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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 30, 1864

This site features an online archive of our extensive collection of original Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers are full of incredible content, including eye-witness drawings of the key elements of the War. Reading these newspapers will give you a better appreciation of this important period of American History.

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

 

Fessenden

William Fessenden

Drought

Drought Poem

Rebel Poetry

Rebel Poetry

Rebel Raid

Rebel Raid

Petersburg

Petersburg

Great Fire

The Great Brooklyn Fire

Fashion

Fashion

John Bull

John Bull Cartoon

Marietta

Battle of Marietta

Destroying Railroad

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

[JULY 30, 1864.

494

(Previous Page) quently superseded by boots : the Empress's cordonnier manufactures them either in yellow leather or in soft English leather, black, violet, or green, according to the color of the jupons. It is scarcely necessary to mention that the color of the stockings should match that of the boots.

THE ILLUSTRATIONS.

Fig. I. Dress for the Sea-side.—Robe of saffron-colored taffeta, ornamented on the skirt with two passemeuterie trimmings. The dress is worn over an alpaca jupon, vandyked, and alternating with blue and white stripes. The long vest is provided with blue cuff, and lapels, completed by buttons and braudebourgs. White waistcoat, Louis XV. Tuscan hat, decorated with eagle and ostrich feathers. Lilac bottines russes, with high heels.

Fig. 2. Dress for a Young Lady.—Silk robe of white spotted foulard. The skirt is trimmed with an ornamental ruching placed between two rows of fluted ribbon; and the basque and sleeves are furnished with a similar ruching. Bonnet of mauve crape, the quiet appearance of which is somewhat enlivened inside and outside by the addition of four white marguerites half buried in the crape.

Fig. 3. Walking Dress.—Dark green silk dress, ornamented with bows of corded silk and tassels; a similar but smaller bow is attached to the shoulder and falls on the sleeve. The collet is of black guipure, forming, with the rich black lace pelerine trimmed with jet, a most elegant pardessus. Black horse-hair bonnet, the trimming of which is composed of rich Magenta velvet mixed with black lace and ivy-leaves; a narrow jet fringe descends from the edge of the chapeau.

IN A NUT-SHELL.

"I say, Rose, girls are a nuisance! — aren't they?" said Raymond Dexter, Iounging at length among the silken cushions in his sister's boudoir one morning. " I wouldn't give that !"—with a snap of his aristocratic fingers—" for the whole crew, so far as I know any thing about them !"

"When did you see Victoria last?" questioned Rose, with an expressive lifting of her pretty brows.

She was pretty, indeed--a dainty snowy and pink piece of prettiness.

Her brother, Raymond Dexter, was what the ladies called a "love of a man ;" effeminately hand-some and fastidious, sporting white hands and per-fumed locks, yet a full-statured man physically, with a broad white brow that ought to have had intellect under it, and a deep dark eye that ought to have flashed with the language of an energetic and cultivated vitality.

The flash came transiently as his sister spoke; and he said, with some impatience,

" Victoria Field is the greatest nuisance of them all!"

Victoria Field was the name of the latest edition of womanhood that Raymond Dexter had had a grand passion for—a plain, dark woman, without even what Rose called '' style." The last woman in the world, one would have thought, for an exquisite like Raymond Dexter to fall in love with. Yet he had deliberately done so foolishly as that, as Rose had shrewdly suspected.

Victoria Field was at the bottom of the astounding opinion he had just expressed concerning " girls."

Rose, however, was far from apprehending the extent of the mischief. She would have opened her languid blue eyes to much more than their usual dimensions if she had known that Miss Field—that plain, dark girl, with no style, and no beauty, and no expectations, so far as any body knew—had re-fused to become the wife of her brother Raymond—positively refused. Nay more, and which rankled in his consciousness still, when he, totally at a loss to understand such perversity toward invincibility like his, asked and politely pressed for a reason for her refusal, instead of telling him, as she had a perfect right to do, that her reasons were no concern of his, she rose and asked him, with that outspokenness which was one of her charms for him, if he expected her to give him her sole and only reason, or— Ile knew that that pause meant that if she could not give him the true reason she should not give any; besides, as was natural, he wanted the truth, of course.

