Part 4 out of 6
which she gayly shook from her.
"Excuse me, while you make your toilet in this extensive
dressing-room, and I will look about. I will not go far, or be gone
long." Going still further up the stream, he found the end of the
ledge of rocks, with a steepish hill sloping down to the creek, down
which, under the snow, appeared to wind a road, which crossed the
creek when the water was low. He turned into this road, and went up
to the top of the hill, from which he could see an opening in the
otherwise unbroken woods, and a little farther on he was gladdened
with the sight of a smoke, rising like a cloud-column, above the
He hastened back to find Julia equipped, and busy placing new fuel to
the crackling fire. "There is a cabin not more than half a mile away,
and the snow is not more than two or three inches deep; we can easily
reach it," he said, brightly.
"Oh, Barton!" said the girl, with a deep rich voice, coming to
him, "how can we ever--how can my father and mother ever--how can I
repay"--and her voice broke and faltered with emotion, and tears fell
from her wondrous eyes.
"Perhaps," said Bart, off his guard, "perhaps you may be willing to
forget the past!"
"The past--forget the past?"
"Pardon me, it was unfortunate! Let us go."
"Not a word now," said Bart, gayly. "I am the doctor, you are terribly
shaken up, and not yourself. I shall not let you say a word of thanks.
Why, we are not out of the woods yet!"--this last laughingly. "When
you are all your old self, and in your pleasant home, everything of
this night and morning will come to you."
"What do you mean, Mr. Ridgeley?" a little coolly.
"Nothing," in a sad, low voice. They had gained the road. "See," said
he, "here is somebody's road, from some place to somewhere; we will
follow it up to the some place. There! I hear an axe. I hope he is
cutting wood; and there--you can see the smoke of his cabin.
'I knew by the smoke that so gracefully curled.'
Oh, I hope he will have a rousing fire."
Julia walked rapidly and silently by his side, hardly hearing his last
words; she was thinking why he would not permit her to thank him--and
that it would all be recalled in her home--finally, his meaning came
to her. He would seek and save her from death, and even from the
memory of an unconsidered word, which might possibly be misconstrued;
and she clung more closely to the arm which had borne her over the
"I am hurrying you, I fear."
"No, not a bit. Oh, now I can see the cabin; and there is the man,
right by the side of it."
"It must be Wilder's," said Bart. "He moved into the woods here
As they approached, the chopper stopped abruptly, and gazed on them
in blank wonder. The dishevelled girl, with hanging hair, and red
"wamus," and the wild, haggard-looking, coatless youth, with belt
and hatchet, were as strange apparitions, coming up out of the
interminable woods, as could well meet the gaze of a rustic
wood-chopper of an early morning.
"Can you give this young lady shelter and food?" asked Bart, gravely.
"I guess so," said the man; "been out all night?" and he hurried them
into a warm and cheerful room, bright with a blazing fire, where was a
comely, busy matron, who turned to them in speechless surprise.
"This is Judge Markham's daughter," said Bart, as Julia sank into a
chair, strongly inclined to break down completely; "she got lost, last
night, near her father's, and wandered all night alone, and I found
her just beyond the creek, not more than two hours ago. I must place
her in your hands, my good woman."
"Poor, precious thing!" cried the woman, kneeling and pulling off her
shoes, and placing her chilled feet to the fire. "What a blessed mercy
you did not perish, you darling."
"I should, if it had not been for him," now giving way. Mrs. Wilder
stepped a moment into the other of the two rooms, into which the
lower floor of the cabin was divided, and spoke to some one in it;
and giving Julia a bowl of hot milk and tea, led her to the inner
"Take care of him;" were her words, as she left, nodding her head
"How far is it to Markham's?" asked Bart.
"'Bout seven mile round, an' five 'cross."
"Have you a horse?"
"Saddle him, and go to Markham's at once. The father and mother of
this girl are frantic: a thousand men are hunting for her; you'll be
"I don't want no pay," said Wilder, hurrying out. Five minutes later,
sitting on his saddle, he received a slip of paper from Bart.
"Who shall I say?" said Wilder, not without curiosity on his own
"That will tell the Judge all he'll want to know. He will hear my name
as soon as he will care to."
Wilder dashed off down the forest-road by which Bart and Julia had
approached his house.
Bart went listlessly into the house. His energy and excitement had
suddenly died out, with the exigency which called them forth; his
mental glow and physical effort, both wonderful and long-continued to
an intense strain, left him, and in the reaction he almost collapsed.
Mrs. Wilder offered him one of her husband's coats. He was not cold.
She placed a smoking breakfast before him. He loathed its sight and
fragrance, and drank a little milk.
She knew he was a hero; so young and so handsome, yet a mere boy; his
sad, grave face had a wonderful beauty to her, and his manners were
so high, and like a gentleman born. She asked him some questions about
his finding Julia, and he answered dreamily, and in few words, and
seemed hardly to know what he said.
"Is Miss Markham asleep?--is she quiet?"
Mrs. Wilder stepped to the inner room. "She is," she answered;
"nothing seems to ail her but weariness and exhaustion. She will not
suffer from it."
"Is she alone?"
"She is in bed with my daughter Rose."
"May I just look at her one moment?"
One look from the door at the sweetly-sleeping face, and without a
word he hurried from the house. He had felt a great heart-throb when
he came upon her in the woods, and now, when all was over, and no
further call for action or invention was on him, the strong, wild rush
of the old love for a moment overwhelmed him. It would assert itself,
and was his momentary master. But presently he turned away, with an
unspoken and final adieu.
Two hours later the Judge, on his smoking steed, dashed up to the
cabin, followed by the Doctor and two or three others. As he touched
the ground, Julia, with a cry of joy, sprang into his arms.
She had murmured in her sleep, awoke, and would get up and dress.
She laughed, and said funny little things at her looks and dress, and
examined the "wamus" with great interest, with a blush put it on, and
tied it coquettishly about her waist, then seemed to think, and took
it off gravely. Next she ran eagerly out to the other room, and asked
for Bart, and looked grave, and wondered, when Mrs. Wilder told her he
had gone, and she wondered that Mrs. Wilder would let him go.
She kissed that good woman when she first got up, and was already in
love with sweet, shy, tall, comely Rose, who was seventeen, and had
made fast friends with Ann and George, the younger ones. Then she ran
out into the melting snow and bright soft air. How serene it all was,
and how tall and silent stood the trees, in the bright sun! How calm
and innocent it all was, and looked as if nothing dreadful had ever
happened in it, and a robin came and sang from an old tree, near by.
And she talked, and wondered about her mother and father, and,
by little bits, told much of what happened the night before; and
wondered--this time to herself--why Bart went off; and she looked sad
Mrs. Wilder looked at her, and listened to her, and in her woman's
heart she pondered of these two, and wished she had kept Bart; she was
sad and sorry for them, and most for him, for she saw his soul die in
his eyes as he turned from Julia's sleeping face.
Then came the tramp of horses, and Julia sprang out, and into her
One hour after came Julia's mother and Nell, in the light carriage;
and kisses, and tears, and little laughy sobs, and words that ran out
with little freshets of tears, and unanswered questions, and unasked
answers, broken and incoherent; yet all were happy, and all thankful
and grateful to their Father in Heaven; and blessings and thanks--many
of them unsaid--to the absent one.
And so the lost one was restored, and soon they started back.
AT JUDGE MARKHAM'S.
When Mrs. Markham at last realized that Julia was lost, she hastily
arrayed herself and went out with the others to search for her,
calmly, hopefully, and persistently. She went, and clambered, and
looked, and called, and when she could look and go no further, as
woman may, she waited, and watched, and prayed, and the night grew
cold, and the wind and snow came, and as trumpets were blown and guns
discharged, and fires lighted in the woods, and torches flashed and
lanterns gleamed through the trees, she still watched, and hoped, and
When at last the storm and exhaustion drove men in, she was very calm
and pale, said little, and went about with chilled tears in her eyes.
Judge Markham was a strong, brave, sagacious man, and struggled and
fought to the last, but finally in silence he rejoined his silent
wife. At about three in the morning, and while the storm was at its
height, she turned from the blank window where she stood, with a
softened look in her eyes, from which full tides were now for the
first time falling; and approaching her husband, who man-like, when
nothing more could be done by courage and strength, sat with his face
downward on his arms, resting on the table, and breathing great dry
gasps, and sobs of agony.
"Edward," said she, stooping over him, "it comes to me somehow that
Julia is safe; that she has somewhere found shelter, and we shall find
And now she murmured, and whispered, and talked, as the impression
seemed to deepen in her own heart, and she knelt, and once more a
fervent prayer of hope and faith went up. The man came and knelt by
her, and joined in her prayer, and grew calm.
"Julia," said he, "we have at least God, and with Him is all."
When the morning came, five hundred anxious and determined men,
oppressed with sad forebodings, had gathered from all that region for
Persistently they adhered to the idea that the missing girl was in the
A regular organized search by men and boys, in a continuous line,
was resolved upon. Marshals were appointed, signals agreed upon, and
appliances and restoratives provided; and the men were hastening
to their places. A little knot near the Judge's house were still
discussing the matter, as in doubt about the expediency of further
search in that locality.
George was in this group, and had, as directed, given Barton's
opinion. Judge Markham, who was giving some last directions joined
these men, and listened while Uncle Jonah, in a few words, explained
Bart's theory--that the girl would turn back from the chopping to the
old road, and if there confused, would be likely to go into the woods,
and directly away from her home.
