mixed in his phrasing as the day wore on.

Breakfast was late, and as there was to be a large dinner at five o’clock, the fashionable hour of the day, and a dance in the evening, there was much to be done by the house servants. But the negroes, like all their race, reckoned it a holiday when they were preparing for a festival. As the case was under the old régime, the burden of preparation fell upon Mrs. Tremaine and Angela. Colonel Tremaine, his three sons, and Lyddon went for a long ride in the morning for the express purpose of being out of the way while the making ready for the dinner and the dance created turmoil in the house. Mrs. Tremaine, with a masterly hand and with Angela to assist her, carried through the infinite details of the work of preparation for a hundred persons, where everything had to be done with only the forces and implements of one household. Hector, as usual, in his determination to save Tasso and Jim Henry from the danger of strong drink, had consumed the remainder of the apple toddy himself and, in consequence, soon took no note of time or anything else, mislaid his keys, misplaced everything he touched, and, although barely able to keep his feet, harangued eloquently upon the[42] sin of drunkenness. Mrs. Tremaine had struggled with this complication for thirty-five years and encountered it as usual with patience and authority. In spite of Hector everything was in readiness by four o’clock, for, as the guests came from considerable distances, they were liable to arrive half an hour before the time or half an hour afterward.

At four o’clock Angela, dressed for the festivity, took the last look in her mirror with the happy satisfaction of a nineteen-year-old girl. She wore a gown of pale blue of trailing length; wide sleeves with frills of filmy lace fell back from her slender arms. Her gown was cut away squarely back and front like one she had seen in an old print of a Romney portrait. Her delicate throat and neck were thin but exquisitely white. She had longed for a headdress of lace and flowers, such as Mrs. Tremaine wore, but that had been forbidden as being too old, and she had only been permitted to twine a long strand of gold beads in and out among the masses of her chestnut hair. She passed out of her room and as she reached the top of the staircase the hall door opened and Neville entered in his riding dress. He walked slowly toward the staircase, keeping his eyes fixed upon Angela as she came down the stairs. She was smiling and blushing with the self-consciousness of first youth and fixed her laughing eyes on Neville as the nearest masculine object in view from whom to exact tribute. The tribute, however, was readily paid and in a coin upon which Angela had not counted. As they met upon the broad landing of the stairs there was a look in Neville’s eyes which Angela had never seen[43] there before; love had taken the place of kindness, Neville did what he had never done before in his life to her—took her little hand in his and raised it to his lips. Like all women, she recognized the master passion at the first glance and under all disguises. Neville in an instant of time had changed from the indulgent elder brother, the friend, the grown-up companion of her childhood, and had become her lover, a being to be reckoned with and different in many ways. The feeling was not one of rapture to Angela any more than an electric shock is rapture.

“How pretty you are, Angela!” said Neville, still holding her hand. Angela, with a scarlet face, tried to hark back to their old relations.

“It is the first time you ever called me pretty in my life,” she said. “I remember how furious I was once a long time ago when I heard you telling Aunt Sophia that you didn’t believe I should ever have any good looks, I was so—skinny.”

“It must, indeed, have been a long time ago,” answered Neville in the tone of a lover. “The truth is, Angela, you are to-day grown up for the first time. Until now you have been a child, but after this you will be a child no longer, for you are loved by a man—by me.” The words had come involuntarily and the next moment Neville called himself a fool a thousand times over for taking such a place and such a time to make such an acknowledgment. Richard Tremaine had suddenly entered the hall by a small door close to the stairs and coming rapidly up the steps caught Neville and Angela standing hand in hand with every evidence[44] of guilt. Neville dropped Angela’s hand and scowled at Richard, who gave one comprehensive glance at Angela’s crimson, downcast face, and then, turning to Neville, winked portentously. Angela, turning from them both, ran lightly down the stairs while Richard followed Neville back down the stairs into his own room. The brothers had adjoining rooms, small and low, on the ground floor in the old part of the house and next the study. There was a door of communication between the two rooms which always stood open. When the brothers were alone, Neville condescended to smile a little as Richard said laughing, “By Jove, I didn’t mean to do such an ungentlemanlike thing as interrupt a love scene.”

“And I didn’t mean to make it a love scene,” responded Neville grimly.

“Oh, never mind, old fellow, those things will happen, you know! I knew a man once who made an offer to a girl at twelve o’clock on the Fourth of July in front of the custom house in New Orleans and they were married and lived happy ever after. I hope this affair may turn out likewise.”

“But it is no merry jest, as you know, Richard. This may be the last Christmas I shall ever be permitted to spend under my father’s roof. When I see and feel my mother’s tenderness, my father’s kindness, and know how it may change in the twinkling of an eye, it staggers me.”

“I shall not change,” replied Richard briefly. And the two brothers clasped hands for a moment. Whatever else might be torn apart, the tie of brotherly love[45] could never be severed. When Neville spoke next it was only to tell Richard what he had known before.

“If Virginia goes out of the Union,” he said, “I shall not resign from the army. Of course, I want to and would if my conscience permitted, but I can’t. I have gone all over it a thousand times; everything draws me to the South, even my own interests. My position in the United States Army will be a frightful one. I shall be hated by my own people and distrusted by those with whom I must remain. I shan’t have the approval of anyone except”—he struck himself on the breast—“here.”

“Have you reasoned it out, Neville? Do you think it can be possible that you alone should be right and nine-tenths of the men in your position, nay, ninety-nine out of a hundred, should be wrong?”

“I am a soldier, Richard. I haven’t your subtlety. I can only ask myself this question, ‘Does the oath I took on entering the army still bind me?’ I feel that it does. Incidentally, this course wrecks me, but if I do otherwise, my honor is wrecked.”

There was a pause as the two brothers stood facing each other in the little room with its small windows filled with the dull glow of the dying December sun. They loved each other well and it seemed as if the hour of separation and doom were coming fast. Their intimacy was such that although their first parting had come when Neville was seventeen and Richard but sixteen, it had made not the smallest change in either. Each had many friends, but his intimates, except Philip Isabey, were found only under the roof tree of Harrowby.[46] Both men grew pale as they stood silent and reflective. Then Richard said: “It is just as well to keep it from our father——”

“And from our mother.”

“Yes, by all means from our mother.”

“Think how strange it is when I leave Harrowby this time, I don’t know whether I shall ever be permitted to come here again.”

“At least, while you are here you are the favored son. Yes, Neville, mother loves you better than anything on earth and father is more in sympathy with you than with me because he loves military life. I am not thinking so much of you as I am of them. Great God, what a deathblow they must receive!” Richard turned and went into the next room.

Neville walked to the window and looked out upon the sweet, familiar landscape now all red and gold in the declining afternoon. He peopled it with all the events of his boyhood and youth and through all was a vision of Angela in her little white frock—the spoiled darling of the family. Mrs. Tremaine was a good disciplinarian and her own three sons were brought up under wholesome restraint, but Angela, being fatherless, motherless, and penniless, had been treated with an indulgence which would have ruined an ordinary nature. Neville remembered with a smile that on the few occasions when Mrs. Tremaine had undertaken to administer some mild punishment to the child, Colonel Tremaine had always frowned and called Mrs. Tremaine “Sophia” during the rest of the day. And when Archie and Angela had got into mischief together, justice[47] was sternly meted out to Archie while Angela was always let off with a promise to be good in the future. But under this excess of kindness Angela had developed as a peach ripens on the sunny side of a wall. Neville glanced through the open door and saw Richard, still in his riding clothes, sitting before the fire with his feet stretched out to the blaze. He was reflecting upon the blow which was to fall at Harrowby. Neville went into his brother’s room and, leaning against the mantelpiece, said: “When I go away, take care of Angela for me.”

“I had forgotten all about Angela,” answered Richard frankly. “I was thinking of our father and mother.”

“You must think also of Angela; she will have her share of pain—that is, if she stands by me.”

Neither had noticed how the time had passed or that the early twilight of winter had fallen upon them until Peter, Richard’s boy, suddenly burst into the room and cried out, “Good Gord A’might’, Marse Richard, de company is comin’ an’ Unc’ Hector he done knocked ober an’ broke one o’ ole Marse’ bes’ decanters, an’ Missis say fur de Lord’s sake to come in ’long to her right ’way.”

The company had come indeed, and by the time Richard and Neville had scrambled through their dressing, the whole party was assembled in the drawing-room—a fine large apartment with many mirrors and a grand piano as large as a small house. The guests were the usual types of country gentry; the men, full-blooded, hard-riding, and sometimes hard-drinking, but full of an Old World courtesy and grace; the women, gentle,[48] soft-voiced, with a certain provincial grace. Mrs. Tremaine, in a brown brocade with fine old lace and a lace headdress which was admired and envied by Angela, wore an air of serene triumph as the mothers of sons always wear. As the young men came in and greeted their guests, Neville was overwhelmed with kindly welcome. He came from the great outside world which was strange to most of these people, whose travels rarely extended beyond Baltimore in one direction and the White Sulphur Springs in another. Standing close to Mrs. Tremaine was Mrs. Charteris, her friend and schoolmate, the richest widow in five counties, with one only son, a boy not yet eighteen years of age. Neville greeted her with fine courtesy and Richard with charming impudence, and kissing her on the cheek, inquired when her wedding would come off with Mr. Brand, the rector of Petworth Church. As this affair had been going on for at least twenty years and Mr. Brand had made no perceptible headway, it had become a county joke.

“I declare the impudence of the young men of the present day is perfectly intolerable,” cried Mrs. Charteris, delighted with Richard’s presumption. “There’s Mr. Brand now, just coming in. Go and ask him.”

The rector, who was at that time shaking hands with Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine, was the tallest and by all odds the handsomest man in the room, with a voice of melodious thunder, and it may be added that Mr. Brand was commonly considered the most chicken-hearted of his species. He escaped from Colonel Tremaine’s bowing and scraping and elaborate welcome to march over to his[49] inamorata, Mrs. Charteris, who, like the rest of her sex, enjoyed tormenting a lover and promptly hit upon the subject most painful to the rector’s feelings.

“Well, Mr. Brand,” she cried, “I sympathize with you more than I can express. We all know your warlike spirit and that you would be in the forefront of the hottest battle if you could, but Colonel Tremaine has just been telling us that when the war breaks out only the services of men under forty-five years will be required. Of course, however, you can volunteer, and with your splendid physique, you are certain to be accepted.”

Mr. Brand winced. He was oratorically patriotic and took the ground that when the conflict came, every able-bodied man should shoulder his musket and go to the front, that is to say, except himself. Moreover, his age, which was well beyond the fifty mark, was a tender point with him, and it was exactly like Mrs. Charteris, who was a notorious meddler, to be raking up these unpleasant subjects and laughing irreverently.

“My calling, my dear Mrs. Charteris,” began Mr. Brand lamely. “My cloth——”

“Oh, chaplains will be needed in our armies; you don’t suppose that the Southern soldiers will be a set of heathens, do you? And you can have a chance to march——”

“And sleep in the mud and catch rheumatism and starve——”

“And be a target for Yankee bullets like the rest of us,” added Richard Tremaine maliciously, who was a secret partisan of Mrs. Charteris. The conversation then grew general all about the coming war. The news of[50] South Carolina’s secession was still fresh and vivid, and it was realized that the parting of the ways had come. The ladies professed their willingness to wear their old hats and bonnets indefinitely, to scrape up all the linen sheets for lint and to outdo the women of the French Revolution in patriotism. The gentlemen encouraged the ladies by their laughter and applause except Neville Tremaine, but as he was usually a reticent man, no one was surprised at his silence. Mrs. Tremaine, as the mother of two gallant sons to give the Cause, assumed unconsciously the arrogance of proud motherhood and exchanged strange glances with Mrs. Charteris, who with one seventeen-year-old boy knew herself to be envious of the other woman.

It was after five o’clock before the last belated carriage load had arrived and the guests were marshaled into the dining room. A great table, bright with candles, was laid the full length of the room with side tables at intervals where the younger and merrier members of the party sat. It was a feast which would have delighted a Crusader. A huge turkey was set before Colonel Tremaine, who with elaborate apologies to the whole table, was forced to rise in order to carve the gigantic bird. Everything eatable that grew in the earth or walked upon it or could be found in the depths of the sea or winged its way through the air was found upon that Virginia dinner table. Hector was still able to keep his feet in spite of halcyon incursions upon the bowl of apple toddy in the hall, and was in great form and imitated with more than usual success all of Colonel Tremaine’s affectations. He spilled the wine upon the cloth, liberally distributed gravy[51] over some of the ladies’ dresses, and in a fit of absent-mindedness served the custard with the ham. But these trifles were borne suavely by all present except Lyddon, who reckoned Hector to be about as much use in the world as the fifth wheel to a coach or a second tail to a dog. There was much laughter, as became a Christmas feast, and Mrs. Tremaine, with a pride which she called humility, recognized that of all the young men present, her two sons easily bore away the palm. They had seats at the main table, but Angela with Archie and half a dozen youngsters were seated at the side tables.

Angela was glad of this until she found that she was in full view of Neville across the room, and instantly she became conscious of his observation. As the dinner progressed the war talk increased, and as the wine circulated freely and the decanters spun around the table upon the old-fashioned coasters, the conversation grew louder and graver. The war spirit in this people was strong. They loved fighting for fighting’s sake, and were eager to begin the conflict. The last stupendous course, a huge plum pudding, having been served, according to the old custom, the cloth was removed and the shining mahogany table bore only the nuts and wine. Then the drinking of toasts began. Colonel Tremaine’s usually pale and high-bred face was flushed, as it might well be after such a Christmas dinner and Christmas wine, and it grew still more so when he proposed a toast.

“My friends,” said he, “let us drink to the gallant State of South Carolina. She has shown us the way, and Virginia will soon follow. Let us drink this toast with all honors.” He rose and there was the noise of thirty persons[52] pushing back their chairs and coming to their feet. All glasses were filled and raised except one, and that was Neville Tremaine’s. Colonel Tremaine looked at him inquiringly, and Neville, smiling, said pleasantly to his father, “You, sir, as a soldier understand that as long as Virginia stays in the Union, I, as an officer of the United States Army, cannot drink the toast you propose.”

“Certainly,” answered Colonel Tremaine quickly. “You are excused, my son. We understand perfectly how you are situated at present, but the day will come when you will be able to drink to this sentiment with us.” The toast was drunk standing and then Mrs. Tremaine in a soft, clear voice at the head of the table added:

“And let us now drink to secession.” At this there was a burst of applause, and Mrs. Tremaine, sipping the last of her wine, did what only a woman bursting with patriotism could do, struck the slender stem of the wine glass on the edge of the table and smashed it to bits. Mrs. Charteris raised her hand.

“Spare the wine glasses,” she cried. “They’re cut glass, every one of them, and the breaking of one is enough to show Sophie Tremaine’s patriotism.”

The wine glasses were spared, but the fighting spirit was mightily increased by this simple action on Mrs. Tremaine’s part. By the time thirty persons had been served the fiddles were heard tuning up in the hall. There Uncle Josh, the plantation fiddler, with a couple of hirelings were running the bows across the strings. Other guests were arriving for the evening party. And to them coming from long distances in the December evening, another kind of a meal had to be immediately served;[53] hot biscuits, sandwiches, and coffee were reckoned to be a mere appetizer for the substantial supper which was due at midnight. Ladies muffled up in wraps and gentlemen in riding cloaks were pouring in a steady stream up the broad stairs and in a little while the large drawing-room was full, while in the library the card tables were set out for the elderly persons who liked a quiet rubber. The hall into which the piano had been wheeled was given up to the dancers, and half a dozen sets of quadrilles were formed. In those days gentlemen of all ages danced and usually made havoc in the lancers, which were just then coming into fashion, and of which the figures were only perfectly done by the young and modish. General round dancing was considered improper, and when Uncle Josh and his postulants played the few waltzes and polkas and schottisches in their repertory, girls danced with each other or with their brothers.

The apple toddy was going steadily the whole evening. In that day and time it was thought a mark of spirit in a man to become what was euphemistically called “a little mellow.” Colonel Tremaine was decidedly mellow and Mr. Brand mellower still. Dr. Yelverton, the great medical luminary of the county, had already requested Hector’s assistance up the stairs to the gentlemen’s dressing room, where he proposed to take a short nap. Hector, who was the mellowest man at Harrowby, attempted to assist the doctor up the steps, and but for Lyddon, who sustained them both, the pair would have come to grief on the first landing. Other elderly gentlemen did the double shuffle and cut pigeon wings after the manner of 1830, and several, following Dr. Yelverton’s example,[54] sought refuge at various times in the haven of the dressing room. About three o’clock in the morning, after seven hours of continuous dancing, the move was made to break up so that the driving home along the country roads could be made by the light of a late moon. Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine pressed each guest who hinted at departure to remain longer, but at last the order was given to play the reel with which all Virginia parties break up. This was the great dance of the evening, and the fiddlers put renewed energy into their sawing and scraping. Every gentleman asking a lady’s hand for the reel paid her a special compliment. Neville had danced with every lady in the room except Angela, but early in the evening he had whispered to her, “You’ll save the reel for me, won’t you?” And Angela had replied out loud, “Yes.” No one was excused from this last dance; even Lyddon, the most awkward man alive, was pressed into service and forced to walk through it. Colonel Tremaine led with Mrs. Charteris and executed the most beautiful and difficult steps ever seen, meanwhile blowing kisses to the ladies. When the march figure was executed, the rhythmic hand-clapping accentuated the music and put new life into the fiddlers. As the partners of the dance were in full view every moment, there was no opportunity for Neville to exchange a word with Angela, but as they passed fleetly down the middle she felt the warm pressure of his hand. It was an hour before the reel was over, and then when the last strain was played and the formation broken up, Angela, running up to Colonel Tremaine, whispered something in his ear. Then she went to the piano, and Archie, following a signal, appeared with his violin and[55] bow in his hand. Colonel Tremaine in a voice as mellow as himself called out:

“My friends, one thing more remains for this Christmas night. The daughter of our family and my youngest son have made themselves proficient in the new patriotic air called ‘Dixie,’ which is destined to become the national air of the South, and they will now have pleasure in performing it for you.” The voices and bustle of a crowd of persons stopped instantly, and Angela, playing the opening chord of ‘Dixie,’ Archie struck into the first inspiring strain of the air. The two played it through with immense fire and spirit and then a storm of applause burst forth. Gentlemen shook hands, ladies clasped each other and fell into a rapture of hand-clapping and cries of applause. The air had to be repeated a half dozen times, and each time the tempest of enthusiasm rose and swept with magic force the souls and hearts of all present. Two persons alone were excepted, Neville Tremaine and Lyddon. They stood together near the fireplace while the music and cheering echoed around them and exchanged significant glances. “It is the ça ira of to-day,” said Lyddon in Neville’s ear.

At last, after an hour of excitement, enthusiasm, laughter, cheering, and glorious anticipation of victory, the last guest had driven off, and the ghostly light of a pallid moon and the dawn was creeping in at the windows. The candles had burnt down in their sockets and the hall fire was low when the Harrowby family said good night, or rather good morning. Lyddon noticed that Angela, although in appearance so fragile, seemed as fresh as when the dancing had begun eight hours[56] before, and in fact she and Archie, after the fiddlers had gone, danced a final polka without music and had to be sent ignominiously to their rooms by Mrs. Tremaine’s authority. When Lyddon with Richard and Neville went into the study for a smoke before a three hours’ morning nap, they found Hector snoring comfortably on the hearth rug.

“I wonder if any people in the world except you easy-going Virginians would stand this sort of thing?” said Lyddon, who had never been able to accustom himself to the spectacle of a butler who had got tipsy on every possible occasion for forty years.

“Oh, that’s nothing!” replied Richard easily. “You never have understood our peculiar institution, Mr. Lyddon; it is strictly feudal, you know!”

“It is a little too infernally feudal for me,” replied Lyddon. “It is worse than the feudalism in the Highlands of Scotland.”



IT was broad daylight before the entire household at Harrowby was asleep, but Angela, in the great four-posted bed with curtains and valance, had fallen asleep—young, healthy being that she was—the instant her head touched the pillow. The day came dull and quiet, and no light penetrated the closed shutters and drawn curtains of the large room in which Angela slept. It was twelve o’clock before she opened her eyes and then closed them again. She felt a delicious sense of languor after her hours of dancing and gay excitement, and the large, soft bed invited continued repose. She could not, however, go to sleep again. Wandering thoughts of what had happened the night before stole upon her, and then all at once Neville’s image, his looks, the pressure of his hand, so different from anything she had ever known, flashed upon her. She tried to put the thought away and, closing her eyes resolutely, lay still as a statue with that determination to go to sleep which always defeats its object. Presently, she sighed and turned restlessly; there was no more sweet repose for her, she had come face to face with that insistent passion which questions and demands an answer.

For the first time in her life the thought of meeting Neville made her feel shy. She loved him, oh, yes! Better[58] than Richard, better than Archie! Neville had always been her champion who stood between her and disappointment, who warded off justice, who always approved of her, but Neville as a lover, as a husband—for Angela’s vivid mind traveled quickly—ah! that was different. If she married Neville it would be like the continuation of a story of which she already knew the best part. She yearned for life, movement, knowledge, a view of the great outside world, which to her in imagination appeared far more fascinating than any world could be, and yet on the threshold she was to be handed back to settle in the same groove, to see the same faces, do the same things as she had done all her life. She loved Harrowby with all her soul, but longed to try her wings in flight. It seemed as if the great book of life lay open before her, but she could not be permitted to read any part which she had not already read. Prince Charming, that other half of her heart and soul, that unknown being about whom it was so delicious to wonder, would never come to her.

Suddenly it came to her that Prince Charming was an entity and had a name—he was Philip Isabey. That straight-featured, black-eyed man of whom she had heard so much, whose wit, courage, daring, grace, and accomplishments Richard proudly recounted. In the still, abstracted life Angela led, with its narrow round of small duties, its larger but tamer pleasures, Angela’s imagination had felt the need of some object around which to weave its spell. Philip Isabey had become that object. Angela’s imagination was already in love with him and Angela and her imagination were one. She had never seen him, but that only made her long the more to see[59] him. He had dominated her girlish dreams as far back as she could remember. She recalled slipping into Richard’s room and looking with a delicious sense, half rapture, half guilt, at the daguerreotype of Isabey and the sketches of him which were pinned to the walls. This apotheosis of Philip Isabey was her only secret, and being watched and tended, it grew fast and was cherished. When the recollection of this dream idyl came to Angela, she sat up in bed and clasped her hands with dismay. It must now come to an end, for Neville loved her—Neville, the best and truest man on earth, but not Prince Charming.

Just then the door opened quietly and Mirandy entered with a breakfast tray. On it lay a note—a few lines from Neville wishing her good morning. Angela’s first impulse was to smile, then to scowl. She told Mirandy sharply that it was not yet time for rising and after making the fire to go out and leave her. Soon the blaze lighted up the great darkened room, and Angela tried to persuade herself that it was midnight and not day as she lay in the great white bed watching the firelight dancing on the ceiling. She thrust the note under her pillow, but she could not forget that it was there and it disturbed her. It was four o’clock in the afternoon before she came downstairs. The house was still, Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine having gone out for a drive, Lyddon, Richard, and Archie being off on different expeditions and the servants, more asleep than awake, in a general state of collapse. Angela went into the study and there sitting by the window was Neville with a book in his hand. He rose at once as she entered and closed the door after her.

[60]“I have been waiting to see you, Angela,” he said, taking her hand and leading her to the old leather-covered sofa; and then briefly and simply as a man who is a man speaks his love, he asked Angela to marry him. She had never said “no” to Neville in her life and it was clearly impossible now. Her shyness, her coldness, neither surprised nor disconcerted Neville. She was in many respects younger than her nineteen years, and this was her first acquaintance with love. But Neville knew or thought he knew that Angela’s intimacy with him was so great, her dependence on him so absolute, her affection for him of such long standing that she could not only be happy with him, but that she could not be happy with another man—for Neville Tremaine thought first of the woman he loved and secondly of himself. And in this belief he had a little time of rapture. But his dream was broken when he mentioned marriage to Angela.

“I shouldn’t have spoken so soon, Angela, but for the time in which we live. You know I am leaving day after to-morrow, and God knows when, if ever, I shall return.”

“You will come back when the State secedes,” said Angela positively. They were sitting on the sofa with Angela’s bright head close to Neville’s dark one.

“Ah, my dearest,” he said, “I don’t know whether I shall ever come back. I haven’t yet said whether I would resign from the army or not, and if I feel as I do now I shan’t.” Angela drew away from him and looked at him with wide, startled eyes.

“I—I don’t understand,” she said. “Of course you will resign; everybody expects that you will.”

[61]“I know it. It would be a great deal easier for me if I could. But a soldier, Angela, has not the same attitude of conscience that any other man has. You know honor should come first with every man, but military honor takes possession of a man and disposes of him; so it will dispose of me.”

Angela gazed at him with dark and troubled eyes. She did not fully understand all that Neville’s words implied, but they gave her pain and amazement and Neville seeing this gently explained to her. “What I mean is if the choice were given me on the one hand of having you, beloved, of fulfilling my father’s and mother’s wishes, of inheriting Harrowby as my father and mother have always told me, and on the other hand of giving up you and all whom I love and my inheritance, I should be compelled to do it if I felt that my duty as a soldier required me to remain in the United States Army, and at this moment it so appears to me.”

Angela fell back and withdrew her hand from Neville’s, and he made no effort to detain it. “You have promised to marry me, Angela,” he said quietly, “but if you are frightened at what you have done, I am the last man in the world to hold you to your word.”

The profoundest art could not have hit upon an idea more likely to influence Angela than the one which Neville had used without any art whatever. Angela, like all young creatures of high and untried courage, spurned the faintest suggestion of fear. “I am not afraid of anything,” she said. “I never was afraid to keep my word.”

“Child, you were never called upon to keep such a[62] promise as this, and what I may do may mean that I shall never again be recognized by any whom I love unless it be yourself; it may mean the same to you.”

“If it does, I hope I should not be less brave than you.” Angela put her hand again into Neville’s, and he saw that he was victor. They had one hour together sitting in the dusk of the old study where they spent so many hours in the past when Angela was a little girl in a white frock and Neville was already a young man. The one fascination which Neville had for Angela was in his courage, that quality most adorable, most compelling to all women. She had not asked herself whether she were in love with him or not; it seemed so impossible to go against Neville or to desert him, and yet it was not to her what she had dreamed first love to be. Neville was not Isabey. When at last in the twilight they heard the servants moving about in the other part of the house and the carriage with Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine drive up to the door, Angela rose hurriedly, confused for the first time in her life at being found alone with Neville. As they reached the door she caught his arm and said hurriedly: “Shouldn’t we keep this a secret?”

“Perhaps it would be better for you,” answered Neville after a moment. “You see the test is yet to come.” They passed into the hall and Neville went out to assist his mother from the carriage. As the great hall door opened a gust of icy air came in; the evening had grown bitterly cold. Mrs. Tremaine came up the steps with Neville’s arm around her, who, with the other arm, offered to assist the colonel, who repulsed him indignantly, meanwhile putting his arm around Neville’s neck.

[63]“A pretty pass, sir, it is when you imply that I am too old to get up the steps alone. I defy you, sir, or any fellow of your age to dance the Virginia reel as long as I can. I observed you youngsters last night. None of you had the life and spirit in you of your elders. Upon my soul, the youngsters of to-day are the most solemn, old-maidish, milk-and-watery set I ever knew. You should have been with us in Mexico. Ah, my dearest Sophie, the dark eyes of those Mexican Señoritas haunt me still!” And the colonel slapped himself upon the heart, and ogled Mrs. Tremaine as if she were sixteen and he were twenty.

That night there was to be a party at Greenhill and, as early hours were the fashion, the Harrowby carriage was to start at seven o’clock to make the five miles to Greenhill. In a little while Lyddon with Richard and Archie appeared, and they all sat round the hall fire discussing the ball of the night before. Colonel Tremaine was charmed with Angela and Archie’s delightful surprise of playing “Dixie” for the first time and insisted that Archie should take his violin to Greenhill that night and repeat the performance.

Angela had a very good excuse for not appearing at supper, saying that she was obliged to dress. But this was something new on her part, because usually when Neville was at home she had to be dragged away from him in order to make her toilet if they were going to a party. Colonel Tremaine, who was an arrant sentimentalist, had noticed one or two things between Angela and Neville, and when Mrs. Tremaine was putting on her lace headdress in her bedroom, the colonel tapped at the door and asked her to step into his dressing room. Then, closing[64] the door, he remarked: “My dearest Sophie, have you noticed anything of a suspicious nature, I mean an agreeably suspicious nature, between Angela and Neville?”

Mrs. Tremaine, gorgeous in blue satin, and adding a white feather to her headdress, stopped for a moment as if she had been shot, and put her hand to her heart. No woman ever hears with composure that she has been deposed from the throne in the heart of her favorite son. She remained silent for half a minute trying to collect her wits, for no such idea as that suggested by Colonel Tremaine had ever occurred to her before.

“No,” she said presently in a low voice. “I haven’t noticed anything. What have you observed, my dear?”

“Oh, only trifles, but they mark the beginning of love! Who should know them better than you and I?” The delicious flattery, the distinction of being made love to by a husband after more than thirty years of married life, was not lost on Mrs. Tremaine. When Colonel Tremaine added: “Should we not wish, my dearest Sophie, that our children should have the same happy married life that we have had?” Mrs. Tremaine smiled a faint, tremulous smile, and then Colonel Tremaine added: “Is it not much better that Neville’s future wife should already be a daughter to us? We have agreed that Neville shall inherit Harrowby, and how agreeable is the thought that there will be neither break nor intrusion between the present régime and those who are to inherit after us.”

There had ever been in Mrs. Tremaine’s mind a little haunting fear of the future unknown daughter-in-law, and at Colonel Tremaine’s words a deep feeling of relief and satisfaction came to her. Yes, if she were to yield[65] her dominion, it was best to yield it to Angela, the child loved almost as her own, and who would carry out the traditions of Harrowby and make mango pickle by the same recipe which had been in Mrs. Tremaine’s family for more than a hundred years.

Although Angela had begun dressing before six o’clock, the whole family were assembled in the hall ready to start before she came downstairs. She wore a white gown and had a little pearl necklace around her milk-white throat. The dress set off her girlish beauty or rather promise of beauty, and the thought of being under Neville’s eye brought a wild-rose bloom to her usually pale cheeks.

“Why, Angela,” cried Archie, “you are really getting good-looking, and not half as ugly as you promised to be.” He was rewarded with a sisterly slap.

Lyddon, who usually had to be dragged to evening parties, went willingly enough now. He was immensely interested in the psychologic developments of the time and lost no opportunity of seeing these people together and studying how they were to meet the great convulsion ahead of them, but that it would be a great convulsion, they seemed totally unaware. Usually when the Harrowby family went to parties the carriage was reserved for Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine and Angela. Richard and Neville preferred a trap of their own, and Lyddon always elected to go with them. For some inscrutable reason whenever the Harrowby carriage went out at night Hector occupied the box instead of the regular coachman, Colonel Tremaine protesting that he would rather be driven by Hector drunk than any other man sober. The[66] result was, however, that on the return journey, Colonel Tremaine invariably had to sit on the box beside Hector, who to Lyddon’s mind by no means deserved Colonel Tremaine’s good opinion of his driving when tipsy, and who had upset the carriage more than once. But the custom had been by no means upset, and Lyddon, not caring to risk his neck in such circumstances, always elected to go with the young men of the family. When Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine and Angela stood before the old-fashioned coach, new when Mrs. Tremaine was married, Neville helped his mother and Angela in; then Colonel Tremaine got in and Neville to everybody’s surprise took the fourth seat. “The fact is,” he said coolly, “I don’t mean to lose one minute of being with you, mother and father, and Angela.”

Angela sat back mute in her corner of the carriage while Colonel Tremaine observed with equal coolness: “It is most gratifying, my son, that you should be with us; perhaps the society of our charming Angela may have something to do with it.”

“It has a great deal to do with it,” replied Neville boldly. That was enough for Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine to understand all. No word was spoken, but Mrs. Tremaine put her arm around Angela and then Neville leaned over and kissed his mother. Their hearts were full of love and peace, except Angela’s. She felt a secret dissatisfaction; the pain of a coming disappointment and with it a sharp self-reproach, and all were so affectionate to her, so full of tenderness, it flashed upon her that she was a penniless orphan and that she was being welcomed in her new relation as if she had brought with her a royal[67] dowry. This thought only made her feel like an ingrate. Her silence was attributed to bashfulness, and Colonel Tremaine, meaning to relieve her, began to talk with Neville of the coming national struggle. Neville listened attentively and responded with animation. Only Angela noticed that he made no promise of resigning from the army when the crisis should come.

The party at Greenhill was a replica of the one at Harrowby. The Greenhill house was almost as spacious, and held the same people who had assembled the night before; the supper, the fiddlers, and all were exactly the same. Angela was a great belle, as she excelled in dancing, and her little feet twinkled the night through. Neville danced with her twice, whispering to her, “Don’t you remember the story my father tells about having danced ten consecutive quadrilles with my mother at a ball at Greenhill, and being very much surprised when the report got around that they were engaged?”

Angela smiled. She knew all of these old family jokes quite as well as Neville did. There could be no revelations between them.

Again was the coming war the absorbing topic of conversation among the older people, while the young men whispered sentimentally to the girls concerning the coming separation when all of these gallants expected to return covered with glory. No one asked any direct question of Neville, as it was understood that he was in honor bound to remain in the United States Army until the secession of Virginia, and after that his resignation was supposed to be as voluntary on his part as it was inevitable. Again the dance broke up while the pallid moon[68] was struggling with the ghostly dawn. Colonel Tremaine, as usual, mounted the box on starting for home, as Hector was in his customary state of exhilaration after a party, and saw four horses before him where there were only two. Not, however, until the carriage had been driven into a ditch did Colonel Tremaine take the reins from Hector, who with folded arms and profound indignation declared according to his invariable formula: “’Fo’ Gord, I ain’t teched a drap.”

That day there was a hunting party and a dinner afterwards at Barn Elms, an estate half across the county. Angela rode with Neville, but there was little time for lovers’ colloquy in the midst of a screeching run after the hounds, an uproarious country dinner, and the return afterwards by the light of the stars. The last evening of Neville’s stay was spent at Harrowby, and the tenderness of his parents toward him seemed redoubled. Angela, Richard, and Lyddon all knew that might be the last night which Neville would ever spend under that roof, but Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine were blindly unsuspecting. At half past nine, when the family assembled for prayers in the library as usual and Mrs. Tremaine asked God’s blessing upon “our son now departing from us,” her voice broke a little, and Angela, glancing toward Neville, saw that he was pale, and his eyes, the resolute eyes of a soldier, were wet with tears. He went upstairs with his father and mother and sat by his mother’s dressing table while Mammy Tulip, according to immemorial custom, brushed and plaited Mrs. Tremaine’s hair, still abundant although streaked with silver. Neville was to leave at daylight and mother and son would meet again, but this[69] was their last chance for that soft intercourse which Mrs. Tremaine had ever maintained with her sons as with her husband. Mrs. Tremaine felt the delicate homage which Neville paid her in giving her this last hour, and when Mammy Tulip had left the room, held out her hand to Neville and said sweetly: “My son, we see how it is between you and Angela, and your father and I will take care of her for you.”

Neville drew his chair up to his mother’s, and the mother and son talked together as they had done when Neville was a little bright-eyed boy and Mrs. Tremaine was almost as slender as Angela. Neville’s heart was in his mouth. He dreaded every moment that Mrs. Tremaine would ask him the direct question of what he meant to do when the State seceded and he knew that no kind of evasion would serve him then. But Mrs. Tremaine, like Colonel Tremaine, took everything for granted. While they were still sitting together Colonel Tremaine came in from his dressing room. In the old days that had been the signal that the boys should leave, and Neville, remembering this, rose to go.

“Never mind, my son,” said the colonel. “You may remain a while longer.”

“I thought it was contrary to regulations,” answered Neville, placing a chair for his father.

“Oh, the regulations are suspended on this, your last night at home. I will say, however, if it hadn’t been for my discipline, you and your brothers would long since have worn your mother to a thread with your demonstrative affection.” The colonel’s discipline had always consisted in letting his sons do exactly as they had pleased,[70] and their demonstrative affection was directly inherited from him. All this Mrs. Tremaine knew perfectly well and smiled, but, like a discreet wife, permitted the colonel to think that it was his iron hand which had kept everything in order at Harrowby. In the study below, Lyddon and Richard Tremaine sat smoking while Archie in a corner by the fireplace dreamily played his fiddle. Angela, whose bedtime was supposed to be when Mrs. Tremaine went upstairs, flitted in and out of the room. She felt it due to Neville that she should give him a little time before that last hurried parting at dawn the next morning. Presently the sound of Neville’s step in the hall was heard. Archie stopped his fiddling and cried: “There’s Neville! I want to see him again to-night. I’m going to ask him to send me a new bird gun like the one he had here last year.”

“Stay where you are, you little whipper-snapper,” said Richard with authority.

“What for?” asked Archie, wondering. Richard looked at Lyddon and then answered Archie.

“Because Neville is with Angela, you little idiot.”

“Well, suppose he is,” answered the unsuspecting Archie. “Angela’s always with Neville for that matter.” And Richard, rising and taking him by the back of his neck, plumped him down in a chair and told him to stay there until his brother should come in. In a little while Neville entered, and Archie began on the subject of the bird gun, which Neville promised to send to him, and then the boy went off to bed.

The three men, left together with cigars and whisky and a good fire, settled themselves for a symposium such[71] as they had enjoyed a thousand times before. As Lyddon looked at the two young men before him, a sense of impending disaster suddenly overwhelmed him. The thought of a break in this family, so passionately attached to each other, so much in sympathy, was poignant to him. Strangely enough he felt and saw that in this case the tie of brotherhood would stand a greater strain than that even of fatherhood or motherhood. Richard Tremaine had a largeness of mind which was totally unknown to Colonel Tremaine, and Mrs. Tremaine never pretended to think; she only felt. The talk inevitably drifted toward the state of public affairs. Richard Tremaine was the only man in the whole county so far as Lyddon knew who had any just appreciation of the magnitude of the coming conflict. Richard coolly reckoned upon the war lasting until one side or the other was exhausted—the North in money, the South in men. Neville naturally looked at it with the eye of a military man. There all was chaos. Neville was too good a student of military history to underrate the strength of five million homogeneous people fighting upon their own ground. He had observed that the North had the same undervaluation of the fighting strength of the South which the South unquestionably had of the North. He spoke of this. “Those dangerous delusions,” he said, “will soon pass away on both sides, then will come a struggle the like of which has not often been seen. If the United States had a trained army of two or three hundred thousand men to start with, the result could be better predicated. As it is, great multitudes of men on both sides will have to be trained to be soldiers and the real fighting won’t begin until that is done.” This was[72] controverted by Richard, who believed that the Southern armies would need far less training than the Northern, and that the first successes of the South would be so brilliant as to stagger the North and incline it for peace. Lyddon listened, occasionally interjecting a word. The discussion, earnest but not bitter, lasted until near midnight, when Richard, rising, said to Neville:

“Come along, old boy, you must have some sleep before starting.” The two went off, their arms around each other’s necks as Lyddon had often seen them in their boyhood, and passed into their little low-ceiled rooms next the study. As Lyddon followed them to his own room, he heard Neville rousing Peter, who lay asleep on the hearth rug before Richard’s fire. One of the continuing marvels to Lyddon was this universal practice of the negroes making the fire at night in the bedrooms and then lying down and going to sleep on the hearth rug. None of them so far as Lyddon knew had yet been burnt up, but why any of them had escaped, he never could understand.

Next morning in the ghostly dawning hour, Neville Tremaine left his father’s roof. His farewell to his mother and her last blessing had been given him in her bedroom. Angela met him on the landing of the stair and gave him a shy parting kiss. They went down together into the hall where Colonel Tremaine, Lyddon, Richard, and Archie and a crowd of servants waited to tell him good-by. The farewells were hurried, as there was no time to spare. Neville said little, but under his self-control he was inwardly agitated. When he was in the act of stepping into the trap, Richard holding in two[73] impatient horses, Neville turned back to grasp his father’s hand once more. At the same moment an old, blind hound came up to Neville and putting a humble, deprecating paw upon Neville’s knee, licked his hand, whining mournfully meanwhile. It seemed to Neville a sad portent.

“Good-by, father,” he said. “If you should never shake hands with me again, remember if I haven’t been as good a son as I should be, no son ever loved a father and mother better than I loved you and my mother.”

Colonel Tremaine, holding Neville’s hand, grew a little pale; some premonition of Neville’s meaning flashed upon him. He could only say brokenly: “You have ever been the best of sons to us.” And the next moment Neville was gone.



THE beginning of the fateful year of 1861 was full of events as dramatic as they were stupendous. State after State left the Union, her representatives withdrawing from the floors of Congress and her naval and military officers promptly resigning from the service of the United States. While these extraordinary and momentous changes were taking place all eyes were fixed upon the great State of Virginia, standing sentinel at the gateway between the North and the South. In case of Civil War all the world knew that she would be the battle ground. Her fields, rich and peaceful, where the harvesters had gleaned for two hundred years, would be drenched with blood and be swept by hurricanes of fire; the primeval woods over which an eternal peace had brooded would be torn by shot and riven by shell. The quiet towns would be starved and beleaguered and the placid country harried by fire and sword. Her people, who in the nineteenth century still lived in the calm and isolation of the eighteenth century and who had fallen into a happy lethargy, were to be suddenly transformed into an army of fighting men, and her women were to work and pray by night and day. Out of their placidity, which often[75] degenerated into slothfulness, was to be evolved an almost superhuman energy. Her resources for war and siege would have been insignificant except that she held in reserve, ready to sacrifice at a moment’s notice, all the blood, all the powers, and all the possessions of a race justly described as a strong, resolute, and ofttimes violent people.

By the opening of the year 1861 there was no longer doubt of what these people meant to do; but they thought and acted slowly, and they were long in doing what they had resolved from the beginning to do. Early in February a call had been issued for a convention to meet at Richmond to determine the destiny of Virginia. Richard Tremaine announced his candidacy for the honor of representing his county in this convention. He was so young, being barely twenty-seven years of age, that if he should get the suffrages of the people he would certainly be the youngest man in the whole assembly to which he aspired. His claims, however, put forward as they were with modesty and dignity, were received with favor.

Richard Tremaine, himself, with the self-command of a well-balanced mind, was able to disguise the gratification he felt at the prospect before him. Not so his womenkind or Colonel Tremaine, who was never tired of quoting the triumphs of William Pitt and Henry Clay at Richard’s age and confidently predicted these triumphs would be paralleled in Richard’s case. Lyddon would not have been surprised at any great thing which Richard Tremaine might achieve either in public life or in war. Richard had fully made up his mind,[76] even if he should be elected to the convention, he would resign as soon as decisive action was taken and enter the military service of the Confederacy. He had already begun the study of strategy and tactics and especially of artillery. Lyddon, helping and admiring, could only compare Richard’s mind to a beacon light moving upon a pivot which illuminated every object upon which it was concentrated. Never had Lyddon in all his life before lived so strenuous an intellectual life as from the Christmas of 1860 until the February day when he rode with Richard Tremaine from one polling place to another in the county only to feel assured long before the votes were counted that Richard Tremaine had triumphed over men of twice his age and twenty times his actual experience. Lyddon, however, had no distrust of young men and particularly in the great coming crisis when the theory of the government of the people was to be put upon trial. He thought it the time for men in the full flush of energy and with the splendid philosophy of youth to come to the front.

In those weeks since Christmas, life had gone on in outward quiet at Harrowby. Immediately after the Christmas time all dancing and frolicking in the county had suddenly come to an end. In one psychic moment the people realized that they had great business in hand. The women became more thoughtful and yet more enthusiastic than the men, and patriotism with them speedily assumed the form of a religion. This was singularly marked in the ladies of Harrowby. No human beings can live in the closeness of intimacy of the Harrowby family without a prescience concerning each other.[77] A dreadful doubt had begun to haunt Mrs. Tremaine concerning Neville, her best beloved—he might give his sword not to his State, but to her enemies. Mrs. Tremaine dared not put this fear in words even to Colonel Tremaine. The same grim suspicion was likewise haunting him. He avoided Mrs. Tremaine’s eyes when they spoke together of Neville, each striving to hide from the other this specter which walked with them and sat at meat with them and was always within touch of them by day and by night. In the wintry afternoons when Mrs. Tremaine paced up and down the Ladies’ Walk a certain number of times, according to her daily habit for more than thirty years, those who approached her saw a strange expression on her face—an expression of fear and anxiety. Colonel Tremaine, watching her from his library window, forebore to go out and join her as he usually did, but instead strode restlessly like a caged lion up and down the library. Mrs. Tremaine, observing his figure as he passed the window, knew that the same fear was gnawing at his heart as at hers—the fear that their eldest-born should prove a renegade and a traitor, for so both parents considered the question of Neville’s remaining in the army.

As the weeks wore on the tension of minds grew more acute, and it soon came to the point that Lyddon could no longer openly express his political views, which were totally opposed to slavery; the Southern people allowed no man freedom of conscience in the matter. Slavery, which for the first thirty years of the century had been frankly condemned and anxiously sought to be abolished by Washington, Jefferson, and all thinking men in the[78] State, had in the next thirty years fastened itself, in all its monstrosity, upon the body politic and had stifled remonstrance. As John Randolph said: “The South had a wolf by the ears and was afraid to let go and afraid to hold on”; but as their fear of letting go was greater than their fear of holding on, they held on until they were half-devoured by this wolf called Slavery.

Lyddon, watching and observing, could not speak his mind on the past and future of slavery even to Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine. Until then Lyddon’s views had been accepted with good-humored tolerance and looked upon as the cranky notions of a stranger from beyond the ocean seas. Now, however, the matter had become too acute, too exquisitely painful, and after one or two fierce contradictions from the usually mild-mannered Colonel Tremaine, followed by profuse apologies, Lyddon sat silent whenever the subject of the coming war was under discussion. But he could still talk with Richard Tremaine and to Lyddon’s sardonic amusement with Angela. She was, of course, red-hot for the South, but condescended to exchange views with Lyddon sometimes on the subject when they sat together on winter evenings in the study. The Harrowby family had long ago instinctively formed itself into three groups—Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine, whose habitat was the colonel’s big library full of unread books, Lyddon with Richard and Neville, when he was at home, in the study, and Angela and Archie, who were graduated from the nursery, also in the study as the schoolroom.

The habit still kept up, and while in the big, handsome library Mrs. Tremaine in the evenings stitched[79] thread cambric ruffles for the colonel’s shirt fronts and Colonel Tremaine read aloud to her from the “Lake Poets,” a practice that he had formed during their courtship days when between compliments and lovemaking, he had read to her the whole of Wordsworth’s “Excursion.” At the same hour in the evening Angela and Archie were supposed to be learning their lessons in the study, which after they went to bed was given over to smoking and the talk of grown-ups like Lyddon and Richard. Archie had always depended upon Angela to help him with his lessons and although she no longer studied regularly herself, she was always there to encourage Archie. While the boy with his fingers in his ears was struggling with his Latin and Greek, Angela would listen to Lyddon and flash back at him those quick intuitive truths which women acquire without knowing how they do it. As Lyddon often quoted to Angela:

“A man with much labor and difficulty climbs to the top of a high mountain; when he arrives he finds a woman there already, but she could not tell to save her life how she got there.”

“But she is there all the same, Mr. Lyddon,” Angela would reply with demure eyes and a saucy smile.

Neville’s letters, as affectionate as ever, came regularly, for the mails with the North were not yet interrupted. These letters were brief. Neville had not Richard’s powers of language; he was distinctively a man of action, but he expressed himself with simplicity and vigor which is the embodiment of the best eloquence. Once a week Angela received from him a letter full of[80] affection. It was a model love letter, quite beyond the power of the professedly accomplished letter writer. Angela read it with a blush not of pleasure but of that secret discomfort of which she was ashamed and actually afraid, and at this thought the discomfort increased. “Did ever any girl before feel as she did when receiving her lover’s letters?” she asked herself.

On the assembling of the convention Richard Tremaine left Harrowby for Richmond. As soon as the body assembled, the result of its deliberations were easily foreseen and from that day the whole of Virginia became a great camp of instruction. The initial steps were taken toward the organization of regiments. The women were not a whit behind in their eagerness to begin the work of equipping hospitals, of furnishing the soldiers with stockings and other comforts, and of raising funds for the presentation of flags to the different companies. Mrs. Tremaine, the soul of modesty and retirement, was the chief mover in all these plans and was ably seconded by Mrs. Charteris. The men were fiercely determined; the women were more fiercely indomitable. Colonel Tremaine at seventy-two and much troubled with rheumatism was full of military ardor, and proposed to take the field with Hector as soon as Virginia seceded. Hector did not receive this proposition with unalloyed delight, and argued with Colonel Tremaine.

“Ole Marse, you got de rheumatiz an’ I got de ager an’ we cyarn’ do much fightin’ when you is cussin’ de rheumatiz an’ my teef is rattlin’ wid de ager.”

“With cowardice, you mean, you black scoundrel,” answered Colonel Tremaine, who spoke his mind freely[81] to Hector, although by no means allowing anyone else so great a liberty. “When I had you in Mexico, by gad, you had the ague every time you got within ten miles of a Mexican and you would run like a rabbit at the sight of a green uniform.”

“Good Gord A’might’, Marse! You done forgot——”

“No, I haven’t, sirrah, but when we go to fight the Yankees, I shall make it a point to keep you within ten feet of me whenever we are under fire.” As Colonel Tremaine was utterly insensible to fear, as Hector knew by sad experience, and bowed and scraped and flourished exactly the same when bullets were whistling around his head as when asking a lady to dance the Virginia reel, Hector was appalled at the prospect.

On a March day the lists for volunteers in the event of war were opened at the courthouse. Colonel Tremaine in high feather, mounted his horse and rode off to offer, as he magniloquently expressed it, “his sword to his State.” He was a fine rider and wore a handsome plum-colored riding dress with top-boots such as had been the fashion in 1830. About the same hour Archie mysteriously disappeared and when lesson time came could not be found high or low.

Lyddon was in the study standing with his back to the fire and wondering what had become of Archie when Angela entered. One look at her eloquent and speaking face revealed what no woman can conceal—that she had a secret. “I believe you know where the boy is,” said Lyddon.

“Yes,” replied Angela, coming up to him and laughing.[82] “He is off to the courthouse to put his name down. Of course, he is not eighteen, but he means to swear he is.”

“Unluckily for him there are too many people in the county who know just how old he is.”

“Mrs. Charteris is quite inconsolable because George Charteris is only seventeen. She says she almost wishes the State would not secede until next year so that she would be able to contribute her only son to the Cause.”

“The women haven’t been like this since the Peloponnesian War, when the ladies of Sparta encouraged their sons to go forth to meet the Athenians and to return either with their shields or upon them. One would think that these Virginians were like those old Spartans who fashioned their doors with the sword and their ceilings with the ax.”

“I suppose,” said Angela, “it is in our blood. You see, we came to Virginia most of us after fighting in England; then, you see, we had to fight the Indians, and we had to fight the British twice, you know——”

“Oh, yes, I know, you Americans have regular Berserker outbreaks when nothing can keep you from fighting! This time, however, you will be obliged to fight. Nothing but a blood bath can rid you of slavery now.”

“And would you have us turn all these negroes out upon the cold world,” cried Angela, arguing as she had been taught. “What would become of Mammy Tulip! Who would give Uncle Hector his bread? Because neither one of them could earn it.”

[83]“Quite true, my little girl. But you will see Peter and Mirandy and Lucy Ann and Sally and Jim Henry and Tasso and the rest of them all developing into Aunt Tulips and Uncle Hectors and eating up the substance of their masters.”

“Well, we won’t say anything more on that subject.”

“But you should be cautious in expressing your opinion in these dangerous times if things are as they appear to be between you and Neville.” It was the first time that Lyddon had ever alluded to the secret tie between Angela and Neville. Angela’s face grew pale when she should have blushed. She drew back and scrutinized Lyddon closely under her narrow lids with their long, dark lashes.

“Of course, Neville will go with his State,” she said after a pause. But there was no note of conviction in her voice.

“Don’t be sure of that; Neville will do what he thinks right, but his ideas may not be yours nor even those of his father and mother, and you must make up your mind in advance what to do when the hour of fate strikes. It will be asking more courage of you than even a courageous woman possesses, to take sides with Neville in case he remains in the United States Army.”

Lyddon, like Neville, had unwittingly touched the responsive cord in Angela’s heart. The idea that if she refused to stand by Neville she would be reckoned a coward was the strongest motive in the world to incline her to go with Neville.

Toward twelve o’clock Colonel Tremaine, accompanied[84] by Archie, was seen coming down the lane and presently dismounted disconsolately. He was anxiously awaited by Hector, who had not the slightest desire to keep within ten feet of Colonel Tremaine in case the colonel’s military services should be accepted. Mrs. Tremaine and Angela were in the garden superintending the trimming up of the shrubbery and hastened to the gate to meet the returning absentees. Lyddon, who was sauntering about with a book in his pocket, came up to hear the history of the morning’s adventures. Peter was on hand to take the horses and as he had aspirations to “go wif Marse Richard to de war,” took the liberty after the negro fashion of listening to what his superiors had to say. But Peter’s interest was not a patch on Hector’s, whose black face had taken on a queer shade of ash color at the prospect of accompanying Colonel Tremaine upon a campaign.

“Well, my dearest Sophie,” said the colonel petulantly, as soon as Mrs. Tremaine had got through the garden gate, “I have been most unhandsomely treated this day, most unhandsomely, and by two men whom I regarded as lifelong friends and between whose ancestors and mine an intimacy of generations has subsisted. I allude to Dr. Yelverton and Colonel Carey.”

“They treated me as mean as dirt,” growled Archie.

“They did, my son?” asked Mrs. Tremaine.

“Yes, they treated this boy very ill. Colonel Carey, you know, aspires to the colonelcy of the regiment to be raised in the county and has got himself elected the head of the committee in charge of enlistments. Carey knows my record in the Mexican War perfectly well[85] when I was his superior in rank. This morning when I reached the room in the clerk’s office where Carey was presiding over what he calls a board of enlistment or something of the sort, there I found this boy. All they had to do was to look at him to know that he is fully capable of bearing arms and accustomed to an outdoor life, but because he was not eighteen they simply refused to listen to him and told him to go back to his Latin grammar. This was most humiliating to the boy’s feelings.”

“It made me so mad I wanted to knock ’em both down,” cried Archie angrily.

“And were you going to enlist, my little boy?” said Mrs. Tremaine, the light of proud motherhood coming into her eyes. She put her arm around the boy’s neck and kissed him on his forehead.

“Yes, I was, mother, and I can shoot as straight as either Richard or Neville.”

Here Lyddon, who had come up, spoke. “That is true, my lad, but all experience proves that although boys like you can fight as well as men, they can’t march as well and they only fill up the hospitals.”

