Infomotions, Inc.The Bow of Orange Ribbon A Romance of New York / Barr, Amelia Edith Huddleston, 1831-1919



Author: Barr, Amelia Edith Huddleston, 1831-1919
Title: The Bow of Orange Ribbon A Romance of New York
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): katherine; joris; lysbet; bram; batavius; hyde; neil; heemskirk; semple; joanna; neil semple; captain hyde; madam; mijn kind; lady capel; madam semple
Contributor(s): Hampe, Theo. [Illustrator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 89,126 words (short) Grade range: 8-10 (high school) Readability score: 69 (easy)
Identifier: etext17173
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Title: The Bow of Orange Ribbon
       A Romance of New York

Author: Amelia E. Barr

Illustrator: Theo. Hampe

Release Date: November 28, 2005 [EBook #17173]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

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[Illustration: Cover and spine]

[Illustration: She was going down the steps with him]


[Transcribers note: A title has been created for an unlisted illustration
on p102 of the original text and inserted into the list of illustrations.]


                  _THE BOW OF ORANGE RIBBON_

                    A ROMANCE OF NEW YORK

                _BY AMELIA E. BARR AUTHOR OF
                    "JAN VEDDER'S WIFE"
                  "A DAUGHTER OF FIFE" ETC._

            _WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY THEO. HAMPE_

         _NEW YORK DODD, MEAD & COMPANY PUBLISHERS_

          Copyright, 1886, 1893 BY DODD, MEAD & COMPANY

                  _All rights reserved_

         Typography                     Presswork

  BY ROCKWELL AND CHURCHILL,     BY JOHN WILSON AND SON,

          _Boston_                     _Cambridge_.

                       BY PERMISSION

                   This Book is Dedicated

                            TO THE

               _HOLLAND SOCIETY OF NEW YORK_


[Illustration: ILLUSTRATIONS:]

She was going down the steps with him
May in New York one hundred and twenty-one years ago
Joris Van Heemskirk
Locking-up the cupboards
She was tying on her white apron
"Come awa', my bonnie lassie"
Knitting
Neil and Bram
Tail-piece
Chapter heading
With her spelling-book and Heidelberg
The amber necklace
In one of those tall-backed Dutch chairs
Tail-piece
Chapter heading
He heard her calling him to breakfast
The quill pens must be mended
A Guelderland flagon
"A very proper love-knot"
Tail-piece
Chapter heading
Hyde flung off the touch with a passionate oath
Batavius stood at the mainmast
He took her in his arms
A little black boy entered
Tail-piece
Chapter heading
"Sir, you are very uncivil"
"Listen to me, thy father!"
He took his solitary tea
On the steps of the houses
Tail-piece
Chapter heading
"Katherine, I am in great earnest"
"In the interim, at your service"
"Why do you wait?"
The swords of both men sprung from their hands
Tail-piece
Chapter heading
Oh, how she wept!
"O Bram! is he dead?"
The streets were noisy with hawkers
Katherine was close to his side
Tail-piece
Chapter heading
In its satin depths
Katherine knelt by Richard's side
"I am faint"
"Don't trouble yourself to come down"
"Listen to me!"
Tail-piece
Chapter heading
They stood together over the budding snowdrops
His whole air and attitude had expressed delight
"I am going to take the air this afternoon"
"I will go with you, Richard"
Tail-piece
Chapter heading
"Madam, I come not on courtesy"
"O mother, my sister Katherine!"
"Oh, my cheeny, my cheeny!"
Plain and dark were her garments
Tail-piece
Chapter heading
Katherine stood with her child in her arms
The garden next fell under Katherine's care
"Thou has a grandson of thy own name"
Plate old and new
"Make me not to remember the past"
With a great sob Bram laid his head against her breast
Chapter heading
She spread out all her finery
All kinds of frivolity and amusement
"Dick, I am angry at you"
She was softly singing to the drowsy child
Chapter heading
She was stretched upon a sofa
She stood in the gray light by the window
Chapter heading
She knelt speechless and motionless
Jane lifted her apron to her eyes
"O Richard, my lover, my husband!"
Chapter heading
"One night in Rome, in a moment, the thing was altered,"
"I must draw my sword again"
"We have closed his Majesty's custom-house forever"
"I am reading the Word"
He was standing on the step of his high counting-desk.
Chapter heading
Lysbet and Catherine were unpacking
He marshalled the six children in front of him
The City Hall
He swung a great axe
Lysbet's hands gave it to them
Tail-piece



THE BOW OF ORANGE RIBBON


[Illustration: May in New York one hundred and twenty-one years ago]




I.

"_Love, that old song, of which the world is never weary_."


It was one of those beautiful, lengthening days, when May was pressing
back with both hands the shades of the morning and the evening; May in
New York one hundred and twenty-one years ago, and yet the May of A.D.
1886,--the same clear air and wind, the same rarefied freshness, full of
faint, passing aromas from the wet earth and the salt sea and the
blossoming gardens. For on the shore of the East River the gardens still
sloped down, even to below Peck Slip; and behind old Trinity the
apple-trees blossomed like bridal nosegays, the pear-trees rose in
immaculate pyramids, and here and there cows were coming up heavily to
the scattered houses; the lazy, intermitting tinkle of their bells
giving a pleasant notice of their approach to the waiting
milking-women.

In the city the business of the day was over; but at the open doors of
many of the shops, little groups of apprentices in leather aprons were
talking, and on the broad steps of the City Hall a number of
grave-looking men were slowly separating after a very satisfactory civic
session. They had been discussing the marvellous increase of the export
trade of New York; and some vision of their city's future greatness may
have appeared to them, for they held themselves with the lofty and
confident air of wealthy merchants and "members of his Majesty's Council
for the Province of New York."

[Illustration: Joris Van Heemskirk]

They were all noticeable men, but Joris Van Heemskirk specially so. His
bulk was so great that it seemed as if he must have been built up: it
was too much to expect that he had ever been a baby. He had a fair,
ruddy face, and large, firm eyes, and a mouth that was at once strong
and sweet. And he was also very handsomely dressed. The long, stiff
skirts of his dark-blue coat were lined with satin, his breeches were
black velvet, his ruffles edged with Flemish lace, his shoes clasped
with silver buckles, his cocked hat made of the finest beaver.

With his head a little forward, and his right arm across his back, he
walked slowly up Wall Street into Broadway, and then took a
north-westerly direction toward the river-bank. His home was on the
outskirts of the city, but not far away; and his face lightened as he
approached it. It was a handsome house, built of yellow bricks, two
stories high, with windows in the roof, and gables sending up sharp
points skyward. There were weather-cocks on the gables, and little round
holes below the weather-cocks, and small iron cranes below the holes,
and little windows below the cranes,--all perfectly useless, but also
perfectly picturesque and perfectly Dutch. The rooms were large and
airy, and the garden sloped down to the river-side. It had paths
bordered by clipped box, and shaded by holly and yew trees cut in
fantastic shapes.

In the spring this garden was a wonder of tulips and hyacinths and
lilacs, of sweet daffodils and white lilies. In the summer it was ruddy
with roses, and blazing with verbenas, and gay with the laburnum's gold
cascade. Then the musk carnations and the pale slashed pinks exhaled a
fragrance that made the heart dream idyls. In the autumn there was the
warm, sweet smell of peaches and pears and apples. There were
morning-glories in riotous profusion, tall hollyhocks, and wonderful
dahlias. In winter it still had charms,--the white snow, and the green
box and cedar and holly, and the sharp descent of its frozen paths to
the frozen river. Councillor Van Heemskirk's father had built the house
and planted the garden, and he had the Dutch reverence for a good
ancestry. Often he sent his thoughts backward to remember how he walked
by his father's side, or leaned against his mother's chair, as they told
him the tragic tales of the old Barneveldt and the hapless De Witts; or
how his young heart glowed to their memories of the dear fatherland,
and the proud march of the Batavian republic.

But this night the mournful glamour of the past caught a fresh glory
from the dawn of a grander day forespoken. "More than three hundred
vessels may leave the port of New York this same year," he thought. "It
is the truth; every man of standing says so. Good-evening, Mr. Justice.
Good-evening, neighbours;" and he stood a minute, with his hands on his
garden-gate, to bow to Justice Van Gaasbeeck and to Peter Sluyter, who,
with their wives, were going to spend an hour or two at Christopher
Laer's garden. There the women would have chocolate and hot waffles, and
discuss the new camblets and shoes just arrived from England, and to be
bought at Jacob Kip's store; and the men would have a pipe of Virginia
and a glass of hot Hollands, and fight over again the quarrel pending
between the governor and the Assembly.

"Men can bear all things but good days," said Peter Sluyter, when they
had gone a dozen yards in silence; "since Van Heemskirk has a seat in
the council-room, it is a long way to his hat."

"Come, now, he was very civil, Sluyter. He bows like a man not used to
make a low bow, that is all."

"Well, well! with time, every one gets into his right place. In the City
Hall, I may yet put my chair beside his, Van Gaasbeeck."

"So say I, Sluyter; and, for the present, it is all well as it is."

This little envious fret of his neighbour lost itself outside Joris Van
Heemskirk's home. Within it, all was love and content. He quickly divested
himself of his fine coat and ruffles, and in a long scarlet vest, and a
little skull-cap made of orange silk, sat down to smoke. He had talked a
good deal in the City Hall, and he was now chewing deliberately the cud of
his wisdom over again. Madam Van Heemskirk understood that, and she let
the good man reconsider himself in peace. Besides, this was her busy hour.
She was giving out the food for the morning's breakfast, and locking up
the cupboards, and listening to complaints from the kitchen, and making a
plaster for black Tom's bealing finger. In some measure, she prepared all
day for this hour, and yet there was always something unforeseen to be
done in it.

[Illustration: Locking-up the cupboards]

She was a little woman, with clear-cut features, and brown hair drawn
backward under a cap of lace very stiffly starched. Her tight fitting
dress of blue taffeta was open in front, and looped up behind in order
to show an elaborately quilted petticoat of light-blue camblet. Her
white wool stockings were clocked with blue, her high-heeled shoes cut
very low, and clasped with small silver buckles. From her trim cap to
her trig shoes, she was a pleasant and comfortable picture of a happy,
domestic woman; smiling, peaceful, and easy to live with.

When the last duty was finished, she let her bunch of keys fall with a
satisfactory "all done" jingle, that made her Joris look at her with a
smile. "That is so," she said in answer to it. "A woman is glad when she
gets all under lock and key for a few hours. Servants are not made
without fingers; and, I can tell thee, all the thieves are not yet
hung."

"That needs no proving, Lysbet. But where, then, is Joanna and the
little one? And Bram should be home ere this. He has stayed out late
more than once lately, and it vexes me. Thou art his mother, speak to
him."

"Bram is good; do not make his bridle too short. Katherine troubles me
more than Bram. She is quiet and thinks much; and when I say, 'What art
thou thinking of?' she answers always, 'Nothing, mother.' That is not
right. When a girl says, 'Nothing, mother,' there is something--perhaps,
indeed, _somebody_--on her mind."

"Katherine is nothing but a child. Who would talk love to a girl who has
not yet taken her first communion? What you think is nonsense, Lysbet;"
but he looked annoyed, and the comfort of his pipe was gone. He put it
down, and walked to a side-door, where he stood a little while, watching
the road with a fretful anxiety.

"Why don't the children come, then? It is nearly dark, and the dew
falls; and the river mist I like not for them."

"For my part, I am not uneasy, Joris. They were to drink a dish of tea
with Madam Semple, and Bram promised to go for them. And, see, they are
coming; but Bram is not with them, only the elder. Now, what can be the
matter?"

"For every thing, there are more reasons than one; if there is a bad
reason, Elder Semple will be sure to croak about it. I could wish that
just now he had not come."

"But then he is here, and the welcome must be given to a caller on the
threshold. You know that, Joris."

"I will not break a good custom."

Elder Alexander Semple was a great man in his sphere. He had a
reputation for both riches and godliness, and was scarcely more
respected in the market-place than he was in the Middle Kirk. And there
was an old tie between the Semples and the Van Heemskirks,--a tie going
back to the days when the Scotch Covenanters and the Netherland
Confessors clasped hands as brothers in their "churches under the
cross." Then one of the Semples had fled for life from Scotland to
Holland, and been sheltered in the house of a Van Heemskirk; and from
generation to generation the friendship had been continued. So there was
much real kindness and very little ceremony between the families; and
the elder met his friend Joris with a grumble about having to act as
"convoy" for two lasses, when the river mist made the duty so
unpleasant.

"Not to say dangerous," he added, with a forced cough. "I hae my plaid
and my bonnet on; but a coat o' mail couldna stand mists, that are a
vera shadow o' death to an auld man, wi' a sair shortness o' the
breath."

"Sit down, Elder, near the fire. A glass of hot Hollands will take the
chill from you."

"You are mair than kind, gudewife; and I'll no say but what a sma' glass
is needfu', what wi' the late hour, and the thick mist"--

"Come, come, Elder. Mists in every country you will find, until you
reach the New Jerusalem."

"Vera true, but there's a difference in mists. Noo, a Scotch mist isna
at all unhealthy. When I was a laddie, I hae been out in them for a week
thegither, ay, and felt the better o' them." He had taken off his plaid
and bonnet as he spoke; and he drew the chair set for him in front of
the blazing logs, and stretched out his thin legs to the comforting
heat.

In the mean time, the girls had gone upstairs together; and their
footsteps and voices, and Katherine's rippling laugh, could be heard
distinctly through the open doors. Then Madam called, "Joanna!" and the
girl came down at once. She was tying on her white apron as she entered
the room; and, at a word from her mother, she began to take from the
cupboards various Dutch dainties, and East Indian jars of fruits and
sweetmeats, and a case of crystal bottles, and some fine lemons. She was
a fair, rosy girl, with a kind, cheerful face, a pleasant voice, and a
smile that was at once innocent and bright. Her fine light hair was
rolled high and backward; and no one could have imagined a dress more
suitable to her than the trig dark bodice, the quilted skirt, and the
white apron she wore.

[Illustration: She was tying on her white apron]

Her father and mother watched her with a loving satisfaction; and though
Elder Semple was discoursing on that memorable dispute between the
Caetus and Conferentie parties, which had resulted in the establishment
of a new independent Dutch church in America, he was quite sensible of
Joanna's presence, and of what she was doing.

"I was aye for the ordaining o' American ministers in America," he said,
as he touched the finger tips of his left hand with those of his right;
and then in an aside full of deep personal interest, "Joanna, my dearie,
I'll hae a Holland bloater and nae other thing. And I was a proud man
when I got the invite to be secretary to the first meeting o' the new
Caetus. Maybe it is praising green barley to say just yet that it was a
wise departure; but I think sae, I think sae."

At this point, Katherine Van Heemskirk came into the room; and the elder
slightly moved his chair, and said, "Come awa', my bonnie lassie, and
let us hae a look at you." And Katherine laughingly pushed a stool
toward the fire, and sat down between the two men on the hearthstone.
She was the daintiest little Dutch maiden that ever latched a
shoe,--very diminutive, with a complexion like a sea-shell, great blue
eyes, and such a quantity of pale yellow hair, that it made light of its
ribbon snood, and rippled over her brow and slender white neck in
bewildering curls. She dearly loved fine clothes; and she had not
removed her visiting dress of Indian silk, nor her necklace of amber
beads. And in her hands she held a great mass of lilies of the valley,
which she caressed almost as if they were living things.

"Father," she said, nestling close to his side, "look at the lilies. How
straight they are! How strong! Oh, the white bells full of sweet scent!
In them put your face, father. They smell of the spring." Her fingers
could scarcely hold the bunch she had gathered; and she buried her
lovely face in them, and then lifted it, with a charming look of
delight, and the cries of "Oh, oh, how delicious!"

[Illustration: "Come awa', my bonnie lassie"]

Long before supper was over, Madam Van Heemskirk had discovered that this
night Elder Semple had a special reason for his call. His talk of Mennon
and the Anabaptists and the objectionable Lutherans, she perceived, was
all surface talk; and when the meal was finished, and the girls gone to
their room, she was not astonished to hear him say, "Joris, let us light
another pipe. I hae something to speak anent. Sit still, gudewife, we
shall want your word on the matter."

"On what matter, Elder?"

"Anent a marriage between my son Neil and your daughter Katherine."

The words fell with a sharp distinctness, not unkindly, but as if they
were more than common words. They were followed by a marked silence, a
silence which in no way disturbed Semple. He knew his friends well, and
therefore he expected it. He puffed his pipe slowly, and glanced at
Joris and Lysbet Van Heemskirk. The father's face had not moved a
muscle; the mother's was like a handsome closed book. She went on with
her knitting, and only showed that she had heard the proposal by a small
pretence of finding it necessary to count the stitches in the heel she
was turning. Still, there had been some faint, evanescent flicker on her
face, some droop or lift of the eyelids, which Joris understood; for,
after a glance at her, he said slowly, "For Katherine the marriage would
be good, and Lysbet and I would like it. However, we will think a little
about it; there is time, and to spare. One should not run on a new road.
The first step is what I like to be sure of; as you know, Elder, to the
second step it often binds you.--Say what you think, Lysbet."

"Neil is to my mind, when the time comes. But yet the child knows not
perfectly her Heidelberg. And there is more: she must learn to help her
mother about the house before she can manage a house of her own. So in
time, I say, it would be a good thing. We have been long good friends."

[Illustration: Knitting]

"We hae been friends for four generations, and we may safely tie the
knot tighter now. There are wise folk that say the Dutch and the Lowland
Scotch are of the same stock, and a vera gude stock it is,--the women o'
baith being fair as lilies and thrifty as bees, and the men just a
wonder o' every thing wise and weel-spoken o'. For-bye, baith o'
us--Scotch and Dutch--are strict Protestors. The Lady o' Rome never
threw dust in our een, and neither o' us would put our noses to the
ground for either powers spiritual or powers temporal. When I think o'
our John Knox"--

"First came Erasmus, Elder."

"Surely. Well, well, it was about wedding and housekeeping I came to
speak, and we'll hae it oot. The land between this place and my place,
on the river-side, is your land, Joris. Give it to Katherine, and I will
build the young things a house; and the furnishing and plenishing we'll
share between us."

"There is more to a wedding than house and land, Elder."

"Vera true, madam. There's the income to meet the outgo. Neil has a good
practice now, and is like to have better. They'll be comfortable and
respectable, madam; but I think well o' you for speering after the daily
bread."

"Well, look now, it was not the bread-making I was thinking about. It
was the love-making. A young girl should be wooed before she is married.
You know how it is; and Katherine, the little one, she thinks not of
such a thing as love and marriage."

"Wha kens what thoughts are under curly locks at seventeen? You'll hae
noticed, madam, that Katherine has come mair often than ordinar' to
Semple House lately?"

"That is so. It was because of Colonel Gordon's wife, who likes
Katherine. She is teaching her a new stitch in her crewel-work."

"Hum-m-m! Mistress Gordon has likewise a nephew, a vera handsome lad. I
hae seen that he takes a deal o' interest in the crewel-stitch likewise.
And Neil has seen it too,--for Neil has set his heart on Katherine,--and
this afternoon there was a look passed between the young men I dinna
like. We'll be haeing a challenge, and twa fools playing at murder,
next."

"I am glad you spoke, Elder. Thank you. I'll turn your words over in my
heart." But Van Heemskirk was under a certain constraint: he was
beginning to understand the situation, to see in what danger his darling
might be. He was apparently calm; but an angry fire was gathering in his
eyes, and stern lines settling about the lower part of his face.

"You ken," answered Semple, who felt a trifle uneasy in the sudden
constraint, "I hae little skill in the ordering o' girl bairns. The
Almighty thought them beyond my guiding, and I must say they are a great
charge, a great charge; and, wi' all my infirmities and
simplicity,--anent women,--one that would hae been mair than I could
hae kept. But I hae brought up my lads in a vera creditable way. They
know how to manage their business, and they hae the true religion. I am
sure Neil would make a good husband, and I would be glad to hae him
settled near by. My three eldest lads hae gone far off, Joris, as you
ken."

"I remember. Two went to the Virginia Colony"--

"To Norfolk,--tobacco brokers, and making money. My son Alexander--a
wise lad--went to Boston, and is in the African trade. I may say that
they are all honest, pious men, without wishing to be martyrs for
honesty and piety, which, indeed, in these days is mercifully not called
for. As for Neil, he's our last bairn; and his mother and I would fain
keep him near us. Katherine would be a welcome daughter to our auld age,
and weel loved, and much made o'; and I hope baith Madam Van Heemskirk
and yoursel' will think with us."

"We have said we would like the marriage. It is the truth. But, look
now, Katherine shall not come any more to your house at this time, not
while English soldiers come and go there; for I will not have her speak
to one: they are no good for us."

"That is right for you, but not for me. My wife was a Gordon, and we
couldn't but offer our house to a cousin in a strange country. And
you'll find few better men than Col. Nigel Gordon; as for his wife,
she's a fine English leddy, and I hae little knowledge anent such women.
But a Scot canna kithe a kindness; if I gie Colonel Gordon a share o'
my house, I must e'en show a sort o' hospitality to his friends and
visitors. And the colonel's wife is much thought o', in the regiment and
oot o' it. She has a sight o' vera good company,--young officers and
bonnie leddies, and some o' the vera best o' our ain people."

"There it is. I want not my daughters to learn new ways. There are the
Van Voorts: they began to dine and dance at the governor's house, and
then they went to the English Church."

"They were Lutherans to begin wi', Joris."

"My Lysbet is the finest lady in the whole land: let her daughters walk
in her steps. That is what I want. But Neil can come here; I will make
him welcome, and a good girl is to be courted on her father's hearth.
Now, there is enough said, and also there is some one coming."

"It will be Neil and Bram;" and, as the words were spoken, the young men
entered.

[Illustration: Neil and Bram]

"Again you are late, Bram;" and the father looked curiously in his son's
face. It was like looking back upon his own youth; for Bram Van
Heemskirk had all the physical traits of his father, his great size, his
commanding presence and winning address, his large eyes, his deep,
sonorous voice and slow speech. He was well dressed in light-coloured
broadcloth; but Neil Semple wore a coat and breeches of black velvet,
with a long satin vest, and fine small ruffles. He was tall and
swarthy, and had a pointed, rather sombre face. Without speaking much in
the way of conversation, he left an impression always of intellectual
adroitness,--a young man of whom people expected a successful career.

With the advent of Bram and Neil, the consultation ended. The elder,
grumbling at the chill and mist, wrapped himself in his plaid, and
leaning on his son's arm, cautiously picked his way home by the light of
a lantern. Bram drew his chair to the hearth, and sat silently waiting
for any question his father might wish to ask. But Van Heemskirk was not
inclined to talk. He put aside his pipe, nodded gravely to his son, and
went thoughtfully upstairs. At the closed door of his daughters' room,
he stood still a moment. There was a murmur of conversation within it,
and a ripple of quickly smothered laughter. How well his soul could see
the child, with her white, small hands over her mouth, and her bright
hair scattered upon the white pillow!

"_Ach, mijn kind, mijn kind! Mijn liefste kind!_" he whispered. "God
Almighty keep thee from sin and sorrow!"

[Illustration: Tail-piece]

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




II.

                _"To be a sweetness more desired
                       than spring,--
                    This is the flower of life."_


Joris Van Heemskirk had not thought of prayer; but, in his vague fear
and apprehension, his soul beat at his lips, and its natural language
had been that appeal at his daughter's closed door. For Semple's words
had been like a hand lifting the curtain in a dark room: only a clouded
and uncertain light had been thrown, but in it even familiar objects
looked portentous. In these days, the tendency is to tone down and to
assimilate, to deprecate every thing positive and demonstrative. But
Joris lived when the great motives of humanity stood out sharp and bold,
and surrounded by a religious halo.

Many of his people had begun to associate with the governing race, to
sit at their banquets, and even to worship in their church; but Joris,
in his heart, looked upon such "indifferents" as renegades to their God
and their fatherland. He was a Dutchman, soul and body; and no English
duke was prouder of his line, or his royal quarterings, than was Joris
Van Heemskirk of the race of sailors and patriots from whom he had
sprung.

Through his father, he clasped hands with men who had swept the narrow
seas with De Ruyter, and sailed into Arctic darkness and icefields with
Van Heemskirk. Farther back, among that mysterious, legendary army of
patriots called "The Beggars of the Sea," he could proudly name his
fore-goers,--rough, austere men, covered with scars, who followed
Willemsen to the succour of Leyden. The likeness of one of them, Adrian
Van Heemskirk, was in his best bedroom,--the big, square form wrapped in
a pea-jacket; a crescent in his hat, with the device, "_Rather Turk than
Papist_;" and upon his breast one of those medals, still hoarded in the
Low Countries, which bore the significant words, "_In defiance of the
Mass_."

He knew all the stories of these men,--how, fortified by their natural
bravery, and by their Calvinistic acquiescence in the purposes of
Providence, they put out to sea in any weather, braved any danger,
fought their enemies wherever they found them, worked like beavers
behind their dams, and yet defiantly flung open their sluice-gates, and
let in the ocean, to drown out their enemies.

Through his mother, a beautiful Zealand woman, he was related to the
Evertsens, the victorious admirals of Zealand, and also to the great
mercantile family of Doversteghe; and he thought the enterprise of the
one as honourable as the valour of the other. Beside the sailor pictures
of Cornelius and Jan Evertsen, and the famous "Keesje the Devil," he
hung sundry likenesses of men with grave, calm faces, proud and lofty of
aspect, dressed in rich black velvet and large wide collars,--merchants
who were every inch princes of commerce and industry.

These lines of thought, almost tedious to indicate, flashed hotly and
vividly through his mind. The likes and dislikes, the faiths and
aspirations, of past centuries, coloured the present moments, as light
flung through richly stained glass has its white radiance tinged by it.
The feeling of race--that strong and mysterious tie which no time nor
circumstances can eradicate--was so living a motive in Joris Van
Heemskirk's heart, that he had been quite conscious of its appeal when
Semple spoke of a marriage between Katherine and his own son. And Semple
had understood this, when he so cunningly insinuated a common stock and
a common form of faith. For he had felt, instinctively, that even the
long tie of friendship between them was hardly sufficient to bridge over
the gulf of different nationalities.

Then, Katherine was Van Heemskirk's darling, the very apple of his eye.
He felt angry that already there should be plans laid to separate her in
any way from him. His eldest daughters, Cornelia and Anna, had married
men of substance in Esopus and Albany: he knew they had done well for
themselves, and had become contented in that knowledge; but he also
felt that they were far away from his love and home. Joanna was already
betrothed to Capt. Batavius de Vries; Bram would doubtless find himself
a wife very soon; for a little while, he had certainly hoped to keep
Katherine by his own side. Semple, in speaking of her as already
marriageable, had given him a shock. It seemed such a few years since he
had walked her to sleep at nights, cradled in his strong arms, close to
his great, loving heart; such a little while ago when she toddled about
the garden at his side, her plump white hands holding his big
forefinger; only yesterday that she had been going to the school, with
her spelling-book and Heidelberg in her hand. When Lysbet had spoken to
him of the English lady staying with Madam Semple, who was teaching
Katherine the new crewel-stitch, it had appeared to him quite proper
that such a child should be busy learning something in the way of
needlework. "Needlework" had been given as the reason of those visits,
which he now remembered had been very frequent; and he was so absolutely
truthful, that he never imagined the word to be in any measure a false
definition.

[Illustration: With her spelling-book and Heidelberg]

Therefore, Elder Semple's implication had stunned him like a buffet. In
his own room, he sat down on a big oak chest; and, as he thought, his
wrath slowly gathered. Semple knew that gay young English officers were
coming and going about his house, and he had not told him until he
feared they would interfere with his own plans for keeping Neil near to
him. The beautiful little Dutch maiden had been an attraction which he
was proud to exhibit, just as he was proud of his imported furniture,
his pictures, and his library. He remembered that Semple had spoken with
touching emphasis of his longing to keep his last son near home; but
must he give up his darling Katherine to further this plan?

"I like not it," he muttered. "God for the Dutchman made the Dutchwoman.
That is the right way; but I will not make angry myself for so much of
passion, so much of nothing at all to the purpose. That is the truth.
Always I have found it so."

Then Lysbet, having finished her second locking up, entered the room.
She came in as one wearied and troubled, and said with a sigh, as she
untied her apron, "By the girls' bedside I stopped one minute. Dear me!
when one is young, the sleep is sound."

"Well, then, they were awake when I passed,--that is not so much as one
quarter of the hour,--talking and laughing; I heard them."

"And now they are fast in sleep; their heads are on one pillow, and
Katherine's hand is fast clasped in Joanna's hand. The dear ones! Joris,
the elder's words have made trouble in my heart. What did the man mean?"

"Who can tell? What a man says, we know; but only God understands what
he means. But I will say this, Lysbet, and it is what I mean: if Semple
has led my daughter into the way of temptation, then, for all that is
past and gone, we shall be unfriends."

"Give yourself no _kommer_ on that matter, Joris. Why should not our
girls see what kind of people the world is made of? Have not some of
our best maidens married into the English set? And none of them were as
beautiful as Katherine. There is no harm, I think, in a girl taking a
few steps up when she puts on the wedding ring."

"Mean you that our little daughter should marry some English
good-for-nothing? Look, then, I would rather see her white and cold in
the dead-chamber. In a word, I will have no Englishman among the Van
Heemskirks. There, let us sleep. To-night I will speak no more."

But madam could not sleep. She was quite sensible that she had tacitly
encouraged Katherine's visits to Semple House, even after she understood
that Captain Hyde and other fashionable and notable persons were
frequent visitors there. In her heart she had dreamed such dreams of
social advancement for her daughters as most mothers encourage. Her
prejudices were less deep than those of her husband; or, perhaps, they
were more powerfully combated by her greater respect for the pomps and
vanities of life. She thought rather well than ill of those people of
her own race and class who had made themselves a place in the most
exclusive ranks. During the past ten years, there had been great changes
in New York's social life: many families had become very wealthy, and
there was a rapidly growing tendency to luxurious and splendid living.
Lysbet Van Heemskirk saw no reason why her younger children should not
move with this current, when it might set them among the growing
aristocracy of the New World.

[Illustration: The amber necklace]

She tried to recall Katharine's demeanour and words during the past day,
and she could find no cause for alarm in them. True, the child had spent
a long time in arranging her beautiful hair, and she had also begged
from her the bright amber necklace that had been her own girlish pride;
but what then? It was so natural, especially when there was likely to be
fine young gentlemen to see them. She could not remember having noticed
anything at all which ought to make her uneasy; and what Lysbet did not
see or hear, she could not imagine.

Yet the past ten hours had really been full of danger to the young girl.
Early in the afternoon, some hours before Joanna was ready to go,
Katherine was dressed for her visit to Semple House. It was the next
dwelling to the Van Heemskirks' on the river-bank, about a quarter of a
mile distant, but plainly in sight; and this very proximity gave the
mother a sense of security for her children. It was a different house
from the Dutchman's, one of those great square plain buildings, so
common in the Georgian era,--not at all picturesque, but finished inside
with handsomely carved wood-work, and with mirrors and wall-papering
brought specially for it from England.

It stood, like Van Heemskirk's, at the head of a garden sloping to the
river; and there was a good deal of pleasant rivalry about these
gardens, both proprietors having impressed their own individuality upon
their pleasure-grounds. Semple's had nothing of the Dutchman's glowing
prettiness and quaintness,--no clipped yews and hollies, no fanciful
flower-beds and little Gothic summer-house. Its slope was divided into
three fine terraces, the descent from one to the other being by broad,
low steps; the last flight ending on a small pier, to which the pleasure
and fishing boats were fastened. These terraced walks were finely shaded
and adorned with shrubs; and on the main one there was a stone sun-dial,
with a stone seat around it. Van Heemskirk did not think highly of
Semple's garden; and Semple was sure, "that, in the matter o' flowers
and fancy clippings, Van Heemskirk had o'er much o' a gude thing." But
still the rivalry had always been a good-natured one, and, in the
interchange of bulbs and seeds, productive of much friendly feeling.

The space between the two houses was an enclosed meadow; and this
afternoon, the grass being warm and dry, and full of wild flowers,
Katherine followed the narrow foot-path through it, and entered the
Semple garden by the small side gate. Near this gate was a stone dairy,
sunk below the level of the ground,--a deliciously cool, clean spot,
even in the hottest weather. Passing it, she saw that the door was open,
and Madam Semple was busy among its large, shallow, pewter cream-dishes.
Lifting her dainty silk skirts, she went down the few steps, and stood
smiling and nodding in the doorway. Madam was beating some rich curd
with eggs and currants and spices; and Katherine, with a sympathetic
smile, asked delightedly,--

"Cheesecakes, madam?"

"Just cheesecakes, dearie."

"Oh, I am glad! Joanna is coming, too, only she had first some flax to
unplait. Wait for her I could not. Let me fill some of these pretty
little patty pans."

"I'll do naething o' the kind, Katherine. You'd be spoiling the bonnie
silk dress you hae put on. Go to the house and sit wi' Mistress Gordon.
She was asking for you no' an hour ago. And, Katherine, my bonnie
lassie, dinna gie a thought to one word that black-eyed nephew o' her's
may say to you. He's here the day and gane to-morrow, and the lasses
that heed him will get sair hearts to themsel's."

The bright young face shadowed, and a sudden fear came into Madam
Semple's heart as she watched the girl turn thoughtfully and slowly
away. The blinds of the house were closed against the afternoon sun; but
the door stood open, and the wide, dim stairway was before her. All was
as silent as if she had entered an enchanted castle. And on the upper
hall the closed doors, and the soft lights falling through stained glass
upon the dark, rich carpets, made an element of mystery, vague and
charmful, to which Katherine's sensitive, childlike nature was fully
responsive.

Slowly she pushed back a heavy mahogany door, and entered a large room,
whose richly wainscoted walls, heavy friezes, and beautifully painted
ceiling were but the most obvious points in its general magnificence. On
a lounge covered with a design done in red and blue tent stitch, an
elegantly dressed woman was sitting, reading a novel. "The Girl of
Spirit," "The Fair Maid of the Inn," "The Curious Impertinent," and
other favourite tales of the day, were lying upon an oval table at her
side.

"La, child!" she cried, "come here and give me a kiss. So you wear that
sweet-fancied suit again. You are the most agreeable creature in it;
though Dick vows upon his sword-hilt that you look a hundred times more
bewitching in the dress you wore this morning."

"How? This morning, madam? This morning Captain Hyde did not see me at
all."

"Pray don't blush so, child; though, indeed, it is vastly becoming. I do
assure you he saw you this morning. He had gone out early to take the
air, and he had a most transporting piece of good fortune: for he
bethought himself to walk under the great trees nearly opposite your
house; and when you came to the door, with your excellent father, he
noted all, from the ribbon on your head to the buckles on your shoes.
His talk now is of nothing but your short quilted petticoat, and your
tight bodice, and beautiful bare arms. Is that the Dutch style, then,
child? It must be extremely charming."

"If my mother you could see in it! She is beautiful. And we have a
picture of my grandmother in the true Zealand dress. Like a princess she
looks, my father says; but, indeed, I have never seen a princess."

"My dear, you must allow me to laugh a little. Will you believe it,
princesses are sometimes very vulgar creatures? I am sure, however, that
your grandmother was very genteel and agreeable. I must tell you that I
have just received my new scarf from London. You shall see it, and give
me your opinion."

"O madam, you are very kind! What is it like?"

"It is all extravagance in mode and fancy. I believe, my dear, there are
two hundred yards of edging on it; and it has the most enchanting slope
to the shoulders. I am wonderfully pleased with it, and hope it will
prove becoming."

"Indeed, I think all your suits are becoming."

"Faith, child, I think they are. I have always dressed with the most
perfect intelligence. I follow all the fashions, and they must be
French. La, here comes Richard. He is going to ask you to take a sail on
the river; and I shall lend you my new green parasol. I do believe it is
the only one in the country."

"I came to sit with you, and work with my worsteds. Perhaps my
mother--might not like me to go on the river with--any one."

"Pray, child, don't be affected. 'My mother--might not like me to go on
the river with--any one;'" and she mimicked Katherine so cleverly that
the girl's face burned with shame and annoyance.

But she had no time to defend herself; for, with his cavalry cap in his
hand, and a low bow, Captain Hyde entered the room; and Katharine's
heart throbbed in her cheeks, and she trembled, and yet withal dimpled
into smiles, like clear water in the sunshine. A few minutes afterward
she was going down the terrace steps with him; and he was looking into
her face with shining eyes, and whispering the commonest words in such
an enchanting manner that it seemed to her as if her feet scarcely
touched the low, white steps, and she was some sort of glorified
Katherine Van Heemskirk, who never, never, never could be unhappy again.

They did not go on the river. Captain Hyde hated exertion. His splendid
uniform was too tight to row in. He did not want a third party near, in
any capacity. The lower steps were shaded by great water beeches, and
the turf under them was green and warm. There was the scent of lilies
around, the song of birds above, the ripple of water among pebbles at
their feet. A sweeter hour, a lovelier maid, man could never hope to
find; and Captain Hyde was not one to neglect his opportunity.

"Let us stay here, my beloved," he whispered. "I have something sweet to
tell you. Upon mine honour, I can keep my secret no longer."

The innocent child! Who could blame her for listening to it?--at first
with a little fear and a little reluctance, but gradually resigning her
whole heart to the charm of his soft syllables and his fervent manner,
until she gave him the promise he begged for,--love that was to be for
him alone, love for him alone among all the sons of men.

What an enchanted afternoon it was! how all too quickly it fled away,
one golden moment after another! and what a pang it gave her to find at
the end that there must be lying and deception! For, somehow, she had
been persuaded to acquiesce in her lover's desire for secrecy. As for
the lie, he told it with the utmost air of candour.

"Yes, we had a beautiful sail; and how enchanting the banks above here
are! Aunt, I am at your service to-morrow, if you wish to see them."

"Oh, your servant, Captain, but I am an indifferent sailor; and I trust
I have too much respect for myself and my new frocks, to crowd them into
a river cockboat!"

In a few minutes Joanna and the elder came in. He had called for her on
his way home; for he liked the society of the young and beautiful, and
there were many hours in which he thought Joanna fairer than her sister.
Then tea was served in a pretty parlour with Turkish walls and coloured
windows, which, being open into the garden, framed lovely living
pictures of blossoming trees. Every one was eating and drinking,
laughing and talking; so Katherine's unusual silence was unnoticed,
except by the elder, who indeed saw and heard everything, and who knew
what he did not see and hear by that kind of prescience to which wise
and observant years attain. He saw that the cakes Katherine dearly loved
remained upon her plate untasted, and that she was unusually,
suspiciously quiet.

After tea he walked down the garden with Colonel Gordon. The lily bed
was near the river; and he made the gathering of some lilies for
Katherine an excuse for going close enough to the pier to see how the
boat lay, and whether the oars had been moved from the exact position in
which he had placed them. And he found the boat rocking at its moorings,
tied with his own peculiar knot. It told him everything, and he was
sincerely troubled at the discovery.

[Illustration: In one of those tall-backed Dutch chairs]

"Love and lying," he mused. "I wonder why they are ever such thick
friends. As for Dick Hyde, lying is his native tongue; but if Katharine
Van Heemskirk has been aye one thing above another, it was to tell the
truth. It ought to come easy to her likewise, for I'll say the same o'
the hale nation o' Dutchmen. I dinna think Joris would tell a lie to
save baith life and fortune."

He looked at Katherine almost sternly when he went back to the house;
though he gave her the lilies, and bid her keep her soul sweet and pure
as their white bells. She was sitting by Mistress Gordon's side, in one
of those tall-backed Dutch chairs, whose very blackness and straightness
threw into high relief her own undulating roundness and mobility, the
glowing colours of her Indian silk gown, the shining amber against her
white throat, and the picturesque curl and flow of her fair hair.
Captain Hyde sat opposite, bending toward her; and his aunt reclined
upon the couch, and watched them with a singular look of speculation in
her half-shut eyes.

Joanna was talking to Neil Semple in the recess of a window; but Neil's
face was white with suppressed anger, and, though he seemed to be
listening to her, his eyes--full of passion--were fixed upon Hyde.
Perhaps the young soldier was conscious of it; for he occasionally
addressed some trivial remark to him, as if to prevent Neil from losing
sight of the advantages he had over him.

"The vera air o' this room is gunpowdery," thought the elder; "and ane
or the other will be flinging a spark o' passion into it, and then the
de'il will be to pay. O'er many women here! O'er many women here! One is
enough in any house. I'll e'en tak' the lasses hame mysel'; and I'll
speak to Joris for his daughter,--as good now as any other time."

Then he said in his blandest tones, "Joanna, my dearie, you'll hae to
tell Neil the rest o' your tale the morn; and, Katherine, put awa' now
that bit o' busy idleness, and don your hoods and mantles, baith o'
you. I'm going to tak' you hame, and I dinna want to get my deathe wi'
the river mist."

"Pray, sir," said Hyde, "consider me at your service. I have occasion to
go into town at once, and will do your duty to the young ladies with
infinite pleasure."

"Much obliged, Captain, vera much obliged; but it tak's an auld
wise-headed, wise-hearted man like mysel' to walk safely atween twa
bonnie lasses;" then turning to his son, he added, "Neil, my lad, put
your beaver on, and go and find Bram. You can tell him, as he didna come
to look after his sisters afore this hour, he needna come at a'."

"Do you know, father, where Bram is likely to be found?"

"Hum-m-m! As if you didna know yoursel'! He will dootless be among that
crowd o' young wiseacres wha are certain the safety o' the Provinces is
in their keeping. It's the young who ken a' things, ken mair than
councils and assemblies, and king and parliament, thegither."

Colonel Gordon laughed. "Never mind, sir," he said, "they let the army
alone, and the church; so you and I need hardly alarm ourselves"--

"I'm no sure o' that, Colonel. When it comes to the army, it's a mere
question o' wha can strike the hardest blows; and as to kirk matters,
I'm thinking men had better meddle wi' the things o' God, which they
canna change, than wi' those o' the king wi' which they can wark a deal
o' mischief."

While he was speaking, Neil left the room. The little argument struck
him as a pretext and a cover, and he was glad to escape from a position
which he felt to be both painful and humiliating. He was in a measure
Captain Hyde's host, and subject to traditions regarding the duties of
that character; any display of anger would be derogatory to him, and yet
how difficult was restraint! So his father's interference was a welcome
one; and he was reconciled to his own disappointment, when, looking
back, he saw the old gentleman slowly taking the road to Van Heemskirk's
with the pretty girls in their quilted red hoods, one on each side of
him.

The elder was very polite to his charges; he never once regretted to
them the loss of his pipe, and chat with Colonel Gordon. But he noticed
that Katherine was silent and disappointed, and that she lingered in her
own room after her arrival at home. Her subsequent pretty cheerfulness,
her delight in her lilies, her confiding claims upon her father's
love,--nothing in these things deceived him. He saw beneath all the
fluttering young heart, trembling, and yet happy in the new, sweet
feeling, never felt before, which had come to it that afternoon.

But he thought that most girls had to have this initiative: it prepared
the way for a soberer and more lasting affection. In the end, Katherine
would perceive how imprudent, how impossible, a marriage with Captain
Hyde must be; and her heart would turn back to Neil, who had been her
lover from boyhood. Yet he reflected, it would be well to have the
matter understood, and to give it that "possibility" which is best
attained on a money basis.

So while he and the Van Heemskirks discussed the matter,--a little
reluctantly, he thought, on their part,--Katherine talked with Joanna of
the Gordons. Her heart was so full of her lover, that it was a relief to
discuss the people and things nearest to him. And her very repression
excited her. She toyed with her cambric kerchief before the small
looking-glass, and imitated the fashionable English lady with a piquant
cleverness that provoked low peals of laughter, and a retrospective
discussion of the evening, which was merry enough, without being in the
least ill-natured.

But, oh, in what strange solitudes every separate soul dwells! When
Katherine kissed her sister, and said simperingly, with the highest
English accent, "La, child, I protest it has been the most agreeable
evening," Joanna had not a suspicion of the joy and danger that had come
to the dear little one at her side. She was laughing softly with her,
even while the fearful father stood at the closed door, and lifted up
his tender soul in that pathetic petition, "_Ach, mijn kind! mijn kind!
mijn liefste kind!_ Almighty God preserve thee from all sin and sorrow!"

[Illustration: Tail-piece]

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




III.

          "_The proverb holds, that to be wise and love
          Is hardly granted to the gods above._"


"Well, well, to-day goes to its forefathers, like all the rest; and, as
for what comes after it, every thing is in the love and counsel of the
Almighty One."

This was Joris Van Heemskirk's last thought ere he fell asleep that
night, after Elder Semple's cautious disclosure and proposition. In his
calm, methodical, domestic life, it had been an "eventful day." We say
the words often and unreflectingly, seldom pausing to consider that such
days are the results which months, years, perchance centuries, have made
possible. Thus, a long course of reckless living and reckless gambling,
and the consequent urgent need of ready money, had first made Captain
Hyde turn his thoughts to the pretty daughter of the rich Dutch
merchant.

Madam Semple, in her desire to enhance the importance of the Van
Heemskirks, had mentioned more than once the handsome sums of ready
money given to each of Katharine's sisters on their wedding-day; and
both Colonel Gordon and his wife had thought of this sum so often, as a
relief to their nephew's embarrassments, that it seemed almost as much
Hyde's property as if he had been born to inherit it. At first
Katherine, as its encumbrance, had been discussed very heartlessly,--she
could be left in New York when his regiment received marching orders, if
it were thought desirable; or she could be taken to England, and settled
as mistress of Hyde Manor House, a lonely mansion on the Norfolk fens,
which was so rarely tenanted by the family that Hyde had never been
there since his boyhood.

"She is a homespun little thing," laughed the colonel's fashionable
wife, "and quite unfit to go among people of our condition. But she
adores you, Dick; and she will be passably happy with a house to manage,
and a visit from you when you can spare the time."

"Oh, your servant, aunt! Then I am a very indifferent judge; for indeed
she has much spirit below her gentle manner; and, upon my word, I think
her as fine a creature as you can find in the best London society. The
task, I assure you, is not easy. When Katherine is won, then, in faith,
her father may be in no hurry of approval. And the child is a fair,
innocent child: I am very uneasy to do her wrong. The ninety-nine
plagues of an empty purse are to blame for all my ill deeds."

"Upon my word, Dick, nothing can be more commendable than your temper.
You make vastly proper reflection, sir; but you are in troubled
waters,--admit it,--and this little Dutch-craft may bring you
respectably into harbour.

It was in this mood that Katherine and her probable fortune had been
discussed; and thus she was but one of the events, springing from lives
anterior to her own, and very different from it. And causes nearly as
remote had prepared the way for her ready reception of Hyde's homage,
and the relaxation of domestic discipline which had trusted her so often
and so readily in his society--causes which had been forgotten, but
which had left behind them a positive and ever-growing result. When a
babe, she was remarkably frail and delicate; and this circumstance,
united to the fact of her being the youngest child, had made the whole
household very tender to her, and she had been permitted a much larger
portion of her own way than was usually given to any daughter in a Dutch
family.

Also, in her father's case, the motives influencing his decision
stretched backward through many generations. None the less was their
influence potent to move him. In fact, he forgot entirely to reflect how
a marriage between his child and Captain Hyde would be regarded at that
day; his first thoughts had been precisely such thoughts as would have
occurred to a Van Heemskirk living two hundred years before him. And
thus, though we hardly remember the fact, it is this awful solidarity of
the human family which makes the third and fourth generations heirs of
their forefathers, and brings into every life those critical hours we
call "eventful days."

Joris, however, made no such reflections. His age was not an age
inclined to analysis, and he was still less inclined to it from a
personal standpoint. For he was a man of few, but positive ideas; yet
these ideas, having once commended themselves to his faith or his
intelligence, were embraced with all his soul. It was this spirit which
made him deprecate even religious discussions, so dear to the heart of
his neighbour.

[Illustration: He heard her calling him to breakfast]

"I like them not, Elder," he would say; "of what use are they, then?
The Calvinistic faith is the true faith. That is certain. Very well,
then; what is true does not require to be examined, to see if it be
true."

Semple's communication regarding Captain Hyde and his daughter had
aroused in him certain feelings, and led him to certain decisions. He
went to sleep, satisfied with their propriety and justice. He awoke in
precisely the same mood. Then he dressed, and went into his garden. It
was customary for Katherine to join him there; and he frequently turned,
as he went down the path, to see if she were coming. He watched eagerly
for the small figure in its short quilted petticoat and buckled shoes,
and the fair, pink face shaded by the large Zealand hat, with its long
blue ribbons crossed over the back. But this morning she did not come.
He walked alone to his lily bed, and stooped a little forlornly to
admire the tulips and crocus-cups and little purple pansies; but his
face brightened when he heard her calling him to breakfast, and very
soon he saw her leaning over the half door, shading her eyes with both
her hands, the better to watch his approach.

Lysbet was already in her place; so was Joanna, and also Bram; and a
slim black girl called Dinorah was handing around fricasseed chicken and
venison steaks, hot fritters and johnny-cake; while the rich Java berry
filled the room with an aroma of tropical life, and suggestions of the
spice-breathing coasts of Sunda. Joris and Bram discussed the business
of the day; Katherine was full of her visit to Semple House the
preceding evening. Dinorah was no restraint. The slaves Joris owned,
like those of Abraham, were born or brought up in his own household;
they held to all the family feelings with a faithful, often an
unreasonable, tenacity.

And yet, this morning, Joris waited until Lysbet dismissed her handmaid,
before he said the words he had determined to speak ere he began the
work of the day. Then he put down his cup with an emphasis which made
all eyes turn to him, and said,--

"_Katrijntje_, my daughter, call not to-day, nor call not any day, until
I tell you different, at Madam Semple's. The people who go and come
there, I like them not. They will be no good to you. Lysbet, what say
you in this matter?"

"What you say, I say, Joris. The father is to be obeyed. When he will
not, the children can not."

"Joanna, what say you?"

"I like best of all things to do your pleasure, father."

"And you, Bram?"

"As for me, I think you are very right. I like not those English
officers,--insolent and proud men, all of them. It would have been a
great pleasure to me to strike down the one who yesterday spurned with
his spurred boot our good neighbour Jacob Cohen, for no reason but that
he was a Jew"--

"Heigho! go softly, Bram. That which burns thee not, cool not."

"As he passed our store door where I stood, he said 'devil,' but he
meant me."

"Only God knows what men mean. Now, then, little one, thy will is my
will, is it not?"