"And where is Bart?" asked the Judge.
"He started at about nine last night, with two big bundles of
hickory," said George, "to look for her, and had not returned half an
"Where did he go?" asked the Judge eagerly.
"Into the woods."
"And has not returned?"
"Your girl is safe," said Uncle Jonah. "The boy has found her, I'll
bet my soul!"
While the Judge stood, struck and a little startled, by this
information, and Jonah's positive assurance, a man on a foaming steed
came plunging down the hill, just south of the house, and pulling up,
called out, "Where is Judge Markham?"
"I am he."
"Oh! Good-morning, Judge! This is for you. Your girl is safe."
The Judge eagerly took the paper, gazed at it, and at the man,
"She's at my house, Judge, safe and sound."
And then the group of men gave a shout; a cheer; and then another, and
another--and the men forming in the near-line heard it and took it up,
and repeated it, and it ran and rang miles away; and all knew that the
lost one was found, and safe.
No man who has not felt the lifting up of such an awful pressure, can
estimate the rush of escaped feeling and emotion that follows it; and
none who have not witnessed its sudden effect upon a crowd of eager,
joyous men, shouting, cheering, crying, weeping, scrambling and
laughing, can comprehend it, and none can describe it. All hurried
eagerly back to the Judge's, gathered about the happy, wondering
Wilder, and patted and caressed his smoking horse.
Mrs. Markham knew it, and with radiant face and eyes came out with her
grateful husband, when the bright sky again rang with the cheers of
the assembled multitude. After quiet came, the Judge read to them the
paper he had received from Wilder:
"Your daughter was found this morning, on the banks of the creek, a
mile from Wilder's, overcome and much exhausted. She rallied, got into
Wilder's, and appears strong and well. Wilder will take you to her."
"Whose name is to it, Judge?"
"There is none--who gave it to you?"
"The young man who found the young lady, and he didn't give his name,
said the Judge would hear it as soon as he would want to," was the
answer; "he didn't talk much."
"It was Barton Ridgeley," said Jonah. And the name of Barton went up
with new cheers, and louder than any.
Soon away went the Judge, on a splendid chestnut, with the Doctor, and
two or three others, on horseback, followed by Mrs. Markham and Nell
Roberts in a carriage. The sun mounted up, the snow melted away, and
so did the crowd. Some returned home, and many gathered in little
knots to talk up the exciting event. The absurdest speculations were
indulged in, as to how Bart found Julia, and what would come out
of it. There was an obvious element of romance in the affair that
appealed to the sensibilities of the rudest. And then, would Bart come
back with Julia?
As the day advanced, the neighboring women and children gathered
at Judge Markham's, all glad and happy, and a little teary over the
exciting incidents, and all impatient for the return of Julia.
At a little past two the party returned--the Judge, Mrs. Markham,
Julia, and Nell, in the carriage--Julia on the front seat with her
father, a little pale, but with sparkling eyes, radiant, and never so
lovely. As the carriage drove up, a noisy welcome saluted her. As she
arose to alight, and again as she was about to enter the house, her
mother observed her cast her eyes eagerly over the crowd, as if in
search of some face, and she knew by her look that she did not find
it. What a gathering about her, and kissing and clinging and crying of
women and girls! Then followed, "ohs!" and "ahs!" and "wonders!" and
"did you evers!" and "never in my born days!" "and did Barton really
find you?" and "where is he?" etc.
Every one noticed that he did not come with them, and wondered, and
demanded to know where he was, and doubted if he had had anything to
do with it, after all.
The Judge told them, that by some means not yet explained, Barton
had found her, overcome, chilled, exhausted and in a swoon, and had
carried and conducted her out to Wilder's; that when she was restored,
he sent Wilder off with the news, and then went home, and that the
Doctor and Roberts had gone around to his mother's to see him. Beyond
doubt he had saved his daughter's life. He spoke with an honest, manly
warmth, and the people were satisfied, and lingeringly and reluctantly
dispersed to talk and wonder over the affair, and especially the part
Barton had performed.
Toward sunset, Julia, in her luxurious chamber and night-robes, seemed
anxious and restless. Her mother was with her, and tried to soothe
her. Her father entered with a cheery face.
"Roberts has just returned," he said. "Barton got home in the morning,
very much exhausted, of course. He seems not to have told his mother
much, and went to his room, and had not been out. His mother would not
permit him to be disturbed, and said he would be out all right in the
"Did the Doctor see him?" asked Julia.
"I suppose not; I will go and bring him around in the morning myself,"
said the Judge.
"Thank you, Papa; I would so like to see him, and I want to know how
he found me," said Julia.
"I wonder he did not tell you," said the Judge.
"He hardly spoke," said Julia, "unless compelled to, and told me I was
too broken down to say anything. I tried to thank him, and he said I
was not myself, and stopped me."
Toward noon of the next day, the Judge drove up to his own gate,
alone, and not a little troubled. His wife and daughter were evidently
expecting him. They seemed disappointed.
"Wouldn't he come?" asked his wife.
"He was not there to come."
"Not there!" from both.
"No; he went off in the stage last night to Jefferson."
"Went off! Why, father!"
"Well, it seems that he had arranged to leave on Tuesday, and sent
his trunk out to Hiccox's, but didn't go; and all day Wednesday
he wandered about, his mother said, seeming reluctant to start. At
evening she said he appeared much depressed, and said he would not go
until the next evening."
"Thank God!" said the ladies.
"George," continued the Judge, "who had been down to the Post-office,
heard that you were lost, and hurried home, and told him all he
had heard. His mother said when he heard it he asked a good many
questions, and said, 'I know now why I stayed,' and that in five
minutes he was off to the woods."
"Father, there was a special Providence in it all."
"And did Providence send him off last night?"
"Did his mother tell how he came to think Julia had crossed the old
"He didn't tell his mother much about it. She said he was more
cheerful and lighter hearted than he had been for a year, but did not
seem inclined to talk much; ate a very little breakfast, and went to
bed, saying that he hoped she would not let anybody disturb him. He
did not come down again until five, and then told her he should leave
that evening. She tried to dissuade him, but he said he must go--that
he was not wanted here any more--that he felt it was better for him
to go at once. She said that she spoke to him of us, of Julia, saying
that she thought he ought to remain and let us see him, if we wished.
He answered that he had better go then, and that they would understand
it. He said they might perhaps call and say some things to her; if
they did, she should say to them that he could understand what their
feelings might be, and appreciated them; that it was not necessary to
say anything to him; that he wished all the past to be forgotten, and
that nothing might be said or done to recall it; he had left Newbury
forever as a home.
"I told her that I wanted to provide for his studies, and to start him
in business--of course in as delicate a way as possible. She rather
started up at that, and said she hoped I would never in any way make
any offer of help to him. I asked who went with him to meet the stage,
and his mother replied that he went alone--walked down just at dark,
and wouldn't permit either of the boys to go with him."
"Why Edward! how strange this is!"
"It isn't strange to me at all," remarked Julia, in a low, depressed
"Father, I've a little story to tell you. I should have told it last
night, and then you would have better understood some things that have
occurred. It was nothing that happened between us yesterday morning. I
have told you every word and thing of that."
Then she recited to the astonished Judge the incidents of her
adventure in the woods with Bart and the wolverine.
"And I," said the Judge, "have also a little incident to relate," and
he told of the occurrence on the river with which this tale began.
"Oh, father!" exclaimed Julia, "could you leave him, away there, weary
"I did not mean to do that; I stopped, and lingered and looked
back, and waited and thought he would ask or call to me," said the
humiliated Judge: "and now he has repaid me by saving your life."
"Father! father, dear!" going and laying her arm around his neck,
and her cheek against his, "You are my own dear papa, and could never
purposely harm a living thing. It was all to be, I suppose. Mamma, do
you remember the night of Snow's ball, when you playfully complained
of his inattention to you? and he said he would atone for all
'In that blissful never,
When the Sundays come together,
And the sun and glorious weather,
Wrapped the earth in spring forever?'
and he has."
"I remember, but I could not recall the words."
"I can repeat the very words of the beautiful prayer that he made in
the woods," said the young girl.
"And which I seemed to hear," said her mother.
"And that 'blissful never' came, mother, and all its good was for
"Not wholly, I trust. This young man's mind and nature are their own
law. His mother said he was lighter-hearted and more like himself than
for a long time. He has suffered much. He mourned more for his brother
than most could. He had lost his own self-respect somehow, and now he
has regained it, and will come to take right views of things, and a
blissful ever may come for him."
"And he wanted all the past forgotten," said the girl.
"Of all that happened between you before he has only remembered what
you said to him," said her mother. "And you possibly remember what he
said to you."
"I remember his generosity and bravery, mother," replied Julia.
The Judge remained thoughtful. Turning to his wife, "Would you have me
follow him to Jefferson?"
"No. He went away in part to avoid us; he will be sensitive, and I
would not go to him at present. Write to him; write what you really
feel, a warm and manly letter like your own true self. I am not
certain, though, how he will receive it."
A silence followed which was broken by Julia.
"Father, do you know this Mr. Wade with whom Barton has gone to
"Yes; I have met him several times and like him very much. He was our
senator, and made that awful speech against slavery last winter. He is
a frank, manly, straightforward man."
"How old is he?"
"Thirty-five, perhaps; why?"
"Nothing. Is he married?"
"He is an old bachelor; but I heard some one joking him about a young
lady, to whom it is said he is engaged. Why do you inquire about him?"
