Richard Carvel
A New Edition

Winston Churchill,
1871-1947

First electronic edition 2001
(revised 2003)
77,350 words, 483 Kb

Text scanned, encoded, and edited by
William C. Chase

Source:
Richard Carvel
Winston Churchill
New York
The Macmillan Company
1899

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Winston Churchill’s

RICHARD CARVEL
A New Edition

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY

CARLTON T. CHAPMAN AND MALCOM FRASER

Edited and Revised by
William C. Chase

Revised Edition
2003


To
JAMES E. YEATMAN, ESQUIRE
Of Saint Louis
An American Gentleman Whose Life Is
An Example To His Countrymen


 
FOREWORD

MY sons and daughters have tried to persuade me to remodel these memoirs of my grandfather into a latter-day romance. But I have thought it wiser to leave them as he wrote them. Albeit they contain some details not of interest to the general public, to my notion it is such imperfections as these which lend to them the reality they bear. Certain it is, when reading them, I live his life over again.

Needless to say, Mr. Richard Carvel never intended them for publication. His first apology would be for his Scotch, and his only defence is that he was not a Scotchman.

The lively capital which once reflected the wit and fashion of Europe has fallen into decay. The silent streets no more echo with the rumble of coaches and gay chariots, and grass grows where busy merchants trod. Stately ball-rooms, where beauty once reigned, are cold and empty and mildewed, and halls, where laughter rang, are silent. Time was when every wide-throated chimney poured forth its cloud of smoke, when every andiron held a generous log, — andirons which are now gone to decorate Mr. Centennial’s home in New York or lie with a tag in the window of some curio shop. The mantel, carved in delicate wreaths, is boarded up, and an unsightly stove mocks the gilded ceiling. Children romp in that room with the silver door-knobs, where my master and his lady were wont to sit at cards in silk and brocade, while liveried blacks entered on tiptoe. No marble Cupids or tall Dianas fill the niches in the staircase, and the mahogany board, round which has been gathered many a famous toast and wit, is gone from the dining room.

But Mr. Carvel’s town house in Annapolis stands to-day, with its neighbours, a mournful relic of a glory that is past.

DANIEL CLAPSADDLE CARVEL.

CALVERT HOUSE, PENNSYLVANIA,
  December 21, 1876.


 

CONTENTS


 

RICHARD CARVEL

 

CHAPTER I

LIONEL CARVEL, OF CARVEL HALL

LIONEL CARVEL, ESQ., of Carvel Hall, in the county of Queen Anne, was no inconsiderable man in his Lordship’s province of Maryland, and indeed he was not unknown in the colonial capitals from Williamsburg to Boston. When his ships arrived out, in May or June, they made a goodly showing at the wharves, and his captains were ever shrewd men of judgment who sniffed a Frenchman on the horizon, so that none of the Carvel tobacco ever went, in that way, to gladden a Gallic heart. Mr. Carvel’s acres were both rich and broad, and his house wide for the stranger who might seek its shelter, as with God’s help so it ever shall be. It has yet to be said of the Carvels that their guests are hurried away, or that one, by reason of his worldly goods or position, shall be more welcome than another.

I take no shame in the pride with which I write of my grandfather, albeit he took the part of his Majesty and Parliament against the Colonies. He was no palavering turncoat, like my Uncle Grafton, to cry “God save the King!” again when an English fleet sailed up the bay. Mr. Carvel’s hand was large and his heart was large, and he was respected and even loved by the patriots as a man above paltry subterfuge. He was born at Carvel Hall in the year of our Lord 1696, when the house was, I am told, but a small dwelling. It was his father, George Carvel, my great-grandsire, reared the present house in the year 1720, of brick brought from England as ballast for the empty ships; he added on, in the years following, the wide wings containing the ball-room, and the banquet-hall, and the large library at the eastern end, and the offices. But it was my grandfather who built the great stables and the kennels where he kept his beagles and his fleeter hounds. He dearly loved the saddle and the chase, and taught me to love them too. Many the sharp winter day I have followed the fox with him over two counties, and lain that night, and a week after, forsooth, at the plantation of some kind friend who was only too glad to receive us. Often, too, have we stood together from early morning until dark night, waist deep, on the duck points, I with a fowling piece I was all but too young to carry, and brought back a hundred red-heads or canvas-backs in our bags. He went with unfailing regularity to the races at Annapolis or Chestertown or Marlborough, often to see his own horses run, where the coaches of the gentry were fifty and sixty around the course; where a negro, or a hogshead of tobacco, or a pipe of Madeira was often staked at a single throw. Those times, my children, are not ours, and I thought it not strange that Mr. Carvel should delight in a good main between two cocks, or a bull-baiting, or a breaking of heads at the Chestertown fair, where he went to show his cattle and fling a guinea into the ring for the winner.

But it must not be thought that Lionel Carvel, your ancestor, was wholly unlettered because he was a sportsman, though it must be confessed that books occupied him only when the weather compelled, or when on his back with the gout. At times he would fain have me read to him as he lay in his great four-post bed with the flowered counterpane, from the Spectator, stopping me now and anon at some awakened memory of his youth. He never forgave Mr. Addison for killing stout, old Sir Roger de Coverley, and would never listen to the butler’s account of his death. Mr. Carvel, too, had walked in Gray’s Inn Gardens and met adventure at Fox Hall, and seen the great Marlborough himself. He had a fondness for Mr. Congreve’s Comedies, some of which he had seen acted; and was partial to Mr. Gay’s Trivia, which brought him many a recollection. He would also listen to Pope. But of the more modern poetry I think Mr. Gray’s Elegy pleased him best. He would laugh over Swift’s gall and wormwood, and would never be brought by my mother to acknowledge the defects in the Dean’s character. Why? He had once met the Dean in a London drawing-room, when my grandfather was a young spark at Christ Church, Oxford. He never tired of relating that interview. The hostess was a very great lady indeed, and actually stood waiting for a word with his Reverence, whose whim it was rather to talk to the young provincial. He was a forbidding figure, in his black gown and periwig, so my grandfather said, with a piercing blue eye and shaggy brow. He made the mighty to come to him, while young Carvel stood between laughter and fear of the great lady’s displeasure.

“I knew of your father,” said the Dean, “before he went to the colonies. He had done better at home, sir. He was a man of parts.”

“He has done indifferently well in Maryland, sir,” said Mr. Carvel, making his bow.

“He hath gained wealth, forsooth,” says the Dean, wrathfully, “and might have had both wealth and fame had his love for King James not turned his head. I have heard much of the colonies, and have read that doggerel ‘Sot Weed Factor’ which tells of the gluttonous life of ease you lead in your own province. You can have no men of mark from such conditions, Mr. Carvel. Tell me,” he adds contemptuously, “is genius honoured among you?”

“Faith, it is honoured, your Reverence,” said my grandfather, “but never encouraged.”

This answer so pleased the Dean that he bade Mr. Carvel dine with him next day at Button’s Coffee House, where they drank mulled wine and old sack, for which young Mr. Carvel paid. On which occasion his Reverence endeavoured to persuade the young man to remain in England, and even went so far as to promise his influence to obtain him preferment. But Mr. Carvel chose rather (wisely or not, who can judge?) to come back to Carvel Hall and to the lands of which he was to be master, and to play the country squire and provincial magnate rather than follow the varying fortunes of a political party at home. And he was a man much looked up to in the province before the Revolution, and sat at the council board of his Excellency the Governor, as his father had done before him, and represented the crown in more matters than one when the French and savages were upon our frontiers.

Although a lover of good cheer, Mr. Carvel was never intemperate. To the end of his days he enjoyed his bottle after dinner, nay, could scarce get along without it; and mixed a punch or a posset as well as any in our colony. He chose a good London-brewed ale or porter, and his ships brought Madeira from that island by the pipe, and sack from Spain and Portugal, and red wine from France when there was peace. And puncheons of rum from Jamaica and the Indies for his people, holding that no gentleman ever drank rum in the raw, though fairly supportable as punch.

Mr. Carvel’s house stands in Marlborough Street, a dreary mansion enough. Praised be Heaven that those who inherit it are not obliged to live there on the memory of what was in days gone by. The heavy green shutters are closed; the high steps, though stoutly built, are shaky after these years of disuse; the host of faithful servants who kept its state are nearly all laid side by side at Carvel Hall. Harvey and Chess and Scipio are no more. The kitchen, whither a boyish hunger oft directed my eyes at twilight, shines not with the welcoming gleam of yore. Chess no longer prepares the dainties which astonished Mr. Carvel’s guests, and which he alone could cook. The coach still stands in the stables where Harvey left it, a lumbering relic of those lumbering times when methinks there was more of goodwill and less of haste in the world. The great brass knocker, once resplendent from Scipio’s careful hand, no longer fantastically reflects the guest as he beats his tattoo, and Mr. Peale’s portrait of my grandfather is gone from the dining-room wall, adorning, as you know, our own drawing-room at Calvert House.

I shut my eyes, and there comes to me unbidden that dining-room in Marlborough Street of a gray winter’s afternoon, when I was but a lad. I see my dear grandfather in his wig and silver-laced waistcoat and his blue velvet coat, seated at the head of the table, and the precise Scipio has put down the dumb-waiter filled with shining cut-glass at his left hand, and his wine chest at his right, and with solemn pomp driven his black assistants from the room. Scipio was Mr. Carvel’s butler. He was forbid to light the candles after dinner. As dark grew on, Mr. Carvel liked the blazing logs for light, and presently sets the decanter on the corner of the table and draws nearer the fire, his guests following. I recall well how jolly Governor Sharpe, who was a frequent visitor with us, was wont to display a comely calf in silk stocking; and how Captain Daniel Clapsaddle would spread his feet with his toes out, and settle his long pipe between his teeth. And there were besides a host of others who sat at that fire whose names have passed into Maryland’s history, Whig and Tory alike. And I remember a tall slip of a lad who sat listening by the deep-recessed windows on the street, which somehow are always covered in these pictures with a fine rain. Then a coach passes, a mahogany coach emblazoned with the Manner’s coat of arms, and Mistress Dorothy and her mother within. And my young lady gives me one of those demure bows which ever set my heart agoing like a smith’s hammer of a Monday.


 

CHAPTER II

SOME MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD

A TRAVELLER who has all but gained the last height of the great mist-covered mountain looks back over the painful crags he has mastered to where a light is shining on the first easy slope. That light is ever visible, for it is Youth.

After nigh fourscore and ten years of life that Youth is nearer to me now than many things which befell me later. I recall as yesterday the day Captain Clapsaddle rode to the Hall, his horse covered with sweat, and the reluctant tidings of Captain Jack Carvel’s death on his lips. And strangely enough that day sticks in my memory as of delight rather than sadness. When my poor mother had gone up the stairs on my grandfather’s arm the strong soldier took me on his knee, and drawing his pistol from his holster bade me snap the lock, which I was barely able to do. And he told me wonderful tales of the woods beyond the mountains, and of the painted men who tracked them; much wilder and fiercer they were than those stray Nanticokes I had seen from time to time near Carvel Hall. And when at last he would go I clung to him, so he swung me to the back of his great horse Ronald, and I seized the bridle in my small hands. The noble beast, like his master, loved a child well, and he cantered off lightly at the captain’s whistle, who cried “bravo” and ran by my side lest I should fall. Lifting me off at length he kissed me and bade me not to annoy my mother, the tears in his eyes again. And leaping on Ronald was away for the ferry with never so much as a look behind, leaving me standing in the road.

And from that time I saw more of him and loved him better than any man save my grandfather. He gave me a pony on my next birthday, and a little hogskin saddle made especially by Master Wythe, the London saddler in the town, with a silver-mounted bridle. Indeed, rarely did the captain return from one of his long journeys without something for me and a handsome present for my mother. Mr. Carvel would have had him make his home with us when we were in town, but this he would not do. He lodged in Church Street, over against the Coffee House, dining at that hostelry when not bidden out, or when not with us. He was much sought after. I believe there was scarce a man of note in any of the colonies not numbered among his friends. ’Twas said he loved my mother, and could never come to care for any other woman, and he promised my father in the forests to look after her welfare and mine. This promise, you shall see, he faithfully kept.

Though you have often heard from my lips the story of my mother, I must, for the sake of those who are to come after you, set it down here as briefly as I may. My grandfather’s bark Charming Sally, Captain Stanwix, having set out from Bristol on the 15th of April, 1736, with a fair wind astern and a full cargo of English goods below, near the Madeiras fell in with foul weather, which increased as she entered the trades. Being a stout craft and not overladen she weathered the gale with the loss of a jib, and was about making topsails again when a full-rigged ship was descried in the offing giving signals of distress. She foundered before the Sally’s boats could be put in the water. Out of the ship’s company and passengers they picked up but five souls, four sailors and a little girl of two years or thereabouts. The men knew nothing more of her than that she had come aboard at Brest with her mother, a quiet, delicate lady who spoke little with the other passengers.

Captain Stanwix’s wife, who was a good, motherly person, took charge of the little orphan, and arriving at Carvel Hall delivered her to my grandfather, who brought her up as his own daughter. You may be sure the emblem of Catholicism found upon her was destroyed, and she was baptized straightway by Doctor Hilliard, my grandfather’s chaplain, into the Established Church.

This new member of the household was renamed Elizabeth Carvel, though they called her Bess. As she grew from childhood to womanhood her beauty became talked about, and afterwards, when Mistress Carvel went to the Assembly, a dozen young sparks would crowd about the door of her coach, and older and more serious men lost their heads on her account.

Her devotion to Mr. Carvel was such, however, that she seemed to care but little for the attention she received, and she continued to grace his board and entertain his company. He fairly worshipped her. It was his delight to surprise her with presents from England, with rich silks and brocades for gowns, for he loved to see her bravely dressed. The spinet he gave her, inlaid with ivory, we have still. And he caused a chariot to be made for her in London, and she had her own horses and her groom in the Carvel livery.

People said it was but natural that she should fall in love with Captain Jack, my father. He was the soldier of the family, tall and straight and dashing. He differed from his younger brother Grafton as day from night. Captain Jack was open and generous, though a little given to rash enterprise and madcap adventure. He loved my mother from a child. His friend Captain Clapsaddle loved her too, and likewise Grafton, but it soon became evident that she would marry Captain Jack or nobody. He was my grandfather’s favourite, and though Mr. Carvel had wished him more serious, his joy when Bess told him the news was a pleasure to see. Then it was that Mr. Carvel gave to Grafton the estate in Kent County and bade him shift for himself.

Captain Clapsaddle came to the wedding in the long drawing-room at the Hall and stood by Captain Jack when he was married, and kissed the bride heartily. And my mother cried about this afterwards, and said that it grieved her sorely that she should have given pain to such a noble man.

After the blow which left her a widow, she continued to keep Mr. Carvel’s home. I recall her well, chiefly as a sad and beautiful woman, stately save when she kissed me with passion and said that I bore my father’s look. She drooped like the flower she was, and one spring day my grandfather led me to receive her blessing and to be folded for the last time in those dear arms. With a smile on her lips she rose to heaven to meet my father. And she lies buried with the rest of the Carvels at the Hall, next to the brave captain, her husband.

And so I grew up with my grandfather, spending the winters in town and the long summers on the Eastern Shore. I loved the country best, and the old house with its hundred feet of front standing on the gentle slope rising from the river’s mouth, the green vines Mr. Carvel had fetched from England all but hiding the brick, and climbing to the angled roof; and the velvet green lawn of silvery grass brought from England, descending gently terrace by terrace to the waterside, where lay our pungies and barges. There was then a tiny pillared porch framing the front door, for our ancestors never could be got to realize the Maryland climate, and would rarely build themselves wide verandas suitable to that colony. At Carvel Hall we had, to be sure, the cool spring house under the willows for sultry days, with its pool dished out for bathing; and a trellised arbour, and octagonal summer house with seats where my mother was wont to sit sewing while my grandfather dreamed over his pipe. On the lawn stood the oaks and walnuts and sycamores which still cast their shade over it, and under them of a summer’s evening Mr. Carvel would have his tea alone, save oftentimes when a barge would come swinging up the river with ten velvet-capped blacks at the oars, and one of our friendly neighbours — Mr. Lloyd or Mr. Bordley, or perchance little Mr. Manners — would stop for a long evening with him. They seldom came without their ladies and children. What romps we youngsters had about the old place whilst our elders talked their politics.

In childhood the season which delighted me the most was spring. I would count the days until St. Taminas, which, as you knew, falls on the first of May. And the old custom was for the young men to deck themselves out as Indian bucks and sweep down on the festivities around the Maypole on the town green, or at night to surprise the guests at a ball and force the gentlemen to pay down a shilling, and sometimes a crown apiece, and the host to give them a bowl of punch. Then came June. My grandfather celebrated his Majesty’s birthday in his own jolly fashion, and I had my own birthday party on the tenth. And on the fifteenth, unless it chanced upon a Sunday, my grandfather never failed to embark in his pinnace at the Annapolis dock for the Hall. Once seated in the stern between Mr. Carvel’s knees, what rapture when at last we shot out into the blue waters of the bay and I thought of the long summer of joy before me. Scipio was generalissimo of these arrangements, and was always at the dock punctually at ten to hand my grandfather in, a ceremony in which he took great pride, and to look his disapproval should we be late. As he turned over the key of the town house he would walk away with a stern dignity to marshal the other servants in the horse-boat.

One fifteenth of June two children sat with bated breath in the pinnace, — Dorothy Manners and myself. Mistress Dolly was then as mischievous a little baggage as ever she proved afterwards. She was coming to pass a week at the Hall, her parents, whose place was next to ours, having gone to Philadelphia on a visit. We rounded Kent Island, which lay green and beautiful in the flashing waters, and at length caught sight of the old windmill, with its great arms majestically turning, and the cupola of Carvel House shining white among the trees; and of the upper spars of the shipping, with sails neatly furled, lying at the long wharves, where the English wares Mr. Carvel had commanded for the return trips were unloading.

Scarce was the pinnace brought into the wind before I had leaped ashore and was greeted with a shout the Hall servants drawn up in a line on the green, grinning a welcome. Dorothy and I scampered over the grass and into the cool, wide house, resting awhile on the easy sloping steps within, hand in hand. And then away for that grand tour of inspection we had been so long planning together. Through the greenhouses we marched, monarchs of all we surveyed, old Porphery, the gardener, presenting Mistress Dolly with a crown of orange blossoms, for which she thanked him with a pretty courtesy her governess had taught her. Were we not king and queen returned to our summer palace? And Spot and Silver and Song and Knipe, the wolf-hound, were our train, though not as decorous as rigid etiquette demanded, since they were forever running after the butterflies.

On we went through the stiff, box-bordered walks of the garden, past the weather-beaten sun-dial and the spinning-house and the smoke-house to the stables. Here old Harvey, who had taught me to ride Captain Daniel’s pony, is equerry, and young Harvey our personal attendant; old Harvey smiles as we go in and out of the stalls rubbing the noses of our trusted friends, and gives a gruff but kindly warning as to Cassandra’s heels. He recalls my father at the same age.

Jonas Tree, the carpenter, sits sunning himself on his bench before the shop, but mysteriously disappears when he sees us, and returns presently with a little ship he has fashioned for me that winter, all complete with spars and sails, for Jonas was a shipwright on the Severn in the old country before he came as a king’s passenger to the new. Dolly and I are off directly to the backwaters of the river, where the new boat is launched with due ceremony as the Conqueror, his Majesty’s latest ship-of-the-line. Jonas himself trims her sails, and she sets off right gallantly across the shallows, heeling to the breeze for all the world like a real man-o’-war. Then the King would fain cruise at once against the French, but Queen Dorothy must needs go with him. His Majesty points out that when fighting is to be done, a ship of war is no place for a woman, whereat her Majesty stamps her little foot and throws her crown of orange blossoms from her, and starts off for the milk-house in high dudgeon, vowing she will play no more. And it ends as it ever will end, be the children young or old, for the French pass from his Majesty’s mind and he runs after his consort to implore forgiveness, leaving poor Jonas to take care of the Conqueror.

How short those summer days! All too short for the girl and boy who had so much to do in them. The sun rising over the forest often found us peeping through the blinds, and when he sank into the bay at night we were still running, tired but happy, and begging patient Hester for half an hour more.

We would spend whole days on the wharves, all bustle and excitement, sometimes seated on the capstan of the Sprightly Bess or perched in the nettings of the Oriole, of which ship old Stanwix was now captain. He had grown gray in Mr. Carvel’s service, and good Mrs. Stanwix was long since dead. Often we would mount together on the little horse Captain Daniel had given me, Dorothy on a pillion behind, to go with my grandfather to inspect the farm. Mr. Starkie, the overseer, would ride beside us, his fowling-piece slung over his shoulder and his holster on his hip; a kind man and capable, unlike Mr. Evans, my Uncle Grafton’s overseer, he was seldom known to use his firearms or the rawhide slung across his saddle. The negroes in their linsey-woolsey jackets and checked trousers would stand among the hills as we passed; and there was not one of them that I could not call by name.

And all this time I was busily wooing Mistress Dolly; but she, little minx, would give me no satisfaction. I see her standing among the strawberries, her black hair waving in the wind, and her red lips redder still from the stain, and the sound of her childish voice coming back to me after all these years. And this was my first proposal: —

“Dorothy, when you grow up and I grow up, you will marry me, and I shall give you all these strawberries.”

“I will marry none but a soldier,” says she, “and a great man.”

“Then will I be a soldier,” I cried, “and greater than the Governor himself.” And I believed it.

“Papa says I shall marry an earl,” retorts Dorothy, with a toss of her pretty head.

“There are no earls among us,” I exclaimed hotly, for even then I had some of that republican spirit which prevailed among the younger generation. “Our earls are those who have made their own way, like my grandfather.” For I had lately heard Captain Clapsaddle say this and much more on the subject. But Dorothy turned up her nose.

“I shall go home when I am eighteen,” she said, “and I shall meet his Majesty the King.”

And to such an argument I found no logical answer.

Mr. Marmaduke Manners and his lady came to fetch Dorothy home. He was a foppish little gentleman who thought more of the cut of his waistcoat than of the affairs of the province, and would rather have been bidden to lead the assembly ball than to sit in council with his Excellency the Governor. He must needs have his morning punch just so, and complained whiningly of Scipio if some perchance were spilled on the glass. He must needs be taken abroad in a chair when it rained. And though in the course of a summer he was often at Carvel Hall he never tarried long, and came to see Mr. Carvel’s guests rather than Mr. Carvel. He had little in common with my grandfather, whose chief business and pleasure was to promote industry on his farm. Mr. Marmaduke was wont to rise at noon, and knew not wheat from barley, or good leaf from bad; his hands he kept like a lady’s, rendering them almost useless by the long lace on the sleeves, and his chief pastime was card-playing. It was but reasonable therefore, when the troubles with the mother country began, that he chose the King’s side alike from indolence and contempt for things republican.

Of Mrs. Manners I shall say more by and by.

I took a mischievous delight in giving Mr. Manners every annoyance my boyish fancy could conceive. The evening of his arrival he and Mr. Carvel set out for a stroll about the house, Mr. Marmaduke mincing his steps, for it had rained that morning. And presently they came upon the windmill with its long arms moving lazily in the light breeze, near touching the ground as they passed, for the mill was built in the Dutch fashion. I know not what moved me, but hearing Mr. Manners carelessly humming a minuet while my grandfather explained the usefulness of the mill, I seized hold of one of the long arms as it swung by, and before the gentlemen could prevent it, was carried slowly upwards. Dorothy screamed, and her father stood stock still with amazement and fear, Mr. Carvel being the only one who kept his presence of mind. “Hold on tight, Richard!” I heard him cry. It was dizzy riding, though the motion was not great, and before I had reached the right angle I regretted my rashness. I caught a glimpse of the Bay with the red sun on it, and as I turned saw far below me the white figure of Ivie Rawlinson, the Scotch miller, who had run out. “O haith!” he shouted. “Haud fast, Mr. Richard!” And so I clung tightly and came down without much inconvenience, though indifferently glad to feel the ground again.

Mr. Marmaduke, as I expected, was in a great temper, and swore he had not had such a fright for years. He looked for Mr. Carvel to cane me stoutly. But Ivie laughed heartily, and said: “I wad ye’ll gang far for anither laddie wi’ the spunk, Mr. Manners,” and with a sly look at my grandfather, “Ilka day we hae some sic whigmeleery.”

I think Mr. Carvel was not ill pleased with the feat, or with Mr. Marmaduke’s way of taking it. For afterwards I overheard him telling the story to Colonel Lloyd, and both gentlemen laughing over Mr. Manners’s discomfiture.


 

CHAPTER III

CAUGHT BY THE TIDE

IT is a nigh impossible task on the memory to trace those influences by which a lad is led to form his life’s opinions, and for my part I hold that such things are bred into the bone, and that events only serve to strengthen them. In this way only can I account for my bitterness, at a very early age, against that King whom my seeming environment should have made me love. For my grandfather was as stanch a royalist as ever held a cup to majesty’s health. And children are most apt before they can reason for themselves to take the note from those of their elders who surround them. It is true that many of Mr. Carvel’s guests were of the opposite persuasion from him: Mr. Chase and Mr. Carroll, Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Bordley, and many others, including our friend Captain Clapsaddle. And these gentlemen were frequently in argument, but political discussion is Greek to a lad.

Mr. Carvel, as I have said, was most of his life a member of the Council, a man from whom both Governor Sharpe and Governor Eden were glad to take advice because of his temperate judgment and deep knowledge of the people of the province. At times, when his Council was scattered, Governor Sharpe would consult Mr. Carvel alone, and often have I known my grandfather to embark in haste from the Hall in response to a call from his Excellency.

’Twas in the latter part of August, in the year 1766, made memorable by the Stamp Act, that I first came in touch with the deep-set feelings of the times then beginning, and I count from that year the awakening of the sympathy which determined my career. One sultry day I was wading in the shallows after crabs, when the Governor’s messenger came drifting in, all impatience at the lack of wind. He ran to the house to seek Mr. Carvel, and I after him, with all a boy’s curiosity, as fast as my small legs would carry me. My grandfather hurried out to order his barge to be got ready at once, so that I knew something important was at hand. At first he refused me permission to go, but afterwards relented, and about eleven in the morning we pulled away strongly, the ten blacks bending to the oars as if their lives were at stake.

A wind arose before we sighted Greensbury Point, and I saw a bark sailing in, but thought nothing of this until Mr. Carvel, who had been silent and preoccupied, called for his glass and swept her decks. She soon shortened sail, and went so leisurely that presently our light barge drew alongside, and I perceived Mr. Zachariah Hood, a merchant of the town, returning from London, hanging over her rail. Mr. Hood was very pale in spite of his sea-voyage; he flung up his cap at our boat, but Mr. Carvel’s salute in return was colder than he looked for. As we came in view of the dock, a fine rain was setting in, and to my astonishment I beheld such a mass of people assembled as I had never seen, and scarce standing-room on the wharves. We were to have gone to the Governor’s wharf in the Severn, but my grandfather changed his intention at once. Many of the crowd greeted him as we drew near them, and, having landed, respectfully made room for him to pass through. I followed him a-tremble with excitement and delight over such an unwonted experience. We had barely gone ten paces, however, before Mr. Carvel stopped abreast of Mr. Claude, mine host of the Coffee House, who cried: —

“Hast seen his Majesty’s newest representative, Mr. Carvel?”

“Mr. Hood is on board the bark, sir,” replied my grandfather. “I take it you mean Mr. Hood.”

“Ay, that I do; Mr. Zachariah Hood, come to lick stamps for his brother-colonists.”

“After licking his Majesty’s boots,” says a wag near by, which brings a laugh from those about us. I remembered that I had heard some talk as to how Mr. Hood had sought and obtained from King George the office of Stamp Distributor for the province. Now, my grandfather, God rest him! was as doughty an old gentleman as might well be, and would not listen without protest to remarks which bordered sedition. He had little fear of things below, and none of a mob.

“My masters,” he shouted, with a flourish of his stick, so stoutly that people fell back from him, “know that ye are met against the law, and endanger the peace of his Lordship’s government.”

“Good enough, Mr. Carvel,” said Claude, who seemed to be the spokesman. “But how if we are stamped against law and his Lordship’s government? How then, sir? Your honour well knows we have naught against either, and are as peaceful a mob as ever assembled.”

This brought on a great laugh, and they shouted from all sides, “How then, Mr. Carvel?” And my grandfather, perceiving that he would lose dignity by argument, and having done his duty by a protest, was wisely content with that. They opened wider the lane for him to pass through, and he made his way, erect and somewhat defiant, to Mr. Pryse’s, the coachmaker opposite, holding me by the hand. The second storey of Pryse’s shop had a little balcony standing out in front, and here we established ourselves, that we might watch what was going forward.

The crowd below grew strangely silent as the bark came nearer and nearer, until Mr. Hood showed himself on the poop, when there rose a storm of hisses, mingled with shouts of derision. “How goes it at St. James, Mr. Hood?” and “Have you tasted his Majesty’s barley?” And some asked him if he was come as their member of Parliament. Mr. Hood dropped a bow, though what he said was drowned. The bark came in prettily enough, men in the crowd even catching her lines and making them fast to the piles. A gang-plank was thrown over. “Come out, Mr. Hood,” they cried; “we are here to do you honour, and to welcome you home again.” There were leather breeches with staves aplenty around that plank, and faces that meant no trifling. “McNeir, the rogue,” exclaimed Mr. Carvel, “and that hulk of a tanner, Brown. And I would know those smith’s shoulders in a thousand.” “Right, sir,” says Pryse, “and ’twill serve them proper when the King’s troops come among them for quartering.” Pryse being the gentry’s patron, shaped his politics according to the company he was in: he could ill be expected to seize one of his own ash spokes and join the resistance. Just then I caught a glimpse of Captain Clapsaddle on the skirts of the crowd, and with him Mr. Swain and some of the dissenting gentry. And my boyish wrath burst forth against that man smirking and smiling on the decks of the bark, so that I shouted shrilly: “Mr. Hood will be cudgelled and tarred as he deserves,” and shook my little fist at him, so that many under us laughed and cheered me. Mr. Carvel pushed me back into the window and out of their sight.

The crew of the bark had assembled on the quarterdeck, stout English tars every man of them, armed with pikes and belaying-pins; and at a word from the mate they rushed in a body over the plank. Some were thrust off into the water, but so fierce was their onset that others gained the wharf, laying sharply about them in all directions, but getting full as many knocks as they gave. For a space there was a very bedlam of cries and broken heads, those behind in the mob surging forward to reach the scrimmage, forcing their own comrades over the edge. McNeir had his thigh broken by a pike, and was dragged back after the first rush was over; and the mate of the bark was near to drowning, being rescued, indeed, by Graham, the tanner. Mr. Hood stood white in the gangway, dodging a missile now and then, waiting his chance, which never came. For many of the sailors were captured and carried bodily to the “Rose and Crown” and the “Three Blue Balls,” where they became properly drunk on Jamaica rum; others made good their escape on board. And at length the bark cast off again, amidst jeers and threats, and one-third of her crew missing, and drifted slowly back to the roads.

From the dock, after all was quiet, Mr. Carvel stepped into his barge and rowed to the Governor’s, whose house was prettily situated near Hanover Street, with ground running down to the Severn. His Excellency appeared much relieved to see my grandfather; Mr. Daniel Dulany was with him, and the three gentlemen at once repaired to the Governor’s writing-closet for consultation.

Mr. Carvel’s town house being closed, we stopped with his Excellency. There were, indeed, scarce any of the gentry in town at that season save a few of the Whig persuasion. Excitement ran very high; farmers flocked in every day from the country round about to take part in the demonstration against the Act. Mr. Hood’s storehouse was burned to the ground. Mr. Hood getting ashore by stealth, came, however, unmolested to Annapolis and offered at a low price the goods he had brought out in the bark, thinking thus to propitiate his enemies. This step but inflamed them the more.

My grandfather having much business to look to, I was left to my own devices, and the devices of an impetuous lad of twelve are not always such as his elders would choose for him. I was continually burning with a desire to see what was proceeding in the town, and hearing one day a great clamour and tolling of bells, I ran out of the Governor’s gate and down Northwest Street to the Circle, where a strange sight met my eyes. A crowd like that I had seen on the dock had collected there, Mr. Swain and Mr. Hammond and other barristers holding them in check. Mounted on a one-horse cart was a stuffed figure of the detested Mr. Hood. Mr. Hammond made a speech, but for the laughter and cheering I could not catch a word of it. I pushed through the people, as a boy will, diving between legs to get a better view, when I felt a hand upon my shoulder, bringing me up suddenly. And I recognized Mr. Matthias Tilghman, and with him was Mr. Samuel Chase.

“Does your grandfather know you are here, lad?” said Mr. Tilghman.

I paused a moment for breath before I answered: “He attended the rally at the dock himself, sir, and I believe enjoyed it.”

Both gentlemen smiled, and Mr. Chase remarked that if all the other party were like Mr. Carvel, troubles would soon cease. “I mean not Grafton,” says he, with a wink at Mr. Tilghman. “I’ll warrant, Richard, your uncle would be but ill pleased to see you in such company.”

“Nay, sir,” I replied, for I never feared to speak up; “ I think it would please my uncle mightily.”

“The lad hath indifferent penetration,” said Mr. Tilghman, laughing, and adding more soberly: “If you never do worse than this, Richard, Maryland may some day be proud of you.”

Mr. Hammond having finished his speech, a paper was placed in the hand of the effigy, and the crowd bore it shouting and singing to the hill, where Mr. John Shaw, the city carpenter, had made a gibbet. There nine and thirty lashes were bestowed on the unfortunate image, the people crying out that this was the Mosaic Law. And I cried as loud as any, though I knew not the meaning of the words. They hung Mr. Hood to the gibbet and set fire to a tar barrel under him, and so left him.

The town wore a holiday look that day, and I was loth to go back to the Governor’s house. Good patriots’ shops were closed, their owners parading as on Sunday in their best, pausing in knots at every corner to discuss the affair with which the town simmered. I encountered old Farris, the clockmaker, in his brown coat besprinkled behind with powder from his queue. “How now, Master Richard?” says he, merrily. “This is no place for young gentlemen of your persuasion.”

Next I came upon young Dr. Courtenay, the wit of the Tuesday Club, of whom I shall have more to say hereafter. He was taking the air with Mr. James Fotheringay, Will’s eldest brother, but lately back from Oxford and the Temple. The doctor wore five-pound ruffles and a ten-pound wig, was dressed in cherry silk, and carried a long, clouded cane. His hat had the latest cock, for he was our macaroni of Annapolis. “Egad, Richard,” he cries, “you are the only other loyalist I have seen abroad to-day.”

I remember swelling with indignation at the affront. “I call them Tories, sir,” I flashed back, “and I am none such.” “No Tory!” says he, nudging Mr. Fotheringay, who was with him; “I had as lief believe your grandfather hated King George.” I astonished them both by retorting that Mr. Carvel might think as he pleased, that being every man’s right; but that I chose to be a Whig. “I would tell you as a friend, young man,” replied the doctor, “that thy politics are not over politic.” And they left me puzzling, laughing with much relish over some catch in the doctor’s words. As for me, I could perceive no humour in them.

It was now near six of the clock, but instead of going direct to the Governor’s I made my way down Church Street toward the water. Near the dock I saw many people gathered in the street in front of the “Ship” tavern, a time-honoured resort much patronized by sailors. My curiosity led me to halt there also. The “Ship” had stood in that place nigh on to three-score years, it was said. Its latticed windows were swung open, and from within came snatches of “Tom Bowling,” “Rule Britannia,” and many songs scarce fit for a child to hear. Now and anon some one in the street would throw back a taunt to these British sentiments, which went unheeded. “They be drunk as lords,” said Weld, the butcher’s apprentice, “and when they comes out we’ll hev more than one broken head in this street.” The songs continuing, he cried again, “Come out, d—n ye.” Weld had had more than his own portion of rum that day. Spying me seated on the gate-post opposite, he shouted: “So ho, Master Carvel, the streets are not for his Majesty’s supporters to-day.” Other artisans who were there bade him leave me in peace, saying that my grandfather was a good friend of the people. The matter might have ended there had I been older and wiser, but the excitement of the day had gone to my head like wine. “I am as stout a patriot as you, Weld,” I shouted back, and flushed at the cheering that followed. And Weld ran up to me, and though I was a good piece of a lad, swung me lightly onto his shoulder. “Harkee, Master Richard,” he said, “I can get nothing out of the poltroons by shouting. Do you go in and say that Weld will fight any mother’s son of them single-handed.”

“For shame, to send a lad into a tavern,” said old Robbins, who had known my grandfather these many years. But the desire for a row was so great among the rest that they silenced him. Weld set me down, and I, nothing loth, ran through the open door.

I had never before been in the “Ship,” nor, indeed, in any tavern save that of Master Dingley, near Carvel Hall. The “Ship” was a bare place enough, with low black beams and sanded floor, and rough tables and chairs set about. On that September evening it was stifling hot; and the odours from the men, and the spilled rum and tobacco smoke, well-nigh overpowered me. The room was filled with a motley gang of sailors, mostly from the bark Mr. Hood had come on, and some from H.M.S. Hawk, then lying in the harbour.

A strapping man-o’-war’s-man sat near the door, his jacket thrown open and his great chest bared, and when he perceived me he was in the act of proposing a catch; ’twas “The Great Bell o’ Lincoln,” I believe; and he held a brimming cup of bumbo in his hand. In his surprise he set it awkwardly down again, thereby spilling full half of it. “Avast,” says he, with an oath, “what’s this come among us?” and he looked me over with a comical eye. “A d—d provincial,” he went on scornfully, “but a gentleman’s son, or Jack Ball’s a liar.” Whereupon his companions rose from their seats and crowded round me. More than one reeled against me. And though I was somewhat awed by the strangeness of that dark, ill-smelling room, and by the rough company in which I found myself, I held my ground, and spoke up as strongly as I might.

“Weld, the butcher’s apprentice, bids me say he will fight any man among you single-handed.”

“So ho, my little gamecock, my little schooner with a swivel,” said he who had called himself Jack Ball, “and where can this valiant butcher be found?”

“He waits in the street,” I answered more boldly.

“Split me fore and aft if he waits long,” said Jack, draining the rest of his rum. And picking me up as easily as did Weld he rushed out of the door, and after him as many of his mates as could walk or stagger thither.

In the meantime the news had got abroad in the street that the butcher’s apprentice was to fight one of the Hawk’s men, and when I emerged from the tavern the crowd had doubled, and people were running hither in all haste from both directions. But that fight was never to be. Big Jack Ball had scarce set me down and shouted a loud defiance, shaking his fist at Weld, who stood out opposite, when a soldierly man on a great horse turned the corner and wheeled between the combatants. I knew at a glance it was Captain Clapsaddle, and guiltily wished myself at the Governor’s. The townspeople knew him likewise, and many were slinking away even before he spoke, as his charger stood pawing the ground.

“What’s this I hear, you villain,” said he to Weld, in his deep, ringing voice, “that you have not only provoked a row with one of the King’s sailors, but have dared send a child into that tavern with your fool’s message?”

Weld was awkward and sullen enough, and no words came to him.

“Your tongue, you sot,” the captain went on, drawing his sword in his anger, “is it true you have made use of a gentleman’s son for your low purposes?”

But Weld was still silent, and not a sound came from either side until old Robbins spoke up.

“There are many here can say I warned him, your honour,” he said.

“Warned him!” cried the captain. “Mr. Carvel has just given you twenty pounds for your wife, and you warned him!”

Robbins said no more; and the butcher’s apprentice, hanging his head, as well he might before the captain, I was much moved to pity for him, seeing that my forwardness had in some sense led him on.

“’Twas in truth my fault, captain,” I cried out. The captain looked at me, and said nothing. After that the butcher made bold to take up his man’s defence.

“Master Carvel was indeed somewhat to blame, sir,” said he, “and Weld is in liquor.”

“And I’ll have him to pay for his drunkenness,” said Captain Clapsaddle, hotly. “Get to your homes,” he cried. “Ye are a lot of idle hounds, who would make liberty the excuse for riot.” He waved his sword at the pack of them, and they scattered like sheep until none but Weld was left. “And as for you, Weld,” he continued, “you’ll rue this pretty business, or Daniel Clapsaddle never punished a cut-throat.” And turning to Jack Ball, he bade him lift me to the saddle, and so I rode with him to the Governor’s without a word; for I knew better than to talk when he was in that mood.


 

CHAPTER IV

GRAFTON WOULD HEAL AN OLD BREACH

DOCTOR HILLIARD, my grandfather’s chaplain, was as holy a man as ever wore a gown, but I can remember none of his discourses which moved me as much by half as words Captain Clapsaddle used. The worthy doctor, who had baptized both my mother and father, died suddenly at Carvel Hall the spring following, of a cold contracted while visiting a poor man who dwelt across the river. He would have lacked but three years of fourscore come Whitsuntide. He was universally loved and respected in that district where he had lived so long and ably, by rich and poor alike, and those of many creeds saw him to his last resting-place. Mr. Carroll, of Carrollton, who was an ardent Catholic, stood bareheaded beside the grave.

Doctor Hilliard was indeed a beacon in a time when his profession among us was all but darkness, and when many of the scandals of the community might be laid at the door of those whose duty it was to prevent them. The fault lay without doubt in his Lordship’s charter, which gave to the parishioners no voice in the choosing of their pastors. This matter was left to Lord Baltimore’s whim. Hence it was that he sent among us so many fox-hunting and gaming parsons who read the service ill and preached drowsy and illiterate sermons. Gaming and fox-hunting, did I say? These are but charitable words to cover the real characters of those impostors in holy orders, whose doings would often bring the blush of shame to your cheeks. Nay, I have seen a clergyman drunk in the pulpit, and even in those freer days their laxity and immorality were such that many flocked to hear the parsons of the Methodists and Lutherans, whose simple and eloquent words and simpler lives were worthy of their cloth. Small wonder was it, when every strolling adventurer and soldier out of employment took orders and found favour in his Lordship’s eyes, and were given the fattest livings in place of worthier men, that the Established Church fell somewhat into disrepute. Far be it from me to say that there were not good men and true in that Church, but the wag who writ this verse, which became a common saying in Maryland, was not far wrong for the great body of them: —

“Who is a monster of the first renown?
A lettered sot, a drunkard in a gown.”

My grandfather did not replace Dr. Hilliard at the Hall, afterwards saying the prayers himself. The doctor had been my tutor, and in spite of my waywardness and lack of love for the classics had taught me no little Latin and Greek, and early instilled into my mind those principles necessary for the soul’s salvation. I have often thought with regret on the pranks I played him. More than once at lesson-time have I gone off with Hugo and young Harvey for a rabbit hunt, stealing two dogs from the pack, and thus committing a double offence. You may be sure I was well thrashed by Mr. Carvel, who thought the more of the latter misdoing, though obliged to emphasize the former. The doctor would never raise his hand against me. His study, where I recited my daily tasks, was that small sunny room on the water side of the east wing; and I well recall him as he sat behind his desk of a morning after prayers, his horn spectacles perched on his high nose and his quill over his ear, and his ink-powder and pewter stand beside him. His face would grow more serious as I scanned my Virgil in a faltering voice, and as he descanted on a passage my eye would wander out over the green trees and fields to the glistening water. What cared I for “Arma virumque” at such a time? I was watching Nebo afishing beyond the point, and as he waded ashore the burden on his shoulders had a much keener interest for me than that Æneas carried out of Troy.

My Uncle Grafton came to Dr. Hilliard’s funeral. None of the mourners at the doctor’s grave showed more sorrow than did Grafton. A thousand remembrances of the good old man returned to him, and I heard him telling Mr. Carroll and some other gentlemen, with much emotion, how he had loved his reverend preceptor, from whom he had learned nothing but what was good. “How fortunate are you, Richard,” he once said, “to have had such a spiritual and intellectual teacher in your youth. Would that Philip might have learned from such a one. And I trust you can say, my lad, that you have made the best of your advantages, though I fear you are of a wild nature, as your father was before you.” And my uncle sighed and crossed his hands behind his back. “’Tis perhaps better that poor John is in his grave,” he said. Grafton had a word and a smile for every one about the old place, but little else, being, as he said, but a younger son and a poor man. I was near to forgetting the shilling he gave Scipio. ’Twas not so unostentatiously done but that Mr. Carvel and I marked it.

As was but proper to show his sorrow at the death of the old chaplain he had loved so much, Grafton came to the Hall drest entirely in black. He would have had his lady and Philip, a lad near my own age, clad likewise in sombre colours. But my Aunt Caroline would none of them, holding it to be the right of her sex to dress as became its charms. Her silks and laces went but ill with the low estate my uncle claimed for his purse, and Master Philip’s wardrobe was twice the size of mine. And the family travelled in a coach as grand as Mr. Carvel’s own, with panels wreathed in flowers and a footman and outrider in livery, from which my aunt descended like a duchess. She embraced my grandfather with much warmth, and kissed me effusively on both cheeks.

“And this is dear Richard?” she cried. “Philip, come at once and greet your cousin. He has not the look of the Carvels,” she continued volubly, “but more resembles his mother, as I recall her.”

“Indeed, madam,” my grandfather answered somewhat testily, “he has the Carvel nose and mouth, though his chin is more pronounced. He has Elizabeth’s eyes.”

