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Robert E. Lee Portrait
young man. But she could not look
back so long. Was Mr. Kirke poor?
Even Captain Wragge's penetration
was puzzled by that question. He gave the true answer at hazard. "No," he said,
Her next inquiry showed what she
had been thinking of. If Mr. Kirke was not poor, why did he come to live in that
"She has caught me!" thought the
captain. "There is only one way out of it; I must administer another dose of
truth. Mr. Kirke discovered you here by chance," he proceeded aloud, "very ill,
and not nicely attended to. Somebody was wanted to take care of you while you
were not able to take care of yourself. Why not Mr. Kirke? He was the son of
your father's old friend, which is the next thing to being your old friend. Who
had a better claim to send for the right doctor and get the right nurse when I
was not here to cure you with my wonderful Pill? Gently! gently! you mustn't
take hold of my superfine black coat sleeve in that unceremonious manner."
He put her hand back on the bed;
but she was not to be checked in that way. She persisted in asking another
question. How came Mr. Kirke to know her? She had never seen him; she had never
heard of him in her life.
"Very likely," said the captain.
"But your never having seen him is no reason why he should not have seen you."
"When did he see me?"
Captain Wragge corked up his
doses of truth on the spot without a moment's hesitation.
"Some time ago, my dear. I can't
exactly say when."
Captain Wragge suddenly saw his
way to the administration of another dose. "Yes," he said. "Only once."
She reflected a little. The next
question involved the simultaneous expression of two ideas —and the next
question cost her an effort.
"He only saw me once," she said;
"and he only saw me some time ago. How came he to remember me when he found me
Aha!" said the captain. "Now you
have hit the right nail on the head at last. You can't possibly be more
surprised at his remembering you than I am. A word of advice, my dear. When you
are well enough to get up and see Mr. Kirke, try how that sharp question of
yours sounds in his ears—and insist on his answering it himself." Slipping out
of the dilemma in that characteristically adroit manner, Captain Wragge got
briskly on his legs again and took up his hat.
"Wait!" she pleaded. "I want to
"Not another word," said the
captain. "I have given you quite enough to think of for one day. My time is up,
and my gig is waiting for me. I am off to scour the country as usual. I am off
to cultivate the field of public indigestion with the triple plowshare of aloes,
scammony, and gamboge." He stopped, and turned round at the door. "By-the-by, a
message from my unfortunate wife. If you will allow her to come and see you
again, Mrs. Wragge solemnly promises not to lose her shoe next time. I don't
believe her. What do you say? May she come?"
"Yes; whenever she likes," said
Magdalen. "If I ever get well again may poor Mrs. Wragge come and stay with me?"
"Certainly, my dear. If you have
no objection I will provide her beforehand with a few thousand impressions in
red, blue, and yellow of her own portrait ('You might have blown this patient
away with a feather before she took the Pill. Look at her now!'). She is sure to
drop herself about perpetually wherever she goes, and the most gratifying
results, in an advertising point of view, must inevitably follow. Don't think me
mercenary. I merely understand the age I live in." He stopped on his way out,
for the second time, and turned round once more at the door. "You have been a
remarkably good girl," he said, "and you deserve to be rewarded for it. I'll
give you a last piece of information before I go. Have you heard any body
inquiring after you, for the last day or two, outside your door? Ah, I see you
have. A word in your ear, my dear. That's Mr. Kirke." He tripped away from the
bedside as briskly as ever. Magdalen heard him advertising himself to the nurse
before he closed the door. "If you are ever asked about it," he said, in a
confidential whisper, "the name is Wragge; and the Pill is to be had in neat
boxes, price thirteen - pence - halfpenny, government stamp included. Take a few
copies of the portrait of a female patient whom you might have blown away with a
feather before she took the Pill, and whom you are simply requested to
contemplate now. Many thanks. Good-morning."
The door closed and Magdalen was
alone again. She felt no sense of solitude, Captain Wragge had left her with
something new to think of. Hour after hour her mind dwelt wonderingly on Mr.