"Oh! I wanted to know something of the man with whom he is. I met Mr.
Ranney a year ago, you know."
That night the fair girl remained long in a serious and thoughtful
* * * * *
In the afternoon of the next day, the ladies drove to Mrs. Ridgeley's.
The elders embraced cordially. One was thinking of the boy who had
died, and of him who had gone so sadly away; the other of her agony at
a supposed loss, and her great joy at the recovery. Julia took one
of Mrs. Ridgeley's thin, toil-hardened hands in her two, rosy and
dimpled, and kissed it, and shed tears over it. Then they sat down,
and Mrs. Markham, in her woman's direct natural way, poured out the
gratitude they both felt; Julia, with simple frankness, told the
happenings of the night, and both were surprised to learn that Bart
had told her so little.
Mrs. Ridgeley described his going out, and coming back next morning,
and going again at evening. It was his way, his mother said. She was
proud of Barton, and wondered that this sweet girl should not love
him, and actually pitied her that she did not. She would not betray
his weakness; but when she came to speak of his final going, the
forlorn figure of the depressed boy walking out into the darkness,
alone, came before her, and she wept. Then Julia knelt by her, and
again taking her hand, said "Let me love you, while he is gone; I want
to care for all that are dear to him;" and the poor mother thought
that it was in part as a recompense for not loving Barton. There was
another thing that Julia came to say, and opening her satchel, she
pointed to something red and coarse, and putting her hand on it, she
said, "This was Bart's. He took it off himself, and put it on me; and
went cold and exposed. I did not think to restore it, and I want very
much to keep it--may I?" The poor mother raised her eyes to the
warm face of the girl, yet saw nothing. "Yes." And the pleased child
replaced it and closed her satchel.
Then Mrs. Markham said their friends and neighbors were coming in on
the Tuesday evening following, to congratulate them, and would Mrs.
Ridgeley let them send for her? The gathering would be informal and
neighborly. But Mrs. Ridgeley begged to be excused. Julia wanted to
see the boys, and they came in from the garden--Ed shy, quiet and
reserved; George, dashing, sparkling and bashful. Julia went up and
shook them by their brown hands, and acted as if she would kiss George
if he did look very much like Bart. She talked with them in her frank
girl's way, and took them captive, and then mother and daughter drove
* * * * *
The gathering at the Judge's was spontaneous almost, and cordial. The
whole family were popular individually, and the young girls especially
gathered about Julia, who was a real heroine and had been rescued by a
brave, handsome young man;--the affair was so romantic!
They wondered why Bart should go away; and wouldn't he be there that
night? They seemed to assume that everything would be a matter of
course, only he behaved very badly in going off when he must know he
was most wanted. Of course he would come back, and Julia would forgive
him; and something they hinted of this. Kate and Ann, and sweet Pearly
Burnett, who had just come home from school, and was entitled to
rank next after Julia, with Nell and Kate, were very gushing on the
Others took Bart to account. His sudden and mysterious flight was very
much against him, and his reputation was at a sudden ebb. Why did he
go? Then Greer's name was mentioned, and Brown, and New Orleans; and
it was talked over that night at Markham's with ominous mystery, and
one wouldn't wonder if Bart had not gone to Jefferson, at all--that
was a dodge; and another said that at Painesville he stopped and went
west to Cleveland; or to Fairport, and took a steamer; and Greer went
off about the same time.
Julia caught these whispers and pondered them, and the Judge looked
grave over them.
In the morning Julia asked him what it all meant. She remembered that
he had spoken of Bart in connection with Greer, when he came home from
the Cole trial, which made her uneasy; she now wanted to know what it
The Judge replied that there was a rumor that Bart was an associate
of Greer, and engaged with him. "In what?" He didn't know; he was
a supposed agent of Brown's, and a company. "What were they doing?"
Nobody knew; but it was grossly unlawful and immoral. "Did anybody
believe this of Bart?" He didn't know; things looked suspicious. "Do
you suspect Bart of anything wrong?" He did not; but people talked and
men must be prudent. "Be prudent, when his name is assailed, and he
absent, and no brother to defend him?" "Why did he go?" asked the
Judge, "and where did he go?"
"I don't suspect anything wrong of him, and yet the temptation to this
thing might be great."
Julia asked no more.
The next morning she said that she had long promised Sarah King to pay
her a visit, and she thought she would go for two or three days. Sarah
had just been to Pittsburg, and had seen Miss Walters, and she wanted
so much to hear from her. This announcement quite settled it. She
had recently taken the possession of herself, in a certain sweet
determined way, and was inclined to act on her own judgment, or
caprice. She would go down in the stage; she could go alone--and she
The morning after, the elegant and leisurely Mr. Greer, at the
Prentiss House, Ravenna, received a dainty little note, saying that
Miss Markham was at Mr. King's, and would be glad to see him at his
early leisure. He pulled his whiskers down, and his collar up,
and called. He found Miss Markham in the parlor, who received him
What commands had she for him?
"Mr. Greer, I want to ask you a question, if you will permit me."
Anything he would answer cheerfully.
"You know Barton Ridgeley?"
"Yes, without being much acquainted with him. I like him."
"Have you now, or have you ever had any business connection with him?"
"I have not, and I never had."
"Will you say this in writing?"
"Cheerfully, if you wish it."
Greer sat down to the desk in the library adjoining.
"Address my father, please."
He wrote and handed her the following:
"Hon. E. MARKHAM:
"_Dear Sir_,--I am asked if I have now, or have ever had any business
relations of any kind with Barton Ridgeley. I have not, and never had,
directly or indirectly, on my own, or on account of others.
"THOS. J. GREER.
"RAVENNA, April 1838."
"May I know why you wish this?" a little gravely; "you've heard
something said about something and somebody, by other somebodys or
"I have. Mr. Ridgeley is away. You have heard of our obligations to
him, and I have taken it upon myself to ask you."
"You are a noble girl, Miss Markham. A man might go through fire for
"And now I hope your little heart is at rest."
"It was quite at rest before. I am much obliged, Mr. Greer; and it may
not be in my power to make other returns."
"Good morning, Miss Markham."
"Good morning, Mr. Greer."
In the afternoon, as the Judge was in his office, a little springy
step came clipping in. "Good afternoon! Papa Judge," and two
wonderful arms went about his neck, and two lips to his own.
"Why Julia! you back! How is Sarah?"
"Your friend Miss Walters?"
"Oh, she is well. See here, Papa Judge," holding out the Greer note.
The Judge looked at and read it over in amazement.
"Where under the heavens did you get this?"
"Mr. Greer wrote it for me."
"Mr. Greer wrote it for you? I am amazed! no man could have dared to
ask him for it! What put this into your head?"
"You almost suspected Bart"--with decidedly damp eyes--"and others did
quite, and while in Ravenna I wrote a note to Mr. Greer, who called,
and I asked the direct question, and he answered. I asked him to write
it and he did, and paid me a handsome compliment besides. Papa Judge,
when you want a thing done send me."
"Well, my noble girl, you deserve a compliment. A girl that can do
that can, of course, have a man go through night and storm and flood
for her," said the Judge with enthusiasm.
"Mr. Greer said a man should go through fire," said Julia, as if a
"And so he may," said the Judge, improving.
"That is for you," said Julia, more gravely, and gave him the note.
Bart has come well nigh breaking down on my hands two or three times.
I find him unmanageable. He is pitched too high and tuned too nicely
for common life; and I am only too glad to get him off out of Newbury,
to care much how he went. To say, however, that he went off cheerful
and happy, would do the poor fellow injustice. He did his best to show
himself that it was all right. But something arose and whispered that
it was all wrong. Of course Julia and her love were not for him, and
yet in his heart a cry for her would make itself heard.
Didn't he go voluntarily, because he would? Who was to blame? Yet he
despised himself as a huge baby, because there was a half conscious
feeling of self-pity, a consciousness of injustice, of being beaten.
Then he was lame from, over-exertion, and his heart was sore, and he
had to leave his mother and Ed and George. Would it have been better
to remain a day or two and meet Julia? He felt that he would certainly
break down in her presence, and he had started, and shut her forever
out. If she did not stay shut out it would be her own fault. And that
He got into the stage, and had the front seat, with wide soft
cushions, to himself, and drawing his large camlet cloak about him, he
would rest and sleep.
Not a bit of it. On the back seat was an old lady and a young one
with her; and a man on the middle seat. At Parkers, where they changed
horses, they had heard all about it, and had it all delightfully
jumbled up. Barton Markham had rescued Miss Ridgeley from a gang of
wolves, which had driven her into the Chagrin River, which froze over,
etc., but it had all ended happily, and the wedding-day was fixed.
Miss Ridgeley was a lovely girl, but poor; and Bart was a hero, whom
the ladies would be glad to see.
The old lady asked Bart if he knew the parties.
"Yes." And he straightened out the tangle of names.
"Was Julia a beauty?"
Well, he didn't think much of Bart and didn't want to speak of him.
He thought the performance no great shakes, etc. The ladies were
"No matter, Julia would marry him?"
"She would never think of it."
At Hiccox's somebody recognized Bart and told the old lady who he was.
"Oh, dear!" He wished he had walked to Jefferson and had a good mind
to get out.
A few years ago, when Jefferson had become famous throughout the
United States as the residence of two men, a stranger, who met Senator
Wade, "old Ben," somewhere East, asked him what were the special
advantages of Jefferson. "Political," was the dry response.
