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Civil War Harper's Weekly, December 3, 1864

This site contains our entire collection of Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers contain incredible content, and allow the serious student of the war to gain new insights into the key events of the war. The reports were written by eye-witnesses within hours of the events depicted.

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

 

Martinsburg

Martinsburg

Peace

Prospect of Peace

General Birney

Death of General Birney

Wilmington Blockade

Blockade of Wilmington

Pittsburg Tunnel

Pittsburg Tunnel

Fat Soldiers

Fat Soldiers Cartoon

 

 

Wilmington

Wilmington, North Carolina

United We Stand

Thanksgiving Day

Martinsburg

Martinsburg, Virginia

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[DECEMBER 3, 1864.

778

TUNNEL UNDER PITTSBURG.

THE great TUNNEL which has been excavated under the city of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, which we illustrate on page 773, will, in connection with bridges over the Monongahela and Ohio rivers, shorten the distance to Steubenville thirty miles. This will render the Steubenville and Pittsburg Railroad the nearest and most available route from New York to Cincinnati. The tunnel runs beneath some of the largest edifices of Pittsburg, and but for its very substantial structure would certainly endanger some of the habitations of that smoky town.

A LAMENT.

PURER   the new-born snow-drops of the spring, Fairer the blue-bells of the waning year,

Richer and dearer every mystic thing

hat heavenly thoughts to earthly hearts doth bring—The stars that beckon and the winds that sing, If thou wert here.

And lovelier far the mountain and the lake, More gay the summer, grander autumn sere,

And birds would blither pipe from bower and brake. And kindlier music would the wild sea make, And less wild whispers through the poplars shake,

If thou wert here.

Fields would gleam greener in the morning fine, Shadows fall softer in the even clear,

And setting suns and moony nights benign On these desiring eyes enchanted shine,

And music hide a meaning more divine,

If thou wert here.

Swift-stealing weeks would not seem weary-slow, Nor the long hours of lonesome dusk so drear, Nor eyes look wistful in the firelight glow, Nor musing alway drift to sadness so,

Nor dream joys sicken to a waking woe,

If thou wert here.

And paths were pleasant which I shuddering shun, And one blank birthday were a day of cheer, And love's light duties wondrous worth had won, And irksome labors with delight were done, And all were brighter underneath the sun,

If thou wert here.

UNCLE GODFREY.

I.—TODMORTEN RECTORY.

IT was the day before Christmas day, and the Rev. Mr. Latimer was busy finishing his Christmas sermon, or rather, if we must confess it, " heel-tapping" an old one.

The reverend gentleman had just settled the Coal-club accounts, and that excellent work of charity had warmed his heart, and made him at peace with all the world. The frost was feathering the window-panes ; in the ruts of the Todmorten lanes the ice lay like fragments of shivered plate-glass; the twigs of the laurel-bushes at the rectory window were furred with crystals ; and the robin, puffing out his little crimson breast till it looked like an alderman's waistcoat, sat on the standard rose-tree at the study window, watching, with interest, Mr. Latimer as he put the new piece into the old garment.

The sermon completed, Mr. Latimer went head-foremost into the Blanket-club accounts, and soon discovered the pleasing fact that there was an over-plus of seven pound ten. All this conduced to make the worthy young rector extremely cheerful, and in a proper Christmas frame of mind. He hummed a carol to himself, and prepared to go out to superintend the clerk, who was busy decorating the church with holly.

But young rectors with large families, if they have their pleasures, have also their alloys. The monthly wash had just begun, and a large screen of steaming sheets is by no means a conductor of heat, especially when placed between yourself and the fire ; nor does the necessity of turning these square acres of linen at fitting intervals conduce to the concentration of mind that accounts require. .

A cook must have unceasing pleasure in the savory chemistry of his profession ; but to watch a large sauce-pan, and stir its contents every quarter of an hour, under pain of your wife's indignation, is not consistent with any steady mental labor. Yet all these small annoyances the Rev. Frederick Latimer bore like a Christian and a lamb, for he was a good, kind-hearted, domestic man, who respected the saving of the family wash, and knew that the kitchen-fire was fully occupied, and that what he did was no work of supererogation.

That slapping and shaking noise in the kitchen was, he knew, Mrs. Latimer folding, and that sound portended a busy day, and in that busy day he was willing to make himself useful.

