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   Chapter 5 No.5

Horace Chase By Constance Fenimore Woolson Characters: 40034

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


THE spring deepened into summer, and July opened. On the 10th, the sojourners at the Warm Springs, the beautiful pools that well up in the valley of the French Broad River, were assembled on the veranda of the rambling wooden hotel, after their six o'clock supper, when they saw two carriages approaching. "Phew! who can they be?" "What horses!"

The horses were indeed remarkably handsome-two bays and a lighter-limbed pair of sorrels; in addition there was a mounted groom. The housekeeper, who had come out on the veranda, mentioned in a low tone that a second groom had arrived, three hours earlier, to engage rooms for the party, and make preparations. "They are to have supper by themselves, later; we're to do our best. Extras have been ordered, and they've sent all sorts of supplies. And champagne!"

"Chase, did you say the name was? That's a hoax. It's General Grant himself, I reckon, coming along yere like a conqueror in disguise," said a wag.

The bays were Horace Chase's Peter and Piper, attached to a two-seated carriage which was a model as regarded comfort; Anthony Etheridge was driving, and with him were Mrs. Franklin, Dolly, and Ruth. Horace Chase himself, in a light vehicle for two, which he called his cart, had the sorrels. His companion was a gaunt, dark man, who looked as though he had been ill. This man was Mrs. Franklin's son Jared.

Franklin had been stricken by that disheartening malady which is formed by the union of fever and ague. After bearing it for several weeks, and sending no tidings of his condition to his family (for he considered it a rather unmasculine ailment), he had journeyed to Asheville with the last remnants of his strength, and arriving by stage, and finding no one at the cottage (for it was his wife's day at the Colored Home), he had come with uncertain steps across the field to L'Hommedieu, entering the parlor like a yellow spectre, his eyes sunken, his mind slightly wandering. "Ye-es, here I am," he said, vaguely. "I was coming next week, you know. But I-I didn't feel well. And so I've-come now."

His mother had given a cry; then, with an instinctive movement, her tall figure looking taller than ever, she had rushed forward and clasped her dazed, fever-stricken son in her arms.

The mountain air, prompt remedies, and the vigilant nursing of Genevieve, soon routed the insidious foes. Routed them, that is, for the moment; for their strength lies in stealthy returns; as Jared said (he made jokes even at the worst stages), they never know when they are beaten. But as soon as there was even a truce, their victim, though still yellow and weak, announced that he must return to his business immediately.

"But I thought you spent your summers here, Mr. Franklin?" remarked Horace Chase, inquiringly.

"Yes, that is the plan, and I have been here a good deal for the past three seasons. But this year I can't stay," Jared answered.

This was said at L'Hommedieu. Ruth was sitting beside her brother on the sofa, her arm in his. "But you must stay," she protested. "You are not strong yet; you are not strong at all." She put her other arm across his breast, as if to keep him. "I shall not let you go!"

Jared Franklin was tall and broad-shouldered, with dark eyes whose expression was always sad. In spite of this sadness, he had Dolly's habit of making jocular remarks. But he had not Dolly's sharpness; where she was sarcastic, the brother was only ironical. In looks Jared did not resemble his mother or Dolly. But there was a strong likeness between his face and Ruth's; they had the same contours, the same mouth.

While Ruth was protesting, Mrs. Franklin, making no pretence of busying herself with anything, not even with lamplighters, sat looking at her son with eyes which seemed to have grown larger, owing to the depth of love within them. Chase, who had happened to be at L'Hommedieu when Jared arrived, had never forgotten that rush of the mother-the mother whose easy indolence he had, up to that moment, condemned. So now he said, with his slight drawl: "Oh, you want to give the fever another round of shot before you go back, Mr. Franklin. Why not take a few days more, and drive with me over the Great Smokies into Tennessee?" And the result was the party already described.

The evening before the start, Ruth had come out on the veranda of L'Hommedieu. Chase and her brother had been smoking there (for Jared had not shown any deep attachment to his smoking-room), and Dolly, who loved the aroma of cigars, had seated herself near them. Jared had now strolled off with his mother, and Genevieve, coming over from the cottage, had taken her husband's place. As she approached, Chase had extinguished his cigar and tossed it into the grass; for tobacco smoke always gave the younger Mrs. Franklin a headache.

