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suspicion of coquetry and higher
ambition; accused me of pride, and thanked me, all in that quiet, cool way of
passionate scorn which he had, for saving his vanity too fatal a blow by my fine
reasons of rejection. Because I was rich, he thought, and he was poor; for long
before he spoke I knew he hesitated, for very pride, with that feeling. My
passion rose too, and I disdained a word more of explanation. To be so judged,
and by him! How dare a man ask a woman to marry him when there is any where in
his heart the seed of such suspicion?"
Her voice grew vehement again,
and again sank to its calmer tone.
"He went away the next morning. I
never saw him again. Then you came home with me. Then the war followed. And from
this last event, not a day, not an hour have I been free from tormenting anxiety
for him. I saw at the very first, in a Northern paper, his name among the
volunteers; and any moment—" She stopped, covered her eyes with her hand, and
set a white tooth hardly against her lip to crush back the tide of emotion. But
all at once she dropped the slight cover, her face full of that expectant
look—eager, watchful, listening.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Sara, I can not get rid of that
strange feeling —I am haunted. Something unusual is going to happen. I believe I
am clairvoyant. It is a trait that the Radefords used to call second-sighted;
and in every third generation it appears in one of the descendants."
I drew nearer to her, thrilled at
her words. The room was full of ghostly shadows, for the fire burned low, and
one dim candle was flaring itself out in a corner.
Looking, about me, I saw to my
relief that the heavy inside shutters were closed and barred, and over them
drooped, in thick folds, the dark old damask curtains.
As I thought of this safety—hist!
what was that that broke the deep stillness?
I glanced at Jessie. She had not
moved a thread; it was no fold of her dress that made that sound!
And she had heard too; her lips
were parted to still her respiration, her eyes expectant. Neither of us spoke
It came again—a soft, dull
sound—a footfall. Something flashed over me. I leaned forward and breathed in
the lowest whisper,
"Jetson's ghost, Jessie."
She shook her head for silence
more than for a denial; and still waited.
Again, distincter now than
before, that footfall, nearer yet, and—there was a hand feeling for the
door-latch—the door of the room where we sat. I grasped at Jessie, but she rose,
and turned to face whoever might be about to enter. I rose too, feeling
strangely excited, but not fear-stricken. The next instant the groping hand had
found what it had searched for. There came a cautious click—the door swung open;
and upon the threshold there stood the figure of a man in some military uniform.
It was but for a second. What
I saw Jessie Radeford spring
forward. I saw her seize the intruder by the wrist, and draw him into the room.
I heard her exclaim, breathlessly, "James! James!"
James Barry! And how came he
I know not by what word or
question she asked this; but I remember that hesitation which called forth her
"For God's sake—for humanity's
sake—do not distrust me again at such an hour, James Barry!" she ejaculated, in
suppressed tones. "Do you think I would betray you? Listen. There sleep up
stairs Captain Kingston and five other armed men. They are but a detachment of a
greater number lying in wait for a suspected force of Federals in this vicinity.
I have but to raise my voice and you are their prisoner; but, instead, because I
espouse the cause of the North from my heart and soul, I ask you, as one of her
soldiers, to trust in me, that I may render aid—the aid that lies in my power.
You are a Federal officer, perhaps in command of this force; let me warn you of
He interrupted her with an eager
"Stay!" he exclaimed. "You have
espoused the Federal cause. You wish to aid it. You have now a signal
opportunity. Captain Kingston and his men will see you before they depart.
Engage them in conversation—a conversation which you will assist me to hear from
some unsuspected covert. They will readily disclose their whereabouts, their
number, their plan of attack upon us. This is the only way whereby you can aid
the Federal cause which you love. Will you do it?"
Her womanly heart shrank a
moment; but presently a fire shone in her eyes. Her voice was firm and resolute.
"Yes. I will do it—for the
Federal cause which I love!" she emphasized.
"I should not be likely to
misinterpret your motive," he said, hastily, but more sadly this time than
Then we heard how he came there.
