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Robert E. Lee Portrait
WOMEN AND THE WAR.
OUR artist has entitled the large
picture which we publish on pages
568 and 569 "THE INFLUENCE OF WOMAN." It
illustrates, in effect, what women may do toward relieving the sorrows and pains
of the soldier. In one corner will be seen that exquisite type of angelic
womanhood, the Sister of Charity, watching at the bedside of a dying soldier,
ever ready to relieve his wants and minister to his desires. On the other side a
lady-nurse is writing, at the dictation of a poor wounded fellow, a letter to
the friends far away, which shall relieve their terrible anxiety. Above, a group
of young ladies are busily engaged, with needle and sewing-machine, in making
clothing for the troops, and especially those comfortable garments which even
our prodigal Government does not deem it necessary to supply. One can almost see
the fairy fingers fly along the work. Last of all, honest Biddy. who has
probably got a lover or a husband or a brother at the war, is doing her part in
helping the soldiers by washing for them. The moral of the picture is
sufficiently obvious; there is no woman who can not in some way do something to
help the army.
In the Crimean war glory and fame
awaited the charitable efforts of
Florence Nightingale and her noble band of lady
nurses. This war of ours has developed scores of Florence Nightingales, whose
names no one knows, hut whose reward, in the soldier's gratitude and Heaven's
approval, is the highest guerdon woman can ever win.
BATON ROUGE must be taken!
Forward, my boys, and be steady!
We'll snatch from the hand
Of the rebel band
The home of old "Rough and
Old " Rough and Ready"—(bless
How the cowards would flee before
We'll strike in his name,
'Twill be all the same,
For the flag that floated o'er
If the hero of Buena Vista
Knows our country's present
story, With what joy I ween
He must have seen
That victory of "Old Glory!"
And WILLIAMS, who led the way,
Like a patriot, calm and steady—
How he must have cried
With a soldier's pride
When he joined old "Rough and
STRANGE AND YET TRUE.
WHEN the evening lamps are
lighted, or, rather, just before that operation—say in the little interval which
follows the retirement of the ladies from the dining-room, and precedes the
appearance of the laughing, skeptical faces left temporarily below—a grain of
ghost-talk mingles, not inharmoniously, with the gentle and domestic topics
invoked by the subdued light and confidential feeling of the hour. The treatment
of the subject is necessarily superficial. Twenty minutes will not suffice for a
dive into philosophic deeps. Facts are simply adduced. Theme and proposition are
laid bare, and left so for any after-manipulations profounder thinkers please.
Nevertheless, from the pabulum (often exceedingly raw) supplied by these little
conversations may be deduced a whole garden of thought worthy the attention of
the most earnest sage.
Whatever be the cause, the fact
will hardly be disputed that a taste for the supernatural has greatly augmented
of late among the educated classes of society. It has, indeed, as might be
expected, abandoned its ancient form of bald credulity. We neither believe in
the ghost nor shoot at him. We require to know something of his nature who walks
uninvited into our dwelling, and what may be his immediate business there, but
not with rudeness nor intolerance. In a word, the indulgent spirit of he time is
the welcome child of progress. As every age stamps itself upon the roll of time
with the seal of some grand discovery—as every successive year reveals its
half-suspected wonders—the mind becomes less and less inclined to impose limits
upon that vast unexplored ocean which, like the natural horizon, seems to know
no bound but God—and man, as he grows wiser, grows humbler.
To this improved feeling, and
this better discipline of reason, we are indebted for many an interesting
narrative which would else have never passed the bounds of a family circle; or,
in doing so, would have at least been carefully denuded of such corroboration as
name, place, and time afford. In the incidents hereafter to be related these
have been supplied without scruple, and without desire for any greater reticence
than the editor in his discretion may impose. The circumstances of each case
have been verified with unusual care, because another object than simple
curiosity suggested the inquiry. Still it may be proper to call attention to the
fact that persons who have been, or who have conceived themselves to have been,
the witnesses of so-called supernatural appearances, are, in recalling the
occurrence, never wholly free from the dominion of that exalted feeling which
accompanied it, and which is ill calculated for minute and accurate detail. He,
therefore, who undertakes to relate a ghost story at second-hand may have the
difficult task of rendering incoherences in such a manner as shall not bring
down unjust doubt upon what is no lets correct than clear.