“But,” continued Colonel Tremaine, his wrath rising, “the language and conduct of Carey and Yelverton to me was far more exasperating. I did not attempt to disguise my age, seventy-two next September, but as hardy as any one of my sons. I took a high tone with Carey and I think he would have accepted my services. But then Yelverton, whom I have known as boy and man for nearly sixty-five years, who was born and brought up within four miles of Harrowby, took[86] it upon himself to inform Carey that I had rheumatism, sciatica, lumbago, and half a dozen other diseases that I never heard of before, and absolutely laughed at the notion of my doing military duty; laughed in my face.”

“My hero,” said Mrs. Tremaine softly, as if she were sixteen and the colonel were twenty, while Angela, slipping her hand into Colonel Tremaine’s, kissed him on the cheek and said, “What a brave old warrior you are! If I were a Yankee I should certainly run when I saw you coming at me.”

The colonel’s list of injuries was not yet exhausted and he continued wrathfully: “But then what do you suppose I discovered? Yelverton, whose age I know as well as mine—he will be sixty-four this very month—I find had already enlisted as surgeon and proposes to accompany the troops to the front. I am as robust a man as Yelverton, more so, in fact, and told him so to his face when I found out his unhandsome conduct. Anthony Yelverton is young enough to serve in the Southern Army, but I am not.” The colonel struck himself dramatically in the breast with his left hand, while his right arm, stiffly extended, held his riding crop as if it were a sword. Mrs. Tremaine duly condoled with the colonel upon Dr. Yelverton’s reprehensible conduct.

One of those present, however, heard with unmixed satisfaction of the result of the colonel’s expedition. This was Hector, who, as soon as he found there was no chance of the colonel’s going to war, professed the most reckless valor and assumed the air of a military daredevil. “Never you min’, ole Marse,” he said, confidentially,[87] “me’be you an’ me kin run ’way an’ jine de army. Doan’ you ’member de song dey used to sing in de Mex’can War, ‘Ef you wants to have a good time, jine de cava’ry!’”

“Yes, you black rascal, I do, and I also remember that I had to drag you by the hair of your head from Harrowby to the City of Mexico, but nobody made better time than you coming back.”

This was deeply mortifying to Hector repeated in the presence of Peter, who thrust his tongue in his cheek and winked disrespectfully at Hector, which caused the latter to say viciously: “You teck dem ho’ses to de stables right ’way, you black nigger. When Marse Richard gwine to de war I lay he teck me stid you.”

“I shouldn’t be surprised,” said Angela, putting her arm through Archie’s, “if you and Uncle Tremaine didn’t both run away together some day, but anyhow Harrowby has two men to give the State, Richard and Neville.”

A short silence followed. Mrs. Tremaine looked down upon the ground, and Colonel Tremaine’s troubled eyes turned from the frank and questioning looks of Archie and Angela and Lyddon’s inscrutable gaze. Nobody knew whether Harrowby had two men to defend Virginia or whether there was but one, while the other should draw his sword to shed the blood of his brethren.



WITH the opening of the books of enlistment the whole county caught fire. When the people met at the old Petworth Church on Sundays there was nothing but talk of the coming war. The sermons of Mr. Brand, the rector, were one long war cry against the Yankees and exhortations to go forth and fight to the death in the great cause of States’ Rights. The clergyman was remorselessly badgered by Mrs. Charteris, who had extorted from him the secret of his age, which was considerably over forty-five. Dr. Yelverton, who, in spite of his sixty-five years, thought Mrs. Charteris, who was not yet forty years old, none too young for him, immediately grew in favor with the lady. Mrs. Charteris had played them off one against the other with consummate skill for fifteen years. But when the trumpet of war resounded and Mr. Brand elected to stay at home, while Dr. Yelverton, examining himself as a surgeon, pronounced himself entirely fit for duty in the army, he at once gained a tremendous lead in the lady’s favor.

George Charteris, the only son of his mother, was at school near Baltimore, but by command of Mrs. Charteris he was to make straight for Greenhill as soon as Virginia should secede.

[89]All the boys in the county of Archie Tremaine’s and George Charteris’s age were burning to enlist and formed companies of their own, studying and drilling with the utmost ardor. The interest in events was not confined to the white people. The negroes, knowing that the whole future of their race depended upon the issue of the coming struggle, took a feverish, furtive interest in the unfolding of each day’s happenings and listened slyly to all that was said by the white people. At night they collected at their quarters and, sitting around in a ring, listened to what the house servants had to tell them of the talk that went on at the “gret house.” They were no longer permitted to visit the different estates freely at night, but were kept as far as possible from communicating with each other. Lyddon saw this and trembled for the fate of the women and children to be left defenseless in the power of the black race, and thought the white people madly optimistic when they expressed no fear whatever of the negroes in case of war—a confidence which was nobly sustained when the hour came.

The outward peace was not broken; Lyddon had ever thought lowland Virginia the most entirely peaceful spot he had ever known in his life, but the earthquake was at hand. He said this to Angela, who in Richard’s absence in Richmond attending the convention had come to be the only person to whom Lyddon could speak his mind freely.

“You have always been restless and yearning for something to happen,” he said to her one day in the garden as she was snipping dead twigs off a rose bush.[90] “But you won’t be able to complain of that any more; stupendous things will happen and that very shortly.”

Angela’s eyes flashed with pleasure. “I don’t mind things happening,” she said. “I have red blood in me; I don’t like stagnation.” Lyddon, looking at her, felt pity welling up in his heart; the pity which maturity, having already suffered, feels for youth—pathetic youth, which has still to suffer. Whether Angela went with Neville or against him it would be hard for her. The idea of turning against Neville would be to her as if the sun rose in the west or water ran uphill. She had for him a sublimated friendship which was like love and yet was not love.

The mail came only three times a week and every mail brought long letters from Richard in Richmond. He told precisely the progress of events in the convention, the efforts of the Peace Commission, the calm hearing given to the men who wished Virginia to stay in the Union; but he never changed his opinion that the State would secede and that the day of blood was at hand.

Neville’s letters began to be irregular; only two were received from him in March and one in April. He spoke of others which he had written, but which had never been received. When Mrs. Tremaine opened these letters her face always grew pale, and it was paler still when she had finished reading them and passed them over to Colonel Tremaine. Angela read hers, too, in silence; she could not be expected to show them to anyone, but she spoke no word indicating any knowledge of what Neville meant to do.

[91]Neville’s last letter came the middle of April. Lyddon, who had ridden to the post office, handed it to Angela in the study. She was sitting at the window reading, and Lyddon as he came in thought her a charming picture of youth and happiness. She wore a gown the color of the iris which was blooming in the box upon the window sill, for Angela claimed the right to put her flowerpots in the study windows. The April day was warm and bright, and the sunny air which was wafted in at the window had in it the intoxication of the spring. Angela’s book evidently amused her, for she was laughing as she raised her eyes to Lyddon’s when he held out the letter. Instantly her face clouded. She broke the seal and read her letter rapidly. But more rapid was the change which came over her. She sat quite still for a long time looking at the letter lying in her lap, and then, pale and quiet, rose and passed out of the room.

Meanwhile the April sky had suddenly clouded, and a few heavy drops of rain like tears had begun to fall. Lyddon’s heart ached for the girl. She was different to him from any human being he had ever known. The simile which so often occurred to him came back with strange force—that he was a gardener cultivating an exquisite flower for some one else. He had cultivated already two sturdy trees in Richard and Neville and a beautiful hardy sapling in Archie, but never before had he trained a flower in the person of a young girl. Her acquirements, which would have been nothing in a man, were extraordinary for a woman, and Lyddon in view of this would have been alarmed for her except that[92] she understood and practiced housewifery well, was devotedly fond of music, loved to dance, and like the normal woman made dress a species of religion. Thus were the sweet femininities maintained.

Lyddon realized one price which Angela had to pay for the training he had given her—she had no intimate girl friends. She had plenty of girl companions—Dr. Yelverton’s granddaughters, Colonel Carey’s daughters; but there was no real community of soul between these young creatures and Angela. These other girls were satisfied with the quiet country life in which they dwelt as their mothers and grandmothers had dwelt, but their ideas of splendor were confined to a larger house and more servants than they possessed at present and to an annual trip to the White Sulphur Springs. Not so Angela Vaughn. She longed for palaces and parks and for the mysterious joys and splendors which she imagined therein could be found. The Greeks were her soul ancestors, and she had an adoration for beauty in form, color, and sound. She made Lyddon, who was quite insensible to music, repeat to her all the details of the few operas to which he had been dragged and which had bored him to excess during his European life. Richard’s years in Paris and Neville’s visits to New York and Saratoga had filled Angela’s girlish heart with longing, a longing which Mrs. Tremaine thought positively wicked and the girls of Angela’s acquaintance considered eminently foolish.

Lyddon, in his profession as a trainer of youth, had always reckoned as a positive detriment any education which segregated a human being from his fellows. He[93] had reckoned all education which is totally derived from books as light without warmth. He had good reason for this belief, his own passion for books having separated him from men in general and having quenched in him most of the living and vivifying emotions. He had not been able to quench love, although he had hid it in a sepulcher and closed the door with a great stone. It was his fate, not having children of his own, to love the children of others and when he had grown to love them, they slipped easily from his grasp, except Richard and Neville Tremaine. But Lyddon believed that he should still hold to Archie and to that charming child Angela, for he could never reckon Angela as wholly grown up. There was an eternal simplicity about her, the frankness of a child in which Lyddon had never perceived any change from the time she wore pinafores.

Lyddon, thinking these thoughts, stood before the study window watching the changing April day, alternately fair and stormy. He felt convinced from Angela’s face on reading her letter that she was struggling with the great problem of whether she should stand by Neville or abandon him. Lyddon, whose knowledge of her was acute, and who knew the generous impulses of her nature, believed she would stand by Neville. But would she be happy in so doing? Ah, of that he was very far from certain! No one but Angela and himself knew that she had received a letter from Neville and the silence maintained about it proved that the letter contained something painful. At dinner that day Angela sat silent and constrained until rallied by Archie; she then assumed her usual air of gayety. In the afternoon[94] she went for a long walk alone and coming back at twilight paced up and down the garden until Mrs. Tremaine sent a message out to her that she must come in because the night was damp and chilly. The long walk at the end of the garden, where the old wooden bench sat against the wall and the gnarled and twisted lilacs flourished in green old age, was as much Angela’s beat as the Ladies’ Walk was Mrs. Tremaine’s. She passed Lyddon on the stairs as she went up to her room to make ready for supper, and her face was so wan and woe-begone that Lyddon felt sorry for her. At supper, however, she appeared in her usual spirits. She had brought back from her walk in the woods some sprays of the trailing arbutus and wore them in her shining hair.

The talk as usual was about the coming war. The Richmond newspapers had been received that day, and Lyddon had got his English newspapers. Colonel Tremaine inquired about the state of opinion in England concerning the outbreak of civil war in America, and although Lyddon was guarded in his replies Colonel Tremaine became irritated by them. While the brief discussion lasted Lyddon was confirmed in a suspicion concerning the negroes. They were intently listening and watching all that went on, and the white family was never left alone. Formerly at meal times with Hector, Tasso, and Jim Henry to wait it was sometimes difficult to get any one of them in the room. Tasso and Jim Henry would be engaged in transporting from the kitchen hot batter cakes, hot muffins, and all the other varieties of hot bread of which the formula invariably[95] was, “Take two and butter them while they are hot.” Meanwhile, Hector would be in the pantry resting himself from the arduous labors of directing Tasso and Jim Henry. But now one or the other of the subordinates was always at hand. Lyddon was convinced that they were the purveyors of news to all the negroes on the plantation. There was a bell on the back porch, and every one of the twenty-five servants engaged in the house, the garden, and the stables had a number. Sometimes Lyddon had known the whole gamut of this bell to be rung before a single servant appeared on the spot, but now they were always at hand.

Usually in these discussions of the coming war Angela took a prominent part. She wished to be like the maidens of Sparta and thought she could have done the act of Charlotte Corday, and talked enthusiastically of nursing, like a Sister of Mercy, soldiers in the hospitals. To-night, however, she seemed not interested in that subject, but willing to talk on any other. After supper Archie got out his violin and the two played together as usual. They generally wound up their performances with “Dixie,” but to-night Angela omitted it. No one noticed this except Lyddon.

As she took her candle from the hall table she went to the fireplace and, holding the candle above her head, studied the picture of Penelope and the Suitors. Seeing Lyddon coming out of the study she turned quickly and went upstairs. Lyddon, who was a bad sleeper, waked in the middle of the night and, going to the window to look at the night sky, saw that candles were still burning in Angela’s room. He lighted the lamp[96] at his bedside and read an hour and then went again to the window. Angela’s light was still burning. Lyddon’s heart ached for her.

It was then the middle of April. Two days afterwards when the Richmond newspapers arrived it was proclaimed that the Federal Government had called on Virginia for her quota of troops to subdue the seceding States. This at once forced the issue. The convention then went into secret session, and the beginning of the crisis was at hand. The tension of men’s minds grew fiercely acute. Colonel Tremaine no longer sent to the post office for the letters, but went himself, riding hard both ways. At any moment now Virginia might be riven from the Union. Every mail brought a long letter from Richard Tremaine. Any day, any hour, might bring the great news; but as fate generally wills it the unexpected happened.

One evening, just as the soft spring night had closed in and the Harrowby family were assembled in the hall waiting for the announcement of supper, a sudden wild commotion was heard at the hall door. Archie ran and opened it. Outside a crowd of negroes were delightedly welcoming and “howdying” Richard Tremaine. He flung himself off his horse, ran up the steps, burst into the hall, and waving his hat in the air cried out in a ringing voice, “Hurrah for States’ Rights! Yesterday afternoon the deed was done. Virginia is out of the Union forever.” He clasped his mother with his left arm while he seized his father’s hand, who said solemnly:

“God save the Commonwealth.”

[97]As soon as the first greetings were over an account was demanded of the portentous event of the day before, all hanging on Richard’s words. As he spoke in his clear resonant voice, his countenance full of animation, Lyddon who stood on the edge of the group fell in love with his pupil over again. Richard Tremaine had the best sort of masculine beauty—the beauty of grace, strength and skill. His eyes, a light penetrating blue, had a lambent fire in them and seemed to illuminate his speech.

“It was the most solemn scene that could be imagined,” he said. “After four days of secret session, in which we wrestled together like gladiators, the striking of the clock told us that the hour had come. When the presiding officer’s gavel fell and he asked, ‘Shall this ordinance pass?’ there was not a dry eye in the assemblage. I felt the tears warm upon my face and was ashamed of my weakness, thinking that I was acting the boy after all among those graybeards. Then suddenly I looked up; the presiding officer was in tears and made no secret of it. The clerk who called the roll, an old man with long white hair, could not control the trembling of his voice. As each name was spoken I saw a strange sight, a man unable to give his vote without tears upon his face. It was the most moving, the most extraordinary sight ever witnessed in the legislative body. Not a sound was heard except the calling of the roll and the ‘aye’ or the ‘no’ which answered. There were fifty-five ‘noes.’ When my name was reached I meant to shout out the ‘aye’ but I couldn’t; all was too deathlike, too solemn. At last the final vote was recorded[98] and then it was as if a cable had snapped; it was like the change from the funeral dirge to the quick step of a march past. A great shout went up—I found my voice then. I couldn’t think as wisely as some of those old men, but I could cheer louder than any of them. I wish I could make you see and feel the solemnity, the strangeness, the intoxication of that hour. Our vote didn’t take us into the Confederacy, although it severed us from the Union. We stood midway between them ready, like Quintus Curtius, to leap into the abyss. Oh, how great a thing it is to live in this time!”

Lyddon’s eye left for a moment Richard’s eloquent face and traveled round the hall. At the doors dark faces were peering in. The negroes were listening breathlessly to that which meant as much to them as to the race which mastered them.

“As soon as an adjournment was reached,” Richard continued, “I asked for a week’s leave and got it. I wanted to be the first man in Virginia to enlist in the army and I believe I can make it. By the way, I hear from Philip Isabey that he was the first man to enlist in Louisiana and has been elected captain of the first battery of artillery raised in the State.”

So far not one word had been spoken of Neville. Richard, looking about him, suddenly realized this and then in a cool voice asked, “What news is there from my brother?”

There was a silence for a moment or two and then Colonel Tremaine said tremulously, “There is no news from your brother.”

[99]At the same moment all became conscious of the peering and listening negroes. Richard at once said carelessly, “We shall probably see Neville in a few days. He can easily sail up from Fort Monroe where he was last week when I had a short note from him brought by private hand.” Richard took the note out and handed it to his mother. Her hands trembled a little as she read it. It was brief, merely saying he was well and had heard good news from home and expecting to be at Harrowby within the week. Then they trooped into supper. Richard’s story was not yet half told and he had to answer innumerable questions from Colonel Tremaine. Mrs. Tremaine sat strangely silent, her brooding eyes turning toward her right, where at table was Neville’s place. Through it all Angela, too, remained singularly silent. The reins of discipline which Mrs. Tremaine had held strictly enough over Neville and Richard had been relaxed in the case of the Benjamin of her flock and Angela, the child of her adoption, and they were generally audible as well as visible. Not so Angela to-night. She sat quiet and Lyddon thought stunned by what was happening around her.

Archie then brought forth his tale of injuries in not being allowed to enlist. Richard good-naturedly cuffed him and reminded him that he was but a baby in years.

After supper was served, Colonel Tremaine called for champagne. A bottle was fetched by Hector, who took occasion to remark, “Dis heah is outen de las’ basket. I speck you hav’ to order sum mo’, old Marse.”

“I do not expect to order any more champagne at present,” remarked Colonel Tremaine grimly.

[100]“And the few bottles which are left,” added Mrs. Tremaine, “must be saved for the hospitals.”

Colonel Tremaine then rose and all at the table followed his example. “Let us drink,” he said, “to the cause of the South.” A ringing cheer which the listening negroes heard burst from Archie as they all drank.

Richard had so much to tell that the family sat up unusually late listening to him, and it was near midnight before he and Lyddon went to the old study for their usual smoke and talk. Richard’s enthusiasm had by no means expended itself. “I know what you are thinking, Mr. Lyddon,” he said, standing in his familiar argumentative attitude, his back to the fireplace and his arms folded.

“Yes,” replied Lyddon, lighting his pipe. “Yesterday you performed a great act. You sounded the death knell of slavery, you have emancipated yourselves and your children forever from that curse.”

“So we may have done. The fathers of the Republic sought to emancipate us and when we can act freely and without fear of Northern coercion we shall perhaps follow the council of the patriarchs, but never under threats, by God!” The two talked animatedly for a couple of hours. Lyddon had feared that Richard, beguiled by the glamour of a soldier’s life, would choose the army as a permanent career while in truth his greater gifts lay in the domain of statecraft. But Lyddon’s mind was relieved by Richard’s saying that he felt no inclination to adopt a military life permanently.

[101]Then as the case always was with Lyddon, their talk fell upon books. Richard took down a battered volume and was reading aloud to Lyddon what both knew by heart, the story of that Athenian night when Agatho returned with the prize of Tragedy from the Olympian games and the symposium was held at the house of Phædrus, and when the night was far spent Alcibiades coming in with the tipsy crowd of Greek boys swore that Socrates should drink two measures of wine to every other man’s one; and Socrates, accepting this challenge, drank them all under the table except Aristodemus, the old physician, and when day broke Socrates after taking a bath went and taught philosophy in the groves while the dew was still wet upon the grass.

As Lyddon and Richard Tremaine laughed over this old tale time went backward. They forgot the storm and stress of to-day, the rise and fall of empires, the fierce combat of body and soul in which the human race had struggled for almost three thousand years since that Hellenic night. Again they lived the life of those undying Greeks, and Richard, who drew cleverly, was making a pen-and-ink sketch of the beautiful tipsy Alcibiades when he suddenly laid down his pen and said after listening for a moment, “There’s Neville. I hear a boat grating against the wharf.”



THROUGH the still night Lyddon could hear plainly the sound of a sailboat making the little wharf which ran into the broad river at the foot of the lawn. Richard, hatless, bolted out of the room, and Lyddon putting up the window saw his dark figure running swiftly like a shadow to the wharf. It was then after two o’clock in the morning. The night was murky and the fitful wind swept the storm clouds wildly back and forth. Upon the black river lay an outline like the ghost of a small sailboat moored to the wharf. In a moment more Richard and Neville were standing together. By that time the whole house was aroused, and Lyddon could hear footsteps moving overhead. He picked up a candle and going into the hall lighted the lamps which stood on the corners of the mantel. In a little while Colonel Tremaine with Mrs. Tremaine was seen coming downstairs. Colonel Tremaine had hurriedly flung some clothes on, and Mrs. Tremaine was helping him into his coat. Behind them came Angela with her long crimson mantle thrown over her hastily assumed gown, her beautiful hair in disorder and hanging down her back. Archie, the last to awaken, was heard calling out of the window to his brothers. The side door to the hall opened, and Neville with Richard[103] walked in. Mrs. Tremaine with a cry of rapture ran toward him.

“My son, my dearest son,” she cried, unconsciously admitting the truth that this son was dearer to her than the others. Neville kissed his mother tenderly, and then, as if he were a little boy once more, threw his arms around Colonel Tremaine’s neck and kissed him on the cheek. Colonel Tremaine embraced him in return. He loved these demonstrations of affection from his children, and was proud that in manhood they were still observed. Neville kissed Angela on the forehead and then Archie came tumbling downstairs and the two brothers embraced.

“How did you come at this time of night?” asked Colonel Tremaine.

“In a sailboat from Fort Monroe,” replied Neville smiling. “You see, I haven’t forgotten how to manage a boat. We heard yesterday morning that the State had seceded, and I got twenty-four hours leave to come home. The best way to get here was to sail up York River, and I was certain of finding a wind until I got near enough to Harrowby to land in case the wind should fail, but luckily it brought me up to the wharf in less than five hours. I must not take any chances, however, and can only remain two hours.”

A chill seemed to fall upon the air as Neville spoke. His words were capable of but one meaning.

“Two hours, did you say?” asked Colonel Tremaine with a sudden rigidity of face and figure.

“Yes, sir,” replied Neville quietly. “I must then return to my command. I came to tell you and my[104] mother that I have thought over it, sir, as you taught me to think over all great matters with a view to finding out the honorable course to pursue. I think it my duty under my oath to remain in the United States Army.”

The thunderbolt had fallen; a dreadful silence prevailed. Mrs. Tremaine, who was standing with her hand upon Neville’s arm, tightened her clasp, and Neville turned away from his mother’s tragic eyes. Colonel Tremaine opened his lips once or twice as if to speak, but no words came, and Neville continued in a voice a little shaken from its first firmness:

“I know what this means to you and my mother and to everybody I love. I hardly think you know what it means to me.”

“Have you reflected,” asked Colonel Tremaine after a moment, “that it is by tacit consent on both sides the Southern officers resign from the United States Army? They can be of no use there, but are reckoned an element of danger.”

“I know it well. I shall be a suspect among the very people for whom I have sacrificed everything on earth. In this coming war I shall never be trusted with anything or by anybody, I, a soldier bred. I would have escaped this fate if I could; I fought against it, but always there came back to me the conviction that my honor required I should stay in the United States Army.”

“Did you say,” asked Colonel Tremaine quietly, “that you had but two hours to remain in this house?”

“Just two hours,” answered Neville as quietly.

“Then,” replied Colonel Tremaine with a pale face set like steel, “after what you have just told us, two[105] hours is much too long.” He turned and walked up the stairs slowly. He tottered a little, and Archie ran forward and taking his father’s arm helped him. When they reached the landing where stood an old settee, Colonel Tremaine’s strength failed him. He sank upon the settee, leaning heavily upon Archie, to whom he said: “Stay with me, boy.”

Mrs. Tremaine burst into a passion of weeping, and Richard took his mother in his arms to comfort her. He made no plea for Neville, knowing that neither father nor mother would listen to it, but his eyes with keen sympathy sought Neville’s and the two brothers understood each other. Neville would always have a friend in Richard.

Angela had looked on with a fast-beating heart at this family tragedy. Neville standing a little way off did not approach her, but involuntarily held out his arms. Love, pity, grief, and a burning sense of injustice smote Angela’s heart. She ran forward and taking Neville’s hand boldly, said to him: “I will stand by you, Neville; I don’t know why you should do this, but I know you feel it is right.”

“That is all I ask of anyone to believe,” answered Neville curtly. And then leading her through the open door of the corridor into the old study, he said to her: “If you truly love me, there is but one thing to do. We must be married immediately.”

If Neville had been the Neville of an hour ago, the darling son of his mother, the pride of his father, Angela would have shrunk from the idea of marriage, but now from every generous impulse of her nature, she was up in[106] arms and doing battle for Neville. She would refuse him nothing. Then she said quietly:

“I suppose it would be best.”

“I gave myself two hours so that if possible the ceremony might be performed between us. I couldn’t attempt to take you back with me, but I want you to be in the position that I can send for you as soon as I know what will be done with me. I don’t suppose,” he added with bitterness in his tone, “that my father and mother will turn you out of doors because you are true to me.”

“I shall be true to you, Neville,” was Angela’s reply. He took his arm from around her, held her off a little way, and scrutinized her face now pale, now red, her eyes dark and wide and sparkling with emotion. “Are you not afraid?” he asked.

“Afraid? Certainly not. I am no more afraid than you are, Neville.” Hand in hand Neville and Angela returned to the hall. Richard sat on the sofa by his mother, still holding her hand. Mrs. Tremaine no longer wept. Anguish and reproach, fierce and deep, had dried her tears. Lyddon, his heart wrung, could not control his agitation as he paced stealthily up and down a corner of the hall. Half a dozen black faces by this time were watching and peering in at the doors and windows.

As Neville and Angela came in the door, Richard rose. He knew instinctively what Neville was about to say.

“Angela and I think best,” said Neville, “to be married at once, so that she may be able to join me as soon as I can send for her. You must assist us. I have still nearly two hours, and we ought to be able to get a license[107] and Mr. Brand in that time. If my father and mother grudge me the roof of Harrowby under which to marry Angela, perhaps they will allow us at least a foot of ground somewhere outside.”

Mrs. Tremaine rose and stood trembling. A great gulf had opened between her and this eldest son for whom she had given every manifestation of outward affection, and for whom she secretly cherished an idolatry of which she was at heart ashamed as being unjust both to Colonel Tremaine and her other sons. The whole humiliation of it, the horror of Neville being driven from his father’s roof overwhelmed her. The shame, the chagrin of not having Neville accept the code of honor which she had taught him and which his father and brothers had accepted unqualifiedly, was inexpressibly terrible to her. It was as if Neville had coolly committed a forgery and refused to believe it wrong. She saw that it was useless to plead with him and said no word, but her silence, her tremor, her pallor were painfully eloquent enough. Neville came close to her, and the mother and son who loved each other so much looked into each other’s eyes and each saw defiance therein.

Then Richard spoke with authority. “Mother,” he said, “when Neville goes away, he must leave Angela here. No matter what Neville may do this house is the place for his wife, especially if that wife be Angela, who has been a daughter to you and my father.”

Mrs. Tremaine’s eyes turned toward Angela. It came upon her that to keep Angela would be a hold, a thread of communication with Neville, and besides she loved the girl and would not have been capable of casting her out.[108] Richard spoke decisively, however, and no one disputed what he said. He looked at the clock and it was half past two. “Mr. Lyddon,” he said, “will you ride to the rectory and wake Mr. Brand up and bring him here at once? I myself will get the license from Mr. Wynne, the clerk of the court. It is six miles away, but I can do it in an hour and a half.” He turned, and called out to Peter, whose solemn, chocolate-colored face was peering in from the back porch, “Go and saddle the horses at once and bring them up.”

“Thank you,” said Neville briefly. Everything was done properly when Richard took charge. Angela and Neville stood looking at each other uncertain where to go. Neville had been invited to leave his father’s house, and he was not the man to tarry after having received such an invitation. He glanced at Angela’s lovely disheveled hair and then said to her: “You must go and dress to be married, and put a hood on your head, for we shall be married out of doors. I will wait for you outside.”

Angela passed swiftly up the stairs, and Neville walked the length of the hall without once turning. Mrs. Tremaine, usually the calmest and most self-controlled of women, could have shrieked aloud with pain at the sight. Neville almost walked into Mammy Tulip’s arms, those faithful black arms in which he had been cradled. In her place of privilege, she poured forth her love and indignation.

“Never you min’, chile,” she cried. “Ef yo’ mar ain’t gwine to speak to you no mo’, yo’ mammy lub you jes’ de same, honey. ’Tain’t gwine to make a bit o’ diffunce cuz you is in de Yankee army, yo’ mammy will[109] tek car’ o’ Miss Angela fur you, an’ I gwine to knit you some socks an’ sen’ you. Yo’ ole mammy ain’t gwine furgit you.”

“Thank you, mammy,” Neville answered, putting his arm around her neck. “Now you can do one thing for me at this moment. Go upstairs and help Angela to make ready for our wedding.”

Angela had sped up the stairs and was in her own large room with its great curtained bed. She was to dress for her wedding, but how strange was everything. She threw off her crimson mantle and sitting down before her dressing table began to comb out her long, thick hair. There was occasion for haste; she should spend every moment possible with Neville, but her mind as well as her body seemed dull and nerveless. As she sat helpless before her mirror, Mammy Tulip waddled in.

“I come to he’p dress you, honey,” she said. “Marse Neville, he sont me. What you gwine git married in, chile?”

Angela looked at her with eyes which saw nothing. She had thought only of Neville. But youth is never for long self-forgetful, and a great shock of pity for herself came upon her. Her quick imagination pictured to herself what should have been the scene of that greatest hour in a woman’s life. She saw herself in her bridal array, with a filmy veil falling around her and a group of rosebud bridesmaids attending her, and all things irradiated with joy and peace; the sound of wedding merriment in the old house, felicitations on every lip, sympathy in every heart, and now how bleak, how drear, how tragic was this wedding! She arranged her hair, scarcely knowing what[110] she was doing, and submitted to have Mammy Tulip put on her a white gown and to throw a white scarf over her head; then carrying her red mantle over her arm, followed by Mammy Tulip, in lieu of a train of maids, she went down the broad stair.

Colonel Tremaine still sat on the settee upon the landing. Whether his heart would not let him lose the last view of his eldest-born or the strange weakness, which had overcome him, would not permit him to move, Angela could not tell. Archie, with a frightened face, still sat by him. Angela stopped in front of him for a moment. She had never looked into his face before without seeing kindness there, but now all was sternness. She began to weep a little. Colonel Tremaine turned his head away. To see a woman’s tears always gave him exquisite pain, but it could not alter his resolution.

Presently Angela spoke: “Won’t you come and see us married, Neville and me?”

“No,” answered Colonel Tremaine, in a voice that admitted of no appeal.

Angela went downstairs. Whether Mrs. Tremaine would have yielded Angela did not know, but Colonel Tremaine’s refusal had frightened her. She stopped before Mrs. Tremaine, and the two women eyed each other with somber but uncertain eyes. Then Angela passed on and went out of the small door in the corridor by the study.

Outside Neville was standing. He took the mantle from her arm and placed it around her, “Come,” he said, “we shall have an hour to wait until Richard returns. We need not ask the hospitality even of the Harrowby[111] lawn or garden. We can sit in the boat; the river, at least, is a highway free to all.”

They walked to the little wharf at the end of the lawn, and Neville lifted Angela into the boat, which lay gently rocking upon the dark water. The sail had been dropped and the slender white mast was outlined against the dark water and the darker sky. It was the unearthly hour which is neither night nor day. A wind sharp and cool was blowing—the wind that brought Neville to Harrowby and would take him away. He wrapped Angela tenderly in the great cloak, and sheltered her with his arm. It seemed to them both as if they were adrift upon the ocean. Neville said little, not being a man of many words, and Angela scarcely spoke at all. The wild beating of her heart choked her speech. She had denied she was afraid, but in truth her mind was full of fearful imaginings, of self-pity, and of a dread of the future. Nevertheless, she had that species of courage which can disguise fear, and Neville saw nothing in her agitation and silence to give him alarm. She had not shown the least unwillingness to marry him. In truth the habit of old affection was so strong upon her that Neville’s breast seemed her natural place of refuge. She felt exactly as she had done when as a little girl she was reproved for some childish naughtiness and Neville, taking her upon his knee, would still her weeping and make her laugh while tears were yet upon her childish cheeks. To Neville it was the sweetest and the bitterest hour of his life. It was Angela who said after an hour had passed: “Listen, I hear Richard returning!”

Neville rose at once and helped her from the boat. It[112] was then after four o’clock in the morning, and the wan light of the approaching dawn was over the still and silent house, the old garden, the great masses of trees with their delicate foliage outlined against a mournful and stormy sky, and the weeping willow in the brick-walled spot lying out in the wide, open fields.

Halfway across the lawn Angela and Neville met Richard.

“Everything is ready,” he said to Neville. “Mr. Brand has been in the house half an hour. You must abate your pride, Neville, and be married in the house.”

“No,” said Neville, in the same tone in which his father had refused Angela’s plea to see them married. “I have been forbidden my father’s roof, and it is the last place on earth that I should now choose to be married in.”

Neville had rarely withstood Richard, but on this occasion Richard made no protest, and Neville continued, with a grim, half-smile: “You can bring Mr. Brand and Mr. Lyddon down to the wharf; that is as near being no man’s land as one can find.”

Richard, without a word, turned back to the house, and Neville and Angela returned to the little wharf which ran out twenty feet into the river that whispered among its wooden piles.

In a few minutes the wedding group was formed. There were only five persons: the bride and bridegroom, Richard Tremaine, Mr. Lyddon, and Mr. Brand. Mr. Brand, looking thoroughly frightened, began some high-sounding platitudes, rashly inquiring of Neville if he knew his own mind.

[113]“Certainly I do,” answered Neville, interrupting him, “and so does Angela. Please proceed as quickly as possible, as my honor requires that I should not remain away from my post one moment longer than is necessary.”

Richard produced the license, and Mr. Brand began the wedding ceremony. Until that moment no one had thought of a ring, but when that part of the ceremony was reached in which the ring is necessary, Neville looked confounded. He took Angela’s hand, however, and drew from it a little ruby ring which he had given her when she was a child, and that was made to do duty as a wedding ring. And so Angela Vaughn became Neville Tremaine’s wife.

When the ceremony was over Richard shook hands with his brother, and kissed Angela tenderly. Lyddon, also, shook hands with Neville, and then, with a breaking heart, kissed Angela on the forehead for the first time in his life. This, then, was the plucking of this blossom in the flowering time. Richard made no suggestion that Neville should return to the house, but Neville himself, after all, was quite unequal to leaving Harrowby forever without one parting word to his father and mother. They walked to the house, Angela between Richard and Neville, while Mr. Brand, forgotten, lagged behind with Lyddon, who neither saw nor heard him, although they were but a yard apart.

As the two brothers, with the new-made bride, entered the hall, they found Mrs. Tremaine sitting on the sofa in the same spot where Richard had left her. The candles were sputtering, and the pallid light of the early dawn[114] had crept into the silent hall. Colonel Tremaine still sat motionless upon the settee at the landing on the stairs. Neville went up to his mother and without touching her, he, with his whole heart, his eyes, and voice, said: “I could not leave this house without one last farewell to you and my father, and I must once more see the rooms which I shall never see again.”

He turned to go into the drawing-room and Angela went with him. Over the big grand piano hung a portrait of Mrs. Tremaine when she was a little girl of six. “That was the first thing I remember,” Neville said to Angela. “When I was a little boy Mammy Tulip told me that was my mother, and I couldn’t understand that she should ever have been a little child. There is my father’s portrait in his uniform when he came from the Mexican War. I believe it was that picture and my father’s stories of that war that made me a soldier.”

They passed into the library, the room not much used by any except Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine, but where family prayers were always held. Neville smiled a little as he spoke to Angela. “I think all of us have some time or other been rebuked in this room for our inattention to prayers, but I don’t think we were corrected often enough. Mother and father thought themselves strict with us, but they were not half strict enough. I wonder if they will ever again mention me at prayers as they have always done.”

And so Angela Vaughn became Neville Tremaine’s wife

“And so Angela Vaughn became Neville Tremaine’s wife.”

Angela was mute. She understood even better than Neville the depth, the height, and the breadth of the resentment which Neville Tremaine’s course had aroused in the hearts of his mother and father. Then they went into[115] the little shabby study; the ghost-like dawn was peering through the windows. “This place is the spot where I always see you in my imagination,” said Neville, “and in my dreams, for a soldier dreams more than other men, I can tell you. But you are always in my dreams a little girl, in a short, white frock, with a long plait of hair down your back, and very sweet and restless, and a little spoiled, I think.”

Her silence for the first time struck Neville. He was holding her by the hand, and, drawing her toward him, he said: “Are you sorry for what you have done?”

“No,” replied Angela, “I would do it over again, but I am a little stunned, I think. Everything is so strange, so unlike what I thought a marriage would be.”

“Yes, very unlike, but in a little while, I think, I shall contrive a way for you to be with me. Richard will see that you reach me, and then our honeymoon will begin, dearest.”

They returned to the hall, and it was now the moment of parting. Neville, drawn by an irresistible impulse, ascended the stairs to where his father sat, still leaning upon Archie.

Father and son looked at each other steadily. Neville had half-extended his hand, but it dropped to his side when he saw the expression on Colonel Tremaine’s face, and then Neville, standing at attention, formally saluted his father, as a soldier salutes his superior; a salute which Colonel Tremaine returned in the same formal manner, standing as straight and rigid as Neville. Archie’s boyish heart could not see Neville go without a word. He ran[116] forward and caught his brother around the body, crying: “Good-by, brother, good-by!”

Neville kissed the boy on the brow.

True, these Tremaines were bone of one bone and flesh of one flesh, because each of them was ready to sacrifice the heart, the soul, all present, all future happiness to the principle of honor as each understood it.

Neville went to the sofa where his mother sat. He meant to say some words of farewell, but he could not speak, and for the first time since his manhood he wept, the silent tears of a strong man, wrung from him like drops of blood. Mrs. Tremaine, too, wept, but said no word. She could bestow upon him neither her forgiveness nor her blessing, but this wrenching apart was like the separation of the flesh and the spirit. Neville could only turn to Angela and, taking her hand, place it silently within his mother’s. That was his farewell.



ALL Virginia had caught fire and was immediately a blazing furnace of enthusiasm. The people were of a military temper and the spirit militant had always possessed them. Their ancestors, having fought stubbornly for Charles the First, had come to Virginia rather than submit to Cromwellianism. Almost as soon as these cavaliers became Virginians, they took up arms in Bacon’s Rebellion and fought so stubbornly that fifty years afterwards families who had been in the Nathaniel Bacon cause would not walk on the same side of the street or road as those who had upheld Sir William Berkeley. They welcomed fighting during the whole of the Revolution and in 1812 they again faced the Redcoats. They were a primitive and isolated people and belonged more to the eighteenth than to the nineteenth century; their place in chronology, in truth, was of a time when fighting was loved for fighting’s sake. They knew little and cared less concerning the forces against which they were hurling themselves. Being an untraveled people, they had no conception of any better or other life than their own. They gave high-sounding names to things and places and fully believed in the illusions thus created.

[118]No people on earth ever went more seriously into a civil war than did these Virginians, and civil war is serious business always. Every family in the county was united except the Harrowby family, that one which had been the most united, the most devoted of them all.

The news of the tragic happenings of that April night were known magically through the whole community. Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine were extolled as was Virginius, the Roman father. They were considered to have performed an act of the loftiest patriotic virtue in giving up the son whom they reckoned to have given up his honor.

Angela was generally condemned and had in the whole county only one partisan; this was Mrs. Charteris, who was scarcely less of a Spartan mother than Mrs. Tremaine, but who remembered that she had once been young herself and rashly assumed that Angela must have been too desperately in love with Neville Tremaine to refuse him anything.

Vain delusion, and wholly unshared by Angela! The entire face of existence seemed to have changed for her in that April night and nothing seemed to have its right proportions. But one sad truth made itself felt at the moment when she became Neville Tremaine’s wife—she was not in love with him. She loved him deeply and truly and would not have turned from him in any event, even though the mother that bore him did so. But mothers have a sense of responsibility in their love, and Mrs. Tremaine felt as if, through some secret wickedness on her part or Colonel Tremaine’s, she had brought into the world a traitor and that God’s judgment[119] was upon Neville therefor. She could not make this intelligible to anyone except Colonel Tremaine, who himself inclined to the same dread theory.

Richard Tremaine’s broad intelligence took a more just view of Neville’s course, but Richard was powerless to move his parents. From the hour when Neville went forth an outcast from his father’s house, his name was never mentioned at family prayers, an omission which went like a sword to the hearts of all those assembled at those prayers. Also by a tacit understanding Neville’s name was no more spoken in the presence of the master and mistress of Harrowby.

Apparently there was not the smallest outward alteration in Angela herself or in her position. But in reality a stupendous change had occurred. Angela was a wife, and subject to no authority except that of her husband, and could no longer be disposed of as if she were a child. Something of this showed subtly in her air and manner from the beginning. There was a gravity and self-command which she adopted instinctively with her new name of Angela Tremaine. No one saw and felt this more than Lyddon. He read Angela’s heart like an open book, and sighed for her.

Three days after her marriage, a small parcel addressed to Lyddon reached Harrowby. It had been forwarded through the British consul at Norfolk. Within was a letter addressed to Mrs. Neville Tremaine, and the parcel consisted of a considerable sum of money in gold eagles. Lyddon handed it to Angela in the presence of Mrs. Tremaine. It was a sweet spring morning and the two were superintending the work in the old[120] garden just as they had done since Angela was a child. After reading the letter she had not offered to show it to Mrs. Tremaine, but put it quietly into her pocket.

Mrs. Tremaine, knowing from whom it came, and panting for news of the outcast, still would not speak, and Angela, who was as sensitive to Neville’s honor as if she were in love with him, had the haughtiness of a wife in the presence of those who have dealt injustice to her husband. She balanced the little packet of gold in her delicate fingers, and her eyes, which had grown dark and serious, suddenly assumed the inquisitiveness of a child.

Lyddon, who was watching her, knew she had never before owned so much money as the modest sum which Neville had sent her. She glanced at Lyddon, who was smiling, and knowing the thought in his mind, she blushed deeply, and dropped the money into her pocket. Lyddon walked away and Angela went on with her work of suggesting and assisting Mrs. Tremaine in the planting of flower seeds.

Mrs. Tremaine was outwardly calm and her voice unmoved, but Angela knew that storm and tempest raged within. An impulse of divine pity, like the sun upon snow, flashed into her heart, and after a minute of struggle she said softly to Mrs. Tremaine: “He is well.”

Mrs. Tremaine averted her head as if she had not heard, but Angela knew she had, and then the next moment the mother turned quickly and kissed the daughter-in-law who had shown mercy to her.

From the day after his return from Richmond,[121] Richard had actively canvassed the county for the raising of a battery of artillery of which he wished to be elected captain. On the evening of the day when Angela had got her first letter from Neville, Richard rode home tired with his three days of riding and working, but exultant over his prospects. The family were already at supper when he entered the dining room in his riding dress and sat down to the table.

“I think, sir,” he said to his father, “the matter is settled and I have enough votes pledged to me to secure the captaincy. We hope to raise the whole equipment by subscription so that the State shan’t be put to any expense whatever.”

“I, myself, will contribute all the wheat grown on the middle wheat field,” replied Colonel Tremaine. And then, looking toward Mrs. Tremaine, added: “We can afford to be generous now that we have but two sons whom we can in honor own.”

Angela, who was sitting at the table, turned pale and then crimson, and after a moment rose quietly and left the room. All knew what she meant by this silent protest—she was Neville Tremaine’s wife and nothing could be said against him in her presence, even by implication, without her resenting it.

After supper, when Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine were in the library, they sent for Angela and she came in promptly.

“My dear,” said Colonel Tremaine, in his most polished and elaborate manner, “I have to beg your pardon for a most unfortunate allusion which I inadvertently made at supper.”

[122]“It was, indeed, most unfortunate,” answered Angela quietly.

Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine looked at her and felt as if the center of the universe had dropped out. Here was this child, the companion of Archie, daring to assert herself, nay, to assert the dignity of her position as Neville Tremaine’s wife.

She was, however, so clearly right that Colonel Tremaine, after a gasp or two, finished what he had begun to say.

“We understand perfectly what your attitude must be, and if by chance allusion we seem to forget this, I beg that you will excuse us, and believe that it is very far from intentional.”

Angela bowed and left the room.

It was not uncommon for Colonel Tremaine to make these elaborate apologies and to ask pardon from the Throne of Grace when he had offended, and he had been known, when the family was assembled for prayers, to offer a ceremonious explanation for having thrown his boot jack at Jim Henry’s head.

Toward Angela, however, Colonel Tremaine had ever been indulgence itself and had always treated her as a favored child.

After the little scene in the library, Angela returned to the study, where Richard and Lyddon sat, and told them what had happened. “I don’t know how it was,” she said, “but although I was not thinking of Neville at the time, the instant Uncle Tremaine said that about his sons whom he could in honor own, I felt that I must not sit quiet under it. It makes a great[123] difference,” she added sagely, “when a woman is married to a man.”

“A very great difference,” answered Lyddon, who could not forbear laughing, and then growing serious he said: “You were always wanting something to happen; wonderful things have happened and will continue to happen, and the time may come when you will apply to the present the old saw, ‘Happy the country which has no history.’”

Richard then took out a letter. “I had this to-day from Isabey, who seems to have reached Richmond a few hours after I left. He is lucky enough already to have got his captaincy of artillery and has been sent to Virginia on a secret mission. He writes that he wishes to see me and is likely to arrive at any moment.”

Angela listened to this with the new sense which had come to her since the marriage ceremony between herself and Neville—the sense of analysis. She had taken such tremendous interest in Isabey and had dreamed so many idle dreams about him, decorating him with all the girlish fancies of her heart; and now Isabey, the much-talked-of, the long-expected, was nothing to her. She was still at the age when the only interest possible was a personal interest, when her own destiny she thought must be affected by every person who crossed her path.

Then she remembered that Isabey’s coming could mean nothing to her, that she could no longer steal into Richard’s room to look at Isabey’s sketches on the wall, and it gave her a slight shock. Many other things in her new position puzzled her. She did not know in the[124] least whether she ought to be interested in Richard’s account of the raising of troops in the county, and it suddenly occurred to her that when she should join Neville, she would still be at a loss to know which side she should take. She had been red-hot for war, but quickly and even instantly had learned to sit silent when the coming conflict was spoken of before her.

A day or two after was the time when the artillery volunteers were to meet at the courthouse and elect their officers. Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine sent Richard off with their blessing. He reached the courthouse, which was ten miles away, by ten o’clock in the morning. It was a day of brightness, and the old colonial courthouse and clerk’s office lay basking in the warm April sun.

A great crowd had assembled, chiefly men from eighteen to forty-five, but there were boys and graybeards present, and a few ladies. The election of officers was held viva voce, and Richard was elected, almost without a dissentient vote, captain of the battery of artillery. The enrollment was large because Richard Tremaine carried men’s bodies as well as minds with him.

When the business part of the programme was over, there was a call for a speech, that invariable concomitant of every species of business transacted in Virginia. This was responded to by Colonel Carey, who had an inveterate passion for speechmaking, inherited from a long line of speechmaking ancestors.

The colonel mounted the stone steps of the old courthouse and began with his usual preliminary, which was[125] the declaration that he was totally unprepared for this honor and averse to public speaking, and then promptly drew from his pocket a manuscript of the speech it took him precisely three-quarters of an hour to deliver and which had been prepared for the occasion as soon as secession had become a living issue. The exordium of the colonel’s speech was that which is invariably required of every orator on Virginia soil—a tribute to the women of Virginia.

Richard Tremaine, standing on the edge of the crowd of all sorts and conditions of men, listened gravely to the colonel’s roaring platitudes, his torrent of adjectives, his prophetic visions. The colonel was a fighting man, but Richard had no doubt would indulge his speechmaking, if allowed, when bullets were whizzing and shell tearing up the ground around him.

Colonel Tremaine had frequently complained that during the Mexican War, Randolph Carey was always making speeches when the Mexicans were doing their best work, while Colonel Carey often told of his annoyance when, in a ticklish position, Colonel Tremaine would insist upon discussing tailors and quoting long excerpts from the “Lake Poets.”

Richard, remembering this, smiled. Never were there two more determined old fire-eaters than this couple of Virginia colonels.

While these thoughts were passing through Richard’s mind, Colonel Carey was still thundering upon the courthouse steps. Like many others, he believed that a loud enunciation had all the force of reason, and wound up his speech by shouting that he saw among[126] them a young man destined to lead the hosts of Virginia to victory upon many a hard-fought field and who, when the Southern Confederacy had achieved the first place among the nations of the world, would stand high upon the roll of statesmen. He referred to his young friend, young in years, but old in wisdom, courage, and understanding, Richard Tremaine, Esq., of Harrowby.

At this, Richard Tremaine bowed gracefully and recognized that the colonel had made a very good opening for the battery of artillery. Cries of “Speech! Speech!” came in deep tones of men’s voices and pretty feminine cries, and Richard Tremaine, mounting the courthouse steps in his turn, said more in three minutes than the colonel had said in his three-quarters of an hour.

Standing in the noonday light of the springtime, his figure outlined against the mass of the old brick building, Richard Tremaine looked like one of the straight vigorous young trees transplanted from the primeval woods.

When he had finished speaking he walked across the courthouse green to the clerk’s office. There was still much business to be attended to concerning the enrollment and while Richard, with a group of gentlemen, including Mr. Wynne, the gray-haired clerk of the court, were discussing details, a horseman appeared before the open door, and, flinging himself from his horse, entered the clerk’s office. A shout went up, “Here’s George Charteris!”

He was a handsome, black-browed youth with a hint[127] of mustache, and wore a students’ cap set rakishly on the side of his head.

Cries of “Hello, George!” “How are you, George?” welcomed him. “Where did you come from?”

“From Baltimore, straight,” answered George Charteris, going up to Richard Tremaine and clapping him on the shoulder. “I heard four days ago how things had gone and I determined to make straight for home. Maryland is all right, gentlemen, she will be out of the Union in a week. Baltimore is on fire with enthusiasm, and everybody might have known what would happen as soon as Abe Lincoln tried to put his foot on the neck of Maryland.” Here he raised his slight boyish figure up, and his dark eyes flashed as he said: “I was in the fighting on the 19th of April.”

They all looked at him with new eyes. This stripling had seen blood flow and smelled powder burn. Murmurs of interest arose and Richard Tremaine cried out: “Go on, boy, tell us about it.”

“I was staying at Barnum’s Hotel,” said George, delighted with the joy of seventeen at telling his own “Iliad,” “and early in the morning I was out on the streets which were crowded. Everybody knew the Yankee troops would be passed through Baltimore that day, and the people were determined that it shouldn’t be done without a struggle. The Governor, an infernal old rapscallion, would not call the State troops out, so we could only get together a lot of fighting men with stones and brickbats in their hands and revolvers in their pockets. There were hundreds of us around the[128] station when the train full of bluecoats, thousands of ’em, came rolling in. I never saw so many soldiers in my life before. We began to throw stones at the train so as to force the soldiers to come out, and we did. There was a crash of breaking glass. I, myself, threw a stone at a car window out of which an officer was peering and I saw him fall back with blood upon his forehead. Then, after a fusillade, the bluecoats came pouring out of the train and met us face to face. We fired at them with our pistols and then the soldiers formed and charged up the street. Of course, we couldn’t resist them, so we scattered, but we made a stand at two or three places and did as good street fighting as was ever done in Paris. I had read how they made barricades by just upsetting a cart and tearing up paving stones. There were a lot of us youngsters and in ten minutes we had made a first-class barricade.”

George’s face was flushed and he pushed his students’ cap still more rakishly to one side. He felt himself every inch a man and gloried at coming into the heritage of manhood. While he was speaking he turned his back to the open door. Before it came a lady, dark-haired and white-skinned like himself—his mother. Mrs. Charteris raised her hand for silence among the listening group and smiled, but her eyes, which were exactly like these of her tall stripling, sparkled as did his. George continued, folding his arms and drawing himself up as he talked:

“A line of bluecoats came charging up the street. They were very steady, but so were we. They fired a volley, but we knew it was blank and didn’t mind it.[129] Then when they got close to us we gave them our pistol fire. We didn’t use blank cartridges; three of the bluecoats fell over and then all at once the soldiers swarmed upon us. It seemed to me as if the earth and air and sky were all full of soldiers. They were on top of me and around me and then, in some way, I can’t imagine how, I tore myself loose and ran as hard as I could. I found myself down on the docks among the shipping. There was a schooner making ready to leave, and the captain was just stepping aboard. I spoke to him and as soon as he opened his mouth I knew he was a Virginian. I told him that I was a Virginia man, boy, I mean, trying to get back to tidewater Virginia, and he told me to come along with him, that he was bound for York River. We got off directly, but the wind failed almost as soon as we reached Chesapeake Bay. We lay there becalmed for three days and on the last day we got the Baltimore newspapers and one of them had a poem in it, a great poem. It’s called ‘Maryland, My Maryland.’ It’s the finest thing I ever read in my life.”

He took out of his pocket a newspaper clipping and, in a ringing voice and with all the power of feeling, read the lines of the poem.

The effect was something like that produced by the first rendering of the “Marseillaise.” As George finished, every man present sprang to his feet and followed Stonewall Jackson’s advice, to “yell like devils.”

Richard Tremaine found himself hurrahing as loud as anybody. George stood in an involuntarily heroic attitude, tasting the rapture of being a hero. In a[130] minute or two a soft arm stole around his neck, and close to him he saw his mother’s delicate, handsome, middle-aged face, her eyes, still young and exactly like those of the boy. He caught her in his arms and kissed her rapturously. The mother and son were evidently near together. When the cheering had subsided a little, Mrs. Charteris turned to Richard Tremaine.

“Mr. Tremaine,” she said, “I have a contribution to make to your battery of artillery. Here is my son, the only son of his mother, and she a widow. You are welcome to him. I only wish I had ten more sons to give my country.”

Richard Tremaine took Mrs. Charteris’s hand and kissed it. “It was mothers like you,” he said, “who made Sparta and Rome.”

Mr. Wynne, the clerk of the court, a small, oldish man, with stiff gray hair and a prim pursed-up, thin mouth, spoke: “Wait a bit,” he said. “This Charteris boy is under age. He is too young to enlist.”

“I assure you he is not,” replied Mrs. Charteris positively. “He was eighteen years old his last birthday. I, his mother, should know.”

Everybody present doubted whether George Charteris was really eighteen or not, but Mr. Wynne settled it. He coolly took down a ledger and turning over the leaves rapidly, came to a certain entry in it.

“Here, madam,” he said, suavely, “is the record of your marriage license. It is dated fourth of June, 1843. Not quite eighteen years ago.”

There was a moment’s silence and then an involuntary burst of laughter from everyone present except[131] Mrs. Charteris, who blushed deeply, and the stripling, who looked thoroughly disappointed at the turn of affairs.

“Never mind, my son,” said Mrs. Charteris, smiling. “Another two years will see you old enough to serve your country.”

“Meanwhile,” said Richard Tremaine, putting his hand on the boy’s shoulder, “send him to Harrowby and let Mr. Lyddon teach him along with Archie. That boy, you know, is just about as crazy as your boy to enlist, and I shouldn’t be surprised if George and Archie and my father were all to run away together and join the army.”

“You are very kind,” answered Mrs. Charteris, “and if Colonel Tremaine will allow it, and Mr. Lyddon will be so good, I think I can’t do better with my boy.”