Ruth had walked up to Chase's chair. "No, please don't rise; I am only looking at you, Mr. Chase. You are so wonderful!"

"Now don't be too hard on me!" interposed the visitor, humorously.

"First, you are making my brother take this long drive," Ruth went on; "the very thing of all others that will do him good-and I could go down on my knees to you just for that! Then you have sent for that easy carriage, so that Dolly can go, too. Then you are taking me. The commodore also, who would rather drive Peter and Piper than go to heaven! I have always wanted to see somebody who could do everything. It must be very nice to have money," she concluded, reflectively.

"And to do so much good with it," added Genevieve. Genevieve had insisted that her mother-in-law should take the fourth place in the carriage; for the drive would be excellent for Mrs. Franklin, who was far from strong; whereas, for herself, as she was in perfect health, no change was necessary. Genevieve might have mentioned, also, that she had had change enough for her whole life, and to spare, during the years which her husband had spent in the navy; for the younger Mrs. Franklin did not enjoy varying scenes. A house of her own and everything in it hers; prearranged occupations, all useful or beneficent, following each other regularly in an unbroken round; a leading place in the management of charitable institutions; the writing and despatching of letters, asking for contributions to these institutions; the general supervision of the clergy, with an eye to dangerous ritualistic tendencies; the conscientious endeavor to tell her friends on all occasions what they ought to do (Genevieve was never angry when they disagreed with her, she only pitied them. There was, in fact, no one she knew whom she had not felt herself competent, at one time or another, to pity)-all this gave her the sense of doing good. And to Genevieve that was more precious than all else-the feeling that she was doing good. "Ruth is right; it must be enchanting to have money," she went on. "I have often planned what I should do myself if I had a fortune. I think I may say that I can direct, administer; I have never seen or read of any charitable institution, refuge, hospital, home, asylum, or whatever it may be, which seemed too large or too complicated for me to undertake. On the contrary, I know I should like it; I feel that I have that sort of capacity." Her face kindled as she spoke; her genius (for she had a genius, that of directorship) was stirring within her.

"You certainly have one part of the capacity, and that is the despotism," remarked Dolly, laughing. "The other members of your Board of Managers for the Colored Home, for instance-Mrs. Baxter, Miss Wynne, Miss Kent-they haven't a voice in even the smallest matter, poor souls! You rule them with a rod of iron-all for their good, no doubt."

"As it is," continued the younger Mrs. Franklin, combating not Dolly's sarcasms (to which she had paid no attention), but her own sincere longings-"as it is, I cannot build a hospital at present, though I don't give up hope for the future. But I can at least give my prayers to all, and that I do; I never ring a door-bell without offering an inward petition that something I may say will help those whom I shall see when I go in."

"Now that's generous," commented Dolly. "But don't be too unselfish, Genevieve; think of yourself occasionally; why not pray that something they may say will be a help to you?"

After the arrival of his party at the Warm Springs, Chase devoted a half-hour to a brief but exhaustive examination of the site, the pool, and the buildings. "When we have made a Tyrol of Buncombe, we'll annex this place as a sort of Baden-Baden," he said. "Thirty-five miles from Asheville-that will just do. Ever tried the baths, commodore?"

"You must apply to somebody who has rheumatism, Mr. Chase," answered Etheridge, loftily.

"The pool has an abundant supply at a temperature of 104 Fahrenheit," Chase went on, with the gleam of a smile showing itself in his eyes for a moment (for the commodore's air of youth always amused him; it was so determined). "Baden-Baden was one of the prettiest little places I saw over there, on the other side of the big pond. They've taken lots of pains to lay out a promenade along a stream, and the stream is about as big as one from a garden-hose! But here there could be a walk worth something-along this French Broad."

They were strolling near the river in the red light of the sunset. "Their forest that they talk about, their Black Forest, is all guarded and patrolled," Chase continued; "every tree counted! I don't call that a forest at all. Now these woods are perfectly wild. Why-they're as wild as Noah!"

"Don't you mean old as Noah?" inquired Ruth, laughing.

"Certainly not," commented Jared. "Noah was extremely wild. And not in his youth only; in his age as well."

"The first thing, however, would be the roads," Chase went on. "I never thought I should have to take a back seat about the United States of America! But I returned from Europe singing small, I can tell you, about our roads. Talk about the difficulty of making 'em? Go and look at Switzerland!"

