come from, all these spirits of the old life? Had
some magician waved his wand and called them
out of the past ? Yes, a wave of sympathetic feel-
The Old Days Revived 367
ing from the North had swept in among them,
and Hope had come with beckoning finger, saying,
" Wake all ye that sleep, for the dawn of a new era
is at hand," and the new South had arisen to meet
it, — these spirits had obeyed the call.
gone to their chests and presses and taken out their
beautiful garments, so long unused, and many a
quaint article of jewelry, and arrayed in these, they
had gone forth to meet the " Spirit of the age."
Portia, gazing on the scene, felt this. Many of
the faces around her seemed beautiful with a chas-
tened kind of beauty, — the fineness of gold that has
been tried by fire, — and the lines of a past sorrow
still remained, illuminated by the pleasure of the
moment, into a subtle, pathetic kind of loveliness
like that in the face of Miss Katherine as she stood
Katherine was clad in a pale yellow satin bro-
caded with a faint pattern of hyacinths in pinks,
lavenders, and slender leaves of soft greens. It
was covered over the bodice with rare old lace, and
frills of the same fell over her hands. Originally
it had been made with wide skirt, to fall over
spreading hoops; but now the ample folds, falling
in straight lines to the floor, and only slightly
looped to give the prevailing panier effect of the
day, made the garment far more artistic than in
its original style.
"Isn't it charming.'*" said Marguerite to her
aunt. Mrs. Marshall was at that moment gazing
intently and scrutinizingly at Chas, who was
moving up and down the great hall without, in
all the grandeur of his faultless attire, performing
368 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
duties as usher. "I don't mean the barber, aunt,"
she said, with dancing eyes. " Look this way. I
mean Miss Katherine's dress."
" Ah, yes. We do not have such goods nowa-
days. " She lifted her lorgnette and carefully looked
at the gown in question. "And if I remember
rightly her mother wore that gown to your mother's
^' Oh, Aunt Isabel ! How can you remember the
particular stuff of which a particular gown was
made all these years on years.'*" said Marguerite,
in an awed voice. "That is like a fairy tale."
"Why, child, you are not so very old; and it
was only a year after that I held you in my arms,
and John stood at my knee, a little fellow in long
curls, and kissed your baby fingers. I made up
my mind then that you should one day be my
daughter. Now, for this evening, remember your
promise, Marguerite. There he is now, looking at
Marguerite was touched. "Oh, aunty, aunty,
why did you .-* Yes, I will remember; " but in her
heart she said, "Oh, if my mother had only lived,
if she had only lived ! "
John was looking at her, and now he came to her
side. " My little cousin looks prettier than ever
to-night," he said, glancing her over admiringly.
There was a tender note in his voice which pleased
her, coming from him, giving her no alarm. " Give
me your programme. Are there any dances left
for me.? Ah, I am just in time. They are nearly
" Yes, I have been reckless. I have given any-
The Old Days Revived 369
body as many dances as were asked for. Put your
name down for all that are left. I am tired and
can more easily refuse you, you know."
"You look pale. I 'm thinking you ought not to
dance much, brave little sister."
"Did she tell you to call me that.? "
"You know. She is always to call me sister.
She said so. Come over here and sit down a
minute. I want to tell you something. I have
promised your mother I will be just as nice to you
as possible for a — whole week, and I want you to
"With all my heart — little sister. Hello, here
comes some one who would like to be in my shoes
for this week, I guess." She looked up and saw
Hanford making his entering bows at the door.
"I don't think he would," she said, looking
away with a little laugh.
" Why so ? "
An excellent reason, like most of your reasons."
Well, if you must know, I think he would
rather be in his own."
They both laughed, and Aunt Isabel was pleased
as she glanced across at them, while she conversed
with sundry courtly elderly gentlemen who had
gathered about her.
" Look at your mother. She is the belle of the
evening. I '11 wager Captain Milvey is asking her
to dance with him. Yes, sir, he has her card.