“I think you could do a great deal better, ma’am,” replied George, promptly. “There are plenty of schools where nobody knows my age and I can easily pass for eighteen or even twenty, and I am going to do it.”

“That’s just the way my brother Archie talks,” said Richard Tremaine. “But sixteen-year-old boys are not good for campaigning.”

“Aren’t we, though,” replied George, slyly, “wait and see.”

“Observe, gentlemen,” continued Richard Tremaine, smiling as he looked about him. “It is much to have such a spirit in our lads, but far more such a spirit in their mothers, as Mrs. Charteris has shown. That alone will make us invincible.”



THE next day was Sunday, and half the county, that as to say, the aristocratic moiety, had assembled at Petworth Church for the morning service. The great wave of dissent which swept over Virginia after the Revolution, and which was powerfully reënforced by the eloquence of John Wesley and George Whitfield and other Methodist and Baptist divines, had very much reduced the congregation of Petworth Church.

If, however, the vacant pews had been filled by the descendants of those who had left it, these who had remained stanch to Anglicanism would have resented it deeply. With the loss of numbers and of political power, the social influence of the remnant remained unimpaired and was even enhanced. The spirit of resentment which had originally caused those who had remained true to the traditions of Petworth and set a social ban upon those who had seceded into the newer communions was added to the force of long custom and the indifference of the dissenters.

Occasionally, a Baptist or Methodist family would appear in a shamefaced way at Petworth Church, but in that age and time proselytes were not welcomed or even desired.

[133]The old church, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was a bit of the seventeenth-century architecture, standing serene and undismayed in the nineteenth century, which in that part of Virginia yet lagged a hundred years behind the age. The church was overgrown with ivy, in which innumerable birds nested. In summer, when the diamond-paned windows were opened to let in the blue and limpid air, the voice of the clergyman was almost drowned in the splendid improvisations of the larks and blackbirds that thronged about the old, ivy-covered walls. The dead and gone vicars were buried under the main aisle, while in the churchyard outside were ancient tombstones covered with long inscriptions, moss-grown like everything else about the church.

Usually, the place was as placid as peaceful Stoke Pogis at evening time, but on this April Sunday it was alive with people all throbbing with excitement and on fire with enthusiasm. Besides the great event which had stirred them all, the secession of Virginia, and the sending forth to war of all the men capable of bearing arms, was the local tragedy—Neville Tremaine turning traitor. The Tremaines were, taken all in all, the greatest people in the county. Their wealth was considerable, and their heritage of brains larger still. They had always given the county something to talk about and did not fail in this emergency.

In the minds of the people assembled at Petworth Church on that Sunday morning was the species of curiosity, which is miscalled sympathy, to see how the Tremaines bore the first disgrace in their family. Colonel[134] Tremaine was a stanch churchman, and Mrs. Tremaine never failed, rain or shine, on Sunday morning to walk into church upon Colonel Tremaine’s arm and to marshal her flock before her, a flock which for many years past had consisted only of Angela and Archie.

There was no pretense in the community of sympathy with Angela, only inquisitiveness mixed with scorn and contempt. Many doubted whether she would have the assurance to present herself at church after her late disgraceful alliance, for so her marriage with Neville Tremaine was reckoned. But Angela, surmising this and with the hot courage of youth, would not remain away.

The Tremaines were always prompt in arriving, and on this Sunday morning, punctually at a quarter before eleven, the great lumbering Harrowby coach, with the big bay horses, drew up before the iron gate of the churchyard. It was Hector’s privilege to drive the carriage on Sundays according to the peculiar custom by which the regular coachman was superseded whenever there seemed any real occasion for his services. The Sunday arrangement was of Mrs. Tremaine’s making, who, regularly on Sunday morning, directed Hector after leaving his horses in charge of Tasso, who was on the box, to come into church and pray to be delivered from the devil of drink. This invariably gave great offense to Hector, but he could not forego the honor and glory of driving the Harrowby carriage on Sunday and the pleasure of a weekly gossip with his colleagues who drove other big lumbering coaches.

The horses were quiet enough, but it was Hector’s[135] practice to lash them violently just as he was entering the grove in which the church stood and to pull them up almost upon their haunches before the churchyard gate. This programme was executed to the letter on this particular Sunday.

The congregation gathered about the green churchyard and, standing upon the flagged walk which led to the door, watched Colonel Tremaine descend and then assist Mrs. Tremaine out of the carriage. There was some one else to alight, Angela, now Mrs. Neville Tremaine.

At the same moment, Richard and Archie, who preferred riding to driving, dismounted from their horses, and Lyddon, who had walked through the woods to church, contrived to appear upon the scene, desiring to see for himself how Angela would be received. As Colonel Tremaine, with Mrs. Tremaine on his arm, walked along the flagged path, it seemed as if another twenty years had been laid upon them since the last Sunday. Colonel Tremaine’s stiff military figure had lost something of its rigidity, and instead of looking about him and bowing and saluting with the elaborate and somewhat finical courtesy which distinguished him, he looked straight ahead, neither to the right nor to the left, and walked heavily, as if conscious of his seventy-two years.

Mrs. Tremaine was pale and wan and it was noticed that she was all in black, although her dress, as usual, was rich—a black silk gown with mantle and bonnet of black lace. Behind them walked Angela. The day was warm and she wore a white gown and a straw[136] hat crowned with roses. One rapid survey had showed her what to expect. The girl friends with whom she was most associated, for she could not be considered intimate with any, the Carey girls and Dr. Yelverton’s three granddaughters, looked timidly at her and instead of coming forward with effusion to greet her, as they had done all their lives, turned away. George Charteris, who had cherished for Angela the love of a sixteen-year-old boy for a nineteen-year-old girl, stared her angrily in the eye, and would not have spoken to her but for a vigorous nudge given him by Mrs. Charteris, who alone spoke kindly to Angela. She did not, however, advance, and Angela, for the first time in her life, walked alone and shunned across the churchyard and to the church door.

She suddenly grew conscious of Richard’s voice behind her speaking with a stranger, evidently in surprise at seeing him, and then both advanced. Angela turned involuntarily and recognized instantly from his picture Philip Isabey.

He was of a type site had never seen before—the unmistakable French creole, below rather than above middle height, his dark features well cut and delicately finished as a woman’s, and more distinguished than handsome. He wore a perfectly new Confederate captain’s uniform, and gilt buttons glittered down the front of his well-fitting coat. To most of the people present it was the first Confederate uniform they had seen, and it stirred them with consciousness of war and conflict at hand.

Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine had stopped at the[137] church door, and Richard, coming up with Isabey, introduced him to them. “My old university friend,” he said, “and chum of my Paris days.”

Colonel Tremaine greeted Isabey with overwhelming courtesy, and Mrs. Tremaine said with sweet reproach: “Why is it that you didn’t come straight to Harrowby?”

“Because, my dear madam,” replied Isabey, holding his cap in his hand, “I only reached here last night and I was told by the tavern keeper at the courthouse that I should certainly meet my friend Tremaine at this church to-day.”

“You went to Billy Miller’s tavern?” cried Colonel Tremaine, aghast. “Great God, nobody goes to a tavern who has any respectable acquaintances! We could get on very well without such a thing as a tavern in the State of Virginia.”

Isabey smiled a winning smile which showed his white teeth under his close-clipped black mustache, and then Richard said coolly: “Let me introduce you to my sister, Mrs. Neville Tremaine.”

Isabey bowed, and was astonished to see Angela blush deeply when she returned his bow. He had gathered something from the talk of those around him, in the previous half hour, of Neville Tremaine’s action and of Angela’s position, and he had seen the hostile glances which attended her. Isabey, well versed in women, took a comprehensive view of Angela, and thought her most interesting. The subdued excitement, the smoldering wrath, the burning sense of injustice which animated her, spoke in her air, in the expression of her red lips,[138] and in the angry light from her eyes. But Isabey’s glance was kind. He looked at her as if he did not think her a criminal. On the contrary, he conveyed to her a subtle sympathy; in truth, he thought with the good-humored tolerance of a man of the world that these haughty provincials were engaged in a rather cruel business toward this young girl.

The two did not exchange a single word beyond the formal introduction, Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine taking up the few minutes which remained before the service began in demanding and commanding that Isabey return with them to Harrowby and bringing also any friends he might have with him.

“No one at all is with me,” replied Isabey. “I am simply sent here on military business which I shall be able to transact in a day or two with the assistance of my friend Tremaine and then I must report at Richmond, but it will give me the greatest pleasure to make Harrowby my home the little while that I shall be in this part of the country.”

Then Mr. Brand’s voice was heard through the open door proclaiming that “the Lord was in His Holy Temple.” The wags had it that the Lord never was in His Holy Temple until Mrs. Charteris was seated in her pew, but on this occasion Mr. Brand, after waiting ten minutes for his congregation to finish their gossip in the churchyard, had boldly proclaimed that “the Lord was in His Holy Temple,” while Mrs. Charteris was still gossiping at the church door. The congregation then flocked in and the services began. The Tremaines’ pew was one of the old-fashioned square kind, with[139] faded red moreen curtains. In it sat Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine with Angela. They were followed by Richard Tremaine and Philip Isabey. Archie had taken advantage of the occasion to lag behind and sit in a back pew with George Charteris, where they could whisper unheard by their respective mothers during the whole of the sermon.

Lyddon, who could by no means stand Mr. Brand’s sermons, remained outside, preferring to face Mrs. Tremaine’s gentle reproving glances for having missed the words of wisdom.

To Angela, the sudden shock of seeing Isabey, this man about whom she had dreamed her idle girlish dreams so many years, was secretly agitating. For the first time in her life a personality overwhelmed her, as it were. She was conscious of, rather than saw, Isabey’s clear-cut olive profile, his black eyes, with their short, thick, black lashes, his well-knit figure, and detected the faint aroma of cigar smoke upon his clothes. She forgot the presence of Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine and Richard. She heard not one word of Mr. Brand’s vaporings, nor was she conscious of any sound whatever, except the rapturous trilling bursting from the full heart of a blackbird upon the willow tree just outside the window.

Isabey was different from Richard and Neville Tremaine, and yet not in the least inferior to them. His grace in small actions was infinite—that composed grace which only comes with thorough knowledge of the world. His speech, even, had been new to her. It had the correctness of a language which was first learned from books, for Isabey’s first language was French, not[140] English. He kept his eyes fixed upon Mr. Brand and apparently listened with the deepest attention to the thundering platitudes which resounded from the pulpit. In reality he heard not a word. His heart was filled with pity for the pale girl who sat next to him, her eyes fixed upon the open prayer book, of which she turned not a single leaf. She looked much younger than her nineteen years and seemed to Isabey a precocious but unformed child. Her angles had not yet become curves and she had that charming freshness of the April time of girlhood. The one thing about her which indicated womanhood was her eyes. They were not the wide and fearless eyes of a child, but downcast, sidelong, and with the varying expression of the soul which has thought and felt. Isabey concluded that her mind was considerably older than her body. Angela sat during the whole service and sermon thrilled by Isabey’s personality. When the first hymn was announced and the congregation rose she mechanically joined in the singing. Her voice was clear and sweet, though untrained, and Isabey, listening silent, turning upon Isabey two lustrous, wondering eyes. She was singularly susceptible to music, and the beauty and glory of Isabey’s voice, a robust tenor of a quality and training more exquisite than anyone in that congregation had ever before heard, completed the enchanting spell he had laid upon her. One by one other voices dropped off like Angela’s, and the last verse was almost a solo for Isabey. He was averse to displaying[141] this gift and was almost sorry that he had joined in the singing except for the interest he took in surreptitiously watching Angela. She looked at him with the eyes of a bewitched child, like those who followed the Piper of Hamelin. And Isabey, who knew that a siren lurks in all music, felt more of pity than of gratified vanity when he noticed Angela’s rapt gaze.

Mr. Brand preached a stormy sermon full of patriotism and breathing forth fire and slaughter against everything north of the line drawn by Mason and Dixon. His warlike denunciations, his tremendous philippics, echoed to the roof of the church which had heard Cromwell denounced by vicars who had been driven from England by the Roundheads, and who exhorted their congregations to be true to their royal masters. It had heard a royal master denounced at the time of the Revolution, and now heard the union of the States condemned as roundly. The prayer for the President of the Confederate States was followed with a sort of fierce piety by the congregation. Meanwhile, the fair day grew suddenly dark. The wind rose and the great limbs of the willow trees dashed against the church windows, while the landscape was flooded in a moment with a downpour of April rain. Loud thunder was heard and the dark church was illuminated by frightful flashes of lightning, which seemed to enter every window at once.

As the prayer for the President of the Confederate States was concluded, a tremendous peal of thunder, long and reverberating, crashed overhead. It made the walls of the old church shake and the diamond window panes[142] rattle as if in an earthquake. The clergyman stopped short—nothing could be heard above the roar of the thunder, and the faces of the congregation could only be seen by the pale glare of the lightning. It produced a sort of shock among them, but in a few minutes the storm passed away as rapidly as it had come. The rain, however, still descended in sheets and wrapped the green landscape in a white mist like a muslin veil. When services were finally concluded it was impossible to go out in the downpour. The people, however, were determined not to lose their weekly reunion, especially as there was so much to discuss, and gossiped cheerfully in the aisles.

The clergyman, having doffed his vestments, came out into the body of the church in search of his Dulcinea del Tovoso. Mrs. Charteris met him with her hands outstretched and a malicious light in her dark eyes.

“What an inspiring sermon you preached!” she said, “it’s enough to make women fight, much more men, and how sad it is to think we are to lose you!”

Mr. Brand looked slightly disconcerted.

“I have no intention whatever,” he said, “of leaving Petworth Church. I feel it my duty to remain with my flock. My sheep must be shepherded.”

“Oh!” cried Mrs. Charteris, “I feel sure that your virtuous resolution can’t withstand your martial ardor.”

“I am a man of peace——” began Mr. Brand.

“But there is a time for war and a time for peace,” tartly quoted Mrs. Charteris, “as you said in your sermon just now. Oh, no, Mr. Brand, we know what a sacrifice it would be to your martial spirit to remain here,[143] and we can’t ask it of you! The youngsters, you know, now call you the Fire Brand, and as for the statement Mr. Wynne makes, who knows when everybody was born and married, that you are over forty-five years of age—why, dozens of the ladies of the congregation can prove that you have told us you were not a day over forty.”

Mr. Brand sighed helplessly. The pursuit of ladies of spirit with sharp tongues and considerable estates in their own right was not always a bed of roses.

Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine both went out of their pew and mingled with the congregation, talking freely of the epoch-making events of last week.

Angela, however, silent and disdainful, remained in the pew, and Isabey feeling sorry for her also remained, and began to talk with her in a subdued tone.

“You have a very pretty voice,” he said. “Why didn’t you keep on singing?”

“Because,” answered Angela in the same half-whisper, “I could do nothing but listen to your singing. I never heard anyone in my life sing so beautifully.”

Isabey smiled a little. “I am not particularly proud of the accomplishment,” he said. “I don’t care very much for singing men myself, and I have never taken singing very seriously since I was a youngster in Paris. Some day I will tell you how I was taught to sing.” Then after a pause he continued: “It is such a pleasure to me to see Tremaine again. We were chums, as you know, and lived together in Paris, and wore each other’s clothes and borrowed each other’s money for two years.”

“I know all about it,” she answered.

“And I should like to have seen Neville Tremaine,[144] your husband. We were friends, too, although I never, of course, saw so much of him as of his brother.”

As Isabey said “your husband,” Angela shivered a little, and her color, which had returned again, went and left her pale. It suddenly occurred to her with the inexperience and radicalism of youth that it was wicked for her to take an interest in any man whatever other than Neville, and at the same moment it flashed upon her that nothing which Neville could say or do, that neither his coming nor going could affect her so powerfully as the coming of this stranger.

Her marriage remained to her an astounding and disorganizing fact which she could not wholly realize, but which made itself felt at every turn. It made it wrong for her, so she thought, to listen so eagerly and even breathlessly to Isabey, and yet she could not put from her his magnetic charm.

She was conscious also that nearly every man and certainly every woman in the congregation was surreptitiously watching her, and it seemed that in talking so interestedly with Isabey she was showing a want of dignity and feeling in the very face of her enemies, for so she reckoned every person in Petworth Church that day, except, perhaps, Mrs. Charteris.

In a quarter of an hour the rain ceased. The sun burst forth in noonday splendor, and the people on leaving the church went out into a world of green and gold and dripping diamonds.

Isabey, who had driven to church in the tavern keeper’s gig, thankfully accepted a seat in the Harrowby carriage. As the old coach jolted along the country road[145] by green fields and through woodland glades, the whole world shining with sun and rain, Angela found herself listening with the same intensity to all Isabey said in his soft, rich voice.

Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine were charmed with him, for Isabey had an extraordinary power of pleasing. He mentioned that his stepmother, Madame Isabey, and her daughter by her first marriage, Madame Le Noir, were then in Richmond as refugees from New Orleans.

“They must not remain in Richmond,” cried Colonel Tremaine decisively, and, turning to Mrs. Tremaine, said: “My dearest Sophie, it is impossible to think of these ladies left alone in Richmond while their natural protector, Captain Isabey, is in the field. They must come to Harrowby to remain during the war.”

“Certainly,” responded Mrs. Tremaine, “and bring their servants, of course.”

Isabey opened his black eyes wide. He had heard of Virginia hospitality, but this invitation to house a whole family for an indefinite time amazed and touched him.

“I thank you very much,” he said, “not only for myself but for my stepmother and Madame Le Noir. It is certainly most kind of you.”

“I shall not be satisfied with your thanks,” replied Colonel Tremaine, putting his hand on Isabey’s knee. “Those ladies must come to Harrowby at once.”

“The weather is warm,” murmured Mrs. Tremaine, “and it must be terrible in a city during warm weather.”

“Your relatives are at the Exchange Hotel probably, as that is the only place to stay in Richmond. When I was a boy it was the Eagle Tavern.”

[146]“Yes, they’re there,” answered Isabey.

“We must both write to-morrow,” said Mrs. Tremaine, “inviting Madame Isabey and Madame Le Noir to come to Harrowby. We should write to-day except that it is Sunday.”

Isabey had heard of the Sabbatarianism in Virginia and perceived that it was extreme, like Virginia hospitality.

Angela said little, but she felt a silent pleasure at the thought that Madame Isabey and her daughter, Madame Le Noir, would be established at Harrowby. It would be something different from what she had known so far and break the quiet monotony against which she chafed. She already pictured Madame Isabey as looking like a French marquise, and the daughter, Madame Le Noir, as the feminine replica of Isabey. She did not reflect that neither one was the least blood relation to Isabey.

When the carriage reached Harrowby, Angela went up to her own room, and, taking off her flower-crowned hat, studied herself carefully in the glass.

Was she really pretty, and what did Isabey think of her? And did he like her voice? And the hundred other questions which an imaginative and unsophisticated girl asks herself when she meets, for the first time, the man who has power over her, followed. She had dreamed and speculated so much about Isabey—what he would look like, what he would talk about—and, now that she had seen him, he was twice as charming as she had ever imagined.

And then it came over her as it did at intervals, like a cold blast from the north, that she was Mrs. Neville Tremaine,[147] and that a great gulf lay between the Angela Vaughn of last Sunday and the Angela Tremaine of this Sunday.

She remained in her room until the bell sounded for the three o’clock dinner, when she went downstairs.

Isabey, who had spent the time with Richard in the old study, was surprised to find himself eager to see Angela again, and wondering what expression she would wear.

It was a very different one from what he had first seen upon her face, for as she came downstairs Richard advanced, and putting his arm around her, said affectionately, “Little sister, where have you been all this time?”

Angela, who had been all wrath and vengeance, was soothed by this tenderness, and smiled prettily.

Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine were both kind to her, but there was no more tenderness in their manner to her. She was a part and parcel of their disgraced son, and without a word being spoken on either side, Angela felt the icy chill which had fallen between them.

Richard alone, of all the Tremaines, was quite unchanged toward her.

When they were at table Isabey’s presence, together with Richard’s kindness, put new animation into Angela. She talked gayly and laughed merrily. Isabey was as much enchanted with the beauty of Angela’s speaking voice as she had been with his singing voice.

When dinner was over, Mrs. Tremaine and Angela went into the garden, where all the little negroes of the place were assembled for their weekly Sunday-school. In winter this was held in the spinning house beyond the[148] hedge but in spring and summer the old garden was the place of learning. Mrs. Tremaine read the Bible to these black urchins, while Angela, with the self-confidence of nineteen, expounded the catechism to them and taught them to sing simple hymns.

Isabey and Richard Tremaine were standing on the little wharf jutting into the blue river, which danced in the afternoon light, when the fresh young voices of the negro children rose in a hymn.

“Come,” said Richard, “I know that you are ashamed of singing so well, but give these little darkies a treat and sing their hymns with them.”

Isabey went willingly enough with Richard into the garden. As they walked down the long, broad path, he saw Mrs. Tremaine enthroned upon the wooden bench under the lilacs at the end of the garden, while twenty-five or thirty negro children, from tall boys and girls down to small tots of four years old, were ranged in a semicircle around her. Angela was acting as concert master and led the simple singing. The voices of the negro children had the sweetness mixed with the shrillness of childhood, but for precision of attack and correctness of tone they would have put white children to the blush.

As Isabey came up, Angela held out the prayer book to him and he sang with her from the same page. The negro children instantly turned their beady eyes upon him, but with a truer artistic sense than the congregation of Petworth Church, they kept on singing.

Isabey’s supposed familiarity with the hymn tunes, which he had heard for the first time that day, pleased[149] Mrs. Tremaine immensely, who had an idea that all well-bred persons were Episcopalians, and that Catholicism, in which Isabey had been bred, was a dark dream of the middle ages, which had now happily almost disappeared from the earth.

When the Sunday-school was over and the little negro children had scampered back to the “quarters,” as the negro houses were called, Richard proposed the Sunday afternoon walk. This was as much a part of the Harrowby Sunday as was the three o’clock dinner.

Usually, the whole family went upon this promenade up the cedar-bordered lane along which a footpath ran, edged with wild roses and blackberry bushes. But on this Sunday afternoon, Mrs. Tremaine gently declined, and took her exercise upon the broken flags of the Ladies’ Walk, Colonel Tremaine, with the air of a Louis Fourteenth courtier, escorting her. Archie begged off in order to ride over and spend the night at Greenhill with George Charteris, so only Angela and Lyddon were left to accompany Richard and Isabey.

They started off a little after five o’clock and soon reached the woods across the high road. The declining sun shone through the branches on which the delicate foliage was not yet fully out. The grass under their feet was starred with the tiny blue forget-me-nots, and Angela knew where to find the trailing arbutus.

Isabey, whose association with women had been almost wholly French, was secretly astonished at a young girl standing upon such a footing with men. Neither Lyddon nor Richard addressed much conversation to her, and that always half-joking, but it was plain to see that she[150] had a part in their companionship and understood well what they were talking about.

They spoke of books, and Angela was evidently familiar with those which were meat and drink to Richard and Lyddon. Isabey was not so good a classical scholar as either of the other two men, but in modern French literature and in the Romance languages he was far superior to either.

“Do you remember,” asked Richard, “the craze you had for Alfred de Musset, Gustav Nadaud, and those other delicious rapscallions of their time?”

“Certainly I do,” answered Isabey.

“And can you spout them as you did when we lived together in the Latin quarter?”

“Rather more, I think,” answered Isabey. “The better I know those rapscallion poets, as you call them, the more I like the fellows.”

“Then give us some of them, such as you used to do in the old days, when I would have to collar you and choke you in order to make you leave off.”

They were standing in a little open glade, across which a great ash tree had fallen prone and dead. Isabey, half-sitting upon the tree trunk, began with his favorite Alfred de Musset. His voice and enunciation were admirable, and his French as superior in tone to Lyddon’s as the French of Paris is superior to that of Stratford-le-bow.

If the spell of Isabey’s singing enchanted Angela, so even in a greater degree did his repetition of these latter-day poets, who, leaving the simple external things, tune their lutes to the music of the soul, a music always[151] touched with melancholy and ever finding an echo in every heart.

Isabey, with a strong and increasing interest, watched Angela slyly. She was so unsophisticated and had led the life so like the snowdrops in the garden that things overimpressed her. She listened with her heart upon her lips to the verses which Isabey repeated, and her color came and went with an almost painful rapidity. The latter-day French poets had been until then an unopened book to her, and the effect upon her was overmastering. They introduced her into a whole new world of passionate feeling, and it seemed to her that Isabey, who had opened the gateway into that garden of the soul, was the most dazzling man on earth.

Isabey saw this, for Angela was easily read. It was a new problem for him, these young feminine creatures, who cultivate their emotions and live upon them; who cleverly simulate intellect, but who are at bottom all feeling; who can listen, unmoved, to the tale of Troy Town, but who blush and tremble at a canzonet which tells the story of a kiss. When Angela listened with rapt attention or when, as presently, she spoke freely and gayly, Isabey thought her handsome, although not strictly beautiful, nor likely to become so. But what freshness, what unconscious grace was hers! She might have been one of Botticelli’s nymphs, with the woods and fields her natural haunts and proper setting.

When the quartet turned homeward through the purple dusk, Angela felt as if the familiar, everyday world were steeped in a glow, new and strange and iridescent. Isabey had given her the first view of art as art, of music,[152] of world-beauty, and hers was a soul thirsty for all these things.

He seemed to her the most accomplished man on earth. She knew well enough, however, that Isabey was not a man merely of accomplishments. If that had been the case she would not have been so impressed by those accomplishments. But she knew that he was a man of parts intrusted with serious business, and it was this which made his graces and his charm so captivating.

Lyddon, too, was a man of parts, but Lyddon was awkward beyond words; was bored by music, and although he could repeat with vigor and earnestness the sonorous verse of Rome and Greece, it was too grave, too ancient, too much overlaid with the weight of centuries to appeal to Angela as did this modern poetry.

The instinct of concealment, which is the salvation of women, kept Angela from showing too obviously the spell cast upon her by Isabey. It was noticeable, however, that she was more animated than usual.

When supper was over, Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine, contrary to their usual custom, went to the old study with the rest of the household and their guest. Colonel Tremaine was deeply interested in what Isabey had to tell him of the military situation at the South, and Angela listened in a way which showed she was accustomed to hearing and understanding serious things.

Isabey found out in a dozen ways that the study was quite as much Angela’s habitat as anyone’s. There was her little chair in a corner with her small writing table; above it were the books which were peculiarly hers, besides her childish library of four or five volumes.[153] The flowerpots in the windows were hers, and when Richard Tremaine, pulling her pretty pink ear, declared that he would throw the flowerpots out of the window, Angela boldly responded that the study belonged as much to her as to him, and that she would have as many flowerpots in it as she pleased.

At half past nine o’clock the great bell rang for prayers, and the whole family and all of the house servants were assembled as usual in the big library.

Isabey liked this patriarchal custom of family prayers and listened with interest to Colonel Tremaine’s reading of the Gospel for the day, and Mrs. Tremaine’s soft and reverent voice in her extemporary prayer. He noticed, however, the strange omission of Neville’s name, and when the point came where it might have been mentioned, there was a little pause, and Mrs. Tremaine placed her hand upon her heart, as if she felt a knife within a wound. Perhaps she made a silent prayer for Neville, whose unspoken name was in the mind of each present. Isabey glanced toward Angela and observed her face suddenly change. She raised her downcast eyes, and stood up for a moment or two, then sat down again. In truth, Angela experienced a shock of remorse and amazement. She, Neville Tremaine’s wife, had scarcely thought of him since she had first seen Isabey that day, nor had Neville, at any moment of her life, absorbed her attention as had this newcomer to Harrowby.

The thought came to her that, perhaps, it was after all because she had seen in her life so few strangers that Isabey so impressed her, yet he was a man likely to attract attention anywhere. But deep in her heart[154] Angela realized that Isabey possessed for her an inherent interest which no other human being ever had possessed or could possess.

He left the next afternoon. He had had plenty of time to observe Angela and had found out a great deal about her. He was filled with pity for her, that pity which is akin to love.



COLONEL and Mrs. Tremaine had carried out their intention of writing to Madame Isabey and Madame Le Noir, in Richmond, inviting them to make Harrowby their home during the war. Isabey had smiled, rather grimly, while expressing his thanks. He could make a very good forecast of how the two ladies from New Orleans would impress the simple Virginia household, but, being a wise man, did not attempt to regulate the ladies in any particular whatever.

When Isabey had left, Angela felt, for the first time, a singular sensation as if the sun had gone out, leaving the world gray and cold. How commonplace seemed her life, how inferior the familiar books and things and places to those new books and things and places of which Isabey had shown her a glimpse! She had loved the piano and had joyed in singing her simple songs, but now how primitive, how crude her music seemed contrasted with Isabey’s exquisite singing! He had promised to tell her how he had learned to sing so well, but he had forgotten to do so.

Angela spent some days in idle dreaming, not the delicious dreams which usually come of idleness, but dreams painful and perplexing. She wrote long letters[156] to Neville which she destroyed as soon as they were written, for they were all a reflex of Isabey. She had placed upon her dressing table a daguerreotype of Neville which he had given her a year or two before. She took it up, looked at it dutifully half a dozen times a day. How dear was Neville, if only she were not married to him, and but for that awkward fact how freely she could have talked with him about Isabey; but now because Neville was her husband there were things she could never mention to him!

It was some days before she recovered her balance. It was, however, no time to be idle at Harrowby, for Mrs. Tremaine had undertaken to equip a field hospital for Richard Tremaine’s battery of artillery. She contributed to this most of her linen sheets and pillowcases, and organized a household brigade of maids and seamstresses to scrape into lint all the pieces of old linen to be found. Angela did her part with readiness and energy. And, as the case always is, work steadied her mind and her composure. Her heart and soul were growing by leaps and bounds, and in a month she progressed as far as she would have done in a year ordinarily. She wrote a letter to Neville regularly once a week and gave it to Lyddon, who contrived to get it to the British Consul at Norfolk, through whom it was forwarded, and she heard once or twice during the month from Neville. He wrote her that he knew not from day to day where he would be, and was kept on the wing continually. Nor could he fix any time when there would be a chance of her joining him, but that of one thing she might be certain, he would not delay[157] an hour in sending for her when it should be possible for him to have her. In these letters he always mentioned his father and mother with the deepest affection and without resentment. Angela read those parts of his letters to Mrs. Tremaine, who listened in cold silence, but who repeated them to Colonel Tremaine when the father and mother alone together made silent lament over the disgrace of their eldest-born.

Richard Tremaine was but little at home during the next month. A large camp of instruction was formed about fifteen miles from Harrowby where troops were pouring in not only from Virginia but from other Southern States. These men had to be drilled and trained to be soldiers and the task was heavy. There was much illness among these green soldiers unused to living in the open, and Mrs. Tremaine and Mrs. Charteris, with other ladies in the county, were angels of mercy to the sick. Mrs. Charteris had accepted Richard Tremaine’s suggestion to send George Charteris over to Harrowby to study with Archie under Mr. Lyddon as the means of keeping him at home until he should be eighteen. George Charteris, to whom Angela had been the star of his boyish soul, now showed her coldness and disdain. So did everybody in the county, however, with the solitary exception of Mrs. Charteris. Angela remained quietly at home, a thing not difficult to do when one has no invitations abroad. She went to church on Sundays, but, beyond a few cool salutations, had nothing to say to anyone. When the first burst of indignation against her in the county was over, the attitude of the people among whom she had been born and bred became somewhat[158] modified, but it was then Angela who, standing upon her dignity, would have nothing to say to them. She had a natural longing for companions of her own age and sex, but when the Yelvertons and Careys made a few timid advances toward her she repelled them resentfully.

Meanwhile, letters had been received from Madame Isabey and Madame Le Noir acknowledging the hospitable invitation to Harrowby and accepting it at the end of the month. Madame Isabey’s letter was in French, but Madame Le Noir’s was in English of the same sort as Isabey’s, fluent and correct, but of a different flavor from the English of those who are born to speak English. Angela looked forward with excitement and even pleasure to the advent of the strangers. Their society would provide her with the novelty which she secretly loved. She imagined she would be much awed by the stateliness of Madame Isabey, but anticipated being in complete accord with Madame Le Noir, a widow, barely thirty. Her very name, Adrienne, breathed romance to Angela, who was accustomed to Sallys and Susans and Ellens and Janes, and she had not yet found out that names do not always mean anything.

The whole journey of the New Orleans ladies from Richmond had to be made by land, as river transportation was entirely stopped, owing to the patrolling of the Federal gunboats. It was arranged that the Harrowby carriage should meet the guests at a certain point on the road from Richmond. As usual the regular coachman was displaced in Hector’s favor, and Colonel[159] Tremaine went in the carriage out of exquisite hospitality, and likewise for fear that Hector might in some way have got hold of the applejack which had replaced the French brandy and champagne at Harrowby, and land the ladies in a ditch.

Two of the best rooms in the house were prepared for the expected guests, and a couple of garret rooms allotted to the two maids who were to accompany the ladies.

On a lovely May afternoon the coach with Madame Isabey and Madame Le Noir was due at Harrowby. Never had the old manor house looked sweeter than on this golden afternoon of late springtime. The great clumps of syringas and snowballs, like giant bouquets on the green lawn, were in splendid leaf and flower, and flooded the blue air with their perfume. The old garden was in the first glory of its blossoming, and the ancient wall at the end, where stood the bench called Angela’s, could scarcely support the odorous beauty of the lilacs, white and purple. The river singing its ceaseless song ran smiling and dimpling to the sea. All was peace outwardly, although peace was riven within the household. Angela was palpitating with excitement at the thought of the strangers’ arrival. She had never seen anyone in her life from a place as far off as New Orleans, except Isabey and Lyddon. The ladies of high degree, who were to arrive, belonged in a way to Isabey, and it was through him that they were invited to take up their domicile at Harrowby. Angela dressed herself carefully in a pale-green muslin left over from last year. There had been no question of new gowns for[160] women that year; an army of men had to be clothed and shod, and for that the women of the South heroically sacrificed their fal-lals.

Mrs. Tremaine, herself, placid and dignified, was secretly a little agitated at the coming advent of these strange new guests. Luckily, Hector being absent, everything went on properly in the department of the dining room, and there were no complications about lost keys, disappearing brandy bottles, and the usual corollary of a butler with magnificent manners, a disinclination for work, and a tendency to steep his soul in the Lethe of forgetfulness. Toward five o’clock, everything being in perfect preparation, Angela went into the garden to pace up and down the long walk and think, to speculate, to dream chiefly of Isabey, for she had not succeeded in putting him out of her mind. As she passed across the lawn she met George Charteris about to return to Greenhill. He went by her with a sort of angry indifference. Angela noticed this without feeling it. She seemed not four years but a whole decade older than George Charteris, and eons seemed to have passed since she was flattered by his boyish admiration.

As she sat on the bench under the lilacs she remembered the old yearning which had been hers, when the lilacs last bloomed, for something to happen. Things were happening so fast that her breath was almost taken away. And then looking toward the house, she saw the old coach rolling up. Hector, by some occult means, had succeeded in getting a nip of applejack, and in consequence Colonel Tremaine sat on the coach box and drove, while Hector, with folded arms, expostulated. There[161] was, however, no room for Colonel Tremaine inside, as it was entirely taken up by the two ladies, their maids, and bandboxes. A cart containing their trunks followed behind.

By the time the cavalcade drew up to the door, Angela, who was fleet of foot, was standing on the steps with Mrs. Tremaine. Colonel Tremaine, springing from the box and bowing profoundly, opened the carriage door and Isabey’s stepmother descended. Madame Isabey was the size and shape of a hogshead. She had once been pretty and nothing could dim the laughing light in her eyes and the brilliance of her smile. She radiated good humor, and when Mrs. Tremaine advanced, embraced, and kissed her on both cheeks, she poured forth a volley of thanks in French, of which Mrs. Tremaine understood not one word. Madame Isabey spoke English tolerably, but in moments of expansion invariably forgot every word of it. Then she seized Angela, whom she called an angel, a darling, and a little birdlet, of whom Philip had written her. If Angela was slightly disappointed in the state and majesty of Madame Isabey, there was no disappointment when Madame Le Noir descended. Her eyes were dark and her complexion olive like Madame Isabey’s, but there the resemblance ceased. Adrienne’s face, delicate, melancholy, beautiful, was of exquisite coloring, although without a touch of rose. Her hair was of midnight blackness, her complexion creamy, and she had the most beautiful teeth imaginable, which showed in a smile faint and illusive that hovered about her thin, red lips. Her figure was perfectly modeled, and her gown, her[162] hat, her gloves, everything betokened an exquisite luxury of simplicity. She spoke English fluently in the most musical of voices. Lyddon, who from the study window, was watching the debarkation, promptly came to the conclusion that no woman with so much personal charm and elegance as Madame Le Noir could possibly have any mind whatever.

A greater contrast to Angela could not be imagined. With that singular sensitiveness about clothes which is born in the normal woman, Angela realized at once that her gown was of last year’s fashion and the brooch and bracelets which she wore, according to the custom of the time, were not suited to her youth and slimness. She and Adrienne glanced at each other and in an instant the attraction of repulsion was established between them, that jealous admiration which is after all the highest tribute one woman can pay another. Not more was Angela overwhelmed with Adrienne’s matchless grace, her air of being the perfect flower of civilization, than was Adrienne impressed by Angela’s nymphlike freshness. Thirty is old for a woman near Capricorn, and Adrienne Le Noir looked all her thirty years. Her beauty had been acquired, as it were, by painstaking and was certainly preserved by it, while here was a creature, with the freshness of the dawn and much of its loveliness, whose beauty was no more a thing of calculation than the wood violets or the wild hyacinths which grew shyly under the yew hedge along the Ladies’ Walk.

Madame Isabey, who waddled into the house, escorted by Colonel Tremaine with elaborate welcomes and many[163] genuflections, was charmed with everything. Finding Mrs. Tremaine did not understand a word of French, Madame Isabey poured forth her thanks in Spanish, which did not mend matters in the least. She grew ecstatic over the dazzling account which Isabey had given of Angela, and Angela, to her own annoyance, blushed deeply at this—a blush which did not escape Adrienne, whose soft black eyes saw everything.

Angela’s ear was not attuned to French, and although she had a really sound knowledge of the language, she was mortified at having to ask for a repetition of what Madame Isabey was saying. She received another pin prick by Adrienne’s speaking to her in English.

After the ladies were shown to their rooms they were invited to rest themselves until supper, which was at eight o’clock. Angela went downstairs and again sought the garden seat. She was followed by Lyddon. “Wonderful old party, Madame Isabey,” he said, throwing his long, lanky figure on the bench. “I perceive, however, that she is amusing and means to be pleased, and the other lady—by Jupiter, I have never seen a woman more beautiful than she!”

Angela started.

“Why, Mr. Lyddon,” she said, in a surprised voice, “Madame Le Noir is very, very pretty, but I shouldn’t call her beautiful!”

“My child, men will always call Madame Le Noir beautiful because she is seductive; that is beauty of the highest order.”

Angela laughed.

[164]“I didn’t think you were so keen on beauty, Mr. Lyddon.”

“I’m not; I let the ladies alone as severely as they let me alone, but I know a beautiful woman when I see one. This Madame Le Noir has the beauty of the serpent of old Nile. I dare say there will be a match between her and Captain Isabey soon.”

“Why do you think so?” asked in a tremulous voice the wife of Neville Tremaine.

“It is what the ladies call intuition. They were not brought up together at all as brother and sister; that much I know from Captain Isabey, who mentioned that he was at the university when his father’s second marriage occurred.”

Angela sat silent revolving these things in her mind.

Isabey married! She had thought of him for years as a hero of romance, a knight of dreams, but she had never contemplated him as married.

Lyddon continued:

“They have a way in those New Orleans families of keeping all the money in the family connection. I judge that it would be a good financial arrangement for Madame Isabey’s daughter to marry her stepson, and the suggestion will come quite naturally from the old lady and will probably be accepted.”

Lyddon advanced these airy hypotheses with such an air of certainty that Angela took them just as he intended, seriously and definitely. He had trained this flower for Neville Tremaine, and he did not wish Isabey to inhale all its fragrance.

A little before eight o’clock Adrienne came down into[165] the hall where the lamps and candles were lighted. She was exquisitely dressed in a gown of the thinnest white muslin and lace, which set off her delicate, dark beauty. She had already made a conquest of Colonel Tremaine by her graceful affability, and riveted the chains upon him by her soft manners and her well-expressed gratitude. Women without penetration seldom took any notice of Lyddon, but Adrienne had much natural discernment, and she recognized under Lyddon’s ill-fitting clothes and general air of abstracted scholarship a very considerable man. As she talked, standing in an attitude of perfect grace with one bare and rounded arm upon the mantelpiece, Lyddon concluded that he would add a second to his private portrait gallery of women, Angela having been the only one up to that time. Adrienne Le Noir was neither a green girl nor a simpleton nor a would-be wit, nor any of the tiresome things which Lyddon always took for granted with young and pretty women. She made no pretentions to be well read, but she had studied the book of life and had mastered many of its pages, and Lyddon suspected that she was better acquainted with the human document than most women. He found himself wondering what sort of a marriage hers had been, and surmised that she was by no means broken-hearted. Her pensive air struck him as being rather an expectant than a retrospective melancholy.

When supper was announced Madame Isabey had not yet appeared, and Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine would have died rather than gone in the dining room without her.

“I am afraid you will not find my mother very punctual,” said Adrienne with a smile. “Even Captain Isabey[166] has never been able to make her punctual, and she will do more for him than for anyone else in the world. I often tell her that he is her favorite child, not I.”

“It is most delightful,” said Colonel Tremaine grandly, “to see so affectionate a relation existing between a stepmother and a stepson. No doubt Captain Isabey, with whom we all became infatuated, regards Madame Isabey as a mother.”

Adrienne laughed a little. “I scarcely think that,” she said. “My mother never saw Captain Isabey until he was more than twenty years old, but he is very chivalrous, as you know, and was always most attentive to my mother, and she has a kind heart. She admires Captain Isabey, and is very proud of him.”

“As she may well be,” responded Colonel Tremaine impressively. “And to you, my dear madame, such a brother must have been an acquisition indeed.”

“But he is not my brother,” replied Adrienne, quickly and decisively. “I never saw Captain Isabey until just before my marriage, and although we are the best of friends and I haven’t words to express his goodness to me, I don’t look upon him as a relative.”

Lyddon glanced at Angela as much as to say: “Just as I thought.”

It was in vain that Adrienne urged that the family go into supper. Neither Colonel nor Mrs. Tremaine would budge until Madame Isabey appeared. At last, after waiting twenty minutes, Madame Isabey came bustling down, finishing her toilet in full view of Colonel Tremaine, Lyddon, and Archie, and explaining that Celeste, her maid, never could put her hand on anything. Colonel[167] Tremaine then offered her his arm and they proceeded to the dining room. Madame Isabey declined both tea and coffee, and with much innocence asked for red wine, but when Mrs. Tremaine explained that all the wine at Harrowby had been sent to the field hospital, the old lady, with the utmost good humor, took a glass of sugared water instead.

She chattered incessantly in French to Colonel Tremaine, and by dint of repeating everything over three times and the use of the sign language made him understand what she was saying, and listened with the greatest good humor to his rusty French. She talked much about Isabey, to whom she was evidently attached, and the fact that he had let fall some words of admiration concerning Angela at once established her in Madame Isabey’s good graces. The old lady was not deficient in humor and gave an amusing description in mixed French and English of their hurried flight from New Orleans, and thanked God that she had found a comfortable place to rest her bones until the war should be over or she should be turned out of doors.

“No fear of that, madame,” replied Colonel Tremaine, laughing in spite of himself. Then Madame Isabey launched into praise of Philip Isabey, speaking of him as her son. “You, my dear colonel and Mrs. Tremaine, can sympathize with me as only parents can. I have given my only son, my Philip, to his country, and you, I hear, more fortunate than I, have given two sons and one more remains to offer.”

Colonel Tremaine’s handsome old face grew pale, while a flush arose in Angela’s cheeks. A silence fell[168] which showed instantly to Madame Isabey that she had made a false step, and she suddenly remembered the story about Neville Tremaine which she had heard and, for the moment, forgotten. After a pause, slight but exquisitely painful, Colonel Tremaine replied: “We have only one son in the Confederate service.”

“Oh, were you ever at the carnival?” cried Madame Isabey, determined to get away from the unfortunate subject.

“Yes, madame, I was at the carnival of 1847,” replied Colonel Tremaine, glad to take refuge in the safe harbor of reminiscences of 1847.

“I remember that carnival. I was as slight as your finger, and could waltz all through the carnival week without being fatigued.” Here Madame Isabey, with her two fingers and a lace handkerchief deftly wrapped around her hand, made a very good imitation of a ballet dancer waltzing and pirouetting on the bare mahogany table. Mrs. Tremaine was secretly shocked at such flippancy, and Adrienne sighed a little over the incurable levity of her mother.

One present, however, enjoyed it hugely. This was Archie, who recognized that Madame Isabey’s heart and soul were about the age of his own. He grinned delightedly and sympathetically at Madame Isabey. So did Tasso and Jim Henry, but Hector, assuming an air of stern rebuke, marched up to Madame Isabey, and in a stage whisper announced: “Family prayers, m’um, is at half past nine o’clock, mu’m.”

“What does he say?” asked Madame Isabey inquiringly. And Lyddon gravely explained that Hector[169] wished to know at what hour she would like breakfast in her room.

After supper, Madame Isabey, who had heard the outlines of Angela’s story, taking her by the arm, walked up and down the hall, her voluminous flounces and large hoop making her look like a stupendous pin cushion. But her smiling face, dimpled with good humor, showed that she had not outlived the tenderness of sympathy.

“My dear,” she said, speaking slowly and in English, “I know it all. You adored Neville Tremaine and married him for the best reason in the world—because he asked you. We are not accustomed to what you people in Virginia call love marriages, but I rather like them once in a while when there is a little money back of them. My last marriage was a love marriage, but I had a fine house in New Orleans and a couple of sugar plantations, and my husband had two more sugar plantations and a larger house than mine, so you see we could afford to be sentimental. My first marriage was arranged for me, but I frankly admit that I preferred the last one. It sometimes happens that a second marriage is a first love.”

Angela with Madame Isabey’s fat arm upon her slender one, and the old lady’s dark, bright eyes seeking hers, was inwardly horrified at Madame Isabey’s confidence, but maintained a discreet silence as Madame Isabey prattled on.

“So was Adrienne’s marriage for her, but she is different from me. She didn’t take it kindly. Oh, I don’t mean she objected! My daughter is far too well bred, too well governed, for that. She is superior to me in understanding and everything else, but she was very triste all[170] the time poor Le Noir lived, and when he died, after two years of marriage, Adrienne appeared relieved. That was ten years ago, and I believe she intends to make a love marriage the next time.”

Then, catching a glimpse of Lyddon shambling across the hall to the old study, Madame Isabey darted after him with an activity and grace singularly contrasted with her size and shape.

“Come here, you Mr. Lyddon, you Englishman,” she cried. “Tell Madame Neville Tremaine and me what you think of love marriages.”

“It is a subject upon which I never dare to think,” replied Lyddon in his scholarly French.

“That’s the way with you blessed English,” cried Madame Isabey laughing. “You never think, you only act, you English. I am telling Madame Neville that there are worse things than love marriages, and as for all this racket about her husband remaining in the Union Army, tra la la.”

However astounded Angela might be by Madame Isabey’s frank confessions, her goodness of heart and her desire to make herself acceptable was obvious, nor was she without charms and interest.

When they went into the drawing-room, Colonel Tremaine asked Adrienne if she played.

“Yes,” she replied, smiling, and seating herself at the piano, swept away the music on the rack, and ran her fingers softly over the keys.

Her playing was to Angela as great a revelation as Isabey’s singing. It was so finished, so full of art, so unlike the noisy transcriptions of operas and descriptive[171] pieces to which Angela was accustomed. She listened, thrilled, but with a sinking heart. Each of her accomplishments seemed to disappear, one by one, in the light of Adrienne’s superiority.

When Adrienne had finished playing, Madame Isabey cried: “Oh, you should hear Adrienne and Philip sing together the most charming duets imaginable! My child, sing for our friends.”

Adrienne acquiesced readily and gracefully. She was in no wise averse to showing her gifts before this young girl already a wife, whom Philip Isabey had admired so openly.

Adrienne’s voice was not remarkable, but her method, her feeling, her deep musical intelligence made her songs charming.

Then to complete Angela’s mortification, as it were, Mrs. Tremaine asked her to play. Angela, with the courage which would lead a forlorn hope, went to the piano and very wisely chose to do what she could best do. She played a waltz with perfect rhythm, but she had nothing of the phrasing, the tone color, the power of expression which marked the finished musician.

The waltz was, however, inspiring enough, or rather too much so, for Madame Isabey crying, “The music gets into my feet, it makes me waltz, I can’t help it,” sprang up, and catching Archie by the arm, cried out: “Oh, you dear little red-headed boy, come and waltz with me!” Archie, nothing loath, seized her about her capacious waist, and the two floated round the big drawing-room to their own delight and to the discomfiture of all present except Lyddon and the servants, whose black faces peering in[172] at the door were expanded into smiles which showed all their ivories.

Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine were aghast; Mrs. Tremaine had never really considered the waltz respectable.

Neither age nor size could impair Madame Isabey’s grace, and Archie, enveloped in her flounces, his round, red head peering over her shoulder, found less difficulty in steering her than many a sylph-like girl. Lyddon, smiling grimly, leaned with folded arms against the mantelpiece. He forebore to take a chair, meaning to make his escape at the first moment. Suddenly Madame Isabey darted up to him and crying, “Here is an opportunity to teach you the divine waltz,” proceeded to drag him around the room, keeping time meanwhile with a refrain of “one, two, three, waltz around.”

Angela turned round, and for the first time in a month burst out laughing. So did Colonel Tremaine, while a subdued guffaw from the window showed that Lyddon’s predicament had not been wholly lost on Tasso, Jim Henry, Mirandy, and their colleagues. Lyddon, when he recovered his senses, found he had waltzed half round the room with Madame Isabey, but then tore himself loose, and rushed away, considering whether or not he should be obliged to give up the comfortable berth at Harrowby, which he had held for twelve years, rather than live under the roof with this extraordinary old lady.

Madame Isabey sat down panting. The laugh which went round relieved for a moment the tension which had prevailed at Harrowby ever since that fateful night of Neville’s departure.



AFTER a few days life at Harrowby settled down to a regular routine under its new conditions. A Virginian’s house is not his castle, but the castle of the stranger within his gates.

Madame Isabey and Adrienne had breakfast in their rooms, and Adrienne did not appear until the day was well advanced, while Madame Isabey sometimes was not seen until late in the afternoon. Celeste, Madame Isabey’s maid, who was an African replica of her mistress, could not speak a word of English, and thought if she screamed loudly enough at Hector, in French, that she could make herself understood. Hector, falling into the same delusion, bellowed back at her in English, and the noise was only stopped by Angela being on hand every morning to explain Celeste’s wants to her colleagues.

Adrienne’s maid was like her mistress, quiet, soft-spoken, and intelligent.

It was, however, just as well that these handmaidens did not understand everything which went on at Harrowby. The tea, coffee, and sugar were getting low, and Mrs. Tremaine proposed to Colonel Tremaine that the family should entirely give up the use of these luxuries[174] and should drink coffee made of parched potatoes and sweetened with honey while reserving the real article for their guests. To this Colonel Tremaine instantly acquiesced.

Lyddon could not bring himself to drink the potato coffee and compromised on milk for his breakfast, while he watched with admiration Colonel Tremaine gulping down a coffee-colored liquid, and protesting: “My dearest Sophie, your potato coffee is as good as the best Old Government Java I ever drank in my life.”

Mrs. Tremaine, at the other end of the table, drank sassafras tea and, being unwilling to say that it was as good as the best oolong, declared: “Sassafras tea is very good for the complexion. When I was a girl, mother always made me drink a cup of sassafras tea every day for a month in spring to improve my color.”

Colonel Tremaine was proud of Mrs. Tremaine’s heroism, but it rose to heights which he found difficult to reach when she said to him some days afterwards: “My dear, it seems to me that we should set the example of giving up luxuries of dress. We have on hand a large quantity of homespun, both blue and brown, for the servants’ clothes, and I think it would be a good idea if we should wear homespun. You will recall that in grandpapa’s diary of the Revolution, he mentions that for four years he and Grandmamma Neville wore homespun entirely.”

Colonel Tremaine winced.

“Do you really think it necessary, Sophia?”

“I do think it quite necessary, as an example,” responded Mrs. Tremaine promptly, who had the spirit[175] of sacrifice in her as strong as had Jephthah’s daughter. “Tulip, you know, is an excellent tailoress, and between us we will make you a suit of clothes which you will be proud to wear, and it will be an example of patriotism and devotion to the cause.”

Colonel Tremaine could never resist any appeal made to him upon ethical grounds and consented to this painful proposition. He condescended, however, to plead that he still be allowed to wear his ruffled shirts as long as they lasted, promising not to renew them while civil war continued.

To this Mrs. Tremaine reluctantly agreed. The suit of clothes was immediately begun and when it was finished and put on, and Colonel Tremaine, accustomed to the best tailors in Baltimore, surveyed himself arrayed in Mammy Tulip’s handiwork, the iron entered into his soul. For a whole week thereafter, he called Mrs. Tremaine “Sophia.”

Meanwhile, Mrs. Tremaine had made for herself a homespun gown, severely plain, but well fitting. She hinted at Angela’s wearing homespun, but to this Angela made no reply. Six months before Mrs. Tremaine would have had the gown made and would have directed Angela to wear it. But now she scrupulously refrained from anything beyond suggestions.

Whatever Angela might have done in the matter of the homespun gown was checked by the presence of Adrienne Le Noir, who had an apparently endless succession of Paris gowns, which neither she nor Madame Isabey showed the slightest desire to sacrifice upon the altar of their country.

[176]Richard Tremaine, who had been at the instruction camp when the New Orleans guests arrived, did not return to Harrowby for a fortnight.

He had worked night and day organizing his battery of artillery, which was attached to the great camp of instruction where seven thousand men had been rapidly assembled and other troops were pouring in daily.

At last, however, Richard Tremaine found time to ride the ten miles to Harrowby late one afternoon, arriving after dark and leaving the next morning by daylight. He had an entire evening at home. Angela herself, completely dazzled by Adrienne Le Noir, was curious to see the effect she would produce on Richard, who had never met her, as she chanced to be abroad when he visited Philip Isabey in New Orleans.

Angela also expected Adrienne to be conscious of Richard Tremaine’s charms and force. But although exquisite politeness prevailed on both sides as between a host and guest, and that guest a woman, it was plain that there was not much sympathy between them.

Lyddon spoke of this the next evening to Angela when, after family prayers, she followed her old habit of stealing into the study for an hour.

“I thought,” said Angela, with much simplicity, “that Madame Le Noir and Richard would fall in love with each other as soon as they met.”

“My dear child,” laughed Lyddon, lighting his pipe, “everybody in the world does not go about falling in love with everybody else. I will say, however, that I thought Madame Le Noir very little impressed[177] with Richard. You know he is a man born to succeed with women. My own belief is that Madame Le Noir has another man in her mind, which makes her perfectly cool and indifferent to all the rest of the world.”

