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And what advantage had the poor old fellow got by all this doubling and hesitating and artfulness?—a respite until to-morrow morning! Another night of horrible wakefulness and hopeless guilt, and Philip waiting ready the next morning with his little bill, and "Please pay me the thirty thousand which my father spent and you owe me. Please turn out into the streets with your wife and family, and beg and starve. Have the goodness to hand me out your last rupee. Be kind enough to sell your children's clothes and your wife's jewels, and hand over the proceeds to me. I'll call to-morrow. By-by."
Here there came tripping over the marble pavement of the hall of the hotel a tall young lady in a brown silk dress and rich curling ringlets falling upon her fair young neck—beautiful brown curling ringlets, vous comprenez, not wisps of moistened hair, and a broad clear forehead, and two honest eyes shining below it, and cheeks not pale as they were yesterday; and lips redder still; and she says, *'Papa, papa, won't you come to breakfast? The tea is—" What the precise state of the tea is I don't know—none of us ever shall—for here she says, "Oh, Mr. Firmin!" and makes a courtesy.
To which remark Philip replied, "Miss Baynes, I hope you are very well this morning, and not the worse for yesterday's rough weather."
"I am quite well, thank you," was Miss Baynes's iustant reply. The answer was not witty, to be sure; but I don't know that under the circumstances she could have said any thing more appropriate. Indeed, never was a pleasanter picture of health and good-humor than the young lady presented: a difference more pleasant to note than Miss Charlotte's face pale from the steamboat on Saturday, and shining, rosy, happy, and innocent in the cloudless Sabbath morn.
** A Madame,
"TiNTKLLcsisa, Boulogne Sub-mib,
1' Dearest Emily,—After suffering more dreadfully in the two hour if passage from Folkestone to this place than I hare in four passages out and home from India, except in that terrible storm off the Cape, in September, 1824, when I certainly did suffer most cruelly on board that horrible troop-ship, we reached this place last Saturday evening, having a full determination to proceed immediately on our route. Sow, you will perceive that our minds are changed. We found this place pleasant, and the lodgings besides most neat, comfortable, and well found in every thing, more reasonable than you proposed to get for us at Tours, which I am told also is damp, and might bring on the general's jungle fever again. Owing to the hoopingcough having just been in the house, which, praised be merey, all my dear ones have had it, including dear baby, who is quite well through It, and recommended sea air, we got this house more reasonable than prices you mention at Tours. A whole house: little room for two boys; nursery; nice little room for Charlotte, and a den for the general. I don't know how ever we should have brought our party safe all the way to Tours. Thirty-seven article* of luggage, and MU» Flixby, who announced herself
as perfect French governess, acquired at Paris—perfect, but perfectly useless. She can't understand the French people when they speak to her, and goes about the house in a most bewildering way. 1 am the interpreter; poor Charlott* is much too timid to speak when I am by. I have rubbed up the old French which we learned at Chiswick at Miss Pinkerton's; and I find my Uindostanee of great help: which I use it when we are at a loss for a word, and it answers extremely well. We pay for lodgings, the
whole house franes per month. Butchers* meat and
poultry plentiful but dear. A grocer in the Grande Eue sell excellent wine at fifteenpence per bottle; and groceries pretty much at English prices. Mr. Blowman at the English chapel of the Tintelleries has a fine voice, and appears to be a most excellent clergyman. I have heard him only once, however, on Sunday evening, when I was so agitated and so unhappy in my mind that I own I took little note of his sermon.