But my aunt was a woman who flew from one subject to another, and she had already ceased to think of me. She was in the hall, regarding lovingly each object as her eye rested upon it, nay, caressingly when she came to the great punch-bowl and the carved mahogany dresser, and the Peter Lely over the broad fireplace. “What memories they must bring to your mind, my dear,” she remarks to her husband. And the good lady brushes away a tear with her embroidered pocket-napkin. But she brightens instantly and smiles at the line of servants drawn up to welcome them. “This is Scipio, my son, who was with your grandfather when your father was born, and before.” Master Philip nods graciously in response to Scipio’s delighted bow. “And Harvey,” my aunt rattles on. “Have you any new mares to surprise us with this year, Harvey?” Harvey not being as overcome with Mrs. Grafton’s condescension as was proper, she turns again to Mr. Carvel.

“Ah, father, I see you are in sore need of a woman’s hand about the old house. What a difference a touch makes, to be sure. Such a bachelor’s hall as you are keeping!”

“We still have Willis, Caroline,” remonstrates my grandfather. “I have no fault to find with her housekeeping.”

“Of course not, father; men never notice,” Aunt Caroline replies in an aggrieved tone. And when Willis herself comes in, my aunt gives her the tips of her fingers. And I imagine I see a spark fly between them.

At breakfast one morning, after my aunt had poured Mr. Carvel’s tea and made her customary compliment to the blue and gold breakfast china, my Uncle Grafton spoke up.

“Now that Dr. Hilliard is gone, father, what do you purpose concerning Richard’s schooling?”

“He shall go to King William’s school in the autumn,” Mr. Carvel replied.

“In the autumn!” cried my uncle. “I do not give Philip even the short holiday of this visit. He has his Greek and his Virgil every day.”

“And can repeat the best passages,” my aunt chimes in. “Philip, my dear, recite that one your father so delights in.”

Master Philip was nothing loth to show his knowledge, and recited glibly enough several lines of his Virgil verbatim; thereby pleasing his fond parents greatly and my grandfather not a little.

“And here is a pistole to spend as you will,” says Mr. Carvel, tossing him the piece.

“Nay, father, I do not encourage the lad to be a spendthrift,” says Grafton, taking the pistole himself. “I will place this token of your appreciation in his strong-box. You know we have a prodigal strain in the family, sir.” And my uncle looks at me significantly.

“Let it be as I say, Grafton,” persists Mr. Carvel, who liked not to be balked in any matter, and not overpleased at this reference to my father. And he gave Philip forthwith another pistole, telling his father to add the first to his saving if he would.

“And Richard must have his chance,” says my Aunt Caroline, sweetly.

“Ay, here is a crown for you, Richard,” says my uncle, smiling. “Let us hear your Latin, which should be purer than Philip’s.”

My grandfather glanced uneasily at me across the table; he saw clearly the trick they had played me.

Philip was also well versed in politics for a lad of his age, and could discuss glibly the right of Parliament to tax the colonies. He denounced the seditious doings in Annapolis and Boston Town with an air of easy familiarity, and ’twas easy to perceive whence his knowledge sprang. But when my fine master spoke disparagingly of the tradesmen as at the bottom of the trouble, my grandfather’s patience came to an end.

“And what think you lies beneath the wealth and power of England, Philip?” he asked.

“Her nobility, sir, and the riches she draws from her colonies,” retorts Master Philip, readily enough.

“Not so,” Mr. Carvel said gravely. “She owes her greatness to her merchants, or tradesmen, as you choose to call them. And commerce must be at the backbone of every great nation. Where would any of us be were it not for trade? We sell our tobacco and our wheat, and get money in return. And your father makes a deal here and a deal there, and so gets rich in spite of his pittance.”

My Uncle Grafton raised his hand to protest, but Mr. Carvel continued : —

“I know you, Grafton, I know you. When a lad it was your habit to lay aside the money I gave you, and so pretend you had none.”

“And ’twas well I learned then to be careful,” said my uncle, losing for the instant his control, “for you loved the spendthrift best, and I should be but a beggar now without my wisdom.”

“I loved not John’s carelessness with money, but other qualities in him which you lacked,” answered Mr. Carvel.

Grafton shot a swift glance at me; and so much was conveyed in that look that I shuddered. But so deftly could he hide his feelings that he was smiling again instantly.

“I beg of you not to jest of me before the lads, father,” said Grafton.

“God knows there was little jest in what I said,” replied Mr. Carvel soberly, “and I care not who hears it. Your own son will one day know you well enough, if he does not now.”

Grafton had given many of the old servants cause to remember him. Harvey in particular, who had come from England early in the century with my grandfather, spoke with bitterness of him. On the subject of my uncle, the old coachman’s taciturnity gave way to torrents of reproach. “Beware of him as has no use for horses, Master Richard,” he would say; for this trait in Grafton in Harvey’s mind lay at the bottom of all others. At my uncle’s approach he would retire into his shell like an oyster, nor could he be got to utter more than a monosyllable in his presence. And with my Aunt Caroline he was the same. He vouchsafed but a curt reply to all her questions, nor did her raptures over the stud soften him in the least. She would come tripping into the stable yard, daintily holding up her skirts, and crying, “Oh, Harvey, I have heard so much of Tanglefoot. I must see him before I go.” Tanglefoot is led out begrudgingly enough, and Aunt Caroline goes over his points, missing the greater part of them, and remarking on the depth of chest, which is nothing notable in Tanglefoot. Harvey winks slyly at me the while, and never so much as offers a word of correction. “You must take Philip to ride, Richard, my dear,” says my aunt. “His father was never as fond of it as I could have wished. I hold that every gentleman should ride to hounds.”

“Humph!” grunts Harvey, when she is gone to the house, “Master Philip to hunt, indeed!” And he smooths out Tanglefoot’s mane, adding reflectively, “There was scarce a horse in the stables what wouldn’t lay back his ears at Mr. Grafton, and small blame to ’em, say I. Oh, Master Philip comes by it honestly enough. She thinks old Harvey don’t know a thoroughbred when he sees one, sir. But Mrs. Grafton’s no thoroughbred; I tell ’ee that, though I’m saying nothing as to her points, mark ye. I’ve seen her sort in the old country, and I’ve seen ’em here, and it’s the same the world over. Fine trappings don’t make the horse, and they don’t take thoroughbreds from a grocer’s cart. A Philadelphy grocer,” sniffs this old aristocrat. “I’d knowed her father was a grocer had I seen her in Pall Mall with a Royal Highness, by her gait, I may say.”

Indeed, it was no secret that my Aunt Caroline had been a Miss Flaven, of Philadelphia, though she would have had the fashion of our province to believe that she belonged to the Governor’s set there; and she spoke in terms of easy familiarity of the first families of her native city, deceiving no one save herself, poor lady. Not a visitor in Philadelphia but knew Terence Flaven, Mrs. Grafton Carvel’s father, who not many years since sold tea and spices and soap and glazed teapots over his own counter, and still advertised his cargoes in the public prints.

At the time of Miss Flaven’s marriage to my uncle ’twas a piece of gossip in every mouth that he had taken her for her dower, which was not inconsiderable; though to hear Mr. and Mrs. Grafton talk they knew not whence the next month’s provender was to come. They went to live in Kent County, as I have said, spending some winters in Philadelphia, where Mr. Grafton was thought to have interests, though it never could be discovered what his investments were. On hearing of his marriage, which took place shortly before my father’s, Mr. Carvel expressed neither displeasure nor surprise. But he would not hear of my mother’s request to settle a portion upon his younger son.

“He has the Kent estate, Bess,” said he, “which is by far too good for him. And by the Lord!” cried Mr. Carvel, bringing his fist down upon the card-table where they sat, “he shall never get another farthing of my money while I live, nor afterwards, if I can help it.”

And so that matter ended, for Mr. Carvel could not be moved from a purpose he had once made. Nor would he make any advances whatsoever to Grafton, or receive those hints which my uncle was forever dropping, until at length he begged to be allowed to come to Dr. Hilliard’s funeral, a request my grandfather could not in decency refuse.

And God knows, lad, that I was, I tried to be civil to them. But my tongue rebelled at the very sight of my uncle, and his fairest words seemed to me to contain a hidden sting. Once, when he spoke in his innuendo of my father, I ran from the room to restrain myself; I know not what I should have done.

As for Master Philip, my cousin would enter into none of those rough amusements in which I passed my time, for fear, I took it, of spoiling his fine broadcloths or of losing a gold buckle. He never could be got to wrestle, though I challenged him more than once. And he was a well-built lad, and might, with a little practice, have become skilled in that sport. He laughed at the homespun I wore about the farm, saying it was no costume for a gentleman’s son, and begged me sneeringly to don leather breeches. He would have none of the company of those lads with whom I found pleasure, young Harvey, and Willis’s son, who was being trained as Mr. Starkie’s assistant. Nor indeed did I disdain to join in a game with Hugo, who had been given to me, and other negro lads. Philip saw no sport in a wrestle or a fight between two of the boys from the quarters, and marvelled that I could lower myself to bet with Harvey the younger. He took not a spark of interest in the gaming cocks we raised together to compete at the local contests and at the fair, and knew not a gaff from a cockspur.

When at last the visitors were gone, every face on the plantation wore a brighter look. Harvey said: “God bless their backs, which is the only part I ever care to see of their honours.” And Willis gave us a supper fit for a king. Mr. Lloyd and his lady were with us, and Mr. Carvel told his old stories of the time of the First George, many of which I can even now repeat: how he and two other collegians fought half a dozen Mohocks in Norfolk Street, and fairly beat them; and how he discovered by chance a Jacobite refugee in Greenwich, and what came of it. Nor did he forget that oft-told episode with Dean Swift.


 

CHAPTER V

“IF LADIES BE BUT YOUNG AND FAIR”

NO boyhood could have been happier than mine, and throughout it, ever present with me, were a shadow and a light. The shadow was my Uncle Grafton. I know not what strange intuition of the child made me think of him so constantly after that visit he paid us, but often I would wake from my sleep with his name upon my lips. The light — need I say? — was Miss Dorothy Manners. Little Miss Dolly was often at the Hall after that happy week we spent together; and her home, Wilmot House, was scarce three miles across wood and field by our plantation roads. I was a stout little fellow enough, and before I was twelve I had learned to follow to hounds my grandfather’s guests on my pony; and Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Carvel when they shot on the duck points. Ay, and what may surprise you, my dears, I was given a weak little toddy off the noggin at night, while the gentlemen stretched their limbs before the fire, or played at whist or loo. Mr. Carvel would have no milksop, so he said. But he early impressed upon me that moderation was the mark of a true man, even as excess was that of a weak one.

And so it was no wonder that I frequently found my way to Wilmot House alone. There I often stayed the whole day long, romping with Dolly at games of our own invention, and many the time I was sent home after dark by Mrs. Manners with Jim, the groom. About once in the week Mr. and Mrs. Manners would bring Dorothy over for dinner or tea at the Hall. She grew quickly — so quickly that I scarce realized — into a tall slip of a girl, who could be wilful and cruel, laughing or forgiving, shy or impudent, in a breath. She had as many moods as the sea. I have heard her entertain Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Bordley and the ladies, and my grandfather, by the hour, while I sat by silent and miserable, but proud of her all the same. Boylike, I had grown to think of her as my possession, tho’ she gave me no reason whatever. I believe I had held my hand over fire for her, at a word. And, indeed, I did many of her biddings to make me wonder, now, that I was not killed. It used to please her, Ivie too, to see me go the round of the windmill, tho’ she would cry out after I left the ground. And once, when it was turning faster than common and Ivie not there to prevent it, I near lost my hold at the top, and was thrown at the bottom with such force that I lay stunned for a full minute. I opened my eyes to find her bending over me with such a look of fright and remorse upon her face as I shall never forget. Again, walking out on the bowsprit of the Oriole while she stood watching me from the dock, I lost my balance and fell into the water. On another occasion I fought Will Fotheringay, whose parents had come for a visit, because he dared say he would marry her.

“She is to marry an earl,” I cried, tho’ I had thrashed another lad for saying so. “Mr. Manners is to take her home when she is grown, to marry her to an earl.”

“At least she will not marry you, Master Richard,” sneered Will. And then I hit him.

Indeed, even at that early day the girl’s beauty was enough to make her talked about. And that foolish little fop, her father, had more than once declared before a company in our dining room that it was high time another title came into his family, and that he meant to take Dolly abroad when she was sixteen. Lad that I was, I would mark with pain the blush on Mrs. Manners’s cheek, and clinch my fists as she tried to pass this off as a joke of her husband’s. But Dolly, who sat next me at a side table, would make a wry little face at my angry one.

“You shall call me I ‘my lady,’ Richard. And sometimes, if you are good, you shall ride inside my coroneted coach when you come home.”

Ah, that was the worst, of it! The vixen was conscious of her beauty. But her airs were so natural that young and old bowed before her. Nothing but worship had she had from the cradle. I would that Mr. Peale had painted her in her girlhood as a type of our Maryland lady of quality. Her nose was of patrician straightness, and the curves of her mouth came from generations of proud ancestors. And she had blue eyes to conquer and subdue, with long lashes to hide them under when she chose, and black hair with blue gloss upon it in the slanting lights. I believe I loved her best in the riding-habit that was the colour of the red holly in our Maryland woods. At Christmas-tide, when we came to the eastern shore, we would gallop together through miles of country, the farmers and servants tipping and staring after her as she laid her silver-handled whip upon her pony. She knew not the meaning of fear, and would take a fence or a ditch that a man might pause at. And so I fell into the habit of leading her the easy way round, for dread that she would be hurt.

How those Christmas times of childhood come sweeping back on my memory! Often, and without warning, my grandfather would say to me: “Richard, we shall celebrate at the Hall this year.” And it rarely turned out that arrangements had not been made with the Lloyds and the Bordleys and the Manners, and other neighbours, to go to the country for the holidays. I have no occasion in these pages to mention my intimacy with the sons and daughters of those good friends of the Carvels’, Colonel Lloyd and Mr. Bordley. Some of them are dead now, and the rest can thank God and look back upon worthy and useful lives. And if any of these, my old playmates, could read this manuscript, perchance they might feel a tingle of recollection of Children’s Day, when Maryland was a province. We rarely had snow; sometimes a crust upon the ground that was melted into paste by the noonday sun, but more frequently, so it seems to me, a foggy, drizzly Christmas, with the fires crackling in saloon and lady’s chamber. And when my grandfather and the ladies and gentlemen, his guests, came down the curving stairs, there were the broadly smiling servants drawn up in the wide hall, — all who could gather there, — and the rest on the lawn outside, to wish “Merry Chris’mas.” The redemptioners in front, headed by Ivie and Jonas Tree, tho’ they had long served their terms, and with them old Harvey and his son; next the house blacks and the outside liveries, and then the oldest slaves from the quarters. This line reached the door, which Scipio would throw open, disclosing the rest of the field servants, in bright-coloured gowns, and the little negroes on the green. Then Mr. Carvel would make them a little speech of thanks and of good-will, and white-haired Johnson of the senior quarters, who had been with my great-grandfather, would start the carol in a quaver. How clear and sweet the melody of those negro voices comes back to me through the generations! And the picture of the hall, loaded with holly and mistletoe even to the great arch that spanned it, with the generous bowls of egg-nog and punch on the mahogany by the wall! And the ladies our guests, in cap and apron, joining in the swelling hymn; ay, and the men, too. And then, after the breakfast of sweet ham and venison, and hot bread and sausage, made under Mrs. Willis, and tea and coffee and chocolate steaming in the silver, and ale for the gentlemen if they preferred, came the prayers and more carols in the big drawing-room. And then music in the big house, or perhaps a ride afield to greet the neighbours, and fiddling and dancing in the two big quarters, Hank’s and Johnson’s, when the tables were cleared after the bountiful feast Mr. Carvel was wont to give them. There was no stint, my dears, — naught but good cheer and praising God in sheer happiness at Carvel Hall.

At night there was always a ball, sometimes at Wilmot House, sometimes at Colonel Lloyd’s or Mr. Bordley’s, and sometimes at Carvel Hall, for my grandfather dearly loved the company of the young. He himself would lead off the minuet, — save when once or twice his Excellency Governor Sharpe chanced to be present, — and would draw his sword with the young gallants that the ladies might pass under. And I have seen him join merrily in the country dances too, to the clapping of hands of the company. That was before Dolly and I were let upon the floor. We sat with the other children, our mammies at our sides, in the narrow gallery with the tiny rail that ran around the ball-room, where the sweet odour of the green myrtleberry candles mixed with that of the powder and perfume of the dancers. And when the beauty of the evening was led out, Dolly would lean over the rail, and pout and smile by turns. The mischievous little baggage could hardly wait for the conquering years to come.

They came soon enough, alack! The season Dorothy was fourteen, we had a ball at the Hall the last day of the year. When she was that age she had near arrived at her growth, and was full as tall as many young ladies of twenty. I had cantered with her that morning from Wilmot House to Mr. Lloyd’s, and thence to Carvel Hall, where she was to stay to dinner. The sun was shining warmly, and after young Harvey had taken our horses we strayed through the house, where the servants were busy decorating, and out into my grandfather’s old English flower garden, and took the seat by the sundial. I remember that it gave no shadow. We sat silent for a while, Dorothy toying with old Knipe, lying at our feet, and humming gayly the burden of a minuet. She had been flighty on the ride, with scarce a word to say to me, for the prospect of the dance had gone to her head.

“Have you a new suit to wear to-night, to see the New Year in, Master Sober?” she asked presently, looking up. “I am to wear a brocade that came out this autumn from London, and papa says I look like a duchess when I have my grandmother’s pearls.”

“Always the ball!” cried I, slapping my boots in a temper. “Is it, then, such a matter of importance? I am sure you have danced before — at my birthdays in Marlboro’ Street and at your own, and Will Fotheringay’s, and I know not how many others.”

“Of course,” replies Dolly, sweetly; “but never with a real man. Boys like you and Will and the Lloyds do not count. Dr. Courtenay is at Wilmot House, and is coming to-night; and he has asked me out. Think of it, Richard! Dr. Courtenay!”

“A plague upon him! He is a fop!”

“A fop!” exclaimed Dolly, her humour bettering as mine went down. “Oh, no; you are jealous. He is more sought after than any gentleman at the assemblies, and Miss Dulany vows his steps are ravishing. There’s for you, my lad! He may not be able to keep pace with you in the chase, but he has writ the most delicate verses ever printed in Maryland, and no other man in the colony can turn a compliment with his grace. Shall I tell you more? He sat with me for over an hour last night, until mamma sent me off to bed, and was very angry at you because I had engaged to ride with you to-day.”

“And I suppose you wish you had stayed with him. He had spun you a score of fine speeches and a hundred empty compliments by now.”

“He had been better company than you, sir,” she laughed. “I never heard you turn a compliment in your life, and you are now seventeen. What headway do you expect to make at the assemblies?”

“None,” I answered, sadly. For she had touched me upon a sore spot. “But if I cannot win a woman save by compliments, then may I pay a bachelor’s tax!”

My lady drew her whip across my knee.

“You must tell us we are beautiful, Richard,” said she, in another tone.

“You have but to look in a pier-glass,” I retorted. “And, besides, that is not sufficient. You will want some rhyming couplet out of a mythology before you are content.”

She laughed again.

“Sir, but you have wit, if you can but be got angry.”

She leaned over the dial’s face, and began to draw the Latin numerals with her finger. So arch, withal, that I forgot my ill-humour.

“If you would but agree to stay angry for a day,” she went on, in a low tone, “perhaps —”

“Perhaps?”

“Perhaps you would be better company. You would surely be more entertaining.”

“Dorothy, I love you,” I said.

“To be sure. I know that,” she replied. “I think you have said that before.”

“But I should be a better husband than Dr. Courtenay.”

“La!” cried she; “I am not thinking of husbands. I shall have a good time, sir, I promise you, before I marry. And then I should never marry you. You are much too rough, and too masterful. And you would require obedience. I shall never obey any man. You would be too strict a master, sir. I can see it with your dogs and your servants. And your friends, too. For you thrash any boy who does not agree with you. I want no rough squire for a husband. And then, you are a Whig. I could never marry a Whig. You behaved disgracefully at King William’s School last year. Don’t deny it!”

“Deny it!” I cried; “I would as soon deny that you are an arrant flirt, Dorothy Manners, — and will be a worse one.”

“Yes, I shall have my fling,” said she. “I shall begin to-night, with you for an audience. But there is the dressing-bell.”

And she swept up the stairs.

Of the affair at King William’s School I shall tell later.

We had some dozen guests staying at the Hall for the ball. At dinner my grandfather and the gentlemen twitted her, and laughed heartily at her retorts, and even toasted her when she was gone. The ladies shook their heads and nudged one another, and no doubt each of the mothers had her notion of what she would do in Mrs. Manners’s place. But when my lady came down dressed for the ball in her pink brocade with the pearls around her neck, fresh from the hands of Hester and those of her own mammy, Mr. Carvel must needs go up to her and hold her at arm’s length in admiration.

“Bless me!” says he; “and can this be Richard’s little playmate grown? Upon my word, Miss Dolly, you’ll be the belle of the ball. Eh, Lloyd? Bless me, bless me, you must not mind a kiss from an old man. The young ones may have their turn after a while.” He laughed as my grandfather only could laugh, and turned to me, who had reddened to my forehead. “And so, Richard, she has outstripped you, fair and square. You are only an awkward lad, and she — why, i’ faith, in two years she’ll be beyond my protection. Come, Miss Dolly,” says he; “I’ll show you the mistletoe, that you may beware of it.”

The company arrived in coach and saddle, many having come so far that they were to stay the night. Young Mr. Beall carried his bride on a pillion behind him, her red riding-cloak flung over her ball dress. Mr. Bordley and family came in his barge, Mr. Marmaduke and his wife in coach and four. With them was Dr. Courtenay, arrayed in peach-coloured coat and waistcoat, with black satin breeches and white silk stockings, and pinchbeck buckles asparkle on his shoes. How I envied him as he descended the stairs, stroking his ruffles and greeting the company with the indifferent ease that was then the fashion. I fancied I saw his eyes wander among the ladies, and not marking her he crossed over to where I stood disconsolate before the fireplace.

“Why, Richard, my lad,” says he, “you are quite grown since I saw you. And the little girl that was your playmate, — Miss Dolly, I mean, — has outstripped me, egad. She has become suddenly une belle demoiselle.”

I answered nothing at all. But I had given much to know whether my stolid manner disconcerted him. Unconsciously I sought the bluff face above the chimney, depicted in all its ruggedness by the painter of King Charles’s day, and contrasted with the bundle of finery at my side. Dr. Courtenay certainly caught the look. He opened his snuff-box, took a pinch, turned on his heel, and sauntered off.

“What did you say, Richard?” asked Mr. Lloyd, coming up to me, laughing, for he had seen the incident.

“I looked merely at the man of Marston Moor, sir, and said nothing.”

“Faith, ’twas abetter answer than if you had used your tongue, I think,” answered my friend. But he teased me a deal that night when Dolly danced with the doctor. My young lady flung her head higher than ever, and made a minuet as well as any dame upon the floor, while I stood very glum at the thought of the prize slipping from my grasp. Now and then, in the midst of a figure, she would shoot me an arch glance, as much as to say that her pinions were strong now. But when it came to the country dances my lady comes up to me ever so prettily and asks the favour.

“’Tis a monstrous state, indeed, when I have to beg you for a reel!” says she.

And so was I made happy.


 

CHAPTER VI

I FIRST SUFFER FOR THE CAUSE

IN the eighteenth century the march of public events was much more eagerly followed than now by men and women of all stations, and even children. Each citizen was ready, nay, forward, in taking an active part in all political movements, and the children mimicked their elders. Old William Farris read his news of a morning before he began the mending of his watches, and by evening had so well digested them that he was primed for discussion with Pryse, of the opposite persuasion, at the Rose and Crown. Sol Mogg, the sexton of St. Anne’s, had his beloved Gazette in his pocket as he tolled the church bell of a Thursday, and would hold forth on the rights and liberties of man with the carpenter who mended the steeple. Mrs. Willard could talk of Grenville and Townshend as knowingly as her husband, the rich factor, and Francie Willard made many a speech to us younger Sons of Liberty on the steps of King William’s School. We younger sons, indeed, declared bitter war against the mother-country long before our conservative old province ever dreamed of secession. For Maryland was well pleased with his Lordship’s government.

I fear that I got at King William’s School learning of a far different sort than pleased my grandfather. In those days the school stood upon the Stadt House hill near School Street, not having moved to its present larger quarters. Mr. Isaac Daaken was then Master, and had under him some eighty scholars. After all these years, Mr. Daaken stands before me a prominent figure of the past in an ill-fitting suit of snuff colour. How well I recall that schoolroom of a bright morning, the sun’s rays shot hither and thither, and split violet, green, and red by the bulging glass panes of the windows. And by a strange irony it so chanced that where the dominie sat — and he moved not the whole morning long save to reach for his birches — the crimson ray would often rest on the end of his long nose, and the word “rum” be passed tittering along the benches. For some men are born to the mill, and others to the mitre, and still others to the sceptre; but Mr. Daaken was born to the birch. His long, lanky legs were made for striding after culprits, and his arms for caning them. He taught, among other things, the classics, of course, the English language grammatically, arithmetic in all its branches, book-keeping in the Italian manner, and the elements of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry with their applications to surveying and navigation. He also wrote various sorts of hands, fearful and marvellous to the uninitiated, with which he was wont to decorate my monthly reports to my grandfather. I can shut my eyes and see now that wonderful hyperbola in the C in Carvel, which, after travelling around the paper, ended in intricate curves and a flourish which surely must have broken the quill.

The last day of every month would I fetch that scrolled note to Mr. Carvel, and he laid it beside his plate until dinner was over. And then, as sure as the sun rose that morning, my flogging would come before it set. This done with, and another promised next month provided Mr. Daaken wrote no better of me, my grandfather and I renewed our customary footing of love and companionship.

But Mr. Daaken, unwittingly or designedly, taught other things than those I have mentioned above. And though I never once heard a word of politics fall from his lips, his school shortly became known to all good Tories as a nursery of conspiracy and sedition. There are other ways of teaching besides preaching, and of that which the dominie taught best he spoke not a word. He was credited, you may well believe, with calumnies against King George, and once my Uncle Grafton and Mr. Dulany were for clapping him in jail, avowing that he taught treason to the young. I can account for the tone of King William’s School in no other way than to say that patriotism was in the very atmosphere, and seemed to exude in some mysterious way from Mr. Daaken’s person. And most of us became infected with it.

The dominie lived outside the town, in a lonely little hamlet on the borders of the Spa. At two of the clock every afternoon he would dive through School Street to the Coffee House, where the hostler would have his bony mare saddled and waiting. Mr. Daaken by no chance ever entered the tavern. I recall one bright day in April when I played truant and had the temerity to go afishing on Spa Creek with Will Fotheringay, the bass being plentiful there. We had royal sport of it that morning, and two o’clock came and went with never a thought, you may be sure. And presently I get a pull which bends my English rod near to double, and in my excitement plunge waist deep into the water, Will crying out directions from the shore, when suddenly the head of Mr. Daaken’s mare is thrust through the bushes, followed by Mr. Daaken himself. Will stood stock still from fright, and I was for dropping my rod and cutting, when I was arrested by the dominie calling out: —

“Have a care, Master Carvel; have a care, sir. You will lose him. Play him, sir; let him run a bit.”

And down he leaps from his horse and into the water after me, and together we landed a three-pound bass, thereby drenching his snuff-coloured suit. When the big fish lay shining in the basket, the dominie smiled grimly at William and me as we stood sheepishly by, and without a word he drew his clasp knife and cut a stout switch from the willow near, and then and there he gave us such a thrashing as we remembered for many a day after. And we both had another when we reached home.

“Mr. Carvel,” said Mr. Dulany to my grandfather, “I would strongly counsel you to take Richard from that school. Pernicious doctrines, sir, are in the air, and like diseases are early caught by the young. ’Twas but yesterday I saw Richard at the head of a rabble of the sons of rift-raff, in Green Street, and their treatment of Mr. Fairbrother hath set the whole town by the ears.”

What Mr. Dulany had said was true. The lads of Mr. Fairbrother’s school being mostly of the unpopular party, we of King William’s had organized our cohorts and led them on to a signal victory. We fell upon the enemy even as they were emerging from their stronghold, the schoolhouse, and smote them hip and thigh, with the sheriff of Anne Arundel County a laughing spectator. Some of the Tories (for such we were pleased to call them) took refuge behind Mr. Fairbrother’s skirts, who shook his cane angrily enough, but without avail. Others of the Tory brood fought stoutly, calling out: “God save the King!” and “Down with the traitors!” On our side Francie Willard fell, and Archie Jennison raised a lump on my head the size of a goose egg. But we fairly beat them, and afterwards must needs attack the Tory dominie himself. He cried out lustily to the sheriff and spectators, of whom there were many by this time, for help, but got little but laughter for his effort. Young Lloyd and I, being large lads for our age, fairly pinioned the screeching master, who cried out that he was being murdered, and keeping his cane for a trophy, thrust him bodily into his house of learning, turned the great key upon him, and so left him. He made his escape by a window and sought my grandfather in the Duke of Marlboro’ Street as fast as ever his indignant legs would carry him.

Of his interview with Mr. Carvel I know nothing save that Scipio was requested presently to show him the door, and conclude therefrom that his language was but ill-chosen. Scipio’s patrician blood was wont to rise in the presence of those whom he deemed outside the pale of good society, and I fear he ushered Mr. Fairbrother to the street with little of that superior manner he used to the first families. As for Mr. Daaken, I feel sure he was not ill-pleased at the discomfiture of his rival, though it cost him five of his scholars.

Our schoolboy battle, though lightly undertaken, was fraught with no inconsiderable consequences for me. I was duly chided and soundly whipped by my grandfather for the part I had played; but he was inclined to pass the matter after that, and set it down to the desire for fighting common to most boyish natures. And he would have gone no farther than this had it not been that Mr. Green, of the Maryland Gazette, could not refrain from printing the story in his paper. That gentleman, being a stout Whig, took great delight in pointing out that a grandson of Mr. Carvel was a ringleader in the affair, and many a barrister’s wig nodded over it at the Coffee House that day. When I came home from school I found Scipio beside my grandfather’s empty seat in the dining-room, and learned that Mr. Carvel was in the garden with my Uncle Grafton and the Reverend Bennett Allen, rector of St. Anne’s. I well knew that something out of the common was in the wind to disturb my grandfather’s dinner. Into the garden I went, and under the black walnut tree I beheld Mr. Carvel pacing up and down in great unrest, his Gazette in his hand, while on the bench sat my uncle and the rector of St. Anne’s. So occupied was each in his own thought that my coming was unperceived, and I read in Mr. Allen’s handsome face, flushed red with wine as it ever was, and in my Uncle Grafton’s looks a snare to which I knew my grandfather was blind. It was my uncle, whose ear was ever open, that first heard my footstep and turned upon me.

“Here is Richard, now, father,” he said.

My grandfather stopped in his pacing and his eye rested upon me, in sorrow rather than in anger, I thought.

“Richard,” he began, and paused. For the first time in my life I saw him irresolute. He looked appealingly at the rector, who rose. Mr. Allen was a man of good height and broad shoulders, with piercing black eyes. And he spoke solemnly, in a deep voice, as though from the pulpit.

“I fear it is my duty, Richard, to say what Mr. Carvel cannot. It grieves me to tell you, sir, that young as you are you have been guilty of treason against the King, and of grave offence against his Lordship’s government. I cannot mitigate my words, sir. By your rashness, Richard, and I pray it is such, you have brought grief to your grandfather in his age, and ridicule and reproach upon a family whose loyalty has hitherto been unstained.”

I scarce waited for him to finish his pompous words, and turned to my grandfather.

“Sir, if it please you to tell me what I now stand accused of, I submit most dutifully.”

“Very fair words, indeed, nephew Richard,” said my uncle, “and I draw from them that you have yet to hear of your beating an honest schoolmaster without other provocation than that he was a loyal servant to the King, and wantonly injuring the children of his school.” He drew from his pocket a copy of that Gazette Mr. Carvel held in his hand, and added ironically: “Here, then, are news which will doubtless surprise you, sir. And knowing you for a peaceful lad, never having entertained such heresies as those with which it pleases Mr. Green to credit you, I dare swear he has drawn on his imagination.”

I took the paper not knowing why my grandfather, who had ever been so jealous of others taking me to task, should permit the rector and my uncle to chide me in his presence. The account was in the main true enough, and made sad sport of Mr. Fairbrother.

“Have I not been caned for this, sir?” I said.

These words seemed to touch Mr. Carvel, and he answered:

“You have, Richard, and stoutly. But your uncle and Mr. Allen seem to think that your offence warrants more than a caning, and deem that you have been actuated by bad principles rather than by boyish spirits.” He paused to steady his voice, and I realized then for the first time how sacred he held allegiance to the King. “Tell me, my lad,” said he, “tell me, as you love God and the truth, whether they are right.”

For the moment I shrank from speaking, perceiving what a sad blow to Mr. Carvel my words must be.

“I have never deceived you, sir,” I said, “and will not hide from you that I believe the colonies have a just cause against his Majesty and Parliament. We are none the less Englishmen because we claim the rights of Englishmen, and, saving your presence, sir, are as loyal as those who do not.”

My grandfather stood astonished at such a speech from me, whom he had thought a lad yet without a formed knowledge of public affairs. There was silence for a space after I had finished, and then Mr. Carvel sank right heavily upon the bench.

“A Carvel against the King!” he said.

Had I been alone with him I should have cast myself at his feet, for it hurt me sorely to see him so.

“The evil has been done, as I feared, father,” said Grafton, presently; “we must now seek for the remedy.”

And so it was settled that I should be tutored by the rector of St. Anne’s, and I took my seat beside my cousin Philip in his study the very next day.


 

CHAPTER VII

OVER THE WALL

TO add to my troubles my grandfather was shortly taken very ill with the first severe sickness he had ever in his life endured. Dr. Leiden came and went sometimes thrice daily, and for a week he bore a look so grave as to frighten me. Dr. Evarts arrived by horse from Philadelphia, and the two physicians held long conversations in the morning room, while I listened at the door and comprehended not a word of their talk save when they spoke of bleeding. And after a very few consultations, as is often the way in their profession, they disagreed and quarrelled, and Dr. Evarts packed himself back to Philadelphia in high dudgeon. Then Mr. Carvel began to mend.

There had been high doings indeed in Marlboro’ Street that miserable week. My grandfather took to his bed of a Saturday afternoon, and bade me go down to Mr. Aikman’s, the bookseller, and fetch him the latest books and plays. That night I became so alarmed that I sent for Dr. Leiden, who remained the night through. Sunday was well gone before the news reached York Street, when my Aunt Caroline came hurrying over in her chair, and my uncle on foot. While my Uncle Grafton was in the house I had opportunity of marking the intimacy which existed between him and the rector of St. Anne’s. The latter swung each evening the muffled knocker, and was ushered on tiptoe across the polished floor to the library where my uncle sat in state. It was often after supper before the rector left, and coming in upon them once I found wine between them and empty decanters on the board, and they fell silent as I passed the doorway.

Our friend Captain Clapsaddle was away when my grandfather fell sick, having been North for three months or more on some business known to few. ’Twas generally supposed he went to Massachusetts to confer with the patriots of that colony. Hearing the news as he rode into town, he came booted and spurred to Marlboro’ Street before going to his lodgings. I ran out to meet him, and he threw his arms about me on the street so that those who were passing smiled, for all knew the captain. And Harvey, who always came to take the captain’s horse, swore that he was glad to see a friend of the family once again. I told the captain very freely of my doings, and showed him the clipping from the Gazette, which made him laugh heartily. But a shade came upon his face when I rehearsed the scene we had with my uncle and Mr. Allen in the garden.

“What,” says he, “Mr. Carvel hath sent you to Mr. Allen on your uncle’s advice?”

He asked me much concerning the rector and what he taught me, and appeared but ill-pleased at that I had to tell him. But he left me without so much as a word of comment or counsel. For it was a principle with Captain Clapsaddle not to influence in any way the minds of the young, and he would have deemed it unfair to Mr. Carvel had he attempted to win my sympathies to his.

I was some three weeks with my new tutor, the rector, before my grandfather’s illness, and went back again as soon as he began to mend. I was not altogether unhappy, owing to a certain grim pleasure I had in debating with him, which I shall presently relate. There was much to annoy and anger me, too. My cousin Philip was forever carping and criticising my Greek and Latin, and it was impossible not to feel his sneer at my back when I construed. He had pat replies ready to correct me when called upon, and ’twas only out of consideration for Mr. Carvel that I kept my hands from him when we were dismissed.

I think the rector disliked Philip in his way as much as did I in mine. The Reverend Bennett Allen, indeed, might have been a very good fellow had Providence placed him in a different setting; he was one of those whom his Excellency dubbed “fools from necessity.” He should have been born with a fortune, though I can think of none he would not have run through in a year or so. But nature had given him aristocratic tastes, with no other means toward their gratification than good looks, convincing ways, and a certain bold, half-defiant manner, which went far with his Lordship and those like him, who thought Mr. Allen excellent good company. With the rector, as with too many others, holy orders were but a means to an end. It was a sealed story what he had been before he came to Governor Sharpe with Baltimore’s directions to give him the best in the colony. But our rakes and wits, and even our solid men, like my grandfather, received him with open arms. He had ever a tale on his tongue’s end tempered to the ear of his listener.

In our debates it was another matter, especially after Mr. Allen discovered who had most influenced my way of thinking. The gentleman was Mr. Henry Swain, a rising barrister and man of note among our patriots, and member of the Lower House. A diffident man in public, before the House Mr. Swain spoke only under extraordinary emotion, and then he gained every ear. He had been a friend since childhood, but I never knew the meaning and the fire of oratory until curiosity brought me to the gallery of the Assembly chamber in the Stadt House. And I went again and again, unless the House sat behind closed doors.

And so, when Mr. Allen brought forth for my benefit those arguments of the King’s party which were deemed their strength, I would confront him with Mr. Swain’s logic. I was put to very small pains to rout my instructor out of all his positions, because indolence, and lack of interest in the question, and contempt for the Americans, had made him neglect the study of it. And Philip, who entered at first glibly enough at the rector’s side, was soon drawn into depths far beyond him.

The rector was especially bitter toward the good people of Boston Town, whom he dubbed Puritan fanatics. To him Mr. Otis was but a meddling fool, and Mr. Adams a traitor whose head only remained on his shoulders by grace of the extreme clemency of his Majesty, which Mr. Allen was at a loss to understand. When beaten in argument, he would laugh out some sneer that would set my blood simmering. One morning he came in late for the lesson, smelling strongly of wine, and bade us bring our books out under the fruit trees in the garden. He threw back his gown and tilted his cap, and lighting his pipe began to speak of that act of Townshend’s, passed but the year before, which afterwards proved the King’s folly and England’s ruin.

“Principle!” exclaimed my fine clergyman at length, blowing a great whiff among the white blossoms. “Oons! your Americans worship his Majesty stamped upon a golden coin. And though he saved their tills from plunder from the French, the miserly rogues are loth to pay for the service.”

I rose, and taking a guinea-piece from my pocket, held it up before him.

“They care this much for gold, sir, and less for his Majesty, who cares nothing for them,” I said. And walking to the well near by, I dropped the piece carelessly into the clear water.

He was beside me before it left my hand, and Philip also, in time to see the yellow coin edging this way and that toward the bottom. The rector turned to me with a smile of cynical amusement playing over his features.

“Such a spirit has brought more than one brave fellow to Tyburn, Master Carvel,” said he.

As if such companions were not enough to vex me, Dorothy treated me ill enough that year. Since the minx had tasted power at Carvel Hall, there was no accounting for her. On returning to town Dr. Courtenay had begged her mother to allow her at the assemblies, a request which Mrs. Manners most sensibly refused. Mr. Marmaduke had given his consent, I believe, for he was more impatient than Dolly for the days when she would become the toast of the province. But the doctor contrived to see her in spite of difficulties, and Will Fotheringay was forever at her house, and half a dozen other lads. And many gentlemen of fashion like the doctor called ostensibly to visit Mrs. Manners, but in reality to see Miss Dorothy. And my lady knew it. She would be lingering in the drawing-room in her best bib and tucker, or strolling in the garden as Dr. Courtenay passed, and I got but scant attention indeed. I was but an awkward lad, and an old playmate, with no novelty about me.

“Why, Richard,” she would say to me as I rode or walked beside her, or sat at dinner in Prince George Street, “I know every twist and turn of your nature. There is nothing you could do to surprise me. And so, sir, you are very tiresome.”

“You once found me useful enough to fetch and carry, and amusing when I walked the Oriole’s bowsprit,” I replied.

“Why don’t you make me jealous?” says she, stamping her foot. “A score of pretty girls are languishing for a glimpse of you, — Jennie and Bess Fotheringay, and Betty Tayloe, and Heaven knows how many others. They are actually accusing me of keeping you trailing. ‘La, girls!’ said I, ‘if you will but rid me of him for a day, you shall have my lasting gratitude.’”

And she turned to the spinet and began a lively air. But the taunt struck deeper than she had any notion of. That spring arrived out from London on the Belle of the Wye a box of fine clothes my grandfather had commanded for me from his own tailor; and a word from a maid of fifteen did more to make me wear them than any amount of coaxing from Mr. Allen and my Uncle Grafton. My uncle seemed in particular anxious that I should make a good appearance, and reminded me that I should dress as became the heir of the Carvel house. And (fie upon me!) I was not ill-pleased with the brave appearance I made. I would show my mistress how little I cared. But the worst of it was, the baggage seemed to trouble less than I, and had the effrontery to tell me how happy she was I had come out of my shell, and broken loose from her apron-strings.

I often fled to the barrister’s daughter, Patty Swain, for counsel. My friendship with Patty had begun early. One autumn day when I was a little lad of eight or nine, my grandfather and I were driving in the big coach, when we spied a little maid of six by the Severn’s bank, trudging bravely through the dead leaves toward the town. Mr. Carvel pulled the cord to stop, and asked her name. “Patty Swain, and it please your honour,” the child answered. “So you are the young barrister’s daughter?” says he, smiling at something I did not understand. She nodded. “And how is it you are so far from home, and alone?” For some time he could get nothing out of her; but at length she explained that her big brother Tom had deserted her. My grandfather wished that Tom were his brother, that he might be punished as he deserved, and he commanded young Harvey to lift the child into the coach, and there she sat primly between us. She was not as pretty as Dorothy, so I thought, but her clear gray eyes and simple ways impressed me by their very honesty.

Not long after this Mr. Swain bought the house in the Duke of Gloucester Street, back to back with Marlboro’. To reach Patty’s garden I had but to climb the brick wall at the rear of our grounds, and to make my way along the narrow green lane there for perhaps a hundred paces of a lad, to come to the gate in the wooden paling. In return I used to hoist Patty over our wall, and we would play at children’s games under the fruit trees that skirted it. Some instinct kept her away from the house. I often caught her gazing wistfully at its wings and gables. She was not born to a mansion, so she said.

As I grew older, I took the cue of political knowledge, as I have said, from Mr. Swain rather than Captain Daniel, who would tell me nothing. I fell into the habit of taking supper in Gloucester Street. The meal was early there. And when the dishes were cleared away, and the barrister’s pipe lit, and Patty and her mother had got their sewing, he would talk by the hour on the legality of our resistance to the King, and discuss the march of affairs in England and the other colonies. He found me a ready listener, and took pains to teach me clearly the right and wrong of the situation. ’Twas his religion, even as loyalty to the King was my grandfather’s, and he did not think it wrong to spread it. He likewise instilled into me in that way more of history than Mr. Allen had ever taught me, using it to throw light upon this point or that. But, as I have said, I never knew his true power and eloquence until I followed him to the Stadt House.


 

CHAPTER VIII

OF FESTIVALS AND PARTINGS

MY grandfather and I were seated at table together. It was early June, the birds were singing in the garden, and the sweet odours of the flowers were wafted into the room.

“Richard,” says he, when Scipio had poured his claret, “my illness cheated you out of your festival last year. I dare swear you deem yourself too old for birthdays now.”

I laughed.

“And I have been thinking that we shall have your fête this year,” said he, “albeit you are grown. I will have his new Excellency, who seems a good and a kindly man, and Lloyd and Tilghman and Dulany and the rest, with their ladies, to sit with me. And there will be plenty of punch and syllabub and sangaree, I warrant; and tarts and jellies and custards, too, for the misses. Ring for Mrs. Willis, son.”

Willis came with her curtsey to the old gentleman, who gave his order then and there. He never waited for a fancy of this kind to grow cold.

“We shall all be children again, on that day, Mrs. Willis,” says he. “And I catch any old people about, they shall be thrust straight in the town stocks, i’ faith.”

Willis made another curtsey.

“We missed it sorely, last year, please your honour,” says she, and departs smiling.

“And we shall have Patty Swain, Richard,” Mr. Carvel continued. “I love that lass, Whig or no Whig. ’Pon my soul, she hath demureness and dignity, and suits me better than yon whimsical baggage you are all mad over. I’ll have Mr. Swain beside me, too. I’ll warrant I’d teach his daughter loyalty in a day, and I had again your years and spirit!”

