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IN NEW ORLEANS.
A VERY extraordinary exhibition
of public feeling took place in
New Orleans on Friday the 20th ult., which threw
the whole city in the wildest excitement; but was, fortunately, attended with no
serious consequences. We illustrate the scene on pages 184 and 185.
It having been publicly announced
that a flag-of-truce boat would leave on Friday to convey some 382 paroled
prisoners to Baton Rouge, and there exchange them on board a rebel vessel for
Port Hudson, an immense concourse of the disloyal portion of the community
congregated on the
levee to see them go off. The Empire Parish, with the
prisoners on board, was lying at the foot of Canal Street, and the Laurel
Hill—moored immediately ahead of her—was selected by about 1000 at least, who
crowded into and upon every part of her, to see the rebel prisoners and cheer
The Empire Parish had been
advertised to leave at three o'clock, and it must have been as early as noon
that the masses commenced to assemble. By two o'clock the whole levee, in its
enormous width and extending all the way from Canal to Julia Street, was one
dense sea of human heads; a large proportion of them females wearing secesh
badges, and many openly waving little rebel flags—an insult not confined to
their sex alone.
Seeing that matters were assuming
a disgraceful if not alarming aspect, notice was sent to General Bowen, advising
him of the fact, and suggesting the necessity of sending down some troops. The
order was at once given, and soon a squad of the Twenty-sixth Massachusetts were
on the ground, and a portion of a battery came threading its way through the
The scene at his moment was grand
and exciting. The immense crowds on the levee swaying back by the advance of the
soldiery—the Laurel Hill and the Empire Parish both one living mass of human
beings cheering vociferously—and the balconies and windows facing the river
teeming in every available spot, even to the roofs—the females screaming and
waving their handkerchiefs, scarfs, flags, and parasols.
The order being given, the
soldiers began to make the crowd move back; a delicate task not easy to effect,
as the women were all in front, thus screening the men behind an impassable and
invincible barrier of crinoline. The soldiers, however, behaved with perfect
order, temper, and decency, making no reply to the insulting taunts from
hundreds of the weaker sex, but, holding their muskets horizontally, gently made
the crowd fall back. The balconies were also cleared of all their demonstrative
occupants, and thus at last the whole mass was grumblingly dispersed, and the
Empire Parish had to crawl off quietly in the night without that grand parting
scene which the rebels evidently expected, and which the scene in the morning
clearly promised. Upon the whole, it was a disgraceful and dangerous exhibition,
and one which certainly ought to have been, and could have been, prevented had
any ordinary means been used for avoiding its occurrence.
REPAIRING THE LEVEE AT NEW
WE publish on
an illustration which represents the work of
LEVEE AT NEW ORLEANS. Our picture shows a force of four or five
hundred workmen, all Union men, employed by direction of the military
They are building new bulk-heads
to protect this portion of the city front from the danger of inundation,
threatened by the steady encroachments of the Mississippi, the current sweeping
into the sharp curve with great velocity, gradually wearing away and undermining
the levee. The new levee, the process of construction of which is shown in the
sketch, is probably but temporary, as a new one will be erected against the new
bulk-head when the flood has subsided sufficiently to permit it. The large
Gothic building in the back-ground is in an unfinished condition. Built for
charitable purposes from a fund bequeathed for that object by a citizen of New
Orleans named Touro, from whom it derives its name, "Touro Building," it is used
at present as the head-quarters of the Fourth Louisiana Native Guard (colored),
which regiment is in process of formation.
THERE had been a grand gala in
the little town of Wilton, the like of which had not been known in years. It had
created more talk than camp-meeting or the county fair; had fluttered more fair
damsels, and given more zest to gossip than even training-day inspired; for it
had been a ball given by the Wiltons of Wilton. All little towns have their
great houses, but none invoked more veneration than the old Wilton manor. It was
something set apart from even the common gaze, hidden in dense foliage,
surrounded by a park which retained the familiar aspect of one yet owned by
English Wiltons, and within its sacred precincts few villagers ever strayed. Of
course all this reserve and dignity was not maintained without some loss of
familiar friendliness. Invidious criticisms were often indulged in; covetousness
and envy created wider distance than Wilton hauteur; and as small matters are
the natural aliment of small minds, great faults were made of little flaws.
There were only three occupants of the great house after all, and no young
ladies to make it, as it might have been, the centre of hospitality and gayety.
Mr. Wilton, pere, had made his fortune in China—was a cold, proud, intelligent,
sensible man; his wife, an invalid, sweet-tempered and gentle; the son, Ray, a
combination of both, with more beauty than is thought to be a man's share. Yet
these three people were of far more account than
all Wilton put together, just
because they happened to be very wealthy.
Snubbed or pitied, envied or
hated, none of the Wilton invitations were refused for the grand ball, and every
one, after it, coincided in declaring that nothing could have been finer.