The children were out sliding—getting fiery red by tumbling on the back of their heads, and per-forming the "cobbler's knock" on the village-pond. They had been busy cutting holly-boughs for the church that morning, and the sliding was their re-ward.

"Jane, my dear," cried the Rev. Mr. Latimer to his wife, as he put on his great-coat and hat, and seized his black-thorn stick, " I'm just going to see old Martha Hacker ; and then I shall step up to the church and see how Payne gets on with the decorations. I shall be back to lunch at one.—Those sheets in my study are quite dry, and the sauce-pan has been on the boil ten minutes."

" Stop a moment, Fred," cried Mrs. Latimer; " I want to speak to you before you go out."

Mr. Latimer was ruffled. " Well, now, what is it, my dear? I can not stop now ; I must be off."

Mrs. Latimer appeared, and remonstrated. " Why, Fred, how impatient you are ! All I want to ask is, if you wrote your usual invitation to Uncle Godfrey for Christmas. Of course he won't come,' but still we oughtn't to forget him."

" Yes, I wrote on Monday. Did I ever forget to write to him—the old selfish hunks! Good-by, darling. Send down for the children if they are not in in half an hour ; it is now just eleven."

II.—THE ELEVEN-FORTY TRAIN.

TODMORTEN was a pretty village in Dorsetshire. It lay in a little valley, surrounded by wooded hill and sloping fields, and was intersected by a railway,

The eleven-forty train sided out of the distance and stopped, with bragging puffs of smoke, at the Todmorten Station. It took up its load and. slid off again, with jets of white vapor, and disappeared in the direction of Poole. The station grew again lonely ; and the only sounds, the rattling of the tight cords of the signal-post, and the murmur of the wind against the telegraph-wires.

Ten minutes after the solitary arrival an old-fashioned man with a wooden leg stumped slowly up Todmorten Hill. The butcher saw him, the grocer saw him, the blacksmith saw him, the guests at the bar-parlor of the Peal of Bells saw him, and discussed him. One and all pronounced him to be "a regular old guy," evidently come by the train, and bound to the neighboring village.

The children from the rectory window saw him —for the rectory was on a hill, and commanded the village—and marveled at his wooden leg.

The eldest girl, Dora, her golden fleece of back hair tossing in the air, ran to describe him to Mrs. Latimer. " Oh, mamma," she cried, " there is such a funny man coming up the hill—he's got a wood-en leg ! George says he moves it as if it was a compass and lie was drawing a circle. Oh, it's such fun ! Do come and see !"

Mrs. Latimer allowed herself to be dragged into the parlor by Dora, George, and Willy, and looked through the window. The wooden-legged man was only thirty yards off. She had no sooner seen him than she gave a hysterical scream, and exclaimed, "Uncle Godfrey ! Run, Dora, and tell cook to go and take the sheets and the sauce-pan out of the study ; and, George, go and tell Susan to put on a clean apron, and go to the front-door. Dear me, how unfortunate papa not being in!"

The next moment there was a strange sound on the rectory gravel-walk, and a sharp, curt knock at the door. Susan was a long time answering the door ; when she did so she received a rebuke that she did not soon forget.

" Young woman," said the old gentleman, furiously, " is this the way you are taught to attend to your master's visitors ? Nice weather to be kept in the cold. Ugh ! it bites one's nose off. Lucky you're not in my service, or out you'd go this day-month. Is Mr. Latimer in?"

" Nasty, cross old thing !" thought Susan, as she replied : " No, Sir ; Mr. Latimer is out in the parish."

" Who cares where he is ? If he's not in, where's your missus ?"

"Up stairs."

" Very well, then, tell her to come down stairs." "What name, if you please?"

" Godfrey Dodson."

Susan swept out of the room. She never saw such a cross, unmannerly old "thing" in the whole course of her life ; and so she told Ellen the cook.

Uncle Godfrey was a short, irascible little man, who wore a brown spencer, a low-crowned hat of the old hour-glass shape, popular some twenty years ago, mild long drab gaiters. He was an old-bachelor recluse, who lived in the Adelphi, in rooms which he never allowed any body to enter, and which were stuffed full of pictures, etchings, buhl cabinets, snuff-boxes, and old china. Early in life he had been a dry-salter in Liverpool, and since then had devoted himself laboriously to doing no-thing, and exciting the expectations of his poorer relations. Mrs. Latimer had only seen her uncle once since she was married.

