Harrison's Landing

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 19, 1862

This Section of the WEB site allows the serious student of the Civil War to develop a more detailed understanding of the key people and events of the Civil War. This archive includes all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This information is simply not available anywhere else.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest)

 

John Porter

Fitz-John Porter

The Seven Days Battle

The Seven Days Battle

Lincoln Calls for Troops

Lincoln Calls for More Troops

General Burnside in Newbern

General Burnside in Newbern

Fitz-John Porter

Fitz-John Porter Biography

Chickahominy Swamp

The Chickahominy Swamp

Harrison's Landing

Harrison's Landing

Gaines's Mills

Gaines's Mills Battle Description

Gaines's Mills

The Battle of Gaines's Mills

Battle of Fairoaks

Battle of Fairoaks

Gaines's Mills

Gaines's Mills

Harrison's Landing

Description of Harrison's Landing

Richmond Cartoon

 

 

JULY 19, 1862.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY

461

HARRISON'S LANDING, ON THE JAMES RIVER, THE NEW BASE OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

[Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1862, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.]

NO NAME.

By WILKIE COLLINS,

AUTHOR OF "THE WOMAN IN WHITE," "DEAD SECRET,"
ETC., ETC.

ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN M'LENAN.

Printed from the Manuscript and early Proof-sheets purchased by the Proprietors of "Harper's Weekly."

CHAPTER IV.

MRS. LECOUNT returned to the parlor with the fragment of Magdalen's dress in one hand, and with Captain Wragge's letter in the other.

"Have you got rid of her?" asked Mr. Noel Vanstone. "Have you shut the door at last on Miss Garth?"

"Don't call her Miss Garth, Sir," said Mrs. Lecount, smiling contemptuously. "She is as much Miss Garth as you are. We have been favored by the performance of a clever masquerade; and if we had taken the disguise off our visitor I think we should have found under it Miss Vanstone herself. Here is a letter for you, Sir, which the postman has just left."

She put the letter on the table, within her master's reach. Mr. Noel Vanstone's amazement

at the discovery just communicated to him kept his whole attention concentrated on the housekeeper's face. He never so much as looked at the letter when she placed it before him.

"Take my word for it, Sir," proceeded Mrs. Lecount, composedly taking a chair. "When our visitor gets home she will put her gray hair away in a box, and will cure that sad affliction in her eyes with warm water and a sponge. If she had painted the marks on her face as well as she painted the inflammation in her eyes, the light would have shown me nothing, and I should certainly have been deceived. But I saw the marks; I saw a young woman's skin under that dirty complexion of hers; I heard, in this room, a true voice in a passion, as well as a false voice talking with an accent—and I don't believe in one morsel of that lady's personal appearance, from top to toe. The girl herself, in my opinion, Mr. Noel—and a bold girl too."

"Why didn't you lock the door and send for the police?" asked Mr. Noel. "My father would have sent for the police. You know, as well as I do, Lecount, my father would have sent for the police?"

"Pardon me, Sir," said Mrs. Lecount; "I think your father would have waited until he had got something more for the police to do than we have got for them yet. We shall see this lady again, Sir. Perhaps she will come here next time with her own face and her own voice. I one curious to see what her own face is like; I am curious to know whether what I have heard of her voice in a passion is enough to make me recognize her voice when she is calm. I possess a little memorial of her visit of which she is not aware, and she will not escape me so easily as she thinks. If it turns out a useful memorial, you shall know what it is. If not, I will abstain from troubling you on so trifling a subject. Allow me to remind you, Sir, of the letter under your hand. You have not looked at it yet."

Mr. Noel Vanstone opened the letter. He started as his eye fell on the first lines—hesitated —and then hurriedly ,read it through. The paper dropped from his hand, and he sank back in his chair. Mrs. Lecount sprang to her feet with the alacrity of a young woman and picked up the letter.

"What has happened, Sir?" she asked. Her face altered as she put the question, and her large black eyes hardened fiercely in genuine astonishment and alarm.

"Send for the police!" exclaimed her master. "Lecount, I insist on being protected. Send for the police!"

"May I read the letter, Sir?"

He feebly waved his hand. Mrs. Lecount read the letter attentively, and put it aside on the table without a word when she had done.

"Have you nothing to say to me?" asked Mr. Noel Vanstone, staring at his housekeeper in blank dismay. "Lecount, I'm to be robbed! The scoundrel who wrote that letter knows all about it, and won't tell me any thing unless I pay him. I'm to be robbed! Here's property on this table worth thousands of pounds—property that can never be replaced—property that all the crowned heads in Europe could not produce if they tried. Lock me in, Lecount, and send for the police!" Instead of sending for the police Mrs. Lecount

took a large green-paper fan from the chimney-piece and seated herself opposite her master.

"You are agitated, Mr. Noel," she said; "you are heated. Let me cool you."

With her face as hard as ever—with less tenderness of look and manner than most women would have shown if they had been rescuing a half-drowned fly from a milk-jug—she silently and patiently fanned him for five minutes or more. No practiced eye observing the peculiar bluish pallor of his complexion, and the marked difficulty with which he drew his breath, could have failed to perceive that the great organ of life was in this man, what the housekeeper had stated it to be, too weak for the function which it was called on to perform. The heart labored over its work as if it had been the heart of a worn-out old man.

"Are you relieved, Sir?" asked Mrs. Lecount. "Can you think a little? Can you exercise your better judgment?"

She rose and put her hand over his heart with as much mechanical attention and as little genuine interest as if she had been feeling the plates at dinner to ascertain if they were properly warmed. "Yes," she went on, seating herself again, and resuming the exercise of the fan; "you are getting better already, Mr. Noel. Don't ask me

about this anonymous letter until you have thought for yourself, and have given your own opinion first." She went on with the fanning, and looked him hard in the face all the time. "Think," she said; "think, Sir, without troubling yourself to express your thoughts. Trust to my intimate sympathy with you to read them. Yes, Mr. Noel, this letter is a paltry attempt to frighten you. What does it say? It says you are the object of a conspiracy, directed by Miss Vanstone. We know that already—the lady of the inflamed eyes has told us. We snap our fingers at the conspiracy. What does the letter say next? It says the writer has valuable information to give you, if you will pay for it What did you call this person yourself just now, Sir?"

"I called him a scoundrel," said Mr. Noel Vanstone, recovering his self-importance, and raising himself gradually in his chair.

"I agree with you in that, Sir, as I agree in every thing else," proceeded Mrs. Lecount. "He is a scoundrel who really has this information, and who means what he says; or he is a mouth-piece of Miss Vanstone's, and she has caused this letter to be written for the purpose of puzzling us by another form of disguise. Whether the letter is true, or whether the letter is false—  (Next Page)

"I CAN TWIST ANY MAN ALIVE ROUND MY FINGER, AS LONG AS I KEEP MY LOOKS."

Harrison's Landing
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