She had drawn her chair close to her father's, and taken his big hand
between her own, and was stroking and petting it as he spoke; and, ere
she answered, she leaned her head upon his breast.

"Father, I like to see the English lady; and she is teaching me the new
stitch."

"_Schoone Lammetje_! There are many other things far better for thee to
learn; for instance, to darn the fine Flemish lace, and to work the
beautiful 'clocks' on thy stockings, and to make perfect thy Heidelberg
and thy Confession of Faith. In these things, the best of all good
teachers is thy mother."

"I can do these things also, father. The lady loves me, and will be
unhappy not to see me."

"Then, let her come here and see thee. That will be the proper thing.
Why not? She is not better than thou art. Once thy mother has called on
her; thou and Joanna, a few times too often. Now, then, let her call on
thee. Always honour thyself, as well as others. That is the Dutch way;
that is the right way. Mind what I tell thee."

His voice had gradually grown sterner; and he gently withdrew his hand
from her clasp, and rose as a man in a hurry, and pressed with affairs:
"Come, Bram, there is need now of some haste. The 'Sea Hound' has her
cargo, and should sail at the noon-tide; and, as for the 'Crowned
Bears,' thou knowest there is much to be said and done. I hear she left
most of her cargo at Perth Amboy. Well, well, I have told Jerome Brakel
what I think of that. It is his own affair."

Thus talking, he left the room; and Lysbet instantly began to order the
wants of the house with the same air of settled preoccupation. "Joanna,"
she said, "the linen web in the loom, go and see how it is getting on;
and the fine napkins must be sent to the lawn for the bleaching, and
to-day the chambers must be aired and swept. The best parlour Katherine
will attend to."

Katherine still sat at the table; her eyes were cast down, and she was
arranging--without a consciousness of doing so--her bread-crumbs upon
her Delft plate. The directions roused her from her revery, and she
comprehended in a moment how decisive her father's orders were intended
to be. Yet in this matter she was so deeply interested that she
instinctively made an appeal against them.

"Mother, my mother, shall I not go once more to see Madam Gordon? So
kind she has been to me! She will say I am ungrateful, that I am rude,
and know not good manners. And I left there the cushion I am making, and
the worsteds. I may go at once, and bring them home? Yes, mother, I may
go at once. A young girl does not like to be thought ungrateful and
rude."

"More than that, Katherine; a young girl should not like to disobey a
good father. You make me feel astonished and sorry. Here is the key of
the best parlour; go now, and wash carefully the fine china-ware. As to
the rose-leaves in the big jars, you must not let a drop of water touch
them."

"My cushion and my worsteds, mother!"

"Well, then, I will send Dinorah for them with a civil message. That
will be right."

So Lysbet turned and left the room. She did not notice the rebellious
look on her daughter's face, the lowering brows, the resentment in the
glance that followed her, the lips firmly set to the mental purpose. "To
see her lover at all risks"--that was the purpose; but how best to
accomplish it, was not clear to her. The ways of the household were so
orderly, so many things brought the family together during the day,
Lysbet and Joanna kept such a loving watch over her, the road between
their own house and the Semples' was so straight and unscreened, and she
was, beside, such a novice in deception,--all these circumstances
flashing at once across her mind made her, for a moment or two, almost
despair.

But she lifted the key given her and went to the parlour. It was a
large, low room, with wainscoted walls, and a big tiled fireplace nearly
filling one end of it. The blinds were closed, but there was enough
light to reveal its quaint and almost foreign character. Great jars with
dragons at the handles stood in the recesses made by large oak cabinets,
black with age, and elaborately carved with a marvellous nicety and
skill. The oval tables were full of curious bits of china, dainty
Oriental wicker work, exquisite shells on lacquered trays, wonderfully
wrought workboxes and fans and amulets. The odours of calamus and myrrh
and camphor from strange continents mingled with the faint perfume of
the dried rose leaves and the scent-bags of English lavender. Many of
these rare and beautiful things were the spoils brought from India and
Java by the sea-going Van Heemskirks of past generations. Others had
come at long intervals as gifts from the captains of ships with whom the
house did business. Katherine had often seen such visitors--men with
long hair and fierce looks, and the pallor of hot, moist lands below the
tan of wind and sunshine. It had always been her delight to dust and
care for these various treasures; and the room itself, with its
suggestive aromas, was her favourite hiding-place. Here she had made her
own fairy tales, and built the enchanted castles which the less
fortunate children of this day have clever writers build for them.

And at length the prince of her imagination had come! As she moved about
among the strange carven toys and beautiful ornaments, she could think
only of him,--of his stately manner and dark, handsome face. Simple,
even rustic, she might be; but she understood that he had treated her
with as much deference and homage as if she had been a princess. She
recalled every word he said to her as they sat under the water beeches.
More vividly still she recalled the tender light in his eyes, the
lingering clasp of his hand, his low, persuasive voice, and that
nameless charm of fashion and culture which perhaps impressed her more
than any other thing.

Among the articles she had to dust was a square Indian box with drawers.
It had always been called "the writing-box," and it was partly filled
with paper and other materials for letter-writing. She stood before the
open lid thoughtfully, and a sudden overwhelming desire to send some
message of apology to Mrs. Gordon came into her heart. She could write
pretty well, and she had seen her mother and Joanna fold and seal
letters; and, although she was totally inexperienced in the matter, she
determined to make the effort.

[Illustration: The quill pens must be mended]

There was nothing in the materials then to help her. The letter paper
was coarse; envelopes were unknown. She would have to bring a candle
into the room in order to seal it; and a candle could only be lit by
striking a spark from the flint upon the tinder, and then igniting a
brimstone match from it,--unless she lit it at the kindled fire, which
would subject her to questions and remonstrances. Also, the quill pens
must be mended, and the ink renewed. But all these difficulties were
overcome, one by one; and the following note was intrusted to the care
of Diedrich Becker, the old man who worked in the garden and milked the
cows:

To MISTRESS COLONEL GORDON: HONOURED MADAM: My father forbids that I
come to see you. He thinks you should upon my mother call. That you will
judge me to be rude and ungrateful I fear very much. But that is not
true. I am unhappy, indeed. I think all the day of you.

                                   Your obedient servant,
                                                KATHERINE VAN HEEMSKIRK.

"'The poor child," said Mrs. Gordon, when she had read the few anxious
sentences. "Look here, Dick;" and Dick, who was beating a tattoo upon
the window-pane, turned listlessly and asked, "Pray, madam, what is it?"

"Of all earthly things, a letter from that poor child, Katherine Van
Heemskirk. She has more wit than I expected. So her father won't let her
come to me. Why, then, upon my word, I will go to her."

Captain Hyde was interested at once. He took the letter his aunt
offered, and read it with a feeling of love and pity and resentment.
"You will go to-morrow?" he asked; "and would it be beyond good breeding
for me to accompany you?"

"Indeed, nephew, I think it would. But I will give your service, and say
everything that is agreeable. Be patient; to-morrow morning I will call
upon our fair neighbour."

The next morning was damp, for there had been heavy rain during the
night; but Captain Hyde would not let his aunt forget or forego her
promise. She had determined to make an unceremonious visit; and early in
the day she put on her bonnet and pelisse, and walked over to the Van
Heemskirks. A negro woman was polishing the brass ornaments of the door,
and over its spotless threshold she passed without question or delay.

A few minutes she waited alone in the best parlour, charmed with its far
off air and Eastern scents, and then Madam Van Heemskirk welcomed her.
In her heart she was pleased at the visit. She thought privately that
her Joris had been a little too strict. She did not really see why her
beautiful daughters should not have the society and admiration of the
very best people in the Province. And Mrs. Gordon's praise of Katharine,
and her declaration that "she was inconsolable without the dear
creature's society," seemed to the fond mother the most proper and
natural of feelings.

"Do but let me see her an hour, madam," she said. "You know my sincere
admiration. Is not that her voice? I vow, she sings to perfection And
what a singular melody! Please to set wide the door, madam."

"It is the brave song of the brave men of Zealand, when from the walls
of Leyden they drove away the Spaniards;" and madam stood in the open
door, and called to her daughter, "Well, then, Katharine, begin again
the song of 'The Beggars of the Sea.'"

    "We are the Beggars of the Sea,--
    Strong, gray Beggars from Zealand we;
    We are fighting for liberty:
      Heave ho! rip the brown sails free!

    "Hardy sons of old Zierikzee,
    Fed on the breath of the wild North Sea.
    Beggars are kings if free they be:
      Heave ho! rip the brown sails free!

    "'_True to the Wallet_,' whatever betide;
    '_Long live the Gueux_,'--the sea will provide
    Graves for the enemy, deep and wide:
      Heave ho! rip the brown sails free!

    "Beggars, but not from the Spaniard's hand;
    Beggars, 'under the Cross' we stand;
    Beggars, for love of the fatherland:
      Heave ho! rip the brown sails free!

    "Now, if the Spaniard comes our way,
    What shall we give him, Beggars gray?
    Give him a moment to kneel and pray:
      Heave ho! rip the brown sails free!"

At the second verse, Mrs. Gordon rose and said, "Indeed, madam, I find
my good-breeding no match against such singing. And the tune is
wonderful; it has the ring of trumpets, and the roar of the waves, in
it. Pray let us go at once to your daughters."

"At work are they; but, if you mind not that, you are welcome indeed."
Then she led the way to the large living, or dining, room, where
Katherine stood at the table cleaning the silver flagons and cups and
plates that adorned the great oak sideboard.

Joanna, who was darning some fine linen, rose and made her respects with
perfect composure. She had very little liking, either for Mrs. Gordon or
her nephew; and many of their ways appeared to her utterly foolish, and
not devoid of sin. But Katherine trembled and blushed with pleasure and
excitement, and Mrs. Gordon watched her with a certain kind of curious
delight. Her hair was combed backward, plaited, and tied with a ribbon;
her arms bare to the shoulders, her black bodice and crimson petticoat
neatly shielded with a linen apron: and poised in one hand she held a
beautiful silver flagon covered with raised figures, which with patient
labour she had brought into shining relief.

"Oh," cried the visitor, "that is indeed a piece of plate worth looking
at! Surely, child, it has a history,--a romance perhaps. La, there are
words also upon it! Pray, madam, be so obliging as to read the
inscription;" and madam, blushing with pride and pleasure, read it
aloud,--

                    "'Hoog van Moed,
                    Klein van Goed,
                    Een zwaard in de hand:
                    Is 't wapen van Gelderland.'"

"Dutch, I vow! Surely, madam, it is very sonorous and emphatic; vastly
different, I do assure you, from the vowelled idioms of Italy and Spain.
Pray, madam, be so civil as to translate the words for me."

                    "'Of spirit great,
                    Of small estate,
                    A sword in the hand:
                    Such are the arms of Guelderland.'

[Illustration: A Guelderland flagon]

"You must know," continued Madam Van Heemskirk, "that my husband's
father had a brother, who, in a great famine in Guelderland, filled one
hundred flat boats with wheat of Zealand,--in all the world it is the
finest wheat, that is the truth,--and help he sent to those who were
ready to perish. And when came better days, then, because their hearts
were good, they gave to their preserver this flagon. Joris Van
Heemskirk, my husband, sets on it great store, that is so."

Conversation in this channel was easily maintained. Madame Van Heemskirk
knew the pedigree or the history of every tray or cup, and in
reminiscence and story an hour passed away very pleasantly indeed.
Joanna did not linger to listen. The visitor did not touch her liking or
her interest; and besides, as every one knows, the work of a house must
go on, no matter what guest opens the door. But Katherine longed and
watched and feared. Surely her friend would not go away without some
private token or message for her. She turned sick at heart when she rose
as if to depart. But Mrs. Gordon proved herself equal to the emergency;
for, after bidding madam an effusive good-by, she turned suddenly and
said, "Pray allow your daughter to show me the many ornaments in your
parlour. The glimpse I had has made me very impatient to see them more
particularly."

The request was one entirely in sympathy with the mood and the previous
conversation, and madam was pleased to gratify it; also pleased, that,
having fully satisfied the claims of social life, she could with
courtesy leave her visitor's further entertainment with Katherine, and
return to her regular domestic cares. To her the visit had appeared to
be one of such general interest, that she never suspected any motive
beneath or beyond the friendliness it implied. Yet the moment the
parlour-door had been shut, Mrs. Gordon lifted Katharine's face between
her palms, and said,--

"Faith, child, I am almost run off my head with all the fine things I
have listened to for your sake. Do you know _who_ sent me here?"

"I think, madam, Captain Hyde."

"Psha! Why don't you blush, and stammer, and lie about it? 'I think,
madam, Captain Hyde,'" mimicking Katherine's slight Dutch accent. "'Tis
to be seen, miss, that you understand a thing or two. Now, Captain Hyde
wishes to see you; when can you oblige him so much?"

"I know not. To come to Madam Semple's is forbidden me by my father."

"It is on my account. I protest your father is very uncivil."

"Madam, no; but it is the officers; many come and go, and he thinks it
is not good for me to meet them."

"Oh, indeed, miss, it is very hard on Captain Hyde, who is more in love
than is reasonable Has your father forbidden you to walk down your
garden to the river-bank?"

"No, madam."

"Then, if Captain Hyde pass about two o'clock, he might see you there?"

"At two I am busy with Joanna."

"La, child! At three then?"

"Three?"

The word was a question more than an assent; but Mrs. Gordon assumed the
assent, and did not allow Katharine to contradict it. "And I promised to
bring him a token from you,--he was exceedingly anxious about that
matter; give me the ribbon from your hair."

"Only last week Joanna bought it for me. She would surely ask me, 'Where
is your new ribbon?'"

"Tell her that you lost it."

"How could I say that? It would not be true."

The girl's face was so sincere, that Mrs. Gordon found herself unable to
ridicule the position. "My dear," she answered, "you are a miracle. But,
among all these pretty things, is there nothing you can send?"

Katherine looked thoughtfully around. There was a small Chinese cabinet
on a table: she went to it, and took from a drawer a bow of orange
ribbon. Holding it doubtfully in her hand, she said, "My St. Nicholas
ribbon."

"La, miss, I thought you were a Calvinist! What are you talking of the
saints for?"

"St. Nicholas is our saint, our own saint; and on his day we wear
orange. Yes, even my father then, on his silk cap, puts an orange bow.
Orange is the Dutch colour, you know, madam."

"Indeed, child, I do _not_ know; but, if so, then it is the best colour
to send to your true love."

"For the Dutch, orange always. On the great days of the kirk, my father
puts blue with it. Blue is the colour of the Dutch Calvinists."

"Make me thankful to learn so much. Then when Councillor Van Heemskirk
wears his blue and orange, he says to the world, 'I am a Dutchman and a
Calvinist'?"

"That is the truth. For the _Vaderland_ the _Moeder-Kerk_ he wears their
colours. The English, too, they will have their own colour!"

"La, my dear, England claims every colour! But, indeed, even an English
officer may now wear an orange favour; for I remember well when our
Princess Anne married the young Prince of Orange. Oh, I assure you the
House of Nassau is close kin to the House of Hanover! And when English
princesses marry Dutch princes, then surely English officers may marry
Dutch maidens. Your bow of orange ribbon is a very proper love-knot."

"Indeed, madam, I never"--

[Illustration: "A very proper love-knot"]

"There, there! I can really wait no longer. _Some one_ is already in a
fever of impatience. 'Tis a quaintly pretty room; I am happy to have seen
its curious treasures. Good-by again, child; my service once more to your
mother and sister;" and so, with many compliments, she passed chatting and
laughing out of the house.

Katherine closed the best parlour, and lingered a moment in the act. She
felt that she had permitted Mrs. Gordon to make an appointment for her
lover, and a guilty sense of disobedience made bitter the joy of
expectation. For absolute truthfulness is the foundation of the Dutch
character; and an act of deception was not only a sin according to
Katherine's nature, but one in direct antagonism to it. As she turned
away from the closed parlour, she felt quite inclined to confide
everything to her sister Joanna; but Joanna, who had to finish the
cleaning of the silver, was not in that kind of a temper which invites
confidence; and indeed, Katherine, looking into her calm, preoccupied
face, felt her manner to be a reproof and a restraint.

So she kept her own counsel, and doubted and debated the matter in her
heart until the hands of the great clock were rising quickly to the hour
of fate. Then she laid down her fine sewing, and said, "Mother, I want
to walk in the garden. When I come back my task I will finish."

"That is well. Joanna, too, has let her work fall down to her lap. Go,
both of you, and get the fine air from the river."

This was not what Katherine wished; but nothing but assent was possible,
and the girls strolled slowly down the box-bordered walks together.
Madam Van Heemskirk watched them from the window for a few minutes. A
smile of love and pleasure was on her fine, placid face; but she said
with a sigh, as she turned away,--

"Well, well, if it is the will of God they should not rise in the world,
one must be content. To the spider the web is as large as to the whale
the whole wide sea; that is the truth."

Joanna was silent; she was thinking of her own love-affairs; but
Katherine, doubtful of herself, thought also that her sister suspected
her. When they reached the river-bank, Joanna perceived that the lilacs
were in bloom, and at their root the beautiful auriculas; and she
stooped low to inhale their strange, nameless, earthy perfume. At that
moment a boat rowed by with two English soldiers, stopped just below
them, and lay rocking on her oars. Then an officer in the stern rose and
looked towards Katherine, who stood in the full sunlight with her large
hat in her hand. Before she could make any sign of recognition, Joanna
raised herself from the auriculas and stood beside her sister; yet in
the slight interval Katherine had seen Captain Hyde fling back from his
left shoulder his cloak, in order to display the bow of orange ribbon on
his breast.

The presence of Joanna baffled and annoyed him; but he raised his beaver
with a gallant grace, and Joanna dropped a courtesy, and then, taking
Katherine's hand, turned toward home with her, saying, "That is the boat
of Captain Hyde. What comes he this way for?"

"The river way is free to all, Joanna." And Joanna looked sharply at
her sister and remained silent.

But Katherine was merry as a bird. She chattered of this and of that,
and sang snatches of songs, old and new. And all the time her heart beat
out its own glad refrain, "My bow of orange ribbon, my bow of orange
ribbon!" Her needle went to her thoughts, and her thoughts went to
melody; for, as she worked, she sang,--

                    "Will you have a pink knot?
                      Is it blue you prize?
                    One is like a fresh rose,
                      One is like your eyes.
                    No, the maid of Holland,
                      For her own true love,
                    Ties the splendid orange,
                      Orange still above!
                    _O oranje boven!_
                      Orange still above.

                    "Will you have the white knot?
                      No, it is too cold.
                    Give me splendid orange,
                      Tint of flame and gold;
                    Rich and glowing orange,
                      For the heart I love;
                    _Under_, white and pink and blue;
                      Orange still _above_!
                    _O oranje boven!_
                      Orange still above!"

"How merry you sing, _mijn Katrijntje_! Like a little bird you sing.
What, then, is it?"

"A pretty song made by the schoolmaster, _mijn moeder. 'Oranje Boven'_
the name is."

"That is a good name. Your father I will remind to have it painted over
the door of the summer-house."

"There already are two mottoes painted,--Peaceful is my garden,' and
'Contentment is my lot.'"

"Well, then, there is always room for two more good words, is there
not?" And Katherine gayly sung her answer,--

                    "Tie the splendid orange,
                    Orange still above!
                    _O oranje boven!_
                    Orange still above."

[Illustration: Tail-piece]

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




IV.

                "_The trifles of our daily lives,
                The common things scarce worth recall,
                Whereof no visible trace survives,--
                These are the mainsprings, after all._"


"Honoured gentleman, when will you pay me my money?"

The speaker was an old man, dressed in a black coat buttoned to the
ankles, and a cap of silk and fur, from beneath which fell a fringe of
gray hair. His long beard was also gray, and he leaned upon an ivory
staff carved with many strange signs. The inquiry was addressed to
Captain Hyde. He paid no attention whatever to it, but, gayly humming a
stave of "Marlbrook," watched the crush of wagons and pedestrians, in
order to find a suitable moment to cross the narrow street.

"Honoured gentleman, when will you pay me my moneys?"

The second inquiry elicited still less attention for, just as it was
made, Neil Semple came out of the City Hall, and his appearance gave the
captain a good excuse for ignoring the unpleasant speaker.

"Faith, Mr. Semple," he cried, "you came in an excellent time. I am for
Fraunce's Tavern, and a chop and a bottle of Madeira. I shall be vastly
glad of your company."

The grave young lawyer, with his hands full of troublesome-looking
papers, had little of the air of a boon companion; and, indeed, the
invitation was at once courteously declined.

"I have a case on in the Admiralty Court, Captain," he answered, "and so
my time is not my own. It belongs, I may say, to the man who has paid me
good money for it."

"Lawyer Semple?"

"Mr. Cohen, at your service, sir."

"Captain Hyde owes me one hundred guineas, with the interests, since the
fifteenth day of last December. He will not hear me when I say to him,
'Pay me my moneys;' perhaps he will listen, if you speak for me."

"If you are asking my advice in the way of business, you know my
office-door, Cohen; if in the way of friendship, I may as well say at
once, that I never name friendship and money in the same breath.
Good-day, gentlemen. I am in something of a hurry, as you may
understand." Cohen bowed low in response to the civil greeting; Captain
Hyde stared indignantly at the man who had presumed to couple one of
his Majesty's officers with a money-lender and a Jew.

"I do not wish to make you more expenses, Captain;" and Cohen, following
the impulse of his anxiety, laid his hand upon his debtor's arm. Hyde
turned in a rage, and flung off the touch with a passionate oath. Then
the Jew left him. There was neither anger nor impatience visible in his
face or movements. He cast a glance up at the City Hall,--an involuntary
appeal, perhaps, to the justice supposed to inhabit its chambers,--and
then he walked slowly toward his store and home.

[Illustration: Hyde flung off the touch with a passionate oath]

Both were under one roof,--a two-storied building in the lower part of
Pearl Street, dingy and unattractive in outward appearance, but crowded
in its interior with articles of beauty and worth,--Flemish paintings
and rich metal work, Venetian glasses and velvets, Spanish and Moorish
leather goods, silverware, watches, jewellery, etc. The window of the
large room in which all was stored was dim with cobwebs, and there was
no arrangement of the treasures. They were laid in the drawers of the
great Dutch presses and in cabinets, or packed in boxes, or hung against
the walls.

At the back of the store, there was a small sitting-room, and behind it
a kitchen, built in a yard which was carefully boarded up. A narrow
stairway near the front of the store led to the apartments above. They
were three in number. One was a kind of lumber-room; a second, Cohen's
sleeping-room; and the largest, at the back of the house, belonged to
the Jew's grandchild Miriam. There was one servant in the family, an old
woman who had come to America with Jacob. She spoke little English, and
she lived in complete seclusion in her kitchen and yard. As far as Jacob
Cohen was concerned, he preserved an Oriental reticence about the women
of his household; he never spoke of them, and he was never seen in their
company. It was seldom they went abroad; when they did so, it was early
in the morning, and usually to the small synagogue in Mill Street.

He soon recovered the calmness which had been lost during his
unsatisfactory interview with Captain Hyde. "A wise man frets not
himself for the folly of a fool;" and, having come to this decision, he
entered his house with the invocation for its peace and prosperity on
his lips. A party of three gentlemen were examining his stock: they were
Governor Clinton and his friends Colden and Belcher.

"Cohen," said Clinton, "you have many fine things here; in particular,
this Dutch cabinet, with heavy brass mountings. Send it to my residence.
And that Venetian mirror with the silver frame will match the silver
sconces you sold me at the New Year. I do not pretend to be a judge, but
these things are surely extremely handsome. Pray, sir, let us see the
Moorish leather that William Walton has reserved for his new house. I
hear you are to have the ordering of the carpets and tapestries. You
will make money, Jacob Cohen."

"Your Excellency knows best. I shall make my just profits,--no more, no
more."

"Yes, yes; you have many ways to make profits, I hear. All do well,
too."

"When God pleases, it rains with every wind, your Excellency."

Then there was a little stir in the street,--that peculiar sense of
something more than usual, which can make itself felt in the busiest
thoroughfare,--and Golden went to the door and looked out. Joris Van
Heemskirk was just passing, and his walk was something quicker than
usual.

"Good-day to you, Councillor. Pray, sir, what is to do at the wharf? I
perceive a great bustle comes thence."

"At your service, Councillor Golden. At the wharf there is good news.
The 'Great Christopher' has come to anchor,--Captain Batavius de Vries.
So a good-morrow, sir;" and Joris lifted his beaver, and proceeded on
his way to Murray's Wharf.

[Illustration: Batavius stood at the mainmast]

Bram was already on board. His hands were clasped across the big right
shoulder of Batavius, who stood at the mainmast, giving orders about his
cargo. He was a large man, with the indisputable air of a sailor from
strange seas, familiar with the idea of solitude, and used to absolute
authority. He loved Bram after his own fashion, but his vocabulary of
affectionate words was not a large one. Bram, however, understood him;
he had been quite satisfied with his short and undemonstrative
greeting,--

"Thee, Bram? Good! How goes it?"

The advent of Joris added a little to the enthusiasm of the meeting.
Joris thoroughly liked Batavius, and their hands slipped into each
other's with a mighty grasp almost spontaneously. After some necessary
delay, the three men left the ship together. There was quite a crowd on
the wharf. Some were attracted by curiosity; others, by the hope of a
good job on the cargo; others, again, not averse to a little private
bargaining for any curious or valuable goods the captain of the "Great
Christopher" had for sale. Cohen was among the latter; but he had too
much intelligence to interfere with a family party, especially as he
heard Joris say to the crowd with a polite authority, "Make way,
friends, make way. When a man is off a three-years' cruise, for a trifle
he should not be stopped."

Joanna had had a message from her lover, and she was watching for his
arrival. There was no secrecy in her love-affairs, and it was amid the
joy and smiles of the whole household that she met her affianced
husband. They were one of those loving, sensible couples, for whom it is
natural to predict a placid and happy life; and the first words of
Batavius seemed to assure it.

"My affairs have gone well, Joanna, as they generally do; and now I
shall build the house, and we shall be married."

Joanna laughed. "I shall just say a word or two, also, about that,
Batavius."

"Come, come, the word or two was said so long ago. Have you got the
pretty Chinese _kas_ I sent from the ship? and the Javanese _cabaya_,
and the sweetmeats, and the golden pins?"

"All of them I have got. Much money, Batavius, they must have cost."

"Well, well, then! There is enough left. A man does not go to the
African coast for nothing. _Katrijntje, mijn meisje_, what's the matter
now, that you never come once?"

Katherine was standing at the open window, apparently watching the
honey-bees among the locust blooms, but really perceiving something far
beyond them,--a boat on the river at the end of the garden. She could
not have told how she knew that it was there; but she saw it, saw it
through the intervening space, barred and shaded by many trees. She felt
the slow drift of the resting oars, and the fascination of an eager,
handsome face lifted to the lilac-bushes which hedged the bank. So the
question of Batavius touched very lightly her physical consciousness. A
far sweeter, a far more peremptory voice called her; but she answered,--

"There is nothing the matter, Batavius. I am well, I am happy. And now I
will go into the garden to make me a fine nosegay."

"Three times this week, into the garden you have gone to get a nosegay;
and then all about it you forget. It will be better to listen to
Batavius, I think. He will tell us of the strange countries where he has
been, and of the strange men and women."

"For you, Joanna, that will be pleasant; but"--

"For you also. To listen to Batavius is to learn something."

"Well, that is the truth. But to me all this talk is not very
interesting. I will go into the garden;" and she walked slowly out of
the door, and stopped or stooped at every flower-bed, while Joanna
watched her.

"The child is now a woman. It will be a lover next, Joanna."

"There is a lover already; but to anything he says, Katrijntje listens
not. It is at her father's knee she sits, not at the lover's."

"It will be Rem Verplanck? And what will come of it?"

"No, it is Neil Semple. To-night you will see. He comes in and talks of
the Assembly and the governor, and of many things of great moment. But
it is Katherine for all that. A girl has not been in love four years for
nothing. I can see, too, that my father looks sad, and my mother says
neither yes nor no in the matter."

"The Semples are good business managers. They are also rich, and they
approve of good morals and the true religion. Be content, Joanna. Many
roads lead to happiness beside the road we take. Now, let us talk of our
own affairs."

It was at this moment that Katherine turned to observe if she were
watched. No: Batavius and Joanna had gone away from the window, and for
a little while she would not be missed. She ran rapidly to the end of
the garden, and, parting the lilac-bushes, stood flushed and panting on
the river-bank. There was a stir of oars below her. It was precisely as
she had known it would be. Captain Hyde's pretty craft shot into sight,
and a few strokes put it at the landing-stair. In a moment he was at her
side. He took her in his arms; and, in spite of the small hands covering
her blushing face, he kissed her with passionate affection.

[Illustration: He took her in his arms]

"My darling, my charmer," he said, "how you have tortured me! By my
soul, I have been almost distracted. Pray, now let me see thy lovely
face." He lifted it in his hands and kissed it again,--kissed the rosy
cheeks, and white dropped eyelids, and red smiling mouth; vowed with
every kiss that she was the most adorable of women, and protested, "on
his honour as a soldier," that he would make her his wife, or die a
bachelor for her sake.

And who can blame a young girl if she listens and believes, when
listening and believing mean to her perfect happiness? Not women who
have ever stood, trembling with love and joy, close to the dear one's
heart. If they be gray-haired, and on the very shoal of life, they must
remember still those moments of delight,--the little lane, the fire-lit
room, the drifting boat, that is linked with them. If they be young and
lovely, and have but to say, "It was yesterday," or, "It was last week,"
still better they will understand the temptation that was too great for
Katherine to overcome.

And, as yet, nothing definite had been said to her about Neil Semple,
and the arrangement made for her future. Joris had intended every day to
tell her, and every day his heart had failed him. He felt as if the
entire acceptance of the position would be giving his little daughter
away. As long as she was not formally betrothed, she was all his own;
and Neil could not use that objectionable word "my" in regard to her.
Lysbet was still more averse to a decisive step. She had had "dreams"
and "presentiments" of unusual honour for Katherine, which she kept with
a superstitious reverence in her memory; and the girl's great beauty and
winning manners had fed this latent expectancy. But to see her the wife
of Neil Semple did not seem to be any realization of her ambitious
hopes. She had known Neil all his life; and she could not help feeling,
that, if Katherine's fortune lay with him, her loving dreams were all
illusions and doomed to disappointment.

Besides, with a natural contradiction, she was a little angry at Neil's
behaviour. He had been coming to their house constantly for a month at
least; every opportunity of speaking to Katherine on his own behalf had
been given him, and he had not spoken. He was too indifferent, or he was
too confident; and either feeling she resented. But she judged Neil
wrongly. He was an exceedingly cautious young man; and he _felt_ what
the mother could not perceive,--a certain atmosphere about the charming
girl which was a continual repression to him. In the end, he determined
to win her, win her entirely, heart and hand; therefore he did not wish
to embarrass his subsequent wooing by having to surmount at the outset
the barrier of a premature "no." And, as yet, his jealousy of Captain
Hyde was superficial and intermitting; it had not entered his mind that
an English officer could possibly be an actual rival to him. They were
all of them notoriously light of love, and the Colonial beauties treated
their homage with as light a belief; only it angered and pained him that
Katherine should suffer herself to be made the pastime of Hyde's idle
hours.

On the night of De Vries' return, there was a great gathering at Van
Heemskirk's house. No formal invitations were given, but all the friends
of the family understood that it would be so. Joris kept on his coat and
ruffles and fine cravat, Batavius wore his blue broadcloth and gilt
buttons, and Lysbet and her daughters were in their kirk dresses of silk
and camblet. It was an exquisite summer evening, and the windows
looking into the garden were all open; so also was the door; and long
before sunset the stoop was full of neighbourly men, smoking with Joris
and Batavius, and discussing Colonial and commercial affairs.

In the living-room and the best parlour their wives were
gathered,--women with finely rounded forms, very handsomely clothed, and
all busily employed in the discussion of subjects of the greatest
interest to them. For Joanna's marriage was now to be freely talked
over,--the house Batavius was going to build described, the linen and
clothing she had prepared examined, and the numerous and rich presents
her lover had brought her wondered over, and commented upon.

Conspicuous in the happy chattering company, Lysbet Van Heemskirk
bustled about, in the very whitest and stiffest of lace caps; making a
suggestion, giving an opinion, scolding a careless servant, putting out
upon the sideboard Hollands, Geneva, and other strong waters, and
ordering in from the kitchen hot chocolate and cakes of all kinds for
the women of the company. Very soon after sundown, Elder Semple and
madam his wife arrived; and the elder, as usual, made a decided stir
among the group which he joined.

"No, no, Councillor," he said, in answer to the invitation of Joris to
come outside. "No, no, I'll not risk my health, maybe my vera life, oot
on the stoop after sunset. 'Warm,' do you say? Vera warm, and all the
waur for being warm. My medical man thinks I hae a tendency to fever,
and there's four-fourths o' fever in every inch o' river mist that a
man breathes these warm nights."

"Well, then, neighbours, we'll go inside," said Joris. "Clean pipes, and
a snowball, or a glass of Holland, will not, I think, be amiss."

The movement was made among some jokes and laughter; and they gathered
near the hearthstone, where, in front of the unlit hickory logs, stood a
tall blue jar filled with feathery branches of fennel and asparagus.
But, as the jar of Virginia was passed round, Lysbet looked at Dinorah,
and Dinorah went to the door and called, "Baltus;" and in a minute or
two a little black boy entered with some hot coals on a brass
chafing-dish, and the fire was as solemnly and silently passed round as
if it were some occult religious ceremony.

The conversation interrupted by Semples entrance was not resumed.

[Illustration: A little black boy entered]

It had been one dealing out unsparing and scornful disapproval of
Governor Clinton's financial methods, and Clinton was known to be a
personal friend of Semple's. But the elder would perhaps hardly have
appreciated the consideration, if he had divined it; for he dearly loved
an argument, and had no objections to fight for his own side
single-handed. In fact, it was so natural for him to be "in opposition,"
that he could not bear to join the general congratulation to De Vries on
his fortunate voyage.

"You were lang awa', Captain," was his opening speech. "It would tak' a
deal o' gude fortune to mak' it worth your while to knock around the
high seas for three years or mair."

"Well, look now, Elder, I didn't come home with empty hands. I have
always been apt to get into the place where gold and good bargains were
going."

"Hum-m-m! You sailed for Rotterdam, I think?"

"That is true; from Rotterdam I went to Batavia, and then to the coast
of Africa. The African cargo took me to the West Indies. From Kingston
it was easy to St. Thomas and Surinam for cotton, and then to Curacoa
for dyeing-woods and spices. The 'Great Christopher' took luck with her.
Every cargo was a good cargo."

"I'll no be certain o' that, Captain. I would hae some scruples mysel'
anent buying and selling men and women o' any colour. We hae no
quotations from the other world, and it may be the Almighty holds his
black men at as high a figure as his white men. I'm just speculating,
you ken. I hae a son--my third son, Alexander Semple, o' Boston--wha has
made money on the Africans. I hae told him, likewise, that trading in
wheat and trading in humanity may hae ethical differences; but every one
settles his ain bill, and I'll hae enough to do to secure mysel'."

Batavius was puzzled; and at the words "ethical differences," his big
brown hand was "in the hair" at once. He scratched his head and looked
doubtfully at Semple, whose face was peculiarly placid and thoughtful
and kindly.

"Men must work, Elder, and these blacks won't work unless they are
forced to. I, who am a baptized Christian, have to do my duty in this
life; and, as for pagans, they must be made to do it. I am myself a
great lover of morality, and that is what I think. Also, you may read in
the Scriptures, that St. Paul says that if a man will not work, neither
shall he eat."

"St. Paul dootless kent a' about the question o' forced labour, seeing
that he lived when baith white and black men were sold for a price.
However, siller in the hand answers a' questions and the dominie made a
vera true observe one Sabbath, when he said that the Almighty so ordered
things in this warld that orthodoxy and good living led to wealth and
prosperity."

"That is the truth," answered Justice Van Gaasbeeck; "Holland is Holland
because she has the true faith. You may see that in France there is
anarchy and bloodshed and great poverty; that is because they are Roman
Catholics."

It was at this moment that Katherine came and stood behind her father's
chair. She let her hand fall down over his shoulder, and he raised his
own to clasp it. "What is it, then, _mijn Katrijntje kleintje_?"

"It is to dance. Mother says 'yes' if thou art willing."

"Then I say 'yes,' also."

For a moment she laid her cheek against his; and the happy tears came
into his eyes, and he stroked her face, and half-reluctantly let
Batavius lead her away. For, at the first mention of a dance, Batavius
had risen and put down his pipe; and in a few minutes he was
triumphantly guiding Joanna in a kind of mazy waltzing movement, full of
spirit and grace.

At that day there were but few families of any wealth who did not own
one black man who could play well upon the violin. Joris possessed two;
and they were both on hand, putting their own gay spirits into the
fiddle and the bow. And oh, how happy were the beating feet and the
beating hearts that went to the stirring strains! It was joy and love
and youth in melodious motion. The old looked on with gleaming,
sympathetic eyes; the young forgot that they were mortal.

Then there was a short pause; and the ladies sipped chocolate, and the
gentlemen sipped something a little stronger, and a merry ripple of
conversation and of hearty laughter ran with the clink of glass and
china, and the scraping of the fiddle-bows.

"Miss Katern Van Heemskirk and Mr. Neil Semple will now hab de honour of
'bliging de company wid de French minuet."

At this announcement, made by the first negro violin, there was a sudden
silence; and Neil rose, and with a low bow offered the tips of his
fingers to the beautiful girl, who rose blushing to take them. The elder
deliberately turned his chair around, in order to watch the movement
comfortably; and there was an inexpressible smile of satisfaction on his
face as his eyes followed the young people. Neil's dark, stately beauty
was well set off by his black velvet suit and powdered hair and gold
buckles. And no lovelier contrast could have faced him than Katherine
Van Heemskirk; so delicately fresh, so radiantly fair, she looked in her
light-blue robe and white lace stomacher, with a pink rose at her
breast. There were shining amber beads around her white throat, and a
large amber comb fastened her pale brown hair. A gilded Indian fan was
in her hand, and she used it with all the pretty airs she had so aptly
copied from Mrs. Gordon.

Neil had a natural majesty in his carriage; Katherine supplemented it
with a natural grace, and with certain courtly movements which made the
little Dutch girls, who had never seen Mrs. Gordon practising them,
admire and wonder. As she was in the very act of making Neil a profound
courtesy, the door opened, and Mrs. Gordon and Captain Hyde entered. The
latter took in the exquisite picture in a moment; and there was a fire
of jealousy in his heart when he saw Neil lead his partner to her seat,
and with the deepest respect kiss her pretty fingers ere he resigned
them.

But he was compelled to control himself, as he was ceremoniously
introduced to Councillor and Madam Van Heemskirk by his aunt, who, with
a charming effusiveness, declared "she was very uneasy to intrude so
far; but, in faith, Councillor," she pleaded, "I am but a woman, and I
find the news of a wedding beyond my nature to resist."

There was something so frank and persuasive about the elegant stranger,
that Joris could not refuse the courtesy she asked for herself and her
nephew. And, having yielded, he yielded with entire truth and
confidence. He gave his hand to his visitors, and made them heartily
welcome to join in his household rejoicing. True, Mrs. Gordon's
persuasive words were ably seconded by causes which she had probably
calculated. The elder and Madam Semple were present, and it would have
been impossible for Joris to treat their friends rudely. Bram was also
another conciliating element, for Captain Hyde was on pleasant speaking
terms with him; and, as yet, even Neil's relations were at least those
of presumed friendship. Also, the Van Gaasbeeks and others present were
well inclined to make the acquaintance of a woman so agreeable, and an
officer so exceptionally handsome and genteel. Besides which, Joris was
himself in a happy and genial mood; he had opened his house and his
heart to his friends; and he did not feel at that hour as if he could
doubt any human being, or close his door against even the stranger and
the alien who wished to rejoice with him.

Elder Semple was greatly pleased at his friend's complaisance. He gave
Joris full credit for his victory over his national prejudices, and he
did his very best to make the concession a pleasant event. In this
effort, he was greatly assisted by Mrs. Gordon; she set herself to
charm Van Heemskirk, as she had set herself to charm Madam Van Heemskirk
on her previous visit; and she succeeded so well, that, when "Sir Roger
de Coverley" was called, Joris rose, offered her his hand, and, to the
delight of every one present, led the dance with her.

It was a little triumph for the elder; and he sat smiling, and twirling
his fingers, and thoroughly enjoying the event. Indeed, he was so
interested in listening to the clever way in which "the bonnie woman
flattered Van Heemskirk," that he was quite oblivious of the gathering
wrath in his son's face, and the watchful gloom in Bram's eyes, as the
two men stood together, jealously observant of Captain Hyde's attentions
to Katherine. Without any words spoken on the subject, there was an
understood compact between them to guard the girl from any private
conversation with him; and yet two men with hearts full of suspicion and
jealousy were not a match for one man with a heart full of love. In a
moment, in the interchange of their hands in a dance, Katherine clasped
tightly a little note, and unobserved hid it behind the rose at her
breast.

But nothing is a wonder in love, or else it would have been amazing that
Joanna did not notice the rose absent from her sister's dress after
Captain Hyde's departure; nor yet that Katherine, ere she went to rest
that night, kissed fervently a tiny bit of paper which she hid within
the silver clasps of her Kirk Bible. The loving girl thought it no wrong
to put it there; she even hoped that some kind of blessing or sanction
might come through such sacred keeping; and she went to sleep
whispering to herself,--"_Happy I am. Me he loves; me he loves; me only
he loves; me forever he loves_!"


[Illustration: Tail-piece]

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




V.


"_All pleasure must be bought at the price of pain. The true pay the
price before they enjoy it; the false, after they enjoy it_."

"My dear Dick, I am exceedingly concerned to find you in such a
taking,--a soldier who has known some of the finest women of the day,
moping about a Dutch school-girl! Pshaw! Don't be a fool! I had a much
better opinion of you."

"'Tis a kind of folly that runs in the family, aunt. I have heard that
you preferred Colonel Gordon to a duke."

"Now, sir, you are ill-natured. Dukes are not uncommon: a man of sense
and sensibility is a treasure. Make me grateful that I secured one."

"Lend me your wit, then, for the same consummation. I assure you that I
consider Katherine Van Heemskirk a treasure past belief. Confess, now,
that she was the loveliest of creatures last night."

"She has truly a fine complexion, and she dances with all the elegance
imaginable. I know, too, that she sings to perfection, and has most
agreeable and obliging manners."

"And a heart which abounds in every tender feeling."

"Oh, indeed, sir! I was not aware that you knew her so well."

"I know that I love her beyond everything, and that I am likely so to
love her all my life."

"Upon my word, Dick, love may live an age--if you don't marry it."

"Let me make you understand that I wish to marry it."

"Oh, indeed, sir! Then the church door stands open. Go in. I suppose the
lady will oblige you so far."

"Pray, my dear aunt, talk sensibly. Give me your advice; you know
already that I value it. What is the first step to be taken?"

"Go and talk with her father. I assure you, no real progress can be made
without it. The girl you think worth asking for; but it is very
necessary for you to know what fortune goes with her beauty."

"If her father refuse to give her to me"--

"That is not to be thought of. I have seen that some of the best of
these Dutch families are very willing to be friendly with us. You come
of a noble race. You wear your sword with honour. You are not far from
the heritage of a great title and estate. If you ask for her fortune,
you offer far above its equivalent, sir."

"I have heard Mr. Neil Semple say that Van Heemskirk is a great stickler
for trade, and that he hates every man who wears a sword."

"You have heard more than you need listen to. I talked to the man an
hour last night. He is as honest as a looking-glass, and I read him all
through with the greatest ease. I am sure that he has a heart very
tender, and devoid of anger or prejudice of any kind."

"That is to be seen. I have discovered already that men who can be very
gentle can also be very rough. But this suspense is intolerable, and not
to be borne. I will go and end it. Pray, what is the hour?"

"It is about three o'clock; a very suitable hour, I think."

"Then give me your good wishes."

"I shall be impatient to hear the result."

"In an hour or two."

"Oh, sir, I am not so foolish as to expect you in an hour or two! When
you have spoken with the father, you will doubtless go home with him and
drink a dish of tea with your divinity. I can imagine your unreasonable
felicity, Dick,--seas of milk, and ships of amber, and all sails set for
the desired haven! I know it all, so I hope you will spare me every
detail,--except, indeed, such as relate to pounds, shillings, and
pence."

It was a very hot afternoon; and Van Heemskirk's store, though open to
the river-breezes, was not by any means a cool or pleasant place. Bram
was just within the doors, marking "Boston" on a number of
flour-barrels, which were being rapidly transferred to a vessel lying at
the wharf. He was absorbed and hurried in the matter, and received the
visitor with rather a cool courtesy; but whether the coolness was of
intention or preoccupation, Captain Hyde did not perceive it. He asked
for Councillor Van Heemskirk, and was taken to his office, a small room,
intensely warm and sunny at that hour of the day.

"Your servant, Captain."

"Yours, most sincerely, Councillor. It is a hot day."

"That is so. We come near to midsummer. Is there anything I can oblige
you in, sir?"

Joris asked the question because the manner of the young man struck him
as uneasy and constrained; and he thought, "Perhaps he has come to
borrow money." It was notorious that his Majesty's officers gambled, and
were often in very great need of it; and, although Joris had not any
intention of risking his gold, he thought it as well to bring out the
question, and have the refusal understood before unnecessary politeness
made it more difficult. He was not, therefore, astonished when Captain
Hyde answered,--

"Sir, you can indeed oblige me, and that in a matter of the greatest
moment."

"If money it be, Captain, at once I may tell you, that I borrow not, and
I lend not."

"Sir, it is not money--in particular."

"So?"

"It is your daughter Katherine."

Then Joris stood up, and looked steadily at the suitor. His large,
amiable face had become in a moment hard and stern; and the light in his
eyes was like the cold, sharp light that falls from drawn steel.

"My daughter is not for you to name. Sir, it is a wrong to her, if you
speak her name."

"By my honour, it is not! Though I come of as good family as any in
England, and may not unreasonably hope to inherit its earldom, I do
assure you, sir, I sue as humbly for your daughter's hand as if she were
a princess."

"Your family! Talk not of it. King nor kaiser do I count better men than
my own fore-goers. Like to like, that is what I say. Your wife seek,
Captain, among your own women."

"I protest that I love your daughter. I wish above all things to make
her my wife."

"Many things men desire, that they come not near to. My daughter is to
another man promised."

"Look you, Councillor, that would be monstrous. Your daughter loves me."

Joris turned white to the lips. "It is not the truth," he answered in a
slow, husky voice.

"By the sun in heaven, it is the truth! Ask her."

"Then a great scoundrel are you, unfit with honest men to talk. Ho! Yes,
your sword pull from its scabbard. Strike. To the heart strike me. Less
wicked would be the deed than the thing you have done."

"In faith, sir, 'tis no crime to win a woman's love."

"No crime it would be to take the guilders from my purse, if my consent
was to it. But into my house to come, and while warm was yet my welcome,
with my bread and wine in your lips, to take my gold, a shame and a
crime would be. My daughter than gold is far more precious."

There was something very impressive in the angry sorrow of Joris. It
partook of his own magnitude. Standing in front of him, it was
impossible for Captain Hyde not to be sensible of the difference between
his own slight, nervous frame, and the fair, strong massiveness of Van
Heemskirk; and, in a dim way, he comprehended that this physical
difference was only the outward and visible sign of a mental and moral
one quite as positive and unchangeable.

Yet he persevered in his solicitation. With a slight impatience of
manner he said, "Do but hear me, sir. I have done nothing contrary to
the custom of people in my condition, and I assure you that with all my
soul I love your daughter."

"Love! So talk you. You see a girl beautiful, sweet, and innocent. Your
heart, greedy and covetous, wants her as it has wanted, doubtless, many
others. For yourself only you seek her. And what is it you ask then!
That _she_ should give up for you her father, mother, home, her own
faith, her own people, her own country,--the poor little one!--for a
cold, cheerless land among strangers, alone in the sorrows and pains
that to all women come. Love! In God's name, what know you of love?"

"No man can love her better."

"What say you? How, then, do I love her? I who carried her--_mijn witte
lammetje_--in these arms before yet she could say to me, 'Fader'!" His
wrath had been steadily growing, in spite of the mist in his eyes and
the tenderness in his voice; and suddenly striking the desk a ponderous
blow with his closed hand, he said with an unmistakable passion, "My
daughter you shall not have. God in heaven to himself take her ere such
sorrow come to her and me!"

[Illustration: "Sir, you are very uncivil"]

"Sir, you are very uncivil; but I am thankful to know so much of your
mind. And, to be plain with you, I am determined to marry your daughter
if I can compass the matter in any way. It is now, then, open war
between us; and so, sir, your servant."

"Stay. To me listen. Not one guilder will I give to my daughter, if"--

"To the devil with your guilders! Dirty money made in dirty traffic"--

"You lie!"

"Sir, you take an infamous advantage. You know, that, being Katherine's
father, I will not challenge you."

"_Christus!_!" roared Joris, "challenge me one hundred times. A fool I
would be to answer you. Life my God gave to me. Well, then, only my God
shall from me take it. See you these arms and hands? In them you will be
as the child of one year. Ere beyond my reason you move me, _go_!" and
he strode to the door and flung it open with a passion that made every
one in the store straighten themselves, and look curiously toward the
two men.

White with rage, and with his hand upon his sword-hilt, Captain Hyde
stamped his way through the crowded store to the dusty street. Then it
struck him that he had not asked the name of the man to whom Katharine
was promised. He swore at himself for the omission. Whether he knew him
or not, he was determined to fight him. In the meantime, the most
practical revenge was to try and see Katherine before her father had the
opportunity to give her any orders regarding him. Just then he met Neil
Semple, and he stopped and asked him the time.

"It will be the half hour after four, Captain. I am going home; shall I
have your company, sir?"

"I have not much leisure to-night. Make a thousand regrets to Madam
Semple and my aunt for me."

Neil's calm, complacent gravity was unendurable. He turned from him
abruptly, and, muttering passionate exclamations, went to the river-bank
for a boat. Often he had seen Katherine between five and six o'clock at
the foot of the Van Heemskirk garden; for it was then possible for her
to slip away while madam was busy about her house, and Joanna and
Batavius talking over their own affairs. And this evening he felt that
the very intensity of his desire must surely bring her to their
trysting-place behind the lilac hedge.

