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Etowah

 

Etowah

A romance of the confederacy

by Francis Fontaine

Chapter 1

 

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CHAPTER I.


DIXIE.

The group of young ladies and gentlemen formed an attractive scene as they halted their foam-flecked horses one afternoon at the hospitable home of Judge Dearing in the little city of Etowah in a far Southern State.

That venerable gentleman sat on the piazza reading a newspaper, and with such interest that the young people had dismounted and were approaching the house ere he perceived them.

A light-hearted, silvery laugh greeted him as he arose to welcome them, and his daughter, a lovely brunette, introduced them, then added:

"Well, Papa, I have brought them at last--these travelers from a foreign land."

"I am delighted to have them with us, Julia; you must keep them here as long as you can," said her father as he cordially welcomed his daughter's guests.

"Why did you not take the carriage, Julia, and where are the trunks?" he asked.

"We preferred to surprise them, so Mr. Latané and I held a caucus, and he agreed to provide the horses if I would provide the riding skirts--and--we've had a glorious ride."

"Indeed, we have!" said one of her friends. "We crossed the frontier at a rattling gallop."

"And I expect to see Miss Julia arrested," said Latané,

 

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"for she seemed determined to defy the law about riding slowly across the bridge."

 

"As a matter of fact, the bridge-keeper had a right to prevent your riding fast," said her father, "and you should not have galloped across the bridge."

"But he didn't do it," answered Julia, laughing, as she thought of the incident.

"I fear you have deeply offended him, Julia, and I will go down and see about it."

"It is not necessary, sir," said Latané; "I took the precaution of riding back, and, thinking that 'the end justified the means,' 'I lied like truth, but still most truly lied.' I told him that the animal was entirely beyond her control."

"And what did he say?" asked Judge Dearing.

"He said that he was glad to know it, and added that he had actually risked his own safety in order to shield the young lady."

"Did he say that?" said Julia. "Well, I shall tell him how very sorry I am that I was guilty of such unpardonable rudeness to a poor foreigner like himself."

"Why do you call him a foreigner?" asked one of the young ladies; "he looked just like the natives."

"Well, he is a native of that State, but this State is an independent sovereign country with an army--and all that--isn't it, Papa?"

"It is a lamentable fact, my young friends, and you must hurry to your rooms and dress for dinner. After dinner it will tire you, Julia, to supervise the illumination of the house. The 'Star of the West' has been fired upon, and the 'shot which was heard around the world' has gone forth to herald the birth of a new nation. It has been decided by the people generally that every pane of glass in the windows in

 

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every house in town shall be lighted. In two hours it will be dark, and just at dark the candles are to be lighted."

 

"Oh, we are to have a grand surprise party!" said one of the visitors. "How glad I am that we got here in time to participate in this spectacle. Will you not send word to father, that he may come in to see it also?"

"Certainly; do so, by all means, Julia," said her father.

Clara Leslie, with her father and brother and a young lady who had been at school with her in Geneva, Switzerland, where Colonel Leslie had lived for the past two years, had arrived home that day. Her father and brother had gone on to his plantation home, "Thronateeska," three miles distant from Etowah, which was not yet prepared for the reception of the young ladies, and therefore Julia Dearing had planned this sudden invitation to her cousin and her friend. The girls easily persuaded Colonel Leslie to give his assent, and thus the gay party arrived as Julia's guests.

Later Colonel Leslie and his son, Hugh, arrived just as the cannon sounded the signal for illuminating the city.

In an instant the houses gleamed with lights; the streets and squares became brilliant with bonfires and fire-works, which recalled to the returned tourists the famous Champs Elysées in Paris.

Pedestrians thronged the streets, and young men flung their Zouave caps, or hats adorned with cockades, high in the air.

Had it been in Paris, this day of hilarious revolution would have been ushered in with bloodshed, and hired claqueurs would have mounted the walls, and statues, and trees, and led the populace in the wild cries of "Vive l' Empereur!"

But in this distant Southern State there was no monarch

 

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to welcome to power, no ruler to overthrow, and no personal animosities to gratify.

 

It seemed absolutely unanimous: the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the high and the humble, the slave and the free, all joined in the carnival of enthusiasm.

The little group had ascended to the top of the mansion, one of the largest and finest in the city, and had a fine view of the whole town.

"Oh, how beautiful it is!" said Clara Leslie, full of the enthusiasm of a girl of eighteen years. "Indeed, it is prettier than the illumination during the fêtes in Paris."

"Is it, really?" said Julia. "Oh! how I do long to visit foreign lands."

"Why, Miss Julia," said Latané, "you boasted this afternoon that you had visited a foreign land."

"And so we did when we crossed the river; but this is not like Europe, and, above all, it is not like Paris."

"C'est bien vrai, n'est ce pas, ma bien aimée?" said Hugh Leslie, as he looked down into the eyes of Nathalie Blanc, a lovely daughter of one of the oldest Creole families in New Orleans.

"Oui, Monsieur, décidément," she answered.

"What are you two talking about?" said Julia Dearing, who had just heard enough to know that they were speaking French.

"I said that Paris was the pupil of the eye of the world," said Hugh, not wishing to reveal what he had said.

"And I that it was second only to New Orleans; I am always loyal to my home," responded Miss Blanc.

"That reminds me what it is that makes this scene so brilliant and so attractive to me: it is because it beautifies

 

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our own homes. How glad I shall be to see my old home again," said Clara.

 

" Home! home! sweet, sweet home!
"

"'The dearest spot on earth to me is home,'" said Henry Latané, humming the air.

"Oh! do let us sing it," said Julia, and in a moment those clear young voices sang the familiar air with a zest that was so charming that Colonel Leslie and Judge Dearing paused to listen until it was finished before ascending the last flight of stairs to the top of the house. This house, by the way, was a typical Southern home. The front was ornamented by lofty Ionic columns that reached to the roof, and a broad veranda ran the length of the mansion. It contained fourteen large rooms, with wide halls on every floor, but the promenade on top of the house was the most unique and, in summer, the most delightful feature.

It was finished throughout in hard woods, and the whole lower floor could be converted into a ball-room by throwing back the massive mahogany sliding-doors.

Hardly had they ceased singing when a band of students appeared in the square below, and halted on the lawn which led from the residence of Judge Dearing to the river.

Then Clara Leslie and Nathalie Blanc heard for the first time the stirring strains of the Southern Marséillaise, and, ere they knew it, they had caught the refrain and were joining in the chorus:

In Dixie's land I'll take my stand
And live and die in Dixie.

And so did the little urchins in the streets; and so did the crowds which made a motley assemblage, until the whole

 

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square resounded with the martial air, and the enthusiasm became unbounded.

 

Colonel Leslie turned and grasped the hand of the venerable Judge and said:

"I feel as if I, too, could throw my hat in the air."

Henry Latané, noticing this, said:

"Hugh, do you intend to enter the Military Institute again?"

"I don't know. Father and I were talking of it as we drove into town this evening. I think it more likely that I will enter the army," said Hugh. "And you, Latané, what are you going to do?"

"I shall return to the Institute in a few days. I am captain of Company B, you know, and should report promptly. But, I assure you, a few more evenings like this would spoil me as a cadet and induce me to join you and aid in making history."

"Who is captain of Company C?" asked Hugh.

"Barnum. Do you remember him?"

"Very well, and very favorably. A better fellow I never knew. But, if my memory is not at fault, he is a native of New York."

"You are correct, and I agree with you in your good opinion of him."

"How does he take this sort of thing?" said Hugh, waving his hand toward the enthusiastic groups in the square and in the streets below them.

"That I don't know; no one does. He is singularly reticent; but whatever he does, he does well, and his course as to the war will be animated by the loftiest sense of duty, I do not doubt.'

 

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In a few moments the young people followed the elders and were gaily talking in the parlors.

To Colonel Leslie's remark Judge Dearing only replied by a profound bow, then led the way down to the library.

There the two old gentlemen sat and talked upon the impending issues, while ever and anon bright, merry laughter echoed from the parlors, and told how those young people were enjoying themselves without a care and without a sorrow.

"You do not seem to enter into the spirit of the occasion with your usual zest, Judge," remarked his guest.

"No, I am sorry to say that I cannot. I have sad forebodings as to the wisdom of Secession. Indeed, I am satisfied that it is a mistake, and that we should fight, if fight we must, within the Union. But to form a new government is full of peril. The United States will exhaust every resource before consenting to disunion. I fear a long and bloody war is before us."

"Have you any doubts as to the constitutional right of this State to secede?"

"Not the slightest as to this State or any of the original thirteen colonies. But Louisiana and Florida, for example, were bought and paid for by the government of the United States. They have only what the "Declaration of Independence" calls the inalienable right of revolution. Have you read Captain Maury's letter, written to the Grand Admiral of Russia, declining the home and princely salary offered him by Russia?"

"No; have you it?"

"Yes; I will read it to you. It was printed in this morning's paper, and gives the whole story as to the right of the States to secede."

 

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"But before reading Captain Maury's opinion, let me say again that secession is a grievous mistake. What have we to gain by this proposed change of our relation to the general government?1. We have had sixty years of Southern Presidents to their twenty-four.

"There have been eighteen Southern Judges of the Supreme Court, while the North has had but eleven. Although nearly four-fifths of the judicial business has arisen in the free States, yet a majority of the court has always been from the South. In choosing the presiding officer (pro tem.) of the Senate, we have had twenty-four and they eleven; Speakers of the House, we have had twenty-three and they twelve. Attorney-Generals, we have had fourteen while the North has had but five. Foreign Ministers, we have had eighty-six and they but fifty-four. We have had a majority of the higher officers of the army and navy.

"No, sir; I am not enthusiastic about it, but I regard it as a lamentable mistake. While I will go with my adopted State, which has honored me beyond my deserts, I must declare to you, as I have often done before, and as it has also been declared by the greatest and wisest statesmen and patriots of this and other lands, that the American government is the best and freest of all governments, the most equal in its rights, the most just in its decisions, the most lenient in its measures, and the most inspiring in its principles to elevate the race of men that the sun of heaven ever shone upon."

The judge then read the following letter: "

 

 

Richmond, Virginia, 1861.

" Admiral--Your letter reached me only a few days ago. It fills me with emotions. In it I am offered the hospitalities

 

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of a great and powerful empire, with the Grand Admiral of its fleets for patron and friend. Inducements are held out, such as none but the most magnanimous of princes could offer, and such as nothing but a stern sense of duty may withstand. A home in the bosom of my family on the banks of the Neva, where, in the midst of books and surrounded by friends, I am without care for the morrow, to have the most princely means and facilities for prosecuting those studies and continuing those philosophical labors in which I take most delight. All the advantages which I enjoyed in Washington are, with a larger discretion, to be offered me in Russia. Surely a more flattering invitation could not reach a more grateful heart.

 

"I have slept upon it. It is becoming that I should be candid and in a few words frankly state the circumstances by which I find myself surrounded.

"The State of Virginia gave me birth within her borders; among many friends, the nearest of kin and troops of excellent neighbors my children are planting their vine and fig-tree; on her green bosom are the graves of my fathers; the political whirlpool from which your kind forethought sought to rescue me has already drawn her into a fierce and bloody war.

"In 1778, when this State accepted the Federal Constitution and entered the American Union, she did so with the formal declaration that she reserved to herself the right to withdraw from it for cause, and resume those powers and attributes of sovereignty which she had never ceded away, but only delegated for certain definite and specific purposes.

"When the President-elect commenced to set at naught the very objects of the Constitution, and without the authority of law proceeded to issue his proclamation of the 15th

 

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of April, Virginia, in the exercise of that reserved right, decided that the time had come when her safety, her dignity and honor required her to resume those delegated powers, and withdraw from the Union. She did so.

 

"She then straightway called upon her sons in the Federal service to retire therefrom and come to her relief.

"This call found me in the midst of those quiet, physical researches at the observatory in Washington, which I am now with so much delicacy of thought and goodness of heart invited to resume in Russia. Having been brought up in the school of 'State rights,' where we had for masters the greatest statesmen of America, and among them Mr. Madison, the wisest of them all, I could not and did not hesitate. I recognized this call, considered it mandatory, and formally renouncing all allegiance to the broken Union, hastened over to the south side of the Potomac, there to renew to fatherland those vows of fealty, service and devotion which the State of Virginia had permitted me to pledge to the Federal Union, so long only as by serving it I might serve her. Thus my sword has been tendered in her cause, and the tender has been accepted. Her soil is invaded; the enemy is actually at her gates, and here I am, contending, as the fathers of the Republic did, for the right of self-government, and those very principles for the maintenance of which Washington fought when this, his native State, was a Colony of Great Britain.

"The path of duty and honor is therefore plain. By following it with the devotion and loyalty of a true sailor I shall, I am persuaded, have the glorious and proud recompense that is contained in the 'well done' of the Grand Admiral of Russia and his noble companions in arms.

"When the invader is expelled, and as soon thereafter as the State will grant me leave, I promise myself the pleasure

 

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of a trip across the Atlantic, and shall hasten to Russia that I may there in person, on the banks of the Neva, have the honor and pleasure of expressing to her Grand Admiral the sentiments of respect and esteem with which his repeated acts of kindness and the generous encouragements that he has afforded me in the pursuits of science, has inspired his obedient servant,

 


Matthew F. Maury,
"Commander Confederate States Navy.

" To H. R. H., the Grand Duke Constantine, Grand Admiral
of Russia, St. Petersburg
."

"

 

"That is the whole of it in a nut-shell," said Col. Leslie, as the Judge finished reading, "and the leading Republican editor in the United States, Horace Greeley, agrees with Captain Maury. I cut this out of the newspaper edited by Mr. Greeley, and it fits the reasoning of Commander Maury to a nicety." And then he read the following:

"If the cotton States shall become satisfied that they can do better out of the Union than in it, we insist on letting them go in peace.

"If the Declaration of Independence justifies the secession from the British empire of three millions of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of five millions of Southerners from the Federal Union in 1861.

"If the slave States, the cotton States or the Gulf States only choose to form an independent nation, they have a clear moral right to do so."

 

Chapter 2

 

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CHAPTER II.
THE TOURNAMENT.

The stand at the race course was thronged with lovely women and manly men. The afternoon was delightful, the warm atmosphere being tempered by the soft spring breezes that caressed the cheeks of maidens, whose color rivaled that of the rose. The bright blue skies were relieved by Alpine-like cumulus clouds, which, if they did not seem to have motion, would be perfect reproductions of the snow-clad peaks amid the Alps. The last race is finished, and at her waist hangs the trophy won by Nathalie Blanc from Hugh Leslie. A handkerchief, on which was embroidered an ideal flag of the new nation, designed and executed by Julia Dearing, with only three stars as yet, though space was left for a dozen more, was in the happy possession of Bruton Stewart as an evidence of his success in betting on Latané's blooded mare against his own thoroughbred, which Julia had championed. And a close observer might have seen the shy, sweet glance that Clara Leslie gave to Latané as he received from Julia's hand the little curl which she clipped from the wealth of hair--golden and luxuriant tresses that well could spare it--and which indicated that he had won the rarest prize of all. At least Latané so considered it, for he said:

"I shall have a locket made, which shall be the shrine for this"--

"Love-lock," interrupted Julia, with a mischievous smile.

"No; love-lock is purely a masculine appendage," said Stewart. "It was worn by men of fashion in the reign of Queen Elizabeth--worn on the forehead, not on the heart.

 

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Look you! Latané, let us guard our rights as men, and rigidly taboo the wearing of love-locks by the fair, sweet sex."

 

The bugles sounded for the "knights" to assemble for the tourney as this speech was made, and Hugh Leslie, Latané and Stewart, with a dozen other young gentlemen from various parts of the grand stand, bade a hasty adieu to their young lady friends, and descended to enter the lists.

A dozen young ladies might have been seen then to pin a ribbon, each of a different color, and each contrasting well with the dress selected for this occasion, so that when she arose, her "knight" might see the emblem which was to cheer him to victory. And now, below them, "pools" are being sold for the final race which is to succeed the tournament; for all the élite of the county is there, and no county in America, perhaps, thus distant from a large city, could boast of horses more famed for pedigree and swiftness than that of Etowah.

Each "knight" was required by the club rules to ride his own horse, and that the horse should be of a well-known pedigree. It was thus that they kept out of the lists, without giving offense, men who might be accomplished riders but were not of their "set." Thus in the middle ages the title of "knight" or "cavalier" was limited to persons of noble birth. A light mask was worn by each knight, and an imitation of the armor worn by the knights of old was usually worn so as to complete the disguise and render the spectacle more attractive. By their colors they were known by the wearers of the ribbons. The silver tones of a cornet announced their egress from the round-house, or place of assemblage, and the prancing steeds seemed eager for a race around the course rather than a tilt at the rings. It was indeed a pleasing spectacle as they rode forth and passed the

 

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grand stand, each "knight" doffing his plumed hat as he passed the lady who wore his colors.

 

Stewart was recognized by his great stature and herculean strength, and the applause of the multitude greeted him as he rode forth. But his eyes were cast to where Julia Dearing sat, and he waved the handkerchief toward her as he saw her pin the ribbon to her dress.

"By George! Stewart," said Latané, "I believe you have won the fight already!"

"Not so, Latané; I received my 'walking papers' this morning, but I am going to win this contest, crown her as queen of beauty, and shake the dust of this State from my feet." There was no time for further conversation; the bugles sounded the charge, and away, one after another, the knights, each with lance well poised, dashed for the twenty consecutive rings.

Eighteen rings were on the lance held proudly aloft by Stewart, as he approached the beginning point, and cries of "Hurrah for the Halbardier!" resounded.

He was dressed like an ancient Halbardier, and his lance was very like the halbard, an ancient military weapon, consisting of a pole or shaft of wood, having a head armed with a steel point, with a cross-piece of steel.

He had won the choice of position, and being in the lead, had taken all the rings but two, which were taken by the third man on the list, a "knight" who bore the name "Unknown." Had not betting on the results of the tournament been prohibited by the rules of the club, a large amount would have been placed on the success of Stewart, now the general favorite, and well did Julia assume the rôle allotted to her, though in her heart she regretted that she would probably have to be publicly congratulated on being crowned

 

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as "queen of love and beauty" by the gentleman whom she had rejected as a suitor that day.

 

"Etowah Heights," his ancestral home, was the finest estate in the county, and Stewart was, in all respects, worthy her favorable consideration.

Her vanity was flattered by his persistent decision to appear to be her devoted admirer until he left with his troop for "the front," as the seat of probable war was already styled in Virginia.

The fourth knight chose as his device "The Talisman;" and none felt its significance more deeply than the young girl whose tiny lock of hair had in two hours caused him to change his costume and title that he might adapt himself to the incident.

"Count Robert, of Paris," "Ivanhoe," and other famous knights of the middle ages, were the prototypes selected by the various competitors. The knight who bore on his crest the word "Unknown" was Hugh Le-lie, who was thought to be still abroad, except by a few intimate friends, for in those days the arrival or departure of prominent people was not chronicled in the daily gazette; their names paraded side by side with that of the family baker or milliner, anxious to chronicle their departure for "the springs." Nor were the minute descriptions of the dresses of the belles at parties considered proper subjects for newspaper criticism. They were trained in a different social school, and were averse to "staleing their presence before the vulgar herd." The members of the club which supported the race-course and tournament festivals retained for their families the privilege accorded to the ancient cavaliers, that of occupying during the races or public sports the first fourteen tiers or rows of seats. The cavaliers of the middle ages alone

 

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possessed the right to carry a banner, and to appear in the tourneys and contest for the prize; to wear gilded armor and a collar of gold; to place a vane upon their manor houses; to have a particular seal upon their coat-of-arms; to take the title of monseigneur, and their wives of madame. In exchange for these prerogatives, they swore to combat injustice everywhere, to be the defenders of the orphan and the widow, and to obey without reserve the orders of their lady or of their king. Thus the glorious history of this institution during the crusades in the Holy Land; thus the most ameliorating conditions of feudal times; thus the order of the Good Templars, the Legion of Honor, the Hospitaliers, and the "Sir Knights," which distinguish the members of the brotherhood of to-day which have the same objects in view. Originated at a time when the strong hand was the only law, brave men took upon themselves the task of protecting the weak and redressing the wrongs of the injured. Women, being the weakest and most apt to suffer wrong, were first protected, and thus courtesy and refinement were blended with courage, and to be a knight was to be the champion of the oppressed. But chivalry had nothing to do with any but those of gentle birth, and the dogma that "all men are, and of right ought to be, created free and equal," had not been proclaimed. A knight would protect his vassals as he would his horse, but he did not appreciate that the common people had any rights if opposed to his will.

 

War was his profession; trade he could not indulge in without forfeiture of his social position and his feudal rights. The chase, tournaments and other sports, which developed manly strength and courteous courage, were his amusements. Tournaments were held under the auspices

 

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of the King or a great noble, and were attended by ladies who bestowed the prizes won by the successful combatants. Again the bugles sound, and away the contestants go, the "Halbardier" now in the rear and Hugh Leslie in front, and as they approach the stand it is seen that seventeen rings grace his lance, and the "Unknown" is cheered vociferously. Nathalie Blanc has arisen from her seat, and claps her hands as she sees her knight take ring after ring, but her pleasure is moderated when she learns that he lacks one ring of being equal to Stewart. "Oh! Julia, I fear you have won!" she said.

 

Again the bugles sound, and with a grace that is marked by all, Latané leads. A shout that makes the stand tremble arises, as the graceful youth holds his lance aloft and it is seen that he has taken every ring.

One after one, they all essay again until the time for the final effort of the young giant, Stewart, arrives. For the second time he advances, and after him comes no other. Thirty-eight rings stand to the credit of Latané, for only two were taken by his predecessors in the last run, and he secured all the rest.

The tilt is between Latané and Stewart. In his excitement Stewart has let fall his mask, and few are as popular as he in the county. People rise on their feet, heads are bent forward and eyes are strained to see the champion make his final thrust. In unison with the crowd around them, our young friends also arose, and when it is seen that the most fearless equestrienne and the handsomest girl in the county, Miss Julia Dearing, wears his colors, the excitement increases, and murmurs of admiration are heard.

"What a handsome couple they will make!" is the remark.

Bruton Stewart, a proud smile upon his lips, rides forward,

----

 

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stops for a moment just below the group in which Miss Dearing is the central figure, lifts his hat and bows with that grace for which West Point graduates have become famous. With irresistible impulse Julia Dearing unpins the ribbon and waves it to him.

 

In a moment he is off, and voices cry, "One!" "two!!" "three!!!" and so on, until the fifteenth ring is reached, as the people count as he secures each ring. Surely he will win! The sympathy of the spectators is with the superb young cavalry leader, who returned but a month ago from West Point, and already has organized a cavalry regiment and will leave next week for Virginia.

"Hurrah!" "Hurrah!" resounds on every side, as fast as he takes the rings.

Julia Dearing is excited as she never was before. Exulting in his success, she could not help admiring the superb, reckless, daring and graceful carriage of her champion, and she began to wonder if she had not made a mistake in rejecting so gallant a cavalier. But could she have seen the proud, scornful look upon his face, she would have realized that no effort could ever again make Bruton Stewart a suppliant for her favor.

It was the look of a man who scorned the very success he was achieving in securing these harmless rings; it was the look of a man who courts death in battle; it was the look of a herculean "Front de-Bœuf."

What means the sudden hush--then the scream as Julia sees the horse stumble, fall, and Bruton Stewart thrown headlong and senseless on the ground. The horse, in attempting to rise, leaped upon the prostrate form.

"Give him air! Don't crowd around him!" cried Latané, the first to reach his side, and a moment later Julia Dearing was also at his side.

Chapter 3

 

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CHAPTER III.
AU CLAIR DE LUNE.

Fortunately Bruton Stewart had been only stunned, and, as no bones were broken, his robust constitution enabled him to re-join his command in a reasonable time.

While he could ill brook such a rejection as he had received, yet that social training which keeps in the foreground the tenets of chivalry bade him bear his disappointment without one word of censure or one inconsiderate expression concerning the innocent author of it. It made him a reckless, gallant soldier, eager to participate in the clash of arms which was now at hand. And sentiment, he vowed, should no more be indulged in by him.

Julia, as soon as she discovered that he was not seriously hurt, was the gayest of the trio, and no one could extort an expression showing that she felt any further interest in Bruton Stewart. A few days later, as they were promenading along the piazza, a negro youth dismounted at the gate and approached them. Taking off his hat and politely handing Julia a note, he said: "With Marse Henry's compliments, Miss Dearing." Opening and reading it, Julia exclaimed:

"It is an invitation to a moonlight picnic; what do you say, girls, shall we accept it?"

"By all means, if papa will consent that we shall do so," answered Clara Leslie.

"What is a moonlight picnic?" asked Nathalie Blanc. "You must pardon my ignorance, but half of my life, you know, has been passed abroad; and young girls are not

 

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allowed to attend picnics with young gentlemen, even in the day time, in Switzerland."

 

"What a horrid country it must be!" said Julia. "Now, I think, if you strike out of a girl's life the delightful pleasures of social life, as we know it here, from eighteen years until one is married, why, you would strike out the best part of it. A moonlight picnic is as far superior to any other picnic as a début party is to an ordinary party."

"Well, none of us, I believe, has had her début party as yet; and it seems to me"--

"Somewhat previous," suggested Julia, as Miss Blanc hesitated, "'putting the cart before the horse,' and so forth. Well, I dare say you are right. We will just leave it to papa and Colonel Leslie to decide." This was said just as the three girls approached the two old gentlemen, who were pleasantly conversing.

"Who is going, my daughter, and where is it to be?" asked Judge Dearing.

"Except Mr. Stewart, we are to have the same escorts that we had at the tournament. Mrs. Latané will be our chaperon, and it is to be given on the club-grounds to Magnolia Island."

"Then let them go, Colonel; they could not go under better auspices."

"It is astonishing," said Hugh Leslie to Nathalie Blanc, "how quickly one adapts himself to his surroundings. When in the beautiful Alps I wished the months to lengthen into years; when studying the treasures in the art galleries in Germany and Italy, I thought that I could spend years thus in that delightful study. And now, after two weeks' frolicking at home, I am a good American again, and all thoughts of study have been blotted out for the time being."

 

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"That is true as to gentlemen, I suppose," replied Miss Blanc; "but I have lived so long in Europe--since my tenth year, in fact--that I cannot so easily conform to some social customs."

"For instance?" suggested Hugh.

"For instance, this ride by moonlight with you. Nothing would seem so shocking to dear Mademoiselle Lobereau, my teacher in Geneva. In no country in Europe could I do so without violating social ethics."

"The more's the pity," he replied. "We 'outside barbarians' are a law unto ourselves in social matters. But our people seem as well-bred as Europeans, and our women, as a rule, are more refined and modest."

"It all seems novel, strange and charming to me, of course, for I am with you; but in truth, Mr. Leslie, it don't seem exactly proper to me."

"Well, if you say so we will immediately return, but we will have to pass all the carriages, as our carriage is in the lead, and every one will surmise that we disapprove of a custom as innocent as it is agreeable. Besides, we have reached the bridge that leads to Magnolia Island, and--the night is glorious."

"Oh! no; I don't wish to be conspicuous or to seem to be hypercritical. It is only poor little I whom it affects so, and I suppose it is due to my education."

Hugh laughed--a rarely musical laugh was his, and clear as a lute. "I remember," said he, "the espionage that your teacher used to keep over your movements, and the difficulty I had in securing even a momentary chat with you alone in the parlor at your school in Geneva. If it had not been for Clara's diplomacy, I don't believe that I ever would have had an opportunity to tell you how completely you had won my

 

  page 22  
heart. I vowed then if we ever met in America to get even by utilizing our delightful social freedom to the utmost.

 

"Well, I think you have succeeded, for this moonlight drive is--"

"Delicious," he interrupted, and just then the carriage stopped, the well-dressed negro servant threw open the door, and they descended at the pavilion.

Rapidly other carriages followed until a hundred people were present.

The moonlight picnic resembled the ordinary evening parties, except that dancing was indulged Index the open air on a platform built for the occasion, which was as smooth and as even as any ball-room floor need be.

"What large building is that up the avenue, Mr. Leslie?"

"That is our club-house; what the Germans call conversationhaus at Baden-Baden."

"I hope it is not modeled after that place."

"Oh! no; there are no roulette tables or rouge-et-noir tables, and no gambling of any kind is permitted on this island. Would you like to promenade?"

"Yes, if you please. This is delightful, Mr. Leslie. I did not expect to see so gay a scene; it is more Parisian than American, is it not?"

"No, I can't say that; but the island is the property of the club, and it combines many advantages."

Along the promenades they passed and re-passed many happy couples who seemed as appreciative as they were.

It was indeed a lovely scene. The island seemed a pyramid of vegetation at a distance, the effect of the large white magnolia flowers amid green foliage being exceptionally striking.

They ascended terrace after terrace, passed through a grove

 

  page 23  
of pomegranate, orange, citron and myrtle trees, and stopped before a huge cactus.

 

"Why, these are tropical trees, are they not? How do they protect them in winter?"

"Just as they do at the Isola Bella in the Lago Maggiore," he answered; "stoves are heated beneath them; but orange trees grow here naturally. We have made the Isola Bella our model in adorning this island."

As they turned to view the scene below them the Chinese lanterns were lighted along the promenades, and pine knot fires, on stands erected for the purpose, illuminated the avenues.

"The glory of this isle is in its fountains," he added; "they embellish it on every hand."

"It is beautiful! beautiful!" she answered.

"I quite agree with you," said Hugh, "and with the writer, Matthews, who pronounces it 'a magic creation of labor and taste--a fairy land which might have served as a model for the Garden of Calypso.'"

They walked in silence for a few moments; then he said:

"There must be something peculiarly exhilarating in dancing au clair de lune."

"Why do you say that?" she replied.

"Look at Latan and Miss Julia Dearing and you will see why the word "lunatic" was invented. It is derived from luna, the moon, and if Latané is not 'moon-struck,' then I'm a Dutchman."

"What an idea! I had never thought of the derivation, but is it really true?"

"Yes, the ancients gave the name lunatic to every one who submits to the influence of the moon; and I repeat, Latané

 

  page 24  
is 'moon-struck' and is as submissive to Miss Julia Dearing as if she was some skillful magnetizer and her sujet."

 

"And I say," she replied, "that Mr. Latané is not in love with Julia, but is in love with Clara Leslie."

"Is that so?" Why, I never suspected that."

"Where have your eyes been these past two weeks! It is as plain as daylight."

"To the best of my knowledge they have been concentrated upon the most beautiful and lovable vision on earth, carissima mia; that is as plain as moonlight," he answered, looking down into her face, which was now blushing with happiness.

"Really, Nathalie," he continued, "when you are near I have not eyes even for my sweet, gentle sister, whom I love next to yourself."

A smile inexpressibly confiding rewarded this speech. Then she said:

"Do you know, I hope Clara will learn to reciprocate Mr. Latané's attachment, do not you?"

"I can't say that I wish any man to steal her affections from us. But I will say that Henry Latané comes nearer being my ideal of a gentleman than any man of my acquaintance. Yes, if Clara loved him, I would most assuredly approve of an engagement. I am glad that Bruton Stewart is not here to-night," he added.

"Why? It seems to me that his presence is the one thing lacking to make this a perfect evening. Julia has seemed to me to be a little distrait all the evening, and I have thought it must be owing to the absence of that handsome cavalry officer."

"You don't know my cousin well yet, and you can hardly know Bruton Stewart if you think that either of them would

 

  page 25  
evince any concern about the other so long as matters are uncertain between them."

 

"Was he severely hurt?"

"By Julia, yes; by his horse, no. She rejected him the morning of the day he was thrown from his horse, and he and she are, beyond doubt, the two proudest people I have ever known."

"Has he entirely recovered?"

"From the fall, yes; from the shock to his amour-propre, no; and I don't think he ever will forgive her."

"Forgive her? Why what crime has she committed? How can Mr. Stewart have anything to forgive?"

"He feels that she flirted with him and he has been famous at West Point as the greatest 'catch' in the cadet corps there. Many, many scheming mammas, it is said, have sought the acquaintance of the handsomest man in the United States Military Academy, and he could have married one great heiress and charming girl, I know."

"Then you and Mr. Stewart have been intimate friends?"

"Yes, and are so still, though I have never had many intimates."

"And you don't like him now?"

"On the contrary, I like and admire him more than I ever did. He is the soul of honor, but he would not make Miss Julia happy."

"Why? It seems to me if a girl loves truly she cannot help being happy."

He rewarded this speech with a gentle pressure of the hand that rested on his arm and a look that spoke volumes.

"Yes, it is a peculiarly blessed arrangement by which providence blinds the sweetest of women to the most glaring faults of the men whom they love. But Bruton Stewart is

 

  page 26  
proud, haughty and imperious. So is Julia. His is a very jealous nature"--

 

"And Julia's is not," interrupted his fiancee; "she is the most generous and the most unselfish girl I ever knew."

"Granted; but nature made her a coquette, and she may try ever so much to be otherwise, and she can't help attracting admiration. Now, to see another man giving her society a decided preference, and evincing the admiration which she so generally excites, would be the gall of wormwood to my jealous friend, Stewart, and he would be sure to do something rash."

"That would be very trying to one's nerves; very provoking," she answered.

"But you don't think he would fight a duel about her, do you?"

"Certainly, as quickly as the dropping of a hat if he thought there was any occasion for it. But that is not likely, as he left yesterday to join his regiment in Virginia; and I believe he went a week before the appointed time, to avoid attending this picnic, that he might not be thrown in her presence again."

Gay groups were chatting here and there while the band played enlivening airs, and occasionally a couple would take their places on the platform and join the waltzers there. The platform was not covered, and they danced by the light of the moon. Indeed, there were no other lights except the pine-knot fires along the main avenue and the Chinese lanterns suspended from the branches of the trees along the more secluded paths. And now the last hour was approaching. Clara Leslie's musical talent was known to be highly cultivated, and she was asked to sing a song composed by one of the club in honor of the place selected for their clubhouse

 

  page 27  
and picnic grounds. A guitar was handed to her, and silence succeeded the festive sounds as she sang the following: "
The moving clouds with mantle gray
Float peacefully, onward, away;
And 'neath thy surface, flashing bright,
Gleam stars like diamonds of the night.
Flow, rio, flow! away! away!
Haste onward to the rolling sea!
 
Behold the sheen from fleecy fold
Flash in the stream like wan of gold,
And 'joy the moonbeam's dancing quiver,
Gilding the wavelets of the river;
Flow, rio, flow! away! away!
Roll onward to the deep blue sea.
 
The earth is covered o'er with green,
And moonlit sky is soft, serene,
Where countless stars with silvery light
Kindle the pathless dome of night;
Flow, rio, flow! away! away!
Mingle thy currents with the sea.
 
The great Magnolia's flowers glow
To-night, like lilies, white as snow;
The breeze is sweet with perfumes rare
That laden this soft southern air.
Would, would that I could ever view
Thy dimpled stream--rio, adieu!
 
"

 

The guests crowded around to congratulate the young musician, who had acquitted herself remarkably well.

"Clara, I declare I am proud of you!" said Nathalie Blanc.

"And I will echo Miss Nathalie's speech," said her brother.

"I envy you your success, and am so glad that you came," said Julia, as she pressed her cousin's hand affectionately.

 

  page 28  

But Latané was not to be seen; after the congratulations were over, however, he was seen coming slowly from the spring, his mother being his companion. He reached the group just as Nathalie Blanc said: "Now, Julia, I have a favor to ask which I know will shock you--I am amazed at myself for asking it--but--is the author of that song present?"

Julia, looking at the group of gentlemen in the vicinity, after a pause answered: "Yes, shall I present him?"

"Yes; that is the request I intended to make."

"Mr. Latané," said Julia, "let me introduce to you Miss Nathalie Blanc, who requests a second introduction."

"Indeed!" said Miss Blanc. "Did you compose that song? I congratulate you and the club," she said, with unfeigned enthusiasm. "But, indeed, you are the last person I should have suspected of poetic accomplishment."

It was evident that Clara Leslie was equally surprised and equally pleased to learn that her escort had composed the song. Was it prophetic of good or evil that such an unlooked-for circumstance should have happened? She had learned the song the week before, and had done so at the suggestion of another member of the club, whose scholarly attainments were generally recognized, and, in common with others, she thought that he was the author. He sang exquisitely, but he had none of the dashing spirit of adventure that seemed to characterize Latané. He was not at the Island on this evening and, hence, Clara felt freer than she would have done had the supposed author been present. The glance of reproof which Latané gave to Julia Dearing was softened to an approving smile as he saw the radiant face of Clara Leslie.

 

  page 29  

While no further reference was made to the incident, there seemed between these two a tacit understanding which needed no words to interpret. A half hour later the party returned to the city.

The river in places was broad and almost as placid as a lake, and then the many islands and the rocks jutting out from the stream, narrowed it until it became a rushing flood of waters, casting high the white spray. The moon lighted the scene all the way, for the road through the forest ran alongside or above the river until it reached Etowah. This beautiful drive revealed a series of lovely scenes, each as charming as a landscape of Claude Lorraine; and the joyous spirits that enlivened the unbroken forest with that essence of conversation, "small talk," were unconscious of any impropriety in thus attending this fête champétre. The woods were fragrant with flowers, and here and there the white-flowered "dog-wood" clusters seemed in the moonlight like figures created by the wand of enchantment. And the silence of the streets was enlivened by merry voices as they drove through the city to Judge Dearing's residence

Chapter 4

 

  page   30    
CHAPTER IV.
THE TRAMONTANE ORDER."
He gathered round him noble men,
Brave, daring, kind and true;
He dubbed them knight, and gave to each
A badge--a gold horse-shoe,
And bound them with a mighty oath,
Leigemen to king and country both.
 

In the stately mansion at Chestatee might be seen the family chart which traced the lineage of the family without a break in the line for six centuries. The most noted among Henry Latané's early ancestors was Jacques de Latané, who was martyred A. D. 1563.

The family chronicles state that this Jacques de Latané was born in the Province of Maine, near the borders of Normandy, in the year 1500. As soon as he was old enough to bear arms, his father procured him a commission in the household of the king, Francis I., in what was then called "Les Ordonnances du Roi." He retained his command, not only to the end of the reign of Francis I., but during the reigns of Henry II., Francis II. and until the second year of Charles IX., when he voluntarily resigned. He had become a convert to Protestantism on the first preaching of the reformed religion in France in 1535. His influence with the king gave him the means of showing kindness to his Protestant brethren, and he frequently shielded them from oppression. He was, therefore, much beloved by his brother officers, by the men under his command and by the tenantry on his estate.

 

  page 31  

He was a witness to the horrible persecutions to which the Huguenots were subjected between the years 1534 and 1563, and had participated in their struggles until, the Constable Montmorency being a prisoner and the Duke of Guise slain, favorable terms were granted to the Huguenot leader, Coligny.

Believing himself and the Huguenots protected by this Edict of Pacification in 1562, he retired to his paternal estates in Maine to end his days in peace. But his elevated position and his staunch adherence to the new reformed faith made him a marked man, and it was judged expedient to get rid of such a leader.

In the year 1563 a number of ruffians were dispatched from the city of Le Maus to attack his house at night. He was taken by surprise, dragged out of his house and his throat cut.

Thus the blood of martyrs flowed in the veins of young Henry de Latané, who looked like a worthy scion of noble stock.

The earliest days of the "Old Dominion" found a de Latané on the staff of Lord Spottswood when he discovered the valley of Virginia, in commemoration of which event he created the Tramontane Order,1. and made Lieutenant Henry de Latané a "Knight of the Golden Horse-Shoe." Since the year 1713, the de Latané family had been in Virginia, John

 

  page 32  
de Latané, an officer in the English army, having been sent out to purchase a plantation in such situation as he judged would prove most advantageous. He landed in Virginia, traveled through that Colony, as well as through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, to the town of New York. He concluded that Virginia presented the most desirable circumstances, all things considered, and purchased a plantation, which is owned by one of his descendants to this day.

 

In France, under the ancien régime, an individual of noble family could not engage in trade or the mechanic arts without forfeiting his claim to nobility. Hence, the de Latané family, being forced by confiscation and exile to earn their living, when they became citizens of Virginia ceased to use the prefix "de," the indication of the ancient nobility of the family.

No lawyer in the State had a more brilliant future before him than did the father of Henry Latané when he was killed leading his regiment in the charge at Cherubusco, Mexico. He displayed conspicuous gallantry at San Antonio, Cherubusco, Molino del Rey and the City of Mexico. At Contreras he "behaved in the handsomest manner," in the language of the official report. At Cherubusco he fell mortally wounded.

Julia Dearing was Clara Leslie's first cousin, her deceased mother being Julia's aunt. She was also distantly connected with the Latané family. Her father, Judge Dearing, had been for many years the Judge of the United States Court, and was a Pennsylvanian by birth, having come to his adopted State in early life. His grand-father had been the first President of the State University, and his father was a prominent officer in the United States Army during his life and until his death. Hence, the very conservative opinions which he entertained

 

  page 33  
of the approaching conflict between the South and the North, East and West.

 

Colonel Leslie's grand-father had received his patent to the estate on which he lived from King George of England. Its Indian name had been given to it in commemoration of the Indian maiden, "Thronateeska," who took the fatal leap from the precipitous bluff into the rapids below with her lover rather than see him burned at the stake by her irate father, who had forbidden their union. The locality is now called "Lover's Leap." In like manner, the name of the chief, her father, was given to the adjoining estate, owned by the mother of Henry Latané, and known as Chestatee.

The falls that beautified the Etowah river in front of these two fine estates recalled to the returned tourists the falls of the Sallenche in the Canton Valais in Switzerland, while the two mansions in the lovely valley were surrounded by beautiful grounds ornamented with flowers, rare plants, artificial lakes, fish ponds and parks for deer.

One of the pre-historic mounds that extend from Ohio and Kentucky to Mexico--relics of the unknown race which first peopled this continent--overlooked the river at Thronateeska, and on its summit was a fountain, which was watered from the upper waters of a tributary stream.

These young people had wealth, the highest social position in the land, delightful homes, cultured society--all, in short, that makes life most desirable. Colonel Leslie alone owned five hundred negro slaves, inherited from his father. These negroes were distributed on a half dozen plantations. His income was princely and his generosity was proverbial. Judge Dearing had always refused to buy or sell a slave, and hence, had never been a slave-owner. But the servants

----

 

  page 34  
about his home belonged to his daughter, Julia, as they had been the property of her mother. His reverence for the law and the laws of inheritance forbade his giving them their freedom, but he had already set aside a sum for the purpose of buying them from his daughter that he might emancipate them when she became of age. Her maid and the old woman who had been her nurse during her childhood stoutly declared that they never would leave her, even if they were emancipated; and the more Judge Dearing pondered upon the question the more perplexed he became, for it was extremely doubtful whether emancipation would better their condition. Then the Dred Scott decision! Said Chief Justice Taney, of the United States Supreme Court, in the "Dred Scott" decision in 1856: "It is difficult to realize the state of public opinion in relation to that unfortunate race which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted. But the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit."

 

"He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic whenever a profit could be made out of it."

Such were the words of the Chief Justice in support of the conclusions of law of the highest judicial tribunal of the land at the time of which we write.

 

  page 35  

Nearly one-half of the population of the South were negro slaves. If slave-holders were brutal, as political agitators charged, there was a servile foe in their rear far more to be dreaded than any enemy in the front. Yet in those distant plantation homes the gentle mistress, with her young children whose fathers and brothers were in the Confederate army, hundreds of miles distant, felt no terror amid the hundreds of slaves around them. The white population of the United States was eight times as numerous as that of the seceding States. The word "slave" enlisted public sentiment throughout the civilized world against them. Capable of being distorted into the most hideous of meanings, the word "slave" proved a more terrible foe than any which confronted their armed soldiery. But now, like a prairie fire, the war spirit had swept over the States, carrying into the ranks of Confederate volunteers the old and the young, the rich and the poor.

And in ten thousand homes, delicate, refined gentlewomen with their little children lived amid their negro slaves, protected by the kinship of humanity.


Notes

  • 1. [Lord Spottsword, during his expedition across the Blue Ridge, instituted the order known as "The Tramontane Order." The badge of this order was a golden horse-shoe. See Dr. Slaughter's history of St. Mark's Parish, Virginia. It is a historic fact that the first party of white men who ever crossed the Blue Ridge were these "knights of the golden horse-shoe," and that they passed through what is now known as the Swift Run Gap. This highway was opened by order of King George III. in 1764. See Acts of the Assembly of the colony of Virginia.

Chapter 5

 

  page   36    
CHAPTER V.

But a month before Henry Latané had written the following sophomoric article for the college magazine:

"FOR THE COLLEGIAN."

 

One cannot help wondering as to his prospective wife. Have I ever seen her? Who is she? Where is she?

Have I ever talked with her, or is she still hidden from me by the impenetrable and impalpable future? Mystery of mysteries, our unwedded fate! Which one of my acquaintances; what plan of mine; what train of thought is to lead me to her?

Or will it be no friend, no plan, no thought, but only the silent workings of those strange things called accidents? Strange! that of all the millions that people this earth we two are so surely to find each other, though now so utterly ignorant of each other's existence. We are approaching now by an inevitable fate, yet neither of us feels in the heart one throb of that great passion which one day is to reign there. We are even indifferent to each other as yet. Oh! for a glance into some mirror that would reflect, even if for an instant only, the features of one who is to be the sharer of his fortunes, the participant in all his thoughts. Is she a blonde? a brunette? Is she, like myself, a careless, indifferent somebody? Or has she suffered till suffering has purified her spirit? Or has she known none but thornless flowers?

She may be even now brightening the world about her with her smiles.

 

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Why does she not come to me out of the misty future to comfort me and light up my lonely life?

Ah! if she only knew how unsatisfactory the world is without her companionship--how I long to meet and welcome her, I know she would come to me quickly.

Does she inherit the traits of some remote ancestor, and is this ativism favorable to my happiness or to hers?

From books, statues, pictures, the soul gleans from memories, and forms for itself a face to gaze upon with its inner eye--a face that epitomizes all the beauties of the past ages and concentrates them in one. Is this face hers? Bears it yet, in the strange, sad, but hopeful thoughtfulness of its features, some traces of a glorious past life before this one?

Such faces have I seen, whose wondrous beauty must have been dispensed by the higher thoughts of a lofty ante--rior life.

Has ma femme inconnue such a face? Are the complex mental attributes on which genius and talent depend inherited?

Out of the countless millions who people the earth, like the countless stars that deck the heavens, if no two are identically the same, of what avail is heredity?

Is it an illusion that the Arabs have for thousands of years kept pedigrees of their horses? If not an illusion, is it not far more important that the wife whom I seek shall belong to the elect?

Is inheritance the rule and non-inheritance the anomaly?

Why read the thirtieth chapter of Genesis, or Plato's Republic, or Virgil's Georgics? Is not Darwin right when he says: "But human nature is the same throughout the world; fashion reigns supreme, and man is apt to value whatever he may chance to possess." It seems to me that

 

  page 38  
I value most what I do not possess. And yet, is it well to possess? "In every living creature we may feel assured that a host of lost characters lie ready to be evolved under proper conditions." How can we utilize this power of calling back to life long-lost characters?

 

It is possible that my affinity is plain, hard, practical, downright ugly! If so, may she remain in the unknown, and bloom on the banks of the river Nowhere in the land of Utopia, dispelling, like the Eucalyptus, the miasma of unhappy forebodings.

Ah, but her mind! Is she reading at this moment some grand master, or some old maid, who has ransacked all the dictionaries for words big enough, comprehensive enough to explain her meaning which "adumbrates in the penumbra?"

Or is she singing some song of the ages, some song that has welled up out of the great heart of mankind and found its expression at last from the hand of a Maestro? Thus is she making her own the thoughts and feelings of the best and greatest--reaping the harvest of the literary host that she may share it with me some day?

And who has preceded me in her affections? But, supposing that she has never been courted, would I like to be her forlorn hope? Would it be a pleasant reflection to know that my lips were the first that ever uttered words of love to her? Scylla and Charybdis are here!

Is she precise, prim, exact? Will she, if she is a traveled miss au fait to customs European, will she tell me that a spittoon is unknown over there because gentlemen in Europe never chew tobacco? That I may retort that rocking chairs are there also unknown and, ergo, ladies never sit in rocking chairs? If, by chance, she be a Northern girl, will she tell

 

  page 39  
me that the very essence of delightful laziness, putting one's feet against pillar or railing, is purely a Southern custom--that Northerners never do this?

 

I wonder if she will catch me thus en flagrante delictu, and utter those cabalistic words which always invoke the hidden devils of a man's nature: "I told you so!"

It would interest one to know whether he is to storm the citadel of the lady's heart, or be himself taken by storm or stratagem. And her kin! But one wearies himself with such conjectures, and here endeth the reveries of a bachelor!

The above duly appeared in the "Collegian," and the "bachelor" writer, Henry Latané, was aged twenty.

He congratulated himself that he had never "fallen in love"--had never yet met the "destiny," whose coming he so flippantly invoked in the above epistle. He frequently asserted that love was a weakness which debarred a man from making his mark in the world; and that many years should elapse before he would hazard his future by giving the matter any consideration whatever.

Withal, he was as manly, frank, intelligent and genial a young fellow as one is apt to meet in life--was this young editor of the college magazine.

And little did he reck of the stirring scenes in which he was so soon to enact a conspicuous part, and of the chequered vicissitudes which were to characterize his own affection, which came to him as suddenly as a meteor; pierced his vaunted impenetrability with the ease and purity of a lightning flash, and left him in the meshes of a love as pure as the tints of the dawn.

Chapter 6

 

  page   40    
CHAPTER VI.
THE STARS AND BARS.

They had not a vessel on the seas; not a regiment of veteran troops; no arsenals, nor manufactories for making arms and ammunition.

The "Free States" under the slogan of "Union" were battling for the balance of power; the "Slave States" under the slogan of "Liberty" were fighting for independence--repelling invaders--protecting their homes and firesides.

The Constitution of the Confederate States absolutely prohibited the over-sea slave trade; that of the Union did not.

The Federals declared that they were fighting to emancipate the negro; the Confederates retorted that the Constitution was the shield of slavery, and that, under its protection, they had invested two thousands of millions of dollars in the "peculiar institution," and that emancipation, without compensation, meant ruin. The logic of events made slavery the corner-stone of the new government.

Mean while Washington, Jefferson, and three-fourths of all the Presidents of the United States, from the beginning of the government, were slave-holders. Disunion had its origin in New England, now the hot-bed of unionism and abolitionism.

On four separate occasions Massachusetts had threatened to secede from the Union; on one occasion her legislature had actually passed a vote of secession. One of the chief leaders of the abolitionists, on the fourth of July, 1856, undertook to "register a pledge before heaven to do what within him lay to effect the eternal overthrow of the Union." He was now

 

  page 41  
taking an active part in support of the war to maintain that Union.

 

And yet the father of the Republican party, the great Federalist, Alexander Hamilton, stigmatized coercion of sovereign States as "madness."

American leaders seemed to be political Iconoclasts.

The Union had been the shield of slavery; and the slave-holders now took the initiative in casting aside the shield.

One fought for the rights of the Sovereign States; the other for an Imperial Republic.

Thus this clash of arms between the Titans!

Thus a new flag was flung to the breeze, The Stars and Bars.

And now the great battle of Manassas had resulted in a glorious triumph for that new standard.

At roll-call that morning the membership of the regiment to which Lieutenant Hugh Leslie belonged was five hundred and eighty; by night, the killed and wounded amounted to two hundred and eighty. They had heard for the first time the weird scream of bomb-shells, which tore the ground about them into fragments, and scattered death-dealing missiles into their ranks. The Minnie balls cut through the leaves of the trees, and bullets rattled against fences or rocks like peas thrown against a drum-head. The slaughter was terrific as the enemy closed around them, while dust and smoke obscured the advancing columns on the narrow plateau.

The valley resounded as the decimated troops pressed on in the gallant charge, and faced again and again the ever-increasing hosts before them.

The situation was critical, and defeat seemed inevitable, as the Federal columns, which grew into vast proportions, rapidly advanced with cheers of victory. The woods and

 

  page 42  
fields were filled with their masses of infantry and well-equipped cavalry. It was then that General Johnston ordered the charge of his last available brigade.

 

As at Waterloo, the field of battle at Manassas was chiefly fought on a small plateau. Had Grouchy arrived two hours sooner than did Blucher, Napoleon would have won the battle and the map of Europe would have been changed. Unless Early should arrive in a few moments, Generals Johnston and Beau regard saw that the day was lost. Yet these gallant troops did not falter, but advanced against the hosts before them with yells that betokened victory; reckless, desperate, daring, impetuous men, who would not acknowledge defeat!

And now, far in the distance, they see the glint of flashing steel, as Early's brigade comes in view, having double-quicked nearly all the way from its original position six miles below the Stone bridge, far down on Bull Run. Placed in position just in the rear of the little army, they advanced to the field amid the boom of cannon and the enfilading fire of musketry. To their right, the left of the Confederate army was heavily engaged; in front they encountered the Federal skirmish line first, then formed in line of battle. A quarter of an hour later and the Federals would have flanked the Confederates, and the field would have been lost. Amid the welcoming cheers of the gallant troops on their right they advanced, with their colors flying, and held well forward that all might see that these flags were the stars and bars. They seemed fresh troops--did these gray-coats--as they quickly obeyed the command: "On right, by file, into line!" and formed in line of battle as if on dress-parade.

The men fell by scores; but their comrades pressed on over their fallen bodies and opened fire. The Confederate batteries were now in action all along the line, and the order

 

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was given to make a general charge. Already the attack of Beauregard in front had driven the Federals back, and, as Early's brigade charged their right and took them fairly in flank, the Federal lines broke and fled, and were driven like chaff before the wind. Vainly their officers sought to rally them.

 

The retreat became a stampede.

The stampede became a panic, and resembled the flight of Murad Bey with his 80,000 Mussulmans and Asiatic militia before the victorious Kleber.

The panic became a rout, and artillery horses fell dead upon each other, obstructing the flight of the frenzied troops. Caissons were overturned in the desperate flight, as the Federals were forced over the narrow plateau and driven into the fields, where the columns scattered and rushed pell-mell, a disorganized mob, toward Bull Run. The cavalry and light batteries pursued, and, far in the distance, retreating masses could be seen as the flying Federals turned toward the Potomac. The wounded asked for water. Ambulances went on the run to the battle field. Couriers flew with orders in hot haste over the hill and plain. Generals with their staffs galloped from hill to hill to overlook the movements of the troops, who were surging and swaying at double quick, and yelling like wild Indians as they drove back the enemy and broke their columns.

This bivouac of the dead was an awful scene.

One hurried to the branch for water; another rode to the rear for ambulances to bear away the wounded.

Surgeons were busy; the wounded were all along the line, and as one passed he saw the quivering flesh and arteries and the thigh-bones severed with the saw, and heard the agonized groans of those who were thus saved by being maimed for life.

 

  page 44  

As one poor fellow was attended to, and moved aside, the doctor wiped the perspiration from his brow, and hurriedly said, "Next!"

Excitement and victory smothered feeling during the battle, but now sympathy was busy; wounded men often talked, and even laughed and cried as the surgeons dressed their wounds. The Federal dead were so thick in some places that one could step from corpse to corpse.

On the summit of a knoll, where the fight had been deadliest, Hugh Leslie and Colonel Pierce found the body of their friend, Major Moyer, where they had seen him fall. The cannonading had ceased, but the smoke still hovered over the battle-field, and ambulances went slowly to and fro bearing off the wounded. His body was partly covered by the battle-flag, which he had wrested from the gallant Federal who had slain the color-bearer. The flag of the "Lone Star State" thus covered the Gray and the Blue. But a singular scene confronted them. Two men were in violent dispute over the body of their fallen friend, and were too much absorbed in their efforts to rob him to observe their approach. The German accent of one of these men showed that he had hardly been in the United States long enough to become naturalized. He was dressed in the Federal uniform. The other wore the gray uniform of the Southern army. The German was struggling with the other robber, who had torn open the coat of the fallen man and had taken therefrom a purse. Hardly had he done so when two pistols touched the heads of the robbers, and two determined faces greeted their eyes as they turned to see who the new-comers were.

The two villains had detected each other in the same pursuit, and had cast aside their weapons that each might

 

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know that the design of the other was to plunder the dead, not fight the living. Crime was the talisman that drew together two strangers wearing the uniform of the opposing armies. Neither of them had engaged in the battle; both of them had waited until night and flight had put an end to hostilities, and thus they formed an alliance. The German-Yankee fell on his knees and begged for mercy; the renegade was stoical as an Indian, while Colonel Pierce seized his ear and turned his head until his forehead touched the muzzle of his pistol. He then coolly remarked: "You are disposed to be dangerously familiar." His look was more that of stolid indifference than fear. Treachery vied with cruelty in that sinister face, and cunning shone in the glittering black eyes. His appearance indicated resolution, and his tall, angular figure was strong and lithe, while the stooping, round shoulders showed that this man had done hard labor somewhere.

 

"Who are you?" asked his captor.

"I am what letter-writers call your humble servant, and have great respect for--your pistol."

"An escaped convict?"

"No; a miner from the silver mines of Arizona."

"Who is he whom you have just robbed?"

"A very generous young rebel who, in settling his debts with this world, left to me this purse, signed by Thomas Moyer. It contains two checks for $2,500. Take the one drawn for $1,500 and turn loose my ear."

"What is your name? No more trifling, or I'll blow your brains out, you murderous dog!"

"Jonathan Ray, 20th Louisiana regiment, at your service," replied the man coolly."

"And his?" said Pierce, pointing to the prostrate form of Tom Moyer.

 

  page 46  

"Major Blank--blanked if I know, though he has a major's star on his coat."

"Put that purse and the checks where you found them. Hesitate, Jonathan Ray, and your life pays the forfeit."

The man obeyed.

"Now go!" said Pierce. "If I find you away from your regiment again I will have you tried and shot for the crime already committed."

The man gave one wild, incredulous stare, then ran rapidly down the hill, followed by his comrade, whom Hugh had likewise released, giving him a kick as he departed.

They now gently raised their friend, who, recognizing them, faintly pressed their hands. They bore him to a spring near by, and by bathing his head and moistening his parched lips, gradually revived him. Then, giving him some brandy, they were rejoiced to find that his pulse was more natural and his rest more comfortable.

"Hugh, go now for Dr. Battle, and tell him to send an ambulance here immediately," said Colonel Pierce. Without a moment's delay, Hugh went on his mission. They had left their horses tied to a tree at the foot of the hill, but now they were not to be seen. Evidently the robbers whom they had spared had taken them. No time was to be lost if Moyer was to be saved, and Hugh kept on his way on foot. After wandering sometime, he became conscious that he was lost, and did not know the direction of the camp.

The silent stars looked down upon the wounded, the dying and the dead, and the brave youth's heart was saddened by the spectacle of those rigid forms stilled in death, which, a few hours before, exulted in life and glowed with patriotic ardor.

From the point where he stood he could see the Henry House, where Mrs. Henry had been killed that day by the

 

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fire from the Federal side. She had been wounded twice in the house, and Hugh had aided the soldiers by whom she was taken down to the branch as a place of safety. Here she was struck again, and she was taken back to the house where she was finally killed, the house being riddled.

 

The moon lighted this ghastly scene, where forms of dead soldiers, the Gray and the Blue, lay as they had fallen in battle. Here and there were caissons overturned, and haversacks and cartridge-boxes littered the plateau. As Hugh neared the stream where the carnage had been most dreadful, a moan arrested his steps. He listened. Near him lay a group of Confederate and Federal dead, and underneath two of them was a wounded soldier, who feebly begged for a cup of water--"a drink of water before I die!" Hugh filled his hat with water and, returning, raised the head of the wounded soldier and gave him water.

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.

The wounded soldier was a youth and the water seemed to give him a new lease on life. His face was blood-stained and Hugh had not observed it particularly, his mind being too full of thoughts concerning Moyer. His friend might lose his life for this delay, caused by aiding a Federal soldier, yet not to have heeded his request would have been unworthy a soldier or a gentleman. Now, however, he must hurry, and he gently prepared to ease the soldier down again, first having removed the bodies which lay across his limbs. The hand of the soldier tightened its grasp on his arm, and a voice said, in a strangely familiar accent, "God bless you, Hugh! don't you know me?" To Hugh's amazement the lieutenant proved to be a former class-mate, Charles Barnum! He bathed his head tenderly, and washed away the blood which had coagulated upon his face and head. The

 

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ball had passed around the skull without fracturing it, but he was also wounded in the calf of the leg by a minnie ball which broke the small (fibula) bone, and badly fractured the larger one. The ball had flattened and had come out sideways, severing muscles, tendons, veins and nerves, and hence Barnum was very seriously wounded. Taking off his coat, Hugh placed it under his head, that he might have greater comfort. He then told Barnum of Moyer's probably fatal wound, and of his mission in search of a surgeon.

 

"Never mind me, Hugh; save Tom Moyer," said the noble youth.

"I'll save you both; cheer up, Barnum. I'll soon be back," and he was off again.

He did not go far; as he entered the wood, he heard steps behind him, and, drawing his revolver, turned with the command, "halt!" He had scarcely uttered the word when a shot, fired from behind a tree in front of him, struck him in the head and put an end to his humane mission.

The robbers, after concealing the horses, had followed Hugh. They had seen him minister to the wants of a Federal officer; had waited until he had entered the wood, intending to murder him by knocking him down and cutting his throat. They did not wish to excite Pierce's suspicions by firing a gun, for they intended to kill them in detail in order to get possession of the checks. When Hugh heard the step of the German who intended to strike him from behind, he stopped and before he could well draw his weapon, he had been shot by the man whom he had spared! Pierce was watching the sleeping form of Moyer when the shot was fired; creeping forward to the highest point of the hill he looked forth. The moon now shone brightly; he saw two men rush from the wood to where they had tied the

 

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horses, mount them and ride toward him. They rode slowly, cautiously, but Pierce finally recognized the horses and the truth flashed upon him in an instant. Hurrying back, he crossed the brook, and stationed himself behind a large oak tree so as to be able to fire upon any one who approached from that side. The forest was on every other side.

 

He waited a half hour, but could neither see nor hear any one; Moyer was still sleeping, Pierce having placed his coat over him. He stepped forth to take a new position, and as he did so a ball whizzed past his head; as the report came from the rear, he turned and firing quickly and at random, for the smoke had not yet cleared away, his ball struck the Dutchman, killing him just as he was in the act of aiming his gun again. Rushing forward he stumbled and fell. The fall saved his life, for the other robber had taken deadly aim and fired just as he stumbled; the ball passed over him. As the smoke passed away he saw the Yankee, for he now wore the Federal uniform, mounted on his horse and fired upon him. Seeing that his comrade was killed, Jonathan Ray fled untouched, Pierce emptying another barrel at him as he rode off. Moyer, aroused by the firing and delirious still, shouted: "Hurrah for Pierce! now, boys, charge!" then sank again exhausted by the effort. His wounds bled again; his countenance became pallid as death, and his extremities again grew cold. As Pierce knelt by him, moments seemed hours, and imagination conjured up new horrors. His conscience reproached him, too, for having sent Hugh off alone. Had he sent him to his grave?

These thoughts were arrested by the approach of wheels; the ambulance of the Eighth regiment had come in search of their wounded. It was the work of a moment to place

----

 

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Moyer in the ambulance, and taking his seat by him, he held his head in his lap as they moved slowly off.

 

As they neared the wood where the shot was fired, they saw men bearing off a wounded man on a litter. Pierce halted them and asked what regiment they belonged to and who they were bearing off? "The Fifth Texas. We came out to look for our major, Major Moyer. We found the hero of the great battle lying here desperately wounded, and we are going to take care of him first."

"Your major is here," said Colonel Pierce, hurriedly getting out of the ambulance and going to the litter. He looked earnestly at the body and now the strong man wept. There lay the pallid features of Hugh Leslie turned to the sky. The blood still trickled from the wound in the head; the form seemed stiffening in death; the boy-soldier seemed sleeping the sleep that knows no waking on earth!

The morrow dawned--a bright summer day. The birds in the green trees were twitting and singing the sweetest carols of summer. The daisies and violets seemed never lovelier or sweeter. The earth seemed at peace. The dead seemed restored; the living to die. Hugh Leslie, whom all thought would die, had rallied, and had insisted that Barnum should be sought for, and now they were lying near each other. Major Moyer died that night.

Chapter 7

 

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CHAPTER VII.
AT "INTERVALE."

"Mr. Potts, do you know Captain Latané?" asked Clara Leslie.

"I am acquainted with him; I don't know him," replied Wellington Napoleon Potts, a young man, aged twenty-five.

The occasion was a "Reception" at the hospitable summer home of Colonel Leslie in commencement week. The scene was the ball-room at "Intervale." It was believed that Potts had entered the Military Institute in order to avoid going into the army, for already the word "skulker" had been coined.

"That is strange," replied Clara; "every one speaks so highly of Captain Latané."

"I think he is the most arrogant and pretentious fellow I ever knew; he expresses a contempt for me because I have entered the Institute instead of enlisting in the army, while remaining here himself. I predict that he will never go into the army."

"Do you consider that a disgrace, Mr. Potts?"

"I do, when a man feels it his duty to go; for my part, I do not think so, and I shall not enlist until forced to do so. What do you think about it?"

Clara, astonished at this statement, said: "It seems to me to be incumbent upon every gentleman. But pardon me, Mr. Potts, you are our guest, and I did not mean to be rude."

Potts bowed, but said nothing; for, without intending it,

 

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Clara, in promenading with Potts, had approached the place where stood her father and Henry Latané, and Colonel Leslie said:

 

"I am glad you have joined us, Clara, for I wish you to add your persuasions to mine, and induce Latané to remain at the Institute until he graduates."

"Are you going in to the army, Captain Latané?" she asked, speaking directly to Latané; for her thoughts dwelt upon the remark just made by Potts.

"He has been elected Captain of the "Light Guards," the company which his father led to Mexico," replied her father, "and will leave for Virginia, going first to Etowah to-morrow. In spite of this, I do not think his duty to his mother, or his responsibilities as a slave-holder, will justify his going until it becomes more imperative than it is now."

Latané smiled as he said: "My resignation has been tendered to the Superintendent, and by him will be accepted to-morrow. I will leave to-morrow night." Then with careless grace he asked: "Miss Clara, can I have the next dance?"

"Certainly," she replied, "if Mr. Potts will release me."

Potts, who still lingered near them, bowed affirmatively, but an expression of sinister malice darkened his face, while Latané's beamed with generous good nature.

It was "the Cuban." As they danced this spirited dance they were the observed of the observers, for never had Latané seemed more joyous, as his light-hearted laughter responded to the silvery tones of his lovely companion. A great load seemed lifted from his heart -- at last his wish was realized--the army--honors, duty and inclination beckoned him on with inspiring wand. The various groups promenaded while the band discoursed from the inspiring airs of Tannhauser at the conclusion of this dance.

 

  page 53  

"I am glad you administered that rebuke to Potts, Miss Clara; I would not have missed hearing it and seeing him wince under it for worlds."

"But I did not mean that you should hear it, and I did not mean to say it to a guest in my own home; but, really, Captain Latané, he astonished me so much that I was hardly conscious of what I said."

"Don't let it worry you; it is as easy to pierce the hide of a rhinoceros with a hair-pin as to wound that skulker's sensibilities. Indeed, it is high time that every gentleman should leave the Institute, whether he goes to the front or not, for it is becoming a refuge for such fellows as Potts, to whom I have spoken much more plainly than you did."

"Who is Mr. Potts, Captain Latané? I never heard of the name before."

Neither he nor Clara knew that Potts was standing behind a pillar on the veranda and heard every word they uttered.

"Potts," replied Latané, "is what savants call a rara avis, and what I call my bête noire." I am really sorry for one who answers at roll-call to the name of Wellington Napoleon Potts! I never think of him without recalling a criticism of the late Judge S: 'I am ready to maintain against all comers and goers, that a man with his name can never rise in the world. A union of the grandiloquent and the mean is a never-failing source of ridicule, and a fellow whose appellation is Wellington, or Napoleon, or both, topped off with Potts, is destined to be somewhat of a butt in his passage through the world. He feels the ridicule of his name and cowers and sinks under it, or he takes the only other alternative and glories in it. Either turn is fatal to true elevation of character. A great name, when coupled with a man or a dog who is not great, dwarfs him into absolute

 

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meanness, and there is a curious tendency in men and dogs to conform to the estimate which the world has of them.' I have a pack of fox hounds at home, and one is a very poor, contemptible dog; I shall change his name and call him Potts."

 

Clara laughed, for he spoke in a tone of raillery, and replied:

"But you have not told me who he is; I did not ask you what he was. Now, ordinarily, it would be self-condemnation in me to ask you who my father's guest is; but you know at these commencement parties one meets everybody."

"All that I know about him is that he lives at Pottsville, which, you know, is a suburban manufacturing village near Etowah, and his father owns the factory and the village. His father came from New England, when a young man, as a mechanic, and was employed as an overseer in my father's cotton mill. Later, he became superintendent, and finally amassed sufficient money to build his own mill. He is now one of the wealthiest men in the State, and Wellington Napoleon Potts has been his book-keeper for several years, and is his only son and sole heir. Financially, you see, he is quite a parti."

The angry frown and look of malicious hate on the eavesdropper's face, as he heard this criticism of himself, was modified now by a smile of self-conceit as Potts heard his wealth described also.

In spite of the estimate given of his character, Potts had decided to make this proud young beauty his wife, if it took him ten years to do it.

He was animated to this resolution, not by sentiment or love, but by cool calculation. His unique ambition, next to making money, was to raise himself and family in the

 

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social scale, and be received in the best circles of society, to which he had hither to been debarred in spite of his wealth.

 

"She will have a cool hundred thousand dollars, besides niggers!" said Potts to himself, as he turned away to avoid the approach of the couple, who seemed too much interested in themselves, however, to notice any others.

"I would not marry a 'skulker' to save his life!" said Clara, "even if he had all the wealth of the Astors and Crœsus united."

"Then I have no chance," said Latané. "It has been months since Hugh went to Virginia, and I am still here."

"You should not speak thus, Captain Latané, even in jest; you may be criticised by people who do not know, as I do, how anxious you are to go 'to the front,' as you express it, and you have only remained here because your duty to your mother demands it."

"Who told you that?"

"No one, but I know that it is so. I have heard Hugh speak of you too often to doubt your gallantry."

"I thank you, Miss Clara; you have looked into my heart clearly. It is indeed a hard trial to me, and I am almost convinced that it is no longer my duty to remain here. I appeal to you to look into my heart still deeper, and read there all that I would say to you to-night, but for your youth and my brief acquaintance with you since you were a child. Strange mystery, is it not, that I, who have always been told that we were destined for each other, should this night discover that the idea which I have laughed at is now my dearest wish? To you I ask the question: shall I go or remain, as your father suggests, to protect my mother and those dependent upon her and upon me?"

She--recognizing intuitively that that look and voice,

 

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whose earnest, trembling tones could not be counterfeited, meant a loyal love for her--said, while her eyes filled with tears, "I ought not to advise you; I am but a simple, inexperienced girl; my opinion is not worth having, but if I were your mother I would say, go!"

 

They stood upon the rustic bridge; the massive vines which clustered over the trellis that arched overhead and hung down from the sides of the bridge concealed them from the laughing groups which thronged the paths and graveled walks about the lawn.

"I knew it," he answered, "I knew it," and ere she could reply he had borne her unresisting hand to his lips. What might have followed was prevented by the sound of clattering hoofs as a horseman rapidly approached up the winding road through the lawn to the house. Leaping from the panting animal, the rider handed to Latané a telegram addressed to Colonel Hugh Leslie.

They entered the parlors and found the old gentleman in his happiest mood, explaining to a lady the beauties of a rare specimen of porcelain which he had brought from Dresden. "This, madam, is a treasure; the painting is of exquisite delicacy of coloring. It is by Bracquemonde, who, I think, has even excelled the ancients in painting on porcelain." Just at this moment, touching his arm, Latané handed him the telegram. Rumors of the battle at Manassas had reached the town, though it was not thought that the regiment to which Hugh Leslie belonged was engaged, and, instantly divining the serious nature of this telegram, he retired from the room, Clara following.

A moment later a fall was heard as Clara had swooned, on hearing its contents. The telegram stated that Hugh Leslie

 

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had been dangerously wounded and had been carried to Richmond.

 

It was worded as follows: "

 

 

Richmond, Va., July 22d, 1861.

"Your son, Hugh Leslie, Jr., greatly distinguished himself yesterday. Surgeon Battle reports that Lieutenant Leslie was dangerously wounded. Come to Richmond at once. Inquire at the General Hospital or at the War Department.


M. B. Pierce.
 

"

 

Colonel Leslie sank in his chair, overcome by the terrible news.

Clara swooned as she read the telegram. The house of revelry was changed into one of grief. The guests departed.

It was now that Potts began his systematic work of knavery. His object was two-fold: first, to thwart Henry Latané, and next to win Clara Leslie's fortune by marrying her himself.

No lawyer ever prepared a brief more carefully and systematically than did Potts his scheming against the peace of mind of Henry Latané.

The old Scot's maxim: "Get thee the money, my son, honestly if thee can, but get the money," he reverenced. Emulating a prominent politician of that day, he considered all men purchasable, and valued only such friends as could be bought and bound by ties of self-interest. And, like that famous politician, he would leave no stone unturned to overthrow and ruin even the humblest bailiff who opposed his plans or thwarted his ends in any way.

Chapter 8

 

  page   58    
CHAPTER VIII.
THE CAPITAL.

Richmond was crowded with troops, officers and office-seekers. Regiments were being marched to their quarters as fast as they arrived from the South. Orderlies galloped through the streets on their errands, and congressmen and ladies mingled with the throng which hurried through the principal thoroughfares. In those early regiments graybearded men marched side-by-side with youths and boys hardly in their "teens."

The hardy mountaineer with his trusty rifle laughed at the raillery of the youth at his side, fresh from the mercantile counter, or ridiculed the fancy boots of some parlor-knight who rode, nevertheless, like a veteran cavalryman.

Aides-de-camp, with their glittering uniforms and polished accoutrements, their huge boots reaching nearly to their waists and enclosing their pantaloons, dashing the Texas rowels into the flanks of their steeds, hurried past as if the fate of the country depended on the celerity of their movements. Cavaliers and gay young Southern girls--scions of the "F. F. V.'s" - go dashing past to view the evening dress-parade of the brigade which had so distinguished itself at Manassas. As they pass the General Hospital their gayety is moderated, the speed of their horses is slackened, and hushed voices are eloquent with patriotic meaning.

The heroes of that grand battle are lying there, and the groans of the wounded are heard without the building. In the rear, stretched on tables, lie the desperately wounded, to

 

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whom chloroform has been administered, and the scalpel of the surgeon is busy amputating limbs and casting them aside with as much sang-froid as if these were victims of the abattoir, not men and youths from the proudest families of the land.

 

Side-by-side were ranged the cots throughout the length and breadth of the vast building, and side-by-side lay the factory operative and the heir to a wealthy estate, each a private soldier, each desperately wounded; for, in those gallant days of genuine patriotism, the wealthiest and the most cultured were the first to enlist, and they were singularly free from the desire to rank their fellows, or claim precedence on account of their wealth.

The plowman left his plowshare standing in the field; the mechanic put up his tools for more peaceful times; the professor, the lawyer, the physician, the minister, the student exchanged the library for the bivouac and the battlefield. There were private soldiers, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, who refused to receive any pay from the government.

Involuntarily, it seemed, the gentlemen of this gay cavalcade took off their hats, and the ladies bowed, as a distinguished looking old gentleman, accompanied by a beautiful young girl, stopped and scanned the portal of a large building as if in doubt as to whether it was the place he was seeking. The girl touched his arm to recall his pre-occupied mind just as the ladies and their escorts, divining the object of his search, had saluted them. With native dignity and stately courtesy he lifted his hat to return the unexpected salutation, but resumed immediately his observations. He was seeking to find a son who had been wounded at Manassas. The wind blew his white hair to and fro as

 

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he ascended the steps of the hospital, armed with the necessary authority to enter. The surgeon met them at the door and the face of the kind-hearted physician told them that Hugh's recovery was very doubtful, if not impossible.

 

"Is he conscious, doctor?" asked Colonel Leslie.

"No, he is under the influence of opiates?"

"Suppose they are discontinued?"

"Delirium would ensure and, perhaps, result fatally. For the present good nursing is our best auxiliary, and we have the best in the world here."

"Let me nurse my poor, darling brother!" said Clara with an appealing look to the surgeon.

"It would be the worst thing you could do for him, my dear young lady. I appreciate your feelings, but any excitement now will be fatal to your brother."

Clara sank in a chair and sobbed as if her heart would break.

"Can we not see him, doctor?" asked her father.

The surgeon hesitated, then said: "I will not take the responsibility of refusing, but I caution you, as you value his life, to preserve the utmost quiet; it will not be well if Lieutenant Leslie recognizes you."

Then he slowly preceded them through the hospital. There were hundreds in that building, and the scene, amid the groans of the wounded and the anguish of the dying, attended by the patient care and watchfulness of those white-bonneted Samaritans, the Sisters of Charity, was enough to overcome the stoutest heart. In the quietest corner, near an open window, slept two youths, one dressed in gray, the other in blue.

The first was Hugh Leslie, the second Charles Barnum the latter dressed in the Federal uniform. Had they not

 

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respected Hugh's request that Barnum should be rescued and treated just as he was, the excitement would have killed him. Both were under the influence of morphine. Hugh's face and hands were very pale, his pulse very feeble, himself very quiet. Barnum, in spite of an uglier wound, seemed stronger. Hugh's lips moved, a faint flush came into his cheeks as, half-raising his form, in delirium he uttered a cheer. The gallant boy was fighting the battle over again.

 

Clara, with irresistible impulse, forgetting her promise, knelt at his side and kissed his pallid brow and lips, and smoothed the hair on that pale, white forehead very carefully that she might not hurt him.

Hugh smiled a sweet, gentle smile and murmured feebly: "Clara, Clara, my gentle sister!" then sank into unconsciousness.

The surgeon lifted her up and drew her away in spite of her violent sobs which seemed about to break her loving heart. Her father, as he neared the door, could only utter: "My poor boy, my poor boy!" The doctor told them that Hugh's life depended on their absenting themselves until the crisis had passed, assuring them that he would warn them in time whatever might be Hugh's fate.

America had no "Red Cross"1. associations during the civil war, nor had the confederation of the Red Cross been established in Europe at the time of which we write. The necessity for such an organization had been suggested by the author of "The Souvenir de Solferino," who devised a plan to "insure efficient and systematized aid to the wounded in time of war," having observed the necessity of such an organization at the battle of Solferino. Had there been such an international organization, the terrible sufferings

 

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of wounded prisoners in Federal and Confederate prison would have been avoided.

 

The Red Cross knows no national or state lines, knows no man as a foeman, but alleviates alike the sufferings of both friend and foe.

When the Franco-Prussian war was declared, "it was found that Austria had 2,170,000 francs and a vast supply of sanitary material in its possession, besides a bureau for maintaining correspondence in eleven different languages."

No sign of the Red Cross floated over any hospital, or ambulance, or building, or tent on any Confederate battlefield. The magnificent charities lavished by neutral nations to succor the wounded and sick, irrespective of the banner under which they fought, were denied to the soldiers of the Confederacy. They had nothing but their own strong arms, dauntless courage, and peerless self-sacrifice to sustain them in battling for the right of Home Rule, with which right they had never parted.

Their ports were blockaded; almost the entire adult male population were "enlisting for the war;" no bounties were offered to any foreigners, like the Hessians of Revolutionary times, who contributed their enormous quota to the ranks of the Federal armies; no friendly nation lent its aid; but despite all this, the cause of humanity was not neglected, for in every patrician household, as in the humbler hamlets of the poor, noble women lent their services to alleviate the sufferings of Confederate soldiers.

Affection outwits the shrewdest vigilance when the life of a loved one depends upon its efforts. It was not long before a new "Sister" was admitted in the hospital. The Mother-Superior had yielded to Clara's solicitations to be permitted temporarily to assume the garb worn at the Convent of the Sacred Heart.

 

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"Sister Eloise" now wore the conventional dress, of the spotless order, which has proved such a great blessing to humanity.

Nothing but a case of life and death would have justified such a breach of Catholic customs, but "Father Ryan," the poet-priest of the South, urged it, and it was done; for here was a pure young life which might be moulded, through her affections, into accepting this faith and this garb for life.

The suffering beggar, even the anathematized tramp, is turned away from other doors, but when he knocks at the door of "the hospital presided over by the Sisters," a voice bids him enter.

An humble cot, a crust of bread, a cup of water--these at least he may have, and, when the morrow dawns, prayers for his conversion and redemption are offered up, however poor his station, however humble his garb.

Hence this charity to Clara. One thing was enjoined: she was to keep her face veiled, and she was required in all respects to conform to the customs of the order as if this was her novitiate.

As a Catholic, the Mother-Superior was perhaps wrong.

As a Protestant, Clara was perhaps wrong.

As a Christian and human being, who will say that either of them was wrong?

For many days Hugh's condition was critical in the extreme and without definite change.

Barnum was at times delirious; at other times self-possessed, quiet, but observant of what transpired around him. Sister Eloise nursed these two. Barnum alluded to her as "La Petite Soeur."

His eyes would follow her graceful figure as if it was the vision of an angel soon to pass from his sight. His ears

 

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listened longingly to the soft tones of her sweet voice as if it was divine music. He seemed to relish no food which was not brought to him by "La Petite Soeur." There was some thing in her gentle manner and light foot-step indescribably touching. His quick ear seemed ever eager to catch the sound of that footstep, and his fine face would light up with a glad smile whenever he heard its soft approach. Clara had never heard of Barnum, and, while she felt much interest in one who seemed to be so much attached to Hugh, she evinced no idle curiosity. She could not understand how two youths, evidently in opposing armies, should be such devoted friends, for they certainly seemed more like brothers than enemies. She seemed so natural, so placid and calm yet withal so gentle, that Surgeon Battle did not dream that he had been so cleverly outwitted. One day Hugh suddenly rallied, and, recognizing Barnum, spoke to him, expressing a desire to see him soon restored to health.