I have but to close my eyes, and my fancy takes me back to that birthday festival. There they are again, those unpaved streets of old Annapolis arched with great trees on either side. And here is Dolly, holding her skirt in one hand and her fan in the other, and I in a brave blue coat, and pumps with gold buttons, and a cocked hat of the newest fashion. I had met her leaning over the gate in Prince George Street. And, what was strange for her, so deep in thought that she jumped when I spoke her name.

“Dorothy, I have come for you to walk to the party, as we used when we were children.”

“As we used when we were children!” cried she. And flinging wide the gate, stretched out her hand for me to take. “And you are eighteen years to-day! It seems but last year when we skipped hand in hand to Marlboro’ Street.” Then a little sigh became a laugh. “I mean to enjoy myself to-day, Richard. But I fear I shall not see as much of you as I used. Where have you been of late, sir? In Gloucester street?”

“’Tis your own fault, Dolly. I am sure of my welcome in Gloucester Street.”

She tripped a step as we turned the corner, and came closer to my side.

“You must learn to take me as you find me, dear Richard. Today I am in a holiday humour.”

Some odd note in her tone troubled me, and I glanced at her quickly. I had learned to interpret her by other means than words, and now her mood seemed reckless rather than merry.

“Are you not happy, Dolly?” I asked.

She laughed. “What a silly question! Why do you ask?”

“Because I believe you are not.”

In surprise she looked up at me, and then down at the pearls upon her satin slippers.

“I am going with you to your birthday festival, Richard. Could we wish for more? I am as happy as you.”

“That may well be, for I might be happier.”

Again her eyes met mine, and she hummed an air. So we came to the gate, beside which stood Diomedes and Hugo in the family claret-red. A coach was drawn up, and another behind it, and we went down the leafy walk in the midst of a bevy of guests.

We have no such places nowadays, as was my grandfather’s. The ground between the street and the brick wall in the rear was a great stretch, as ample in acreage as many a small country-place we have in these times. The house was on the high land in front, hedged in by old trees, and thence you descended by stately tiers until you came to the level which held the dancers. Beyond that, and lower still, a lilied pond widened out of the sluggish brook with a cool and rustic spring-house at one end, looking out upon the water.

My grandfather sat in his great chair on the sward beside the fiddlers, his old friends gathering around him, as in former years. Dolly was carried off immediately, as I expected. The doctor and Worthington and Fitzhugh were already there, and waiting. I stood by Mr. Carvel’s chair, receiving the guests, and presently came Mr. Swain and Patty.

“Heigho!” called Mr. Carvel, when he saw her; “here is the young lady that hath my affections. You are right welcome, Mr. Swain. Scipio, another chair!”

Patty, too, was carried off, for you may be sure that Will Fotheringay and Singleton were standing on one foot and then the other, waiting for Mr. Carvel to have done. Next arrived my aunt, in a wide calash and a wider hoop, her stays laced so that she limped, and her hair wonderfully and fearfully arranged by her Frenchman. Neither she nor Grafton was slow to shower congratulations upon my grandfather and myself. Mr. Marmaduke went through the ceremony after them.

I slipped unnoticed into a shaded seat on the side of the upper terrace, whence I could see the changing figures on the green. And as the strains died away and the couples moved off among the privet-lined paths, I went slowly down the terrace. The music was just begun again, when I was brought up as by a rope.

“So I am ever forced to ask you to dance!” said Dolly. “What were you about, moping off alone, with a party in your honour, ir?”

“I was watching you.”

“Oh, fie!” she cried. “Why don’t you assert yourself, Richard? There was a time when you gave me no peace.”

“And then you rebuked me for dangling,” I retorted.

“Do you remember the place where I used to play fairy godmother, and wind the flowers into my hair?” said she.

What need to ask? And I wondered at this new caprice.

“If we can but slip away unnoticed, they will never find us there,” she said; and led the way herself.

At length we came to the damp shade where the brook dove under the corner of the wall, and I stooped to gather the lilies of the valley, which she wove into her hair. Suddenly she stopped, the bunch poised in her hand.

“Would you miss me if I went away, Richard?” she asked, in a low voice.

“What do you mean, Dolly?”

“Just that.”

“I would miss you, and sorely, tho’ you give me trouble enough.”

“Soon I shall not be here to trouble you. Papa has decided that we sail next week, on the Annapolis, for home.”

“Home!” I gasped. “England?”

“I am going to make my bow to royalty,” said she, dropping a deep curtsey. “‘Your Majesty, this is Miss Manners, of the province of Maryland!’”

“But next week! Surely you cannot be ready for the Annapolis!”

“McAndrews has instructions to send our things after,” said she. “There! You are the first person I have told. You should feel honoured, sir.”

I sat down upon the grass by the brook, and for the moment the sap of life left me. Dolly continued to twine the flowers. Through the trees sifted the voices and the music, sounds of happiness far away. When I looked up again, she was gazing into the water.

“Are you glad to go?” I asked.

“Of course. I shall see the world, and meet people of consequence.”

“So you are going to England to meet people of consequence!” I cried bitterly.

“How provincial you are, Richard! What people of consequence have we here? The Governor and the honourable members of his Council, forsooth! There is not a title save his Excellency’s in our whole colony, and Virginia is scarce better provided.”

In spite of my feeling I was fain to laugh at this, knowing well that she had culled it all from little Mr. Marmaduke himself.

“All in good time,” said I. “We shall have no lack of noted men presently.”

“Mere twopenny heroes,” she retorted. “I know your great men, such as Mr. Henry and Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams.”

I began pulling up the grass savagely by the roots.

“I’ll lay a hundred guineas you have no regrets at leaving any of us, my fine miss!” I said, getting to my feet. “You would rather be a lady of fashion than have the love of an honest man, — you who have the hearts of too many as it is.”

Her eyes lighted, but with mirth. She chose a little bunch of the lilies and worked them into my coat.

“Richard, you silly goose!” she said; “I dote upon seeing you in a temper.”

I stood between anger and God knows what, now starting away, now coming back to her. But I always came back.

“You have ever said you would marry an earl, Dolly,” I said sadly. “I believe you do not care for any of us one little bit.”

She turned away, so that for the moment I could not see her face, then looked at me with exquisite archness over her shoulder. The low tones of her voice were of a richness indescribable.

“You will be coming to Oxford, Richard?”

“I fear not, Dolly,” I replied. “Not now. Mr. Carvel is too feeble for me to leave him.”

At that she turned to me, another mood coming like a gust of wind on the Chesapeake.

“Oh, how I wish they were all like you!” she cried. “Sometimes I despise gallantry. I hate the smooth compliments of your macaronies. I thank Heaven you are big and honest and clumsy and —”

“And what, Dorothy?” I asked, bewildered.

“And stupid,” said she. “Now take me back, sir.”

 
 

And so the morning of her sailing came, so full of sadness for me. Why not confess, after nigh threescore years, that break of day found me pacing the deserted dock. At my back, across the open space, was the irregular line of quaint, top-heavy shops since passed away, their sightless windows barred by solid shutters of oak. The good ship Annapolis, which was to carry my playmate to broader scenes, lay among the shipping, in the gray roads just quickening with returning light. How my heart ached that morning, as the sun shot a burning line across the water and a new salt breeze sprang up. ’Twas the very breeze that was to blow Dorothy down the bay. Sleepy apprentices took down the shutters, and polished the windows until they shone again; and chipper Mr. Denton Jacques, who did such a thriving business opposite, presently appeared to wish me a bright good morning.

I knew that Captain Waring proposed to sail at ten of the clock; but after breakfasting, I was of two minds whether to see the last of Miss Dorothy, foreseeing a levee in her honour upon the ship. And so it proved. I had scarce set out in a pungy from the dock, when I perceived a dozen boats about the packet; and when I thrust my shoulders through the gangway, there was the company gathered at the mainmast. They made a gay bit of colour, — Dr. Courtenay in a green coat laced with fine Mechlin, Fitzhugh in claret and silk stockings of a Quaker gray, and the other gentlemen as smartly drest. The Dulany girls and the Fotheringay girls, and I know not how many others, were there to see their friend off for home. In the midst of them was Dorothy, in a crimson silk capuchin, for we had had one of our changes of weather. It was she who spied me as I was drawing down the ladder again.

“It is Richard!” I heard her cry. “He has come.”

I gripped the rope tightly, sprang to the deck, and faced her as she came out of the group, her lips parted, and the red of her cheeks vying with the hood she wore. I took her hand silently.

“I had given you over, Richard,” she said, her eyes looking reproachfully into mine. “Another ten minutes, and I should not have seen you.”

Indeed, the topsails were already off the caps, the captain on deck, and the men gathered at the capstan.

“Have you not enough to wish you good-by, Dolly?” I asked.

“There must be a score of them,” said my lady, making a face. “But I wish to talk to you.”

Mr. Marmaduke, however, had no notion of allowing a gathering in his daughter’s honour to be broken up. It had been wickedly said of him, when the news of his coming departure got around, that he feared Dorothy would fall in love with some provincial beau before he could get her within reach of a title. When he observed me talking to her, he hurried away from the friends come to see his wife (he had few himself), and seizing me by the arm implored me to take good care of my dear grandfather, and to write them occasionally of the state of his health, and likewise how I fared.

“I think Dorothy will miss you more than any of them, Richard,” said he. “Will you not, my dear?”

But she was gone. I, too, left him without ceremony Then the mate came, with his hand to his cap, respectfully to inform visitors that the anchor was up and down. Albeit my spirits were low, ’twas no small entertainment to watch the doctor and his rivals at their adieus. Courtenay had at his command an hundred subterfuges to outwit his fellows, and so manœuvred that he was the last of them over the side. As for me, luckily, I was not worth a thought. When at length the impatient mate had hurried him off, Dolly turned to me. It was not in me to say more than: —

“Good-by, Dorothy. Do not forget your old playmate.”

We stood within the gangway. With a quick movement she threw open her cloak, and pinned to her gown I saw a faded bunch of lilies of the valley.

I had but the time to press her hand. The boatswain’s pipe whistled, and the big ship was already sliding in the water as I leaped into my pungy, which Hugo was holding to the ladder. We pulled off to where the others waited.

The Annapolis sailed away down the bay, and never another glimpse we caught of my lady.

 
 

That was a long summer indeed. And tho’ Wilmot House was closed, I often rode over of a morning when the dew was on the grass. It cheered me to smoke a pipe with old McAndrews, Mr. Manners’s factor, who loved to talk of Miss Dorothy near as much as I. He had served her grandfather, and people said that had it not been for McAndrews, the Manners fortune had long since been scattered, since Mr. Marmaduke knew nothing of anything that he should. I could not hear from my lady until near the first of October, and so I was fain to be content with memories — memories and hard work. For I had complete charge of the plantation now.

My Uncle Grafton came twice or thrice, but without his family, Aunt Caroline and Philip having declared their independence. My uncle’s manner to me was now of studied kindness, and he was at greater pains than before to give me no excuse for offence. I had little to say to him. He spent his visits reading to Mr. Carvel, who sat in his chair all the day long. Mr. Allen came likewise, to perform the same office. My contempt for the rector was grown more than ever. On my grandfather’s account, however, I refrained from quarrelling with him. And, when we were alone, my plain speaking did not seem to anger him. Others came, too. Such was the affection Mr. Carvel’s friends bore him that they did not desert him when he was no longer the companion he had been in former years. We had more company than the summer before.

In the autumn a strange thing happened. When we had taken my grandfather to the Hall in June, his dotage seemed to settle upon him. He became a trembling old man, at times so peevish that we were obliged to summon with an effort what he had been. He was suspicious and fault-finding with Scipio and the other servants, though they were never so busy for his wants. Mrs. Willis’s dainties were often untouched, and he would frequently sit for hours between slumber and waking, or mumble to himself as I read the prints. But about the time of the equinoctial a great gale came out of the south so strongly that the water rose in the river over the boat landing; and the roof was torn from one of the curing-sheds. The next morning dawned clear, and brittle, and blue. To my great surprise, Mr. Carvel sent for me to walk with him about the place, that he might see the damage with his own eyes. A huge walnut had fallen across the drive, and when he came upon it he stopped abruptly.

“Old friend!” he cried, “have you succumbed? After all these years have you dropped from the weight of a blow?” He passed his hand caressingly along the trunk, and scarce ever had I seen him so affected. In truth, for the instant I thought him deranged. He raised his cane above his shoulder and struck the bark so heavily that the silver head sunk deep into the wood. “Look you, Richard,” he said, the water coming into his eyes, “look you, the heart of it is gone, lad; and when the heart is rotten ’tis time for us to go. That walnut was a life friend, my son. We have grown together,” he continued, turning from me to the giant and brushing his cheeks, “but by God’s good will we shall not die so, for my heart is still as young as the days when you were sprouting.” And he walked back to the house more briskly than he had come, refusing, for the first time, my arm.

We moved into Marlboro’ Street the first part of November. I had seen my lady off for England, but not once had she deigned to write me. It was McAndrews who told me of her safe arrival. In Annapolis rumours were a-flying of conquests she had already made. I found Betty Tayloe had had a letter, filled with the fashion in caps and gowns, and the mention of more than one noble name. All of this being, for unknown reasons, sacred, I was read only part of the postscript, in which I figured: “The London Season was done almost before we arrived,” so it ran. “We had but the Opportunity to pay our Humble Respects to their Majesties; and appear at a few Drum-Majors and Garden Fêtes. Now we are off to Brighthelmstone, and thence, so Papa says, to Spa and the Continent until the end of January. I am pining for news of Maryland, dearest Betty. Address me in care of Mr. Ripley, Barrister, of Lincoln’s Inn, and bid Richard Carvel write me.”

“Which does not look as if she were coming back within the year,” said Betty, as she poured me a dish of tea.

Alas, no! But I did not write. I tried and failed. And then I tried to forget. Then came the first assembly of the year. I got back from Bentley Manor, where I had been a-visiting the Fotheringays, just in time to call for Patty in Gloucester Street.

“Have you heard the news from abroad, Richard?” she asked, as I handed her into my chariot.

“Never a line,” I replied.

“Pho!” exclaimed Patty; “you tell me that! Where have you been hiding? Then you shall not have it from me.”

I had little trouble, however, in persuading her. For news was a rare luxury in those days, and Patty was plainly uncomfortable until she should have it out.

“I would not give you the vapours to-night for all the world, Richard,” she exclaimed. “But if you must, — Dr. Courtenay has had a letter from Mr. Manners, who says that Dolly is to marry his Grace of Chartersea. There now!”

“And I am not greatly disturbed,” I answered, with a careless air.

The lanthorn on the chariot was burning bright. And I saw Patty look at me, and laugh.

“Indeed!” says she; “what a sex is that to which you belong. How ready are men to deny us at the first whisper! But there is more news, of less import,” she continued, as I was silent. “The Thunderer dropped anchor in the roads to-day, and her officers will be at the assembly. And Betty tells me there is a young lord among them, — la! I have clean forgot the string of adjectives she used, — but she would have had me know he was as handsome as Apollo, and so dashing and diverting as to put Courtenay and all our wits to shame. She dined with him at the Governor’s.”

I barely heard her, tho’ I had seen the man-o’-war in the harbour as I sailed in that afternoon.

The assembly hall was filled when we arrived, aglow with candles and a-tremble with music, the powder already flying, and the tables in the recesses at either end surrounded by those at the cards. A lively scene, those dances at the old Stadt House. The ladies in flowered aprons and caps and brocades and trains, and the gentlemen in brilliant coats, trimmed with lace and stiffened with buckram. That night, as Patty had predicted, there was a smart sprinkling of uniforms from the Thunderer. One of those officers held my eye. He was as well-formed a lad, or man (for he was both), as it had ever been my lot to see. He was neither tall nor short, but of a good breadth. His fair skin was tanned by the weather, and he wore his own wavy hair powdered, as was just become the fashion, and tied with a ribbon behind.

“Mercy, Richard, that must be his Lordship. Why, his good looks are all Betty claimed for them!” exclaimed Patty. Mr. Lloyd, who was standing by, overheard her, and was vastly amused at her downright way.

“I will fetch him directly, Miss Swain,” said he, “as I have done for a dozen ladies before you.” And fetch him he did.

“Miss Swain, this is my Lord Comyn,” said he. “Your Lordship, one of the boasts of our province.”

Patty grew red as the scarlet with which his Lordship’s coat was lined. She curtseyed, while he made a profound bow.

“What! Another boast, Mr. Lloyd!” he cried. “Miss Swain is the tenth I have met. But I vow they excel as they proceed.”

“Then you must meet no more, my Lord,” said Patty, laughing at Mr. Lloyd’s predicament.

“Egad, then, I will not,” declared Comyn. “I protest I am satisfied.”

Then I was presented. He won me on the instant. This Comyn was a man after my own fancy, as, indeed, he took the fancy of every one at the ball. Though a viscount in his own right, he gave himself not half the airs over us provincials as did many of his messmates. Even Mr. Jacques, who was sour as last year’s cider over the doings of Parliament, lost his heart, and asked why we were not favoured in America with more of his sort. He contrived to get Patty for supper, when I took Betty Tayloe, and we were very merry at table together. He drank a health to Miss Swain, and another to Miss Tayloe, and was on the point of filling a third glass to the ladies of Maryland, when he caught himself and brought his hand down on the table.

“Gads life!” cried he, “but I think she’s from Maryland, too!”

“Who?” demanded the young ladies, in a breath.

But I knew.

“Who!” exclaimed Comyn. “Who but Miss Dorothy Manners! Isn’t she from Maryland?” And marking our astonished nods, he continued: “Why, she descended upon Mayfair when they were so weary for something to worship, and they went mad over her in a s’ennight. I give you Miss Manners!”

“And you know her!” exclaimed Patty, her voice quivering with excitement.

“Faith!” said his Lordship, laughing. “For a whole month I was her most devoted, as were we all at Almack’s. I stayed until the last minute for a word with her, — which I never got, by the way, — and paid near a guinea a mile for a chaise to Portsmouth as a consequence. Already she has had her choice from a thousand a year up, and I tell you our English ladies are green with envy.”

I was stunned, you may be sure. And yet, I might have expected it.

“If your Lordship has left your heart in England,” said Betty, with a smile, “I give you warning you must not tell our ladies here of it.”

“I care not who knows it, Miss Tayloe,” he cried. That fustian, insincerity, was certainly not one of his faults. “I care not who knows it. To pass her chariot is to have your heart stolen, and you must needs run after and beg mercy. But, ladies,” he added, his eye twinkling; “having seen the women of your colony, I marvel no longer at Miss Manners’s beauty.”

He set us all a-laughing.

“I fear you were not born a diplomat, sir,” says Patty. “You agree that we are beautiful, yet to hear that one of us is more so is small consolation.”

The Thunderer weighed the next day Not, however, before I had seen him again. He told me that he was heartily sick of the navy; that he had entered only in respect for a wish of his father’s, the late Admiral Lord Comyn, and that the Thunderer was to sail for New York, where he looked for a release from his commission; and whence he would return to England. He would carry any messages to Miss Manners that I chose to send. But I could think of none, save that she was constantly in my thoughts. He promised me that he would have thought of a better than that by the time he sighted Cape Clear. And were I ever to come to London he would put me up at Brooks’s Club, and warrant me a better time and more friends than ever had a Caribbee who came home on a visit.


 

CHAPTER IX

THE “BLACK MOLL”

CHRISTMAS fell upon Monday of that year, 1769. There was to be a ball at Upper Marlboro’ on the Friday before, to which many of us were invited. Though the morning came in with a blinding snowstorm from the north, the first of that winter, about ten of the clock we set out from Annapolis an exceeding merry party, the ladies in four coaches-and-six, the gentlemen and their servants riding at the wheels. We laughed and joked despite the storm, and exchanged signals with the fair ones behind the glasses.

But we had scarce got two miles beyond the town gate when a messenger overtook us with a note for “Mr. Carvel,” writ upon an odd slip of paper, and with great apparent hurry: —

“HONOURED SIR,

“I have but just come to Annapolis from New York, with Instructions to put into your Hands, & no Others, a Message of the greatest Import. Hearing you are but now set out for Upper Marlboro I beg of you to return for half an Hour to the Coffee House. By so doing you will be of service to a Friend, and confer a Favour upon y’r most ob’d’t Humble Servant,
        “SILAS RIDGEWAY.”

Our cavalcade had halted while I read, the ladies letting down the glasses and leaning out in their concern lest some trouble had befallen me or my grandfather. I answered them and bade them ride on, vowing that I would overtake the coaches before they reached the Patuxent. Then I turned my mount for town, with Hugo at my heels.

I knew not this Mr. Ridgeway from the Lord Mayor of London; but I came to the conclusion before I had repassed the gate that his message was from Captain Daniel. So I came to the Coffee House, and throwing my bridle to Hugo, I ran in.

I found Mr. Ridgeway neither in the long room nor in the billiard room nor the bar. Mr. Claude told me that indeed a man had arrived that morning from the North, a spare person with a hooked nose and scant hair, in a brown greatcoat with a torn cape. He had gone forth afoot half an hour since. His messenger, a negro lad whose face I knew, was in the stables with Hugo. He had never seen the stranger till he met him that morning in State House Circle inquiring for Mr. Carvel, and had been given a shilling to gallop after me. Impatient as I was to be gone, I sat me down in the coffee room, thinking every minute the man must return, and apprehensive that Captain Daniel must be in some predicament.

At length, about a quarter after noon, my man comes in with Mr. Claude close behind him. I liked his looks less than his description, and the moment I clapped eyes on him I knew that Captain Daniel had never chose such a messenger.

“This is Mr. Richard Carvel,” said Mr. Claude.

The fellow made me a low bow.

“I am sure, sir,” he began, “that I crave your forbearance for this prodigious, stupid mistake I have made.”

“Mistake!” I exclaimed; “you mean to say, sir, that you have brought me back for nothing?”

“I scarce know what to say, Mr. Carvel,” he answered with much humility; “to speak truth, ’twas zeal to my employers, and methought to you, that caused you to retrace your steps in this pestiferous storm. I travel for Messrs. Rinnell and Runn, Barristers of the town of New York, and carry letters to men of mark all over these middle and southern colonies. And my instructions, sir, were to come to Annapolis with all reasonable speed with this double-sealed enclosure for Mr. Carvel: and to deliver it to him, and him only, the very moment I arrived. I made inquiries, and was told by a black fellow in the Circle that Mr. Carvel was but just left for Upper Marlboro’ with a cavalcade of four coaches-and-six. I am sure my mistake was pardonable, Mr. Carvel, and crave your forgiveness, and the pleasure of drinking your honour’s health.”

I barely heard the fellow through, and asked him what Mr. Carvel he sought.

“And it please your honour, Mr. Grafton Carvel,” said he; “your uncle, I understand. Unfortunately he has gone to his estate in Kent County, whither I must now follow him.”

I bade Mr. Claude summon my servant, and in ten minutes we were out of the town again, galloping between the nearly filled tracks of the coaches, now three hours ahead of us. The storm was increasing, and the wind cutting, but I dug into the horse so that poor Hugo was put to it to hold the pace, and, tho’ he had a pint of rum in him, was near perished with the cold. As my anger cooled somewhat I began to wonder how Mr. Silas Ridgeway, whoever he was, could have been such a simpleton as his story made him out. Indeed, he looked more the rogue than the ass; nor could I conceive how reliable barristers could hire such a one. I wished heartily that I had exhausted him further, and I was once close to a full mind for going back. But the thought of the pleasures at Upper Marlboro’ and the hope of overtaking the party at Mr. Dorsey’s place, over the Patuxent, where they looked to dine, decided me in pushing on. And thus we came to South River, with the snow so thick that we could scarce see ten yards in front of us.

What happened then is still blurred in my brain. The horse was shot from under me, we fell heavily together, and I was scarcely up again, my sword drawn, when villains were pressing me from all sides. I remember spitting one, then heard a great oath, and was felled from behind with a mighty blow.

 
 

I came to my wits with an immoderate feeling of faintness and sickness, with no more remembrance of things past than has a man bereft of reason. And for some time I swung between sense and oblivion before an overpowering stench forced itself upon my nostrils, accompanied by a creaking, straining sound and sweeping motion. I could see nothing for the pitchy blackness. Then I recalled what had befallen me, and cried aloud to God in my anguish, for I well knew I had been carried aboard ship, and was at sea.

I had no pain. I lay in a bunk that felt gritty and greasy to the touch, and my hair was matted behind by a clot of blood. I had been stripped of my clothes, and put into some coarse and rough material, the colour and condition of which I could not see for want of light. I began to cast about me, to examine the size of the bunk, which I found to be narrow, and plainly at some distance from the deck, for I laid hold upon one of the rough beams above me. By its curvature I knew it to be a knee, and thus I came to the caulked aides of the vessel, and for the first time heard the rattling thud and swish of water on the far side of it. I had no sooner made this discovery, which drew from me an involuntary groan, when a ship’s lanthorn was of a sudden thrust over me, and I perceived behind it a head covered with shaggy hair and beard, and beetling brows. Never had I been in such a presence.

“Damn my blood and bones, life signals at last! Another three bells gone, my silks and laces, and we had given you to the sharks.”

The man hung his lanthorn to a hook on the beam, and thrust a case-bottle of rum toward me, at the same time biting off a great quid of tobacco. For all my alarm I saw that his manner was not unkindly, and as I was conscious of a consuming thirst I seized and tipped it eagerly.

“’Tis no fine Madeira, my blood,” said he, “such as I fancy your palate is acquainted with. Yet ’tis as fair a Jamaica as ever Griggs put ashore i’ the dark.”

“Griggs?” I said.

“Ay, Griggs,” replied he. “Ye may well repeat it. I’ll lay a puncheon he’ll be hailing you shortly. Guinea Griggs, damn his soul and eyes; he hath sent to damnation many a ship’s company.”

He drained what remained of the bottle, took down the lanthorn, and left me to reflect upon my situation, which I found desperate enough. I have no words to describe what I went through in that vile, foul-smelling place. My tears flowed fast when I thought of my grandfather and of the friends I had left behind, and of Dorothy, whom I never hoped to see again. And then, perchance ’twas the rum put heart into me, I vowed I would face the matter: show this cut-throat of a Griggs a bold front. Had he meant to murder me, I reflected, he had done the business long since. Then I fell asleep.

I awoke, I know not how soon, to discover the same shaggy countenance, and the lanthorn.

“Canst walk, Mechlin?” says he.

“I can try, at least,” I answered.

He seemed pleased at this.

“You have courage aplenty, and, by G— , you will have need of it all with that —— of a Griggs!” He gave me his bottle again, and assisted me down, and I found that my legs, save for the rocking of the ship, were steady enough. I followed him out of the hole in which I had lain on to a deck, which, in the half light, I saw covered with slush and filth. It was small, and but dimly illuminated by a hatchway, up which I pushed after him, and then another. And so we came to the light of day, which near blinded me: so that I was fain to clap my hand to mine eyes, and stood for a space looking about me like a man dazed. The wind, tho’ blowing stiff, was mild, and league after league of the green sea danced and foamed in the morning sunlight, and I perceived that I was on a large schooner under full sail, the crew of which were littered about at different occupations. Some gaming and some drinking, while on the forecastle two men were settling a dispute at fisticuffs. And they gave me no more notice, nor as much, than I had been a baboon thrust among them. From this indifference to a captive I augured no good. Then my conductor, whom I rightly judged to be the mate of this devil’s crew, took me roughly by the shoulder and bade me accompany him to the cabin.

As we drew near the topgallant poop there sounded in my ears a noise like a tempest, which I soon became aware was a man swearing with a prodigious vehemence in a fog-horn of a voice. “’Sdeath and wounds! Where is that dog-fish of a Cockle? Damn his entrails, and he is not come soon, I’ll mast-head him naked, by the seven holy spritsails!” And much more and worse to the same tune until we passed the door and stood before him, when he let out an oath like the death-cry of a monster.

He was a short, lean man with a leathery face and long, black ropy hair, and beady black eyes that caught the light like a cat’s. His looks, indeed, would have scared a timid person into a fit; but I resolved I would die rather than show the fear with which he inspired me. He was dressed in an old navy uniform with dirty lace. His cabin was bare enough, being scattered about with pistols and muskets and cutlasses, with a ragged pallet in one corner, and he sat behind an oaken table covered with greasy charts and spilled liquor and tobacco.

“So ho, you are risen from the dead, are you, my fine buck? Mr. What-do-they-call-you?” cried the captain, with a word as foul as any he had yet uttered. “By the Lord, you shall pay for running my bosun through!”

“And by the Lord, Captain What’s-your-name” I cried back, for the rum I had taken had heated me, “you and your fellow-rascals shall pay in blood for this villanous injury!”

Griggs got to his feet and seized his hanger, his face like livid marble seamed with blue. And I made motion for my sword, to make the shameful discovery that I was clothed from head to foot in linsey-woolsey.

“G— d— my soul,” he roared, “if I don’t slit you like a herring! The devil burn me to a cinder if I don’t give your guts to the sharks!” And he made at me in such a fury that I would certainly have been cut to pieces had I not grasped a cutlass and parried his blow, Cockle looking on with his jaw dropped like a peak without haulyards. I made up my mind I would better die fighting than expire at a hideous torture, which I doubted not he would inflict, and so I took up a posture of defence, with one eye on the mate. What was my astonishment, therefore, to behold Griggs’s truculent manner change.

“Avast, my man-o-war,” he cried; “blood and wounds! I had more than an eye when they brought thee aboard, else I would have killed thee like a sucking-pig under the forecastle, as I have given oath to do. By the Ghost, you are worth seven of that Roger Spratt whom you sent to hell in his boots.”

Wherewith Cockle, who for all his terrible appearance stood in a mighty awe of his captain, set up a loud laugh, and vowed that Griggs knew a man when he spared me, and was cursed for his pains.

“So you were contracted to murder me, Captain Griggs?” said I.

“Ay,” he replied, a devilish, gleam coming into his eye, “but I have now got you and the money to boot. But harkye, I’ll stand by my half of the bargain, by G—. If ever you reach Maryland alive, they may hang me to the yardarm of a ship-of-the-line.”

 
 

And I live long enough, my dears, I hope some day to write the account of all that befell me on this slaver, Black Moll, for so she was called. Suffice it to say that we sailed for a fortnight or so in the West India seas. From some observations that fell from the mouth of Griggs I gathered that he was searching for an island which evaded him; and each day added to his vexation at not finding it. At times he was drunk for forty hours at a stretch, when he would shut himself in his cabin and leave his ship to the care of Cockle, who navigated with the sober portion of the crew. And such a lousy, brawling lot of convicts I had never clapped eyes upon. As for me, I was treated indifferently well, though ’twas in truth punishment enough to live in that filthy ship, to eat their shins of beef and briny pork and wormy biscuit, to wear rough clothes that chafed my skin. I shared Cockle’s cabin, in every way as dirty a place as the den I had left, but with the advantage of air, for which I fervently thanked God.

I think the mate had some little friendship for me, though he was too hardened by the life he had led to care a deal what became of me. He encouraged me secretly to continue to beard Griggs as I had begun, saying that it was my sole chance of a whole skin, and vowing that if he had had the courage to pursue the same course his own back had not been checkered like a grating. He told me stories of the captain’s cruelty which I dare not repeat for their very horror, and indeed I lacked not for instances to substantiate what he said; men with their backs beaten to a pulp, and others with ears cut off, and mouths slit, and toes missing. So that I lived in hourly fear lest in some drunken fit Griggs might command me to be tortured. But, fortunately, he held small converse with me, and when sober busied himself in trying to find the island and in cursing the fate by which it eluded him.

So I existed, and prayed daily for deliverance. I plied Cockle with questions as to what they purposed doing with me, but he was wont to turn sulky, and would answer me not a word. But once, when he was deeper in his cups than common, he let me know that Griggs was to sell me to a certain planter. You may well believe that this did not serve to liven my spirits.

At length, one morning, Captain Griggs came out of his cabin and climbed upon the poop, calling all hands aft to the quarterdeck. Whereupon he proceeded to make them a speech that for vileness exceeded aught I have ever heard before or since. He finished by reminding them that this was the anniversary of the scuttling of the sloop Jane, which had made them all rich a year before, off the Canaries; the day that he had sent three and twenty men over the plank to hell. Wherefore he decreed a holiday, as the weather was bright and the trades light, and would serve quadruple portions of rum to every man jack aboard; and they set up a cheer that started the Mother Careys astern.

I have no language to depict the bestiality of that day; and if I had I would think it sin to write of it. The helm was lashed on the port tack, the haulyards set taut, and all hands down to the lad who was the cook’s scullion proceeded to get drunk. I took the precaution to have a hanger at my side and to slip one of Cockle’s pistols within the band of my breeches. I was in an exquisite agony of indecision as to what manner to act and how to defend myself from their drunken brutality, for I well knew that if I refused to imbibe with them I should probably be murdered for my abstemiousness; and, if I drank, the stuff was so near to alcohol that I could not hope to keep my senses. While in this predicament I received a polite invitation to partake in the captain’s company, which I did not see my way clear to refuse, and repaired to the cabin accordingly.

There I found Griggs and Cockle seated, and a fair-sized barrel of rum between them that the captain had just moved thither. By way of welcome he shot at me a volley of curses and bade me to fill up, and through fear of offending him I took down my first mug with a fair good grace. Then, in his own particular language, he began the account of the capture of the Jane, taking care in the pauses to see that my mug was full. But, as luck would have it, he got no farther than the boarding by the Black Moll’s crew, when he fell to squabbling with Cockle as to who had been the first man over the side; and while they were settling this difference I grasped the opportunity to escape.

The maudlin scene that met my eyes on deck defies description; some were fighting, others grinning with a hideous laughter, and still others shouting tavern jokes unspeakable. And suddenly, whilst I was observing these things from a niche behind the cabin door, I heard the captain cry from within, “The ensign, the ensign!” Forgetting his dispute with Cockle, he bumped past me and made his way with some trouble to the poop. I climbed the ladder after him, and beheld him in a drunken frenzy drag a black flag with a rudely painted skull and cross-bones from the signal-chest, and with uncertain fingers toggle it to the ensign haulyards and hoist to the peak, where it fluttered grimly in the light wind like an evil augur on a fair day. At sight of it the wretches on deck fell to shouting and huzzaing, Griggs standing leering up at it. Then he gravely pulled off his hat and made it a bow, and turned upon me.

Unless fear had kept me sober, ’tis past my understanding why I was not as drunk as he. He lugged at me with a spring like a wild beast; and his men below, seeing us fall out, made a rush for the poop with knives and cutlasses drawn. Betwixt them all I should soon have been in slivers had not the main shrouds offered themselves handy. And up them I sprung, the captain cutting at my legs as I left the sheer-pole, and I stopped not until I reached the schooner’s cross-trees, where I drew my cutlass. They pranced around the mast and showered me with oaths, for all the world like a lot of howling dogs which had treed a cat.

A brace of them essayed to climb the ratlines, as pitiable an attempt as ever I witnessed, and fell to the deck again. ’Twas a miracle that they missed falling into the sea. And after a while, becoming convinced that they could not get at me, and being too far gone to shoot with any accuracy, they tumbled off the poop swearing to serve me in a hundred horrible ways when they caught me, and fell again to drinking and quarrelling amongst themselves. I was indeed in an unenviable plight, by no means sure that I would not be slain out of hand when they became sufficiently sober to capture me. I cast about for some plan to take advantage of their condition, a stupor already beginning to overcome a few of them, when suddenly an incident happened to drive all else from my mind: nothing less than a white speck of sail gleaming on the southern horizon!

For an hour I watched it, now in a shiver of apprehension lest it pass us by, now weeping in joy over a possible deliverance. But it grew steadily larger, and when about three miles on our port bow I saw that the ship was a brigantine. Though she had long been in sight from our deck, ’twas not until now that she was made out by a man on the forecastle, who set up a cry that brought about him all who could reel thither, Griggs staggering out of his cabin and to the nettings. The sight sobered him somewhat, for he immediately shouted orders to cast loose the guns, himself tearing the breeching from the nine-pounder next him and taking out the tompion. About half the crew were in a liquorish stupor from which the trump itself could scarce have aroused them; the rest responded with savage oaths, swore that they would boil their suppers in the blood of the brigantine’s men and give their corpses to the sea. They fell to work on the port battery in so ludicrous a manner that I was fain to laugh despite the situation. But when they came to rig the powder-hoist and a couple descended into the magazine with pipes lighted, I feared being blown as high as a kite.

So absorbed had I been in these preparations that I neglected to watch the brigantine, which I discovered to be standing on and off in a very undecided manner, as though hesitating to attack. My spirits fell again at this. Finally, about six bells of the watch, the stranger wore ship and bore down across our bows, hoisting English colours. At this instant, Captain Griggs woke to the fact that his helm was still lashed, and bestowing a hearty kick on his prostrate quartermaster stuck fast to the pitchy seams of the deck, took the wheel himself, and easing off before the wind to bring the vessels broadside to broadside, commanded that the guns be shotted to the muzzle, an order that was barely executed before the brigantine came within close range.

Aboard her was all order and readiness; the men at her guns fuse in hand, an erect figure of a man, in a cocked hat, on the break of her poop. He raised his hand, two puffs of white smoke darted out, I heard the shrieking of shot, the broadside came crashing round us, one tearing through the mainsail below me, another mangling two men in the waist of our schooner, and Griggs gave the order to touch off. But two of his guns answered, one of which had been so gorged with shot that it burst in a hundred pieces and sent the fellow with the swab to perdition. I saw Griggs in a wild fit of rage force the helm down, the schooner flying into the wind. By this time, the brigantine, having got round and presented her port battery, raked us at a bare hundred yards, and I guessed by the tilting forward of the mast that our hull was hit between wind and water, and was fast settling by the bow.

The schooner was sinking like a gallipot.


 

CHAPTER X

A MAN OF DESTINY

I WAS picked up and thrown into the brigantine’s long-boat with a stomach full of salt water, and a heart as light as spray with the joy of it all. A big, red-bearded man lifted my heels to drain me.

“The mon’s deid,” said he.

“Dead!” cried I. “No more dead than you!”

He dropped my feet, and they had scarce hooked the ship’s side when I sprang up the sea-ladder, to the great gaping of the boat’s crew, and stood with the water running off me in rivulets before the captain himself.

“Now by Saint Andrew,” exclaimed he, “are ye kelpie or pirate?”

“Neither, captain,” I replied; “but a gentleman in misfortune.”

“Hoots!” says he, frowning at the grinning half-circle about us, “it’s daft ye are —”

But there he paused, and took of me a second sizing. How he got at my birth behind my tangled mat of hair and wringing linsey-woolsey I know not. But he dropped his Scotch, and merchant-captain’s manner, and was suddenly a French courtier, making me a bow that had done credit to a Richelieu.

“Your servant, Mr. —”

“Richard Carvel, of Carvel Hall, in his Majesty’s province of Maryland.”

He seemed sufficiently impressed.

“Your very humble servant, Mr. Carvel. ’Tis in faith a privilege to be able to serve a gentleman.”

He bowed me toward his cabin, and then in sharp, quick tones gave an order to his mate to get under way, and I saw the men turning to the braces with astonishment. And so, with my clothes sucking to my body and a trail of water behind me like that of a walrus, I accompanied the captain aft. His quarters were indeed a contrast to those of Griggs, being so neat that I paused at the door for fear of profaning them. And then he summoned a boy from the round house.

“William,” said he, “a bottle of my French brandy. And my compliments to Mr. MacMuir, and ask him for a suit of clothes. You are a larger man than I, Mr. Carvel,” he said to me, “or I would fit you out according to your station.”

I was too overwhelmed to speak. He poured out a liberal three fingers of brandy, and pledged me as handsomely as I had been an admiral come thither in mine own barge, instead of a ragged lad picked off a piratical slaver, with nothing save my bare word and address. ’Twas then I had space to note him more particularly. His skin was the rich colour of a well-seasoned ship’s bell, and he was of the middle height, a slight, graceful figure tapering down at the waist like a top, which had set off a silk coat to perfection and soured the beaus with envy. His movements, however, had all the decision of a man of action and of force. But his eye it was took possession of me — an unfathomable, dark eye, which bore more toward melancholy than sternness, and yet had something of both. He wore a clean, ruffled shirt, an exceeding neat coat and breeches of blue broadcloth, with plate burnished buttons, and white cotton stockings. Truly, this was a person to make one look twice, and think oftener. Then, as I went to pledge him, I, too, was caught for his name.

“Paul,” said he; “John Paul, of the brigantine John, of Kirkcudbright, in the West India trade.”

“Captain Paul —” I began. But my gratitude stuck fast in my throat and flowed from my eyes. For the thought of the horrors from which he had saved me for a time swept over me, his own kind treatment overcame me, and I blubbered like a child. With that he turned his back.

Hoots,” says he, again, “dinna ye thank me. ’Tis naething to scuttle a nest of vermin, but the duty of ilka man who sails the seas.” By this, having got the better of his emotion, he added: “And if it has been my good fortune to save a gentleman, Mr. Carvel, I thank God for it, as you must.”

Save for a slackness inside the leg and in the hips, MacMuir’s clothes fitted me well enough, and presently I reappeared in the captain’s cabin rigged out in the mate’s shore suit of purplish drab, and brass-buckled shoes that came high over the instep, with my hair combed clear and tied with a ribbon behind. I felt at last that I might lay some claim to respectability. And what was my surprise to find Captain Paul buried to his middle in a great chest, and the place strewn about with laced and broidered coats and waistcoats, frocks and Newmarkets, like any tailor’s shop in Church Street. So strange they looked in those tropical seas that he was near to catching me in a laugh as he straightened up. ’Twas then I noted that he was a younger man than I had taken him for.

“You gentlemen from the southern colonies are too well nourished, by far,” says he; “you are apt to be large of chest and limb. ’Odds bods, Mr. Carvel, it grieves me to see you apparelled like a barber surgeon. If the good Lord had but made you smaller, now,” and he sighed, “how well this sky-blue frock had set you off.”

“Indeed, I am content, and more, captain,” I replied with a smile, “and thankful to be safe amongst friends. Never, I assure you, have I had less desire for finery.”

“Ay,” said he, “you may well say that, you who have worn silk all your life, and will the rest of it, and we get safe to port. But believe me, sir, the pleasure of seeing one of your face and figure in such a coat as that would not be a small one.”

And disregarding my blushes and protests, he held up the watchet blue frock against me, and it was near fitting me but for my breadth, — the skirts being prodigiously long. I wondered mightily what tailor had thrust this garment upon him; its fashion was of the old king’s time, the cuffs slashed like a sea-officer’s uniform, and the shoulders made carefully round. But other thoughts were running within me then.

“Captain,” I cut in, “you are sailing eastward.”

“Yes, yes,” he answered absently, fingering some Point d’Espagne.

“There is no chance of touching in the colonies?” I persisted.

“Colonies! No,” said he, in the same abstraction; “I am making for the Solway, being long overdue. But what think you of this, Mr. Carvel?”

And he held up a wondrous vellum-hole waistcoat of a gone-by vintage, and I saw how futile it were to attempt to lead him, while in that state of absorption, to topics which touched my affair. Of a sudden the significance of what he had said crept over me, the word Solway repeating itself in my mind. That firth bordered England itself, and Dorothy was in London! I became reconciled. I had no particle of objection to the Solway save the uneasiness my grandfather would come through, which was beyond helping.

Then I fell to applauding, while the captain tried on (for he was not content with holding up) another frock of white drab, which, cuffs and pockets, I’ll take my oath mounted no less than twenty-four: another plain one of pink cut-velvet; tail-coats of silk, heavily broidered with flowers, and satin waistcoats with narrow lace. He took an inconceivable enjoyment out of this parade, discoursing the while, like a nobleman with nothing but dress in his head, or, perhaps, like a master-cutter, about the turn of this or that lapel, the length from armpit to fold, and the number of button-holes that was proper. And finally he exhibited with evident pride a pair of doeskins that buttoned over the calf to be worn with high shoes, which I make sure he would have tried on likewise had he been offered the slightest encouragement. So he exploited the whole of his wardrobe, such an unlucky assortment of finery as I never wish to see again; all of which, however, became him marvellously, though I think he had looked well in anything. I wondered greatly that such a foible should crop out in a man of otherwise sound sense and plain ability.

At length, when the last chest was shut again and locked, and I had exhausted my ingenuity at commendation, and my patience also, he turned to me as a man come out of a trance.

“Od’s fish, Mr. Carvel,” he cried, “you will be starved. I had forgot your state.”

I owned that hunger had nigh overcome me, whereupon he became very solicitous, bade the boy bring in supper at once, and in a short time we sat down together to the best meal I had seen for a month. It seemed like a year. Porridge, and bacon nicely done, and duff and ale, with the sea rushing past the cabin windows as we ate, touched into colour by the setting sun. Captain Paul did not mess with his mates, not he, and he gave me to understand that I was to share his cabin, apologizing profusely for what he was pleased to call poor fare. He would have it that he, and not I, were receiving favour.

“My dear sir,” he said, “you cannot know what a bit of finery is to me, who has so little chance for the wearing of it. To discuss with a gentleman, a connoisseur (I know a bit of French, Mr. Carvel), is a pleasure I do not often come at.”

His simplicity in this touched me; it was pathetic.

“How know you I am a gentleman, Captain Paul?” I asked.

