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   Chapter 4 GREENWOOD

The Long Roll By Mary Johnston Characters: 37892

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

The April sunshine, streaming in at the long windows, filled the Greenwood drawing-room with dreamy gold. It lit the ancient wall-paper where the shepherds and shepherdesses wooed between garlands of roses, and it aided the tone of time among the portraits. The boughs of peach and cherry blossoms in the old potpourri jars made it welcome, and the dark, waxed floor let it lie in faded pools. Miss Lucy Cary was glad to see it as she sat by the fire knitting fine white wool into a sacque for a baby. There was a fire of hickory, but it burned low, as though it knew the winter was over. The knitter's needles glinted in the sunshine. She was forty-eight and unmarried, and it was her delight to make beautiful, soft little sacques and shoes and coverlets for every actual or prospective baby in all the wide circle of her kindred and friends.

A tap at the door, and the old Greenwood butler entered with the mail-bag. Miss Lucy, laying down her knitting, took it from him with eager fingers. Place à la poste-in eighteen hundred and sixty-one! She untied the string, emptied letters and papers upon the table beside her, and began to sort them. Julius, a spare and venerable piece of grey-headed ebony, an autocrat of exquisite manners and great family pride, stood back a little and waited for directions.

Miss Lucy, taking up one after another the contents of the bag, made her comments half aloud. "Newspapers, newspapers! Nothing but the twelfth and Fort Sumter! The Whig.-'South Carolina is too hot-headed!-but when all's said, the North remains the aggressor.' The Examiner.-'Seward's promises are not worth the paper they are written upon.' 'Faith as to Sumter fully kept-wait and see.' That which was seen was a fleet of eleven vessels, with two hundred and eighty-five guns and twenty-four hundred men-'carrying provisions to a starving garrison!' Have done with cant, and welcome open war! The Enquirer.-'Virginia will still succeed in mediating. Virginia from her curule chair, tranquil and fast in the Union, will persuade, will reconcile these differences!' Amen to that!" said Miss Lucy, and took up another bundle. "The Staunton Gazette-The Farmer's Magazine-The Literary Messenger-My Blackwood-Julius!"

"Yaas, Miss Lucy."

"Julius, the Reverend Mr. Corbin Wood will be here for supper and to spend the night. Let Car'line know."

"Yaas, Miss Lucy. Easter's Jim hab obsarved to me dat Marse Edward am conducin' home a gent'man from Kentucky."

"Very well," said Miss Lucy, still sorting. "The Winchester Times-The Baltimore Sun.-The mint's best, Julius, in the lower bed. I walked by there this morning.-Letters for my brother! I'll readdress these, and Easter's Jim must take them to town in time for the Richmond train."

"Yaas, Miss Lucy. Easter's Jim hab imported dat Marse Berkeley Cyarter done recompense him on de road dis mahnin' ter know when Marster's comin' home."

"Just as soon," said Miss Lucy, "as the Convention brings everybody to their senses.-Three letters for Edward-one in young Beaufort Porcher's writing. Now we'll hear the Charleston version-probably he fired the first shot!-A note for me.-Julius, the Palo Alto ladies will stop by for dinner to-morrow. Tell Car'line."

"Yaas, Miss Lucy."

Miss Lucy took up a thick, bluish envelope. "From Fauquier at last-from the Red River." She opened the letter, ran rapidly over the half-dozen sheets, then laid them aside for a more leisurely perusal. "It's one of his swift, light, amusing letters! He hasn't heard about Sumter.-There'll be a message for you, Julius. There always is."

Julius's smile was as bland as sunshine. "Yaas, Miss Lucy. I 'spects dar'll be some excommunication fer me. Marse Fauquier sho' do favour Old Marster in dat.-He don' never forgit! 'Pears ter me he'd better come home-all dis heah congratulatin' backwards an' forwards wid gunpowder over de kintry! Gunpowder gwine burn ef folk git reckless!"

Miss Lucy sighed. "It will that, Julius,-it's burning now. Edward from Sally Hampton. More Charleston news!-One for Molly, three for Unity, five for Judith-"

"Miss Judith jes' sont er 'lumination by one of de chillern at de gate. She an' Marse Maury Stafford'll be back by five. Dey ain' gwine ride furder'n Monticello."