 

"Do not worry about me, Hugh; I am doing famously well. My condition will depend on yours; so cheer up, my friend; I have been paroled and will go home with you soon."

Hugh smiled, then, turning his head, saw a kneeling figure by the side of his cot; he got a glimpse of that sweet face just as Clara had clasped her hands in prayer, and had turned her head to avoid recognition.

"Hush!" murmured Hugh, half dozing again; "hush, Barnum; wait a moment until I can dream again; I dreamed that I saw my sister."

Hugh closed his eyes, the doctor drew near, and feeling his pulse, motioned to the "sister" to sit by his side and fan his brow while he was absent from the room. The crisis was now at hand. Surgeon Battle had now gone to the anteroom where Colonel Leslie passed his days and nights. He had

 

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decided to risk all upon the effects of a joyful reünion of that little family.

 

By-and-by Hugh opened his eyes, looked at the sweet face bent near his own, smiled and gently pressing her hand, he uttered these words: "Thank God, it is my precious sister Clara! Clara! Clara!"

To kneel beside his cot, still holding that thin, wan hand, whose warmest clasp had ever been given to her; to caress and kiss that face of her brother as only an idolized sister can--all this was the work of a moment, for her intuition told her that the critical time had arrived. Barnum, leaning on his elbow, witnessed this touchingly beautiful scene, the pathos of which seemed to enter his very heart. He comprehended all now. Not so the others who had seen, but had not heard, and who looked with amazement at this unorthodox conduct of a Sister of Charity! The sisters were shocked to see one of their Order, even though she was only a "Novice," thus caress and embrace a man! Silence prevailed throughout the hall, for the Mother-Superior had been from cot to cot urging all the wounded soldiers to suppress their groans. Hugh, recognizing Clara, placed his thin arm around her neck, drew her face down to his, kissed her time and again, and wept for joy!

"Send instantly for Miss Clara, Colonel Leslie," said Surgeon Battle; "the time for a reünion is at hand; Hugh will be saved or he will die in the next twenty-four hours."

"Clara is here. Let us go at once," said Col. Leslie.

"Where is she?" asked the surgeon.

"She has been at Hugh's bed-side constantly."

----

 

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The surgeon understood him now. "Come!" he said. The venerable gentleman, now full of anxiety, stood near his son's cot. Clara raised her face with its happy glow and happier tears saying: "He is saved, father!" Col. Leslie with assumed cheerfulness, taking his son's hand and with the other arm supporting his form, which Hugh, by a great effort, had raised to a sitting posture, said: "Hugh, my boy, I've found the deserter at last and the doctor says I can arrest you."

It would be vain to attempt to describe the succeeding days, when all the conscious inmates of that crowded hospital awaited with intense interest Hugh's convalescence Clara was greeted by those wounded soldiers as a veritable princess among her loyal subjects; for never did an opportunity to say a kind word or offer some delicate attention escape this pure-hearted, lovely child-woman. A week ago she was but a timid, inexperienced school-girl; now she seemed to have at one step passed into young womanhood. Her figure was faultless, and grace was as natural as the innate refinement which characterized every word or movement. Hugh's conscious intervals were brief and rare; and to Barnum, who had rapidly improved, fell the task of cheering her with hopes of Hugh's speedy convalescence. At Col. Pierce's earnest solicitation, this young Federal soldier had been placed in the Confederate Hospital, a civilian's dress having been procured for him the day after Col. Leslie's arrival, that he might not be criticised as a Federal soldier. All thought he would die.

He was now so much better that it became Dr. Battle's duty to report that he was physically able to be assigned to

 

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his quarters in prison. The order for his removal had been prepared, when Hugh Leslie suddenly grew worse, and the crisis was too near at hand to admit of any sudden excitement as the removal of Barnum would have been. The order was therefore delayed a few days, and finally he was released on parole at Col. Leslie's request. In two days Hugh died. Before his death he was conscious for a long time, and after leaving various bequests, among them a legacy to his servant, Bingo, a negro youth about his age, who had been all his life, as had his parents, a slave of Col. Leslie.

 

Then, placing Clara's hand in Barnum's, he said in clear tones: "Barnum, I am going to die--yes, I am dying. No one can tell how this war will end. It may be in your power to befriend my poor sister, my dear old father--remember." The sobs of Bingo became so audible that he had to be led away. The father held Hugh's left hand; to him he endeavored to speak, but the rattle in his throat proclaimed dissolution and all that was audible was: "It is the fate of war; I am not afraid to die. Take care of Barnum!" Thus he died. And far to the South, in her home, fanned by the breezes from the Gulf of Mexico, where the orange and the lemon trees meet the banner-like leaves of the banana, his lovely fiancée, read the crushing news.


Notes

  • 1. See "The Red Cross," by H. H. S. Thompson.

Chapter 9

 

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CHAPTER IX.
CONCERNING THE "MOUND BUILDERS."

The alchemy of time is the panacea of life, and Colonel Leslie and Clara, after months of grief at the loss of son and brother, did all in their power to make the time of the convalescing soldier pass as pleasantly as possible.

Lieutenant Barnum, a prisoner on parole, was permitted to visit Colonel Leslie's summer home, "Intervale," a lovely home in a picturesque part of the Piedmont region. His journey South had caused his wound to bleed anew, and he had to experience the same hospital treatment again, so that months elapsed before he approached convalescence.

Now, however, he was enabled to throw his crutches aside, and his conscience admonished him that he should resign his office in the Union army or return to his duties as a soldier. To do this meant to fight these kind friends who had saved his life, and the sentiment of patriotism had a strong struggle for the mastery. He had learned to appreciate the character of Colonel Leslie as the noblest he had ever known among men, and a stronger sentiment than patriotism touched his heart with the gentlest impulse as he thought of the fair young Samaritan, Clara Leslie.

Colonel Leslie was standing in his library one morning, examining closely an image of curious character, as Barnum entered to announce that he was ready to carry out an adventure planned between them, that the young Northerner might gain a correct idea of the practical workings of slavery.

"I came in to tell you that I am ready for the interview

 

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with old Zeke, though I hardly think I can interest 'Our Brother in Black,' as Dr. Paygood calls the negro," said Barnum.

 

"I shall be much interested, at any rate, to hear of your views as to slavery after you have 'interviewed,' as you call it, my old gardener. You will have to disguise yourself well to deceive Zeke," said Colonel Leslie, laughing.

"A new chef d'œuvre, Colonel?" asked Barnum, examining the image.

"Yes, and the most interesting one in my little collection. It was brought to me yesterday from one of the largest Tumuli in this State, on my upper plantation."

"That is near the river, is it not?"

"Yes; you have doubtless seen it; it is not far distant by rail, and, if you like, we will go there to-morrow."

"I have an engagement to go to the mountain with Miss Clara to-morrow."

"Ah! well, then, some other day will do. See these hieroglyphics, they seem to be Egyptian, but they are doubtless of Aztec origin."

"The 'Mound Builders' were not Indians, then, in your opinion?" asked Barnum.

"They certainly belonged to an entirely different race. The American Indians know nothing, either from tradition or otherwise, of the Mound Builders. There are innumerable historical links connecting the ancient Mexicans with Egypto-Indo races. Marine shells that abound in Hindoostan, but are unknown here, are found in the American Mounds. We are in the habit of calling this the New World. It is certain, thanks to these earthen pyramidal mounds, that two races, as separate and distinct as the

 

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native of Hindoostan and the American Indian, inhabited this continent long before the conquest of Mexico. It is almost equally certain that the Indian, so-called, is the more modern of the two as regards American settlement."

 

Barnum examined the idol to which his host alluded, and there plainly to be seen were characters that resembled hieroglyphics. "The theory," he said, "is a new one to me, and of course I cannot express an opinion, but this ugly little idol does indicate that it was not the Indian nor his progenitors who placed them there. What evidence have you as to the antiquity of these mounds?"

"Go with me and see the trees of vast size that are growing on these ancient mounds. The number of annular layers around them demonstrate their great antiquity. Many of the trees are probably five hundred years old. But the most convincing fact is that the skeletons found in these mounds are often entire and well preserved, and the earth around them is dry and compact. Now, the skeletons found in Great Britain, having an undoubted antiquity of eighteen hundred years, are greatly decomposed. It is, therefore, supposed that the age of most of the monuments built by the 'Mound Builders' is two thousand years."

"But I have heard," said Barnum, "that a cross was found on the pinnacle of the 'Temple of the Sun' at Cuzco, and that temple was built by the people who built these great mounds probably. If that is true it will show that the religion of the descendants at least of the 'Mound Builders' had a knowledge of Christianity, and yet this temple is a very ancient one"

"Mistakes have arisen," replied Colonel Leslie, "about that discovery in Yucatan; also from the triune vessel found

 

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in one of the mounds in Ohio, which seemed to indicate a knowledge of the Trinity. Really it indicates their Hindoo origin."

 

"In what way?" said Barnum, taking a seat and evidently much interested.

"The symbol of the cross is older than Christianity," said Colonel Leslie. "It was the emblem of the goddess, Astarte. It was found on one of the bas-reliefs at Pompeii, and the early Christians knew that it was a sacred emblem among Pagan nations. The Hindoos often wear a cross appended to a rosary, and Brahma is often represented as holding one in his hands. The devotions of the Ascetics are still made by counting their beads, the rosary being still used in Thibet and China. The Tartars carry crosses, and the Mongols regard it as sacred, and it is seen in the Pagodas. Copper crosses and necklaces of beads have been found on skeletons found in American Mounds, but they do not indicate, as many suppose, that the Mound Builders had any knowledge of Christianity. The Temples of the Sun at Cuzco, Queretaro, Mizteca, Tepique, and Trianquiztepec, are celebrated for their great crosses. It is owing to traditions, then, that the Aztecs, imbued with the same superstition that made the Patagonians tattoo their foreheads with a figure of a cross, worshipped crosses in wood and stone."

"I am thankful that opportunity has favored me with this instructive conversation. I can realize now that the Smithsonian Institute is but the beginning of American investigation"

"That is true; the National Museum should contain mummies from the caves of Kentucky, as well as from Peru and Egypt. Museums constitute the true 'Kindergarten'

 

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for the masses. If the brain was extracted from the Kentucky or Peruvian mummies by the nostrils, we know whence their ancestors came, for it was a custom peculiar to the Tyrians."

 

"Well, where do you think the Indians came from?" asked Barnum.

"The American Indian is a different type of the Red race, just as the copper-colored Bushmen of South Africa differ from the negroes of Congo, or the natives of the Queen of Sheba's country. The books written to prove their descent from one of the lost tribes of Israel are refuted by a simple physiological fact: how can bearded Hebrew ancestors have descendants who, to a man, though scattered throughout this continent, are beardless? Neither have the American Indians any traditions linking them either with the Hebrews or with the Mound Builders.

"A lieutenant in the United States Navy, who is a distant relative of mine, was with Commodore Wilkes during his four years' cruise, beginning in 1839, coasting the Pacific Islands as well as Asia and Africa. He stated to me that this subject was one to which he gave the closest attention. The conclusion arrived at was that the American Indian and the Malay were one and the same race, the latter having been changed by circumstances of time and place. They bear a striking resemblance to each other, whether seen in Canada, Florida, Peru, or Brazil."

"I am glad," he continued, "that you take an interest in such subjects, because in this country investigations of this nature must be conducted chiefly by individuals and at their own expense. Our government"--At this remark, Barnum could not repress a smile, which Colonel Leslie

 

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noticed by adding, "Excuse me; your government, I should have said; it will be time enough to criticise our government when we become independent. The Government of the United States, then, has scarcely begun its investigations as to the Mound Builders. But should you go to Boston, that most enlightened of American cities, you will have an opportunity of comparing some images and vases, collected from the mounds on the Etowah, which I have sent to the Museum of Fine Arts there, with the Hay collection which forms nearly all the Egyptian department in the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston."

 

"Who was Hay, and where did he get his collection?" asked Barnum.

"To answer that question may seem egotistical. While Clara was at school in Geneva, Switzerland, I visited the principal Museums in Europe, and became much interested in Etruscan antiquities and in the fragments of Egyptian art, which had been excavated in Egypt by Drovette, Salt, Hay, Belzoni and others, and by them sold for enormous sums to crowned heads and wealthy virtuosi. In the past hundred years the Egyptian galleries of European Museums were thus enriched. I became so much interested that, last year, I went to Egypt myself and found there the noblest-minded investigator I ever met. His object was not to make money, but to restore the lost links of history. His name is Auguste Mariette, and he is still there prosecuting his studies and work.

"Together we followed the line of the obelisk avenue, where he had unburied the temple ruins, thus laying bare an unparalleled profusion of inscribed stones, columns, bas-reliefs,

 

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obelisks and works of sculpture wonderful to behold. This exquisite specimen is from there."

 

He had turned to another cabinet and had taken the object he referred to as he spoke: "Now see these characters, or hieroglyphics, and examine the characters on this image, found, last week in one of the great mounds on my plantation. It is made of silver ore and must have been brought from Mexico. Who were the 'Mound Builders?' Why this resemblance to some of the Egyptian treasures that have been buried under the sands of Egypt, perhaps, for a thousand years?"

"I notice," said Barnum, "that the palm of the right hand of the image from the Etowah Mound is open, while the other is inverted; is that usual?"

"No. I never saw one like it in that respect. Zeke says it is held out for money, and I think the old darkey's theory is as sensible as any that can be advanced. It was probably designed to receive alms."

"Before I go, let me ask you how you became so much interested in such investigations? The subject is full of interest! but few Americans have the leisure to prosecute it," said Barnum.

"Few Americans take the leisure, you mean. Of all people on earth, I think our people the most illogical in their mad pursuit of wealth. The daily newspaper seems to satisfy their intellectual desires, and it is only the chosen few who enjoy music and the arts. We do not give enough time to recreation in America. The country is new, and the poorer classes, especially where slavery prevails, have very few opportunities to enjoy, and at the same time improve themselves."

 

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"You do not speak like a slave-holder, Colonel," said Barnum; "that expression sounds like the opinion of a New Englander."

Placing his hand on Barnum's shoulder, Col. Leslie said: "My young friend, I am not a slave-holder from choice, and there are thousands, like myself, who would be more than pleased to live, had Providence so ordained it, where slavery had never set its seal. It is something for which we are not responsible; but the welfare of our slaves, as far as it is in our power to promote it, is something for which we are responsible. The negroes in America are but a century removed from savages, and yet they have progressed more rapidly, in all that pertains to civilization in one hundred years under our mild system of slavery in the Southern States of America, than in one thousand years in any other country on the globe. The slavery here is a vast improvement over that to which they were accustomed in Africa.

"It is an unfortunate system for the 'poor whites,'" suggested Barnum.

"Yes, the effect of slavery upon the social condition of the class known as 'poor whites' here is deplorable. There is little here to elevate the taste of the white laboring man, and make him aspire to rise above his surroundings; nothing in our cities like the Kensington Museum or Sydenham Palace in London, or the Cooper Union and Free Reading Rooms of New York city. Of course, however, such amusements would not interest 'semi-civilized negroes.'"

"Then you do not mean to have your remark concerning the social condition of your 'poor class' applied to the negroes here, although they constitute the greater part of your poorer class?" replied Barnum.

 

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"No; for our negroes would not enjoy or appreciate the pleasures afforded to Europeans accustomed for centuries to the highest civilization. Take Paris for example. I do not remember having seen but one negro while there last, and my sojourn was of six months' duration."

'I am curious to know what he was doing," said Barnum

Colonel Leslie laughed heartily at this remark as he recalled the incident. "He was waltzing at the Closerie de Lilas with quite a pretty girl, and I think she was the only blonde in the assemblage," he answered.

"Waltzing with a white girl!" said Barnum.

"Yes," dryly answered his host as he lighted a fresh cigar, offering another to Barnum.

"And were you not shocked?"

"Not in the least bit; I was amused. It was in June two years ago, if I remember aright. A little incident like that in Paris would not shock any intelligent person."

"Why?" said Barnum; "it would shock you terribly to see it done here."

"Not more so than it would shock that young negro student from Algiers to waltz with one of our young negro girls here," replied Colonel Leslie.

"You amaze me!" answered Barnum. "Why should be shocked?"

"Would you not be?" replied his host. "Would you waltz with one, Barnum?"

"No, certainly not. I would not ride in the same vehicle with one!" said Barnum.

"What absurd prejudice!" said Colonel Leslie. "No Southern man feels any repugnance to the negro per se, so long as he or she, as the case may be, knows his or her place. Now,

 

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consider the facts: Paris has nearly two millions of people, and among all that number I never saw but this one young negro man. He spoke French fluently, for indeed, Algiers being a French Province, French is his native language. He lived in the 'Latin Quarter' with other students, and his life was, in all respects, the same as theirs. Neither he nor they thought of any social inferiority. His education was as good; his social connections were probably the best in Algiers; his nose was nearly aquiline; his manner as little like a slave's as is yours; and in nothing, except a black skin and woolly hair did he resemble the Congo negro. It is probable that his family has been educated for several generations."

 

"Well, I declare!" was all that Barnum could say in reply.

Here was the owner of five hundred negro slaves, a cultured gentleman, whose views as to the negro per se were as advanced as those of the most enlightened thinkers at the North. He would have willingly emancipated his slaves if he could have benefited them by doing so, and could have received a tenth of their value in United States Government bonds, but no proposition of this nature had ever been made by the government. He was a slave-holder from principle as well as from right; for what would have become of his five hundred slaves if they were suddenly emancipated while all the others remained in the condition of slavery? No more helpless creature lived than the average "free nigger" in a country where African slavery prevailed by constitutional enactment. He inherited them, and all he could do was to be as kind a master as circumstances permitted.

Colonel Leslie continued: "Let us suppose that all the

 

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negro slaves in the Southern States were emancipated in order to appreciate the question fully. Now, we have five millions of people in the present Confederate States,1. considerably over one-third of whom are negro slaves. Suppose there were not exceeding five hundred negroes in all our population, or one negro to ten thousand whites, would his conduct be regulated by the color of his skin or by the relative education and contingent advantages possessed by him? Would it make any difference to the ten thousand if the one negro should be received on terms of equality by those who chose to do so?"

 

"I see the point now," said Barnum, "and I wish the whole North could see it. Where the two races are nearly equal in numbers, civilization itself demands that certain barriers should keep them apart."

"That is it; and, like you, I wish that the whole North could realize that there is a vast difference between granting certain social rights to a few negroes or Chinamen--say one in one thousand even--and in according the same rights where the races are nearly equal in numbers. Especially is this a dangerous prerogative where universal suffrage prevails."

"The Northern people," said Barnum, "think that the same results would attend the emancipation of the negroes which attended the emancipation of the white slaves in the Northern States--known generally under the name of 'term slaves,' or 'redemptioners', in colonial days. Of these 'free-willers' and 'indented servants,' many, at the expiration of their term of service, became respectable and

 

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were absorbed in the middle class." To this remark Colonel Leslie did not respond.

 

"It must require great enthusiasm, to say the least," suggested Barnum, returning to the subject first under discussion, "to pursue such investigations in so monotonous a country as Egypt for such disinterested purposes as you say Mr. Mariette does."

"Ah! there you betray, my young friend, the utilitarianism that is dwarfing in the minds of Americans the noblest and most beautiful studies. Could you see, as I have seen, a 'diligence' filled with German students, accompanied by their tutor, during the summer vacation, suddenly vacated as one of the number leaps from it to gather what he supposes to be the Alpine rose amid the eternal snows of the beautiful Alps; could you hear their animated discussion concerning this flower, or that rifted rock, you would appreciate at a glance what a world of beauty is that unfolded by the geologist and botanist. Earth, sky, sea, air, life itself becomes larger and more comprehensive, and every atom in it of increasing interest. So it is with the mind of my friend Mariette, who designs turning, cleaning and dating every inscribed stone and copying the inscriptions, as well as photographing and measuring every object of interest in the ruins."

"For what end?" asked the practical young Northerner.

"The truth of history. His excavations of the disputed Mound of Maskhutab, and discovery of the long-sought treasure-city of Pithom, in the language of a recent writer, 'achieved the most brilliant Biblical identification of modern times.' To Mariette the mental pleasure afforded to Tyndall and other Alpine enthusiasts by the Alpine flower and the

 

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storm-rifted crags was concentrated in the débris of the temple where was once the sacred place of Tanis. Obelisks that lay shattered, sculptured blocks, lettered stones, and statues in countless profusion, meant for him an inspired message."

 

"And these mounds of America?" asked Barnum.

"May reveal to us whence America was first peopled," answered his host. "Take the American Indian, and he resembles the ethnic type which is to this day characteristic of upper Egypt. The high cheek-bones are alike in each. But the Indian has no ceramic jars and vases and bowls like this one; nor has he any tradition which will go to explain by whom these idols were worshipped. His ancestors, so far as he knows, had no household goods and gods."

"Such men as your friend, Mariette, would find America very uninteresting," suggested Barnum.

"Yes, even Dickens, that master in the art of analyzing human character, found the so-called 'New World' tame and uninteresting. But Mexico and Peru would be an intellectual paradise for Mariette. Scientists become absorbed in their special pursuits. Hugh Miller, for example, saw England through the glasses of the geologist alone; and the 'Upper Silurian,' or the 'New Red Sandstone,' clogs his work to the exclusion of minor but interesting details. Take architecture: to one familiar with the different styles, it seems as a landmark--as a guide through the labyrinth of history. It stands toward the student of history in the same light in which rocks and mineralogical formations do to the geologist, or the aquatic inhabitants to the investigator into the physical geography of the sea. Take, for instance, the Kenilworth Castle in England, or the Castle

 

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of Heidleberg in Germany. The Castle of Heidleberg contained, and consolidated into one whole, eight palaces of eight separate princes, and of eight different epochs. The choicest results of the best styles of architecture during four hundred years are found in that magnificent building, in which dwelt the Counts of the Rhine, the Dukes of Bavaria, the Kings of Bohemia and the Emperors of Germany. Now, the student of the thirty years' war, which began in 1620, will see here a castle which was four times besieged, taken and retaken, and twice bombarded. The manner in which castles were built in those stormy days will show the character of the people and the mode of warfare and, in a measure, their mode of life."

 

"I understand," said Barnum, "but permit me to say that for an American "ignorance is bliss." How can one who has seen so much, be contented in this new country which has no ruins except those left by the 'Mound Builders?'"

"On the contrary," replied his host, "it makes all that we have doubly interesting. Nature is a grand instructor everywhere. For example, it was a large water-lily, seven feet in diameter, showing the peculiar structure of the under side of the leaf, which suggested the cellular structure of ironclads and other large vessels. The radiating ribs or veins resemble girders, and form many hundred air-tight cells, giving remarkable buoyancy to the leaf, a single leaf having been known to support a weight of 400 pounds. So with the spider's web which has suggested many valuable inventions."

"That is true," answed Barnum, with the manner of a listener.

----

 

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Col. Leslie continued: "It required American talent to invent steam, telegraphy and the great science of the physical geography of the sea. Nearly all the pursuits of the human mind in the old world are beaten paths, and Humboldt, the master of the respective thirty sciences, found America infinitely more interesting as a continent than Europe. The snow-line on the Alps is at an altitude of 8,000 to 9,000 feet above the sea, but the snow-line on the latitude of Popocatepetl in Mexico is 15,000 feet above the sea-level. The village of San Pedro there is 12,000 feet above the level of the sea, and nothing on earth can be grander than the glistening sunset, or moon-light upon the cold summits of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, or the snow-clad heights of Orizaba. far away toward the Gulf of Mexico. To appreciate our own continent, we should first see Europe, and we will find that nature's grandest achievements are on the continent of North America."

"Mr. Barnum, are you ready for our game of chess?" asked Clara, appearing at the door at this juncture.

"Yes; I will answer for him, my daughter, for I have been boring him terribly for the last half hour."

"Not so, sir; it is the most instructive conversation I ever had," said Barnum, who withdrew to the sitting-room with his fair young hostess. The smile which lighted his face as he heard her voice indicated that the game he was playing was more serious than chess, though Clara seemed utterly unconscious of it.

They had hardly begun the game when visitors were announced, and Barnum sauntered forth to pursue his investigations.

In this solitary walk, Barnum reflected upon the novel

 

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situation in which he was placed. Though a guest in the home of a friend whose efforts in his behalf had cost him his life, was he not in fact an enemy? Every noble impulse counselled him to terminate his visit, even at the cost of imprisonment at Belle Isle in Richmond. He was still a soldier in the United States army, and to the cause of the Union he owed his allegiance; and yet, during his long stay as an invalid in that hospitable home, not one word that could be offensive to him had been uttered in his presence. He knew that the feeling of the populace generally was as bitter against the United States Government as it had been among the inhabitants of the original thirteen Colonies in 1776, against Great Britain. Georgia was one of those Colonies; New York, his native State, was another, and shoulder to shoulder they had fought for American independence.

 

Now these two States were at war with each other.

"Indeed," he said to himself, "every man's life in these days is a romance;" for in another week, probably, he would be en-route to Richmond to yield himself a prisoner of war according to the terms of his parole.

Barnum's reflections reverted also to the conversations with Colonel Leslie regarding the "poor whites" of the South, and he thought that it was doubtful if the poor whites in Northern cities were as comfortable and as well cared for as the negro slaves here. He reflected that in one ward in New York city there are 500,000 people living in 18,000 houses, and that the death-rate there was 76 per cent. There was no such squalor, and misery, and no such death-rate among the slaves of the Southern States, in any part of this region at least. He asked himself, "for what are we fighting? Is

 

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it to give these slaves that kind of freedom?" And then he thought of the remarkable fact that not more than two percent. of the population of the Southern States were foreignborn, while in one ward in his native place, New York city, there were 64,000 Germans born in Germany. The Latane and Leslie families had lived in these Southern States one hundred and seventy years; and the history of America from its earliest discovery hardly goes back five centuries, or about one hundred years before the first colonization by Europeans.

 

"Who, then, were the true patriots in this struggle between the States?" he asked himself, as he approached the garden where old Zeke was at work.


Notes

  • 1. The six cotton-planting States only were included in this early estimate.

Chapter 10

 

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CHAPTER X.
OLD ZEKE.

The old Federal road ran along the west side of the premises at Intervale, and near it was the garden and the house of the gardener, old Zeke. Like most of his race, Zeke talked to himself while alone at work, or sang lowly portions of hymns peculiar to African hymnology.

He frequently talked to the fowls, which crowded around him, eager to get anything which he might bestow upon them.

On the day selected by Barnum for his adventure, the old man had admitted some pet hens into the garden, "to help me rake it, chickens," he affirmed. He would dig a few spadesful of earth, carefully turning it over each time, the poultry watching him as if deeply interested in his investigations.

"Whar all de wurms gone to, chickens?" he asked. Then he dug again, and threw toward them the worms.

"You's all de same age--you is--and you kin jist fight over dem wurms; fust come, fust sarved is de rule." After a while a cock, which had been trying to get into the garden, succeeded in flying over the fence and dispersing the hens, as he rapidly executed that political maxim, "to the victor belong the spoils," pursuing finally a hen that had not succeeded in swallowing her prize. Old Zeke raised his head, keeping his foot on the spade meanwhile, and looking around said, "What dat racket 'bout?" Then he spied the

 

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cock. "Whar did you cum frum, rooster? Git out o' here, you blasted nigger, you!" and then the old man chased the contumacious rooster; now throwing clods of earth, now a hoe, then a stone, always missing the object of his wrath, until his breath was exhausted. "I'll fix you yit, you trifling varmint!" said the old negro, shaking his head and fist at the cock, which had taken refuge in the raspberry bushes first, and then had made its exit. There were the strawberry beds and asparagus beds, mashed down by the old fellow in his angry chase, and there the grape-vines torn down, fully a week's labor, caused by the irruption of this piratical rooster. As the old man surveyed the scene of confusion in this sacred precinct, which he ruled like a despot, quarreling even with his master if he ordered any changes to be made or new plants introduced without first consulting him, he got more and more indignant.

 

The chickens crowded around him again, and old Zeke thus endeavored to console them: "Never mind, chickens, dat rooster 'll never bodder you no more; I 'clare 'fore God he won't!" The chickens seemed delighted. Then going to the fence, he leaned on it and cried: "Hezekiah! Oh, Hez! Oh, Hez! you Hezekiah! Come here, nigger!" Then he muttered to himself: "Drat dat chile; 'pear's if he ain't got no more p'liteness dan--dan a rooster."

"Hello!" said a voice on the other side of the fence. As old Zeke looked around he saw the tall form of a travel-stained man, evidently a "tramp," dressed in a dilapidated suit of jeans. The man held a carpet-bag in his hand and a roll of blanket under one arm.

"Hello!" repeated the stranger.

"Hello, yourself!" ejaculated old Zeke.

 

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"I'm tollerable; how's your family?"

"Four wives buried, and a huntin' of a young gal now what wants ter marry--sixteen chillun, ten of 'em gals, or women ruther, and fifty-two grand-chillun; all well, thank ye. How mout be yourn, stranger?"

The stranger laughed. "You seem pretty well satisfied, old man," said he.

"Seemin's lying, den; dat's what 'tis," said Zeke.

"Then you are not satisfied?" queried the man.

"In course I ain't. Ain't I wukked to death? And den dese here tarnal roosters and chillun what won't heer nothin' and won't mind nothin' what dey do heer's nuff to drive me 'stracted! Sartinly, I ain't satisfied. Ain't I done raised two craps o' chillun fur marster? And here I is, wukkin yit!"

"That does seem pretty hard. Who lives here, old man?"

"Why, marster lives here," replied old Zeke, "and me and a heap o' niggers."

"Who is your marster, my friend?" (Particular stress laid on the last two words).

"Look-a-here, stranger, whar did you come from, anyhow? Is you from K'liny?" (Carolina). Evidently old Zeke considered it a phenomenon for a man not to know who Colonel Leslie was. Before the man could reply old Zeke caught sight of a boy. Now a boy is generally suggestive of broken china or other evidences of destructive powers, and the boy whom old Zeke saw was not an exception.

"You, Hez, come here to me, sir, you good for nothin' brat!"

The boy came on, making faces at the stranger meanwhile, and Zeke resumed his conversation with that individual.

 

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Said he: "Folks ain't what dey use was, no how. Dat dere boy's nuff to drive me 'stracted."

 

"What has he been doing?" asked the man.

Old Zeke paused and scratched his head to answer this unexpected question. The boy had arrived, however, and relieved his embarrassment. Said he: "Hez, why didn't you come when I fust called you? Why don't you mind me, boy?"

"I didn't hear you," replied the boy, grinning with mischief as he caught the stranger's eye.

"Why didn't you hear me? What's yer eers made fur?" asked the old patriarch.

"I was hidin' de pig," said the boy, showing his ivories. As the boy said this he dodged, and as he dodged the old man threw a "chunk o' wood," as he called it, at the urchin. "I'll chunk yer life out'en you, boy! G'long wid you, nigger, and ketch dat rooster. Ef I ketch him in here agin, I'm gwine to take de hide offe'n you!" Hezekiah grinned, cracked his heels together, turned a somersault, and ran back to the cabin. He had betrayed a weakness of the old man's, viz., stealing a fat pig occasionally. In old Zeke's case such thefts were intentionally not discovered.

"'Pears to be a smart boy," said the stranger.

"Yes, he's right peart, Hez, is; but de wust chile in de world!" said the old man, looking fondly at his favorite grand-child, who was clapping his hands to his legs, imitating the sound of a horse running, as he ran back to the cabin.

"You say your marster is unjust to you--why don't you get your marster to sell you?"

"I've axed him to many 'en many a time; he won't do it he can't spare old Zeke. Marster wouldn't take two thousand dollars fur me."

 

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"Are you more valuable than the other old men?"

"Sartinly I is; makin' truck (i. e. gardening) is one thing, an' plowin' an' hoein's another. Who gwine to wukk dis ere gyardin if Zeke ain't here? Now tell me dat?"

"Don't the other old men work as hard as you do?"

"Stranger, whar did you come frum? Sartinly not. I works barder'n any on 'em. Dere's Pompey; he's two years older'n me. He don't do nothin' but shoot crows for marster, an' ducks and squirrels fur hisself. Dere's Club-foot Harry; he makes baskits in de fall fur to pick cotton in, an' he suns hisself de balance of de year. Dere's Cary; he don't do nothin' but make horse-collars and drive de horse kyart (cart). Dere's Gumbo; he feeds de mules an' tends stock. And dere's Big Dick, an' ole Mose, an' Little Mose, an' Yaller Bill, an' Step, an' Jake, an' Long Tom, an' a heap more on 'em what don't do nothin' 't all, year in and year out."

"Who feeds and clothes them?"

"Marster. I say, mister, got a chaw terbacker?"

The stranger, like all poor people, did manage to save enough to provide this luxury, and he gave old Zeke a quid, or, in his parlance, a "chaw."

"And yet he forces you to work?" suggested the tramp.

"Look-a-here, mister, to tell you de God's trufe, marster don't do no sich thing. He jest says, says he, 'Zeke;' says I, 'Sir!' Says he, 'Zeke, you go down to Oswitchee and live there, and I'll try to get some one else to take your place here; but I know I will never be able to find anybody what knows as much about gyardenin' as you does.'" Says I, 'Marster, you an' me is a most wore out, we is; an' dis ere gyarden done b'long to me so long I hates to leave it.'"

 

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"If he would give you your freedom, my friend, would you leave it?"

Old Zeke slowly approached the man, looked at him closely and said: "Look a-here, mister, who is you, anyhow? I done found out already dat you ain't none o' our kind of folks. Whar did you come frum?"

The man put his fingers to his lips in token of silence, bowed, and pointed to Zeke's cabin.

"All right!" said Zeke in a confidential tone, "you go to de cabin."

Then he sang in a loud voice a revival hymn, working industriously meanwhile, until finally he gathered up his tools, put them on his shoulder, assumed an expression of extra innocence, and continued his song until he reached the cabin.

Arrived at the cabin, after putting his tools in a corner, the old negro went to the door and looked out cautiously to see if any one was visible; then re-entered the cabin, and with a chuckle of satisfaction, slapped the tramp familiarly on the back, and extended his right hand. "Glad to see you sir, I is. What's de news frum Mr. Washburn?" Before the stranger could reply old Zeke had deposited himself in a chair which Hezekiah had placed there for him, and almost immediately he jumped up again, with the angry expression: "What! whar dat chile?" rubbing himself meanwhile as if in pain. "He's the aggravatenist chile on-hung!"

The mystery was soon explained. The boy had placed a red hot piece of iron in the chair just as the old man sat down; and as soon as he saw how the charm worked, had

 

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taken himself off, with the peculiar delight which boys feel in having done a mischievous thing.

 

The tramp could not conceal his amusement. But a matter of too great importance was before old Zeke now to pay any more attention to Hezekiah.

"Well, old man, I think you'll have to get your master to sell that boy," said the stranger.

"Dar 'tis agin! Marster won't sell no nigger onless he wants to be sold, and Hez. don't. He wants to stay here to pester me." The truth was the old man had begged his "marster" to let him have the boy to "wait on him," as he expressed it; and he would have sooner parted with his hand than with Hezekiah, who made life spicy for him.

"You do seem to have your troubles. What's your name?"

"Zeke."

"Mr. Zeke," continued the man, "don't you want to be free?"

"'Deed I does," said Zeke, and inspired by that suggestive prefix, "mister," the old man continued: "I tell you what, I wish I was free!"

"That's my business in these parts, Mr. Zeke. I wish to set you all free," replied the stranger.

"Hi! how you gwine ter do it?"

"Will you help me, Mr. Zeke?"

"Will I help you to help me? Sartainly I will."

"Well, you tell all the old men like yourself to meet me at Ringgold with their children and their children's children, and I will lead them to Ohio, and you'll all be free; that's what this war is for."

"Golly?" said Zeke, smiling at the prospect. "Will dey

 

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give us all houses to live in, an' carriages an' hosses, an' niggers--no, we don't want no niggers. What do dey do fur niggers up dar?"

 

"No, we will not give you houses, nor horses, nor servants, but we will give you freedom, my friend."

"What good freedom gwine to do us widout de means of 'joyin' it?" queried Zeke.

"You must work and make a living," said the man.

"Hi! ain't dat what we does here? 'ceptin' 'tis de ole men and women an' de blind an' 'flicted folks--dey don't do no wukk here. Will dey have to wukk dar?"

"Yes, my friend, all able-bodied men must work there. We will try to provide for each head of a family forty acres and a mule, for which he can pay when he makes money enough."

"Look-a-here, Mister-what's-yer-name? we don't want no mule to work wid. I want a bob-tail white hoss, like marster's, an' I don't want to do nuthin' but ride him 'bout, and give orders to niggers, like marster does. Marster's free; he don't wukk. Bill Baxter is a free nigger and he owns his own land and he ain't no better off 'an we is 'ceptin' 'tis he goes and comes whar and when he pleases."

"Would'nt you like to be able to do that too, Mr. Zeke?"

"Sartainly, I would; pervidin, mind you, Marster would let me come home when I got tired cavortin' 'round, and would take keer of me when I git so I can't take keer uv myself."

"Then you won't take any risk to secure your freedom?"

"Sartainly I won't! I don't want no freedom whar I got to wukk at my time uv life," said Zeke.

"But the young men will be glad to make the effort, will they not?" asked the tramp.

 

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"I 'speck dey will; de very last one on 'em! All young folks is fools, white and black, 'ceptin tis Miss Clara, bless de honey's soul!"

"Who is Miss Clara?" said the man with increasing interest and a change in his tone.

"What yer want ter know dat fur? She is too high quality fur you ter know, but she'd meet you like she meets everybody, white an' black, so kind-like dat dey all loves de chile; why, Miss Clara's my young Missus," said Zeke.

"Is she pretty?

"De angels in heben can't beat her!" exclaimed the old man.

"What do you think about this war, Mr. Zeke?"

"I think dey kilt Mars Hugh, an' mighty nigh kilt dat other young man who dey do say--leastawise Mariar do say it--is a Yankee soldier hisself, but I don't b'lieve it."

"Why don't you believe it?" said the tramp.

"'Cause he acts like de quality-folks, like a gentleman--an I don't b'lieve no white-folks kin be quality onless dey owns niggers."

"Does he own negroes?"

"Dat's why Mariar say he is a Yankee. But I will tell you what, Mister-what's-yer-name," said Zeke growing confidential again, as if he was about to impart some very important information, "he's gwine to own lots on 'em some day."

"What do you mean?" said the stranger, leaning forward.

"I mean he's a courtin' of Miss Clara, dat's what I mean, and she has nussed him, and rid wid him nigh on to three months. Now, mister, hit stands to reasin dat when a gal

 

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does dat, she's gwine to fall in love afore she knows it. Lord sakes alive! won't Mars Harry be mad den?" said old Zeke laughing to himself.

 

"Who on earth is this 'Mars Harry?'" said the man.

"Mars Harry Latané, who owns, or is gwine to own, place jinin' ourn down to Etowah, on de river. He's a quality-gentleman fur you! an ef he knowed what was gwine on here, he'd leff his company, an de war, and he'd take dat ar Mr. Barnum an lift him out'en his boots afore he could say Jack Robinson!" and the old man laughed immoderately at the imaginary picture.

The tramp's hat had fallen off now, also his wig, and his features were disguised only by the whiskers, though he did not seem to know it. "I clar to gracious!" cried old Zeke looking intently at the man. "Great snakes alive! ef you ain't him!" And then old Zeke informed him that he intended to tell his master on him, "Onless," he added confidentially, "you kin prove to me Mr. Washburn sent you here."

Barnum's intense interest had betrayed him, but assuming a careless manner and re-adjusting his wig and whiskers, he took up his bundle and departed, first telling old Zeke that he would notify Mr. Washburn, if he reported him, and asserting that he did not intend to be picked up for another man. Old Zeke remained in deep thought for a few moments. He was not positive about this being Barnum, and in spite of all his statements there was not a negro on the estate, old or young, who would not gladly have accepted freedom. Then he concluded he would tell his "marster" any way that Barnum would not do as a suitor for Clara's hand.

 

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Colonel Leslie intercepted old Zeke as he was on his way to the house, and began to make complaints against Hezekiah.

"I tell you what, Zeke," said he, "I've spared that little darkey long enough, and the next time he strikes my pointer, I intend to thrash him. I don't believe you ever do whip him."

"Marster, in course you kin whip Hez--in course you kin whip me, whenever you wants to, in course you kin! But did you see Hez strike de dog?"

"No, Zeke, if I had, I should have whipped him anyhow, but somebody has struck Dan."

"Dar 'tis!" said Zeke, "dar 'tis! now marster, you is de court, and you is de jedge, and you is de jury: which one am you, when you make up your mind to whip Hez, jest because Mariar's chile has hit de pineter?"

"Zeke, I do believe you have got a way of looking right into me. I had made up my mind to whip Hez this time, and have come here for that purpose, but you have put a question to me, which I can't answer. Now, did you see Maria's boy hit my dog?"

"I seed him hit your dog jest as much as you seed Hez hit de pineter," replied the old man. "I tell you what, marster, jest bekase Hez is a peart, lively critter, dese niggers charges all dere rascalities up to him, but bless your heart, marster, dat Hez's de innocentest boy I ever seed!"

Detaining the old man long enough to admit of Barnum's return to the house, Colonel Leslie slowly entered it, but was called back by Zeke.

Barnum had returned and had taken off the old clothing which he had worn over his best suit, and was now describing

 

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his interview to the young ladies in the parlor, omitting. however, any reference to Clara, or the cause of Zeke's suspicion.

 

Then they heard old Zeke's voice addressing Colonel Leslie, who was sitting in the veranda.

"I say, marster," said Zeke.

"What now, Zeke?"

"Marster, you has been imposed on," solemnly said old Fidelity.

"By whom, Zeke?"

"By a man you can't put no 'pendence on--a piece of white-trash, sir."

"What do you mean, Zeke--who has given you a dram?"

"I ain't had no dram, marster, sence de war commenced, you's got so stingy you ought to be shamed o' yourself! I done forgot de very taste uv whisky. But, marster, spite o' your stinginess, I'll tell you how you's been 'posed on. You has done like de man what de Bible tells 'bout; one cold, frosty mornin' he found a snake in de big road, what was froze stiff. He tuk de snake home wid him, an warmed hit by de fire, an hit bit him an pizened him!" said the old negro with the solemnity of a judge.

"Well, nobody has poisoned me," said his master.

"Dey has tried to, sir, but old Zeke--"

"Who has tried to poison me?" interrupted Colonel Leslie, not wishing to hear Zeke's history of his faithful services which he had heard already a hundred times.

"Dat dere young man wat come here wid you atter Mars Hugh died, and what Miss Clara an' you has warmed to life agin!" said the old darkey.

 

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"Who? Barnum? Why, Zeke, you are drunk. Barnum was Hugh's best friend."

"He ain't no friend o' yourn, marster; and he ain't quality, marster; an he ain't fitten to cut Mars Harry Latané out, marster!"

Then old Zeke related all that had transpired, but Barnum had his reasons for wishing to put a stop to his narrativé before the old negro reached that part of the recital which related to his interest in Clara. He therefore walked out on the veranda from the parlor window and talked laughingly to Clara Leslie and her friends, as if he had not heard a word he had said.

"I 'clar to God!" said Zeke, staring with wonder at the unexpected appearance of the young gentleman dressed in his elegant suit of black, his easy manners, and the laughing eye which accompanied the following request, addressed to old Zeke:

"Proceed with your story, uncle Zeke; it is interesting to hear one's self denounced. But, really, I can't understand why you should dislike me so much as to invent that story."

He only said: "I 'clar to God, marster! 'fore God, I don't b'lieve 'twas him no how!" and retired completely mystified. He walked slowly back to his cabin in deep thought, then went to the road and endeavored to track the tramp, but he finally gave it up, completely "out-done," as he expressed it. His boasts had already subjected him to ridicule so often that he concluded to keep his own counsel henceforth concerning the mysterious stranger. But he humbly begged Barnum's pardon the next time he saw him for having mistaken him for a tramp.

Barnum informed him that his fidelity to his master had raised him very much in his estimation.

Chapter 11

 

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CHAPTER XI.
MR. WELLINGTON NAPOLEON POTTS.

"Forgery is the false making or materially altering, with intent to defraud, of any writing which, if genuine, might apparently be of legal efficacy in the foundation of a legal liability."

Wellington Napoleon Potts reflected for sometime, after reading the above definition, before putting his pen to the paper before him. Was the letter he was about to write of " legal efficacy in the foundation of a legal liability?"

He consulted the authorities at hand, and in one he read underneath the same caption the following: "For it is not every falsification of writing which constitutes forgery in a legal sense. If one writes letters and signs them with the name of another, which may be very injurious, not only to the feelings of some other party, but to his interests, he is not in law a forger, if no pecuniary rights, obligations or engagements are, or are intended to be, directly affected by this falsehood."

That was satisfactory to this pious young man, whose Sunday-school class was a model in its way. He was a shrewd judge of human nature, and he had observed that the ethics of the legal profession seemed to mean that any outrage or wrong-doing, if " legally" committed, is legitimate and pardoned. He had observed that the criminal is prosecuted by one attorney only, while a score of the ablest legal minds are ever ready to defend him for a pecuniary consideration. His observations in this direction developed the fact that in the previous year the number of reported murders

 

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in the United States was 1,266, and there were only 93 persons executed according to law, while 118 were lynched. In other words, only one in every fifteen murderers are legally executed in the United States. In cases where forgery is the crime the proportion of escapes is still greater; and in civil cases generally the practice of law seemed to him to resolve itself simply into a war on property, and the shrewdest and most respected lawyer to be the man who could devise ways and means to defeat manifest justice in the interests of the guild. "For who ever heard," he asked himself, "of one lawyer's prosecuting another? and how rare is it that a rascally lawyer is disbarred!" He had heard them brow-beating and insulting each other in the grossest manner in the court-room, and had seen the judge overlook the glaring contempt of court and dismiss them with a nominal fine and an apologetic lecture. The prisoner at the bar would have been consigned to a cell in the common felon's jail for speaking in the same manner in answer to the opprobrious epithets heaped upon his defenceless head by the dynamite lawyer. Mr. Potts had observed how these employees assume the manner of masters when addressing their clients; and he laughed as he noted that prominent "pillars of the church" had ruthlessly robbed the widow and the orphan under the guise of "professional duty."

 

"Anything that is legal is right;" "might makes right," he was heard to remark; and his secret aspiration was to become a legal "counsellor" in this lawyer-cursed land, where legal fees are out of all just proportion to the value of the services rendered. So alluring did the practice of law seem to him, that he would have at once become a lawyer but for the existence of war, which prompted him to

 

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retain a bomb-proof place which he had secured in the post office at Etowah.

 

Had he become a lawyer, he would have probably been a prominent legal Pharisee on the principle announced by him to be the basis of professional ethics, when he was ventilating his opinions to his chosen associate and satellite, Jonathan Stunner, Esquire.

"Stunner," said Potts; "there is no doubt that most great criminals have in them the chief elements which go to make successful lawyers."

It was a fine piece of acting when his obsequious friend held up his hands with an air of pious horror, and earnestly protested, in a tone which resembled a Methodist class-leader's, against this aspersion of what he called "a NOBLE profession."

In becoming the "silent partner" of Jonathan Stunner in his money-lending and rack-renting schemes, in the distant capital city where Potts was not known, Wellington Napoleon Potts had adopted the next best method of utilizing the terrors and tyrannies of the law as practiced in this country where the attorney and the advocate, the solicitor and barrister are, unfortunately, united in one individual, and where a dry-goods clerk may become a lawyer by six months study.

The prominent sign of John Bull Stunner announced to the public in large letters that he was "Attorney and Counsellor and Real Estate Agent," while underneath, in small capitals, one read the suggestive words: "Detective Collecting Agency." It was said that Mr. Stunner's "business" was one of the most lucrative in the capital city.

Stunner was a small, wiry, tough-looking citizen, who could change his facial muscles at will. He was a natural

 

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actor, and the stage lost an ornament when he decided to take the legal profession as the best road by which he could attain ease and wealth. He esteemed, as next to the Proverbs of Solomon, the maxim: "Put a thief to catch a thief," and he rightly considered himself the right man in the right place.

 

In the presence of a modest lady, or an honest, rural citizen, ignorant of city methods, Stunner's manner was tremendous, so to speak. He stood so straight that his head lent backward and his round stomach forward, when he wished to awe such customers by the majesty of his presence. He received such people in his handsomely furnished front office, which was upholstered and furnished like a bank. The plate-glass windows abounded in signs, and everywhere one saw the name "Stunner."

Three female clerks were kept busy all the time, notwithstanding the dullness of trade, adding up figures in columns on huge ledgers, and making out bills. A hoary-headed old book keeper seemed equally busy, and the passers-by wondered how business could be so active with him, when all other lawyers, note-shavers, and real estate agents were grumbling at the stagnation in business.

To borrowers he assumed a fierce and uncompromising expression, and as they stood before the small aperture above the counter in the adjoining room over which was the sign, "Loan Office," they were spoken to by the great man behind the counter, which extended nearly to the ceiling, in a manner which suggested that they were on trial for their lives. From his perch there he could see them plainly, through the small aperture provided, while nothing except his glittering black eyes were visible to them. But mention a trade to him! Instantly his features

 

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changed, his mind seemed to bristle, and one could see that he was as eager after the almighty dollar as is a grey-hound when chasing a rabbit. All other thoughts seemed to vanish, as if a magician had moved them away with invisible wand, and he seemed then to adapt himself at once to the great Lavater's ethical precept, "Limit yourself at every moment, if you can, to what is nearest you."

 

The entrance of Wellington Napoleon Potts into this office was the signal for the most cordial welcome, and half-veiled obsequiousness was prominent in the bow and hand-grasp with which the head of the "Detective Collection Agency" greeted his visitor.

For Potts was at once client, customer, patron and silent partner. For him the best chair was ever ready on his brief visits to the capital. In business matters, and in business matters only, Potts did not let his right hand know what his left hand was doing; and even his father did not know that he made investments through the "Detective Collection Agency,-Real-Estate,-Law,-Loan-Insurance-and-Notary-Public Office" of John Bull Stunner, Esq.

"Why, my dear sir, my very dear sir, I am delighted to see you! Parker, here! take this gentleman's hat and cane. Take good care of them, too, Parker. Mr. Potts and I have a confidential conference before us--and remember, Parker, I am 'out of town' to all who come, so long as Mr. Wellington Potts honors the office with his presence."

The old book-keeper got down from his high stool quickly and advanced to do as he was bidden, but Potts retained his cane, kept his hat on his head, and deliberately walked to where one of the female clerks stood writing, and looked over her shoulder at the ledger. Then turning to Stunner, he said:

 

  page 103  

"Same old trick, Stunner; hasn't the public found it out yet?"

"No, and it never will. It works like a charm, I tell you."

The truth was that these clerks were kept busy copying from old ledgers, and old due-bills long since collected, whenever business was dull. The public supposed that this was all new business, and patronized Stunner, not because they liked him, for he was generally thought to be a "shyster" in his legal practice, and disreputable socially. But he was a good collector, and business came to him because he seemed to get more business than all the rest of the notary-publics, small attorneys and real-estate agents combined. The public likes to be humbugged, and Stunner dearly loved to humbug the public. But the manner and remarks of Potts threatened to lower his prestige with his employees and, therefore, he hurried Potts to his back-office, as he styled the room in the rear where he was wont to arrange legal matters.

The methods of this worthy, inspired by the unctious Wellington Napoleon Potts, were peculiar. See them in the dingy, dark back-room, where they held their confidential conferences, discussing the mode of collecting bad debts upon scientific and artistic principles. A smoking lamp casts its flickering glare over the dust-covered books that were placed on the round pine table to impress the humble debtor that the redoubtable proprietor of the "detective collecting agency" was a profound legal student. In point of fact, they were rarely, if ever, opened.

The conversation drifted to the events which now made war a very stern reality indeed.

"How did you manage to get out of the Union army?" asked Potts.

 

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"I served loyally my time; I only enlisted for three months."

"Were you in the battle of Manassas?"

"No; I found it convenient to have a violent attack of the colic that day and was in the hospital, where I managed to stay until the fighting was over."

"Were you not suspected of being an imposter, and of shamming sickness?"

"Oh, no; hear me," and with that began a series of the most violent contortions accompanied by sounds that seemed to emanate from a person suffering from the most excruciating agony, and yet that could not be heard in the front office."

Potts was convulsed with laughter, but finally asked: "Tell me, my dear friend, what induced you to risk that valuable carcass of yours by enlisting in the army?"

Stunner was now sitting on the table, his legs dangling down, and his face as grave as that of a judge.

Advancing slowly to Potts, he said to him, putting his fore-finger on the side of his nose--a favorite jesture of his--"Don't you give it away, but go thou and do likewise. When this war ends the soldiers are going to be pensioned by both governments, if the Confederacy wins, but by the United States Government anyway. To be sure to get a monthly pension all my days, I enlisted on the strong side, and now I am all heeled."

"But why do they not bother you here! How do you manage to keep out of the Confederate army? I am annoyed to death, and, as you know, have been almost ostracised because I will not go to the front."

Assuming the manner of a judge on the bench, Stunner

 

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placed his hand in the breast of his coat and took from the inner pocket a package, which he handed to Potts.

 

"Read that, and be convinced that it is a very cold day when Stunner gets left," he said.

Potts opened it and read the certificate of the Consul-General of Great Britain, that John Bull Stunner was a loyal subject of her majesty, the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Potts returned the papers with a look of undisguised admiration.

"I envy you more than I do any man," he said. "I see the point: you have not taken out naturalization papers."

"Oh, yes, I did in the United States, but I have not yet become a citizen of the Confederate States, and--" again the dexter fore-finger went to the dexter side of the nose, as he whispered: "And between you and me, and the bed-post, I am not going to do so, so long as there is any fighting going on."

To this sentiment Potts responded by a cordial grasp of the hand, thus making a tacit admission that Stunner had uttered the wish dearest to his own heart.

"I do think, of all the fool things on earth," said he, "this thing they call 'patriotism,' which demands that men shall voluntarily pose as targets before deadly missiles is the--est!" The conversation became more and more free and easy, for Stunner helped himself to what he called "nerve tonic."

Hear him relating his latest experiences to Potts:

"Whenever I get a bad debt upon the employee of a corporation, I politely notify him that the paper has been placed in my hands for collection, and courteously invite him to drop into my office, as his previous engagements will allow, and settle the matter. Of course, I suggest that a remittance by mail or express, at the risk and expense of the

 

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sender, would answer every purpose. Have a drink Mr. Potts," said Stunner, pushing the bottle toward his guest and co-partner.

 

"No, thanks; I don't drink anything stronger than cider," replied Potts.

"Oh! you don't, eh? Well, I am sorry for you; here goes!" and, with that expression the "detective-collector," ignoring the glass, seized the bottle, inverted it, and drank half a pint without wincing.

"My goodness! man, you will burn your stomach out with that raw whisky--won't you take some water?" said Potts, handing Stunner the water pitcher as he spoke.

"Water be damned!" replied Stunner; then, wiping his mouth with his sleeve, he resumed:

"Where was I when I left off?"

"You were telling of how you sent the debtor a request to call and settle, or send remittance by mail or express."

"At his own risk and expense, mind you; ha! ha! ha!" laughed Stunner.

"Well then, if the debtor is wise," he resumed, "he hastens to liquidate his little bill, and, while cursing the fate that threw him into my hands, he blesses the unseen gods that have brought him out again, even at the cost of the unpardonable extravagance of paying his debt."

No one who knew Mr. Wellington Napoleon Potts in his richly furnished office at Etowah would recognize him now as he asks:

"Does he always tumble to the racket?"

Assuming a serious manner, Stunner answered: "No, I grieve to say that sometimes he is not wise, or rather ignorance of the painful experience immediately in store for him makes him stubborn and rebellious; then the circus begins,

 

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and all the acts promised in the large posters, and quite a number of the performances not put down in the hand-bills, are exhibited to the music of a large and expensive brass band. The debtor, of course, pays all the expenses of the side show, and of the band."

 

Potts was laughing with the keenest enjoyment, as he anticipated what was to follow, while Stunner retained his serious expression.

"Then," suggested Potts, "you tell him to write to me, do you?"

"Oh, no; the first act is to go to a Commercial Notary and make the necessary affidavit to secure a summons of garnishment against--let us say--a railroad company which employs our debtor as a locomotive engineer. The affidavit is made from a printed blank which, by some unaccountable oversight on the part of the compositor, omits to contain the very necessary allegation that the funds claimed are subject to garnishment. The bond to answer in damages for suing out a false garnishment, has also the same fatal and curious omission. The security on that valuable instrument is usually some of the negro janitors or office-boys of my acquaintance, and the depths of their insolvency could not be sounded with the Atlantic cable for a lead-line."

"Good! capital! you'll do!" exclaimed the happy Potts. 'Go on, John, I am listening--ha! ha! ha!"

Thus encouraged, Stunner took another pull at the bottle, and proceeded:

"The Commercial Notary, being usually very good-natured and invariably furnished with a skull thick enough to protect his valuable brains from anything short of a cannon-ball or a mule's heel, likewise issues the summons of garnishment, which I then place in the hands of a country constable,

 

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who serves it in due form and with imposing dignity upon the railway company. The engineer smiles scornfully when he hears of the garnishment; he has 'been there' before, and he immediately goes to some solvent friend and gets him to go on a bond to dissolve the garnishment and release his very important and sorely-needed wages. Armed with this bond, he comes to me to find out what officer holds the papers I gave; I answer, wearily, that I have so many things of that sort to do that I really cannot keep up with every bailiff that serves papers for me. I kindly suggest to him to inquire at the Justice's Court of the --district, where the case is returnable and the papers ought to be filed. He is informed there that the papers have not yet been filed and, as they were issued by some other magistrate, he (the Justice) of course, does not know what bailiff served them. Then commences a tedious and, I need not add, an exasperating and hopeless quest for the magistrate who issued the papers and the bailiff who served them. In the meantime, the wages are held up and the victim is fast becoming desperate. Perhaps he is rewarded and finds the officer, in which event he joyfully files his bond to dissolve the garnishment and release his wages, and, in his intense relief, he is ready to overlook the fact that the damage-bond I gave for the plaintiff is worth exactly its weight at the paper mill."

 

The narrator's small, fox-like eyes twinkled as he ceased for a moment, that the delectable mental morsel might be enjoyed by his attentive listener, who was cracking the joints of his fingers, a method of indicating his intense enjoyment peculiar to him.

"You remind me of a cat torturing a mouse: ha! ha! ha!" laughed Potts.

 

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The narrator proceeded: "He hurries to the officer of the company to draw his long over-due wages, and is horrified to find that another garnishment from another officer on the same claim has been served on the company, and that the old one has been dismissed."

"The indignant railway official suggests, in rasping tones, that employees who don't pay their debts and cause the company to be harassed with garnishments had better hunt another job. The paralyzed engineer makes another bond to dissolve the garnishment and starts out on the same hopeless rounds again until, driven by starvation and despair, he surrenders at discretion, pays his debt, and goes away a sadder and much wiser man. In future the slightest hint that I hold a claim against him is sufficient to make him remit or meet it with a promptness that would make a United States bond blush for its dilatoriness in meeting coupons due."

The pious Potts had rolled off his chair in his uncontrolled merriment, which Stunner thoroughly enjoyed while he had recourse again to the bottle.

"I say, Stunner, said Potts, wiping the laughter-tears from his eyes, "'when this cruel war is over,' I am going to turn lawyer, if it beats money-lending, and I want you to practice law with me."

"All right, pard; then we will go halvers all round; is that to be understood?"

"Oh! yes, said Potts, just as we do now; I lend the money and you collect 'the piece nearest the heart;' then we go 'halvers,' as you call it. By the way, Stunner, where did you learn that expression?"

"In the army, my friend."

"Which army?"

 

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"Ah! now you have me; I don't exactly remember."

It was a fact that thus early in the contest, Stunner had enlisted in both the Federal and Confederate armies, and contrived to keep out of both.

"Now," said Potts, as he received from Stunner his part of the proceeds of recent "deals," "tell me how you managed to collect the debt that the fellow who could not pay the burial expenses of his wife owed; I shaved that note at seventy-five per cent., but I thought I would lose by it; it was a great risk, Stunner--a great risk."

"That was a hard un!" said Stunner; "let me see: he owed the undertaker for burying his wife, and I couldn't reach him by garnishment in the usual style, as he did not work for a corporation--always look into that feature, my friend; it's a heap safer to go for corporations. But this fellow had a great deal of 'human nature' in him, and one of my detectives caught sight of him visiting down in Etowah. He 'shadowed' him and found out that he was courting a girl and had engaged himself to her. He notified me and I dropped on to his racket, and found out his days for visiting his 'Jularky,' and, on the next day before his visit, had his prospective father-in-law, brother-in-law, his girl, and his girl's mother all served with garnishments to pay into court any money or funds they, or either of them, held belonging to the debtor, so that it could be applied to our debt, which was for the coffin and burial expenses of his wife. This last was written in red ink with large letters, so that you could read it half-a-mile off almost. When he arrived on the train and went round to see his girl, the old man fired him out of the house and her brother chased him out of town with a shot-gun and a bull dog. He came round to my office in a

 

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few days, settled the claim, and we are the best of friends Oh! I get there with both feet every time!"

 

"Indeed you do!" said Potts, laughing immoderately as he cordially wrung his hands and left the office. Such was the true character of this plotter against the happiness of Henry Latané, whose object in visiting Stunner was to consult him as to the legal liability of the forgery he was about to commit, in order to break up the engagement between Latané and Clara Leslie.

For selfish purposes he "professed religion," but he laughed in his sleeve as he read in Holy Writ the denunciation by the Master of men like himself:

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees; hypocrites ye are, as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.

"Woe unto you also, ye lawyers, for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye, yourselves, touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

"And as He said these things unto them, they began to urge Him vehemently and to provoke Him to say many things, laying in wait for Him and seeking to catch something out of His mouth that they might accuse."

But as the most intolerable tyranny of modern times, in America at least, is executed under cloak of, and by means of the law, Potts was very careful not to subject himself to legal liability in his plottings against Henry Latané.

The crime of forgery was so easily committed, and was detected with so much difficulty, that it was not surprising that this unscrupulous young man should resort to it in order to undermine and destroy the influence of his successful

 

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rival. In England, such an offence was formerly punished with death, but the forger in America, if rich, has only to take refuge on the friendly shores of Canada, and, when punished, it is too often with as light a sentence as the law will permit. But the astute Potts was too shrewd to overstep the limits of the "letter of the law," and what he now did was not a legal forgery, his friend Stunner assured him, though the results would have been less painful to Henry Latané and Clara Leslie, had he forged a check for twenty thousand dollars and absconded with the money. No pecuniary result would follow it; no note involving the payment of money was to be forged.

 

A brief retrospection is needed that the reader may appreciate how Potts was enabled to successfully forge the name and hand-writing of Henry Latané. In ordinary times such proceedings could scarcely happen without quick discovery, but in time of war it is the unexpected that is liable to happen.

His knowledge of the character of Henry Latané satisfied him that that chivalrous young gentleman would remain at his post of duty at the front during the war, and that nothing short of a wound or physical disability would cause him to return home, if the quasi engagement between himself and Clara Leslie could be broken.

The reader will remember that the guests had quickly departed when Henry Latané delivered to Colonel Leslie the telegram which announced the dangerous condition of Hugh Leslie in the hospital at Richmond.

The farewell note, written by Henry Latané to Clara Leslie, expressed the tenderest solicitude and deepest sympathy for the young girl to whom he had plighted his troth. In it he

 

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pledged anew his love, which he assured her would never, under any circumstances, diminish.

 

In the excitement and confusion which followed, he could only hand this note to her maid, who placed it in a vase on the mantel to be delivered the next day. The vigilant Potts had observed all this, and it was the work of a moment to abstract it. The letter which he now wrote and substituted for it was as follows: "Miss Clara--Pardon the indiscretion which prompted me to address you. Believe me, I did not intend to do it, and realize already that it was an injustice both to you and to myself. I have the highest respect for you, and will always be your friend, but I fear that our hearts are not given to each other as the hearts of engaged people should be. Think no more of it, but pardon my conduct in seeking to bind the destiny of one too young yet to know her own mind on so momentous a matter."

"

Respectfully yours,
Henry Latané."

The next day they left for Richmond before it occurred to the maid to deliver it. When she did think of it and sought for it, it was not to be found, and she discreetly said nothing about it.

Months passed. One day Colonel Leslie, while taking his letters from this vase (where Potts, in his thoughtful consideration, had placed them, bringing them himself from the post-office), found the note given above and signed "Henry Latané." As the letter was not enclosed in an envelope, he had read a part of it before he realized its import. He then read and re-read it carefully, and, nursing his indignation as well as he could, he resolved that his daughter should know nothing of it.

----

 

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Potts' reflections upon this feat, while not very cheering, were, on the whole, satisfactory.

True, if Latané should discover his perfidy in suppressing a letter full of the tenderest solicitude for the young girl who had confided her happiness to his keeping and substituting instead the infamous one he wrote, he knew that swift punishment would certainly follow.

But how was he to discover it?

Many months would almost surely elapse before Latané would return home, and his position in the post-office enabled him to destroy every letter in Latané's hand-writing addressed to Clara Leslie, and vice versa. "Long before they can meet again," he thought, "the seeds of doubt and offended pride that are thus sown will have done their work."

And his calculations were not at fault.

Colonel Leslie, while he found nothing congenial in the companionship of Potts, never forgot a kindness from any source, and he remembered the marked consideration and courtesy shown him by Potts in the hours of his deepest trouble just before his departure for Virginia. Potts was, therefore, cordially welcomed when he improved his opportunity by calling upon Clara Leslie, though he always asked for her father. Clara felt an intuitive aversion to his society, but she did not know how to be other than courteous to every one.

Neither Clara nor Henry Latané suspected the truth. She was cut to the heart by his unaccountable silence and neglect; he was troubled inexpressibly by her failure to answer any of his letters.

Chapter 12

 

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CHAPTER XII.
ON MOUNT KENNESAW.

The appointed day for the horseback ride to the top of the mountain had arrived, and the two young people had ceased the rapid gait by which they approached it that they might the better converse.

"November is my favorite month," said Barnum; "you know it begins with one of the most touching fêetes of the Catholic church to the head of all the saints--'All Saints Day'"

"Yes, as an Episcopalian, I knew that, but I thought you were a Protestant," answered Clara.

"I am," he replied, "but my parents are devout Catholics, and I was brought up to believe in the doctrines of that faith. While I am a Protestant, I revere the Catholic faith for their sake as well as for its own. Besides, one cannot help having respect for a church which numbers 139,000,000 souls, while we Protestants only number 59,000,000."

"Is that true? I am surprised to learn that."

"Yes, and the Buddhists number 170,000,000; the followers of Islam, 96,000,000; the Brahmins 60,000,000; the Greek church 62 000,000; the Jews 4,000,000; the--"

"Mercy! mercy!" cried Clara; "you overwhelm me with your statistics; you are actually as bad as papa."

"Very well," said Barnum, "but as you got the best of me last night in an argument, I was determined to get even today if I could."

"So you deliberately primed your mind for the occasion, did you? Really, Mr. Barnum, I feel complimented."

 

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"Not so," he retorted, "but I have read volumes on the subject since I have been confined to my room, and these statistics have lingered, although I have usually very little aptitude for dates or figures."

"How can you, a Protestant, approve of these fêtes and august ceremonials of the Catholic church?" she asked.

"They seem to me to partake of the superstition of the heathens. It is similar to the Chinese worship of idols, don't you think so?"

"Are we free from the charge of preserving Pagan ideas?" he answered. "Do you not know that the name of this very month is an evidence that we do? The same pious instincts, the same noble and ignoble sentiments animated mankind in Pagan times as at present, and we do well to preserve all beautiful ideas or customs. The Gregorian hymn is a Pagan hymn, but the music appeals to the same feelings now as it did in Pagan days."

Clara's quick intelligence eagerly grasped at new ideas, and she said: "Tell me about November; what were you going to say about the name of this month?"

"Only that November--nov em--means ninth. Now, while November is the eleventh month of our year, we have preserved the Pagan calendar, for the Pagan calendar year begins in March, thus making November the ninth month."

"That is a new and interesting fact to me; but I should have known it, because the French language has preserved, in the same way, the Pagan names for the days of the week Lundi--our Monday--is the day of la Lune (the moon); Mardi (Tuesday), the day of Mars; Mercredi (Wednesday), the day of Mercury; Jeudi (Thursday), the day of Jupiter; Vendredi (Friday), the day of Venus; Samedi (Saturday),

 

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the day of Saturn; and Dimanche (Sunday), the day of Dieu--(God). I learned that much, at least, at school."

 

Barnum smiled at the naïveté with which she related these facts that are familiar to every school-girl; for every language, probably, accounts in a similar way for the days of the week. There was in Clara's character a mingling of the innocence of childhood with the unusual knowledge which foreign travel gives to the mind that he had never known before. The study of her character was to him an open chapter of pleasing surprises, brightened by wit and merriment.

"What are you smiling at, Mr. Barnum?" she asked. "I don't like to be laughed at."

"It was not in ridicule, Miss Clara; I was only thinking of a delightful scene which I saw while walking in the village last Sunday. A gentleman was walking with his little girl, who seemed to be three or four years old; her manner and yours were somewhat alike, as you replied just now, as if to say: 'I have found a fact and am going to grasp it.'"

"What was my little prototype doing?"

"She was trying to catch the shadow of her father as he walked between her and the sunlight. One moment she stood with expectant air as he moved forward, telling her that he was going to hold it down with his foot; then, as it evaded her, she darted forward to catch the fleeing shadow; and then suddenly she stopped, half in inquiry, half in explanation, as she traced the shadow to its substance. I would give a great deal for a photograph of the swiftly changing emotions pictured on the face of that little innocent," said Barnum.

"And you would compare me to a little girl three years

 

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old, would you? You think I am as simple as a child, do you?"

 

There was pretended indignation and coquettish gratification in her tone and manner, but Barnum was equal to the occasion, for he answered:

"Oh, no; I think you are wise beyond your years--the most womanly girl I know--but you are as guileless and innocent as that little child."

The woman who is proof against such agreeable and well-timed flattery as this has yet to be born. Clara, at all events, was not, for, holding her hand toward him, she smilingly said: "I will have to forgive you, after that pretty speech."

They rode for a short time without speaking, but finally Barnum said: "I don't know why I should have thought of Catholic customs to-day, unless my mind unconsciously turned to the time when I first saw you as an embryo Sister of Charity."

"That remark reminds me of a very dear friend of mine who has become really, and I think forever, a Sister of Charity. You should have known her, for she was my poor brother's fiance at the time of his death--the sweetest tempered, best and truest girl I know is Nathalie Blanc." Then, pausing a moment, she added: "There is something about the falling leaves of autumn that recalls to me the loved ones that have fallen."

They had reached the summit of the mountain as this speech was uttered, and Barnum aided her to dismount.

It was the afternoon of a splendid day, when the varied colors of spring seemed united to the golden yellow of autumn. Advancing to the edge of a precipice, they viewed the landscape.

 

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Barnum had fully recovered from his wound, and was evidently more interested in his fair young companion than in the scenery.

"What are you thinking of, Miss Clara?" said Barnum, after a few moments' silence.

"Strange to say, I was thinking of a quotation, and wondering whether the poet was right in thinking spring the loveliest of the seasons."

"What is the quotation which can take your mind from this beautiful view? I think 'Indian summer' is the loveliest of the four seasons," he replied.

"It does not take my mind away from it; indeed, the quotation was recalled by it-- "

O Primavera, gioventu dell natura,
O gioventu! primavera della vita,
 
"" she answered.

 

"That sounds beautifully; what is the sense of it?" "

'Oh! springt-ime, youth of fair nature,
Oh, youth! spring-time of life,'
 
" she answered, then asked:

 

"Do you understand Italian?"

"No; where did you learn it?"

"I studied Italian in Italy; we lived there a year--the year before we lived in Switzerland. You know I call Geneva my European home. My father wanted me to learn French and Italian, so as to read and speak it fluently. The sentence conveys a beautiful idea, I think."

"So do I. Did you ever read a novel in that language?"

"Oh, yes, indeed; and the best one, I think, is 'Doctor Antonio.' The author wrote it himself in English, French and Italian, the latter being his native tongue, and it is a classic in each."

 

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"I quite agree with you, for I have read the English version. Don't you think European novelists have greatly the advantage of our American novelists?"

"I had not thought of it, but since you have suggested it, I will say that I do. There is no room for a Thackeray in Republican America, where there is no aristocracy, but we have a Dickens already."

"And who is he?" queried Barnum.

"Bret Harte," she answered.

"Who is the author of the quotation you have just Uttered, Miss Clara?"

"I do not know. I heard it quoted first by my teacher, Madame R., with whom we made the ascent of the Voirons, which, DeSaussure says, offers the finest view among the Alps; and whenever I see a beautiful mountain view it occurs to me."

"But is not the effect of seeing those grandest scenes of nature to render insignificant our little mountains here?"

"Oh, no! Do you know I have a fancy that a beautiful view, if you really enjoy it intensely, as I do, is never lost, and each successive landscape adds to that which preceded it? And then, Mr. Barnum, these 'little mountains,' as you call them, are ours."

"That's a new idea," said Barnum; "your look, tone, gestures, all seem to imply, as you gaze at yonder distant blue range, that they are your individual property."

"And they are! Put into the soul of the humblest of God's creatures an appreciative taste of 'The True, the Beautiful, and the Good,' as Guizot expresses it, and place them on any mountain in one's native country, and who can rob him of his appreciation of the glorious sky, and sea and lake, or wood?"

 

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"But why couldn't you feel the same sense of appropriation amid the Alps?"

"Oh! Mr. Barnum, I don't know how to answer you, but I did'nt. I could only feel the insignificance of all human things there. I can see them now--Mont Blanc and many lesser monarchs that pierce the very skies--the sunset glow on their icy peaks resplendent as burnished gold, and a thousand times finer than any painting! Then follows the re-glow illuming the snow peaks with all the colors of the prism, and far more beautiful than the sunset itself. I have never seen this re-glow except amid the Alps."

"You certainly are an enthusiast in your love for beautiful scenery," said Barnum.

"I confess that I am," she replied. "I think with Victor Hugo that the study of nature detracts in no degree from the successful pursuit of the practical things of life; that the spirit which knows how to be free and winged with the birds, perfumed among the flowers, mobile and vibrating amid the waves and the trees, elevated, serene and peaceable among the mountains, knows also when the hour comes, and better perhaps than any one, how to be intelligent and eloquent among men."

Then, after a brief silence, during which Barnum was contemplating the expressive face before him instead of the scenery, as her very soul seemed interpreted by her animated features, she continued:

"Mr. Barnum, look there!" From the rocky heights the eye sweeps over valleys, while lower mountain spurs trend far away until they melt in the horizon. "How beautiful that view is! But it is much finer than this," she added, "at Dahlonega; the isolated peaks there rise in separate

 

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groups like the far-famed Saxon-Switzerland. I think I can see the Dahlonega mountains over there."

 

"Do you know that you look like Murillo's Madonna, with your hair all falling loose that way?" he asked, unmindful of the beauties of the landscape.

"Fiddlesticks! You haven't a particle of sentiment, or you would at least refrain from making allusions that spoil mine."

"Pardon me; you are mistaken; my trouble, I fear, is that I have too much sentiment, and I am greatly tempted to give it utterance."

The scene and the occasion certainly seemed propitious. The air was redolent with roses and flowering shrubs, laughing at autumn and tossing sweet blossoms to the amorous breeze on this vernal belt which clothes the rim of these Southern mountains with perpetual verdure.

The young soldier's convalescence admonished him that it was his duty to report at Richmond and resume his place as a prisoner of war until he could be exchanged. During the months of his daily association with Colonel Leslie's household, Clara's cheerful voice, as she read or talked to the helpless invalid, had become the sweetest of sounds to him, and her gentle smile thrilled his heart with happiness. Clara did not dream of his infatuation; it had not occurred to her that Barnum would be a suitor for her hand. To him too, the idea was surrounded with difficulties, but long ago he had surrendered his heart to her in his secret thoughts. His sense of honor told him that the war itself was an insurmountable barrier if he returned to what his conscience told him was his duty, the prosecution of the war for the restoration of the Union.

 

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A question from his unsuspecting companion brought him to his senses again.

"Mr. Barnum, you have told me that you once lived here a a short time, and left to enter the Northern army; were you ever on this mountain before?"

"Oh, yes, frequently; we used to come here to get cedars with which to decorate the ball-room at the Military Institute for the commencement ball. By the way, it is just over there," pointing as he spoke in the direction of the Institute. "We had a gay time there. No ball can compare with a cadet ball during commencement week."

Clara had been occupied, meanwhile, in gathering fern leaves and flowers, and she appeared for the moment to be oblivious of everything else. The wind had blown her hat from her head, and her thick, luxuriant hair becoming unconfined reveled in disorder. It was fairer in his eyes, as he had stated, than the chevelure of Murillo's Madonna. Rich color mantled her cheeks, and her graceful, lissome figure never appeared to better advantage. There was an air of coquetry about her, which seems as natural to pretty women as the air they breathe, and Barnum recalled mentally the various characters in which she had enacted a part, and in all of them had seemed to him to be a heroine.

Now, filled with enthusiasm inspired by the lovely scenery and bracing air, she seemed the incarnation of feminine coquetry, free from all the ills and all the cares that flesh is heir to. He had never looked at her so intently before. His very silence was unusual, and there was a sad, wistful, earnest look in his eyes which she had never before noticed. The sun was melting into splendor, as all the colors of the prism seemed to glow in the western sky.

"Mr. Barnum, I don't wish to be inquisitive, but may I

 

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ask you to relate to me your feelings when you left the South?"

 

"Miss Clara, there is no wish on earth which you could utter which would offend me. I owe my life to your unceasing care. There is nothing which could give me so much happiness as to feel that I could contribute to your enjoyment or happiness. Sit down here and I will tell you of the greatest trial of my life--except one," he added, looking at her sweet young face upturned to his with all a girl's interest in some interesting revelation about to be made.

There they sat on a rock near the summit of the Kennesaw, while he simply narrated the following incident:

"A wealthy young Texan named Moyer had been chosen as captain of the 'Raccoon Roughs,' a military company raised in this vicinity. He was a member of the Senior class and we gave him a farewell banquet. In two months I would have graduated, and I intended to remain until after that event, as the first battle had not then taken place, and I hoped that peace might be maintained. Moyer's intimate friend was a youth named Latané"--Clara started with surprise as she heard this name, but Barnum did not notice it and continued--"a chivalrous, gallant fellow, full of enthusiasm, who, like the rest, was burning with ardor to resist the 'invasion of his country,' as he termed it. A stone loosened from its place here where we sit will bound down the mountain side, leaping from cliff to cliff, from precipice to precipice, crashing great trees in its course, until its course is run. A tiny ball of snow gathers strength and volume as it rolls over and over in its impetuous course, until 'tis merged in the mighty avalanche which cuts down trees and plants, and sweeps all before it, a very besom of destruction. The war spirit of those youths was

 

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like the stone and the avalanche: nothing could moderate it. The demon of Discord was at work, and ah! so cheerily. From the press I learned that in every city, town and village beaming lights signalled the great event. 'The Southern Cross lighted the sky,' said one paper. Impulsive hearts caught like tinder, and a mistaken patriotism glowed like a flame! Men, women and children caught the infection of enthusiasm which spread from city to city and from State to State until seven States had seceded. Think of it! 2,700,000 whites, who undertook to control a population of 2,300,000 blacks, and defend a territory of 564,000 square miles against 35,000,000 whites with Europe as a recruiting ground! A people who had not one vessel and no arsenals or manufacturers of arms against one of the maritime powers of the world! It was the wildest folly! I thought so then; I think so now. After many toasts and college songs, Latané, rising with the glass filled to the brim, proposed 'The Confederate Flag! Long may it wave! Down with the Union!'

 

"The guests arose as one man, with one exception, and drained their glasses. The one exception was captain of Company C, a native of New York. He was also an assistant professor, which was the highest academic honor. At his side sat the Senior Cadet Captain, Blount, the noblest fellow I ever knew."

Barnum paused for a moment and pointed to the descending sun.

"Go on," said Clara; "father knows I am with you, and hence will not feel uneasy about me."

Barnum smiled and continued: "Latané noticed it first, and added a hot-headed speech about 'skulkers,' and those who sought 'bomb-proof places.' Blount arose to reply, for

 

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Latané was his best friend, and he wished to check him in time. I motioned him to sit down, and, with my glass still untouched, replied to Latané. I stated that my native State had not seceded, and I hoped it never would! I added that I honored their determination to go with their States and fight for that which they thought was right. I stated that I intended to do likewise, and would tender my sword in defense of the Union. I left the next day with Tom Moyer's Company and, passing through Richmond, went to New York. My subsequent history you know. I will add that Henry Latané was the first to grasp my hand, and Blount proposed a toast in my honor, to which all cordially drank, and we parted more like brothers than enemies; I never had nobler friends."

 

Clara had listened to this recital with unflagging interest--an interest all the greater because of the allusions to Latané.

"You said there was a trial greater than that severance of college ties and friendships?"

"Shall I tell you what it is?" he said, as he looked into her face with a pleading, earnest look. She did not reply, and Barnum continued: "But for you, Miss Clara, I would have died in the hospital; but for Hugh, upon the battlefield. I used to think, before I knew who you were, that it was worth getting desperately wounded to see this lovely nurse; and often did I lament the garb which told me that, even if I could win your love, you had placed an eternal barrier between us when you entered the convent. I used to spend my hours in thinking how you could be rescued and returned to that world which you are so fitted to adorn. Indeed, you are too sweet, too lovely to be a nun!"

