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service of the United States, he
was, next to General Scott, the senior officer in the army, and might, in the
event of the death of the Lieutenant-General, have succeeded to the command. It
is presumed now that his name will be stricken from the rolls of the army.
A DAY'S RIDE:
A LIFE'S ROMANCE.
BY CHARLES LEVER.
AUTHOR of "CHARLES O'MALLEY,"
BENUMBED, bedraggled, and
bewildered, I entered Feldkirch late at night, my wrists cut with she cords, my
clothes torn by frequent falls, my limbs aching with bruises, and my wet rags
chafing my skin. No wonder was it that I was at once consigned from the charge
of a jailer to the care of a doctor, and ere the day broke I was in a raging
I would not if I could preserve
any memory of that grievous interval. Happily for me no clear traces remain on
my mind—pangs of suffering are so mingled with little details of the locality,
faces, words, ludicrous images of a wandering intellect, long hours of silent
brooding, sound of church bells and such other tokens as cross the lives of busy
men in the daily walk of life. All came and went within my brain, and still I
lay there in fever.
In my first return of
consciousness I perceived I was the sole occupant of a long arched gallery, with
a number of beds arranged along each side of it. In their uniform simplicity,
and the severe air of the few articles of furniture, my old experiences at once
recalled the hospital; not that I arrived at this conclusion without much labor
and a considerable mental effort. It was a short journey, to be sure, but I was
walking with sprained ankles. It was, however, a great joy and a great triumph
to me to accomplish even this much. It was the recognition to my-self that I was
once more on the road to health, and again to feel the sympathies that make a
brotherhood of this life of ours ; and so happy was I with the prospect, that
when I went to sleep at night my last thought was of the pleasure that morning
was sure to bring me. And I was not disappointed ; the next day, and the next,
and several more that followed, were all passed in a calm and tranquil
enjoyment. Looking back upon this period, I have often been disposed to imagine
that when we lie in the convalescence that follows some severe illness, with no
demands upon our bodily strength, no call made upon our muscular energies, the
very activity of digestion not evoked, as our nourishment is of the simplest and
lightest, our brain must of necessity exercise its functions more freely,
untrammeled by passing cares or the worries incident to daily life, and that at
such times our intellect has probably a more uncontested action than at any
other period of our existence. I do not want to pursue my theory, or endeavor to
sustain it—my reader has here enough to induce him to give his experience to my
own, or reject the notion altogether.
I lay thus, not impatiently, for
above a fort-night. I regained strength very slowly; the least effort or
exertion was sure to overcome me. But I wished for none ; and as I lay there,
gazing for whole days long at a great coat of arms over the end of the gallery,
where a huge double-headed eagle seemed to me screaming in the agony of
strangulation, but yet never to be choked outright, I reveled in many a strange
rambling as to the fate of the land of which it was the emblem and the shield.
Doubtless some remnant of my passionate assault on Austria lingered in my brain,
and gave this turn to its operations.
My nurse was one of that
sisterhood whose charities call down many a blessing on the Church that
organizes their benevolence. She was what is called a "grace Schwester ;" and of
a truth she seemed the incarnation of grayness. It was not her dress alone, but
her face and hands, her noiseless gait, her undemonstrative stare, her
half-husky whisper, and her monotonous ways, had all a sort of pervading
grayness that enveloped her, just as a cloud-mist wraps a landscape. There was
besides a kind of fog-like indistinctness in her few and muttered words that
seemed to form a fitting atmosphere for drowsy uniformity of the sick-room.
Her first care, on my recovery,
was to supply me with a number of little religious books—lives of saints and
martyrs, accounts of miracles, and narratives of holy pilgrimages—and I devoured
them with all the zest of a devotee. They seemed to supply the very excitement
of mind craved for, and the good soul little suspected how much more she was
ministering to a love for the marvelous than to a spirit of piety. In the
Flowers of St. Francis, for instance, I found an adventure seeker after my own
heart. To be sure, his search was after sinners in need of a helping hand to
rescue them ; but as his contests with Satan were described as stand-up
encounters, with very hard knocks on each side, they were just as exciting
combats to read of as any I had ever perused in stories of chivalry.