She crossed the room then, and took from the window, where it hung, a little crystal flask and brought it to him, put it in his hand, and stood looking at him with a sweet, grave, half sad wistfulness.

She had beautiful eyes!

The flask was one of those toys with which some curious people amuse themselves. We have all heard of or seen such, I dare say. An acorn suspended by a thread from the mouth of the flask within had sprouted in that narrow compass and become an oak—an oak truly, but in miniature, dwarfed, and of course could only, its present brilliancy past, drag on a sickly existence, and die at last in such confined quarters.

Holding it so between his hands—awkwardly enough, too, considering that lie was Raymond Dexter—Miss Field could hardly help seeing that her shaft had sped home. "What if 1 should break the flask ?" he said, with a sudden abruptness and brevity surprising to himself.

"I wish you would," she said, eagerly, her hand falling lightly upon his arm. He stole a swift glance at the grave, sweet eyes that were regarding him almost pleadingly, then, with a very vague consciousness of where, or what, or who he was, he said good-morning, and left her.

The flask, unbroken still, hung in the airiest place in his room, and he made it a principle not to look toward it when he could possibly help it. What did the girl mean by giving him a "potted acorn ? " as he called it. If he didn't know what she meant he ought to have asked her—that's all ; and, for a man in a state of unconscionsness as to the meaning of the girl he fancied he loved, he had a most singular habit of thrilling and turning scarlet every- time he thought of her little band upon his arm, and her beautiful, wistful eyes upon his face.

H.

In the deep, wide parlors that night Rose Dexter entertained her "thousand and one" friends, or something less—a gay crowd, with the surge of music and plume and perfume among it, and the flash of bright eyes and scintillant diamonds. Dainty little Rose had admirers enough to have turned wiser heads than hers; but the worst of it was,

that she was inclined decidedly to a preference among them.

There was a pair of eyes hovering always some-where within view of her that slowly and reluctantly took in that knowledge, and the graying brows above those eyes knit themselves and frowned anxiously at the consciousness.

Two only of the danglers in the beauty's train did these eyes see. Leeds Entresol and Frank Brandon. Leeds Entresol, tall, dark, magnificent, with a voice deep and vibrant as smothered cataract, and a jetty wealth of whisker and mustache. Rose both sought his glance and shrank from it. The other, Frank Brandon, a slight, careless, graceful young fellow, as light as the first was dark—gay, Iaughing, genial ; but with neither laugh nor geniality for any one in the room save pretty, pretty Rose. She blushed often at some things he said to her; but she laughed too, and the blush might have been as much for Entresol as for Brandon, since often the one could not well help hearing what the other said.

Entresol said little, Brandon much ; and Bran-don was scarcely absent from her side an instant the whole evening, when it was possible to be by her.

Entresol seemed swayed by circumstances, near her or away, as it chanced ; but with his eye losing none of her pretty witcheries, the smiling coquetries, which she dispensed about her.

Perhaps he could hear across the room, or else had singular facility in translating the movement of Rose's tripping lips, for though at the other side of the wide parlor, when, with a furtive glance at him and a low trilling laugh, she said something to Brandon about the Black Prince, he made his way at once from the parlors, and deputing his farewell courtesies to a friend, left the house.

Among the throng, but not of them, paced William Dexter, banker and millionaire. It was so rare—his presence in such scenes—even in his own house, that few knew him even, and from those who did he kept mostly aloof. A grave, silent man, watching from under nearly gray brows—watching and commenting with inward discontent.

The two emotions, passions, affections of this man's life had been vested in gold and kindred—the getting the one and lavishing it upon the other.

His life need not have been sterile. The one, warmth and wideness and softness, ought to have protected it from the barrenness and hardness that the other gendered. Yet his life was sterile, barren, desert, as a rock in an unfruitful country.

He had slaved, toiled like any bondman, early and late, that he might surround those two, Raymond and Rose, with this and this and this, no matter if it cost its weight in gold, so long as he had it. And the two were as prodigal as might be expected of that of the value of which they had no appreciation beyond the pleasure it purchased.