Those privileges were not apparent to Bart, as he looked over the
little mud-beleaguered town of two or three hundred inhabitants, with
its two taverns, Court House, two or three churches, and half a dozen
stores and shops, and the high, narrow wooden sidewalks, mere foot
bridges, rising high above the quaggy, tenacious mud, that would
otherwise have forbidden all communication. The town was built on a
low level plain, every part of which, to Bart's eye, seemed a foot or
two lower and more depressed than every other.
In fact, his two days and two nights wallow in the mud, from Newbury
to Jefferson, had a rather depressing effect on a mind a little below
par when he started; and he was inclined to depressing views.
Bart was not one to be easily beaten, or stay beaten, unless when he
abandoned the field; and the battle at Jefferson was to be fought out.
Lord! how far away were Newbury and all the events of three days ago.
There was one that was not inclined to vacate, but Bart was resolute.
It was dark, and he would shut his eyes and push straight forward till
This, then, was the place where Henry had lived, and which he had
learned to like. He would like it too. He inquired the way, and soon
stood in front of a one-story wooden building, painted white, lettered
"Wade & Ranney, Attorneys at Law." The door was a little ajar and Bart
pushed it open and entered a largeish, dingy, soiled room, filled
with book-cases, tables and chairs, with a generally crumpled and
disarranged appearance; in the rear of which was its counterpart. A
slender, white-haired, very young looking man, and another of large
and heavy mould occupied the front room, while in the rear sat a
third, with his feet on the table. Bart looked around and bowing to
each: "I see Mr. Ranney is not in;" and with another glance around, "I
presume Mr. Wade is not?"
"No. Both would be in during the evening."
"I am Bart Ridgeley," he said. "You may remember my brother Henry?"
"How are you, Bart? We know you, but did not at first recognize you,"
said white-hair frankly. "My name is Case,--this is Ransom, and there
is Kennedy. We all knew your brother and liked him."
Bart shook hands with, and looked at, each. Case had small but marked
features--was too light, but his eyes redeemed his face; and his
features improved on acquaintance. Ransom was twenty-seven or
twenty-eight, of heavy build, dark, and with a quick, sharp eye, and
jerky positive way. Kennedy was sandy--hair, face, eyebrows and skin,
with good eyes.
"I think we shall like you, Bart," said Case, who had examined him.
"I hope you will; it must be very pleasant to be liked," said Bart
vivaciously. "I've never tried it much."
"There is one thing I observe," continued Case, "that won't suit
Ransom--that way of taking off your hat when you came in."
"Oh!" said Bart, laughing, "I'm imitative, with a tendency to improve;
and shall doubtless find good models."
"Don't mind Case," said Ransom; "he's of no account. Just come in?"
"How do you like our town?"
"Very well. There seems to be a little confusion of dry land and sea."
"You see, Mr. Ridgeley," said Case, "that the dry land and sea never
were separated here. The man that had the job failed, and nobody else
would ever undertake it. I think, Mr. Ridgeley," after a pause, "I
had better tell who and what we are, as we shall be together for some
time. This is Ransom--B. Ransom. His temperament is intellectual--I
may say, brainy. That B. stands for brains emphatically, being the
whole of them. He is rather a matter of fact than a conclusion of law,
and were you to apply a rule of law to him, although matter of fact,
he would be found to be immaterial, and might be wholly rejected as
surplusage. He's rather scriptural, also, and takes mostly to the
prophets, Jonadab, Meshac, and those revered worthies. He's highly
moral, and goes for light reading to the elder Scriptures, drawing
largely upon Tamar and Rachel and Leah, and the pure young daughters
of Lot. Ruth is too tame for him. He was the inventor of our 'moral
reform' sidewalks, on which, as you see, no young man can walk beside
a maiden. The effect on morals is salubrious."
"Case! Case!" protested Ransom.
"As for law, he goes into a law book as a mite goes through a cheese,
head on, and with about--"
"Case! Case! Case!" broke in Ransom again, "hold up your infernal
"I know the importance of first impressions," said Case, with gravity,
"and I want you should start favorably; and if you don't come up
to my eulogium, something will be pardoned to the partiality of
"Yes, yes! partiality of friendship!" said Ransom, excitedly; and
turning to Bart, "he is a Case, as you see; but if a man should go
into Court with such a Case, he would be non-suited; he isn't even
"Good!" exclaimed Kennedy.
"Ransom, you are inspired; flattery does you good."
"Go on!" said Case; "don't interrupt him, he'll never get such
"He's a poetic cuss," continued Ransom, "and writes verses for the
Painesville papers, and signs them "C.," though I've never been
able to see anything in them. He's strong on Byron, and though
he's--he's--" and he stopped in excessive excitement.
"There you're out, Ransom," said Case, "and that is by far the ablest
as well as the longest speech you ever made. If you had let me go on
and fully open out your excellencies, you might have completed the
last sentence. Now, Kennedy here--" resumed Case.
"Spare me!" said Kennedy, laughing; "give Ridgeley a chance to find
out my strong points, if you please."
"Now, Case," said Ransom, reflectively, "Case is not a bad fellow,
considering that he is good for nothing, and a smart fellow for one
who knows nothing, and you will like him. He's a little stiffish, and
devotes himself mostly to young ladies."
"Thank you," said Case.
Bart was amused at these free sketches, especially as none but good
feeling prevailed, and remarked, "that it was fortunate for him that
no acquaintance of his was present, who could do him justice."
He walked up to the large and well-filled book-cases, and mused about.
"My brother wrote and told me so much of all this that I thought I was
familiar with it," he said at last.
"He used to sit in that corner, by the table, with his back to the
window," said Kennedy, pointing to a place in the back room, which
Bart approached. "He was usually the first here in the morning and the
last to go at night, and then often took a book with him."
"We liked him very much," said Ransom, "and we forwarded to you a set
of resolutions on hearing of his death."
"I received them," replied Bart, "and if I did not acknowledge it, I
owe you an apology."
"You did, to Ranney," said Case.
The memory of his brother, who had read and worked, talked and
laughed, mused and hoped in that little nook, came up very fresh to
Case proposed that they take a stroll, or a "string" as he called it,
about the village, and as they walked in single file on the narrow
sidewalks, the idea of "string" seemed to be realized. They went
into the Court House and up into the court-room, and down into the
Recorder's office, filled with books, and introduced Bart to Ben
Graylord, the Recorder, who showed him a record-book written by his
brother, every page of which sparkled with the beauty of the writing.
Then they went to the clerk's office of Col. Hendry, with its stuffed
pigeon-holes, and books, and into the sheriff's office, and to divers
Jefferson was about eleven or twelve miles from the lake, south of
Ashtabula. It was selected as the county seat, and at once became the
residence of the county officers, and of many wealthy and influential
citizens, but never became a place of much business, while Ashtabula
and Conneaut were already busy towns. Each lay at the mouth of a
considerable creek, whose names they respectively bore, and which
formed harbors for the lake commerce, and were both visited daily
by the steamers that run up and down Lake Erie. These facts were
communicated to Bart, as they walked about, and the residences of Mr.
Giddings, Judge Warren, Colonel Hendry, Mr. St. John, and others, were
pointed out to him.
That evening, Case and Bart went in rather late to supper at the
Jefferson House, and Case pointed out B.P. Wade sitting at the head of
one of the tables. Bart studied him closely.
He was then about thirty-five or thirty-six years of age; of a fine,
athletic, compact and vigorous frame, straight, round, and of full
average height, with an upward cast of the head and face that made him
look taller than he was. He had a remarkably fine head and a striking
face--a high, narrow, retreating forehead, a little compressed at the
temples, aquiline nose, firm, goodish mouth, and prominent chin, with
a deep dark eye, and strongly marked brow, not handsome, but a strong,
firm, noticeable face, which, with his frank, manly, decided manner
and carriage, would at once arrest the eye of a stranger, as it did
that of Bart, who knew that he saw a remarkable man. The head was
turned, so that the light fell upon the face, giving it strong light
and shadow in the Rembrandt style; and Bart studied and contemplated
it at great advantage.
He tried to reproduce the recent scene in the Ohio Senate, in which
Wade performed so conspicuous a part. It was in the worst of the
bad days of Northern subserviency to slavery, which now seem
almost phantasmagorical; when, at the command of the Kentucky State
Commissioners, the grovelling majority of the Ohio Legislature
prostrated the State abjectly in the dust beneath its feet, it was
demanded that no man of African blood should be permitted to remain in
the State unless some responsible white man should become bail for his
good conduct, and that he should never become a public charge.
The bill was about to be put on its final passage in the Senate, by a
majority made up of men so revoltingly servile, that even such infamy
failed to preserve their names. "Tin Pan" had decreed that a vote
should be taken before adjournment for the night, and the debate ran
into the deep hours. Gregg Powers, a tall, dark-haired, black-eyed,
black-browed young senator, from Akron, had just pronounced a fervent,
indignant, sarcastic and bitter phillipic against it, when, after
midnight, Wade arose, with angry brow and flashing eye. Argument and
logic were out of place; appeals to honor could not be comprehended
by men shameless by nature, abject by instinct, and infamous by habit,
and who cared nothing for the fame of their common State. Wade,
at white heat, turned on them a mingled torrent of sarcasm, scorn,
contempt, irony, scoffing, and derision, hot, seething, hissing,
blistering, and consuming. He then turned to the haughty and insolent
Commissioners of slavery, who were present, that the abasement of
the State might lack no mark or brand, and with an air haughtier and
prouder than their own, defied them. He declared himself their mortal
foe, and cast the gauntlet contemptuously into their faces. He told
them they would meet him again in the coming bitter days, and with
prodigious force, predicted the extirpation of slavery. Nobody called
him to order; nobody interrupted him; and when he closed his awful
phillipic, nobody tried to reply. The vote was taken, and the bill
passed into a law. And as Bart called up the scene, and looked at the
man taking his tea, and conversing carelessly, he thought that a life
would be a cheap price for such an opportunity and effort.
