John Talbot Smith.

Saranac : a story of Lake Champlain online

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tain's resolution utterly, and perhaps, but for Mr
Grady's appearance to announce banishment, he
would have gone away without dismissing his son
from his mother's house. Tim had no scruples, and
was swelling with the importance of his office. He
hoped Amedee was feeling better and stronger and
able to travel ; he was sure his memory had come back
to him with the double wetting he had given himself
the day before ; a very pleasant time he had to be
sure, which must have reminded him of Texas ; and
by the way did he intend to return soon to that great

" I shall never return to it," said Amedee.

" People are anxious to know," said Mr. Grady

calmly, " afther yer performance yestherday. They
have finally concluded that Saranac is too shmall
an' too poor to support a young gintleman of your ix-
pensive shootin' tastes ; an' they think ye ought to go
back to Texas ; lasteways they sent me to tell ye Sar-
anac is no place for ye ; an' if ye're not gone out of
it in three days they'll arrest ye an' put ye in bond to
keep the peace."

Madame LaRoche gave a cry of agony, and the
pilot hung his head.

" Bonds," said Amede'e, scornfully, ' my father
can give bonds."

"If it's only bonds," said Madame, "it is

' I thought so," said Tim, studying his godson
critically. " Ruined yerself, ye think nothin' o' rob-
bin' yer father. Bonds, is it? Much ye tho't o'
bonds yestherday, whin ye ran around the village
crazy, cursin' an' shooiin' like a divil. What fool 'ud
give bonds for the likes o' ye ? But I have no doubt
yer impidence is sthrong enough to ask bonds iv yer
father here, that ye never did a hand's turn for since
he had the bad luck to bring ye into the world."

AmedeVs face grew thoughtful as he looked at hi
father sitting with averted face.

" What do you say, father ?" he asked. " Could
you be my bondsman ?"

"No," said the pilot. "The risk is too great," and
his head dropped lower. Madame was very angry
with him, that a mere bond should be weighed against
her son, and she rejroached Mr. Graty, but Amedee
checked her gently and said to his father :

"It was wrong to expect you to give bonds for a


man that can't be trusted. Tell your friends, Tim
Grady, I shall leave Saranac in three days."

Madame protested vehemently, bat the pilot ran off
tohis steamer while she was declaiming, and Mr. Grady
escaped to tell how well he had done this task. Arne-
dee would leave Saranac as the fathers had ordered.

Jt was a hard blow to Amedee, yet its bitterness
strengthened him. If he were to get back his good
name drink must become an unknown quantity to
him, and he took a second resolution of deeper earn
estness than that which had brought him out of his
land of bondage, Texas. His mother's grief was
harder to bear, and her pleadings were pitiful. That
he was able to resist them proved a strength of will
unusual in him. She was in keen distress, but with
her training of fifteen years in the school of self-
repression, it was easy for her to conceal it.

One chance was left to her. Captain Sullivan might
save Amede"e yet, and his mother would feel for her,
and speak to the Captain in her behalf. Filled with
hope she went to see Mrs. Sullivan Kindly eyes
looked pitifully at her as she passed, for all tbe old
people knew her story and her hope, and were grieved
at the disappointment. A beautiful woman about to
enter Mr. Winthrop's office paused to look at her, and
seemed shocked at her appearance. Madame paid no
attention. She was bent only on saving her son Mrs.
Sullivan had never received a visit from her before,
although they had been neighbors for three decades.
Madame's command of English was limited, but she
could make herself understood.

" M'sieu' Tim Grady," she said slowly, " you un'


" Faith that name'll do for anny language, haythen
or Christian," said Mrs. Sullivan.

" M'sieu' Tim Grady no want my boy 'ere in Sara-
nac. 'E mus' go 'way, far, to Texas, un'stan'. Mon
mari 'fraid ver much to mek de bond for Amede.
Me no fraid, mats Amedee, pauvre garcon,
no want, no take bond. Big expense. Oh, Mon
Dieu, I can't lose my boy. M'sieu' Sullivan, your
boy, he speak for Amedee to Tim Grady, n' Amedee
stay home toujours.

"An' may I ask, ma'am," said Mrs. Sullivan between
anger and irony, " what that great man Mr. Grady
has to do with your boy shtayin' where he pleases. It
seems to me this ould gintleman, the ouldher he gits,
the more he interfares wid himself."

" I think," said her daughter who had entered in
t : me to hear this speech, "that Mr. Grady was sent
by the constable and the justice to tell her son he
must leave town on account of his behavior yesterday.
He is Amedee's god-father."

