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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 14, 1865

This Civil War Harper's Weekly newspaper is from the last days of the war. It features content on Sherman's march through Georgia, and other news of the war. This issue is part of our extensive collection of original Harper's newspapers. We are creating a digital archive of our collection, and making it available to you on the internet. WE hope you enjoy browsing this historical resource.

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Sherman Entering Savannah

Sherman Entering Savannah Georgia

Wilmington

Wilmington

Wilmington

Wilmington Expedition

Saltville

Saltville, Virginia

Making Salt

Making Salt

Map Wilmington

Map of Wilmington

Sherman Captures Savannah

Battle for Savannah

General Burbridge

General Burbridge

Fort McAllister

Battle of Fort McAllister

Waynesborough

Battle of Waynesborough Georgia

Battle of Nashville

Battle of Nashville

Prisoners

Prisoners of War

Drunkard

 

 

JANUARY 14, 1865.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

23

distinguished Mediums' from a ' circle' somewhere in New England, who had persuaded poor Skipwick to `import' them for the purpose of assisting him in his ' spiritual' experiments.

$4 It was all over with him, I feared. He was in the bands of the Philistines, and he was no Samson with shorn locks that would grow again.

"Finding it worse than useless to attempt dissuasion or argument with him, I contented myself with some business advice as to his retaining the ownership of house and furniture, sold his stock, and paid him the money ten thousand dollars. Once more he vanished into the fog, riding recklessly sea-ward."

III,

"His family ought to have placed him in an asylum!" exclaimed Green, as Jenkins paused for a moment.

" He had no family nearer than dubious cousins."

" His Mends, then."

" Humph ! He was over forty, and worth a quarter of a million. But we live in America, not England. Besides, spiritualism' has not yet been decided to furnish ground for personal restraint, the more's the pity ' Let me go on :

" One day I took an odd fancy to have a look at, and a word with, the two ' distinguished mediums' who were furnishing Skipwick with shadows in return for his ' substance.' So I rang the bell of a small, neat brick house in a quiet street, with' CHEETHAM' on the door plate. A thin, freckled-faced woman with a remarkably sharp eye, and hair that looked as if a clip of the barber's shears would be sure to make it bleed opened the door. "'Is Mr. Cheetham at home?

"'He is ;' curtly, and holding the door ajar.

"' Can I see him for a moment?'

"' I'll see. Who shall I say, Sir?

"'He does not know my name. Say a friend of Mr. Skipwick's.'

"' Oh ! step into the parlor. I will communicate with my husband."

"The lady with the sanguinary tresses was Mrs. Cheetham. She would `communicate' with Mr. C. I fancied that perhaps she was about to advise him ' spiritually' of my presence by rapping on the ceiling, or ordering some of the furniture to give him notice to that effect. But no ; she simply went up stairs like a mere human being to tell him, and he presently made his appearance. His manner and matter of greeting, as well as the man himself, instantly brought his prototype before my mental eye as a great Master had portrayed him. ' Ecce Chadband !' said I to myself.

"He was oily, bland. ponderous, and rolled his r's as though he delivered them off a spindle. Before I had listened five minutes to him I felt that he was a knave. I needn't try to repeat what he said. You've read plenty of that sort of stuff in the newspapers. He ended by offering his services to ' communicate' with any deceased friend or relative I might wish to hear from, and said that Mr. Skipwick was unfortunately too exacting and imperative; so that the 'manifestations' had not been, of late, as satisfactory as either he or Mr. S. could wish.

" The house, what I saw of it, was comfortably, even luxuriously, furnished ; and I discovered, through a mild complaint of Skipwick's ' closeness' by Mr. Cheetham, that he and Mrs. C. received a regular 'salary' of two hundred dollars a month from Mr. S., besides incidental sums for 'spiritual' extras. " In a word, Skipwick was fleeced by this precious pair to the tune of over three thousand dollars a year, exclusive of the house rent, while they succeeded in ' fooling him to the top of his bent,' whatever that may be. It was a very tall ' bent' at all events ! "Not very long afterward Skipwick, coming to me on business as usual, in answer to my questions, told me he had found the Cheetham pair to be impostors, and had dismissed them. "I congratulated him, and hoped his eyes were now opened.

"But they were not. He had only changed guides to his blindness. He had another medium in his house. This, one indubitably honest, and of high spirit compelling power, but dear in proportion. He the new Light' was not married, but lived with his sister, a 'trance medium' to whom Swedenborg was a mere ' dreamer of dreams.'

"Well, this was two years ago. Since then Skipwick has changed his ' spiritual relations' many times ; but with every new ' blind garde' he has ridden deeper into the fog, nearer and nearer to the cliff, beneath which roars the wreck-strewn ocean of Madness! The last I heard of his ' hobby' he was trotting it alongside of the ' Davenport Boys' with their ' magic cabinet' on his back.

" He comes regularly to see me on business, about which he talks as indeed he does about every thing save one shrewdly and consistently. I see him often in the street, walking, with his head down, rapidly, and his lips in constant motion, as if holding communication with the 'unseen world.' He even occasionally drops in here of an evening when his talk is chiefly of the rebellion, which, he says, on the authority of the 'spirits,' is ' all right' and ' part of the great plan.' What the great plan' is, however, the ' spirits' have not as yet vouchsafed to inform him. " He has not fortunately much diminished his estate to feed his folly, but devotes at least two thirds of his income to the ' Cause of Spiritualism.' He is a perfect Providence to many circles' both here and in other cities; and no amount of disappointment. detection of fraud, or falsehood seems to shake his faith in the abstract truth of the spiritual doctrines."

"He will surely end in the asylum !" said Mr. White. " There are no undertakers out there, at any rate !" added he, grimly. "You're mistaken," retorted Green. " There are two as patients." " Glad of it ! Serves 'em right !'' growled the old bachelor. "Well, Jenkins," said Black, thoughtfully, "it's a great pity, certainly, about your poor friend Skipwick ; but what inference do you draw from his case? Do you mean to say that he proves your assertion that all of us are ' mild monomaniacs ?"'

Just as Jenkins was about to answer a step came rapidly up the brick walk toward the porch, and a voice said, " Good evening, Theodore ! Ah ! I thought you were alone." " Only old friends. Walk up, Skipwick." The new comer came up the steps and was briefly introduced. He was a middle sized man, with a pale face and deep sunk yes, and his lips had a tremulous motion in them, even when his countenance was in repose. Otherwise a gentlemanly, quiet locking person, in grave attire.

This night he seemed in unusually good spirits, and talked with a nervous flow of words, like a man who has a secret he itches to tell, yet can not find nor make a fitting opportunity. After sitting some thirty minutes, however, during which he had made no allusion, direct or indirect, to his "mania," but had listened with interest, trough impatiently, to Jenkins's account of their visit to the Asylum, he suddenly rose and said, " I did not know you had company, Theodore ; I only stopped to tell you the glorious news. These gentlemen will no doubt be glad. to hear it also." Ile paused, and seemed to hesitate.

" Certainly ; good news is always welcome !" exclaimed all of tthem. Skipwick walked rapidly up and down the top step of the piazza as he continued, " It was very hard to obtain a decided manifestation, but we got it at last, and I am able to assure you that PEACE WILL BE PROCLAIMED ON THE 4TH DAY OF MARCH, 1865."

Having deliverer' this strangely positive prediction in a loud voice and with a violent gesture, he said " Good-night!" almost in a whisper, and was gone. "As mad as a March hare !" cried Mr. White. And the others responded, "Amen!"

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