“What man is that?” asked Angela, knowing perfectly well what Lyddon’s answer would be.

“Captain Isabey, of course.”

Angela felt a strange sinking of the heart. “Do you think they’re engaged?” she asked.

“Oh, I don’t know anything about that, but I should think not! If they’re engaged, there is no reason why they should not be married. Both of them are quite old enough to know their own minds. Isabey, you know, is some years older than Richard. I should say there was no engagement, but it looks to me as if eventually Madame Le Noir and Isabey would be married.”

Angela, whose round elbows were on the table, leaned her chin upon her hands in a favorite attitude of hers, and Lyddon, who could almost see the workings of her mind, knew that from the hour she had first seen Isabey he had possessed extraordinary interest for her. He could have told the very instant that the recollection of Neville Tremaine now occurred to Angela. She had been looking down with meditative eyes upon the table, when suddenly she drew back, and glancing up, as if she were frightened and puzzled, said quickly:

“I haven’t had a letter from Neville for nearly three weeks, but I have one ready to send him. I will give it to you to-morrow.”

“Poor Neville,” said Lyddon, “his fate is hard.[178] I never knew a man in whose honor I had greater confidence, and yet he is reckoned dishonored by those nearest to him; nor a man of stronger natural common sense, yet he has gone against the almost unanimous opinion of his own section in the United States Army. Destiny, my dear, is a queer thing.”

“Very,” answered Angela. She was thinking of another strange act of the hand of fate. No man would be less likely to coerce a woman into marrying him than Neville Tremaine; his pride, as well as his principles, would seem to make it impossible; yet deep in her own heart, Angela knew that she had been coerced. It was like one of those promises which are extorted from children never to tell an untruth, never to repeat a certain fault, a promise under compulsion and so little voluntary that it can scarcely be reckoned binding.

Angela, however, meant to be bound by her promise. But always since she had first seen Philip Isabey his image had haunted her—haunted her more even than before she had seen him. She had dreamed of him for years and it so happened that the dream came true. He was exactly as she had pictured him and this of itself was enough to give him a peculiar interest.

She turned these things over in her mind sitting in the same attitude, at the table, the mellow light of two candles falling upon her white skin and dark eyes. The window toward the river was open, and the odors of the May night stole softly into the room. Lyddon roused her from her reverie.

“I have found a new field of usefulness,” he said. “I looked up the subject of making tallow candles. I[179] used to be pretty good at chemistry when I was at Balliol. The old lead candle molds used by Colonel Tremaine’s grandfather during the Revolution have been found in the attic.”

“I found them,” answered Angela, reproachfully.

“And a good find it was. We’re to use tallow candles, but the beehives furnish enough wax for Madame Isabey and Madame Le Noir and for the Bible reading at night. Mrs. Tremaine told me gently that they always used wax candles for the Bible reading and that it didn’t seem to her right to use tallow candles for that.”

“Poor Uncle Tremaine, did you ever see anybody in your life as wretched as he is in those homespun clothes made by Aunt Sophia and Mammy Tulip? And he loves his clothes so much!”

“Yes, I thought him a sad sight when he appeared in homespun and drank his potato coffee. I have, however, made another important chemical discovery.” Here Lyddon looked hard at Angela and winked his left eye. “Have you observed how the colonel’s hair has been turning red?”

“And green,” responded Angela, with animation. “It is the most melancholy sight I ever saw in my life.”

“So I thought, and I looked up a formula, of which black walnuts was the chief ingredient, and recommended it to Colonel Tremaine as a hair tonic—warranted to make the hair grow and prevent falling out and baldness. He shook my hand with tears in his eyes. I have got it all ready in this bottle.” Lyddon pointed to a big bottle on the wooden mantelpiece. “And you[180] will see that the colonel’s spirits will rise in the next day or two.”

Lyddon was quite correct in his prognostication. At supper the next evening Colonel Tremaine appeared resplendent, his pigeon wings, on each side of his forehead, a lustrous black instead of a rich brown, but the colonel, serenely unconscious, looked with eyes of profound gratitude at Lyddon.

The next day the candle-making began in earnest, and Colonel Tremaine, who had always used wax candles on his dressing table, came down to tallow ones. He sighed and tried to reconcile himself by the reflection that his ancestors, during the Revolution, thought themselves well off when they were able to get tallow candles.

Mrs. Tremaine, on the contrary, made every sacrifice with eagerness after having been forced to make the greatest sacrifice of all, in having her best beloved torn from her, torn from honor and good repute, and fallen from his high estate. It seemed to her as if all else were easy. She was glad of an excuse to wear homespun, to give up her linen sheets, to spend her days in labors heretofore unknown to her. If she had been in the Middle Ages, she would have used the scourge and worn sackcloth. God’s hand lay heavy upon her, so she thought, and not doubting its wisdom, believed that she deserved the terrible chastisement which had fallen upon her.

In that latitude May is summer time, and the heat descended upon Harrowby. It was, however, well adapted to withstand the torrid days. No Italian villa is better suited to these fierce summer heats than the old Virginia[181] country houses with their unstained floors, polished like a looking-glass by dry rubbing with sand and wax, the scanty mahogany furniture, the large doors and windows, free from dust-carrying draperies, and through which the summer breezes wander fitfully. Harrowby was as pleasant in summer as in winter, and Madame Isabey, who had the coolest room in the house, was never tired of congratulating herself upon having fallen upon her feet as it were.

In spite of the horror and amazement which her dancing created, and the grim suspicion that in the privacy of her own apartment she smoked cigarettes—a devil’s invention hitherto unknown at Harrowby—there was soon no doubt that she became a favorite with everyone about the place, excepting only Hector, who regarded her with severe disapproval and refused to be placated. He compared her to the daughter of Herodias, to Jezebel, and to every other unsavory character in the Bible. With all else at Harrowby, however, her genuine good humor, her airy spirit, her real goodness of heart, commended her strongly. Archie became her devoted slave, and Lyddon called Madame Isabey Archie’s elective affinity. George Charteris paid his devoirs at the feet of Adrienne, who could never remember whether his name was George or Charles.

Between her and Angela came about that deep, fierce, and wordless antagonism which exists when the shadow of a man stands between two women. No carping word passed between them; on the contrary, all was courtesy. There was no assumption on Adrienne’s part concerning her accomplishments, her toilets, her[182] thorough knowledge of the world contrasted with Angela’s innocence and ignorance. Nor did she make the mistake of underrating her rival. She secretly envied Angela her power of listening to, and even joining intelligently in, the conversation of men, and recognized that Angela was fitted for companionship as well as love.

Adrienne herself knew that, although she might have many lovers, she could never have a friend among men. The man she married, if he should cease to be her lover—what then? He would still admire her; there would still be the charm of her voice, of her manner, her appearance, her music, but she reasoned with a woman’s painful introspection that her charms were of the sort which one day vanish away. She had long known that the only lasting spell which a woman can cast upon a man is the spell of mental charm, for the spell that lasts must be one which knows no change and which is always at command. Angela had that charm in a remarkable degree.

Adrienne felt a secret jealousy when she observed Angela’s companionship with Lyddon and felt a deep inward mortification when Lyddon, talking about books with Angela, would courteously change the subject to something concerning which he supposed Adrienne to be interested.

She had never before seen a girl well trained in books, and her idea of a bookish woman was an untidy person with an ink smudge on her middle finger. She had seen in Paris women at the head of brilliant salons, but these women were no longer young and were usually arbitrary and of commanding social position. But here[183] was a girl all softness, who dressed her hair beautifully, and whose muslin gowns were radiantly fresh, and to whom a scholar like Lyddon could talk freely.

Angela was, however, eating her soul out with envy of Adrienne. Like most girls of nineteen, she knew neither past nor future, and it seemed to her as if Adrienne would ever remain the beautiful, seductive creature she was now. Angela felt herself distinctly inferior, and as she had enjoyed that subtlest form of flattery, being made much of, this feeling of inferiority was painful to her. But in this, as in all things else, the world was changed. The soul of things was altered and nothing was as it had once been.

One morning in early June, when the family was assembled at breakfast, Colonel Tremaine pointed out of the open window and across the wide-pillared portico to the broad, bright river running honey-colored in the morning sun.

A small sloop, painted a dull gray, was passing up the river, the fresh breeze swelling her brown sails and carrying her fast through the bright water.

“That’s Captain Ross’s vessel,” said Colonel Tremaine. “He has evidently run the blockade and has probably brought a valuable cargo with him.”

“Wouldn’t it be well, my dear,” asked Mrs. Tremaine, pouring out the colonel’s second cup of potato coffee, “if I should order the carriage this morning and go to Captain Ross’s house? We’re running short of supplies of many things.”

“It would be most judicious, my dearest Sophie,” answered the colonel, his white teeth showing in a smile, “if[184] Captain Ross were a patriotic person, but unluckily he declines to receive either the State money of Virginia or Confederate money, and we have no other sort.”

Mrs. Tremaine sighed and answered after a moment: “I’m not surprised at Captain Ross. I always thought him a very ordinary person, and he proves himself to be entirely without patriotism.”

Mrs. Tremaine, ever willing to give all she had to the Confederacy, thought it strange that Captain Ross should not undertake the risks and dangers of blockade-running and then sell his goods for a promise to pay.

“It isn’t that I mind our privations,” Mrs. Tremaine continued. “And I’m sure you, my dear, wouldn’t hesitate at any sacrifice for our country, but it distresses me to think that our guests shouldn’t have their accustomed comforts.”

It distressed Colonel Tremaine very much that with two wardrobes full of clothes, he was compelled to wear homespun, but it distressed him far more to think that the guests under his roof should want for anything, and so he expressed himself.

“I really relish the substitute for coffee which your ingenuity, my dearest Sophie, has supplied, but I’m afraid that Madame Isabey wouldn’t care for it.”

“Naw, suh,” said Hector, hurling himself into the conversation. “Me an’ de ole lady had a collusion ’bout dat coffee. I teck some ob your ’tato coffee up to dat ole lady——”

“Madame Isabey, you mean, Hector,” said Mrs. Tremaine in mild reproof.

“An’ she th’o it outen de window. She ain’t got no[185] fear ob de Lawd, her Gawd, an’ when I tole her that Paul de Porstle say you ain’t gwine th’o de chillen’s bread to de dogs, she tole me to shet my mouf—to shet my mouf.”

No one had ever yet been able to shut Hector’s mouth; and no one had ever seriously tried except Madame Isabey.

Angela, who sat by, took no part in the discussion. Suddenly she remembered the packet of gold eagles which she had received from Neville more than a month before. As soon as breakfast was over, she ran upstairs and got her rouleau of gold and, coming down, found Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine walking up and down the long portico toward the river. She went up to Mrs. Tremaine, and, holding out the little parcel, said to her in a trembling voice:

“I have some gold which Neville sent me; you’re welcome to all you want of it, Aunt Sophia.”

A deathlike silence followed. There was something astounding to Mrs. Tremaine that this child should have the strange species of independence which the possession of money gives, and then the thought flashed instantly through the mother’s mind that Angela by some secret means had lately heard from Neville and had not seen fit to mention it.

Mrs. Tremaine turned pale, and her eyes, fixed upon Angela, had in them an imploring expression.

Angela remained silent. The subtle changes made by her new status confused and embarrassed her. And then, still holding out the money, she said: “Here is the gold. I should like to keep half of it. I mean I shall keep half[186] of it to go to Neville when he sends for me. The rest is yours.”

Mrs. Tremaine drew back icily. It was difficult for her to accept the money, and more difficult to refuse it. But something in her air and manner caused Angela suddenly to burst into a passion of tears. As she stood sobbing, Colonel Tremaine put his arm around her, and said kindly:

“My dear little—” but he did not say daughter, as he would have said a few months ago or even then except for Mrs. Tremaine. He felt instinctively that Mrs. Tremaine did not wish that word to be used. Angela was the daughter-in-law and not the daughter to her, and Mrs. Tremaine, the tenderest-hearted of women, looked with somber eyes upon Angela’s tear-stained face.

What could this girl know of the passion of mother love which consumed the older woman’s heart? What could she know of the yearning for that secretly favored child, that son who in her heart she preferred to everything on earth, even to Colonel Tremaine, while she said to herself, to Colonel Tremaine, and to all the world, and even to her God upon her knees, that Colonel Tremaine was the first object of her existence, knowing all the while that this was a pious lie, and that Neville Tremaine was the idol of her heart, and had ever been and would always be first. It seemed to her a hidden insult that Angela should be willing to divide her money, but jealously withheld the letter which Mrs. Tremaine fancied she had received.

The same thought entered Angela’s mind, and, less ungenerous, she said quickly: “I have had this money[187] some time, and I have had no letter from Neville of which I haven’t told you, Aunt Sophia.”

And then Mrs. Tremaine, understanding Angela as women understand these subtle conflicts between each other, felt that Angela had, indeed, been generous, and it was time for her to show some generosity.

“Thank you, my dear,” she said. “Since you are kind enough to offer us a part of your money, I shall be much obliged. I will accept it with pleasure.”



TWO hours afterwards, the great coach with the big, long-tailed bay horses, was on its way to Captain Ross’s house.

Within the coach sat Mrs. Tremaine and Madame Isabey. Captain Ross’s house, a small frame building painted a staring white, was only a couple of miles away. Already the news of his successful blockade-running had got abroad, and the space under the trees was filled with all sorts of vehicles carrying all sorts of people from Mrs. Tremaine in her coach and pair down to a ramshackle Jersey wagon drawn by a decrepit mule.

Half the women of the neighborhood were there, and all intent on buying. The merchandise was piled up in the front room of the house, known as the “settin’ room,” where Captain Ross’s business manager, Didlake, presided over the sales. Nothing was sold by the yard or the pound; the ladies were too eager for that, and bought whole packages at once. Some of them had gold, but all of them had Confederate or Virginia State money, which they offered to Didlake, but which was in every case civilly but firmly refused.

Then came a torrent of invective against his want of patriotism in declining Confederate money, and demands to see Captain Ross.

[189]This request Didlake, who was suavity itself, politely evaded. “He’s asleep, ladies. He tumbled over like a log as soon as the anchor kissed the mud this morning and he got ashore, and I ain’t got the heart to wake him up. There never was a time from Sunday night, when we slipped out of Baltimore, until this morning, when we got into Mobjack Bay, that we wasn’t in sight of a Yankee vessel. They didn’t see us because we was painted the right color, but we seen them, and I tell you it wan’t no time for the capt’n to be sleeping. I give out myself last night and had a good night’s rest, but this is the first time Capt’n Ross has shet his eyes even to wink, since Sunday night.”

This only produced additional clamors on the part of the ladies to see Captain Ross before parting with their scanty supply of gold. But while they were eagerly discussing and denouncing Captain Ross’s turpitude to the Confederate cause, Madame Isabey, suddenly catching sight of some organdies which were, indeed, a fair and tempting vision, pulled out a long silk purse.

“Meestaire what’s-your-name?” she said calmly to Didlake, “I am what you call a patriotic lady, but these organdies are so very nice and the war may last a long time. I will pay gold for all I take.”

“Thank you, marm,” replied the unabashed Didlake, and Madame Isabey, promptly selecting piece after piece of what she wanted, and determined to make sure of her purchases, opened a door near at hand into a small bedroom and proceeded to throw on the bed bundles, hard and soft, but mostly hard. At the tenth throw Captain Ross’s shaggy head uprose from the bed and he shouted:

[190]“Good God! madam, you’ve nearly knocked my brains out.”

The rest of the ladies fled precipitately, deeply shocked by this untoward accident, but Madame Isabey stoutly held her ground.

“Oh!” she cried; “it makes no difference. I will throw the bundles on the floor, meestaire.” This she proceeded to do while Captain Ross covered his head up and soon began to snooze again.

Having taken her choice of everything and paid for it in gold, like a man, as Didlake said, Madame Isabey was in possession of enough contraband goods to set up a small-sized shop.

Mrs. Tremaine had been a modest purchaser and so had most of the other ladies, but Madame Isabey had got the choice of everything. When the parcels were loaded into the old coach, there was scarcely room for Mrs. Tremaine and Madame Isabey with her enormous hoop skirt.

As the two ladies were exchanging confidences out of the coach window with the group around them concerning prices and qualities, a diversion was created by Mrs. Charteris driving up in a big barouche, while by her side sat Mr. Brand. Ever sanguine, Mr. Brand had not yet learned that every civility offered him by Mrs. Charteris was invariably used by that lady for his discomfiture. So far, he was the only gentleman who had appeared upon the scene of action, but as soon as he was on the ground and had assisted Mrs. Charteris to alight, the ladies flocked around him. Over their pretty piping voices was heard Didlake’s suave basso.

“Look here, Mr. Brand,” he called out, with an affectation[191] of innocence, “we brought some real contraband goods this time that the ladies ain’t seen yet and don’t want to see. It’s guns and pistols. I can sell you as good a Colt’s revolver, army regulation pattern, as you ever see in your life, Mr. Brand. We all knows your duty lies here, but we are looking to see you and George Charteris and Colonel Tremaine and that red-headed boy, Archie, all run away to jine the army.”

The impudence of this annoyed Mr. Brand excessively, particularly in the presence of Mrs. Charteris, who never ceased badgering him openly and secretly for not joining the army. Mrs. Charteris, who was known to have more spirit than any ten men in the county, now turned her attention to Didlake.

“Mr. Didlake,” she cried, “I want to buy some things here, but I understand you and Captain Ross won’t take Confederate money, the money of your country.”

“Well, marm,” Didlake began, and halted. He was a little afraid of Mrs. Charteris, who was reckoned the best business woman in five counties.

“Don’t ‘Well, marm’ me, Mr. Didlake. May I ask in what kind of currency do you expect to pay the interest on your mortgage which I hold?”

Didlake remained silent, seeing the pitfall before him, and Mrs. Charteris continued vigorously, but laughing meanwhile at Didlake’s plight:

“Very well, then, you’ll pay that interest in gold. It has been due some little time and I shall have pleasure in spending it on the spot.” And with this, she figuratively[192] collared Didlake, drove him into the house before her, made him produce the amount of his debt in gold, and proceeded to lay it out on the spot in purchases.

Madame Isabey, who had heard something of Mr. Brand’s devotion to Mrs. Charteris and the Charteris acres, was deeply interested in this duello and could scarcely be torn from the scene, but Mrs. Tremaine gently reminding her that it was now high noon, they drove away.

Meanwhile, an unexpected visitor had reached Harrowby. As Angela sat reading alone in the cool green light of the darkened drawing-room, she heard the clatter of hoofs upon the gravel outside and the next moment, glancing through the jalousies, she saw Philip Isabey dismount from his horse and walk up the steps. Her heart gave a great leap, and she involuntarily put her hand to her breast. Perhaps it was because so much had happened, so much was happening, that even her strong young nerves were a little tense.

The next moment Isabey was being ushered in by Hector. Isabey thought he had never seen more witchery in a woman than in Angela at that moment. She was palpitating and flushing beautifully, and the unconscious coquetry of her sidelong glances was charming. Through her thin white bodice and sleeves could be seen her delicate neck and slender arms, and she seemed to embody all freshness, coolness, and purity. Her glances, however, took note of Isabey’s slight but well-made figure, his perfectly fitting uniform, the masculine charm, if not beauty, which was his.

“I’m so sorry Madame Isabey is not here,” said[193] Angela, after the first greetings were exchanged. “She has gone with Aunt Sophia to Captain Ross’s, the blockade-runner, this morning, and Uncle Tremaine is out riding. Madame Le Noir, however, is at home, and I will send for her at once,” and she touched the drawing-room bell.

“You may send for her,” replied Isabey, laughing, “but I know Madame Le Noir; you will not find her up and dressed at eleven o’clock in the morning.”

“You will stay some time?” said Angela, accustomed to lavish hospitality.

“If I am asked—yes. I shall be at the instruction camp for a week upon military business. In fact, I spent last night there with Richard Tremaine and found that my affairs could be transacted equally well at Harrowby, so Tremaine sent me down here to stay a week.”

Guests to spend a week at Harrowby were common, but the prospect of the week before her made Angela’s flush grow deeper. Just then Tasso appeared, and Angela sent him to Adrienne’s room with the message that Captain Isabey had arrived.

Then they sat down together, Angela in a corner of a deep old mahogany sofa while Isabey drew up his chair. He wondered at himself when he realized the shock of pleasure, nay, of delight, which this girl’s presence gave him. He was well into his thirties and had lived much, but Angela was as new to him as he was to her. He knew intimately the French type of woman only. He had seen many girls of other types, but seeing is not knowing. He had never known any[194] girl in the least resembling Angela. On this occasion he was astonished and charmed by her ease and dignity as a hostess. Angela, in truth, had been accustomed to play hostess on occasions from the time she was ten years old. The combination was not rare in the Virginia woman of the day, of a childlike ignorance of the world together with a most perfect womanly self-possession and grace. But it was quite new to Isabey.

Apart from all of this, Angela had for him an interest which no other woman had ever possessed. True, he remembered the time when the presence of Adrienne had made his pulses leap, when the sweep of her delicate robe, the fragrance of her hair, would banish from him the whole world, but that had been long ago when he was a boy of twenty and Adrienne herself was then engaged to marry the eminently worthy and wealthy Le Noir, of one of the best families in New Orleans. For Isabey, that intoxication had passed, and he had rightly reasoned that it would scarcely be likely an impressionable young fellow, such as he was thirteen years before, should see a girl as charming as Adrienne and not fall precipitately in love with her.

However, he had recovered from it whole and sound as lads of twenty come out of these desperate fevers of love and when, a few years later, Adrienne was free, the fever had not returned. Isabey admired her; she pleased every artistic sense he possessed and he believed her capable of a passionate attachment. But since that early and boyish infatuation, she had never stirred love within him. He rather wished she had, because Madame Isabey was always throwing out feelers in the matter.[195] It would be so very convenient and acceptable in every way for the marriage to take place. And the fitness of it was so obvious, too obvious, so Isabey thought.

Adrienne was too clever, too well bred, too much mistress of herself to betray whatever of chagrin she felt at Isabey’s attitude of easy and brotherly friendship, and Isabey had too much manly modesty to suppose that Adrienne yearned for him. He saw, however, that life for her was a broken dream. She had all that could awaken love, and yet love was not hers.

Men being exempt from the matchmaking mania, Isabey had not magnanimously thought of some other man whom Adrienne might bless until that very day when on his ride to Harrowby he had reflected upon Richard Tremaine’s frankly expressed admiration for her, and wondered if something more might not come of it. And at the same time he thought, with a mingling of rage and amusement in his heart, that from the hour he found that he could go to Harrowby, Angela’s face and her slim figure had been continually before him. Poor child! What fate might be hers! He had seen enough, and surmised more during that first visit at Harrowby, to suspect that Angela had arranged a loveless marriage for herself just as a loveless marriage had been arranged for Adrienne by others.

And then Isabey, manlike, began to feel genuine self-pity for himself. Here, at last, in this quiet Virginia country house, had he met the woman who could awaken his interest and perhaps stir his heart, and she had been married one week before he met her. These thoughts returned to him as he sat watching Angela in[196] the corner of the sofa fanning herself slowly and gracefully with a great, green fan.

Isabey told her of Richard’s doings at the instruction camp and spoke of him with admiration. “I thought I knew Richard Tremaine well, and as you know, when two youngsters have chummed together as Tremaine and I did at the university and in Paris, they haven’t usually an overwhelming admiration for each other, but it is impossible not to recognize Tremaine’s capacity. It appears greater whenever there is a great opportunity. He has it now and you will see this time next year he will be known as one of the best artillery officers in the Confederate Army.”

Angela was once more impressed by the studied correctness of Isabey’s speech, which, however much he might be master of English, showed that it was not his native language, and this added still more to his charm, serving as it did to differentiate him from all other men she had ever known in her life.

Upon the wall opposite them hung a fanciful painting of Neville and Richard when they were little boys in white frocks. According to the sentimental fashion of the time, they were represented as doing what they had never done in their lives. Richard, sitting upon a bank of violets, held a bird cage with a bird in it, at which Neville was throwing roses. The picture had a quaint prettiness upon which Isabey remarked, asking if they were portraits of the two brothers.

“Yes,” answered Angela. “The one with the bird cage is Richard and the other is my—my husband.”

“As you know, I haven’t the pleasure of knowing[197] Captain Neville Tremaine as well as I know Richard, but, of course, I honor and respect him the more for the action he has taken, which I believe was the most painful sacrifice imaginable. I am not of those rabid men who think that there is but one view of military honor. I think I should have acted differently if I had been in Neville’s place, but I am very far from condemning him.”

“Thank you,” said Angela, tremulously. “You don’t know how hard it is to me to feel that every hand is turned against Neville, every heart hardened toward him. You see, all of us love Neville better, I think, than anything in the world; he was Aunt Sophia’s and Uncle Tremaine’s favorite son, though they always denied they had a favorite, but Richard and Archie knew it and all of us, and there never was any jealousy of Neville. Richard was the cleverer, Neville says that himself, but Neville was the best loved, and now his parents seem to hate him.”

Angela, as she spoke, leaned back and half-averted her face and lowered her long lashes, a trick she had when she was distressed or displeased.

Isabey, listening to her, was overwhelmed with a wave of pity. She was unconsciously telling the story he had suspected from the beginning, that she had married without exactly knowing what love was. He gently encouraged her to speak of Neville, and every word she said confirmed his theory. She could not say too much in praise of Neville, but she said no word which showed that his presence made heaven for her or that his absence meant desolation.

[198]“Of course, I shall go to Neville as soon as I can,” she said. “He is not able to have me yet, but I shall go the instant he writes me to start. Everyone at Harrowby was kind to me when I was a child, but Neville was the kindest of all, and now when he is an outcast I am the only one who will go to him and comfort him. I don’t mean that Richard is bitter against him. Richard feels as you do, but Aunt Sophia and everyone else is against him. Aunt Sophia and Uncle Tremaine, you know, won’t mention his name at family prayers; think of it!”

She leaned forward and two indignant tears dropped upon her pale, pretty cheeks.

“Oh,” she said, “if I could tell you all!”

Unconsciously she put out her hand, and Isabey, scarcely knowing what he did, took it. His training was thoroughly French, and he had the old-fashioned French idea that only the man who loved a woman should touch her hand. When he felt Angela’s soft palm upon his, it thrilled him, and Angela, realizing the delicate pressure of his fingers, suddenly withdrew her hand.

But at that moment the invisible chain was forged. They could not look at each other with indifference, and were perforce instinctively on their guard with each other.

“I—I don’t know what made me do that,” Angela faltered. “But everything is so strange to me now, and I feel so friendless. Six months ago I had a plenty of people to love me, now I seem to have no one.”

Then the soft frou-frou of dainty skirts and[199] Adrienne’s delicate footfall was heard, and the next moment she stood before them.

Never had Angela or Isabey, either, seen Adrienne look more seductive, for beautiful she was not in its regular sense. The heat had brought a faint flush into her usually colorless face and a smile parted her scarlet lips. She was, as always, exquisitely dressed, and there was about her that singular aroma of elegance which is the possession of some women.

She and Isabey greeted each other with the utmost friendliness, but in the French fashion, with bows and not with a clasp of the hand. Nevertheless, Adrienne felt instinctively that she had arrived at an inopportune moment. As she approached she had heard Angela’s voice, low and tremulous, and Isabey’s, in replying, had that unmistakable note of intimacy which Adrienne had never heard him use before toward any woman.

He was entirely at his ease, although he wished very much that Adrienne had stayed away a little longer. Angela, however, showed a slight confusion, and then Lyddon walked into the room. He carried an English newspaper, and, after a few minutes’ talk, asked to read aloud the leading article in it concerning the Civil War in America. Its view was pessimistic, and it asked some puzzling questions concerning the future of the South whether it succeeded or failed. Lyddon was surprised to find that Isabey’s thought had gone beyond the conflict and that he, too, saw the enormous difficulties which lay in the path of the South whether slavery remained or was abolished.

[200]“But,” he said, after an animated discussion with Lyddon, “there is nothing for us to do but to fight and march and march and fight. We have been driven to fight, and I think we love to fight. We can’t think about to-morrow; there may be no to-morrow for a good many of us.”

Angela longed, while the two men were talking, to ask questions, but following the rule which she had laid down for herself, to take no part in discussions about the war, remained silent.

So did Adrienne. She felt her inability to join in conversations like those and had too much tact to attempt it.

Isabey and Lyddon presently recognized that they were leaving the ladies out of their talk and promptly returned to a subject in which all were interested—the makeshifts of the war time.

Lyddon had turned his learning to good account, and had devised means for preparing a good toilet soap in addition to his formula for candles and for what he euphemistically called a hair tonic.

While they sat talking Mrs. Tremaine and Madame Isabey returned from the blockade-runner’s. The latter rushed up to Isabey and embraced him affectionately—an embrace which he returned.

“Ah!” she cried. “We have been to a block—blockhead——”

“A blockade-runner, you mean,” responded Isabey, laughing.

“—and I have bought organdies, such charming organdies from Baltimore, almost as good as those we get[201] in New Orleans and from Cuba, and Adrienne and I will be well dressed during the whole war.”

Such was not Mrs. Tremaine’s idea, who thought that everybody should dress in sackcloth during the war. But she was too well bred to intimate anything of the sort. Her hospitable instincts made her turn to Angela and say: “Angela, have you ordered ‘snack’ for Captain Isabey?”

Isabey looked puzzled, and Lyddon explained that snack was a good old Anglo-Saxon word which was used in lieu of luncheon among a people who had breakfast at eight o’clock and dinner at three.

Angela, feeling conscience-stricken, slipped out on the back porch, where she discovered Hector looking disconsolately at a large and not uninviting tray of “snack.” Hector, however, surveyed it with much dissatisfaction.

“Look a heah, Miss Angela,” he grumbled, “dey ain’t no lemonade heah. Dey ain’t been a lemon on dis heah plantation sence Marse Linkum was norgorated, an’ dis heah cider ain’t fitten for gentlemen. De cakes ain’t got no sugar in dem, dey jes’ sweetened wid honey, an’ don’t taste like nuttin’ ’tall.”

Angela held up a large, round disk, as big as a dinner plate, of waferlike biscuit.

“These thin biscuit are very nice, don’t you think, Uncle Hector?” she asked anxiously.

“Thin biscuit ain’t nuttin’, Miss Angela,” gloomily responded Hector, picking up the tray and walking off toward the drawing-room. “When Gineral Lee has done enfalated Gineral McClellan an’ got him in a sortie, den[202] we can git sumpin’ fitten to give folks for snack. An’ dem swells from New Orleans, I ’clar to Gord, Miss Angela, I ’shamed to take dis heah tray in de parlor.”

“I am very sorry, Hector,” sighed Angela, “but it is the best we can do in war times. At least there is enough.”

“Sech as ’tis,” was Hector’s scornful rejoinder as he marched into the drawing-room, where he proceeded to hand the tray, making apologies, sotto voce, for everything he offered.

“I hope, marm,” he said grandly to Madame Isabey, as he presented the tray first to her, “that you’ll ’scuse dis heah cider, but de lemons is unexpected give out, an’ ole Marse is ’way out ridin’ over de plantation wid de cellar key in his pocket, so we cyarn’ git no champagne.”

“Hector,” said Mrs. Tremaine mildly, “there is no more champagne here. We give our friends gladly what we have, but this is a time of war, and such luxuries as we had we have sent to the soldiers.”

Madame Isabey took a little of the cider and declared she liked it, while Isabey helped himself as if it had been Veuve Cliquot of the first quality. So did Lyddon, who really liked cider, and who offended Hector very much by saying that good cider was better than the second-quality champagne which was usually found in America.

It was the source of perennial amusement to Isabey as to Lyddon, the feudal relationship between master and man in Virginia, and he was touched by the jealous regard for the family credit which Hector, in common with[203] so many of his race, showed. Isabey said so to Mrs. Tremaine, but Mrs. Tremaine only opened her eyes in gentle surprise. She was really much more concerned for Hector’s feelings in the serving of so homely a repast than she was for her own or for those of her guests.

Then Colonel Tremaine came in and presently it was three o’clock, and dinner was served.

After dinner all the ladies took their siesta according to the Virginia summer fashion. Lyddon and Isabey went out and smoked in the garden. Isabey liked Lyddon’s conversation and always listened to it with pleasure. But on this day he found himself woolgathering. He listened with his usual courteous attention, but he felt still within his lean, brown hand the involuntary touch of Angela’s rosy palm.

It was an impulsive thing for any girl to do, but to Isabey, unused to the Anglo-Saxon freedom between man and woman, it was a phenomenal thing. He attributed it to the fact that Angela had been brought up with a boy and almost as a boy, but upon the absolute innocence and purity of her act he would have staked his life. And the turn of her head and the dewy freshness of her face haunted him.

It was easy to feel pity for so charming a creature. How wholly different was she from Adrienne—one the perfect flower of civilization, the other a wood violet.

Angela lay upon the great four-posted bed in her room, with the window shutters closed. The summer afternoon was still—so still she could actually hear the beatings of her own heart and she was thinking of Isabey. She[204] knew that she had done an unconventional thing in suddenly putting her hand in his, but her intention had been too innocently pure to give her any sense of shame. With closed eyes she lived over the two or three seconds when her hand lay in his. Suddenly she thought of Neville.

She rose from her bed quickly and, going to the dressing table on which she kept a daguerreotype of Neville, she clasped her hands and hung her head as if overwhelmed with guilt. She was a wife, and she had dared not only to think of another man, but to touch his hand with hers! If Neville were there it would be so easy, she thought, to confess it to him. She would even write him a letter and tell him about it. But some instinct of common sense restrained her. It occurred to her that the singular change in all her other relations of life affected her with regard to Neville himself. Some things which she had once told him frankly she must now consider well whether she should tell him at all.

Of one thing, however, she was certain—she must stop thinking of Isabey. She took a book and read resolutely until the cool of the afternoon when it was time to dress. But because she tried to put Isabey out of her mind, his presence was there the more.

She could hear his voice talking with Lyddon, and caught the whiff of his cigarette as he passed under her window. She must be on her guard against Isabey. When away from him she must not think of him, and when with him she must not even look at him. How new and peculiar it was that she should be on her guard against any man in the world!

[205]A little after five o’clock she went downstairs. For the last half hour Adrienne had been playing soft chords upon the piano in the drawing-room. Angela went into the room and said as she always did when Adrienne went to the piano:

“Pray keep on playing. I do so love to hear you play.”

And then, whether by a coincidence or not, Isabey entered the room. Adrienne played some of the sweet, mysterious music of Chopin, and Angela listened with delight. So did Isabey, but Adrienne was conscious that the music laid no spell upon him. There was a large, round mirror over the piano and in it she could clearly see Isabey’s eyes fixed on Angela.

Upon the music rack were some duets, and Adrienne, turning them over, hummed little bits of them, but Isabey made no offer to sing them with her, and when she spoke of singing as an art Isabey said coolly: “The fact is, I have always been ashamed of my singing. It sounds as if I had given much more study to it than I really gave.”

“You promised,” said Angela, turning her clear gaze upon him, “that some time you would tell me how you came to sing so well.”

“The truth is,” he replied, laughing, “I had Mario for a teacher. I lived one summer in a villa on Lake Constance, next one where Mario lived. He took an interest in me and insisted on teaching me singing. I was a youngster then, and Mario was really a delightful old fellow. Lord Chesterfield says that no gentleman should ever pursue any art so far as to be mistaken for[206] a professional, and it is a wise observation, because, if a man does that, he usually unfits himself for anything else. I did not, however, get so far as that. Mario, meaning to do me the greatest kindness in the world, wrote a letter to my old father in New Orleans, saying that if I would study singing seriously I might, in a year or two, be second tenor at the Paris Opera. You should have read my father’s letter in reply.”

“I read it,” said Adrienne, laughing.

“The old gentleman, when he was violently angry, wrote in English, in which he was not very proficient. He wrote me: ‘You do come home immediately at once, now, at present. You shall disgrace yourself by singing in the opera. Come home, I threaten.’ I came home by the next steamer. For a long time my father would not listen to me sing and swore every time music was mentioned. Then, one day, when he was asleep in his chair, I went to the piano and began to sing a song his mother had sung to him long years before in France. When I turned round, after the song was finished, he was weeping. After that he sometimes listened to me sing.”

While they were speaking Lyddon had strolled in.

“You will find your singing a very useful accomplishment as long as the war lasts,” he said to Isabey. “Music, you know, has a singular psychic influence upon soldiers, and when the real work begins, the man who can sing a good song at a bivouac is really a very useful person.”

“I read in a book once,” Angela began with animation, “that when a ship goes to sea, if they can get[207] a good ‘shanty’ man they will take him whether he is any use or not, just because he sings.”

“What Angela has read in books is really wonderful,” said Lyddon gravely. “Can’t you tell us, my little dear, about the kind of music to which the Spartans marched to battle?”

“Mr. Lyddon is making fun of me,” Angela explained. “But he doesn’t know how often I hoaxed him when I was a child. I would make him read Latin to me just because he reads it so beautifully and would pretend I understood a great deal more than I really did, and often when he would give me what he calls solid books to read, I would read them just to make Mr. Lyddon think how clever I was.”

“I never taught but one girl in my life,” murmured Lyddon. “And if God will forgive me——”

“I think I must have a very mean disposition,” continued Angela. “I remember how safe and triumphant I used to feel when, if Archie missed his Latin grammar, Mr. Lyddon would give him a clip over the head with the book, but when I couldn’t do arithmetic, Mr. Lyddon could only ran his hands through his beard and growl: ‘She must have a governess. I shall tell Mrs. Tremaine this day.’”

Adrienne sat silent. Her childhood and girlhood had none of these recollections. She had practically never seen a man until she was married.

In the dusk of the evening Richard arrived. He was full of news from camp, and brought word that the Federals were establishing a camp of instruction, larger and more complete in every way than the Confederate,[208] about fifteen miles on the other side of Harrowby. It was not likely, however, that any actual fighting would take place, both armies reserving their forces for the Titanic struggle around Richmond. And as the case had been for months past, while the war was discussed, and it was always being discussed, the negroes were seen furtively listening to all that went on.

Isabey remained a week as he had expected. Most of his days were spent in camp, but every evening he rode the ten miles back to Harrowby.

Mrs. Tremaine and Colonel Tremaine remarked to each other upon Captain Isabey’s filial attention to his stepmother. Madame Isabey was quite willing outwardly to take Isabey’s attentions, but inwardly she hoped that it was Adrienne’s presence which drew him to Harrowby.

Not so Adrienne. Perfect man of the world as Isabey was, and careful as he might be that he should not betray the compelling interest which Angela possessed for him, he could not disguise it from the other woman. Adrienne was reminded of a Spanish saying she had heard long ago: “I am dying for thee and thou art dying for some one who is dying for another.”

Nor did Lyddon suppose for one moment that Adrienne was the magnet which drew Isabey. Nevertheless, with a perfectly clear conscience, he reiterated to Angela that he supposed a marriage would shortly take place between Captain Isabey and Madame Le Noir. And to Lyddon’s discomfiture, he saw a look of incredulity come into Angela’s expressive face. It would have been better if she had shown anger or distress,[209] but she did not. Without speaking, she conveyed to Lyddon her inward conviction that Adrienne was nothing and never could be anything to Isabey.

Lyddon thought that the best thing possible was for Angela to join Neville at the very earliest opportunity.



WHEN Isabey left Harrowby, Angela had again that fearful sense of loss which with the young follows upon the going away of any person who fills a great place in the mind.

She remembered having that feeling of desolation when she was barely ten years old and Neville had first gone to West Point. Afterwards, however, although she always parted from him reluctantly and made a loud lament, the feeling had not been so poignant as when she was a child.

Now, however, it returned in full force and not for Neville but for Philip Isabey. She began to think as Lyddon did, that the sooner she joined Neville the better.

When she had parted from him it had not occurred to her that she should not soon see him again. She knew not what war was, but as time passed on and the first great conflicts began, she realized that every parting with a soldier might mean a last farewell. She might hear any day of Neville’s death and also of Philip Isabey’s.

But it was the thought of the latter which made her heart stand still, then beat tempestuously.

Her letters to Neville were frequent, and she managed[211] to forward them through Lyddon, who, as a British subject, could communicate with the British Consul at Norfolk and the British Minister at Washington.

After much delay, these letters reached Neville. His replies were far more irregular. He was not at the front, but engaged in recruiting duty in the far West—a duty he always disliked and which he felt now to be a practical illustration of how little he was trusted by those among whom he had cast his lot. He accepted it with outward stoicism, but inwardly it humiliated him to the very marrow of his bones. His work led him to the roughest part of the then thinly settled West. It was no place for a woman and least of all for a girl like Angela, who had never been outside of her native county three times in her life.

When Angela got a letter from Neville she always went immediately to Mrs. Tremaine and told her what was in the letter. Mrs. Tremaine received this in perfect silence, but she was always tremulous for a day or two afterwards. She, who had heretofore possessed a sort of calm alertness, went about now with a strange preoccupation. Neville’s room had been closed and locked and Mrs. Tremaine kept the key. In it were some of his boyish books and belongings, but Mrs. Tremaine made no offer of them to Angela. There were times when she would disappear for an hour or so, and all at Harrowby knew that she spent those stolen hours in Neville’s dark and dismantled room. She paid these visits secretly, and would not even speak of them to Colonel Tremaine, although once or twice he met her[212] coming out of the door, and his eyes, full of pain and sympathy, tried to meet her averted gaze.

Every night at prayer time when the moment came that Neville’s name had once been mentioned, Mrs. Tremaine could not control a slight agitation, and once at the omission Colonel Tremaine groaned aloud.

At that, Mammy Tulip, suddenly throwing her white apron over her face, broke into loud weeping. “My chile,” she cried. “Dat boy I nus same like he wuz my own an’ ain’t never gib he mammy a impident word sence he been born, an’ now he ma an’ pa doan’ name him at pray’r time.”

Angela went up to Mammy Tulip and, putting her arm around the old woman’s neck, leaned upon her broad shoulder, her heart wrung with pity for Neville. But even in that moment she knew that she was not in love with him.

With the early summer the stupendous clamor of war and the carnival of blood began.

Richard Tremaine’s battery had been ordered to the front and was in most of the great battles of the summer of 1861. Often long periods of time passed when no news of him reached Harrowby. The Richmond newspapers, received twice in the week, which had been leisurely read two or three days after they arrived, were now seized upon with avidity, and the grewsome list of dead, wounded, and missing was scanned with anxious eyes by Colonel Tremaine.

Angela, hovering about him as he read over this direful list, would glance at it herself. Suppose she should find Isabey’s name in it. How would she take it?[213] She had never fainted in her life, but she had a haunting fear that if she should read Isabey’s name among the killed she should faint or shriek or in some way betray herself.

Madame Isabey was keyed up also to periods of anxiety, although she showed a spirit of cheerfulness and courage which was remarkable. The life at Harrowby, so placid without, was full of fears and tumults within, and was extraordinarily different from the years of pleasuring which Madame Isabey had spent between New Orleans and Paris, but she made no complaint, nor did Adrienne, though, if anything, it was harder on her than on the older lady.

Adrienne had few resources, music being the chief. But with natural tact she forbore from spending long hours at the piano, which she would have done in her own home. Her taste for reading lay in a few pessimistic French poets and romancers, but even with these, the time was heavy on her hands. She had found life disappointing from the first. Formed for love, her first marriage had been as loveless as it was respectable. Then had come a mortal wound to her pride—when she was free Isabey no longer cared. It was not as if they had been separated and her image had gradually faded from his mind; they had been thrown constantly together during the seven years of her widowhood, and all their world was continually suggesting the appropriateness of their marriage. So that the idea of it was necessarily before Isabey’s mind, yet he had spoken no word, and Adrienne felt a sad certainty that no word would be spoken by him.

[214]She had a quiet pride which not even jealousy could lash into resentment. She saw the sudden witchery which this nineteen-year-old Angela, this wife who was no wife, had cast over Isabey, and did not wonder at it. Angela was to Adrienne as much an unknown quantity as she herself was to Angela. Adrienne felt herself robbed of something which could be of no use to Angela, who possessed it, and Adrienne was thirty with her youth behind her while Angela, not yet twenty, was entering upon those ten years which to most women count for more than all that has gone before or can come after.

The most unfailing courtesy prevailed between these two women. They exchanged small kindnesses, spent some hours of every day together in feminine employment, but a great gulf lay between them.

Angela felt instinctively and intuitively the things which Adrienne knew, and reasoned upon them calmly and sadly. Adrienne had everything and yet she had nothing. A still and mortal antagonism had been growing steadily from the first between the women, but not the smallest indication of it was given in manner or behavior. Both were women of the highest breeding, and each was secretly ashamed of the ignoble passion of jealousy which possessed them, and had the art to conceal it.

Something of what each suffered was dimly suspected by the other and was actually known to one person—Lyddon. Of the two, he felt more sorry for Adrienne, torn from a life of gayety brightened by art and music, and transplanted like an exquisite exotic into the depths[215] of a sunless forest. He felt acutely sorry for her and tried in many ways to lighten the burden of ennui which he suspected, in spite of her composure, lay heavy upon her. But there was no common ground between them.

Lyddon, observing Angela day by day, saw her, as it were, growing up. In January she had been a child: in July she was a woman with more problems and perplexities weighing upon her than happen to most women during the course of a long life.

Everyone at Harrowby was in a state of unrest, the negroes not the least so. Several of the house servants could read, and occasionally newspapers would disappear mysteriously and after a time be replaced.

In the summer nights these children of the sun would build a fire out of doors in their quarters, and sitting around it in a circle, the house servants would tell in whispers what they had picked up of the great events going on.

The early autumn in warm climates is a depressing time of feverish heat alternating with shivery nights like the fever and ague which was certain to appear at that season. In November, when the cool weather had declared itself and all danger of fever was supposed to be passed, Madame Isabey had a slight touch of it. In a great fright she determined to go to Richmond, where she might consult a doctor. Adrienne, of course, must go with her, so it was arranged that the two ladies, late in autumn, should leave Harrowby for the winter in the Confederate capital.

Adrienne looked forward to it with something like[216] pleasure. Life at Harrowby was wearing on her. She felt its sameness, which was now without serenity, and the exciting and kaleidoscopic life of a beleaguered capital would be a distraction to her. Adrienne’s problems were not inconsiderable.

In December, therefore, the hegira occurred. The whole journey to Richmond was made by carriage and took three days. Colonel Tremaine, in the excess of gallantry and good will, declared to Madame Isabey: “My boy, Hector, madame, shall drive the coach upon this occasion, and I will cheerfully do without his services in order to feel sure that you are in safe hands.”

“O Heavens!” cried Madame Isabey, who abhorred Hector. “That ridiculous old creature, always getting tipsy and quoting the Bible and telling romances—such romances! About the war in Mexico! And you, yourself, my dear Colonel, tell me that the creature is a grand coward. Never can I let him drive me!”

Colonel Tremaine colored with displeasure. Not even Mrs. Tremaine had dared to speak the truth so openly about Hector. But the courtesy due a guest made the Colonel pass over Madame Isabey’s frankness.

“I, madame,” he responded, a little stiffly, after a moment, “shall have the pleasure of accompanying you, as I always intended. I could not think of allowing two ladies to travel from Harrowby to Richmond alone, although I do not believe that any actual danger may be apprehended.”

“Until Hector gets drunk and upsets the carriage in a ditch,” whispered Lyddon to Angela, who was present.

[217]The start was made on a bright morning in the middle of December. The Harrowby carriage, like all those of the period, had boxes under the seats meant to carry clothes and a rack behind for a trunk, and that accommodated the ladies’ luggage. In addition was a large box filled with provisions and with a dozen bottles of Mrs. Tremaine’s very best blackberry wine, for supplies were scarce and dear in Richmond. It was arranged that the ladies should return in April.

To themselves and to all the family at Harrowby, except Archie, there was a slight feeling of relief at the separation for the winter. Archie had become devotedly attached to Madame Isabey and insisted on following the carriage on horseback a day’s journey to show his regret at parting with his elderly friend, who never ceased to amuse and delight him.

The parting was courtesy itself on both sides. Mrs. Tremaine accepted as a certainty that the ladies would return in April to remain during their pleasure. Many of the county families had guests upon the same indefinite terms, and the arrangement was thought in no way remarkable.

Madame Isabey and Adrienne both expressed the deepest gratitude for the kindness shown them, and promised to return in the spring. Yet there was a certain and secret feeling of satisfaction on both sides when the carriage drove off.

Colonel Tremaine sat by Hector’s side upon the box to see that he did not upset the carriage at the first opportunity, and Archie, like a true cavalier, galloped by the carriage window. He was not expected to return[218] until the morrow. But at sunset on the same day he was seen riding rapidly down the wide cedar-bordered lane. Angela, who was returning from an afternoon walk with Lyddon, said to him: “Archie must bring bad news.”

So thought Mrs. Tremaine, who saw him from the window and came out on the porch to meet him.

“It’s nothing, mother!” he cried, “only Richard is a little ill in Richmond. He caught the measles, just think of it, just think of it! And father met a messenger coming to tell us of it. He sent me back to tell you and to say that if you start at once you will be able to catch up with him at King William Court House to-morrow night, where he will sleep. I am to drive you in the Stanhope gig.”

“I shall be ready to start in half an hour,” replied Mrs. Tremaine without a moment’s hesitation.

Immediately preparations were begun for her departure. Angela followed her, anxious to be of service, and to her Mrs. Tremaine gave the keys and a few household directions. Angela had taken a share in housekeeping since she was twelve years old and accepted the responsibility now laid upon her as the most natural thing in the world. Most of the autumn labor on the estate was over; the negroes’ clothes and shoes were made, and the winter provisions laid in. The chief thing to be attended to was an army of turkeys, ducks, and chickens, and Mammy Tulip, as an expert, had charge of the fowl yard.

Only one thing remained to be arranged, and that a difficult matter. How was Mrs. Tremaine to get news of Neville when his letters to Angela came? Pride forbade[219] her to ask, but Angela, who knew what was in her mind, said gently to her as she tied Mrs. Tremaine’s bonnet strings for her: “Whenever I hear from Neville, Aunt Sophia, I will let you know.”

Mrs. Tremaine made no reply in words, but her eyes were eloquent.

It was arranged if Richard’s illness was slight, as was supposed, that Colonel Tremaine would probably return, while Mrs. Tremaine would remain with Richard in the little town near Richmond where he had been taken ill.

After Mrs. Tremaine had left the house which had been so populous only the day before, it had in it but two occupants—Angela and Lyddon. George Charteris came over every day to do lessons with Lyddon, but he avoided Angela, and she, while indifferent to his dislike, kept out of his way.

It had been Mrs. Tremaine’s parting injunction to Angela to have family prayers for the servants, and so at half past nine o’clock on the first evening, the servants were all assembled in the library as usual. Angela read the Gospel, as Colonel Tremaine did, and then followed closely Mrs. Tremaine’s simple prayer, but when she prayed for “the sons of this house,” she named Neville first, as had been the case from the day of his birth until the day of his defection. A loud Amen burst from Mammy Tulip, followed by a dozen other Amens from the other servants. When the negroes’ Amens had died away, Lyddon said distinctly, “Amen!”

Prayers being over, the servants dispersed, and all the house closed for the night, Angela, as usual, went into the study, and sat an hour with Lyddon. In the perplexities[220] and the strange events which had arisen in her life, she had found great comfort in Lyddon. His talk to her always subtly conveyed the lesson of endurance, and after being with him, Angela always felt more able to endure. He brought before her the elemental fact that all the griefs, disappointments, perplexities, and passions of human life were to be found in the smallest circle, nay, under every roof.

The conduct of the house and estate, even for a short time, gave Angela much to do, and in the days that followed she had but little time to think. It was a full week before any news came of the travelers. Then arrived a letter from Colonel Tremaine saying that he and Mrs. Tremaine had reached Richard and found him, although not seriously ill, low in health, and as the winter had set in with great severity there was no prospect of moving him for at least a month. Archie would remain with his mother to bring her and Richard home when the latter was able to travel, but Colonel Tremaine would return to Harrowby within a few days, certainly before Christmas eve.

This day was close at hand. Christmas means little, however, as a festival, in time of war. Angela contrived to fill the stockings of the negro children with apples and walnuts and molasses candy made in the kitchen by Mummy Tulip, but otherwise there was no attempt at festivity.

Some of the neighbors and friends had already lost brothers and sons in the bloody battles of the summer, and the rest were too much concerned for the fate of their best beloved to attempt any merrymaking.

[221]Mrs. Charteris, whose heart was as good as her tongue was active, had taken in a family of refugees which included five children, and as she assumed the duties of doctor, nurse, and governess, her hands were full, and she scarcely had time even to revile Mr. Brand, who showed no signs of taking up arms for his country.

The weather, which up to that time had been singularly mild and beautiful, suddenly grew gray and stormy and bitterly cold. No guest had passed the doors of Harrowby since Colonel Tremaine left. It was now the day before Christmas, and all day long Angela had anxiously watched for Colonel Tremaine’s arrival.

About five o’clock, when it was already dark, and earth and sky and river were all an icy and forbidding gray, Angela stood by the hall fire with Lyddon, who had just come in from his afternoon tramp.

“I do so hope,” Angela said, “that Uncle Tremaine will get here before it snows. Mammy Tulip says that she feels it in her bones that snow will fall deep and everything will be frozen up. She thinks so because she hears the owls hooting at night or something of the sort.”

“I think so,” replied Lyddon, “because the wind is from the northwest and the clouds have hung heavy all day.”

“How different it is,” cried Angela, “from last year!”

She came close to Lyddon and, as she often did in her earnestness, laid her hand upon his arm and looked with dark and bewildered eyes into his face.

“Last year,” she continued, “all was peace; this year all is war. Not only everywhere, but here in my heart.[222] It seems to me as if I were at war with everyone in this house except you.”

“Poor child!” was all Lyddon could reply.

Angela drew back on the other side of the hearth and said: “But I want to be at peace. I would like to be at peace with Uncle Tremaine and Aunt Sophia—I love them so much. Even Archie is changed toward me, and that little insignificant George Charteris looks at me with contempt when he takes off his hat to me. And do you remember how pleased I was at the idea of Madame Isabey and Madame Le Noir coming here? Well, Madame Le Noir is at war with me.”

“Life is all a battle and a march,” was Lyddon’s answer.

He glanced at the dim and worn painting of Penelope and the suitors over the fireplace. Here, indeed, was a Penelope, and Lyddon considered she had narrowly missed having an unconscious suitor in the person of Philip Isabey. Luckily he had gone away before the impression made upon him by Angela had deepened and changed the current of his being.

Lyddon looked critically at Angela. She was certainly growing very pretty, with a kind of beauty captivating as it was irregular. She would never be classed as a beauty, but was as charming as Adrienne Le Noir was seductive.

While these thoughts flashed through Lyddon’s mind he glanced toward the western window and saw in the gloom of the wintry evening the Harrowby carriage coming down the cedar lane.

“There’s Colonel Tremaine,” he said.

[223]Angela’s thoughts were suddenly diverted into practical channels. “I must have Uncle Tremaine’s fire lighted at once!” she cried, and, stepping out upon the back porch, she rang the bell five times, which was supposed to summon Tasso, but, after ringing in turn for Mirandy and Jim Henry, finally succeeded in getting both of them, who proceeded to hunt the place for Tasso instead of lighting the fire themselves.