"Very well. Mr. Stafford will be here to supper, then. Hairston Breckinridge, too, I imagine. Tell Car'line."

Miss Lucy readdressed the letters for her brother, a year older than herself, and the master of Greenwood, a strong Whig influence in his section of the State, and now in Richmond, in the Convention there, speaking earnestly for amity, a better understanding between Sovereign States, and a happily restored Union. His wife, upon whom he had lavished an intense and chivalric devotion, was long dead, and for years his sister had taken the head of his table and cared like a mother for his children.

She sat now, at work, beneath the portrait of her own mother. As good as gold, as true as steel, warm-hearted and large-natured, active, capable, and of a sunny humour, she kept her place in the hearts of all who knew her. Not a great beauty as had been her mother, she was yet a handsome woman, clear brunette with bright, dark eyes and a most likable mouth. Miss Lucy never undertook to explain why she had not married, but her brothers thought they knew. She finished the letters and gave them to Julius. "Let Easter's Jim take them right away, in time for the evening train.-Have you seen Miss Unity?"

"Yaas, ma'am. Miss Unity am in de flower gyarden wid Marse Hairston Breckinridge. Dey're training roses."

"Where is Miss Molly?"

"Miss Molly am in er reverence over er big book in de library."

The youngest Miss Cary's voice floated in from the hall. "No, I'm not, Uncle Julius. Open the door wider, please!" Julius obeyed, and she entered the drawing-room with a great atlas outspread upon her arms. "Aunt Lucy, where are all these places? I can't find them. The Island and Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens, and the rest of them! I wish when bombardments and surrenders and exciting things happen they'd happen nearer home!"

"Child, child!" cried Miss Lucy, "don't you ever say such a thing as that again! The way you young people talk is enough to bring down a judgment upon us! It's like Sir Walter crying 'Bonny bonny!' to the jagged lightnings. You are eighty years away from a great war, and you don't know what you are talking about, and may you never be any nearer!-Yes, Julius, that's all. Tell Easter's Jim to go right away.-Now, Molly, this is the island, and here is Fort Moultrie and here Fort Sumter. I used to know Charleston, when I was a girl. I can see now the Battery, and the blue sky, and the roses,-and the roses."

She took up her knitting and made a few stitches mechanically, then laid it down and applied herself to Fauquier Cary's letter. Molly, ensconced in a window, was already busy with her own. Presently she spoke. "Miriam Cleave says that Will passed his examination higher than any one."

"That is good!" said Miss Lucy. "They all have fine minds-the Cleaves. What else does she say?"

"She says that Richard has given her a silk dress for her birthday, and she's going to have it made with angel sleeves, and wear a hoop with it. She's sixteen-just like me."

"Richard's a good brother."

"She says that Richard has gone to Richmond-something about arms for his Company of Volunteers. Aunt Lucy-"

"Yes, dear."

"I think that Richard loves Judith."

"Molly, Molly, stop romancing!"

"I am not romancing. I don't believe in it. That week last summer he used to watch her and Mr. Stafford-and there was a look in his eyes like the knight's in the 'Arcadia'-"

"Molly! Molly!"

"And everybody knew that Mr. Stafford was a suitor. I knew it-Easter told me. And everybody thought that Judith was going to make him happy, only she doesn't seem to have done so-at least, not yet. And there was the big tournament, and Richard and Dundee took all the rings, though I know that Mr. Stafford had expected to, and Judith let Richard crown her queen, but she looked just as pale and still! and Richard had a line between his brows, and I think he thought she would rather have had the Maid of Honour's crown that Mr. Stafford won and gave to just a little girl-"

"Molly, I am going to lock up every poetry book in the house-"

"And that was one day, and the next morning Richard looked stern and fine, and rode away. He isn't really handsome-not like Edward, that is-only he has a way of looking so. And Judith-"

"Molly, you're uncanny-"

"I'm not uncanny. I can't help seeing. And the night after the tournament I slept in Judith's room, and I woke up three times, and each time there was Judith still sitting in the window, in the moonlight, and the roses Richard had crowned her with beside her in grandmother's Lowestoft bowl. And each time I asked her, 'Why don't you come to bed, Judith?' and each time she said, 'I'm not sleepy.' Then in the morning Richard rode away, and the next day was Sunday, and Judith went to church both morning and evening, and that night she took so long to say her prayers she must have been praying for the whole world-"

Miss Lucy rose with energy. "Stop, Molly! I shouldn't have let you ever begin. It's not kind to watch people like that."

