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Robert E. Lee Portrait
Page) horrible sight. A shapeless blue mass of heads and hands and
feet protruded among the splinters and frame-work, and gradually resolved itself
into a closely-packed mass of human beings all ragged and bloody, and dented
from crown to foot with blue bruises and wheels and cuts inflicted by the
ponderous iron-work, the splinters, and the enormous weight of the train." It
was impossible to identify the dead or to discover their names. The
engine-driver, WILLIAM BARNEY, is held responsible for the disaster.
MAY 6, 1864.
How beautiful was earth that day
! The far blue sky had not a cloud ; The river rippled on its way,
Singing sweet songs aloud.
And I? My heart was calmly blest.
I knew afar the war-cloud rolled
Lurid and dark, in fierce unrest,
Laden with woes untold.
But on that day my fears were
The very air I breathed was joy ;
The rest and peace my soul that filled
Had nothing of alloy.
I took the flower he loved the
The arbutus—fairest child of
May—And with its perfume half oppressed,
Twined many a lovely spray
About his picture on the wall;
His eyes were on me all the
while, And when I had arranged them all,
I thought he seemed to smile.
0 Christ, be pitiful ! That hour
Saw him fall bleeding on the sod;
And while I toyed with wreath and
flower His soul went up to God !
For him one pang—and then a
For him the laurels heroes wear;
For him a name whose long renown
Ages shall onward bear.
For me the cross without the
For me the drear and lonely life ;
0 God ! my sun, not his, went down
On that red field of strife.
HUMORS OF THE DAY.
PROVERBIAL PHILOSOPY.—There is no
place like Home. Fallacious. If your home be in a row of houses it is probable
that the homes of your neighbors will be very like yours.
" Where a woman," says Mrs.
Partington, "has been married with a congealing heart, and one that beats
desponding to her own, she will never want to enter the maritime state again."
" You look as if you were beside
yourself," said a wag to a fellow who stood by a donkey.
"I am a broken man," said a poet.
"So I should think," was the answer, " for I have seen your pieces."
One evening the late Bishop of
London was to have dined with a party where Sydney Smith was a guest. Just
before dinner a note arrived, saying that he was unable to keep his engagement,
a dog having rushed out from the crowd and bitten him in the leg. When this note
was read aloud to the company, Sydney Smith's comment was, "I should like to
hear the dog's account of the story."
" My dear doctor," said an
Irishman, "it's no use your giving me an emetic; I tried it twice, and it would
not stay on my stomach five minutes."
"How do you define 'black as your
hat?'" said a schoolmaster to one of his pupils. "Darkness that may be felt,' "
replied the youthful wit.
A thief, who lately broke open a
grocer's warehouse, excused himself on the plea that he only went to take tea.
In a French translation of
Shakspeare, the passage—"Frailty. thy name is woman;" is translated,
"Mademoiselle Frailty is the name of the lady!"
One person asked another if he
believed in the appearance of spirits? "No!" was the reply; "but I believe In
their disappearance. I have mined a bottle of brandy since last night."
What is that which destroys a
town and makes a martyr ?—Canonization.
Some time since a man in Maine
wanted to exhibit an Egyptian mummy, and went to the court-house for a license.
" What is it ?" asked the judge. " An Egyptian mummy, may it please the Court,
more than three thou-sand years old," said the showman. "Three thousand years
old!" exclaimed the judge, jumping to his feet, " and is the critter alive?"
Mrs. Partington says she can't
perceive why people nowadays are continually getting up so many new spangled
notions. Digby, who was present, wished to know to what she particularly
alluded. The old lady laid down the newspaper she was reading, and gravely
replied: "Why, la! I see they have got to making 'trout pre-serves,' jest as
though people didn't have enough things to make preserves without making 'em of
FAITH AND HONEY.—Why is faith
like honey?--Because it consists of bee-leavings.
"I say, Sambo, can you answer dis
conunderfum! Suppose I gib you a bottle of whisky corked--shut wid a cork—how
would you get de whisky out without pullin' de cork or breaking de bottle?" " I
gibs dat up." "Why push de cork in--yah! yah I"
A QUESTION FOR MR. GOUGH.—Maya
"reformed drunk ard" be designated "a man convinced against his swill?'