Kirke until the evening came and she heard his voice again through the half
"I am very grateful," she said to
him, before the nurse could answer his inquiries—"very, very grateful for all
your kindness to me."
"Try to get well," he replied,
kindly. "You will more than reward me if you try to get well."
The next morning Mr. Merrick
found her impatient to leave her bed and be moved to the sofa in the front room.
The doctor said he supposed she wanted a change. "Yes," she replied, "I want to
see Mr. Kirke." The doctor consented to move her on the next day, but he
positively forbade the additional excitement of seeing any body until the day
after. She attempted a remonstrance—Mr. Merrick was impenetrable. She tried when
he was gone to win the nurse by persuasion—the nurse was impenetrable too.
On the next day they wrapped her
and carried her in to the sofa
and made her a little bed on it. On the table near at hand were some flowers and
a number of an illustrated newspaper. She immediately asked who had put them
there. The nurse (failing to notice a warning look from the doctor) said Mr.
Kirke had thought that she might like the flowers, and that the pictures in the
paper might amuse her. After that reply her anxiety to see Mr. Kirke became too
ungovernable to be trifled with. The doctor left the room at once to fetch him.
She looked eagerly at the opening
door. Her first glance at him as he came in raised a doubt in her mind whether
she now saw that tall figure and that open sun-burnt face for the first time.
But she was too weak and too agitated to follow her recollections as far back as
Aldborough. She resigned the attempt and only looked at him. He stopped at the
foot of the sofa and said a few cheering words. She beckoned to him to come
nearer, and offered him her wasted hand. He tenderly took it in his and sat down
by her. They were both silent. His face told her of the sorrow and the sympathy
which his silence would fain have concealed. She still held his hand—consciously
now—as persistently as she had held it on the day when he found her. Her eyes
closed after a vain effort to speak to him, and the tears rolled slowly over her
wan white cheeks.
The doctor signed to Kirke to
wait, and give her time. She recovered a little and looked at him: "How kind you
have been to me!" she murmured. "And how little I have deserved it!"
"Hush! hush!" he said. "You don't
know what a happiness it was to me to help you."
The sound of his voice seemed to
strengthen her, and to give her courage. She lay looking at him with an eager
interest, with a gratitude which artlessly ignored all the conventional
restraints that interpose between a woman and a man. "Where did you see me," she
said, suddenly, "before you found me here?"
Kirke hesitated. Mr. Merrick came
to his assistance.
"I forbid you to say a word about
the past to Mr. Kirke," interposed the doctor; "and I forbid Mr. Kirke to say a
word about it to you. You are beginning a new life to-day; and the only
recollections I sanction are recollections five minutes old."
She looked at the doctor and
smiled. "I must ask him one question," she said, and turned back again to Kirke.
"Is it true that you had only seen me once before you came to this house?"
"Quite true!" He made the reply
with a sudden change of color, which she instantly detected. Her brightening
eyes looked at him more earnestly than ever, as she put her next question:
"How came you to remember me,
after only seeing me once?"
His hand unconsciously closed on
hers, and pressed it for the first time. He attempted to answer, and hesitated
at the first word. "I have a good memory," he said at last, and suddenly looked
away from her, with a confusion so strangely unlike his customary
self-possession of manner that the doctor and the nurse both noticed it.
Every nerve in her body felt that
momentary pressure of his hand with the exquisite susceptibility which
accompanies the first faltering advance on the way to health. She looked at his
changing color, she listened to his hesitating words, with every sensitive
perception of her sex and age quickened to seize intuitively on the truth. In
the moment when he looked away from her she gently took her hand from him and
turned her head aside on the pillow. "Can it be?" she thought, with a flutter of
delicious fear at her heart, with a glow of delicious confusion burning on her
cheeks. "Can it be?"
The doctor made another sign to
Kirke. He understood it, and rose immediately. The momentary discomposure in his
face and manner had both disappeared. He was satisfied in his own mind that he
had successfully kept his secret, and in the relief of feeling that conviction
he had become himself again.