"I wasn't watching Judith," said Molly. "I'd scorn to do such a thing! I was just seeing. And I never said a word about her and Richard until this instant when the sunshine came in somehow and started it. And I don't know that she likes Richard any more. I think she's trying hard to like Mr. Stafford-he wants her to so much!"

"Stop talking, honey, and don't have so many fancies, and don't read so much poetry!-Who is it coming up the drive?"

"It's Mr. Wood on his old grey horse-like a nice, quiet knight out of the 'Faery Queen.' Didn't you ever notice, Aunt Lucy, how everybody really belongs in a book?"

On the old, broad, pillared porch the two found the second Miss Cary and young Hairston Breckinridge. Apparently in training the roses they had discovered a thorn. They sat in silence-at opposite sides of the steps-nursing the recollection. Breckinridge regarded the toe of his boot, Unity the distant Blue Ridge, until, Mr. Corbin Wood and his grey horse coming into view between the oaks, they regarded him.

"The air," said Miss Lucy, from the doorway, "is turning cold. What did you fall out about?"

"South Carolina," answered Unity, with serenity. "It's not unlikely that our grandchildren will be falling out about South Carolina. Mr. Breckinridge is a Democrat and a fire-eater. Anyhow, Virginia is not going to secede just because he wants her to!"

The angry young disciple of Calhoun opposite was moved to reply, but at that moment Mr. Corbin Wood arriving before the steps, he must perforce run down to greet him and help him dismount. A negro had hardly taken the grey, and Mr. Wood was yet speaking to the ladies upon the porch, when two other horsemen appeared, mounted on much more fiery steeds, and coming at a gait that approached the ancient "planter's pace." "Edward and Hilary Preston," said Miss Lucy, "and away down the road, I see Judith and Mr. Stafford."

The two in advance riding up the drive beneath the mighty oaks and dismounting, the gravel space before the white-pillared porch became a scene of animation, with beautiful, spirited horses, leaping dogs, negro servants, and gay horsemen. Edward Cary sprang up the steps. "Aunt Lucy, you remember Hilary Preston!-and this is my sister Unity, Preston,-the Quakeress we call her! and this is Molly, the little one!-Mr. Wood, I am very glad to see you, sir! Aunt Lucy! Virginia Page, the two Masons, and Nancy Carter are coming over after supper with Cousin William, and I fancy that Peyton and Dabney and Rives and Lee will arrive about the same time. We might have a little dance, eh? Here's Stafford with Judith, now!"

In the Greenwood drawing-room, after candle-light, they had the little dance. Negro fiddlers, two of them, born musicians, came from the quarter. They were dressed in an elaborate best, they were as suavely happy as tropical children, and beamingly eager for the credit in the dance, as in all things else, of "de fambly." Down came the bow upon the strings, out upon the April night floated "Money Musk!" All the furniture was pushed aside, the polished floor gave back the lights. From the walls men and women of the past smiled upon a stage they no longer trod, and between garlands of roses the shepherds and shepherdesses pursued their long, long courtship. The night was mild, the windows partly open, the young girls dancing in gowns of summery stuff. Their very wide skirts were printed over with pale flowers, their bodices were cut low, with a fall of lace against the white bosom. The hair was worn smooth and drawn over the ear, with on either side a bright cluster of blossoms. The fiddlers played "Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre." Laughter, quick and gay, or low and ripplingly sweet, flowed through the old room. The dances were all square, for there existed in the country a prejudice against round dancing. Once Edward Cary pushed a friend down on the piano stool, and whirled with Nancy Carter into the middle of the room in a waltz. But Miss Lucy shook her head at her nephew, and Cousin William gazed sternly at Nancy, and the fiddlers looked scandalized. Scipio, the old, old one, who could remember the Lafayette ball, held his bow awfully poised.