A clear *stream reflects all,
objects that are upon its, shore, but is unsullied by them. So it should be with
our hearts—they should show the effect of all objects, and ye remain unharmed by
A writer, dwelling upon the
importance of small things says that he always takes "note even of a straw
—especially if there's a sherry cobbler at the end of it.
The lady whose "peace of mind"
was broken intends to have it repaired.
An enterprising but ignorant
South American has sent to an Albany locomotive-shop for one hundred
"cow-catchers." He expects to use them in taking wild cattle on the plains of
Paraguay, in place of the lasso.
A young lady who is a zealous
canvasser in support of the Free Presbyterian Church, called upon a poor man in
the links of Kirkaldy to solicit his mite, and, after in vain trying her
ingenuity to find some means by which he might save a penny a week, to be given
for the support of the minister, who was about to be driven from his kirk by the
vile Erastians, she asked, "Do you shave your-self?" "Nae, mem" "How much does
your shaving cost you?" " Tippence a week." " Could you not learn to shave
yourself, and then you would save the two-pence, which you might give to the
sustentation fund?" " 'Deed, mem, I'm ewer auld to learn, but I'll tell ye what
I'll do: if your minister will come and shave me, I'll gie him the tippence."
A convict was lately tracked into
the service of a young married couple in England, where he was officiating as a
very pretty lady's maid, and had been doing all the du-ties of his idle for
three months. The horror of the young married lady, and still more of the
husband, may be imagined, when the police said: "That young woman is the man we
A physician, passing by a
stone-mason's shop, bawled out, " Good-morning, Mr. D— Hard at work, I see. You
finish your grave-stones as far as ' In the memory of,' and then wait, I
suppose, to see who wants a monument next ?" "Why, yes," replied the old man,
"unless somebody's sick, and you are doctoring hint; then I keep right on."
Tom bought a gallon of gin to
take home ; and, by way of a label, wrote his name upon a card, which happened
to be the seven of clubs, and tied it to the handle. A friend coming along, and
observing the jug, quietly re-marked: "That's an awful careless way to leave
that liquor!" "Why?" said Tom. " Because somebody might come along with the
eight of clubs and take it!"
A man said the only reason why
his dwelling was not blown away in a late storm was, because there was a heavy
mortgage on it.
A celebrated quack, while holding
forth on a stage of Chelmsford, in order to promote the sale of his medicine,
told the people that he came there for their good, and not for want. And then
addressing his Merry Andrew, " An-drew," said he, " do we come here for want?" "
No faith, Sir," replied Andrew, " we have enough of that at home."
"We don't sell spirits," said a
law-evading beer-seller; " we will give you a glass ; and then, if you want a
biscuit, we'll sell it to you for three ha'pence." The "good creature" was
handed down, a stiff glass swallowed, and the landlord handed his customer a
biscuit. "Well, no, I think not," said the customer; " you sell 'em too dear. I
can get five or six of 'em for a
penny any where else."
A. CHILD'S STORY.
"MAMMA," said my little daughter,
" may I write a letter to a soldier ? All the girls have."
" Write a letter to a soldier, my
"Yes, mamma, Maggie and Mary have
writ-ten theirs and put them in the comfort bags, and we think the soldiers will
be so pleased to find a letter. We sewed all yesterday afternoon, and Maggie's
mother is going to send them away as soon as I write. May I ?"
Leave granted, Lula brought the
wherewithal, and sat down gravely to the production of an epistle. After an
hour's hard work she brought it to me, nicely copied for the final reading. The
composition was unassisted, and ran as follows :
"DEAR SOLDIER,—We have all been
making things for the soldiers, and I send this comfort bag to you. I hope it
will be very useful. How queer it must look to see a man sewing; but I suppose
it must be done when there are no women. I think it is very good of you to fight
for the country, and I love you very much for it. It must be dreadful to get
wounded an far away from home. I hope God will take care of you, and bring you
safe home to your friends. I must stop now. Please answer this letter, for I
want to know who gets the bag. My papa is Mr. George Nelson, Brooklyn, New York.
