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Robert E. Lee Portrait
NEW IRON-CLAD NAVY.
pages 584 and 585 to
illustrations of our new IRON-CLAD NAVY. The six small pictures are drawn
according to scale, and may be considered mathematically correct. The larger
picture shows the comparative sizes of the new iron-clads. None of the iron-clads
for our inland waters are included; they will form the subject of another
picture. We refer to our Number of August 30 for an account of our iron-clad
navy, and in this place will only append the following table:
In order to enable the reader to
judge of the size of these boats by comparison, we give in the same picture the
Brooklyn, 247 feet long, and the Seneca, 150 feet.
SCHOOL hours were over for the
day; my little pupils were burying old Pointer in the sand at the door of one of
the negro cabins; I stood at the window for a little while looking out longingly
toward the sea in the distance; and then I came back to my little sewing-chair,
and sat down to rock and think.
I had needed a time to think ever
since the night before. About midnight—perhaps between twelve and one—I had been
waked by some slight noise, and had stolen to my window to look out and listen.
A monotonous level of sand, like an ancient sea-beach, surrounded Mr. Baker's
dwelling; almost destitute of verdure, and so dry and soft that it looked like
flour under the full moon; and over the sand, in and out of the shadows under
the few evergreen oaks and yellow pines, some twelve or fifteen human figures
were moving about—close-coated figures, with little shining caps and heavy
beards. I knew what it meant, and was not at all alarmed. Through all the eleven
months of my residence in the South, and especially during the autumn and early
winter, while the shadow of the coming storm was fast closing in over the doomed
land, this whole region had been nervously on its guard against the danger of
servile insurrections. All the men remaining in the vicinity had been organized
into active vigilance committees; and often before I had seen them at night "out
patrolling," going their rounds over the different plantations to inspect the
negro quarters and overawe any dangerous movement. What I did notice as unusual
now was the marked air of excitement among the men. They talked together in
their low tones longer and with more gesture than usual as they met under the
trees; they moved about more eagerly, and watched and listened more intently.
Presently two men met at the corner near my room. I heard the word
"abolitionist" uttered in a smothered hiss. They moved forward, still talking
earnestly, and as they passed under my window I thought I heard one say, "being
a lady, you know." My excited attention could catch no more, until, as they
separated, one of them threw back to his companion the final remark, "Well,
Baker's responsible, any way."
My thoughts that night were
haunted by vague uneasiness. I went down early the next morning to the
breakfast-room, and as I entered the hall Mrs. Baker's sharp voice reached me
through the open door. "Thomas," said she, "it is not safe. Don't you know you
are responsible for what's done here? Next thing you'll be arrested yourself if
you don't have—" An audible "hush" stopped her, and looks icier than ever
greeted me as I appeared at the door. The family were all huddled around her
arm-chair nervous and gloomy. I learned that rumors of " another plot" had been
brought down by express the night before from a town seventeen miles away in the
interior, the negroes of which had lately had some communication with those of
All day the loneliness and the
uncertain peril of my position had haunted me, and now, at the first moment of
leisure, was the time to think it all over. I was very inexperienced. It had
been my first adventure, when, a year before, I had left my mother alone in the
little parsonage, which was still allowed her after my father's death, to help
as I might toward eking out our small income in this foreign-like region,
hundreds of miles away. I had stood at my post until every other Northern
resident had gone home. Then at last I had told my employer that I must go. It
was some six weeks before; and that gentleman had surprised me at the time by
simply replying that, as my engagement had been made for a year, I could not of
course expect to receive any part of my salary until the close of that time. I
had been reared among the Berkshire hills, and I astonished him in turn by
answering that I would stay till then.
Now when I sat down to review
that decision, I began by resolutely setting at bay the infinite longing for my
home, my mother, my own dear, safe, happy New England, and resolving to consider
only what was best. My mother was poor—I was her only helper, How could I go
back to her a burden instead of a helper? But then, what if any thing should
happen to her only child. What if the impending storm should burst suddenly, and
my retreat be cut off, and the last of her desolated household be left
imprisoned among strangers and enemies? No; I could not take the responsibility;
I must go home.
Poverty—that poverty which
stimulates and degrades not—teaches us very early our grand lesson; it teaches
us, by the necessity of constant practice, to keep the soul's world fresh and
*The Puritan and her consort the
Dictator, 320 feet long, will not be ready for service till the fall of 1863.
Passaic is the first of the
new ten monitors, 200 feet long, all of which will be ready this month.
and sunny, let the world without
lower and darken as it will. It had taught me this lesson, and I put it in
practice now. This evening was my own, to-morrow would be time enough for
business; and I had one thing more to do, one more picture to lay by in memory
before I left the South forever. I must see the yellow jasmine in bloom.
I ran down on the instant to find
some one who would go with me to the only one I knew of within walking distance.