Judith Cary, dressed in a soft, strange, dull blue, and wearing a little crown of rosy flowers, danced along like the lady of Saint Agnes Eve. Maury Stafford marked how absent was her gaze, and he hoped that she was dreaming of their ride that afternoon, of the clear green woods and the dogwood stars, and of some words that he had said. In these days he was hoping against hope. Well off and well-bred, good to look at, pleasant of speech, at times indolent, at times ardent, a little silent on the whole, and never failing to match the occasion with just the right shade of intelligence, a certain grip and essence in this man made itself felt like the firm bed of a river beneath the flowing water. He was not of Albemarle; he was of a tide-water county, but he came to Albemarle and stayed with kindred, and no one doubted that he strove for an Albemarle bride. It was the opinion of the county people that he would win her. It was hard to see why he should not. He was desperately in love, and far too determined to take the first "No" for an answer. Until the last eight months it had been his own conclusion that he would win.

The old clock in the hall struck ten; in an interval between the dances Judith slipped away. Stafford wished to follow her, but Cousin William held him like the Ancient Mariner and talked of the long past on the Eastern Shore. Judith, entering the library, came upon the Reverend Mr. Corbin Wood, deep in a great chair and a calf-bound volume. "Come in, come in, Judith my dear, and tell me about the dance."

"It is a pretty dance," said Judith. "Do you think it would be very wrong of you to watch it?"

Mr. Wood, the long thin fingers of one hand lightly touching the long thin fingers of the other hand, considered the matter. "Why, no," he said in a mellow and genial voice. "Why, no-it is always hard for me to think that anything beautiful is wrong. It is this way. I go into the drawing-room and watch you. It is, as you say, a very pretty sight! But if I find it so and still keep a long face, I am to myself something of a hypocrite. And if I testify my delight, if I am absorbed in your evolutions, and think only of springtime and growing things, and show my thought, then to every one of you, and indeed to myself too, my dear, I am something out of my character! So it seems better to sit here and read Jeremy Taylor."

"You have the book upside down," said Judith softly. Her old friend put on his glasses, gravely looked, and reversed the volume. He laughed, and then he sighed. "I was thinking of the country, Judith. It's the only book that is interesting now-and the recital's tragic, my dear; the recital's tragic!"

From the hall came Edward Cary's voice, "Judith, Judith, we want you for the reel!"

In the drawing-room the music quickened. Scipio played with all his soul, his eyes uprolled, his lips parted, his woolly head nodding, his vast foot beating time; young Eli, black and shining, seconded him ably; without the doors and windows gathered the house servants, absorbed, admiring, laughing without noise. The April wind, fragrant of greening forests, ploughed land, and fruit trees, blew in and out the long, thin curtains. Faster went the bow upon the fiddle, the room became more brilliant and more dreamy. The flowers in the old, old blue jars grew pinker, mistier, the lights had halos, the portraits smiled forthright; but from greater distances, the loud ticking of the clock without the door changed to a great rhythm, as though Time were using a violin string. The laughter swelled, waves of brightness went through the ancient room. They danced the "Virginia Reel."

Miss Lucy, sitting beside Cousin William on the sofa, raised her head. "Horses are coming up the drive!"

"That's not unusual," said Cousin William, with a smile. "Why do you look so startled?"

"I don't know. I thought-but that's not possible." Miss Lucy half rose, then took her seat again. Cousin William listened. "The air's very clear to-night, and there must be an echo. It does sound like a great body of horsemen coming out of the distance."

"Balance corners!" called Eli. "Swing yo' partners!-Sachay!"

The music drew to a height, the lights burned with a fuller power, the odour of the flowers spread, subtle and intense. The dancers moved more and more quickly. "There are only three horses," said Cousin William, "two in front and one behind. Two gentlemen and a servant. Now they are crossing the little bridge. Shall I go see who they are?"

Miss Lucy rose. Outside a dog had begun an excited and joyous barking. "That's Gelert! It's my brother he is welcoming!" From the porch came a burst of negro voices. "Who dat comin' up de drive? Who dat, Gelert?-Dat's marster!-Go 'way, 'ooman! don' tell me he in Richmon'! Dat's marster!"

The reel ended suddenly. There was a sound of dismounting, a step upon the porch, a voice. "Father, father!" cried Judith, and ran into the hall.

