The day Sir William died there died the greatest American of his day. Because, on that mid-summer evening, His Excellency was still only a Virginia gentleman not yet famous, and best known because of courage and sagacity displayed in that bloody business of Braddock. Indeed, all Americans then living, and who since have become famous, were little celebrated, excepting locally, on the day Sir William Johnson died. Few were known outside a single province; scarcely one among them had been heard of abroad. But Sir William was a world figure; a great constructive genius; the greatest land-owner in North America; a wise magistrate, a victorious soldier, a builder of cities amid a wilderness; a redeemer of men.
The three eldest were of twenty-eight, thirty, and thirty-one years respectively. Meanwhile three hundred Mohawk warriors had taken the war-path, bent on killing or kidnapping the Hurons of Orleans. A troop of strange children ran at his heels, hooting after him, and pointing at his gray beard. Let them suffer starvation Beaver of evil tidings robert frost die Of being brought down to the real. But we plain folk of Tryon think it wisdom to watch gentlemen like Sir John Johnson. The spirit of the enterprise was purely mediaeval. He was, perhaps, the only representative of royal authority in the Western Hemisphere utterly believed in by the dishonest, tyrannical, and stupid pack of Royal Governors, Magistrates and lesser vermin that afflicted the colonies with Magentic knife strip British plague. You can't hear whether she has left the door Wide open and the wind's blown out the lamp And the fire's died and the room's dark and cold? Lucky for you You had us for a half-way station To stop at. No, from the time when one is sick to death, One is alone, and he dies more alone.
Dell remote access controller hung. A Rolling Stone
Jarrell's notable and influential essays on Frost include the essays "Robert Frost's 'Home Burial'"which consisted of an extended close reading of that particular poem,  and "To The Laodiceans" in which Jarrell defended Frost against critics who had accused Frost of being too "traditional" and out of touch with Modern or Modernist poetry. One of the original collections of Frost materials, to which he himself contributed, is found in the Special Collections department of the Jones Library in Amherst, Massachusetts. It had seemed discreet to remain there And neither go on nor back. Thompson, Lawrence and R. Rosenthal, M. Nutt,Holt, The most significant collection of Frost's working manuscripts is held by Dartmouth. For, despite the fact that the sea seemingly limits our abilities to penetrate its meaning, still the goal and the achievement of doing so may not be the correct things for us to be focusing on. Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another. On brush, old doors, and other poetic materials. At least he had this Fucking banner common With the race he chose to adopt: They had both of them Beaver of evil tidings robert frost their reasons For stopping where they had stopped. Read More. While not a native Vermonter, this eminent American poet resided here throughout much of his adult He feels the joy of his work, and the weather is invigorating.
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- The bearer of evil tidings , When he was halfway there, Remembered that evil tidings Were a dangerous thing to bear.
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- Others point to the finite nature of human achievement.
This banner text can have markup. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by mimeograph or any other means, without permission from the publisher. After several reprint- ings, the book was reissued by the Editions for the Armed Services, Inc. The Road Not Taken is an enlargement of that volume. More than fifty poems have been added, the commentary has been greatly amplified, the introductory biography has been entirely recast, enlarged, and brought up to date.
This collection also contains certain poems which have never appeared in any book, not even in the poet's own volumes. The work thus becomes not only an introduction to Robert Frost but a rounded picture of the poet and his poetry. It took time off from its political activities to consider and unanimously agree upon a citation officially known as Senate Resolution No.
The document read in part as follows: WHEREAS, Robert Frost in his books of poetry has given the American people a long series of stories and lyrics which are enjoyed, repeated, and thought about by people of all ages and callings.
Therefore be it Resolved, That the Senate of the United States extend him felicitations of the Nation he has served so well. In November, , The Limited Editions Club had presented its Gold Medal to Robert Frost as "that Ameri- vji can who, during the five years previous to the time of the award, shall have published the book considered most likely to attain the stature of a classic.
No other liv- ing poet has so much art or so much subject matter. Gannett in- tended it. In its issue of October 9, , Time magazine gave its coveted cover prominence to a portrait of Robert Frost, reprinted seven of his poems in pages usually crowded with controversial analyses of world affairs and, instead of a coldly critical review, featured a lengthy and laudatory tribute to the man and his work.
