Part 3 out of 4
along, Mrs. Pat, but that glad rag you've got on is too great a beauty
with which to appear in public. Better take it into the house before
you catch a cold in this breeze."
"Yes, I must run in," answered Madam Whitworth with a slight shivering
in her gown of great thinness. "They are perfectly wonderful, boy, and
I say choose the brown darling."
"Governor Bill picked the cherry from the catalogue for us day before
yesterday, but I think the amethyst has got it beat," answered my Buzz
as he started towards his own car. "Jump into your choice and lead me
on down to hear you refuse it to old Forty-Two Centimeter."
Then without further remark, I followed him down the steps and got
into that car which was the color of the heart of the cherry and I
raced that Mr. Bumble Bee through the city of Hayesville in a manner
which put to flight a large population thereof. I had not had my hands
on the wheel of a racing car for the many months since my father in
his had left the small Pierre and Nannette and me weeping on the
terrace of the Chateau de Grez when he went to the battlefield of the
Marne, and I drove with all of that accumulated fury within me. And I
could see that my Buzz enjoyed it as much as did I, though in his face
was a great fear as several very large policemen waved their hands at
us and then savagely transcribed the numbers of his car in books from
their pockets when we whirled on with refusal to stop and listen to
And this is what my Uncle, the General Robert, answered to me as I
told him of my unworthiness of his gift of the most beautiful cherry
"That is a just return for your consideration for me in being born a
boy, and I hope you'll break the necks of about two dozen young
females in this town before the week's out. Begin on that baggage,
Susan, right away." And as he spoke, my Uncle, the General Robert,
came down the steps of the great Club of Old Hickory with the
Gouverneur Faulkner and stood beside my Cherry with me.
"He's no better man than I, General, and I've been trying it all
year," answered my Buzz with one of those delectable grinnings upon
"Indeed, my much loved Uncle Robert, it is impossible that I accept
your gift in gratitude that I am not a woman, because for the good
reason--" and my honor was about to rise up in arms and betray the
daredevil and her schemes within me when that good and most beloved
Gouverneur Faulkner interrupted me by stepping into the Cherry beside
me with a laugh.
"Thank you, General; this is just what I need in all of my business
with Robert. We'll be back in time to dine with you at seven here at
the Club. Go out to the West End, Robert." And with his hand on the
spark he started the Cherry, and I was forced to sweep away from my
Buzz and my Uncle, the General Robert, into the traffic and away from
the Club of Old Hickory, which is named for a very great general of
America and is a club of much fashion and some bad behavior, my Buzz
has said to me.
"I really didn't mean to kidnap you and the car, youngster, but I've
had a pain under my left pocket all day, and I have got to operate on
it. A sudden impulse told me that it would be easier if I took you
with me to--to sort of stand by," said my beautiful Gouverneur
Faulkner in a grave tone of voice as I whirled him out the broad
avenue that led to the west end of the city.
"Oh, my Gouverneur Faulkner, is it that you are ill, perhaps to die by
a knife?" I exclaimed and for a second I let that wild Cherry run in a
very dangerous manner almost upon another large car in the act of
turning into the street.
"No, not that, Robert," he answered me quickly and he laid his hand on
my arm beside him for an instant as if to give a steadiness to me. "I
want you to take me out to the State Prison. I want to talk face to
face with a man who killed his own brother, in cold blood, it is said.
A pretty powerful influence is at me day and night for a reprieve and
I--I don't know what to do about it. It is a difficult case. If I went
in my official capacity to see the man it might give his friends undue
hopes; and suddenly I felt that I could run away from the whole bunch
at this hour of the day and see the man himself without anybody's
knowing it save the superintendent of the prison and myself. You don't
count, because in this case you are myself."
"Always I would be yourself to you, my reverenced Gouverneur
Faulkner," I made reply to him as I raised my eyes to his deep ones
that smiled down into them.
"I wonder if that is as good as it sounds, boy," asked my Gouverneur
Faulkner gently, as he looked down at me with both a laugh and a
sadness influencing the smile of his mouth. "Sometimes I badly need
two of myself. They are at me from waking to sleeping and I often feel
cut into little bits and I can't even say so. In fact, youngster, I'm
squealing to you more than I've let myself do since I became the chief
executive of this State of Harpeth. Now, turn off into this road and
go straight ahead. The prison is about a mile back there at the foot
of that hill."
"I--like those squeals," I answered to his smile as I put my Cherry
against the spring wind and raced down that long road at a great speed
that prevented any more conversation at that moment. My pride bade me
show to that Gouverneur of Harpeth what good driving in a fine car I
was able to accomplish.
Therefore it was not many minutes before we stood within the doors of
that very grim and terrible home of the human beings who have sinned
with a great crime. I know that I am never to forget that hour and am
to carry forever the wound that it inflicted upon my heart as I walked
through the dimness and grayness and stillness of that dark house.
At last, with many unlockings of heavy doors by the director of that
prison, we stood in a room that was as a cage in which to keep the
human animal that crouched down upon a hard bed in one of its corners
and leaned a head shaved bare of any hair upon a very thin and white
"Leave me, Superintendent, for a few minutes. The young man will stay
by the door to let you know when I want you," said that Gouverneur
Faulkner to the superintendent, who nodded and left the room as I took
a position over beside the heavy iron bars that swung together after
"My man," said the Gouverneur Faulkner in a voice that was so gentle
as that which a mother uses to a child in severe illness, "I want you
to let me sit down on your cot beside you and talk to you about your
"Got nothing to say, parson. I done it and I want to swing as quick as
the law sends me," answered the poor human from behind his hands
without even raising his bowed head.
"I am not a minister, and I've come to talk to you because some of
your neighbors and friends think that there may be a reason why you
should not be hanged for the death of your brother. It is my duty to
help them keep you from the penalty of the law, which you may not
deserve even if you desire it. Can you tell me your story as man to
man, with the hope that it will help you to a reprieve?" And as he
spoke I observed a tone of command come into the voice of my
Gouverneur Faulkner, that was as clear and beautiful as the call of
the bugle to men for a battle.
"I done what I had to and I'm ready to die for it. I've got nothing to
say," answered the man with still more of the determination of misery
in his voice. "My neighbors don't know nothing about it and I don't
want 'em to. Just let them keep quiet and let it all die when the
State swings me."
"So there is some secret about the matter that you are willing to die
to keep, is there?" asked the Gouverneur Faulkner with a quickness of
command in his voice. "What had your brother done to Mary Brown that
you killed him for doing?"
"Damn you, what's that to you?" snarled the man as he sprang up from
beside the Gouverneur and leaned, crouched and panting, against the
bars of the cage in which the three of us were inclosed. "Who are you
anyway? My State has said I was to swing for killing him and there's
no more to question about it."
"I am the Governor of your State," answered that Gouverneur Faulkner
as he rose and stood tall and commanding before the poor human being
who was cowering as a dog that had felt the lash of a whip. "You are
my son because you are a son of the State of Harpeth, and as a
representative of that State I am going to exercise my guardianship
and if possible prevent the State from the crime of taking your life
if you do not deserve punishment."
"I'm condemned by the laws of the State. You can't go back on that,
Governor or no Governor," made answer the man, with a panting of
misery in his voice.
"As you know, there are certain unwritten laws which have more
influence in some cases as to the guilt of a murderer than any on the
statute books," said the Gouverneur Faulkner with a very great
slowness, so that the poor human dog might comprehend him. "If you
killed your brother to save--save Mary Brown from worse than death,
then you have not the right to demand execution from your State to
shelter her from publicity when she is no longer in danger of anything
worse. Did you get to her in time to save her or--" "Yes, good God, I
did and I had--damn you, now I'll have to kill you for getting words
out of me that all the lawyers have tried to make me say all this
time," and with the oath and a snarl the man made a lunge at my
Gouverneur Faulkner with something keen and shining that he had drawn
from the top of his coarse boot. But that poor human being of the
prison was not of enough quickness to do the killing of his desire in
the face of Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye, who had twice with her
foil pricked the red cloth heart of the young Count de Couertoir, the
best swordsman of France, in gay combat in the great hall of the old
Chateau de Grez. With my walking cane of a young gentleman of American
fashion, which I had taken with me to call upon the beautiful Madam
Whitworth before my Cherry had befallen me as a gift, and which I had
without thought brought into that prison with me, I parried the blow
of the knife at my beloved Gouverneur Faulkner, but not in such a
manner as to prevent a glancing of that knife, which inflicted a
scratch of considerable depth upon my forearm under its sleeve of
"My God, boy!" exclaimed that Gouverneur Faulkner as he caught the
knife from the floor where it had fallen from the hand of the poor man
who had sunk down on the cot, trembling and panting. "Two inches to
the left and a little more force and the knife would have stuck in
"Is it not better my heart than yours, my great Gouverneur Faulkner?
And behold it is the heart of neither and only a small scratch upon my
humble arm, which will not even prevent the driving of that new Cherry
car," I answered him as I put that arm behind me and pressed it close
in its sleeve of brown cheviot so that there would be no drippings of
"I didn't go to hurt the young gentleman nor you either, Governor,"
said the man from the cot as he sobbed and buried his head in his
arms. "I was always a good man and now I--"
"Don't say another word, Timms," interrupted my Gouverneur Faulkner in
a voice that was as gentle as that father of State which he had said
himself to be to Timms. "Nobody will know of this, for your sake. I
was--was baiting you. I know what I want to know now and you'll not
hang on the sixteenth. The State will try you again. Call the
"Don't say nothing to hurt Mary, Governor. Jest let me hang and I
won't never care what--" the poor human began to plead.
"I'll look after Mary--and you too, Timms. I'll see to it that--" my
Gouverneur Faulkner was answering the trembling plea for his mercy
when the superintendent came in and unlocked the cage.
"Don't let him know of the--accident, youngster," whispered the
Gouverneur Faulkner to me, and in a very few minutes we were out of
that prison into the Cherry car, and whirling with great rapidity down
the country road with its tall trees upon both sides.
"Stop, Robert," commanded His Excellency as we came under a large
group of very old trees which made a thick shelter of their green
leaves as they leaned together over the stone wall that bordered the
side of the road. "Now let me see just what did happen to that arm
which came between poor Timms' sharpened case knife and my life. We
are out of sight of the prison now. It would have all been up with
Timms if that attack upon me had been discovered. Your pluck will have
saved Timms, if he's saved, as well as your Governor. Here, turn
towards me and let me see that arm." And as he spoke, my Gouverneur
Faulkner put his arm across my shoulder and turned me towards him so
that he could put his right hand on the sleeve of that cheviot bag in
which was a long slash from the knife and which was now wet with my
"I very much fear my beloved brown cheviot, which I have worn only a
few times, is now dead; and how will I find another for my need!" I
exclaimed with a great alarm when I saw that that knife had thus
devastated my good clothing of which I had not many and for the
procuring of which I was many thousand miles from my good friend and
tailor in New York. If I sought another suit in the city of Hayesville
might there not be dangers of discoveries in the adjustment thereof?
