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Robert E. Lee Portrait
Harry Moore walked straight up to
him and broached the subject without unnecessary circumlocution.
"Squire Bankgrove, could you make
it convenient to dispense with my services on the farm?"
"Well, I don't know," said the
Squire, who was a man of reflection, and seldom committed himself without first
consulting his snuff-box and his red silk pocket-handkerchief. Are you thinking
of leaving me? I've no fault to find with you, Harry Moore!"
"Thank you, Sir. But I have made
up my mind now that every young man's place is in the ranks of his country's
defenders. And so, Sir, I shall enlist to-morrow!"
Squire Bankgrove brought down his
clenched fist on the window-seat with a force that made the blackbird start in
its wicker cage.
"Well said, my boy! I wish I was
ten years younger, and I'd go 'long with you myself!"
"I am glad you approve it, Sir,"
"Approve it, Harry! I don't do
nothin' else!" cried the Squire, entirely heedless of the memory of Lindley
Murray in his enthusiasm. "And when you come back, Harry, after you've done a
man's duty on the battle-field—for you will come back—"
"Don't, father!" interposed Mrs.
Bankgrove, who was wiping her spectacles very hard; "don't go to temptin'
Providence that way!"
"Wife," said the old man,
solemnly, "he will come back! Shall not the LORD of Battles be with him? As I
was sayin', Harry, when that day arrives—"
"Then, Sir," said Harry, " will
you consent to give me your daughter?"
He had spoken from a sudden
impulse the words he would never have dared to utter under ordinary
circumstances. No recalling them now, however, and Alice blushed redder than the
reddest holly-hock by the garden wall! Squire Bankgrove opened his eyes wide,
and slowly rubbed his nose, looking the while from Alice to Harry and back
"Well, I'm free to confess I
hadn't thought o' that," said the Squire. "But, Harry Moore, you're made o' the
right mettle, and I've always found you true to the back-bone. Yes; if Alice
hain't no objections, you shall have her when you come back again."
And thus it happened that when
Harry Moore went away to the wars a lock of Alice Bankgrove's silky hair lay
upon his manly heart, and stirred to the music of its strong beatings.
"Whew-w-w!" whistled Irad Curtis,
as he worked all alone in the perfumed silence of the old red barn; "I didn't
suppose the affair would turn out precisely as it has done; but no matter—things
may happen just right after all!"
And Irad Curtis was not a whit
disheartened at. the cool politeness with which Alice Bankgrove put aside the
innumerable little courtesies he strove to render toward her all that fall—not
he! There was a good deal of dogged perseverance ingrain to the nature of Irad
The year glided away in sun and
shower—blossoming roses and dreary falls of snow—and once again the harvest-moon
hung like a shield of ruddy silver over the quiet old homestead, with its red
barn and its cluster of gnarled apple-trees. But in the west the sun had set
with wild, ensanguined splendor, amidst clouds whose crimson dyes seemed like a
sea of blood. And Alice Bankgrove, sitting at her window, thinking of the
dreadful rumors of battle that floated dimly into the country solitudes, could
not bear to look at the blazing horizon, so nervous had she grown.
Suddenly a clear bugle-sound rang
out amidst the dewy hollows, dying away with pathetic cadences in the woods,
where a score of whip-poor-wills were moaning their sad refrain.
"There! the stage has passed by,
and the mail is in!" exclaimed Alice, springing to her feet. "Papa, may I go
down to the post-office?—it is only a little way!"
"It's a mile, child, and more,
and the dew is falling," said the practical Squire, looking up from a
calculation he was making by the light of a tallow candle.
"Do let her go, father," said his
wife, nudging his elbow; "don't you see how worried she feels? You was young
Alice scarcely waited for the
permission ere she hurried away through the lonely woods, dew-dripping and full
of faint, sweet fragrance.
"No letter for a week," she
murmured to herself. "Perhaps it will come to-night—perhaps!"