Whether he was right or wrong, he did not consider; for he was not one
of those potent men who have themselves in their own power. Nor had it
ever entered his mind that "love's strength standeth in love's
sacrifice," or that the only love worthy of the name refuses to blend
with anything that is low or vindictive or clandestine. And, even if he
had not loved Katherine, he would now have been determined to marry her.
Never before in all his life had he found an object so engrossing. Pride
and revenge were added to love, as motives; but who will say that love
was purer or stronger or sweeter for them?

In the meantime Joris was suffering as only such deep natures can
suffer. There are domestic fatalities which the wisest and tenderest of
parents seem impotent to contend with. Joris had certainly been alarmed
by Semple's warning; but in forbidding his daughter to visit Mrs.
Gordon, and in permitting the suit of Neil Semple, he thought he had
assured her safety. Through all the past weeks, he had seen no shadow on
her face. The fear had died out, and the hope had been slowly growing;
so that Captain Hyde's proposal, and his positive assertion that
Katherine loved him, had fallen upon the father's heart with the force
of a blow, and the terror of a shock. And the sting of the sorrow was
this,--that his child had deceived him. Certainly she had not spoken
false words, but truth can be outraged by silence quite as cruelly as by
speech.

After Hyde's departure, he shut the door of his office, walked to the
window, and stood there some minutes, clasping and unclasping his large
hands, like a man full of grief and perplexity. Ere long he remembered
his friend Semple. This trouble concerned him also, for Captain Hyde was
in a manner his guest; and, if he were informed of the marriage arranged
between Katherine and Neil Semple, he would doubtless feel himself bound
in honour to retire. Elder Semple had opened his house to Colonel
Gordon, his wife and nephew. For months they had lived in comfort under
his roof, and been made heartily welcome to the best of all he
possessed. Joris put himself in Hyde's place; and he was certain, that,
under the same circumstances, he would feel it disgraceful to interfere
with the love-affairs of his host's son.

He found Semple with his hat in his hand, giving his last orders before
leaving business for the day; but when Joris said, "There is trouble,
and your advice I want," he returned with him to the back of the store,
where, through half-opened shutters, the sunshine and the river-breeze
stole into an atmosphere laden with the aromas of tea and coffee and
West Indian produce.

In a few short, strong sentences, Joris put the case before Semple. The
latter stroked his right knee thoughtfully, and listened. But his first
words were not very comforting: "I must say, that it is maistly your own
fault, Joris. You hae given Neil but a half welcome, and you should hae
made a' things plain and positive to Katherine. Such skimble-skamble,
yea and nay kind o' ways willna do wi' women. Why didna you say to her,
out and out, 'I hae promised you to Neil Semple, my lassie. He'll mak'
you the best o' husbands; you'll marry him at the New Year, and you'll
get gold and plenishing and a' things suitable'?"

"So young she is yet, Elder."

"She has been o'er auld for you, Joris. Young! My certie! When girls are
auld enough for a lover, they are a match for any gray head. I'm a
thankfu' man that I wasna put in charge o' any o' them. You and your
household will hae to keep your e'en weel open, or there will be a
wedding to which nane o' us will get an invite. But there is little
good in mair words. Hame is the place we are baith needed in. I shall
hae to speak my mind to Neil, and likewise to Colonel Gordon; and you
canna put off your duty to your daughter an hour longer. Dear me! To
think, Joris, o' a man being able to sit wi' the councillors o' the
nation, and yet no match for a lassie o' seventeen!"

There are men who can talk their troubles away: Joris was not one of
them. He was silent when in sorrow or perplexity; silent, and ever
looking around for something to _do_ in the matter. As they walked
homewards, the elder talked, and Joris pondered, not what was said, but
the thoughts and purposes that were slowly forming in his own mind. He
was later than usual, and the tea and the cakes had passed their prime
condition; but, when Lysbet saw the trouble in his eyes, she thought
them not worth mentioning. Joanna and Batavius were discussing their new
house then building on the East River bank, and they had forgotten all
else. But Katherine fretted about her father's delay, and it was at her
Joris first looked. The veil had now been taken from his eyes; and he
noticed her pretty dress, her restless glances at the clock, her
ill-concealed impatience at the slow movement of the evening meal.

When it was over, Joanna and Batavius went out to walk, and Madame Van
Heemskirk rose to put away her silver and china. "So warm as it is!"
said Katherine. "Into the garden I am going, mother."

"Well, then, there are currants to pull. The dish take with you."

Joris rose then, and laying his hand on Katherine's shoulder said,
"There is something to talk about. Sit down, Lysbet; the door shut
close, and listen to me."

It was impossible to mistake the stern purpose on her husband's face,
and Lysbet silently obeyed the order.

"Katherine, Katrijntje, _mijn kind_, this afternoon there comes to the
store the young man, Captain Hyde. To thy father he said many ill words.
To him thou shalt never speak again. Thy promise give to me."

She sat silent, with dropped eyes, and cheeks as red as the pomegranate
flower at her breast.

"_Mijn kind_, speak to me."

"_O wee, O wee!_"

"_Mijn kind_, speak to me."

Weeping bitterly, she rose and went to her mother, and laid her head
upon Lysbet's shoulder.

"Look now, Joris. One must know the 'why' and the 'wherefore.' What mean
you? _Whish, mijn kindje_!"

"This I mean, Lysbet. No more meetings with the Englishman will I have.
No love secrets will I bear. Danger is with them; yes, and sin too."

"Joris, if he has spoken to you, then where is the secret?"

"Too late he spoke. When worked was his own selfish way, to tell me of
his triumph he comes. It is a shameful wrong. Forgive it? No, I will
not,--never!"

No one answered him; only Katherine's low weeping broke the silence,
and for a few moments Joris paced the room sorrowful and amazed. Then he
looked at Lysbet, and she rose and gave her place to him. He put his
arms around his darling, and kissed her fondly.

[Illustration: "Listen to me, thy father!"]

"_Mijn kindje_, listen to me thy father. It is for thy happy life here,
it is for thy eternal life, I speak to thee. This man for whom thou art
now weeping is not good for thee. He is not of thy faith, he is a
Lutheran; not of thy people, he is an Englishman; not of thy station, he
talks of his nobility; a gambler also, a man of fashion, of loose talk,
of principles still more loose. If with the hawk a singing-bird might
mate happily, then this English soldier thou might safely marry. _Mijn
beste kindje_, do I love thee?"

"My father!"

"Do I love thee?"

"Yes, yes."

"Dost thou, then, love me?"

She put her arms round his neck, and laid her cheek against his, and
kissed him many times.

"Wilt thou go away and leave me, and leave thy mother, in our old age?
My heart thou would break. My gray hairs to the grave would go in
sorrow. Katrijntje, my dear, dear child, what for me, and for thy
mother, wilt thou do?"

"Thy wish--if I can."

Then he told her of the provision made for her future. He reminded her
of Neil's long affection, and of her satisfaction with it until Hyde had
wooed her from her love and her duty. And, remembering the elder's
reproach on his want of explicitness, he added, "To-morrow, about thy
own house, I will take the first step. Near my house it shall be; and
when I walk in my garden, in thy garden I will see thee, and only a
little fence shall be between us. And at the feast of St. Nicholas thou
shalt be married; for then thy sisters will be here, thy sisters Anna
and Cornelia. And money, plenty of money, I will give thee; and all that
is proper thy mother and thee shall buy. But no more, no more at all,
shalt thou see or speak to that bad man who has so beguiled thee."

At this remark Katherine sadly shook her head; and Lysbet's face so
plainly expressed caution, that Joris somewhat modified his last order,
"That is, little one, no more until the feast of St. Nicholas. Then thou
wilt be married and then it is good, if it is safe, to forgive all
wrongs, and to begin again with all the world in peace and good living.
Wilt thou these things promise me? me and thy mother?"

"Richard I must see once more. That is what I ask."

"_Richard!_ So far is it?"

She did not answer; and Joris rose, and looked at the girl's mother
inquiringly. Her face expressed assent; and he said reluctantly, "Well,
then, I will as easy make it as I can. Once more, and for one hour, thou
may see him. But I lay it on thee to tell him the truth, for this and
for all other time."

"_Now_ may I go? He is a-nigh. His boat I hear at the landing;" and she
stood up, intent, listening, with her fair head lifted, and her wet eyes
fixed on the distance.

"Well, be it so. Go."

With the words she slipped from the room; and Joris called Baltus to
bring him some hot coals, and began to fill his pipe. As he did so, he
watched Lysbet with some anxiety. She had offered him no sympathy, she
evinced no disposition to continue the conversation; and, though she
kept her face from him, he understood that all her movements expressed a
rebellious temper. In and out of the room she passed, very busy about
her own affairs, and apparently indifferent to his anxiety and sorrow.

At first Joris felt some natural anger at her attitude; but, as the
Virginia calmed and soothed him, he remembered that he had told her
nothing of his interview with Hyde, and that she might be feeling and
reasoning from a different standpoint from himself. Then the sweetness
of his nature was at once in the ascendant, and he said, "Lysbet, come
then, and talk with me about the child."

She turned the keys in her press slowly, and stood by it with them in
her hand. "What has been told thee, Joris, to-day? And who has spoken?
Tongues evil and envious, I am sure of that."

"Thou art wrong. The young man to me spoke himself. He said, 'I love
your daughter. I want to marry her.'"

"Well, then, he did no wrong. And as for Katrijntje, it is in nature
that a young girl should want a lover. It is in nature she should choose
the one she likes best. That is what I say."

"That is what I say, Lysbet. It is in nature, also, that we want too
much food and wine, too much sleep, too much pleasure, too little work.
It is in nature that our own way we want. It is in nature that the good
we hate, and the sin we love. My Lysbet, to us God gives his own good
grace, that the things that are in nature we might put below the reason
and the will."

"So hard that is, Joris."

"No, it is not; so far thou hast done the right way. When Katherine was
a babe, it was in nature that with the fire she wanted to make play. But
thou said, 'There is danger, my precious one;' and in thy arms thou
carried her out of the temptation. When older she grew, it was in nature
she said, 'I like not the school, and my Heidelberg is hard, and I
cannot learn it.' But thou answered, 'For thy good is the school, and go
thou every day; and for thy salvation is thy catechism, and I will see
that thou learn it well.' Now, then, it is in nature the child should
want this handsome stranger; but with me thou wilt certainly say, 'He is
not fit for thy happiness; he has not the true faith, he gambles, he
fights duels, he is a waster, he lives badly, he will take thee far from
thy own people and thy own home.'"

"Can the man help that he was born an Englishman and a Lutheran?"

"They have their own women. Look now, from the beginning it has been
like to like. Thou may see in the Holy Scriptures that, after Esau
married the Hittite woman, he sold his birthright, and became a wanderer
and a vagabond. And it is said that it was a 'grief of mind unto Isaac
and Rebekah.' I am sorry this day for Isaac and Rebekah. The heart of
the father is the same always."

"And the heart of the mother, also, Joris." She drew close to him, and
laid her arm across his broad shoulders; and he took his pipe from his
lips and turned his face to her. "Kind and wise art thou, my husband;
and whatever is thy wish, that is my wish too."

"A good woman thou art. And what pleasure would it be to thee if
Katherine was a countess, and went to the court, and bowed down to the
king and the queen? Thou would not see it; and, if thou spoke of it, thy
neighbours they would hate thee, and mock thee behind thy back, and say,
'How proud is Lysbet Van Heemskirk of her noble son-in-law that comes
never once to see her!' And dost thou believe he is an earl? Not I."

"That is where the mother's love is best, Joris. What my neighbours said
would be little care to me, if my Katherine was well and was happy. With
her sorrow would I buy my own pleasure? No; I would not so selfish be."

"Would I, Lysbet? Right am I, and I know I am right. And I think that
Neil Semple will be a very great person. Already, as a man of affairs,
he is much spoken of. He is handsome and of good morality. The elders
in the kirk look to such young men as Neil to fill their places when
they are no more in them. On the judge's bench he will sit down yet."

"A good young man he may be, but he is a very bad lover; that is the
truth. If a little less wise he could only be! A young girl likes some
foolish talk. It is what women understand. Little fond words, very
strong they are! Thou thyself said them to me."

"That is right. To Neil I will talk a little. A man must seek a good
wife with more heart than he seeks gold. Yes, yes; her price above
rubies is."

At the very moment Joris made this remark, the elder was speaking for
him. When he arrived at home, he found that his wife was out making
calls with Mrs. Gordon, so he had not the relief of a marital
conversation. He took his solitary tea, and fell into a nap, from which
he awoke in a querulous, uneasy temper. Neil was walking about the
terrace, and he joined him.

[Illustration: He took his solitary tea]

"You are stepping in a vera majestic way, Neil; what's in your thoughts,
I wonder?"

"I have a speech to make to-morrow, sir. My thoughts were on the law,
which has a certain majesty of its own."

"You'd better be thinking o' a speech you ought to make to-night, if you
care at a' aboot saving yoursel' wi' Katherine Van Heemskirk; and ma
certie it will be an extraordinar' case that is worth mair, even in the
way o' siller, than she is."

The elder was not in the habit of making unmeaning speeches, and Neil
was instantly alarmed. In his own way, he loved Katherine with all his
soul. "Yes," continued the old man, "you hae a rival, sir. Captain Hyde
asked Van Heemskirk for his daughter this afternoon, and an earldom in
prospect isna a poor bait."

"What a black scoundrel he must be!--to use your hospitality to steal
from your son the woman he loves."

"Tak' your time, Neil, and you won't lose your judgment. How was he to
ken that Katherine was your sweetheart? You made little o' the lassie,
vera little, I may say. Lawyer-like you may be, but nane could call you
lover-like. And while he and his are my guests, and in my house, I'll no
hae you fighting him. Tak' a word o' advice now,--I'll gie it without a
fee,--you are fond enough to plead for others, go and plead an hour for
yoursel'. Certie! When I was your age, I was aye noted for my persuading
way. Your father, sir, never left a spare corner for a rival. And I can
tell you this: a woman isna to be counted your ain, until you hae her
inside a wedding-ring."

"What did the councillor say?"

"To tell the truth, he said 'no,' a vera plain 'no,' too. You ken Van
Heemskirk's 'no' isn't a shilly-shallying kind o' a negative; but for a'
that, if I hae any skill in judging men, Richard Hyde isna one o' the
kind that tak's 'no' from either man or woman."

Neil was intensely angry, and his dark eyes glowed beneath their
dropped lids with a passionate hate. But he left his father with an
assumed coldness and calmness which made him mutter as he watched Neil
down the road, "I needna hae fashed mysel' to warn him against fighting.
He's a prudent lad. It's no right to fight, and it would be a matter for
a kirk session likewise; but _Bruce and Wallace_! was there ever a
Semple, before Neil, that keepit his hand off his weapon when his love
or his right was touched? And there's his mother out the night, of all
the nights in the year, and me wanting a word o' advice sae bad; not
that Janet has o'er much good sense, but whiles she can make an obsarve
that sets my ain wisdom in a right line o' thought. I wish to patience
she'd bide at home. She never kens when I may be needing her. And, now I
came to think o' things, it will be the warst o' all bad hours for Neil
to seek Katherine the night. She'll be fretting, and the mother pouting,
and the councillor in ane o' his particular Dutch touch-me-not tempers.
I do hope the lad will hae the uncommon sense to let folks cool, and
come to theirsel's a wee."

For the elder, judging his son by the impetuosity of his own youthful
temper, expected him to go directly to Van Heemskirk's house. But there
were qualities in Neil which his father forgot to take into
consideration, and their influence was to suggest to the young man how
inappropriate a visit to Katherine would be at that time. Indeed, he did
not much desire it. He was very angry with Katherine. He was sure that
she understood his entire devotion to her. He could not see any
necessity to set it forth as particularly as a legal contract, in
certain set phrases and with conventional ceremonies.

[Illustration: On the steps of the houses]

But his father's sarcastic advice annoyed him, and he wanted time to
fully consider his ways. He was no physical coward; he was a fine
swordsman, and he felt that it would be a real joy to stand with a drawn
rapier between himself and his rival. But what if revenge cost him too
much? What if he slew Hyde, and had to leave his love and his home, and
his fine business prospects? To win Katherine and to marry her, in the
face of the man whom he felt that he detested, would not that be the
best of all "satisfactions"?

He walked about the streets, discussing these points with himself, till
the shops all closed, and on the stoops of the houses in Maiden Lane and
Liberty Street there were merry parties of gossiping belles and beaux.
Then he returned to Broadway. Half a dozen gentlemen were standing
before the King's Arms Tavern, discussing some governmental statement in
the "Weekly Mercury;" but though they asked him to stop, and enlighten
them on some legal point, he excused himself for that night, and went
toward Van Heemskirk's. He had suddenly resolved upon a visit. Why
should he put off until the morrow what he might begin that night?

Still debating with himself, he came to a narrow road which ran to the
river, along the southern side of Van Heemskirk's house. It was only a
trodden path used by fishermen, and made by usage through the unenclosed
ground. But coming swiftly up it, as if to detain him, was Captain Hyde.
The two men looked at each other defiantly; and Neil said with a cold,
meaning emphasis,--

"At your service, sir."

"Mr. Semple, at your service,"--and touching his sword,--"to the very
hilt, sir."

"Sir, yours to the same extremity."

"As for the cause, Mr. Semple, here it is;" and he pushed aside his
embroidered coat in order to exhibit to Neil the bow of orange ribbon
beneath it.

"I will die it crimson in your blood," said Neil, passionately.

"In the meantime, I have the felicity of wearing it;" and with an
offensively deep salute, he terminated the interview.

[Illustration: Tail-piece]

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




VI.

          "_Love and a crown no rivalship can bear.
          Love, love! Thou sternly dost thy power maintain,
          And wilt not bear a rival in thy reign_."


Neil's first emotion was not so much one of anger as of exultation. The
civilization of the Semples was scarce a century old; and behind them
were generations of fierce men, whose hands had been on their dirks for
a word or a look. "I shall have him at my sword's point;" that was what
he kept saying to himself as he turned from Hyde to Van Heemskirk's
house. The front-door stood open; and he walked through it to the
back-stoop, where Joris was smoking.

Katherine sat upon the steps of the stoop. Her head was in her hand, her
eyes red with weeping, her whole attitude one of desponding sorrow. But,
at this hour, Neil was indifferent to adverse circumstances. He was
moving in that exultation of spirit which may be simulated by the first
rapture of good wine, but which is only genuine when the soul takes
entire possession of the man, and makes him for some rare, short
interval lord of himself, and contemptuous of all fears and doubts and
difficulties. He never noticed that Joris was less kind than usual; but
touching Katherine, to arouse her attention, said, "Come with me down
the garden, my love."

She looked at him wonderingly. His words and manner were strange and
potent; and, although she had just been assuring herself that she would
resist his advances on every occasion, she rose at his request and gave
him her hand.

Then the tender thoughts which had lain so deep in his heart flew to his
lips, and he wooed her with a fervour and nobility as astonishing to
himself as to Katherine. He reminded her of all the sweet intercourse of
their happy lives, and of the fidelity with which he had loved her.
"When I was a lad ten years old, and saw you first in your mother's
arms, I called you then 'my little wife.' Oh, my Katherine, my sweet
Katherine! Who is there that can take you from me?"

"Neil, like a brother to me you have been. Like a dear brother, I love
you. But your wife to be! That is not the same. Ask me not that."

"Only that can satisfy me, Katherine. Do you think I will ever give you
up? Not while I live."

"No one will I marry. With my father and my mother I will stay."

"Yes, till you learn to love me as I love you, with the whole soul." He
drew her close to his side, and bent tenderly to her face.

"No, you shall not kiss me, Neil,--never again. No right have you,
Neil."

"You are to be my wife, Katherine?"

"That I have not said."

She drew herself from his embrace, and stood leaning against an
elm-tree, watchful of Neil, full of wonder at the sudden warmth of his
love, and half fearful of his influence over her.

"But you have known it, Katherine, ay, for many a year. No words could
make the troth-plight truer. From this hour, mine and only mine."

"Such things you shall not say."

"I will say them before all the world. Katherine, is it true that an
English soldier is wearing a bow of your ribbon? You must tell me."

"What mean you?"

"I will make my meaning plain. Is Captain Hyde wearing a bow of your
orange ribbon?"

"Can I tell?"

"Yes. Do not lie to me."

"A lie I would not speak."

"Did you give him one? an orange one?"

"Yes. A bow of my St. Nicholas ribbon I gave him."

"Why?"

"Me he loves, and him I love."

"And he wears it at his breast?"

"On his breast I have seen it. Neil, do not quarrel with him. Do not
look so angry. I fear you. My fault it is; all my fault, Neil. Only to
please me he wears it."

"You have more St. Nicholas ribbons?"

"That is so."

"Go and get me one. Get a bow, Katherine, and give it to me. I will
wait here for it."

"No, that I will not do. How false, how wicked I would be, if two lovers
my colours wore!"

"Katherine, I am in great earnest. A bow of that ribbon I must have. Get
one for me."

"My hands I would cut off first."

"Well, then, I will cut _my bow_ from Hyde's breast. I will, though I
cut his heart out with it."

He turned from her as he said the words, and, without speaking to Joris,
passed through the garden-gate to his own home. His mother and Mrs.
Gordon, and several young ladies and gentlemen were sitting on the
stoop, arranging for a turtle feast on the East River; and Neil's advent
was hailed with ejaculations of pleasure. He affected to listen for a
few minutes, and then excused himself upon the "assurance of having some
very important writing to attend to." But, as he passed the parlour
door, his father called him. The elder was casting up some kirk
accounts; but, as Neil answered the summons, he carefully put the
extinguisher on one candle, and turned his chair from the table in a way
which Neil understood as an invitation for his company.

[Illustration: "Katherine, I am in great earnest"]

A moment's reflection convinced Neil that it was his wisest plan to
accede. It was of the utmost importance that his father should be kept
absolutely ignorant of his quarrel with Hyde; for Neil was certain that,
if he suspected their intention to fight, he would invoke the aid of the
law to preserve peace, and such a course would infallibly subject him to
suspicions which would be worse than death to his proud spirit.

"Weel, Neil, my dear lad, you are early hame. Where were you the night?"

"I have just left Katherine, sir, having followed your advice in my
wooing. I wish I had done so earlier."

"Ay, ay; when a man is seventy years auld, he has read the book o' life,
'specially the chapter anent women, and he kens a' about them. A bonnie
lass expects to hae a kind o' worship; but the service is na unpleasant,
quite the contrary. Did you see Captain Hyde?"

"We met near Broadway, and exchanged civilities."

"A gude thing to exchange. When Gordon gets back frae Albany, I'll hae a
talk wi' him, and I'll get the captain sent there. In Albany there are
bonnie lasses and rich lasses in plenty for him to try his enchantments
on. There was talk o' sending him there months syne; it will be done ere
long, or my name isna Alexander Semple."

"I see you are casting up the kirk accounts. Can I help you, father?"

"I hae everything ready for the consistory. Neil, what is the gude o' us
speaking o' this and that, and thinking that we are deceiving each
other? I am vera anxious anent affairs between Captain Hyde and
yoursel'; and I'm 'feard you'll be coming to hot words, maybe to blows,
afore I manage to put twa hundred miles atween you. My lad, my ain dear
lad! You are the Joseph o' a' my sons; you are the joy o' your mother's
life. For our sake, keep a calm sough, and dinna let a fool provoke you
to break our hearts, and maybe send you into God's presence uncalled and
unblessed.

"Father, put yoursel' in my place. How would you feel toward Captain
Hyde?"

"Weel, I'll allow that I wouldna feel kindly. I dinna feel kindly to
him, even in my ain place."

"As you desire it, we will speak plainly to each other anent this
subject. You know his proud and hasty temper; you know also that I am
more like yourself than like Moses in the way of meekness. Now, if
Captain Hyde insults me, what course would you advise me to adopt?"

"I wouldna gie him the chance to insult you. I would keep oot o' his
way. There is naething unusual or discreditable in taking a journey to
Boston, to speir after the welfare o' your brother Alexander."

"Oh, indeed, sir, I cannot leave my affairs for an insolent and
ungrateful fool! I ask your advice for the ordinary way of life, not for
the way that cowardice or fear dictates. If without looking for him, or
avoiding him, we meet, and a quarrel is inevitable, what then, father?"

"Ay, weel, in that case, God prevent it! But in sic a strait, my lad, it
is better to gie the insult than to tak' it."

"You know what must follow?"

"Wha doesna ken? Blood, if not murder. Neil, you are a wise and prudent
lad; now, isna the sword o' the law sharper than the rapier o' honour?"

"Law has no remedy for the wrongs men of honour redress with the sword.
A man may call me every shameful name; but, unless I can show some
actual loss in money or money's worth, I have no redress. And suppose
that I tried it, and that after long sufferance and delays I got my
demands, pray, sir, tell me, how can offences which have flogged a man's
most sacred feelings be atoned for by something to put in the pocket?"

"Society, Neil"--

"Society, father, always convicts and punishes the man who takes an
insult _on view_, without waiting for his indictment or trial."

"There ought to be a law, Neil"--

"No law will administer itself, sir. The statute-book is a dead letter
when it conflicts with public opinion. There is not a week passes but
you may see that for yourself, father. If a man is insulted, he must
protect his honour; and he will do so until the law is able to protect
him better than his own strength."

"There is another way--a mair Christian way"--

"The world has not taken it yet; at any rate, I am very sure none of the
Semples have."

"You are, maybe, o'er sure, Neil. Deacon Van Vorst has said mair than my
natural man could thole, many a time, in the sessions and oot o' them;
but the dominie aye stood between us wi' his word, and we hae managed
so far to keep the peace, though a mair pig-headed, provoking,
pugnacious auld Dutchman never sat down on the dominie's left hand."

"Then, father, if Captain Hyde should quarrel with me, and if he should
challenge me, you advise me to refuse the challenge, and to send for the
dominie to settle the matter?"

"I didna say the like o' that, Neil. I am an auld man, and Van Vorst is
an aulder one. We'd be a bonnie picture wi' drawn swords in oor shaking
hands; though, for mysel', I may say that there wasna a better fencer in
Ayrshire, and _that_ the houses o' Lockerby and Lanark hae reason to
remember. And I wouldna hae the honour o' the Semples doubted; I'd fight
myself first. But I'm in a sair strait, Neil; and oh, my dear lad, what
will I say, when it's the Word o' the Lord on one hand, and the scaith
and scorn of a' men on the other? But I'll trust to your prudence, Neil,
and no begin to feel the weight o' a misery that may ne'er come my way.
All my life lang, when evils hae threatened me, I hae sought God's help;
and He has either averted them or turned them to my advantage."

"That is a good consolation, father."

"It is that; and I ken nae better plan for life than, when I rise up, to
gie mysel' to His direction, and, when I lay me down to sleep, to gie
mysel' to His care."

"In such comfortable assurance, sir, I think we may say good-night. I
have business early in the morning, and may not wait for your company,
if you will excuse me so far."

"Right; vera right, Neil. The dawn has gold in its hand. I used to be
an early worker mysel'; but I'm an auld man noo, and may claim some
privileges. Good-night, Neil, and a good-morning to follow it."

Neil then lit his candle; and, not forgetting that courteous salute
which the young then always rendered to honourable age, he went slowly
upstairs, feeling suddenly a great weariness and despair. If Katherine
had only been true to him! He was sure, then, that he could have fought
almost joyfully any pretender to her favour. But he was deserted by the
girl whom he had loved all her sweet life. He was betrayed by the man
who had shared the hospitality of his home, and in the cause of such
loss, compelled to hazard a life opening up with fair hopes of honour
and distinction.

In the calm of his own chamber, through the silent, solemn hours, when
the world was shut out of his life, Neil reviewed his position; but he
could find no honourable way out of his predicament. Physically, he was
as brave as brave could be; morally, he had none of that grander courage
which made Joris Van Heemskirk laugh to scorn the idea of yielding God's
gift of life at the demand of a passionate fool. He was quite sensible
that his first words to Captain Hyde that night had been intended to
provoke a quarrel, and he knew that he would be expected to redeem them
by a formal defiance. However, as the idea became familiar, it became
imperative; and at length it was with a fierce satisfaction that he
opened his desk and without hesitation wrote the decisive words:

[Illustration: "In the interim, at your service"]

To CAPTAIN RICHARD HYDE OF HIS MAJESTY'S SERVICE: SIR: A person of the
character I bear cannot allow the treachery and dishonourable conduct of
which you have been guilty to pass without punishment. Convince me that
you are more of a gentleman than I have reason to believe, by meeting me
to-night as the sun drops in the wood on the Kalchhook Hill. Our seconds
can locate the spot; and that you may have no pretence to delay, I send
by bearer two swords, of which I give you the privilege to make choice.

                                   In the interim, at your service,
                                                       NEIL SEMPLE.

He had already selected Adrian Beekman as his second. He was a young
man of wealth and good family, exceedingly anxious for social
distinction, and, moreover, so fastidiously honourable that Neil felt
himself in his hands to be beyond reproach. As he anticipated, Beekman
accepted the duty with alacrity, and, indeed, so promptly carried out
his principal's instructions, that he found Captain Hyde still sleeping
when he waited upon him. But Hyde was neither astonished nor annoyed. He
laughed lightly at "Mr. Semple's impatience of offence," and directed
Mr. Beekman to Captain Earle as his second; leaving the choice of swords
and of the ground entirely to his direction.

"A more civil, agreeable, handsome gentleman, impossible it would be to
find; and I think the hot haughty temper of Neil is to blame in this
affair," was Beekman's private comment. But he stood watchfully by his
principal's interests, and affected a gentlemanly disapproval of Captain
Hyde's behaviour.

And lightly as Hyde had taken the challenge, he was really more
disinclined to fight than Neil was. In his heart he knew that Semple had
a just cause of anger; "but then," he argued, "Neil is a proud, pompous
fellow, for whom I never assumed a friendship. His father's hospitality
I regret in any way to have abused; but who the deuce could have
suspected that Neil Semple was in love with the adorable Katherine? In
faith, I did not at the first, and now 'tis too late. I would not resign
the girl for my life; for I am sensible that life, if she is another's,
will be a very tedious thing to me."

All day Neil was busy in making his will, and in disposing of his
affairs. He knew himself well enough to be certain, that, if he struck
the first blow, he would not hesitate to strike the death blow, and that
nothing less than such conclusion would satisfy him. Hyde also
anticipated a deathly persistence of animosity in his opponent, and felt
equally the necessity for some definite arrangement of his business.
Unfortunately, it was in a very confused state. He owed many debts of
honour, and Cohen's bill was yet unsettled. He drank a cup of coffee,
wrote several important letters, and then went to Fraunce's, and had a
steak and a bottle of wine. During his meal his thoughts wandered
between Katherine and the Jew Cohen. After it he went straight to
Cohen's store.

It happened to be Saturday; and the shutters were closed, though the
door was slightly open, and Cohen was sitting with his granddaughter in
the cool shadows of the crowded place. Hyde was not in a ceremonious
mood, and he took no thought of it being the Jew's sabbath. He pushed
wider the door, and went clattering into their presence; and with an air
of pride and annoyance the Jew rose to meet him. At the same time, by a
quick look of intelligence, he dismissed Miriam; but she did not retreat
farther than within the deeper shadows of some curtains of stamped
Moorish leather, for she anticipated the immediate departure of the
intruder.

She was therefore astonished when her grandfather, after listening to a
few sentences, sat down, and entered into a lengthy conversation. And
her curiosity was also aroused; for, though Hyde had often been in the
store, she had never hitherto seen him in such a sober mood, it was also
remarkable that on the sabbath her grandfather should receive papers,
and a ring which she watched Hyde take from his finger; and there was,
beside, a solemn, a final air about the transaction which gave her the
feeling of some anticipated tragedy.

When at last they rose, Hyde extended his hand. "Cohen," he said, "few
men would have been as generous and, at this hour, as considerate as
you. I have judged from tradition, and misjudged you. Whether we meet
again or not, we part as friends."

"You have settled all things as a gentleman, Captain. May my white hairs
say a word to your heart this hour?" Hyde bowed; and he continued, in a
voice of serious benignity: "The words of the Holy One are to be
regarded, and not the words of men. Men call that 'honour' which He will
call murder. What excuse is there in your lips if you go this night into
His presence?"

There was no excuse in Hyde's lips, even for his mortal interrogator. He
merely bowed again, and slipped through the partially opened door into
the busy street. Then Cohen put clean linen upon his head and arm, and
went and stood with his face to the east, and recited, in low,
rhythmical sentences, the prayer called the "Assault." Miriam sat quiet
during his devotion but, when he returned to his place, she asked him
plainly, "What murder is there to be, grandfather?"

"It is a duel between Captain Hyde and another. It shall be called
murder at the last."

"The other, who is he?"

"The young man Semple."

"I am sorry. He is a courteous young man. I have heard you say so. I
have heard you speak well of him."

"O Miriam, what sin and sorrow thy sex ever bring to those who love it!
There are two young lives to be put in death peril for the smile of a
woman,--a very girl she is."

"Do I know her, grandfather?"

"She passes here often. The daughter of Van Heemskirk,--the little fair
one, the child."

"Oh, but now I am twice sorry! She has smiled at me often. We have even
spoken. The good old man, her father, will die; and her brother, he was
always like a watch-dog at her side."

"But not the angels in heaven can watch a woman. For a lover, be he good
or bad, she will put heaven behind her back, and stand on the brink of
perdition. Miriam, if thou should deceive me,--as thy mother did,--God
of Israel, may I not know it!"

"Though I die, I will not deceive you, grandfather."

"The Holy One hears thee, Miriam. Let Him be between us."

Then Cohen, with his hands on his staff, and his head in them, sat
meditating, perhaps praying; and the hot, silent moments went slowly
away. In them, Miriam was coming to a decision which at first alarmed
her, but which, as it grew familiar, grew also lawful and kind. She was
quite certain that her grandfather would not interfere between the
young men, and probably he had given Hyde his promise not to do so; but
she neither had received a charge, nor entered into any obligation, of
silence. A word to Van Heemskirk or to the Elder Semple would be
sufficient. Should she not say it? Her heart answered "yes," although
she did not clearly perceive how the warning was to be given.

Perhaps Cohen divined her purpose, and was not unfavourable to it; for
he suddenly rose, and, putting on his cap, said, "I am going to see my
kinsman John Cohen. At sunset, set wide the door; an hour after sunset I
will return."

As soon as he had gone, Miriam wrote to Van Heemskirk these words: "Good
sir,--This is a matter of life and death: so then, come at once, and I
will tell you. MIRIAM COHEN."

With the slip of paper in her hand, she stood within the door, watching
for some messenger she could trust. It was not many minutes before Van
Heemskirk's driver passed, leading his loaded wagon; and to him she gave
the note.

That day Joris had gone home earlier than usual, and Bram only was in
the store. But it was part of his duty to open and attend to orders, and
he supposed the strip of paper to refer to a barrel of flour or some
other household necessity.

Its actual message was so unusual and unlooked for, that it took him a
moment or two to realize the words; then, fearing it might be some
practical joke, he recalled the driver, and heard with amazement that
the Jew's granddaughter had herself given him the message. Assured of
this fact, he answered the summons for his father promptly. Miriam was
waiting just within the door; and, scarcely heeding his explanation, she
proceeded at once to give him such information as she possessed. Bram
was slow of thought and slow of speech. He stood gazing at the
beautiful, earnest girl, and felt all the fear and force of her words;
but for some moments he could not speak, nor decide on his first step.

[Illustration: "Why do you wait?"]

"Why do you wait?" pleaded Miriam. "At sunset, I tell you. It is now
near it. Oh, no thanks! Do not stop for them, but hasten to them at
once."

He obeyed like one in a dream; but, before he had reached Semple's
store, he had fully realized the actual situation. Semple was just
leaving business. He put his hand on him, and said, "Elder, no time have
you to lose. At sunset, Neil and that d---- English soldier a duel are to
fight."

"Eh? Where? Who told you?"

"On the Kalchhook Hill. Stay not for a moment's talk."

"Run for your father, Bram. Run, my lad. Get Van Gaasbeeck's light
wagon as you go, and ask your mother for a mattress. Dinna stand
glowering at me, but awa' with you. I'll tak' twa o' my ain lads and my
ain wagon, and be there instanter. God help me! God spare the lad!"

At that moment Neil and Hyde were on their road to the fatal spot. Neil
had been gathering anger all day; Hyde, a vague regret. The folly of
what they were going to do was clear to both; but Neil was dominated by
a fury of passion, which made the folly a revengeful joy. If there had
been any thought of an apology in Hyde's heart, he must have seen its
hopelessness in the white wrath of Neil's face, and the calm
deliberation with which he assumed and prepared for a fatal termination
of the affair.

The sun dropped as the seconds measured off the space and offered the
lot for the standing ground. Then Neil flung off his coat and waistcoat,
and stood with bared breast on the spot his second indicated. This
action had been performed in such a passion of hurry, that he was
compelled to watch Hyde's more calm and leisurely movements. He removed
his fine scarlet coat and handed it to Captain Earle, and would then
have taken his sword; but Beekman advanced to remove also his waistcoat.
The suspicion implied by this act roused the soldier's indignation. "Do
you take me to be a person of so little honour?" he passionately asked;
and then with his own hands he tore off the richly embroidered satin
garment, and by so doing exposed what perhaps some delicate feeling had
made him wish to conceal,--a bow of orange ribbon which he wore above
his heart.

The sight of it to Neil was like oil flung upon flame. He could scarcely
restrain himself until the word "_go_" gave him license to charge Hyde,
which he did with such impetuous rage, that it was evident he cared less
to preserve his own life, than to slay his enemy.

Hyde was an excellent swordsman, and had fought several duels; but he
was quite disconcerted by the deadly reality of Neil's attack. In the
second thrust, his foot got entangled in a tuft of grass; and, in
evading a lunge aimed at his heart, he fell on his right side.
Supporting himself, however, on his sword hand, he sprang backwards with
great dexterity, and thus escaped the probable death-blow. But, as he
was bleeding from a wound in the throat, his second interfered, and
proposed a reconciliation. Neil angrily refused to listen. He declared
that he "had not come to enact a farce;" and then, happening to glance
at the ribbon on Hyde's breast, he swore furiously, "He would make his
way through the body of any man who stood between him and his just
anger."

[Illustration: The swords of both men sprung from their hands]

Up to this point, there had been in Hyde's mind a latent disinclination
to slay Neil. After it, he flung away every kind memory; and the fight
was renewed with an almost brutal impetuosity, until there ensued one of
those close locks which it was evident nothing but "the key of the body
could open." In the frightful wrench which followed, the swords of both
men sprang from their hands, flying some four or five yards upward with
the force. Both recovered their weapons at the same time, and both,
bleeding and exhausted, would have again renewed the fight; but at that
moment Van Heemskirk and Semple, with their attendants, reached the spot.

Without hesitation, they threw themselves between the young men,--Van
Heemskirk facing Hyde, and the elder his son. "Neil, you dear lad, you
born fool, gie me your weapon instanter, sir!" But there was no need to
say another word. Neil fell senseless upon his sword, making in his fall
a last desperate effort to reach the ribbon on Hyde's breast; for Hyde
had also dropped fainting to the ground, bleeding from at least half a
dozen wounds. Then one of Semple's young men, who had probably defined
the cause of quarrel, and who felt a sympathy for his young master, made
as if he would pick up the fatal bit of orange satin, now died crimson
in Hyde's blood.

But Joris pushed the rifling hand fiercely away. "To touch it would be
the vilest theft," he said. "His own it is. With his life he has bought
it."

[Illustration: Tail-piece]

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




VII.

          "_I know I felt Love's face
           Pressed on my neck, with moan of pity and grace,
           Till both our heads were in his aureole_."


The news of the duel spread with the proverbial rapidity of evil news.
At the doors of all the public houses, in every open shop, on every
private stoop, and at the street-corners, people were soon discussing
the event, with such additions and comments as their imaginations and
prejudices suggested. One party insisted that lawyer Semple was dead;
another, that it was the English officer; a third, that both died as
they were being carried from the ground.

Batavius, who had lingered to the last moment at the house which he was
building, heard the story from many a lip as he went home. He was
bitterly indignant at Katherine. He felt, indeed, as if his own
character for morality of every kind had been smirched by his intended
connection with her. And his Joanna! How wicked Katherine had been not
to remember that she had a sister whose spotless name would be tarnished
by her kinship! He was hot with haste and anger when he reached Van
Heemskirk's house.

Madam stood with Joanna on the front-stoop, looking anxiously down the
road. She was aware that Bram had called for his father, and she had
heard them leave the house together in unexplained haste. At first, the
incident did not trouble her much. Perhaps one of the valuable Norman
horses was sick, or there was an unexpected ship in, or an unusually
large order. Bram was a young man who relied greatly on his father. She
only worried because supper must be delayed an hour, and that delay
would also keep back the completion of that exquisite order in which it
was her habit to leave the house for the sabbath rest.

After some time had elapsed, she went upstairs, and began to lay out the
clean linen and the kirk clothes. Suddenly she noticed that it was
nearly dark; and, with a feeling of hurry and anxiety, she remembered
the delayed meal. Joanna was on the front-stoop watching for Batavius,
who was also unusually late; and, like many other loving women, she
could think of nothing good which might have detained him, but her heart
was full only of evil apprehensions.

"Where is Katherine?" That was the mother's first question, and she
called her through the house. From the closed best parlour, Katherine
came, white and weeping.

"What is the matter, then, that you are crying? And why into the dark
room go you?"

"Full of sorrow I am, mother, and I went to the room to pray to God; but
I cannot pray."

"'Full of sorrow.' Yes, for that Englishman you are full of sorrow. And
how can you pray when you are disobeying your good father? God will not
hear you."

The mother was not pitiless; but she was anxious and troubled, and
Katherine's grief irritated her at the moment. "Go and tell Dinorah to
bring in the tea. The work of the house must go on," she muttered. "And
I think, that it was Saturday night Joris might have remembered."

Then she went back to Joanna, and stood with her, looking through the
gray mist down the road, and feeling even the croaking of the frogs and
the hum of the insects to be an unusual provocation. Just as Dinorah
said, "The tea is served, madam," the large figure of Batavius loomed
through the gathering grayness; and the women waited for him. He came up
the steps without his usual greeting; and his face was so injured and
portentous that Joanna, with a little cry, put her arms around his neck.
He gently removed them.

"No time is this, Joanna, for embracing. A great disgrace has come to
the family; and I, who have always stood up for morality, must bear it
too."

"Disgrace! The word goes not with our name, Batavius; and what mean you,
then? In one word, speak."

But Batavius loved too well any story that was to be wondered over, to
give it in a word; though madam's manner snubbed him a little, and he
said, with less of the air of a wronged man,--

"Well, then, Neil Semple and Captain Hyde have fought a duel. That is
what comes of giving way to passion. I never fought a duel. No one
should make me. It is a fixed principle with me."

"But what? And how?"

"With swords they fought. Like two devils they fought, as if to pieces
they would cut each other."

"Poor Neil! His fault I am sure it was not."

"Joanna! Neil is nearly dead. If he had been in the right, he would not
be nearly dead. The Lord does not forsake a person who is in the right
way."

In the hall behind them Katherine stood. The pallor of her face, the
hopeless droop of her white shoulders and arms, were visible in its
gloomy shadows. Softly as a spirit she walked as she drew nearer to
them.

"And the Englishman? Is he hurt?"

"Killed. He has at least twenty wounds. Till morning he will not live.
It was the councillor himself who separated the men."

"My good Joris, it was like him."

For a moment Katherine's consciousness reeled. The roar of the ocean
which girds our life round was in her ears, the feeling of chill and
collapse at her heart. But with a supreme will she took possession of
herself. "Weak I will not be. All I will know. All I will suffer." And
with these thoughts she went back to the room, and took her place at the
table. In a few minutes the rest followed. Batavius did not speak to
her. It was also something of a cross to him that madam would not talk
of the event. He did not think that Katherine deserved to have her
ill-regulated feelings so far considered, and he had almost a sense of
personal injury in the restraint of the whole household.

He had anticipated madam's amazement and shock. He had felt a just
satisfaction in the suffering he was bringing to Katherine. He had
determined to point out to Joanna the difference between herself and her
sister, and the blessedness of her own lot in loving so respectably and
prudently as she had done. But nothing had happened as he expected. The
meal, instead of being pleasantly lengthened over such dreadful
intelligence, was hurried and silent. Katherine, instead of making
herself an image of wailing or unconscious remorse, sat like other
people at the table, and pretended to drink her tea.

It was some comfort that after it Joanna and he could walk in the
garden, and talk the affair thoroughly over. Katherine watched them
away, and then she fled to her room. For a few minutes she could let her
sorrow have way, and it would help her to bear the rest. And oh, how she
wept! She took from their hiding-place the few letters her lover had
written her, and she mourned over them as women mourn in such
extremities. She kissed the words with passionate love; she vowed, amid
her broken ejaculations of tenderness, to be faithful to him if he
lived, to be faithful to his memory if he died. She never thought of
Neil; or, if she did, it was with an anger that frightened her. In the
full tide of her anguish, Lysbet stood at the door. She heard the
inarticulate words of woe, and her heart ached for her child. She had
followed her to give her comfort, to weep with her; but she felt that
hour that Katherine was no more a child to be soothed with her mother's
kiss. She had become a woman, and a woman's sorrow had found her.

[Illustration: Oh, how she wept!]

It was near ten o'clock when Joris came home. His face was troubled, his
clothing disarranged and blood-stained; and Lysbet never remembered to
have seen him so completely exhausted. "Bram is with Neil," he said; "he
will not be home."

"And thou?"

"I helped them carry--the other. To the 'King's Arms' we took him. A
strong man was needed until their work the surgeons had done. I stayed;
that is all."

"Live will he?"

"His right lung is pierced clean through. A bad wound in the throat he
has. At death's door is he, from loss of the blood. But then, youth he
has, and a great spirit, and hope. I wish not for his death, my God
knows."

"Neil, what of him?"

"Unconscious he was when I left him at his home. I stayed not there. His
father and his mother were by his side; Bram also. Does Katherine know?"

"She knows."

"How then?"

"O Joris, if in her room thou could have heard her crying! My heart for
her aches, the sorrowful one!"

"See, then, that this lesson she miss not. It is a hard one, but learn
it she must. If thy love would pass it by, think this, for her good it
is. Many bitter things are in it. What unkind words will now be said!
Also, my share in the matter I must tell in the kirk session; and
Dominie de Ronde is not one slack in giving the reproof. With our own
people a disgrace it will be counted. Can I not hear Van Vleek grumble,
'Well, now, I hope Joris Van Heemskirk has had enough of his fine
English company;' and Elder Brouwer will say, 'He must marry his
daughter to an Englishman; and, see, what has come of it;' and that evil
old woman, Madam Van Corlaer, will shake her head and whisper, 'Yes,
neighbours, and depend upon it, the girl is of a light mind and bad
morals, and it is her fault; and I shall take care my nieces to her
speak no more.' So it will be; Katherine herself will find it so."

"The poor child! Sorry am I she ever went to Madam Semple's to see Mrs.
Gordon. If thy word I had taken, Joris!"

"If my word the elder also had taken. When first, he told me that his
house he would offer to the Gordons, I said to him, 'So foolish art
them! In the end, what does not fit will fight.' If to-night them could
have seen Mistress Gordon when she heard of her nephew's hurt. Without
one word of regret, without one word of thanks, and in a great passion,
she left the house. For Neil she cared not. 'He had been ever an envious
kill-joy. He had ever hated her dear Dick. He had ever been jealous of
any one handsomer than himself. He was a black dog in the manger; and
she hoped, with all her heart, that Dick had done for him.' Beside
herself with grief and passion she was, or the elder had not borne so
patiently her words."

"As her own son, she loved him."

"Yea, Lysbet; but _just_ one should be. Weary and sad am I to-night."

The next morning was the sabbath, and many painful questions suggested
themselves to Joris and Lysbet Van Heemskirk. Joris felt that he must
not take his seat among the deacons until he had been fully exonerated
of all blame of blood-guiltiness by the dominie and his elders and
deacons in full kirk session. Madam could hardly endure the thought of
the glances that would be thrown at her daughter, and the probable
slights she would receive. Batavius plainly showed an aversion to being
seen in Katherine's company. But these things did not seem to Joris a
sufficient reason for neglecting worship. He thought it best for people
to face the unpleasant consequences of wrong-doing; and he added, "In
trouble also, my dear ones, where should we go but into the house of the
good God?"

Katherine had not spoken during the discussion but, when it was over,
she said, "_Mijn vader, mijn moeder_, to-day I cannot go! For me have
some pity. The dominie I will speak to first; and what he says, I will
do."

"Between me and thy _moeder_ thou shalt be."

"Bear it I cannot. I shall fall down, I shall be ill; and there shall be
shame and fear, and the service to make stop, and then more wonder and
more talk, and the dominie angry also! At home I am the best."

"Well, then, so it shall be."

But Joris was stern to Katherine, and his anger added the last
bitterness to her grief. No one had said a word of reproach to her; but,
equally, no one had said a word of pity. Even Joanna was shy and cold,
for Batavius had made her feel that one's own sister may fall below
moral par and sympathy. "If either of the men die," he had said, "I
shall always consider Katherine guilty of murder; and nowhere in the
Holy Scriptures are we told to forgive murder, Joanna. And even while
the matter is uncertain, is it not right to be careful? Are we not told
to avoid even the appearance of evil?" So that, with this charge before
him, Batavius felt that countenancing Katherine in any way was not
keeping it.

And certainly the poor girl might well fear the disapproval of the
general public, when her own family made her feel her fault so keenly.
The kirk that morning would have been the pillory to her. She was
unspeakably grateful for the solitude of the house, for space and
silence, in which she could have the relief of unrestrained weeping.
About the middle of the morning, she heard Bram's footsteps. She divined
_why_ he had come home, and she shrank from meeting him until he removed
the clothing he had worn during the night's bloody vigil. Bram had not
thought of Katherine's staying from kirk; and when she confronted him,
so tear-stained and woe-begone, his heart was full of pity for her. "My
poor little Katherine!" he said; and she threw her arms around his neck,
and sobbed upon his breast as if her heart would break.

[Illustration: "O Bram! is he dead?"]

"_Mijn kleintje_, who has grieved thee?"

"O Bram! is he dead?"

"Who? Neil? I think he will get well once more."

"What care I for Neil? The wicked one! I wish that he might die. Yes,
that I do."

"Whish!--to say that is wrong."

"Bram! Bram! A little pity give me. It is the other one. Hast thou
heard?"

"How can he live? Look at that sorrow, dear one, and ask God to forgive
and help thee."