This was said in a simple, manly way--the honest outpouring

 

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of a grateful heart warmed to enthusiasm by scene, time and circumstances. Clara, divining with feminine intuition what was to follow, sought to change the conversation by asking: "And now, Mr. Barnum, will you return to the army again?"

 

"That is what tries me; that is the greatest trial of my life. It is my duty to return and fight in support of my convictions, but when I think that my sword will be turned against my benefactors, my saviors; against those whom you love; against you whom I love with all the earnestness, all the tenderness of my nature--more than life itself--I hesitate."

The trembling tones of his voice and his impassioned manner left no ground for doubting his sincerity.

The announcement was so unexpected, and it seemed so singular that two strong and valiant men should ask her opinion in a matter of so much moment, and each do it at the time that he declared his attachment for herself, that Clara was overwhelmed. Too sincere to trifle with the affections of such a man as this young Northern officer had proven himself to be, too fearless in her purity to dissemble, she, acting on the impulse of the moment, said: "Do not ask me, but follow the instincts of your own heart. If I were a man I would scorn not to be a soldier at this time. But I cannot appreciate your feeling of loyalty to the old Union. But, Mr. Barnum, go where you will, you must always feel that my poor brother's friend is very dear to us. I know that you will never do anything dishonorable, and--try to think of me as of a relative whose interest in you is second only to that of your parents." She ceased, surprised at herself. Her hand was placed unconsciously upon his arm, her speech was as earnest as his, and yet the one expression which he

 

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longed for was absent. Taking her little hand in his strong, nervous clasp he held it a moment, looking the while into the very depths of her pure, honest eyes, then bent low his head and kissed, kissed reverentially, that hand which lay unresisting in his own.

 

Superb self-control, buoyed by self-esteem, animated these two young people.

"It is time that we returned," said Barnum; "I see the lights in the village, and I would not have your father think that I had intentionally abused the last evening I spend under his hospitable roof."

"Surely you are not going away?"

The agitation which Clara displayed as she asked this question was like an elixir to his hopes, but it passed away in a moment as his better nature re-asserted itself. Even if he could induce her to confess that the attachment was mutual, did he have the right, as an honorable man, to do it? Should he, the avowed enemy of her country and of the cause for which her idolized brother had yielded his young life, should he ask this?

The whole solemnity of the subject rose with prophetic clearness before his vision, and, curbing all that he longed to say, he said: "Yes, I will leave to morrow; it is not honorable for me to remain longer. I owe to your dear father my immunity from prison thus far, and now I am well and strong, and I shall return at once to Richmond and take my place until duly exchanged.

But, Miss Clara, for the last time perhaps on earth we are alone together, and I must speak freely. I would not have you pledge me your love if I had won it, which I see I have not, but you must always remember that I love you as I love no one else on earth. I see that it is hopeless to

 

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expect a return of such love as I feel, but I can never look upon you as a mere relative. Even if you loved me it would be wild, foolish, wrong to indulge it, for this dreadful war will lead our lives apart."

 

She could not answer him, but her agitation and her inability to say a word as they rode slowly homeward left a thrill of hope in his breast that he dared not express.

Chapter 13

 

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CHAPTER XIII.
THE SLAVE MART.

The day before Barnum left this hospitable home to deliver himself as a prisoner at Richmond, a conversation with Colonel Leslie as to the cost of emancipation and the evils incident to the separation of families made him eager to personally witness a public auction of slaves. Richmond contained the only regular auction mart of this kind in the South, and it was an easy matter for him to gratify this curiosity, which could never be witnessed again if emancipation became a reality. In that conversation Barnum said:

"It will be a great financial loss, then, if emancipation shall result from the war."

"Yes, as a matter of course, and the war will determine that. Take any part of the New England States, the nursery of abolitionism, and so arrange the territory as to embrace eight millions of people; then take away from the accumulated savings of the most industrious and thrifty of her people over two thousand millions of dollars by the stroke of a pen, in what condition would it leave them?"

"It would convert it into a wilderness, because the people would abandon it and go West," answered Barnum.

"Precisely; and yet that is exactly what the abolitionists propose that we shall do. The issue is made up, and neither you nor I can avert the consequences. Each of us must do as his conscience shall dictate. But do not be deceived by public clamor. Bear in mind what the Democratic convention in Indiana has just unanimously demanded--that 'the

 

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public authorities of Indiana shall see that the Constitution and laws of the State are enforced against the entrance of free negroes and mulattoes;' declaring that 'when the people of Indiana adopted the negro exclusion clause in their Constitution by a majority of ninety-four thousand votes, they meant that the honest, laboring white man, and that he alone, was suited to the form of their institutions.'

 

"To appreciate the full force of the demand made upon the South, you must know that the money value of our slaves is greater than all the mills and factories and railroads in the United States combined. But be that as it may, the South has staked all upon this war, and if we lose we will not grumble about what cannot be helped. The cost of war is always borne by the defeated country." His tone and manner indicated very clearly that he had no doubt about the success of the South.

"How long have you been a secessionist, Colonel?"

"Ever since the promulgation of the so-called 'higher law.' But the first advocacy of the constitutional rights of the States to dissolve the Union when it ceased to protect their interests came from the foremost abolition State, the State of Massachusetts."

"Indeed!" said Barnum; "I never heard that before. Who suggested it?"

"A statesman and a gentleman for whom I have the highest respect. In 1844 he introduced in the Massachusetts Legislature resolutions which were passed by that body respecting the annexation of Texas. He had declared therein, just as Josiah Quincy had declared with reference to the acquisition of Louisiana, 'that the power to unite an independent foreign State with the United States is not among the powers delegated to the general government by the Constitution

 

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of the United States.' He declared further that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, faithful to the compact with the people of the United States, according to the plain meaning and intent in which it was understood and acceded to by them, is sincerely anxious for its preservation; and that it is determined, as it doubts not other States are, to submit to undelegated powers in no body of men on earth; and that the project of the annexation of Texas, unless resisted on the threshold, may tend to drive these States into a dissolution of the Union." Colonel Leslie had read this extract from a slip which he had taken from his pocket-book. "I carry that about with me now," he said, "that I may have my proof at hand whenever the subject is discussed in my presence." This habit caused Judge Dearing to call him a "walking encyclopedia."

 

"The great misfortune, my young friend, is that the political leaders of both the North and South have allowed passion to master reason, and are willing to plunge this country into a bloody war rather than make mutual concessions.

"When the doctrine of an 'irrepressible conflict' was announced, the gauntlet was thrown down. When this, my native State, passed the ordinance of secession, I felt, like the Massachusetts statesman, that she had exercised her sovereign right and loyalty bade me obey."

Colonel Leslie's remarks concerning slavery lingered in Barnum's mind as he proceeded northward.

Animated by a spirit of adventure, and knowing that he would never be able to witness such a scene again if the Union armies triumphed, Barnum strolled forth the day after his arrival in Richmond, to find a slave-auction house. A public sale of slaves was a rare spectacle in any other Southern State, but the exposure of ordinary goods in a store was not

 

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more open to the public than were the sales of slaves in Richmond. By consulting the local newspapers Barnum learned that the sales took place every morning in the offices of certain brokers who purchased or received slaves for sale on commission.

 

Where the street was in which the brokers conducted their business he did not know, but the discovery was easily made. Rambling down the main street in the city, he found that the subject of his search was a narrow and short thoroughfare turning off to the left and terminating in a similar cross-thoroughfare. Both streets were lined with brick houses. Looking about, he observed the office of a commission agent, and into it he stepped. It was a large shop with two windows and a door between; no shelving or counters inside; the interior a spacious, dismal apartment; the only furniture a desk at one of the windows and a bench at one side of the shop three feet high, with two steps to it from the floor. This dismal-looking place had nobody in it but three negro children, who, as he entered, were playing at auctioneering each other. An intensely black little negro of four or five years of age was standing on the bench, or block as it is called, with an equally black girl about a year younger by his side, whom he was pretending to sell by bids to another black child who was rolling about the floor.

Barnum's appearance did not interrupt the merriment. The little auctioneer continued his mimic play, and appeared to enjoy the joke of selling the girl, who stood demurely at his side.

"Fifty dolla for de gal--fifty dolla--fifty dolla. I sell dis here fine gal for fifty dolla," was uttered with extraordinary volubility by the woolly-headed urchin, accompanied with appropriate gestures in imitation, doubtless, of the scenes he

 

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had seen enacted daily on the spot. Barnum spoke a few words to the little creatures, but was scarcely understood, and the fun went on as if he had not been present; so he left them, happy in rehearsing what was likely soon to be their own fate.

 

At another office of a similar character, on the opposite side of the street, he was more successful. Here, on inquiry, he was respectfully informed, by a person in attendance, that the sale would take place the following morning at half-past nine o'clock.

Next day he set out accordingly, after breakfast, for the scene of operations, in which there was now a little more life. Two or three persons were lounging about, smoking cigars, and, looking along the street, he observed that three red flags were projected from the doors of those offices in which sales were to occur. On each flag was pinned a piece of paper, notifying the articles to be sold. The number of lots was not great. On the first was the following announcement: "Will be sold this morning, at half-past nine o'clock, a man and a boy."

It was already the appointed hour; but as no company had assembled, he entered and took a seat by the fire. The office, provided with a few deal forms and chairs, a desk at one of the windows, and a block accessible by a few steps, was tenantless, save by a man who was arranging papers at the desk, and to whom he had addressed himself on the previous evening. Minute after minute passed, and still nobody entered. There was clearly no hurry in going to business. He felt almost like an intruder, and had formed the resolution of departing in order to look into other offices, when the person referred to left his desk and came and seated himself opposite to him at the fire.

 

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"You are an Englishman," said he, looking steadily in Barnum's face; "do you want to purchase?"

"Yes," he replied, "I am an Englishman; but I do not intend to purchase. I am traveling about for information, and I shall feel obliged by your letting me know the prices at which negro servants are sold."

"I will do so with pleasure," was the answer; "do you mean field hands or house servants?"

"All kinds," replied Barnum; "I wish to get all the in formation that I can."

With much politeness the man stepped to his desk and began to draw up a note of prices. This, however, seemed to require careful consideration, and while the note was preparing, a lanky person, in a wide-awake hat and chewing tobacco, entered and took the chair just vacated. He had scarcely seated himself when, on looking towards the door, he observed the subjects of sale--the man and boy indicated by the paper on the red flag--enter together and quietly walk to a form at the back of the shop, whence, as the day was chilly, they edged themselves towards the fire, in the corner where Barnum was seated. He was now between the two parties--the white man on the right, and the old and young negro on the left--and he waited to see what would take place.

The sight of the negroes at once attracted the attention of Wide-awake. Chewing with vigor, he kept keenly eyeing the pair, as if to see what they were good for. Under this searching gaze, the man and boy were a little abashed, but said nothing.

Their appearance had little of the repulsiveness we are apt to associate with the idea of slaves. They were dressed in a gray woolen coat, pants and waistcoat, colored cotton

 

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neckcloths, clean shirts, coarse woolen stockings, and stout shoes. The man wore a black hat; the boy was bareheaded. Moved by a sudden impulse, Wide-awake left his seat, and rounding the back of Barnum's chair, began to grasp at the man's arms, as if to feel their muscular capacity. He than examined his hands and fingers, and, last of all, told him to open his mouth and show his teeth, which he did in a submissive manner. Having finished these examinations, Wide-awake resumed his seat.

 

Barnum thought it was but fair that he should now have his turn of investigation, and accordingly he asked the elder negro what was his age. He said he did not know. He next inquired how old the boy was. He said he was seven years of age. On asking the man if the boy was his son, he said he was not, he was his cousin. He was going into other particulars, when the office-keeper approached and handed him the note he had been preparing, at the same time making the observation that the market was dull at present, and that there never could be a more favorable opportunity of buying. Barnum thanked him for the trouble he had taken, and then read the following price-current:

Best men, 18 to 25 years old 1200 to 1300 dollars.
Fair do. do. do. 950 to 1050 dollars.
Boys, 5 feet, 850 to 950 dollars.
Do. 4 feet 8 inches 700 to 800 dollars.
Do. 4 feet 5 inches 500 to 600 dollars.
Do. 4 feet 375 to 450 dollars.
Young women 800 to 1000 dollars.
Girls, 5 feet 750 to 850 dollars.
Do. 4 feet 9 inches 700 to 750 dollars.
Do. 4 feet 350 to 450 dollars.
 

Leaving the document for future consideration, he walked

 

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out. It was now ten minutes to ten o'clock, and Wide-awake and Barnum, being alike tired of waiting, went off in quest of sales further up the street. Passing the second office, in which also nobody was to be seen, they were more fortunate at the third. Here, according to the announcement on the paper stuck to the red flag, there were to be sold a woman and three children, a young woman, three men, a middle-aged woman and a little boy. Already a crowd had met, composed of persons buying for the cotton plantations of the South. A few were seated near the fire on the right-hand side, and others stood round an iron stove in the middle of the apartment.

 

On his arrival, and while making these preliminary observations, the lots for sale had not made their appearance-In about five minutes afterward they were ushered in, one after another, under the charge of a mulatto, who seemed to act as principal assistant. He saw no whips, chains or any other engine of force. Nor did such appear to be required. All the lots took their seats on two long forms near the stove; none showed any signs of resistance; nor did any one utter a word. Their manner was that of perfect humility and resignation.

As soon as all were seated, there was a general examination of their respective merits by feeling their arms, looking into their mouths, and investigating the quality of their hands and fingers--this last being evidently an important particular. Yet there was no abrupt rudeness in making these examinations; no coarse or domineering language was employed. The three negro men were dressed in the usual manner--in gray woolen clothing. The woman with three children excited his particular attention. She was neatly attired, with a colored handkerchief bound around her head,

 

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and wore a white apron over her dress. Her children were all girls, one of them a baby at the breast, three months old, and the others two and three years of age respectively, rigged out with clean white pinafores. There was not a or an emotion visible in the whole party. Everything seemed to be considered as a matter of course, and the change of owners was possibly looked forward to with as much indifference as ordinary hired servants anticipate a removal from one employer to another.

 

While intending purchasers were proceeding with personal examinations of the several lots, Barnum took the liberty of putting a few questions to the mother of the children. The following was their conversation:

"Are you a married woman?"

"Yes, sir."

"How many children have you had?"

"Seven."

"Where is your husband?"

"In Madison county."

"When did you part from him?"

"On Wednesday--two days ago."

"Were you sorry to part from him?"

"Yes, sir, she replied, with a deep sigh; my heart was a'most broke."

"Why is your master selling you?"

"I don't know--he wants money to buy some land--suppose he sells me for that."

There might not be a word of truth in these answers, for he had no means of testing their correctness; but the woman seemed to speak unreservedly. He spoke also to the young woman who was seated near her. She, like the others, was perfectly black, and appeared stout and healthy, of which

 

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some of the persons present assured themselves by feeling her arms, looking into her mouth and causing her to stand up. She told him she had several brothers and sisters, but did not know where they were. She said she was a house-servant, and would be glad to be bought by a good master, looking at him as if he should not be unacceptable.

 

There was an entire absence of emotion in the looks of men, women and children, thus seated preparatory to being sold. This did not correspond with the ordinary accounts of slave-sales, which are represented as tearful and harrowing. None of the parties seemed to feel deeply on the subject, or at least any distress they experienced was but momentary--soon passed away and was forgotten. A trifling incident proved this. While waiting for the commencement of the sale, one of the gentlemen present amused himself with a pointer dog, which, at command, stood on its hind legs and took pieces of bread from his pocket. These tricks greatly entertained the row of negroes, old and young, and the poor woman, whose heart, three minutes before, was almost broken, now laughed as heartily as any one.

"Sale is going to commence--this way," cried a man at the door to a number of loungers outside; and all having assembled, the mulatto assistant led the woman and her children to the block, which he helped her to mount. There she stood with her infant at the breast, and one of her girls at each side.

The auctioneer, a handsome, manly-looking personage, took his place with one foot on an old deal chair with a broken back, and the other raised on a somewhat more elevated block. It was a striking scene.

"Well, gentlemen," began the salesman, "here is a capital woman and her three children, all in good health--what

 

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do you say for them? Give me an offer. (Nobody speaks.) I put up the whole lot at eight hundred and fifty dollars--eight hundred and fifty dollars--eight hundred and fifty dollars (speaking very fast)--eight hundred and fifty dollars. Will no one advance upon that? A very extraordinary bargain, gentlemen. A fine healthy baby. Hold it up. (Mulatto goes up the first step of the block, takes the baby from the woman's breast, and holds it aloft with one hand, so as to show that it was a veritable sucking baby.) That will do. A woman still young and with three children, all for eight hundred and fifty dollars. An advance, if you please, gentlemen. (A voice bids eight hundred and sixty dollars.) Thank you, sir; eight hundred and sixty dollars; any one bids more? (A second voice says, eight hundred and seventy dollars, and so on, the bidding goes as far as eight hundred and ninety dollars, when it stops.) "That won't do, gentlemen. I cannot take such a low price." (After a pause, addressing the mulatto): "She may go down." Down from the block the woman and her children were therefore conducted by the assistant, and, as if nothing had occurred, they calmly resumed their seats by the stove.

 

The next lot brought forward was one of the men. The assistant, beckoning to him with his hand, requested him to come behind a canvas screen, of two leaves, which was standing near the back window. About a dozen gentlemen crowded to the spot. The man was told to open and shut his hands, asked if he could pick cotton, and his teeth were looked at. The investigation being at an end, he was requested to walk to the block.

The ceremony of offering him for competition was gone through as before, but no one would bid. The other two men, after undergoing similar examinations behind the

 

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screen, were also put up, but with the same result. Nobody would bid for them, and they were all sent back to their seats. It seems as if the company had conspired not to buy anything that day. Probably some imperfections had been detected in the personal qualities of the negroes. Be this as it may, the auctioneer, perhaps a little out of temper from his want of success, walked off to his desk, and the affair was so far at an end.

 

"This way, gentlemen! this way!" was heard from a voice outside, and the company immediately hurried off to the second establishment. At this office there was a young woman and also a man for sale. The woman was put up first at five hundred dollars; and possessing some recommendable qualities, the bidding for her was run as high as seven hundred and ten dollars, at which she was knocked down to a purchaser. The man was put up at seven hundred dollars; but a small imperfection having been observed in his person, no one would bid for him, and he was ordered down.

"This way, gentlemen! this way--down the street, if you please!" was now shouted by the person in the employment of the first firm, to whose office all very willingly adjourned. In going in the crowd, Barnum went to see what should be the fate of the man and boy, with whom he had already had some communication.

There the pair, the two cousins, sat by the fire, just where he had left them an hour before. The boy was put up first.

"Come along, my man--jump up; there's a good boy!" said one of the partners--a bulky and respectable-looking person, with a gold chain and a bunch of seals, at the same time getting on the block. With alacrity the little fellow came forward, and, mounting the steps, stood by his side.

 

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The forms in front were filled with the company, and, as Barnum seated himself, he found that his old companion. Wide-awake, was close at hand, still chewing and spitting at a great rate.

 

"Now, gentlemen," said the auctioneer, putting his hand on the shoulder of the boy, "he is a very fine boy, seven years of age, warranted sound--what do you say for him? I put him up at 500 dollars--500 dollars (speaking quick, his right hand raised up and coming down on the open palm of the left)--500 dollars. Any one say more than 500 dollars? (560 is bid) 560 dollars. Nonsense! Just look at him. See how high he is. (He draws the lot in front of him, and shows that the little fellow's head comes up to his breast.) You see he is a fine, tall, healthy boy. Look at his hands."

Several step forward and cause the boy to open and shut his hands, the flexibility of the small fingers, black on the one side, and whitish on the other, being well looked to. The hands and also the mouth having given satisfaction, an advance is made to 570, then to 580.

"Gentlemen, that is a very poor price for a boy of this size." (Addressing the lot.) "Go down, my boy, and show them how you can run." The boy seemingly happy to do as he was bid, went down from the block, and ran smartly across the floor several times, the eyes of every one in the room following him.

"Now, that will do. Get up again." (Boy mounts the block, the step being rather steep for his short legs, but the auctioneer kindly lends him a hand.) "Come, gentlemen, you see this is a first rate lot." (590, 600, 610, 620, 630 dollars are bid.) "I will sell him for six hundred and thirty dollars, twice. (A pause, hand sinks.) Gone!"

 

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The boy having descended, the man was desired to come forward, and after the usual scrutiny, he took his place on the block.

"Well, now, gentlemen," said the auctioneer, "here is a right prime lot. Look at this man; strong, healthy, able--bodied; could not be a better hand for field-work. He can drive a wagon or anything. What do you say for him? I offer the man at the low price of 800 dollars--he is well worth 1,200 dollars. Come, make an advance, if you please, 800 dollars said for the man (a bid); thank you; 810 dollars, 810 dollars, 810 dollars, (several bids, 820, 830, 850, 860), "going at 860, going. Gentlemen, this is far below his value. A strong man, fit for any kind of heavy work. Just take a look at him." (Addressing the lot): "Walk down." (Lot dismounts, and walks from one side of the shop to the other. When about to re-ascend the block, a gentleman, who is smoking a cigar, examines his mouth with his fingers. Lot resumes his place.) "Pray, gentlemen, be quick" (continues the auctioneer); "I must sell him, and 860 dollars are only bid for the man, 860 dollars." (A fresh run of bids to 945 dollars). "945 dollars once, 945 dollars twice" (looking slowly around to see if all were done). "945 dollars. Going, going," (hand drops), "gone!"

Such were a forenoon's experiences in the slave-market of Richmond. Everything is described precisely as it occurred. Barnum's emotions as he returned to the hotel were conflicting. Savages brought from Africa were certainly much advanced in the scale of civilization by becoming the slaves of a man like Colonel Leslie. But this selling of human beings, as if they were dumb brutes, this separation of families, seemed so revolting to his mind; so at war with the essence of the Declaration of Independence, that he, who had seriously

 

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considered the propriety of refusing longer to bear arms against a noble people, now felt that this miserable system of slavery ought to be extirpated at any cost.

 

"If it cannot be done, then let them secede!" he exclaimed. "There is an 'irrepressible conflict,' and this country cannot form one harmonious government half slave and half free." He forgot, in his unselfish thoughts, that New York was once a slave State. The Albany (N. Y.) Gazette of 1785 contained many advertisements concerning fugitive slaves and slavery, similar, in all respects, to those which he had read in the Richmond papers. Slavery had ceased there when it ceased to be profitable, just as it probably would have been abolished eventually in the South for like cause before the close of this century.

Chapter 14

 

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CHAPTER XIV.
THE TWO DEMOCRACIES.

For the army each day was a cycle of events at this period, but for Clara months passed and her interest in the stirring events was repressed and she seemed a changed being. Her bright color was gone now, and Colonel Leslie's cheery greetings were answered by a forced smile and the unremitting attentions of his devoted daughter. But all these dutiful attentions did not bring back the bloom to the cheeks of the convalescent.

There are people thus cheerful, thus earnest, thus faithful, whose wealth of love cannot fulfill its mission by pursuing the narrow path of duty.

Thus without a quarrel Latané and Clara suffered a mutual disappointment which nothing but a satisfactory explanation of the enigmatical state of affairs could remedy. Her father had finally acknowledged to himself the true reason why her buoyant cheerfulness had given way to a gentleness which seemed born of disappointment, and he felt extreme resentment to the author of it. She was his idol, and her happiness was the object of his life. When relieved of the cares of business, it was her society he craved, and daily some little token of love would evidence his absorbing affection for his only child.

Time had rolled fleetly around; great battles had been fought, and still, late in the second year of the war, Henry Latané had not asked for a furlough.

In the North the steady expansion of population by means

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of European immigration had spread over the new West, and improvement was rife everywhere. The discovery of petroleum added one hundred and fifty millions of dollars a year to the national wealth, and the mineral wealth of the Pacific States and intermediate country yielded one hundred millions more.

 

But war was crushing the South with anaconda force. For men and material for the purposes of war, the North had the whole world to draw upon. One paper stated: "We have now over twenty-six millions of people within the Union lines, against less than five millions (nearly one-half of whom are negro slaves) within the lines of the Confederates. All things considered, the actual, positive, available strength of the North against the South is more than twenty against one." It was at this period that a ring at the doorbell of Mrs. Latané's house, one bright, sunny winter morning, brought the warm-hearted matron herself to the door. It was not the fashionable hour for calling, and she knew that it must be some familiar acquaintance. She looked in every direction, but could see no one, and was about to reënter the hall when a bright, laughing voice from the conservatory, into which a door descended from the veranda, said: "I will join you in a moment, aunty; I wish to get a camellia -- and what beautiful geraniums!" Then the shapely figure and fresh, beautiful face of Julia Dearing appeared, holding in her taper fingers some choice geraniums and other plants.

"Why, Julia! always at your delightful surprises; actually playing hide-and-seek with an old woman like me. I'm so glad to see you!" Then she met her with a mother's kiss.

"You ought to be, aunty, for I've brought you something that you will prize very highly," said Julia.

Mrs. Dearing and Mrs. Latané had been bosom friends

 

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from childhood until the death of the former, and Mrs. Latané loved and admired Julia more than any one except her children. There had long been a secret hope in her heart that Henry and Julia would one day marry; when that occurred, she thought, her happiness would be complete.

 

"I will guess what it is," she said.

"No, aunty, I will not postpone your pleasure; it is a letter from Captain Latané. I stopped the carriage as I passed the post-office and made Jeff inquire for your mail."

"Then you must share my pleasure," said Mrs. Latané, leading the way to the parlor. "Sit down, my child, while I read it to you."

They had hardly entered the parlor when a sunbeam of a child, a perfect type of blonde beauty, with golden hair and blue eyes, ran in and threw herself in Julia's lap with the expression, "Oh, here is Cousin Julia!" In an instant her plump little arms were around Julia's neck, and the affectionate child lavished kisses upon her, telling her that she was the most beautiful lady in the world.

Mrs. Latané, opening the letter, read: "

 

 

Culpepper Court House, Virginia , 1862.
My Dear Mother:

For two weeks we have been almost constantly on the march. I am writing under disadvantages, having been drenched by the rain, which is even now dripping on the paper. We are in a strip of woods near the Rappahannock; drawn up in line of battle, expecting orders to advance every minute; shells are flying over and around us. The cannonading is tremendous. Ambulances are hurrying by, carrying the wounded. One poor fellow is being borne by on a stretcher; he cannot live many minutes longer.

 

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Two Days Later, 25th.

I was interrupted, as I expected. The left of our division. Anderson's brigade, suffered severely. The Washington Artillery, attached to our brigade, suffered very heavily in killed and wounded; the enemy abandoned their positions, but cannonaded us furiously. We have bivouacked at Jefferson, waiting for provisions which gave out yesterday. Hungry men are cursing commissaries, yet it is not their fault, for provisions have to be hauled a long distance. We have no bread, but it will come after awhile.

Thursday, 26th.

We left without provisions, and are still advancing. Details are sent into every corn-field that we pass to procure roasting ears, which is our only food. The men seem nearly famished, but are brave and cheerful. We are drawn up in line of battle in an old field opposite the enemy. Shells were thrown during the whole of yesterday by the enemy; several fell in a few feet of me. Poor Charles Vincent, color-bearer to the regiment, was killed by one of them. Please call to see his mother, and tender her consolation and assistance. Charlie enlisted in my company and was one of the best soldiers in the regiment. Fifteen or twenty men in my company are bare-footed; their feet are torn and sore, but they do not murmur. They are chiefly poor factory operatives, like Charles Vincent, and I do not see any way to procure shoes for them. Thousands in this army are no better off. These men are certainly patriots. I feel thankful for my own good health; I need nothing. God bless and take care of you, my dearest mother. Give my little pet, my sweet little sister, a hundred kisses for me and my kindest regards to Manson.


Your devoted son,
Henry Latané.
 

"

 

 

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"Manson" was Mrs. Latané's colored carriage driver. As Mrs. Latané finished reading the letter, little Minnie, with tears in her eyes, exclaimed:

"My poor, good, dear, dear brother!"

Her mother, smiling through her own tears, caressed the little blue-eyed child, and Julia interupting her said:

"Say my brave, noble, heroic brother--that's what I think of him!"

The mother's heart was too full to reply. Pride in his courage, and fear for the safety of her darling son, agitated her with conflicting emotions. Julia soon left in order to make other calls.

For many days thereafter Julia was busily engaged embroidering a pair of slippers and a tobacco-pouch for the "brave, noble, heroic soldier." Her father looked on with gratification, for he was even more anxious that Henry Latané and Julia should form an attachment to culminate in marriage than Mrs. Latané was. But Julia had always declared that she and Henry Latané were too good friends ever to become lovers. Latané was completely infatuated with Clara Leslie, and, indeed, loved her the more on account the very uncertainty of its successful termination. He never permitted himself to doubt Clara's fidelity, honesty and truthfulness a moment, but no positive engagement of marriage existed, and his self-respect would not permit him to make any further overtures until the mysterious silence of Colonel Leslie and herself was explained, for none of his letters to Clara had been answered.

The next day the stylish equipage of Mrs. Latané drew up in front of an humble cottage of one of the factory operatives at Mr. Potts' mill. The little yard in front was ornamented with a few rose bushes and other flowers, while in the cottage

 

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windows flower-pots with fragrant flowers attested that refined feelings belong to the poor as well as the rich. Mrs. Vincent's poverty did not admit of the gratification of æsthetic tastes except in this modest way, but the little porch was trellised with hanging vines, the honeysuckle and the clematis, which united to make the air fragrant and inviting. The walk leading from the gate to the house was swept clean, and within the house was an appearance of neatness not usually found in the houses of the poor anywhere. The newly-made quilts upon the beds were tastefully arranged, having been made by Mrs. Vincent and her children in the long winter nights; and the sheets and counterpanes were snowy white and clean; with now and then a place showing that a careful hand had sewed the rent caused by long usage. Mrs. Vincent, with her little daughters and a little boy near her, was preparing the humble meal, for soon the mid-day bell would sound, and her eldest daughter would hurry from the mill to dinner.

 

Mrs. Latané, leading her little daughter by the hand, entered the porch and knocked at the door. Mrs. Vincent, with a respectful curtsy, welcomed her kindly, for there were few among the suffering poor in her neighborhood who did not know of and appreciate Mrs. Latané's charity.

"How are your little ones, my friend?" said she. "My little girl has brought them some presents."

"You are too kind, my dear madame; pray be seated; I'm sure, m'am, you know you are welcome."

While the mothers were engaged in friendly conversation, in which Mrs. Latané learned all about the needs of the sick among the operatives, little Minnie had gathered the children around her--all sitting on the floor--her golden curls mingling with their flaxen locks, while she emptied

 

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her apron of its contents. There were dressed dolls, dolls that were undressed, dolls that could open and shut their eyes, and dolls that could cry. "Yust ike a itty baby!" chimed in one of the little innocents. The children were delighted, and Mrs. Latané, with a mother's heart, exclaimed: "Of such is the kingdom of heaven! Truly childhood is the ideal democracy."

 

The little creatures would scramble playfully for the bonbons until they would roll over the floor, to Minnie's inexpressible delight, whose bright curls shook as her merry peals of laughter succeeded these antics. The little boy toddled up, and taking her curls in his chubby little hands, said in infantile tones: "I'll take this for my present." Minnie smiled, and putting her arms around the baby boy, kissed him and said: "Oh, no, Johnnie, I've brought you a real pretty present. Boys don't like dolls, so I've brought you something else." Then she ran to the carriage, followed by the delighted little mob, and, nearly breathless, exclaimed, accompanying the speech with the forefinger of her right-hand in an imperious way: "Be quick, uncle Manson; I have left a box in the carriage." Three little voices chimed in: "Be quick, uncle Manson; left something in the carriage!"

Manson got down, and patting his little mistress' head, lifted her in his arms gently and placed her in the carriage, where she sought among the downy cushions in vain for the missing box. Tears were about starting in her eyes, and the little friends were nearly crazy with excitement, wondering what Minnie had brought little Johnnie.

"Uncle Manson," said the child, "can't you come in here and find that box?"

 

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"Certainly I can, Minnie; don't you know uncle Manson can always find anything, or do anything for you?"

Then he took Minnie in his arms again, placed her on the ground, and, looking in, saw the box under one of the seats, where Minnie, in her eagerness, had pushed it without seeing it. As he held it down to her, she clapped her hands and leaped for joy. Three little children clapped their hands and leaped for joy. Again the parlor floor is animated with happy children.

"Here, Johnnie, is your present," proudly said the little beauty, as she took out the toy soldiers and placed them in a row. There were soldiers on foot, and cavalry soldiers, and toy cannon. The mothers had ceased talking and were silently gazing at the children. Mrs. Latané had taken down in her note-book every article which Mrs. Vincent needed, the latter protesting against receiving them.

"Oh, never mind," said Mrs. Latané, "you can pay me for them when you like, but you must take them. We know not how soon we will be poor, and I want to help people while I have the means. After a while, maybe your children will be helping mine." Just then the little boy uttered an exclamation of delight; Minnie had placed the toy soldiers in opposite lines for a battle, she said; and one of them, holding a flag above his head, as if in the act of waving it, she had placed in front of the centre of the line of battle.

Charles Vincent was color-bearer in Henry Latané's company, which was the color company of the regiment, a position given to Charles for gallant conduct. He was promoted to be lieutenant the day he was fatally wounded. The honor was conferred at the special request of Captain Latané, and it indicated that, though social advantages and

 

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wealth were against the modest and humble factory operative, yet he was the bravest soldier in the regiment. This merited promotion as color-sergeant over many wealthy young men created some envy at first, but the brave are ever magnanimous, and the modest, but manly bearing of the young man soon made him the most popular soldier in the command. Mrs. Vincent, therefore, had learned to love Henry Latané, whom she had never seen, next to her son Charles.

 

"Mama," said little Johnnie, "here is brother Charles marching ahead of all of them!" With a look of grateful pride, Mrs. Vincent said to her friend: "When the war is over my Charles will not forget to whom he owes his promotion, and will do anything on earth for your children." Before she had finished the sentence Mrs. Latané, overcome at last, was sobbing. Then Mrs. Vincent sank, pale and trembling, in her chair, and gasped, "What is it?" Her mother's heart told her the truth too well. Mrs. Latané embraced her and caressed her as if she was not only her equal, but her sister.

There is another democracy: the democracy of grief! The eldest daughter, Agnes, entered the room at the moment when Mrs. Latané gently conveyed to her mother's stricken heart the agonizing intelligence. Agnes interpreted the scene at a glance and, aided by Mrs. Latané, lifted her mother and placed her on the bed. Mrs. Vincent did not utter a sound, but her lips moved convulsively, as if she would speak, if speaking would not break her heart. She did not weep; such grief as this freezes the fount of tears! She did not close her eyes; such grief petrifies the glance of misery! The open eyes saw no one; the ears, listening for the silent voice of the dead, heard no one! The brain of

 

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that poor mother was busy; thought was weaving its fatal meshes there, and this thought was of no one save Charles Vincent. Day after day, week after week, almost without nourishment, she remained in this condition. Finally her eyes assumed the uncertain fixity of look which leads to madness. They seemed to penetrate space and see into the far beyond. Nothing saved her from lunacy but the prattling voices of those little helpless children. They now had no protector, no support, save Agnes and her younger sister. Weeks glided into months, and yet that vacant stare into vacancy never wholly left her. Agnes continued to nurse her mother, and, but for the bountiful supplies brought weekly to the door in Mrs. Latané's wagon, the family would have starved.

 

"It will never do to help these people," said Mr. Potts, the rich manufacturer. "The more you give, the more they want. Give them an inch, and they'll take an ell. Teach them to take care of themselves is my motto; that's the only true charity. I've paid the girl all I agreed to pay her. Honesty is my motto--I believe in the omnipotence of honesty! These people expect me to buy them Brussels carpets and feed them on cake and champagne! I am against giving to the poor; against it on principle! It spoils them for laborers; they begin to hold their heads too high; none of that for me! I'm a self-made man!"

Mr. Potts was an eminently "respectable" man. His shirt-collar was always stiff and straight and upright. Mr. Potts had a "high place in the synagogue," and wore a cut-away coat. His coat tails were also eminently respectable. Mr. Potts was a deacon; and when other people stood up to pray, he knelt down, first having swept away any dirt which might be on the floor, with his handkerchief, to protect his

 

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infallible knees. When Mr. Potts knelt upon one knee, the other leg served as a support to his elbow, for his infallible right-hand always supported his infallible chin. Piety was so conspicuous in Mr. Potts' bearing that he might have been mistaken for a minister. Meanwhile, one of the operatives was heard to exclaim, after Mr. Potts had delivered one of his characteristic homilies, ending with "I am a self-made man!" "God-a-mighty must feel proud that he did not have a hand in the making of old Potts!"

 

One day the physician, employed by Mrs. Latan, called at Chestatee and informed her that the invalid must be removed.

"Why is it necessary, doctor?" she asked.

"Malaria," he replied. "Her cottage is very near the river, and if she were in her normal condition, malaria might not affect her seriously. But malaria affects not only the cells of the cerebral centres, the normal phosphorescence of which gives origin to the mind, but also every nerve-cell and molecule. It also affects the action of the chylopœtic viscera, and thus produces indigestion and destroys the manufacture of the great pabulum of life--the blood." While Dr. B's fondness for using medical terms sometimes amused Mrs. Latané, she had the utmost respect for his opinions, as he was at the head of his profession, and had for many years been the family physician.

Following the advice of the doctor, Mrs. Latané had the Vincent family conveyed to one of her farms, called "Beallwood," where the aroma from the pine forest which surrounded the dwelling had been found singularly efficacious in lung diseases and malarial complaints.

But all the efforts to restore Mrs. Vincent to health were in vain. The ball that struck Charles Vincent's heart pierced

 

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hers also. She gradually grew weaker, mentally and physically, until at last she was a hopeless wreck, cast upon the boundless sea of grief without rudder, compass or the anchor of hope! She was never violent, always quiet; always shrinking from friends, dead to the world because her world was dead! She realized nothing that was done for her. She neither complained nor expressed gratitude. Like the proud Empress Carlotta, when her noble husband, Maximilian, was slain, this humble woman, whose strong mind and resolute courage had supported that helpless family, sank into melancholia, and repulsed from her presence those nearest and dearest to her. No one but her daughter, Agnes, could give her food and no one else had any influence with her.

 

One day Mrs. Latané sat at the bedside of the invalid, relieving Agnes, who was overcome by fatigue, her mother having been much worse the previous night. Little Minnie was carefully fanning the weak, emaciated woman, who was sleeping far more tranquilly than she had slept for weeks. Suddenly the sleeper awoke, and, fixing on Mrs. Latané her unnaturally large eyes that now beamed with the old intelligent look, she said: "My friend--my dear, good, kind friend! I am going soon. I've been with my boy, Charles, in Heaven!--I will meet your husband there--have you any message for him? Bring my darling children to me." Then the dying mother, released at last, talked rationally and tranquilly to them; told them of the great struggle which she had had in order to be saved, and, admonishing them concerning the illimitable future, consigned them to Agnes' care.

The poor factory woman had joined her son at last!

Agnes returned to the lonely cottage, in spite of Mrs. Latané's protest, and to work in the mill again. The great river rushed with mighty force down the magnificent falls.

 

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The great wheels of the factory moved the massive machinery, and hundreds toiled night and day in the fetid atmosphere of the mighty mill. Men and women came and went, weeks glided into months, and still the ceaseless hum of loom and spindle sounded the Miserere in her ears! The poor girl worked on, shadowed by misery, producing beautiful fabrics by day, teaching the children by night, and asking herself:

 

"Is life worth having?"

The insatiable maw of commerce demands its victims with an iron heartlessness, and twelve hours a day must be given to labor by women and children of tender ages within the huge manufactories, which run day and night. And this is done that the rich may become fabulously rich and the poor reduced to that point, calculated with a nicety which does honor to mathematical physiology, at which life can be sustained. It matters not how many lives are ground out by the daily routine of monotonous toil, the cloth must be woven, and enough profit made to pay the interest on "watered stocks" that sharpers may grow rich, even though little children are kept at work in the mill. In a land which boasts of being the asylum for the oppressed of all nations, labor has little hope of rising in the world when once it enters the portals of the factory or mine. What matters it that "Corporations have no souls?" Does not a new-comer take the place of him or her who yields to the unequal fight, and dies in the fierce battle of poverty, for the lack of air, sunshine and wholesome food? Is not life at best a battle, where humanity is but an improved animal rioting in a refinement of cruelty undreamed of by the beasts? Does not humanity repeat the natural law, the strong oppress the weak, the big fish eat the little fish? Do not politicians

 

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boldly proclaim that "might makes right?" Thus thought the operatives, at least, for Mr. Potts was noted as being the hardest task-master and the most unapproachable employer in all the State. And his son, Wellington Napoleon, was like unto him.

 

Whatever were the evils of slavery, let us not forget what a great Belgian economist, speaking of countries where slavery is unknown, has said: "Except as a tradition, Masters and men are in a state of constant warfare, having their battles, their victories, and their defeats. It is a dark and bitter civil war, wherein he wins who holds out longest without earning anything; a struggle far more cruel and more keen than that decided by bullets or a barricade; one where all the furniture is pawned or sold; where the savings of better times are gradually devoured, and where at last famine and misery besiege the home and oblige the wife and little ones to cry for mercy."

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CHAPTER XV.
IN CONFEDERATE DAYS.

Little accidents frequently usher in important incidents. It is the accident which often determines the fate of a battle; and an accident frequently decides that most important incident in one's life, courtship. It was a trivial accident which introduced Julia Dearing to Major George Blount, but, trivial as it was, it is a necessary link in the chain of of events which form this life-story.

As Julia Dearing was driving rapidly near Chestatee, on her return from a visit to one of her friends, her dog, a small Italian grayhound, leaped suddenly out of the pony-phaeton and, striking the lines, fell just before the wheels which ran over the little animal. The mare stopped instantly at her command, which was spoken in a tone that seemed to communicate sympathy to the animal for the little whimpering brute. She quickly descended and took the little dog in her arms as gently as if it had been an infant, and its low whimpers ceased as she held it in her arms, though its leg was broken. Resuming her seat, with the dog in her lap, she was about to drive off, when a strong voice said:

"Most beautifully done, Miss Julia! I would have aided you had it been in my power, but walking on crutches is slow locomotion."

"Why, Captain Latané! I am so glad to see you; when did you return home? I have one vacant seat; let me drive you home. On crutches, did you say? I must have a pair made for Bijou." As she said this she looked with real sympathy

 

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at the soldier and added: "I hope your limb is not fractured."

 

"Oh, yes," he replied, "but that is a small matter; it might have been a great deal worse. Let me introduce my friend, Major Blount: Miss Dearing, Major Blount." Julia had not seen Blount at first, the turn in the road and the dense vegetation having hidden him from view, but now she saw a noble specimen of young manhood--a soldier and a gentleman. Blount threw open the great gate and the young lady drove in, for the dog, she thought, demanded immediate attention. She soon reached the house and had entered it, bearing her dog with her, before the young gentlemen arrived.

"By Jove! isn't she handsome?" said Blount.

"Yes," replied Latané, and she is as clever as she is handsome.

"She is the handsomest girl I ever saw," said Blount, "and I mean to cultivate her."

"In time of peace prepare for war, then," retorted Latané, who seemed fully to appreciate her merits himself.

Her buoyant health gave a vigor to her movements which was apparent to the least observant. The elasticity of her step as she walked and her natural vivacity seemed the acme of the joyous sense of living. The very idea of existing seemed a pleasure to her.

No care oppressed her, and her heart seemed a well-spring of perennial gayety. The only child of a wealthy and eminent man, her every whim had been gratified during her life. Her self-possessed manner made her appear older than Clara Leslie, and she took the lead in all diversions. Clara's admirers were constant; Julia's more numerous, out fickle, as she wanted them to be.

 

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"Men's hearts were made to be broken and then mended again," she was heard to say; yet she was not selfish, and she despised downright deception. She would have scorned to deceive for any purpose except to gratify her conscious power and this, she flattered herself, was a harmless amusement. She was brilliant, caustic when she chose to be sarcastic, witty and beautiful, the essentials for the "make up" of a successful flirt. To the poor she was the embodiment of charity. Without having been strictly "in society," she had been courted a dozen times, and each of her lovers, except Bruton Stewart, though jilted, hung around her with the same blind infatuation whenever she appeared in society. She neither rejected nor accepted her suitors, but always referred them to her father, whom none of them dared to approach until she had given an outward visible sign responsive to their own declarations, which she was careful not to do. The girl seemed utterly to lack sentiment. Success did not spoil her, for the idea of not succeeding had never entered her head. Insensible to jealousy, she could not comprehend how it could hurt others. Excepting this one foible, springing from love of admiration, Julia's heart was a kind one, ever ready to minister to the sick and needy. She seemed insensible to fatigue or ennui. The common people and the negroes all liked and admired her. Without being masculine, she was an excellent "shot," and frequently went gunning with Henry Latané when he was at home. She was also a superb horsewoman, and could handle the "ribbons" famously well in driving.

And now Latané thought of the bitter cold day when he had received the slippers made by the hands of Julia Dearing, for of such were the presents to soldiers made in the days

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when our ports were blockaded and luxuries were reduced to necessities.

 

The snow was thick on the ground in the valley of Virginia, and shoes were scarce and hard to obtain, "for love or money." His own shoes were worn and afforded poor protection to his almost frozen feet.

Each day was being ushered in by a battle or a skirmish, and he commanded the picket line. One by one his men were falling, and his company, which had numbered one hundred and twenty-five, had dwindled to forty-five men. To each of these soldiers he had endeared himself by acts of kindness when self-abnegation meant physicial suffering. It was at this time that the slippers and tobacco pouch made by Julia had been received, his initials being worked in by her hands. With grateful appreciation Latané wrote, thanking her for the unexpected kindness, and thus began a correspondence in which she wrote just as she would have talked had he been present, an epistolary art as rare as it is attractive.

To the letter referred to she replied as follows, after having briefly alluded to the comfort which she hoped the slippers might afford to the absent soldier:

"I am so glad that you are well again. I feel very proud of my gallant cousin. Has he forgotten me? I saw your uncle John yesterday; he is seventy-six years old, and yet he says he will give his three sons to the army, and, if necessary, will lead them himself. This, from the wealthiest gentleman in town, shows the spirit that is destined to win our independence.

"I have been for the last week in such a state of mind--sad and glad, angry and proud. We went to the depot yesterday to see the Guards off. All the town was there. The

 

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soldiers were addressed by Dr. Wiggins. Then Mr. Wynnton gave them a benediction, and Mr. DeVoe, the chaplain, responded. Henry, I do think that such men, going as they did, blessed by ministers, prayed for, and so loved as they are, must conquer. They are our first, best and most cultured young men. Oh! if I was only a man I wouldn't stay here a minute! I wish I was. To think that our nearest and dearest go to sacrifice themselves and be targets for mercenaries! Oh! it makes me so angry! Every one says the Guards are, all in-all, the best company that has ever been raised in the State. Four of your cousins went. A gentleman who went with them to Macon says that there was not a laugh or word that would not be proper in a parlor. They nearly all cried; I honor them for it; a man who cries when he leaves his mother and sisters to go to war won't run when he sees the enemy.

 

"The black people, particularly Shack Shorter, wept copiously when their young masters went to the war. Hennie Wakefield, stranger as she is, cried. Old men cried. My tears flow far from the surface else I would have cried, too. Mr. Hart resigned; said he had no idea when he joined the company that there would be a fight, and that he had to stay and attend to the sewing machines! I don't believe any woman even would show such cowardice. He ought to be drummed out of town! He missed his vocation in being a man. Good-bye, dear cousin.

"Your affectionate, belligerent cousin,
" Julia Dearing.""

 

The battles of the Chickahominy, culminating in the battle of Malvern Hill, had raised the siege of Richmond.

 

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Henry Latané had been severely wounded in the leg at the battle of "Seven Pines."

 

In four hours General Longstreet's corps had lost three thousand men, killed and wounded; but Richmond had been saved, and the army of one hundred and fifty thousand men had been pushed from their strongholds and fortifications and put to flight, leaving an immense spoil in stores, provisions and artillery. For the first time, Captain Latané returned home on furlough, accompanied by his most intimate friend, Major George Blount, of the Second Regulars. This regiment was stationed on the Atlantic coast and Major Blount, becoming tired of the life of inaction, while so many of his friends were gaining distinction, had applied for a transfer that he might be more actively engaged. Pending the result of this application, he had accepted Latané's invitation to visit him at Chestatee.

Just before the accident happened which caused the introduction to Julia Dearing, Latané was pointing out to Blount the interesting features of the landscape, or "waterscape," as Julia persisted in calling it.

They stood near the bluff overlooking the picturesque spot called "Lover's Leap."

The river, visible for miles from this point, presented a succession of rapids leaping wildly over dark jutting rocks and casting its white foam on high. Far to the north it widened, then narrowed as it made its rapid way on either side of Magnolia Island, where those grand Southern trees form a forest all their own. Their mammoth size, deep coloring and great white flowers would do justice to the most luxuriant forests in the tropics.

To Blount Julia's appearance was a revelation. He

 

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boast had been that he had never fallen in love, and who had philosophized himself into the belief that St. Paul's idea of marriage was the wisest opinion expressed in the Bible concerning human institutions, saw all his previous opinions swept away at one fell swoop. It was clearly a case of love at first sight. He had often told Latané that his only weakness, if not his only fault, was his love for Clara Leslie; now he was about to "out-Herod Herod!" Julia was entirely engrossed in the sufferings of her little pet. She was making bandages and poultices for Bijou, and, summoning Blount to her assistance, she had soon placed the broken leg in splints as skillfully as a surgeon could have done it.

 

"Where did you learn the healing art, Miss Dearing?" asked Blount.

"Oh, I don't know; at the soldiers' hospital, I reckon, You know the girls all belong to the Soldiers' Aid Society?" she replied.

"Yes, God bless them! They have these societies in every town and village," he said.

"Auntie," said Julia, "I must tell you something funny; it is about papa. I believe he knows as much as Solomon did, but he won't use good English; he will persist in calling Florida, 'Flurriday,' etc. I told him the other day that the girls at the last meeting of the Soldiers' Aid Society resolved to dress in calico hereafter in order to show our patriotism by dressing in cloth made at home. Well, I have to abandon my pet scheme, for papa only replied when I asked his permission, 'My daughter, you have ' coats' enough.' Just think of how insignificant and useless women are! Oh! I wish I was a man!"

"I don't," said Blount; "it would spoil a lovely woman.

 

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You don't mean to say, though, that you've relieved soldiers as you did your dog, do you?"

 

"Oh! no, indeed! I have made bandages, socks, slippers, etc., for them, and have helped to nurse a few who were sent to our home at my father's invitation. I never had a brother to get wounded or I should do it."

"I believe it," said Blount, earnestly.

"What did I tell you, Blount?" said Latané. But that gentleman preserved a discreet silence.

"Major Blount, do--please tell me what Captain Latané told you about me?"

"That would exhaust the whole evening," answered Blount, politely avoiding an answer.

"Upon my word, you are provokingly contrary, and I shall have to declare war à l'outrance!" she answered.

"He said an untruth about you," said Blount; "he accused you of being an 'atrocious flirt.'"

"Then," she said to Latané, "you don't know what you are talking about. But I am determined to avoid those perambulatory worries, called husbands, as long as possible."

"Herein, I see, thou lovest me not with the full weight that I love thee; therefore, my sweet Rose, my dear Rose, be merry," answered Latané.

"Dear Harry, I show more mirth than I am mistress of, and would you yet I were merrier? Unless you could teach me to forget you must not teach me how to learn any extraordinary pleasure," replied Julia, transposing a sentence in "As You Like it," from which he had quoted to suit the occasion.

Then, rising, she extended her hand to Blount, saying: "You must not give attention to such slanderous charges

 

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Major. I trust that we will become sufficiently acquainted in cause you to repel any such insinuations in future."

 

Pardon the liberty, Miss Julia," said Latané, "but I have your horse to be taken on to the stable. A storm is coming up. Do you see that mass of clouds over there? They are the blackest I ever saw, and they seem to reach the earth."

"Are you afraid of storms?" said Blount, as if he were then and there determined to analyze her character.

"Afraid of storms? Why, no, certainly not; I've been in storms frequently."

"I Thank Heaven that you will escape this one; if it is a cyclone it will be here presently and will continue its terrible destruction a hundred miles distant in an hour," said Latané.

"Do cyclones travel so fast?"

"Yes, and in a straight line, too; they go two miles a minute frequently and spare nothing that is in their path."

Just then a clap of thunder, succeeded by rolling intonations across the heavens, silenced them. With wonderful rapidity the clouds massed themselves together, and the storm was ushered in by a low, dull, continuous roar that increased rapidly to the intensity of a tempest. Now a flash of lightning revealed the swaying pines that, after having reveled in their lofty strength a century or more, yielded to the force of the gale as the black, moving clouds scudded with the wind close to the earth.

In ten minutes the cyclone had passed; the tall century pines lay upon the earth, like prone Titans, near forest oaks which had been twisted up by the roots and scattered along the track of the storm. The forest, for a width of a hundred

 

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yards, was cut down as clean as grain is left in swath by the reaper.

 

The wind had sown the whirlwind! The great dwelling itself shook like a vessel at sea in a storm, or as if an earthquake had rocked it to and fro. The window-blinds were wrenched off suddenly and were borne away as if they were twigs, and the whirling monarchs of the forest went down like sticks drawn in the vortex of the whirlwind. They could see from the house the débris of wrecked buildings; immense sills of houses, with planks and weather-boards, mingled with beds and mattresses, had been borne by like feathers on the wings of the wind, or as if clutched in the strong, merciless hand of the storm.

She stood erect, her eyes brilliant with excitement, without seeming to appreciate the danger until it was over, for the cyclone had passed not one hundred yards from where they stood. When it was over, and the big drops were followed by sheets of rain, while peals of thunder reverberated across the heavens, she said with the utmost enthusiasm, "How grand it was!"

"Yes," said Latané, "I can think of nothing more so, unless it is a battle."

She did not answer, but the nervous clutch upon his arm and the mute appeal in her earnest eyes bade him say no more of battles, for in the last great battle many of her friends had fallen, and long afterward that earnest, interested look cheered the absent soldier in the Old Dominion.

What hostess would not be as pleased as Mrs. Latané was, when the young gentlemen pronounced the coffee (made of okra, for the ports were blockaded, and genuine coffee was not to be bought the best that they had had for months?

 

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Neither did they learn that the tea which they drank the next morning for breakfast was made from the root of the sassafras tree.

 

They were enjoying the best comforts the land could afford, and the society of a girl who would have made a social sensation anywhere, and they looked at life as if it was "au couleur de rose," without a trial or a sorrow.

In an hour the storm had ceased. Amid bright sallies of wit and happy repartee the evening passed delightfully; and it was quite evident that Blount had made an agreeable impression also.

"Julia," said Mrs. Latané, "have you seen Clara Leslie's new silk dress? I am told she received from her cousin, now in Paris, several very handsome dresses by the blockade runner, 'The Clara,' which managed to get into Brunswick last week. The vessel was named for her."

"No, auntie, but I am going to see her to-morrow--I am crazy to see those dresses."

"It strikes me," said Blount, "that no Paris modiste--not even the great Worth--can excel the fit and texture of the lovely dress you have on now."

"Oh, thank you, Major; I have been hinting to auntie all the evening to compliment me, for I made this dress myself."

"Indeed! Julia, it is very handsome. I asked you about Miss Leslie's dresses because I thought the one you are wearing must be imported. I saw that it was neither just the thing for walking, nor driving, nor indoors--and--"

"Nevertheless, she is exquisitely, charmingly dressed," said Blount.

"Thank you again, Major; I see that I have one appreciative friend at least."

"What did I tell you, Blount," said Latané.

 

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"Well, now, did you ever!" exclaimed Julia.

"I never did," said Blount, interrupting again, and he said this so solemnly that it elicited general laughter.

"I don't think any one but Julia can make a dress like that without imported materials," said Mrs. Latané; "so it is not to your discredit, Major, that you confess that you 'never did.'"

Blount laughed also then and asked mischievously, "How did you do it?"

"Very easily--no, not easily either; I would not do it again for myself, but I will make one for you, auntie. The material is an old, worn, black silk dress and lint cotton. I raveled the silk up, then mixed with the fine white cotton and carded all together till thoroughly blended; when spun and woven it formed a beautiful texture of gray, soft and silkish to the touch. The best of the worn silk was put by for carding and covering the buttons with. I don't mind telling it the buttons are made of pasteboard, and the dress is 'real pretty,' I think."

"My goodness!" said Blount, substituting that expression for the more emphatic expletive in vogue among gentlemen. But to Julia it was an entirely novel expression, and in all innocence she said, "Your what?"

Latané laughed and again said: "What did I tell you, Blount? You have had fair warning."

And thus the evening passed in speeches abounding in humor, when spoken as "small talk," but seeming without sense or interest when written.

In spite of the storm and its ravages, Latané did not fail to attend a wedding at "The Quarters" that night, and the whole party went with him. The scene was a novel one to Julia, whose acquaintance with plantation life was very

 

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limited, owing to her father's views about slavery. These negro "quarters" were not unlike those on plantations usually. It consisted of a village in itself, where the hundreds of negroes dwelt together in comfortable white cottages built on both sides a wide street. Each cottage had a garden attached; also a poultry yard, and very frequently a pig-sty and cow-pen. The master usually paid cash to his slaves for all the poultry used by his family, and frequently butter was bought from them in the same way. In "clearings," much wood was left on the ground, and all the wood not burned on the spot was given to the slaves. On Saturdays frequently and on certain nights in the week, the teams were loaned to them, and they hauled this wood to the river bank in their own time, and sold it to the river steamers, receiving and retaining for pocket money the money received therefor. In some instances a single slave would thus accumulate several hundred dollars in a single year; and, if he desired to purchase his freedom and had the money for which he could be sold, he could always do so. They raised large families, lived to a great age usually, and increased rapidly in numbers under this system of labor.

 

Not one individual there gave a thought to the morrow, or to the war that was desolating thousands of happy homes; unless it was the tall, perfectly black young negro man who stood aloof, and seemed to be frowning upon it all. Turn which way she would, Julia could see his look of disdain, but whether it was his antagonism to the presence of these white strangers, or a deeper feeling of impatience at slavery itself, she could not decide.

As they left the Quarters and returned to Mrs. Latané's home, she asked: "Captain Latané, what is the name of

 

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that tall, young black man who stood in the opposite corner of the chapel, as if to hold himself aloof from the dancers."

 

"His name is Hallback," said Latané; "he has been with me in the army and, for some unknown reason, seems to think himself superior to the other negroes."

"I don't like his looks," said Julia; "are you going to take him back with you?"

"Oh, yes," replied Latané; "Hall is very humble in his manner to me; is obedient, and as fearless in battle as the bravest soldiers are. But he is a mystery to me, just as his name is. He was born here on the plantation, both of his parents dying shortly after his birth. My father gave him to me when I was ten years old, and he has recognized his position as my servant all his life. I played with him as a child, and he used to prevent me from imposing upon him by stating that I was stronger than he was by being born his master, though he was the stronger physicially. He would never resent any blow if he thought I was angry, until I got to thinking it was ungenerous to get angry with Hall. He has always said that he belonged to me, but if I sold him he would die before he would belong to any one else."

"I don't like his looks," said Julia; "I have a presentiment that he will play you false yet."

"I do not fear it," said Latané. "If Hall. makes up his mind to leave me he will quietly tell me so, and he will do it if he can. If he remains faithful until the war ends I intend to give him his freedom."

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CHAPTER XVI.
FUCHSIAS AND GERANIUMS.

Early the next morning Latané drove Miss Dearing to her father's home in the city.

The birds were now singing in chorus, it seemed, as the bright sunlight bathed the hills and dales and made the dew glisten like diamonds. The great poplars and forest trees had donned their summer dress of green, and the buds had burst into full bloom. The forest was redolent with the perfume of will flowers, and nature had painted her glowing colors on leaf and twig and flowers in delightful contrasts--varied, yet harmonious.

The darker foliage of the chestnuts and cedars greeted the pines, whose lofty heads bowed to each other and, sighing, dropped their "needles" to the ground. The cattle went lowing to the pastures, and the meadows were fragrant with new-mown hay.

As they entered Colonel Leslie's estate, "Thronateeska," the sun rise shore in the clouds widened its limits till it belted the heavens and scattered gems upon the river as the ripples chased each other and danced in the sunlight. Near by the river was wide and placid as a lake; beyond, it was a succession of cataracts rapidly succeeding each other and dashing the foam on high; in front, and a hundred feet beneath the level plateau, was the city of Etowah and the huge factories which afforded employment to five thousand operatives. Now they neared the residence at "Thronateeska," its spacious grounds elaborately ornamented with all that the costliest

 

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landscape art affords. Japonicas grew there the year round, and the lawn was sodded with blue grass and extended quite to the water's edge. Far up the stream could be seen the many islands which dotted the picturesque river like emerald gems. After an animated conversation, Julia asked:

 

"Is your friend, Major Blount, a flirt?"

"No; far from it. Blount has never pretended to be in love with any one, and when he does he will be sincere. He is the noblest-hearted fellow I ever knew."

"I am glad to know that he is too manly for that; it is bad enough in a woman, but I think it utterly contemptible in a man." Then Julia changed the subject, having learned all that she wished to know concerning Major Blount. She was very bright and agreeable and Latané began to envy the interest which his friend had excited. She told him how much she admired gallantry in battle, alluding to Hugh, but meaning it for him, and declared she never would marry a man who had not distinguished himself as a Confederate soldier.

As they stopped in a bend of the road to view the scenery, the clattering of hoofs was heard approaching, and in a few moments the graceful figure of Clara Leslie galloped up, followed by Giles, the groom.

The old groom was devoted to his young mistress, and, as Clara was not stopped by Julia and Henry Latané, who bowed to her as she passed, the old negro rode up to them and said: "Good mornin', Miss Julia; mornin', Captain Latané; p'raps you all didn't know Miss Clara." Then, seeing Henry's crutches, he added: "Sorry to see you are hurt, Mars Henry; hope your leg won't have to come off; glad to see you back home, sir. Mornin', Miss Julia; mornin', Mars Henry.

 

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I must catch up with Miss Clara, and tell her you all didn't know who she was, she was ridin' by so fast," and the old groom left them?

 

"A pretty good lecture," said Latané. But his heart did not echo the light speech. His face had blanched as white as Clara's, who came near falling as she saw the crutches of the wounded soldier. She had not heard of his return, and did not know that he had been wounded. What would she not do to fathom this mystery which separated her from the only man she loved?

"Why did you and Clara go through that pantomime, Captain Latané? I hope you have not quarreled; I thought you were good friends," said Julia.

"Really I did not expect to see her, and did not know her at first. I never quarreled with a woman in my life, and Miss Leslie is the last one with whom I could find fault," said Latané, very soberly.

"Excuse me; I did not mean to be inquisitive, but Clara is such a sweet-tempered, lovely girl that I wonder that any man can know her and not fall in love with her."

"Has she not many admirers? She is certainly even more beautiful than she was two years ago when I last saw her. I fully agree with you in your good opinion of her," he answered.

For once Julia was misled. This calm, quiet demeanor as he alluded thus to Clara showed the resolution of the man, and did not betray the struggle which was going on in his heart. Clara's manner was not that of a callous, heartless flirt, but rather of one who uncomplainingly had suffered an injury. The same sweet, cheerful smile brightened her lovely face as she recognized her cousin's face, only to die

 

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away into a pallor too sudden not to be heartfelt, as she recognized him.

 

The birds still twitted in the wood, and the flowers and honeysuckles made the air fragrant with perfume, while the morning breeze brought the aroma of newly-plowed fields. But the bright sunny day had lost its charm for Henry Latané. This estrangement was utterly incomprehensible, and he half resolved to go immediately to see Clara and ask for an explanation. A chance remark of Julia Dearing just then goaded him inexpressibly. "I do hope," said she, "that the reported engagement between Clara and that Mr. Barnum is not true. It would be such a pity if she were to marry a Yankee officer. I can't believe it is true, but she is so reticent I can't find out. I know, though, that he addressed her; I am quite sure of that, but I am in doubt as to whether she refused him."

This, then, explained it all! It was the consciousness that she had wronged him that caused her sudden emotion. He would rival her now; he would do all in his power to win Julia Dearing, and would show Clara Leslie that he was not as weak as she deemed him to be. Such were Henry Latané's thoughts, and for the first time in his life he wore a mask. The next day he had a serious fall, which confined him to his room for sometime. Major Blount divided his time between Julia Dearing and Latané.

Delicacy forbade his asking his friend why the "affair," as he termed it, had been broken off, but evidently it had been. Hence Blount did not make Clara's acquaintance but he lost no time in cultivating Julia's.

The last night of his stay at "Chestatee" an unexpected treat awaited Julia and interrupted her slumbers. Below her window Major Blount's rich, well-trained voice accompanied

 

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the guitar, of which instrument he was an accomplished master, as he sang the following serenade composed by himself: "
SERENADE. I come from a land afar, a land where soft guitar
And the magic flute
Reply to harper's strain, reply with love's refrain,
Reply--with sweet salute.
 
Bright stars of tropic sky, full moon slow sailing by
On peaceful azure sea;
Aid now the minstrel's lay, where is my lady--say--
Oh! stars, tell this to me.
 
Dear eyes of deepest blue, dear heart so fondly true,
Sweet little lily hand;
Would I could clasp again, form, hand and heart in mine,
Then life might fleetly end!
 
Where does my lady sleep? may angels vigils keep
Over my lady's rest;
Sweet be her slumbers deep, may no dark troubles sweep
Over my lady's breast!
 
"

 

She threw open the blinds, the better to listen to the sweet strains of melody until they died away in the soft æolian whispers of the night-wind, and she thought: "This has been indeed the happiest day in my life." And for a long time after his departure the memory of his bright, cheerful, witty conversation and attractive presence lingered pleasantly. Had she met her match at last? It seemed so, though not one word of love had he uttered. But she saw it in his eyes, in his every act and speech, and the attentions of no other man had affected her so agreeably.

A few days later Julia carried the invalid some flowers, gathered from her own hot-house and from the forest.

----

 

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"These fuchsias and geraniums, though," she added, handing them to him separately, "I got at 'Thronateeska,' where Clara's geraniums are growing beautifully in the open air."

Latané received them with evident appreciation.

Mrs. Latané was present when Julia gave the flowers to her son, who was reclining upon a lounge in the library, and she did not fail to notice a day or two after that when the vase was replenished with fresh flowers, the fuchsias and geraniums had been carefully pressed by Latané, as if for preservation, while the other flowers were left to the servant who replenished the vases.

"No one will ever know of it," he thought; "in two weeks I will be with my command in Virginia, and I'll keep these flowers pressed in my Bible to remind me of"--gratitude admonished him to say "Julia," but love changed the utterance to "Clara."

The revelations which Julia had made concerning Barnum's attachment for Clara, which she believed to be reciprocated, astonished him greatly. He had not anticipated this at least, and he said to himself:

"If this be true, then I will lose all confidence in the stability of any woman. But why on earth will she think of marrying an utter stranger? Does she--can she know anything of his family? Can her father so soon change all the prejudices, one may say, of a lifetime, and give his daughter away to a stranger of whose lineage--of whose immediate connections even--he knows absolutely nothing?"

And the more he pondered over it, the more mystified he became. He knew nothing of Barnum except what was to his credit, for he had always seemed to him to be a noble-hearted fellow and a gentleman. But his sister was certainly

 

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the wife of a jeweler and watch-maker. "How will Miss Clara like that kind of association?" he asked himself.

 

"Of what are you thinking, my son?" asked his mother, entering the room in the midst of these reveries.

"Frankly, mother, my thoughts trouble me greatly; Miss Julia has intimated to me that Miss Clara Leslie is engaged to be married to Barnum; you have heard me speak of him, have you not?"

"Certainly," answered his mother, smiling at the thought, for the idea gave her great pleasure, as she desired that his thoughts should turn to Julia rather than to Clara. "Certainly," she added, "and I do not think I ever heard you praise any one, except Mr. Blount, so extravagantly."

"But, mother, you surely don't think the report can be true, do you?"

"Why not? If he is all that you say he is, he will make a model husband, I think."

"Yes, but, mother, his family--have you thought about that? They are watch-makers--at least his brother-in-law is--and--"

"Put aside those foolish prejudices my son; in the North they do not attach the importance to such matters that we foolish Southerners do. Vanderbilt was a common boatman and who is better than he in social circles? Who entertained the Prince of Wales recently when he visited this country? The daughter of a millionaire, who made his money by hotelkeeping keeping in New York city." As she said this she stooped down and kissed the forehead of her handsome son.

Latané laughed. "Mother, I am glad that you are becoming superior to our provincial prejudices. I know a pretty young milliner in Richmond, and all the scruples I have had about proposing to her have now vanished. I declare

 

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she is one of the handsomest and most charming girls of my acquaintance, and when you see her, I am sure--"

 

"Hush," said his mother, placing her hand on his lips. "No more of that, an' thou lovest me Hal'. In truth, my son, I think differently when my own children are concerned, but--"

"It is just as I thought," he said, laughing as he

Chapter 17

 

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CHAPTER XVII.
"TAKING THE VEIL.""
Through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the notes of praise.
 
"

The great cathedral is crowded, and resounds with the world's most magnificent hymn, Kyrie Eleison. The censer swings to and fro, and robed priests, attended by acolytes, perform those imposing ceremonies which take yonder kneeling figure, young and pure as the first breath of spring, from all the pleasure and joys of social life and consecrate her to God.

The postulants were clad in pure white, decorated with orange blossoms. Three little girls carrying flowers preceded the candidates upon their entrance to the chapel. Behind them came the Sisters of the convent. To the strains of solemn music the procession marched slowly up the aisle to the altar where, the Right Reverend Bishop and his assistant were waiting. Tapers trimmed with orange were placed in stands while the postulants were prayed for.

The crowd looked on with awe and admiration, mingled with pity, that so fresh and lovely a blossom should be plucked so soon.

"Who is she?" asked one, addressing a young girl who seemed to know her.

"It is Kate Barnum, my school-mate; she is only sixteen years old, and the sweetest girl in all the school," she replied

"What school do you attend?"

"The Convent of the Sacred heart."

"Are there no others to take the white veil this season?"

 

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"No, sir; Kate has not seemed the same girl since her brother, Lieutenant Charles Barnum, was killed in the great battle. Her parents are poor, but they must be as nice people as live in New York."

Again the great organ peals forth its melody; again the crowd throng the aisle and slowly departs.

It is done; the sacrifice is made, and one more beautiful virgin enters upon her novitiate.

Mysterious self-immolation! Pure young heart! Thou art the incarnation of heroism, sweet, gentle martyr!

"
Oh, that dew, like balm, shall steal
Into wounds that cannot heal,
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal;
 
"And that smiles, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart;
For a smile of God thou art.
 
"

Picture to yourself, gentle reader, who live in the "piping times of peace," the feelings of Barnum's venerable parents. You who have seen how poor humanity forgets the heroic valor and self-sacrifices of the gallant soldiers who yielded all for their country; you who have seen the non-combatants who devoted those gallant years to the selfish accumulation of riches while their hired substitutes fought their country's battles; you who have seen the unknown Confederate dead neglected, the living Confederate maimed neglected, and time-serving sycophants yield homage and grant honors to those who used the war as a means of accumulating wealth: imagine, if you can, their anxiety. They had heard nothing from their absent son--had received none of the letters written by him.

One day the blow came sudden and startling. The New York Tribune contained a list of the killed at Bull Run,

 

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and among them was that of Adjutant Charles Barnum. Then followed a glowing tribute to the heroic Adjutant Barnum, who fell while cheering on his men. The colonel of his regiment wrote the obituary notice, eulogizing the eminent capabilities of this promising young officer. The soldiers of his company passed resolutions of condolence and forwarded them to his aged parents, certifying to his personal bravery and popularity. Months passed and no news came to contradict this report. Months passed and still crape hung from his father's door. And within, the mother, dressed in deep mourning, rocked herself to and fro like Rachel, and like Rachel would not be comforted.

 

But that mother's heart never lost hope. She cherished as the most precious of all things the hope born of the uncertainty of the report that Charles was dead; and her thoughts would constantly revert to that comforting assurance in the Book of Life, "Thus saith the Lord: refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy child shall come again to his own border." And this Rachel never lost hope--never lost the thought of the silver lining to the grief-clouds; the rainbow that irradiates the heavens after the storm; the monitor that whispers cheer to the surcharged heart; that lifts up the despairing soul and commands it to "be brave, be noble, be worthy of the love that thou hast lost!"

That mother clung to the hope which "hoped against hope," which had been rejected by all others as a mirage which deceived. That mother's heart still clung to hope like faith clinging to the "Rock of Ages," enduring, suffering, trusting, and never ceased saying: "I mourn for him

 

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but Charles is alive." Oh, the wealth of love that dwells in a mother's heart!

 

A few more silver hairs are added day-by-day to a mother's head, a few more and deeper lines are 'graved by sorrow upon a father's furrowed face!

The mother's tears will fall at times in spite of her, so blinding as she sits there alone in her room that she tries again and again to thread her needle, and murmurs to herself: "Ah, me! I can hardly see well enough to sew."

The father's hand, in consonance with his grief-charged bosom, is at times so tremulous that the delicate parts of a watch are misplaced or a spring broken; or the dew of sorrow is collected on his eye-glass, so that the aged silversmith can scarcely see.

"I'm getting old, like a worn-out clock," he mutters. "The sands of time go regularly in the hour-glass, but life seems dreary now that my hope, my pride gave his life for his country!" The old man takes out his silk handkerchief, ostensibly to wipe his glasses, reader, but sometimes the handkerchief is borne to his eyes, apparently that he may see the better, really to hide his depth of sorrow from yonder careless and prying customer, and the old man thought:

"Still waters run deep--aye, they do; they do!"

The fountain of sorrow is dried up by loss of wife or child, and misery, in its last analysis, is tearless. Their prop and support is gone, and they are ready, too, to sink into the grave.

"But no, our daughter!"

Thus thought and felt the aged couple. And the young maiden, impressed by the solemn surroundings of convent life, for the first time dwells upon the poverty of her parents.

"Can they, now that brother Charles is dead, support

 

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me?" Persuades herself that she is a heavy burden to them, and, encouraged by the good, kind "Sisters" and the saintly "Mother-Superior," she resolves to take the veil.

 

The gazettes had done their work in New York. The name of Lieutenant Barnum had been published among the killed.

Now, once again through the clattering streets of New York city he approached the home of his father, the venerable silversmith.

No period of time since his exchange and release from imprisonment seemed so long as that ride from the ferry to that not distant and humble home. No loneliness is equal to that feeling of being alone at night while riding through the miles of brilliantly-lighted streets of a great city like New York. One year before, he had gone forth as adjutant of the -- New York Volunteers, his military training at the Military Institute having fitted him for that office. Then followed the incidents we have related after the terrible battle, in which his regiment was almost annihilated; all of which came before his mind like a panorama rather than a reality. He was still ignorant of the announcement of his death in the New York papers, and had hurried to New York as soon as his exchange was effected. Crape was still hanging at the door of his father's house, and he was so overcome by his fears concerning his father, mother and sister that some minutes elapsed before he could enter. It was after twilight, and darkness had just cast its shadow over the earth. He was ignorant of all that had transpired in that home during his absence. Just one week before, in spite of the protestations of friends, his sister had taken the veil, the preliminary step to renouncing the world with all its pleasures and hopes. Entering quietly, he proceeded through the hall

 

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to the dining-room, where there was a light. He walked as softly as possible, schooling himself the while so as to be prepared to hear the dreaded announcement as calmly as possible. Which of the loved ones had died? He paused and looked in; his aged father sat in his accustomed chair, but oh! so much older and more care-worn than he was when he last saw him. The old man held one hand between the fire and his face to shield his eyes from the glare, and seemed in a reverie. His one constant, saddened thought, his dead soldier-boy, was dragging him to the grave. His mother's back was turned toward him, but she, too, seemed bowed down with grief and care.

 

Alas! was it his only sister, then, who had died?

Tears trickled down his face as he made one quick step forward and said, with choking voice, "father--dearest mother!"

The plate dropped from his mother's hands, as with a low moan and out-stretched arms, she rushed to her son and would have fallen at his feet had he not caught her to his breast as only a son can under such circumstances. She did not faint, nor did she utter another sound, but looked up fondly in his face and stroked his cheeks and head caressingly, for not one moment had she ever lost hope entirely that her son might still be alive. Laying her head on his shoulder she wept with joy. This Rachel was comforted at last. The father arose, but fell back again, and mutely gazed at the affecting scene, and rubbed his hands together as if it was all unreal--a happy dream to be terribly shattered by awaking thoughts. And not until his son had time and again spoken did the old man say: "Come hither, Charles, my son, my very son--God is good!"

"Sister, my darling sister?" was Charles' answer as he

 

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knelt by his father. "Well and safe," replied his mother, unwilling to mar this joyful reünion by telling him that she had taken the veil.

 

Now the old people, satisfied with his identity, made him take a chair between them, each holding a hand. "Talk, my son, talk," said the father, "and tell us how the grave has given up its dead." "But wait," he added, and going to the door he took off the crape hanging there, and returning with it said: "No need for this now, Eliza; no need for this now!"

Surely Rembrandt had never a better candle-light scene than this, and his brush alone could have done justice to it.

The mantle of age seemed suddenly lifted from their shoulders, and that love which places the smile of youth on the faces of the old seemed to have rejuvenated these worthy old people.

The approach of the Prince of Wales as envoy of his mother, the Empress of India, in her eastern dominions, is greeted with salvos of artillery, and thousands of moving flags and a hundred thousand cheers from multitudes assembled to do him honor, or to greet his safe return; but that is not equal to a precious heart-welcome like this.

The world reclaimed its own. Sister Kate was reclaimed from her voluntary sacrifice; the bloom returned to her cheeks, the smile to her lips, the laugh to her heart, for "brother Charles" had been restored to life and to her. Life was no more to her a period of penance for sins uncommitted. The Mother-Superior and the gentle "Sisters" willingly saw her go back to the world which she was so fitted to adorn and to bless, and happiness reigned where misery had set its seal.

Chapter 18

 

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CHAPTER XVIII.

He who would find the truest friendship, the highest type of unselfishness, must go into the homes of the poor. There the ineffable charm of charity illumines the poorly furnished cottage like the rainbow after the gloom of the storm. It is of such a home and such a character that we have now to do, for of such a charity was the soul of old Mrs. Higgins illumined.

"My dear child, I've come to warn you against that young man."

"Which young man, Mrs. Higgins? Do you allude to Thomas Radcliff?"

"No, Agnes, no; Thomas is one of the best workers in the mill, and would make you a good husband; I wish you would encourage him more than you do; you know he loves you devotedly."

Agnes Vincent stopped washing the dishes, was silent a few moments, then said: "Mr. Radcliff has never told me that he loved me. Besides, I never wish to marry until I am in love myself."

She had grown to be a very handsome young woman, and was generally acknowledged to be the prettiest girl in the factory village, in spite of the care of a dependent family which had devolved upon her chiefly since her mother's death. Mrs. Higgins had risen from her chair and, putting her hand on the girl's shoulder, said: "Agnes, I was your mother's best friend--unless it be Mrs. Latané, God bless her!--and I have come here to warn you, child, against that young man!

 

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Mind whom you love and how you love; but remember, child, bread and meat helps folks to love powerful! Love can't go to bed on a hungry stomach and enjoy it.

 

"Young folks will be young folks, but all folks grow old and experience is the best larning. I've come here, though, to mind you against that young man!" As the old woman said this she shook her stick in a threatening manner in the direction of the Potts mansion, which overlooked Pottsville, as the village where the operatives lived was called.

"Why, Mrs. Higgins! how can you be so unjust to young Mr. Potts? I think he is the best and kindest young man I know. He pays me more for my work and requires me to work less than any of the girls in the factory."

"That's what I say, too! that's what other eyes than your'n have been seein', and other tongues than mine have been talkin' about young Potts' 'tentions and kindness to you! I want to put you on your guard against that young man," shaking her stick more emphatically than ever as she spoke.

Agnes burst into tears. "Oh! Mrs. Higgins," she said, "I wouldn't be disrespectful to you for anything, for I never see you without thinking of my poor mother. But you are so unjust to Mr. Potts. He has explained it all to me--says he sees how hard a burden mine is, and he wants to lighten it as much as he can. He would do the same thing for any of the girls whose mother and father were dead and who had to support her little sisters and brothers; indeed he would, for he told me so. And then he comes here to see me, and talks so kindly to me and the children. Last Sunday evening he saw me down at the spring and insisted on bringing the bucket of water up the hill to the house! And in truth, Mrs. Higgins, I never did have such a friend."

"Well, Agnes, I hope you never will have such another!

 

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I've done my duty to your dead mother. I tell you that young Potts won't do! no, nur his father before him, for all his prayin' and palaverin'! He don't mean you no good, child; and you'll find it out soon enough! Good-bye, Agnes," said the old woman, wiping her eyes with the corner of her apron. "Good-bye; may the Lord take care of you!"

 

Agnes had not told the whole story to Mrs. Higgins; that Sunday evening Wellington Napoleon Potts had lingered in the cottage until the dusk of twilight. He had played with the children as if they were his kith and kin, although no military martinet was ever stricter than he when connected with the great cotton factory. No other family was visited by him, and he was ever haughty with the other operatives, checking instantly the slightest approach to familiarity. He was a despot in the small sphere in which he moved, and was cordially hated by his employees. Agnes had accompanied him to the gate and he had pressed her hand as he bade her good-night and complimented her upon her beauty.

She blushed and seemed confused. "What did it mean?" she asked herself, and long after the children had gone to sleep, she remained awake thinking of the good, kind-hearted Mr. Potts, who had taken such a deep interest in her. The rosy God fanned her smiles into dreams, and she dreamed of love. Weeks passed and these little attentions increased, and she began to miss them when he would allow an entire week to pass by without coming to see "how the little ones were getting on." He punctually attended his Bible-class and these children belonged to it. His voice, however harsh to others, was ever gentle to her, and his eyes lingered upon her whenever she passed him. He noticed, too, that she blushed beneath his ardent gaze.