"A letter for Alice Bankgrove?
No, there is no such letter," said the gray-headed old postmaster, sorting over
the pile of epistles in a leisurely way that was agony to poor, impatient Alice.
"No letter! are you sure?"
repeated the young girl, leaning eagerly forward, with blanched cheek and
"Sartin sure, Miss Alice—that is,
as sure as a man can be of any thing in this onsartin world. Stay, though!" he
added, as Alice was turning away with a thrill of sick despair; "here are some
newspapers for Jeremiah Bankgrove, Esquare. That's your father, I guess."
Half an hour afterward Alice came
into the sitting-room at home with slow, languid steps, and dew-drenched hair
hanging carelessly about her shoulders. Irad Curtis sat by the table talking to
her father. He rose and bowed.
"You have been to the
post-office, Alice? Why didn't you let me go for you? I hope you have taken no
"Did you get a letter, daughter?"
said Mrs. Bankgrove, keenly scanning the girl's face.
"No letter," returned Alice,
wearily, "Here are some newspapers for you, father."
She laid them on the table and
went and sat on the broad door-stone, her cheek resting on one hand.
"No letter? that's strange!" said
Irad, artfully. "Now if I was off to the wars, and had a sweet-heart, like
somebody I know of, at home, I should write every day!"
"Pity you wasn't off to the wars,
with a sweet-
heart at home!" said the Squire,
dryly; and Irad was silenced for the moment.
"Read us the news, Irad," said
Mrs. Bankgrove. "The Squire's eyes ain't so young as they was, and he does make
awful work readin' by candle-light."
"Yes, do, Irad," said the Squire,
putting his spectacles back in their case with a sigh of relief; and Irad
unfolded the teeming columns of the newspaper and began:
"Great Battle in Virginia !" he
enunciated, reading very much as if the words had been printed in capitals.
"List of the Killed and Wounded!"
"Read that, Irad!" said the
Squire, leaning forward. Mrs. Bankgrove gave a quick glance toward the door, but
Alice had vanished.
"It's pretty lengthy," said Irad,
ruefully; "but here goes!"
Name after name he pronounced
with slow, mechanical exactness, as if each were not shrined in some bleeding
heart—wept over with everlasting tears!
"What!" shrieked the Squire,
suddenly, as one well-known name knelled on his ear; "not in the list of
He started up, pale and
trembling, with a cold dew on his forehead.
"Yes, it is," said Irad, himself
rather dismayed. "Company E—that's his very Company; read for yourself, if you
don't believe me!"
The Squire's dim eyes traced the
fatal syllable in the doomed list, through a thick mist of blinding tears.
"Poor Alice! it will break her
heart!" he said, in a husky tone. Mrs. Bankgrove gave a piercing cry, and sprang
forward just in time to catch the sinking figure of Alice, who stood near the
door, white and motionless as a spectre.
Dead! killed in battle! She could
not believe it, though she repeated the words to herself mechanically a thousand
times a day! Dead—in the bloom of his vigorous youth, and she living to mourn
him! She scarce understood why people looked pityingly at her, and whispered one
to another as she went by: she felt like one who walks in the mystery of a
dreadful dream, and blindly trusts some day to waken from its awful shadow!
Dead! killed in battle!
The sad December blasts were
moaning through the skeleton woods; the icicles tinkled, like tiny chimes of
bells, at every rattle of the frozen boughs; the sunsets burned in orange flame
along the west, and the nights, still and starry, were full of rimy frosts that
cut almost like a knife in their biting keenness. And Alice Bankgrove, leaning
sadly over the fire of crackling logs, wondered what dreary snows were folding
their shroud over his unknown grave!
"Better go to bed, daughter, it
is past ten," said the Squire, "and a stormy night. There's snow in the air, or
"I will, by-and-by, father."
"Mrs. Bankgrove, wiser than her
husband, quietly took up a candle, and beckoned him into the adjoining bedroom.