There is the music! Where is Mr. Held, I won-
370 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
**He is coming yonder. Marguerite, did — did
she say anything else when she told you she should
call you little sister? What did she say to you?
What have you told her? "
"Oh, John, John! Poor Aunt Isabel! There is
no use in my being nice to you even for a week.
How many dances am I to have with you ? Give
me back my card; you have nearly broken it.
What! not any? There, take it back and put your
name down in every vacant place. I want it to
show to aunt when I get home. Quick! here is
" You know very well I wanted those dances. I
had n't had time to look over my own card."
" Never mind ; put your name down to all that are
left, and I will let you off the ones you are to dance
with her. Underline hers and I will remember."
"Then what will you do? "
"Me? Oh, I will bestow them on some one who
would not like to be in your shoes."
"Be careful what you do, little sister; some
hearts can be broken."
"Not men's hearts, John. Yes, yes. I will be
careful if you will not look at me so. You are a
good brother. Here, wear this for me." She
slipped a beautiful Jacqueminot bud from the clus-
ter in her hand. "There," she said, placing it in
his coat, " in that is my promise to be good for a
week, perhaps longer."
"And I shall hold you to it, little lady."
"Haven't you one for me also? " said Mr. Held
as he walked away with her. They were to lead
the grand march together.
The Old Days Revived 371
*'Why, yes, but — why didn't you keep one for
yourself? Why were you so generous as to give
them all to me? "
"Can't you guess why? One bud from your
hand — thanks. Now it has a value no other flower
" My cousin did not have to ask for his."
"Very true; but its real value is that put upon
it by the possessor. It is I who prize it the most."
But he was wrong, for, months after, John found
his bud fragrant still, clinging to his evening coat,
shrivelled and dried, and he placed it among his
treasures with a tender thought of the little hand
that had bestowed it, while Mr. Held's had long
since been thrown from his window and trampled
"Let me see," he said, looking at his card. "I
am to have this first one, and then no more until
the last. What am I to do in the mean time?
That is an adorable one, — the last ; but have you
no more for me? "
"No, my card is full. I think we must start."
So the ball was fairly opened, and the merriment
begun. Mrs. Marshall remained long enough to
become weary. She danced the minuet in honor
of John's success, with the captain, who vowed she
had lost none of her youthful graces; she had
watched John and Marguerite circling together
over the polished floor; she had been served with
refreshments by two colonels, the courteous old
captain and a doctor, all gallant with the stateliness
of other days ; and she had been carefully placed in
her carriage by her son, with the compliment that
372 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
she was really the queen of the evening if she was
his mother, — ere John had had his first dance with
*'I thought my one delight of the evening was
never to come to me," he said, — "our first dance
together. Think what it means to me."
Portia smiled, and her lips opened as if to speak;
but she said nothing, and as the instruments awoke
with a fresh outburst, they moved off together.
" You seem to be part of the music, as if I should
lose you when it stops. If it would only go on
forever ! "
"It will for us," she said. "The music of our
lives is but just begun."
"Yes, yes. I have my promise now."
Portia did not speak again. She moved like a
spirit through the rest of the dance, as if she did
not touch the floor with her feet. "Come," said
John at last, — - "come out into the darkness;" and
they went out on the long veranda where other
couples were pacing up and down in the moonlit
spaces. He left her an instant, and, returning
wrapped her in her soft white shawl.
" I saw where you put this as you came in, " he said.
" Do you remember when you wrapped me in it
first, that evening we drove home together.? "
" Could I forget .? "
"You have achieved much since then, John.
This spot was so bare and ugly when you came,
and now — "
"And now how bare and ugly it would still seem
to me if I had not had my way this morning, — if
I had not won you ! "
The Old Days Revived 373
They walked to the far end of the veranda, and
stood looking off over the wonderful moonlit
reaches of billowy hills into the mystery beyond.
