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(Previous Page) or authority. Under that hope I refrain from opening fire
on your batteries. I have the honor, therefore, respectfully
to ask whether the above-mentioned act—one which I
believe without parallel in the history
of our country or
any other civilized government—was committed in obedience
to your instructions, and notify
you, if it is not disclaimed,
I regard it as an act
of war, and
I shall not,
after reasonable time for the return of my messenger, permit
any vessel to pass within the range of the guns
of my fort.
"In order to save, as far as it is in my power, the shedding
of blood, I beg you will take
decision for the good of all concerned. Hoping, however,
your answer may justify a further continuance
on my part,
I remain, respectfully,
GOVERNOR PICKENS RESPONSE TO
Governor Pickens, after stating the position of South
Carolina to the United States, says that any attempt to
send United States troops into
Charleston harbor to reinforce
the fort would be regarded as an act of hostility,
and in conclusion adds that any attempt to reinforce the
troops at Fort Sumter, or to retake and resume possession
of the forts within the waters of South Carolina, which
Major Anderson abandoned after spiking the
doing other damages, can not be regarded by the authorities
of the State as indicative
any other purpose than the
of the State
by the armed force
"Special agents, therefore, have been off the bar to
warn approaching vessels, armed and unarmed, having
troops to reinforce Fort Sumter aboard, not to enter the
harbor. Special orders have been given the commanders
at the forts not to fire on such vessels until a shot across
their bows should warn them
of the prohibition
of the State. Under these
circumstances the Star of the West, it
is understood, this morning
attempted to enter the harbor
with troops, after having been notified she could not
enter, and consequently she was fired into. The act is
perfectly justified by me.
"In regard to your threat about vessels in the harbor,
is only necessary for me to say you must be the judge
of your responsibility. Your position in the harbor has
been tolerated by the authorities of the State, and while
the act of which you complain is in perfect consistency
with the rights and duties
of the State, it is not
how far the conduct you propose to adopt can find a parallel
in the history
of any country, or be reconciled with
any other purpose than that of your government imposing
on the State the condition of a conquered province.
F. W. PICKENS."
" SIR,—I have the honor to
acknowledge the receipt of your communication, and say that, under the
circumstances, I have deemed it proper to refer the whole matter
to my Government, and intend deferring the course I
indicated in my note this morning until the arrival from
such instructions as I may receive.
have the honor also to express the hope that no obstructions
be placed in the way, and that you will do
me the favor
giving every facility for the departure and
return of the bearer,
Lieutenant T. Talbot, who is directed to make the journey.
Lieut. Talbot left
Charleston accordingly for Washington, without
The picture on
page 37 will convey to the beholder some idea of the work known
Fort Johnson, on the nearest extremity of James Island to Fort Sumter. In
the event of an attack upon that Fort from the shore,
Fort Johnson would
naturally be the principal point from which the attack would be made. At present
it is hardly a fortified point, there being nothing but a barrack and a few
storehouses to certify to its military character. But the
state that men are busily engaged in throwing up earthworks and batteries
800 tons burden, of the New York and Charleston line, was seized by the State
authorities of South Carolina on 10th, to be converted into a vessel of war. She
was built here by Jacob Bell, and was launched on February 3, 1851. At the time
of her capture she was commanded by Captain Sam Whiting.