11The cause of that agitation you fcnotr, having imparted it to you in my letters of July, June, and 34th of May, tdt. My poor simple, guileless Baynes was trustee to Mrs. Dr. Firmin, before she married that most unprincipled man. When we were at home last, and exchanged to the 120th from the 99th, my poor husband was inveigled by the horrid man into signing a paper which put the doctor in possession of all his wife's property; whereas Charles thought he was only signing a power of attorney, enabling him to receive his son's dividends. Dr. F., after the most atrocious deceit, forgery, and criminality of every kind, fled the country; and Hunt and Pegler, our solicitors, informed us that the general was answerable for the wickedness of this miscreant. He is so weak that he has been many and many times on the point of going to young Mr. F. and giving up every thing. It was only by my prayers, by my commands, that I have been enabled to keep him quiet; and, indeed, Emily, the effort has almost killed him. Brandy repeatedly I was obliged to administer on the dreadful night of our arrival here.
u For the first person we met on landing was Mr. Philip Firmin, with a pert friend of his, Mr. Pendenuis, whom I don't at all like, though his wife is an amiable person like Emma Fletcher of the Horse Aitillery: not with Emma's Style, however, but still amiable, and disposed to be most civil. Charlotte has taken a great fancy to her, as she always does to every new person. Well, fancy our state on landing, when a young gentleman calls out,1 How do you do, general V and turns out to be Mr. Firmin I I thought I should have lost Charles in the night. I have seen him before going into action as calm, and sleep and smile as sweet, as any babe. It was all I could do to keep up his courage: and, but for me, but for my prayers, but for my agonies, I think he would have jumped out of bed, and gone to Mr. F, thai nighty and said, *Take everything I have/
"The young man I own has behaved in the most honorable way. He came to see ua before breakfast on Sunday, when the poor general was so ill that I thought he would have fainted over his tea. He was too ill to go to church, where I went alone, with my dear ones, having, as 1 own, but very small comfort in the sermon: but oh, Emily, fancy, on our return, when I went into our room, I found my general on his knees with his Church service before him, crying, crying like a baby! You know I am hasty in my temper sometimes, and his is indeed an angel's— | and I said to him, 1 Charles Baynes, be a man, and don't cry like a child!' 'Ah,' says he, * Eliza, do you kneel, and thank God too;' on which I said that I thought I did not require instruction in my religion from him or any man, except a clergyman, and many of these are but jwor iustructors, as you know.
u * He has been here,' says Charles; when I said, 1 Who has been here?" 'That noble young fellow,' says my general; k that noble, noble ll1ilip Firmin.* Which noble his conduct I own it has been. 1 While you were at chureh 'he came again—here into this very room, where I was sitIting, doubting and despairing, with the Holy Book before my eyes, and no comfort out of it. And he said to mo, | "General, I want to talk to you about my grandfathers wilL You don't suppose that because my father has deceived you and ruined me, I will carry the ruin farther, and visit his wrong upon children and innocent people?" Those were the young man's words,' my general said; and, 'oh, Eliza!' says he, 'what pangs of remorse I felt when I remembered we had used hard words about him,* which I own we had, for his manners are rough and haughty, and I have heard things of him which I do believe now can't be true.
"AH Monday my poor man was obliged to keep his bed with a smart attack of his fever. But yesterday he was quite bright and well again., and the Pendennis party took Charlotte for a drive, and showed themselves tnosf polite. Phe reminds me of Mrs. Tom Fletcher of the Horse Artillery, but that I think I have mentioned before. My paper is full; and with our best to MacWhirter and the children, I am always my dearest Emily's affectionate sister,
THE first, and last time save one, that I ever went "possum hunting," was when a boy of about fourteen years on a visit to my maternal uncle residing in the upper part of Georgia. Our party was four in number, consisting of a young man named Poole, about eighteen or twenty, an old negro man named Sawney, and a negro boy about my own age.
Provided with fat lightwood torches, and accompanied by a good possum dog to tell us by his deep baying when the "varmint" had taken to a tree, we sallied forth in high spirits immediately after supper. Nor was it long before we had the satisfaction to hear his signal echoing through the forest and re-echoing in a neighboring swamp. Proceeding at a quick pace to the spot, we soon discovered the bright eyes and badger-like hair of the "varmint" in the top of a small tree, while the dog was now seated upon his haunches, whining with satisfaction at our approach, only giving an occasional short bark as he turned his head upward to look at his victim. The tree was a small one, and two of our party attempted to shake down the animal, seated in apparent comfort among its branches, grinning and growling savagely at us as we endeavored to shake him from his perch. A novice at the game of hunting coons and possums, I expected to see it flirted in a moment from the little oak-tree. But I was sadly disappointed. For when one foot lost its hold it clung to the branch by another, and finally, as if defying all our united efforts, swung by its tail, coiled several times around the small limb of the tree.
