Civil War Charleston Story

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, January 26, 1861

Other Pages from this Newspaper Include:

Fortress Moultrie | First Shot of the Civil War | 

Civil War Pictures of Fort Moultrie | Shots at the Star of the West | 

Civil War Illustration of Fort Sumter | The Guns of Fort Sumter | 

Charleston During the Civil War | Civil War Charleston Story | 

Civil War Scenes of Fort Sumter | More Civil War News

Below we present a leaf from the January 26, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly. This leaf presents a nice story on the City of Charleston, South Carolina at the start of the Civil War.

 

 

62

HARPERS WEEKLY.

[JANUARY 26, 1861.

door to my husband's dressing-room and the port fibre which covered it; but I gave that up, I felt as if I could not reach it without screaming or fainting. So I sank down softly, and crept under the table, hidden, as I hoped, by the great deep table-cover, with its heavy fringe. I had not recovered my swooning senses fully, and was trying to reassure myself as to my being in a place of comparative safety, for, above all things, I dreaded the betrayal of fainting, and struggled hard for such courage as I might attain by deadening my-self to the danger I was in by inflicting intense pain on myself. You have often asked me the reason of that mark on my hand ; it was where, in my agony, I bit out a piece of flesh with my relentless teeth, thankful for the pain, which helped to numb my terror. I say I was but just concealed when I heard the window lifted, and one after another stepped over the sill, and stood by me so close that I could have touched their feet. Then they laughed and whispered; my brain swam so that I could not tell the meaning of their words ; but I heard my husband's laughter among the rest —low, hissing, and scornful—as he kicked some-thing heavy that they had dragged in over the floor, and which lay near me ; so near that my husband's kick, in touching it, touched me too. I don't know why—I can't tell how—but some feeling, and not curiosity, prompted me to put out my hand, ever so softly, ever so little, and fed in the da' kness for what lay spurned beside me- I stole my groping palm upon the clenched and chilly hand of a corpse !

[TO BE CONTINUED IN OUR NEXT NUMBER.]

THE CITY OF CHARLESTON.

THE reader will find on the preceding page a General View of the City of Charleston, South Carolina, showing the City, the Bay, the Forts, etc. The wide street which occupies the centre of the picture is Broad Street. The Mercury office stands on the left-hand side of this street as you walk down toward the Custom-house—the building at its extremity. Many merchants have their offices here; it is, in fact, the Broadway of Charleston.

Charleston is one of the oldest, and was once one of the greatest, cities on this continent. It was founded by British noblemen under a special grant from the Crown, and was intended to be the chief town of the most aristocratic province in America. Before the Revolution it was one of the wealthiest cities on the sea-board ; it is recorded, that fine ladies in New York and Philadelphia sent to Charleston for the silks and laces which they could not get at home. During the Revolution it was for many years in possession of the British, and the city abounds with memorials of the struggle they had to take it, and of the straits to which the patriots of that day were put. Not the least interesting of these famous spots is the arsenal, where the citizens were ordered to deposit their arms on the surrender of the city. They did so, but threw them down loaded as they were, so that the work was scarcely done when a terrific explosion almost uprooted the town itself. Some 20,000 pounds of powder were ignited, and the lunatic asylum, poor-house, guard-house, barracks, etc., were all destroyed. Many lifeless carcasses were dashed against the walls of the old church of the Unitarians, which were splashed with blood and brains.

The population of Charleston is about 40,000 souls; the city covers a corporate domain nearly three miles long by something less than two miles at the widest.

WHAT.

SHE was working a slipper; but she didn't like that; She sang a little melody, that wouldn't do;

She tried to read a little, then she played with the cat, And then commenced a note—"Dearest, why didn't you-- ?"

And then she tore it up. and then tried to keep still And watch the spent sun till he dropped behind the hill.

He was reading a novel, but he didn't like that,

So he took down his fishing-rod, that wouldn't do; rhea he whistled to his dog, then he put on his hat, And then commenced a note— "Dearest, why didn't

you--?"

And then he tore it up, and then tried to keep still And watch the spent sun till he dropped behind the hill.

the sun dropped out of sight, and she walked up the lane;

He too, quite by chance, of course, came along;

So they met, and they stopped: not a look would either deign :

'hen he said—nothing, and naught had she to say. At last he look'd up at her, and she look'd up too—'Why didn't you—Dearest?"—" Dearest, why didn't

you-?"

A DAY'S RIDE :

A LIFE'S ROMANCE.
BY CHARLES LEVER.

AUTHOR "HARRY LORREQUER,"
ETC., ETC.

CHAPTER XXXIV.

