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Title: An Outcast - or, Virtue and Faith
Author: Adams, F. Colburn (Francis Colburn)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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American Fiction Project.)



AN OUTCAST;

OR,

VIRTUE AND FAITH.

BY

F. COLBURN ADAMS.


"Be merciful to the erring."

NEW YORK:
PUBLISHED BY M. DOOLADY,
49 WALKER STREET.
1861.


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861,

BY M. DOOLADY,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.



PREFACE.


When reason and conscience are a man's true guides to what he
undertakes, and he acts strictly in obedience to them, he has little to
fear from what the unthinking may say. You cannot, I hold, mistake a man
intent only on doing good. You may differ with him on the means he calls
to his aid; but having formed a distinct plan, and carried it out in
obedience to truth and right, it will be difficult to impugn the
sincerity of his motives. For myself, I care not what weapon a man
choose, so long as he wield it effectively, and in the cause of humanity
and justice. We are a sensitive nation, prone to pass great moral evils
over in silence rather than expose them boldly, or trace them to their
true sources. I am not indifferent to the duty every writer owes to
public opinion, nor the penalties he incurs in running counter to it.
But fear of public opinion, it seems to me, has been productive of much
evil, inasmuch as it prefers to let crime exist rather than engage in
reforms. Taking this view of the matter, I hold fear of public opinion
to be an evil much to be deplored. It aids in keeping out of sight that
which should be exposed to public view, and is satisfied to pass
unheeded the greatest of moral evils. Most writers touch these great
moral evils with a timidity that amounts to fear, and in describing
crimes of the greatest magnitude, do it so daintily as to divest their
arguments of all force. The public cannot reasonably be expected to
apply a remedy for an evil, unless the cause as well as the effect be
exposed truthfully to its view. It is the knowledge of their existence
and the magnitude of their influence upon society, which no false
delicacy should keep out of sight, that nerves the good and generous to
action. I am aware that in exciting this action, great care should be
taken lest the young and weak-minded become fascinated with the gilding
of the machinery called to the writer's aid. It is urged by many good
people, who take somewhat narrow views of this subject, that in dealing
with the mysteries of crime vice should only be described as an ugly
dame with most repulsive features. I differ with those persons. It would
be a violation of the truth to paint her thus, and few would read of her
in such an unsightly dress. These persons do not, I think, take a
sufficiently clear view of the grades into which the vicious of our
community are divided, and their different modes of living. They found
their opinions solely on the moral and physical condition of the most
wretched and abject class, whose sufferings they would have us hold up
to public view, a warning to those who stand hesitating on the brink
between virtue and vice. I hold it better to expose the allurements
first, and then paint vice in her natural colors--a dame so gay and
fascinating that it is difficult not to become enamored of her. The ugly
and repulsive dame would have few followers, and no need of writers to
caution the unwary against her snares. And I cannot forget, that truth
always carries the more forcible lesson. But we must paint the road to
vice as well as the castle, if we would give effect to our warning. That
road is too frequently strewn with the brightest of flowers, the thorns
only discovering themselves when the sweetness of the flowers has
departed. I have chosen, then, to describe things as they are. You,
reader, must be the judge whether I have put too much gilding on the
decorations.

I confess that the subject of this work was not congenial to my
feelings. I love to deal with the bright and cheerful of life; to leave
the dark and sorrowful to those whose love for them is stronger than
mine. Nor am I insensible to the liabilities incurred by a writer who,
having found favor with the public, ventures upon so delicate and
hazardous an undertaking. It matters not how carefully and discreetly he
perform the task, there will always be persons enough to question his
sincerity and cast suspicion upon his motives. What, I have already been
asked, was my motive for writing such a book as this? Why did I descend
into the repulsive haunts of the wretched and the gilded palaces of the
vicious for the material of a novel? My answer is in my book.

NEW YORK, _January 1st_, 1861.



AN OUTCAST.



CHAPTER I.

CHARLESTON.


This simple story commences on a November evening, in the autumn of
185-. Charleston and New York furnish me with the scenes and characters.

Our quaint old city has been in a disquiet mood for several weeks.
Yellow fever has scourged us through the autumn, and we have again taken
to scourging ourselves with secession fancies. The city has not looked
up for a month. Fear had driven our best society into the North, into
the mountains, into all the high places. Business men had nothing to do;
stately old mansions were in the care of faithful slaves, and there was
high carnival in the kitchen. Fear had shut up the churches, shut up the
law-courts, shut up society generally. There was nothing for lawyers to
do, and the buzzards found it lonely enough in the market-place. The
clergy were to be found at fashionable watering-places, and politicians
found comfort in cards and the country. Timid doctors had taken to their
heels, and were not to be found. Book-keepers and bank-clerks were on
Sullivan's Island. The poor suffered in the city, and the rich had not a
thought to give them. Grave-looking men gathered into little knots, at
street corners, and talked seriously of Death's banquet. Old negroes
gathered about the kitchen-table, and terrified themselves with tales of
death: timid ones could not be got to pass through streets where the
scourge raged fiercest. Mounted guardsmen patrolled the lonely streets
at night, their horses' hoofs sounding on the still air, like a solemn
warning through a deserted city.

Sisters of Mercy, in deep, dark garments, moved noiselessly along the
streets, by day and by night, searching out and ministering to the sick
and the dying. Like brave sentinels, they never deserted their posts.
The city government was in a state of torpor. The city government did
not know what to do. The city government never did know what to do. Four
hundred sick and dying lay languishing in the hospital. The city
government was sorry for them, and resolved that Providence would be the
best doctor. The dead gave place to the dying by dozens, and there has
been high carnival down in the dead-yard. The quick succession of
funeral trains has cast a shade of melancholy over the broad road that
leads to it. Old women are vending pies and cakes at the gates, and
little boys are sporting over the newly-made graves, that the wind has
lashed into furrows. Rude coffins stand about in piles, and tipsy
negroes are making the very air jubilant with the songs they bury the
dead to.

A change has come over the scene now. There is no more singing down in
the dead-yard. A bright sun is shedding its cheerful rays over the broad
landscape, flowers deck the roadside, and the air comes balmy and
invigorating. There has been frost down in the lowlands. A solitary
stranger paces listlessly along the walks of the dead-yard, searching
in vain for the grave of a departed friend. The scourge has left a sad
void between friends living and friends gone to eternal rest. Familiar
faces pass us on the street, only to remind us of familiar faces passed
away forever. The city is astir again. Society is coming back to us.
There is bustle in the churches, bustle in the law courts, bustle in the
hotels, bustle along the streets, bustle everywhere. There is bustle at
the steamboat landings, bustle at the railway stations, bustle in all
our high places. Vehicles piled with trunks are hurrying along the
streets; groups of well-dressed negroes are waiting their master's
return at the landings, or searching among piles of trunks for the
family baggage. Other groups are giving Mas'r and Missus such a cordial
greeting. Society is out of an afternoon, on King street, airing its
dignity. There is Mr. Midshipman Button, in his best uniform, inviting
the admiration of the fair, and making such a bow to all distinguished
persons. Midshipman Button, as he is commonly called, has come home to
us, made known to us the pleasing fact that he is ready to command our
"navy" for us, whenever we build it for him. There is Major Longstring,
of the Infantry, as fine a man in his boots as woman would fancy, ready
to fight any foe; and corporal Quod, of the same regiment, ready to
shoulder his weapon and march at a moment. We have an immense admiration
for all these heroes, just now; it is only equalled by their admiration
of themselves. The buzzards, too, have assumed an unusual air of
importance--are busy again in the market; and long-bearded politicians
are back again, at their old business, getting us in a state of
discontent with the Union and everybody in general.

There is a great opening of shutters among the old mansions. The music
of the organ resounds in the churches, and we are again in search of the
highest pinnacle to pin our dignity upon. Our best old families have
been doing the North extensively, and come home to us resolved never to
go North again. But it is fashionable to go North, and they will break
this resolution when spring comes. Mamma, and Julia Matilda have brought
home an immense stock of Northern millinery, all paid for with the
hardest of Southern money, which papa declares the greatest evil the
state suffers under. He has been down in the wilderness for the last ten
years, searching in vain for a remedy. The North is the hungry dog at
the door, and he will not be kicked away. So we have again mounted that
same old hobby-horse. There was so much low-breeding at the North,
landlords were so extortionate, vulgarity in fine clothes got in your
way wherever you went, servants were so impertinent, and the trades
people were so given to cheating. We would shake our garments of the
North, if only some one would tell us how to do it becomingly.

Master Tom and Julia Matilda differ with the old folks on this great
question of bidding adieu to the North. Tom had a "high old time
generally," and is sorry the season closed so soon. Julia Matilda has
been in a pensive mood ever since she returned. That fancy ball was so
brilliant; those moonlight drives were so pleasant; those flirtations
were carried on with such charming grace! A dozen little love affairs,
like pleasant dreams, are touching her heart with their sweet
remembrance. The more she contemplates them the sadder she becomes.
There are no drives on the beach now, no moonlight rambles, no
promenades down the great, gay verandah, no waltzing, no soul-stirring
music, no tender love-tales told under the old oaks. But they brighten
in her fancy, and she sighs for their return. She is a prisoner now,
surrounded by luxury in the grim old mansion. Julia Matilda and Master
Tom will return to the North when spring comes, and enjoy whatever there
is to be enjoyed, though Major Longstring and Mr. Midshipman Button
should get us safe out of the Union.

Go back with us, reader, not to the dead-yard, but to the quiet walks of
Magnolia Cemetery, hard by. A broad avenue cuts through the centre, and
stretches away to the west, down a gently undulating slope. Rows of tall
pines stand on either side, their branches forming an arch overhead, and
hung with long, trailing moss, moving and whispering mysteriously in the
gentle wind. Solemn cypress trees mark the by-paths; delicate flowers
bloom along their borders, and jessamine vines twine lovingly about the
branches of palmetto and magnolia trees. An air of enchanting harmony
pervades the spot; the dead could repose in no prettier shade.
Exquisitely chiselled marbles decorate the resting-places of the rich;
plain slabs mark those of the poor.

It is evening now. The shadows are deepening down the broad avenue, the
wind sighs touchingly through the tall pines, and the sinking sun is
shedding a deep purple hue over the broad landscape. A solitary
mocking-bird has just tuned its last note, and sailed swiftly into the
dark hedgerow, down in the dead-yard.

A young girl, whose fair oval face the sun of eighteen summers has
warmed into exquisite beauty, sits musingly under a cypress tree. Her
name is Anna Bonnard, and she is famous in all the city for her beauty,
as well as the symmetry of her form. Her dress is snowy white, fastened
at the neck with a blue ribbon, and the skirts flowing. Her face is
like chiselled marble, her eyes soft, black, and piercing, and deep,
dark tresses of silky hair fall down her shoulders to her waist. Youth,
beauty, and innocence are written in every feature of that fair face,
over which a pensive smile now plays, then deepens into sadness. Here
she has sat for several minutes, her head resting lightly on her right
hand, and her broad sun-hat in her left, looking intently at a newly
sodded grave with a plain white slab, on which is inscribed, in black
letters--"Poor Miranda." This is all that betrays the sleeper beneath.

"And this is where they have laid her," she says, with a sigh. "Poor
Miranda! like me, she was lost to this world. The world only knew the
worst of her." And the tears that steal from her eyes tell the tale of
her affection. "Heaven will deal kindly with the outcast, for Heaven
only knows her sorrows." She rises quickly from her seat, casts a glance
over the avenue, then pats the sods with her hands, and strews cypress
branches and flowers over the grave, saying, "This is the last of poor
Miranda. Some good friend has laid her here, and we are separated
forever. It was misfortune that made us friends." She turns slowly from
the spot, and walks down the avenue towards the great gate leading to
the city. A shadow crosses her path; she hesitates, and looks with an
air of surprise as the tall figure of a man advances hastily, saying,
"Welcome, sweet Anna--welcome home."

He extends his gloved hand, which she receives with evident reluctance.
"Pray what brought you here, Mr. Snivel?" she inquires, fixing her eyes
on him, suspiciously.

"If you would not take it impertinent, I might ask you the same
question. No, I will not. It was your charms, sweetest Anna. Love can
draw me--I am a worshipper at its fountain. And as for law,--you know I
live by that."

Mr. Snivel is what may be called a light comedy lawyer; ready to enter
the service of any friend in need. He is commonly called "Snivel the
lawyer," although the profession regard him with suspicion, and society
keeps him on its out skirts. He is, in a word, a sportsman of small
game, ready to bring down any sort of bird that chances within reach of
his fowling-piece. He is tall of figure and slender, a pink of fashion
in dress, wears large diamonds, an eye-glass, and makes the most of a
light, promising moustache. His face is small, sharp, and discolored
with the sun, his eyes grey and restless, his hair fair, his mouth wide
and characterless. Cunning and low intrigue are marked in every feature
of his face; and you look in vain for the slightest evidence of a frank
and manly nature.

"Only heard you were home an hour ago. Set right off in pursuit of you.
Cannot say exactly what impelled me. Love, perhaps, as I said before."
Mr. Snivel twirls his hat in the air, and condescends to say he feels in
an exceedingly happy state of mind. "I knew you needed a protector, and
came to offer myself as your escort. I take this occasion to say, that
you have always seen me in the false light my enemies magnify me in."

"I have no need of your escort, Mr. Snivel; and your friendship I can
dispense with, since, up to this time, it has only increased my
trouble," she interposes, continuing down the avenue.

"We all need friends----"

"True friends, you mean, Mr. Snivel."

"Well, then, have it so. You hold that all is false in men. I hold no
such thing. Come, give me your confidence, Anna. Look on the bright
side. Forget the past, and let the present serve. When you want a
friend, or a job of law, call on me." Mr. Snivel adjusts his eye-glass,
and again twirls his hat.

The fair girl shakes her head and says, "she hopes never to need either.
But, tell me, Mr. Snivel, are you not the messenger of some one else?"
she continues.

"Well, I confess," he replies, with a bow, "its partly so and partly not
so. I came to put in one word for myself and two for the judge. Its no
breach of confidence to say he loves you to distraction. At home in any
court, you know, and stands well with the bar----"

"Love for me! He can have no love for me. I am but an outcast, tossed on
the sea of uncertainty; all bright to-day, all darkness to-morrow. Our
life is a stream of excitement, down which we sail quickly to a
miserable death. I know the doom, and feel the pang. But men do not love
us, and the world never regrets us. Go, tell him to forget me."

"Forget you? not he. Sent me to say he would meet you to-night. You are
at the house of Madame Flamingo, eh?"

"I am; and sorry am I that I am. Necessity has no choice."

"You have left Mulholland behind, eh? Never was a fit companion for you.
Can say that without offence. He is a New York rough, you know.
Charleston gentlemen have a holy dislike of such fellows."

"He has been good to me. Why should I forsake him for one who affects to
love me to-day, and will loathe me to-morrow? He has been my only true
friend. Heaven may smile on us some day, and give us enough to live a
life of virtue and love. As for the mystery that separates me from my
parents, that had better remain unsolved forever." As she says this,
they pass out of the great gate, and are on the road to the city.

A darker scene is being enacted in a different part of the city. A grim
old prison, its walls, like the state's dignity, tumbling down and going
to decay; its roof black with vegetating moss, and in a state of
dilapidation generally,--stands, and has stood for a century or more, on
the western outskirts of the city. We have a strange veneration for this
damp old prison, with its strange histories cut on its inner walls. It
has been threatening to tumble down one of these days, and it does not
say much for our civilization that we have let it stand. But the
question is asked, and by grave senators, if we pull it down, what shall
we do with our pick-pockets and poor debtors? We mix them nicely up
here, and throw in a thief for a messmate. What right has a poor debtor
to demand that the sovereign state of South Carolina make a distinction
between poverty and crime? It pays fifteen cents a day for getting them
all well starved; and there its humanity ends, as all state humanity
should end.

The inner iron gate has just closed, and two sturdy constables have
dragged into the corridor a man, or what liquor has left of a man, and
left him prostrate and apparently insensible on the floor. "Seventh time
we've bring'd him 'ere a thin two months. Had to get a cart, or Phin and
me never'd a got him 'ere," says one of the men, drawing a long breath,
and dusting the sleeves of his coat with his hands.

"An officer earns what money he gits a commitin' such a cove," says the
other, shaking his head, and looking down resentfully at the man on the
floor. "Life'll go out on him like a kan'l one of these days." Officer
continues moralizing on the bad results of liquor, and deliberately
draws a commitment from his breast pocket. "Committed by Justice
Snivel--breaking the peace at the house of Madame----" He cannot make
out the name.

First officer interposes learnedly--"Madame Flamingo." "Sure enuf, he's
been playin' his shines at the old woman's house again. Why, Master
Jailer, Justice Snivel must a made fees enuf a this 'ere cove to make a
man rich enough," continues Mr. Constable Phin.

"As unwelcome a guest as comes to this establishment," rejoins the
corpulent old jailer, adjusting his spectacles, and reading the
commitment, a big key hanging from the middle finger of his left hand.
"Used to be sent up here by his mother, to be starved into reform. He is
past reform. The poor-house is the place to send him to, 'tis."

"Well, take good care on him, Master Jailer, now you've got him. He
comes of a good enough family," says the first officer.

"He's bin in this condition more nor a week--layin' down yonder, in Snug
Harbor. Liquor's drived all the sense out on him," rejoins the
second--and bidding the jailer good-morning, they retire.

The forlorn man still lies prostrate on the floor, his tattered garments
and besotted face presenting a picture of the most abject wretchedness.
The old jailer looks down upon him with an air of sympathy, and shakes
his head.

"The doctor that can cure you doesn't live in this establishment," he
says. The sound of a voice singing a song is heard, and the figure of a
powerfully framed man, dressed in a red shirt and grey homespun
trousers, advances, folds his arms deliberately, and contemplates with
an air of contempt the prostrate man. His broad red face, flat nose,
massive lips, and sharp grey eyes, his crispy red hair, bristling over a
low narrow forehead, and two deep scars on the left side of his face,
present a picture of repulsiveness not easily described. Silently and
sullenly he contemplates the object before him for several minutes, then
says:

"Dogs take me, Mister Jailer! but he's what I calls run to the dogs.
That's what whisky's did for him."

"And what it will do for you one of these days," interrupts the jailer,
admonishingly. "Up for disturbing the peace at Madame Flamingo's.
Committed by Justice Snivel."

"Throwing stones by way of repentance, eh? Tom was, at one time, as good
a customer as that house had. A man's welcome at that house when he's up
in the world. He's sure a gittin' kicked out when he is down."

"He's here, and we must get him to a cell," says the jailer, setting his
key down and preparing to lift the man on his feet.

"Look a here, Tom Swiggs,--in here again, eh?" resumes the man in the
red shirt. "Looks as if you liked the institution. Nice son of a
respectable mother, you is!" He stoops down and shakes the prostrate man
violently.

The man opens his eyes, and casts a wild glance on the group of wan
faces peering eagerly at him. "I am bad enough. You are no better than
me," he whispers. "You are always here."

"Not always. I am a nine months' guest. In for cribbing voters. Let out
when election day comes round, and paid well for my services. Sent up
when election is over, and friends get few. No moral harm in cribbing
voters. You wouldn't be worth cribbing, eh, Tom? There ain't no
politician what do'nt take off his hat, and say--'Glad to see you,
Mister Mingle,' just afore election." The man folds his arms and walks
sullenly down the corridor, leaving the newcomer to his own reflections.
There is a movement among the group looking on; and a man in the garb of
a sailor advances, presses his way through, and seizing the prostrate by
the hand, shakes it warmly and kindly. "Sorry to see you in here agin,
Tom," he says, his bronzed face lighting up with the fires of a generous
heart. "There's no man in this jail shall say a word agin Tom Swiggs. We
have sailed shipmates in this old craft afore."

The man was a sailor, and the prisoner's called him Spunyarn, by way of
shortness. Indeed, he had became so familiarized to the name, that he
would answer to none other. His friendship for the inebriate was of the
most sincere kind. He would watch over him, and nurse him into sobriety,
with the care and tenderness of a brother. "Tom was good to me, when he
had it;" he says, with an air of sympathy. "And here goes for lendin' a
hand to a shipmate in distress." He takes one arm and the jailer the
other, and together they support the inebriate to his cell. "Set me down
for a steady boarder, and have done with it," the forlorn man mutters,
as they lay him gently upon the hard cot. "Down for steady board,
jailer--that's it."

"Steady, steady now," rejoins the old sailor, as the inebriate tosses
his arms over his head. "You see, there's a heavy ground swell on just
now, and a chap what don't mind his helm is sure to get his spars
shivered." He addresses the the jailer, who stands looking with an air
of commiseration on the prostrate man. "Take in head-sail--furl
top-gallant-sails--reef topsails--haul aft main-sheet--put her helm
hard down--bring her to the wind, and there let her lay until it comes
clear weather." The man writhes and turns his body uneasily. "There,
there," continues the old sailor, soothingly; "steady, steady,--keep her
away a little, then let her luff into a sound sleep. Old Spunyarn's the
boy what'll stand watch." A few minutes more and the man is in a deep,
sound sleep, the old sailor keeping watch over him so kindly, so like a
true friend.



CHAPTER II.

THE HOUSE OF A VERY DISTINGUISHED LADY.


The mansion of Madame Flamingo stands stately in Berresford street. An
air of mystery hangs over it by day, and it is there young Charleston
holds high carnival at night. It is a very distinguished house, and
Madame Flamingo assures us she is a very distinguished lady, who means
to make her peace with heaven before she dies, and bestow largely on the
priests, who have promised to make her comfortable while on the road
through purgatory. The house is in high favor with young Charleston, and
old Charleston looks in now and then. Our city fathers have great
sympathy for it, and protect it with their presence. Verily it is a
great gate on the road to ruin, and thousands pass heedlessly through
its decorated walks, quickly reaching the dark end.

It is evening, and thin fleecy clouds flit along the heavens. The gas
sheds a pale light over the streets, and shadowy figures pass and repass
us as we turn into the narrow street leading to the house of the old
hostess. We have reached the great arched door, and stand in the shadow
of a gas-light, playing over its trap, its network of iron, and its
bright, silver plate. We pause and contemplate the massive walls, as the
thought flashes upon us--How mighty is vice, that it has got such a
mansion dedicated to its uses! Even stranger thoughts than these flit
through the mind as we hesitate, and touch the bell timidly. Now, we
have excited your curiosity, and shall not turn until we have shown you
what there is within.

We hear the bell faintly tinkle--now voices in loud conversation break
upon the ear--then all is silent. Our anxiety increases, and keeps
increasing, until a heavy footstep is heard advancing up the hall. Now
there is a whispering within--then a spring clicks, and a small square
panel opens and is filled with a broad fat face, with deep blue eyes and
a profusion of small brown curls, all framed in a frosty cap-border. It
is the old hostess, done up in her best book muslin, and so well
preserved.

"Gentlemen, or ain't ye gentlemen?" inquires the old hostess, in a low
voice. "This is a respectable house, I'd have you remember. Gentlemen
what ain't gentlemen don't git no show in this house--no they don't."
She looks curiously at us, and pauses for a reply. The display of a kid
glove and a few assuring words gain us admittance into the great hall,
where a scene of barbaric splendor excites curious emotions. "There
ain't nothin' but gentlemen gets into this house--they don't! and when
they are in they behaves like gentlemen," says the hostess, bowing
gracefully, and closing the door after us.

The time prints of sixty summers have furrowed the old hostess' brow,
and yet she seems not more than forty--is short of figure, and weighs
two hundred. Soft Persian carpets cover the floor, lounges, in carved
walnut and satin, stand along the sides; marble busts on pedestals, and
full-length figures of statesmen and warriors are interspersed at short
intervals; and the ceiling is frescoed in uncouth and fierce-looking
figures. Flowers hang from niches in the cornice; a marble group,
representing St. George and the dragon, stands at the foot of a broad
circular stairs; tall mirrors reflect and magnify each object, and over
all the gas from three chandeliers sheds a bewitching light. Such is the
gaudy scene that excites the fancy, but leaves our admiration unmoved.

"This is a castle, and a commonwealth, gentlemen. Cost me a deal of
money; might get ruined if gentlemen forgot how to conduct themselves.
Ladies like me don't get much credit for the good they do. Gentlemen
will be introduced into the parlor when they are ready," says the old
hostess, stepping briskly round us, and watching our every movement; we
are new-comers, and her gaudy tabernacle is novel to us.

"Have educated a dozen young men to the law, and made gentlemen of a
dozen more, excellent young men--fit for any society. Don't square my
accounts with the world, as the world squares its account with me," she
continues, with that air which vice affects while pleading its own
cause. She cannot shield the war of conscience that is waging in her
heart; but, unlike most of those engaged in her unnatural trade, there
is nothing in her face to indicate a heart naturally inclined to evil.
It is indeed bright with smiles, and you see only the picture of a being
sailing calmly down the smooth sea of peace and contentment. Her dress
is of black glossy satin, a cape of fine point lace covers her broad
shoulders, and bright blue cap-ribbons stream down her back.

"Listen," says the old hostess--"there's a full house to-night. Both
parlors are full. All people of good society!" she continues,
patronizingly. "Them what likes dancin' dances in the left-hand parlor.
Them what prefers to sit and converse, converses in the right-hand
parlor. Some converses about religion, some converses about
politics--(by way of lettin' you know my position, I may say that I go
for secession, out and out)--some converses about law, some converses
about beauty. There isn't a lady in this house as can't converse on
anything." Madame places her ear to the door, and thrusts her fat
jewelled fingers under her embroidered apron.

"This is my best parlor, gentlemen," she resumes; "only gentlemen of
deportment are admitted--I might add, them what takes wine, and, if they
does get a little in liquor, never loses their dignity." Madame bows,
and the door of her best parlor swings open, discovering a scene of
still greater splendor.

"Gentlemen as can't enjoy themselves in my house, don't know how to
enjoy anything. Them is all gentlemen you see, and them is all ladies
you see," says the hostess, as we advance timidly into the room, the air
of which is sickly of perfumes. The foot falls upon the softest of
carpets; quaint shadows, from stained-glass windows are flitting and
dancing on the frescoed ceiling; curtains of finest brocade, enveloped
in lace, fall cloud-like down the windows. The borderings are of
amber-colored satin, and heavy cornices, over which eagles in gilt are
perched, surmount the whole. Pictures no artist need be ashamed of
decorate the walls, groups in bronze and Parian, stand on pedestals
between the windows, and there is a regal air about the furniture, which
is of the most elaborate workmanship. But the living figures moving to
and fro, some in uncouth dresses and some scarce dressed at all, and all
reflected in the great mirrors, excite the deepest interest. Truly it is
here that vice has arrayed itself in fascinating splendors, and the
young and the old have met to pay it tribute. The reckless youth meets
the man high in power here. The grave exchange salutations with the gay.
Here the merchant too often meets his clerk, and the father his son.
And before this promiscuous throng women in bright but scanty drapery,
and wan faces, flaunt their charms.

Sitting on a sofa, is the fair young girl we saw at the cemetery. By her
side is a man of venerable presence, endeavoring to engage her in
conversation. Her face is shadowed in a pensive smile;--she listens to
what falls from the lips of her companion, shakes her head negatively,
and watches the movements of a slender, fair-haired young man, who
saunters alone on the opposite side of the room. He has a deep interest
in the fair girl, and at every turn casts a look of hate and scorn at
her companion, who is no less a person than Judge Sleepyhorn, of this
history.

"Hain't no better wine nowhere, than's got in this house," ejaculates
the old hostess, calling our attention to a massive side-board, covered
with cut-glass of various kinds. "A gentleman what's a gentleman may get
a little tipsy, providin' he do it on wine as is kept in this house, and
carry himself square." Madame motions patronizingly with her hand, bows
condescendingly, and says, "Two bottles I think you ordered,
gentlemen--what gentlemen generally call for."

Having bowed assent, and glad to get off so cheaply, Manfredo, a slave
in bright livery, is directed to bring it in.

Mr. Snivel enters, to the great delight of the old hostess and various
friends of the house. "Mr. Snivel is the spirit of this house," resumes
the old hostess, by way of introduction; "a gentleman of distinction in
the law." She turns to Mr. Snivel inquiringly. "You sent that ruffin,
Tom Swiggs, up for me to-day?"

"Lord bless you, yes--gave him two months for contemplation. Get well
starved at fifteen cents a day----"

"Sorry for the fellow," interrupts the old hostess, sympathizingly.
"That's what comes a drinkin' bad liquor. Tom used to be a first-rate
friend of this house--spent heaps of money, and we all liked him so.
Tried hard to make a man of Tom. Couldn't do it." Madame shakes her head
in sadness. "Devil got into him, somehow. Ran down, as young men will
when they gets in the way. I does my part to save them, God knows." A
tear almost steals into Madame's eyes. "When Tom used to come here,
looking so down, I'd give him a few dollars, and get him to go somewhere
else. Had to keep up the dignity of the house, you know. A man as takes
his liquor as Tom does ain't fit company for my house."

Mr. Snivel says: "As good advice, which I am bound to give his mother, I
shall say she'd better give him steady lodgings in jail." He turns and
recognizes his friend, the judge, and advances towards him. As he does
so, Anna rises quickly to her feet, and with a look of contempt,
addressing the judge, says, "Never, never. You deceived me once, you
never shall again. You ask me to separate myself from him. No, never,
never." And as she turns to walk away the judge seizes her by the hand,
and retains her. "You must not go yet," he says.

"She shall go!" exclaims the fair young man, who has been watching their
movements. "Do you know me? I am the George Mulholland you are plotting
to send to the whipping-post,--to accomplish your vile purposes. No,
sir, I am not the man you took me for, as I would show you were it not
for your grey hairs." He releases her from the judge's grasp, and stands
menacing that high old functionary with his finger. "I care not for your
power. Take this girl from me, and you pay the penalty with your life.
We are equals here. Release poor Langdon from prison, and go pay
penance over the grave of his poor wife. It's the least you can do. You
ruined her--you can't deny it." Concluding, he clasps the girl in his
arms, to the surprise of all present, and rushes with her out of the
house.

The house of Madame Flamingo is in a very distinguished state of
commotion. Men sensitive of their reputations, and fearing the presence
of the police, have mysteriously disappeared. Madame is in a fainting
condition, and several of her heroic damsels have gone screaming out of
the parlor, and have not been seen since.

Matters have quieted down now. Mr. Snivel consoles the judge for the
loss of dignity he has suffered, Madame did not quite faint, and there
is peace in the house.

Manfredo, his countenance sullen, brings in the wine. Manfredo is in bad
temper to-night. He uncorks the bottles and lets the wine foam over the
table, the sight of which sends Madame into a state of distress.

"This is all I gets for putting such good livery on you!" she says,
pushing him aside with great force. "That's thirty-nine for you in the
morning, well-laid on. You may prepare for it. Might have known better
(Madame modifies her voice) than buy a nigger of a clergyman!" She
commences filling the glasses herself, again addressing Manfredo, the
slave: "Don't do no good to indulge you. This is the way you pay me for
lettin' you go to church of a Sunday. Can't give a nigger religion
without his gettin' a big devil in him at the same time."

Manfredo passes the wine to her guests, in sullen silence, and they
drink to the prosperity of the house.

And now it is past midnight; the music in the next parlor has ceased,
St. Michael's clock has struck the hour of one, and business is at an
end in the house of the old hostess. A few languid-looking guests still
remain, the old hostess is weary with the fatigues of the night, and
even the gas seems to burn dimmer. The judge and Mr. Snivel are the last
to take their departure, and bid the hostess good-night. "I could not
call the fellow out," says the judge, as they wend their way into King
street. "I can only effect my purpose by getting him into my power. To
do that you must give me your assistance."

"Remain silent on that point," returns the other. "You have only to
leave its management to me. Nothing is easier than to get such a fellow
into the power of the law."

On turning into King street they encounter a small, youthful looking
man, hatless and coatless, his figure clearly defined in the shadows of
the gas-light, engaged in a desperate combat with the lamp-post. "Now,
Sir, defend yourself, and do it like a man, for you have the reputation
of being a craven coward," says the man, cutting and thrusting furiously
at the lamp-post; Snivel and Sleepyhorn pause, and look on astonished.
"Truly the poor man's mad," says Sleepyhorn, touching his companion on
the arm--"uncommonly mad for the season."

Mr. Snivel whispers, "Not so mad. Only courageously tight." "Gentlemen!"
says the man, reproachfully, "I am neither mad nor drunk." Here he
strikes an attitude of defence, cutting one, two, and three with his
small sword. "I am Mister Midshipman Button--no madman, not a bit of it.
As brave a man as South Carolina ever sent into the world. A man of
pluck, Sir, and genuine, at that." Again he turns and makes several
thrusts at the lamp-post, demanding that it surrender and get down on
its knees, in abject obedience to superior prowess.

"Button, Button, my dear fellow, is it you? What strange freak is this?"
inquires Mr. Snivel, extending his hand, which the little energetic man
refuses to take.

"Mister Midshipman Button, if you please, gentlemen," replies the man,
with an air of offended dignity. "I'm a gentleman, a man of honor, and
what's more, a Carolinian bred and born, or born and bred--cut it as you
like it." He makes several powerful blows at the lamp-post, and succeeds
only in breaking his sword.

"Poor man," says the judge, kindly, "he is in need of friends to take
care of him, and advise him properly. He has not far to travel before he
gets into the mad-house."

The man overhears his remarks, and with a vehement gesture and flourish
of his broken sword, says, "Do you not see, gentlemen, what work I have
made of this Northern aggressor, this huge enemy bringing oppression to
our very doors?" He turns and addresses the lamp-post in a tone of
superiority. "Surrender like a man, and confess yourself vanquished,
Northern aggressor that you are! You see, gentlemen, I have gained a
victory--let all his bowels out. Honor all belongs to my native state--I
shall resign it all to her." Here the man begins to talk in so wild a
strain, and to make so many demands of his imaginary enemy, that they
called a passing guardsman, who, seeing his strange condition, replaced
his hat, and assisted them in getting him to a place of safety for the
night, when sleep and time would restore him to a sound state of mind.



CHAPTER III.

IN WHICH THE READER IS PRESENTED WITH A VARIED PICTURE.


Tom has passed a restless night in jail. He has dreamed of bottled
snakes, with eyes wickedly glaring at him; of fiery-tailed serpents
coiling all over him; of devils in shapes he has no language to
describe; of the waltz of death, in which he danced at the mansion of
Madame Flamingo; and of his mother, (a name ever dear in his thoughts,)
who banished him to this region of vice, for what she esteemed a moral
infirmity. Further on in his dream he saw a vision, a horrible vision,
which was no less than a dispute for his person between Madame Flamingo,
a bishop, and the devil. But Madame Flamingo and the devil, who seemed
to enjoy each other's company exceedingly, got the better of the bishop,
who was scrupulous of his dignity, and not a little anxious about being
seen in such society. And from the horrors of this dream he wakes,
surprised to find himself watched over by a kind friend--a young,
comely-featured man, in whom he recognizes the earnest theologian, as he
is plumed by the prisoners, whom he daily visits in his mission of good.
There was something so frank and gentle in this young man's
demeanor--something so manly and radiant in his countenance--something
so disinterested and holy in his mission of love--something so opposite
to the coldness of the great world without--something so serene and
elevated in his youth, that even the most inveterate criminal awaited
his coming with emotions of joy, and gave a ready ear to his kindly
advice. Indeed, the prisoners called him their child; and he seemed not
dainty of their approach, but took them each by the hand, sat at their
side, addressed them as should one brother address another;--yea, he
made them to feel that what was their interest it was his joy to
promote.

