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Robert E. Lee Portrait
applied a chisel, while a
policeman held his truncheon ready to defend the operator. The lock gave way.
But the door could not open for furniture.
After some further delay they
took it off its hinges, and the room stood revealed.
To their surprise no rush was
made at them. The maniac was not even in sight.
"He is down upon his luck,"
whispered one of the new keepers: "we shall find him crouched somewhere." They
looked under the bed. He was not there. They opened a cupboard: three or four
dresses hung from wooden pegs; they searched the gowns most minutely: but found
no maniac hid in their ample folds. Presently some soot was observed lying in
the grate: and it was inferred he had gone up the chimney.
On inspection the opening
appeared almost too narrow. Then Dr. Wolf questioned his sentinels in the yard.
"Have you been there all the time?"
"No, Sir. And our eyes have never
been off the window and the leads."
Here was a mystery: and not a
clew to its solution. The window was open: but five-and-twenty feet above the
paved yard: had he leaped down he must have been dashed to pieces.
Many tongues began to go at once:
in the midst of which Edward burst in, and found the two dead men of
contemporary history consisted of a dead dog and a stunned man, who, having a
head like a bullet, was now come to himself and vowing vengeance. He found Julia
very pale, supported and consoled by Mr. Hurd. He was congratulating her on her
escape from a dangerous maniac.
She rose and tottered away from
him to her brother and clung to him. He said what he could to encourage her,
then deposited her in an arm-chair and went up stairs; he soon satisfied himself
Alfred was not in the house. On this he requested Dr. Wolf and his men to leave
the premises. The doctor demurred. Edward insisted, and challenged him to show a
magistrate's warrant for entering a private house. The docter was obliged to own
he had none. Edward then told the policemen they were engaged in an illegal act;
the police were forbidden by Act of Parliament to take part in these captures.
Now the police knew that very well: but, being handsomely bribed, they had
presumed, and not for the first time, upon that ignorance of law which is deemed
an essential part of a private citizen's accomplishments in modern days. In a
word, by temper and firmness, and a smattering of law gathered from the
omniscient 'Tiser, Edward cleared his castle of the lawless crew. But they
paraded the street, and watched the yard till dusk, when its proprietor ran
rusty and turned them out.
Julia sat between Edward and Mr.
Hurd, with her head thrown back and her eyes closed: and received in silence
their congratulations on her escape. She was thinking of his. When they had
quite done, she opened her eyes and said, "Send for Dr. Sampson. Nobody else
knows any thing. Oh pray, pray, pray send for Dr. Sampson."
Mr. Hurd said he would go for Dr.
Sampson. She thanked him warmly.
Then she crept away to her
bedroom, and locked herself in, and sat on the hearth-rug, and thought, and
thought, and recalled every word and tone of her Alfred; comparing things old
Dr. Sampson was a few miles out
of town, visiting a patient. It was nine o'clock in the evening when he got
Julia's note; but he came on to Pembroke Street at once. Dr. Wolf and his men
had retired, leaving a sentinel in the street, on the bare chance of Alfred
returning. Dr. Sampson found brother and sister sitting sadly, but lovingly,
together. Julia rose upon his entrance. "Oh, Doctor Sampson! Now is he—what they
say he is?"
"How can I tell, till I see 'm?"
objected the doctor.
"But you know they call people
mad who are nothing of the kind: for you said so."
Sampson readily assented to this.
"Why it was but last year a surjin came to me with one Jackson, a tailor, and
said, 'Just sign a certificate for this man: his wife's mad.' 'Let me see her,'
sid I. 'What for,' sis he: 'when her own husband applies.' 'Excuse me,' sis I,
'I'm not a bat, I'm Saampson.' I went to see her; she was nairvous and excited;
'Oh I know what you come about,' said she. But you are mistaken.' I questioned
her kindly, and she told me her husband was a great trile t' her nairves. I
refused to sign: on that didn't the tailor drown himself in the canal nixt day?
He was the madman; and she knew it all the time; but wouldn't tell us; and
that's a woman all over."
"Well then," said Julia,
"Ay but," said Sampson, "these
cases are exceptions, after all: and the chances are nine to one he's mad.
