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Page) He paused; but she kept her eyes fixed on the ground, and said,
in a low voice,
"What would you have me do?"
"Will you advise me?" he asked.
"I am so afraid of speaking too soon. Will you talk to her of me, and prepare
her for my declaration?"
"On one condition," Honoria
"What is it?"
"That you promise not to speak
till I give you warning. You will ruin your own cause if you speak too soon."
Archer hesitated; then said,
smiling, "Well, I promise; only you must not try me too long."
She wondered at herself for the
composure with which she now could go through scenes like this one. No one knew
what passed in the solitude of her own chamber, when the tall, proud form lay
stretched on the ground, as if crushed by some heavy blow; no human eye saw the
haggard face, peering out in the moonlight, the clenched hands raised in a mad
supplication for death. Morning found her in her usual place at the
breakfast-table, calm and attentive to her duties, ready. to listen to her
father's plans, and to take her part in conversation. There was no outward
change, or, at least, Mr. Calvert perceived none; and if he was a little puzzled
at seeing Mr. Benham devote himself to Susie quite as much as to Honoria, yet he
made no remark, and concluded, probably, that it was a natural consequence of
the little girl's pretty voice.
But a dark shadow hung over the
old house. Mr. Calvert was seized with a fit at his office, and almost instantly
expired, only the day after Archer had made his appeal to Honoria for her
assistance. The sisters were overwhelmed with sorrow, and Susie drooped at once,
like some tender plant beaten down by the storm. When Mr. Ellis arrived to
announce the sad news, he found the sisters sitting together busied with some
womanly work. His face betrayed that he was the bearer of evil tidings. He tried
to tell them cautiously, but when Susie understood the truth she dropped from
her seat like one heart-stricken.
"Poor child!" Mr. Ellis said,
kindly, as he raised her in his arms as gently as if she had been his own
daughter. "Let me carry her to her room, Miss Calvert; she will be better
Pale and wan, but tearless still,
Honoria led the way, and Susie was carried to her room. The sun was shining
gayly in, but Honoria, almost impatiently, drew the heavy curtains to shut out
the daylight; and begging Mr. Ellis to send Susie's old nurse, who was still a
favored member of the household, she began to undress the poor child. The swoon
lasted long; and for many a day afterward Susie lay, feeble as an infant, with
wide-open eyes, scarcely speaking, even to old nurse, who sat beside the bed,
working at the black garments, and wishing for cries or tears, or any thing
rather than that strange stillness.
Meanwhile, Honoria came and went
through the darkened chambers, gloomy, hopeless, and most miserable. She saw no
one but Mr. Ellis, who had been named in Mr. Calvert's will as one of Susie's
guardians, while Honoria herself was the other. The property, which was
considerable, was divided equally between the two sisters; and in the event of
one of them dying all was to belong to the survivor.
"Arrange all as you think best,"
Honoria said to Mr. Ellis; "only I shall remain in this house with Susie. I do
not care for any thing else."
Mr. Ellis offered his wife's
"No," Honoria replied; "you are
very kind, but we can do very well. I am glad to have something to do;" and she
sighed drearily. About one thing she was obstinate—she would not see Archer
Benham. He called, he sent messages through Mr. Ellis, he wrote imploring
letters, but all in vain; she always sent the same answer, "He must wait."
So the weary weeks passed on, and
Susie could yet only bear to be lifted from the bed to the sofa; but she
sometimes spoke of her father with quiet tears that the nurse rejoiced to see.
