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Civil War Harper's Weekly, March 7, 1863

We have posted our entire collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers online for your research and enjoyment. These old newspapers contain fascinating images and stories of the key elements of the War, and offer unique insights into this conflict.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)

 

Longworth

Nicholas Longworth

Jewish Persecution

Jewish Persecution

Queen of the West

Capture of the Queen of the West

Paying Teamsters

Paying Teamsters

Free People, Long War

How Free People Conduct a Long War

Battle of Vicksburg

Battle of Vicksburg

Madisonville

Madisonville, Louisiana

New Orleans

Poor of New Orleans

Teamsters

Teamsters

Vicksburg Blockade Runner

Running the Blockade at Vicksburg

Vicksburg Battle

Picture of the Battle of Vicksburg

Vicksburg Map

Map of Vicksburg

Napoleon Cartoon

Napoleon Cartoon

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[MARCH 7, 1863.

158

THE COURT OF THE WATER-
LILY.

POOR Robert was killed in his first battle. I felt sure that he would be when he enlisted; but it would have made, no difference about his going if he could have read his doom in the Records above before he put down his name.

My sister Lucy sent me to find and bring him home.

One of his comrades showed me the spot where he found him when the search for dead and wounded began. The poor fellow had crept out of the great highway of battle (leaving a bloody track behind him, to show where he fell), into a corner, and lay there peacefully asleep, with his cheek pillowed upon a little clover-clump. "There had been little pain in his death," the soldier said; "his face was calm and quiet. I buried him near where he fell. Here!" Marking the place where he was laid, I rode back for permission and assistance in disinterring the body.

As I crossed a bright little stream, which widened away to sedges on its farther side, I loosened my horse's rein that he might drink. I had lingered so long that the full moon was shining brightly, and the air was redolent of forest odors distilled by the dewy night; and feeling confidence in my good steed, I "hoppled" him and let him graze, while I asked in the summer moonlight.

There was a great commotion going on in the stream.

Slowly out of its crystal depths rose a green, foam-crested wave, dashing itself upon the grassy bank, where it remained fixed—no longer a wave merely, but a stately throne of the purest emerald, carpeted with downy foam, and canopied with an inverted water-lily. Up in snowy dome the many golden stamens tremblingly rang out with melodious chime the hour of midnight; and a being, fairer than mortal tongue could tell, arose from the sparkling stream and ascended the royal dais. Gems of water, brighter than any diamonds of Earth, sparkled in the crown which rested

upon her golden curls; and while her tiny face and form had much of regal grace, there was that winning smile of tender love which won the hearts of all who saw her. Her coronation robes, of white velvet relieved with green, swept the rich foam carpet, and mingled their softness with its own downy texture. One hand and arm of wondrous beauty held the sceptre of moonlight-colored pearl, the other extended itself in snowy beauty on the arm of the royal seat. The Lily Queen waited to hold her court.

There was a pause, and then the tiny bells rung a merry chime. Swiftly the summons was obeyed, and the air was tremulous with the flutter of many-colored wings and the rustle of the feet of insect steeds upon the grass.

From far and wide regions they came—Rose, Lily, Tulip, Heliotrope, Geraniums and Fuschias, Cacti and Thistles, Violets, Orange-buds, and a countless host of others.

Now who could not guess that the stiff Court Chamberlain, in his many-colored robes and pale-green trowsers, was a Tulip on ordinary occasions? or mistake the Rose, with her blushing cheeks and regal port, her sweet odor and magnificent attire, for any but her own lovely self? or that fair band of sisters, who, arrayed more gorgeously "than Solomon in all his glory " disposed themselves about their royal cousin? A shade of anxiety rested on each tiny face. For the Emerald Crown would be awarded to-night, and there was a flutter of expectation among all who had come to strive for the prize, for every blossom that loves the sun or seeks the shade, that blooms by day or weeps at night, bowed its dew-gemmed head before the throne.

The Honey-suckle herald sounded his bugle. The ushers of the Golden Rod marshaled the brilliant crowd, and the royal proclamation went forth.

"Oyez! oyez! oyez! All true and loyal subjects of the Lily Queen are to be given speech and audience to-night, and all evil spirits of the air are banned, for it is the eve of St. John. The Queen would fain hear what goodly service had been done

to men by her subjects, to comfort those who have so tenderly cared for us. Oyez! oyez!"

"Fair sister," said the Queen, as the Rose bent low before her, "thou art a queen, like ourself, in other lands; therefore speak first. Or hast thou idled, listening to the song of thine own nightingale?"

The Rose blushed to the edge of her crimson robe. "Even had I such idle thoughts as your Majesty implies, my nightingale is far over the seas, and mine has been too varied a duty to spare time for light-o'-love songs. Time will not suffice to tell how often I have cheered the sick-room; or how I have blanched my cheek that it should be a fit companion for the waxen dead, on whose chilly breast they laid me to sleep. And how, borne in fair ladies' hands, I have heard the gay rattle of the ball-room; or, decking the walls of the brilliant salon, I have trembled to the throbbing waltz. I come now with no such idle tale; though I come, indeed, from such scenes. I was borne to-night in a hand —a fair one, too—whose touch should have withered me, for it was hot with treason. I felt a billet placed in my green arms, and I felt that secrets were intrusted to my keeping. I raised my eyeglass—made, as your Majesty knows, of the lens of the eye of a lightning-bug—and saw, oh, horror! a map of the Union defenses, a list of the Union forces, and a perfect transcript of the Union plans for the next campaign! She let the rebel spy, in the guise of a gallant, attend her to her carriage, and suffered him to keep the flowers—as if they had been a tender love-token, instead of bitter treachery!"

