S. Weir (Silas Weir) Mitchell.

The Red city : a novel of the second administration of President Washington online

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Transcriber's note:

1. Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).

2. Text in Gothic Font is enclosed by plus signs (+Gothic+).

3. Minor punctuation and spelling errors have been corrected.
A detailed list appears at the end of this e-text together
with a list of word variations used in the original text.

4. A Table of Contents has been created for this novel for
reference.

5. The [oe] ligature has been replaced by "oe." A list of
words using the [oe] ligature in the original text appears
at the end of this e-text.





THE RED CITY

| - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
| +Books by+ |
| +Dr. S. Weir Mitchell.+ |
| |
| |
| +Fiction.+ |
| |
| HUGH WYNNE. |
| CONSTANCE TRESCOT. |
| THE YOUTH OF WASHINGTON. |
| CIRCUMSTANCE. |
| THE ADVENTURES OF FRANÇOIS. |
| THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A QUACK. |
| DR. NORTH AND HIS FRIENDS. |
| IN WAR TIME. |
| ROLAND BLAKE. |
| FAR IN THE FOREST. |
| CHARACTERISTICS. |
| WHEN ALL THE WOODS ARE GREEN. |
| A MADEIRA PARTY. |
| THE RED CITY. |
| |
| |
| +Essays.+ |
| |
| DOCTOR AND PATIENT. |
| WEAR AND TEAR - HINTS FOR THE OVERWORKED. |
| |
| |
| +Poems.+ |
| |
| COLLECTED POEMS. |
| THE WAGER, AND OTHER POEMS. |
| - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -|


[Illustration: "She stood still, amazed"]


THE RED CITY

A Novel of the Second Administration of President Washington

by

S. WEIR MITCHELL, M.D., LL.D.

With Illustrations by Arthur I. Keller







[Decoration]

New York
The Century Co.
1908

Copyright, 1907, 1908, by
The Century Co.

Published October, 1908




TO

WM. D. HOWELLS

IN PAYMENT OF A DEBT LONG OWED
TO A MASTER OF FICTION AND TO
A FRIEND OF MANY YEARS




TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER I 3
CHAPTER II 18
CHAPTER III 38
CHAPTER IV 52
CHAPTER V 64
CHAPTER VI 77
CHAPTER VII 90
CHAPTER VIII 107
CHAPTER IX 132
CHAPTER X 144
CHAPTER XI 159
CHAPTER XII 176
CHAPTER XIII 196
CHAPTER XIV 207
CHAPTER XV 224
CHAPTER XVI 241
CHAPTER XVII 254
CHAPTER XVIII 263
CHAPTER XIX 273
CHAPTER XX 285
CHAPTER XXI 305
CHAPTER XXII 318
CHAPTER XXIII 326
CHAPTER XXIV 341
CHAPTER XXV 347
CHAPTER XXVI 377
CHAPTER XXVII 401
L'envoi 421




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


She stood still, amazed _Frontispiece_

PAGE

As they struck, he called out, "Yvonne!" 13

With a quick movement she threw the big stallion in
front of Ça Ira 69

"Well played!" cried Schmidt - "the jest and the rapier" 113

"Thou canst not shoe my conscience" 153

René struggled in Schmidt's arms, wild with rage 247

She threw the fairy tissue about Pearl's head, smiling
as she considered the effect 289

"I know, I know, but - " 337

"Then I beg to resign my position" 367

"Not to-day, children, not to-day" 409




THE RED CITY




THE RED CITY

A NOVEL OF THE SECOND ADMINISTRATION OF WASHINGTON




I.