Godfrey Dodson was one of those old connoisseurs who are to be seen any morning in the show- rooms of Messrs. Christie & Manson, examining etchings suspiciously through huge glasses, opening and shutting with half delight, half distrust, remarkable agate snuff-boxes, walking backward from spurious Raphaels, opening and shutting the drawers of inlaid cabinets, and looking for the maker's name and date of lustrous majolica plates. They know the very year every picture was painted, and where the original of it is, and what it fetched. They know every alteration that Hogarth made in his engravings, and fall into raptures over what other people would think a defect. They eye the auctioneer with a magpie look of expectancy and cunning, and the dealers with glances of hostility and distrust. They hoard and accumulate with the craft of ravens and the industry of ants, and enjoy the pleasant reflection that when they die the sale of their effects will be held in the same room as that in which they have spent so much of their time, and will give extreme delight to a great many collectors, their old rivals during life ; for the finest collection is, after all, like a heap of leaves scattered in a field, that must sooner or later be blown apart and scattered to the four winds. Still, no doubt, in spite of this unpleasant reflection, there is great pleasure in amassing, and there will be col-lectors like Uncle Godfrey as long as the world goes on spinning.

Uncle Godfrey had a lean, wizen face ; cold, keen, suspicious eyes ; short, stubbly, white hair ; over-hanging eyebrows, and a projecting lower lip that expressed a sour contempt for all he heard and saw. He wore the frilled shirt-front of a past age, and the little scarlet under-waistcoat, with just the edge showing, such as was the fashion forty years ago. Altogether, one's impression of him was, that he was a shrewd, cynical old hunks ; eccentric, dogmatic, rich, and arbitrary.-

When Mrs. Latimer, not waiting to change her dress, but just adjusting her cap, and making her-self neat, glided into the room, half pleased, half frightened, Uncle Godfrey was standing with his back to the door examining a print of "Bolton Abbey in the Olden Time" with a malicious contempt.

He turned round as his niece entered, and with-out greeting her, and just as if he had been an in-mate of the house for twenty years, said with a sort of grunt, " This is the sort of rubbish people in the country hang on their walls, instead of having one or two good pictures. Ugh ! It is only fit for a poulterer's parlor."

" But dear uncle, Frederick and I can not afford pictures. But how are you ? How long it is since we have seen you ! Why don't you come oftener? What a happy Christmas we Shall spend !" And

all the time she kept saying to herself, "Only to think of his coming !"

Uncle Godfrey watched her from under his terrier eyebrows for a moment or two in suspicious silence; then he took her hand, and looking her searchingly in the face, he said : " Jane, you are a sensible girl ; you didn't keep me waiting while you put on a lot of finery. Don't thank me for coming down to see you, for I only did it because I thought you didn't mean it, and I thought it would teach you a lesson; and as to pictures, I suppose you can't afford them. I know I can't. I sell mine as fast as I buy them—ugh ! and at a good profit too. Where are the children ? Plenty of them, I sup-pose ; the poorer a man is the more children Providence always sends him. Ugh ! Where's Latimer?"

" Gone out, dear uncle, to see the poor, and how to distribute the Christmas charities ; and I ought to be out with him; but, you see, we poor people have to wash at home, and do many things."

" There; no ostentation of poverty and economy. Stuff about Christmas ! Why give away more than usual at Christmas? Is a man more hungry at Christmas, or colder, or poorer ? Aren't there other times to give? Bah! I hate Christmas—all one's bills come in then."

"Oh, there's Frederick coming—I'm so glad!" said Mrs. Latimer, looking out of the window. " Oh, how glad he will be to see you, uncle !"

"Not so sure of that, though I am rich. Now, mind, I'll have no fuss made about me—no extras. As for wine, I've brought down some of my own. Don't like port that's half catchup, and the other half logwood. No, don't go ; I'll open the door."

Away stumped the strange being to open the door. Mr. Latimer stared, horror-struck, at the wooden-legged apparition.