"Is it not a vexation?" I asked as the Gouverneur Faulkner attempted
to push back that murdered sleeve from my forearm.
"In the language of my friend Buzz, you are one sport, Robert. Shell
out of that coat immediately. I want to see just how much of a scratch
that is and I can't get the sleeve up high enough," commanded my
Gouverneur Faulkner. The tone of his voice was the same he had used to
me in commanding that I take his mail to his nice lady stenographer,
but his face was very white and his hand that he laid upon the collar
of my coat for assisting me to lay it aside trembled with a great
degree of violence.
"Indeed, my Gouverneur Faulkner, it is but a scratch and--"
"Get out of that coat!"
"Off with that coat, Robert!" he commanded me, and before I could make
resistance, my coat was almost completely off of me by his aid and I
was obliged to let it slip into his hands. He laid it on the back of
the seat behind him, and with hands that were as gentle as those of
old Nannette when dealing with one of my injuries of a great number in
childhood, he rolled up the sleeve of my nice white shirt with the
brown strip of coloring in accord with that beloved and regretted
cheviot, and bared my forearm, which was very strong and white but
which also appeared to me to be dangerously rounded for his gaze. I
was glad that that arm was covered with a nice gore which had come
from the long slit but which had now well-nigh ceased to run from me,
so that he could not observe that it was of such a feminine mould.
"Yes, just a deep scratch that I can fix all right myself in my own
bathroom when we get back to the Mansion in time for dinner with the
General by seven-thirty, I hope," said my beloved Gouverneur as he
helped me again to assume the ruined garment of cheviot. "I was born
in the mountains of the State of Harpeth, boy, where when one man
sheds his blood for the life of another, that other is said to be
under bond to his rescuer and that means a tie closer than the
ordinary one of brother by birth. I acknowledge the bond to you for
all time, little brother. Now drive on quickly to the Mansion before
we are in danger of being late for dinner with the General. It will
take me some few minutes to get you out of that shirt and into your
dinner coat. I'll send for it and you can dress with me."
"Oh, no, my beloved Gouverneur Faulkner; I must go immediately to home
and there make myself presentable for a dinner of some very wonderful
pie that my Buzz demanded of that very lovely Madam Taylor in my
honor. That nice black lady, Kizzie, will with joy attend on this
scratch upon my arm, assisted by my good Bonbon," I exclaimed with
great alarm for fear that that very strong mind of my Gouverneur would
command me to make my toilet in his company in the Mansion. "Please do
not command me that I shall not so do."
"Of course, youngster, go to your frolic with the rest of the babes
and sucklings, only remember that I always like to have you with me,
but--never command you when it is not your pleasure," answered that
Gouverneur Faulkner to me with gentleness.
"It is always my pleasure to be with you, my Gouverneur, and I do like
that you command me," I said to him in answer to that gentleness that
had something of a sad longing in it--for that custard pie of Madam
Taylor, I suppose, of which he had probably heard famous mention, but
which I would have believed to have been a longing for Roberta,
Marquise of Grez and Bye, if I had heard it so spoken, with an English
or Russian or French accent, to me in a robe of tulle or sheer linen.
"And may I not return immediately after that supper to that Club of
Old Hickory for conversation with you and my Uncle, the General
Robert?" I asked with eagerness.
"Boy, by the time you have eaten that fatted pie at the Taylors' and
danced at least a portion of it off of your system I'll be--be burning
the midnight oil going over the papers in the case of Timms. I want to
weigh all the testimony carefully in the case given in Court about his
own and his brother's relations with the woman Mary Brown. As long as
I am the Governor of the State of Harpeth, no honest man is going to
swing for protecting a good woman from the outrages of a brute. And
yet Timms confessed the crime and denied the motive. Cross-examining
failed to get the statement from the woman that would justify my
reprieving or pardoning him. I cannot even seem to dishonor the
proceedings of the courts of the State and, boy, I'm just
plain--up--against--it. Here we are at my own side door. Good night,
and make a lightning toilet if you want to get to that pie on time.
Good night, again!" And with those words, which explained his very
deep trouble to me, my Gouverneur Faulkner descended from the seat
beside me in the Cherry to the pavement beside his Mansion and bade me
hurry from him.
TO BEAR MEN AND TO SAVE THEM
In going I turned and looked back at him to see that he was standing
looking after me with a very great weariness in the manner of the
drooping of his shoulders and the sadness of his face.
"Roberta," I said to myself, "a woman who so reverences and regards a
man as you do that Gouverneur Faulkner will find a way to help him so
that he shall not suffer as he does in regard to not knowing with
surety the reason of that Mr. Timms' making a murder upon his brother.
What is it that you shall do?"
And to that question to myself I found an answer in only two short
hours while partaking of the very famous custard pie at the table of
that very lovely Madam Taylor.
All of those very gay and nice "babes and sucklings" which the
Gouverneur Faulkner had mentioned, were with me at the table of Madam
Taylor with very much laughter and merriment, also much conversation.
And in that conversation were very many jokes upon my Buzz because he
had been transported to the Capitol by my Uncle, the General Robert,
and given hard labor until almost the time to arrive for that nice
supper, which he was eating with much hunger. On account of lateness
he had not been able to come to the house of lovely Sue to escort her
with him to the home of Madam Taylor. That Sue with pretended
haughtiness was looking very high above the head of the humble Buzz.
"Well, it's not my fault that Timms up and biffed his brother into
eternity all for buzzing pretty Mary Brown, and I don't see why I had
to be rung in to sort out of a million sheets of trial evidence the
lies he told about it, for poor old Governor Bill to moil over all
night. I say when a man wants to be hung as badly as that, he ought to
get what he's crying for, and not butt in on a perfectly innocent
man's afternoon fox trot," was that Mr. Buzz Clendenning's wailing to
all of the company. "Look the other way, Sue, so as not to turn this
muffin cold until I get it buttered."
"I told my washwoman, who is Mary's sister, that Mary ought to be made
to tell just what did happen and then it could all be arranged so that
the poor man could be saved to her. I think it is hard on Mary to lose
both lovers," said that very intelligent Mildred Summers.
"They live just over beyond our back gate. Suppose we all go and put
it up to the attractive Mary to speak up and keep Buzz from the danger
of overwork a second time," said that nice young Mr. Taylor with what
I considered a great intelligence but which caused much laughter.
And at that suggestion which caused the much merriment, that daredevil
within Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye, again arose and commanded me
"Go, Robert Carruthers, and obtain that paper of statement from that
Mary, so that your chief, that good Gouverneur Faulkner, does not work
in the night which is for rest, and that your beloved Buzz may not
again have to work in his afternoon which is for dancing. Go and find
that Mary as soon as this dinner is at an end."
And what was it possible for me to do but to answer the command of the
daredevil person within me? All of which I did. I made excuse of
myself on account of a lie which involved my attendance on my Uncle,
the General Robert, and departed after I had had but one nice slide
with the lovely Sue, but had obtained a promise of one from
Mademoiselle Belle if I found it possible to return by the hour of ten
After many inquiries at the back of the house of Madam Taylor in small
streets I was at last led to the home of the Mary Brown. All was dark
within the very small house, but upon the steps, in the light from the
moon and also a street arc, sat the person that a man, of whom I had
asked guidance, said to be the woman whom I sought. She rested her
head in her hands as had done that poor human in the cage in that
State Prison and from her I heard the sounds of slow weeping.
"What is it that I shall say to her?" I asked of myself. And then
suddenly something answered from within me from the same place that
had arisen that knowledge to spring in between my Gouverneur Faulkner
and the bright knife I had not even seen. That place is located in the
heart of Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye, and not in that daredevil.
"Mary Brown," I said to her with all of the gentleness in my voice
that was commanded by my sympathy for her, "if a person were going to
kill with a rope the man I loved I would lay down my own life that he
should live. If you write one little paper to say that he murdered in
defense of you, the good Gouverneur Faulkner will save him to you.
Give to me that paper."
"Go away," she moaned as she shook her head and cried into her arms.
"See, Mary: Here is the pencil and the paper to write the words of
life for Timms to that Gouverneur Faulkner," I said as I seated myself
beside her and extracted my notebook and pencil from the pocket of my
overcoat where I had placed them on leaving my room as is always best,
I deemed, for a secretary. "There are just two things that are the
duty of women, Mary: to bear men and to save them. Save yours now,
Mary. Much will happen, it may be; but that Timms is a good man and
"I dassent. He told me not to, Timms did."
"If a knife was aimed at Timms' heart, would you not throw yourself
between him and its cut, Mary, even though commanded by him not to so
"The knife is aimed and here's the paper by which you can throw your
person on that knife. Is it of such moment that it cut into your own
heart, that you stand and let it give death to him?"
"I give up! I give up, Mister! I can't let nobody murder him. Nobody
ever put it that way to me. Give me that paper and let me git to him
fer jest one minute to-morrow," she made answer to me as she seized
the paper and pencil and began to write with the paper spread beside
her upon the step.
"I will myself send you in my car with good black Kizzie to see Timms
to-morrow, Mary," I promised her while she wrote.
"I got ter get my arms around his neck once more 'fore he kills me fer
telling," she answered as she signed her name to the paper and handed
it to me.
"Place those arms in that position, Mary, before telling him of your
action and all will be well," I advised of her with much wisdom.
"Will that do, Mister?" she asked with anxiety as I began to fold the
On that paper she had written:
"Hen Timms had locked me in the room and was forcing me when
Gabe broke in and got me away from him. He had to bust his
head with a flatiron to make him let go of me. I am a good
"Yes, good Mary, this will shield Timms from that knife, I feel a
certainty, and I will send for you and see that you go to an interview
with him at ten o'clock of the to-morrow morning. And now good night,
with great respect to you for a brave woman," I said as I rose to my
"Who are you, Mister, that have spoke to my heart like they ain't
nobody spoke to its suffering yet, though you ain't said many words
and them is curious like?" she asked of me as I prepared to take a
"I am the secretary of the Gouverneur Faulkner, Mary, and--and--I
know--how women--love--men. I--"
"I bet a many of 'em have loved you, God bless your sweet eyes. Good
And with those kind words from the poor female, who was beginning
again to sob but with another motive in her weeping, I took my
departure down the street--or up--I did not know in just which
direction. I had the intention of returning to the house of Madam
Taylor to obtain the Cherry, which I had left standing before her
door, and in it convey the message to my Gouverneur Faulkner that
should bring relief to his anxiety, but I soon found that I had lost
myself upon streets that I had never seen before.