The house itself was very plain
but spacious; great airy rooms and wide piazzas, somewhat bizarre from their
curious quantity of Chinese furniture and ornaments; every room lighted, and the
profusion of shrubs and flowers made a garden of it to the bewildered eyes of
Wiltonia. Of course there had been music and dancing, and, spite of the awe
which awkward country swains could not but feel in the presence of those whom
their own fancy had so bedight, every one was put at ease by the graceful
suavity of Ray Wilton. He had, as I have said, the attributes of both parents,
but in manner an art of his own.
Hardly had the memory of the ball
faded before there came another sensation, quite as unusual and even more
exciting. Ray Wilton was engaged to be married—not to some bewitching city
belle, not even to the pretty blonde Lily Davis, whose father was Mr. Wilton's
richest tenant—but to that plain, strange, silent creature, Marian Woodward, old
Mr. Woodward the clergyman's daughter.
"You don't say so!"
"Yes I do. Don't you remember her
at the party, in a black silk dress as stiff as a poker?"
"Aunt Sally, not that Miss
"What a fuss you are all making!"
put in a new voice. "Marian's a sight smarter than most girls. She reads her
father's Greek and Hebrew Bible, and she can jabber French like a 'parly voo.' "
"But Ray Wilton's such a handsome
"Handsome is that handsome does;
what makes him better than other men?"
"But she's so ugly."
"To those who like nothing but
pink and white. I say she's an elegant—"
"Oh, oh!" from a chorus of
"Why don't you let me go on? She
is right handsome. She's got great black eyes, and white teeth, and she's as
straight as a rush."
"And she'll put on more airs than
"You needn't judge others by
yourself, Betsy Jane. Marian Woodward's no fool. You'll all go down on your
knees before her if she ever is Mrs. Wilton; so you'd better change your habit
of talking of people. Good-day."
"I guess Hetty expects to make
the wedding-dress, for she is dreadful tart this morning."
"Oh no, she and Marian always
were cronies. Well, well, I wonder what will happen next!"
That which did next happen was
the death of old Mr. Woodward, hardly to the surprise of any, though greatly to
the affliction of Marian, whose life, since she was sixteen till now her
twenty-first year, had been devoted to her loving, venerable father. What had
first attracted Ray Wilton toward Marian was the strong and tender attachment
between her and her father it was so chivalric, if the term can be thus used; so
graceful, yet so warm and faithful that he had been led by it to admire first,
and afterward to love: for to know Marian thoroughly was to love her. His
courtship had been short and ardent; Marian, won fairly, yielded without
coyness. She had a woman's natural preference for gallantry and manly bearing,
and a very childlike trust and faith in those she loved. She was not in the
least exalted at the idea of becoming a Wilton, nor flattered that both Mr. and
Mrs. Wilton already received her with sincere expressions of regard—though
village gossip avowed quite the contrary.
Soon after the funeral Marian, to
save herself future pain, undertook to arrange her father's effects, and among
his papers found one which, as she read, drove the blood from her cheek and set
her heart palpitating with unknown fear. It contained a revelation so painful
and extraordinary that, for a moment, she could not collect her scattered wits.
In the room where she was sitting—her father's study—was a bright wood fire;
great logs of glowing hickory, hissing and crackling on top, at bottom a bed of
soft, feathery ashes: one moment she glanced at the fire, in another the paper
she held in her hand was curling up in its smoke; but again, in a second, she
had snatched it from the flame and held it again in her possession, scorched and
blackened, as was also her hand.
Slowly the day passed away, and
still she sat silently before the fire with this crumpled, scorched paper in her
hand: evening came, and with it Ray Wilton, who found her in the same position,
pale, stern, and tearless. She gave him the paper to read, and watched him as he
too grew pale over its contents. When he had finished he essayed to draw her
toward him; but the embrace was refused: she drew away with apparent effort, but
"There can be no more of this,
Ray. You are free again. Shall we say good-by now?"
"You are not in earnest, Marian?"
"This may not be true; and even
if it were, you know I love you, Marian."
"I am saving you an awkward
necessity: it would have to come sooner or later."
He was pacing the floor
excitedly, head down, stroking his long mustache, half thinking she was right —
struggling between, as he thought, love and honor; but the two are never
divided. There had never been a blot on the Wilton escutcheon. Could he be the
one to blend the bar sinister on so fair a shield?
"I have thought it all out, Ray;
looked at it in all lights. Let me beg you not to shake my resolve."