The music of the ballroom on the farther side of
the building floated out to them, softened by the
distance, and the rhythmic sound of dancing feet
and hum of voices seemed to blend and become
part of it. Soon they were alone, for the prome-
naders had gone either to dance or to the supper-
room. Portia, standing in the strong moonlight
in her filmy draperies, her face pale in the white-
ness streaming upon her, and revealing its fine
strength and purity of outline, seemed to be not
of the earth, indeed. John felt as if he must
withdraw from her, nor touch her lest she dissolve
in the glorious light, and slip from him into the
mysterious distances on which her eyes were fixed.
She seemed so far above him, so pure and fine,
could it be that she was really won .^ Could she
ever be his.-*
"Portia," he said at last, "what are you think-
She turned toward him with a touch that warmed
him through with absolute happiness. "I was
thinking, it seems as if we two were standing on
the verge of eternity and the world was all behind
us. Listen to them. Can there possibly be two
among them all as happy as we.?"
" No, nor in all the world." His voice was very
"I feel," she went on, "as if I had been moving
in a dream ever since — in an unreal world — " she
374 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
" Ever since when, my beautiful ? "
" Ever since I came to you out there in Miss
Katherine's garden, and gave up my pride and my
scruples, and put you before all else in the world.
I am so happy, John."
There was a little quiver in her voice. Ah, it
was irresistible; and her cheek was warm and
real, after all; and her draperies, they were
easily crushed; and she stayed by him, she did
not slip away into the far-off mysterious night ;
and for him, he led her back to the world again
like a prince.
As Mrs. Marshall alighted at the door of the old
home, she paused on the threshold and looked out
over the scene spread before her, — the beautiful
valley, with its undulating lines and pine-capped
hills, — the river serenely sleeping under soft veil-
ing mists, winding like a silver thread among
them, and all bathed in the wonderful, silent glory
of light. She drew in a long breath and thought
of her dearest hopes. The beauty of the scene
stealing in upon her senses stirred her heart to its
tenderest mood ; but to her, whose will was her
law, to love meant to absorb to herself and hold in
closer grasp; hence the subtle charm of the night
but served to deepen the intensity of her desires
and make her dearest hopes seem doubly dear.
"You may wait a moment, Alexander," she said.
"Clare will go back with you."
" Non, non. It is that I must not leave madam
alone," exclaimed Clare, struggling between her
secret desire to return and her duty to her mistress.
"Madam is very weary; I see it,"
The Old Days Revived 375
"Yes, and I will be asleep soon and will not
want to' be disturbed. You must return with the
carriage and see that Marguerite comes home early.
She was ill yesterday, you know."
" Oui, madam, mais — "
" Well, why don't you start ? "
" Mais, allow me that I assist first madam to her
bed; then is there yet time."
" I prefer to be alone. You must go back and
look after her; that is what I am sending you
now for. Tell Marguerite that it is my wish that
she leave early. Mr. Marshall will return with
her, of course; she is in his charge, but they will
neither of them think of leaving until it is long
past time she was here, and in bed."
"Certainement," said Clare, with a slight shrug.
" They are young, those children. ' ' Still she hesi-
"Well.?" said her mistress, impatiently.
" Mais — allow me that I see madam to her room
"What ails you to-night, Clare? I am capable
of going to my room alone, am I not ? "
" Oui, madam, mais votre fils. What is it that
he will think that I leave madam here alone ? "
Mrs. Marshall laughed. "Oh, go^ along. You
know you want to go back yourself."
So Clare was driven away as her mistress entered
the house and laid her hand on the old stairway
railing. The little Juliet was soundly sleeping
in her mother's room, and Mrs. Van Ostade had
retired. Mr. Ridgeway had gone down out of the
kindness of his heart to look in on the festivities,
376 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
congratulate John and Judson Chaplain, pay his
respects to the older element there, and see his
granddaughter home. One servant had been left to
stand guard, who was quietly dozing in the kitchen.