Mistaking my zest for these
readings for some-thing far more praiseworthy, the gray sister en-joined me very
seriously to turn from the evil advisers I had formerly consorted with and
frequent the society of better-minded and wiser men. Out of these counsels, dark
and dim at first, but gradually growing clearer, I learned that I was regarded
as a member of some terrible secret society, banded together for the dir
est and blackest of objects ; the
subversion of thrones, overthrow of dynasties, and assassinations of sovereigns
being all labors of love to us. She had a full catalogue of my colleagues, from
Sund, who killed Kotzebue, to Orsini and seemed thoroughly persuaded that I was
a very advanced member of the order. It was only after a long time, and with
great address on my part, that I obtained these revelations from her, and she
owned that nothing but witnessing how the holy studies had influenced me would
ever have induced her to make these avowals. As my convalescence progressed, and
I was able to sit up for an hour or so in the day, she told me that I might very
soon expect a visit from the Staats Procurator, a kind of district
attorney-general, to examine me. So little able was I to carry my mind back to
the by-gone events of my life, that I heard this as a sort of vague hope that
the inquiry would strike out some dew by which I could connect myself with the
past, for I was sorely puzzled to learn what and who I had been before I came
there. Was I a prosecutor or was I a prisoner ? Never was a knotty point more
patiently investigated, but, alas ! most hopelessly. The intense interest of the
inquiry, however, served totally to withdraw me from my previous readings, and
the gray sister was shocked to see the mark in my book remain for days long
unchanged. She took courage at length to address me on the subject, and even
went so far as to ask if Satan himself had not taken occasional opportunity of
her absence to come and sit beside my bed ? I eagerly caught at the suggestion,
and said it was as she suspected ; that, in fact, he never gave me a moment's
peace, now torturing me with menaces, now asking for explanations: how this
could be reconciled with that, and why such a thing should not have prevented
Instead of expressing any
astonishment at my confession, she appeared to regard it as one of the most
ordinary incidents, and referred me to my books, and especially to St. Francis,
to see that these were usual and everyday snares in. use. She went further, and
in her zeal actually showed a sort of contempt for the evil one in his
intellectual capacity that startled me ; showing how St. Jude always gat the
better of him, and that he was a mere child when opposed by the craft of St.
Anthony of Pavia.
" It is the truth," said she, "
always conquers him. Whenever, by any chance, he can catch you concealing or
evading, trying to make out reasons that are inconsistent, or affecting
intentions that you had not, then he is your master."
There was such an air of matter
of fact about all she said, that when—our first conversation on this theme
over—she left the room, a cold sweat broke over me at the thought that my next
visitor would be the "Lebendige Satan" himself.
It had come to this, that I had
furnished my own mind with such a subject of terror that I could not endure to
be alone, and lay there trembling at every noise and shrinking at every shadow
that crossed the floor. Many and many times, as the dupe of my own deceivings,
did I find myself talking aloud in self-defense, thinking that I wanted to be
good, and honest, and faithful, and that whenever I lapsed from the right path,
it was in moments of erring reason, sure to be followed after by sincere
It was after an access of this
kind the gray sister found me one morning bathed in cold perspiration, my eyes
fixed, my lips livid, and my fingers fast knotted together.
"I see," said she, "he has given
you a severe turn of it to-day. What was the temptation ?"
For a long while I refused to
answer ; I was weak as well as irritable, and I desired peace, but she
persisted, and pressed hard to know what subject we had been discussing
"I'll tell you, then," said I,
fiercely—for a sudden thought, prompted perhaps by a sense of anger, flashed
across me: " he has just told me that you are his sister."
She screamed out wildly, and,
rushing to the end of the gallery, threw herself at the foot of a little altar.
Satisfied with my vengeance, I
lay back and said no more. I may have dropped into a half-slumber afterward, for
I remember nothing till, just as evening began to fall, one of the servants came
up and placed a table and two chairs be-side my bed, with writing materials and
a. large book, and shortly after two men dressed in black, and with square black
caps an their heads, took their places at the table and con-versed together in
Resolving to treat them with a
show of complete indifference, I turned away and pretended to go to sleep.
" The Herr Staats Procurator
Schlassel has come to read the act of accusation," said the shorter man, who
seemed a subordinate ; " take care that you pay proper respect to the law and
" Let him read away," said I,
with a wave of my hand, "I will listen."
In a low, sing-song, dreary tone,
he began to recite the titles and dignities of the emperor. I listened for a
while, but as he got down to the banat and herzegovine, sleep overcame me, and I
dozed away, waking up to hear him detailing what seemed his own greatness, how
he was Ober this and Unter that, till I fairly lost myself in the maze of his
description. Judging from the monotonous, business-like persistence of his
manner, that he had a long road before him, I wrapped myself comfortably in the
bed-clothes, closed my eyes, and was soon sound asleep.
There were two candles burning on
the table when I next opened my eyes, and my friend the procurator was reading
away as before. I tried to interest myself for a second or two; I rubbed
my eyes and endeavored to be
wakeful ; but I could not, and was fast settling down into my former state, when
certain words struck on my ear and aroused me :
" ' The well-born Herr von Rigges
further denounces the prisoner Harpar--'
"Read that again," cried I,
aloud, "for I can not clearly follow what you say."
