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Civil War Harper's Weekly, May 7, 1864

This site features our online archive of Harper's Weekly newspapers. These newspapers have impressive illustrations of the key people, events, and battles of the War. This archive will enable you to study the war in a way not possible before. Browse these papers and watch the war unfold before your eyes.

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Union Scout

Union Scout

Equal Pay for Colored Troops

Pleasant Hill

Battle of Pleasant Hill

Chicago Lake Tunnel

Runaway Slave

Runaway Slave

General Gregg

Cane River

Cane River

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Battle of Plymouth

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Battle of Pleasant Hill

Battle of Pleasant Hill

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MAY 7, 1864.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

299

visit which, during three years and a half, her friends have never condescended to pay her instructresses."

" She ought not to want any preparation," returned the lady, with undiminished violence. " Do you keep her in a pig-sty, that she is not fit to be seen when her"—she stopped herself for an instant--" when her friends call upon her? Come here, child."

Lily answered the summons not very willingly. The handsome angry lady terrified her. She was accustomed, however, to do as she was bid, and obeyed the command : approaching the lady, however, sideways, and with one small forefinger in her mouth.

"Don't look like a fool!" cried the handsome lady.

Lily did not know what else to look like ; or, to an uninterested spectator, she might have looked very much like a little girl in active preparation for a good cry. Her perturbation was increased when the strange visitor, pulling the child toward her, and with no very gentle hand offered very unmistakable evidence that she was about to undress her. She stayed her hand, how-ever, at the sight of Lily's little gleaming white shoulders, which---a most curious and inconsequential lady this—she proceeded, incontinent, to cover with very fierce hot kisses. And then, that nothing might be wanting to the oddity of her demeanor, she pushed the child away again.

"There," she said, "I see you're clean enough. Do you give her a bath every morning ?" she resumed, addressing Miss Barbara.

"Miss Florin," retorted that young lady, combining a diplomatic evasion with much moral suavity, "has constantly received unremitting attention, both as regards her physical and mental requirements."

"How fine you schoolmistresses talk !" the lady went on, not, apparently, in the slightest degree touched by the governess's eloquence. "It is all in the advertisement, I suppose--l'annonce. What is your name, child ?"

The little girl opened her eyes, and Miss Barbara opened hers too. Had not the strange lady asked for Miss Floris?

" Lily," the child answered.

"Lily what?"

"Lily Floris, ma'am."

"Beast of a name. We must change it. How old are you?"

Lily looked appealingly at Miss Barbara.

"I have reason to believe," Miss Bunnycastle remarked, with lofty condescension, "that Miss Floris is rapidly approaching her eighth birthday."

"Are you happy here ?" resumed the lady, not deigning to acknowledge Miss Bunnycastle's volunteered statement.

" Yes, ma'am," the child replied, with all the sincerity of eight years of age. The lady frowned at this somewhat ; but Miss Bunnycastle rendered thanks to Lily, in her secret soul. "It was always an engaging little thing," she admitted mentally.

" Do they beat you ?" the lady continued.

" No, ma'am," the child returned, opening her eyes wider than ever.

"Tant pis," said the lady. "When I was young they used to beat me like a sack. It is true," she added, turning to Miss Barbara.

Miss Bunnycastle made a genteel inclination of the head, which might mean any thing ; but I believe that in the recesses of her mind the thought just then was uppermost, that if that handsome lady had been one of her young lady boarders, and of a convenient age, she would have given her some viva voce exemplifications of the law of kindness, which should have been of a nature to astonish her.

" I suppose it's good for children, the stick, and all that," the lady added, musing. " It did me a torrent of good, to be sure. It made me love every body so. There," she cried, giving her body a sudden wrench, as though she wished to rid herself of an unpleasant theme of thought, "I dare say you're too frightened to tell the truth while your schoolmistress is near. Please to have her dressed, and I will take her out for a walk."

The last part of her speech was addressed to Miss Barbara, and the governess thought it high time to make a stand upon it.