MY poor companions had but a sorry time of it on that morning. I was in a fearful temper, and made no effort to control it. The little romance of my meeting with these creatures was beginning to scale off, and there beneath lay the vulgar metal of the natures exposed to view. As for old Vaterchen shuffling along in his tattered shoes, half-stupid with wine and shame together, I couldn't bear to look at him ; while Tintenfleck, although at the outset abashed by my rebukeful tone and cold manner, had now

rallied, and seemed well disposed to assert her own against all comers. Yes, there was a palpable air of defiance about her, even to the way that site sang as she went along; every thrill and cadence seemed to say, "I'm doing this to amuse myself; never imagine that I care whether you are pleased or not." Indeed, she left me no means of avoiding this conclusion, since at every time that I turned on her a look of anger or displeasure her reply was to sing the louder.

" And it was only yesterday," thought I, " and I dreamed that I could be in love with this creature—dreamed that I could replace Kate Herbert's image in my heart with that coarse travesty of woman's gentleness. Why, I might as well hope to make a gentleman of old Vaterchen, and present him to the world as a man of station and eminence."

What an insane hope was this ! As well might I shiver a fragment from a stone on the roadside, and think to give it value by having it set as a ring. The caprice of keeping them company for a day might be pardonable. It was the whim of one who is, above all, a student of mankind. But why continue the companionship? A little more of such intimacy, and who is to say what I may not imbibe of their habits and their natures; and Potts, the man of sentiment, the child of impulse, romance, and poetry, become a slave of the Play—a saltimbanque ! Now, though I could implicitly rely upon the rigidity of my joints to prevent the possibility of my ever displaying any feats of agility, I could yet picture myself in a long-tailed blue coat and jack-boots walking round and round in the saw-dust circle, with four or five other creatures of the same sort, and who have no consciousness of any function till they are made the butt of some extempore drollery by the clown.

The creative temperament has this great disadvantage, that one can not always build castles, but must occasionally construct hovels, and sometimes even dungeons and jails ; and here was I now, with a large contract order for this species of edifice, and certainly I set to work with a will. The impatience of my mind communicated itself to my gait, and I walked along at a tremendous rate.

"I can scarcely keep up with you at this pace," said 'Tintenfleck; " and see, we have left poor Vaterchen a long way behind."

I made some rude answer—I know not what —and told her to come on.

"I will not leave him," said she, coming to a halt, and standing with a composed and firm attitude before me.

"Then I will !" said I, angrily. "Farewell !" And waving my hand in a careless adieu, I walked briskly onward, not even turning a look on her as I went. I think I'm almost certain I heard a heavy sob close behind me, but 1 would not look round for worlds. I was in one of those moods—all weak men know them well—when a harsh or an ungracious act appears something very daring and courageous. The very pain my conduct gave myself persuaded me that it must be heroic, just as a devotee is satisfied after a severe self-castigation.

"Yes, Potts," said I, "you are doing the right thing here. A little more of such association as this, and you would be little better than themselves. Besides, and above all, you ought to be 'real.' Now these are not real any more than the tinsel gems and tin-foil splendors they wear on their tunics." It broke on me too, like a sudden light, that to be the fictitious Potts, the many-sided, many-tinted—what a German would call "der metallartig farben bedeckte Potts"—I ought to be immensely rich, all my changes of character requiring great resources and unlimited " properties," as stage folk call them; whereas, " der echte wahrhaftige mann Potts" might be as poor as Lazarus. Indeed, the poorer the more real, since more natural.

"How inconsistent we are," thought I, "in our search after riches ! . Not taking account of the fact that the very identity of which we are each of us so tenacious and so vain is ever merged in wealth. Rich men must, of necessity, be very much alike, their surroundings being so similar. They will naturally conform to the same sort of pressure, and thus present a strong family resemblance, whereas poverty has manifold aspects : it makes this man moody, that other man reckless ; some are rendered abject, slavish, and degraded ; some become morose, stern, and defiant. I wonder what precise effect it will have upon me."

While I thus speculated, I caught sight of a man scaling one of the precipitous paths by which the winding road was shortened for foot travelers ; a second glance showed me that this was Harpar, who, with a heavy knapsack, was toiling along. I made a great effort to come up with him, but when I reached the high road he was still a long distance iii front of me. I could not, if there had been any one to question me, say why I wished to overtake him. It was a sort of chase suggested simply by the object in front; rare type, if we but knew it, of one-half the pursuits we follow throughout life.

As I mounted the last of these by-paths which led to the crest of the mountain; I felt certain that with a lighter equipment I should come up with him; but scarcely had I gained the top than I saw him striding away vigorously on the road fully a mile away beneath me. " He shall not beat me," said I ; and I increased my speed. It was all in vain. I could not do it ; and when I drew nigh Lindau at last, very weary and foot-sore, the sun was just sinking on the western horizon of the lake.