The house was all lighted up, but seemed empty
and silent. Mrs. Marshall paused and looked about
her at the empty rooms and shadowy spaces. Win-
dows had been left open, and the cool night air
filled the house with a sweet freshness, in spite of
the lighted lamps. The white curtains blew out
over the smooth drawing-room floor, and the moon
rays streamed in, making long panels of light.
She climbed the stairs slowly, and paused again.
"Why did I ever sell it.?" she said to herself.
"I used to think I hated the place; but now I
believe I would rather live here than anywhere
else, after all." Then she went softly on, as was
her wont. By the time she reached the top she
had determined to buy it back again. "I will do
it, if only to turn out this horde of plunderers," she
In her sitting-room a lamp was burning, and
on the table lay a new novel with an antique
Roman paper-knife shut in between the leaves.
She sat down in the large chair beside the table,
threw back the black lace wrap from her head and
shoulders, and, taking the book, turned the leaves.
The light fell strongly on her gray hair and wan
face, with its subtle, clean-cut lines. Presently
she laid the book down, folded her hands over her
great black feather fan, and sat quietly thinking,
looking into the past, with her brilliant dark eyes
open to visions of other days.
A MIDNIGHT VISIT
OVER the hill, in the moonlight, a figure
came hobbling toward the old homestead,
— a woman in a faded cotton gown that looked
white in the white light, and a white cloth wound
about her head for a turban. She leaned heavily
on her stick, and hurried on eagerly and painfully.
It was old Mammy Clarissa, mumbling to herself a
half-pleading sort of prayer as she walked. She
turned in at the arched gateway, and walked up
the winding drive, her shadow falling sharply out-
lined on the hard gravelled road.
"Gabr'ella say as haow dey all gone 'way. I
'low she '11 be heah. She tu ol' tu be gwine tu de
dancin' dese days, I reckon. Oh, Lawd, kyan' I
git tu tell 'er, an' git tu pass.? Lawd, he'p my
soul ! "
Laboriously she climbed the steps, and slipping
off her heavy shoes walked softly in her stocking
feet. She entered the old dwelling, and stood
where she had not before since her old mistress
had left it, after the general had been brought
home from the field of battle, dead. There, in the
great room, he had lain in state, his sword at his
side, his boy far away, and none to mourn but his
widowed wife and her who had nursed his child.
Which grief was deeper, — who shall say.-*
378 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
She climbed the stairs more softly than her mis-
tress had done a few moments before, carrying her
stick under her arm and clinging to the railing for
"I reckon she '11 be in her ol' room," she mut-
tered. The door of Mrs. Marshall's apartment stood
ajar. She pushed it open and entered. Peering
into the sitting-room beyond, she saw her old mis-
tress seated in the halo of light, absorbed in her
reverie. Frail and wan, yet not so greatly changed
she seemed, since Mammy Clarissa had seen her
last, only her hair was black then, a heavy silken
mass falling over her temples. She had always
been thin, and was always shrouded in laces, as
now; only now her eyes seemed larger and darker,
and her hair was gray. Suddenly she leaned for-
ward, peering into the dimness of her chamber.
Seeing the figure of the old woman standing there,
she raised both hands with a quick gesture as if she
would repel some phantom which she had conjured
in her waking dream.
" Who are you ? Go away ! " she said in a sharp,
"Now don' yo' go fo' tu 'sturb yo'se'f. Hit's
on'y ol' Cl'issy come foh tu hab speech wid yo'."
" Clarissa, are you dead ? Why do you stand so
white and still.? Are you alive?" She tried to
rise, and would have screamed, but could not. The
old woman took a step nearer, and leaning on her
stick stood looking down on her. She grasped the
arms of her chair with both hands, and leaning
forward gazed into the face of her old slave with
glittering eyes, like a lioness brought to bay.
A Midnight Visit 379
"How dare you come here in this way? You — "
Her fan slid to the floor, and Clarissa, stooping
painfully, picked it up and laid it again on her
knees; but she shook it from her without touching
it, and again it fell to the floor, sliding down
among the silken folds of her dress. Mammy
Clarissa raised one hand deprecatingly.