" Madam," she said, with freezing politeness, " Miss Floris was placed here, three years and a half since, by two gentlemen who, in confiding her — then almost an infant — to our charge, strictly stipulated that she was never to leave it, save under direct instructions from—"

" Monsieur Jean Baptiste Constant," the lady interposed, and, for a wonder, very coolly. "I know all about that. M. Constant is the agent for Miss Floris's guardian, and M. Constant pays her school-bills every year."

" Precisely so," Miss Barbara returned. Therefore without instructions from M. Constant-"

" You wouldn't let her go: at least you'd say you wouldn't, although, if I choose, I'd have the child out of this house if fifty dragoons with drawn swords stood at the door to oppose it. But what nonsense all this is ! Do you know the handwriting of M. Jean Baptiste Constant ?"

" Perfectly well, Madam."

" Then read that : get the child's hat and pelisse on, and let me hear no more about it."

She opened a pretty reticule, all velvet and golden beads, and flung rather than handed to Miss Bunnycastle a note written in M. Constant's remarkably small and neat handwriting, in which, with many compliments to the amiable Madame and Mesdemoiselles Bunnycastle, he requested them, in all respects, to obey such directions as should be given to them in respect to Miss Lily Floris, by Madame la Comtesse de Prannes, that young lady's nearest female relative.

" The letter, I see, is dated Paris," Miss Bun-

nycastle replied, after reading and re-reading the note, but still with a certain amount of hesitation.

"Whence else?" returned the lady, with impetuosity. " He being in Paris. M. Jean Baptiste Constant is ill. He is in bed. He has an aneurism."

" And you, Madam ?"

" You are very inquisitive. I am Miss Floris's nearest female relative. I am Madame la Comtesse de Prannes. There is my card, which I gave to your dirty slut of a servant. Would you like to know any thing else ? Where I was born ? When I was baptized ? At what age I made my first communion ?"

The last straw broke the camel's back. The Bunnycastle had borne, though with much inward raging, with all the discourtesy of the strange lady, but that allusion to her neat handed Phillis as a " dirty slut" was too much for her. She cast M. J. B. Constant's letter from her, and, with a heightening color, exclaimed :

" I won't let the dear little child go. I don't know who you are, or what you mean. Your manners are most insulting, and unless the gentlemen come themselves to fetch Miss Floris, or M. Constant sends a messenger who knows how to behave herself, the darling sha'n't go. Do you want to go, Lily ?"

The subject of this controversy, simply reasoning that the strange lady frightened her, and that she was very fond of Miss Bunnycastle, and, moreover, that it was decidedly preferable to be called a darling than a brat, replied, her little heart palpitating violently, that she was very happy where she was, and that she didn't want to go away with any body.

" I thought so !" Miss Barbara exclaimed, triumphantly catching the child to her. "A pretty thing, indeed, to be tutored and domineered over in one's own house. You have your answer, Madam, and I must wish you a good morning." And she made as though she would have rung the bell to have the importunate visitor ushered out.

But Miss Barbara Bunnycastle reckoned without her host. The strange lady rose in a rage.

"You devil!" she cried. Such language in a genteel establishment for young ladies ! " I will have the child. Do your worst. I say she shall go with me. You mad-woman, go and ask your mother and sisters, and they will make you listen to reason. Call in the police, if you like, and see what a charming figure your school will make in the journals. Go, idiot, and take advice !"

She set her teeth together, and glared at Miss Barbara as though she would devour her. The schoolmistress was fairly appalled. Was the lady mad ? Something must be done, and on reflection she concluded that the best thing she could do was to consult Celia and Adelaide. The front gate was fast locked, and the lady would hardly be so desperate, she thought, as to scale the iron railings. But how to leave her in the drawing room, and how to get her away from Lily ?

The stranger seemed to divine her thoughts. "Ring the bell, if you like," she said, " and tell the other women to come here. I'm not afraid of twenty of them. But I'll tell you what ! Before I leave this room without the child, I'll smash every window, and set fire to the house." And the lady decidedly looked as though she meant what she said.

