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Robert E. Lee Portrait
Page) assault on Petersburg, in which he was not properly supported ;
and also in the late repulse of his cavalry on the Darbytown Road, where he was
posted in a situation which is never tenable by cavalry. His daring
reconnoissances have penetrated nearer to Richmond than our troops have
otherwise been able to reach.
Generals MERRITT and WILSON have
been prominently engaged in SHERIDAN'S recent campaign, and have contributed
materially to his victories in the Shenandoah Valley.
TRUE artists live within the
And shadow forth a purer
And fairer life than that of ours
So lived old Albert Durer.
But lest old Albert should begin
To think him more than human, God
gave him, to subdue his pride,
A very angry woman.
And when he fashion'd angels'
heads, And painted eye and lip, he
Was cured of his too heavenly
dreams By this morose Xantippe.
Within a little room up stairs
Worked Albert late and early;
Beneath he heard her supple tongue, That ceased its rattle rarely.
For, like a kite, he sought the
sky, And soar'd on wing elastic,
'Until she pull'd the string, and
brought Him down to cares domestic.
And still within his placid face
You see the sad expression:
Poor Albert's story teaches us A
somewhat useful lesson !
For when I envy him his fame
The critics' fume and furor, I
look at Lefty, and am glad
That I'm not Albert Durer !
PEGGY HOOD was our nursery maid.
We were very small, and, I have no doubt, very troublesome children when she
came among us ; but she was never out of temper, or seemingly weary of doing
what we wanted done, whether our wishes turned toward a story, a new doll's
dress, or a romp in the garden. "An admirable manager of children," my mother
said, and I remember wondering what she meant; for Peggy's art consisted, I
think, in never letting us see that she had any idea that we were managed. She
taught us our letters and the Church Catechism, also some hymns. Sometimes she
read to us, and seemed almost as much interested in the stories as we were
ourselves. And she had the sort of pretty, round, kind face that children always
From the first my mother took a
fancy to her, and engaged her despit the warning of almost every lady of the
village. The Hoods were a bad set, they said, and they wondered that Miss Payne
could think of putting such a person in so responsible a situation. For all
answer my mother said,
I like the girl's face, and mean
to try her." And so Peggy came into our nursery one morning, and staid there
apparently well content. She was not of the class servants usually come from,
nor was she a lady. An honest, womanly girl, with frank manners, a pretty face,
and a decent, common education — that was all. And that was enough. "For," said
my mother, "I can bring my children up and teach them accomplishments myself. I
only want a little help." Peggy was help, and the very best in our nursery.
The love for hunting something to
the death is inherent in some natures—most, I fear. When nothing else is to be
had, they get hold of some poor body's character. No one could say any thing
against Peggy; but her father was a man to talk about, and-the poor girl was
never mentioned without the remark that she "came of a bad stock." When she was
a little child he had been a young man in the employ of a merchant of the place,
who, taking a liking to him on account of his handsome face (Peggy looked like
him, every one was glad to say), had trusted him—though at first his position
was al-most a menial one—until he was deeper in his confidence than the oldest
clerk of the establishment. Some said through habits of dissipation, others
through gambling, young Hood was tempted to betray his trust at last ; and he
absconded with an immense sum of money one fine morning, conducting matters in
such a silly way that the police had nothing to do but to walk quietly up to
him, collar him, and take the proofs of the transaction from his pocket. The
fiend who tempted him had deserted him in his time of need, and it seemed as
though he courted detection. So they said who told me the story. He was
punished, but, through the intercession of his employer, who had liked him very
much, not as severely as might have been. What became of him, and whether he
lived or died, no one knew. But there was a story among the girls of the
seminary, where Peggy had earned board and tuition by house-work, that he came
to see the poor girl now and then slyly, and that once Miss Richards, the
assistant, caught her talking to him from the window. As for the poor mother,
she died, but not before people said very hard things of her. She was starved