He had refused them nothing all their lives that it was possible for him to grant them, and the possibility had a wide range. And what was his re-ward? He was pacing the parlors still when the last guest, Frank Brandon, lingering long, finally departed, with an expressive pressure of little Rose's hand.

William Dexter knew this young man for a scoundrel, notwithstanding his frank face and genial ways, and had forbidden Rose to hold any intercourse with him long enough before this evening.

He had supposed himself obeyed; but this evening's observation had shown him that, far from that being the case, the two were on surprisingly familiar terms.

" Rose ?"

The girl turned from her light good-night to young Brandon with a little nervous start. She had not been conscious of her father's presence all the evening, and she colored some now upon be-coming aware of it, and remembering at the seine time what he had said to her about Frank Brandon.

Mr. Dexter's anger, under constraint all the evening, burst forth now with proportionate violence.

Rose shrank palely before it, and at the first lull in the storm escaped to her apartment.

This was not all the evening's happening. In an earlier portion of it Mr. Dexter had overheard a conversation between seine of the guests which had stung him with the truth it suddenly forced him to accept, a truth that had long been knocking at the door of his consciousness, but to which he had re-fused to listen until now.' It concerned Raymond; and Raymond entering the room just then from an adjoining one, he turned upon him suddenly with a quotation from it that struck him suddenly white, between anger and amazement:

"`Raymond Dexter had in him originally the material for a man, but a more conceited, brainless coxcomb than he is I don't know in the whole range of my acquaintance."'

Raymond caught his breath fairly. The words expressed so nearly a thought that had been vaguely trying to thread the chambers of his brain ever since Victoria Field's refusal to become his wife. The spark that lurked under his effeminacy leaped suddenly now into flame, and died as quickly.

"Whose fault is it, father?" he said, low, but bitterly, and left the room abruptly.

William Dexter, pacing those magnificent parlors amidst the unquenched blaze of light that flamed all through them, pondered this question, but found no solution of it.

Whose fault was it? Not his. What could man do more than he had done for his children—for Raymond?

Raymond, pacing his own apartment a while, and finally with an impatient shrug throwing himself dressed as he was upon his bed, found no solution for it either.

Waking in the morning, Victoria Field's crystal toy dangled before him, and flashed taunting gleams in his eyes as the sun struck it. With an impatient movement he swept the curtain between him and it. What did the girl mean by telling him she wished he would break the flask? What would become of her young oak if he did that ?

A plague upon the cold, strange girl ! There were plenty of women—women worth haying, too,

who would have jumped at the offer she had re- ' fused. There was Laura Mason, now the handsomest woman in New York, and the cleverest. She hadn't any fault to find in him, and he wouldn't have been afraid to wager any sum any body pleased that if he had asked her to be his wife she would have said " yes," and "thank you" too. He had half a mind to set up a flirtation with her, just to show Victoria Field how little he was affected by her ambiguities.

III.

A WEEK only had passed, but in the fast life which he lived Raymond Dexter had improved it to the extent of becoming or imagining himself desperately in love with Laura Mason.

One morning, in a careless off-hand manner, very different from that on a similar occasion about ten days before, he asked her the same question he had Victoria Field, and got in substance his "yes, thank you."

Coming home, hiding himself in his own room, the first thing he saw was Miss Field's crystal flask, which he forthwith dashed front its bracket ignominiously, saying grimly as he surveyed the fragments, " You told me to break it." Then seeming to feel the light, white touch upon his arm, the beautiful eyes upon his face, sudden remorse seized him, and carefully gathering up the mutilated re-mains of the poor "potted acorn," he took them into the conservatory, and dislodging a superb African lily from its vase, deposited his young oak therein.

That night William Dexter coming home late, and tottering under some burden as though the weight of twice his years had suddenly settled upon him, clung to the door-post in the hall and listened to the murmur of voices that came from the drawing-room beyond.