" I thought it would knock you down," said Uncle Godfrey. "Never ask a man again you don't want to see."   0

" But I'm delighted. My dear Sir—"

"There; no flummery. Here I am, and you must make the best of me for a week. You're quite right to ask me. The Fitzsimmonses asked me too, and I generally go there. Confound Christmas ! I wish it was abolished. Festivity, indeed ! Why, I'd rather be eating my chop alone at the Rainbow or the Cock in Fleet Street, than share the best Christmas dinner in England."

Mr. Latimer did not know whether to be offended or not, but, as he had expectations from Uncle Godfrey, he thought, on the whole, he had better hear it, so he smiled, and took him by the hand.

In rushed the children, but when they saw the stranger they drew back. Dora seated herself in shy state on a distant sofa ; George came coaxingly up to his father, and took his hand ; while Willy, the "tot," nestled up to his mother, and half hid himself in her gown.

"George used to be your favorite, uncle," said Mrs. Latimer.

Uncle Godfrey looked at him, and growled : "Time he went to sea. Ugh! Do you send that girl to school ? Why don't you cut her hair shorter ? She'll be bald at thirty."

Mrs. Latimer was indignant ; but nothing made any impression on the rich uncle, who, turning his back on her, proceeded to question her husband.

" Well, Latimer," said he, " still grubbing on as a curate, I suppose. Nice profession ; its prizes so easy to get, and so evenly distributed. Bishops so humble and active—no pride. Ugh ! Sixty years' work for a curate, and a hundred a year the end of it. Every one on you for alms, and obliged to give more than the squires with ten thousand a year. Better be a laborer. Ugh! Any head-clerk in a merchant's office could buy up three curates. Ugh !"

Mr. Latimer deprecated Uncle Godfrey's severity. " Our life," he said, "is humble, but it is happy, and free from temptations. There is time for study, and quiet for domestic happiness. Grand people are too busy for domestic happiness ; houses always too full to enjoy the society of their wives and children. Your clerk might buy me up, but he could not buy my happiness."

" Good—something in that. But suppose you live above your income, and debts press. Responsibilities of the rich without their means ; too proud to put your children into trade. Strange pride. Ugh! I thought Christianity taught humility. You clergy preach it enough, but where's the practicing ?"

My dear Sir, you do me wrong. I would willingly get George into a banker's office when he is old enough, but even city situations are hard to get."

" Take you at your word. I'll get the boy into a house in Mincing Lane. Aim low—that's the way to get on ; better than your beggarly profession, and bring up your family paupers."

Mr. Latimer overflowed with thanks.

" There ; no trying to please the rich old uncle, I just because he is rich. And so you have been arranging the Christmas charities. Ugh! all folly; makes the poor people mendicants. Who'll work when he can get more begging ? Got a night-school in your parish ?"

"We have—a flourishing one."

"There again—puffing up the poor. Teaching servants to read one's letters, and forge and swindle. Stuff ! When do you dine ? I'm hungry. Shouldn't object to a glass of wine—my own, though. The porter's brought it up from the station by this to me. Where's my bedroom? I like a fire at night. I'll just go and wash my hands, and take my spencer off, while you get '--- a crust and a glass of my own port-wine. Ugh ! how cold this place is. Get out of the way, children !"

"What a horrid old creature!" thought Dora. George was secretly examining his wooden leg, and wondering whether it moved by clock-work.

Uncle Godfrey was not softened even by dinner. "Jane," said he, "never have soup till you have a cook that understands it. This is paste, not soup. You girl, keep the door shut—the draught comes to my back ; and keep the fire up; it is all in one corner. I don't like stale bread. Haven't you got

some new, and no crust? Can't you see I've got false teeth?"

"Jane," said he, a little later, " the mutton hasn't hung long enough. I suppose you play on the piano, and let the cook do as she likes. Take my advice—discharge that woman ; the potatoes are as hard as bullets."

Over his wine Mr. Latimer—his wife being gone with the children—ventured to lament the ascetic loneliness of Uncle Godfrey's life, and to wish he lived nearer to them.

I like it," said the amiable anchorite of the A Adelphi. " Every one to his taste. Some people like fidgety children, that break and spoil every thing, and some don't. Ugh ! Latimer, when I was young I had a disappointment that in one day turned my heart into a jar of vinegar ; my blood since that is cold and sour. I have my own fancies, and I follow them. I'd rather die in a ditch than surrounded by legacy-hunters—counting the sand in my hour-glass as it ran out, pampering me, encouraging my follies, agreeing with me, and all the time longing to see the hearse come and fetch me to the nettly damp corner of some respectable cemetery. Ugh! I know them, I know them; but they shall wait a bit—they shall wait a bit. Pass the bottle. Why doesn't that slut bring the coffee?"

