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Robert E. Lee Portrait
ing across the park toward the
cattle-sheds he had seen what appeared to him at first a pale light by the iron
door of the mausoleum. On approaching nearer, this light changed into the
distinct and visible form of his master, Sir Philip Derval, who was then
abroad—supposed to be in the East—where he had resided for many years. The
impression on the steward's mind was so strong that he called out, " Oh ! Sir
Philip !" when, looking still more intently, he perceived that the face was that
of a corpse. As he continued to gaze the apparition seemed gradually to recede,
as if vanishing into the sepulchre itself. He knew no more ; he became
unconscious. It was the excess of the poor woman's alarm, on hearing this
strange tale, that had made her resolve to send for me instead of the parish
apothecary. She fancied so astounding a cause for her husband's seizure could
only be properly dealt with by some medical man reputed to have more than
ordinary learning. And the steward himself objected to the apothecary in the
immediate neighborhood as more likely to annoy him by gossip than a physician
from a comparative distance.
I took care not to lose the
confidence of the good wife by parading too quickly my disbelief in the phantom
her husband declared that he had seen ; but as the story itself seemed at once
to decide the nature of the fit to be epileptic, I began to tell her of similar
delusions which, in my experience, had occurred to those subjected to epilepsy,
and finally soothed her into the conviction that the apparition was clearly
reducible to natural causes. Afterward I led her on to talk about Sir Philip
Derval, less from any curiosity I felt in myself as to the absent proprietor
than from my desire to re-familiarize her own mind to his image as a living man.
The steward had been in the service of Sir Philip's father, and had known Sir
Philip himself from a child. He was warmly attached to his master, whom the old
woman described as a man of rare benevolence and great eccentricity, which last
she imputed to his studious habits. He had succeeded to the title and estates as
a minor. For the first few years after attaining his majority he had mixed mach
in the world. When at Derval Court his house had been filled with gay
companions, and the scene of lavish hospitality. But the estate was not in
proportion to the grandeur of the mansion, still less to the expenditure of the
owner. He had become greatly embarrassed, and some love disappointment (so it
was rumored) occurring simultaneously with his pecuniary difficulties, he had
suddenly changed his way of life, shut himself up from his old friends, lived in
seclusion, taking to books and scientific pursuits, and, as the old woman said,
vaguely but expressively, " to odd ways." He had gradually, by an economy that,
toward himself, was penurious, but which did not preclude much judicious
generosity to others, cleared off his debts, and, once more rich, he had
suddenly quitted the country, and taken to a life of travel. He was now about
forty-eight years old, and had been eighteen years abroad. He wrote frequently
to his steward, giving him minute and thoughtful instructions as to the
employment, comforts, and homes of the peasantry, but peremptorily ordering him
to spend no money on the grounds and mansion, and stating, as a reason why the
latter might be allowed to fall to decay, his intention to pull it down whenever
he returned to England.
I staid some time longer than my
engagements well warranted at my patient's house, not leaving till the sufferer,
after a quiet sleep, had removed from his bed to his arm-chair, taken food, and
seemed perfectly recovered from his attack.
Riding homeward I mused on the
difference that education makes, even pathologically, between man and man. Here
was a brawny habitant of rural fields, leading the healthiest of lives, not
conscious of the faculty we call imagination, stricken down almost to death's
door by his fright at an optical illusion, explicable, if examined, by the same
simple causes which had impressed me the night before with a moment's belief in
a sound and a spectre—me, who, thanks to divine education, went so quietly to
sleep a few minutes after, convinced that no phantom, the ghostliest that ear
ever heard or eye ever saw, can be any thing else but a nervous phenomenon.
