By Winston Churchill
Volume 1. I. Lionel Carvel, of Carvel Hall II. Some Memories of Childhood III. Caught by the Tide IV. Grafton would heal an Old Breach V. "If Ladies be but Young and Fair" VI. I first suffer for the Cause VII. Grafton has his Chance
Volume 2. VIII. Over the Wall IX. Under False Colours X. The Red in the Carvel Blood XI. A Festival and a Parting XII. News from a Far Country
Volume 3. XIII. Mr. Allen shows his Hand XIV. The Volte Coupe XV. Of which the Rector has the Worst XVI. In which Some Things are made Clear XVII. South River XVIII. The Black Moll
Volume 4. XIX. A Man of Destiny XX. A Sad Home-coming XXI. The Gardener's Cottage XXII. On the Road XXIII. London Town XXIV. Castle Yard XXV. The Rescue
Volume 5. XXVI. The Part Horatio played XXVII. In which I am sore tempted XXVIII. Arlington Street XXIX. I meet a very Great Young Man XXX. A Conspiracy XXXI. "Upstairs into the World" XXXII. Lady Tankerville's Drum-major XXXIII. Drury Lane
Volume 6. XXXIV. His Grace makes Advances XXXV. In which my Lord Baltimore appears XXXVI. A Glimpse of Mr. Garrick XXXVII. The Serpentine XXXVIII. In which I am roundly brought to task XXXIX. Holland House XL. Vauxhall XLI. The Wilderness
Volume 7. XLII. My Friends are proven XLIII. Annapolis once more XLIV. Noblesse Oblige XLV. The House of Memories XLVI. Gordon's Pride XLVII. Visitors XLVIII. Multum in Parvo XLIX. Liberty loses a Friend
Volume 8. L. Farewell to Gordon's LI. How an Idle Prophecy came to pass LII. How the Gardener's Son fought the Serapis LIII. In which I make Some Discoveries LIV. More Discoveries. LV. The Love of a Maid for a Man LVI. How Good came out of Evil LVII. I come to my Own again
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.
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, many 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 Manners'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.
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. Captain Stanwix being a prudent man, shortened sail, knowing the harbour of Funchal to be but a shallow bight in the rock, and worse than the open sea in a southeaster. The third day he hove the Sally to; 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. Night was coming on very fast, and the sea was yet running too high for a boat to live, but the gallant captain furled his topsails once more to await the morning. It could be seen from her signals that the ship was living throughout the night, but at dawn she foundered before the Sally's boats could be put in the water; one of them was ground to pieces on the falls. 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. The ship was 'La Favourite du Roy', bound for the French Indies.
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. Her clothes were of the finest quality, and her little handkerchief had worked into the corner of it a coronet, with the initials "E de T" beside it. Around her neck was that locket with the gold chain which I have so often shown you, on one side of which is the miniature of the young officer in his most Christian Majesty's uniform, and on the other a yellow-faded slip of paper with these words: "Elle est la mienne, quoiqu'elle ne porte pas mou nom." "She is mine, although she does not bear my name."
My grandfather wrote to the owners of 'La Favourite du Roy', and likewise directed his English agent to spare nothing in the search for some clew to the child's identity. All that he found was that the mother had been entered on the passenger-list as Madame la Farge, of Paris, and was bound for Martinico. Of the father there was no trace whatever. The name "la Farge" the agent, Mr. Dix, knew almost to a certainty was assumed, and the coronet on the handkerchief implied that the child was of noble parentage. The meaning conveyed by the paper in the locket, which was plainly a clipping from a letter, was such that Mr. Carvel never showed it to my mother, and would have destroyed it had he not felt that some day it might aid in solving the mystery. So he kept it in his strongbox, where he thought it safe from prying eyes. But my Uncle Grafton, ever a deceitful lad, at length discovered the key and read the paper, and afterwards used the knowledge he thus obtained as a reproach and a taunt against my mother. I cannot even now write his name without repulsion.
This new member of the household was renamed Elizabeth Carvel, though they called her Bess, and of a course she was greatly petted and spoiled, and ruled all those about her. 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 blushingly told him the news was a pleasure to see. And Grafton turned to revenge; he went to Mr. Carvel with the paper he had taken from the strong-box and claimed that my mother was of spurious birth and not fit to marry a Carvel. He afterwards spread the story secretly among the friends of the family. By good fortune little harm arose therefrom, since all who knew my mother loved her, and were willing to give her credit for the doubt; many, indeed, thought the story sprang from Grafton's jealousy and hatred. Then it was that Mr. Carvel gave to Grafton the estate in Kent County and bade him shift for himself, saying that he washed his hands of a son who had acted such a part.
But 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 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. How well I recall that sunny afternoon, when the shadows of the great oaks were just beginning to lengthen. 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 sundial 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.