A fugitive had given him information a few days before of the proximity of the
enemy; had told him of the haunted house—as Cedar Glen was known in that
region—as a guide-post to the neighborhood. Captain Barry had seized upon this
as a fortunate circumstance, and upon several occasions had made that uncanny
"east wing," which the negro had fully described, a hiding-place and a point of
observation. Knowing the house to be occupied for a long time, only in some
remote kitchen corner, by two old domestics, he had sometimes taken a pleasure
in exploring the strange mysteries of the ancient apartments.
He hoped Miss Radeford would
pardon the liberty; and even then the love that tore and rent this proud heart
burst out in the bitter grace of his manlier and his voice, as he bowed his
stately head before her.
But Jessie felt only the irony;
and, with a shade of wrong upon her face, she turned to the subject of his
There was an old mirror of
polished eteel, ornamented
with deep framings of dark wood,
which reached from the ceiling to the quaint table standing under it. Behind
this a panel-door slid, and communicated with a press that had once been used,
but was now empty.
"Quite a Castle of Otranto,"
remarked Captain Barry, as he surveyed this refuge, hidden only for convenience'
And his voice had the old music
in it now, in its half jesting tone—the old music, that brought those summer
days, the cliffs, and the sea so vividly to view. I did not wonder that Jessie
trembled as she heard.
The night, by this time, had worn
on far toward morning. In a short time the early breakfast, at which we were to
play such strange parts, would summon the guests from their slumbers.
As we turned to leave the room to
prepare ourselves in something more fitting for breakfast than our evening
silks, Captain Barry too turned. A change had come over his face. Its hardness
had vanished; and he held out his hand, with these words:
"Miss Radeford, before you go,
let me say how much I appreciate the true spirit and courage that enables you to
do this. Let me say that I no longer distrust you; that the woman who, under
these circumstances, can prove such loyalty and faith, wins for herself all
faith in the best, purest of motives, however she may act. In looking back upon
the past now, I can, in simple justice, only consider myself unfortunate in not
awakening the same emotions that I felt myself."
I was glad that he had done her
even partial justice at last; and as I saw them part, she never giving sign of
her suffering, I followed her up the stairs to our room, resolved what I would
do. They should never part thus.
But, as we stood in the chamber,
I could see that her spirits had risen by his words. She stood there arraying
herself in her bright merino morning-gown, a flush of excitement on her cheek, a
kindling fire in her eyes.
"I feel like a French woman," she
said; "a French woman in the days of Richelieu. I hope I may be as wise and
far-seeing as they were."
I never doubted her capacity, I
told her; and there I stole away. I was cold, I explained to her, and as I had
finished dressing first I would not wait for her.
I went straight back to the
parlor, where Captain Barry was waiting, and before I left the room again he
knew how he had misunderstood. He knew for what noble charge, what sacred
responsibility she had left him free. The strong fellow actually groaned at his
injustice. "Will she ever forgive me?" he exclaimed, huskily.
And he was for having me beseech
her to come to hire at once; but I showed him how much wiser it would be to wait
until she had performed the part which had been assigned her for the interview
that was coming. Wiser not to startle her with any fresh surprises.
A while later, in that same room,
gracious, graceful, and piquante, a slim, dark girl presided at a wide and
The hand that poured the coffee
was steady. The voice that asked those marvelously well-chosen questions, or
laughed in response to some bright sally, was clear, firm, and even gay; not a
note rung falsely. And the manner had its accustomed nonchalance, its careless,
even play, from the low chiding of that lazy, blundering dim, who waited upon
us, to the coquettish glance at the steel mirror, which reflected a knot of
ribbon awry that her dextrous touch brought into order.
It was marvelous, this cool
control, this matchless ease, with such a secret under all.
I, too, thought of French women
as I saw her now; dark, fascinating, distracting women, who had sat at the
tables of princes, with gay smiles and brilliant jests, while beneath their
silken boddices throbbed hearts that held the secrets of a kingdom.
