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Civil War Harper's Weekly, October 19, 1861

This WEB site features online, readable issues of Harper's Weekly Civil War newspapers. These newspapers are full of incredible content including stories and pictures of the defining moments of the Civil War. We are hopeful that you found this resource of value in your studies and research. These newspapers allow a more in depth understanding of the issues associated with the war, and they are interesting reading.

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Lexington

Lexington, Virginia

Colonel Mulligan

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Lebanon Junction, Missouri

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HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[OCTOBER 19, 1861.

666

RED, WHITE, AND BLUE.

IT was the 15th of April, 1861—a day to be recorded—to be remembered ; for on this day, across countless wires, flashed the startling intelligence,

"SURRENDER OF THE FORT AND GARRISON ! 75,000 MILITIA CALLED FOR !"

Just back from Europe, in the midst of the rose odors of a lady's boudoir, and surrounded by the costly preparations for a party—laces and jewels and flowers—Edgar Mayne was reading this ; Edgar Mayne—sound of heart as of limb—a young Hercules, ardent and impetuous, who for the last three years, at English clubs, and French salons, and Roman cafes, had raved and roared his patriotic belief in the Government of these United States with true American zeal. And now drums were beating and bugles blowing at its dissolution.

"75,000 men! Do you hear that, Caroline? I tell you before three months have elapsed we shall be occupied in fighting, and not flirting; so you might as well put up your flowers and flounces, and all this gauze folly," settling a strong hand down with a contemptuous crush on flowers, and flounces, and "folly."

" 75,000 ! Do you realize it, Caroline ?" looking with large brown eyes over the newspaper at the girl there, decking a gauze gown with slips of scarlet kalmia and beads of golden grain. She tossed her head at him with an air.

"Bah ! blonde and flowers—that's all the women of to-day are fit for ! You girls ! what do you care for your country, for liberty or tyranny, so that you can have your fineries ?" and rising, he half smiled at his own earnestness, and, passing her, let the strong hand drop caressingly upon her loose silky hair, dropping a remark with it to soften his previous brusquerie; for Edgar Mayne was too well bred to be deliberately rude, even to his own sister.

Later in the day, as he sat by the fire absorbed in an evening journal, the mistress of the boudoir put her gem-like face between him and the news with a question :

" Will the state of the country allow you to accompany me to Mrs. Welles's to-night, Edgar ?"

He pinched the vivid cheek, and with a little grimace made answer,

"You are pretty, Carrie ; but such a doll!" Then he goes railing off, as young men like to do, " Oh you women, you pretty women, Carrie! " 'To think men can not take you, sweet,

And enfold you,

Ay and hold you,

And so keep you, what they make you, sweet!' "

Singing the German waltz, she went up the stairs. Three hours after she came down trilling the bars of a Redowa, and enveloped in a white mist of drapery, blooming with flowers—the scarlet kalmia and beads of yellow grain nodding in her hair of dense black—hair cloudy and soft beside a face of dappled rose and white, and violet eyes hiding darkly underneath darker brows and heavy fringes.

Through the mystic changes of the German waltz, and the sweet sliding cadences of the Redowa, there went weaving a solemn strain of dissonance. Into the pauses of the dance stole subtle lauguors—flowers faded, banners drooped, and the wind flung in through opened windows a quivering, shuddering sigh which every heart repeated.

" How stupid every thing seems! What is the matter?—what ails the night?" asked Caroline Mayne of her companion, young Ryversant, in a disappointed, petulant tone.

He pushed a curtain aside, and they stood in the conservatory.

" What ails the night, Miss Caroline ? We've had a shock—an electric shock—and we are a little stunned by it. One can't help thinking, while the horns and bugles are playing in there, of how they will sound a month hence, perhaps, when the bullets are whizzing round our heads."

" Do you really think it will come to that, Mr. Ryversant ?"

" I think it is already here."

" Yes, I know there has been a call for troops; but I fancied there'd be a bluster, and then—" " And then what, Miss Caroline?"

" Why, that both parties would keep on the defensive a while, but that it would finally be settled without bloodshed."