A minute later the master of Greenwood, his children about him, entered the drawing-room. Behind him came Richard Cleave. There was a momentary confusion of greeting; it passed, and from the two men, travel-stained, fatigued, pale with some suppressed emotion, there sped to the gayer company a subtle wave of expectation and alarm. Miss Lucy was the first whom it reached. "What is it, brother?" she said quickly. Cousin

William followed, "For God's sake, Cary, what has happened?" Edward spoke from beside the piano, "Has it come, father?" With his words his hand fell upon the keys, suddenly and startlingly upon the bass.

The vibrations died away. "Yes, it has come, Edward," said the master. Holding up his hand for silence, he moved to the middle of the room, and stood there, beneath the lit candles, the swinging prisms of the chandelier. Peale's portrait of his father hung upon the wall. The resemblance was strong between the dead and the living.

"Be quiet, every one," he said now, speaking very quietly himself. "Is all the household here? Open the window wide, Julius. Let the house servants come inside. If there are men and women from the quarter on the porch, tell them to come closer, so that all may hear." Julius opened the long windows, the negroes came in, Mammy in her turban, Easter and Chloe the seamstresses, Car'line the cook, the housemaids, the dining-room boys, the young girls who waited upon the daughters of the house, Isham the coachman, Shirley the master's body-servant, Edward's boy Jeames, and the nondescript half dozen who helped the others. The ruder sort upon the porch, "outdoor" negroes drawn by the music and the spectacle from the quarter, approached the windows. Together they made a background, dark and exotic, splashed with bright colour, for the Aryan stock ranged to the front. The drawing-room was filled. Mr. Corbin Wood had come noiselessly in from the library, none was missing. Guests, family, and servants stood motionless. There was that in the bearing of the master which seemed, in the silence, to detach itself, and to come toward them like an emanation, cold, pure, and quiet, determined and imposing. He spoke. "I supposed that you had heard the news. Along the railroad and in Charlottesville it was known; there were great crowds. I see it has not reached you. Mr. Lincoln has called for seventy-five thousand troops with which to procure South Carolina and the Gulf States' return into the Union. He-the North-demands of Virginia eight thousand men to be used for this purpose. She will not give them. We have fought long and patiently for peace; now we fight no more on that field. Matters have brought me for a few hours to Albemarle. To-morrow I return to Richmond, to the Convention, to do that which I never thought to do, to give my voice for the secession of Virginia."

There was a general movement throughout the room. "So!" said Corbin Wood very softly. Cousin William rose from the sofa, drew a long breath, and smote his hands together. "It had to come, Cary, it had to come! North and South, we've pulled in different directions for sixty years! The cord had to snap." From among the awed servants came the voice of old Isham the coachman, "'Secession!' What dat wuhd 'Secession,' marster?"

"That word," answered Warwick Cary, "means, Isham, that Virginia leaves of her free will a Union that she entered of her free will. The terms of that Union have been broken; she cannot, within it, preserve her integrity, her dignity, and her liberty. Therefore she uses the right which she reserved-the right of self-preservation. Unterrified she entered the Union, unterrified she leaves it."

He paused, standing in the white light of the candles, among his children, kinsmen, friends, and slaves. To the last, if ingrained affection, tolerance, and understanding, quiet guidance, patient care, a kindly heart, a ready ear, a wise and simple dealing with a simple, not wise folk, are true constituents of friendship, he was then their friend as well as their master. They with all the room hung now upon his words. The light wind blew the curtains out like streamers, the candles flickered, petals from the blossoms in the jars fell on the floor, the clock that had ticked in the hall for a hundred years struck eleven. "There will be war," said the master. "There should not be, but there will be. How long it will last, how deadly its nature, no man can tell! The North has not thought us in earnest, but the North is mistaken. We are in earnest. War will be for us a desperate thing. We are utterly unprepared; we are seven million against twenty million, an agricultural country against a manufacturing one. We have little shipping, they have much. They will gain command of the sea. If we can get our cotton to Europe we will have gold; therefore, if they can block our ports they will do it. There are those who think the powers will intervene and that we will have England or France for our ally. I am not of them. The odds are greatly against us. We have struggled for peace; apparently we cannot have it; now we will fight for the conviction that is in us. It will be for us a war of defence, with the North for the invader, and Virginia will prove the battle-ground. I hold it very probable that there are men here to-night who will die in battle. You women are going to suffer-to suffer more than we. I think of my mother and of my wife, and I know that you will neither hold us back nor murmur. All that is courageous, all that is heroically devoted, Virginia expects and will receive from you." He turned to face more fully the crowding negroes. "To every man and woman of you here, not the less my friends that you are called my servants, emancipated at my death, every one of you, by that will which I read to you years ago, each of you having long known that you have but to ask for your freedom in my lifetime to have it-to you all I speak. Julius, Shirley, Isham, Scipio, Mammy, and the rest of you, there are hard times coming! My son and I will go to war. Much will be left in your trust. As I and mine have tried to deal by you, so do you deal by us-"