at present hourly expected at
Charleston, and may take an active part in any
future contest at that point. She was launched at New York on the 27th of July,
1858, and took her place in the navy on the 1st of January, 1859. She is by far
the largest sloop of war in our navy, or in the world, and carries the heaviest
battery ever placed on the deck of any vessel of her class ; yet she only draws
16 feet water. Her length on deck is 247 feet, breadth of beam 43 feet, depth of
hold 21} feet, being 2000 tons, government measurement ; and is rated at 14 guns
on the navy register, although pierced for 24 9-inch shell guns and two 10-inch
pivot guns, the weight of each being nearly six tons. All the hatch and mast
combings on this deck are of mahogany—a wood never before used for such a
purpose in our navy. All the spare spars required, together with three boats,
are carried upon a bridge amidships, elevated above the deck sufficiently high
to walk under, which is an entirely new arrangement. By this improvement the
space upon deck is kept clear and unobstructed for working the guns. Her en-tire
complement is about 300 men. The captain's
cabin occupies the space of 25 feet in length at the after end of this deck. The
boilers are Martin's patent, now generally adopted in the naval service. Her
propeller is of composition, 14 feet 6 inches in diameter, and weighing 13,500
pounds. It is arranged for hoisting on deck when not needed, and can be taken
out of water by means of a capstan, arranged for the purpose, in less than two
minutes. She is sparred precisely like sailing vessels of similar tonnage in the
merchant service, her screw being merely an auxiliary affair. Her speed is
estimated at ten knots under steam.
A BRANCH FOR A CHRISTMAS-
mean stairs of the tenement-house rattled and creaked with the steps of late
rioters ; all the foot-worn boards sprung again with the tread of loutish men
that stumbled through the damp, ill-lighted halls of the house No. 600 and odd
the cap of Fortunatus on I saw
what I relate.
In one meager, gaunt room of the
house aforesaid sat, on a Christmas-Eve, a lady and a child. I knew she was such
by her voice, manner, and gesture, in spite of the mean garb which covered her.
She worked upon a sewing -machine. All the fittings of the room said poverty ;
for they were the remnants of a once fine suit of furniture. A handsome bureau
and a cheap chair eyed each other askance; the chair with ill-concealed plebeian
contempt frowned upon the bureau, and it with lofty indifference held itself
high above its neighbor. Well might
it. with the hidden treasure it carried in its case. The child sat upon the
floor, with its tiny legs crossed outside its dress; in its hand it held a
" Shall I hang it up, mamma?" she asked.
I thought from where I stood that mamma had not heard her ; but she slowly
ceased from working, and the machine stopped its clicking. The little Yankee
clock on the mantle, interpreting the child's
thought, cried every second, " Be quick!" " Be quick!" " Be quick !"
" Shall you hang it up, my child? Yes, indeed you shall, though Heaven alone
knows who will fill it. What indeed is left to us in life now ?"
She fell into a reverie, and thoughts of other Christmas-Eves, past and gone,
were running in her head. The child pulled the dress of its mother, and stirred
upon the floor ; its red lips moved convulsively, which the mother seeing,
caught the baby up and rocked it upon her breast until it fell asleep. When she
saw this was accomplished she put the child upon the bed, hung the red stocking
to the mantle, and pinning her shawl on went out. With the cap on I followed.
When the close air of the corridors was passed we came to the dismal street. It
was dismal be-cause of dirt, but riotous by reason of the anniversary of the
dear Christ's birth. I thought, and the lady thought, that even the gas-lamps
burned brighter and clearer. I know that the stars were shining more brilliantly
than ever, and that the white beams they scintillated through the cold air were
only the wands of angels, who are always near upon that night. Carefully
threading our way, we went toward the Bowery. All the living tide of people
parted on each side, and made wind-rows of humanity upon the walk ; all their
pockets were plethoric; all their baskets ran over ; all the sweet virtues of
the mortal heart shone vividly in the faces of the populace ; for, as I knew,
and the people knew, they had forgotten care, and were careless. Down the busy
street we went, looking in each window where toys were for sale, where all the
wondrous people of fairy-land had their abiding places. In some shops there were
green trees with such rare store of fruit upon them of every kind that I looked
about to see the trap-door, and the ring with the magician above ; for surely we
were in Aladdin's garden. Soon we
stopped, and entered one of these little stores. The lady, after looking all
about, purchased a doll and some confections, and cast a longing glance upon a
toy-cradle. She put it down with a sigh, and was going away. There were many
people in the store, and among others a tall gentleman with a fur collar to his
cloak. He saw the look and action of my companion, and motioned the shop-keeper
to give it her. She took it with a surprised look of gratitude, and left the
store. I followed behind.
I should have known it was Christmas-Eve by this gentleman's action.