She was very cool and calm: so
much so that he was nearly deceived, and felt like bursting out in bitter
reproaches. But she had come to him, and put her hand softly in his. His quick
pressure thrilled her with pain; for the tender white skin was more burned than
in her greater pain she had been conscious of. Again he remonstrated. She was
immovable, and half in anger half in sorrow he left her. That whole night she
walked her bedroom floor, her burned hand stinging, her broken heart
numb. In the morning she was
gone, no one knew whither—not even the old servants who had charge of the
rectory; and all Wilton said that Ray had jilted Marian, for he too went away to
In a tiny parlor of a little
cottage, on a lane leading from the Wilton highway, sat a woman sewing one cold
winter evening. It was not yet evening either in the strict Northern sense; for
it was not dark, and the pale gleam of gold that was fast being gathered up in
the deep shades of purple showed that the sun was but just going down behind
those little western hills over which swept down a chilly breeze.
Faster than the needle went in
and out of its work came the low refrain of words set to rhyme—not a song,
though the voice of itself was nearly music, just a quiet chanting of some old
poem, rich in English melody—interrupted by the entrance of a brisk little
personage, who came in at this moment with "How d'ye do, Marian? I just stopped
in for a minute. I left the bread in the oven too, so I can't stay long. I
thought you must be lonesome. No one but me, you know, ever thinks of coming to
see you. People all think you don't like them."
"I rather fear the reverse is
more correct, Miss Hetty: they don't like me."
"Well, it may be; we're all plain
country folk, and you're so dreadful learned, we're kind of afraid of you."
"Women who live all alone, and
are not school madams, are generally believed to be witches. I suppose I should
have been arrested long ago, if I had lived in old colonial times."
"Or thrown in the river, when, if
you hadn't sunk and drowned, you'd surely been hung as a genuine Jezebel. Ha,
ha! Well, but don't you want to hear some news?"
"Of course I do; I am not
inhuman, Miss Hetty."
"It's not very pleasant: they say
there's small-pox at the house on the hill."
"At the Wiltons'?"
Miss Hetty nodded her head, eying
"Who has it?"
"Well, I'll tell you all I know.
Some weeks ago Ray came home sick, and no one knew what was the matter with him.
Dr. Martin said it was bilious fever, when all at once a sign was put up at the
great gate informing people that there was small-pox there; and they say Mrs.
Wilton can not get a nurse for love nor money, and they're goin' to send to the
city for one."
There was no reply, and presently
Marian asked some other commonplace question, which in a remote way reminded
Miss Hefty that the bread in the oven might burn if she did not hurry home; and
so Marian was left alone. Years had come and gone since the day Marian had last
seen Ray Wilton, and it was not without a pang of sorrow that she thought of his
bright handsome face, now perhaps made hideous by disease. She had weaned
herself from other thoughts, from useless regrets. The Past had been buried
without blame, without repining; but its work had been to make her a lonely,
solitary creature, without ties of kindred or society. Her religion was that
described in the first chapter and twenty-seventh verse of St. James, that which
she strove to possess. In no other way was she known in the homes of other
people. As the light waned, and she could not sew, thought became more and more
restive, till at last she rose under its impulse, lighted a candle, and went to
her bedroom, from which she emerged in bonnet and cloak.
The evening, though chilly, was a
tranquil one; stars were just peeping out, as swiftly over the meadows Marian
sped along, thinking of that line in "Evangeline" where the stars are spoken of
as the "forget-me-nots of the angels." She reached the village shortly, and
lifted a brass knocker, on which was most portentously graven the name of Dr.
Martin. The Doctor was in, was just going to tea, but condescended to listen to
Marian's errand. "Are you afraid too?" was his reply to her question, but
meeting no response, took her into his office. Quickly her arm was bared, and
she was vaccinated. Without waiting to know whether it was prudent to venture
near contagion at once, she hurried up the long hill which led to the Wilton
Stiller, graver than ever, it
seemed to hold itself aloof in the solemn darkness of the night with the fearful
illness under its roof; and the servant who led her in warned her that no one
ventured so far. She silently dismissed the subject, and asked to see Mrs.
Wilton, who, in her invalid state, was unusually nervous and alarmed.
Coolly and quietly she announced
her wish with so much decision and earnestness, that, after a short consultation
with her husband, Mrs. Wilton acceded to her request. It was simply that she
might, as she was able, do all she could for their son Ray. And so once more
they met. He in high delirium, unconscious, often uttering her name; she risking
her life for the love she bore him. Once she did, indeed, peer into the mirror,
wondering what her face would be should it be pitted and scarred with this
fearful scourge and smiled to see how thin, and white, and hollow-eyed she had
become in her nightly vigils. The act was hardly one of vanity.
With the first decided symptom of
recovery Marian would have left Ray, almost unconscious of the unwearying care
she had bestowed upon him; and again would she have taken flight, for more than
ever did she dread village gossip—more than all would she avoid the thanks which
would be thought her due. But suddenly one day Ray opened up conscious eyes, and
with something of Wilton hauteur bade her come to his bedside.