" The well-born Herr von Rigges,'
" repeated he, " 'further denounces the prisoner Harpar as one of a sect banded
together for the darkest purposes of revolution
"Forgive my importunity, Herr
Procurator," said I, in my most insinuating tone, "but in compassion for the
weakness of faculties sorely tried by fever, will you tell me who is Rigges ?"
"Who is Rigges? Is that your
question?" said he, slowly.
" Yes, Sir ; that was my
He turned over several pages of
his voluminous report, and proceeded to search for the pas-sage he wanted.
"Here it is," said he, at last;
and he read out : " ' The so-called Rigges, being a well-born and
not-the-less-from-a-mercantile-objectengaging pursuit, highly-placed, and
much-honored subject of her Majesty the Queen of En-gland, of the age of
forty-two years and eight months, unmarried, and professing the Protest-ant
religion.' Is that sufficient?"
" Quite so ; and now, will you,
with equal urbanity, inform me who is Harpar ?"
"Who is Harpar? Who is Harpar?
You surely do not ask me that?"
"I do; such is my question."
"I must confess that you surprise
me. You ask me for information about yourself!"
" Oh, indeed! So that I am Harpar?"
"You can, of course, deny it. We
are in a measure prepared for that. The proofs of your identity will be,
however, forthcoming; not to add that it will be difficult to disprove the
"Ha, the offense! I'm really
curious about that. What is the offense with which I am charged?"
" What I have been reading these
two hours. What I have recited with all the clearness, brevity, and perspicuity
that characterize our imperial and royal legislation, making our code at once
the envy and admiration of all Europe."
"I'm sure of that. But, what have
I done ?"
" With what for a
dullness-charged and much-beclouded intellect are you afflicted," cried he, "
not to have followed the greatly-by-circumstances-corroborated and
in-various-ways-by-proofs-brought-home narrative that I have al-ready read out?"
" I have not heard one word of it
" What a deplorable and
all-the-more-therefore-hopeless intelligence is yours ! I will begin it once
more." And with a heavy sigh he turned over the first pages of his manuscript.
' ' Nay, Herr Procurator !"
interposed I, hastily. " I have the less claim to exact this sacrifice on your
part, that even when you have rendered it, it will be all fruitless and
unprofitable. I am just recovering from a severe illness. I am, as you have very
acutely remarked, a man of very narrow and limited faculties in my best of
moments, and I am now still lower in the scale of intelligence. Were you to read
out that lucid document till we were both gray-headed, it would leave me just as
uninformed to imputed crime as I now am."
" I perceive," said he, gravely.
Then turning to his clerk, lie bade him write down, " And the so-called Harpar
having duly heard and with decorously-lent attention listened to the foregoing
act, did thereupon enter his plea of mental incapacity and derangement."
" Nay, Herr Procurator, I would
simply re-cord that, however open to follow some plain narrative, the forms and
subtleties of a legal document only bewilder me."
" What for an ingeniously-worded
and with-artifice-cunningly-conceived excuse have we here ?" exclaimed he,
indignantly. "Is it from England, with her seventeen hundred and odd volumes of
an incomplete code, that the imperial and royal government is to learn
legislation ? You are charged with offenses that are known to every state of
civilization : highway assault and molestation—attack with arms and deadly
implements, stimulated by base and long-heretofore and with-bitterness-imagined
plans of vengeance on your countryman and former associate, the so-named Rigges.
From him, too, proceeds the information as to your political character, and the
ever-to-be-deplored and onlywith-blood-expiated error of republicanism by which
you are actuated. This brief but not-the-less-on-that-account lucid exposition,
it is my duty first to read out and then leave with you. With all your
from-a-wrong-impulse-proceeding and a-spirit-of-opposition-suggested objections,
I have no wish nor duty to meddle. The benign and even paternal rule under which
we live, gives even to the most-with-accusation-surrounded and
with-strong-presumption-implicated prisoner, every facility of defense. Having
read, and with attention matured, this indictment, you will, after a week, make
choice of an advocate."
"Am I to be confronted with my
" I sincerely hope that the
indecent spectacle of insulting attack and offensive rejoinder thus suggested,
is unknown to the administration of our law."
"How then can you be certain that
I am the man he accuses of having molested him ?"
" You are not here to assail, nor
I to defend, the with-ages-consolidated and by-much-tact-accumulated wisdom of
our imperial and royal code."
" Might he not say, when he saw
me, I never set eyes on this man before?'"