 

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Again Mrs. Higgins entered the room; this time Agnes was sitting alone looking into the fire, evidently in deep thought and the thought was evidently pleasing to her.

"Agnes," said Mrs. Higgins.

The girl started and seemed surprised, for latterly Mrs. Higgins had seemed to avoid her.

"Come in, Mrs. Higgins; you are always welcome."

"Agnes, I did not come to sit down, but to tell you that Thomas Radcliff is ready and anxious to marry you. He told me to tell you so. He says he has tried very hard to do it himself, but that you always repulse him and look so proud-like that he hesitates to tell you that he loves you as an honest man should love a true, honest woman. Will you marry Thomas, child?"

"Mrs. Higgins, I do not love Thomas Radcliff, and he knows it. I will never marry anybody I don't love."

"Good-bye, then, Agnes; I have done my duty to your dead mother and to the living Thomas! May the Lord take care of you, Agnes! Mind you don't learn to love that young man; if you do, may the good Lord help you!"

As Mrs. Higgins left the cottage Agnes returned to her chair and looked into the fire, and great big tears came slowly to her eyes. "It is so hard," thought Agnes, "that everybody should turn against me just because I like Mr. Potts. Do I love him? Yes I do! and I know he loves me, though he has not told me so. I would not give one smile from him for all the praises of everybody!" As she sat thus upon the plain split-bottomed chair, her hands beneath her chin, looking into the coals which glowed brightly, time passed without her reckoning it.

The door of the cottage was near the fire-place and Wellington

 

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Napoleon Potts entered the room without her noticing it.

 

The meanest of mankind was a child once, and was loved and caressed on a mother's breast, and the dead mother of Wellington Napoleon Potts was a good woman, sadly mated to a harsh man. Agreeable, and even subservient to the world at large, he had been a tyrant in the home-circle, and fear supplanted love where love should have reigned supreme. The meanest of mankind can love; but selfishness dwarfs love, and selfishness was the most prominent trait in the character of Wellington Napoleon Potts. He had been to school in Washington City, where liberty is construed to mean license, and he had not been unobservant of the "vices of gentlemen," notably made manifest by senators and representatives, whose official position shields them from arrest. It needed no Asmodeus now to guide this sanctimonious Lothario in following the example of these seigneurs. He stood behind the chair with admiring eyes, then softly caressed her head. She arose quickly with frightened look, but he re-assured her with the words:

"Do not be alarmed; no one shall hurt you while I am here."

 

His eyes arrested hers, and she seemed under a spell like that of the poor, fluttering little bird which flies round and round the glittering eyes of the serpent until it is irresistibly drawn into the fatal snare. Recovering herself at last, she said in a pleading tone:

"I've been warned against you."

His only reply was to place his arm around her waist, and drawing her to him, ask her if she thought he would harm one whom he loved so dearly.

"Do you really love me--love me honestly?" she asked.

 

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"Can you doubt it, my darling? I have come to ask you to be my wife. Tell me nothing about your humble station. I know that you return my love, and you shall be mine."

Her head sank on his shoulder as her form was drawn to his, and he kissed her passionately. She trembled--trembled like the sensitive-plant, and well she might!

Could Faust have witnessed that passionate kiss he would have laughed with more diabolical glee than when Marguerite succumbed. That was the loss of one pearl above price; this the beginning of the ruin of the support of a dependent family. A few moon-lit walks; a thousand oaths to love, honor and protect; a promise to marry her, and then the old, old story.

It is a few months later.

"What a lovely face that girl has," said Julia Dearing when riding with Potts one day. "It is one of the faces which Carlo Dolce took from real life, perhaps from the peasantry of Italy, and transferred to his canvas as Madonnas. Did you ever notice the sad beauty of the Madonnas painted by Carlo Dolce, Mr. Potts? I think no one ever painted sadness as he did, and no one knew better the efficacy of blue colors in painting. That girl's sweet, melancholy face recalls his Madonnas more than any face I ever saw. Pray, who is she? She can't be an operative; her face is too refined."

Potts winced at this remark; he, too, had seen that sad, reproachful glance, as the wronged Agnes looked steadily at him as he rode past with this dashing equestrienne, and his heart smote him for his perfidy. It was with assumed carelessness that he replied:

"Yes; she is an operative, and is considered the village belle."

----

 

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"I declare," said Julia, looking back; "the poor girl is crying; I know she is a good girl; no one but a good woman can have such a face as hers."

"I wish she was in Hades!" thought Potts, but he quickly answered: "She is doubtless thinking of her mother to whom Mrs. Latané was so kind. Seeing you ride past with all your radiant beauty, doubtless, recalled to her some other day when she saw you," said he.

"Is that Agnes Vincent? I must ride back and speak to her. I would not wound that noble girl's heart for a kingdom!" said Julia. "I will wait for you, then, until your return," said Potts; "I see enough of the operatives without spoiling a pleasure-ride to greet them." This was said in a half-appealing tone, but Julia would not, or did not, understand him, so she said: "You shall do no such thing! you must go with me and introduce me to her."

"Introduce you to a factory girl!" said Potts in amazement.

"Yes, certainly; why shouldn't you? I am sure I feel honored in making the acquaintance of one of nature's noblewomen; her devotion to her demented mother makes her a heroine in my eyes," and, suiting action to word, she turned her horse and galloped back. There was no help for it and Potts followed. How he did curse the innocent author of this ill-timed meeting. He had ridden with Julia around through the village in order to impress her with his prospective wealth and actual business qualifications. He now wished he had never seen Julia or Agnes. Agnes was confused and embarrassed when Julia rode up to her.

"Agnes," said Potts, "this is Miss Dearing." Julia's indignant glance at the speaker smote him like the lash upon the back of the criminal in the pillory. She instantly said:

 

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"I am so glad to know you, Miss Vincent; I saw you nursing your sick mother and have been wanting to tell you how nobly you performed a daughter's part. I have no mother and we can sympathize with each other. You must not hesitate to come to see me, and I will take great pleasure in returning your call as often as you come."

 

"You are very kind, Miss Dearing, very kind to speak thus to a poor girl like me! I am sure I appreciate it; you must not think I do not if I fail to accept your invitation." Then Agnes burst into tears and, to spare her feelings, Julia rode off.

"For shame, Mr. Potts! How could you introduce Agnes Vincent to me as if she was a servant?"

"You are a strange girl, Miss Julia; who would think a proud beauty like you--and you are the proudest girl I ever saw--you, an heiress--who would think that you would put yourself on an equality with a factory girl?"

"For shame! for shame! I wish I could put myself on an equality with her. She is one of those devoted characters that we read of in novels, but seldom see in real life. There are some rich people unworthy to tie her shoes, and I feel humble when in her presence."

This was a new revelation to Potts. He had never had the faintest idea before that there was any criterion of merit but success, and success with him meant wealth.

Agnes Vincent was as beautiful as the Virgin described by Tasso, although she was but a factory girl.

Potts had been her teacher in the Bible-class at Sunday-school, and, like Rousseau's young teacher, he had been guilty of outraging hospitality. "Instead of instructing he corrupts; instead of protecting he poisons; he permits himself to be thanked by an abused mother who has lost her child.

 

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One feels sometimes that passion has blindly overcome them; her youth does not excuse her, and, in spite of his grand discourse, he can only be a scoundrel. The two may make excuses, but the mother alone is responsible"

 

Agnes Vincent had no mother. She did have a dead mother's children dependent upon her for support and moral guidance. But, alas! her step is slower now as she goes and comes from work. Her cheery voice no longer sings with the early matin birds as she prepares the frugal meal for the little family gathered around the humble pine table. The rosy hue on her cheeks is not as bright as it was, but her figure is still more charming--as the bud blooms into the flower. There is a gentler look, at times, in those deep blue eyes, and then a longing look as if seeking some expected loved one. Often a big, pearly tear creeps down her cheeks as she sews on the garments intended for her dear little sisters. Her head is bent forward eagerly; she hears a footstep; is up--meets him, and is clasped in his arms! Then she forgets all save her love for him; his crime--her sin, too innocent almost to be called a sin--and tells him she will follow him over the world if need be, and he sees her life is inwoven with his. At length she weeps; the month has passed - two months, and still he procrastinates! Three months! and he rides with Julia Dearing! his manner to her no longer as it was. Her grief culminates in misery. All shun her, even Mrs. Higgins; 'Oh, for the rarity of Christian charity!" All, all treat her as if she was a leper!

"
Yes, stone the woman--let the man go free!
Draw back your skirts lest they perchance
May touch her garments as she passes,
But to him put forth a willing hand,
To clasp with his that led her to destruction
 

 

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And disgrace. Shut up from her the sacred
Ways of toil, that she no more may win an
Honest meal--but ope to him all honorable
Faiths, where he may win distinction.
 
"

Then he sears her heart as with burning iron by offering her gold.

She will not hear more; casts from her his proffered gold, and, with one plaintive cry and hands clasped appealingly to his flint-set face, she sinks into unconsciousness at his feet.

The sickness of Agnes Vincent was known to be critical among the operatives in Pottsville, and more than one anxious face indicated her popularity. The frequent visits of the doctor excited comment, and many were the praises uttered concerning Potts' magnanimity in sending for the highest-priced physician to attend the poor factory girl. We have all done injustice to young Mr. Potts; he seems to be a hard man in exacting labor, but he shows now that he has a kind heart. Another sympathized with old Mrs. Higgins, who was still a doubter, but whose tongue was hushed for two reasons--one, sympathy for the wronged girl, and the other her conviction that the truth would soon be developed and would crush the villain, as he deserved to be crushed.

The doctor's visit on one occasion was unusually prolonged, and his countenance was unusually grave as he encountered Potts walking slowly in the street as he left the Vincent cottage.

With assumed carelessness Potts asked him concerning the illness of Agnes Vincent.

"She is very ill, critically ill," replied the doctor. "She has brain fever; I seriously doubt her recovery."

"Indeed! I am exceedingly sorry, and am very much surprised to hear this statement," said Potts.

 

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"Her mother was insane, was she not?"

"Yes," replied Potts, "but Agnes is too young for that."

"I don't know about that; some great fear seems to oppress her, some foreboding secret."

"Why, what secret could oppress one so young as she is?"

"Mr. Potts, I fear some one has infamously deceived that poor young girl; in fact, I know it," replied the doctor, eyeing Potts intently as he spoke.

With averted face but imperturbable manner, Potts answered: "I dare say you are correct; indeed, I have suspected it already. She is quite a belle among the operatives, and you know, among people of her class in life, such accidents, or incidents, are not uncommon. If it is true the villain should be punished, and I will contribute to effect that; yet I hope you are mistaken, both as to your diagnosis and the probable termination of her sickness. Good morning, Doctor." The doctor stood watching him several moments until he turned the corner and was out of sight.

Chapter 19

 

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CHAPTER XIX.
UNCLE BARNEY.

The young negro valet, Hallback, was an interesting character in his way. His grandfather was said to have been the chief of the Askari tribe before he had been captured and brought to America and sold into slavery. It was said that he was, when brought to Virginia from Africa, a remarkably stalwart young man. He had wonderfully good eyesight and health, and was never sick in his life. His teeth were perfectly sound at the time of his death at the age of 102 years.

Whether true or false the effect of this tradition was to give to Hallback a self-esteem not common with his race, and, his pretensions not being received pleasantly by the negroes on the estate, intensified his feeling of isolation.

The fact, too, that education was denied by law to slaves, and that his young master had instructed his sable play-fellow in the rudiments of reading and writing, inculcated a morose feeling of discontent in the breast of this young negro slave. But he never complained of his lot, for he could but realize that his very isolation caused a deeper sympathy to be felt and shown him by his mistress and her children than was evinced for the other negroes. He was perfectly black, and, never having labored at hard work, his hands and feet were smaller than those of negroes usually are. One day after Henry Latané's return home on furlough, he secured a copy of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and though it was difficult for him to read it, he did so at night by the lightwood

 

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fire in his cabin, and from that day his mind brooded over his situation and condition as a slave. His near relatives were dead, and he had no one in whom he could confide the thoughts which grew like an yeast in his brain until sleep seemed banished from his pillow. There is just enough truth in that wonderful romance to lend conviction to an ignorant mind, eager to believe all that is there related, yet appreciative of the rare kindness which has been his portion all his life.

 

To his mind every aged butler was another "Uncle Tom;" and he felt quite sure that his little mistress, Minnie, was another Eva, blessed with all that lends to human nature its sunniest attributes.

He loved as well as respected Henry Latané, who, whether in camp or in the snow-bound bivouac, always divided such luxuries as he had with his faithful servant, and ever endeavored to shield him from the post of danger. But Hallback seemed indifferent to danger; and while he took no part in the battles and skirmishes in which his young master was so frequently engaged, he was often under fire, and seemed to court, rather than avoid, danger.

He surprised Henry Latané one day by replying to his order that he should go to the rear: "I will go, Marse Henry, since you order me to; but I wish I had a country to fight for!"

Meanwhile, he was obedient, submissive and patient, and no one could justly upbraid him for not doing his duty.

After the battles, he would request Latané's permission to go out with the ambulance and succor the wounded, and the drivers observed, without objecting, that Hallback seemed particularly solicitous about the wounded Federal soldiers.

 

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In battle, animosity gives way before the flash of eternity which is before every man's eyes, and he is a craven at heart who would not alleviate the sufferings of a gallant foeman after the clash of arms is ended.

These facts were reported to Captain Latané, who chose to be oblivious of them, for already the Federal Government was enlisting negro slaves in the Union armies, and regiments of black troops were being mustered into service. He determined that he would not interfere if Hallback decided to cross the lines and enlist himself.

"Marse Henry, here is your purse; I think you will find every dollar in it that it contained when you gave it to me to keep for you," said Hallback to Henry Latané when the surgeon informed the latter that he should consider himself out of danger from his wound, and recommended that he should go home to get entirely convalescent.

"Thank you, Hall.," he replied; "I don't doubt it; you have never failed to take good care of anything I confided to your care, and I will not take the trouble to count it. Here is some money for you. If you want more, and I can spare it, you shall have it."

Such was the relationship between this master and his slave, and yet Hallback was not satisfied, and after the conclusion of the festivities, in which he had not participated except as a spectator, related in a previous chapter, he repaired to a large double cabin, the best in the quarters, and knocked at the door. There was a bright lightwood fire on the hearth, and yet there was no response. Becoming impatient, he opened the door, and saw, kneeling by a table on which was a large Bible, "Uncle Barney."

He took off his hat and listened as the venerable negro preacher (who was a blacksmith by trade) uttered a pathetic

 

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prayer for the welfare of the two members of his congregation whose young lives he had united that day. He concluded his prayer by pleading that his young master, Henry Latané, might be spared to his mother and his people, and that his servant, Hallback, might be turned from the evil thoughts which seemed to be getting possession of him.

 

As he arose from his knees, Hallback extended his hand, smiled, and thanked him for his solicitude.

"Why have you come to see me, Hall., so late to-night? You ought to be abed."

"Uncle Barney, I am pestered in my mind and I want to talk to you!"

"Sit down, Hall., and tell me your troubles," said Barney, wiping his spectacles and adjusting them again.

"I have no personal troubles, Uncle Barney, for it seems to me that every favor which could be shown a slave is given to me, but I am tired of being a slave!" Hallback said this with a free, frank manner, which was equivalent to sayings "You may speak of this to whom you please, but I am determined to be free."

Old Barney arose from his chair, and placing his hands on the young man's shoulders, turned his face to the light and said: "Hallback, do you realize what you are talking about?"

The young negro did not wince, or move a muscle, but answered firmly, "I do."

"Do you remember the fate of George Standback?"

"Yes; he attempted to make his way to the free States, and was hunted down, and, when he refused to surrender in the swamp, he was shot down by the overseer."

"Who was that overseer?"

"Mr. Washburn."

 

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"Who have you been talking to about making your way to the free States?"

"To no one. But I must say that Mr. Washburn has sent me word that he wanted to talk to me about freedom."

"I thought so. Now, Hall., what did mistress do when Mr. Washburn shot George Standback?"

"She dismissed him from her service, and, I am told, lawed him!"

"And what was the result?"

"The result was that he was cleared, and that is the result every time a nigger is murdered by a white man!"

His eyes were flashing now, and he looked as if he could throttle "Mr. Washburn," as he paced the floor. Then he continued, "We have no rights. The juries are composed of white men only, and they do not often dignify us with imprisonment. It is the whip which conquers the slave!"

The old man had taken his seat, and, with a face beaming with compassion, he answered:

"Sit down, Hall., and hear me read, and then we will talk." He opened the Bible and read from the fifth chapter of Exodus as follows: "And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish aught thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein.

"And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spoke to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. Go ye, get you straw where

 

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ye can find it, yet not aught of your work shall be diminished. So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. And the taskmasters hasted them, saying; Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw. And the officers of the children of Israel which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, wherefore have ye not fulfilled your tasks in making bricks both yesterday and to-day as heretofore?

 

"Then the officers of the children of Israel came out and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say unto us, make brick; and behold thy servants are beaten, but the fault is in thine own people. But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle; therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice unto our Lord. Go therefore now and work, for there shall be no straw given you, yet shall ye deliver the task of bricks.

"And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not diminish aught from your bricks of your daily task.

"And they met Moses and Aaron who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh; and they said unto them, The Lord look upon you and judge; because you have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hands to slay us. And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? Why is it that thou hast sent me? for since I came to Pharaoh to speak in their name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.

"Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what

 

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I shall do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he shall let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord; and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give to them the land of Canaan." (Here old Barney paused to see that Hallback was listening, and repeated slowly, " to give to them the land of Canaan,") the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched-out arm, and with great judgments; and I will take you unto me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land, concerning thee, which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give you for an heritage; I am the Lord. And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel; but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Go in, speak unto Pharaoh, king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of this land. And Moses spake before the Lord, saying, Behold the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear? And the Lord spake unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt."

 

 

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He ceased reading, closed the Bible and turned toward Hallback, who had listened attentively, and had been evidently impressed.

"Well?" said Hallback.

"Do you not see how powerless we are, and that we are as little birds in the hands of Him?" said Barney, with hands uplifted, while his eyes sought those of his visitor.

"I don't know, Uncle Barney; I don't know anything about the hereafter. It is the ever-living present--the present, which sees my race doomed to servitude forever, that oppresses me all the time."

"Then learn to know, my son; to believe is to know. We are powerless. For generations niggers have been slaves in this country. The few free niggers we have among us are no happier than we are. There is Bill Baxter, who owns other niggers; he is not as happy as I am, and most ginnerally free negroes are of no account."

"Oh, uncle Barney, you are not like the rest of us. Everybody respects you, even Mr. Washburn. You don't know what it is."

Taking off his coat, then his shirt, the old man showed his muscular torso, and there, on his bare back, were the scars inflicted years before by a brutal overseer's hand. Upon his broad breast were two wounds which seemed to have been inflicted by the knife. And now the old negro's self-possession seemed to fail him, for his breast heaved with terrible excitement as memory bore him back to the days of his youth, when resistance produced almost fatal wounds. Calming himself, he asked Hallback:

"Are you convinced that I do know what it is?"

"I would never have rested until I had killed the man who did it," said Hallback.

 

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"Thou shalt not kill. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord," answered Barney, meekly but fervently.

"Now, Hallback, listen to me. Marster's brother took my part when I received these wounds, and lost his life in defending me. Were he alive to-day, would it not be my duty to serve him all my life?

"George Washburn killed my nephew in cold-blood, and he claims now to be the only friend we poor niggers have. What is my duty toward him?"

"Kill him!" muttered Hallback.

"Hush, my son. Put away such evil thoughts. God, Index his own time, will punish him; and you, will you not deserve a like fate if you harbor murder in your heart?"

"But what are we to do?" replied Hallback.

"Wait, and trust in the Lord; He will provide. This war is His doings, and He will treat us as He treated the Israelites."

"What, give us the land?"

"If we deserve it, yes; all that we need. But would you take Marse Henry's land away from him, if you could?"

"No, I would not; but I would take Washburn's, and anybody else's land, except Marse Henrv's."

"Wait, and the land will be given to us."

"But, uncle Barney, it won't be given to us unless we fight for it, and I have come to tell you good-bye. I am going to fight for it."

"Who you gwine to fight, Hall.?"

"The rebels."

"Who is de rebels?"

"The white folks--the rebel army--the--"

"Is yer gwine to shoot Marse Henry?"

 

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Hallback bent his head, and the tears forced their way through his fingers, and his sobs prevented an answer.

"It won't do, Hall., my son, for in the absence of your father and mother, in heaven, you are my son. I preach to a thousand niggers like you and me, and tell them all what I tell you, we are in the hands of the Lord, and He will provide."

The young negro man stood up now, hat in hand, and said: "Good-bye, uncle Barney; you don't know, as I do, what will happen soon."

"What gwine to happen, boy?"

"The rebels will force all of us young niggers in their army, and we will be shooting at our friends."

A twinkle of humor lighted old Barney's eyes as he asked: "Hall., did you ever see two dogs fight over a bone?"

"Certainly I have; why do you ask me that question?"

" Well, then, did you ever see the bone fight?"

A broad smile, followed by laughter, was Hallback's answer as he saw the force of the old preacher's parable, and he took his departure in a better frame of mind than he had had for a long time. Long after Hallback had left the old negro preacher continued to pray, though no sound escaped his lips. He prayed now for himself--that this temptation to yield to feelings of indignation and revenge should be removed. His faith had become greater as he neared annually three-score years and ten allotted to man as the fulness of his years; and as the Bible taught him that God had permitted slavery and commanded obedience to masters, he submitted to his lot as one ordained by divine decree.

And so did the ministers of the white race teach their flocks, until a whole people believed in the righteousness of

 

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slavery. Admit as we may, believe as we do, that no laboring population on earth had lighter burdens, lived to a greater age, or increased in numbers so rapidly, who can deny that the ambition which makes men seek to rise in the scale of existence and civilization was denied to the slaves in the South?

 

Per contra, from the earliest antiquity history does not record as rapid advance in the comforts, and arts, and luxuries of life among any negro race as one century of slavery in the Southern States of America had given to the negro.

It was the object-lesson of humanity; the technological training which led them by rapid strides from the wilderness of the savage to nineteenth-century civilization. Doubtless many slaves possessed all the elements of leadership except education; and so long as slavery existed it was wise to deny them that boon which would have led them to anarchy.

Education to a slave is a "pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day," and it is only commanding spirits, like this venerable pattern of piety, old Barney, which can make of this scythe a pruning-hook--apply to this rein a curb which shall restrain as it guides.

In the mind of young Hallback it was a brand with which to light the flames of discord until insurrection, that dread spectre, the fear of which was used as an inciting cause to war, should take possession of the minds of the slaves, as the evil spirits entered into the bodies of the swine, and lead them to their destruction.

But the brotherhood of man, the kinship of humanity, the omnipotence of God, restrained and preserved them, and bade them "wait." The homely advice of old Barney, "Let the dogs fight over the bone, the bone need not fight," was sound philosophy.

----

 

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By some subtle means, yclept "the grape-vine telegraph" in the days of the war, every negro settlement, every negro in each settlement throughout that vast country, had been informed that the Northern people were fighting their masters that they might be freed.

In every plantation "Quarters" were impatient, young spirits eager to take part in the fray, if they believed success possible; and there was, here and there, scattered as if by the design of an all-seeing and an all-wise Providence, a Barney clothed with the wisdom which age gives to the unlettered slave as to the most cultured statesman, whose sage counsels bade them " wait!"

In all the South, amid four millions of negro slaves, with tens of thousands of helpless white families at their mercy, not one insurrection occurred during four years of bloody war.

Honor to those slaves!

Honor to those humane masters, whose sympathy and kindness alone made this remarkable fact a reality.

Nor could volumes so impress the mind of Hallback with the dangerous folly of following the counsels of the murderous ex-overseer who had never owned a slave, as the illustration of the scars of old Barney, and his simple recital of the fact that his young master had given his life in defence of his slave, and that that slave was himself.

He had played with Henry Latané as a child, and with him quarreled as a child; he had served him as a valet all his life, and he could not recall an ungenerous act on the part of the young master to him. But his spirit chafed at the humble deportment which his condition exacted of him as of all slaves.

He would rid himself of that if he could; but the time would never come, he thought, when evil-minded, sordid

 

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adventurers, with no interest in the slaves or in the land, but bent on their own profit alone, should turn his hand against those people with whose life his own had been intertwined. As to the rest of the white people, he would--" wait."

 

Latané, finding that his wounded limb was nearly well, had thrown aside his crutch and now informed his mother also of his purpose. "A soldier's place is at the front, mother, unless wounds or sickness prevent him from being there. I shall return to the army next week."

"But your wound is not entirely healed yet, my son, and it seems to me you have been with me only a day; but if you think it is your duty to go, I will not dissuade you."

His arm was around her waist, her head upon his shoulder, as she thus spoke, vainly trying to keep back the tears as she made the Spartan resolution to do nothing to delay his return.

This was his first visit home since he went to Virginia, and she knew that where he went was to be seen, almost daily, privations--suffering--sudden death! A chance ball, a skirmish, a reconnoissance, perchance a battle might involve him any day, and his life, she thought, was thus rendered more brittle than glass.

"That reply does you honor, my mother. If I am of any value to my country, I owe it all to you. I am already weary of war, and the boyish ambition for fame has already departed. Let us hope that it will soon end, and then I can prove my gratitude to the best of mothers for life-long kindness to me." To change the current of his thoughts she said: "Julia has been slandered by those who envy her attractions of person and manner. Instead of being

 

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cold-natured and selfish, she is the truest, loveliest and best girl I know."

 

"She is indeed a fine girl, mother, and has a noble character. I never knew but one girl whom I admired more, and I shall call upon her to-morrow."

His mother did not reply; she would not diminish his pleasure one iota during his brief stay with her by any unfavorable allusion to Clara, whom she had never known well. Mean while, she could not disguise her pleasure when any remark of Henry's indicated a possibility of the realization of her cherished dream.

The best of mothers forget that they were once young. Colonel Leslie's cold, formal courtesy when they met by chance, so different from the frank, genial, cordial greeting of other days, had banished all thoughts of Clara as a daughter-in-law from her mind.

"Mother," said Henry, "while I think your preference for Miss Julia a natural one, do you not think that affection guides a woman's mind and moulds her opinions?"

"I hope so, my son; I do not admire strong-minded women," was the reply. In that reply Mrs. Latané was logical. It is better that it should be thus. A mother's love is an instinct superior to reason in ordinary life, and accomplishes its purpose when shrewdest diplomacy would fail.

Again his card is sent in from the door of the hospitable mansion at Thronateeska. Again he is ushered in the parlor, and it is but two days before his departure for Virginia. Colonel Leslie, not Clara, responded, and his manner was strangely formal. Mrs. Latané had informed him of this change in Colonel Leslie's manner, but he was entitled to kinder treatment from any gentleman in his native county, unless he should prove to be an enemy.

 

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His bow, in response to Colonel Leslie's coldly courteous greeting, was equally haughty.

"Good morning, Captain Latané; how is your mother?"

"Quite well, I thank you. I hope Miss Clara's indisposition was not serious."

"Miss Clara is quite well, and is absent from home," was the curt reply.

("Absent from home!" thought Latané. "Then she does not wish to see me.") His lips curled a little as he said: "I am sorry she is absent; I had hoped to have seen her before leaving home."

"Then you expect to return to the army soon?"

"Yes, sir; I will return day after to-morrow. I will not detain you longer, sir. Good morning."

"Good morning, Captain Latané," and then the studiously formal old gentleman politely opened the door of the hall and dismissed him with a parting bow. Latané, biting his lip with vexation, mounted his horse and rode home at a rapid pace. "He did not even invite me to call again, nor did he exhibit the slightest interest in my past, present or future. I'll never cross that threshold again, so help me God!" he exclaimed, as he dashed the spur in his horse. "Shall I," he continued, "permit myself to be treated as a foot-ball by those whom I would have died to serve? Shall I continue to worship as an idol one to whom I have declared my love, but who seems unmindful of all that I have suffered for her sake? Shall I continue loyal to her, when she is not only free, but will be better pleased never to see me again? No, a thousand times, no! I will not lavish on any human being a love which has been unrequited once. Romance, begone, and sentiment with it! Reason henceforth shall govern impulse.

 

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"I have been a child in my love for Clara Leslie, yet the sweetest thoughts of my life will revert to her as she was. I'll be a man henceforth in love as in other things--cold determined, unrelenting, as is her flint-hearted father! But she changed in nature? Does she endorse this unaccountable conduct of her father? It matters not; I must see things as they are. The dream is over. Now for fame! it is all that is left."

Yet it is the love of woman that nerves a man to battle for all that humanity holds most dear.

What is one's country? Is it the air we breathe? The lovely colors in sky or flower? The riches hidden in mines and quarries? The railways, factories, buildings which make commerce?

No, it is home, with all its sacred memories and all its noblest aspirations.

How little did he interpret Clara Leslie's real feelings, for she, too, felt the depth of disappointment. Providence seemed determined to prevent her reconciliation with Henry Latané. She had gone to see Julia for a few hours, and when she returned, the servant informed her of Latané's brief visit.

"It was merely a call of courtesy, my child, to prevent an open rupture, I think; Captain Latané will leave in a few days for Virginia. I am satisfied that he would like to be re-instated here, but I have lost all confidence in him, or respect for him. Think no more of him, my daughter," said Colonel Leslie.

"Oh, father!" she exclaimed, "say no more! I can't bear to hear you abuse him. I am sure you do him great injustice. If he is false, no man is true, and noble, and good." Her father's look was one of intense anguish. He said no more, but took her to his heart and caressed her tenderly, telling

 

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her that his happiness was wrapt up in hers. He would have given half his fortune to have known that Henry Latané was worthy of Clara at that moment, but he did not, and he would never sanction her union with any man capable of deceit or treachery.

 

If he could have learned then that Henry Latané knew nothing of the letter signed in his name and seemingly in his handwriting, asking Clara to pardon his precipitate avowal and to consider all that he had said as unspoken, how different would have been the reception accorded to the returned soldier! As it was, Latané's pride forbade any allusion to it, and Colonel Leslie did not deign to answer it. Potts was playing a bold game, but his position in the post-office had enabled him to intercept and destroy the letters written to Clara by Henry Latané, all full of the tenderest affection and solicitude, and he took the risk.

Chapter 20

 

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CHAPTER XX.
TRULY LOYAL.

Our worthy acquaintances, Potts and Stunner, are again conversing in the handsome front office of the latter; but on this occasion Potts seems obsequious and Stunner indifferent.

"Now, Stunner," said Potts, "I don't like the way you are treating me about this blockade-running business; I ought to have a hand in it. You have used my money for three years to bolster up your business, and now when you get hold of the biggest deal of the age you leave me out."

Stunner put his hands in his pantaloons pockets, placed his feet on the table, looked through the plate-glass windows on the holiday crowds that thronged the streets and--whistled.

Nothing is more exasperating to a man urgently bent on transacting business quickly, "before the iron gets cold," than such treatment as this. No word in the language can express exactly what this "whistle" did just at that time.

A silence of several minutes ensued, when Potts arose as if to go, and said, "Well, dog-gone it! how much will you take for an interest?"

"Oh! my dear sir, my very dear sir," said Stunner, leaping to his feet with alacrity and grasping Potts' hand cordially, "Now, my friend, you are talking. Don't beat around the bushes, Potts, but come down to 'business,' and you'll always find me there."

At this juncture an old gentleman approached the office counter, whose grave face and dignified demeanor at once arrested

 

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Stunner's attention and made a change in his manner and deportment wonderful to behold. Taking his silk hat off and bowing profoundly, Stunner said in the blandest tones in the world: "Good morning, Judge Dearing; I feel honored, sir, by your visit, walk around, sir, and be seated by the fire."

 

But all this mannerism was lost upon the old jurist, whose simplicity of manner and honest gentlemanliness and direct methods always disconcerted Stunner.

"Is this Mr. Stunner?" asked the Judge.

"It is, sir. J. B. Stunner, at your service."

"Well, Mr. Stunner, I have called to say that I don't wish to have any further dealings with you if what I have heard is true."

"Indeed, sir!" with a look of honest surprise, "and who has been slandering me, sir?"

"No one, I think. I think the charge is true."

"Indeed, sir! and what is the charge?"

"Did you not lend a poor widow five hundred dollars at six per cent. per annum interest, payable in gold, and make the note and interest payable to me?"

"I did, sir; that is my business."

"What were the conditions of the loan?"

"Her property was worth five thousand dollars, and I charged her five per cent. commission for negotiating the loan."

"Did you charge five per cent. commission on the five hundred dollars loaned, or on the value of the property?"

Stunner did not hesitate a second, for he knew that the judge must have investigated the transaction, and that he might as well tell the truth at once, and so he promptly answered:

"On the value of the property, sir."

 

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"Am I to understand that you charged and retained out of the five hundred dollars loaned, five per cent. on five thousand dollars, or two hundred and fifty dollars, and that the loan was for three months only?"

"That is about the size of it, sir."

Potts was amazed to see the once subservient Stunner thus defy the most learned and respected jurist in the State, for Stunner's thumbs were now in his vest and he stood in the most contemptuous manner before the good, kindly old man who was universally respected.

"Very well, sir," responded the judge severely; "have my account posted and forwarded at once; any letters from you hereafter will be returned unopened."

As the indignant old gentleman left the office, Potts arose and said to his partner: "Stunner, what on earth do you mean by snubbing the best client I have in that way for?"

"Is he your client; then why did not he speak to you?"

"Oh! he does not know me personally, or even by sight; but the money I have sent you for investment on our joint account was loaned by him to my father, who has for a long time handled Judge Dearing's money as a borrower, giving him good collateral security. Now we can't get any more of it."

"I don't wish any more of it," replied Stunner. "If he had not come at me in that way I intended to propose a much larger and safer investment, but he has kicked the bucket over now and the milk is all gone. Judge Dearing is just too good for this wicked world, that is all!"

They were alone in the office during this scene, the female clerks and the old book-keeper having been released for the holiday.

 

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"Well, what will you take for a half interest?" said Potts, resuming his negotiations with Stunner.

"For a what!" said Stunner, with a surprised air.

"A half interest in your blockade-running business," said Potts. "I have seen for several months that you are losing interest in our business here, and that can only mean that you are making more money at something else."

"Correct," sententiously replied Stunner.

"Then what will you take?" resumed Potts.

"Ten thousand dollars in gold, cash down, for a fifth interest is the least dollar that I will consider.

"What!" said Potts in disgust. "Come now, Stunner, that is not toting fair; what would you have done in the past without my aid?"

"There are a sight of things that I would not have done but for your aid!" said Stunner, "and getting money from that honest old fool, Judge Dearing, who won't take a good thing when he sees it offered to him, is one of them. I have bigger game than he is working with me."

Potts' interest increased at this announcement as he leaned forward and said:

"Who are they? Is old--one of them, Stunner?" He had spoken in a whisper when he named the individual referred to. Stunner answered quietly:

"He is, and he and I go halves."

"One-fifth of the whole profits for ten thousand dollars cash is your offer, is it? I will bank on that man's judg ment always. And he has the power, too!"

"One-fifth of my half for ten thousand, cash down, is my offer, pard; and not a cent less will let you in," answered Stunner.

In truth he had just offered the interest for one-half the

 

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sum he now insisted on, but he saw that Potts, convinced by the magic of the participation of the great politician named, would accept the offer, and he was right, for Potts at once closed with Stunner and was now "in."

 

The State, the city, the village--everywhere in Republican America is dominated by "the ring." If you are "in," profits come in troops; if you are "out," intellect and genius walk on the pavement, while mediocrity, with gilded conscience and vulgar display, rides by in the chariot.

Potts thus construed it, at any rate, and thus early gave in his adhesion to the "ins."

"Now, Stunner," said Potts, "it was only last week that an order was received by the Commandant of the Post at Etowah, instructing him to let a steamer pass down the river to the Gulf and thence to Liverpool if it got safely through the Federal gun-boats stationed at the mouth of the river."

"I know all about it," said Stunner.

"Why did not this steamer, loaded with cotton, belonging to the State, proceed?" asked Potts.

"Because the Commandant of the Post there is like our friend, Judge Dearing--a--fool!" responded Stunner. "Have a cigar, Potts?" All his former amiability had returned now, since the trade had been consummated, and the manner of the two was like that of bosom-friends.

"You see," Stunner continued, "the military commander of the district had given orders that no steamer loaded with cotton should be allowed to go down to the gulf."

"Why was that order passed?" asked Potts.

"Because it was asserted by some 'smart Alecks' who could not get 'in' that if a steamer got through safely to Liverpool, it was received there as the cotton belonging to J. B. Stunner & Co., whereas if the steamer was captured or lost

 

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the cargo was invariably declared to belong to the Government. See?"

 

"Ha! ha! ha!" laughed Potts, "and is it true? Does it happen so?"

"You bet your sweet life!" was Stunner's answer.

A few days later Potts decided to renew his visits at Thronateeska, for his spirits rose as the fortunes of the Confederacy seemed to decline. If the Confederacy failed he would be the wealthiest young man in the county.

"Why are you so sad, Clara?" said Julia to her the day when Mr. Potts decided to make the all-important visit. "Mr. Barnum still lives and you are sure of his affections."

"You are mistaken in your surmise, Julia; Mr. Barnum has been absent nearly three years and we have had no correspondence whatever."

Though it was difficult to get letters "through the lines," it was often done, and this information surprised Julia.

"Then I am mistaken, and, have unintentionally misled one of your former friends," said Julia. "You are not engaged to Mr. Barnum, then?"

"No, I am not engaged to Mr. Barnum; what put such an idea into your head? To whom do you refer?"

"I refer to Captain Latané, and I told him before he returned to the army that I had no doubt of it?" "Why, Clara, what is the matter, my dear?"

Clara's agitation was too great to be concealed longer, and she could only say--"How cruel! how could you do it, Julia?"

"Why, my dear, I had no idea that you were interested in Captain Latané, but it is all clear to me now. His embarrassment and your's on that morning when we met you riding before breakfast should have opened my eyes, but

 

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really, Clara, I did not know that I was unkind--I did not mean to be."

 

Clara had regained control over her feelings and now sought to remove the impression her embarrassment had created, for she did not know positively that Latané still loved her, and she could not persuade herself to make her cousin her confidante under the circumstances. Besides, she had every reason to suppose that Julia was not indifferent to his attentions. Rallying, therefore, from her embarrassment she said, "What a pity it is that Captain Latané was captured. If I knew what prison he was confined in, I should feel tempted to write to Mr. Barnum to go and undeceive him. Jesting aside, Julia, I did not even meet Captain Latané during his visit home."

"Well, I am glad I have done no harm," replied Julia; "I thought from your remark that I had committed the unpardonable sin. Confess now that it is not your fault that you are not engaged to Mr. Barnum--I would not be surprised if you had a like opportunity with Captain Latané."

"That would be high treason, Julia."

"Of course it would, my dear, and I did not mean for you to betray their secrets. I only wished to restore my equanimity by putting you on the defensive. See what a diplomat I am."

"Indeed, you are, Julia, and I feel inclined to ask you similar impertinent questions about both Major Blount and Captain Latané. You are very selfish in permitting that gallant major to go away without giving me an opportunity to "cut you out," as the phrase is."

Then changing her tone she said, "Is not the ingenuity of Mr. Potts in devising ways and means to keep out of the army remarkable? No taunts or sneers can drive him into

 

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it." And in truth nothing that Clara could do would be taken as a rebuff by this persistent suitor.

 

"It is indeed remarkable, said Julia; and I have a curiosity to meet him. He seems to be quite a character. "By the way, Julia, did you know that Bruton Stewart has been promoted for distinguished gallantry on the battle field on the 12th of May? It seems so funny that Bruton Stewart should be a Brigadier-general."

Had Clara been less absorbed in her own reflections she could not have failed to notice the quick flush which mantled Julia's cheeks, as she answered:

"Yes, I read it in the newspaper, and I have no doubt that he has won it bravely."

But not by word or letter, or by any indication whatever, did Bruton Stewart evince that Julia Dearing held any place in his heart or mind. To conceal her embarrassment at the unexpected allusion to him, therefore, she arose and left the sitting-room.

Just as she arose to leave, a ring at the door-bell announced a visitor. The servant handed to Clara a card bearing the name of Wellington N. Potts. On some of his cards was written the name of W. Napoleon Potts; other cards contained the simple W. N. Potts, used in his commercial correspondence. But in his social visits he always carried cards which bore the name of "Wellington" or "Napoleon," or both.

"Do stay, Julia, and help me to entertain him," pleaded Clara.

"Thanks; I am much obliged, I am sure, but he did not call to see me; I will go into the library and read "Macaria" until he retires," answered Julia.

After a few commonplace remarks, Potts said: "Well,

 

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Miss Clara, I have got away from that abominable post-office and am a free man once more; will you go to ride with me to-morrow? I have but a few days of leisure left.'

 

"Then you are going into the army, are you? I am not surprised. I don't see how any man can keep from going to Richmond now, and aiding to hurl back the immense army collected at its front."

"I must answer you in the language of a soldier whose flight General Lee sought to arrest, and then to induce him to return to the front as he was leaving the battle-field in the last battle. The General said: "Go back, my friend; remember your home, your wife and your children; go back and fight for your country."

"Well, what did he say?" interrupted Clara, as Potts hesitated.

"He answered: 'I've been thar, Gineral, and 'tain't no fitten place for nobody!' and that's the way I feel about it."

In spite of her contempt for the sentiment thus expressed, Clara could not refrain from smiling. Emboldened by this, he continued: "Miss Clara, you know I am not sympathetic with this war, or, in truth, with any war. 'Thou shalt not kill,' is the divine command. War is murder, and I am determined to keep out of it as long as I can."

"How do you propose to do it?" asked Clara.

In spite of her antipathy to him, she was entertained by his argumentative way of expressing himself.

"The Confederate Congress," he answered, "has passed a law exempting from military service manufacturers, captains of steamboats, and managers of a certain number of slaves. That law will whip the Confederacy, and save me from the trouble and danger of enlisting. There is a little

 

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boat on the river called the Swan; it is no longer than a "dory," as they call the little boats off the Maine coast. Some one has put an engine on it, and I tried to get the captaincy of the craft, but John Hefflin was too sharp for me."

 

"I am glad to hear it," said Clara, laughing in spite of herself, "and I hope the conscript officers will get you yet."

"Conscript Fathers! Why Miss Clara, what have I done that you should wish to consign me to 'glory or the grave,' as the poets express it?"

"It is not what you have done, but what you have not done, she replied. But why argue the matter?"

"That is not my object; I wish to be of service to you if I can."

He then alluded to President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, in which the President of the United States promised that he would recommend that all citizens who shall have remained loyal to the United States during the war, should be compensated for all losses, including the loss of slaves.

"Well," said Clara, "it is nearly two years since that proclamation was issued, and I have not heard of a single slave who has availed himself of the privileges offered. With thirteen hundred thousand men in the field against us, they have not only failed to overcome us, but they have utterly failed to produce servile insurrection, which that proclamation was designed to effect. They have passed laws confiscating the property of "rebels," and yet I don't see that anybody owns less property."

To the mind of an ordinarily appreciative man, it was folly to argue thus with a young lady who had aided to cut up carpets in her own home to serve for blankets for soldiers.

----

 

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A generous man, even though an enemy, would have appreciated the sterling virtues which the trials of war developed among the people, especially in the characters of the women.

 

These delicately reared young ladies, accustomed all their lives to every luxury which wealth and culture can give, were to be seen in the forenoon sewing c arse garments for unknown soldiers to wear; and at night they often participated in public concerts that money might be provided for hospital purposes. But Potts was not a generous man, and he despised a gentleman, and all that that world implied, more than any other product of civilization.

"You may not know it, Miss Clara," said he, "but there are at this moment seventy thousand negroes employed in the Union armies, nearly thirty thousand of whom are bearing arms in the field."

"Yes, I read the statement in a Massachusetts paper sent to papa recently. It stated further that there are fifty thousand blacks between Memphis and Natchez, from among whom have been culled all the able bodied men for military service. What was the result? The writer stated that last winter he buried, at Memphis alone, out of an average of about four thousand of these deluded and helpless creatures twelve hundred, or twelve a day. In all your life, have you ever heard of such mortality among negroes under Southern masters? Such results prove to them, better than all the arguments in the world, that their best friends, those who are most in sympathy with their feelings, are the people with whom they were reared. What interest can a stranger feel who lives a thousand miles distant, and who enlisted to defend the Union, not to liberate slaves--what interest can he feel in the sufferings of this dependent race?

 

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"How do you account for the fact that we have no apprehensions of danger from our negro slaves? How can the spirit of patriotism be implanted in the breasts of men, who have left their homes and crossed the seas and become enlisted soldiers in six months after their arrival on foreign shores? Our soldiers are fighting hundreds of thousands of foreigners, and it is the duty of every Southern man to go to the front."

"Well, they won't get me this time. I have assumed the place of superintendent of the factory, and made our former superintendent, who is sixty-five years old, and, therefore, is exempt, take my place as book-keeper."

She despised him, and yet his bold avowal that he was not sympathetic with the Southern cause was the only thing which had ever inspired a particle of respect for this seekers after bomb-proof places.

"You know," resumed Potts, "that slavery has been abolished, in the District of Columbia at any rate, by Act of the Congress of the United States, and all loyal owners in Washington City are allowed ninety days to prepare and present to Commissioners appointed for the purpose, the names, ages and personal description of their slaves. Now, I think a good price may be obtained for all your father's slaves if he will join my father and proclaim his loyalty at once. The war is going against the South, and--"

His further speech was interrupted by the indignant girl, who, rising as she spoke, said: "Good Heavens! Mr. Potts, are you in earnest? Do you mean what you say, or are you merely advancing an argument which, if 'twas sincerely spoken, will make you a stranger to this house at least?"

Potts hesitated. This was the only home which he visited, and he did not pretend to like any other society than

 

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Clara's. If he had possessed real candor or manly courage, he might have made a vast stride in Clara's good graces by adhering firmly to his assertion. But he continued:

 

"Let us change the subject, Miss Clara, for I see that a little argument on my side of the question offends if it can't be met.

"
'When a woman wills, she will, you may depend on it;
When she won't, she won't, and there's an end on it.'
 
"

"Mr. Potts, I never wish to hear any more 'arguments of this nature. Do you not consider yourself a Southerner and loyal to this State?"

"Oh, yes," he said, yawning, with well-simulated indifference, "by birth and rearing, but in everything else I am a New Englander."

"Then why do you own slaves? I believe your father has been, and is, a very extensive slave-owner, although he is a native of New England. Why don't he emancipate, them immediately, without any reference to what any government may do?"

"Oh! that's another matter. Hypocrites pretend to be animated by patriotism, allegiance to the State, and all that sort of thing. A New Englander is superior to sentimental notions We are a practical people. 'Nothing succeeds like success,' is our motto. Look around you, and you will find that Northern men take the lead in industrial enterprises at the South, while your leading men turn politicians. Now it is all very well for impulsive young cut-throats, like your friend Latané, to go and get killed or wounded in order to have his name in the papers and be lauded as a hero for a few days. In a short time all these men whom you call 'noble patriots' will be forgotten, while we, who stay at home and make money will buy them out--lock, stock and

 

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barrel--after the war, and hire them, to boot! We intend to sell our negroes as fast as possible--are doing it now. Father sold a splendid hand, the likeliest young man we owned, yesterday at auction. I don't intend to have a lot of negroes to support after the war has freed them! I am going to feather my nest while I can. If I can't free them, and get paid for it, I will sell them."

 

Clara, under that quiet exterior, was trembling with indignation. Deceived by her silence into thinking that she was beginning to be imbued with his own penurious ideas, he hoped by this candid statement to pave the way for a new declaration, based upon her hopes of certain security in the future, it mattered not how the war might terminate. Her reply was as sudden and impetuous as a storm in summer.

She arose from her seat, and said in measured, but decided tones: "Mr. Potts, you forget yourself! Not content with seeking a bomb-proof place, you abuse the privilege of a welcome extended to you by my too-credulous father to insult our gallant soldiers, who think wealth and luxury and the brightest promise of the future nothing in comparison to the preservation of the rights of their native land. Young men with ten times your wealth or your father's have entered the army, most of them as private soldiers, which disproves your assertion that a mere thirst for fame actuates them, or that self-interest is the ruling motor in human affairs. If such are your sentiments I am glad you do not consider yourself a Southerner. I do not know what may be the result of this war, but I do know that Southern slave-holders will not desert their slaves when they are most needed by them. I do know that the man who sells his slaves at auction has never been recognized as an acceptable

 

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member of good society, and that he who sells them now, in face of their wonderful fidelity to their masters and their dependent families left with no other protectors, is unworthy of recognition! Let the future be what it may, our people will never dishonor themselves by honoring those who are recreant to their duty now."

 

"What's all this about?" said Julia Dearing, appearing at the door.

Wellington Napoleon Potts was at this moment the impersonation of the scathing criticism of him made on a former occasion by Henry Latané. He seemed to conform to the estimate placed upon his character by the young lady whose eyes were flashing with indignation. Julia's appearance upon the scene just at this moment was welcomed by Potts, although it sent a blush of shame to his cheeks--a blush which had rarely invaded his iron-clad effrontery before. If he had felt overwhelmed before, the reader can imagine the depth of his humiliation when Clara, her lips curling with contempt, introduced him as follows: "Miss Dearing, let me make you acquainted with Mr. Wellington Napoleon Potts, whose name (emphasizing the last word) recalls two of the grandest military heroes of the world's history."

Julia, who was somewhat given to slang, thought: "Well, here's richness to be sure," and gave him a curtsy, which Napoleon himself might have received with feelings of gratification. Interpreting the situation, she said:

"Well, what's the row?"

"Miss Clara is mad with me," said Potts in an injured tone.

Clara turned to Julia, as if to ignore his presence, and said:

 

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"Have you called for me to go with you? I'll be ready in ten minutes."

 

"Yes, but neither of you seem to consider me of sufficient consequence to reply to my question: What's the row?"

"I'll leave Mr. Potts to enlighten you," said Clara, leaving the parlor.

Julia turned to him those eyes which could be at will either an interrogation point, a searching catechism, a judicial dicision, a conviction or an acquittal. This time Julia's eyes plainly asked, "What's the row?"

As Julia's flexible muscles gradually relaxed into a re-assuring smile, he said: "Miss Clara's outburst of temper just now was caused by my innocently informing her that I was not sympathetic with the war, when really if she knew my heart, and would treat me right, she could persuade me to enter the ranks to-morrow."

"Really? Then she ought to establish a recruiting station right away. I don't know what the government will do for recruits hereafter, for all the sixteen-year-old boys, nearly, have gone, and Colonel Leslie and father were enrolled yesterday in the Home Guard. They'll have to raise a regiment of Amazons, I reckon."

"They ought to place Miss Clara at the head of it then," said Potts, with a sickly smile.

"Good! that's a capital idea. Will you accept the place of adjutant, Mr. Potts?"

Potts surprised Julia now; he was far from being a fool and was generally quite ready in his sallies of repartee. He never attempted wit, but prided himself upon what he called his "horse-sense"

"You do me honor, Miss Dearing, I assure you. If I can be as successful in petticoats as you and your cousin seem to

 

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be when assuming the counter rôle, upon my word it will be a victory worth risking one's life for! Yes, I would go under those conditions, and suggest that you be a candidate for Vivandiére; but I shall have nothing to do with the fighting as a man."

 

"I must say, Mr. Potts, that you have been badly treated. Not by Clara--that's well enough I suppose; but by public opinion which has proclaimed you a coward and a skulker. Since you have shown by your last remark that you are not a coward, I hope to see more of you when I will do my best to persuade you not to be a skulker."

Wellington Napoleon Potts had risen to take his leave as he delivered this parting shot, and accepted the extended hand of Julia Dearing most gratefully, in spite of her previous raillery.

Hesitating a moment and looking as straight into Julia's eyes as a man can who can't meet a glance when it is directed to his own, he said:

"Your first speeches to me were such as I am in the habit of receiving from people who wish to drive me into the army by that mode. The second is a kindness I was unprepared for. I have been kicked like a dog and have submitted like a spaniel, for I do not believe in breaking the law in the slightest particular. You have seen fit to vary the monotony by a kind invitation to visit you. I would be a dog in fact if I failed to appreciate it. I shall do myself the honor of calling on you, if I interpret your words correctly."

Julia bowed affirmatively, and Potts left without waiting for Clara's return.

Now the reader must know that the hand-writing on the wall which so filled the heart of Belteshazzar with fright seemed

 

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hardly more ominous to the minds of thousands than the prospects of the Confederate Government at this period.

 

Hence the determination of Potts to avow his opposition to the war per se, and hence the conference with the unctious Potts pére which resulted in the determination to sell their slaves and invest the proceeds in cotton. Then, to protect the cotton, should the Confederacy collapse, a proof of "loyalty" would be in order. There was nothing to lose by this step, except the respect of the people, which to their minds was of infinitely small importance, when compared with money. It is a fact susceptible of indubitable proof that had they supposed the fortunes of the Confederate States to be in the ascendency at this period, the Messrs. Potts and nearly all of their ilk would have espoused the Southern cause with the most demonstrative and practical patriotism. Wellington Napoleon would have entered the army, and once there, would have fought bravely; for he was not a coward in the full sense of that term. His pecuniary interests prompted him to play that rôle.

His conversation with Clara was not unpremeditated either. Manifestly, if the war was going to result in emancipation, Clara would no longer be an heiress, unless he could prevail on her father, through her, to sell his slaves as he and his father had determined to do. If Clara would not aid him to accomplish his purpose, he knew Colonel Leslie well enough to know that its failure was predetermined. If it could not be done, Clara was pecuniarily not worth marrying. He did love her, as well as such sordid natures as his can love, but he did not love her well enough to take unto himself a penniless wife. Hence the interview, and hence the sudden resolution to transfer his suit to Julia Dearing, whose father owned few negroes and had a

 

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great deal of money in the form of promissory notes protected by good collaterals. It was in this frame of mind that Potts left Clara's home.

 

"Well, Julia, what did you think of Mr. Wellington Napoleon Potts?" said Clara, entering the parlor a few moments after the departure of that worthy.

"I have invited him to call to see me and he has graciously consented to do so," said Julia.

"What! after all you saw and heard!" said Clara, astonished at this statement.

"After all that I saw and heard," coolly replied Julia. "You have done Mr. Potts injustice--not by rejecting him as a suitor nor by the castigation you gave him, which all such skulkers richly deserve, but by thinking him a fool and a coward."

"I think him both; that expresses my opinion of him perfectly, and a knave in addition!" replied Clara, for once thoroughly out of patience.

"He is neither; he is very uncommon, I think; he has a vast deal of common sense, which is a very uncommon article now-a-days," said Julia.

"So had Uriah Heep! I am disgusted with him, and you can have his attentions, Julia, all to yourself, but I pity you."

"You had better pity Potts," thought Julia, as she men tally resolved to make him know how fascinating she could be, in order that she might the better chastise his temerity as a lover and pusillanimity as a man. Then she said as they went out together: "We will not talk of a disagreeable subject, but really Mr. Potts has interested me by his contempt for the contempt of other people. He is one of those selfish contemptible people who are not capable of loving

 

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any one disinterestedly. Most men, on the other hand, are but infants when they are in love. As a French writer expresses it: "According to the ancient theogonies, 'Love I' Amour--is a baby of five years and a half,' but meanwhile, Hesiod assures us that he is older than time itself."

 

"Mr. Potts was born old!" responded Clara.

Henry Latané had been captured the month before this interview at the battle of Spottsylvania Court House, the name of the county-site of Spottsylvania county, Virginia. Suffice it to say that never, perhaps, has history recorded five such battles compressed into six days, as the battles of the Wilderness, which culminated on the 12th of May, in the battle of Spottsylvania Court House. In two days the Federals lost twelve thousand men, and the Confederate loss was nearly as great. It is useless to dwell upon the fact that the Federal army numbered one hundred and thirty-three thousand men, while the Confederates had only sixty-two thousand men, and yet repulsed their enemy at the cost of an enormous number of prisoners. Among the prisoners was almost the entire regiment to which Henry Latané belonged, and both he and his servant, Hallback, were captured.

As the agreement for the exchange of prisoners had been abrogated and prisoners were no longer exchanged, Henry Latané real zed that he would remain in prison until the close of the war.

Chapter 21

 

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CHAPTER XXI.
REMINISCENCES.--"THE MARCH TO THE SEA."

Death lurked behind every hillock, nay every bush, green and fair to look upon the summer day when peace charms the landscape, but treacherous and sinister as the eye of a serpent when war plants a weapon there.

From the summit of Kennesaw I viewed the glowing landscape as the foot-hills of the Blue Ridge recede away in the distance; I saw puffs of white smoke, a sign I knew full well, and then the loud report of the Parrot guns planted on yonder hill a quarter of a mile away.

Opposite us is the summit of Pine Mountain, and three Generals commanding our troops survey the scene from the outpost there. They are joined later by a cavalry brigadier transferred like myself from Virginia for the campaign in his native State. But one of those Generals can compare in splendid physique with Bruton Stewart, and that is the loved Bishop of Louisiana, Lieutenant-General Leonidas Polk. The smallest in stature is the master-mind and great commander who, though pressed back gradually, inflicted a loss of ten to one upon the enemy, and in whom the confidence of all his troops was unbounded. A signal flag is waved from yonder height, and our signal sergeant answers the signal.

"What! General Polk killed! and by that battery a quarter of a mile away!" The sergeant is up again; field glasses are again directed toward the outpost; the flag flashes in the

 

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sunlight with rapidity as the signals are exchanged, like the talking between two deaf mutes.

 

"Yes, a cannon ball passed through General Polk's chest, from left to right, killing him instantly," said Colonel Harris, Inspector-General of the army, to me."

We bore him down the mountain side, and in the rear of a store in the village he was laid, the most perfect picture of manly serenity and physical beauty I ever saw in a man of his age.

"Two hours ago," said Bruton Stewart to me, "he gave me instructions, and I was to report to him by daylight to-morrow. Truly--" Then he ceased, for why should two old soldiers, though young men who had "faced the music" a score of times and more, why should they moralize about the uncertainty of life?

Two hours later we were at the front again, and a blaze of fire ran up and down the sides and heights of Kennesaw, now direct, now "en zig-zag," now to the right, then to the left, until that human tide is repelled and cast down the mountain sides. And a thousand died there!

Both armies in line of battle, and the long, seemingly continuous stretch of canvas in the distance is the Federal wagon train. Away to the right is a cavalry skirmish; to the left the opposing batteries are hotly engaged. And yonder, trending away toward the blue horizon the ranges of mountains grow fainter and fainter as coming twilight shuts out a scene where nature has painted her fairest landscapes, and the demon of war has let loose the lurid flames that are grander than any pyrotechnic display; more terrible than any scene peace can offer; but exciting to the true soldier as is the spirit of speed to the race-horse about to enter the arena.

 

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There "Old Rock" illustrated this spirit of battle when his horse was killed from under him; and leaping off, he is seen cutting the harness away from a horse attached to a caisson, and then mounting him bareback, with hoarse, rough voice. he rallies and leads on his men--men, than whom never braver fought in defense of their native land!

I see again, from the roof of the old Military Institute building, itself on the highest hill, the lights and the red flag of the signal station on the heights of Kennesaw. The low distant rumbling of artillery comes sounding through the night air. Our boys are doing their duty there!

Again I wander in the park in the village, where beaux and belles used to congregate and laugh the merry hours away. It is filled now with cots upon which recline the maimed heroes who have fallen during the battles now raging around Marietta.

But a few days ago General Hart led our brigade with sabre waving over his head, and gallant cheers answered his beckoning challenge until we halted after a glorious victory!

Across this very park we dashed.

Ah! but the counter-picture! my young friend, William Young, but eighteen years old, and the picture of manly beauty before that charge. With the gay bravery of a Southern soldier, uninfluenced by thought of office or promotion, this wealthy young gentleman gloriously illustrated the private soldier.

I asked: "Who did you say was mortally wounded, Colonel?" And a great grief welled up in my heart as Thompson answered, "William Young."

There he lies, mortally wounded, but unconquered still, and murmuring, as I raise his head and give him a drink of water from my canteen, "It is the fate of war!"

 

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Near him is a Federal soldier, also mortally wounded, and he, too, receives the attention which "soldier metes to soldier;" and although the noblest and bravest private in our brigade is wounded unto death, no word of unkindness is spoken near that fallen foeman.

Again the shrill whistle of rifle and minnie balls come over railway embankment, and the fight is joined in full view of Institute Hill.

A moment later, and Thompson is himself borne to the rear, shot in the head.

But in battle all thoughts are merged in the one triumphant thought of victory; and a yell, followed by a dashing charge, greets again our brigade commander as he rises in his stirrups and smiles when he sees the effect of our shells and canister.

And a few days later the Commanding General reported, in alluding to Bruton Stewart's fierce, stubborn fight a few miles distant, "The right of the Federal army made a change of front by which it faced to the east. It was opposed in this maneuvre by Stewart's cavalry, as well as 2,500 men can resist 30,000."

----

 

I was standing in the depot at Atlanta. The bomb-shells from the Federal army could be seen bursting as they penetrated the walls of the great buildings near it. But, pshaw! this was a daily occurrence, and we were quite accustomed to it. But what moved me more than anything else was the sight of hundreds of soldiers who leaned on their muskets and wept! It is true, some cursed; others looked unuttered curses; many, many others wept.

Why? The great General whom all trust has been removed from the command of the army. That was all.

Thirty-six thousand Confederates, of whom six thousand

 

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were without arms, was the effective force of the Confederate army at Dalton in 1864. The odds were ten to four against them. This force was increased until it numbered 37,652 infantry, 2,812 artillery, with 112 guns, and 2,392 cavalry.

 

Opposed to them was an army of 98,797 men and 254 guns. To this force were added three divisions of cavalry numbering 11,000 men. In the rear of the Federals were 119,000 enlisted men, fit for duty, which could be drawn upon freely if re-inforcements should be needed.

Why speak of "the continuous battle from June 10th to July 2nd?"

Why speak of the incessant artillery fire for twenty-six days around Kennesaw mountain?

Why speak of the exploit, greater than any which the ancient Fabius ever executed, of conducting this army of 43,000 men one hundred miles, fighting almost daily forces nearly three times as numerous and infinitely better equipped, without the loss of a single wagon?

Over 10,000 Federal dead are buried near the base of that mountain, silent witnesses to heroic valor.

General Johnston had been removed. That is but the loss of the services of one commander. But it was infinitely more depressing than all the toiling marches, the lack of shoes and comforts, the lack of ammunition and arms, the series of daily battles and continuous retreat.

The one thing the army did not lack was confidence in the wisdom and ultimate success of their general.

"Of what avail the long siege," men asked one another. "If he is removed, who can lead us to victory?"

But they did not murmur, and they fought as men only fight who battle in defence of their homes.

It was the energy of heroism incarnated.

----

 

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And this "Gate City" stands on "holy ground." Within it during that siege rare scenes were daily enacted.

Here and there a straggling Confederate might be seen silently viewing the wanton destruction with feelings "too deep for utterance." Now a cavalryman, with his blanket, carbine and high-topped cavalry boots, would turn and watch the bursting shells as a "hole" is made in the wall of some prominent building, and then, sticking spurs to his horse's flanks, give a "rebel yell" and dash on to the front.

Upon the outer streets no vehicles are to be seen save those unmistakable signs of war: ambulances, with the sick, wounded or dead, and gun-carriages, whose sombre mien is enlivened by the laughing voices of light-hearted artillery-men.

They were dressed in dingy jeans, but, for all that, were as invincible as if clad in armor. Grand old uniform! what if it was dingy and rough. "A man's a man for a' that," and these be men indeed.

There stand the long lines of infantry in the intrenchments that enveloped the Gate City which cannot be taken.

We feel it in our bones; indeed, we know that this town cannot be taken by assault by a force ten times as numerous as ours. They stretch all around Atlanta with similar interior lines, and, amid the constant firing, the men joke and laugh with the utmost bonhomie.

The 22nd of July! I will not recall that gallant Confederate victory save to describe two scenes that will be indelibly impressed upon the retina until life shall end. One as the moving army is making the circuit around Decatur. I see that wonderful and indefatigable leader, Pat. Cleburne. He rises in his stirrups and orders the column to "close up!" as

----

 

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we neared the scene of battle. No one who saw him can forget his splendid appearance that day, rough but glorious child of war! As Cleburne's division entered the field, their General close behind the centre, the ranks parted and the heroic leader now rode in front of the centre and cried: "Forward! charge! follow me!" And resistless as an avalanche was the onset, as he repelled the enemy and drove them from the entrenchments, though they were ten lines deep. They were struck by the flower of the Army of Tennessee, led by Cleburne, just as General Walker, the chivalric son of Georgia, with flashing eyes and splendid mien, leads his column by our corps, and we give him a yell which reverberates above the battle roar.

 

A few hours later General Walker was killed, but he will ever live in the minds of those who saw him that fatal day.

The other scene was enacted by a mere boy, a youthful aide-de-camp to our general of division. We had captured the batteries opposed to our immediate command and a large number of prisoners, when, in the very midst of our triumph, we were ordered to fall back. Why we were so ordered we never could learn. The enemy, seeing this, and realizing the great disparity in force, advanced on three sides at once. Before we knew it we were nearly surrounded, and demoralization was apparent in our ranks. It seemed that our whole brigade would be captured, and the Texans to our left also. The color-bearer of the division, borne back by the common impulse as the lines swayed back and forth, sought safety behind a large oak tree. It was then that this young aide-de-camp dashed up with the news that re-inforcements were at hand.

But the color-bearer of that magnificent division, for the first time in his life perhaps, seemed dazed, bewildered, unable

 

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to grasp the meaning of the order of this boy to go forward. Bomb-shells were bursting overhead, or ploughing the ground, or scattering the missiles of death in the air. Minnie balls were thick as hail, it seemed, and countless forms, the gray and the blue, lying close together, dotted the road and field.

 

"Go forward with that flag!" shouted the dauntless youth.

"I can't. See! our line is far to the rear," replied the color-bearer.

"Forward! I say. Re-inforcements are at hand. We must rally these troops!"

The soldier hesitated.

I held my breath as I saw the aide-de camp pull his pistol from the holsters, cock it and present it to the soldier's head. There were hundreds lying there, dead or dying, or grievously wounded, but they were shot in battle by the enemy, and one does not stop to think of the man who has fallen just as his elbow touches one's own, so wonderful is the hold of the battle-spirit in the midst of the carnage. And all these fallen men moved me not. But this scene, when a mere youth--his eyes and every feature the very incarnation of battle--was about to send a bullet crashing through the brain of a brave Confederate soldier--for none but the brave are made division color-bearers--paralyzed me for the moment.

I held my breath and waited.

Then came the voice of the color-bearer: "If you are so damned brave, take the flag and rally them yourself!"

I felt that no other appeal could have saved his life, but that one did.

With a smile of disdain he replaced his pistol, and amid

 

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that hail of canister, calmly said: "I will do it; give it to me!"

 

And gloriously did he do it! He did not look back to see whether one man followed him, but he moved forward, holding that grand old tattered standard erect amid the storm. Too young or too feeble, for he already seemed physically exhausted, to hold it with one arm, he dropped the reins, and guiding his mare by his knees and feet, held the flag forward with both hands and gallantly moved direct upon the enemy's works.

Horse and rider seemed animated by a common impulse, and that was to get there! And now a yell that was begun on the right of the line reached the centre, and, like wave on wave of sound, passed along the line to the farthest man on the left, as they turned as if on dress-parade, and rushed forward to rally around that standard!

The tremendous odds against them were forgotten as they saw that dauntless boy move steadily forward. They faced the front and fought with desperate valor, as the entrenchments were taken and lost again and again. To the right and to the left they turned, and stood at bay, and repelled the enemy. And just as the field is won, the horse and rider, still holding the division standard and still in advance of all, go down, as a grape-shot tears its way through the flank of the noble animal which has borne him so well. But the flag does not touch the ground, for, amid all that dreadful carnage, the color-bearer has walked behind that horse, eager to regain what he had given up, and fearless of danger. That flag had seemed to him country, home, wife, children--but now another bore it, and the veteran of fifty battles followed it aimlessly. As the gallant youth fell, still holding it with both hands, the color bearer reached for it, and said: "Give

 

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it to me now. I can carry it!" Leaping from the dust, and wiping away that which obscured his vision, the aide-de-camp looked to see who this could be who would rob him of this proud privilege. As he saw and recognized the color-bearer, and remembered how nearly he had acted as his executioner, he said: "I yield it to you, but to no one else will I surrender it," and gallantly did that soldier retrieve himself.

 

And now the young hero was a boy again, for tears came into his eyes as he saw before him the expiring agonies of the noble steed which had borne him all through the Kentucky campaign, and thence through Tennessee and Georgia. If ever eyes bade mortal farewell forever, the eyes of that faithful animal spoke its speechless grief at parting from its young master.

----

The Russians burned Moscow rather than have it fall into the hands of the invading army of Napoleon, but what would have been the verdict of history had Moscow, after being surrendered to the invader, been utterly destroyed?

A venerable matron proceeded to the headquarters of the Federal army to expostulate with the modern Attila, for already flames were devouring the city. Becoming indignant at this wanton destruction, she exclaimed: "Sir, this is vandalism!"

But he had written: "I purpose to make the inhabitants of the South feel that war and individual ruin are synonymous terms, and, even as she spoke, he handed to the orderly the following order:

" Captain Hoe:

You can commence the work of destruction at once, but don't use fire until the last moment."

Many sick and wounded had been nursed in that handsome

 

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old residence which overlooked the city before it had been evacuated; now it was tenanted by four ladies only, who remained in spite of the order of the Federal General, and of the protests of their friends. The flames enveloped the entire city, and they viewed the sad but striking scene, but refused to leave their home. They confided the family plate to a faithful servant, an "oppressed slave," who, after the enemy left, restored every piece of it. The fearless deportment of these ladies, as they refused admittance to the soldiers seeking booty, was strikingly illustrated; many had attempted to enter, but a courteous remonstrance had turned them aside. Finally a platoon of cavalrymen rode up to the house and the officer in command asked:

 

"Why has this house not been burned?

"Because we do not choose that it shall be burned," said a young lady standing at the door-way."

"Has it been searched?"

"No, sir; and it shall not be searched," was her fearless reply.

"Sergeant, enter that house and search it from garret to cellar!" ordered the officer.

The young lady was exquisitely dressed, having put on her best garments that day; "for," she reasoned, "a woman has most influence when she is looking her best." She stood in the door-way and said to the sergeant as he ascended the steps: "Sir, you cannot enter!"

He laughed in derision and raised his hand as if to put her aside. In an instant, calculating correctly the exact moment when one foot was lifted and his balance was least sure, she placed both hands upon his breast, and throwing her whole weight against him, she pushed him backward and he fell head-long to the ground.

 

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Loud laughter from his comrades greeted his curses, which he muttered with an Irish brogue as he arose, and the officer ordered him to desist and remount his horse.

Then lifting his hat in token of admiration for the heroic girl, the officer led the platoon away.

When all danger was over, she, woman-like, fainted.

Time and again those fearless ladies, during the eventful days of the burning of the city, followed the soldiers around that house and scattered the burning fagots as fast as they were applied to the dwelling.

These Irish-Yankees had good hearts, and, but for the unscrupulous nature of the license given them to rob at will, would have spared rather than burn, as they did in this instance. While nearly all others were destroyed, that house was spared. Courage was the only weapon possessed by these heroic women, but that had thus far securely protected them.

Thus wrote Henry Latané in his journal, which he kept during the war. He had been especially favored, and had been exchanged by special request of Colonel Barnum, who happened to learn of his capture many months after he had been a prisoner.

Thus the triumphal "march to the sea!"

Was it vindictive malice? No; it was war! And to the mind of that general, "War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it."

But was it thus to the minds of Washington, or of Grant, or of that greatest of all American commanders, General Robert E. Lee?

Would either of them have us d the following language in his official report concerning this "March to the sea?"

 

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"We have consumed the corn and fodder in this region of country, thirty miles on either side of a line from Atlanta to Savannah, as also the sweet potatoes, cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry; and have carried away more than ten thousand horses and mules, as well as a countless number of their slaves. I estimate the damage done to the State of Georgia, and its military resources, at one hundred millions of dollars. At least twenty millions of which sum has inured to our advantage, and the remainder is simple waste and destruction."

Chapter 22

 

  page   249    
CHAPTER XXII.
THE MARCH TO THE SEA." La citta delle fiore, e la Fiora delle Citte.
"

"Clara, the view from this point recalls the city of Florence; don't you think so? Imagine that yonder picturesque hills are the heights of Fiesole, and that the Etowah river is the Arno, and the resemblance is striking."

"Indeed it is, father; it would be more so if we could see, below the foliage of yonder trees, the lovely flower-gardens that abound in our spacious homes. One remembers the expression which the Italians in Firenze use in describing it: 'The city of flowers, and the flower of cities,' ' La citta delle fiore, e la Fiora delle Citte,'" she added, giving the expression in Italian.

"That describes Etowah, at least; I don't know anything about Florence," said Julia Dearing, stroking the mane of her spirited mare to keep her standing while they reviewed the lovely landscape.

The sun-set glow was on the burnished spires of the many churches, and irradiated the skies with its golden tints.

The large, square mansions in the city, with rounded columns extending from floor to roof, were half hidden by the century-oaks; the huge mills along the river-side were all busy; a train of cars was crossing the river, and a steamer was ploughing the waters down stream. It was indeed a perfect April day, and, except where the waters rushed aflood just below them, the scene was calm, peaceful, serene.

 

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But now and then an anxious look shadowed Colonel Leslie's face, for he did not wish to check the bright gayety and happiness of the two girls by expressing the forebodings which weighed upon him like a night-mare. Yonder was Judge Dearing's home--the very house where four years before he had expressed such confidence of the success of Home Rule as championed by the Confederate States of the South.

The legions of thought crowd the brain on an occasion like this, when all the past seems photographed upon the retina.

They had received no news from "the front"--alas! where now was the front?--in ten days.

The people of that little city were determined to fight to the last, though "the people" were composed of old men like Colonel Leslie and the young lad, Charles Latané aged fourteen, who rode at his side.

General Lee had surrendered his army at Appomattox ten days before, but they knew nothing of it. The telegraph wires had been destroyed by the enemy, and the last orders received by the commander of the little garrison were to "hold the town as long as possible."

Just as Julia Dearing spoke, a solitary horseman appeared in an angle of the road to the right of them. Though ascending the hill he was riding at a gallop.

His face was darkened by frowns, his lips were closely compressed and his eyes seemed a gloomy menace. As he passed the group, however, his face blanched as if with fear or surprise, or both, as he bowed and slackened his pace. He was hardly out of sight when two other figures passed by at a brisk trot. They seemed following upon the trail of the other rider, and their countenances were as ill-looking as the faces of brigands might be.

 

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They passed on without saluting our friends, but a cynical smile, as if breathing an unspoken menace, might have been noted on the face of the younger of the two men.

"I wonder where Mr. Potts is going," said Clara; "he usually rides very slowly, but now he rides like a hurdle-racer."

"I would rather know where George Washburn is going," said Colonel Leslie; "the association of those three men at this juncture of affairs seems remarkable. I have never seen them together before, though each of them is known to be lukewarm, if not hostile, to our cause."

"I've seen them together often," said young Charles Latané. "They have been out to the creek near our school-house often; they pretend to be fishing, but they never carry back any fish. They don't speak to each other in town, but they are 'mighty' sociable when they meet each other there. Mr. Potts reads letters to them; I saw him do it yesterday."

Colonel Leslie's face was unusually grave as he turned his horse toward the road, and said, with assumed cheerfulness, "Come, girls, it is getting late; now for a canter to the bridge." Their horses distanced his, and he saw with a shudder Clara challenge her cousin to make a dètour that they might jump a ditch so wide that it seemed a perilous feat indeed. He reined in his horse, for it was too late to stop them, and saw the horses rise, leap and safely alight on the other side. He did not reprove Clara--he never did in the presence of another--but she, accustomed to observe his every humor, saw it all in his face, and, riding back, crossed the little bridge that spanned the brook and rejoined her father, while Julia, with the mettlesome boy at her side, sped on like the wind in advance.

The golden sunset illumined a peaceful scene as they ntered the town, and contentment and prosperity seemed

 

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to abide there if anywhere on earth. But the absence of young men was painfully apparent, for not a home was there that did not have a representative at "the front."

 

It was known that the Federal army of sixty-six thousand disciplined troops, after all the sick and disabled had been sent northward, were marching, unopposed, toward the sea, but it was hoped that the remnants of the Confederate army, in South Carolina, would yet confront and overwhelm them; and it was not imagined that this little city, situated so far in the interior, would be attacked, and yet that was the meaning of the rapid riding of the three men, led by Wellington Napoleon Potts.

The next day, from the hill where our friends had stood and viewed the peaceful scene, a cannon-ball passed over the town, which was summoned to surrender.

Like all Southern cities in those days, earth-works were already prepared, and into them hurried the little garrison of two hundred troops and six hundred civilians, or "Home Guards." In the ranks was Colonel Leslie, seventy-two years old, and in the cavalry troop was Charles Latané, aged fourteen. The hospital furnished its contingent of. sick and wounded soldiers, the whole number defending the town being eight hundred.

On the other side were twenty thousand cavalrymen, with light batteries in support, all splendidly equipped.

And yet the battle raged all day and far into the night, until a brigade, guided by Potts, Hefflin and Washburn, crossed the river upon a bridge several miles above, and entering the town from the north, attacked the patriots from the rear. The streets and squares of the town were filled with pursuing and pursued cavalrymen, and the ground was contested, street by street, until the mounted men reached

 

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the country. The remainder were captured, and the streets were littered with the wounded and the dead. The next day the carnival of the flames began, and among the Federal soldiery could be seen the crafty Potts and his confederates, Washburn and Hefflin, the latter now wearing the Federal uniform. To them this scene of death and destruction seemed an occasion for revel, and ribald jests were uttered by them as the motley group of "Home Guards" passed by as prisoners. But one of the vast cotton mills, which were the pride of the town and the support of thousands, was spared, all the rest being burned as fast as the torch could be applied. But neither the mill of the Messrs. Potts nor any house in Pottsville, all owned by them, were burned, and this was their reward for treachery. Meanwhile, the war had ended ten days before at Appomattox!

 

Across the State a belt of fire sixty miles wide marked the almost unopposed "march to the sea;" and, as the capital city had been destroyed, so was this little city doomed to destruction.

What a change had forty-eight hours made! The peaceful, smiling town was in ashes; and of the laughing group who had so pleasantly compared it to the most beautiful city in Italy, the youngest, the brave, gallant boy of fourteen had been slain in the battle.

Ah! well might a thought of Italy arise, for in his death were illustrated the words of the national hymn of Italy: " Chi per la patria muore vesuto lo assai." ("He who has died for his country has lived long enough.")

Chapter 23

 

  page   254    
CHAPTER XXIII.
THE MARCH TO THE SEA--THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD.

Wellington Napoleon Potts now had it in his power to greatly befriend the people of his native town, but he seemed to gloat over their misfortunes. He desired to emulate Benedict Arnold, who was rewarded with a Major-General's commission in the British army for his treachery to the government which had honored him with high command.

The town was now garrisoned, and thousands of Federal soldiers were quartered there. The promise of the President of the United States to recommend that large rewards should be paid for "loyalty to the Union" caused Potts to make this "loyalty" as conspicuous as possible. He did not visit Clara Leslie nor Julia Dearing to tender them sympathy or assistance, nor did he recognize them in any way.

"Every dog has his day," he reasoned, "and this day is mine." This day had in him its dog. But, amid all the excitement and demoralization attendant upon the capture of the place, Clara and Julia preserved a calm, dignified demeanor and proved themselves heroines. Julia was full of suppressed excitement, but her attentions to her aged father were redoubled, for his feeble health was ill-prepared for such a shock.

Colonel Leslie was calm, self-possessed, almost placed in his demeanor, although his losses of two thousand bales of cotton, which were burned by the enemy, amounted to a half million dollars in gold. Two hundred thousand bales on

 

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cotton were burned, together with all the mills and factories and public buildings, except the property belonging to Potts and his few associates in infamy. Private residences caught the blaze and burned like tinder. Not a murmur escaped his lips as Colonel Leslie, placing his arm around his daughter, kissed her tenderly and uttered words of encouragement.

 

"Be not uneasy about me, my father," said Clara; "I do not forget that I am your daughter."

----

It is four days later, and the party of young men who escaped the city, it seemed by a miracle, slowly reëntered it. Smoke still hovered over the little city and the ashes of the great conflagration were not yet cold.

As they passed Judge Dearing's residence, pall-bearers were preparing to remove a corpse to the hearse, and among them was the venerable Colonel Hugh Leslie.

"Who is it?" they asked.

The lamentations of the negroes were loud and protracted, as the dead man was much beloved by them, for his decrees against brutal treatment of slaves had made him famous while he was a circuit judge. One of the negroes informed them that the body was that of Judge Dearing himself, and that he had been murdered by a drunken Federal soldier. A squad of soldiers, bent upon plunder, had entered his residence and demanded food. The tea-table was surrendered to them and they were served plentifully. After tea they demanded gold and silver. They were informed that he had none, except the family plate, whereupon they abused and insulted him. He bore their taunts and insults with dignified silence.

Finally one of them approached Julia and attempted to place his arm around her waist. She repelled him indignantly,

 

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when another came to the assistance of her assailant. The old negress, who had been her nurse in childhood, stood at the door, ax in hand, and when she saw their purpose, she said:

 

"Here, marster, kill 'em!"

The old jurist seemed suddenly endowed with the strength of youth, for, dashing aside two soldiers who endeavored to intercept him, he sent the ax crushing through the skull of the one with whom Julia was struggling, and had raised it to strike the other dead also, when he was instantly shot to death by two of their companions.