To me the moments seemed
leaden-weighted. To her who sat opposite me time appeared to have lost its
value. Her spirits actually rose as the seconds ticked audibly past from the old
clock upon the mantle. It was the fine sense of the diplomatiste when he sees
the success of his finesse. Once I feared that this subtle elation might overdo
the nice point of success. Vain fear. To the last—to the very end, when at the
door she stood nodding and smiling adieu, it was the same careless, thoughtless
gayety; and as they rode down the avenue she leaned against the door-way,
beating a little foot upon the stone, and humming a little tune, while she gazed
across the hills.
But when the last rider
disappeared, like a mask all gayety, all childish thoughtlessness fell from her
face as she turned to re-enter the room where another interview awaited her.
For myself, I fled to my chamber.
That interview was not for me.
Later a voice, her voice, called
me. "Sara, come down!"
I went, and I saw at once that I
had done wisely in my revelation. There was peace between them, and love and
faith which no more doubts would ever shake.
There was a soft light in
Jessie's eyes as she said, simply, "Captain Barry is going, Sara, and he wishes
to bid you 'good-bv.'"
"To bid you good-by and God bless
you, Sara Chester!"
I knew what he meant. I had done
Then in the next moment he had
kissed us both—her last, holding her in lingering arms, and saying:
"I will wait for you all my life
if need be, Jessie." And then he was gone.
But they had not to wait so long.
There was a crisis coming indeed. Neither of us felt it. She was wrapped in the
present. I was dulled by the past excitement from any hope or foreboding. That
night she sat gazing dreamily from the window when I saw her face whiten. She
called me to look.
A fierce rider was coming at
headlong speed down the western range of hills.
What did it mean? She thought of
him. I could have counted the strokes of her heart as those hoofs rang on the
road and nearer up the avenue. We neither of us looked now until he stood before
A messenger from the Radefords! I
But something had happened! She
saw it in the man's bearing. Ah, there was a letter. She seized it, tore it
open. A grave look passed into her face, but it chased all horror away. It was
solemn news, but not what she feared. I took the sheet from her hand and read
it. "Uncle Rush" was dead. A sudden but easy death—one of those swift spasms of
the heart which stop its beat forever.
It was all a whirl of excitement
following this. We went up to town, and there, amidst preparations for the
funeral, came tidings of the capture of Captain Kingston and a detachment of the
—ths by a force of Federals.
Thank Heaven that was safely
Then, at the last, that crowning
fate. Those children for whom she had sacrificed so much were left without
further prevision of guardianship. To their grateful sister fell the welcome
What was to keep us now in this
land of bondage? Noticing but rashness, and we were not rash; we had learned too
long the lesson of caution for that.
And one day we found ourselves in
far New England—in free New England, for which we had yearned.
And later still, on another day,
there was a happy reunion. The ghost of Cedar Glen appeared to us, not in
surprise as on that strange night, but heralded by joyful letters.
And again I heard a voice full of
manly emotion say, "God bless you, Sara Chester!" And I pray God's blessing upon
them—upon James Barry and his wife Jessie—and to all men and women who believe
in the cause of God and humanity.
GOING TO WILSON'S CREEK.
FUN, I fancy, must be one of the
original elements, though I doubt if it be accredited by school-men, for even in
the grim game of war, amidst forced marches, half rations, shivering night
rounds, massacres called battles, and the deaths of those we love, turns up
occasionally such a joke as my going to Wilson's Creek.
Per se, it was hardly a laughing
matter, for the rebels keep good watch, and have always a rope or a bullet ready
for the unlucky scouts that they catch napping; but the General was urgent to
know something more of their position, and however risky I felt it to be, I
couldn't disgrace my branch of the profession by backing down, specially as all
the other fellows were so kindly afraid of robbing me of the "glory" of the
How to go was, however, an open
question, for they are near-sighted rascals, those rebels, and shallow devices
won't go down with them; besides, for some reason or other, I had gotten into a
sort of panic, and could think of nothing but the delights of being strung up
amidst the jeers of a parcel of rebels; and though I don't think I am much more
of a coward than men on the average, to start in that frame of mind on an
undertaking requiring all a man's wit and nerve, was simply going to certain
death; while to make matters worse, I could no more scare up a disguise or an
excuse than if that sort of ware had been entirely out of market.