*' Now don' yo' go foh tu 'sturb yo'se'f, Miz
Ts'bel. I 's 'live right smaht. I done come foh
tu hab speech wid yo' 'lone by yo' own se'f. I
ain' no ghos'es, I ain', an' I 'low yo' ain' neider,
yo' looks dat like yo' uset tu."
Mrs. Marshall relaxed her hold of her chair.
"Well!" she said, "you should have had more
sense than to come creeping in so, scaring me out
of my wits. What do you want to say.? "
Clarissa looked deliberately about her. "I reck-
oned I 'd fin' yo' heah, in de ol' room. Dey wan'
no one roun', an' I jes' walked on up heah, like I
uset tu." Then she said no more, but stood gaz-
ing gravely and steadily in the face of her former
"Don't stand staring so; sit down, and tell me
how you are, and what you have come to say."
" Naw 'm, I kin stan', I reckon. I 's right smaht,
thank ye, ma'm, 'cept'n' de rheum.atiz in de bones,
yas 'm. Wal, Miz Is'bel, I come heah fo' call tu
yo' 'membrance de days 'long back in de fore
time." She paused and wiped her dry lips with a
handkerchief which she took, neatly folded, from
her bosom. "Yas 'm, fu'st come de days when we
war gals. Yo' 'membah dat time yo' paw sol' me
tu mars'r gen'l's gran'paw, an' took he's fambly
380 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
an' my maw off tu de saouf islan's wha' he come
f'om? — ^ Mexico or New Awleans, some'ers daoim
dat-a-way? I mind how I cried an' took on fo' my
maw. I mind how yo' push me off' n her, 'nd say,
*G' 'long yo' niggah, dis-yer's my mammy,' 'nd
climb on her knee, 'nd mars' stan'nin' by an'
laughin'. I mind how she sail off in de boat 'long
o' yo' 'n' yo' paw 'nd maw, a-leanin' ova' dat side
rail'n' an' callin' fo' me, an' yo' a-pullin' on her
dress; I mind dat. Dat ar' de las' time I eva' see
"Dat fambly yo' paw done sol' me tu, dat war
de ol' Ma'shall fambly. Ol' Miz Ma'shall fotch
me up right smaht tu du de fine stitch'n', 'nd cl'ar
sta'tchin', 'nd i'nin', an' ova'seein' de linen, an'
lookin' aftah de young ones an' I'arnin' 'em tu
wo'k. I nuvva woah nuf^in' but silk turb'n dem
days, yas 'm, 'nd white dress I al'us woah tu. "
She paused again, leaning heavily on her stick,
and, wiping her dry lips as before, gazed straight
before her in silence.
Mrs. Marshall stooped and picked up the fan.
"Well, go on," she said, waving it slowly. "You
have something on your mind you wish to relieve
yourself of, I see, so I '11 humor you through; but
I am growing tired." She leaned back, and slowly
closed and opened her eyes.
"Yas 'm, I war thinkin' on dem days." Clarissa
lifted her head and looked intently at her old mis-
tress with a gleam in her eyes. "T mind de time
young Mars'r John come dar tu; I mind dat."
Mrs. Marshall shifted her position. "Dey wan' no
young man nowhar look like he look, so tall an'
A Midnight Visit 381
straight an' han'some, in he's so'ger clo'es w'en
he come down tu visit he's gran'paw. W'en he git
mad hit war like de sto'm-claoud rise out'n de sea,
an' w'en he smile, yas 'm, hit war like de sun rise
up in de mawnin'. I mind he had twin bruddertu.