"By all means," said Ruth, promptly. "Only tell us how, Mr. Chase. We'll go at once." She was walking with her brother, her hat dangling by its elastic cord from her arm.

Chase came out of his plans. "So you want to see Switzerland, do you?" he said, in an indulgent tone.

Ruth lifted her hat, and made with it a gesture which took in the entire horizon. "I wish to see everything in the world!" Jared took her hat away from her, put it on her head and secured it, or tried to secure it. "Will you take me, Jared? I mean some day?" she said, as he bungled with the cord, endeavoring to get it over her hair. "That's not the way." She unbuttoned the loop and adjusted it. It was a straw hat (thanks to Genevieve, a new one), which shaded her face, but left free, behind, the thick braids which covered her small head from crown to throat.

"Once, pussy, I might have answered yes. But now I'm not so sure," replied Jared, rather gloomily.

"I don't want to go, I wasn't in earnest; I only want to stay where you are," exclaimed his young sister, her mood changing. "But if only you had never left the navy! If only you were not tied down in that horrid, horrid Raleigh!"

"Is Raleigh so very horrid?" inquired Chase.

"Any place is horrid that keeps Jared shut up in a warehouse all day," announced Ruth, indignantly.

Mrs. Franklin, who was behind with Etheridge, came forward, took Ruth's arm, and led her back.

"She is sorry that you left the service?" Chase inquired of the brother.

Ruth overheard this question. "Jared was always well when he was in the navy," she called out. "No, His Grand, I will say it: he was always well, and he was happy too; Dolly has told me so. Now he is never well; he is growing so thin that I can't bear to see it. And as for happiness-he is miserable!" Her voice broke; she stood still, her breast heaving.

Jared strolled on, his hands in the pockets of his flannel coat. "It's nothing," he said to Chase, who was looking back; "she'll get over it in a moment. She says whatever comes into her head; we have spoiled her, I suppose. She was so much younger, you see; the last of my mother's six children. And the three who came before her had died in infancy, so there was a great to-do when this one lived."

Chase glanced back a second time. Ruth, Mrs. Franklin, and Etheridge had turned, and were going towards the hotel. "She appears to wish that you had remained in the navy; isn't that rather odd?" he inquired, the idea in his mind being simply the facilities that existed for seeing this idolized brother, now that Raleigh was his home instead of the ocean.

"Odd?" repeated Jared. And his tone had such a strange vibration that his companion turned and looked at him.

They continued their walk for an hour longer. When they came back, they found the commodore seated on the veranda of the cottage which had been arranged for their use by Chase's courier. Ruth and Mrs. Franklin were his companions, and Dolly was also there, resting on a sofa which had been rolled out from the room behind. Chase and Jared lighted cigars; Etheridge took out a cigarette.

"Now if we only had Maud Muriel with her long clay pipe!" said Ruth. There was no trace of trouble left in her voice; she had drawn her chair close to her brother's, and seated herself contentedly.

"It's to the pipe you owe the very clever likeness she has made of your scamp of a dog," remarked Etheridge. "The smoking relaxed her a little, without her knowing it, and so she didn't confine herself, as she usually does, to the purely commonplace side."

"Petie! A commonplace side!" protested Ruth.

"She now wishes me to sit to her," said Mrs. Franklin; "for my wrinkles have grown so deep lately that she is sure she can make something satisfactorily hideous. Oh, I don't mind the wrinkles, Mr. Chase!" (for Chase had begun to say, "Not at all, ma'am"). "I received my quietus long ago. When I was not quite forty, there was some question about a particular dress-maker whom I wished to see at McCreery's. 'Was she an old woman?' inquired an assistant. 'We have only one old fitter.' It proved to be the person I meant. She was of my own age. The same year I asked a young friend about a party which he had attended the night before. 'Dreadfully dull,' he answered. 'Nobody there but old frumps.' And the old frumps (as I happened to know) were simply twenty or thirty of my contemporaries."

"Yes, it's hard; I have often thought so!" said Etheridge, with conviction. "Men, you see, have no age. But nothing saves a woman."