"It will be settled only with the shedding of the best and bravest blood in the country."

She mused. At length, speaking half absently: " I wonder who will go ?"

" I shall go, Miss Caroline."

" You !"—a little start of surprise, covered by a laugh of incredulity ; then an exclamation, as she held out a hand with its snowy glove spotted and streaked with crimson stains.

" What is it ? Ah ! I see ; you have cut your hand on that vile Egyptian urn against which you leaned. I did once in this very spot;" and he took the hand commiseratingly.

" No, no, it is nothing of the kind; it is only the red orchis that you gave me—I crushed it between my fingers."

There was a glow upon her cheek as fiery as the red orchis's stain, and a stormy gloom gathering in her eyes, while the little stained palm was dented and crushed by the fingers yet trembling from the effort.

" Ugh ! how it looks like blood !" she went on. " Yes, take it off-do. I hope it isn't an omen." "An omen?"

" Yes, of real bloodshed, and of what may follow if what you say comes true—of death, you know."

" Ah !" and a lifted look of lofty pain crossed his face. " The sin is great, but it shall be washed away in a nation's blood !"

The rapt expression was yet in his eyes as the little hand, soft and cold, lay uncovered in his own; and the absent air with which he kissed it could no woman with a heart and soul gainsay. But the cool touch of the slight fingers brought him back—he was but a man, and a young and ardent one. Lingering over the fair, little hand, he said,

"I want a keepsake to take away with use when I go, Miss Caroline—a guerdon of emprise. Give me this little glove, with its mock blood-stains. It is a fitting token of the present—a symbol of the 'blood-red blossom of war.' "

She shuddered visibly. " Oh no, no, Mr. Ryversant, not that !"

The sudden passion of her manner, the gathering color, the kindling eyes ! Up sprang the hope that for six months had been living and dying in his heart. In a moment all the conventionalities had swept by.

"But you will give me something ! Oh, Caroline, give me yourself!" And the young fellow bent down his head, and hid his eyes against the little soft hand in that moment of suspense.

There came a stir—a lifted curtain drenched the moonlight in a flood of gas. A ripple of laughter, a rustle of silk, and the apartment had two other occupants. One, a woman, had quickly caught the spirit of the scene. And this woman ? She hated Caroline Mayne as women hate sometimes from sheer antagonism of youth and beauty ; and hating her, she knew her weak points. She knew that Caroline Mayne had the dangerous reputation of a Clara Vere de Vere—whether deserved or no she did not care to inquire. So, with one of those mischievous impulses which tempt some souls, she dropped this small sneer at their feet.

" Oh ! just in time to interrupt your rejection, Mr. Ryversant."

And Caroline Mayne—what did she do? A splendid thing. One moment she hesitated, while the fiery flame of wounded delicacy rose to her cheek and kindled in her eyes. Then, quite clearly, though a little haughty of tone, and with an inscrutable depth in her glance, she made answer:

" You are just in time to give me your congratulations, Miss Wyld. I am happy in owing allegiance to Mr. Ryversant." And over Mr. Ryversant's arm a little ungloved hand went stealing.

If ten minutes before be had thought Caroline Mayne the dearest and fairest of women, what did he think now, in view of her charming courage, her proud and tender generosity ? In view of it, his heart thrilling with its sudden rapture of acceptance, a new feeling of reverence touched him so deeply that eyes filled and cheeks flushed. " If I am ever tempted," he said unto himself! " to judge this woman in anger, the memory of this night shall soften all later memories."

Into the German waltz no longer wound the solemn strains of dissonance. The wind no longer sighed in fitful melancholy, the flowers no longer drooped ; Death's head had vanished from the feast, and the eternal flower of love bloomed in its place. Riding home, Edgar Mayne asked his sister,

" What did Lou Wyld mean by your being a subject for congratulation ? She met me as she went to her carriage, and said she had just congratulated you on your engagement. Some of her nonsense, I suppose."