At last Sue Scott, who is in my
confidence, and is going to be my—but never mind that—got vexed at seeing me
hesitating there like a girl, and said, sharply,
"Why, George, if you haven't the
heart to go like a nun, go like a woman, but go somehow."
And the careless speech struck me
as a spark does a train of gunpowder, and in ten minutes I had it all planned,
and was getting as fast as I could for laughing into a riding dress of Sue's,
who, luckily for me, is on an ample pattern, broad in the shoulders, and as tall
as I within an inch.
The fun of the thing had driven
all thoughts of panic out of my head, and what with Aunt Rhoda's red and white,
used, as she solemnly averred, only in painting maps, my short hair turned under
at the back in a net, with braids (Aunt Rhoda's again, preserved, she says, as
specimens of the vanity and wickedness of New York), fastened on either side of
my face, and the whole surmounted by a pork-pie hat with a drooping plume, and
one of those misty little things that Sue calls a veil, I think my own mother
would hardly have recognized me.
It is true I had a somewhat
awkward way of tripping myself in my long skirt, and that Sue insisted that my
face was an impudent libel on the modesty of the sex; but I intended not to
dismount if possible, and had full faith that the women (the patriotic ones, at
least) would forgive me; and with a letter addressed in Sue's handwriting to a
supposed brother in Price's army, and a revolver in the bosom of my
riding-dress, I started off just after dusk, perched up, woman fashion, on a
side-saddle, and allowed to draw about one breath in three by that diabolical
instrument of torture called a corset. In fact, since that ride, it is a
question with me whether the whole dress wasn't originally a penance devised for
some feminine sinner of rank, and ignorantly copied by the sex as the mode; for
it pinches you in at the waist, and half throttles you at the neck, and pinches
you at the wrists; and their boots stop just where they ought to go on; and the
wretched little hats won't stay on; and the veil half blinds you; and— However,
there is some old proverb about not abusing the bridge that carries you safely
over, and so I will go on with my story.
I reached Wilson's Creek without
incident of any kind, and the pickets were civil enough to the pork-pie and
riding-skirt, which was about all that they saw in the dim light; while the
pork-pie, on its part, conducted itself with becoming reserve, saying no more to
the guards than was proper in a young lady of discretion, but using its eyes
on the way to the nearest
officer—not a wary veteran, but, as Fortune (who, like every thin, feminine, is
generally kind to impudence) would have it, a gay young fellow of twenty-one,
handsome as a girl, and much more attentive to the red and white, and Aunt
Rhoda's shining braids, seen through the veil, than to the probabilities of my
He took the letter carelessly.
"Joseph Lose Berne. Your brother,
you say? Do you know his regiment?"
"I inn not sure, but I think it
is the —th," naming one that I was sure was posted at a distance.
"And you don't know the company?
Well, I will try and find him. Why not wait till we can see if he is near the
"Oh, impossible! they will miss
"My family are Unionists; and
have discarded my brother. I slipped away secretly, and must get back before I
"Why go back at all?"
The riding-dress drew itself up
Stop one moment!" he cried,
following me. "Pray forgive me! but if you only knew how rare such visits are,
and how like angels' visits they seem! You must permit me at least to ride back
with you—a part of the way. You are too precious to be left to the mercy of the
first straggler that may meet you."