Dawn't you remember that was one of the solutions I offered ye, when he levanted
on his wedding-day?" He added, satirically, "And couldn't all that logic keep in
a little reason?"
This cynical speech struck Julia
to the heart: she could not bear it: and retired to her own room.
Then Dr. Sampson saw his mistake,
and said to Edward, with some concern, "Maircy on us, she is not in love with
him still, is she? I thought that young parson was the man now."
Edward shook his head: but
declined to go much into a topic so delicate as his sister's affections: and
just then an alarming letter was delivered from Mrs. Dodd. She wrote to the
effect that David, favored by the wind, had run into Portsmouth Harbor before
their eyes, and had disappeared, hidden, it was feared, by one of those low
publicans, who provide bad ships with
sailors, receiving a commission.
On this an earnest conversation between Sampson and Edward. It was interrupted
in its turn.
Julia burst suddenly into the
room, pale and violently excited, clasping her hands and crying, "He is there.
His voice is like a child's. Oh, help me! He is hurt. He is dying."
ZENAS CAREY'S REWARD.
RED and sullen, like the eye of
some baleful demon, the low sun glowed through the tangled depths of the
November woods, casting bloody lines of light across the fallen trees, whose
mossy trunks were half hidden in drifts of faded yellow leaves, and evoking
faint, sweet scents, like Orient sandal-wood and teak, from a thousand forest
censers, hidden away, who knows how or where. And above that line of dull
flaming fire the sky frowned—a leaden-gray concave, freighted, as the
weather-wise could tell you, with snow-flakes sufficient to turn that broken
forest into a fairy grove of pearl and ermine. So the daylight was ebbing away
from this Thanksgiving-eve.
"Now I wonder where I am!" said
John Siddons, pausing abruptly in the scarce visible foot-path that wound among
the trees. "As completely 'turned round' as though I stood in the deserts of
Egypt! I wish I had been sensible enough to keep to the high-road: these short
cuts generally turn out very long ones! However, if I keep straight ahead, I
must inevitably emerge from these woods somewhere."
He sat down on a mossy stump,
leaning his head carelessly on one hand, while the other played unconsciously
with the worn brim of his blue soldier's cap—a slender, pleasant-faced young
man, with gray-blue eyes, and dark hair thrown back from a bronzed forehead,
which had been touched by the fiery arrows of many a Southern sun in lonely
swamps, and along the fever-reeking shores of sullen rivers.
"Houseless—homeless!" he murmured
to himself. "I wonder how many others are saying the same thing this
Thanksgiving-eve. To think that I should fight through the campaign unhurt, and
return with an honorable discharge in my pocket to a place where nobody knows or
cares whether I'm alive or dead, while so many brave fellows were shot down at
my side with bullets that tore through a score of hearts at home, carrying
sharper pangs than death has to give! It's a queer thing to have only one
relative in the world, and he a total stranger. If I find this second-cousin of
my father he'll probably kick me out of doors for a shiftless, soldiering
vagabond. But, hang it! a man can't live alone like a tortoise in its shell. I
remember wondering, when I was a boy, why the Madeira vines over the porch
stretched out their green tendrils, and seemed to grope through the sunshine for
something to cling to. I think I understand it now."
He rose up and walked on through
the russet leaves that rustled ankle-deep beneath his tread, still
musing—musing; trying to study out the unknown quantities in life's great
equation, while the sun went down behind a bank of lurid clouds, and the chill
night wind began to sigh sorrowfully in the tree-tops. And suddenly the sturdy
woods tapered off into a silver-stemmed thicket of white birches, and the white
birches fringed a lonely country road with a little red house beyond, whose
windows were aglow kith fire-light, and whose door-yard was full of the peculiar
perfume of white and maroon-blossomed chrysanthemums.
Zenas Carey was leaning over the
gate, surveying the stormy sunset with critical eyes.
"I told Melindy so!" ejaculated
Zenas, apparently addressing himself to the crooked apple-tree by the road.
"I'll bet my best steer we have a good old-fashioned fall of snow to keep
Thanksgivin' with. I smelt it in the air this mornin', but women don't never
believe nothin' until it comes to pass right under their noses, for—"
This rather obscure sentence was
nipped in the bud by a footstep at his side. Zenas turned abruptly to
reconnoitre the new arrival.