"Don't notice her, Jeremiah,"
said the mother, in a low voice. "She'll grieve it away in time if she's only
let alone, poor child!"
"It's too concerned bad," said
the Squire, the nearest approach, by-the-way, to profanity in which he ever
indulged. "And to think of Irad Curtis comin' danglin' round to ask if I'd any
objections to his comin' to see Alice Sunday nights. Objections! I let him know
what I thought of his conduct. He won't come again in a hurry, I calculate!"
"There, there, father—hush!" said
Mrs. Bankgrove, soothingly, "you'll disturb Alice."
And she closed the door as softly
as if her daughter had been a sleeping infant whom she feared to arouse.
Alone, Alice sat there before the
fire—alone with the ticking clock, and the bubbling drip of resin from the
singing pine logs, aced the wail of the tempest without, sadly pondering on the
wintry blight that had come over her own young life. Almost before she knew it
the old clock had chimed once and again, and the faint horn of the midnight
stage, passing on its lonely way down in the hollow, floated indistinctly up to
her ear—and still she mused on.
"Hallo there inside!" bawled
Jonathan Starkey, the stage-driver, "who was it wanted to get out opposite
Squire Bankgrove's house? This is the nearest we come to't. Just over the hill,
Sir, and take the first road to your right—'tain't but a little way—and
pitch-dark at that," he added, in an undertone, as he helped out a muffled
figure; "sorry I can't drive you nearer, Sir—you seem to be lame."
Lame! If every bone in his body
had been shattered the knowledge that he was within sight of Alice's home would
have given him supernatural strength. How well he knew every turn of the road,
even in the dense darkness of the stormy midnight—how familiarly the frozen
ground answered to his footfalls!
Far out into the murky gloom
streamed the ruddy brightness of that hearth-stone where she sat all alone.
Could she but have known who was toiling to reach her through the night and
She never heard the faint,
uncertain tap at the door, she never heard the click of the latch, but all of a
sudden some mysterious influence bade her look up.
Great Heaven! it was her lover
standing before her—pale, haggard, worn by pain and travel, but still her lover,
and the next instant she lay sobbing on his breast.
"Oh, Harry, Harry Moore! They
told me you were dead, but I knew it was false! I knew you would yet come back
And after he had told her of his
well-nigh fatal wounds, his dreary captivity, and his final escape, she still
sobbed through her tears,
"Oh, I knew, I knew you would
" Well, Harry, when are you going
to take possession?" questioned the Squire, jocosely. "You
know I promised you my daughter
when you came back."
"As soon as possible, Sir," said
Harry. "We have settled it all, Alice and I."
"Wife," said the Squire, "do you
remember my saying under this very roof more than a year ago that I was sartin
the Lord would bring Harry back to us; and haven't my words come true?"
He leaned forward and kissed away
the tear that sparkled like a solitary diamond on his wife's withered cheek; for
somehow the sight of the young people's happiness brought back his own
And Irad Curtis remains a
I'M a Government hoss, your
With pedigree little to boast of;
But bought for the service, your
honor, And hence to be reckoned the most of.
I claim not the lineage of
Though I own to a family pride;
My "points" can be seen through
and through, Sir, If you'll only examine my hide.
Though wretched I am, I have
blushes For frauds that attend speculation—
Transactions whose villainy
The long-cherished hopes of the
As I said, I'm a Government hoss,
Though I wouldn't complain much
of that, Sir; "What's one man's gain is another's loss,"
'Tis that which I wish to come
I was bought with a Treasury
At only five dollars and twenty;
And sold for a—('tis shameful to
quote, 'Twould seem as though money were plenty).
'Twas a wily contractor who did
it, At a figure so low, do you see? I'm sure it was much to his credit, Though
all the less credit to me.
Spavined and ringboned, glandered
and blind, Wanting one really sound organ;
Some one was gouged—his pockets
were lined, But I was a good enough MORGAN.