"No, I will not look at it. I will ask God every moment that he may get
well. Could I help that I should love him? So kind, so generous, is he!
Oh, my dear one, my dear one, would I had died for thee!"

Bram was much moved. Within the last twenty-four hours he had begun to
understand the temptation in which Katherine had been; begun to
understand that love never asks, 'What is thy name? Of what country art
thou? Who is thy father?' He felt that so long as he lived he must
remember Miriam Cohen as she stood talking to him in the shadowy store.
Beauty like hers was strange and wonderful to the young Dutchman. He
could not forget her large eyes, soft and brown as gazelle's; the warm
pallor and brilliant carnation of her complexion; her rosy, tender
mouth; her abundant black hair, fastened with large golden pins, studded
with jewels. He could not forget the grace of her figure, straight and
slim as a young palm-tree, clad in a plain dark garment, and a
neckerchief of white India silk falling away from her exquisite throat.
He did not yet know that he was in love; he only felt how sweet it was
to sit still and dream of the dim place, and the splendidly beautiful
girl standing among its piled-up furniture and its hanging draperies.
And this memory of Miriam made him very pitiful to Katherine.

"Every one is angry at me, Bram, even my father; and Batavius will not
sit on the chair at my side; and Joanna says a great disgrace I have
made for her. And thou? Wilt thou also scold me? I think I shall die of
grief."

"Scold thee, thou little one? That I will not. And those that are angry
with thee may be angry with me also. And if there is any comfort I can
get thee, tell thy brother Bram. He will count thee first, before all
others. How could they make thee weep? Cruel are they to do so. And as
for Batavius, mind him not. Not much I think of Batavius! If he says
this or that to thee, I will answer him."

"Bram! my Bram! my brother! There is one comfort for me,--if I knew that
he still lived; if one hope thou could give me!"

"What hope there is, I will go and see. Before they are back from kirk,
I will be back; and, if there is good news, I will be glad for thee."

Not half an hour was Bram away; and yet, to the miserable girl, how
grief and fear lengthened out the moments! She tried to prepare herself
for the worst; she tried to strengthen her soul even for the message of
death. But very rarely is any grief as bad as our own terror of it. When
Bram came back, it was with a word of hope on his lips.

"I have seen," he said, "who dost thou think?--the Jew Cohen. He of all
men, he has sat by Captain Hyde's side all night; and he has dressed the
wound the English surgeon declared 'beyond mortal skill.' And he said to
me, 'Three times, in the Persian desert, I have cured wounds still
worse, and the Holy One hath given me the power of healing; and, if He
wills, the young man shall recover.' That is what he said, Katherine."

"Forever I will love the Jew. Though he fail, I will love him. So kind
he is, even to those who have not spoken well, nor done well, to him."

"So kind, also, was the son of David to all of us. Now, then, go wash
thy face, and take comfort and courage."

"Bram, leave me not."

"There is Neil. We have been companions; and his father and his mother
are old, and need me."

"Also, I need thee. All the time they will make me to feel how wicked is
Katherine Van Heemskirk!"

At this moment the family returned from the morning service, and Bram
rather defiantly drew his sister to his side. Joris was not with them.
He had stopped at the "King's Arms" to ask if Captain Hyde was still
alive; for, in spite of everything, the young man's heroic cheerfulness
in the agony of the preceding night had deeply touched Joris. No one
spoke to Katherine; even her mother was annoyed and humiliated at the
social ordeal through which they had just passed, and she thought it
only reasonable that the erring girl should be made to share the trial.
Batavius, however, had much curiosity; and his first thought on seeing
Bram at home was, "Neil is of course dead, and Bram is of no further
use;" and, in the tone of one personally injured by such a fatality, he
ejaculated,--

"So it is the end, then. On the sabbath day Neil has gone. If it should
be the sabbath day in the other world,--which is likely,--it will be the
worse for Neil."

"What mean you?"

"Is not Neil Semple dead?"

"No. I think, also, that he will live."

"I am glad. It is good for Katherine."

"I see it not."

"Well, then, if he dies, is it not Katherine's fault?"

"Heaven and hell! No! Katherine is not to blame."

"All respectable and moral people will say so."

"Better for them not to say so. If I hear of it, then I will make them
say it to my face."

"Then? Well?"

"I have my hands and my feet, for them--to punish their tongues."

"And the kirk session?"

"Oh, I care not! What is the kirk session to my little Katherine?
Batavius, if man or woman you hear speak ill of her, tell them it is not
Katherine, but Bram Van Heemskirk, that will bring everything back to
them. What words I say, them I mean."

"Oh, yes! And mind this, Bram, the words I think, them words I will say,
whether you like them or like them not."

"As the wind you bluster,--on the sabbath day, also. In your ship I sail
not, Batavius. Good-by, then, Katherine; and if any are unkind to thee,
tell thy brother. For thou art right, and not wrong."

But, though Bram bravely championed his sister, he could not protect her
from those wicked innuendoes disseminated for the gratification of the
virtuous; nor from those malicious regrets of very good people over
rumours which they declare to "be incredible," and yet which,
nevertheless, they "unfortunately believe to be too true." The Scotch
have a national precept which says, "Never speak ill of the dead."
Would it not be much better to speak no ill of the living? Little could
it have mattered to Madam Bogardus or Madam Stuyvesant what a lot of
silly people said of them in Pearl Street or Maiden Lane, a century
after their death; but poor Katherine Van Heemskirk shivered and
sickened in the presence of averted eyes and uplifted shoulders, and in
that chill atmosphere of disapproval which separated her from the
sympathy and confidence of her old friends and acquaintances.

"It is thy punishment," said her mother, "bear it bravely and patiently.
In a little while, it will be forgot." But the weeks went on, and the
wounded men slowly fought death away from their pillows, and Katherine
did not recover the place in social estimation which she had lost
through the ungovernable tempers of her lovers. For, alas, there are few
social pleasures that have so much vital power as that of exploring the
faults of others, and comparing them with our own virtues!

But nothing ill lasts forever; and in three months Neil Semple was in
his office again, wan and worn with fever and suffering, and wearing his
sword arm in a sling, but still decidedly world-like and life-like. It
was characteristic of Neil that few, even of his intimates, cared to
talk of the duel to him, to make any observations on his absence, or any
inquiries about his health. But it was evident that public opinion was
in a large measure with him. Every young Provincial, who resented the
domineering spirit of the army, felt Hyde's punishment in the light of a
personal satisfaction. Beekman also had talked highly of the unbending
spirit and physical bravery of his principal; and though in the Middle
Kirk the affair was sure to be the subject of a reproof, and of a
suspension of its highest privileges, yet it was not difficult to feel
that sympathy often given to deeds publicly censured, but privately
admired. Joris remarked this spirit with a little astonishment and
dissent. He could not find in his heart any excuse for either Neil or
Hyde; and, when the elder enlarged with some acerbity upon the
requirements of honour among men, Joris offended him by replying,--

"Well, then, Elder, little I think of that 'honour' which runs not with
the laws of God and country."

"Let me tell you, Joris, the 'voice of the people is the voice of God,'
in a measure; and you may see with your ain een that it mair than
acquits Neil o' wrong-doing. Man, Joris! would you punish a fair
sword-fight wi' the hangman?"

"A better way there is. In the pillory I would stand these men of
honour, who of their own feelings think more than of the law of God. A
very quick end that punishment would put to a custom wicked and absurd."

"Weel, Joris, we'll hae no quarrel anent the question. You are a
Dutchman, and hae practical ideas o' things in general. Honour is a
virtue that canna be put in the Decalogue, like idolatry and murder and
theft."

"Say you the Decalogue? Its yea and nay are enough. Harder than any of
God's laws are the laws we make for ourselves. Little I think of their
justice and wisdom. If right was Neil, if wrong was Hyde, honour
punished both. A very foolish law is honour, I think."

"Here comes Neil, and we'll let the question fa' to the ground. There
are wiser men than either you or I on baith sides."

Joris nodded gravely, and turned to welcome the young man. More than
ever he liked him; for, apart from moral and prudential reasons, it was
easy for the father to forgive an unreasonable love for his Katharine.
Also, he was now more anxious for a marriage between Neil and his
daughter. It was indeed the best thing to fully restore her to the
social esteem of her own people; for by making her his wife, Neil would
most emphatically exonerate her from all blame in the quarrel. Just this
far, and no farther, had Neil's three months' suffering aided his
suit,--he had now the full approval of Joris, backed by the weight of
this social justification.

But, in spite of these advantages, he was really much farther away from
Katherine. The three months had been full of mental suffering to her,
and she blamed Neil entirely for it. She had heard from Bram the story
of the challenge and the fight; heard how patiently Hyde had parried
Neil's attack rather than return it, until Neil had so passionately
refused any satisfaction less than his life; heard, also, how even at
the point of death, fainting and falling, Hyde had tried to protect her
ribbon at his breast. She never wearied of talking with Bram on the
subject; she thought of it all day, dreamed of it all night.

And she knew much more about it than her parents or Joanna supposed.
Bram had easily fallen into the habit of calling at Cohen's to ask
after his patient. He would have gone for his sister's comfort alone,
but it was also a great pleasure to himself. At first he saw Miriam
often; and, when he did, life became a heavenly thing to Bram Van
Heemskirk. And though latterly it was always the Jew himself who
answered his questions, there was at least the hope that Miriam would be
in the store, and lift her eyes to him, or give him a smile or a few
words of greeting. Katherine very soon suspected how matters stood with
her brother, and gratitude led her to talk with him about the lovely
Jewess. Every day she listened with apparent interest to his
descriptions of Miriam, as he had seen her at various times; and every
day she felt more desirous to know the girl whom she was certain Bram
deeply loved.

But for some weeks after the duel she could not bear to leave the house.
It was only after both men were known to be recovering, that she
ventured to kirk; and her experience there was not one which tempted her
to try the streets and the stores. However, no interest is a living
interest in a community but politics; and these probably retain their
power because change is their element. People eventually got weary to
death of Neil Semple and Captain Hyde and Katherine Van Heemskirk. The
subject had been discussed in every possible light; and, when it was
known that neither of the men was going to die, gossipers felt as if
they had been somewhat defrauded, and the topic lost every touch of
speculation.

Also, far more important events had now the public attention. During the
previous March, the Stamp Act and the Quartering Act had passed both
houses of Parliament; and Virginia and Massachusetts, conscious of their
dangerous character, had roused the fears of the other Provinces; and a
convention of their delegates was appointed to meet during October in
New York. It was this important session which drew Neil Semple, with
scarcely healed wounds, from his chamber. The streets were noisy with
hawkers crying the detested Acts, and crowded with groups of
stern-looking men discussing them. And, with the prospect of soldiers
quartered in every home, women had a real grievance to talk over; and
Katherine Van Heemskirk's love-affair became an intrusion and a bore, if
any one was foolish enough to name it.

[Illustration: The streets were noisy with hawkers]

It was during this time of excitement that Katherine said one morning,
at breakfast, "Bram wait one minute for me. I am going to do an errand
or two for my mother.

"It is a bad time, Katherine, you have chosen," said Batavius. "Full of
men are the streets, excited men too, and of swaggering British
soldiers, whom it would be a great pleasure to tie up in a halter. The
British I hate,--bullying curs, everyone of them!"

"Well, I know that you hate the British, Batavius. You say so every
hour."

"Katherine!"

"That is so, Joanna."

Madam looked annoyed. Joris rose, and said, "Come then, Katherine, thou
shalt go with me and with Bram both. Batavius need not then fear for
thee."

His voice was so tender that Katherine felt an unusual happiness and
exultation; and she was also young enough to be glad to see the familiar
streets again, and to feel the pulse of their vivid life make her heart
beat quicker.

At Kip's store, Bram left her. She had felt so free and unremarked, that
she said, "Wait not for me, Bram. By myself I will go home. Or perhaps I
might call upon Miriam Cohen. What dost thou think?" And Bram's large,
handsome face flushed like a girl's with pleasure, as he answered, "That
I would like, and there thou could rest until the dinner-hour. As I go
home, I could call for thee."

So, after selecting the goods her mother needed at Kip's, Katherine was
going up Pearl Street, when she heard herself called in a familiar and
urgent voice. At the same moment a door was flung open; and Mrs. Gordon,
running down the few steps, put her hand upon the girl's shoulder.

"Oh, my dear, this is a piece of good fortune past belief! Come into my
lodgings. Oh, indeed you shall! I will have no excuse. Surely you owe
Dick and me some reward after the pangs we have suffered for you."

She was leading Katherine into the house as she spoke; and Katherine had
not the will, and therefore not the power, to oppose her. She placed the
girl by her side on the sofa; she took her hands, and, with a genuine
grief and love, told her all that "poor Dick" had suffered and was still
suffering for her sake.

"It was the most unprovoked challenge, my dear; and Neil Semple behaved
like a savage, I assure you. When Dick was bleeding from half a dozen
wounds, a gentleman would have been satisfied, and accepted the
mediation of the seconds; but Neil, in his blind passion, broke the code
to pieces. A man who can do nothing but be in a rage is a ridiculous and
offensive animal. Have you seen him since his recovery? For I hear that
he has crawled out of his bed again."

"Him I have not seen."

"Gracious powers, miss! Is that all you say, 'Him I have not seen'? Make
me patient with so insensible a creature! Here am I almost distracted
with my three months' anxiety and poor Dick, so gone as to be past
knowledge, breaking his true heart for a sight of you; and you answer me
as if I had asked, 'Pray, have you seen the newspaper to-day?'"

Then Katherine covered her face, and sobbed with a hopelessness and
abandon that equally fretted Mrs. Gordon. "I wish I knew one corner of
this world inaccessible to lovers," she cried. "Of all creatures, they
are the most ridiculous and unreasonable. Now, what are you crying for,
child?"

"If I could only see Richard,--only see him for one moment!"

"That is exactly what I am going to propose. He will get better when he
has seen you. I will call a coach, and we will go at once."

"Alas! Go I dare not. My father and my mother!"

"And Dick,--what of Dick, poor Dick, who is dying for you?" She went to
the door, and gave the order for a coach. "Your lover, Katherine. Child,
have you no heart? Shall I tell Dick you would not come with me?"

"Be not so cruel to me. That you have seen me at all, why need you say?"

"Oh! indeed, miss, do not imagine yourself the only person who values
the truth. Dick always asks me, 'Have you seen her?' 'Tis my humour to
be truthful, and I am always swayed by my inclination. I shall feel it
to be my duty to inform him how indifferent you are. Katherine, put on
your bonnet again. Here also are my veil and cloak. No one will perceive
that it is you. It is the part of humanity, I assure you. Do so much for
a poor soul who is at the grave's mouth."

"My father, I promised him"--

"O child! have six penny worth of common feeling about you. The man is
dying for your sake. If he were your enemy, instead of your true lover,
you might pity him so much. Do you not wish to see Dick?"

"My life for his life I would give."

"Words, words, my dear. It is not your life he wants. He asks only ten
minutes of your time. And if you desire to see him, give yourself the
pleasure. There is nothing more silly than to be too wise to be happy."

While thus alternately urging and persuading Katherine, the coach came,
the disguise was assumed, and the two drove rapidly to the "King's
Arms." Hyde was lying upon a couch which had been drawn close to the
window. But in order to secure as much quiet as possible, he had been
placed in one of the rooms at the rear of the tavern,--a large, airy
room, looking into the beautiful garden which stretched away backward as
far as the river. He had been in extremity. He was yet too weak to
stand, too weak to endure long the strain of company or books or papers.

He heard his aunt's voice and footfall, and felt, as he always did, a
vague pleasure in her advent. Whatever of life came into his chamber of
suffering came through her. She brought him daily such intelligences as
she thought conducive to his recovery; and it must be acknowledged that
it was not always her "humour to be truthful." For Hyde had so craved
news of Katherine, that she believed he would die wanting it; and she
had therefore fallen, without one conscientious scruple, into the
reporter's temptation,--inventing the things which ought to have taken
place, and did not. "For, in faith, Nigel," she said to her husband, in
excuse, "those who have nothing to tell must tell lies."

[Illustration: Katherine was close to his side]

Her reports had been ingenious and diversified. "She had seen Katherine
at one of the windows,--the very picture of distraction." "She had been
told that Katherine was breaking her heart about him;" also, "that Elder
Semple and Councillor Van Heemskirk had quarrelled because Katharine
had refused to see Neil, and the elder blamed Van Heemskirk for not
compelling her obedience." Whenever Hyde had been unusually depressed or
unusually nervous, Mrs. Gordon had always had some such comforting
fiction ready. Now, here was the real Katherine. Her very presence, her
smiles, her tears, her words, would be a consolation so far beyond all
hope, that the girl by her side seemed a kind of miracle to her.

She was far more than a miracle to Hyde. As the door opened, he slowly
turned his head. When he saw _who_ was really there, he uttered a low
cry of joy,--a cry pitiful in its shrill weakness. In a moment Katherine
was close to his side. This was no time for coyness, and she was too
tender and true a woman to feel or to affect it. She kissed his hands
and face, and whispered on his lips the sweetest words of love and
fidelity. Hyde was in a rapture. His joyful soul made his pale face
luminous. He lay still, speechless, motionless, watching and listening
to her.

Mrs. Gordon had removed Katherine's veil and cloak, and considerately
withdrawn to a mirror at the extremity of the room, where she appeared
to be altogether occupied with her own ringlets. But, indeed, it was
with Katherine and Hyde one of those supreme hours when love conquers
every other feeling. Before the whole world they would have avowed their
affection, their pity, and their truth.

Hyde could speak little, but there was no need of speech. Had he not
nearly died for her? Was not his very helplessness a plea beyond the
power of words? She had only to look at the white shadow of humanity
holding her hand, and remember the gay, gallant, handsome soldier who
had wooed her under the water-beeches, to feel that all the love of her
life was too little to repay his devotion. And so quickly, so quickly,
went the happy moments! Ere Katherine had half said, "I love thee," Mrs.
Gordon reminded her that it was near the noon; "and I have an excellent
plan," she continued; "you can leave my veil and cloak in the coach, and
I will leave you at the first convenient place near your home. At the
turn of the road, one sees nobody but your excellent father or brother,
or perhaps Justice Van Gaasbeek, all of whom we may avoid, if you will
but consider the time."

"Then we must part, _my Katherine_, for a little. When will you come
again?"

This was a painful question, because Katherine felt, that, however she
might excuse herself for the unforeseen stress of pity that all unaware
had hurried her into this interview, she knew she could not find the
same apology for one deliberate and prearranged.

"Only once more," Hyde pleaded. "I had, my Katherine, so many things to
say to you. In my joy, I forgot all. Come but once more. Upon my honour,
I promise to ask Katherine Van Heemskirk only this once. To-morrow?
'No.' Two days hence, then?"

"Two days hence I will come again. Then no more."

He smiled at her, and put out his hands; and she knelt again by his
side, and kissed her "farewell" on his lips. And, as she put on again
her cloak and veil, he drew a small volume towards him, and with
trembling hands tore out of it a scrap of paper, and gave it to her.

Under the lilac hedge that night she read it, read it over and
over,--the bit of paper made almost warm and sentient by Phoedria's
tender petition to his beloved,--

"When you are in company with that other man, behave as if you were
absent; but continue to love me by day and by night; want me, dream of
me, expect me, think of me, wish for me, delight in me, be wholly with
me; in short, be my very soul, as I am yours."

[Illustration: Tail-piece]

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




VIII.

          "_Let determined things to destiny
          Hold unbewailed their way._"


If Katherine had lived at this day, she would probably have spent her
time between her promise and its fulfilment in self-analysis and
introspective reasoning with her own conscience. But the women of a
century ago were not tossed about with winds of various opinions, or
made foolishly subtile by arguments about principles which ought never
to be associated with dissent. A few strong, plain dictates had been set
before Katherine as the law of her daily life; and she knew, beyond all
controversy, when she disobeyed them.

In her own heart, she called the sin she had determined to commit by its
most unequivocal name. "I shall make happy Richard; but my father I
shall deceive and disobey, and against my own soul there will be the
lie." This was the position she admitted, but every woman is Eve in some
hours of her life. The law of truth and wisdom may be in her ears, but
the apple of delight hangs within her reach, and, with a full
understanding of the consequences of disobedience, she takes the
forbidden pleasure. And if the vocal, positive command of Divinity was
unheeded by the first woman, mere mortal parents surely ought not to
wonder that their commands, though dictated by truest love and clearest
wisdom, are often lightly held, or even impotent against the voice of
some charmer, pleading personal pleasure against duty, and self-will
against the law infinitely higher and purer.

In truth, Katherine had grown very weary of the perpetual eulogies which
Batavius delivered of everything respectable and conservative. A kind of
stubbornness in evil followed her acceptance of evil. This time, at
least, she was determined to do wrong, whatever the consequences might
be. Batavius and his inflexible propriety irritated her: she had a
rebellious desire to give him little moral shocks; and she deeply
resented his constant injunctions to "remember that Joanna's and his own
good name were, in a manner, in her keeping."

Very disagreeable she thought Batavius had grown, and she also jealously
noted the influence he was exercising over Joanna. There are women who
prefer secrecy to honesty, and sin to truthfulness; but Katherine was
not one of them. If it had been possible to see her lover honourably,
she would have much preferred it. She was totally destitute of that
contemptible sentimentality which would rather invent difficulties in a
love-affair than not have them, but she knew well the storm of reproach
and disapproval which would answer any such request; and her thoughts
were all bent toward devising some plan which would enable her to leave
home early on that morning which she had promised her lover.

But all her little arrangements failed; and it was almost at the last
hour of the evening previous, that circumstances offered her a
reasonable excuse. It came through Batavius, who returned home later
than usual, bringing with him a great many patterns of damask and
figured cloth and stamped leather. At once he announced his intention of
staying at home the next morning in order to have Joanna's aid in
selecting the coverings for their new chairs, and counting up their
cost. He had taken the strips out of his pocket with an air of
importance and complaisance; and Katherine, glancing from them to her
mother, thought she perceived a fleeting shadow of a feeling very much
akin to her own contempt of the man's pronounced self-satisfaction. So
when supper was over, and the house duties done, she determined to speak
to her. Joris was at a town meeting, and Lysbet did not interfere with
the lovers. Katherine found her standing at an open window, looking
thoughtfully into the autumn garden.

"_Mijn moeder_."

"_Mijn kind_."

"Let me go away with Bram in the morning. Batavius I cannot bear. About
every chair-cover he will call in the whole house. The only
chair-covers in the world they will be. Listen, how he will talk: 'See
here, Joanna. A fine piece is this; ten shillings and sixpence the yard,
and good enough for the governor's house. But I am a man of some
substance,--_Gode zij dank!_--and people will expect that I, who give
every Sunday twice to the kirk, should have chairs in accordance.'
_Moeder_, you know how it will be. To-morrow I cannot bear him. Very
near quarrelling have we been for a week."

"I know, Katharine, I know. Leave, then, with Bram, and go first to
Margaret Pitt's, and ask her if the new winter fashions will arrive from
London this month. I heard also that Mary Blankaart has lost a silk
purse, and in it five gold jacobus, and some half and quarter johannes.
Ask kindly for her, and about the money; and so the morning could be
passed. And look now, Katherine, peace is the best thing; and to his own
house Batavius will go in a few weeks."

"That will make me glad."

"Whish, _mijn kind!_ Thy bad thoughts should be dumb thoughts."

"_Mijn moeder_, sad and troubled are thy looks. What is thy sorrow?"

"For thee my heart aches often,--mine and thy good father's, too. Dost
thou not suffer? Can thy mother be blind? Nothing hast thou eaten
lately. Joanna says thou art restless all the night long. Thou art so
changed then, that wert ever such a happy little one. Once thou did love
me, Katrijntje."

"_Ach, mijn moeder_, still I love thee!"

"But that English soldier?"

"Never can I cease to love him. See, now, the love I give him is his
love. It never was thine. For him I brought it into the world. None of
thy love have I given to him. _Mijn moeder_, thee I would not rob for
the whole world; not I!"

"For all that, _kleintje_, hard is the mother's lot. The dear children I
nursed on my breast, they go here and they go there, with this strange
one and that strange one. Last night, ere to our sleep we went, thy
father read to me some words of the loving, motherlike Jacob. They are
true words. Every good mother has said them, at the grave or at the
bridal, 'En mij aangaande, als ik van kinderen beroofd ben, zoo ben ik
beroofd!'"

There was a sad pathos in the homely old words as they dropped slowly
from Lysbet's lips,--a pathos that fitted perfectly the melancholy air
of the fading garden, the melancholy light of the fading day, and the
melancholy regret for a happy home gradually scattering far and wide.
Many a year afterward Katharine remembered the hour and the words,
especially in the gray glooms of late October evenings.

The next morning was one of perfect beauty, and Katharine awoke with a
feeling of joyful expectation. She dressed beautifully her pale brown
hair; and her intended visit to Mary Blankaart gave her an excuse for
wearing her India silk,--the pretty dress Richard had seen her first in,
the dress he had so often admired. Her appearance caused some remarks,
which Madam Van Heemskirk replied to; and with much of her old gayety
Katherine walked between her father and brother away from home.

She paid a very short visit to the mantua-maker, and then went to Mrs.
Gordon's. There was less effusion in that lady's manner than at her last
interview with Katherine. She had a little spasm of jealousy; she had
some doubts about Katherine's deserts; she wondered whether her nephew
really adored the girl with the fervour he affected, or whether he had
determined, at all sacrifices, to prevent her marriage with Neil Semple.
Katherine had never before seen her so quiet and so cool; and a feeling
of shame sprang up in the girl's heart. "Perhaps she was going to do
something not exactly proper in Mrs. Gordon's eyes, and in advance that
lady was making her sensible of her contempt."

With this thought, she rose, and with burning cheeks said, "I will go
home, madam. Now I feel that I am doing wrong. To write to Captain Hyde
will be the best way."

"Pray don't be foolish, Katherine. I am of a serious turn this morning,
that is all. How pretty you are! and how vastly becoming your gown! But,
indeed, I am going to ask you to change it. Yesterday, at the 'King's
Arms,' I said my sister would arrive this morning with me; and I bespoke
a little cotillon in Dick's rooms. In that dress you will be too
familiar, my dear. See here, is not this the prettiest fashion? It is
lately come over. So airy! so French! so all that!"

It was a light-blue gown and petticoat of rich satin, sprigged with
silver, and a manteau of dark-blue velvet trimmed with bands of delicate
fur. The bonnet was not one which the present generation would call
"lovely;" but, in its satin depths, Katharine's fresh, sweet face
looked like a rose. She hardly knew herself when the toilet was
completed; and, during its progress, Mrs. Gordon recovered all her
animation and interest.

[Illustration: In its satin depths]

Before they were ready, a coach was in waiting; and in a few minutes
they stood together at Hyde's door. There was a sound of voices within;
and, when they entered, Katherine saw, with a pang of disappointment, a
fine, soldierly looking man in full uniform sitting by Richard's side.
But Richard appeared to be in no way annoyed by his company. He was
looking much better, and wore a chamber gown of maroon satin, with deep
laces showing at the wrists and bosom. When Katherine entered, he was
amazed and charmed with her appearance. "Come near to me, my Katherine,"
he said; and as Mrs. Gordon drew from her shoulders the mantle, and from
her head the bonnet, and revealed more perfectly her beautiful person
and dress, his love and admiration were beyond words.

With an air that plainly said, "This is the maiden for whom I fought and
have suffered: is she not worthy of my devotion?" he introduced her to
his friend, Captain Earle. But, even as they spoke, Earle joined Mrs.
Gordon, at a call from her; and Katherine noticed that a door near which
they stood was open, and that they went into the room to which it led,
and that other voices then blended with theirs. But these things were
as nothing. She was with her lover, alone for a moment with him; and
Richard had never before seemed to her half so dear or half so
fascinating.

"My Katharine," he said, "I have one tormenting thought. Night and day
it consumes me like a fever. I hear that Neil Semple is well. Yesterday
Captain Earle met him; he was walking with your father. He will be
visiting at your house very soon. He will see you; he will speak to you.
You have such obliging manners, he may even clasp this hand, _my hand_.
Heavens! I am but a man, and I find myself unable to endure the
thought."

"In my heart, Richard, there is only room for you. Neil Semple I fear
and dislike."

"They will make you marry him, my darling."

"No; that they can never do."

"But I suffer in the fear. I suffer a thousand deaths. If you were only
my wife, Katherine!"

She blushed divinely. She was kneeling at his side; and she put her arms
around his neck, and laid her face against his. "Only your wife I will
be. That is what I desire also."

"_Now_, Katherine? This minute, darling? Make me sure of the felicity
you have promised. You have my word of honour, that as Katherine Van
Heemskirk I will not again ask you to come here. But it is past my
impatience to exist, and not see you. _Katherine Hyde_ would have the
right to come."

"Oh, my love, my love!"

"See how I tremble, Katherine. Life scarcely cares to inhabit a body so
weak. If you refuse me, I will let it go. If you refuse me, I shall know
that in your heart you expect to marry Neil Semple,--the savage who has
made me to suffer unspeakable agonies."

"Never will I marry him, Richard,--never, never. My word is true. You
only I will marry."

"Then _now, now_, Katharine. Here is the ring. Here is the special
license from the governor; my aunt has made him to understand all. The
clergyman and the witnesses are waiting. Some good fortune has dressed
you in bridal beauty. _Now_, Katherine? _Now, now_!"

[Illustration: Katherine knelt by Richard's side]

She rose, and stood white and trembling by his dear side,--speechless,
also. To her father and her mother her thoughts fled in a kind of
loving terror. But how could she resist the pleading of one whom she so
tenderly loved, and to whom, in her maiden simplicity, she imagined
herself to be so deeply bounden? That very self-abnegation which forms
so large a portion of a true affection urged her to compliance far more
than love itself. And when Richard ceased to speak, and only besought
her with the unanswerable pathos of his evident suffering for her sake,
she felt the argument to be irresistible.

"Well, my Katherine, will you pity me so far?"

"All you ask, my loved one, I will grant."

"Angel of goodness! _Now_?"

"At your wish, Richard."

He took her hand in a passion of joy and gratitude, and touched a small
bell. Immediately there was a sudden silence, and then a sudden
movement, in the adjoining room. The next moment a clergyman in
canonical dress came toward them. By his side was Colonel Gordon, and
Mrs. Gordon and Captain Earle followed. If Katherine had then been
sensible of any misgiving or repentant withdrawal, the influences
surrounding her were irresistible. But she had no distinct wish to
resist them. Indeed, Colonel Gordon said afterward to his wife, "he had
never seen a bride look at once so lovely and so happy." The ceremony
was full of solemnity, and of that deepest joy which dims the eyes with
tears, even while it wreathes the lips with smiles. During it, Katherine
knelt by Richard's side; and every eye was fixed upon him, for he was
almost fainting with the fatigue of his emotions; and it was with
fast-receding consciousness that he whispered rapturously at its close,
"My wife, my wife!"

Throughout the sleep of exhaustion which followed, she sat watching him.
The company in the next room were quietly making merry "over Dick's
triumph," but Katherine shook her head at all proposals to join them.
The band of gold around her finger fascinated her. She was now really
Richard's wife; and the first sensation of such a mighty change was, in
her pure soul, one of infinite and reverent love. When Richard awoke, he
was refreshed and supremely happy. Then Katherine brought him food and
wine, and ate her own morsel beside him. "Our first meal we must take
together," she said; and Hyde was already sensible of some exquisite
change, some new and rarer tenderness and solicitude in all her ways
toward him.

The noon hour was long past, but she made no mention of it. The wedding
guests also lingered, talking and laughing softly, and occasionally
visiting the happy bride and bridegroom in their blissful companionship.
In those few hours Richard made sure his dominion over his wife's heart;
and he had so much to tell her, and so many directions to give her,
that, ere they were aware, the afternoon was well spent. The clergyman
and the soldiers departed, Mrs. Gordon was a little weary, and Hyde was
fevered with the very excess of his joy. The moment for parting had
come; and, when it has, wise are those who delay it not. Hyde fixed his
eyes upon his wife until Mrs. Gordon had arranged again her bonnet and
manteau; then, with a smile, he shut in their white portals the
exquisite picture. He could let her go with a smile now, for he knew
that Katherine's absence was but a parted presence; knew that her better
part remained with him, that

                    "Her heart was never away,
                       But ever with his forever."

The coach was waiting; and, without delay, Katharine returned with Mrs.
Gordon to her lodgings. Both were silent on the journey. When a great
event has taken place, only the shallow and unfeeling chatter about it.
Katherine's heart was full, even to solemnity; and Mrs. Gordon, whose
affectation of fashionable levity was in a large measure pretence, had a
kind and sensible nature, and she watched the quiet girl by her side
with decided approval. "She may not be in the mode, but she is neither
silly nor heartless," she decided; "and as for loving foolishly my poor,
delightful Dick, why, any girl may be excused the folly."

Upon leaving the coach at Mrs. Gordon's, Katherine went to an inner room
to resume her own dress. The India silk lay across a chair; and she took
off, and folded with her accustomed neatness, the elegant suit she had
worn. As she did so, she became sensible of a singular liking for it;
and, when Mrs. Gordon entered the room, she said to her, "Madam, very
much I desire this suit: it is my wedding-gown. Will you save it for me?
Some day I may wear it again, when Richard is well."

"Indeed, Katherine, that is a womanly thought; it does you a vast deal
of credit; and, upon my word, you shall have the gown. I shall be put to
straits without it, to out-dress Miss Betty Lawson; but never mind, I
have a few decent gowns beside it."

"Richard, too, he will like it? You think so, madam?"

"My dear, don't begin to quote Richard to me. I shall be impatient if
you do. I assure you I have never considered him a prodigy." Then,
kissing her fondly, "Madam Katherine Hyde, my entire service to you.
Pray be sure I shall give your husband my best concern. And now I think
you can walk out of the door without much notice; there is a crowd on
the street, and every one is busy about their own appearance or
affairs."

"The time, madam? What is the hour?"

"Indeed, I think it is much after four o'clock. Half an hour hence, you
will have to bring out your excuses. I shall wish for a little devil at
your elbow to help them out. Indeed, I am vastly troubled for you."

"Her excuses" Katherine had not suffered herself to consider. She could
not bear to shadow the present with the future. She had, indeed, a happy
faculty of leaving her emergencies to take care of themselves; and
perhaps wiser people than Katherine might, with advantage, trust less to
their own planning and foresight, and more to that inscrutable power
which we call chance, but which so often arranges favourably the events
apparently very unfavourable. For, at the best, foresight has but
probabilities to work with; but chance, whose tools we know not, very
often contradicts all our bad prophecies, and untangles untoward events
far beyond our best prudence or wisdom. And Katharine was so happy. She
was really Richard's wife; and on that solid vantage-ground she felt
able to beat off trouble, and to defend her own and his rights.

"So much better you look, Katherine," said Madam Van Heemskirk. "Where
have you been all the day? And did you see Mary Blankaart? And the
money, is it found yet?"

The family were at the supper-table; and Joris looked kindly at his
truant daughter, and motioned to the vacant chair at his side. She
slipped into it, touching her father's cheek as she passed; and then she
answered, "At Mary Blankaart's I was not at all, mother."

"Where, then?"

"To Margaret Pitt's I went first, and with Mrs. Gordon I have been all
the day. She is lodging with Mrs. Lanier, on Pearl Street."

"Who sent you there, Katherine?"

"No one, mother. When I passed the house, my name I heard, and Mrs.
Gordon came out to me; and how could I refuse her? Much had we to talk
of."

Batavius saw the girl's placid face, and heard her open confession, with
the greatest amazement. He looked at Joanna, and was just going to
express his opinion, when Joris rose, pushed his chair a little angrily
aside, and said, "There is no blame to you, Katherine. Very kind was
Mrs. Gordon to you, and she is a pleasant woman. For others' faults she
must not answer. That, also, is what Elder Semple says; for when past
was her anger, with a heart full of sorrow she went to him and to Madam
Semple."

"The sorrow that is too late, of what use is it? A very pleasant woman!
Perhaps she is, but then, also, a very vain, foolish woman. Every person
of discretion says so; and if I had a daughter"--

"Well, then, Batavius, a daughter thou may have some day. To the man
with a tender heart, God gives his daughters. Wanting in some good thing
I had felt myself, if only sons I had been trusted with. A daughter is a
little white lamb in the household to teach men to be gentle men."

"I was going to say this, if I had a daughter"--

"Well, then, when thou hast, more wisdom will be given thee. Come with
thy father, _Katrijntje_, and down the garden we will walk, and see if
there are dahlias yet, and how grow the gold and the white
chrysanthemums."

But all the time they were in the garden together, Joris never spoke of
Mrs. Gordon, nor of Katherine's visit to her. About the flowers, and the
restless swallows, and the bluebirds, who still lingered, silent and
anxious, he talked; and a little also of Joanna, and her new house, and
of the great wedding feast that was the desire of Batavius.

"Every one he has ever spoken to, he will ask," said Katherine; "so hard
he tries to have many friends, and to be well spoken of."

"That is his way, _Katrijntje_; every man has his way."

"And I like not the way of Batavius."

"In business, then, he has a good name, honest and prudent. He will
make thy sister a good husband."

But, though Joris said nothing to his daughter concerning her visit to
Mrs. Gordon, he talked long with Lysbet about it. "What will be the end,
thou may see by the child's face and air," he said; "the shadow and the
heaviness are gone. Like the old Katherine she is to-night."

"And this afternoon comes here Neil Semple. Scarcely he believed me that
Katherine was out. Joris, what wilt thou do about the young man?"

"His fair chance he is to have, Lysbet. That to the elder is promised."

"The case now is altered. Neil Semple I like not. Little he thought of
our child's good name. With his sword he wounded her most. No patience
have I with the man. And his dark look thou should have seen when I
said, 'Katherine is not at home.' Plainly his eyes said to me, 'Thou art
lying.'"

"Well, then, what thought hast thou?"

"This: one lover must push away the other. The young dominie that is now
with the Rev. Lambertus de Ronde, he is handsome and a great hero. From
Surinam has he come, a man who for the cross has braved savage men and
savage beasts and deadly fever. No one but he is now to be talked of in
the kirk; and I would ask him to the house. Often I have seen the gown
and bands put the sword and epaulets behind them."

"Well, then, at the wedding of Batavius he will be asked; and if before
there is a good time, I will say, 'Come into my house, and eat and drink
with us.'"

So the loving, anxious parents, in their ignorance, planned. Even then,
accustomed in all their ways to move with caution, they saw no urgent
need of interference with the regular and appointed events of life. A
few weeks hence, when Joanna was married, if there was in the meantime
no special opportunity, the dominie could be offered as an antidote to
the soldier; and, in the interim, Neil Semple was to honourably have
such "chance" as his ungovernable temper had left him.

The next afternoon he called again on Katherine. His arm was still
useless; his pallor and weakness so great as to win, even from Lysbet,
that womanly pity which is often irrespective of desert. She brought him
wine, she made him rest upon the sofa, and by her quiet air of sympathy
bespoke for him a like indulgence from her daughter. Katherine sat by
her small wheel, unplaiting some flax; and Neil thought her the most
beautiful creature he had ever seen. He kept angrily asking himself why
he had not perceived this rare loveliness before; why he had not made
sure his claim ere rivals had disputed it with him. He did not
understand that it was love which had called this softer, more exquisite
beauty into existence. The tender light in the eyes; the flush upon the
cheek; the lips, conscious of sweet words and sweeter kisses; the heart,
beating to pure and loving thoughts,--in short, the loveliness of the
soul, transfiguring the meaner loveliness of flesh and blood, Neil had
perceived and wondered at; but he had not that kind of love experience
which divines the cause from the result.

On the contrary, had Hyde been watching Katherine, he would have been
certain that she was musing on her lover. He would have understood that
bewitching languor, that dreaming silence, that tender air and light and
colour which was the physical atmosphere of a soul communing with its
beloved; a soul touching things present only with its intelligence, but
reaching out to the absent with intensity of every loving emotion.

For some time the conversation was general. The meeting of the
delegates, and the hospitalities offered them; the offensive and
tyrannical Stamp Act; the new organization of patriots who called
themselves "Sons of Liberty;" and the loss of Miss Mary Blankaart's
purse,--furnished topics of mild dispute. But no one's interest was in
their words, and presently Madam Van Heemskirk rose and left the room.
Her husband had said, "Neil was to have some opportunities;" and the
words of Joris were a law of love to Lysbet.

Neil was not slow to improve the favour. "Katherine, I wish to speak to
you. I am weak and ill. Will you come here beside me?"

She rose slowly, and stood beside him; but, when he tried to take her
hands, she clasped them behind her back.

"So?" he asked; and the blood surged over his white face in a crimson
tide that made him for a moment or two speechless. "Why not?"

"Blood-stained are your hands. I will not take them."

The answer gave him a little comfort. It was, then, only a moral qualm.
He had even no objection to such a keen sense of purity in her; and
sooner or later she would forgive his action, or be made to see it with
the eyes of the world in which he moved.

"Katherine, I am very sorry I had to guard my honour with my sword; and
it was your love I was fighting for."

"My honour you cared not for, and with the sword I could not guard it.
Of me cruel and false words have been said by every one. On the streets
I was ashamed to go. Even the dominie thought it right to come and give
me admonition. Batavius never since has liked or trusted me. He says
Joanna's good name also I have injured. And my love,--is it a thing to
be fought for? You have guarded your honour, but what of mine?"

"Your honour is my honour. They that speak ill of you, sweet Katherine,
speak ill of me. Your life is my life. O my precious one, my wife!"

"Such words I will not listen to. Plainly now I tell you, your wife I
will never be,--never, never, never!"

"I will love you, Katherine, beyond your dream of love. I will die
rather than see you the wife of another man. For your bow of ribbon,
only see what I have suffered."

"And, also, what have you made another to suffer?"

"Oh, I wish that I had slain him!"

"Not your fault is it that you did not murder him."

"An affair of honour is not murder, Katherine."

"Honour!--Name not the word. From a dozen wounds your enemy was
bleeding; to go on fighting a dying man was murder, not honour. Brave
some call you: in my heart I say, 'Neil Semple was a savage and a
coward.'"

"Katherine, I will not be angry with you."

"I wish that you should be angry with me."

"Because some day you will be very sorry for these foolish words, my
dear love."

"Your dear love I am not."

"My dear love, give me a drink of wine, I am faint."

[Illustration: "I am faint"]

His faint whispered words and deathlike countenance moved her to human
pity. She rose for the wine, and, as she did so, called her mother; but
Neil had at least the satisfaction of feeling that she had ministered to
his weakness, and held the wine to his lips. From this time, he visited
her constantly, unmindful of her frowns, deaf to all her unkind words,
patient under the most pointed slights and neglect. And as most men rate
an object according to the difficulty experienced in attaining it,
Katherine became every day more precious and desirable in Neil's eyes.

In the meantime, without being watched, Katherine felt herself to be
under a certain amount of restraint. If she proposed a walk into the
city, Joanna or madam was sure to have the same desire. She was not
forbidden to visit Mrs. Gordon, but events were so arranged as to make
the visit almost impossible; and only once, during the month after her
marriage, had she an interview with her husband. For even Hyde's
impatience had recognized the absolute necessity of circumspection. The
landlord's suspicions had been awakened, and not very certainly allayed.
"There must be no scandal about my house, Captain," he said. "I merit
something better from you;" and, after this injunction, it was very
likely that Mrs. Gordon's companions would be closely scrutinized. True,
the "King's Arms" was the great rendezvous of the military and
government officials, and the landlord himself subserviently loyal; but,
also, Joris Van Heemskirk was not a man with whom any good citizen would
like to quarrel. Personally he was much beloved, and socially he stood
as representative of a class which held in their hands commercial and
political power no one cared to oppose or offend.

The marriage license had been obtained from the governor, but
extraordinary influence had been used to procure it. Katherine was under
age, and yet subject to her father's authority. In spite of book and
priest and ring, he could retain his child for at least three years; and
three years, Hyde--in talking with his aunt--called "an eternity of
doubt and despair." These facts, Hyde, in his letters, had fully
explained to Katherine; and she understood clearly how important the
preservation of her secret was, and how much toward allaying suspicion
depended upon her own behaviour. Fortunately Joanna's wedding day was
drawing near, and it absorbed what attention the general public had for
the Van Heemskirk family. For it was a certain thing, developing into
feasting and dancing; and it quite put out of consideration suspicions
which resulted in nothing, when people examined them in the clear
atmosphere of Katherine's home.

At the feast of St. Nicholas the marriage was to take place. Early in
November the preparations for it began. No such great event could happen
without an extraordinary housecleaning; and from garret to cellar the
housemaid's pail and brush were in demand. Spotless was every inch of
paint, shining every bit of polished wood and glass; not a thimbleful of
dust in the whole house. Toward the end of the month, Anna and Cornelia
arrived, with their troops of rosy boys and girls, and their slow,
substantial husbands. Batavius felt himself to be a very great man. The
weight of his affairs made him solemn and preoccupied. He was not one of
those light, foolish ones, who can become a husband and a householder
without being sensible of the responsibilities they assume.

In the midst of all this household excitement Katherine found some
opportunities of seeing Mrs. Gordon; and in the joy of receiving letters
from, and sending letters to, her husband, she recovered a gayety of
disposition which effectually repressed all urgent suspicions. Besides,
as the eventful day drew near, there was so much to attend to. Joanna's
personal goods, her dresses and household linen, her china, and wedding
gifts, had to be packed; the house was decorated; and there was a most
amazing quantity of delicacies to be prepared for the table.

In the middle of the afternoon of the day before the marriage, there was
the loud rat-tat-tat of the brass knocker, announcing a visitor. But
visitors had been constant since the arrival of Cornelia and Anna, and
Katherine did not much trouble herself as to whom it might be. She was
standing upon a ladder, pinning among the evergreens and scarlet berries
rosettes and bows of ribbon of the splendid national colour, and singing
with a delightsome cheeriness,--

                    "But the maid of Holland,
                       For her own true love,
                    Ties the splendid orange,
                       Orange still above!
                    _O oranje boven!_
                       Orange still above!"

"Orange still above! Oh, my dear, don't trouble yourself to come down! I
can pass the time tolerably well, watching you."

It was Mrs. Gordon, and she nodded and laughed in a triumphant way that
very quickly brought Katherine to her side. "My dear, I kiss you. You
are the top beauty of my whole acquaintance." Then, in a whisper,
"_Richard sends his devotion. And put your hand in my muff: there is a
letter._ And pray give me joy: I have just secured an invitation. I
asked the councillor and madam point blank for it. Faith, I think I am a
little of a favourite with them! Every one is talking of the bridegroom,
and the bridegroom is talking to every one. Surely, my dear, he imagines
himself to be the only man that will ever again commit matrimony.
_Oranje boven_, everywhere!" Then, with a little exultant laugh, "_Above
the Tartan_, at any rate. How is the young Bruce? My dear, if you don't
make him suffer, I shall never forgive you. Alternate doses of hope and
despair, that would be my prescription."

[Illustration: "Don't trouble yourself to come down"]

Katherine shook her head.

"Take notice, in particular, that I don't understand nods and shakes and
sighs and signs. What is your opinion, frankly?"

"On my wedding day, as I left Richard, this he said to me: 'My honour,
Katherine, is now in your keeping.' By the lifting of one eyelash, I
will not stain it."

"My dear, you are perfectly charming. You always convince me that I am a
better woman than I imagine myself. I shall go straight to Dick, and
tell him how exactly proper you are. Really, you have more perfections
than any one woman has a right to."

"To-morrow, if I have a letter ready, you will take it?"

"I will run the risk, child. But really, if you could see the way mine
host of the 'King's Arms' looks at me, you would be sensible of my
courage. I am persuaded he thinks I carry you under my new wadded cloak.
Now, adieu. Return to your evergreens and ribbons.

                    "'For your own true love,
                    Tie the splendid orange,
                    Orange still above!'"

And so, lightly humming Katharine's favourite song, she left the busy
house.

Before daylight the next morning, Batavius had every one at his post.
The ceremony was to be performed in the Middle Kirk, and he took care
that Joanna kept neither Dominie de Ronde nor himself waiting. He was
exceedingly gratified to find the building crowded when the wedding
party arrived. Joanna's dress had cost a guinea a yard, his own
broadcloth and satin were of the finest quality, and he felt that the
good citizens who respected him ought to have an opportunity to see how
deserving he was of their esteem. Joanna, also, was a beautiful bride;
and the company was entirely composed of men of honour and substance,
and women of irreproachable characters, dressed with that solid
magnificence gratifying to a man who, like Batavius, dearly loved
respectability.

Katherine looked for Mrs. Gordon in vain; she was not in the kirk, and
she did not arrive until the festival dinner was nearly over. Batavius
was then considerably under the excitement of his fine position and fine
fare. He sat by the side of his bride, at the right hand of Joris; and
Katherine assisted her mother at the other end of the table. Peter
Block, the first mate of the "Great Christopher," was just beginning to
sing a song,--a foolish, sentimental ditty for so big and bluff a
fellow,--in which some girl was thus entreated,--

                "Come, fly with me, my own fair love;
                  My bark is waiting in the bay,
                And soon its snowy wings will speed
                  To happy lands so far away,

                "And there, for us, the rose of love
                  Shall sweetly bloom and never die.
                Oh, fly with me! We'll happy be
                  Beneath fair Java's smiling sky."

"Peter, such nonsense as you sing," said Batavius, with all the
authority of a skipper to his mate. "How can a woman fly when she has no
wings? And to say any bark has wings is not the truth. And what kind of
rose is the rose of love? Twelve kinds of roses I have chosen for my new
garden, but that kind I never heard of; and I will not believe in any
rose that never dies. And you also have been to Java; and well you know
of the fever and blacks, and the sky that is not smiling, but hot as the
place which is not heaven. No respectable person would want to be a
married man in Java. I never did."

"Sing your own songs, skipper. By yourself you measure every man. If to
the kingdom of heaven you did not want to go, astonished and angry you
would be that any one did not like the place which is not heaven."

"Come, friends and neighbours," said Joris cheerily, "I will sing you a
song; and every one knows the tune to it, and every one has heard their
vaders and their moeders sing it,--sometimes, perhaps, on the great
dikes of Vaderland, and sometimes in their sweet homes that the great
Hendrick Hudson found out for them. Now, then, all, a song for

                         "'MOEDER HOLLAND.

                "'We have taken our land from the sea,
                Its fields are all yellow with grain,
                Its meadows are green on the lea,--
                  And now shall we give it to Spain?
                      No, no, no, no!

                "'We have planted the faith that is pure,
                  That faith to the end we'll maintain;
                For the word and the truth must endure.
                  Shall we bow to the Pope and to Spain?
                      No, no, no, no!