Nature had been generous to Wade, and given him a fine, well-balanced,
strong, clear intellect, of a manly, direct, and bold cast, as well
of mind as temperament. He was not destitute of learning in his
profession, but rather despised culture, and had a certain indolence
of intellect, that arose in part from undervaluing books, and although
later a great reader, he was never a learned man. His manners were
rude though kind; he had wonderful personal popularity, and was the
freest possible from cant, pretence, or any sort of demagogueism.
He was as incapable of a mean thought as of uttering the slightest
approach to an untruth, or practising a possible insincerity. He was
a favorite with the young lawyers and students, who imitated his rude
manner and strong language; was a dangerous advocate, and had much
influence with courts. In all these early years he was known as Frank
Wade; "Ben" and "old Ben" came to him years after at Washington.
When he left the supper room Case found an opportunity to introduce
Bart to him. Wade received him very cordially, and spoke with great
kindness of his brother Henry, and remarked that Bart did not much
"So I am generally told," said Bart; "and I fear that I am less like
him in intellect than in person."
"You may possibly not lose by that. Most persons would think you
better looking, and you may have as good a mind--that we will find out
Bart felt that this was kind. Wade then remarked that they would find
time on Monday to overhaul his law. Later, Bart met Ranney, who, he
thought, received him coolly.
The next day the young men went to church. Nothing in the way of
heresy found foothold at Jefferson. It was wholly orthodox; although
it was suspected that Wade and Ranney had notions of their own in
religion; or rather the impression was that they had no religion of
any kind. Not to have the one and true, was to have none according to
the Jefferson platform.
Monday was an anxious day for Bart. He would now be put to a real
test. He knew he had studied hard, but he remembered the air with
which Henry and Ranney waived him off. Then he was so poor, and was
so anxious to get through, and be admitted in September, that he was
a little nervous when the lawyers found leisure in the afternoon to
"overhaul his law," as Wade had expressed it.
Ranney had no idea of letting him off on definitions and general
rules, and he plunged at once into special pleading, as presented by
Chitty, in his chapter on Replications. No severer test could have
been applied, and the young men thought it a little rough. Bart
answered the questions with some care, and gave the reason of the
rules clearly. Ranney then proposed a case of a certain special plea,
and asked Bart how he would reply. Bart enumerated all the various
replies that might be made, and the method of setting each forth.
Ranney then asked him to state an instance of new assignment, in
a replication; and when Bart had stated its purpose and given an
instance, he said he thought that a good pleader would always so state
his case in his declaration as to render a new assignment unnecessary,
perhaps impossible. He was then asked what defects in pleading would
be cured by a general verdict? and gave the rules quite luminously.
Ranney then asked him what books he had read; and Bart named several.
"What others?" and he named as many more. "Is that all?" laughing.
"Oh!" said Bart, "I remember what you and Henry said about my reading,
and really I have dipped into a good many besides."
"Well, Ranney," said Wade, "what can we do for this young man? I think
he will pass now, better than one in a hundred."
"I think so too; still, I think we can help him, or help him to help
himself." And he finally named a work on commercial law, a book on
medical jurisprudence, and a review of Kent. At leisure moments, he
would have him practise in drawing bills in Chancery, declarations,
Bart certainly might be pleased with this result, and it evidently
advanced him very much in the estimation of all who had listened to
his examination, although he felt that the work imposed upon him was
rather slender, and just what he should do with the spare time this
labor would leave him he would not then determine.
He liked his new position with these ambitious young men, engaged in
intellectual pursuits, with whom he was to associate and live, and
upon whom he felt that he had made a favorable impression. It did
not occur to him that there might be society, save with these and
his books; nor would it have occurred to him to enquire, or to seek
entrance into it, if it existed; with a sort of intellectual hunger
he rushed upon his books with a feeling that he had recently been
dissipated, and misapplied his time and energies.
Tuesday evening's mail brought him two letters, post-marked Newbury.
The sight of them came with a sort of a heart-blow. They were not
wholly expected, and he felt that there might still be a little
struggle for him, although he was certain that this must be the last.
The well-known hand of Judge Markham addressed one of them. The
writing of the other he did not recognize; only after he had lost
its envelope, he remembered that it very much resembled the hand that
wrote the Greer warning. He put the letters into an inside pocket, and
tried to go on with his book; like a very young man he fancied that he
was observed. So he took his hat and went to the room he occupied with
Case. He pulled open the unknown, knew the hand, ran down and turned
over to the second page, and found "Julia" at the bottom, and below,
the words "with the profoundest gratitude." It ran:
"NEWBURY, April 8, 1838.
"_Dear Sir_,--Is it characteristic of a brave and generous man to
confer the greatest obligations upon another, and not permit that
other the common privilege of expressing gratitude? Were I a man, I
would follow and weary you with a vain effort to utter the thanks I
owe you. But I can only say a few cold words on paper at the risk
of being misunderstood." ("Um-m, I don't see what danger she could
apprehend on that score," said Bart quite sharply.) "When I had
wandered beyond the help of my father and friends, into danger, and,
I think, to certain death, you were inspired with the heart, skill and
strength, to find and save me. Next to God, who led you, I owe my life
to you. When this is said, I cannot say more. I know of no earthly
good that you do not deserve; I can think of no gift of Heaven, that
I do not ask of It for you.
"You will not be offended that I should most anxiously insist that
some little benefit should in some way come to you, from my father;
and you will certainly, when you first return to Newbury, give me
an opportunity to say to you how much I owe you, and how heavy the
obligation rests upon me. You promised me this and will fulfil it. My
mother, who sees this note, wants you to realize her profound sense of
your service to us, enhanced if possible by the noble and manly way
in which you rendered it. She was always your discerning and
"Discriminating,"--Bart did not like that, but no matter. That was
"A very pretty letter, my lady Julia," said Bart with a long breath.
"Quite warm. I confess I don't care much for your gratitude--but very
pretty and condescending. And it is kind to advise me that whatever
may have been your estimate of me, your sweet lady mother 'discerned'
differently. What you mean by discriminating is a very pretty little
woman mystery, that I shall never know."
"And now for my Lord Judge:"
"NEWBURY, April 8, 1838.
"BARTON RIDGELEY, ESQ.:
"_My Dear Sir_,--I was disappointed at not finding you at Wilder's,
where your noble exertions had placed my daughter. I was more
disappointed on calling at your mother's the following morning,
hoping to carry you to my house. If anything in my conduct in the
past contributed to these disappointments, I regret it." ("Very manly,
Judge Markham," remarked Bart. "Don't feel uneasy, I should have acted
all the same.") "You saved to us, and to herself, our daughter, and
can better understand our feelings for this great benefit than I can
express them." ("All right Judge, I would not try it further, if I
were you.") "Whoever confers such a benefaction, also confers the
right upon the receiver, not only to express gratitude by words, but
by acts, which shall avail in some substantial way." ("Rather logical,
Judge!") "I shall insist that you permit me to place at your disposal
means to launch you in your profession in a way commensurate with your
talents and deservings." ("Um-m-m.") "I trust you will soon return to
Newbury, or permit me to see you in Jefferson, and when the past
may" ("I don't care about wading the Chagrin, Judge, and helping your
daughter out of the woods was no more than leading out any other
man's daughter, and I don't want to hear more of either. Just let me
alone.") "be atoned for. I need not say that my wife unites with me
in gratitude, and a hearty wish to be permitted to aid you; nor how
anxious we are to learn the details of your finding our daughter, all
of which is a profound mystery to us.
There was a postscript to the Judge's, instead of Julia's, and Bart
looked at it two or three times with indifference, and walked up
and down the room with a sore, angry feeling that he did not care to
understand the source of, nor yet to control. "Very pretty letters!
very well said! Why did they care to say anything to me? When I came
away they might have known--but then, who and what am I? Why the devil
shouldn't they snub me one day and pat me on the head the next? And
I ought to be glad to be kicked, and glad to be thanked for being
kicked--only I'm not---though I don't know why! Well, this is the last
of it; in my own good time--or somebody's time, good or bad--I will
walk in upon my Lord Judge, my discriminating Lady the Mother, and
the Lady Julia, and hear them say their pieces without danger of
misapprehension." And his eye fell again on the Judge's postscript.
"Before I called at your mother's on that morning, I set apart the
chestnut 'Silver-tail,' well caparisoned, as your property. I
thought it a fitting way in which one gentleman might indicate his
appreciation of another. I knew you would appreciate him; I hoped he
would be useful to you. He is your property, whether you will or no,
and will be held subject to your order, and the fact that he is yours
will not diminish the care he will receive. May I know your pleasure
in reference to him?
This found the weak place, or one of the weak places, in Bart's
nature. The harshness and bitterness of his feelings melted out of his
heart, and left him to answer his letters in a spirit quite changed
from that which had just possessed him.
To Julia he wrote:
"JEFFERSON, April 11, 1838.