Shirley raised his voice. "Don' leave nothin' in trus' ter me, marster! Kase I's gwine wid you! Sho! Don' I know dat when gent'men fight dey gwine want dey bes' shu't, an dey hat breshed jes' right! I'se gwine wid you!" A face as dark as charcoal, with rolling eyes, looked over mammy's shoulder. "Ain' Marse Edward gwine? 'Cose he gwine! Den Jeames gwine, too!" A murmuring sound came from the band of servants. They began to rock themselves, to strike with the tongue the roof of the mouth, to work toward a camp-meeting excitement. Out on the porch Big Mimy, the washerwoman, made herself heard. "Des' let um dar ter come fightin' Greenwood folk! Des' let me hab at um with er tub er hot water!" Scipio, old and withered as a last year's reed, began to sway violently. Suddenly he broke into a chant. "Ain' I done heard about hit er million times? Dar wuz Gineral Lafayette an' dar wuz Gineral Rochambeau, an' dar wuz Gineral Washington! An' dar wuz Light Horse Harry Lee, an' dar wuz Marse Fauquier Cary dat wuz marster's gran'father, an' Marse Edward Churchill! An' dey took de swords, an' dey made to stack de ahms, an' dey druv-an' dey druv King Pharaoh into de sea! Ain' dey gwine ter do hit ergain? Tell me dat! Ain' dey gwine ter do hit ergain?"

The master signed with his hand. "I trust you-one and all. I'll speak to you again before I go away to-morrow, but now we'll say good-night. Good-night, Mammy, Isham, Scipio, Easter, all of you!"

They went, one by one, each with his bow or her curtsy. Mammy paused a moment to deliver her pronunciamento. "Don' you fret, marster! I ain' gwine let er soul tech one er my chillern!" Julius followed her. "Dat's so, marster! An' Gawd Ermoughty knows I'se gwine always prohibit jes' de same care ob de fambly an' de silver!"

When they were gone came the leave-taking of the guests, of all who were not to sleep that night at Greenwood. Maury Stafford was to stay, and Mr. Corbin Wood. Of those going Cousin William was the only one of years; the others were all young,-young men, young women on the edge of an unthought-of experience, on the brink of a bitter, tempestuous, wintry sea. They did not see it so; there was danger, of course, but they thought of splendour and heroism, of trumpet calls and waving banners. They were much excited; the young girls half frightened, the men wild to be at home, with plans for volunteering. "Good-bye, and good-bye, and good-bye again! and when it's all over-it will be over in three months, will it not, sir?-we'll finish the 'Virginia Reel!'"

The large, old coach and the saddle horses were brought around. They drove or rode away, through the April night, by the forsythia and the flowering almond, between the towering oaks, over the bridge with a hollow sound. Those left behind upon the Greenwood porch, clustered at the top of the steps, between the white pillars, stood in silence until the noise of departure had died away. Warwick Cary, his arm around Molly, his hand in Judith's, Unity's cheek resting against his shoulder, then spoke. "It is the last merry-making, poor children! Well-'Time and tide run through the longest day!'" He disengaged himself, kissed each of his daughters, and turned toward the lighted hall. "There are papers in the library which I must go over to-night. Edward, you had best come with me."