into wrong-doing, I fancy. And poor Peggy was an orphan when Miss Richards took
her as a sort of slave. She always called it "an act of charity." Mother said it
was one of economy. There Peggy learned to scrub and to
I read, to wash dishes and to
cipher, and, being pretty and clever, brought the taunt of being of a "bad
stock" upon her oftener than she would by being ugly and stupid. "As though,"
mother would say, 1 hugging baby closer as though this child would be to blame
if I were to steal something. It is had enough to have such a father without
punishing her for it also." And 'so my mother was good to the girl, who loved
her very dearly. And no one in the house ever thought of blaming the kind
impulse which made mother take Peggy Hood, as it were, under her protection,
except our great-aunt Glengarrow, and as she found fault with every thing no one
It was annoying, however, when
the old lady lost her handkerchief or her gold glasses, as she often did, for
she was forgetful, to have her bustle into the room with the most ominous
countenance to whisper :
" Ellen; you'll have to have
Peggy Hood's trunk searched this time. I always said no good could come of that
The lost articles always turned
up, however, and Peggy never heard of the suspicion, poor child! One thing in
Peggy's conduct was odd, and one thing only. She was a sort of miser. Her wages
were paid regularly, and were good, but she seldom spent a cent ; but darned,
and patched, and made over old dresses which were given to her without buying a
new one. So much so that my mother often said :
' " I've a mind to spend Peggy's
wages for her, and lay in a stock of comfortable clothes for the silly girl.
Economy can be carried too far."
As for aunt Glengarrow, she
always said " acquisitiveness was the ruin of Jack Hood, as it will be of his
daughter. I must watch my diamonds." For the pride of grand-aunt Glengarrow's
heart was a set of costly diamonds—ring, brooch, and ear-rings, which had been
left her by her grandmother. Mother thought Peggy was putting by her wages in a
bank for a rainy day. I believed that she was "saving up" for some very fine
clothes, as I had often saved my pocket-money to purchase a doll or toy,
carriage and horses. It was father's custom when he paid the servants to give me
Peggy's in an envelope to take to her. So I always particularly noticed the day,
and always expected to see poor Peggy very fine suddenly some bright Sunday, But
month after month passed, and still Peggy Hood went to church in mother's old
brown merino, with the tear across the breadths nicely darned—a dress that had
been tucked into the rag-bag long before.
One winter's evening—a rainy one,
with a damp warm air instead of the bracing cold which we expect at that
season—I had been put to bed early, be-fore my father came home to tea, it
having been discovered that I had taken cold and was feverish. I had had a
foot-bath and some homeopathic pills, and was tucked in in one of dear old
grandma's blankets , but I was not properly thankful, I fear; for I wanted to be
out in the hall, playing with my brothers, who were spinning a humming-top
Mother came in after tea and
kissed and petted me, and, with a laugh, tossed me the envelope. "Give Peggy her
money," she said ; " and, Peggy, I'd ad-vibe you to get a new cloak—a good warm
one ; your shawl is no' thick enough for this weather."
"Thank you, ma'am," said Peggy,
turning scar-let as she put the envelope in her purse just as it was. But she
made no answer about the cloak. I said to myself, " She doesn't mean to buy
one," and I think mother thought so too, for she looked a little provoked, and
in a few moments kissed me and went down stairs. After she had gone poor Peggy
covered her face with both hands and cried very softly, fancying, I think, that
I did not notice her. Then she busied herself putting away all untidy things in
the room, folding my clothes, and shutting medicine bottles into the chest upon
the table, but with such a poor, sad face that I have never for-gotten it. After
a while she said, " Shall you be lonely if I leave you ?" I said " No ;" and she
took up her work and went out, but I was so weak and nervous that I began in a
few moments to see some-thing white or uncannily black in every corner as soon
as the door was shut. I lay awake, listening to the ticking of the clock, until
it formed it-self into words, and watched the hands as they passed slowly around
until eight, nine, and ten had struck. Then I heard mother and father pass the
" I must look at Violet," said
"Nonsense," said father. " You'd
wake the child, my dear. Sleep is just what she wants ;" and they passed on.