Ever compelled to stand to the
By my faith! I'm quite racked
asunder; For every sharp bone in my back
Seems cracked with the weight of
A cavalry charger they dubbed me—
(A singular paradox, really !)
'Tis the agent the charger that
I'm held as collateral merely.
Right few are the charges I've
Upon the armed rebel bravado;
If ever I ambled that way, Sir,
'Twas money that made the poor
And a sorry appearance I made
In the genial land of Secesh!
But it taught them the tricks of
In our contracts for Northern
Woe me! I'm a poor draught-horse
It's only my breath I can draw,
The life-current is ebbing quite
Like equity, justice, and law,
Yet I laugh when I think of the
Selected to crush the rebellion—
To frighten the traitors with
Of grim Death astride a pale
And I watch the gaunt crows
Each eagerly eying his ration,
Like hungry contractors fain to
And muse on the fate of the
Base contractors! army of
I'd draft them to lead a forlorn
Force them to march where equity
And contracts are bound with a
I WAS asked to a fete at the
villa of Count X—, an old resident of Alexandria, Egypt. The fete was especially
interesting to me, as being composed almost exclusively of the foreign society
of Alexandria, and notably of the Levantine element. Having paid our respects to
the mistress of the house, we were placed on a sofa at the upper end of the
chief reception room. As dancing had hardly commenced, we had time to look about
us, and to note the guests who were still flocking in, and the ladies ranged in
a circle round the room. These, to my disappointment, all wore ordinary European
costume, which was neither fresh nor in good taste, nor gracefully worn; the
only exception was in the instance of one little very old lady who sat in a
bundle in the corner; in such a bundle that you could hardly tell in what
fashion her dark silk dress was made, and could only distinguish that her head
was covered with the silken skull-cap, bound round, turban-wise, with a small
handkerchief, that forms the ordinary Levantine head-dress. But the younger
women, when full dressed, dress their hair with elaborate complications, into
which enter a quantity of natural flowers of every kind and hue.
I have been in many parts of the
world. I have seen on their own ground all sorts of women, from the radiant
daughters of "all the Howards" to the dusky North American squaws. But such fat
women, and so many fat women, I never saw in any land as those Levantine ladies
there assembled. Talk of Turkish women, fattened like crammed turkeys! The
harems boast much flesh. You see in their narrow precincts many plump faces and
redundant busts ill contained by the loose garment that covers them; many sturdy
legs and pudsey hands. But what are all those beside the vast proportions of
these "fat-fleshed" fair ones? While girls are yet in their teens the doom
begins to fall on them. The commencement is far from objectionable. It is
agreeable to see well-rounded arms and shoulders that you are "tempted to pat"
the so often lean ages of fifteen
and sixteen. These are almost always accompanied by, item, a pair of long dark
almond eyes, "put in with a dirty finger," as Lady Morgan writes; eyes that
alternately flash and languish at the owner's command, and that are shaded by
thick black straight brows, not unfrequently adopting the very doubtful
—charm of married brows,
item, dense heaps of black coarse
wavy hair, that lies on the head and on the neck in the massive way you see
depicted in old Egyptian paintings; and sometimes, though rarely, you see fine
So far so good; except that these
damsels look like comely matrons, or "fine girls" who have flirted through some
ten or twelve seasons, and having as yet not found any of the first-class
matches sufficiently appreciative of their charms, are becoming condescending,
nay, even encouraging, to the second-class. But now turn to the mothers. We have
just been rather admiring a plump short-necked damsel with bright eyes and rosy
cheeks and dimpling smiles, looking like a cherubim prolonged. There is her
mother sitting opposite—look on this picture and on that—and see the full-blown
rose whose bud we have just been contemplating.