I HAD been living for some months
in a town on the Volgo, in the centre of European Russia, forty versts from
Jaroslav, the government county town. To reach that town I must traverse a wild
and uninhabited track, where there were only two small hamlets, at one of which
the twenty-verst post-station was to be found, if not buried in snow. My team of
three horses, commonly called in Russia "a troika," had been carefully selected
from the various stabling establishments in the place : the cost for driver and
horses to be three and a half roubles (or about half a guinea, the rouble of a
hundred copecks being worth a half-penny or two more than three shillings),
which was no great price for such a journey in such weather. Two wolves had been
killed in our principal street within a week. One I had shot in my own
court-yard the day before we started, and many reports were current of their
hunger and unusual boldness. It was even said that a small village, about thirty
versts distant, had been attacked by them in force. These facts and stories made
me careful about requisite defenses. My six-barrel traveling companion was
carefully loaded, and placed in my belt ready for use; a magnificent nine-inch
bear-knife in a sheath, and a formidable black-thorn cudgel heavily weighted at
the handle, belonged also to my armament. The brandy flask, bag of provisions,
bottle of water, matches, cigars, and portmanteau
having been stowed away, I was
about to step into the open sledge, when a Russian neighbor came up and asked
leave to join in the journey to Jaroslav. My neighbor, though a gentleman for
whom I had much respect, was the last man I should have chosen as a traveling
companion in a narrow sledge, for he weighed over twenty stone, had great
difficulty in breathing, and, when once he was seated, almost required
horse-power to get him up again. He was a phlegmatic, lazy, good-natured,
monosyllabic, cigaret-smoking monster who was not to be refused; so, his request
granted, he rolled in on the right side and filled three parts of the sledge. My
Russian house servants crossed themselves, whereby they meant, " God give you a
safe journey !" The members of my own family cried, " Good-by, God bless you!"
and the driver having gathered up the rope reins, I jumped in, and with a
noo-noo to the cattle, off we went dead against a blinding drift.
Fat-sides having observed my
weapons, grunted in his own Russian, of which he made the least possible use. "
Pistolet. Wolves. Shoot. Good."
" Have you any weapons ?" I
"Well, take this bear-knife."
" Good," he said again, and
relapsed into his corner.
Daylight came struggling through
the heavy morning clouds, and disclosed a cheerless waste of ridges and valleys
of snow. The trees, which at wide intervals indicated the route, did not save us
from often plunging into great pits of soft snow the moment our driver turned
but a few feet from the track. This took place so frequently, and gave us so
much trouble in digging ourselves out, that it was noon before we had made
sixteen versts-hardly ten miles—having been six hours on the way.
At this point in our journey the
driver sent the blood dancing through my veins by the alarming cry of " Volka!
Volka !"—" Wolves ! Wolves!" I sprang from my seat, and, looking ahead, saw six
great, gaunt, and no doubt hungry wolves, sitting exactly in our way, at the
distance of about a hundred yards or less. Our horses had huddled themselves
together, trembling in every limb, and refused to stir. We shouted and bawled,
but the wolves also refused to stir. My fat friend, gathering a large handful of
hay from the sledge bottom, rolled it into the form of a ball, and handed it to
me, saying, " Match." I understood him at once. The driver managed, by awful
lashing and noo-nooing, to get the horses on, until we came within a short
distance of our enemies. By this time I had succeeded in setting fire to the
ball of hay, and just as it began to blaze out well I threw it in among them. It
worked like a charm. Instantly the wretches parted, three on each side, and
skulked off slowly at right angles, their tails dragging as if they were beaten
curs. On dashed our brave team—lash, lash—noo, noo.
" Hurrah !" I shouted, with a
lightened heart; " we are safe this time, thank God !"
" Wait. Look back," said
I did so, and I saw the wolves,
who had joined each other again in the centre track, pausing, as if to
deliberate. Our horses were going at their utmost speed, the driver standing up
and using lash and voice with all his might to urge them on to the station, then
only about a mile and a half ahead. Luckily the road or track, as far as we
could see, was free from drift, and our hope was that we could gain the station
before the wolves, should they pursue us. Looking back just as we turned a bend
in the track, I saw the whole pack in swift pursuit.