Then old cook, waddling and panting, passed the door, and I heard aunt
Glengarrow marching overhead between her bed and bureau.
"Peggy will come next," I said;
but though I waited another hour Peggy had not come yet. I began to be wretched.
My night lamp was burning dim. Some horrid thing with wings was buzzing in the
room. I was afraid to look into the corners at all. And in desperation I
resolved to arise and look for Peggy.
I put on stockings and a shawl
and took the little night-lamp and stole down stairs. I knew where to go, for
Peggy's work was the crimping of some cap ruffles for my aunt, and this she
always did in the kitchen. Once there by the bright fire and in her presence I
should be safe.
Over the cold floor and down
stairs I went on tip-toe. A ray of light fell through the keyhole of the kitchen
door. I opened it and peeped in. On the table a light was burning, and there lay
a white pa-per box heaped with the neatly crimped caps, but Peggy was not there.
Where could she have gone? I went close to the fire for protection as well as
warmth, and being ill and feverish and very young began to cry. My whimpering
wail had just begun to sound through the kitchen when the outer door opened and
Peggy came in. She had a shawl over her head, and it was dripping with rain
drops. Her face was swollen with weeping also, and in her hand she held her
purse ; it was empty ; the sides lay loosely against each other, instead of
being puffed out by the bank bills as it had been when I saw it last. She did
not see me crouching by the fire until the door was bolted; then, when she did
sight of me, she fell into a
chair and began to tremble and turned as white as a sheet.
" How did you come here, Miss
Violet ?" she cried. "Why did you get out of your bed and come down into the
kitchen to-night? How long have you been here?"
" Only one minute, Peggy," I
answered. " I was so frightened alone."
" It wasn't my fault, my dear,"
she said. " I had to wait to—to—to finish those caps, you know," and then she
turned as red as she had been pale be-fore.
"Come up stairs," she said, in a
quick, sharp voice, unlike her usual one, and she caught up the cap box and the
lamp. As she did so she dropped her purse. I picked it up; it was empty.
" Have you lost your money, Peggy
?" I asked.
" No, it's safe," she answered,
and caught the purse from me and slipped it in her pocket. I felt afraid of her,
and hurried up stairs behind her, wondering what I should do if she were always
to be so cross.
When we were up stairs she said:
"Miss Violet, your mother would be very angry at you for coming down stairs this
cold night, and at me for not watching you better. We had best not say any thing
I was willing enough; but when I
waked up again in the night I heard Peggy, lying beside me, praying to God to "
forgive her for teaching the child deception," and sobbing very bitterly. Could
she mean me ? I wondered. Of course I know that she did now, but I was very
small indeed then. I never told may mother—at least I did not tell her at that
time--and I kept Peggy's secret in keeping my own ; for she had a secret, I
knew, or she never would have been out in all the rain that winter night. What
it was I could not guess.
Time seems long to a child. Peggy
was her own pleasant self afterward, and during the month I for-got all about
that rainy night, or only thought of it as any one might of something that had
happened fifty years before. Only one thing happened which seemed strange. Once,
while Peggy was playing with us at keeping house in the cupboard, with sliced
apple for dinner on our china play tea-things, a ribbon which she wore about her
neck caught in my curls, and I saw something gleaming at the end of it.
Oh ! what is that ?" I exclaimed.
She put it back with a sudden
It's only a ring," she said.
" Why don't you wear it on your
finger ?" I asked. "It's too large ; I should lose it," she said. And then she
burst into tears.
" What a child I am !" she said.
" The ring was given to me by some one who is dead."