"War is cruelty and you cannot refine it," said the commanding general. But cruelty can be the refinement of torture, and this was the refinement of cruelty. To the credit of humanity, be it said, such acts were rare, even in those days when the women of the land were at the mercy of the enemy, and their former slaves were their only protectors. Sad as this murder was, what other war was ever accompanied by as few atrocities of this nature as was the war between the States? "Render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's!"

Just as Judge Dearing was slain, the timely arrival of a Federal colonel arrested the infuriated soldiers and prevented further outrage. Two of the drunken soldiers again advanced with evil intent. The officer struck one with his sword and leveled his revolver at the other. The ominous click of the pistol and his determined look meant death, and they sullenly obeyed him. Not so the two who had murdered her father; they appeared at the door, and, aiming their guns at him, cried to their comrades:

"Get out of the way there! We'll fix him, too!"

Just then a squad of soldiers entered and arrested the men, striking up the gun-barrels just in time, for the balls pierced

 

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the ceiling. They were instantly overpowered, and a sergeant said:

 

"Colonel, give the word and we'll kill the cowardly scoundrels on the spot."

"No; arrest them and carry them to their regiment; they shall be tried by court-martial."

Julia did not wait to thank her deliverer, but ran immediately to assist her father, who was dead ere she reached him, one shot having struck his heart. She fell upon the corpse and kissed the face of the dead time and again, but grief allowed neither tears nor words to the unprotected orphan.

"Endeavor to be quiet, Miss Dearing; I appreciate your sacred grief too much to intrude, but had I reached the house sooner this would not have happened. Miss Clara Leslie is well, and at Thronateeska; can I not have your loved father borne there?"

"Oh, no! no! no!" sobbed Julia. "Only take away your soldiers, and leave me with my father!" and she threw herself upon his corpse.

The colonel said to the old negress, who had tried to assist her master:

"Here, "auntie," is my card; if anything is needed let me know; I shall do all in my power to serve Miss Dearing. I shall return to-morrow; Sergeant Cook will remain in the house to protect you from violence or annoyance, and to make known Miss Dearing's wishes to me. Call upon me as if I were a friend or relative of Miss Dearing's, for nothing that I can do will be left undone. I will be at Colonel Leslie's home."

Colonel Barnum--for it was none other--had reached Colonel Leslie's in time to prevent trouble there, and at Clara's

----

 

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request had hurried into the city in order to place a guard at the residences designated by her.

 

So busy had Colonel Barnum been in seeking to protect this people, composed now of women and boys and very aged men, that he was not permitted to see his friends again. He left with his regiment, which accompanied the army. A regiment of negro troops now garrisoned the city.

At Chestatee a guard had been placed, even before Colonel Barnum's arrival, by some one in authority, who rode up in the dark, and called Martha to the gate. He requested her not to ask who he was, but stated that he was a friend of the family, and that they might rest assured that no one in that household would be harmed. The guard consisted of two> negro soldiers, who were very respectful in their manner to all the inmates, both white and black. The officer wore the Federal uniform, and Martha heard the soldiers address him as "Captain." She could not see whether he was a white man or not, as he rode off quickly after giving her this ssurance. Mrs. Leslie was too full of grief at the death of her youngest son to notice anything save little Minnie, who exerted herself to comfort her mother.

During all the succeeding days of trial for the people of Etowah not an exciting episode occurred at her home. The guard was regularly changed, and they scrupulously obeyed the order not to talk to any one on the plantation. Neither would they give the name of the captain under whose orders they seemed to act.

It was only after the troops had all left Etowah that the following letter to Mrs. Latané explained the care with which her interests were protected.

 

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"

 

 

Etowah, April 26, 1865.

" My Dear Mistress--I am greatly grieved to hear of young Master Charles' death. I hope and pray that Master Henry will be restored to you safe and well. I have not heard from him since he was captured. I tried to aid him then, but we were both captured. I am now a captain of a cavalry company composed of men of my own race, but I have the same attachment to you and your family that I always had. You can always rely on my doing all in my power to aid the kindest, best mistress a slave ever had.

I am coming to see all my friends after awhile. I have placed soldiers to guard you during this terrible trial, and am sorry I can do no more.


Your faithful servant,
Hallback."
 

"

A few days after this occurred, Henry Latané, with other officers, reached home. They had walked all the way from Virginia. As the travel-stained and dusty young officer, wearing his uniform and side-arms, entered the hall the servants shouted with joy. He had never looked handsomer. Little Minnie rushed to his arms, and his mother, dressed in deep mourning, tenderly embraced her son. "Where is Charlie, mother?" She could not reply, but his little sister said in grief-stricken tones: "Brother Charles was killed!" The returned soldier leaned on his sword and wept.

This last fight of the war between the States would have been chronicled as one of momentous interest had it happened a century ago. But, by the side of the colossal shocks of arms that attended the great battles of the period, it seemed of no consequence, and it has not even been noted by the historians; and yet all that the noblest self-sacrifice and the most heroic courage could do had been done, and every phase of human nature had been thrillingly enacted. It meant resistance to the bitter end in defense of their homes.

 

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Such heroic men might have been deceived or misled, and it may be best that the cause for which they fought should have failed, but in their natures was nothing which deserves the epithets "rebel" or "traitor."

 

They were patriots of the loftiest stamp. But in the eyes of the conquerors there were but few "patriots" there, and the most conspicuous among them were Potts, Hefflin and Washburn. God save the mark!

A month before, another gallant hero had greeted the warrior's death. And he, too, the day before his death, when full of hope and courage, had written to Julia Dearing that all would yet end well, and had intimated that he hoped for a bright reward for his constancy when the war should end.

Throughout the State, and, indeed, throughout the South, may be seen upon the walls of the homes of the highest and the lowest a picture representing the "Burial of Blount."

A small group of ladies, a little girl, several female negro servants and an aged negro man who dug the grave, were the sole witnesses to this burial of one of the most promising young officers in the army. He had fallen almost at the gate of the old plantation homestead which these ladies had refused to leave. The battle had raged around the old mansion and more than one bomb-shell had passed through it, but these gentlewomen, with the few servants described, remained there during the storm of deadly missiles; and as they saw this young officer rallying the troops, with the standard in his hand until he fell, and his comrades eagerly pressing on, they begged that they might be permitted to pay the last sad rites. His name, rank and regiment were given them, and they left him to their care.

Ah! what a pathetic scene was that when the eldest of

 

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these ladies read the Episcopal burial service as the corpse was lowered into the ground! The tears of those faithful slaves were genuine, for, though they knew him not, the tender chord of sympathy is as keenly touched by suffering in the breasts of negro slaves as in the whitest that ever breathed.

 

And who were these ladies who illustrated at once heroic fearlessness and the most feminine sympathy and the most exalted Christian charity?

Far back in the records of the "Old Dominion" the name which they bore is inscribed among the first families of the land. In the Revolutionary war it was favorably known, and a brigadier-general in the Confederate army in Virginia had recently illustrated it by yielding up his life in defence of his country.

This act of genuine charity to the unknown dead, perpetuated by this engraving, will ever be a pleasing thought to all who bear the honored name.

And to this day his grave may be seen there in the lawn of the old home. But the flames that marked the path way of the "March to the Sea," that blasted with needless desolation a belt sixty miles wide across two States, left naught but chimneys to mark the site of the home itself. On the tomb of Major George Blount one may read the words of a gallant Confederate poet: "

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo!
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few;
On fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.
 
"

 

 

  page 262  

The war was ended.

The negro was a freedman. Slavery was extinct.

1. There had been enrolled in the Federal armies two millions and six hundred thousand men. There had been enrolled in the Confederate armies six hundred thousand men.

The Federal prisoners held by the Confederate authorities numbered two hundred and seventy thousand men.

The Confederate prisoners held by the Federal authorities numbered two hundred and twenty thousand men.

The Federal prisoners who died in Confederate prisons numbered twenty-two thousand and five hundred and seventy-six men.

The Confederate prisoners who died in Federal prisons numbered twenty-six thousand and four hundred and thirty-six men. Yet the whole world has been regaled with the atrocities at Andersonville!

Yet it was in the power of the Federal Government at any time to set all their prisoners free by an exchange of prisoners, and it was they who refused to make such an exchange, and abrogated the cartel agreed upon to that end.

And on the high seas nearly 500,000 tons of American shipping was transferred to the British flag to prevent capture by Confederate cruisers.

The magnitude of Confederate captures on the high seas is proved by the figures of results presented at the Geneva Congress, where bills for $26,408,170.31 were audited and presented for payment to Great Britain, as the total value of damage done by Confederate cruisers.

No statement can offset this exhibit, and no exhibit can better fix in history the record of the valor of the armies of

 

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the Confederate States and the self-sacrificing heroism of the Southern people.

 

Were such soldiers "Traitors!"

Were such people "Rebels?"

Away with the terms! These Confederate soldiers and sailors and their brave and gallant foemen were, above all, Americans, and their deeds are the common heritage of all the citizens of these Re-United States.

In time to come, as now, when the names and valorous deeds of those who died in defence of home and right are repeated. in glad acclaim will admiring hearts respond: "

Roll back, O Time, the sacred scroll
On which is told their story:
For by the light that falls to-day
We read their quenchless glory.
For no historic page proclaims
Such deeds of high endeavor
As those the South enshrines within
Her heart of hearts forever.
 
Awake! fond memories of the past,
E'en though ye bring us weeping:
Unroll, O Time! the precious scroll
We gave into your keeping.
Flash all the golden letters out
That tell their glorious story;
Proclaim from every mountain peak
'Dead on the field of glory.'
 
"

 


Notes

  • 1These figures are official, and are from the records in the United States War Department.

Chapter 24

 

  page   264    
CHAPTER XXIV.
L'ARCOBALENO.

A year had passed since the tragic death of Judge Dearing. The sale of the residence and payment of all claims against his estate left Julia only one thousand dollars. Her proud spirit suffered keenly when she thought of her dependence upon her uncle for support. She determined to leave this hospitable home which was hers for life if she would have it. She would leave it before the thousand dollars was exhausted. She had been in the habit of spending three times that sum annually, and it looked very small indeed to her. Her extravagance was not for personal display so much as unbounded charity. She had saved out of her annual allowance one thousand a year until she had accumulated enough to build an Episcopal Chapel for the factory operatives at her own expense. This beautiful Chapel had been finished two years before, and the good people loved the handsome girl as if she was a princess and they her subjects. Often in the rain she could be seen mounted upon her spirited mare, carrying medicines to some invalid whose poverty prevented her from applying to a doctor or an apothecary. No exposure seemed to hurt her vigorous constitution, and she never tired of these attentions to the poor. Meanwhile there was an utter absence of ostentation or the appearance of conferring an obligation upon the recipients of her lavish charity.

Judge Dearing had never denied his daughter anything. Since her father's death, these charities had been discontinued,

 

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except as to medicines and kindly attentions. She walked now, for she did not feel able to afford a horse, and she refused to accept the use of Clara's. Now, too, she was repaid, for the poor do not forget a kindness.

 

"Thank you, Miss Julia; God bless your tender heart! and he will do it, child," said Mrs. Higgins, as Julia, after giving her the medicine needed, smoothed her pillow for her and placed her own fine cambric handkerchief, which she moistened in water, upon the invalid's feverish forehead.

"I hope so, Mrs. Higgins; though I hardly think a proud, rebellious nature like mine will be acceptable to God."

"You ain't proud a bit, child; you are jist a born nat'ral lady, and you orter hold yourself high-like. There were grand folks even in the days when the Bible was written, and you can't no more be like us poor, ignorant folks than a fish kin walk!"

"Good-bye, Mrs. Higgins; you flatter me so I must leave you. I see the clouds are thickening up, too, and I must hurry home." How desolate she felt as she said "hurry home." She realized that she had no home; for when the heartless hand of the creditor closes the old homestead to you, it seems a mockery to walk familiar halls and rooms where you dwelt in your happy childhood.

The clouds were indeed thickening, and the thunder sounded the tocsin for the gathering clans. As she left the humble home of the aged factory operative, the big drops began to fall and she walked rapidly--so rapidly that she came near running against a tall form, whose military cloak and lowered visor protected him from the storm.

"Why, Miss Julia! what are you doing out in such a storm as this?"

 

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"I've been making a few calls," she said, hurrying on. Colonel Barnum had turned to accompany her.

"Don't take the trouble to come with me, Colonel; you will get soaked."

"And what will become of you, I would like to know?" he said, taking off his cloak and putting it around her in spite of her objections. "Don't say nay, Miss Julia; I must have my way this time. You have been on one of your missions of mercy, I know, and the poor can't permit you to get sick."

"Indeed, I am grateful for your kindness, and I accept with a protest. I am not delicate, and have never been sick a day in my life," she replied.

"It is well for the poor that you have ample means. To be dependent upon the charity of friends for support is a hard lot, but to be thus dependent without having friends, friends who do not refuse to help the poor, 'on principle,' you know, is the hardest lot of humanity."

Again was this suggestion, which was burning into her soul, made to her, and made by Colonel Barnum, whose thoughtful, considerate speech and manner had become noted. "To be dependent upon the charity of friends for support is a hard lot;" that was what he said. Indeed, it was! A yoke she determined not to bear, if she could cast it off.

The rain now fell in torrents and put an end to further conversation. A sudden gust of wind caught a flap of the military cloak which Barnum had thrown around her and came near bearing it away; seizing it instantly, he placed it on her shoulders again and fastened it around her throat. He did not ask permission, this calm, determined man, but simply and sensibly proceeded to do the right thing in the

 

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right way. Ceremony in a storm is nonsense. Julia appreciated this, but said nothing. It was a new sensation--this thing of having a beau not at all afraid of her, not at all officious or presumptuous, not at all diffident. There was something in his manner, rather than his speech, which seemed to say, "I do thus because I so will; I so will because it is right."

 

They reached Thronateeska drenched to the skin in spite of all protection offered by the military cloak.

"Why, bless my heart, Julia! Ah! Colonel Barnum, walk in. Don't stop to talk; you'll catch your death in a rain like this. Come in!" said Colonel Leslie. "I wish no better cause to die in than serving this daring Samaritan," said Barnum to Colonel Leslie. Meanwhile Clara had hurried Julia to her room and made her change her dress. Her love and attentions to Julia were redoubled, now that she was dependent upon them for love and protection.

"I am exceedingly glad, Colonel Barnum, that you met Julia," said Colonel Leslie; "I would not have been surprised if she had made additional visits despite the storm, if she had not met you, and I fear she is not as strong as she was."

"She must have a very determined character," suggested Barnum. "More than any woman I ever knew," replied her uncle, "but she is always right. She is utterly unselfish and is as fearless as it is given to any human being to be; withal she is refined and modest as"--Clara--he started to say, for Clara was perfection in his eyes; but pausing an instant, he said, "as any girl I ever knew. In fact, I wish she was my daughter."

"May I ask a question which may seem inquisitive, if not

 

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impertinent: is not pride the greatest difficulty she has to contend with?"

 

"Yes; that is what I meant by saying, 'I wish she was my daughter.' She will not allow me to do anything for her which involves the least outlay of money. She always rode or drove on her charitable visits during her father's life, but she disposed of all her property, including her horses and phaeton, to settle claims against his estate. Her father was very patriotic and invested nearly all his property in Confederate bonds. He held claims against many parties for money loaned which proved to be worthless and insufficient to pay his indebtedness, incurred solely by his liberal indulgence of these parties."

"Do you mean to say that Miss Dearing is no longer an heiress?" said Barnum.

Colonel Leslie, with a look of astonishment not unmixed with displeasure, replied: "I do; I mean to say that, after all claims were settled, there remained but one thousand dollars to her credit; and I mean to say further, that she refuses even to accept the use of Clara's horse, or pony-phaeton, or carriage, except when she accompanies her, and then only to oblige her cousin. I mean to say more, that she needs no assistance, for my home shall be hers as long as she lives." The old gentleman was pacing the floor now. He did not wish to doubt Barnum as he had doubted Henry Latané, who, although all had been explained, was still a rare visitor. But he could not help asking himself, "Are Barnum's frequent attentions to Julia due to mercenary motives?" The truth is Colonel Leslie was a very proud man, and so was Henry Latané; and when two proud, haughty men have a misunderstanding, the trouble widens with time. Hence,

 

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while there was no further doubt, there was a frigid formality on Henry Latané's part which chilled the otherwise warm reception which awaited him. He had called but once, and he had selected this tempestuous evening, after the storm had cleared away and the arcobaleno spanned the sky, to repeat the visit with a view to learning whether Clara had still any lingering attachment for him. He had selected this evening, because it was not probable, he thought, that any other visitor would be calling on the young ladies after such a storm, and he felt that to procrastinate longer would be insupportable.

 

After tea, at which repast Julia was pensive and silent, a most unusual state of mind for her, the young people repaired to the parlor where Clara, in order to gratify Barnum, whom she believed to be very much interested in her cousin, seated herself at the piano, and was playing "The Blue Danube" with such verve and ease, that her execution would have delighted the ears of Johann Strauss himself, when a ring at the door was heard.

She had hardly left the piano when Henry Latané was ushered in the parlor. The two gentlemen greeted each other cordially. Under ordinary circumstances, Julia Dearing would have said to Barnum something to induce him to talk to her, that Henry Latané and Clara might have a quiet chat together. Now she hesitated, and met Henry Latané timidly.

The earnest, serious man whom she had first known as a protector, whose arm shielded her at the very moment her father was slain, and to whom she owed her life, had touched an inner chord in her nature untouched before.

"Miss Julia," said Latané, seating himself beside her, I am commissioned by my mother to say to you that she claims

 

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that month's visit which you have promised her. I need not assure you I will enjoy it as much as she will." This was said after a half hour's chat--cross-fires of little nothings yclept "small talk" between the four. Clara and Colonel Barnum were now on the veranda, and these two were left alone.

 

"You and auntie are very kind, Captain Latané, and I will never forget it; but do you know that I am almost decided to leave the State in a few days?"

"Leave the State!" said Latané with surprise. "What on earth are you thinking of leaving us for?"

"I have told you purposely," replied Julia. "Mr. Barnum and Clara seem to be having a pleasant time on the veranda, and, as I may not have an opportunity of seeing you alone again, I want to ask your advice--not about the step, that's decided, but as to the place I shall go to."

"What are your plans, if I may be permitted to ask?" said Latané.

"My plans are simply to earn my own support; the thought of being dependent upon others is becoming a burden too great to be borne. I design teaching school, or becoming a governess, or something of that kind. Women have but few means of supporting themselves in this country. In the South it is a new question, growing out of the war, and the proudest scions of the best families may as well 'face the music' at once. They will have to earn their bread sooner or later."

"God forbid?" said Latané; "God forbid that you, or any of our gentle, lovely girls should ever be forced to contend with the scoffs and taunts and sneers of the world!" Then, forgetting his love for Clara which he had received no evidence was reciprocated, and thinking only of the gulf which

 

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seemed yawning to receive this inexperienced, devoted girl, he said: "Think no more of it, Miss Julia; I will not permit it. Nothing will make mother happier than to receive you as a daughter, and, if you will make my home yours for life, I will do my utmost as your husband to make you happy."

 

Julia had not expected this. She felt confident that both Latané and Barnum loved Clara, and she knew that Clara had loved Henry Latané. True, she seemed changed now. She was reserved and even seemed to avoid him, while he had made no efforts to renew his former position as a suitor for Clara's hand. Clara felt that Henry Latané had learned to admire Julia more than herself, and hence a tacit understanding that the subject was not to be alluded to was accepted by both the girls. Henry Latané had been stung to the quick by the cold, haughty manner of Colonel Leslie, and vowed to himself never to be a suitor where he was not acceptable to parent as well as child. He loved Clara, he knew, but if she had loved him as he loved her, he thought she would have prevented this unworthy suspicion from taking such deep root.

"Any good woman will make any good man a good wife if all other things are suitable," he persuaded himself.

Now he had crossed the Rubicon and had burnt his bridges behind him. What was her answer? Looking into his face with a grateful smile, she said: "Captain Latané, your kindness overwhelms me. Do not deceive yourself; you have said this to me from generosity, not love. You love Clara--nay, don't deny it; it is better that you should. I shall never marry until I can prove that no mercenary motives could induce me to take that most sacred of vows. I must

 

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act; I can't delay longer, and, deeply as I thank you for the honor you have done me, I must decline."

 

She was weeping now, and taking her hand he kissed it and retained it.

Regaining her calmness she asked him to excuse her a moment and left the room. This left Latané in an awkward position, for Barnum and Clara were so intently engaged in important conversation that they had not noticed Julia's absence from the room. Latané pretended to be reading, or examining a copy of Gustave Dore's illustrations in the "Ancient Mariner," and thus prepared himself for Clara's surprised exclamation: "Captain Latané, where is Julia?" stepping into the room as she spoke from the veranda.

"She excused herself for a few moments," said Latané. Evidently, in his mind at least, Barnum had been engaged in a most confidential conversation, in which Clara was much interested, or she would have ascertained Julia's absence ten minutes sooner than she did.

"They can't be engaged, but at the same time it is perfectly plain he has been in love with her for years. I can't blame him either, for surely she is the loveliest person I ever saw."

Thus thought the young man, already thankful that Julia had declined his proposition, yet more than ever determined that he would not make himself miserable about Clara.

Barnum had requested Clara to give him her undivided attention until he had unburdened the sentiments which animated his breast. He had thought for a long time that Julia was the most superior person he had ever met, and the more he studied her character, the more he became charmed with her.

"Miss Clara," said he, "it may seem unprecedented that

 

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I should ask you, whom I once fancied I loved, to be my adviser in an affair where I know my happiness to be most seriously concerned. I wish to know whether it is not better that I should say nothing about it, but quietly go away, before the object of it suspects that I have aspired to win her."

 

"It is the first time I have ever been asked such a question, Colonel Barnum, but I will do anything in my power to serve Julia, and I have not been so blind as to fail to see your attachment for her."

"I have never attempted to deceive any one," he replied, "and you are the last person I should feel tempted to repose a half-confidence in. I love your cousin; have long loved her, and I had determined to bide my time and wait until some circumstance might give me reason to hope for success. But I have waited in vain; while conscious that she does not now reciprocate my love, I have learned that she is unhappy. Besides, your father informed me to-night that she was almost penniless. I wish to offer her the true devotion of a loyal heart. I have no means except my profession; I have found time to study law, though still in the army, and have been admitted to the bar in New York. So long as I supposed she was an heiress I had decided not to address her until I had demonstrated my capacity to support her by my own labor without any reference to her property. There is now no cause for further delay. I wish to ask you whether it is proper for me, a Northern officer, to seek to make a Southern girl, whose father was assassinated by a drunken Northern soldier, my wife."

"I am glad you have told me this, Colonel Barnum. Julia has changed greatly from the happy, buoyant, self-reliant

----

 

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girl she was before her great loss. I think she likes you particularly; I do not know whether you can win her love, but it is a prize worthy the efforts of an emperor. Julia Dearing would grace a palace or a cottage, and adversity will but ripen those noble traits of character which you seem to appreciate. I love her as I would my sister. She is a positive, energetic character with altogether good impulses. She has a frank, fearless way of speaking, which causes carping critics to speak harshly of her, but she is a true friend. If you would win her, let your policy be festina lente, and never speak of her father's death. That may prevent her from ever marrying a Federal soldier; but do not despair. She is worthy of your most persistent efforts, and I cannot express a kinder or more sincere feeling than when I say I think you are suited to her and worthy of her."

 

"Thank you, Miss Clara; I would not take a prince's fortune for the hope you hold forth." This was said just as they reached the parlor window, and Latané heard it. This was confirmation of his worst fears. He remembered now his conversation with Julia Dearing, in which she had related the reported engagement of Clara with Barnum after his recovery, and Julia's remark: "What a pity it will be if Clara Leslie marries a Yankee officer!"

Stranger things had happened; Hugh and Barnum had been devoted friends, and if Barnum's popularity with the citizens continued to increase as rapidly as in the past, he might stand for Congress from that district with strong prospects of success.

These thoughts had passed swiftly through his brain as he said calmly: "She excused herself for a few moments."

"How unlike Julia to treat me so!" said Clara, taking a seat near Latané.

 

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"I owe you an apology," said Julia, re-appearing just in time to hear Clara's remark, "and I'll make it now: Captain Latané and I are such old friends that I take liberties with him."

Julia then turned to reply to a remark addressed to her by Barnum, as if nothing of any moment had transpired. Clara, evincing a painful embarrassment after a few moments' silence, said to Henry: "Captain Latané, I am really glad to see you; you have not been treating us as kindly as we had hoped you would."

If she had said "I," instead of "we," Latané would have interpreted the remark as it was intended, for Clara was most anxious for a complete explanation of the past, yet her modesty would not permit her to make the first overtures.

As she did not say "I," Latané replied, "You are mistaken, I think, Miss Clara; a man who calls to see you on a night like this must surely wish to cultivate--the family."

His tone, caused by the last remark made by Barnum, which implied at least a better understanding with Clara than he had anticipated, rather than his words, seemed unkind to Clara. Indeed, Henry Latané, torn by jealousy, had spoken as he never had done before. Realizing it instantly, his naturally courteous manners returned, and he spoke most pleasantly the rest of the evening. Before taking his leave he said to her, "Miss Clara, I must ask your pardon for my rudeness; I do not know what impelled me to risk your good opinion, which I have wished to preserve for so long a time."

"It has never been forfeited, Captain Latané," she said, extending her hand to him as he stepped from the door into the veranda. Her smile as she said this, so like the smile which had first so won his heart, emboldened him to do more. Without saying one word, he clasped that warm

 

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little hand in his, then bore it to his lips and kissed it passionately. A moment after he was gone. Clara stood still, listening in an almost dreamy way until the sounds of his horse's hoofs had died away. Then, with a happier feeling than she had experienced in years, she went to her chamber to dream over again the roseate dreams of love and hope.

 

As Henry Latané rode back to Chestatee, conflicting emotions fought for the mastery in his bosom. Again he felt that his love was returned, and yet he doubted. But reflection told him that he, a man whose pride it had been to conquer himself and curb his impulses--he, a soldier, renowned for courage, and possessing gravity unusual in one so young--he, a devoted lover for four long years in spite of the injustice to which he had been subjected, had addressed two girls on the same evening and in the same house! He despised himself, and inwardly resolved, if Clara discovered it, that he would offer his sword to the Khedive of Egypt, or the Sultan of Turkey. All that he had been accused of was not as bad as this! True, he had not said anything of love to Clara, but that kiss was the whole history of love in one sentence. For the first time in his life he had been guilty of deception, and yet he was irresistibly led to it by the most honorable of impulses. His reflections as he paced his room till the great streaks of dawn were such as a thousand men have uttered before him, viz.: "A man in love is a fool!" The sun arose and its bright beams invading his room seemed like a sacrilige to his feverish brain. He could stand it no longer. Going to his desk he drew out paper and pen and wrote rapidly the following note, which he sent by a servant to Julia Dearing: "

 

Miss Julia--You were right in refusing me. I am unworthy your love or that of any noble woman. I not only

 

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learned that I loved your cousin, but gave her the most positive assurance of it. This was done, too, the very same night which had witnessed my declaration to you. You may despise me for this; I certainly despise myself, but I have never yet deceived any one, and at the risk of losing your friendship and esteem, I have stated the plain truth. Believe me, I was sincere in both instances. If you had accepted my offer this would not have happened. I ask no secrecy. Punish me as I deserve.

 


Respectfully yours,
Henry Latané.

 

The messenger quickly returned with the following reply: "

 

Captain Latané--No schemer or deceiver would have acted as you have done. You have acted naturally and honorably. I am the only person who has a right to have an opinion about it, and I like you better for it. It was your generosity which prompted you to offer me a home; I have thought for years that you and Clara loved each other. Never despair, but trust to time, and all will come right. Your letter is destroyed, and your confidence shall be kept a secret. Destroy this also, and keep the matter I alluded to a secret also.


Hurriedly and sincerely your friend,
Julia Dearing.

 

When Henry Latané called to see Clara Leslie the next week, the servant informed him that she was out riding with Colonel Barnum. When he called the week after, Clara was out taking a walk with Colonel Barnum. Surely Julia Dearing had been mistaken in thinking there was no serious understanding between Clara and Barnum.

"And what right have I," he asked himself, "to infer that she reciprocated my attachment? Clearly none."

A fatality seemed to have separated these two, and had Latané been imbued with any fatalistic notions he would have abandoned the effort as a hopeless task. He was not a fatalist and he did not abandon it.

 

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What a change comes over our very natures as years roll round and circumstances weave their web around the heart, and time traces its index lines upon the features. The young have grown matured, the old are dead, the blossoms scattered by the wind, the flowers nipped by the frost of misfortune; then as the snows of winter melt, and the green grass springs forth beneath the spring sunshine, so the chastened spirit, summoning anew its courage, lives a new life which blossoms and flowers again. Clara, naturally joyous as a sunbeam upon the rippling waves of a placid sea, was now calm and gently winning in her manners; womanly, rather than girlish, and inspiring universal esteem. Julia, naturally gay and careless, but proud even to haughtiness sometimes, and seemingly incapable of deep feeling, was now thoughtful and dignified, careful of speech, and gentler and more patient than she had ever been. Misfortune had tempered her character like the steel of the Damascus blade and purified it like refined gold.

Chapter 25

 

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CHAPTER XXV.
AT CHESTATEE.

Down the magnificent avenue of live oaks, whose boughs meet over the broad road like an arch fashioned for the triumphal entrance of some magnificent pageant, rode a dozen gentlemen and ladies, and one of the ladies wore the "brush," for the fox had been caught on the outskirts of the estate, five miles distant.

The trees seemed certainly a century old, requiring three men with outstretched arms to girdle them. At the end of the avenue, and in the center of a square of splendid old trees, stood the mansion. Its style is indescribable, being built partly of stone and partly of wood, both of which show plainly the ravages of half a century. The main body of the house is a large, square house of ten rooms with curious little wings added to each corner. A kind of mansard roof, ventilated by two dormer windows, covers the main body of the house. The interior of the mansion was grand for the time and place, with its double parlors and heavily paneled and moulded doors and casement. A winding stairway leads up to the third story from the hall. The hall, which is very wide, is also of paneled wood, and this is relieved by a border of deeper shade and very graceful design. The third or upper story, with its low-roofed rooms and secret closets or cabinets, must be seen to be appreciated.

Azalias abounded, and when blooming could thrust their bright faces into the very doors.

In front of the mansion, and on every hand, magnolia

 

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trees grew with tropical luxuriance, and from the live oaks hung festoons of gray moss reaching nearly to the ground. Marigolds and touch-me-nots grew in profusion there, and flowers perfumed the balmy air.

 

To see it as it was at that time, just one year after the surrender of the Confederate armies, one would not think it so ancient in spite of the manifest ravages of time, for its thick walls were perfectly preserved and it seemed fitted to stand for centuries to come. The term "ancient" must be understood in the American sense, for it is rare to see a residence in the States still habitable and occupied by the same family after the expiration of a century. That veneration for antiquity which distinguishes the countries and peoples of the old world and maintains the spirit of caste is almost unknown to us, but it is as admirable and necessary there as it is out of place and needless in the new world.

In America, nature is the guide and "necessity the mother of invention." It was the poorer, albeit the bolder and stronger, of the aristocratic element which found its way to the Virginias, the Carolinas and the Georgia of colonial days. Their methods were crude, their appliances rude, their skill imperfect, but by tradition, lineage and good breeding they transplanted in the wilderness of the new world, which opened before them limitless liberty, the thoughts, principles and purposes which had made them distinguished in the old world and has perpetuated that distinction in the new. Neither poverty, temptation nor adversity can keep them down, and every Southern State and every community where they can be found demonstrate how they have attained and maintained leadership. The annals of war in every battle demonstrated it, and it was rare to find one of the scions of an old colonial family in a boom-proof place during the war.

 

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The close of the war demonstrated it, for honesty goes hand in hand with valor in the character of the cavalier, and to a man almost they were suddenly reduced from affluence to comparative poverty. They scorned to trade on patriotism as they scorned the bribes of the conqueror. Few in numbers in any community, they moulded public opinion, and by this public opinion kept in subjection the ignorant rabble and the recently emancipated slaves, with every town garrisoned--often by negro troops under fanatical officers anxious to enforce social equality between the races--they notified their nominal rulers that so far they might go, but no farther without bloodshed! To the few political apostates who, for the love of money, or thirst for power, or fear of punishment, basely joined hands with the enemy in seeking to fasten oppressive legislation upon the people, they opposed a powerful weapon-- social ostracism. They scorned to light the signal fires of treachery on the hill-tops. Meanwhile, to the soldiers of the Federal army who had fought in the war against them, they tendered the courtesy due from one brave soldier to another. As free from cant as from hypocritical pretense of repentance as "rebels," they declared that they had done no wrong, and had no apologies to offer. Having thus surrendered, they meant to abide by the terms agreed upon like men, and to devote their energies to re-building their wasted fortunes. They had agreed to abandon forever the struggle for Confederate independence, although they had sacrificed the flower of their youth and their private fortunes to attain that independence. They had not agreed to humble themselves by distorting the noblest patriotism into wrong-doing, and their self-respect would tolerate no personal humiliation. That personal sense of honor and self-respect they valued far more than the fortunes which

 

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they had lost, and it gave them, in their poverty, the bearing of men of birth and fortune.

 

So that the group of gentlemen of whom we write might have been riding in the noblest parks in England, and they would have been instinctively recognized as gentlemen "to the manner born."

Back of the mansion, and down a bluff of eighty feet, was the river, a wide and beautiful stream of the clearest water; and there the pleasure-party, who this day enjoyed the fox hunt, the next day paired off to catch the bream, which is the fish par excellence in those waters.

It needed but a passing glance at the occupants of one boat to see that "the lines had been cast in pleasant places" for Henry Latané and Clara Leslie. With a careful negro oarsman to guide one along the banks in the early morning, standing upright in the bow of the boat, with the bright "bob" dancing in the waters, then to see the waters break swiftly from the bank, and suddenly feel the delightful plunges of a great trout, is rapture. But Henry Latané's "rapture" was of another kind, more durable, if less transporting, and a veracious chronicler cannot say that he succeeded in stringing a hundred pounds of the best fish that day. The others did, and Colonel Barnum even exceeded it. One had won that sweet consent from the object of his affections which passeth all understanding; to the others the goal seemed difficult--indeed, almost hopeless; but for all that, he had determined to attain it. General Stewart had neglected the opportunities afforded by the last few months, not dreaming that there was a rival in his path. Now, it dawned upon him that Barnum was in earnest, and that his attentions were not displeasing to Julia, and as this idea took possession of him his old love returned. He

 

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thought he had outgrown it, and pro ably he would never have known better had it not been for this meeting. His delicacy of feeling had prompted him not to visit her for weeks after her father's death, while the sympathy and earnest but refined attentions of Colonel Barnum during that trying period had won first her respect and then her confidence, and now she was beginning to question the depth of the interest she felt in his coming and going. There was something singularly unselfish and noble in his character, she thought, or he would not have so constantly endeavored to anticipate her every wish with the most considerate courtesies. There was also a manliness about him that commanded respect from every one, and she felt for him a profound respect. Circumstances made it proper that he should be a frequent visitor at the home of Colonel Leslie, whom he consulted upon all matters pertaining to the unavoidable differences which would arise occasionally between the citizens and members of the regiment stationed at Etowah. It was owing to his efforts that the negro regiment had been removed and his own regiment ordered to Etowah, with himself as commandant.

 

A change had again followed, and he was now simply a guest, and absent from his command on leave, his regiment being now quartered in Washington City.

It seemed to Julia that if Bruton Stewart had ever loved her as Barnum evidently did, he would have given some evidence of it during this trying period. It seemed to him that it would be an inexcusable intrusion upon her sacred grief. In truth, he was not entirely satisfied that he did love her as devotedly as her prospective or affianced suitor should. The Julia Dearing whom he had loved was a bright,

 

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dashing, handsome girl, given to all the pleasures that vigorous youth, endowed with beauty and fortune, is heir to.

 

Thus matters stood on the occasion of which we write, and in the house itself in which these friends were quartered was the smiling face of the fine type of the Southern gentlewoman, Mrs. Latané. Culture of a rare order graced this home at Chestatee, on the banks of the Etowah. On every side, from the school-room, where she daily recites to her governess, to the conservatory, and to the garden, beyond, appeared the life-giving touch of the sunbeam of the house, her only daughter, the child of her old age. Intelligent, graceful, vivacious and gentle as good, she ennobled every presence, and one felt purer and better for having met her. Every sport in which young gentle-folks delight at country houses, except the formal parties and gay balls which had been in the years agone the chiefest, these guests had in that delightful week. Not a household among all their acquaintances was there which did not have a vacant chair to remind them that "the bravest are the tenderest," and the noblest the soonest taken, and balls were relegated to the future.

After dinner, while the gentlemen still sat at the table over their coffee and cognac and cigars, the ladies having retired to the parlors, Barnum remarked:

"Latané, I don't believe you people are poor; you don't look it, and you don't live like it, and for the life of me I don't see any difference in the manner of the negroes to their former masters now than when they were slaves."

"It is remarkable, I admit," replied Latané, "but you see them only near our homes, where they are in almost daily contact with us. However, it would be more remarkable if it were not just as it is."

 

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"Why so?" said Lieutenant Grimes, another Federal officer, who had greatly befriended Latané during his imprisonment at Johnson's Island, on a certain critical occasion, and who had finally accepted his invitation to visit him.

"Answer for me Stewart," said Latané.

"Well," said Stewart, you mean that they don't know how to be otherwise. They don't know Northern men except as strangers, and as our manner is as it was, their's is also."

"That reminds me of old Zeke--our friend Colonel Leslie's gardener," said Barnum, turning toward Latané. "In an interview I had with him he remarked to me, that nobody could be 'quality,' as he styled it, unless he owned negroes. That was said five years ago, when I was a prisoner on parole, and Colonel Leslie's guest."

"By George!" said DeLaunay, another young planter neighbor, striking his hand upon the table to give his remark emphasis. "What a fool thing that cursed war was, Latané! Here is Barnum, our "true-blue" friend, a guest here during that confounded war, and Grimes, over there, your benefactor while you were in a Yankee prison."

Latané's tact as a host was brought into play now, for his fiery young friend, DeLaunay, had at first hesitated about meeting "any infernal Yankee officers," and now, though slightly in his cups, the truth dawned on him, that after all they might have been animated by the best motives. These two were "capital fellows" any way, he declared.

Latané interrupted him at this juncture by saying: "DeLaunay, when are we going to have that deer hunt? I wish to try my hounds. Suppose you send round to Banks and the other fellows, who own packs, and let us give Barnum

 

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and Grimes an evidence that "there is life in the old land yet."

 

"Good! the very idea!" replied DeLaunay. "Now, gentlemen, I have a big house, and not a soul in it except myself and my house-keeper, and a few dogs, I'll admit. You will be most welcome if you will accept a bachelor's invitation, and take whiskey instead of curacoa and anisette--drinks not fit for anybody but frog-eating Frenchmen to drink. I beg pardon, Latané, I don't mean to be rude, but I don't believe you like those drinks any better than I do, though I find them on your table every time I dine here." And thus it was agreed that the next week should be a "stag party," and a hunt for stags in the old-time jolly way.

Chapter 26

 

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CHAPTER XXVI.
A GOVERNESS.

"He is a misanthrope, Miss Julia, and, like many ministers, would make life a perpetual penance and think that he was doing his duty. I fairly hate the word 'duty' when I think how it is warped and twisted to suit the prejudices of sincere people, or the heartless designs of insincere agitators!"

"Suppose you were to resign, then, what would he do to undo your acts?"

"I put you on your guard now when I reply: it is said the quickest way to give a statement to the public is to relate it confidentially to a woman. If you repeat what I say, you will hear of my being court-martialed and, perhaps, cashiered. But as nothing would give me so much happiness as to entrust my fate in your keeping I will continue. The result of my resignation would be a report to the War Department that the negroes were oppressed by their former masters, and an earnest appeal for the return of colored troops to teach these people how to treat the colored people. The fellow was a preacher before the war, and wants to be assigned to the Freedmen's Bureau."

"I must thank you for your confidence, Colonel Barnum. Upon any other subject I would be loth to receive it, as I rarely bind myself to keep secrets, and have none to impart. As you have remarked, I was 'an arrant rebel,' if our patriots were rebels; think our soldiers were the bravest in the world, and our cause as just as any man ever fought for."

"I will not express my opinions about that," he answered;

 

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"they are not as important as the welfare of those at least to whom I owe my life. Nor am I ready to yield my own convictions. It takes two to make a quarrel, and I absolutely refuse to quarrel with you. It was my intention to do quite the reverse, but you will not permit that."

 

"No, Colonel Barnum, I respect you too highly and like you too much to risk losing your friendship. Time was when to have men tell me that I was pretty and admirable, and so forth, flattered my vanity. That time is past, and I hope you will not permit a temporary fancy to delude you into thinking me a paragon."

"Yet I do think so," said he with an earnest seriousness of tone and look which could not be misunderstood.

"Then I am sorry; I am infinitely worse than I use to be, and I was always considered a selfish, self-willed creature. Now I am more than that: suffering makes people worse, not better. But pardon me, let us change the subject; egotism is not my forte."

"Miss Julia, your admission that you are not as happy as you were determines me to tell you more. I love you more than I do any one in the world, and in your unprotected state I feel justified in offering you the entire devotion of my life, and I assure you it will be 'a labor of love.' I can offer nothing else, for, as I have told you, I am dependent entirely upon my efforts for a living."

"And so shall I be!" she said, as her clenched hands tightened their grasp on each other. "I thank you, Colonel Barnum, thank you most gratefully for the honor which you have done me. No man on earth has a greater share of my esteem than yourself, but circumstances separate us. It cannot be."

"He held the hand which she had extended to him in his

 

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own, and, though the strong man trembled from head to foot, he did not seek to kiss it or to make any demonstration. With a voice of constrained calmness he simply said:

 

"Miss Julia, the sunset is very beautiful, but I do not feel in an appreciative mood to look at it. You will pardon me when I say what has been the light and hope of my life for months seems now like a dark cloud overhanging my future. But the dream is ended; reality is at hand, and I am made of sterner stuff than to give outward semblance to my great disappointment. Work! fame! I will grasp them! Not for fame's sake, for 'tis an empty bubble. I would not give one day of your love for all of a President's triumph; but ambition is the only panacea for disappointed love." As he said this the veil which she had let fall upon her face was blown aside a moment and he saw that she was in tears.

Barnum construed her rejection as based upon the fact of his being a Federal officer. She construed his declaration of love as being prompted more from sympathy than from love, and yet she knew if there was a man living whom she could "love, honor and obey" it was Barnum. She felt, too, that he thought that he loved her, and yet she would not marry any one unless she had first proved her independence of other people, so far as a support was concerned.

"Suppose I were to marry him," she thought, "would not all the carping gossips of Etowah say that the proud Julia Dearing only married to keep from having to earn her own support? No, my mind is made up. I shall leave uncle's house and try to make my own living somewhere."

After long reflection, she decided to go to New Orleans, and to keep her own secret. No one would suspect her intention,

----

 

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and she would leave no clue concerning her destination.

 

With Julia, to think was to act. That very night she packed all that she needed in one "Saratoga," and determined to leave the next afternoon, or the morning thereafter. Going to the bank early the next morning she drew the money placed to her credit and returned to Thronateeska. Several hours remained before the time for the western train to leave, and Clara was absent making social visits. The cab had been engaged to take her to the dépôt--the baggage had been sent already, and so quietly that the servants supposed she was only sending the trunk to some safer place for taking care of it. The cab was to meet her on the corner of E and F streets at the appointed hour. Then she resolved to visit her charity patients again. Before going out she indited the following letter: "

 

My dear, good, kind Uncle--Forgive me for what I am about to do. I can never repay you for your exceeding kindness to me. To Clara, my more than sister, my heart goes out with all its tenderness. Pardon me for saying that if you knew Captain Latané as I know him, you would interpose no objections to his attentions to Clara. I can say nothing better of him than this: he is worthy of Clara. Dear uncle, do not seek to find me; it will be useless. I go to earn my own living, and will go far enough to evade your efforts to find me. I cannot consent to be a pensioner upon your bounty. I drew the money placed by you to my credit yesterday, and it will support me, I trust, until I can learn to support myself.


Your devotedly attached niece,
Julia Dearing."
 

"

 

This letter she placed in her pocket, intending to leave it with the cab-driver to be placed in the post-office after her departure. She was an unusually well-educated girl, Judge

 

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Dearing having spared nothing to provide her with the best advantages. He had made her, from early childhood until his death, his chief companion, which in itself was a rare advantage, for he was esteemed one of the most learned men in the State; hence her self-confidence now.

 

"The horse is ready, Miss Julia," said the maid.

"Very well, Jane," she replied, gathering up her riding skirt.

As she mounted the horse the groom could not resist the inclination to compliment the remarkably handsome girl.

"Miss Julia, it does me good to see you in the saddle again; nobody can ride a side-saddle as you can."

"Thank you, George; there is a dollar for you," she replied. "I do not wish you to follow me."

Now did the promenaders in the city of Etowah lift their hats and turn to look with undisguised admiration at the superb horse-woman. She rode at a brisk trot, and soon entered the factory village. The good people who were at their homes came to their doors to welcome her with a glad smile as she passed. "These poor people have warm hearts," thought Julia, but if she had heard their expressions of gratitude and good-will she would have felt amply repaid for all her efforts in their behalf.

"I say, Brown," said one rough son of toil, "I hope to God Miss Dearing's got her fortune back! She's born lady, if there ever was one!"

"Yes," said Brown, "and the prettiest girl in all these parts."

"And the noblest and the best," said another.

Julia rode first to her old bed-ridden friend, Mrs. Higgins. "Here, Johnnie"--she spoke to little Johnnie Vincent, whom Mrs. Higgins, in spite of her poverty, had adopted after his

 

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sister's death--"here, Johnnie, hold the horse while I go in for a moment."

 

"May I ride her up and down the street, Miss Julia?"

"Not to-day, Johnnie; I never refused you before, but I am in a hurry to-day."

"God bless you, chile, and he will. It does my old eyes good to see your pretty face."

"Thank you, Mrs. Higgins; I havn't time to talk about myself to-day. How do you feel?"

"Poorly, thank the Lord! poorly as usual; my jints are a most gin out, but I'll be all right a hundred years from now."

"Yes, Mrs. Higgins, but I wish you to improve faster." As she said this she handed the invalid twenty dollars.

"May the Lord be praised, chile! Got your fortin' back agin? If I thought so, I do b'lieve I could take up my bed and walk."

"No; I am sorry to say I am still poor, but willing to do my part."

"Take it back, Miss Julia; you'll need it sooner'n you think for; as folks what never had money afore git richer they git harder and more selfish. Beautiful and lovely as you are, you have committed the only onpardonable sin by becomin' poor."

"You would give me more pain than any of my former friends if you forced me to take this money back. 'Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.' Don't you know that all of the best people in the land are now poor, and only those who kept out of the army and speculated upon the blood of the brave are richer than they were?"

"Certainly, I know it. Ain't Mr. Potts too highfalutin' to live? We all know his father was a factory hand himself

 

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when he was a boy, and they try to hold their heads up above the real quality folks of the land, and despise us factory people," said the old woman indignantly.

 

"Yes; but they deceive no one, and no one cares about the airs they assume."

"Glad they don't. I'm sure you oughtn't to. Why, there's Funk Pillberry; we all used to know him as 'Funk' when he kept the ice-house down at the corner. Now, they say, he looks down on everybody except the Pottses, and is, next to them, the richest man in town. I don't object to poor folks gittin' rich--by-the-by, Miss Julia, let me return your fine handkercher what you put on my poor old head jest as if I was as rich as Funk Pillberry," said the old woman, laughing--"as I was a-sayin', I don't object to poor folks gittin' rich--and I hope the Lord will make you marry a rale 'nob--but I do object to ther looking down on ther ekals!"

"Well, Mrs. Higgins, I see you are better, and I'll go now." But before leaving, she made the old woman tell her who was most needing money among the operatives.

The result of her visits among the poor was a repetition of her former lavish generosity, and her purse was lessened two hundred dollars. "It is the last time," thought Julia, "and I am determined to leave pleasant thoughts behind me somewhere, and for my part, I would rather the poor should feel kindly to me than the rich." It was later than she thought, and she had to gallop back in order to leave Thronateeska before the family returned from church. This she accomplished. Twenty dollars were paid to the servants at Thronateeska, to whom she told her intention at the last moment. Five trains left the city of Etowah at the same hour, and no one could know in what direction she had gone, as each train went in a different direction.

 

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Finally the whistle blew, the trunk was checked, and a young lady, closely veiled, whose handsome and distinguished appearance attracted all eyes, entered the car. A dozen gentlemen arose simultaneously and offered her their seats. She selected one near a lady with two little girls, who used all their infantile arts to persuade the young lady to lift her veil. Finally, she did so in such a manner as to keep it veiled to the rest of the car.

"Oh! mama," said the little girl, clasping her hands with delight, "she is such a pretty lady!"

Julia did not feel at liberty to raise her veil until the cars reached Montgomery. To her surprise the lady did not descend from the cars there, but said she was going to her home in New Orleans.

"What a pleasant coincidence!" said Julia, "for that is my destination also."

"Indeed! I am very glad to hear it. New Orleans is my home, and to me there is no place like it. May I ask if you are going to visit relatives there? Perhaps I know them," said the lady.

"No, ma'am; I am going there to teach school, or get a place as governess," said Julia.

"Ah!" said the lady, with a sympathetic glance, "I perceive that you are about to attempt a new rôle, for evidently you are a Southern girl, and have had the best advantages."

"I do not care to go into the history of my life, and it would hardly interest you if I did, but few girls were more blessed than myself. That, however, is past, and is no reason for moping and complaining now, since I am entirely dependent upon my own exertions for a support."

"Isn't it terrible for you to think of such an undertaking, my dear young lady?"

 

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"Oh, no; not at all terrible," replied Julia; "most people have it to do, and I rather relish the idea of being dependent upon no one but myself."

The lady shrugged her shoulders in the expressive Creole fashion and replied:

"I don't understand it, I confess. I think the old Southern plan of raising girls in luxury, and never letting them have a want which was not gratified, made them sweeter and more attached to home than any other system. I think when Southern girls permit themselves to come in contact with the world they will lose that gentleness and loveliness which I think is their exclusive prerogative."

"Indeed!" said Julia, finding it difficult to control her feelings; "but when one has no other alternative but to work or starve, what do you think one ought to do?"

"Make your brothers work for you."

"But I have no brothers."

"Then your father ought to do it."

"My father is dead," said Julia, unable longer to control her tears.

"Oh, my dear, forgive me! I really don't know then what other course is left to you, but it is a terrible undertaking. Now, I know a strong-minded girl won't suit me; I don't believe in any woman's rights, except the right to be pretty, as you can, and make the other sex take care of us; but I'll make you an offer, if you are in earnest; you can act as governess for my little girls, and go direct to my house when we reach New Orleans."

"Please do," said the little girls. "We'll just watch your pretty face and kiss you all day."

"That would be very poor instruction, my little friends," said Julia, returning the kisses of the children. "Madam, I

 

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cannot thank you too much, and will gladly accept your offer--on the condition, however, that I am not to be questioned concerning my past life, or the motives which prompted me to adopt this method of earning my own support."

 

"Very well, then; but I think a woman of my age might be an invaluable counsellor to a woman of your age; I will not advise unless I can question. Now, I make the further condition that our arrangement shall last a year, if I choose to bind you to it, and I shall have the privilege of discharging you whenever I choose. Of course, you can leave at any time if you are willing to forfeit your wages."

"Your terms seem hard," said Julia in a freezing tone, "but there is no help for it, I suppose, and I accept them."

"They are not hard," said the lady, "for you are entirely unknown to me and may be an impostor for all I know. Miss Scratch fooled me completely."

"I hate Miss Scratch!" said the little girls; "she was ugly and didn't have a sweet voice like"--

"Miss Dearing," interrupted Julia.

"Oh, what a pretty name for such a pretty lady," cried one of the children.

Their mother, her object having been accomplished, had now resumed her easy, comfortable position and was as completely engrossed in a novel as if she had never heard of Miss Dearing. All her familiar and affectionate allusions, all her dimpled smiles and affectation of naiveté, vanished as soon as the beautiful young lady tourist was transformed into a plain governess. Not so the effect upon the children: they climbed in her lap and wound their arms around her neck and said: "Your name is Miss Dearing; mine is Julia LaGrange;" "and mine is Marie LaGrange, and mama's is Mrs. LaGrange," chimed in the younger child.

 

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"You have pretty names, too," said Julia; "and if you would look pretty when you grow up you must learn to be generous and sweet, and lovely in your disposition."

"We are all that now, ain't we, mama," said the children, appealing to Mrs. LaGrange.

"What is it, my love?" said their mother still reading and paying no attention to the little girls.

"Oh, mama, put down your book and talk to the pretty lady as you did before; we want to know if we aren't all that now."

"All what, my dears?"

"Pretty, and lovely, and sweet, and good."

"Certainly you are; I hope, Miss Dearing, you have not begun a catechism concerning the children's faults already."

This was said in so unfeeling a manner that Julia replied in her natural manner: "Mrs. LaGrange, if you have begun thus early to suspect me of utter incapacity to perform my duties, I think we may as well consider our engagement at an end."

As Julia said this, Mrs. LaGrange saw upon her finger two rings--diamonds of great value, which had been given her by her father--and her curiosity to know more of this distinguished looking stranger, as well as her better judgment, prevailed upon her to forego her desire for petty tyranny, and she replied in a gracious manner: "If I have done you injustice, I did not intend it; I was intensely interested in this novel and the children worried me; of course, I see that I was wrong now, and no one, you will find when you know me, is quicker to make amends than I am when I am in the wrong. Remember that, children, as next to the golden rule."

Julia had thus received her first impressions of the art of

 

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making a living. She realized that her cherished independence of thought, speech and action must be curbed.

 

Mrs. LaGrange was but a type of a numerous class--a good sort of woman after you found her out, but "fussy," very. "Fussy" women, though they "make much ado about nothing," frequently have kind hearts, and Mrs. LaGrange was one of these. Education, beyond "the three R's," she considered superfluous for women; but a knowledge of music, at least sufficient to criticise the opera, was a sine qua non. Above all other things, Mrs. LaGrange prided herself on being a Creole--i. e., she was born in New Orleans. Some Creole ladies think of all people not born in the "Crescent City" as the Celestials do of those whose misfortune it is not to have almond eyes and who were not born in the Flowery Kingdom: that is to say, all people not Creoles should be classed as "outside barbarians," who were especially blessed when they were permitted the entrée into the best Creole society in New Orleans.

Julia was not a Creole, and she was a governess, and a young woman who would be a "young lady" if she were not a governess. This was a new experience to Julia, who had been courted and caressed all her life. It would tax her strong will to be philosophical now.

Chapter 28

 

  page   308    
CHAPTER XXVIII.
GOD'S ACRE."
No more shall the war cry-sever,
Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever,
When they laurel the graves of our dead
 
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;
Under the blossoms, the blue;
Under the garlands, the gray.
 
"

The beautiful custom of decorating the graves of the Confederate and Federal dead originated in the town of Etowah on the anniversary of its fall.

Owing to the absence of Julia Dearing, the wedding ceremony, which had united Henry Latané to Clara Leslie a month before, was very quiet, only the members of the two families being present, with Colonel Barnum as "best man."

The whole populace seemed en route to the cemetery on "Decoration Day," and every garden in the city contributed flowers to decorate the graves. Henry Latané was the orator selected, and he reluctantly consented to deliver the address.

After the opening prayer a chorus of voices sang "The Conquered Banner:" "

Furl that banner, for 'tis weary,
Round its staff 'tis drooping, dreary,
Furl it, fold it, it is best;
For there's not a man to wave it,
And there's not a soul to save it,
And there's not one left to lave it
 

 

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In the blood that heroes gave it,
Fur it, hide it, let it rest!
 
Furl that banner softly, slowly,
Treat it gently, it is holy,
For it droops above the dead;
Touch it not, unfurl it never,
Let it droop there furled forever!
 
"

 

After a few preliminary remarks gracefully spoken, the orator of the occasion said:

"The conquered banner lies folded away in the memories of those who ventured all to sustain it. It has the calm veneration of many thousands of brave men, but it is furled forever, and the once Confederates have accepted the old flag again. France, after the greatest successes in history, submitted to overwhelming force; so did the Confederacy. The bête noire of the old Union exists no longer. The once slave has become a citizen whose rights are respected, despite the wild cantings of the shriekers to the contrary.

"'Lord of himself, that heritage of woe,' he has the proud privilege of the white man, his former owner and master, of working out his own destiny. If left to those who understand the peculiarities of his character, he will have a future of comparative ease, and will work out that future with the kindly sympathy of the children of those whose families were left so completely to his fidelity and known attachment while the owner and master was in the ranks at the front.

"In this connection I will quote from a recent opponent, the occasion being the dedication of a soldiers' monument in a Northern city. Every true Confederate soldier will endorse it, as I do: 'I once, entered a house in old Massachusetts,

 

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where over its doors were two crossed swords. One was the sword carried by the grand-father of its owner on the field of Bunker Hill, and the other was the sword carried by the English grand-sire of the wife on the same field and on the other side of the conflict. Under those crossed swords, in the restored harmony of domestic peace, lived a happy and contented and free family under the light of our republican liberties.

 

"'I trust the time is not far distant when, under the crossed swords and the locked shields of Americans, North and South, our people shall sleep in peace and rise in liberty, love and harmony under the Union as our forefathers made it.'

"And yet we would be craven indeed did we not glory in the achievements of the soldiers of the 'Lost Cause.'

"It may be for the best that we failed to establish our independence, but let us never dishonor the loyal patriotism to their States of the soldiers of the Confederacy. Teach that to your children that they were neither rebels nor traitors, but martyred patriots of a just and righteous cause--the grand cause of constitutional liberty." (Cheers greeted the orator's words at this sentence, and several minutes elapsed before he could resume.) "My comrades being in thorough accord with me in this sentiment, I feel authorized to say for them, that having accepted the results of the war in the utmost good faith, their sacred honor is thereby pledged to the support of the Government of the United States, without any mental reservation or evasion whatsoever, and should occasion require, they would cheerfully resume their arms in its defence against any foreign or domestic foe. But we respectfully decline to change our nature and assume a character not our own; to act the spaniel that

 

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fawns upon and kisses the hand that smites him; and so far as I am concerned, I will never, so help me God, bow down to a golden calf bespangled with the alluring name of 'the new South.' (Cheers.)

 

"Appomattox! what memories cluster around the name! The ten thousand veterans, with their bullet-scarred flags, were as eager to meet in mortal combat the fifty thousand troops that immediately confronted them on that bright April day, with a half million more troops behind them, as at any time during the four years of war when their banner had been a 'pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.' They deemed General Lee invincible, and in their hearts they echoed the cry of the 'Old Guard' at Waterloo: 'The Old Guard dies, but never surrenders!'

"But they had never disobeyed Lee.

"General Lee now ordered them to lay down their arms! Then, in a moment, quick as the dread throes of an earthquake, which destroys in one minute the work of thousand of people for a century, in a moment that command convinced those whom four years of the hardest fought battles could not convince, that the cause for which they had thus battled was lost.

"If it was lost, all seemed lost!

"So seemed it to the despairing disciples in the dark days which succeeded the crucifixion--that hope had been buried forever in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

"'We trusted,' said they, as they walked to Emmaus, 'that it had been He who should have redeemed Israel.' And little did they dream that at that instant the risen Saviour walked by their side to redeem, not only Israel, but the

"So with the character of Lee--it will not die. When Titus,

 

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then at the head of his Roman legions, broke down the walls of the Holy City, and ran his plowshare over the site of King Solomon's temple; or later, when Cortez overthrew the Aztec idols in the temple of Montezuma's capital, it seemed to bury out of sight the faith, the hopes and the aspirations of these peoples.

 

"And when Rome bowed before the conquering hordes of Hun and Vandal, led on by the ruthless and savage Attilla, who swept over all the countries from the Euxine to the Adriatic, the flame of invasion, 'The March to the Sea,' it seemed that the sun of civilization had gone down forever in a sea of blood! And yet out of these desolations have sprung purer forms of religious worship and higher types of civilization.

"For eighty years the South gave to the Government of the United States its ablest generals, its wisest statesmen, its most learned jurists.

"At the second Centennial it may appear that the conservative South will be the anchor of the Nation and preserve it from centralized power. When Greece was invaded by Xerxes, the Athenians in their extremity recalled Aristides, from the banishment into which they had forced him, and placed him at the head of their armies. In the magnanimity of his nature he forgave the wrongs his country had done him, threw himself into the breach, and upon the plains of Salamis and Platea, rescued the liberties of his country and expelled the invader from her soil.

"Appomattox! out of the tomb of our buried hopes will spring the germ of truth which seemed crushed forever when that brave little army laid down its arms, and the magnanimous victor pronounced them 'Overcome, but not conquered!' Appomattox! the tree of American liberty will yet grow into proportions it never would have attained but

 

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for the blood and the tears with which a devoted people watered it. The gallant deeds of the American soldier, South and North, are a common heritage of all Americans.

 

"
Stoop angels, hither from the skies;
There is no holier spot of ground
Than where defeated valor lies;
Embalmed in love, by children crowned.
 
"

As the speaker ceased, the graves of the Confederate dead were decorated. Poor factory operatives, walking amid the richest people in the town, brought their garlands of flowers to decorate the graves of the dead soldiers. Little children dressed in white, side-by-side with the aged, scattered their floral tributes promiscuously over the graves of the "Unknown Dead," in the soldier's corner. On the oaken headboards were simply inscribed the names of the dead and on the battle-fields where they had been killed. Two graves in a private lot were made prominent by two white shafts of Carrara marble. Upon one was inscribed the name of Private Charles Latané; the other bore the name of Lieutenant Charles Vincent.

The patrician was a private soldier; the plebeian a lieutenant. Naar by was the monument which marked the last resting place of Hugh Leslie. As the children sang, "Holy Mother, Guide his Footsteps"--as if it was done by design--a travel-stained figure could be seen entering the cemetery and approaching the group where stood Mr. and Mrs. Henry Latané and Colonel Leslie. The old negro wore a faded Federal army coat with brass buttons, a white beaver hat, and pantaloons of many colors and many patches. Over his shoulder was borne upon a stick a bundle containing clothing, and the white wool beneath the hat made the latter

 

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appear darker than it was. So earnest and intent on reaching the group in time was he that he raised the dust before him, as he shuffled along as rapidly as his aged limbs would bear him. At last he reached them and, taking off his hat and leaning on his stick, scraping the ground with one foot as he bowed low, the old darkey said:

 

"Howdy, Marster; howdy, Mars Harry; howdy, young Mistiss; I like to not got here in time. How does you all do?"

Henry Latané, who had been talking to some friends and had his back to the old negro, turned, extended his hand, and said:

"Clara, this is Uncle Zeke."

Clara went to the old man and shook hands with him instantly, and said:

"Uncle Zeke, I am so glad to see you; how is Hezekiah? and how is your farm doing? and how are you?"

"Poorly, Miss Cally, poorly, thank de Lord! but middlin' well considerin of de pain in my jints from de rheumatiz. De farm, what your pa gin me, and de stock and de crap, all is doin' well as I could want em to. As fur Hez, he never was no other way but well."

Then old Zeke looked around the vast assemblage and nodded to several, but spoke to none except his "young marster and young mistiss," as he called Henry and Clara. Turning to Clara again, he said: "Scatterin' of flowers over de graves?" This last remark was accompanied by an inclination of the head toward a group who were decorating the graves at the "Soldiers' Corner."

"Yes, Uncle Zeke; don't you wish to help us?"

"Miss Cally, I does; dat is my business here to-day. I dug de graves of Mars Hugh and Charlie Latané, and I would like to scatter some flowers on 'em. Flowers makes de purtiest

 

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kyarpet in de world, Mars Harry, and Charlie was de kindest-hearted boy--'ceptin tis Mars Hugh--dat ole Zeke ever seed!" Here the old negro brushed away the tears with his coat sleeve, and Clara, her own eyes filled with tears, offered him all the flowers she had.

 

It was a touching scene when this faithful old slave, the only negro in all that assemblage, many of whom grasped his hand and spoke to him kindly, proposed to decorate Hugh Leslie's grave.

"Mars Harry, de 'Union League' has forbid all us niggers from helpin' Dimmycrats, but dese two boys warnt Dimmycrats. And, Mars Harry, if Hugh and Charlie wus Dimmycrats, I'd do it anyhow! and I am as good a Republikin as any on 'em, so fur as dis life is consarned; I'll be blamed fur it I know, but I'd do it if dey killed me!"

Then the old negro, taking the flowers from Clara's basket, knelt beside the grave of the gallant youth--the son of his former master--and arranged the flowers in the form of a cross upon the tomb over his head.

He seemed oblivious of all the people who crowded around him to witness this unusual scene, and, clasping his hands before his face and looking upward with pious zeal, he uttered a prayer in the negro dialect, so fervent and sincere in its appeals to God in behalf of the dead hero, that men involuntarily took off their hats and women wept.

For pathos and earnestness this scene cannot be excelled, and long after this "pattern of old Fidelity" shall himself be laid away in his grave, he will be remembered with grateful respect by all who witnessed it.

Chapter 29

 

  page   316    
CHAPTER XXIX.
"MY SON, ÉMILE."

Now came the test which proved beyond a doubt that Barnum's love for Julia Dearing was deep, sincere and uninfluenced by any interested motive other than that love which most honors humanity. He was poor, and his army record was second to none of the same rank in the armies of the Union. Every hope of promotion, either in civil or political life, every prudent reason bade him attend strictly to his official duties and avoid the expression of any interest in passing events which "cast their shadows before."

If Barnum evinced any interest at all in the policy outlined by the reconstruction acts, every politic thought would have urged him to espouse the side of proscription and join the Radical hosts which seem bent on sowing the seeds of insurrection and discontent, and which promised to bring about bloody collisions between the races at the South.

But Barnum flung prudence to the winds, obtained a leave of absence--the first he had asked for in years--and, instead of going home to see the loved ones there, departed for New Orleans in search of the high-spirited girl whom he now knew that he loved with all the passion and all the earnestness of his nature. He informed Colonel Leslie of his purpose in an open, manly way that won that gentleman's confidence entirely. Pressing his hand warmly he could only say: "God bless and God-speed you, Colonel Barnum! I know of no man whom I would rather see the guardian of her happiness."

 

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Bruton Stewart had taken it as a settled fact that Julia was the fiancée of Colonel Barnum, and, in spite of his efforts to appear unconcerned, his studied courtesy seemed to her coldly formal, and she ceased to regard him as other than a casual friend. But now that he had learned of her departure and the circumstances attending it, his manly sense of loyalty re-asserted itself, and he, too, called upon Colonel Leslie and announced that his purpose was to offer his hand in marriage. "Colonel Leslie," said he, "she is the loveliest and most superb woman I ever knew. I thought I had conquered this old boyish fancy of mine--for I have dreamed about her for ten years--but when I saw that this confounded stranger, Colonel Barnum, was seeking to win her, I learned that I could not banish my hopes."

"Have you told Julia this, General?"

"No, sir; I have not said a word of love to her in four years."

"Then, my friend, I think your course has lost your chances. Festina lente won't do in courtship. If a man wants to win a woman's love, he must avow his love and loyally seek to win hers. It is a matter of conquest, not pleading, in my judgment; candor must be my excuse for plain speaking."

"Pardon me; I see that I have made myself ridiculous, but permit me to ask: Is Miss Dearing engaged to any one?"

"Not that I am aware of,' replied her guardian. "In truth, I have no idea where she is at present, but I appreciate your feelings in the matter, and if Colonel Barnum does not succeed, I hope that you may."

"Then you would approve of her union with Colonel Barnum?"

Colonel Leslie's haughtiness returned to him as he answer

 

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ed: "General Stewart, I think you forget that that is a question which you have no right to ask. But I will say that there is no man living for whom I entertain a greater respect than for Colonel Barnum. He is one of nature's noblemen."

 

Stewart's nobler instincts came to his aid now as he said, "Forgive me, Colonel Leslie; I do not mean to be rudely inquisitive. I realize my shortcomings and the folly that my pride has proved. I did not imagine, until very recently, that any one was aspiring to win her. Now that I am informed, I must, in justice to myself, echo your remark, there is no man living more worthy of our respect and confidence than Colonel Barnum."

They shook hands warmly and thus Stewart abandoned the search.

It was the loyalty of the gentleman, not the ardor of the lover, which prompted Bruton Stewart to make this avowal. It was the ardor of the lover which led Barnum irresistibly to New Orleans.

A week and another week had elapsed since Colonel Barnum's arrival in New Orleans. Not a day, not an hour had been wasted, and yet he could find no clue to Julia Dearing's retreat. Finally a friend suggested to him to call upon the pastors of the various Episcopal churches in the city and inquire if she was a communicant or member of their congregations. Ordinarily he would have laughed at the idea as impracticable; for it was not to be supposed that in a great city like New Orleans, a new comer would be noticed. But Julia was not an ordinary person, and her great beauty and distinguished bearing had attracted the attention of the reverend gentleman who presided at the church where Mrs. LaGrange worshipped. The pastor had noticed a strikingly

 

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handsome girl who seemed to be the governess of two children--for pastors, like other people, are not insensible to beauty. But who she was, or whence she came, he had not yet found out.

 

"Stay," he remarked to Colonel Barnum; "I remember now, she occupies the pew of Mrs. LaGrange."

Barnum attended service at the church the next day and occupied a place in the gallery whence he could survey nearly all the church without attracting attention himself. The bishop of the diocese preached that day and the church was crowded. He did not have long to wait; he would have known that figure among ten thousand, and a flood of conflicting emotions rushed upon him as the modest but stately girl, with the air of an empress, walked up the aisle, preceded by two little girls. Then, adapting herself to the situation, they entered a pew as naturally as if this relation was not a new one for Julia to assume. Presently a corpulent, fussy-looking lady entered the pew just behind them, and after much ado about nothing, succeeded in seating herself to her satisfaction. Then followed a vigilant war with her fan, for the weather was intensely warm and seemed hotter around this fat lady than anywhere else. From his elevated seat he could see the myriad fans doing incessant duty throughout the church, and, as his eyes returned to Mrs. LaGrange, he observed that no one seemed so zealous and untiring as herself.

The calm, quiet, listening interest which Julia evinced in the interesting sermon was in striking contrast to the interminable "fluster" of Mrs. LaGrange. Julia had measured her at a glance, and allowed her to have "all the ills flesh is heir to," to her heart's content, although no woman in the Crescent City gave better evidence than Mrs. LaGrange of

 

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exuberant health. She had lost more children than most women have, and yet she considered herself the only woman on earth who knew how to raise healthy children.

 

The enormous degree of piety which she endeavored to instill in their young minds, by precept rather than example, interfered with their pleasures somewhat and with their digestion more.

No one, however, could excel Mrs. LaGrange in prating about "the selfishness of this sinful world!" And St. Anthony's experiences in resisting temptation were trivial in comparison with her accomplishments in that respect if she was competent authority. Then, again, if a draft was dangerous to the health of her children, the absence of a plentiful supply of air was, she averred, suffocation to her. Hence the children were consigned to the room of their governess at night. Altogether, therefore, without knowing any of these facts, Barnum surmised that Miss Dearing had selected anything but a bed of roses, and doubtless had a very lively time of it.

If Mrs. LaGrange did not attend Sunday-school with her "dear darlings," the governess was required by written instructions to observe scrupulous attention to these "absolutely essential spiritual duties." Now appeared on the scene Julia's bête-noire, a dainty, small, perfumed, young Creole gentleman, Monsieur LaGrange. Émile LaGrange was his mother's darling, and was madly in love with Julia Dearing.

"My son," she said to him when he announced his intention of making the pretty governess his wife, "it will break my heart if you disgrace the family by marrying a governess."

"Well, mother," replied the effeminate youth, "it will break my heart if I don't. The question resolves itself

 

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into this: which heart shall I break, yours or mine? and, in this connection, I will repeat your favorite maxim, 'charity begins at home.' The upshot of this dialogue, which took place the second week after Julia's arrival and installation as governess in this proud Creole family, was that the dainty little gentleman was brought home that evening from the club gloriously intoxicated. When he recovered the next day and his anxious mother entered his chamber, he said to her in a reproachful tone: "Told you so, mother!" Then Mrs. LaGrange kissed him, and took refuge in the fortress of tears, thence to her novel, "Le Roman d'un Jeune Homme," and Monsieur Émile was victorious as usual. Since he served as a harmless diversion to Julia, she tolerated his admiration as something entirely new in her varied experience. It was the blind idolatry of an ignoramus, whose sole redeeming trait was an exceedingly amiable heart.

 

This was the status of affairs when Barnum arrived in New Orleans, and he imagined much of it as he viewed the party from the gallery of the church. The beautiful and impressive service of the Episcopal confirmation was finished, the magnificent organ pealed the sacred notes, the voices of the well-trained choir filled the vast church with melody, and the crowded through prepared to make their exit.

In vain did Barnum endeavor to attract Julia Dearing's attention. With a manner as demure as if this was her natural place and station in life, she led the children forth, and before Barnum had reached the street the family entered their carriage and disappeared. He lingered until the last person had left the church, and slowly wended his way back to the St. Charles as much at a loss as to her place of residence as before. But he had seen her once again, and to

----

 

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his noble heart she was infinitely dearer in this self-sacrificing position of thankless toil than she had ever been before.

 

He had hardly reached the St. Charles hotel when the clerk handed him the following telegram:

" Colonel Barnum, U. S. A., St. Charles Hotel, N. O.

"Captain Latané and twelve others have been arrested and imprisoned in Fort Pulaski, charged with the assassination of George Washburn. Return and endeavor to save their lives. It is unnecessary to tell you that they are innocent, but it is feared that suborned testimony will be used against them.

Hugh Leslie."

 

Had a thunderbolt fallen at his feet, Colonel Barnum could not have been more startled. The situation admitted of no delay. He left by the next train, but before leaving penned the following note to Julia, and addressed it to the care of the pastor of the church which she attended: "

 

Miss Julia Dearing--I came to New Orleans to see you. Just as I had learned which church you attended, and before I could learn your address, I received a telegram, which forces me to return at once to Etowah. I need not tell you what a grievous disappointment this is to me, or allude to the object of my mission here.

"I hope to return again soon, and trust that my next effort may meet with better success.


"Respectfully your friend,
" Charles Barnum.
 

"

 

"I will not grieve her by further information," said he to himself.

"Miss Julia," said the amiable young simpleton, Émile LaGrange, one evening, after he had been rejected for, perhaps, the twentieth time, "you almost make me lose faith in

 

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constancy; until I knew you I thought such devotion as mine would win the love of any woman."

 

"Indeed! what gave you such a poor opinion of women, or such a high opinion of the constancy of man's affections? I think 'unstable as water' is the best description of mankind generally."

"And you might add, while you are quoting Scripture," said he petulantly, "'that all is vanity' is the best description of women."

"That's the nicest speech I ever heard you utter; now, if I were not a poor governess, and you were not silly enough to imagine yourself in love with me, I would tell you that the greatest charm of a woman in the eyes of men is that same thing yclept vanity. It is the duty of every woman to be as pretty as she can be."

"Well, you perform your duty in that respect gloriously well," said the infatuated youth.

"Yes, I know I am pretty, just as I know you are not handsome."

"You are very unkind; why do you dislike me so?" he asked. "How can a man be handsome? I try my best to be."

"I do not dislike you. If you wish a candid answer, I will say that I think the first and most indispensable requisite to a handsome man is manliness. A manly look can only proceed from a manly heart. Courage and independent spirit can't be coined to order. Mirabeau is said to have been an extremely homely man, but when his countenance was lighted up with the fire of courage and genius, his very manliness made him singularly handsome."

"It takes a good physique to make a man look handsome,"

 

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said LaGrange, twirling his feeble moustache, "and you can't make a good physique to order."

 

"On the contrary," she replied, "the greatest men of history were small men physically. The Emperor Napoleon was called the 'Little Corporal' because of his small stature, but no man has occupied as large a niche in the temple of fame as he. But to be great one must first be manly."

"Do you think a man who has never worried with those abstruse or abstract questions, can make up his mind to be manly?" asked LaGrange.

"If he has courage, yes; without courage, no. Neither a man nor a woman can know his or her resources until the heavy hand of poverty has placed them in situations where they must conquer or be conquered."

"That remark, and your style generally, persuade me of what I have suspected before, that you have not always been poor. For my part, I can't understand how you prefer poverty and the hard lot of a governess to ample wealth and a life of ease and comfort such as I am prepared and more than willing to give you if you will marry me."

"Mr. LaGrange, you will persuade me of what I have suspected before, that you are very far from being manly if you ever repeat such language to me again. My life, past and future, is my own secret, and it is ungenerous, if not unmanly, to offer such inducements to me in such language. If you would not cut short our acquaintance you will not allude to your imaginary fancy for me in such penurious terms again."

"Forgive me, Miss Julia; say anything but that. You can make me do what you please: either to assume courage, and what you call 'manliness,' or you can consign me to the

 

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gutter. I intend to win your love or end my own by the old plan."

 

"Hush, Mr. LaGrange; it is folly, it is madness, for you to express yourself so rashly! If you value my friendship -- and you have that, for you are always kind and usually respectful to me -- you will quit the unmanly habit of getting intoxicated. If you are courageous enough to defy public opinion, you ought to be manly enough to spare your mother misery when she sees you in that silly, maudlin state. I never could understand how men could be such cowards as to allow disappointment or failure to persuade them to descend to the level of the brute creation."

"Oh, mother isn't miserable about it! If you only would get miserable about me I'd quit it. I'd be as manly as anybody, and work or fight, or quit playing cards and billiards, or staying out late at night, or do anything. But it's no use; you don't care a chew of tobacco whether I go to the devil or not, and I don't, either--so good-night!" And the youth went out in the street, banging the front door as he left the house.

It was already eleven o'clock, and Émile LaGrange had taken more than one drink of whisky already. Julia, with a look of pity and sympathy, watched him as he left the house, and thought for a long time over the checkered experiences of the past few months of her life. She began to realize that beauty was one of the most fatal obstacles to happiness, and yet she would not be woman did she not prize it above all the other gifts with which nature had lavishly endowed her.

"There is no unalloyed happiness in this life," she thought. "Women daily sell themselves to such lucky nincompoops as Emile LaGrange, and think more of the elegantly attired

 

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society slave than of a heroine who works to ward off that worst of fates--dependent poverty. Doubtless Mrs. LaGrange married a man like Wellington Napoleon Potts, a Crœsus in wealth, but a pauper in soul--a man of whom it is said, 'He lends like a prince and collects like a Shylock.' Rather would I live in poverty and die in obscurity than wear the livery of such pinchbeck aristocracy. No; I will never marry."

 

The next day about noon the maid came into the library, where Julia was in the habit of teaching her little pupils, and informed her that Mrs. LaGrange desired to see her privately and at once.

"You can have holiday the rest of the day, children, but don't go on the street; the street is not the proper place for little girls to play. I will take you out to the park this afternoon."

"Come," said Mrs. LaGrange as Julia knocked at her door. "Pray be seated, Miss Dearing, and place your chair close to mine; I want to speak to you confidentially." Julia complied, and Mrs. LaGrange continued: "You know, my dear, that my Émile has been sadly beside himself lately, and you know also that I am an invalid and can't bear to see my only son, the pride of his mother's heart, throwing himself away, and going to the bad as fast as he can." Mrs. LaGrange here used her smelling salts, remarking as she did so: "My neuralgia increases every day this hot weather."

Anything was preferable to a lecture on her bodily infirmities, and Julia remarked:

"I am truly sorry Mr. LaGrange has so little self-control. He has been very courteous and kind to me, and I appreciate it. But really it is a subject which I do not think it appropriate for me to discuss."

 

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"How can you be so heartless as to be indifferent to the poor boy's condition, when you know you are the sole cause of it? It is true I did all in my power to prevent his infatuation. Not that you would be perfectly acceptable if you were his social equal, my dear, but you know a governess is not the social equal of Émile LaGrange."

Mrs. LaGrange said this with a toss of the head meant to be overpowering.

"I have heard all that I care to hear concerning this most disagreeable subject, Mrs. LaGrange. As to my social position you may think as you please, but I protest against being held responsible for your son's weakness."

As Julia said this, she arose and started to leave the room, but Mrs. LaGrange, forgetting her numerous maladies, rushed to the door and detained her.

"You must not, shall not go until you have heard me. The doctor says Émile is threatened with delirium tremens, and he has been raving about you all night, swearing that he will make you his wife or die. Oh, Julia!" (she had never called her Julia before) "if you have any sympathy for a mother's bleeding heart, you will save my son! I withdraw all the objections I have urged, and will give my consent to your union with my son if you will pledge me never to say that you have been a governess."

Julia could not feel other than sympathy for the mother, however distasteful to her the woman was.

"Mrs. LaGrange, you amaze me! I have none but the kindest feelings for Mr. LaGrange, and he knows it. I am grateful to you for employing me at such a liberal salary; I am willing to leave the house at any time and seek employment elsewhere, and will certainly do so if I am a cause of trouble or unhappiness. Pardon me when I say a marriage with

 

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your son is utterly impossible. I will never marry any one whom I do not love more than all the world beside."

 

"Good heavens! Julia, is it possible that you will refuse Emile LaGrange, when I tell you that his income from United States bonds alone is ten thousand dollars a year?"

"It is not only possible, Mrs. LaGrange, but it is absolutely certain that I have refused his offers repeatedly, and would not marry him if his income was ten times as great. But, understand me, I will do anything that it is proper for me to do to befriend your son whom I really like for his good qualities."