To assist analysis, we must
compare. To aid comparison, the least possible reserve should unite with the
closest possible adherence to facts, so far
as facts can be ascertained after
passing through strongly susceptible imaginations. Even were these extra-natural
occurrences not explicable (which we hold them in every case to be), there is
surely nothing terrible or revolting in the pursuit. It is, for example, a
simple, touching, and beautiful faith that the last earthly regards of the
liberated spirit should be fixed upon its best beloved. If such be the work of a
mocking spirit, it wears a wonderfully heavenly dress. "I am a ghost," says
Wolfrau, in the Fool's Tragedy:
Tremble not. Fear not me:
The dead are ever good and
And love the living. They are
And quiet as the sunbeams—and
In grace, and patient love, and
The new-born of mankind.
To proceed at once to
illustration, here are two instances of "intuition," both brief and true. The
first is supplied by a gentleman well known in French literary circles, whom it
induced to bestow much attention on that and kindred subjects.
In 1845 he was visiting a lady of
his acquaintance at Rouen. They were engaged in earnest conversation on the
subject of the future prospects of the lady's children, the youngest of whom—a
girl of eighteen—sat working beside them. Suddenly the latter started from her
seat with a loud shriek, and threw herself into her mother's arms. On being
questioned as to the cause of her agitation, she pointed to a sofa, and, weeping
bitterly, declared she had seen descend upon it the figure of her elder sister,
Rosalie, then on a visit to some relations at or near Havre. The countenance of
the phantom was pale and death-stricken. This occurred at four o'clock in the
afternoon of the 17th September. Two days after tidings arrived that Rosalie L—
had been unhappily drowned in a boating excursion at Havre, at (it was affirmed)
the precise moment of the appearance.
As another instance, here is a
circumstance minutely related by Monsieur M—, a retired French officer, in a
letter to a friend:
"Left an orphan at an early age,
I was brought up under the care of a kind-hearted godmother, who could scarcely
have cherished me more had I been her own offspring. She resided at Harfleur,
and, being in easy circumstances, refused me nothing that could contribute to my
youthful pleasure, keeping my pockets withal comfortably lined with that
material which rendered my frequent visits to the Sunday fetes in the
neighborhood doubly agreeable. On one occasion I had started, as usual, in
company with a band of young vagabonds like myself, to attend a fete at
Quilleboeuf, on the opposite side of the Seine.
"Contrary to my natural habit, I
felt uneasy and depressed. An inexplicable feeling of gloom hung upon my mind,
and neither my own efforts nor the raillery of my companions could drive it
away. I had indeed left my good protectress confined by illness to her bed, but
I was not aware that she was in any danger. However, the cloud upon my mind, far
from dispersing, momentarily increased. If I joined as usual in the different
sports, I was slow and unskillful; and in the war of wit that generally
accompanied our games had not a word to say for myself. We had engaged in a
match of skittles. It was my turn to deliver the ball, and I was standing, half
pensively, poising it in my hand, when I distinctly heard a soft voice pronounce
my name. I started, and turned round, hastily asking who had spoken.
" 'Nobody,' replied those around
"I insisted that I had heard a
woman's voice say 'M—.'
" 'Bah! you're dreaming. Play
"Hardly had the ball quitted my
hand when a second time I heard my name pronounced in a soft and plaintive tone,
but fainter than the former. Again I inquired who called me.