It was a strange dilemma ; an uprooting of all the conventionalities, an unheard of revolution in the ordinarily placid world of Rhododendron House. A servant was rung for, and the Miss Bunnycastles summoned. Then a special embassy was dispatched to Mrs. Bunnycastle up stairs ; but the old lady, who was now growing very feeble, and was not quite valid, mentally, could suggest nothing, and confined herself to a general remark that " she never heard of such goings on." As a last resource, Mr. Drax was sent for. That discreet practitioner happened fortunately to be at home, and on his arrival at the school did his best to throw oil on the troubled waters. He advised concession. M. J. B. Constant's handwriting was undeniably genuine. M. J. B. Constant's wishes must be attended to. Moreover, there was nothing owing. Lily's bill was always paid in advance, and there were at least six months to run, to the next term of payment. The lady was evidently a lady. (To be sure, Mr. Drax had not seen her in a rage.) Clearly, the only course to adopt was to accede to her very rational demand.

It happened, at this conjuncture, that the strange lady's bearing underwent a remarkable change for the better. She condescended to smile on Mr. Drax. She told him that he had acted with great discretion : which expression tallied so exactly with the quality on which he so much prided himself that Mr. Drax was in ecstasies, and even Celia and Adelaide thought that their sister had been a little too hasty. To be sure, they, too, had not seen the handsome lady in a rage. She, on her part, volunteered the information that she was Lily's aunt, that her only object in temporarily removing her was to take her out for a holiday and purchase her some new clothes ; and she faithfully promised to return with the child, on that self-same evening. Finally, a treaty of peace was arranged. As a matter of form, a fresh embassy was dispatched to Mrs. Bunnycastle, to obtain her consent, as chief of the establishment, to Miss Floris's temporary departure ; but that good lady merely told her daughters that they might do as they liked, and expressed a desire not to be "worrited." Poor, placid Mrs. Bunnycastle : we shall see thee no more.

Lily, who had stood and wondered through out the whole of this strange argument, was at length conducted to a bedroom and arrayed in her walking clothes. Miss Barbara, it was who

buttoned on her pelisse, and tied her hat beneath her dimpled chin ; but Miss Barbara, although she had been forced to yield to superior numbers, was by no means satisfied in mind at the upshot of the dispute.

"You'll be sure to come back early this evening," she said, as, kneeling on the floor to adjust a bow, she gazed earnestly in the child's face.

" Yes, Miss Babby" (this was the petit nom which, of all the five-and-thirty boarders, Lily, the chartered pet of the establishment, was privileged to address Miss Barbara by).

" Yes, Miss Babby," Lily whimpered ; " and I'm sure I don't want to go away at all."

" There, you mustn't cry," Miss Barbara, who was on the point of shedding tears herself, hastily interposed ; " it's naughty, and not like a great girl, you know. Mind you're back by evening prayers. If you don't, you'll be punished." This was said with a touch of Miss Barbara Bunnycastle's ordinary and scholastic sententiousness; but her heart was not in her words, and, casting her arms around the little girl's neck, and with out any valid reason in the world that I know of, she wept over her as though her heart would break.   

The same quite irrational impulse led Miss Barbara, after Lily had been carried off in a kind of sweeping and defiant triumph by the strange lady who had so remarkable a temper, to shed many more tears. It was foolish, she admitted, but she couldn't help it. The child would be back soon. There was no harm in her going out. Her sisters were quite satisfied. Mr. Drax had pledged his discretion to the authenticity of J. B. Constant's autograph. But Miss Barbara mistrusted and Miss Barbara wept, she knew not why. Somehow, this little brown-haired blue-eyed maiden had twisted herself round her heart, and she felt as though the charming little parasite had been rudely torn away. She dried her eyes, and put on, as well as she could manage it, the scholastic countenance, and then she went down into the school room and took a geography class. Her temper was tried in the usual manner. There was the usual average of stupid young ladies, careless young ladies, young ladies who were pert, and young ladies who were aggravating. She ground, for the five thousandth time, the dreary old barrel-organ to its accustomed round of tunes, Let her spirit was far away. Her heart yearned for Lily. She distributed good marks and bad marks unconsciously, and she was inexpressibly grateful for tea-time : not alone because her wearisome task was. over, but because the time had grown nearer when she thought the child would return.