The young theologian took him a seat close by the side of the dreaming
inebriate; and as he woke convulsively, and turned towards him his
distorted face, viewing with wild stare each object that met his sight,
the young man met his recognition with a smile and a warm grasp of the
hand. "I am sorry you find me here again--yes, I am."

"Better men, perhaps, have been here--"

"I am ashamed of it, though; it isn't as it should be, you see,"
interrupts Tom.

"Never mind--(the young man checks himself)--I was going to say there is
a chance for you yet; and there is a chance; and you must struggle; and
I will help you to struggle; and your friends--"

Tom interrupts by saying, "I've no friends."

"I will help you to struggle, and to overcome the destroyer. Never think
you are friendless, for then you are a certain victim in the hands of
the ruthless enemy--"

"Well, well," pauses Tom, casting a half-suspicious look at the young
man, "I forgot. There's you, and him they call old Spunyarn, are
friends, after all. You'll excuse me, but I didn't think of that;" and a
feeling of satisfaction seemed to have come over him. "How grateful to
have friends when a body's in a place of this kind," he mutters
incoherently, as the tears gush from his distended eyes, and childlike
he grasps the hand of the young man.

"Be comforted with the knowledge that you have friends, Tom. One
all-important thing is wanted, and you are a man again."

"As to that!" interrupts Tom, doubtingly, and laying his begrimed hand
on his burning forehead, while he alternately frets and frisks his
fingers through his matted hair.

"Have no doubts, Tom--doubts are dangerous."

"Well, say what it is, and I'll try what I can do. But you won't think
I'm so bad as I seem, and'll forgive me? I know what you think of me,
and that's what mortifies me; you think I'm an overdone specimen of our
chivalry--you do!"

"You must banish from your mind these despairing thoughts," replies the
young man, laying his right hand approvingly on Tom's head. "First,
Tom," he pursues, "be to yourself a friend; second, forget the error of
your mother, and forgive her sending you here; and third, cut the house
of Madame Flamingo, in which our chivalry are sure to get a shattering.
To be honest in temptation, Tom, is one of the noblest attributes of our
nature; and to be capable of forming and maintaining a resolution to
shake off the thraldom of vice, and to place oneself in the serener
atmosphere of good society, is equally worthy of the highest
commendation."

Tom received this in silence, and seemed hesitating between what he
conceived an imperative demand and the natural inclination of his
passions.

"Give me your hand, and with it your honor--I know you yet retain the
latent spark--and promise me you will lock up the cup--"

"You'll give a body a furlough, by the way of blowing off the fuddle he
has on hand?"

"I do not withhold from you any discretionary indulgence that may bring
relief--"

Tom interrupts by saying, "My mother, you know!"

"I will see her, and plead with her on your behalf; and if she have a
mother's feelings I can overcome her prejudice."

Tom says, despondingly, he has no home to go to. It's no use seeing his
mother; she's all dignity, and won't let it up an inch. "If I could only
persuade her--" Tom pauses here and shakes his head.

"Pledge me your honor you'll from this day form a resolution to reform,
Tom; and if I do not draw from your mother a reconciliation, I will seek
a home for you elsewhere."

"Well, there can't be much harm in an effort, at all events; and here's
my hand, in sincerity. But it won't do to shut down until I get over
this bit of a fog I'm now in." With childlike simplicity, Tom gives his
hand to the young man, who, as old Spunyarn enters the cell to, as he
says, get the latitude of his friend's nerves, departs in search of Mrs.
Swiggs.

Mrs. Swiggs is the stately old member of a crispy old family, that, like
numerous other families in the State, seem to have outlived two
chivalrous generations, fed upon aristocracy, and are dying out
contemplating their own greatness. Indeed, the Swiggs family, while it
lived and enjoyed the glory of its name, was very like the Barnwell
family of this day, who, one by one, die off with the very pardonable
and very harmless belief that the world never can get along without the
aid of South Carolina, it being the parthenon from which the outside
world gets all its greatness. Her leading and very warlike newspapers,
(the people of these United States ought to know, if they do not
already,) it was true, were editorialized, as it was politely called in
the little State-militant, by a species of unreputationized Jew and
Yankee; but this you should know--if you do not already, gentle
reader--that it is only because such employments are regarded by the
lofty-minded chivalry as of too vulgar a nature to claim a place in
their attention.

The clock of old Saint Michaels, a clock so tenacious of its dignity as
to go only when it pleases, and so aristocratic in its habits as not to
go at all in rainy weather;--a clock held in great esteem by the "very
first families," has just struck eleven. The young, pale-faced
missionary inquiringly hesitates before a small, two-story building of
wood, located on the upper side of Church street, and so crabbed in
appearance that you might, without endangering your reputation, have
sworn it had incorporated in its framework a portion of that chronic
disease for which the State has gained for itself an unenviable
reputation. Jutting out of the black, moss-vegetating roof, is an
old-maidish looking window, with a dowdy white curtain spitefully tucked
up at the side. The mischievous young negroes have pecked half the
bricks out of the foundation, and with them made curious grottoes on the
pavement. Disordered and unpainted clapboards spread over the dingy
front, which is set off with two upper and two lower windows, all
blockaded with infirm, green shutters. Then there is a snuffy door,
high and narrow (like the State's notions), and reached by six venerable
steps and a stoop, carefully guarded with a pine hand-rail, fashionably
painted in blue, and looking as dainty as the State's white glove. This,
reader, is the abode of the testy but extremely dignified Mrs. Swiggs.
If you would know how much dignity can be crowded into the smallest
space, you have only to look in here and be told (she closely patterns
after the State in all things!) that fifty-five summers of her crispy
life have been spent here, reading Milton's Paradise Lost and
contemplating the greatness of her departed family.

The old steps creak and complain as the young man ascends them, holding
nervously on at the blue hand-rail, and reaching in due time the stoop,
the strength of which he successively tests with his right foot, and
stands contemplating the snuffy door. A knocker painted in villanous
green--a lion-headed knocker, of grave deportment, looking as savage as
lion can well do in this chivalrous atmosphere, looks admonitiously at
him. "Well!" he sighs as he raises it, "there's no knowing what sort of
a reception I may get." He has raised the monster's head and given three
gentle taps. Suddenly a frisking and whispering, shutting of doors and
tripping of feet, is heard within; and after a lapse of several minutes
the door swings carefully open, and the dilapidated figure of an old
negro woman, lean, shrunken, and black as Egyptian darkness--with
serious face and hanging lip, the picture of piety and starvation,
gruffly asks who he is and what he wants?

Having requested an interview with her mistress, this decrepit specimen
of human infirmity half closes the door against him and doddles back. A
slight whispering, and Mrs. Swiggs is heard to say--"show him into the
best parlor." And into the best parlor, and into the august presence of
Mrs. Swiggs is he ushered. The best parlor is a little, dingy room, low
of ceiling, and skirted with a sombre-colored surbase, above which is
papering, the original color of which it would be difficult to discover.
A listen carpet, much faded and patched, spreads over the floor, the
walls are hung with several small engravings, much valued for their age
and associations, but so crooked as to give one the idea of the house
having withstood a storm at sea; and the furniture is made up of a few
venerable mahogany chairs, a small side-table, on which stands, much
disordered, several well-worn books and papers, two patch-covered
foot-stools, a straight-backed rocking-chair, in which the august woman
rocks her straighter self, and a great tin cage, from between the bars
of which an intelligent parrot chatters--"my lady, my lady, my lady!"
There is a cavernous air about the place, which gives out a sickly odor,
exciting the suggestion that it might at some time have served as a
receptacle for those second-hand coffins the State buries its poor in.

"Well! who are you? And what do you want? You have brought letters, I
s'pose?" a sharp, squeaking voice, speaks rapidly.

The young man, without waiting for an invitation to sit down, takes
nervously a seat at the side-table, saying he has come on a mission of
love.

"Love! love! eh? Young man--know that you have got into the wrong
house!" Mrs. Swiggs shakes her head, squeaking out with great animation.

There she sits, Milton's "Paradise Lost" in her witch-like fingers,
herself lean enough for the leanest of witches, and seeming to have
either shrunk away from the faded black silk dress in which she is clad,
or passed through half a century of starvation merely to bolster up her
dignity. A sharp, hatchet-face, sallow and corrugated; two wicked gray
eyes, set deep in bony sockets; a long, irregular nose, midway of which
is adjusted a pair of broad, brass-framed spectacles; a sunken,
purse-drawn mouth, with two discolored teeth protruding from her upper
lip; a high, narrow forehead, resembling somewhat crumpled parchment; a
dash of dry, brown hair relieving the ponderous border of her
steeple-crowned cap, which she seems to have thrown on her head in a
hurry; a moth-eaten, red shawl thrown spitefully over her shoulders,
disclosing a sinewy and sassafras-colored neck above, and the small end
of a gold chain in front, and, reader, you have the august Mrs. Swiggs,
looking as if she diets on chivalry and sour krout. She is indeed a nice
embodiment of several of those qualities which the State clings
tenaciously to, and calls its own, for she lives on the labor of eleven
aged negroes, five of whom are cripples.

The young man smiles, as Mrs. Swiggs increases the velocity of her
rocking, lays her right hand on the table, rests her left on her Milton,
and continues to reiterate that he has got into the wrong house.

"I have no letter, Madam--"

"I never receive people without letters--never!" again she interrupts,
testily.

"But you see, Madam--"

"No I don't. I don't see anything about it!" again she interposes,
adjusting her spectacles, and scanning him anxiously from head to foot.
"Ah, yes (she twitches her head), I see what you are--"

"I was going to say, if you please, Madam, that my mission may serve as
a passport--"

"I'm of a good family, you must know, young man. You could have learned
that of anybody before seeking this sort of an introduction. Any of our
first families could have told you about me. You must go your way, young
man!" And she twitches her head, and pulls closer about her lean
shoulders the old red shawl.

"I (if you will permit me, Madam) am not ignorant of the very high
standing of your famous family--" Madam interposes by saying, every
muscle of her frigid face unmoved the while, she is glad he knows
something, "having read of them in a celebrated work by one of our more
celebrated genealogists--"

"But you should have brought a letter from the Bishop! and upon that
based your claims to a favorable reception. Then you have read of Sir
Sunderland Swiggs, my ancestor? Ah! he was such a Baron, and owned such
estates in the days of Elizabeth. But you should have brought a letter,
young man." Mrs. Swiggs replies rapidly, alternately raising and
lowering her squeaking voice, twitching her head, and grasping tighter
her Milton.

"Those are his arms and crest." She points with her Milton to a singular
hieroglyphic, in a wiry black frame, resting on the marble-painted
mantelpiece. "He was very distinguished in his time; and such an
excellent Christian." She shakes her head and wipes the tears from her
spectacles, as her face, which had before seemed carved in wormwood,
slightly relaxes the hardness of its muscles.

"I remember having seen favorable mention of Sir Sunderland's name in
the book I refer to--"

She again interposes. The young man watches her emotions with a
penetrating eye, conscious that he has touched a chord in which all the
milk of kindness is not dried up.

"It's a true copy of the family arms. Everybody has got to having arms
now-a-days. (She points to the indescribable scrawl over the
mantelpiece.) It was got through Herald King, of London, who they say
keeps her Majesty's slippers and the great seal of State. We were very
exact, you see. Yes, sir--we were very exact. Our vulgar people, you
see--I mean such as have got up by trade, and that sort of thing--went
to a vast expense in sending to England a man of great learning and much
aforethought, to ransack heraldry court and trace out their families.
Well, he went, lived very expensively, spent several years abroad, and
being very clever in his way, returned, bringing them all pedigrees of
the very best kind. With only two exceptions, he traced them all down
into noble blood. These two, the cunning fellow had it, came of martyrs.
And to have come of the blood of martyrs, when all the others, as was
shown, came of noble blood, so displeased--the most ingenious (the old
lady shakes her head regrettingly) can't please everybody--the living
members of these families, that they refused to pay the poor man for his
researches, so he was forced to resort to a suit at law. And to this day
(I don't say it disparagingly of them!) both families stubbornly refuse
to accept the pedigree. They are both rich grocers, you see! and on this
account we were very particular about ours."

The young man thought it well not to interrupt the old woman's display
of weakness, inasmuch as it might produce a favorable change in her
feelings.

"And now, young man, what mission have you besides love?" she inquires,
adding an encouraging look through her spectacles.

"I am come to intercede--"

"You needn't talk of interceding with me; no you needn't! I've nothing
to intercede about"--she twitches her head spitefully.

"In behalf of your son."

"There--there! I knew there was some mischief. You're a Catholic! I knew
it. Never saw one of your black-coated flock about that there wasn't
mischief brewing--never! I can't read my Milton in peace for you--"

"But your son is in prison, Madam, among criminals, and subject to the
influence of their habits--"

"Precisely where I put him--where he won't disgrace the family; yes,
where he ought to be, and where he shall rot, for all me. Now, go your
way, young man; and read your Bible at home, and keep out of prisons;
and don't be trying to make Jesuits of hardened scamps like that Tom of
mine."

"I am a Christian: I would like to extend a Christian's hand to your
son. I may replace him on the holy pedestal he has fallen from--"

"You are very aggravating, young man. Do you live in South Carolina?"

The young man says he does. He is proud of the State that can boast so
many excellent families.

"I am glad of that," she says, looking querulously over her spectacles,
as she twitches her chin, and increases the velocity of her rocking. "I
wonder how folks can live out of it."

"As to that, Madam, permit me to say, I am happy to see and appreciate
your patriotism; but if you will grant me an order of release--"

"I won't hear a word now! You're very aggravating, young man--very! He
has disgraced the family; I have put him where he is seven times; he
shall rot were he is! He never shall disgrace the family again. Think of
Sir Sunderland Swiggs, and then think of him, and see what a pretty
level the family has come to! That's the place for him, I have told him
a dozen times how I wished him gone. The quicker he is out of the way,
the better for the name of the family."

The young man waits the end of this colloquy with a smile on his
countenance. "I have no doubt I can work your son's reform--perhaps make
him an honor to the family--"

"He honor the family!" she interrupts, twitches the shawl about her
shoulders, and permits herself to get into a state of general
excitement. "I should like to see one who has disgraced the family as
much as he has think of honoring it--"

"Through kindness and forbearance, Madam, a great deal may be done," the
young man replies.

"Now, you are very provoking, young man--very. Let other people alone;
go your way home, and study your Bible." And with this the old lady
calls Rebecca, the decrepit slave who opened the door, and directs her
to show the young man out. "There now!" she says testily, turning to the
marked page of her Milton.

The young man contemplates her for a few moments, but, having no
alternative, leaves reluctantly.

On reaching the stoop he encounters the tall, handsome figure of a man,
whose face is radiant with smiles, and his features ornamented with
neatly-combed Saxon hair and beard, and who taps the old negress under
the chin playfully, as she says, "Missus will be right glad to see you,
Mr. Snivel--that she will." And he bustles his way laughing into the
presence of the old lady, as if he had news of great importance for
her.



CHAPTER IV.

A FEW REFLECTIONS ON THE CURE OF VICE.


Disappointed, and not a little chagrined, at the failure of his mission,
the young man muses over the next best course to pursue. He has the
inebriate's welfare at heart; he knows there is no state of degradation
so low that the victim cannot, under proper care, be reclaimed from it;
and he feels duty calling loudly to him not to stand trembling on the
brink, but to enter the abode of the victim, and struggle to make clean
the polluted. Vice, he says to himself, is not entailed in the heart;
and if you would modify and correct the feelings inclined to evil, you
must first feed the body, then stimulate the ambition; and when you have
got the ambition right, seek a knowledge of the heart, and apply to it
those mild and judicious remedies which soften its action, and give life
to new thoughts and a higher state of existence. Once create the vine of
moral rectitude, and its branches will soon get where they can take care
of themselves. But to give the vine creation in poor soil, your watching
must exhibit forbearance, and your care a delicate hand. The
stubbornly-inclined nature, when coupled with ignorance, is that in
which vice takes deepest root, as it is, when educated, that against
which vice is least effectual. To think of changing the natural
inclination of such natures with punishment, or harsh correctives, is as
useless as would be an attempt to stop the ebbing and flowing of the
tide. You must nurture the feelings, he thought, create a
susceptibility, get the heart right, by holding out the value of a
better state of things, and make the head to feel that you are sincere
in your work of love; and, above all, you must not forget the stomach,
for if that go empty crime will surely creep into the head. You cannot
correct moral infirmity by confining the victim of it among criminals,
for no greater punishment can be inflicted on the feelings of man; and
punishment destroys rather than encourages the latent susceptibility of
our better nature. In nine cases out of ten, improper punishment makes
the hardened criminals with which your prisons are filled, destroying
forever that spark of ambition which might have been fostered into a
means to higher ends.

And as the young man thus muses, there recurs to his mind the picture of
old Absalom McArthur, a curious old man, but excessively kind, and
always ready to do "a bit of a good turn for one in need," as he would
say when a needy friend sought his assistance. McArthur is a dealer in
curiosities, is a venerable curiosity himself, and has always something
on hand to meet the wants of a community much given to antiquity and
broken reputations.

The young theologian will seek this good old man. He feels that time
will work a favorable revolution in the feelings of Tom's mother; and to
be prepared for that happy event he will plead a shelter for him under
McArthur's roof.

And now, generous reader, we will, with your permission, permit him to
go on his errand of mercy, while we go back and see how Tom prospers at
the old prison. You, we well know, have not much love of prisons. But
unless we do now and then enter them, our conceptions of how much misery
man can inflict upon man will be small indeed.

The man of sailor-like deportment, and whom the prisoners salute with
the sobriquet of "Old Spunyarn," entered, you will please remember, the
cell, as the young theologian left in search of Mrs. Swiggs, "I thought
I'd just haul my tacks aboard, run up a bit, and see what sort of
weather you were making, Tom," says he, touching clumsily his
small-brimmed, plait hat, as he recognizes the young man, whom he
salutes in that style so frank and characteristic of the craft. "He's a
bit better, sir--isn't he?" inquires Spunyarn, his broad, honest face,
well browned and whiskered, warming with a glow of satisfaction.

Receiving an answer in the affirmative, he replies he is right glad of
it, not liking to see a shipmate in a drift. And he gives his quid a
lurch aside, throws his hat carelessly upon the floor, shrugs his
shoulders, and as he styles it, nimbly brings himself to a mooring, at
Tom's side. "It's a hard comforter, this state. I don't begrudge your
mother the satisfaction she gets of sending you here. In her eyes, ye
see, yeer fit only to make fees out on, for them ar lawyer chaps. They'd
keep puttin' a body in an' out here during his natural life, just for
the sake of gettin', the fees. They don't care for such things as you
and I. We hain't no rights; and if we had, why we hain't no power. This
carry in' too much head sail, Tom, won't do--'twon't!" Spunyarn shakes
his head reprovingly, fusses over Tom, turns him over on his wales, as
he has it, and finally gets him on his beam's ends, a besotted wreck
unable to carry his canvas. "Lost yeer reckoning eh, Tom?" he continues
as that bewildered individual stares vacantly at him. The inebriate
contorts painfully his face, presses and presses his hands to his
burning forehead, and says they are firing a salute in his head, using
his brains for ammunition.

"Well, now Tom, seein' as how I'm a friend of yourn--"

"Friend of mine?" interrupts Tom, shaking his head, and peering through
his fingers mistrustfully.

"And this is a hard lee shore you've beached upon; I'll lend ye a hand
to get in the head sail, and get the craft trimmed up a little. A dash
of the same brine will help keep the ballast right, then a skysail-yard
breakfast must be carefully stowed away, in order to give a firmness to
the timbers, and on the strength of these two blocks for shoring up the
hull, you must begin little by little, and keep on brightening up until
you have got the craft all right again. And when you have got her right
you must keep her right. I say, Tom!--it won't do. You must reef down,
or the devil'll seize the helm in one of these blows, and run you into a
port too warm for pea-jackets." For a moment, Spunyarn seems half
inclined to grasp Tom by his collarless coat and shake the hydrophobia,
as he calls it, out of him; then, as if incited by a second thought, he
draws from his shirt-bosom a large, wooden comb, and humming a tune
commences combing and fussing over Tom's hair, which stands erect over
his head like marlinspikes. At length he gets a craft-like set upon his
foretop, and turning his head first to the right, then to the left, as a
child does a doll, he views him with an air of exultation. "I tell you
what it is, Tom," he continues, relieving him of the old coat, "the
bright begins to come! There's three points of weather made already."

"God bless you, Spunyarn," replies Tom, evidently touched by the
frankness and generosity of the old sailor. Indeed there was something
so whole-hearted about old Spunyarn, that he was held in universal
esteem by every one in jail, with the single exception of Milman Mingle,
the vote-cribber.

"Just think of yourself, Tom--don't mind me," pursues the sailor as Tom
squeezes firmly his hand. "You've had a hard enough time of it--" Tom
interrupts by saying, as he lays his hands upon his sides, he is sore
from head to foot.

"Don't wonder," returns the sailor. "It's a great State, this South
Carolina. It seems swarming with poor and powerless folks. Everybody has
power to put everybody in jail, where the State gives a body two
dog's-hair and rope-yarn blankets to lay upon, and grants the sheriff,
Mr. Hardscrable, full license to starve us, and put the thirty cents a
day it provides for our living into his breeches pockets. Say what you
will about it, old fellow, it's a brief way of doing a little profit in
the business of starvation. I don't say this with any ill-will to the
State that regards its powerless and destitute with such criminal
contempt--I don't." And he brings water, gets Tom upon his feet, forces
him into a clean shirt, and regards him in the light of a child whose
reformation he is determined on perfecting. He sees that in the fallen
man which implies a hope of ultimate usefulness, notwithstanding the
sullen silence, the gloomy frown on his knitted brow, and the general
air of despair that pervades the external man.

"There!" he exclaims, having improved the personal of the inebriate, and
folding his arms as he steps back apace to have a better view of his
pupil--"now, don't think of being triced up in this dreary vault. Be
cheerful, brace up your resolution--never let the devil think you know
he is trying to put the last seal on your fate--never!" Having slipped
the black kerchief from his own neck, he secures it about Tom's, adjusts
the shark's bone at the throat, and mounts the braid hat upon his head
with a hearty blow on the crown. "Look at yourself! They'd mistake you
for a captain of the foretop," he pursues, and good-naturedly he lays
his broad, browned hands upon Tom's shoulders, and forces him up to a
triangular bit of glass secured with three tacks to the wall.

Tom's hands wander down his sides as he contemplates himself in the
glass, saying: "I look a shade up, I reckon! And I feel--I have to thank
you for it, Spunyarn--something different all over me. God bless you! I
won't forget you. But I'm hungry; that's all that ails me now.

"I may thank my mother--"

"Thank yourself, Tom," interposes the sailor.

"For all this. She has driven me to this; yes, she has made my soul dead
with despair!" And he bursts into a wild, fierce laugh. A moment's
pause, and he says, in a subdued voice, "I'm a slave, a fool, a wanderer
in search of his own distress."

The kind-hearted sailor seats his pupil upon a board bench, and proceeds
down stairs, where, with the bribe of a glass of whiskey, he induces the
negro cook to prepare for Tom a bowl of coffee and a biscuit. In truth,
we must confess, that Spunyarn was so exceedingly liberal of his
friendship that he would at times appropriate to himself the personal
effects of his neighbors. But we must do him justice by saying that this
was only when a friend in need claimed his attention. And this generous
propensity he the more frequently exercised upon the effects--whiskey,
cold ham, crackers and cheese--of the vote-cribber, whom he regards as a
sort of cold-hearted land-lubber, whose political friends outside were
not what they should be. If the vote-cribber's aristocratic friends (and
South Carolina politicians were much given to dignity and bad whiskey)
sent him luxuries that tantalized the appetites of poverty-oppressed
debtors, and poor prisoners starving on a pound of bread a-day, Spunyarn
held this a legitimate plea for holding in utter contempt the right to
such gifts. And what was more singular of this man was, that he always
knew the latitude and longitude of the vote-cribber's bottle, and what
amount of water was necessary to keep up the gauge he had reduced in
supplying his flask.

And now that Tom's almost hopeless condition presents a warrantable
excuse, (the vote-cribber has this moment passed into the cell to take a
cursory glance at Tom,) Spunyarn slips nimbly into the vote-cribber's
cell, withdraws a brick from the old chimney, and seizing the black neck
of a blacker bottle, drags it forth, holds it in the shadow of the
doorway, squints exultingly at the contents, shrugs his stalwart
shoulders, and empties a third of the liquid, which he replaces with
water from a bucket near by, into his tin-topped flask. This done, he
ingeniously replaces the bottle, slides the flask suspiciously into his
bosom, saying, "It'll taste just as strong to a vote-cribber," and seeks
that greasy potentate, the prison cook. This dignitary has always laid
something aside for Spunyarn; he knows Spunyarn has something laid aside
for him, which makes the condition mutual.

"A new loafer let loose on the world!" says the vote-cribber, entering
the domain of the inebriate with a look of fierce scorn. "The State is
pestered to death with such things as you. What do they send you here
for?--disturbing the quiet and respectability of the prison! You're only
fit to enrich the bone-yard--hardly that; perhaps only for lawyers to
get fees of. The State'll starve you, old Hardscrabble'll make a few
dollars out of your feed--but what of that? We don't want you here."
There was something so sullen and mysterious in the coarse features of
this stalwart man--something so revolting in his profession, though it
was esteemed necessary to the elevation of men seeking political
popularity--something so at variance with common sense in the punishment
meted out to him who followed it, as to create a deep interest in his
history, notwithstanding his coldness towards the inebriate. And yet you
sought in vain for one congenial or redeeming trait in the character of
this man.

"I always find you here; you're a fixture, I take it--"

The vote-cribber interrupts the inebriate--"Better have said a patriot!"

"Well," returns the inebriate, "a patriot then; have it as you like it.
I'm not over-sensitive of the distinction." The fallen man drops his
head into his hands, stabbed with remorse, while the vote-cribber folds
his brawny arms leisurely, paces to and fro before him, and scans him
with his keen, gray eyes, after the manner of one mutely contemplating
an imprisoned animal.

"You need not give yourself so much concern about me--"

"I was only thinking over in my head what a good subject to crib, a week
or two before fall election, you'd be. You've a vote?"

Tom good-naturedly says he has. He always throws it for the "old
Charleston" party, being sure of a release, as are some dozen caged
birds, just before election.

"I have declared eternal hatred against that party; never pays its
cribbers!" Mingle scornfully retorts; and having lighted his pipe,
continues his pacing. "As for this jail," he mutters to himself, "I've
no great respect for it; but there is a wide difference between a man
who they put in here for sinning against himself, and one who only
violates a law of the State, passed in opposition to popular opinion.
However, you seem brightened up a few pegs, and, only let whiskey alone,
you may be something yet. Keep up an acquaintance with the pump, and be
civil to respectable prisoners, that's all."

This admonition of the vote-cribber had a deeper effect on the feelings
of the inebriate than was indicated by his outward manner. He had
committed no crime, and yet he found himself among criminals of every
kind; and what was worse, they affected to look down upon him. Had he
reached a state of degradation so low that even the felon loathed his
presence? Was he an outcast, stripped of every means of reform--of
making himself a man? Oh no! The knife of the destroyer had plunged
deep--disappointment had tortured his brain--he was drawn deeper into
the pool of misery by the fatal fascinations of the house of Madame
Flamingo, where, shunned by society, he had sought relief--but there was
yet one spark of pride lingering in his heart. That spark the
vote-cribber had touched; and with that spark Tom resolved to kindle for
himself a new existence. He had pledged his honor to the young
theologian; he would not violate it.

The old sailor, with elated feelings, and bearing in his hands a bowl of
coffee and two slices of toasted bread, is accosted by several
suspicious-looking prisoners, who have assembled in the corridor for the
purpose of scenting fresh air, with sundry questions concerning the
state of his pupil's health.

"He has had a rough night," the sailor answers, "but is now a bit calm.
In truth, he only wants a bit of good steering to get him into smooth
weather again." Thus satisfying the inquirers, he hurries up stairs as
the vote-cribber hurries down, and setting his offering on the
window-sill, draws from his bosom the concealed flask. "There, Tom!" he
says, with childlike satisfaction, holding the flask before him--"only
two pulls. To-morrow reef down to one; and the day after swear a
dissolution of copartnership, for this chap (he points to the whiskey)
is too mighty for you."

Tom hesitates, as if questioning the quality of the drug he is about to
administer.

"Only two!" interrupts the sailor. "It will reduce the ground-swell a
bit." The outcast places the flask to his lips, and having drank with
contorted face passes it back with a sigh, and extends his right hand.
"My honor is nothing to the world, Spunyarn, but it is yet something to
me; and by it I swear (here he grasps tighter the hand of the old
sailor, as a tear moistens his suffused cheeks) never to touch the
poison again. It has grappled me like a fierce animal I could not shake
off; it has made me the scoffed of felons--I will cease to be its
victim; and having gained the victory, be hereafter a friend to myself."

"God bless you--may you never want a friend, Tom--and may He give you
strength to keep the resolution. That's my wish." And the old sailor
shook Tom's hand fervently, in pledge of his sincerity.



CHAPTER V.

IN WHICH MR. SNIVEL, COMMONLY CALLED THE ACCOMMODATION MAN, IS
INTRODUCED, AND WHAT TAKES PLACE BETWEEN HIM AND MRS. SWIGGS.


Reader! have you ever witnessed how cleverly one of our mob-politicians
can, through the all-soothing medium of a mint-julep, transpose himself
from a mass of passion and bad English into a child of perfect
equanimity? If not, perhaps you have witnessed in our halls of Congress
the sudden transition through which some of our Carolina members pass
from a state of stupidity to a state of pugnacity? (We refer only to
those members who do their own "stumping," and as a natural consequence,
get into Congress through abuse of the North, bad whiskey, and a
profusion of promises to dissolve the Union.) And if you have, you may
form some idea of the suddenness with which Lady Swiggs, as she delights
in having her friends call her, transposes herself from the incarnation
of a viper into a creature of gentleness, on hearing announced the name
of Mr. Soloman Snivel.

"What!--my old friend! I wish I had words to say how glad I am to see
you, Lady Swiggs!" exclaims a tall, well-proportioned and
handsome-limbed man, to whose figure a fashionable claret-colored frock
coat, white vest, neatly-fitting dark-brown trowsers, highly-polished
boots, a cluster of diamonds set in an avalanche of corded shirt-bosom,
and carelessly-tied green cravat, lend a respectability better imagined
than described. A certain reckless dash about him, not common to a
refined gentleman, forces us to set him down as one of those individuals
who hold an uncertain position in society; and though they may now and
then mingle with men of refinement, have their more legitimate sphere in
a fashionable world of doubtful character.

"Why!--Mr. Snivel. Is it you?" responds the old woman, reciprocating his
warm shake of the hand, and getting her hard face into a smile.

"I am so glad--But (Mr. Snivel interrupts himself) never mind that!"

"You have some important news?" hastily inquires Mrs. Swiggs, laying a
bit of muslin carefully between the pages of her Milton, and returning
it to the table, saying she has just been grievously provoked by one of
that black-coated flock who go about the city in search of lambs. They
always remind her of light-houses pointing the road to the dominions of
the gentleman in black.

"Something very important!" parenthesises Soloman--"very." And he shakes
his head, touches her significantly on the arm with his orange-colored
glove,--he smiles insidiously.

"Pray be seated, Mr. Snivel. Rebecca!--bring Mr. Snivel the
rocking-chair."

"You see, my good Madam, there's such a rumor about town this morning!
(Soloman again taps her on the arm with his glove.) The cat has got out
of the bag--it's all up with the St. Cecilia!--"

"Do, Rebecca, make haste with the rocking-chair!" eagerly interrupts
the old woman, addressing herself to the negress, who fusses her way
into the room with a great old-fashioned rocking-chair. "I am so
sensitive of the character of that society," she continues with a sigh,
and wipes and rubs her spectacles, gets up and views herself in the
glass, frills over her cap border, and becomes very generally anxious.
Mrs. Swiggs is herself again. She nervously adjusts the venerable red
shawl about her shoulders, draws the newly-introduced arm-chair near her
own, ("I'm not so old, but am getting a little deaf," she says), and
begs her visitor will be seated.

Mr. Soloman, having paced twice or thrice up and down the little room,
contemplating himself in the glass at each turn, now touching his
neatly-trimmed Saxon mustache and whiskers, then frisking his fingers
through his candy-colored hair, brings his dignity into the chair.

"I said it was all up with the St. Cecilia--"

"Yes!" interrupts Mrs. Swiggs, her eyes glistening like balls of fire,
her lower jaw falling with the weight of anxiety, and fretting rapidly
her bony hands.

Soloman suddenly pauses, says that was a glorious bottle of old Madeira
with which he enjoyed her hospitality on his last visit. The flavor of
it is yet fresh in his mouth.

"Thank you--thank you! Mr. Soloman. I've a few more left. But pray lose
no time in disclosing to me what hath befallen the St. Cecilia."

"Well then--but what I say must be in confidence. (The old woman says it
never shall get beyond her lips--never!) An Englishman of goodly looks,
fashion, and money--and, what is more in favor with our first families,
a Sir attached to his name, being of handsome person and accomplished
manners, and travelling and living after the manner of a nobleman, (some
of our first families are simple enough to identify a Baronet with
nobility!) was foully set upon by the fairest and most marriageable
belles of the St. Cecilia. If he had possessed a dozen hearts, he could
have had good markets for them all. There was such a getting up of
attentions! Our fashionable mothers did their very best in arraying the
many accomplishments of their consignable daughters, setting forth in
the most foreign but not over-refined phraseology, their extensive
travels abroad--"

"Yes!" interrupts Mrs. Swiggs, nervously--"I know how they do it. It's a
pardonable weakness." And she reaches out her hand and takes to her lap
her inseparable Milton.

"And the many marked attentions--offers, in fact--they have received at
the hands of Counts and Earls, with names so unpronounceable that they
have outlived memory--"

"Perhaps I have them in my book of autographs!" interrupts the credulous
old woman, making an effort to rise and proceed to an antique side-board
covered with grotesque-looking papers.

Mr. Soloman urbanely touches her on the arm--begs she will keep her
seat. The names only apply to things of the past. He proceeds,
"Well--being a dashing fellow, as I have said--he played his game
charmingly. Now he flirted with this one, and then with that one, and
finally with the whole society, not excepting the very flirtable married
ladies;--that is, I mean those whose husbands were simple enough to let
him. Mothers were in a great flutter generally, and not a day passed but
there was a dispute as to which of their daughters he would link his
fortunes with and raise to that state so desirable in the eyes of our
very republican first families--the State-Militant of nobility--"

"I think none the worse of 'em for that," says the old woman, twitching
her wizard-like head in confirmation of her assertion. "My word for it,
Mr. Soloman, to get up in the world, and to be above the common herd, is
the grand ambition of our people; and our State has got the grand
position it now holds before the world through the influence of this
ambition."