''Ah, Massa Poole!" said the experienced old negro, "dar's no manner ob use in tryin' to shake down a possum! He'll mek you b'liebe he tired, and jest ready fur drap into yourhand, when he no tired t'all! Better cut um down at once."
This suggestion was adopted. No sooner was the tree felled than the dog pounced upon his victim, but was beaten off with blows and kicks by the old negro. The animal seemed already quite dead and limber, as if its body had been crunched and broken by the strong teeth of the cur. But to make sure work Poole took the possum from the old negro's hand, and gave it several hard blows with the butt-end of his gun. Our work being over at that spot, the game was lifted from the ground, and we continued our pursuit in quest of further sport.
But although our beginning was a good one,
not so the ending. On and on we trudged through many a brake and brier, and mud and water, until we became so tired by our continued walking for several hours that we resolved to return home. But this soon proved to be as vain a hope as catching any more possums; and after walking and searching in vain for some mode of egress from the swamp until two or three hours
1 past midnight, we all concluded that we were lost, and could not find our way home until the morning dawned.
As I have before stated, we had got into the dense and boggy swamp, covered in places with a greenish slime which concealed the black mud beneath, and afforded shelter for many a huge moccasin. It was dangerous to tread upon this soft mud. It was necessary to move slowly, once you had left the outer edge, often leaping from one root, or stump, or log to another. This process required both caution and activity to avoid slipping into the slimy fen, from which we could extricate ourselves with great difficulty, if at all, by rendering each other mutual assistance. For there were spots so moist and yielding that one must sink so deep into the mire as to be speedily suffocated in the slimy soil, or drowned in the stagnant waters which, like a green veil, concealed the hideous deformities beneath their surface. And besides this, who could tell but that in his fall he would wake up the smouldering ire of some huge moccasin, whose bite is as deadly as that of the rattlesnake, who gives its victim no warning, but stings quickly and under the security of concealment, and then silently creeps away. The very thought that at every step there was perhaps lying in its dismal retreat the assassin-serpent of the South, stretched at lazy length, and ready at a moment's warning to inflict its fatal bite—the bare idea of such a possibility is enough to chill the heart with horror. But when the probability, and, in our case, the almost certainty, stared us in the face, and when now and then we could see a monster swamp-moccasin, nearly as large as a man's thigh, creeping away at our approach, and shunning the blaze of our torches, it was enough to make us tremble with apprehension.
We had been picking our way with extreme caution for some time, when, as old Sawney, our leader and pilot, was about to step upon what seemed to be a black log lying just before him, he drew back his foot in sudden alarm, and cried out, in a terrified voice,
"Oh, my God! Massa Poole! look yere! My God! Massa Poole! 'tis de berry debble he
He had nearly placed his foot upon a large alligator lying in his pathway at full length before him! The monster had evidently placed himself there in ambush in expectation of his prey! For, as it was subsequently proved to our amazement, we had several times passed that way—our footprints proved this—so that the monster must have very recently crawled to the spot, and, by assuming that motionless and impassive attitude, hoped to pass himself upon our crednlity as an old black log which had been lying imbedded in the soft mud for untold ages.
No sooner did Poole perceive the alligator than he fired both barrels at the creature, who had no idea of moving from position or stirring a single muscle until he had felt the pressure of old Sawney's foot upon his back, and was thus certain of his prey. The gun was loaded with large-sized buck-shot, and told upon the alligator with deadly effect. But just as he fired, an owl, scared from its perch hard by at the deafening report of the gun, flew past us, and with one of its broad, blackish wings struck the torch from old Sawney's hand. We were thus, suddenly and in a single moment, enveloped by thick and horrible darkness—"a darkness which could be felt!" And there we were compelled to stand, fearing to move an inch from our tracks; for the alligator was still flouncing and splashing around the muddy waters, and we could distinctly hear the occasional hiss of a moccasin disturbed from its slumbers, or compelled to move from its own secret place of ambush by the convulsive death-throes of the aquatic monster who ruled the swamp as monarch of all the reptiles around him. But by-and-by his struggles ceased, and all was still and silent as the grave. Our awe and terror increased still more by the silence and the terrific gloom which appalled our spirits.