About five in the afternoon on the 23d of May, 1792, the brig _Morning
Star_ of Bristol, John Maynard, master, with a topgallant breeze after
her, ran into Delaware Bay in mid-channel between Cape May and Cape
Henlopen. Here was the only sunshine they had seen in three weeks. The
captain, liking the warmth on his broad back, glanced up approvingly at
mast and rigging. "She's a good one," he said, and noting the ship
powdered white with her salt record of the sea's attentions, he lighted
a pipe and said aloud, "She's salted like Christmas pork." As he spoke,
he cast an approving eye on a young fellow who sat at ease in the lower
rigging, laughing as the brig rolled over and a deluge of water flushed
the deck and made the skipper on the after-hatch lift his feet out of
the way of the wash.

"Hi, there, Wicount," called the captain, "she's enjoying of herself
like a young duck in a pond."

De Courval called out a gay reply, lost, as the ship rolled, in the
rattle of storm-loosened stays and the clatter of flapping sails.

Toward sunset the wind lessened, the sea-born billows fell away, and De
Courval dropped lightly on the deck, and, passing the master, went down
to the cabin.

Near to dusk of this pleasant evening of May the captain anchored off
Lewes, ordered a boat sent ashore, and a nip of rum all round for the
crew. Then, with a glass for himself, he lighted his pipe and sat down
on the cover of the companionway and drew the long breath of the victor
in a six-weeks' fight with the Atlantic in its most vicious mood. For an
hour he sat still, a well-contented man; then, aware of a curly head and
bronzed young face rising out of the companionway beside him, he said,
"You might find that coil of rope comfortable."

The young man, smiling as he sat down, accepted the offer of the
captain's tobacco and said in easy English, with scarce a trace of
accent to betray his French origin: "My mother thanks you, sir, for your
constant care of her. I have no need to repeat my own thanks. We unhappy
_émigrés_ who have worn out the hospitality of England, and no wonder,
find kindness such as yours as pleasant as it is rare. My mother fully
realizes what you have given us amid all your cares for the ship - and - "

"Oh, that's all right, Wicount," broke in the captain. "My time for
needing help and a cheery word may come any day on land or sea. Some one
will pay what seems to you a debt."

"Ah, well, here or hereafter," said the young man, gravely, and putting
out a hand, he wrung the broad, hairy paw of the sailor. "My mother will
come on deck to-morrow and speak for herself. Now she must rest. Is that
our boat?"

"Yes; I sent it ashore a while ago. There will be milk and eggs and
fresh vegetables for madam."

"Thank you," said De Courval. A slight, full feeling in the throat, a
little difficulty in controlling his features, betrayed the long strain
of much recent peril and a sense of practical kindness the more grateful
for memories of bitter days in England and of far-away tragic days in
France. With some effort to suppress emotion, he touched the captain's
knee, saying, "Ah, my mother will enjoy the fresh food." And then, "What
land is that?"

"Lewes, sir, and the sand-dunes. With the flood and a fair wind, we
shall be off Chester by evening to-morrow. No night sailing for me on
this bay, with never a light beyond Henlopen, and that's been there
since '65. I know it all in daytime like I know my hand. Most usually we
bide for the flood. I shall be right sorry to part with you. I've had
time and again - Frenchies; I never took to them greatly, - but you're
about half English. Why, you talk 'most as well as me. Where did you
learn to be so handy with it?" De Courval smiled at this doubtful
compliment.

"When my father was attached to our embassy in London, - that was when I
was a lad, - I went to an English school, and then, too, we were some
months in England, my mother and I, so I speak it fairly well. My mother
never would learn it."

"Fairly well! Guess you do."

Then the talk fell away, and at last the younger man rose and said, "I
shall go to bed early, for I want to be up at dawn to see this great
river."

At morning, with a fair wind and the flood, the _Morning Star_ moved up
the stream, past the spire and houses of Newcastle. De Courval watched
with a glass the green country, good for fruit, and the hedges in place
of fences. He saw the low hills of Delaware, the flat sands of Jersey
far to right, and toward sunset of a cloudless May day heard the clatter
of the anchor chain as they came to off Chester Creek. The mother was
better, and would be glad to take her supper on deck, as the captain
desired. During the day young De Courval asked numberless questions of
mates and men, happy in his mother's revival, and busy with the hopes
and anxieties of a stranger about to accept life in a land altogether
new to him, but troubled with unanswerable doubts as to how his mother
would bear an existence under conditions of which as yet neither he nor
she had any useful knowledge.