Meanwhile the carriage was at the door, and Angela, snatching up her crimson mantle and throwing it over her fair head, ran down the steps and herself opened the carriage door.

Out stepped Colonel Tremaine and kissed her affectionately. But there was another person within the carriage—a man, pale and worn and haggard, with a leg and an arm bound up. It was Philip Isabey.

The shock of seeing him was shown in Angela’s expressive face. Instead of the warm and ready greeting which a guest usually receives, she stood at the carriage door, her mantle dropping off her shoulders, looking at Isabey with eyes which had in them something both of fear and of delight. She felt more emotion at this sudden apparition of him than she had ever felt at seeing anyone in her life before. And with it an instinctive dread of being thrown with him again instantly sprang into life.

Isabey, himself, had the disadvantage of being a close observer. He had looked forward to this meeting not with fear but with pure delight, and was prepared to watch how Angela greeted him; she was so guileless that she was easily read by an experienced eye.

[224]He held out his hand feebly and said in his old, pleasant, musical voice: “How glad I am to see you again!”

Then Colonel Tremaine began explaining sonorously: “My dear Angela, I had the extreme good fortune to come across Captain Isabey when he most needed a friend. He had been severely wounded and, though out of danger, was quite helpless, and lying on the floor in a miserable shanty. I, of course, picked him up, bag and baggage, and, instead of leaving him in the hospital at Richmond, brought him back to Harrowby. You must do for him what my dearest Sophie is doing for our beloved Richard—be nurse, amanuensis, reader, and companion for him.”

“I will do all I can,” answered Angela, as if in a dream. And then Lyddon appearing, he and Colonel Tremaine assisted Isabey up the steps and into the hall.

It was not until he was seated in a great chair before the hall fire and in the full glare of the blazing lightwood knots, that Angela saw the havoc made in him by wounds and illness. He was very thin, and his gray uniform was shabby and too large for his shrunken figure. His dark complexion had grown pale, and there was a painful thinness about his eyes and temples. His voice, however, had the same cheerful, musical ring.

Isabey, in truth, was filled with rapture. By the hand of fate he had been brought out of the direst misery into the companionship, without seeking it, of this girl whose image he had been unable to drive from his mind. His imagination had already been at work. He knew perfectly well the conditions which prevailed at Harrowby.[225] No one would be there except Colonel Tremaine, Lyddon, Angela, and himself. He would see Angela every day and all day long. She would minister to him, and he might ask services of her inexpressibly sweet to receive from her. And he would have long hours when he could talk to her unheard by others. He had pictured to himself the welcome which would shine in her face when she saw him, and the divine pity with which she would listen to the story of his sufferings.

He did not fail to remind himself that Angela was not for him; she was the wife of another man. But it is not in masculine nature to refrain from inhaling the odor of a delicious flower which belongs to another man or of breathing the air of heaven, although it may be in the garden of another.

Any thought of betraying himself to Angela, or acquiring any ascendency over her, was very far from Isabey’s mind, but when at last they had met he had seen enough of agitation in her to know that the meeting meant something to her as well as to him. And being a very human man, he was penetrated with secret joy.

He saw still more plainly when she stood looking at him by the firelight that she was reckoning up with a sympathy dangerously near to tenderness all of his wounds, his pains, his fevers, all the miseries which he had suffered. It seemed to Isabey then as if they were but a small price to pay for a month in Angela’s society or even for that one hour of peace and warmth and rest with Angela looking down upon him with eyes of sweetest pity.

Colonel Tremaine, in response to Lyddon’s inquiries,[226] began to tell about Richard, and Angela, forcing herself to look away from Isabey, listened to the story:

“We found our son recovering from the measles, a most grotesque complaint for a soldier to have, but he had not taken proper care of himself during the illness and was in a very low state when we arrived. If he had been in fit condition to travel like our friend Captain Isabey, we should have at once brought him to Harrowby, but the snow is four feet deep in the upper country, and it is impossible to think of moving Richard at this inclement season. His mother, therefore, remains with him and Archibald also to minister to them both. I felt it my duty to return to Harrowby. Your Aunt Sophia, my dear, has sent you a letter, so has your brother Archibald, and Richard sent you his best love and says you are to write to him as well as to your Aunt Sophia.” And Colonel Tremaine handed two letters to Angela.

“Our son had heard that Captain Isabey had been badly wounded, and was somewhere in the neighborhood of Winchester. I at once caused inquiries to be made and found that he was easily accessible——”

“I beg your pardon,” interrupted Isabey with a wan smile, “coming to fetch me meant traveling twenty-five miles over mountain roads in December after a fortnight of snow.”

“At all events,” cried Colonel Tremaine expansively, “I was able to find Captain Isabey, and, unlike our son, he was in a condition to be moved, and the surgeon said if he could be made comfortable and have rest and proper treatment for a couple of months, his right arm and right leg would be as good as his left arm and left leg. So I[227] and my boy, Hector, wrapped him up in blankets, bundled him in the carriage——”

“And drove most of the way himself,” said Isabey in a voice of gratitude.

“And here he is, and I think, my dear Angela, if you could get him some of your aunt’s excellent blackberry wine——”

Angela disappeared as soon as the word blackberry wine was mentioned. In a few minutes she returned with a glass of it, piping hot with spices in it. By that time she had recovered her composure and was the Angela of old.

“This,” she said, smiling as she handed the glass to Isabey, “is an Elizabethan drink—one of what Mr. Lyddon calls his formulas. In the Elizabethan days, you know, people made wine out of everything.”

“And very good wine, too,” responded Isabey. “Better, no doubt, than the doctored stuff of the post-Elizabethan days.”

He took the glass from Angela’s hand and drank the mulled wine, warm and comforting. The wine and the fire brought the color into his pale face and warmth into his chilled body. Angela, leaning her elbow upon the mantle, said meditatively and with the air of the chatelaine of Harrowby: “What would be the best room for Captain Isabey?”

“Richard’s room,” suggested Lyddon. “It’s on the same level with the study.”

“Capital!” exclaimed Colonel Tremaine.

“I think so,” said Angela, “and I shall go now and have it prepared.” She went out, and in half an hour[228] Mammy Tulip came into the hall and delivered this message to Isabey:

“Miss Angela, she sent her bes’ ’spects an’ say Marse Richard’s room is ready fur you, an’ I’se gwine ondress you an’ put you to baid.”

Colonel Tremaine looked much shocked. “That, Tulip,” he said severely, “will be Tasso’s duty, who in the absence of Peter in attendance upon his young master has charge of that room.”

Mammy Tulip received this emendation with undisguised contempt. “Tasso, he good ’nuff fur well folks, but Cap’n Isabey, he’s wounded and distrusted an’ I ain’t gwine let dat fool nigger ondress a sick man.” And then to Isabey, “Come ’long, honey, an’ le’ me do fur you jes’ what I do fur dem boys.”

Lyddon had seen this cool defiance of master and mistress every day of the twelve years he had spent at Harrowby, but was still surprised at it.

However, Isabey with the weakness of illness felt a placid pleasure in yielding himself to Mammy Tulip’s motherly care, and willingly allowed her to “hyst” him up as she expressed it, and leaning upon her stout arm with Lyddon on the other side, Colonel Tremaine walking behind, and Tasso, Jim Henry, Mirandy, and several of their coadjutors bringing up the rear, the procession moved toward Richard’s room.

One charm no room at Harrowby could ever lack—a roaring wood fire. It had already taken the chill off the unused room, and to Isabey the glow, the warmth, the great soft feather bed with its snowy linen, was a little glimpse of paradise. And Angela moving softly about[229] and concerned for his comfort was the sweetest part of the dream.

A round table was drawn up to an armchair in front of the fireplace, and on it were quilled pens, cut by Lyddon, and red ink made from the sumac berries, and the coarse writing paper which was the best to be had in the Confederacy; and there were also some books. One rapid glance showed Isabey that they were the books he liked; Angela remembered all his tastes.

“Here,” she said, “you will have your supper, and then,” she added with perfect simplicity, “Mammy Tulip will put you to bed.”

“And,” continued Mammy Tulip as she settled Isabey comfortably in the chair with pillows, “I gwine to hab a big washtub brought in heah an’ a kittle of b’iling water an’ I gwine gib you a nice hot bath wid plenty ob soap an’ towels.” At which Isabey laughed faintly and Lyddon grinned, much to the amazement of Angela and Colonel Tremaine, who were accustomed to Mammy Tulip’s ministrations.

Isabey did not see Angela any more that night, and did not in truth feel able to stand further excitement.

Mummy Tulip was as good as her word, and took entire charge of him, and when she had given him his supper and had bathed him in the big washtub as she had threatened, and had covered him up in the great soft bed, Isabey felt that most exquisite of all bodily sensations, release from pain. He had not slept an unbroken night through since his leg and arm had been torn by a shell, but by the time he realized his delicious well-being, sleep came upon him. Nor did he open his eyes again until[230] next morning. The fire was again dancing in the chimney and Mammy Tulip was standing by his bedside and holding a cup of something hot.

“It sutney is Gord’s mercy,” she said to him, “dat you an’ ole Marse git heah lars’ night. De snow begin fallin’ a’ter sundown an’ ain’ stop one single minit sence. De boys had to shovel a path in de snow so ter git f’om de kitchen to de house, an’ dey had to breck de ice in de waterin’ troughs fur de ho’ses an’ cows an’ sich.”

Isabey felt if anything an increase in his ease of body and mind at what Mammy Tulip told him. There was something ineffably seductive in the thought that he was, as it were, shut in from the whole world by the rampart of snow and ice. That he could lie in the soft bed and rise when he chose, and be washed and dressed like an infant, and take that short and easy journey into the study where he would find the companionship of books and Lyddon’s strong talk and Colonel Tremaine’s warm courtesy and best of all—Angela.

For many months he had marched and fought and starved by day and night. In summer heats, in autumn’s drenching rains and chilling nights he had ridden and tramped through mud and latterly through snow, and had known hunger and sleeplessness and, with all, incessant fighting. Then had come a day of battle when almost the last shot that was fired had nearly torn him to pieces. Following had come a time of fearful suffering in a wretched shanty, where all that could be done for him was an occasional hurried dressing of his wounds by a surgeon who had learned to do without food or sleep. Around Isabey had been others suffering[231] as miserably as himself, and his mind was distracted from his own tortures by watching with pity others more tortured than himself.

Now, however, all this seemed a painful dream, and here he was in warmth and peace and ease and paradise for a little time, and when these should have done their work he would be ready once more for hard campaigning.



ISABEY remembered that it was Christmas morning. Snow had been falling all the night through and lay white and deathlike over the land.

The Christmas was unlike any Christmas which Harrowby had ever known. There were neither wreaths nor decorations nor any Christmas cheer. After breakfast, the negro children came into the hall, where Angela distributed their Christmas stockings with such homely sweets as she could provide, and the children went away quietly.

The shadow of the war was upon them, too, and they understood dimly in their childish way the vague unrest, the fears, the agitating hopes of their elders, to whom the universe was changing daily and who knew that things would never be as they had once been.

Angela was glad of the excuse of Isabey’s illness to keep the house quiet. Colonel Tremaine retired to his library; the day to him was one of bitter introspection. Lyddon, whom no weather could daunt, went for a tramp in the snow. Angela busied herself with her household affairs and then wrote a letter to Neville and afterwards to Mrs. Tremaine, Richard, and Archie. It[233] was the first time in her short life she had been separated from them all on Christmas day.

It was twelve o’clock before Isabey was dressed and helped into the study. There he found Angela sitting in a low chair reading. With Mammy Tulip’s help, she made him comfortable on the old leather sofa drawn close to the glowing fire. Hector, having cheerfully permitted Mammy Tulip to perform all the services which Isabey’s disability required, was on the spot to assume the direction of things and to compare the campaign of Joshua round the walls of Jericho with General Scott’s entrance into the City of Mexico.

He was, however, rudely cut short by Mammy Tulip hustling him out of the way while she brought Isabey the inevitable “something hot.” Hector retired with Mammy Tulip to have it out on the back porch, and Angela and Isabey were left alone together.

“Mr. Lyddon will have George Charteris in the dining room every morning after this,” she said. “This is to be your sitting room and you are to send everybody out of it when you feel like it; Uncle Tremaine, Mr. Lyddon, and me.”

“I shan’t send you away,” said Isabey in a low voice and quite involuntarily. Angela blushed deeply.

She rose and went to the window through which was seen a world all white under a menacing leaden sky. Even the river was covered with snow and its voice was frozen.

“I never mind being snowbound,” she said, coming back to the fire. “It always seems to me as if I could think and read better in winter than in summer.”

[234]“And in summer you enjoy and feel. Is it not like that?” asked Isabey.

“Yes,” replied Angela, smiling. “When I was a little girl and Mr. Lyddon would talk to me about Nature, I thought Nature was a great goddess and was smiling in the summer when the sun shone and the birds chirped, and in the autumn, when everything was dull and gray and quiet, that the goddess was in the sulks. Then in winter when the snow and ice came I thought Nature was in a bad humor and had quarreled with her lover, the sun. What strange notions children have!”

“And what a strange, poetic little child you must have been!”

“All real children are strange and poetic, I think; but, you see, not many small girls are taught by a man like Mr. Lyddon. Now tell me what happened to you when you were wounded.”

Isabey sighed. “When I’m stronger,” he said. “But now I want to put it all away from me for a little while. I mean to give myself a whole month of peace.”

“The doctors said two months.”

“The doctors always say two months when one month will do. Then I shall be ready to go again. A soldier’s life is not all hardship. War is the game of the gods.” After a moment he added in a perfectly conventional tone: “I hope you hear good news from Captain Tremaine?”

“It’s good news that he’s well,” replied Angela. “I hear from him irregularly. I should have been with him long ago if he could have had me, but he’s out in[235] the far West, where there are no railroads or stages or anything. I believe,” she added, the flush, which had died from her face, returning quickly, “the very people for whom Neville sacrificed everything don’t trust him. It’s because they don’t know him. They only know that he is a Southern man in the Northern Army. I feel so sorry for Neville and so indignant for him that I could weep with grief and anger.”

“It’s also very hard for you,” said Isabey, gently.

“Yes, very, but what I endure is only a trifle compared with what Neville has to suffer. You know he had great ambitions and he’s a fine officer, everyone says that, and now all is forgotten and he has no chance. But I ought not to inflict all of my burdens and vexations upon you. Shall I read to you a little?”

“With pleasure,” answered Isabey.

Angela went to the bookcase and brought back several volumes. “These,” she said with authority, “aren’t the books which you particularly like, but the books which Mr. Lyddon says are soothing. They’re all poetry books. Poetry, you know, calms and makes one forget this workaday world.”

Isabey picked up a volume of “Childe Harold.” “I should like you to read this to me. One likes the old familiar things when he is as weak as I am. When I was in Europe I always carried ‘Childe Harold’ in my pocket and read it among the very scenes which Byron describes. You see, I was very young.”

“Youth may be wise. That’s just what I should do if I had seen Rome and Venice and the Rhine.”

“Some day you will.”

[236]Angela shook her head. “Neville isn’t fond of travel, and besides we shall be poor because his father and mother will never give him anything after this. He was to have had Harrowby, and we should have settled down here as quietly as Uncle Tremaine and Aunt Sophia. Richard, you know, meant to enter public life, and so the place wasn’t so much to him, and he would have got, like Archie, other property instead of Harrowby. Uncle Tremaine and Aunt Sophia used to talk about it before them, but now all is changed. Neville will have nothing, not an acre, not a stick, not a stone to call his own.”

“But he will have you,” replied Isabey, in a low voice and really thinking aloud.

“And I shall have him,” responded Angela, quickly, and looking steadily into Isabey’s eyes. She had uttered no word of reproach, but Isabey after a moment said quietly:

“You must not be offended with me now for anything I say. I’m so weak in body that it affects my will. I often found myself when I was lying on the floor of that wretched hut asking the doctor for things which I knew in advance he could not have supplied to save his life. Be patient with a man who doesn’t know very well how to bear pain of any sort.”

What woman could resist that? Angela said nothing, but her eyes spoke forgiveness.

He lay watching Angela with her quick-changing expression

“He lay watching Angela with her quick-changing expression.”

Then she opened the book and began to read. Her reading was good and her understanding of the lines perfect. Isabey knew them well, and their far-off, half-forgotten music fell softly upon his spirit. He lay[237] watching Angela with her quick-changing expression, her easy and graceful attitude. It was all so sweetly, divinely peaceful, and then before he knew it his eyes closed and he slept.

Angela read on, the music of her voice filling the low, small room. She did not put down the book until Isabey slept soundly. Then she watched him with her heart in her eyes.

If he had returned well and strong and full of the charm, the grace, the captivations, the splendid accomplishments which had so dazzled her at their first meeting, she would have been on her guard. But who need be on her guard, she asked herself, with a wounded soldier, a man as helpless as a child, and who was entitled to have all things made soft and easy for him? And how ashy white he looked, the whiter from the blackness of his hair!

In his sleep he moved his right arm and groaned without waking. Angela rose and, changing the position of his arm a little, Isabey moaned no more. The silence in the room was broken only by his light breathing and the occasional dropping of a coal upon the ashes. Without was that deep and dreamlike silence of overwhelming snow. It seemed to Angela as if not only the face of the world but all the people in it had changed within the year.

The Christmas before she had never seen Isabey, but her mind working on the problem as women’s minds work, it seemed to her us if she had really known him ever since those days when as a little girl she saw the pictures of him taken with Richard. Her childish imagination[238] had seized upon Isabey’s image with a sort of foreknowledge; she had been in love with him before she ever saw him.

When this thought occurred to her, she reasoned with herself coolly. To be in love with a name, with a fanciful image even of a real man was not love. She had been in love with Lara, with Childe Harold, even some of those old Greek and Roman heroes whose names she had spelled out painfully when she was a child at Lyddon’s knee.

However, one of these heroes—Isabey—had taken shape and had come bodily before her, and deep down in her heart, this airy romance, this thing of dreams had become something real and menacing to her happiness.

As she sat before the fire thinking these thoughts, Isabey waked without stirring. He had been dreaming of Angela and to find her close to him, her delicate profile outlined against the dark, book-covered walls, to hear the occasional rustle of her gown, and to watch her dark, narrow-lidded eyes in the gleam from the firelight, seemed to him a continuation of his soft and witching dream. He observed that her air and expression had matured singularly since he had first seen her, when the syringas bloomed, the lilacs were in their glory, and the blue iris hid shyly under its polished leaves, but outwardly Angela was not yet a woman any more than the little rose bushes of last year’s planting were rose trees now.

The silence, the warmth, the sweetness seemed to enwrap Isabey, and without was that white and frozen[239] world which made each homestead a solitude. He lay thus for half an hour furtively watching Angela. Then she turned toward him and met his dark eyes.

“I thought you were asleep,” she said, stepping toward him.

“I was asleep,” he replied, smiling, “and dreamed.”

“Do you remember it is Christmas day?” she asked, arranging his pillows for him.

“I believe I knew it, but I have not exerted myself to think since I have been under this roof. Everything is too deliciously sweet.”

“It is the strangest Christmas,” said Angela, returning to her low chair. “Everything as quiet as death, not a sound in the house. I filled the stockings of all the little negro children with apples and nuts and molasses candy and gave them out early this morning. But I made them keep quiet for fear of waking you. They were quiet enough; something odd seems to have come over the negroes.”

“I should think so. With their ignorance of events and inability to read and knowing neither geography nor history, don’t you suppose they must be secret excited and bewildered by this war, in which they have so huge a stake?”

“So Mr. Lyddon says. Every one of them is different, it seems to me, since the war broke out, even Mammy Tulip and Uncle Hector. I don’t mean that they are not just as faithful, but they listen to us when we talk, and watch us, and I think repeat to each other what we say. I wonder how I shall feel when I go[240] North to Neville and shan’t have any black people to wait upon me.”

“You will feel very queer, I dare say. I never grew accustomed to being waited upon by white men all the time I was abroad. It is true that I had my own boy with me, but I often felt a yearning for the kindly negro faces, and longed to hear them laugh when they were spoken to.”

While Angela and Isabey were talking, Colonel Tremaine came in. He had taken advantage of Mrs. Tremaine’s absence to array himself in a suit of before-the-war clothes, and was feeling much more at ease in them than in homespun, and so expressed himself.

“Mrs. Tremaine’s wishes, my dear Captain Isabey, are paramount in this house, and especially with me, and have been from the day that I determined to ask her to become mine. She makes it somewhat a point of conscience that I shall wear a suit of homespun, woven and spun on the estate, and made by Mrs. Tremaine herself with the assistance of her woman, Tulip. But I frankly confess that I feel more comfortable in the clothes made by my Baltimore tailor. In other respects, I submit cheerfully to the privations of the war. I have no longer any objection to tallow candles, or to blackberry wine, or to potato coffee sweetened with honey, or even to being shaved with soft soap made by Tulip and of the color and consistency of mud and molasses and presented by Hector in a gourd. And I can offer you some apple brandy manufactured last summer in the Harrowby kitchen. It is better than the alleged French brandy which[241] I bought from Captain Ross, the blockade-runner. I accused him of having watered it. This he strenuously denied, but it appears he had diluted it on the voyage and had inadvertently used salt water, and if you will believe me, the scoundrel swore to my face that he had not mixed any ingredients with the brandy, although it was as salt as Lot’s wife. Running the blockade appears to make great liars of all connected with the trade.”

Isabey duly sympathized with Colonel Tremaine’s grievances over the salt-watered brandy, and the Colonel continued:

“In many ways we still enjoy the comforts to which we are accustomed. The land brings forth fruitfully. The hens, ducks, and turkeys seem to vie with each other in producing a multitude of eggs. The fish still run in the river, and the oysters have not so far concerned themselves with States’ rights, so at least we shall not starve while you are with us.”

Isabey replied with truth that in lowland Virginia one might live like a lord as long as the sun rose and the rivers ran.

At three o’clock the Christmas dinner was served, and around the great mahogany table gathered a group smaller than it had ever held before—Colonel Tremaine, Lyddon, Angela, and Isabey for a part of the time. The dinner was rich in oysters, fishes, meats, and vegetables, but deficient in sweets. When, according to the old custom, the cloth was removed and the decanters on coasters were sent around the table, Colonel Tremaine proposed the Christmas toast to “our absent ones—the[242] lady who reigns over this mansion and also over the heart of its master, to its sons—” here he paused.

Angela said in a quick, tremulous voice, “Neville, Richard, and Archie.”

Colonel Tremaine’s face darkened. The mention of his traitor son, as he regarded Neville, was always painful to him, but he did not refuse to drink the toast.

When the dinner was over the short wintry afternoon was closing in. Snow was again falling heavily in a world already wrapped in whiteness and silence. There were no sounds of merrymaking from the negro quarters. All seemed to share the mood of tenseness and somber expectation.

Colonel Tremaine was visibly depressed. It was the first Christmas he had spent in forty years apart from Mrs. Tremaine and he felt it deeply.

As the twilight closed in, Angela, wrapped in her red mantle, with the hood over her head, went out into a misty world of snow and faint moonshine, which penetrated a break in the overhanging clouds. A pathway had been cut through the snow to the garden gate and thence down the main walk to the old brick wall at the end. Angela began to pace up and down her favorite walk. Her sense of aloneness and aloofness was complete. The swirling white eddies shut everything from her except the bare shrubs in the garden standing like ghosts in the faint spectral glare of the moon on a snowy night.

She began to question herself. Would she, if she were entirely free to act, go at once to Neville? She answered her own question and satisfactorily. Certainly[243] she would. Did she love Neville? Yes, just as she had always done, from the time she was a little girl and never felt so safe with anyone as when her tiny hand lay in Neville’s boyish palm. Was she in love with him? Ah, no! And would she ever be? To that, too, her heart gave no doubtful answer, but a strong negative. She was never to have a dream of love, any of those soft illusions which make a young girl’s heart tremble.

Then relentlessly she asked herself if she was in love with Isabey. She stopped in her walk and looked about her with scared eyes, as if love were a specter to affright her. She was enveloped in the misty veil of the falling snow which eddied about her and which was lighted by that ghostly and silvery sheen of the hobgoblin moon.

Did she not feel the color come to her face whenever she caught Isabey’s eyes fixed upon her? Did not her heart beat at his footsteps, and did not his mere presence electrify the atmosphere?

Then another question forced itself into her mind, like a dagger into an open wound. Was Isabey in love with her?

She had never thought or even suspected such a thing until he had returned, the pitiful wreck of his former self. But Angela being, like all the rest of her sex, learned in the secrets of the heart, had found out what Isabey in truth was too ill, too weak, to conceal—that she was dear to him.

Had they met one week earlier!

“But then,” she replied to herself, “it would have[244] made no difference; I could not have refused to stand by Neville when all the world was arrayed against him.”

Whatever she or Isabey might suffer, Neville’s heart should be at peace. She would be to him so tender, so affectionate, so watchful to please him, that he would never suspect she had not given him her whole treasure. And, feeling this, she had an expansion of the soul which seemed to raise her in her own esteem.

Why need she be on her guard against Isabey? He had suffered so much. He was the object which most appeals to a woman’s heart—a wounded soldier. He was so weak, so worn, that no woman on earth could refuse him her pity. And of his integrity, his delicacy, she had not the smallest doubt. It seemed to her then so easy to be loyal both to the real and to the ideal.

She resumed her walk in the swirling snow. At the same moment Isabey, lying on the couch in the study watching the pallid twilight of the snowstorm without and the rosy glow of the fire within, was asking himself some of the same questions which Angela put to herself in the storm-swept garden.

Was he in love with this girl? Yes. And more, he loved her with all his heart. She was already the wife of a man whom he admired and honored; she was born among different surroundings from his own: bred differently from any girl he had ever known; of different blood and religion and customs to his own, and yet an unbreakable chain had been forged between them.

The first circumstance of this was strange to him—Angela’s suddenly putting her hand in his that summer day, now six months past. He was accustomed to the[245] French method of training girls, and here was Angela, who enjoyed even greater freedom than was usually accorded to those girls of colder climes than Louisiana. This wife of barely twenty was trusted as if she were a woman of sixty, and although this was new to Isabey, it touched and enlightened him.

In place of Angela’s inexperience he had a thorough knowledge of the world; hence he did not adopt Angela’s innocent delusion that it would be easy to reconcile the real and the ideal. But for her, he would at some time or other have acquiesced in one of those marriages which are arranged with a view to fitness in every respect except the perfect union of hearts. Often this union came; Isabey was by no means prepared to condemn those methods concerning marriage which he had been accustomed to all his life. A conventional marriage, however, no longer was possible for him, but at least he could enjoy the month in paradise which had come to him out of the blue.

The thought that he would be tended by Angela, that he would be able to command, by the royal will of a wounded man, her sweet presence, her soft voice in reading to him, her conversation, which was full of archness and simplicity, captivated him. The delicious glow which overspread his spirit extended to his body and gave him an exquisite sense of ease and comfort. In that month which he allowed himself he would become well acquainted with Angela’s mind. He had taken but small interest in women’s minds before, although he keenly appreciated their accomplishments. Angela had few of these accomplishments, but as well expect accomplishments of a wood nymph. The study of her intelligence,[246] however, was like exploring a beautiful pleasance where there were groves, gardens, and crystal fountains. She was one of the few women he had ever seen whom he felt convinced age could not wither nor custom stale.

He was so lost in his delicious reverie that he did not hear the quiet opening of the door, and then Angela with her usually pale cheeks scarlet with the tingling cold, her eyes sparkling, and the snowflakes still lying on her red mantle, stood by him.

She shook the snow off the mantle and cried: “I had such an exciting walk! It was only up and down the garden path from the gate to the bench under the lilac bushes, but it seemed to me as if I had never before seen the garden look quite as it did. You know, there is a moon, although there is a snowstorm. That doesn’t happen often. And then I had such strange thoughts!”

“Were they unhappy thoughts?” asked Isabey, turning his black eyes upon her.

“N—o, not at all unhappy, but singular. You see, up to a year ago nothing had ever happened to me, and now all things are happening, all things are changing.”

Isabey rose weakly from the couch, and, taking Angela’s hand in his, kissed it with the tenderest respect.

“I hope,” he said, “that all will work toward your happiness. I hope some day you will be happy with Neville Tremaine, but you can afford to be a little kind to me.”

“Yes,” replied Angela, looking into his face quite calmly. “I can afford to be kind to you. One of the things which came to me just now in the garden was that as soon as Neville and I are together I must do everything[247] I can for his happiness. You see, he has always done everything for me, and I’m afraid I haven’t given much thought to doing anything for him. But now you may depend upon it I shall really study Neville’s happiness; I shall be as generous as he is.”

“You have already been very generous. You married him when all the world had turned against him.”

“Then I shouldn’t be generous halfway. I ought to be with him and make him happy.”

She sat down in the low chair in which she had read to him. It seemed to her if Isabey and she had spent hours in explanations they could not have understood each other better.

So thought Isabey. Angela could never be his, but at least he had found that jewel which all men seek and few discover—that other half of his being, the woman who perfectly understood him. He remembered that the hearts of men and women are like the cello and the violin—both are required to form the perfect strain of music.



IT is possible in remote country houses, especially when snowbound, for one day to be exactly like the other for a long period. Such was the case at Harrowby during the month after Isabey’s arrival. Each day repeated itself; it was the worst winter known for thirty years in eastern Virginia, and one snowstorm succeeded another. The river was frozen, cutting off communication by water. George Charteris managed to plunge on mule-back daily through the snow to Harrowby, but no such mode of progression was possible for Mrs. Charteris. Angela, fired by George Charteris’s example, had her side-saddle put on a sure-footed mule and so ventured out a few times, but found riding rather more difficult than walking. She had not since her marriage paid visits anywhere except to Greenhill, and the mutual attitude of herself and the county people was such that she had no visitors. The mails were interrupted, and, although Mrs. Tremaine wrote daily, her letters were long in coming and generally arrived in a batch. Richard was recovering slowly, but Mrs. Tremaine could not think of leaving him, and Archie would remain with them until his mother could return to Harrowby.

Madame Isabey and Adrienne were established at a[249] Richmond hotel, and the elder lady from her letters seemed perfectly happy. There was much going on in the Confederate capital, and, to add zest to events, was the continual prospect of siege and battle. She wrote that Adrienne was much admired. At the first levee the ladies attended at the Confederate White House, Adrienne had attracted universal admiration. The fame of her charming voice having reached the President, he had asked her on the occasion of her first formal visit to the executive mansion to sing and play for him. His grave and anxious face had lightened under the spell of her little French songs so full of grace and sentiment and so exquisitely rendered. Great attention was shown her by everyone, and they were asked to “refugee” for the war in several distinguished families, but Madame Isabey declared she preferred Harrowby, and had not seen any boy so sweet as “Monsieur Archie” with his rose-red hair. Refugeeing was exactly like the life her grandfather lived when he was an émigré in England in 1789. She often thought what a delightful supply of stories she would have to tell of her days as an émigré in Virginia.

Adrienne, too, wrote, and her letters were more interesting though less expansive than Madame Isabey’s. These first letters had been written in ignorance of Isabey’s arrival at Harrowby, but when that was known Madame Isabey expressed the greatest solicitude, and would have come back instantly except for the impassability of the roads between Richmond and Harrowby.

Adrienne received in a letter from Angela the news of Isabey’s presence at Harrowby one night just as she was dressing to go to a levee at the White House, where she[250] was certain to be courted and admired by all, from the grave-faced President down to the boy lieutenants, who rode from camp into Richmond for an evening’s pleasuring. It was, perhaps, the knowledge that Isabey and Angela were together which brought the color to Adrienne’s lips and cheeks and the light to her eyes. She realized, as women do, the marked admiration she excited, the way in which the eyes of the Confederate officers followed her slight figure in her pale-blue draperies with diamonds in her hair and on her breast. If only her vanity had been wounded by Isabey’s coldness to her charms it would have been soothed by the flattering attentions lavished upon her. But Adrienne’s wound was deeper than that. While she was receiving with soft and smiling grace the compliments and gallant speeches of young officers and the more insidious flattery of older men, she was like that Spanish lover whose body was at Cordova, but whose soul was at Seville.

Angela’s letter had described quite naturally and prettily how each day passed at Harrowby, and Adrienne had no difficulty in calling up the scene. At that time in the evening they were all sitting in the study in order to keep Isabey company. Lyddon was probably reading to him while Angela did needlework and—and Colonel Tremaine dozed during the reading and waked up to compliment Lyddon upon his “instructive and entertaining performance.”

Adrienne by some psychic force felt as if this scene were passing before her in the midst of the crowded levee with the hubbub around her, the voices high-pitched as men’s voices grow in time of war, and with the deep and[251] only half-concealed excitement of soldiers who turn from looking into women’s eyes to meet the face of death in a thousand different forms, and of women who laugh tremulously to-night because after to-morrow they might never laugh again. The crowd, the laughter, the voices, the glances, bold, or shy, or meditative, seemed wholly unreal to Adrienne, and what was tangible was the scene in the quiet study, with Lyddon’s calm voice, as Angela had described—Isabey’s eyes fixed upon Angela with that expression of profound interest and tenderness which Adrienne had observed more than once. When the levee was over and she was back in her room at the hotel, she sat for a long time before her mirror, surveying herself in her laces and diamonds. She pitied Isabey quite as much as herself, for Adrienne was not incapable of generosity. Isabey was only a few days too late when he reached the gate of paradise; it was closing, and nothing can arrest the closing of those immortal gates. One thing, however, Adrienne divined with the prescience of love, that Isabey would have a month of happiness, a little time of radiance when Angela’s image, already strongly impressed upon him, would become a part of himself. The thought of this was poignant to her and kept her awake as she lay in her bed.

Angela had written that Isabey’s improvement was wonderful even in the three or four days he had been at Harrowby. It continued so, and in a week he was another man. The thinness about his temples disappeared, and his face was no longer pinched and wan, nor did his uniform hang so pitifully loose upon his figure. In a fortnight he was well except for his arm and leg. He could,[252] with the assistance of a stick, limp about the ground floor, but his arm was still in a sling. Nevertheless, he would abate none of his invalid privileges as far as Angela was concerned. He made the same silent appeal to her for her gentle ministrations, and it never occurred to Angela to withhold them. Life went on, dreamlike, in the isolated country house, and was sweeter for being so dreamlike. Little news of any sort reached them either from the Confederate camp fifteen miles in one direction or the Federal camp twenty miles the other way. The outside world seemed so distant to Angela that what she heard of the crouching dogs of war so close at hand made little impression upon her. However, it was brought home to her through the most unlikely of mediums—Mammy Tulip.

One night the old woman followed Angela to her room at bedtime, and, after shutting the door, came up to her and whispered mysteriously: “Miss Angela, ef you will wrote a letter to Marse Neville, and watch outen de window to’des my house ’bout twelve o’clock, an’ ef you see me come to de door an’ wave a candle an’ you drap de letter on de groun’, somebody will pick it up, an’ Marse Neville will git it sho’.”

“What do you mean, Mammy Tulip?” asked Angela in amazement.

“Chile, doan’ you neber ax me what I mean; you jes wrote dat letter an’ gib my lub an’ ’spects to Marse Neville, an’ tell him to say he pra’ers jes’ as reg’lar as he change he shirts. I know he ain’ neber gwine to fergit to change he shirt, wartime or no wartime; an’ you drap de letter outen de window——”

[253]She caught Angela by the arm, and continued in an agitated whisper: “Fur Gord’s sake, doan’ tole nobody ’bout drapping de letter on de groun’.”

Angela was astonished, but could get no explanation out of Mammy Tulip, except pleadings that she write the letter, and then the old woman waddled off.

Angela wrote Neville a long letter, telling him what was happening at Harrowby, the news of Richard and of his mother, of Isabey’s presence there, and lastly assuring him of her love and constant remembrance and desire to join him as soon as possible.

It was eleven o’clock before the letter was finished. Formerly Angela could dash off letters to Neville as fast as she could write, but now she wrote carefully weighing every word. She sat on the floor before her fire, looking into the dying embers and puzzling over many things. She could not form the least conjecture how her letter would reach Neville, but a little before twelve o’clock she looked out of her window and saw a candle waving at the door of Mammy Tulip’s house. Then Angela softly raised the sash, and the letter, sealed and addressed, fluttered out into the darkness and dropped upon the snow-covered ground. Angela, after a glance at the black sky and the white earth, put down her window and went to bed, where she soon fell into the deep, sweet sleep, that glorious heritage of youth and health of which she had not yet been robbed.

Next morning, however, the explanation of Mammy Tulip’s action became apparent, and the nearness of the Federals was brought home to everyone at Harrowby. Tasso, Jim Henry, Mirandy, Lucy Ann, and more than[254] twenty of the younger negroes failed to report to Hector’s bugle call.

When Angela came downstairs to breakfast she saw the unwonted spectacle of Hector laying the breakfast table.

“Dem worthless black niggers is done gone to de Yankees,” Hector explained, sententiously, “wid some o’ de likeliest young niggers on dis heah place.”

Angela was astounded.

“Gone to the Yankees! Gone to the Yankees!” she repeated.

“Yes, Miss Angela.”

Colonel Tremaine and Lyddon came in and Hector told his story.

“Las’ night,” he said, “’bout twelve o’clock, a’ter all de lights in de house was out, dey started afoot wid dey bundles. De walkin’ in de snow is mighty bad, but dey thought ’twould keep ole Marse from girtin’ a’ter ’em an’ bringin’ dem back.”

“I have no desire whatever to bring them back,” replied Colonel Tremaine with dignity, “and when the war is over we shall exact full compensation from the North for every negro enticed away from his master or mistress. Angela, my dear,” he continued, turning to her, “we must bring in two of the field hands in place of Tasso and Jim Henry, and I will endeavor to recruit for you three or four maids from the spinning and weaving rooms.”

Here Mammy Tulip bounced in wrathfully, apologetic, and yet with a species of shamefaced triumph. It was her first view of freedom for her race. Mirandy[255] was her granddaughter, and Mammy Tulip tried to explain Mirandy’s defection.

“Tasso an’ Jim Henry an’ de rest on ’em kep’ on arter Mirandy to go wid ’em, an’ things is mighty nice wid dem Yankees now. De colored folks wid dem dance ebery night, and dey can git a fiddler any time fur a quarter, an’ quarters is plentiful wid de Yankees. An’ sech funerals! De music a-playin’ an’ hollerin’ wid pleasure an’ sometimes two or three gret big funerals a day!”

Angela was too stunned at Mirandy’s levanting to appreciate this view, but Mammy Tulip, seeing this, assumed a still more apologetic attitude.

“Mirandy, she hol’ out long time. She say she cyarn’ lave Miss Angela, an’ ef it hadn’t been for dem funerals, I doan’ believe Mirandy ever would a gone ’way. An’ de larst thing she say was: ‘Please ax Miss Angela to ’scuse me.’ Den she cry an’ say, ‘O granmammy, what Miss Angela gwine do widout me?’” And then Mammy Tulip suddenly whisked herself out of the room so as to avoid being questioned.

Hector perforce had gone out to bring in breakfast, a labor which he had long since foregone.

As soon as Mammy Tulip and he were out of the room, Lyddon said to Colonel Tremaine: “Hector, as well as the old woman, knows all about it, as you see. No doubt the plans of these young negroes were made long ago, and probably every other negro on the plantation knows it.” Colonel Tremaine looked pained and mystified.

“It seems incredible to me,” he said, “that Hector,[256] who has been my boy for nearly sixty years, should know of any such design without informing me. When I took him to Baltimore in ’52, he carried all the money for the journey in a belt around his waist, and when a negro abolitionist would have beguiled him into escaping to Philadelphia, Hector remarked that he had money enough in his belt to buy the abolition negro and all his family. It is impossible that he should change in his attitude toward me.”

“The attitude of every negro toward every white person is changed,” coolly replied Lyddon. “Why should it not be?” Just then Hector came in with the tray from the kitchen, carrying mountains of muffins and batter cakes. Colonel Tremaine sought his eye, but Hector, for the first time in his life, evaded the look.

“Very well,” cried Angela, with spirit, “if all the negroes go away we can do as Marie Antoinette and her ladies did at the Little Trianon. I can make the butter, uncle, if you will milk the cows.” At which Colonel Tremaine smiled grimly, and remarked that during the Mexican War he had acquired the accomplishment of being able to milk a cow into a bottle and generally without the knowledge of the cow’s owner.

This flight of the negroes from Harrowby was paralleled by what occurred within a few days at numerous estates in the county. The young negroes went off in droves, taking advantage of the snow to avoid pursuit.

George Charteris had a harrowing tale to tell of every house servant at Greenhill disappearing in a single night, and this with a family of refugees, including five small children, in the house. Mrs. Charteris[257] had been forced to import a plowman into the dining room as butler, who put his fingers in the glasses at dinner and called sauce for the suet pudding “slush for de tallow roll.”

Angela’s experiences were not unlike these. A couple of raw ebony youths, Tom and Israel, otherwise known as Izzle, occupied but did not fill the places of the well-trained Tasso and Jim Henry. They were frightened half out of their lives at “Unc’ Hector” and fled from his face when he was endeavoring to teach them their business. They fell over each other in their desire to oblige “Miss Angela,” whom they adored, and collided with each other at frequent intervals during every meal.

“I ’clare to Gord, Miss Angela,” groaned Hector, “dem black niggers gwine lose me my ’ligion. At pra’r time ’stid o’ praying I jes goes down on my knees and cusses dem niggers same like Abraham cussed Isaac and Rebekah. If Job had had black Torm an’ Izzle, he would have cussed the Gord an’ died, an’ I ain’ no better’n than Job. Lord A’mighty! I wonder what General Zachary Taylor, ole Ruff an’ Ready, as dey called him, would a’ done wid Torm an’ Izzle.”

“The best he could, I suppose, Uncle Hector,” responded Angela promptly and with the positiveness of youth.

But housekeeping with Hector, who knew not the name of work, and Torm and Izzle became a complicated matter. Hector’s sole real employment for many decades had been to shave Colonel Tremaine every morning, and to this he laboriously added blacking the Colonel’s shoes and brushing his suit of homespun.

[258]Mammy Tulip, however, came nobly to the front and did the work of butler and valet, cuffed Torm and Izzle when they were idle, and in general kept the whole Harrowby establishment from falling into chaos.

She maintained a strange reserve toward Angela, whom she had cradled in her arms, but at the end of a few days came to her with the same mysterious suggestion that a letter be written to Neville. Angela wrote again and dropped her letter out of the window as before. Next morning George Charteris brought over the news that the plowman butler at Greenhill had disappeared in the night for the Federal lines and half a dozen of the few remaining able-bodied negro men at Greenhill.

Angela’s mind was illuminated. Mammy Tulip knew of these impending flights and was shrewd enough to see in them a means of communicating with Neville. That the scheme worked was soon shown by Angela’s receiving a fortnight later a reply from Neville, who was still in the West. It was given to her privately by Mammy Tulip. It bore the receiving postmark of the military post office at Yorktown and from there had been sent to its destination through hands unknown by Angela, but perfectly well known to Mammy Tulip.

This secret communication with the outside world had in it something painful and disquieting to Angela. These servitors of another race, these feudal dependents whom she had been bred to believe absolutely devoted to the white family and to have no independent life of thought and action, had reversed all these beliefs. They[259] had abandoned their masters, but not their own kith and kin, with whom they kept in touch secretly and silently. Angela spoke of this next day to Isabey when they sat as usual in the study, Angela reading to him. She had discovered in herself a strange inability to keep anything from Isabey. Her nature was frank and open, and she could reason well enough on what she should tell or withhold from Neville, but Isabey’s presence was a magic spell which seemed to unlock her heart and mind, and she could not keep from him her most secret thoughts.

Isabey had learned to know the signs of Angela’s coming confidences, the way in which she would timidly approach a subject, and then as if by some uncontrollable impulse tell him all. He had been speaking of this departure of the negroes and of the dangers which would await them, in their ignorance and helplessness, exposed to the demoralization which infests all camps. In a moment Isabey saw that he had touched a sensitive chord. Angela laid down her book and going to the window looked out upon the dull wintry landscape. Isabey watched her with that sense of inward triumph which every human being feels who controls the will of another. In a minute or two she came back, and, standing before Isabey’s couch, said in a whisper:

“Last night I had a letter from Neville. It came to me so mysteriously, not through Mr. Lyddon.” And then she poured out the story about Mammy Tulip.

“I didn’t promise her not to tell,” Angela said breathlessly at the end, “for I must open my heart sometimes and I have no one—no one——”

[260]“Except me,” added Isabey quietly, and then could have struck himself for saying it. But he was only human after all, and he loved Angela with a strength and passion which amazed even himself.

Angela, as the case always was when Isabey made betrayal of himself, flushed deeply and lowered her eyes, and then after a moment recovered herself and said coldly:

“And Mr. Lyddon. I have always told Mr. Lyddon everything since I was a little child.”

“Yes, and Mr. Lyddon,” Isabey said, composedly.

Angela’s involuntary readiness to pour out her heart to him always touched him as nothing else on earth had ever done, but she likewise commanded his admiration and respect by the steadiness with which she upheld the letter of the law. Isabey often thought that no woman of forty could have maintained the attitude of loyalty to her husband with more tenacity and dignity than this girl of barely twenty. The garrison might be weak, but the citadel was strong.

Just then Lyddon entered unexpectedly, and Angela, as if to prove she had no separate confidences with Isabey, told Lyddon the story. Lyddon expressed no surprise.

“You blessed Southerners,” he said, “have all along expected water to run uphill. You may make a human being a chattel legally, but you cannot make him so actually.”

“Then would you make them citizens?” asked Angela, tartly; and Lyddon good-humoredly taking up the cudgels, a warm discussion followed on the question of[261] slavery. Angela, like many Southern women, was familiar with the dialectics of the question and was able to make a clever defense of a doubtful position.

Isabey listened in amused silence, watching Angela’s usually soft manner growing more excited, her eyes becoming brilliant, and the quickness of her intelligence in meeting Lyddon’s arguments. The discussion was ended by Lyddon’s saying, laughing: “Come now, little girl, you’ve said all you know on the subject and have done better than a good many orators on the hustings. However, I only discuss it with you because I can’t talk about it to anyone else in the county except with Captain Isabey here. The ribbon around your neck is all awry, and your hair is tumbling down just as it always does when you get warm in argument. What a nice arguing wife Neville will have!”

“I shan’t argue with Neville,” replied Angela in her sweetest voice, and looking straight at Isabey. “Neville knows more than anyone in the world. He’s always right and always has been. I thought so from the time I could first remember, and I haven’t changed my opinion.”

“That’s the way I shall wish my wife to talk when I have one,” was Lyddon’s rejoinder, a possibility so preposterous that both Isabey and Angela laughed at the mere suggestion.

In writing to Mrs. Tremaine that day Angela could not forbear telling her of the letter she had received from Neville and that he was well and hoping from week to week he and Angela might be united. Nor could she refrain from telling the same thing to Colonel Tremaine,[262] who listened to it in cold silence, which presently changed to agitation. However fierce his resentment against that once loved, eldest son, he could not pretend indifference; love cannot be strangled.

After that once or twice a week Mammy Tulip would come to Angela with suggestions that she write to Neville, following the same method as at first, and Angela invariably did so. The steady march of negroes to the Federal lines revealed easily to Angela what became of her letters.

The month which Isabey had given himself had passed quickly, and at the end of that time he was ready, as far as his health was concerned, to take the road. But broken and lacerated limbs are not mended in a month, and Colonel Tremaine put an absolute veto upon Isabey’s leaving Harrowby.

“My dear sir,” he said, authoritatively, “I am an old campaigner and I can assure you that a soldier who is practically legless and armless is no help to an army, and merely serves to eat up the provender. You are absolutely useless in any capacity until you are able to walk and use your right arm freely, and until then it is your duty—your duty, sir, to our country—to remain at Harrowby and recuperate.”

“It’s rather hard,” remarked Isabey, “to sit here in idleness and comfort, eating and sleeping and reading and dozing when every man who can carry a musket is needed at the front.”

“How do you think,” asked Colonel Tremaine, calmly, “you would get on riding a horse? It would be necessary to help you up and help you off again,[263] and as for arms, you would have to manage your horse, and fire your pistol at the same time with your left hand. And if all went well, the best that you could expect would be to be in a hospital at the end of a week. No, sir, you will remain at Harrowby.”

Colonel Tremaine’s logic was unanswerable, and Isabey remained. Nevertheless, he had waked from the soft dream in which he spent the first few weeks of his return. It was now February and the land still lay in an icy grasp, but spring would soon be at hand, and Isabey felt a soldier’s impatience to be at his post. Angela’s society was not less delicious to him; rather had he become more absolutely enchained. But being a man he put fetters upon his will, his inclination, his voice, and, taking his passion by the throat, mastered it. Only his eyes remained uncontrolled, and sometimes in unguarded moments were eloquent in a language which Angela perfectly understood.

Only Lyddon saw this; Colonel Tremaine never saw anything.



ONE Sunday morning a week or two after this, Angela announced that she intended to ride to church. The roads were still impassable for carriages, but a sure-footed horse could make his way along. Colonel Tremaine at once said that he, too, would join the enterprise. When Angela, in her riding habit, came downstairs about ten o’clock she found the horse at the door and a third one, upon which Hector was assisting Isabey. The horse was a retired cob of Colonel Tremaine’s and had passed his fifteenth birthday and being well gaited was admirably suited as a charger for a wounded officer. Just as Isabey had settled himself in the saddle and gathered the reins in his uninjured left hand, Colonel Tremaine came out.

“My dear sir,” he protested to Isabey, “this is extremely rash. You are not able to manage a horse.”

“I think I can manage this one,” answered Isabey, smiling, “and I mean to risk it. It makes me feel like a soldier once more to be on horseback.”

Colonel Tremaine swung Angela into her saddle, a privilege which Isabey envied from the bottom of his heart, and the three started off.

It was a shining winter morning, and the snow-covered[265] earth glittered in the crystalline light. In many places the roads had thawed, and progress was difficult, but Isabey showed himself able with one hand to manage his steed. Angela, who rode like a bird, looked well on horseback, and Isabey began to believe, as Lyddon did, that some day her girlish charms would develop into real beauty.

When they reached Petworth Church a fair-sized congregation had already assembled. There were among them a few old men and some schoolboys. Of these not one advanced to assist Angela from her horse, but this Colonel Tremaine did with old-fashioned grace. Isabey, meanwhile, managed to swing himself off his horse without much difficulty and limp up the flagged path on the one side of Angela, while Colonel Tremaine was on the other. The coldness toward Angela had in no wise abated since the May Sunday, nine months before, when her marriage to Neville Tremaine had become known, but no one until now had actually refused to speak to her. On this day, however, every eye was averted from her, and even Colonel Tremaine was avoided.

Mrs. Charteris was not at church, but George Charteris was there. He dared not refuse to speak to Angela, but the whole Harrowby party observed him skulking behind the churchyard wall, and keeping out of sight when Angela went into the church and when she passed out so that he might escape speaking to her.

Angela said no word nor did Colonel Tremaine, but both, as well as Isabey, surmised that something had gone abroad concerning her which incensed the people[266] still more against her. She was very far from insensible to the treatment she received and was silent all the way riding home. In the afternoon when, according to her custom, she went into the study to read to Isabey, he saw that she had been weeping, and guessed the cause of it. When he gently alluded to it, Angela burst into a passion of tears and left the room. Isabey clenched his one sound fist and longed to take vengeance upon the people who, as he thought, so cruelly ill-treated this innocent girl. He revolved in his mind the increase of hostility toward Angela and at last determined to go to see Mrs. Charteris and ask her if she could account for it.

Next day, having proved his ability to mount a horse, he asked for his charger of the day before and rode over to Greenhill. He was careful to time his visit so that George Charteris would be studying with Mr. Lyddon; Isabey felt that he could not answer for himself if he should catch sight of the boy that day. When he reached Greenhill he was shown into the old-fashioned drawing-room, and presently Mrs. Charteris sailed in. She sat down on a huge horsehair sofa and made Isabey sit beside her, who, not yet wholly familiar with Virginia manners, wondered whether Mrs. Charteris expected him to make love to her after such a familiarity.

“I have been very busy all day,” she said. “As you have heard, perhaps, all of my house servants have decamped, and with a family of refugee children under ten years of age there is much to be done.”

“I have no house in Virginia in which to entertain[267] refugees,” murmured Isabey. “God be thanked for it!”

“Oh, you wicked, inhospitable creature!” cried Mrs. Charteris. “Do you mean to say that if you had a house and your fellow countrywomen were running away from the Yankees you wouldn’t throw open your house and heart to them?”

“Oh, yes, I would throw open my house and heart to them, but, meanwhile, I should go and camp out in the forest! Five children under ten years of age! It is sweet to die for one’s country in preference to living in the house with five children.”

Mrs. Charteris was much disgusted with him for these sentiments, and so expressed herself. She then inquired after Madame Isabey and Adrienne in Richmond, and how the family at Harrowby were doing in Mrs. Tremaine’s absence, and especially after the hegira of most of the house servants.

“We are doing remarkably well,” answered Isabey. “Mrs. Neville Tremaine is, you know, a very accomplished housekeeper and manages admirably the raw hands imported into the house,” Isabey continued, speaking easily and naturally of Angela, meaning to lead up to the object of his visit: but Mrs. Charteris suddenly forced his hand. She paused a moment, and then said with a sad and perplexed air:

“Captain Isabey, may I give you a caution?”

“Certainly,” replied Isabey, smiling. “I am the most cautious man alive, and have more cautions than enterprises, but I should not mind a few more.”

“It is a serious business upon which I wish to warn[268] you,” replied Mrs. Charteris, gravely. And then, leaning toward him, she continued in a low voice: “Be very careful what you say before Angela Tremaine!”

Isabey looked at her in astonishment, and made no reply, and Mrs. Charteris spoke again quietly:

“You know the suspicion about her which has gone all over the county.”

“I do not know of the slightest suspicion which attaches to Mrs. Neville Tremaine,” replied Isabey, in a tone which startled Mrs. Charteris. She looked at him narrowly. He had perfect command over his temper, his tongue, and his features, but the blood had suddenly poured into his dark face, and Mrs. Charteris’s eagle eye saw it and promptly grasped that Angela Tremaine possessed great interest for Isabey. It only made her more keen to put him on his guard.

“What I mean,” she said, “is that Angela Tremaine is in constant communication with Neville Tremaine, and it is believed that she sends Neville news of the Confederates which, of course, is meant to injure us.”

“In short,” said Isabey, rising and standing very erect, “that Mrs. Neville Tremaine is thought to be a spy. Excuse me, but such a suspicion never entered my mind before, nor do I feel able to entertain it now. Who is responsible for this rumor?”

“Everybody,” replied Mrs. Charteris, rising and throwing her hands wide. “It is all over the county. At church yesterday I hear that no one spoke to Angela.”

“That is true, for I was present. And this on a[269] suspicion merely. She a young girl, grown up in this community, known to all of you since her babyhood!”

“My dear Captain Isabey, you seem unacquainted with the tricks of love. Angela probably adores Neville and may consider it her duty to tell him all she knows concerning the movements of the Confederates.”