"Lawd, Marse Dick," I can hear her say, "you an' Miss Dolly's been on yo' feet since de dawn. And so's I, honey."
And so we had. 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, and unlike Mr. Evans, my Uncle Grafton's overseer, 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 grinning at us children as we passed; and there was not one of them, nor of the white servants for that matter, 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 comes back to me now 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 sturdy 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. My first recollection of him is of contempt. 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 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. "Hand 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 yell 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.
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 1765, 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 a-plenty 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, "there are you wrong. 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 Bobbins, 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.
The captain was made to tarry and sup with his Excellency and my grandfather, and I sat perforce a fourth at the table, scarce daring to conjecture as to the outcome of my escapade. But as luck would have it, the Governor had been that day in such worry and perplexity, and my grandfather also, that my absence had passed unnoticed. Nor did my good friend the captain utter a word to them of what he knew. But afterwards he called me to him and set me upon his knee. How big, and kind, and strong he was, and how I loved his bluff soldier's face and blunt ways. And when at last he spoke, his words burnt deep in my memory, so that even now I can repeat them.
"Richard," he said, "I perceive you are like your father. I love your spirit greatly, but you have been overrash to-day. Remember this, lad, that you are a gentleman, the son of the bravest and truest gentleman I have ever known, save one; and he is destined to high things." I know now that he spoke of Colonel Washington. "And that your mother," here his voice trembled,—"your mother was a lady, every inch of her, and too good for this world. Remember, and seek no company, therefore, beyond that circle in which you were born. Fear not to be kind and generous, as I know you ever will be, but choose not intimates from the tavern." Here the captain cleared his throat, and seemed to seek for words. "I fear there are times coming, my lad," he went on presently, "when every man must choose his side, and stand arrayed in his own colours. It is not for me to shape your way of thinking. Decide in your own mind that which is right, and when you have so decided,"—he drew his sword, as was his habit when greatly moved, and placed his broad hand upon my head,—"know then that God is with you, and swerve not from thy course the width of this blade for any man."
We sat upon a little bench in the Governor's garden, in front of us the wide Severn merging into the bay, and glowing like molten gold in the setting sun. And I was thrilled with a strange reverence such as I have sometimes since felt in the presence of heroes.
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 those simple words Captain Clapsaddle had 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 a-fishing beyond the point, and as he waded ashore the burden on his shoulders had a much keener interest for me than that AEneas carried out of Troy.
My Uncle Grafton came to Dr. Hilliard's funeral, choosing this opportunity to become reconciled to my grandfather, who he feared had not much longer to live. Albeit Mr. Carvel was as stout and hale as ever. 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. And afterwards I made Scipio give me the coin, replacing it with another, and flung it as far into the river as ever I could throw.
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. "The dear old home?" she cries, though she had been in it but once before, 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. "'Tis cruel, as I once said to dear papa, that we cannot always live under the old rafters we loved so well as children." And the good lady brushes away a tear with her embroidered pocket-napkin. Tears that will come in spite of us all. 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." And she takes off her gloves and attacks the morning room, setting an ornament here and another there, and drawing back for the effect. "Such a bachelor's hall as you are keeping!"
"We still have Willis, Caroline," remonstrates my grandfather, gravely. "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, auguring no good from this visit, my aunt gives her the tips of her fingers. And I imagine I see a spark fly between them.
As for Grafton, he was more than willing to let bygones be bygones between his father and himself. Aunt Caroline said with feeling that Dr. Hilliard's death was a blessing, after all, since it brought a long-separated father and son together once more. Grafton had been misjudged and ill-used, and he called Heaven to witness that the quarrel had never been of his seeking,—a statement which Mr. Carvel was at no pains to prove perjury. How attentive was Mr. Grafton to his father's every want. He read his Gazette to him of a Thursday, though the old gentleman's eyes are as good as ever. If Mr. Carvel walks out of an evening, Grafton's arm is ever ready, and my uncle and his worthy lady are eager to take a hand at cards before supper. "Philip, my dear," says my aunt, "thy grandfather's slippers," or, "Philip, my love, thy grandfather's hat and cane." But it is plain that Master Philip has not been brought up to wait on his elders. He is curled with a novel in his grandfather's easy chair by the window. "There is Dio, mamma, who has naught to do but serve grandpapa," says he, and gives a pull at the cord over his head which rings the bell about the servants' ears in the hall below. And Dio, the whites of his eyes showing, comes running into the room.
"It is nothing, Diomedes," says Mr. Carvel. "Master Philip will fetch what I need.". Master Philip's papa and mamma stare at each other in a surprise mingled with no little alarm, Master Philip being to all appearances intent upon his book.
"Philip," says my grandfather, gently. I had more than once heard him speak thus, and well knew what was coming.