When at sunset he brought his mother on deck, she looked about her with
pleasure. The ship rode motionless on a faintly rippled plain of orange
light. They were alone on this great highway to the sea. To the left
near by were the clustered houses on creek and shore where Dutch, Swede,
and English had ruled in turn. There were lads in boats fishing, with
cries of mock fear and laughter over the catch of crabs. It seemed to
her a deliciously abrupt change from the dark cabin and the ship odors
to a pretty, smiling coast, with the smoke pennons of hospitable
welcome inviting to enter and share what God had so freely given.

A white-cloth-covered table was set out on deck with tea-things,
strawberries, and red roses the mate had gathered. As she turned, to
thank the captain who had come aft to meet her, he saw his passenger for
the first time. At Bristol she had come aboard at evening and through a
voyage of storms she had remained in her cabin, too ill to do more than
think of a hapless past and of a future dark with she knew not what new
disasters.

What he saw was a tall, slight woman whose snow-white hair made more
noticeable the nearly complete black of her widow's dress, relieved only
by a white collar, full white wrist ruffles, and a simple silver
chatelaine from which hung a bunch of keys and a small enameled watch.
At present she was sallow and pale, but, except for somewhat too notable
regularity of rather pronounced features, the most observant student of
expression could have seen no more in her face at the moment than an
indefinable stamp of good breeding and perhaps, on larger opportunity,
an unusual incapacity to exhibit emotional states, whether of grief,
joy, or the lighter humors of every-day social relation.

The captain listened with a pleasure he could not have explained as her
voice expressed in beautiful French the happiness of which her face
reported no signal. The son gaily translated or laughed as now and then
she tried at a phrase or two of the little English picked up during her
stay in England.

When they had finished their supper, young De Courval asked if she were
tired and would wish to go below. To his surprise she said: "No, René.
We are to-morrow to be in a new country, and it is well that as far as
may be we settle our accounts with the past."

"Well, mother, what is it? What do you wish?"

"Let us sit down together. Yes, here. I have something to ask. Since you
came back to Normandy in the autumn of 1791 with the news of your
father's murder, I have asked for no particulars."

"No, and I was glad that you did not."

"Later, my son, I was no more willing to hear, and even after our ruin
and flight to England last January, my grief left me no desire to be
doubly pained. But now - now, I have felt that even at much cost I should
hear it all, and then forever, with God's help, put it away with the
past, as you must try to do. His death was the more sad to me because
all his sympathies were with the party bent on ruining our country. Ah,
René, could he have guessed that he who had such hopeful belief in what
those changes would effect should die by the hand of a Jacobin mob! I
wish now to hear the whole story."

"All of it, mother?" He was deeply troubled.

"Yes, all - all without reserve."

She sat back in her chair, gazing up the darkening river, her hands
lying supine on her knees. "Go on, my son, and do not make me question
you."

"Yes, mother." There were things he had been glad to forget and some he
had set himself never to forget. He knew, however, that now, on the
whole, it was better to be frank. He sat still, thinking how best he
could answer her. Understanding the reluctance his silence expressed,
she said, "You will, René?"

"Yes, dear mother"; and so on the deck at fall of night, in an alien
land, the young man told his story of one of the first of the minor
tragedies which, as a Jacobin said, were useless except to give a good
appetite for blood.

It was hard to begin. He had in perfection the memory of things seen,
the visualizing capacity. He waited, thinking how to spare her that
which at her summons was before him in all the distinctness of an hour
of unequaled anguish.

She felt for him and knew the pain she was giving, comprehending him
with a fullness rare to the mother mind. "This is not a time to spare
me," she said, "nor yourself. Go on." She spoke sternly, not turning her
head, but staring up the long stretch of solitary water.