“Never! Mrs. Neville Tremaine has too nice a sense of honor for that. I hardly think you can realize the seriousness of the charge which is made against her.”

“It is serious enough,” answered Mrs. Charteris in a grave voice.

“And what could she possibly know,” asked Isabey, “that would be of the slightest consequence? How strange are women, after all! Nothing is too gross for them to believe.”

Mrs. Charteris took this slur upon her sex with perfect calmness. She saw that, despite Isabey’s outward composure, he was shaken to the center of his soul. He was the most courteous of men, and his attitude toward women was one of delicate compliment, and these last unguarded words which had escaped from him, and that, too, in the presence of a woman, were significant. Isabey walked up and down the room. Mrs. Charteris remained standing, with one hand on the back of her chair, and, picking up a fan, fanned herself with some agitation. Isabey, after a few turns up and down the room, came back and scrutinized her as closely as she had examined him a few moments before.

“I think,” said Isabey, coolly changing the subject, “that the psychology of this war time is profoundly interesting. Not only everything is changed,[270] but everybody. Two years ago you Virginia people were the quietest provincials that ever lived. I know you well. I have visited in Virginia, and I have seen hundreds of you at your baths and springs, and all of you are alike in some respects. I, who know the great round world well, was always impressed by these Virginia people as having been drugged. You didn’t seem to realize that the world was closing in round you, around the whole South, for that matter, and that some day a convulsion must come. I myself own three hundred negroes. My father owned nearly a thousand, but I have been preparing for a change ever since I grew a mustache. I have not gone on investing in land and negroes quite unconscious that any other values existed. If the North should succeed and the negroes should be free, I should not be penniless, but for most of the people of the South all values would be destroyed.”

Mrs. Charteris suspected that this digression was really meant by Isabey to lead away from the subject of Angela, which apparently was of such acute interest to him. But she answered promptly enough and according to her lights:

“You are not one of these crazy abolitionists, I hope. What would we do with the negroes if we freed them? Look at my place. I have a hundred of them here, happy, well-fed, well cared for, nursed in illness, provided for in old age, decently buried when they are dead. Every Sunday afternoon I give up my time to teaching a Sunday-school among them. Every negro woman on this place has one of my silk dresses which[271] I have given her. What do you say to that?” she cried vehemently.

Isabey laughed at Mrs. Charteris’s final enumeration of the disposition of her old silk gowns, and the tension between them was somewhat relieved, but he went on:

“I say the psychology of this struggle is strange. I think it is like what the old noblesse in France went through at the time of the Revolution. They would not believe that anything was going to happen until something had happened. Two years ago this county was like a Garden of Eden for peace, wasn’t it?”

“Yes,” replied Mrs. Charteris, “a great deal too much like the Garden of Eden. I was the only person in the county who ever quarreled with anybody, and nobody would ever quarrel with me with the spirit and energy I should have liked. We talked and thought of nothing except the best way to make mango pickle, the new fashions from Baltimore, and our trips to the White Sulphur Springs in summer. Now we spend our time scraping up our old linen sheets and pillowcases into lint for the soldiers, our looms and spinning wheels are going like mad, and we make jokes when we sweeten our potato coffee with honey instead of sugar. Every man in the county who can handle a musket or saber has gone to the war.”

“Except the Rev. Mr. Brand,” said Isabey, gravely, at which Mrs. Charteris suddenly rippled into laughter.

“My son is simply watching his chance to slip away to the instruction camp. He would be returned, of course, by the military authorities, because his age is known, but if he can get as far as Richmond he can[272] pass himself off for full eighteen. Archie Tremaine is just the same, and Mrs. Tremaine and I know what is in those boys’ hearts. When my boy runs away he will take his mother’s blessing with him.”

Mrs. Charteris spoke with a kindling eye and the color suffused her smooth cheek. Isabey looked at her admiringly. Her matronly beauty was resplendent, and the high courage which made her eager to give this darling only son to her country was worthy of the brave days of old. Then Isabey spoke again of Angela, but evidently under restraint.

“I wish,” he said, “that you, with your determination and high-handedness, would stand by Mrs. Neville Tremaine and help to disprove this horrid suspicion against her. It is ridiculous, as I say. She has nothing to tell about military matters that would be worth any man’s listening. She knows nothing; how can she?”

“One can hear a good many things,” replied Mrs. Charteris.

“My dear madam, you can depend upon it, the military authorities at the North know quite as much as Mrs. Neville Tremaine or any other girl in this county can tell them. Her position is painful enough, God knows, and this frightful suspicion makes it that much worse. Only exercise your own sound sense for a moment, Mrs. Charteris, and see how impossible it is that Angela—that Mrs. Neville Tremaine should be able to communicate anything.”

But Mrs. Charteris was obstinate. She was not a military critic, and was well convinced, as she said, that[273] people knew a great many things. At last, however, she heard Isabey say under his breath: “Poor, poor Angela!” Then Mrs. Charteris’s excellent heart was touched. She put her hand impulsively into Isabey’s and said:

“After all, it may not be true, and I will stand Angela’s friend.”

Isabey pressed her plump hand softly and said in his musical, insinuating voice:

“I knew you would be intelligent enough to see the absurdity of the story, and kind enough not to hound that poor girl with the rest. I feel for her very deeply. My strong attachment to Richard Tremaine since our university days and the kindness of the Tremaines to my stepmother and her daughter has touched me deeply. The thought of the grief and mortification this story might bring to them is very painful to me.”

Mrs. Charteris, being a woman, suspected that there were other reasons than the attachment to Richard Tremaine and Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine’s kindness which accounted for Isabey’s interest in Angela. The novel thought pierced her mind that it was possible for a man to feel a deep personal and secret interest in a married woman, but he must be a very peculiar man, thought Mrs. Charteris, for she had never known such a thing to be in Virginia. She looked at Isabey, therefore, with new interest, and concluded that the French Creoles were very different from the Virginians.

“Now,” she said triumphantly, “you must have snack.”

Isabey gracefully submitted, and drank a couple of[274] glasses of blackberry wine, and ate some cakes with coriander seeds in them and sweetened with molasses, handed by the successor of the ex-plowman. When Isabey was leaving, Mrs. Charteris went with him out upon the porch and pointed to a great snow-covered field which the year before had been down in clover and which another season would grow cotton. She uttered at the same time the axiom of the whole South:

“As long as we can raise cotton we can whip the North. Cotton is king!”

Isabey returned to Harrowby uncertain whether or not Angela had an ally in Mrs. Charteris.

After a month of storm and snow and sleet, Nature smiled once more. The days grew long, the sun shone with the ardor of spring, and under the melting snow the first tender shoots of grass made a bold stand. Isabey watched for the first time the drama of the development of the garden—a drama interpreted by Angela.

On a still, sunny March day he limped up and down the garden path with Angela, who talked with lips and eyes to him. She examined the tracks her little feet made along the path and laughed at them.

“You see,” she said, “I am wearing a pair of new shoes made by Uncle Mat, the shoemaker who makes for the servants. I haven’t had any new shoes for more than a year, not since the war began. So I had Uncle Mat make me a pair in order to save my best shoes for the time when I shall go to Neville. Uncle Mat can’t sew shoes—he only pegs them; and see what funny marks the pegs leave in the damp ground.”

[275]Isabey looked at the tracks of the clumsy little shoes, but not even Uncle Mat could wholly disguise the high-bred beauty of Angela’s feet.

“Last night,” she continued, “I forgot all about the shoes being pegged, and after I went upstairs sat for a long time with my feet to the fire. The heat drew every blessed peg out of the soles, and this morning Uncle Mat had to drive them back again, to stay until I put my feet to the fire again. Oh, I don’t mind this; it is just like Marie Antoinette and the Princess Elizabeth in the Temple!”

Pacing slowly up and down the broad, bright walk, she told with a grave and serious air the story of the garden.

“Now,” she said, “in the springtime the overture begins. I have never been to an opera, but I know exactly how it all goes; Mr. Lyddon and Richard and Neville have told me. First the flutes and violins begin softly, you know, and their odor is delicate. Then presently the other flowers join in this silent music; the snowballs and the syringas are added to the orchestra. I always think the big lilac bushes and the calycanthus, that delicious sweet-smelling shrub which grows all over the place, are like the bass viol and the violoncello in the orchestra, they are so strong and overpowering. And the great pink crape-myrtle is like the big drum; it blooms so loudly. The little flowers, like the lilies of the valley and the violets and the hyacinths, are like the new prima donnas, who are young and timid and afraid to sing out loud. But then come the roses. They are the great prima donnas, who are confident of themselves and know they[276] will be applauded and come out smiling and sing as loud as ever they please. And the whole opera begins: June, July, August, September, October, and November, when the curtain comes down and the music stops until the next performance, which begins again in March.”

Isabey smiled. After all, in many ways she was only a poetic and fanciful child. Her imagination, stimulated by the reading of many books, was vigorous, but she had in her the spirit of daring and adventure, and her eyes and cheeks quickly kindled into flame at the mere mention of action. He wondered what was to be the path her delicate feet were to tread through life. If only he might walk beside her forever!

The snow was all gone from the garden and the lane, but lingered in patches in the woods, and in the old graveyard in the field there were still white drifts upon the graves.

“In a week or two,” said Angela, “I will take you into the woods and you can see the pink buds of the chestnut trees. They have the most delicious fragrance of all the trees.”

“I shan’t be here by that time,” replied Isabey quietly. “When I am able to walk as far as the woods I shall be able to return to duty.”

He watched her as he spoke, knowing well that at the mention of separation the blood would drop out of her cheeks and her eyes would become dark and troubled, like a pool over which a cloud is passing. Nevertheless, Angela spoke quickly the thought in her heart:

“Of course. A soldier can’t shirk his duty—you least of all. I could just as soon imagine Neville or Richard[277] seeking inglorious ease as you. Though Neville is with the North, it makes me proud to feel that no Southern man skulks at home.”

“That is true,” remarked Isabey. “Most of them want to go, and the others dare not remain behind; the ladies won’t let them.”

“Do you mean to say,” indignantly asked Angela, “that any Southern man would stay at home now?”

“A few would,” coolly replied Isabey. “But they are more afraid of their womenkind than they are of Northern bullets. I know several men of my own age in New Orleans who would have been very glad to find business in Paris until this little zephyr blows over, but not one of them ever dared to mention as much to his wife or mother or sisters.”

“How long will the war last?” asked Angela.

“Until there is not enough lead in the Confederacy to fire another round. We are not only fighting for our independence but for our whole social and economic structure. No people ever had so great a stake in war. How do we know what will happen if the war goes against us? A military despotism may be established; we may be reduced to a position like Carthage!”

Angela paused awhile and then asked:

“When will you go away from Harrowby?”

“Next week, I think. You see, although I am not able to go out on the firing line just yet, I can do a great many things in camp. I have written, therefore, to General Farrington at the camp of instruction, offering my services for ordinary regimental duties and saying I can report next week. And I have written my servant, whom[278] I left with a brother officer in my battery, to report at the instruction camp as soon as possible; so you see I am preparing to break up my winter quarters.”

“Then,” said Angela, “we must do everything we can to get you in good condition and supply you with some comforts as soon as you are in camp. I shall give you some tallow candles and blackberry wine and everything else a soldier can use.”

How well fitted she was, thought Isabey, to be a soldier’s wife! No idle repining, no tears to make the parting harder, no timid apprehensions to be combated, were in this girl, but calm courage, hope, cheerfulness, and faith.

That day a letter was received from Mrs. Tremaine. Richard was well recovered and able to join his battery. His mother and Archie were then in Richmond, staying at the hotel with Madame Isabey and Adrienne. Adrienne was a great belle, and their little drawing-room was full of officers every evening, riding in from the surrounding country for an hour or two, to listen to Adrienne’s pretty French songs and delightful conversation.

Mrs. Tremaine fully expected Adrienne and Madame Isabey to return with her, but they had received a pressing invitation from some friends above Richmond to spend a month or two, and had accepted it. They promised, however, to return to Harrowby in the early summer and to remain during the war. Archie was much disappointed because Madame Isabey would not return to Harrowby with them, and declared he admired her more than any of the pretty girls he had seen so far in his career.[279] Mrs. Tremaine hoped that Captain Isabey was improving and that Angela had omitted nothing to make him comfortable. Hard as the parting had been with Richard, Mrs. Tremaine wrote she could no longer be satisfied away from Colonel Tremaine, and hoped, as this was the longest separation of their married life, that they would never be apart again.

Colonel Tremaine was like a lover expecting his mistress, and Angela busied herself more than ever in training the green hands about the house, so that Mrs. Tremaine should not miss the familiar servants who had gone to the Yankees. There were no longer twenty-five of them to be called by the bell on the back porch. Ten only answered to the call, and most of these were half-grown boys and girls.

A few days before Mrs. Tremaine arrived Isabey left Harrowby. On the morning of his departure he lingered for a moment in the old study, recalling the exquisite hours he had spent there listening to Angela’s voice, watching her slight and supple figure and delicate hands as she ministered to him. The sweetness and pain of it was so sharp that he could not linger, and, going out, he began his farewells.

The servants were all sorry to part with him. Mammy Tulip, who had “nursed him like a baby,” as she expressed it, called down blessings on his head and warned him to keep well away from Yankee bullets, which Isabey gravely promised her he would do.

Hector declared that the parting reminded him of when he bade a last farewell to General Scott at the end of the Mexican War.

[280]“De gineral when he shook my han’ say: ‘Hector, dis heah partin’ is de hardest I ever see, but, thank Gord, I had you while I need you most—when we was fightin’ dem damn, infernal, low-lived Mexicans. An’ as fur dat scoundrel, Gineral Santa Anna, I never would ha’ cotch him ef it hadn’t been fur you.’”

Out on the porch in the spring morning stood Angela, Colonel Tremaine, and Lyddon. Nothing could exceed the kindness of their parting words. Colonel Tremaine urged Isabey to come to see them whenever the pressure of his military duties relaxed, and especially if he fell ill to remember that Harrowby was his home. Lyddon said with truth that Isabey’s presence during the stormy winter had brightened Harrowby. When Angela bade him farewell, Isabey thanked her with French ceremony for her kindness to him and said truly it had helped more than anything else toward his recovery.

“I hope it did,” replied Angela. “You were a very good patient, and I liked to attend upon you.”

“Pray when you write to Neville give him my warm regards,” said Isabey boldly, “and tell him that I respect his course while I lament it.”

“Thank you,” answered Angela with dignity. “I shall have pleasure in writing this to Neville.”

Isabey still halted a little in his walk, but was able to mount and ride gallantly away. As he cantered down the cedar lane Angela stood watching him. All had left the porch except herself. At the end of the lane, half a mile away, she saw Isabey stop his horse and turn in his saddle and look long at the hospitable roof which had sheltered him.

[281]Far in the distance though he was, she waved the corner of her scarlet mantle to him and he took off his cap in reply. Angela turned toward the garden with a strange feeling in her breast as if a chord had snapped, like the breaking of the G string on a violin. No other chord could replace it.



FOUR days after Isabey left Mrs. Tremaine and Archie returned. Colonel Tremaine had met them on the road halfway between Richmond and Harrowby.

Mrs. Tremaine was full of courage and cheerfulness. Richard’s recovery had been complete, and as she said the first night the family were assembled around the supper table:

“I have never seen our son look so strong and so handsome as he did when I parted from him the day before we reached Richmond. At first it was terrible to me to see him ill. I have been spared the anxieties on that account which most mothers endure, for you well know, my dear, how hardy our sons have been from their birth. But Richard’s spirits were so good, his determination to become thoroughly well so contagious, that I really never felt any anxiety on his account except that he would return to the army before he was able. However, with the help of the surgeons I managed to keep him in his bed long enough to cure him, and I assure you, my dear,” she continued, smiling at Colonel Tremaine, “there is a kind of lovemaking between a mother and son which is almost as sweet as that between lovers.”

[283]At which Colonel Tremaine, flourishing his hand dramatically, replied: “My dearest Sophie, I have ever felt our sons to be my only rivals.”

The only fly in the colonel’s ointment was that he felt compelled as soon as Mrs. Tremaine arrived to resume his suit of homespun, which he regarded very much as Nessus did his celebrated shirt.

At prayers that night the name of one son was omitted, and Neville’s name was no longer mentioned after Angela ceased to fill Mrs. Tremaine’s place.

Everything had gone on in an orderly manner, and Mrs. Tremaine was particularly gratified that Angela had taken as good care of Isabey as could be desired.

“I feel,” she said to Angela, “that in caring for Captain Isabey we perform a patriotic as well as a pious duty. Some day during this dreadful war it may be returned to my sons.”

“I hope so, if the occasion should come,” answered Angela. “But if I should hear that Neville were wounded he would not be dependent upon strangers. I should go to him whether he sent for me or not, or even if he sent me word not to come, still I should go.”

Mrs. Tremaine turned away pale and silent, as she always was at the rare mention of her eldest-born.

In a day or two letters arrived from Isabey, one to Colonel Tremaine and another to Angela. Lyddon brought them on a bright spring noontime from the post office, where there was an intermittent delivery of letters.

She read the letter and then handed it to Mrs. Tremaine. It was graceful and cordial and full of gratitude. After being passed around it was returned to Angela.[284] Half an hour afterwards Lyddon saw her walk across the lawn and down to where the river ran wine-colored in the old Homeric phrase.

Angela’s right hand was closed, and as she reached the shore, lapped by the bright water, she opened her hand and dropped a hundred tiny bits of paper into the clear green-and-gold water, and stood watching them as they were tossed in the crystalline spray.

“It is Isabey’s letter,” said Lyddon to himself.

The orchestra of spring, as Angela had called it, was now playing gloriously, and it seemed to her as if the ice-bound winter were but a dream with all the beautiful unreality of a dream. She resolved to put Isabey out of her mind, but who ever yet put the thing beloved out of mind? All she could do whenever she thought of Isabey was to call up a passionate loyalty to Neville Tremaine and to make herself the most solemn of promises that never should any woman exceed her in the kindness, tenderness, devotion, consideration that she would give Neville Tremaine, not having the greater gift to bestow upon him.

Isabey in a camp of five thousand men found plenty for a man to do who had not full use of his right arm and leg.

His sanguine expectation of being able to join his battery in the field was not borne out. In riding he wrenched his arm painfully, which revived the whole trouble, and the doctors gave him no hope that his arm would sufficiently recover for him to rejoin his battery before the late autumn or early winter.

Meanwhile the ugly suspicion against Angela, of[285] which Mrs. Charteris had told him, came back in a hundred ways. It was undoubtedly true that information concerning the Confederates was mysteriously conveyed to the Federal commanders.

The charge that Angela Tremaine had supplied this information was hinted at rather than spoken before Isabey. Once only had it been said outright—at the officers’ mess by a raw young lieutenant ignorant of most things. Isabey had turned upon him meaning to contradict the story in a manner as cool as it was convincing. But suddenly an impulse of rage seized him and before he knew it he had dashed a glass of water in the face of the offender.

At once there was a fierce uproar, and Isabey ended the brief but painful scene by rising and saying with some agitation:

“I have no apology to make for resenting a shocking charge against an innocent and defenseless woman. I believe it has never yet been known that any man in Virginia was ever called to account for defending the name and fame of a woman.”

With that Isabey left the mess tent. The ranking officer at once administered a stern rebuke to the young lieutenant and forbade that he should demand the satisfaction, common enough in those days, from Isabey for his act. Nevertheless, when the matter had been arranged, the officers exchanged significant glances which said: “It won’t do to speak of it, but—” and that “but” meant that it was believed Angela Tremaine was playing the spy. Isabey felt this and his soul was wrung by it.

[286]With only thirty-five miles between the two great opposing forces, each side began to throw out feelers before the actual shock of arms commenced. The Federals made raids and reconnoissances through the country at unexpected times.

Incidentally, the farmsteads and estates were swept clear of horses, mules, cattle, and sheep, and the houses were searched for Confederate soldiers. This last was done rather in the nature of a warning than in expectation of making any captures. Occasionally private soldiers, who had got leave on various pretexts and slipped home for a few hours, were picked up by the Federals; but the Confederates were wary and no important captures were made. Small Federal gunboats ventured up the broad, salt, shallow rivers which made in from the seas and intersected the low-lying, fertile country. But these expeditions, like those by land, were rather for investigation and warning than of a punitive nature. It might be supposed that these raids by land and water were alarming to the women and children left alone in their homes while their husbands, sons, and brothers were in the Confederate army. On the contrary, the Virginia ladies appear to have struck terror to the hearts of the Northern officers, who, however bold their stand might be against the Confederate soldiers, were pretty sure to beat a quick retreat before the sharp language and indignant glances of the Virginia ladies.

Mrs. Charteris, when waked in the middle of the night by a horde of Federal soldiers around her house and a fierce pounding at the hall door, rose and, arraying[287] herself in her dressing gown and with a candle in her hand, went down surrounded by her excited servants, and opened the hall door herself.

There stood a Federal officer, who politely desired her not to be alarmed, as he had merely come to search the place for a Confederate officer supposed to be in hiding there.

“Thank you very much,” tartly replied Mrs. Charteris, thrusting her candle into the officer’s face and causing him to jump back a yard or so. “I see nothing to frighten anybody in you or any of your men. There is no Confederate officer here; they are all waiting for you with arms in their hands outside of Richmond.”

In vain the officer endeavored to stop the torrent of Mrs. Charteris’s wrathful eloquence and to escape the proximity of the candle which she persistently thrust under his nose. It ended by his beating an ignominious retreat to the gunboat lying in the river.

A few souvenirs in the way of ducks and turkeys and Mrs. Charteris’s coach horses were carried off, but, as she triumphantly recounted at church the next Sunday, “It was worth losing a pair of old carriage horses—for both of mine were getting shaky on their legs—for the pleasure of speaking my mind to that Yankee officer and see him run away from me!”

Nearly every place on the river was visited at some time during the spring by the gunboats, and the inland plantations were also raided at different times by detachments of cavalry. Harrowby, however, by a singular chance, escaped.

[288]This was strange in itself and mightily helped the story floating about concerning Angela’s supposed communication with the Federal lines. The flight of the negroes to the Yankees had come to an end because practically all of the young and able-bodied had gone. Only the older, feebler, and more conservative ones, and the young children and their mothers remained. There was no doubt that the negroes who stayed at home had advance notice of the Federal incursions and kept up a continual intercourse with those who had fled to the Federal camp. No one realized this more than Angela, who suddenly began to get letters with considerable regularity from Neville.

He had been sent East and was then for a short time at Fort Monroe, but knew not how long he would be there. It was easy enough to get his letters as far as the Federal lines, and then there was always opportunity of passing them from hand to hand among the negroes until they reached Mammy Tulip, who, in turn, gave them to Angela. Neville wrote in a spirit of sadness and even bitterness.

“I could be useful here,” he wrote, “far more than recruiting in the West. We are as short of trained artillerists as the Confederates are, and ordinarily I should have already had an opportunity to distinguish myself. But I am distrusted by all except the few of my classmates of West Point, who know me well. If ever I can get to the front then I can prove to all that I am a true man and as ready to die for the Union as any soldier who follows the flag. For yourself, make ready to come to me at any day, for you may be assured[289] that at the first possible moment I shall send for you, the sweetest comfort left me.”

Then came a few words of deep tenderness which Angela read with tears dropping upon the page. How hard a fate was Neville Tremaine’s, after all!

She hastened to write to him, and would have put the letter then in Mammy Tulip’s hands, but the old woman nervously refused it. She seemed to have some vague and terrifying fear of keeping Angela’s letters in her possession.

“De Cornfeds,” she whispered mysteriously to Angela, “might find out dat I’se got a letter for a Yankee officer, an’ den—good Gord A’might’! Dey might tek me up an’ k’yar me off to Richmun’ an’ hang me ’fore Jeff Davis’s door. Naw, honey; you watch out to-night an’ when I kin tek dat letter, I light de candle in de window an’ wave it up an’ down. An’ den you drap de letter on de groun’ an’ it will git to Marse Neville, sho’. But I fear to tek it now.”

It was in vain to reason with Mammy Tulip, and Angela had to follow the same routine whenever she wrote to Neville.

Meanwhile, the changes within the one year of the war concerning the negroes had been very great at Harrowby. There was no longer that superabundant life and motion made by the two hundred black people, of whom now scarcely seventy remained. As each one had left, Colonel Tremaine reiterated with stern emphasis his determination to exact full compensation to the last farthing from the Government at Washington for the loss of his negroes. The remnant of servants left at[290] Harrowby was made up of the very old, the very young, and the mothers of the children. Not a single young man remained on the place, although ten or twelve of the older ones, headed by Hector, were still too loyal to the old régime or too indifferent to the new to run away. Peter, Richard Tremaine’s body servant, stood loyally by his young master.

Hector’s assistants in the dining room had gradually decreased in size until by midsummer of 1862 they were two small boys of fifteen, who were almost as skillful in eluding work as Hector himself.

Mrs. Tremaine, for all her executive ability, was totally unequal to doing any of the work of the household. She was accustomed to planning and contriving, ordering and directing, but her delicate hands were unable to do the smallest task requiring manual dexterity.

Not so Angela. The places of Mirandy and Sally and their colleagues had been taken by small black girls whom Angela trained with tact and patience but whose childish powers were unequal to women’s work. Angela, however, was equal to anything, and Lyddon complimented her in classic phrase the first morning he saw her with her cotton skirts pinned up, her beautiful slender arms bare to the elbow, and a red handkerchief tied with unconscious coquetry around her fair hair as she wielded the broom and swept the drawing-room.

Mrs. Tremaine nearly wept at the sight, and Colonel Tremaine groaned aloud. Angela, however, was in high spirits. She was too young, too full of vitality, too humorous to be depressed at this new turn of Fate.

[291]“The fact is,” she cried, sweeping industriously, while Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine watched from the hall and Lyddon peered in from the window, “all we have to do is just to imagine that we are noble émigrés in England about 1793. You, Uncle Tremaine and Aunt Sophia, can do the sentimental part of the business. Archie and I with Mr. Lyddon will do the work. Archie, you know, is chopping wood at the woodpile, and I have a job for you, Mr. Lyddon.”

“What is it?” asked Lyddon helplessly. “If it’s dusting, well, I can dust books. As for chopping wood like Archie, I should not only chop off both of my feet, but my head as well. However, I will do anything in God’s name I can.”

“I can find you something,” knowingly replied Angela, “and something I dare say those old Greek ragamuffins, of whom you think so much, did in Thessaly and thereabouts.”

“My dearest Sophie and my dear Angela,” cried Colonel Tremaine valiantly, “I feel that I must do my share in this domestic cataclysm. I cannot chop wood—I am seventy-two years old—but I believe that I could wind off the reels the cotton for the looms. I will do my best, my dear Angela, if you will kindly instruct me.”

Angela stopped her sweeping and ran and fetched a cotton reel—a rude contrivance consisting of a slender stick of wood about two feet high stuck in a wooden box, with a large reel at the top on which the hanks of cotton, fresh from the spinning wheels, were wound into balls for the old-fashioned hand looms in the loom house.

[292]“I think,” said Colonel Tremaine, with profound interest in the subject, “that it would be better to carry the paraphernalia in the drawing-room. Like most of my sex, I dislike extraneous objects in my library.”

Just then Archie appeared, red, perspiring, but grinning with delight at his wood-chopping performance. He was charmed with the thought of seeing his father wind cotton, and ran with the reel, which he placed in the drawing-room. Then Angela put a hank of cotton on it, found the end, started the ball, and instructed Colonel Tremaine in his new employment. Mrs. Tremaine, quite woe-begone, yet complimented Angela and Archie upon their readiness and industry. It was as if the two were again children.

Hector and Mammy Tulip both came in to see the extraordinary sight of “ole Marse wukkin’.” Hector was indignant at the turn of affairs.

“I ’clare, Marse,” he said, with solemn disapproval, “I never speck fur to see you wukkin’ like Saul an’ de witch uv Endaw in de Bible. I tho’t you was proud enough fur to lay down an’ starve ’fore you demean you’sef wid wuk.”

“That is what you would do, you black scoundrel,” inadvertently responded Colonel Tremaine, forgetting that others were present, and then hastily adding: “Not that I have ever observed in you any serious disinclination to do your proper work.” Which showed a very great want of observation on Colonel Tremaine’s part.

The Colonel, sitting in a large pink satin armchair with the reel before him, began his self-imposed domestic labors, remarking grimly to Mrs. Tremaine: “It can[293] no longer be said, my dearest Sophie, that there is a distaff side to our family.”

“My dear,” replied Mrs. Tremaine in pathetic admiration, “the spectacle of you, at your time of life, eager to assist in the household labors and to lighten our tasks as much as possible is truly a lesson to be commended.”

Colonel Tremaine, thus encouraged, sat up straight in the pink satin armchair and proceeded to what Angela wickedly called his “Herculean task.”

The reel, however, was refractory, and it took Archie to mend it and Mammy Tulip to show him how. Hector, totally unable to tear himself away from the spectacle of Colonel Tremaine at work, remained as critic and devil’s advocate. In the end it required the services of Mrs. Tremaine and nearly the whole domestic staff, including an awe-stricken circle of negro boys and girls, to assist Colonel Tremaine in winding half a hank of cotton.

Angela was as good as her word in providing work for Lyddon. When Colonel Tremaine was thoroughly started upon his undertaking, Angela triumphantly called Lyddon out on the dining-room porch. There stood a great churn with a stool by it.

“Come, Daphius,” she cried, “your Chloe has work for you to do.”

She produced a huge apron of Hector’s, and, tying it around Lyddon’s neck and making him roll up his sleeves, duly instructed him in the art and mystery of churning. Lyddon thought he had not seen her in such spirits for a long time, and as she stood laughing before[294] him, her cotton skirts still tucked up and her beautiful bare arms crossed and the coquettish red silk handkerchief knotted high upon her head, she was a captivating picture.

“Now,” she cried, “you must sing in order to make the butter come.”

I sing!” cried Lyddon, wrathfully, but beginning to wield the dasher. “When I sing pigs will fly.”

“But you must sing, ‘Come, butter, come,’ like the negro children sing, and then if the butter won’t come you must get up and dance the back step.”

She flung into a pretty dancing step, singing the old churning song meanwhile.

Lyddon suddenly stopped churning and looked over Angela’s shoulder on to the green lawn beyond. He laughed, but he was not looking at Angela. When she finished she turned around, and there was Isabey standing with his foot on the first step of the porch.



ANGELA’S shock of delight at seeing him was obvious to Isabey, and the two poor souls looked into each other’s eyes with love and longing for one brief moment. Then reason and good sense resumed their sway.

Isabey came up the steps and held out his hand, and Angela, scarcely knowing what she did, put hers within it.

“I couldn’t imagine what was the matter,” he said, laughing and shaking hands with Lyddon, who stopped churning long enough to do so. “I rode up to the front of the house, and saw not a soul; then I ventured around to the back and witnessed the present inspiring spectacle.”

“Angela put me to it,” replied Lyddon. “Of all the house servants only Hector and Mammy Tulip are left and some small blacks whose names I never have found out. Colonel Tremaine, Archie, and I couldn’t let Angela do all the work, so we have ventured to assist.”

“Hercules churned, I’m sure,” cried Angela, recovering herself, and once more adopting an arch and merry tone. “Perhaps I shall put Mr. Lyddon to spinning yet.”

[296]“If you dance for him,” responded Isabey, smiling, “he will do better than Herod and give you his own, not another man’s head upon a charger, if you ask it.”

As he spoke Angela became suddenly conscious of her pinned-up skirts, her bare arms, and the gay silk handkerchief around her hair. In a moment her skirts were unpinned, her sleeves rolled down, her bright hair uncovered, and she was a picture of demureness.

Then, examining the churn and seeing the butter had come, Angela called Aunty Tulip to take charge of it, and they all went into the drawing-room.

Mrs. Tremaine greeted Isabey with the utmost cordiality, as did Colonel Tremaine. The Colonel, however, did not rise from his satin chair, but, quickly releasing Isabey’s hand after grasping it, said solemnly:

“My dear fellow, will you excuse me for two minutes until I finish this hank of cotton? I have undertaken to assist the ladies of my family in the tasks made necessary by the departure of our house servants, and I feel that nothing, not even the arrival of a friend so valued as yourself, can interfere with my nearly completed labor. Just a moment more.”

He returned to his winding. Isabey then inquired about Richard, and afterwards, turning to Angela, asked with calm courtesy when she had heard from Neville and if he were well. Angela answered readily, Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine maintaining, as always when Neville’s name was spoken, a cold silence.

Then, as the last winding of the hank of cotton was finished, the reel was removed and Colonel Tremaine was prepared to entertain his guest.

[297]Isabey looked fairly well but still limped slightly, and said that the accident to his arm which occurred a month before had prevented his coming to Harrowby. He mentioned that the general commanding at camp had sent him down to get certain topographical information which he would ask privately of Colonel Tremaine, and that he would spend the day, preferring to return to camp by night.

There were some county maps in the old study, and thither Colonel Tremaine, Lyddon, and Isabey repaired and spent nearly the whole day in studying them.

The evening came, soft and sweet as July evenings are. Angela had been busy all day long and had seen Isabey only at the three-o’clock dinner. But the consciousness that she was in sound of his voice was like wine in her veins.

In the afternoon she dressed herself carefully in a fresh white gown and went out upon the lawn. Her afternoons were usually spent on the lawn and in the old garden, which was now in its glory. All was a wealth of bloom and perfume.

She remained in the garden thinking, hoping, fearing, and believing that Isabey would seek her there.

When the shadows grew long and the sun hung low behind the purple woods he came to her. She was standing before a great bed of hollyhocks which flaunted their merry faces boldly in the soft air.

“How changed it is since we were last in this garden!” Isabey said; “but I am not changed;” and then cursed himself for having been betrayed into something dangerously near to sentiment. Angela, as[298] the case had ever been, passed with proud unconsciousness over his words.

“The garden has not gone back this year as much as one would think,” she said, moving toward the broad main walk. “As you know, we have only two or three small boys to work it now, but it is so old and so well conducted that it seems impossible for it to become wild or irregular.”

They walked up and down the garden path a few times, and Angela gathered some of the July roses, those princesses of the garden.

Isabey spoke with impatience of his being still unable to rejoin his battery and called the surgeons fools for not curing his arm quickly. Then, in an unguarded moment, he spoke of the delicious hours of those snowbound days six months before.

Angela said little, but Isabey saw the quick rising and falling of her fast-beating heart.

Presently they went back to the house and soon supper was served. At table the conversation turned upon Colonel Gratiot, then on duty at the camp of instruction, whom Colonel Tremaine had known as a brother officer during the Mexican War.

“Gratiot is sixty years old, if he is a day,” complained Colonel Tremaine bitterly, “and always was a puny fellow; yet he can serve his country, while I, who never knew a day’s illness in my life and can stand twelve hours in the saddle as well as I ever could——”

“And can wind a whole hank of cotton in three hours,” interjected Archie, laughing.

“—am not permitted to serve my country because I[299] am too old! I wish you would say to Gratiot for me that I should be very pleased to renew my acquaintance with him, and perhaps he may be able to come down and spend a day and night with me, the infernal Yankees permitting.”

When supper was over the family sat, according to the Southern custom, on the long porch which faced the river. Angela found herself sitting next Isabey and listening to his smooth, musical voice as he and Colonel Tremaine and Lyddon talked together. His speaking voice had as much charm as his singing voice and to Angela’s sensitive ear it had a note of sadness in it.

She had been accustomed to the conversation of men of sense, and realized with a secret and shamefaced pride that Isabey’s conversation did not fall short of the talk of any man she had ever heard, not excepting Lyddon’s.

The night had fallen and only a few stars shone dimly in a troubled and moonless sky. The river ran black and phosphorescent; a faint wind stirred the great clumps of crape-myrtle on the lawn.

About nine o’clock Archie, after listening for a minute, rose silently and, opening the glass doors leading into the dining room, had a clear view through the hall to the open front door.

Colonel Tremaine was saying, “I opine that the first campaign of Hannibal——”

“The Yankees are coming,” said Archie, coolly and quietly. “I see hundreds of them galloping down the lane.”

Isabey sprang to his feet. He knew the topography of Harrowby well, and his horse, already saddled, was[300] fastened to the block close to the back porch; but it was vain to think of escape that way.

“Run,” he said quietly to Archie, “and take the saddle and bridle off my horse, and throw them under the porch, and turn the horse loose. I shall make for the marsh back of the garden.”

“Archie’s boat with oars is tied on the river shore behind the garden,” whispered Angela, all her wits coming to her at once. “I can show you, and we can’t be seen from the front if we fly now.”

Isabey’s cap was in his hand and Angela’s red mantle lay over the back of her chair. She threw it around her, hiding her white dress, and together they ran swiftly down the steps and across the lawn.

Isabey suffered agonies in his still unhealed leg, but nevertheless made great speed. Not a word was spoken as they rushed through the darkness around the corner of the old brick wall of the garden and to the marshy river edge.

Tied to a stake lay a small boat with two oars in it. Angela stepped into the boat, assisted by Isabey with cool politeness, who lost not a second in following her.

“I can pull with my left hand,” he said, taking up an oar.

“And I,” replied Angela, “can pull the other oar. I know how to manage a boat. We must make for the big willow tree which dips down into the water across the marsh.”

By that time they could hear the trampling of many hoofs, the sound of voices, and the whinny of a horse.

“That’s my horse,” remarked Isabey, as the boat[301] shot across the still, black water. “I hope Archie succeeded in hiding the saddle and bridle.”

“You may trust Archie to think and act quickly,” replied Angela. “Hadn’t you better lie down in the boat?” she continued anxiously, her voice sounding strange to herself in the darkness.

“No use; if the Federals see the boat at all they will certainly stop it, and I would rather be caught sitting up than lying down.”

Angela said no more, but bent to her oar to keep up with Isabey’s steady stroke. Ten minutes brought the boat to the farther edge of the marsh, where a huge willow, storm-beaten, bent toward the water which lapped its branches. It was in luxuriant leaf, and when, Isabey putting the branches aside, the boat glided in, they found themselves within a tent of branches and leaves, secure even at midday from observation. The oars were laid in the bottom of the boat but close at hand, and Angela and Isabey were alone in a world of their own under a murky night sky. The air had grown warm and sultry, and heat lightning played upon the mass of black clouds on the western horizon. Every moment the darkness increased and the night, like a great black bat, seemed to press with huge and stifling wings upon the earth. In the stillness of the darkness they could hear the trampling of hundreds of iron hoofs and the shouts and cries of men searching the house and grounds and garden. Through the overhanging willow branches lights could be seen flashing from window to window of the Harrowby house as the search for Isabey proceeded. It was so dark under the[302] willow tree that they could not see each other’s face. The tide was high, but the pungent odor of the salt marsh filled the heavy night air. Afar off a night bird uttered an occasional melancholy note, but that alone broke the silence which encompassed them.

“Are you frightened?” asked Isabey, in a low voice.

“Not in the least,” replied Angela, in the same subdued tone. “Oh!” As she spoke there was a phosphorescent gleam close to the boat and a water-snake’s body was seen to writhe quickly past. Angela, who could face real danger unflinchingly, was full of feminine fears. She clasped her hands and shrank, panting, toward Isabey. He restrained the impulse to put his arm around her, but he involuntarily laid his hand on hers and said:

“It is nothing. I can keep all ugly things away from you to-night.”

“I know you can,” answered Angela. “I am not in the least afraid of Yankee bullets or anything like that, but hideous creepy things frighten me horribly;” and she shuddered as she spoke, allowing her hand to remain in Isabey’s. Then came a long silence. Isabey could feel her hand trembling in his. She was not thinking about him, but about the water-snake and the slimy things which terrified her woman’s soul. Isabey had no qualms of conscience in thus holding her hand in his; she was, after all, only a frightened child, and to soothe her fears by a reassuring touch was no defilement of her. Angela, however, could not remain insensible to that touch, and after a while she withdrew her hand, saying, with a long breath: “I will try and[303] not be afraid any more. Isn’t it ridiculous? I have not the least fear of dying or of scarlet fever or runaway horses or anything like that, but I have paroxysms of terror from caterpillars and daddy longlegs and a snake—” She covered her face with her hands as she spoke.

“Come, now,” said Isabey, reassuringly, “there is nothing for either of us to be afraid of; may I smoke?”

“Never,” said Angela, aghast. “You will be seen from the other shore.”

“Oh, no; I can hold my cap before my cigarette, and the distance is too great anyhow for the tip of a cigarette to be seen.” He lighted his cigarette and smoked placidly, holding his cap up meanwhile. The sounds of voices, of rattling sabers, of armed men searching the garden increased. It was evident that a thorough hunt of the garden was being made.

“They are trampling all over your flower beds,” whispered Isabey. “They seem to be looking in the violet bed for me, but as a sleeping place it is not as desirable as the poets have represented.”

“How can you make jokes at this time?” said Angela reproachfully.

“My dearest lady, every soldier has been in far worse places than this. A fighting man must learn to look danger in the eye and advance upon it with a smile. You should see your Stonewall Jackson when the Yankees begin to give us grape in earnest. It is the only time Stonewall ever looks really gay and debonair.”

Isabey went on talking gayly for a time, but Angela,[304] he soon saw, was throbbing with nervous excitement and in no mood to heed his airy conversation. Then he fell silent; the sweet consciousness that she was agitated, palpitating, miserable for him, gave him a feeling of rapture. She was the wife of his friend and sacred to him, but that had not prevented his falling in love with her. And she, the soul of truth and loyalty, was too unsophisticated, too ignorant of the world and of herself, to conceal from him that he was, at least to her imagination, the first man in the world. Her instinctive dignity and good sense made her secret safe from all except Isabey, but he with the prescience of love saw it. He foresaw with calm courage that the time would come when she would learn to love Neville Tremaine—when children would be laid in her arms, and when this dream of her youth would seem only the shadow of a dream. But Isabey felt that it would be among the unforgotten things which sleep but never die in women’s hearts.

An hour passed as they sat together, as much alone as if the world held none other than themselves. Isabey, although conscious of the delicate intoxication of Angela’s nearness, was yet thoroughly alert, while Angela, with every nerve at its utmost tension, was silent and apparently composed. Isabey felt rather than saw that she was profoundly moved. As they listened and watched the opposite shore they could see that the troopers had withdrawn from the garden and that the search for Isabey, which had included the stables and the negro quarters, had been abandoned.

Presently the sound of retreating hoofs was heard,[305] and the detachment, which numbered several hundred, rode off. The hot, still air had grown more inky black, and a dead silence took the place of the commotion in and around the Harrowby house. The negroes had gone off to their quarters, and lights shone only from a single window of the library. Presently the sound of a horse carefully picking his way around the marsh and advancing toward the willow tree was heard, and a step which Angela at once recognized.

“That’s Archie,” she said. “I think he is bringing you your horse.” The next minute Archie had slid down the bank and into the boat.

“Wasn’t it great?” he cried. “You ought to have seen those Yankees—three hundred of ’em, commanded by a major. They were cocksure they had you, Captain Isabey. They surrounded the whole place, garden and all, and then searched the house. Father harangued them, and a private soldier told him to shut up, which made father very angry. Then the soldier was cuffed by another soldier, who said to father: ‘Go on, old cock; I like to hear you talk—just as if you had two hundred niggers to jump when you spoke.’ ‘Niggers!’ roared father. ‘That word, sir, is not admissible in polite society. Negro is the name of the black race, and any diminutive of it is a term of contempt of which I strongly disapprove.’ ‘By Jiminy!’ said the soldier, perfectly delighted. ‘Give us some instructions in manners, my old Roman gent, and if you would throw in a few dancing lessons we would be a thousand times obliged.’ Then mother, quite angry, said to him, ‘How dare you speak so irreverently to my husband? He is seventy-two years[306] old, and this is the first disrespectful word that was ever uttered to him.’”

As neither of his auditors spoke, the boy went on:

“All the soldiers around were laughing, but they quieted down as soon as mother spoke. Then an old sergeant came up and touched his cap and said very respectfully to mother, ‘Don’t be frightened, marm; we ain’t a-going to do you or this gentleman here any harm. We’re jest looking for that Rebel captain that we know came this way before twelve o’clock to-day, but we wouldn’t alarm you for nothing, marm.’ ‘Alarm me,’ said mother, smiling. ‘I can’t imagine myself alarmed by you.’ Then a young rough-looking fellow, a lieutenant, came up, and my mother’s words seemed to make him mad. ‘Very well, madam,’ he hollered, ‘I’ll show you something to alarm you.’ He picked up a newspaper, twisted it up into a torch, and lighted it at the candle on the hall table. ‘Now,’ he said, ‘if you don’t tell me within one minute by the clock where that Rebel rascal is, I’ll set fire to this house and burn up everything in it.’ ‘Just as you please,’ replied mother, exactly in the tone when she says, ‘Archibald, my son, come in to prayers.’ The soldiers around her all stood and looked at her and my father while the lieutenant kept his eyes on the clock. ‘My dearest Sophie,’ said father, ‘this is most annoying, and it is peculiarly humiliating to me that it is not in my power to demand satisfaction from these villains for their discourtesy to you.’ ‘Pray, don’t let it trouble you, my dear,’ replied mother. ‘The only thing that distresses me is that you should be subject at your time of life to such insults.’

[307]“Then the sergeant went up and, taking the newspaper out of the lieutenant’s hand, threw it into the fireplace. ‘Look here,’ he said, ‘I have been thirty years in the United States army and I never heard an officer say anything like that before to a woman. You have been in the army about three months. You got your commission because your father made a lot of money in a pawnbroking shop. The major’s just outside, and if you say another impudent word to this lady I’ll prefer charges against you as soon as we get back to camp.’ You should have seen the lieutenant wilt then.

“The major was a big, oldish sort of man, very polite, but bent on finding Captain Isabey if he could. He had every hole and corner searched, and asked all the negroes what had become of you. They all owned up that you had been at Harrowby at supper-time, but none of them had seen you since. Mammy Tulip defied them and called them ‘po’ white trash.’ Uncle Hector went and hid in the garret closet and was hauled out by the heels when that place was searched. While they were looking about the grounds and stables the soldiers wrung the necks of all the fowls they could lay their hands on; but the horses were all out in the field and they didn’t trouble the cattle or sheep. The worst thing they did was when they found all father’s bottles of hair dye and caught my white pointer and poured the dye all over him. He’s as black as a crow. That made father furious.

“Mr. Lyddon was very cool through it all. He told the Yankees he was a British subject, but they were perfectly welcome to search his room, only if they laid their hands on anything he would report it to the British Minister[308] at Washington. At last they seemed to give up finding Captain Isabey, and then the major sent for me. I made out I was scared to death, and when the major talked very threateningly to me, to make me tell what had become of Captain Isabey, I whispered in his ear that Captain Isabey had gone to spend the night at the rectory, seven miles off; and so I have sent them off after Mr. Brand. They will get there about midnight, and I don’t believe Mr. Brand will be alive to-morrow morning. They will frighten the old fellow to death.” And Archie chuckled, gloating over Mr. Brand’s prospective sufferings. “Then they all rode down the road. As soon as the last one had ridden off I took your saddle and bridle and slipped into the field and got your horse, and here he is, and if you will follow the road through the woods to Greenhill you can strike the main road in an hour, and there will be at least ten miles between you and the Yankees. They will be going lickety-split in the wrong direction.”

Isabey grasped Archie’s hand, while Angela, throwing her arms around his neck, kissed him, whispering: “Oh, what a clever boy you are, and how proud Neville and Richard will be of you!”

There was a brief farewell. Isabey pressed Angela’s hand, saying, “I thank you more than anyone else for my escape,” and then, mounting his horse, melted away in the darkness. Archie got in the boat and, taking both oars, pulled swiftly back to the wharf at Harrowby. Angela’s heart was full of thankfulness. Then, suddenly and strangely to herself, she found tears upon her cheeks.



A FORTNIGHT afterwards Madame Isabey and Adrienne returned to Harrowby. They were received with the greatest cordiality, and were glad to be there once more, but after a year of refugeeing they had begun to feel the truth of the words uttered by the great Florentine in his wanderings:

Salt is the savor of another’s bread,
And weary are the feet which climbeth up
The stairs of others.

There seemed, however, nothing else for them to do. Madame Isabey had no more knowledge of affairs than the birds in the bushes, nor had Adrienne. They were still in receipt of a good income from foreign investments, and through Lyddon’s ingenuity they managed to receive it in gold. But the idea of offering any compensation to Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine would have shocked and offended their hosts beyond measure, and this Madame Isabey and Adrienne knew. Other plans than a return to Harrowby might have been devised by other women, but not by Madame Isabey and Adrienne. No word had been written them of the departure of all the house servants, and Angela managed by rising with the dawn to[310] keep from the observation of their guests the shifts to which the Harrowby family was reduced in order to keep the house going with the half-grown boys and girls that took the place of a trained staff of servants. Adrienne’s maid after having spent two days at Harrowby slipped off to the Yankees. Old Celeste managed to dress Adrienne, who had never dressed herself in her life. Madame Isabey frankly gave up all attempts at a toilet and restricted herself to peignoirs, which she wore morning, noon, and night. Archie was delighted to see her back, and she was charmed with the account she heard of his behavior on the night of the Federal visitation and called him ever afterwards “my brave little red-headed angel.”

Lyddon set to work the very day after the visitation to prepare a new supply of hair tonic for Colonel Tremaine, and although not a moment was lost in the preparation, the colonel’s locks had turned a greenish brown before the tonic was ready. The aspect of Archie’s white pointer at first of a coal-black color and then shading into the same greenish brown as Colonel Tremaine’s locks was harrowing to both Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine. In vain Hector covered the unlucky pointer with soft soap and scrubbed him in boiling water until he howled in agony. Lyddon’s formula was too good to be easily obliterated. But by the time the dog became white Colonel Tremaine’s locks were again of an ebony black.

Madame Isabey received letters from Isabey at the camp fifteen miles away, who wrote that he could not expose his friends to the risk of another raid by coming to Harrowby. However, Colonel Gratiot, Colonel Tremaine’s old friend of the Mexican War, seemed unterrified[311] by Isabey’s experience, and wrote that he promised himself the pleasure of visiting his old friend for the night on the next Sunday but one, arriving in the afternoon. He would come, however, in citizen’s clothes, and it might be as well that he should be called Mr. Gratiot, as it was perfectly well known that the negroes kept in close touch with the Federal lines twenty miles away. Colonel Tremaine told this to the family when the servants had all gone off for the night.

It was something new and exquisitely painful to be on guard against the servitors who had heretofore been regarded as a part of the family, but the expediency of it could not be disputed.

On the morning of the Sunday when Colonel Gratiot was expected to arrive in the afternoon, Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine went to church, the Colonel driving Mrs. Tremaine in a ramshackle buggy; the coach horses had long since been put to the plow. Angela had begun to find the Sunday rest very agreeable, and as her appearances at church were invariably occasions of pain and distress to her, however proudly borne, she determined to remain at home on that Sunday. Madame Isabey, as usual, stayed upstairs, as she rarely appeared before the afternoon.

Lyddon and Adrienne were pacing up and down the Ladies’ Walk. Adrienne’s graceful head was bare and she warded off the ardor of the sun with a dainty black parasol. She always felt intensely flattered when Lyddon talked to her, and strove to learn how to talk to a scholar who rarely trimmed his beard and admitted that a woman’s mind was a problem far deeper than[312] calculus and deserved to be ranked with the insoluble things like the squaring of a circle. She never understood how Angela dared to laugh and chat so freely with Lyddon, and how a single name, an obscure phrase, half a quotation, would convey a world of meaning to them. This she felt herself powerless to achieve, but she had a sincere admiration for Lyddon, perhaps because Isabey had. Lyddon admired and pitied Adrienne. He realized all her charms, her softness, her grace, but she belonged to another world than his.

He had in his life known but one woman who could enter into his world, and that was Angela, probably because he himself had taught her; and although he was but a scholar, pure and simple, indifferent to money and clothes beyond his daily clean shirt, and careless of the glittering side of life, he was as acutely sensitive as Alcibiades himself to the beauty and charm of women. He had sometimes met women with whom he had an intellectual companionship, but they were, with the solitary exception of Angela, middle-aged, plain, dowdy in dress, and had invariably lost all their illusions. The middle Victorian era had no knowledge of women of esprit. He admired the Virginia type of maid and matron; they reminded him of the lilacs and apple blossoms which grew so luxuriantly over the fertile lowland Virginia. He had been astonished at their capacity for affairs and by their knowledge of politics, but their taste in literature was simple and chiefly confined to the “Lake Poets” and to the novels of the day. Angela he regarded as a brand saved from the burning, and he had taught and trained her to shine at another[313] man’s table, to decorate another man’s home. Women as young and pretty and inconsequent as Adrienne generally avoided Lyddon, and he could not but be as much flattered by her notice as she was flattered by his. But as they walked up and down the broken flags in the cool, bright July morning, Lyddon realized that Adrienne was not greatly different mentally from the average woman. He surmised, however, in her a disappointment silently borne and he had from the first suspected the nature of this disappointment. Here was another human being like Heine:

I stand before Life’s great soup pot;
But alas! I have no spoon.

Angela, sitting reading in the darkened drawing-room, wondered what Lyddon and Adrienne were talking about so earnestly, and felt a tinge of womanish jealousy. Lyddon was hers and Adrienne was clearly poaching. While these thoughts were in her mind, the drawing-room door opened, and Hector, with a great flourish, announced: “Colonel Gratiot, Miss Angela. I knowed him in de Mexican War ’long wid Gineral Scott an’ dem wuffless Mexicans.”

Angela rose and gracefully greeted Colonel Gratiot, introducing herself as Mrs. Neville Tremaine. And Colonel Gratiot, who knew her story, at once recognized her and seemed prepared to meet her.

He was a small, thin, keen-eyed man, made of steel wire, and with the catlike quietness which often marks the man of fiery action.

“That pompous old wind-bag Hector,” he said,[314] “knew me in a moment. I haven’t seen him since we were in Mexico more than fifteen years ago, when he was the laughingstock of the whole regiment. It’s no use trying to pass myself off now as Mr. Gratiot; Hector will have informed everything on the plantation who I am.”

“My uncle and aunt will be sorry to miss any part of your visit,” said Angela. “They’re at church, but will be home by one o’clock.”

“I shall be very well entertained meanwhile,” replied Colonel Gratiot gallantly, and accepting Angela’s invitation to be seated and her prompt offer of either blackberry wine or hard cider by way of refreshment.

“I’ll take the cider,” replied Colonel Gratiot, with an air of resignation. And then, Hector having brought the cider in and apologizing profusely for it, Colonel Gratiot and Angela were again left alone. The old soldier’s small figure was almost lost in the depths of a great armchair from whence he surveyed Angela critically and with admiration. There was a pathos concealed under her easy and self-possessed manner, and pity for her stirred Colonel Gratiot’s honest old heart. “She is pining for her husband,” he thought, “the poor, pretty young thing!” He began to ask Angela questions about what she was reading and what she was doing, and then spoke of Isabey, but always with tact and grace. “Captain Isabey,” he said, “I reckon one of my smartest officers. I hope, after we have licked the Yankees, that Isabey will remain in the army. He is cut out for a soldier, and a fine career awaits him. If he would only stick to a military life!”

[315]The instant Isabey’s name was mentioned a flood of color poured into Angela’s face, but she answered coolly enough: “We were very much alarmed for him the night the Yankees came, but he escaped.”