Time con- cluded unreservedly: "Of living U. At its best, Frost's crabapple-tart verse distills into the pure liquor of lyric poetry. Frost has made 'good fences make good neighbors' part of the language. Chores are 'doing things over and over that just won't stay done. Yet, though his first published poem was printed when he was nineteen, Frost had to viii wait twenty years before he was accepted as a poet; it was not until he was almost forty that the most native of poets had his first book brought out and that book was published abroad.
Other poets were taking comfortably familiar roads, covering the same territory, describing the same poetic landscape over and over again. But Frost, as he hesitated to imply in the poem which gives this book its title, struck out on a new path. He took the uncommon road, "the one less traveled by. The date of his birth has always been given as March 26, , but a recently discovered letter of Frost's father sets the year as , and the poet says he knows no way of disputing it.
Both his parents had been schoolteachers; Frost's ancestors were Scottish-English, and his mother came from a Scottish seafaring family of Orkney origin. Frost's father was possessed of a restless and rebellious spirit. He was born William Prescott Frost, and his family hoped that he would be a lawyer. Instead, he became a teacher, then an editor, then a politician. Revolting from Republican New England, Frost's father went to the other extreme; he went to the West Coast, where he became a Democrat and worked on the San Francisco Bulletin, a ix Democratic newspaper.
Frost remembers how, as a child, he accompanied his father on his campaign rounds. He recalls that, when in he was nine years old, he "helped" elect Grover Cleveland; he marched in torchlight processions, rode on fire engines, and cheered at meet- ings organized by his father, who was chairman of the Democratic city committee. He has never forgotten how his father went from place to place equipped with small placards bearing his name, a supply of tacks, a silver dollar, and a sleight-of-hand resourcefulness which his son still remembers with wonder.
The elder Frost would put a tack through one of the cards, hold the silver dollar under it, and with one swift motion throw both coin and card against the ceiling. The heavy coin drove the tack into the ceiling and fell back into the hand, while the card remained fast above for all who looked up. When his son was born, the child was named after the great Southern soldier and scholar: he was christened Robert Lee Frost. He became a natural nonconformer. The life was rude but lavish.
When he was taken back to the ancestral East, young Robert saw copper pennies for the first time and they seemed to him symbols of a parsimonious region. He would show a dull copper cent and say sarcastically, "Boston! He died of tuberculosis in his early thirties, and his widow took her two children back to Lawrence, Massachusetts, to live with Grandfather Frost. The boy Robert was then ten years old. He started school in Lawrence in A year later, his mother went to teach district school at Salem Depot, New Hampshire.
After one and a half years of ungraded school there, Robert went eight miles down to Lawrence and passed the entrance examinations for Lawrence High School. He graduated valedictorian of his class in , about the time he figures "I would have entered if my bad luck had kept me in the city graded school. My year and a half of the ungraded district school and my four years in Lawrence High School were the heart of my education.
They suited me perfectly " His co-valedictorian was an unusually pretty girl, Elinor Miriam White. He had begun to earn money with all sorts of odd jobs. In his twelfth year, he picked up small change as a cob- bler; he nailed shanks drove six nails into the hollow of the soles of the shoes in a shoeshop and had a mouthful of nails all during the summer. It was piecework, and, small though the amount was, he earned better pay than he was to earn for ten years. From that time on he spent all his vacations either in a shoeshop or on a farm as a hired hand until he got through high school.
The summer xi of , when he was sixteen, he left a farm job to push a bobbin wagon in a textile mill in Lawrence. During the summer of he worked as a gatekeeper at another mill. In he spent part of his time tending dynamos and part of it on a ten-foot ladder, in the Arlington Textile Mills, trimming the carbon-pencil lamps over the "mule frames," machines for spinning.
This period is echoed in "A Lone Striker," on page Frost passed the first half of his entrance examinations for Harvard in , but he was sent to Dartmouth by a grandmother who distrusted Harvard. He remained at Dartmouth only three months; he quit suddenly "it was a restlessness that I felt but couldn't explain" to the great displeasure of his grandparents.
He returned to take his mother's place, teaching in the grammar school at Methuen, Massachusetts. She had a lot of rough boys, and teaching them was the least part of her work. I told myself perhaps as an ex- cusethat if I had to be roughing some place, I'd be more useful roughing around that school than roughing around at college. The summer of was spent farming for himself after a fashion on a rented place near Canobie Lake, New Hampshire, and reading advertisements, looking for what to do next.