                "'Our ships are on every sea,
                  Our honour has never a stain,
                Our law and our commerce are free:
                  Are we slaves for the tyrant of Spain?
                      No, no, no, no!

                "'Then, sons of Batavia, the spade,--
                  The spade and the pike and the main,
                And the heart and the hand and the blade;
                  Is there mercy for merciless Spain?
                      No, no, no, no!'"

By this time the enthusiasm was wonderful. The short, quick denials came
hotter and louder at every verse; and it was easy to understand how
these large, slow men, once kindled to white heat, were both
irresistible and unconquerable. Every eye was turned to Joris, who stood
in his massive, manly beauty a very conspicuous figure. His face was
full of feeling and purpose, his large blue eyes limpid and shining;
and, as the tumult of applause gradually ceased, he said,--

[Illustration: "Listen to me!"]

"My friends and neighbours, no poet am I; but always wrongs burn in the
heart until plain prose cannot utter them. Listen to me. If we wrung the
Great Charter and the right of self-taxation from Mary in A.D. 1477; if
in A.D. 1572 we taught Alva, by force of arms, how dear to us was our
maxim, 'No taxation without representation,'--

          "Shall we give up our long-cherished right?
              Make the blood of our fathers in vain?
          Do we fear any tyrant to fight?
              Shall we hold out our hands for the chain?
                  No, no, no, no!"

Even the women had caught fire at this allusion to the injustice of the
Stamp Act and Quartering Acts, then hanging over the liberties of the
Province; and Mrs. Gordon looked curiously and not unkindly at the
latent rebels. "England will have foemen worthy of her steel if she
turns these good friends into enemies," she reflected; and then,
following some irresistible impulse, she rose with the company, at the
request of Joris, to sing unitedly the patriotic invocation,--

                "O Vaderland, can we forget thee,--
                  Thy courage, thy glory, thy strife?
                O Moeder Kirk, can we forget thee?
                  No, never! no, never! through life.
                      No, no, no, no!"

The emotion was too intense to be prolonged; and Joris instantly pushed
back his chair, and said, "Now, then, friends, for the dance. Myself I
think not too old to take out the bride."

Neil Semple, who had looked like a man in a dream during the singing,
went eagerly to Katherine as soon as Joris spoke of dancing. "He felt
strong enough," he said, "to tread a measure in the bride dance, and he
hoped she would so far honour him."

"No, I will not, Neil. I will not take your hands. Often I have told you
that."

"Just for to-night, forgive me, Katherine."

"I am sorry that all must end so; I cannot dance any more with you;"
and then she affected to hear her mother calling, and left him standing
among the jocund crowd, hopeless and distraught with grief. He was not
able to recover himself, and the noise and laughter distracted and made
him angry. He had expected so much from this occasion, from its
influence and associations; and it had been altogether a disappointment.
Mrs. Gordon's presence troubled him, and he was not free from jealousy
regarding the young dominie. He had received a call from a church in
Haarlem; and the Consistory had requested him to become a member of the
Coetus, and accept it. Joris had interested himself much in his favour;
Katherine listened with evident pleasure to his conversation. The fire
of jealousy burns with very little fuel; and Neil went away from
Joanna's wedding-feast hating very cordially the young and handsome
Dominie Lambertus Van Linden.

The elder noticed every thing, and he was angry at this new turn in
affairs. He felt as if Joris had purposely brought the dominie into his
house to further embarrass Neil; and he said to his wife after their
return home, "Janet, our son Neil has lost the game for Katherine Van
Heemskirk. I dinna care a bodle for it now. A man that gets the woman he
wants vera seldom gets any other gude thing."

"Elder!"

"Ah, weel, there's excepts! I hae mind o' them. But Neil won't be long
daunted. I looked in on him as I cam' upstairs. He was sitting wi' a law
treatise, trying to read his trouble awa'. He's a brave soul. He'll hae
honours and charges in plenty; and there's vera few women that are
worth a gude office--if you hae to choose atween them."

"You go back on your ain words, Elder. Tak' a sleep to yoursel'. Your
pillow may gie you wisdom."

And, while this conversation was taking place, they heard the pleasant
voices of Van Heemskirk's departing guests, as, with snatches of song
and merry laughter, they convoyed Batavius and his bride to their own
home. And, when they got there, Batavius lifted up his lantern and
showed them the motto he had chosen for its lintel; and it passed from
lip to lip, till it was lifted altogether, and the young couple crossed
their threshold to his ringing good-will,--

                "Poverty--always a day's sail behind us!"

[Illustration: Tail-piece]

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




IX.

          "_Now many memories make solicitous
          The delicate love lines of her mouth, till, lit
          With quivering fire, the words take wing from it;
          As here between our kisses we sit thus
          Speaking of things remembered, and so sit
          Speechless while things forgotten call to us_."


Joanna's wedding occurred at the beginning of the winter and the winter
festivities. But, amid all the dining and dancing and skating, there was
a political anxiety and excitement that leavened strongly every social
and domestic event. The first Colonial Congress had passed the three
resolutions which proved to be the key-note of resistance and of
liberty. Joris had emphatically indorsed its action. The odious Stamp
Act was to be met by the refusal of American merchants either to import
English goods, or to sell them upon commission, until it was repealed.
Homespun became fashionable. During the first three months of the year,
it was a kind of disgrace to wear silk or satin or broadcloth; and a
great fair was opened for the sale of articles of home manufacture. The
Government kept its hand upon the sword. The people were divided into
two parties, bitterly antagonistic to each other. The "Sons of Liberty"
were keeping guard over the pole which symbolized their determination;
the British soldiery were swaggering and boasting and openly insulting
patriots on the streets; and the "New York Gazette," in flaming
articles, was stimulating to the utmost the spirit of resistance to
tyranny.

And these great public interests had in every family their special
modifications. Joris was among the two hundred New York merchants who
put their names to the resolutions of the October Congress; Bram was a
conspicuous member of the "Sons of Liberty;" but Batavius, though
conscientiously with the people's party, was very sensible of the
annoyance and expense it put him to. Only a part of his house was
finished, but the building of the rest was in progress; and many things
were needed for its elegant completion, which were only to be bought
from Tory importers, and which had been therefore nearly doubled in
value. When liberty interfered with the private interests of Batavius,
he had his doubts as to whether it was liberty. Often Bram's overt
disloyalty irritated him beyond endurance. For, since he had joined the
ranks of married men and householders, Batavius felt that unmarried men
ought to wait for the opinions and leadership of those who had
responsibilities.

Joanna talked precisely as Batavius talked. All of his enunciations met
with her "Amen." There are women who are incapable of but one
affection,--that one which affects them in especial,--and Joanna was of
this order. "My husband" was perpetually on her tongue. She looked upon
her position as a wife and housekeeper as unique. Other woman might
have, during the past six thousand years, held these positions in an
indifferent kind of way; but only she had ever comprehended and properly
fulfilled the duties they involved. Madam Van Heemskirk smiled a little
when Joanna gave her advices about her house and her duties, when she
disapproved of her father's political attitude, when she looked injured
by Bram's imprudence.

"Not only is wisdom born with Joanna and Batavius, it will also die with
them; so they think," said Katharine indignantly, after one of Joanna's
periodical visitations.

A tear twinkled in madam's eyes; but she answered, "I shall not distress
myself overmuch. Always I have said, 'Joanna has a little soul. Only
what is for her own good can she love.'"

"It is Batavius; and a woman must love her husband, mother."

"That is the truth: first and best of all, she must love him, Katherine;
but not as the dog loves and fawns on his master, or the squaw bends
down to her brave. A good woman gives not up her own principles and
thoughts and ways. A good woman will remember the love of her father and
mother and brother and sister, her old home, her old friends; and
contempt she will not feel and show for the things of the past, which
often, for her, were far better than she was worthy of."

"There is one I love, mother, love with all my soul. For him I would
die. But for thee also I would die. Love thee, mother? I love thee and
my father better because I love him. My mother, fret thee not, nor think
that ever Joanna can really forget thee. If a daughter could forget her
good father and her good mother, then with the women who sit weeping in
the outer darkness, God would justly give her her portion. Such a
daughter could not be."

Lysbet sadly shook her head. "When I was a little girl, Katherine, I
read in a book about the old Romans, how a wicked daughter over the
bleeding corpse of her father drove her chariot. She wanted his crown
for her own husband; and over the warm, quivering body of her father she
drove. When I read that story, Katherine, my eyes I covered with my
hands. I thought such a wicked woman in the world could not be. Alas,
_mijn kind!_ often since then I have seen daughters over the bleeding
hearts of their mothers and fathers drive; and frown and scold and be
much injured and offended if once, in their pain and sorrow, they cry
out."

"But this of me remember, mother: if I am not near thee, I shall be
loving thee, thinking of thee; telling my husband, and perhaps my little
children about thee,--how good thou art, how pretty, how wise. I will
order my house as thou hast taught me, and my own dear ones will love me
better because I love thee. If to my own mother I be not true, can my
husband be sure I will be true to him, if comes the temptation strong
enough? Sorry would I be if my heart only one love could hold, and ever
the last love the strong love."

Still, in spite of this home trouble, and in spite of the national
anxiety, the winter months went with a delightsome peace and regularity
in the Van Heemskirk household. Neil Semple ceased to visit Katherine
after Joanna's wedding. There was no quarrel, and no interruption to the
kindness that had so long existed between the families; frequently they
walked from kirk together,--Madam Semple and Madam Van Heemskirk, Joris
and the elder, Katherine and Neil. But Neil never again offered her his
hand; and such conversation as they had was constrained and of the most
conventional character.

Very frequently, also, Dominic Van Linden spent the evening with them.
Joris delighted in his descriptions of Java and Surinam; and Lysbet and
Katherine knit their stockings, and listened to the conversation. It was
evident that the young minister was deeply in love, and equally evident
that Katharine's parents favoured his suit. But the lover felt, that,
whenever he attempted to approach her as a lover, Katherine surrounded
herself with an atmosphere that froze the words of admiration or
entreaty upon his lips.

Joris, however, spoke for him. "He has told me how truly he loves thee.
Like an honest man he loves thee, and he will make thee a wife honoured
of many. No better husband can thou have, Katherine." So spoke her
father to her one evening in the early spring, as they stood together
over the budding snowdrops and crocus.

[Illustration: They stood together over the budding snowdrops]

"There is no love in my heart for him, father."

"Neil pleases thee not, nor the dominie. Whom is it thou would have,
then? Surely not that Englishman now? The whole race I
hate,--swaggering, boastful tyrants, all of them. I will not give thee
to any Englishman."

"If I marry not him, then will I stay with thee always."

"Nonsense that is. Thou must marry, like other women. But not him; I
would never forgive thee; I would never see thy face again."

"Very hard art thou to me. I love Richard; can I love this one and then
that one? If I were so light-of-love, contempt I should have from all,
even from thee."

"Now, I have something to say. I have heard that some one,--very like to
thee,--some one went twice or three times with Mrs. Gordon to see the
man when he lay ill at the 'King's Arms.' To such talk, my anger and my
scorn soon put an end; and I will not ask of thee whether it be true, or
whether it be false. For a young girl I can feel."

"O father, if for me thou could feel!"

"See, now, if I thought this man would be to thee a good husband, I
would say, 'God made him, and God does not make all his men Dutchmen;'
and I would forgive him his light, loose life, and his wicked wasting of
gold and substance, and give thee to him, with thy fortune and with my
blessing. But I think he will be to thee a careless husband. He will get
tired of thy beauty; thy goodness he will not value; thy money he will
soon spend. Three sweethearts had he in New York before thee. Their very
names, I dare say, he hath forgotten ere this."

"If Richard could make you sure, father, that he would be a good
husband, would you then be content that we should be married?"

"That he cannot do. Can the night make me sure it is the day? Once very
much I respected Batavius. I said, 'He is a strict man of business;
honourable, careful, and always apt to make a good bargain. He does not
drink nor swear, and he is a firm member of the true Church. He will
make my Joanna a good husband.' That was what I thought. Now I see that
he is a very small, envious, greedy man; and like himself he quickly
made thy sister. This is what I fear: if thou marry that soldier, either
thou must grow like him, or else he will hate thee, and make thee
miserable."

"Just eighteen I am. Let us not talk of husbands. Why are you so
hurried, father, to give me to this strange dominie? Little is known of
him but what he says. It is easy for him to speak well of Lambertus Van
Linden."

"The committee from the Great Consistory have examined his testimonials.
They are very good. And I am not in a hurry to give thee away. What I
fear is, that thou wilt be a foolish woman, and give thyself away."

Katherine stood with dropped head, looking apparently at the brown
earth, and the green box borders, and the shoots of white and purple and
gold. But what she really saw, was the pale, handsome face of her sick
husband, its pathetic entreaty for her love, its joyful flush, when with
bridal kisses he whispered, "_Wife, wife, wife!_"

Joris watched her curiously. The expression on her face he could not
understand. "So happy she looks!" he thought, "and for what reason?"
Katherine was the first to speak.

"Who has told you anything about Captain Hyde, father?"

"Many have spoken."

"Does he get back his good health again?"

"I hear that. When the warm days come, to England he is going. So says
Jacob Cohen. What has Mrs. Gordon told thee? for to see her I know thou
goes."

"Twice only have I been. I heard not of England."

"But that is certain. He will go, and what then? Thee he will quite
forget, and never more will thou see or hear tell of him."

"That I believe not. In the cold winter one would have said of these
flowers, 'They come no more.' But the winter goes away, and then here
they are. Richard has been in the dead valley, _der shaduwe des doods_.
Sometimes I thought, he will come back to me no more. But now I am sure
I shall see him again."

Joris turned sadly away. That night he did not speak to her more. But
he had the persistence which is usually associated with slow natures. He
could not despair. He felt that he must go steadily on trying to move
Katherine to what he really believed was her highest interest. And he
permitted nothing to discourage him for very long. Dominie Van Linden
was also a prudent man. He had no intention in his wooing to make haste
and lose speed. As to Katherine's love troubles, he had not been left in
ignorance of them. A great many people had given him such information as
would enable him to keep his own heart from the wiles of the siren. He
had also a wide knowledge of books and life, and in the light of this
knowledge he thought that he could understand her. But the conclusion
that he deliberately came to was, that Katherine had cared neither for
Hyde nor Semple, and that the unpleasant termination of their courtship
had made her shy of all lover-like attentions. He believed that if he
advanced cautiously to her he might have the felicity of surprising and
capturing her virgin affection. And just about so far does any amount of
wisdom and experience help a man in a love perplexity; because every
mortal woman is a different woman, and no two can be wooed and won in
precisely the same way.

Amid all these different elements, political, social, and domestic,
Nature kept her own even, unvarying course. The gardens grew every day
fairer, the air more soft and balmy, the sunshine warmer and more
cherishing. Katherine was not unhappy. As Hyde grew stronger, he spent
his hours in writing long letters to his wife. He told her every trivial
event, he commented on all she told him. And her letters revealed to
him a soul so pure, so true, so loving, that he vowed "he fell in love
with her afresh every day of his life." Katherine's communications
reached her husband readily by the ordinary post; Hyde's had to be sent
through Mrs. Gordon. But it was evident from the first that Katherine
could not call there for them. Colonel Gordon would soon have objected
to being made an obvious participant in his nephew's clandestine
correspondence; and Joris would have decidedly interfered with visits
sure to cause unpleasant remarks about his daughter. The medium was
found in the mantua-maker, Miss Pitt. Mrs. Gordon was her most
profitable customer, and Katherine went there for needles and threads
and such small wares as are constantly needed in a household. And
whenever she did so, Miss Pitt was sure to remark, in an after-thought
kind of way, "Oh, I had nearly forgotten, miss! Here is a small parcel
that Mrs. Gordon desired me to present to you."

One exquisite morning in May, Katherine stood at an open window looking
over the garden and the river, and the green hills and meadows across
the stream. Her heart was full of hope. Richard's recovery was so far
advanced that he had taken several rides in the middle of the day.
Always he had passed the Van Heemskirks' house, and always Katherine had
been waiting to rain down upon his lifted face the influence of her most
bewitching beauty and her tenderest smiles. She was thinking of the last
of these events,--of Richard's rapid exhibition of a long, folded paper,
and the singular and emphatic wave which he gave it towards the river.
His whole air and attitude had expressed delight and hope; could he
really mean that she was to meet him again at their old trysting-place?

[Illustration: His whole air and attitude had expressed delight]

As thus she happily mused, some one called her mother from the front
hall. On fine mornings it was customary to leave the door standing open;
and the visitor advanced to the foot of the stairs, and called once
more, "Lysbet Van Heemskirk! Is there naebody in to bid me welcome?"
Then Katherine knew it was Madam Semple; and she ran to her mother's
room, and begged her to go down and receive the caller. For in these
days Katherine dreaded Madam Semple a little. Very naturally, the mother
blamed her for Neil's suffering and loss of time and prestige; and she
found it hard to forgive also her positive rejection of his suit. For
her sake, she herself had been made to suffer mortification and
disappointment. She had lost her friends in a way which deprived her of
all the fruits of her kindness. The Gordons thought Neil had
transgressed all the laws of hospitality. The Semples had a similar
charge to make. And it provoked Madam Semple that Mrs. Gordon continued
her friendship with Katherine. Every one else blamed Katherine
altogether in the matter; Mrs. Gordon had defied the use and wont of
society on such occasions, and thrown the whole blame on Neil. Somehow,
in her secret heart, she even blamed Lysbet a little. "Ever since I told
her there was an earldom in the family, she's been daft to push her
daughter into it," was her frequent remark to the elder; and he also
reflected that the proposed alliance of Neil and Katharine had been
received with coolness by Joris and Lysbet. "It was the soldier or the
dominie, either o' them before our Neil;" and, though there was no
apparent diminution of friendship, Semple and his wife frequently had a
little private grumble at their own fireside.

And toward Neil, Joris had also a secret feeling of resentment. He had
taken no pains to woo Katherine until some one else wanted her. It was
universally conceded that he had been the first to draw his sword, and
thus indulge his own temper at the expense of their child's good name
and happiness. Taking these faults as rudimentary ones, Lysbet could
enlarge on them indefinitely; and Joris had undoubtedly been influenced
by his wife's opinions. So, below the smiles and kind words of a long
friendship, there was bitterness. If there had not been, Janet Semple
would hardly have paid that morning visit; for before Lysbet was half
way down the stairs, Katherine heard her call out,--

"Here's a bonnie come of. But it is what a' folks expected. 'The
Dauntless' sailed the morn, and Captain Earle wi' a contingent for the
West Indies station. And who wi' him, guess you, but Captain Hyde, and
no less? They say he has a furlough in his pocket for a twelvemonth:
more like it's a clean, total dismissal. The gude ken it ought to be."

So much Katherine heard, then her mother shut to the door of the
sitting-room. A great fear made her turn faint and sick. Were her
father's words true? Was this the meaning of the mysterious wave of the
folded paper toward the ocean? The suspicion once entertained, she
remembered several little things which strengthened it. Her heart failed
her; she uttered a low cry of pain, and tottered to a chair, like one
wounded.

It was then ten o'clock. She thought the noon hour would never come.
Eagerly she watched for Bram and her father; for any certainty would be
better than such cruel fear and suspense. And, if Richard had really
gone, the fact would be known to them. Bram came first. For once she
felt impatient of his political enthusiasm. How could she care about
liberty poles and impressed fishermen, with such a real terror at her
heart? But Bram said nothing; only, as he went out, she caught him
looking at her with such pitiful eyes. "What did he mean?" She turned
coward then, and could not voice the question. Joris was tenderly
explicit. He said to her at once, "'The Dauntless' sailed this morning.
Oh, my little one, sorry I am for thee!"

"Is _he_ gone?" Very low and slow were the words; and Joris only
answered, "Yes."

Without any further question or remark, she went away. They were amazed
at her calmness. And for some minutes after she had locked the door of
her room, she stood still in the middle of the floor, more like one that
has forgotten something, and is trying to remember, than a woman who has
received a blow upon her heart. No tears came to her eyes. She did not
think of weeping, or reproaching, or lamenting. The only questions she
asked herself were, "How am I to get life over? Will such suffering kill
me very soon?"

Joris and Lysbet talked it over together. "Cohen told me," said Joris,
"that Captain Hyde called to bid him good-by. He said, 'He is a very
honourable young man, a very grateful young man, and I rejoice that I
was helpful in saving his life.' Then I asked him in what ship he was to
sail, and he said 'The Dauntless.' She left her moorings this morning
between nine and ten. She carries troops to Kingston, Captain Earle in
command; and I heard that Captain Hyde has a year's furlough."

Lysbet drew her lips tight, and said nothing. The last shadow of her own
dream had departed also, but it was of her child she thought. At that
hour she hated Hyde; and, after Joris had gone, she said in low, angry
tones, over and over, as she folded the freshly ironed linen, "I wish
that Neil had killed him!" About two o'clock she went to Katherine. The
girl opened her door at once to her. There was nothing to be said, no
hope to offer. Joris had seen Hyde embark; he had heard Mrs. Gordon and
the colonel bid him farewell. Several of his brother officers, also, and
the privates of his own troop, had been on the dock to see him sail. His
departure was beyond dispute.

And even while she looked at the woeful young face before her, the
mother anticipated the smaller, festering sorrows that would spring from
this great one,--the shame and mortification the mockery of those who
had envied Katherine; the inquiries, condolences, and advices of
friends; the complacent self-congratulation of Batavius, who would be
certain to remind them of every provoking admonition he had given on the
subject. And who does not know that these little trials of life are its
hardest trials? The mother did not attempt to say one word of comfort,
or hope, or excuse. She only took the child in her arms, and wept for
her. At this hour she would not wound her by even an angry word
concerning him.

"I loved him so much, _moeder_."

"Thou could not help it. Handsome, and gallant, and gay he was. I never
shall forget seeing thee dance with him."

"And he did love me. A woman knows when she is loved."

"Yes, I am sure he loved thee."

"He has gone? Really gone?"

"No doubt is there of it. Stay in thy room, and have thy grief out with
thyself."

"No; I will come to my work. Every day will now be the same. I shall
look no more for any joy; but my duty I will do."

They went downstairs together. The clean linen, the stockings that
required mending, lay upon the table. Katherine sat down to the task.
Resolutely, but almost unconsciously, she put her needle through and
through. Her suffering was pitiful; this little one, who a few months
ago would have wept for a cut finger, now silently battling with the
bitterest agony that can come to a loving woman,--the sense of cruel,
unexpected, unmerited desertion. At first Lysbet tried to talk to her;
but she soon saw that the effort to answer was beyond Katherine's
power, and conversation was abandoned. So for an hour, an hour of
speechless sorrow, they sat. The tick of the clock, the purr of the cat,
the snap of a breaking thread, alone relieved the tension of silence in
which this act of suffering was completed. Its atmosphere was becoming
intolerable, like that of a nightmare; and Lysbet was feeling that she
must speak and move, and so dissipate it, when there was a loud knock at
the front door.

Katherine trembled all over. "To-day I cannot bear it, mother. No one
can I see. I will go upstairs."

Ere the words were finished, Mrs. Gordon's voice was audible. She came
into the room laughing, with the smell of fresh violets and the feeling
of the brisk wind around her. "Dear madam," she cried, "I entreat you
for a favour. I am going to take the air this afternoon: be so good as
to let Katherine come with me. For I must tell you that the colonel has
orders for Boston, and I may see my charming friend no more after
to-day."

"Katherine, what say you? Will you go?"

"Please, _mijn moeder_."

"Make great haste, then." For Lysbet was pleased with the offer, and
fearful that Joris might arrive, and refuse to let his daughter accept
it. She hoped that Katherine would receive some comforting message; and
she was glad that on this day, of all others, Captain Hyde's aunt should
be seen with her. It would in some measure stop evil surmises; and it
left an air of uncertainty about the captain's relationship to
Katherine, which made the humiliation of his departure less keen.

[Illustration: "I am going to take the air this afternoon"]

"Stay not long," she whispered, "for your father's sake. There is no
good, more trouble to give him."

"Well, my dear, you look like a ghost. Have you not one smile for a
woman so completely in your interest? When I promised Dick this morning
that I would be _sure_ to get word to you, I was at my wits' end to
discover a way. But, when I am between the horns of a dilemma, I find it
the best plan to take the bull by the horns. Hence, I have made you a
visit which seems to have quite nonplussed you and your good mother."

"I thought Richard had gone."

"And you were breaking your heart, that is easy to be seen. He has gone,
but he will come back to-night at eight o'clock. No matter what
happens, be at the river-side. Do not fail Dick: he is taking his life
in his hand to see you."

"I will be there."

"La! what are you crying for, child? Poor girl! What are you crying for?
Dick, the scamp? He is not worthy of such pure tears; and yet, believe
me, he loves you to distraction."

"I thought he had gone--gone, without a word."

"Faith, you are not complimentary! I flatter myself that our Dick is a
gentleman. I do, indeed. And, as he is yet perfectly in his senses, you
might have trusted him."

"And you, do you go to Boston to-morrow?"

"The colonel does. At present, I have no such intentions. But I had to
have some extraordinary excuse, and I could invent no other. However,
you may say anything, if you only say it with an assurance. Madam wished
me a pleasant journey. I felt a little sorry to deceive so fine a lady."

"When will Richard return?"

"Indeed, I think you will have to answer for his resolves. But he will
speak for himself; and, in faith, I told him that he had come to a point
where I would be no longer responsible for his actions. I am thankful to
own that I have some conscience left."

The ride was not a very pleasant one. Katherine could not help feeling
that Mrs. Gordon was _distrait_ and inconsistent; and, towards its
close, she became very silent. Yet she kissed her kindly, and drawing
her closely for a last word, said, "Do not forget to wear your wadded
cloak and hood. You may have to take the water; for the councillor is
very suspicious, let me tell you. Remember what I say,--the wadded cloak
and hood; and good-by, good-by, my dear."

"Shall I see you soon?"

"When we may meet again, I do not pretend to say; till then, I am
entirely yours; and so again good-by."

The ride had not occupied an hour; but, when Katherine got home, Lysbet
was making tea. "A cup will be good for you, _mijn kind_." And she
smiled tenderly in the face that had been so white in its woeful
anguish, but on which there was now the gleam of hope. And she perceived
that Katherine had received some message, she even divined that there
might be some appointment to keep; and she determined not to be too wise
and prudent, but to trust Katherine for this evening with her own
destiny.

That night there was a meeting at the Town Hall, and Joris left the
house soon after his tea. He was greatly touched by Katharine's effort
to appear cheerful; and when she followed him to the door, and, ere he
opened it, put her arms round his neck, and kissed him, murmuring, "My
father, _mijn vader_!" he could not restrain his tears.

"_Mijn kind, my liefste kind_!" he answered. And then his soul in its
great emotion turned affectionately to the supreme fatherhood; for he
whispered to himself, as he walked slowly and solemnly in the pleasant
evening light: "'_Gelijk sich een vader outfermt over de kinderen_!' Oh,
so great must be Thy pity! My own heart can tell that now."

For an hour or more Katherine sat in the broad light of the window,
folding and unfolding the pieces of white linen, sewing a stitch or two
here, and putting on a button or tape there. Madam passed quietly to and
fro about her home duties, sometimes stopping to say a few words to her
daughter. It was a little interval of household calm, full of household
work; of love assured without need of words, of confidence anchored in
undoubting souls. When Lysbet was ready to do so, she began to lay into
the deep drawers of the presses the table-linen which Katherine had so
neatly and carefully examined. Over a pile of fine damask napkins she
stood, with a perplexed, annoyed face; and Katherine, detecting it, at
once understood the cause.

"One is wanting of the dozen, mother. At the last cake-baking, with the
dish of cake sent to Joanna it went. Back it has not come."

"For it you might go, Katherine. I like not that my sets are broken."

Katherine blushed scarlet. This was the opportunity she wanted. She
wondered if her mother suspected the want; but Lysbet's face expressed
only a little worry about the missing damask. Slowly, though her heart
beat almost at her lips, she folded away her work, and put her needle,
and thread, and thimble, and scissors, each in its proper place in her
house-wife. So deliberate were all her actions, that Lysbet's suspicions
were almost allayed. Yet she thought, "If out she wishes to go, leave I
have now given her; and, if not, still the walk will do her some good."
And yet there was in her heart just that element of doubt, which,
whenever it is present, ought to make us pause and reconsider the words
we are going to speak or write, and the deed we are going to do.

The nights were yet chilly,--though the first blooms were on the
trees,--and the wadded cloak and hood were not so far out of season as
to cause remark. As she came downstairs, the clock struck seven. There
was yet an hour, and she durst not wait so long at the bottom of the
garden while it was early in the evening. When her work was done, Lysbet
frequently walked down it; she had a motherly interest in the budding
fruit-trees and the growing flowers. And a singular reluctance to leave
home assailed Katherine. If she had known that it was to be forever, her
soul could not have more sensibly taken its farewell of all the dear,
familiar objects of her daily life. About her mother this feeling
culminated. She found her cap a little out of place; and her fingers
lingered in the lace, and stroked fondly her hair and pink cheeks, until
Lysbet felt almost embarrassed by the tender, but unusual show of
affection.

"Now, then, go, my Katherine. To Joanna give my dear love. Tell her that
very good were the cheesecakes and the krullers, and that to-morrow I
will come over and see the new carpet they have bought."

And while she spoke she was retying Katherine's hood, and admiring as
she did so the fair, sweet face in its quiltings or crimson satin, and
the small, dimpled chin resting upon the fine bow she tied under it.
Then she followed her to the door, and watched her down the road until
she saw her meet Dominie Van Linden, and stand a moment holding his
hand. "A message I am going for my mother," she said, as she firmly
refused his escort. "Then with madam, your mother, I will sit until you
return," he replied cheerfully; and Katherine answered, "That will be a
great pleasure to her, sir."

A little farther she walked; but suddenly remembering that the dominie's
visit would keep her mother in the house, and being made restless by the
gathering of the night shadows, she turned quickly, and taking the very
road up which Hyde had come the night Neil Semple challenged him, she
entered the garden by a small gate at its foot, which was intended for
the gardener's use. The lilacs had not much foliage, but in the dim
light her dark, slim figure was undistinguishable behind them. Longingly
and anxiously she looked up and down the water-way. A mist was gathering
over it; and there were no boats in the channel except two
pleasure-shallops, already tacking to their proper piers. "The
Dauntless" had been out of sight for hours. There was not the splash of
an oar, and no other river sound at that point, but the low, peculiar
"wish-h-h" of the turning tide.

In the pettiest character there are unfathomable depths; and
Katherine's, though yet undeveloped, was full of noble aspirations and
singularly sensitive. As she stood there alone, watching and waiting in
the dim light, she had a strange consciousness of some mysterious life
ante-dating this life! and of a long-forgotten voice filling the
ear-chambers of that spiritual body which was the celestial inhabitant
of her natural body. "_Richard, Richard_," she murmured; and she never
doubted but that he heard her.

All her senses were keenly on the alert. Suddenly there was the sound of
oars, and the measure was that of steady, powerful strokes. She turned
her face southward, and watched. Like a flash a boat shot out of the
shadow,--a long, swift boat, that came like a Fate, rapidly and without
hesitation, to her very feet. Richard quickly left it and with a few
strokes it was carried back into the dimness of the central channel.
Then he turned to the lilac-trees.

"Katherine!"

It was but a whisper, but she heard it. He opened his arms, and she flew
to their shelter like a bird to her mate.

"My love, my wife, my beautiful wife! My true, good heart! Now, at last
my own; nothing shall part us again, Katherine,--never again. I have
come for you--come at all risks for you. Only five minutes the boat can
wait. Are you ready?"

"I know not, Richard. My father--my mother"--

"My husband! Say that also, beloved. Am I not first? If you will not go
with me, _here_ I shall stay; and, as I am still on duty, death and
dishonour will be the end. O Katherine, shall I die again for you? Will
you break my sword in disgrace over my head! Faith, darling, I know that
you would rather die for me."

"If one word I could send them! They suspect me not. They think you are
gone. It will kill my father."

[Illustration: "I will go with you, Richard"]

"You shall write to them on the ship. There are a dozen fishing-boats
near it. We will send the letter by one of them. They will get it early
in the morning. Sweet Kate, come. Here is the boat. 'The Dauntless' lies
down the bay, and we have a long pull. My wife, do you need more
persuasion?"

He released her from his embrace with the words, and stood holding her
hands, and looking into her face. No woman is insensible to a certain
kind of authority; and there was fascination as well as power in Hyde's
words and manner, emphasized by the splendour of his uniform, and the
air of command that seemed to be a part of it.

"It is for you to decide, Katherine. The boat is here. Even I must obey
or disobey orders. Will you not go with me, your husband, to love and
life and honour; or shall I stay with you, for disgrace and death? For
from you I will not part again."

She had no time to consider how much truth there was in this desperate
statement. The boat was waiting. Richard was wooing her consent with
kisses and entreaties. Her own soul urged her, not only by the joy of
his presence, but by the memory of the anguish she had endured that day
in the terror of his desertion. From the first moment she had hesitated;
therefore, from the first moment she had yielded. She clung to her
husband's arm, she lifted her face to his, she said softly, but clearly,
"I will go with you, Richard. With you I will go. Where to, I care not
at all."

They stepped into the boat, and Hyde said, "Oars." Not a word was
spoken. He held her within his left arm, close to his side, and
partially covered with his military cloak. It was the boat belonging to
the commander of "The Dauntless," and the six sailors manning it sent
the light craft flying like an arrow down the bay. All the past was
behind her. She had done what was irrevocable. For joy or for sorrow,
her place was evermore at her husband's side. Richard understood the
decision she was coming to; knew that every doubt and fear had vanished
when her hand stole into his hand, when she slightly lifted her face,
and whispered, "Richard."

They were practically alone upon the misty river; and Richard answered
the tender call with sweet, impassioned kisses; with low, lover-like,
encouraging words; with a silence that thrilled with such soft beat and
subsidence of the spirit's wing, as--

          "When it feels, in cloud-girt wayfaring,
            The breath of kindred plumes against its feet."

[Illustration: Tail-piece]

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




X.


                "_Good people, how they wrangle!
                   The manners that they never mend,
                 The characters they mangle!
                   They eat and drink, and scheme and plod,
                 And go to church on Sunday;
                   And many are afraid of God,
                 And some of Mrs. Grundy_."


During that same hour Joris was in the town council. There had been a
stormy and prolonged session on the Quartering Act. "To little purpose
have we compelled the revocation of the Stamp Act," he cried, "if the
Quartering Act upon us is to be forced. We want not English soldiers
here. In our homes why should we quarter them?"

All the way home he was asking himself the question; and, when he found
Dominie Van Linden talking to Lysbet, he gladly discussed it over again
with him. Lysbet sat beside them, knitting and listening. Until after
nine o'clock Joris did not notice the absence of his daughter. "She
went to Joanna's," said Lysbet calmly. No fear had yet entered her
heart. Perhaps she had a vague suspicion that Katherine might also go to
Mrs. Gordon's, and she was inclined to avoid any notice of the lateness
of the hour. If it were even ten o'clock when she returned, Lysbet
intended to make no remarks. But ten o'clock came, and the dominie went,
and Joris suddenly became anxious about Katherine.

His first anger fell upon Bram. "He ought to have been at home. Then he
could have gone for his sister. He is not attentive enough to Katherine;
and very fond is he of hanging about Miriam Cohen's doorstep."

"What say you, Joris, about Miriam Cohen?"

"I spoke in my temper."

He would not explain his words, and Lysbet would not worry him about
Katherine. "To Joanna's she went, and Batavius is in Boston. Very well,
then, she has stayed with her sister."

Still, in her own heart there was a certain uneasiness. Katherine had
never remained all night before without sending some message, or on a
previous understanding to that effect. But the absence of Batavius, and
the late hour at which she went, might account for the omission,
especially as Lysbet remembered that Joanna's servant had been sick, and
might be unfit to come. She was determined to excuse Katherine, and she
refused to acknowledge the dumb doubt and fear that crouched at her own
heart.

In the morning Joris rose very early and went into the garden. Generally
this service to nature calmed and cheered him; but he came to breakfast
from it, silent and cross. And Lysbet was still disinclined to open a
conversation about Katharine. She had enough to do to combat her own
feeling on the subject; and she was sensible that Joris, in the absence
of any definite object for his anger, blamed her for permitting
Katherine so much liberty.

"Where, then, is Bram?" he asked testily. "When I was a young man, it
was the garden or the store for me before this hour. Too much you
indulge the children, Lysbet."

"Bram was late to bed. He was on the watch last night at the pole. You
know, Councillor, who in that kind of business has encouraged him."

"Every night the watch is not for him."

"Oh, then, but the bad habit is made!"

"Well, well; tell him to Joanna's to go the first thing, and to send
home Katherine. I like her not in the house of Batavius."

"Joanna is her sister, Joris."

"Joanna is nothing at all in this world but the wife of Batavius. Send
for Katherine home. I like her best to be with her mother."

As he spoke, Bram came to the table, looking a little heavy and sleepy.
Joris rose without more words, and in a few moments the door shut
sharply behind him. "What is the matter with my father?"

"Cross he is." By this time Lysbet was also cross; and she continued,
"No wonder at it. Katherine has stayed at Joanna's all night, and late
to breakfast were you. Yet ever since you were a little boy, you have
heard your father say one thing, 'Late to breakfast, hurried at dinner,
behind at supper;' and I also have noticed, that, when the comfort of
the breakfast is spoiled, then all the day its bad influence is felt."

In the meantime Joris reached his store in that mood which apprehends
trouble, and finds out annoyances that under other circumstances would
not have any attention. The store was in its normal condition, but he
was angry at the want of order in it. The mail was no later than usual,
but he complained of its delay. He was threatening a general reform in
everything and everybody, when a man came to the door, and looked up at
the name above it.

"Joris Van Heemskirk is the name, sir;" and Joris went forward, and
asked a little curtly, "What, then, can I do for you?"

"I am Martin Hudde the fisherman."

"Well, then?"

"If you are Joris Van Heemskirk, I have a letter for you. I got it from
'The Dauntless' last night, when I was fishing in the bay."

Without a word Joris took the letter, turned into his office, and shut
the door; and Hudde muttered as he left, "I am glad that I got a crown
with it, for here I have not got a 'thank you.'"

It was Katherine's writing; and Joris held the folded paper in his hand,
and looked stupidly at it. The truth was forcing itself into his mind,
and the slow-coming conviction was a real physical agony to him. He put
his hand on the desk to steady himself; and Nature, in great drops of
sweat, made an effort to relieve the oppression and stupor which
followed the blow. In a few minutes he opened and laid it before him.
Through a mist he made out these words:


MY FATHER AND MY MOTHER: I have gone with my husband. I married Richard
when he was ill, and to-night he came for me. When I left home, I knew
not I was to go. Only five minutes I had. In God's name, this is the
truth. Always, at the end of the world, I shall love you. Forgive me,
forgive me, _mijn fader, mijn moeder_.
                                             Your child,
                                                      KATHERINE HYDE.


He tore the letter into fragments; but the next moment he picked them
up, folded them in a piece of paper, and put them in his pocket. Then he
went to Mrs. Gordon's. She had anticipated the visit, and was, in a
measure, prepared for it. With a smile and outstretched hands, she rose
from her chocolate to meet him. "You see, I am a terrible sluggard,
Councillor," she laughed; "but the colonel left early for Boston this
morning, and I cried myself into another sleep. And will you have a cup
of chocolate? I am sure you are too polite to refuse me."

"Madam, I came not on courtesy, but for my daughter. Where is my
Katherine?"

"Truth, sir, I believe her to be where every woman wishes,--with her
husband. I am sure I wish the colonel was with me."

"Her husband! Who, then?"

"Indeed, Councillor, that is a question easily answered,--my nephew,
Captain Hyde, at your service. You perceive, sir, we are now
connections; and I assure you I have the highest sense imaginable of the
honour."

"When were they married?"

"In faith, I have forgotten the precise date. It was in last October; I
know it was, because I had just received my winter manteau,--my blue
velvet one, with the fur bands.'

"Who married them?"

[Illustration: "Madam, I come not on courtesy"]

"Oh, indeed! It was the governor's chaplain,--the Rev. Mr. Somers, a
relative of my Lord Somers, a most estimable and respectable person, I
assure you. Colonel Gordon, and Captain Earle, and myself, were the
witnesses. The governor gave the license; and, in consideration of
Dick's health, the ceremony was performed in his room. All was perfectly
correct and regular, I"--

"It is not the truth. Pardon, madam; full of trouble am I. And it was
all irregular, and very wicked, and very cruel. If regular and right it
had been, then in secret it had not taken place."

"Admit, Councillor, that then it had not taken place at all; or, at
least, Richard would have had to wait until Katherine was of age."

"So; and that would have been right. Until then, if love had lasted, I
would have said, 'Their love is stronger than my dislike;' and I would
have been content."

"Ah, sir, there was more to the question than that! My nephew's chances
for life were very indifferent, and he desired to shield Katherine's
name with his own"--

"_Christus!_ What say you, madam? Had Katherine no father?"

"Oh, be not so warm, Councillor! A husband's name is a far bigger shield
than a father's. I assure you that the world forgives a married woman
what it would not forgive an angel. And I must tell you, also, that
Dick's very life depended on the contentment which he felt in his
success. It is the part of humanity to consider that."

"Twice over deceived I have been then"--

"In short, sir, there was no help for it. Dick received a most
unexpected favour of a year's furlough two days ago. It was important
for his wounded lung that he should go at once to a warm climate. 'The
Dauntless' was on the point of sailing for the West Indies. To have
bestowed our confidence on you, would have delayed or detained our
patient, or sent him away without his wife. It was my fault that
Katherine had only five minutes given her. Oh, sir, I know my own sex!
And, if you will take time to reflect, I am sure that you will be
reasonable."

"Without his wife! His wife! Without my consent? No, she is not his
wife."

"Sir, you must excuse me if I do not honour your intelligence or your
courtesy. I have said '_she is his wife_.' It is past a doubt that they
are married."

"I know not, I know not--O my Katherine, my Katherine!"

"I pray you, sit down, Councillor. You look faint and ill; and in faith
I am very sorry that, to make two people happy, others must be made so
wretched." She rose and filled a glass with wine, and offered it to
Joris, who was the very image of mental suffering,--all the fine colour
gone out of his face, and his large blue eyes swimming in unshed tears.

"Drink, sir. Upon my word, you are vastly foolish to grieve so. I
protest to you that Katherine is happy; and grieving will not restore
your loss."

"For that reason I grieve, madam. Nothing can give me back my child."

"Come, sir, every one has his calamity; and, upon my word, you are very
fortunate to have one no greater than the marriage of your daughter to
an agreeable man, of honourable profession and noble family."

"Five minutes only! How could the child think? To take her away thus was
cruel. Many things a woman needs when she journeys."

"Oh, indeed, Katharine was well considered! I myself packed a trunk for
her with every conceivable necessity, as well as gowns and manteaus of
the finest material and the most elegant fashion. If Dick had been
permitted, he would have robbed the Province for her. I assure you that
I had to lock my trunks to preserve a change of gowns for myself. When
the colonel returns, he will satisfy you that Katherine has done
tolerably well in her marriage with our nephew. And, indeed, I must beg
you to excuse me further. I have been in a hurry of affairs and emotions
for two days; and I am troubled with the vapours this morning, and feel
myself very indifferently."

Then Joris understood that he had been politely dismissed. But there was
no unkindness in the act. He glanced at the effusive little lady, and
saw that she was on the point of crying, and very likely in the first
pangs of a nervous headache; and, without further words, he left her.

The interview had given Joris very little comfort. At first, his great
terror had been that Katherine had fled without any religious sanction;
but no sooner was this fear dissipated, than he became conscious, in all
its force, of his own personal loss and sense of grievance. From Mrs.
Gordon's lodgings he went to those of Dominie Van Linden. He felt sure
of his personal sympathy; and he knew that the dominie would be the best
person to investigate the circumstances of the marriage, and
authenticate their propriety.

Then Joris went home. On his road he met Bram, full of the first terror
of his sister's disappearance. He told him all that was necessary, and
sent him back to the store. "And see you keep a modest face, and make no
great matter of it," he said. "Be not troubled nor elated. It belongs to
you to be very prudent; for your sister's good name is in your care, and
this is a sorrow outsiders may not meddle with. Also, at once go back to
Joanna's, and tell her the same thing. I will not have Katherine made a
wonder to gaping women."

Lysbet was still a little on the defensive; but, when she saw Joris
coming home, her heart turned sick with fear. She was beating eggs for
her cake-making, and she went on with the occupation; merely looking up
to say, "Thee, Joris; dinner will not be ready for two hours! Art thou
sick?"

"Katherine--she has gone!"

"Gone? And where, then?"

"With that Englishman; in 'The Dauntless' they have gone."

"Believe it not. 'The Dauntless' left yesterday morning: Katherine at
seven o'clock last night was with me."

"Ah, he must have returned for her! Well he knew that if he did not
steal her away, I had taken her from him. Yes, and I feared him. When I
heard that 'The Dauntless' was to take him to the West Indies, I watched
the ship. After I kissed Katherine yesterday morning, I went straight to
the pier, and waited until she was on her way." Then he told her all
Mrs. Gordon had said, and showed her the fragments of Katherine's
letter. The mother kissed them, and put them in her bosom; and, as she
did so, she said softly, "it was a great strait, Joris."

"Well, well, we also must pass through it. The Dominie Van Linden has
gone to examine the records; and then, if she his lawful wife be, in the
newspapers I must advertise the marriage. Much talk and many questions I
shall have to bear."

"'If,' 'if she his lawful wife be!' Say not 'if' in my hearing; say not
'if' of my Katherine."

"When a girl runs away from her home"--

"With her husband she went; keep that in mind when people speak to
thee."

"What kind of a husband will he be to her?"

"Well, then, I think not bad of him. Nearer home there are worse men.
Now, if sensible thou be, thou wilt make the best of what is beyond thy
power. Every bird its own nest builds in its own way. Nay, but blind
birds are we all, and God builds for us. This marriage of God's ordering
may be, though not of thy ordering; and against it I would no longer
fight. I think my Katherine is happy; and happy with her I will be,
though the child in her joy I see not."

"So much talk as there will be. In the store and the streets, a man must
listen. And some with me will condole, and some with congratulations
will come; and both to me will be vinegar and gall."

"To all--friends and unfriends--say this: 'Every one chooses for
themselves. Captain Hyde loved my daughter, and for her love nearly he
died; and my daughter loved him; and what has been from the creation,
will be.' Say also, 'Worse might have come; for he hath a good heart,
and in the army he is much loved, and of a very high family is he.'
Joris, let me see thee pluck up thy courage like a man. Better may come
of this than has come of things better looking. Much we thought of
Batavius"--

"On that subject wilt thou be quiet?"

"And, if at poor little Katherine thou be angry, speak out thy mind to
me; to others, say nothing but well of the dear one. Now, then, I will
get thee thy dinner; for in sorrow a good meal is a good medicine."

[Illustration: "O mother, my sister Katherine!"]

While they were eating this early dinner, Joanna came in, sad and
tearful; and with loud lamentings she threw herself upon her mother's
shoulder. "What, then, is the matter with thee?" asked Lysbet, with
great composure.

"O mother, my Katherine! my sister Katherine!"

"I thought perhaps thou had bad news of Batavius. Thy sister Katherine
hath married a very fine gentleman, and she is happy. For thou must
remember that all the good men do not come from Dordrecht."

"I am glad that so you take it. I thought in very great sorrow you would
be."

"See that you do not say such words to any one, Joanna. Very angry will
I be if I hear them. Batavius, also; he must be quiet on this matter."

"Oh, then, Batavius has many things of greater moment to think about! Of
Katherine he never approved; and the talk there will be he will not like
it. Before from Boston he comes back, I shall be glad to have it over."

"None of his affair it is," said Joris. "Of my own house and my own
daughter, I can take the care. And if he like the talk, or if he like
not the talk, there it will be. Who will stop talking because Batavius
comes home?"

When Joris spoke in this tone on any subject, no one wished to continue
it: and it was not until her father had left the house, that Joanna
asked her mother particularly about Katherine's marriage. "Was she sure
of it? Had they proofs? Would it be legal? More than a dozen people
stopped me as I came over here," she said, "and asked me about
everything."

"I know not how more than a dozen people knew of anything, Joanna. But
many ill-natured words will be spoken, doubtless. Even Janet Semple came
here yesterday, thinking over Katherine to exult a little. But Katherine
is a great deal beyond her to-day. And perhaps a countess she may yet
be. That is what her husband said to thy father."

"I knew not that he spoke to my father about Katherine."

"Thou knows not all things. Before thou wert married to Batavius, before
Neil Semple nearly murdered him, he asked of thy father her hand. Thou
wast born on thy wedding day, I think. All things that happened before
it have from thy memory passed away."

"Well, I am a good wife, I know that. That also is what Batavius says.
Just before I got to the gate, I met Madam Semple and Gertrude Van
Gaasbeeck; they had been shopping together."

"Did they speak of Katherine?"

"Indeed they did."

"Or did you speak first, Joanna? It is an evil bird that pulls to pieces
its own nest."

"O mother, scolded I cannot be for Katherine's folly! My Batavius always
said, 'The favourite is Katherine.' Always he thought that of me too
much was expected. And Madam Semple said--and always she liked
Katherine--that very badly had she behaved for a whole year, and that
the end was what everybody had looked for. It is on me very hard,--I who
have always been modest, and taken care of my good name. Nobody in the
whole city will have one kind word to say for Katherine. You will see
that it is so, mother."

"You will see something very different, Joanna. Many will praise
Katherine, for she to herself has done well. And, when back she comes,
at the governor's she will visit, and with all the great ladies; and not
one among them will be so lovely as Katherine Hyde."

And, if Joanna had been in Madam Semple's parlour a few hours later, she
would have had a most decided illustration of Lysbet's faith in the
popular verdict. Madam was sitting at her tea-table talking to the
elder, who had brought home with him the full supplement to Joanna's
story. Both were really sorry for their old friends, although there is
something in the best kind of human nature that indorses the punishment
of those things in which old friends differ from us.

Neil had heard nothing. He had been shut up in his office all day over
an important suit; and, when he took the street again, he was weary, and
far from being inclined to join any acquaintances in conversation. In
fact, the absorbing topic was one which no one cared to introduce in
Neil's presence; and he himself was too full of professional matters to
notice that he attracted more than usual attention from the young men
standing around the store-doors, and the officers lounging in front of
the 'King's Arms' tavern.