"True!--you are right there, my dear friend. You may remember, I have
always said you had the penetration of a statesman, (Mrs. Swiggs makes a
curt bow, as a great gray cat springs into her lap and curls himself
down on her Milton;) and, as I was going on to say of this dashing
Baronet, he played our damsels about in agony, as an old sportsman does
a covey of ducks, wounding more in the head than in the heart, and
finally creating no end of a demand for matrimony. To-day, all the town
was positive, he would marry the beautiful Miss Boggs; to-morrow it was
not so certain that he would not marry the brilliant and
all-accomplished Miss Noggs; and the next day he was certain of marrying
the talented and very wealthy heiress, Miss Robbs. Mrs. Stepfast, highly
esteemed in fashionable society, and the very best gossip-monger in the
city, had confidentially spread it all over the neighborhood that Mr.
Stepfast told her the young Baronet told him (and he verily believed he
was head and ears in love with her!) Miss Robbs was the most lovely
creature he had seen since he left Belgravia. And then he went into a
perfect rhapsody of excitement while praising the poetry of her motion,
the grace with which she performed the smallest offices of the
drawing-room, her queenly figure, her round, alabaster arms, her smooth,
tapering hands, (so chastely set off with two small diamonds, and so
unlike the butchers' wives of this day, who bedazzle themselves all the
day long with cheap jewelry,)--the beautiful swell of her marble bust,
the sweet smile ever playing over her thoughtful face, the regularity of
her Grecian features, and those great, languishing eyes, constantly
flashing with the light of irresistible love. Quoth ye! according to
what Mr. Stepfast told Mrs. Stepfast, the young Baronet would, with the
ideal of a real poet, as was he, have gone on recounting her charms
until sundown, had not Mr. Stepfast invited him to a quiet family
dinner. And to confirm what Mr. Stepfast said, Miss Robbs had been seen
by Mrs. Windspin looking in at Mrs. Stebbins', the fashionable
dress-maker, while the young Baronet had twice been at Spears', in King
Street, to select a diamond necklace of great value, which he left
subject to the taste of Miss Robbs. And putting them two and them two
together there was something in it!"

"I am truly glad it's nothing worse. There has been so much scandal got
up by vulgar people against our St. Cecilia."

"Worse, Madam?" interpolates our hero, ere she has time to conclude her
sentence, "the worst is to come yet."

"And I'm a member of the society!" Mrs. Swiggs replies with a
languishing sigh, mistaking the head of the cat for her Milton, and
apologizing for her error as that venerable animal, having got well
squeezed, sputters and springs from her grasp, shaking his head,
"elected solely on the respectability of my family."

Rather a collapsed member, by the way, Mr. Soloman thinks, contemplating
her facetiously.

"Kindly proceed--proceed," she says, twitching at her cap strings, as if
impatient to get the sequel.

"Well, as to that, being a member of the St. Cecilia myself, you see,
and always--(I go in for a man keeping up in the world)--maintaining a
high position among its most distinguished members, who, I assure you,
respect me far above my real merits, (Mrs. Swiggs says we won't say
anything about that now!) and honor me with all its secrets, I may, even
in your presence, be permitted to say, that I never heard a member who
didn't speak in high praise of you and the family of which you are so
excellent a representative."

"Thank you--thank you. O thank you, Mr. Soloman!" she rejoins.

"Why, Madam, I feel all my veneration getting into my head at once when
I refer to the name of Sir Sunderland Swiggs."

"But pray what came of the young Baronet?"

"Oh!--as to him, why, you see, he was what we call--it isn't a polite
word, I confess--a humbug."

"A Baronet a humbug!" she exclaims, fretting her hands and commencing to
rock herself in the chair.

"Well, as to that, as I was going on to say, after he had beat the bush
all around among the young birds, leaving several of them wounded on the
ground--you understand this sort of thing--he took to the older ones,
and set them polishing up their feathers. And having set several very
respectable families by the ears, and created a terrible flutter among a
number of married dames--he was an adept in this sort of diplomacy, you
see--it was discovered that one very distinguished Mrs. Constance,
leader of fashion to the St. Cecilia, (and on that account on no very
good terms with the vulgar world, that was forever getting up scandal to
hurl at the society that would not permit it to soil, with its common
muslin, the fragrant atmosphere of its satin and tulle), had been
carrying on a villanous intrigue--yes, Madam! villanous intrigue! I said
discovered: the fact was, this gallant Baronet, with one servant and no
establishment, was feted and fooled for a month, until he came to the
very natural and sensible conclusion, that we were all snobbs--yes,
snobbs of the very worst kind. But there was no one who fawned over and
flattered the vanity of this vain man more than the husband of Mrs.
Constance. This poor man idolized his wife, whom he regarded as the very
diamond light of purity, nor ever mistrusted that the Baronet's
attentions were bestowed with any other than the best of motives.
Indeed, he held it extremely condescending on the part of the Baronet to
thus honor the family with his presence.

"And the Baronet, you see, with that folly so characteristic of
Baronets, was so flushed with his success in this little intrigue with
Madame Constance--the affair was too good for him to keep!--that he went
all over town showing her letters. Such nice letters as they were--brim
full of repentance, love, and appointments. The Baronet read them to Mr.
Barrows, laughing mischievously, and saying what a fool the woman must
be. Mr. Barrows couldn't keep it from Mrs. Barrows, Mrs. Barrows let the
cat out of the bag to Mrs. Simpson, and Mrs. Simpson would let Mr.
Simpson have no peace till he got on the soft side of the Baronet, and,
what was not a difficult matter, got two of the letters for her to have
a peep into. Mrs. Simpson having feasted her eyes on the two Mr. Simpson
got of the Baronet, and being exceedingly fond of such wares as they
contained, must needs--albeit, in strict confidence--whisper it to Mrs.
Fountain, who was a very fashionable lady, but unfortunately had a head
very like a fountain, with the exception that it ejected out double the
amount it took in. Mrs. Fountain--as anybody might have known--let it
get all over town. And then the vulgar herd took it up, as if it were
assafoetida, only needing a little stirring up, and hurled it back at
the St. Cecilia, the character of which it would damage without a pang
of remorse.

"Then the thing got to Constance's ears; and getting into a terrible
passion, poor Constance swore nothing would satisfy him but the
Baronet's life. But the Baronet--"

"A sorry Baronet was he--not a bit like my dear ancestor, Sir
Sunderland," Mrs. Swiggs interposes.

"Not a bit, Madam," bows our hero. "Like a sensible gentleman, as I was
about to say, finding it getting too hot for him, packed up his alls,
and in the company of his unpaid servant, left for parts westward of
this. I had a suspicion the fellow was not what he should be; and I made
it known to my select friends of the St. Cecilia, who generally
pooh-poohed me. A nobleman, they said, should receive every attention.
And to show that he wasn't what he should be, when he got to Augusta his
servant sued him for his wages; and having nothing but his chivalry,
which the servant very sensibly declined to accept for payment, he came
out like a man, and declared himself nothing but a poor player.

"But this neither satisfied Constance nor stayed the drifting current of
slander--"

"Oh! I am so glad it was no worse," Mrs. Swiggs interrupts again.

"True!" Mr. Soloman responds, laughing heartily, as he taps her on the
arm. "It might have been worse, though. Well, I am, as you know, always
ready to do a bit of a good turn for a friend in need, and pitying poor
Constance as I did, I suggested a committee of four most respectable
gentlemen, and myself, to investigate the matter. The thing struck
Constance favorably, you see. So we got ourselves together, agreed to
consider ourselves a Congress, talked over the affairs of the nation,
carried a vote to dissolve the Union, drank sundry bottles of Champagne,
(I longed for a taste of your old Madeira, Mrs. Swiggs,) and brought in
a verdict that pleased Mrs. Constance wonderfully--and so it ought. We
were, after the most careful examination, satisfied that the reports
prejudicial to the character and standing of Mrs. Constance had no
foundation in truth, being the base fabrications of evil-minded persons,
who sought, while injuring an innocent lady, to damage the reputation of
the St. Cecilia Society. Mr. Constance was highly pleased with the
finding; and finally it proved the sovereign balm that healed all their
wounds. Of course, the Knight, having departed, was spared his blood."

Here Mr. Soloman makes a pause. Mrs. Swiggs, with a sigh, says, "Is that
all?"

"Quite enough for once, my good Madam," Mr. Soloman bows in return.

"Oh! I am so glad the St. Cecilia is yet spared to us. You said, you
know, it was all up with it--"

"Up? up?--so it is! That is, it won't break it up, you know. Why--oh, I
see where the mistake is--it isn't all over, you know, seeing how the
society can live through a score of nine-months scandals. But the
thing's in every vulgar fellow's lips--that is the worst of it."

Mrs. Swiggs relishes this bit of gossip as if it were a dainty morsel;
and calling Rebecca, she commands her to forthwith proceed into the
cellar and bring a bottle of the old Madeira--she has only five
left--for Mr. Soloman. And to Mr. Soloman's great delight, the old
negress hastily obeys the summons; brings forth a mass of cobweb and
dust, from which a venerable black bottle is disinterred, uncorked, and
presented to the guest, who drinks the health of Mrs. Swiggs in sundry
well-filled glasses, which he declares choice, adding, that it always
reminds him of the age and dignity of the family. Like the State,
dignity is Mrs. Swiggs' weakness--her besetting sin. Mr. Soloman, having
found the key to this vain woman's generosity, turns it when it suits
his own convenience.

"By-the-bye," he suddenly exclaims, "you've got Tom locked up again."

"As safe as he ever was, I warrant ye!" Mrs. Swiggs replies, resuming
her Milton and rocking-chair.

"Upon my faith I agree with you. Never let him get out, for he is sure
to disgrace the family when he does--"

"I've said he shall rot there, and he shall rot! He never shall get out
to disgrace the family--no, not if I live to be as gray as Methuselah, I
warrant you!" And Mr. Soloman, having made his compliments to the sixth
glass, draws from his breast pocket a legal-looking paper, which he
passes to Mrs. Swiggs, as she ejaculates, "Oh! I am glad you thought of
that."

Mr. Soloman, watching intently the changes of her face, says, "You will
observe, Madam, I have mentioned the cripples. There are five of them.
We are good friends, you see; and it is always better to be precise in
those things. It preserves friendship. This is merely a bit of a good
turn I do for you." Mr. Soloman bows, makes an approving motion with his
hands, and lays at her disposal on the table, a small roll of bills.
"You will find two hundred dollars there," he adds, modulating his
voice. "You will find it all right; I got it for you of Keepum. We do a
little in that way; he is very exact, you see--"

"Honor is the best security between people of our standing," she
rejoins, taking up a pen and signing the instrument, which her guest
deposits snugly in his pocket, and takes his departure for the house of
Madame Flamingo.



CHAPTER VI.

CONTAINING SUNDRY MATTERS APPERTAINING TO THIS HISTORY.


If, generous reader, you had lived in Charleston, we would take it for
granted that you need no further enlightening on any of our very select
societies, especially the St. Cecilia; but you may not have enjoyed a
residence so distinguished, rendering unnecessary a few explanatory
remarks. You must know that we not only esteem ourselves the
quintessence of refinement, as we have an undisputed right to do, but
regard the world outside as exceedingly stupid in not knowing as much of
us as we profess to know of ourselves. Abroad, we wonder we are not at
once recognized as Carolinians; at home, we let the vulgar world know
who we are. Indeed, we regard the outside world--of these States we
mean--very much in that light which the Greeks of old were wont to view
the Romans in. Did we but stop here, the weakness might be pardonable.
But we lay claim to Grecian refinement of manners, while pluming all our
mob-politicians Roman orators. There is a profanity about this we
confess not to like; not that danger can befall it, but because it hath
about it that which reminds us of the oyster found in the shell of gold.
Condescending, then, to believe there exists outside of our State a few
persons silly enough to read books, we will take it for granted, reader,
that you are one of them, straightway proceeding with you to the St.
Cecilia.

You have been a fashionable traveller in Europe? You say--yes! rummaged
all the feudal castles of England, sought out the resting places of her
kings, heard some one say "that is poet's corner," as we passed into
Westminster Abbey, thought they couldn't be much to have such a
corner,--"went to look" where Byron was buried, moistened the marble
with a tear ere we were conscious of it, and saw open to us the gulf of
death as we contemplated how greedy graveyard worms were banqueting on
his greatness. A world of strange fancies came over us as we mused on
England's poets. And we dined with several Dukes and a great many more
Earls, declining no end of invitations of commoners. Very well! we
reply, adding a sigh. And on your return to your home, that you may not
be behind the fashion, you compare disparagingly everything that meets
your eye. Nothing comes up to what you saw in Europe. A servant doesn't
know how to be a servant here; and were we to see the opera at Covent
Garden, we would be sure to stare our eyes out. It is become habitual to
introduce your conversation with, "when I was in Europe." And you know
you never write a letter that you don't in some way bring in the
distinguished persons you met abroad. There is something (no matter what
it is) that forcibly reminds you of what occurred at the table of my
Lady Clarendon, with whom you twice had the pleasure and rare honor of
dining. And by implication, you always give us a sort of lavender-water
description of the very excellent persons you met there, and what they
were kind enough to say of America, and how they complimented you, and
made you the centre and all-absorbing object of attraction--in a word, a
truly wonderful person. And you will not fail, now that it is become
fashionable, to extol with fulsome breath the greatness of every
European despot it hath been your good fortune to get a bow from. And
you are just vain enough to forever keep this before your up-country
cousins. You say, too, that you have looked in at Almacks. Almacks!
alas! departed greatness. With the rise of the Casino hath it lain its
aristocratic head in the dust.

Well!--the St. Cecilia you must know (its counterparts are to be found
in all our great cities) is a miniature Almacks--a sort of leach-cloth,
through which certain very respectable individuals must pass ere they
can become the elite of our fashionable world. To become a member of the
St. Cecilia--to enjoy its recherché assemblies--to luxuriate in the
delicate perfumes of its votaries, is the besetting sin of a great many
otherwise very sensible people. And to avenge their disappointment at
not being admitted to its precious precincts, they are sure to be found
in the front rank of scandal-mongers when anything in their line is up
with a member. And it is seldom something is not up, for the society
would seem to live and get lusty in an atmosphere of perpetual scandal.
Any amount of duels have come of it; it hath made rich no end of
milliners; it hath made bankrupt husbands by the dozen; it hath been the
theatre of several distinguished romances; it hath witnessed the first
throbbings of sundry hearts, since made happy in wedlock; it hath been
the _shibolath_ of sins that shall be nameless here. The reigning belles
are all members (provided they belong to our first families) of the St.
Cecilia, as is also the prettiest and most popular unmarried parson. And
the parson being excellent material for scandal, Mother Rumor is sure to
have a dash at him. Nor does this very busy old lady seem over-delicate
about which of the belles she associates with the parson, so long as the
scandal be fashionable enough to afford her a good traffic.

There is continually coming along some unknown but very distinguished
foreigner, whom the society adopts as its own, flutters over, and
smothers with attentions, and drops only when it is discovered he is an
escaped convict. This, in deference to the reputation of the St.
Cecilia, we acknowledge has only happened twice. It has been said with
much truth that the St. Cecilia's worst sin, like the sins of its sister
societies of New York, is a passion for smothering with the satin and
Honiton of its assemblies a certain supercilious species of snobby
Englishmen, who come over here, as they have it (gun and fishing-rod in
hand), merely to get right into the woods where they can have plenty of
bear-hunting, confidently believing New York a forest inhabited by such
animals. As for our squaws, as Mr. Tom Toddleworth would say, (we shall
speak more at length of Tom!) why! they have no very bad opinion of
them, seeing that they belong to a race of semi-barbarians, whose
sayings they delight to note down. Having no society at home, this
species of gentry the more readily find themselves in high favor with
ours. They are always Oxonians, as the sons of green grocers and
fishmongers are sure to be when they come over here (so Mr. Toddleworth
has it, and he is good authority), and we being an exceedingly
impressible people, they kindly condescend to instruct us in all the
high arts, now and then correcting our very bad English. They are clever
fellows generally, being sure to get on the kind side of credulous
mothers with very impressible-headed daughters.

There was, however, always a distinguished member of the St. Cecilia
society who let out all that took place at its assemblies. The vulgar
always knew what General danced with the lovely Miss A., and how they
looked, and what they said to each other; how many jewels Miss A. wore,
and the material her dress was made of; they knew who polkaed with the
accomplished Miss B., and how like a duchess she bore herself; they had
the exact name of the colonel who dashed along so like a knight with the
graceful and much-admired Mrs. D., whose husband was abroad serving his
country; what gallant captain of dragoons (captains of infantry were
looked upon as not what they might be) promenaded so imperiously with
the vivacious Miss E.; and what distinguished foreigner sat all night in
the corner holding a suspicious and very improper conversation with Miss
F., whose skirts never were free of scandal, and who had twice got the
pretty parson into difficulty with his church. Hence there was a
perpetual outgoing of scandal on the one side, and pelting of dirt on
the other.

When Mr. Soloman sought the presence of Mrs. Swiggs and told her it was
all up with the St. Cecilia, and when that august member of the society
was so happily disappointed by his concluding with leaving it an
undamaged reputation, the whole story was not let out. In truth the
society was at that moment in a state of indignation, and its reputation
as well-nigh the last stage of disgrace as it were possible to bring it
without being entirely absorbed. The Baronet, who enjoyed a good joke,
and was not over-scrupulous in measuring the latitude of our credulity,
had, it seems, in addition to the little affair with Mrs. Constance,
been imprudent enough to introduce at one of the assemblies of the St.
Cecilia, a lady of exceedingly fair but frail import: this loveliest of
creatures--this angel of fallen fame--this jewel, so much sought after
in her own casket--this child of gentleness and beauty, before whom a
dozen gallant knights were paying homage, and claiming her hand for the
next waltz, turned out to be none other than the Anna Bonard we have
described at the house of Madame Flamingo. The discovery sent the whole
assembly into a fainting fit, and caused such a fluttering in the camp
of fashion. Reader! you may rest assured back-doors and smelling-bottles
were in great demand.

The Baronet had introduced her as his cousin; just arrived, he said, in
the care of her father--the cousin whose beauty he had so often referred
to. So complete was her toilet and disguise, that none but the most
intimate associate could have detected the fraud. Do you ask us who was
the betrayer, reader? We answer,--

One whose highest ambition did seem that of getting her from her
paramour, George Mullholland. It was Judge Sleepyhorn. Reader! you will
remember him--the venerable, snowy-haired man, sitting on the lounge at
the house of Madame Flamingo, and on whom George Mullholland swore to
have revenge. The judge of a criminal court, the admonisher of the
erring, the sentencer of felons, the _habitue_ of the house of Madame
Flamingo--no libertine in disguise could be more scrupulous of his
standing in society, or so sensitive of the opinion held of him by the
virtuous fair, than was this daylight guardian of public morals.

The Baronet got himself nicely out of the affair, and Mr. Soloman
Snivel, commonly called Mr. Soloman, the accommodation man, is at the
house of Madame Flamingo, endeavoring to effect a reconciliation between
the Judge and George Mullholland.



CHAPTER VII.

IN WHICH IS SEEN A COMMINGLING OF CITIZENS.


Night has thrown her mantle over the city. There is a great gathering of
denizens at the house of Madame Flamingo. She has a _bal-masque_
to-night. Her door is beset with richly-caparisoned equipages. The town
is on tip-toe to be there; we reluctantly follow it. An hundred
gaudily-decorated drinking saloon are filled with gaudier-dressed men.
In loudest accent rings the question--"Do you go to Madame Flamingo's
to-night?" Gentlemen of the genteel world, in shining broadcloth, touch
glasses and answer--"yes!" It is a wonderful city--this of ours. Vice
knows no restraint, poverty hath no friends here. We bow before the
shrine of midnight revelry; we bring licentiousness to our homes, but we
turn a deaf ear to the cries of poverty, and we gloat over the sale of
men.

The sickly gas-light throws a sicklier glare over the narrow, unpaved
streets. The city is on a frolic, a thing not uncommon with it. Lithe
and portly-figured men, bearing dominos in their hands, saunter along
the sidewalk, now dangling ponderous watch-chains, then flaunting
highly-perfumed cambrics--all puffing the fumes of choice cigars. If
accosted by a grave wayfarer--they are going to the opera! They are
dressed in the style of opera-goers. And the road to the opera seems the
same as that leading to the house of the old hostess. A gaily-equipped
carriage approaches. We hear the loud, coarse laughing of those it so
buoyantly bears, then there comes full to view the glare of yellow silks
and red satins, and doubtful jewels--worn by denizens from whose faded
brows the laurel wreath hath fallen. How shrunken with the sorrow of
their wretched lives, and yet how sportive they seem! The pale gas-light
throws a spectre-like hue over their paler features; the artificial
crimson with which they would adorn the withered cheek refuses to lend a
charm to features wan and ghastly. The very air is sickly with the odor
of their cosmetics. And with flaunting cambrics they bend over carriage
sides, salute each and every pedestrian, and receive in return answers
unsuited to refined ears. They pass into the dim vista, but we see with
the aid of that flickering gas, the shadow of that polluting hand which
hastens life into death.

Old Mr. McArthur, who sits smoking his long pipe in the door of his
crazy-looking curiosity shop, (he has just parted company with the young
theologian, having assured him he would find a place to stow Tom Swiggs
in,) wonders where the fashionable world of Charleston can be going? It
is going to the house of the Flamingo. The St. Cecilia were to have had
a ball to-night; scandal and the greater attractions here have closed
its doors.

A long line of carriages files past the door of the old hostess. An
incessant tripping of feet, delicately encased in bright-colored
slippers; an ominous fluttering of gaudy silks and satins; an inciting
glare of borrowed jewelry, mingling with second-hand lace; an
heterogeneous gleaming of bare, brawny arms, and distended busts, all
lend a sort of barbaric splendor to that mysterious group floating, as
it were, into a hall in one blaze of light. A soft carpet, overlain
with brown linen, is spread from the curbstone into the hall. Two
well-developed policemen guard the entrance, take tickets of those who
pass in, and then exchange smiles of recognition with venerable looking
gentlemen in masks. The hostess, a clever "business man" in her way, has
made the admission fee one dollar. Having paid the authorities ten
dollars, and honored every Alderman with a complimentary ticket, who has
a better right? No one has a nicer regard for the Board of Aldermen than
Madame Flamingo; no one can reciprocate this regard more condescendingly
than the honorable Board of Aldermen do. Having got herself arrayed in a
dress of sky-blue satin, that ever and anon streams, cloud-like, behind
her, and a lace cap of approved fashion, with pink strings nicely
bordered in gimp, and a rich Honiton cape, jauntily thrown over her
shoulders, and secured under the chin with a great cluster of blazing
diamonds, and rows of unpolished pearls at her wrists, which are
immersed in crimped ruffles, she doddles up and down the hall in a state
of general excitement. A corpulent colored man, dressed in the garb of a
beadle,--a large staff in his right hand, a cocked hat on his head, and
broad white stripes down his flowing coat, stands midway between the
parlor doors. He is fussy enough, and stupid enough, for a Paddington
beadle. Now Madame Flamingo looks scornfully at him, scolds him, pushes
him aside; he is only a slave she purchased for the purpose; she
commands that he gracefully touch his hat (she snatches it from his
head, and having elevated it over her own, performs the delicate motion
she would have him imitate) to every visitor. The least neglect of duty
will incur (she tells him in language he cannot mistake) the penalty of
thirty-nine well laid on in the morning. In another minute her fat,
chubby-face glows with smiles, her whole soul seems lighted up with
childlike enthusiasm; she has a warm welcome for each new comer, retorts
saliently upon her old friends, and says--"you know how welcome you all
are!" Then she curtsies with such becoming grace. "The house, you know,
gentlemen, is a commonwealth to-night." Ah! she recognizes the tall,
comely figure of Mr. Soloman, the accommodation man. He did not spring
from among the bevy of coat-takers, and hood-retainers, at the extreme
end of the great hall, nor from among the heap of promiscuous garments
piled in one corner; and yet he is here, looking as if some magic
process had brought him from a mysterious labyrinth. "Couldn't get along
without me, you see. It's an ambition with me to befriend everybody. If
I can do a bit of a good turn for a friend, so much the better!" And he
grasps the old hostess by the hand with a self-satisfaction he rather
improves by tapping her encouragingly on the shoulder. "You'll make a
right good thing of this!--a clear thousand, eh?"

"The fates have so ordained it," smiles naively the old woman.

"Of course the fates could not ordain otherwise--"

"As to that, Mr. Soloman, I sometimes think the gods are with me, and
then again I think they are against me. The witches--they have done my
fortune a dozen times or more--always predict evil (I consult them
whenever a sad fit comes over me), but witches are not to be depended
upon! I am sure I think what a fool I am for consulting them at all."
She espies, for her trade of sin hath made keen her eye, the venerable
figure of Judge Sleepyhorn advancing up the hall, masked. "Couldn't get
along without you," she lisps, tripping towards him, and greeting him
with the familiarity of an intimate friend. "I'm rather aristocratic,
you'll say!--and I confess I am, though a democrat in principle!" And
Madame Flamingo confirms what she says with two very dignified nods. As
the Judge passes silently in she pats him encouragingly on the back,
saying,--"There ain't no one in this house what'll hurt a hair on your
head." The Judge heeds not what she says.

"My honor for it, Madame, but I think your guests highly favored,
altogether! Fine weather, and the prospect of a _bal-masque_ of Pompeian
splendor. The old Judge, eh?"

"The gods smile--the gods smile, Mr. Soloman!" interrupts the hostess,
bowing and swaying her head in rapid succession.

"The gods have their eye on him to-night--he's a marked man! A jolly old
cove of a Judge, he is! Cares no more about rules and precedents, on the
bench, than he does for the rights and precedents some persons profess
to have in this house. A high old blade to administer justice, eh?"

"But, you see, Mr. Soloman," the hostess interrupts, a gracious bow
keeping time with the motion of her hand, "he is such an aristocratic
prop in the character of my house."

"I rather like that, I confess, Madame. You have grown rich off the
aristocracy. Now, don't get into a state of excitement!" says Mr.
Soloman, fingering his long Saxon beard, and eyeing her mischievously.
She sees a bevy of richly-dressed persons advancing up the hall in high
glee. Indeed her house is rapidly filling to the fourth story. And yet
they come! she says. "The gods are in for a time. I love to make the
gods happy."

Mr. Soloman has lain his hand upon her arm retentively.

"It is not that the aristocracy and such good persons as the Judge spend
so much here. But they give _eclat_ to the house, and _eclat_ is money.
That's it, sir! Gold is the deity of _our_ pantheon! Bless you (the
hostess evinces the enthusiasm of a politician), what better evidence of
the reputation of my house than is before you, do you want? I've shut up
the great Italian opera, with its three squalling prima donnas, which in
turn has shut up the poor, silly _Empresario_ as they call him; and the
St. Cecilia I have just used up. I'm a team in my way, you see;--run all
these fashionable oppositions right into bankruptcy." Never were words
spoken with more truth. Want of patronage found all places of rational
amusement closed. Societies for intellectual improvement, one after
another, died of poverty. Fashionable lectures had attendance only when
fashionable lecturers came from the North; and the Northman was sure to
regard our taste through the standard of what he saw before him.

The house of the hostess triumphs, and is corpulent of wealth and
splendor. To-morrow she will feed with the rich crumbs that fall from
her table the starving poor. And although she holds poor virtue in utter
contempt, feeding the poor she regards a large score on the passport to
a better world. A great marble stairway winds its way upward at the
farther end of the hall, and near it are two small balconies, one on
each side, presenting barricades of millinery surmounted with the
picturesque faces of some two dozen denizens, who keep up an incessant
gabbling, interspersed here and there with jeers directed at Mr.
Soloman. "Who is he seeking to accommodate to-night?" they inquire,
laughing merrily.

The house is full, the hostess has not space for one friend more; she
commands the policemen to close doors. An Alderman is the only exception
to her _fiat_. "You see," she says, addressing herself to a courtly
individual who has just saluted her with urbane deportment, "I must
preserve the _otium cum dignitate_ of my (did I get it right?) standing
in society. I don't always get these Latin sayings right. Our
Congressmen don't. And, you see, like them, I ain't a Latin scholar, and
may be excused for any little slips. Politics and larnin' don't get
along well together. Speaking of politics, I confess I rather belong to
the Commander and Quabblebum school--I do!"

At this moment (a tuning of instruments is heard in the dancing-hall)
the tall figure of the accommodation man is seen, in company of the
venerable Judge, passing hurriedly into a room on the right of the
winding stairs before described. "Judge!" he exclaims, closing the door
quickly after him, "you will be discovered and exposed. I am not
surprised at your passion for her, nor the means by which you seek to
destroy the relations existing between her and George Mullholland. It is
an evidence of taste in you. But she is proud to a fault, and, this I
say in friendship, you so wounded her feelings, when you betrayed her to
the St. Cecilia, that she has sworn to have revenge on you. George
Mullholland, too, has sworn to have your life.

"I tell you what it is, Judge, (the accommodation man assumes the air of
a bank director,) I have just conceived--you will admit I have an
inventive mind!--a plot that will carry you clean through the whole
affair. Your ambition is divided between a passion for this charming
creature and the good opinion of better society. The resolution to
retain the good opinion of society is doing noble battle in your heart;
but it is the weaker vessel, and it always will be so with a man of your
mould, inasmuch as such resolutions are backed up by the less fierce
elements of our nature. Put this down as an established principle. Well,
then, I will take upon myself the betrayal. I will plead you ignorant of
the charge, procure her forgiveness, and reconcile the matter with this
Mullholland. It's worth an hundred or more, eh?"

The venerable man smiles, shakes his head as if heedless of the
admonition, and again covers his face with his domino.

The accommodation man, calling him by his judicial title, says he will
yet repent the refusal!

It is ten o'clock. The gentleman slightly colored, who represents a
fussy beadle, makes a flourish with his great staff. The doors of the
dancing hall are thrown open. Like the rushing of the gulf stream there
floods in a motley procession of painted females and masked men--the
former in dresses as varied in hue as the fires of remorse burning out
their unuttered thoughts. Two and two they jeer and crowd their way
along into the spacious hall, the walls of which are frescoed in
extravagant mythological designs, the roof painted in fret work, and the
cornices interspersed with seraphs in stucco and gilt. The lights of two
massive chandeliers throw a bewitching refulgence over a scene at once
picturesque and mysterious; and from four tall mirrors secured between
the windows, is reflected the forms and movements of the masquers.

Reader! you have nothing in this democratic country with which to
successfully compare it. And to seek a comparison in the old world,
where vice, as in this city of chivalry, hath a license, serves not our
office.

Madame Flamingo, flanked right and left by twelve colored gentlemen,
who, their collars decorated with white and pink rosettes, officiate as
masters of ceremony, and form a crescent in front of the thronging
procession, steps gradually backward, curtsying and bowing, and
spreading her hands to her guests, after the manner of my Lord
Chamberlain.

Eight colored musicians, (everything is colored here,) perched on a
raised platform covered with maroon-colored plush, at the signal of a
lusty-tongued call-master, strike up a march, to which the motley throng
attempt to keep time. It is martial enough; and discordant enough for
anything but keeping time to.

The plush-covered benches filing along the sides and ends of the hall
are eagerly sought after and occupied by a strange mixture of lookers on
in Vienna. Here the hoary-headed father sits beside a newly-initiated
youth who is receiving his first lesson of dissipation. There the grave
and chivalric planter sports with the nice young man, who is cultivating
a beard and his way into the by-ways. A little further on the suspicious
looking gambler sits freely conversing with the man whom a degrading
public opinion has raised to the dignity of the judicial bench. Yonder
is seen the man who has eaten his way into fashionable society, (and by
fashionable society very much caressed in return,) the bosom companion
of the man whose crimes have made him an outcast.

Generous reader! contemplate this grotesque assembly; study the object
Madame Flamingo has in gathering it to her fold. Does it not present the
accessories to wrong doing? Does it not show that the wrong-doer and the
criminally inclined, too often receive encouragement by the example of
those whoso duty it is to protect society? The spread of crime, alas!
for the profession, is too often regarded by the lawyer as rather a
desirable means of increasing his trade.

Quadrille follows quadrille, the waltz succeeds the schottish, the scene
presents one bewildering maze of flaunting gossamers and girating
bodies, now floating sylph-like into the foreground, then whirling
seductively into the shadowy vista, where the joyous laugh dies out in
the din of voices. The excitement has seized upon the head and heart of
the young,--the child who stood trembling between the first and second
downward step finds her reeling brain a captive in this snare set to
seal her ruin.

Now the music ceases, the lusty-tongued call-master stands surveying
what he is pleased to call the oriental splendor of this grotesque
assembly. He doesn't know who wouldn't patronize such a house! It
suddenly forms in platoon, and marshalled by slightly-colored masters of
ceremony, promenades in an oblong figure.

Here, leaning modestly on the arm of a tall figure in military uniform,
and advancing slowly up the hall, is a girl of some sixteen summers. Her
finely-rounded form is in harmony with the ravishing vivacity of her
face, which is beautifully oval. Seen by the glaring gas-light her
complexion is singularly clear and pale. But that freshness which had
gained her many an admirer, and which gave such a charm to the roundness
of early youth, we look for in vain. And yet there is a softness and
delicacy about her well-cut and womanly features--a childlike sweetness
in her smile--a glow of thoughtfulness in those great, flashing black
eyes--an expression of melancholy in which at short intervals we read
her thoughts--an incessant playing of those long dark eyelashes, that
clothes her charms with an irresistible, a soul-inspiring seductiveness.
Her dress, of moire antique, is chasteness itself; her bust exquisite
symmetry; it heaves as softly as if touched by some gentle zephyr. From
an Haidean brow falls and floats undulating over her marble-like
shoulders, the massive folds of her glossy black hair. Nature had indeed
been lavish of her gifts on this fair creature, to whose charms no
painter could give a touch more fascinating. This girl, whose elastic
step and erect carriage contrasts strangely with the languid forms about
her, is Anna Bonard, the neglected, the betrayed. There passes and
repasses her, now contemplating her with a curious stare, then muttering
inaudibly, a man of portly figure, in mask and cowl. He touches with a
delicate hand his watch-guard, we see two sharp, lecherous eyes peering
through the domino; he folds his arms and pauses a few seconds, as if to
survey the metal of her companion, then crosses and recrosses her path.
Presently his singular demeanor attracts her attention, a curl of
sarcasm is seen on her lip, her brow darkens, her dark orbs flash as of
fire,--all the heart-burnings of a soul stung with shame are seen to
quicken and make ghastly those features that but a moment before shone
lambent as summer lightning. He pauses as with a look of withering scorn
she scans him from head to foot, raises covertly her left hand, tossing
carelessly her glossy hair on her shoulder, and with lightning quickness
snatches with her right the domino from his face. "Hypocrite!" she
exclaims, dashing it to the ground, and with her foot placed defiantly
upon the domino, assumes a tragic attitude, her right arm extended, and
the forefinger of her hand pointing in his face, "Ah!" she continues, in
biting accents, "it is against the perfidy of such as you. I have
struggled. Your false face, like your heart, needed a disguise. But I
have dragged it away, that you may be judged as you are. This is my
satisfaction for your betrayal. Oh that I could have deeper revenge!"
She has unmasked Judge Sleepyhorn, who stands before the anxious gaze of
an hundred night revellers, pressing eagerly to the scene of confusion.
Madame Flamingo's house, as you may judge, is much out in its dignity,
and in a general uproar. There was something touching--something that
the graver head might ponder over, in the words of this unfortunate
girl--"I have struggled!" A heedless and gold-getting world seldom
enters upon the mystery of its meaning. But it hath a meaning deep and
powerful in its appeal to society--one that might serve the good of a
commonwealth did society stoop and take it by the hand.

So sudden was the motion with which this girl snatched the mask from the
face of the Judge, (he stood as if appalled,) that, ere he had gained
his self-possession, she drew from her girdle a pearl-hilted stiletto,
and in attempting to ward off the dreadful lunge, he struck it from her
hand, and into her own bosom. The weapon fell gory to the floor--the
blood trickled down her bodice--a cry of "murder" resounded through the
hall! The administrator of justice rushed out of the door as the unhappy
girl swooned in the arms of her partner. A scene so confused and wild
that it bewilders the brain, now ensued. Madame Flamingo calls loudly
for Mr. Soloman; and as the reputation of her house is uppermost in her
thoughts, she atones for its imperiled condition by fainting in the arms
of a grave old gentleman, who was beating a hasty retreat, and whose
respectability she may compromise through this uncalled-for act.