What was it that I should do? My heart suffered that my Gouverneur
Faulkner should not know the relief of that paper I had in the pocket
of my dinner coat, but I could not find myself and I did not know
exactly what questions I should ask. Then I bethought me of that
telephone, which in America is so much used, but not in France. I
entered into a store for medicines upon the corner of one of the
streets in my wandering, looked diligently in a book to find the
number for the Mansion of the Gouverneur, and after many tellings of
my desire, at last my Gouverneur Faulkner made an answer in my ear
that was as beautiful in voice as the words he spoke to me in his
"Well?" he asked of me.
"This is Robert Carruthers who speaks."
"Oh, all right, youngster. How did the fatted pie go?"
"That was a very nice pie, Your Excellency, and I have a paper from
that Mary Brown concerning the murder of the brother of good Timms for
cruelty to Mary. I wish to give it to you."
"What do you mean, boy?"
"I have said it."
"Then bring it here to me at once and tell me how you got it."
"I cannot come to you."
"Then I'll come to you. Where are you?"
"I do not know. I am lost."
"God, boy, what do you mean?"
"I am in a store of medicine that is many streets from that house of
good Mary Brown, and also from the house of Madam Taylor. I have the
intention of calling on the telephone my faithful Bonbon and asking
that he come and find me and deliver me to the home of Madam Taylor
and from thence transport this paper to you that you go to sleep for a
much needed rest."
"You helpless young idiot, call a taxi and come right here to me."
"I am promised to a dance with Mademoiselle Belle by the hour of ten,
of which it lacks now only a quarter. Cannot I go in that taxicab,
which it is of much intelligence of you to suggest to me, and send by
that taxicab to you the paper from Mary Brown while I stay to dance
"Well I'll be--no, I can't say it over the telephone."
"What is it, my Gouverneur Faulkner?"
"I'll say it in the morning to you in person. I'll just hold up the
wheels of state until that dance is over. Go ahead, youngster; call
the taxi and get back to Belle. I'll have Jenkins waiting at the
Taylor's to get the paper and you can--can tell me all about it in the
morning. Will nine o'clock be too early to call you from--your rosy
"I do not have coffee until nine o'clock, my Gouverneur Faulkner, and
I do not make a very hurried toilet, but I will come to you at the
Capitol at that nine o'clock if you so command--very gladly."
"Oh, no, we'll all of us just--just cool our heels until you get your
coffee and toilet. Don't hurry, I beg of you! Good night, and beat it
to Belle, as Buzz would say. Good night, you--you--but I'll say it all
in the morning if it takes a half day. Good night again." And with
that parting salutation my Gouverneur Faulkner's voice died from the
telephone with what I thought had the sound of a very nice laugh.
That Mademoiselle Belle Keith is a dancer of the greatest beauty, and
also is the homely Mildred Summers. The two hours until midnight at
the home of my lovely Madam Taylor seemed as one short half of an hour
to me. I also had the pleasure of conducting the nice Belle home in
the Cherry so that I could make a fine display to her of my skill with
a motor. In France it would be of a great scandal to allow a beautiful
_jeune fille_, as is that Belle, and a nice gentleman, such as I
declare Mr. Robert Carruthers to be, to go out into the midnight alone
and unattended; but is it that in America the gentlemen are of a
greater virtue than in France, or is it that the ladies have that
great virtue? I do not know, but I declare it to be of much interest
"You'll find old Forty-Two Centimeter firing off overtime, L'Aiglon,
because when the Whitworth gang got caught up on those specifications
they side-stepped with another proposition and he's scouting for holes
in it. Better climb the grapevine into bed and side-step him," advised
Buzz to me while we waited beside our cars for the beautiful Belle and
"Much gratitude for your advice, and good night," I called to him as
we separated the Cherry and the Gray and went in diverse directions.
I understood that "climb the grapevine into bed" to mean entering my
home and that of my Uncle, the General Robert, with much stealth and
that thing I did, dropping into a deep sleep in the moment of
inserting myself between the sheets of that bed.
And when I awakened, because of that much dancing, behold, it was ten
of the clock and eleven thereto before I arrived in a very great hurry
with much pinkness of cheeks in the office of the Gouverneur Faulkner
at the Capitol of the State of Harpeth.
And in that office I also discovered my Uncle, the General Robert,
performing the action of the forty-two centimeter gun with words about
my extreme lateness.
"You young fox trotter, you, I'd break every bone in your body if I
wasn't so damned proud of you," he exploded directly in front of me.
"General, if you'll let me take Robert into his office for five
minutes alone I'll help you take the hide off of him later," said that
Gouverneur Faulkner as he beamed the great kindness to me. "Just stay
here and get that Timms pardon crowd ready to hear the news of Mary's
confession and I'll tell you all about it when I've settled with
"Very well, sir, very well," answered my Uncle, the General Robert,
with a further explosion of words. "I'll also expect you to give him
commands about this dance the young females in this town are leading
him." With which my Uncle, the General Robert, himself went into the
anteroom and left me alone with the beloved Gouverneur Faulkner.
"Good morning, Robert," he said to me with a laugh as he came and
stood close beside me. That Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye, will
blush within me, when that beloved Gouverneur comes very close beside
her, in a way that is an embarrassment to Robert Carruthers, his
secretary. "And now tell me what you said to that stupid Mary Brown
that made her see the light," he asked me with his fine eyes looking
into mine with a great interest and something of admiration.
"I asked of her if she would not throw herself before that beloved
good Timms if a knife was aimed at his heart; and she perceived from
that question that she must give to me the paper. A heart that has
felt a great tragedy draw near a beloved one can speak without words
to another who sees also a beloved in danger. Is it that you slept in
ease, my Gouverneur Faulkner, after you had received that paper? It
grieved me that you should sit at work while I was at dancing," I
answered to him as I drew nearer and laid my hand with timidity upon
the sleeve of his coat.
"My God, boy, do they grow many like you in France?" was the answer
that the great Gouverneur Faulkner made to me as he looked down into
the adoration of my eyes raised to his, with a question that was of
"France has grown many young and fine men who--who die, my Gouverneur
Faulkner for her in the trenches, where I must soon go," I answered
him with my head drawn to its entire height in the likeness of the old
Marquis of Grez and Flanders.
"When you go into the trenches of France, youngster, the State of
Harpeth will have a Governor on leave in the same trench," answered me
that Gouverneur Faulkner with a very gentle hand laid on the sleeve of
my coat above the bandages of my wound, and a glow of the star in his
eyes. "Brothers by bloodshed, Marquis of Grez and Bye."
"Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye, how will you even gain the refuge
of your petticoats and get away from these lies of dishonor if you are
to be so pursued by--" I was asking of myself when my Uncle, the
General Robert, opened the door and said:
"Better see this pardon delegation now, Governor. That other matter is
going to go to hell as fast as it can if we don't scotch it. Robert,
get those letters on your desk into United States as quickly as
possible. That French deluge is upon us. Come back as soon as you
can." With which I was dismissed into my own small anteroom.
And what did I find in those letters?
"BEHOLD, I AM A SPY!"
As I sat and held in my hand those papers in which were two long
messages, the one written in a very poor English and the other in a
very elegant French, the woman Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye,
trembled with fear of a discovery of her woman's estate while that
daredevil Robert Carruthers raged within and also turned with a deadly
hatred and distrust of the greatest gentleman that _le bon Dieu_
had ever given to him to know. It was as I say, and for this reason:
In the letters were announcements of the arrival of the Lieutenant,
Count Edouard de Bourdon, on that Tuesday which the Madam Whitworth
had mentioned. They were written with great ceremony to my Uncle, the
General Robert Carruthers, as Secretary of the State of Harpeth, to
give to him that information to be conveyed to His Excellency, the
Gouverneur Faulkner, in due form though he already had that
"They make into a fool my revered Uncle, the General Robert
Carruthers, who would keep his State and the Gouverneur of that State
from dishonor!" I exclaimed to myself in my rage. "And this woman
thinks to play with the life of French soldiers as she has with that
same Gouverneur Faulkner, does she? No, there is Roberta, Marquise of
Grez and Bye, who is a soldier of her Republique by appointment from
the great Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles, to both watch and further
the interests of France, whom she must meet in combat first!"
And as I said these words to myself I made a rapid writing of both
papers and with them asked admittance to the room of that false
Gouverneur Faulkner, who had just dismissed the good men who had come
to thank him for his mercy shown to that poor creature Timms.
"Walk right in, sir," said old Cato to me as he gave a low bow of very
great courtesy. Then he looked with eyes of great keenness into my
stormy face. "Make a cross on the floor with that hoodoo in your shoe,
little mas', ef you git in danger or need of luck," he whispered to
me, coming very close. And as he directed I so performed at the very
entrance of the audience chamber of the great Gouverneur of the State
of Harpeth. Then, with a fine relief on his face, good Cato flung open
the door and announced me with great ceremony.
In that room I found my Uncle, the General Robert, and the Gouverneur
Faulkner in deep consultation and they both turned towards me with
anxiety in their faces.
"What did you make of the letters, boy?" asked my Uncle, the General
Robert, with keen anxiety. The great Gouverneur was silent and for the
first time since I had looked into his face my eyes did not glance in
"They both announce the arrival on Tuesday of the Lieutenant, the
Count de Bourdon, to sign the contracts concerning the mules to be
sold by the State of Harpeth to the Republique of France, sir," I
answered in a cold and formal voice and then stood at an attention for
any more questions.
"The devil they do!" exclaimed my Uncle, the General Robert, while
still the Gouverneur Faulkner was silent. "Do they give no excuse for
being nearly ten days ahead of time, sir?"
"No, honored Uncle," I answered. "Madam Whitworth said to me that the
Gouverneur Faulkner had set that date for the arrival of the
Commission, and had so informed her; and I think that to be the reason
for absence of such excuses." And as I made that answer, which was one
of great impertinence from a secretary to a chief who was a great
gouverneur, I looked with cold calmness into the dark star eyes under
their black lashes, which were darting lightnings of anger at my
"God!" exclaimed my Uncle, the General Robert Carruthers, and he
turned white with a trembling as he faced the lightning in those eyes
of the stars. But it was not to his Secretary of State that the great
Gouverneur Faulkner made his denial but to his humble secretary,
Robert Carruthers, who looked without fear into the very depths of
"This is the first time I have heard of a change of date for the
arrival of the commission, Robert," he said in a calm voice as for a
second his eyes held mine, a second which was sufficient for a truth
to pass from his heart and still the storm in mine. I did not
understand all that his eyes said of a great hurt but I knew that what
he spoke was true and would always be.