Father and son left the porch. Miss Lucy, too, went indoors, called Julius, and began to give directions. Ready and energetic, she never wasted time in wonder at events. The event once squarely met, she struck immediately into the course it demanded, cheerfully, without repining, and with as little attention as possible to forebodings. Her voice died away toward the back of the house. The moon was shining, and the lawn lay chequered beneath the trees. Corbin Wood, who had been standing in a brown study, began to descend the steps. "I'll take a little walk, Judith, my dear," he said, "and think it over! I'll let myself in." He was gone walking rapidly, not toward the big gate and the road, but across to the fields, a little stream, and a strip that had been left of primeval forest. Unity and Molly, moving back to the doorstep, sat there whispering together in the light from the hall. Judith and Richard were left almost alone, Judith leaning against a white pillar, Cleave standing a step or two below her.

"You have been in Richmond?" she said. "Molly had a letter from Miriam-"

"Yes, I went to find, if possible, rifled muskets for my company. I did not do as well as I had hoped-the supply is dreadfully small-but I secured a few. Two thirds of us will have to manage, until we can do better, with the smoothbore and even with the old flintlock. I have seen a breech-loader made in the North. I wish to God we had it!"

"You are going back to Botetourt?"

"As soon as it is dawn. The company will at once offer its services to the governor. Every moment now is important."

"At dawn.... You will be its captain?"

"I suppose so. We will hold immediately an election of officers-and that's as pernicious a method of officering companies and regiments as can be imagined! 'They are volunteers, offering all-they can be trusted to choose their leaders.' I don't perceive the sequence."

"I think that you will make a good captain."

He smiled. "Why, then, the clumsy thing will work for once! I'll try to be a good captain.-The clock is striking. I do not know when nor how I shall see Greenwood again. Judith, you'll wish me well?"

"Will I wish you well, Richard? Yes, I will wish you well. Do not go at dawn."

He looked at her. "Do you ask me to wait?"

"Yes, I ask you. Wait till-till later in the morning. It is so sad to say good-bye."

"I will wait then." The light from the hall lay unbroken on the doorstep. Molly and Unity had disappeared. A little in yellow lamplight, chiefly in silver moonlight the porch lay deserted and quiet before the murmuring oaks, above the fair downward sweep of grass and flowers. "It is long," said Cleave, "since I have been here. The day after the tournament-"


He came nearer. "Judith, was it so hard to forgive-that tournament? You had both crowns, after all."

"I do not know," said Judith, "what you mean."

"Do you remember-do you remember last Christmas when, going to Lauderdale, I passed you on your way to Silver Hill?"

"Yes, I remember."

"I was on my way to Lauderdale, not to see Fauquier, but to see you. I wished to ask you a question-I wished to make certain. And then you passed me going to Silver Hill, and I said, 'It is certainly so.' I have believed it to be so. I believe it now. And yet I ask you to-night-Judith-"

"You ask me what?" said Judith. "Here is Mr. Stafford."

Maury Stafford came into the silver space before the house, glanced upward, and mounted the steps. "I walked as far as the gate with Breckinridge. He tells me, Mr. Cleave, that he is of your Company of Volunteers."


"I shall turn my face toward the sea to-morrow. Heigho! War is folly at the best. And you?-"

"I leave Greenwood in the morning."

The other, leaning against a pillar, drew toward him a branch of climbing rose. The light from the hall struck against him. He always achieved the looking as though he had stepped from out a master-canvas. To-night this was strongly so. "In the morning! You waste no time. Unfortunately I cannot get away for another twenty-four hours." He let the rose bough go and turned to Judith. His voice when he spoke to her became at once low and musical. There was light enough to see the flush in his cheek, the ardour in his eye. "'Unfortunately!' What a word to use in leaving Greenwood! No! For me most fortunately I must wait another four and twenty hours."

"Greenwood," said Judith, "will be lonely without old friends." As she spoke, she moved toward the house door. In passing a great porch chair her dress caught on the twisted wood. Both men started forward, but Stafford was much the nearer to her. Released, she thanked him with grave kindness, went on to the doorway, and there turned, standing a moment in her drapery of dim blue, in the two lights. She had about her a long scarf of black lace, and now she drew it closer, holding it beneath her chin with a hand slender, fine, and strong. "Good-night," she said. "It is not long to morning, now. Good-night, Mr. Stafford. Good-night, Richard."

