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Robert E. Lee Portrait
THE LATE COLONEL FLETCHER WEBSTER.
Page) "The accompanying sketch, taken in front of the famous Hygeia
Hotel, will give a fair idea of the appearance of the place for several days
during the transit of
General McClellan's army, with its endless
array of infantry and cavalry passing in every direction. In the centre of the
picture is that portion of the Hygeia building at present exclusively used as a
hotel, the partially-concealed building to the right being a portion of what has
been hitherto used as a hospital. In the nearest corner of the latter are the
offices of the Provost Marshal and the Medical Director.
"On the left of the picture is
seen a portion of the small Roman Catholic Church—the only place of worship at
Old Point. Although very small, and nothing but a frame structure, it exhibits
considerable architectural skill in the design, especially the interior, which,
with its open timber roof, stained glass windows, and tasteful altar
furnishings, produces a picturesque and striking effect that one would scarcely
expect from so simple an exterior. In the distance, between this church and the
Hygeia Hotel, may be discerned a portion of the fort and two of those
ominous-looking black tubes with which the ramparts are bristling."
LATE COLONEL FLETCHER
ON this page we publish a
portrait of COLONEL FLETCHER WEBSTER, of the Twelfth Massachusetts Regiment, who
was lately killed in battle in Virginia. The Twelfth Regiment of Massachusetts
Volunteers, which he led, he was mainly instrumental in raising and organizing.
The regiment, which has always been known as the Webster regiment, was among the
earliest to rally at the first call of the President for three years'
volunteers, and for some little time was stationed at Fort Warren, Boston
harbor; but after the
battle of Bull Run it was sent to Washington,
and organized in the Grand Army of the Potomac, in the fifth army corps, then
General Banks. Colonel Webster was the first
and only surviving son of the late Hon. Daniel Webster, and was, when he died,
the senior Colonel of the First Brigade of the First Division of the army corps
of the Army of Virginia, commanded by General Banks. Colonel Webster had always
been considered a good officer, but was also remarkable for his quiet,
unambitious temper; and although much with his father during his political
career, he was never himself a candidate for public station. He was, however,
appointed Secretary of Legation to Mr. Caleb Cushing, on the Chinese embassy of
1842, and held a position during the administrations of Presidents Pierce and
Buchanan in the Custom-house at Boston. Colonel Webster was about fifty years of
age, and leaves a wife and children.
[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.]
AUTHOR OF "THE WOMAN IN WHITE,"
ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN M'LENAN.
Printed from the Manuscript and
early Proof-sheets purchased by the Proprietors of "Harper's Weekly."
IF Captain Wragge could have
looked into Mrs. Lecount's room while he stood on the parade watching the light
in her window, he would have seen the housekeeper sitting absorbed in meditation
over a worthless little morsel of brown stuff which lay on her toilet-table.
However exasperating to herself
the conclusion might be, Mrs. Lecount could not fail to see that she had been
thus far met and baffled successfully at every point. What was she to do next?
If she sent for Mr. Pendril, when he came to Aldborough (with only a few hours
spared from his business at her disposal) what definite course would there be
for him to follow? If she showed Mr. Noel Vanstone the original letter from
which her note had been copied, he
would apply instantly to the
writer for an explanation — would expose the fabricated story by which Mrs.
Lecount had succeeded in imposing on Miss Garth; and would in any event still
declare, on the evidence of his own eyes, that the test by the marks on the neck
had utterly failed. Miss Vanstone the elder, whose unexpected presence at
Aldborough might have done wonders—whose voice in the hall at North Shingles,
even if she had been admitted no farther, might have reached her sister's ears,
and led to instant results—Miss Vanstone the elder was out of the country, and
was not likely to return for a month at least. Look as anxiously as Mrs. Lecount
might along the course which she had hitherto followed, she failed to see her
way through the accumulated obstacles which now barred her advance.
Other women in this position
might have waited until circumstances altered and helped them. Mrs. Lecount
boldly retraced her steps, and determined to find her way to her end in a new
direction. Resigning for the present all further attempt to prove that the false
Miss Bygrave was the true Magdalen Vanstone, she resolved to narrow the range of
her next efforts, to leave the actual question of Magdalen's identity untouched,
and to rest satisfied with convincing her master of this simple fact, that the
young lady who was charming him at North Shingles and the disguised woman who
had terrified him in Vauxhall Walk were one and the same person.
The means of effecting this new
object were, to all appearance, far less easy of attainment than the means of
effecting the object which Mrs. Lecount had just resigned. Here no help was to
be expected from others—no ostensibly benevolent motives could be put forward as
a blind —no appeal could be made to Mr. Pendril or to Miss Garth. Here the
housekeeper's only chance of success depended, in the first place, on her being
able to effect a stolen entrance into the house; and, in the second place, on
her ability to discover whether that memorable alpaca dress from which she had
secretly cut the fragment of stuff happened to form part of Miss Bygrave's
Taking the difficulties now
before her in their order as they occurred, Mrs. Lecount first resolved to
devote the next few days to watching the habits of the inmates of North Shingles
from early in the morning to late at night, and to testing the capacity of the
one servant in the house to resist the temptation of a bribe. Assuming that
results proved successful, and that, either by money or by stratagem, she gained
admission to North Shingles (without the knowledge of Mr. Bygrave or his niece),
she turned next to the second difficulty of the two—the difficulty of obtaining
access to Miss Bygrave's wardrobe.