"And what were you doing gossiping with that lying hussy, sir?"
demanded my Uncle, the General Robert, with instant belief in the word
of that Gouverneur Faulkner, turning his anger upon me, who stood and
took it with such a joy in my heart from the truth that had come into
it from those eyes of the night stars, that I did not even feel its
"_Vive la France_ and the State of Harpeth! Behold, I am a spy!"
I answered him as I drew myself to my greatest height and gave the
salute which his old soldiers give to him at that raising of the
banner of the Cause that he had lost in his youth.
"You young daredevil, you, I'm a great mind to break every bone in
your body, as I have said before," he said to me, but I could see a
smile of pride making a lightning of the gloom in his countenance over
the trouble of his affairs of state. "You keep away from--"
"Robert," was the interruption made by my great beloved Gouverneur
Faulkner, "upon you will fall the task of making the plans for the
entertainment of this countryman of yours. The General and I will be
too busy getting-ready-to-meet-them-on-their-own-grounds to give any
time to that. Remember, they will have to be shown the best grazing
land in the valley, in motor cars. When they are done sizing us up,
we'll be ready for them. The Count and his secretaries will, of
course, be entertained at the Mansion and you can make arrangements at
the hotel for the rest of the suite. Also will you please instruct my
servants, from Cato down, how to make them comfortable and, Robert,
will you confer with Mrs. Whitworth, who, as the wife of the Treasurer
of the State of Harpeth while neither the General nor I have wives,
must be considered as the official social representative of the State,
as to what form the official entertainments must take?" And as he
asked that question of me my Gouverneur Faulkner did not so much as
glance at my Uncle, the General Robert, who gave an exclamation of
contempt in his throat as he began a reading of the two papers which I
had handed to him.
"Also I suppose this means I must give up all hope of services from
that fly-up-the-creek, Clendenning," he grumbled as he read.
"I will do as you bid me, my Gouverneur Faulkner, in all things, and I
will be much helped by both my excellent Buzz and the beautiful Madam
Whitworth," I made answer to the question and command given to me by
the Gouverneur Faulkner, and as I mentioned the name of that lady I
lowered my eyes to the floor and waited for my dismissal. I did not
want to look into his eyes, for I did not know even then if I might
not find that Madam Whitworth there. I only knew that whatever she did
or was to him, his honor was inviolable.
"Well, get to it all," commanded my Uncle, the General Robert. "Get
vouchers for what you spend and pay with State Department checks.
Don't blow in a fortune, you young spendthrift, you, but also remember
that the State of Harpeth is one of the richest in America and knows
how to show France real hospitality."
"That State of Harpeth has shown that hospitality to one humble youth
of France, my Uncle Robert, who has a great gratitude," I made answer
to him as I laid my cheek upon the sleeve of his coat, which was of a
cut in the best style for gentlemen of his age but always of that
Confederate gray, likewise affected by good Cato. Try as hard as
Robert Carruthers will, he cannot force that Roberta, Marquise of Grez
and Bye, at all times to refrain from a caress to the Uncle whom she
so greatly loves.
"Clear out, sir! Depart!" was the response I got to that caress; but
always that wicked Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye, finds in the
face of her relative something that assures her that she can so
venture at a later time.
And as I turned away from that coldness on the part of my august
relative I found a glow of warmth for my reviving in the eyes of my
beautiful Gouverneur Faulkner, who held out his hand to me as I
started to the door for that departure commanded me.
"Blood brothers never doubt each other, Robert," he said to me as with
one hand he grasped my right hand and laid the other on my above my
bandage, over the wound Timms had given to me, which was now almost
With the quickness of lightning I laid my cheek against the sleeve of
his coat, in exactly the caress I had given to my Uncle, the General
Robert, and then did depart with an equal rapidity.
"Can you beat him, Bill?" I heard my Uncle, the General Robert, demand
as I closed the door.
"Impossible," was the answer I thought was returned.
And from that audience chamber I went quickly and alone in my good
Cherry to Twin Oaks, was admitted by Bonbon, whom I instructed not in
any way to allow that I be interrupted, ascended to my own apartment
and seated myself in a large chair before the glowing ashes of a small
fire of fragrant chip twigs, which kind Madam Kizzie had had lighted,
against what she called a "May chill," during my toilet of the
morning. Above me from the mantelshelf, that Grandmamma Carruthers
looked down with her great and noble smile, while the flame in her
eyes seemed to answer that in my soul as I communed with myself.
"What is it that you will now do, Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye?"
I asked of myself with a slight shaking of my knees in their cheviot
trousers. "It is hardly possible that you will escape from revealing
your woman's estate to this Frenchman of your own class. Here all
mistakes of a man's estate are forgiven you and laid to the fact of
your being an alien, but that Lieutenant, Count de Bourdon, will ask
questions of you and perhaps has a knowledge of your relatives and
friends--indeed, must have. Also, already that wicked Madam Whitworth
entertains suspicions of you. What is it that you will do?"
And after I had asked myself for a second time that question I sat and
looked into the eyes of that Grandmamma Carruthers for many long
moments and had an argument with myself; then I answered to her as I
rose to my feet so that my eyes came more nearly on a level with hers:
"No, Madam Ancestress, born of her whom not an Indian or a fierce bear
could frighten away from her duty of protection to those of her
affections, I will not flee. I will stay here by the side of my Uncle,
the General Robert, and my great chief, that Gouverneur Faulkner, to
fight for their honor and to protect France from robbery. Then, if I
be discovered and can do no more for them, I will go from their
presence quickly in the night and be lost in the trenches of France
before I am detained. And if it be that I am not discovered before all
is made well concerning those mules for transportation of food to the
soldiers of France, then I will still go away to the battlefields of
France before it is discovered by all who have given affection to
Robert Carruthers, that he is a--lie. I will leave love for me and for
France in all of these kind hearts, which will comfort me when I fight
for the Republique, or live for her during long years. I grieve
exceedingly; but I go!"
And after that long conference with myself I called upon the telephone
my Buzz and asked of him that he meet me at the Club of Old Hickory,
of which, after the required time of waiting, I was soon to be an
And when I told to my Mr. Bumble Bee the fact that in the space of
barely three days the great gentleman of France would be in Hayesville
for the purpose of a visit and the signing of the contracts concerning
our much discussed friend, the mule, he gave a very long and loud
whistle and placed his elbows upon the smoking table between us.
"Well, this does call for hustle," he said as he knocked from his
cigarette the ashes. "What are your plans, L'Aiglon?"
"I do not know what it is best to plan, my Buzz," I answered in
perplexity. "Of course, there must be the official reception by His
Excellency, the Gouverneur Faulkner, upon the evening of their
arrival, but more I cannot think. Also, I am commanded by His
Excellency to consult the beautiful Madam Whitworth as the only
official wife of the State, on account of the title of Treasurer of
"Oh, Mrs. Pat will be satisfied to shine at the elbow of Governor Bill
at the reception and we can trust her to arrange little odd cosy hours
for herself and any of the bunch who pleases her. It's the man end of
it we want to handle."
"Yes, it is that man end you speak of I wish you to perform for me, my
Buzz," I assented eagerly.
"I'll tell you what let's do," exclaimed that Buzz with a very great
light of enthusiasm coming into his countenance. "Let's don't try to
imitate London, Paris or New York in blowing 'em off; let's give them
a taste of the genuine rural thing. Let's take the bunch down to the
Brice stock farm, Glencove, give 'em a barbecue done by old Cato and
let 'em see the horses run. Gee, they have got a string of youngsters
there! It will take two and a half days, for it's fifty miles down
over a mighty poor road, but it's worth it when you get there. The
Brice farm is the heart of the Harpeth Valley. We took that English
Lordkin, who came to visit Governor Bill last year, down to see old
Brice, and it took us ten days to get him to break away."
"That we will do, my fine Mr. Bumble Bee," I answered with gratitude.
"Sure, it's the thing," said my Buzz with conviction. "We pass right
through the grazing land of the State and we can show them the mule in
the making--the right kind of mule. We'd have to do that anyway, for
that is what they are here for."
I feel a certainty that if I should continue to be an American man for
all of the days I may live, to that three score and ten age, I would
never be able to gain in any way even a small portion of what my fine
Mr. Buzz Clendenning calls "hustle." I went at his side for the three
days which intervened between the news of the arrival of that
Lieutenant, Count de Bourdon, and that actual arrival, in what seemed
to me to be the pace of a very fleet horse or even as the flight of a
bird. And as fast as we went from the arrangement of one detail of
entertainment to another, the beautiful Madam Whitworth went with us,
with her eyes of the flower blue very bright with a great excitement.
I was glad that in all matters it was necessary that my fine Buzz also
consult with her and thus I was not exposed to any of her wickedness
And in my own heart was also a great excitement, for it seemed to me
that I was fighting a great battle for France all alone. All day I
could see that that Mr. Jefferson Whitworth and the other men of
wealth who with him were seeking to be robbers to my Country, were
first in consultation with themselves and then with my Uncle, the
General Robert, and also the Gouverneur Faulkner. Would their powerful
wickedness prevail and be able to force a signing of that paper on the
Gouverneur? Was that in their power, I asked of myself, and in my
ignorance I did not know an answer and had no person to demand one
from. There was no ease of heart to me, when the days went by and I
was so at work with my Buzz that I had no time for words from my
Gouverneur Faulkner or glance from those eyes of the dawn star. I
could only murmur to myself:
"_Vive la France_ and Harpeth America!"
"IMMEDIATELY I COME TO YOU!"
And so the time passed until the morning upon which the same railroad
train which had brought young Robert Carruthers down into the valley
home of his forefathers, arrived with yet another son of France and
his secretaries and servants. All were in attendance at the station of
arrival, from the Secretary of State, the General Carruthers, who in
his large car was to take the Count de Bourdon to the Gouverneur's
Mansion for immediate introduction, down to good Cato in a very new
gray coat and a quite shiny black hat.
"Stand right alongside, Robert," commanded my Uncle, the General
Robert, as he arranged with impatience a large white rose I had placed
upon the lapel of his very elegant gray coat. "I never did like
heathens. They make my flesh crawl. Be sure and repeat slowly all he
says, damn him!"