"Good-by, till to-morrow," he
said, as he left the room.
"Good-by," she answered, softly,
without looking at him.
Mr. Merrick took the chair which
Kirke had resigned and laid his hand on her pulse. "Just what I feared,"
remarked the doctor; "too quick by half."
She petulantly snatched away her
wrist. "Don't!" she said, shrinking from him. "Pray don't touch me!"
Mr. Merrick good-humoredly gave
up his place to the nurse. "I'll return in half an hour," he whispered, " and
carry her back to bed. Don't let her talk. Show her the pictures in the
newspaper, and keep her quiet in that way."
When the doctor returned the
nurse reported that the newspaper had not been wanted. The patient's conduct had
been exemplary. She had not been at all restless, and she had never spoken a
The days passed; and the time
grew longer and longer which the doctor allowed her to spend in the front room.
She was soon able to dispense with the bed on the sofa—she could be dressed, and
could sit up, supported by pillows, in an arm-chair. Her hours of emancipation
from the bedroom represented the great daily event of her life. They were the
hours she passed in Kirke's society.
She had a double interest in him
now—her interest in the man whose protecting care had saved her reason and her
life; her interest in the man whose heart's dearest and deepest secret she had
surprised. Little by little they grew as easy and familiar with each other as
old friends; little by little she presumed on all her
privileges, and wound her way
unsuspected into the most intimate knowledge of his nature.
Her questions were endless. Every
thing that he could tell her of himself and his life she drew from him,
delicately and insensibly; he, the least self-conscious of mankind, became an
egotist in her dextrous hands. She found out his pride in his ship, and
practiced on it without remorse. She drew him into talking of the fine qualities
of the vessel, of the great things the vessel had done in emergencies, as he had
never in his life talked yet to any living creature on shore. She found him out
in private sea-faring anxieties and unutterable sea-faring exultations, which he
had kept a secret from his own mate. She watched his kindling face with a
delicious sense of triumph in adding fuel to the fire; she trapped him into
forgetting all considerations of time and place, and striking as hearty a stroke
on the rickety little lodging-house table, in the fervor of his talk, as if his
hand had descended on the solid bulwark of his ship. His confusion at the
discovery of his own forgetfulness secretly delighted her: she could have cried
with pleasure when he penitently wondered what he could possibly have been
At other times she drew him from
dwelling on the pleasures of his life, and led him into talking of its
perils—the perils of that jealous mistress the sea, which had absorbed so much
of his existence, which had kept him so strangely innocent and ignorant of the
world on shore. Twice he had been shipwrecked. Times innumerable he and all with
him had been threatened with death, and had escaped their doom by the narrowness
of a hair's-breadth. He was always unwilling, at the outset, to speak of this
dark and dreadful side of his life: it was only by adroitly tempting him, by
laying little snares for him in his talk, that she lured him into telling her of
the terrors of the great deep. She sat listening to him with a breathless
interest, looking at him with a breathless wonder, as those fearful stories—made
doubly vivid by the simple language in which he told them—fell, one by one, from
his lips. His noble unconsciousness of his own heroism—the artless modesty with
which he described his own acts of dauntless endurance and devoted courage,
without an idea that they were any thing more than plain acts of duty to which
he was bound by the vocation that he followed—raised him to a place in her
estimation so hopelessly high above her that she became uneasy and impatient
until she had pulled down the idol again which she herself had set up. It was on
these occasions that she most rigidly exacted from him all those little familiar
attentions so precious to women in their intercourse with men. "This hand"—she
thought, with an exquisite delight in secretly following the idea while he was
close to her—"this hand that has rescued the drowning from death is shifting my
pillows so tenderly that I hardly know when they are moved. This hand that has
seized men mad with mutiny, and driven them back to their duty by main force, is
mixing my lemonade and peeling my fruit more delicately and more neatly than I
could do it for myself. Oh, if I could be a man, how I should like to be such a
man as this!"