"Miss JULIA MARKHAM:
"Yours has just reached me. I am so little used to expressions of
kindness that yours seem to mock me like irony. You did not choose to
become involved in discomfort and danger, nor were you left to elect
who should aid you, and I can endure the reflection that you might
prefer to thank some other.
"If your sense of obligation is unpleasant, there is one consideration
that may diminish it. A man of spirit, whose folly had placed him
in the position I occupied towards you, would have eagerly sought an
opportunity to render you any service, and would have done his poor
best in your behalf. When it was accomplished he would not have been
covetous of thanks, and might hope that it would be taken as some
recompense for the past, and only ask to forget and be forgotten. No
matter; so little that is pleasant has happened to me, that you surely
can permit me to enjoy the full luxury of having saved you without
having that diminished by the receipt of anything, in any form, from
anybody, by reason of it. It is in your power to explain one thing
to your father; by which he will see that I must be left to my own
exertions so far as he is concerned. I do believe that your gracious
mother was my one friend, who looked kindly upon my many faults, and
who will rejoice if I ever escape from them.
"When in Newbury hereafter I shall feel at liberty to call at your
"With the sincerest wishes for your welfare, I remain
"Your obedient servant,
To the Judge:
"Hon. EDWARD MARKHAM:
"_Dear Sir_,--I am in receipt of yours. It was, perhaps, necessary for
you to say some words to me. I may not judge of what would be fitting;
I feel that you have said more than was required. I had a boy's
sincere liking for you; but when I failed to secure the good-will
of anybody, it is certain that there were radical defects in my
character, and you but entertained the common feeling towards me.
It was an honest, hearty dislike, which I have accepted--as I accept
other things--without complaint or appeal. There is one near you who
can explain how impossible it is that I can become an object of your
interest or care. I am poor; let me remain so; I like it. Let me alone
to buffet and be buffetted. The atmosphere in which I live is cold and
thin, and exercise is needful for me. I have not deserved well of the
world, and the world has not been over kind to forget it. Leave me to
wage the war with it in my own way. It was God's pleasure to remove
from me those upon whom I had natural claims, and I do not murmur, nor
do I allude to it only as an indication that I am to go on alone.
"I am aware that I do not meet you in the spirit which prompts your
generous and manly kindness--no matter. Think that it proceeds from
something ignoble in my nature, and be glad that you may in no way be
involved in any failure that awaits me.
"I am sure Mrs. Markham has always been most kind to me, and if on the
miserable night when I left my own mother I could have stolen to her
somewhere, and have touched her robe with my lips, it would have been
most grateful to me. We shall meet probably again, and I am sure our
intercourse may be that at least of pleasant acquaintances.
"With the sincerest respect,
"P.S.--Your postscript takes me at disadvantage. What can I say? Its
kindness is most unkind. The horse is a mount fit for a Prince. I wish
he might be found useful to Miss Markham; if she will accept him, I
would be glad that he might be devoted to her service. More than this
I cannot say.
I am inclined to follow these letters back to Newbury. It took a round
week for a letter and its answer to pass between Newbury and Jefferson
both ways. Somehow, it so happened that Julia, on the third day after
mailing hers to Bart, was at the Post-office every day, on the arrival
of the Northern mail, with the air of an unconcerned young woman who
did not expect anything. On the seventh, two letters in a hand she
knew were handed her by the clerk, who looked at the time as if he
thought these were the letters, but said nothing.
On her way home she opened one of them and read it, and paused, and
read, and studied as if the hand was illegible, and looked grave and
hurt, and as if tears would start, and then calm and proud. "When she
got home she silently handed the other to her father, and her own to
her mother; then she went to her room. An hour later she came back,
took her letter, and going into her father's office, laid it open
before him, receiving his in return. This she read with a sad face;
once or twice a moisture came into her eyes in spite of her, and
then she sat and said nothing; and her mother came in and read her
husband's letter also.
"Mother," said Julia, "are all young men really like this proud,
haughty, sensitive fellow? and yet he is so unhappy! Was father at all
"I don't know. You must remember that few at his age have been placed
in such trying positions, and had he been less, or more, or different,
we might have been without cause for gratitude to him."
"Well, he graciously permits us to know that he may at least once
again approach 'Your father's house!'"
"Julia! Could he have done it before?"
"Could he not, mother, when he saved my life?"
"Julia, was this poor youth more than human?"
"Mother, I have sometimes felt that he was, and that somehow more was
to be required of him than of common men."
The Judge sat in silence, with an expression that indicated that his
reflections were not wholly cheerful. The frank words that this youth
had always liked him, and that the Judge had cause for dislike, so
generous, were like so many stabs.
"Papa Judge," said Julia, suddenly springing to her father's side,
"may I have him?"
"Have him! Who?"
"Why, Silver-tail, of course," laughing. "There is nobody else I can
have;" rather gravely.
"Will you accept him?"
"Of course I will, and ride him too. I've always coveted him. My old
'Twilight' has almost subsided into night, and is just fit for Nell
and Pearly. They may ride her; and when this prince wants his charger,
as he will, he must come to me for him--don't you see?"
An hour later a splendid dark chestnut, with silver mane and tail,
round-limbed, with a high dainty head, small ears, and big nostrils,
with a human eye, spirited and docile, was brought round, caparisoned
for a lady, and Julia stood by him with his bridle in her hand,
caressing and petting him, while waiting for something ere she
mounted. "Your name shall not be 'Silver-tail' any longer; you are
'Prince'"--whispering something in his ear. "Do you hear, Prince? You
shall be my good friend, and serve me until your own true lord and
master comes for you. Do you hope it will be soon?" Prince slightly
shook his head, as if the wish was not his, at any rate. "Well, soon
or late, you naughty Prince, he alone shall take you from my hand. Do
you hear?" and being mounted, she galloped away.
April brightened out into May, and over all the beautiful fields, and
woods, and hills of Newbury, came bright warm tints of the deepening
season; and under the urgency of Julia, her mother and herself made
their contemplated visit of thanks to the Wilders, who could at least
be benefitted by their kindness to Julia, bearing a good many nice new
things for Mrs. Wilder and Rose, and the two younger children. Julia,
in her warmth, found everything about the neat log house and its
surroundings quite attractive. The fields were new, but grass was
fresh about the house, and shrubs and plants had been put out.
She had taken a strong liking to Rose, a tall, sweet, shy girl of
seventeen, who had received her into her bed, and who now, in her
bashful way, was more glad to see her than she could express. The
house, in a lovely place, was sheltered by the near forest, and
everything about it was as unlike what Julia remembered as could well
be. It seemed to have changed its locality, and the one outside door
opened on the opposite side. She went all about and around it; and out
to the margin of the woods, gray and purple, and tenderest green, with
bursting buds and foliage.
Her mother found Mrs. Wilder a comely, intelligent woman, who was
immensely obliged by her visit, and thankful for her generous presents
of dresses for herself, and Rose, and the children.
After dinner, Julia went with Rose out by the road into the woods,
through which, a month ago, Bart had conducted her. She recognized
nothing in the surroundings. How bright and sweet, with sun and
flowers, the woods were, with great maple trees opening out their
swollen buds into little points of leaves, like baby-fists into chubby
fingers and thumbs. On they went down to the creek which flowed the
other way. Julia remembered that they came up it to find the road,
and they now turned down its bank. How sweet, and soft, and bright
it looked, flecked with sunbeams, and giving out little gurgles of
water-laughs, as if it recognized her--"Oh! it is you, is it, this
bright day? Where is the handsome youth you clung to, on a winter
morning, we know of? I know you!"--with its little ripples.
They soon came to where the rock cropped out from the sloping ground
and formed a ledge along the margin of the diminished stream, and soon
reached the little cove; there was the rude shelter which had covered
Julia, and under it the couch of shavings on which she had rested, a
little scattered and just as she had left it; and, near its foot, the
still fresh brands that almost seemed to smoke. How strong and real it
all came to the sensibilities of the girl! Nothing had been there but
the tender silent fingers of nature. Yes, as she sat down on her old
bed, and glanced up, she saw a bright-eyed Phoebe-bird who had built
just over her head, and now was on her nest, while her mate poured out
the cheery clang of his love song, on a limb near by. The little half
circle of ground, walled in by the high mossy rocks, opened southerly,
and received the full glow of the afternoon sun, while in front of
it ran the laughing, gleeful creek. It was very bright, but to Julia
very, very lonely. In a few words she pointed out to the sympathizing
Bose the few localities, and mentioned the incidents of that awful
morning, and then she turned very gravely and thoughtfully back.
Rose very, very much wanted to ask about Barton; her woman's instincts
told her that here was a something sweet and yet mysterious, that made
everything so dear to this beautiful and now pensive girl by her side.
His name had not been mentioned, and Julia had only referred to him,
as "he did this;" "he sat by that tree." At last Rose ventured: "Where
is he--this Mr. Ridgeley? Mother said he went away."
"Yes; I never saw him after you took me into your bed, Rose," said
"He saw you after that, Miss Markham."
"What do you mean, Rose?"
"I am sure you would like to know," said Rose. "I know I would. Mother
said that after father had gone, and after we were asleep, he asked
her if he might just look upon you for a moment; and she opened the
door, and he stood in it, looked towards you for a second, and
then turned and went out without a single word, seeming very much
agitated." Rose's voice was a little agitated too. Though she felt the
arm that was twined tenderly about her waist, she did not dare to look
in the face so near her own. "Mother says," she continued, "that he
was very handsome and very pale. I suppose he is very poor, but--"
"But what, Rose?"
"I am sure," she said, hesitatingly, "that will make no difference."