Able to describe her wishes in French, Madame
spoke feelingly to the two women in her son's behalf,
and easily won their promise to interest the Captain
in preventing the infliction of a second exile on her

" God has been so good to me," said Madame, "to
bring him home, to save him from drowning : I wish
Him to leave him with me till he dies. He cannot
live long, poor boy, his cough is terrible."

Mrs. Sullivan blessed herself.

"An' is it Tim Grady that 'ud put a sick man out ov
his mother's house," she exclaimed. "Well, well, the
impidence o' some is wondherful, an' the patience ov

others is beyant countin'. Ma'am, I'll set Hugh on
Mr. Grady's thrack, an' I'll go bail the ould man '11
lave Saranac afore his god-son."



John Winthrop went up one day to tell Regina
all that had happened. His manner was frank, but at
heart he felt how much he was really keeping back
from her on the plea of professional prudence. The
girl was, as she ought to be, delightfully honest. She
would allow such brutes as Amede"e to take away her
jewelry and her purse because an exile of fifteen years
was very painful. He had to protect her against her
own beautiful but imprudent sympathies ; and what a
swelling of his heart there was at the bare idea of pro-
tecting her! Yet he was doing it on business prin-
ciples, and not a spark of sentiment ever betrayed
itself in him.

" The unexpected has happened, 1 ' he told her dryly.
'LaRoche made a fine impression. The fathers
wa'ked into Saranac through what you must permit
me to call your imprudent kindness."

" But fifteen years his mother," she murmured.

" True, these are things women remember. How-
ever, luck was on your side. LaRoche got drunk
after his Texan fashion, captured the town with fire
arms, terrorized the place for two hours, and then
jumped into the lake don't scream he's not
dead, but perhaps he leels worse. His fine impression
is dead. Saranac was so frightened at the originality
and expensiveness of this one drunk that the fathers


have given him the choice of departure or borHs for
good behavior. As there are no bonds forthcom-
ing he will return to Texas this week. If e talked
freely of your father, as I warned you, and made wild
charges. Not a soul to-day believes a word he ?aid.
He is in greater disgrace than before."

" It is all vry unhappy," said Regina. " I hoped
he w uld stay quietly with his mother, and [give her
so much comfort."

" He did not go near his mother at all," said John.
"Nor did his mother care much to have so drunken a
creature about. Still he has since charmed her into
takir g a natural interest in him. She is really trying
to get some person to go on his bond, poor woman.
Quite a hopeless task 1"

But a keen glance at Regina's face convinced him
it might not be so hopeless.

" The difficulty in getting bondsmen would be
nothing," he continued, "if LaRoche were an ordi-
nary stupid drunkard. But he is not. He is a mad
devil in drink. He becomes crazy, ferocious and
murderous. It was wonderful that he r4d not jhoot
a few citizens this time. Tim Grady, his godfather,
says that every drunk in Texas was marked by the
same terrible mania. What would have been your
feelings this moment, Miss DeLaunay, had innocent
blood been shed by this man ! What a new shame,
what a terrible grief to the poor mother had the gal-
lows ended her son's career !"

" How awful," said Regina paling at the thought.

"I must insist,' 1 he said seizing his opportunity,
"that hereafter you leave this matter entirety to me.
You must promise me that you will do nothing for

this LaRoche, and keep out of his way should he at-
tempt to gain your sympathy. This is a veiy, very
serious matter, in which you have made one great
mistake already."

"I admit it, and I promise, Mr. Winthrop. It
frightens me to think what might have happened from
my permission to him to return."

" Thank you," said John cheerfully. " Your prom-
ise reassures me. We have nothing to do but let the
elders deal with LaRoche.''

" I thought perhaps it would be proper to tell my
father now," she said. " He must soon hear it from
others, and "

" No necessity," he interrupted gently. " Why an-
noy him with absurdities To tell the truth I am
afraid he would feel called upon to go to the judge
and offer himself as bondsman. Men of his charac-
ter, charged with crime, do the most absurd things to
let the world see their confidence in their own inno-
cence. No, he must not be told."

Regina felt a warmth about her heart at this sin-
cere and flattering speech. Winthrop believed in her
father's innocence and in AmedeVs guilt. The fact
somehow raised her father in her esteem a little.
Perhaps she had been too hard on him, and had
accepted his admissions of guilt too quickly and too
liberally. He was so much the gentleman in speech
and manner, and Amecie'e was so vulgar a rogue !
How could guilt associate itself with such refinement,
or innocence with such vulgarity ! She felt so grate-
ful to him that the tears came into her eyes as he
rose to go. After all this was a friend. He read her
manner like a printed paragraph and went on his


way with a smile of surpassing joy on his lips. A
few days, a few weeks of waiting, and his hopes would
flower ! Meanwhile Mrs. Sullivan was doing much
to hinder their flowering, and that same afternoon
attacked Tim Grady with all her forces.