"Will you be kind enough to give
me a glass of water, Sir?" said John Siddons, wearily.
"Sartin, Sir!" said Zenas. "So
you're a soldier, hey?"
"A returned soldier," said
Siddons, draining the cool element from the cocoa-nut shell that always lay
close to the well curb at the side of the house.
"Goin' home to keep Thanksgivin'?"
"Home! Sir, I have no home!"
Siddons had spoken sharply, as if
the thought were goading to him. Zenas put out his brown knotted hand and
grasped the retreating man's arm.
"My boy!" he said, with kindly
abruptness, "you're a soldier, and to tell by your looks I should guess you were
about the age of him that's buried at Gettysburg—my only son! I love that blue
uniform for Davie's sake, and if there's a soldier in the world that hasn't a
home to go to on Thanksgivin'-eve, there's a corner for him by Zenas Carey's
fireside. Come in, Sir! come in! You're as welcome as flowers in May!"
John looked into the wet eyes and
working face of the old farmer an instant, and accepted his invitation without
What a cheerful change it was,
from the frosty air and chill twilight of the lonely road to that bright kitchen
with its spotless board floor and fire of resinous pine logs! And when Melinda
Carey drew a hump-backed rocking-chair to the hearth for him, and spoke a word
or two of welcome, John Siddons wondered if the eyes of the mother, who died
when he was a babe, had not beamed upon him just so!
"I told mother so this very
mornin'," said Zenas, with a triumphant flourish of his hand, as he stirred up
the logs to a waving, glorious sheet of flame. "Says I, 'Melindy, we'll kill the
biggest turkey, and I'll pick out the yallerest pumpkins on the barn floor.' And
says she, 'What for, Zenas, when
there's only us two to eat 'em?'
and, says I, 'Mother,' says I, ' Davie was here with us last Thanksgivin' with
his new uniform, as brave and handsome as you'll often see.'—Now, mother, don't
Zenas interrupted himself to
stroke his wife's gray hair with a strangely tender touch, and went on:
"Says I, 'He's gone where it's
Thanksgivin' all the year round now, my poor boy—my brave boy! —but,' says I,
'we'll make somebody welcome for Davie's sake; won't we, mother?' And now, Sir,
you'll spend to-morrow with us, and tell me about the battle of Gettysburg,
where Davie died, crying out with his last breath not to let the flag be
Zenas's voice died out into a
choking, gasping sob. John Siddons laid his hand softly on the rough,
toil-hardened hand of the farmer, while a pang of envy shot through his heart.
Ah! it was almost worth while being shot down in battle to be missed and mourned
like dead David Carey!
"Oh, wife!" wailed Zenas, when
John Siddons had fallen asleep in the little corner room that had been the lost
boy's, "it is almost like having Davie back again! Wife, I fight my great sorrow
down every night, but every morning it rises up again more strong than ever! God
help us—God help every parent whose home is made desolate by the field of
Thanksgiving dawned through a
white whirlwind of driving snow that eddied among the gnarled boughs of the
apple-tree in mad frolics, and edged the old stone-wall with dazzling ermine.
And the fiery sparks careering swiftly up Zenas Carey's wide chimney met the
steadily falling snow half-way and gave battle, while the hearth glowed with
ruddy brightness, as if it knew all about the Governor's Proclamation and
approved of it.
"You have a cozy little farm
here, Mr. Carey," said John, as they walked through the snow-storm to the
church, whose spire nestled among the everlasting hills beyond.
"If I was only sure of it, Sir,"
said Zenas, with a sigh. "But I've been hard put to it to get along these times.
Taxes and such like come heavy on poor men, and I've had a run o' ill luck, so
that the place is mortgaged to its full value, and to a hard man, Sir—one that
will sell the home you've been born and brought up in as soon as eat his
breakfast, so he can make money by it. It will be a black day for Melindy and me
when we have to leave the Rock Farm; but it must come soon, and I don't much
care what becomes of me arterward. I tell you, Sir, when a man has lived to my
age under one roof-tree he don't take very kindly to bein' moved. Men are like
forest trees, Sir; you can take a young 'un and do as you please with it, but if
you transplant an old 'on it dies. Let's talk o' something else, Mr. Siddons. I
oughtn't to complain Thanksgivin'-day."