Julia only answered with a little caress.
"When he comes back," said simple Rose, who was certain that it would
all come right, "he will want to come and see that lovely little
place, and you will want to come with him; I would like to see him."
"When he comes back," said Julia, brightly, "you shall see him, little
Rose; you are a dear, good girl, and if you are ever in peril, I am
sure some brave, handsome man will come to you."
Rose hoped he would.
The older women had talked matters over also in their grave, prudent
woman's way, and both learned from the brightness in Julia's face and
eyes, that the ramble in the woods had been pleasant. On their way
home Julia described it all to her mother.
They drove around by way of Mrs. Ridgeley's, and found her busy and
cheerful. She had a letter from Bart full of cheerful encouragement,
and the Colonel had returned, and would remain in Newbury for the
Julia caught George and this time actually kissed the blushing,
half-angry, yet really pleased boy.
The next day Mrs. Ridgeley visited the graves of her husband and son,
on her way from her friend Mrs. Punderson's, and was touched by the
evidences of a watchful care that marked them. At the head of Henry's
grave was planted a beautiful rose tree, full of buds, and a few wild
flowers lay withered among the green grass springing so freshly over
him. The mother wondered what hand performed this pious act. Like
Bart, she supposed that some gentle maiden thus evinced her tenderness
for his memory, and was very anxious to know who she was.
The sun drank up the waters out of Jefferson, and the almanac brought
the day for the May term of the Court for Ashtabula county; came
the Judge, the juries and unfortunate parties; came also some twenty
lawyers, from the various points of North-eastern Ohio. It was to be
a great time for our young students. Bart had seen the Court once or
twice at Chardon, and had heard the advocates in the famous case of
Ohio _vs._ Joe Smith, the Mormon Prophet, for conspiring to murder
Newell, and came to know some of them by name and sight. The same
judge presided on that trial as in the present court--Judge Humphrey.
Bart was much interested of course in the proceedings, and observed
them attentively from the opening proclamation, the calling and
swearing of the grand jury, calling of the calendar of cases, etc.
Much more interested was he in Case's graphic sketches of the members
of the bar, who hit them off, well or ill, with a few words.
"That elderly man, shortish, with the soft, autumn-like face, is
Elisha Whittlesey, sixteen years in Congress; where he never made a
speech, but where he ranks with the most useful members: sober colors
that wear. He was a good lawyer, and comes back to practice. The old
men will employ him, and wonder why they get beaten."
"That brisk, cheery, neat man by his side is Norton--lively, smirky
and smiling--you see the hair leaves the top of his head, to lay
the fact bare that there is not much there; and just why that snubby
little nose should perk itself up, I can't tell, unless to find out
whether there really is anything above it. He has quite a reputation
with juries, and a tendency to bore, sometimes in very dry places, for
water, and usually furnishes his own moisture. When he isn't damp he
is funny. They both live in Canfield."
"Who is that fine-looking, fine-featured, florid man?"
"That is Crowell, from Warren. Mark him and see how studied are all
his motions. He tears up that paper with an air and grace only reached
by long and intense practice and study. He is a little unpopular, but
is a man of ability, and is often effective with a jury. The trouble
is, his shadow is immense, and falls all about him on every thing, and
he sees every thing through it."
"That young, dark-eyed handsome man is Labe Sherman, admitted last
year. He and Ranney are the two young men of the democracy; but there
is enough of Ranney to make two of him. He is a fine advocate."
"Look at that tall, rather over-dressed, youngish man."
"The one with weak, washed-out gray eyes?"
"Does he know anything?"
"Not a devilish thing. His strong point, where he concentrates in
force, is his collar and stock; from that he radiates into shirt
bosom, and fades off into coat and pants. Law! He don't know the
difference between a bill in Chancery and the Pope's Bull. Here's
another knowledge-cuss. He's from Warren--McKnight. His great effort
is to keep himself in--to hold himself from mischief, and working
general ruin. He knows perfectly well that if he should let himself
loose in a case, in open court, the other side would stand no chance
at all; and his sense of right prevents his putting forth his real
power. It would be equal to a denial of justice to the other side."
"An instance where the severity of the law is tempered and modified by
equity," remarked Bart.
"Who is that man on the left of Bowen, and beyond, with that splendid
head and face, and eyes like Juno, if a man can have such eyes?"
"That is Dave Tod, son of old Judge Tod, of Warren. Two things are in
his way: he is a democrat, and lazy as thunder; otherwise he would be
among the first--and it will do to keep him in mind anyway. There is
some sort of a future for him."
"Here's another minister of the law in the temple of justice--that man
with the cape on. He always wears it, and the boys irreverently call
him Cape Cod--Ward of Connaught. He puts a paper into the clerk's
office and calls it commencing a suit. He puts in another and calls it
a declaration. If anybody makes himself a party, and offers to go to
trial with him, and nobody objects, he has a trial of something,
at some time, and if he gets a verdict or gets licked it is equally
incomprehensible to him, and to everybody else.
"There are Hitchcock and Perkins, of Painesville, whom you know. What
great wide staring eyes Hitchcock has: but they look into things. And
see how elegantly Perkins is dressed. I'd like to hear Frank Wade on
that costume--but Perkins is a good lawyer, for all that. Look at
that stout, broad, club-faced man--that's old Dick Matoon. You see
the lower part of his face was made for larger upper works; and after
puckering and drawing the under lip in all he can, he speaks in a
grain whistle through an opening still left, around under one ear. He
knows no more law than does necessity; but is cunning, and acts upon
his one rule, 'that it is always safe to continue.'
"Here is a man you must get acquainted with; this dark swarthy man
with the black eyes, black curling hair, and cast-iron face, sour and
austere. That is Ned Wade, Frank's younger brother, and one of the
pleasantest and best-hearted men alive. He has more book than Frank,
and quite as much talent, and will hammer his way towards the front."
"Who is that little, old, hump-backed, wry-necked chap hoisting his
face up as if trying to look into a basket on his shoulder?"
"That? That is the immortal Brainard, of Unionville. He is the Atlas
who has sustained the whole world of the law-on his back until he has
grown hump-backed; and that attitude is the only way in which he can
look into the law on his back, as you remark.
"And there is Steve Mathews, mostly legs. His face begins with his
chin, and runs right up over the top of his head; that head has no
more brains inside than hair out. You see that little knob there in
front? Well, that was originally intended for a bump, and, as you see,
just succeeded in becoming a wart. Ranney suggested to him at the last
term that the books were all against his straddling about the bar, as
he always does."
"That smallish man with the prominent chin and retreating forehead, is
Horace Wilder, one of the best men at the bar. You see he is pleasant
and amiable. He is a good lawyer, and give him a case which involves a
question of morals and he develops immense power."
"Who is that dark, singular-looking young man, with full beard and
open throat? Is he a lawyer?"
"That," said Case, sadly, "is Sartliff, the most brilliant intellect
our region has produced; full of learning, full of genius and strange
new thoughts! He is a lawyer, and should equal Daniel Webster."
"What is the matter with him?"
"God only knows! men call him crazy. If he is, the rest of us never
had intellect enough to become crazy. Look at his dress; he wears a
kind of frock, tied with a hay rope, and is barefoot, I presume. Some
strange new or old idea has taken possession of him to get back to
nature. If he keeps on he will become crazy. I must introduce you; he
and you will like one another."
"Because I am crazy, too?" laughing.
"Because you have some out-of-the-way notions, Bart, and I want you
should hear him. He will make you feel as if you were in the visible
presence of the forces of nature. He knew your brother well and liked
"Where does he live?"
"Nowhere! He remains in the open air when he can, day and night;
drinks water and eats roots and herbs; sometimes a little plain
bread--never meat. He was formerly vigorous, as you see, he is now
thin and drooping."
"Has he had any unusual history, any heart agony?"
"None that I ever heard of; nor was he particularly poetic or
imaginative. He does not attempt any business now; but goes and comes
with lawyers, the most of whom now avoid him. He has brothers,
able and accomplished men, and whom he usually avoids. He commenced
business with Giddings, with a brilliant opening, ten years ago."
The calendar was finished, a jury sworn in a case, and the court
How closely the young men watched the proceedings of the court, all
the trials and points made, and the rulings, and how stripped of
mystery seemed the mere practice, as at that time in Ohio it really
was. Wise men had taken the best of the old common law practice, and
with the aid of judicious legislation and intelligent courts, had got
about the best it was capable of.
Bart managed to make himself useful and do himself some good on one
occasion. Ranney had taken a position in a case, on a trial of some
importance, on which the court was apparently against him. Bart had
just gone over with it, in a text-book, and in a moment brought it in,
with the case referred to, and received, as men often do, more credit
than he was entitled to, Ranney carried his point, and could afford to
Bart had been introduced to Sartliff, who was an object of universal
curiosity, even where he was best known, and coming out of the
court-room one delicious afternoon, he asked the young students to
walk away from the squabbles of men to more quiet and cleaner scenes.
They took their way out of the town towards a beech forest, whose
tender, orange-tinted, green young leaves were just shaping out, and
relieving the hard skeleton lines of trunks and naked limbs. Passing
the rude and rotting fences, by which rank herbage, young elders and
briars were springing up:
"See," said Sartliff, "how kindly nature comes to cover over the
faults and failures of men. These rotting unsightly 'improvements,'
as we call them, will soon be covered over and hidden with beautiful
"With weeds, and nettles, and elders," said Case, contemptuously.