"Sir," replies my cousin, without looking up. "Follow me, sir," said Mr. Carvel, in a voice so different that Philip drops his book. They went up the stairs together, and what occurred there I leave to the imagination. But when next Philip was bidden to do an errand for Mr. Carvel my grandfather said quietly: "I prefer that Richard should go, Caroline." And though my aunt and uncle, much mortified, begged him to give Philip another chance, he would never permit it.
Nevertheless, a great effort was made to restore Philip to his grandfather's good graces. 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."
However unwilling Master Philip had been to disturb himself for errands, he 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.
"I will add a crown to your savings, Philip," says his father.
"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 was not over-pleased 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, as she rises to leave the room.
"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 Grafton had played me, I think. But for once I was equal to my uncle, and haply remembered a line Dr. Hilliard had expounded, which fitted the present case marvellously well. With little ceremony I tossed back the crown, and slowly repeated those words used to warn the Trojans against accepting the Grecian horse:
"Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes."
"Egad," cried Mr. Carvel, slapping his knee, "the lad bath beaten you on your own ground, Grafton." And he laughed as my grandfather only could laugh, until the dishes rattled on the table. But my uncle thought it no matter for jesting.
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, for Philip had the memory of a parrot, 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. Tradesmen!" exclaimed my grandfather. "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 spend-thrift 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 of malice and of hatred was conveyed in that look that with a sense of prophecy I shuddered to think that some day I should have to cope with such craft. For he detested me threefold, and combined the hate he bore my dead father and mother with the ill-will he bore me for standing in his way and Philip's with my grandfather's property. But so deftly could he hide his feelings that he was smiling again instantly. To see once, however, the white belly of the shark flash on the surface of the blue water is sufficient.
"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. Carvell soberly, "and I care not who hears it. Your own son will one day know you well enough, if he does not now. Do not imagine, because I am old, that I am grown so foolish as to believe that a black sheep can become white save by dye. And dye will never deceive such as me. And Philip," the shrewd old gentleman went on, turning to my cousin, "do not let thy father or any other make thee believe there cannot be two sides to every question. I recognize in your arguments that which smacks of his tongue, despite what he says of your reading the public prints and of forming your own opinions. And do not condemn the Whigs, many of whom are worthy men and true, because they quarrel with what they deem an unjust method of taxation."
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. Harvey's face would twitch, and his fingers clench of themselves as he touched his cap. 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! Foxes to hunt foxes!" And he gives vent to a dry laugh over his joke, in which I cannot but join. "Horsemen grows. Eh, Master Richard? There was Captain Jack, who jumped from the cradle into the saddle, and I never once seen a horse get the better o' him. And that's God's truth." And he smooths out Tanglefoot's mane, adding reflectively, "And you be just like him. But 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. He never dared go near 'em. 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, in Injy and Chiny, too. 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. Thy mother was a thoroughbred, Master Richard, and I'll tell 'ee another," he goes on with a chuckle, "Mistress Dorothy Manners is such another; you don't mistake 'em with their high heads and patreeshan ways, though her father be one of them accidents as will occur in every stock. She's one to tame, sir, and I don't envy no young gentleman the task. But this I knows," says Harvey, not heeding my red cheeks, "that Master Philip, with all his satin small-clothes, will never do it."
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. How fondly do we believe, with the ostrich, that our body is hidden when our head is tucked under our wing! 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. He was a broad and charitable-minded man enough, and unassuming, but gave way at last to the pressure brought upon him by his wife and daughter, and bought a mansion in Front Street. Terence Flaven never could be got to stay there save to sleep, and preferred to spend his time in his shop, which was grown greatly, chatting with his customers, and bowing the ladies to their chariots. I need hardly say that this worthy man was on far better terms than his family with those personages whose society they strove so hard to attain.
At the time of Miss Flaven's marriage to my uncle 'twas a piece of gossip in every month 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. Never doubt but that the rogue can feather his own nest far better than can I, as indeed he hath already done. 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! I would rather give it over to Mr. Carroll to found a nunnery."
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. 'Twas a pathetic letter in truth, and served its purpose well, though it was not as dust in the old gentleman's eyes. He called me into his bedroom and told me that my Uncle Grafton was coming at last. And seeing that I said nothing thereto, he gave me a queer look and bade me treat them as civilly as I knew how. "I well know thy temper, Richard," said he, "and I fear 'twill bring thee trouble enough in life. Try to control it, my lad; take an old man's advice and try to control it." He was in one of his gentler moods, and passed his arm about me, and together we stood looking silently through the square panes out into the rain, at the ducks paddling in the puddles until the darkness hid them.
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 ('twas bred into me, I suppose), 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 some act of violence; I know not what I should have done. And Willis found me in the deserted, study of the doctor, where my hot tears had stained the flowered paper on the wall. She did her best to calm me, good soul, though she had her own troubles with my Lady Caroline to think about at the time.