Her father, I thought, but I said
nothing; for I had heard the story of the poor man's crime, and felt as though
he were too wicked to be mentioned in polite society,
On the first of January three
important events occurred. Firstly, we were invited to a party—a very grand sort
of an affair for children ; secondly, my father paid every servant early in the
morning, and gave them a gift besides—Peggy's was a dress pattern, and not
money; and, thirdly, grand-aunt Glengarrow nearly drowned herself. She was one
of those terrible cold-water people who pride them-selves on being able to
plunge in head foremost when the thermometer is at zero, and despise every one
else who can not do so. And on this bitter first of January she went into the
bath-room, and after starting the water could not stop it. The room was built in
a very peculiar fashion below the level of the house, and steps went down into
it. Of course, in a little place like that the town was not supplied with water,
but this had been contrived somehow by means of pipes from the river. Aunt
Glengarrow grew bewildered, and could neither open the outlet nor stop the
inlet. Wheat mother contrived to open the door with another key; ---for aunt had
lost hers on the floor—the water was up to her neck. She was not much the worse
for the fright, however, and a little port-wine set her all right. Peggy showed
herself very anxious to do all she could, and was busy in grand-aunt
Glengarrow's room handing her dry garments, and rubbing her feet with hot towels
for over an hour. The old lady was gracious enough to say she was "an obliging
girl after all." And that was something astonishing for her. After the
fright—for aunt had declared that she would die, and mamma was really on the
point of fainting it took some time to collect our scattered senses. My hair was
to be curled, and my brothers also, for the party, and mother decided that a
hair-dresser could do it best. So about three o'clock she sent us across the
village with a note to Mr. Twist, the barber, giving her directions. To get to
Mr. Twist's we were obliged to cross the bridge which divided Mapletown into two
parts, upper and lower, Upper Mapletown was on the north of the river, and was
considered most genteel. In Lower Mapletown the store and the tavern and the
barber's shop stood, with the plainer houses occupied by the poorer people. On
our side every man's dwelling was his "residence."
Mr. Proudfit's residence was
close down by the water's edge ; indeed the ground on which the bridge rested
belonged to him. There were splendid trees there ; two great elms tangled their
branches together, making an arch-way, and there were bushes and flowering
plants hard by. We were very proud of our romantic bridge on our side. The other
was bald and bare, with only hard gray road to rest upon. This winter day, of
course, the trees were bare, but the trunks were very large, and the wood of the
bushes strong and plentiful. Any one could have hidden behind those elms,
especially a child, and from the bridge could not have been seen at all.
Just as we reached the spot,
John, who had very sharp eyes, looked back.
" There comes Peggy," he said. "
Mother has sent her after us. I tell you what, Vi !—let's hide behind these
trees, and when she passes jump out and scare her."
We agreed. John and little Fred
took one tree, and I another, and we waited. I could see the road best ; the
boys had a better view of the bridge.
Peggy came on in a great hurry.
When she was close by I said, "Now, boys!" But John whispered, in a frightened
" Violette ! I say, Violette !
don't stir. There's an awful old kidnapper on the bridge, coming as fast as he
I stretched my neck, and there,
sure enough, he was—a dreadful man, all rags, and with a bloated face and
" Oh!" gasped John, " he's going
to speak to Peggy!"
And so he did. But not to ask her
for her money or her life, or any thing of that sort. What he said was :
"I thought you'd never come."
" I couldn't help being late,"
she answered ; " and I must make haste back again."
" What have you got for me ?"
said the man.
" The usual sum," said Peggy. "
They gave me a dress instead of money, like the rest, for a present."
"This is not enough," muttered
the man. " I say, girl, I must have the ring. I can get some-thing for that.
Confound it, if you knew the dreams I had last night you'd not refuse. I'm sure
to win Luck's been against me so far ; but we'll ride in our carriage yet. Give
me the ring, I say."
Poor Peggy began to cry.
" Any thing else, any thing
else," she sobbed.