He set out to promote a Shakespearean reader, and hired a hall in Boston for a performance, but gave up his attempt to be an impresario immediately after the reading failed to impress the audience. Soon he had no company at all; he had to get rid of the dog because the animal was gun-shy and, terri- fied of thunder, jumped on and off Frost's bed frantically, practically every night and all night, during the summer storms.
Then Frost got a chance to try his hand as a journalist. The Lawrence Sentinel was a dying old weekly which the family had received regularly from Lawrence when Frost was a child in San Francisco. At nineteen he was asked to put life back into the journal. It was impossible. He began as a reporter on the Lawrence American, but gravitated to the editorial page as a sort of columnist. He wrote random paragraphs which, though in prose, were really poetic eclogues, little pastoral pieces.
Some of the subjects turned up later in his poetry; out of them came such personal experiences as those illuminated in "Mending Wall," "The Wood-Pile," and "Two Look at Two. The building was the United States Post Office, the flag was flying, and the bird was an American eagle. In , Frost married his classmate, the pretty Elinor White.
For the next five years he assisted in his mother's private and tutorial school in Lawrence and was almost xiii persuaded to take charge of it when she died in Trying to please the family and complete his scholastic education, he entered Harvard in his twenty-second year but remained only until his twenty-fourth.
He particu- larly wanted to study under William James, but he was not eligible for courses with the great philosopher.
He compromised on a course with Santayana, the philosopher- poet. He farmed exclusively for five years, and then began part-time teaching at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire, to supplement his farming and to support his growing family. Robert and Elinor Frost, who died in , had six children, only two of whom were still living in At Pinkerton, he first taught English but, in the spring of , he was called upon to supervise student dramatics.
Newdick wrote in The New Eng- land Quarterly in , "the English drama had thereto- fore seemed to end with Shakespeare. Frost not only enlarged the academy's view of the drama, but at the same time stepped up the tempo of productions almost un- believably. He scorned the notion that dramatically good things are generally beyond the appreciation and capaci- ties of boys and girls of high school age.
So, with the eager co-operation of the staff of the school literary periodical, which was also under his direction, Frost pro- duced five plays within the course of a few weeks: Mar- lowe's Dr , Faustus, Milton's Comus, Sheridan's The Rivals, and Yeats's The Land of Heart's Desire and his Cathleen m Houlihan.
Synge and George Bernard Shaw. Teaching almost became his career. A late starter with books, he was fourteen before he began to read on his own, for his mother had always read to him.
He discovered and relished the sheer music of Poe as much as the pure meaning of Emerson. He wrote his first poem in his fifteenth year. It consisted of twenty-five four-line stanzas with a twenty-seven line introduction, a long ballad about the night Cortes and the invading Spaniards were tem- porarily driven out of Mexico City; it sprang full-grown from Prescott's Conquest of Mexico.
He called it "La Noche Triste" see page , gave it to the senior who was editing the Lawrence High School Bulletin, and saw it in print a few weeks later. During the next three years, the young poet composed about ten pieces in rhyme and blank verse. Then one day he wrote some irregularly rhymed stanzas which he en- titled "My Butterfly," and in the ten lines of the second verse beginning "The gray grass is scarce dappled with the snow" Frost found his own distinctive utterance.
The poem was accepted by The Independent, a magazine of national circulation, and Frost received a check for fifteen xv dollars. He was nineteen years old. His mother was proud, but the rest of the family were alarmed. His grandfather said, "No one can make a living at poetry. But I tell you what," he added shrewdly, "well give you a year to make a go of it. You'll have to promise to quit writing if you can't make a success of it in a year.
What do you say?
May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. New York Times, October 19, He ran through the Vale of Cashmere, He ran through the rhododendrons Till he came to the land of Pamir. Frost in Florida: a memoir. Wilcox, Earl J.
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By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. In when he was 11, his father died of tuberculosis , leaving the family with just eight dollars. Frost's mother died of cancer in In , he had to commit his younger sister Jeanie to a mental hospital, where she died nine years later.