“I should lack discernment, sir,” he retorted, with some heat, “if I could not see as much. Breeding shines through sack-cloth, sir. Besides,” he continued, in a milder tone, “the look of you is candour itself.”

Here Mr. Lowrie, the second mate, came in with a report; and I remarked that he stood up hat in hand whilst making it, very much as if Captain Paul commanded a frigate. The captain went to a locker and brought forth some mellow Madeira, and after the mate had taken a glass of it standing, he withdrew. Then we lighted pipes and sat very cosey with a lanthorn swung between us, and Captain Paul expressed a wish to hear my story.

I gave him my early history briefly, dwelling but casually upon the position enjoyed in Maryland by my family; but I spoke of my grandfather, now turning seventy, gray-haired in the service of King and province. The captain was a most sympathetic listener, now throwing in a question showing keen Scotch penetration, and anon making a most ludicrous inquiry as to the dress livery our footmen wore, and whether Mr. Carvel used outriders when he travelled abroad. This was the other side of the man. As the wine warmed and the pipe soothed, I spoke at length of Grafton; and when I came to the contrivance that got me aboard the Black Moll, he was stalking hither and thither about the cabin, his fists clenched and his voice thick, breaking into Scotch again and vowing that hell were too good for such as they.

His indignation, which seemed real and generous, transformed him into another man. He showered question after question upon me concerning my uncle; declared that he had known many villains, but, had yet to hear of his equal; and finally, cooling a little, gave it as his judgment that the crime could never be brought home to him. This was my own opinion. He advised me, before we turned in, to “gie yere eme a crunt” as soon as ever I could lay hands upon him.

 
 

The John made a good voyage for that season, with fair winds and clear skies for the most part. ’Twas a stout ship and a steady, with generous breadth of beam, and kept by the master as clean and bright as his porringer. He was Emperor aboard her. He spelt Command with a large C, and when he inspected, his jacks stood to attention like man-o’-war’s men. The John mounting only four guns, and but two of them nine pounders, I expressed my astonishment that he had dared attack a pirate craft like the Black Moll without knowing her condition and armament.

“Richard,” says he, impressively, for we had become friendly, “I would close with a thirty-two and she flew that flag. Why, sir, a bold front is half the battle, using circumspection, of course. A pretty woman, whatever her airs and quality, is to be carried the same way, and a man ought never to be frightened by appearances.”

Sometimes, at our meals, we discussed politics. But he seemed lukewarm upon this subject. He had told me that he had a brother William in Virginia, who was a hot Patriot. The American quarrel seemed to interest him very little. What he said on the topic leaned perhaps to the King’s side, tho’ he was careful to say nothing that would give me offence. I was not surprised, for I had made a fair guess of his ambitions. It is only honest to declare that in my soberer moments my estimate of his character suffered. But he was a strange man.

The joy of sailing is born into some men, and those who are marked for the sea go down thither like the very streams, to be salted. ’Twas no great while before I was part and parcel of the ship beneath my feet, breathing deep with her every motion. What feeling can compare with that I tasted when the brigantine lay on her side, the silver spray hurling over the bulwarks and stinging me to life! Or, in the watches, to hear the sea lashing along her strakes in never ending music. I gave MacMuir his shore suit again, and hugely delighted and astonished Captain Paul by donning a jacket of Scotch wool and a pair of seaman’s boots, and so became a sailor myself. I had no mind to sit idle the passage, and the love of it, as I have said, was in me. In a fortnight I went aloft with the best of the watch to reef topsails, and trod a foot-rope without losing head or balance, bent an earing, and could lay hand on any lift, brace, sheet, or haulyards in the racks. John Paul himself taught me to tack and wear ship, and MacMuir to stow a headsail. The craft came to me, as it were, in a hand-gallop.

At first I could make nothing of the crew, not being able to understand a word of their Scotch; but I remarked, from the first, that they were sour and sulky, and given to gathering in knots when the captain or MacMuir had not the deck. For Mr. Lowrie, poor man, they had little respect. But they plainly feared the first mate, and John Paul most of all. Of me their suspicion knew no bounds, and they would give me gruff answers, or none, when I spoke to them. These things roused both curiosity and foreboding within me.

Many a watch I paced thro’ with MacMuir, big and red and kindly, and I was not long in letting him know of the interest which Captain Paul had inspired in me. His own feeling for him was little short of idolatry. I had surmised much as to the rank of life from which the captain had sprung, but my astonishment was great when I was told that John Paul was the son of a poor gardener.

“A gardener’s son, Mr. MacMuir!” I repeated.

“Just that,” said he, solemnly.

I knew that something, whatever it was, hung heavy on John Paul’s mind as we drew nearer Scotland. And that night, with the stars jumping and the air biting cold (for we were up in the 40’s), and the John wish-washing through the seas at three leagues the hour, MacMuir told me the story of Mungo Maxwell.

“Wae’s me!” he said, with a heave of his big chest, “I reca’ as yestreen the night Maxwell cam aboord.”

It seemed that John Paul, contrary to MacMuir’s advice, had shipped as carpenter on the voyage out — near seven months since — a man by the name of Mungo Maxwell. The man hailed from Kirkbean, John Paul’s own parish. But he had within him little of the milk of kindness, being in truth a sour and mutinous devil; he cursed the fate that had placed him under the gardener’s son, whom he deemed no better than himself. The John had scarce cleared the Solway before Maxwell showed signs of impudence and rebellion.

The crew was three-fourths made of Kirkcudbright men who had known the master from childhood, many of them, indeed, being older than he; they were mostly jealous of Paul, envious of the command he had attained to over them, and impatient under the discipline he was ever ready to inflict. ’Tis no light task to enforce obedience from those with whom one has bird-nested. But, having more than once felt the weight of his hand, they feared him.

Dissatisfaction among such spreads apace, if a leader is but given; and Maxwell was such a one. And this was the plot: when the Azores should be in the wake, Captain Paul was to be murdered as he paced his quarterdeck in the morning, the two mates clapt into irons, and so brought to submission. And Maxwell, who had no more notion of navigation than a carpenter should, was to take the John to God knows where, — the Guinea coast, most probably.

Happily, MacMuir himself discovered the affair on the eve of its perpetration, overhearing two men talking in the bread-room, and he ran to the cabin with the sweat standing out on his forehead. But the captain would have none of the precautions he urged; declared he would walk the deck as usual, and vowed he could cope single-handed with a dozen cowards like Maxwell. Sure enough, at crowdie-time, the men were seen coming aft, with Maxwell in the van carrying a bowl, on the pretext of a complaint against the cook.

“John Paul,” said MacMuir, with admiration in his voice, “John Paul wasna feart a pickle. He teuk the horn1 from Mungo, priet2 a soup o’ the crowdie, an’ wi’ that he seiz’t haut o’ the man by baith shouthers ere the blastie3 raught4 for ’s knife.”
  (1. Spoon. 2. Tasted. 3. Scoundrel. 4. Reached.)

So ended that mutiny. The carpenter was clapt into irons and given no less of the cat-o’-nine-tails than was good for him, and discharged at Tobago with such as had supported him. But he brought Captain Paul before the vice-admiralty court of that place, charging him with gross cruelty, and this proceeding had delayed the brigantine six months from her homeward voyage, to the loss of her owners. And tho’ at length the captain was acquitted, there lacked not those who put their own interpretation upon the affair. He would most probably lose the brigantine. “He expected as much,” said MacMuir.


 

CHAPTER XI

A SAD HOME-COMING

ON a dazzling morning in March, with the brigantine running like a beagle in full cry before a heaping sea that swayed her body, I beheld for the first time the misty green of the high shores of Ireland. ’Twas as though I, Richard Carvel, had discovered all this colour; and when a tiny white speck of a cottage came out on the edge of the cliff, I thought of the joy to live there the year round with Dorothy, with the wind whistling about our gables, and the sea thundering on the rocks far below.

How long I was gazing at the shifting coast I know not, for a strange wildness was within me that made me forget all else, until suddenly I became conscious of a presence at my side, and turned to behold the captain.

“’Tis a braw sight, Richard,” said he, “but no sae bonnie as auld Scotland. An’ the wind hauds, we shall see her shores the morn.”

His voice broke, and I saw tears upon his cheeks.

“Ah, Scotland!” he pressed on, heedless of them, “God aboon kens what she is to me! But she hasna’ been ower guid to me, laddie.” And he walked to the taffrail, and stood looking astern so that two men who had come aft to splice a haulyard might not perceive his disorder. I followed him, emboldened to speak what was in me.

“Captain Paul,” said I, “MacMuir has told me of your trouble. My grandfather is rich, and not lacking in gratitude,” — here I paused for suitable words, as I could not solve his expression, — “you, sir, whose bravery and charity will have restored me to him, shall not want for friends and money.”

He heard me through.

“Mr. Carvel,” he replied with an impressiveness that took me aback, “reward is a thing that should not be spoken of between gentlemen.”

And thus he left me, upbraiding myself that I should have mentioned money. And yet, I reflected, why not? He was no more nor less than a master of a merchantman, and surely nothing was out of the common in such a one accepting what he had honestly come by. Had my affection for him been less sincere, had I not been racked with sympathy, I had laughed over his notions of gentility. I resolved, however, that when I had reached London and seen Mr. Dix, Mr. Carvel’s agent, he should be rewarded despite his scruples. And if he lost his ship, he should have one of my grandfather’s.

But at dinner he had plainly forgot any offence, and I had more cause than ever to be puzzled over his odd mixture of confidence and aloofness. He talked gayly on a score of subjects, — on dress, of which he was never tired, and ports in the Indies and South America, in a fashion that betrayed prodigious powers of acute observation; nor did he lack for wit when he spoke of the rich planters who had wined him, and had me much in laughter. We fell into a merry mood, in sooth, jingling the glasses in many toasts, for he had a list of healths to make me gasp, near as long as the brigantine’s articles, — Inez in Havana and Maraquita in Cartagena, and Clotilde, the Creole, of Martinico, each had her separate charm. But his adoration for the ladies of the more northern colonies, he would have me to understand, was unbounded. For example, Miss Arabella Pope of Norfolk, in Virginia, — and did I know her? No, I had not that pleasure. Miss Pope danced divinely as any sylph, and the very memory of her tripping at the Norfolk Assembly roused the captain to such a pitch of enthusiasm as I had never seen in him. His own words failed him, and he had recourse to the poets: —

“Her feet beneath her petticoat
Like little mice stole in and out,
As if they feared the light;
But, oh, she dances such a way!
No sun upon an Easter-day
Is half so fine a sight.”

The lines, he told me, were Sir John Suckling’s; and he gave them standing, in excellent voice and elegant gesture.

He was in particular partial to the poets, could quote at will from Gay and Thomson and Goldsmith and Gray, and even from Shakespeare, much to my own astonishment and humiliation. Saving only Dr. Courtenay of Annapolis I had never met his equal for versatility of speech and command of fine language; and, having heard that he had been at sea since the age of twelve, I made bold to ask him at what school he had got his knowledge.

“At none, Richard,” he answered with pride, “saving the rudiments at the Parish School at Kirkbean. Why, sir, I hold it to be within every man’s province to make himself what he will, and I early recognized in Learning the only guide for such as me. I may say that I married her for the furtherance of my fortunes, and have come to love her for her own sake. Many and many the ’tween-watch have I passed in a coil of rope in the tops, a volume of the classics in my hand. And my happiest days, when not at sea, have been spent in my brother William’s little library. He hath a modest estate near Fredericksburg, in Virginia, and none holds higher than he the worth of an education. Ah, Richard,” he added, with a certain sadness, “I fear you little know the value of that which hath been so lavishly bestowed upon you. There is no creation in the world to equal your fine gentleman!”

It struck me indeed as strange that a man of his powers should set store by such trumpery, and, too, that these notions had not impaired his ability as a seaman. I did not reply. He gave no heed, however, but drew from a case a number of odes and compositions, which he told me were his own. They were addressed to various of his enamouritas, abounded in orrery, and were all, I make no doubt, incredibly fine, tho’ not so much as one sticks in my mind. To speak truth I listened with a very ill grace, longing the while to be on deck; for we were about to sight the Isle of Man. And the wine and the air of the cabin had made my eyes heavy. But presently, when he had run through with some dozen or more, he put them by, and with a quick motion got from his chair, a light coming into his dark eyes that startled me to attention.

“Mark you, Richard,” said he, “mark well when I say that my time will come, and a day when the best of them will bow to me. And every ell of that triumph shall be mine, sir, — ay, every inch!”

Such was his force, which sprang from some hidden fire within him, that I believed his words as firmly as they had been writ down in the Book of Isaiah. Brimming over with enthusiasm, I pledged his coming greatness in a reaming glass of Malaga.

“Alack,” he cried, “an’ they all had your faith, laddie, a fig for the prophecy! Ye maun ken th’ incentive’s the maist o’ the battle.”

I rose betimes the next morning to find the sun peeping above the wavy line of the Scottish hills far up the Solway, and the brigantine sliding smoothly along in the lee of the Galloway Rhinns. And, though the month was March, the slopes of Burrow Head were green as the lawn of Carvel Hail in May, and the slanting rays danced on the ruffed water. By eight of the clock we had crept into Kirkcudbright Bay and anchored off St. Mary’s Isle, the tide running ebb, and leaving a wide brown belt of sand behind it.

Captain Paul had conned the brigantine hither with a master’s hand; but now that the anchor was on the ground, he became palpably nervous. I had donned again good MacMuir’s shore suit, and was standing by the gangway when the captain approached me.

“What’ll ye be doing now, Dickie lad?” he asked kindly.

What indeed! I was without money in a foreign port, still dependent upon my benefactor. And since he had declared his unwillingness to accept any return I was of no mind to go farther into his debt. I thanked him again for his goodness in what sincere terms I could choose, and told him I should be obliged if he would put me in the way of working my passage to London upon some coasting vessel. My voice was thick, my affection for him having grown past my understanding.

“Hoots!” he replied, moved in his turn, “whyles I hae siller ye shallna lack. Ye maun gae post-chaise to London, as befits yere station.”

And scouting my expostulations, he commanded the longboat, bidding me be ready to go ashore with him. I had nothing to do but to say farewell to MacMuir and Lowrie and Auctherlonnie, which was hard enough. For the honest first mate I had a great liking, and was touched beyond speech when he enjoined me to keep his shore suit as long as I had want of it.

“But you will be needing it, MacMuir,” I said, suspecting he had no other.

“Haith! I am but a plain man, Mr. Carvel, and ye can sen’ back the claes frae London; wi’ this geordie.”

He slipped a guinea into my hand, but this I positively refused to take; and to hide my feelings I climbed quickly over the side and into the stern of the boat, beside the captain, and was rowed away through the little fleet of cobles gathering about the ship. Twisting my neck for a parting look at the John, I caught a glimpse of MacMuir’s ungainly shoulders over the fokesle rail, and I was near to tears as he shouted a hearty “God speed” after me.

As we drew near the town of Kirkcudbright, which lies very low at the mouth of the river Dee, I made out a group of men and women on the wharves. The captain was silent, regarding them. When we had got within twenty feet or so of the landing, a dame in a red woollen kerchief called out: —

“What hae ye done wi’ Mungo, John Paul?”

Captain John Paul, Mither Birkie,” spoke up a coarse fellow with a rough beard. And a laugh went round.

“Ay, captain! I’ll captain him!” screamed the carlin, pushing to the front as the oars were tossed, “I’ll tak aith Mr. Currie’ll be captaining him for his towmond voyage o’ piratin’. He be leukin’ for ye noo, John Paul.” With that some of the men on the thwarts, perceiving that matters were likely to go ill with the captain, began to chaff with their friends above. The respect with which he had inspired them, however, prevented any overt insult on their part. As for me, my right hand sought the handle of the mate’s hanger. The beldame saw the motion.

“An’ hae ye murder’t MacMuir, John Paul, an’ gien’s claes to a Buckskin gowk?”

The knot stirred with an angry murmur: in truth they meant violence, — nothing less. But they had counted without their man. With his lips set in a line he stepped lightly out of the boat into their very midst, and they looked into his eyes to forget time and place. MacMuir had told me how those eyes could conquer mutiny, but I had not believed had I not been there to see the pack of them give back in sullen wonder. And so we walked through and on to the little street beyond; and never a word from the captain until we came opposite the sign of the “Hurcheon.”

“Do you await me here, Richard,” he said quite calmly; “I must seek Mr. Currie, and make my report.”

I went into the inn and sat down upon an oak settle in a corner of the bar, under the high lattice, and thought of the bitterness of this home-coming. If I was amongst strangers, he was amongst worse: verily, to have one’s own people set against one is heaviness of heart to a man whose love of Scotland was great as John Paul’s. After a while the place began to fill, Willie and Robbie and Jamie arriving to discuss Paul’s return over their nappy. The little I could make of their talk was not to my liking, but I had the sense to know that brawling with a lot of alehouse frequenters would not advance his cause. At length, however, came in the same sneering fellow I had marked on the wharf, calling loudly for swats. The speaker’s name, I learned, was Davie, and he had been talking with each and every man in the long-boat. Yes, Mungo Maxwell had been cat-o’-nine-tailed within an inch of his life; and that was the truth; for a trifling offence, too; and cruelly discharged at some outlandish port because, forsooth, he would not accept the gospel of the divinity of Captain Paul.

This Davie was gifted with a dangerous kind of humour, and he soon had the bar packed with listeners who laughed and cursed turn about, filling the room to a closeness scarce supportable. And what between the foul air and my resentment, and apprehension lest John Paul would come hither after me, I was in prodigious discomfort of body and mind. But there was no pushing my way through them unnoticed, wedged as I was in a far corner; so I sat still until unfortunately, or fortunately, the eye of Davie chanced to fall upon me, and immediately his yellow face lighted malignantly.

“Oh! here be the gentleman the captain’s brocht hame!” he cried.

A clamour of “Fecht! fecht!” arose, and they capsized the fat, protesting browster-wife over her own stool, and were pulling Jamie’s coat from his back, when I began to suspect that a fight was not to the sniveller’s liking. Indeed, the very look of him made me laugh out — ’twas now as mild as a summer’s morn.

“Wow,” says Jamie, “ye maun fecht wi’ a man o’ yere ain size.”

“I’ll lay a guinea that we weigh even,” said I; and suddenly remembered that I had not so much as tuppence to bless me.

Happily he did not accept the wager. In huge disgust they hustled him from the inn and put forward the blacksmith, who was standing at the door in his leather apron. The smith, who seemed a well-natured enough man, grinned broadly at the prospect. They made a ring on the floor, then a cry came from the street, those about the entrance parted, and in walked John Paul. At sight of him my new adversary, who was preparing to deal me out a blow to fell an ox, dropped his arms in surprise, and held out his big hand.

“Haith! John Paul,” he shouted heartily, forgetting me, “’tis blythe I am to see yere bonnie face ance mair!”

“An’ who are ye, Jamie Darrell,” said the captain, “to be bangin’ yere betters? Dinna ye ken gentry when ye see’t?”

A puzzled look spread over the smith’s grimy face.

“What quarrel is this, Richard?” said John Paul to me.

“In truth I have no quarrel with this man,” I replied.

So quiet was the place that the tinkle of the guidwife’s needle, which she had dropped to the flags, sounded clear to all. John Paul stood in the middle of the ring.

They stood around him for a moment, shifting uneasily, and had any one of them come forward with an honest word, John Paul might yet have been saved to Scotland. As it was, they slunk away in twos and threes, leaving at last only the smith with us.

“Ye’ll be gaen noo to see the mither,” said Jamie, after a long space.

“Ay, for the last time. An’, Jamie, yell see that nae harm cams to her when I’m far awa’?”

The smith promised, and agreed to have John Paul’s chests sent by wagon, that very day, to Dumfries.

 
 

So we walked out of the village, with many a head craned after us and many an eye peeping from behind a shutter, and on into the open highway. The day was heavenly bright, the wind humming around us and playing mad pranks with the white cotton clouds, and I forgot awhile the pity within me to wonder at the orderly look of the country, the hedges with never a stone out of place, and the bars always up. The ground was parcelled off in such bits as to make me smile when I remembered our own wide tracts in the New World. Here waste was sin: with us part and parcel of a creed. I marvelled, too, at the primness and solidity of the houses along the road, and remarked how their lines belonged rather to the landscape than to themselves. But I was conscious ever of a strange wish to expand, for I felt as tho’ I were in the land of the Liliputians, and the thought of a gallop of forty miles or so over these honeycombed fields brought me to a laugh. But I was yet to see some estates of the gentry.

I had it on my tongue’s tip to ask the captain whither he was taking me, yet dared not intrude on the sorrow that still gripped him. Time and time we met people plodding along, some of them nodding uncertainly, others abruptly taking the far side of the pike, and every encounter drove the poison deeper into his soul. But after we had travelled some way, up hill and down dale, he vouchsafed the intelligence that we were making for Arbigland, Mr. Craik’s seat near Dumfries, which lies on the Nith twenty miles or so up the Solway from Kirkcudbright. On that estate stood the cottage where John Paul was born, and where his mother and sisters still dwelt.

“I’ll juist be saying guidbye, Richard,” he said; “and leave them a bit siller I hae saved, an’ syne we’ll be aff to London thegither, for Scotland’s no but a cauld kintra.”

“You are going to London with me?” I cried.

“Ay,” answered he; “this is hame nae mair for John Paul.”

I made bold to ask how the John’s owners had treated him.

“I have naught to complain of, laddie,” he answered; “both Mr. Beck and Mr. Currie bore the matter of the admiralty court and the delay like the gentlemen they are. And says Mr. Beck: ‘We’ll not soon get another to keep the brigantine like a man-o’-war, as did you, John Paul.’”

He sighed, and added that he never hoped for better owners. In token of which he drew a certificate of service from his pocket, signed by Messrs. Currie and Beck, proclaiming him the best master and supercargo they had ever had.

The subject waned. And as familiar scenes jogged his memory, he launched into Scotch and reminiscence. Every barn he knew, and cairn and croft and steeple recalled stories of his boyhood. We had long been in eight of Criffel, towering ahead of us, whose summit had beckoned for cycles to Helvellyn and Saddleback looming up to the southward, marking the wonderland of the English lakes. And at length, after some five hours of stiff walking, we saw the brown Nith below us going down to meet the Solway, and so came to the entrance of Mr. Craik’s place.

The old porter recognized Paul by a mere shake of the head and the words, “Yere back, are ye?” and a lowering of his bushy white eyebrows. We took a by-way to avoid the manor-house, I walking close to John Paul’s shoulder and feeling for him at every step. Presently, at a turn of the path, we were brought face to face with an elderly gentleman in black, and John Paul stopped.

“Mr. Craik!” he said, removing his hat.

But the gentleman only whistled to his dogs and went on.

“My God, even he!” exclaimed the captain, bitterly; “even he, who thought so highly of my father!”

A hundred yards more and we came to the little cottage nigh hid among the trees. John Paul paused a moment, his hand upon the latch of the gate, his eyes drinking in the familiar picture. The light of day was dying behind Criffel, and the tiny panes of the cottage windows pulsed with the rosy flame on the hearth within. When now I think of what John Paul has achieved, I cannot but recall that sorrowful evening in the gardener’s cottage. The sisters came in from their day’s work, — both well-favoured lasses, with John’s eyes and hair, — and cooked the simple meal of broth and porridge, and the fowl they had kept so long against the captain’s home-coming. But time pressed, as it ever does. The hour came for us to leave, John Paul firmly refusing to remain the night in a house that belonged to Mr. Craik. Of the tenderness, nay, of the pity of that parting, I have no power to write. The mother gave us bannocks of her own baking, and her last words were to implore me always to be a friend to John Paul.

Then we went out into the night and walked all the way to Dumfries in silence.

We lay that night at the sign of the “Twa Naigs,” where the Pretender himself had rested in the Mars year.1 (1. The year 1715.)  I arose early to discover a morning gray and drear, with a mist falling to chill the bones. News travels apace the world over, and that of John Paul’s home-coming had reached Dumfries in good time, substantiated by the arrival of the teamster with the chests the night before. I descended into the courtyard in time to catch the captain in his watchet-blue frock haggling with the landlord for a chaise, the two of them surrounded by a muttering crowd anxious for a glimpse of Mr. Craik’s gardener’s son, for he had become a nine-day sensation to the country round about. But John Paul minded them not so much as a swarm of flies, and the teamster’s account of the happenings at Kirkcudbright had given them so wholesome a fear of his speech and presence as to cause them to misdoubt their own wit, which is saying a deal of Scotchmen.

So it was that the captain and I got the best chaise and pair in place of the worst, and despite the rain, and the painful scenes gone through but yesterday, and the sour-looking ring of men and women gathered to see the start, I was in high spirits as we went spinning down the Carlisle road, with my heart leaping to the crack of the postilion’s whip.

I was going to London and to Dorothy!


 

CHAPTER XII

ON THE ROAD

CAPTAIN PAUL, as I have said, was a man of moods, and strangely affected by ridicule. And this we had in plenty upon the road. Landlords, grooms, and ’ostlers, and even our own post-boys, laughed and jested coarsely at his sky-blue frock, and their sallies angered him beyond all reason, while they afforded me so great an amusement that more than once I was on the edge of a serious falling-out with him as a consequence of my merriment. Usually, when we alighted from our vehicle, the expression of mine host would sour, and his sir would shift to a master; while his servants would go trooping in again, with many a coarse fling that they would get no vails from such as we. And once we were invited into the kitchen. John Paul would be sour for half a day at a spell after a piece of insolence out of the common, and then deliver me a solemn lecture upon the advantages of birth in a manor. Then his natural buoyancy would lift him again, and he would be in childish ecstasies at the prospect of getting to London, and seeing the great world; and I began to think that he secretly cherished the hope of meeting some of its votaries. For I had told him, casually as possible, that I had friends in Arlington Street, where I remembered the Manners were established.

“Arlington Street!” he repeated, rolling the words over his tongue; “it has a fine sound, laddie, a fine sound. That street must be the very acme of fashion.”

I laughed, and replied that I did not know. And at the ordinary of the next inn we came to, he took occasion to mention to me, in a louder voice than was necessary, that I would do well to call in Arlington Street as we went into town. So far as I could see, the remark did not compel any increase of respect from our fellow-diners.

Upon more than one point I was worried. Often and often I reflected that some hitch might occur to prevent my getting money promptly from Mr. Dix. Days would perchance elapse before I could find the man in such a great city as London; he might be out of town at this season, Easter being less than a se’nnight away. For I had heard my grandfather say that the elder Mr. Dix had a house in some merchant’s suburb, and loved to play at being a squire before he died. Again (my heart stood still at the thought), the Manners might be gone back to America. I cursed the stubborn pride which had led the captain to hire a post-chaise, when the wagon had served us so much better, and besides relieved him of the fusillade of ridicule he got travelling as a gentleman. But such reflections always ended in my upbraiding myself for blaming him whose generosity had rescued me from perhaps a life-long misery.

But, on the whole, we rolled southward happily, between high walls and hedges, past trim gardens and fields and meadows, and I marvelled at the regular, park-like look of the country, as though stamped from one design continually recurring, like our butter at Carvel Hall. The roads were sometimes good, and sometimes as execrable as a colonial byway in winter, with mud up to the axles. And yet, my heart went out to this country, the home of my ancestors. Spring was at hand; the ploughboys whistled between the furrows, the larks circled overhead, and the lilacs were cautiously pushing forth their noses. The air was heavy with the perfume of living things.

The welcome we got at our various stopping-places was often scanty indeed, and more than once we were told to go farther down the street, that the inn was full. And I may as well confess that my mind was troubled about John Paul. Despite all I could say, he would go to the best hotels in the larger towns, declaring that there we should meet the people of fashion. Nor was his eagerness damped when he discovered that such people never came to the ordinary, but were served in their own rooms by their own servants.

“I shall know them yet,” he would vow, as we started off of a morning, after having seen no more of my Lord than his liveries below stairs. “Am I not a gentleman in all but birth, Richard? And that is a difficulty many before me have overcome. I have the classics, and the history, and the poets. And the French language, though I have never made the grand tour. I flatter myself that my tone might be worse. By the help of your friends, I shall have a title or two for acquaintances before I leave London; and when my money is gone, there is a shipowner I know of who will give me employment, if I have not obtained preferment.”

The desire to meet persons of birth was near to a mania with him. And I had not the courage to dampen his hopes. But, inexperienced as I was, I knew the kind better than he, and understood that it was easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle, than for John Paul to cross the thresholds of the great houses of London. The way of adventurers is hard, and he could scarce lay claim to a better name.

“We shall go to Maryland together, Captain Paul,” I said, “and waste no time upon London save to see Vauxhall, and the opera, and St. James’s and the Queen’s House and the Tower, and Parliament, — and perchance his Majesty himself,” I added, attempting merriment, for the notion of seeing Dolly only to leave her gave me a pang. And the captain knew nothing of Dolly.

“So, Richard, you fear I shall disgrace you,” he said reproachfully. “Know, sir, that I have pride enough and to spare. That I can make friends without going to Arlington Street.”

I was ready to cry with vexation at this childish speech.

“And a time will come when they shall know me,” he went on. “If they insult me now they shall pay dearly for it.”

“My dear captain,” I cried; “nobody will insult you, and least of all my friends, the Manners.” I had my misgivings about little Mr. Marmaduke. “But we are, neither of us, equipped for a London season. I am but an unknown provincial, and you —” I paused for words.

For a sudden realization had come upon me that our positions were now reversed. It seemed strange that I should be interpreting the world to this man of power.

“And I?” he repeated bitterly.

“You have first to become an admiral,” I replied; “Drake was once a common seaman.”

He did not answer. But that evening as we came into Windsor, I perceived that he had not abandoned his intentions. The long light flashed on the peaceful Thames, and the great, grim castle was gilded all over its western side.

The captain leaned out of the window.

“Postilion,” he called, “which inn here is most favoured by gentlemen?”

“The ‘Castle,’” said the boy, turning in his saddle to grin at me. “But if I might be so bold as to advise your honour, the ‘Swan’ is a comfortable house, and well attended.”

“Know your place, sirrah,” shouted the captain, angrily, “and drive us to the ‘Castle.’”

The boy snapped his whip disdainfully, and presently pulled us up at the inn, our chaise covered with the mud of three particular showers we had run through that day. And, as usual, the landlord, thinking he was about to receive quality, came scraping to the chaise door, only to turn with a gesture of disgust when he perceived John Paul’s sea-boxes tied on behind, and the costume of that hero, as well as my own.

The captain demanded a room. But mine host had turned his back, when suddenly a thought must have struck him, for he wheeled again.

“Stay,” he cried, glancing suspiciously at the sky-blue frock; “if you are Mr. Dyson’s courier, I have reserved a suite.”

This same John Paul, who was like iron with mob and mutiny, was pitiably helpless before such a prop of the aristocracy. He flew into a rage, and rated the landlord in Scotch and English, and I was fain to put my tongue in my cheek and turn my back that my laughter might not anger him the more.

And so I came face to face with another smile, behind a spying-glass, — a smile so cynical and unpleasant withal that my own was smothered. A tall and thin gentleman, who had come out of the inn without a hat, was surveying the dispute with a keen delight. He was past the middle age. His clothes bore that mark which distinguishes his world from the other, but his features were so striking as to hold my attention unwittingly.

After a while he withdrew his glass, cast one look at me which might have meant anything, and spoke up.

“Pray, my good Goble, why all this fol-de-rol about admitting a gentleman to your house?”

I scarce know which was the more astonished, the landlord, John Paul, or I. Goble bowed at the speaker.

“A gentleman, your honour!” he gasped. “Your honour is joking again. Surely this trumpery Scotchman in Jews’ finery is no gentleman, nor the ’longshore lout he has got with him. They may go to the ‘Swan.’”

“Jews’ finery!” shouted the captain, with his fingers on his sword.

But the stranger held up a hand deprecatingly.

“’Pon my oath, Goble, I gave you credit for more penetration,” he drawled; “you may be right about the Scotchman, but your ’longshore lout has had both birth and breeding, or I know nothing.”

John Paul, who was in the act of bowing to the speaker, remained petrified with his hand upon his heart, entirely discomfited. The landlord forsook him instantly for me, then stole a glance at his guest to test his seriousness, and looked at my face to see how greatly it were at variance with my clothes. The temptation to lay hands on the cringing little toadeater grew too strong for me, and I picked him up by the scruff of the collar, — he was all skin and bones, — and spun him round like a corpse upon a gibbet. The slim gentleman laughed until he held his sides, with a heartiness that jarred upon me. It did not seem to fit him.

“By Hercules and Vulcan,” he cried, when I had set the landlord down, “what an arm and back the lad has! He must have the best in the house, Goble, and sup with me.”

Goble pulled himself together.

“And he is your honour’s friend,” he began, with a scowl.

“Ay, he is my friend, I tell you,” retorted the important personage, impatiently.

The innkeeper, sulky, half-satisfied, yet fearing to offend, welcomed us with what grace he could muster, and we were shown to “The Fox and the Grapes,” a large room in the rear of the house.

John Paul had not spoken since the slim gentleman had drawn the distinction between us, and I knew that the affront was rankling in his breast. He cast himself into a chair with such an air of dejection as made me pity him from my heart. But his first words, far from being the torrent of protest I looked for, almost startled me into laughter.

“He can be nothing less than a duke,” said the captain. “Ah, Richard, see what it is to be a gentleman!”

The words were scarce out of his mouth when we heard a loud rap on the door, which I opened to discover a Swiss fellow in a private livery, come to say that his master begged the young gentleman would sup with him. The man stood immovable while he delivered this message, and put an impudent emphasis upon gentleman.

“Say to your master, whoever he may be,” I replied, in some heat at the sneer, “that I am travelling with Captain Paul. Any invitation to me must include him.”

The lackey stood astounded at my answer, as though he had not heard aright. Then he retired with less assurance than he had come, and John Paul sprang to his feet and laid his hands upon my shoulders, as was his wont when affected.

“And to think,” he cried, “that you have forgone supping with a nobleman on my account!”

“Pish, captain, ’tis no great denial. His Lordship — if Lordship he is — is stranded in an inn overcome with ennui, and must be amused. That is all.”

Nevertheless I think the good captain was distinctly disappointed, not alone because I gave up what in his opinion was a great advantage, but likewise because I could have regaled him on my return with an account of the meal. For it must be borne in mind, my dears, that those days are not these, nor that country this one. And in judging Captain Paul it must be remembered that rank inspired a vast respect when King George came to the throne. It can never be said of John Paul that he lacked either independence or spirit. But a nobleman was a nobleman then.

So when presently the gentleman himself appeared smiling at our door, which his servant had left open, we both of us rose up in astonishment and bowed very respectfully, and my face burned at the thought of the message I had sent. For, after all, the captain was but twenty-one and I nineteen, and the distinguished unknown at least fifty. He took a pinch of snuff and brushed his waistcoat before he spoke.

“Egad,” said he, with good nature, looking up at me, Mohammed was a philosopher, and so am I, and come to the mountain. ’Tis worth crossing an inn in these times to see a young man whose strength has not been wasted upon foppery. May I ask your name, sir?”

“Richard Carvel,” I answered, much put aback.

“Ah, Carvel,” he repeated; “I know three or four of that name. Perhaps you are Robert Carvel’s son, of Yorkshire. But what the devil do you do in such clothes? I was resolved to have you though I am forced to take a dozen watchet-blue mountebanks in the bargain.”

“Sir, I warn you not to insult my friend,” I cried.

“There, there, not so loud, I beg you,” said he, with a gesture. “Hot as pounded pepper, — but all things are the better for a touch of it. I had no intention of insulting the worthy man, I give my word. I must have my joke, sir. No harm meant.” And he nodded at John Paul, who looked as if he would sink through the floor. “Robert Carvel is as testy as the devil with the gout, and you are not unlike him in feature.”

“He is no relation of mine,” I said, undecided whether to laugh or be angry. And I added, “I am an American, and heir to Carvel Hall in Maryland.”

“Lord, lord, I might have known,” exclaimed he. “Once I had the honour of dining with your Dr. Franklin, from Pennsylvania. He dresses for all the world like you, only worse, and wears a hat I would not be caught under at Bagnigge Wells, were I so imprudent as to go there.”

“Dr. Franklin has weightier matters than hats to occupy him, sir.”

He made a French gesture, a shrug of his thin shoulders, which caused me to suspect he was not always so good-matured.

“Dr. Franklin would better have stuck to his newspaper, my young friend. But I like your appearance too well to quarrel with you, and we’ll have no politics before eating. Come, gentlemen, come! Let us see what Goble has left after his shaking.”

He struck off with something of a painful gait, which he explained was from the gout. And presently we arrived at his parlour, where supper was set out for us. I had not tasted its equal since I left Maryland. We sat down to a capon stuffed with eggs, and dainty sausages, and hot rolls, such as we had at home; and a wine which had cobwebbed and mellowed under the Castle Inn for better than twenty years. The personage did not drink wine. He sent his servant to quarrel with Goble because he had not been given iced water.

While he was tapping on the table I took occasion to observe him. His was a physiognomy to strike the stranger, not by reason of its nobility, but because of its oddity. He had a prodigious length of face, the nose long in proportion, but not prominent. The eyes were dark, very bright, and wide apart, with little eyebrows dabbed over them at a slanting angle. The thin-lipped mouth rather pursed up, which made his smile the contradiction it was. In short, while I do not lay claim to the reading of character, it required no great astuteness to perceive the scholar, the man of the world, and the ascetic — and all affected. His conversation bore out the summary. It astonished us. It encircled the earth, embraced history and letters since the world began. And added to all this, he had a thousand anecdotes on his tongue’s tip. His words he chose with too great a nicety; his sentences were of a foreign formation, twisted around; and his stories were illustrated with French gesticulations. He threw in quotations galore, in Latin, and French, and English, until the captain began casting me odd, uncomfortable looks, as though he wished himself well out of the entertainment.

Indeed, poor John Paul’s perturbation amused me more than the gentleman’s anecdotes. To be ill at ease is discouraging to any one, but it was peculiarly fatal with the captain. This arch-aristocrat dazzled him. When he attempted to follow in the same vein he would get lost. And his really considerable learning counted for nothing. He reached the height of his mortification when the slim gentleman dropped his eyelids and began to yawn. I was wickedly delighted. He could not have been better met. Another such encounter, and I would warrant the captain’s illusions concerning the gentry to go up in smoke. Then he might come to some notion of his own true powers. As for me, I enjoyed the supper which our host had insisted upon our partaking, drank his wine, and paid him very little attention.

“May I make so bold as to ask, sir, whether you are a patron of literature?” said the captain, at length.

“A very poor patron, my dear man,” was the answer. “Merely a humble worshipper at the shrine. And I might say that I partake of its benefits as much as a gentleman may. And yet,” he added, with a laugh and a cough, “those silly newspapers and magazines insist on calling me a literary man.”

“And now that I have indulged a question, and the claret is coming on,” said he, “perhaps you will tell me something of yourself, Mr. Carvel, and of your friend, Captain Paul. And how you come to be so far from home.” And he settled himself comfortably to listen, as a man who has bought his right to an opera box.

Here was my chance. And I resolved that if I did not further enlighten John Paul, it would be no fault of mine.

“Sir,” I replied, in as dry a monotone as I could assume, “I was kidnapped by the connivance of some unscrupulous persons in my colony, who had designs upon my grandfather’s fortune. I was taken abroad in a slaver and carried down to the Caribbean seas, when I soon discovered that the captain and his crew were nothing less than pirates. I was forced to climb the main rigging, in order to escape being hacked to pieces.”

He sat bolt upright, those little eyebrows of his gone up full half an inch, and he raised his thin hands with an air of incredulity.

“Holy Saint Clement! Pirates! This begins to have a flavour indeed. And yet you do not seem to be a lad with an imagination. Egad, Mr. Carvel, I had put you down for one who might say, with Alceste: ‘Etre franc et sincère est mon plus grand talent.’ But pray go on, sir. You have but to call for pen and ink to rival Mr. Fielding.”

With that I pushed back my chair, got up from the table, and made him a bow.

“I am not used at home to have my word doubted, sir,” I said. “Sir, your humble servant. I wish you a very good evening.”

He rose precipitately, crying out from his gout, and laid a hand upon my arm.

“Pray, Mr. Carvel, pray, sir, be seated,” he said, in some agitation. “Remember that the story is unusual, and that I have never clapped eyes on you until to-night. Are all young gentlemen from Maryland so fiery? But I should have known from your face that you are incapable of deceit.”

I was persuaded to go on, not a little delighted that I had broken down his mask of affectation and careless cynicism. I told my story, leaving out the family history involved, and he listened with every mark of attention and interest. Indeed, to my surprise, he began to show some enthusiasm, of which sensation I had not believed him capable.

“What a find! what a find!” he continued to exclaim, when I had finished. “And true. You say it is true, Mr. Carvel?”

“Sir!” I replied, “I thought we had thrashed that out.”

“Yes, yes, to be sure. I beg pardon,” said he. And then to his servant: “Colomb, is my writing-tablet unpacked?”

I was more mystified than ever as to his identity. Was he going to put the story in a magazine? — for after that he seemed plainly anxious to be rid of us. I bade him good night, and he grasped my hand warmly enough. Then he turned to the captain in his most condescending manner. But a great change had come over John Paul. He was ever quick to see and to learn, and I rejoiced to remark that he did not bow over the hand, as he might have done two hours since. He was again Captain Paul, the man, who fought his way on his own merits. He held himself as tho’ he was once more pacing the deck of the John.

The slim gentleman poured the width of a finger of claret in his glass, soused it with water, and held it up.

“Here’s to your future, my good captain,” he said, “and to Mr. Carvel’s safe arrival home again. When you get to town, Mr. Carvel, don’t fail to go to Davenport, who makes clothes for most of us at Almack’s, and let him remodel you. I wish to God he might get hold of your Dr. Franklin. And put up at the Star and Garter in Pall Mall. I take it that you have friends in London.”

I replied that I had. But he did not push the inquiry.

“You should write out this history for your grandchildren, Mr. Carvel,” he added, as he bade his Swiss light us to our room. “A strange yarn indeed, captain.”

“And therefore,” said the captain, coolly, “as a stranger give it welcome.

“‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’”

Had a meteor struck at the gentleman’s feet, he could not have been more taken aback.

“What! What’s this?” he cried. “You quote Hamlet! And who the devil are you, sir, that you know my name?”

“Your name, sir!” exclaimed the captain, in astonishment.

“Well, well,” he said, stepping back and eying us closely, “’tis no matter. Goodnight, gentlemen, good night.”

And we went to bed with many a laugh over the incident.

“His name must be Horatio. We’ll discover it in the morning,” said John Paul.


 

CHAPTER XIII

LONDON TOWN

BUT he had not risen when we set out, nor would the ill-natured landlord reveal his name. It mattered little to me, since I desired to forget him as quickly as possible. For here was one of my own people of quality, a gentleman who professed to believe what I told him, and yet would do no more for me than recommend me an inn and a tailor; while a poor sea-captain, driven from his employment and his home, with no better reason to put faith in my story, was sharing with me his last penny.

Goble, in truth, had made us pay dearly for our fun with him, and at length the hum of the vast unknown fell upon our ears with the question of lodging still unsettled. The captain was for going to the Star and Garter, the inn the gentleman had mentioned. I was in favour of seeking a more modest and less fashionable hostelry.

“Remember that you must keep up your condition, Richard,” said John Paul.

“And if all English gentlemen are like our late friend,” I said, “I would rather stay in a city coffee-house. Remember that you have only two guineas left after paying for the chaise, and that Mr. Dix may be out of town.”

“And your friends in Arlington Street?” said he.

“May be back in Maryland,” I said; and added inwardly, “God forbid!”

“We shall have twice the chance at the Star and Garter. They will want a show of gold at a humbler place, and at the Star we may carry matters with a high hand. Pick out the biggest frigate,” he cried, for the tenth time, at least, or the most beautiful lady, and it will surprise you, my lad, to find out how many times you will win.”

I know of no feeling of awe to equal that of a stranger approaching for the first time a huge city. Yes, here was London, great and pitiless, and the fear of it was upon our souls as we rode into it that day. Holland House with its shaded gardens, Kensington Palace with the broad green acres of parks in front of it stitched by the silver Serpentine, and Buckingham House, which lay to the south over the hill, — all were one to us in wonder as they loomed through the glittering mist that softened all. We met with a stream of countless wagons that spoke of a trade beyond knowledge, sprinkled with the equipages of the gentry floating upon it; coach and chaise, cabriolet and chariot, gorgeously bedecked with heraldry and wreaths; their numbers astonished me, tho’ to my mind the best of them were no better than we could boast in Annapolis.

One matter, which brings a laugh as I recall it, was the oddity to me of seeing white coachmen and footmen.

We clattered down St. James’s Street, of which I had often heard my grandfather speak, and at length we drew up before the Star and Garter in Pall Mall, over against the palace. The servants came hurrying out, headed by a chamberlain clad in magnificent livery, a functionary we had not before encountered. John Paul alighted to face this personage, who, the moment he perceived us, shifted his welcoming look to one of such withering scorn as would have daunted a more timid man than the captain. Without the formality of a sir he demanded our business, which started the inn people and our own boy to snickering, and made the passers-by pause and stare. Dandies who were taking the air stopped to ogle us with their spying-glasses and to offer quips, and behind them gathered the flunkies and chairmen awaiting their masters at the clubs and coffee-houses near by. What was my astonishment, therefore, to see a change in the captain’s demeanour. Truly for quick learning and the application of it I have never known his equal. His air became the one of careless ease habitual to the little gentleman we had met at Windsor, and he drew from his pocket one of his guineas, which he tossed in the man’s palm.