"Yes, one thing-namely, to look like a sheep," replied Mrs. Franklin. "If a woman wishes her face to remain young, she must cultivate calm, and even stolidity; she must banish changing expressions; she must give her facial muscles many hours, daily, of absolute repose. Most of my wrinkles have been caused by my wretched habit of contorting my poor thin slave of a face, partly of course to show my intelligence and appreciation, but really, also, in a large measure from sympathy. I have smiled unflinchingly at other people's jokes, looked sad for their griefs, angry for their injuries; I have raised my eyebrows to my hair over their surprises, and knitted my forehead into knots over their mysteries; in short, I have never ceased to grimace. However, even to the sheep-women there comes the fatal moment when their cheeks begin to look like those of an old baby," she concluded, laughing.

Dolly, for once untalkative, had not paid attention to this conversation; the moon had risen, and she had been watching its radiance descend slowly and make a silver path across the river. It was so beautiful! And (a rare occurrence with Dolly) it led her to think of herself. "How I should have enjoyed, enjoyed, enjoyed everything if I had only been well!" Even the tenderly loving mother could not have comprehended fully her daughter's heart at that moment. For Mrs. Franklin had had her part, such as it was, on the stage of human existence, and had played it. But Dolly's regret was for a life unlived. "How enchantingly lovely!" she murmured aloud, looking at the moonlit water.

"Yes," said Etheridge; "and its greatest beauty is that it's primeval. Larue, I suppose, would call it primevalish!"

"I had thought of asking the senator to come along with us," observed Chase.

"In a sedan-chair?" inquired Etheridge. "I don't think you know what a petrified squam-doodle he is!"

"No, I can't say I do. I only know he's a senator, and we want some senators. To boom our Tyrol, you know. Generals, too. Cottages might be put up at pleasant points near Asheville-on Beaucatcher, for instance-and presented to half a dozen of the best-known Southern generals? What do you say to that?"

"Generals as much as you like; but when you and the Willoughbys spread your nets for senators, do select better specimens than Achilles Larue! He is only in the place temporarily at best; he'll be kicked out soon. He succeeded the celebrated old senator who had represented this state for years, and was as well known here, he and his trunk, as the mountains themselves. When he resigned, there happened to be no one of the right sort ready in the political field. Larue was here, he was a college-bred man, and he had some reputation as an author (he has written a dreadfully dull book, The Blue Ridge in the Glacial Period). He had a little money, too, and that was in his favor. So they put him in; and now they wish they hadn't! He has no magnetism, no go; nothing but his tiresome drawing-copy profile and his good clothes. You say you don't know what sort of a person he is? He is a decrier, sir; nothing ever fully pleases him. His opinions on all subjects are so clipped to the bone, so closely shaved and denuded, that they are like the plucked chickens, blue and skinny, that one sees for sale at a stall. Achilles Larue never smokes. On the hottest day Achilles Larue remains clammily cold. He has no appreciation of a good dinner; he lives on salt mackerel and digestive crackers. Finally, to sum him up, he is a man, sir, who can neither ride nor drive-a man who knows nothing whatever about a horse! What do you suppose he asked me, when I was looking at a Blue-Grass pacer last year? 'Does he possess endurance?' Yes-actually those words of a horse! 'Does he possess endurance?'" repeated Etheridge, pursing up his lips and pronouncing the syllables in a mincing tone.

"You say he has nothing but his drawing-copy profile and his good clothes," remarked Dolly. "But he has something more, commodore: the devotion of Mrs. Kip and Miss Billy Breeze."

Etheridge looked discomfited.

"Two ladies?" said Chase. "Why, he's in luck! Bachelor, I suppose?"

"He is a widower," answered Mrs. Franklin. "His wife happened to have been a fool. He now believes that all women are idiots."

"He is a man who has never written, and who never will write, a book that stands on its own feet, whether good or bad; but only books about books," grumbled Etheridge. "He has merely the commentator's mind. His views on the Glacial Period are all borrowed. He can't be original even about an iceberg!"

"The ladies I have mentioned think that his originality is his strongest point," objected Dolly. "He produces great effects by describing some one in this way, for instance: 'He had small eyes and a grin. He was remarkably handsome.' This leaves them open-mouthed. But Miss Billy herself, as she stands, is his greatest effect; she was never outlined in very vivid hues, and now she has so effaced herself, rubbed herself out, as it were (from fear lest he should call her 'sensational'), that she is like a skeleton leaf. She has the greatest desire to be 'delicate,' extremely delicate, in everything that she does; and she tries to sing, therefore, with so much expression that it's all expression and very little singing! 'Coarse!'-that is to her the most terrib

le word in the whole vocabulary. I asked her once whether her horned tryceratops, with his seventy-five feet of length, might not have been a little coarse in his manners."