A young man of slender form, and pale, sandy features, makes his way
through the crowd, clasps Anna affectionately in his arms, imprints a
kiss on her pallid brow, and bears her out of the hall.

By the aid of hartshorn and a few dashes of cold water, the old hostess
is pleased to come to, as we say, and set about putting her house in
order. Mr. Soloman, to the great joy of those who did not deem it
prudent to make their escape, steps in to negotiate for the peace of the
house and the restoration of order. "It is all the result of a mistake,"
he says laughingly, and good-naturedly, patting every one he meets on
the shoulder. "A little bit of jealousy on the part of the girl. It all
had its origin in an error that can be easily rectified. In a word,
there's much ado about nothing in the whole of it. Little affairs of
this kind are incident to fashionable society all over the world! The
lady being only scratched, is more frightened than hurt. Nobody is
killed; and if there were, why killings are become so fashionable, that
if the killed be not a gentleman, nobody thinks anything of it," he
continues. And Mr. Soloman being an excellent diplomatist, does, with
the aid of the hostess, her twelve masters of ceremony, her beadle, and
two policemen, forthwith bring the house to a more orderly condition.
But night has rolled into the page of the past, the gray dawn of morning
is peeping in at the half-closed windows, the lights burning in the
chandeliers shed a pale glow over the wearied features of those who
drag, as it were, their languid bodies to the stifled music of unwilling
slaves. And while daylight seems modestly contending with the vulgar
glare within, there appears among the pale revellers a paler ghost, who,
having stalked thrice up and down the hall, preserving the frigidity and
ghostliness of the tomb, answering not the questions that are put to
him, and otherwise deporting himself as becometh a ghost of good metal,
is being taken for a demon of wicked import. Now he pauses at the end of
the hall, faces with spectre-like stare the alarmed group at the
opposite end, rests his left elbow on his scythe-staff, and having set
his glass on the floor, points to its running sands warningly with his
right forefinger. Not a muscle does he move. "Truly a ghost!" exclaims
one. "A ghost would have vanished before this," whispers another. "Speak
to him," a third responds, as the musicians are seen to pale and leave
their benches. Madame Flamingo, pale and weary, is first to rush for the
door, shrieking as his ghostship turns his grim face upon her. Shriek
follows shriek, the lights are put out, the gray dawn plays upon and
makes doubly frightful the spectre. A Pandemonium of shriekings and
beseechings is succeeded by a stillness as of the tomb. Our ghost is
victor.



CHAPTER VIII.

WHAT TAKES PLACE BETWEEN GEORGE MULLHOLLAND AND MR. SNIVEL.


The man who kissed and bore away the prostrate girl was George
Mullholland.

"Oh! George--George!" she whispers imploringly, as her eyes meet his;
and turning upon the couch of her chamber, where he hath lain her,
awakes to consciousness, and finds him watching over her with a lover's
solicitude. "I was not cold because I loved you less--oh no! It was to
propitiate my ambition--to be free of the bondage of this house--to
purge myself of the past--to better my future!" And she lays her pale,
nervous hand gently on his arm--then grasps his hand and presses it
fervently to her lips.

Though placed beyond the pale of society--though envied by one extreme
and shunned by the other--she finds George her only true friend. He
parts and smooths gently over her polished shoulders her dishevelled
hair; he watches over her with the tenderness of a brother; he quenches
and wipes away the blood oozing from her wounded breast; he kisses and
kisses her flushed cheek, and bathes her Ion-like brow. He forgives all.
His heart would speak if his tongue had words to represent it. He would
the past were buried--the thought of having wronged him forgotten. She
recognizes in his solicitude for her the sincerity of his heart. It
touches like sweet music the tenderest chords of her own; and like
gushing fountains her great black eyes fill with tears. She buries her
face in her hands, crying, "Never, never, George, (I swear it before the
God I have wronged, but whose forgiveness I still pray,) will I again
forget my obligation to you! I care not how high in station he who seeks
me maybe. Ambitious!--I was misled. His money lured me away, but he
betrayed me in the face of his promises. Henceforth I have nothing for
this deceptive world; I receive of it nothing but betrayal--"

"The world wants nothing more of either of us," interrupts George.

More wounded in her feelings than in her flesh, she sobs and wrings her
hands like one in despair.

"You have ambition. I am too poor to serve your ambition!"

That word, too "poor," is more than her already distracted brain can
bear up under. It brings back the terrible picture of their past
history; it goads and agonizes her very soul. She throws her arms
frantically about his neck; presses him to her bosom; kisses him with
the fervor of a child. Having pledged his forgiveness with a kiss, and
sealed it by calling in a witness too often profaned on such occasions,
George calms her feelings as best he can; then he smooths with a gentle
hand the folds of her uplifted dress, and with them curtains the satin
slippers that so delicately encase her small feet. This done, he spreads
over her the richly-lined India morning-gown presented to her a few days
ago by the Judge, who, as she says, so wantonly betrayed her, and on
whom she sought revenge. Like a Delian maid, surrounded with Oriental
luxury, and reclining on satin and velvet, she flings her flowing hair
over her shoulders, nestles her weary head in the embroidered cushion,
and with the hand of her only true friend firmly grasped in her own,
soothes away into a calm sleep--that sovereign but too transient balm
for sorrowing hearts.

Our scene changes. The ghost hath taken himself to the graveyard; the
morning dawns soft and sunny on what we harmlessly style the sunny city
of the sunny South. Madame Flamingo hath resolved to nail another
horse-shoe over her door. She will propitiate (so she hath it) the god
of ghosts.

George Mullholland, having neither visible means of gaining a livelihood
nor a settled home, may be seen in a solitary box at Baker's, (a
coffee-house at the corner of Meeting and Market streets,) eating an
humble breakfast. About him there is a forlornness that the quick eye
never fails to discover in the manners of the homeless man. "Cleverly
done," he says, laying down the _Mercury_ newspaper, in which it is set
forth that "the St. Cecilia, in consequence of an affliction in the
family of one of its principal members, postponed its assembly last
night. The theatre, in consequence of a misunderstanding between the
manager and his people, was also closed. The lecture on comparative
anatomy, by Professor Bones, which was to have been delivered at
Hibernian Hall, is, in consequence of the indisposition of the learned
Professor, put off to Tuesday evening next, when he will have, as he
deserves, an overflowing house. Tickets, as before, may be had at all
the music and bookstores." The said facetious journal was silent on the
superior attractions at the house of the old hostess; nor did it deem it
prudent to let drop a word on the misunderstanding between the patrons
of the drama and the said theatrical manager, inasmuch as it was one of
those that are sure to give rise to a very serious misunderstanding
between that functionary and his poor people.

In another column the short but potent line met his eye: "An overflowing
and exceedingly fashionable house greeted the Negro Minstrels last
night. First-rate talent never goes begging in our city." George sips
his coffee and smiles. Wonderfully clever these editors are, he thinks.
They have nice apologies for public taste always on hand; set the
country by the ears now and then; and amuse themselves with carrying on
the most prudent description of wars.

His own isolated condition, however, is uppermost in his mind. Poverty
and wretchedness stare him in the face on one side; chivalry, on the
other, has no bows for him while daylight lasts. Instinct whispers in
his ear--where one exists the other is sure to be.

To the end that this young man will perform a somewhat important part in
the by-ways of this history, some further description of him may be
necessary. George Mullholland stands some five feet nine, is
wiry-limbed, and slender and erect of person. Of light complexion, his
features, are sharp and irregular, his face narrow and freckled, his
forehead small and retreating, his hair sandy and short-cropped. Add to
these two small, dull, gray eyes, and you have features not easily
described. Nevertheless, there are moments when his countenance wears an
expression of mildness--one in which the quick eye may read a character
more inoffensive than intrusive. A swallow-tail blue coat, of ample
skirts, and brass buttons; a bright-colored waistcoat, opening an
avalanche of shirt-bosom, blossoming with cheap jewelry; a broad,
rolling shirt-collar, tied carelessly with a blue ribbon; a
steeple-crowned hat, set on the side of his head with a challenging air;
and a pair of broadly-striped and puckered trowsers, reaching well over
a small-toed and highly-glazed boot, constitutes his dress. For the
exact set of those two last-named articles of his wardrobe he maintains
a scrupulous regard. We are compelled to acknowledge George an
importation from New York, where he would be the more readily recognized
by that vulgar epithet, too frequently used by the self-styled
refined--"a swell."

Life with George is a mere drift of uncertainty. As for aims and ends,
why he sees the safer thing in having nothing to do with them. Mr. Tom
Toddleworth once advised this course, and Tom was esteemed good
authority in such matters. Like many others, his character is made up of
those yielding qualities which the teachings of good men may elevate to
usefulness, or bad men corrupt by their examples. There is a stage in
the early youth of such persons when we find their minds singularly
susceptible, and ready to give rapid growth to all the vices of depraved
men; while they are equally apt in receiving good, if good men but take
the trouble to care for them, and inculcate lessons of morality.

Not having a recognized home, we may add, in resuming our story, that
George makes Baker's his accustomed haunt during the day, as do also
numerous others of his class--a class recognized and made use of by men
in the higher walks of life only at night.

"Ah! ha, ha! into a tight place this time, George," laughs out Mr.
Soloman, the accommodation man, as he hastens into the room, seats
himself in the box with George, and seizes his hand with the
earnestness of a true friend. Mr. Soloman can deport himself on all
occasions with becoming good nature. "It's got out, you see."

"What has got out?" interrupts George, maintaining a careless
indifference.

"Come now! none of that, old fellow."

"If I understood you--"

"That affair last night," pursues Mr. Soloman, his delicate fingers
wandering into his more delicately-combed beard. "It'll go hard with
you. He's a stubborn old cove, that Sleepyhorn; administers the law as
Cæsar was wont to. Yesterday he sent seven to the whipping-post; to-day
he hangs two 'niggers' and a white man. There is a consolation in
getting rid of the white. I say this because no one loses a dollar by
it."

George, continuing to masticate his bread, says it has nothing to do
with him. He may hang the town.

"If I can do you a bit of a good turn, why here's your man. But you must
not talk that way--you must not, George, I assure you!" Mr. Soloman
assumes great seriousness of countenance, and again, in a friendly way,
takes George by the hand. "That poignard, George, was yours. It was
picked up by myself when it fell from your hand--"

"My hand! my hand!" George quietly interposes, his countenance paling,
and his eyes wandering in excitement.

"Now don't attempt to disguise the matter, you know! Come out on the
square--own up! Jealousy plays the devil with one now and then. I
know--I have had a touch of it; had many a little love affair in my
time--"

George again interrupts by inquiring to what he is coming.

"To the attempt (the accommodation man assumes an air of sternness) you
made last night on the life of that unhappy girl. It is needless," he
adds, "to plead ignorance. The Judge has the poignard; and what's more,
there are four witnesses ready to testify. It'll go hard with you, my
boy." He shakes his head warningly.

"I swear before God and man I am as innocent as ignorant of the charge.
The poignard I confess is mine; but I had no part in the act of last
night, save to carry the prostrate girl--the girl I dearly love--away.
This I can prove by her own lips."

Mr. Soloman, with an air of legal profundity, says: "This is all very
well in its way, George, but it won't stand in law. The law is what you
have got to get at. And when you have got at it, you must get round it;
and then you must twist it and work it every which way--only be careful
not to turn its points against yourself; that, you know, is the way we
lawyers do the thing. You'll think we're a sharp lot; and we have to be
sharp, as times are."

"It is not surprising," replies George, as if waking from a fit of
abstraction, "that she should have sought revenge of one who so basely
betrayed her at the St. Cecilia--"

"There, there!" Mr. Soloman interrupts, changing entirely the expression
of his countenance, "the whole thing is out! I said there was an
unexplained mystery somewhere. It was not the Judge, but me who betrayed
her to the assembly. Bless you, (he smiles, and crooking his finger,
beckons a servant, whom he orders to bring a julep,) I was bound to do
it, being the guardian of the Society's dignity, which office I have
held for years. But you don't mean to have it that the girl
attempted--(he suddenly corrects himself)--Ah, that won't do, George.
Present my compliments to Anna--I wouldn't for the world do aught to
hurt her feelings, you know that--and say I am ready to get on my knees
to her to confess myself a penitent for having injured her feelings.
Yes, I am ready to do anything that will procure her forgiveness. I
plead guilty. But she must in return forgive the Judge. He is hard in
law matters--that is, we of the law consider him so--now and then; but
laying that aside, he is one of the best old fellows in the world, loves
Anna to distraction; nor has he the worst opinion in the world of you,
George. Fact is, I have several times heard him refer to you in terms of
praise. As I said before, being the man to do you a bit of a good turn,
take my advice as a friend. The Judge has got you in his grasp,
according to every established principle of law; and having four good
and competent witnesses, (You have no voice in law, and Anna's won't
stand before a jury,) will send you up for a twelve-months' residence in
Mount Rascal."

It will be almost needless here to add, that Mr. Soloman had, in an
interview with the Judge, arranged, in consideration of a goodly fee, to
assume the responsibility of the betrayal at the St. Cecilia; and also
to bring about a reconciliation between him and the girl he so
passionately sought.

Keep out of the way a few days, and everything will blow over and come
right. I will procure you the Judge's friendship--yes, his money, if you
want. More than that, I will acknowledge my guilt to Anna; and being as
generous of heart as she is beautiful, she will, having discovered the
mistake, forgive me and make amends to the Judge for her foolish act.

It is almost superfluous to add, that the apparent sincerity with which
the accommodation man pleaded, had its effect on the weak-minded man. He
loved dearly the girl, but poverty hung like a leaden cloud over him.
Poverty stripped him of the means of gratifying her ambition; poverty
held him fast locked in its blighting chains; poverty forbid his
rescuing her from the condition necessity had imposed upon her; poverty
was goading him into crime; and through crime only did he see the means
of securing to himself the cherished object of his love.

"I am not dead to your friendship, but I am too sad at heart to make any
pledge that involves Anna, at this moment. We met in wretchedness, came
up in neglect and crime, sealed our love with the hard seal of
suffering. Oh! what a history of misery my heart could unfold, if it had
but a tongue!" George replies, in subdued accents, as a tear courses
down his cheek.

Extending his hand, with an air of encouragement, Mr. Soloman says
nothing in the world would so much interest him as a history of the
relations existing between George and Anna. Their tastes, aims, and very
natures, are different. To him their connection is clothed in mystery.



CHAPTER IX.

IN WHICH A GLEAM OF LIGHT IS SHED ON THE HISTORY OF ANNA BONARD.


A bottle of wine, and the mild, persuasive manner of Mr. Snivel, so
completely won over George's confidence, that, like one of that class
always too ready to give out their heart-achings at the touch of
sympathy, and too easily betrayed through misplaced confidence, he
commences relating his history. That of Anna is identified with it. "We
will together proceed to New York, for it is there, among haunts of vice
and depravity--"

"In depth of degradation they have no counterpart on our globe," Mr.
Soloman interrupts, filling his glass.

"We came up together--knew each other, but not ourselves. That was our
dark age." George pauses for a moment.

"Bless you," again interrupts Mr. Soloman, tipping his glass very
politely, "I never--that is, when I hear our people who get themselves
laced into narrow-stringed Calvinism, and long-founded foreign missions,
talk--think much could have come of the dark ages. I speak after the
manner of an attorney, when I say this. We hear a deal of the dark ages,
the crimes of the dark ages, the dark idolatry of darker Africa. My word
for it, and it's something, if they had anything darker in Sodom; if
they had in Babylon a state of degradation more hardened of crime; if
in Egypt there existed a benightedness more stubbornly opposed to the
laws of God--than is to be found in that New York; that city of merchant
princes with princely palaces; that modern Pompeii into which a mighty
commerce teems its mightier gold, where a coarse throng revel in coarser
luxury, where a thousand gaudy churches rear heavenward their gaudier
steeples, then I have no pity for Sodom, not a tear to shed over fallen
Babylon, and very little love for Egypt." Mr. Snivel concludes,
saying--"proceed, young man."

"Of my mother I know nothing. My father (I mean the man I called father,
but who they said was not my father, though he was the only one that
cared anything for me) was Tom English, who used to live here and there
with me about the Points. He was always looking in at Paddy Pie's, in
Orange street, and Paddy Pie got all his money, and then Paddy Pie and
him quarrelled, and we were turned out of Paddy Pie's house. So we used
to lodge here and there, in the cellars about the Points, in 'Cut Throat
Alley,' or 'Cow Bay,' or 'Murderer's Alley,' or in 'The House of the
Nine Nations,' or wherever we could get a sixpenny rag to lay down upon.
Nobody but English seemed to care for me, and English cared for nobody
but me. And English got thick with Mrs. McCarty and her three
daughters--they kept the Rookery in 'Cow Bay,' which we used to get to
up a long pair of stairs outside, and which God knows I never want to
think of again,--where sometimes fourteen or fifteen of us, men and
women, used to sleep in a little room Mrs. McCarty paid eight dollars a
month for. And Mr. Crown, who always seemed a cross sort of man, and was
agent for all the houses on the Points I thought, used to say she had it
too cheap. And English got to thinking a good deal of Mrs. McCarty, and
Mrs. McCarty's daughters got to thinking a good deal of him. And
Boatswain Bill, who lived at the house of the 'Nine Nations'--the house
they said had a bottomless pit--and English used to fight a deal about
the Miss McCartys, and Bill one night threw English over the high stoop,
down upon the pavement, and broke his arms. They said it was a wonder it
hadn't a broken his neck. Fighting Mary (Mary didn't go by that name
then) came up and took English's part, and whipped Boatswain Bill, and
said she'd whip the whole house of the 'Nine Nations' if it had spunk
enough in it to come on. But no one dare have a set-to with Mary. Mary
used to drink a deal of gin, and say--'this gin and the devil'll get us
all one of these days. I wonder if Mr. Crown'll sell bad gin to his
highness when he gets him?' Well, Bill was sent up for six months, so
the McCartys had peace in the house, and Mrs. McCarty got him little
things, and did for English until his arms got well. Then he got a
little money, (I don't know how he got it,) and Paddy Pie made good
friends with him, and got him from the Rookery, and then all his money.
I used to think all the money in the Points found its way either to the
house of Paddy Pie, or the Bottomless Pit at the house of the 'Nine
Nations,' and all the clothes to the sign of the 'Three Martyrs,' which
the man with the eagle face kept round the corner.

"English used to say in one of his troubled fits, 'I'd like to be a
respectable man, and get out of this, if there was a chance, and do
something for you, George. There's no chance, you see.' And when we went
into Broadway, which we did now and then, and saw what another world it
was, and how rich everything looked, English used to shake his head and
say, 'they don't know how we live, George.'

"Paddy Pie soon quarrelled with English, and being penniless again we
had to shift for ourselves. English didn't like to go back to Mrs.
McCarty, so we used to sleep at Mrs. Sullivan's cellar in 'Cut Throat
Alley.' And Mrs. Sullivan's cellar was only about twelve feet by twenty,
and high enough to stand up in, and wet enough for anything, and so
overrun with rats and vermin that we couldn't sleep. There were nine
rag-beds in the cellar, which as many as twenty-three would sometimes
sleep on, or, if they were not too tipsy, try to sleep on. And folks
used to come into the cellar at night, and be found dead in the morning.
This made such a fuss in the neighborhood (there was always a fuss when
Old Bones, the coroner, was about), and frightened so many, that Mrs.
Sullivan couldn't get lodgers for weeks. She used to nail no end of
horse-shoes over the door to keep out the ghosts of them that died last.
But it was a long while before her lodgers got courage enough to come
back. Then we went to the house of the Blazers, in 'Cow Bay,' and used
to lodge there with Yellow Bill. They said Bill was a thief by
profession; but I wasn't old enough to be a judge. Little Lizza Rock,
the nondescript, as people called her, used to live at the Blazers. Poor
Lizza had a hard time of it, and used to sigh and say she wished she was
dead. Nobody thought of her, she said, and she was nothing because she
was deformed, and a cripple. She was about four feet high, had a face
like a bull-dog, and a swollen chest, and a hunchback, a deformed leg,
and went with a crutch. She never combed her hair, and what few rags she
had on her back hung in filth. What few shillings she got were sure to
find their way either into Bill's pocket, or send her tipsy into the
'Bottomless Pit' of the house of the 'Nine Nations.' There was in the
Bottomless Pit a never-ending stream of gin that sent everybody to the
Tombs, and from the Tombs to the grave. But Lizza was good to me, and
used to take care of me, and steal little things for me from old Dan
Sullivan, who begged in Broadway, and let Yellow Bill get his money, by
getting him tipsy. And I got to liking Lizza, for we both seemed to have
no one in the world who cared for us but English. And there was always
some trouble between the Blazers and the people at the house of the
'Nine Nations.'

"Well, English was hard to do for some time, and through necessity,
which he said a deal about, we were driven out of every place we had
sought shelter in. And English did something they sent him up for a
twelve-month for, and I was left to get on as I could. I was took in by
'Hard-Fisted Sall,' who always wore a knuckle-duster, and used to knock
everybody down she met, and threatened a dozen times to whip Mr.
Fitzgerald, the detective, and used to rob every one she took in tow,
and said if she could only knock down and rob the whole pumpkin-headed
corporation she should die easy, for then she would know she had done a
good thing for the public, whose money they were squandering without
once thinking how the condition of such wretches as herself could be
bettered.

"English died before he had been up two months. And death reconciled the
little difficulty between him and the McCartys; and old Mrs. McCarty's
liking for him came back, and she went crying to the Bellevue and begged
them, saying she was his mother, to let her take his body away and bury
it. They let her have it, and she brought it away to the rookery, in a
red coffin, and got a clean sheet of the Blazers, and hung it up beside
the coffin, and set four candles on a table, and a little cross between
them, and then borrowed a Bible with a cross on it, and laid it upon the
coffin. Then they sent for me. I cried and kissed poor English, for poor
English was the only father I knew, and he was good to me. I never shall
forget what I saw in that little room that night. I found a dozen
friends and the McCartys there, forming a half-circle of curious and
demoniacal faces, peering over the body of English, whose face, I
thought, formed the only repose in the picture. There were two small
pictures--one of the Saviour, and the other of Kossuth--hung at the head
and feet of the corpse; and the light shed a lurid paleness over the
living and the dead. And detective Fitzgerald and another gentleman
looked in.

"'Who's here to-night?' says Fitzgerald, in a friendly sort of way.

"'God love ye, Mr. Fitzgerald, poor English is gone! Indeed, then, it
was the will of the Lord, and He's taken him from us--poor English!'
says Mrs. McCarty. And Fitzgerald, and the gentleman with him, entered
the den, and they shuddered and sat down at the sight of the face in the
coffin. 'Sit down, Mr. Fitzgerald, do!--and may the Lord love ye! There
was a deal of good in poor English. He's gone--so he is!' said Mrs.
McCarty, begging them to sit down, and excuse the disordered state of
her few rags. She had a hard struggle to live, God knows. They took off
their hats, and sat a few minutes in solemn silence. The rags moved at
the gentleman's side, which made him move towards the door. 'What is
there, my good woman?' he inquired. 'She's a blessed child, Mr.
Fitzgerald knows that same:' says Mrs. McCarty, turning down the rags
and revealing the wasted features of her youngest girl, a child eleven
years old, sinking in death. 'God knows she'll be better in heaven, and
herself won't be long out of it,' Mrs. McCarty twice repeated,
maintaining a singular indifference to the hand of death, already upon
the child. The gentleman left some money to buy candles for poor
English, and with Mr. Fitzgerald took himself away.

"Near midnight, the tall black figure of solemn-faced Father Flaherty
stalked in. He was not pleased with the McCartys, but went to the side
of the dying child, fondled her little wasted hand in his own, and
whispered a prayer for her soul. Never shall I forget how innocently she
looked in his face while he parted the little ringlets that curled over
her brow, and told her she would soon have a better home in a better
world. Then he turned to poor English, and the cross, and the candles,
and the pictures, and the living faces that gave such a ghastliness to
the picture. Mrs. McCarty brought him a basin of water, over which he
muttered, and made it holy. Then he again muttered some unintelligible
sentences, and sprinkled the water over the dying child, over the body
of poor English, and over the living--warning Mrs. McCarty and her
daughters, as he pointed to the coffin. Then he knelt down, and they all
knelt down, and he prayed for the soul of poor English, and left. What
holy water then was left, Mrs. McCarty placed near the door, to keep the
ghosts out.

"The neighbors at the Blazers took a look in, and a few friends at the
house of the 'Nine Nations' took a look in, and 'Fighting Mary,' of
Murderer's Alley, took a look in, and before Father Flaherty had got
well out of 'Cow Bay,' it got to be thought a trifle of a wake would
console Mrs. McCarty's distracted feelings. 'Hard-fisted Sall' came to
take a last look at poor English; and she said she would spend her last
shilling over poor English, and having one, it would get a drop, and a
drop dropped into the right place would do Mrs. McCarty a deal of good.

"And Mrs. McCarty agreed that it wouldn't be amiss, and putting with
Sall's shilling the money that was to get the candles, I was sent to the
'Bottomless Pit' at the house of the 'Nine Nations,' where Mr. Crown had
a score with the old woman, and fetched away a quart of his gin, which
they said was getting the whole of them. The McCartys took a drop, and
the girls took a drop, and the neighbors took a drop, and they all kept
taking drops, and the drops got the better of them all. One of the Miss
McCartys got to having words with 'Fighting Mary,' about an old affair
in which poor English was concerned, and the words got to blows, when
Mr. Flanegan at the Blazers stepped in to make peace. But the whole
house got into a fight, and the lights were put out, the corpse knocked
over, and the child (it was found dead in the morning) suffocated with
the weight of bodies felled in the melee. The noise and cries of murder
brought the police rushing in, and most of them were dragged off to the
Station; and the next day being Sunday, I wandered homeless and
friendless into Sheriff street. Poor English was taken in charge by the
officers. They kept him over Monday to see if any one would come up and
claim him. No one came for him; no one knew more of him than that he
went by the name of English; no one ever heard him say where he came
from--he never said a word about my mother, or whether he had a relation
in the world. He was carted off to Potter's Field and buried. That was
the last of poor English.

"We seldom got much to eat in the Points, and I had not tasted food for
twenty-four hours. I sat down on the steps of a German grocery, and was
soon ordered away by the keeper. Then I wandered into a place they
called Nightmare's Alley, where three old wooden buildings with
broken-down verandas stood, and were inhabited principally by butchers.
I sat down on the steps of one, and thought if I only had a mother, or
some one to care for me, and give me something to eat, how happy I
should be. And I cried. And a great red-faced man came out of the house,
and took me in, and gave me something to eat. His name was Mike
Mullholland, and he was good to me, and I liked him, and took his name.
And he lived with a repulsive looking woman, in a little room he paid
ten dollars a month for. He had two big dogs, and worked at day work, in
a slaughter-house in Staunton street. The dogs were known in the
neighborhood as Mullholland's dogs, and with them I used to sleep on the
rags of carpet spread for us in the room with Mullholland and his wife,
who I got to calling mother. This is how I took the name of Mullholland.
I was glad to leave the Points, and felt as if I had a home. But there
was a 'Bottomless Pit' in Sheriff street, and though not so bad as the
one at the house of the 'Nine Nations,' it gave out a deal of gin that
the Mullhollands had a liking for. I was continually going for it, and
the Mullhollands were continually drinking it; and the whole
neighborhood liked it, and in 'Nightmare's Alley' the undertaker found a
profitable business.

"In the morning I went with the dogs to the slaughter-house, and there
fed them, and took care of the fighting cocks, and brought gin for the
men who worked there. In the afternoon I joined the newsboys, as ragged
and neglected as myself, gambled for cents, and watched the policemen,
whom we called the Charleys. I lived with Mullholland two years, and saw
and felt enough to make hardened any one of my age. One morning there
came a loud knocking at the door, which was followed by the entrance of
two officers. The dogs had got out and bitten a child, and the officers,
knowing who owned them, had come to arrest Mullholland. We were all
surprised, for the officers recognized in Mullholland and the woman two
old offenders. And while they were dragged off to the Tombs, I was left
to prey upon the world as best I could. Again homeless, I wandered about
with urchins as ragged and destitute as myself. It seemed to me that
everybody viewed me as an object of suspicion, for I sought in vain for
employment that would give me bread and clothing. I wanted to be honest,
and would have lived honest; but I could not make people believe me
honest. And when I told who I was, and where I sheltered myself, I was
ordered away. Everybody judged me by the filthy shreds on my back;
nobody had anything for me to do.

"I applied at a grocer's, to sweep his store and go errands. When I told
him where I had lived, he shook his head and ordered me away. Knowing I
could fill a place not unknown to me, I applied at a butcher's in Mott
street; but he pointed his knife--which left a wound in my feelings--and
ordered me away. And I was ordered away wherever I went. The doors of
the Chatham theatre looked too fine for me. My ragged condition rebuked
me wherever I went, and for more than a week I slept under a cart that
stood in Mott street. Then Tom Farley found me, and took me with him to
his cellar, in Elizabeth street, where we had what I thought a good bed
of shavings. Tom sold _Heralds_, gambled for cents, and shared with me,
and we got along. Then Tom stole a dog, and the dog got us into a deal
of trouble, which ended with getting us both into the Tombs, where Tom
was locked up. I was again adrift, as we used to call it, and thought of
poor Tom a deal. Every one I met seemed higher up in the world than I
was. But I got into Centre Market, carried baskets, and did what I could
to earn a shilling, and slept in Tom's bed, where there was some nights
fifteen and twenty like myself.

"One morning, while waiting a job, my feet and hands benumbed with the
cold, a beautiful lady slipped a shilling into my hand and passed on. To
one penniless and hungry, it seemed a deal of money. Necessity had
almost driven me to the sign of the 'Three Martyrs,' to see what the man
of the eagle face would give me on my cap, for they said the man at the
'Three Martyrs' lent money on rags such as I had. I followed the woman,
for there was something so good in the act that I could not resist it.
She entered a fine house in Leonard street.

"You must now go with me into the den of Hag Zogbaum, in 'Scorpion
Cove;' and 'Scorpion Cove' is in Pell street. Necessity next drove me
there. It is early spring, we will suppose; and being in the Bowery, we
find the streets in its vicinity reeking with putrid matter, hurling
pestilence into the dark dwellings of the unknown poor, and making
thankful the coffin-maker, who in turn thanks a nonundertaking
corporation for the rich harvest. The muck is everywhere deep enough
for hogs and fat aldermen to wallow in, and would serve well the
purposes of a supper-eating corporation, whose chief business it was to
fatten turtles and make Presidents.

"We have got through the muck of the mucky Bowery. Let us turn to the
left as we ascend the hill from Chatham street, and into a narrow,
winding way, called Doyer's street. Dutch Sophy, then, as now, sits in
all the good nature of her short, fat figure, serving her customers with
ices, at three cents. Her cunning black eyes and cheerful, ruddy face,
enhance the air of pertness that has made her a favorite with her
customers. We will pass the little wooden shop, where Mr. Saunders makes
boots of the latest style, and where old lapstone, with curious framed
spectacles tied over his bleared eyes, has for the last forty years been
seen at the window trimming welts, and mending every one's sole but his
own; we will pass the four story wooden house that the landlord never
paints--that has the little square windows, and the little square door,
and the two little iron hand rails that curl so crabbedly at the ends,
and guard four crabbeder steps that give ingress and egress to its swarm
of poor but honest tenants; we will pass the shop where a short, stylish
sign tells us Mr. Robertson makes bedsteads; and the little, slanting
house a line of yellow letters on a square of black tin tells us is a
select school for young ladies, and the bright, dainty looking house
with the green shutters, where lives Mr. Vredenburg the carpenter, who,
the neighbors say, has got up in the world, and paints his house to show
that he feels above poor folks--and find we have reached the sooty and
gin-reeking grocery of Mr. Korner, who sells the _devil's elixir_ to the
sootier devils that swarm the cellars of his neighbors. The faded blue
letters, on a strip of wood nailed to the bricks over his door, tell us
he is a dealer in 'Imported and other liquors.' Next door to Mr.
Korner's tipsy looking grocery lives Mr. Muffin, the coffin-maker, who
has a large business with the disciples who look in at Korner's. Mrs.
Downey, a decent sort of body, who lives up the alley, and takes
sixpenny lodgers by the dozen, may be seen in great tribulation with her
pet pig, who, every day, much to the annoyance of Mr. Korner, manages to
get out, and into the pool of decaying matter opposite his door, where
he is sure to get stuck, and with his natural propensity, squeals
lustily for assistance. Mrs. Downey, as is her habit, gets distracted;
and having well abused Mr. Korner for his interference in a matter that
can only concern herself and the animal, ventures to her knees in the
mire, and having seized her darling pig by the two ears, does, with the
assistance of a policeman, who kindly takes him by the tail, extricate
his porkship, to the great joy of herself. The animal scampers,
grunting, up the alley, as Mr. Korner, in his shirt sleeves, throws his
broom after him, and the policeman surlily says he wishes it was the
street commissioner.

"We have made the circle of Doyer's street, and find it fortified on
Pell street, with two decrepit wooden buildings, that the demand for the
'devil's elixir,' has converted into Dutch groceries, their exteriors
presenting the appearance of having withstood a storm of dilapidated
clapboards, broken shutters, red herrings, and onions. Mr. Voss looks
suspiciously through the broken shutters of his Gibraltar, at his
neighbor of the opposite Gibraltar, and is heard to say of his wares
that they are none of the best, and that while he sells sixpence a pint
less, the article is a shilling a pint better. And there the two
Gibraltars stand, apparently infirm, hurling their unerring missiles,
and making wreck of everything in the neighborhood.

"We have turned down Pell street toward Mott, and on the north side a
light-colored sign, representing a smith in the act of shoeing a horse,
attracts the eye, and tells us the old cavern-like building over which
it swings, is where Mr. Mooney does smithwork and shoeing. And a little
further on, a dash of yellow and white paint on a little sign-board at
the entrance of an alley, guarded on one side by a broken-down shed, and
on the other, by a three-story, narrow, brick building (from the windows
of which trail long water-stains, and from the broken panes a dozen
curious black heads, of as many curious eyed negroes protrude), tells us
somewhat indefinitely, that Mister Mills, white-washer and wall-colorer,
may be found in the neighborhood, which, judging from outward
appearances, stands much in need of this good man's services. Just keep
your eye on the sign of the white-washer and wall-colorer, and passing
up the sickly alley it tells you Mister Mills maybe found in, you will
find yourself (having picked your way over putrid matter, and placed
your perfumed cambric where it will protect your lungs from the
inhalation of pestilential air,) in the cozy area of 'Scorpion Cove.'
Scorpion Cove is bounded at one end by a two-story wooden house, with
two decayed and broken verandas in front, and rickety steps leading here
and there to suspicious looking passages, into which, and out of which a
never-ending platoon of the rising generation crawl and toddle, keep up
a cheap serenade, and like rats, scamper away at the sight of a
stranger; and on the other, by the back of the brick house with the
negro-headed front. At the sides are two broken-down board fences, and
forming a sort of network across the cove, are an innumerable quantity
of unoccupied clothes-lines, which would seem only to serve the
mischievous propensities of young negroes and the rats. There is any
quantity of rubbish in 'Scorpion Cove,' and any amount of
disease-breeding cesspools; but the corporation never heard of 'Scorpion
Cove,' and wouldn't look into it if it had. If you ask me how it came to
be called 'Scorpion Cove,' I will tell you. The brick house at one end
was occupied by negroes; and the progeny of these negroes swarmed over
the cove, and were called scorpions. The old house of the verandas at
the other end, and which had an air of being propped up after a shock of
paralysis, was inhabited by twenty or more families, of the Teutonic
race, whose numerous progeny, called the hedge-hogs, were more than a
match for the scorpions, and with that jealousy of each other which
animates these races did the scorpions and hedge-hogs get at war. In the
morning the scorpions would crawl up through holes in the cellar,
through broken windows, through the trap-doors, down the long stairway
that wound from the second and third stories over the broken pavilion,
and from nobody could tell where--for they came, it seems, from every
rat-hole, and with rolling white eyes, marshalled themselves for battle.
The hedge-hogs mustering in similar strength, and springing up from no
one could tell where, would set upon the scorpions, and after a goodly
amount of wallowing in the mire, pulling hair and wool, scratching faces
and pommeling noses, the scorpions being alternately the victors and
vanquished, the war would end at the appearance of Hag Zogbaum, who,
with her broom, would cause the scorpions to beat a hasty retreat. The
hedge-hogs generally came off victorious, for they were the stronger
race. But the old hedge-hogs got much shattered in time by the
broadsides of the two Gibraltars, which sent them broadside on into the
Tombs. And this passion of the elder hedge-hogs for getting into the
Tombs, caused by degrees a curtailing of the younger hedge-hogs. And
this falling off in the forces of the foe, singularly inspirited the
scorpions, who mustered courage, and after a series of savage battles,
in which there was a notorious amount of wool-pulling, gained the day.
And this is how 'Scorpion Cove' got its name.