He was irritable, too, with exhaustion, though he was doing his best to
keep himself in control and when madam his mother said pointedly, "I'm
fearing, Neil, that the bad news has made you ill; you arena at a' like
yoursel'," he asked without much interest, "What bad news?"

"The news anent Katherine Van Heemskirk."

He had supposed it was some political disappointment, and at Katherine's
name his pale face grew suddenly crimson.

"What of her?" he asked.

"Didna you hear? She ran awa' last night wi' Captain Hyde; stole awa'
wi' him on 'The Dauntless.'"

"She would have the right to go with him, I have no doubt," said Neil
with guarded calmness.

"Do you really think she was his wife?"

"If she went with him, _I am sure she was_." He dropped the words with
an emphatic precision, and looked with gloomy eyes out of the window;
gloomy, but steadfast, as if he were trying to face a future in which
there was no hope. His mother did not observe him. She went on prattling
as she filled the elder's cup, "If there had been any wedding worth the
name o' the thing, we would hae been bidden to it. I dinna believe she
is married."

"Are you sure that she sailed with Captain Hyde in 'The Dauntless,' or
is it a pack of women's tales?"

"The news cam' wi' your fayther the elder," answered madam, much
offended. "You can mak' your inquiries there if you think he's mair
reliable than I am."

Neil looked at his father, and the elder said quietly, "I wouldna be
positive anent any woman; the bad are whiles good, and the good are
whiles bad. But there is nae doubt that Katherine has gone with Hyde;
and I heard that the military at the 'King's Arms' have been drinking
bumpers to Captain Hyde and his bride; and I know that Mrs. Gordon has
said they were married lang syne, when Hyde couldna raise himsel' or put
a foot to the ground. But Joanna told your mother _she_ had neither seen
nor heard tell o' book, ring, or minister; and, as I say, for mysel'
I'll no venture a positive opinion, but I _think_ the lassie is married
to the man she's off an' awa' wi'."

"But if she isna?" persisted madam.

In a moment Neil let slip the rein in which he had been holding himself,
and in a slow, intense voice answered, "I shall make it my business to
find out. If Katherine is married, God bless her! If she is not, I will
follow Hyde though it were around the world until I cleave his coward's
heart in two." His passion grew stronger with its utterance. He pushed
away his chair, and put down his cup so indifferently that it missed the
table and fell with a crash to the floor.

[Illustration: "Oh, my cheeny, my cheeny!"]

"Oh, my cheeny, my cheeny! Oh, my bonnie cups that I hae used for forty
years, and no' a piece broken afore!"

"Ah, weel, Janet," said the elder, "you shouldna badger an angry man
when he's drinking from your best cups."

"I canna mend nor match it in the whole Province, Elder. Oh, my bonnie
cup."

"I was thinking, Janet, o' Katherine's good name. If it is gane, it is
neither to mend nor to match in the whole wide world. I'll awa' and see
Joris and Lysbet. And put every cross thought where you'll never find
them again, Janet; an tak' your good-will in your hands, and come wi'
me. Lysbet will want to see you."

"Not her, indeed! I can tell you, Elder, that Lysbet was vera cool and
queer wi' me yesterday."

"Come, Janet, dinna keep your good-nature in remnants. Let's hae enough
to make a cloak big enough to cover a' bygone faults."

"I think, then, I ought to stay wi' Neil."

"Neil doesna want anybody near him. Leave him alane. Neil's a' right.
Forty years syne I would hae broke my mother's cheeny, and drawn steel
as quick as Neil did, if I heard a word against bonnie Janet Gordon."
And the old man made his wife a bow; and madam blushed with pleasure,
and went upstairs to put on her bonnet and India shawl.

"Woman, woman," meditated the smiling elder; "she is never too angry to
be won wi' a mouthful o' sweet words, special if you add a bow or a kiss
to them. My certie! when a husband can get his ain way at sic a sma'
price, it's just wonderfu' he doesna buy it in perpetuity."

Joris was somewhat comforted by his old friend's sympathy; for the
elder, in the hour of trial, knew how to be magnanimous. But the
father's wound lay deeper than human love could reach. He was suffering
from what all suffer who are wounded in their affections; for alas,
alas, how poorly do we love even those whom we love most! We are not
only bruised by the limitations of their love for us, but also by the
limitations of our own love for them. And those who know what it is to
be strong enough to wrestle, and yet not strong enough to overcome, will
understand how the grief, the anger, the jealousy, the resentment, from
which he suffered, amazed Joris; he had not realized before the depth
and strength of his feelings.

He tried to put the memory of Katherine away, but he could not
accomplish a miracle. The girl's face was ever before him. He felt her
caressing fingers linked in his own; and, as he walked in his house and
his garden, her small feet pattered beside him. For as there are in
creation invisible bonds that do not break like mortal bonds, so also
there are correspondences subsisting between souls, despite the
separation of distance.

"I would forget Katherine if I could," he said to Dominie Van Linden;
and the good man, bravely putting aside his private grief, took the
hands of Joris in his own, and bending toward him, answered, "That would
be a great pity. Why forget? Trust, rather, that out of sorrow God will
bring to you joy."

"Not natural is that, Dominie. How can it be? I do not understand how it
can be."

"You do not understand! Well, then, _och mijn jongen_, what matters
comprehension, if you have faith? Trust, now, that it is well with the
child."

But Joris believed it was ill with her; and he blamed not only himself,
but every one in connection with Katherine, for results which he was
certain might have been foreseen and prevented. Did he not foresee them?
Had he not spoken plainly enough to Hyde and to Lysbet and to the child
herself? He should have seen her to Albany, to her sister Cornelia. For
he believed now that Lysbet had not cordially disapproved of Hyde; and
as for Joanna, she had been far too much occupied with Batavius and her
own marriage to care for any other thing. And one of his great fears was
that Katherine also would forget her father and mother and home, and
become a willing alien from her own people.

He was so wrapped up in his grief, that he did not notice that Bram was
suffering also. Bram got the brunt of the world's wonderings and
inquiries. People who did not like to ask Joris questions, felt no such
delicacy with Bram. And Bram not only tenderly loved his sister: he
hated with the unreasoning passion of youth the entire English soldiery.
He made no exception now. They were the visible marks of a subjection
which he was sworn, heart and soul, to oppose. It humiliated him among
his fellows, that his sister should have fled with one of them. It gave
those who envied and disliked him an opportunity of inflicting covert
and cruel wounds. Joris could, in some degree, control himself; he could
speak of the marriage with regret, but without passion; he had even
alluded, in some cases, to Hyde's family and expectations. The majority
believed that he was secretly a little proud of the alliance. But Bram
was aflame with indignation; first, if the marriage were at all doubted;
second, if it were supposed to be a satisfactory one to any member of
the Van Heemskirk family.

As to the doubters, they were completely silenced when the next issue of
the "New York Gazette" appeared; for among its most conspicuous
advertisements was the following:

Married, Oct. 19, 1765, by the Rev. Mr. Somers, chaplain to his
Excellency the Governor, Richard Drake Hyde, of Hyde Manor, Norfolk, son
of the late Richard Drake Hyde, and brother of William Drake Hyde, Earl
of Dorset and Hyde, to Katherine, the youngest daughter of Joris and
Lysbet Van Heemskirk, of the city and province of New York.

                    _Witnesses_: NIGEL GORDON, H.M. Nineteenth
                                        Light Cavalry.
                                     GEORGE EARLE, H.M. Nineteenth
                                        Light Cavalry.
                                     ADELAIDE GORDON, wife of Nigel
                                        Gordon.

This announcement took every one a little by surprise. A few were really
gratified; the majority perceived that it silenced gossip of a very
enthralling kind. No one could now deplore or insinuate, or express
sorrow or astonishment. And, as rejoicing with one's friends and
neighbours soon becomes a very monotonous thing, Katherine Van
Heemskirk's fine marriage was tacitly dropped. Only for that one day on
which it was publicly declared, was it an absorbing topic. The whole
issue of the "Gazette" was quickly bought; and then people, having seen
the fact with their own eyes, felt a sudden satiety of the whole affair.

On some few it had a more particular influence. Hyde's brother officers
held high festival to their comrade's success. To every bumper they read
the notice aloud, as a toast, and gave a kind of national triumph to
what was a purely personal affair. Joris read it with dim eyes, and then
lit his long Gouda pipe and sat smoking with an air of inexpressible
loneliness. Lysbet read it, and then put the paper carefully away among
the silks and satins in her bottom drawer. Joanna read it, and then
immediately bought a dozen copies and sent them to the relatives of
Batavius, in Dordrecht, Holland.

Neil Sample read and re-read it. It seemed to have a fascination for
him; and for more than an hour he sat musing, with his eyes fixed upon
the fateful words. Then he rose and went to the hearth. There were a few
sticks of wood burning upon it, but they had fallen apart. He put them
together, and, tearing out the notice, he laid it upon them. It meant
much more to Neil than the destruction of a scrap of paper, and he stood
watching it, long after it had become a film of grayish ash.

Bram would not read it at all. He was too full of shame and trouble at
the event; and the moments went as if they moved on lead. But the
unhappy day wore away to its evening; and after tea he gathered a great
nosegay of narcissus, and went to Isaac Cohen's. He did not "hang about
the steps," as Joris in his temper had said. Miriam was not one of those
girls who sit in the door to be gazed at by every passing man. He went
into the store, and she seemed to know his footstep. He had no need to
speak: she came at once from the mystery behind the crowded place into
the clearer light. Plain and dark were her garments, and Bram would have
been unable to describe her dress; but it was as fitting to her as are
the green leaves of the rose-tree to the rose.

Their acquaintance had evidently advanced since that anxious evening
when she had urged upon Bram the intelligence of the duel between Hyde
and Neil Semple; for Bram gave her the flowers without embarrassment,
and she buried her sweet face in their sweet petals, and then lifted it
with a smile at once grateful and confidential. Then they began to talk
of Katherine.

[Illustration: Plain and dark were her garments]

"She was so beautiful and so kind," said Miriam; "just a week since
she passed here, with some violets in her hand; and, when she saw me,
she ran up the steps, and said, 'I have brought them for you;' and she
clasped my fingers, and looked so pleasantly in my face. If I had a
sister, Bram, I think she would smile at me in the same way."

"Very grateful to you was Katharine. All you did about the duel, I told
her. She knows her husband had not been alive to-day, but for you. O
Miriam, if you had not spoken!"

"I should have had the stain of blood on my conscience. I did right to
speak. My grandfather said to me, 'You did quite right, my dear.'"

Then Bram told her all the little things that had grieved him, and they
talked as dear companions might talk; only, beneath all the common words
of daily life, there was some subtile sweetness that made their voices
low and their glances shy and tremulous.

It was not more than an hour ere Cohen came home. He looked quickly at
the young people, and then stood by Bram, and began to talk courteously
of passing events. Miriam leaned, listening, against a magnificent
"apostle's cabinet" in black oak--one of those famous ones made in
Nuremburg in the fifteenth century, with locks and hinges of
hammered-steel work, and finely chased handles of the same material.
Against its carved and pillared background her dark drapery fell in
almost unnoticed grace; but her fair face and small hands, with the mass
of white narcissus in them, had a singular and alluring beauty. She
affected Bram as something sweetly supernatural might have done. It was
an effort for him to answer Cohen; he felt as if it would be impossible
for him to go away.

But the clock struck the hour, and the shop boy began to put up the
shutters; and the old man walked to the door, taking Bram with him. Then
Miriam, smiling her farewell, passed like a shadow into the darker
shadows beyond; and Bram went home, wondering to find that she had cast
out of his heart hatred, malice, fretful worry, and all
uncharitableness. How could he blend them with thoughts of her? and how
could he forget the slim, dark-robed figure, or the lovely face against
the old black _kas_, crowned with its twelve sombre figures, or the
white slender hands holding the white fragrant flowers?

[Illustration: Tail-piece]

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




XI.

          "_Each man's homestead is his golden milestone,
          Is the central point from which he measures
                      Every distance
          Through the gateways of the world around him._"


There are certain months in every life which seem to be full of fate,
good or evil, for that life; and May was Katherine Hyde's luck month. It
was on a May afternoon that Hyde had asked her love; it was on a May
night she fled with him through the gray shadows of the misty river.
Since then a year had gone by, and it was May once more,--an English
May, full of the magic of the month; clear skies, and young foliage, and
birds' songs, the cool, woody smell of wall-flowers, and the ethereal
perfume of lilies.

In Hyde Manor House, there was that stir of preparation which indicates
a departure. The house was before time; it had the air of early rising;
the atmosphere of yesterday had not been dismissed, but lingered
around, and gave the idea of haste and change, and departure from
regular custom. It was, indeed, an hour before the usual breakfast-time;
but Hyde and Katharine were taking a hasty meal together. Hyde was in
full uniform, his sword at his side, his cavalry cap and cloak on a
chair near him; and up and down the gravelled walk before the main
entrance a groom was leading his horse.

"I must see what is the matter with Mephisto," said Hyde. "How he is
snorting and pawing! And if Park loses control of him, I shall be
greatly inconvenienced for both horse and time."

The remark was partially the excuse of a man who feels that he must go,
and who tries to say the hard words in less ominous form. They both rose
together,--Katherine bravely smiling away tears, and looking exceedingly
lovely in her blue morning-gown trimmed with frillings of thread lace;
and Hyde, gallant and tender, but still with the air of a man not averse
to go back to life's real duty. He took Katherine in his arms, kissed
away her tears, made her many a loving promise, and then, lifting his
cap and cloak, left the room. The servants were lingering around to get
his last word, and to wish him "God-speed;" and for a few minutes he
stood talking to his groom and soothing Mephisto. Evidently he had quite
recovered his health and strength; for he sprang very easily into the
saddle, and, gathering the reins in his hand, kept the restive animal in
perfect control.

A moment he stood thus, the very ideal of a fearless, chivalrous,
handsome soldier; the next, his face softened to almost womanly
tenderness, for he saw Katherine coming hastily through the dim hall and
into the clear sunshine, and in her arms was his little son. She came
fearlessly to his side, and lifted the sleeping child to him. He stooped
and kissed it, and then kissed again the beautiful mother; and calling
happily backward, "Good-by, my love; God keep you, love; good-by!" he
gave Mephisto his own wild will, and was soon lost to sight among the
trees of the park.

[Illustration: Katherine stood with her child in her arms]

Katherine stood with her child in her arms, listening to the ever faint
and fainter beat of Mephisto's hoofs. Her husband had gone back to duty,
his furlough had expired, and their long, and leisurely honeymoon was
over. But she was neither fearful nor unhappy. Hyde's friends had
procured his exchange into a court regiment. He was only going to
London, and he was still her lover. She looked forward with clear eyes
as she said gratefully over to herself, "So happy am I! So good is my
husband! So dear is my child! So fair and sweet is my home!"

And though to many minds Hyde Manor might seem neither fair nor sweet,
Katherine really liked it. Perhaps she had some inherited taste for low
lands, with their shimmer of water and patches of green; or perhaps the
gentle beauty of the landscape specially fitted her temperament. But, at
any rate, the wide brown stretches, dotted with lonely windmills and low
farmhouses, pleased her. So also did the marshes, fringed with yellow
and purple flags; and the great ditches, white with water-lilies; and
the high belts of natural turf; and the summer sunshine, which over this
level land had a white brilliancy to which other sunshine seemed shadow.
Hyde had never before found the country endurable, except during the
season when the marshes were full of birds; or when, at the Christmas
holidays, the ice was firm as marble and smooth as glass, and the wind
blowing fair from behind. Then he had liked well a race with the famous
fen-skaters.

The Manor House was neither handsome nor picturesque, though its
dark-red bricks made telling contrasts among the ivy and the few large
trees surrounding it. It contained a great number of rooms, but none
were of large proportions. The ceilings were low, and often crossed with
heavy oak beams; while the floors, though of polished oak, were very
uneven. Hyde had refurnished a few of the rooms; and the showy paperings
and chintzes, the fine satin and gilding, looked oddly at variance with
the black oak wainscots, the Elizabethan fireplaces, and the other
internal decorations.

Katherine, however, had no sense of any incongruity. She was charmed
with her home, from its big garrets to the great wine-bins in its
underground cellars; and while Hyde wandered about the fens with his
fishing-rod or gun, or went into the little town of Hyde to meet over a
market dinner the neighbouring squires, she was busy arranging every
room with that scrupulous nicety and cleanliness which had been not only
an important part of her education, but was also a fundamental trait of
her character. Indeed, no Dutch wife ever had the _netheid_, or passion
for order and cleanliness, in greater perfection than Katherine. She
might almost have come from Wormeldingen, "where the homes are washed
and waxed, and the streets brushed and dusted till not a straw lies
about, and the trees have a combed and brushed appearance, and do not
dare to grow a leaf out of its place." So, then, the putting in order of
this large house, with all its miscellaneous, uncared-for furniture,
gave her a genuine pleasure.

Always pretty and sweet as a flower, always beautifully dressed, she yet
directed, personally, her little force of servants, until room after
room became a thing of beauty. It was her employment during those days
on which Hyde was fishing or shooting; and it was not until the whole
house was in exquisite condition that Katherine took him through his
renovated dwelling. He was delighted, and not too selfish and
indifferent to express his wonder and pleasure.

"Faith, Kate," he said, "you have made me a home out of an old
lumber-house! I thought of taking you to London with me; but, upon my
word, we had better stay at Hyde and beautify the place. I can run down
whenever it is possible to get a few days off."

This idea gained gradually on both, and articles of luxury and adornment
were occasionally added to the better rooms. The garden next fell under
Katharine's care. "In sweet neglect," it no longer flaunted its
beauties. Roses and stocks and tiger-lilies learned what boundaries of
box meant; and if flowers have any sense of territorial rights,
Katherine's must have found they were respected. Encroaching vines were
securely confined within their proper limits, and grass that wandered
into the gravel paths sought for itself a merciless destruction.

[Illustration: The garden next fell under Katherine's care]

All such reforms, if they are not offensive, are stimulating and
progressive. The stables, kennels, and park, as well as the land
belonging to the manor, became of sudden interest to Hyde. He surprised
his lawyer by asking after it, and by giving orders that in future the
hay cut in the meadows should be cut for the Hyde stables. Every small
wrong which he investigated and redressed increased his sense of
responsibility; and the birth of his son made him begin to plan for the
future in a way which brought not only great pleasure to Katherine, but
also a comfortable self-satisfaction to his own heart.

Yet, even with all these favourable conditions, Katherine would not have
been happy had the estrangement between herself and her parents
continued a bitter or a silent one. She did not suppose they would
answer the letter she had sent by the fisherman Hudde; she was prepared
to ask, and to wait, for pardon and for a re-gift of that precious love
which she had apparently slighted for a newer and as yet untested one.
So, immediately after her arrival at Jamaica, Katherine wrote to her
mother; and, without waiting for replies, she continued her letters
regularly from Hyde. They were in a spirit of the sweetest and frankest
confidence. She made her familiar with all her household plans and
wifely cares; as room by room in the old manor was finished, she
described it. She asked her advice with all the faith of a child and the
love of a daughter; and she sent through her those sweet messages of
affection to her father which she feared a little to offer without her
mother's mediation.

But when she had a son, and when Hyde agreed that the boy should be
named _George_, she wrote a letter to him. Joris found it one April
morning on his desk, and it happened to come in a happy hour. He had
been working in his garden, and every plant and flower had brought his
Katherine pleasantly back to his memory. All the walks were haunted by
her image. The fresh breeze of the river was full of her voice and her
clear laughter. The returning birds, chattering in the trees above him,
seemed to ask, "Where, then, is the little one gone?"

Her letter, full of love, starred all through with pet words, and wisely
reminding him more of their own past happiness than enlarging on her
present joy, made his heart melt. He could do no business that day. He
felt that he must go home and tell Lysbet: only the mother could fully
understand and share his joy. He found her cleaning the "Guilderland
cup"--the very cup Mrs. Gordon had found Katherine cleaning when she
brought the first love message, and took back that fateful token, her
bow of orange ribbon. At that moment Lysbet's thoughts were entirely
with Katherine. She was wondering whether Joris and herself might not
some day cross the ocean to see their child. When she heard her
husband's step at that early hour, she put down the cup in fear, and
stood watching the door for his approach. The first glimpse of his face
told her that he was no messenger of sorrow. He gave her the letter with
a smile, and then walked up and down while she read it.

"Well, Joris, a beautiful letter this is. And thou has a grandson of thy
own name--a little Joris. Oh, how I long to see him! I hope that he will
grow like thee--so big and handsome as thou art, and also with thy good
heart. Oh, the little Joris! Would God he was here!"

The face of Joris was happy, and his eyes shining; but he had not yet
much to say. He walked about for an hour, and listened to Lysbet, who,
as she polished her silver, retold him all that Katherine had said of
her husband's love, and of his goodness to her. With great attention he
listened to her description of the renovated house and garden, and of
Hyde's purposes with regard to the estate. Then he sat down and smoked
his pipe, and after dinner he returned to his pipe and his meditation.
Lysbet wondered what he was considering, and hoped that it might be a
letter of full forgiveness for her beloved Katherine.

At last he rose and went into the garden; and she watched him wander
from bed to bed, and stand looking down at the green shoots of the early
flowers, and the lovely inverted urns of the brave snowdrops. To the
river and back again several times he walked; but about three o'clock he
came into the house with a firm, quick step, and, not finding Lysbet in
the sitting-room, called her cheerily. She was in their room upstairs,
and he went to her.

"Lysbet, thinking I have been--thinking of Katherine's marriage. Better
than I expected, it has turned out."

"I think that Katherine has made a good marriage--the best marriage of
all the children."

[Illustration: "Thou has a grandson of thy own name"]

"Dost thou believe that her husband is so kind and so prudent as she
says?"

"No doubt of it I have."

"See, then: I will send to Katherine her portion. Cohen will give me the
order on Secor's Bank in Threadneedle Street. It is for her and her
children. Can I trust them with it?"

"Katherine is no waster, and full of nobleness is her husband. Write
thou to him, and put it in his charge for Katherine and her children.
And tell him in his honour thou trust entirely; and I think that he will
do in all things right. Nothing has he asked of thee."

"To the devil he sent my dirty guilders, made in dirty trade. I have not
forgot."

"Joris, the Devil speaks for a man in a passion. Keep no such words in
thy memory."

"Lysbet?"

"What then, Joris?"

"The drinking-cup of silver, which my father gave us at our
marriage,--the great silver one that has on it the view of Middleburg
and the arms of the city. It was given to my great-grandfather when he
was mayor of Middleburg. His name, also, was Joris. To my grandson shall
I send it?"

"Oh, my Joris, much pleasure would thou give Katherine and me also! Let
the little fellow have it. Earl of Dorset and Hyde he may be yet."

Joris blushed vividly, but he answered, "Mayor of New York he may be
yet. That will please me best."

"Five grandsons hast thou, but this is the first Joris. Anna has two
sons, but for his dead brothers Rysbaack named them. Cornelia has two
sons; but for thee they called neither, because Van Dorn's father is
called Joris, and with him they are great unfriends. And when Joanna's
son was born, they called him Peter, because Batavius hath a rich uncle
called Peter, who may pay for the name. So, then, Katherine's son is the
first of thy grandchildren that has thy name. The dear little Joris! He
has blue eyes too; eyes like thine, she says. Yes, I would to him give
the Middleburg cup. William Newman, the jeweller, will pack it safely,
and by the next ship thou can send it to the bankers thou spoke of. I
will tell Katherine so. But thou, too, write her a letter; for little
she will think of her fortune or of the cup, if thy love thou send not
with them."

And Joris had done all that he purposed, and done it without one
grudging thought or doubting word. The cup went, full of good-will. The
money was given as Katherine's right, and was hampered with no
restrictions but the wishes of Joris, left to the honour of Hyde. And
Hyde was not indifferent to such noble trust. He fully determined to
deserve it. As for Katherine, she desired no greater pleasure than to
emphasize her reliance in her husband by leaving the money absolutely at
his discretion. In fact, she felt a far greater interest in the
Middleburg cup. It had always been an object of her admiration and
desire. She believed her son would be proud to point it out and say, "It
came from my mother's ancestor, who was mayor of Middleburg when that
famous city ruled in the East India trade, and compelled all vessels
with spice and wines and oils to come to the crane of Middleburg, there
to be verified and gauged." She longed to receive this gift. She had
resolved to put it between the baby fingers of little Joris as soon as
it arrived. "A grand christening-cup it will be," she exclaimed, with
childlike enthusiasm and Hyde kissed her, and promised to send it at
once by a trusty messenger.

[Illustration: Plate old and new]

He was a little amused by her enthusiasm. The Hydes had much plate, old
and new, and they were proud of its beauty and excellence, and well
aware of its worth; but they were not able to judge of the value of
flagons and cups and servers gathered slowly through many generations,
every one representing some human drama of love or suffering, or some
deed of national significance. Nearly all of Joris Van Heemskirk's
silver was "storied:" it was the materialization of honour and
patriotism, of self-denial or charity; and the silversmith's and
engraver's work was the least part of the Van Heemskirk pride in it.

As Joris sat smoking that night, he thought over his proposal; and then
for the first time it struck him that the Middleburg cup might have a
peculiar significance and value to Bram. It cost him an effort to put
his vague suspicions into words, because by doing so he seemed to give
shape and substance to shadows; but when Lysbet sat down with a little
sigh of content beside him, and said, "A happy night is this to us,
Joris," he answered, "God is good; always better to us than we trust Him
for. I want to say now what I have been considering the last hour,--some
other cup we will send to the little Joris, for I think Bram will like
to have the Middleburg cup best of all."

"Always Bram has been promised the Guilderland cup and the server that
goes with it."

"That is the truth; but I will tell you something, Lysbet. The
Middelburg cup was given by the Jews of Middleburg to my ancestor
because great favours and protection he gave them when he was mayor of
the city. Bram is very often with Miriam Cohen, and"--

Then Joris stopped, and Lysbet waited anxiously for him to finish the
sentence; but he only puffed, puffed, and looked thoughtfully at the
bowl of his pipe.

"What mean you, Joris?"

"I think that he loves her."

"Well?"

"That he would like to marry her."

"Many things that are impossible, man would like to do: that is most
impossible of all."

"You think so?"

"I am sure of it."

"Not impossible was it for Katherine to marry one not of her own race."

"In my mind it is not race so much as faith. Far more than race, faith
claims."

"Hyde is a Lutheran."

"A Lutheran may also be a Christian, I hope, Joris."

"I judge no man, Lysbet. I have known Jews that were better Christians
than some baptized in the name of Christ and John Calvin,--Jews who,
like the great Jew, loved God, and did to their fellow-creatures as they
wished to be done by. And if you had ever seen Miriam Cohen, you would
not make a wonder that Bram loves her."

"Is she so fair?"

"A beautiful face and gracious ways she has. Like her the beloved Rachel
must have been, I think. Why do you not stand with Bram as you stood
with Katherine?"

"Little use it would be, Joris. To give consent in this matter would be
a sacrifice refused. Be sure that Cohen will not listen to Bram; no, nor
to you, nor to me, nor to Miriam. If it come to a question of race, more
proud is the Jew of his race then even the Englishman or the Dutchman.
If it come to a question of faith, if all the other faiths in the world
die out, the Jew will hold to his own. Say to Bram, 'I am willing;' and
Cohen will say to him, 'Never, never will I consent.' If you keep the
'Jew's cup' for Bram and Miriam, always you will keep it; yes, and they
that live after you, too."

Why it is that certain trains of thought and feeling move to their end
at the same hour, though that end affect a variety of persons, no one
has yet explained. But there are undoubtedly currents of sympathy of
whose nature and movements we are profoundly ignorant. Thus how often we
think of an event just before some decisive action relating to it is
made known to us! How often do we recall some friend just as we are
about to see or hear from him! How often do we remember something that
ought to be done, just at the last moment its successful accomplishment
was possible to us!

And at the very hour Joris and Lysbet were discussing the position of
their son with regard to Miriam Cohen, the question was being definitely
settled at another point. For Joris was not the only person who had
observed Bram's devotion to the beautiful Jewess. Cohen had watched him
with close and cautious jealousy for many months; but he was far too
wise to stimulate love by opposition, and he did not believe in half
measures. When he defined Miriam's duty to her, he meant it to be in
such shape as precluded argument or uncertainty; and for this purpose
delay was necessary. Much correspondence with England had to take place,
and the mails were then irregular. But it happened that, after some
months of negotiation, a final and satisfactory letter had come to him
by the same post as brought Katherine's letter to Joris Van Heemskirk.

He read its contents with a sad satisfaction, and then locked it away
until the evening hours secured him from business interruption. Then he
went to his grandchild. He found her sitting quietly among the cushions
of a low couch. It seemed as if Miriam's thoughts were generally
sufficient for her pleasure, for she was rarely busy. She had always
time to sit and talk, or to sit and be silent. And Cohen liked best to
see her thus,--beautiful and calm, with small hands dropped or folded,
and eyes half shut, and mouth closed, but ready to smile and dimple if
he decided to speak to her.

She looked so pretty and happy and careless that for some time he did
not like to break the spell of her restful beauty. Nor did he until his
pipe was quite finished, and he had looked carefully over the notes in
his "day-book." Then he said in slow, even tones, "My child, listen to
me. This summer my young kinsman Judah Belasco will come here. He comes
to marry you. You will be a happy wife, my dear. He has moneys, and he
has the power to make moneys; and he is a good young man. I have been
cautious concerning that, my dear."

There was a long pause. He did not hurry her, but sat patiently waiting,
with his eyes fixed upon the book in his hand.

"I do not want to marry, grandfather. I am so young. I do not know Judah
Belasco."

"You shall have time, my dear. It is part of the agreement that he shall
now live in New York. He is a rich young man, my dear. He is of the
_sephardim_, as you are too, my dear. You must marry in your own caste;
for we are of unmixed blood, faithful children of the tribe of Judah.
All of our brethren here are _Ashkenasem_: therefore, I have had no rest
until I got a husband fit for you, my dear. This was my duty, though I
brought him from the end of the earth. It has cost me moneys, but I gave
cheerfully. The thing is finished now, when you are ready. But you shall
not be hurried, my dear."

"Father, I have been a good daughter. Do not make me leave you."

"You have been good, and you will be good always. What is the command?"

"Honor thy father and thy mother."

"And the promise?"

"Then long shall be thy days on the earth."

"And the vow you made, Miriam?"

"That I would never disobey or deceive you."

"Who have you vowed to?"

"The God of Israel."

"Will you lie unto Him?"

"I would give my life first."

"Now is the time to fulfil your vow. Put from your heart or fancy any
other young man. Have you not thought of our neighbour, Bram Van
Heemskirk?"

"He is good; he is handsome. I fear he loves me."

"You know not anything. If you choose a husband, or even a shoe, by
their appearance, both may pinch you, my dear. Judah is of good stock.
Of a good tree you may expect good fruit."

"Bram Van Heemskirk is also the son of a good father. Many times you
have said it."

"Yes, I have said it. But Bram is not of our people. And if our law
forbid us to sow different seeds at the same time in the same ground, or
to graft one kind of fruit-tree on the stock of another, shall we dare
to mingle ourselves with people alien in race and faith, and speech and
customs? My dear, will you take your own way, or will you obey the word
of the Lord?"

"My way cannot stand before His way."

"It is a hard thing for you, my dear. Your way is sweet to you. Offer it
as a sacrifice; bind the sacrifice, even with cords, to the altar, if
it be necessary. I mean, say to Bram Van Heemskirk words that you cannot
unsay. Then there will be only one sorrow. It is hope and fear, and fear
and hope, that make the heart sick. Be kind, and slay hope at once, my
dear."

"If Judah had been my own choice, father"--

"_Choice?_ My dear, when did you get wisdom? Do not parents choose for
their children their food, dress, friends, and teachers? What folly to
do these things, and then leave them in the most serious question of
life to their own wisdom, or want of wisdom! Choice! Remember Van
Heemskirk's daughter, and the sin and suffering her own choice caused."

[Illustration: "Make me not to remember the past"]

"I think it was not her fault if two men quarrelled and fought about
her."

"She was not wholly innocent. Miriam, make me not to remember the past.
My eyes are old now; they should not weep any more. I have drunk my cup
of sorrow to the lees. O Miriam, Miriam, do not fill it again!"

"God forbid! My father, I will keep the promise that I made you. I will
do all that you wish."

Cohen bowed his head solemnly, and remained for some minutes afterward
motionless. His eyes were closed, his face was as still as a painted
face. Whether he was praying or remembering, Miriam knew not. But
solitude is the first cry of the wounded heart, and she went away into
it. She was like a child that had been smitten, and whom there was none
to comfort. But she never thought of disputing her grandfather's word,
or of opposing his will. Often before he had been obliged to give her
some bitter cup, or some disappointment; but her good had always been
the end in view. She had perfect faith in his love and wisdom. But she
suffered very much; though she bore it with that uncomplaining patience
which is so characteristic of the child heart--a patience pathetic in
its resignation, and sublime in its obedience.

And it was during this hour of trial to Miriam that Joris was talking to
Lysbet of her. It did him good to put his fears into words, for Lysbet's
assurances were comfortable; and as it had been a day full of feeling,
he was weary and went earlier to his room than usual. On the contrary,
Lysbet was very wakeful. She carried her sewing to the candle, and sat
down for an hour's work. The house was oppressively still; and she could
not help remembering the days when it had been so different,--when Anna
and Cornelia had been marriageable women, and Joanna and Katherine
growing girls. All of them had now gone away from her. Only Bram was
left, and she thought of him with great anxiety. Such a marriage as his
father had hinted at filled her with alarm. She could neither conquer
her prejudices nor put away her fears; and she tormented herself with
imagining, in the event of such a misfortune, all the disagreeable and
disapproving things the members of the Middle Kirk would have to say.

In the midst of her reflections, Bram returned. She had not expected him
so early, but the sound of his feet was pleasant. He came in slowly;
and, after some pottering, irritating delays, he pushed his father's
chair back from the light, and with a heavy sigh sat down in it.

"Why sigh you so heavy, Bram? Every sigh still lower sinks the heart."

"A light heart I shall never have again, mother."

"You talk some foolishness. A young man like you! A quarrel with your
sweetheart, is it? Well, it will be over as quick as a rainy day. Then
the sunshine again."

"For me there is no hope like that. So quiet and shy was my love."

"Oh, indeed! Of all the coquettes, the quiet, shy ones are the worst."

"No coquette is Miriam Cohen. My love life is at the end, mother."

"When began it, Bram?"

"It was at the time of the duel. I loved her from the first moment. O
mother, mother!"

"Does she not love you, Bram?"

"I think so: many sweet hours we have had together. My heart was full of
hope."

"Her faith, Bram, should have kept you prudent."

"'In what church do you pray?' Love asks not such a question, and as for
her race, I thought a daughter of Israel is the beloved of all the
daughters of God. A blessing to my house she will bring."

"That is not what the world says, Bram. No, my son. It is thus, and like
it: that God is angry with His people, and for that He has scattered
them through all the nations of the earth."

"Such folly is that! To colonize, to 'take possession' of the whole
earth, is what the men of Israel have always intended. Long before the
Christ was born in Bethlehem, the Jews were scattered throughout every
known country. I will say that to the dominie. It is the truth, and he
cannot deny it."

"But surely God is angry with them."

"I see it not. If once He was angry, long ago He has forgiven His
people. 'To the third and fourth generation' only is His anger. His own
limit that is. Who have such blessings? The gold and the wine and the
fruit of all lands are theirs. Their increase comes when all others'
fail. God is not angry with them. The light of His smile is on the face
of Miriam. He teaches her father how to traffic and to prosper. Do not
the Holy Scriptures say that the blessing, not the anger, of the Lord
maketh rich?"

"Well, then, my son, all this is little to the purpose, if she will not
have thee for her husband. But be not easy to lose thy heart. Try once
more."

"Useless it would be. Miriam is not one of those who say 'no' and then
'yes.'"

"Nearly two years you have known her. That was long to keep you in hope
and doubt. I think she is a coquette."

"You know her not, mother. Very few words of love have I dared to say.
We have been friends. I was happy to stand in the store and talk to
Cohen, and watch her. A glance from her eyes, a pleasant word, was
enough. I feared to lose all by asking too much."

"Then, why did you ask her to-night? It would have been better had your
father spoken first to Mr. Cohen."

"I did not ask Miriam to-night. She spared me all she could. She was in
the store as I passed, and I went in. This is what she said to me,
'Bram, dear Bram, I fear that you begin to love me, because I think of
you very often. And my grandfather has just told me that I am promised
to Judah Belasco, of London. In the summer he will come here, and I
shall marry him.' I wish, mother, you could have seen her leaning
against the black _kas_; for between it and her black dress, her face
was white as death, and beautiful and pitiful as an angel's."

"What said you then?"

"Oh, I scarce know! But I told her how dearly I loved her, and I asked
her to be my wife."

[Illustration: With a great sob Bram laid his head against her breast]

"And she said what to thee?"

"'My father I must obey. Though he told me to slay myself, I must obey
him. By the God of Israel, I have promised it often.'"

"Was that all, Bram?"

"I asked her again and again. I said, 'Only in this one thing, Miriam,
and all our lives after it we will give to him.' But she answered,
'Obedience is better than sacrifice, Bram. That is what our law teaches.
Though I could give my father the wealth and the power of King Solomon,
it would be worth less than my obedience.' And for all my pleading, at
the last it was the same, 'I cannot do wrong; for many right deeds will
not undo one wrong one.' So she gave me her hands, and I kissed
them,--my first and last kiss,--and I bade her farewell; for my hope is
over--I know that."

"She is a good girl. I wish that you had won her, Bram." And Lysbet put
down her work and went to her son's side; and with a great sob Bram laid
his head against her breast.

"As one whom his mother comforteth!" Oh, tender and wonderful
consolation! It is the mother that turns the bitter waters of life into
wine. Bram talked his sorrow over to his mother's love and pity and
sympathy; and when she parted with him, long after the midnight, she
said cheerfully, "Thou hast a brave soul, _mijn zoon, mijn Bram_; and
this trouble is not all for thy loss and grief. A sweet memory will this
beautiful Miriam be as long as thou livest; and to have loved well a
good woman will make thee always a better man for it."

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




XII.

          "_The town's a golden, but a fatal, circle,
          Upon whose magic skirts a thousand devils,
          In crystal forms, sit tempting Innocence,
          And beckoning Virtue from its centre._"


The trusting, generous letter which Joris had written to his son-in-law
arrived a few days before Hyde's departure for London. With every decent
show of pleasure and gratitude, he said, "It is an unexpected piece of
good fortune, Katherine, and the interest of five thousand pounds will
keep Hyde Manor up in a fine style. As for the principal, we will leave
it at Secor's until it can be invested in land. What say you?"

Katherine was quite satisfied; for, though naturally careful of all put
under her own hands, she was at heart very far from being either selfish
or mercenary. In fact, the silver cup was at that hour of more real
interest to her. It would be a part of her old home in her new home. It
was connected with her life memories, and it made a portion of her
future hopes and dreams. There was also something more tangible about it
than about the bit of paper certifying to five thousand pounds in her
name at Secor's Bank.

But Hyde knew well the importance of Katherine's fortune. It enabled him
to face his relatives and friends on a very much better footing than he
had anticipated. He was quite aware, too, that the simple fact was all
that society needed. He expected to hear in a few days that the five
thousand pounds had become fifty thousand pounds; for he knew that
rumour, when on the boast, would magnify any kind of gossip, favourable
or unfavourable. So he was no longer averse to meeting his former
companions: even to them, a rich wife would excuse matrimony. And,
besides, Hyde was one of those men who regard money in the bank as a
kind of good conscience: he really felt morally five thousand pounds the
better. Full of hope and happiness, he would have gone at a pace to suit
his mood; but English roads at that date were left very much to nature
and to weather, and the Norfolk clay in springtime was so deep and heavy
that it was not until the third day after leaving that he was able to
report for duty.

His first social visit was paid to his maternal grandmother, the dowager
Lady Capel. She was not a nice old woman; in fact, she was a very
spiteful, ill-hearted, ill-tempered old woman, and Hyde had always had a
certain fear of her. When he landed in London with his wife, Lady Capel
had fortunately been at Bath; and he had then escaped the duty of
presenting Katherine to her. But she was now at her mansion in Berkeley
Square, and her claims upon his attention could not be postponed; and,
as she had neither eyes nor ears in the evenings for any thing but loo
or whist, Hyde knew that a conciliatory visit would have to be made in
the early part of the day.

He found her in the most careless dishabille, wigless and unpainted, and
rolled up comfortably in an old wadded morning-gown that had seen years
of snuffy service. But she had out-lived her vanity. Hyde had chosen the
very hour in which she had nothing whatever to amuse her, and he was a
very welcome interruption. And, upon the whole, she liked her grandson.
She had paid his gambling-debts twice, she had taken the greatest
interest in his various duels, and sided passionately with him in one
abortive love-affair.

"Dick is no milksop," she would say approvingly, when told of any of his
escapades; "faith, he has my spirit exactly! I have a great deal more
temper than any one would believe me capable of"--which was not the
truth, for there were few people who really knew her ladyship who ever
felt inclined to doubt her capabilities in that direction.

So she heard the rattle of Hyde's sword, and the clatter of his feet on
the polished stairs, with a good deal of satisfaction. "I have him here,
and I shall do my best to keep him here," she thought. "Why should a
proper young fellow like Dick bury himself alive in the fens for a
Dutchwoman? In short, she has had enough, and too much, of him. His
grandmother has a prior claim, I hope, and then Arabella Suffolk will
help me. I foresee mischief and amusement.--Well, Dick, you rascal, so
you have had to leave America! I expected it. Oh, sir, I have heard all
about you from Adelaide! You are not to be trusted, either among men or
women. And pray where is the wife you made such a fracas about? Is she
in London with you?"

"No, madam: she preferred to remain at Hyde, and I have no happiness
beyond her desire."

"Here's flame! Here's constancy! And you have been married a whole year!
I am struck with admiration."

"A whole year--a year of divine happiness, I assure you."

"Lord, sir! You will be the laughing-stock of the town if you talk in
such fashion. They will have you in the play-houses. Pray let us forget
our domestic joys a little. I hear, however, that your divinity is
rich."

"She is not poor; though if"--

"Though if she had been a beggar-girl you would have married her, rags
and all. Swear to that, Dick, especially when she brings you fifty
thousand pounds. I'm very much obliged to her; you can hardly, for
shame, put your fingers in my poor purse now, sir. And you can make a
good figure in the world; and as your cousin Arabella Suffolk is staying
with me, you will be the properest gallant for her when Sir Thomas is at
the House."

"I am at yours and cousin Arabella's service, grandmother."

"Exactly so, Captain; only no more quarrelling and fighting. Learn your
catechism, or Dr. Watts, or somebody. Remember that we have now a bishop
in the family. And I am getting old, and want to be at peace with the
whole world, if you will let me."

Hyde laughed merrily. "Why, grandmother, such advice from you! I don't
trust it. There never was a more perfect hater than yourself."

"I know, Dick. I used to say, 'Lord, this person is so bad, and that
person is so bad, I hate them!' But at last I found out that every one
was bad: so I hate nobody. One cannot take a sword and run the whole
town through. I have seen some very religious people lately; and you
will find me very serious, and much improved. Come and go as you please,
Dick: Arabella and you can be perfectly happy, I dare say, without
minding me."

"What is the town doing now?"

"Oh, balls and dances and weddings and other follies! Thank the moon,
men and women never get weary of these things!"

"Then you have not ceased to enjoy them, I hope."

"I still take my share. Old fools will hobble after young ones. I ride a
little, and visit a little, and have small societies quite to my taste.
And I have my four kings and aces; that is saying everything. I want you
to go to all the diversions, Dick; and pray tell me what they say of me
behind my back. I like to know how much I annoy people."

"I shall not listen to anything unflattering, I assure you."

"La, Dick, you can't fight a rout of women and men about your
grandmother! I don't want you to fight, not even if they talk about
Arabella and you. It is none of their business; and as for Sir Thomas
Suffolk, he hears nothing outside the House, and he thinks every Whig in
England is watching him--a pompous old fool!"

"Oh, indeed! I had an idea that he was a very merry fellow."

"Merry, forsooth! He was never known to laugh. There is a report that he
once condescended to smile, but it was at chess. As for fighting, he
wouldn't fight a dog that bit him. He is too patriotic to deprive his
country of his own abilities. No, Dick; I really do not see any quarrel
ahead, unless you make it."

"I shall think of my Kate when I am passionate, and so keep the peace."

"'I shall think of my Kate.' Grant me patience with all young husbands.
They ought to remain in seclusion until the wedding-fever is over. By
the Lord Harry! If Jack Capel had spoken of me in such fashion, I would
have given him the best of reasons for running some pretty fellow
through the heart. Hush! Here comes Arabella, and I am anxious you
should make a figure in her eyes."

Arabella came in very quietly, but she seemed to take possession of the
room as she entered it. She had a bright, piquant face, a tall, graceful
form, and that air of high fashion which is perhaps quite as
captivating.

She was "delighted to meet cousin Dick. Oh, indeed, you have been the
town talk!" she said, with an air of attention very flattering. "Such a
passionate encounter was never heard of. The clubs were engaged with it
for a week. I was told that Lord Paget and Sir Henry Dutton came near
fighting it over themselves. Was it really about a bow of orange ribbon?
And did you wear it over your heart? And did the Scotchman cut it off
with his sword? And did you run him through the next moment? There were
the most extraordinary accounts of the affair, and of the little girl
with the unpronounceable Dutch name who"--

"Who is now my wife, Lady Suffolk."

"Certainly, we heard of that also. How romantic! The secret marriage,
the midnight elopement, and the man-of-war waiting down the river with a
broadside ready for any boat that attempted to stop you."

"Oh, my lady, that is the completest nonsense!"

"Say 'cousin Arabella,' if you please. Has not grandmother told you that
I, not the Dutch girl, ought to have been your wife? It was all arranged
years ago, sir. You have disappointed grandmother; as for me, I have
consoled myself with Sir Thomas."

"Yes, indeed," said Lady Capel; "though Dick was entirely out of the
secret of the match, my son Will and I had agreed upon it. I don't know
what Will thinks of a younger son like Dick choosing for himself."

Then Arabella made Hyde a pretty, mocking courtesy, and he could not
help looking with some interest at the woman who might have been his
wife. The best of men, and the best of husbands, are liable to speculate
a little under such circumstances, and in fancy to put themselves into a
position they have probably no wish in reality to fill. She noticed his
air of consideration; and, with a toss of her handsome head, she spread
out all her finery. "You see," she said, "I am dressed so as to make a
tearing show." She wore a white poudesoy gown, embroidered with gold,
and the prettiest high-heeled satin slippers, and a head-dress of
wonderful workmanship. "For I have been at a concert of music, cousin
Dick, and heard two overtures of Mr. Handel's and a sonata by Corella,
done by the very best hands."

[Illustration: She spread out all her finery]

"And, pray, whom did you see there, my dear? and what were they talking
about?"

"Of all people, grandmother, I saw Lady Susan Rye and the rest of her
sort; and they talked of nothing else but the coming mask at Ranelagh's.
Cousin, I bespeak you for my service. I am going as a gypsy, for it will
give me the opportunity of telling the truth. In my own character, I
rarely do it: nothing is so impolite. But I have a prodigious regard for
truth; and at a mask I give myself the pleasure of saying all the
disagreeable things that I owe to my acquaintances."

Katherine was almost ignored; and Hyde did not feel any desire to bring
even her name into such a mocking, jeering, perfectly heartless
conversation. He was content to laugh, and let the hour go past in such
flim-flams of criticism and persiflage. He remembered when he had been
one of the units in such a life, and he wondered if it were possible
that he could ever drift back into it. For even as he sat there, with
the memory of his wife and child in his heart, he felt the light charm
of Lady Arabella's claim upon him, and all the fascination of that gay,
thoughtless animal life which appeals so strongly to the selfish
instincts and appetites of youth.

He had a plate of roast hare and a goblet of wine, and the ladies had
chocolate and rout cakes; and he ate and drank, and laughed, and enjoyed
their bright, ill-natured pleasantry, as men enjoy such piquant morsels.
Thus a couple of hours passed; and then it became evident, from the
pawing and snorting outside, that Mephisto's patience was quite
exhausted. Hyde went to the window, and looked into the square. His
orderly was vainly endeavoring to soothe the restless animal; and he
said, "Mephisto will take no excuse, cousin, and I find myself obliged
to leave you." But he went away in an excitement of hope and gay
anticipations; and, with a sharp rebuke to the unruly animal, he vaulted
into the saddle with soldierly grace and rapidity. A momentary glance
upward showed him Lady Capel and Lady Suffolk at the window, watching
him; the withered old woman in her soiled wrappings, the youthful beauty
in all the bravery of her white and gold poudesoy. In spite of
Mephisto's opposition, he made them a salute; and then, in a clamour of
clattering hoofs, he dashed through the square.

"That is the man you ought to have married Arabella," said Lady Capel,
as she watched the young face at her side, which had suddenly become
pensive and dreamy: "you would have been a couple for the world to look
at."

"Oh, indeed, you are mistaken, grandmother! Sir Thomas is an admirable
husband--blind and deaf to all I do, as a good husband ought to be. And
as for Dick, look at him--bowing and smiling, and ready to do me any
service, while the girl he nearly died for is quite forgotten."

"Upon my word, you wrong Dick. His love for that woman is beyond
everything. I wish it wasn't. What right had she to come into our
family, and spoil plans and projects made before she was born. I should
clearly love to play her her own card back. And I must say, Arabella,
that you seem to care very little about your own wrongs."

"Oh, I am by no means certified that the woman has wronged me! I don't
think I should have loved Dick, in any case."

"_Ha!_" Lady Capel looked in her granddaughter's musing face, and then,
with a chuckle, hobbled to the bell and rang for her maid. "You are very
prudent, child, but I am not one that any woman can deceive. I know all
the tricks of the sex. Oh, heavens! what a grand thing to be two and
twenty, with a kind husband to manage, and lovers bowing and begging at
your shoe-ties! Well, well, I had my day; and, thank the fools, I did
some mischief in it! Yes, there were eight duels fought for me; and
while Somers and Scrope were wetting their swords in the quarrel, I was
dancing with Jack Capel. Jack told me that night he would make me marry
him; and when I slapped his cheek with my fan, he took my hands in a
rage, and swore I should do it that hour. And, faith, he mastered me!
Your grandfather Capel had a dreadful temper, Arabella."

"I have heard that Cousin Dick Hyde has a temper too."