As we wended our way with swift steps homeward I heard the sound of feet
pursuing us. The lady looked about and I also. We saw the
Fur Collar coming down the street after us : when we stopped, he also
stopped ; as we loitered, he also loitered : his acts were the counterpart of
ours. I had thought to doff my cap and render assistance if need be ; but he
never came any nearer, and we walked on. As we turned the last corner between us
and the place where the child lay quietly sleeping we both looked back : in the
bright starlight the Fur Collar was coming down the street at a swinging pace :
affrighted, the lady bounded to the door, just to see the Fur Collar turn the
corner and discover her retreat. What evil thoughts had he masked under his
charitable action ?
Then I pondered ; can this be Christmas-Eve ? Panting and breathless the lady
gained her room ; she looked at the child, and I bent over her shoulder ; it lay
so softly in its rest, with one idle arm of ivory over its face toward off the
world and life, that I wished I too were a babe asleep upon Christmas-Eve.
Afterward the lady took the sewing-machine and put it away in a corner ; then
the doll and sweetmeats were placed in the stocking and hung where the child's
eyes would first fall upon them on waking; then going to the bureau she took
from thence a miniature, and some worn and faded letters.
If I had been visible to mortal eyes then I should have been seen in a corner
with folded arms and gathered brow closely watching. This was what the lady said
" It is no harm to look upon your face now, dear Walter ; it is no sin, since my
husband is gone. Oh, why did you not come again from abroad, and take me to your
heart as you promised ?"
Why, indeed ? I said to myself, and peeped over her shoulder. I saw a strong
manly face, full of kind light in the eyes and altogether most noble-featured.
The lady reached and took up the letters with tender care—how old and how silent
the room and the world were then ! I thought I heard the beatings of her heart
as it pulsed its flood through her ivory breast. I surely saw her bodice
vibrate. All the fluttering leaves of the sacred epistles fell apart, and with
their white lips told me her tale. I saw there the record of a sorrowful,
disappointed life ; I saw the accomplishment of an unequal and unhappy marriage,
because without love; I saw the long, long days she watched and waited for the
tarrying bridegroom ; and, finally, the reluctant assent to the sacrifice of all
hopes. Then I saw a gap in the volume and the burial of the husband, the
surrendering of house and home to pay debts ;
and, finally, the cap of Fortunatus, which I wore, brought me back to the room
where we were and the daily tenor of this lady's life.
" Twelve long years (she spoke again)—twelve long years, and no sign of him ever
yet gladdened my heart." Then looked to where the child lay, and said, " This is
The wells in her heart afforded such bounteous store of sensibility that they
ran over at her eyes.
" What a change it is, and what a life I lead !" she
spoke once more. " Who could have thought that in twelve short years these
things could have come to pass ?" I went to the window and looked out : the cap
was not water-proof and betrayed my eyes. As I live I saw the Fur Collar in the
street, pacing up and clown, and glancing occasionally at the window.
Still the woman sat in thought.
It was late at night, and the streets were silent, and the city dead and dumb.
Alone in the wide world, we two kept watch and communion ; then my companion
turned and put away the letters and picture, and drew out the machine to work
upon, but by the aid of the cap the task was completed. She looked at it
amazedly. " I must have done it in a dream," she said, and would not be
satisfied until it had been thoroughly pulled.
I looked out at the window again, but the streets were silent and no stragglers
were abroad. " The Fur Collar has given it up and gone away," I said. The lady
kneeled and made her devotions. In the Presence, which drew near, I removed for
a little while the cap. As she arose I heard footsteps on the stair ; they came
nearer and nearer, and I thought were passing, but a hand knocked at the door
for admittance. The lady started in fear—none were at hand to save her from
danger : she hesitated, but, glancing at the child, mustered courage to approach
the door and say,
" Who is there ?"
There came the answer back, " A friend."
" I am alone, friend, and can not let you in. What do you wish ?"
"To come in," said the friend.
At the sound of the voice she gave a start and made an effort to breathe : she
unlocked the door instantly, her face as white as stone.