I had often been told that wolves
will not attack a party unless in a large pack. Six was no large pack, yet here
they were, coming up to attack us ; there was now no doubt about that. Hunger
through a long and severe winter must have made them daring. With the
consciousness of an impending death-struggle, I prepared for the result. My
thoughts went for one moment to my wife and children; for another, to the Great
Disposer of events. Then, throwing off my sheep-skin coat, so as not to impede
the free action of my arms and legs, I sprang on the front seat beside the
driver, but with my back to the horses, and my face to the enemy. I said to the
driver, " They are coming, brother ; drive fast, but steadily. I have six
bullets in this pistol. Don't move from your seat, but drive right in the centre
of the track." My fat companion sat still in his corner, and neither moved nor
spoke ; but I saw the blade of my bear-knife gleaming in his hand.
The track had become worse, so
that the horses could not maintain their pace. In a short time the wolves ran
beside the sledge, the horses strained and shot on, keeping their distance, but
in forcing our way through a drift, we came to a walking pace, and the first
wolf on my side made a dash at the horse next him. The pistol was within a foot
and a half of his head when I fired, and the ball went through his brain. I
shouted my triumph in English ; my companion echoed it with a "Bravo !" The
second wolf received my second fire in the leg, which must have shattered the
bone, for he dropped behind instantly. "Bravo!" was again cried from the corner.
But the same moment was the moment of our greatest peril. My pistol fell into
the sledge, as, with a sudden jolt, our horses floundered up to their bellies in
a deep drift ; then they came to a dead stop, and there was a wolf at each side
of the sledge, attempting to get in.
My bludgeon still remained. With
both hands I raised it high and brought it down with the desperate force of a
man in mortal extremity upon the head of the wolf on my side. He tumbled over on
his back, and the skull was afterward found to have been completely smashed. As
I stooped to regain my pistol I was astonished to see my companion coolly thrust
one of his arms into the wolf"s mouth, and as coolly, with the disengaged hand,
drawing the knife, with a deep and sharp cut, across his throat. A peculiar cry
among the horses arrested my attention. Looking round, I saw another wolf
actually fastened on the off-horse by the
neck. The driver was between me
and the wolf. He cried, " Give me the pistol !" I did so, and the poor horse was
free. So also were we ; for the other wolf ran off, followed by the one with the
broken leg. The wolf last shot was tumbling among the snow. The driver handed me
the pistol to put right, and begged another shot at the brute. This finished the
I can not tell how I felt. I
could scarcely realize our great deliverance. The driver secured the carcasses
to the sledge, and when we reached the station I was completely exhausted from
the reaction of the strong excitement. My friend of the twenty stone chuckled
much at his own trick upon the wolf he had killed. Instead of putting his arm
into the animal's open mouth, as I supposed, he had stuffed into it the loose
sleeves of his great sheep-skin coat, thereby getting plenty of time to cut the
monster's throat. His own arm was untouched. But the poor horse's neck and
shoulder were much torn.
After consuming an enormous
quantity of tea, and part of our provisions, we left the station, and, without
meeting more adventures, except several diggings-out. arrived at Jaroslav at
eight o'clock, having accomplished about thirty miles in thirteen hours. Next
morning we found ourselves popular characters in the town. The driver's tongue
had not been idle. My revolver underwent many an examination. The government or
local reward for a dead wolf is three roubles, which we claimed and received for
three. So the wolves, instead of killing us, paid our traveling expenses. The
fourth animal I caused to be skinned for preservation, as a remembrance of the
greatest peril I was ever in.
page 605 to a series of illustrations of the
UNITED STATES ARMORY AT SPRINGFIELD,
the largest establishment of the kind in the United States, and one of the
largest in the world. It is now a scene of unusual activity and interest.