The "good-night" that Stafford breathed after her needed no commentary. It was that of the lover confessed. Cleave, from his side of the porch, looked across and thought, "I will be a fool no longer. She was merely kind to me-a kindness she could afford. 'Do not go till morning-dear cousin!'" There was a silence on the Greenwood porch, a white-pillared rose-embowered space, paced ere this by lovers and rivals. It was broken by Mr. Corbin Wood, returning from the fields and mounting the moonlit steps. "I have thought it out," he said. "I am going as chaplain." He touched Stafford, of whom he was fond, on the shoulder. "It's the sweetest night, and as I came along I loved every leaf of the trees and every blade of grass. It's home, it's fatherland, it's sacred soil, it's mother, dear Virginia-"

He broke off, said good-night, and entered the house.

The younger men prepared to follow. "The next time that we meet," said Stafford, "may be in the thunder of the fight. I have an idea that I'll know it if you're there. I'll look out for you."

"And I for you," said Cleave. Each had spoken with entire courtesy and a marked lack of amity. There was a moment's pause, a feeling as of the edge of things. Cleave, not tall, but strongly made, with his thick dark hair, his tanned, clean shaven, squarely cut face, stood very straight, in earnest and formidable. The other, leaning against the pillar, was the fairer to look at, and certainly not without his own strength. The one thought, "I will know," and the other thought, "I believe you to be my foe of foes. If I can make you leave this place early, without speaking to her, I will do it."

Cleave turned squarely. "You have reason to regret leaving Greenwood-"

Stafford straightened himself against the pillar, studied for a moment the seal ring which he wore, then spoke with deliberation. "Yes. It is hard to quit Paradise for even such a tourney as we have before us. Ah well! when one comes riding back the welcome will be the sweeter!"

They went indoors. Later, alone in a pleasant bedroom, the man who had put a face upon matters which the facts did not justify, opened wide the window and looked out upon moon-flooded hill and vale. "Do I despise myself?" he thought. "If it was false to-night I may yet make it truth to-morrow. All's fair in love and war, and God knows my all is in this war! Judith! Judith! Judith! look my way, not his!" He stared into the night, moodily enough. His room was at the side of the house. Below lay a slope of flower garden, then a meadow, a little stream, and beyond, a low hilltop crowned by the old Greenwood burying-ground. "Why not sleep?... Love is war-the underlying, the primeval, the immemorial.... All the same, Maury Stafford-"

In her room upon the other side of the house, Judith had found the candles burning on the dressing-table. She blew them out, parted the window curtains of flowered dimity, and curling herself on the window-seat, became a part of the April night. Crouching there in the scented air, beneath the large, mild stars, she tried to think of Virginia and the coming war, but at the end of every avenue she came upon a morning hour. Perhaps it would be in the flower garden, perhaps in the summer-house, perhaps in the plantation woods where the windflower and the Judas tree were in bloom. Her heart was hopeful. So lifted and swept was the world to-night, so ready for great things, that her great thing also ought to happen, her rose of happiness ought to bloom. "After to-morrow," she said to herself, "I will think of Virginia, and I'll begin to help."

Toward daybreak, lying in the large four-post bed beneath the white tasselled canopy, she fell asleep. The sun was an hour high when she awoke. Hagar, the girl who waited upon her, came in and flung wide the shutters. "Dar's er mockin' bird singin' mighty neah dish-yer window! Reckon he gwine mek er nes' in de honeysuckle."

"I meant to wake up very early," said Judith. "Is any one downstairs yet, Hagar?-No, not that dress. The one with the little flowers."

"Dar ain' nobody down yit," said Hagar. "Marse Richard Cleave, he done come down early, 'way 'bout daybreak. He got one of de stable-men ter saddle he horse an' he done rode er way. Easter, she come in de house jes' ez he wuz leaving en he done tol' her ter tell marster dat he'd done been thinkin' ez how dar wuz so much ter do dat he'd better mek an early start, en he lef' good-bye fer de fambly. Easter, she ax him won't he wait 'twel the ladies come down, en he say No. 'Twuz better fer him ter go now. En he went. Dar ain' nobody else come down less'n hits Marse Maury Stafford.-Miss Judith, honey, yo' ain' got enny mo' blood in yo' face than dat ar counterpane! I gwine git yo' er cup er coffee!"

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