Strength might return to the delicate frame, enfeebled by so severe a shock, now
that the mind was clear and calm. And all this time there was a heart beating
only for her. Archer longed to defend her with his strong, loving arms against
all the cares, all the sorrows, all the unkindness of the world. If she had only
One day Honoria was beside her
sister's couch, silently watching the thin fingers braiding some pretty work. It
was so still outside that they could hear the approach of a horseman, and
presently a voice almost under the window asked for Miss Calvert. Honoria saw
the color rise in Susie's cheek, the eyes fill with moisture, the trembling
hands drop the work.. She saw how the tender little heart yearned with eager
longing at the sound of that voice, but she had no pity then. She rose, pressing
her hand on her heart, and left the room. With that burning, passionate jealousy
in her soul she dared not stay beside her sister. She went to her room, the
scene so often of her fearful mental struggles, and sat down, gasping for
breath, and shuddering at her own thoughts. A knock roused her, and the servant
put a letter into her hand.
"Mr. Benham says, Will you be
good enough to see him, only for five minutes, Miss Calvert?"
"I can not see him," she
answered, hoarsely. "Tell him I will write."
She sat listening till she heard
him ride slowly away; then she rose and went to the window, whence she watched
the solitary horseman as long as he was in sight. Almost with a groan she then
broke the seal of the letter she had held all this time. An inclosure fell out,
addressed to Susie; she laid it aside, and read the sheet addressed to herself.
In it Archer implored her forgiveness, but he could wait no longer. Surely, if
Susie loved him, it would be a comfort to her to receive the assurance of his
deep and unalterable affection. Would she not give him some hope? He could not
stay so near and not try to see her. If Susie would not give him an answer now,
would she name a time when he might come? Might he return in a month—two
Meantime he would go abroad. He
would not harass her for the world; he would be a wanderer till she bade him
come; only let him have a hope, he asked no more.
There was a cold, cruel gleam in
Honoria's eye as she read. The jealous passion she had nursed had grown beyond
her unassisted human strength now, and she yielded to its whispers. Lighting a
candle, she held Susie's letter in the flame till it blazed, then threw it on
the hearth, and stood watching it till the last particle was consumed; then she
sat at her desk and wrote, without glancing at the open sheet that lay beside
"Susie can not, will not listen
to you now. You will lose her forever if you persist in writing. Her heart is
full of her father, and she thinks it sacrilege to talk of any other love now.
Your plan of going abroad is excellent. Leave her to me and go. In three months
you may return." For a moment she paused. Implied falsehood had been but too
easy; a direct untruth was harder. Again her evil spirit prompted, and she
listened. A very few words were added. "Susie bids me say so."
She dared not read what she had
written. Hastily sealing and directing it, and only pausing to crush Archer's
letter into a secret drawer of her desk, she took her note to the hall, and put
it into the letter-bag herself. She could not stop to think, but went straight
to Susie's room. The poor child looked up with eager, wistful eyes, and her lips
were white with agitation. Honoria moved out of reach of her glance, and said,
as easily as she could—
"I have had a note from our
friend Mr. Benham. He inquires kindly for us, and is just going abroad."
Her ear caught a low, shivering
sigh, but there was no answer; and when she ventured to turn from the window the
little fingers were busy with their delicate work again. Honoria smiled
"She does not care much, after
all," she thought. A few days later Mr. Ellis mentioned, accidentally, that Mr.
Benham was gone abroad for three months. Honoria replied that she had heard so
from himself, and then the subject was dropped, and Archer's name was mentioned
Summer was coming with its roses,
but no roses returned to Susie's cheek. The doctor, whom Honoria anxiously
consulted, said the nerves had sustained so severe a shock in her father's
sudden death that she could only rally by very slow degrees. The old nurse
trembled for her darling, and called Honoria's attention to the fact that Susie
grew weaker. The old woman carried her about like a child, and Susie liked to be
taken to the couch in the bay-windowed room, to lie listening to the whispering
leaves and dreaming over the past.
Honoria herself was fearfully
changed. Her cheek was hollow, her eye burned with a restless fire. Sleep seldom
visited her. Through the long nights she wandered up and down her room, pausing
at the window to watch the gray dawn stealing up the sky, or to gaze over the
meadow-land, where the grass was once more rich and high, as in the time last
year when Archer Benham first came to the old house. Thoughts which almost
maddened her rushed over her brain in those miserable nights.