"Hag Zogbaum lived in the cellar of the house with the verandas; and old
Dan Sullivan and the rats had possession of the garret. In the cellar of
this woman, whose trade was the fostering of crime in children as
destitute as myself, there was a bar and a back cellar, where as many as
twenty boys and girls slept on straw and were educated in vice. She took
me into her nursery, and I was glad to get there, for I had no other
place to go.

"In the morning we were sent out to pilfer, to deceive the credulous,
and to decoy others to the den. Some were instructed by Hag Zogbaum to
affect deaf and dumb, to plead the starving condition of our parents,
to, in a word, enlist the sympathies of the credulous with an hundred
different stories. We were all stimulated by a premium being held out to
the most successful. Some were sent out to steal pieces of iron, brass,
copper, and old junk; and these Hag Zogbaum would sell or give to the
man who kept the junk-shop in Stanton street, known as the rookery at
the corner. (This man lived with Hag Zogbaum.) We returned at night with
our booty, and received our wages in gin or beer. The unsuccessful were
set down as victims of bad luck. Now and then the old woman would call
us a miserable lot of wretches she was pestered to take care of. At one
time there were in this den of wretchedness fifteen girls from seven to
eleven years old, and seven boys under eleven--all being initiated into
the by-ways of vice and crime. Among the girls were Italians, Germans,
Irish, and--shall I say it?--Americans! It was curious to see what means
the old hag would resort to for the purpose of improving their features
after they had arrived at a certain age. She had a purpose in this; and
that purpose sprang from that traffic in depravity caused by the demands
of a depraved society, a theme on her lips continually."



CHAPTER X.

A CONTINUATION OF GEORGE MULLHOLLAND'S HISTORY.


"Having served well the offices of felons and impostors, Hag Zogbaum
would instruct her girls in the mysteries of licentiousness. When they
reached a certain age, their personal appearance was improved, and one
by one they were passed into the hands of splendidly-dressed ladies, as
we then took them to be, who paid a sum for them to Hag Zogbaum, and
took them away; and that was the last we saw of them. They had no desire
to remain in their miserable abode, and were only too glad to get away
from it. In most cases they were homeless and neglected orphans; and
knowing no better condition, fell easy victims to the snares set for
them.

"It was in this dark, cavern-like den--in this mysterious caldron of
precocious depravity, rioting unheeded in the very centre of a great
city, whose boasted wealth and civilization it might put to shame, if
indeed it were capable of shame, I first met the child of beauty, Anna
Bonard. Yes!--the Anna Bonard you now see at the house of Madame
Flamingo. At that time she was but seven years old--a child of uncommon
beauty and aptness, of delicate but well-proportioned features, of
middle stature, and a face that care might have made charming beyond
comparison. But vice hardens, corrodes, and gives a false hue to the
features. Anna said she was an orphan. How far this was true I know
not. A mystery shrouded the way in which she fell into the hands of Hag
Zogbaum. Hag Zogbaum said she got her of an apple-woman; and the
apple-woman kept a stand in West street, but never would disclose how
she came by Anna. And Mr. Tom Toddleworth, who was the chronicle of the
Points, and used to look into 'Scorpion Cove' now and then, and inquire
about Anna, as if he had a sort of interest in her, they said knew all
about her. But if he did, he always kept it a secret between himself and
Hag Zogbaum.

"She was always of a melancholy turn, used to say life was but a burden
to her--that she could see nothing in the future that did not seem dark
and tortuous. The lot into which she was cast of necessity others might
have mistaken for that which she had chosen. It was not. The hard hand
of necessity had forced her into this quicksand of death; the
indifference of a naturally generous community, robbed her of the light
of intelligence, and left her a helpless victim in the hands of this
cultivator of vice. How could she, orphan as she was called, and
unencouraged, come to be a noble and generous-hearted woman? No one
offered her the means to come up and ornament her sex; but tyrannical
society neither forgets her misfortunes nor forgives her errors. Once
seal the death-warrant of a woman's errors, and you have none to come
forward and cancel it; the tomb only removes the seal. Anna took a
liking to me, and was kind to me, and looked to me to protect her. And I
loved her, and our love grew up, and strengthened; and being alike
neglected in the world, our condition served as the strongest means of
cementing our attachment.

"Hag Zogbaum then sent Anna away to the house up the alley, in Elizabeth
street, where she sent most of her girls when they had reached the age
of eleven and twelve. Hag Zogbaum had many places for her female pupils.
The very best looking always went a while to the house in the alley; the
next best looking were sure to find their way into the hands of Miss
Brown, in Little Water street, and Miss Brown, they said, sold them to
the fairies of the South, who dressed them in velvet and gold; and the
'scrubs,' as the old woman used to call the rest, got, by some
mysterious process, into the hands of Paddy Pie and Tim Branahan, who
kept shantees in Orange street.

"Anna had been away some time, and Mr. Tom Toddleworth had several times
been seen to look in and inquire for her. Mr. Toddleworth said he had a
ripping bid for her. At that time I was ignorant of its meaning. Harry
Rooney and me were sent to the house in Elizabeth street, one morning,
to bring Anna and another girl home. The house was large, and had an air
of neatness about it that contrasted strangely with the den in 'Scorpion
Cove.' We rang the bell and inquired for the girls, who, after waiting
nearly an hour, were sent down to us, clean and neatly dressed. In Anna
the change was so great, that though I had loved her, and thought of her
day and night during her absence, I scarce recognized her. So glad did
she seem to see me that she burst into tears, flung her arms about my
neck, and kissed me with the fondness of a sister. Then she recounted
with childlike enthusiasm the kind treatment she had received at the
house of Madame Harding (for such it was called), between whom and Hag
Zogbaum there was carried on a species of business I am not inclined to
designate here. Two kind and splendidly-dressed ladies, Anna said,
called to see them nearly every day, and were going to take them away,
that they might live like fairies all the rest of their lives.

"When we got home, two ladies were waiting at the den. It was not the
first time we had seen them at the den. Anna recognized them as the
ladies she had seen at Madame Harding's. One was the woman who so kindly
gave me the shilling in the market, when I was cold and hungry. A
lengthy whispering took place between Hag Zogbaum and the ladies, and we
were ordered into the back cellar. I knew the whispering was about Anna;
and watching through the boards I heard the Hag say Anna was fourteen
and nothing less, and saw one of the ladies draw from her purse numerous
pieces of gold, which were slipped into her hand. In a few minutes more
I saw poor little Anna follow her up the steps that led into 'Scorpion
Cove.' When we were released Hag was serving ragged and dejected-looking
men with gin and beer. Anna, she said when I inquired, had gone to a
good home in the country. I loved her ardently, and being lonesome was
not content with the statement of the old woman. I could not read, but
had begun to think for myself, and something told me all was not right.
For weeks and months I watched at the house in Leonard street, into
which I had followed the woman who gave me the shilling. But I neither
saw her nor the woman. Elegant carriages, and elegantly-dressed men
drove to and from the door, and passed in and out of the house, and the
house seemed to have a deal of fashionable customers, and that was all I
knew of it then.

"As I watched one night, a gentleman came out of the house, took me by
the arm and shook me, said I was a loitering vagrant, that he had seen
me before, and having a suspicious look he would order the watch to lock
me up. He inquired where my home was; and when I told him it was in
'Scorpion Cove,' he replied he didn't know where that was. I told him it
wasn't much of a home, and he said I ought to have a better one. It was
all very well to say so; but with me the case was different. That night
I met Tom Farley, who was glad to see me, and told how he got out of the
lock-up, and what he thought of the lock-up, and the jolly old Judge who
sent him to the lock-up, and who he saw in the lock-up, and what
mischief was concocted in the lock-up, and what he got to eat in the
lock-up, and how the lock-up wasn't so bad a place after all.

"The fact was I was inclined to think the lock-up not so bad a place to
get into, seeing how they gave people something good to eat, and clothes
to wear. Tom and me went into business together. We sold _Heralds_ and
Sunday papers, and made a good thing of it, and shared our earnings, and
got enough to eat and some clothes. I took up my stand in Centre Market,
and Tom took up his at Peck Slip. At night we would meet, count our
earnings, and give them to Mr. Crogan, who kept the cellar in Water
street, where we slept. I left Hag Zogbaum, who we got to calling the
wizard. She got all we could earn or pilfer, and we got nothing for our
backs but a few rags, and unwholesome fish and beer for our bellies. I
thought of Anna day and night; I hoped to meet in Centre Market the
woman who took her away.

"I said no one ever looked in at the den in 'Scorpion Cove,' but there
was a kind little man, with sharp black eyes, and black hair, and an
earnest olive-colored face, and an earnester manner about him, who used
to look in now and then, talk kindly to us, and tell us he wished he had
a home for us all, and was rich enough to give us all enough to eat. He
hated Hag Zogbaum, and Hag Zogbaum hated him; but we all liked him
because he was kind to us, and used to shake his head, and say he would
do something for us yet. Hag Zogbaum said he was always meddling with
other people's business. At other times a man would come along and throw
tracts in at the gate of the alley. We were ignorant of what they were
intended for, and used to try to sell them at the Gibraltars. Nobody
wanted them, and nobody could read at the den, so Hag Zogbaum lighted
the fire with them, and that was the end of them.

"Well, I sold papers for nearly two years, and learned to read a little
by so doing, and got up in the world a little; and being what was called
smart, attracted the attention of a printer in Nassau street, who took
me into his office, and did well by me. My mind was bent on getting a
trade. I knew I could do well for myself with a trade to lean upon. Two
years I worked faithfully at the printer's, was approaching manhood, and
with the facilities it afforded me had not failed to improve my mind and
get a tolerable good knowledge of the trade. But the image of Anna, and
the singular manner in which she disappeared, made me unhappy.

"On my return from dinner one day I met in Broadway the lady who took
Anna away. The past and its trials flashed across my brain, and I turned
and followed her--found that her home was changed to Mercer street, and
this accounted for my fruitless watching in Leonard street.

"The love of Anna, that had left its embers smouldering in my bosom,
quickened, and seemed to burn with redoubled ardor. It was my first and
only love; the sufferings of our childhood had made it lasting. My very
emotion rose to action as I saw the woman I knew took her away. My
anxiety to know her fate had no bounds. Dressing myself up as
respectably as it was possible with my means, I took advantage of a dark
and stormy night in the month of November to call at the house in Mercer
street, into which I had traced the lady. I rung the bell; a
sumptuously-dressed woman came to the door, which opened into a
gorgeously-decorated hall. She looked at me with an inquiring eye and
disdainful frown, inquired who I was and what I wanted. I confess I was
nervous, for the dazzling splendor of the mansion produced in me a
feeling of awe rather than admiration. I made known my mission as best I
could; the woman said no such person had ever resided there. In that
moment of disappointment I felt like casting myself away in despair. The
associations of Scorpion Cove, of the house of the Nine Nations, of the
Rookery, of Paddy Pie's--or any other den in that desert of death that
engulphs the Points, seemed holding out a solace for the melancholy that
weighed me down. But when I got back into Broadway my resolution gained
strength, and with it I wept over the folly of my thoughts.

"Led by curiosity, and the air of comfort pervading the well-furnished
room, and the piously-disposed appearance of the persons who passed in
and out, I had several times looked in at the house of the 'Foreign
Missions,' as we used to call it. A man with a good-natured face used to
sit in the chair, and a wise-looking little man in spectacles (the
Secretary) used to sit a bit below him, and a dozen or two
well-disposed persons of both sexes, with sharp and anxious
countenances, used to sit round in a half circle, listening. The
wise-looking man in the spectacles would, on motion of some one present,
read a long report, which was generally made up of a list of donations
and expenditures for getting up a scheme to evangelize the world, and
get Mr. Singleton Spyke off to Antioch. It seemed to me as if a deal of
time and money was expended on Mr. Singleton Spyke, and yet Mr. Spyke
never got off to Antioch. When the man of the spectacles got through
reading the long paper, and the good-natured man in the chair got
through explaining that the heavy amount of twenty-odd thousand dollars
had been judiciously expended for the salary of officers of the society,
and the getting Brothers Spurn and Witherspoon off to enlighten the
heathen, Brother Singleton Spyke's mission would come up. Every one
agreed that there ought to be no delay in getting Brother Spyke off to
Antioch; but a small deficiency always stood in the way. And Brother
Spyke seemed spiked to this deficiency; for notwithstanding Mrs. Slocum,
who was reckoned the strongest-minded woman, and best business-man of
the society, always made speeches in favor of Brother Spyke and his
mission (a special one), he never got off to Antioch.

"Feeling forlorn, smarting under disappointment, and undecided where to
go after I left the house in Mercer street, I looked in at the house of
the 'Foreign Missions.' Mrs. Slocum, as I had many times before seen
her, was warmly contesting a question concerning Brother Spyke, with the
good-natured man in the chair. It was wrong, she said, so much money
should be expended, and Brother Spyke not got off to Antioch. So leaving
them debating Mr. Spyke's mission to Antioch, I proceeded back to the
house in Mercer street, and inquired for the landlady of the house. The
landlady, the woman that opened the door said, was engaged. The door was
shut in my face, and I turned away more wounded in my feelings than
before. Day and night I contemplated some plan by which to ascertain
Anna's place of abode, her pursuit in life, her wants. When we parted
she could neither write nor read: I had taken writing lessons, by which
I could communicate tolerably well, while my occupation afforded me the
means of improvement. A few weeks passed (I continued to watch the
house), and I recognized her one afternoon, by her black, floating hair,
sitting at a second-story window of the house in Mercer street, her back
toward me. The sight was like electricity on my feelings; a transport of
joy bore away my thoughts. I gazed, and continued to gaze upon the
object, throwing, as it were, new passion into my soul. But it turned,
and there was a changed face, a face more lovely, looking eagerly into a
book. Looking eagerly into a book did not betray one who could not read.
But there was that in my heart that prompted me to look on the favorable
side of the doubt--to try a different expedient in gaining admittance to
the house. When night came, I assumed a dress those who look on
mechanics as vulgar people, would have said became a gentleman; and
approaching the house, gained easy admittance. As I was about entering
the great parlors, a familiar but somewhat changed voice at the top of
the circling stairs that led from the hall caught my ear. I paused,
listened, became entranced with suspense. Again it resounded--again my
heart throbbed with joy. It was Anna's voice, so soft and musical. The
woman who opened the door turned from me, and attempted to hush it. But
Anna seemed indifferent to the admonition, for she tripped buoyantly
down stairs, accompanying a gentleman to the door. I stood before her, a
changed person. Her recognition of me was instantaneous. Her color
changed, her lips quivered, her eyes filled with tears, her very soul
seemed fired with emotions she had no power to resist. 'George
Mullholland!' she exclaimed, throwing her arms about my neck, kissing
me, and burying her head in my bosom, and giving vent to her feelings in
tears and quickened sobs--'how I have thought of you, watched for you,
and hoped for the day when we would meet again and be happy. Oh, George!
George! how changed everything seems since we parted! It seems a long
age, and yet our sufferings, and the fondness for each other that was
created in that suffering, freshens in the mind. Dear, good George--my
protector!' she continued, clinging to me convulsively. I took her in my
arms (the scene created no little excitement in the house) and bore her
away to her chamber, which was chastely furnished, displaying a correct
taste, and otherwise suited to a princess. Having gained her presence of
mind, and become calm, she commenced relating what had occurred since we
parted at Scorpion Cove. I need not relate it at length here, for it was
similar in character to what might be told by a thousand others if they
were not powerless. For months she had been confined to the house, her
love of dress indulged to the furthest extent, her mind polluted and
initiated into the mysteries of refined licentiousness, her personal
appearance scrupulously regarded, and made to serve the object of which
she was a victim in the hands of the hostess, who made her the worse
than slave to a banker of great respectability in Wall street. This
good man and father was well down in the vale of years, had a mansion on
Fifth Avenue, and an interesting and much-beloved family. He was, in
addition, a prominent member of the commercial community; but his
example to those more ready to imitate the errors of men in high
positions, than to improve by the examples of the virtuous poor, was not
what it should be. Though a child of neglect, and schooled to
licentiousness under the very eye of a generous community, her natural
sensibility recoiled at the thought that she was a mere object of prey
to the passions of one she could not love.

"She resolved to remain in this condition no longer, and escaped to
Savannah with a young man whose acquaintance she had made at the house
in Mercer street. For a time they lived at a respectable hotel, as
husband and wife. But her antecedents got out, and they got notice to
leave. The same fate met them in Charleston, to which city they removed.
Her antecedents seemed to follow her wherever she went, like haunting
spirits seeking her betrayal. She was homeless; and without a home there
was nothing open to her but that vortex of licentiousness the world
seemed pointing her to. Back she went to the house in Mercer street--was
glad to get back; was at least free from the finger of scorn.
Henceforward she associated with various friends, who sought her because
of her transcendent charms. She had cultivated a natural intelligence,
and her manners were such as might have become one in better society.
But her heart's desire was to leave the house. I took her from it; and
for a time I was happy to find that the contaminating weeds of vice had
not overgrown the more sensitive buds of virtue.

"I provided a small tenement in Centre street, such as my means would
afford, and we started in the world, resolved to live respectably. But
what had maintained me respectably was now found inadequate to the
support of us both. Life in a house of sumptuous vice had rendered Anna
incapable of adapting herself to the extreme of economy now forced upon
us. Anna was taken sick; I was compelled to neglect my work, and was
discharged. Discontent, embarrassment, and poverty resulted. I struggled
to live for six months; but my prospects, my hopes of gaining an honest
living, were gone. I had no money to join the society, and the trade
being dull, could get nothing to do. Fate seemed driving us to the last
stage of distress. One by one our few pieces of furniture, our clothing,
and the few bits of jewelry Anna had presented her at the house in
Mercer street, found their way to the sign of the Three Martyrs. The man
of the eagle face would always lend something on them, and that
something relieved us for the time. I many times thought, as I passed
the house of the Foreign Missions in Centre street, where there was such
an air of comfort, that if Mrs. Abijah Slocum, and the good-natured man
who sat in the chair, and the wise little man in the spectacles, would
condescend to look in at our little place, and instead of always talking
about getting Mr. Singleton Spyke off to Antioch, take pity on our
destitution, what a relief it would be. It would have made more hearts
happy than Mr. Spyke, notwithstanding the high end of his mission, could
have softened in ten years at Antioch.

"Necessity, not inclination, forced Anna back into the house in Mercer
street, when I became her friend, her transient protector. Her hand was
as ready to bestow as her heart was warm and generous. She gave me
money, and was kind to me; but the degraded character of my position
caused me to despond, to yield myself a victim to insidious vice, to
become the associate of men whose only occupation was that of gambling
and 'roping-in' unsuspecting persons. I was not long in becoming an
efficient in the arts these men practiced on the unwary. We used to meet
at the 'Subterranean,' in Church street, and there concoct our mode of
operations. And from this centre went forth, daily, men who lived by
gambling, larceny, picking pockets, counterfeiting, and passing
counterfeit money. I kept Anna ignorant of my associations. Nevertheless
I was forced to get money, for I found her affections becoming
perverted. At times her manner towards me was cold, and I sought to
change it with money.

"While thus pursuing a life so precarious and exciting, I used to look
in at the 'Empire,' in Broadway, to see whom I could 'spot,' as we
called it at the 'Subterranean.' And it was here I met poor Tom Swiggs,
distracted and giving himself up to drink, in the fruitless search after
the girl of his love, from whom he had been separated, as he said, by
his mother. He had loved the girl, and the girl returned his love with
all the sincerity and ardor of her soul. But she was poor, and of poor
parents. And as such people were reckoned nothing in Charleston, his
mother locked him up in jail, and she was got out of the way. Tom opened
his heart to me, said foul means had been resorted to, and the girl had
thrown herself away, because, while he was held in close confinement,
falsehoods had been used to make her believe he had abandoned her. To
have her an outcast on his account, to have her leading the life of an
abandoned woman, and that with the more galling belief that he had
forsaken her, was more than he could bear, and he was sinking under the
burden. Instead of making him an object of my criminal profession, his
story so touched my feelings that I became his protector, saw him to his
lodgings in Green street, and ultimately got him on board a vessel bound
to Charleston.

"Not many weeks after this, I, being moneyless, was the principal of a
plot by which nearly a thousand dollars was got of the old man in Wall
street, who had been Anna's friend; and fearing it might get out, I
induced her to accompany me to Charleston, where she believed I had a
prospect of bettering my condition, quitting my uncertain mode of
living, and becoming a respectable man. Together we put up at the
Charleston Hotel. But necessity again forced me to reveal to her my
circumstances, and the real cause of my leaving New York. Her hopes of
shaking off the taint of her former life seemed blasted; but she bore
the shock with resignation, and removed with me to the house of Madame
Flamingo, where we for a time lived privately. But the Judge sought her
out, followed her with the zeal of a knight, and promised, if she would
forsake me, to be her protector; to provide for her and maintain her
like a lady during her life. What progress he has made in carrying out
his promise you have seen. The English baronet imposed her upon the St.
Cecilia, and the Judge was the first to betray her."



CHAPTER XI.

IN WHICH THE READER IS INTRODUCED TO MR. ABSALOM McARTHUR.


You must know, reader, that King street is our Boulevard of fashion; and
though not the handsomest street in the world, nor the widest, nor the
best paved, nor the most celebrated for fine edifices, we so cherish its
age and dignity that we would not for the world change its provincial
name, or molest one of the hundred old tottering buildings that daily
threaten a dissolution upon its pavement, or permit a wench of doubtful
blood to show her head on the "north sidewalk" during promenade hours.
We are, you see, curiously nice in matters of color, and we should be.
You may not comprehend the necessity for this scrupulous regard to
caste; others do not, so you are not to blame for your ignorance of the
customs of an atmosphere you have only breathed through novels written
by steam. We don't (and you wouldn't) like to have our wives meet our
slightly-colored mistresses. And we are sure you would not like to have
your highly-educated and much-admired daughters meet those cream-colored
material evidences of your folly--called by Northern "fanatics" their
half-sisters! You would not! And your wives, like sensible women, as our
wives and daughters are, would, if by accident they did meet them, never
let you have a bit of sleep until you sent them to old Graspum's
flesh-market, had them sold, and the money put safely into their hands.
We do these things just as you would; and our wives being philosophers,
and very fashionable withal, put the money so got into fine dresses, and
a few weeks' stay at some very select watering-place in the North. If
your wife be very accomplished, (like ours,) and your daughters much
admired for their beauty, (like ours,) they will do as ours did--put
wisely the cash got for their detestable relatives into a journey of
inspection over Europe. So, you see, we keep our fashionable side of
King street; and woe be to the shady mortal that pollutes its bricks!

Mr. Absalom McArthur lives on the unfashionable side of this street, in
a one-story wooden building, with a cottage roof, covered with thick,
black moss, and having two great bow windows, and a very lean door,
painted black, in front. It is a rummy old house to look at, for the
great bow windows are always ornamented with old hats, which Mr.
McArthur makes supply the place of glass; and the house itself,
notwithstanding it keeps up the dignity of a circular window over the
door, reminds one of that valiant and very notorious characteristic of
the State, for it has, during the last twenty or more years, threatened
(but never done it) to tumble upon the unfashionable pavement, just in
like manner as the State has threatened (but never done it!) to tumble
itself out of our unfashionable Union. We are a great people, you see;
but having the impediment of the Union in the way of displaying our
might, always stand ready to do what we never intended to do. We speak
in that same good-natured sense and metaphor used by our politicians,
(who are become very distinguished in the refined arts of fighting and
whiskey-drinking,) when they call for a rope to put about the neck of
every man not sufficiently stupid to acknowledge himself a secessionist.
We imagine ourselves the gigantic and sublime theatre of chivalry, as we
have a right to do; we raise up heroes of war and statesmanship,
compared with whom your Napoleons, Mirabeaus, and Marats--yes, even your
much-abused Roman orators and Athenian philosophers, sink into mere
insignificance. Nor are we bad imitators of that art displayed by the
Roman soldiers, when they entered the Forum and drenched it with
Senatorial blood! Pardon this digression, reader.

Of a summer morning you will see McArthur, the old Provincialist, as he
is called, arranging in his great bow windows an innumerable variety of
antique relics, none but a Mrs. Toodles could conceive a want for--such
as broken pots, dog-irons, fenders, saws, toasters, stew-pans, old
muskets, boxing-gloves and foils, and sundry other odds and ends too
numerous to mention. At evening he sits in his door, a clever picture of
a by-gone age, on a venerable old sofa, supported on legs tapering into
feet of lion's paws, and carved in mahogany, all tacked over with
brass-headed nails. Here the old man sits, and sits, and sits, reading
the "Heroes of the Revolution," (the only book he ever reads,) and
seemingly ready at all times to serve the "good wishes" of his
customers, who he will tell you are of the very first families, and very
distinguished! He holds distinguished peoples in high esteem; and
several distinguished persons have no very bad opinion of him, but a
much better one of his very interesting daughter, whose acquaintance
(though not a lady, in the Southern acceptation of the term) they would
not object to making--provided!

His little shop is lumbered with boxes and barrels, all containing
relics of a by-gone age--such as broken swords, pistols of curious make,
revolutionary hand-saws, planes, cuirasses, broken spurs, blunderbusses,
bowie, scalping, and hunting-knives; all of which he declares our great
men have a use for. Hung on a little post, and over a pair of rather
suspicious-looking buckskin breeches, is a rusty helmet, which he
sincerely believes was worn by a knight of the days of William the
Conqueror. A little counter to the left staggers under a pile of musty
old books and mustier papers, all containing valuable matter relating to
the old Continentals, who, as he has it, were all Carolinians. (Dispute
this, and he will go right into a passion.) Resting like good-natured
policemen against this weary old counter are two sympathetic old
coffins, several second-hand crutches, and a quantity of much-neglected
wooden legs. These Mr. McArthur says are in great demand with our first
families. No one, except Mr. Soloman Snivel, knows better what the
chivalry stand in need of to prop up its declining dignity. His dirty
little shelves, too, are stuffed with those cheap uniforms the State so
grudgingly voted its unwilling volunteers during the Revolution.[1]
Tucked in here and there, at sixes and sevens, are the scarlet and blue
of several suits of cast-off theatrical wardrobe he got of Abbott, and
now loans for a small trifle to Madame Flamingo and the St. Cecilia
Society--the first, when she gives her very seductive _balmasques_; the
second, when distinguished foreigners with titles honor its costume
balls. As for Revolutionary cocked hats, epaulettes, plumes, and
holsters, he has enough to supply and send off, feeling as proud as
peacocks, every General and Colonel in the State--and their name, as
you ought to know, reader, is legion.

[Footnote 1: See Senator Sumner's speech in Congress on Plantation
manners.]

The stranger might, indeed, be deceived into the belief that Absalom
McArthur's curiosity shop was capable of furnishing accoutrements for
that noble little army, (standing army we call it!) on which the State
prides itself not a little, and spends no end of money. For ourselves,
(if the reader but permit us,) we have long admired this little Spartan
force, saying all the good things of it our prosy brain could invent,
and in the kindest manner recommending its uniform good character as a
model for our very respectable society to fashion after. Indeed, we
have, in the very best nature of a modern historian, endeavored to
enlighten the barbarian world outside of South Carolina as to the
terrible consequences which might accrue to the Union did this noble
little army assume any other than a standing character. Now that General
Jackson is out of the way, and our plebeian friends over the Savannah,
whom we hold in high esteem, (the Georgians,) kindly consent to let us
go our own road out of the Union, nothing can be more grateful than to
find our wise politicians sincerely believing that when this standing
army, of which other States know so little, shall have become allied
with those mighty men of Beaufort, dire consequences to this young but
very respectable Federal compact will be the result. Having discharged
the duties of a historian, for the benefit of those benighted beings
unfortunate enough to live out of our small but highly-civilized State,
we must return to McArthur.

He is a little old-maidish about his age, which for the last twenty
years has not got a day more than fifty-four. Being as sensitive of his
veracity as the State is of its dignity, we would not, either by
implication or otherwise, lay an impeachment at his door, but rather
charge the discrepancy to that sin (a treacherous memory) the legal
gentry find so convenient for their purposes when they knock down their
own positions. McArthur stood five feet eight exactly, when young, but
age has made him lean of person, and somewhat bent. His face is long and
corrugated; his expression of countenance singularly serious. A nose,
neither aquiline nor Grecian, but large enough, and long enough, and red
enough at the end, to make both; a sharp and curiously-projecting chin,
that threatens a meeting, at no very distant day, with his nasal organ;
two small, watchful blue eyes deep-set under narrow arches, fringed with
long gray lashes; a deeply-furrowed, but straight and contracted
forehead, and a shaggy red wig, poised upon the crown of his head, and,
reader, if you except the constant working of a heavy, drooping lower
lip, and the diagonal sight with which his eyes are favored, you have
his most prominent features. Fashion he holds in utter contempt, nor has
he the very best opinion in the world of our fashionable tailors, who
are grown so rich that they hold mortgages on the very best plantations
in the State, and offer themselves candidates for the Governorship.
Indeed, Mr. McArthur says, one of these knights of the goose, not long
since, had the pertinacity to imagine himself a great General. And to
show his tenacious adherence to the examples set by the State, he
dresses exactly as his grandfather's great-grandfather used to, in a
blue coat, with small brass buttons, a narrow crimpy collar, and tails
long enough and sharp enough for a clipper-ship's run. The periods when
he provided himself with new suits are so far apart that they formed
special episodes in his history; nevertheless there is always an air of
neatness about him, and he will spend much time arranging a dingy
ruffled shirt, a pair of gray trowsers, a black velvet waistcoat, cut in
the Elizabethan style, and a high, square shirt collar, into which his
head has the appearance of being jammed. This collar he ties with a
much-valued red and yellow Spittlefields, the ends of which flow over
his ruffle. Although the old man would not bring much at the
man-shambles, we set a great deal of store by him, and would not
exchange him for anything in the world but a regiment or two of heroic
secessionists. Indeed we are fully aware that nothing like him exists
beyond the highly perfumed atmosphere of our State. And to many other
curious accomplishments the old man adds that of telling fortunes. The
negroes seriously believe he has a private arrangement with the devil,
of whom he gets his wisdom, and the secret of propitiating the gods.

Two days have passed since the _emeute_ at the house of the old hostess.
McArthur has promised the young missionary a place for Tom Swiggs, when
he gets out of prison (but no one but his mother seems to have a right
to let him out), and the tall figure of Mister Snivel is seen entering
the little curiosity shop. "I say!--my old hero, has she been here yet?"
inquires Mr. Snivel, the accommodation man. "Nay, good friend," returns
the old man, rising from his sofa, and returning the salutation, "she
has not yet darkened the door." The old man draws the steel-bowed
spectacles from his face, and watches with a patriarchal air any change
that comes over the accommodation man's countenance. "Now, good friend,
if I did but know the plot," pursues the old man.

"The plot you are not to know! I gave you her history yesterday--that
is, as far as I know it. You must make up the rest. You know how to tell
fortunes, old boy. I need not instruct you. Mind you flatter her beauty,
though--extend on the kindness of the Judge, and be sure you get it in
that it was me who betrayed her at the St. Cecelia. All right old boy,
eh?" and shaking McArthur by the hand warmly, he takes his departure,
bowing himself into the street. The old man says he will be all ready
when she comes.

Scarcely has the accommodation man passed out of sight when a
sallow-faced stripling makes his appearance, and with that
characteristic effrontery for borrowing and never returning, of the
property-man of a country theatre, "desires" to know if Mr. McArthur
will lend him a skull.

"A skull!" ejaculates the old man, his bony fingers wandering to his
melancholy lip--"a skull!" and he fusses studiously round the little
cell-like place, looking distrustfully at the property-man, and then
turning an anxious eye towards his piles of rubbish, as if fearing some
plot is on foot to remove them to the infernal regions.

"You see," interrupts Mr. Property, "we play Hamlet to-night--expect a
crammed house--and our star, being scrupulous of his reputation, as all
small stars are, won't go on for the scene of the grave-digger, without
two skulls--he swears he won't! He raised the very roof of the theatre
this morning, because his name wasn't in bigger type on the bill. And if
we don't give him two skulls and plenty of bones to-night, he
swears--and such swearing as it is!--he'll forfeit the manager, have the
house closed, and come out with a card to the public in the morning. We
are in a fix, you see! The janitor only has one, and he lent us that as
if he didn't want to."

Mr. McArthur says he sees, and with an air of regained wisdom stops
suddenly, and takes from a shelf a dingy old board, on which is a
dingier paper, bearing curious inscriptions, no one but the old man
himself would have supposed to be a schedule of stock in trade. Such it
is, nevertheless. He rubs his spectacles, places them methodically upon
his face, wipes and wipes the old board with his elbow. "It's here if
it's anywhere!" says the old man, with a sigh. "It comes into my head
that among the rest of my valuables I've Yorick's skull."

"The very skull we want!" interrupts Property. And the old man quickens
the working of his lower jaw, and continues to rub at the board until he
has brought out the written mystery. "My ancestors were great people,"
he mumbles to himself, "great people!" He runs the crusty forefinger of
his right hand up and down the board, adding, "and my customers are all
of the first families, which is some consolation in one's poverty. Ah! I
have it here!" he exclaims, with childlike exultation, frisking his
fingers over the board. "One Yorick's skull--a time-worn, tenantless,
and valuable relic, in which graveyard worms have banqueted more than
once. Yes, young man, presented to my ancestors by the elder Stuarts,
and on that account worth seven skulls, or more." "One Yorick's skull,"
is written on the paper, upon which the old man presses firmly his
finger. Then turning to an old box standing in the little fireplace
behind the counter, saying, "it's in here--as my name's Absalom
McArthur, it is," he opens the lid, and draws forth several old military
coats (they have seen revolutionary days! he says, exultingly), numerous
scales of brass, such as are worn on British soldiers' hats, a ponderous
chapeau and epaulets, worn, he insists, by Lord Nelson at the renowned
battle of Trafalgar. He has not opened, he adds, this box for more than
twelve long years. Next he drags forth a military cloak of great weight
and dimensions. "Ah!" he exclaims, with nervous joy, "here's the
identical cloak worn by Lord Cornwallis--how my ancestors used to prize
it." And as he unrolls its great folds there falls upon the floor, to
his great surprise, an old buff-colored silk dress, tied firmly with a
narrow, green ribbon. "Maria! Maria! Maria!" shouts the old man, as if
suddenly seized with a spasm. And his little gray eyes flash with
excitement, as he says--"if here hasn't come to light at last, poor Mag
Munday's dress. God forgive the poor wretch, she's dead and gone, no
doubt." In response to the name of "Maria" there protrudes from a little
door that opens into a passage leading to a back-room, the delicate
figure of a female, with a face of great paleness, overcast by a
thoughtful expression. She has a finely-developed head, intelligent blue
eyes, light auburn hair, and features more interesting than regular.
Indeed, there is more to admire in the peculiar modesty of her demeanor
than in the regularity of her features, as we shall show. "My daughter!"
says the old man, as she nervously advances, her pale hand extended.
"Poor woman! how she would mourn about this old dress; and say it
contained something that might give her a chance in the world," she
rather whispers than speaks, disclosing two rows of small white teeth.
She takes from the old man's hand the package, and disappears. The
anxiety she evinces over the charge discloses the fact that there is
something of deep interest connected with it.