It was the Fur Collar with a domino on.
If the lady had had any vitality left she would have shrieked out, but all
manner of contending emotions left her without power to do so. I pre-pared to
take off the cap, but the Fur Collar had taken off his domino, and I saw the
face of the portrait whom she had called Walter. She fell to fainting when he
disclosed his face : he bent tenderly over and kissed her into animation. When
she was alive he told her his life, and the reason of his not coming years ago
to fulfill his word. He said that he had been cast away, and unable to reach his
home until the present time ; that he -had escaped to California, and had made
some money; that he knew of her marriage, and but for her situation would never
have seen her again, and might have searched a long time but for the chance
meeting in the toy-shop. Then the lady fell to upbraiding herself for her
faithlessness in not keeping her vow ; but the Fur Collar would have none of it.
He told her she was forgiven, if she would now fulfill it.
The lady said she would.
The lady and the Fur Collar sat long in quiet talk afterward : they sat so long
that I heard a cock crow, and saw the eye of day unclose in the east. I saw also
the child awake and catch at its treasure with a ringing laugh.
Then I knew for a surety that Christmas had in-deed come.
IN A SLOUGH ON THE PRAIRIE.
A BEAUTIFUL morning ; a delicious breeze tempered the burning rays of a
mid-summer sun; a boundless
wilderness of prairie afforded a rich feast for the eye—which did not,
however, satisfy the earnest protest of our breakfastless stomachs. Yet, under
this undulating sea of brilliant-hued verdure lay concealed the treacherous
" These sloughs," said Lanky, " make me think of a girl I once loved and wanted
to marry, but—didn't. You see she was handsome, and knew it; had any quantity of
lovers, but somehow allowed me to make an ass of myself by giving me to
understand that I was the one. All at once she up and married another fellow,
leaving me in a slough —ha, ha, ha ! I wonder how I ever got out ! Since that I
never see a pretty woman without thinking of the poor devils she has left
floundering in the slough of jilted lovers, and wishing that after Eve had eaten
the apple the old Serpent had ended the trouble by swallowing her. Whoa ! whoa
Rip ! splash ! bang ! A shower of mud and water. The dash-board kicked into
splinters ; ditto the whiffle-trees. The horse rearing and plunging, sinking
deeper and deeper into the soft, oozy, black mire. We had not turned to the
right, and had thoughtlessly driven into the Big Slough !
" Gee ! gee !" cried Lanky. " Turn around and drive back!"
Easier said than done. The struggling horse was down, and both thills broken
short off. Lanky jumped, caught his foot in the reins, and fell flat upon his
face in the soft mud. I was more successful. Seizing the horse by the bits, I
have a very indistinct recollection of going through a series of gymnastic and
equestrian performances never equaled by the champions of the saw-dust arena. I
turned impossible somersaults, made miraculous leaps, stood upon my head one
moment, lay upon my back the next, rolled over the horse, rolled under the
horse, swung round his head like a whip-lash, my feet cutting down the tall
grass in swaths equal to those made by a first-rate mower, and all this upon a
carpet of mire wherein the horse at times sank almost out of sight.
At last I somehow reached dry land, still clinging to the bits, where I was
joined by Lanky, who, as he scraped the mud from his face, hair, and whiskers,
"What the devil am I going to do? Mud from
head to foot, and not a clean rag to put on ! I'm in a pretty pickle ! Look here
! I've torn the seat clean out of my pants !"
"Never mind that now," said I. "Mount the horse, ride back to the cabin where we
staid last night, and tell the old man to come here with his oxen and help us
get out the wagon !"
Lanky galloped off instanter.
I waded back to the wagon, and sat down. I was too cross, wet, muddy, and hungry
to think or care about any thing in particular. I only de-sired the speedy
return of Lanky.