"Was Susie really dying, as nurse
feared? Was it. only grief for her father's death? Would the knowledge, the
blessed certainty that she was beloved, send fresh life through those veins,
fresh vigor into that fading form? Should she hear the truth soon—to-morrow? No:
Honoria would wait till she knew where he was, and could summon him. She knew
not now any thing of his whereabouts; she must wait. Only three months, and he
would come, and then......and then......"
Two-thirds of the time had rolled
away. It was a lovely day in June, and the blackbird was piping in the
pink-thorn whose bloomy boughs shadowed the bay-window. Susie was on her couch
facing the garden, and Honoria sat with her back to the light, looking at her
sister, and trying to fancy she was better. Susie shook her head in reply to
some remark of Honoria's. "I have taken my last walk, dear," she said; "you must
learn to do without little Susie."
Honoria hid her face in her
hands, when suddenly she was startled by a low cry, and, looking up, she saw
Susie raising herself on the couch, with outstretched hands and glowing cheek,
her eyes intently gazing out of the window. Honoria turned. He was there; pale,
travel-worn, altered —but it was Archer Benham.
In a few moments he was in the
room, kneeling by the couch, Susie's little head lying on his bosom in an
ecstasy of joy. Tender as a mother's were his low, caressing words: "My little
one, my dove, my darling, why did you send me away?"
He could only think of the bliss
of seeing her again at first. Honoria sat spell-bound, till at last he turned to
her, and said, fiercely, "Why was I not warned of this? Why did you not tell me?
I heard from a stranger that she was ill."
"How could I know where you
were?" faltered Honoria.
"You knew my uncle's address," he
said; then, turning to Susie, "Why did you not answer my letter, my little one?
Why not tell me I should be welcome? One word would have brought me, as I told
you. Why did you not write!" Susie looked up astonished.
"Letter!" she said; "I had no
Honoria hid her face, and the
truth flashed on Archer that he had been deceived. He started to his feet and
"You did not give her my letter?"
he asked, seizing her wrist. "Where is it?"
"I destroyed it."
The words sounded unnaturally
hollow. He stood a moment, as if paralyzed; then a low moan from Susie roused
him, and he flew to his place by the couch, where the poor child lay cold and
still, faint with terror.
"God forgive you!" he muttered,
as he turned
from Honoria. "You have murdered your sister."
It was too true. Joy came too late to save the
young life, blighted by sorrow
and falsehood. The next day, with words of Christian forgiveness and Christian
hope on her lips, Susie's spirit passed into the world where sorrow is unknown.
Honoria had confessed all, and Susie had earnestly pleaded with Archer; but
Honoria felt that his seeming pardon was but spoken to pacify her sister, and
that in reality he shrank from her with disgust. One promise Susie had exacted
from her old nurse; it was that she should always remain with Honoria. Even
Susie's influence would have failed here had the old woman known the truth, but
none ever knew it except the three persons concerned.
The funeral moved away from the
house, and once more Honoria gazed from the window, wild and hopeless, as the
body of her only sister was carried to the grave. From that day she never again
saw the face of Archer Benham, nor did any friendly foot ever cross her
threshold. With Mr. Ellis she would only communicate by letter on matters of
business. She dismissed every servant except the gardener, his wife, and the old
nurse. She never left the house by day, only in the twilight she would steal
into the garden or shrubbery, and wander for hours like a restless ghost, and
many a time the passing traveler might be startled at the sight of a white,
despairing face looking drearily out of one of the upper windows. Who shall say
whether peace ever came to that proud and sinful heart? Death took her after
many years. The nurse, entering her room one morning, found the bed had not been
occupied, but on the floor under the window lay Honoria, her gray hair unbound,
her hands clasped as if in supplication. She was dead.
Her will left all her large
fortune to different charitable institutions, after providing for her servants.