That a schoolmistress is a " cross old thing," and nothing more, whole generations of young ladies have unanimously agreed. In regions far remote from the school-room and its petty verdicts, polite society finds little difficulty in setting down the governess as a prim, precise, fastidious personage, full of angular ways and ludicrous rigidity. She is somebody to be caricatured, or snubbed, or superciliously patronized. Ah ! if we only thought a little more of what she had to go through. Ah ! if we only reflected a little on how sick grows the head that has to listen to the strains, how numbed grows the hand that has to turn, turn, turn, that everlasting barrel-organ ! Men, with a smug complacency, repeat, one after the other, that women have a special aptitude for teaching ; that they are patient, willing, persuasive, and the rest ; and then, with pitiless politeness, condemn them to grind the barrel-organ for the term of their natural lives. That men are not so eminently fitted for the task of tuition is shown by their losing patience half a dozen times in the course of a lesson, and falling on the cubs they are licking into shape and thrashing them fiercely ; but gentle, long suffering woman is contented to go on mildly nagging, and wrangling, and moralizing over the cubs, when they decline to dance to the very genteelest of tunes. In the female wards of every lunatic asylum you are sure to meet with one or two demented schoolmistresses. I often wonder that for the one or two I don't meet a dozen.

Tea-time came and went ; then play hour ; then study-hour ; at last the times for reading prayers and going to bed. Miss Floris had not come back, Her continued absence was common talk in the school room. Among the girls, one party, the more imaginative, speculated on the dreadful things that would be done to a pupil who staid beyond her leave ; another, and more practical section, opined that Lily would be held harmless, seeing what a favorite she was with the authorities.

Time went on, and the Miss Bunnycastles sat down to that supper which they were too sick at heart to eat. The clock was on the stroke of ten when the outer gate bell rang.

"'Tis she ! 'tis Miss Floris !" cried Barbara; " the dear little thing !"

" The naughty little minx, rather!" added Celia, with some asperity.

"Perhaps it isn't her fault," pleaded Adelaide ; " she may have been taken ill. But here she is ! "

The door opened, and the maid appeared, with a scared face, announcing not Lily, bat a gentleman ; and, close upon her heels, there followed, nearly' breathless with haste, nearly wild with excitement, Jean Baptiste Constant.

" The child!" he cried ; " the child, dear ladies! Has she come back?"

A trembling negative had to be returned to his question.

"Oh ! I am ruined, I am ruined !" the Swiss went on. " Where is she? What have you done with her ? Oh ! my little, little Lily. She has been stolen, stolen by that monster of a woman. Malediction !"

And for a long time this was all that could be got out of J. B. Constant. He persisted in de-

claring that he was ruined. By degrees he calmed down a little, and explained that at five o'clock that afternoon he had seen the child pass, in a hackney coach, with a person in whose company (so with much vehemence he declared) she had no right to be. It was in Regent Street. He had followed the coach as rapidly as he could, and, by voice and gestures, had endeavored to arrest its progress. But all was in vain. The place was Regent Street ; the time, the full tide of afternoon life. At length, in despair, he had been compelled to abandon the chase, vainly endeavoring to persuade himself that he might have been mistaken. He had made scores of inquiries—perquisitions, he called them—in places whither he thought it at least faintly probable that Lily might have been conveyed, and at length he had come to Rhododendron House.

The Bunnycastles could do little to console him. They made the most of their reluctance to allow Lily to leave ; but what were they to do? They had long hesitated, but had at last acted on the advice of Mr. Drax, a trusted and discreet friend.