"Weeds and nettles!" repeated Sartliff; "and why weeds and nettles?
Was there ever such arrogance! Man in his boundless conceit and
ignorance, after having ruined his powers, snuffs and picks about, and
finds the use of a few insignificant things, which he pronounces good;
all the rest he pushes off in a mass as weeds and nettles. Thus the
great bulk of the universe is to him useless or hurtful, because
he will not, or cannot, learn its secrets. These unknown things are
standing reproaches to his ignorance and sloth."
"Poisons, for instance, might become sanitary," said Case.
"If man lived in accord with nature," said Sartliff, "she would not
harm him. It is a baby's notion that everything is made to eat, and
that all must go into the mouth. Men should have got beyond this
universal alimentiveness, ere this. Find the uses of things, and
poisons and nettles fall into their places in harmony, and are no
longer poisons and nettles."
"And accidents would help us on, instead of off," suggested Case.
"They help as often one way as the other now," replied Sartliff. "But
there are really no accidents; everything is produced by law."
"There must be two or three systems then," suggested Case. "Things
collide, while each obeys its law. Your systems clash."
"Not a bit. This is apparent only; man acts abnormally under evil
influences; he will not observe law; he turns upon nature and says
he will subvert her laws, and compel her to obey his. Of course
confusion, disorder, and death are the consequences, and always will
be, till he puts himself in harmony with her."
"It seems to me, Mr. Sartliff, that in your effort to get back
individually, you have encountered more difficulties, collisions, and
ills, than the most of us do, who keep on the old orthodox civilized
way to the devil."
"That may be; I am one, looking alone; nobody helps me."
"And like the younger Mr. Weller, you find it a pursuit of knowledge
"Precisely; I inherited an artificial constitution, and tastes, and
needs. I began perverted and corrupted, and when I go back to Nature,
she teaches me less than she does the beasts and birds. Before I can
understand, or even hear her voice, I must recover the original purity
and strength of organs and faculties which I might have had. I may
perish in the attempt to reach a point at which I can learn. The earth
chills and hurts my feet, the sun burns my skin, the winds shrivel me,
and the snows and frosts would kill me, while many of the fruits
good for food are indigestible to me. See to what the perversions of
civilization have reduced me."
"Do you propose in thus getting back to nature, to go back to what we
call savagery?" asked Bart.
"Not a bit of it. It was the wants and needs of the race that whipped
it into what we call civilization. When once men got a start they
went, and went in one direction alone, and completely away from
Nature, instead of keeping with her and with an unvarying result;
an endless series of common catastrophes has overtaken all civilized
nations alike, while the savage tribes have alone been perpetual. I
don't say that savage life is at all preferable, only that it alone
has been capable of perpetuating races. In going back to Nature, I
propose to take what of good we have derived from civilization."
"As historic verity," said Bart, "I am not quite prepared to admit
that savage races are perpetual. We know little of them, and what
little we do know is that tribes appear and disappear. General
savagery may reign, like perpetual night, over a given region, but
who can say how many races of savages have destroyed and devoured each
other in its darkness?"
They had reached the forest, and Sartliff placed himself in an easy
position at the foot of an old beech, extending his limbs and bare
feet over the dry leaves, in such a way as not to injure any springing
herb. "Mr. Ridgeley," said he, "I would like to know more of you.
You young men are fresher, see, and what is better, feel quicker and
clearer than the older and more hackneyed. Are you already shelled
over with accepted dogmas, and without the power of receiving new
"I hardly know; I fear I am not very reverent. I was born of a
question-asking time, like that Galilean boy, whose, mother, after
long search, found him in the Temple, disputing with the doctors, and
asking them questions."
"Good! good! that is it; my great mother will find me in her Temple,
asking questions of her doctors and ministers!" exclaimed Sartliff.
"And what do you ask, and what response do you get?" asked Bart.
"I lay myself on the earth's bosom in holy solitudes, with fasting and
great prayer, and send my soul forth in one great mute, hungry demand
for light. I, a man, with some of the Father God stirring the awful
mysteries of my nature, go yearningly naked, empty, and alone, and
clamor to know the way. And sometimes deep, sweet, hollow voices
answer in murmurs, which I feel rather than hear; but I cannot
interpret them, I cannot compass their sounds. And sometimes gigantic
formless shadows overcloud me. I know they have forms of wondrous
symmetry and beauty, but they are so grand that my vision does not
reach their outline, and I cannot comprehend them. I know that I am
dominant of the physical creation on this earth, but at those times I
feel that these great and mighty essences, whose world in which they
live and move, envelopes ours and us, and to whom our matter is as
impalpable air--I know that they and we, theirs and ours, are involved
in higher and yet higher conditions and elements, that in some
mysterious way we mutually and blindly contribute and minister to each
"And what profit do you find in such communication?" asked Bart.
"It is but preparatory to try the powers, clear the vision and senses,
train and discipline the essential faculties for a communion with
this essence that may be fully revealed, and aid in the workings and
immediate government of our gross material world, and the spirits that
pertain to it more immediately, if such there are."
"And you are in doubt about that?"
"Somewhat; and yet through some such agencies came the givings forth
of the Prophets."
"You believe in the Prophets?" asked Case.
"Assuredly. The many generations which inherited from each other the
seer faculty, developed and improved, living the secluded, severe, and
simple lives of the anchorite, amid the grand and solemn silence of
mountain and desert, were enabled, by wondrous and protracted effort,
to wear through the filament--impenetrable as adamant to common
men--that screened from them the invisible future, and they told What
"Yet they never told it so that any mortal ever understood what they
said, or could apply their visions to any passing events, and the same
givings out of these half-crazed old bards, for such they were,
have been applied to fifty different things by as many different
generations of men," said Case.
"That may have arisen, in part," said Bart, "from the dim sight of the
seer, and the difficulty of clothing extraordinary visions in the garb
of ordinary things. It is not easy, however, for the common mind
to see why, if God had a special message for His children of such
importance that He would provide a special messenger to communicate
it, and had a choice of messengers, it should reach them finally, in
a form that nobody could interpret. With God every thing is in the
present, all that has happened, and all that will, is as the now is
to us. If a man can reach the power or faculty of getting a glimpse of
things as God sees them, he would make some utterance, if he survived,
and it would be very incoherent. Besides, human events repeat
themselves, and a good general description of great human calamities
would truthfully apply to several, and so might be fulfilled your half
hundred times, Mr. Case."
"That isn't a bad theory of prophecy," said Case approvingly; "but all
these marvels were in the old time; how came the faculty to be lost?"
"Is it?" asked Bart. "Don't you hear of it in barbarous and savage
conditions of men, now? Our friend Sartliff would say that the faculty
was lost, through the corruptions and clogs of civilization; and he
proposes to restore it."
"No, I don't propose to restore that exactly. I want to find a way
back to Nature for myself, and then teach it to others, when the
power of prophecy will be restored. I want to see man restored to his
rightful position, as the head of this lower universe. There are ills
and powers of mischief now at large, and operative, that would find
their master in a perfect man. One such, under favorable auspices, was
once born into this world; and we know that it is possible. He took
His natural place at the head; and all minor powers and agencies
acknowledged Him at once. I have never been quite able to understand
why He, with His power of clear discernment, should have precipitated
Himself upon the Jewish and Roman power, and so perished, and at so
early a day in His life."
"So that the prophets might be fulfilled," said Case.
"It may have been," resumed Sartliff.
"Upon the merely human theory of the thing," said Bart, "He could
foresee that this was the only logical conclusion of his teachings,
and best, perhaps only means of fixing his messages and doctrines in
the hearts of men. I may not venture a suggestion, Mr. Sartliff," Bart
continued; "but it seems to me, that your search back will necessarily
fail. In searching back, as you call it, for the happy point when the
strength and purity and the inspiration of nature can be united with
all that is good in Christian civilization, if your theory is correct,
your civilized eyes will never discern the place. You will have passed
it before you have re-acquired the power to find it, and your life
will be spent in a vain running to and fro, in search of it. Miracles
have ceased to be wonders, for we work them by ordinary means
now-a-days, and we don't know them when we meet them."
Sartliff arose; he had been for sometime silent. His face was sad.
"It may be. I like you, Barton; you have a good deal of your brother's
common sense, uncommon as that is, and I shall come and see you
And without another word he strode off deeper into the woods, and was
lost to the eyes of the young men.
"Is it possible," said Bart, "that this was an educated, strong, and
brilliant mind, capable of dealing with difficult questions of law?
I fear that he has worn or torn through the filament that divides the
workings of the healthy mind from the visions of the dreamer--wrecked
on the everlasting old rocks that jut out all about our shores, and
always challenging us to dash upon them. Shall we know when we die?
Shall we die when we know? After all, are not these things to be
known? Why place them under our eyes so that a child of five years
will ask questions that no mortal, or immortal, has yet solved? Have
we lost the clue to this knowledge? Do we overlook it? Do we stumble
over it, perish, wanting it, with it in our hands without the power to
see or feel it? Has some rift opened to a hidden store of truth, and
has a gleam of it come to the eyes of this man, filling him with
a hunger of which he is to die? When the man arises to whom these
mysteries shall reveal themselves, as he assuredly will, the old
gospels will be supplemented."
"Or superseded," said Case. "And is it not about time? Have not the
old done for us about all they can? Do we not need, as well as wish
for, a new?"
"A man may doubtless so abuse and deprave his powers, that old healthy
food ceases to be endurable, and yields to him no nutrition; of course