I had one experience with Master Philip before our visitors betook themselves back to Kent, which, unfortunate as it was, I cannot but relate here. 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. Being one day at my wits' end to amuse my cousin, I proposed to him a game of quoits on the green beside the spring-house, and thither we repaired, followed by Hugo, and young Harvey come to look on. Master Philip, not casting as well as he might, cries out suddenly to Hugo: "Begone, you black dog! What business have you here watching a game between gentlemen?"
"He is my servant, cousin," I said quietly, "and no dog, if you please. And he is under my orders, not yours."
But Philip, having scarcely scored a point, was in a rage. "And I'll not have him here," he shouted, giving poor Hugo a cuff which sent him stumbling over the stake. And turning to me; continued insolently: "Ever since we came here I have marked your manner toward us, as though my father had no right in my grandfather's house."
Then could I no longer contain myself. I heard young Harvey laugh, and remark: "'Tis all up with Master Philip now." But Philip, whatever else he may have been, was no coward, and had squared off to face me by the time I had run the distance between the stakes. He was heavier than I, though not so tall; and he parried my first blow and my second, and many more; having lively work of it, however, for I hit him as often as I was able. To speak truth, I had not looked for such resistance, and seeing that I could not knock him down, out of hand, I grew more cool and began to study what I was doing.
"Take off your macaroni coat," said I. "I have no wish to ruin your clothes."
But he only jeered in return: "Take off thy wool-sack." And Hugo, getting to his feet, cried out to me not to hurt Marse Philip, that he had meant no harm. But this only enraged Philip the more, and he swore a round oath at Hugo and another at me, and dealt a vicious blow at my stomach, whereat Harvey called out to him to fight fair. He was more skilful at the science of boxing than I, though I was the better fighter, having, I am sorry to say, fought but too often before. And presently, when I had closed one of his eyes, his skill went all to pieces, and he made a mad rush at me. As he went by I struck him so hard that he fell heavily and lay motionless.
Young Harvey ran into the spring-house and filled his hat as I bent over my cousin. I unbuttoned his waistcoat and felt his heart, and rejoiced to find it beating; we poured cold water over his face and wrists. By then, Hugo, who was badly frightened, had told the news in the house, and I saw my Aunt Caroline come running over the green as fast as her tight stays would permit, crying out that I had killed her boy, her dear Philip. And after her came my Uncle Grafton and my grandfather, with all the servants who had been in hearing. I was near to crying myself at the thought that I should grieve my grandfather. And my aunt, as she knelt over Philip, pushed me away, and bade me not touch him. But my cousin opened one of his eyes, and raised his hand to his head.
"Thank Heaven he is not killed!" exclaims Aunt Caroline, fervently.
"Thank God, indeed!" echoes my uncle, and gives me a look as much as to say that I am not to be thanked for it. "I have often warned you, sir," he says to Mr. Carvel, "that we do not inherit from stocks and stones. And so much has come of our charity."
I knew, lad that I was; that he spoke of my mother; and my blood boiled within me.
"Have a care, sir, with your veiled insults," I cried, "or I will serve you as I have served your son."
Grafton threw up his hands.
"What have we harboured, father?" says he. But Mr. Carvel seized him by the shoulder. "Peace, Grafton, before the servants," he said, "and cease thy crying, Caroline. The lad is not hurt." And being a tall man, six feet in his stockings, and strong despite his age, he raised Philip from the grass, and sternly bade him walk to the house, which he did, leaning on his mother's arm. "As for you, Richard," my grandfather went on, "you will go into my study."
Into his study I went, where presently he came also, and I told him the affair in as few words as I might. And he, knowing my hatred of falsehood, questioned me not at all, but paced to and fro, I following him with my eyes, and truly sorry that I had given him pain. And finally he dismissed me, bidding me make it up with my cousin, which I was nothing loth to do. What he said to Philip and his father I know not. That evening we shook hands, though Philip's face was much swollen, and my uncle smiled, and was even pleasanter than before, saying that boys would be boys. But I think my Aunt Caroline could never wholly hide the malice she bore me for what I had done that day.
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. And these he rehearsed in such merry spirit and new guise that we scarce recognized them, and Colonel Lloyd so choked with laughter that more than once he had to be hit between the shoulders.
"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, and a dread at my heart. 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, 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 '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. Harvey was right when he called her a thoroughbred. 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" to "de quality." 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 at "de quality's" appearance, 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," I flung back, hotly. "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 provokingly. "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, rather sadly than otherwise. For she had touched me upon a sore spot. "But if I cannot win a woman save by compliments," I added, flaring up, "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," answered she, "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 you would be better company," said Dorothy. "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."
I admitted it sadly. "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!"