Such fools as we make of
ourselves with women! We are only equaled by the fools who believe us. Not that
I said so to him; on the contrary—Sue Scott forgive me!—but I am afraid that her
riding-dress encouraged him—that her snowy gauntlet lay uneesistingly in the
tender clasp into which he took it; in short, that while he was so politely
showing me all that I most wished to see, I didn't conduct myself quite as she
would have done under the circumstances: else how could he have dared, while
pathetically urging me to a correspondence, to steal his arm about my waist, as
(I blush to say—that is, I would blush, if I could, for having forgotten to do
so then) he did, enforcing his arguments with an occasional tender squeeze. I am
aware that I deserve the sentence of' death at the hands of a feminine jury, and
that it was due to my costume to have made a show of virtuous indignation; but
when, apropos of our correspondence, he was so exceedingly kind and minute in
his details of their future movements, I really hadn't the heart to stop him.
It was cruel in me, however, when
he, at parting, prayed for a lock of my hair, to give him one of Aunt Rhoda's
braids, after a feint of cutting it off, neatly rolled up in a small round
parcel. He placed it gallantly over his heart, and went away rejoicing; but I am
afraid that the first examination of his artificial treasure changed his joy
into wrath only equaling that of Aunt Rhoda's, who mourned for her braid like
Rachel, and who, I fear, will never forgive me my journey to Wilson's Creek. The
General, however, got the desired information, as my gallant friend had
unconsciously afforded me every facility for so doing, and I have made my peace
with Sue, who pouted a little on first hearing the story. I have sent also to
New York for another pair of artificial braids; and as for the rebel officer, it
only serves him right. Let him learn in future how to treat unprotected females.
GREAT SOUTHERN EXPEDITION.
we illustrate THE DEPARTURE OF THE GREAT SOUTHERN EXPEDITION FROM FORT MACON,
NORTH CAROLINA, from a sketch by a volunteer correspondent, who writes as
FORT MACON, January 24, 1863.
Accompanying this note you will
find a sketch of a large fleet which has been for some time past fitting out
here to go we know not where, but suspect it is Charleston; we are now in
ignorance, but perhaps ere this reaches you all will have known its destination,
and its success or failure. Many of our principal steamers are engaged in
conveying the troops; the gun-boats and Monitors left last Saturday, but I
suppose they will co-operate with the troops now leaving. The view is taken from
Morehead City railroad landing; the depot and part of the railroad are prominent
on the left; part of it regiment are on the platform this side of the depot, and
stragglers are to be seen here and theta engaged in different occupations, the
most noticeable at the time being that of cooking; sailing boats, a large
schooner (the masts only are visible), and a steamboat (tho Freeborn, which
obtained I believe a reputation for running the Potomac blockade), lie at the
wharf; the foreground is marshy grass, so common in the Southern harbors. I have
drawn the vessels as they appeared.
Fort Macon can be seen between
the shipping, most of which having received their complement of troops are
anchored off the fort, making them quite small from the point from which the
sketch was taken. The Guide, Cahawba, Convoy, New England, Expounder, ship J.
Morton, and numerous propellers and side-wheelers are in the number.
THOUGH the President's
proclamation of freedom has been so often compared to the Pope's Bull against
the comet, it seems to be producing some substantial fruits. We publish on
page 116 an
illustration of CONTRABANDS
COMING INTO NEWBERN, NORTH CAROLINA, from a sketch sent us by an amateur, who
writes as follows:
NEWBERN, NORTH CAROLINA, January
I inclose a sketch of a very
interesting procession which came to Newbern from "up country" a few days ago.
It is the first-fruits of the glorious emancipation proclamation in this
vicinity, and as such you may deem it worthy of engraving in your illustrated
On our late expedition into
Greene and Onslow Counties our company (Company C, Fifty-first Massachusetts
Regiment) was out on picket duty the night before our return to Newbern, when an
old slave came in to us in a drenching rain; and on being informed that he and
his friends could come to Newbern with us, he left, and soon the contrabands
began to come in, with mule teams, oxen, and in every imaginable style. When
morning came we had 120 slaves ready to start with their little all, happy in
the thought that their days of bondage were over. They said that it was known
far and wide that the President has declared the slaves free.