Rose and Raymond were both there. No, that was not Raymond's voice, and suddenly throwing wide the door he entered and stood beside Rose. Rose with her little hand in Frank Brandon's, and her white eyelids drooping uder his ardent gaze. She started away from him with a low cry as she saw her father looking so strangely ; but Frank Brandon, after an instant's disconcertment, said, with a straightforwardness worthy a good cause, "I have been asking Rose to be my wife, Sir ; she will consent if you will."

"Will she ?" said the old man, strangely. " Well, go away now, young man, and if you come hack to me to-morrow with the same plea on your lips you may have her and welcome." The morrow came, and before it had passed the name of William Dexter, bankrupt, was being bandied from lip to lip.

It was an utter crash; every thing was gone, even to Frank Brandon, who did not so much as send an apology for his non-appearance at the appointed time.

Rose, reeling under it all, but, strangely enough, retaining some portion of her delicate senses, crept after her wretched father into the library just in time to thrust aside, with her frail but frantic hand, the deadly muzzle he was holding to his crazed temples.

And then she staid by him till Raymond came, a very faded, sick little rose, but curiously with courage enough in her for that, and too much pride to trust a servant with her fear.

Raymond sent her away to her room when he came, but he held her in his arms a moment first. The eyes of the brother and sister met, with a strange new sympathy, in that hour of trial, and he said, as he let her go, " Never mind, sis." He was thinking of Frank Brandon then.

Watching with the poor old man, to whom an opiate had brought sleep at last, he stole once into the conservatory, twisting in his fingers a note that had come to him at nightfall from Laura Mason.

The young lady had repented her grateful affirmative of the day before, and took the first opportunity of informing him to that effect.

Raymond's lips curled ; neither this blow nor the other seemed to have crushed him.

Ile bent a moment over the poor little "potted acorn:" it really looked like living after all, and Raymond turned away from it with a curious light in his eye.

In the midst of all that chaos of bewilderment and confusion as to what they should do, the old man sat all day with his head fallen upon his bosom, and Rose staid with him, scared and sick, but sensible, and Raymond rushed to and fro like a rudderless ship, eager, brave, but uncertain.

In the midst of all came a letter from a good old country gentleman, brother to William Dexter, offering the best at his command—a home to Rose and her father, and the lease of a small farm to Raymond.

Raymond winced, but he had resolved deliberately to accept the first honorable employment that offered, and really nothing else was to be had.

People knew too well how Raymond Dexter had been reared. Nobody had a good enough opinion of him to have him in their counting-house or sales-room. And so, dandy as he was, or had been, he wrote grateful, if reluctant, acceptance of his uncle's offer.

The three left town quietly, making no adieux; only, Raymond sent by a trusty hand to Victoria Field a small package, which, upon opening, proved to be merely some fragments of broken crystal. But Miss Field smiled tremulously when she saw them, and some tears from her beautiful eyes plashed among the broken bits.

IV.

UNCLE TOM DEXTER, as every one in that region called Raymond's uncle, stared and shook his head discouragingly at sight of Ids tenant.

Raymond colored and laughed, but succeeded in persuading his uncle " to give him a try."

It was what Uncle Tom called "up-hill work."

City exquisites are not transformed into hardworking farmers at a moment's notice. But Ray-mend had made the one resolve so necessary to success in any undertaking, viz., whatever be did, that 1 he would do with all his might. Amidst all the rough and tumble of this new life his hitherto

dwarfed energies, physical and mental, seemed to shake off fetters.

He stood forth a man, intellectually and physic-ally, a son, a brother, filling the last days of his old father with peace, a guard to his sister, that no Frank Brandon ever again baffled.

In the fullness of time be brought home to the little farm—now his own, and something to be proud of, for the very reason that he had made it his own —Victoria.

In the soft purple twilight he led her up the walk his wife, stopping a moment by a young sturdy oak of some three years' growth, and saying, "God helping me, dear, I mean to grow with it." And so he has.

Rose is married to a man worth a thousand like Frank Brandon. I am not at all sure that the " crash" did not benefit her as much as Raymond.

BEATEN.

Do you know this peculiar feeling? I speak to men in middle age.