"He will speak to you in English very like unto that I use, I feel
sure, my Uncle Robert," I said with a great soothing.
"He will not, sir, he will not!" answered my Uncle, the General
Robert, with a great impatience. "Half the blood in your veins is the
good red blood I gave you, sir, and never forget that. Look what a man
it has made of you!"
"Yes, my Uncle Robert," I answered with a great sadness but also some
amusement. In my heart I prayed that always when I had left him he
would think that blood to be the good red blood of a man of honor and
not of a woman of lies. It might be that some day he would be proud
that still another man of his house had died in battle for France
It was while my eyes were covered with a mist of tears that I heard
the great railway train approaching, which was perhaps to bring me my
dishonor, and I drew those tears back into my heart and stepped
forward to the steps of the car from which I could see a very slight
and short but very distinguished looking Frenchman about to descend.
"I thank the good God I have never before encountered him," I said in
my heart as I stood in front of him.
"Lieutenant, the Count de Bourdon, I make you welcome to the State of
Harpeth, in the name of my Uncle, the Secretary of that State," I said
to him in the language of his own country as I clapped together my
heels and gave to him the bow from the waist of a French gentleman who
is not a soldier. "Will you permit that I lead you to that Uncle?"
"Many thanks, Monsieur, is it Carruthers I name you after your
distinguished relative?" he made answer to me as he returned my bow
with first one of its kind and then a military salute.
"Robert Carruthers, sir, and at your service," I made answer to him
with a great formality. And as I spoke I saw that he gave to me a
glance of great curiosity and would have asked a question but at that
moment my Uncle, the General Robert, stood beside us.
"I present to you the General Carruthers, Secretary of the State of
Harpeth, Monsieur the Lieutenant, the Count de Bourdon of the
forty-fourth Chasseurs of the Republique of France." I said with again
a great ceremony and a very deep bow.
"I'm mighty glad to welcome you to Old Harpeth, Count. How did you
make the trip down? said my Uncle, the General Robert, as he held out
his large and beautiful old hand and gave to the Count Edouard de
Bourdon such a clasp that must have been to him most painful. And as I
beheld that very tall grand old soldier of that Lost Cause look down
upon that very polished and small representative of the French army,
that American eagle began a flapping of his wings against the strings
of my heart where I had not before discovered him to reside.
"But he is not as my Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles," I said in
reproof to that eagle, which made a quiet in my heart so that I could
listen to the words returned by the man of France to the man of
"I thank you, Monsieur the Secretary of Harpeth; my journey was of
great pleasure and comfort," were the words which he returned in very
"Then we'll go right up and see Governor Faulkner at the Capitol
before lunch, Count, if that suits you," my Uncle, the General Robert,
said with a very evident relief at those words of English coming from
that French mouth. "Here's my car over this way and this is Mr.
Clendenning, who'll look after the rest of the gentlemen in your party
and bring them on up to the Capitol."
"Monsieur," said the Lieutenant, Count de Bourdon, with another bow
and then a quick recovery as he saw that he must take the hand of
Buzz, held out to him in great cordiality. These handshakes of America
are very confusing to those of Europe.
I saw a great laughter almost to explosion in the eyes of my Buzz at
the very little man who had such a great manner, and I made a hurrying
of him and my Uncle, the General Robert, to the large car standing
beside the station.
"I will precede you in my Cherry," I said as I saw both the gentlemen
seated together upon the back seat of the large black machine.
"No you don't; you take your seat right in here with us, to be on hand
if any bridge of this international conversation breaks down under the
Count and me," answered my Uncle, the General Robert, with stern
"Is it that the young Monsieur Carruthers had an education in France?"
asked the Lieutenant, the Count de Bourdon. "He has the air of
French--shall I say, youth?" And as he spoke again I saw a gleam of
deeply aroused interest in his eyes which made my knees to tremble in
their tweed trousers.
"Born there; son of my brother, who died at the Marne," made answer to
the question my Uncle, the General Robert.
"It is now that I make a remembrance. That Capitaine Carruthers was
the husband to the very beautiful Marquise de Grez and Bye. In her
youth I was her friend. I did not know--" but as the Lieutenant, the
Count de Bourdon, was making this discovery which sent a thrill of
fear into the toes of my very shoes, the car stopped at the main
entrance of the Capitol and halfway down the long flight of steps
stood His Excellency, the great Gouverneur Faulkner of the State of
Harpeth, waiting to receive the guest who came on a mission to him
from a great land across the waters. Until I die and even into a space
beyond that, I shall take that picture of magnificence which was made
by my beloved Gouverneur Faulkner as he stood in the May sunlight with
his bronze hair in a gleaming. I thought him to be a great statue of
Succor as he held out both of his strong hands to the smaller man who
had come from a stricken land for his help.
"_Le bon Dieu_ keep of his heart a friend of France," I prayed as
I watched those hands clasp as my Uncle, the General Robert, made the
And all the long hours of that long day were as dreams of sadness and
fear to me as I went about the many duties of entertainment laid upon
me. At luncheon at that Club of Old Hickory I sat opposite the small
Frenchman who sat on the right hand of my Gouverneur Faulkner, and
opposite to me sat my Uncle, the General Robert. No business was in
discussion at that time but I could see those eyes of French
shrewdness make a darting from one face to another and ever they came
back to me with a great puzzle which gave to me terrible fear.
To all the plans for his entertainment he gave an assent of delight
and for that two days' journey down into the grazing lands of the
Harpeth Valley he had a great eagerness until told that it was to be
undertaken upon the morrow.
"Is it not that we will be occupied on the morning of to-morrow with
the signing of those papers of importance, Your Excellency?" he asked
with a grave annoyance which was under a fine control.
"The Secretary of State, General Carruthers, and I think it will be
best that you see the grazing lands of Harpeth and some of the mules
being put into condition before the signing of the contracts," was
what was "handed out to him," as my Buzz would have expressed it, by
my Gouverneur Faulkner with a great courtesy and kindliness as he
helped himself to some excellent chicken prepared in a fry. I could
see a great start of alarm come into the eyes of that small
Lieutenant, the Count de Bourdon, at those calm words, but he gave not
a sign of it. In my heart was a great hope that something had been
discovered for the protection of my soldiers of France, and I also
took to myself a portion of that excellent chicken and did make the
attempt to consume it as I beheld all of those great gentlemen
performing. I believe that under excitement men possess a much greater
calmness of appetite than do women.
"Monsieur le Gouverneur, it is not necessary that I behold those lands
and those mules; the signature of the great Gouverneur of the State of
Harpeth will make a mule to grow from a desert, in the eyes of the
French Government," he said with a smile of great charm spreading over
his very small countenance.
But just at this moment, when a reply would have been of an
awkwardness to make, the music, which is made by a most delightful
band of black men for all eating in that Club of Old Hickory, began to
play the great Marseillaise, and with one motion all of the gentlemen
in that dining room rose to their feet in respect to the distinguished
guest of that Old Hickory Club. Also many friendly glances were cast
upon me, which I returned with a smile of great gratitude.
"Yes, the pen is mightier than the mule stick in his eyes, the
scoundrel," remarked my Uncle, the General Robert, as I drove to the
Capitol with him in his car, while the Gouverneur Faulkner took his
guest with him in his.
"Is any proof been found that he shall not do this robbery to France,
my Uncle Robert?" I asked with great eagerness.
"Trap is about ready to spring, but not quite. God, but Jeff Whitworth
is a skilled thief! I know what he is up to but I can't quite get it
on the surface. Keep the French robber busy, boy, for a little longer,
and I'll land him. Here we are at the office! Now you get busy keeping
them busy--and I'll land 'em. If not, I'll go and show France what
real fighting is and I'll take you with me into the worst trench
they've got! Battles, indeed--they ought to have been at Chickamauga.
Now depart!" With which words my Uncle, the General Robert, got out of
the car and left me to direct it to wherever I chose.
"I have a warmth at heart that the three men most beloved of me would
go onto the French battle line with me," I murmured to myself as the
black chauffeur drove me back to that Club of Old Hickory to get me
again in company of my Buzz. "And yet it is the custom of women to
believe that they command the deepest affection of which a man is
possessed. And, _helas_, it is believed to be impossible for a
comrade that he be also a lover!"
It has been my good fortune to be one of the guests at many very
brilliant receptions of much state in some of the very grand and
ancient palaces of the different countries of Europe, but at none of
them have I seen a greater brilliancy than at the one given in his
Mansion by the Gouverneur Faulkner of the State of Harpeth in America.
All of that old Mansion, which has the high ceilings and the
decorations of a palace, if not quite the size, was adorned with very
large masses of a most lovely and handsome flower, which is of many
shades of a pink hue set in dark and shining leaves and which is
called the rhododendron. There were many lights and music of a
softness I have never heard equaled, because the souls of those black
men seem to be formed for a very strange kind of music. Also I had
never beheld women of a more loveliness than those of the State of
Harpeth, who had come from many small cities near to Hayesville at an
invitation of very careful selection for their beauty by my Buzz.
"Let's give him a genuine dazzle," he had remarked while making a list
for the sending of the cards.
And most beautiful of all those beautiful _grande dames_ was that
Madam Patricia Whitworth, who, with her husband, stood at the side of
His Excellency, the great Gouverneur Faulkner, for the receiving of
his guests. Her eyes of the blue flowers set in the snow of crystals
were in a gleaming and the costume that she wore was but a few wisps
of gossamer used for the revealing of her radiant body. In my black
and stiff attire of the raven I stood near to the other hand of the
Gouverneur Faulkner and there was such an anger for her in my heart
that it was difficult that I made a return of the smile she cast upon
me at every few minutes. Was there a mockery in that smile, that she
had discovered my woman's estate and was using her own beauty for a
challenge to me? I could not tell nor could I judge exactly what the
smile of boldness which the Lieutenant, the Count de Bourdon, cast
upon me, might mean. And in doubt and anxiety I stood there in that
great salon for many hours to make conversation with the guest of
honor easy with those who came to him for presentation, until at last
I was so weary that I could not make even a good night to my Uncle,
the General Robert, when we entered, long after midnight, the doors of
When in my own apartment, alone with the beautiful Grandmamma, I cast
myself upon the bed upon which my father had had birth, and wept with
all my woman's heart which beat so hard under that attire of the
"Scarcely one more day and perhaps I must flee in dishonor from all
the love of these friends," I sobbed to myself, but deeper than all
that I wept for the picture of that beautiful woman at the side of my
beloved Gouverneur Faulkner.