You must direct to his care. Your affectionate little friend,
After the bags had gone Lula
became impatient to hear from her soldier, as she called him. But many a long
week went by, and the child had ceased to talk of it, when her father came in to
dinner with the long expected document. I, with the faithlessness of middle-age,
was surprised that it should come at all; but Lula was in ecstasies. The
impatient fingers tore open the envelope, and coming to me we read it together:
"MY DEAR LITTLE FRIEND"--thus the
letter began—" I have just finished your sweet note, and as you ask for a reply
you shall have it at length. Accept my thanks for your gift. Bless the little
fingers that made the bag, bless the warm heart that felt for the soldier and
wished to write him a letter. It was the first one I had received for sixteen
months. My dear little sister Letitia used to send me a packet every week. She
was my only correspondent, and when she died I thought I had lost every thing.
But I had my father. He was captain of the company in which I was, and am, a
private. We were together a year ; and then, little one, in the battle of Cedar
Mountain, I saw him fall. I could not go to him. The thought of him lying behind
me made me fight like a fiend. After the battle ended, and the noise of the
guns, the trampling of horses, the rattle of artillery had died away, the night
became as still as it is in the country after the cows are milked and the
crickets begin their sad cry. Then I could look for my father. I found him at
last. Near the place where he fell grew an old pine-tree, torn by shells, but a
few plumy branches yet left. At its foot I dug a grave with my bayonet. There I
left him sleeping his long sleep, with the sod of Virginia over him. Forgive me
for writing you so dismal a story. I could not help it; for since that awful
night I have not spoken of what occurred, and I have been longing to tell
some-body. So you see what your note has done to comfort me. I am now going to
mend my stockings with the help of the ' comfort bag.' The holes I have to sew
up would make you open your eyes. I hope your father will allow you to write to
me again. I inclose an envelope addressed, that you can use when you wish to do
another kind action. I have the honor to be
"Very respectfully yours,
"DANIEL P. FLEMING"
Lula wrote a longer letter next
time, telling of her papa, and mamma, and brother Johnnie; how she went to
school where there was a funny master, who pretended to be cross, and was not;
how she, aiding her playmates, bought for him a fine ruler as a present, and
placed it, with a note, on his table on April-Fool's Day. Even about her Java
sparrow the little pen discoursed, her dear J. S., who wore a white
standing-collar like old Mr. Waters, and who slept in a basket. She spent some
time over the epistle, spilled ink over the table-cover, and double-dyed her
fingers. But she sent off a cheery letter, and not a word of mine discouraged
her. In due time Mr. Fleming answered, and the correspondence went on all
winter. I liked his
letters very much; as well as
Lula did, which is saying a great deal for them. He remembered be was writing to
a child, and while he interested her our feelings were excited by his simple
relations. When Christmas approached Lula wished to send him a box.
" I think I ought, mamma ; he is
my soldier, and has nobody else to think of him."
I gave her permission, but
offered no assistance, wishing to see how she would manage. She begged a
soap-box of the cook, and Johnnie helped her line it with paper. Grandma was now
besieged with requests for a pair or two of the blue stockings she was
constantly knitting. They begged me to make a plum-cake, and papa gave a bottle
of wine. The children bought nuts and candy; and Lula, after an anxious talk
with me, sent, as her own particular gift, pocket-handkerchiefs marked with his
name—" D. P. Fleming." Papa having suggested something to read, Johnnie brought
his favorite books, Arabian Nights and Pilgrim's Progress, and could with
difficulty be persuaded to substitute Harper's Magazines.
The acknowledgment of the box was
a grateful letter that more than repaid us. Lula was specially delighted,
because Mr. Fleming confessed to a weakness for candy, and her father had
laughed at her for sending bonbons to a soldier. There was a note to Mr. Nelson,
in which Mr. Fleming said he was to have a furlough, with the rest of the
regiment, before re-enlisting for the war. He begged permission to see Lula. Mr.
Nelson immediately wrote for him to come. But we did not tell Lula, to save her
the excitement and fretting of expectation. About two weeks afterward I was
reading in my room when Lola flew in.
" Mamma," said she, " there is a
soldier down stairs asking for you !" And she hid her face in my dress and began
The servant brought in his card.
" Don't you wish to see Mr.
Fleming, Lula?" "No, No, no !" she sobbed.
"I am going down, and will send
Margaret up for you. You may be disappointed in him, Lula ; but remember, he is
fighting our battles for us ; he is a soldier, and as such deserves comfort and
kindness. Expect nothing, but come down quietly when I send for you."