"No one present had heard the
"It struck me that some one of
the party was playing a trick upon me, in order to increase my evident
melancholy. Nevertheless, under the influence of some impression caused by the
plaintive summons, I refused to play any longer, and presently returned alone to
Harfleur. On reaching my godmother's house I was shocked to learn that she had
expired during the afternoon, pronouncing my name twice, and breathing her last
sigh at the moment of the second summons I had heard. These facts are well known
to some twelve or fifteen people at Harfleur and at Quilleboeuf, most of whom
are still (in 1854) living, and were I to live fifty years the sound and the
impression will never depart from my memory." But of course these so-called
"facts" had their common source in the narrator. Therefore, as a question of
evidence, no corroboration is gained by their being known to the dozen or
fifteen people still living.
The heroine of our next
illustration is Mrs. D—, an English lady.
When, five years ago, Mrs. D—
became a widow, it pleased the brother of her husband to dispute the
dispositions of the latter's will—a proceeding the more annoying as the
provision made for the widow was already extremely moderate. Ultimately an
appeal was made to Chancery. The suit lasted three years, and caused Mrs. D— the
utmost vexation and anxiety, when at length the law, finding those claims
indisputable, which had never been any thing else, decided in her favor.
Some short time after this Mrs.
D— was residing in L— Place, Brighton. A friend, Miss F—, usually shared her
bedroom. Both were lying awake one morning about eight o'clock, when Mrs. D—,
with some surprise, saw her friend rise up suddenly in bed, clasp her hands, and
sink back again on the pillow in a profound sleep. Strange as seemed the
movement, it was so evident to Mrs. D— that her friend was really in a tranquil
slumber that she made no effort to disturb her. A minute elapsed, when the door
quietly opened, and there seemed to enter a figure which she believed to be
supernattral. She describes her feelings with great minuteness. She owned that,
by nature, she was somewhat nervous, her impressions, as she afterward
them, on this occasion had not
the slightest intermixture of fear. She was conscious of a reverential awe, such
as might become the witness of a revelation overruling the accepted law of
nature, united with a feeling of intense curiosity as to the object of the
apparition. Gliding through the subdued light, the figure had all the
appearance, gait, and manner of her deceased husband; until, passing round the
room, and sinking down into an arm-chair that stood nearly opposite her bed,
turned slightly aside, the figure presented its profile, and Mrs. D— instantly
recognized her connection and late opponent, Mr. W. D—, at that time residing in
the North. No sooner had the mysterious visitor sat down than he raised his
clasped hands, as in passionate entreaty; but though the spectral lips appeared
to move, as in harmony with the gesture, no sound was audible. Three times the
hands were lifted in the same earnest manner, then the figure rose and retired
as it came. Some nervous reaction followed its disappearance, for Mrs. D—'s maid
appearing a minute or two later, found her mistress trembling violently, and
much agitated. Nevertheless, she quickly regained her self-possession, and
calmly related what she had seen, both to Miss F— and the maid, the former being
unable to recall any thing unusual, and only knowing that she had fallen asleep
again contrary to her own intention.
The succeeding day was cold and
stormy, and neither of the friends quitted the house. In the evening some
neighbors called. As they were taking leave one of the party suddenly inquired:
"By-the-by, have you had any
recent news from the North? A rumor has reached us, I hardly know how, that Mr.
W. D— is dangerously ill, some say dying, even (but it is only report) dead."
"He is dead," said Mrs. D—,
quietly. "He died this morning."
"You have a telegram?"
"You shall hear."
And Mrs. D— told her story to her
As quickly as news could reach
Brighton she received intimation of Mr. D—'s death at the hour of his
A singular and suggestive
statement is, that the scene witnessed by Mrs. D— at Brighton was being enacted
in the death-chamber of Mr. W. D—, hundreds of miles distant. His mind wandered
somewhat as the end drew near, but perpetually returned to the subject of the
unhappy lawsuit. Mistaking his sister for Mrs. D—, he addressed to her the most
fervent entreaties for pardon, avowing his bitter regret, condemning his own
injustice and covetousness, and declaring that he could not die in peace without
her forgiveness. Three times the dying man had raised his hands in the manner
she had witnessed, and so expired.