Mr. McArthur was about to relate how he came by this seemingly
worthless old package, when the property-man, becoming somewhat
restless, and not holding in over high respect the old man's rubbish, as
he called it in his thoughts, commences drawing forth, piece after piece
of the old relics. The old man will not allow this. "There, young man!"
he says, touching him on the elbow, and resuming his labor. At length he
draws forth the dust-tenanted skull, coated on the outer surface with
greasy mould. "There!" he says, with an unrestrained exclamation of joy,
holding up the wasting bone, "this was in its time poor Yorick's skull.
It was such a skull, when Yorick lived! Beneath this filthy remnant of
past greatness (I always think of greatness when I turn to the past),
this empty tenement, once the domain of wisdom, this poor bone, what
thoughts did not come out?" And the old man shakes his head, mutters
inarticulately, and weeps with the simplicity of a child.

"The Star'll have skulls and bones enough to make up for his want of
talent now--I reckon," interposes the property-man. "But!--I say,
mister, this skull couldn't a bin old Yorick's, you know--"

"Yorick's!--why not?" interrupts the old man.

"Because Yorick--Yorick was the King's jester, you see--no nigger; and
no one would think of importing anything but a nigger's skull into
Charleston--"

"Young man!--if this skull had consciousness; if this had a tongue it
would rebuke thee;" the old man retorts hastily, "for my ancestors knew
Yorick, and Yorick kept up an intimate acquaintance with the ancestors
of the very first families in this State, who were not shoemakers and
milliners, as hath been maliciously charged, but good and pious
Huguenots." To the end that he may convince the unbelieving Thespian of
the truth of his assertion, he commences to rub away the black coating
with the sleeve of his coat, and there, to his infinite delight, is
written, across the crown, in letters of red that stand out as bold as
the State's chivalry--"Alas! poor Yorick." Tears of sympathy trickle
down the old man's cheeks, his eyes sparkle with excitement, and with
womanly accents he mutters: "the days of poetry and chivalry are gone.
It is but a space of time since this good man's wit made Kings and
Princes laugh with joy."

This skull, and a coral pin, which he said was presented to his
ancestors by Lord Cornwallis, who they captured, now became his hobby;
and he referred to it in all his conversation, and made them as much his
idol as our politicians do secession. In this instance, he dare not
entrust his newly-discovered jewel to the vulgar hands of Mr. Property,
but pledged his honor--a ware the State deals largely in notwithstanding
it has become exceedingly cheap--it would be forthcoming at the
requisite time.



CHAPTER XII.

IN WHICH ARE MATTERS THE READER MAY HAVE ANTICIPATED.


Mr. Soloman Snivel has effected a reconciliation between old Judge
Sleepyhorn and the beautiful Anna Bonard, and he has flattered the
weak-minded George Mullholland into a belief that the old Judge, as he
styles him, is his very best friend. So matters go on swimmingly at the
house of Madame Flamingo. Indeed Mr. Soloman can make himself extremely
useful in any affair requiring the exercise of nice diplomatic skill--no
matter whether it be of love or law. He gets people into debt, and out
of debt; into bankruptcy and out of bankruptcy; into jail and out of
jail; into society and out of society. He has officiated in almost every
capacity but that of a sexton. If you want money, Mr. Soloman can always
arrange the little matter for you. If you have old negroes you want to
get off your hands at a low figure, he has a customer. If you want to
mortgage your negro property, a thing not uncommon with our very first
families, Mr. Soloman is your man. Are you worth a fee, and want legal
advice, he will give it exactly to your liking. Indeed, he will lie you
into the most hopeless suit, and with equal pertinacity lie you out of
the very best. Every judge is his friend and most intimate acquaintance.
He is always rollicking, frisking, and insinuating himself into
something, affects to be the most liberal sort of a companion, never
refuses to drink when invited, but never invites any one unless he has a
motive beyond friendship. Mr. Keepum, the wealthy lottery broker, who
lives over the way, in Broad street, in the house with the mysterious
signs, is his money-man. This Keepum, the man with the sharp visage and
guilty countenance, has an excellent standing in society, having got it
as the reward of killing two men. Neither of these deeds of heroism,
however, were the result of a duel. Between these worthies there exists
relations mutually profitable, if not the most honorable. And
notwithstanding Mr. Soloman is forever sounding Mr. Keepum's generosity,
the said Keepum has a singular faculty for holding with a firm grasp all
he gets, the extent of his charities being a small mite now and then to
Mr. Hadger, the very pious agent for the New York Presbyterian Tract
Society. Mr. Hadger, who by trading in things called negroes, and such
like wares, has become a man of great means, twice every year badgers
the community in behalf of this society, and chuckles over what he gets
of Keepum, as if a knave's money was a sure panacea for the cure of
souls saved through the medium of those highly respectable tracts the
society publishes to suit the tastes of the god slavery. Mr. Keepum,
too, has a very high opinion of this excellent society, as he calls it,
and never fails to boast of his contributions.

It is night. The serene and bright sky is hung with brighter stars. Our
little fashionable world has got itself arrayed in its best satin--and
is in a flutter. Carriages, with servants in snobby coats, beset the
doors of the theatre. A flashing of silks, satins, brocades, tulle and
jewelry, distinguished the throng pressing eagerly into the lobbies,
and seeking with more confusion than grace seats in the dress circle.
The orchestra has played an overture, and the house presents a lively
picture of bright-colored robes. Mr. Snivel's handsome figure is seen
looming out of a private box in the left-hand proceniums, behind the
curtain of which, and on the opposite side, a mysterious hand every now
and then frisks, makes a small but prudent opening, and disappears.
Again it appears, with delicate and chastely-jeweled fingers. Cautiously
the red curtain moves aside apace, and the dark languishing eyes of a
female, scanning over the dress-circle, are revealed. She recognizes the
venerable figure of Judge Sleepyhorn, who has made a companion of George
Mullholland, and sits at his side in the parquette. Timidly she closes
the curtain.

In the right-hand procenium box sits, resplendent of jewels and laces,
and surrounded by her many admirers, the beautiful and very fashionable
Madame Montford, a woman of singularly regular features, and more than
ordinary charms. Opinion is somewhat divided on the early history of
Madame Montford. Some have it one thing, some another. Society is sure
to slander a woman of transcendent beauty and intellect. There is
nothing in the world more natural, especially when those charms attract
fashionable admirers. It is equally true, too, that if you would wipe
out any little taint that may hang about the skirts of your character
you must seek the panacea in a distant State, where, with the
application of a little diplomacy you may become the much sought for
wonder of a new atmosphere and new friends, as is the case with Madame
Montford, who rebukes her New York neighbors of the Fifth Avenue (she
has a princely mansion there), with the fact that in Charleston she is,
whenever she visits it, the all-absorbing topic with fashionable
society. For four successive winters Madame Montford has honored the
elite of Charleston with her presence. The advent of her coming, too,
has been duly heralded in the morning papers--to the infinite delight of
the St. Cecilia Society, which never fails to distinguish her arrival
with a ball. And this ball is sure to be preceded with no end of
delicately-perfumed cards, and other missives, as full of compliments as
it is capable of cramming them. There is, notwithstanding all these
ovations in honor of her coming, a mystery hanging over her periodical
visits, for the sharp-eyed persist that they have seen her disguised,
and in suspicious places, making singular inquiries about a woman of the
name of Mag Munday. And these suspicions have given rise to whisperings,
and these whisperings have crept into the ears of several very old and
highly-respectable "first families," which said families have suddenly
dropped her acquaintance. But what is more noticeable in the features of
Madame Montford, is the striking similarity between them and Anna
Bonard's. Her most fervent admirers have noticed it; while strangers
have not failed to discover it, and to comment upon it. And the girl who
sits in the box with Mr. Snivel, so cautiously fortifying herself with
the curtain, is none other than Anna. Mr. Snivel has brought her here as
an atonement for past injuries.

Just as the curtain is about to rise, Mr. McArthur, true to his word,
may be seen toddling to the stage door, his treasure carefully tied up
in a handkerchief. He will deliver it to no one but the manager, and in
spite of his other duties that functionary is compelled to receive it in
person. This done, the old man, to the merriment of certain wags who
delight to speculate on his childlike credulity, takes a seat in the
parquette, wipes clean his venerable spectacles, and placing them
methodically over his eyes, forms a unique picture in the foreground of
the audience. McArthur, with the aid of his glasses, can recognize
objects at a distance; and as the Hamlet of the night is decidedly
Teutonic in his appearance and pronunciation, he has no great relish for
the Star, nor a hand of applause to bestow on his genius. Hamlet, he is
sure, never articulated with a coarse brogue. So turning from the stage,
he amuses himself with minutely scanning the faces of the audience, and
resolving in his mind that something will turn up in the grave-digger's
scene, of which he is an enthusiastic admirer. It is, indeed, he thinks
to himself, very doubtful, whether in this wide world the much-abused
William Shakspeare hath a more ardent admirer of this curious but
faithful illustration of his genius. Suddenly his attention seems
riveted on the private box, in which sits the stately figure of Madame
Montford, flanked in a half-circle by her perfumed and white-gloved
admirers. "What!" exclaims the old man, in surprise, rubbing and
replacing his glasses, "if I'm not deceived! Well--I can't be. If there
isn't the very woman, a little altered, who has several times looked
into my little place of an evening. Her questions were so curious that I
couldn't make out what she really wanted (she never bought anything);
but she always ended with inquiring about poor Mag Munday. People think
because I have all sorts of things, that I must know about all sorts of
things. I never could tell her much that satisfied her, for Mag, report
had it, was carried off by the yellow fever, and nobody ever thought of
her afterwards. And because I couldn't tell this woman any more, she
would go away with tears in her eyes." Mr. McArthur whispers to a friend
on his right, and touches him on the arm, "Pooh! pooh!" returns the man,
with measured indifference, "that's the reigning belle of the
season--Madame Montford, the buxom widow, who has been just turned forty
for some years."

The play proceeds, and soon the old man's attention is drawn from the
Widow Montford by the near approach to the scene of the grave-digger.
And as that delineator enters the grave, and commences his tune, the old
man's anxiety increases.

A twitching and shrugging of the shoulders, discovers Mr. McArthur's
feelings. The grave-digger, to the great delight of the Star, bespreads
the stage with a multiplicity of bones. Then he follows them with a
skull, the appearance of which causes Mr. McArthur to exclaim, "Ah!
that's my poor Yorick." He rises from his seat, and abstractedly stares
at the Star, then at the audience. The audience gives out a spontaneous
burst of applause, which the Teutonic Hamlet is inclined to regard as an
indignity offered to superior talent. A short pause and his face
brightens with a smile, the grave-digger shoulders his pick, and with
the thumb of his right hand to his nasal organ, throws himself into a
comical attitude. The audience roar with delight; the Star, ignorant of
the cause of what he esteems a continued insult, waves his plumes to the
audience, and with an air of contempt walks off the stage.



CHAPTER XIII.

MRS. SWIGGS COMES TO THE RESCUE OF THE HOUSE OF THE FOREIGN MISSIONS.


"An excellent society--excellent, I assure you, Madame--"

"Truly, Mr. Hadger," interrupted Mrs. Swiggs, "your labors on behalf of
this Tract Society will be rewarded in heaven--"

"Dear-a-me," Mr. Hadger returns, ere Mrs. Swiggs can finish her
sentence, "don't mention such a thing. I assure you it is a labor of
love."

"Their tracts are so carefully got up. If my poor old negro property
could only read--(Mrs. Swiggs pauses.) I was going to say--if it wasn't
for the law (again she pauses), we couldn't prejudice our cause by
letting our negroes read them--"

"Excuse the interruption," Mr. Hadger says, "but it wouldn't, do,
notwithstanding (no one can be more liberal than myself on the subject
of enlightening our negro property!) the Tract Society exhibits such an
unexceptionable regard to the requirements of our cherished
institution."

This conversation passes between Mrs. Swiggs and Mr. Hadger, who, as he
says with great urbanity of manner, just dropped in to announce joyous
tidings. He has a letter from Sister Abijah Slocum, which came to hand
this morning, enclosing one delicately enveloped for Sister Swiggs.
"The Lord is our guide," says Mrs. Swiggs, hastily reaching out her hand
and receiving the letter. "Heaven will reward her for the interest she
takes in the heathen world."

"Truly, if she hath not now, she will have there a monument of gold,"
Mr. Hadger piously pursues, adding a sigh.

"There! there!--my neuralgy; it's all down my left side. I'm not long
for this world, you see!" Mrs. Swiggs breaks out suddenly, then twitches
her head and oscillates her chin. And as if some electric current had
changed the train of her thoughts, she testily seizes hold of her
Milton, and says: "I have got my Tom up again--yes I have, Mr. Hadger."

Mr. Hadger discovers the sudden flight her thoughts have taken: "I am
sure," he interposes, "that so long as Sister Slocum remains a member of
the Tract Society we may continue our patronage."

Mrs. Swiggs is pleased to remind Mr. Hadger, that although her means
have been exceedingly narrowed down, she has not, for the last ten
years, failed to give her mite, which she divides between the house of
the "Foreign Missions," and the "Tract Society."

A nice, smooth-faced man, somewhat clerically dressed, straight and
portly of person, and most unexceptionable in his morals, is Mr. Hadger.
A smile of Christian resignation and brotherly love happily ornaments
his countenance; and then, there is something venerable about his
nicely-combed gray whiskers, his white cravat, his snowy hair, his mild
brown eyes, and his pleasing voice. One is almost constrained to receive
him as the ideal of virtue absolved in sackcloth and ashes. As an
evidence of our generosity, we regard him an excellent Christian, whose
life hath been purified with an immense traffic in human----(perhaps
some good friend will crack our skull for saying it).

In truth (though we never could find a solution in the Bible for it), as
the traffic in human property increased Mr. Hadger's riches, so also did
it in a corresponding ratio increase his piety. There is, indeed, a
singular connection existing between piety and slavery; but to analyze
it properly requires the mind of a philosopher, so strange is the
blending.

Brother Hadger takes a sup of ice-water, and commences reading Sister
Slocum's letter, which runs thus:

   "NEW YORK, May --, 1850.
"DEAR BROTHER HADGER:

"Justice and Mercy is the motto of the cause we have lent our hands and
hearts to promote. Only yesterday we had a gathering of kind spirits at
the Mission House in Centre street, where, thank God, all was peace and
love. We had, too, an anxious gathering at the 'Tract Society's rooms.'
There it was not so much peace and love as could have been desired.
Brother Bight seemed earnest, but said many unwise things; and Brother
Scratch let out some very unwise indiscretions which you will find in
the reports I send. There was some excitement, and something said about
what we got from the South not being of God's chosen earnings. And there
was something more let off by our indiscreet Brothers against the
getting up of the tracts. But we had a majority, and voted down our
indiscreet Brothers, inasmuch as it was shown to be necessary not to
offend our good friends in the South. Not to give offence to a Brother
is good in the sight of the Lord, and this Brother Primrose argued in a
most Christian speech of four long hours or more, and which had the
effect of convincing every one how necessary it was to free the _tracts_
of everything offensive to your cherished institution. And though we did
not, Brother Hadger, break up in the continuance of that love we were
wont to when you were among us, we sustained the principle that seemeth
most acceptable to you--we gained the victory over our disaffected
Brothers. And I am desired on behalf of the Society, to thank you for
the handsome remittance, hoping you will make it known, through peace
and love, to those who kindly contributed toward it. The Board of
'Foreign Missions,' as you will see by the report, also passed a vote of
thanks for your favor. How grateful to think what one will do to
enlighten the heathen world, and how many will receive a tract through
the medium of the other.

"We are now in want of a few thousand dollars, to get the Rev. Singleton
Spyke, a most excellent person, off to Antioch. Aid us with a mite,
Brother Hadger, for his mission is one of God's own. The enclosed letter
is an appeal to Sister Swiggs, whose yearly mites have gone far, very
far, to aid us in the good but mighty work now to be done. Sister Swiggs
will have her reward in heaven for these her good gifts. How thankful
should she be to Him who provides all things, and thus enableth her to
bestow liberally.

"And now, Brother, I must say adieu! May you continue to live in the
spirit of Christian love. And may you never feel the want of these mites
bestowed in the cause of the poor heathen.

   "SISTER ABIJAH SLOCUM."

"May the good be comforted!" ejaculates Mrs. Swiggs, as Mr. Hadger
concludes. She has listened with absorbed attention to every word, at
times bowing, and adding a word of approval. Mr. Hadger hopes something
may be done in this good cause, and having interchanged sundry
compliments, takes his departure, old Rebecca opening the door.

"Glad he's gone!" the old lady says to herself. "I am so anxious to hear
the good tidings Sister Slocum's letter conveys." She wipes and wipes
her venerable spectacles, adjusts them piquantly over her small, wicked
eyes, gives her elaborate cap-border a twitch forward, frets her finger
nervously over the letter, and gets herself into a general state of
confritteration. "There!" she says, entirely forgetting her Milton,
which has fallen on the floor, to the great satisfaction of the worthy
old cat, who makes manifest his regard for it by coiling himself down
beside it, "God bless her. It makes my heart leap with joy when I see
her writing," she pursues, as old Rebecca stands contemplating her, with
serious and sullen countenance. Having prilled and fussed over the
letter, she commences reading in a half whisper:

   "NO. --,4TH AVENUE, NEW YORK,
   May --, 1850.

"MUCH BELOVED SISTER:

"I am, as you know, always overwhelmed with business; and having hoped
the Lord in his goodness yet spares you to us, and gives you health and
bounty wherewith to do good, must be pardoned for my brevity. The Lord
prospers our missions among the heathen, and the Tract Society continues
to make its labors known throughout the country. It, as you will see by
the tracts I send herewith, still continues that scrupulous regard to
the character of your domestic institution which has hitherto
characterized it. Nothing is permitted to creep into them that in any
way relates to your domestics, or that can give pain to the delicate
sensibilities of your very excellent and generous people. We would do
good to all without giving pain to any one. Oh! Sister, you know what a
wicked world this is, and how it becomes us to labor for the good of
others. But what is this world compared with the darkness of the heathen
world, and those poor wretches ('Sure enough!' says Mrs. Swiggs) who eat
one another, never have heard of a God, and prefer rather to worship
idols of wood and stone. When I contemplate this dreadful darkness,
which I do night and day, day and night, I invoke the Spirit to give me
renewed strength to go forward in the good work of bringing from
darkness ('Just as I feel,' thinks Mrs. Swiggs) unto light those poor
benighted wretches of the heathen world. How often I have wished you
could be here with us, to add life and spirit to our cause--to aid us in
beating down Satan, and when we have got him down not to let him up. The
heathen world never will be what it should be until Satan is bankrupt,
deprived of his arts, and chained to the post of humiliation--never! ('I
wish I had him where my Tom is!' Mrs. Swiggs mutters to herself.) Do
come on here, Sister. We will give you an excellent reception, and make
you so happy while you sojourn among us. And now, Sister, having never
appealed to you in vain, we again extend our hand, hoping you will favor
the several very excellent projects we now have on hand. First, we have
a project--a very excellent one, on hand, for evangelizing the world;
second, in consideration of what has been done in the reign of the
Seven Churches--Pergamos Thyatira, Magnesia, Cassaba, Demish, and
Baindir, where all is darkness, we have conceived a mission to Antioch;
and third, we have been earnestly engaged in, and have spent a few
thousand dollars over a project of the 'Tract Society,' which is the
getting up of no less than one or two million of their excellent tracts,
for the Dahomy field of missionary labor--such as the Egba mission, the
Yoruba mission, and the Ijebu missions. Oh! Sister, what a field of
labor is here open to us. And what a source of joy and thankfulness it
should be to us that we have the means to labor in those fields of
darkness. We have selected brother Singleton Spyke, a young man of great
promise, for this all-important mission to Antioch. He has been for the
last four years growing in grace and wisdom. No expense has been spared
in everything necessary to his perfection, not even in the selection of
a partner suited to his prospects and future happiness. We now want a
few thousand dollars to make up the sum requisite to his mission, and
pay the expenses of getting him off. Come to our assistance, dear
Sister--do come! Share with us your mite in this great work of
enlightening the heathen, and know that your deeds are recorded in
heaven. ('Verily!' says the old lady.) And now, hoping the Giver of all
good will continue to favor you with His blessing, and preserve you in
that strength of intellect with which you have so often assisted us in
beating down Satan, and hoping either to have the pleasure of seeing
you, or hearing from you soon, I will say adieu! subscribing myself a
servant in the cause of the heathen, and your sincere Sister,

   "MRS. ABIJAH SLOCUM.

"P.S.--Remember, dear Sister, that the amount of money expended in
idol-worship--in erecting monster temples and keeping them in repair,
would provide comfortable homes and missions for hundreds of our very
excellent young men and women, who are now ready to buckle on the armor
and enter the fight against Satan.

   "A.S."

"Dear-a-me," she sighs, laying the letter upon the table, kicking the
cat as she resumes her rocking, and with her right hand restoring her
Milton to its accustomed place on the table. "Rebecca," she says, "will
get a pillow and place it nicely at my back." Rebecca, the old slave,
brings the pillow. "There, there! now, not too high, nor too low,
Rebecca!" her thin, sharp voice echoes, as she works her shoulders, and
permits her long fingers to wander over her cap-border. "When 'um got
just so missus like, say--da he is!" mumbles the old negress in reply.
"Well, well--a little that side, now--" The negress moves the pillow a
little to the left. "That's too much, Rebecca--a slight touch the other
way. You are so stupid, I will have to sell you, and get Jewel to take
care of me. I would have done it before but for the noise of her
crutch--I would, Rebecca! You never think of me--you only think of how
much hominy you can eat." The old negress makes a motion to move the
pillow a little to the right, when Mrs. Swiggs settles her head and
shoulders into it, saying, "there!"

"Glad'um suit--fo'h true!" retorts the negress, her heavy lips and
sullen face giving out the very incarnation of hatred.

"Now don't make a noise when you go out." Rebecca in reply says she is
"gwine down to da kitchen to see Isaac," and toddles out of the room,
gently closing the door after her.

Resignedly Mrs. Swiggs closes her eyes, moderates her rocking, and
commences evolving and revolving the subject over in her mind. "I
haven't much of this world's goods--no, I haven't; but I'm of a good
family, and its name for hospitality must be kept up. Don't see that I
can keep it up better than by helping Sister Slocum and the _Tract
Society_ out," she muses. But the exact way to effect this has not yet
come clear to her mind. Times are rather hard, and, as we have said
before, she is in straightened circumstances, having, for something more
than ten years, had nothing but the earnings of eleven old negroes, five
of whom are cripples, to keep up the dignity of the house of the Swiggs.
"There's old Zeff," she says, "has took to drinking, and Flame, his
wife, ain't a bit better; and neither one of them have been worth
anything since I sold their two children--which I had to do, or let the
dignity of the family suffer. I don't like to do it, but I must. I must
send Zeff to the workhouse--have him nicely whipped, I only charge him
eighteen dollars a month for himself, and yet he will drink, and won't
pay over his wages. Yes!--he shall have it. The extent of the law, well
laid on, will learn him a lesson. There's old Cato pays me twenty
dollars a month, and Cato's seventy-four--four years older than Zeff. In
truth, my negro property is all getting careless about paying wages. Old
Trot runs away whenever he can get a chance; Brutus has forever got
something the matter with him; and Cicero has come to be a real skulk.
He don't care for the cowhide; the more I get him flogged the worse he
gets. Curious creature! And his old woman, since she broke her leg, and
goes with a crutch, thinks she can do just as she pleases. There is
plenty of work in her--plenty; she has no disposition to let it come
out, though! And she has kept up a grumbling ever since I sold her
girls. Well, I didn't want to keep them all the time at the
whipping-post; so I sold them to save their characters." Thus Mrs.
Swiggs muses until she drops into a profound sleep, in which she
remains, dreaming that she has sold old Mumma Molly, Cicero's wife, and
with the proceeds finds herself in New York, hob-nobbing it with Sister
Slocum, and making one extensive donation to the Tract Society, and
another to the fund for getting Brother Singleton Spyke off to Antioch.
Her arrival in Gotham, she dreams, is a great event. The Tract Society
(she is its guest) is smothering her with its attentions. Indeed, a
whole column and a half of the very conservative and highly respectable
old _Observer_ is taken up with an elaborate and well-written history of
her many virtues.

The venerable old lady dreams herself into dusky evening, and wakes to
find old Rebecca summoning her to tea. She is exceedingly sorry the old
slave disturbed her. However, having great faith in dreams, and the one
she has just enjoyed bringing the way to aid Sister Slocum in carrying
out her projects of love so clear to her mind, she is resolved to lose
no time in carrying out its principles. Selling old Molly won't be much;
old Molly is not worth much to her; and the price of old Molly (she'll
bring something!) will do so much to enlighten the heathen, and aid the
Tract Society in giving out its excellent works. "And I have for years
longed to see Sister Slocum, face to face, before I die," she says. And
with an affixed determination to carry out this pious resolve, Mrs.
Swiggs sips her tea, and retires to her dingy little chamber for the
night.

A bright and cheerful sun ushers in the following morning. The soft rays
steal in at the snuffy door, at the dilapidated windows, through the
faded curtains, and into the "best parlor," where, at an early hour,
sits the antique old lady, rummaging over some musty old papers piled on
the centre-table. The pale light plays over and gives to her features a
spectre-like hue; while the grotesque pieces of furniture by which she
is surrounded lend their aid in making complete the picture of a
wizard's abode. The paper she wants is nowhere to be found. "I must
exercise a little judgment in this affair," she mutters, folding a bit
of paper, and seizing her pen. Having written--

"TO THE MASTER OF THE WORK-HOUSE:

"I am sorry I have to trouble you so often with old Cicero. He will not
pay wages all I can do. Give him at least thirty--well laid on. I go to
New York in a few days, and what is due you from me for punishments will
be paid any time you send your bill.

   "SARAH PRINGLE HUGHES SWIGGS."

"Well! he deserves what he gets," she shakes her head and ejaculates.
Having summoned Rebecca, Master Cicero, a hard-featured old negro, is
ordered up, and comes tottering into the room, half-bent with age, his
hair silvered, and his face covered with a mossy-white beard--the
picture of a patriarch carved in ebony. "Good mornin', Missus," he
speaks in a feeble and husky voice, standing hesitatingly before his
august owner. "You are--well, I might as well say it--you're a
miserable old wretch!" Cicero makes a nervous motion with his left hand,
as the fingers of his right wander over the bald crown of his head, and
his eyes give out a forlorn look. She has no pity for the poor old
man--none. "You are, Cicero--you needn't pretend you ain't," she
pursues; and springing to her feet with an incredible nimbleness, she
advances to the window, tucks up the old curtain, and says, "There; let
the light reflect on your face. Badness looks out of it, Cicero! you
never was a good nigger--"

"Per'aps not, Missus; but den I'se old."

"Old! you ain't so old but you can pay wages," the testy old woman
interrupts, tossing her head. "You're a capital hand at cunning excuses.
This will get you done for, at the workhouse." She hands him a
delicately enveloped and carefully superscribed _billet_, and commands
him to proceed forthwith to the workhouse. A tear courses slowly down
his time-wrinkled face, he hesitates, would speak one word in his own
defence. But the word of his owner is absolute, and in obedience to the
wave of her hand he totters to the door, and disappears. His tears are
only those of a slave. How useless fall the tears of him who has no
voice, no power to assert his manhood! And yet, in that shrunken
bosom--in that figure, bent and shattered of age, there burns a passion
for liberty and hatred of the oppressor more terrible than the hand that
has made him the wretch he is. That tear! how forcibly it tells the tale
of his sorrowing soul; how eloquently it foretells the downfall of that
injustice holding him in its fierce chains!

Cicero has been nicely got out of the way. Molly, his wife, is summoned
into the presence of her mistress, to receive her awful doom. "To be
frank with you, Molly, and I am always outspoken, you know, I am going
to sell you. We have been long enough together, and necessity at this
moment forces me to this conclusion," says our venerable lady,
addressing herself to the old slave, who stands before her, leaning on
her crutch, for she is one of the cripples. "You will get a pious owner,
I trust; and God will be merciful to you."

The old slave of seventy years replies only with an expression of hate
in her countenance, and a drooping of her heavy lip. "Now," Mrs. Swiggs
pursues, "take this letter, go straight to Mr. Forcheu with it, and he
will sell you. He is very kind in selling old people--very!" Molly
inquires if Cicero may go. Mrs. Swiggs replies that nobody will buy two
old people together.

The slave of seventy years, knowing her entreaties will be in vain,
approaches her mistress with the fervency of a child, and grasping
warmly her hand, stammers out: "Da--da--dah Lord bless um, Missus. Tan't
many days fo'h we meet in t'oder world--good-bye."

"God bless you--good-bye, Molly. Remember what I have told you so many
times--long suffering and forbearance make the true Christian. Be a
Christian--seek to serve your Master faithfully; such the Scripture
teacheth. Now tie your handkerchief nicely on your head, and get your
clean apron on, and mind to look good-natured when Mr. Forcheu sells
you." This admonition, methodically addressed to the old slave, and Mrs.
Swiggs waves her hand, resumes her Milton, and settles herself back into
her chair. Reader! if you have a heart in the right place it will be
needless for us to dwell upon the feelings of that old slave, as she
drags her infirm body to the shambles of the extremely kind vender of
people.



CHAPTER XIV.

MR. McARTHUR MAKES A DISCOVERY.


On his return from the theatre, Mr. McArthur finds his daughter, Maria,
waiting him in great anxiety. "Father, father!" she says, as he enters
his little back parlor, "this is what that poor woman, Mag Munday, used
to take on so about; here it is." She advances, her countenance wearing
an air of great solicitude, holds the old dress in her left hand, and a
stained letter in her right. "It fell from a pocket in the bosom," she
pursues. The old man, with an expression of surprise, takes the letter
and prepares to read it. He pauses. "Did it come from the dress I
discovered in the old chest?" he inquires, adjusting his spectacles.
Maria says it did. She has no doubt it might have relieved her
suffering, if it had been found before she died. "But, father, was there
not to you something strange, something mysterious about the manner she
pursued her search for this old dress? You remember how she used to
insist that it contained something that might be a fortune to her in her
distress, and how there was a history connected with it that would not
reflect much credit on a lady in high life!"

The old man interrupts by saying he well remembers it; remembers how he
thought she was a maniac to set so much value on the old dress, and make
so many sighs when it could not be found. "It always occurred to me
there was something more than the dress that made her take on so," the
old man concludes, returning the letter to Maria, with a request that
she will read it. Maria resumes her seat, the old man draws a chair to
the table, and with his face supported in his left hand listens
attentively as she reads:

   "WASHINGTON SQUARE, NEW YORK,
   May 14, 18--

"I am glad to hear from Mr. Sildon that the child does well. Poor little
thing, it gives me so many unhappy thoughts when I think of it; but I
know you are a good woman, Mrs. Munday, and will watch her with the care
of a mother. She was left at our door one night, and as people are
always too ready to give currency to scandal, my brother and I thought
that it would not be prudent to adopt it at once, more especially as I
have been ill for the last few months, and have any quantity of enemies.
I am going to close my house, now that my deceased husband's estate is
settled, and spend a few years in Europe. Mr. Thomas Sildon is well
provided with funds for the care of the child during my absence, and
will pay you a hundred dollars every quarter. Let no one see this
letter, not even your husband. And when I return I will give you an
extra remuneration, and adopt the child as my own. Mr. Sildon will tell
you where to find me when I return."

   Your friend,
   "C.A.M."

"There, father," says Maria, "there is something more than we know
about, connected with this letter. One thing always discovers
another--don't you think it may have something to do with that lady who
has two or three times come in here, and always appeared so nervous
when she inquired about Mag Munday? and you recollect how she would not
be content until we had told her a thousand different things concerning
her. She wanted, she said, a clue to her; but she never could get a clue
to her. There is something more than we know of connected with this
letter," and she lays the old damp stained and crumpled letter on the
table, as the old servant enters bearing on a small tray their humble
supper.

"Now, sit up, my daughter," says the old man, helping her to a sandwich
while she pours out his dish of tea, "our enjoyment need be none the
less because our fare is humble. As for satisfying this lady about Mag
Munday, why, I have given that up. I told her all I knew, and that is,
that when she first came to Charleston--one never knows what these New
Yorkers are--she was a dashing sort of woman, had no end of admirers,
and lived in fine style. Then it got out that she wasn't the wife of the
man who came with her, but that she was the wife of a poor man of the
name of Munday, and had quit her husband; as wives will when they take a
notion in their heads. And as is always the way with these sort of
people, she kept gradually getting down in the world, and as she kept
getting more and more down so she took more and more to drink, and drink
brought on grief, and grief soon wasted her into the grave. I took pity
on her, for she seemed not a bad woman at heart, and always said she was
forced by necessity into the house of Madame Flamingo--a house that
hurries many a poor creature to her ruin. And she seemed possessed of a
sense of honor not common to these people; and when Madame Flamingo
turned her into the street,--as she does every one she has succeeded in
making a wretch of,--and she could find no one to take her in, and had
nowhere to lay her poor head, as she used to say, I used to lend her
little amounts, which she always managed somehow to repay. As to there
being anything valuable in the dress, I never gave it a thought; and
when she would say if she could have restored to her the dress, and
manage to get money enough to get to New York, I thought it was only the
result of her sadness."

"You may remember, father," interrupts Maria, "she twice spoke of a
child left in her charge; and that the child was got away from her. If
she could only trace that poor child, she would say, or find out what
had become of it, she could forget her own sufferings and die easy. But
the thought of what had become of that child forever haunted her; she
knew that unless she atoned in some way the devil would surely get her."
The old man says, setting down his cup, it all comes fresh to his mind.
Mr. Soloman (he has not a doubt) could let some light upon the subject;
and, as he seems acquainted with the lady that takes so much interest in
what became of the woman Munday, he may relieve her search. "I am sure
she is dead, nevertheless; I say this, knowing that having no home she
got upon the Neck, and then associated with the negroes; and the last I
heard of her was that the fever carried her off. This must have been
true, or else she had been back here pleading for the bundles we could
not find." Thus saying, Mr. McArthur finishes his humble supper, kisses
and fondles his daughter, whom he dotingly loves, and retires for the
night.



CHAPTER XV.

WHAT MADAME FLAMINGO WANTS TO BE.