Mrs. Baker sat before her sewing-machine with her oldest daughter.
"Julia," said she, when I had
explained my errand, "go up to my room, dear, and bring me another spool. I'm
sorry, Miss Carr, we all happen to be engaged just now. Possibly old Sarah might
serve you for a guide if you are very anxious to go." And she vanished abruptly
through the hall door.
I had reached the door of old
Sarah's cabin before the strangeness of this proposal had fully dawned upon me.
For months I had felt that the local proprieties required me to have no
intercourse with the servants whatever—never to talk with them, and never to be
seen with them alone. But this one—this grim, secret, cunning, taciturn old
Sarah—was the one of all most suspected and most watched. However, the proposal
was hers—the straightforward course is almost always best. I hesitated only for
To my surprise Sarah was
unwilling to go. "Bad road, Missus; bad, heavy road. Gitt'n' late, mos' sundown,
Missus. Curus place out dah, Missus—yes, Missus. Ladies nebba goes out dat a
way; dey doesn't—no, Missus." I silenced her with a word or two, and we started.
It was certainly a lonesome road;
the old road leading through a light pine wood, and across a wide stretch of
sand, and then on through a low, jungle-like forest to a ruined and deserted
plantation beyond. When we reached the forest old Sarah led me a little distance
down its borders and away from the road. We reached a spot where a black
resinous sink of water crept away into the thicket under a covert of naked
trees, all knotted and interwreathed with dry brown climbers, till all below was
black as a cypress shade. There she stopped and stood motionless, pointing
"What is it, Sarah?"
"De jasmine, Missus, 'way up dah."
There it was, indeed! A colossal
wreath of flowers, with no apparent connection with the earth, with no other
living thing near it, running along the enormous basket-work of vines and
branches in huge masses and festoons for scores and hundreds of yards, its
glossy, papery, pointed foliage, almost hidden by the tropical luxuriance of
trumpet-like flowers and long conical buds, bright as gold and soft as
swan's-down, and every breeze that touched it bringing down a burden of
voluptuous fragrance—the fragrance of a crushed peach-stone, yet delicate and
balmy as the breath of a rose. I was alone in a wilderness of forest, sky, and
sand, and for once I seized the privilege of those impulsive races who live near
to nature in the wild, free paradise of the tropics—I clapped my hands and
But how long had that beautiful
thing been growing? How many years had it climbed upward and upward, and then
how many more had it been traveling from tree-top to tree-top when it could
climb no higher? How long was it since the brown, rope-like stems, now drawing
up moisture and sustenance from the reservoirs so far below, had been themselves
beautiful with clusters of the crisp green and waxy gold? Ah! what splendid
history had been growing with it, and how tragically that history was changing
now. All through its lifetime North and South had been standing together against
common enemies, or helping each other on in peaceful progress—their union and
happiness the hope of the world. Why was it all so changed? What crime, above
all other crimes, had so brought God's curse down—
My reverie was cut short by a
quick pull at my dross. There stood old Sarah, pointing upward again, her gaunt,
black face hideous with fear.
"Come 'way, come 'way, Missus!"
she whispered; Mos' sundown, Missus."
"Hark, Sarah, just a moment! Oh,
it's the wind among the fine wiry stems. It's like an Aeolian harp. Listen!"
"Oh, come 'way, come 'way,
Missus; it's de dogs—it's de dogs!"
"The dogs! where?"
"Up dah, up dah. Dere's mor'n
one's heerd 'em 'fore now, Missus. Dey's allus a-yowlin'—a-yowlin' jes' dat a
way o' night, Missus. Come 'way, come 'way!"
"Sarah, what do you mean?"
"An' dah's a w'ite bone down dah
'n de watah, Missus; an' ebery night dat bone come up 'top o' de watah an' it go
roun', roun', roun', roun' a-huntin' for de oder bones. Yes, Missus, ebery night
ha' past one. Gittin' late, Missus, come 'way, come
"Now, Sarah, be quiet and listen
to me. You've heard some dreadful story about this place, and you've been
frightened by it; tell me the story just as you've heard it, and then listen to
what I say about it. Come!"
But the woman stood in dogged
silence, only turning her eyeballs strangely up at me.
"Won't you tell me, Sarah?"
"Dem stories ain't for to tell,
"Why not, Sarah?"
" 'Gin the awdahs."
"Well, Sarah, we'll go home now."
In an instant the long, lithe
creature had darted out on the sand a rod or more; in another instant she had
stopped. She stood for a moment facing toward the thicket, craning forward like
a snake ready for a spring, one fist stretched fiercely out, the other drawn
back to her shoulder—then she made her spring. There was a crash in the
underbrush, then a sudden bound out of it, and a burly,
yellow-faced Irishman, with
bristling head and bulging eyeballs, scoured away across the sand-plain, yelling
in a very agony of terror. "Howly Vargin, the nagur, the nagur!" I knew him; he
was a railroad laborer employed occasionally at Mr. Baker's.