The house she bequeathed, without remark, to Archer Benham, now a baronet and in
possession of Benham Park, but still a sad and solitary man. By his order the
furniture was sold, with the exception of some few things he reserved for
himself. In the secret drawer of Honoria's desk he found a crushed letter, which
he tore and flung to the winds; the other papers he handed to Mr. Ellis. After
the sale, he ordered that the house should be shut up and left to decay. The
very windows had been removed, and replaced by boards, and neglect soon did its
work. The once cheerful home is now but a desolate ruin, which the traveler can
scarcely pass without a sigh, even when the history of its former inmates is
unknown to him.
PIRATE "ALABAMA," ALIAS "290."
WE publish on
page 689 a
faithful portrait of the new
PIRATE "ALABAMA," alias "290," which was built
by the British a few months since to prey upon our merchant navy, and which has
already taken and burned fourteen vessels of various sizes. She is commanded by
Captain Raphael Semmes, late of the
Sumter. Captain Hager, of the Brilliant, one of
the vessels taken and burned by the Alabama describes her as follows:
The Alabama was built at
Liverpool, or Birkenhead, and left the latter port in August last; is about 1200
tons burden, draught about fourteen feet; engines by Laird & Sons, of
Birkenhead, 1862. She is a wooden vessel, propelled by a screw, copper bottom,
about 210 feet long, rather narrow, painted black outside and drab inside; has a
round stern, billet head, very little shear, flush deck fore and aft; a bridge
forward of the smoke stack carries two large black boats on cranes amidships
forward of the main rigging; two black quarter boats between the main and mizen
masts, one small black boat over the stern, on cranes; the spare spars, on a
gallows between the bridge and foremast, show above the rail. She carries three
long thirty-two pounders on a side, and is pierced for two more amidships; has a
one hundred-pound rifled pivot gun forward of the bridge, and a sixty-eight
pound pivot on the main deck; has tracks laid forward for a pivot bow gun, and
tracks aft for a pivot stern chaser—all of which she will take on board to
complete her armament. Her guns are of the Blakely pattern, and manufactured by
Wesley & Preston, Liverpool, 1862. She is bark rigged; has very long, bright
lower masts, and black mast-heads; yards black, long yard-arms, short poles (say
one to two feet), with small dog-vanes on each, and a pendant to the main;
studding-sail booms on the fore and main, and has wire rigging. Carries on her
foremast a square foresail; large try-sail with two reefs, and a bonnet top-sail
with two reefs, top-gallant sail and royal. On the mainmast a large try-sail
with two reefs and a bonnet. No square mainsail bent, top-sail two reefs,
top-gallant sail and royal. On the mizen-mast, a very large spanker and a short
three-cornered gaff top-sail; has a fore and foretop-mast stay-sail and jib; has
had no stay-sail to the main or mizen-mast bent or royal yards aloft. Is
represented to go thirteen knots under canvas and fifteen under steam. Can get
steam in twenty minutes, but seldom uses it except in a chase or an emergency.
Has all national flags, but usually sets the St. George's cross on approaching a
vessel. Her present complement of men is one hundred and twenty, all told, but
is anxious to ship more. Keeps a man at the mast-head from daylight till sunset.
Her sails are of hemp canvas, made very roaching; the top-sails have twenty
cloths on the head and thirty on the foot. General appearance of the hull and
sails decidedly English. She is generally under two top-sails, fore and main
try-sails; fore and foretop-mast stay-sails; sometimes top-gallant-sails and
jib, but seldom any sails on the mizen except while in charge of a vessel. She
is very slow in stays; generally wears ship. She was built expressly for the
business. She is engaged to destroy, fight, or run, as the character of her
opponent may be. She took her armament and crew and most of her officers on
board near Terceira, Western Islands, from an English vessel. Her crew are
principally English; the officers chivalry of the South. All the water consumed
on board is condensed. She has eight months' provisions, besides what is being
plundered, and has about four hundred tons of coal on board.