"Dick is vain; and you can make a vain man stand on his head, or go down
on his knees, if you only vow that he performs the antics better than
any other human creature. The town will fling itself at Dick Hyde's
feet, and Dick will fling himself at yours. Mind what I say; my
prophecies always come true, Arabella, for I never expect sinners to be
saints, my dear."

And during the next six months Lady Capel found plenty of opportunities
for complimenting herself upon her own penetration. Society made an idol
of Capt. Hyde; and if he was not at Lady Arabella's feet, he was
certainly very constantly at her side. As to his marriage, it was a
topic of constant doubt and dispute. The clubs betted on the subject. In
the ball-rooms and the concert-rooms, the ladies positively denied it;
and Lady Arabella's smile and shrug were of all opinions the most
unsatisfactory and bewildering. Some, indeed, admitted the marriage, but
averred, with a meaning emphasis, that madam was on the proper side of
the Atlantic. Others were certain that Hyde had brought his wife to
England, but felt himself obliged, on account of her great beauty, to
keep her away from the conquering heroes of London society. It was a
significant index to Hyde's real character, that not one of his
associates ever dared to be familiar enough to ask him for the truth on
a question so delicately personal.

"Hyde is exactly the man to invite me to meet him in Marylebone Fields
for the answer," said a young officer, who had been urged to make
inquiries because he was on familiar terms with his comrade. "If it
comes to a matter of catechism, gentlemen, I'll bet ten to one that none
of you ask him two consecutive questions regarding the American lady."

And perhaps many husbands may be able to understand a fact which to the
general world seems beyond satisfactory explanation. Hyde loved his
wife, loved her tenderly and constantly; he felt himself to be a better
man whenever he thought of her and his little son, and he thought of
them very frequently; and yet his eyes, his actions, the tones of his
voice, daily led his cousin, Lady Suffolk, to imagine herself the
empress of his heart and life. Nor was it to her alone that he permitted
this affectation of love. He found beauty, wherever he met it,
provocative of the same apparent devotion. There were a dozen men in his
own circle who hated him with all the sincerity that jealousy gives to
dislike and envy; there were a score of women who believed themselves to
have private tokens of Hyde's special admiration for them.

Unfortunately, his military duties were only on very rare occasions any
restraint to him. His days were mainly spent in dangling after Lady
Suffolk and other fair dames. It was auctions at Christie's, and morning
concerts, and afternoon rides and plays, and dinners and balls and
masks at Ranelagh's. It was sails down the river to Richmond, and trips
to Sadler's Wells, and one perpetual round of flirting and folly, of
dressing and dancing and dining and gaming.

[Illustration: All kinds of frivolity and amusement]

And it must be remembered that the English women of that day were such
as England may well hope never to see again. They had little education:
many very great ladies could hardly read and spell properly. Their sole
accomplishments were dressing and embroidery; the ability to make a few
delicate dishes for the table, and scents and pomade for the toilet. In
the higher classes they married for money or position, and gave
themselves up to intrigue. They drank deeply; they played high; they
very seldom went to church, for Sunday was the fashionable day for all
kinds of frivolity and amusement. And as the men of any generation are
just what the women make them, England never had sons so profligate, so
profane and drunken. The clubs, especially Brooke's, were the nightly
scenes of indescribable orgies. Gambling alone was their serious
occupation; duels were of constant occurrence.

Such a life could not be lived except at frightful and generally ruinous
expense. Hyde was soon embarrassed. His pay was small and uncertain and
the allowance which his brother William added to it, in order that the
heir-apparent to the earldom might live in becoming style, had not been
calculated on the squandering basis of Hyde's expenditures. Toward
Christmas bills began to pour in, creditors became importunate, and, for
the first time in his life, creditors really troubled him. Lady Capel
was not likely to pay his debts any more. The earl, in settling Hyde's
American obligations, had warned him against incurring others, and had
frankly told him he would permit him to go to jail rather than pay such
wicked and foolish bills for him again. The income from Hyde Manor had
never been more than was required for the expenses of the place; and the
interest on Katherine's money had gone, though he could not tell how. He
was destitute of ready cash, and he foresaw that he would have to borrow
some from Lady Capel or some other accommodating friend.

He returned to barracks one Sunday afternoon, and was moodily thinking
over these things, when his orderly brought him a letter which had
arrived during his absence. It was from Katherine. His face flushed with
delight as he read it, so sweet and tender and pure was the neat
epistle. He compared it mentally with some of the shameless scented
billet-doux he was in the habit of receiving; and he felt as if his
hands were unworthy to touch the white wings of his Katherine's most
womanly, wifely message. "She wants to see me. Oh, the dear one! Not
more than I want to see her. Fool, villain, that I am! I will go to her.
Katherine! Kate! My dear little Kate!" So he ejaculated as he paced his
narrow quarters, and tried to arrange his plans for a Christmas visit
to his wife and child.

First he went to his colonel's lodging, and easily obtained two weeks'
absence; then he dressed carefully, and went to his club for dinner. He
had determined to ask Lady Capel for a hundred pounds; and he thought it
would be the best plan to make his request when she was surrounded by
company, and under the pleasurable excitement of a winning rubber. And
if the circumstances proved adverse, then he could try his fortune in
the hours of her morning retirement.

The mansion in Berkeley Square was brilliantly lighted when he
approached it. Chairs and coaches were waiting in lines of three deep;
coachmen and footmen quarrelling, shouting, talking; link-boys running
here and there in search of lost articles or missing servants. But the
hubbub did not at that time make his blood run quicker, or give any
light of expectation to his countenance; for his heart and thoughts were
near a hundred miles away.

Sunday night was Lady Capel's great card-night, and the rooms were full
of tables surrounded by powdered and painted beauties intent upon the
game and the gold. The odour of musk was everywhere, and the sound of
the tapping of gold snuff-boxes, and the fluttering of fans, and the
sharp, technical calls of the gamesters, and the hollow laughter of
hollow hearts. There was a hired singing-girl with a lute at one end of
the room, babbling of Cupid and Daphne, and green meadow and larks. But
she was poorly dressed and indifferent looking; and she sang with a
sad, mechanical air, as if her thoughts were far off. Hyde would have
passed her without a glance; but, as he approached, she broke her
love-ditty in two, and began to sing, with a meaning look at him,--

                "They say there is a happy land,
                  Where husbands never prove untrue;
                Where lovely maids may give their hearts,
                  And never need the gift to rue;
                Where men can make and keep a vow,
                  And wives are never in despair.
                I'm very fond of seeing sights--
                  Pray tell me, how can I get there?"

The question seemed so directly addressed to Hyde that he hesitated a
moment, and looked at the girl, who then with a mocking smile
continued,--

                "They say there really is a land,
                  Where husbands never are untrue,
                Where wives are always beautiful,
                  And the old love is always new.
                I've asked the wise to tell me how
                  A loving woman could get there;
                And this is what they say to me,--
                'If you that happy land would see,
                  There's only one way to get there:
                _Go straight along the crooked lane,
                  And all around the square_.'"

The scornful little song followed him, and conveyed a certain meaning to
his mind. The girl must have taken her cue from the gossip of those who
passed her to and fro. He burned with indignation, not for himself, but
for his sweet, pure Katherine. He was determined that the world should
in the future know that he held her peerless among women. In this
half-aggressive mood he approached Lady Capel. She had been unfortunate
all the evening, and was not amiable. As he stood behind her chair, Lord
Leffham asked,--

"What think you, Hyde, of a party at picquet?"

"Oh, indeed, my lord, you are too much for me!"

"I will give you three points." Then, calling a footman, "Here, fellow,
get cards."

Lady Capel flung her own down. "No, no, Leffham. Spare my grandson:
there are bigger fish here. Dick, I am angry at you. I have a mind to
banish you for a month."

"I am going to Norfolk for two weeks, madam."

[Illustration: "Dick, I am angry at you"]

"That will do. It is a worse punishment than I should have given you.
Norfolk! There is only one word between it and the plantations. At this
time of the year, it is a clay pudding full of villages. Give me your
arm, Dick; I shall play no more until my luck turns again. Losing cards
are dull company indeed."

"I am very sorry that you have been losing. I came to ask for the loan
of a hundred pounds, grandmother."

"No, sir, I will not lend you a hundred pounds; nor am I in the humour
to do anything else you desire."

"I make my apology for the request. I ought to have asked Katherine."

"No, sir, you ought not to have asked Katherine. You ought to take what
you want. Jack Capel took every shilling of my fortune and neither said
'by your leave' nor 'thank you.' Did the Dutchman tie the bag too
close?"

"Councillor Van Heemskirk left it open, in my honour. When I am
scoundrel enough to touch it, I shall not come and see you at all,
grandmother."

"Upon my word, a very pretty compliment! Well, sir, I'll pay you a
hundred pounds for it. When do you start?"

"To-morrow morning."

"Make it afternoon, and take care of me as far as your aunt Julia's. The
duke is of the royal bed-chamber this month, and I am going to see my
daughter while he is away. It will make him supremely wretched at court
to know that I am in his house. So I am going there, and I shall take
care he knows it."

"I have heard a great deal of his new house."

"A play-house kind of affair, Dick, I assure you,--all in the French
style; gods and goddesses above your head, and very badly dressed nymphs
all around, and his pedigree on every window, and his coat of arms on
the very stairs. I have the greatest satisfaction in treading upon them,
I assure you."

"Why do you take the trouble to go? It can give you no pleasure."

"Imagine the true state of things, Dick. The duke is at court--say he is
holding the royal gold wash-basin; but in the very sunshine of King
George's smile, he is thinking, 'That snuffy old woman is lounging in my
white and gilt satin chairs, and handling all my Chinese curiosities,
and asking if every hideous Hindoo idol is a fresh likeness of me.' I am
always willing to take some trouble to give pleasure to the people I
like; I will gladly go to any amount of trouble to annoy the people I
hate as cordially as I hate my good, rich, noble son-in-law, the great
Duke of Exmouth."

"Will you play again?"

"No; I lost seventy pounds to-night."

"I protest, grandmother, that such high stakes go not with amusement.
People come here, not for civility, but for the chance of money."

"Very well, sir. Money! It is the only excuse for card-playing. All the
rest is sinning without temptation. But, Dick, put on the black coat to
preach in,--why do they wear black to preach in?--and I am not in a
humour for a sermon. Come to-morrow at one o'clock; we shall reach
Julia's before dinner. And I dare say you want money to-night. Here are
the keys of my desk. In the right-hand drawer are some _rouleaus_ of
fifty pounds each. Take two."

[Illustration: She was softly singing to the drowsy child]

The weather, as Lady Capel said, was "so very Decemberish" that the
roads were passably good, being frozen dry and hard; and on the evening
of the third day Hyde came in sight of his home. His heart warmed to the
lonely place; and the few lights in its windows beckoned him far more
pleasantly than the brilliant illuminations of Vauxhall or Almacks, or
even the cold splendours of royal receptions. He had given Katherine no
warning of his visit--partly because he had a superstitious feeling
about talking of expected joys (he had noticed that when he did so they
vanished beyond his grasp); partly because love, like destiny, loves
surprises; and he wanted to see with his own eyes, and hear with his own
ears, the glad tokens of her happy wonder.

So he rode his horse upon the turf, and, seeing a light in the stable,
carried him there at once. It was just about the hour of the evening
meal, and the house was brighter than it would have been a little later.
The kitchen fire threw great lustres across the brick-paved yard; and
the blinds in Katherine's parlour were undrawn, and its fire and
candle-light shone on the freshly laid tea-table, and the dark walls
gleaming with bunches of holly and mistletoe. But she was not there. He
only glanced inside the room, and then, with a smile on his face, went
swiftly upstairs. He had noticed the light in the upper windows, and he
knew where he would find his wife. Before he reached the nursery, he
heard Katherine's voice. The door was a little open, and he could see
every part of the charming domestic scene within the room. A middle-aged
woman was quietly putting to rights the sweet disorder incident to the
undressing of the baby. Katherine had played with it until they were
both a little flushed and weary; and she was softly singing to the
drowsy child at her breast.

It was a very singular chiming melody, and the low, sweet, tripping
syllables were in a language quite unknown to him. But he thought that
he had never heard music half so sweet and tender; and he listened to
it, and watched the drowsy, swaying movements of the mother, with a
strange delight,--

                    "Trip a trop a tronjes,
                     De varkens in de boonjes,
                     De keojes in de klaver,
                     De paardeen in de haver,
                     De eenjes in de waterplass,
                     So groot mijn kleine Joris wass."

Over and over, softer and slower, went the melody. It was evident that
the boy was asleep, and that Katherine was going to lay him in his
cradle. He watched her do it; watched her gently tuck in the cover, and
stand a moment to look down at the child. Then with a face full of love
she turned away, smiling, and quite unconsciously came toward him on
tiptoes. With his face beaming, with his arms opened, he entered; but
with such a sympathetic understanding of the sweet need of silence and
restraint that there was no alarm, no outcry, no fuss or amazement. Only
a whispered "Katherine," and the swift rapture of meeting hearts and
lips.

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




XIII.

              "_Death asks for no man's leave,
          But lifts the latch, and enters, and sits down_."


The great events of most lives occur in epochs. A certain period is
marked by a succession of important changes, but that ride of fortune,
be it good or ill, culminates, recedes, goes quite out, and leaves life
on a level beach of commonplaces. Then, sooner or later, the current of
affairs turns again; sometimes with a calm, irresistible flow, sometimes
in a tidal wave of sudden and overwhelming strength. After Hyde's and
Katherine's marriage, there was a long era noticeable only for such
vicissitudes as were incident to their fortune and position. But in May,
A.D. 1774, the first murmur of the returning tide of destiny was heard.
Not but what there had been for long some vague and general expectation
of momentous events which would touch many individual lives; but this
May night, a singular prescience of change made Hyde restless and
impatient.

It was a dull, drizzling evening; and there was an air of depression in
the city, to which he was unusually sensitive. For the trouble between
England and her American Colonies was rapidly culminating; and party
feeling ran high, not only among civilians, but throughout the royal
regiments. Recently, also, a petition had been laid before the king from
the Americans then resident in London, praying him not to send troops to
coerce his subjects in America; and, when Hyde entered his club, some
members were engaged in an angry altercation on this subject.

"The petition was flung upon the table, as it ought to have been," said
Lord Paget.

"You are right," replied Mr. Hervey; "they ought to petition no longer.
They ought now to resist. Mr. Dunning said in the House last night that
the tone of the Government to the Colonies was, 'Resist, and we will cut
your throats: acquiesce, and we will tax you.'"

"A kind of 'stand and deliver' government," remarked Hyde, whistling
softly.

Lord Paget turned upon him with hardly concealed anger. "Captain, you,
sir, wear the king's livery."

"I give the king my service: my thoughts are my own. And, faith, Lord
Paget, it is my humour to utter them when and how I please!"

"Patience, gentlemen," returned Mr. Hervey. "I think, my lord, we may
follow our leaders. The Duke of Richmond spoke warmly for Boston last
night. 'The Bostonians are punished without a hearing,' he said; 'and if
they resist punishment, I wish them success.' Are they not Englishmen,
and many of them born on English soil? When have Englishmen submitted to
oppression? Neither king, lords, nor commons can take away the rights of
the people. It is past a doubt, too, that his Majesty, at the levee last
night, laughed when he said he would just as lief fight the Bostonians
as the French. I heard this speech was received with a dead silence, and
that great offence was given by it."

"I think the king was right," said Paget passionately. "Rebellious
subjects are worse than open enemies like the French."

"My lord, you must excuse me if I do not agree with your opinions. Was
the king right to give a government to the Canadians at this precise
time? What can his Protestant North-American subjects think, but that he
designs the hundred thousand Catholics of Canada against their
liberties? It is intolerable; and the king was mobbed this afternoon in
the park, on the matter. As for the bishops who voted the Canada bill,
they ought to be unfrocked."

"Mr. Hervey, I beg to remind you that my uncle, who is of the see of St.
Cuthbert, voted for it."

"Oh, it is notorious that all the English bishops, excepting only Dr.
Shipley, voted for war with America! I hear that they anticipate an
hierarchy there when the country is conquered. And the fight has begun
at home, for Parliament is dissolved on the subject."

"It died in the Roman-Catholic faith," laughed Hyde, "and left us a
rebellion for a legacy."

"Captain Hyde, you are a traitor."

"Lord Paget, I deny it. My loyalty does not compel me to swear by all
the follies and crimes of the Government. My sword is my country's; but
I would not for twenty kings draw it against my own countrymen,"--then,
with a meaning glance at Lord Paget and an emphatic touch of his
weapon,--"except in my own private quarrel. And if this be treason, let
the king look to it. He will find such treason in every regiment in
England. They say he is going to hire Hessians: he will need them for
his American business, for he has no prerogative to force Englishmen to
murder Englishmen."

"I would advise you to be more prudent, Captain Hyde, if it is in your
power."

"I would advise you to mind your own affairs, Lord Paget."

"It is said that you married an American."

"If you are perfectly in your senses, my lord, leave my affairs alone."

"For my part, I never believed it; and now that Lady Suffolk is a widow,
with revenues, possibly you may"--

"Ah, you are jealous, I perceive!" and Hyde laughed scornfully, and
turned on his heel as if to go upstairs.

Lord Paget followed, and laid his hand upon Hyde's arm.

"Hands off, my lord. Hands off all that belongs to me. And I advise you
also to cease your impertinent attentions to my cousin, Lady Suffolk."

"Gentlemen," said Mr. Hervey, "this is no time for private quarrels;
and, Captain, here is a fellow with a note for you. It is my Lady
Capel's footman, and he says he comes in urgent speed."

Hyde glanced at the message. "It is a last command, Mr. Harvey; and I
must beg you to say what is proper for my honour to Lord Paget. Lady
Capel is at the death-point, and to her requests I am first bounden."

It was raining hard when he left the club, a most dreary night in the
city. The coach rattled through the muddy streets, and brought, as it
went along, many a bored, heavy countenance to the steaming windows, to
watch and to wonder at its pace. Lady Capel had been death-stricken
while at whist, and she had not been removed from the parlour in which
she had been playing her last game. She was stretched upon a sofa in the
midst of the deserted tables, yet covered with scattered cards and
half-emptied tea-cups. Only Lady Suffolk and a physician were with her;
though the corridor was full of terrified, curious servants, gloating
not unkindly over such a bit of sensation in their prosaic lives.

At this hour it was evident that, above everything in the world, the old
lady had loved the wild extravagant grandson, whose debts she had paid
over and over, and whom she had for years alternately petted and
scolded.

"O Dick," she whispered, "I've got to die! We all have. I've had a good
time, Dick."

"Shall I go for cousin Harold? I can bring him in an hour."

"No, no. I want no priests; no better than we are, Dick. Harold is a
proud sinner; Lord, what a proud sinner he is!" Then, with a glint of
her usual temper, "He'd snub the twelve apostles if he met them without
mitres. No priests, Dick. It is you I want. I have left you eight
thousand pounds--all I could save, Dick. Everything goes back to William
now; but the eight thousand pounds is yours. Arabella is witness to it.
Dick, Dick, you will think of me sometimes?"

And Hyde kissed her fondly. Ugly, heartless, sinful, she might be to
others; but to him she had been a double mother. "I'll never forget
you," he answered; "never, grandmother."

"I know what the town will say: 'Well, well, old Lady Capel has gone to
her deserts at last.' Don't mind them, Dick. Let them talk. They will
have to go too; it's the old round--meat and mirth, and then to
bed--a--long--sleep."

"Grandmother?"

"I hear you, Dick. Good-night."

"Is there anything you want done? Think, dear grandmother."

"Don't let Exmouth come to my funeral. I don't want him--grinning
over--my coffin."

"Any other thing?"

"Put me beside Jack Capel. I wonder--if I shall--see Jack." A shadow,
gray and swift, passed over her face. Her eyes flashed one piteous look
into Hyde's eyes, and then closed forever.

And while in the rainy, dreary London twilight Lady Capel was dying,
Katherine was in the garden at Hyde Manor, watching the planting of
seeds that were in a few weeks to be living things of beauty and
sweetness. It had ceased raining at noon in Norfolk, and the gravel
walks were perfectly dry, and the air full of the fragrance of
innumerable violets. All the level land was wearing buttercups. Full of
secrets, of fluttering wings, and building nests were the trees. In the
apple-blooms the bees were humming, delirious with delight. From the
beehives came the peculiar and exquisite odour of virgin wax. Somewhere
near, also, the gurgle of running water spread an air of freshness all
around.

[Illustration: She was stretched upon a sofa]

And Katherine, with a little basket full of flower-seeds, was going with
the gardener from bed to bed, watching him plant them. No one who had
seen her in the childlike loveliness of her early girlhood could have
imagined the splendour of her matured beauty. She had grown "divinely
tall," and the exercise of undisputed authority had added a gracious
stateliness of manner. Her complexion was wonderful, her large blue eyes
shining with tender lights, her face full of sympathetic revelations.
Above all, she had that nameless charm which comes from a freedom from
all anxious thought for the morrow; that charm of which the sweet secret
is generally lost after the twentieth summer. Her basket of seeds was
clasped to her side within the hollow of her left arm, and with her
right hand she lifted a long petticoat of quilted blue satin. Above this
garment she wore a gown of wood-coloured taffeta, sprigged with
rose-buds, and a stomacher of fine lace to match the deep rufflings on
her elbow-sleeves.

Little Joris was with his mother, running hither and thither, as his
eager spirits led him: now pausing to watch her drop from her white
fingers the precious seed into its prepared bed, anon darting after some
fancied joy among the pyramidal yews, and dusky treillages, and cradle
walks of holly and privet. For, as Sir Thomas Swaffham said, "Hyde
garden looked just as if brought from Holland;" and especially so in the
spring, when it was ablaze with gorgeous tulips and hyacinths.

She had heard much of Lady Capel, and she had a certain tenderness for
the old woman who loved her husband so truly; but no thought of her
entered into Katherine's mind that calm evening hour. Neither had she
any presentiment of sorrow. Her soul was happy and untroubled, and she
lingered in the sweet place until the tender touch of gray twilight was
over fen and field. Then her maid, with a manner full of pleasant
excitement, came to her, and said,--

"Here be a London pedler, madam; and he do have all the latest fashions,
and the news of the king and the Americans."

Now, for many reasons, the advent of a London pedler was a great and
pleasant event at the Manor House. Katherine had that delightful and
excusable womanly foible, a love of fine clothing; and shops for its
sale were very rare, even in towns of considerable size. It was from
packmen and hawkers that fine ladies bought their laces and ribbons and
gloves; their precious toilet and hair pins, their paints and powders,
and India scarfs and fans, and even jewellery. These hawkers were also
the great news-bearers to the lonely halls and granges and farmhouses;
and they were everywhere sure of a welcome, and of such entertainment as
they required. Generally each pedler had his recognized route and
regular customers; but occasionally a strange dealer called, and such,
having unfamiliar wares, was doubly welcome. "Is it Parkins, Lettice?"
asked Katherine, as she turned with interest toward the house.

"No, ma'am, it isn't Parkins; and I do think as the man never showed a
face in Hyde before; but he do say that he has a miracle of fine
things."

In a few minutes he was exhibiting them to Katherine, and she was too
much interested in the wares to notice their merchant particularly.

Indeed, he had one of those faces which reveal nothing; a face flat,
hard, secret as a wall, wrinkled as an old banner. He was a hale,
thick-set man, dressed in breeches of corduroy, and a sleeved waistcoat
down to his knees of the same material. His fur cap was on the carpet
beside his pack; and he had a fluent tongue in praise of his wares, as
he hung his silks over Lettice's outstretched arm, or arranged the
scarfs across her shoulders.

There was a slow but mutually satisfactory exchange of goods and money;
and then the pedler began to repack his treasures, and Lettice to carry
away the pretty trifles and the piece of satin her mistress had bought.
Then, also, he found time to talk, to take out the last newspapers, and
to describe the popular dissatisfaction at the stupid tyranny of the
Government toward the Colonies. For either from information, or by some
process rapid as instinct, he understood to which side Katherine's
sympathies went.

"Here be the 'Flying Postman,' madam, with the great speech of Mr. Burke
in it about the port of Boston; but it won't do a mossel o' good, madam,
though he do tell 'em to keep their hands out o' the Americans'
pockets."

"The port of Boston?"

"See you, madam, they are a-going to shut the port o' Boston, and make
Salem the place of entry; that's to punish the Bostonians; and Mr.
Burke, he says, 'The House has been told that Salem is only seventeen
miles from Boston but justice is not an idea of geography, and the
Americans are condemned without being heard. Yet the universal custom,
on any alteration of charters, is to hear the parties at the bar of the
House. Now, the question is, Are the Americans to be heard, or not,
before the charter is broken for our convenience?... The Boston bill is
a diabolical bill.'"

He read aloud this bit of Mr. Burke's fiery eloquence, in a high,
droning voice, and would, according to his custom, have continued the
entertainment; but Katherine, preferring to use her own intelligence,
borrowed the paper and was about to leave the room with it, when he
suddenly remembered a scarf of great beauty which he had not shown.

"I bought it for my Lady Suffolk," he said; "but Lord Suffolk died
sudden, and black my lady had to wear. It's forrin, madam; and here it
is--the very colour of affradiles. But mayhap, as it is candle-teening,
you'd like to wait till the day comes again."

A singular look of speculation came into Katherine's face. She examined
the scarf without delay; and, as she fingered the delicate silk, she led
the man on to talk of Lady Suffolk, though, indeed, he scarcely needed
the stimulus of questioning. Without regard as to whether Katherine was
taking any interest or not in his information, he detailed with hurried
avidity the town talk that had clung to her reputation for so many
years; and he so fully described the handsome cavalry officer that was
her devoted attendant that Katherine had no difficulty in recognizing
her husband, even without the clews which her own knowledge of the
parties gave her.

She stood in the gray light by the window, fingering the delicate
satin, and listening. The pedler glanced from his goods to her face, and
talked rapidly, interloping bits of news about the court and the
fashions; but going always back to Lady Suffolk and her lover, and what
was likely to take place now that Lord Suffolk was out of the way.
"Though there's them that do say the captain has a comely wife hid up in
the country."

Suddenly she turned and faced the stooping man: "Your scarf take: I will
not have it. No, and I will not have anything that I have bought from
you. All of the goods you shall receive back; and my money, give it to
me. You are no honest hawker: you are a bad man, who have come here for
a bad woman. You know that of my husband you have been talking--I mean
_lying_. You know that this is his house, and that his true wife am I.
Not one more word shall you speak.--Lettice, bring here all the goods I
bought from this man; poisoned may be the unguents and scents and
gloves. Of such things I have heard."

She had spoken with an angry rapidity that for the moment confounded the
stranger; but at this point he lifted himself with an insolent air, and
said, "The goods be bought and paid for, madam; and, in faith, I will
not buy them back again."

"In faith, then, I will send for Sir Thomas Swaffham. A magistrate is
he, and Captain Hyde's friend. Not one penny of my money shall you have;
for, indeed, your goods I will not wear."

She pointed then to the various articles which Lettice had brought
back; and, with the shrug of a man who accepts the inevitable, he
replaced them in his pack, and then ostentatiously counted back the
money Katherine had given him. She examined every coin, and returned a
crown. "My piece this is not. It may be false. I will have the one I
gave to you.--Lettice, bring here water in a bowl; let the silver and
gold lay in it until morning."

[Illustration: She stood in the gray light by the window]

And, turning to the pedler, "Your cap take from the floor, and go."

"Of a truth, madam, you be not so cruel as to turn me on the fens, and
it a dark night. There be bogs all about; and how the road do lay for
the next house, I know not."

"The road to my house was easy to find; well, then, you can find the
road back to whoever it was sent you here. With my servants you shall
not sit; under my roof you shall not stay."

"I have no mind to go."

"See you the mastiff at my feet? I advise you stir him not up, for
death is in his jaw. To the gate, and with good haste! In one half-hour
the kennels I will have opened. If then within my boundaries you are, it
is at your life's peril."

She spoke without passion and without hurry or alarm; but there was no
mistaking the purpose in her white, resolute face and fearless attitude.
And the pedler took in the situation very quickly; for the dog was
already watching him with eyes of fiery suspicion, and an occasional
deep growl was either a note of warning to his mistress, or of defiance
to the intruder. With an evil glance at the beautiful, disdainful woman
standing over him, the pedler rose and left the house; Katherine and the
dog so closely following that the man, stooping under his heavy burden,
heard her light footsteps and the mastiff's heavy breathing close at his
heels, until he passed the large gates and found himself on the dark
fen, with just half an hour to get clear of a precinct he had made so
dangerous to himself.

For, when he remembered Katherine's face, he muttered, "There isn't a
mossel o' doubt but what she'll hev the brutes turned loose. Dash it!
women do beat all. But I do hev one bit o' comfort--high-to-instep as
she is, she's heving a bad time of it now by herself. I do think that,
for sure." And the reflection gave him some gratification, as he
cautiously felt his steps forward with his strong staff.

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




XIV.

          "_Let me not to the marriage of true minds
            Admit impediments: love is not love
          Which alters when it alteration finds._"


In some respects, the pedler's anticipations were correct. Katherine had
"a bad time by herself" that night; for evil has this woful
prerogative,--it can wound the good and the innocent, it can make
wretched without provocation and without desert. But, whatever her
suffering, it was altogether her own. She made no complaint, and she
offered no explanation of her singular conduct. Her household, however,
had learned to trust her; and the men and women servants sitting around
the kitchen-fire that night, talked over the circumstance, and found its
very mystery a greater charm than any possible certainty, however
terrible, could have given them.

"She be a stout-hearted one," said the ostler admiringly. "Tony and I
a-watched her and the dog a-driving him through the gates. With his
bundle on his back, he was a-shuffling along, a-nigh on his all-fours;
and the madam at his heels, with her head up in the air, and her eyes
a-shining like candles."

"It would be about the captain he spoke."

The remark was ventured by Lettice in a low voice, and the company
looked at each other and nodded confidentially. For the captain was a
person of great and mysterious importance in the house. All that was
done was in obedience to some order received from him. Katherine quoted
him continually, granted every favour in his name, made him the
authority for every change necessary. His visits were times of holiday,
when discipline was relaxed, and the methodical economy of life at the
manor house changed into festival. And Hyde had precisely that dashing
manner, that mixture of frankness and authority, which dependents
admire. The one place in the whole world where nobody would have
believed wrong of Hyde was in Hyde's own home.

And yet Katherine, in the secrecy of her chamber, felt her heart quake.
She had refused to think of the circumstance until after she had made a
pretence of eating her supper, and had seen little Joris asleep, and
dismissed Lettice, with all her accustomed deliberation and order. But,
oh, how gratefully she turned the key of her room! How glad she felt to
be alone with the fear and the sorrow that had come to her! For she
wanted to face it honestly; and as she stood with eyes cast down, and
hands clasped behind her back, the calm, resolute spirit of her fathers
gathered in her heart, and gave an air of sorrowful purpose to her face
and attitude. At that hour she was singularly like Joris Van Heemskirk;
and any one familiar with the councillor would have known Katherine to
be his daughter.

Most women are restless when they are in anxiety. Katherine felt motion
to be a mental disturbance. She sat down, and remained still as a carven
image, thinking over what had been told her. There had been a time when
her husband's constant talk of Lady Suffolk had pained her, and when she
had been a little jealous of the apparent familiarity which existed in
their relations with each other; but Hyde had laughed at her fears, and
she had taken a pride in putting _his word_ above all her suspicions.
She had seen him receive letters which she knew to be from Lady Suffolk.
She had seen him read and destroy them without remark. She was aware
that many a love-billet from fine ladies followed him to Hyde. But it
was in accord with the integrity of her own nature to believe in her
husband's faithfulness. She had made one inquiry on the subject, and his
assurance at that time she accepted as a final settlement of all doubts.
And if she had needed further evidence, she had found it in his
affectionate and constant regard for her, and in his love for his child
and his home.

It was also a part of Katherine's just and upright disposition to make
allowances for the life by which her husband was surrounded. She
understood that he must often be placed in circumstances of great
temptation and suspicion. Hyde had told her that there were necessarily
events in his daily experience of which it was better for her to be
ignorant. "They belong to it, as my uniform does," he said; "they are a
part of its appearance; but they never touch my feelings, and they never
do you a moment's wrong, Katherine." This explanation it had been the
duty both of love and of wisdom to accept; and she had done so with a
faith which asked for no conviction beyond it.

And now she was told that for years he had been the lover of another
woman; that her own existence was doubted or denied; that if it were
admitted, it was with a supposition which affected both her own good
name and the rights of her child. In those days, America was at the ends
of the earth. A war with it was imminent. The Colonies might be
conquered. She knew nothing of international rights, nor what changes
such a condition might render possible. Hyde was the probable
representative of an ancient noble English family, and its influence was
great: if he really wished to annul their marriage, perhaps it was in
his power to do so. She knew well how greedy rank was of rank and
riches, and she could understand that there might be powerful family
reasons for an alliance which would add Lady Suffolk's wealth to the
Hyde earldom.

[Illustration: She knelt speechless and motionless]

She was no craven, and she faced the position in all its cruel bearings.
She asked herself if, even for the sake of her little Joris, she would
remain a wife on sufferance, or by the tie of rights which she would
have to legally enforce; and then she lifted the candle, and passed
softly into his room to look at him. Though physically like the large,
fair, handsome Van Heemskirks, little Joris had certain tricks of
expression, certain movements and attitudes, which were the very
reflection of his father's,--the same smile, the same droop of the hair
on the forehead, the same careless toss of the arm upward in sleep. It
was the father in the son that answered her at that hour. She slipped
down upon her knees by the sleeping boy, and out of the terror and
sorrow of her soul spoke to the Fatherhood in heaven. Nay, but she knelt
speechless and motionless, and waited until He spoke to her; spoke to
her by the sweet, trustful little lips whose lightest touch was dear to
her. For the boy suddenly awoke; he flung his arms around her neck, he
laid his face close to hers, and said,--

"Oh, mother, beautiful mother, I thought my father was here!"

"You have been dreaming, darling Joris."

"Yes; I am sorry I have been dreaming. I thought my father was here--my
good father, that loves us so much."

Then, with a happy face, Katherine rose and gave the child cool water,
and turned his hot pillow, and with kisses sent him smiling into
dreamland again. In those few tender moments all her fears slipped away
from her heart. "I will not believe what a bad man says against my
husband--against my dear one who is not here to defend himself. Lies,
lies! I will make the denial for him."

And she kept within the comfort of this spirit, even though Hyde's usual
letter was three days behind its usual time. Certainly they were hard
days. She kept busy; but she could not swallow a mouthful of food, and
the sickness and despair that crouched at the threshold of her life made
her lightest duties so heavy that it required a constant effort and a
constant watchfulness to fulfil them. And yet she kept saying to
herself, "All is right. I shall hear in a day or two. There is some
change in the service. There is no change in Richard--none."

On the fourth day her trust had its reward. She found then that the
delay had been caused by the necessary charge and care of ceremonies
which Lady Capel's death forced upon her husband. She had almost a
sentiment of gratitude to her, although she was yet ignorant of her
bequest of eight thousand pounds. For Hyde had resolved to wait until
the reading of the will made it certain, and then to resign his
commission, and carry the double good news to Katherine himself.
Henceforward, they were to be together. He would buy more land, and
improve his estate, and live happily, away from the turmoil of the town,
and the disagreeable duties of active service in a detestable quarrel.
So this purpose, though unexpressed, gave a joyous ring to his letter;
it was lover-like in its fondness and hopefulness, and Katherine thought
of Lady Suffolk and her emissary with a contemptuous indifference.

"My dear one she intended that I should make miserable with reproaches,
and from his own home drive him to her home for some consolations;" and
Katherine smiled as she reflected how hopeless such a plan of separation
would be.

Never, perhaps, are we so happy as when we have just escaped some feared
calamity. That letter lifted the last fear from Katherine's heart, and
it gave her also the expectation of an early visit. "I am very impatient
to see you, my Kate," he wrote; "and as early as possible after the
funeral, you may expect me." The words rang like music in her heart. She
read them aloud to little Joris, and then the whole household warmed to
the intelligence. For there was always much pleasant preparation for
Hyde's visits,--clean rooms to make still cleaner, silver to polish,
dainties to cook; every weed to take from the garden, every unnecessary
straw from the yards. For the master's eye, everything must be
beautiful. To the master's comfort, every hand was delighted to
minister.

So these last days of May were wonderfully happy ones to Katherine. The
house was in its summer draperies--all its windows open to the garden,
which had now not only the freshness of spring, but the richer promise
of summer. Katherine was always dressed with extraordinary care and
taste. Little Joris was always lingering about the gates which commanded
the longest stretch of observation. A joyful "looking forward" was upon
every face.

Alas, these are the unguarded hours which sorrow surprises! But no
thought of trouble, and no fear of it, had Katherine, as she stood
before her mirror one afternoon. She was watching Lettice arrange the
double folds of her gray taffeta gown, so as to display a trifle the
high scarlet heels of her morocco slippers, with their scarlet rosettes
and small diamond buckles.

"Too cold a colour is gray for me, Lettice: give me those scarlet
ribbons for a breast knot;" and as Lettice stood with her head a little
on one side, watching her mistress arrange the bright bows at her
stomacher, there came a knock at the chamber door.

"Here be a strange gentleman, madam, to see you; from London, he do
say."

A startled look came into Katherine's face; she dropped the ribbon from
her hand, and turned to the servant, who stood twisting a corner of her
apron at the front-door.

"Well, then, Jane, like what is the stranger?"

"He be in soldier's dress, madam"--

"What?"

She asked no further question, but went downstairs; and, as the tapping
of her heels was heard upon them, Jane lifted her apron to her eyes and
whimpered, "I think there be trouble; I do that, Letty."

"About the master?"

[Illustration: Jane lifted her apron to her eyes]

"It be like it. And the man rides a gray horse too. Drat the man, to
come with news on a gray horse! It be that unlucky, as no one in their
seven senses would do it."

"For sure it be! When I was a young wench at school"--and then, as she
folded up the loose ribbons, Letty told a gruesome story of a farmer
robbed and murdered; but as she came to the part the gray horse played
in the tale, Katherine slowly walked into the room, with a letter in her
hand. She was white, even to her lips; and with a mournful shake of her
head, she motioned to the girls to leave her alone. She put the paper
out of her hand, and stood regarding it. Fully ten minutes elapsed ere
she gathered strength sufficient to break its well-known seal, and take
in the full meaning of words so full of agony to her.

"It is midnight, beloved Katherine, and in six hours I may be dead. Lord
Paget spoke of my cousin to me in such terms as leaves but one way out
of the affront. I pray you, if you can, to pardon me. The world will
condemn me, my own actions will condemn me; and yet I vow that you, and
you only, have ever had my love. You I shall adore with my last breath.
Kate, my Kate, forgive me. If this comes to you by strange hands, I
shall be dead or dying. My will and papers of importance are in the
drawer marked "B" in my escritoire. Kiss my son for me, and take my last
hope and thought."

These words she read, then wrung her hands, and moaned like a creature
that had been wounded to death. Oh, the shame! Oh, the wrong and sorrow!
How could she bear it? What should she do? Captain Lennox, who had
brought the letter, was waiting for her decision. If she would go to her
husband, then he could rest and return to London at his leisure. If not,
Hyde wanted his will, to add a codicil regarding the eight thousand
pounds left him by Lady Capel. For he had been wounded in his side; and
a dangerous inflammation having set in, he had been warned of a possible
fatal result.

Katherine was not a rapid thinker. She had little, either, of that
instinct which serves some women instead of all other prudences. Her
actions generally arose from motives clear to her own mind, and of whose
wisdom or kindness she had a conviction. But in this hour so many
things appealed to her that she felt helpless and uncertain. The one
thought that dominated all others was that her husband had fought and
fallen for Lady Suffolk. He had risked her happiness and welfare, he had
forgotten her and his child, for this woman. It was the sequel to the
impertinence of the pedler's visit. She believed at that moment that the
man had told her the truth. All these years she had been a slighted and
deceived woman.

This idea once admitted, jealousy of the crudest and most unreasonable
kind assailed her. Incidents, words, looks, long forgotten rushed back
upon her memory, and fed the flame. Very likely, if she left her child
and went to London, she might find Lady Suffolk in attendance on her
husband, or at least be compelled for his life's sake to submit to her
visits. She pondered this supposition until it brought forth one still
more shameful. Perhaps the whole story was a scheme to get her up to
London. Perhaps she might disappear there. What, then, would be done to
her child? If Richard Hyde was so infatuated with Lady Suffolk, what
might he not do to win her and her large fortune? Even the news of Lady
Capel's death was now food for her suspicions. Was she dead, or was the
assertion only a part of the conspiracy? If she had been dead, Sir
Thomas Swaffham would have heard of the death; yet she had seen him that
morning, and he had made no mention of the circumstance.

"To London I will not go," she decided. "There is some wicked plan for
me. The will and the papers are wanted, that they may be altered to
suit it. I will stay here with my child. Even sorrow great as mine is
best borne in one's own home."

She went to the escritoire to get the papers. When she opened the
senseless chamber of wood, she found herself in the presence of many a
torturing, tender memory. In one compartment there were a number of
trout-flies. She remembered the day her husband had made them--a long,
rainy, happy day during his last visit. Every time she passed him, he
drew her face down to kiss it. And she could hear little Joris talking
about the work, and his father's gay laughter at the child's remarks. In
an open slide, there was a rude picture of a horse. It was the boy's
first attempt to draw Mephisto, and it had been carefully put away. The
place was full of such appeals. Katherine rarely wept; but, standing
before these mementos, her eyes filled, and with a sob she clasped her
hands across them, as if the sight of such tokens from a happy past was
intolerable.

Drawer B was a large compartment full of papers and of Hyde's personal
treasures. Among them was a ring that his father had given him, his
mother's last letter, a lock of his son's hair, her own first
letter--the shy, anxious note that she wrote to Mrs. Gordon. She looked
sadly at these things, and thought how valueless all had become to him
at that hour. Then she began to arrange the papers according to their
size, and a small sealed parcel slipped from among them. She lifted it,
and saw a rhyme in her husband's writing on the outside,--

"Oh, my love, my love! This thy gift I hold
More than fame or treasure, more than life or gold."

It had evidently been sealed within a few months, for it was in a kind
of bluish-tinted paper which Hyde bought in Lynn one day during the past
winter. She turned it over and over in her hand, and the temptation to
see the love-token inside became greater every moment. This was a thing
her husband had never designed any human eye but his own to see.
Whatever revelation there was in it, much or little, would be true.
Tortured by doubt and despair, she felt that impulse to rely on chance
for a decision which all have experienced in matters of grave moment,
apparently beyond natural elucidation.

"If in this parcel there is some love-pledge from Lady Suffolk, then I
go not; nothing shall make me go. If in it there is no word of her, no
message to her or from her; if her name is not there, nor the letters of
her name,--then I will go to my own. A new love, one not a year old, I
can put aside. I will forgive every one but my Lady Suffolk."

So Katherine decided as she broke the seal with firmness and rapidity.
The first paper within the cover made her tremble. It was a half sheet
which she had taken one day from Bram's hand, and it had Bram's name
across it. On it she had written the first few lines which she had had
the right to sign "Katherine Hyde." It was, indeed, her first "wife"
letter; and within it was the precious love-token, her own
love-token,--_the bow of orange ribbon_.

She gave a sharp cry as it fell upon the desk; and then she lifted and
kissed it, and held it to her breast, as she rocked herself to and fro
in a passionate transport of triumphant love. Again and again she fed
her eyes upon it. She recalled the night she wore it first, and the
touch of her mother's fingers as she fastened it at her throat. She
recalled her father's happy smile of proud admiration for her; the
afternoon, next, when she had stood with Joanna at the foot of the
garden and seen her lover wearing it on his breast. She remembered what
she had heard about the challenge, and the desperate fight, and the
intention of Semple's servant to remove the token from her senseless
lover's breast, and her father's noble interference. The bit of fateful
ribbon had had a strange history, yet she had forgotten it. It was her
husband who had carefully sealed it away among the things most precious
to his heart and house. It still kept much of its original splendid
colour, but it was stained down all its length with blood. Nothing that
Hyde could have done, no words that he could have said, would have been
so potent to move her.

"I will give it to him again. With my own hands I will give it to him
once more. O Richard, my lover, my husband! Now I will hasten to see
thee."

[Illustration: "O Richard, my lover, my husband!"]

With relays at every post-house, she reached London the next night, and,
weary and terrified, drove at once to the small hostelry where Hyde lay.
There was a soldier sitting outside his chamber-door, but the wounded
man was quite alone when Katherine entered. She took in at a glance the
bare, comfortless room, scarcely lit by the sputtering rush-candle, and
the rude bed, and the burning cheeks of the fevered man upon it.

"Katherine!" he cried; and his voice was as weak and as tearful as that
of a troubled child.

"Here come I, my dear one."

"I do not deserve it. I have been so wicked, and you my pure good wife."

"See, then, I have had no temptations, but thou hast lived in the midst
of great ones. Then, how natural and how easy was it for thee to do
wrong!"

"Oh, how you love me, Katherine!"

"God knows."

"And for this wrong you will not forsake me?"

She took from her bosom the St. Nicholas ribbon. "I give it to thee
again. At the first time I loved thee; now, my husband, ten thousand
times more I love thee. As I went through the papers, I found it. So
much it said to me of thy true love! So sweetly for thee it pleaded! All
that it asks for thee, I give. All that thou hast done wrong to me, it
forgives."

And between their clasped hands it lay,--the bit of orange ribbon that
had handselled all their happiness.

"It is the promise of everything I can give thee, my loved one,"
whispered Katherine.

"It is the luck of Richard Hyde. Dearest wife, thou hast given me my
life back again."

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




XV.

          "_Wise men ne'er sit and wail their woes,
          But presently prevent the ways to wail._"


It was a hot August afternoon; and the garden at Hyde Manor was full of
scent in all its shady places,--hot lavender, seductive carnation, the
secretive intoxication of the large white lilies, and mingling with them
the warm smell of ripe fruits from the raspberry hedges, and the
apricots and plums turning gold and purple upon the southern walls.

Hyde sat at an open window, breathing the balmy air, and basking in the
light and heat, which really came to him with "healing on their wings."
He was pale and wasted from his long sickness; but there was speculation
and purpose in his face, and he had evidently cast away the mental
apathy of the invalid. As he sat thus, a servant entered and said a few
words which made him turn with a glad, expectant manner to the open
door; and, as he did so, a man of near sixty years of age passed through
it--a handsome, lordly-looking man, who had that striking personal
resemblance to Hyde which affectionate brothers often have to one
another.

"Faith, William, you are welcome home! I am most glad to see you."

"Sit still, Dick. You sad rascal, you've been playing with cold steel
again, I hear! Can't you let it alone, at your age?"

"Why, then, it was my business, as you know, sir. My dear William, how
delighted I am to see you!"

"'Tis twelve years since we met, Dick. You have been in America; I have
been everywhere. I confess, too, I am amazed to hear of your marriage.
And Hyde Manor is a miracle. I expected to find it mouldy and mossy--a
haunt for frogs and fever. On the contrary, it is a place of perfect
beauty."

"And it was all my Katherine's doing."

"I hear that she is Dutch; and, beyond a doubt, her people have a genius
that develops in low lands."

"She is my angel. I am unworthy of her goodness and beauty."

"Why, then, Dick, I never saw you before in such a proper mood; and I
may as well tell you, while you are in it, that I have also found a
treasure past belief of the same kind. In fact, Dick, I am married, and
have two sons."

There was a moment's profound silence, and an inexplicable shadow passed
rapidly over Hyde's face; but it was fleeting as a thought, and, ere
the pause became strained and painful, he turned to his brother and
said, "I am glad, William. With all my heart, I am glad."

"Indeed, Dick, when Emily Capel died, I was sincere in my purpose never
to marry; and I looked upon you always as the future earl, until one
night in Rome, in a moment, the thing was altered."

"I can understand that, William."

"I was married very quietly, and have been in Italy ever since. Only
four days have elapsed since I returned to England. My first inquiries
were about you."

"I pray you, do not believe all that my enemies will say of me."

"Among other things, I was told that you had left the army."

"That is exactly true. When I heard that Lord Percy's regiment was
designed for America, and against the Americans, I put it out of the
king's power to send me on such a business."

"Indeed, I think the Americans have been ill-used; and I find the town
in a great commotion upon the matter. The night I landed, there had come
bad news from New York. The people of that city had burned effigies of
Lord North and Governor Hutchinson, and the new troops were no sooner
landed than five hundred of them deserted in a body. At White's it was
said that the king fell into a fit of crying when the intelligence was
brought him."

Hyde's white face was crimson with excitement, and his eyes glowed like
stars as he listened.

[Illustration: "One night in Rome, in a moment, the thing was altered,"]

"That was like New York; and, faith, if I had been there, I would have
helped them!"

"Why not go there? I owe you much for the hope of which my happiness has
robbed you. I will take Hyde Manor at its highest price; I will add to
it fifty thousand pounds indemnity for the loss of the succession. You
may buy land enough for a duchy there, and found in the New World a new
line of the old family. If there is war, you have your opportunity. If
the colonists win their way, your family and means will make you a
person of great consideration. Here, you can only be a member of the
family; in America, you can be the head of your own line. Dick, my dear
brother, out of real love and honour I speak these words."

"Indeed, William, I am very sensible of your kindness, and I will
consider well your proposition for you must know that it is a matter of
some consequence to me now. I think, indeed, that my Katherine will be
in a transport of delight to return to her native land. I hear her
coming, and we will talk with her; and, anon, you shall confess,
William, that you have seen the sweetest woman that ever the sun shone
upon."

Almost with the words she entered, clothed in a white India muslin, with
carnations at her breast. Her high-heeled shoes, her large hoop, and the
height to which her pale gold hair was raised, gave to the beautiful
woman an air of majesty that amazed the earl. He bowed low, and then
kissed her cheeks, and led her to a chair, which he placed between Hyde
and himself.

Of course the discussion of the American project was merely opened at
that time. English people, even at this day, move only after slow and
prudent deliberation; and then emigration was almost an irrevocable
action. Katherine was predisposed to it, but yet she dearly loved the
home she had made so beautiful. During Hyde's convalescence, also, other
plans had been made and talked over until they had become very hopeful
and pleasant; and they could not be cast aside without some reluctance.
In fact, the purpose grew slowly, but surely, all through the following
winter; being mainly fed by Katherine's loving desire to be near to her
parents, and by Hyde's unconfessed desire to take part in the struggle
which he foresaw, and which had his warmest sympathy. Every American
letter strengthened these feelings; but the question was finally
settled--as many an important event in every life is settled--by a
person totally unknown to both Katherine and Hyde.