" No, it was quite true ;" and Caroline, as briefly as possible, related the circumstances of the last half hour. Brief as the relation was, Edgar Mayne perceived in these " circumstances" the peculiar nobility which had so touched the soul of Jerome Ryversant. He bent forward, and scanned her face—touched the lovely falling hair, and the drooping kalmia, and the " gauze folly."

" Carrie, I didn't think it was in you."

" To love ?"

"To be so brave. Carrie, do you know what you have done ? By this one act you have bound Jerome Ryversant to you by a bond of tender admiration which years of ordinary devotion would not have accomplished."

"You overrate it. I don't see."

" You little girl!" coming over, unchecked now by the clouds of "gauze folly," to sit beside her and put his arm about her. " Don't you see that you did it for him. I see, and so did he, that your soul rose to meet the occasion because you were assailed in your pride and tenderness for him. It wasn't an easy thing to do, Carrie. I can fancy the color mounting, and the storm in your eyes; but it was easier than to let the shadow of a momentary mortification or pain rest upon your lover. No, I didn't think it was in you, Carrie. I give you my congratulations ;" bending forward and touching his lips to hers.

" She is really quite splendid !" he thought. " I am glad I know her better."

Did he know her better ? Did she know herself better ? Let us see.

Three days followed of congratulation, of happiness. The pretty boudoir was odorous with the rarest flowers that a lover could find, and redolent with the fair presences of youth and beauty. Every hour he thought—this young lover—" She is the noblest woman in the world !"

Outside this rose-Eden of youth, and beauty, and happiness the three days were set to sadder music while the 75,000 loyal souls were rapidly gathering under the Stars and Stripes. Did Jerome Ryversant forget that he had promised himself to his country in this newer and nearer promise ? In the fair fetters of this rose-Eden did he forget his allegiance to his native land ? He was only waiting. At the close of the three days there would be time enough for parting words. So the three days went in a trance of happiness. He saw the sun set upon the last with a sigh that was like the echo of a farewell ; and with the sigh yet upon his lips he sought her presence. She was standing by the window, the warm mellow light bathing her beauty in a celestial bloom. The lovely hair half falling, as he liked it best—the lovely figure wearing the colors he approved—and on her breast and in her hair the very flowers he had given her in the morning. The pang of parting struck deeper. She came forward in her pretty, stately way, her head drooped to him, her proud lips melting into a smile, and a conscious color rising.

"What is the matter? Has any body hurt you ? as we say to little Nell," she asked him. He never answered; but the glance he dropped down upon her, yearning and mournful, the touch of his hand, lingering and tender, like a benediction

upon her head, while a sigh tore up from his heart like a sob—all this was more eloquent than words, and in affright she put her question a second time with affectionate alarm.

"What is the matter, dear? What has happened ?"

He drew her nearer, bending down his gaze to meet hers.

"I was thinking of what is to happen, dearest—that the time draws nearer. It seems harder now, though I have the heart I sought for a 'guerdon of emprise.' "

She looked puzzled, shook her head, and said, questioningly, " I don't understand."

He watched her a moment as she leaned against his arm—soft tints of rose, and violet darks—all a flower made to wear in one's bosom, to

"Sing and say for,

Watch and pray for."

And as he watched a fear shot into his heart—she didn't understand! Then he said, softly, drawing her closer still, to ease the ache,

"My regiment you know, it leaves soon." "Well?"

" Wouldn't she understand ?"

He waited a second—her face was out of sight—he was holding it in his breast ; and she was quite still. Presently he spoke,

" I go with it as—"

"You!" The utter coldness of the tone, the ringing resonance, as she ejaculated this one word, sounded like an accusation—like an accusation, pale and fierce, rose the clear-cut face, and she looked at him. He met the gaze tenderly, but sorrowfully. She waited for him to speak.

" You have forgotten, dear," he said at length, "that"—he paused a moment, hushing his heart at the memory of "that time"—" you have forgotten I told you four nights ago that I was going."

" Then!—but now—all is changed since then. Is life no dearer to you ? Do you owe it to none other than yourself?" The clear-cut face gathered color, and the eyes began to fill with hot tears.