" I've heerd o' banishin' people afore, Misther
Gra^y but I never thought I'd live to see it wid me
own two eyes in Saranac. Crummle banished the
Irish across the say, an' the Queen's coort med me
own first cousin on me mother's side run away like
mad to France. But thim wor ginerals, an' Queens,
an'coorts! They hid nothin' else to do, an' they
med money out of it. But you're not a queen or a
coort, Misther Grady, though divil knows what
idays you do be havin' o' yerself, an' what right have
ye to banish Amedee from his mother I'd like to

" I don't admit, Mrs. Soolivan,'' answered Grady,
" that I'm banishin' Amedee for it's the coort that's
doin' it. But if I could banish annywan like Crummle
or the Queen did, 'tis I that would sind that blaguard
to the pole if I could, an' maybe yerself along wid

" An' he's yer godson," said Mrs. Sullivan with
srorn. " An' ye're as much bound as his own father
to look afther his sowl. Where are ye sendin' his sowl
to, ye poor ould banisher ?

" I was proud of him wanst for me godson, but
I've lost me pride. I don't know where his sowl may
go to, a poor place I think for he acts like a vilyan
that had none. Sowl or not, ma'am, he goes out o'
Saranac this blessed day, an' he may thank me that
it's not to jail he's goin' for massacrayin' the town.

He thried hard enough to get himself hanged for

" Oh, but it was the pity," said Mrs. Sullivan with
mock sincerity, " that he didn't take ofi a few ould
men while his hand was in it. 'Twould have been a
blessin' to the town. Why, ye'll become a Roman
imperor yit, Tim Grady, an' knock off our heads like
praties whin it suits ye."

"Tisn't heads I'd knock off," said Tim with a
bland smile, " but I'd deprive yez o' yer tongues, so I

" Oh, an' that's what yed like, to have a crowd o'
neighbors that cudn't say a word back to ye. Well.
I'll tell ye for wan, Tim Grady, ye're not goin' to be lord
and masther of us all, an' if I had to go on me knees
from this to Ireland I'll see that Amede stays wid
his mother. Put that in yer pipe an' smoke it. I'm
not a queen or a coort or a gineral, an' I have no
idays o' bein' sich, nor I wouldn't have 'em ; but if
I've lived this long, an' raised a son that's captain o'
the finest steamer on the lake, an 1 can't get ahead o'
Tim Grady, thin it's time for me to be dyin'. So look
out for yerself, ould man, from this minit."

" What'llye do," said Tim, slyly.

" Ye'll be able to tell whin I've done it, sor."

" Yer fine captain was in it afore," said Mr. Grady
with a sneer, " an' a nice mess he made of it. Maybe
he's in for another mess. Wid all yer talk o' doin'
great things, let me tell you there's jist wan thing to
do. Anny sowl that goes down to the coort an' gives
bonds for one thousand dollars can keep Amed6e in
Saranac. Good-day, ma'am."

The Captain was sleeping in his room upstairs, and

1 66

the earnestness of the conversation awoke him. He
caught the last remarks of Tim. They amused him.
He had heard from LaRoche of his son's return, and of
the grand spree ; but he had carefully regained from
interesting himself in the details. He had no desire
to get entangled in the domestic secrets of his neigh-
bora after his recent experience with the DeLaunays.

He declined to interfere much to his mother's cha-
grin. Then a queer notion disturbed him, and he
asked how Amedee came to Saranac, and how
he began to drink that day. She could not tell
him, and in a spir t of perversity he went forth to in-
quire. He was fortunate enough to meet Sol Tuttle
and his Sairey, who refused to allow Sol abroad now
unless in her company. Sol's narrative was melan-
choly but striking.

" The b^ty come in one night nigh on to six weeks
ago," said Sol, "skeered to death, 'fraid DeLaunay
might see him. We rigged him up sum mat, an' then
I come over to see Jack Winthrop 'bout goin' to law
with the DeLaunays. He went an' fetched over Miss
DeLaunay to the Point, an' they had a confab, an'
she said as how Amede"e might live in Saranac, an*
so the boy come over in my company. By gum,
when I come to think on't, the hull blamed thing
looks like a cussed trick. The first one we met was
ol Squire, an' he asked us to drink We did. Then
everybody asked us to drink. We did. I don't re-
member any more. But now they're goin' to bounce
that boy. It's the cruellest, consarndest, meanest
thing that ever's been did in this cusFed mean town.
Wny, he's dyin' row with consumption, an' he ain't
goin' to live a year nohow/'

i6 7

The Captain turned to Mrs Tuttle for confirmation
of these statements.