He gives the following additional
information, which will be found interesting and important:
In all cases where Captain Semmes
captures a vessel, he sends an armed boat on board and orders the unfortunate
captain on board the Alabama with his papers. On his arrival he is ushered into
the presence of the pirate Semmes, who receives him in the most pompous and
over-bearing manner. He is questioned as to the name of the strip, where from,
where bound, and the character of his cargo. Captain Hagar, in reply to the
latter question, said that some of his cargo was on English account. On his
giving this reply Semmes scowled at him and remarked, "Do you take me for a d—d
fool? Where are the proofs that part of your cargo is on English account?"
The papers, unfortunately, not
having the Consular seal attached, were not considered proof, and the Brilliant
and her cargo were in consequence seized by Semmes as a prize.
When Captain Hagar left the
Alabama there were between forty and fifty of the crews of the different vessels
she had destroyed still on board. They were confined below
low in irons, in the most
miserable condition. They were where every drop of rain fell on them, and every
sea that came aboard the vessel washed over them, and the poor fellows were in a
terrible plight, having lost every thing, with the vessels they belonged to, the
pirates permitting no baggage, except the very smallest quantity, to be brought
away from the prizes before they were destroyed. They had the satisfaction of
knowing, however, that it could not be long before they would be released; for
Semmes could not afford to have his ship filled up with prisoners.
The plan that Semmes has adopted
to bring fish to his net is as follows: It will be seen at a glance that the
position he was last reported in was in the track of many vessels bound to and
from Europe. This is the position he has chosen to do the greatest possible
amount of destruction; and he certainly has been most successful Whenever he
captures a ship, after taking from her all that he and his officers want, he
lays by her until dark, and then sets her on fire. The light of the burning ship
can be seen many miles, and every other ship within seeing distance stands
toward the light, thinking to rescue a number of poor fellows from destruction.
The pirate keeps in the immediate vicinity awaiting the prey that is sure to
come, and the next morning the poor fellows who have, to serve the cause of
humanity, gone many miles out of their course, find themselves under the guns of
the Alabama, with the certainty that before another twenty-four hours they will
share the fate of the ship they came to serve.
This plan will enable him to
destroy an immense amount of property without much cruising. He can lay in one
position and gather the ships around him during the night ready for operations
on the coming day for weeks to come; for it will be a long time before his
depredations can be made known.
He has been known to cruise for
an indefinite length of time, with no coal, depending upon his canvas entirely,
which, it seems, is all-sufficient for his purpose. He carries stores for eight
months, and can always replenish from the prizes he may take. He will be here
to-day, there to-morrow, and will be certain to be found where no one is looking
for him. Looking for him will be like "looking for a needle in a haystack," and
with the majority of vessels we have cruising at the present time, should one of
them be fortunate enough to see him, all we shall benefit thereby will be a
look, and so it will continue to be until we have ships of greater speed than we
now possess or expect soon to have.
BATTLE OF CORINTH.
pages 692 and 701
we give a large picture of the
BATTLE OF CORINTH, fought on 4th October, from
a sketch by our special artist, Mr. A. Simplot, The battle commenced on 3d, the
Price and Van Dorn being the attacking party.
That day they seem to have rather had the advantage. On the 4th the contest was
renewed at daybreak. For some hours it was waged with indifferent success. At
length the great effort was made which forms the subject of our picture. The
Tribune correspondent describes it as follows:
For a time there were no
demonstrations on the part of the enemy, and they remained altogether quiet in
the angle of the woods near the railroad. Presently two lines were formed, one
at right angles to the other—the one destined with its reserves to sweep over
the railroad, through the abattis into the village—the other with its reserves
to attack battery "Robinett," which was the key to the whole position. It once
taken and held, Corinth was undeniably in rebel possession. The line destined
for the occupation of the village came rapidly forward at a charge across the
railroad, over the fallen timber, driving the Union line before them like chaff.