 

That night Mr. and Mrs. Latimer, when their pleasant guest had gone to bed, and all the house was quiet, discussed- Uncle Godfrey.

Mr. Latimer, with all his amiability, was much irritated at the brutality and rudeness of the rich, suspicious old hoarder.

"But, my dear Fred," said Mrs. Latimer, "re-member the children, and bear with uncle. Re-member we have expectations; and do think of those dreadful bills, and how little we have to meet them."

" My dear Jane," said her husband, " I could do any thing for your sake and for the children's ; but I really can not bear this man's insolence. Every kind word he attributes to our hopes of his money —bother his money!

" Fred!"

" I tell you, Jane, I can not and will not bear this mean suspicion. My ideal may be somewhat blunted by povert, but still I am not all earth yet, and bear it. I will not. If I am civil to him, re-member, Jane, it is because he is your relation."

 

The next day was Christmas-day, and Uncle Godfrey was led to church triumphantly by Mrs. Latimer and the children, and ensconced in a bower of holly, and under an embiazoned mural monument to the memory of General Runagates, a hero of the old American war.

At dinner that day Uncle Godfrey was severe on country churches.

" Too much coughing," he said. " Ugh ! Why do you allow that chorus of coughing old women in the aisle ? They are all deaf; they only come to advertise themselves, as wanting new shoes and fresh cloaks. Ugh ! I know them. How the ducks quacked when you were reading, and how that donkey brayed when you read those bans, as if rejoicing at another fool's marriage. Latimer, you shoot over the people's heads. What on earth do your chawbacons care about the Antinomian sect and the errors of the Welsh Pelagius. Bali ! Follow them into their daily life ; they don't know how to live on earth yet; make them fit for that before you go further.—You, girl, don't grin there, but give me some beer.—Jane, do you teach Dora to eat with her knife, and George to throw bread-crumbs at Willy? Thank Heaven, I'm a bachelor !"

At whist, his favorite game, Uncle Godfrey was still more terrible. He always refused to take dummy. He stumped with his wooden leg if his partner forgot the thirteenth card, or lost a trick by any momentary absence of mind. If the game went well, and there was any long sequence of success, he grew malicious, and openly hinted that his opponent was losing on purpose to please him—an insult to his play ; and Mr. Latimer resented the accusation.

" They always do it at the Fitzsimmonses," re-plied Uncle Godfrey. "I never lose there. They let me win shillings in hope some day they'll turn to guineas; but I'll outlive them yet. That Fitzsimmons is weak in his chest.—By-the-by, how's your chest, Latimer ? I thought your voice weaker than it used to be.—George, don't make that noise with the humming-top.—Jane, do you ever flog that boy?"

"Uncle," said Mrs. Latimer at breakfast on the seventh day of the visit, " I have arranged with Mrs. Benson to go to-morrow to see Melcombe—it is one of our show-places—you must not return without seeing that."

" Hate show-places : cold, clamp rooms; fussy, pompous housekeepers ; too proud to tell you any thing ; willing enough to take large fees ; hurried, and see nothing. No, I go back to-morrow."

"To-morrow!" cried Mr. and Mrs. Latimer in a breath, for they had grown accustomed to the old bachelor's brusquerie, and began to be amused with his shrewd honesty and caustic frankness.

" To-morrow—said to-morrow when I came—and meant what I said. Sponge on you no longer; poor people. Besides, all my port's gone—can't drink catchup and logwood. I and my wooden leg go to-morrow.—Glad of it, ain't you, Dora?—George, come here and polish my wooden leg.—Willy, give uncle a kiss, and go to bed; it is getting late.—You'll be a happy family to-morrow, old Uncle Godfrey back in his den."

The morrow came, somehow or other. The Latimers were sorry to part with the old Tartar. The children liked his odd stories, and the tricks he showed them with cards; his ventriloquisms, and the droll drawings he did for them.

The train came sliding in, curving like a great jointed black serpent. Uncle Godfrey mounted into a second-class carriage, and shook all the Latimers by the hand.

"You won't see me again," he said; "I sha'n't


 

 

  

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