"I declare I'll never go to see the woman again; she is such a goose!" exclaimed Etheridge, angrily.

Jared laughed. And then his mother laughed also, happy to see him amused. But at the same time she was thinking: "You may not go to see Billy. But, dear me! you will come to see us forever and forever!" And she had a weary vision of Etheridge, entering with his "hum-ha," and his air of youth, five or six times a week as long as she lived.

"Commodore," said Dolly, "you may not go to see Miss Breeze. But I am sure you will come to see us, with your cheerful hum-ha, and your youthful face, as long as we live."

Mrs. Franklin passed her hand over her forehead. "There it is again!" she thought. For, strangely often, Dolly would give voice to the very ideas that were passing through her mother's mind at the moment. At L'Hommedieu the two would fall into silence sometimes, and remain silent for a half-hour, one with her embroidery, the other with her knitting. And then when Dolly spoke at last, it would be of the exact subject which was in her mother's mind. Mrs. Franklin no longer exclaimed: "How could you know I was thinking of that!" It happened too often. She herself never divined Dolly's thoughts. It was Dolly who divined hers, most of the time unconsciously.

Meanwhile Etheridge had replied, in a reassuring voice: "Well, Dolly, I'll do my best; you may count upon that." And then Ruth, leaning her head against her brother's arm so that her face was hidden, laughed silently.

From the Warm Springs they drove over the Great Smoky Mountains into Tennessee. Then returning, making no haste, they climbed slowly up again among the peaks. At the top of the pass they paused to gaze at the far-stretching view-Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia; on the west, the Cumberland ranges sloping towards Chattanooga; in the east, the crowded summits of the Blue Ridge, their hue an unchanging azure; the Black Mountains with Mitchell, the Cat-tail Peak, the Balsams, the Hairy Bear, the Big Craggy, Great Pisgah, the Grandfather, and many more. The brilliant sunshine and the crystalline atmosphere revealed every detail-the golden and red tints of the gigantic bald cliffs near them, the foliage of every tree; the farm-houses like white dots thousands of feet below. Up here at the top of the pass there were no clearings visible; for long miles in every direction the forest held unbroken sway, filling the gorges like a leafy ocean, and sweeping up to the surrounding summits in the darker tints of the black balsams. The air was filled with delicate wild odors, a fragrance which is like no other-the breath of a virgin forest.

"And you want to put a railroad here?" broke out Dolly, suddenly. She addressed Horace Chase, who had drawn up his sorrels beside the carriage.

"Oh no, Miss Dolly; it can't get up so high, you know," he answered, not comprehending her dislike. "It will have to go through down below; tunnels."

"The principal objection I have to your railroad, Chase, is that it will bring railroad good-byes to this uncorrupted neighborhood," said Jared. "For there will be, of course, a station. And people will have to go there to see their friends off. The train will always be late in starting; then the heretofore sincere Ashevillians will be driven to all the usual exaggerations and falsities to fill the eternal time; they will have to repeat the same things over and over, stand first on one leg and then on the other, and smile until they are absolute clowns. Meanwhile their departing friends will be obliged to lean out of the car-windows in return, and repeat inanities and grin, until they too are perfectly haggard." Jared was now seated beside Etheridge; he had given up his place in the cart to Ruth for an hour or two. Several times Mrs. Franklin herself had tried the cart. She was very happy, for Jared had undoubtedly gained strength; there was a faint color in his cheeks, and his face looked less worn, his eyes a little less dreary.

"How I should like to see all the mountains!" exclaimed Ruth, suddenly, looking at the crowded circle of peaks.

"Well-I suppose there are some sort of roads?" Chase answered.

"Put the two pairs together and make a four-in-hand," suggested Etheridge, eagerly. "Then we might drive down Transylvania way. When I wasn't more than eighteen I often drove a four-in-hand over the-the-the range up there where I was born," he concluded, with fresh inward disgust over the forgotten name.

"The Green Mountains," said Mrs. Franklin.

"Not at all. The Catskills," Etheridge answered, curtly. His birthplace was Rutland, Vermont. But on principle he never acknowledged a forgotten title.