"Dey's put him dah for to
watch—for to watch Missus," whispered old Sarah as I came up. "De good Lord
bress yer dear soul, Missus! dey's put him dah for to watch if—if Missus say any
thing 'bout—'bout dat ah."
It was only too plausible. I had
heard the man's hammer on the back veranda as I stood talking with Mrs. Baker.
We had delayed long enough, and our course had been circuitous enough to give
him ample time to secure his ambush before we came up.
"Sarah," said I, "you may fall
back now I will walk before; I know the way."
I walked on very hurriedly; but
scarcely had I reached the bend in the old road where it enters the pine woods,
when from a distance in the direction of the house came a loud, brutal shout. I
understood it perfectly. The Regulators were there —had probably been near when
the spy was sent on his errand. They had heard his story, and they would come to
I could see very far through the
woods. The trees were almost branchless, and the sunset sparkled every where on
the smooth, stiff, radiating spears of the low-creeping palmetto which formed
the only underbrush. In a moment they came in sight, still at a distance, eight
or ten men of the lower class, led on, as the Southern mob always is led, by a
This man I knew. I had heard him
talked of as a visitor in the place, and the "lion" of the time. Almost a boy,
with all the wild, headstrong recklessness of the Southern boy; and I knew that
this very quality, no less than the rumor of wealth and position at home, had
given him unbounded influence in the neighborhood. Mrs. Baker had never
succeeded in attracting him to her house; but I had seen him once at a distance,
and now, as the leader rode on considerably in advance of the rabble on foot, I
knew it was Harry Kent.
There was but one thing to be
done, and I did it. Near the roadside, just before the turning, a cluster of
thick, tall holly bushes stood, hiding us from sight. There I waited. Harry Kent
turned the corner, and the holly thicket hid him from sight too. Then I went up
quickly to his horse's side, looked up into his face, and said,
"May I ask you to come back with
me to the house? I am afraid to meet those rude men alone." It must have been a
full minute before the fixed amazement of his face allowed one muscle to move.
Then, as another shout came up, now fearfully near, he blushed up to his
cap-rim, darted from the saddle, and threw the reins to old Sarah.
"I'll do my best," said he;
"don't be afraid. I —I beg your pardon! Would you let me take the ends of your
I gave him the two ends of the
long blue ribbon I wore, drawing out the bows to snake it longer. He took them
and went forward a few steps just as the foremost of the troop came up.
A braver woman than I would have
grown paler at the whoop and yell, and the hurrahs and shouts of laughter, with
which they greeted Kent and his prisoner, as they rushed up crowding and
jostling to get a nearer view of me. Kent held them back, and restored something
like silence by a vigorous motion or two of his hand.
"All right!" he sung out, gayly,
the moment he could be heard, tossing his thumb over his shoulder at me. "Hallo,
Captain! what d'ye say; suppose you take the fellows all off down to Wurmer's
—see if you can't get there 'n time to help him out with that other little job,
you know. Want to come back round by Bob Sims's likely, 'n get a little somethin'
for the boys—there's the tin."
There had been a grumble of
disappointment at this suggestion, but it died away as the coin rattled down on
the sand. The grisly-looking "Captain" gathered it up, but then stood scratching
his head a little discontentedly.
"Say, Colonel," said he, "they
say you Kentucky fellows allus knows wot purty faces is. Bet ye a 'lipenny now,
"If you don't care to command the
expedition, Captain, I will relieve you."
That settled the matter. To
"command an expedition" under Harry Kent was a chance not to be lost by the
parvenu Captain, who was becoming a man of weight in the absence of the better
"All right, all right!" he
answered, and my heart began to beat again as I saw them defiling away through
"You'll let me speak abruptly,
won't you?" said Harry, putting my hand in his arm, a little bashfully, and
starting with me up the short road toward the house. "I want to know, you see,
how I can serve you, and there's but little time now."
"Say it at once," said I; "am I
"Well—you know people are so
excited now. I don't know much about it myself, but it seems your going out to
that place with a suspected servant—"
"But that was her mistress's
suggestion; she sent the woman with me."
"Did she?" He stopped short. "Did
any one hear her—any white person?"
"I'm afraid— Well, you know Mrs.
Baker. Likes to improve her social position, you understand, by being a little
extra-patriotic just now."
"Yes, I know. You will not
hesitate to tell me plainly what the special danger is—what I probably have to
"Well, do you think you would be
unwilling, for instance, if it should be necessary, to go back to the North at
"Oh no, no!"
"Or to stay—in your room,
perhaps—until you you are ready to go?"