"Sawney!" said Poole, in a terrified whisper, as if afraid lest his words should be heard and understood by the inhabitants of the swamp, who might rise up en masse to hinder our further progress and prevent our escape.
"I yeres you, massa! I be listenin' berry 'tentive to you!" replied the old negro, in a low voice.
"What shall we do now, Sawney?"
"Well, massa! I 'spect I will hab to trust in God, and feel down in dis 'ere mud fur de fat lightwood, or stay still in our tracks till de mornin' come. Dem's de only two tings I can tink on. Berry bad fix, massa! You oughten to shoot so quick, massa, till I bin hide de torch from de owl. But 'what can't be cured must be indured,' as de good book say! I reckon I must run do resk of gettin' bit by de moccasin!" And stooping down the old man found the extinguished torch, which was soon relighted from the portable fire which he always carried with him.
The torch again relighted, it was determined to retrace our steps, and regain, if possible, the only dry knoll which we had encountered in our peregrinations. Our return was made with the same degree of caution, and when we reached the only terra firma which we had encountered for several hours—the knoll which we had twice visited and twice left behind us—our entire party hailed its appearance with a shout. The heart of Columbus did not beat with more rapturous joy when his look-out man cried out, "Land! land!" from the masthead, than did ours when we espied once more the spot whose comparative dryness invited us to spend upon its leafy surface the remainder of the night.
A fire was speedily built, and our entire party threw themselves upon the ground, forming a
circle around the jovial blaze. But while the others slept I could not; and it was well, too, that my state of mental excitement kept me awake; for otherwise we would have lost our possum. Sawney had thrown it down by his side, supposing that it was quite dead. But either it had feigned death or was revived by the warmth of the fire, and began stealthily to creep away from its now sleeping captors. But he got no sympathy from old Sawney; for as I touched the old man, who, unlike the rest, slept in a sitting posture, dreaming and nodding over the fire as it burned lower and lower, until a single blaze flickered and flared up now and then, the old fellow raised his head and gave a low grunt. I pointed with my hand toward the fugitive creeping away slowly and stealthily as a cat creeps toward a bird. The old man understood my signal, and in a moment was upon his feet, and seizing the animal by the tail, exclaimed,
"Ah, ha! you good for nuttin' 'ceitful tief! You try to fool me? Berry well! I see if I can't stop dem tricks." And pulling out his jack-knife, he did what he should have done before—cut the animal's throat, singed off allits hair over the fire, and took out its heart and viscera.
"Dere now! You is ready fur de pot, I reckon! Dat's de only place whar you can't come to life. You is den jist like de poor sinner when he is cast into debble's hot hole! De sinner can fool de ole debble, massa, and git out ob his clutches as long as he is in dis world; but when de debble put him into his big pot, and he begin to stew and to fry, ah, massa! den it be too late! De debble got um den too fast fur 'scape! Same like me now got dis possum swinged and ready fur de pot!
"And, massa," continued the old fellow, "while we's talkin' 'bout religion, I'll tell you 'zactly what I tink. Now you see, massa, we all make a berry great 'scape from sudden death to-night, tank de good Lord!—berry great 'scape, massa! And it was all de good Lord's doin's, massa! Ef He hadn't said to poor nigger's heart jest in time, 'Sawney, look what you 'bout! look whar you gwine to put your foot! dat's no log, Sawney!' please God, massa, Sawney's foot would a bin snapped off in a jiffy, same like glass. And den, massa, sure as fate, ef Sawney didn't git killed outright by do mean, stinkin' cuss, he would sartin to be drownded in de mud. But, massa, de good Lord is ebery where—in do swamp as well as in de ' pine-barren,' on land as well as on de big sea. De same God dat takes care ob de white buckra tinks 'pon de poor nigger too.