"This is the country of the moonshiners, isn't it?" asked Chase, his keen eyes glancing down a wild gorge.

"The young lady beside you can tell about that," Etheridge answered.

Chase turned to Ruth, surprised. The color was leaving her face. "Yes, I did see; I saw a man shot!" she said, her dark-fringed blue eyes lifted to his with an awe-struck expression. "It was at Crumb's, the house where we stayed the first night, you know. I was standing at the door. A man came running along the road, trying to reach the house. Behind him, not more than ten feet distant, came another man, also running. He held a pistol at arm's-length. He fired twice. After the first shot, the man in front still ran. After the second, he staggered along for a step or two, and then fell. And the other man disappeared." These short sentences came out in whispered tones; when she finished, her face was blanched.

"You ought not to have seen it. You ought not to have told me," said Chase, giving an indignant glance towards the carriage; he thought they should have prevented the narration.

"Oh, don't be disturbed, Mr. Chase," said Dolly, looking at him from her cushions with an amused smile. "The balls were extracted, and the man is now in excellent health. Ruth has a way of turning perfectly white and then enormously red on all occasions. She was much whiter last week when it was supposed that Petie Trone, Esq., had inflammation of the lungs."

And Ruth herself was already laughing again, and the red had returned.

"It was a revenue detective," explained Mrs. Franklin; "I mean the man who was shot. The mountaineers have always made whiskey, and they think that they have a right to make it; they look upon the detectives as spies."

But Chase had no sympathy for moonshiners; he was on the side of law and order. "The government should send up troops," he said. "What else are they for?"

"It is not the business of the army to hunt out illicit stills," replied Jared Franklin, all the ex-officer in his haughty tone.

"Well, maybe not; you see I'm only a civilian myself," remarked Chase, in a pacific voice. "Shall we go on?"

They started down the eastern slope. When the cart was at some distance in front, Ruth said: "Oh, Mr. Chase, thank you for answering so good-naturedly. My brother has in reality a sweet temper. But lately he has been so out of sorts, so unhappy."

"Yes, I am beginning to understand about that, Miss Ruth; I didn't at first. It's a great pity. Perhaps something can be done?"

"No; he can't get back into the navy now," said Ruth, sadly.

"But a change of some kind might be arranged," answered Chase, touching the off horse.

At the base of the mountains they followed the river road again, a rocky track, sometimes almost in the water, under towering cliffs that rose steeply, their summits leaning forward a little as though they would soon topple over. At many points it was a veritable ca?on, and the swift current of the stream foamed so whitely over the scattered rocks of its bed that it was like the rapids of Niagara. Here and there were bold islands; the forest on both sides was splendid with the rich tints of the Rhododendron maximum in full bloom; not patches or single bushes, but high thickets, a solid wall of blazing color.

Their stopping-place for the last evening was the farm-house called Crumb's, where they had also spent the first night of their journey on their way westward. Crumb's was one of the old farms; the grandfather of David Crumb had tilled the same acres. It was a pleasant place near the river, the house comparatively large and comfortable. The Crumbs were well-to-do in the limited mountain sense of the term, though they had probably never had a hundred dollars in cash in their lives. Mrs. Crumb, a lank woman with stooping shoulders and a soft, flat voice, received them without excitement. Nothing that life had to offer, for good or for ill, could ever bring excitement again to Portia Crumb. Her four sons had been killed in battle in Virginia, one after the other, and the mother lived on patiently. David Crumb was more rebellious against what he called their "bad luck." Once a week, and sometimes twice, he went to Asheville, making the journey a pretext for forgetting troubles according to the ancient way. He was at Asheville now, his wife explained, "with a load of wood." She did not add that he would probably return with a load of another sort-namely, a mixture of whiskey and repentance. The two never spoke of their lost boys; when they talked together it was always about "the craps."