" Which is the best inn here ?" asked I of a shopkeeper who was lounging carelessly at his door.

"Yonder," said he, " where you see that post-carriage turning into."

"To-night," said I, "I will be guilty of an extravagance. I will treat myself to a good supper, and an honest glass of wine." And on these hospitable thoughts intent I unslung my knapsack, and, throwing as much of distinction as I could into my manner, strolled into the public room.

So busied was the household in attending to the travelers who arrived "extra post," that none condescended to notice me, till at last, as the tumult subsided, a venerable old waiter approached me, and said, in a half-friendly, halfrebukeful tone, " It is at the Swan you ought to be, my friend; the next turning but two to the left hand, and you'll see the blue lantern over the gateway."

"I mean to remain where I am," said I, imperiously, "and to remember your impertinence when I am about to pay my bill. Bring me the 'carte.' "

I was overjoyed to see the confusion and shame of the old fellow. Ile saw at once the grievous error he had committed, and was so overwhelmed that he could not reply. Mean-while, with all the painstaking accuracy of a practiced gourmand, I was making a careful note of what I wished for supper.

" Are you not ashamed," said I, rebukefully, " to have ortolans here, when you know in your heart they are swallows?"

He was so abject that he could only give a melancholy smile, as though to say, "Be merciful, and spare US !"

" Bohemian pheasant, too—come, come, this is too bad ! Be frank and confess ; how often has that one speckled tail done duty on a capon of your own raising?"

"Gracious Herr!" muttered he, "do not crush us altogether."

I don't think that he said this in actual words, but his terrified eyes and his shaking checks declared it.

"Never mind," said I, encouragingly, "it will not hurt us to make a sparing meal occasionally ; with the venison steak, the fried salmon, the duck with olives, and the apricot tart, we will satisfy appetite, and persuade ourselves, if we can, that we have fared luxuriously."

"And the wine, Sir?" asked he.

'' Ah, there we are difficult. No little Baden vintage, no small wine of the Bergstrasse, can impose upon us! Liebfrauen mild], or, if you can guarantee it, Marcobrunner will do; but, mind, no substitutes!"

He laid his hand over his heart and bowed low; and, as he moved away, I said to myself, " What a mesmerism there must be in real money, since, even with the mockery of it, I have made that creature a bond slave." Brief as was the interval in preparing my meal, it was enough to allow me a very considerable share of reflection, and I found that, do what I would, a certain voice within would whisper, " Where are your fine resolutions now, Potts? Is this the life of reality that you had promised yourself? Are you not at the old work again? Are you not masquerading it once more? Don't you know well enough that all this pre-tension of yours is bad money, and that at the first ring of it on the counter you will be found out ?"

"This you may rely on, gracious Sir," said the waiter, as he laid a bottle on the table be-side me with a careful hand. " It is the orange seal ;" and he then added, in a whisper, " taken from the Margrave's cellar in the revolution of '93, and every flask of 't worth a province."

"We shall see—we shall see," said I, haughtily ; " serve the soup!"

If I had been Belshazzar, I believe I should have eaten very heartily, and drunk my wine with a great relish, notwithstanding that drawn sword. I don't know how it is, but if I can only see the smallest bit of terra firma between myself and the edge of a precipice, I feel as though I had a whole vast prairie to range over. For the life of me I can not realize any thing that may, or may not, befall me remotely. "Blue are the ships far off," says the adage; and on the converse of the maxim do I aver, that faint are all dangers that are distant. A sudden peril overwhelms me ; but I could look forward to a shipwreck this day fortnight with a fortitude truly heroic.

After this confession, valued reader, marvel no more that I luxuriated in my present beatitude, and sipped my Rhenish with a racy enjoyment.

"This is a nice old half-forgotten sort of place," thought I ; "a kind of vulgar Venice, water-washed, and muddy, and dreary, and do-nothing. I'll stay here for a week or so; I'll give myself up to the drowsy ' genius loci ;' 1'11 Germanize to the top of my bent; who is to say what metaphysical melancholy, dashed with a strange diabolic humor, may not come of constantly feeding on this heavy cookery, and eternally listening to their gurgling gutturals? I may come out a Wieland or a Herder, with a sprinkling of Henri Heine! Yes," said I, " this is the true way to approach life ; first of all, develop your own faculties, and then mark how in their exercise you influence your fellow-men. Above all, however, cultivate your individuality, respect this the greatest of all the unities."