"It shall be as you wish," he returned slowly. "In September of last
year you were in Paris with our cousin, La Rochefoucauld, about our
desperate money straits, when the assembly decreed the seizure of
Avignon from the Pope's vice-legate. This news seemed to make possible
the recovery of rents due us in that city. My father thought it well for
me to go with him - "

"Yes, yes, I know; but go on."

"We found the town in confusion. The Swiss guard of the vice-legate had
gone. A leader of the Jacobin party, Lescuyer, had been murdered that
morning before the altar of the Church of the Cordeliers. That was on
the day we rode in. Of a sudden we were caught in a mob of peasants near
the gate. A Jacobin, Jourdan, led them, and had collected under guard
dozens of scared bourgeois and some women. Before we could draw or even
understand, we were tumbled off our horses and hustled along. On the way
the mob yelled, 'A bas les aristocrates!'

"As they went, others were seized - in fact, every decent-looking man. My
father held me by the wrist, saying: 'Keep cool, René. We are not
Catholics. It is the old trouble.' The crush at the Pope's palace was
awful. We were torn apart. I was knocked down. Men went over me, and I
was rolled off the great outer stair and fell, happily, neglected. An
old woman cried to me to run. I got up and went in after the Jourdan mob
with the people who were crowding in to see what would happen. You
remember the great stairway. I was in among the first and was pushed
forward close to the broad dais. Candles were brought. Jourdan - '_coupe
tête_' they called him - sat in the Pope's chair. The rest sat or stood
on the steps. A young man brought in a table and sat by it. The rest of
the great hall was in darkness, full of a ferocious crowd, men and
women.

"Then Jourdan cried out: 'Silence! This is a court of the people. Fetch
in the aristocrats!' Some threescore of scared men and a dozen women
were huddled together at one side, the women crying. Jourdan waited.
One by one they were seized and set before him. There were wild cries of
'Kill! Kill!' Jourdan nodded, and two men seized them one after another,
and at the door struck. The people in the hall were silent one moment as
if appalled, and the next were frenzied and screaming horrible things.
Near the end my father was set before Jourdan. He said, 'Who are you?'

"My father said, 'I am Citizen Courval, a stranger. I am of the
religion, and here on business.' As he spoke, he looked around him and
saw me. He made no sign."

"Ah," said Madame de Courval, "he did not say Vicomte."

"No. He was fighting for his life, for you, for me."

"Go on."

"His was the only case over which they hesitated even for a moment. One
whom they called Tournal said: 'He is not of Avignon. Let him go.' The
mob in the hall was for a moment quiet. Then the young man at the table,
who seemed to be a mock secretary and wrote the names down, got up and
cried out: 'He is lying. Who knows him?' He was, alas! too well known. A
man far back of me called out, 'He is the Vicomte de Courval.' My father
said: 'It is true. I am the Vicomte de Courval. What then?'

"The secretary shrieked: 'I said he lied. Death! Death to the
_ci-devant!_'

"Jourdan said: 'Citizen Carteaux is right. Take him. We lose time.'

"On this my father turned again and saw me as I cried out, 'Oh, my God!
My father!' In the uproar no one heard me. At the door on the left, it
was, as they struck, he called out - oh, very loud: 'Yvonne! Yvonne! God
keep thee!' Oh, mother, I saw it - I saw it." For a moment he was unable
to go on.

"I got out of the place somehow. When safe amid the thousands in the
square I stood still and got grip of myself. A woman beside me said,
'They threw them down into the Tour de la Glacière.'"

"Ah!" exclaimed the Vicomtesse.

"It was dusk outside when all was over. I waited long, but about nine
they came out. The people scattered. I went after the man Carteaux. He
was all night in cafés, never alone - never once alone. I saw him again,
at morning, near by on horseback; then I lost him. Ah, my God! mother,
why would you make me tell it?"