She can hardly be forty, and her
smooth face yet bears traces of considerable comeliness. But the bright dark
eyes are embedded in fat, the nose is sunk and lost in fat, the smiling mouth is
buried in fat. Of neck there is no symptom: the head rests behind on a hump of
fat; before, on a protuberance like the crop of a pouter pigeon. Her arms! Poor
soul! Yet she does not seem to mind it; there she sits, smiling benignly, the
picture of serene contentment; and, except that the frequent exercise of her fan
hints that the "toe solid flesh" does manifest a disposition to "melt" even in
the pleasant and by no means high temperature of the spacious, airy, and not
overcrowded rooms, her condition seems in no wise distressful to her.
I walked about the rooms. There
was no regular supper, but fruits, cakes, ices, and other refreshments,
abundantly intermingled with flowers, were laid out in one of them. A few of the
men wore Eastern costume, but they were quite the exception. Some of the young
Greeks—who showed none of the tendency to obesity so strongly developed in their
mothers and sisters, but were generally spare, oval-faced, and
olive-complexioned, and had heads of compact black frizzy hair like the
women—seemed to dance rather well and to bear themselves correctly. Not so many
of the damsels. I saw some convert the sober monotony of the uninteresting
quadrille into a very jolly game nearly approaching to a romp. How they skipped
and giggled, and swung hands and beckoned and gamboled, until their at first by
no means fresh toilets became mere chiffons, and the flowers tumbled out of
their hair, it boots not now to tell. Suffice it to say, that the presence of
Mr. Turveydrop, with a few hints from that accomplished reflection of the first
gentleman in Europe on the subject of Deportment, would have been remarkably
Soon after twelve the rooms began
to thin a little, and we left at about half past, much amused with the evening's
WE reproduce on
page 796 two
engravings from sketches by Mr. Vizetelly, the special artist of a London paper,
who arrived in this country some months since, and contrived to find his way
through our lines into the Confederate camps and thence to
Richmond. How the sketches were sent to Europe
does not appear. These sketches represent the Confederate fort and camp at
Drury's Bluff, on the
James River, eight miles from Richmond. At the
North the fort is generally known as
Fort Darling. It was this fort which was
unsuccessfully attacked last summer by the
Galena, Monitor, and part of the James River
fleet. It is esteemed in Secessia a very strong position. Should we attack
Richmond from the south or by the way of the river, we should have to carry it
before we could approach the rebel capital. Rumor states that at least a part of
the face of the work is iron plated.
WE publish on
page 796 a view of
SLIDELL's HOUSE, in Louisiana, from a sketch by
Dr. Henry, of the United States Navy. The mansion and grounds are handsome, and
display evidence of the wealth and taste of their proprietor. Just now, however,
they are deserted; a few negroes, owing no allegiance to any one, roam through
the grounds and shout their welcome to our gun-boats as they pass. This house,
and that of the other chief conspirators against the nation, should be seized
and occupied by our forces, and preserved as national property forever as a
warning to traitors in after-time.
Of the fate of this and the other
abandoned estates of the great planters the following extract front the Times
correspondence furnishes the means of forming an opinion. Speaking of the
Lafourche country, he says:
This district of country is one
of the richest in agricultural wealth, not only in this State, but probably
richest in some respects of any spot of the same size in the world. The wealth,
however, consists almost entirely of sugar-plantations and negroes, but as time
has rolled on the planters have, in long years of prosperity, by accretion, as
it were, possessed themselves, in many instances, of a sort of barbaric
splendor, illustrated by rich furniture and costly equipages. These things, with
their large residences, in most instances, were precipitately abandoned the
moment our forces defeated the enemy at Labadieville, and the consequence was
that hundreds of negroes, besotted by the most severe system of slavery, were in
a moment left to themselves; and in a delirium of excitement they first threw
themselves, in an ecstasy of joy, on their knees, and blessed God that Massa
Linkum had come;" and then, as semi-civilized people would naturally do, they
commenced indulging in all sorts of excesses, the first-fruits of their