She never allowed her thoughts,
while she was in his presence, to lead her beyond that point. It was only when
the night had separated them that she ventured to let her mind dwell on the
self-sacrificing devotion which had so mercifully rescued her. Kirke little knew
how she thought of him, in the secrecy of her own chamber, during the quiet
hours that elapsed before she sunk to sleep. No suspicion crossed his mind of
the influence which he was exerting over her—of the new spirit which he was
breathing into that new life, so sensitively open to impression in the first
freshness of its recovered sense! "She has nobody else to amuse her, poor
thing!" he used to think, sadly, sitting alone in his small second-floor room.
"If a rough fellow like me can beguile the weary hours, till her friends come
here, she is heartily welcome to all that I can tell her."
He was out of spirits and
restless now whenever he was by himself. Little by little, he fell into a habit
of taking long lonely walks at night, when Magdalen thought he was sleeping up
stairs. Once he went away abruptly in the daytime—on business, as he said.
Something had passed between Magdalen and himself the evening before, which had
led her into telling him her age. "Twenty, last birthday," he thought. "Take
twenty from forty-one! An easy sum in subtraction—as easy a sum as my little
nephew could wish for." He walked to the Docks, and looked bitterly at the
shipping. "I mustn't forget how a ship is made," he said. "It won't be long
before I am back at the old work again." On leaving the Docks he paid a visit to
a brother-sailor, a married man. In the course of conversation, he asked how
much older his friend might be than his friend's wife. There was six years'
difference between them. "I suppose that's difference enough?" said Kirke.
"Yes," said his friend. "Quite enough. Are you looking out for a wife, at last?
Try a seasoned woman of thirty-five; that's your mark, Kirke, as near as I can
The time passed smoothly and
quickly—the present time, in which she was recovering so happily—the present
time, which he was beginning to distrust already.
Early one morning Mr. Merrick
surprised Kirke by a visit in his little room on the second floor.
"I came to the conclusion
yesterday," said the doctor, entering abruptly on his business, "that our
patient was strong enough to justify us, at last, in running all risks, and
communicating with her friends; and I have accordingly followed the clew which
that queer fellow, Captain Wragge, put into our hands. You remember he advised
us to apply to Mr. Pendril, the
lawyer? I saw Mr. Pendril two
days ago, and was referred by him—not over-willingly, as I thought—to a lady,
named Miss Garth. I heard enough from her to satisfy me that we have exercised a
wise caution in acting as we have done. It is a very, very sad story—and I am
bound to say, that I, for one, make great allowances for the poor girl down
stairs. Her only relation in the world is her elder sister. I have suggested
that the sister shall write to her in the first instance—and then, if the letter
does her no harm, follow it personally in a day or two. I have not given the
address, by wary of preventing any visits from being paid here without my
permission.. All I have done is to undertake to forward the letter; and I shall
probably find it at my house when I get back. Can you stop at home until I send
my man with it? There is not the least hope of my being able to bring it myself.
All you need do is to watch for an opportunity when she is not in the front
room, and to put the letter where she can see it when she comes in. The
handwriting on the address will break the news before she opens the letter. Say
nothing to her about it—take care that the landlady is within call—and leave her
to herself. I know I can trust you to follow my directions; and that is why I
ask you to do us this service. You look out of spirits this morning. Natural
enough. You're used to plenty of fresh air, captain, and you're beginning to
pine in this close place."
"May I ask a question, doctor? Is
she pining in this close place, too? When her sister comes, will her sister take
"Decidedly—if my advice is
followed. She will be well enough to be proved in a week or less. Good-day.—You
are certainly out of spirits, and your hand feels feverish. Pining for the blue
water, captain—pining for the blue water!" With that expression of opinion the
doctor cheerfully went out.
In an hour the letter arrived.
Kirke took it from the landlady reluctantly, and almost roughly, without looking
at it. Having ascertained that Magdalen was still engaged at her toilet, and
having explained to the landlady the necessity of remaining within call, he went
down stairs immediately and put the letter on the table in the front room.