Sitting thus, and broiling, broiling in the hot, red-hot rays of the sun, a
century (so it seemed) must have passed, when, greatly to my relief, a man, with
horse and wagon, came in sight, bearing off toward the north upon the ridge we
should have followed. Trot, trot, trotting along so nicely, I was envious of the
traveler's good luck, and —down went the fore wheels of his wagon, snap went the
axle, the horse sprang clear of the harness and ran off like the wind, the
traveler turned a somersault over the dash-board, landing upon his head.
That traveler was undoubtedly astonished—I am sure I was ; but no opportunity
was given to express my feelings or go to his assistance. As I turned to jump
from the wagon I saw two men, with a team, at a stand-still about a quarter of a
mile to the south, shouting and gesticulating as though addressing an assemblage
of their fellow-citizens upon the political issues of the day. They were in a
bad predicament, in the middle of the Big Slough.
I shouted and waved my hat. They shouted and waved their hats. But alas ! I
could not understand them ; they could not understand me. At length one of the
men pulled off his boots and pantaloons, and commenced wading toward me. That
man will ever have a distinct recollection of that quarter-mile heat. It was
awful. At times sinking nearly to his waist, slipping here and falling there, he
staggered up to the wagon, panting and blowing, muddy, bloody, reeking with
perspiration—a most dismal-looking specimen of a man.
" I say, friend," gasped he, " I'm a hard-looking customer just now ; but never
mind the odds and luck too ! W' have had a sweet old time, t'other side of this
slough. Had to leave our wagon—stuck fast ! Got the horses on to a dry spot, and
there we are ! Can you help us any?"
I explained my situation to the man, and advised that we wait until the
reinforcements came up. He assented ; and we amused ourselves watching the other
traveler, who had recovered from his astonishment, and was now " pegging" away
over the prairie after his runaway horse.
Soon came Lanky with the old man and his oxen. We immediately commenced work—and
such work ! In three hours we were all out of the slough. As it was then late in
the afternoon, we reluctantly concluded to favor the old man with our company
for another night.
We were a sorry-looking assemblage. The poorest rag-picker would have turned up
his nose at our clothing. Our faces, bodies, and hands were incrusted in black
mud, which, having dried and cracked, gave us the appearance of a damaged lot of
During the remainder of the day torn clothes, broken harnesses, fractured
wagons, and mud furnished plenty of employment. We expatiated in glowing terms
and vigorous language upon the beauties of a prairie country, especially in a
wet season. At supper our potatoes were boiled in a kettle in which Lanky swore
he had seen the old lady wash her feet, the night before. We ate them, however,
with a keen relish. We were too hungry to be over-fastidious about trifles.
A DAY'S RIDE :
A LIFE'S ROMANCE.
CHAPTER XXXIII. RESPECTABLE reader, there is no use in asking you if you have
ever been in the Hotel of the "Balance," at Constance. Of course you have not.
It is neither recorded in the book of John, nor otherwise known to fame. It is
an obscure hostel, only visited by the very humblest wayfarers, and such poor
offshoots of wretchedness as are fain to sleep on a truckle-bed and sup meanly.
Vaterchen, however, spoke of it in generous terms. There was a certain oniony
soup he had tasted there years ago whose flavor had not yet left his memory. He
had seen, be-sides, the most delicious schweine fleisch hanging up from the
kitchen rafters, and it had been revealed to him in a dream that a solvent
traveler might have rashers on demand.
Poor fellow ! I had not the vaguest idea of the eloquence he possessed till lee
came to talk on these matters. From modest and distrustful, he grew assured and
confident ; his hesitation of speech was replaced by fluent utterance and a rich
vocabulary ; and he repeatedly declared that though the exterior was
unprepossessing, and the service generally homely, there were substantial
comforts obtainable which far surpassed the resources of more pretentious
houses. "You are served on pewter, it is true," said he ; " but pewter is a rare
material to impart relish to a savory mess." Though we should dine in the
kitchen, he gave me to understand that even in this there were advantages, and
that the polite guest of the salon never knew what it was to taste that rich
odor of the " roast," or that fragrant incense that steamed up from the luscious
stew, and which were to cookery what bouquet was to wine.
"I will not say to you, honored Sir," continued he, " that in the mixed company