Porshy, as her friends called her, having been warned by Chase's courier that her former guests were returning, had set her supper-table with care. People stopped at Crumb's perforce; for, save at Warm Springs, there were no inns in the French Broad Valley. Ruth had been there often. For the girl, who was a fearless horsewoman, was extravagantly fond of riding; at one time or another she had ridden almost every horse in Asheville, including old Daniel himself. Of late years the Crumbs would have been glad to be relieved of all visitors. But the mountain farmers of the South are invariably hospitable-hospitable even with their last slice of corn-bread, their last cup of coffee. Porshy, therefore, had brought out her best table-cloth (homespun, like her sheets), her six thin silver teaspoons, her three china teacups and saucers. "Yes, rale chiny, you bet," she had said, in her gentle, lifeless voice, when Mrs. Franklin, who knew the tragedy of the house, was benevolently admiring the painstaking effort. The inevitable hot biscuits were waiting in a flat pan, together with fried bacon and potatoes and coffee. Chase's supplies of potted meats, hot-house fruit, and excellent champagne made the meal an extraordinary combination. The table was set in the kitchen, which was also the living-room. One end of the large, low-browed apartment was blocked by the loom, for Portia had been accustomed to spin, weave, dye, and fashion all the garments worn by herself and her family.

As they left the table, the sinking sun sent his horizontal beams through the open windows in a flood of golden light. "Let us go up to the terrace," said Ruth.

The terrace was a plateau on the mountain-side at some distance above; a winding path led thither through the thick forest. "It is too far," said Mrs. Franklin. "It is at least a mile from here, and a steep climb all the way; and, besides, it will soon be dark."

"Oh, but I want to go immensely, His Grand. Mr. Chase liked it so much when we were up there on our way out that he says it shall be named after me. And perhaps they will put up a cottage."

"Yes, Ruth's Terrace, ma'am. That is the name I propose," said Chase.

"There will be light enough to go up; and then we can wait there until the moon rises," continued Ruth. "The moon is full to-night, and the view will be lovely. You will go, Jared, won't you? Oh, please!"

She had her way, as usual. Chase and Jared, lighting cigars, prepared to accompany her.

"You'll stay here, I suppose, commodore?" said Chase.

"Stay here! By no means. There is nothing I like better than an evening stroll," answered Etheridge, heroically. And, lighting a cigarette, he walked on in advance, swinging his cane with an air of meditative enjoyment.

Dolly and Mrs. Franklin, meanwhile, sat beside the small fire which Portia had made on the broad hearth of her "best room." The fire, of aromatic "fat-pine" splinters only, without large sticks, had been kindled more on account of the light than from any need of its warmth; for the evening, though cool, was not cold. The best room, however, was large, and the great forest and cliffs outside, and the wild river, made the little blaze seem cheerful. Portia had been proud of this apartment in the old days before the war. In one corner there was a bed covered with a brilliant patch-work quilt; on the mantel-piece there was an old accordion, and a vase for flowers whose design was a hand holding a cornucopia; the floor was covered by a rag carpet; and tacked on the walls in a long row were colored fashion plates from Godey's Lady's Book for 1858. At ten o'clock Ruth and the commodore came in. But long after midnight, when the others were asleep, Chase and Jared Franklin still strolled to and fro along the river road in the moonlight, talking. The next day they all returned to Asheville.

At the end of the week, when Jared went back to his business, Chase accompanied him. "I thought I might as well take a look at that horrid Raleigh," he said to Ruth, with solemn humor. "You see, I have been laboring under the impression that it was a very pretty place-a mistake which evidently wants to be cleared up."

Ten days later the mud-bespattered Blue Ridge stage came slowly into Asheville at its accustomed hour. The mail-bags were thrown out, and then the postmaster, in his shirt-sleeves, with his spectacles on his nose and his straw hat tilted back on his head, began the distribution of their contents, assisted (through the open windows) by the usual group of loungers. This friendly audience had its elbows on the sill. It made accompanying comments as follows: "Hurry up, you veteran of the Mexican war!" "That letter ain't for Johnny Monroe. It's for Jem Morse; I can see the direction from here. Where's your eyes?" "Six for General Cyarter? Lucky reb, he is!"

Twenty minutes later Genevieve Franklin entered the parlor of L'Hommedieu, a flush of deep rose-color in each cheek, her eyes lustrous. "Mamma, a letter from Jay! It is too good-I cannot tell you-" Her words came out pantingly, for she had been running; she sat down with her hand over her breast as if to help herself breathe.

"From Jared? Oh, where are my glasses?" said Mrs. Franklin, searching vainly in her pocket and then on the table. "Here, Dolly. Quick! Read it!"

And then Dolly, also excited, read Jared's letter aloud.