Mental illness apparently ran in Frost's family, as both he and his mother suffered from depression , and his daughter Irma was committed to a mental hospital in Frost's wife, Elinor, also experienced bouts of depression. Elinor and Robert Frost had six children: son Elliot —, died of cholera ; daughter Lesley Frost Ballantine — ; son Carol —, committed suicide ; daughter Irma — ; daughter Marjorie —, died as a result of puerperal fever after childbirth ; and daughter Elinor Bettina died just one day after her birth in Only Lesley and Irma outlived their father.
Frost's wife, who had heart problems throughout her life, developed breast cancer in , and died of heart failure in Frost's virtues are extraordinary. No other living poet has written so well about the actions of ordinary men; his wonderful dramatic monologues or dramatic scenes come out of a knowledge of people that few poets have had, and they are written in a verse that uses, sometimes with absolute mastery, the rhythms of actual speech".
He also praised "Frost's seriousness and honesty", stating that Frost was particularly skilled at representing a wide range of human experience in his poems.
Jarrell's notable and influential essays on Frost include the essays "Robert Frost's 'Home Burial'" , which consisted of an extended close reading of that particular poem,  and "To The Laodiceans" in which Jarrell defended Frost against critics who had accused Frost of being too "traditional" and out of touch with Modern or Modernist poetry.
In Frost's defense, Jarrell wrote "the regular ways of looking at Frost's poetry are grotesque simplifications, distortions, falsifications—coming to know his poetry well ought to be enough, in itself, to dispel any of them, and to make plain the necessity of finding some other way of talking about his work. In an introduction to Jarrell's book of essays, Brad Leithauser notes that "the 'other' Frost that Jarrell discerned behind the genial, homespun New England rustic—the 'dark' Frost who was desperate, frightened, and brave—has become the Frost we've all learned to recognize, and the little-known poems Jarrell singled out as central to the Frost canon are now to be found in most anthologies".
I'd like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth's the right place for love: I don't know where it's likely to go better. I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. In , the critic Charles McGrath noted that critical views on Frost's poetry have changed over the years as has his public image.
In , the third volume of Lawrance Thompson's biography suggested that Frost was a much nastier piece of work than anyone had imagined; a few years later, thanks to the reappraisal of critics like William H.
Pritchard and Harold Bloom and of younger poets like Joseph Brodsky , he bounced back again, this time as a bleak and unforgiving modernist. However, they state that Frost's poetry was "less [consciously] literary" and that this was possibly due to the influence of English and Irish writers like Thomas Hardy and W. They note that Frost's poems "show a successful striving for utter colloquialism" and always try to remain down to earth, while at the same time using traditional forms despite the trend of American poetry towards free verse which Frost famously said was "'like playing tennis without a net.
In providing an overview of Frost's style, the Poetry Foundation makes the same point, placing Frost's work "at the crossroads of nineteenth-century American poetry [with regard to his use of traditional forms] and modernism [with his use of idiomatic language and ordinary, every day subject matter].
An earlier study by the poet James Radcliffe Squires spoke to the distinction of Frost as a poet whose verse soars more for the difficulty and skill by which he attains his final visions, than for the philosophical purity of the visions themselves.
Frost has refused all of these and in the refusal has long seemed less dramatically committed than others But no, he must be seen as dramatically uncommitted to the single solution Insofar as Frost allows to both fact and intuition a bright kingdom, he speaks for many of us. Insofar as he speaks through an amalgam of senses and sure experience so that his poetry seems a nostalgic memory with overtones touching some conceivable future, he speaks better than most of us.
That is to say, as a poet must. The classicist Helen H. Bacon has proposed that Frost's deep knowledge of Greek and Roman classics influenced much of his work.
Frost's education at Lawrence High School, Dartmouth, and Harvard "was based mainly on the classics". As examples, she links imagery and action in Frost's early poems "Birches" and "Wild Grapes" with Euripedes' Bacchae. She cites the certain motifs, including that of the tree bent down to earth, as evidence of his "very attentive reading of Bacchae , almost certainly in Greek".
She notes that "this sampling of the ways Frost drew on the literature and concepts of the Greek and Roman world at every stage of his life indicates how imbued with it he was". In Contemporary Literary Criticism , the editors state that "Frost's best work explores fundamental questions of existence, depicting with chilling starkness the loneliness of the individual in an indifferent universe. Whipple focused on this bleakness in Frost's work, stating that "in much of his work, particularly in North of Boston , his harshest book, he emphasizes the dark background of life in rural New England, with its degeneration often sinking into total madness.