John looked with a feeling of
actual reverence at the hard-featured old man, whose simple soul, borne down as
he was by debt, and grief, and age, could still find something to be thankful
The turkey and pumpkin-pies were
smoking on the round table when John and Zenas returned from church; and Mrs.
Carey had brought out her best "flowing blue" plates and her choicest old-time
silver spoons in honor of their guest. There was no beverage but coffee that
never knew the shores of Java, and a pitcher of cold, sparkling cider; but
Champagne could not have been more cordially dealt out by Zenas; and Mrs.
Carey's smiling kindness gave a flavor to the chickorized rye that is sometimes
lacking in "egg-shell china."
The table was cleared away, and
they were sitting round the fire, when the door was opened and Deacon Evarts
entered, bringing a small snow-drift on the shoulders of his shaggy overcoat.
"Well, I am beat!" quoth Zenas.
"Take a cheer, Deacon. Let me hang your coat afore the fire to dry."
"Can't stay," said the Deacon,
giving himself a shake, like a black water-dog on its hind-legs. "I thought
you'd like to hear the news, so I jest dropped in on my way to any darter's
"News! what news?" exclaimed
Zenas, while his wife dropped her knitting.
"Do tell! then you hain't heerd?"
"I hain't heerd nothin' but the
wind a-howlin' down the chimbly, and Elder Smith's sarmon this mornin'," said
Zenas, a little impatiently.
"The Squire's dead, up to the
"Dead! You don't tell me so!
That's the man I was a speakin' of as holds my mortgage!" explained Zenas,
turning to John Siddons. "And when did it happen, Deacon?"
"Died last night, Sir, just about
nightfall, as quiet as a lamb. There wa'n't nobody with him but the old
housekeeper—folks didn't s'pose he was dangerous. And Lawyer Ovid says there's a
reg'lar will, and he's left all his property to the only relative he had livin';
a soldierin' feller that he's never so much as seen—one Sedgewick, or Sibley,
or—what was his name now? Any how he's fell heir to all Squire Peter Ailesford's
property, and that's a pretty consid'able windfall!"
"Was the name Siddons?" asked the
soldier, who had hitherto listened to the conversation in silence.
"That's it!" said the Deacon,
giving his knee a sounding slap.
"Peter Ailesford was my father's
cousin," said the young man, quietly.
"Land o' Goshen!" ejaculated
Deacon Evarts, with growing veneration for the heir to "the old Squire's" money.
"Now really! that's kind o' providential, ain't it! To think that you should be
right here on the spot!"
"I was in search of Mr.
Ailesford's house when I met you, Sir," said Siddons, turning to Carey; "but as
I was unaware what sort of reception I might get, your kind invitation decided
me to wait a day or two."
In vain the Deacon tried to
"pump" the young soldier. John Siddons was civilly uncommunicative, and the
Deacon finally took leave, burning to unfold his budget of news elsewhere.
"I hope, Sir," said Carey,
uneasily, when they were once more alone, "you won't be hard about that
mortgage. I'm a poor man, and—"
"Mr. Carey," said John, quietly,
"you shall burn that mortgage on this hearth the very day I come into possession
of my relative's papers. No thanks, Sir; I have not forgotten that I was 'a
stranger, and you took me in.' Do you suppose I shall ever cease to remember the
welcome of this Thanksgiving hearth? I never knew either father or mother; but
to-day I have fancied what their kindness might have been."
"It was for Davie's sake!" sobbed
Mrs. Carey, fairly overcome.
"Then for your dead son's sake
will you let me fill his place toward you? Last night death took from me the
only one in the world to whom I was allied by ties of blood; do not turn me from
"The Lord bless thee—the Lord
make his face to shine upon thee, my second son!" said the old man, solemnly.
Slowly the dusk gathered athwart
the hills, with wailing winds and whirling drifts of snow—slowly the darkness
wrapped them round; but in Zenas Carey's steadfast soul the light of an eternal
Thanksgiving was burning; and his wife, with tearful eyes, mused upon her two
soldier boys—one dead at Gettysburg, the other sitting at her side!
UNION PRISONERS AT RICHMOND.