"As a prisoner? No, I can submit
"Then, if my influence is worth
any thing, it
shall be so. I don't suppose it
would be best to be seen making preparations till you hear more—might raise
suspicions, you know; but I suppose I must say that you may need to leave at an
hour's notice. I mean, if it is decided as we hope."
" If? You think then I have
something more to fear?"
" Oh, I hope not! I hope not! The
meeting is at seven, you will know then as soon as possible. But whatever course
things may take, let me assure you, I will act for you as I would act for my
He spoke low and quick, for just
then, as we came up, Mr. Baker lounged out of the gate to meet us.
" Well, Sir," said Harry,
suddenly taking up the role he had dropped, "ready to succeed me in office, eh?
You won't be gone but a minute, will you? I'll just wait here."
Baker took me under his arm with
a sly laugh at Harry, and led me, without speaking, through the gate, up the
steps, past the group of slightly-sobered faces in the parlor door, and on up
the staircase to my room. The door closed on me, the key turned, and I stood in
the centre of the room pressing back with clasped hands the smothering throbs of
my heart, and saying over and over, in a vague effort to summon back courage and
hope, "He will do his best! he will do his best!" For I saw it plainly then,
that between the chance of going back to my mother's home, and the chance of
meeting all the unknown terrors of a Southern prison or a Southern mob, my only
hope in the wide world was the fidelity of this one impulsive boy.
What a long night it was!
Sometimes I sat still, trying to gather my whole soul into the resolution
neither to hope nor fear, neither to think nor feel, only to keep my faculties
steadily poised for action when the time should come. Then I would go about my
room, making what preparations I could safely make for my departure. And then
when my heart would choke me, and my eyes would fill in spite of me, I would
come back to my chair and try to tread under foot these merely personal
troubles, in awe of the fearful future impending over the nation. The twilight
faded, and the moon made the shadows black under the trees. No one came near me.
The clock below stairs struck seven, then in a strangely short time—for it
seemed to me that an hour ought to appear an age—it struck eight, and then nine,
and ten, and eleven. But I was growing weaker. The suspense and the utter
helplessness grew heavier as the night deepened and the house became still. I
took my Bible, but I put it away again. It told me too much of what had been
mine in the dear North; what would be mine again if I could only be there once
more. At last I came and knelt down before my chair and laid my head on my arms.
I said not a word—I felt that there was no need. He knew the whole, and He could
help me. And so by degrees came that other feeling, that He was near me—was my
friend—would arrange every thing for me in His own way; and with that feeling
came rest and patience, and finally forgetfulness.
Something startled me. It was
something at the door. The whole must have flashed on me in an instant, for I
was there when the door was flung open. Mr. Baker stood there with a lighted
lamp in his hand.
"Pack up your traps," said he,
"boat starts in half an hour. My compliments to Yankee-land!" Did any other lady
ever pack her trunks in fifteen minutes? I did that night, leaving chaos and
wild misrule in the wake of the process. Just as it was finished I went out into
the hall to take my hat from its nail and paused a moment—I must confess it, I
suppose—at hearing Harry Kent's name spoken in Mr. Baker's tones in a side
"The fellow kept us there," said
he, "talking chivalry till after midnight. Con-founded shame! Such a case ought
to have been dealt with some different way. That chap never would take No for an
I found the "chap" at the hall
door when I went down. He merely took my satchel in passing, and left me to his
companion, a substantial gentleman of the place, going to Charleston on
business, who politely offered to take charge of me. When I was seated in the
carriage, my traveling companion choosing the outside, Harry looked in a moment
to say good-by. At first he gave me his hand with all proper ceremony; then
suddenly he looked up, in his quick way, and said, as if he hardly meant to say
"Will you think of me as a rebel,
Miss Carr, or only as Harry Kent?"
"A rebel," said I, bending
forward, and speaking very low. "Oh, think of it once more, Mr. Kent."
"Too late now," he answered.
"I've enlisted." And the carriage moved away.
Months afterward I was returning
home late one evening, and there, talking with my mother in the lighted parlor,
sat Harry Kent. He was so pale that my first astonishment changed to sudden
alarm. "Was he ill?" I asked.
"No, only wounded," he replied,
smiling. "A man's normal condition now, you know."
Even then I saw it, but it was
not till long afterward that I realized fully how much he had changed. He had
grown older, as men do grow older in these earnest times. The boy had passed at
a step into full manhood, and the young, lavish overflow of energy had settled
into enduring, effective purpose for all the future. I did not wonder when I
heard his story. He had remained in the rebel service, he said, the misgivings
which had entered his mind on that evening growing stronger every day. When the
news came that his own State had been invaded by the Southern armies—then he had
at once resigned his emendation and returned home. His father received him as
the prodigal was received. "Don't be false to your own State," said the true-souled
Kentuckian; "go to work, if you must do any thing, to rid our own