Tom Swiggs has enjoyed, to the evident satisfaction of his mother, a
seven months' residence in the old prison. The very first families
continue to pay their respects to the good old lady, and she in return
daily honors them with mementoes of her remembrance. These little
civilities, exchanging between the stately old lady and our first
families, indicate the approach of the fashionable season. Indeed, we
may as well tell you the fashionable season is commencing in right good
earnest. Our elite are at home, speculations are rife as to what the
"Jockey Club" will do, we are recounting our adventures at northern
watering-places, chuckling over our heroism in putting down those who
were unwise enough to speak disrespectful of our cherished institutions,
and making very light of what we would do to the whole north. You may
know, too, that our fashionable season is commenced by what is taking
place at the house of Madame Flamingo on the one side, and the St.
Cecilia on the other. We recognize these establishments as institutions.
That they form the great fortifications of fashionable society, flanking
it at either extreme, no one here doubts.

We are extremely sensitive of two things--fashion, and our right to sell
negroes. Without the former we should be at sea; without the latter, our
existence would indeed be humble. The St. Cecilia Society inaugurates
the fashionable season, the erudite Editor of the Courier will tell
you, with an entertainment given to the elite of its members and a few
very distinguished foreigners. Madame Flamingo opens her forts, at the
same time, with a grand supper, which she styles a very select
entertainment, and to which she invites none but "those of the highest
standing in society." If you would like to see what sort of a supper she
sets to inaugurate the fashionable season, take our arm for a few
minutes.

Having just arrived from New York, where she has been luxuriating and
selecting her wares for the coming season, (New York is the fountain
ejecting its vice over this Union,) Madame looks hale, hearty, and
exceedingly cheerful. Nor has she spared any expense to make herself up
with becoming youthfulness--as the common people have it. She has got
her a lace cap of the latest fashion, with great broad striped blue and
red strings; and her dress is of orange-colored brocade, trimmed with
tulle, and looped with white blossoms. Down the stomacher it is set with
jewels. Her figure seems more embonpoint than when we last saw her; and
as she leans on the arm of old Judge Sleepyhorn, forms a striking
contrast to the slender figure of that singular specimen of judicial
infirmity. Two great doors are opened, and Madame leads the way into
what she calls her upper and private parlor, a hall of some fifty feet
by thirty, in the centre of which a sumptuously decorated table is set
out. Indeed there is a chasteness and richness about the furniture and
works of art that decorate this apartment, singularly at variance with
the bright-colored furniture of the room we have described in a former
chapter. "Ladies and gentlemen!" ejaculates the old hostess, "imagine
this a palace, in which you are all welcome. As the legal gentry say
(she casts a glance at the old Judge), when you have satisfactorily
imagined that, imagine me a princess, and address me--"

"High ho!" interrupts Mr. Soloman.

"I confess," continues the old woman, her little, light-brown curls
dangling across her brow, and her face crimsoning, "I would like to be a
princess."

"You can," rejoins the former speaker, his fingers wandering to his
chin.

"Well! I have my beadle--beadles, I take, are inseparable from royal
blood--and my servants in liveries. After all (she tosses her head) what
can there be in beadles and liveries? Why! the commonest and vulgarest
people of New York have taken to liveries. If you chance to take an
elegant drive up the 'Fifth Avenue,' and meet a dashing equipage--say
with horses terribly caparisoned, a purloined crest on the
carriage-door, a sallow-faced footman covered up in a green coat, all
over big brass buttons, stuck up behind, and a whiskey-faced coachman
half-asleep in a great hammercloth, be sure it belongs to some snob who
has not a sentence of good English in his head. Yes! perhaps a
soap-chandler, an oil-dealer, or a candy-maker. Brainless people always
creep into plush--always! People of taste and learning, like me, only
are entitled to liveries and crests." This Madame says, inviting her
guests to take seats at her banquet-table, at the head of which she
stands, the Judge on her right, Mr. Soloman on her left. Her china is of
the most elaborate description, embossed and gilt; her plate is of pure
silver, and massive; she has vases and candelabras of the same metal;
and her cutlery is of the most costly description. No house in the
country can boast a more exact taste in their selection. At each plate
a silver holder stands, bearing a bouquet of delicately-arranged
flowers. A trellise of choice flowers, interspersed here and there with
gorgeous bouquets in porcelain vases, range along the centre of the
table; which presents the appearance of a bed of fresh flowers
variegated with delicious fruits. Her guests are to her choicer than her
fruits; her fruits are choicer than her female wares. No entertainment
of this kind would be complete without Judge Sleepyhorn and Mr. Soloman.
They countenance vice in its most insidious form--they foster crime;
without crime their trade would be damaged. The one cultivates, that the
other may reap the harvest and maintain his office.

"I see," says Mr. Soloman, in reply to the old hostess, "not the
slightest objection to your being a princess--not the slightest! And, to
be frank about the matter, I know of no one who would better ornament
the position."

"Your compliments are too liberally bestowed, Mr. Soloman."

"Not at all! 'Pon my honor, now, there is a chance for you to bring that
thing about in a very short time. There is Grouski, the Polish exile, a
prince of pure blood. Grouski is poor, wants to get back to Europe. He
wants a wife, too. Grouski is a high old fellow--a most celebrated man,
fought like a hero for the freedom of his country; and though an exile
here, would be received with all the honors due to a prince in either
Italy, France or England.

"A very respectable gentleman, no doubt; but a prince of pure blood, Mr.
Soloman, is rather a scarce article these days."

"Not a bit of it--why there is lots of exiled Princes all over this
country. They are modest men, you know, like me; and having got it into
their heads that we don't like royal blood, rather keep the fact of
their birth to themselves. As for Grouski! why his history is as
familiar to every American who takes any interest in these things, as is
the history of poor Kossuth. I only say this, Madame Flamingo, to prove
to you that Grouski is none of your mock articles. And what is more, I
have several times heard him speak most enthusiastically of you."

"Of me!" interrupts the old hostess, blushing. "I respect Grouski, and
the more so for his being a poor prince in exile." Madame orders her
servants, who are screwed into bright liveries, to bring on some
sparkling Moselle. This done, and the glasses filled with the sparkling
beverage, Mr. Soloman rises to propose a toast; although, as he says, it
is somewhat out of place, two rounds having only succeeded the soup: "I
propose the health of our generous host, to whom we owe so much for the
superb manner in which she has catered for our amusement. Here's that we
may speedily have the pleasure of paying our respects to her as the
Princess Grouski." Madame Flamingo bows, the toast is drunk with cheers,
and she begins to think there is something in it after all.

"Make as light of it as you please, ladies and gentlemen--many stranger
things have come to pass. As for the exile, Grouski, I always esteemed
him a very excellent gentleman."

"Exactly!" interposes the Judge, tipping his glass, and preparing his
appetite for the course of game--broiled partridges, rice-birds, and
grouse--which is being served by the waiters. "No one more worthy," he
pursues, wiping his sleepy face with his napkin, "of being a princess.
Education, wealth, and taste, you have; and with Grouski, there is
nothing to prevent the happy consummation--nothing! I beg to assure
you," Madame Flamingo makes a most courteous bow, and with an air of
great dignity condescends to say she hopes gentlemen of the highest
standing in Charleston have for ten years or more had the strongest
proofs of her ability to administer the offices of a lady of station.
"But you know," she pursues, hoping ladies and gentlemen will be kind
enough to keep their glasses full, "people are become so pious
now-a-days that they are foolish enough to attach a stigma to our
business."

"Pooh, pooh!" interrupts the accommodation man, having raised his glass
in compliment to a painted harlot. "Once in Europe, and under the shadow
of the wife of Prince Grouski, the past would be wiped out; your money
would win admirers, while your being a princess would make fashionable
society your tool. The very atmosphere of princesses is full of taint;
but it is sunk in the rank, and rather increases courtiers. In France
your untainted princess would prognosticate the second coming of--,
well, I will not profane."

"Do not, I beg of you," says Madame, blushing. "I am scrupulously
opposed to profanity." And then there breaks upon the ear music that
seems floating from an enchanted chamber, so soft and dulcet does it
mingle with the coarse laughing and coarser wit of the banqueters. At
this feast of flowers may be seen the man high in office, the grave
merchant, the man entrusted with the most important affairs of the
commonwealth--the sage and the charlatan. Sallow-faced and painted
women, more undressed than dressed, sit beside them, hale companions.
Respectable society regards the Judge a fine old gentleman; respectable
society embraces Mr. Soloman, notwithstanding he carries on a business,
as we shall show, that brings misery upon hundreds. Twice has he
received a large vote as candidate for the General Assembly.

A little removed from the old Judge (excellent man) sits Anna Bonard,
like a jewel among stones less brilliant, George Mullholland on her
left. Her countenance wears an expression of gentleness, sweet and
touching. Her silky black hair rolls in wavy folds down her voluptuous
shoulders, a fresh carnatic flush suffuses her cheeks, her great black
eyes, so beautifully arched with heavy lashes, flash incessantly, and to
her bewitching charms is added a pensive smile that now lights up her
features, then subsides into melancholy.

"What think you of my statuary?" inquired the old hostess, "and my
antiques? Have I not taste enough for a princess?" How soft the carpet,
how rich its colors! Those marble mantel-pieces, sculptured in female
figures, how massive! How elegantly they set off each end of the hall,
as we shall call this room; and how sturdily they bear up statuettes,
delicately executed in alabaster and Parian, of Byron, Goethe, Napoleon,
and Charlemagne--two on each. And there, standing between two Gothic
windows on the front of the hall, is an antique side-table, of curious
design. The windows are draped with curtains of rich purple satin, with
embroidered cornice skirts and heavy tassels. On this antique table, and
between the undulating curtains, is a marble statue of a female in a
reclining posture, her right hand supporting her head, her dishevelled
hair flowing down her shoulder. The features are soft, calm, and almost
grand. It is simplicity sleeping, Madame Flamingo says. On the opposite
side of the hall are pedestals of black walnut, with mouldings in gilt,
on which stand busts of Washington and Lafayette, as if they were
unwilling spectators of the revelry. A venerable recline, that may have
had a place in the propylæa, or served to decorate the halls of
Versailles in the days of Napoleon, has here a place beneath the
portrait of Jefferson. This humble tribute the old hostess says she pays
to democracy. And at each end of the hall are double alcoves, over the
arches of which are great spread eagles, holding in their beaks the
points of massive maroon-colored drapery that falls over the sides,
forming brilliant depressions. In these alcoves are groups of figures
and statuettes, and parts of statuettes, legless and armless, and all
presenting a rude and mutilated condition. What some of them represented
it would have puzzled the ancient Greeks to decypher. Madame,
nevertheless, assures her guests she got them from among the relics of
Italian and Grecian antiquity. You may do justice to her taste on living
statuary; but her rude and decrepit wares, like those owned and so much
valued by our New York patrons of the arts, you may set down as
belonging to a less antique age of art. And there are chairs inlaid with
mosaic and pearl, and upholstered with the richest and brightest satin
damask,--revealing, however, that uncouthness of taste so characteristic
of your Fifth Avenue aristocrat.

Now cast your eye upward to the ceiling. It is frescoed with themes of a
barbaric age. The finely-outlined figure of a female adorns the centre.
Her loins are enveloped in what seems a mist; and in her right hand,
looking as if it were raised from the groundwork, she holds gracefully
the bulb of a massive chandelier, from the jets of which a refulgent
light is reflected upon the flowery banquet table. Madame smilingly says
it is the Goddess of Love, an exact copy of the one in the temple of
Jupiter Olympus. Another just opposite, less voluptuous in its outlines,
she adds, is intended for a copy of the fabled goddess, supposed by the
ancients to have thrown off her wings to illustrate the uncertainty of
fortune.

Course follows course, of viands the most delicious, and sumptuously
served. The wine cup now flows freely, the walls reëcho the coarse jokes
and coarser laughs of the banqueters, and leaden eyelids, languid faces,
and reeling brains, mark the closing scene. Such is the gorgeous vice we
worship, such the revelries we sanction, such the insidious debaucheries
we shield with the mantle of our laws--laws made for the accommodation
of the rich, for the punishment only of the poor. And a thousand poor in
our midst suffer for bread while justice sleeps.

Midnight is upon the banqueters, the music strikes up a last march, the
staggering company retire to the stifled air of resplendent chambers.
The old hostess contemplates herself as a princess, and seriously
believes an alliance with Grouski would not be the strangest thing in
the world. There is, however, one among the banqueters who seems to have
something deeper at heart than the transitory offerings on the
table--one whose countenance at times assumes a thoughtfulness
singularly at variance with those around her. It is Anna Bonard.

Only to-day did George Mullholland reveal to her the almost hopeless
condition of poor Tom Swiggs, still confined in the prison, with
criminals for associates, and starving. She had met Tom when fortune was
less ruthless; he had twice befriended her while in New York. Moved by
that sympathy for the suffering which is ever the purest offspring of
woman's heart, no matter how low her condition, she resolved not to rest
until she had devised the means of his release. Her influence over the
subtle-minded old Judge she well knew, nor was she ignorant of the
relations existing between him and the accommodation man.

On the conclusion of the feast she invites them to her chamber. They are
not slow to accept the invitation. "Be seated, gentlemen, be seated,"
she says, preserving a calmness of manner not congenial to the feelings
of either of her guests. She places chairs for them at the round table,
upon the marble top of which an inlaid portfolio lies open.

"Rather conventional," stammers Mr. Snivel, touching the Judge
significantly on the arm, as they take seats. Mr. Snivel is fond of good
wine, and good wine has so mellowed his constitution that he is obliged
to seek support for his head in his hands.

"I'd like a little light on this 'ere plot. Peers thar's somethin' a
foot," responds the Judge.

Anna interposes by saying they shall know quick enough. Placing a pen
and inkstand on the table, she takes her seat opposite them, and
commences watching their declining consciousness. "Thar," ejaculates the
old Judge, his moody face becoming dark and sullen, "let us have the
wish."

"You owe me an atonement, and you can discharge it by gratifying my
desire."

"Women," interposes the old Judge, dreamily, "always have wishes to
gratify. W-o-l, if its teu sign a warrant, hang a nigger, tar and
feather an abolitionist, ride the British Consul out a town, or send a
dozen vagrants to the whipping-post--I'm thar. Anything my hand's in
at!" incoherently mumbles this judicial dignitary.

Mr. Snivel having reminded the Judge that ten o'clock to-morrow morning
is the time appointed for meeting Splitwood, the "nigger broker," who
furnishes capital with which they start a new paper for the new party,
drops away into a refreshing sleep, his head on the marble.

"Grant me, as a favor, an order for the release of poor Tom Swiggs. You
cannot deny me this, Judge," says Anna, with an arch smile, and pausing
for a reply.

"Wol, as to that," responds this high functionary, "if I'd power,
'twouldn't be long afore I'd dew it, though his mother'd turn the town
upside down; but I hain't no power in the premises. I make it a rule, on
and off the bench, never to refuse the request of a pretty woman.
Chivalry, you know."

"For your compliment, Judge, I thank you. The granting my request,
however, would be more grateful to my feelings."

"It speaks well of your heart, my dear girl; but, you see, I'm only a
Judge. Mr. Snivel, here, probably committed him ('Snivel! here, wake
up!' he says, shaking him violently), he commits everybody. Being a
Justice of the Peace, you see, and justices of the peace being
everything here, I may prevail on him to grant your request!" pursues
the Judge, brightening up at the earnest manner in which Anna makes her
appeal. "Snivel! Snivel!--Justice Snivel, come, wake up. Thar is a call
for your sarvices." The Judge continues to shake the higher functionary
violently. Mr. Snivel with a modest snore rouses from his nap, says he
is always ready to do a bit of a good turn. "If you are, then,"
interposes the fair girl, "let it be made known now. Grant me an order
of release for Tom Swiggs. Remember what will be the consequence of a
refusal!"

"Tom Swiggs! Tom Swiggs!--why I've made a deal of fees of that fellow.
But, viewing it in either a judicial or philosophical light, he's quite
as well where he is. They don't give them much to eat in jail I admit,
but it is a great place for straightening the morals of a rum-head like
Tom. And he has got down so low that all the justices in the city
couldn't make him fit for respectable society." Mr. Snivel yawns and
stretches his arms athwart.

"But you can grant me the order independent of what respectable society
will do."

Mr. Snivel replies, bowing, a pretty woman is more than a match for the
whole judiciary. He will make a good amount of fees out of Tom yet; and
what his testy old mother declines to pay, he will charge to the State,
as the law gives him a right to do.

"Then I am to understand!" quickly retorts Anna, rising from her chair,
with an expression of contempt on her countenance, and a satirical curl
on her lip, "you have no true regard for me then; your friendship is
that of the knave, who has nothing to give after his ends are served. I
will leave you!" The Judge takes her gently by the arm; indignantly she
pushes him from her, as her great black eyes flash with passion, and she
seeks for the door. Mr. Snivel has placed himself against it, begs she
will be calm. "Why," he says, "get into a passion at that which was but
a joke." The Judge touches him on the arm significantly, and whispers
in his ear, "grant her the order--grant it, for peace sake, Justice
Snivel."

"Now, if you will tell me why you take so deep an interest in getting
them fellows out of prison, I will grant the order of release," Mr.
Snivel says, and with an air of great gallantry leads her back to her
chair.

"None but friendship for one who served me when he had it in his power."

"I see! I see!" interrupts our gallant justice; "the renewal of an old
acquaintance; you are to play the part of Don Quixote,--he, the
mistress. It's well enough there should be a change in the knights, and
that the stripling who goes about in the garb of the clergy, and has
been puzzling his wits how to get Tom out of prison for the last six
months--"

"Your trades never agree;" parenthesises Anna.

"Should yield the lance to you."

"Who better able to wield it in this chivalrous atmosphere? It only
pains my own feelings to confess myself an abandoned woman; but I have a
consolation in knowing how powerful an abandoned woman may be in
Charleston."

An admonition from the old Judge, and Mr. Snivel draws his chair to the
table, upon which he places his left elbow, rests his head on his hand.
"This fellow will get out; his mother--I have pledged my honor to keep
him fast locked up--will find it out, and there'll be a fuss among our
first families," he whispers. Anna pledges him her honor, a thing she
never betrays, that the secret of Tom's release shall be a matter of
strict confidence. And having shook hands over it, Mr. Snivel seizes the
pen and writes an order of release, commanding the jailer to set at
liberty one Tom Swiggs, committed as a vagrant upon a justice's warrant,
&c., &c., &c. "There," says Justice Snivel, "the thing is done--now for
a kiss;" and the fair girl permits him to kiss her brow. "Me too; the
bench and the bar!" rejoins the Judge, following the example of his
junior. And with an air of triumph the victorious girl bears away what
at this moment she values a prize.



CHAPTER XVI.

IN WHICH TOM SWIGGS GAINS HIS LIBERTY, AND WHAT BEFALLS HIM.


Anna gives George Mullholland the letter of release, and on the
succeeding morning he is seen entering at the iron gate of the wall that
encloses the old prison. "Bread! give me bread," greets his ear as soon
as he enters the sombre old pile. He walks through the debtors' floor,
startles as he hears the stifled cry for bread, and contemplates with
pained feelings the wasting forms and sickly faces that everywhere meet
his eye. The same piercing cry grates upon his senses as he sallies
along the damp, narrow aisle of the second floor, lined on both sides
with small, filthy cells, in which are incarcerated men whose crime is
that of having committed "assault and battery," and British seamen
innocent of all crime except that of having a colored skin. If anything
less than a gentleman commit assault and battery, we punish him with
imprisonment; we have no law to punish gentlemen who commit such
offences.

Along the felon's aisle--in the malarious cells where "poor" murderers
and burglars are chained to die of the poisonous atmosphere, the same
cry tells its mournful tale. Look into the dark vista of this little
passage, and you will see the gleaming of flabby arms and shrunken
hands. Glance into the apertures out of which they protrude so
appealingly, you will hear the dull clank of chains, see the glare of
vacant eyes, and shudder at the pale, cadaverous faces of beings
tortured with starvation. A low, hoarse whisper, asks you for bread; a
listless countenance quickens at your footfall. Oh! could you but feel
the emotion that has touched that shrunken form which so despondingly
waits the coming of a messenger of mercy. That system of cruelty to
prisoners which so disgraced England during the last century, and which
for her name she would were erased from her history, we preserve here in
all its hideousness. The Governor knows nothing, and cares nothing about
the prison; the Attorney-General never darkens its doors; the public
scarce give a thought for those within its walls--and to one man, Mr.
Hardscrabble, is the fate of these wretched beings entrusted. And so
prone has become the appetite of man to speculate on the misfortunes of
his fellow-man, that this good man, as we shall call him, tortures thus
the miserable beings entrusted to his keeping, and makes it a means of
getting rich. Pardon, reader, this digression.

George, elated with the idea of setting Tom at liberty, found the young
theologian at the prison, and revealed to him the fact that he had got
the much-desired order. To the latter this seemed strange--not that such
a person as George could have succeeded in what he had tried in vain to
effect, but that there was a mystery about it. It is but justice to say
that the young theologian had for six months used every exertion in his
power, without avail, to procure an order of release. He had appealed to
the Attorney-General, who declared himself powerless, but referred him
to the Governor. The Governor could take no action in the premises, and
referred him to the Judge of the Sessions. The Judge of the Sessions
doubted his capacity to interfere, and advised a petition to the Clerk
of the Court. The Clerk of the Court, who invariably took it upon
himself to correct the judge's dictum, decided that the judge could not
interfere, the case being a committal by a Justice of the Peace, and not
having been before the sessions. And against these high
functionaries--the Governor, Attorney-General, Judge of the Sessions,
and Clerk of the Court, was Mr. Soloman and Mrs. Swiggs all-powerful.
There was, however, another power superior to all, and that we have
described in the previous chapter.

Accompanied by the brusque old jailer, George and the young theologian
make their way to the cell in which Tom is confined.

"Hallo! Tom," exclaims George, as he enters the cell, "boarding at the
expense of the State yet, eh?" Tom lay stretched on a blanket in one
corner of the cell, his faithful old friend, the sailor, watching over
him with the solicitude of a brother. "I don't know how he'd got on if
it hadn't bin for the old sailor, yonder," says the jailer, pointing to
Spunyarn, who is crouched down at the great black fireplace, blowing the
coals under a small pan. "He took to Tom when he first came in, and
hasn't left him for a day. He'll steal to supply Tom's hunger, and fight
if a prisoner attempts to impose upon his charge. He has rigged him out,
you see, with his pea-coat and overalls," continues the man, folding his
arms.

"I am sorry, Tom--"

"Yes," says Tom, interrupting the young theologian, "I know you are. You
don't find me to have kept my word; and because I haven't you don't find
me improved much. I can't get out; and if I can't get out, what's the
use of my trying to improve? I don't say this because I don't want to
improve. I have no one living who ought to care for me, but my mother.
And she has shown what she cares for me."

"Everything is well. (The young theologian takes Tom by the hand.) We
have got your release. You are a free man, now."

"My release!" exclaims the poor outcast, starting to his feet, "my
release?"

"Yes," kindly interposes the jailer, "you may go, Tom. Stone walls,
bolts and chains have no further use for you." The announcement brings
tears to his eyes; he cannot find words to give utterance to his
emotions. He drops the young theologian's hand, grasps warmly that of
George Mullholland, and says, the tears falling fast down his cheeks,
"now I will be a new man."

"God bless Tom," rejoins the old sailor, who has left the fireplace and
joined in the excitement of the moment. "I alwas sed there war better
weather ahead, Tom." He pats him encouragingly on the shoulder, and
turns to the bystanders, continuing with a childlike frankness: "he's
alwas complained with himself about breaking his word and honor with
you, sir--"

The young theologian says the temptation was more than he could
withstand.

"Yes sir!--that was it. He, poor fellow, wasn't to blame. One brought
him in a drop, and challenged him; then another brought him in a drop,
and challenged him; and the vote-cribber would get generous now and
then, and bring him a drop, saying how he would like to crib him if he
was only out, on the general election coming on, and make him take a
drop of what he called election whiskey. And you know, sir, it's hard
for a body to stand up against all these things, specially when a body's
bin disappointed in love. It's bin a hard up and down with him. To-day
he would make a bit of good weather, and to-morrow he'd be all up in a
hurricane." And the old sailor takes a fresh quid of tobacco, wipes
Tom's face, gets the brush and fusses over him, and tells him to cheer
up, now that he has got his clearance.

"Tom would know if his mother ordered it."

"No! she must not know that you are at large," rejoins George.

"Not that I am at large?"

"I have," interposes the young theologian, "provided a place for you. We
have a home for you, a snug little place at the house of old McArthur--"

"Old McArthur," interpolates Tom, smiling, "I'm not a curiosity."

George Mullholland says he may make love to Maria, that she will once
more be a sister. Touched by the kindly act on his behalf, Tom replies
saying she was always kind to him, watched over him when no one else
would, and sought with tender counsels to effect his reform, to make him
forget his troubles.

"Thank you!--my heart thanks you more forcibly than my tongue can. I
feel a man. I won't touch drink again: no I won't. You won't find me
breaking my honor this time. A sick at heart man, like me, has no power
to buffet disappointment. I was a wretch, and like a wretch without a
mother's sympathy, found relief only in drinks--"

"And such drinks!" interposes the old sailor, shrugging his shoulders.
"Good weather, and a cheer up, now and then, from a friend, would have
saved him."

Now there appears in the doorway, the stalworth figure of the
vote-cribber, who, with sullen face, advances mechanically toward Tom,
pauses and regards him with an air of suspicion. "You are not what you
ought to be, Tom," he says, doggedly, and turns to the young Missionary.
"Parson," he continues, "this 'ere pupil of yourn's a hard un. He isn't
fit for respectable society. Like a sponge, he soaks up all the whiskey
in jail." The young man turns upon him a look more of pity than scorn,
while the jailer shakes his head admonishingly. The vote-cribber
continues insensible to the admonition. He, be it known, is a character
of no small importance in the political world. Having a sort of sympathy
for the old jail he views his transient residences therein rather
necessary than otherwise. As a leading character is necessary to every
grade of society, so also does he plume himself the aristocrat of the
prison. Persons committed for any other than offences against the
election laws, he holds in utter contempt. Indeed, he says with a good
deal of truth, that as fighting is become the all necessary
qualification of our Senators and Representatives to Congress, he thinks
of offering himself for the next vacancy. The only rival he fears is
"handsome Charley."[2] The accommodations are not what they might be,
but, being exempt from rent and other items necessary to a prominent
politician, he accepts them as a matter of economy.

[Footnote 2: An election bully, the ugliest man in Charleston, and the
deadly foe of Mingle.]

The vote-cribber is sure of being set free on the approach of an
election. We may as well confess it before the world--he is an
indispensable adjunct to the creating, of Legislators, Mayors,
Congressmen, and Governors. Whiskey is not more necessary to the
reputation of our mob-politicians than are the physical powers of Milman
Mingle to the success of the party he honors with his services. Nor do
his friends scruple at consulting him on matters of great importance to
the State while in his prison sanctuary.

"I'm out to-morrow, parson," he resumes; the massive fingers of his
right hand wandering into his crispy, red beard, and again over his
scarred face. "Mayor's election comes off two weeks from
Friday--couldn't do without me--can knock down any quantity of men--you
throw a plumper, I take it?" The young Missionary answers in the
negative by shaking his head, while the kind old sailor continues to
fuss over and prepare Tom for his departure. "Tom is about to leave us,"
says the old sailor, by way of diverting the vote-cribber's attention.
That dignitary, so much esteemed by our fine old statesmen, turns to
Tom, and inquires if he has a vote.

Tom has a vote, but declares he will not give it to the vote-cribber's
party. The politician says "p'raps," and draws from his bosom a small
flask. "Whiskey, Tom," he says,--"no use offering it to parsons, eh? (he
casts an insinuating look at the parson.) First-chop election whiskey--a
sup and we're friends until I get you safe under the lock of my crib.
Our Senators to Congress patronize this largely." The forlorn freeman,
with a look of contempt for the man who thus upbraids him, dashes the
drug upon the floor, to the evident chagrin of the politician, who, to
conceal his feelings, turns to George Mulholland, and mechanically
inquires if _he_ has a vote. Being answered in the negative, he picks up
his flask and walks away, saying: "what rubbish!"

Accompanied by his friends and the old sailor, Tom sallies forth into
the atmosphere of sweet freedom. As the old jailer swings back the outer
gate, Spunyarn grasps his friend and companion in sorrow warmly by the
hand, his bronzed face brightens with an air of satisfaction, and like
pure water gushing from the rude rock his eyes fill with tears. How
honest, how touching, how pure the friendly lisp--good bye! "Keep up a
strong heart, Tom,--never mind me. I don't know by what right I'm kept
here, and starved; but I expect to get out one of these days; and when I
do you may reckon on me as your friend. Keep the craft in good trim till
then; don't let the devil get master. Come and see us now and then, and
above all, never give up the ship during a storm." Tom's emotions are
too deeply touched. He has no reply to make, but presses in silence the
hand of the old sailor, takes his departure, and turns to wave him an
adieu.



CHAPTER XVII.

IN WHICH THERE IS AN INTERESTING MEETING.


Our very chivalric dealers in human merchandise, like philosophers and
philanthropists, are composed merely of flesh and blood, while their
theories are alike influenced by circumstances. Those of the first, we
(the South) are, at times, too apt to regard as sublimated and refined,
while we hold the practices of the latter such as divest human nature of
everything congenial. Nevertheless we can assure our readers that there
does not exist a class of men who so much pride themselves on their
chivalry as some of our opulent slave-dealers. Did we want proof to
sustain what we have said we could not do better than refer to Mr.
Forsheu, that very excellent gentleman. Mrs. Swiggs held him in high
esteem, and so far regarded his character for piety and chivalry
unblemished, that she consigned to him her old slave of seventy
years--old Molly. Molly must be sold, the New York Tract Society must
have a mite, and Sister Abijah Slocum's very laudable enterprise of
getting Brother Singleton Spyke off to Antioch must be encouraged. And
Mr. Forsheu is very kind to the old people he sells. It would, indeed,
be difficult for the distant reader to conceive a more striking instance
of a man, grown rich in a commerce that blunts all the finer qualities
of our nature, preserving a gentleness, excelled only by his real
goodness of heart.

When the old slave, leaning on her crutch, stood before Mr. Forsheu, her
face the very picture of age and starvation, his heart recoiled at the
thought of selling her in her present condition. He read the letter she
bore, contemplated her with an air of pity, and turning to Mr. Benbow,
his methodical book-keeper of twenty years, who had added and subtracted
through a wilderness of bodies and souls, ordered him to send the
shrunken old woman into the pen, on feed. Mr. Forsheu prided himself on
the quality of people sold at his shambles, and would not for the world
hazard his reputation on old Molly, till she was got in better
condition. Molly rather liked this, inasmuch as she had been fed on corn
and prayers exclusively, and more prayers than corn, which is become the
fashion with our much-reduced first families. For nearly four months she
enjoyed, much to the discomfiture of her august owner, the comforts of
Mr. Forsheu's pen. Daily did the anxious old lady study her Milton, and
dispatch a slave to inquire if her piece of aged property had found a
purchaser. The polite vender preserved, with uncommon philosophy, his
temper. He enjoined patience. The condition and age of the property
were, he said, much in the way of sale. Then Mrs. Swiggs began
questioning his ability as a merchant. Aspersions of this kind, the
polite vender of people could not bear with. He was a man of enormous
wealth, the result of his skill in the sale of people. He was the
president of an insurance company, a bank director, a commissioner of
the orphan asylum, and a steward of the jockey club. To his great
relief, for he began to have serious misgivings about his outlay on old
Molly, there came along one day an excellent customer. This was no less
a person than Madame Flamingo. What was singular of this very
distinguished lady was, that she always had a use for old slaves no one
else ever thought of. Her yard was full of aged and tottering humanity.
One cleaned knives, another fetched ice from the ice-house, a third
blacked boots, a fourth split wood, a fifth carried groceries, and a
sixth did the marketing. She had a decayed negro for the smallest
service; and, to her credit be it said, they were as contented and well
fed a body of tottering age as could be found in old Carolina.

Her knife-cleaning machine having taken it into his head to die one day,
she would purchase another. Mr Forsheu, with that urbanity we so well
understand how to appreciate, informed the distinguished lady that he
had an article exactly suited to her wants. Forthwith, Molly was
summoned into her presence. Madame Flamingo, moved almost to tears at
the old slave's appearance, purchased her out of pure sympathy, as we
call it, and to the great relief of Mr. Forsheu, lost no time in paying
one hundred and forty dollars down in gold for her. In deference to Mr.
Hadger, the House of The Foreign Missions, and the very excellent Tract
Society, of New York, we will not here extend on how the money was got.
The transaction was purely commercial: why should humanity interpose? We
hold it strictly legal that institutions created for the purpose of
enlightening the heathen have no right to ask by what means the money
constituting their donations is got.

The comforts of Mr. Forsheu's pen,--the hominy, grits, and rest, made
the old slave quite as reluctant about leaving him as she had before
been in parting with Lady Swiggs. Albeit, she shook his hand with equal
earnestness, and lisped "God bless Massa," with a tenderness and
simplicity so touching, that had not Madame Flamingo been an excellent
diplomat, reconciling the matter by assuring her that she would get
enough to eat, and clothes to wear, no few tears would have been shed.
Madame, in addition to this incentive, intimated that she might attend a
prayer meeting now and then--perhaps see Cicero. However, Molly could
easily have forgotten Cicero, inasmuch as she had enjoyed the rare
felicity of thirteen husbands, all of whom Lady Swiggs had sold when it
suited her own convenience.

Having made her purchase, Madame very elegantly bid the gallant merchant
good morning, hoping he would not forget her address, and call round
when it suited his convenience. Mr. Forsheu, his hat doffed, escorted
her to her carriage, into the amber-colored lining of which she
gracefully settled her majestic self, as a slightly-browned gentleman in
livery closed the bright door, took her order with servile bows, and
having motioned to the coachman, the carriage rolled away, and was soon
out of sight. Monsieur Gronski, it may be well to add here, was
discovered curled up in one corner; he smiled, and extended his hand
very graciously to Madame as she entered the carriage.

Like a pilgrim in search of some promised land, Molly adjusted her
crutch, and over the sandy road trudged, with truculent face, to her new
home, humming to herself "dah-is-a-time-a-comin, den da Lor' he be
good!!"

On the following morning, Lady Swiggs received her account current, Mr.
Forsheu being exceedingly prompt in business. There was one hundred and
twenty-nine days' feed, commissions, advertising, and sundry smaller
charges, which reduced the net balance to one hundred and three dollars.
Mrs. Swiggs, with an infatuation kindred to that which finds the State
blind to its own poverty, stubbornly refused to believe her slaves had
declined in value. Hence she received the vender's account with surprise
and dissatisfaction. However, the sale being binding, she gradually
accommodated her mind to the result, and began evolving the question of
how to make the amount meet the emergency. She must visit the great city
of New York; she must see Sister Slocum face to face; Brother Spyke's
mission must have fifty dollars; how much could she give the Tract
Society? Here was a dilemma--one which might have excited the sympathy
of the House of the "Foreign Missions." The dignity of the family, too,
was at stake. Many sleepless nights did this difficult matter cause the
august old lady. She thought of selling another cripple! Oh! that would
not do. Mr. Keepum had a lien on them; Mr. Keepum was a man of
iron-heart. Suddenly it flashed upon her mind that she had already been
guilty of a legal wrong in selling old Molly. Mr. Soloman had doubtless
described her with legal minuteness in the bond of security for the two
hundred dollars. Her decrepit form; her corrugated face; her heavy lip;
her crutch, and her piety--everything, in a word, but her starvation,
had been set down. Well! Mr. Soloman might, she thought, overlook in the
multiplicity of business so small a discrepancy. She, too, had a large
circle of distinguished friends. If the worst came to the worst she
would appeal to them. There, too, was Sir Sunderland Swiggs' portrait,
very valuable for its age; she might sell the family arms, such things
being in great demand with the chivalry; her antique furniture, too,
was highly prized by our first families. Thus Lady Swiggs contemplated
these mighty relics of past greatness. Our celtic Butlers and Brookses
never recurred to the blood of their querulous ancestors with more awe
than did this memorable lady to her decayed relics. Mr. Israel Moses,
she cherished a hope, would give a large sum for the portrait; the
family arms he would value at a high figure; the old furniture he would
esteem a prize. But to Mr. Moses and common sense, neither the blood of
the Butlers, nor Lady Swiggs' rubbish, were safe to loan money upon. The
Hebrew gentleman was not so easily beguiled.