I owned to a little trepidation
myself : a glance dispelled it. He was a tall, robust young man—almost handsome.
His voice trembled a little as he responded to my welcome, and told me he could
never tell all our goodness had done for him. Lula's letter came when he felt
forsaken—desperate—and saved him. His regard for her seemed a kind of reverence.
While he was talking I saw Lula peeping in at the other end of the drawing-room,
and I called her. At that name he rose, dropped the cap he held, and went
forward to meet her. She was blushing like a peony—an old-fashioned red one
smiling, and looking up at him from under her long lashes. He offered her his
hand without a word. Lula gave him hers, when he kissed it as if she had been a
princess and he of the blood-royal. She was a little afraid of him at first ;
but all shyness wore off when Johnnie came home, and went into a complete state
of admiration. Mr. Nelson asked him to stay with us during his leave, and I was
afterward very glad he did so, for that week gave me thorough knowledge of him,
and when he left us I loved him as if he had been one of mine.
For a long time after Mr.
Fleming's departure Johnnie and Lula played army plays exclusively. They drilled
with canes, got up camp suppers, fought battles, were taken by
guerrillas—embodiments of the stories of their friend. A few letters passed
between us, for I now undertook the bulk of the correspondence; then the
campaign began, and we heard nothing. I was sure, from the silence that followed
Gettysburg, in which his regiment took a prominent part, that something had
happened to him. Mr. Nelson vainly inquired. He was thought to be a prisoner,
but it was not positively known. Lula and Johnnie could not realize our fears.
To be a prisoner was a fine thing in their eyes. What a story Mr. Fleming would
have to tell them !
That fall we went to Baltimore to
visit an old aunt, and in the course of our stay we went to see the hospitals.
As I never lost any chance of hearing of the lost Fleming, I told his story to
the pleas-ant young nurse who walked about with us. She had been to the front,
in the very first rank of those who went to care for the wounded.
There was a Captain Fleming ill
in one of the wards, dying of the wounds received at Gettysburg. She did not
know his first name, or any thing about him, except that he had no friends to
whom news of his condition could be sent. I asked her to point him out, for a
misgiving seized me. Surely it was be, white and changed. I drew back, fearing
he would see me too suddenly. The nurse spoke, and told hint some one had come
to see him. A little color flashed into his face as I came forward, and the poor
fellow turned his face into the pillow and sobbed. I cried too. "Why didn't you
let us know where you were ?" I asked at last.
"I did," said he ; " but my
letters had been unanswered for so long that I thought perhaps you had done
enough for me, so I wrote no more. Isn't Lula here?"
"You shall see her to-morrow.
When you are a little stronger, and can be moved, you must come to us. We will
nurse you well again."
' I shall soon be well enough to
be moved," said he, with a melancholy significance, " but not to your house,
dear lady. Do you think Lula will know me? I hope she will not be afraid again.
You will bring her to-morrow ?"
I promised—and the next day we
came. Lula knew he was very ill, but she was not quite pre-pared for the white
face, the great black eyes, with their eager, intense glance. He smiled, and
motioned her to come near him.
"Then you didn't forget your
soldier after all."
"Oh, I didn't—I didn't!" And both
the soft arms went round his neck. "Can't you get up, poor Mr. Fleming ?"
"Do you know," said he, holding
her to him , with his little strength, " they have made me a
captain, and given me a sword ?
Lula, I must give it to you with may own hands. I know you will keep it for my
sake. If I never disgraced my office, never hesitated in my duty, never doubted
in the cause at last, it was because I knew Lula loved me and believed in me.
There it is. Will you bring it to me?"
Lula was greatly afraid of any
weapon, I knew. I saw her pause and turn from hint to the sword.
" It will not hurt you, my
child," said I. " It is in its sheath."
So the dimpled, inexpert hands
brought it to the bedside. He grasped it by the hilt, and held her hand with his
there. A moment passed in silence. I thought he prayed.
"Now good-by, dear little one!
When I get well I will come for the sword. Keep it for me. Will you kiss me,
She stooped her pouting mouth to
his, and then looking up to me, one arm hugging the fearful sword, held out the
other hand to be led away. The soft eyes were full of awe. She did not cry, but
sat very still in the carriage. When her father came in at night, and Lula tried
to tell him every thing, she could not for her sobs.