Magdalen heard the sound of the
familiar step on the floor. "I shall soon be ready," she called to him through
He made no reply—he took his hat
and went out. After a momentary hesitation he turned his face eastward and
called on the ship-owners who employed him, at their office in Cornhill.
EXECUTION OF THE MINNESOTA INDIANS.
ON page 37 we give an
THE EXECUTION OF THIRTY-EIGHT INDIAN MURDERERS, which took place at
Mankato, Minnesota, on 26th ult. We are indebted to Mr. Herman, of St. Peter,
for the sketch we have reproduced. The St. Paul Press says:
The gallows stood upon the high
street close in front of the levee. It is estimated that not less than four
thousand people, exclusive of the military, were in attendance. The gallows was
erected in the form of a diamond, twenty-four feet on each angle, sufficient to
execute ten on each side. A square was formed around the gallows by the
military, and the citizens occupied the sand bar on the river. The ceremony was
brief, and the whole number of savages were sent at the same moment before the
Great Spirit to answer for their inhuman barbarities.
Upon leaving the stone building
the condemned set up the death-dance and kept it up on the platform.
While the soldiers were at work
upon the gallows a stranger came up to one of them who was planking the
platform, and asked the privilege of "driving one nail." He wanted to drive it
in a place where it would be of service. The soldier handed him his hammer and a
nail, and told him where to drive. The man drove the nail home into a plank of
the platform, thanked the soldier, said he was satisfied, and left.
William J. Duly, who had half his
family massacred at Lake Shack, was assigned by Colonel Miller the duty of
cutting the rope. Another man offered five dollars for the privilege.
At precisely 10 o'clock the
condemned were marshaled in a procession, and headed by Captain Medfield,
marched out into the street, and directly across through files of soldiers to
the scaffold, which had been erected in front, and were delivered to the Officer
of the Day, Captain Burt. They went eagerly and cheerfully, even crowding and
jostling each other to be ahead, just like a lot of hungry boarders rushing to
dinner in a hotel. The soldiers who were on guard in their quarters stacked arms
and followed them, and they in turn were followed by the clergy, reporters, etc.
As they commenced the ascent of
the scaffold, the death-song was again started, and when they had all gone up,
the noise they made was truly hideous. It seemed as if pandemonium had broken
loose. It had a wonderful effect in keeping up their courage. One young fellow
who had been given a cigar by one of the reporters, just before marching from
their quarters, was smoking it on the stand, puffing away very coolly during the
intervals of the hideous "Hi-yi-yi," "Hi-yi-yi," and even after the cap was
drawn over his face, he managed to get it over his mouth and smoke. Another was
smoking his pipe. The noose having been promptly adjusted over the necks of
each, by Captain Libby, all was ready for the fatal signal.
The scene at this juncture was
one of awful interest. A painful and breathless suspense held the vast crowd
which had assembled from all quarters to witness the execution.
Three slow, measured, and
distinct beats on the drum by Major Brown, who had bean announced as signal
officer, and the rope was cut by Mr. Duly, the scaffold fell, and thirty-seven
lifeless bodies were left dangling between heaven and earth. One of the ropes
was broken, and the body of Rattling Runner fell to the ground. The neck had
probably been broken, as but little signs of life were observed, but he was
immediately hung up again. While the signal-beat was being given numbers were
seen to clasp the hands of their neighbors, which in several instances continued
to be clasped till the bodies were cut down.
As the platform fell there was
one, not loud, but prolonged cheer from the soldiery and citizens who were
spectators, and then all were quiet and earnest witnesses of the scene. For so
many there was but little suffering; the necks of all, or nearly all, were
evidently dislocated by the fall, and the after-struggle was slight. The
scaffold fell at a quarter past ten o'clock, and in twenty minutes the bodies
had all been examined by Sugeons Le Boutillier, Sheardown, Finch, Clark, and
others, and life pronounced extinct.
The bodies were then cut down,
placed in four army wagons, and attended by Company K. as a burial party, and
under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Marshall, were taken to the grave
prepared for them, among the willows on the sand-bar, nearly in front of the