“I don’t intend to give the Yankees the same chance,” responded Colonel Gratiot. “I sent word to Tremaine that I should stay the night, but this message was for the purpose of throwing anyone off the scent who might convey news of my movements; in reality I shall leave before bedtime to-night.”

After half an hour’s talk Colonel Gratiot, who was a connoisseur in women, concluded that Mrs. Neville Tremaine was a very interesting, not to say fascinating, girl, informed beyond her years in many things, and a child in some other things. While they were talking Adrienne entered, looking in her thin black gown like a portrait in pastel, so clear, so soft, so dark. Colonel Gratiot congratulated himself upon having even for a short time the society of two such charming women. Adrienne exerted herself to please him, and Colonel Gratiot was surprised when one o’clock arrived and with it Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine. Colonel Tremaine was delighted to see his old chum, and they retired to the library, where they remained shut up together for two hours, recalling past scenes and discussing the military aspect of the present time. Just before the three-o’clock dinner the two gentlemen came out of the library and joined the ladies in the drawing-room, where Lyddon was introduced to Colonel Gratiot. When dinner was served the table was loaded down with mountains of fried chicken, ham cured in the smoke of[316] chestnut ashes, and every variety of sea food, fruit, and vegetables which a prolific country could produce.

“This doesn’t look like wartime,” said Colonel Gratiot.

“My dear fellow,” replied Colonel Tremaine, impressively raising one of the great old cut-glass decanters, “this beverage is raspberry vinegar.” Here the Colonel gave a snort of contempt. “I can no longer live for my country, because Dr. Carey says that I am too old to march or fight; but I can die for her—yea, die daily, as St. Paul said, drinking raspberry vinegar. The ladies swear it is good for the complexion. I am glad it is good for something.”

“You know, my love,” replied Mrs. Tremaine, reproachfully, from the head of the table, “that my raspberry wine is considered the best in the county and is made from my great-grandmother’s recipe.”

Colonel Tremaine replied by a quotation from Horace, and Colonel Gratiot, always gallant, declared that he believed Falernian to be infernal stuff, not half as good as the wine of Mrs. Tremaine’s manufacture.

Everybody called Colonel Gratiot “Mr. Gratiot” except Hector, who pointedly called him “Kun’l” every two minutes.

After dinner, when the gentlemen retired to smoke upon the great pillared portico facing the river, Colonel Gratiot was so enthusiastic over the ladies of the party that he unbosomed himself to Lyddon in the temporary absence of Colonel Tremaine.

“By Jove, sir! I’m not surprised after seeing Mrs. Tremaine and Madame Le Noir—Lord! those two women[317] ought always to be seen together, they set each other off so well: Mrs. Neville Tremaine so fair, so tall, the color coming and going in her face, and her eyes three shades in a minute, ready to laugh or to weep, and with a heart as brave as Trojan Hector’s; and Madame Le Noir with eyes and hair so black, and with everything, from the crown of her head to the sole of her little foot, finished and polished to the last degree. Nothing on earth could make that woman weep unless she wished.”

Lyddon agreed with all of this and perceived that Colonel Gratiot was an authority upon the fair sex.

Madame Isabey, as usual, did not appear when guests were present, as that would necessitate a toilet beyond a peignoir.

About five o’clock in the afternoon, Adrienne having taken her siesta and reappeared, Angela proposed that they should take a walk. Neither was ever quite at ease when alone with the other, but, both being gentlewomen, they maintained every outward form of extreme politeness.

“Let us walk in the garden,” said Adrienne. “I cannot, like you, take those long tramps through the woods. You must remember that I am town-bred.”

Angela felt a secret dislike to walking up and down the well-known garden path with Adrienne and sitting together upon the bench under the old brick wall. That spot she felt to be consecrated, in a way, to her inmost thoughts and feelings, and with Adrienne she never spoke of inward things. Nevertheless she made no objection, and the two walked up and down in the waning summer afternoon as the shadows grew long on the[318] green lawn and the river changed from green and silver to red and purple in the glowing sunset.

“This time last year,” said Adrienne, with her charming French accent, “we were quite new to Harrowby. The life seemed so strange to me then. You see, we usually spent our summers in France, and a few times we went far, far up in French Canada. This day two years ago we were in Paris, and we went, mamma and I with Philip Isabey, to the great ball at the Tuileries. I never saw the Empress look so beautiful. She was in a cloud of tulle, and diamonds, like dewdrops, sparkled all over her. She never was outshone by her jewels; many women are. You, for example, should never wear many jewels.”

“I promise you I never shall,” replied Angela, laughing. “I have none, and Neville will not be able to give me any, for he will never have anything except his pay as an officer.”

“How do you know that?” asked Adrienne, watching Angela.

“Neville tells me so, and, besides, if my uncle and aunt will never speak their son’s name, or even ask me when I hear from him, do you think they would leave him any money?”

“They are very angry with him now. They will not always be so.”

“Oh, yes, they will! It is not anger: they think Neville a traitor, and they will never get over it.”

“So you hear from your husband often?”


“And write to him often?”

[319]“I have opportunities of communicating with him. I can’t tell you what they are.”

“I don’t wish to know,” quickly replied Adrienne, “I never ask personal questions. But this life you are living is as strange to you in a way as to me.”

“Quite so. This time two years ago, when you were going to balls at the Tuileries, I thought of nothing except of how merry we would be at Christmas when Neville would be here, and of my new riding habit from Baltimore, and of what music and books I should order. Now there is a gulf between me and everybody I ever knew and loved in my life, except Neville and Mr. Lyddon, perhaps. And at any moment a summons may come to me to join Neville. Then I shall go away, never to come back, and will leave behind me everything I ever knew or loved except Neville.” Something in Angela’s tone as she said this, in the despairing expression of her eye, told much to Adrienne.

“Yes,” she said, putting up her hand to shield her eyes from the long lances of light from the dying sun, “you will never see Captain Isabey again.” The words went like an arrow to its mark. Angela remained silent with downcast gaze for a minute, and then, recovering herself, she turned toward Adrienne and said calmly, but with eyes sparkling with indignation: “Probably I shall not again see Captain Isabey; but what does that matter, and why do you say that to me?”

“I do not know why I said it,” replied Adrienne, “except that no one who ever lived and felt can be always discreet; certainly I cannot. But from the hour you met him he has had a singular influence over you.”

[320]Angela’s quickness of wit answered for experience in fencing, and she replied coolly: “Neither Captain Isabey nor any other man, except my husband, has any influence over me.”

A pause followed, and then Adrienne said, with more than her usual gentleness: “I do not know what made me speak Philip Isabey’s name. The truth is one leads such a retired life here. I live so constantly upon my own thoughts and feelings that when I speak it is often merely thinking aloud. In my former life we spoke of what happened from day to day. There was not much time for thinking, for our life was very gay; and now it seems to me as if I were becoming acquainted with an Adrienne Le Noir whom I never knew before. You, who have lived a life of reflection, with many hours of solitude each day, really know yourself much better than I know myself, and you are better governed in your speech and even in your thoughts.”

Angela remained silent. She saw that jealousy, the most ignoble of passions, had seized upon Adrienne, making her hover near a subject of conversation dangerous in the extreme—Philip Isabey. She, however, with some skill, turned into a safer path of conversation.

“This life we are leading all over the South is very strange. We are cut off completely from the outside world. Those we love best may be imprisoned, may suffer agonies, may be killed in battle or die of wounds, and it might be weeks before we would know it. All around us a fearful turmoil is going on and we sit still and helpless. We are like people on a raft in mid-ocean—we may be ingulfed at any moment; and meanwhile[321] we watch the sun from hour to hour, not knowing what the day brings forth to anyone on earth except ourselves. Come, it is growing chilly and we must go in.”

After supper and family prayers the Harrowby family bade good-by to Colonel Gratiot, whose saddled horse was standing at the door. He, however, remained with Colonel Tremaine until eleven o’clock, when the moon would have gone down. The house speedily grew still and dark except in the library, where the two men sat with maps spread out which they examined by the light of a couple of tallow candles. As Colonel Gratiot was following a certain route with his finger, his quick ear caught a sound, and he said to Colonel Tremaine:

“Something has fallen on the ground outside.”

He went to one of the great windows and, opening the shutter softly, looked out. At the same moment a light appeared in the window of one of the negro houses, Mammy Tulip’s house, some distance off, toward the lane. “Come here,” said Colonel Gratiot to Colonel Tremaine coolly, “some one is signaling from that house over yonder.”

“Nonsense!” replied Colonel Tremaine. “They are probably sitting up roasting apples.”

Just then the window overhead was softly lowered and Colonel Gratiot, peering out, saw a letter lying on the grass. “Some one will come to get that letter,” he whispered to Colonel Tremaine.

Colonel Tremaine looked with incredulity and defiance in his eyes at Colonel Gratiot, who managed to banish all expression from his countenance. Colonel[322] Tremaine, who had been standing, sat down heavily on a chair. Colonel Gratiot, with the shutter still ajar, watched, and in five minutes a dark figure moved across the lawn, picked up the letter, and ran off. And then, as if by magic, there were a hundred dark figures, men in blue uniforms, surrounding the house. Colonel Gratiot ran, as if he were sixteen instead of sixty, across the room, into the hall beyond. When he reached the front door, men were pounding on it, and their blows resounded through the house. The Colonel turned and sped toward the dining room, with its glass doors opening upon the long portico facing the river. The house was dark, but he made his way without difficulty. He opened the glass door, and there, lying out in the black river, his quick eye caught the outline of a small gunboat. Not a light was seen on her and no sound was heard except the swish of her wheels as she backed water to keep from drifting down the river. As the Colonel stepped out on the porch he was caught in the arms of a big sergeant, who handled him with one hand as if he were a baby, while with the other he fired a pistol in the air. Instantly rockets went up from the gunboat. Colonel Gratiot knew he was a prisoner and submitted with perfect composure.

“Look here, my man,” he said pleasantly, “I have rheumatism in that left arm of mine. I can’t run away—there are too many of you; so loosen your grip, if you please.”

“Excuse me, sir,” answered the sergeant, respectfully. “I know all about you, sir; and I know that you are hard to catch, and harder to keep.”

[323]“You flatter me,” said the Colonel, smiling; “you forget that I am sixty years old.”

“No, I don’t, sir,” remarked the sergeant, with a grin, “but I don’t let you go until I hand you over to the lieutenant. Here he is now, sir, coming round the corner of the house. We thought you’d jumped out of the window on the stable side.”

A young lieutenant came running around the corner of the house, and, springing up the steps of the portico two at a time, saluted and said:

“Colonel Gratiot, I believe. You are my prisoner.”

“I certainly am,” replied the Colonel, grimly, as the sergeant released him and saluted; then, looking round in the half-darkness over the numbers of dark soldiers in blue uniforms surrounding the house, and the gunboat puffing and grinding away in the river, he continued:

“You took an immense deal of trouble to catch an old fellow like me.”

“You are worth it, sir,” replied the lieutenant, smiling delightedly. “And we were out for big game this time.”

By now the whole house was roused. Lights were moving about in the upper part, and the negroes, excited and with a strange mixture of triumph and timidity, had begun to collect in and about the house. In five minutes every one of the Harrowby house except Angela was down in the great hall, which was full of soldiers, with a few officers among them.

The commanding officer made an apology to Mrs. Tremaine and the ladies for disturbing them, but[324] pleaded the exigencies of war. He permitted Mrs. Tremaine to make up, out of Colonel Tremaine’s scanty wardrobe, a parcel of clothing for Colonel Gratiot, who was a head shorter and even narrower than Colonel Tremaine. Colonel Gratiot’s horse, saddled and bridled, was found and carried on board the gunboat, as the sergeant facetiously remarked, for the Colonel to ride. The game being bagged, Colonel Gratiot was marched on board, and in a few minutes not a Federal soldier remained at Harrowby as the gunboat churned its way down the river in the darkness.

Up to that moment, so great had been the excitement and so quick had been the movements of the Federals that no one had asked or even thought of Angela’s whereabouts. But suddenly Lyddon spoke: “Where is Angela?”

No one could answer, so Lyddon, taking a candle in his hand, went quietly upstairs and along the corridor until he reached her door, when he knocked loudly on it. Angela’s voice from within replied like the starling: “I can’t get out! The key is broken in the lock.”

Lyddon took out his penknife and in half a minute had unlocked the door. Angela came out of the room, her rich fair hair falling loose about her shoulders. She had huddled on a skirt and concealed the deficiencies of her toilet with her red mantle.

“What has happened?” she asked excitedly and seizing Lyddon’s arm. “I heard the most terrible noise, and looked out of the window, and saw that the place was full of soldiers, and then I slipped on my clothes and tried to get out and couldn’t. You can’t imagine[325] how terrible it was to be shut up there and know that something dreadful was happening outside.”

“Nothing particularly dreadful has happened,” replied Lyddon, calmly. “Colonel Gratiot has been bagged, that is all. A gunboat with a lot of soldiers was sent after him.”

By that time they were at the stairs, and Angela, running lightly down, joined the group in the hall. As soon as she reached the hall, which was dimly lighted by a couple of candles on the mantelpiece, everybody began to talk to her at once except Adrienne, who remained, as always, beautifully composed. Even Mrs. Tremaine became excited, while Madame Isabey poured out her feelings in English, French, and Spanish. Archie interjected his account, while Hector bawled above them all:

“All de derangements was mos’ unmilitary. Miss Angela. Dey didn’ have no scouts, no aide-de-camps, no ban’ ob music, no nuttin’ ’tall. When me an’ Marse, we stormed de heights at Chapultepec, de ban’ was a-playin’ ‘I wants to be a angel,’ an’, I tell you, me an’ Marse made a heap ob Mexican angels dat day.”

“I think, ladies,” said Colonel Tremaine calmly, “that you had better try and get your beauty sleep, which has been so rudely disturbed. If you will excuse me, I will retire. Come, boy,” to Hector, “and get my boots off.” Hector followed the Colonel, still mumbling about the glories of Chapultepec and Buena Vista. All soon took the Colonel’s advice, except Angela and Lyddon, who lingered after the others had departed.

Angela, with her newly developed instinct of thrift,[326] blew out one of the candles on the hall mantelpiece. The remaining candle cast a faint light upon the dingy Penelope, who had waited in that spot during a century for her Ulysses. All the events of the night had passed so swiftly that there was not really much to tell, but Angela wanted to hear it all over again and in connected fashion.

“Wasn’t it strange,” she said, “that the last time a Confederate officer was here, Captain Isabey, the Federals came after him, although they didn’t get him, and now they have caught Colonel Gratiot?”

“No, I don’t think it was at all strange. You may depend upon it, the Federals know all they want to know from the negroes.”

“Do you mean to say that these servants of ours, who are our very own, are betraying us?”

“Oh, no, that is not the word to use. They wouldn’t betray Richard, but they wouldn’t mind giving a tip about Isabey or Colonel Gratiot. None of you Southern people seems to realize what a stupendous stake the negroes have in this conflict.”

“I realize it,” answered Angela, “when we have to depend upon Uncle Hector and Aunt Tulip and half a dozen half-grown black boys and girls to do the work of this house, and you are put to the churn.” Then, suddenly becoming conscious of her unbound hair, she seized it in both hands and with rapid and graceful dexterity wound the shining coils around her head, and fled up the dark stairway.



THE capture of Colonel Gratiot, following upon Isabey’s narrow escape, made an immense stir in the county. There had been other descents by night and day upon places, and a few Confederate private soldiers had been picked up, but there had been nothing like the concerted design which had resulted in the capture of officers.

From a little spark of suspicion grew a great flame of accusation against Angela. The minds of men and women were so unbalanced, so tortured, so driven hither by calamity, that anything could be believed of anyone.

The greatest braggart in the county had died like a hero, cheering on his men; the softest spoken university-bred men had become hard swearers and iron disciplinarians; the most shiftless of idlers had made admirable soldiers; and all seemed to go according to the law of contrary.

Angela herself was quite unconscious of the storm which raged against her in the county. She kept close to Harrowby and saw no one, even rarely George Charteris, who still came daily to study under Lyddon. Heretofore George had been content to pass Angela with a cold and negligent bow, after having for years[328] before pestered her with his boyish lovemaking. Now he avoided as far as possible meeting her on his daily visits to Harrowby. But once, when it was inevitable, he passed her on the lawn without removing his hat. Angela stopped and looked after him with blazing eyes of wrath. Was it possible that this boy dared to insult her by not speaking to her?

She said nothing of this, keeping it with many other bitter things in her own heart. But the next day when George came out of the study door Angela faced him in the path. He was forced to make her something in the nature of a bow and, after an unpleasant pause, said: “Do you wish anything of me?”

“Nothing at all,” responded Angela sweetly, “only to find out whether you were a gentleman or not. Good morning.”

She passed on leaving him consumed with inward rage.

Colonel Tremaine went nowhere except to the post office for the semioccasional mail, and to church, and no one dared mention to him the grim suspicion against Angela. But deep in his heart he himself felt sometimes a sharp and piercing doubt of Angela. He dared not speak of it even to Mrs. Tremaine, and put it away from him with all his inborn chivalry and the parental affection for the girl which was a part of his nature.

In spite of himself he could not forget the opened window, the answering signal, and the letter dropped on the lawn. He tried to assume that even if the worst were true and Angela were communicating with Federals, she did not understand her own wrongdoing, but this view[329] was totally unconvincing even to himself. Angela was no fool, and never had been, and it was impossible to give her the credit of ignorance.

When Colonel Tremaine looked at her going about her daily tasks with fiery energy and even a feverish gayety, when he saw how this young creature, so lately a child, had grown so self-controlled, so unshakably courageous, she was acquitted in his own mind. But when he waked in the night, or when he sat in the library writing up his diary, or read in the ill-printed Richmond newspapers of Federal raids and captures, a suspicion would rise in his mind that would not be strangled.

No more Confederate officers came to Harrowby, which Colonel Tremaine reckoned a blessing.

Isabey had come no more; he remained in camp, going about his duties with unswerving regularity but without cheerfulness, and was restless at the surgeons’ prohibition against his going to the front for some months to come. There was plenty of work for him to do, but, like most men with a gnawing pain in the heart, Isabey wanted action, action, action to drive away the specter of his lost love, which had for him all the power of the first love and the last. He remembered with a grim smile his early infatuation for Adrienne, which was so natural as to be almost inevitable.

He recalled that he made verses in those days and set them to music and sang them to Adrienne. He could not have made a verse about Angela to save his life, and concluded that when men could write, as did Petrarch, Tasso, and Dante Alighieri, of a wrecked passion, it could not have hurt very much. He recalled that Paolo had not[330] written a line about Francesca, and it seemed to him that the tragic love of those two poor souls was paralleled in his own case. For, put it away as he might, he could not deny to himself that Angela’s heart had struck an answering chord to his.

He reasoned with himself that it would have been too much happiness if Angela had been free to marry him: but at least he had what was next best and a million times better than what falls to the lot of most dwellers upon the earth—the full and perfect confidence, the completest sympathy and understanding, with the only woman he had ever loved. He remembered the ancient saying that each mortal has so much of the wine of life given to him, sweet or bitter, strong or weak, and the goblet may be of gold or of base metal. He concluded that his share was strong and bitter, but it was served to him in a golden goblet.

There was a species of lofty flattery on Angela’s part in the perfect confidence with which she treated him. She had not hesitated to spend long hours alone with him in the old study during the month when they were snowbound; and Isabey reckoned those hours as spent in the Elysian Fields of the soul.

In the beginning he had tried to put her image from him, as the normal man of gentlemanly instincts does concerning the wife of his friend; but after that month when Angela had tended him and eased his wounds of body and laid the soft spell of her constant presence upon him, the thought of her would not vanish away. It was easy enough to keep her name out of his speech or even when he spoke it to do so quite naturally, but to banish her[331] sweet image—ah, no man who loved as Isabey could do that.

Each night when he slept the sleep of exhaustion after a day of hard work in his regimental duties some faint dream of Angela would pass through his sleep.

He was thinking of this one night sitting in his tent in camp and working hard over some regimental papers. It was now autumn, and not since that May night had he been to Harrowby or seen Angela’s face. His excuse for not going was good, as no Confederate officer had ventured within the zone of danger except under orders, and such orders had not been given to Isabey. Colonel Gratiot had been exchanged and had returned to duty, but Isabey had not seen him since.

It was close upon midnight before his work was finished. Isabey rose and, lifting the flap of his tent, looked out upon the misty night. A fine, cold rain was falling and the lights in camp shone dull and yellow in the murky darkness.

While he stood looking out upon the night an orderly emerged from the darkness and handed him a note from the commanding officer, General Farrington, requesting Isabey’s presence at headquarters immediately.

Isabey, taking his cap and military cape, made at once for the headquarters building. The long lines of tents were still, and the steady tramp of the sentries back and forth alone broke the silence. The headquarters building was a rude structure of logs containing several compartments, for they could not be called rooms. The orderly outside the general’s door immediately passed Isabey in, and he entered a room to the left roughly[332] fitted up as an office. At a big deal table, lighted by a couple of tallow dips, sat General Farrington. He was a burly man with a loud, shrill voice, and a saber and spurs which generally clattered furiously. To-night, however, he was singularly quiet and his usually jovial countenance had a somber expression.

Isabey knew in a moment that there was unpleasant business on hand. General Farrington, on greeting Isabey, carefully shut the door himself after observing that no one was in the next room. The two men then sat down at the table, Isabey taking off his wet cap and cloak. There was a pause, and then General Farrington spoke in a quiet voice, very different from his usual method of hallooing.

“I have sent for you to-night, Captain Isabey, to direct you to perform a duty which is as distressing for me to order as it can possibly be for you to execute.”

Isabey bowed. General Farrington’s air and manner had told him as much before.

“It is this,” continued the general. “There has been, as you know, much mysterious communication with the enemy. There are, of course, innumerable ways by which this information could be conveyed, but suspicion strongly points to one person.”

Isabey rose to his feet, and the words burst from him without his volition. “Mrs. Neville Tremaine!” he said.

“Yes,” replied General Farrington briefly. Isabey sat down again.

“It is a most infamous lie—!” he began, and then stopped. His head was in a whirl. He longed to knock down his commanding officer so coolly voicing this odious[333] charge against the woman Isabey loved and respected above all women in the world.

“Mind you,” said General Farrington, still quietly, “I am not fully committed to the belief in Mrs. Neville Tremaine’s guilt. I am, however, inclined to think that she is used as an unconscious tool by unprincipled persons. She is in constant communication with her husband—that I know—and I believe that through her information leaks out which is extremely dangerous to us. I have talked with Colonel Gratiot since his exchange, and there is not the slightest doubt that some signaling was going on the night he was captured. It is significant that Mrs. Neville Tremaine was out of the way both times the Federals made an incursion by night upon Harrowby.”

“The first time,” replied Isabey coolly, “she was absent because she was assisting in my escape; but for her I should certainly have been captured.”

“Very likely, and I have considered that circumstance. But the night Colonel Gratiot was captured she was also not to be found. However, in these conflicting circumstances I determined to make a test myself. I wrote to Colonel Tremaine a fortnight ago, saying that I should spend last night at Harrowby, and contrived to get the note to him through reliable hands. Of course I never had the slightest intention of going, and to-night I received information that last night a Federal gunboat came up the river again, landed a force with much secrecy and dispatch, and would certainly have got me if I had been there. That settled it as far as Mrs. Neville Tremaine is concerned.”

[334]“But it is probable that everyone on the plantation, black and white, knew that you were expected,” replied Isabey, still composed and self-controlled.

“That is true, and I can’t arrest everybody, black and white, on the plantation. Whether Mrs. Neville Tremaine is giving information to the enemy or not I am not prepared to say, but I think that prudence imperatively demands that—that—” General Farrington got up and walked up and down the narrow room, came back again, and then, looking Isabey full in the eye, he said “—that Mrs. Neville Tremaine be quietly arrested and sent into the enemy’s lines; and it is you whom I desire to do this.”

“I of all men in the world! My relatives have received the hospitality of the Harrowby family for more than a year. There is no woman on earth whom I respect so much as I do Mrs. Neville Tremaine.” Isabey stopped, conscious that the words and his tone had revealed something. One look into General Farrington’s keen eyes showed that he understood the full meaning of the admission.

“No doubt it would be a most painful duty to you, but it is equally painful to others. You are the third officer whom I have sent for this evening to do this piece of business, and each of the others asked me to reconsider. Then your name occurred to me. I wondered I had not thought of it before. You are peculiarly well situated to do it. You are, I believe, intimate with both of Colonel Tremaine’s sons, and you could readily make it appear that you have been designated merely to escort Mrs. Neville Tremaine within the Federal[335] lines in order that she may join her husband. You have the tact and judgment to allay any suspicion which might arise in the minds of Colonel Tremaine and his family, and the fact that your relatives are guests at Harrowby would make it seem the most natural thing in the world that you should be the one chosen to escort Mrs. Neville Tremaine. You will approach the Federal lines under flag of truce, and everything possible will be done to make it appear that Mrs. Neville Tremaine is going of her own free will to her husband. But you must not forget, Captain Isabey, that you will be performing a military duty, and that Mrs. Neville Tremaine must be closely watched, and not the slightest opportunity given her to communicate with the enemy until she is safely within their lines.”

Isabey remained silent, sitting with folded arms, and his black eyes fixed on General Farrington’s light blue ones. His soul was in a tumult, and, being a fighting man, he felt a perfectly natural and human desire to wreak vengeance on the man who had given him this work to do; but his sober common sense had in no wise deserted him. If the hateful thing had to be done, was it not better, as General Farrington said, that it should be done by one who loved the ground on which Angela trod, and who could no more have doubted her integrity than he could have murdered her?

“I give you much liberty in carrying out my orders,” said General Farrington, after a while. “I understand fully the disagreeable nature of what I am directing you to do; and one of the consolations I have in this matter is that everything possible will be done,[336] to save not only Mrs. Neville Tremaine’s own feelings, but those of Colonel Tremaine’s family. Surely you can arrange so that Mrs. Neville Tremaine’s departure will appear a voluntary act?”

“There is not the slightest difficulty in persuading anyone of that,” replied Isabey, in a low voice, “except Mrs. Neville Tremaine herself. It would be impossible to deceive her.”

“I should like this duty executed at the earliest possible moment, but, of course, at a time and hour which would not excite alarm or suspicion in the minds of the rest of the family. If you leave early to-morrow morning, it will answer. Here are your written instructions, and here is some gold with which to provide Mrs. Neville Tremaine.” General Farrington drew out of his breast pocket a few gold pieces wrapped up in brown paper. “It is all I have,” he said, holding it out.

“I thank you,” replied Isabey, stiffly, “but I have some gold, too. I should prefer, and I think Mrs. Neville Tremaine would prefer, that I should furnish the money for her necessary expenses.”

He read the carefully written instructions given him, and they were perfectly intelligible. He was to be at Harrowby by two o’clock the next day, and at the earliest possible moment was to escort Mrs. Neville Tremaine to the Federal lines. A brief official note to Mrs. Neville Tremaine was inclosed, in which she was notified that if she was again found within Confederate lines she would be subject to arrest and imprisonment.

[337]“This you will give to Mrs. Neville Tremaine at parting,” said General Farrington.

As Isabey folded the papers up and put them in his breast pocket General Farrington said to him:

“I would rather put fifty men in jail for life than arrest this one girl. I feel as if I were plunging my sword into the breast of a dove. But this is war, Captain Isabey.”

Isabey said no word, and, silently saluting, went out again into the night. The cold rain struck him like a sharp hand in the face.

As he had said, it was easy enough to make it appear that Angela, under his protection, was seeking her husband; but Angela herself, how should he tell her, what words could he use to soften it? Ah, there was no softening it! And suppose she should refuse to go? She was an impulsive creature, knowing little of the world, full of rash courage, and the last woman on earth to sit calmly under a charge of treachery. And if she went quietly it would be to go to Neville Tremaine’s arms, and he, Isabey, would be the one to send her to that haven. He would never see her again, of that he felt quite sure; nor could he bear to see her as Neville Tremaine’s wife. In one more day, one day of shame and wretchedness, he would be forever parted from Angela.

Isabey was no more generous in his love than are most men. He wanted Angela’s sweet society for himself, and grudged every look and word she might give her husband. He realized what Angela did not—that all those sweet confidences, however innocent, between[338] Isabey and herself, that turning to him always for his opinion, that delicious intimacy of the soul between them, must come to an end when Angela held her real position as a wife.

Angela, in a way, was as novel to Isabey as he was to her. He had never, under the social customs in New Orleans, been thrown into a close and unguarded intimacy with any woman as with her. Her heart and mind had been like a volume of poetry open before him, and he had read on, pleased, touched, amused, reverencing, and surprised. She knew so much in some ways and so little in others. The thing of which she knew least, but could feel most, was love. If she had possessed more guile or even more knowledge of herself, she would never have slipped into that soft, sweet intercourse with Isabey. All of them, the whole Harrowby family, were the most guileless people that Isabey had ever known. The mere saying of the words which made Angela the wife of Neville Tremaine on the wharf that April night at Harrowby was confidently felt, not only by the Harrowby family, but by the whole community, to put her definitely and forever out of the reach of any other man than her husband. Such a thing as a flirtation with a married woman had never been heard of among those patriarchal people. They had never known anything between the perfect dignity of a wife and the bottomless pit of degradation into which, once in a hundred years, a woman sometimes fell to be lost forever in the abyss.

“Wherever divorce is unknown, and the honor of women is protected by men with arms in their hands,[339] this state of society must result,” thought Isabey, as he plodded along through the rain back to his tent, and he would be the last person in the world to wish this unwritten law changed. He would rather have died than speak a word of open love to Angela. But love speaks without words, and to people more worldly-wise than these simple Virginian country gentry Isabey’s secret might have been suspected long ago.

When he reached his tent he rolled himself in his blanket and lay down in the darkness, not to sleep, but to dream, to think, to suffer torments. The waking hours of a night are usually long, but when the rosy dawn crept in, Isabey thought it was the shortest night he had ever spent.

The October morning was of an exquisite softness. The Indian summer had come, that time of mellow sunshine, of faint blue mists upon the uplands, of caressing winds among the fading leaves when summer turns back, as it were, for a last farewell. Old Euripides said, in the long ago, “In all fair things, the autumn, too, is fair.”

Isabey left camp about seven o’clock in the morning, so that he might allow his horse a long rest before reaching Harrowby, for after that there might be hard riding. He had settled the details of how he should convey Angela to the Federal lines. So good a horse-woman as she could easily ride the twenty miles over the level road. It would be better, however, that the journey be made at night. The season was mild and the moon was at its full, so that there would be no hardship involved. But Isabey recognized that it would be[340] just as well that they should not be seen together riding upon the highway a long distance from Harrowby.

When he reached the Federal lines, he would, of course, be obliged to leave her. He apprehended no trouble for her; there were gentlemen among the Federal officers who would readily assume charge of a brother officer’s wife. It was all simple enough, only it broke Isabey’s heart.

As he rode soberly along through the blue-and-gold October morning he kept a moderate pace and it was quite eleven o’clock before he reached the place where he meant to rest his horse. It was in the little glade in the woods where he remembered to have walked with Angela and Richard Tremaine and Lyddon the first spring afternoon he ever met Angela, almost a year and a half before. Then it had been springtime; now it was autumn, and the dead leaves were thick underfoot.

Isabey dismounted, took the saddle off his horse, and sat down on the same fallen tree where he had sat with Angela. He was not equal to much exercise on foot, and sat quite still, living over the past with Angela and dreading the interview that lay before him.

How would she take his message? Would she weep and wring her hands as women usually do in such emergencies? Would she turn upon him and visit him with her indignation. Or would she be angry with an icy anger? It might well seem to this unsophisticated girl a terrible thing to be thrust alone among soldiers, men whom she had never seen and whom she daily heard reviled, to depend upon them for her safe conduct to Neville.

[341]Isabey’s heart was so tortured with this thought that he got up and, in spite of his injured knee, walked up and down like a madman. The squirrels looked at him curiously, and a family of wood robins, which was preparing to fly southward, grew frightened, suddenly rose, and with a rush of wings cleft the blue air. Isabey glanced at his watch every few minutes and when it was half past one threw the saddle on his horse, mounted, and, picking his way through the underbrush, struck the cedar lane, down which he cantered rapidly.

Time was when no guest could approach Harrowby without being heralded by a multitude of negroes, young and old, rushing in the house and announcing the coming guest as if it were the most stupendous and sensational event which had ever occurred. Not so now. There were only a few negroes left on the estate and they were not much in evidence.

As Isabey neared the house he was struck with its lonely aspect as it lay basking in the unclouded midday. No one was moving about and not even a sleeping dog was in sight. The river lay bright and still like a lake. Over the whole scene brooded the peculiar stillness of autumn noonday, broken only by the distant clanking cry of a mob of crows circling high in the blue air, while below them a vulture, silent, contemptuous, and majestically evil, winged his steady flight upon unquivering wings toward the wooded uplands.

It occurred to Isabey that Angela would most likely be in the garden, and as he came within sight of the broad main walk he glanced down toward the bench at the end and saw the flutter of a crimson mantle. He[342] sprang from his horse and, throwing the reins over the gatepost, entered the rusty iron gateway and walked quickly toward Angela at the end of the garden.

In spite of Isabey’s jingling spurs, which announced his arrival when he was still some distance off, he had a good opportunity to observe Angela before she looked up and saw him.

The mantle had half-slipped off her shapely shoulders and her head was bare. Little vagrant breezes had ruffled her beautiful hair. Some coarse knitting lay in her lap, but she was not at work upon it. She seemed so lost in abstraction that she did not notice the sound of Isabey’s approach or even when he stopped and gazed full upon her.

The sudden sharp cry of the crows overhead seemed to rouse her at last. She raised her eyes and her glance fell upon Isabey, his trim figure, in the gray uniform, silhouetted before her and the buttons gleaming like fire in the golden light.

The change that came over her was like the lighting of a lamp in an alabaster vase. Isabey had seen that same flash of joy in her eyes the night he had arrived wounded at Harrowby. Now it smote him to the heart. He knew—what Angela did not know—that when a woman changes color, smiles, trembles, and casts down her eyes at the coming of a certain man, it has a tragic meaning. She half-rose from the old bench and put her slender hand into Isabey’s, a custom which, from Isabey’s French education, always seemed strange and exciting to him.

He asked how she had fared since last he saw her,[343] but Angela, without replying, began to question him about his disabled arm and knee.

“I think they are both quite well, or rather well enough, but the surgeons (may evil befall them!) swear to General Farrington that I am not yet fit to be sent to join my battery, and he listens to them. But I hardly think they will be able to keep me in camp after this.”

Then they sat down, and Angela, taking up the knitting, said to him eagerly, like a child:

“Do you see what this is? All the ladies in the county are knitting stockings for the soldiers. Very well; I concluded that I would knit some stockings for my soldier, for Neville. I felt so triumphant when I told Aunt Sophia about it. She said nothing—you know that icy silence which falls upon her whenever Neville’s name is mentioned—but she made no objection. Do you know that the Federals paid us another visit night before last?”

Yes, Isabey knew it, and knew much more about it than Angela suspected. But he merely asked her how things went off on the occasion.

“It was exactly like the night they came after Colonel Gratiot, but this time they didn’t catch anybody. A letter had come from General Farrington saying that he was coming to Harrowby to spend that night. Uncle Tremaine was in a terrible way and so was Aunt Sophia. They didn’t like to write to the general telling him not to come, because it might look inhospitable or as if they were afraid, but it really was quite serious business. Uncle Tremaine swore—the first time, I believe, in forty[344] years—and Aunt Sophia told him that there was a place prepared down below for blasphemers. And then Uncle Tremaine begged her pardon and my pardon and Mr. Lyddon’s pardon and made public confession of his fault that night at prayers. However, when General Farrington didn’t come we all felt easy. But about twelve o’clock the negroes all came running to the house, and we saw the gunboat at the wharf, just as the time before. The house was searched, the stables, and every place, but, of course, no one was found. It is the first time I have ever seen Uncle Tremaine really discomposed, and he has not been like himself since. We lost nothing except our night’s rest. And a great many ridiculous things have happened which I shall tell you about some time.”

Angela stopped, suddenly. Something in Isabey’s expressive face gave warning. She looked attentively at him and waited for him to speak. The pause grew awkward and even painful, and Isabey, in spite of his usual self-control, showed a slight agitation.

“My dear Mrs. Tremaine,” he said, “I have come here to do you what I hope is a service. I know that you wish very much to join your husband, and this very day I am prepared to take you part of the way.”

Isabey said so much by way of preparing her, as he had not the slightest idea that Angela’s acute intelligence would not fathom the whole story very quickly. She did so, even more quickly than he expected.

“Yes,” she said, after a moment, looking at him with her piercing sidelong glance, “I do wish to join my husband, but so far he has not sent for me. I may be[345] only an impediment to him. And why should you be the one to take me to him?”

“It is necessary that you should go immediately, and I will escort you to the Federal lines.”

“Is Neville ill,” asked Angela, adding, after a moment, “or dead?”

“Not as far as I know,” answered Isabey. “This has nothing to do with Neville’s well-being.”

Angela looked at him with wide eyes of amazement. “To take me to my husband,” she said, after a moment. “You? It is very strange, most strange.”

“But you are not unwilling to go?”

Angela hesitated, and the color dropped out of her face, leaving her deathly pale. All at once her whole heart seemed revealed to her. Once set forth upon her journey to join her husband meant separation, an eternal separation, from Isabey. He watched her, reading easily the meaning of her pallor and tremors, and understanding equally well her quick recovery of herself, the calm courage, and even high spirit, with which she replied: “Certainly it is my wish as well as my duty to join my husband; but why you, I can’t understand—” Nor could Isabey, his eyes fixed upon Angela’s pale face, understand either why he should be the instrument to put the coming degradation upon her, and be, as it were, the executioner of his own happiness—that faint and shadowy happiness which a man enjoys in the presence of the woman he loves but who is irrevocably beyond his reach.

Then Angela, without waiting for a reply to her first question, asked: “Where shall I meet my husband?”

[346]“That I can’t tell you. We can reach him by military telegraph as soon as we are within the Federal lines.”

“Are those my husband’s directions?”

“No,” said Isabey, taking out his white handkerchief and passing it over his face, on which Angela’s fixed glance noticed drops were standing.

“Then what are my husband’s directions? Why has he not informed me?”

To this Isabey made no reply; but his agitation, although well mastered, could not be wholly concealed.

Angela rose to her feet, and Isabey rose also. Facing each other, she said to him in a voice which she vainly endeavored to make calm: “There is some mystery about this which must be explained to me. Tell me the truth, and tell me all the truth.”

There was no gainsaying this, and Isabey, unconscious that he called her by her first name, replied: “Angela, since you command me, I must tell you the truth. There is a cruel and most unjust suspicion abroad against you. The people in the county think and say that you are conveying information from the Confederate side to your husband.”

Angela straightened up her slender figure and smiled contemptuously. “Is that all?” she asked. “Then it is very easily disproved. What do I know about military matters? Who speaks of them before me? If I told all I knew, or have ever known, it would be nothing.”

“So I believe; but the capture of Colonel Gratiot gave rise to these reports, and the coming of the gunboat[347] up the river the night that General Farrington was expected to be at Harrowby was an unfortunate coincidence. General Farrington sent for me last night and told me that you must be escorted within the Federal lines, and at once. I asked him why I, whose family had received such kindness from the Harrowby family, should be required to do this hateful duty, and he told me that it could be done with least publicity if it were in my hands.”

Angela remained silent for a few minutes, looking down. She was revolving things in her mind and Isabey, who had a high opinion of her natural good sense, did not interrupt her consideration of the position.

“It would be best,” she said, after a pause, “that I go quietly with you, letting everyone in this house think that you bring me a command from my husband. It is by far the best, that you will go with me to the Federal lines. Yes, oh, more than that—stay with me until you can give me into Neville’s hands. I implore you!” She clasped her hands and looked, with eyes dark and full of sudden tears, at Isabey. After all, she was but twenty and had lived a life almost as secluded as Miranda upon her solitary isle, and the thought of being left alone with strangers had in it for the moment something terrifying to her.

“I wish it could be so,” replied Isabey, his heart in his eyes. “But I am afraid—I am afraid it cannot be. It will only be a question of a day or two.”

“How shall we travel?”

“On horseback; you don’t mind a twenty-mile ride, do you?”

[348]“Not in the least, and I can carry a portmanteau on my horse.”

Then, without more words, they turned and walked slowly up the broad path.

As they went Angela looked about her with troubled eyes.

“I feel,” she said, “as if I were going to another planet or into another world. I wonder if I shall ever return here again or ever, ever walk in this garden again with you!”

“We shall never walk here any more,” replied Isabey, in a low voice. Angela glanced toward him, and each read the other’s soul. Then they averted their eyes; their glances were too poignant. After a pause Isabey said: “When I have taken you to your husband I shall hope for your happiness. You are very young and life holds much for you. Some day I shall see you a happy wife.”

“I am sure you will,” replied Angela, calmly. “I have no one in the world except Neville and I shall devote my life to him, and why shouldn’t we be happy together?”

“You will be very happy together,” replied Isabey. Like Angela, he believed in a decent cloaking of the chained passions, those wild beasts which, if they are not subdued, devour men and women.



AS Isabey opened the iron gate for Angela to pass through, they noticed the few negroes left on the place running toward the main entrance of the house, which faced landward.

They were exclaiming loudly, after the fashion of their race, at something which was coming slowly down the long cedar lane. It was an ordinary one-horse tumbril cart, driven by a negro sitting on a plank laid athwart, and in the cart lay a long narrow box covered over with a military cloak. Tied behind the cart followed a horse, fully accoutered, with the stirrups crossed over the cavalry saddle.

Angela, whose glance was keen, turned to Isabey and said: “That’s Richard’s horse and that’s his body servant, Peter, driving the cart.”

Isabey’s practiced eye took in the truth at a glance—Richard Tremaine lay dead in the cart. He walked with Angela quickly to the front of the house. Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine were already upon the porch. They watched with terrified eyes the cart as it drew near the wide opening in the cedar hedge where the driveway began.

Angela ran forward and took Mrs. Tremaine’s hand.[350] Colonel Tremaine’s tall figure swayed a little, and, putting out his arm, he drew Mrs. Tremaine to his side. A solemn hush had fallen upon the assembled negroes, young and old, who watched the cart drive up.

Lyddon and Archie came out and joined the silent group upon the pillared porch. The cart drove around the carriage path and halted in front of the steps. The horse stood almost as still as the dead man who lay covered up in the cart.

Peter scrambled down, and going up to the steps, his rough cap in his hand, said to Mrs. Tremaine: “Missis, I done brought Marse Richard back to you.”

Mrs. Tremaine said no word, but the father and mother of the dead man clung desperately together as the bolt fell.

Missis, I done brought Marse Richard back to you

“‘Missis, I done brought Marse Richard back to you.’”

“’Twas las’ Sunday mornin’,” Peter continued, gasping for breath between his sentences, “in de big battle wid de Yankees. De shot went right thru’ Marse Richard’s heart. He was a-leadin’ he battery on an’ cheerin’ he men an’ de big gun was a-bellowin’ an’ de balls was flyin’ fast. De ho’ses to de guns dey ra’r an’ pitch, an’ Marse Richard he speak kin’ o’ coaxin’ to ’em an’ brought ’em down, an’ dey went off at a hard gallop, de artillerymen arter ’em, yellin’. Marse Richard was gallopin’ ahead, de Yankees was comin’ out of de woods into an open fiel’ where we could see de ridges blue wid ’em, thousands on ’em, an’ dey had a heap o’ cannon a-spittin’ shells an’ grapeshot. De guns was a-thunderin’ an’ de bullets was a-flyin’ wus an’ wus, an’ de yearth a-shakin’ wid all dem ho’ses an’ gun carriages poundin’ over it. I was runnin’ ’long [351]arter de long gray line, an’ kep’ my eye fixed on Marse Richard, jes’ like ole Missis tole me. He tu’n roun’ in he saddle, an’ takin’ off he cap he wave it jes’ de same as a little boy an’ hollered, ‘Come on, boys! Marse Robert say we got to git dem guns,’ an’ while he was lookin’ back an’ smilin’, his ho’se went down. It warn’t no time to stop for nuttin’, an’ de artillery went on a-gallopin’. When I got up to where Marse Richard was, de ho’se had done riz up, an’ Marse Richard lay on he side, wid he arm under he haid, jes’ de same as when Mammy Tulip put him to sleep when he wuz a little boy in de trundle-baid. I done saw enough daid soldiers for to know that Marse Richard was gone. He drawed he breff once or twice an’ open he eyes an’ look at me an’ say, ‘Pete,’ an’ den he breff stopped.”

Peter paused, his brawny frame trembling. Not a sound was uttered; only Mrs. Tremaine’s glance wandered from Peter, with tears streaming down his face, around the group, as if she were in some painful dream.

Colonel Tremaine’s face was set like iron as he said in a strange voice: “Go on, boy.”

Peter sighed heavily, and leaned against the great brick pillar of the porch nearest him. He had scarcely slept or eaten since that terrible hour, five days before. But he spoke again after a minute:

“Dey warn’t no doctor about, nor no nuttin’, jes’ cavalry, infantry, an’ artillery a-chargin’, de guns a-boomin’, an’ de soldiers fallin’ over an’ hollerin’ sometimes when de bullets struck ’em an’ de shells cut ’em all to pieces. I tek Marse Richard’s sash from roun’ he waist, an’ wrop it roun’ he chist, so as to[352] soak up de blood. De ho’se stan’ stock-still, an’ I lay Marse Richard ’cross de saddle, an’ tie him on wid de surcingle, an’ lead de ho’se offen de fiel’. I warn’ skeered, dough de bullets was a-flyin’, an’ I warn’ thinkin’ ’bout Marse Richard. I was thinkin’ ’bout ole Marse an’ Missis. I come ’long ’bout four miles to a tavern, an’ dey laid Marse Richard out on a baid upsty’ars, an’ I foun’ a carpenter to mek him a coffin. When de orficers foun’ Marse Richard dat night, I had done wash him an’ dress him an’ put him in de coffin. Didn’ nobody tech him, ’scusin’ ’twas me. I lay he so’de an’ de hat wid de feather in it an’ he epaulets inside de coffin, an’ de cloak over it, an’ den I wrop’ de coffin up in he blanket. I had some gold in a belt roun’ my waist, dat Marse Richard tole me fur to keep, case he was wounded or kilt, fur to bring him back to Harrowby, an’ I hired dis heah ho’se an’ cyart, an’ druv it every step of de way myself. I got ’way from de tavern jes’ as quick as I could, fur I didn’t want nobody fur to be axin’ questions. I knowed what ole Marse an’ ole Missis want me to do, an’ I gwine do it. When people on de main road ax me what I got in de cyart, I tole ’em ’twas my little Marse dat was kilt, an’ I was tekin’ him home to ole Marse an’ ole Missis. Den I whip up de ho’se an’ nobody didn’t try fur to stop me. An’ I done brought him home, Missis, jes’ like you tole me.”

Mrs. Tremaine put her small withered hand in Peter’s black palm, and said to him in her own sweet, natural voice: “Thank you, Peter; you have done exactly what your master and I wished you to do.”[353] Then she suddenly burst into a wild storm of hysterical weeping, and Colonel Tremaine, himself shaken with sobs, led her gently into the house.

The stricken parents went into the library and shut the door, where they were alone with their grief for an hour. No one went near them, not even Archie, who watched, with awe and grief, the solemn preparations made necessary by his Majesty, Death. Lyddon, always unequal to practical affairs, could do nothing. He was stunned and shaken more than ever in his life before. He went like a man in a dream into Richard’s bedroom and closed and locked the door.

Neither Archie nor Angela knew what directions to give, and were too full of grief and horror to understand what should be done.

Madame Isabey and Adrienne, when they heard the dreadful news, offered to do all that was possible, but nothing lay in their power.

It was Isabey who took charge of everything concerning the dead man, who was more than a brother to him. He had the pine coffin carried into the drawing-room, and gave directions for the immediate making of Richard Tremaine’s grave in the old burying ground in the field.

At the end of an hour Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine came out of the library. Both were singularly calm, as the human soul often is when it has received a mortal blow. They went into the drawing-room, where Richard Tremaine’s rude coffin lay upon four chairs. It was quite covered with wreaths and sprays of laurel, which Angela had gathered, and which she was arranging upon[354] the rude pine box. This was her first close view of death, and she was awed and shaken with grief, but very far from frightened by it. The peace and repose of it came home strangely to her. Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine sat down at the head of the coffin, and in a moment the old relations between Neville’s parents and Angela, the tie of parents and child, was resurrected. Mrs. Tremaine held out her hand instinctively for Angela’s, and the two women sat with hands clasped. Colonel Tremaine said: “Where is my son, my only remaining son?” He spoke unconsciously, and at these words a tremor passed through the mother of Neville Tremaine. Was Neville, then, still dead, though in life?

Her troubled eyes sought Angela’s, and Angela, falling upon her knees by Richard Tremaine’s coffin, cried to his father and mother: “Have you forgotten Neville? Will you still thrust him from your hearts? Richard did not. He loved Neville just the same and never called him a traitor, but a man of honor and the best of brothers and of sons. O Aunt Sophia, won’t you take pity on Neville now?” And then, catching Colonel Tremaine’s hand, she cried, while tears rained down her cheeks: “Ask Aunt Sophia to take pity on Neville!”

Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine remained silent, and Angela, leaning her head against the rude pine coffin, said, weeping: “O Richard, if you could speak, you would plead for Neville!”

Then Colonel Tremaine asked brokenly of Mrs. Tremaine: “Shall we forgive our son?”

[355]“Yes, yes,” answered Mrs. Tremaine, and a sense of solemn joy came into their riven hearts.

At that moment Archie entered and stood by his parents. All at once the boy seemed to reach the stature of a man.

“My son,” said Colonel Tremaine, “your mother and I have given this dear son to his country. He is now no more, and you, although you are not yet of age to bear arms, must take your brother’s place.”

“Thank you, father,” answered Archie.

Mrs. Tremaine rose, laying her hand on his shoulder: “If it be that I must give you up, too, I do it cheerfully. If I had to lose my son, this is the way in which I should choose to give him up.”

Isabey, standing outside the door, heard this, and bowed his head in reverence. He had seen this indomitable courage of the Southern women before, and he recognized all its beauty and splendor—this calm surrender of their best beloved, this readiness to see the dearest of their hearts laid upon the Bed of Honor.

It was a time when tragedies moved rapidly, and Richard Tremaine’s body was laid in the old burying ground before sunset of that day. It had been impossible to get a clergyman in time. It was Colonel Tremaine himself who, in a steady voice, read the burial service. The faithful negro servants, headed by Hector and Peter, carried Richard Tremaine to his last resting place. In the waning afternoon the solemn procession took its way across the open field and into the old burial ground with the decaying brick walls and the moss-grown tombs. Mrs. Tremaine walked with Colonel Tremaine,[356] and her step was steadier than his. She carried in her hand a small Testament, and grasped it as if she could not bear to part with it. Angela walked with Archie, and next them came Isabey with Lyddon, and last of all came Madame Isabey and Adrienne, followed by every negro on the place. Isabey thought Lyddon would drop as he stood at the foot of the grave, so pallid was he, so totally unnerved. It was Mrs. Tremaine who spoke words of courage to him.

“Take comfort,” she said. “We shall all meet again in a place of refreshment, light, and peace.”

Colonel Tremaine’s voice grew steady as he uttered the awful words, “Dust to dust,” and threw the first shovelful of earth upon the coffin in which lay so much of pride and joy, excellence and comeliness of mind and body as had died with Richard Tremaine. When the grave was filled up and the mound made into shape, those who loved Richard Tremaine best walked back through the October twilight to the old house which was to know him no more.

Archie went and put on his brother’s gray uniform, from which the officer’s insignia of rank had been cut. Before the main door stood Richard Tremaine’s horse, saddled and bridled and accoutered, and another horse for Peter. When he came out upon the porch, Mrs. Tremaine took Archie in her arms and, kissing him, said:

“Take your brother’s place, and be worthy of him and of your father.”

“I will, mother,” answered the boy, weeping, while he kissed her.

[357]Colonel Tremaine, placing his hands upon Archie’s uncovered head, said to him: “You are our Benjamin, but we give you willingly. Remember, boy, that your mother and I shall require a good account of you.”

“You shall have it, father,” replied Archie, drawing himself up and looking a man, not a boy. But suddenly he became a boy again, and, throwing his arms around his father’s neck, kissed Colonel Tremaine’s furrowed cheek, saying: “I will do my best, father. I am not as clever as Richard, and can’t be an officer like him, but I can fight, aye, and die, too, as bravely as he.” Then he went up to Angela, and, again remembering that he was now a man and a soldier, took the initiative in a way he had never done before. “Good-by, Angela,” he said, kissing her, “and when you write to Neville give him my love. Tell him, although we are fighting on different sides, he is just as much my brother as Richard was. I haven’t said anything about him, but I think of Neville every day and love him just as much as I did my brother Richard, and I believe he is as brave and true a man as Richard was.”

The boy, as he spoke, looked fearlessly into the eyes of his parents. He had never before dared to speak Neville’s name in their presence, but now, being a man, he spoke like a man. At his words Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine grew deeply agitated. They had reckoned their eldest-born a traitor and false to his honor; but this boy, the youngest of all their household, looking at things with clear young eyes, reckoned Neville a true man. And Angela replied steadily:

“Dear Archie, I shall tell Neville so. He loves you[358] and everybody at Harrowby, and he is where he thinks his duty calls him.”

There was something strange and piteous in these two young creatures daring to touch this family tragedy. It staggered Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine, already trembling under the heavy hand of calamity. Their anxious eyes sought each other as if asking, “Have we done wrong in casting out our son from our hearts?”

Then Aunt Tulip spoke:

“Mist’iss,” she said solemnly, “’tain’t right fer you an’ ole Marse not to forgive dat chile. He allers wuz as good a boy as any on ’em, an’ ain’t never give you an’ ole Marse a minute’s trouble ’twell he went wid de No’th. Ef he mar an’ par done fergit him, mammy ain’. I got six pya’r o’ yarn socks fer him. Ev’y time I knit a pya’r o’ socks fer Marse Richard I knit a pya’r fer Marse Neville an’ lay ’em away in my chist, an’ I gwine sen’ ’em to him some day, an’ I ain’ feered to say so.”

Neville’s hold was strong upon the children and the negroes, and when they, forgetting subordination, mentioned his forbidden name with love and recollections, the father and mother were overborne.

Up to this time not one word had been spoken concerning Angela’s departure, but the mention of it could no longer be delayed.

“Aunt Sophia,” said Angela, “I have had a message which takes me to Neville. Captain Isabey brought it, and he will have charge of me until I am within the Federal lines.”

In the agitation and excitement of that terrible day,[359] no one had thought to ask the reason of Isabey’s presence at Harrowby, which Angela thus explained.

“You will see my son soon?” asked Mrs. Tremaine, tremulously. “Thank God! Then you can tell him—” Mrs. Tremaine hesitated, and Angela, knowing what she would have said, supplied it:

“I shall tell him that you and Uncle Tremaine forgive him and love him. I hope to see Neville at latest in two days, as Captain Isabey says that we must start at once—to-night.”

Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine, having had forgiveness wrung from them for their eldest son, seemed to feel a strange anxiety that this forgiveness should reach Neville quickly, and Colonel Tremaine said:

“As soon as Archie is out of sight we must prepare for your departure, Angela, my love.”

Archie, who had listened silently to all that had passed, did not trust himself for another farewell, and, running down the steps, flung himself on his horse and galloped off, Peter riding after him.

The group on the porch watched his boyish figure in the obscure twilight as his horse clattered down the cedar lane and disappeared in the dusk of the woods at the end; then, with that singular energy which sometimes possesses people when the seal has been placed upon a tragedy, they all turned to think of Angela’s affairs. Captain Isabey briefly explained to Colonel Tremaine that he had been deputed to escort Angela within the lines and to arrange for her as best he could afterwards. It was known that Neville was within fifty miles of the Federal lines, and Angela[360] would have no difficulty in reaching him under proper escort.

A glimmer of the truth penetrated Colonel Tremaine’s mind, and was followed by a complete illumination—Angela was a suspect, but was innocent, as innocent as the day when, a wailing infant, she was brought to Harrowby in Mrs. Tremaine’s arms.

“You will make an early start in the morning, I suppose,” said Colonel Tremaine to Isabey.

“We must start at once; my time is short,” replied Isabey. “Mrs. Neville Tremaine is a good rider and will not mind the twenty miles from here to the Federal lines. It is not yet six o’clock and we should reach the lines to-night. My directions admit no delay.”

Colonel Tremaine, having been a soldier himself, understood the need for haste. Mrs. Tremaine made no objection. She would not have delayed Angela one single hour in carrying that message of forgiveness to Neville and was secretly eager for her to start. Isabey, who had the art of seducing reason, and was at all times a powerful advocate, made light of the twenty-mile ride by moonlight, and mentioned one practical consideration, that the weather was mild and the roads dry, while a delay of twelve hours, even if it were possible, might mean, at that season of the year, a journey in bad weather.

Mrs. Tremaine went to Angela’s room to assist her in putting up the few articles she could carry in her portmanteau. Angela, already dressed in her riding habit, sat before her dressing table, her long fair hair being plaited down her back, as when she was a little girl,[361] by Mammy Tulip, for no hairpins could hold that mass of hair during a twenty-mile ride. Mrs. Tremaine was perfectly calm. She had received a mortal blow, as mothers do when called to give up a child, but she had, in a way, recovered the son until then lost to her. She spoke tenderly of Neville, sending him messages, and, sitting at Angela’s table, wrote him a few lines eloquent with a mother’s love.

“It seems to me,” said Angela, with tender superstition, as Mrs. Tremaine handed her the letter to Neville, “that Richard’s spirit must have spoken for Neville, and since I must be the bearer of such heavy grief to Neville as Richard’s death will be, isn’t it good of God that I should, at the same time, be able to tell him that you and his father forgive him and love him?”

“God is ever good,” replied Mrs. Tremaine. She had a deep and consistent piety, which had never, until the breaking out of the war, had any real test, but it sufficed her when the moment came in which all faith, all love, is tested.

Madame Isabey and Adrienne had kept to themselves that day, except for joining the funeral procession to Richard’s grave. They rightly judged that there was little room for strangers in those heartbreaking hours, and although their sympathy was deep with those under whose roof they lived, they lacked the means and even the language in which to express it. Angela went to their rooms to bid them farewell. Madame Isabey, whose heart was deeply sympathetic, kissed her and wept over her. Adrienne could not remain unshaken by those tragic and fateful hours which had seen two sons taken[362] from Harrowby, one by death and one by war, and another restored, at least in affection.

For the first time in their lives Angela and Adrienne kissed each other. Adrienne had scarcely spoken a word to Isabey during that whole sad day. It was to her as if she saw his shade and not the real man moving about, helpful to others, forgetful of his own grief, and only remotely conscious of Adrienne’s presence. From her window, as the moon rose, she saw Angela and Isabey mount and ride away. The deep blue heavens were gloriously starred, while a faint rosy glow still lingered on the western edge of the world.

Lyddon, who had been more moved and agitated that day than ever in his life before, shut himself up in the old study. As he sat in the great worn leather chair all the scenes which had passed in that old room returned to him and the flight of time was like a dream in the night. He recalled Angela in her white frock climbing up on his knee and, when he would have turned away from her, thrusting the odd volume of the “Odyssey” in his face and asking him in a wailing, babyish voice: “Do, pray, Mr. Lyddon, read me something out of this nice old book.” How childishly clever it was of her to find out that the “Odyssey” was the spell through which she was to conjure him! And she was gone, perhaps never to return. Then Archie, but yesterday a lad and now a man, was gone to take his place upon the firing line. Neville was Lyddon’s first pupil at Harrowby, a handsome, gentle, silent stripling, fond of reading and fonder still of mathematics, which he mastered with a marvelous ease and precision that delighted[363] Lyddon. And Richard, the most brilliant of them all, his character as admirable as his mind, his superiority affectionately proclaimed by Neville and laughingly denied by Richard. Never were there two brothers’ souls more closely knit together. And the pride and joy of Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine in their children, for Angela was a child to them, had always seemed to Lyddon one of the most beautiful things in existence. Into this exquisite family life had come in the twinkling of an eye a dissension and division, a separation, the most frightful that could be imagined—as much worse than death as disgrace is worse than death. To-day only had that great gaping wound been healed. It did not seem fanciful to Lyddon that Richard Tremaine, lying stark in his new-made grave under the bare branches of the weeping willows which made dappled shadows in the moonlight, should in the far-off land of spirits know of this healed wound. It seemed to Lyddon as if Richard’s life were like a broken melody, and at the thought he groaned aloud. Presently he took down a battered volume and read from it those words of Sir Walter Raleigh: “O eloquent and mighty Death! Whom none could advise, thou hast persuaded; what none have dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world hath flattered, thou hast cast out of the world and despised. Thou hast drawn together all the far scattered greatness, all the pride, cruelty, and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow words: ‘Hic jacet.’”

Everything in the room seemed to speak Richard’s name to Lyddon, to cry aloud his virtues, his gifts, his[364] graces, and Lyddon, to escape from them, flung out of doors.

The moon shone in pale splendor over the autumn woods and the river was a sheet of silver. Lyddon, looking toward the garden, saw Adrienne’s slender black figure pacing up and down the Ladies’ Walk under the black shadows of the yew hedge. It suddenly came to him that this woman was suffering a sort of death in life—the death of love and hope. He had seen long ago how things were with Adrienne and with Isabey as plainly as he had read what was passing in Angela’s soul, for Lyddon was acute and it is impossible for people who live under the same roof to successfully practice disguises one to another. Adrienne was young, had far more of positive beauty than Angela, had grace and splendid accomplishments and wealth, which gave her leisure to think over all she had not. Her first marriage had been loveless and childless and Lyddon felt sure she would never make another. There was in her life none of those stupendous griefs, shocks, alienations, and losses which had shaken the family at Harrowby; but there was a silent, aching disappointment, an aridity which had become her portion at the time when most women know the joy of living and which would be hers through all time. In the midst of his own desolation Lyddon felt pity for Adrienne, and joining her the two walked together up and down the flagged walk. He talked to her of Richard, and she listened to him with a sympathy which was touching and consoling. But through all her words rang a note of patience without hope of joy.

[365]“Death is not the worst of evils,” she said, with perfect sincerity. “For one who has suffered, life merely as life is nothing. If one can work and can be happy and can give happiness in return, that alone is living. We grieve, not because Richard Tremaine is dead, but because so much that he might have done remains undone.”

Lyddon, whose agitation was deep, found himself calmed and even a little comforted by Adrienne.

After an hour they saw candles gleaming through the library window and knew it was time to go within. As they turned toward the house Adrienne said suddenly:

“They must be well on their way by this time. They will grow more intimate in these few hours than in half an ordinary lifetime. The tie established between them will be very strong.”

Lyddon knew, although she spoke no name, that she referred to Isabey and Angela.

“Quite true,” he said briefly; “but the tie was strong between them long ago.” And then, realizing that, like Adrienne, he had said what he never meant to utter, he stopped aghast and spoke no more until he was assisting Adrienne up the steps. Then he added: “Luckily, both of them have remarkable self-control. It is not enough in these fateful cases merely to have a high sense of honor. Some of the wildest and most unfortunate things on earth are done by people who have honor but no discretion. Those two, however, have both honor and discretion.”

“You are right,” was Adrienne’s response.

They went together into the library, where the few[366] remaining servants were now collecting for family prayers.

The stand, with the open Bible on it and two wax candles in silver candlesticks, was in its usual place, and in a moment the door opened and Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine entered and took their accustomed seats. Colonel Tremaine, in an unshaken voice, read from the Gospels, and Mrs. Tremaine made the usual prayer for all under the roof of Harrowby, and then uttered another prayer which had not passed her lips since the April night, eighteen months before, when Neville Tremaine had been ordered from his father’s roof, an outcast:

“We ask Thy mercy and guidance for the sons of this house, Neville and Archibald.”



AT the same hour of the night Angela and Isabey were riding steadily along the moonlit open road toward the Federal lines. The flat and peaceful country was bare with the bareness of autumn and the wind rustled over the broad fields of stubble and through the melancholy woods. There was little evidence of the warfare which was raging only a short distance away. The homesteads were silent and dark; there were not many lights kept burning in those troublous times.

As Isabey and Angela rode along the highway through a world all white moonlight and black shadows, they spoke little. Whenever Isabey looked at her he noticed that there were tears on her cheeks, which she brushed away with her little gloved hand. When they were an hour from Harrowby they entered a great stretch of sandy road through which they walked their horses. Isabey, knowing it would relieve Angela’s overflowing heart to speak of Richard Tremaine, encouraged her to do so, and they talked of the dead man. Isabey told of their student life together, both in Virginia and in Paris.

“I have no other friend like Tremaine,” he said.[368] “It seems to me that among all who loved him there is no one who can quite fill Richard’s place. Mr. Lyddon told me to-day that Richard was an unforgettable man. I replied that he was an unforgettable friend.”

“But he is gone,” cried Angela, who had never seen death before, and who knew for the first time the strangeness which comes with the absence of the beloved. “He will never come into the study any more and sit in the great chair opposite Mr. Lyddon and talk with him on deep and profound things. His father will never again have Richard’s arm to lean upon when he walks up and down the hall in the twilight. They often did that together. And his mother will never again have him at her side when she makes the prayer at night. Richard always sat on her left and Neville on her right. Archie sat by Uncle Tremaine, because he was such a restless little boy. Everybody—Mr. Lyddon, Uncle Tremaine, and Aunt Sophia—thought Richard more brilliant than Neville, although his mother certainly loved Neville best. But now all love and pride is turned into anguish. I have been asking myself ever since I knew that Richard was gone, ‘Where is he now? How far has he fared? Does he know how broken-hearted we are?’”

“Ah,” replied Isabey, putting his hand upon the pommel of Angela’s saddle, “you have got hold of that great question, ‘Whence goes the soul?’ Every thinking human being traverses this problem; you will not be able to escape from it. You will turn it over and over and read the thoughts of many minds concerning it. After all, soldiers and saints take the same view of[369] this great matter. We do our duty, expecting to render an account to the Great Commander. We know no more and it is certain we can do no more.”

Isabey smiled a little at his brief preachment to Angela, but she was so young and had read so few pages in the book of life that in many ways she was a child in her questioning.

“I never talked with anyone about this,” she said. “It seemed to me always as if it was impossible that anything could separate us at Harrowby. Yet you see what has come—a frightful separation for Neville, and Richard gone we know not where or how or even why.”

Both fell silent and remained so for a long time.

They had left Harrowby before seven o’clock and Isabey had thought they would be able to make the whole distance, including an hour’s rest for the horses, before midnight. But when at nine o’clock they had still half the distance before them, he noticed how pale and tired Angela looked. They stopped their horses to drink of a little brook that ran silvery in the moonlight and then rippled darkling under a rude bridge and into a thicket beyond where the autumn leaves still hung withered upon the overhanging branches. Beyond lay a belt of pine woods, and when they came to a little clear space within it Isabey said: “Here is a spot where you may rest in safety and unseen. You can scarcely sit your horse.”

“It is true,” replied Angela, wearily.

Isabey’s horse picked his way, followed by Angela’s, under the odorous feathery branches of the pine trees where the ground was softly carpeted with brown pine[370] needles. When they were out of sight of the road and well in the heart of the woods, Isabey dismounted and took Angela from her horse. Her young strength had given out and she was so fatigued that she sank, rather than sat, upon a fallen tree. Isabey quickly tied the horses and unsaddled them; then with the saddles and blankets he made a kind of rude couch for Angela. She lay down upon it, and Isabey, after arranging her, began to walk up and down among the tree trunks close by.

“Don’t leave me,” Angela called softly, in a voice like a frightened child.

“I shan’t leave you,” replied Isabey, coming back and standing before her, “nor even take my eyes off you. Hear the horses blowing and snorting. Listen to them a little while. They are exactly like tired human creatures in their complaining.”

“And I can listen also to the water under the bridge. Hear it as it ripples past.” Angela listened a while, about five minutes, and then Isabey, coming up softly to her again, found that the little stream to which she had listened had become the river of forgetfulness and she had fallen into a sudden sweet sleep.

The air was sharp, and Isabey, taking off his military cape, wrapped it around her. Angela was so worn out with the fatigues and agitations of the day that she slept as soundly as if she were in her own great four-posted bed at Harrowby. Isabey, sitting on the fallen tree trunk, kept watch over her. There were still tears upon her cheeks, and, taking out his white handkerchief, he gently wiped them away without waking her. Her face was pale at first, but as she felt the warmth of the cape[371] the blood returned to her cheeks, which in a little while were overspread with a rosy glow like that of a sleeping child. Her long braided hair had become loosened, and Isabey, lifting it gently from where it had fallen against a half-bare bush, carefully disengaged it. The silky locks fell over his hands, and he held them in his clasp for a minute or two, then involuntarily pressed his lips upon them and laid them upon Angela’s breast, covered with his cloak.

It seemed to Isabey the most solemn hour of his life when he found himself alone with Angela in the darkness of the heart of the forest. It was as if a kindly fate had given him this last farewell. He never expected, or even desired, to see her as Neville Tremaine’s wife. He could not disguise from himself what Angela, in her simplicity, had not been able to disguise from him—that her soul answered to his as the echo answers to the voice and a lake reflects the sky. She was so little sophisticated, so frank, so fearless, that she betrayed herself in every word and glance to his practiced eye. But not to others did she betray herself. Though innocent she was not ignorant, and Isabey felt a lofty pride in the same discretion of which Lyddon had spoken. He remembered with a smile how she always brought in Neville’s name, as if it were a talisman, when they found themselves on dangerous ground. Isabey himself had been enough on his guard to escape a rebuff from her or even a rebuking glance. He could look Neville Tremaine in the eye without fear or reproach. Then, not being a man to dwell wholly upon his own sufferings, his mind turned to Richard Tremaine. Ah,[372] there again was loss without repair! In war men grow not only familiar with but contemptuous of death. Isabey had, however, but one Richard Tremaine to lose, and when he remembered this he stopped in his halting and stealthy walk up and down upon the pine needles and felt as if a bolt had entered his heart. It was not meant, he thought, that he should ever have wife or friend.

At ten o’clock, when he intended to rouse Angela, he went close to her and found her sleeping so soundly he had not the heart to waken her. It would, perhaps, be just as well if they reached the lines at six o’clock in the morning. That would still give him time to return within twenty-four hours.

The moon, hanging high in the heavens, increased in radiance, but only here and there a patch of moonlight penetrated the plumelike branches of the pine trees. The night grew suddenly cold and Isabey was forced to quicken his noiseless walk. But Angela slept warmly and sweetly. How very pretty she was, Isabey thought, in her irregular, piquant way. She did not resemble any person or any picture that he had ever seen. Her beauty was illusive, so dependent upon her mood that it was difficult to reproduce. Isabey had tried often to sketch her, but he had always thrown away the sketches in disgust. They were like Angela and yet unlike her, having little beauty of any kind. Her charm was one which could not be transferred through any medium whatever. Isabey had never rated her actual beauty highly nor had it even impressed his greatly; but when he considered her extraordinary power to interest, to[373] charm, to claim love as her heritage, he realized that she was one of those women whom age could not wither nor custom stale. At first his thoughts, his feelings, his griefs, and disappointments were fierce and tempestuous, but as the night wore on he grew composed and even resigned. He would take as a soldier meets death this coming blow of a parting with Angela—take it quietly and unflinchingly and not degrade himself by making a useless outcry against fate or fortune.

The moon grew wan and dropped out of sight and the pallid stars heralded daybreak; it was that unearthly hour which is neither night nor morning, when there is neither daylight nor moonlight nor starlight, when Isabey, drawn against his will toward Angela, sat near her and leaned over.

Suddenly she quietly opened her eyes and looked, wide awake, into his. The hour, the place, the time, the circumstances, were such as to give each insight into the soul of the other, and Angela saw farewell in Isabey’s eyes. After a moment or two she spoke involuntarily, still looking into his face: “This is the last time we shall see each other.” She spoke softly, quietly, as if she were in a dream.

“Yes,” replied Isabey, in the same calm voice in which Angela had spoken, “this is the last time.”

They sat quite still a minute longer, exchanging that unspoken but intelligible language which both understood perfectly. Then Angela, rising, held out her hand to Isabey. “Come,” she said, “we must go.”

Isabey rose, too, and they stood looking around them at the gloomy pine trees in the faint cold light which was[374] not light or darkness, as if seeking to impress the spot forever upon their memories. Angela noticed Isabey’s cloak lying at her feet, and she picked it up, saying: “You wrapped me in your cloak; you shouldn’t have done it. But perhaps that is why I slept in warmth and peace. I never had a sweeter sleep in my life. I had no dream, but two or three times I was near waking, and then I knew I was being watched over, and that made me feel so safe and at peace, and I dropped asleep again.”

Isabey, without a word, took up the blankets, and, going to the horses, arranged the saddles; then, lifting Angela on her horse, himself mounted and made his way, Angela following, back through the thicket into the straight white road beyond. Isabey looked at his watch. It was after four o’clock in the morning. The pale gray sky was touched by the coming dawn and a fresh wind rushed in from the sea, bringing with it a faint mist, as cloudlike as elfland, which lay over the far-stretching flat country. The horses, feeling the cold, were restless and struck a sharp gait. They were not checked. Both Isabey and Angela had the desire, having said farewell to each other, to flee from the place of parting. They rode rapidly, without speaking to each other, except an occasional word referring to their journeying. The wind of dawning rose and swept away the mists and cleared the sky of clouds. All at once the earth and the heavens were steeped in glory and the sunrise of a new day was at hand. Isabey and Angela could see before them a long line of breastworks and a white city of tents, and in the center a great flagstaff up which a[375] flag was climbing and then was flung to the breeze with the sound of trumpets calling to one another.

Beyond the camp a great, broad, blue, rapid river flowed, and on the opposite shore, which rose abruptly in cliffs, was another huge camp gleaming whitely in the new-risen sun.

As they drew near the breastworks Isabey looked at Angela. She was very pale, but she sat her horse well.

Isabey pulled up his horse. One more hateful thing remained to be done—the delivery of General Farrington’s letter to Angela.

“I have a letter to give from General Farrington,” said Isabey gently. “I need not say that nothing could induce me to give you such a letter except the compulsion which is laid upon a soldier.”

He took the letter from his breast pocket and handed it to Angela, who opened and glanced at it, her face lighting up with anger and scorn as she read. Then, tearing the letter in half, she threw it violently from her and, turning to Isabey, said in a trembling voice: “I feel sorry that you should have been forced to give me such a letter. I know what it must have cost you.”

“Thank you for saying so,” replied Isabey. “And let me speak one more word. I would ask you not to say anything to Neville concerning the reasons for your departure from Harrowby. It would give him deep and unnecessary pain. Forgive me for mentioning this.”

In the storm and stress of the last twenty-four hours the thought had vanished from Angela’s mind. All at once it returned to her—that she was being driven away from the place of her birth and rearing by hatred and a[376] persecuting suspicion. It roused in her soul a tempest of resentment and brought the beautiful angry blood to her cheeks.

“You need not ask my forgiveness,” she replied; “it is most thoughtful to remind me, for otherwise I might have told Neville and it would have been another pang for him, who has suffered so much. There are, however, a few persons in the world who could never believe me guilty of wrongdoing; Neville is one of them. No one who knows Neville will ever dare to say one word against me where he can hear of it. I shall always have the refuge of his love and confidence.”

Angela felt at that moment glad that she was on her way to Neville. She had ever fled to him in all her childish griefs and sorrows, and now, when the whole universe appeared changed to her, when she was brought face to face on the one hand with hate and obloquy and on the other with an unspoken love and all its mysteries and perplexities, it seemed as if she had but one refuge, Neville Tremaine’s honest and tender heart. Isabey, acute by nature and made more so by the prescience of love, seeing on Angela’s part this turning to Neville, thought to himself, “It is better so. This may be the beginning of love,” and then was stabbed to the heart by his own thoughts. Only yesterday Angela had been among the butterflies in the sun, and to-day she seemed like some beautiful flowering plant cast upon the ocean. For so the great outside world appeared to Angela.

When they came in sight of the sentry, Isabey, tying his white handkerchief to the point of his saber, rode[377] up and asked to see the officer of the guard. He quickly appeared, a well-meaning, mild-mannered young man who had recently exchanged the ferule of a country schoolmaster for the sword of an officer. He looked keenly, with unsophisticated admiration, at Angela, and, with the careless ease of the volunteer, offered to pass Isabey and Angela to the tent of the commanding officer.

When they reached, under this escort, the headquarters tent, the commanding officer was standing before it. He was a gray-mustached veteran who had been through the Florida wars, the Mexican War, and that eternal warfare with the Indians on the frontier. The unexpected presence of a lady did not disconcert him in the least. He had escorted officers’ wives across the continent when every man in the escort had been ordered to reserve a bullet for the ladies in case the party should be overpowered by the Indians. He had himself taken his young wife to a frontier post where she was the only woman among five hundred men, and he secretly thought the ladies of the present day rather wanting in the spirit of those fearless women of forty years before.

Isabey introduced himself and then made the necessary explanations with tact and briefness. The old general’s bearing was courtesy itself, and with his expert knowledge of military and social etiquette which was a part of his training everything went smoothly.

“I have the pleasure of knowing your husband, madam,” he said, with old-fashioned grace, to Angela. “I was once his instructor at the Military Academy. His command is, I judge, about forty miles from here and I can readily communicate with him by military[378] telegraph. If Captain Isabey will allow me to take charge of you, I can have you conveyed, under proper escort, to Captain Tremaine—or is it Major Tremaine? Promotion is rapid in these days.”

“He is still Captain Tremaine,” replied Angela, a slight blush coming into her face. There had been no promotion for Neville, and Angela well knew why.

Nothing remained for Isabey to do. He had been directed to place Mrs. Neville Tremaine in safe hands and he felt that he had done so when he put her in charge of the chivalrous old general. Then came the formal farewell, which each wished to make brief—their real farewell had been said the dawn before under the whispering pines.

Angela put her hand in Isabey’s and, with a smile both of the lips and eyes, said: “I thank you more than I can say, and I also thank you in Nev—in Captain Tremaine’s name. He will express his gratitude to you himself and far better than I can.”

“It is nothing,” responded Isabey, calmly and gracefully. “I shall always be happy to do a service to any of the Tremaine family, and particularly to Captain Tremaine, whom I consider only a little farther off as a friend than Richard Tremaine. When I recall all your kindness to me at the time that I was wounded, I feel that I can never do enough to show my appreciation of it. Pray remember me to Neville Tremaine. Adieu—or good-by, as you say.”

“Good-by,” replied Angela, gently pressing his hand. And in another moment he was gone.

Then the general, with antique courtesy, himself[379] showed Angela into a compartment of the headquarters tent which he desired her to consider her own until she should depart to join her husband. It held a small iron bed and some boxes which did duty for a toilet table and washstand. The general apologized to Angela for the plainness of her surroundings, but reminded her that she was a soldier’s wife and must not mind trifles.

Then, the general leaving her, an orderly brought in Angela’s portmanteau and she exchanged her riding habit for a conventional costume, and combed and plaited her long, fair hair. In half an hour the orderly, who was deputed to be Angela’s lady’s maid, informed her that the general sent his compliments and begged the honor and pleasure of her company at breakfast with him alone. Angela went into the outer tent, where she found a small table laid for two and the gallant old general waiting to receive her.

“Everything is arranged, my dear madam,” he said, as they seated themselves. “I have secured a conveyance for you, not very stylish, perhaps, but it will do—a small carriage and a pair of army mules, with a soldier-driver. Your escort will be Lieutenant Farley, a nephew of mine. I think it fair to tell you what, of course, I could not mention before Captain Isabey, that your husband’s command is on the march, and there is fighting going on. But, nevertheless, there is a point at which you can intercept Captain Tremaine about thirty miles from here and can, at least, have a brief interview.”

“Thank you,” replied Angela. “As you say, I am a soldier’s wife and so must learn to bear a little hardship[380] in order to see my husband, even for a short time. Then he will decide what I shall do.”

Nothing could exceed the delicacy, tact, and thoughtfulness of the old officer. He told Angela that she could send a dispatch by military telegraph to Neville which would reach him within a few hours and prepare him for her arrival. Angela thanked him again and felt as if she had found a second Colonel Tremaine in this gray-mustached, soft-voiced general. She began to speak with the frankness of an unsophisticated nature of Neville Tremaine and his action in remaining in the United States army. The general listened with the utmost suavity, but made no comment. Angela had expected high commendation from him for Neville, but instead was merely this smooth courtesy, an attitude gracefully sympathetic but wholly noncommittal. Against Neville Tremaine was an iron wall of prejudice which Angela’s soft hands could not batter down. Some intuitive knowledge of this forced itself upon her mind and cut her to the heart. The unspoken enmity of his own people against Neville was easier than this secret distrust on the part of those to whom Neville gave his service from the deepest principle of conscience. This thought aroused something of the pride and sensitiveness of wifehood in Angela. She changed from the attitude of a young girl to that of a self-possessed woman, and told the general, with the coolness and composure of twice her age, of the obloquy visited upon Neville among his own people, “which,” she said, with dignity and even stateliness, “is most undeserved. My husband lost his inheritance; for that he does not grieve, but the[381] disapproval of his father and mother and of all those dear to him, except myself, is very hard to bear. His brother Richard, who was killed only six days ago, understood my husband better than anyone, and there was never any breach between them. Richard Tremaine knew that only the strongest conviction of his duty would keep his brother in your army.”

To this the general bowed again politely and sympathetically, but said no word. Suspicion, that impalpable poison, that nameless destroyer, had gone forth against Neville Tremaine and was withering him.

All at once the general’s kindness and hospitality grew irksome to Angela. She asked when she could leave, and the general, who had been all courtesy, felt that his guest wished to depart. He told her that a boat was at her command, and the carriage would be waiting on the other side. Then the general escorted her to the dock, his orderly carrying her portmanteau, and there the young lieutenant, the general’s nephew, who was to take charge of her for the next twenty-four hours, met them.

The general introduced him. He was a pink-and-white boy who had left Harvard, where he had luxuriated on a large allowance, in order to become a soldier. The general had no mind to trust Angela with any man not of her own class in life, and had selected the greatest coxcomb, who was also one of the bravest of his youngsters, to escort her.

Nothing could have pleased Farley better. He knew more of drawing-rooms than of camps, and was delighted to figure as the guardian of anything so charming as[382] this young girl who was already a matron. The general, assuming himself to be the obliged party and thanking Angela for the privilege of serving her, put her into the boat in which the river was crossed. On the other side was a rickety carriage drawn by a couple of stout mules.

Farley took his seat by the side of the soldier who drove. The coachman’s seat was on the same level as those within, and the roof of the carriage overhung it. Farley had fully expected to be asked to take a place within, but Angela totally forgot to ask him.

It was close upon ten o’clock when the carriage started off, and soon, clearing the camp, passed through a flat green country, interspersed with woods, along a road which had been cut up by artillery and commissary wagons. The morning was beautifully fair and bright, and Angela, leaning back in the carriage, had the feeling that she was beginning a new volume of life. That other volume, which had begun with her childhood as bright and fair as the morning, and had closed in blood and tears and agony, was now locked and laid away forever.

A new perplexity occurred to her. If Neville had not heard of Richard’s death, should she tell him? She was too inexperienced to know what was judicious, but some instinct of the heart told her that the little time she could spend with Neville, that one hour of brightness in his life of undeserved hardship, should not be marred in any way. If he did not know of Richard’s death already, he would learn it soon enough.

Thinking these thoughts, Angela, grave and preoccupied,[383] with downcast eyes, sat back in the corner of the carriage and took no note of whither she went or how.

Farley had supposed that it was pure bashfulness which kept Mrs. Neville Tremaine from inviting him to sit in the carriage with her, but as they jolted steadily along the heavy road and the morning grew into noon, and Angela was obviously unconscious of his existence, he began to feel himself a much-injured man. He glanced back at her occasionally and did not see her once look up, and, like most men, every time he looked at her he thought her nearer to beauty. But she was no nearer to conversation. Farley would have dearly liked to find out if her talk were as interesting as her appearance, but she gave him no opportunity of judging.

At sunset they reached a farmhouse where it had been arranged that Angela should spend the night. It was a homely, tumble-down place, and the mistress of it, Sarah Brown, a little withered, bloodless creature, had clung to it, although it lay in the debatable ground between contending armies. Sarah always ran away whenever a shot was fired, but invariably trudged back to work and tremble and palpitate until her fears drove her off again. She welcomed Angela with a kind of furtive pleasure, she whose guests were usually embattled men, and showed her a little plain room up a rickety flight of stairs where Angela might rest for the night.

Farley thought it certain that he would meet Angela at supper, which was served by Sarah in the kitchen. Angela, however, sent a polite message asking to be excused from coming down and her supper was served in her own little room.

[384]Farley, reduced to his own society, soon went to his sleeping place, which was on the floor of the “settin’ room.”

The next morning dawned mild and bright, and at eight o’clock the mules were harnessed and the carriage was ready to start. Again was Farley disappointed; he only saw Angela as she came tripping down the narrow stair and bade him good morning.

She thanked Sarah Brown cordially, and, not daring to offer money for her accommodation, took off a little gold brooch she wore, one of her few ornaments, and handed it to Sarah. It was received in speechless gratitude and admiration. Then Angela, smiling at Farley but without seeing him, took her seat in the carriage. Farley by this time was thoroughly exasperated with her for her want of appreciation of his society, and he concluded that the surest punishment would be to leave her to herself.

They drove on steadily through the same flat country, but around them were evidences of fighting, past and to come. There were dreary piles of brick, showing where humble houses had been destroyed by the fortunes of war. The fences were all gone and gates had ceased to exist. The people in the few homesteads they passed kept within doors and the whole scene was one of desolation.

Presently, however, the stillness of the autumn day was broken by ominous sounds. Afar off could be heard the dull thunder made by the movement of troops, and about midday the highroad was suddenly blocked by artillery wagons. For the first time Angela[385] roused herself and asked Farley, with interest, what it meant.

“Fighting, madam,” he replied promptly and expecting Angela’s face to grow pale. On the contrary, she showed no tremor whatever and only said:

“I hope it will not interfere with my seeing Captain Tremaine, if only for an hour.”

“I don’t think it will,” responded Farley. “This movement on the part of the enemy is not entirely unexpected and we knew that Captain Tremaine’s regiment would be on the march.”

Angela said no more and the carriage jolted on. The shadows were growing long when the carriage, drawing up on the side of a wide road leading through a belt of woods, stopped, and Farley, opening the door and standing, cap in hand, said stiffly to Angela: “This is the point, Mrs. Tremaine, where we are instructed to wait. Captain Tremaine’s regiment will pass within a mile of us in half an hour and he will be on the lookout for us.”

“Thank you,” Angela responded sweetly, and, accepting Farley’s proffered hand, she descended from the carriage. “I think,” she said, “I will walk a little way into the woods; but I shall keep within sight of the road, so Captain Tremaine will see me as soon as he arrives.”

Farley, whose instructions were to remain with Angela and to place himself at Neville Tremaine’s disposal, stood discontentedly watching her as she walked daintily through the thicket, and he thought her one of the most ungrateful women that ever lived.

When a little out of sight of the road Angela looked[386] about her. It might have been the same spot in which she had taken her real farewell of Isabey—the same dark overhanging pine trees, their resonant aroma filling the air, and the same slippery carpet of brown pine needles lay under her feet. Angela, hitherto so calm, began to feel a strange agitation. Neville Tremaine had been so much a part of her life since her babyhood that she had never had any right conception of him as her husband, but now all was changed. Her whole life was cast behind her and Neville was her only refuge and her sole possession.

She wished, however, to forget all the past and set about resolutely at forgetting. She had put Isabey out of her mind so far as she could, but it is quite possible to throttle a thought and yet hear it breathing in one’s ear. So it was with Angela. She fixed her consciousness upon Neville Tremaine, but her subconsciousness was with Isabey. One thing was certain: she could ever count upon Neville Tremaine’s tenderness, chivalry, and unshakable kindness.

As she walked up and down with her own peculiar and airy grace, she kept her eyes fixed on the open roadway. A mile off she could hear distinctly the clanking of ammunition wagons, the steady tramp of thousands of feet, the dull beating of the earth by horses’ hoofs.

Ten minutes had passed when she saw a horseman coming at a hard gallop along the woodland road. It was Neville Tremaine. In a minute or two he reached the carriage and flung himself off his horse. Farley spoke a word to him. Throwing his bridle toward the soldier-driver, Neville made straight through the thicket[387] to where Angela stood. Angela felt herself taken in his strong arms and his mustached lips against hers. She clung to him, and it seemed to her as if it were Neville and yet not Neville. Only one thing was unmistakable: the old sense of well-being and protection when he was near came sweetly back to her. But of all else that passed in those first few minutes she scarcely knew, except that Neville held her to his strong beating heart and told her how dear she was to him.

Then he put her off a little way and gazed at her with tender admiration. Angela saw the great changes made in Neville by time and war. He looked much older and his naturally dark skin had grown darker with tan and sunburn. She could see, where his cap was raised a little from his brow, the whiteness of his forehead contrasted with the brownness of his face. He was campaigning, but otherwise there was the same immaculateness about him—neatly shaven, smartly uniformed, his accoutrement shining, all the marks of the trained officer.

As for Neville, his admiration for Angela burst from him as he looked at her. “Dearest,” he said, holding both her hands, “you have become beautiful. You are a woman now and not a child. You have grown up since that night on the wharf at Harrowby.”

“I have gone through that which makes a girl into a woman,” replied Angela, softly. “Until two nights ago I had every night at family prayers to hear every name called except yours, but I called your name in my heart.”

“I know it, I know it.”

“Two nights ago all was changed. Your mother[388] once more mentioned your name and your father sent you his blessing.”

“Thank God!” replied Neville, lifting his cap.

“And here is a letter from your mother. They sent you a thousand messages, and so did Archie and Mr. Lyddon and all the servants. You are forgiven.”

“Yes, forgiven by all who thought that I acted dishonorably. One person, however, I shall never need any forgiveness from, because he knows and respects my motives—my brother Richard.”

Richard’s name, spoken so suddenly, disconcerted Angela for a moment. She trembled a little and looked away and then her pitying eyes sought Neville’s, but she replied calmly: “Yes, Richard never said one word in condemnation of you.”

“That is like him. Of all men I ever knew in my life, I think best of Richard. Not because he is my brother, but because he is better, larger-minded, braver, than any other man I ever knew. I had a letter from him by flag of truce a fortnight ago and managed to reply by the same means. He has no doubt got my letter by this time. I have so many things to ask you, so many things to tell you, the chief of which is how much I love you; and I only have one hour with you.”

And then Angela, with tender sophistry, replied: “I would not miss the chance of spending this one hour with you; but surely I can be near you—nearer than at Harrowby.”

“Yes,” answered Neville gravely; “we shall be fighting probably, if not to-night, certainly from early in the morning, and a soldier cannot look beyond the[389] present hour. If I am alive, we shall meet again within the week. If I am killed, you will return at once to Harrowby.”

Angela caught Neville’s arm. The thought of a world without him staggered her. “Don’t say that,” she cried breathlessly, and then stopped. In another moment the tragedy of Richard’s death would have burst from her involuntarily.

Neville, thinking he saw in Angela’s face and words and tone that a love for him, like his love for her, had been born in her soul, caught her to his breast in rapture. The hour passed so quickly to Neville it seemed as if they had but scarcely exchanged their first confidences when it was time for him to go.

He gave Angela his last instructions—to remain for at least three days, or until she should hear from him, at the little farmhouse where she had spent the night.

“I shall do exactly as you say,” answered Angela quietly. “And you may depend upon it that I shan’t fall into a panic and run away.”

“I know that you will never fall into a panic,” answered Neville, smiling. “I think the Southern women are very like the great captain who asked when he was a boy, ‘What is fear?’ I don’t think you know as much about fear as I do.”

Then, as the moment of parting approached, their voices and eyes grew grave, and presently Neville kissed Angela in the shade of the pine trees. They walked through the purple shadows of the late afternoon back to the road where the carriage still stood and the orderly led Neville’s horse up and down.

[390]Farley, consumed with chagrin and impatience, still maintained a gentlemanlike outside. Neville thanked him with sincere gratitude, and Angela added some graceful phrases without taking any more interest in him than in the orderly, a fact which Farley bitterly realized. Neville put Angela in the carriage, and, laying a letter upon her lap, said to her:

“Good-by. Keep this letter, but do not open it unless you hear bad news of me. You will hear something from me within three days, in any event.”

Farley turned his back and the orderly looked hard in the opposite direction as Neville kissed Angela for the last time.

When a soldier says good-by it may be the last farewell. Angela’s heart was suddenly pierced with this thought, and when Neville would have turned quickly away, she drew him back to her and kissed him once again. The next moment he was gone.

The sun was setting when Angela found herself once more upon the road. It seemed to her as if that brief hour with Neville had been a dream; but all had been dreamlike with her of late. Until a year or so ago nothing had happened. That had been her grievance: she had so longed for life, movement, color, love, even grief, anything to move the silent pool in which she thought herself, at twenty, anchored for life.

All at once everything came. War, persecution, estrangement, love, death, all those things most moving in human life. She looked at the letter addressed to her in Neville’s firm handwriting, and knew well enough what it meant—it was what she was to do in the event[391] of his death; but like most young creatures brimming with life, Angela could scarcely believe in death. It seemed to her an anachronism so frightful as to be almost incredible.

When the carriage reached once more the public road there was, even to Angela’s untrained eyes, every sign of approaching battle. A great, dark blue stream, with glittering muskets which the dying sun tipped with fire, poured along the highroad. Officers were riding at a steady pace with their commands, while constantly orderlies dashed back and forth, silent, grimly concentrated upon their errands.

Over the quiet autumn landscape, which should have been all peace, brooded the spirit of coming battle. The red sun itself seemed to Angela’s mind a great bloody disk dropping behind the dreary woods. How many of these men marching cheerfully along would live to see another sun set?

Suddenly a sound, distant but unmistakable, smote Angela’s ear—the reverberation across the distant hills and far-off wide river of heavy guns. Angela had never before in her life heard a cannon fired, but that menacing thunder, that wolfish howl before the banquet of death begins, could not be misunderstood. Angela felt a sensation of horror, but nothing like fear; she came of good fighting stock, and the thought of battle did not intimidate her. Then the far-off roar was overborne by a loud, quick crashing of guns within half the distance. Instantly the thrill of conflict seemed to animate the long blue line, and there were a few quick evolutions, like a lion crouching before his spring.

[392]Farley, who had been leaning forward listening intently, took the whip out of the hands of the soldier-driver and laid it heavily on the mules, and they sprang ahead. Then turning to Angela, sitting upright within the carriage, and now fully awake to all that was going on around her, he said:

“Pray, don’t be alarmed, Mrs. Tremaine. I can get you to the farmhouse within an hour, where you will be quite safe and out of danger.”

“Don’t disturb yourself on my account,” replied Angela. “I only regret that I am giving you trouble when I am sure you wish to be with your command.”

As she spoke, the soldier-driver, with the familiarity of the volunteer, glancing back at her, said to Farley, above the rattle of the rickety carriage: “I don’t believe she is afeered, but it’s more ’an some of them fellows on both sides can say.”

Angela said no more, but watched with a fast-beating heart what seemed to be tumult passing before her, but was really expedition and apparent confusion which meant order.

In a little while the carriage struck off from the highroad and passed into a region all quietude and peace. The distant roar of the guns stopped for a time, and the intervening hill and valley shut off the sounds of the marching troops. The red sun was gone and the short, enchanted autumn twilight had fallen. When the carriage drew up at the door of the farmhouse Angela, when Farley had assisted her to alight, said: “I think that I should now release you from your kind attendance on me. Captain Tremaine directed me to remain here[393] until I should hear from him. I shan’t need any protection, and I beg that you will feel no hesitation in leaving me.”

Farley, whose orders were to place himself at Mrs. Tremaine’s disposal and who had looked forward to days of inaction for himself while fighting was going on, felt a thrill of gratitude.

“Thank you,” he replied, bowing low. “If I thought there was any possibility of danger to you, I assure you I should not leave you; but this place is well out of the way, and, besides, we hardly expect a general engagement.”

Sarah Brown, slatternly, frightened, helpless, but sympathetic, came out to greet Angela, and suddenly began to wring her hands. “I thought,” she cried hysterically, “we would have a man here in case the Yankees, or the Confederates either, wanted to burn the house down, and then he would stand up for us and wouldn’t let ’em do it. Oh, my, oh, my!”

“Nonsense!” cried Angela sharply, catching Sarah by the arm. “If anything like that should happen, no one could help us. We are just as well off alone. Good-by, Mr. Farley, and thank you.” And bowing politely to the soldier-driver, she fairly dragged her hostess within. Once inside, she managed to somewhat calm Sarah Brown’s chronic trepidation. Sarah gave her supper, and then would, out of pure good nature, have remained with her during the night, but this Angela declined.

When darkness fell, all grew still, and Sarah Brown took Angela’s advice and went to bed. Angela herself[394] did not follow her own recommendation, and felt a strange disinclination to go to bed. Usually her strong young nerves had given her sleep whenever she had desired it, but this night, when every nerve was on quivering edge, sleep eluded and defied her. She threw her mantle around her and sat for a long time at the open window watching the moon as it rose in silvery splendor over the half-bare woods. How still and sad and woe-begone was the aspect of the country! Only two nights before she had been riding with Isabey through a region almost as still and sad and woe-begone as this, along the weed-grown highway and untraveled forest roads, and now that time was as far removed as if æons had passed.

As the thought of Isabey occurred to her she put it resolutely out of her mind and began to think of Neville—how he looked, what he said.

She took from her pocket the letter he had given her, and then thrust it back out of sight. She was not to open it unless she had bad news of him. Existence with Neville absent had been strange enough, but with him dead—Angela could scarcely conceive of a world without him. Her heart was oppressed with a thousand griefs and perplexities. If only Isabey had not come into her life, how much easier would all things have been! She remembered Lyddon having told her once, long ago, that human beings in this world suffer or enjoy according to the imagination with which they are endowed, and he had added, “You have a tremendous imagination.”

This and many other half-forgotten things came back[395] to her memory, and all suggested struggle and conflict. After midnight she lay down across her hard, coarse bed and fell into a restless and uneasy sleep, haunted by painful dreams. She was glad to waken from it, and, looking at her watch, found that it was four o’clock. Just the time, two nights before, when she had said farewell to Isabey. Life appeared to her all farewells. She rose and went again to the open window, and the scene of two nights before seemed to repeat itself before her eyes, until the miracle of the dawning came. Then Angela’s head dropped upon the window sill and she fell for the first time into a quiet and dreamless sleep.

The sun rose in splendor, and the whole fresh and dewy world was sparkling when Angela was awakened by a terrible sound—the crash of bursting shells. She looked toward the woods a mile away and heard through the stillness of the autumn morning the fearful thunder, the shouts and cries of conflict. Almost immediately she saw half a dozen ambulances with their attendants driving into the open field and making straight for the farmhouse. She knew well what it meant. Those were the wounded seeking a place of refuge. As the ambulances reached the house she opened her door and ran quickly down the narrow stair. The passage door was wide open, and two soldiers, carrying a stretcher, were coming in. On it lay a figure covered up in a blue cloak. They took their burden and laid it down in the room to the right on the ground floor. Following them came a surgeon, grimy, bloody, anxious-eyed, but cool. He scarcely saw Angela, and paid no heed to her, but followed the stretcher into the little room. Then Angela heard him[396] say, in a quick voice: “He is gone; there is nothing more to be done here, but plenty to be done outside.”

He passed again through the hall, followed by the two soldiers. Three stretchers, with wounded men groaning and moaning in their agony, were carried into the narrow hall.

Something quite outside of her own volition made Angela walk toward the room in which the dead officer lay. As she reached the door she felt a hand upon her arm, and the surgeon was saying to her: “Excuse me, but you had better not go in there. The officer is dead and much disfigured.”

“What is his name?” asked Angela.

“Captain Neville Tremaine,” was the surgeon’s answer. “Killed leading the Forlorn Hope; as brave a man as ever lived or died.”

One night, a week later, Colonel and Mrs. Tremaine sat together in the library at Harrowby. Usually they were alone, but since the family circle had grown so pitifully small, Lyddon had left his ancient habitat, the old study, and sat with them in the evenings. He was pretending to read, and so was Colonel Tremaine, but both were really absorbed in reverie. Mrs. Tremaine, with more self-possession than either, sat knitting. Lyddon, watching her furtively, thought how like she was to those Spartan women who bade their sons return with their shields or upon them. Only with Mrs. Tremaine this sublime courage was accompanied with a gentleness and softness like a Lesbian air.

The stillness remained unbroken for an hour, when[397] there was a sound of hoofs and wheels upon the carriage drive. As they listened the hall door was quickly opened and some one entered.

“That is Angela,” said Mrs. Tremaine. And the next moment Angela entered the library. She wore a black gown, which Mrs. Tremaine instantly noticed. The two women, looking into each other’s eyes, opened their arms, and then were clasped together.

“Neville is gone!” cried Angela. “He is with Richard.”



TWO years and a half afterwards, on an April afternoon, Isabey, riding the ghost of a war horse, came in sight of the old manor house of Harrowby. It was a soft, mild afternoon, as soft and sunny as that day, now four years past, when he had first seen the place. From the top of the cedar lane Isabey’s keen eyes could view the whole scene in its minutest details. The broad fields, which he remembered as green in spring and gold in summer with wheat, were unfilled and grown up in blackberry bushes, wild roses, poppies, and the blue cornflower, those bold marauders who seize upon the earth as soon as it is no longer plowed or reaped. Over all brooded a sad peacefulness, a quiet decay and mournful silence; Nature seemed in a melancholy reverie. Spring had come in all the soft splendor of its beauty, and yet no hand seemed uplifted to do her bidding of cheerful toil. There were no sounds of jocund plowmen or cheerful laborers, of laughing, brown-skinned milkmaids who sang at their work. Isabey’s eyes traveled toward the old graveyard in the field. The brick wall had fallen into still greater decay than he remembered, and a few lean sheep were browsing among the graves. Isabey[399] looked farther on toward the house. The fences were down, and the negro quarters, which were wont to be alive with those merry, brown creatures, were silent and deserted. The carriage drive was overgrown with weeds—there were no carriages any more to traverse it. And the yew hedge was more ragged and decrepit than ever before. The old brick mansion stood out dark and clear against the violet sky, while the river, a darker violet, went upon its ceaseless way singing its eternal refrain. Isabey noticed that most of the shutters in the old mansion were closed; one or two of them had fallen to the ground, and the top of one of the great chimneys showed a huge gap where the mortar of a hundred years had decayed and the bricks had tumbled in. This gave the house a look of desolation.

Isabey dismounted from his horse and, leaning upon the worm fence which divided the fields from the highway, asked himself if he had done wisely in coming straight to Harrowby the moment the Confederacy had ceased to exist. At the beginning of the Civil War he had been one of the rich men of Louisiana, with sugar plantations, great sugar mills with an army of negroes to work them, with a fine house in New Orleans, built and furnished after the French fashion. He had owned a racing stable and had had a box at the French opera and all the paraphernalia of a man of fortune. Only a little of this remained—how little Isabey himself did not know. The New Orleans house had been confiscated and wrecked, the sugar mills burned to the ground, the negroes dispersed over the face of the earth, and his plantations, flooded by the broken bayou, were as much[400] water as land. His possessions in hand consisted of a shadow of a horse, a threadbare gray uniform, and a little money in his pocket.

He had reached his goal—the spot where Angela dwelt. For Isabey there were only two places in the world—the one where Angela was, the other where she was not. The current of his thoughts had flowed as steadily toward her as the broad, placid river had flowed through the ages toward the open sea. He had debated with himself whether he would seek Angela then or wait until he had collected the wreckage of his fortune. But some force within him, stronger than himself, had brought him as straight to Harrowby as his poor horse could travel. He wondered how Angela would look. She would have on a black gown, of course. She was not a woman to put on mourning lightly or take it off quickly. He had written many times to Harrowby and had received a few brief letters in reply, generally from Mrs. Tremaine, worded in the simple and moving language which she habitually used. Always there was some mention of Angela—that she was well and strong and their greatest comfort. Isabey knew that Archie had come unhurt out of the furnace of Civil War and that Lyddon was still an inmate of the house which had been home to him for so many years.

He had heard other particulars through Madame Isabey during the last year of the war. She and Adrienne had found it possible to get to New York and from thence to Paris. Their fortune was by no means wrecked as was Isabey’s, and Madame Isabey wrote saying that Adrienne had found her place still waiting for her[401] which she had left vacant in the brilliant society of the Second Empire, but that she had apparently lost all taste for gayety and went to church at six o’clock in the morning and, Madame Isabey was very much afraid, was becoming devout.

Isabey had written in the purest and sincerest friendship to Adrienne and had received letters of the same kind in return from her. It was very plain to him that Adrienne was changed, softened, saddened, and already in possession of that inheritance which too often comes with gifts like hers—the weariness and darkness of the soul.

But Isabey had not written to Angela nor had he received a line from her. This he took as a good omen; if she had become indifferent to him she might easily have fallen into a friendly correspondence with him. But he dared to hope that she had not written because she could not.

He pressed toward this meeting with her in all eagerness. Now that he was within reach of Angela, as the case often is with the true lover, he began to feel his own rashness and unworthiness and was distrained of himself in meeting her. He recalled Angela’s invariable habit of walking and sitting in the old garden in the afternoon, and thought he would try and meet her there. Five minutes would reveal to him whether he had come in vain or not. He would not ride down the cedar lane because he might be seen from the house; but following a path through the stubble which led close by the old graveyard, and thence direct to the yew hedge where the garden gate opened, he took his way, leading[402] his lean horse after him. When he reached the old burying ground it seemed to him the most peaceful spot he had ever seen. Not even the sheep were startled by his presence, but looking at him with black, blinking eyes, went on quietly cropping the long, lush grass. Within the graveyard was the only new thing Isabey’s eyes had rested upon. Between two graves was a great wooden slab painted white—poverty’s substitute for a gravestone. On it were the names of Neville and Richard Tremaine and the dates of their birth and death, and under this the words, “Both died in battle and in honor.”

The sight of these two graves and the thought of these two men smote Isabey poignantly. He covered his face as he leaned upon the broken wall. And the two graves brought home to him as never before the wreck and ruin and illimitable disaster of the war. He had felt long before the end came that the South must pay a frightful price for the stupendous blunder and calamity of slavery, and that price meant all she had of blood and treasure. And when it was paid it would leave her stark and starving, clothed with rags and stripped of all but honor and courage.

This thought had followed Isabey and pierced him as he marched and fought and starved through blistering days of heat and biting days of cold, through summer’s miasma and winter’s snows and storms of sleet and hail. It had torn his heart when he saw gaps in the thin gray lines filled up with tottering old men and white-faced boys, half-fed with miserable rations, half-clothed in rags and remnants, wholly unshod, but with[403] musket barrels bright and ever ready to answer the order to advance. It was impossible that such sacrifices, such valor, should be in vain, and it came to Isabey in a great flood of illumination that the compensation would be the sweeping away of the everlasting blight, the deadening contamination of slavery. This thought comforted him a little, and he turned from the graves of his friends again to the footpath which would lead him toward Angela. The only sounds he heard were his own quiet footsteps along the stubble path and the breathing of his tired horse trudging patiently behind him. As he came to the opening in the yew hedge the realization of his dream was suddenly before him. Angela was coming toward him slowly up the broad garden walk in the veiled brilliance of the spring afternoon.

The horse, understanding the command of silence, having had time and circumstance enough to instill it into him, obeyed a touch from Isabey’s hand and remained motionless. Isabey, standing a little behind the yew hedge, had time to study Angela’s face as she came close to him, her eyes fixed upon the ground. She was dressed all in black, and around her was thrown a black mantle, the mantle which had once been a splendid crimson, but which had been dyed to the garb of widowhood. As her habit was, her head was bare, and the vagrant wind toyed with the little waving locks upon the white nape of her neck.

As the case often is, Isabey’s recollection of her had gone back to their first meeting, four years before, and he expected to see her still a girl, with a girl’s eyes. She had retained her maiden slimness, but otherwise the[404] great change had come from childhood to womanhood. The delicately haughty poise of her head, the laughing defiance of her upward glance were gone forever. Instead of these was an air soft and appealing, a movement gentle in contrast with the quick grace, like the swallow’s flight, which Isabey had often noted and admired in days gone by. In holding her mantle around her she crossed her hands upon her breast, and it gave her a nunlike sweetness and meekness which Isabey had never seen in her before. As she reached the end of the walk she paused for a moment, and, looking upward at the opaline sky of the west in which great clouds of green and amber were changing to violet, turned and walked again to the end of the garden path. She was quite near the old bench under the lilac bushes before she heard a footstep behind her.

Isabey put out his hand, and, taking hers, said: “Let us sit once again where we parted.”

Without a word he led her to the old bench, where they sat. They were as much alone as if they had been in the green heart of the forest. Isabey continued in silence to hold her hand, which lay without a flutter in his. Manlike, he found it difficult to speak when stirred by a great emotion, but was unable to take his eyes from her face.

As he studied Angela, so Angela studied him. In four years he had grown ten years older, his trim, black mustache was streaked with gray, and under his officer’s cap she could see the gray threads also in his black hair. His face was bronzed and beaten by the weather. His eyes and his figure had the indescribable but unmistakable[405] mark of the man who had been long fighting and marching. Both were changed and yet unchanged.

After a moment or two Isabey spoke, the plain, simple words of a soldier:

“I have thought of you every day and hour since we parted.”

His words met a sweet, like response in Angela’s eyes. Together they sat until the dusky twilight fell upon the odorous old garden and the stars came out softly in the darkening heavens. A night bird close to them uttered a few notes, soft and low, which waked them from a dream of paradise.

“Come,” said Angela, “I think we must have been here a long time. See, the windows are lighted. To-morrow we can come again into the garden.”

“Every day of our lives, after this, we can walk together in a garden,” replied Isabey, smiling. “Our flowering time has come.”



Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.

Archaic or variant spelling has been retained.