To be bearing up as manfully as you can : putting a good face on things trying to persuade your-self that you have done very fairly in life after all : and all of a sudden to feel that merciful self-deception fail you, and just to break down ; to own how bitterly beaten and disappointed you are, and what a sad and wretched failure you have made of life ?

There is no one in the world we all try so hard to cheat and delude as ourself. How we hoodwink that individual, and try to make him look at things through rose-colored spectacles! Like the poor little girl in Mr. Dickens's touching story, we suede believe very/ much. But sometimes we arc not aide to make believe. The illusion goes. The hare, unvarnished truth forces itself upon us : and we see what miserable little wretches we are : how poor and petty are our ends in life ; and what a dull weary round it all is. You remember the poor old half-pay officer, of whom Charles Lamb tells us? He was not to be disillusioned. Ile asked you to hand him the silver sugar-longs in so confident a tone that though your eyes testified that it was but a tea-spoon, and that of Britannia metal, a certain spell was cast over your mind. But rely on it, though that half-starved veteran kept up in this way before people, he would often break down when he was alone. It would suddenly rush upon him what a wretched old humbug he was.

Is it sometimes so with all of its? We are none of us half satisfied with ourselves. We know we are poor creatures, though we try to persuade our-selves that we are tolerably good. At least, if we have any sense, this is so. Yet I greatly envied a man whom I passed in the street yesterday ; a stranger, a middle-aged person. His nose was elevated in the air: he had a supercilious demeanor, expressive of superiority to his fellow-creatures, and contempt for them. Perhaps be was a prince, and so entitled to look down on ordinary folk. Perhaps he was a bagman. The few princes I have ever seen had nothing of his uplifted aspect. But what a fine thing it would be, to be able always to delude yourself with the belief that you are a great and important person; to be always quite satisfied with yourself, and your position ! 'There are people who, while repeating certain words in the litany, feel as it was a mere form signifying nothing, to call themselves miserable sinners. There are sonic who say these words sorrowfully from their very heart, feeling that they express God's truth. They know what weak, silly, sinful beings they are; they know what a poor thing they have made of life, with all their hard work, and all their planning and scheming. In fact, they feel beaten, disappointed, down. The high hopes with which they started are blighted—were blighted long ago. They think, with a bitter laugh, of their early dreams of eminence, of success, of happiness. And sometimes, after holding up for a while as well as they could, they feel they can do it no longer. Their heart fails them. They sit down and give up altogether. Great men and good men have done it. It is a comfort to many a poor fellow to think of Elijah, beaten and sick at heart, sitting down under a scrubby bush at evening far in the bare desert, and feeling there was no more loft, and that he could bear no more. Thank. God that the verse is in the Bible.

"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die ; and said, It is enough ; now, O Lord, take away my life ; for I ant not better than my fathers."

I thought of Elijah iii the wilderness the other night. I saw the great prophet again. For human nature is the same in a great prophet as in a poor little hungry boy.

At nine o'clock on Saturday evening I heard pitiful, subdued subs and crying outside. I know the kind of tiling that means some one fairly beaten. Not angry, not bitter : smashed. I opened the front door, and found a little boy, ten years old, sitting on the steps, crying. I asked him what was the matter. I see the thin, white, hungry, dirty little face. He would have slunk away if he could; he plainly thought his case beyond all mending. But I brought him in, and set his on a chair in the lobby; and he told his story. He had a large bundle of sticks in a ragged sack—firewood. At three o'clock that afternoon he had come out to sell them. His mother was a poor washer-woman, in the most wretched part of the town; his father was killed a fortnight ago by falling from a scaffold. He had walked a long way through the streets, about three miles. He had tried all the afternoon to sell his sticks, but had sold only a half penny-worth. He was lame, poor little man, front a sore log, but managed to carry his heavy load. But at last, going down some poor area stair iii the dark, he fell down a whole flight of stops, and hurt his log so that he could not walk, and also got a great cut on the forehead. Ile had got just the half-penny for his poor mother: he had been going about with his burden for six hours, with nothing to eat. But he turned his lace homeward, carrying his sticks ; and straggled on about a quarter of a mile : and then he broke down. He could go no further. In the dark


 

 

  

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