"Oh, he's gone,'' said the woman ; " you ought to
hear him cough. He's peart, though, an 1 so wild you
can't tell what's wrong with him right off But I
watched him six weeks, an' I'm sartm he'll be dead
before Christmas."

The DeLaunays were defending themselves against
danger through Winthrop. There was a bare possi-
bility that Amedee's spree had been foreseen and ar-
ranged. It was a trick of the legal profession which
Winthrop would rejoice in practising on his oppo-
nents. The Captain's ire was roused, and his sympa-
thy too. Since Amedee was suffering from fatal dis-
ease some clemency should be shown him. Fifteen
years of exile were too much for an innocent man to
endure and then be hustled in new disgrace from his
native town by the guilty. The Captain determined
there and then that Amedee must remain in Saranac
and that no bonds be given for his good behavior.
The proper person to be put under bonds was Re-
gina's fellow. He went at once to the town officials,
to the few influential citizens, and to the magistrate.
Tim Grady had been ahead of him an hour, and it
was made plain that mountains mig):t be moved much
easier than they. He did not relish a visit to Regina,
but there seemed no other way to accomplish his aim,
and he went to her residence. They had not met
since the shipwreck on Lake Champlain, and greet-
ings were coldly exchanged. He was glad to find
her so ungracious. It strengthened him much, and
in turn she was grateful that his awkwardness grated
on her nerves.


" I heard this morning," he said, " that they ar-.
about to dismiss Amedee LaRoche from Saranac.
You know as well as I that such a thing would rot be
right. I come to ask your intercession for him. If
your father expresses a wish to the magistrate, it will
be obeyed."

" I really do not see why he should," she answered,
but her eyes sparkled with anger. " He does not
know of the man's presence here, I do not intend to
tell him. When this LaRoche first came I gave him
permission" she reddened at the words but did not
withdraw them "to live in Saranac. He misused it.
He is to blame, and I cannot interfere ''

"I think you should interfere,' he said bluntly.
" Please understand my earnestness. The man
must not leave Saranac, nor be simply permitted to
stay here. I shall use any honorable means to bring
that about. You can do it by a word.''

" I shall not say the word."

" You know that he is dying from consumption,
perhaps ?"

" No," she answered bravely, but the information
was a shock to her.

" He cannot live more than a year or two. He is
a broken hearted man as well. Knowing how un-
justly he has suffered a long exile you cannot think of
putting this additional injury upon him "

" He put it upon himself, Mr. Sullivan His be-
havior a few days ago is the only reason why he must
leave Saranac."

"That was an accident which will not be re-
peated. And perhaps he was not altogether to blame
for it"


" I wish you would end this interview, sir. I can-
not do anything in the matter."

" Then I must see your father."

In that moment she hated him. He seemed as
bent on obtaining justice for the wretched Amede"e as
before he had been resolute in protecting her from
exposure. Her anger and determination had not the
slightest effect on him. In a fit of pique she ex-
claimed :

"Why are you so perverse? Was it not you that
once saved us from this man ? And now you seem
ready to hand us over to him.''

" You are quite wrong, ma'am," said the Captain
with a real grin of delight. " The poor fellow can't
do you one ounce of harm if he talked forever, and
he can't talk much longer. You have nothing to fear.
He has all to lose by this second kick-out. His
mother s care, a few months of comfort in a decent
home, and permission to die among his friends aren't
much for a man to ask. We would give a dog such
favors. And this man, you can t forget, is an innocent
man, suffering for another's sins. I'm not quite sure
that it's fair and just to treat him as a nuisance, and
that's the way I'm treating him. The man who will
give bonds for his good behavior can keep him in
town in spite of all. But it would be an outrage
on derer>cy if that poor fellow were treated that war.
No bonds, Miss DeLaunay, and no permissions for
Amedee to stay in Saranac, and I must tell your
father so."

Regina could have said bitter things in answer to
this speech, but she felt it would not be wise. She
said haughtily,


" Since you must see him, excuse me while I go to
prepare him for this unexpected annoyance."