But he gave her a rough sort of
push—nearly a blow—and caught at the ribbon at her neck. It broke, or came
untied, and he had the trinket in his hand, and was off with it. Peggy sat down
on the roots of the tree, with a miserable moan, and hid her face on her knee.
She had only been seated there a minute when the man came back. He stooped over
her, and lifted up her face.
" It's for your own good," he
said. " There, don't cry, girl. If I win, as I'm sure to, with such dreams, you
shall have it back. I don't rob you to pamper myself. Why, look at my rags ? and
I live on a crust and a bone. No matter ; we'll be rich together yet."
He kissed her on her forehead,
and she sobbed, " Oh, God help and save you !" and they parted—he crossing the
bridge, she going back home.
We went on to Mr. Twist's, and
went home after our hair was done, and had not much chance to talk over the
matter that night. But at breakfast-time next morning, John, directly after a
description of the supper at the party the night before, burst out suddenly,
" Didn't our Peggy meet a horrid
old kidnapper on the bridge, Vi?"
" A kidnapper," asked mother,
with a laugh in her eyes.
"Yes, ma," said John ; "and she
gave him a diamond ring, and he kissed her."
Grand-aunt Glengarrow uttered a
little shriek, and started up from the table.
" She's got it at last," she
cried. " I knew no good could come from those Hoods !"
I felt a presentiment, and rushed
up stairs. I began to laugh.
" It was Peggy's own ring," I
said. " She wore it around her neck by a ribbon."
" But kiss a man on the bridge,"
said mother. " Was he a lover?"
"Oh no!" I answered. " He didn't
look like one ; at least not like the one I saw in the play."
"I bet you he was ; 'cause he
kissed her," said John ; " but wasn't he funny ?"
" I don't half like this,"
muttered mother. Just then back came aunt Glengarrow.
"It's gone," she screamed; "the
ring is gone. . The pin and ear-rings are there; but the ring is gone—worth four
hundred dollars—fine stones in it. I told you Peggy Hood came of a bad stock."
Father arose, and put his hand on
his aunt's arm.
"Now, auntie," he said, "be
quiet; you'll find your ring, as you have your fan and your handkerchief a
" I sha'n't," said the old lady.
"Do you sup-pose I leave diamonds of that value lying about loose ?"
Father went on as though she had
"And before you take away the
girl's character you must be certain. Not a word until the house is searched."
Father was master. All that day
was spent in the search of every room, every box, every drawer. The very carpets
were turned up ; but no ring was found.
At night a report was made to
that effect ; and grand-aunt Glengarrow was no longer to be re-strained. Still
my father had his way.
Into the parlor, with closed
doors, Peggy Hood was summoned as the clock struck seven.
She came in, neat and pretty as
ever, expecting some directions Ion the night, such as were some-times given if
we were not well. Her "well, ma'am" sounded pleasant and unsuspicious.
Mother burst into tears.
" Peggy," she said, " remember 1
don't believe it. You may be a poor silly girl ; but you are not bad, I know."
"Bad I" cried Peggy. "What do you
mean, ma'am ?"
" We mean you are a thief!" cried
aunt Glengarrow. "Like father like child. What have you done with my diamond
"Hush, auntie," said father.
"Now, Peggy, listen. A valuable ring belonging to Mrs. Glengarrow is missing;
circumstances appear to point you out as the culprit, we have proof that you
have had a ring in your possession ; that you gave one to a man near the bridge
on New-Year's Day. I am willing to believe you sorely tempted—to be as lenient
as possible. Tell us where the ring is, and you shall be mercifully dealt with."
Poor Peggy stared at my father,
and her very lips grew white.
I never saw Mrs. Glengarrow's
ring, except upon her finger," she, said. "Oh, Sir, do you think so badly of
"Hypocrite!" cried aunt
Glengarrow. " You wicked woman. I suppose you'll deny being at the bridge at