"Curse Mr. Drax !" cried the valet, fiercely. " Drax is a goose, a pig, a donkey !" And I am afraid the discomfited Miss Bunnycastles felt at that moment very much inclined to agree with J. B. C. Drax's renown for discretion was gone forever.

They showed J. B. Constant the note purporting to be in his handwriting. He flung it from him with something very like an oath and a yell of rage.

" A forgery, an infamous forgery !" he cried, distractedly. " Fool that I was not to have for seen the possibility of such a fraud ! That woman would do any thing !"

" And whatever will your master say ?" naively remarked Miss Adelaide, who had been eying the valet with much curiosity.

" My master !" he repeated ; " burn my master ! This little angel was worth twenty thousand masters to me."

Grief made him garrulous, but his communicativeness was not of a nature to satisfy the Bunnycastles. As the payments had all been made in advance, and the customary references dispensed with, they felt the indelicacy of pressing him with direct questions. Very little that was definite could be extracted from J. B. Constant. He would mention no names ; but when the card of Madame la Comtesse de Prannes was shown to him, he tore it, contemptuously, in half, and muttered, " Bah! one of her twenty aliases."

The council remained in session until an hour was attained quite unexampled in the annals of this well conducted establishment. But Lily did not come back. Indeed to Rhododendron House she was not to return again. J. B. Constant. with lowering looks, but with many protestations of regret at having disturbed the ladies, took his leave, saying, that if the child did not come back they were very welcome to keep what remained of her wardrobe as some slight compensation for the trouble they had taken. And then the Bunnycastles were left desolate. The compensation was very slight indeed. Barbara had to mourn the loss of her darling, and would not be comforted ; and her two more practical sisters were bound in bitterness to acknowledge that the payments, having been made in advance, they could not demand even so much as a quarter's notice for the sudden removal of their young lady-boarder.

GAMBLING IN STOCKS.

THE excitement attending stock-gambling is finely depicted in our sketch on page 296. The scene here represented is one that may be seen nightly at the new stock-board in the Fifth Avenue Hotel, where operators, whose eagerness for speculation is not satisfied by their day experience, congregate in numbers and gamble far into the night.

GENERAL GREGG.

BRIGADIER-GENERAL DAVID M. GREGG, whose portrait we give on page 300, is a native of Pennsylvania, and is only thirty years of age. He entered West Point as a cadet in 1851, and graduated on the 30th of June, 1855, standing No. 8 in his class, among the members of which were Generals WEITZEL, TORBBERT, HAZEN, MERRILL, DU BOIS, AVERILL, Colonel COLBURN, and many others in the Union army. On the 1st, of July, 1855, he was brevetted Second Lieutenant of the Second Dragoons, and was transferred to the First Dragoons, with full rank, on the 4th of September, 1855. He was distinguished in several conflicts with the Indians in Washington Territory, in September, 1858, and in the early part of 1861 was promoted to a First Lieutenancy. On the 14th of May, 1861, he was further promoted to a Captaincy in the Sixth United States Cavalry (a new regiment), and afterward was appointed Colonel of the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry, or Eighty-ninth Regiment of Volunteers. He served during the peninsula campaign, and was brevetted Major of the United States Army for meritorious services in reconnoissances before Richmond from July 1, 1862. At the death of General BAYARD at Fredericksburg, he was, on the 14th of December, 1862, appointed to the command of his Brigade, with rank of Brigadier-General or Volunteers from November 29, 1862. This appointment was confirmed in March, 1863. In February, 1863, he was appointed commander of the Third Division of Cavalry under General STONEMAN, and in that position distinguished himself on several occasions. At present he commands the Second Division of the cavalry corps. He is among the most capable and daring cavalry officers in the service, and with CUSTER, PLEASANTON, KILPATRICK, SHERIDAN, and others, has stamped his name indelibly on the annals of our great conflict.


 

 

  

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