Ja, guadeger Herr," said the old waiter, as he tried to step away from my grasp, for, with-out knowing it, I had laid hold of him by the wrist while I addressed to him this speech. Desirous to re-establish my character for sanity, somewhat compromised by this incident, I said,

"Have you a money-changer in these parts? If so, let me have some silver for this English gold." I put my hand in my pocket for my purse ; not finding it, I tried another and an-other. I ransacked them all over again, patted myself, shook my coat, looked into my hat, and

then, with a sudden flash of memory, I bethought me that I had left it with Catinka, and was actually without one sou in the world! I sat down, pale and almost fainting, and my arms fell powerless at my sides.

"I have lost my purse!" gasped I out, at length.

" Indeed !" said the old man, but with a tone of such palpable scorn that it actually sickened me.

"Yes," said I, with all that force which is the peculiar prerogative of truth ; " and in it all the money I possessed."

"I have no doubt of it," rejoined he, in the same dry tone as before.

"You have no doubt of what, old man? Or what do you mean by the supercilious quietness with which you assent to my misfortune ? Send the landlord to me."

"I will do more; I will send the police," said he, as he shuffled out of the room.

I have met scores of men on my way through life who would not have felt the slightest embarrassment in such a situation as mine ; fellows so accustomed to shipwreck that the cry of " Breakers ahead !" or " Man the boats !" would have occasioned neither excitement nor trepidation. What stuff they are made of instead of nerves, muscles, and arteries, I can not imagine, since, when the question is self-preservation, how can it possibly be more imminent than when not alone your animal existence is jeopardized, but the dearer and more precious life of fame and character is in peril?

For a moment I thought that though this besotted old fool of a waiter might suspect my probity, the more clear-sighted intelligence of the landlord would at once recognize my honest nature, and with the confidence of a noble conviction say, " Don't tell me that the man yonder is a knave. I read him very differently. Tell me your story, Sir." And then I would tell it. It is not improbable that my speculation might have been verified had it not been that it was a landlady and not a landlord who swayed the destinies of the inn. Oh, what a wise invention of our ancestors was the salic law! How justly they appreciated the unbridled rashness of the female nature in command ! How well they understood the one-Mead impetuosity with which they rush to wrong conclusions!

Until I listened to the Fran von Wintner, I imagined the German language somewhat weak in the matter of epithets. She undeceived me on this head, showing resources of abusive import that would have done credit to a Homeric hero. Having given me full ten minutes of a strong vocabulary, she then turned on the waiter, scornfully asking him if, at his time of life, he ought to have let himself be imposed upon by so palpable and undeniable a swindler as myself. She clearly showed that there was no extenuation of his fault, that rogue and vagabond had been written on my face, and in-scribed in my manner; not to mention that I had followed the well-beaten track of all my fraternity in fraud, and ordered every thing 'the most costly the house could command. In fact, so strenuously did she urge this point, and so eager did she seem about enforcing a belief in her statement, that I almost began to suspect she might suggest an anatomical examination of me to sustain her case. Had she been even less eloquent, the audience would still have been with her, for it is a curious but unquestionable fact that in all little visited localities the stranger is ungraciously regarded and ill-looked on.

Whenever I attempted to interpose a word in my defense I was overborne at once. Indeed, public opinion was so decidedly against me that I felt very happy in thinking Lynch law was not a Teutonic institution. The room was now filled with retainers of the inn, strangers, townfolk, and police, and, to judge by the violence of their gestures and the loud tones of their voices, one would have pronounced me a criminal of the worst sort.

"But what is it that he has done? What's his offense ?" I heard a voice say from the crowd, and I fancied his accent was that of a stranger. A perfect inundation of vituperative accusation, however, now poured in, and I could gather no more. The turmoil and uproar rose and fell, and fell and rose again, till at last, my patience utterly exhausted, I burst out into a very violent attack on the uncivilized habits of a people who could thus conduct themselves to a man totally unconvicted of any offense.

"Well, well, don't give way to passion; don't let temper get the better of you," said a fat, citizen-like man beside me. "The stranger there has just paid for what you have had, and all is settled."

I thought I should have fainted as I heard these words. Indeed, until that instant I had never brought home to my own mind the utter destitution of my state; but now there I stood, realizing to myself the condition of one of those we read of in our newspapers as having received five shillings from the poor-box, while I). 490 is deputed to make inquiries after him at his lodging, and learn particulars of his life and habits. I could have borne being sent to prison. I could have endured any amount of severity, so long as I revolted against its injustice; but the sense of being an object of actual charity crushed me utterly, and I could nearly have cried with vexation.

By degrees the crowd thinned off, and I found myself standing alone beside the table where I had dined, with the hateful old waiter, as though standing a sentinel over me.

"Who is this person," asked I, haughtily, "who, with an indelicate generosity, has presumed to interfere with the concerns of a stranger?"

"The gracious nobleman who has paid for your dinner is now eating his own, at No. 8," said the old monster, with a grin.


 

 

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