"Miss Dearing, I have done you injustice. I thought you had been scheming to win the affections of my son. I am truly sorry that you cannot return his love, but I must say I respect your integrity and honest independence. There is not another girl in New Orleans who would not jump at the chance of marrying Émile LaGrange. You will do him and his mother a great kindness by remaining in the family, and I assure you I will not be apt to misunderstand you again."

"Very well, Mrs. LaGrange, I am glad we understand one another. For the present I will remain in my capacity of governess."

It was evident that Mrs. LaGrange had determined upon a new plan to accomplish her purpose, for as Julia held aloof from the proposition, Mrs. LaGrange became anxious to consummate it. "Evidently this proud beauty must be other than she seems, and must have been once, if she is not now, an heiress herself." Such were the thoughts of the lady as she determined to find out Julia's history and, if favorable, to bring about a marriage with her son and this lovely girl, who was ever patient and ever dignified: Julia suspected nothing of this, and acceded to her wishes from the

 

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kindly impulses of her generous nature. Few men were less congenial to her than this amiable coxcomb, Émile LaGrange.

 

"When did you hear last from Etowah?" asked Mrs. LaGrange about a week after the above conversation.

"I have not heard from Etowah since my arrival in New Orleans. Why should any one in that city write to me?"

"I thought you lived there, my dear; that is why I asked the question."

"I have lived in many places; the world is my home," said Julia.

"And how do you like such a Bohemian life?"

"I do not know what you mean by 'Bohemian.' I have read Miss Fisher's novel, 'A Daughter of Bohemia,' but I did not see why such a title should be given to the book. The heroine was neither a Gipsy nor a native of Bohemia, and I am sure I am as far from being either as Norah Desmond was."

"Well, we will substitute the word 'cosmopolite,' if you prefer it."

"That is as objectionable as the other, for I am intensely Southern in my nature, thoughts, and impulses."

"It is certainly plain enough that you are not a 'Yankee school-marm,' said Mrs. LaGrange.

"I wish I was!" impetuously replied Julia, "for then no one would think it more honorable for a woman to depend on the charity of friends than to earn one's own living. We have many false notions, and that is the chiefest of them."

"But marriage, my dear, is the true destiny of woman, and a woman with your natural advantage, and, permit me to add, the further advantage of having been the idol of your distinguished father, ought to be the leader of New Orleans society. I know of no one who could come nearer realizing

 

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the ideal of the polished Frenchman--'Pleased with all the world, whom all the world can please.'"

 

Julia's eyes flashed as she said indignantly: "What right had you to pry into my private history? I see that you have written to my former home to find out what my past life was, and, Mrs. LaGrange, I can only say that such unpardonable curiosity must end our intercourse. My reasons for leaving that home and seeking to make my own support are my own." To Julia's surprise Mrs. LaGrange did not get angry, but smiling blandly said to her: "Julia, I apologized to you when I had been guilty of unintentional injustice. It is your time now. Our minister, Rev. Mr. F., gave me all the information I have. He left the parlor a few moments before you came in and handed me this note, which he said your friend, Colonel Barnum, requested him to give you."

Julia crimsoned as she took the letter and read it. Then handing it to Mrs. LaGrange she said in her natural manner, which she had repressed up to this time: "Well, I suppose, since Mr. F. has told you all about me, it's no use for me to play governess in this house any longer. Read the note if you wish. Now, Mrs. LaGrange, I must express my regret for what you have learned and for my own language to you."

"Why, my dear, do you regret my discovery? It has made me very happy. I have not been unmindful of the good influence you have exerted over Émile. I understand now how your pride should have caused you to have rejected him so long as I supposed you were simply a poor girl who had been educated to be a governess. But surely, now that I know you are his social equal and, but for the war, would be as wealthy as Émile himself, there can be no good reason why, as his wife, you should not be the envy of every belle

 

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in the Crescent City. Oh! Julia, I shall be so proud of your queenly beauty, if you will only consent to be to New Orleans what the Empress Eugénie is to France; you can if you will only--"

 

"My dear Mrs. LaGrange," interrupted Julia, "I will never marry your son. Neither do I wish to be what you call 'a leader of society;' I do not approve of married belles. I think a woman's name should find its way in the public prints but twice during life--first at her marriage, and second when she dies. I shrink from notoriety, as I shrink from anything penurious. I must repeat, I am ready--nay anxious, since my retreat has been discovered--to leave New Orleans and seek to make my support elsewhere. A home as luxurious as this is mine for life, if I will accept it from my uncle, but I will not eat idle bread, nor depend upon any one for my living."

"Well, Miss Dearing," said Mrs. LaGrange in a frigid tone, "henceforth we will resume our positions of employer and employee until the contract is finished. If you are so heartless as to send my son to perdition, I must be hard, too. I have offered you a mother's love and you spurn it."

"As you please, Mrs. LaGrange; I prefer to leave your service at once and seek elsewhere for my subsistence, but my word shall be my bond."

No entreaties on Émile's part could induce Julia to grant him an interview. She ceased to read in the parlor or library in the evening, and sought the solitude of her own room in preference. The little girls were her constant companions and were devotedly attached to her. Their rapid progress in their studies and improvement in deportment caused general comment.

Chapter 30

 

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CHAPTER XIX.
THE KU-KLUX KLAN.

The scene is the court-house square in Etowah. The audience is composed of ignorant plantation negroes. The speaker is a large man of herculean proportions, whose mind seemed an infernal machine endowed with life. Of obscure parentage, he seemed full of venomous hatred against those who had been more favored by birth and fortune than himself. Ambitious for political control in a time of anarchy, he gloated over the opportunities afforded by the existence of martial law to humiliate the gentry of the country who had never treated him as a social equal. It was to this man, then a merciless overseer but a plotter and agitator, to whom old Zeke had referred in his conversation with Barnum, related in a previous chapter. From the position of steward in a little hotel in Etowah, he had risen to be an overseer who was noted for his cruelty to the slaves placed under his control. From that position he was promoted to his present prominence by the accidents of war. He was now a candidate for the United States Senate, and, though an extremely ignorant man, it seemed probable that the Legislature, composed chiefly of ignorant negro members, would elect him to that exalted office. But jealousy had crept into the ranks of the white Radicals, and he was now thrust out, even from their society. So obnoxious had he made himself that the hotels refused to receive him as a guest.

 

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Yells greeted him as he ascended the platform, and he proceeded to speak as follows:

"You have not received any more wages than have the mules on the plantations. I see before me men whom I have known for thirty-two years. Unless your former masters will pay wages, withheld for thirty-two years, to each man and his wife, who has worked for that period of time, what faith can you place in their promises to pay you now and hereafter? Go to the North and you will get twenty-five dollars a month, and your wife will receive two dollars a week, and you will be paid every Saturday night. In thirty-two years this will amount to eleven thousand and six hundred and eighty dollars, and that much is due to you, and when it is paid--paid to every man and his wife, who has worked for thirty-two years--it will buy the plantations in this State. The government intends to give you these lands if you will join the loyal league and vote right. Freedmen, demand these lands, and avenge the oppressions to which you have been subjected all your lives."

 

Then followed a harangue which was replete with suggestions of the vilest and most incendiary nature. To add to the effect, liquor was freely given to the excited negroes, and the court-house square seemed changed into Pandemonium--a veritable council-ground of evil spirits.

There was nothing in this speech to indicate that neither at the North nor in any country on earth the money earned as wages paid per month would leave the average laborer any surplus after the expense of supporting the large families of the slaves at the South had been met. Suppose the same speech were made to the same audience twenty years after they had been emancipated, would it find them better

 

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supplied with food and clothing than they and their families had enjoyed as slaves? Would it leave them any surplus after these had been paid for? But his object was to foment strife, and he succeeded beyond his anticipations.

 

Gone now was that beautiful trust and confidence between master and servant, and in its place were suspicion and dawning hate. The wind was sowing the whirlwind; and malice gleamed in eyes that had not shown it before, and the seeds of anarchy were sown. He and his associates assured these ignorant freedmen that the land which belonged to their former masters would be given to them by the United States Government, just as it had given them freedom. The torch was their weapon of destruction and arson their political creed. He instilled into their hearts the same fell spirit which induced the maddened, misguided mob of the Paris Commune to raze to the ground and burn the historic palace of the Tuileries, with its wealth of art which it had taken centuries to collect and preserve.

The speaker who next ascended the stand was introduced by Washburn as "the Reverend Mr. Stunner, of Hinds county, a hero in the cause of emancipation, who was, all during the war, secretly coöperating with me at the imminent risk of his life." Mr. Stunner had appeared to take the place of Mr. Wellington Napoleon Potts, who was not present, or, if he was, did not make his presence known. He could hardly have recognized his whilom "silent partner" if he had been present.

The "Reverend Mr. Stunner" wore an immaculate white cravat, and the expression on his face was that of extreme humility and piety. His appearance was in all respects the reverse of that of George Washburn, and he seemed almost afraid of himself as he faced the half-drunken negroes. But

 

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when he began to tell them that a bill had just been introduced in Congress at his suggestion only, and had been passed by the House of Representatives solely through his influence, owing to his well-known services in behalf of the poor negro slaves for whom he had risked his life, they began to give attention to his utterances. When he exclaimed that he would now explain to them the "provisions of the bill," he was interrupted by a leading negro exhorter, who elicited thunderous applause when he said:

 

"Dat's de kind of talk; tell us about de provisions de government is agwine to give us."

Our friend Stunner was equal to the occasion, and immediately addressed himself to the stomachs, rather than the heads of the audience, who had no conception of any other meaning of the word "provisions." Finally, after he had got them thoroughly interested by making them the wildest promises, he began to describe the Freedmen's Bureau bill, which had just passed the United States Senate by a vote of thirty-seven against ten. "This bill," he exclaimed loudly, "This bill, in authorizing the distribution by the Freedmen's Bureau, of clothing and provisions, invites the President to confiscate and place at the disposal of the bureau three millions of acres of land to be leased or sold, or given to the freedmen, in lots of forty acres. It confirms for three years the concessions and grants made by the Federal general to negroes of the valuable plantations confiscated by him on the Sea Islands, off the coast of the Carolinas. It authorizes the bureau to buy lands for the freedmen, and to establish schools and asylums for them, and announces that Congress will vote all the money needed."

"And give us provisions?" shouted the negro speaker in

 

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the audience (who had doubtless been drilled for the occasion by George Washburn and the Rev. Stunner).

 

"Yes, and give you all that you can eat and wear," replied the generous Stunner.

"Golly! dat's de talk for us," replied several; and now the negroes crowded around the stand to hear every word "the Rev. Mr. Stunner" uttered.

"It stipulates," he continued, "that when the rights of persons of color as to contracts or security of person or property are threatened, the President shall require the intervention of the military in their favor.

"It prescribes the penalties, amounting to one thousand dollars and one year in prison, against any one who shall attempt to re-establish slavery or to make distinctions," (here Stunner spoke very slowly, pausing at each word, that he might the better emphasize the statement), 'or to make distinctions," he repeated slowly, " on account of color. You must understand, my brethren, that this law means that you are as good as white folks, and can ride, walk, eat, drink, talk, go to theatres and churches, just as they do, on a footing of perfect equality and"-- "Kin we marry de white gals?" asked an excited colored brother, interrupting the speaker. "Certainly," answered Stunner, "and if they won't have you, why, you can just take 'em. The longest pole will get the persimmon."

An indescribable uproar succeeded this remark, during which John Hefflin was seen shaking hands with various parties in the audience after the manner of Methodists at a camp-meeting, as if to say: "You are indebted to me for all this; you are indebted to me for that bill, and not to my friend, Stunner, who was only my assistant."

Amid the confusion, Stunner stood still, his hands crossed

 

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piously in front of him, his face having a look of meek beneficence, as he surveyed the masses before him for whom he had done so much. When comparative quiet was restored, he again addressed them, stating that the most important announcement was yet to come, viz.: "The bill constitutes the agents of the Freedmen's Bureau judges of all the contests where the rights of the enfranchised negroes are interested, and that the head-officer in this department is your lifelong champion, Mr. Wellington Napoleon Potts."

 

Amid laughter and tears, the negroes thronged around the stand as if the millennium had come, and the negro "striker" again cried out: "Do you mean that the judge, and the sheriff, and the jury, and the marshal, and the policeman, are all to be removed or made subject to the orders of Mr. Wellington Potts?"

"Yes, my good brother, that is the law. At last, at last! the bottom rail is on top!"

As they heard Stunner utter this familiar illustration, the crowd whooped, and yells filled the air as the drunken negroes wandered about the streets, and it was difficult for Stunner to get them to listen to the concluding sentences, in which he announced that the bill was passed in the House of Representatives after being amended so as to provide that, should the freedmen to whom these confiscated lands had been given, or should be given, leased, or sold, be subsequently dispossessed by reason of amnesty, or for political reasons they should be indemnified for such losses. The negro mob had heard enough.

This was "freedom" indeed! for the government was going to give them "provisions" all their lives, and, therefore, it

----

 

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was useless to work any more. That is the way they construed his speech.

 

The planters, already fearfully impoverished, were now confronted by this new danger, and, that the reader may appreciate the situation, a brief résumé as to slavery is admissible.

Slavery, as it had existed in the Southern States, resembled more the condition of the serfs of Russia than the cruel slavery of the Romans. The Russian serf was bound to the soil and was the property of the Seigneur. They were compelled to cultivate a certain ground could not leave it without permission. This was also the status of the slaves in the South. In Greece and Rome the number of the slaves frequently exceeded the free population. The law forbade slaves from pleading or giving testimony in the courts; so it did in the South. But there was nothing in the laws which prevailed in the Southern States that permitted the barbarities practiced by the Lacedemonians upon their Helots. Nor was there anything which approached the Roman laws which required slaves to have their heads shaved, their ears pierced, and forced them to wear a costume indicating their condition. The Romans had the right of inflicting death upon their slaves with impunity. In the Southern States a master who murdered his slave was executed as a murderer and execrated as a human monster. Under the great Augustus, the senatus consultum ordained, if a citizen was killed in his own house, all his slaves could be put to torture. This was the law in ancient Rome.

In some cases slaves were punished by being delivered in the arena to be devoured by wild beasts. Hence the odium which attaches to "chains and slavery." In the South no barbarous practices could be indulged in without punishment,

 

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and the criminal law applied to the master as well as the slave. As in Rome, however, they could not marry without their master's permission.

 

The freedmen of Rome were not made citizens except under certain circumstances defined by law. They were called liberti with reference to their masters, and libertini with reference to their being freed men, their new condition. But even the freedmen of the first class were under certain obligations to their masters, and were not genuine citizens. They wore a cap as a sign of recent freedom, but took the names of their previous masters, and so did the freedmen of the South get their names. The sons of freedmen became citizens. As with Russian serfs, emancipation meant with the Romans a gradual evolution, and the owners were compensated for the loss of their slaves, both under the Junian law in Rome, and recently by the decree of the Czar Alexander, in Russia. Like the Roman colonists the "Junian Latins," as the freedmen were called, were neither slaves nor citizens. In America the emancipation of the slaves of the South without any law by which slave-owners, even in the loyal border States, could be compensated, was not only a war measure, but it secured 79,638 colored enlisted soldiers in the volunteer services and 99,337 colored soldiers enlisted by the United States Government, while twice that number were employed on fortifications and doing other military work. Now, a war of races was threatened and a reign of terror prevailed.

A hen in gathering her chickens together and sheltering them with her wings, when danger menaces them, cries to them: "Ku-Klux! Ku-Klux!" From so simple a fact originated the name of the dreaded secret society called the Ku-Klux Klan.

 

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The statutes of the French carbonari were most stringent. The faintest whisper of the secrets of the society to outsiders constituted treason, and was punishable with death. No written communications were permitted. In 1819, there were about 20,000 carbonari in Paris. In 1821, the government was officially informed that the society existed in twenty-five out of the eighty-six departments in France.

The carbonari in Italy and France were republicans. Men like Voyer d'Argenson, Lafayette, Laffite, Dupont de l'Eure, Barthe, Teste, and other republicans of mark, joined the movement, and adopted the ritual of the Abruzzi carbonari. The Congrés National of the Carbonari, which had its headquarters at Paris, seemed for a time omnipotent. All the insurrectionary movements from 1819 to 1822 were attributed to them.

After the July revolution of 1830, the carbonari gave in their allegiance to Louis Philippe. The conservative carbonari do not now exist; but the radical faction founded the new charbonerie démocratique. This carbonari is called La Commune. The old "Commune," which acted with the Jacobins and reeked with the deeds of Robespierre and Danton, is dead.

The new Commune are "Red Republicans" and Socialists: they are members of the Societe Internationale, the members of which are called Nihilists in Russia.

The same discontent, the same violent agitation by revolutionary proletarians, characterized the secret society of Ireland.

The colonel of the 69th New York regiment, and the general commanding the "Irish Brigade" in the Union army, were Fenians. There were 35,000 Fenians regularly enrolled in Ireland in 1858. Catholics in Ireland were prohibited by

 

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law from possessing fire-arms. "Circles" were established in all the large American cities, and thousands of soldiers in both the Union and the Confederate armies were Fenians. The Fenian society had its ramifications all over Great Britain and Ireland. A member of the Canadian ministry was killed on the steps of his own door; his opposition to Fenianism was alleged as the motive for the deed. The Duke of Edinburgh was dangerously wounded in Port Jackson, Australia.

 

Carbonari in Italy, the Commune in France, Fenianism in Ireland, Socialism in Germany, Nihilism in Russia, Ku-Kluxism in the Southern States. Well might the question be asked in the United States Senate, "Can you place in penitentiary walls eight millions of people?"

Civil law had been annihilated, and anarchy reigned supreme. Three States now constituted the "Third Military District." Martial law was declared, "Magna Charta" forgotten, the "habeas corpus" Act a nullity.

An ignorant mass of semi-civilized beings, recently emancipated, were being organized in every county in the South into secret societies called "Loyal Leagues." They were taught that their former masters were their oppressors and enemies. The organizers of these "circles," of these "huts," of these "venditas," of these "ventes" in the Southern States were adventurers of the meanest sort; men without principle and without patriotism; men who would have joined the anarchists in Russia, Ireland, Italy or France; men who were not recognized as good citizens or respectable members of society in any part of the United States. The majority of them were penniless adventurers who had not fought in either army. They were called "Scallawags."

 

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When King Louis XVIII, succeeded the exiled Emperor Napoleon in 1817, the people of France were divided into two parties--conquered Imperialists and triumphant Loyalists; but they were Frenchmen, all of the same race, impulses, characteristics and sentiments. Deserters and traitors flaunted the evidence of their paid-for treachery before the disgusted eyes of their compatriots, who had vainly followed the fortunes of their dethroned emperor. Riches followed treachery.

Human nature is the same the world over, and in all times, among all peoples, success is worshipped by the fickle populace eager to cry, "The King is dead; long live the King!"

So it was in the South, and the few white citizens who became suppliant "boot-licks" to the conquerors were enriched with unearned wealth and rewarded for their treachery. They were insolent in their pretensions, arrogant in their professions, mendacious in their reports, and they alone were believed and trusted by the government. Among them Wellington Napoleon Potts was a shining light. But they were a mere handful, while the illiterate, semi-civilized negroes just emerging from slavery were an easy prey to the designing adventurers who assumed all political power. Three typical leaders met. They counselled together. Said one: "Our cause is lost, and I shall leave the country." And the mighty leader, with his shaggy locks and lordly mien, passed away unpardoned and unrepentant to the last. What other country would have allowed him, no longer a citizen of the United States, to hold high office in, and frame the organic laws of, his native State? Another, whose feeble frame held an eagle spirit, dauntless, unselfish, patriotic, humanitarian! the leader in the House of Representatives,

 

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as the former was in the Senate of the United States, stood up upon his crutches and calmly said: "I have committed no crime; I shall live quietly at home among my people." Nor could the fetters and disease engendered by prison air break his spirit; and when death came, it found him the governor of his State and honored throughout the Union.

 

The third, an ex-State official, as prompt to "bend the knee that thrift might follow fawning," as he was to plunge the people, to whom he was indebted for all that he had, into desperate war, espoused the cause of radicalism and became the richest man in the State. Twelve years before he was an obscure lawyer, poor and almost unknown. Four years before, still poor, he was the universally trusted servant of the people; two years before their heroic civic leader, whose iron will scorned to treat with the enemy on any other basis than the entire independence of the sovereign State, which he seemed to consider, as did Louis XIV., the kingdom of France, "L' Etat ç' est moi!" And thus was the ballot placed in the hands of ignorant negroes suddenly emancipated.

And yet in many of the Western States the organic law discriminated directly against the negro, though there was but one negro to a thousand whites. Even Kansas, which entered the Union in 1864, during the throes of that bloody war which was inaugurated on her soil, restricted the right of suffrage to the white man. Nevada, whose admission to the Union was subsequent to the enactment of the 13th amendment, denied suffrage to "any negro, Chinaman or mulatto." The question of admitting the negro to suffrage was submitted to popular vote in Connecticut, Wisconsin and Minnesota in the autumn of 1865, and at the same time in Colorado when she was forming her Constitution preparatory

 

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to seeking admission to the Union, and in all four, under control of the Republican party at the time, the proposition was defeated.

 

In Connecticut only those negroes were allowed to vote who were admitted freedmen prior to 1818. New York permitted a negro to vote only after he had been a citizen three years, and for one year the owner of a freehold worth $250, free of all incumbrances. In the other Northern States only white men were allowed to vote.

The negroes now looked to Hallback for leadership, and his opposition to the white people, as a race, ceased at the point where it menaced the personal safety of his former mistress and her family.

In walking through the square he heard a conversation which convinced him that danger had never so menaced them before, and witnessed a scene which he rightly thought meant trouble.

A group of young men, whose excited but earnest manner attracted the loungers in the court-house square in Etowah, were discussing the events of the previous day. The mysterious order, called "Ku-Klux," had been organized in various parts of the South, but up to this time no such organization, it was thought, had been perfected in this State. Whether these young men contemplated taking the law in their own hands in this manner is not known, but they were evidently much excited about the sudden arrest of several prominent citizens on the alleged ground that they had refused to deliver to the government detective, John Hefflin, property seized by him as cotton which had belonged to the Confederate Government, but which they maintained had been raised after the Confederate Government had ceased to exist.

 

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Hallback listened attentively to the conversation. The previous night four dwellings had been burned; the night before thirteen fires had been started in different portions of the town. The suggestion of Hefflin to the "Torch-Bearers" was bearing its fruit; arson was becoming a crime of nightly occurrence. Arson was almost unknown in the days of slavery. The excitement was evidently increasing as the discussion proceeded.

"Shall we be plundered remorselessly, with no law to protect us, with the right of trial by jury denied us, and the military only recognized?" said one.

Hallback was not seen by them, a small house concealing him from their view, but he listened intently.

"Shall we be robbed, insulted and traduced by the followers of an ex-slave-driver, whose brutality in the days of slavery made his name a by-word and a reproach?" asked a second.

"He has openly avowed his purpose to instigate a war of races, and has publicly advocated the doctrine of miscegenation, undermining the mutual trust and confidence of the white and black races, and is, therefore, an outlaw!" exclaimed a determined citizen.

"Aye!" responded another, "the sanctity of the family is the most sacred of human rights; social order is at stake. Shall a handful of men set at naught the rights of manhood and womanhood, overturn the old English law, 'a man's house is his castle,' and make our servants secret spies and informers? This state of things is intolerable."

"That is all true," remarked the more patient and conservative, "but he is backed by the United States Government, and we had better submit, for the present, until the truth is

 

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made known in Washington, and this tyranny breaks down the party that inaugurated it."

 

"Bosh!" replied the indignant listener, "what people who helped to forge their own chains were ever worthy of freedom? Last night five hundred armed negro men, who had abandoned their labors on plantations were in the city, making night hideous with their fierce threats of burning, riot and outrage. I heard this man Washburn speak to them in the court-house square, urging them to deeds which none but drunken semi-savages could have hailed with such shouts as they did. I tell you, if the whole army of the United States were here to enforce the license thus advocated, death, especially the death of our daughters, would be preferable to submission!"

"I counsel decisive, but just action," said a gray-haired man, "and I do it rather for the sake of the future of the negroes than of the whites in this country. I do not fear negro supremacy; nor do I think the war of races, if inaugurated, would continue long. It would end in massacre. In case of a conflict they would be swept away, while yonder miscreant, with his ill-gotten gains, would be safe at the North heralded as a martyr. For the sake of the negroes, then, I say to you, forbear! Warn him to leave; then go to Washington in such numbers and in such manner as to insure respect, and make known your grievances. When all this has been done, and no relief is given, then 'let justice be done though the heavens fall!'"

As the old gentleman, who, while walking in the park, had, like Hallback, accidentally heard the young men conversing, strode s'owly away, every hat was lifted in token of respect for the venerable Colonel Hugh Leslie.

 

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Some ferocious, blood-thirsty braggarts are cowards at heart, but Wash urn was not one of these. Coarse, brutal, with strong common sense and but little education, this muscular man was bold and courageous to a remarkable degree. Deceived by past submission on the part of the people of Etowah, he became bolder and more threatening after this.

Chapter 31

 

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CHAPTER XXX.
HALLBACK.

" Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto."

(Terence's play, Heauton , Act III., Scene V.)

To the human eye life is, like the ocean, limitless as the skies, and Hallback now stood on its sunrise shore. To him the axiomatic advice uttered by Tacitus over a thousand years ago, "It is better to look on the dark side of things," was meaningless, for youth is ever sanguine. At first the sympathies of the white people were with him, because it was evident that he desired to promote a kindly feeling among the blacks and harmony between the races. But he stood alone since the death of "Uncle Barney," like a log in mid-stream in time of a great flood, utterly unable to steer the forces that seethed about him. To side unconditionally with the whites meant, he thought, a base treachery to his race; to side with the unscrupulous leaders whom they now followed like "blind leaders of the blind" seemed to him to lead them to certain ruin, which would end in an Iliad of woes! For the whites, it was enough that he was a Radical leader and a Republican voter, sustaining the "scallawags" of the land. For this, they affirmed, he ought to be behind a mule and a plow, with a "driver" like Washburn was, to "teach him his proper place." The blacks were being taught by Washburn and his associates to regard him as a traitor to their race, and George Washburn was now their acknowledged leader.

Thus the poor fellow was isolated, more than he had ever

 

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been as a slave, by circumstances beyond his control, which finally aligned him, owing to his combative nature, among the most extreme of the negro leaders. Under Washburn's leadership the idea that the quickest way to get their newly-ordained rights was to destroy the property of their former owners, seemed to be rapidly taking possession of the negro mind, and to this doctrine Hallback had openly announced that he could neither acquiesce nor remain indifferent. Surely nothing can be more difficult than to become the leader of a people suddenly elevated from slavery to citizenship. The best trained and most experienced intellects may well hesitate to assume this rôle, especially when the logic of events arrays the ex-slaves of an inferior race in solid phalanx against those to whom they have looked all their lives for counsel, sympathy and support. To Hallback the field was limited at first to his native county, and then to the adjacent counties. But, among the two thousand negro men with whom he counselled, there were not fifty who could read and write. To them the twenty thousand troops that had captured the town of Etowah seemed the largest army in existence. To them the story of the battles fought during the long war of four years' duration was incomprehensible, and the collapse of the Confederacy caused them utter amazement.

 

Their mental horizon was limited to the plantation and other plantations. Their ignorance was the corner-stone of slavery. Admit that their masters had been overcome and forced to lay aside their weapons--nay, more, to yield up all rights of ownership to their slaves--seemed to their ignorant minds and vivid imaginations the realization of a dream as wild and enchanting as any portrayed in the Arabian Nights. Thus deluded, they listened to the suggestions of Hefflin, Washburn and the sanctimonious Wellington Napoleon

 

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Potts, and confidently prepared to claim and take possession of the homes of their late masters as soon as the promised confiscation act should be enacted. Meanwhile the information gained by Hallback weighed like a nightmare upon his mind and conscience. Its import, he felt, was exceedingly serious and probably meant the killing of George Washburn. The man who had spurned him from his presence the very day that he overheard the young men talking, because he refused to lend himself to further his corrupt schemes, was thus threatened. Vendetta was stalking through the land, and in his own heart he felt sufficient animosity to revenge the death of "Uncle Barney." But he could not persuade himself to become by silence an accomplice to his murder by others, and there had been no personal difficulty between Washburn and himself that would justify either in taking the life of the other.

 

Besides, his ambition was Utopian in its scope, and was no less a motive than to lead his race back to the African continent, the land of their forefathers.

To whom could he turn for advice?

He reflected upon the situation, and the more he reflected the more perplexed he became.

Had the negroes shown that they were capable of using the ballot safely?

The county treasurer was a negro who could not read or write, and was notoriously corrupt. The negro superintendent of public instruction was under indictment for embezzlement and fraud. The late treasurer in the county where the State capital lies was a negro, who could neither read nor write, and who was killed by another negro a few weeks before for a disgraceful intrigue. Many of the members of the Legislature were negroes who could neither read nor write,

 

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and the grand jury, sitting at the time, was composed of negroes who were totally illiterate. Among all the members of his party, Colonel Barnum alone had listened patiently and counseled wisely. Colonel Barnum had said to him:

 

"Of course I shall have nothing to do with political matters here, but I will say to you that the qualification of a juror under the law is a proper subject for the decision of the courts; and it will not be pretended that an illiterate negro or white man is competent to exercise the functions of a judge."

"But," said Hallback, "these men have assured us that the military will appoint and remove judges for us as they please, and our people believe that they can dictate who the judges shall be."

"You need not fear that," replied Barnum. "The military commander should and I have no doubt will, maintain the just power of the judiciary, and he should not permit the civil authorities and laws to be embarrassed by military interference. Continue the good work you have commenced; be conservative, and assure the negroes that their best friends are not strangers who live a thousand miles distant, and who care nothing for them except to use them as the monkey did the cat, to pull the chestnuts out of the fire."

Barnum rarely joked, especially with inferiors, but he realized the force of this homely illustration, and Hallback had used it to advantage at the last meeting of the "League."

Thus the breach was widened between him and the scheming and unscrupulous and self-constituted leaders of the deluded negroes, who were quick to turn from one extreme to the other.

But the very course of action which Barnum had assured him would not be taken was suddenly adopted, and the

 

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judiciary itself was made subordinate to the military power. The right of trial by jury was also practically abolished.

 

All men who had served the Confederate States Government were, by military order, prohibited from serving on juries. This practically disfranchised the white men, nine-tenths of whom had been in the Confederate service.

Self-reliance was Hallback's boast at this period. Without knowing that he was quoting from the most famous freed slave of antiquity, he said to himself: "I am a man, and nothing that belongs to man is alien to me."

The more Hallback deliberated, the harder it was for him to refrain from warning Washburn, though he was his most formidable enemy, of the peril which awaited him if he persisted in his course. Finally he arose from his sleepless bed and proceeded to the house where Washburn boarded. It was a low negro tenement, in the centre of the town, in a disreputable locality. He knocked at the door, and was shown to Washburn's room by a young negress. There he knocked again, and was answered by the summons:

"Come in."

He entered, hat in hand, with respectful manner, and was motioned to a chair by Washburn. The great physiognomist, Lavater, whom Gœthe called the wisest of men, would have been impressed by Washburn's appearance. A man of massive proportions, six feet and two inches in height and muscular enough to have challenged any pugilist to a trial of physical strength, his face was like that of a mastiff. Metempsychosis seemed reversed, for in that malicious face the spirit of the bull-dog seemed to have gone. A child would have shrunk from him in terror. With this countenance, expressive of the utmost malice, he gruffly said to Hallback:

 

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"What have you come here again for, and why have you selected this late hour?"

 

It was nearly midnight, and it did seem strange that Hallback should have called at so late an hour; but his restless spirit would not admit of longer delay.

"Mr. Washburn," he answered, "I will not pretend to be a friend of yours; in fact, I consider you my enemy; whether I am yours or not let results determine. I have certainly called on a friendly mission now. I have called to tell you that your life is in danger. I think you will certainly be killed if you don't change your tactics." He then related, without naming any individuals, what he had heard; then arose and started to leave the room, when, in a peremptory voice, Washburn said: "Halt! By God! you shall not leave this room until you tell me the names of the men who sent you here with these threats. I despise them as I despise you, and I would kick you out of this room if I did not have better use for you."

"That's about the size of it," said a man as he emerged from the closet and stood between Hallback and the door. Turning to see who this man was, Hallback was amazed to see that he was practically a prisoner, for Hefflin stood at the door and Washburn was in the act of advancing toward him. Both were armed. What would have happened is not known, for at that moment several voices without the house demanded admittance. Hefflin leaped through the window into darkness. Washburn extinguished the light and stood upright behind the table, his pistol drawn, and ready for what he rightly conceived to be the visit of the Ku-klux Klan.

"You cannot come in," said he, closing the door just as

----

 

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Hallback stepped from the room into the hall and into the midst of a number of masked men. He was totally unprepared for this, and was in imminent danger until the leader said: "Pinion his arms and guard him--now go in."

 

In a moment the door was broken down and they ordered Washburn to come forth and be prepared to leave the community forever or suffer the penalty.

"Take that for my answer!" he cried, firing his pistol into their ranks as he spoke.

The fire was returned by score of shots, and the fearless desperado lay dead upon the floor, his smoking pistol clenched in his now nerveless hand, his pulse stilled forever.

In spite of what he thought would have been his own fate had this Ku-klux Klan not appeared just as it did, Hallback was dreadfully shocked, and indignantly denounced as a dastardly outrage the killing of the very man whom he had felt that he would have to kill.

Strange to say, none of the masked men resented Hallback's speech, a solemn silence brooded over the midnight scene; his arms were unpinioned and a voice in the darkness said to him: "It is done; you can go; we do not wish to harm you."

In less time than it has taken to relate it, the band had disappeared, the policemen went on their beats as usual, and it was only when the Mayor was by Hallback of the tragedy that he summoned citizens to assist him in investigating this first act performed by that dreaded organization.

It all happened in a few minutes, and yet, when the jury of inquest arrived at the house, they on the front door the plain outlines of a coffin surmounted by the skeleton head and cross-bones.

The hushed voices of hundreds of frightened negroes were

 

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heard in the vicinity, and it seemed that the death of their white leader would meet with summary vengeance until the light of the lanterns show the skull and crossbones above a coffin drawn upon the door, but apparently real objects.

 

"Who placed them there? How is it possible for folks to do it in so short a time?" Such were their questions. This mysterious symbol of death seemed to their excited imagination to be of supernatural origin; superstitious fear gained the ascendency over thoughts of vengeance, and they scattered and disappeared as rapidly as the masked men had done; and as they fled, a tall, black-robed, funereal figure arose near the door and towered up, first five feet, then ten, and finally he stood fifteen feet in height, rockets shooting mean while from beneath his arms, from his sides and back, while the single eye in the midst of the masked forehead gleamed like a living coal amid the pyrotechnic display. Being totally unacquainted with pyrotechnics, they fled panic-stricken. But one solitary negro remained, and it was he who had hurriedly informed the Mayor and had now returned with the posse, and now pointed out the scene and related the incidents of that terrible vendetta.

That solitary negro was Hallback, and his vituperation of the "cowardly assassins" was enough to have aroused the negroes to take summary vengeance had they heard him.

Forgotten now was the infamous character of the dead man; forgotten the murder of old uncle Barney; the one thought was that the acknowledged boldest leader of his race, however malignant his character, had been slain. Forgotten were prudence, enmity, malice, ambition, which fled from his impulsive heart in the presence of the assassinated dead.

 

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Finally, he seemed suddenly to remember the importance that a court might attach to his words and was silent.

The Mayor turned to the crowd which had now collected and said: "If any one else present was a witness to this shooting let him stand forth." Instantly Hefflin stepped to the front and said:

"I saw George Washburn when he fell dead, your honor."

"Who was his murderer?"

"There were several; but the man who fired the fatal shot is the negro who has expressed himself so violently, and there he stands," pointing to Hallbeck.

"You infamous liar; I'll kill you for this!" said Hallback, springing toward Hefflin.

"Arrest him!" said the Mayor, and before he could make his way through the crowd, he had been thrown to the ground, in spite of his resistance, and pinioned again. Was ever circumstantial evidence stronger against any innocent prisoner?

Hefflin declared that Hallback had done it to avenge the death of old Barney, and that the crowd fired wildly, while Hallback placed his pistol to Washburn's head. Meanwhile Hallback was not armed, and had gone there on a mission of mercy.

Behold him a month later, a victim subject to the merciless orders of the accomplice of the murderer of old Barney, now the preferred officer of the great government which he, the innocent prisoner, had so gallantly served! Confined in a cell in Fort Pulaski, and chained down, like Bonivard, with the ceaseless requiem of the waves around and about him, charged with the murder of George Washburn and denied the right of trial by jury!

At last the darkness is relieved, and Captain Rook, the

 

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commander of the fort, stood in the door-way. He ordered the prisoner to stand up. Then Hallback submitted without a murmur as the orderly searched thoroughly his person and pockets. Hefflin and Captain Rook then spoke together, and Captain Rook ordered the barber to be sent for to shave the prisoner's head. He was then ordered back in his cell. In an hour he was brought out blindfolded, carried down into a room, seated into a chair and the bandage taken from his eyes. Then Hefflin said to him, "Hallback, I have an order to put you through, and I am going to do it. Do you wish to see a minister first?" This was enough to cause any ordinary man to shudder, but, before Hallback could answer, Hefflin stepped aside, the bandage was taken from his eyes and he saw a soldier standing near a brass cannon with a string from the cannon to his head, and wherever he turned his eyes, the cannon was ranged upon him. His head was then lathered with two scrubbing brushes, and there were two or three razors lying on the table. He was then made to stand up and be measured against the wall.

 

During this time, Hefflin said to him, "Now, sir, I've got you, and if you don't tell what you have heard, and what you have done, and what you know about the murder of George Washburn, I am going to send you to kingdom come!"

With a fierce look and an undaunted manner, Hallback answered:

"I know nothing whatever about it."

"You need not tell me a lie," said the baffled detective; "the rebels have been posting you, but it's no use."

Hefflin then ordered him to be taken back to his cell, saying he would give him one day for reflection before carrying

 

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into execution the sentence passed upon him, and adding that he would have his liberty if he would turn State's evidence and swear who the guilty parties were.

 

He was then put back in his cell, where he remained in solitary confinement for five days.

Again he was brought forth, carried to another part of the fort, and the "sweat-box" was shown to him. This is an instrument of torture unknown to military science.

"I will put you there for a month," said Hefflin, "if you don't reveal all you know."

Hallback looked at this torture-box, which would rival the rack of mediæval times.

But, though a slow death by torture thus stared him in the face, the honest, truthful black man thus rebuked the infamous white renegade: "You can put me there; you can kill me if you will, but I cannot utter a falsehood which will implicate innocent persons. I know nothing of this murder."

He was then placed in the "sweat-box."

It was fitted in a closet in the walls of the fort, and was a little wider than Hallback's body; the door closed within three inches of his breast, and the only air he breathed was through a few auger holes in the door. The wooden sides of this box, by means of a screw, are compressed closer and closer, when torture is inflicted, until the individual can scarcely breathe; then a stream of hot air or steam, is thrown upon the victim and he is almost stifled; a pressure is thus put upon his heart and lungs until the agony of his position is such that human nature sinks under the infliction.

He was left in this sweat-box for forty hours under the belief that he would thus suffer thirty days, and it was mid-summer, in a warm climate, charged with malaria. When

 

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taken out, his limbs were swollen and very painful, and yet be refused to the end to give the testimony demanded.

 

In all revolutions crimes like this are unintentionally legalized, when a government is misled by bad men in official places.

The government knew nothing of the existence of this "sweat-box." But the "loyalist," Hefflin, had had his revenge, and Hallback could well have repeated Madame Roland's words: "Oh! Liberty, how many crimes are committed in thy name!"

Chapter 32

 

  page   360    
CHAPTER XXXI.
FROM THE NEWSPAPER.

"To the unsophisticated Englishman, to the ignorant Frenchman or German, an American is an American. If he is not rampantly modern, sensationally progressive and furiously material, he is nothing at all."

In the capital city of the State lived a former friend and college-mate of Henry Latané, Mr. Worthy Graball by name. Mr. Worthy Graball was the editor of the Radical paper there, and was at this period very friendly and influential with the military authorities who ruled the State, and with the political renegades who desired to govern it.

Latané had been frequently amused at the extraordinary success which attended the political somerset of the "shifty" young editor, Mr. Worthy Graball, who had availed himself of the lucrative opportunities which Latané had scornfully rejected. Mr. Worthy Graball had successfully substituted assertion for argument, and assurance and "cheek" for knowledge and ability.

Mr. Graball was a very shrewd man; though in no sense a scholar, he devoted his talents to subjects that suit the intelligence of the average mechanic. Politics filled his paper, and the shears filled his editorial columns, except when they were filled with matter paid for at so much a line, though seemingly the independent expression of an honest editor, seeking to mould public opinion on a disinterested plane. Mr. Graball was also a very enterprising man, who construed public spirit to mean private profit; and he faced the world with a genial, happy-go-lucky expression at all times,

 

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except when occasion demanded that he should frown down any insinuations as to his being philanthropic for purposes of revenue only. At such times he looked at his accuser with an indignant gaze at first, then wrung his hand with his own right hand in a deeply injured manner, while his left hand was behind his back, held open to receive the bribe offered. This is a metaphorical analysis of Mr. Graball's character, of course, but it properly describes it. His paper was the "organ" of the most powerful and the most corrupt politician of the day, who held a large mortgage upon it and who, until that mortgage was paid, owned Mr. Graball, body, mind and soul.

 

At college Mr. Graball had been noted as a "boot-lick," but his fawning obsequiousness to this great political magnate was sickening in its humility.

And yet it paid him well, for Mr. Graball was already prosperous, and he had been too shrewd a student of the methods of his corrupt patron not to learn how to utilize it. He was an excellent reporter, but a very poor editor; but when his paper lacked spicy, entertaining news, he supplied facts from his phosphorescent fancy.

Mr. Graball was an intimate friend of Mr. Wellington Napoleon Potts. It is needless to say that both despised a gentleman as being uneqal to the exigencies of the "New South," (so called.)

As a rule, the editor who loves the whole world, and is always in a good humor with both supporters and opponents, and is at all times apparently utterly free from malice, when an emergency arises won't do to rely upon. He is apt to be selfish to the core of his heart. Without convictions of any sort, he is a sensationalist always--as eager to do honor to the man who caused desolation and sorrow to take the place

 

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of prosperity and happiness, provided he be powerful and influential, as to honor him who rightly deserves the suffrages of the people.

 

But in the case of Mr. Graball it will not be just to assert that he was malicious, for he was naturally an amiable, clever, kindly fellow, whose better nature had been warped and dwarfed by circumstances to which, had he been the great man that he claimed to be, he would not have succumbed.

No act of cruelty could be traced to him, and many acts of little kindnesses showed that, at heart, he was not a bad man. Hence Latané overlooked his foibles, laughed at his pretensions, but was not in any sense his enemy.

Mr. Graball's intimate associates were always of an intellectual calibre, inferior to his own. He was studiously careful not to be seen in the company of men whose attainments were superior to his own.

Stunner admired him greatly, consulted him frequently, and plied him with flattery, so that such notices of his departure or arrival as, "Our eminent financier, Mr. J. B. Stunner, returned from an important visit to Etowah," or "our distinguished lawyer, Mr. J. B. Stunner, will attend the circuit court to be held in Starebuck," were frequently chronicled in the Daily Gazette.

Withal, Mr. Graball was considered a jolly, good fellow, friendly with everybody on earth, inimical to no one, but always an assiduous devotee to the interests of "number one." He looked over the head of the man who insulted him; yet he treasured it up and returned the compliment in cold type, but in a manner so veiled that neither legal nor personal satisfaction could be demanded without subjecting the aggrieved citizen to ridicule.

But Latané looked in vain for a detailed criticism of the

 

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killing of George Washburn in the columns of Worthy Graball's paper. The Radical newspapers at the North furiously denounced it, and called for the punishment of the murderers. Mr. Graball's paper only noticed it as an item of news.

 

Henry Latané felt justly indignant at the arrest of Hallback, whom he felt was as innocent of the murder of George Washburn as he was, and he had so stated in an editorial which scathingly criticised Hefflin.

It was now incumbent upon Henry Latané to criticise in a more general and impartial manner the killing of George Washburn, an act which, in common with good citizens generally, he deeply regretted. The indignities and sufferings to which Hallback was being subjected he was ignorant of. It was a difficult task, but he wrote as follows:

"In Sanborn's 'Life of John Brown,' the biographer states as a fact that John Brown was the originator and performer of the executions of pro-slavery men who were brutally and mysteriously assassinated in 1856, on Pottawatamie creek, in Kansas, although the hands that dealt the wounds were those of others.

"The next year John Brown had conferences with, and obtained encouragement and aid in money from, leading abolitionist agitators in New England. A year later, with the aid thus furnished him, he had a thousand pikes made in Connecticut for his invasion of the South in the guise of a liberator of slaves. Then he issued the following pronunciamento: 'Give a slave a pike and you make him a man. A ravine is better than a plain. Roads and mountain-sides can be held by resolute men against ten times their force. Nat. Turner, with fifty men, held Virginia five weeks; the same number, well organized and armed, can shake the system

 

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of slavery out of the State. Twenty men in the Alleghanies could break slavery to pieces in two years.'

 

"Supported by the coterie of Radical abolitionists and the money subscribed, this fanatic made his memorable attack at Harper's Ferry. Emboldened by his bloody and lawless career in Kansas, he now deliberately undertook to incite servile insurrection and inaugurate the murder of thousands of innocent families in Virginia. And thus did George Washburn attempt to do in this State. It was 'Ku-kluxism' of the most inexcusable, because unprovoked, nature. Not a man in Virginia had ever harmed John Brown, or had had any transaction with him. If he had succeeded as he wished, he would not only have inaugurated massacres, but he would have robbed them of millions of dollars worth of property invested under the constitutional guarantees of the United States.

"We need no better witness to attest this than Abraham Lincoln, who expressed himself as follows: 'Much is said by Southern people about the affection of slaves for their masters and mistresses, and a part of it, at least, is true. A plot for an uprising could scarcely be devised and communicated to twenty individuals before some one of them, to save the life of a favorite master or mistress, would divulge it. John Brown's effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection. It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in which the slaves refused to participate. That affair, in its philosophy, corresponds with many attempts related in history of the assassination of kings and emperors.'

"Thus did Abraham Lincoln express his opinion a few months after the execution of John Brown and only three years before the war.

 

  page 365  

"This lengthy notice of the career of John Brown is due to its similarity to that of George Washburn, who was recently slain in this city. The only practical difference is as to the methods of execution. The State of Virginia hung John Brown by due process of law, while here, in the absence of any civil tribunals and of any State government, an unknown mob seems to have taken the law in their own hands.

"Mean while this Ku-klux leader of 1851, was lauded to the skies by those who are so clamorous now for the punishment of men who execute the unwritten law that unscrupulous agitators, who persist in inciting thousands of ignorant and suddenly emancipated slaves to insurrection, murder and arson, must suffer death or leave the State.

"There is nothing in this unwritten law which partook of cynicism or stoicism; neither does it resemble modern puritanism, whose disciples are too often intellectual sophists, powerful to destroy rather than build up. It is the very reverse of the theories of those cynics, ancient and modern, who oppose patriotism and family, and define virtue as the strength to endure privations rather than the conservator of social relations.

"In old countries, where caste rules, and in great and populous cities peopled chiefly by Anglo-Saxons, such an 'unwritten law' would be barbarism if enforced. Whether barbarous or not, it is apt to prevail in a new country, peopled in almost equal numbers by white masters with almost feudal power, and negro slaves who have been elevated by slavery, when war suddenly emancipates them from all restraint. And it is as legitimate for an editor to criticise thus, the murder of George Washburn, as it was for Emerson to write of John Brown as 'a new saint, waiting yet his

 

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martyrdom, and who, if he shall suffer, will make the gallows glorious like the cross.'

 

"Or Thoreau: 'Some eighteen hundred years ago Christ was crucified; this morning, perchance, Captain John Brown was hung.'

"Or Theodore Parker: 'The road to heaven is as short from the gallows as from the throne.'

"Yet, 'Captain' John Brown was executed by the sovereign State of Virginia, and Abraham Lincoln endorsed his execution, and stated that 'Orsini's attempt on the life of Louis Napoleon and John Brown's attempt at Harper's Ferry were, in their philosophy, precisely the same.'

"Where civil law prevails, such summary proceedings are at war with civilization; but the safety and honor of our families are at stake, and we have no State government and no legal tribunals to appeal to."

 

Latané wrote this criticism of the killing of Washburn with a full knowledge and appreciation of the gravity of the situation and the penalty that might result from the exercise of free speech in a time of anarchy. The Legislature of the State, under military rule, resembled the status of Russian Chinovniks; the agents of the Freedmen's Bureau, like the Russian Ispravniks, exercised the power of autocrats; and no Russian Stanavois, or Uriadniks, ever acted with more despotic disregard of human rights than did the United States Government detectives in making arbitrary and unjustifiable arrests. The people were determined, however, that their social life, at least, should not be regulated by Chinovniks, or officers appointed to administer and execute the laws who were often too ignorant to distinguish civil from criminal law.

 

  page 367  

Overtures had been made to Latané by which an ample fortune was assured to him if he would turn traitor to the rights and interests of the people among whom he had lived, and by whom he was trusted and respected as few young men in the community were; and he asked himself: "What are the duties and what is the function of an editor?

"Is it to make his paper the organ of some corrupt, unscrupulous politician?

"Is it merely to act as his literary fugleman, and to suppress one's own manliness by yielding deference and obedience to a patron?

"Is it to make money and political office the goal of one's ambition, and to sell one's principles and sense of honor and self-respect by prostituting the editorial columns to attain them?

"Is it to be a contemptible 'boot-lick?'"

To all of these self-inquiries he answered in the negative, and the result was an independent expression of honest convictions that made his paper the true exponent of the feelings, desires and aspirations of the people.

Self preservation, rather than any political platform, made the people stand as a unit politically, for all political ideas had been whelmed in the one thought of preserving the civilization to which they had attained, without retrograding toward the semi-barbarism of the newly-emancipated slaves, who were being solidified by aliens and "scallawags" in that political party of which the paper controlled by Mr. Worthy Graball was the exponent.

Chapter 33

 

  page   368    
CHAPTER XXXIII.
THE ARREST.

The day after the publication of his criticism of the tragedy in which George Washburn lost his life, as Latané was in the act of entering his office, a sergeant confronted him with the announcement: "Captain Latané, I regret to state that you are my prisoner; I am ordered to arrest you."

"Indeed!" said Latané, with ill concealed indignation. "By whose authority is this outrage committed?"

"Here are my orders, sir. I know I regret it exceedingly, but I have to obey orders."

"Oh, I don't blame you," said Latané; "I know a soldier must obey orders." He then read the order, signed, not by the post-commander, but by John Hefflin.

"The scoundrel!" he exclaimed; "the robber of dead men on the battle-field, and the cowardly renegade, shall answer for this. He was a Confederate deserter, as I happen to know."

"No insults and slanders, young man. To have to wear these here iron bracelets is bad enough for a young assassin like you. An action at law for damages against my character is in order afterwards; but 'twon't hardly be necessary, for you'll be strung up by the hangman's rope as sure as my name is--"

"Jonathan Ray!" interrupted Latané. "You infamous scoundrel! I know your history, and in due time will relate it."

"That's not my name," coolly said the detective.

 

  page 369  

"You gave it as your name when Hugh Leslie caught you in the act of robbing a dying soldier, Major Tom Moyer, at Manassas. You were dressed as a Confederate soldier then, as you dishonor the Federal uniform now."

Hefflin, dressed in costly uniform, and assuming a cynical smile, stood with one foot upon one of the elegant chairs and surveyed the young man coolly from head to foot. Striking a match on the sole of his boot, he proceeded to light a cigar which he took from a cigar-case which he saw lying on the table, and glanced around as if he meant to take possession of the premises, press, cases and all. Then he said, slowly and distinctly: "What you have said is a lie!" blowing forth a cloud of smoke from the fragrant Habana as he did so, and trying to puff the smoke into Latané's face.

Before the smoke had cleared away Hefflin was prostrate upon the floor, felled by one blow from the stalwart young man, whose boot was on his neck.

Though the blood was flowing from his nose, and he suffered great pain, Hefflin said:

"Clap 'em on, sergeant; we'll put him in irons."

Latané realized his position in a moment, and by a powerful effort of will said to the soldier: "Sergeant, I yield to you."

In a moment the ominous click of the hand-cuffs sounded, and Henry Latané found himself a prisoner. Without warrant, or trial, or the semblance of justice, he walked forth from his own house, chained like a criminal, and as innocent in thought and deed of the crime with which he was charged as a new-born babe!

The soldiers, under the command of the sergeant, bore Hefflin to the outer air. Revenge, malice, cruelty, heartlessness

----

 

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and murderous wrath darkened his face as he shook his clenched fists at the manacled prisoner, thus borne like a convicted felon through his native town and lodged with others in the barracks prison.

 

Latané did not deign to notice him, but as he passed by, the sinister countenance of Wellington Napoleon Potts smiled with gloating satisfaction, as he saw this scion of an illustrious family borne thus to prison.

"Dog, am I?" said Potts as he passed by; and Latané, recalling a long forgotten incident--his criticism of the character, or want of character, of Potts, said with emphasis:

"Yes; a contemptible, cowardly hound!"

In his prison cell he reflected upon the results of this assassination, for, whatever the attending or extenuating circumstances might be, when a score of men attack a single man, it can be called nothing else. It seemed revolting to him, but how could he prove his innocence? No charges had been preferred. Many had been arrested, and they were confined in separate cells No communication with friends or counsel was allowed them; and it was known that circumstantial evidence had been deemed sufficient to condemn to death those who were charged with being the accomplices of Booth in the assassination of President Lincoln. Latané was therefore very agreeably surprised to read in the Radical paper, owned by Worthy Graball, the following editorial, which seemed to be inspired by personal regard for him rather than fealty to his party:

"We are absolutely ignorant concerning the foul murder of Mr. Washburn, and we have no idea who any of the assassins are, but we feel perfectly assured that Captain Latané at least is entirely innocent. He is incapable of assassination, or of doing any disreputable act, or of hiding his actions

 

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by the darkness of night. Whether this be a vendetta or a political murder, he is certainly innocent, and we say to the government that the atrocities perpetrated upon freeborn citizens in District III. are equal to those which Pope Gregory IX. authorized to be visited upon prisoners under form of the Inquisition. Gregory thought his bishops too indulgent, and gave to the Dominicans the direction of the Inquisition. The government concludes that its soldiery is too indulgent, and to as t of spies and detectives transfers, the offices of infamy and the responsibility of torture."

 

 

Latané thought for a long time of this editorial. What did it mean? Was it inspired by Potts? No, for he was certainly leagued with Hefflin and Washburn. Was it inspired by the prosecuting attorney, whose creature Graball had been? If so, he certainly did not wish to see the prisoners executed. Was it the Ku-klux Klan which had slain Washburn? Or was it the retribution visited upon the murderer of harmless, kindly, brave old Barney? Latané's reflections took a sombre hue as his thoughts reverted to his own prison experience at Johnson's Island.

Thus his note-book described life in that Federal prison: "The rations for two hundred men are boiled in one kettle, which will contain only sixty gallons. The ration to each prisoner is one-third of a pound of bread and a piece of meat two inches square; but we have been notified that this 'lowance,' as the darkies say, is to be diminished. Can the reports of the cruel treatment of the Federal prisoners at Anderson ville be true? We do not believe them, but we are to suffer for them. Lex talionis by starvation! Never mind! we are making history.

"Everybody is suffering from--the itch. I am constantly reminded of a celebrated chef d'oeuvre by one of the 'Old Masters,'

 

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which is at the Louvre in Paris. It is called 'The Beggar Boy,' and reminds one of the legal aphorism, 'Sue a beggar and catch a louse.'

 

Pardon, mes camarades; the same animal, vicarious may be, that entertains us here would shame his Parisian prototype. It is the only successful rival of Captain Stonable's 'Morgan.' If 'cleanliness is next to godliness'--and where cleanliness is these little beasts are not--small chances have we, poor, shivering mortals, for a successful entrance into the other world.

Many of us are going there, for the winter is still terribly cold. Poor fellows without shoes or blankets huddle around the stoves at night and try to sleep. A prisoner, taken from my barrack because his feet had become so swollen, died today; mortification had ensued.

Our barracks are each 100 feet long by 22 feet wide, and contain three tiers of bunks, platforms of rough plank for sleeping, somewhat like the 'Bagne' at Toulon, France, where the galley-slaves are chained like wild beasts, and where each man's name is a number, like 1776--for example!

Yesterday was the coldest day we have had. The hydrants were frozen up, and the men had eaten all the snow within the prison. The poor fellows would lie down as close to the 'dead-line' as possible and reach their arms through to pull the snow to them.

I saw one of the guards, standing twenty-five steps from a prisoner thus engaged, shoot at him three times. Fortunately the police-guards are armed with revolvers; had it been a rifle that the guard had, the prisoner would have died at the first fire. As it was, he was not struck, and I could not help from thinking that the police-guard had fired wildly purposely. The prisoners had been captured the week before,

 

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had just arrived, and were nearly famished for water. Like the unfortunates whose thirst is recorded in the 'Ancient Mariner,' they exclaimed: 'Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink!'

 

Have you ever been thus thirsty? Have you ever been on the Alkali plains and become so crazed with thirst that ever before you, in the clear atmosphere, were the snow-clad peaks which seemed but a few miles distant?

You toil on, and toil on; you know that if you can reach that mountain and can scale its cliffs-- pass the dead-line--that snow means life! life a thousand times sweeter because of the near approach of the gaunt pursuer, Death!

Had you a kingdom, you would exchange it, like Dives appealing to Lazarus, for 'one drop of water!' to quench the parched and burning tongue. Those mountains, seemingly so near, containing the elixir of life, are hundred of miles distant! The snow, lying there almost within reach of these poor prisoners famished for water, suffering with thirst, spreads its beautiful crystals over the broad bosom of the earth, each drop of snow a perfect star in form to lead them to safety, like the star of Bethlehem! Covering every hill and dale with its mantle, making each tiny twig on the great trees resplendent with jewels in the bright sunlight, and yet the words 'noli me tangere!' rise like a ghoul before them. Life within reach; death the penalty for reaching after life!

Delirium seizes him who, reckless of life that is a living death, seizes with both hands the life-giving snow and, with the exultant laugh of a maniac, gulps it down, just as the bullet crashes through his brain!

To-day is Sunday.

I hear the church-bells with Sabbath chimes calling Christians to worship in the neighboring town, Davenport, Iowa.

 

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I have tasted no food to-day. Great God! men nearly naked and bare-headed and bare-footed, with no bed-clothes, are exposed to ceaseless torture from the chilly and pitiless winds of the upper Mississippi, in a climate where well-clothed sentinels are relieved at short intervals to prevent their freezing. These men are dying rapidly every day, and not so much from cold as from starvation! Can such be the condition of prisoners at Andersonville? I hear the church-bells. I am very hungry. I have eagerly watched the great gate of the prison all day, hoping to see the bread-wagon. The church-bells seem a mockery."

 

That was all this note-book contained. How gladly would he have exchanged his present situation for that thus graphically described!

Mean while, a prominent lawyer was at once employed by Colonel Leslie, who addressed the following letter without delay to the Judge-Advotate: "

 

 

Etowah , April 7th.

" Dear Sir--I represent Mr. Ripley, Messrs. William and Columbus Hidell, General Stewart, Mr. T. W. Grieve, Doctor Kirk, and some others who have been arrested, they know not upon what charge, but suppose that information may have been given at headquarters charging them with complicity in the brutal, and for our town, unfortunate assassination of George Washburn.

"In this, as in all cases of gross outrage, the innocent are apt to suffer for the wrongs of the guilty. The gentlemen whom I have named are above suspicion as being in any way connected with the transaction; several of them are men of family, and if public justice can be satisfied, as I trust it can, by an examination here without taking them from their families, it is very desirable that it should be done. An examination, I am sure, would acquit any of them of any participation in assassination.

"They can give any bond that may be required for their

 

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appearance, and if you can influence this matter, I hope you will consider it advisable to allow these gentlemen to be bailed until such time as their appearance may be required.


"Your obedient servant,
R. J. Morrow."

" To General William Bass, Judge Advocate-General.

To this letter the following answer was made: "

Headquarters Third Military District, Office of Judge-Advocate , April 9th.
" Mr. R. J. Morrow, Etowah, Ga:

" Dear Sir--Yours of the 7th inst. was received this morning.

"I am directed by the General commanding to reply that he does not deem it advisable to interfere with the action of Captain Hefflin. While there is a determination here that the parties who murdered Mr. Washburn shall, if possible, be arrested and punished, it is hoped that this may be accomplished without any serious inconvenience to the innocent.


"Your obedient servant,
" William Bass.
 

Chapter 34

 

  page   376    
CHAPTER XXXIV.
THE CARNIVAL.

1. "O Venezia! O reina gloriosa del Adriatica! tu sei il sorriso del mondo!"

Thus Venice, thus New Orleans during the carnival. The whole city was in a frenzy of delight. People came from all parts of the United States, from Mexico, from the West Indies, from South America, to witness this magnificent spectacle in the Crescent City, the Paris of America.

There is no other city like New Orleans. Its French population are Creoles, many of whom attain old age without having acquaintances in the English-speaking quarters of the city. More exclusive than the aristocratic legitimists of the Faubourg, St. Germain, in Paris, they look down upon those who were so unfortunate as to be born "á l'autre coté," as inferior beings. "See Naples and die," they improve upon by adding "see New Orleans and live!" New Orleans to them was the "French Quarter," and the carnival ruled there in all of its glory. "C'etait une folle melée d'inquisiteurs, de prétres, de polichinelles, et de cicisbei qui mangeaient, buvaient, riaient, dansaient á perdre haleine."

A joyous masquerade of life to the sound of little bells, and tambourines, and flutes, accompanied by such perfect whistling of the human voice "as never was heard before," to use their enthusiastic words. New Orleans was a city of spectacles, of beautiful women and lovely girls, whose cheeks of red

 

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and hair of night falling over exquisite shoulders and busts, riveted the eye of the beholder, which looked and saw again and was never sated as the procession went by, while the lovely girls scattered flowers from the flower wagons. New Orleans was a city of joy and voluptuous pleasures, and seemed on that day to be some enchanted isle, apart from the busy world, a place where one could spend his gold and lose his reason "to heart's content!"

 

Great crowds thronged the levees of the Mississippi, the father of American waters, and watched a beautiful vessel with sails full-set bearing away before the wind and garlanded with flowers. Those flowers were lovely girls. Now, down the spacious Boulevard comes a vessel which seems a facsimile of the first, and the thousands who had witnessed the first rush forward to see the second. The sails are made of silk; the vessel is an Argosy freighted with rarest perfumes of the Orient and sweetest flowers of the South.

They danced even in the convents as the vessel went by, and, for once, the convents seemed elegant sanctuaries for voluptuous fancy rather than the performance of ascetic penances.

The vessel sails down the Canalazzo (Canal street), which is wide as a Parisian Boulevard, and winding as an inverted S, while the labyrinth of streets opening into it is thronged with delighted observers. The great cathedral forms a brilliant combination of the Gothic and Oriental style of architecture. Following the ship came 2,000 gondolas of Venice, representing the varied flora and plants of the earth. The gondoliers were dressed with exquisite taste, the floral decorations and picturesque costumes being selected from different centuries.

Their dress was as the brimming foam to the sparkling

 

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champagne; the fragrance to the flower; an indefinite hint of costumes long passed out of date, from which only the picturesque features had been taken and carefully combined with others equally charming. Thus the joyous phases of different epochs were blended on that day of days. The highest mast of the flower-ship represented the famous Campanile, to which the ascent was made by an inclined plane, where girls represented flowers. The vessel sailed to the cathedral, which represented the Church of San Marco, and there the lovely crew, led by King Victor Emanuel, were received by the Patriarch of Venice with an imposing retinue.

 

This represented the triumphal entry of the King of Italy into Venice in that year. His majesty entered the church, followed by his ministers and court. A grand Te Deum was sung--the Patriarch assisting at the ceremony. On that carnival day government had fallen into powder, and yet there was no rioting or drunken disorder; the laws were ignored, religion without force, crimes paralyzed by overwhelming good nature, life a buffoonery, "the confessional a court of love," the church a spectacle, and hilarity reigned supreme. In the joy of the populace at witnessing this representation of the expulsion of the Austrians from Lombardy, as instanced by the triumphal entry of King Victor Emanuel into Venice, and his reception at the Church of San Marco, one saw how they would have welcomed the expulsion of the Federals from the Crescent City in war days. Among the sea of faces turned to witness this pageant was one whose patrician countenance was marred by a tinge of sadness.

As Julia Dearing looked from the balcony of Mrs. LaGrange's palatial residence and saw the populace sway to and fro until a shout went up that shook the air of: "Vive Beauregard!

 

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Vive le grand General!" she buried her face in her hands and retired for a few moments overwhelmed with grief. She echoed that cry with all the earnest fervor of her patriotic nature, and felt a grand exultation as she involuntarily exclaimed:

 

"Yes! long live our noble soldiers!"

Then the revulsion came like a great gust, as thought of the stormy past borne on the wings of memory passed like lightning through her brain. And then, recalling her present position, she resumed her place on the balcony and calmly looked at the multitude passing by. In the midst of this round of spectacular follies, she alone seemed to be able to enjoy without being frantic and to feel a sympathy wide as the human race and far reaching as poverty itself.

Thus were her thoughts as Émile LaGrange, dressed in costume suited to the day and occasion, stepped upon the balcony from the great parlor-window and said:

"Miss Julia, I have left my place for the first time in my life on Carnival day--even mother did not know me as I entered the house. I saw you here looking so superbly lovely that I could not resist the temptation to come up; I wish you to go with me to the masquerade to-night. The Opera House will represent La Fenice of Venice, and the ball will be the most brilliant ever known. Will you go with me? Do not refuse. I will be so proud of you that I will make all the fellows envious, for I swear to you, you are the most beautiful girl in New Orleans. Please go!"

This speech was uttered with Creole vivacity, including all the orthodox French shrugs and gestures; and Julia would have declined peremptorily, but for the pleading look and tone of the last sentence. Evidently nothing that she could do could persuade him that he was not hopelessly in love.

 

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"Mr. LaGrange, I would go with you with pleasure, if I were going in society at all, but you forget that I am in mourning. I hope you will excuse me without being offended with me; besides, I have never been to a masquerade ball in my life."

"Miss Julia, you are not a Chinese girl to wear sackcloth and ashes two years; two months is long enough, unless Lent happens to come along in time to make it forty days more."

"Mr. LaGrange! If you have no respect for my father's memory, you have none for me--I cannot go."

Julia said this with a look and tone not to be misunderstood. No duchess could look more imperious, or speak with greater decision than she did then.

"Miss Julia, forgive me--you know I would not say anything to wound your feelings. You know that I worship the very sound of your voice. Don't speak to me that way--I'll do anything on earth for you, and you know it! If you don't go, I won't!"

The effeminate youth said this with an injured tone and manner, as if his refusal to attend the carnival ball would make Julia miserable. She was about to reply to him in a soothing manner, for she liked the young man as she would a spoiled child who was attached to her, when Mrs. LaGrange entered and exclaimed indignantly:

"Émile, I am ashamed of you! would you disgrace me, right here before all the world, by addressing such language to a governess? A woman who teaches your sisters!"

"Yes, mother, I would go to hell on her account, if I did not know that I would not find her there! She is good and sweet and beautiful enough to be an angel, and much too good for you or me! If you say another word against her

 

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in my presence, I will leave this house and home and kick the dust off my feet!"

 

Julia, her cheeks crimson with mortification, had hastily retired, but, thinking that this would create the impression that she had encouraged the young gentleman to make this avowal, she quickly returned.

Mrs. LaGrange was never equal to a contest with her "darling Émile," as she called him, and on this occasion she sank hysterically in a chair and said, "I wish I was dead!"

"Mrs. LaGrange," said Julia in a voice that was singularly calm and sweet in its intonation, "I think I had best leave your service now; I am sure I regret this avowal upon the part of your son, who, I know will forget it in a few days and laugh at his self-deception as much as you can possibly regret it. I will go to my room and pack my trunk at once, and will be ready to leave to-morrow morning, or earlier, if necessary."

Mrs. LaGrange's sobs grew more violent as she said disconnectedly, "And you are going to leave me, too! Not content with robbing me of my son's affections, you mean to encourage him to leave me by going away, and who knows what will happen then?" and the mother's grief seemed inconsolable. Émile had left the house in a passion.

"Mrs. LaGrange, I know what will not happen," said Julia, stung to anger by the repeated and unjust insinuation; "your son will never cause you any more trouble on my account, for if he was the last man on earth, I would not marry him!"

The instinct of offended dignity made Julia's manner and voice seem imperious which dictated conditions, rather than the anger of a woman utterly dependent upon the precarious pursuit of a governess for her support. The selfish egotism

 

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of a woman of the world, who prized nothing so much as social distinction, based on wealth, impelled Mrs. LaGrange to look up with wonderment and ill concealed vexation. It was true that Julia had already told her that Émile had declared his affection for her, but she had hoped the passion was temporary and would disappear with many that had preceded it. This incident, however, looked serious, for Mrs. LaGrange had not heard Julia's refusal to accompany Émile to the ball. Evidently Julia had great expectations of a future secured by other sources than her own efforts, or she would not be so independent and willing to leave at a moment's notice. She determined to conciliate her, and at least gratify her curiosity as to her history, for surely no other governess had ever seemed like Julia Dearing, who seemed to rise in stature as she looked up at the superb beauty, whose thin nostrils and flashing eyes told her she was in the presence of one infinitely superior to herself.

 

The ceremony over at the cathedral, the grand procession moved again. But now all was changed. Down the Esplanade, Rampart and Claiborne streets, and up Canal street again; past the temple Sinai of the Israelites with its tinted cupolas; past the ten public squares statued with Clay, Jackson and other Southern statesmen, while the eleven thousand fountains danced their gems a-toss in the sunlight, rolled the pageant of shrove Tuesday. Now the procession illustrates scenes from classic fable. We will not recount the scene which passed between Mrs. LaGrange, in which Julia, moved by her sympathetic nature, agreed to reconsider her first determination to leave at once, even if she had to sacrifice her salary! "Better that than the sacrifice of self-esteem," thought the proud girl, as she left the parlor and went to her room where she remained.

The festivities of the last hours of Mardi Gras had lost all

 

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charm for her now. The very beauty and charms of mind and person, which she had so valued in more prosperous days, seemed to her now a heritage fatal to happiness. What was life to one so gifted, so social in her tastes, when she could not "like" a gentlemen without being unjustly censured? "Why are men such simpletons as to fall in love with a pretty face or figure when they are told, time after time, that you cannot, try you ever so much, reciprocate the attachment? Men are all geese, I do believe!" said Julia, as she closed the book which she had tried ineffectually to become interested in. Then she thought of Barnum, and of his neglect of her, and of his former devotion, and wondered whether his conduct would have been different if he had known that there was one man whom she "liked" more than all others. She was not willing yet to confess to herself that she loved Colonel Barnum.

 

Mrs. LaGrange, on the other hand, was, in ten minutes, as much absorbed as she had been before the interview. Her whole soul seemed to be in the procession, the head of which now approached the stately mansion. Her eyes danced with delight and sundry "oh's," and gestures, and shrugs denoted her intense pleasure.

"There were the horses" said a journal of the day with tropical extravagance, "with regal trappings, glittering with gold and purple--palaces and thrones, and pavilions, and tableaus, rolled by gods and goddesses, furies and gorgons. Agamemnon and Jupiter, Neptune and Mercury, and Momus and the Trojan horse, and regiments in gleaming mail and with shouldered battle-axes, until day and night dance with the jollity and flame with the splendor of hundreds of thousands of people at the utmost of exhilaration."

"One great rousing holiday, fifty Fourth of July's sounding in one salvo; fifty Christmases twisted into one garland"


Notes

  • 1. "Oh, Venice! oh, glorious queen of the Adriatic! thou art the smile of the world!"

Chapter 35

 

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CHAPTER XXXV.
NOBLESSE OBLIGE.

The prosecuting attorney saw his friends falling away from him like leaves dropping before the cold winds of winter, but none could know what were his feelings from that sphinx-like face which retained its cold, passionless look in spite of the storm of hate that seemed eager to sweep him away from the face of the earth. He was greeted like an Ishmaelite. Was he a renegade or a hero? He volunteered no excuses, and thus he commanded respect for courage; he made no complaint and uttered no criticism. Like the prisoners, he, too, was on trial -- on trial before that higher law which hath said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

The accused had been his soldiers!

He could not have been human had he failed to sympathize with them, however equivocal his present attitude appeared. His own life and liberty seemed suspended by a thread which the Parcæ of fate might cut in twain. Was he, like Danton, to dishonor his great reputation by becoming particeps criminis to a murder of innocent men? Under Danton's rule of terror the guillotine became a familiar object throughout France. Danton had shed blood systematically, and not from cruelty. As soon as he should be convinced that terror was no longer necessary, he would counsel moderation. Was this man acting from similar motives, and would he persist to the end? He resembled Mirabeau in that it was he who decided the revolution which took

 

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this State out of the Union. Could he, like Mirabeau, claim that, although he had received considerable sums, he acted with conviction, because he foresaw the coming catastrophe? Or were his apologists correct in asserting that he had the double motive of desiring to quell lynch-law and at the same time shield the prisoners?

 

Like Robespierre, he affected the purest patriotism, and was noted for his fidelity to the interests of his numerous satellites; and, like Robespierre, he had been known as "the incorruptible" when he stood as the oracle of the people.

Now, "none were so poor as to do him reverence." He had precipitated a war, like Danton; had profited by adversity and by turning his back upon the convictions of a lifetime, like Mirabeau; and, during the trying ordeal which these prisoners were now undergoing, he was as mild-mannered as a parson, but apparently acted as heartlessly in the cross-examination to which he subjected the witnesses for the defence as did Richelieu when he beheaded Cinq Mars and the young De Thou.

There was no ignominy in dying for one's country on the battle-field, but conviction now meant a felon's death on the scaffold. These men had been his soldiers, and had faced death in honorable warfare on a score of great battle-fields.

As these thoughts flashed across his mind, Barnum asked himself: "Is such a man likely to condemn to death these prisoners? Is he using the Judge-Advocate, the military court, the detectives, the army which conquered this State and arrested him as the most prominent State prisoner in it, but a few months since--is he using all these men and instrumentalities as men of putty to be fashioned according to his will?" But he rejected this hypothesis as contrary

----

 

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to the ethics of the legal profession. "For," he reasoned, "from Zoroaster to Confucius, or Mahomet to the Koran, or Plato to the Codes of Justinian, or from Justinian to the most recent code of laws of modern times, one will seek in vain for license thus to prostitute a noble profession."

 

Such were Colonel Barnum's reflections as he approached the home of his old friend, formerly so buoyant and elastic in temperament, now bowed down with anxiety and care.

At three-score years and ten how many of the friends of youth are left? The circle grows narrower and narrower with each succeeding year, and the aged heart summons all its strength and devotes it to the two or three, or more or less, about the hearth-stone. To Colonel Leslie, life seemed now centered on Clara and Henry Latané, and, by sympathy, to all the prisoners charged with the murder of George Washburn. And Colonel Barnum seemed to comprehend his feelings intuitively.

"Noblesse oblige!" he had said to himself, as he read that startling telegram, which caused him to forego the dearest wish of his life, the finding of Julia Dearing and offering her the protection of his strong arm, and the devotion of his staunch loyal heart as long as life shall last.

"But--'noblesse oblige!' I must save the life of him whose young wife saved my own," said Barnum, as he quickly decided to return to Etowah at once.

Reader, you who are happily married, or you, who can recall the arrival of a young father from the army who has never seen his first-born, though the child is a prattling thing six months old, to whose wondering eyes the mighty world grows bigger every day -- have you ever seen a supremely happy young wife suddenly smitten by the arrest of her husband, who is incarcerated in jail, charged with murder?

 

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If you have, you can appreciate Clara Latané's misery; for, not only had Henry Latané been arrested, but he had been borne away to the distant capital city, and the summary trial by military order was actually progressing.

 

At the earnest entreaty of Henry Latané, his young wife and her father had returned home, until the witnesses for the defence should be summoned.

And now, as Colonel Barnum approaches the stately old home, the moss hanging in festoons from the old oaks in the lawn seemed to foretoken the gloom which overshadowed that home.

But, to his surprise, he found Colonel Leslie overwhelmed, while Clara seemed calm and almost serene in her efforts to comfort her aged father. But her outward calmness was like the quiet of the waters of the lake before the flood-gates are opened. In the quiet privacy of her chamber the rushing flood of grief was all the greater because seen only by the All-seeing eye.

"God! what a woe it is! How can I bear it?" The white, rounded arms are uplifted pleadingly; the beauteous, tear-dimmed face looks upward in appealing prayer to the Lord God of Hosts! But now she hears again, and hearing heeds the ceaseless step of the good old man who, but a few short months ago, could not bear to hear Latané's name mentioned. And hardly had she dried her tears and assumed a cheerful manner and linked her arm in his, when Colonel Barnum approached the mansion at Thronateeska.

At this juncture they heard a step on the veranda, and turning, saw Colonel Barnum, who advanced to meet them. His greeting was cordial, and his hand-clasp firm, as he thus sought to cheer them by his presence.

 

  page 388  

"You are very kind and very prompt, Colonel Barnum; I did not think you could get here so soon."

"I came immediately on the receipt of your telegram; such matters admit of no delay."

"Very true; walk into the library."

After a few minutes' conversation, in which he gave all the information he had concerning the search for Julia Dearing in New Orleans, Clara withdrew.

"This is an ugly business, Colonel Leslie; I hope for the best, but I fear the worst. I have tried to look impartially since I have been in the South since the end of the war, and I can see things in a different light from yourself. Please give me your version of this unfortunate affair."

Colonel Leslie replied as briefly as possible, and requested Colonel Barnum to express himself with perfect frankness.

"I cordially wish that we may be able to liberate your friends, for several of them are mine also, but it will be a difficult task, and it will take time."

"I can swear that Captain Latané was in this room at 12 o'clock the night when the killing of Washburn occurred," said Colonel Leslie.

"That is fortunate. We instinctively know that he could have had no part in the assassination, but it will take a strong alibi to clear him. His name seems to be more prominently mentioned than the others."

"How long do you think it will be before they will be tried?" asked Colonel Leslie.

"I cannot tell; but it is out of the question to forestall the action of the court-martial. The trial will take its course."

"What shall we do mean while?"

"I propose to go to Washington, see the President and some influential friends that I have in Congress, and endeavor

 

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to arouse public sentiment against trial by military courts in time of peace. I would like to take a petition with me."

 

"Nothing is easier than to get one. When the prisoners were first arrested, they were released on bond of $50,000--over one thousand names being on the bond."

"A copy of that bond will answer; nothing can better show the probable innocence of the majority of the prisoners. While an arrest should have followed, more discretion should have been used. But, my dear sir, there is too much violence in the South; the newspapers are filled with reports of 'ku-klux' out ages continually, and public sentiment in the North demands that it shall cease."

"Colonel Barnum, I appreciate too well your motives in undertaking the difficult mission which you now assume to indulge in idle argument. I know you do it at personal loss, if not at personal risk; but it is necessary that you should appreciate the situation as we see it in order that you may properly influence your friends. Now, you complain of the ku-klux; while I know no one who belongs to that organization, if it be an organization, let me ask you to what tribunal our people can appeal in case of outrage and crime?"

"To the law."

"You forget that we have no courts that are recognized. The State itself is not recognized except as a conquered province. We have neither judges, juries nor courts. A year has passed since the war ended. The condition of the people is worse than it was during the war. In the field they met open enemies only; now they are oppressed by pretended friends; the military power ought to be their safeguard and protection, but it is turned into an engine of oppression."

 

  page 390  

"That is lamentably true," replied Barnum, "but I believe that they are doing the best that they can with the lights that are before them, and I have an abiding conviction that the hero of Gettysburg will never sully his reputation by exceeding the bounds of justice."

"I trust that you may be correct, my young friend; but I have serious doubts. The Federal general sent by the President to report upon the 'loyalty' of the people of the Southern States landed in New York as a German immigrant to the United States in 1855--just six years before the war between the States began. All his life he had been a conspirator against the government to which he owed allegiance, and he was a political exile until he emigrated to America. After six years' residence he became a soldier and a general of division in the Union army; and he, a foreigner by birth, education and tastes, is esteemed a patriot, while Henry Latané, whose family have been loyal citizens of Virginia and this State for over a century and a half, is pronounced a traitor!"

Colonel Barnum retained his calm, polite demeanor in an admirable manner, and wisely decided to allow the old gentleman to exhaust his indignation without furnishing fuel to it in the way of needless argument."

"Why, sir," continued Colonel Leslie, "the arrests were made without warrant, affidavit or charge. I know of no parallel case to it, except the arrests of Nihilists in Russia, and the State prisoners imprisoned in the Bastile in Paris during the dark days of tyranny in France. Like them, these young men have been cast into prison, without accusation or trial, on a simple lettre de cachet, and their final fate no one can predict. It fatigues the indignation!

"In imperial France, or despotic Russia, such arrests can

 

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be made under the forms of civil law, for there, detectives constitute the essence of criminal trials, but it is contrary to the spirit of American institutions to arrest people thus by an order from the war department, and it will fail, as it ought to fail!"

 

"Then you do not believe these young men will be convicted?"

"Of that I cannot express an opinion. I was educated at West Point, and I have studied civil law. The very fact which you allege concerning the insecurity of human life now is the best argument to show the necessity of providing for the trial of accused persons through the civil courts. The military are, and will ever be, an unsafe depositary for the legal relations of citizens. Their province is to command, not to give reasons for their orders. Not so with the civilian; when sitting as a judge, he is confined to precedents in every decision which he announces. With the latter, the property, the liberty, the life of the citizen is comparatively safe. The military act upon emergencies, and the rapidity of their action precludes the due consideration which justice to the accused demands.