It was on a cold, stormy afternoon in February, when the fens were white
with snow. Hyde sat by the big wood-fire, re-reading a letter from Joris
Van Heemskirk, which also enclosed a copy of Josiah Quincy's speech on
the Boston Port Bill. Katherine had a piece of worsted work in her
hands. Little Joris was curled up in a big chair with his book, seeing
nothing of the present, only conscious of the gray, bleak waves of the
English Channel, and the passionate Blake bearing down upon Tromp and De
Ruyter.

"What a battle that would be!" he said, jumping to his feet. "Father, I
wish that I had lived a hundred years ago."

"What are you talking about, George?"

"Listen, then: 'Eighty sail put to sea under Blake. Tromp and De Ruyter,
with seventy-six sail, were seen, upon the 18th of February, escorting
three hundred merchant-ships up the channel. Three days of desperate
fighting ensued, and Tromp acquired prodigious honour by this battle;
for, though defeated, he saved nearly the whole of his immense convoy.'
I wish I had been with Tromp, father."

"But an English boy should wish to have been with Blake."

"Tromp had the fewer vessels. One should always help the weaker side,
father. And, besides, you know I am half Dutch."

Katherine looked proudly at the boy, but Hyde had a long fit of musing.
"Yes," he answered at length, "a brave man always helps those who need
it most. Your father's letter, Katherine, stirs me wonderfully. Those
Americans show the old Saxon love of liberty. Hear how one of them
speaks for his people: 'Blandishments will not fascinate us, nor will
threats of a halter intimidate. For, under God, we are determined that
wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever we shall be called to make our
exit, we will die free men.' Such men ought to be free, Katherine, and
they will be free."

It was at this moment that Lettice came in with a bundle of newspapers:
"They be brought by Sir Thomas Swaffham's man, sir, with Sir Thomas's
compliments; there being news he thinks you would like to read, sir."

Katherine turned promptly. "Spiced ale and bread and meat give to the
man, Lettice; and to Sir Thomas and Lady Swaffham remind him to take
our respectful thanks."

Hyde opened the papers with eager curiosity. Little Joris was again with
Tromp and Blake in the channel; and Katherine, remembering some
household duty, left the father and son to their private enthusiasms.
She was restless and anxious, for she had one of those temperaments that
love a settled and orderly life. It would soon be spring, and there were
a thousand things about the house and garden which would need her
attention if they were to remain at Hyde. If not, her anxieties in other
directions would be equally numerous and necessary. She stood at the
window looking into the white garden close. Something about it recalled
her father's garden; and she fell into such a train of tender memories
that when Hyde called quickly, "Kate, Kate!" she found that there were
tears in her eyes, and that it was with an effort and a sigh her soul
returned to its present surroundings.

[Illustration: "I must draw my sword again"]

Hyde was walking about the room in great excitement,--his tall, nervous
figure unconsciously throwing itself into soldierly attitudes; his dark,
handsome face lit by an interior fire of sympathetic feeling.

"I must draw my sword again, Katherine," he said, as his hand
impulsively went to his left side,--"I must draw my sword again. I
thought I had done with it forever; but, by St. George, I'll draw it in
this quarrel!"

"The American quarrel, Richard?"

"No other could so move me. We have the intelligence now of their
congress. They have not submitted; they have not drawn back, not an
inch; they have not quarrelled among themselves. They have unanimously
voted for non-importation, non-exportation, and non-consumption. They
have drawn up a declaration of their rights. They have appealed to the
sympathies of the people of Canada, and they have resolved to support by
arms all their brethren unlawfully attacked. Hurrah, Katherine! Every
good man and true wishes them well."

"But it is treason, dear one."

"_Soh!_ It was treason when the barons forced the Great Charter from
King John. It was treason when Hampden fought against 'ship-money,' and
Cromwell against Star Chambers, and the Dutchman William laid his firm
hand on the British Constitution. All revolutions are treason until they
are accomplished. We have long hesitated, we will waver no more. The
conduct of Sir Jeffrey Amherst has decided me."

"I know it not."

"On the 6th of this month the king offered him a peerage if he would
take command of the troops for America; and he answered, 'Your majesty
must know that I cannot bring myself to fight the Americans, who are not
only of my own race, but to whose former kindness I am also much
obliged.' By the last mail, also, accounts have come of vast desertions
of the soldiers of Boston; and three officers of Lord Percy's regiment
are among the number. Katherine, our boy has told me this afternoon that
he is half Dutch. Why should we stay in England, then, for his sake? We
will do as Earl William advises us,--go to America and found a new
house, of which I and he will be the heads. Are you willing?"

"Only to be with you, only to please you, Richard. I have no other
happiness."

"Then it is settled; and I thank Sir Jeffrey Amherst, for his words have
made me feel ashamed of my indecision. And look you, dear Kate, there
shall be no more delays. The earl buys Hyde as it stands; we have
nothing except our personal effects to pack: can you be ready in a
week?"

"You are too impatient, Richard. In a week it is impossible.

"Then in two weeks. In short, my dear, I have taken an utter aversion to
being longer in King George's land."

"Poor king! Lady Swaffham says he means well; he misunderstands, he
makes mistakes."

"And political mistakes are crimes, Katherine. Write to-night to your
father. Tell him that we are coming in two weeks to cast our lot with
America. Upon my honour, I am impatient to be away."

When Joris Van Heemskirk received this letter, he was very much excited
by its contents. Putting aside his joy at the return of his beloved
daughter, he perceived that the hour expected for years had really
struck. The true sympathy that had been so long in his heart, he must
now boldly express; and this meant in all probability a rupture with
most of his old associates and friends--Elder Semple in the kirk, and
the Matthews and Crugers and Baches in the council.

He was sitting in the calm evening, with unloosened buckles, in a cloud
of fragrant tobacco, talking of these things. "It is full time, come
what will," said Lysbet. "Heard thou what Batavius said last night?"

"Little I listen to Batavius."

"But this was a wise word. 'The colonists are leaving the old ship,' he
said; 'and the first in the new boat will have the choice of oars.'"

"That was like Batavius, but I will take higher counsel than his."

Then he rose, put on his hat, and walked down his garden; and, as he
slowly paced between the beds of budding flowers, he thought of many
things,--the traditions of the past struggles for freedom, and the
irritating wrongs that had imbittered his own experience for ten years.
There was plenty of life yet in the spirit his fathers had bequeathed to
him; and, as this and that memory of wrong smote it, the soul-fire
kindled, glowed, burned with passionate flame. "Free, God gave us this
fair land, and we will keep it free. There has been in it no crowns and
sceptres, no bloody Philips, no priestly courts of cruelty; and, in
God's name, we will have none!"

He was standing on the river-bank; and the meadows over it were green
and fair to see, and the fresh wind blew into his soul a thought of its
own untrammelled liberty. He looked up and down the river, and lifted
his face to the clear sky, and said aloud, "Beautiful land! To be thy
children we should not deserve, if one inch of thy soil we yielded to a
tyrant. Truly a vaderland to me and to mine thou hast been. Truly do I
love thee." And then, his soul being moved to its highest mark, he
answered it tenderly, in the strong-syllabled mother-tongue that it knew
so well,--

"Indien ik u vergeet, o Vaderland! zoo vergete mijne regter-hand zich
zelve!"

Such communion he held with himself until the night came on, and the dew
began to fall; and Lysbet said to herself, "I will walk down the garden:
perhaps there is something I can say to him." As she rose, Joris
entered, and they met in the centre of the room. He put his large hands
upon her shoulders, and, looking solemnly in her face, said, "My Lysbet,
I will go with the people; I will give myself willingly to the cause of
freedom. A long battle is it. Two hundred years ago, a Joris Van
Heemskirk was fighting in it. Not less of man than he was, am I, I
hope."

There was a mist of tears over his eyes--a mist that was no dishonour;
it only showed that the cost had been fully counted, and his allegiance
given with a clear estimate of the value and sweetness of all that he
might have to give with it. Lysbet was a little awed by the solemnity of
his manner. She had not before understood the grandeur of such a
complete surrender of self as her husband had just consummated. But
never had she been so proud of him. Everything commonplace had slipped
away: he looked taller, younger, handsomer.

[Illustration: "We have closed his Majesty's custom-house forever"]

She dropped her knitting to her feet, she put her arms around his
neck, and, laying her head upon his breast, said softly, "My good Joris!
I will love thee forever."

In a few minutes Elder Semple came in. He looked exceedingly worried;
and, although Joris and he avoided politics by a kind of tacit
agreement, he could not keep to kirk and commercial matters, but
constantly returned to one subject,--a vessel lying at Murray's Wharf,
which had sold her cargo of molasses and rum to the "Committee of
Safety."

"And we'll be haeing the custom-house about the city's ears, if there's
'safety' in that,--the born idiots," he said.

Joris was in that grandly purposeful mood that takes no heed of fretful
worries. He let the elder drift from one grievance to another; and he
was just in the middle of a sentence containing his opinion of Sears and
Willet, when Bram's entrance arrested it. There was something in the
young man's face and attitude which made every one turn to him. He
walked straight to the side of Joris,--

"Father, we have closed his Majesty's custom-house forever."

"_We!_ Who, then, Bram?"

"The Committee of Safety and the Sons of Liberty."

Semple rose to his feet, trembling with passion. "Let me tell you, then,
Bram, you are a parcel o' rogues and rebels; and, if I were his Majesty,
I'd gibbet the last ane o' you."

"Patience, Elder. Sit down, I'll speak"--

"No, Councillor, I'll no sit down until I ken what kind o' men I'm
sitting wi'. Oot wi' your maist secret thoughts. Wha are you for?"

"For the people and for freedom am I," said Joris, calmly rising to his
feet. "Too long have we borne injustice. My fathers would have spoken by
the sword before this. Free kirk, free state, free commerce, are the
breath of our nostrils. Not a king on earth our privileges and rights
shall touch; no, not with his finger-tips. Bram, my son, I am your
comrade in this quarrel." He spoke with fervent, but not rapid speech,
and with a firm, round voice, full of magical sympathies.

"I'll hear nae mair o' such folly.--Gie me my bonnet and plaid, madam,
and I'll be going.--The King o' England needna ask his Dutch subjects
for leave to wear his crown, I'm thinking."

"Subjects!" said Bram, flashing up. "Subjection! Well, then, Elder,
Dutchmen don't understand the word. Spain found that out."

"Hoots! dinna look sae far back, Bram. It's a far cry, to Alva and
Philip. Hae you naething fresher? Gude-night, a'. I hope the morn will
bring you a measure o' common sense." He was at the door as he spoke;
but, ere he passed it, he lifted his bonnet above his head and said,
"God save the king! God save his gracious Majesty, George of England!"

Joris turned to his son. To shut up the king's customs was an overt
action of treason. Bram, then, had fully committed himself; and,
following out his own thoughts, he asked abruptly, "What will come of
it, Bram?"

"War will come, and liberty--a great commonwealth, a great country."

"It was about the sloop at Murray's Wharf?"

"Yes. To the Committee of Safety her cargo she sold; but Collector
Cruger would not that it should leave the vessel, although offered was
the full duty."

"For use against the king were the goods; then Cruger, as a servant of
King George, did right."

"Oh, but if a tyrant a man serves, we cannot suffer wrong that a good
servant he may be! King George through him refused the duty: no more
duties will we offer him. We have boarded up the doors and windows of
the custom-house. Collector Cruger has a long holiday."

He did not speak lightly, and his air was that of a man who accepts a
grave responsibility. "I met Sears and about thirty men with him on Wall
Street. I went with them, thinking well on what I was going to do. I am
ready by the deed to stand."

"And I with thee. Good-night, Bram, To-morrow there will be more to
say."

Then Bram drew his chair to the hearth, and his mother began to question
him; and her fine face grew finer as she listened to the details of the
exploit. Bram looked at her proudly. "I wish only that a fort full of
soldiers and cannon it had been," he said. "It does not seem such a fine
thing to take a few barrels of rum and molasses."

"Every common thing is a fine thing when it is for justice. And a fine
thing I think it was for these men to lay down every one his work and
his tool, and quietly and orderly go do the work that was to be done for
honour and for freedom. If there had been flying colours and beating
drums, and much blood spilt, no grander thing would it have been, I
think."

And, as Bram filled and lighted his pipe, he hummed softly the rallying
song of the day,--

                 "In story we're told
                  How our fathers of old
       Braved the rage of the winds and the waves;
                  And crossed the deep o'er,
                  For this far-away shore,
All because they would never be slaves--brave boys!
    All because they would never be slaves.

                 "The birthright we hold
                  Shall never be sold,
       But sacred maintained to our graves;
                  And before we comply
                  We will gallantly die,
For we will not, we will not be slaves--brave boys!
  For we will not, we will not be slaves."

In the meantime Semple, fuming and ejaculating, was making his way
slowly home. It was a dark night, and the road full of treacherous soft
places, fatal to that spotless condition of hose and shoes which was one
of his weak points. However, before he had gone very far, he was
overtaken by his son Neil, now a very staid and stately gentleman,
holding under the government a high legal position in the investigation
of the disputed New-Hampshire grants.

He listened respectfully to his father's animadversions on the folly of
the Van Heemskirks; but he was thinking mainly of the first news told
him,--the early return of Katherine. He was conscious that he still
loved Katherine, and that he still hated Hyde. As they approached the
house, the elder saw the gleam of a candle through the drawn blind; and
he asked querulously, "What's your mother doing wi' a candle at this
hour, I wonder?"

"She'll be sewing or reading, father."

"Hoots! she should aye mak' the wark and the hour suit. There's spinning
and knitting for the night-time. Wi' soldiers quartered to the right
hand and the left hand, and a civil war staring us in the face, it's
neither tallow nor wax we'll hae to spare."

He was climbing the pipe-clayed steps as he spoke, and in a few minutes
was standing face to face with the offender. Madam Semple was reading
and, as her husband opened the parlour door, she lifted her eyes from
her book, and let them calmly rest upon him.

[Illustration: "I am reading the Word"]

"Fire-light and candle-light, baith, Janet! A fair illumination, and nae
ither thing but bad news for it."

"It is for reading the Word, Elder."

"For the night season, meditation, Janet, meditation;" and he lifted the
extinguisher, and put out the candle. "Meditate on what you hae read.
The Word will bide a deal o' thinking about. You'll hae heard the ill
news?"

"I heard naething ill."

"Didna Neil tell you?"

"Anent what?"

"The closing o' the king's customs."

"Ay, Neil told me."

"Weel?"

"Weel, since you ask me, I say it was gude news."

"Noo, Janet, we'll hae to come to an understanding. If I hae swithered
in my loyalty before, I'll do sae nae mair. From this hour, me and my
house will serve King George. I'll hae nae treason done in it, nor said;
no, nor even thocht o'."

"You'll be a vera Samson o' strength, and a vera Solomon o' wisdom, if
you keep the hands and the tongues and the thochts o' this house.
Whiles, you canna vera weel keep the door o' your ain mouth, gudeman.
What's come o'er you, at a'?"

"I'm surely master in my ain house, Janet."

"'Deed, you are far from being that, Alexander Semple. Doesna King
George quarter his men in it? And havena you to feed and shelter them,
and to thole their ill tempers and their ill ways, morning, noon, and
night? You master in your ain house! You're just a naebody in it!"

"Dinna get on your high horse, madam. Things are coming to the upshot:
there's nae doot o' it."

"They've been lang aboot it--too lang."

"Do you really mean that you are going to set yoursel' among the
rebels?"

"Going? Na, na; I have aye been amang them. And ten years syne, when the
Stamp Act was the question, you were heart and soul wi' the people. The
quarrel to-day is the same quarrel wi' a new name. Tak' the side o'
honour and manhood and justice, and dinna mak' me ashamed o' you,
Alexander. The Semples have aye been for freedom,--Kirk and State,--and
I never heard tell o' them losing a chance to gie them proud English a
set-down before. What for should you gie the lie to a' your forbears
said and did? King George hasna put his hand in his pocket for you; he
has done naething but tax your incomings and your outgoings. Ask Van
Heemskirk: he's a prudent man, and you'll never go far wrong if you walk
wi' him."

"Ask Van Heemskirk, indeed! Not I. The rebellious spirit o' the ten
tribes is through all the land; but I'll stand by King George, if I'm
the only man to do it."

"George may be king o' the Semples. I'm a Gordon. He's no king o' mine.
The Gordons were a' for the Stuarts."

"Jacobite and traitor, baith! Janet, Janet, how can you turn against me
on every hand?"

"I'll no turn against you, Elder; and I'll gie you no cause for
complaint, if you dinna set King George on my hearthstone, and bring him
to my table, and fling him at me early and late." She was going to light
the candle again; and, with it in her hand, she continued: "That's
enough anent George rex at night-time, for he isna a pleasant thought
for a sleeping one. How is Van Heemskirk going? And Bram?"

"Bram was wi' them that unloaded the schooner and closed the
custom-house--the born idiots!"

"I expected that o' Bram."

"As for his father, he's the blackest rebel you could find or hear tell
o' in the twelve Provinces."

"He's a good man; Joris is a good man, true and sure. The cause he
lifts, he'll never leave. Joris and Bram--excellent! They two are a
multitude."

"Humff!" It was all he could say. There was something in his wife's face
that made it look unfamiliar to him. He felt himself to be like the
prophet of Pethor--a man whose eyes are opened. But Elder Semple was not
one of the foolish ones who waste words. "A wilfu' woman will hae her
way," he thought; "and if Janet has turned rebel to the king, it's mair
than likely she'll throw off my ain lawfu' authority likewise. But we'll
see, we'll see," he muttered, glancing with angry determination at the
little woman, who, for her part, seemed to have put quite away all
thoughts of king and Congress.

She stood with the tinder-box and the flint and brimstone matches in her
hands. "I wonder if the tinder is burnt enough, Alexander," she said;
and with the words she sharply struck the flint. A spark fell instantly
and set fire to it, and she lit her match and watched it blaze with a
singular look of triumph on her face. Somehow the trifling affair
irritated the elder. "What are you doing at a'? You're acting like a
silly bairn, makin' a blaze for naething. There's a fire on the hearth:
whatna for, then, are you wasting tinder and a match?"

"Maybe it wasna for naething, Elder. Maybe I was asking for a sign, and
got the ane I wanted. There's nae sin in that, I hope. You ken Gideon
did it when he had to stand up for the oppressed, and slay the tyrant."

"Tut, woman, you arena Gideon, nor yet o' Gideon's kind; and, forbye,
there's nae angel speaking wi' you."

"You're right there, Elder. But, for a' that, I'm glad that the spark
fired the tinder, and that the tinder lit the match, and that the match
burnt sae bright and sae bravely. It has made a glow in my heart, and
I'll sleep well wi' the pleasure o' it."

Next morning the argument was not renewed. Neil was sombre and silent.
His father was uncertain as to his views, and he did not want to force
or hurry a decision. Besides, it would evidently be more prudent to
speak with the young man when he could not be influenced by his mother's
wilful, scornful tongue. Perhaps Neil shared this prudent feeling; for
he deprecated conversation, and, on the plea of business, left the
breakfast-table before the meal was finished.

The elder, however, had some indemnification for his cautious silence.
He permitted himself, at family prayers, a very marked reading of St.
Paul's injunction, "Fear God and honour the king;" and ere he left the
house he said to his wife, "Janet, I hope you hae come to your senses.
You'll allow that you didna treat me wi' a proper respect yestreen?"

She was standing face to face with him, her hands uplifted, fastening
the broad silver clasp of his cloak. For a moment she hesitated, the
next she raised herself on tiptoes, and kissed him. He pursed up his
mouth a little sternly, and then stroked her white hair. "You heard
what St. Paul says, Janet; isna that a settlement o' the question?"

"I'm no blaming St. Paul, Alexander. If ever St. Paul approves o'
submitting to tyranny, it's thae translators' fault. He wouldna tak'
injustice himsel', not even from a Roman magistrate. I wish St. Paul was
alive the day: I'm vera sure if he were, he'd write an epistle to the
English wad put the king's dues just as free men would be willing to pay
them. Now, don't be angry, Alexander. If you go awa' angry at me, you'll
hae a bad day; you ken that, gudeman."

It was a subtile plea; for no man, however wise or good or brave, likes
to bespeak ill-fortune when it can be averted by a sacrifice so easy and
so pleasant. But, in spite of Janet's kiss, he was unhappy; and when he
reached the store, the clerks and porters were all standing together
talking. He knew quite well what topic they were discussing with such
eager movements and excited speech. But they dispersed to their work at
the sight of his sour, stern face, and he did not intend to open a fresh
dispute by any question.

Apprentices and clerks then showed a great deal of deference to their
masters, and Elder Semple demanded the full measure due to him.
Something, however, in the carriage, in the faces, in the very, tones of
his servants' voices, offended him; and he soon discovered that various
small duties had been neglected.

"Listen to me, lads," he said angrily; "I'll have nae politics mixed up
wi' my exports and my imports. Neither king nor Congress has anything
to do wi' my business. If there is among you ane o' them fools that ca'
themselves the 'Sons o' Liberty,' I'll pay him whatever I owe him now,
and he can gang to Madam Liberty for his future wage."

[Illustration: He was standing on the step of his high counting-desk.]

He was standing on the step of his high counting-desk as he spoke, and
he peered over the little wooden railing at the men scattered about with
pens or hammers or goods in their hands. There was a moment's silence;
then a middle-aged man quietly laid down the tools with which he was
closing a box, and walked up to the desk. The next moment, every one in
the place had followed him. Semple was amazed and angry, but he made no
sign of either emotion. He counted to the most accurate fraction every
one's due, and let them go without one word of remonstrance.

But as soon as he was alone, he felt the full bitterness of their
desertion, and he could not keep the tears out of his eyes as he looked
at their empty places. "Wha could hae thocht it?" he exclaimed. "Allan
has been wi' me twenty-seven years, and Scott twenty, and Grey nearly
seventeen. And the lads I have aye been kindly to. Maist o' them have
wives and bairns, too; it's just a sin o' them. It's no to be believed.
It's fair witchcraft. And the pride o' them! My certie, they all looked
as if their hands were itching for a sword or a pair o' pistols!"

At this juncture Neil entered the store. "Here's a bonnie pass, Neil;
every man has left the store. I may as weel put up the shutters."

"There are other men to be hired."

"They were maistly a' auld standbys, auld married men that ought to have
had mair sense."

"The married men are the trouble-makers; the women have hatched and
nursed this rebellion. If they would only spin their webs, and mind
their knitting!"

"But they willna, Neil; and they never would. If there's a pot o'
rebellion brewing between the twa poles, women will be dabbling in it.
They have aye been against lawfu' authority. The restraints o' paradise
was tyranny to them. And they get worse and worse: it isna ane apple
would do them the noo; they'd strip the tree, my lad, to its vera
topmost branch."

"There's mother."

"Ay, there's your mother, she's a gude example. She's a Gordon; and
thae Gordon women cried the '_slogan_' till their men's heads were a' on
Carlisle gate or Temple Bar, and their lands a' under King George's
thumb. But is she any wiser for the lesson? Not her. Women are born
rebels; the 'powers that be' are always tyrants to them, Neil."

"You ought to know, father. I have small and sad experience with them."

"Sae, I hope you'll stand by my side. We twa can keep the house
thegither. If we are a' right, the Government will whistle by a woman's
talk."

"Did you not say Katherine was coming back?"

"I did that. See there, again. Hyde has dropped his uniform, and sold a'
that he has, and is coming to fight in a quarrel that's nane o' his.
Heard you ever such foolishness? But it is Katherine's doing; there's
little doot o' that."

"He's turned rebel, then?"

"Ay has he. That's what women do. Politics and rebellion is the same
thing to them."

"Well, father, I shall not turn rebel."

"O Neil, you take a load off my heart by thae words!"

"I have nothing against the king, and I could not be Hyde's comrade."

[Illustration: Chapter heading]




XVI.

          "_How glorious stand the valiant, sword in hand,
           In front of battle for their native land!_"


It was into this thundery atmosphere of coming conflict, of hopes and
doubts, of sundering ties and fearful looking forward, that Richard and
Katherine Hyde came, from the idyllic peace and beauty of their Norfolk
house. But there was something in it that fitted Hyde's real
disposition. He was a natural soldier, and he had arrived at the period
of life when the mere show and pomp of the profession had lost all
satisfying charm. He had found a quarrel worthy of his sword, one that
had not only his deliberate approval, but his passionate sympathy. In
fact, his first blow for American independence had been struck in the
duel with Lord Paget; for that quarrel, though nominally concerning Lady
Suffolk, was grounded upon a dislike engendered by their antagonism
regarding the government of the Colonies.

It was an exquisite April morning when they sailed up New York bay once
more. Joris had been watching for the "Western Light;" and when she came
to anchor at Murray's Wharf, his was the foremost figure on it. He had
grown a little stouter, but was still a splendid-looking man; he had
grown a little older, but his tenderness for his daughter was still
young and fresh and strong as ever. He took her in his arms, murmuring,
"_Mijn Katrijntje, mijn Katrijntje! Ach, mijn kind, mijn kind!_"

Hyde had felt that there might be some embarrassment in his own case,
perhaps some explanation or acknowledgment to make; but Joris waved
aside any speech like it. He gave Hyde both hands; he called him "_mijn
zoon_;" he stooped, and put the little lad's arms around his neck. In
many a kind and delicate way he made them feel that all of the past was
forgotten but its sweetness.

And surely that hour Lysbet had the reward of her faithful affection.
She had always admired Hyde; and she was proud and happy to have him in
her home, and to have him call her mother. The little Joris took
possession of her heart in a moment. Her Katherine was again at her
side. She had felt the clasp of her hands; she had heard her whisper
"_mijn moeder_" upon her lips.

They landed upon a Saturday, upon one of those delightsome days that
April frequently gives to New York. There was a fresh wind, full of the
smell of the earth and the sea; an intensely blue sky, with flying
battalions of white fleecy clouds across it; a glorious sunshine above
everything. And people live, and live happily, even in the shadow of
war. The stores were full of buyers and sellers. The doors and windows
of the houses were open to the spring freshness. Lysbet had heard of
their arrival, and was watching for them. Her hair was a little whiter,
her figure a little stouter; but her face was fair and rosy, and sweet
as ever.

[Illustration: Lysbet and Catherine were unpacking]

In a few hours things had fallen naturally and easily into place. Joris
and Bram and Hyde sat talking of the formation of a regiment. Little
Joris leaned on his grandfather's shoulder listening. Lysbet and
Katherine were busy unpacking trunks full of fineries and pretty things;
occasionally stopping to give instructions to Dinorah, who was preparing
an extra tea, as Batavius and Joanna were coming to spend the evening.
"And to the elder and Janet Semple I have sent a message, also," said
Lysbet; "for I see not why anger should be nursed, or old friendships
broken, for politics."

Katherine had asked at once, with eager love, for Joanna; she had
expected that she would be waiting to welcome her. Lysbet smiled faintly
at the supposition. "She has a large family, then, and Batavius, and her
house. Seldom comes she here now."

But about four o'clock, as Katherine and Hyde were dressing, Joanna and
Batavius and all their family arrived. In a moment, their presence
seemed to diffuse itself through the house. There was a sense of
confusion and unrest, and the loud crying of a hungry baby determined to
be attended to. And Joanna was fulfilling this duty, when Katherine
hastened to meet her. Wifehood and motherhood had greatly altered the
slim, fair girl of ten years before. She had grown stout, and was untidy
in her dress, and a worried, anxious expression was continually on her
countenance. Batavius kept an eye on the children; there were five of
them beside the baby,--fat, rosy, round-faced miniatures of himself, all
having a fair share of his peculiar selfish traits, which each expressed
after its individual fashion.

Hyde met his brother-in-law with a gentlemanly cordiality; and Batavius,
who had told Joanna "he intended to put down a bit that insolent
Englishman," was quite taken off his guard, and, ere he was aware of his
submission, was smoking amicably with him, as they discussed the
proposed military organization. Very soon Hyde asked Batavius, "If he
were willing to join it?"

"When such a family a man has," he answered, waving his hand
complacently toward the six children, "he must have some prudence and
consideration. I had been well content with one child; but we must have
our number, there is no remedy. And I am a householder, and I pay my
way, and do my business. It is a fixed principle with me not to meddle
with the business of other people."

"But, sir, this is your business, and your children's business also."

"I think, then, that it is King George's business."

"It is liberty"--

"Well, then, I have my liberty. I have liberty to buy and to sell, to go
to my own kirk, to sail the 'Great Christopher' when and where I will.
My house, my wife, my little children, nobody has touched."

"Pray, sir, what of your rights? your honour?"

"Oh, indeed, then, for ideas I quarrel not! Facts, they are different.
Every man has his own creed, and every man his own liberty, so say
I.--Come here, Alida," and he waved his hand imperiously to a little
woman of four years old, who was sulking at the window, "what's the
matter now? You have been crying again. I see that you have a
discontented temper. There is a spot on your petticoat also, and your
cap is awry. I fear that you will never become a neat, respectable
girl--you that ought to set a good pattern to your little sister
Femmetia."

Evidently he wished to turn the current of the conversation; but as soon
as the child had been sent to her mother, Joris resumed it.

"If you go not yourself to the fight, Batavius, plenty of young men are
there, longing to go, who have no arms and no clothes: send in your
place one of them."

"It is my fixed principle not to meddle in the affairs of other people,
and my principles are sacred to me."

"Batavius, you said not long ago that the colonists were leaving the old
ship, and that the first in the new boat would have the choice of oars."

"Bram, that is the truth. I said not that I would choose any of the
oars."

"A fair harbour we shall make, and the rewards will be great, Batavius."

"It is not good to cry 'herrings,' till in the net you have them. And to
talk of rowing, the colonists must row against wind and tide; the
English will row with set sail. That is easy rowing. Into this question
I have looked well, for always I think about everything."

"Have you read the speeches of Adams and Hancock and Quincy? Have you
heard what Colonel Washington said in the Assembly?"

"Oh, these men are discontented! Something which they have not got, they
want. They are troublesome and conceited. They expect the century will
be called after them. Now I, who punctually fulfil my obligations as a
father and a citizen, I am contented, I never make complaints, I never
want more liberty. You may read in the Holy Scriptures that no good
comes of rebellion. Did not Absalom sit in the gate, and say to the
discontented, 'See thy matters are good and right; but there is no man
deputed of the king to hear thee;' and, moreover, 'Oh, that I were made
a judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might
come unto me, and I would do him justice'? And did not Sheba blow a
trumpet, and say, 'We have no part in David, neither have we
inheritance in the son of Jesse. Every man to his tents, O Israel'?
Well, then, what came of such follies? You may read in the Word of God
that they ended in ruin."

[Illustration: He marshalled the six children in front of him]

Hyde looked with curiosity at the complacent orator. Bram rose, and,
with a long-drawn whistle, left the room. Joris said sternly, "Enough
you have spoken, Batavius. None are so blind as those who will not see."

"Well, then, father, I can see what is in the way of mine own business;
and it is a fixed principle with me not to meddle with the business of
other people. And look here, Joanna, the night is coming, and the dew
with it, and Alida had sore throat yesterday: we had better go. Fast in
sleep the children ought to be at this hour." And he bustled about them,
tying on caps and capes; and finally, having marshalled the six children
and their two nurses in front of him he trotted off with Joanna upon his
arm, fully persuaded that he had done himself great credit, and acted
with uncommon wisdom. "But it belongs to me to do that, Joanna," he
said; "among all the merchants, I am known for my great prudence."

"I think that my father and Bram will get into trouble in this matter."

"You took the word out of my mouth, Joanna; and I will have nothing to
do with such follies, for they are waxing hand over hand like the great
winds at sea, till the hurricane comes, and then the ruin."

The next morning was the Sabbath, and it broke in a perfect splendour of
sunshine. The New World was so new and fresh, and Katherine thought she
had never before seen the garden so lovely. Joris was abroad in it very
early. He looked at the gay crocus and the pale snowdrop and the budding
pansies with a singular affection. He was going, perchance, on a long
warfare. Would he ever return to greet them in the coming springs? If he
did return, would they be there to greet him? As he stood pensively
thoughtful, Katherine called him. He raised his eyes, and watched her
approach as he had been used when she was a child, a school-girl, a
lovely maiden. But never had she been so beautiful as now. She was
dressed for church in a gown of rich brown brocade over a petticoat of
paler satin, with costly ornaments of gold and rubies. As she joined her
father, Hyde joined Lysbet in the parlour; and the two stood at the
window watching her. She had clasped her hands upon his shoulder, and
leaned her beautiful head against them. "A most perfect picture," said
Hyde, and then he kissed Lysbet; and from that moment they were mother
and son.

They walked to church together; and Hyde thought how beautiful the
pleasant city was that sabbath morning, with its pretty houses shaded by
trees just turning green, its clear air full of the grave dilating
harmony of the church-bells, its quiet streets thronged with men and
women--both sexes dressed with a magnificence modern Broadway beaux and
belles have nothing to compare with. What staid, dignified men in
three-cornered hats and embroidered velvet coats and long plush vests!
What buckles and wigs and lace ruffles and gold snuff-boxes! What
beautiful women in brocades and taffetas, in hoops and high heels and
gauze hats! Here and there a black-robed dominie; here and there a
splendidly dressed British officer, in scarlet and white, and gold
epaulettes and silver embroideries! New York has always been a highly
picturesque city, but never more so than in the restless days of A.D.
1775.

Katherine and Hyde and Bram were together; Joris and Lysbet were slowly
following them. They were none of them speaking much, nor thinking much,
but all were very happy and full of content! Suddenly the peaceful
atmosphere was troubled by the startling clamour of a trumpet. It was a
note so distinct from the music of the bells, so full of terror and
warning, that every one stood still. A second blast was accompanied by
the rapid beat of a horse's hoofs; and the rider came down Broadway like
one on a message of life and death, and made no pause until he had very
nearly reached Maiden Lane.

At that point a tall, muscular man seized the horse by the bridle, and
asked, "What news?"

"Great news! great news! There has been a battle, a massacre at
Lexington, a running fight from Concord to Boston! Stay me not!" But, as
he shook the bridle free, he threw a handbill, containing the official
account of the affair at Lexington to the inquirer.

Who then thought of church, though the church-bells were ringing? The
crowd gathered around the man with the handbill, and in ominous silence
listened to the tidings of the massacre at Lexington, the destruction of
stores at Concord, the quick gathering of the militia from the hills and
dales around Reading and Roxbury, the retreat of the British under their
harassing fire, until, worn out and disorganized, they had found a
refuge in Boston. "And this is the postscript at the last moment," added
the reader: "'Men are pouring in from all the country sides; Putnam left
his plough in the furrow, and rode night and day to the ground; Heath,
also, is with him.'"

Joris was white and stern in his emotion; Bram stood by the reader, with
a face as bright as a bridegroom's; Hyde's lips were drawn tight, and
his eyes were flashing with the true military flame. "Father," he said,
"take mother and Katherine to church; Bram and I will stay here, for I
can see that there is something to be done."

"God help us! Yes, I will go to Him first;" and, taking his wife and
daughter, he passed with them out of the crowd.

Hyde turned to the reader, who stood with bent brows, and the paper in
his hand. "Well, sir, what is to be done?" he asked.

"There are five hundred stand of arms in the City Hall; there are men
enough here to take them. Let us go."

A loud cry of assent answered him.

"My name is Richard Hyde, late of his Majesty's Windsor Guards; but I am
with you, heart and soul."

"I am Marinus Willet."

"Then, Mr. Willet, where first?"

[Illustration: The City Hall]

"To the mayor's residence. He has the keys of the room in which the arms
are kept."

The news spread, no one knew how; but men poured out from the churches
and the houses on their route, and Willet's force was soon nearly a
thousand strong. The tumult, the tread, the _animus_ of the gathering,
was felt in that part of the city even where it could not be heard.
Joris could hardly endure the suspense, and the service did him very
little good. About two o'clock, as he was walking restlessly about the
house, Bram and Hyde returned together.

"Well?" he asked.

"There were five hundred stand of arms in the City Hall, and I swear
that we have taken them all. A man called Willet led us; a hero, quick
of thought, prompt and daring,--a true soldier."

"I know him well; a good man."

"The keys the mayor refused to us," said Bram.

"Oh, sir, he lied to us! Vowed he did not have them, and sent us to the
armourer in Crown Street. The armourer vowed that he had given them to
the mayor."

"What then?"

[Illustration: He swung a great axe]

"Oh, indeed, all fortune fitted us! We went _en masse_ down Broadway
into Wall Street, and so to the City Hall. Here some one, with too nice
a sense of the sabbath, objected to breaking open the doors because of
the day. But with very proper spirit Willet replied, 'If we wait until
to-morrow, the king's men will not wait. The arms will be removed. And
as for a key, here is one that will open any lock.' As he said the
words, he swung a great axe around his head; and so, with a few blows,
he made us an entrance. Indeed, I think that he is a grand fellow."

"And you got the arms?"

"Faith, we got all we went for! The arms were divided among the people.
There was a drum and a fife also found with them, and some one made us
very excellent music to step to. As we returned up Broadway, the
congregation were just coming out of Trinity. Upon my word, I think we
frightened them a little."

"Where were the English soldiers?"

"Indeed, they were shut up in barracks. Some of their officers were in
church, others waiting for orders from the governor or mayor. 'Tis to be
found out where the governor might be; the mayor was frightened beyond
everything, and not capable of giving an order. Had my uncle Gordon been
still in command here, he had not been so patient."

"And for you that would have been a hard case."

"Upon my word, I would not have fought my old comrades. I am glad, then,
that they are in Quebec. Our swords will scarce reach so far."

"And where went you with the arms?"

"To a room in John Street. There they were stacked, the names of the men
enrolled, and a guard placed over them. Bram is on the night patrol, by
his own request. As for me, I have the honour of assisting New York in
her first act of rebellion! and, if the military superstition be a true
one, 'A Sunday fight is a lucky fight.'--And now, mother, we will have
some dinner: 'The soldier loves his mess.'"

Every one was watching him with admiration. Never in his uniform had he
appeared so like a soldier as he did at that hour in his citizen coat
and breeches of wine-coloured velvet, his black silk stockings and
gold-buckled shoes. His spirits were infectious: Bram had already come
into thorough sympathy with him, and grown almost gay in his company;
Joris felt his heart beat to the joy and hope in his young comrades.
All alike had recognized that the fight was inevitable, and that it
would be well done if it were soon done.

But events cannot be driven by wishes: many things had to be settled
before a movement forward could be made. Joris had his store to let, and
the stock and good-will to dispose of. Horses and accoutrements must be
bought, uniforms made; and every day this charge increased: for, as soon
as Van Heemskirk's intention to go to the front was known, a large
number of young men from the best Dutch families were eager to enlist
under him.

Hyde's time was spent as a recruiting-officer. His old quarters, the
"King's Arms," were of course closed to him; but there was a famous
tavern on Water Street, shaded by a great horse-chestnut tree, and there
the patriots were always welcome. There, also, the news of all political
events was in some mysterious way sure to be first received. In company
with Willet, Sears, and McDougall, Hyde might be seen under the
chestnut-tree every day, enlisting men, or organizing the "Liberty
Regiment" then raising.

From the first, his valorous temper, his singleness of purpose, his
military skill in handling troops, and his fine appearance and manners,
had given him influence and authority. He soon, also, gained a wonderful
power over Bram; and even the temperate wisdom and fine patience of
Joris gradually kindled, until the man was at white heat all through.
Every day's events fanned the temper of the city, although it was soon
evident that the first fighting would be done in the vicinity of
Boston.

For, three weeks after that memorable April Sunday, Congress, in session
at Philadelphia, had recognized the men in camp there as a Continental
army, the nucleus of the troops that were to be raised for the defence
of the country, and had commissioned Colonel Washington as
commander-in-chief to direct their operations. Then every heart was in a
state of the greatest expectation and excitement. No one remembered at
that hour that the little army was without organization or discipline,
most of its officers incompetent to command, its troops altogether
unused to obey, and in the field without enlistment. Their few pieces of
cannon were old and of various sizes, and scarce any one understood
their service. There was no siege-train and no ordnance stores. There
was no military chest, and nothing worthy the name of a _commissariat_.
Yet every one was sure that some bold stroke would be struck, and the
war speedily terminated in victory and independence.

So New York was in the buoyant spirits of a young man rejoicing to run a
race. The armourers, the saddlers, and the smiths were busy day and
night; weapons were in every hand, the look of apprehended triumph on
every face. In June the Van Heemskirk troops were ready to leave for
Boston--nearly six hundred young men, full of pure purpose and brave
thoughts, and with all their illusions and enthusiasms undimmed.

The day before their departure, they escorted Van Heemskirk to his
house. Lysbet and Katherine saw them coming, and fell weeping on each
other's necks--tears that were both joyful and sorrowful, the expression
of mingled love and patriotism and grief. It would have been hard to
find a nobler-looking leader than Joris. Age had but added dignity to
his fine bulk. His large, fair face was serene and confident. And the
bright young lads who followed him looked like his sons, for most of
them strongly resembled him in person; and any one might have been sure,
even if the roll had not shown it, that they were Van Brunts and Van
Ripers and Van Rensselaers, Roosevelts, Westervelts, and Terhunes.

They had a very handsome uniform, and there had been no uncertainty or
dispute about it. Blue, with orange trimmings, carried the question
without one dissenting voice. Blue had been for centuries the colour of
opposition to tyranny. The Scotch Covenanters chose it because the Lord
ordered the children of Israel to wear a ribbon of blue that they might
"look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do
them; and seek not after their own heart and their own eyes, and be holy
unto their God." (Num. xv. 38.) Into their cities of refuge in Holland,
the Covenanters carried their sacred colour; and the Dutch Calvinists
soon blended the blue of their faith with the orange of their
patriotism. Very early in the American struggle, blue became the typical
colour of freedom; and when Van Heemskirk's men chose the blue and
orange for their uniform, they selected the colours which had already
been famous on many a battle-field of freedom.

Katherine and Lysbet had made the flag of the new regiment--an orange
flag, with a cluster of twelve blue stars above the word _liberty_. It
was Lysbet's hands that gave it to them. They stood in a body around the
open door of the Van Heemskirk house; and the pretty old lady kissed it,
and handed it with wet eyes to the colour-sergeant. Katherine stood by
Lysbet's side. They were both dressed as for a festival, and their faces
were full of tender love and lofty enthusiasm. To Joris and his men they
represented the womanhood dear to each individual heart. Lysbet's white
hair and white cap and pale-tinted face was "the mother's face;" and
Katherine, in her brilliant beauty, her smiles and tears, her shining
silks and glancing jewels, was the lovely substitute for many a precious
sister and many a darling lady-love. But few words were said. Lysbet and
Katherine could but stand and gaze as heads were bared, and the orange
folds flung to the wind, and the inspiring word _liberty_ saluted with
bright, upturned faces and a ringing shout of welcome.

Such a lovely day it was--a perfect June day; doors and windows were
wide open; a fresh wind blowing, a hundred blended scents from the
garden were in the air; and there was a sunshine that warmed everything
to the core. If there were tears in the hearts of the women, they put
them back with smiles and hopeful words, and praises of the gallant men
who were to fight a noble fight under the banner their fingers had
fashioned.

[Illustration: Lysbet's hands gave it to them]

It was to be the last evening at home for Joris and Bram and Hyde, and
Everything was done to make it a happy memory. The table was laid with the
best silver and china; all the dainties that the three men liked best were
prepared for them. The room was gay with flowers and blue and orange
ribbons, and bows of the same colours fluttered at Lysbet's breast and
on Katherine's shoulder. And as they went up and down the house, they
were both singing,--singing to keep love from weeping, and hope and
courage from failing; Lysbet's thin, sweet voice seeming like the shadow
of Katherine's clear, ringing tones,--

                "Oh, for the blue and the orange,
                   Oh, for the orange and the blue!
                 Orange for men that are free men,
                   Blue for men that are true.
                 Over the red of the tyrant,
                   Bloody and cruel in hue,
                 Fling out the banner of orange,
                   With pennant and border of blue.
                 Orange for men that are free men,
                   Blue for men that are true."

So they were singing when Joris and his sons came home.

There had been some expectation of Joanna and Batavius, but at the last
moment an excuse was sent. "The child is sick, writes Batavius; but I
think, then, it is Batavius that is afraid, and not the child who is
sick," said Joris.

"To this side and to that side and to neither side, he will go; and he
will miss all the good, and get all the bad of every side," said Bram
contemptuously.

"I think not so, Bram. Batavius can sail with the wind. All but his
honour and his manhood he will save."

"That is exactly true," continued Hyde. "He will grow rich upon the
spoils of both parties. Upon my word, I expect to hear him say, 'Admire
my prudence. While you have been fighting for an idea, I have been
making myself some money. It is a principle of mine to attend only to my
own affairs.'"

After supper Bram went to bid a friend good-by; and as Joris and Lysbet
sat in the quiet parlour, Elder Semple and his wife walked in. The elder
was sad and still. He took the hands of Joris in his own, and looked him
steadily in the face. "Man Joris," he said, "what's sending you on sic a
daft-like errand?"

Joris smiled, and grasped tighter his friend's hand. "So glad am I to
see you at the last, Elder. As in you came, I was thinking about you.
Let us part good friends and brothers. If I come not back"--

"Tut, tut! You're sure and certain to come back; and sae I'll save the
quarrel I hae wi' you until then. We'll hae mair opportunities; and I'll
hae mair arguments against you, wi' every week that passes. Joris,
you'll no hae a single word to say for yoursel' then. Sae, I'll bide my
time. I came to speak anent things, in case o' the warst, to tell you
that if any one wants to touch your wife or your bairns, a brick in your
house, or a flower in your garden-plat, I'll stand by all that's yours,
to the last shilling I hae, and nane shall harm them. Neil and I will
baith do all men may do. Scotsmen hae lang memories for either friend or
foe. O Joris, man, if you had only had an ounce o' common wisdom!"

"I have a friend, then! I have you, Alexander. Never this hour shall I
regret. If all else I lose, I have saved _mijn jongen_."

The old men bent to each other; there were tears in their eyes. Without
speaking, they were aware of kindness and faithfulness and gratitude
beyond the power of words. They smoked a pipe together, and sometimes
changed glances and smiles, as they looked at, or listened to, Lysbet
and Janet Semple, who had renewed their long kindness in the sympathy of
their patriotic hopes and fears.

Hyde and Katherine were walking in the garden, lingering in the sweet
June twilight by the lilac hedge and the river-bank. All Hyde's business
was arranged: he was going into the fight without any anxiety beyond
such as was natural to the circumstances. While he was away, his wife
and son were to remain with Lysbet. He could desire no better home for
them; their lives would be so quiet and orderly that he could almost
tell what they would be doing at every hour. And while he was in the din
and danger of siege and battle, he felt that it would be restful to
think of Katherine in the still, fair rooms and the sweet garden of her
first home.

If he never came back, ample provision had been made for his wife and
son's welfare; but--and he suddenly turned to Katherine, as if she had
been conscious of his thoughts--"The war will not last very long, dear
heart; and when liberty is won, and the foundation for a great
commonwealth laid, why then we will buy a large estate somewhere upon
the banks of this beautiful river. It will be delightful, in the midst
of trees and parks, to build a grander Hyde Manor House. Most
completely we will furnish it, in all respects; and the gardens you
shall make at your own will and discretion. A hundred years after this,
your descendants shall wander among the treillages and cut hedges
and boxed walks, and say, 'What a sweet taste our dear
great-great-grandmother had!'"

And Katharine laughed at his merry talk and forecasting, and praised his
uniform, and told him how soldierly and handsome he looked in it. And
she touched his sword, and asked, "Is it the old sword, my Richard?"

"The old sword, Kate, my sweet. With it I won my wife. Oh, indeed, yes!
You know it was pity for my sufferings made you marry me that blessed
October day, when I could not stand up beside you. It has a fight twice
worthy of its keen edge now." He drew it partially from its sheath, and
mused a moment. Then he slowly untwisted the ribbon and tassel of
bullion at the hilt, and gave it into her hand. "I have a better
hilt-ribbon than that," he said; "and when we go into the house, I will
re-trim my sword."

She thought little of the remark at the time, though she carefully put
the tarnished tassel away among her dearest treasures; but it acquired a
new meaning in the morning. The troops were to leave very early; and
soon after dawn, she heard the clatter of galloping horses and the calls
of the men as they reined up at their commander's door. Bram, as his
father's lieutenant, was with them. The horses of Joris and Hyde were
waiting.

They rose from the breakfast-table and looked at their wives. Lysbet
gave a little sob, and laid her head a moment upon her husband's breast.
Katherine lifted her white face and whispered, with kisses, "Beloved
one, go. Night and day I will pray for you, and long for you. My love,
my dear one!"

There was hurry and tumult, and the stress of leave-taking was lightened
by it. Katherine held her husband's hand till they stood at the open
door. Then he looked into her face, and down at his sword, with a
meaning smile. And her eyes dilated, and a vivid blush spread over her
cheeks and throat, and she drew him back a moment, and passionately
kissed him again; and all her grief was lost in love and triumph. For,
wound tightly around his sword-hilt, she saw--though it was brown and
faded--her first, fateful love-token,--_The Bow of Orange Ribbon_.

[Illustration: Tail-piece]



POSTSCRIPT.

[QUOTATION FROM A LETTER DATED JULY 5, A.D. 1885.]


"Yesterday I went with my aunt to spend 'the Fourth' at the Hydes. They
have the most delightful place,--a great stone house in a wilderness of
foliage and beauty, and yet within convenient distance of the railroad
and the river-boats. Why don't we build such houses now? You could make
a ball-room out of the hall, and hold a grand reception on the
staircase. Kate Hyde said the house is more than a hundred years old,
and that the fifth generation is living in it. I am sure there are
pictures enough of the family to account for three hundred years; but
the two handsomest, after all, are those of the builders. They were very
great people at the court of Washington, I believe. I suppose it is
natural for those who have ancestors to brag about them, and to show off
the old buckles and fans and court-dresses they have hoarded up, not to
speak of the queer bits of plate and china; and, I must say, the Hydes
have a really delightful lot of such bric-a-brac. But the strangest
thing is the 'household talisman.' It is not like the luck of Eden Hall:
it is neither crystal cup, nor silver vase, nor magic bracelet, nor an
old slipper. But they have a tradition that the house will prosper as
long as it lasts, and so this precious palladium is carefully kept in a
locked box of carved sandal-wood; for it is only a bit of faded satin
that was a love-token,--a St. Nicholas _Bow of Orange Ribbon_."






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