“Here, my man,” said he, snapping his fingers; “an apartment at once, or you shall pay for this nonsense, I promise you.” And walked in with his chin in the air, so grandly as to dissolve ridicule into speculation.

For an instant the chamberlain wavered, and I trembled, for I dreaded a disgrace in Pall Mall, where the Manners might hear of it. Then fear, or hope of gain, or something else got the better of him, for he led us to a snug, well-furnished suite of a parlour and bedroom on the first floor, and stood bowing in the doorway for his honour’s further commands. They were of a sort to bring the sweat to my forehead.

“Have a fellow run to bid Davenport, the tailor, come hither as fast as his legs will carry him. And you may make it known that this young gentleman desires a servant, a good man, mind you, with references, who knows a gentleman’s wants. He will be well paid.”

That name of Davenport was a charm, — the mention of a servant its finishing touch. The chamberlain bent almost double, and retired, closing the door softly behind him. And so great had been my surprise over these last acquirements of the captain that until now I had had no breath to expostulate.

“I must have my fling, Richard,” he answered, laughing; “I shall not be a gentleman long. I must know how it feels to take your ease, and stroke your velvet, and order lackeys about. And when my money is gone I shall be content to go to sea again, and think about it o’ stormy nights.”

This feeling was so far beyond my intelligence that I made no comment. And I could not for the life of me chide him, but prayed that all would come right in the end.

In less than an hour Davenport himself arrived, bristling with importance, followed by his man carrying such a variety of silks and satins, flowered and plain, and broadcloths and velvets, to fill the furniture. And close behind the tailor came a tall haberdasher from Bond Street, who had got wind of a customer, with a bewildering lot of ruffles and handkerchiefs and neckerchiefs, and bows of lawn and lace which (so he informed us) gentlemen now wore in the place of solitaires. Then came a hosier and a bootmaker and a hatter; nay, I was forgetting a jeweller from Temple Bar. And so imposing a front did the captain wear as he picked this and recommended the other that he got credit for me for all he chose, and might have had more besides. For himself he ordered merely a modest street suit of purple, the sword to be thrust through the pocket, Davenport promising it with mine for the next afternoon. For so much discredit had been cast upon John Paul’s taste on the road to London that he was resolved to remain indoors until he could appear with decency. He learned quickly, as I have said.

By the time we had done with these matters, which I wished to perdition, some score of applicants was in waiting for me. And out of them I hired one who had been valet to the young Lord Rereby, and whose recommendation was excellent. His name was Banks, his face open and ingenuous, his stature a little above the ordinary, and his manner respectful. I had Davenport measure him at once for a suit of the Carvel livery, and bade him report on the morrow.

All this while, I was aching to be off to Arlington Street, but a foolish pride held me back. I had heard so much of the fashion in which the Manners moved that I feared to bring ridicule upon them in poor MacMuir’s clothes. But presently the desire to see Dolly took such hold upon me that I set out before dinner, fought past the chairmen and chaisemen at the door, and asked my way of the first civil person I encountered.

’Twas only a little rise up the steps of St. James’s Street, Arlington Street being but a small pocket of Piccadilly, but it seemed a dull English mile; and my heart thumped when I reached the corner, and the houses danced before my eyes. I steadied myself by a post and looked again. At last, after a thousand leagues of wandering, I was near her! But how to choose between fifty severe and imposing mansions? I walked on toward that endless race of affairs and fashion, Piccadilly, scanning every door, nay, every window, in the hope that I might behold my lady’s face framed therein. Here a chair was set down, there a chariot or a coach pulled up, and a clocked flunky bowed a lady in. But no Dorothy. Finally, when I had near made the round of each side, I summoned courage and asked a butcher’s lad, whistling as he passed me, whether he could point out the residence of Mr. Manners.

“Ay,” he replied, looking me over out of the corner of his eye, “that I can. But ye’ll not get a glimpse o’ the beauty this day, for she’s but just off to Kensington, with a coachful o’ quality.”

And he led me to a large stone dwelling with arched windows, and pillared portico with lanthorns and link extinguishers, an area and railing beside it. The flavour of generations of aristocracy hung about the place, and the big knocker on the carved door seemed to regard with such a forbidding frown my shabby clothes that I took but the one glance (enough to fix it forever in my memory), and hurried on. Alas, what hope had I of Dorothy now!

“What cheer, Richard?” cried the captain when I returned; “have you seen your friends?”

I told him that I had feared to disgrace them, and so refrained from knocking — a decision which he commended as the very essence of wisdom. Though a desire to meet and talk with quality pushed him hard, he would not go a step to the ordinary, and gave orders to be served in our room, thus fostering the mystery which had enveloped us since our arrival. Dinner at the Star and Garter being at the fashionable hour of half after four, I was forced to give over for that day the task of finding Mr. Dix.

That evening — shall I confess it? — I spent between the Green Park and Arlington Street, hoping for a glimpse of Miss Dolly returning from Kensington.

The next morning I proclaimed my intention of going to Mr. Dix.

“Send for him,” said the captain. “Gentlemen never seek their men of affairs.”

“No,” I cried; “I can contain myself in this place no longer. I must be moving.”

“As you will, Richard,” he replied, and giving me a queer, puzzled look he settled himself between the Morning Post and the Chronicle.

As I passed the servants in the lower hall, I could not but remark an altered treatment. My friend the chamberlain, more pompous than ever, stood erect in the door with a stony stare, which melted the moment he perceived a young gentleman who descended behind me. I heard him cry out “A chaise for his Lordship!” at which command two of his assistants ran out together. Suspicion had plainly gripped his soul overnight, and this, added to mortified vanity at having been duped, was sufficient for him to allow me to leave the inn unattended. Nor could I greatly blame him, for at that time London was filled with adventurers of all types.

I felt a deal like an impostor, in truth, as I stepped into the street, disdaining to inquire of any of the people of the Star and Garter where an American agent might be found. The day was gray and cheerless, the colour of my own spirits, as I walked toward the east, knowing that the city lay that way. But I soon found plenty to distract me.

To a lad such as I, bred in a quiet tho’ prosperous colonial town, a walk through London was a revelation. Here in the Pall Mall the day was not yet begun, tho’ for some scarce ended. I had not gone fifty paces from the hotel before I came upon a stout gentleman with twelve hours of claret inside him, brought out of a coffee-house and put with vast difficulty into his chair; and I stopped to watch the men stagger off with their load to St. James’s Street. Next I met a squad of red-coated guards going to the palace, and after them a grand coach and six rattled over the Scotch granite, swaying to a degree that threatened to shake off the footmen clinging behind. Within, a man with an eagle nose sat impassive, and I set him down for one of the King’s ministers.

Presently I came out into a wide space, which I knew to be Charing Cross by the statue of Charles the First which stood in the centre of it, and the throat of a street which was just in front of me must be the Strand. Here all was life and bustle. On one hand was Golden’s Hotel, and a crowded mail-coach was dashing out from the arch beneath it, the horn blowing merrily; on the other hand, so I was told by a friendly man in brown, was Northumberland House, the gloomy grandeur whereof held my eyes for a time. And I made bold to ask in what district were those who had dealings with the colonies. He scanned me with a puzzling look of commiseration.

“Ye’re not a-going to sell yereself for seven year, my lad?” asked he. “I was near that myself when I was young, and I thank God to this day that I talked first to an honest man, even as you are doing. They’ll give ye a pretty tale, — the factors, — of a land of milk and honey, when it’s naught but stripes and curses ye’ll get.”

And he was about to rebuke me, when I told him I had come from Maryland, where I was born.

“Why, ye speak like a gentleman!” he exclaimed. “I was informed that all talk like naygurs over there. And is it not so of your redemptioners?”

I said that depended upon the master they got.

“Then I take it ye are looking for the lawyers, who mostly represent the planters. And ye’ll find them at the Temple or Lincoln’s Inn.”

I replied that he I sought was not an attorney, but a man of business. Whereupon he said that I should find all those in a batch about the North and South American Coffee House, in Threadneedle Street. And he pointed me into the Strand, adding that I had but to follow my nose to St. Paul’s, and there inquire.

I would I might give you some notion of the great artery of London in those days, for it has changed much since I went down it that heavy morning in April, 1770, fighting my way. Ay, truly, fighting my way, for the street then was no place for the weak and timid, when bullocks ran through it in droves on the way to market, when it was often jammed from wall to wall with wagons, and carmen and truckmen and coachmen swung their whips and cursed one another to the extent of their lungs. Near St. Clement Danes I was packed in a crowd for ten minutes while two of these fellows formed a ring and fought for the right of way, stopping the traffic as far as I could see. Dustmen, and sweeps, and even beggars, jostled you on the corners, bullies tried to push you against the posts or into the kennels; and once, in Butchers’ Row, I was stopped by a flashy, soft-tongued fellow who would have lured me into a tavern near by.

The noises were bedlam ten times over. Shopmen stood at their doors and cried, “Rally up, rally up, buy, buy, buy!” venders shouted saloop and barley, furmity, Shrewsbury cakes and hot peascods, rosemary and lavender, small coal and sealing-wax, and others bawled “Pots to solder!” and “Knives to grind!” Then there was the incessant roar of the heavy wheels over the rough stones, and the rasp and shriek of the brewers’ sledges as they moved clumsily along. As for the odours, from that of the roasted coffee and food of the taverns, to the stale fish on the stalls, and worse, I can say nothing. They surpassed imagination.

At length, upon emerging from Butchers’ Row, I came upon some stocks standing in the street, and beheld ahead of me a great gateway stretching across the Strand from house to house. Its stone was stained with age, and the stern front of it seemed to mock the unseemly and impetuous haste of the tide rushing through its arches. I stood and gazed, nor needed one to tell me that those two grinning skulls above it, swinging to the wind on the pikes, were rebel heads. Bare and bleached now, and exposed to a cruel view, but once caressed by loving hands, the last of those whose devotion to the house of Stuart had brought them from their homes to Temple Bar.

I halted by the Fleet Market, nor could I resist the desire to go into St. Paul’s, to feel like a pebble in a bell under its mighty dome; and it lacked but half an hour of noon when I had come out at the Poultry and finished gaping at the Mansion House. I missed Threadneedle Street and went down Cornhill, in my ignorance mistaking the Royal Exchange, with its long piazza and high tower, for the coffeehouse I sought: in the great hall I begged a gentleman to direct me to Mr. Dix, if he knew such a person. He shrugged his shoulders, which mystified me somewhat, but answered with a ready good-nature that he was likely to be found at that time at Tom’s Coffee House, in Birchin Lane near by, whither I went with him. He climbed the stairs ahead of me and directed me, puffing, to the news room, which I found filled with men, some writing, some talking eagerly, and others turning over newspapers. The servant there looked me over with no great favour, but on telling him my business he went off, and returned with a young man of a pink and white complexion, in a green riding-frock, leather breeches, and top boots, who said: —

“Well, my man, I am Mr. Dix.”

There was a look about him, added to his tone and manner, that set me strong against him. I knew his father had not been of this stamp.

“And I am Mr. Richard Carvel, grandson to Mr. Lionel Carvel, of Carvel Hall, in Maryland,” I replied, much in the same way.

He thrust his hands into his breeches and stared very hard. “You?” he said finally, with something very near a laugh.

“Sir, a gentleman’s word usually suffices!” I said.

He changed his tone a little.

“Your pardon, Mr. Carvel,” said he, “but we men of business have need to be careful. Let us sit, and I will examine your letters. Your determination must have been suddenly taken,” he added, “for I have nothing from Mr. Carvel on the subject of your coming.”

“Letters! You have heard nothing!” I gasped, and there stopped short and clinched the table. “Has not my grandfather written of my disappearance?”

Immediately his expression went back to the one he had met me with. “Pardon me,” he said again.

I composed myself as best I could in the face of his incredulity, swallowing with an effort the aversion I felt to giving him my story.

“I think it strange he has not informed you,” I said; “I was kidnapped near Annapolis last Christmas-time, and put on board of a slaver, from which I was rescued by great good fortune, and brought to Scotland. And I have but just made my way to London.”

“The thing is not likely, Mr. — , Mr. — ,” he said, drumming impatiently on the board.

“As sure as I am heir to Carvel Hall, Mr. Dix,” I cried, rising, “you shall pay for your insolence by forfeiting your agency!”

“I am but looking to Mr. Carvel’s interests the best I know how,” he replied; “and if indeed you be Mr. Richard Carvel, then you must applaud my caution, sir, in seeking proofs.”

“Proofs I have none. The very clothes on my back are borrowed from a Scotch seaman. My God, Mr. Dix, do I look like a rogue?”

“Were I to advance money upon appearances, sir, I should be insolvent in a fortnight. But stay,” he cried, uneasily, as I flung back my chair, “stay, sir. Is there no one of your province in the town to attest your identity?”

“Ay, that there is,” I said bitterly; “you shall hear from Mr. Manners soon, I promise you.”

“Pray, Mr. Carvel,” he said, overtaking me on the stairs, “you will surely allow the situation to be extraordinary, you will surely commend my discretion. Permit me, sir, to go with you to Arlington Street.” And he sent a lad in haste to the Exchange for a hackney-chaise, which was soon brought around.

I got in, somewhat mollified, and ashamed of my heat: still disliking the man, but acknowledging he had the better right on his side. True to his kind he gave me every mark of politeness now, asked particularly after Mr. Carvel’s health, and encouraged me to give him as much of my adventure as I thought proper. But what with the rattle of the carriage and the street noises and my discomfiture, I did not care to talk, and presently told him as much very curtly. He persisted, however, in pointing out the sights, the Fleet prison, and where the Ludgate stood six years gone; and the Devil’s Tavern, of old Ben Jonson’s time, and the Mitre and the Cheshire Cheese and the Cock, where Dr. Johnson might be found near the end of the week at his dinner. He showed me the King’s Mews above Chasing Cross, and the famous theatre in the Haymarket, and we had but turned the corner into Piccadilly when he cried excitedly at a passing chariot: —

“There, Mr. Carvel, there go my Lord North and Mr. Rigby!”

“The devil take them, Mr. Dix!” I exclaimed.

He was silent after that, glancing at me covertly from while to while until we swung into Arlington Street. Before I knew we were stopped in front of the house, but as I set foot on the step I found myself confronted by a footman in the Manners livery, who cried out angrily to our man: “Make way, make way for his Grace of Chartersea!” Turning, I saw a coach behind, the horses dancing at the rear wheels of the chaise. We alighted hastily, and I stood motionless, my heart jumping quick and hard in the hope and fear that Dorothy was within, my eye fixed on the coach door. But when the footman pulled it open and lowered the step, out lolled a very broad man with a bloated face and little, beady eyes without a spark of meaning, and something very like a hump was on the top of his back. He wore a yellow top-coat, and red-heeled shoes of the latest fashion, and I settled at once he was the Duke of Chartersea.

Next came little Mr. Manners, stepping daintily as ever; and then, as the door closed with a bang, I remembered my errand. They had got halfway to the portico.

“Mr. Manners!” I cried.

He faced about, and his Grace also, and both stared in well-bred surprise. As I live, Mr. Manners looked into my face, into my very eyes, and gave no sign of recognition. And what between astonishment and anger, and a contempt that arose within me, I could not speak.

“Give the man a shilling, Manners,” said his Grace; “we can’t stay here forever.”

“Ay, give the man a shilling,” lisped Mr. Manners to the footman. And they passed into the house, and the door was shut.

Then I heard Mr. Dix at my elbow, saying in a soft voice: —

“Now, my fine gentleman, is there any good reason why you should not ride to Bow Street with me?”

“As there is a God in heaven, Mr. Dix,” I answered, very low, “if you attempt to lay hands on me, you shall answer for it! And you shall hear from me yet, at the Star and Garter hotel.”

I spun on my heel and left him, nor did he follow; and a great lump was in my throat and tears in my eyes.

What would John Paul say?


 

CHAPTER XIV

CASTLE YARD

BUT I did not go direct to the Star and Garter. I lacked the courage to say to John Paul: “You have trusted me, and this is how I have rewarded your faith.” And the thought that Dorothy’s father, of all men, had served me thus, after what I had gone through, filled me with a bitterness I had never before conceived.

A few drops of rain warned me to seek shelter. I knew not where I was, nor how long I had been walking the streets at a furious pace. But a huckster told me I was in Chelsea, and kindly directed me back to Pall Mall. The usual bunch of chairmen was around the hotel entrance, but I noticed a couple of men at the door, of sharp features and unkempt dress, and heard a laugh as I went in. My head swam as I stumbled up the stairs and fumbled at the knob, then I heard voices raised inside, and the door was suddenly and violently thrown open. Across the sill stood a big, rough-looking man with his hands on his hips.

“Oho! Here be the other fine bird a-homing, I’ll warrant,” he cried.

The place was full. I caught sight of Davenport, the tailor, with a wry face, talking against the noise; of Banks, the man I had hired, resplendent in my livery. One of the hotel servants was in the corner perspiring over John Paul’s chests, and beside him stood a man disdainfully turning over with his foot the contents, as they were thrown on the floor. I saw him kick the precious vellum-hole waistcoat across the room in wrath and disgust, and heard him shout above the rest: —

“The lot of them would not bring a guinea from any Jew in St. Martin’s Lane!”

In the other corner, by the writing-desk, stood the hatter and the haberdasher with their heads together. And in the very centre of the confusion was the captain himself. He was drest in his new clothes Davenport had brought, and surprised me by his changed appearance, looking as fine a gentleman as any I have ever seen. His face lighted with relief at sight of me.

“Now may I tell these rogues begone, Richard?” he cried. And turning to the man confronting me, he added, “This gentleman will settle their beggarly accounts.”

Then I knew we had to do with bailiffs, and my heart failed me.

“Likely,” laughed the big man; “I’ll stake my oath he has not a groat to pay their beggarly accounts, as your honour is pleased to call them.”

They ceased jabbering and straightened to attention, awaiting my reply. But I forgot them all, and thought only of the captain, and of the trouble I had brought him. He began to show some consternation as I went up to him.

“My friend,” I said, vainly trying to steady my voice, “I beg, pray that you will not lose faith in me, — that you will not think any deceit of mine has brought you to these straits. Mr. Dix did not know me, and has had no word from my grandfather of my disappearance. And Mr. Manners, whom I thought my friend, spurned me in the street before the Duke of Chartersea.”

And no longer master of myself, I sat down at the table and hid my face, shaken by sobs, to think that this was my return for his kindness.

“What,” I heard him cry, “Mr. Manners spurned you, Richard! By all the law in Coke and Littleton, he shall answer for it to me. Your fairweather fowl shall have the chance to run me through!”

I sat up doubting my senses.

“You believe me, captain?” I said, overcome by the man’s faith; “you believe me when I tell you that one I have known from childhood refused to recognise me to-day?”

He raised me in his arms as tenderly as a woman might.

“And the whole world denied you, lad, I would not. And Mr. Manners shall answer to me!”

He made a pace toward the door.

“Not so fast, not so fast, captain, or admiral, or whatever you are,” said the bailiff, stepping in his way, for he was used to such scenes; “as God reigns, the owners of all these fierce titles be fireeaters, who would spit you if you spilt snuff upon ’em. Come, come, gentlemen, your swords, and we shall see the sights o’ London.”

This was the signal for another uproar, the tailor shrieking that John Paul must take off the suit, and Banks the livery; asking the man in the corner by the sea-chests (who proved to be the landlord) who was to pay him for his work and his lost cloth. And the landlord shook his fist at us and shouted back, who was to pay him his four pounds odd, which included two ten-shilling dinners and a flask of his best wine? The other tradesmen seized what was theirs and made off with remarks appropriate to the occasion. And when John Paul and my man were divested of their plumes, we were marched downstairs and out through a jeering line of people to a hackney coach.

“Now, sirs, whereaway?” said the bailiff when we were got in beside one of his men, and burning with the shame of it; “to the prison? Or I has a very pleasant hotel for gentlemen in Castle Yard.”

The frightful stories my grandfather had told me of the Fleet came flooding into my head, and I shuddered and turned sick. I glanced at John Paul.

“A guinea will not go far in a sponging-house,” said he, and the bailiff’s man laughed.

The bailiff gave a direction we did not hear, and we drove off. He proved a bluff fellow with a blunt yet not unkindly humour, and despite his calling seemed to have something that was human in him. He passed many a joke on that pitiful journey in an attempt to break our despondency, urging us not to be downcast, and reminding us that the last gentleman he had taken from Pall Mall was in over a thousand pounds, and that our amount was a bagatelle. And when we had gone through Temple Bar, instead of keeping on down Fleet Street, we jolted into Chancery Lane. This roused me.

“My friend has warned you that he has no money,” I said, “and no more have I.”

The bailiff regarded me shrewdly.

“Ay,” he replied, “I know. But I has seen many stripes o’ men in my time, my masters, and I know them to trust, and them whose silver I must feel or send to the Fleet.”

I told him unreservedly my case, and that he must take his chance of being paid; that I could not hear from America for three months at least. He listened without much show of attention, shaking his head from side to side.

“If you ever cheated a man, or the admiral here either, then I begin over again,” he said with decision; “it is the fine sparks from the clubs I has to watch. You’ll not worry, sir, about me. Take my oath I’ll get interest out of you on my money.”

Unwilling as we both were to be beholden to a bailiff, the alternative of the Fleet was too terrible to be thought of. And so we alighted after him with a shiver at the sight of the ugly, grimy face of the house, and the dirty windows all barred with double iron. In answer to a knock we were presently admitted by a turnkey to a vestibule as black as a tomb, and the heavy outer door was locked behind us. Then the man cursed and groped for the keyhole of the inner door, and despair laid hold of me.

Once inside, in the half light of a narrow hallway, a variety of noises greeted our ears, — laughter from above and below, interspersed with oaths; the click of billiard balls, and the occasional hammering of a pack of cards on a bare table before the shuffle. The air was close almost to suffocation, and out of the coffee room, into which I glanced, came a heavy cloud of tobacco smoke.

“Why, my masters, why so glum?” said the bailiff; “my inn is not such a bad place, and you’ll find ample good company here, I promise you.”

And he led us into a dingy antechamber littered with papers, on every one of which, I daresay, was written a tragedy. He inscribed our names, ages, descriptions, and the like in a great book, then we followed him up three flights to a low room under the eaves, having but one small window, and bare of furniture save two narrow cots for beds, a broken chair, and a cracked mirror. He explained that cash boarders got better, and added that we might be happy we were not in the Fleet.

“We dine at two here, gentlemen, and sup at eight. This is not the Star and Garter,” said he as he left us.

It was the captain who spoke first, though he swallowed twice before the words came out.

“Come, Richard, come, laddie,” he said, “’tis no so bad it micht-na be waur. We’ll mak the maist o’ it.”

I marvelled the more at him.

“But to think that I have landed you here,” I replied; “that this is my return for your sacrifice.”

“Hoots! How was ye to foresee Mr. Manners was a blellum?” And he broke into threats which, if Mr. Marmaduke had heard and comprehended, would have driven him into the seventh state of fear. “Have you no other friends in London?” he asked, regaining his English.

I shook my head. Then came a question I dreaded.

“And Mr. Manners’s family?”

“I would rather remain here for life,” I said, “than apply to them now.”

For pride is often selfish, and I did not reflect that if I remained, the captain would remain likewise.

“Are they all like Mr. Manners?”

“That they are not,” I returned with more heat than was necessary; “his wife is goodness itself, and his daughter —” Words failed me, and I reddened.

“Ah, he has a daughter, you say,” said the captain, casting a significant look at me and beginning to pace the little room. He was always keener than I thought, this John Paul.

 
 

Tho’ a painful task, I needs give you here some notion of what a London sponging-house was in the last century. Gaming was the king-vice of that age, and it filled these places to overflowing. Heaven help a man who came into the world with that propensity in the early days of King George the Third. Many, alas, acquired it before they were come to years of discretion. Next to me, at the long table where we were all thrown in together, — all who could not pay for private meals, — sat a poor fellow who had flung away a patrimony of three thousand a year. Another had even mortgaged to a Jew his prospects on the death of his mother, and had been seized by the bailiffs outside of St. James’s palace, coming to Castle Yard direct from his Majesty’s levee. Yet another, with such a look of dead hope in his eyes as haunts me yet, would talk to us by the hour of the Devonshire house where he was born, of the green valley and the peaceful stream, and of the old tower-room, caressed by trees, where Queen Bess had once lain under the carved oak rafters. Here he had taken his young wife, and they used to sit together, so he said, in the sunny oriel over the water, and he had sworn to give up the cards. That was but three years since, and then all had gone across the green cloth in one mad night in St. James’s Street. Their friends had deserted them, and the poor woman was lodged in Holborn near by, and came every morning with some little dainty to the bailiff’s, for her liege lord who had so used her. He pressed me to share a fowl with him one day, but it would have choked me. God knows where she got the money to buy it. I saw her once hanging on his neck in the hall, he trying to shield her from the impudent gaze of his fellow-lodgers.

But some of them lived like lords in luxury, with never a seeming regret; and had apartments on the first floor, and had their tea and paper in bed, and lounged out the morning in a flowered nightgown, and the rest of the day in a laced coat. These drank the bailiff’s best port and champagne, and had nothing better than a frown or haughty look for us, when we passed them at the landing. Whence the piper was paid I knew not, and the bailiff cared not. But the bulk of the poor gentlemen were a merry crew withal, and had their wit and their wine at table, and knew each other’s histories (and soon enough ours) by heart. They betted away the week at billiards or whist or picquet or loo, and sometimes measured swords for diversion, tho’ this pastime the bailiff was greatly set against, as calculated to deprive him of a lodger.

Although we had no money for gaming, and little for wine or tobacco, the captain and I were received very heartily into the fraternity. After one afternoon of despondency we both voted it the worst of bad policy to remain aloof and nurse our misfortune, and spent our first evening in making acquaintances over a deal of very thin “debtor’s claret.” And slowly in consequence of our associations, and a development most welcomed by me, John Paul began to abandon his deep-rooted purpose to obtain advancement in London by grace of the accomplishments he had laboured so hard to attain.

I believe the beginning of this transformation was at the meeting at Windsor with the slim and cynical gentleman who had treated him to something between patronage and contempt. Then my experience with Mr. Manners had so embedded itself in his mind that he could never speak of it but with impatience and disgust. And, lastly, the bailiff’s hotel contained many born gentlemen who had been left here to rot out the rest of their dreary lives by friends who were still in power and opulence. More than once when I climbed to our garret I found the captain seated on the three-legged chair, with his head between his hands, sunk in reflection.

“You were right, Richard,” he would say; “your great world is a hard world for those in the shadow of it. I see now that it must not be entered from below, but from the cabin window. A man may climb around it, lad, and when he is above may scourge it.”

“And you will scourge it, captain!” I had no doubt of his ability one day to do it.

“Ay, and snap my fingers at it. ’Tis a pretty organization, this society, which kicks the man who falls to the dogs. None of your fine gentlemen for me!”

And he would descend to talk politics with our fellow-guests. We should have been unhappy indeed had it not been for this pastime. It seems to me strange that these debtors took such a keen interest in outside affairs, even tho’ it was a time of great agitation. We read with eagerness the cast-off newspapers of the first-floor gentlemen. One poor devil who had waddled1 (1. Failed.)  in Change Alley had collected under his mattress the letters of Junius, then selling the Public Advertiser as few publications had ever sold before. John Paul devoured these attacks upon his Majesty and his ministry in a single afternoon, and ere long he had on the tip of his tongue the name and value of every man in Parliament and out of it. He learned, almost by heart, the history of the astonishing fight made by Mr. Wilkes for the liberties of England, and speedily was as good a Whig and a better than the member from Middlesex himself.

The most of our companions were Tories, for, odd as it may appear, they retained their principles even in Castle Yard. And in those days to be a Tory was to be the friend of the King, and to be the friend of the King was to have some hope of advancement and reward at his hand. They had none. The captain joined forces with the speculator from the Alley, who had hitherto contended against mighty odds, and together they bore down upon the enemy — ay, and routed him, too. For John Paul had an air about him and a natural gift of oratory to command attention, and shortly the dining room after dinner became the scene of such contests as to call up in the minds of the old stagers a field night in the good days of Mr. Pitt and the second George. The bailiff often sat by the door, an interested spectator, and the macaroni lodgers condescended to come downstairs and listen. The captain attained to fame in our little world from his maiden address, in which he very shrewdly separated the political character of Mr. Wilkes from his character as a private gentleman, and so refuted a charge of profligacy against the people’s champion.

Altho’ I never had sufficient confidence in my powers to join in these discussions, I followed them zealously, especially when they touched American questions, as they frequently did. This subject of the wrongs of the colonies was the only one I could ever be got to study at King William’s School, and I believe that my intimate knowledge of it gave the captain a surprise. He fell into the habit of seating himself on the edge of my bed after we had retired for the night, and would hold me talking until the small hours upon the injustice of taxing a people without their consent, and upon the multitude of measures of coercion which the King had pressed upon us to punish our resistance. He declaimed so loudly against the tyranny of quartering troops upon a peaceable state that our exhausted neighbours were driven to pounding their walls and ceilings for peace. The news of the Boston massacre had not then reached England.

I was not, therefore, wholly taken by surprise when he said to me one night: —

“I am resolved to try my fortune in America, lad. That is the land for such as I, where a man may stand upon his own merits.”

“Indeed, we shall go together, captain,” I answered heartily, “if we are ever free of this cursed house. And you shall taste of our hospitality at Carvel Hall, and choose that career which pleases you. Faith, I could point you a dozen examples in Annapolis of men who have made their way without influence. But you shall have influence,” I cried, glowing at the notion of rewarding him; “you shall experience Mr. Carvel’s gratitude and mine. You shall have the best of our ships, and you will.”

He was a man to take fire easily, and embraced me. And, strange to say, neither he nor I saw the humour, nor the pity, of the situation. How many another would long before have become sceptical of my promises! And justly. For I had led him to London, spent all his savings, and then got him into a miserable prison, and yet he had faith remaining, and to spare!


 

CHAPTER XV

THE RESCUE

IT occurred to me to notify Mr. Dix of my residence in Castle Yard, not from any hope that he would turn his hand to my rescue, but that he might know where to find me if he heard from Maryland. And I penned a letter to Mr. Carvel, withholding an account of Mr. Manners’s conduct, and refraining from telling him that I was in a debtor’s prison. I believe the thought of a Carvel in a debtor’s prison would have killed him. I said only that we were comfortably lodged in a modest part of London, and that the Manners were inaccessible, being out of town. Just then a thought struck me with such force that I got up with a cheer and hit the astonished captain between the shoulders.

“How now!” he cried, ruefully rubbing himself. “If these are thy amenities, Richard, Heaven spare me thy blows.”

“Why, I have been a fool, and worse,” I shouted. “My grandfather’s ship, the Sprightly Bess, is overhauling this winter in the Severn. And unless she has sailed, which I think unlikely, I have but to despatch a line to Bristol to summon Captain Bell, the master, to London. I think he will bring the worthy Mr. Dix to terms.”

“Whether he will or no,” said John Paul, hope lighting his face, “Bell must have command of the twenty pounds to free us, and will take us back to America. For I must own, Richard, that I have no great love for London.”

No more had I. I composed this letter to Bell in such haste that my hand shook, and sent it off with a shilling to the bailiff’s servant, that it might catch the post. And that afternoon we had a two-shilling bottle of port for dinner, which we shared with a broken-down parson who had been chaplain in ordinary to my Lord Wortley, and who had preached us an Easter sermon the day before. For it was Easter Monday. Our talk was broken into by the bailiff, who informed me that a man awaited me in the passage, and my heart leaped into my throat.

There was Banks. Thinking he had come to reproach me, I asked him rather sharply what he wanted. He shifted his hat from one hand to the other and looked sheepish.

“Your pardon, sir,” said he, “but your honour must be very ill-served here.”

“Better than I should be, Banks, for I have no money.” I wondered if he thought me a first-floor lodger.

He made no immediate reply, but seemed more uneasy still. And I took occasion to note his appearance. He was exceeding neat in a livery of his old master, which he had stripped of the trimmings. Then, before I had guessed at his drift, he thrust his hand inside his coat and drew forth a pile of carefully folded bank notes.

“I be a single man, sir, and has small need of this. And I knows your honour will pay me when your letter comes from America.”

And he handed me five Bank of England notes of ten pounds apiece. I took them mechanically, without knowing what I did. The generosity of the act benumbed my senses, and for the instant I was inclined to accept the offer upon the impulse of it.

“How do you know you would get your money again, Banks?” I asked.

“No fear, sir,” he replied promptly, actually brightening at the prospect. “I knows gentlemen, sir, them that are such, sir. And I will go to America with you, and you say the word, sir.”

I was more touched than I cared to show over his offer, which I scarce knew how to refuse. In truth it was a difficult task, for he pressed me again and again. Then he begged me to let him remain and serve me in the sponging-house, saying that he would pay his own way. The very thought of a servant in the bailiff’s garret made me laugh, and so I put him off, first getting his address, and promising him employment on the day of my release.

On Wednesday we looked for a reply from Bristol, if not for the appearance of Bell himself, and when neither came apprehension seized us lest he had already sailed for Maryland. The slender bag of Thursday’s letters contained none for me. Nevertheless, we both did our best to keep in humour, forbearing to mention to one another the hope that had gone. Friday seemed the beginning of eternity; the day dragged through I know not how, and toward evening we climbed back to our little room, not daring to speak of what we knew in our hearts to be so, — that the Sprightly Bess had sailed. We sat silently looking out over the dreary stretch of roofs and down into a dingy court of Bernard’s Inn below, when suddenly there arose a commotion on the stairs, as of a man mounting hastily. The door was almost flung from its hinges, some one caught me by the shoulders, gazed eagerly into my face, and drew back. For a space I thought myself dreaming. I searched my memory, and the name came. Had it been Dorothy, or Mr. Carvel himself, I could not have been more astonished, and my knees weakened under me.

“Jack!” I exclaimed; “Lord Comyn!”

He seized my hand. “Yes; Jack, and no other,” he cried, with a sailor’s impetuosity. “My God, Richard! it was true, then; and you have been in this place for three weeks!”

“For three weeks,” I repeated.

He looked at me, at John Paul, who was standing by in bewilderment, and then about the grimy, cobwebbed walls of the dark garret, and then turned his back to hide his emotion, and so met the bailiff, who was coming in.

“For how much are these gentlemen in your books?” he demanded hotly.

“A small matter, your Lordship, — a mere trifle,” said the man, bowing.

“How much, I say?”

“Twenty-two guineas, five shillings, and eight pence, my Lord, counting debts, and board, — and interest,” the bailiff glibly replied; for he had no doubt taken off the account when he spied his Lordship’s coach. “And I was very good to Mr. Carvel and the captain, as your Lordship will discover —”

“D—n your goodness!” said my Lord, cutting him short. And he pulled out a wallet and threw some pieces at the bailiff, bidding him get change with all haste. “And now, Richard,” he added with a glance of disgust about him, “pack up, and we’ll out of this cursed hole!”

I have nothing to pack, my Lord,” I said.

“My Lord! Jack, I have told you, or I leave you here.”

“Well, then, Jack,” said I, overflowing with thankfulness to God for the friends He had bestowed upon me. “But before we go a step, Jack, you must know the man but for whose bravery I should long ago have been dead of fever and ill-treatment in the Indies and whose generosity has brought him hither. My Lord Comyn, this is Captain John Paul.”

The captain, who had been quite overwhelmed by this sudden arrival of a real lord to our rescue at the very moment when we had sunk to despair, and no less astonished by the intimacy that seemed to exist between the newcomer and myself, had the presence of mind to bend his head, and that was all. Comyn shook his hand heartily.

“You shall not lack reward for this, captain, I promise you,” cried he. “What you have done for Mr. Carvel, you have done for me. Captain, I thank you. You shall have my interest.”

I flushed, seeing John Paul draw his lips together. But how was his Lordship to know that he was dealing with no common sea-captain?

“I have sought no reward, my Lord,” said he. “What I have done was out of friendship for Mr. Carvel, solely.”

Comyn was completely taken by surprise by these words, and by the haughty tone in which they were spoken. He had not looked for a gentleman, and no wonder. He took a quizzical sizing of the sky-blue coat. Such a man in such a station was out of his experience.

“Egad, I believe you, captain,” he answered, in a voice which said plainly that he did not. “But he shall be rewarded nevertheless, eh, Richard? I’ll see Charles Fox in this matter to-morrow. Come, come,” he added impatiently, “the bailiff must have his change by now. Come, Richard!” and he led the way down the winding stairs.

“You must not take offence at his ways,” I whispered to the captain. For I well knew that a year before I should have taken the same tone with one not of my class. “His Lordship is all kindness.”

“I have learned a bit since I came into England, Richard,” was his sober reply.

’Twas a pitiful sight to see gathered on the landings the poor fellows we had come to know in Castle Yard, whose horizons were then as gray as ours was bright. But they each had a cheery word of congratulation for us as we passed, and the unhappy gentleman from Devonshire pressed my hand and begged that I would sometime think of him when I was out under the sky. Our eyes were wet when we reached the lower hall, and I was making for the door in an agony to leave the place, when the bailiff came out of his little office.

“One moment, sir,” he said, getting in front of me; “there is a little form yet to be gone through. The haste of gentlemen to leave us is not flattering.”

He glanced slyly at Comyn, and his Lordship laughed a little. I stepped unsuspectingly into the office.

“Richard!”

I stopped across the threshold as tho’ I had been struck. The late sunlight filtering through the dirt of the window fell upon the tall figure of a girl and lighted an upturned face, and I saw tears glistening on the long lashes.

Dorothy’s hands were stretched out in welcome, and then I had them pressed in my own. And I could only look and look again, for I was dumb with joy.

“Thank God you are alive!” she cried; “alive and well, when we feared you dead. Oh, Richard, we have been miserable indeed since we had news of your disappearance.”

She dropped her eyes, which had searched me through, — those eyes I had so often likened to the deep blue of the sea, — and her breast rose and fell with I knew not what emotions.

How the mind runs, and the heart runs, at such a time! Here was the same Dorothy I had known in Maryland, and yet not the same. For she was a woman now, who had seen the great world, who had refused both titles and estates, — and perchance accepted them. She drew her hands from mine.

“And how came you in such a place?” she asked, turning with a shudder. “Did you not know you had friends in London, sir?”

Not for so much again would I have told her of Mr. Manners’s conduct. So I stood confused, casting about for a reply with truth in it, when Comyn broke in upon us.

“I’ll warrant you did not look for her here, Richard. Faith, but you are a lucky dog,” said my Lord, shaking his head in mock dolefulness; “for there is no man in London, in the world, for whom she would descend a flight of steps, save you. And she has driven the length of the town when she heard you were in a sponging-house, nor all the dowagers in Mayfair could stop her.”

“Fie, Comyn,” said my lady, blushing and gathering up her skirts; “that tongue of yours had hung you long since had it not been for your peer’s privilege. Richard and I were brought up as brother and sister, and you know you were full as keen for his rescue as I.”

His Lordship pinched me playfully.

“I vow I would pass a year in the Fleet to have her do as much for me,” said he.

“But where is the gallant seaman who saved you, Richard?” asked Dolly, — to change the subject.

“What,” I exclaimed; “you know the story?”

“Never mind,” said she; “bring him here.”

My conscience smote me, for I had not so much as thought of John Paul since I came into that room. I found him waiting in the passage, and took him by the hand.

“A lady wishes to know you, captain,” I said.

“A lady!” he cried. “Here? Impossible!” And he looked at his clothes.

“Who cares more for your heart than your appearance,” I answered gayly, and led him into the office.

At sight of Dorothy he stopped abruptly, confounded, as a man who sees a diamond in a dust-heap. And a glow came over me as I said: —

“Miss Manners, here is Captain Paul, to whose courage and unselfishness I owe everything.”

“Captain,” said Dorothy, graciously extending her hand, “Richard has many friends. You have put us all in your debt, and none deeper than his old playmate.”

The captain fairly devoured her with his eyes as she made him a curtsey. But he was never lacking in gallantry, and was as brave on such occasions as when all the dangers of the deep threatened him. With an elaborate movement he took Miss Manners’s fingers and kissed them, and then swept the floor with a bow.

“To have such a divinity in my debt, madam, is too much happiness for one man,” he said. “I have done nothing to merit it. A lifetime were all too short to pay for such a favour.”

I had almost forgotten Miss Dolly the wayward, the mischievous. But she was before me now, her eyes sparkling, and biting her lips to keep down her laughter. Comyn turned to fleck the window with his handkerchief, while I was not a little put out at their mirth. But if John Paul observed it, he gave no sign.

“Captain, I vow your manners are worthy of a Frenchman,” said my Lord; “and yet I am given to understand you are a Scotchman.”

A shadow crossed the captain’s face.

“I was, sir,” he said.

“You were!” exclaimed Comyn, astonished; “and pray, what are you now, sir?”

“Henceforth, my Lord,” John Paul replied with vast ceremony, “I am an American, the compatriot of the beautiful Miss Manners!”

“One thing I’ll warrant, captain,” said his Lordship, “that you are a wit.”

The bailiff’s business was quickly settled. I heard the heavy doors close at our backs, and drew a deep draught of air and turned to the windows to wave a farewell to the sad ones we were leaving behind, who gathered about the bars for a last view of us. A coach in private arms and livery was in waiting, surrounded by a crowd. They made a lane for us to pass, and stared at the young lady coming out of the sponging-house, until the coachman snapped his whip in their faces and the footman jostled them back. When we were got in, Comyn told the man to go to Mr. Manners’s.

“No!” I cried, “not there!”

Both Comyn and Dorothy stared at me in astonishment.

“And pray, Richard, why not?” she asked. “Have not your old friends the right to receive you?”

It was my Lord who saved me.

“He is still proud, and won’t go to Arlington Street dressed like a bargeman. He must needs plume, Miss Manners.”

I glanced anxiously at Dorothy, and saw that she was neither satisfied nor appeased. In the meantime we were off through Cursitor Street at a gallop, nearly causing the death of a ragged urchin at the corner of Chancery Lane. I had almost forgotten my eagerness to know whence they had heard of my plight, when some words from Comyn roused me.

“The carriage is Mr. Horace Walpole’s, Richard. He has taken a great fancy to you.”

“But I have never so much as clapped eyes upon him!” I exclaimed.

“How about his honour with whom you supped at Windsor? How about the landlord you spun by the neck? You should have heard the company laugh when Horry told us that! And Miss Dolly cried out that she was sure it must be Richard, and none other. Is it not so, Miss Manners?”

“Really, my Lord, I can’t remember,” replied Dolly, looking out the coach window.

Then the mystery of their coming was clear to me, and the superior gentleman at the Castle Inn had been the fashionable dabbler in arts and letters and architecture of Strawberry Hill, of whom I remembered having heard Dr. Courtenay speak, Horace Walpole. But I was far too concerned about Dorothy to listen to more. She spoke not a word more until I handed her out in Arlington Street.

For an instant I felt her pressure on my hand, and then she had fled into the house, leaving me standing by the steps looking after her. Comyn’s voice roused me.

“To the Star and Garter!” I heard him command, and so we came to the hotel, with the red of departing day fading in the sky above the ragged house-line in St. James’s Street.

It was a very different reception we got than when we had first come there. You who live in a Republic can have no notion of the stir and bustle caused by the arrival of Horace Walpole’s carriage at a fashionable hotel, at a time when every innkeeper was versed in the arms of every family of note in the three kingdoms. Our friend the chamberlain was now humility itself, and fairly ran in his eagerness to anticipate Comyn’s demands. It was “Yes, my Lord,” and “To be sure, your Lordship,” every other second, and he seized the first occasion to make me an elaborate apology for his former cold conduct, assuring me that had our honours been pleased to divulge the fact that we had friends in London, such friends as my Lord Comyn and Mr. Walpole, whose great father he had once had the distinction to serve as linkman, all would have been well. And he was desiring me particularly to comprehend that he had been acting under most disagreeable orders when he sent for the bailiff, when I cut him short.

We were soon comfortably installed in our old room; Comyn had sent post-haste for Davenport, who chanced to be his own tailor, and for the whole army of auxiliaries indispensable to a gentleman’s make-up; and Mr. Dix was notified that his Lordship would deceive him at eleven on the following morning, in my rooms. I remembered Banks with a twinge of gratitude, and sent for him. And John Paul and I, having been duly installed in the clothes made for us, all three of us sat down to such a supper as only the cook of the Star and Garter, who had been chef to the Comte de Maurepas, could prepare. Then I begged Comyn to relate the story of our rescue, which I longed to hear.

“Why, Richard,” said he, filling his glass, “had you run afoul any other man in London, save perchance Selwyn, you’d have been drinking the bailiff’s triple-diluted for a month to come. I never knew such a brace of fools as he and Horry for getting hold of strange yarns and making them stranger; the wonder was that Horry told this as straight as he did. Had he not been in dock with the gout since he reached town, he would have told it at the opera, and at a dozen routs and suppers. Beg pardon, captain,” said he, turning to John Paul, “but I think ’twas your peacock coat that saved you both, for it caught Horry’s eye through the window, as you got out of the chaise, and down he came as fast as he could hobble.