The weapons chiefly made at this
armory are rifled muskets and bayonets. The army rifle, which is known as the
Springfield pattern, is now used by the bulk of our volunteers, many regiments
having been supplied from the armory since the war began. It is very similar in
its principles and construction to the long Enfield rifle, which is considered
the best piece in existence by British riflemen. We can not, of course,
undertake, in the limits of this article, to give any description of the various
processes by which the Springfield rifle is made. It consists of forty-seven
separate pieces, all put together with the aid of screws and springs ; in the
manufacture of these forty-seven pieces no less than 396 separate operations are
performed by different workmen. The welding, boring, smoothing, rifling,
stocking, proving, etc., will all be best understood from the illustrations.
Each operation is conducted by experienced men, under the general direction of
the commanding officer ; the system of individual responsibility is so
thoroughly carried out that every workman accounts to the Government for the
value of each piece of work which may prove to be defective through his
carelessness or unskillfulness. Thus, one out of every sixty gun-barrels is said
to burst when proved. The bursted barrel is instantly examined, the cause of the
accident detected by the nature of the rent, and the cost of the barrel charged
to the man who had charge of that part of the work.
The manufacture of bayonets is
also very active at Springfield. Bayonets, as is known, are now "milled," not
ground, and their manufacture is thus rendered less destructive to the workmen.
After they are made, they are tested like the muskets—weights are hung from
their point, and it is sprung by the inspector with its point on the floor. If
it is too highly tempered it will break ; if not sufficiently tempered it will
bend. In either case the workman must account for its value.
So many rifles and bayonets are
now being turned out of the Springfield Armory, that if our armies lost theirs
in every battle they could be replaced in a very short time. The new Arsenal at
Springfield was built to contain 500,000 muskets or rifles. It was well stocked
when the traitor Floyd became Secretary of War ; he depleted it to fill the
arsenals at the South which have been robbed by the rebels.
INTERIOR OF A SOLDIER'S
WE are indebted to Mr. W. A.
Andrews, of Philadelphia, for the sketch of
THE INTERIOR OF A TENT, which we reproduce on
page 599. The
original sketch was made by Mr. G. W. Andrews, of the Cameron Cavalry, now
stationed near Washington, and represents the tent jointly occupied by him and a
comrade. It looks comfortable enough.
CAPTURE OF REBEL SCHOONER
ON Wednesday, August 20, the
United States sloop Vandalia, one of the
blockading fleet off Charleston, while on a
cruise about sixty miles at sea, after a sharp race of some five hours,
succeeded in capturing the rebel schooner Arthur Middleton, of 110 tons burden,
loaded with a cargo of 500 barrels of turpentine, and having on board a crew of
eight men. Their names are Charles Barkley, Captain, a native of Charleston;
Richard Russel, Irish—says he was a passenger; Stephen Bennet, Mate, Frenchman ;
William Sims, English, Cook: Benj. Hogan, Irish; William Williams, English;
Andrew Stanboe, Denmark; and Joseph Clifton, Canadian—sailors. Previous to being
captured they threw overboard about 40 barrels, the deck load, of turpentine,
and also some valuable papers, as was learned front a letter found in possession
of the Captain, addressed to him by Philip Porcer,
once a Lieutenant in the United
States Navy, but now connected with the rebel government. The letter stated
that, in the event of being captured, the papers accompanying it must be
destroyed, as they might tend to implicate him as a privateer. The papers were
doubtless blanks of letters of marque, to be used and disposed of after they had
arrived in England, and realized on their cargo. When first discovered the saucy
little craft ran up the British flag, but after seeing it was impossible to
escape pulled it down and set the secession bunting. Our illustration on page
599 represents the little craft as she lay off Charleston in company with the
Roanoke and Vandalia-the crew, prisoners on board the first-named vessel,
awaiting transport to be sent North. The vessel and cargo are valued at $10,000.
She cleared from Charleston, and ran the blockade at night.
A 25 Cent Sewing Machine!
And 5 other curious inventions.
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