"Because, René, it is often with you, and because it is not well for a
young man to keep before him unendingly a sorrow of the past. I wanted
you to feel that now I share with you what I can see so often has
possession of you. Do not pity me because I know all. Now you shall see
how bravely I will carry it." She took his hand. "It will be hard, but
wise to put it aside. Pray God, my son, this night to help you not to
forget, but not hurtfully to remember."

He said nothing, but looked up at the darkened heavens under which the
night-hawks were screaming in their circling flight.

"Is there more, my son?"

[Illustration: "As they struck, he called out 'Yvonne!'"]

"Yes, but it is so hopeless. Let us leave it, mother."

"No. I said we must clear our souls. Leave nothing untold. What is it?"

"The man Carteaux! If it had not been for you, I should never have left
France until I found that man."

"I thought as much. Had you told me, I should have stayed, or begged my
bread in England while you were gone."

"I could not leave you then, and now - now the sea lies between me and
him, and the craving that has been with me when I went to sleep and at
waking I must put away. I will try." As he spoke, he took her hand.

A rigid Huguenot, she had it on her lips to speak of the forgiving of
enemies. Generations of belief in the creed of the sword, her love, her
sense of the insult of this death, of a sudden mocked her purpose. She
was stirred as he was by a passion for vengeance. She flung his hand
aside, rose, and walked swiftly about, getting back her self-command by
physical action.

He had risen, but did not follow her. In a few minutes she came back
through the darkness, and setting a hand on each of his shoulders said
quietly: "I am sorry - the man is dead to you - I am sorry you ever knew
his name."

"But I do know it. It is with me, and must ever be until I die. I am to
try to forget - forget! That I cannot. The sea makes him as one dead to
me; but if ever I return to France - "

"Hush! It must be as I have said. If he were within reach do you think I
would talk as I do?"

The young man leaned over and kissed her. This was his last secret. "I
am not fool enough to cry for what fate has swept beyond my reach. Let
us drop it. I did not want to talk of it. We will let the dead past bury
its hatred and think only of that one dear memory, mother. And now will
you not go to bed, so as to be strong for to-morrow?"

"Not yet," she said. "Go and smoke your pipe with that good captain. I
want to be alone." He kissed her forehead and went away.

The river was still; the stars came out one by one, and a great planet
shone distinct on the mirroring plain. Upon the shore near by the young
frogs croaked shrilly. Fireflies flashed over her, but heedless of this
new world she sat thinking of the past, of their wrecked fortunes, of
the ruin which made the great duke, her cousin, counsel emigration, a
step he himself did not take until the Terror came. She recalled her
refusal to let him help them in their flight, and how at last, with a
few thousand livres, they had been counseled to follow the many who had
gone to America.

Then at last she rose, one bitter feeling expressing itself over and
over in her mind in words which were like an echo of ancestral belief,
in the obligation old noblesse imposed, no matter what the cost. An
overmastering thought broke from her into open speech as she cried
aloud: "Ah, my God! why did he not say he was the Vicomte de Courval!
Oh, why - "

"Did you call, mother?" said the son.

"No. I am going to the cabin, René. Good night, my son!"

He laid down the pipe he had learned to use in England and which he
never smoked in her presence; caught up her cashmere shawl, a relic of
better days, and carefully helped her down the companionway.

Then he returned to his pipe and the captain, and to talk of the new
home and of the ship's owner, Mr. Hugh Wynne, and of those strange, good
people who called themselves Friends, and who _tutoyéd_ every one alike.
He was eager to hear about the bitter strife of parties, of the
statesmen in power, of the chances of work, gathering with intelligence
such information as might be of service, until at last it struck eight
bells and the captain declared that he must go to bed.

The young man thanked him and added, "I shall like it, oh, far better
than England."

"I hope so, Wicount; but of this I am sure, men will like you and, by
George, women, too!"

De Courval laughed merrily. "You flatter me, Captain."

"No. Being at sea six weeks with a man is as good as being married, for
the knowing of him - the good and the bad of him."


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