One morning, some years since,
the lady of a distinguished London physician was lying in bed at her house in P—
Street. It was daylight, and she was broad awake. The door opened, but Lady —,
concluding it was her maid, did not raise her head, until a remarkable-looking
figure, passing between her bed and the window, walked up to the fire-place,
when, reflected in the mirror which hung above, Lady — recognized the features
of her step-son, Dr. J. C—, then attached to a foreign embassy. He wore a long
night-dress, and carried something on his arm.
"Good Heavens! is that you, John?
and in that dress?" cried Lady —, in the first surprise.
The figure turned slowly round,
and she then became aware that the object he carried was a dead child, the body
being swathed round and round in a large Indian scarf of remarkable workmanship,
which Lady — had presented to Mrs. J. C— on the eve of her departure. As she
gazed the outline of the figures became indistinct—invisible. They were lost in
the familiar objects of the room. Lady — neither fainted nor shrieked, nor even
rang the bell. She lay down and thought the matter over, resolving to mention it
to no one until the return of her husband, then absent in attendance on an
illustrious household. His experience would decide whether her physical health
offered any solution of the phenomenon. As for its being a dream, it may be
taken as an accepted fact that, though nobody is conscious of the act of going
to sleep, every body knows, by the sudden change of scenery, and snapping of the
chain of thought alone, when he has awakened.
On hearing her story her husband
immediately looked at his lady's tongue and felt her pulse. Both organs perfect.
Of her nerves he had seen proof. Touching veracity she was truth itself. All his
skill could devise nothing better than a recommendation to patience, and to see
what came of it. In the mean time the day and hour were noted down, and the next
advices from T— awaited with more than usual interest.
At length they came. Dr. J. C—
his father that their child—an only one—had died on such a day (that of the
apparition), and that his wife, anxious that it should be laid to rest in the
land of its birth, had begged that it might be forwarded by the next ship. In
due course it arrived, embalmed, but inclosed in a coffin so much larger than
was required for the tiny occupant that the intervening spaces had to be filled
up with clothes, etc., while the Indian scarf had been wound in many folds
around the child's body.
A favorite theory lays it down as
law that. it requires two minds to produce one ghost. There must be, on the one
side. the power of projection of the image; on the other, that of receptivity.
Unless the mirror be specially prepared, the object, though at hand, can not
become visible. Yet here is an example of the substitution of one, certainly in
no such condition of special preparedness, for another unquestionably
Colonel M—, who perished, with a
party of his men, in the lamentable burning of a transport on her voyage to the
Crimea, was well known to the writer. M— was a men of the coolest nerve, of the
most imperturbable self possession. It was his habit to sit up late, reading, in
the chamber of
his invalid wife, after the
latter had retired to bed. One night, Mrs. M— having fallen asleep, the door
opened, and her maid, Lucy, who had been sent home, ill, to the charge of her
friends a few days before, entered the room. Perfectly conscious, as he
declared, from the first, that the object he beheld was not of this world, the
steady soldier fixed his eyes on the apparition, careful only to catch its every
movement, and impress the whole scene with accuracy on his memory. The figure
moved slowly to the side of the bed, gazed with a sad and wistful expression on
the sleeper's face, and then, as though reluctantly, died away into the gloom.
Colonel M— then awoke his wife and related what had occurred. The hour was
noted, and proved to be precisely that at which the poor girl had breathed her
last, murmuring her mistress's name.