If the servant proved
corruptible, all obstacles in this direction might be considered as removed
beforehand. But if the servant proved honest, the new problem was no easy one to
Long and careful consideration of
the question led the housekeeper at last to the bold resolution of obtaining an
interview—if the servant failed her—with Mrs. Bygrave herself. What was the true
cause of this lady's mysterious seclusion? Was she a person of the strictest and
the most inconvenient integrity? or a person who could not be depended on to
preserve a secret? or a person who was as artful as Mr. Bygrave himself, and who
was kept in reserve to forward the object of some new deception which was yet to
come? In the first two cases Mrs. Lecount could trust in her own powers of
dissimulation, and in the results which they might achieve. In the last case (if
no other end was
gained) it might be of vital
importance to her to discover an enemy hidden in the dark. In any event, she
determined to run the risk. Of the three chances in her favor on which she had
reckoned at the outset of the struggle — the chance of entrapping Magdalen by
word of mouth, the chance of entrapping her by the help of her friends, and the
chance of entrapping her by means of Mrs. Bygrave—two had been tried, and two
had failed. The third remained to be tested yet, and the third might succeed.
So the captain's enemy plotted
against him in the privacy of her own chamber, while the captain watched the
light in her window from the beach outside.
Before breakfast the next morning
Captain Wragge posted the forged letter to Zurich with his own hand. He went
back to North Shingles with his mind not quite decided on the course to take
with Mrs. Lecount during the all-important interval of the next ten days.
Greatly to his surprise, his
doubts on this point were abruptly decided, on his return to the house, by
He found her waiting for him in
the room where the breakfast was laid. She was walking restlessly to and fro,
with her head drooping on her bosom, and her hair hanging disordered over her
shoulders. The moment she looked up, on his entrance, the captain felt the fear
which Mrs. Wragge had felt before him—the fear that her mind would be struck
prostrate again, as it
had been struck once already,
when Frank's letter reached her in Vauxhall Walk.
"Is he coming again to-day?" she
asked, pushing away from her the chair which Captain Wragge offered, with such
violence that she threw it on the floor.
"Yes," said the captain, wisely
answering her in the fewest words. "He is coining at two o'clock."
"Take me away!" she exclaimed,
tossing her hair back wildly from her face. "Take me away before he comes. I
can't get over the horror of marrying him while I am in this hateful place; take
me somewhere where I can forget it, or I shall go mad! Give me two days'
rest—two days out of sight of that horrible sea—two days out of prison in this
horrible house—two days any where in the wide world, away from Aldborough. I'll
come back with you! I'll go through with it to the end! Only give me two days'
escape from that man and every thing belonging to him! Do you hear, you
villain?" she cried, seizing his arm, and shaking it in it frenzy of passion—"I
have been tortured enough —I can bear it no longer!"
There was but one way of quieting
her, and the captain instantly took it.
"If you will try to control
yourself," he said, "you shall leave Aldborough in an hour's time." She dropped
his arm, and leaned back heavily against the wall behind her.
"I'll try," she answered,
struggling for breath, but looking at him less wildly. "You sha'n't complain of
me, if I can help it." She attempted confusedly to take her handkerchief from
her apron pocket, and failed to find it. The captain took it out for her. Her
eyes softened, and she drew her breath more freely as she received the
handkerchief from him. "You are a kinder man than I thought you were," she said;
"I am sorry I spoke so passionately to you just now —I am very, very sorry." The
tears stole into her eyes, and she offered him her hand with the native grace
and gentleness of happier days. "Be friends with me again," she said,
pleadingly. "I'm only a girl, Captain Wragge—I'm only a girl!"
He took her hand in silence,
patted it for a moment, and then opened the door for her to go back to her own
room again. There was genuine regret in his face as he showed her that trifling
attention. He was a vagabond and a cheat; he had lived a mean, shuffling,
degraded life; but he was human, and she had found her way to the lost
sympathies in him which not even the self-profanation of a swindler's existence
could wholly destroy. "Damn the breakfast!" he said, when the servant came in
for her orders. "Go to the inn directly, and say I want a carriage and pair at
the door in an hour's time." He went out into the passage, still chafing under a
sense of mental disturbance which was new to him, and shouted to his wife more
fiercely than ever: "Pack up what we want for a week's absence, and be ready in
half an hour!" Having issued those directions, he returned to the
breakfast-room, and looked at the half-spread table with an impatient wonder at
his disinclination to do justice to his own meal. "She has rubbed off the edge
of my appetite," he said to himself, with a forced laugh. " I'll try a cigar,
and a turn in the fresh air."
If he had been twenty years
younger those remedies might have failed him. But where is the man to be found
whose internal policy succumbs to revolution when that man is on the wrong side
of fifty? Exercise and change of place gave the captain back into the possession
of himself. He recovered the lost sense of the flavor of his cigar, and recalled
his wandering attention to the question of his approaching absence from
Aldborough. A few minutes' consideration satisfied his mind that Magdalen's
outbreak had forced him to take the course of all