"The courts, on the other hand, are calm, careful, deliberate. Their rules of evidence allow everything which can be brought before the court in exculpation of the accused. Military law seizes only a few salient points, and on these a judgment is rendered. During a war there is necessity for its exercise, but in times of peace when there is no armed force against the government, and no hostility manifested by the citizens against the civil law, military rule is a constant source of irritation.

"The South is well-nigh paralyzed by the military parasites which it is compelled to support."

 

  page 392  

Then, recalling the disinterested object of Barnum's visit he changed his tone and said: "I speak to you, not as to an officer whose amour propre I would wound, but as to a citizen of the great Republic, who is now anxious to see a national spirit supersede that of allegiance to the State. I trust that you may succeed. If Congress could see the results of the war as the President and the Secretary of State see it, this spirit would grow; if the contrary policy is adopted, this century will pass away before the bitterness engendered will totally expire."

"Do not you think the North as a people, and the United States as a government, have dealt magnanimously with the Southern people?" asked Barnum.

"Unquestionably--nothing in modern history will equal it up to the period that these proscriptive measures were introduced in Congress. It resembled the act of ancient Rome, which proclaimed, instantly upon the close of civil war, unqualified amnesty for all, and no triumph was decreed to the victors. It seems a pity that mere politicians shall be allowed to mar that magnificent record."

Colonel Leslie then handed to Barnum the order convening the military court to try the prisoners. It was as follows: "

 

Headquarters Third Military District.

Special orders. No. 136. [Extract.]

"II. A Military Commission is hereby appointed to assemble at -- barracks, at ten o'clock a. m. on Monday, the 29th of June, for the trial of such prisoners as may be brought before it by orders from these headquarters. The Commission will sit without regard to hours.

Then follows the detail for the Commission, embracing three brigadier-generals, two colonels and two majors, and concluding with the announcement that "the assistant judge-advocate

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general of the army is appointed judge-advocate of the commission," ending with the words, "by order of the Major General commanding.

 

"Official: W. W. Randers, R. C. Bass,
A. A. I. G. A. A. G.

After carefully reading it, Barnum returned it to Colonel Leslie, saying:

"There is a class of 'patriots' in the land who wave the 'broody shirt' as constantly, remorselessly and unscrupulously now, as they were assiduous in keeping out of danger during the war. In the eyes of men of this class defeat is the most heinous of crimes, success the sublimest of virtues, and the acquisition of riches the acme of human effort. We have many such, and your Mr. Wellington Napoleon Potts seems a striking exemplification of it here. I shall see the President and the Secretary of War and endeavor to open their eyes to the real facts." Thus bidding Colonel Leslie farewell, the young officer retired.

Chapter 36

 

  page   394    
CHAPTER XXXVI.
AN AMERICAN SOVEREIGN.

Colonel Barnum had been in Washington two weeks, and he had exhausted all efforts to befriend the Etowah prisoners now on trial for their lives. Fate was kinder to him than it had been, inasmuch as he was required to remain on duty in Washington, and could not, therefore, be present at the trial.

But one more hope remained, and that was to interest the President of the United States, who had so narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of Atzeroth.

But the week before he had witnessed the hanging of Mrs. Surratt, charged with being an accomplice in the murder of President Lincoln. She had been convicted on purely circumstantial evidence, and the American heart revolts at the hanging of a woman. How slender, then, seemed the chances in favor of the Etowah prisoners now being tried by a military commission. He shuddered as he mentally saw again the dreadful scene where Mrs. Surratt, Payne and Atzeroth were hung.

There they stood on the scaffold. The sun cast down its burning rays and despair, like an angel of gloom, shrouded the faces of the condemned. There they stood on the scaffold, that sultry July day, until the dread signal was given that launched them into eternity. One, a woman convicted on purely circumstantial evidence, looked up

 

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at the scaffold with a bewildered gaze, and then turned with intense anguish to the multitude before her.

 

A shudder, like an electrical current of sympathy, passed through that vast crowd.

During the reading of the order for her execution, two priests held crucifixes before her eyes but she seemed to see them not; then suddenly she kissed the crucifixes fervently and closed her eyes in prayer. Her arms were pinioned, her bonnet was removed, and a white cloth was tied around the skirts of her dress below the knees. The rope was then placed around her neck and her face was covered with a white cap reaching down to her shoulders. Standing near her was Colonel Barnum an unwilling, but in the line of military duty, a necessary spectator. The multitude looked on with the deepest sympathy; but in unison with the people around him Barnum's attention was now diverted to another, whose striking personal appearance dignified even the criminal. He was said to be the son of a minister in Florida, but now his name was announced as Lewis Payne. He seemed unmoved by the awful fate in store for him, and looked as defiant and fearless as did Robert Emmett on the scaffold. With eagle eyes he looked down on the multitude, as if death was but a momentary spectre to be brushed away at will. There was an unmistakable commotion as this remarkably handsome man walked to his death without a tremor, and declined politely all assistance. No man among all the spectators looked less like a criminal than did Lewis Payne, and it seemed impossible to associate him with a petty purpose or the malice of an assassin. Was he crazy,

 

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like John Wilkes Booth? His perfect calmness and self-possession was retained to the last. He glanced curiously at the scaffold, then fixed his eye on the line of soldiery as if he would give the command "fire!" and thus order his own execution.

 

No one knew him, or where he came from; and the deep mystery of his career has not been revealed to this day. But all felt that there ended a career fitted for better things and nobler acts; and yet that this splendid willpower had been wofully misguided.

The gentle-hearted but heroic Lincoln could not be charged with the unprovoked murders in the South, and the scales of justice in his firm hands leaned to mercy and conciliation. When, at the zenith of his fame, he was stricken down by the hands of the assassin, a sympathy for the vanquished South was changed to a frenzied hatred. Hence the hanging of this woman, and hence the deep anxiety of Colonel Barnum concerning the fate of the Etowah prisoners.

It had seemed to him that fate was unkind in requiring, of all men, his presence at this scene. He felt that his self-imposed mission was doubly difficult now, since Vice-President Johnson had narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of Atzeroth, and had been thus elevated to the Presidency.

In troops these thoughts rushed across his brain, as he awaited an interview with one of the simplest mannered men on earth, and yet, one of the most powerful of earth's potentates.

A monarch for four years of a country so vast that it

 

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rivals in territory and population ancient Rome and all of its Provinces. Mr. Gladstone has admirably described in one of his essays, the isolation which the custom of centuries imposes on English royalty.

 

"To be served by all is dangerous; to be contradicted by none is worse. Taking into view the immense increase in the appliances of material ease and luxury, the general result is that in the private and domestic sphere a royal will enjoys at this epoch, more nearly than in any past generation, the privileges of a kind of omnipotence. At the same time, the principal burden of care and all responsibility for acts of administration, and for the state of the country, is transferred to the heads of others, and even the voice of the lightest criticism is rarely heard."

The hereditary monarch of Great Britain and Ireland, can be approached by her subjects, only through the ceremonious channels of royal etiquette.

The President of the United States, at the time of which we write, did not aspire even to Carlyle's respectability that "keeps a gig," said a critic of this President who had so narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of Atzeroth. The President of the United States, unlike the crowned heads of Europe, can be approached by the humblest citizen of the Republic. No gilt-covered lackeys, no fawning courtiers clad in the habiliments of office, no august ceremonial is necessary to give one the entrée to the salon of the Chief Magistrate of the United States. Clad as a simple citizen, seated at his desk laboriously looking over the papers presented for his signature, this President, who began his manhood as a tailor in a small town in the State

 

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of Tennessee, extended his hand with a kindly greeting as the earnest young officer entered the room. From the great windows he could see the broad bosom of the Potomac, and the green lawn about the White House, and the thronged streets, in the vicinage. Otherwise the President's domestic and official life seemed like that of any man of affairs immersed in business cares. Determination was traced in every lineament, but underneath it all was a rugged honesty and kindliness which bespoke him the man of the people.

 

He was popularly called "the man with the backbone," owing to his sturdy defence of the constitutional rights of the States, and his stubborn contest with the majority in Congress. He had vetoed the Civil Rights Bill, and Congress passed it over his veto. He had vetoed the Constitutional Amendments, one after the other, and Congress had preferred articles of impeachment.

They had failed, as he had failed; for when the popular mind of America is fully enlightened, the verdict of the people, in the long run, is apt to be right.

After the usual salutations, Colonel Barnum related the incidents already narrated, and asked the President if he could suggest any method of relief.

"No; I am powerless in this matter. It is my duty to see that the laws are executed, not to shield criminals," answered the President.*

"But these gentlemen are not criminals," urged Colonel Barnum.

"That may be true; I don't know. But the imperative duty of Congress is to re-admit the States to the exercise

 

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of all their sovereign functions, and let the State courts handle this matter."

 

"But they are being tried by court-martial."

"Certainly, there are no civil tribunals there to which they can be referred, and the responsibility must rest with Congress."

"But Congress seems under the domination of prejudice. May I read to you, Mr. President, a few sentences uttered in the Senate yesterday by a leading Senator?"

The President tacitly assented, and Barnum read as follows:

"Gentlemen here have said you must not humble these people. Why not? Do they not deserve humiliation? If not, who does? What criminal, what felon, deserves it more, sir? They have not yet confessed their sins; and He who administers mercy and justice never forgives until the sinner confesses his sins and humbles himself at His footstool. Why should we forgive more than He? But we are told we must take them back as equal brothers. I shall not agree that they shall come back except as supplicants in sackcloth and ashes, and if they undertake to come here we will shoot them. Let not these friends of Secession sing to me their siren song of peace and good will until they can stop my ears to the groans of these dying victims. I hold in my hand an elaborate account from a man whom I believe to be of the highest respectability, every word of which I believe. This account of that foul transaction is more horrible in its atrocity, though not to the same extent, than the massacre at Jamaica. Gentlemen tell us this section is too strong; too strong for what? Too strong for their stomachs, but not for the

 

  page 400  
people. It is too lenient for my hard heart. Not only to 1870, but to 18070, every rebel who shed the blood of loyal men should be prevented from exercising any power in this Government. That would even be too mild a punishment for them."

 

 

The "gentleman of the highest respectability" to whom this Senator referred was none other than Wellington Napoleon Potts. The crime alluded to was the murder of George Washburn. Barnum had taken this opportunity to read these words from the newspaper, and the President smiled as he thought of the shrewdness with which this young officer thus offered his arguments. The President remained silent, and Barnum continued:

I entered the army, Mr. President, with the conviction that I was fighting for the restoration of the Union. I drew my inspiration from the words of President Lincoln: 'If I could save the Union by freeing every slave I would do it; if I could save the Union by refusing to free a single slave I would do that.' I consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken."

"Mr. Lincoln was right," said the President. "He offered to receive the whole Legislature of Richmond--a rebel Legislature--and would have welcomed them with open arms. Would he have refused to receive these States, now that they have fully submitted?"

"Why, if they had offered to come back, or any of them, during the rebellion, should we have turned them away on the ground that they had placed themselves out of the Union? The very thing which we said these Southern States could never do, which we fought these four years

 

  page 401  
to prevent them doing, these men affirm that they have actually done, viz.: been out of the Union. The Southern States are ready to come back upon our terms, take loyal oaths, and acknowledge their allegiance, but these men say they shall not."

 

"Their object is manifest. They know perfectly well that when the South comes back into Congress their day of power is over."

"I agree with you fully, Mr. President, and I greatly fear that procrastination will intensify the discontent which is permeating the Southern States, until such murders as that with which these gentlemen are charged will become too numerous to quell except by a large standing army. I do not think that there can ever be justification for lynch law where the civil law is in force. But martial law prevails there, and we know too well what that means, even though the officers are animated by the best motives."

The President signified his assent to these views by bowing in silence. Then he added: "Congress represents the States, but the men who voted for Congressmen all voted in my election. I am like the tribunes elected by the Roman people; I am to stand and represent their interests, the interests of all the States."

"The old issues of slavery and State sovereignty are dead and buried, and the party which now rules may be stripped of power. Their talk about philanthropy and benevolence to the negro means nothing more than a desire to work upon the feelings of the North, so that they

----

 

  page 402  
may be able to carry everything their own way. It is a renewal of the old conflict. Each side was willing to sacrifice the Government in order to gain its object before the rebellion broke out. The South struck first; the rebellion was subdued at the Southern end of the line, and now it is swinging round to the other end.

 

The Radical party is almost ready to go into rebellion again rather than have their supremacy destroyed by the re-introduction of the South. They know nothing practically of the real state of the South. The very man who drew up the Civil Rights Bill, what are his means of judging? I left him in the Senate during the war, and went out to Tennessee and saw it all, and bore my share of the troubles. He stopped at home, and now endeavors to make his theories square into the events of the war, and legislate on ideas which he has never put to the test. He is as unreasonable as an old magistrate in Tennessee used to be: old Jim McGinnis was a magistrate there before the war, and one day when a case about the hire of a negro came up before him, he would'nt let the lawyer read from Greenleaf on evidence because Greenleaf lived in Boston. 'What does he know about the hire of a nigger?' said he. 'He never owned one, nor hired one, nor lived where there was one, and he don't know no more about 'em than the man in the moon.'"

Barnum smiled as he heard this humorous illustration and said:

"I think the country appreciates your efforts to represent the interests of the whole country, Mr. President."

 

  page 403  

The President's face assumed a grave expression as he answered:

"I hope they do. What other objects can I have than to represent those interests--the interest of our common country? I have no selfish interests to promote, I have gone the whole giddy round from Alderman upward, and I do not value this office (here the President spoke with great earnestness and feeling) except for the good which it may enable me to do. I want but a corner of this house to live in, and I do not care a bawbee, as the Scotch say, for all the rest. Let me but see the country at harmony and peace, how gladly would I give up all. We think," he added these words with a smile, "this is a great position. With our ideas we are educated to do so; but I can assure you that I am often here twelve hours a day without it ever occurring to me that I am President. He evidently meant, without the pride of power occurring to him."

 

And Colonel Barnum left him without having secured any promise of relief, or any indication of his purpose. The President had turned the conversation to public affairs in a general way, scarcely alluding to the particular object of Colonel Barnum's visit.

Yet he left with the conviction that all would be done that could be done in behalf of the prisoners, by this strong-willed man, who had been scorned and ostracized as a traitor by the whole South during the war, and was now the target for the malice and hate of all the Jacobins in Congress, who saw in him a stumbling block and a barrier to the realization of their revolutionary aims.

But the leaders in Congress were Radicals as bold and tenacious as was the President, and the situation seemed critical

 

  page 404  
in the extreme for the unfortunate prisoners, as the details of the trial given below will indicate.

 

The Judge Advocate stated that it would be necessary for each of the accused to plead separately to the charge and specification. The accused were then severally asked by the Judge Advocate how they pleaded to the charge and specification which was read to them yesterday. The accused then severally pleaded as follows:

To the specification, "Not Guilty."

To the charge, "Not Guilty."

The examination of the witnesses for the prosecution had consumed two weeks. Among them were two whose testimony would certainly prove fatal to many if not all of the accused, unless rebutted.

The first was a Federal soldier; the second an ex-policeman, both of whom had turned State's evidence.

EXAMINED BY THE JUDGE-ADVOCATE.

Charles Carshall, a witness for the prosecution, was then called, and having been duly sworn, testified as follows:

Q. What is your name, your age, and your occupation?

A. Charles Carshall; age, twenty-seven; occupation, soldier.

Q. In what service are you a soldier, how long have you been in that service, and to what company do you belong?

A. The United States service; in that service since 1861; belong to Company G. of the 16th Infantry.

Q. Where have you been on duty during the last year?

A. In the city of Etowah.

Q. Were you acquainted with George Washburn, late of Etowah?

A. Yes, sir.

 

  page 405  

Q. Were you present at his death?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did he die a natural death, or death by violence?

A. By violence, sir.

Q. State how you came to be present at his death?

A. I was induced to go there, sir.

Q. Who induced you to go there? State all the circumstances attending the death of Washburn, so far as you know them.

A. I was first spoken to about it, about three weeks before the affair took place. I had another interview about three days before it took place. The night that the affair took place I went down there between the hours of half past eleven and twelve, as near as I can judge; I met the party that committed the deed; we then crossed the street. Arrived at the house occupied by George Washburn, one of the party asked for admission; there was no reply and some one then knocked at the door; the answer came from the inside, "Who is there? What do you want?" The party outside made answer and said: "If you don't let me in I'll break the door down." The panel of the door was then broken and the door opened. As soon as the door was broken open, the party entered, and as they did so Mr. Washburn asked, "Who comes there?" and then they opened the door and stepped back. There was a round table in the middle of the room and a light was on the table. Washburn was behind the table at that time, his pistol grasped in his hand, which he raised and fired. The firing was returned by our party. As soon as the firing ceased he fell. There were from ten to fourteen shots fired altogether, as near as I can recollect. After that was over, I went out of the house immediately, and proceeded to my quarters.

 

  page 406  

Q. Did you get notice when the "affair," as you call it, was to take place?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. How, when and where did you get that notice?

A. At my quarters, a little before three o'clock, on the afternoon of the 30th, the day it took place; it was brought to me by a negro boy.

Q. Brought how?

A. It was wrapped up in a piece of brown paper; there was a mask with writing on a piece of paper on the inside of it; the writing stated, "meet to-night at twelve o'clock."

Q. What has become of that writing?

A. I tore it up, sir, as soon as I read it.

Q. State, if you remember, what that writing contained?

A. "Meet to-night at twelve o'clock," sir.

Q. Did you know the negro boy who left the bundle, as you have said?

A. I did not, sir; I had never seen him before.

Q. What kind of a mask was it?

A. An ordinary false-face, sir; made out of pasteboard.

Q. Was there any signature to the notice which you say you received?

A. No, sir.

Q. Did you know the handwriting?

A. No, sir.

Q. Did you go into the house, you have described, the night Washburn was killed? If so, state when you entered, and what other person, if any, went in with you?

A. I did, sir; sometime near midnight; the parties that went in with me are those that I have mentioned as being among the accused now on trial here. There were others

 

  page 407  
there, but those I could not recognize, and don't know who they are; there were from twenty to thirty in the party.

 

Q. Are you certain and positive that you saw Luke, Harber and Hodson, the accused now before you, in the house when Washburn was killed that night?

A. I did not see them all in the house; I saw some in the house, and some outside.

Q. Which were in, and which out?

A. Luke, Hodson and Harber were inside; they were in the door leading out of the second room into the third; I saw them and this man I take for Botts; they were standing right in the door where the shooting took place; the other two were in the room, and Mallon was in that room too--in the second room.

Q. You are certain and positive, then, that all those parties were in the house at or about the time of the killing?

A. I am, sir.

Q. Are you just as positive in this statement as in any you have made?

A. I am, sir.

Q. You know, do you not, that by making the statement you have just made you will be saved yourself?

A. I don't know, sir.

Q. Did not Major Hefflin tell you he would guarantee you against all harm on account of this if you would?

A. He told me that he would guarantee me protection, sir.

QUESTIONS BY PROSECUTION.

George Botts was brought into court and duly sworn.

Q. What is your name!

A. My name is George Botts.

 

  page 408  

Q. Where do you live?

A. In Etowah.

Q. Were you acquainted with George Washburn?

A. Not personally.

Q. Did you know him by sight?

A. I did, sir.

Q. Is he dead or alive?

A. He is dead, sir.

Q. Were you present at his death?

A. I was, sir.

Q. How did he die?

A. He was shot.

Q. How many persons were present when he was shot?

A. Between twenty-five and thirty, I think, sir.

Q. Where was he killed?

A. In Etowah.

Q. How many persons, and who were they, to the best of your knowledge, who entered the house?

A. I can't tell how many came into the house.

Q. Did you go in?

A. I did, sir.

Q. Do you know any persons whom you can identify who went in?.

A. I do.

Q. Who were they?

A. Mr. Luke.

Q. If he is here, point him out.

A. (Witness pointing to one of the prisoners.) There he is, sir.

Q. Who else?

A. Mr. Hodson.

Q. Can you point him out?

 

  page 409  

A. I can.

Q. Do so. A. (Witness pointed to one of the prisoners.)

Q. Do you see any one else present who was in there?

A. I do.

Q. State who, and point him out.

A. All of them, sir.

Q. Point out one at a time.

A. (The witness pointed to each prisoner severally, who at the order of the court rose up in full view of the court as his name was called by the witness. Only one of the accused was omitted, and the witness averted his eyes from those of that prisoner which seemed blazing with indignation.)

Q. Any one else?

A. I am not certain about Captain Latané.

Q. Well, if there is any reason that induces you to believe that he is the man, or any description of his person, state them.

A. The man in command of that squad, I take to be Captain Latané.

Q. Why did you take him to be Latané?

A. From his appearance, sir.

Q. What was his appearance?

A. Just as it is now, sir.

Q. If he was disguised in any way, state it--how?

A. He wore a mask, sir.

Q. What did this person do there that night, whom you took to be Captain Latané?

A. He seemed to have command of the party.

Q. How many of those persons, if any, whom you have named, went with you into the house?"

A. Mr. Luke, Mr. Hodson, Mr. Harber went in with me.

 

  page 410  

Q. Any one else?

A. No, sir; they came behind me whoever else came into the house

Q. Did you see Carshall anywhere that night--a soldier?

A. I did, sir.

Q. Where was he when you went into the house?

A. He was with me.

Q. Were you and the others who first went in with you armed?

A. They were, sir.

Q. With what?

A. With pistols.

Q. What sort of pistols?

A. I did not notice closely; revolvers, I believe.

Q. What was yours?

A. A revolver, sir.

Q. When you got to Washburn's door, what then occurred?

A. Firing, sir.

Q. How many shots were fired?

A. To the best of my belief there were thirteen or fourteen.

Q. Who fired?

A. I did, sir.

Q. Who else?

A. Mr. Luke.

Q. Who else?

A. Mr. Hodson.

Q. Anybody else?

A. Mr. Harber.

Q. Any one else?

A. Mr. Carshall.

Q. Was there any one else?

 

  page 411  

A. I think not, sir; not where I could see them.

Q. Did you see Washburn fall?

A. I did, sir.

Q. What did the party then do?

A. They retired from the house.

Q. Who did you first meet when you got there that night?

A. Met Bill Luke.

Q. Who next?

A. Met the crowd next.

Q. Why did they say they wanted to kill Washburn?

A. They didn't tell me that.

Q. Why did he say it?

A. He didn't tell me.

Q. Did he say anything about money or anything of value, and what?

A. He did, sir; he said he would give me so much money to go there.

Q. What sum?

A. Fifty or a hundred dollars.

Q. State whether you agreed to go.

A. I did.

Q. Was any time fixed.

A. There was.

Q. When was it?

A. Monday night.

Q. What month, and what day of the month was that Monday night?

A. It was the month of March, and the 30th day of the month.

Q. Was anything said about the time of night the meeting was to take place?

A. There was.

 

  page 412  

Q. What time?

A. Between twelve and one o'clock.

RE-EXAMINATION BY PROSECUTION.

Q. Do you not know many persons by sight to whom you have never been introduced, and with whom you have never spoken.

A. I do, sir.

Q. You testify that you heard these persons in conversation before you went into the house; I ask you whether there was any light in Washburn's room after you went in?

A. There was.

Q. State whether you saw them in the room when the light shown upon them?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. State whether that did, or did not, aid you in identifying them.

A. Not particularly; I knowed who they were.

Q. Do you mean to say that you knew before they went in who they were?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. State whether, on seeing them in the light, you found yourself mistaken as to any of them, and if so, who?

A. I did not.

Q. State whether or not, in the crowd that night, you heard any of those present call others by name, and if so, whose names you heard called?

A. I heard Dr. Kicksey's name called.

Q. State whether you heard any other name called?

A. I heard Jim Harber's name called.

Q. Any other?

A. I heard Henry Hennis' name called.

Part 4

 

  page 413  
QUESTIONS BY THE COURT.

Q. Did any one go as captain of the party?

A. I would not swear to it, but I think it was Captain Latané.

Q. What were your reasons for assisting in killing Washburn?

A. Because I thought he was a tyrant to the place, and ought to be got out of the way.

If the testimony of these witnesses could not be successfully rebutted, the fate of the prisoners was sealed.

As Barnum read in the Washington papers the testimony above given, he asked himself.

"What can the ablest legal talent avail against a military tribunal armed with despotic power?"

But the soldiers of the army stationed in this State, and even the members of the Military Commission, seemed to secretly hope for their acquittal.

Chapter 37

 

  page   414    
CHAPTER XXXVII.
NOSTALGIA.

Again Colonel Barnum visited the church in New Orleans which Julia Dearing attended, and again his eyes were rewarded by a vision of the woman whom he loved more than all else. She was changed; she seemed sadder and paler than he had ever seen her. His absence and silence for nearly two months had convinced her that his love was only sympathy after all. Then she realized in her own heart what life was without some one near whom she could love with all the devotion of her nature. Her retired life and self-imposed seclusion debarred her from reading the newspapers, and hence the imprisonment and trial of her friends had escaped her. Émile LaGrange was now the inmate of an inebriate asylum at the North, and it was only through her little pupils that she occasionally saw the papers which they would bring to her to explain some picture to them. Mrs. LaGrange, with a foolish mother's prejudice, laid Émile's ruin to her conduct, and made herself as disagreeable as she dared. She knew if she went too far Julia would leave.

The day before the Sunday which found Barnum again in church looking for her, little Marie had brought her a copy of the "Picayune," which contained a glowing eulogy of Colonel Barnum for his efforts in behalf of the prisoners. Then followed a sketch of the imprisonment and trial of the prisoners, giving the names in full. The reader can imagine the feelings of the lonely, home-sick girl. What would her uncle and Clara, what would Barnum think of her apparent

 

  page 415  
disregard for their sufferings and that of the dear ones who had suffered such terrible imprisonment? "It is too late now," she said, "writing will do no good; and how can I explain my ignorance of an affair which has aroused the independent press throughout the country?" She did not write. A new life would have to bless her solitary heart--a change come over the spirit of her dream, a change like that portrayed in the Scandinavian Edda--before the rosy flush, the bright, flashing eye, the light, silvery laugh, can again distinguish Julia Dearing so peerlessly above her fellows. She who had no home was dreadfully homesick. She had passed the French Opera House on Bourbon street, where the Creoles supported Italian Opera, with the lavish magnificence of Parisians themselves, and where, as a child, she had spent many a delightful evening, and she felt the desolation of lonliness! The costly dresses of wealthy parvenus seemed to her fevered imagination to scorn her plain black dress as they swept past; the proud faces of the Bourgeoisie to glance with condescension from their luxurious carriages, and all the ladies on the streets to criticise and comment upon her dress, for what woman can walk a thronged and fashionable street without indulging this feminine penchant? At the church she essayed, time and again, to join in singing the hymns, and as often failed. She had never seemed so lonely, so little like thanking her Creator, as she did when in the midst of that assemblage at the church. Mrs. LaGrange lingered to see her "dear pastor" and thank him for the sermon. "My dear Mr. F., it was so satisfactory to my soul," she said.

 

"You are very kind and complimentary, Mrs LaGrange; I wish all my congregation were as pious as you are. It is a great comfort to a minister to have the praise of his flock."

"My dear Mr. F.," she continued, "I have been wishing to

 

  page 416  
ask your opinion about a matter very near to my conscience. I went last week to hear the notorious 'Pagan Prince,' as the papers called him. The horrid atheist asserted that the manna, rained down to feed the chosen people in the desert, sprouted and ever since then grows about there under the name of gum-arabic! The blasphemous sinner also said that 'quails migrate from the European Continent every winter and light on the shores of Egypt, so fat and tired from two days' flight that they fell on the ground and were captured in nets and were knocked over with sticks by the Egyptians. What do you think should be done with him, Mr. F.? With a shameless sarcasm he averred that the quails, having fallen into the habit of being sent in flocks to feed a mob of runaway Jew laborers, come regularly every year. In his lecture on miracles the blasphemous man alluded to two of the most touching episodes in history as follows: 'It is barely possible that Moses, having been brought up in Egypt and being a bright, intelligent fellow, had noticed this customary migration of birds and played it off on the ignorant peasantry he commanded, as he did the Red Sea episode. He knew where it was fordable, as we all know now, and walked his henchmen over. Pharaoh rode heedlessly in pursuit with chariots and camel trains and drowned a lot of them. I declare," said the indignant lady, "I think he ought to be arrested for his sacrilegious utterances!"

 

"No, my dear Madame, that would make matters worse. Voltaire has said everything which he now says and in far better style. His chief hero, Tom Payne, died a miserable drunkard's death. The real foes to Christianity, most to be dreaded, are the ministers who make of the pulpit a political forum, and there are some who even contend that there is no hell. Let us go on in the even tenor of our way and all

 

  page 417  
will be well for us. As to the 'Pagan Prince:' 'Ephraim is wedded to her idols; let her alone.'"

 

Mrs. LaGrange, like a great many other self-sufficient, devout women, believed implicitly that her pastor was the sum of all physical and intellectual perfection. Upon all subjects, whether statecraft, war, morals, or religion, she believed his opinions to be as infallible as Catholics do those of the Pope. Hence, when he told her he would answer the "Pagan Prince" by preaching on "miracles" the following Sabbath, she was happy. "Now," she said to herself, "the horrid atheist will be crushed so decidedly that he will keep his peace ever after."

Meanwhile, Barnum had improved the opportunity thus afforded him to seek Julia and make himself known to her. He was dressed like a civilian, in black cloth, faultless in style and fit, and Julia thought him handsomer and more distinguished looking than she had ever seen him when dressed in uniform. He met her as quietly and naturally as if he had parted with her the day before, and walked home with her. Julia permitted the little girls to run on ahead of them, which would have shocked their orthodox mama had she known it.

"Miss Julia, I am delighted to see you; may I accompany you to your residence?"

"Certainly, Colonel Barnum. I am equally glad to meet you. I received your note; it was very kind of you to come so far to see me. But let us talk of others; how did you leave Clara, and Captain Latané, and other friends?"

"They were all well when I heard last from them. I came direct from Washington, not wishing to linger, but I did not leave until assured that the prisoners will be released. Oh!

----

 

  page 418  
Miss Julia, you don't know what good friends you have left. They were going in search of you, had I not informed them that I had already found you."

 

Barnum really still felt very apprehensive about their fate, for the death of Mrs. Surratt seemed still a nightmare to him, but he did not wish to add to the burdens which Julia had already borne. The tears came into Julia's eyes in spite of her efforts to repress them.

"But I cannot return," she said; "it would break my heart to go to my old home now; and, besides, my contract with Mrs. LaGrange does not expire until the end of the year. I beg that you say nothing to my uncle, except that I prefer to remain here until my object is accomplished. He knows how deeply grateful I am to him."

He had no words of blame or commiseration for her; nothing but admiration for her noble determination to forget the life of plenty, luxury and elegance to which she had been accustomed all her life in order to earn her own living.

"You are to go back with me, Miss Julia; either to my home or to yours. I love you infinitely more for the noble efforts you have made, and I shall never love another. I can hardly expect you to marry a plain, unpretending man like myself, but you must lead this life no longer."

"Let us talk of yourself a little," she replied. "I read of your noble efforts in defence of the prisoners; the praise with which the papers allude to your name must give you well-deserved happiness; it made me happy."

"That last sentence is worth more to me, Miss Julia, than the praise of every paper in the United States. I would rather feel that I had done something worthy your approval than to pluck the proudest chaplet from Fame's temple."

 

  page 419  

"If you value my friendship or good opinion so highly, permit me to add that your conduct in the past few months does you infinitely greater honor than would any official prominence."

This was said in an earnest, sincere tone which carried conviction with it, and his eyes showed his profound appreciation of her words. After a few moment's silence, during which time they had neared the mansion where Mrs. LaGrange resided, Barnum, opening the gate, extended his hand to her and said: "Miss Julia, I am satisfied that you know me too well not to understand that I have come to New Orleans with no idle purpose. It is not necessary for me to repeat that my happiness, as far as an absorbing love can make happiness, is dependent upon your reciprocating my attachment. So long as I thought you were wealthy, I did not feel at liberty to propose marriage to you, even if you returned my love, until I had demonstrated to myself at least, my ability to take care of you as my wife must be cared for. Now our positions are reversed, and I am able to provide for you better than you can aid yourself, and I hope soon to acquire distinction, if not wealth. But unless your heart can come to me with your hand, I will not ask you to marry me, and I can hardly hope that you will sacrifice yourself for my happiness. Let us, therefore, bid each other farewell forever, for I can't live near you happily unless I can hope to win you. But, come what may, my heart is, and will ever be solely given to you."

She did not reply immediately, and he still held her trembling hand in his. Looking down with that undefined and indefinable modesty which was peculiarly her own, she said:

"Will you not come in, Colonel Barnum?"

 

  page 420  

"If to decline means to give up all hope of winning you forever, and to accept means that to the best of your knowledge your heart can be safely and freely entrusted in my keeping, would you bid me to decline or accept your invitation? Miss Julia, I appeal to your better nature, do you not think it best that this moment shall determine whether you are to be all or nothing to me?"

"I hope you will not refuse my request. I would like to talk more freely with you--particularly with regard to those who are so dear to us both. I do not think there is any occasion for so long a separation as you propose, and hope that I have said nothing to wound the feelings of one whom I esteem as highly as I do any one in the world."

"'Esteem,'" seems a cold, formal, hollow word to me now; my love is selfish, exacting, all-absorbing, and I must have yours as completely as I have given mine unreservedly to you. Give me your answer now, once for all time to come."

Her old pride and haughtiness returned when she heard the firm tone say, "I must have yours now," and then she saw his determined look. Extending her hand, she said, "Good-bye, Colonel Barnum, if you will not come in."

"Then farewell, Miss Julia; it is better that I should not remain near you if you cannot love me. It is not your fault, but my misfortune. I will endeavor to go so far that I will not be able to annoy you with my reiterated professions henceforth. But it matters not how far distant I may be, I can never forget how dear you have been, how dear you are to me!"

Julia had given him her hand, as he extended his, and her timid heart struggled in vain for utterance. She longed to tell him all--to tell him that he alone could fill her yearning heart, which now longed for that caressing, which, since

 

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her father's death, she had so sadly missed. Here stood the man whom she admired, trusted, loved above all other men, and yet his words, sounding so like an ultimatum, a dictation, forbade her saying what she so longed to say. She tried to look up, but could not. He bent down and passionately kissed the hand which he held in his--once, twice, thrice--"Good-bye, my darling; I shall never love another!" The long, appealing look, the fervent, trembling clasp of the hand, the passionate kisses were over, and the tall form of Colonel Barnum strode quickly from her sight.

 

She tried to call to him, but her tongue refused its office; she tried to follow, but her feet seemed glued to the earth where she stood! And it was not until his form was lost among the throngs which crowded the side-walk that nature asserted her rights, and tears came to her relief--tears that rushed aflood, and gave to her footsteps motion at last; tears that were from her heart, as if they possessed the talisman to touch the silent chords of grief and wake them to sorrow! She threw herself on a sofa in the parlor and gave way to her tears. "Oh! why could I not tell him? Why could he not see all he wished and more--the love of a friendless orphan is his and his alone!" Such were the thoughts of the young governess, who was passing through the severest ordeal a woman's heart can know.

How long she might have remained thus it is impossible to say, but certain it is that she was suddenly brought to realize her dependent position and the practical realities of life, in a most unceremonious way. Perhaps it was the best thing that could have happened, if it is best to drive away all thoughts of love from such a heart as Julia Dearing's.

Mrs. LaGrange entered, puffing like a steam engine, her fat face showing as plainly her disapproval of "all this" as

 

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a black cloud foretells a storm. The darkened room made every object indistinct, but she had seen enough to give her a just pretext for delivering a lecture--such as small minds with big hates delight in.

 

"Miss Dearing, permit me to ask, where are the children? I do believe you permitted them to walk by themselves--I do believe they are playing, actually playing with hoops on the street! and this is the holy Sabbath day! I ought to ask your pardon, perhaps, for being so abrupt, but when a mother's feelings about their safety not to mention their spiritual welfare--are aroused; when a mother's heart is shocked by this neglect of her little darlings whom she has trustingly confided to your care, what can she do? What ought she to do? Miss Dearing, for all you know, the horse-cars may have crushed their lives out! You are utterly unworthy of trust!" Then the female Vesuvius subsided, exhibiting a few spasmodic eruptions in the shape of sobs and tears manufactured for the occasion. Then the fat lady fell in a large arm-chair covering her face with her hands.

Julia had risen instantly, and with ill-concealed vexation had listened to this unnecessary and unmerited tirade until it had exhausted itself by its very incoherence. Her face was an interesting study. The traces of tears were still on her cheeks and in her eyes, but hot, indignant blushes overcame these. Regrets for love unspoken gave place to regrets that she had subjected herself to such treatment as this. This, in turn, yielded to that pride which all her life had been her besetting fault--the stumbling-block to her happiness. The feeling which inspired Hazael to say: "Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?" was fully appreciated by Julia Dearing as Mrs. LaGrange concluded.

 

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Pride came now to her aid; she would not let her know how she had suffered in heart; she would take advantage of this opportunity to terminate her term of servitude. But where would she go?

"Anywhere, anywhere!" she murmured, "save where I am treated like a servant." This unconsciously uttered exclamation caused Mrs. LaGrange to remove her handkerchief and look at Julia.

The face which now met her gaze was neither one like that of Judith ready to revenge herself, nor like Cleopatra's ready to yield to despair; as beautiful perhaps as either, it had assumed a pallor unreal and startling; now that all these successive phases of thought and feeling had blighted the poor girl's heart like a sirocco.

"Julia, what is the matter, are you crazy?"

This was said in a frightened voice as Mrs. LaGrange saw this strange expression which resolved itself into a stony stare. The woman in her heart was at last moved, and Mrs. LaGrange with remorseful feeling attempted to undo what she had done, for she was not as malicious as she seemed. Her question was the most unfortunate one which she could have uttered.

"Are you mad, my dear?"

Julia Dearing advanced toward her and, with eyes blazing with unnatural light, exclaimed:

"Mrs. LaGrange, I believe I am! I must leave now. I have remained here too long!"

The searing iron of despair had entered her soul, and seemed fast approaching the citadel of reason. Already her mind seemed paralyzed. The elder lady was completely overcome by conflicting emotions; pride, affection, selfishness and with it remorse for the many cruel stabs at this proud,

 

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dependent, suffering girl; this imperial soul imprisoned in the vocation of a governess, all struggled for the mastery. The figure before her seemed the impersonation of sorrowing despair, the twin-sister of Nemesis, taking the surest revenge by standing as a victim face to face with the oppressor. But ah! "a touch of kindness makes all the world kin," two little voices put an end to this momentary drama. Running in the parlor with their aprons full of flowers, ignoring their mother, they went to Julia, and one of them extending her apron to Julia said, almost breathlessly:

 

"I got here fyst, Miss Julia! and you must have my flowers; I pulled 'em for you!"

"I trieded to get here fyst, Miss Julia, and if you don't take my flowers you don't love 'ittle girls like you do big girls who can run the fastedest!" and the little child shook her fairy-like head almost with every word to give vehemence to her argument.

The stony stare faded slowly away, and her eyes slowly filled with tears, as the mind, touched by the wand of affection, returned to its human duty and the girl knelt down, placed her arms around both children and said in a low tone full of earnestness and affection:

"My dear, sweet little darlings! I'll take them all," and then she turned her eyes to Mrs. LaGrange and said: "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."

The mother's heart was touched as it had never been before. The children had brought her no flowers, but they were her children, and any one who could inspire such love as this was too good to be spoken to as she had spoken; too kind to be insulted and taunted with her dependent position.

 

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She arose, and taking Julia's hand in her's, kissed gently her forehead and said: "Julia, forgive me! You have made me a better woman; I will never wound your feelings again." The head of the kneeling governess sank on her breast, and for the first time in so long a time Julia Dearing felt that it had found a resting-place.

The flowers were strewn about the floor; Mrs. LaGrange was kneeling beside her chafing her hands as she reclined upon the sofa; the two little girls were caressing her face, and often kissing her, as she lay there in a semi-conscious state. The doctor, who had been summoned by Mrs. LaGrange, now entered softly, and drew a chair beside the patient, and felt her pulse time and again.

Julia seemed unconscious of his presence, and now and then she would smile and move her lips, as if speaking inaudibly to some invisible person whose near presence made her happy.

Then she seemed in slumber, but her eyes did not close.

A bed was placed in the parlor, for she was too ill to be removed to her room, which was, besides, a dreary apartment away from the other occupied rooms and looking into the court.

Days succeeded days, and weeks followed, and still the invalid was confined to her bed and seemed unconscious of her condition. Nor did she taste food during this long interval.

Meanwhile, the untiring devotion and tenderness of Mrs. LaGrange never ceased, and surprised all her acquaintances. Her motherly affection seemed transferred from the absent Émile to the present Julia.

Her features, like her voice, had softened, and, though her hair around the temples had assumed a silvery hue, it made

 

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her countenance infinitely more attractive than it had ever been. She now seemed a devoted, amiable, lovely, self-sacrificing mother, whose chief aim in life was to restore this motherless girl to health and happiness. The girl whom she had charged with being the author of Émile's ruin she now loved with a love too untiring not to be enduring; and this had changed her into a womanly woman, as patient as she had formerly been captious and impatient.

 

Formerly she had been but a petted child of fortune, although the mother of an adult son; formerly she had been ever attentive to the outward observance of religion and etiquette, and a constant attendant at church; now she was far more than that--although she had not entered a church or spoken to her pastor since that eventful day--she was a Christian. To be a Christian truly is to resemble Christ. Mrs. LaGrange was in these days of trial Christ-like, and the pallid but beautiful patient was angel-like. A smile from her now was ample reward for Mrs. LaGrange's sleepless nights and days of watchful care. Once more she saw the lips move and heard them faintly utter, as if speaking to an angel, the words, "Faith, hope, charity, but the greatest of these is charity," and these words were followed by a smile from the lips that uttered them which expressed more than the words themselves. Mrs. LaGrange had read the words a thousand times; she had never felt them until then. She said to herself: "What a mystery, after all, is the human heart! I, who have ever considered life a theatre for pleasure, where men and women act their parts in a comedy, or lead a butterfly existence, now see life as it is.

"Life, in its highest essence, is charity; without charity, life is despair! Despair in life means melancholia or mania, and these mean death in life, or a precursor to this lifeless

 

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life which is so still and yet so beautiful; so silent, yet so eloquent with that placid look which the pure in heart only can have; so sweet that it has instructed me how to be happy, better, far better, than long years of penitential piety. 'No frowns, no sighs, no moans, no griefs, are pictured on this sweet young face,' nor are these, any one of these, essential to goodness, or she would have them. The best, the sweetest child I ever knew!" Thus thought Mrs. LaGrange as she bent down and gently kissed the brow of the fair young sleeper.

 

"Mother!" exclaimed Julia, as if awaking from a sweet, long slumber. "Mother!" as a little child might have said "mother." She took Mrs. LaGrange's face in her two thin, white hands, and pulling it down to her, kissed it affectionately, and said: "I thought you were my mother in heaven, Mrs. LaGrange, but you are my mother on earth, and I love you for your kindness. Don't tell me about it; I have dreamed it all, and I know you love me."

"Yes, my darling child! Julia, I love you as dearly as any mother ever loved her child. Call me mother--let me be your mother, and I will be happier than I have ever been."

"Mother!" The invalid smiled again, closed her eyes for the first time, and sank into a gentle slumber, such as the very feeble sleep.

The tears were streaming from Mrs. LaGrange's face, as she knelt by the side of that bed and prayed that Julia's life might be spared.

The very well-springs of her being seemed now touched, and she was full of love and tenderness, and anxiety for the motherless orphan whom she felt was about to be taken from her forever, before she could win the forgiveness of her

 

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own heart for the trials to which she had been subjecting this friendless girl.

 

Julia now seemed to her as if she was her guardian angel, and she feared that she would lose all her new happiness, if she who had taught her how to be noble were to pass thus sweetly away.

Meanwhile, the twentieth day of the trial of the Etowah prisoners found the barracks court-room crowded to suffocation. The testimony had nearly all been of an indecisive character, but nothing that would establish the absolute innocence of the prisoners had been elicited from the witnesses for the prosecution, to whom precedence had been given.

In civil law, the condemned may be reprieved by the Executive; and sometimes, in exceptional cases, Executive clemency grants a full pardon. In military law, there is no right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the State, or of the United States; and the law is summarily executed by a platoon of soldiers, who send the souls of the condemned into the illimitable future at the crack of the musket.

Now, a living soul, full of all the tenderest emotions and the noblest aspirations to round up one's life-work with some noble performance, the thousand blood-channels full of life-blood coursing at every pulsation through the arteries; then suddenly, this glorious temple of humanity but a moment before, lies prone in the dust perforated with bullets, a lifeless corpse! And yonder soldiers lean on their muskets, which sent forth their deadly missiles at the command, "Fire!" and weep.

Such seemed the doom awaiting the unhappy Etowah prisoners.

 

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Hair, that was black a month ago, is now streaked with grey; they have lived twenty years in twenty days.

The court-room is crowded, though the day is a sultry July day, and nine-tenths of the audience are ladies--not women merely, but gentlewomen--for these daughters of the Confederacy, who faced that dreadful ordeal that day when the witnesses for the defence were to be placed upon the stand, were gentle mannered and gentle-born.

About each of the prisoners was the aroma of fresh flowers; behind them, an array of faces that indicated a sympathy wide as is humanity.

Against the gentlemen composing the Military Commission the prisoners felt no animosity; they felt as did Ney when his own soldiers slew their commander at his own command. They knew that not one of those officers felt any malice to them, and they appreciated that each one reluctantly performed the saddest duty of his life.

The prisoners seemed to have lost hope in any just termination, as they noted the character of the witnesses summoned against them, and the tenor of their testimony.

They wondered at the delay in introducing the witnesses for the defence; and they wondered still more at the cordial manner in which the leading counsel for the defence greeted the prosecuting attorney.

But now their hopes are revived, as the witness for the defence takes the stand and is examined by their counsel.

EXAMINATION BY THE LEADING COUNSEL FOR THE DEFENCE.

Dr. Clifford A. Wales was introduced as a witness by the defence and was duly sworn, and testified as follows:

Q. Doctor, please give the court your name in full--Christian name and all to the court?

 

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A. Clifford A. Wales.

Q. Are you a brother of the Hon. William H. Wales, U. S. minister to Austria some time ago, and of the Rev. Dr. Joseph C. Wales, of Richmond, Virginia?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Where do you reside now, Doctor?

A. In Marshall county.

Q. This State?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. What is your profession?

A. Physician.

Q. Do you know William Luke?

A. I do.

Q. Do you see him in this row of prisoners?

A. I do.

Q. Will you point him out to the court?

A. I will. (Witness points out Mr. Luke, the accused.)

Q. How far do you reside from his father's.

A. About three miles.

Q. Did you see him at his father's at any time during the latter part of March of this year?

A. I did.

Q. What was the day of the week and of the month, and state the circumstances where you saw him?

A. It was on Monday, the 30th of March, at his father's workshop, about forty miles east of north of Etowah.

(There was a sensation in the audience as this alibi was proved, for there was no way to go thence to Etowah except by wagon-road.)

Q. What time in the evening?

A. Between five and six o'clock.

 

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Q. Had your attention been called specially to the time on which you saw him?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you recollect when Mr. Washburn was assassinated?

A. I do, sir.

Q. Do you recollect where you were when you first heard of it?

A. I do.

Q. Where were you?

A. In Luke's workshop.

Q. Was Mr. Luke, the accused, present at the time you heard the news?

A. He was.

The witness then retired, and the Mayor of the city of Etowah was placed upon the witness stand, and he thus testified as to the character of three important witnesses for the prosecution.

CROSS-EXAMINED BY COUNSEL FOR THE PROSECUTION.

Q. Are you acquainted with that man, Hannett, whom you say you saw in Washburn's room that night?

A. I know him.

Q. Are you acquainted with his general character for truth and veracity?

A. I am.

Q. From that general character would believe him on oath?

A. I would not.

Q. Do you know Wade Cravens?

A. I do.

Q. Do you know his character for truth and veracity?

A. I do.

 

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Q. From that character would you believe him on his oath?

A. I would not.

Q. Do you know George Botz, the young man?

A. I do.

Q. Are you acquainted with his general character for truth and veracity?

A. I am.

Q From that knowledge would you believe him on his oath?

A. I would not. He has testified that he fired at George Washburn, and that the inducement offered him to commit murder was one hundred dollars.

Q. How long have you known George Botz, the witness you have testified about?

A. I have known him from his childhood, I might say.

Q. Had you been examined under oath as to his general character prior to the death of Washburn, would you have sworn that you would not believe him on his oath?

A. I would.

Q. If you had been asked on your oath in court, prior to the death of Washburn, would you have answered that you would not believe the witness, Cravens, on oath?

A. I would.

Q. Why would you have made that answer?

A. From his associations and the manner in which he and the family live. His associates were negroes and low white people.

Very soon after the rebutting testimony had been gone into, it became evident that the prisoners could not be, and ought not to be, convicted. The evidence Foreword the defence was overwhelming in its proofs of a conspiracy of perjury

 

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and of its strong suggestions of subornation of perjury. It was certain that Washburn had been killed. It was reasonable to suppose that the so-called ku-klux klan had killed him; and it was possible that some of the guilty parties had been arrested; but it was very certain that among the prisoners were men against whom no reproach of any kind had ever been made, and who were as guiltless of this crime as a babe. Justice pardons the guilty rather than punish the innocent; these detectives sought to punish the innocent that they night reach the guilty, and thus earn the forty thousand dollars offered for their conviction.

 

But their release became a certainty after the speech of the principal counsel for the defence.

The ex- Vice-President of the Confederacy, as leading counsel for the accused arose and addressed the court. Quoting the fourteenth amendment which had just been ratified by the State Legislature, he said:

"It was primarily intended to guarantee particularly the rights of the enfranchised blacks, but it also provides protection for the white citizens of this country. The words 'due process of law,' mean a great deal, and, although it has been held by this military commission that a trial without indictment by a grand jury may be constitutional, it has never been intimated that, under the provisions of this amendment, a trial by petit jury can be dispensed with. 'Due process of law' means a trial by a jury of one's peers. We have now the right to the writ to be heard on the question whether the constitution has been violated in order to compass the conviction of these men. The same constitution covers us all.* I know no anarchy abroad in this land which the American people need fear, except anarchy in the

----

 

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administration of justice. I fear that anarchy which dons the ermine of justice and administers lynch law in violation of the supreme law of the land."

 

 

So convincing were his arguments, and so overwhelming the testimony in favor the prisoners, that the Military Commission was speedily adjourned by order of the General commanding the Department. The Judge Advocate announced the next day that he had no further business to bring before the Military Commission, and stated that all proceedings, in the trial of the prisoners charged with the murder of Washburn, were at an end. The prisoners were unconditionally released.

But the effect of the outrageous treatment to which Hallback had been subjected, was to make him determined to leave no stone unturned to get even with those whom he thought were his persecutors. He resolved to expose the thefts, tyranies and impositions practiced by the agents of the Freedmen's Bureau, under the administration of Potts Stunner and Hefflin, even if it antagonized every member of his race.

Prudent and industrious freedmen rarely called upon the Bureau for advice and assistance. It was the idle and worthless who looked to it for support, and the aged and infirm who were formerly supported by their masters. The masses of the freedmen had an idea that the Bureau possessed some mysterious power to serve them, and if they failed to secure such livelihood as they desired, they fell back upon it with a certainty of support. They also regarded the existence of the Bureau as evidence that the government looked upon the white people of the South as their enemies.*

The first matter to which he called Barnum's attention was the killing of a freedman by an employee of the assistant

 

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commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, Mr. Wellington Napoleon Potts, whose partner was the Rev. Horace Johns, formerly Quarter-Master U. S. V., who resided on the plantation in Pitt county, operated on their joint account, and who was still an agent of the Bureau without pay. In proportion to the increased authority given to Potts by his new office, bestowed because of his excessive loyalty, his natural cupidity came to the surface in the rôle of a developer. He boldly launched into operations which brought him and his subordinates, whom he was careful to so select that they might become silent partners, into competition with the planters and others who were employing freedmen as laborers. They thus appropriated and controlled the labor of freedmen under their jurisdiction to advance their private interests. Potts had become interested contrary to the law establishing the Freedmen's Bureau, in many industrial enterprises, such as cultivating plantations, operating saw-mills, etc., etc. The trouble was that his "silent partners" did not, like Stunner, know when to talk and when to be silent, and Hallback had little difficulty in acquiring the information. Colonel Barnum related his personal experiences with the Assistant Commissioner, Potts, and the War Department sent two Federal Generals early the next year--for official methods are slow to materialize--to investigate the truth of these reports, and they reported as follows:

"We have investigated some of the charges made against the agents of the Bureau, and in pursuing our inquiries to this point, commenced with the Assistant Commissioner of the State, Mr. Wellington Napoleon Potts. Mr. Potts, to whom we addressed the interrogatory: "Do you know of any person now on duty with the Freedmen's Bureau in

 

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this Department, who is, or has been since entering upon the duties of his office, engaged, or interested directly or indirectly, in the cultivation of any lands within this Department?"

 

 

He answered "No!" Subsequently he addressed us a note hereto appended, marked "A," in which he stated, that in order to assist the planters in hiring freedmen, he and some other officers of the Bureau had loaned money, and thus indirectly had an interest in cultivating plantations. On receiving this note we addressed Mr. Potts further interrogatories, a copy of which is hereto annexed, marked 'B,' to which he replied in a communication, also hereto appended marked "C," disclosing the fact that he is interested with the Rev. Horace Johns, of Massachusetts, formerly captain and assistant quarter-master Freedmen's Bureau, and with Mr. Winthrop Rappan, of Maine, in the cultivation of a large plantation in Etowah county. He also stated therein that he was interested in the manner before mentioned with Captain F. A. Sheely, superintendent for the Bureau of the eastern district in Hogue county, and with Captain Isaac Rosencrantz, commissary of subsistence, and a Mr. Brooks in Pitt county, in the cultivation of plantations with the labor of freedmen, whom he supplies with rations as part of their wages! The circumstances under which a freedman was killed, as stated by Mr. Johns himself, are as follows: The freedman was accused of stealing provisions from the store of Messrs. Potts and Johns, and was arrested, tried and convicted by Mr. Johns, as agent of the Bureau, and was sentenced to dig ditches on their plantation. While working out his sentence he ran away and was pursued by Johns' clerk, Hoyden, who arrived at the bank of a river while the freedman was attempting to cross in a canoe. Hoyden ordered

 

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him to return, telling him if he did not he would shoot, and the freedman disregarding this order, Hoyden fired. Hoyden states himself that he thinks he hit him, and as nothing has ever been heard of him since, it is generally believed in the neighborhood that he was killed, and fell from the canoe into the river. These facts are stated in a letter forwarded to Mr. Potts, who returned it to Captain Sheeley, with the following indorsement: "

 

 

" Etowah, Wednesday , March 28.

"Respectfully returned. As the affair seems to have occurred at night, and as the body of the negro has not yet been discovered, it does not appear certain that the shot took effect. No further action in the case seems called for.

By order of
W. N. Potts, Assistant Commissioner."
 

"

 

In one of our interviews with the freedmen at Etowah, some of whom had been employed in the Commissary Department of the Bureau, they stated that rations in bulk had been frequently taken from the supply warehouse at unusual hours before the doors were open for the transaction of business, and hauled off in carts and wagons, ostensibly to the freedmen's warehouse, but really to a provision store kept by a man who furnished supplies for the plantation in which this officer was interested, and with which they paid the wages of the freedmen employed as aforesaid.

On the south bank of the Flint river there is a settlement composed exclusively of freedmen and containing a population of about four thousand, whose condition is truly deplorable. These unfortunate people came within our lines and were located there during the war. They are living in small huts, built by themselves, of lumber manufactured by hand. These huts generally contain but a single room, each of which is occupied in most cases by large families.

 

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The appearance of this settlement, recently scourged by small-pox, is well calculated to excite the deepest sympathy for the helpless condition of its inhabitants. The decrepid and helpless among them are supported by the Government of the United States, and the remainder procure an uncertain and scanty living from little jobs, from fishing with small boats, etc. Rev. Mr. Stunner, formerly an army chaplain, presides over this colony as "Assistant Superintendent of the Bureau for the Flint river settlement." This agent has exercised the most arbitrary and despotic power, and practiced unheard of cruelties on the helpless freedmen under his charge. The outrageous conduct of this man was brought to our attention by a delegation of freedmen from the settlement, who called upon us and made statements in reference to his oppressions and outrages which we could scarcely credit. After hearing these statements we visited the settlement, conversed with the freedmen, investigated the charge against this man, and ascertained that he had been guilty of greater wrongs and oppressions than had been complained of. In addition to the testimony of the freedmen, we took the statements of four intelligent ladies from the North who were teaching school in this settlement.

 

Among many acts of cruelty committed by Superintendent Stunner, we found that he had, in two instances, suspended freedmen with cords around their wrists, with their feet not touching the floor, and kept them in this position--in one case four, and in the other case six hours. Also that he sentenced a freedman to an imprisonment of three months for a trivial offence, that of wrangling with his wife. He kept another man, who was arrested for debt, shut up in the block-house, a prison, for months, while his wife and children, reduced to abject destitution, died with the small-pox;

 

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and took him from the prison under guard and compelled him to bury his last child in the cradle in which it died. On another occasion, when one of his guards reported to him that a colored woman had spoken disrespectfully of him, without even inquiring what the woman had said, he ordered her to be imprisoned till 9 o'clock next morning, when she should be brought before him to answer for the indignity. In one instance he imprisoned six children for ten days for playing in the streets on the Sabbath day. He imposed a fine of $60 upon an aged freedman for having told another freedman that he was about to be arrested by Mr. Stunner. This poor old man, not having the money to pay the fine, was imprisoned until next day, when his son paid the same, with $3 additional jail fees.

 

The land upon which the huts in this settlement are built is owned by certain heirs in North Carolina, and is held by the Bureau as abandoned property. A tax, which Superintendent Stunner says goes to the support of the Bureau (?), is imposed upon the owner of each hut for ground rent. If the occupants fail to pay the tax promptly, they are either turned out into the streets or imprisoned, and in some instances huts have been torn down by order of the Superintendent for non-payment of tax. All business transacted by these people is taxed for the same purpose. Five dollars per month is levied on every little shop, $2 on each fishing boat, $5 on each horse and cart, etc. The failure to pay these taxes when due at once subjects the property to confiscation. We were unable to ascertain what amount of money had been collected by Superintendent Stunner, or what disposition had been made of it. The imperfect manner in which his books were kept would have needed a lengthy and detailed examination necessary to arrive at

 

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even an approximate idea of the amount of money collected. In answer to a question as to what justification there was for the oppressive burdens he had imposed upon these people, Superintendent Stunner replied that Captain Sheeley told him: "I must have a thousand dollars a month from that settlement." He also furnished us with a sworn statement herewith furnished, marked "E," in which he attempts to defend his conduct by stating that he acted in obedience to the orders of his superior officers in the Bureau, Messrs. Potts and others. In an interview we had with Captain Sheeley, that officer evinced a desire to shield Superintendent Stunner by stating that a great deal of what was said against him was false, notwithstanding that he had sworn testimony before him that the charges against Stunner were true.

 

In contracting to furnish laborers to work plantations, these officers of the Bureau become at once interested against the laborer whom they compel to labor, perhaps unjustly, when unfairly dealt with by the person working him on the plantation, and on his refusing to work he inflicts upon him unlawful, and for a breach of contract, unheard of punishments, putting them in chain-gangs as if they were convicted criminals. Mr. Potts, or any other officers in the Bureau, who are engaged in working plantations rented for cash or on shares, become interested in securing a low rate of wages, and in making the most stringent labor regulations to the great detriment of the freedmen.

They thereby give the sanction of the Government to the establishment of wages far below what the labor is really worth.

The arbitrary power exercised by the officers and agents of the Bureau in making arrests, imposing fines and inflicting

 

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punishments, disregarding the local laws and especially the Statute of Limitations, creates prejudice against the Government. If the officers were all honest and intelligent, with even limited legal information, it might be safe to trust them with this extraordinary power; but in many instances the officers do not possess the slightest knowledge of law. The agent, and former chaplain, Stunner, imposed a fine of $25 on one freedman for stabbing another so severely as to endanger his life, and when interrogated by us, stated that he did not know enough about law to distinguish a civil from a criminal case. Many others are as ignorant of the law as this reverend gentleman is. We are satisfied that the recommendation which we made in reference to the withdrawal of the officers of the Bureau in Virginia, and the transference to the officers commanding the troops of such duty as it may still be necessary to perform in connection with the freedmen, is equally applicable to this State.

 

Very respectfully your obedient servants.
James B. Seedman, Maj. Gen. U. S. V.
J. S. Wolverton, Brig. Gen. U. S. V."

The effect of this report, brought about by the efforts of Hallback, was the summary removal from office by the War Department of Messrs. Potts, Hefflin, Stunner and their associates. The only consolation that Stunner had was the comical manner in which he, a veteran legal dynamiteur, was described in this official report as one who could not distinguish a civil from a criminal case. Potts and Hefflin adroitly used their removal from office to prejudice the negroes against Hallback, for thousands of the laziest and most corrupt among them throughout the State had been fed and

 

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clothed thus at the expense of the Government to the profit of its trusted agents.

 

In becoming thus a reformer of bad methods and a benefactor to the community at large, Hallback became the target for the venemous malice of these men and their illiterate and misguided negro followers. A year before he was their acknowledged leader; now they were ready to sacrifice him upon the first favorable opportunity.

Chapter 38

 

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CHAPTER XXXVIII.
THE CONVICT.

The career of Hefflin had already illustrated that the man who slays a fellow-man seems, like the tiger which has tasted blood, to thirst for more.

The tiger is the symbol of cruelty, and Hefflin was a human tiger. The car of Bacchus is represented as being drawn by tigers to indicate that the excess of wine transports us to fury. Malice was the vintage drank by Hefflin, and the chief object of his wrath was, as we have seen, the now released prisoner, Hallback, who returned his hatred with interest. But Hallback, brave as he was, would have shuddered had he known of the fate which awaited him.

It had been for some time evident that either Hallback's influence with his negro associates must be destroyed, or the hold on political offices retained by Potts, Hefflin, and their allies, would cease, as their connection with the Freedman's Bureau had ceased.

With Hallback, too, vendetta had become a passion as absorbing as ever it was in the heart of a Corsican determined on revenge--a man who feels obliged by a custom consecrated by time that impels every member of a family to avenge the murder of a relative. So in Sardinia, and in the mountains of Caucasus, and in Montenegro, custom sanctions the vendetta. But custom was not Hallback's

 

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counsellor. His mind lingered upon the words in the thirty-fourth chapter of Numbers: "The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer; when he meeteth him he shall slay him. But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled; And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood."

 

He regarded Hefflin as the accomplice of Washburn in the killing of "Uncle Barney;" he regarded him as the remorseless seeker after his own life. And he proceeded to act accordingly.

The plotters were industriously at work to get rid of him, and every meeting in public demonstrated it. Hefflin had taunted him, time and again, publicly, and he had forborne to resent his insults.

Finally the ruffian, as Hallback arose to speak before the members of the Loyal League, deliberately spat in his face. The indignity was resented by a blow from the fist of the indignant young leader which knocked Hefflin off the stand. He arose with fury, as the jeering negroes saluted his discomfiture, and, remounting the stand, suddenly grasped his pistol, presented it to Hallback's face, and pulled the trigger. The cap snapped, the weapon failed to send its deadly missile into the head of his intended victim, and, before he could again cock his pistol, Hallback had drawn his knife and inflicted a series of stabs that sent him reeling down again.

Hefflin lingered for weeks between life and death, but slowly recovered. Hallback walked deliberately to jail

 

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and delivered himself up, and there he remained until his trial for assault with intent to murder took place.

 

Again subornation of perjury was resorted to by Hefflin, and this time successfully, for at that trial Hallback was convicted.

Hallback had had no opportunity to become familiar with the forms of law, but he had exercised, in this instance, the God-given right of self-preservation.

Negroes in the days of slavery were rarely punished by imprisonment for any offence short of murder. They were, as a rule, ignorant of "vested rights" or "the sacred rights of property." They had never owned any property; and the Dred Scott decision, promulgated but a few years before, declared that they were "chattels" and had no rights which the white man was bound to respect. The slave had little conception of the penalties inflicted by law. There were few negro vagrants in the slavery days; and the slave realized that loss of labor, or time, was loss of money to his master though of no pecuniary value to himself.

Theft, in the mind of the slave, was not a crime, for he "stole" from his master--usually a hog, or something to gratify his appetite. He noted the fact that the hog which invaded the corn-field was punished by being "penned up" and being liberally fed, that it might make more meat for the master by consuming more corn without having to run the gauntlet for it. The slave himself was punished with the lash for similar depredations. So that the negro's exemption from criminal prosecution by reason of slavery, rendered him peculiarly helpless as a freedman, entirely

 

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ignorant of "the ways that are dark and the tricks that are vain," practiced by the dynamite lawyers of the Stunner stripe. Hence, the seeming recklessness which filled the so-called penitentiary with negro convicts.

 

"Lord of himself, that heritage of woe," Hallback had now no master to appeal to--no friend, to whom he could turn for counsel and aid when the merciless hand of the law clutched him by the throat. The young master, from whom he had been partially alienated because of his political affiliations, was absent at the North; and he felt too sorely the defection of "friends" among people of his own color, to look with sanguine hope even to Henry Latané. Hefflin and Stunner had managed to prejudice  many against him by charging him with being accessory to the murder of George Washburn.

The world seemed to have turned its back upon this solitary young black man when the turnkey locked the door of his cell.

Behind him were the fruitless struggle of a noble ambition; before him was--what?

Naught but dark and gloomy forebodings; and thoughts of that revengeful spirit for which "Uncle Barney" had chided him, greeted him as he looked through the bars of his cage to the beautiful blue skies above.

But immediately on his return to Etowah, appeared and confronted him the friend and playmate of his boyhood, the almost constant companion of his manhood days until he had become his own master. An officer accompanied Henry Latané, and new hope took the place of outraged despair as Henry Latané said to him: "I have come to

 

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take you out of this jail, Hall.; I have become your bondsman, and your case shall be carried to the Supreme Court, and I will exhaust half my fortune to clear you of this charge, if necessary."

 

Thus Hallback was released on bond; but he had never violated a confidence reposed in him, and he disregarded the suggestions made to him that he should flee the country. Months passed, and he promptly reported and surrendered himself for trial before that august court which claims to right the errors of "the court below."

The Chief Justice was now presiding over the Supreme Court of the State in a case involving the sentence to hard labor for twenty years of the foremost young negro leader of the party of which he had been for years the acknowledged head.

He had not anticipated that this contingency could be possible, when he became the lessee of the "long-term, ablebodied convicts," before his elevation to the Supreme bench. To his fertile brain it was clear that his profits could not be less than two hundred dollars a day, for the "Lessee of Convicts," unlike the humane slave-holders of the past, did not look after or concern himself about the welfare of the dependent families of the doomed men confided to his control by the merciless hands of the law.

If the decision of the court below be affirmed, then it would be his duty to condemn the prisoner to work for twenty years in mines in which he was pecuniarily very largely interested. But how can a Chief Justice be disqualified from presiding in such cases if interest proves

 

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stronger than conscience? In the days of slavery there had been five consumers to one laborer, and the expense of supporting the non-workers devolved upon the master. So that this legal slavery, born of emancipation, conceived in the crafty brain of these so-called friends of the emancipated slaves, became five-fold more profitable than the slavery which had existed before the war.

 

Hallback realized now the truth of old Barney's warnings, and the statement made to him by Colonel Barnum, that the only interest strangers, who lived a thousand miles distant, could possibly feel for the negro was to use him to further their own schemes.

He wrote to those among the white Radicals who had seemed so loyally his friends in the time of his great influence over his race, but not one answered his appeals, and not one visited him in the felon's cell.

He had urged his people to unite with him in petitioning for the restoration of the civil law, and his appeals had been met with attempted assassination. He who had only exercised the right of self-defence, and had voluntarily delivered himself a prisoner, was now about to be tried for a crime which might result in a sentence worse than death.

Hefflin, on the contrary, aided by his rich allies and his astute attorney, John Bull Stunner, had been legally acquitted. And this ex-slave asked himself a question which our wisest judges may well consider, viz.: "Does the execution of the modern written law protect the innocent poor. or punish the rich who are guilty, as well as those of Moses written thousands of years ago, did?"

Deep sympathy for the prisoner was evident before the

 

  page 449  
opening of the court, and the negro janitor tip-toed around the chamber while dusting the court-room as if he was afraid of disturbing the solemn quiet which prevailed. The lawyers conversed in low tones. The prominence of the bondsmen who had stood by Hallback in the hour when all others had deserted him, the high character of the attorney for the defence, and the remarkable individuality of the young negro prisoner, combined to bring together a large and intelligent audience at the trial. Every argument had been exhausted, and the court convened to announce its decision on this case, and proceed to the consideration of another. "The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small."

 

Hallback seemed the realization of Victor Hugo's words: "The convict, without society except that of convict slaves like himself; without clothing except the striped uniform of the convict; without reward for his labor; without a bed except the plank with the number marked thereon; without a name except that number; with nothing to look forward to except the monotony of a painful and laborious life during the term of his sentence, is indeed a pitiable object." But now and then he caught the re-assuring glance of Henry Latané, which seemed to say, "I will do all that mortal man can to set you free," and his eyes filled with tears. And anon, as he looked to where John Hefflin sat and met the vindictive malice that glanced from that villain's eyes, his manacled hands clenched nervously and his eyes blazed with a defiance that death alone can stifle. He seemed like a caged lion at bay.

Even cupidity will not tempt a Jew to swear away the life or liberty of another Jew, and if the negro was as steadfast

----

 

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to his race as the Israelite to his, a solid negro party would be a possibility. But the two potent agencies which have caused the Indian to pale away before the Caucasian--whisky and bribe money--were brought to bear against this young negro thus isolated and thus defenceless.

 

As the Justices filed into the court-room, headed by the Chief Justice himself, they appeared dignified and learned. The Chief Justice waved his associates to their seats; his nod to the sheriff was more stiff, and his "open the court" less audible than usual. It was evident that he presided with reluctance over this trial. A few moments later he said, turning to one of the associate justices:

"Justice Blanton, have you any announcement to make?"

Justice Blanton responded:

"In Hallback against the people of this State, number 48, advisement docket."

The Chief Justice turned the leaves of the court docket to the case indicated, when the Justice read the decision of the court. The manner of Justice Blanton showed how reluctantly he performed the duty he had been delegated by his associates to perform. He announced that "the judgment of the court below is affirmed" (the sentence had been hard labor in the penitentiary for twenty years) "as to defendant in indictment, and that it be carried into effect by the sheriff of Etowah county without delay."

The judgment of the court was unanimous; Hallback bowed his head and seemed aged in a moment. Henry Latané grasped his hand firmly and said to him: "Hall, I would have done just as you did; you are no more of a criminal than I am; we have done all that could be done for you, but I shall apply for a pardon every four years, as a new Governor is elected, until I get you released."

 

  page 451  

"God bless you, Marse Henry! God bless you!" was all that poor Hallback could say as he was led back to prison again.

No one could blame the Chief Justice or his associates, who could not have legally decided otherwise, but never was sympathy more universally felt for a prisoner. All countries have, of necessity, penal institutions, and to endeavor to dispense with them is Utopian.

But it was reserved for America, "the home of the oppressed of all nations," to make the penitentiary a system to enrich avaricious individuals rather than to reform the criminals.

Money is the lever which moves the world and monarchs pay tribute to it. Humanity lives and labors for it. But never, perhaps, was the assertion that "the love of money is the root of all evil" better illustrated than in the convict lease system which prevails in many of the Southern States. The "black hole of Calcutta" is little worse than the mines where Hallback was, by this decree, forced to delve for twenty years that a few rich men may be made fabulously rich.

Silvio Pellico, in his noted work, "My Prisons," has made the dungeons in the Castle of Spielberg famous the world over. And the civilized world read the history of Austrian tyranny, as illustrated by that imprisonment of eleven years, with a sympathy which developed a public sentiment that revolutionized the method of punishing political criminals.

His crime was an undying love for his native land, a patriotism that defied prison bars to the end, when solitary confinement had shattered his health and bent the feeble frame which held his indomitable spirit until the grave claimed its own.

 

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But Silvio Pellico never described any refinement of torture equal to that to which Hallback was subjected by this conviction, which gave evident satisfaction to Detective Hefflin. His vindictive malice could now feel sated, for it had certainly inflicted a terrible vengeance on this young leader of the "Torch Bearers"--this rival for leadership of the ignorant and easily duped freedmen. Hallback had defied him then, and he defied him now, though defiance from a helpless, shackled convict was apparently harmless; yet none who saw the threatening gesture of that black, manacled hand, and the indignant hatred of Hallback's eyes, could wonder that the malignant wretch, who had by suborned testimony accomplished his ruin, should cast down his eyes and keep them thus until the prisoner was led away.

Chapter 39

 

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CHAPTER XXXIX.
CA IRA.

Mrs. LaGrange seemed to have found her child again upon whom she doted with all a mother's love. Though Émile remained in the asylum in New York, and was thus as one dead to her, yet this pale but lovely girl, so patient in her long suffering, so thoughtfully appreciative of the slightest kindness, had endeared herself to and softened the heart of the once selfish, worldly Mrs. LaGrange.

In winning the love of Émile LaGrange, in spite of all her efforts to prevent it, she had made an enemy whose selfish malice seemed utter heartlessness.

In being the only person whom Émile remembered during his mental aberration, and, therefore, the only means by which he could be restored to health in mind and body, it became absolutely essential that she should not leave the household which had so long depended upon her while regarding her as a dependent.

Her letters in reply to those of the unfortunate young man in the inebriate asylum were so full of magnanimity, the gentlest consideration and character, that they astonished while they charmed Mrs. LaGrange; and yet it needed a "scene" to bring these facts out, and when Mrs. LaGrange had nearly killed her with that speechless grief, the very eloquence of silence which followed the sudden pallor, the failing of the limbs and look of sudden pain, alarmed her and inspired a remorse similar to that of a murderer. Her own feelings as suddenly changed from hate

 

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to love, from envy to compassion, from malicious insinuations to the most untiring watchfulness and care. She could scarcely believe it possible that this Julia was the proud, imperiously proud governess, but rather she seemed unearthly in her patience and loveliness.

 

Her figure had lost its plumpness now, and the large eyes had a lustre, and seemed so deep sunken as to seem unnatural, yet beautiful beyond description. The sweet face smiled gently, and the voice, though weak, had the same sweet intonation.

"Thank you, Mrs. LaGrange; you are too good and kind! How shall I ever repay you?"

"Hush, Julia! don't call me Mrs. LaGrange any more. I am your mother now, and I love you just as much as I do any of my children. Henceforth you are to be my adopted daughter."

Julia feebly protested, but Mrs. LaGrange playfully closed her mouth with her hand, then kissing the invalid, said:

"Don't worry now, my child; go to sleep; you need rest."

Julia smiled and closed her eyes as if to sleep. The evening sun was all aglow; the window was open and the western sky seemed never lovelier as Julia watched it from her sick bed.

"Am I going there?" she muttered, unconsciously.

"No, my darling; you are going to New York with me."

"Did I speak, Mrs. LaGrange, or did you interpret my thoughts?" asked Julia, turning her eyes upon her nurse.

"You spoke, my dear, and very foolishly, too. Don't you know I can't spare you to God yet."

Julia smiled. "I did not know that I had spoken. Do you think I should go to heaven if I should die?"

"Of course I do, child. You are the best and sweetest

 

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girl I ever saw, and I don't believe you ever had a wicked thought in all your life." Then she added, cheerfully: "But I tell you, Julia, if you don't get well in two weeks I am going to leave you. I have engaged rooms for us all at Lake George, and don't intend to be delayed."

 

But Julia was not too sick to perceive that this language was forced, for Mrs. LaGrange, in turning her head to avert her face, had let fall a tear upon the thin, wasted hand which she held in her own.

"If I do not leave you before then," said Julia, slowly and sadly, "I will go with you, Mrs.--mother!"

It was the first time in her life she had ever uttered that word, "mother." She had never known a mother, and now she began to feel how much happier her life would have been if she had, as a child, been petted and caressed as she was now.

"This is worth getting sick for," she added, as Mrs. LaGrange kissed her forehead time and again, and thanked her as a mother would a wronged child whom she held again to her yearning bosom.

"My child! my child! my child!" she said as all the loving tenderness of her heart welled to the surface, and she saw, with unfeigned anxiety, the growing weakness of the invalid.

The sun sank slowly away behind the hill-clouds and the gathering shades of twilight appeared, and still Julia followed the departing rays with her eyes as if she was never to see them again on earth. Her hand was still clasped in that of her weeping friend who could no longer conceal her fears. Then as suddenly she sank into a gentle slumber.

This, the first sickness Julia Dearing ever had, developed

 

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her exceeding depth of character as well as her patience, and that gentleness which had hitherto been latent.

 

It did more: it developed a tenderness of feeling and a gentleness of manner in the Creole lady which her nearest friends were agreeably surprised to observe.

Is there not in every woman's nature a hidden sentiment of love, affection and unselfishness that needs but the right influence to bring it into action? Touch that hidden chord and love responds like the genial sunshine of spring. Isolate the human heart from kindred fellowship, and it is warped, or silenced, or blighted as the nipping frost of autumn cuts down the plant, and hope dies a lingering death.

Whether Mrs. LaGrange was conscious of the change which her own nature had undergone, or whether she was reflecting upon the necessity for every heart to find an object upon which it can lavish its affection, her devoted attentions increased and Julia was more than interested as she heard her kind, watchful friend read from a New York paper. Julia was convalescing rapidly; the night succeeding the evening described above decided the crisis and decided it in her favor, thanks to her superb constitution.

"Read that again, please, Mrs. LaGrange," she said. Mrs. LaGrange read the statement of the death of a beggar in New York. The old woman had once been a stewardess on an Atlantic vessel, and had died of exposure and supposed starvation. But in her humble room was discovered in various trunks and receptacles a singular array of wealth. There were dresses of the most costly texture of a style worn a half century ago, handkerchiefs of exceeding fineness, and silks which would have kept her in comfort all her life if they had been sold. In one of the dresses, sewed within its folds, was a bank-book which showed that $12,000 was placed

 

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to her credit in a savings bank in the city. Two other books showed $50,000 more in other banks. "How singular!" said Julia. "It seems to me a sin to use so much money on one's self, but to hoard it in that manner, so as to benefit no one, and die as she had lived, a seeming pauper, seems worse than sinful."

 

"Wait a moment, Julia, let me read further; I think she was a very noble character. I don't think we can ever know others, or even ourselves, until we have been tried; and you know I am not a moralist generally, but, on the contrary, until recently I have never thought life worth having except for the pleasure it affords us."

The description ended with a brief will, made by the old woman thirty years previous to her death, leaving her fortune to decrepid seamen for whom a home was to be founded.

"Who would have thought such a rough, coarse, harsh old creature as this crone was thought to be, could be the author of such a charity?" said Mrs. LaGrange.

"I would, perhaps, if I had known her," said Julia.

"Did you ever know any person of that class, my dear?"

"O yes, indeed; I believe I have no better friend than a poor old factory woman, whose charity I honor more than that of Peabody or Vanderbilt. I would not underrate any of the grand achievements of these benefactors to whom, as a Southener, I feel the deepest gratitude; but the best charity is that which is dispensed by the poor who, needing all that they have for their own comfort and subsistence, deny themselves the necessities of life to aid those more needy than themselves. I have never known a nobler character than that of Mrs. Higgins."

"Who was, or is, Mrs. Higgins?" asked Mrs. LaGrange.

 

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"A poor, bed-ridden, rheumatic factory woman, and, as I said, a friend of mine."

"Well, Julia, I do declare; you are the greatest girl I ever knew!"

"Please don't flatter me, or speak in that way, Mrs. LaGrange. I used to think myself too strong to need petting, but you have taught me that the sweetest feeling a woman can have is that she is dependent upon others for love, and has found friends who overrate and spoil her."

"Bless your precious heart, my dear child!" said the enthusiastic woman, kissing her repeatedly and thanking Heaven for this new experience.

Mrs. LaGrange, when a young, pretty girl, had married an old man for his wealth. She gained all that she sought, except happiness; gold can't buy that, nor can the young heart so adapt itself to circumstances as to happily mate with an aged, sordid, miserly man. Such a man was Mr. LaGrange.

When he died she seemed like a bird out of its gilded prison, although she studiously observed the conventional customs due to his memory.

In course of time she became as gay as she had been quiet and depressed during her husband's life.

People courted the wealthy young widow, whose hospitality was unbounded. That hospitality wrecked the feebleminded Émile, who inherited his mother's giddy fondness for dissipation.

At thirty-five, Mrs. LaGrange had already become sated with this exciting life, and ennui threatened to make her as discontented and morose as she had been when a young bride. Julia alone had touched the hidden chord of her nature which now vibrated in responsive tones. Here a

 

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young girl had wrought that change which in early life a suitable marriage, based on mutual love, would have effected.

 

The two women had instructed each other, and an incubus seemed lifted from each of them.

"How can I ever repay you for your kindness to me, my dear friend; but for your nursing I would have died?" said Julia.

"By remaining with me all your life, my child, my child! You have taught what neither religion nor life could teach me before: that 'it is better to give than to receive;' yet if I did not receive your affection, I should be as selfish, I fear, as I was before I knew how dear you were to me. It is I who am your debtor, therefore, but I would have you think otherwise in order to enforce the penalty; you must make up your mind to be my adopted child, Julia; I can't spare you now."

Julia smiled and kissed Mrs. LaGrange affectionately, saying: "We will not talk about that now; I can hardly repay you for giving me a home so long as you contemplated; but for the present we will not think of separation. Please send my little friends to me; I feel strong enough now to resume my place as governess."