“Horry had a little dinner to-day in Arlington Street, where he lives, and Miss Dorothy was there. You may have some notion of the old beau Horry can be when he tries, and he is fond of Miss Dolly. He vowed he had been saving this pièce de résistance, as he was pleased to call it, expressly for her, since it had to do somewhat with Maryland. ‘What d’ye think I met at Windsor, Miss Manners?’ he cries, before we had begun the second course.

“‘Perhaps a repulse from his Majesty?’ says Dolly.

“‘Nay,’ says Mr. Walpole, making a face, for he hates a laugh at his cost; ‘nothing less than a young American giant, with the attire of Dr. Franklin and the manner of the Fauxbourg Saint Germain. And he had with him a strange, Scotch sea-captain, who had rescued him from pirates, bless you, no less. That is, he said he was a sea-captain; but he talked French like a Parisian, and quoted Shakespeare like Mr. Burke or Dr. Johnson. He may have been M. Caron de Beaumarchais, for I never saw him, or a soothsayer, or Cagliostro the magician, for he guessed my name.’

“‘Guessed your name!’ we cried.

“‘Just that,’ answered he, and repeated some damned verse I never heard, with Horatio in it, and made us all laugh.”

John Paul and I looked at each other in astonishment.

“‘Well, be that as it may,’ said Horry, ‘he was an able man of sagacity, this sea-captain, and had a penchant for being a gentleman. But he was more of an oddity than Hertford’s beast of Gevaudan, and was dressed like Salvinio, the monkey my Lord Holland brought back from his last Italian tour.’”

I have laughed over this description since, my dears. But at that time I saw nothing funny in it, and winced with John Paul when Comyn repeated it with such brutal unconsciousness. Young Englishmen of birth and wealth of that day were not apt to consider the feelings of those they deemed below them.

“Come to your story, Comyn,” I cut in testily.

But his Lordship missed entirely the cause of my displeasure.

“Listen to him!” he exclaimed good-naturedly. “He will hear of nothing but Miss Dolly. Well, Richard, my lad, you should have seen her as Horry went on to tell that you had been taken from Maryland. For Mr. Lloyd, or some one in your Colony, had written of your disappearance, and I vow Miss Dorothy has not been the same since. But I am off my course again, as we sailors say, captain. Horry was describing how Richard lifted little Goble by one hand and spun all the dignity out of him, when Miss Manners broke in, being able to contain herself no longer.

“‘An American, Mr. Walpole, and from Maryland?’ she demanded. And the way she said it made them all look at her.

“‘Assurément, mademoiselle,’ replied Horry, in his cursed French; ‘and perhaps you know him. He would gladden the heart of Frederick of Prussia, for he stands six and three if an inch. I took such a fancy to the lad that I invited him to sup with me, and he gave me back a message fit for Mr. Wilkes to send to his Majesty, as haughty as you choose, that if I desired him I must have his friend in the bargain. You Americans are the very devil for independence —’ and there he stopped, caught by Miss Manners’s appearance, for she was very white.

“‘The name is Richard Carvel!’

“‘I’ll lay a thousand it was!’ I shouted, rising in my chair. And the company stared, and Lady Pembroke vowed I had gone mad.

“‘Bless me, bless me, here’s a romance for certain!’ cried Horry; ‘it throws my “Castle of Otranto” in the shade’ (that’s some damned book he has written,” Comyn interjected). “You may believe me, Richard, when I say that Miss Dolly ate but little after that, and I knew she was sadly vexed that you had not visited her. But I more than suspected something to have happened, so I asked Horry to send his fellow Favre over to the Star and Garter to see if you were there. You should have seen her face when he came back to say that you had been for three weeks in a Castle Yard sponging-house! Then Horry said he would lend me his coach, and when it was brought around Miss Manners took our breaths by walking downstairs and into it. And while they were all chattering on the steps I jumped in, and off we drove!”


 

CHAPTER XVI

ARLINGTON STREET

“WHO the devil is this John Paul, and what is to become of him?” asked Comyn the next day, after the captain had gone out. “You must give him two hundred pounds, or a thousand, if you like, and let him get out. He can’t be coming to the clubs with you.”

“You don’t understand the man, Comyn,” said I; “he isn’t that kind.”

“Cursed if he isn’t a rum sea-captain,” he answered, shrugging his shoulders: “cursed if I ever ran foul of one yet who would refuse a couple of hundred and call quits. What’s he to do? Is he to live like a Lord of the Treasury upon a master’s savings?”

“Jack,” said I, resolved not to be angry, “you must do me the favour not to talk of this in John Paul’s presence.”

Comyn made a movement of disgust; but, just then, Banks announced: —

“His honour, Mr. Manners!”

Comyn and I exchanged glances, and his Lordship gave a low whistle.

Mr. Marmaduke was not long in ascending, and tripped into the room as gayly as tho’ he had never sent me about my business in the street. His clothes, of a cherry cut velvet, were as ever a little beyond the fashion, and he carried something I had never before seen, then used by the extreme dandies in London, — an umbrella.

“What! Richard Carvel! Is it possible?” he cried in his piping voice. “We mourned you for dead, and here you turn up in London alive and well, and bigger and stronger than ever. Oons! one need not go to Scripture for miracles. I shall write my congratulations to Mr. Carvel this day, sir.”

And he pushed his fingers into my waistcoat, so that Comyn and I were near to laughing in his face. For it was impossible to be angry with a little coxcomb of such pitiful intelligence.

“Ah, good morning, my Lord. I see your Lordship has risen early in the same good cause, — I myself am up two hours before my time. You will pardon the fuss I am making over the lad, Comyn, but his grandfather is my very dear friend, and Richard was brought up with my daughter Dorothy. They were like brother and sister. What, Richard, you will not take my hand! Surely you are not so unreasonable as to hold against me that unfortunate circumstance in Arlington Street!”

Comyn winked at me as I replied: —

“We shan’t mention it, Mr. Manners. I have had my three weeks in prison, and perhaps know the world all the better for them.”

He held up his umbrella in mock dismay, and stumbled abruptly into a chair. There he sat looking at me, a whimsical uneasiness on his face.

“We shall indeed mention it, sir. Three weeks in prison, to think of it! And you would not so much as send me a line. Ah, Richard, pride is a good thing, but I sometimes think we from Maryland have too much of it. We shall indeed speak of the matter. Out of justice to me you must understand how it occurred. You must know that I am deucedly absentminded, and positively lost without my glass. And I had somebody with me, — Chartersea, I believe. And his Grace made me think you were a cursed beggar. I make a point never to have to do with ’em.”

“You are right, Mr. Manners,” Comyn cut in dryly; “for I have known them to be so persistently troublesome, when once encouraged, as to interfere seriously with our arrangements.”

“Eh?” Mr. Manners came to an abrupt pause, while I wondered if the shot had told. To relieve him I inquired after Mrs. Manners’s health.

“Ah, to be sure,” he replied, beginning to fumble in his skirts; “London agrees with her remarkably, and she is better than she has been for years. And she is overjoyed at your most wonderful escape, Richard, as are we all.”

He gave me a note. I concealed my eagerness as I took it and broke the seal, to discover that it was not from Dorothy, but from Mrs. Manners herself.

“My dear Richard” (so it ran), “I thank God with your dear Grandfather over y’r Deliverance, & you must bring y’r Deliverer, whom Dorothy describes as Courtly and Gentlemanly despite his Calling, to dine with us this very Day, that we may express to him our Gratitude. I know you are far too Sensible not to come to Arlington Street. I subscribe myself, Richard, y’r sincere Friend,
            “MARGARET MANNERS.”

There was not so much as a postscript from Dolly, as I had hoped. But the letter was whole-souled, like Mrs. Manners. I honoured her the more that she had not attempted to excuse Mr. Manners’s conduct.

“You will come, Richard?” cried Mr. Marmaduke, with an attempt at heartiness. “You must come, and the captain, too. For I think, with regret, that you are not to be long with us.”

I caught another significant look from Comyn, but I accepted for myself, and conditionally for John Paul.

The captain not returning by two, — being ogling, I supposed, the ladies in Hyde Park, — I left him a message and betook myself to Dorothy’s house. The door was opened by the identical footman who had offered me money, and I think he recognized me, for he backed away as he told me the ladies were not at home. But I had not gone a dozen paces back down the street when I heard him running after me, asking if my honour were Mr. Richard Carvel.

“The ladies will see your honour,” he said, and conducted me into the house and up the wide stairs. I had heard that Arlington Street was known as the street of the King’s ministers, and I surmised that Mr. Manners had rented this house, and its furniture, from some great man who had gone out of office, plainly a person of means and taste. The hall, like that of many of the great town-houses, was in semi-darkness, but I remarked that the stair railing was of costly iron-work and polished brass; and, as I went up, that the stone niches in the wall were filled with the busts of statesmen, and I recognized among these, that of the great Walpole. A great copper-gilt chandelier hung above. But the picture of the drawing-room I was led into, with all its colours, remains in the eye of my mind to this day.

It was a large room, the like of which I had never seen in any private residence of the New World, and situated in the back of the house. Its balcony overlooked the fresh expanse of the Green Park; and upon its high ceiling floated Venus and the graces, by Zucchi; and the mantel, upon which ticked an antique and curious French clock, was carved marble. On the gilt panels of the walls were wreaths of red roses. At least a half-dozen tall mirrors, framed in rococos, were placed about, the largest taking the space between the two high windows on the park side. And underneath it stood a gold cabinet, lacquered by Martin’s inimitable hand, in the centre of which was set a medallion of porcelain, with the head in dark blue of his Majesty, Charles the First. The chairs and lounges were marquetry, — satin-wood and mahogany, — with seats and backs of blue brocade. The floor was polished to the degree of danger, and on the walls hung a portrait by Van Dycke, another, of a young girl, by Richardson, a landscape by the Dutch artist Ruysdael, and a water-colour by Zaccarelli.

I had lived for four months the roughest of lives, and the room brought before me sharply the contrast between my estate and the grandeur and elegance in which Dorothy lived. In front of me was a vase of flowers, and beside them on the table lay a note “To Miss Manners, in Arlington Street,” and sealed with a ducal crest. I was unconsciously turning it over, when something impelled me to look around. There, erect in the doorway, stood Dolly, her eyes so earnestly fixed upon me that I dropped the letter with a start. A faint colour mounted to her crown of black hair.

And so Mrs. Manners came in and found us.

It had ever pleased me to imagine that Dorothy’s mother had been in her youth like Dorothy. She had the same tall figure, grace in every motion, and the same eyes of deep blue, and the generous but well-formed mouth. A man cannot conceive the heroism that a woman of such a mould must have gone through who has been married since early girlhood to a man like Mr. Manners. She sighed, and kissed me. And I felt at last that I had come home. We sat down, mother and daughter on the sofa with their fingers locked. She did not speak of Mr. Manners’s conduct, or of my stay in the sponging-house. And for that I was thankful.

“I have had a letter from Mr. Lloyd, Richard,” she said. “Your grandfather thinks you dead, but I thank Heaven I am able to tell you that his health is remarkable under the circumstances. He will not quit the house, however, and sees no one except your uncle, who is with him constantly.”

It was what I expected. But the confirmation of it brought me to my feet, exclaiming: —

“Mrs. Manners, I must tell you that I believe it is Grafton Carvel himself that is responsible for my abduction. He meant that I should be murdered.”

Then Dorothy rose, her eyes flashing.

“He would have murdered you, Richard?” she cried, in such a storm of anger as I had never seen her. “Oh, he should hang for the thought of it! I have always suspected Grafton Carvel capable of any crime!”

“Hush, Dorothy,” said her mother; “it is not seemly for a young girl to talk so.”

“Seemly!” said Dorothy. “If I were a man I would bring him to justice, and it took me a lifetime. Nay, if I were a man and could use a sword —”

“Dorothy! Dorothy!” commanded Mrs. Manners.

Dorothy sat down, the light lingering in her eyes.

“It is a grave charge, Richard,” said Mrs. Manners, at length. “And your uncle is a man of the best standing in Annapolis.”

“Has Mr. Lloyd said nothing more of my uncle?” I asked.

“I will not deny that ugly rumours are afloat. Grafton, as you know, is not liked, especially by the Patriot party. But there is not the slightest ground for suspicion. The messenger —”

“Yes?”

“Your uncle denies all knowledge of. He was taken to be the tool of the captain of the slaver, and he disappeared so completely that it was supposed he had escaped to the ship.”

 
 

The French clock had struck four, and I was beginning to fear that, despite my note, the captain’s pride forbade his coming to Mr. Manners’s house, when in he walked, as tho’ ’twere no novelty to have his name announced.

And so straight and handsome was he, his dark eye flashing with the self-confidence born in the man, that the look of uneasiness I had detected upon Mrs. Manners’s face quickly changed to one of surprise and pleasure.

Of course the good lady had anticipated a sea-captain of a far different mould. He kissed her hand with a respectful grace, and then her daughter’s, for Dorothy had come back to us, calmer. And I was filled with joy over his fine appearance. Even Dorothy was struck by the change the clothes had made in him. Mrs. Manners thanked him very tactfully for restoring me to them, as she was pleased to put it, to which John Paul modestly replied that he had done no more than another would under the same circumstances. And he soon had them both charmed by his address.

“Why, Richard,” said Dorothy’s mother aside to me, “surely this cannot be your sea-captain!”

I nodded merrily. But John Paul’s greatest triumph was yet to come. For presently Mr. Marmaduke arrived from White’s, and when he had greeted me with effusion he levelled his glass at the corner of the room.

“Ahem!” he exclaimed. “Pray, my dear, whom have you invited to-day?” And without awaiting her reply, as was frequently his habit, he turned to me and said: “I had hoped we were to have the pleasure of Captain Paul’s company, Richard. For I must have the chance of clasping the hand of your benefactor.”

“You shall have the chance, at least, sir,” I replied. “Mr. Manners, this is my friend, Captain Paul.”

The captain stood up and bowed gravely at the little gentleman’s blankly amazed countenance.

“Ahem,” said he; “dear me, is it possible!” and advanced a step, but the captain remained immovable. Mr. Marmaduke fumbled for his snuff-box, failed to find it, halted, and began again, for he never was known to lack words for long: “Captain, as one of the oldest friends of Mr. Lionel Carvel I claim the right to thank you in his name for your gallant conduct. I trust that you are soon to see him, and to receive his obligations from him in person. You will not find him lacking, sir, I’ll warrant.”

Such was Mr. Marmaduke’s feline ingenuity!

Dinner was got through I know not how. Mr. Manners led the talk. He was at great pains to recommend the Virginia packet, which had made the fastest passage from the Capes; and she sailed, as was no doubt most convenient, the Saturday following. I should find her a comfortable vessel, and he would oblige me with a letter to Captain Alsop. Did Captain Paul know him? But the captain was describing West Indian life to Mrs. Manners. Dorothy had little to say; and as for me, I gave a deaf ear to Mr. Marmaduke’s sallies.

As we made our way back to the drawing-room, I heard a voice strangely familiar.

“You know, Comyn,” it was saying, “you know I should be at the Princess’s were I not so completely worn out. I was up near all of last night with Rosette.”

Mr. Marmaduke, entering before us, cried: —

“The dear creature! I trust you have had medical attendance, Mr. Walpole.”

“Egad!” quoth Horry (for it was he), “I sent Favre to Hampstead to fetch Dr. Pratt, where he was attending some mercer’s wife. It seems that Rosette had got into the street and eaten something horrible out of the kennel. I discharged the footman, of course.”

“A plague on your dog, Horry,” said my Lord, yawning, and was about to add something worse, when he caught sight of Dorothy.

Mr. Walpole bowed over her hand.

“And have you forgotten so soon your Windsor acquaintances, Mr. Walpole?” she asked, laughing.

“Bless me,” said Horry, looking very hard at me, “so it is, so it is. Your hand, Mr. Carvel. You have only to remain in London, sir, to discover that your reputation is ready-made. I contributed my mite. For you must know that I am a sort of circulating library of odd news which those devils, the printers, contrive to get sooner or later — Heaven knows how! And Miss Manners herself has completed your fame. Yes, the story of your gallant rescue is in all the clubs to-day. Egad, sir, you come down heads up, like a loaded coin. You will soon be a factor in Change Alley.” And glancing slyly at the blushing Dolly, he continued: “I have been many things, Miss Manners, but never before an instrument of Providence. And so you discovered your rough diamond yesterday, and have polished him in a day. O that Dr. Franklin had profited as well by our London tailors! The rogue never told me, when he was ordering me about in his swan-skin, that he had a friend in Arlington Street. But I like him the better for it.”

“And I the worse,” said Dolly.

“I perceive that he still retains his body-guard,” said Mr. Walpole; “Captain —”

“Paul,” said Dolly, seeing that we would not help him out.

“Ah, yes. These young princes from the New World must have their suites. And pray where did you get your learning?” he demanded abruptly of the captain, in his most patronizing way. “Your talents are wasted at sea, sir. You should try your fortune in London, where you shall be under my protection, sir. Stay,” he cried, warming with generous enthusiasm, “stay, I have an opening. ’Twas but yesterday Lady Cretherton told me that she stood in need of a tutor for her youngest son, and you shall have the position.”

“Pardon me, sir, but I shall not have the position,” said John Paul, coolly. And Horry might have heeded the danger signal. I had seen it more than once on board the brigantine John.

“Faith, and why not, sir? If I recommend you, why not, sir?”

“Because I shall not take it,” he said. “I have my profession, Mr. Walpole, and it is an honourable one. And I would not exchange it, sir, were it in your power to make me a Gibbon or a Hume, or tutor to his Royal Highness, which it is not.”

Thus, for the second time, the weapon of the renowned master of Strawberry was knocked from his hand at a stroke of his strange adversary. Mr. Walpole made a reply that strove hard to be indifferent; Mr. Marmaduke stuttered, for he was frightened. But my Lord Comyn, forever natural, forever generous, cried out heartily: —

“Egad, captain, there you are a true sailor! Which would you rather have been, I say, Shakespeare or Sir Francis?”

“Which would you rather be, Richard,” said Dolly to me, under her breath, “Horace Walpole or Captain John Paul? I begin to like your captain better.”

Willy nilly, Mr. Walpole was forever doing me a service. Now, in order to ignore the captain more completely, he sat down to engage Mr. and Mrs. Manners. Comyn was soon hot in an argument with John Paul concerning the seagoing qualities of a certain frigate, every rope and spar of which they seemed to know. And so I stole a few moments with Dorothy.

Alas for the exits and entrances of life! Here comes the footman.

“Mr. Fox,” said he, rolling the name, for it was a great one.

Confound Mr. Fox! He might have waited five short minutes.

It was, in truth, none other than that precocious marvel of England who but a year before had taken the breath from the House of Commons, and had sent his fame flying over the Channel and across the wide Atlantic; the talk of London, who set the fashions, cringed not before white hairs, or royalty, or customs, or institutions, and was now, at one and twenty, Junior Lord of the Admiralty — Charles James Fox. His face was dark, forbidding, even harsh — until he smiled. His eyebrows were heavy and shaggy, and his features of a rounded, almost Jewish mould. He put me in mind of the Stuarts’ and I was soon to learn that he was descended from them.

As he entered the room I recall remarking that he was possessed of the supremest confidence of any man I had ever met. Mrs. Manners he greeted in one way, Mr. Marmaduke in another, and Mr. Walpole in still another. To Comyn it was “Hello, Jack,” as he walked by him. Each, as it were, had been tagged with a particular value.

Chagrined as I was at the interruption, I was struck with admiration. He came to Dorothy, whom he seemed not to have perceived at first, and there passed between them a look of complete understanding. Here, indeed, was the man who might have won her. It was Dorothy who introduced us.

“I think I have heard of you, Mr. Carvel,” he said, making a barely perceptible wink at Comyn.

“And I think I have heard of you, Mr. Fox,” I replied.

“The deuce you have, Mr. Carvel!” said he, and laughed. And Comyn laughed, and Dorothy laughed, and I laughed. We were friends from that moment.

“Richard has appeared amongst us like a comet,” put in the ubiquitous Mr. Manners, “and, I fear, may disappear in like manner.”

“And where is the tail of this comet?” demanded Fox; “for I understood there was a tail.”

John Paul was brought up, and the Junior Lord of the Admiralty looked him over from head to toe.

“Have you ever acted, Captain Paul?”

The captain started back in surprise.

“Acted!” he exclaimed; “really, sir, I do not know. I have never been upon the boards.”

Mr. Fox vowed that he could act: that he was sure of it, from the captain’s appearance.

“And I, too, am sure of it, Mr. Fox,” cried Dorothy, clapping her hands. “Persuade him to stay awhile in London, that you may have him at your theatricals at Holland House. Why, he knows Shakespeare and Pope and — and Chaucer by heart, and Ovid and Horace, — is it not so, Mr. Walpole?”

“Is not what so, my dear young lady?” asked Mr. Walpole, pretending not to have heard.

“There!” exclaimed Dolly, when the laughter had subsided; “you make believe to care something about me, and yet will not listen to what I say.”

I had seen at her feet our own Maryland gallants, the longest of whose reputations stretched barely from the James to the Schuylkill; but here in London men were hanging on her words whose names were familiarly spoken in Paris, and Rome, and Geneva. Not a topic was broached by Mr. Walpole or Mr. Fox, from the remonstrance of the Archbishop against masquerades and the coming marriage of my Lord Albemarle to the rights and wrongs of Mr. Wilkes, but my lady had her say. Mrs. Manners seemed more than content that she should play the hostess, which she did to perfection. She contrived to throw poisoned darts at the owner of Strawberry that started little Mr. Marmaduke to fidgeting in his seat, and he came to the rescue with all the town-talk at his command. He knew little else. Then, in spite of Mr. Walpole, John Paul was led out in the paces that best suited him, and finally, to the undisguised delight of Mr. Fox, managed to trip Horry upon an obscure point in Athenian literature. And this broke up the company.


 

CHAPTER XVII

A CONSPIRACY

“BANKS, where is the captain?” I asked, as I entered the parlour the next morning.

“Gone, sir, since seven o’clock,” was the reply.

I thought it strange, but reflected that John Paul was given to whims. He had probably gone to see the sights he had missed yesterday: the Pantheon, which was building, an account of which had appeared in all the colonial papers; or the new Blackfriars Bridge; or the Tower; or perhaps to see his Majesty ride out.

The wonders of London might go hang, for all I cared. Who would gaze at the King when he might look upon Dorothy! I bade Banks dress me in the new suit Davenport had brought that morning. I would go to Arlington Street as soon as propriety admitted. But I had scarce finished my chocolate and begun to smoke in a pleasant revery, when I was startled by the arrival of two gentlemen. One was Comyn, and the other none less than Mr. Charles Fox.

“Hark ye, Richard,” said Comyn, stretching himself in an arm-chair; “we are come to take your captain, alive or dead. Charles, here, is to give him a commission in his Majesty’s Navy.

“Egad!” cried his Lordship, “look at his glum face. What ails you, Richard?”

“Nothing, Jack,” I replied. “I know that commissions are not to be had for the asking. But what do you know of John Paul’s abilities as an officer?”

Mr. Fox and Comyn laughed so immoderately as to bring the blood to my face.

“Damme!” cried the Junior Lord, “but you Americans have odd consciences! Don’t you see that had I not been taken with you, sir, I should scarce have promised it to your friend Comyn. Do you suppose Rigby was appointed Paymaster of the Forces because of his fitness? Why was North himself made Prime Minister? For his abilities? Ask Jack, here, how he got into the service, and how much seamanship he knows.”

“Faith,” answered Jack, unblushingly, “Admiral Lord Comyn wished me to serve awhile. And so I have taken two cruises, delivered some score of commands, and scarce know a supple jack from a can of flip. Cursed if I see the fun of it in these piping times o’ peace.”

At length John Paul came in, calling my name. He broke off abruptly at sight of the visitors.

“Well, damn the odds!” exclaimed the Junior Lord, laughing. “Captain, you shall have the commission.”

“The commission?” replied John Paul.

“Yes,” said Fox, carelessly; “I intend making you a lieutenant, sir, in the Royal Navy.”

The moment the words were out I was fearful as to how he would take the offer, for he had a certain puzzling pride, which flew hither and hither. He confounded us all by his answer.

“I thank you, Mr. Fox. But I cannot accept your kindness.”

“’Slife!” said Fox, “you refuse? And you know what you are doing?”

“I know usually, sir.”

Comyn swore. My exclamation had something of relief in it.

“Captain, you must know that Mr. Fox’s offer is his own, and Lord Comyn’s.”

“I know it well, Richard. I have not lived these three months with you for nothing.” His voice seemed to fail him, and he took my hand. “But I have had my taste of quality, and yesterday I went to the city to see a shipowner whose acquaintance I made when he was a master in the West India trade. He has given me the bark Betsy, whose former master is lately dead of the small-pox.

“Richard, I sail to-morrow.”

 
 

Dorothy had vowed it her pleasure to see John Paul off, and who could stand in her way? Surely not Mr. Marmaduke!

“If we should take a wherry, Richard,” said Dolly, “who would know of it?”

The river was smiling as she tripped gayly down to the water, and the red-coated watermen were smiling, too, and nudging one another. But little cared we! Dolly in holiday humour stopped for naught.

“Boat, your honour! Boat, boat! To Rotherhithe — Redriff? Two and six apiece, sir.”

My new lace handkerchief was down upon the seat, lest Dolly soil her bright pink lutestring. How the bargemen stared, and the passengers craned their necks, and the ’longshoremen stopped their work as we shot past them! On her account a barrister on the Temple Stairs was near to letting fall his bag in the water. A lady in a wherry! Where were the whims of the quality to lead them next?

Past the tall water-tower and York Stairs, the idlers under the straight row of trees leaning over the high river wall; past Adelphi Terrace, where the great Garrick lived; past the white columns of Somerset House, with its courts and fountains and alleys and architecture of all ages, and its river gate where many a gilded royal barge had lain, and many a fine ambassador had arrived in state over the great highway of England; past the ancient trees in the Temple Gardens.

And then under the new Blackfriars Bridge to Southwark, dingy with its docks and breweries and huddled houses, but forever famous, — the Southwark of Shakespeare and Jonson and Beaumont and Fletcher.

Under the pointed arches of old London Bridge, with its hooded shelters for the weary, to where the massive Tower had frowned for ages upon the river. And then the forest of ships, and the officious throng of little wherries and lighters that pressed around them.

Soon our own wherry was dodging among them, ships brought hither by the four winds of the seas; many discharging in the stream, some in the docks then beginning to be built, and hugging the huge warehouses. Hides from frozen Russia were piled high beside barrels of sugar and rum from the moist island cane-fields of the Indies, and pipes of wine from the sunny hillsides of France, and big boxes of tea bearing the hall-mark of the mysterious East. Dolly gazed in wonder. And I was commanded to show her a schooner like the Black Moll, and a brigantine like the John.

“And Captain Paul told me you climbed the masts, Richard, and worked like a common seaman. Tell me,” says she, pointing at the royal yard of a tall East Indianian, “did you go as high as that when it was rough?”

And hugely to the boatman’s delight, she must needs put her fingers on the hard welts on my hands, and vow she would be a sailor and she were a man. But at length we came to a trim-built bark lying off Redriff Stairs, with the words “Betsy, of London,” painted across her stern. In no time, Captain Paul was down the gangway ladder and at the water-side, to hand Dorothy out.

“This honour overwhelms me, Miss Manners,” he said; “but I know whom to thank for it.” And he glanced slyly at me.

Dorothy stepped aboard with the air of Queen Elizabeth come to inspect Lord Howard’s flagship.

“Then you will thank me,” said she. “Why, I could eat my dinner off your deck, captain! Are all merchantmen so clean?”

John Paul smiled.

“Not all, Miss Manners,” he said.

“And you are still sailing at the ebb?” I asked.

“In an hour, Richard, if the wind holds good.”

With pride he showed us over his ship, the sailors gaping at the fine young lady. It had taken him just a day to institute his navy discipline; and Dolly went about exclaiming, and asking an hundred questions, and merrily catechising me upon the run of the ropes. All was order and readiness for dropping down the stream when he led us into his cabin, where he had a bottle of wine and some refreshments laid out against my coming.

“Had I presumed to anticipate your visit, Miss Manners, I should have had something more suitable for a lady,” he said. “What, you will not eat, Richard?”

I could not, so downcast had I become at the thought of parting.

Time was pressing, and the owner came aboard, puffing, a round-faced, vociferous, jolly merchant, who had no sooner got his breath than he lost it again upon catching sight of Dolly. While the captain was giving the mate his final orders, Mr. Orchardson, for such was his name, regaled us with a part of his life’s history. He had been a master himself, and mangled and clipped King George’s English as only a true master might. And then he left us to see that the mate had signed all his lighter bills, shouting to the captain not to forget his cockets at Gravesend. Dolly and I stood silent while the men hove short. With a friendly wave the round figure of Mr. Orchardson disappeared over the side, and I knew that the time had come to say farewell. I fumbled in my waistcoat for the repeater I had bought that morning over against Temple Bar, in Fleet Street, and I thrust it into John Paul’s hand as he came up.

“Take this in remembrance of what you have suffered so unselfishly for my sake, Captain Paul,” I said, my voice breaking. “And whatever befalls you, do not forget that Carvel Hall is your home as well as mine.”

He seemed as greatly affected as was I. Tears forced themselves to his eyes as he held the watch, which he opened to read the inscription I had put there.

“Oh, Dickie lad!” he cried, “I’ll be missing ye sair three hours hence, and thinking of ye for months to come in the night watches. But something tells me I’ll see ye again.”

And he took me in his arms, embracing me with fervour.

“Miss Dorothy,” said he, when he was calmer, “I give ye Richard for a leal and a true heart. Few men are born with the gift of keeping the affections warm despite absence, and years, and interest. But have no fear of Richard.”

Dorothy stood a little apart, watching us, her eyes that faraway blue of the deepening skies at twilight.

“Indeed, I have no fear of him, captain,” she said gently. Then, with a quick movement, impulsive and womanly, she unpinned a little gold brooch at her throat, and gave it to him, saying: “In token of my gratitude for bringing him back to us.”

John Paul raised it to his lips.

“I shall treasure it, Miss Manners, as a memento of the greatest joy of my life. And that has been,” gracefully taking her hand and mine, “the bringing you two together again.”

Dorothy grew scarlet as she curtseyed. As for me, I could speak never a word. He stepped over the side to hand her into the wherry, and embraced me once again. And as we rowed away he waved his hat in a last good-by from the taffrail. And then the Betsy floated down the Thames.


 

CHAPTER XVIII

“UPSTAIRS INTO THE WORLD”

IT will be difficult, my dears, without bulging this history out of all proportion, to give you a just notion of the society into which I fell after John Paul left London. It was, above all, a gaming society. From that prying and all-powerful God of Chance none, great or small, escaped. Guineas were staked and won upon frugal King George and his beef and barley-water; Charles Fox and his debts; the intrigues of Choiseul and Du Barry and the sensational marriage of the Duc d’Orleans with Madame de Montesson (for your macaroni knew his Paris as well as his London); Lord March and his opera singer; and even the doings of Betty, the apple-woman of St. James’s Street, and the beautiful barmaid of Nando’s in whom my Lord Thurlow was said to be interested. All these, and much more not to be repeated, were duly set down in the betting-books at White’s and Brooks’s.

Then the luxury of the life was something to startle a provincial, even tho’ he came, as did I, from one of the two most luxurious colonies of the thirteen. Annapolis might be said to be London on a small scale, — but on a very small scale. The historian of the future need look no farther than our houses (if any remain), to be satisfied that we had more than the necessities of existence. The Maryland aristocrat with his town place and his country place was indeed a parallel of the patrician at home. He wore his English clothes, drove and rode his English horses, and his coaches were built in Long Acre. His heavy silver service came from Fleet Street, and his claret and Champagne and Lisbon and Madeira were the best that could be bought or smuggled. His sons were often educated at home, at Eton or Westminster and Oxford or Cambridge. So would I have been if circumstances had permitted. So was James Fotheringay, the eldest of the family, and later the Dulany boys, and half a dozen others I might mention. And then our ladies! ’Tis but necessary to cite my Aunt Caroline as an extreme dame of fashion, who had her French hairdresser, Piton.

As was my aunt to the Duchess of Kingston, so was Annapolis to London. To depict the life of Mayfair and of St. James’s Street during a season about the year of grace 1770 demands a mightier pen than wields the writer of these memoirs.

And who was responsible for all this luxury and laxity? Who but the great Mr. Pitt, then the Earl of Chatham, whose wise policy had made Britain the ruler of the world, and rich beyond compare. From all corners of the earth her wealth poured in upon her. Nabob and Caribbee came from East and West to spend their money in the capital. And fortunes near as great were acquired by the City merchants themselves. One by one these were admitted within that charmed circle, whose motto for ages had been “No Trade,” to leaven it with their gold. And to keep the pace, — nay, to set it, the nobility and landed gentry were sore pressed. As far back as good Queen Anne, and farther, their ancestors had gamed and tippled away the acres; and now that John and William, whose forebears had been good tenants for centuries, were setting their faces to Liverpool and Birmingham and Leeds, their cottages were empty. So Lord and Squire went to London to recuperate, and to get their share of the game running. St. James’s Street and St. Stephen’s became their preserves. My Lord wormed himself into a berth in the Treasury, robbed the country systematically for a dozen of years, and sold the places and reversions under him to the highest bidder. Boroughs were to be had somewhat dearer than a pair of colours.

And my Lord spent his spare time — he had plenty of it — in fleecing the pigeons at White’s and Almack’s. Here there was no honour, even amongst thieves. And young gentlemen were hurried through Eton and Oxford, where they learned to drink and swear and to call a main as well as to play tennis and billiards and to write Latin, and were thrust into Brooks’s before they knew the difference in value between a farthing and a banknote: at nineteen they were hardened rakes, or accomplished men of the world, or both. Dissipated noblemen of middle age like March and Sandwich, wits and beaus and fine gentlemen like Selwyn and Chesterfield and Walpole, were familiarly called by their first names by youngsters like Fox and Carlisle and Comyn. Difference of age was no difference. Young Lord Carlisle was the intimate of Mr. Selwyn, born thirty years before him.

And whilst I am speaking of intimacies, that short one which sprang up between me and the renowned Charles Fox has always seemed the most unaccountable: not on my part, for I fell a victim to him at once. Pen and paper, brush and canvas, are wholly inadequate to describe the charm of the man. When he desired to please, his conversation and the expression of his face must have moved a temperament of stone itself. None ever had more devoted friends or more ardent admirers. They saw his faults, which he laid bare before them, but they settled his debts again and again, vast sums which he lost at Newmarket and at Brooks’s. And not many years after the time of which I now write Lord Carlisle was paying fifteen hundred a year on the sum he had loaned him, cheerfully denying himself the pleasures of London as a consequence.

It was Mr. Fox who discovered for me my lodgings in Dover Street, vowing that I could not be so out of fashion as to live at an inn. The brief history of these rooms, as given by him, was this: “A young cub had owned them, whose mamma had come up from Berkshire on Thursday, beat him soundly on Friday, paid his debts on Saturday; and had taken him back on Sunday to hunt with Sir Henry the rest of his life.” Dorothy came one day with her mother and swept through my apartments, commanded all the furniture to be moved about, ordered me to get pictures for the walls, and by one fell decree abolished all the ornaments before the landlady, used as she was to the ways of quality, had time to gasp.

“Why, Richard,” says my lady, “you will be wanting no end of pretty things to take back to Maryland when you go. You shall come with me to-morrow to Mr. Josiah Wedgwood’s.”

“Dorothy!” says her mother, reprovingly.

“And he must have the Chippendale table I saw yesterday at the exhibition, and chairs to match. And every bachelor should have a punch bowl — Josiah has such a beauty!”

But I am running far ahead. Among the notes with which my table was laden, Banks had found a scrawl. This I made out with difficulty to convey that Mr. Fox was not attending Parliament that day. If Mr. Carvel would do him the honour of calling at his lodging, over Mackie’s Italian Warehouse in Piccadilly, at four o’clock, he would take great pleasure in introducing him at Brooks’s Club. In those days ’twas far better for a young gentleman of any pretensions to remain at home than go to London and be denied that inner sanctuary, — the younger club at Almack’s. Many the rich brewer’s son has embittered his life because it was not given him to see more than the front of the house from the far side of Pall Mall. But to be taken there by Charles Fox was an honour falling to few. I made sure that Dolly was at the bottom of it.

Promptly at four I climbed the stairs and knocked at Mr. Fox’s door. The Swiss who opened it shook his head dubiously when I asked for his master, and said he had not been at home that day.

“But I had an appointment to meet him,” I said, thinking it very strange.

The man’s expression changed.

“An appointment, sir! Ah, sir, then you are to step in here.” And to my vast astonishment he admitted me into a small room at one side of the entrance. It was bare as poverty, and furnished with benches, and nothing more. On one of these was seated a person with an unmistakable odour of St. Giles’s, who sprang to his feet and then sat down again dejectedly. I also sat down, wondering what it could mean, and debating whether to go or stay.

“Excuse me, your honour,” said the person, “but have you seen Mister Fox?”

I said that I, too, was waiting for him, whereat he cast at me a cunning look beyond my comprehension. Surely, I thought, a man of Fox’s inherited wealth and position could not be living in such a place! Before the truth of the situation had dawned upon me, I heard a ringing voice without, swearing in most forcible English, and the door was thrown open, admitting a tall young gentleman, as striking as I have ever seen. He paid not the smallest attention to the Jew, who was bowing and muttering behind me.

“Mr. Richard Carvel?” said he.

I bowed.

“Gad’s life, Mr. Carvel, I’m deuced sorry this should have happened. Will you come with me?”

“Excuse me, your honour!” cried the other visitor.

“Now, what the plague, Aaron!” says he; “you wear out the stairs. Come to-morrow, or the day after.”

“Ay, ’tis always ‘to-morrow’ with you fine gentlemen. But I will bring the bailiffs, so help me —”

“Damn ’em!” says the tall young gentleman, as he slammed the door and so shut off the wail. “Damn ’em, they worry Charles to death. If he would only stick to quinze and picquet, and keep clear of the hounds,1 he need never go near a broker. (1. The “hounds,” it appears, were the gentlemen of sharp practices at White’s and Almack’s. — D.C.C.)  Do you have Jews in America, Mr. Carvel?” Without waiting for an answer, he led me through a parlour, hung with pictures, and bewilderingly furnished with French and Italian things, and Japan and China ware and bronzes, and cups and trophies. “My name is Fitzpatrick, Mr. Carvel, — yours to command, and Charles’s. I am his ally for offence and defence. We went to school together,” he explained simply.

His manner was so free, and yet so dignified, as to charm me completely. Then came a voice from beyond, calling: —

“That you, Carvel? Damn that fellow Eiffel, and did he thrust you into the Jerusalem Chamber?”

“The Jerusalem Chamber!” I exclaimed.

“Where I keep my Israelites,” said he; “but, by Gads life! I think they are one and all descended from Job, and not father Abraham at all. He must have thought me cursed ascetic, eh, Fitz? Did you find the benches hard? I had ’em made hard as the devil. But if they were of stone, I vow the flock could find their own straw to sit on.”

“Curse it, Charles,” cut in Mr. Fitzpatrick, in some temper, “can’t you be serious for once! He would behave this way, Mr. Carvel, if he were being shriven by the Newgate ordinary before a last carting to Tyburn. Charles, Charles, it was Aaron again, and the dog is like to snap at last. He is talking of bailiffs. Take my advice and settle with him. Hold Cavendish off another fortnight and settle with him.”

Mr. Fox’s reply was partly a laugh, and the rest of it is not to be printed. He did not seem in the least to mind this wholesale disclosure of his somewhat awkward affairs. And he continued to dress, or to be dressed, alternately swearing at his valet and talking to me.

“Let a man but be called Richard, and I seem to take to him. I’ faith, I like the hunchback king, and believe our friend Horry Walpole is right in defending him, despite Davie Hume. I vow I shall like you, Mr. Carvel.”

I replied that I certainly hoped so.

“Egad, you come well enough recommended,” he said, pulling on his breeches. “No, Eiffel; cursed if I go en pent maître to-day. How does that strike you for a demi saison, Mr. Buckskin? I wore three of ’em through the customs last year, and March’s worked olive nightgown tucked under my greatcoat, and near a dozen pairs of shirts and stockings. And each of my servants had on near as much. O Lud, we were amazing — like beef-eaters or blower pigeons. Sorry you won’t meet my brother, — he that will have the title. He’s out of town.”

Going on in this discursory haphazard way while he dressed, he made me feel much at home. For the young dictator — so Mr. Fitzpatrick informed me afterward — either took to you or else he did not, and stood upon no ceremony. After he had chosen a coat with a small pattern and his feet had been thrust into the little red shoes with the high heels, imported by him from France, he sent for a hackney-chaise. And the three of us drove together to Pall Mall. Mr. Brooks was at the door, and bowed from his hips as we entered.

“A dozen vin de Graves, Brooks!” cries Mr. Fox, and ushers me into a dining room, with high curtained windows and painted ceiling, and chandeliers throwing a glitter of light. There, at a long table, surrounded by powdered lackeys, sat a bevy of wits, mostly in blue and silver, with point ruffles, to match Mr. Fox’s costume. They greeted my companions uproariously. It was “Here’s Charles at last!” “Howdy, Charles!” and “What have you there? a new Caribbee?” They made way for Mr. Fox at the head of the table, and he took the seat as though it were his right.

“This is Mr. Richard Carvel, gentlemen, of Carvel Hall, in Maryland.”

They stirred with interest when my name was called, and most of them turned in their chairs to look at me. I knew well the reason, and felt my face grow hot. Although you may read much of the courtesy of that age, there was a deal of brutal frankness among young men of fashion.

“Egad, Charles, is this he the Beauty rescued from Castle Yard?”

A familiar voice relieved my embarrassment.

“Give the devil his due, Bully. You forget that I had a hand in that.”

“Faith, Jack Comyn,” retorted the gentleman addressed, “you’re already famous for clinging to her skirt.”

“Cling to mine, Bully, and we’ll all enter the temple together. But I bid you welcome, Richard,” said his Lordship; “you come with two of the most delightful vagabonds in the world.”

Mr. Fox introduced me in succession to Colonel St. John, known in St. James’s Street as the Baptist; to my Lord Bolingbroke, Colonel St. John’s brother, who was more familiarly called Bully; to Mr. Fitzpatrick’s brother, the Earl of Upper Ossory, who had come up to London, so he said, to see a little Italian dance at the Garden; to Gilly Williams; to Sir Charles Bunbury, who had married Lady Sarah Lennox, Fox’s cousin, the beauty who had come so near to being queen of all England; to Mr. Storer, who was at once a Caribbee and a Crichton; to Mr. Uvedale Price. These I remember, but there are more that escape me. Most good-naturedly they drank my health in Charles’s vin de grave, at four shillings the bottle; and soon I was astonished to find myself launched upon the story of my adventures, which they had besought me to tell them. When I had done, they pledged me again, and, beginning to feel at home, I pledged them handsomely in return. Then the conversation began.

The like of it I have never heard anywhere else in the world. There was a deal that might not be written here, and a deal more that might, to make these pages sparkle. They went through the meetings, of course, and thrashed over the list of horses entered at Ipswich, and York, and Newmarket, and how many were thought to be pulled. Then followed the recent gains and losses of each and every individual of the company. After that there was a roar of merriment over how young Lord Stavordale, on a wager, tilted the candles and set fire to the drawing-room at Lady Julia’s drum, the day before. And Mr. Price told of the rage Topham Beauclerk had got Dr. Johnson into, by setting down a mark for each oyster the sage had eaten, and showing him the count.

After that they fell upon politics. I knew that Mr. Fox was already near the head of the King’s party, and that he had just received a substantial reward at his Majesty’s hands; and I went not far to guess that every one of these easy-going, devil-may-care macaronies was a follower or sympathizer with Lord North’s policy. But what I heard was a revelation indeed. I have dignified it by calling it politics. All was frankness here amongst friends. There was no attempt made to gloss over ugly transactions with a veneer of morality. For this much I honoured them. But irresistibly there came into my mind the grand and simple characters of our own public men in America, and it made me shudder to think that, while they strove honestly for our rights, this was the type which opposed them. Motives of personal spite and of personal gain were laid bare, and even the barter and sale of offices of trust took place before my very eyes. I was silent, though my tongue burned me, until one of the gentlemen, thinking me neglected, said: —

“What a-deuce is to be done with those unruly countrymen of yours, Mr. Carvel? Are they likely to be pacified now that we have taken off all except the tea? You who are of our party must lead a sorry life among them.”

The blood rushed to my face.

“It is not a question of tea, sir,” I replied. “It is a question of principle, which means much to Englishmen. And we are Englishmen.”

I believe I spoke louder than I intended, for a silence followed my words. Fox glanced at Comyn, who of all of them at the table was not smiling, and said: —

“I thought you came of a loyalist family, Mr. Carvel.”

“King George has no more loyal servants than the Americans, Mr. Fox. And he has but to read our petitions to discover it.”