Some twenty years ago the
attention of Sir M— and Lady S— was attracted to the friendless position of a
little orphan boy. So great was the interest with which he inspired them both
that they took entire charge of his future, giving him an excellent education,
and, at a proper age, introducing him, on his own earnest request, into the
navy. Several years passed, during which the young man advanced rapidly in
professional and general knowledge, and was to all appearance on the outset of a
prosperous career, when, one rude November night, about half past twelve, the
inmates of Lady S—'s country-house, at which she was then residing, in the
absence abroad of Sir M—, were aroused by
a loud ringing at the bell. Lady S—, herself awakened, heard the step of her
steady old butler, moving in person to ascertain who could possibly be arriving
at such an hour. A furious gust of wind and rain seemed to burst in with the
opening door. A long pause succeeded; after which the butler was heard
reascending to his apartment. Lady S—'s curiosity was sufficiently aroused to
induce her to summon her maid, who slept in an adjoining room, and send her to
question the butler as to the untimely visitor. The answer returned was that, on
opening the door, no one was to be seen. The night, though rough, was not very
dark, and neither on the graveled approach nor on the broad lawns could be
discerned a living thing. But for so many having heard the bell the butler would
have imagined it a dream.
Gradually the household resumed
its repose, when, at two o'clock, a second summons startled every body. There
was no mistaking now, for the bell had not ceased its impatient vibrations when
the butler with several other servants set foot on the stairs. Again the storm
dashed into the house, and nothing but the storm. No human shape was visible
without, nor were any footprints to be traced on the smooth gravel sheltered by
the porch. As they were about to close the door for the second time Lady S—'s
maid appeared on the landing
and beckoned, with a white, scared face, to those below.
"Come up, come up, somebody! My
lady has seen Mr. D—. I dare not stay there alone!"
It was, in effect, as she had
said. Immediately after the group of servants had descended the stairs Lady S—
had seen the figure of young D— standing at the foot of her bed. Believing at
the moment that it was actually himself, she had accosted him.
"What, Edward, you here?"
The figure immediately
News shortly arrived that the
young man had perished at sea on that wild November night, between the hours of
twelve and two.
The following singular story,
belonging, perhaps, more strictly to the realm of dreams than visions, was
related to the writer a short time since, by the lady of a distinguished German
diplomatist, now residing at Frankfort:
A friend of the narrator had
herself a beloved and attached friend, who died after a brief but severe
interval of suffering. A short time after, the spirit of the departed stood, in
a dream, by the bedside of her friend, Madame L—, and, with a countenance
distorted with indescribable agony, implored the latter to interest in her
behalf some "great, strong soul," that might wrestle for her in prayer, and
emancipate the afflicted spirit, if it might be, from its present intolerable
condition. This condition she described as one of an eager longing to repent,
but of perpetual contention with some terrible hindrance, only removable through
the means suggested. Much troubled in mind, Madame L—, after some deliberation,
resolved to appeal to the strongest and most ardent soul within the range of her
acquaintance, in the person of —, sometimes called the "German Luther." To him,
accordingly, she made her appeal. The good man consented, and redeemed his
promise with characteristic zeal.
Soon after, the apparition
revisited Madame L—. This time with aspect more composed, but still marked with
traces of suffering and anxiety, and warmly thanking her friend for what had
been already done, adjured her, in the most touching language (repeated by the
narrator with wonderful power and pathos), to prevail upon the zealous
intercessor to engage once more—but once again —in prayer, on her behalf. Madame
L—, deeply moved, did as she was requested, and wrote at once to —, who happened
at this time to be absent at the distance of two days' journey.
On the third night the spirit
once more stood by her friend's side, with an aspect of complete tranquillity,
and surrounded with angelic radiance, declaring that all was now well.
Two days more, and — burst into
Madame L—'s presence, pale, and greatly agitated.
"Woman, woman!" he exclaimed,
"what have you done? For no reward that could be proposed to me would I endure
such another hour of conflict and agony as that which my compliance with your
request has caused me." He then proceeded to relate that, having—though with
some reluctance—engaged in prayer as he was desired, be fell as though at once
environed by all the powers of evil. Nevertheless, with reeling brain and
bursting heart, and all but overcome, he steeled himself to the very utmost,
and, struggling on through unutterable