In the hall she met John Winthrop just entering.
He had heard of the efforts Hugh was making in
Amedee's behalf, and lost no time in putting his cli-
ents on their guard. He was too late. With deep
interest he listened to her account of the recent con-

" Prepare your father," he advised, " while I talk
with the Captain. If he is determined to keep Ame-
de"e here there will be no restraining him openly.
Strategy can ma'ch him, though, and do you hold
firmly to your position, and instruct your father in
like manner."

When John entered the Captain greeted him with
a smile that spoke volumes.

" I knew there was a nigger in the woodpile," he
said, " but I never guessed 'twas thee.''

" I am Miss DeLaunay's legal adviser in this mat-
ter," said John formally.

" Was it by your advice old man Winthrop got
Amedee to take his first glass of liquor in Saranac,
which raised all this trouble ?''

" I wasn't aware of my father's responsibility."

"It would have been just like you, John," said the
Captain. " I know you foresaw the spree if you
didn't encourage it, and invent it. The man hadn't
touched a drop in three months before. Had he kept
sober a month there wouldn't be any need of this

" I instructed Miss DeLaunay to have nothing
more to do with the affair, leaving things to take their
natural course."

" Good advice, John, but it won't work now. I
have made up my mind that the man shall stay in
Saranac, and if your clients don't care to help in keep-
ing him here, they can take the consequences."

" What are they ?"

" Their legal adviser must know."

"Those absurd stories about money stolen and
books doctored ? Very likely romances."

"I think so myself," said the Captain humor-

The lawyer was puzzled, He made, however, a
direct assault on Hugh's determination to aid Ame-
dee and succeded in nothing. The Captain took his
legal adroitness as an exhibition of cleverness, which
ought to be admired ; and then Regina entering with
her father the young men put on their politest looks
and most serious behavior. John never felt his ad-
vantage over the Captain so keenly, and this time he
was on the winning side. He was defending the dear
girl against the chivalrous but vulgar maladroitness of
Sullivan. Mr. DeLaunay was simply superb on this

" Never was more surprised in my life,' he said,
gaily, " to hear that this Texan cowboy was in Sara-
nac, and so lively. My daughter has told me your
kind efforts and intentions on his behalf, Captain, but
they are quite thrown away. I did all that was fair
when I settled a neat sum, a very neat sum, on his
father. Mr. Grady thought it very handsome, but I
call it simply neat. I really can't do anything more,
and as for letting him stay in the town I would not
entertain the thought for an instant. Moreover, if
you have anything more to communicate on this sub-

ject, our legal adviser" waving a graceful hand to
John, who bowed " can attend tr. you."

Regina writhed under this speech which Hugh, as
she could see, received with amusement.

"I don't care to urge you," said the Captain in his
heartiest voice, " but I want to say that I don't agree
with Winthrop in his way of treating this matter. The
trick may work smoothly now, but how about three
months from this. The man is really sick with con-
sumption, when he leaves towa his mother goes with
him, and they will probably live on the Point with the
Tuttles. That breaks up a home. The man is living
only two miles away. He has hosts of relatives. There
will be some immense talking done among them all in
three months. Mr. Winthrop's father is interested in
this talk, and would willingly try to give it form to
work mischief. Then public opinion changes, and
who can tell what may happen."

Certainly the Captain was a pitiless adversary, when
he dealt his friend so ruthless a blow in the allusion
to his father. It drew a start from DeLaunay and an
exclamation from his daughter, but John remained
outwardly calm. His heart was fired with anger, how-
ever, for the enmity of Winthrop and DeLaunay was
truly his weakest point, and allusion to it humiliated
him. He had a savage reply ready.

" I see that Captain Sullivan puts a little faith in
the stories which this LaRoche was telling in town
the day he got intoxicated," he said. " He accused
Mr. DeLaunay of his own peculations. I had once
heard these charges from my father, who insisted on
an examination of the old books of the firm. The
result vindicated Mr. DeLaunay as clearly as it would

condemn this LaRoche to jail. I can bear witness
to this fact."

He paused. Regina flushed uneasily and her father
posed like a seraph. The irreverent Captain sup-
pressed a grin, and gave John an admiring look for
his cleverness.

"Now what earthly reason does there exist for
Mr. DeLaunav's interference in keeping this des
perado in town ? Why "

'Cut the sermon short," said Hugh rising. <l I see
my time is wasted here. You will excuse me from
remaining as I must finish this business before the
steamer goes out to-n ; ght. My only intention in
coming here was to enlist the influence of one whose
word is justly powerful in Saranac. As for poor
AmedeVs stories I don't believe them any more than

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Online LibraryJohn Talbot SmithSaranac : a story of Lake Champlain → online text (page 11 of 18)