I spoke calmly, but my heart was thumping with excitement, and I looked for them to turn their backs upon me for an impertinent provincial. Indeed, I think they would have, all save Comyn, had it not been for Fox himself. He lighted a pipe, smiled, and began easily, quite dispassionately, to address me.

“I wish you would favour us with your point of view, Mr. Carvel,” said he; “for, upon my soul, I know little about the subject.”

“You know little about the subject, and you in Parliament?”

This started them all to laughing.

“Come, let’s have it!” said he.

They drew their chairs closer, some wearing that smile of superiority which to us is the Englishman’s most maddening trait. I did not stop to think, or to remember that I was pitted against the greatest debater in all England. I was to speak that of which I was full.

I began by telling them that the Americans had paid their share of the French war, in blood and money. And I had the figures in my memory. But Mr. Fox interrupted. For ten minutes at a space he spoke, and in all my life I have never talked to a man who had the English of King James’s Bible, of Shakespeare, and Milton so wholly at his command. And his knowledge of history, his classical citations, confounded me. I forgot myself in wondering how one who had lived so fast had acquired such learning. Afterward, when I tried to recall what he said, I laughed at his surprising ignorance of the question at issue, and wondered where my wits could have gone that I allowed myself to be dazzled and turned aside at every corner. As his speech came faster he twisted fact into fiction and fiction into fact, until I must needs close my mind and bolt the shutters of it, or he had betrayed me into confessing the right of Parliament to quarter troops among us. He grew more excited, and they applauded him. In truth, I myself felt near to clapping. And then, as I stared him in the eye, marvelling how a man of such vast power and ability could stand for such rotten practices, the words came to me: —

“Mr. Fox, before God, do you believe what you are saying?”

I saw them smiling at my earnestness and simplicity. Fox seemed surprised, and laughed evasively, — not heartily as was his wont.

“My dear Mr. Carvel,” he said, glancing around the circle, “political principles are not to be swallowed like religion, but taken rather like medicine, experimentally. If they agree with you, very good. If not, drop them and try others. We are always ready to listen to remedies, here.”

“Ay, if they agree with you!” I exclaimed. “But food for one is poison for another. Do you know what you are doing? You are committing a crime. And yet you call us rebels, and accuse us of meanness and of parsimony. If you wish money, leave the matter to our colonial assemblies. But if you wish war, persist in trying to grind the spirit from a people who have in them the pride of your own ancestors. Yes, you are estranging the colonies, gentlemen.”

And with that I rose, believing that I had given them all mortal offence. To my astonishment, Comyn and Lord Ossory grasped my hands. And Charles Fox reached out over the corner of the table and pulled me back into my chair.

“Richard Carvel!” he cried. “Cursed if I don’t love a man who will put up a fight against odds. We won’t quarrel with any such here, my buckskin, I can tell you.”

I gave him my hand with a better will than I have done anything, and honest Jack Comyn ordered more wine, upon which they swore that I was a good fellow, and that if all American Whigs were like me, all cause of quarrel was at an end. Of this I was not so sure, nor could I see that the question had been settled one way or another. And that night I had reason to thank the Reverend Mr. Allen, for the first and last time in my life, that I could stand a deal of liquor, and yet not roll bottom upward.

The dinner was settled on the Baptist, who paid for it without a murmur. And then we adjourned to the business of the evening. The great drawing-room, lighted by an hundred candles, was filled with gayly dressed macaronies, and the sound of their laughter and voices in contention mingled with the pounding of the packs on the mahogany and the rattle of the dice and the ring of the gold pieces. The sight was dazzling, and the noise distracting. Fox had me under his especial care, and I was presented to young gentlemen who bore names that had been the boast of England through the centuries. Lands their forebears had won by lance and sword, they were squandering away as fast as ever they could. All had heard the romance of the Beauty and Castle Yard, and some had listened to Horry Walpole tell that foolish story of Goble at Windsor, on which he seemed to set such store. They guessed at my weight. They betted upon it. And they wished to know if I could spin Mr. Brooks, who was scraping his way from table to table. They gave me choice of whist, or picquet, or quinze, or hazard. I was carried away. We mounted, some dozen of us, to the floor above, and passed along to a room of which Fox had the key; and he swung me in on his arm, the others pressing after. And the door was scarce closed and locked again, before they began stripping off their clothes.

To my astonishment, Fox handed me a great frieze coat, which he bade me don, as the others were doing. Some were turning their coats inside out; for luck, said they; and putting on footman’s leather guards to save their ruffles. And they gave me a hat with a high crown, and a broad brim to save my eyes from the candle glare. I recall a gasp when they told me they played for rouleaux of ten pounds each, but I took out my pocket-book as boldly as tho’ I had never played for less, and laid my stake upon the board. Fox lost, again and again; but he treated his ill-luck with such a raillery of contemptuous wit, that we must needs laugh with him. Comyn, too, lost, and at supper excused himself, saying that he had promised his mother, the dowager countess, not to lose more than a quarter’s income at a sitting. But I won and won, until the fever of it got into my blood, and as the first faint light of that morning crept into the empty streets, we were still at it, Fox vowing that he never waked up until daylight. That the best things he said in the House came to him at dawn.

 
 

As a courtesy to me as a visitor to home, some days later Mr. Fox and Comyn and I set out for Baltimore House. When you go to London, my dears, you will find a vast difference in the neighbourhood of Bloomsbury from what it was that May morning in 1770. Great Russell Street was then all a sweet fragrance of gardens, mingling with the smell of the fields from the open country to the north. And we drove past red Montagu House with its stone facings and dome, like a French hôtel, and the cluster of buildings at its great gate. It had been then for over a decade the British Museum, and the ground behind it was a great resort for Londoners of that day. Many a sad affair was fought there, but on that morning we saw a merry party on their way to play prisoner’s base. Then we came to the gardens in front of Bedford House, which are now Bloomsbury Square. To the east of it, along Southampton Row, a few great houses had gone up or were building; and at the far end of that was Baltimore House, overlooking her Grace of Bedford’s gardens. Beyond, Lamb’s Conduit Fields stretched away to the countryside.

I own I had a lively curiosity to see that lordly ruler, the proprietor of our province, whose birthday we celebrated after his Majesty’s. Had I not been in a great measure prepared, I should have had a revulsion indeed.

When he heard that Mr. Fox and my Lord Comyn were below stairs he gave orders to show them up to his bedroom, where he received us in a night-gown embroidered with oranges. My Lord Baltimore, alas! was not much to see. He did not make the figure a ruler should as he sat in his easy chair, and whined and cursed his Swiss. He was scarce a year over forty, and he had all but run his race. Dissipation and corrosion had set their seal upon him, had stamped his yellow face with crows’-feet and blotted it with pimples. But then the glimpse of a fine gentleman just out of bed of a morning, before he is made for the day, is unfair.

“Morning, Charles! Howdy, Jack!” said his Lordship, apathetically. “Glad to know you, Mr. Carvel. Heard of your family. ’Slife! Wish there were more like ’em in the province.”

I bowed, and said nothing.

“By the bye,” he continued, pouring out his chocolate into the dish, “I sent a damned rake of a parson out there some years gone. Handsome devil, too. Never seen his match with the women, egad. ’Od’s fish —” he added with an oath and a nod, “married three times, to my knowledge. Carried off dozen or so more. Some of ’em for me. Many a good night I’ve had with him. Drank between us one evening at Essex’s gallon and half Champagne and Burgundy apiece. He got to know too much, y’ know,” his Excellency concluded, with a wicked wink. “Had to buy him up — pack him off.”

“His name, Fred?” said Comyn, with a smile at me.

“’Sdeath! That’s it. Trouble to remember. Damned if I can think.” And he repeated this remark over and over.

“Allen?” said Comyn.

“Yes,” said Baltimore; “Allen. And egad I think he’ll find hell a hotter place than me. You know him, Mr. Carvel?”

“Yes,” I replied. But as I looked upon him, haggard and worn, with retribution so near at hand, I had no words to protest or condemn.

Baltimore gave a hollow mirthless laugh, stopped short, and looked at Charles Fox.

“Curse you, Charles! I suppose you are after that little matter I owe you for quinze.”

“Damn the little matter!” said Fox. “Come, get you perfumed and dressed and show Mr. Carvel this grand pile of yours, — and order up some of your Tokay while we wait.”

My Lord took three-quarters of an hour to dress, and swore he had not accomplished the feat so quickly in a year. He washed his hands and face in a silver basin, and the scent of the soap filled the room. He rated his Swiss for putting cinnamon upon his ruffles in place of attar of roses, and attempted to regale us the while with some of his choicest adventures. It was Fox who brought him up.

“See here, Baltimore,” he said, “I’m not squeamish. But I’m cursed if I like to hear a man who may die any time between bottles talk so.”

His Lordship took the rebuke with an oath, and presently hobbled down the stairs of the great and silent house.

 
 

The next morning I was still abed at an hour which the sobriety of old age makes me blush to think of. Banks had just left for my newspapers, when he came running back with the information that Miss Manners would see my honour that day. There was no note. Between us we made my toilet in a jiffy, and presently I was walking in at the Manners’s door, and scarcely waited for a direction.

As I ran up the stairs, I heard the tinkle of the spinet, and the notes of an old, familiar tune fell upon my ears. The words rose in my head with the cadence:

“Love me little, love me long,
Is the burthen of my song.”

That simple air, already mellowed by an hundred years, had always been her favourite. She used to sing it softly to herself as we roamed the woods and fields of the Eastern Shore. Instinctively I paused at the dressing-room door. Nay, my dears, you need not cry out, such was the custom of the times. A dainty bower it was, filled with the perfume of flowers, and rosy cupids disporting on the ceiling; and china and silver and gold filigree strewn about.

The sunlight fell like a halo round Dorothy’s head, her hands strayed over the keys, and her eyes were far away. I remember her dress, a silk with blue cornflowers on a light ground, and the flimsiest of lace caps resting on her hair. She looked up, and perceived me. “So it is you!” she said demurely; “you are come at last to give an account of yourself.”

She kept me standing an unconscionable time without a word, while she played over some of Dibdin’s ballads.

“Are you in a hurry, sir,” she asked at length, turning on me with a smile, “are you in a hurry to join my Lord March or his Grace of Grafton? And have you writ Captain Clapsaddle and your Whig friends at home of your new intimacies, of Mr. Fox and my Lord Sandwich?”

I was dumb.

“Yes, you must be wishing to get away,” she continued, picking up the newspaper. “But before you leave, Mr. Richard, I should like to talk over one or two little matters.”

“Dolly —!”

“Will you sit, sir?”

I sat down uneasily, expecting the worst.

“What an unspeakable place must you keep in Dover Street! I cannot send even a footman there but what he comes back reeling.”

I had to laugh at this. But there was no smile out of my lady.

“Upon my word, Richard, you are more of a simpleton than I thought you. Have you not seen your newspaper this morning?”

I explained how it was that I had not. She took up the Chronicle.

“‘This Mr. Carvel has made no inconsiderable noise since his arrival in town, and if he remains long enough in England, he bids fair to share the talk of Mayfair with a certain honourable young gentleman of Brooks’s and the Admiralty, whose debts and doings now furnish most of the gossip for the clubs and the card tables.’”

“What else have they said?” I demanded, ready to roll every printer in London in the kennel.

“Nay, you may read for yourself,” said she. And, flinging the paper in my lap, left the room.

They had not said much more, Heaven be praised. But I was angry and mortified, realizing for the first time what a botch I might be making of my stay in London. In great dejection, I was picking up my hat to leave the house, when Mrs. Manners came in upon me, and insisted that I should stay for dinner. She appeared to hesitate on the verge of a speech, and glanced once or twice at the doors.

“Richard, I suppose you are old enough to take care of yourself, tho’ you seem still a child to me. I pray you will be careful, my boy,” she said; “I — we are your old friends, and the only ones here to advise you.”

She stopped, seemingly, to weigh the wisdom of what to say next. I was not to know, for at that moment Dorothy came back to inquire why I was not gone to the cudgelling at the Three Hats. I said I had been invited to stay to dinner.

“Why, I have already writ a note asking Comyn,” said she. “Do you think this house will hold you both?”


 

CHAPTER XIX

HOLLAND HOUSE

ON the morrow, I was setting out to dine at Brooks’s, with Dolly’s reproofs still ringing in my ears, when I received the following on a torn slip of paper: “Dear Richard, we shall have a good show to-day you may care to see.” It was signed “Fox,” and dated at St. Stephen’s.

I made, therefore, for Westminster, where I found a flock of excited people in Parliament Street and in the Palace Yard; and on climbing the wide stone steps outside and a narrower flight within, beheld the representatives of the English people in a most prodigious and unseemly state of uproar.

What a place is old St. Stephen’s Chapel, over St. Mary’s in the Vaults, for the great Commons of England to gather! It is scarce larger or more imposing than our own assembly room in the Stadt House in Annapolis, measuring but ten yards by thirty, with a narrow gallery running along each side for visitors. In one of these, by the rail, I sat down suffocated, bewildered, and deafened. And my first impression was of the bewigged speaker enthroned under the royal arms, sore put to restore order. On the table in front of him lay the great mace of the Restoration. Three chandeliers threw down their light upon the mob of honourable members, and I wondered what had put them into this state of uproar.

Presently, with the help of a kind stranger on my right, who was occasionally making shorthand notes, I got a few bearings. That was the Treasury Bench, where Lord North sat. And there was the Government side. He pointed out Barrington and Weymouth and Jerry Dyson and Sandwich, and Rigby in the court suit of purple velvet with the sword thrust through the pocket. I took them all in, as some of the worst enemies my country had in Britain. Then my informant made bold to ask my persuasion. When I told him I was a Whig, and an American, he begged the favour of my hand.

“There, sir,” he cried excitedly, “that stout young gentleman with the black face and eyebrows, and the blacker heart, I may say, — the one dressed in the fantastical costume called by a French name, — is Mr. Charles Fox. He has been sent by the devil himself, I believe, to ruin this country. ’Ods, sir, that devil Lord Holland begot him. He is but one and twenty, but his detestable arts have saved North’s neck from Burke and Wedderburn on two occasions this year.”

“And what has happened to-day?” I asked.

The stranger smiled.

“Why, sir,” he said, raising his voice above the noise, “this afternoon his Grace of Manchester was talking in the Upper House about the Spanish troubles, when Lord Gower arose and desired that the place might be cleared of strangers, lest some Castilian spy might lurk under the gallery. That was directed against us of the press, sir, and their Lordships knew it. ’Ad’s heart, sir, there was a riot, the servants tumbling everybody out, and Mr. Burke and Mr. Dunning in the boot, who were gone there on the business of this house to present a bill. Those gentlemen are but just back, calling upon the commons to revenge them and vindicate their honour. And my Lord North looks troubled, as you will mark, for the matter is like to go hard against his Majesty’s friends. But hush, Mr. Burke is to speak.”

The house fell quiet to listen, and my friend began to ply his shorthand industriously. I leaned forward with a sharp curiosity to see this great friend of America. He was dressed in a well-worn suit of brown, and I recall a decided Irish face, and a more decided Irish accent, which presently I forgot under the spell of his eloquence. I have heard it said he had many defects of delivery. He had none that day, or else I was too little experienced to note them. Afire with indignation, he told how the deputy black rod had hustled him like a vagabond or a thief, and he called the House of Lords a bear garden. He was followed by Dunning, in a still more inflammatory mood, until it seemed as if all the King’s friends in the Lower House must desert their confederates in the Upper. No less important a retainer than Mr. Onslow moved a policy of retaliation, and those that were left began to act like the Egyptians when they felt the Red Sea under them. They nodded and whispered in their consternation.

It was then that Mr. Fox got calmly up before the pack of frightened mercenaries and argued (God save the mark!) for moderation. He had the ear of the house in a second, and he spoke — this youngster who had just reached his majority — with all the confidence he had used with me before his intimates. I gaped with astonishment and admiration. The Lords, said he, had plainly meant no insult to this honourable house, nor yet to the honourable members. They had aimed at the common enemies of man, the printers. And for this their heat was more than pardonable. My friend at my side stopped his writing to swear under his breath. “Look at ’em!” he cried; “they are turning already. He could argue Swedenborg into popery!”

The deserters were coming back to the ranks, indeed, and North and Dyson and Weymouth had ceased to look haggard, and were wreathed in smiles. In vain did Mr. Burke harangue them in polished phrase. It was a language North and Company did not understand, and cared not to learn. Their young champion spoke the more worldly and cynical tongue of White’s and Brooks’s, with its shorter sentences and absence of formality. And even as the devil can quote Scripture to his purpose, Mr. Fox quoted history and the classics, with plenty more that was not above the heads of the booted and spurred country squires. And thus, for the third time, he earned the gratitude of his gracious Majesty.

“Well, Richard,” said he, slipping his arm through mine as we came out into Parliament Street, “I promised you some sport. Have you enjoyed it?”

I was forced to admit that I had.

“Let us to the ‘Thatched House,’ and have supper privately,” he suggested. “I do not feel like a company to-night.” We walked on for some time in silence. Presently he said: “You must not leave us, Richard. You may go home to see your grandfather die, and when you come back I will see about getting you a little borough for what my father paid for mine. And you shall marry Dorothy, and perchance return in ten years as governor of a principality. That is, after we’ve ruined you at the club. How does that prospect sit?”

I wondered at the mood he was in, that made him choose a quiet dinner rather than the adulation and applause he was sure to receive at Brooks’s for the part he had played that night. After we had satisfied our hunger, — for neither of us had dined, — and poured out a bottle of claret, he looked up at me quizzically.

“I have not heard you congratulate me,” he said.

“Nor will you,” I replied, laughing.

“I like you the better for it, Richard. ’Twas a damned poor performance, and that’s truth.”

“I thought the performance remarkable,” I said honestly.

“Oh, but it was not,” he answered scornfully. “The moment that dun-coloured Irishman gets up, the whole government pack begins to whine and shiver. There are men I went to school with I fear more than Burke. But you don’t like to see the champion of America come off second best. Is that what you are thinking?”

“No. But I was wondering why you have devoted your talents to the devil.”

He glanced at me, and gave a half laugh.

“You are cursed frank,” he said; “damned frank.”

“But you invited it. Why do you waste your time and your breath in defending a crew of political brigands and placemen?”

“You seem to have picked up a trifle since you came into England,” he said. “A damned shrewd estimate, I’ll be sworn.”

He called for a reckoning; and taking my arm again, we walked out past the sleeping houses.

“Have you ever thought much of the men we have in the colonies?” I asked.

“No,” he replied; “Chatham stands for ’em, and I hate Chatham on my father’s account. That is reason enough for me.”

“You should come back to America with me,” I said. “And when you had rested awhile at Carvel Hall, I would ride with you through the length of the provinces from Massachusetts to North Carolina. You will see little besides hard-working, self-respecting Englishmen. They are men whose measure of resolution is not guessed at.”

He was silent again until we had got into Piccadilly and opposite his lodgings.

“Are they all like you?” he asked.

“Who?”

“The Americans.”

“The greater part feel as I do.”

“I suppose you are for bed,” he remarked abruptly.

I pointed at the glint of the sun on the windows.

“What do you say to a drive behind those chestnuts of mine, for a breath of air? I have just got my new cabriolet Selwyn ordered in Paris.”

And soon we were rattling over the stones in Piccadilly, wrapped in greatcoats, for the morning wind was cold. We saw the Earl of March and Ruglen getting out of a chair before his house, opposite the Green Park, and he stopped swearing at the chairmen to wave at us.

“Hello, March!” Mr. Fox said affably, “you’re drunk.”

His Lordship smiled, bowed graciously if unsteadily to me, and did not appear to resent the pleasantry.

“What a pair of cubs it is,” said he; “I wish to God I was young again. I hear you astonished the world again last night, Charles.”

We left him being assisted into his residence by a sleepy footman, paid our toll at Hyde Park Corner, and rolled onward toward Kensington. After the close night of St. Stephen’s, nature seemed doubly beautiful. The sun slanted over the water in the gardens in bars of green and gold, the bright new leaves were on the trees, and the morning dew had brought with it the smell of the living earth. We passed the stream of market wagons lumbering along, pulled by sturdy, patient farm-horses, driven by smocked countrymen, who touched their caps to the fine gentlemen of the court end of town; who shook their heads and exchanged deep tones over the whims of quality, unaccountable as the weather. But one big-cheated fellow arrested his salute, a scowl came over his face, and he shouted back to the wagoner whose horses were munching his hay: —

“Hi, Jeems, keep down yere hands. Mr. Fox is noo friend of we.”

This brought a hard smile on Mr. Fox’s face.

“I believe, Richard,” he said, “I have become more detested than any man in Parliament.”

“And justly,” I replied; “for you have fought all that is good in you.”

“I was mobbed once, in Parliament Street. I thought they would kill me. Have you ever been mobbed, Richard?”

“Never, thank Heaven.”

“I think I would rather be mobbed than indulge in any amusement I know of. Than confound Wedderburn, or drive a measure against Burke, — which is no bad sport, my word on’t. There is a keen pleasure in listening to Billingsgate and Spitalfields howl maledictions upon you. When the mud and sticks and oranges are coming through the windows of your coach, the dirty weavers clutching at your ruffles and shaking their filthy fists under your nose.”

“It is, at any rate, strictly an aristocratic pleasure,” I assented, laughing.

And so we came to Holland House. Its wide fields of sprouting corn, its woods and pastures and orchards in blossom, were smiling that morning, as though Leviathan, the town, were not rolling onward to swallow them. Capped towers and quaint facades and projecting windows were plain to be seen from where we halted in the shaded park, and to the south was that Kensington Road we had left, over which all the glory and royalty of England at one time or another had rolled. Under these majestic oaks and cedars Cromwell and Ireton had stood while the beaten Royalists lashed their horses on to Brentford. Nor did I forget that the renowned Addison had lived here after his unhappy marriage with Lady Warwick, and had often ridden hence to Button’s Coffee House in town, where my grandfather had had his dinner with Dean Swift.

We sat gazing at the building, which was bathed in the early sun, at the deer and sheep grazing in the park, at the changing colours of the young leaves as the breeze swayed them. The market wagons had almost ceased now, and there was little to break the stillness.

“You love this place,” I said.

He started, as though I had awakened him out of a sleep. And now he was no longer the Fox of the clubs, the cynical, the reckless; no longer the best-dressed man in St. James’s Street, or the aggressive youngster of St. Stephen’s.

“Love it!” he cried. “Ay, Richard, and few guess how well. You will not laugh when I tell you that my happiest days have been passed here, when I was but a chit, in the long room where Addison used to walk up and down composing his Spectators: or trotting after my father through these woods and gardens. A kinder parent does not breathe than he. Well I remember how he tossed me in his arms under that tree when I had thrashed another lad for speaking ill of him. He called me his knight. In all my life he has never broken faith with me. When they were blasting down a wall where those palings now stand, he promised me I should see it done, and had it rebuilt and blown down again because I had missed the sight. All he ever exacted of me was that I should treat him as an elder brother. He had his own notion of the world I was going into, and prepared me accordingly. He took me from Eton to Spa, where I learned gaming instead of Greek, and gave me so much a night to risk at play.”

I looked at him in astonishment. To say that I thought these relations strange would have been a waste of words.

“To be sure,” Charles continued, “I was bound to learn.” He flicked the glossy red backs of his horses with his whip. “You are thinking it an extraordinary education, I know,” he added rather sadly. “I have told you this — God knows why! Yes, because I like you damnably, and you would have heard worse elsewhere, both of him and of me. I fear you have listened to the world’s opinion of Lord Holland.”

Indeed, I had heard a deal of that nobleman’s peculations of the public funds. But in this he was no worse than the bulk of his colleagues. His desertion of William Pitt I found hard to forgive.

“The best father in the world, Richard!” cried Charles. “If his former friends could but look into his kind heart, and see him in his home, they would not have turned their backs upon him. I do not mean such scoundrels as Rigby. And now my father is in exile half the year in Nice, and the other half at King’s Gate. The King and Jack Bute used him for a tool, and then cast him out. You wonder why I am of the King’s party?” said he, with something sinister in his smile; “I will tell you. When I got my borough I cared not a fig for parties or principles. I had only the one definite ambition, to revenge Lord Holland. Nay,” he exclaimed, stalling my protest, “I was not too young to know rottenness as well as another. The times are rotten in England. You may have virtue in America, amongst a people which is fresh from a struggle with the earth. We have cursed little at home, in faith. The King, with his barley water and rising at six, and shivering in chapel, and his middle-class table, is rottener than the rest. The money he saves in his damned beggarly court goes to buy men’s souls. For my part I prefer a man who is drunk six days out of the seven to one who takes his pleasure so. And I am not so great a fool that I cannot distinguish justice from injustice. I know the wrongs of the colonies, despite Mr. Burke and his eloquence. And perhaps, Richard,” he concluded, with a last lingering look at the old pile as he turned his horses, “perhaps some day, I shall remember what you told us at Brooks’s.”

It was thus that Mr. Fox chose to take me into his confidence, and so did he reveal to me the impulses of his early life, hidden forever from his detractors. When Charles Fox began his career he was a thoughtless lad, but steadfast to such principles as he had formed for himself. They were not many, but, compared to those of the arena which he entered, they were noble. He strove to serve his friends, to lift the name of a father from whom he had received nothing but kindness. And when he saw at length the error of his ways, what a mighty blow did he strike for the right!

“Here is a man,” said Dr. Johnson, many years afterwards, “who has divided his kingdom with Caesar; so that it was a doubt whether the nation should be ruled by the sceptre of George the Third or the tongue of Fox.”


 

CHAPTER XX

THE WILDERNESS

THE next morning, the day was misting and dark, but I imagined the sun was out as I set out for Arlington Street.

“Mr. Manners waits on you, sir, in the drawing-room,” hailed the footman. “Your honour is here sooner than he looked for.”

“Sooner than looked for?”

“Yes, sir. James is gone to you but quarter of an hour since with a message, sir.”

I was puzzled.

“And Miss Manners? Is she well?”

The man smiled. “Very well, sir, thank your honour.”

To add to my surprise, Mr. Marmaduke was pacing the drawing-room in a yellow night-gown. He met me with an expression I failed to fathom, and then my eye was held by a letter in his hand. He cleared his throat.

“Good morning, Richard,” said he, very serious, — and pompous, I thought. “Walter, a decanter of wine for Mr. Carvel.” Then to me: “Will you sit? To speak truth, the Annapolis packet came in last night with news for you. Knowing that you have not had time to hear from Maryland, I sent for you.”

My brain was in such a state that for the moment I took no meaning from this introduction. Then: —

“Is Mr. Carvel dead? Tell me, is Mr. Carvel dead?”

He nodded, and turned away. “My dear old friend is no more. Your grandfather passed away on the seventh of last month.”

I sank into a chair and bowed my face, a flood of recollections overwhelming me.

Mr. Manners aroused me by a touch.

“There is more, Richard,” he was saying; “there is worse to come. Can you bear it?”

His words and look roused me from my sorrow. All my feeling against this little man broke forth, and I forgot that he was Dorothy’s father.

“Worse?” I shouted, while he gave back in his alarm. “Do you mean that Grafton has got possession of the estate? Is that what you mean, sir?”

“Yes,” he gasped, “yes. I pray you be calm.”

“And you call that worse than losing my dearest friend on earth? Then your standards and mine are different, Mr. Manners, and I thank God for it. You have played more than one double part with me. You looked me in the face and denied me, and left me to go to a prison. I shall not repeat my grandfather’s kindnesses to you, sir. Though you may not recall them, I do.”

“As God hears me, Richard —”

“Do not add perjury to it.”

I paused, struck speechless by an impulse that suddenly flashed into my head. A glance at the contemptible form cowering within the folds of the flowered gown clinched it. In two strides I had seized him by the skin over his ribs, and he shrieked with fright.

“Let me go! Let me go!” he wailed in the agony of my grip.

Scarce had his lips formed the words than I had flung him half across the room. He tripped on his gown, and fell sprawling on his hands.

Without bestowing upon him another look, I turned on my heel and left him. I had scarce set foot on the stairs, when I heard the rustle of a dress, and the low voice which I knew so well.

“Richard.”

There stood Dorothy, with sorrow and agitation in her eyes.

“Richard, are you going away without a word for me? Richard, I do not care whether you are poor. Oh, what am I saying?” she cried. “Am I false to my own father? Richard, what have you done?”

For a moment I looked into the depths of her blue eyes. Then she was gone, and I went down the stairs alone.

At the door of my lodgings I was confronted by Banks, red with indignation and fidgety from uneasiness.

“O Lord, Mr. Carvel, what has happened, sir?” he cried. “Your honour’s agent ’as been here since ten. Must I take orders from the likes o’ him, sir?”

Mr. Dix was indeed in possession of my rooms, lounging in the chair Dolly had chosen, smoking my tobacco. I stared at him from the threshold. Something in my appearance, or force of habit, or both brought him to his feet, and he put down the pipe guiltily. I told him shortly that I had heard the news which he must have got by the packet: and that he should have his money, tho’ it took the rest of my life. He hesitated, and drummed on the table. He was the man of business again.

“What security am I to have, Mr. Carvel?”

“My word,” I said; “it has never yet been broken. And hark ye, Mr. Dix, you shall not be able to say that of Grafton.” Truly I thought the principal and agent were now well matched.

“Very good, Mr. Carvel,” he said; “ten per cent. I shall call with the papers on Monday morning.”

“I shall not run away before that.”

He got out, without his customary protestations of duty and humble offers of service. And I thanked Heaven he had not made a scene. Perhaps he believed Grafton not yet secure in his title. I did not wonder then, in my innocence, that he should have accepted my honour as security. But since I have marvelled not a little at this. The fine gentlemen at Brooks’s with whom I had been associating were none too scrupulous, and regarded money-lenders as legitimate prey. Debts of honour they paid but tardily, if at all. Mr. Fox, of course, was notorious in such matters.

The faithful Banks vowed that he would never desert me. I had a great affection for the man, and had become so used to his ways and unwearying service that I had not the courage to refuse his prayers. I had not a farthing of my own — he would serve me for nothing — nay, work for me. “Sure,” he said, taking off my coat and bringing me my gown, — “sure, your honour was not made to work.” To cheer me he went on with some foolish footman’s gossip that there lacked not ladies with jointures who would marry me, and be thankful.

I smiled sadly.

“That was when I was Mr. Carvel’s heir, Banks.”

“But your face and figure, sir, and masterful ways! Faith, and what more would a lady want!” Banks’s notions of morality were vague enough, and he would have had me sink what I had left at hazard at Almack’s.

Alas! there was little chance of my ever regaining the position I had held but yesterday. I thought of the sponging-house, and my brow grew moist. England was no place, in those days, for fallen gentlemen. With us in the Colonies the law offered itself. Mr. Swain, and other barristers of Annapolis, came to my mind. I would try the law. Though I had small hopes of defeating my Uncle Grafton.

The next morning dawned brightly, and the church bells ringing brought me to my feet, and out into Piccadilly, in the forlorn hope that I might see my lady on her way to morning service. I waited for an hour, watching every face that passed, townsmen in their ill-fitting Sunday clothes, and fine ladies with the footmen carrying velvet prayer-books. And some that I knew only stared, and others gave me distant bows from their coach windows. For those that fall from fashion are dead to fashion.

Dorothy did not go to church that day.

But then, as I climbed back up to my rooms in Dover Street, I heard merry sounds above, and a cloud of smoke blew out of the door when I opened it.

“Here he is,” cried Mr. Fox. “You see, Richard, we have not deserted you when we can win no more of your money.”

“Why, egad! the man looks as if he had had a calamity,” said Mr. Fitzpatrick.

“He must have a place,” put in my Lord Comyn.

“We must do something for him,” said Fox, “albeit he is an American and a Whig, and all the rest of the execrations. Thou wilt have to swallow thy golden opinions, my buckskin, when we put thee in office.”

I was too overwhelmed even to protest.

“You are not in such a cursed bad way, when all is said, Richard,” said Fitzpatrick. “Charles, when he loses a fortune, immediately borrows another.”

“If you stick to whist and quinze,” said Charles, solemnly, giving me the advice they were forever thrusting upon him, and play with system, you may make as much as four thousand a year, sir.”

And this was how I was treated by those heathen and cynical macaronies, Mr. Fox’s friends. I may not say the same for the whole of Brooks’s Club, tho’ I never darkened its doors afterwards. But I encountered my Lord March that afternoon, and got only a blank stare in place of a bow.

Charles had collected (Heaven knows how!) a thousand pounds, and Mr. Fitzpatrick and Lord Comyn offered to lend me as much as I chose. I had some difficulty in refusing, and more still in denying Charles when he pressed me to go with them to Richmond, where he had rooms for play over Sunday.

“Fox will get you something,” Comyn said at length, when we were apart a little.

I told him that duty took me to America.


 

CHAPTER XXI

ANNAPOLIS ONCE MORE

THREE days after that I was at sea, in the Norfolk packet, with the farewells of my loyal English friends ringing in my ears. Captain Graham, the master of the packet, and his passengers found me but a poor companion, I fear.

Banks was with me. The devoted soul did his best to cheer me, tho’ downcast himself at leaving England. To know what to do with him gave me many an anxious moment. I doubted not that I could get him into a service, but when I spoke of such a thing he burst into tears, and demanded whether I meant to throw him off. Nor was any argument of mine of use.

After a fair and uneventful voyage of six weeks, I beheld again my native shores in the low spits of the Virginia capes. The sand was very hot and white, and the waters of the Chesapeake rolled like oil under the July sun. We were all day getting over to Yorktown, the ship’s destination. A schooner was sailing for Annapolis early the next morning, and I barely had time to get off my baggage and catch her. We went up the bay with a fresh wind astern, which died down at night; the heat was terrific after England and the sea-voyage, and we slept on the deck. And Banks sat, most of the day, exclaiming at the vast scale on which this new country was laid out, and wondering at the myriad islands we passed, some of them fair with grain and tobacco; and at the low-lying shores clothed with forests, and broken by the salt marshes, with now and then the manor-house of some gentleman-planter visible on either side. And late on the second day I beheld again the cliffs that mark the mouth of the Severn, and then the sail-dotted roads and the roofs of Annapolis.

We landed, Banks and I, in a pinnace from the schooner. The sun cast sharp, black shadows, and it being the middle of the dull season, when the quality were at their seats, and the dinner-hour besides, the town might have been a deserted one for its stillness, — as tho’ the inhabitants had walked out of it, and left it so. I made my way, Banks behind me, into Church Street, past the “Ship” tavern, which brought memories of the brawl there, and of Captain Clapsaddle forcing the mob. The bees were humming idly over the sweet-scented gardens, and Farris, the clock-maker, sat at his door. He jerked his head as I went by with a cry of “Mr. Richard!” and I must needs pause. Farther up the street I came to mine host of the Coffee House standing on his steps, with his hands behind his back.

“Mr. Claude,” I said.

He looked at me as tho’ I had risen from the dead.

“God save us!” he shouted, in a voice that echoed through the narrow street. “God save us!”

To my bated questions he replied at length, when he had got his breath, that Captain Clapsaddle had come to town but the day before, and was even then in the coffee-room at his dinner. Almost tottering, I mounted the steps, and turned in at the coffee-room door, and stopped. There sat the captain at a table, the roast and wine before him, his waistcoat thrown open. He was staring out of the open window into the inn garden beyond, with its shade of cherry trees. Mr. Claude’s cry had not disturbed his reveries, nor our talk after it. I went forward, touched him on the shoulder, and he sprang up uttering the very words Mr. Claude had used.

“God save us! Richard!” And he opened his arms and strained me to his chest. What he said when he released me, nor my replies, can I remember now, but at last he called, in his ringing voice, to mine host: —

“A bottle from your choicest bin, Claude! Some of Mr. Bordley’s. For he that was lost is found.”

The hundred questions I had longed to ask were forgotten. The wine was brought by Mr. Claude, and opened, and it was mine host who broke the silence, and the spell.

“Your very good health, Mr. Richard,” he said; “and may you come to your own again!”

“I drink it with all my heart, Richard,” replied Captain Daniel. But he glanced at me sadly, and his honest nature could put no hope into his tone. “I can give you but a sad welcome home, my lad. ’Tis not the first bad news I have had to break in my life to your family, but I pray it may be the last. Richard, your grandfather is dead.”

I nodded sadly.

“What!” he exclaimed; “you have heard already?”

“Mr. Manners told me, in London,” I said.

“London! London and Mr. Manners! Have you been to London?”

“You had my letters to Mr. Carvel!”

“Never a letter. We mourned you for dead, Richard. This is Grafton’s work!” he cried, springing to his feet and striking the table with his fist so that the dishes jumped. “Oh, we shall hang him some day.”

“Then Mr. Carvel died without knowing that I was safe?” I said, turning suddenly sick.

“On that I’ll lay all my worldly goods,” replied Captain Daniel. “If any letters came to Marlboro’ Street from you, Mr. Carvel never dropped eyes on ’em.”

“What a fool was I not to have written you!” I groaned.

He drew his chair around the table, and close to mine.

“Had the news that you escaped death been cried aloud in the streets, my lad, ’twould never have got to your grandfather’s ear,” he said, in lower tones. “Grafton came in from Kent and invested Marlboro’ Street. I could no more gain admittance to your grandfather, Richard, than to King George the Third. But we spared no pains to obtain a clew of you. I went north to Boston, and Lloyd’s factor south to Charleston. But no trace of the messenger who came to the Coffee House after you could we find. And mark this for villany: Grafton himself spent no less than five hundred pounds in advertising and the like.”

When I asked if there was a will the captain rapped out an oath.

“’Sdeath! yes,” he cried, “a will in favour of Grafton and his heirs, witnessed by the Rev. Allen, they say, and another scoundrel. Your name does not occur throughout the length and breadth of it. You were dead. And my dear old friend was sadly gone when he wrote it, I fear.”

 
 

The years of a man’s life that count the most are often those which may be passed quickest in the story of it. And so I may hurry over the years I spent as Mr. Swain’s factor at Gordon’s Pride, his country place on the eastern-shore, in Talbot. “It will be my ruin,” he had said, when he offered it to me. “A lawyer has no business with landed ambitions, Richard.”

Now that the barrister was become a man of weight, the house was as crowded as ever was Carvel Hall. Carrolls and Pacas and Dulanys and Johnsons, and Lloyds and Bordleys and Brices and Scotts and Jennings and Ridouts, and Colonel Sharpe, who remained in the province, and many more families of prominence which I have not space to mention, all came to Gordon’s Pride. Some of these, as their names proclaim, were of the King’s side; but the bulk of Mr. Swain’s company were stanch patriots, and toasted Miss Patty instead of his Majesty.

’Twas a merry place, the manor of Gordon’s Pride. A generous bowl of punch always stood in the cool hall, through which the south winds swept from off the water, and fruit and sangaree and lemonade were on the table there. The manor had no ball-room, but the negro fiddlers played in the big parlour. And the young folk danced till supper time. In three months Patty’s suppers grew famous in a colony where there was no lack of good cooks.

Yet the times were sober, and for those who could see, a black cloud was on each horizon. And as the years passed, the clouds fast gathering on both sides of the Atlantic grew blacker, and blacker still. I saw a great change in Annapolis. Men of affairs went about with grave faces, while gay and sober alike were touched by the spell. The Tory gentry, to be sure, rattled about in their gilded mahogany coaches, in spite of jeers and sour looks. My Aunt Caroline wore jewelled stomachers to the assemblies, — now become dry and shrivelled entertainments. She kept her hairdresser, had three men in livery to her chair, and a little negro in Turk’s costume to wait on her. And Grafton! He was a very busy man, was my uncle. He never did me the honour to glance at me. The Rev. Mr. Allen, too, came a-visiting from Frederick, where he had grown stout as an alderman upon a living and its perquisites and Grafton’s additional bounty. The gossips were busy with his doings, for he had his travelling-coach and servant now.

It was a time when the wise foresaw the inevitable, and the first sharp split occurred between men who had been brothers. The old order of things had plainly passed, and I was truly thankful that my grandfather had not lived to witness those scenes. The greater part of our gentry stood firm for America’s rights, and they had behind them the best lawyers in America. After the lawyers came the small planters and most of the mechanics. The shopkeepers formed the backbone of King George’s adherents; the Tory gentry, the clergy, and those holding office under the proprietor made the rest.

By the spring of 1775 in Annapolis fife and drum had taken the place of fiddle and clarion; militia companies were drilling in the empty streets; despatches were arriving daily from the North; and grave gentlemen were hurrying to meetings. But if the war was to come, I must settle what was to be done at Gordon’s Pride with all possible speed, and proceed to town to cast my lot with liberty.

 
 

’Twas was a Saturday that I rode to the Coffee House to put up my horse, and was stopped by Mr. Claude.

“Why, Mr. Carvel,” says he, “I thought you on the Eastern Shore. There is a gentleman within will be mightily tickled to see you, or else his protestations are lies, which they may very well be.”

This thing of being called for at the Coffee House stirred up unpleasant associations.

“What appearance does the man make?” I demanded.

“Merciful gad!” mine host exclaimed; “he quotes me Thomson, and he tells me of his estate in Virginia. Blest if I know what he is. He may be anything, an impostor or a high-mightiness. But comes asking for you as if you owned the town between you. And when I tell him the news of you, he is prodigiously affected. His name? Now, ’pon my faith, it was Jones — no more. But here’s my gentleman now!”

I jerked my head around, and coming down the steps was my old friend and benefactor, Captain John Paul!

464

“Ahoy, Richard!” cries he. “Now Heaven be praised, I have found you at last!”

Out of the saddle I leaped, and straight into his arms.

“Hold, hold, Richard!” he gasped. “My ribs, man! Leave me some breath that I may tell you how glad I am to see you.”

“Mr. Jones!” I said, holding him out, “now where the devil got you that?”

“Why, I am become a gentleman since I saw you,” he answered, smiling. “My poor brother left me his estate in Virginia. And a gentleman must have three names at the least.”

“But Jones!” I cried. “’Ad’s heart! could you go no higher? Has your imagination left you, captain?”

“Republican simplicity, sir,” says he, looking a trifle hurt. But I laughed the more.

“Well, you have contrived to mix oil and vinegar! A landed gentleman and republican simplicity. But come, you have not dined, and neither have I. We shall be merry to-day, and you shall have some of the best Madeira in the colonies.”

I commanded a room, that we might have privacy, and as he took his seat opposite me I marked that he had grown heavier and more browned. But his eye had the same unfathomable mystery in it as of yore. And first I upbraided him for not having writ me.

“I took you for one who glories in correspondence, captain,” said I; “and I did not think you could be so unfaithful. I directed twice to you in Mr. Orchardson’s care.”

“Orchardson died before I had made one voyage,” he replied, “and the Betsy changed owners. But I did not forget you, Richard, and was resolved but now not to leave Maryland until I had seen you. But I burn to hear of you,” he added. “I have had an inkling of your story from the landlord. So your grandfather is dead, and that blastie, your uncle, of whom you told me on the John, is in possession.”

He listened to my narrative keenly, but with many interruptions. And when I was done, he sighed.

“You are always finding friends, Richard,” said he; “no matter what your misfortunes, they are ever double discounted. As for me, I am like Fulmer in Mr. Cumberland’s ‘West Indian’: ‘I have beat through every quarter of the compass.’”

He fell into a short mood of dejection. And, indeed, I could not but reflect that the character fitted him like a jacket. To lift him, I said: —

“You were one of my first friends, Captain Paul” (I could not stomach the Jones); “but for you I should now be a West Indian, and a miserable one, the slave of some unmerciful hidalgo. Here’s that I may live to repay you!”

“And while we are upon toasts,” says he, bracing immediately, “I give you the immortal Miss Manners! Her beauty has dwelt unfaded in my memory since I last beheld her, aboard the Betsy.” Remarking my expression, he added with concern: “And she is not married?”

“Unless she is lately gone to Gretna, she is not.”

“Alack! I knew it,” he exclaimed. “And if there’s any prophecy in my bones, she’ll be Mrs. Carvel one of these days.”

“Well, captain,” I said, changing the subject, “the wheel has gone around since I saw you. Now it is you who are the gentleman, while I am a factor. Is it the bliss you pictured?”

“To speak truth, I am heartily tired of that life. There is little glory in raising nicotia, and sipping bumbo, and cursing negroes. Ho for the sea!” he cried. “The salt sea, and the British prizes. Mark me, Richard,” a restless gleam coming into his dark eyes, “stirring times are here, and a chance for all of us to make a name.”

“They are black times, I fear,” I answered.

“Black!” he said. “No, glorious is your word. And we are to have an upheaval to throw many of us to the top.”

“I would rather the quarrel were peacefully settled.”

He regarded me quizzically.

“You are grown an hundred years old since I pulled you out of the sea,” says he. “But we shall have to fight for our liberties. Here is a glass to the prospect!”

“And so you are a true American now?” I asked curiously.

“Ay, strake and keelson, — as good a one as though I had got my sap in the Maine forests. A plague on monarchs, I say! And I have here,” he continued, tapping his pocket, “some letters writ to the Virginia printers, signed Demosthenes, which Mr. Randolph and Mr. Henry have commended. To speak truth, Richard, I am off to Congress with a portmanteau full of recommendations. And I was resolved to stop here till I secured your company. We shall sweep the seas together, and so let George beware!”