And then suddenly as I lay in my weeping the telephone upon the table
beside my bed gave a loud ringing in the darkness that was long after
midnight. Very quickly from fear I covered my head with my pillow and
waited with a great fluttering of heart.
Then a second time it rang with a great fury and I perceived that I
must make a response to it.
I arose and took that receiver into my hand and spoke with a fine
though husky calmness.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Is that you, Robert?" came the voice of my beloved Gouverneur, which
made the heart of that anguished Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye,
beat into a sudden great happiness though also alarm.
"Yes, Your Excellency."
"Can you dress very quietly, get your car and come up here to the
Mansion without letting anybody know of it?"
"I will do what you command."
"I need you, boy, and I need you quick."
"Stop the car at the street beyond the side door and come in that way.
Cato will let you in. Come to my bedroom quietly so as not to wake
Jenkins. Can you find your way?"
For just one single long second that _grande dame_, Roberta, the
Marquise of Grez and Bye, cowered in fear upon her warm bed in the
house of her Uncle, the General Robert, at the thought of going out
into the night at the command of a man, and then that devoted
daredevil, Mr. Robert Carruthers, answered into the telephone to the
"Immediately I come to you."
THE TALL TIMBERS OF OLD HARPETH
Is it that there comes to the world an hour in the twenty and four in
which it lays aside the mortality of the earth and clothes itself in
an immortality of a very great awe? I think that it is so; and it was
out into the whiteness of that hour that I stepped when I had
successfully passed from my room to the garden of the home of my
Uncle, the General Robert, which is also the home of my American
ancestors. A command for my presence had come to me from the loved
Gouverneur Faulkner and it was needful that I make all possible haste;
but it seemed to me that all of the beautiful faded flowers of my dead
grandmammas in that garden rose up around me for beguilement and gave
to me a perfume that they had kept in saving for the Roberta, some day
to come across the waters to them. And all of their little
descendants, the opening blossoms of spring, also gave perfume to me
in a mist in the white moonlight, while a few fragrant rose vines bent
to detain me as I left that home of my grandmothers to go out into
that sleeping city, alone. I had a great fear, but yet a great
devotion drew me and in a very few minutes I had driven my Cherry from
the garage and was on my way through the silent streets to--I did not
At the door of the Mansion I was admitted by my good Cato, who was
attired in a very long red flannel sleeping garment, with a red cap
also of the flannel tied down upon the white wool of his head.
"Has you got dat hoodoo, little Mas'?" he demanded of me as I passed
into the hall beneath the candle in a tall stand of silver which he
held high over my head.
"Yes, good Cato," I made answer to him and I was indeed glad that I
had now of a habit put his gift under the heel of my left foot. It
gave me great courage.
"De Governor is up in his room and you kin go right up. I never heard
of no such doings as is going on in dis house dis night with that
there wild man with a gun five feet long, coming and going like de
wind. Go on up, honey, and see what you kin do to dem with dat
hoodoo." With which information good Cato started me up the stairs.
"First door to the right, front, and don't knock," he called in a
whisper that might have come from his tomb in death as he slowly
retired into the darkness below with his candle.
For a very long minute I stood before that door in the dim light that
came through one of the wide windows from the moon without.
"What is this madness that you perform, Roberta, Marquise of Grez and
Bye?" I made demand of myself while my knees trembled in the trousers
of heavy gray worsted.
"Robert Carruthers goes to his chief in an hour of need and he is
descended of that Madam Donaldson who had no fear of the Indian or the
bear when there was danger to her beloved," I made answer to myself
and softly I turned the handle of that door and entered the room of
the Gouverneur Faulkner.
"Is that you, Robert?" came a question in his voice from a large table
over by the window. The room was entirely in shadow, except for the
shaded light upon the table, under whose rays I remarked the head and
shoulders of that Gouverneur Faulkner, at whose bidding I had come out
into the dead of the night. "Come over here and walk softly, so as not
to stir up Jenkins," he commanded me and I went immediately to his
side, even if I did experience a difficulty in the breath of Roberta,
Marquise of Grez and Bye.
"What is it that you wish, my Gouverneur Faulkner?" I asked as I
looked down upon him as he sat with a paper in his hand regarding it
intently. And as I looked I observed that he, as well as I, had not
entirely disrobed after that very brilliant reception. He had
discarded his coat of the raven and also what is called a vest in
America, and he was very beautiful to me in the whiteness of his very
fine linen above which his dark bronze hair with its silver crests,
that I had always observed to be in a very sleek order, was tossed
into a mop that resembled the usual appearance of my own. His eyes
were very deep under their heavy lashes but of the brilliancy of the
stars in the blackness of a dark night.
"Sit down here under the light beside me," was his next command to me,
and he reached out one of his slender and powerful hands and drew me
down into a chair very close beside him.
"What is it?" I asked as my head came so close to his that I felt the
warmth of his breath on my cold cheek.
"Hold these two fragments of paper together and translate the French
written upon them literally," he said to me as he handed me two small
pieces of paper upon which there was writing.
And this is what I discovered to be written:
"The one at the head of all has sent me to this place to
inspect grazing lands and make report. I send in a report of
what is not here and the signing of the papers by your
Gouverneur Faulkner must be done quickly in blindness before a
discovery of what is not--"
"It is written to a woman," I said very quietly as I made a finish of
"Yes, boy, to a woman. I have made my last fight to--to hold an old
belief, which in some way seemed to be--be one of my foundation
stones. The General is right: they are all alike, the soft, beautiful,
lying things. The truth is not in them, and their own or a man's honor
is a plaything. That piece of paper was sent me by a man up in the
mountains of Old Harpeth, who loves me with the same blood bond that I
love you, boy, all on account of a gun struck up in the hands of his
enemy. Here's the note he sent with it.
"Bill, we cotched a furren man fer a revenue up by the still
at Turkey Gulch and this was in his pocket. I made out to read
yo name. I send it. The man is kept tied. What is mules worth?
Send price and what to do with this man critter by son Jim.
Hell, Bill, they ain't no grazing fer five thousand mules on
Paradise Ridge, but I know a place.
"What is the significance of this paper, my Gouverneur Faulkner?" I
asked after I had made the attempt to translate to myself the very
peculiar writing he had given to me.
"I do not know just exactly myself, Robert," answered my Gouverneur
Faulkner as he dropped his head upon his hands while he rested his
elbows on the polished table among its scattered papers. "I am
convinced now that this mule contract business is the plot against my
honor that the General believes it to be and has been trying to get to
a legal surface. In some way Jim Todd has got hold of one end of the
conspiracy. It has been hard for me to believe that a woman would sell
me out. If I take it to her in the morning I'll perhaps get an
explanation that will satisfy me. The men who are in with Jeff
Whitworth are the best financiers in the State and it is impossible to
Very suddenly it happened in my heart to know what to compel that very
large man beside me to do for the rescue of his honor. He must see the
matter, not through the lies of that beautiful Madam Whitworth, the
instrument of that very ugly husband, but he must look into the matter
with his blood friend, that Mr. Jim Todd.
"You must go immediately to that Mr. Jim Todd and his prisoner to
discover truth, Your Excellency," I said with a very firm
determination as I looked straight into his sad eyes that had in them
almost the look of shame for dishonor.
"It's twenty-four hours on horseback across Old Harpeth from
Springtown, boy. The trip would take three days. I can't do it with
these guests here, even if they are robbers. I'll have to stay and dig
down to the root of the matter here. I may find it in the hearts of my
friends," he answered me with a look of great despair.
"The root of the matter is that man who is a prisoner, my Gouverneur
Faulkner. I say that you go; that you start while yet it is night and
while no man can advise you not to take that journey. It can be done
while this entertainment to the farm of the Brices is made for the
inspection of mules and also the running of horses. It is necessary!"
As I spoke to him in that manner a great force rose in me that I
poured out to him through my eyes.
"Great Heavens, boy, I believe I'll do it. I could never get anything
if I went when they knew I was going, but I might find out the whole
thing if I went to it in secret. If I go now they'll not have time to
get their breath before I am back. I'll be able to think out there is
those hills and I'm--a--man who needs to think--with a vision
unobscured." For a long minute my Gouverneur Faulkner sat with his
head bowed in his hands as he rested his elbows on that table, then he
rose to his feet. "Let's get away while it is still the dead of night,
Robert. I'll leave a note with Cato to tell the General that I've
taken you, and nobody except himself must know where I have gone or
why. He'll put up the right bluff and we'll be back before they get
anything out of him. It's three o'clock and we must be far out on the
road by daybreak. We'll take your car and leave it in hiding at
Springtown, where by sunup we'll get horses to cross the mountains."
"Is it that I must go for three days out into those mountains with
you, my Gouverneur Faulkner?" faltered that ridiculous and troublesome
Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye.
"Why, no, Robert, unless--unless--Oh, well, I suppose this prisoner of
Jim's can speak English as they all can. I rather wanted you--but
perhaps it is best for me to fight it out alone. Will you help me pack
a bag? Get the one from my dressing room while I take a plunge."
"Quick, Robert Carruthers, make an excuse to that Roberta, Marquise of
Grez and Bye, who is of such a foolishness, that you must go with your
beloved Gouverneur Faulkner for his aid," I said to myself.
"It is necessary that your foreign secretary accompany you to deal
with that gentleman of France who is in prison, my Gouverneur
Faulkner," I said with decision as I rose from the side of the table
with a great quickness. "I must return home for a few necessities of
my toilet for those three days, but I will be back in what that good
Kizzie says to be a jiffy, when speaking of cooking that is delayed."
"Good," answered me my beloved Gouverneur Faulkner. Then he laid his
hand upon my shoulder as we stood together in the dimness out from the
rays of the light. "There is something in your eyes, Robert, that
renews my faith in the truths of--of life. I'm going out into the
wilderness on a grave mission whose result may shake down some houses
of--of cards, but because of your being with me I feel as if I were
starting off on a picnic or a day's fishing at the age of ten. Now,
I'll hurry." And as he spoke my Gouverneur Faulkner made a start in
the direction of his room for the bath.
"Is it that I may begin the packing of your bag for you, Your
Excellency, before I go for those necessities of my own?" I asked of
"Won't be time for you to go home, boy," he answered me, looking at a
clock upon the mantel over his large fireplace. "You are still in your
evening clothes, I see. But that's easy: you climb into that pink coat
and a pair of those corduroy trousers of mine you see hanging in my
dressing room. I haven't hunted for two years but they are still
there. Put linen in that saddlebag on the shelf for us both out of the
drawers in the old chest over there. Take heavy socks to go under the
leggings. You'd better put on a flannel shirt, too, and take an extra
one for both of us. We'll travel light. I'll only be in the bath a
couple of minutes." With which assurance he entered the room of the
bath and closed the door upon me.