"Caroline!"—he met the angry crimson, the tearful tones, with a firm gaze : he answered steadily, " I owe it to my country !"

She laughed in bitter scorn, then said, derisively, "To your country ! Wait till you are needed more imperatively ; thousands are ready to go, are going; thousands abler than you. Why should you rush thus hastily forward ? It is a madness ; a piece of folly : you are excited with the occasion. Because others are going you go ; and you call it patriotism, courage. It is neither ; you are a coward, because you dare not stay behind. And more than that, you love your own glory better than you love me!"

Conflicting passions reflected themselves in the face of her listener. Sorrow, tenderness, and a man's honor shone there : all three dictated his reply :

"Caroline, you do not know what you say, or you would never say it. I love you, because I honor you and admire you above all other women. I love you as I love all that is beautiful and true; for you are to me the representative of every thing beautiful and true : and so to love you is to love my honor and duty. How then could I do less ?"

The passionate tears she shed, the wild words of denial she uttered, were not all passion and wildness. It was her first grief; and out of an aching heart sprang all this fierce emotion. From the soul's most sacred recesses of tenderness came the hot tide of agony that translated itself in taunts and reproaches. Perhaps something of this was apparent to her listener ; for through the harshest taunt, the cruelest reproach, he possessed himself. Perhaps one memory still more possessed him—a remembrance of that night, four days agone, when the world was transfigured for him, and when on the altar of his soul he made a vow to let all judgments soften to that hour. They softened now into clear, concise answers, perfectly manly, and perfectly tender ; but they failed to convince or soften. To all this forbearance she returned only sharp reproach or bitter scorn, and lastly drew from her finger its one special ring, dropped it into his hand, from whence it fell untaken to the floor, gave him her stateliest courtesy for a "good-by," and swept from the room. Half stupefied with the shock, the young fellow stood a moment gazing vacantly before him, murmuring, incoherently, "And this is the end—this is the end !"

It was thus Edgar Mayne found him. He went up to him asking the same question his sister had put a few minutes before under such different circumstances, "What is the matter ?" but in that instant his eye caught the gleam of the diamond flashing out like a star against the soft glooms of the carpet. " Ah !" and he looked sadly into the face before him, as he lifted it—" A lover's quarrel !" A bad time for that now, on the eve of his departure, however. He would ask no questions; but all questions were anticipated, were answered in a few brief words.

Edgar Mayne was indignant.

"The girl is crazy !" he ejaculated, and was rushing from the rooms to tell her so, to bring her down before them, in his impulse, when the calmer reason of Jerome Ryversant stayed him. But after, when he had bade his guest good-night, with tears in his eyes, and haunted by his suffering face, he sought her. He was not prepared for the pale look of agony that met him, and his greeting softened ; but his errand was enough to rouse her, and something of the old scorn returned to her.

"But you can not see," he returned, impatiently, to her persistent accusations, "that he had pledged not only his word, but his heart and soul, to this cause in the very outset."

" That was before !—that was before !" she exclaimed, with quick significance ; "and after, when hundreds are pressing forward, and many rejected, why should he leave me, and so soon? No, do not argue with me—I am only secondary. I thought him finer than other men, but I was mistaken; it is their own glory first—then a woman's love. If I never marry I will not take a man who makes me second in his heart. I must reign there, the first

consideration ; his first honor and glory, as he shall reign in mine."

" But—" He stopped, wise enough to see that only time could open her eyes to her error—time and remorse ; that his words were wasted; and worse than that, adding still more to her determination.

As abruptly as he had entered he left her presence, left her to the sharp, burning pain, the consuming passion, that devastates such proud, concentrative natures.

Thus days went on in this wild inward war which gave no outward sign. In the time she asked no questions, she made no allusion to the past; but secretly and alone she devoured every crumb of information that the newspapers offered. She, who hated politics and newspapers !

One day, in a long list of names, she read one that sent every vestige of color from her cheek—Jerome Ryversant! If she had had any hope of his relenting, it was over now ; but even here she gave no sign—there was still an outward calm.