A BRIEF NOTE BY DANIEL CLAPSADDLE CARVEL

MR. RICHARD CARVEL refers here to the narrative of his experiences in the War of the Revolution, which he had written in the year 1805 or 1806. The insertion of that account would swell this book out of all proportion. Hence I take it upon myself, with apologies, to compress it.

Captain Jones was not long in fixing the attention and earning the gratitude of the nation. In the summer of 1777 he was singled out for the highest gift in the power of the United States, nothing less than that of the magnificent frigate Indien, then building at Amsterdam. And he was ordered to France in command of the Ranger, a new ship then fitting at Portsmouth.

Bringing the official news of Burgoyne’s surrender, which was to cause King Louis to acknowledge the independence of the United States, the Ranger arrived at Nantes on December 2. The cruise of the Ranger in English waters the following spring was a striking fulfilment of the vision set forth by Captain Jones in the Annapolis Coffee House. His descent upon Whitehaven spread terror and consternation broadcast through England, and he was branded as a pirate and a traitor in London. But after the celebrated capture of the sloop-of-war Drake, John Paul Jones returned to France a hero.

Then followed a period of disappointment. The fine ship promised him was not forthcoming, and instead he got the Duras, which he renamed the Bon homme Richard in honour of Dr. Franklin. The Duras was an ancient Indiaman — perfectly rotten, and in the constructor’s opinion not worth refitting. Her lowest deck (too low for the purpose) was pierced aft with three ports on a side, and six worn-out eighteen-pounders mounted there. Some of them would burst in the action, killing their people. The main battery, on the deck above, was composed of twenty-eight twelve-pounders. On the uncovered deck eight nine-pounders were mounted. Captain Jones showed his desire to serve by taking such a ship, and not waiting for something better.

In the meantime the American frigate Alliance had brought Lafayette to France, and was added to the little squadron that was to sail with the Bon homme Richard. But one of the most fatal mistakes Congress ever made was to put Captain Pierre Landais in command of her, out of compliment to our French allies.

On August 14th John Paul Jones again set sail for English waters, with the following vessels: Alliance, thirty-six; Pallas, thirty; Cerf, eighteen; Vengeance, twelve; and two French privateers. But in a gale on the 26th the two privateers and the Cerf parted company, never to return; and Landais, in the Alliance, left the squadron on September 6th.

I was the third lieutenant of the Bon homme Richard, tho’ acting second. Her first lieutenant (afterwards Commodore Richard Dale) was a magnificent man, one worthy in every respect of the captain he served. By late September, we two and the sailing master, and a number of raw midshipmen, were the only line-officers left, and two French officers of marines. The rest had been lost in various ways. And the crew was as sorry a lot as ever trod a deck. Less than three score of the seamen were American born; near four score were British, inclusive of sixteen Irish; one hundred and thirty-seven were French soldiers, who acted as marines; and the rest of the three hundred odd souls to fight her were from all over the earth, — Malays and Maltese and Portuguese. In the hold were more than one hundred and fifty English prisoners.


 

CHAPTER XXII

HOW THE GARDENER’S SON FOUGHT THE “SERAPIS”

WHEN I came on deck in the morning our yards were a-drip with a clammy fog, and under it the sea was roughed by a southwest breeze. I remember reflecting as I paused in the gangway that it was the 23d, and that we were near two months out of Groix with this tub of an Indiaman. In all that time we had not so much as got a whiff of an English frigate, though we had almost put a belt around the British Isles. Then straining my eyes through the mist, I made out two white blurs of sails on our starboard beam. Honest Jack Pearce, one of the few good seamen we had aboard, was rubbing down one of the nines beside me.

“Why, Jack,” said I, “What have we there? Another prize?” For that question had become a joke on board the Bon homme Richard since the prisoners had reached an hundred and fifty, and half our crew was gone to man the ships.

“Bless your ’art, no, sir,” said he. “Tis that damned Frenchy Landais in th’ Alliance. She turns up with the Pallas at six bells o’ the middle watch.”

“So he’s back, is he?”

“Ay, he’s back,” he returned, with a grunt that was half a growl; “arter three weeks breakin’ o’ liberty. I tell ’ee what, sir, them Frenchies is treecherous devils, an’ not to be trusted the len’th of a lead line. They say as how Cap’n Jones be bound up in a hard knot by some articles of agreement, an’ daresn’t punish him. Be that so, Mr. Carvel?”

I said that it was.

“Oh, the devil take the Frenchies,” said Jack, rolling his quid to show his pleasure of the topic, “I’ve had my bellyful o’ Frenchies, Mr. Carvel, save it be to fight ’em. An’ I tell ’ee ’twould give me the greatest joy in life t’ leave loose Scolding Sairy at that there Landais. Th’ gal ain’t had a match on her this here cruise, an’ t’ my mind she couldn’t be christened better, sir.”

I left him patting the gun with a tender affection.

The scene on board was quiet and peaceful enough that morning. A knot of midshipmen on the forecastle were discussing Landais’s conduct, and cursing the concordat which prevented our commodore from bringing him up short. Mr. Stacey, the sailing-master, had the deck, and the coasting pilot was conning; now and anon the boatswain’s whistle piped for Garrett or Quito or Fogg to lay aft to the mast, where the first lieutenant stood talking to Colonel de Chamillard, of the French marines.

Then the fore-topmast crosstrees reports a sail on the weather quarter, the Richard is brought around on the wind, and away we go after a brigantine, “flying like a scow laden with English bricks,” as Midshipman Coram remarks. A chase is not such a novelty with us that we crane our necks to windward.

At noon, when I relieved Mr. Stacey of the deck, the sun had eaten up the fog, and the shores of England stood out boldly. Spurn Head was looming up across our bows, while that of Flamborough jutted into the sea behind us. I had the starboard watch piped to dinner, and reported twelve o’clock to the commodore. And I had just got permission to “make it,” according to a time-honoured custom at sea, when another “Sail, ho!” came down from aloft.

“Where away?” called back Mr. Linthwaite, who was midshipman of the forecastle.

“Starboard quarter, rounding Flamborough Head, sir. Looks like a full-rigged ship, sir.”

I sent the messenger into the great cabin to report. He was barely out of sight before a second cry came from the masthead: “Another sail rounding Flamborough, sir!”

The officers on deck hurried to the taffrail. I had my glass, but not a dot was visible above the sea-line. The messenger was scarcely back again when there came a third hail: “Two more rounding the head, sir! Four in all, sir!”

Here was excitement indeed. Without waiting for instructions, I gave the command: —

“Up royal yards! Royal yardmen in the tops!”

We were already swaying out of the chains, when Lieutenant Dale appeared and asked the coasting pilot what fleet it was. He answered that it was the Baltic fleet, under convoy of the Countess of Scarborough, twenty guns, and the Serapis, forty-four.

“Forty-four,” repeated Mr. Dale, smiling; “that means fifty, as English frigates are rated. We shall have our hands full this day, my lads. You have done well to get the royals on her, Mr. Carvel.”

While he was yet speaking, three more sail were reported from aloft. Then there was a hush on deck, and the commodore himself appeared. As he reached the poop we saluted him and informed him of what had happened.

“The Baltic fleet,” said he, promptly. “Call away the pilot-boat with Mr. Lunt to follow the brigantine, sir, and ease off before the wind. Signal ‘General Chase’ to the squadron, Mr. Mayrant.”

The men had jumped to the weather braces before I gave the command, and all the while more sail were counting from the crosstrees, until their number had reached forty-one. The news spread over the ship; the starboard watch trooped up with their dinners half eaten. Then a faint booming of guns drifted down upon our ears.

“They’ve got sight of us, sir,” shouted the lookout. “They be firing guns to windward, an’ letting fly their topgallant sheets.”

At that the commodore hurried forward, the men falling back to the bulwarks respectfully, and he mounted the fore-rigging as agile as any topman, followed by his aide with a glass. From the masthead he sung out to me to set our stu’nsails, and he remained aloft till near seven bells of the watch. At that hour the merchantmen had all scuttled to safety behind the head, and from the deck a great yellow King’s frigate could be plainly seen standing south to meet us, followed by her smaller consort. Presently she hove to, and through our glasses we discerned a small boat making for her side, and then a man clambering up her sea-ladder.

“That be the bailiff of Scarborough, sir,” said the coasting pilot, “come to tell her cap’n ’tis Paul Jones he has to fight.”

At that moment the commodore lay down from aloft, and our hearts beat high as he walked swiftly aft to the quarterdeck, where he paused for a word with Mr. Dale. Meanwhile Mr. Mayrant hove out the signal for the squadron to form line of battle.

“Recall the pilot-boat, Mr. Carvel,” said the commodore, quietly. “Then you may beat to quarters, and I will take the ship, sir.”

“Ay, ay, sir.” I raised my trumpet. “All hands clear ship for action!

It makes me sigh now to think of the cheer which burst from that tatterdemalion crew. Who were they to fight the bone and sinew of the King’s navy in a rotten ship of an age gone by? And who was he, that stood so straight upon the quarter-deck, to instil this scum with love and worship and fervour to blind them to such odds? But the bo’suns piped and sang out the command in fog-horn voices, the drums beat the long roll and the fifes whistled, and the decks became suddenly alive. Breechings were loosed and gun-tackles unlashed, rammer and sponge laid out, and pike and pistol and cutlass placed where they would be handy when the time came to rush the enemy’s decks. The powder-monkeys tumbled over each other in their hurry to provide cartridges, and grape and canister and double-headed shot were hoisted up from below. The trimmers rigged the splinter nettings, got out spare spars and blocks and ropes against those that were sure to be shot away, and rolled up casks of water to put out the fires. Tubs were filled with sand, for blood is slippery upon the boards. The French marines, their scarlet and white very natty in contrast to most of our ragged wharf-rats at the guns, were mustered on poop and forecastle, and some were sent aloft to the tops to assist the tars there to sweep the British decks with hand-grenade and musket. And, lastly, the surgeon and his mates went below to cockpit and steerage, to make ready for the grimmest work of all.

My own duties took me to the dark lower deck, a vile place indeed, and reeking with the smell of tar and stale victuals. There I had charge of the battery of old eighteens, while Mr. Dale commanded the twelves on the middle deck. We loaded our guns with two shots apiece, though I had my doubts about their standing such a charge, and then the men stripped until they stood naked to the waist, waiting for the fight to begin. For we could see nothing of what was going forward. I was pacing up and down, for it was a task to quiet the nerves in that dingy place with the gun-ports closed, when about three bells of the dog, Mr. Mease, the purser, appeared on the ladder.

“Lunt has not come back with the pilot-boat, Carvel,” said he. “I have volunteered for a battery, and am assigned to this. You are to report to the commodore.”

I thanked him, and climbed quickly to the quarterdeck. The Bon homme Richard was lumbering like a leaden ship before the wind, swaying ponderously, her topsails flapping and her heavy blocks whacking against the yards. And there was the commodore, erect, and with fire in his eye, giving sharp commands to the men at the wheel. I knew at once that no trifle had disturbed him. He wore a brand-new uniform; a blue coat with red lapels and yellow buttons, and slashed cuffs and stand-up collar, a red waistcoat with tawny lace, blue breeches, white silk stockings, and a cocked hat and a sword. Into his belt were stuck two brace of pistols.

It took some effort to realize, as I waited silently for his attention, that this was the man of whose innermost life I had had so intimate a view. Who had taken me to the humble cottage under Criffel, who had poured into my ear his ambitions and his wrongs when we had sat together in the dingy room of the Castle Yard sponging-house. Then some of those ludicrous scenes on the road to London came up to me, for which the sky-blue frock was responsible. And yet this commodore was not greatly removed from him I had first beheld on the brigantine John. His confidence in his future had not so much as wavered since that day. That future was now not so far distant as the horizon, and he was ready to meet it.

“You will take charge of the battery of nines on this deck, Mr. Carvel,” said he, at length.

“Very good, sir.” And I was making my way down the poop ladder, when I heard him calling me, in a low voice, by the old name: “Richard!”

I turned and followed him aft to the taffrail, where we were clear of the French soldiers. The sun was hanging red over the Yorkshire Wolds, the Head of Flamborough was in the blue shadow, and the clouds were like rose leaves in the sky. The enemy had tacked and was standing west, with ensign and jack and pennant flying, the level light washing his sails to the whiteness of paper. ’Twas then I first remarked that the Alliance had left her place in line and was sailing swiftly ahead toward the Serapis. The commodore seemed to read my exclamation.

“Landais means to ruin me by hook or crook,” said he.

“But he can’t intend to close with them,” I replied. “He has not the courage.”

“God knows what he intends,” said the commodore, bitterly. “It is no good, at all events.”

Some minutes passed that he did not speak, making shift to raise his glass now and again, and I knew that he was gripped by a strong emotion. ’Twas so he ever behaved when the stress was greatest. Presently he lays down the glass on the signal-chest, fumbles in his coat, and brings out the little gold brooch I had not set eyes on since Dolly and he and I had stood together on the Betsy’s deck.

“When you see her, Richard, tell her that I have kept it as sacred as her memory,” he said thickly. “She will recall what I spoke of you when she gave it me. God keep you, my friend. We must win, for we fight with a rope around our necks.”

I pressed his hand, and went back to my station, profoundly struck by the truth of what he had spoken. Though he fought under the flag of freedom, the curse of the expatriated was upon his head. Shortly afterward he appeared at the poop rail, straight and alert, his eye piercing each man as it fell on him. He was the commodore once more.

The twilight deepened, until you scarce could see your hands. There was no sound save the cracking of the cabins and the tumbling of the blocks, and from time to time a muttered command. An age went by before the trimmers were sent to the lee braces, and the Richard rounded lazily to. And suddenly a great frigate loomed out of the night beside us, half a pistol-shot away.

“What ship is that?” came the hail, out of the silence.

“I don’t hear you,” replied our commodore, for he had not yet got his distance.

Again the hail: “What ship is that?”

John Paul Jones leaned forward over the rail.

“Pass the word below to the first lieutenant to begin the action, sir.”

Hardly were the words out of my mouth before the deck gave a mighty leap, a hot wind that seemed half of flame blew across my face, and the roar started the pain throbbing in my ears. At the same instant the screech of shot sounded overhead, we heard the sharp crack-crack of wood rending and splitting, — as with a great broadaxe, — and a medley of blocks and ropes rattled to the deck with the thud of the falling bodies. Then, instead of stillness, moans and shrieks from above and below, oaths and prayers in English and French and Portuguese, and in the heathen gibberish of the East. As the men were sponging and ramming home in the first fury of hatred, the carpenter jumped out under the battle-lanthorn at the main hatch, crying in a wild voice that the old eighteens had burst, killing half their crews and blowing up the gun-deck above them. At this many of our men broke and ran for the hatches.

Back, back to your quarters! The first man, to desert will be shot down!

It was the same strange voice that had quelled the mutiny on the John, that had awed the men of Kirkcudbright. The tackles were seized and the guns run out once more, and fired, and served again in an agony of haste. In the darkness shot shrieked hither and thither about us like demons, striking everywhere, sometimes sending casks of salt water over the nettings. Incessantly the quartermaster walked to and fro’ scattering sand over the black pools that kept running, running together as the minutes were tolled out, and the red flashes from the guns revealed faces in hideous contortion. One little fellow, with whom I had had many a lively word at mess, had his arm taken off at the shoulder as he went skipping past me with the charge under his coat, and I have but to listen now to hear the patter of the blood on the boards as they carried him away to the cockpit below. Out of the main hatch, from that charnel house, rose one continuous cry. It was an odd trick of the mind or soul that put a hymn on my lips in that dreadful hour of carnage, when men were calling the name of their Maker in vain. But as I ran from crew to crew, I sang over and over again a long-forgotten Christmas carol, and with it came a fleeting memory of my mother on the stairs at Carvel Hall, and of the negroes gathered on the lawn without.

Suddenly, glancing up at the dim cloud of sails above, I saw that we were aback and making sternway. We might have tossed a biscuit aboard the big Serapis as she glided ahead of us. The broadsides thundered, and great ragged scantlings broke from our bulwarks and flew as high as the mizzen-top; and the shrieks and groans redoubled. Involuntarily my eyes sought the poop, and I gave a sigh of relief at the sight of the commanding figure in the midst of the whirling smoke. We shotted our guns with double-headed, manned our lee braces, and gathered headway.

Stand by to board!

The boatswains’ whistles trilled through the ship, pikes were seized, and pistol and cutlass buckled on. But even as we waited with set teeth, our bows ground into the enemy’s weather quarter-gallery. For the Richard’s rigging was much cutaway, and she was crank at best. So we backed and filled once more, passing the Englishman close aboard, himself being aback at the time. Several of his shot crushed through the bulwarks in front of me, shattering a nine-pounder and killing half of its crew. And it is only a miracle that I stand alive to be able to tell the tale. Then I caught a glimpse of the quartermaster whirling the spokes of our wheel, and over went our helm to lay us athwart the forefoot of the Serapis, where we might rake and rush her decks. Our old Indiaman answered but doggedly; and the huge bowsprit of the Serapis, towering over our heads, snapped off our spanker gaff and fouled our mizzen rigging.

“A hawser, Mr. Stacey, a hawser!” I heard the commodore shout, and saw the sailing-master slide down the ladder and grope among the dead and wounded and mass of broken spars and tackles, and finally pick up a smeared rope’s end, which I helped him drag to the poop. There we found the commodore himself taking skilful turns around the mizzen with the severed stays and shrouds dangling from the bowsprit, the French marines looking on.

“Don’t swear, Mr. Stacey,” said he, severely; “in another minute we may all be in eternity.”

I rushed back to my guns, for the wind was rapidly swinging the stern of the Serapis to our own bow, now bringing her starboard batteries into play. Barely had we time to light our matches and send our broadside into her at three fathoms before the huge vessels came crunching together, the disordered riggings locking, and both pointed northward to a leeward tide in a death embrace. The chance had not been given him to shift his crews or to fling open his starboard gun-ports.

Then ensued a moment’s breathless hush, even the cries of those in agony lulling. The pall of smoke rolled a little, and a silver moonlight filtered through, revealing the weltering bodies twisted upon the boards. A stern call came from beyond the bulwarks.

“Have you struck, sir?”

The answer sounded clear, and bred hero-worship in our souls.

Sir, I have not yet begun to fight.

Our men raised a hoarse yell, drowned all at once by the popping of musketry in the tops and the bursting of grenades here and there about the decks. A mighty muffled blast sent the Bon homme Richard rolling to larboard, and the smoke eddied from our hatches and lifted out of the space between the ships. The Englishman had blown off his gun-ports. And next some one shouted that our battery of twelves was fighting them muzzle to muzzle below, our rammers leaning into the Serapis to send their shot home. No chance then for the thoughts which had tortured us in moments of suspense. That was a fearful hour, when a shot had scarce to leap a cannon’s length to find its commission; when the belches of the English guns burned the hair of our faces; when Death was sovereign, merciful or cruel at his pleasure. The red flashes disclosed many an act of coolness and of heroism. I saw a French lad whip off his coat when a gunner called for a wad, and another, who had been a scavenger, snatch the rammer from Pearce’s hands when he staggered with a grape-shot through his chest. Poor Jack Pearce! He did not live to see the work Scolding Sairy was to do that night. I had but dragged him beyond reach of the recoil when he was gone.

Then a cry came floating down from aloft. Thrice did I hear it, like one waking out of a sleep, ere I grasped its import. “The Alliance! The Alliance!” But hardly had the name resounded with joy throughout the ship, when a hail of grape and canister tore through our sails from aft forward. “She rakes us! She rakes us!” And the French soldiers tumbled headlong down from the poop with a wail of “Les Anglais l’ont prise!” “Her Englishmen have taken her, and turned her guns against us!” Our captain was left standing alone beside the staff where the stars and stripes waved black in the moonlight.

“The Alliance is hauling off, sir!” called the midshipman of the mizzen-top. “She is making for the Pallas and the Countess of Scarborough.”

“Very good, sir,” was all the commodore said.

To us hearkening for his answer his voice betrayed no sign of dismay. Seven times, I say, was that battle lost, and seven times regained again. What was it kept the crews at their quarters and the officers at their posts through that hell of flame and shot, when a madman could scarce have hoped for victory? What but the knowledge that somewhere in the swirl above us was still that unswerving and indomitable man who swept all obstacles from before him, and into whose mind the thought of defeat could not enter. His spirit held us to our task, for flesh and blood might not have endured alone.

We had now but one of our starboard nine-pounders on its carriage, and word came from below that our battery of twelves was all but knocked to scrap iron, and their ports blown into one yawning gap. Indeed, we did not have to be told that sides and stanchions had been carried away, for the deck trembled and teetered under us as we dragged Scolding Sairy from her stand in the larboard waist, clearing a lane for her between the bodies. Our feet slipped and slipped as we hove, and burning bits of sails and splinters dropping from aloft fell unheeded on our heads and shoulders. With the energy of desperation I was bending to the pull, when the Malay in front of me sank dead across the tackle. But, ere I could touch him, he was lifted aside, and a familiar figure seized the rope where the dead man’s hands had warmed it. Truly, the commodore was everywhere that night.

“Down to the surgeon with you, Richard!” he cried. “I will look to the battery.”

Dazed, I put my hand to my hair to find it warm and wringing wet. When I had been hit, I knew not. But I shook my head, for the very notion of that cockpit turned my stomach. The blood was streaming from a gash in his own temple, to which he gave no heed, and stood encouraging that panting line until at last the gun was got across and hooked to the ring-bolts of its companion that lay shattered there. “Serve her with double-headed, my lads,” he shouted, “and every shot into the Englishman’s mainmast!”

“Ay, ay, sir,” came the answer from every man of that little remnant.

The Serapis, too, was now beginning to blaze aloft, and choking wood-smoke eddied out of the Richard’s hold and mingled with the powder fumes. Then the enemy’s fire abreast us seemed to lull, and Mr. Stacey mounted the bulwarks, and cried out: “You have cleared their decks, my hearties!” Aloft, a man was seen to clamber from our mainyard into the very top of the Englishman, where he threw a hand-grenade, as I thought, down her main hatch. An instant after an explosion came like a clap of thunder in our faces, and a great quadrant of light flashed as high as the Serapis’s trucks, and through a breach in her bulwarks I saw men running with only the collars of their shirts upon their naked bodies.

’Twas at this critical moment, when that fearful battle once more was won, another storm of grape brought the spars about our heads, and that name which we dreaded most was spread again. As we halted in consternation, a dozen round shot ripped through our unengaged side, and a babel of voices hailed the treacherous Landais with oaths and imprecations. We made out the Alliance with a full head of canvas, black and sharp, between us and the moon. Smoke hung above her rail. Getting over against the signal fires blazing on Flamborough Head, she wore ship and stood across our bows, the midshipman on the forecastle singing out to her, by the commodore’s orders, to lay the enemy by the board. There was no response.

“Do you hear us?” yelled Mr. Linthwaite.

“Ay, ay,” came the reply; and with it the smoke broke from her and the grape and canister swept our forecastle. Then the Alliance sailed away, leaving Mr. Caswell among the many Landais had murdered.

The ominous clank of the chain pumps beat a sort of prelude to what happened next. The gunner burst out of the hatch with blood running down his face, shouting that the Richard was sinking, and yelling for quarter as he made for the ensign-staff on the poop, for the flag was shot away. Him the commodore felled with a pistol-butt. At the gunner’s heels were the hundred and fifty prisoners we had taken, released by the master at arms. They swarmed out of the bowels of the ship like a horde of Tartars, unkempt and wild and desperate with fear, until I thought that the added weight on the scarce-supported deck would land us all in the bilges. Words fail me when I come to describe the frightful panic of these creatures, frenzied by the instinct of self-preservation. They surged hither and thither as angry seas driven into a pocket of a storm-swept coast. They trampled rough-shod over the moaning heaps of wounded and dying, and crowded the crews at the guns, who were powerless before their numbers. Some fought like maniacs, and others flung themselves into the sea.

Those of us who had clung to hope lost it then. Standing with my back to the mast, beating them off with a pike, visions of an English prison-ship, of an English gallows, came before me. I counted the seconds until the enemy’s seamen would be pouring through our ragged ports. The seventh and last time, and we were beaten, for we had not men enough left on our two decks to force them down again. Yes, — I shame to confess it, — the heart went clean out of me, and with that the pain pulsed and leaped in my head like a devil unbound. At a turn of the hand I should have sunk to the boards, had not a voice risen strong and clear above that turmoil, compelling every man to halt in his steps.

Cast off, cast off! The Serapis is sinking. To the pumps, ye fools, if you would save your lives!

That unerring genius of the gardener’s son had struck the only chord!

They were like sheep before us as we beat them back into the reeking hatches, and soon the pumps were heard bumping with a renewed and a desperate vigour. Then, all at once, the towering mainmast of the enemy cracked and tottered and swung this way and that on its loosened shrouds. The first intense silence of the battle followed, in the midst of which came a cry from our top: —

“Their captain is hauling down, sir!”

The sound which broke from our men could scarce be called a cheer. That which they felt as they sank exhausted on the blood of their comrades may not have been elation. My own feeling was of unmixed wonder as I gazed at a calm profile above me, sharp-cut against the moon.

I was moved as out of a revery by the sight of Dale swinging across to the Serapis by the main brace pennant. Calling on some of my boarders, I scaled our bulwarks and leaped fairly into the middle of the gangway of the Serapis.

Such is nearly all of my remembrance. I had caught the one glimpse of our first lieutenant in converse with their captain and another officer, when a naked seaman came charging at me. He had raised a pike above his shoulder ere I knew what he was about.


 

CHAPTER XXIII

IN WHICH I MAKE SOME DISCOVERIES

THE room had a prodigious sense of change about it. That came over me with something of a shock, since the moment before I had it settled that I was in Marlboro’ Street. The bare branches swaying in the wind outside should belong to the trees in Freshwater Lane. But beyond the branches were houses, the like of which I had no remembrance of in Annapolis.

Then there was the bed-canopy, the pleatings of which were gone. And the chimney-place! That was unaccountably smaller, and glowed with a sea-coal fire. And the mantel was now but a bit of a shelf, and held many things that seemed scarce at home on the rough and painted wood, — gold filigree, and China and Japan ware, and a French clock that ought not to have been just there.

The door creaked, and in my eagerness I tried to lift myself; and the face I saw was that of Dorothy’s mother! And why did it appear so old and sorrow-lined? And why was the hair now of a whiteness with the lace of the cap? She took my fingers in her own, and asked me anxiously if I felt any pain.

“Where am I, Mrs. Manners?”

“You are in London, Richard.”

“In Arlington Street?”

She shook her head sadly. “No, my dear, not in Arlington Street. But you are not to talk.”

“And Dorothy? May I not see Dorothy?

“My dear boy, you shall see her as soon as Dr. Barry will permit. Which will not be soon,” she added with a smile, “if you persist in this conduct.”

The threat had the desired effect. Mrs. Manners quietly left the room, and after a while as quietly came back again and sat down by the fire.

Fate, in some inexplicable way, had carried me into the enemy’s country and made me the guest of Mr. Marmaduke Manners. As I lay staring upward, odd little bits of the past came floating to the top of my mind, presently to be pieced together. Perhaps a crash had come, for Mr. Marmaduke had ever lived beyond his means. And so they were no longer in Mayfair, but must have taken a house in some poorer part of London. This thought cast me down tremendously.

And Dorothy! Had time changed her? ’Twas with that query on my mind that I fell asleep, to dream of the sun shining down on Carvel Hall.

When I awoke, a gentleman sat on the edge of my bed. He had a queer, short face, ruddy as the harvest moon, and he smiled good-humouredly when I opened my eyes.

“I bid you good morning, Mr. Carvel, for the first time since I have made your acquaintance,” said he. “And how do you feel, sir?”

“I have never felt better in my life,” I replied, which was the truth.

“Well, vastly well,” says he, laughing, “prodigious well for a young man who has as many holes in him as have you. Do you hear him, Mrs. Manners?”

At that last word, I popped up to look about the room, and the doctor caught hold of me with haste. A pain shot through my body.

“Avast, my hearty,” cries he. “’Tis a miracle you can speak, let alone carry your bed and walk for a while yet.” And he turned to Dorothy’s mother, whom I beheld smiling at me. “You will give him the physic, ma’am, at the hours I have chosen. Egad, I begin to think we shall come through. But pray remember, ma’am, if he talks, you are to put a wad in his mouth.”

“He shall have no opportunity to talk, Dr. Barry,” said Mrs. Manners.

“Save for a favour I have to ask you, doctor,” I cried.

“’Od’s bodkins! Already, sir? And what may that be?”

“That you will allow me to see Miss Manners.”

He shook with laughter, and winked at me.

“Oh! i’ faith, I should be worse than cruel and I did not. Had your eyes been opened, sir, you might have had many a glimpse of her these three weeks past.”

“What? And she —

“’Od’s, but those are secrets. And the medical profession is close-mouthed, Mr. Carvel. So you want to see her? And I let her come in, will you give me your honour as a gentleman not to speak more than two words to her?”

“I promise anything, and you will not deny me.”

He shook again, all over. “Well, she shall come in. But remember that I shall have my ear to the keyhole, and you go beyond your promise, out she’s whisked. So I caution you not to spend rashly those two words, sir.”

And he followed Mrs. Manners out of the room, frowning and shaking his fist at me in mock fierceness.

For a space — a prodigious long space — I lay very still, my eyes riveted on the crack of the door. Then I caught the sound of a light footstep, the knob turned, and —

“Dorothy! Dorothy!”

She put her finger to her lips.

“There, sir,” said she, “now you have spoken them both at once!”

She closed the door softly behind her, and stood looking down upon me, those lips which once had been the seat of pride now parted in a smile of infinite tenderness. But her head she still held high, and her body straight. Down the front of her dress fell a tucked apron of the whitest linen, and in her hand was a cup of steaming broth.

“You are to take this, Richard,” she commanded. And added, with a touch of her old mischief, “Mind, sir, if I hear a sound out of you, I am to disappear like the fairy godmother.”

I knew full well she meant it, and the terror of losing her kept me silent. She put down the cup, placed another pillow behind my head with a marvellous deftness, and then began feeding me in dainty spoonfuls something which was surely nectar.

Never before had I seen my lady in this gentle guise, this task of nursing the sick. Her face had changed some. Years of trial unknown to me had left a mark upon her features. And the levity of girlish years was gone. How I burned to question her! But her lips were now tight closed, her glance now and anon seeking mine, and then falling to the coverlet. Presently, after she had taken the cup and smoothed my pillow, I reached out for her hand; she did not resist, and even, as I thought, pressed my fingers with her own slender ones.

Picture my happiness, waking and sleeping, through the short winter days that came and went like flashes of gray light. Dorothy had looked the lady in rags, and housewife’s cap and apron became her as well as silks or brocades. I was near to forgetting the use of words, until at length, one rare morning, it was not my dear nurse who brought my broth, but Mrs. Manners herself. She smiled at my fallen face, and took a chair at my bedside.

“Now, my dear boy,” she said, “you may ask what questions you choose, and I will tell you very briefly how you have come here.”

“I have been thinking, Mrs. Manners,” I said, “that if it were known that you harboured one of John Paul Jones’s officers in London, very serious trouble might follow for you.”

I saw her brow cloud a little.

“No one knows of it, Richard, or is likely to. Dr. Barry, like so many in England, is a good Whig and friend to America. And you are in a part of London far removed from Mayfair.” She hesitated, and then continued in a voice that strove to be lighter. “This little house is in Charlotte Street, Mary-le-Bone, for the war has made us suffer some. And we are very comfortable here, and though I say it, happier than in Arlington Street. And the best of our friends are still faithful. Mr. Fox, with all his greatness, has never deserted us, nor my Lord Comyn. Indeed, we owe them much more than I can tell you of now. They are here every day to inquire for you, and it was his Lordship brought you out of Holland.”

“Out of Holland?” I cried.

“Yes. One morning there arrived a letter for Dorothy from the Texel. But I must say first that Mr. Dulany, who is in London, told us that you were with John Paul Jones. You can have no conception, Richard, of the fear and hatred that name has aroused in England. Insurance rates have gone up past belief, and the King’s ships are cruising in every direction after the traitor and pirate, as they call him. And Dorothy — well, here is the letter she received.”

She drew it from the pocket of her apron and began to read:

“THE TEXEL, October 3, 1779. 

“MY DEAR MISS DOROTHY: I would not be thought to flutter y’r Gentle Bosom with Needless Alarms, nor do I believe I have misjudged y’r Warm & Generous Nature when I write you that One who is held very High in y’r Esteem lies Exceeding Ill at this Place, who might by Tender Nursing regain his Health. I seize this Opportunity to say, my dear Lady, that I have ever held my too Brief Acquaintance with you in London as one of the Sacred Associations of my Life. From the Little I saw of you then I feel Sure that this Appeal will not pass in Vain. I remain y’r most Humble and Devoted Admirer,

“JAMES ORCHARDSON.” 

“And she knew it was from Commodore Jones?” I asked.

“My dear,” replied Mrs. Manners, with a quiet smile, “Dorothy knew. And she sent off to Brook Street for Lord Comyn, who came at once, and in half an hour the dear fellow was set out for Dover. He waited for nothing, since war with Holland was looked for at any day. Within the week he had brought you to us. Your skull had been trepanned, you had this great hole in your thigh, and your heart was beating but slowly. By Mr. Fox’s advice we sent for Dr. Barry, who is a skilled surgeon, and a discreet man despite his manner. And you have been here for better than three weeks, Richard, hanging between life and death.”

“And I owe my life to you and to Dorothy,” I said.

“To Lord Comyn and Dr. Barry, rather,” she replied. “We have done little but keep the life they saved.”

Something of the debt I owed them was forced upon me. They were poor, doubtless driven to make ends meet, and yet they had taken me in, and worn themselves out with nursing me. But Mrs. Manners was speaking to me again.

“Richard, I have more news for you which the doctor thinks you can bear to-day. It is my great happiness to be able to tell you, my dear boy, that you are now the master of Carvel Hall, and like to stay so.”

“But how —” I was too stunned to say more.

“After the Declaration, my dear, your Uncle Grafton took the oath of the Associated Freemen of Maryland. He became the best and most exemplary of patriots, even as he had been the best of Tories. But when the big British fleet sailed up the bay in ’77, your precious uncle made the first false step of his long career; he began to correspond with the British at Philadelphia, was found out, and had to escape to New York. And his lands were at once confiscated, Richard, and restored to you.”

 
 

’Twas about candlelight when I awoke, and Dorothy was sitting alone beside me. Her fingers were resting upon my arm, and she greeted me with a smile all tenderness.

“And does my Lord feel better after — after his excitement to-day?” she asked.

“Dorothy, I could walk to Windsor and back.”

“You must have your supper first, sir,” she answered gayly, “and do you rest quiet until I come back to feed you. Oh, Richard, how delightful it is that you should be dependent on me!”

As I lay listening for the rustle of her gown, the distant tones of a voice, deep and reverberating, smote upon my ear, jarring painfully some long-forgotten chord. That voice belonged to but one man alive, and yet I could not name him. Even as I strained, the tones drew nearer, and they were mixed with the sweeter ones I knew well, and Dorothy’s mother’s voice. Whilst I was still searching, the door opened, the voices fell calm, and Dorothy came in bearing a candle in each hand. As she set them down on the table, I saw agitation in her face, which she strove to hide as she addressed me.

“Will you see a visitor, Richard?”

“A visitor!” I repeated, with misgiving. ’Twas not so she had announced Comyn.

“Will you see Mr. Allen?”

“Mr. Allen, who was the rector of St. Anne’s? Mr. Allen in London, and here?”

“Yes.” Her breath seemed to catch at the word. “He says he must see you, and will not be denied. How he discovered you were with us I know not.”

“See him!” I cried. “And I had but half my strength I world fling him downstairs, and into the kennel. Will you tell him so for me, Dorothy?”

In a trice she was holding me, fearfully.

“Richard, Richard, I pray you be quiet. Your anger makes you forget many things. Remember that that he knows you are in London; he holds your liberty, perhaps your life, in his hands.”

It was true. And not mine alone, but the lives and liberty of others. She gave me the one lingering, anxious look, and opened the door.

Never had I beheld such a change in mortal man as there was in Mr. Allen, my old tutor, and rector of St. Anne’s. ’Twas as if the mask had been torn from his face, for he was now just a plain adventurer. He stepped forward with all of his old confidence, and did not regard a farthing my cold stare.

“’Tis like gone days to see you again, Richard,” he said. “And I perceive you have as ever fallen into the best of hands.”

“And to what, Mr. Allen,” I replied, “do I owe the pain of this visit?”

“The pain!” he exclaimed, and threw back his head and gave way to a fit of laughter. “By the mass! your politeness drowns me. But I like you, Richard. I believe your brutal straight-dealing has more to do with my predilection than aught else. For I have seen a deal of rogues in my day.”

“And they have seen a deal of you, Mr. Allen.”

“So they have,” he cried, and laughed the more. “Egad, Miss Dorothy, you have saved all of him, I think.” Then he swung round upon me, very careless. “Has your Uncle Grafton called to express his sympathies, Richard?”

That name brought a cry out of Dolly.

“Grafton Carvel in London?” I exclaimed.

“Ay, in very pretty lodgings in Jermyn Street, for he has put by enough, I’ll warrant you, despite the loss of his lands. Your aunt is with him, and his dutiful son, Philip. They arrived, before yesterday, from New York.”

“And to what is this an introduction?” I demanded.

“I merely thought it strange,” said Mr. Allen, imperturbably, “that he had not called to inquire after his nephew’s health.”

Dolly was staring at him, wide-eyed with fright.

“And pray, how did he discover I was in London, sir?” I said. “I was about to ask how you knew of it, but that is one and the same thing.”

He shot at me a look not to be solved.

“It is not well to bite the hand that lifts you out of the fire, Richard, — tho’ to speak truth, I looked for a worse reception. It was Mr. Dix who informed Mr. Carvel of your presence in London.”

“And how the devil did Mr. Dix know?”

He did not reply, but glanced apprehensively at Dorothy. And I have wondered since at his consideration.

“Miss Manners may not wish to hear,” he said uneasily.

“Miss Manners hears all that concerns me,” I said.

He shrugged his shoulders.

“It was Mr. Manners, then, who went to Mr. Dix, and told him under the pledge of secrecy.”

Not a sound came from Dorothy, nor did I dare to look at her face. But the thing was clear to me now. After seeing me arrive, Mr. Marmaduke had lost no time in seeking Mr. Dix, in order to raise money on my prospects. And the man of business had gone straight to Grafton with the intelligence. The suspicion flashed through me that Mr. Allen had been sent to spy, but his very next words disarmed it.

“And now, Richard,” he said, “before I say what I have come to say, and since you cannot now prosecute me, I mean to confess to you something which you probably know. I was in the plot to carry you off and deprive you of your fortune. I have been paid for it, though not very handsomely. And I swear to you that I was sorry for the venture almost before I had embarked, but dread of your uncle drove me on, and I had debts to frighten me.”

He paused. ’Twas with a strange medley of emotions I looked at him.

“Oh, I am speaking the truth,” he said bitterly. “It is the lot of my life that I must be false to some one always, and even now I am false to your uncle. Richard, I came here to-night to tell you that Grafton has an appointment at nine with his Majesty’s chief Secretary of State. I need not mention his motives, nor dwell upon your peril. For the King’s sentiments toward Paul Jones are well known. You must leave London without delay, and so must Mr. Manners and his family.”

Scarce had the rector ceased when Dorothy was standing before him.

“You have acted a noble part this day, Mr. Allen,” she said. “May God forgive you, and make you happier than you have been!”

He got to his feet, and with a single glance to give me confidence, she was gone. And for a minute there was silence between us.

“How may you be directed to?” I asked.

“Just ‘the world,’” he said; “for I am adrift again, and not very like to find a harbour, now. But a letter to the Mitre coffee-house will be delivered.”

“You shall receive it,” I answered.

 
 

When Dorothy returned to me, there was neither haste in her step nor excitement in her voice. Her very coolness inspired me.

“Do you feel strong enough for a journey, Richard?” she asked.

“To the world’s end, Dolly, if you will but go with me.”

She smiled faintly. “I have sent off for my Lord and Mr. Fox, and pray that one of them may be here presently.”

Scarcely greater were the visible signs of apprehension in Mrs. Manners. Her first care, and Dorothy’s, was to catechise me on my state. And whilst they were so occupied Mr. Marmaduke entered, wholly frenzied from fright, and utterly oblivious to his own role in the matter. He was sent out again directly. After that, they hurriedly packed what few things might be taken. The costly relics of Arlington Street were untouched, and the French clock was left on the mantel to tick all the night, and for days to come, in a silent and forsaken room; or perhaps to greet impassively the King’s officers when they broke in at the door.

Fifty and five minutes had been registered by the French clock, when the rattle of wheels and the clatter of hoofs sounded below, and Charles Fox panted up the stairs, muffled in a huge wrap-rascal. ’Twas he carried me down to the street, Dorothy walking at my side, and propped me up in the padded corner of one of the two vehicles in waiting. This was an ample travelling-carriage with a lamp hanging from its top, by the light of which my lady tucked me in from head to foot, and then took her place next me. The baggage was hoisted up behind, and Charles was about to slam the door, when a hackney-chaise turned the corner at a gallop and pulled up in the narrow street abreast, and the figure of my Lord Comyn suddenly leaped within the lanthorn’s rays. He was dressed as for a ball, with a thin rain-cloak over his shoulders, for the night was thick with mist. He threw at us a startled look that was a question.

“Jack, Richard is to be betrayed to-night by his uncle,” Charles said; “and I am taking them to Portsmouth to get them off for Lisbon.”

“Charles,” said his Lordship, sternly, “give me that greatcoat. Would do ruin your career, when I can go?

It was the one time that ever I saw uncertainty on Mr. Fox’s face.

“Give me the coat, I say.”

Mr. Fox wriggled out of it, and took the oiled cape in return. “Thank you, Jack,” he said simply, and turned toward the carriage. “Faith, I shall hold this loss against you, Richard. Good-by, my lad, and obey your rebel general. Alas! I must even ask your permission to salute her.”

And he kissed the unresisting Dorothy on both her cheeks. “God keep the two of you,” he said.

Before we could answer he was gone into the night; and my Lord, standing without, had closed the carriage door. And that was the last I saw of that noble man, the true friend of America, who devoted his talents and his life to fighting the corruption that was rotting the greatness of England.


 

CHAPTER XXIV

I COME TO MY OWN AGAIN

’TWAS a rough, wild journey we made to Portsmouth, and I think it must have killed me had not my lady been at my side. We were no sooner started than she pulled the curtains and opened her portmanteau, which I saw was near filled with things for my aid and comfort. And never, I believe, was medicine swallowed with a greater willingness. Talk was impossible, so I lay back in the corner and looked at her; and now and anon she would glance at my face, with a guess in her own as to how I might stand the night. We were still in London. That I knew by the trot of our horses, and by the granite we traversed from time to time. But at length we rumbled over a bridge, there was a sharp call lack from our post-boy to him of the chaise behind, and then began that rocking and pitching and swaying and creaking, which was to last the whole night long, save for the brief stops at the post-houses.

After an hour of it, I was holding my breath against the lurches, like a sea-sick man against that bottomless fall of the ship’s bows on the ocean. I had no pain, — only an overwhelming exhaustion. When we drew up to shift horses, Jack would come to the door to inquire if there was ought we wanted, and to know how I was bearing up. Toward morning a lethargy fell upon me; but once I awoke when the lamp had burned low, to perceive the curtains drawn back, a black blotch of trees without, and the moonlight streaming on my lady’s features.

When next consciousness came, the tarry, salt smell of a ship was in my nostrils, and I knew that we were embarked. I lay in a clean bunk in a fair-sized and sun-washed cabin, and heard the scraping of ropes and the tramp of feet on the deck above my head. Framed against the irregular glass of the cabin window, which was greened by the water beyond, Dorothy and my Lord stood talking in whispers.

I shall not dwell upon that painful farewell which wrung our hearts, and made us silent for a long, long while after the ship was tossing in the short seas of the Channel.

We reached Lisbon in safety, and after a week of lodgings in that city by the best of fortune got passage in a swift bark bound for Baltimore. For the Chesapeake commerce continued throughout the war. There were many excitements ere we sighted the sand-spits of Virginia, and off the Azores we were chased for a day and a night by a British sloop of war. Our captain, however, was a cool man and a seaman, and slipped through the cruisers lying in wait off the Capes very triumphantly.

It was a sparkling morning in February that we sighted the familiar toe of Kent Island, and the skipper put about and made for the mouth of our river. Then, as of old, the white cupola of Carvel House gleamed a signal of greeting, and the great windmill waved its welcome, — and the same memory filled both me and my lady as we gazed. Of a hale old gentleman in the sheets of a sailing pinnace, of a boy and a girl on his knees. Dorothy gently pressed my hand as the bark came into the wind, and the boat was dropped into the green water. Slowly they lowered me into it, for I was still helpless, Dorothy and her mother were got down, and finally Mr. Marmaduke stepped gingerly from the sea-ladder over the gunwale.

The cutter leaped under strong strokes up the river with the tide. And then, as we rounded the bend, we saw people gathered on the landing at the foot of the lawn: Scipio and Chess and young Harvey, and General Clapsaddle back from the war. And so I was come into my own again.