Ruth came in in time to hear this sentence: "I am to have charge of their Charleston office (the office of the Columbian Line), at a salary of three thousand dollars a year."

"Who? What? Not Jared? And at Charleston?" cried the girl, clapping her hands. "Oh, how splendid! For it's the water, you know; the salt-water at last. With the ships coming and going, and the ocean, it won't be so awfully inland to him, poor fellow, as Raleigh and Atlanta."

"And the large salary," said Genevieve, still breathless. "That's Horrie! I have felt sure, from the first, that he would do something for us. Such an old friend of mine. Dear, dear Horrie!"

A week later Chase returned. "Yes, he'll get off to Charleston, ma'am, in a few days," he said to Mrs. Franklin. "When he is settled there, you must pay him a visit. I guess you'll end by going there to live."

"Oh, we can't; we have this house, and no house there. If I could only sell that place in Florida! However, we can stop in Charleston when we go to Florida this winter. That is, if we go," added the mother, remembering her load of debts. But she soon forgot it again; she forgot everything save her joy in the brighter life for her son. "How can I thank you?" she said to Chase, gratefully.

"Oh, it's no favor, ma'am. We have always needed a first-class man at Charleston, and we've never had it; we think ourselves very lucky in being able to secure Mr. Franklin."

As he went back to the Old North with Etheridge, whom he had met at L'Hommedieu (as Mrs. Franklin would have said, "of course!"), Chase added some further particulars. "You never saw such a mess as he'd made of it, commodore. He told me-we had a good deal of talk when we took that French Broad drive-that his business wasn't what he had hoped it would be when he went into it; that he was afraid it was running down. Running down? It was at a standstill; six months more, and he would have been utterly swamped. The truth is, he didn't know how to manage it. How should he? What does a navy man know about leather? He saw that it was all wrong, yet he didn't know how to help it; that took the heart out of him, you see. There was no use in going on with it a day longer; and so I told him, as soon as I had looked into the thing a little. He has, therefore, made an arrangement-sold out. And now he is going to take a place at Charleston-our Columbian Line."

"To the tune of three thousand dollars a year, I understand?"

"He'll be worth it to us. A navy officer as agent will be a feather in our caps. It's a pity he couldn't take command of one of our steamers-with his hankering for the sea. Our steamer officers wear uniforms, you know?"

"Take care that he doesn't knock you down," said Etheridge, dryly.

"Oh, I haven't suggested it. I see he's cranky," Chase answered.

When Jared Franklin reached Charleston, he went to the office of the Columbian Company. It faced a wharf or dock, and from its windows he could see the broad harbor, the most beautiful port of the South Atlantic coast. He looked at Fort Sumter, then off towards the low white beaches of Morris Island; he knew the region well; his ship had lain outside during the war. Deliciously sweet to him was the salt tang of the sea; already, miles inland, he had perceived it, and had put his head out of the car window; the salt marshes had been to him like a tonic, as the train rushed past. The ocean out there in the east, too, that was rather better than a clattering street! Words could never express how he loathed the remembrance of the hides and the leather. A steamer of the Columbian Line came in. He went on board, contemptuous of everything, of course, but enjoying that especial species of contempt. Ascending to the upper deck, he glanced at the rigging and smoke-stacks. They were not what he approved of; but, oh! the solace of abusing any sort of rigging outlined against the sky! He went down and looked at the engines; he spoke to the engineer; he prowled all over the ship, from stem to stern, his feet enjoying the sensation of something underneath them that floated. That evening, seated on a bench at the Battery, with his arms on the railing, he looked out to sea. His beloved old life came back to him; all his cruises-the Mediterranean ports, Villefranche and the Bay of Naples; the harbors of China, Rio Janeiro, Alexandria; tropical islands; the color of the Pacific-while the wash of the water below sounded in his ears. At last, long after midnight, he rose; he came back to reality again. "Well, even this is a great windfall. And I must certainly do the best I can for that long-legged fellow"-so he said to himself as he went up Meeting Street towards his hotel. He liked Chase after a fashion; he appreciated his friendliness and his genius for business. But this was the way he thought of him-"that long-legged fellow." Chase's fortune made no impression upon him. At heart he had the sailor's chronic indifference to money-making. But at heart he had also something else-Genevieve; Genevieve and her principles and plans, Genevieve and her rules.

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