The next day Mr. Nelson went with
me to the hospital ; but all was over. We told Lula that Mr. Fleming was well.
God had taken him home to his mother and father.
A few days after my husband went
to Washing-ton and succeeded in seeing Fleming's colonel, who spoke of our
soldier in unqualified praise.
"I gave him a sword," said he,
"for he saved my life once that day. His bravery won him his shoulder-straps
and—a grave. Proud fellow ! he lay suffering in Baltimore, and would not let me
know. I would have given all I own to have found him."
When we were once more at home
her father hung the sword on the wall of Lula's room.
" My little girl must remember,"
said he, turning and seeing the tears running down her cheeks, "that Captain
FlemIng never failed in his duty, died in doing it. She must guard purely what
he won bravely. A child may live the life of a soldier in its highest sense.
Lula, may yours never dishonor the sword!"
A POOR CLERK'S STORY.
Peon, and in search of lodgings,
I wandered into the humblest district of western London, and after some failures
in my applications for a lodging, I lighted upon a fairly presentable house in a
shambling sort of terrace, not very distant from the principal thoroughfare of
that section of the town. I was admitted—after repeated knocks, and just as my
patience was becoming exhausted—by an old woman of about sixty-five, though it
is possible that she might have been prematurely aged by want and illness. When
I inquired of the portress the terms of the lodgings, the poor old creature, who
was shaking in voice and body from a sort of palsy, stammered out that she would
call her daughter to answer my questions, but " would I please step in-side a
moment." I complied, and waited on the ragged mat in the dingy passage while the
old woman hobbled and jerked herself down the stairs to the kitchen. I knew when
she arrived at the door, for a dull sound of voices, which I had noticed upon
entering, suddenly expanded into a confused roar, in which I detected both male
and female laughter. The occupants of the kitchen, who were evidently carousing
(though it was but three o'clock in the afternoon), seemed to me to greet the
old woman with shouts of derision. Something bard was flung at her at her
entrance, I am sure, for I heard her cry out in her quaky treble, and the
missile, what-ever it was, rolling upon the wooden floor. A great laugh was
raised at this sally, after which I recognized the trembling old tones,
declaring, I presume, the mission which had so unseasonably interrupted the
mirth of the kitchen. There was a lull directly ; and I shortly afterward heard
a younger and lighter step ascending the staircase, and my land-lady stood
before me. She was a bold, sluttish-looking woman of about thirty, with a face
which, though not positively ill-looking, was of a low stamp, and certainly
unattractive. She instantly assumed a smirk and courtesy to the prospective
lodger ; but I perceived a trifling thickness of utterance, and a peculiar lack
of lustre in her eyes, which were the outward and visible signs of excess. She
excused herself for not waiting upon me immediately; but "it was all along of
that stupid old woman-servant which she kept out of charity, the', Heavin knew,
she did nothing for the use of the house in return for all the eatin' and
drinkin' which was provided," and so on. Abusing the wretched old woman, and
denying in every word the fact that it was her mother of whom she spoke so
evilly, the landlady preceded me to the "drawing-room floor," and threw open the
door with a conscious pride. They were very inferior lodgings. I believe at any
other time I should have incontinently left the spot; but something prompted me,
and I agreed to lodge there for a month. I had become interested in spite of
myself, and I was determined to know something more about my shaky old friend.
I had agreed upon taking the
lodgings from the first of December till the New-Year's Day following; and on
beginning my reign in my new quarters, I found the wisdom of hiring apartments
of this sort weekly, a plan I ever adopted afterward. Nothing could have been
more completely inconvenient as far as accommodation and attendance were
concerned, and yet I staid, for I had already found an interest in the place.
The shaky old woman was the servant-of-all-work, the factotum, the fag of the
lodgings. Often I have myself relieved her of the breakfast-tray, when the cup
and saucer and butter-boat and tea-pot have been trembling responsively, and the
egg designed for my humble repast has been divorced from its cup and has been
rolling wildly from side to side, like a barrel on deck in a storm. She cleaned
the boots, she swept the stairs, answered the bell, fetched the beer (no
sinecure), and performed, in short, every menial oilier, while her shameless
daughter and recreant son-in-law ate,