"You but discovered the treason, good sister," replied the Queen, sadly. "You had no power to prevent the consequences. Worthier service than this must deserve the royal guerdon, much as it grieves us to say it."

"Ho! ho! ho!" sounded a goblin laugh close beside me, and I dimly discerned an eerie shape cowering dimly and darkly behind the willow clump near me. I felt the pestilential odor of his breath as of a charnel house as he growled out, "That's a true enough story. The Confederates

have got it all safe by this time. I saw to that. The whole of it isn't bigger than a silver quarter, if I haven't forgotten the size of one."

And his rattling laugh sounded like thin ice crackling under the skater's heel.

The purple Heliotrope, leaning on the arm of her faithful Geranium, had a little story, not a new one, to tell. There have been such tales ever since young people found that flowers could tell of gentle hopes easier than lips. The fair Queen smiled, and the goblin shape hissed out a sneer.

The Geraniums fluttered their fans, and spoke much of the delights of gay society, and the select circles in which they moved. In turn they were chilled with the icy hauteur of the snowy Camelia, who, scarcely bending her head, and vouchsafing not a word, swept past the fragrant but parvenue throng.

There were pure white flowers in crowds, and side by side with them I saw a Blue Violet from the garden of a crippled child. There was a Scarlet Bean, grown in a window-box, from a poor tenement house, in New York, side by side with the night-blooming Cereus from the great hot-house. The Mistletoe, in the guise of a white-haired gentleman of the old school, violently ogled the blushing Holly, who appeared in a rich green satin, tastefully ornamented with coral, while Miss did not in the least resent the liberty, but was evidently pleased with her ancient friend. The demure Lavender, in the character of a pretty German chamber-maid, was covertly carrying on a flirtation with a tall and slender Sweet Clover, who was trying to assist her in her passage through the crowd. The Sweet-Pea, looking for all the world like one's own pretty country cousin, clung for support to the Purple Lilac, who, in the similitude of a rustic schoolmaster, took the best care of her that he could. This pair, being in turn severely snubbed by his cousin, the White Lilac, who, having lately been presented at the court of Eugenie, gave herself immense airs in consequence. The Crimson Peony, who was accompanied by her consumptive sister, was severely injured by the rudeness of a Prickly Pear, who had nearly destroyed her best red satin gown on his spurs.

"The less I see of men the better I like them," was his uncourteous address to the Queen. "Let us alone and we do no harm; but woe to him who tramples on my rights!" And he swung his yellow cap defiantly, and actually put it on his head.

It being evident that he had partaken too freely of the private bottle of aguardiente which it was known he was in the habit of carrying, the Grand Chamberlain signed to two stout Scotch Thistles, who guarded the throne with fixed bayonets, to remove him. He struggled violently, but the stout Highlanders carried him to a distance and gave him a severe ducking, which, being at variance with his usual habits, effectually cooled his impudence.

"There was small chance for an argument then —bayonets against spurs," I remarked to the shape.

"They had no right to meddle," growled the Dark One. "He had as good right to his spurs as they to bayonets. Let him alone, and there would have been no row."

I could but dimly discern his figure in the pale light, but I fancied I could see—no matter what kind of feet. He wore no boots, and had the C. S. A. buttons.

Now each fair plant and tender blossom had spoken a few words, and the Emerald crown had glittered and paled as each testimony was of greater or less valuable service; yet it still remained immovably fixed upon its velvet cushion.

Then the Herald sounded again on his fragrant bugle:

"Oyez! oyez! oyez! Inasmuch as the crown hath not been awarded to the Flowers, now let all the green tribes who feed mankind, or comfort his heart with drink or drug, come forth, and declare what deed of signal service they have done! Let them now speak! Oyez! oyez! oyez!"

And now, to be sure, arose a tumult, as the motley crowd began to jostle toward the throne.

Here a portly dame, in flaming yellow gown and green gaiters, tried hard to push herself ahead of another, evidently of her own family, though of a more elegant shape.

"Don't give yourself airs, Miss Squashblossom," she panted; "you're no better'n what I be, if you ain't quite so big!"

"Off my toes, you lumbering porpoise!" roared out a sturdy Potato. "It's enough to bring the tears to my eyes to tramp on a fellow's corns at that rate!"

"I shall certainly cry in two minutes!" moaned the poor Onion, who was getting the worst of it, as the crowd pushed her on one side.

"I shall certainly exhale in this vulgar jam!" sighed the Tobacco.

"Now do set yourself up, Cousin Tobacco!" growled a Tomato vine. "I wonder which of us smells the worst, or is hardest to learn to like at first, you or I—hey!"

"Ah me!" sighed the Poppy, to her gallant cousin, Cannabis Indicus, "would I were at home in my own bed! Late hours were always too much for me!"

"'There will be merry work ere long," whispered the Hasheesh, leaning across to a Shamrock, who covertly fingered his shillalah a little on one side.

"Ay, wait a bit!" was the exulting answer; but the big Thistle, knowing their characters, quietly tipped them a warning wink, and they relapsed into quiet.

"Will you just see the airs Cauliflower is taking on," whispered the Cabbage, as he bowled along with the Turnip on his arm, while the Cauliflower scornfully cut her ancient relative.

With much difficulty the Usher and the Royal Guards succeeded in arranging the order of presentation.

The Potato plead hard for the reward. She claimed she had fed more people, and "betther ones," too, than any other vegetable on the ground, and she glanced appealingly toward the Shamrock, who quickly responded, "Thrue for ye, darlint!"

Map of Vicksburg

 

 

 

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