"Now Massa Poole and me don't 'gree togedder on de subject ob religion. Massa Poole's farer, and him too, is a Metterdist, and I is a Hard-shell Baptist. Massa Poole b'liebs in 'fallin'from grace,' but I b'liebs in de 'finalpussevereance ob de saints.' Now I will 'lustrate dat to your onderstandin' by dis same possum when he was alive. Berry well! You see de possum in de tree; you shake de tree; you shake um, and you shake um. De possum let go onefoot, den anurrer one; den tree foot. Now you tink you most got um! Ah, ha! you say; now I got you! You shake de tree 'gain, and de possum let go all his four foot. Tank God! I got you now! you say. You look on de ground—you no see de possum. Ky! you say; way de possum gone so quick? You look all round in de bush to see way he hide—you no find um. You look up in do tree, and please God, massa! you sec um hangin' by de tail, laughin' at you same like white buckra laugh at poor nigger I
"Well, massa! jestsowid 'fallin'from grace' and de 'final pusseecreance ob de saints.' You see de ole debble come to de Christian. Mebbe he high up in de tree, on de berry top ob de cross. De ole debble shake de cross; he trow stones; he hit um on de foot, on de hand, in de head! De Christian sin one time, two time, tree time. At last he sin one big sin. De debble trip um up now! He git poor Christian down flat in de mud! He beat um and beat um wid his big stick, till he tink poor Christian dead and nebber can git up any more! All poor Christian's friends gib um up for dead too; for de debble goes to dem and fools 'em. He tell 'em all, 'No use to pray for him any more, for he's nottin' more dan a rottin, stinkin' carcase! He's pisoned wid de gall and bitterness ob sin! You nebber will see your friend in hebben, for he b'longs to me now!'
"Well, massa! de debble goes away, and lef de poor Christian right dere; for he ain't got no time to stay dere to watch him, and he so greedy he want to catch heap ob sinners to put 'em all in his pot at one time. He want to hab stew, and roast, and brile all togedder! 'Cause he know berry well he can't hunt for no more poor sinner arter dis world close. Well! he lef poor Christian in de mud, and go off 'bout his bizzness; for Satan got heap o' bizzness, massa! Well! jest den, when all hope gone, de poor Christian, like de Prodigal Son, come to hisself. Like dc possum, he open one eye fust, den he open de odder eye, and look round. He see now; and by de grace ob God he crawl out ob de ditch on his hands and knees. And although he's bruised and sore, and can hardly creep along, and may be for a long time 'fore he can 'tand up 'traight as he used to could, yet arter a while he gits back to de berry top ob de cross! And de top ob de cross, massa, is berry high—for it reaches clean up to hebben!
"Well, God bless you, massa, for listenin' to a poor old nigger!" said the good old man; and then he cried out, in a joyous tone, "De day is breakin', Massa Poole! and please God! dere's our own home fence, and we ain't been lost at all when we fust git to dis place! Why, massa! if we had jist gone ten steps more dis way we would a bin in de ole ficld!"
It was even so. We had been going round in a circle for several hours. But it gave us cause for gratitude to God for the manifestation of his providence; and perhaps many of our readers will say there is much of sound theology in old Sawney's lecture on "Falling from Grace" and the "Final Perseverance of the Saints."
ALAS! the weary hours pass slow,
I hear the bearded whip-poor-will.
My ears are strained to catch each sound; I hear the leaves about me shed, And the springs bubbling through the ground.
Along the beaten path I pace,
Where white rags mark my sentry's track, In formless shrubs I seem to trace
The foeman's form with bending back. I think I see him crouching low,
I stop and list—I stoop and peer— Until the neighboring hillocks grow
To groups of soldiers far and near.
With ready piece I wait and watch,
Until mine eyes, familiar grown, Detect each harmless earthen notch,
And turn guerrillas into stone. And then amid the lonely gloom,
Beneath the weird old tulip trees, My silent marehes I resume,
And think on other times than these.
Sweet visions through the silent night!
The deep bay-windows fringed with vine; The room within, in softened light,
The tender, milk-white hand in mine, The timid pressure, and the pause
That ofttimes overeame our speech— That time when by mysterious laws
We each felt all in all to each.