He turned again to his clerk, and
dictated something of which I could but catch the con-
cluding words--" And thereby
imputing perjury to the so-called Rigges."
It was all I could do to repress
an outburst of anger at this unjustifiable system of inference : but I did
restrain myself, and merely said, " I impute nothing, Herr Procurator ; I simply
suggest a possible case, that every thing suffered by Rigges was inflicted by
some other than I."
"If you had accomplices, name
them," said he, solemnly.
This overcame all my prudent
resolves. I was nowise prepared for such a perversity of misconception, and
losing all patience and all respect for his authority, I burst out into a most
intemperate attack on Austria, her code, her system, her ignorant indifference
to all European enlightenment, her bigoted adherence to forms either unmeaning
or pernicious, winding up all with a pleasant prediction that in a few short
years the world would have seen the last of this stolid and unteachable empire.
Instead of deigning a reply, he
merely bent down to the table, and I saw by the movement of his lips and the
rapid course of the clerk's pen, that my statement was being reduced to writing.
"When you have completed that,"
said I, gravely, "I have some further observations to record."
"In a moment—in a moment,"
patiently responded the Procurator; "we have only got to the besotted stupidity
of her pretentious officials.' "
The calm quietude of his manner
as he said this threw me into a fit of laughter, which lasted several minutes.
"There, there," said I, "that
will do ; I will keep the remainder of my remarks for another time and place."
"' Reserving to himself,' "
dictated he, "'the right of uttering still more bitter and untruthful comments
on a future occasion.' " And the clerk wrote the words as he spoke them.
" You will sign this here," said
he, presenting me with the pen.
"Nothing of the kind, Herr
Procurator. I will not lend myself to any, even the most ordinary, form of your
"' And refuses to sign the
foregoing,' " dictated he, in the same unmoved voice. This done, he arose and
proceeded to draw on his gloves. " The act of allegation I now commit to your
hands," said he, calmly, " and you will have a week to reflect upon the course
you de-sire to adopt."
" One question before you go: Is
the person called Rigges here at this moment, and can I see him?"
He consulted for a few seconds
with his sub-ordinate, and then replied: " These questions we are of opinion are
irrelevant to the defense, and need not be answered."
" I only ask you as a favor, Herr
Procurator," said I.
" The law recognizes no favors,
nor accepts courtesies."
" Does it also reject common
sense ?—is it deaf to all intelligence ? -- is it indifferent to every appeal to
reason ?—is it dead to—"
But he would not wait for more,
and having saluted me thrice profoundly, retired from the gallery, and left me
alone with my indignation.
The great pile of paper still lay
on the table next me, and in my anger I hurled it from me to the middle of the
room, venting I know not what passionate wrath at the same time on every thing
German : " This the land of primitive simplicity and patriarchal virtues,
forsooth ! this the country of elevated tastes and generous instincts? Why, it
is all Bureau and Barrack !" I went on for a long time in this strain, and I
felt the better for it. The operative surgeons tell us that no men recover so
certainly or so speedily after great operations as the fellows who scream out
and make a terrible uproar. It is your patient, self-controlling creature who
sinks under the suffering he will not confess ; and I am confident that it is a
wise practice to blow off the steam of one's indignation, and say all the most
bitter things one can think of in moments of disappointment, and, so to say,
prepare the chambers of your mind for the reception of better company.
After a while I got up, gathered
the papers together, and prepared to read them. Legal amplifications and
circumlocutions are of all lands and peoples ; but for the triumph of this
diffusiveness commend me to the Germans. To such an extent was this the case,
that I reached the eighth page of the precious paper before I got finally out of
the titular description of the vice-governor in whose district the event was
laid. Armed, however,-with heroic resolution, I persevered, and read on through
the entire night—I will not say without occasional refreshers in the shape of
short naps—but the day was already breaking when I turned over the last page,
and read the concluding little blessing on the emperor under whose benign reign
all good was encouraged, all evil punished, and the Hoch Galehrter, Hoch
wohl-geborner Herr der Hofrath, Ober Procurators-fiscal-Secretor, charged with
the due execution of the present decree.
In the language of precis writing
the event might he stated thus: "A certain Englishman, named Rigges, traveling
by post, arrived at the torrent of Wornbirn a short time before noon, and while
waiting there for the arrival of some peasants to accompany the carriage through
the stream, was joined by a foot-traveler, by whom he was speedily recognized.
Whatever the nature of the relations previously subsisting between them—and it
may be presumed they were not of the most amicable—no sooner had they ex-changed
glances than they engaged in deadly conflict. Rigges was well armed ; the
stranger had no weapon whatever, but was a man of surpassing strength, for he
tore the door of the carriage from its hinges, and dragged Rigges out