All that grape and canister could do to impede their progress was attempted, but
still their irresistible progress was not stayed. Batteries of light artillery
played upon their front and left incessantly; their colors were thrice shot
away; but they came still onward, nor halted until they reached the public
square, and formed in line of battle directly in front of
General Halleck's old head-quarters. Our line
of battle was formed directly opposite, in the street leading past
General Rosecrans's head-quarters.
The two armies advanced and
engaged in a terrible hand-to-hand conflict, and for a time the destruction of
the Union line seemed inevitable. Our army gradually yielded, and fell back
until the enemy had nearly reached the Corinth House. Here General Rosecrans
rode along the line, and in a few cheering words revived the drooping courage of
the wearied soldiers. The enemy's reserve was at this time directly in range of
the guns on the redoubt, to the left, and huge shells began to drop in their
midst, whose explosion in the solid masses began to create considerable
confusion and loss of life. At the same time the order was given to "charge
bayonets." At this command our brave soldiers sprang to their work with a will.
They attacked vigorously, and soon the enemy were flying across the public
square in wild confusion. The explosion of the fiery missiles from the two
batteries added haste to their movements, and by the time they had reached the
cover of the timber their retreat had become a rout.
By the time this line was driven
back the other line with their reserves were well advanced in the direction of
During the period of seeming
inaction when the enemy had withdrawn to the cover of the timber, while
preparing to make the two charges as recorded in the preceding narrative,
General Price and his principal officers held a consultation to devise ways and
means to take the battery. The importance of its capture was admitted, and the
risk and danger of the attempt thoroughly canvassed. General Price would not
undertake the responsibility of ordering the attack, but called for volunteers.
Colonel Rogers of Arkansas immediately tendered his brigade as the forlorn hope,
and Colonel Ross his brigade as a support.
They massed their troops eight
deep, and advanced under a heavy fire of double charges of grape and canister. A
terrible enfilading and flanking fire was poured upon them from every battery
bearing in that direction, aided by incessant volleys of musketry from the
supports of the batteries and the Union regiments drawn up in line parallel with
The first shell from Battery
William exploded in the centre of the advancing column, sending thirty or forty
to their long home. Every discharge caused huge gaps in their ranks. An
eye-witness of that wonderful charge says that he can compare the effect of our
fire to nothing but the falling of grain before the scythe. This tremendous
mortality did not affect their irresistible onward march. As fast as one man
fell his comrade stepped forward in his place. I doubt whether history has ever
recorded a charge characterized by such determined valor and bravery Twice did
they approach almost to the outer works of the battery, and twice were they
compelled to fall back. The third time they reached the battery and planted
their flag upon the edge. It was shot down, raised again, and again shot down.
They swarmed about the battery; they climbed over the parapets; they fired
through the escarpments, and for a time it seemed as if they had secured the
victory their valor had so richly earned.
When they obtained the battery,
our men who were working it fell back behind the projecting earth-works, out of
reach from our shells, and immediately all the batteries bearing upon the
position were turned upon Battery Robinett, and soon a shower of missiles were
falling like hail upon the brave intruders. No mortal man could stand the fire,
and they retreated. Slowly the brave remnant turned their unwilling steps toward
the forest from which they started, when the order was given to the two
regiments supporting the battery to charge. This order was splendidly executed.
The miserable remnant of troops whom the batteries had nearly destroyed was now
almost annihilated. A few scattering troops were all that remained of the column
which as valiantly attacked the battery scarcely an hour before. The dead bodies
of rebels were piled up in and about the intrenchments, in some places eight and
ten deep. In one place directly in front of the point of assault 216 dead bodies
were found within a space of a hundred feet by four, among them the commanders
of both brigades making the assault—Colonel Rogers and Colonel Ross.
This was the termination of the