And then, that bitter, bitter day,
When came the final hour to part, When clad in soldier's honest gray,
I pressed her weeping to my heart. Too proud of me to bid me stay,
Too fond of me to let me go, I had to tear myself away,
And left her stolid in her woe.
So rose the dream—so passed the night—
When distant in the darksome glen, Approaching up the sombre height,
I heard the solid march of men; Till over stubble, over sward,
And fields where lay the golden sheaf, I saw the lantern of the guard
Advancing with the night relief.
"Halt! who goes there?" my challenge cry:
It rings along the watchful line. "Relief!" I hear a voice reply.
"Advance, and give the countersign!" With bayonet at the charge, I wait,
The corporal gives the mystic spell; With arms at port I charge my mate,
And onward pass, and all is well.
But in the tent that night awake,
I think, if in the fray I fall, Can I the mystic answer make
Whene'er the angelic sentries call? And pray that Heaven may so ordain,
That when I near the camp divine, Whether in travail or in pain,
I too may have the countersign. Camp Cameron, /uf*', 1861.
THE POT OF GOLD. ,
THE sun flung wide its golden amis
An old wife at the cottage door
And watched the rainbow belt the clouds
Then, in that quiet evening hour,
How he who sought the raiubow's foot
The eager boy drank in the tale—
And in his fluttering heart there leaped
And as the gorgeous sun went down,
He stole with hurrying step away
Through lonesome woods with whispering leaves, That sung an endless forest hymn,
By rivers thundering to the sea,
By ragged hill and gloomy glen,
And by the pleasant homes of men,
The strange boy wandered night and day,
While still within his heart there grew
Men marveled as he passed them by
And women, as they saw him, sighed
And many asked why thus he went O'er hill and flood, through heat and cold;
While he the steadfast answer made,
Then people smiled, and told the boy
And some had fainted by the way, And some had sought the end and died.
For never had the mystic goal
By any human foot been trod; The secret of the rainbow's base
Was known but to its builder—God.
He heard, but heeded not. His eyes
What mattered to him others' fate,
And still the raiubow came and went,
And still the seeker's restless soul
So went the time—till one dark day,
With quivering lips ho told his tale;
The pitying tears above him fell; Once more around his couch he heard
Tho voice of those he loved so well.
And soon a modest, mild-eyed man,
And talked about a treasure, too, Through pain and suffering to be won;
As the boy heard the simple words,
And so his young life ebbed away;
His heart was still, his limbs were cold; But by the smile upon his face,
They knew he'd found the pot of gold!
IDO not know whether there is any thing peculiar about me or not—I have sometimes had misgivings on that point. Be that as it may, I have always had a faculty of attracting toward me not only persons of my own sex but of the opposite, and of becoming the recipient of their confidence in a way that was often both fatiguing and annoying. But although I have had many intimate and warm friends among my male acquaintances, and had reason to think many admirers, yet I must own there were few, if any, who could be called lovers. I never could divine precisely the reason why it was so, for I was young, not ill-looking, had a handsome little fortune of my own; but, somehow, although I have listened to many a love tale, and shed tears of sympathy with those with whom the course of true love was not seeking a new channel wherein to flow smoothly and placidly, but was rushing along in the old way, over obstacles and impediments that sometimes threatened to prove insurmountable—although, as I say, I have listened to many a piteous love tale, I never was the moving cause of all these distresses. Love-sick, lackadaisical school-girls used to bring me their ill-written, oftentimes misspelled missives to decipher, and frequently to answer; and though I have penned the most heart-rending accounts of the cruelty of obdurate mothers and hard-hearted fathers, the answers were never directed to my address.
I could not pretend to enumerate how many love-sick swains have sighed in my ears of their duleineas, who so excelled all the Venuses and Cleopatras that ever existed in poet's imaginations or in reality. Half of them, I must confess, appeared to me very commouplace sort of bodies; and even with all my most earnest desire to be a good listener and sympathizer, I could not force myself to regard them in the exalted light represented.
My school-days were long since over; I was