"_Mon Dieu_, Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye!" was all that I
allowed myself to exclaim as I made a very quick rush for that
dressing room, switched on the light, flung off my coat, seized a pair
of corduroy riding breeches that hung in a corner beside another pair,
discarded my own of broadcloth and struggled with both of my legs the
same moment into them. Then in a hurry as great as I shall ever know I
discovered a gray flannel shirt in a drawer of the very tall old
mahogany chest and inserted myself into that with an equal rapidity. A
wide leather belt made the two very large garments secure around my
waist and I again allowed breath to come into my lungs. I then opened
a very queer bag which I knew to be for a saddle, that was upon a
shelf in the dressing room, and began to put things into it according
to directions of the Gouverneur Faulkner. The other pair of those
riding breeches I laid with another of the flannel shirts in a great
conspicuousness upon a chair in the bedroom directly in front of the
door from the dressing room.
"We're going to make a record get-away, boy," said that Gouverneur
Faulkner to me as in a few minutes he came, clothed in those riding
trousers and that flannel shirt, to the door of his dressing room,
where I was just making a finish of putting needful clothing into his
bag. "You'll find the other things we need in the bathroom. Put it all
in while I get together a few papers I want. We can start now in two
"All is ready now, my Gouverneur Faulkner," I made the announcement
after a wading into that very wet room of the bath and a return.
"Here, give me the bag, and you go ahead with this electric torch.
Quiet now," admonished that Gouverneur Faulkner to me as we took our
departure through the dark hall.
"This is the maddest escapade that a Governor of this ancient State
has ever undertaken, and the weight of years has slid from me, boy,"
said that Gouverneur Faulkner to me as the Cherry made a long glide
from the city out into the open road.
The day was just beginning to come with its light from behind the very
large and crooked old mountain that is called Old Harpeth, when my
Gouverneur Faulkner made me to turn my good Cherry from off the main
road into a little road, of much narrowness and of beautiful brown
dirt the color of the riding trousers that I wore, and stop beside a
very humble, small house, which was covered with a vine in beautiful
bud, and around which many chickens hovered in waiting for a morning
breakfast. Behind the small house was a large barn and as I made a
nice turn and stop beside the white gate a man in a blue garment that
I now know is called overalls, came to the door of the barn.
"Hello, Bud. Are Lightfoot and Steady in good condition for a trip
across to Turkey-Gulch?" called my Gouverneur Faulkner as he alighted
from the car.
"Fit as fiddles, Governor Bill," answered the man as he came to the
gate to shake hands with the Gouverneur Faulkner. "'Light and come in
to breakfast. Granny has got a couple of chickens already in the
skillet. And say, I want you to see what Mandy have got in the bed
with her. Ten pounds, Gov."
"Congratulations, Bud; that is some--boy?" said my Gouverneur Faulkner
with a question as he again grasped the hand of the large man.
"Naw, Gov; we didn't have no luck this first shot but I tells Mandy
that we've got about a dozen more chanstes if she does as well by me
as she oughter. Anyway what's the matter with a gal child?" And the
nice young father of the poor little female made a bristle of his
disposition in defense of his daughter.
"Not a thing on earth, Bud; except that the whole sex are the unknown
quantity. This is my secretary, Robert Carruthers, the General's
nephew. Come in, Robert, and you'll have one square meal in your life
if you never get another. Get me the usual food wallet together, Bud,
please, and let me have it and the horses the very moment I've
swallowed the last bite of my drum bone, will you? We've got to ride
fast and far to-day and I want nobody on my trail. Understand?"
"Yep, Gov," was the answer that good Bud man made as my Gouverneur
Faulkner and I took our way through many chickens into the low little
"God bless my soul, if here ain't the Governor come for a bite with
Granny Bell this fine morning!" exclaimed a very nice old lady from
above a stove, which was steaming with food of such an odor as to
create a madness in my very empty stomach.
"More than any bite, Granny," answered my Gouverneur Faulkner as he
came beside the stove to shake hands with the nice hostess.
"I'd like to feed you some gold, fried in silk. Governor Bill, fer
that mercy to my nephew Timms. I can't say what I feels and finish
this cream gravy the right color for you," and as she spoke the fine
old friend of my Gouverneur Faulkner wept as she shook a steaming
sauce in a black pan and turned with the left hand a golden piece of
bread upon another part of the stove.
"I don't need anything more than your 'well done,' Granny," answered
my Gouverneur Faulkner as he laid a gentle hand on the trembling
shoulder of the nice old lady. "This youngster here got the word from
Mary and you can give him both of the liver wings if you want to show
your gratitude to him."
"God bless you, young gentleman, and you shall have anything that
Granny Bell has to give you in gratitude. Now draw up two chairs and
fall to, boys," and as she spoke she set the dishes of a beautiful
odor upon a very clean table beside the stove.
"Is it that I may wash the grease stains of the car from my hands
before eating, dear Madam?" I asked of her.
"Back porch, you'll find the bucket and pan and towel, youngster. I
can't wait for you," made answer my Gouverneur Faulkner as he laughed
and began upon the repast that must of necessity be a hurried one.
THE CAMP HEAVEN
And I was very glad indeed that he did not go with me for that toilet
to my hands, for it might have happened that a noise would have
deprived me of a very beautiful thing that I discovered, through a
window under a vine of roses that opened upon that back porch.
A very pretty young girl, with hair the color of the maize in the
fields, lay upon a white bed beneath a quilt of many colors. Her
sleeping garment was drawn back from her breast, against which lay a
little human person drinking therefrom with much energy. The eyes of
the mother were closed and her arm held the babe loosely as if in a
deep dreaming. I softly poured the water into the basin, made clean my
hands and quietly withdrew into the kitchen, with much care that I did
not awaken her. On my cheeks I could feel a deep glow of color, and
something within my heart pounded with force against my own breast
under its gay red coat of a hunting man. I could not raise my eyes to
those of my Gouverneur Faulkner and I ate not as much of that good
breakfast as Robert Carruthers could have consumed if the woman in his
heart had not been so stirred.
And all of that long day in the soft early spring which was bursting
into a budding and a flowering under the feet of our horses and above
our heads in the trees, it was the woman Roberta that rode at the side
of my Gouverneur Faulkner, with her heart at an ache under her coat of
a man. It was with a difficulty that I forced my eyes to meet and make
answer to the merriment and joy of the woods in his deep ones; and I
was of a great gladness when the descending of the sun brought a
moon-silvered twilight down upon us from the young green branches of
the large trees of the forest through which we rode.
"Time to make camp. We've got to old Jutting Rock. You are halfway up
between heaven and earth, youngster," said my Gouverneur Faulkner as
he drew to a halt his horse in front of me and pointed down into the
dim valley that lay at our feet.
"I am glad that we have made this Camp Heaven," I answered to him as I
slid from my horse, ungirthed him, and drew from his back the heavy
saddle he had worn for the day, as I had been taught by my father to
do after a day's hunting, if no grooms came immediately. "Is it that
you have hunger, my Gouverneur Faulkner?"
"Only about ten pounds of food craving," he made answer to me with a
large laugh that was the first I had ever heard him to give forth.
"I'll rustle the fire and water if you'll open the food wallet and
feed the horses."
"Immediately I will do all of that," I made an answer to him and
because of the happiness of that laugh he had given forth, a gladness
rose in my heart that made me again that merry boy Robert.
And it was with a great industry for a short hour that we prepared the
Camp Heaven for a sojourn of a night. Upon a very nice hot fire I put
good bacon to cook and my Gouverneur set also the pot of coffee upon
the coals. Then, while I made crisp with the heat the brown corn
pones, with which that Granny Bell had provided us, he brought a large
armful of a very fragrant kind of tree and threw it not far into the
shadow of the great tree which was the roof to our Camp Heaven.
"Bed," he said as he came and stood beside the fire in a large
towering over me. I dropped beyond rescue a fragment of that corn
bread into the extreme heat of the coals, but I said with a great
composure and a briefness like unto his words:
"Why is it that a man thinks he wants more of life's goods than
fatigue, supper and bed, do you suppose, boy?" questioned my
Gouverneur Faulkner to me as at last in repletion he leaned back
against our giant rooftree, between two of whose hospitable large
roots we had made our repast, and lighted a pipe of great fragrance
which he had taken from his pocket.
"I would not possess happiness even though I had this nice supper, if
I was alone in this great forest, Your Excellency; I would have fear,"
I answered him with a small laugh as I took my corduroy knees into my
embrace and looked off into that distant valley below us which was
beginning to glow with stars of home lights.
"Didn't I tell you once that you don't count, that you are just
myself, youngster? You ought not to know I am here. I don't know you
exist except as a form of pleasure of which I do not ask the reason,"
was the answer that my Gouverneur Faulkner made to me.
"I excuse myself away with humbleness for impertinence, Your
Excellency," I returned to him.
"If you tried, do you think you could call me Bill, just for to-night,
boy?" was the answer he made to my excuses as he puffed a beautiful
ring of smoke at me.
"I could not," I answered with an indignation.
"I heard you call Sue Tomlinson 'Sue' the first night you danced with
"But that Mademoiselle Sue is a woman, my Gouverneur Faulkner," I
answered with haste.
"That's the reason that women get at us to do us, youngster; we don't
approach them as human to human but we go up on their blind side and
they come back at us in the dark with a knife." And as he spoke all of
the gayness of joy was lost from the voice of my beloved Gouverneur
and in its place was a bitterness.
"With pardon I say that it is not a truth of all women, Your
Excellency," I answered with pride as my head went up high at his
condemnation of the sex of which I was one.
"You don't know what you are talking about, youngster. They all think
I am cold and pass me along, except a few experienced ladies
who--shall I say?--adventure for graft with me. I've been too busy
really to love or let love but I know 'em and you don't. Let's stop
talking about what concerns neither of us and go to bed. See this
young cedar tree? I'm going to throw my blanket across it and with
these extra boughs I'll make a genuine cradle for each of us on the
opposite sides of the trunk. Then we'll cover with your blanket and be
as comfortable as two middies in their hammocks in a man of war. This
is a piece of woodcraft of my own invention and I'm proud of it, old
And while he talked my Gouverneur Faulkner had prepared those cradles
of our blankets unstrapped from the saddles of the horses at feeding
time, seated himself upon the edge of one of them and began to pull
from his feet his riding boots. "Take off your boots and your coat,
youngster, and turn in. I'll take the windward side and you can
bivouac against the fire. Good night!" As he finished speaking my
Gouverneur Faulkner rolled beneath that blanket upon the outer edge
and left for me the hammock next to the fire, sheltered from a cool
wind that had begun to come up from the valley.