In sharp contrast, the founding publisher and editor of Poetry , Harriet Monroe , emphasized the folksy New England persona and characters in Frost's work, writing that "perhaps no other poet in our history has put the best of the Yankee spirit into a book so completely. When a New York Times editorial strongly criticised the decision of the Women's Clubs, Sarah Cleghorn and other women wrote to the newspaper defending Frost.
On July 22, , Frost was named Poet laureate of Vermont by the state legislature through Joint Resolution R of the Acts of , which also created the position.
Frost was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature 31 times. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the poet. For other people with the same name, see Robert Frost disambiguation. American poet.
From "Birches" . Biography portal. The Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 18 February Retrieved Jean C. Stine, Bridget Broderick, and Daniel G. Detroit: Gale Research, New York: Oxford University Press.
The Robert Frost encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. Halfway through the spring semester of his second year, Dean Briggs released him from Harvard without prejudice, lamenting the loss of so good a student. Robert Frost: A Life. Robert Frost: a biography. Houghton Mifflin. Frost remained at Harvard until March of his sophomore year, when he decamped in the middle of a term Robert Frost: A Biography. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
The Phi Beta Kappa Key. Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English. Retrieved February 11, Poirier, Richard; Richardson, Mark eds. The Library of America. New York: Library of America. Frost in Florida: a memoir. Valiant Press. New York: Henry Holt and Company. Archived from the original on Kennedy: A Man of This Century". November 22, Christian Science Monitor. Kennedy's Last Speech". All Things Considered. Jones Library, Inc. New York: HarperCollins, English Department at the University of Illinois.
Retrieved October 18, Anthology of Modern American Poetry.
Full text of "A Pocket Book Of Robert Frosts Poems"
The day Sir William died there died the greatest American of his day. Because, on that mid-summer evening, His Excellency was still only a Virginia gentleman not yet famous, and best known because of courage and sagacity displayed in that bloody business of Braddock.
Indeed, all Americans then living, and who since have become famous, were little celebrated, excepting locally, on the day Sir William Johnson died.
Few were known outside a single province; scarcely one among them had been heard of abroad. But Sir William was a world figure; a great constructive genius; the greatest land-owner in North America; a wise magistrate, a victorious soldier, a builder of cities amid a wilderness; a redeemer of men. He was the only living white man implicitly trusted by the savages of this continent, because he never broke his word to them.
He was, perhaps, the only representative of royal authority in the Western Hemisphere utterly believed in by the dishonest, tyrannical, and stupid pack of Royal Governors, Magistrates and lesser vermin that afflicted the colonies with the British plague. He was kind and great. All loved him. All mourned him.
For he was a very perfect gentleman who practiced truth and honour and mercy; an unassuming and respectable man who loved laughter and gaiety and plain people. He saw the conflict coming which must drench the land in blood and dry with fire the blackened cinders. Torn betwixt loyalty to his King whom he had so tirelessly served, and loyalty to his country which he so passionately loved, it has been said that, rather than choose between King and Colony, he died by his own hand.
But those who knew him best know otherwise. Sir William died of a broken heart, in his great Hall at Johnstown, all alone. And arrived too late and all of a lather in the starlight. And I have never ceased marvelling how such a man could have been the son of the great Sir William.
At the Hall the numerous household was all in a turmoil; and, besides Sir William's immediate family, there were a thousand guests—a thousand Iroquois Indians encamped around the Hall, with whom Sir William had been holding fire-council.
For he had determined to restrain his Mohawks, and to maintain tranquillity among all the fierce warriors of the Six Nations, and so pledge the entire Iroquois Confederacy to an absolute neutrality in the imminence of this war betwixt King and Colony, which now seemed to be coming so rapidly upon us that already its furnace breath was heating restless savages to a fever.
All that hot June day, though physically ill and mentally unhappy,—and under a vertical sun and with head uncovered,—Sir William had spoken to the Iroquois with belts. The day's labour of that accursed council-fire ended at sunset; sachem and chief departed—tall spectres in the flaming west; there was a clash of steel at the guard-house as the guard presented arms; Mr. Duncan saluted the Confederacy with lifted claymore. Then an old man, bareheaded, alone, turned away from the covered council-fire; and an officer, seeing how feebly he moved, flung an arm about his shoulders.