Although still confined to her room and her bed, Julia Dearing's natural energy had returned to her, and her sense of the obligation thus incurred made her desirous of doing all in her power.

It was in this frame of mind that she consented to accompany her to New York.

Colonel Barnum had returned to New York, and had written to Colonel Leslie, stating the unsuccessful results of his

 

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mission. "I did not succeed," he wrote, and made no allusion to his having met Julia Dearing.

 

But Julia and Mrs. LaGrange were destined to undergo many experiences before they met Émile LaGrange again. Subtle influences were at work, which resulted in that young gentleman's escape from the inebriate asylum.

His escape was not an accident or due to negligence so much as to a deeply-land plan by which certain adventurers of foreign birth designed to get possession of his fortune.

There is no law granting the right of primogeniture, or of entailing estates, in the United States, and hence this country is not a legitimate field for anarchists; and socialism, communism, Red-Republicanism, are not yet recognized factors. Emboldened, however, by the success of Black-Republicanism, which denies to Mongolians and the aboriginal owners of our soil, the Indians of North America, the right of citizenship while demanding for negro slaves, these foreign " isms" were exotics as yet.

But at the time of which we write the apostles of these "isms" were knocking at our doors in New York and in New Orleans. In the latter they had learned of the wealth and loose habits of Émile LaGrange and marked him as one of their first victims.

Vice held toward him her beauteous, jewelled arms, and the inane brain of the effeminate youth saw, reeled and fell.

He was followed to New York, and one of their number secured admission into the inebriate asylum apparently for the legitimate purpose of being cured of alcoholism. Thus he was thrown in the society of Émile LaGrange.

The generous heart of Émile LaGrange, before his feeble

 

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mind was further enfeebled by excessive alcoholic indulgence, was ever ready to subscribe to benevolent objects.

 

Now, that he was a victim to the phantoms conjured from the diseased brain by drink, he did not appreciate that the associate who claimed to be similarly a slave to alcohol was at heart and in fact a brutal criminal appointed by a secret political society to "shadow" him. And day by day he instilled into his diseased brain the doctrines of communism and the absurd doctrine that no one had the right to own property. By what method he learned of the wealth of Émile LaGrange we do not know, but certain it is that he determined to appropriate it for the benefit nominally of poor suffering humanity, but really that he and his associates--now fugitives from justice, outlawed in their native country and bearing the mark of Cain upon their faces--might continue their nefarious work and live here, as they had lived there, without labor. Suffice it to say, he improved his opportunities, and Émile LaGrange, with a hundred reckless spirits aiding him to evade detection, successfully eluded the search for him. At intervals, as the truth dawned upon him that gradually his better instincts were being drowned in liquor, now freely furnished him, that he might become the more pliant tool of his so-called friends, he would endeavor to escape from them. But as often was his feeble opposition overcome, and he became an involuntary prisoner seemingly by his own act. He wrote letters full of affection to his mother, whom he thought in New Orleans, and other letters full of love to Julia, assuring her that his future was in her hands. These letters never reached their destination, and, receiving no replies, he imagined himself neglected, and became morose and reckless. Now, it was

 

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thought, " the pear is ripe," and they made preparations accordingly.

 

Regrets haunted him, but regrets are useless. Around the Colonne Vendome in Paris, wreaths, upon which are inscribed "Regrets," were placed regularly by the veterans who followed the first Napoleon.

The empire falls and amid its death-throes the Commune rises. Many who have placed daily these wreaths around this monument to the here of France embark wildly in the new movement which has for its slogan, "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité."

The rights of the people! Who despise them more than they? With them fury usurps the authority of the law. They cast down the monument to the "Grand Empereur," overturn the Colonne Vendome! They raze to the ground what has taken generations to build and beautify, the historic Palace of The Tuileries. And they imagine that this is patriotism! Above the saloon and café of Edmond Mégy, a French Communist refugee, was the meeting place of the associates of Émile LaGrange.

"Come this way," said the leader, who was still a young man. He had closed the front door of the café, and opened a side entrance, which was invisible except to the initiated. A pressure of the hand upon the brick touched a concealed spring, and a door opened and admitted them.

This café was in the centre of the city, and a more retired locality can hardly be found in New York. Upon one side were the ever-living streams of people and vehicles, which make Broadway the busiest street in the world. Near by is the still more uproarious Third Avenue culminating in the famous Bowery. Not far distant is Bleecker street, where the French Communist refugees resided. It was the occasion

 

  page 463  
of the annual banquet of the "Societé des Refugies de la Commune, or Societé Internationale." Edmond Mégy saluted the party within, who arose and returned the salutation. Then he took his seat at the head of the table as President of the Society. He was the leader of the party who shot Archbishop Darboy, of Paris, and his four priests. As in the bloody days of the French Revolution, when a Marat and a Robespierre ruled with the bloody hand, Mégy, as the most brutal of the assassins, was accorded the highest honors of the society. Thus brutal are they who claim to be the champions of humanity. Mégy spoke. Mégy was born in 1844. Before the republic was declared he had killed a gendarme, had been condemned to transportation for twenty years therefor, had been released when the Empire fell, fought in the French army till peace was declared, assumed the prefecture of Marseilles under the Commune, arresting his predecessor, and finally, returning to Paris, was given the command of Fort d'Issy. After burning the palace of the Legion of Honor--named in honor of the "Legion" established by the great Napoleon--and shooting the Archbishop, he fled, escaping via Geneva to London. As the first speaker concluded his rapidly narrated story, introducing Mégy to them, the members of the society held up the right hand and cried, "Vive la Commune!"

 

Justus, the famous German Communist, and Méille, Finniel, Martelet, Lacaz and other French Communists were present. Red flags and placards, inscribed, "Vive la Commune," "the laws must be submitted to the people," and similar mottoes adorned the hall. At the other end of the table sat citizen Winton, managing editor of the New York Soleil, Vice-President. Citizen Winton welcomed them. He was proud, he said, "to extend another welcome to the

 

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refugees of the Paris Commune, and to those victims and martyrs of right and justice, those men who had been thrice condemned to death." He "could only add that he regretted not being able to welcome them to a republic worthy of their hopes and aspirations." Then he called for curses on the memory of Thiers. Mégy applauded the speech of the managing editor of the great French democratic daily vociferously as "citizen Winton" concluded. Again Mégy was called upon to state his history and why and where the Archbishop of Paris was shot. Evidently these humanitarians thirsted for bloody recitals if they could not shed blood.

 

Mégy next spoke, and the recital recalled the worst days of the rule of the Jacobins of old. After rapidly narrating the closing scenes of the bloody days of the French Commune, the speaker, often quoting from the works of Proudhon and the Abbé Constant to enforce his extreme socialistic views, made this startling threat concerning America and the Government of the United States:

"Under the name of Nihilists we have invaded the very Palace of the despotic Czar of all the Russias. The most educated Muscovites, like the students of the Petrovsky University at Moscow, are there enrolled as Nihilists or United Sclavonians. Throughout Poland and Lithuania, throughout Germany and among the "Trades Unions" in Great Britain, are active Nihilists, who have sworn to level privileges and share property.

"The state of affairs in France before the revolution of '89 is being repeated here. The only thing that has staved off a revolution so far is that the working-men are making the mistake of mixing up in politics and looking to an amendment of the laws and the election of working-men to office for their remedy. The working-men's organizations are so

 

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anxious to make their own government that they forget that a change of laws does not mean a change of system, which is what they want. They work on the surface only. Legal methods are all wrong; whatever is legal is anti-revolutionary; revolution is never legal. Laws made by one set of men are as bad as laws made by another. This is what we are teaching the people, and they are learning it slowly.

 

"They call this a republic. It is no more a republic than France is. In France it was the aristocracy of birth that brought on the revolution; here it is the aristocracy of money, which is worse. Great fortunes like those of Stewart, Astor and Vanderbilt are sure indications of the misery of the people. In Paris it was the same thing. It is so here in New York. "I tell you," exclaimed Mégy, taking a big drink and becoming excited by reason of that, or with his theme, or both--"I tell you that the people will rise, and the governments know it! Look at the strikes here last year. The working-man is beginning to learn his rights, and will not be long in asserting them by force. The Commune, as we tried it in Paris, will come here; it will be brought on by the misery and oppression of the people. The working-men may not want it, but it will come in spite of them."

"And how about America?" cried a voice.

"In the United States, if the manufacturers continue to oppress the working-men, it will be necessary to upset them if corporations throttle industry to strangle it. Organizations are being completed everywhere--in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Paterson, Newark. We have correspondents everywhere. A revolution cannot be foreseen, of course; but I see its elements here distinctly. It will come in the opposite way to what it did in France.

----

 

  page 466  
There it is not the poor who revolt; it is the intelligent working-men; but here it is the most miserable. A revolution here means a cry for bread, arson, robbery and violence. The triumph of the people is eventually certain. The coming of a revolution is first necessary, and a revolution here means the Commune. Three-quarters of the inhabitants of New York are crowded into one-quarter of the buildings which occupy the island.

 

"The poor are oppressed by the rich, deceived by the priests, and plundered by the tax-gatherers and internal revenue collectors! The rich are getting richer, the poor poorer, and until the spirit which animated Marat and Robespierre brings about a sweeping political and social revolution here, there can be no moral and material ameliorations for the working-men."

Herr Vost was the next speaker. During his speech he said:

"Do they think we are going to remain quiet and allow our friends to die an ignominious death? Arm yourselves, and for every drop of blood that is shed from our friends let it cost a human life. I am not alone an anarchist, but also a revolutionist. Capitalists shall be the first to suffer. No one shall escape his just dues. The jurors, the judges and detective spies will not sleep very soundly at present. Let them beware." [Wild yells and cheers from the crowd.]

"Anarchists, we have no respect for these laws by which our brothers die. As revolutionists we are fearless. The time is approaching when we will be forced to use firearms."

Hardly had he concluded, when a young man with bloodshot eyes and thick utterance rose from his seat and, raising his glass, cried:

"Long live the Commune! As an American Communist,

 

  page 467  
I drink to the health of citizen Mégy!" The group of Communists bowed to the speaker, and the clicking of glasses that followed was hesitating at first, for these men were well disciplined and this was as unexpected as it was unauthorized in one who had been sworn in only that day. Besides, the young man was evidently intoxicated.

 

A voice seemed to have been heard by him, for he dropped his glass upon the table and tottered to the door, wildly looking in every direction, and stepped into the street. Several Communists started to follow him, when they were arrested by a sign from President Mégy, who said audibly but firmly: "Let him go; he is crazy, and can do us no good. We will prevent his doing harm if necessary."

He reached the flag-stones of the pavement on the opposite side of the street and fell upon the sidewalk, exclaiming: "Great God! What have I done?" His limbs straightened out like a dead man's. A policeman came from the opposite corner and rapidly approached the prostrate figure. He bent down, seized the fallen man's hand and felt his pulse. Then casting it back roughly with the exclamation, "drunk!" he stepped aside and rapped with his baton on the pavement three times.

Émile seemed in an epileptic fit; his limbs were drawn back and forth convulsively, and great drops of perspiration clustered upon his brow.

Finally Émile opened his eyes, and seemed suddenly sobered, then closed them again, saying: "I died and went to heaven, and saw Julia."

The officers taking him by the hands and arms lifted him to his feet.

Then the policemen bore the unfortunate youth away. They were followed by two "citizens" from the "society."

Chapter 40

 

  page   468    
CHAPTER XLI.
AT THE LIBRARY."
Night has a thousand eyes,
The day but one;
Yet the light of the whole world dies
With the setting sun.
 
The mind has a thousand eyes,
The heart but one;
Yet the light of the whole life dies
When love is done.
 
"

The plan of Mrs. LaGrange to visit Lake George and spend the summer in the beautiful region of the Adirondacks was thus brought to a sudden termination. Hardly had Julia recovered sufficiently to leave her room, when Mrs. LaGrange entered the chamber, pale and almost speechless. She held in her hand a telegram, and sinking into a chair she handed it to Julia. It was as follows: "

 

Near Randall's Island, N. Y.

" Mrs. LaGrange--Your son, Émile LaGrange, escaped from the asylum last night. It is probable that he is in New York city, and we think it very advisable that he should be returned to the Asylum for Inebriates. If not delayed too long, we think the young gentleman may be permanently restored. We respectfully suggest that you aid us to effect his return. Respectfully, etc.

"

 

Again their positions were reversed. Julia was now the comforter and counsellor; Mrs. LaGrange as helpless and yielding as a child.

 

  page 469  

In a very short time they were en route to New York; and with increasing responsibilities came increasing strength to Julia. Mrs. LaGrange spent most of her time in her room in one of the hotels, sick at heart and perplexed, and unable to exert herself. One afternoon Julia, at her request, took the children with her to Madison Square. Birds flitted from tree to tree, and little children played with those under her charge. The little girls now called her "sister," and she could not find it in her heart to reprove them. As she sat there watching the little innocents playing near the great fountain, which cast its crystal gems a toss in the sunlight, a tall manly form passed by her. His head was bent intently to his companion, a young lady, whose arm clasped his in that fond, trusting manner which women only assume to those whom they love most. She was a beautiful girl, with graceful, lissome figure and charming appearance altogether.

Julia gave a start as of sudden recognition; surely she knew that stalwart form and that deep, earnest voice which said as he rapidly walked past, "My darling, you must go with me; I can't go without you," and then the couple was lost amid the throng which passed through Madison Square.

Julia sat like an inanimate figure, with blanched cheeks and hands closely clenched in sudden anguish.

"Et tu Brute!" And thou, Brutus! Of all the men on earth she had trusted Colonel Barnum as a man, like Cæsar's wife, "above suspicion." Of all men he would be steadfast and true, and no other woman could ever hope to claim Colonel Barnum's heart, which she had felt was exclusively hers. And this, too, in spite of her repeated rejections of his ardent and long-continued suit. "Did he not declare that

 

  page 470  
he would always love me, and me only?" she asked herself. "Did he not urge me to answer immediately, so that he could put as great a distance as possible between us if I did not reciprocate his love? How could I remain quiet--refuse to tell him all that I longed to tell him until I drove him away from me forever! Alas! who and what am I?" Around her sat the Irish nurses and French Bonnes, who spoke to her at first as if she were one of their own class, until she turned her lovely face to them and replied with that indefinable courtesy and dignity which at once distinguish the lady from the servant. They changed their manner instantly, but looked curiously at her occasionally, and whispered among themselves concerning this strange lady who seemed to assume the rôle of nurse.

 

Now she seemed oblivious to all around her, and gazed into the waters of the fountain as if to search after some hidden mystery which environed her life. "My darling, you must go with me; I can't go without you." These words sounded again and again like a threatening echo; and the more she dwelt on them the more mysterious and unaccountable they seemed. The birds twitted as blithely, the children were as joyous as they, but a great pall seemed to be shrouding her heart. "Was she his wife? Is he married? But two months have passed since he bade me farewell in New Orleans. Ah! If he only knew my heart--if he only knew how dearly I have paid for the diffidence which prevented my telling him how much I loved him."

"Come, sister dear, the sun is setting, and mama is alone, you know," said little Marie, throwing her arms around Julia's neck and kissing her affectionately.

"Tum along, sis; mama sick," said the youngest child.

 

  page 471  

"Bless your dear little hearts!" said Julia, taking them by the hand and leading them away.

The Irish girls exchanged glances significantly; one pointed to her head and ejaculated, "Dazed?"

"No," said another; "misfortunate; that is all."

"You are both wrong," said a third; "she is a lady--a Southern lady what used to own a hape o' nagurs; now she has to serve out loike any other poor folk."

"That's a mistake," said a fourth; "she is the sister of the little girls. I heard them speak to her."

"Whatever she may be," said another, "she's a born lady with a good heart; see how she walks. The Princess of Wales can't beat her for looks!"

These comments would have been utterly lost upon Julia, even had she heard them. As it was, she walked like one in a trance, so unconscious of the admiring glances cast upon her that her modest mien attracted attention and friendly criticism.

In all large cities, beautiful girls have to pass through the trying ordeal of being gazed at and stared at by rude men. But it was a new experience to Julia Dearing, whose cheeks had often burned with indignation, for she had been raised where the respect for the gentler sex is the most prominent characteristic. On this occasion, however, she did not seem to see anything to avoid, but the thought uppermost in her mind she confided to no one.

Mrs. LaGrange observed her changed manner, and it was a relief to her to endeavor to cheer her young friend.

"Julia, I fear you are taxing your strength too much. I will take the children with me this evening to the concert; it is possible I might find Émile there. He used to be very fond of music, and I learned at the bank that he drew all the

 

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money he had on deposit two weeks ago. The cashier informed me that his manner was quiet and natural--and oh! I am so hopeful that I will have my son returned to me free from the terrible sin of intemperance."

 

The afternoon was oppressively hot. At New York in midsummer the days are an hour longer than in Etowah, and there is an hour longer for the heat to accumulate from the rays of the sun, and one hour less time at night for the heat to be carried off by radiation. Hence these Southern ladies suffered more from the heat than they would have done at home.

After a restless night Julia threw open the window of her room in the quiet and sumptuous hotel at Lafayette Place, and looked out upon the serene heavens. With a weary sigh she exclaimed, "Since it has come to this, I wish it was my time to go there, where all trouble at least will cease. I am already useless here, for a good strong servant could take my place, except the place I have in Mrs. LaGrange's heart and the hearts of her dear little daughters. Other teachers more competent than I am will take my place, and I feel I must again seek occupation, or this dull pain in my head will wreck my brain."

She shuddered. "No, no! I am stronger than that; grief does not kill, nor will misfortune be charitable enough to slay; but does it make people worse or better? Am I as fit to die, as fit to live, as when riches were at my disposal and buoyant health made physical effort necessary? I was happy then, and all my time was occupied--in what manner? It matters not; occupation is the only panacea for such distress as mine. Occupation I must have, and it must be mental, creative and subjective only to will. What shall I do?"

 

  page 473  

Fortunately Mrs. LaGrange entered at this moment and said: "You do not look refreshed, Julia, after your rest last night. I hope you will not succumb to the dreadful heat. But for my premonition that Émile is here, in this city, and needs my love and care, and that I will find him here sooner or later, I would insist upon going to Lake George immediately. You, my child, are as dear to me as my own children are, and I will take exclusive control of the children for the present."

"Thank you; you are too kind and good to me," Julia replied. "I will stay here as long as you wish to remain. I do not need rest, but action; sometimes work is rest. I will accept your kind offer and spend my morning hours in the library over there, and when you need me, you can send one of my little sisters for me."

Nothing touched Mrs. LaGrange's heart so much as an allusion to her adopted relationship by Julia. She placed her arms around the fair young girl and drew her to her, exclaiming, as she had done during her sickness, "My child, my child, my precious child!"

Two weeks had passed since she saw Colonel Barnum in Madison Square.

The strain upon her nervous system was becoming too severe, and Julia Dearing's brave self-reliance seemed about to succumb.

"Shall I give up all effort now? No; that would prove me unworthy of success; what other women have accomplished can I not accomplish? The fields of occupation for women are restricted to the needle and literature. I would pine away with the first, but I will take that occupation if the second fails me."

Then she went to the window and placed her hands up

 

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against it intending to look out into the street in order to see something which might change the current of her thoughts. A strolling minstrel with his hurdy-gurdy and monkey were entertaining a group of children on the opposite side of the street, but that was not the cause of her sudden agitation; the hand which was between her and the sunlight, resting on the transparent glass, was thin, and white and transparent almost as the glass itself. Time after time she had changed her dress to suit her figure, which was growing thinner with alarming rapidity. She stood before the mirror and looked at her features, and was shocked to see how thin and pale her face was. "I am absolutely ugly!" she exclaimed. She had been so much absorbed in her studies recently that this change had escaped her attention. Mrs. LaGrange had noticed it, but not anxiously, for when one is constantly associated with an invalid, one does not notice the slow but steady inroads of disease.

 

She had become a frequent visitor at the Astor Library, which was opposite the hotel. She went there the next day, and selecting a seat near a window, she asked the attendant to give her the history of Mexico by the Abbé Brasseur.

"Will you have it in French or the English translation?" he asked.

"I prefer it as originally written, in French, if you please."

The rules of the library prohibit any one from taking any book from the reading-rooms. Julia took the four volumes to a table near by and examined them carefully; then she selected the fourth volume to read first.

So interested was she that she did not hear a book fall from the hand of a gentleman who sat at a table not far distant.

Colonel Barnum, now an attorney at law, practicing in New York city, had come to the library to consult some

 

  page 475  
legal work, which he could not find as conveniently elsewhere.

 

Two months had changed her greatly, but he recognized her; he had been reading for sometime and was almost ready to return the book from which he had taken copious notes, when, on lifting his head, his eyes fell upon Julia Dearing still intently reading. The double shock of seeing her, whom he had left so tremulously in New Orleans, here in New York, and seeing her thus with all the appearance of a consumptive, so startled him that he dropped his book.

She did not hear it, or, hearing, did not heed it.

For a few moments he was unable to do more than watch her with that intensity which only a lover knows, and then, as silently as possible, he walked to where she was, and standing before her said: "Miss Julia, I am glad to see you." She looked up and saw him, trembled, held out her hand, but could not speak for fear the tears would drown her voice in sobs. She felt instinctively, from his pleading look, though in the presence of strangers, that he loved her as devotedly as ever, but it was all a mystery to her, for she remembered the scene in Madison Square, and heard again his endearing words to the young lady at his side.

"May I ask what you are reading?" said he, for he noticed the curious glances which the ladies and gentlemen present cast upon them, and he wished to spare her feelings as much as possible.

She smiled gratefully and said: "Certainly; it is a history of Mexico by a French Abbé, who made the subject his study for eighteen years, during many of which he lived in the country. I think European historians excel those of America greatly, in that they do thoroughly whatever they undertake. Don't you agree with me?"

 

  page 476  

"I hope you will permit me to accompany you to--" he hesitated--he would not intentionally say a word to wound her feelings. She interpreted his considerate delicacy and immediately said:

"I will be happy to have you do so; we are boarding just across the street, or 'way,' as you Northerners term it, at the Oriental Hotel, and I am sure that Mrs. LaGrange will be delighted to make your acquaintance."

The books were returned a few moments later, and the couple left the library. Even then, wasted as Julia was, her manner and appearance were so distinguished that every eye was turned to see her leave the room.

"Who is she?" said one to the clerk.

"I don't know--a Southern lady, I think. She is certainly the most charming lady we have had here in a long time."

They met Mrs. LaGrange, and Barnum conversed with her formally for a few moments at the door. As he lifted his hat and bade them good-day, he said to Julia: "Miss Julia, I will call this evening after tea; I have something very important to tell you, and do not wish to postpone it another day."

Julia bowed politely, but did not reply. The poor girl's heart sank again as she thought: "He is engaged to, or married to another, and yet I know he loves me; will my trials never end?"

They were alone in the great parlor and the windows were thrown open to admit the air. The conversation still had been formal and polite, for Barnum, seeing how feeble she was, wished to prepare her gradually for what he was about to communicate.

"They are dear little children, and I love them as if they

 

  page 477  
were my sisters," said Julia, as the little girls kissed her goodnight, and retiring, left them alone.

 

"Miss Julia, are you strong enough to hear some good news?" said he, leaning toward her. His voice was tremulous with emotion, and his tone was indescribably gentle, as were his eyes, which shone with the old love-light.

"I am always glad to hear good news concerning you, Colonel Barnum. I am sure no one better deserves happiness than yourself. Perhaps it will not surprise me as much as you think; I saw her once; she is very beautiful."

"Miss Julia, what on earth are you talking about? said he, unconsciously placing one hand on her arm. "You do not suppose that I love any one on earth but you?"

"I hope so, Colonel Barnum," almost inaudibly, for she was surely being tried in the crucible now.

"Do not say that, Miss Julia; anything but that. After all that I have done to win your love; after all my vain efforts to find you again--now that I have found you, do not, I pray you, dash my hopes to the ground and wreck my happiness forever!"

"Mr. Barnum, are you free to express yourself thus to me without dishonoring your plighted word to another?" She said this with her old haughty manner, and looked him in the eyes tranquilly, while her heart was beating as if to burst its bounds.

He sank upon his knees--not to court her, he was incapable of such weakness as that--but unconsciously, and only in order to have his head and face even with hers, and to see the better.

"Miss Julia," he said, "I swear to you no other woman on earth has any claim upon my love but you. I swear to you, by all that is worth living for and dying for, that since

 

  page 478  
the day I first told you I loved you, no other woman has ever possessed one scintilla of my love, which from that day has been wholly given to you. To have borne the disappointment which has brooded over my heart so long, and which but for my duty to my parents and my sister, might have crushed out my ambition, was hard indeed; but this--this is the most painful moment of my life!" She curbed her feelings and said nothing. He continued: "Two months ago I received a letter from Colonel Leslie urging me to find you, and stating that you had been discovered to be the sole heir to all the property left by Major Blount at his death; also that a former debtor of your father's had paid him $20,000 for his heirs if any were left. With my sister I went to New Orleans and vainly sought for you. I was told by Mrs. LaGrange's servants that she had gone with you to Lake George for the summer. I went to Lake George; you had not been there. I saw you yesterday. You know all now."

 

"It was your sister, then!" she murmured, and placing her hands on his head, she drew his face up to hers and kissed him--kissed him as a wife would kiss a husband from whom she had been separated for long years. "I have suffered more than you have, Mr. Barnum, for I have loved you since the day you protected me in the storm. Take me to your heart now, for there would I make my home, if you still love a poor, feeble, ugly creature as I am now."

The child a moment before--as dependent upon this frail girl for love as a child ever was upon its mother--was a strong man again. And long and sweetly did they talk as he clasped her hand in his.

Chapter 41

 

  page   479    
CHAPTER XLI.
AT THRONATEESKA.

"The negroes don't shock me or excite my compassionate feelings at all. They are so grotesque and happy that I can't cry over them. The little black imps are trotting and grinning about the streets, women, workmen, waiters, all well fed and happy. The place, the merriest little place, and the most picturesque I have seen in America."

Clara had read this aloud, and Latané, laying down his paper, asked:

"Of whom are you reading, Clara?"

"I am reading Thackeray's letter, written from Richmond, Virginia, on his first visit to America in 1852, and it expresses opinions directly opposite to those in this book."

"And that book," replied Latané, "was written only the year before. One is the opinion of a disinterested foreigner, speaking from personal observation; the other of a sincere but prejudiced, American, writing in consonance with the political opinions of the majority of the people, not only of the United States, but of the civilized world."

"Then you mean to say that the author of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' is right, and the great English writer wrong; is that what you mean?"

"Abstractly--as an abstract proposition, yes; as a matter of justice and right, no."

"Mr. Latané, you confuse me by your 'abstractly,' etc.; please explain yourself fully. I am greatly interested in that book."

 

  page 480  

Latané smiled as he answered:

"I mean that slavery, as a permanent institution, is contrary to the spirit of the age in which we live--contrary to Christianity, I may say. The English enfranchised all the slaves in their colonies in 1833, and in 1848 the French did likewise. True, the owners were compensated, and the massacres of St. Domingo followed emancipation there. Though it is maintained throughout Asia and Africa, it does not exist in Europe, and the people of the United States are of European descent, and deny to the Mongolian the right of the suffrage. But as to the African--per se, the Congo negro--there is no doubt about it, slavery in America was a great boon to him, and it was the only means by which he could be civilized. Let me see what you are reading," said he, as he concluded this oracular speech.

The page turned to at random in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was as follows: "But suppose we should rise up to-morrow and emancipate, who would educate these millions and teach them how to use their freedom? And tell me now, is there enough Christian philanthropy among your Northern States to bear with the process of their education and elevation? You send thousands of dollars to foreign missions, but could you endure to have these heathens sent into your towns and villages, and give your time and thoughts and money to raise them to the Christian standard? That's what I want to know. If we emancipate, are you willing to educate?"

"How many families in your town would take in a negro man and woman as equals, teach them, bear with them, and seek to make them Christians? How many merchants would take Adolph if I wanted to make him a clerk, or mechanic, or if I wanted him taught a trade? If I wanted to put

 

  page 481  
Jane and Rosa to school, how many schools are there in the Northern States that would take them in? How many families that would board them?" He had read it aloud, and as he concluded he laughed quietly and said: "Indeed, this book is its own best critic. That question is as appropriate now as it was in 1851, when this book was written. What do you think of what I have just read, Clara?"

 

"I can only judge from what we have seen during our annual visits North, and the opinions expressed by our Northern guests."

"In no Northern State or city," he replied, "is there a family of first-class social standing who would accept negroes, even such as those described in the above chapter, on terms of social equality. Even in the schools, the people generally demand that there shall be separate schools for black and white children in all the Northern States to-day. Wait a moment, Clara, and I will read you something on this subject which I wish I could read to the Northern people." Then, going to the library, he took two books therefrom, and from the smaller one read as follows: "The report of the School Committee of Boston, in 1845, on the petition to abolish the separate public schools for black children, stated, in support of its refusal to adopt the suggestion:"

"The distinction is one of races, not of color merely." The distinction is one which an all-wise Creator has seen fit to establish. No legislation, no social customs can efface this distinction." The committee also held that "the less the colored and white people became intermingled the better it will be for both races."

Then he opened the larger volume, and added: "Now, Clara, I will read something to show that the Bostonians are

----

 

  page 482  
correct in this opinion. In Madagascar, inhabited by 5,000,000 people, missionary efforts began in 1818. The king favored them. He died in 1828, and his queen, who succeeded him, drove the missionaries from the island and slaughtered 2,000 of her subjects who had embraced the new religion. She died in 1861, and her son succeeded to the throne. He invited the missionaries back, and was put to death by his own nobles. His queen was crowned under a written constitution guaranteeing the fullest religious liberty. She died in 1868, and died as an idolater. The people worship twelve or fifteen principal idols, and have a vague belief in a Supreme God and of an evil principle. They are much addicted to divination. And yet," he continued, "the island was made known to Europeans by Marco Polo in the 13th century, two hundred years before America was discovered. It was settled in the 16th century by the Portuguese, and in the 17th century by the French and English. Still Northern fanatics assert that the only difference between the negro and the Caucasian is one of color. Since our slaves were emancipated we have done our own thinking, and determined that these Southern States shall not relapse into the mongrel barbarism of Morocco, or Madagascar, Mexico, or Cuba, under the banner of miscegenation. Caucasian supremacy has been maintained, and now immigration will solve the problem in the future."

 

"Well," said Clara, "what do you consider the most suggestive thing in 'Uncle Tom's Cabin?'"

"I think," he answered, "that the Ohio State Senator, who aided George Harris and Eliza to escape from their owners, would have been 'tarred and feathered,' besides being heavily fined, had he aided the white slaves, not to speak of their

 

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negro slaves, in the North to escape from their masters in the same way."

 

"White slaves! and in the North?" she answered. "I never heard of such a thing before. Were there ever any white slaves in the Northern States?"

"Yes," he answered, "and they were just as harshly treated as our slaves were. The legal status of these 'term slaves' was represented by the word 'redemptioner.' There were two kinds of redemptioners--'indented servants,' who had bound themselves to their masters for a term of years previous to leaving Europe, and 'free-willers,' who allowed themselves to be sold on arrival to defray the cost of passage to America. Agreements were entered into whereby they bound themselves that they could be thus sold for a term of years of tedious labor and servitude. The usual price paid in Pennsylvania for three years service was £21, 1s. 6d. Children were sold for £8. to £10. In New Jersey no white servant, if sold or bound after seventeen years of age, could serve above four years. If under that age they were to be free on reaching their majority. The laws against aiding 'redemptionists' to escape were very severe. A fine of £5 was imposed for offering assistance in such cases, and the aider and abetter was obliged to make full satisfaction to master and mistress for all loss, damage or cost sustained by the absence of, or search for the runaway. Any one who concealed or entertained an absconding redemptioner, could be fined, at the discretion of the court, and be made to pay ten shillings to the owner for each day he had harbored the servant.

"Now, why did not the Northern people rise in virtuous indignation and set free these oppressed people without paying their owners anything and extol to the skies a Senator

 

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who would violate the law of his State, which law he had aided to enact, by harboring and aiding to escape fugitive slaves? In all that book, there is nothing more artfully designed to show the irrepressible nobility of the abolitionist's soul who would thus steal another man's property and show thus his own generosity. The act did not cost him a dollar, and he incurred no personal nor pecuniary risk, but he robbed the lawful owner of those slaves of two thousand dollars by a ride at night at the cost of his personal discomfort only."

 

"Mr. Latané, would you not have done the same thing? I know that you would!" she answered.

"Very probably I would," he replied, "but I would have made the matter so prominently known that the owner would have been apprised, so that he might sue me for damages. A few cases like that might have caused Congress to appreciate the injustice of enforced emancipation without any proposition looking to compensation to the owners."

"I confess I don't understand the subject," said Clara, "but old 'Uncle' Dougherty told me yesterday that he had visited New York, Boston, and Washington frequently, while a slave, and yet he resisted all propositions to flee to Canada and thus become a freeman."

"Did he tell you why he refused?" asked her husband.

"No; do you know why he did so!"

"Old Dougherty," said Latané, "has been a famous barber for forty years. He paid my father, and after his death paid my mother, fifty dollars a year for his own time. He accumulated money rapidly; owned the store in which was his barber-shop, and was worth from two to four thousand dollars in 1860, and yet he declined to buy his freedom. Now,

 

  page 485  
Clara, show that it is worth while for women to study mathematics by explaining this."

 

"I give it up;" she answered; "the conundrum is too hard for me."

"It is very simple; he would have had to support his family if he bought their freedom, whereas, as a slave, he had no one to support but himself."

But in spite of Clara's efforts to follow his arguments closely, the interest of the wife was supplanted by that of the mother, and she would occasionally interrupt him by addressing some caressing speech in an impossible language to the little toddler on the rug, who seemed determined to throw her diamond ring in the fire. Only mothers can explain why such treasures are entrusted to infants.

"Your mother owned two hundred slaves," she said; "my father owned five hundred. I am very sure that I never saw one shackled and wearing chains. Have you ever seen a negro slave in chains who was not convicted of a penal offense, Mr. Latané?"

"Upon my word I never did; and of all our slaves, I never saw but one in chains, and that was poor Hallback; he has worked as a convict for seventeen years now."

"Poor Hallback! Mr. Latané, why don't you stand for the Legislature, and endeavor to repeal that odious convict lease system? I wish you would."

Latané arose from his luxurious chair, and going to his wife caressed her gently, and then said: "That has been already decided by the county, and without my knowledge until it was done. I have been nominated for the House of Representatives."

"Why didn't you tell me? It is too bad!"

Latané, with an amused look, answered: "Now let me put

 

  page 486  
a question to you. You have read the newspaper daily, I suppose, as a dutiful wife of an editor should. Assuming that you have, why is it that you have not noticed the announcement? It was published weeks ago, and the election will take place next week."

 

"I declare, it is abominable!" she answered. "You know ladies don't care anything about politics, and hence don't read about it. Is it true?"

"It certainly is a fact," he replied.

She was very proud of her handsome and talented husband, and felt that no official prominence could be too great for him. He, on the contrary, was superior to the small ambition of becoming a big man in a small place, and, but for the subject suggested by her, and which had been one of constant and absorbing interest to him for many years, he would have declined the nomination.

"Now, Clara, revenons á nos moutons, as the French say, what do you consider the most striking feature in 'Uncle Tom's Cabin?' said Latané.

"I think the author has given too much refinement and genius to George Harris, and that such a negro inventor of a valuable labor-saving machine was never doomed to abandon his rank as a mechanic and forced to follow a plow instead. The work of a mechanic, the world over, is more valuable than that of a plowman."

"Yes," he answered, "and you may go farther; the 'George Harris' pictured there never existed. The negro race in these Southern States has now been emancipated from slavery eighteen years, and yet, the patent office in Washington City will not show one important invention made during all that time by any one of these four millions and a half of emancipated slaves. Lo! the poor negro! No; Mrs.

 

  page 487  
Stowe, is a very estimable, charitable and talented woman, and her book did more to bring about a speedy emancipation by war than any other one agency, but she has sadly exaggerated."

 

"I think so, too," said Clara. "I am sure that I never heard of a ruffianly planter and slave-owner like the man Legree which she has so startlingly portrayed."

"Well, my dear, we may console ourselves with the reflection that Legree was born in Maine, and is not represented as a typical Southern planter. But, as a matter of fact, I never knew a planter who resembled him."

Just then the door-bell rang and Latané went to the door himself. It was a bright, crisp winter night and the snow covered the ground, but he had no difficulty in recognizing the warmly-clad, lovely woman who was accompanied by her husband, General Bruton Stewart.

"My little sister!" was all that Latané said, as he drew her to him and kissed her affectionately, and then ushered them into the sitting room.

"Fair play is a jewel, Latané; you kissed my wife and I am going to kiss yours," said Stewart, suiting the action to the word, and then the two visitors kindly greeted old Martha, now the nurse "of Miss Callie's baby, jist as I used to nuss Miss Cally," as she promptly reported to the newcomers.

"Latané, the thing is settled beyond a doubt; your election is so certain that Ransom has come down and says he will never make another race for any political office. You see your quiet ways, and the fact that you have never offered to stand for any political office, led him to think that he would easily defeat you. But he has told me to-day that his card

 

  page 488  
withdrawing from the race will be printed in 'the newspaper' to-morrow morning."

 

"If it were not for the infamous convict system which disgraces the statutes of our State and other Southern States," said Latané, "I would not have the office. Ransom would make a good Representative, and he should have my vote if he would run, even as my opponent."

"Latané, is it true, as you stated in your editorial this morning, that the loss by the war and the emancipation of the slaves in this State was more than three times as great as is the value of the property left?" asked Bruton Stewart.

"Yes; it is unquestionably true. There has been, relatively, about seven years increase in population, owing to battles and war, and twenty-five years loss of wealth. But the Southern States have now fifty-five electoral votes; whereas, if the negro was not a voter--if he had not been enfranchised--if he be eliminated from the apportionment in the South, that electoral vote would be reduced to about thirty."

"You stated that you would discuss a remedy, simple, legal and comprehensive, that if adopted would tend to greatly reduce the losses referred to? What did you mean?"

"I mean that about sixty-eight millions of dollars were taken from the cotton planters, in a time of profound peace, and at a time when they were confronted by social problems of the gravest nature, and that the Supreme Court of the United States has declared said tax to be unconstitutional."

"And you propose what?"

"That Congress shall restore this money to the planters, or to the cotton States, as an educational fund. This money does not belong to the North, nor to the hundreds of thousands of foreign immigrants who annually settle on the free

 

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lands of the government, nor to the United States treasury, with its surplus of over a hundred millions of dollars; restore it to the States from which it was taken, with six per-cent. interest per annum, and it will pay the debts of those States. This State has no government lands, nor State lands, nor public lands to donate to the cause of public education."

 

"I quite agree with you about this, but I greatly fear that Congress will not 'render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's" said General Stewart, preparing to depart.

"I doubt it also," said Latané; "but we should demand it nevertheless. The South produces more iron now than the whole Union did in 1860; our negroes in this State own nearly six millions of dollars worth of property; and of the school population 71.6 per centum is white and 49 per centum colored; so we are not going to starve at any rate." Then, desiring to change the subject, Latané said: "Clara and I were talking about Hallback as you rang the door-bell, and--" he stopped here to glance at his wife, but it was very evident that she had heard nothing that the two gentlemen had said. She and Mrs. Stewart were deeply engrossed in examining samples of woolens for a new dress which the latter was to order through her dress-maker in New York, and she had induced her husband to drive her over to Thronateeska this starlit night to consult about this all-important matter, in comparison with which matters of State policy are of infinitesimal interest to the feminine mind. Half provoked, half amused, Latané decided to interrupt them, so he asked: "How is mother to night, sister?"

"Just the happiest grandmother you ever saw, and my little Bruton loves her more than he does me, I believe. By-the-way, he is much prettier than your baby there." Then

 

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she caught up the cooing little one and caressed it as if to ask pardon for this speech.

 

But Martha's eyes sought those of her mistress, and with a serious face she shook her head in dissent; and after the guests had left the house, she solemnly informed her mistress that she had carried the baby--her baby--to Chestatee that very day, and the nurse of the other baby had admitted to her that even she thought that her baby was the prettiest.

The look and shake of the head of old Martha had not escaped General Stewart's eyes, who was much amused, and said to his wife:

"There is one 'doubting Thomas' in the land who does not hesitate to dissent from you, my dear, about the perfections of our baby, and I quite agree with Martha."

"You always were an adept in saying pleasant things, General," said Clara.

And thus the evening passed pleasantly away until Stewart and his wife went forth again as happy as if the redoubtable General had not once thought himself "head-over-heels in love" with Mrs. Barnum, née Julia Dearing.

Chapter 42

 

  page   491    
CHAPTER XLII.
ARLINGTON.

The two figures which ascended the hill at Arlington attracted the attention of all who saw them. The young bride was tall and vigorous and the elasticity of step and symmetry of form suggested the most perfect health. The rich color of her cheeks and the massive luxuriance of her dark hair completed the charm of her presence. The look of confiding trust and love as she turned her lustrous eyes to meet his glance showed the eager interest she felt in all he uttered, and suggested that this happy couple was a newly-wedded pair to whom life presented its brightest aspects. The young husband would pause occasionally to look at the landscape--a lovely panorama--but a softer light, the light of love, would animate his countenance as he looked with fond pride upon his beautiful bride. The elderly ladies who passed them nodded approvingly to them and to each other, happy to see again this sweetest of life's realities, the mutual love of two devoted hearts. And the old gray-haired, blue-coated veteran who hobbled along upon a wooden leg stopped to look at these two young people thus radiant with happiness. Tall and symmetrical as she is, her head barely reaches his shoulder, and his well-knit, muscular frame and intellectual face seems strong and earnest enough to take good care of her. "What did you say, Mr. Barnum?" she asked, as they stood upon the crest of the hill two hundred feet above the Potomac, whose broad bosom shone in the afternoon sunlight as if "threaded with silver and sanded with gold."

 

  page 492  

"I remarked that to me Arlington always excited peculiar emotions. The glory of America is Virginia's glory, the mother of States and statesmen. The name of yon magnificent city, the capital of a great nation, is Virginian, and Arlington was the home of the knightliest of all American military leaders, Gen. R. E. Lee. Washington, Lee, Lincoln and Grant: these are the names around which those of all American heroes will cluster like lesser stars."

"And three of these were Southern-born," said Julia.

"Yes; Washington and Lee were 'to the manner born;' Lincoln was but nature's nobleman; but their hearts were cast in the same grand mould. Each of them felt the grand impulse which Lincoln uttered, 'Charity for all and malice toward none.' Each one was too great to be sectional; though Southern-born they were Americans, and looked with pride upon the new government which offered this continent as a home for the oppressed of all nations." After clasping the little hand which found its way into his, seeming a tacit and thankful acknowledgment of this generous tribute to Arlington and Lee, he continued: "General Lee possessed all the grand virtues of which heroes are made, and none of the small enmities and vices which rob heroes of their laurels after they are gone. Barring his one mistake, his lamentable conviction that he must fight against the Federal flag, I think he was the model American."

"Don't spoil your noble eulogy, Mr. Barnum, by blaming him for doing what he thought was right. All of our best and truest people thought with him. I know I always will be a 'rebel,' as you call us, but I think my own dear husband, who was in the abominable Yankee army, is just as good and noble as General Lee was."

"The design of this plantation residence," said Barnum,

 

  page 493  
"was taken from drawings of a temple at Pætum, near Naples. On the south side over there are the gardens and conservatory, and farther back were the slave 'quarters.'"

 

"In what way does Arlington most impress you?" asked Julia.

"In its social aspects. Arlington seems to me to be the connecting link between the present and the aristocratic regime of the planters in the days of Governor Spottsword, of the time of which Thackeray wrote and described so graphically in 'The Virginians,' and the days of Washington. There is not enough of the practical, money-making machinery of the later years just preceding the war about it to recall contemporary planters as we know them in the far South. The historical paintings on the walls, presented by men like the Earl of Buchan; the Mount Vernon plate, bearing the arms and crest of Washington; pictures of the Parke and Lee families, make this old mansion distinctively provincial--a relic of the 'Old Dominion.'"

"Is not that Analostan Island?" said Julia.

"Yes, but what do you know about it?"

"I know that I had a happy time there when a child," answered his wife. "Hugh and I used to play together in the then beautiful grounds at Analostan. The Masons kept open house just as General Lee did here, and it was delightful to visit Arlington or Analostan. Visits often extended into weeks, and the elite of Washington society gladly accepted the hospitalities of either house. You know the Confederate Commissioner to England, was born at Analostan, and he and my father, when they were in Congress together were warm friends."

"Well, Julia, you are a delightful chapter of surprises. Here I have been telling you what I thought would be news,

 

  page 494  
to you, and I find that imparting information to you is like carrying coals to Newcastle."

 

They stood underneath the old flag in front of this old mansion. It was a crisp, clear December day, such a day as the ancients fancied that the halcyon bird brooded on her nest and all nature rested in sympathy with the silence of the bird. The wind gently caressed the waves, the mottled sky was flecked with silver clouds, and the delightful sense of perfect peace filled their hearts with love. There was not a frowning cloud in the heavens, the broad, placid bosom of the Potomac was before them, and the scene was beautiful as the choicest landscapes of Salvator Rosa. Slowly a sailing vessel moved on the blue waters toward Georgetown, and a steamer from Alexandria swiftly plowed the stream on its way to Washington. Below them the grassy lawn descended abruptly, then by gentle undulations until the carriage-way was reached. Clumps of cedars and firs dotted the slopes, while on either side the primitive forest of noble oaks and chestnuts, unmolested by the vandalism of the utilitarian, stood century-guard over a thousand acres. The depressions of the surface, the hills and dales, gave a most pleasing variety to the scene. The brilliant rays of the early winter sun shone upon the great dome of the most magnificent of national capitols, and glinted the spires of the sixty-six churches of Washington.

"This view from Arlington Heights looking down upon Washington, I have heard, more nearly resembles that of Rome from the Monte Pincio than any other scene," said Barnum. "But to me the capital of the nation, as seen from the home of the Lees, seems emblematic of the great Republic itself. Scattered palaces rise from the midst of humble dwellings; architecture seems as crude and multiform as the

 

  page 495  
various dialects and nationalities that form the composite people of the United States; the asphaltum pavements of the broad avenues and the public buildings recall the splendor of Paris; while the thirty thousand dusky citizens, recently enfranchised, and the vast waste of the alentours, recall St. Petersburg; splendid barbarism side-by-side with the most cultured civilization. The antiquities of the country collected at the capitol are but a century old, but that century has seen the flag of the Union extend from ocean to ocean, and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf, while fifty millions of people acknowledge allegiance to the Union."

 

"I like your ardor," said Julia; and I confess that the day of little States seems to be over, but do you really think that such a composite people as compose the population of the United States can ever become a homogeneous people--a distinct nationality--like that of the Greeks, for example?"

"Ah, my dear, that question would open infinite discussion. Our great Massachusetts statesman lectures to-night, and his subject is, 'Are we a Nation?' Meanwhile, the exhaustive writer, Fallmerayer, insists that the pure Hellenic blood cannot be found in Greece, except on the Grecian Isles, having been absorbed by the barbaric hordes that have overrun that classic land. The modern Greeks wear the Albanian costume, and much of their poetry is of Sclavic origin. But barbarism has swept away in the new Greeks the sentiment of art and plastic beauty which so distinguished the ancient Hellenes."

"But the Greeks have neither become Albanians by the influence of Arnautic colonization; nor Osmanlis by the influence of the conquering Turks; nor Latins by the influence of the Venetians; nor Romans by those of the French and the Catalans. Neither have they become Sclaves. Infinitely

 

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superior to the barbarous hordes which overcame them, they have always preserved an intellectual predominance. Their language is to-day the classic tongue; in the middle age it conquered the Sclavic language, as, later, it triumphed over that of the Turks and Albanians," answered his wife, who thus showed to Barnum the priceless value that the society of her intellectual father had been to her.

 

Pressing her hand as a tacit tribute to her genius and talent, he said: "Yes, I must concede that that is the most remarkable vitality which history records. The unity of the language will preserve the unity of the nation, and the same thing will prove true in this country.

"One can find in yonder city the pure Celtic type, the Iberian type, the Teuton or Scandinavian type, and even the Hellenic type, exempt from all admixture. But the domination of the English type is shown by the national language, which will gradually absorb all other languages in our great Republic, just as a national spirit is destined to bring into one harmonious nationality the individual diversities that characterize this continent at present."

Thus spoke the young Federal Colonel, giving free rein to his patriotic fervor. It was the first time since their marriage that he had spoken to her of his attachment to the Union and his pride in the success of that Union for which he had fought.

She was silent and pensive.

"Of what are you thinking, Julia?"

"I was thinking of Lamar Fontaine's touching war poem: "All quiet on the Potomac to night," she replied. "Your triumphant feelings I am glad you feel, but they bring back the memories of our "sorrows's crown of sorrow."

"Do you remember the words," he asked.

 

  page 497  

"Yes, I have sung them frequently."

"Repeat them, please; I have no desire to diminish your pride in the achievements of Southern soldiers. I owe to the South a possession which I would not exchange for the diadem of the proudest monarch: the love of my precious, peerless wife." As he said this he kissed her gently, and led her to a chair on the great porch of the mansion which overlooked the scene.

"Now, Julia, sing me that Confederate song." No one was near them and she sang in a low tone, but with exquisite tenderness, the following lines: "

1. All quiet along the Potomac, they say,
Except, now and then, a stray picket
Is shot on his beat, as he walks to and fro,
By a rifleman hid in a thicket.
'Tis nothing, a private or two now and then
Will not count in the news of the battle;
Not an officer lost, only one of the men
Moaning out all alone the death rattle.
 
2. All quiet along the Potomac to-night
Where the soldiers lie peacefully dreaming,
Their tents in the rays of the clear autumn moon,
Or the light of their watch-fires are gleaming.
A tremulous sigh as the gentle night wind
Through the forest leaves softly is creeping;
While stars up above, with their glittering eyes,
Keep guard, for the army is sleeping.
 
----

 

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3. There's only the sound of the lone sentry's tread
As he tramps from the rock to the fountain,
And thinks of the two in their low trundle-bed
Far away in the cot on the mountain.
His musket falls slack, and his face dark and grim
Grows gentle with memories tender,
As he mutters a prayer for the children asleep,
For their mother--may heaven defend her!
 
4. The moon seems to shine just as brightly as then,
That night when the love yet unspoken
Leaped up to his lips--when low murmuring vows
Were pledged to be ever unbroken.
Then drawing his sleeve roughly over his eyes,
He dashes away tears that are welling
And gathers his gun closer to its place,
As if to keep down the heart-swelling.
 
5. He passes the fountain, the blasted pine tree,
The footstep is lagging and weary;
Yet onward he goes thro' the broad belt of light
Toward the shades of the forest so dreary.
Hark! was it the night wind that rustled the leaves?
Was it moonlight so wondrously flashing?
It looked like a rifle--ha! Mary, good bye!
And the life-blood is ebbing and plashing.
 
6. All quiet along the Potomac to-night,
No sound save the rush of the river;
While soft falls the dew on the face of the dead,
The picket's off duty forever!
 
"

 

 

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Her husband had been sitting on the steps at her feet as she sang this song, and she seemed to impart to it all the pathos of her own sympathetic nature.

"That was the prettiest poem that was written on either side during the war," he said, "and I am glad I heard it first from your lips."

After a pause, in which he caressed her hand, while his eyes assumed the far-away look which belongs only to thoughtful, earnest natures, she asked: "What are you thinking about?"

"I never read or hear of anything of the nature of the poem you have just repeated without thinking of a friend of mine," said her husband.

"Who was he?" asked Julia.

"He was considered the most promising young officer in the army of the Shenandoah, and he was killed by 'bush-whackers.' His death was probably due to the reprisals caused by the Federal general's orders, requiring officers and soldiers to confiscate property or burn it in consequence of robberies committed on Union citizens by bands of guerillas. His successor followed his example on a larger scale, and among the victims was John Rogers. His tomb is in the cemetery at Georgetown, and it is unlike any I ever saw. The figure of the young officer, cast in bronze, is represented as lying upon his back just as he fell when making the reconnoissance. His pistol is on the ground near him, just as it was dropped, and around his person, sword, belt, and strap holding field glass, are as he wore them on that fatal occasion. The sword is still in its scabbard, for he did not have time to draw it. His uniform is closely buttoned up to his chin, an army cloak covering the shoulders. The features

 

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are perfect in resemblance to his, the same patrician mouth and the same intellectual face. The innocence of youth and the spirit of a laudable ambition are stamped upon the face which would seem in slumber, but for the nervously clenched hand. His age was 22. Upon his tomb is this inscription, more touchingly eloquent to my mind than any I ever read:

 

'Lieutenant John Rogers, U. S. Engineers, Chief Engineer Army of the Shenandoah. Born 9th February, 1842. Died 3d October, 1864.' His father is one of the leading generals of the United States Army with headquarters at Washington."

"And his uncle," responded his wife, "is a citizen of our State, and the noblest-hearted of the distinguished family; a cultured scholar, a gentleman, and possessing a heart as tender as a woman's--a man whose conscience is as clear as a cloudless sky, without reproach, and true to his adopted State. His grandfather was the first president of the State University. Oh! what a pity, what a mistake that terrible war was which divided families thus!" and then she continued after a short pause: "I was at the home of Lieut. Rogers' grandparents in Philadelphia, when I was a little child, and I shall never forget the welcome which the handsome young cadet received when he made a short visit from the Military Academy at West Point. They were all proud of him and, though I never saw him again, and was too small to attract his attention, I shall never forget the impression which the handsome youth made on me."

"What a singular coincidence," he answered. "I had no idea that you knew John Rogers. It is time we were returning; you know we are to go to Vinnie Raum's reception to-night. She is a distant relative of mine. We

 

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will meet Valentine, the Virginia sculptor, there, and many more distinguished people, and I wish you to look your best," said Barnum.

 

"What other distinguished people? I don't mean Southerners, but foreigners; will any of them be at the reception?"

"No, our little artist friend's home is too small for receptions on a grand scale, but there will be one guest there whom it is a treat for any cultured person to meet. Most of his life has been passed abroad for the past twenty years, and he is a thorough cosmopolite."

"Who is he? Why do you pause just at the interesting moment?"

Barnum laughed and answered: "It is the venerable American Sculptor, Story, more famous in Italy, as the leading American than is either Lee or Grant."

The evening passed delightfully to Julia, and, towards its close, the guests were favored with a novel and unexpected treat.

Several distinguished gentlemen, members of Congress and lawyers of prominence were also present. Conversation had become general until some one requested Miss Raum to play, and, as many were preparing to leave, the hostess, leaving Mrs. Barnum's side, improvised a song suited to the occasion. No one present, except Colonel Barnum, knew that she possessed the faculty of improvisation; and it was with much interest that the guest listened to the following as she seated herself at the harp: "

IMPROVISATION. Harp of the North with seraphs come
To grace and charm the artist's home;
Let sculpture crown my Muse's face
With beauty's charm, with nameless grace!
 

 

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Let seraphs come; let seraphs go;
Let shadowy forms of purest snow
Bring back the heroes of the past,
And mate them with the loves that last.
Oh Muse of Art! speed time's quick flight;
Thrice happy love, thrice happy night!
 
Come, come to me, oh, Muse of mine,
For purest charms of art are thine;
Thou makest life a dream, replete
With all the joys of Arcadie,
Where sounds æolian strains, as sweet
As ever sang the waves at sea.
Let Daphne rise with healthful glow
And graceful limbs, pure white as snow
Like some fair naiad of the sea:
Let her aid now my minstrelsy.
Ye, gods and goddesses, inspire
The hand which touches now the lyre.
 
For one here stands, whose hair is white;
Whose heart is pure, though time's swift flight
Hath left in age a perfect man;
Hath left him young whose life's a span;
With eyes undimmed that fain would see
What charm thou hast, sweet minstrelsy!
Sweet Flora, cast thy garlands o'er
The honored brave we'll see no more;
And, seraphs, come to charm his sight;
Thrice happy love, thrice happy night!
 
With heart as light as airy hope,
And lips that ope as lilies ope,
Smile gently, fair Penelope;
For fairer than a rose is she!
And I do sing of a lover, tall
And stalwart, whose eyes look love--
 

 

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Love such as angels guard above;
And well it may, with soft love-light
Gaze fondly on her face to-night!
Gently my harp! like whispers be
The caresses of minstrelsy!
 
Thrice happy love, thrice happy night!
May life to them, be love's delight.
For well, I ween, when bosom swells
And eyes, as bright as the gazelles,
Are turned to his, no mortal heart
Can fail to do a lover's part!
May angels guard her lovely life
And smile on this husband and wife!
May life to them be love's delight;
Thrice happy love, thrice happy night!
 

Chapter 43

 

  page   504    
CHAPTER XLIII.
OUR BROTHER IN BLACK.

Representative Latané had thoroughly studied the convict laws of the Southern States so that when he arose in his place to speak upon this question, he quickly secured the attention of the House. "Mr. Speaker," said he, "All the States in this Union are interested in this bill, and I protest in the name of the people, against the effort to deny the privilege of being heard, and to smother this bill that the robbery and vile oppression may go on. Human greed seems insatiable, and the convict lessees aptly illustrate that 'the love of money is the root of all evil.' I am reliably informed that a negro who was convicted of the theft of two dollars, has been sentenced to work in the chain-gangs in coal mines owned by a convict lessee for twenty years! This poor negro is an 'able-bodied, long term convict;' and, under this iniquitous and barbarous law, three hundred 'able-bodied, long-term convicts' are assigned to the chain-gangs, controlled by this lessee. It is an accepted axiom that every effect has its cause. In whose interests have the modifications in this law been made? By what methods was this legislation secured?

Ah! Mr. Speaker, to every suggestion that the State should abolish the convict leasing system, the objection is made that the prison population is so large that the State cannot take control of the penitentiary without great expense which the tax-payers will oppose.

Before the late war there had never been a time when

 

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the number of convicts in the State penitentiary exceeded three hundred. Now it is sixteen hundred!

 

To the lessees this great question is one solely of dollars. By their own admission, there are eight times as many convicts now as there were before the abolition of slavery. The question arises, why is this prison population so enormously out of proportion to the general population of the State?

In whose interest has the grade of grand larceny been reduced to ten dollars? Before the emancipation of the negroes, it was twenty-five dollars. In every northern State, it is at least twenty-five dollars, and in many it is placed at much higher figures.

Why is it a greater crime now to steal than it was in the year of 1860? No just reason can be given why felony should be placed at such a low grade.

Out of sixteen hundred convicts, leased for three and three-fourths cents per day, three hundred of whom are leased at this rate for twenty years, nearly three-eighths of the whole number were convicts of larceny. If larceny as a penitentiary offence, was restored to its former grade, this number would probably be reduced one-half. But, so long as this barbarous system of leasing convicts to individuals, that they may make fortunes like magic to the detriment of free labor, prevails, so long will the grade be left where they can fill their chain-gangs with convicts, ninety per cent. of whom are negroes.

This is proved by the similar condition of things in all the Southern States where this system prevails. Take, for example, that of another State, where the severity of the term of imprisonment is like that in this State. It is authoritatively stated that the average term of confinement there, excluding

 

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the life sentences, is four years and three hundred and twenty-eight days. There is not a single first-class prison, in the North, in the densest populations, with such an average imprisonment. We are sending people to the penitentiary for petty offences, and making the sentences unnecessarily long and severe.

 

The last published prison register shows that there were thirty-three boys in prison, none of whom was committed when he was over the age of eighteen years, whose average term of imprisonment is five years and 328 days. It is a startling and extraordinary fact that this class of juvenile offenders, sent to prison for probably their first offence, certainly not hardened criminals and not beyond all moral influences, are actually being punished more severely and with longer terms of imprisonment than the average adult felon. There are twelve boys sentenced when under fifteen years of age, with an average term of five years and three months. Two of sixteen years, are confined for life. By the latest published report there were eight hundred and twelve convicts in that penitentiary. Prior to the war, there were only one hundred and sixty-nine in that penitentiary. And this is the record wherever the leasing of convicts to individuals is the law. And yet a lessee of convicts coolly says to us:

"A change of the system is not seriously proposed, indeed it is not needed, as we cannot adopt a better one for either the State or the convicts. Then what produces all this clamor? What is needed? Devise a better system if you can."

There, sir, men are beaten atrociously by irresponsible 'whipping bosses' who themselves escape all punishment. Their flesh is cut into welts, their feet are eaten and ruined by frost; themselves reduced to the supineness of indifference

 

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by the cruelty of task-masters in their insatiable greed for money! What is a leased convict? Is he a brute? No, he is a human being blessed with all the feelings and impulses which ennoble human nature, until he yields to crime. As an infant he received the tender caresses and the fathomless love of his mother, and as a man he is followed in his captivity by the anxious prayers of that mother.

 

What is a penitentiary? Is it a dungeon of perpetual torture that all spirit and all hope may be crushed out of the convicted felon? No, its design is more God-like; it is designed to punish severely as a prelude to that reformation which opens the way to mercy for the criminal and salvation for the redeemed soul.

If it be right for a great Commonwealth to thus sell its criminals, to the detriment of the honest laborers of the State, to the highest bidder, why is it that no civilized nations have adopted this system? It was designed to make the lessees fabulously rich, and human greed, I repeat, seems insatiable.

What matters it to this absentee proprietor--who sees his chained slaves perhaps five times a year--provided his profits are paid regularly to him?

Sir, humanity, civilization itself, demands the abolition of this inhumane system

It is the malediction of an Iliad of woes; it is the overflowing of a just indignation; it is almost as a final appeal to the Infinite."

This speech made a deep impression upon his hearers, and an interview with the Governor followed, during which Hallback's pardon was conditionally promised.

As one of the investigating committee of the House of Representatives, Latané, a few days later, visited the mines

 

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where Hallback was confined. For eighteen years our poor friend, in whose black breast breathed a rarely brave and gallant spirit, has worn the shackles of the convict.

 

Latané was shocked at his changed appearance. The welts and scars on Hallback's poor overworked body were made by the cruel lash of the "whipping boss."

How changed is he, the once bright and earnest young man, filled with the laudable ambition to raise his dependent race to a higher plane of civilization.

Can yonder round-shouldered stooping convict be Hallback? Poor fellow! Drawn irresistibly to his vicinity, without intending it, Latané came in the line of his vision. How instantaneous, though momentary, the change! Like a lightning flash, the gloomy, sullen look of despair gave way to the old light as his eyes flashed the intelligence that he had but two more years to serve; and then--Oh! there is now no kind, wise, humane old Barney to place his hand upon his shoulder and bid him "wait!" "Wait! For eighteen years, Marse Henry." And then the great tears rolled down his deeply lined face, and agony was depicted there such as one never wishes to see again! Then, dashing them aside, and wringing Latané's hand affectionately, the dogged, sullen, despairing look resumed control of his features, and the pick went up and down, up and down, with regular, horrible monotony, as up and down it had gone on thus for eighteen years.

Powerless to aid him, and fearful that sympathy for him, if expressed; might subject him to further cruelties, if the application for his pardon should again be denied, Latané left him, but continued his investigations.

The keeper of the Penitentiary had arrived while Latané was inspecting the sleeping quarters of the convicts, and

 

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Latané divined what the invitation to call at his office "on important business" meant.

 

The keeper of the penitentiary handed him a letter as he entered his office, and that letter contained a pardon for Hallback. He read it quickly, and immediately asked the keeper to accompany him to where Hallback was at work. "He is an old servant of mine, and my play-mate when a child," said Latané.

They passed along the gloomy, sooty caverns, passed the dark and sullen laborers, who, with picks in hand, loosed the coal from the seams where it had rested for ages, and shoveled it along the tunnel. There was no sunlight in that dark cavern, and the lines in Hallback's face seemed to deepen as the lamp cast its fitful glare around his bent figure. He did not notice their approach, and his pick seemed to move up and down mechanically. Now they stopped before him. He raised his head with a despairing look; did not seem to recognize Latané, but glared around to see the "whipping boss." There was no look of fear in his eyes; it was rather a look of stolid indifference to his fate--of an utter hopelessness as to any relief.

"Hallback," said the keeper, "your former master, Captain Latané, is here."

He bowed his head in acknowledgment and turned away with a despairing look, then raised his pick again and resumed his monotonous work.

Latané could wait no longer, but placing his hand on his shoulder, he caught his descending arm, arrested it, and the pick fell to the ground.

A low moan of agony escaped the convict's lips, as if to say, "Why prolong this misery, and bring back to me thoughts of the happy past by your presence?"

 

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Latané's eyes filled with tears too, and his voice was choked as he said, "I have come to set you free, Hall; the Governor has pardoned you, and you are to go back home with me!"

He seemed dazed, dumbfounded at first; then, as the truth dawned upon him, the poor fellow cried like a child; and as a child would he let him lead him by the hand from darkness to daylight.

The earth was no longer without form and void, nor darkness enveloped the world, but the Spirit of God moved the air and their was light! Light that was divided from the darkness. This, to him, was day; yesterday was one long night of eighteen years! Not for him, then, were the lights in the firmament of the heaven, which divided the day from the night, that were for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years--these stars in the firmament to give light upon the earth. To that crushed spirit, innocent of any wrong to any human being, it had been a torture-chamber of unutterable darkness.

They stood upon the mountain peak. Daylight! Oh, what a glorious vision it is to that weary soul! How beautiful, with its prismatic hues crimsoning the eastern skies, ascending until it irradiates the glorious firmament, and causes Hallback to forget, for the moment, the bitter past, and to exclaim: "Heaven! it is there!"

Regenerated by the touchstone of human sympathy, each dew-drop now seemed to him a diamond, and each spear of grass, as it glistened in the sunlight, diamond-pointed with dew, seemed to suddenly awaken his dulled sensibilities as they grouped and clustered around the memories of the long ago. For the first time in long years he noted the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit. Not for him

 

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had been these herbs and these fruits, these lights and shades and yonder glorious skies. Not for the poor, disgraced, debased convict--a victim to a treachery as mean as the meanest trait of mankind--not for such as he were the glorious lights of the evening and the morning, of the day and the night. Not for him the vision of moving waters full of animated life and moving things, or the beauteous winged creatures that fly from flower to flower, and from tree to tree, sipping the nectar of nature.

 

To his strained eyes, now getting accustomed to the unaccustomed light, the air seemed filled with happy birds and winged creatures soaring to the open firmament of heaven. And he stood forth, like the votary of the Koran, in natural worship, and, uplifting his hands appealingly to the rising sun, seemed a veritable sun-worshipper.

They stood upon the mountain top, and before them were broad, verdant valleys, and the wide, winding beautiful river which courses through those lovely Tennessee mountains. Like a lovely ribbon did it seem, girdling fair Nature; and to Hallback it seemed the realization of his early dreams of heaven, as he said to himself: "If uncle Barney was only here to view this with me." Then a flash of the old danger-light glowed in his eyes like a living burning coal, and was as suddenly succeeded by that cold, dogged look of sullen despair, as he turned away his head and, burying it in his hands, wept convulsively. In a moment that flood of memories engulfed his mind, and shut out this beautiful scene from his gaze as the gloomy incidents of eighteen years of convict life in the bowels of the earth rushed over his crowded brain. Recovering his self-possession at last, with a husky voice, he raised himself from the great stone upon which he had thrown himself, there at the edge of the precipice, overlooking

 

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seven States of the American Union, and asked:--"Marse Henry, where is Hefflin?"

 

"In Canada, Hall, a refugee from outraged justice."

"And where is Canada?"

"Do you see those distant mountains, hundreds of miles away?" said Latané, pointing to the Blue Ridge in Virginia.

"Yes, sir."

"Well, Hall, those mountains are in Virginia where you and I served as soldiers; the war is over now, peace fills the land with smiling harvest and all its gentle influences, and there is no more enmity between the North and South. 'Let the dead past bury its dead,' Hall; it is best. Let us emulate the soldiers of both armies who are devoting their lives to rebuilding the waste-places. There are Veteran Associations in the land and the Gray and the Blue meet together in friendly intercourse and do all that they can to moderate and stifle the passions which selfish politicians seek to keep alive."

"It is there, Canada is--over those mountains and hundred of miles away--and Hefflin is in Canada," mused Hall-back.

Then he raised himself, shook himself, tried his limbs as if to see if they were equal to the task of so long a journey. "Truly," thought Latané, "vendetta was never so pictured upon the face of mortal man." Then he said to Hallback: "Sit down, Hall, the carriage which is to bear us away will be here shortly and you must compose yourself, my friend."

Hallback grasped his hand convulsively, saying, "Marse Henry! Marse Henry!" then took from his pocket a worn and faded Bible, and waving his hand toward the limitless landscape, handed it to Latané and pointed to the 26th verse of the first chapter of Genesis. Latané read aloud as follows:

 

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"And God said, Let us make man in our image; after our likeness; and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree in the forest which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all of tbe host of them."

 

Hallback laid his hand on Latané's shoulder and said pointing backward to the entrance to the coal mines, which seemed to him like Dante's Inferno: "He who enters here, leaves hope behind," and said: "Hefflin, and the judge, and the others robbed me of all that God gave to man, and did it without just cause!" and then, clenching his hands fiercely, he pointed to the Virginia mountains again and said: "He is in Canada; and Canada is over there. I will find him."

"No, Hall, they did not rob you of all that God gave you; let me read another verse: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

And again the shadows passed from his fine face, still striking in spite of the misery which had set its seal there, and a voice seemed to reach him from the lips of old

----

 

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Barney, "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord; I will repay."

 

And there we will bid them adieu, there under the limitless canopy of heaven, where Hallback stands in the free air, once more a free man.

For the relative conditions of these two is typical of the two races to-day in the Southern States. The interests of the two races are interdependent, their sympathies are mutual, and may they be as lasting as time itself.

When adversity strikes down the former slave, it is to his old master that he first turns for aid, and rarely is his appeal for sympathy unheeded.

And beautiful is that evidence of attachment, when the emancipated slave offers part of his hard-earned money to alleviate the poor and almost friendless orphans of his former wealthy master now in his grave.

No longer does the venerable Colonel Leslie, with courtly manners and gracious hospitality, "welcome the coming, speed the parting guest." Full of honors as of years, beloved and respected by all, he has gone down the vale of life and reached the shadowy land of spirits where just men, like himself, are made perfect.

Wellington Napoleon Potts has realized his prophetic hopes: he is rich, and can buy all the "friends" he wants. He wants no friends whom he can not "use;" and he despises the very correct assertion that to "use" a friend for selfish purposes is to be the reverse of a gentleman.

He lives in the costliest mansion in the growing city, and proves to men who formerly despised him that no slavery is worse than that of an honest debtor to an infamous but wise creditor.

"Ephraim is joined to his idols, let him alone."

 

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One of the Etowah prisoners is a member of the Congress of the United States.

Time, the great magician, hath wrought this miracle. Our nimble acquaintance, Jonathan Ray, alias John Hefflin, had learned too much about "the ways that are dark and the tricks that are vain" indulged in by Wellington Napoleon Potts to permit that worthy to dispense with his services. But now Cashier Hefflin, whose early propensities were too strong to be resisted, is luxuriating in Canada, that Mecca of defaulting bank officials.

Alcohol, thou demon of this nineteenth century! thou hast slain more than the war itself. Oh! that the fell thirst which seizes a noble, high-minded man, distinguished as the first scholar in his class, or the most gallant soldier in his corps, and drags him down to alcoholic insanity, could be annihilated! Or, that God could blot out forever and cast into eternal nothingness that demon, thirst for alcohol! It would snatch from the yawning grave the noblest spirits, who would cast aside the bitter cup if they could. Blame them not, for, like the Laöcoon, they are powerless in the coils of the serpent. It is a disease resistless, for the time being, as the yellow fever which slays its victims beneath brazen skies, unless the poor victim is led by the hand of affection to submit to a wise restraint. Blame not the inebriate; but watch over him tenderly for, by degrees, he may be redeemed. Utter not one word of reproach; breathe no word of shame; suggest no thought of disgrace; but lead him, as you would a sick child, and urge him to remember that his body is God's temple, and all that honor or happiness can offer may yet be his, if he will but overcome that fatal thirst. Time will heal all things, all injuries, all wrongs, and cover them with the mantle of charity. Émile LaGrange

 

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could not resist temptation, and he was kept concealed from his friends by his cruel captors until delirium ended in death.

 

Abuse has glanced from the golden armor of the rich lessee of convicts, and the fickle multitude hail him as the wisest of men. Well may he exclaim, "L'Etat, cest moi!" Two hundred dollars profit per day for the lease of three hundred "long-term able-bodied convicts" is six thousand dollars a month; it is seventy-two thousand dollars a year; it is one million and four hundred and forty-four thousands of dollars in twenty years; and this is accomplished without the investment of one dollar! So seems it to the liberated Hallback.

As the years go by and, one by one, our friends and acquaintances "cross over the river," personal antagonisms cease, and charity would lower the veil here. "Judge not, that ye be not judged," and let us hope that this penal institution, which subjects some good men to undeserved censure, may speedily give way to a more enlightened system.

The matchless cavalry general, so daring and indomitable that he had "cut his way out," rather than surrender at Appomattox, has surrendered unconditionally at last. He has left his ancestral home, "Etowah Heights," and lives at "Chestatee," the husband of the young lady whom he had often dandled upon his knee when she was a little child as innocent as the butterflies which flitted about her sunny head.

"The mystic chords of memory stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of

 

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the Union, when again touched, as surely as they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

 

The kinship of humanity ennobles humanity; and it is as broad as the seas and as deep as the earth. May it shield the weaker from the oppressions of the stronger, and aid poor human nature to solve a difficult problem. And may the youth of this fair sunny Southland revere the memories of the great past, and adhere to the simple faith, the loyalty to truth and virtue, and the veneration for integrity of act and purpose which so distinguished their fathers.

THE END

APPENDIX.

Part 1

 

  page   518 blank page    

 

  page   519    
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.

For the benefit of the reader, my acknowledgements are made in this appendix, attention being called to matter that is not original with the author by means of asterisks or figures.

Chapter I.

* Allusion is here made to the speech of Alexander H. Stephens before the Secession Convention at the capital or the State of Georgia.

Among the numerous criticisms of the press of the "advance sheets" of this book sent to many of them, the following should challenge attention:

"From the Chillicothe, (Ohio) Gazette, November 17, 1887.

The author says the Confederate soldiers possessed 'a patriotism and heroism unsurpassed in history,' and that they deserve 'a patriot's gratitude,' etc. It is true that they were brave, and were admired for pertinacity to their cause, but no civilized nations call them patriotic."

 

It is to remove such erroneous impressions that the author of this book introduced in Chapter I, the letter of a typical Southerner whose pecuniary and professional interests were altogether with the government of the United States, and whose interests were not connected with, or affected by slavery.

The author was in London when the following allusions were made by Sir John Pakington at a banquet tendered to Commodore Maury at Willis' rooms in London, June 6, 1866. This banquet was given for the purpose of presenting Commodore Maury with a testimonial in acknowledgment of the valuable and distinguished services he had rendered to the maritime nations of the world. Said Sir John Pakington:

"It was well said by the great philosopher Humboldt, that you had

 

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discovered a new department of human knowledge, and it was Humboldt who gave to it the name of the physical geography of the sea.

 

These services have received in all parts of the world a frank and cordial acknowledgment. Russia, Prussia, Austria, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Portugal, Bremen and Sardinia; and from every one of these nations have you received one of their orders of knighthood, and in some instances medals struck especially in your honor. The State of New York, in which you so long exercised your talent, contributed a service of plate and five thousand dollars. But, sir, this is not all. I hold in my hand a letter from which I will read an extract, but before doing so, allow me to observe that it was just at this moment, when you were in the zenith of your time, and in the midst of your great pursuits, that that unhappy civil war broke out by which the finest portions of the South of the United States were desolated. It would be unbecoming in me, on this occasion, to express anything like a political feeling. But this, I think, I may be allowed to say, that we Englishmen, who watched that great struggle--whilst some may have wished well to one party, and others to another--there was one point on which every one had no shadow of a difference of opinion, and that was, that on both sides, by the North and by the South alike, that struggle was conducted with a vigor, with an energy, with a bravery, and with a skill, which has made the Anglo-Saxons proud of their descendants.

You were by birth, a Southerner, your leanings and your sympathies were entirely for the South, and the part you took was again worthy of your character and your career. You took the part of a patriotic and an honest man. You abandoned the pursuits in which you were taking such deep interest; you threw up office, the honorable public office which you held, and went to that country to which you felt you were attached and you entered heartily and honorably into the cause you felt it your duty to espouse. It was at this moment that a letter I hold in my hand was written, which said that, 'sincerely deploring the inactivity into which the state of affairs has plunged you, I feel called on to invite you to take up your residence in this country, where you may, in peace, continue your useful occupation. Your position will be independent. You will be bound by no conditions. You will always be able to steer back across the ocean; and in the event of your not pleasing to return,

 

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in regard to your material welfare everything shall be done.' That is addressed to you by the Grand Duke Constantine, of Russia. It was then that the Russian Prince, in the name of a great empire, assured you of his respect for your public services and offered you a home.

 

A similar invitation was made on behalf of France by Prince Napoleon, and I can not but feel proud of the manner in which those great persons came forward to render to you the homage which is your due. Such then, are the circumstances that have led to this interesting ceremonial, and it is now my duty to address you in the name of England, in the name of Europe, and I shall not exaggerate if I say in the name of the civilized world.

I request you then, to do us the honor of accepting this testimonial of considerably more than three thousand guineas, which I now have the great honor and the great pleasure of asking you to receive, as a proof of our recognition of your services, and of the esteem and admiration you have gained."

 

Like Robert E. Lee, he died as he had lived, with a stainless name, and honored as a patriot wherever the English language is spoken.

For the statement relating to pensions in the "Dedication," the reader is referred to Pension Commissioner Black, who in his annual report, states that, "in the aggregate 1,091,200,000 pension claims have been filed since 1861. An appropriation of $79,045,230 is asked for the next fiscal year. That for the current year was $78,701,250.

The following statement is my authority for the statement in the Dedication:

"The Democrat," of Champaign, Ohio, of July 14, 1887, states: "Twelve millions of dollars will be paid out for pensions during the current month, and as much more in August."

In the descriptions of the carnival in New Orleans, the execution of Mrs. Suratt, Paine and Atzeroth, and the conversation with President Johnson, the author is partially indebted to newspaper reports, from which notes were taken when they were printed. The object being to present life as it was and is; this was deemed preferable to entire originality. When life is a drama, the truth is romance, and undoubted facts blended with the coloring of romance, are better than pure imaginative writing.

Part 2

 

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Chapter VIII.

*See "The Red Cross," by H. H. S. Thompson.

Chapter IX.

Erratum. For "New Red Sandstone, read: "Old Red Sandstone."

Chapter IX.

*Senator Morrill, of Vermont, stated in the United States Senate Chamber, December 13, 1887, that seventy per cent. of the population of Boston was composed of persons of foreign birth and foreign parentage, eighty per cent. of New York, and ninety-one per cent. of the population of Chicago, and these figures might be aggravated by future immigration. By the census of 1880, the population of foreign birth and parentage was about 15,000,000; and immigration since then 4,345,000; so that, without including children born of foreign parents since 1880, there was now in this country, a foreign population of 19,340,000 or nearly one-third of the entire population.

For allusions to M. Mariette, *see Bouillet's Dictionaire des Sciences et des Arts.

See, also, Appleton's Encyclopedia.

Also, Harper's Magazine for September, 1887.

Chapter XIII.

*An Englishman, who was sojourning in Richmond, Va., in 1859, contributed to McMillan's Magazine the facts concerning the auction sale of slaves contained in this chapter. In order to have it entirely impartial, the author has substituted this account of a slave sale verbatim, for the chapter written on the same subject by himself.

Chapter XXXI.

*The incidents related in this chapter concerning the imprisonment and torture in the "Sweat-Box," at Fort Pulaski, actually occurred as related. The affidavits of the negro prisoners who thus suffered can be produced. They were sworn to, June 6, 1868. The Washington "National Intelligencer," published a full statement of it.

Part 7

 

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Chapter XXXIII.

*For the incidents related in this chapter giving the experience at Johnson's Island, see Southern Historical Society papers. The statements can be verified by thousands of prisoners. Incidents giving individual instances of sufferings are omitted, for it is not the desire of the writer to excite the evil passions of men.

Chapter XXXVII.

*See the official report of Generals James B. Steedman, U. S. V., and J. S. Fullerton, U. S. V., to E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War, dated May 8, 1866, for verification of every statement made in this chapter concerning the operations of "The Freedmen's Bureau."

Chapter XXXVI.

*The remarks attributed to President Johnson in this chapter were actually his own words, made to a reporter for the London Standard in 1866. And the speech of Senator Thaddeus Stevens in the United States Senate, contained the exact words used in the context in same chapter.

Chapter XXXV.

*See pamphlet entitled "A Military Outrage," giving the facts relating to this remarkable trial.

Chapter XXXVII.

*The argument attributed to the leading counsel for the accused in the brief speech introduced in this chapter, was used by Hon. Randolph Tucker, in a case involving the execution of condemned men who had not been tried by a petit jury.

Chapter XLI.

*The National Republican, of November 12, 1887, states that there was, at that date, in the Treasury of the United States, the enormous sum of

 

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six hundred and twelve millions, six hundred and thirty-eight thousand four hundred and sixty-nine dollars.

 

Chapter XL.

*From "Cotton Facts" (edition of 1883), a standard authority, we learn that the cotton crops of 1865-6 was 2,278,000 bales. A tax of 3 cents per pound on a bale of 450 pounds would amount to $13.50 per bale, and on 2,270,000 bales to $30,753,000 as the total tax collected for one year's crop. The tax was subsequently reduced, so that the total amount was about $68,000,000. In the absence of certain information I have given that as the probably correct estimate. The Government is certainly rich enough to restore this illegally exacted tax.

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