For a moment or two he devoured
her with his great eyes—the one fine feature of his face unharmed. He looked at
her as wistfully as a hungry beggar gazes at good things beyond his reach.
"I wonder you do not run off
Do you know what I have been
doing these three years?"
"Cursing my cowardice for giving
in to you that night."
"You could not help it."
"Indeed I could; to tell the
truth I was shocked and hurt, and confounded family pride made a fool of me."
"And now I suppose you would
scorn to touch me with your finger tips."
"Do stop, Ray." And already she
had stooped and put her arms about him, pride and resolution flung to the winds.
"You will take back all you said,
Marian?" was put, with a touch of the sweet grace of old.
"No, Ray." Again she rose erect.
"Not till I have made a name for
myself; won something from fame which fortune has denied me."
He caught at the half promise.
"What proud words! But I may hope
She stooped again, left the sweet
fragrance of her breath on his lips, and was gone.
"A whole year's faithful work
folded in this short compass."
She turned the book from side to
side, from top to bottom; opened the title-page, where, in small, clear type her
own initials stood on guard, glinting at her, but never deigning to acknowledge
her salutation. Then another and another page went over, and thoughts which had
haunted her brain rang their musical, undying strains out from the white
"A year's hard work, two years
since I have seen Ray. I am tired, weary of striving; I want rest and peace, and
my heart aches with its loneliness."
This the proud woman whose name
had been heralded as possessing the Promethean fire, whom suitors stood off from
for fear of her haughty disdain; who, buckling on the armor of one who battles,
had let all lesser things go, had studied, and striven, and accomplished, where
the many fail and the few are successful.
She went on with her reverie.
"The first taste was sweet, but fame for women is apt to prove like the apples
of Sodom. Let me see what the people say;" and drawing the newspaper her
publisher had sent her, in which was a long and just critique of her work, she
read. Its justice pleased her, the praise was discriminate, its fault-finding
aroused no enmity, it was calm and lucid, she could profit by it. Then she
turned over the paper idly, came to the advertisements, smiled at the puffs of
her book in huge capitals, came to the marriage announcements, and read: "In
Florence, at the United States Consulate, Ray Wilton—" She read no more, a
blurring sense of indistinctness banished sight, her brain whirled, and she fell
over in her chair quite senseless. When she recovered she crushed the newspaper
in a drawer, rang her bell, and threw herself on her bed. Her maid came in
alarm, went at once for a physician, who forbade her rising in a week or more or
incur the penalty —brain fever. She was in the city alone, and refusing all
guests; yet every day, though as yet spring gave no sign of approach, came a
bunch of blue violets wrapped lovingly round with geranium leaves. In all her
wretchedness and pain those little flowers seemed to whisper tender pity—the
soft, faint, delicate perfume breathed of a balm which God lets Nature bestow.
Yet health came not; the blow had
fallen so heavily. One day the kind doctor begged her to reveal her sorrow, for
he saw the mind was suffering more than the body. Her woman's nature shrank from
an avowal. Then he asked her to let him bring to visit her the friend whose
faithfulness the flowers evinced. The consent was given languidly, when to her
absolute horror appeared Ray Wilton.
She was sitting in a huge chair
near the window as he entered. So thin and haggard was she that he almost
recoiled aghast. But Marian rose and greeted him as she would have done a
stranger. Their cold salutations over, the physician withdrew, when Ray, who had
at first been repulsed by her coldness, rushed to Marian and clasped her in his
arms. In vain she spoke; she was too feeble to resist; but he did not listen.
"My poor, darling Marian, how
could you be so heartless as to keep me away so long, and you so ill, so
wretched—you who sacrificed every thing for me in my illness, who would have
given your life to have saved mine—"
"Ray, I can not bear this. Tell
me at once, are you married?"
"My Marian! I—a Wilton—sworn to
you all my life—a traitor to my vows!"
"But look—" She tottered to the
desk in which she had crushed the newspaper so fatal to her peace, and gave it
In place of proud indignation
came a look of gentlest pity; his eyes filled in spite of himself.
"My dearest Marian, this is my
father's wedding. Mamma died the month after he went away, and, as you see, this
reads 'Ray Wilton, Senior, to Maude Vernon Harcourt'—an old, faded English
belle, who but takes my father on sufferance. She will not even come to this
country, so Wilton is to be your abiding-place should you choose it."
Then Marian remembered how she
had fainted before reading the whole, and how, in her utter heart-weariness, it
had only seemed a just retribution for her pride and ambition.
So Wilton Manor won a young
mistress, who brought to it new laurels, fresh and green; but to her husband
Marian was always and only the sweet, simple-hearted, loving woman she had been
in old Mr. Woodward's rectory—not her father's home; for in the paper found in
Mr. Woodward's library she had discovered herself to be destitute legally of
that parental relation. No one, however, save Ray Wilton, knows that to this
day; and (Next Page)