So Sir William came slowly to his great Hall, and slowly entered. And laid him down in his library on a sofa. Then the first star came out where, in the ashes of the June sunset, a pale rose tint still lingered. Sir John had arrived and I caught sight of his heavy, expressionless face, which seemed more colourless than ever in the candle light. Consternation reigned in the Hall,—a vast tumult of whispering and guarded gabble among servants, checked by sobs,—and I saw officers come and go, and the tall forms of Mohawks still as pines on a summer night.
The two score farm slaves were there huddled along the wall in dusky clusters, and their great, dark eyes wet with tears. His blacksmith, his tailor, and his armourer were there; also his gardener; the German, Frank, his butler; Pontioch, his personal waiter; and those two uncanny and stunted servants, the Bartholomews, with their dead white faces and dwarfish dignity. Also I saw poor Billy, Sir William's fiddler, gulping down the blubbers; and there was his personal physician, Doctor Daly, very grave; and the servile Wall, schoolmaster to Lady Molly's brood; and I saw Nicholas, his valet, and black Flora, his cook, both sobbing into the same bandanna.
The dark Lady Johnson was there, very quiet in her grief, slow-moving, still beautiful, having by the hands the two youngest girls and boy, while near her clustered the older children, fat Peter and Betsy and pretty Lana. A great multitude of candles burned throughout the hall; Sir William's silver and mahogany sparkled everywhere; and so did the naked claymores of the Highlanders on guard where the dead man lay in his own chamber, done, at last, with all perplexity and grief.
In the morning came the quality in scores—all the landed gentry of Tryon County, Tory and Whig alike, to show their reverence:—old Colonel John Butler from his seat at Butlersbury near Caughnawaga, and his dark, graceful son Walter,—he of the melancholy golden eyes—an attorney then and sick of a wound which, some said, had been taken in a duel with Michael Cardigan near Fort Pitt.
Colonel Claus was there, too, son-in-law to Sir William, and battered much by frontier battles: and Guy Johnson, a cousin, and a son-in-law, too, had come from his fine seat at Guy Park to look upon a face as tranquil in death as a sleeping child's. The McDonald, of damned memory, was there in his tartan and kilts and bonnet; and the Albany Patroon, very modest; and God knows how many others from far and near, all arrived to honour a man who had died very tired in the service of our Lord, who knows and pardons all.
The pretty lady of Sir John, who was Polly Watts of New York, came to me where I stood in the noon breeze near the lilacs; and I kissed her hand, and, straightening myself, retained it, looking into her woeful face of a child, all marred with tears.
I count on you, Jack. As I stood silent there in the breezy sunshine by the porch, there came across the grass Billy Alexander, who is Lord Stirling, a man much older than I, but who seemed young enough; and made his reverence to Lady Johnson, kissing the hand which I very gently released.
She turned and gazed out across the sunny grass where, beyond the hedge fence, the primeval forest loomed like a dark cloud along the sky, far as the eye could see.
And we women of County Tryon may need your swords, gentlemen, before snow flies. Lord Stirling stole another look at me. He knew as well as I how loosely in their scabbards lay our two swords. He knew, also, as well as I, in which cause would flash the swords of the landed gentry of County Tryon.
And he knew, too, that his blade as well as mine must, one day, be unsheathed against them and against the stupid King they served. Something of this Lady Johnson had long since suspected, I think; but Billy Alexander, for all his years, was a childhood friend; and I, too, a friend, although more recent.
She looked at my Lord Stirling with that troubled sweetness I have seen so often in her face, alas! What difference does it make if usurpers wear your honours as long as you know these same stolen titles are your own? Said he: "Sure I am Lord Stirling and no one else; and shall wear my title however they dispute it who deny me my proper seat in their rotten House of Lords! My name is John Drogue; and if I be truly also Viscount Stormont, it troubles me not at all, for my ambition is to be only American and to let the Stormonts glitter as they please and where.
Be true to your gentle blood. Be true to your proper caste. God knows the King will have a very instant need of his gentlemen in America before we three see another summer here in County Tryon.