Three days more and he would be gone. Gone ! it was a bitter word.

The night of the third day came drearily to many a heart—to none more drearily than to her, sitting apart and alone in a rose-hued boudoir. The sickly scent of faded flowers filled the room—his flowers. The curtains were undrawn, the chairs and couches still strewn with the trifles that had occupied them ten days agone. All as he had left it. In this sepulchre the proud heart struggled on.

For these last three days her brother had caught no glimpse of her. But on the last night, somewhere between the hours of twelve and one, a little knock came outside his door, and her voice called him. He was sitting writing, and, somewhat startled, bade her come in. The face that greeted him startled still more. Its rose-bloom was gone—youth itself seemed to have departed. So touching was the sight that his eyes filled, and he received her with more kindliness than he had evinced since that fatal night. Was she ill ? he inquired.

She hesitated a moment, then told her errand. She would see Jerome Ryversant once more before he sailed. Would her brother aid her to this? There was no time to lose, for at dawn they might have left the city; but let him understand her: she had not changed her mind—this was not to acknowledge that—it was no reunion, but she would see him once again!

At what he considered unpardonable obstinacy, Edgar Mayne was again indignant; but another look at the pale, worn face, and he consented to undertake the mission.

To Jerome Ryversant he communicated the letter and spirit of her words. For a moment his eye blazed, and the man's passion rose angrily. Then the memory of another night came up. He remembered her, proud and tender and brave for his sake; he remembered his vow as well, and signified his readiness to go to her.

The lights were all down but one in the " rose-Eden"—that one, burning through pale purple glass, sent forth over the room a mystical radiance. Into this room Edgar Mayne conducted young Ryversant, leaving him at the door.

As the two looked at each other after the door closed upon them, they realized, perhaps, something more of the change suffering had wrought. But to her it had wrought much more of change in these three days than the whole time had wrought to him. He was upheld by the sublime knowledge of sacrifice, of patriotism, of right; plunged, too, into the midst of unparalleled excitements.

She, nursing an insane sense of wrong, born of her defective education as a woman—of her ignorance; alone, too, in the inaction of domestic life, had hung out the pale colors of distress. Seeing her thus, he knew she loved him, though still blinded to the right. Seeing him, with a flush upon his cheek, uniformed and eager, she still less believed his love.

So her voice came coldly :

"I sent for you," she said, slowly, and with painful effort. "We parted angrily, which was not wise nor well for what may be a final parting. In my view of your undertaking I yet hold the same opinions ; but we will part as friends should."

He came forward and took her hands. Once more he pleaded with her. She heard him sadly, not angrily, but yet unbelieving. He glanced down upon the fair little hands he held, but his ring had never been replaced. She was fearfully in earnest then—it was only a friendly "good-by." So, bending down, he dropped a kiss upon the two hands; and lifting his head, with a " God bless you, Caroline !" was about to go, when the ghastly pallor of her face, the faint drooping of her figure, stayed him. She had no strength, nor any will to resist, as he took her in his arms. Very quietly she rested there, and when once or twice his hand went caressingly down her hair a tear forced itself through the shut eyelids.

At length, rousing herself, with a motion of her hand she bent his head and voluntarily kissed him, "Good-by !" He held her tightly a moment more —then the rose boudoir had but one occupant, and this one was heedless of all pain and passion until the dawn recalled her from her unconsciousness to life and misery.

Later, her maid coining in opened the window, and the fresh draught blowing through fluttered something that looked like a star-flower from its resting-place upon the floor, and blew it to her breast. She shuddered ; then kissed it passionately-one of those little silken emblems—a cockade of red, white, and blue. Last night it glittered on the breast of Jerome Ryversant. Almost at the very instant a boy's young voice ascended, lark-like, singing,

"With her flag proudly floating before her,

The boast of the red, white, and blue!" Following this wound the notes of a bugle; then the long-rolling call of a drum ; and the city was astir with the warlike preparations.

How that morning went she never knew, and other mornings came finding her saddened but (Next Page)


 

 

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