WE illustrate on
page 781 the
condition of our poor fellows who are so unfortunate as to be prisoners of the
Richmond, Virginia. While the rebel prisoners in our hands are
supplied with food in such abundance that they can not consume it all, with
clothing, and even regular rations of tobacco, our brave soldiers, to the number
of fifteen to eighteen thousand, are shivering and starving to death on Belle
Island. The first intimation we had of their sufferings was on the receipt of a
boat-load of sick and wounded at City Point, on 29th September. Of their
appearance an eye-witness spoke as follows:
The men landed at five in the
chilly dawn, and it seemed a fitting time for so mournful a procession. They
numbered 180 men, brought from Belle Island, near Richmond. Many were unable to
walk, and were carried to the hospital. Those that could walk must have
presented a sight never to be forgotten; for, before leaving, the rebels not
only stripped them of socks, shoes, and blankets, but took from them their
shirts and pantaloons, except where the rags could scarce hold together. Men
came without hats or caps, with thin cotton drawers, and bodies bare to the
waist, their nakedness and bleeding feet covered only by what tatters their
cruel captors had left them, not from mercy, but because they were too filthy to
keep. These men had been on Belle Island (which seems to be a barren waste),
without any protection against the weather, except what they had themselves
constructed. They had lain on the sand, which was to thews both bed and
covering, exposed, both sick and well, to all extremes of heat and cold, without
clothes, without food (except small portions of the most repulsive kinds), for
weeks and months, many having been taken prisoners at or before the battle of
Gettysburg. Many were suffering from what are called sand-sores, and the
surgeons in vain attempted to produce general circulation of blood, the cuticle
in many instances seemingly dried on the bone from exposure.
Within a day or two a returned
prisoner from Richmond, Rev. H. C. Trumbull, of the Tenth Connecticut regiment,
has stated that when he left the Libey prison at Richmond on Wednesday, the
Union officers confined there had only received one-third of a pound of bread
and some water for two days previous, and for several days no meat had been
served out. The Quarter-master explained to the prisoners that he had no
provisions to give them, and excused himself for the seeming inhumanity on his
part. He stated that on the same day he was unable to supply the prisoners on
Belle Island with any thing whatever, and that it was with the greatest
difficulty he could procure a little meat for the hospitals.
De Witt C. Walters, an Indiana
scout, equal to Leatherstocking, captured just before
Chickamauga, and paroled
with three hundred and fifty other Union prisoners, arrived at Washington last
week, and stated, among other things of absorbing interest, that the average
number of deaths among our men in Richmond hospitals is forty-three a day, and
that most of them get their death-warrants on Belle Island. That sandy desert is
low, damp, swept with winds, and wrapped in fogs. Our men are without blankets,
and but one-third of them sheltered under mould-eaten tents. All the starved
sicken instantly, and run down with frightfoal rapidity. Four dogs, enticed to
the Island during the twenty days Walters was confined there, were greedily
cooked and joyfully ate. In the hospital to which he was transferred, the sole
diet was cornbread, made up without salt. Not a beef animal has come to Richmond
in twelve days.
Five thousand Union prisoners are
now on their way to Lynchburg and Danville, for easier access to such food as
can be reached. Walters's picture of waste time and cunning in a vain endeavor
to entice the more confiding one of four fat pups from a slut seated outside a
fence, which coops our men on Belle Island, to trot under it and be ate up, is
one of ghastly humor, and a sure measure of misfortune to which our friends so
speedily succumb in that Golgotha.
The following from the Richmond
Examiner of 7th instant, may help to explain our picture:
On last Wednesday night a "spy,"
from Lieutenant V. Bossieux's guard, on
Belle Isle, while perambulating in
disguise through the Yankee prisoners, overheard one of the prisoners say,
"Well, they're going to plant cannon around us to-morrow, and all who don't want
to stay here and freeze to death this winter must make a break to-night."
The "spy" immediately sped to
Lieutenant Bossieux with the information he had obtained. The latter
communicated the alarm to the guard, threw the sentinels forward, and sent to
the barracks for one hundred additional men.
No attempt to break the lines was
made, and it was plain that if any was contemplated it was checked by the
demonstration of the guard.
Five pieces of cannon are now
planted in positions bearing on the prisoner's camp at short range, and any
demonstration to overpower the guard will result in the thinning out of their