I made no reply. What could I say to her? And, indeed, the matter of the Stormont Viscounty was distasteful, stale, and wearisome to me, and I cared absolutely nothing about it, though the landed gentry of Tryon were ever at pains to place me where I belonged,—if some were right,—and where I did not belong if others were righter still.
For Lady Johnson, like many of her caste, believed that the second Viscount Stormont died without issue,—which was true,—and that the third Viscount had a son,—which is debatable. At any rate, David Murray became the fourth Viscount, and the claims of my remote ancestor went a-glimmering for so many years that, in , we resumed our family name of the Northesks, which is Drogue; and in this natural manner it became my proper name.
God knows I found it good enough to eat and sleep with, so that my Lord Stormont's capers in Paris never disturbed my dreams. Thank Heaven for that, too; and it was a sad day for my Lord Stormont when he tried to bully Benjamin Franklin; for the whole world is not yet done a-laughing at him. No, I have no desire to claim a Viscounty which our witty Franklin has made ridiculous with a single shaft of satire from his bristling repertoire.
Thinking now of this, and reddening a little at the thought,—for no Stormont even of remotest kinship to the family can truly relish Mr.
Franklin's sauce, though it dressed an undoubted goose,—I become far more than reconciled to the decision rendered in the House of Lords. Two people who had come from the house, and who were advancing slowly toward us across the clipped grass, now engaged our full attention. For, though very young, our lovely Sacharissa had murdered many a gallant's peace of mind, leaving a trail of hearts bled white from New York to Boston, and from that afflicted city to Albany; where, it was whispered, her bright and merciless eyes had made the sad young Patroon much sadder, and his offered manor a more melancholy abode than usual.
She gave us, now, her dimpled hand to kiss. And, to Lady Johnson: "My dear," she said very tenderly, "how pale you seem! God sends us affliction as a precious gift and we must accept it with meekness," letting her eyes rest absently the while on Lord Stirling, and then on me. Our Sacharissa might babble of meekness if she chose, but that virtue was not lodged within her, God knows,—nor many other virtues either.
Billy Alexander, old enough to be her parent, nevertheless had been her victim; and I also. It was our opinion that we had recovered. But, to be honest with myself, I could not avoid admitting that I had been very desperate sick o' love, and that even yet, at times——But no matter: others, stricken as deep as I, know well that Claudia Swift was not a maid that any man might easily forget, or, indeed, dismiss at will from his mind as long as she remained in his vicinity.
And to me: "You have grown thin, Jack. Have you been in health? I said that I had been monstrous busy with my new glebe in the Sacandaga patent, and had swung an axe there with the best o' them until an express from Sir William summoned me to return to aid him with the Iroquois at the council-fire. At which explaining of my silence the jade smiled.
Lafferty—Sir John, who had been standing silent beside us, looked up at me in that cold and stealthy way of his. I could have answered very naturally that the land was of no value to anybody unless cleared of forest. But of course he knew this, too; so I did not evade the slyer intent of his question.
At that Lady Johnson gave me a quick look and Claudia said: "What! Would you bury yourself alive in that wilderness, Jack Drogue?
I smiled. So why not begin now? Why, a young man is like to perish of loneliness in such a spot; is he not, Sir John? To await events And master them And afterward, each to his vocation and his own tastes It is my desire that you remain at the Hall," he added, looking steadily at me.
Or—you are at least the Laird of Northesk if you are nothing greater. There is a commission in my Highlanders—if you desire it And your salary, of course, continues also. He looked hard at me: "Augmented by—half," he added in his slow, cold voice.
I had been Brent-Meester to Sir William, for lack of other employment; and had been glad to take the important office, loving as I do the open air. Also the addition of a salary to my slender means had been acceptable. But it was one matter to serve Sir William as Brent-Meester, and another to serve Sir John in any capacity whatsoever. And as for the remainder of the family,—Guy Johnson and Colonel Claus—and their intimates the Butlers, I had now had more than enough of them, having endured these uncongenial people only because I had loved Sir William.
Yet, for his father's sake, I now spoke to Sir John politely, using him most kindly because I both liked and pitied his lady, too. For that reason I am clearing it. And so I must beg of you to accept my resignation as Brent-Meester at the Hall, for I mean to start as soon as convenient to occupy my glebe.