He did n' go fo' tu be no so'ger. He wen' up tu
de No'f schule some'ers, 'nd he fall in lub an'
mahy Yankee gal up yandah. I reckon dey war
mad. I heah'd 'em say he lub de Yanks dat bad he
mount stay right dar an' bed an' bo'd wid 'em,
an' I nuvva see him no mo'." She paused a mo-
ment and then continued : —
" I mind de time young Mars'r John's fadah he
took sick 'nd die, 'nd one y'ar mo' 'nd he's gran'-
fatha he die tu, 'nd jes' one week f'om dat time
ol' gran'-miz, she die tu, like she could n' lib
wid'out her ol' man, — 'nd dar we-all wuz sol'.
Young Mars'r John, he in de Wes' Point schule,
he did n' know nufifin' 'bouts we bein' sol'. One
o' dese yer trader men come 'long 'n' he tuck me.
I war mighty skeered o' him. He nuvva hu't me,
naw 'm^ but all de same I could n' bide tu see 'im
nigh me noh tu tech me.
"He tuk we-all tu mighty gran' big place, an'
dar he come 'long one day, an' he say, * Cl'issy, yo*
right peart gal. What-all fo' clo'es yo' got in dat
bun'l' ? ' An' dar he tuk up fine silk headkercher
ol' missus done gib me, an' de gol' beads young
Mars'r John done gib me an' a white dress, an'
gol' pin — young Mars'r John gib me dat tu, —
an' he say, ' War dese. I wan* yo' look fine an'
peart.' An' I say ' Yas 'r.' 'N' he say, ' Put 'em
on.' An' I say, ' Yas 'r.' An' he holla, ' Put 'em
382 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
on.' An' I say, ' Yas 'r.' 'N' he holla g'in/ Put
'em on.' 'N' I say, * Yas 'r ' 'g'in, 'nd nuvva stir.
Den he holla 'g'in, 'nd I say, Yo' take yo'se'f
whar yo' b'long, 'n' I'll put 'em on.' Den he
lif he's han' like he gwine hit ha'd, den he laff,
'n' say, ' Yo' done got de debble in yo'.' 'Nd I
say, ' Yas 'r, 'n' yo' done put 'im dar tu.'
"Den I put on de clo'es, an' all de odah niggahs
stan'in' roun' in de drove, — men, women, an'
chillun. But I put 'em on, fo' I knowed I 'd be
killed ef I did n'. Den he tuk me out tu de
block, an' he say, 'Git up dar,' he say. An' I
git up an' look roun', an' dar I see all de man
faces lookin' up at me all ova de squ'ar, an' all
ova de sidewalkses, an' dar dey point wid de
cane. Den one say, * She got a heap o' temper, I
reckon.' An' trader man, he say, 'She mil' as
lamb. ' Den nurrer man say, ' She got de bery
debble in 'er eye.' An' he say, 'She hab de
spi't ob a angel, an' she kin sing yo's tu sleep
like she bohned a mocker.' Den dey all laff, an'
I feel like I gwine fall down off'n dat place.
Den, all 'er a suddent, I see young Mars'r John
yandah in de crowd, in he's so'ger clo'es, wid he's
shinin' face, like he jes' come down f'om heaben,
— an' I hoi' out my ahms an' try fo' tu call 'im;
but I could n' make no soun'. Naw 'm. But I
see 'im push he's way t' rough all dem rats dar,
nigh head taller 'n all on 'em, yas 'm, an' I see 'im
hoi' up he's han', an' I see all de faces swimmin'
roun', an' de block slip out f'om under my feet
like, an' I did n' see no mo' ontwell I heah'n 'im
sayin', 'Wake up, Cl'issy. Dey ain' gwine sell
A Midnight Visit 383
yo' no mo'. I done pay de money fo' yo', an' I
gwine tek yo' home wid me. Jes' yo' folia me.'
I 'd a folla'd 'im ef he 'd 'a' axed me tu walk
intu de fiah. I'd folla'd 'im ontwell I could n'
walk no mo' an' jes' fall down dead at he's feet
'fo' 'im, yas 'm. Dat ar hu-cum de Mars'r Gen'l