Almost immediately, so that I should not have a fright, I lifted the
blanket and crawled into the branches of the fragrant tree. Even as I
did so I perceived a loud breathing of deep sleep from my Gouverneur
Faulkner; but to me came no repose.
Awake through the bright night, I lay there in the sweet branches of
the young tree beside the great Gouverneur of one of the greatest
states of America and perceived clearly the pass to which my course of
lies and dishonor had led me. And from that wild daredevil, Roberta,
Marquise of Grez and Bye, was born the honest woman Roberta who must
extricate herself from a situation not to be longer endured, even if
discovery was not upon me.
"I will finish this journey with my beloved Gouverneur Faulkner," I
counseled myself, "upon which it is of a certainty that this plot for
his ruin in the world of his politics will be averted, and I will
return to the home of my Uncle, the General Robert. If I be not
discovered in my woman's estate in a few days' space of time I will
endeavor to do some piece of loving kindness that will keep me in the
memory of all who have given me love, from poor black Bonbon up to His
Excellency himself here beside me, and then I will go into those
trenches of France to give my life for my country, perhaps not as a
soldier but as a good nurse of the Red Cross. And never, never, must
any living person who has loved Robert Carruthers know that he is a
human of dishonor. Nannette will be true to my directions to hide my
secret, and wee Pierre will keep it forever because I go to fight for
France as he cannot. I will put with great firmness into the mind of
Pierre that he is to be of a great devotion to my Uncle, the General
Robert, through life.
"And what will you do for that great Gouverneur Faulkner, from whom
each day you have stolen more and more affection with your false
attitude of much loyalty, to keep from him grief at the loss of you?"
I asked myself with a sob in my heart.
"Forgive me, my beloved chief. When away from you I must die of a
coldness," I said to myself in a very low tone into the moonlight.
"Cold? Do you want the whole blanket, youngster? Snuggle into your
cradle closer," suddenly answered me my Gouverneur Faulkner as he
reached his long arm across the tree trunk to tuck in the blanket
about me and again he was immediately in the deep sleep from which my
spoken words had but partly awakened him. And then at his bidding I
did settle myself down into the fragrant boughs and I wept myself also
into a deep sleep.
The round sun was high over that Old Harpeth hill when I opened my
eyes. For a moment I did not see clearly and then I looked straight
into the deep eyes of my Gouverneur Faulkner. which for that first
time I had been able to see to be the color of violets in the
twilight. He was seated beside me smoking the fragrant pipe and
looking down at me with a great wonderment that was mingled with as
great a tenderness.
"Boy," he asked softly, "are you sure God has got that pattern of you
put away carefully in France?"
Before I could make answer to him a picture flashed into my mind. When
still a child one morning I opened my eyes to find my loved father
bending over me and in the hollow of his arm he held my mother in her
breakfast gown of lace and ribbons. He spoke:
"Some day, Celeste, a man will bend over her and watch her waken. God
grant it will be with the love--that produced that beauty. Look at
that love curl!"
And at the recall of that picture of me into my mind, my hands flew to
my face to find that same treacherous curl had descended to my cheek
from the mop above. With a fury of embarrassment I sprang to my feet
from under that blanket.
"I have a great hunger," I said as I observed a very crisp breakfast
to be prepared upon the coals of the fire. "I must have a fragment of
bacon upon the instant." And I bent over the fire to obtain what I had
demanded for a cover to my confusion.
"No, you don't, until you've washed that face and those hands that
still have the supper smudge on them, in the pool down there. I left
the soap and the dry sleeves and bosom of a flannel shirt for you.
Don't you pack towels in a kit in your country?" With which laughing
answer my Gouverneur Faulkner denied unto me an immediate breakfast.
"You thought him to admire the love curl, while he was remarking the
soil upon your face, Roberta, Marquise of Grez and Bye," I laughed to
myself as I plunged my face into the icy pool.
After a finish to the breakfast, my Gouverneur Faulkner gave to me the
information that we must tether the good horses and make the remainder
of the journey by walking, which we did for hardly a short hour.
"The wildcat still is straight up Turkey Gulch and we'll have to
scramble for it. It's hid like the nest of an old turkey hen," he said
to me as we set out upon the mounting of a very steep precipice.
"What is that word, 'wildcat still'?" I asked as I slid over a great
rock with emerald moss encrusted, and struggled beside my Gouverneur
Faulkner through a heavy underbrush of leafy greenness.
"A place where men make whiskey in defiance of the law of their
State," he answered me as he held aside a long branch of green that
was pink tipped, so that I might slip thereunder without a scratching.
"Are you not the law of the State, my Gouverneur Faulkner?" I asked of
him as I pulled myself by his arm through the thickness.
"I'm all that, but I'm the son of Old Harpeth and Jim Todd's blood
brother first. Some day I'll smoke Jim out of his hole and get him a
good job. Now, wait a minute and see what happens," and as he spoke my
Gouverneur Faulkner stood very still for a long minute. As I sat at
his side upon the fallen trunk of a large tree I regarded him with
admiration, because he had the aspect of some beautiful, lithe animal
of the woods as he listened with a deep attention. Then very quickly
he put his two long fingers to his mouth, and behold the call of a
wild bird came from between his lips. Twice it was repeated and then
he stood again in deep attention. I made not even a little breathing
as I too listened.
Then came three clear notes of that same wild bird in reply from not
very far up the mountain from us.
"That's Jim, the old turkey; come on!" said my Gouverneur Faulkner as
he again began to break through the leafy barriers of the low trees.
And in a very short space of time a man emerged from a little path
that led behind a tall cliff of the gray rocks. He was a very large
and a very fierce man and I might have had a fright of him if his blue
eyes had not held such a kindness and joy in them at the sight of my
"Howdy, Bill," he said with no handshake or other form of a comrade's
"Howdy, Jim," returned my Gouverneur Faulkner in a manner of the same
indifference but with also an expression in his face of delight at the
sight of his blood brother, that Mr. Jim Todd.
"That thar boy a shet-mouth?"
"He's Bob, and as hard as a nut," was the introduction I had from my
"Then come on," with which command that wild man led us around the
tall cliff of gray rock, over which climbed a sweet vine of rosy
blossoming, which I now know to call a laurel, and we arrived in front
of a small and low hut that was built against the rocks. A clear,
small stream made a very noisy way past the door of the hut, but save
for its clamor all was silent.
"Where are the boys?" asked my Gouverneur Faulkner.
"Hid in the bushes. I've got the man tied back in the still room. I
'low he ain't no revenue but they 'low different. Come back and see if
you kin make out his gibberish."
"Come on, Robert," said my Gouverneur Faulkner to me as he followed
the wild Jim into the hut and back into a room that was as a cave cut
into the rock. And I, Robert Carruthers, followed him--to my death.
Seated upon a rude bench in that cave room, bound with a rope of great
size, disheveled and soiled, but with all of the nobility of his great
estate in his grave face, was my adored friend, Capitaine, the Count
de Lasselles! As we entered he rose beside the bench and in that
rising displayed a chain by which one of his feet was made fast to the
rock of the wall.
"Good morning, sir," said my Gouverneur Faulkner, as if greeting a
gentleman upon the street of that city of Hayesville.
"Also a good morning, sir," made reply my poor Capitaine, the Count de
Lasselles. And he stood with a fine and great courtesy waiting for my
Gouverneur Faulkner to state to him what his visit could portend, as
would he have done in his regimental room at Tour.
And as he stood, for that very long minute, there expired the last
moments of the life of Robert Carruthers. A stream of light fell from
the little window high in the rock upon his luckless head as he stood
as if frozen into a statue of great fear. And as he so stood, the eyes
of the Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles, fell upon him and he started
forward as far as the length of the chain by which he was bound would
allow him and from there held out his hand to the frozen boy standing
in the stream of light from high heaven.
"My most beautiful lady Roberta, do I find that it is you who have
come to my rescue?" he questioned. "I lost you, _mon enfant_, in
that great New York."
"My beloved Capitaine, how is it that I find you thus?" I exclaimed as
I went to within his reach and allowed that he take my two hands in
his poor shackled ones and put warm kisses of greeting upon them.
And it was while I was shedding tears of pity for the imprisonment of
that great man of France in that mountain hut in America, as he kissed
my hands, that I raised my eyes to encounter a cold lightning as of a
flash on steel, from under the black brows of my Gouverneur Faulkner
of the State of Harpeth, that again froze the blood in my heart.
"You?" he asked of me in a voice that was of the same coldness and
sharpness as that steel, and his beautiful mouth was set into one
straight line as he flung into my face that one word.
ALL IS LOST
And to that word of challenge I made no answer, but I raised my head
and looked into his eyes with a dignity that came to me as my right
from suffering. So regarding each other, we stood for a very short
minute in which the Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles, raised his head
from his kisses of salutation upon my hands.
"And, _mon enfant_, is this the good Uncle to whose care you came
into America?" asked that Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles, as he
reached out his imprisoned hands for a greeting to my relative.
I did not make any answer to that question. My head raised itself yet
higher, and I looked my Gouverneur Faulkner again full in the face
while I waited to hear what he would answer of my kinship to him.
"Sir, I am the friend of General Carruthers and I am also the Governor
of the State of Harpeth. I have come across the mountains to talk with
you about the business of this contract for mules for your army and I
have brought your young friend to assist me if I should need
translating from or to you. We Americans, Captain, are poor handlers
of any language not our own, and the matter is of much gravity." And
as the Gouverneur Faulkner spoke those words to my Capitaine, the
Count de Lasselles, with a great courtesy but also a great sternness,
in which he named me not as his friend but as the friend of that
Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles, I knew that I was placed by him
among all women liars of the world and that to him his boy Robert of
honor was of a truth dead forever.
"It is indeed of such a gravity that I have come from the English
Canada to make all clear to myself," answered my beloved Capitaine,
the Count de Lasselles, as he drew himself to his entire height, which
was well-nigh as great as that of the Gouverneur of the State of
"And I have ridden a day and a night, sir, for the same purpose,"
answered my great Gouverneur Faulkner with that beautiful courtesy of
business I have always observed him to use in the transaction of his
affairs in his office at the Capitol of the State of Harpeth. "And as
one of us must make a beginning, will you not tell me, Captain, why
you are here and in this predicament?"
"In a few words I will make all clear to you, Your Excellency," made
answer my Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles, with an air of courtesy