The time came when it was necessary to appeal to Mr. Hadger. That
gentleman held the dignity of the Swiggs family in high esteem, but
shook his head when he found the respectability of the house the only
security offered in exchange for a loan. Ah! a thought flashed to her
relief, the family watch and chain would beguile the Hebrew gentleman.
With these cherished mementoes of the high old family, (she would under
no other circumstance have parted with for uncounted gold,) she in time
seduced Mr. Israel Moses to make a small advance. Duty, stern and
demanding, called her to New York. Forced to reduce her generosity, she,
not without a sigh, made up her mind to give only thirty dollars to each
of the institutions she had made so many sacrifices to serve. And thus,
with a reduced platform, as our politicians have it, she set about
preparing for the grand journey. Regards the most distinguished were
sent to all the first families; the St. Cecilia had notice of her
intended absence; no end of tea parties were given in honor of the
event. Apparently happy with herself, with every one but poor Tom, our
august lady left in the Steamer one day. With a little of that vanity
the State deals so largely in, Mrs. Swiggs thought every passenger on
board wondering and staring at her.

While then she voyages and dreams of the grand reception waiting her in
New York,--of Sister Slocum's smiles, of the good of the heathen world,
and of those nice evening gatherings she will enjoy with the pious, let
us, gentle reader, look in at the house of Absalom McArthur.

To-day Tom Swiggs feels himself free, and it is high noon. Downcast of
countenance he wends his way along the fashionable side of King-street.
The young theologian is at his side. George Mullholland has gone to the
house of Madame Flamingo. He will announce the glad news to Anna. The
old antiquarian dusts his little counter with a stubby broom, places
various curiosities in the windows, and about the doors, stands
contemplating them with an air of satisfaction, then proceeds to drive a
swarm of flies that hover upon the ceiling, into a curiously-arranged
trap that he has set.

"What!--my young friend, Tom Swiggs!" exclaims the old man, toddling
toward Tom, and grasping firmly his hand, as he enters the door. "You
are welcome to my little place, which shall be a home." Tom hangs down
his head, receives the old man's greeting with shyness. "Your poor
father and me, Tom, used to sit here many a time. (The old man points to
an old sofa.) We were friends. He thought much of me, and I had a high
opinion of him; and so we used to sit for hours, and talk over the deeds
of the old continentals. Your mother and him didn't get along over-well
together; she had more dignity than he could well digest: but that is
neither here nor there."

"I hope, in time," interrupts Tom, "to repay your kindness. I am willing
to ply myself to work, though it degrades one in the eyes of our
society."

"As to that," returns the old man, "why, don't mention it. Maria, you
know, will be a friend to you. Come away now and see her." And taking
Tom by the hand, (the theologian has withdrawn,) he becomes
enthusiastic, leads him through the dark, narrow passage into the back
parlor, where he is met by Maria, and cordially welcomed. "Why, Tom,
what a change has come over you," she ejaculates, holding his hand, and
viewing him with the solicitude of a sister, who hastens to embrace a
brother returned after a long absence. Letting fall his begrimed hand,
she draws up the old-fashioned rocking chair, and bids him be seated. He
shakes his head moodily, says he is not so bad as he seems, and hopes
yet to make himself worthy of her kindness. He has been the associate of
criminals; he has suffered punishment; he feels himself loathed by
society; he cannot divest himself of the odium clinging to his garments.
Fain would he go to some distant clime, and there seek a refuge from the
odium of felons.

"Let no such thoughts enter your mind, Tom," says the affectionate girl;
"divest yourself at once of feelings that can only do you injury. You
have engaged my thoughts during your troubles. Twice I begged your
mother to honor me with an interview. We were humble people; she
condescended at last. But she turned a deaf ear to me when I appealed to
her for your release, merely inquiring if--like that other jade--I had
become enamored of--" Maria pauses, blushing.

"I would like to see my mother," interposes Tom.

"Had I belonged to our grand society, the case had been different,"
resumes Maria.

"Truly, Maria," stammers Tom, "had I supposed there was one in the world
who cared for me, I had been a better man."

"As to that, why we were brought up together, Tom. We knew each other as
children, and what else but respect could I have for you? One never
knows how much others think of them, for the--" Maria blushes, checks
herself, and watches the changes playing over Tom's countenance. She was
about to say the tongue of love was too often silent.

It must be acknowledged that Maria had, for years, cherished a passion
for Tom. He, however, like many others of his class, was too stupid to
discover it. The girl, too, had been overawed by the dignity of his
mother. Thus, with feelings of pain did she watch the downward course of
one in whose welfare she took a deep interest.

"Very often those for whom we cherish the fondest affections, are
coldest in their demeanor towards us," pursues Maria.

"Can she have thought of me so much as to love me?" Tom questions within
himself; and Maria put an end to the conversation by ringing the bell,
commanding the old servant to hasten dinner. A plate must be placed at
the table for Tom.

The antiquarian, having, as he says, left the young people to
themselves, stands at his counter furbishing up sundry old engravings,
horse-pistols, pieces of coat-of-mail, and two large scimitars, all of
which he has piled together in a heap, and beside which lay several
chapeaus said to have belonged to distinguished Britishers. Mr. Soloman
suddenly makes his appearance in the little shop, much to Mr. McArthur's
surprise. "Say--old man! centurion!" he exclaims, in a maudlin laugh,
"Keepum's in the straps--is, I do declare; Gadsden and he bought a lot
of niggers--a monster drove of 'em, on shares. He wants that trifle of
borrowed money--must have it. Can have it back in a few days."

"Bless me," interrupts the old man, confusedly, "but off my little
things it will be hard to raise it. Times is hard, our people go, like
geese, to the North. They get rid of all their money there, and their
fancy--you know that, Mr. Snivel--is abroad, while they have, for home,
only a love to keep up slavery."

"I thought it would come to that," says Mr. Snivel, facetiously. The
antiquarian seems bewildered, commences offering excuses that rather
involve himself deeper, and finally concludes by pleading for a delay.
Scarce any one would have thought a person of Mr. McArthur's position,
indebted to Mr. Keepum; but so it was. It is very difficult to tell
whose negroes are not mortgaged to Mr. Keepum, how many mortgages of
plantation he has foreclosed, how many high old families he has reduced
to abject poverty, or how many poor but respectable families he has
disgraced. He has a reputation for loaning money to parents, that he may
rob their daughters of that jewel the world refuses to give them back.
And yet our best society honor him, fawn over him, and bow to him. We so
worship the god of slavery, that our minds are become debased, and yet
we seem unconscious of it. Mr. Keepum did not lend money to the old
antiquarian without a purpose. That purpose, that justice which
accommodates itself to the popular voice, will aid him in gaining.

Mr. Snivel affects a tone of moderation, whispers in the old man's ear,
and says: "Mind you tell the fortune of this girl, Bonard, as I have
directed. Study what I have told you. If she be not the child of Madame
Montford, then no faith can be put in likenesses. I have got in my
possession what goes far to strengthen the suspicions now rife
concerning the fashionable New Yorker."

"There surely is a mystery about this woman, Mr. Snivel, as you say. She
has so many times looked in here to inquire about Mag Munday, a woman in
a curious line of life who came here, got down in the world, as they all
do, and used now and then to get the loan of a trifle from me to keep
her from starvation." (Mr. Snivel says, in parentheses, he knows all
about her.)

"Ha! ha! my old boy," says Mr. Snivel, frisking his fingers through his
light Saxon beard, "I have had this case in hand for some time. It is
strictly a private matter, nevertheless. They are a bad lot--them New
Yorkers, who come here to avoid their little delicate affairs. I may yet
make a good thing out of this, though. As for that fellow, Mullholland,
I intend getting him the whipping post. He is come to be the associate
of gentlemen; men high in office shower upon him their favors. It is all
to propitiate the friendship of Bonard--I know it." Mr. Snivel concludes
hurriedly, and departs into the street, as our scene changes.



CHAPTER XVIII.

ANNA BONARD SEEKS AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ANTIQUARY.


It is night. King street seems in a melancholy mood, the blue arch of
heaven is bespangled with twinkling stars, the moon has mounted her high
throne, and her beams, like messengers of love, dance joyously over the
calm waters of the bay, so serenely skirted with dark woodland. The dull
tramp of the guardman's horse now breaks the stillness; then the
measured tread of the heavily-armed patrol, with which the city swarms
at night, echoes and re-echoes along the narrow streets. A theatre
reeking with the fumes of whiskey and tobacco; a sombre-looking
guard-house, bristling with armed men, who usher forth to guard the
fears of tyranny, or drag in some wretched slave; a dilapidated "Court
House," at the corner, at which lazy-looking men lounge; a castellated
"Work House," so grand without, and so full of bleeding hearts within; a
"Poor House" on crutches, and in which infirm age and poverty die of
treatment that makes the heart sicken--these are all the public
buildings we can boast. Like ominous mounds, they seem sleeping in the
calm and serene night. Ah! we had almost forgotten the sympathetic old
hospital, with its verandas; the crabbed looking "City Hall," with its
port holes; and the "Citadel," in which, when our youths have learned to
fight duels, we learn them how to fight their way out of the Union.
Duelling is our high art; getting out of the Union is our low. And, too,
we have, and make no small boast that we have, two or three buildings
called "Halls." In these our own supper-eating men riot, our soldiers
drill (soldiering is our presiding genius), and our mob-politicians
waste their spleen against the North. Unlike Boston, towering all bright
and vigorous in the atmosphere of freedom, we have no galleries of
statuary; no conservatories of paintings; no massive edifices of marble,
dedicated to art and science; no princely school-houses, radiating their
light of learning over a peace and justice-loving community; no majestic
exchange, of granite and polished marble, so emblematic of a thrifty
commerce;--we have no regal "State House" on the lofty hill, no
glittering colleges everywhere striking the eye. The god of slavery--the
god we worship, has no use for such temples; public libraries are his
prison; his civilization is like a dull dead march; he is the enemy of
his own heart, vitiating and making drear whatever he touches. He wages
war on art, science, civilization! he trembles at the sight of temples
reared for the enlightening of the masses. Tyranny is his law, a
cotton-bag his judgment-seat. But we pride ourselves that we are a
respectable people--what more would you have us?

The night is chilly without, in the fireplace of the antiquary's back
parlor there burns a scanty wood fire. Tom has eaten his supper and
retired to a little closet-like room overhead, where, in bed, he muses
over what fell from Maria's lips, in their interview. Did she really
cherish a passion for him? had her solicitude in years past something
more than friendship in it? what did she mean? He was not one of those
whose place in a woman's heart could never be supplied. How would an
alliance with Maria affect his mother's dignity? All these things Tom
evolves over and over in his mind. In point of position, a mechanic's
daughter was not far removed from the slave; a mechanic's daughter was
viewed only as a good object of seduction for some nice young gentleman.
Antiquarians might get a few bows of planter's sons, the legal gentry,
and cotton brokers (these make up our aristocracy), but practically no
one would think of admitting them into decent society. They, of right,
belong to that vulgar herd that live by labor at which the slave can be
employed. To be anything in the eyes of good society, you must only live
upon the earnings of slaves.

"Why," says Tom, "should I consult the dignity of a mother who discards
me? The love of this lone daughter of the antiquary, this girl who
strives to know my wants, and to promote my welfare, rises superior to
all. I will away with such thoughts! I will be a man!" Maria, with eager
eye and thoughtful countenance, sits at the little antique centre-table,
reading Longfellow's Evangeline, by the pale light of a candle. A lurid
glare is shed over the cavern-like place. The reflection plays curiously
upon the corrugated features of the old man, who, his favorite cat at
his side, reclines on a stubby little sofa, drawn well up to the fire.
The poet would not select Maria as his ideal of female loveliness; and
yet there is a touching modesty in her demeanor, a sweet smile ever
playing over her countenance, an artlessness in her conversation that
more than makes up for the want of those charms novel writers are
pleased to call transcendent. "Father!" she says, pausing, "some one
knocks at the outer door." The old man starts and listens, then hastens
to open it. There stands before him the figure of a strange female,
veiled. "I am glad to find you, old man. Be not suspicious of my coming
at this hour, for my mission is a strange one." The old man's crooked
eyes flash, his deep curling lip quivers, his hand vibrates the candle
he holds before him. "If on a mission to do nobody harm," he responds,
"then you are welcome." "You will pardon me; I have seen you before. You
have wished me well," she whispers in a musical voice. Gracefully she
raises her veil over her Spanish hood, and advances cautiously, as the
old man closes the door behind her. Then she uncovers her head,
nervously. The white, jewelled fingers of her right hand, so delicate
and tapering, wander over and smooth her silky black hair, that falls in
waves over her Ion-like brow. How exquisite those features just
revealed; how full of soul those flashing black eyes; her dress, how
chaste! "They call me Anna Bonard," she speaks, timorously, "you may
know me?--"

"Oh, I know you well," interrupts the old man, "your beauty has made you
known. What more would you have?"

"Something that will make me happy. Old man, I am unhappy. Tell me, if
you have the power, who I am. Am I an orphan, as has been told me; or
have I parents yet living, affluent, and high in society? Do they seek
me and cannot find me? Oh! let the fates speak, old man, for this world
has given me nothing but pain and shame. Am I--" she pauses, her eyes
wander to the floor, her cheeks crimson, she seizes the old man by the
hand, and her bosom heaves as if a fierce passion had just been kindled
within it.

The old man preserves his equanimity, says he has a fortune to tell her.
Fortunes are best told at midnight. The stars, too, let out their
secrets more willingly when the night-king rules. He bids her follow
him, and totters back to the little parlor. With a wise air, he bids her
be seated on the sofa, saying he never mistakes maidens when they call
at this hour.

Maria, who rose from the table at the entrance of the stranger, bows,
shuts her book mechanically, and retires. Can there be another face so
lovely? she questions within herself, as she pauses to contemplate the
stranger ere she disappears. The antiquary draws a chair and seats
himself beside Anna. "Thy life and destiny," he says, fretting his bony
fingers over the crown of his wig. "Blessed is the will of providence
that permits us to know the secrets of destiny. Give me your hand, fair
lady." Like a philosopher in deep study, he wipes and adjusts his
spectacles, then takes her right hand and commences reading its lines.
"Your history is an uncommon one--"

"Yes," interrupts the girl, "mine has been a chequered life."

"You have seen sorrow enough, but will see more. You come of good
parents; but, ah!--there is a mystery shrouding your birth." ("And that
mystery," interposes the girl, "I want to have explained.") "There will
come a woman to reclaim you--a woman in high life; but she will come too
late--" (The girl pales and trembles.) "Yes," pursues the old man,
looking more studiously at her hand, "she will come too late. You will
have admirers, and even suitors; but they will only betray you, and in
the end you will die of trouble. Ah! there is a line that had escaped
me. You may avert this dark destiny--yes, you may escape the end that
fate has ordained for you. In neglect you came up, the companion of a
man you think true to you. But he is not true to you. Watch him, follow
him--you will yet find him out. Ha! ha! ha! these men are not to be
trusted, my dear. There is but one man who really loves you. He is an
old man, a man of station. He is your only true friend. I here see it
marked." He crosses her hand, and says there can be no mistaking it.
"With that man, fair girl, you may escape the dark destiny. But, above
all things, do not treat him coldly. And here I see by the sign that
Anna Bonard is not your name. The name was given you by a wizard."

"You are right, old man," speaks Anna, raising thoughtfully her great
black eyes, as the antiquary pauses and watches each change of her
countenance; "that name was given me by Hag Zogbaum, when I was a child
in her den, in New York, and when no one cared for me. What my right
name was has now slipped my memory. I was indeed a wretched child, and
know little of myself."

"Was it Munday?" inquires the old man. Scarce has he lisped the name
before she catches it up and repeats it, incoherently, "Munday! Munday!
Munday!" her eyes flash with anxiety. "Ah, I remember now. I was called
Anna Munday by Mother Bridges. I lived with her before I got to the den
of Hag Zogbaum. And Mother Bridges sold apples at a stand at the corner
of a street, on West street. It seems like a dream to me now. I do not
want to recall those dark days or my childhood. Have you not some
revelation to make respecting my parents?" The old man says the signs
will not aid him further. "On my arm," she pursues, baring her white,
polished arm, "there is a mark. I know not who imprinted it there. See,
old man." The old man sees high up on her right arm two hearts and a
broken anchor, impressed with India ink blue and red. "Yes," repeats the
antiquary, viewing it studiously, "but it gives out no history. If you
could remember who put it there." Of that she has no recollection. The
old man cannot relieve her anxiety, and arranging her hood she bids him
good night, forces a piece of gold into his hand, and seeks her home,
disappointed.

The antiquary's predictions were founded on what Mr. Soloman Snivel had
told him, and that gentleman got what he knew of Anna's history from
George Mullholland. To this, however, he added what suggestions his
suspicions gave rise to. The similarity of likeness between Anna and
Madame Montford was striking; Madame Montford's mysterious searches and
inquiries for the woman Munday had something of deep import in them. Mag
Munday's strange disappearance from Charleston, and her previous
importuning for the old dress left in pawn with McArthur, were not to be
overlooked. These things taken together, and Mr. Snivel saw a case there
could be no mistaking. That case became stronger when his fashionable
friend engaged his services to trace out what had become of the woman
Mag Munday, and to further ascertain what the girl Anna Bonard knew of
her own history.



CHAPTER XIX.

A SECRET INTERVIEW.


While the scene we have related in the foregoing chapter was being
enacted, there might be seen pacing the great colonnade of the
Charleston hotel, the tall figure of a man wrapped in a massive talma.
Heedless of the throng of drinkers gathered in the spacious bar-room,
making the very air echo with their revelry, he pauses every few
moments, watches intently up and then down Meeting street, now
apparently contemplating the twinkling stars, then turning as if
disappointed, and resuming his sallies. "He will not come to night," he
mutters, as he pauses at the "Ladies' door," then turns and rings the
bell. The well-dressed and highly-perfumed servant who guards the door,
admits him with a scrutinizing eye. "Beg pardon," he says, with a
mechanical bow. He recognizes the stranger, bows, and motions his hands.
"Twice," continues the servant, "she has sent a messenger to inquire of
your coming." The figure in the talma answers with a bow, slips
something into the hand of the servant, passes softly up the great
stairs, and is soon lost to sight. In another minute he enters, without
knocking, a spacious parlor, decorated and furnished most sumptuously.
"How impatiently I have waited your coming," whispers, cautiously, a
richly-dressed lady, as she rises from a velvet covered lounge, on which
she had reclined, and extends her hand to welcome him.

"Madame, your most obedient," returns the man, bowing and holding her
delicate hand in his. "You have something of importance,--something to
relieve my mind?" she inquires, watching his lips, trembling, and in
anxiety. "Nothing definite," he replies, touching her gently on the arm,
as she begs him to be seated in the great arm-chair. He lays aside his
talma, places his gloves on the centre-table, which is heaped with an
infinite variety of delicately-enveloped missives and cards, all
indicative of her position in fashionable society. "I may say, Madame,
that I sympathize with you in your anxiety; but as yet I have discovered
nothing to relieve it." Madame sighs, and draws her chair near him, in
silence. "That she is the woman you seek I cannot doubt. While on the
Neck, I penetrated the shanty of one Thompson, a poor mechanic--our
white mechanics, you see, are very poor, and not much thought of--who
had known her, given her a shelter, and several times saved her from
starvation. Then she left the neighborhood and took to living with a
poor wretch of a shoemaker."

"Poor creature," interrupts Madame Montford, for it is she whom Mr.
Snivel addresses. "If she be dead--oh, dear! That will be the end. I
never shall know what became of that child. And to die ignorant of its
fate will--" Madame pauses, her color changes, she seems seized with
some violent emotion. Mr. Snivel perceives her agitation, and begs she
will remain calm. "If that child had been my own," she resumes, "the
responsibility had not weighed heavier on my conscience. Wealth,
position, the pleasures of society--all sink into insignificance when
compared with my anxiety for the fate of that child. It is like an arrow
piercing my heart, like a phantom haunting me in my dreams, like an
evil spirit waking me at night to tell me I shall die an unhappy woman
for having neglected one I was bound by the commands of God to
protect--to save, perhaps, from a life of shame." She lets fall the
satin folds of her dress, buries her face in her hands, and gives vent
to her tears in loud sobs. Mr. Snivel contemplates her agitation with
unmoved muscle. To him it is a true index to the sequel. "If you will
pardon me, Madame," he continues, "as I was about to say of this
miserable shoemaker, he took to drink, as all our white mechanics do,
and then used to abuse her. We don't think anything of these people, you
see, who after giving themselves up to whiskey, die in the poor house, a
terrible death. This shoemaker, of whom I speak, died, and she was
turned into the streets by her landlord, and that sent her to living
with a 'yellow fellow,' as we call them. Soon after this she died--so
report has it. We never know much, you see, about these common people.
They are a sort of trash we can make nothing of, and they get terribly
low now and then." Madame Montford's swelling breast heaves, her
countenance wears an air of melancholy; again she nervously lays aside
the cloud-like skirts of her brocade dress. "Have you not," she
inquires, fretting her jewelled fingers and displaying the massive gold
bracelets that clasp her wrists, "some stronger evidence of her death?"
Mr. Snivel says he has none but what he gathered from the negroes and
poor mechanics, who live in the by-lanes of the city. There is little
dependence, however, to be placed in such reports. Madame, with an air
of composure, rises from her chair, and paces twice or thrice across the
room, seemingly in deep study. "Something," she speaks, stopping
suddenly in one of her sallies--"something (I do not know what it is)
tells me she yet lives: that this is the child we see, living an
abandoned life."

"As I was going on to say, Madame," pursues Mr. Snivel, with great
blandness of manner, "when our white trash get to living with our
negroes they are as well as dead. One never knows what comes of them
after that. Being always ready to do a bit of a good turn, as you know,
I looked in at Sam Wiley's cabin. Sam Wiley is a negro of some
respectability, and generally has an eye to what becomes of these white
wretches. I don't--I assure you I don't, Madame--look into these places
except on professional business. Sam, after making inquiry among his
neighbors--our colored population view these people with no very good
opinion, when they get down in the world--said he thought she had found
her way through the gates of the poor man's graveyard."

"Poor man's graveyard!" repeats Madame Montford, again resuming her
chair.

"Exactly! We have to distinguish between people of position and those
white mechanics who come here from the North, get down in the world, and
then die. We can't sell this sort of people, you see. No keeping their
morals straight without you can. However, this is not to the point. (Mr.
Solomon Snivel keeps his eyes intently fixed upon the lady.)

"I sought out the old Sexton, a stupid old cove enough. He had neither
names on his record nor graves that answered the purpose. In a legal
sense, Madame, this would not be valid testimony, for this old cove
being only too glad to get rid of our poor, and the fees into his
pocket, is not very particular about names. If it were one of our
'first families,' the old fellow would be so obsequious about having the
name down square--"

Mr. Snivel frets his fingers through his beard, and bows with an easy
grace.

"Our first families!" repeats Madame Montford.

"Yes, indeed! He is extremely correct over their funerals. They are of a
fashionable sort, you see. Well, while I was musing over the decaying
dead, and the distinction between poor dead and rich dead, there came
along one Graves, a sort of wayward, half simpleton, who goes about
among churchyards, makes graves a study, knows where every one who has
died for the last century is tucked away, and is worth six sextons at
pointing out graves. He never knows anything about the living, for the
living, he says, won't let him live; and that being the case, he only
wants to keep up his acquaintance with the dead. He never has a hat to
his head, nor a shoe to his foot; and where, and how he lives, no one
can tell. He has been at the whipping-post a dozen times or more, but
I'm not so sure that the poor wretch ever did anything to merit such
punishment. Just as the crabbed old sexton was going to drive him out of
the gate with a big stick, I says, more in the way of a joke than
anything else: 'Graves, come here!--I want a word or two with you.' He
came up, looking shy and suspicious, and saying he wasn't going to harm
anybody, but there was some fresh graves he was thinking over."

"Some fresh graves!" repeats Madame Montford, nervously.

"Bless you!--a very common thing," rejoins Mr. Snivel, with a bow.
"Well, this lean simpleton said they (the graves) were made while he was
sick. That being the case, he was deprived--and he lamented it
bitterly--of being present at the funerals, and getting the names of the
deceased. He is a great favorite with the grave-digger, lends him a
willing hand on all occasions, and is extremely useful when the yellow
fever rages. But to the sexton he is a perfect pest, for if a grave be
made during his absence he will importune until he get the name of the
departed. 'Graves,' says I, 'where do they bury these unfortunate women
who die off so, here in Charleston?' 'Bless you, my friend,' says
Graves, accompanying his words with an idiotic laugh, 'why, there's
three stacks of them, yonder. They ship them from New York in lots, poor
things; they dies here in droves, poor things; and we buries them yonder
in piles, poor things. They go--yes, sir, I have thought a deal of this
thing--fast through life; but they dies, and nobody cares for them--you
see how they are buried.' I inquired if he knew all their names. He said
of course he did. If he didn't, nobody else would. In order to try him,
I desired he would show me the grave of Mag Munday. He shook his head
smiled, muttered the name incoherently, and said he thought it sounded
like a dead name. 'I'll get my thinking right,' he pursued, and
brightening up all at once, his vacant eyes flashed, then he touched me
cunningly on the arm, and with a wink and nod of the head there was no
mistaking, led the way to a great mound located in an obscure part of
the graveyard--"

"A great mound! I thought it would come to that," sighs Madame Montford,
impatiently.

"We bury these wretched creatures in an obscure place. Indeed, Madame, I
hold it unnecessary to have anything to distinguish them when once they
are dead. Well, this poor forlorn simpleton then sat down on a grave,
and bid me sit beside him. I did as he bid me, and soon he went into a
deep study, muttering the name of Mag Munday the while, until I thought
he never would stop. So wild and wandering did the poor fellow seem,
that I began to think it a pity we had not a place, an insane hospital,
or some sort of benevolent institution, where such poor creatures could
be placed and cared for. It would be much better than sending them to
the whipping-post--"

"I am indeed of your opinion--of your way of thinking most certainly,"
interpolates Madame Montford, a shadow of melancholy darkening her
countenance.

"At length, he went at it, and repeated over an infinite quantity of
names. It was wonderful to see how he could keep them all in his head.
'Well, now,' says he, turning to me with an inoffensive laugh, 'she
ben't dead. You may bet on that. There now!' he spoke, as if suddenly
becoming conscious of a recently-made discovery. 'Why, she runned wild
about here, as I does, for a time; was abused and knocked about by
everybody. Oh, she had a hard time enough, God knows that.' 'But that is
not disclosing to me what became of her,' says I; 'come, be serious,
Graves.' (We call him this, you see, Madame, for the reason that he is
always among graveyards.) Then he went into a singing mood, sang two
plaintive songs, and had sung a third and fourth, if I had not stopped
him. 'Well,' he says, 'that woman ain't dead, for I've called up in my
mind the whole graveyard of names, and her's is not among them. Why not,
good gentleman, (he seized me by the arm as he said this,) inquire of
Milman Mingle, the vote-cribber? He is a great politician, never thinks
of poor Graves, and wouldn't look into a graveyard for the world. The
vote-cribber used to live with her, and several times he threatened to
hang her, and would a hanged her--yes, he would, sir--if it hadn't a
been for the neighbors. I don't take much interest in the living, you
know. But I pitied her, poor thing, for she was to be pitied, and there
was nobody but me to do it. Just inquire of the vote-cribber.' I knew
the simpleton never told an untruth, being in no way connected with our
political parties."

"Never told an untruth, being in no way connected with our political
parties!" repeats Madame Montford, who has become more calm.

"I gave him a few shillings, he followed me to the gate, and left me
muttering, 'Go, inquire of the vote-cribber.'"

"And have you found this man?" inquires the anxious lady.

"I forthwith set about it," replies Mr. Snivel, "but as yet, am
unsuccessful. Nine months during the year his residence is the jail--"

"The jail!"

"Yes, Madame, the jail. His profession, although essential to the
elevation of our politicians and statesmen, is nevertheless unlawful.
And he being obliged to practice it in opposition to the law, quietly
submits to the penalty, which is a residence in the old prison for a
short time. It's a nominal thing, you see, and he has become so
habituated to it that I am inclined to the belief that he prefers it. I
proceeded to the prison and found he had been released. One of our
elections comes off in a few days. The approach of such an event is sure
to find him at large. I sought him in all the drinking saloons, in the
gambling dens, in the haunts of prostitution--in all the low places
where our great politicians most do assemble and debauch themselves. He
was not to be found. Being of the opposite party, I despatched a spy to
the haunt of the committee of the party to which he belongs, and for
which he cribs. I have paced the colonnade for more than an hour,
waiting the coming of this spy. He did not return, and knowing your
anxiety in the matter I returned to you. To-morrow I will seek him out;
to-morrow I will get from him what he knows of this woman you seek.

"And now, Madame, here is something I would have you examine." (Mr.
Snivel methodically says he got it of McArthur, the antiquary.) "She
made a great ado about a dress that contained this letter. I have no
doubt it will tell a tale." Mr. Snivel draws from his breast-pocket the
letter found concealed in the old dress, and passes it to Madame
Montford, who receives it with a nervous hand. Her eyes become fixed
upon it, she glances over its defaced page with an air of bewilderment,
her face crimsons, then suddenly pales, her lips quiver--her every nerve
seems unbending to the shock. "Heavens! has it come to this?" she
mutters, confusedly. Her strength fails her; the familiar letter falls
from her fingers.--For a few moments she seems struggling to suppress
her emotions, but her reeling brain yields, her features become like
marble, she shrieks and swoons ere Mr. Snivel has time to clasp her in
his arms.



CHAPTER XX.

LADY SWIGGS ENCOUNTERS DIFFICULTIES ON HER ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK.


A pleasant passage of sixty hours, a good shaking up at the hands of
that old tyrant, sea-sickness, and Lady Swiggs finds the steamer on
which she took passage gliding majestically up New York Bay. There she
sits, in all her dignity, an embodiment of our decayed chivalry, a fair
representative of our first families. She has taken up her position on
the upper deck, in front of the wheel house. As one after another the
objects of beauty that make grand the environs of that noble Bay, open
to her astonished eyes, she contrasts them favorably or unfavorably with
some familiar object in Charleston harbor. There is indeed a similarity
in the conformation. And though ours, she says, may not be so extensive,
nor so grand in its outlines, nor so calm and soft in its perspective,
there is a more aristocratic air about it. Smaller bodies are always
more select and respectable. The captain, to whom she has put an hundred
and one questions which he answers in monosyllables, is not, she thinks,
so much of a gentleman as he might have been had he been educated in
Charleston. He makes no distinction in favor of people of rank.

Lady Swiggs wears that same faded silk dress; her black crape bonnet,
with two saucy red artificial flowers tucked in at the side, sits so
jauntily; that dash of brown hair is smoothed so exactly over her
yellow, shrivelled forehead; her lower jaw oscillates with increased
motion; and her sharp, gray eyes, as before, peer anxiously through her
great-eyed spectacles. And, generous reader, that you may not mistake
her, she has brought her inseparable Milton, which she holds firmly
grasped in her right hand. "You have had a tedious time of it, Madam,"
says a corpulent lady, who is extensively dressed and jewelled, and
accosts her with a familiar air. Lady Swiggs says not so tedious as it
might have been, and gives her head two or three very fashionable
twitches.

"Your name, if you please?"

"The Princess Grouski. My husband, the Prince Grouski," replies the
corpulent lady, turning and introducing a fair-haired gentleman, tall
and straight of person, somewhat military in his movements, and
extremely fond of fingering his long, Saxon moustache. Lady Swiggs, on
the announcement of a princess, rises suddenly to her feet, and
commences an unlimited number of courtesies. She is, indeed, most happy
to meet, and have the honor of being fellow-voyager with their Royal
Highnesses--will remember it as being one of the happiest events of her
life,--and begs to assure them of her high esteem. The corpulent lady
gives her a delicate card, on which is described the crown of Poland,
and beneath, in exact letters, "The Prince and Princess Grouski." The
Prince affects not to understand English, which Lady Swiggs regrets
exceedingly, inasmuch as it deprives her of an interesting conversation
with a person of royal blood. The card she places carefully between the
leaves of her Milton, having first contemplated it with an air of
exultation. Again begging to thank the Prince and Princess for this
mark of their distinguished consideration, Lady Swiggs inquires if they
ever met or heard of Sir Sunderland Swiggs. The rotund lady, for herself
and the prince, replies in the negative. "He was," she pursues, with a
sigh of disappointment, "he was very distinguished, in his day. Yes, and
I am his lineal descendant. Your highnesses visited Charleston, of
course?"

"O dear," replies the rotund lady, somewhat laconically, "the happiest
days of my life were spent among the chivalry of South Carolina. Indeed,
Madam, I have received the attention and honors of the very first
families in that State."

This exclamation sets the venerable lady to thinking how it could be
possible that their highnesses received the attentions of the first
families and she not know it. No great persons ever visited the United
States without honoring Charleston with their presence, it was true; but
how in the world did it happen that she was kept in ignorance of such an
event as that of the Prince and Princess paying it a visit. She began to
doubt the friendship of her distinguished acquaintances, and the St.
Cecilia Society. She hopes that should they condescend to pay the United
States a second visit, they will remember her address. This the rotund
lady, who is no less a person than the distinguished Madame Flamingo,
begs to assure her she will.

Let not this happy union between Grouski and the old hostess, surprise
you, gentle reader. It was brought about by Mr. Snivel, the
accommodation man, who, as you have before seen, is always ready to do a
bit of a good turn. Being a skilful diplomatist in such matters, he
organized the convention, superintended the wooing, and for a lusty
share of the spoils, secured to him by Grouski, brought matters to an
issue "highly acceptable" to all parties. A sale of her palace of
licentiousness, works of art, costly furniture, and female wares,
together with the good will of all concerned, (her friends of the "bench
and bar" not excepted,) was made for the nice little sum of sixty-seven
thousand dollars, to Madame Grace Ashley, whose inauguration was one of
the most gorgeous _fêtes_ the history of Charleston can boast. The new
occupant was a novice. She had not sufficient funds to pay ready money
for the purchase, hence Mr. Doorwood, a chivalric and very excellent
gentleman, according to report, supplies the necessary, taking a
mortgage on the institution; which proves to be quite as good property
as the Bank, of which he is president. It is not, however, just that
sort of business upon which an already seared conscience can repose in
quiet, hence he applies that antidote too frequently used by knaves--he
never lets a Sunday pass without piously attending church.

The money thus got, through this long life of iniquity, was by Madame
Flamingo handed over to the Prince, in exchange for his heart and the
title she had been deluded to believe him capable of conferring. Her
reverence for Princes and exiled heroes, (who are generally exiled
humbugs,) was not one jot less than that so pitiably exhibited by our
self-dubbed fashionable society all over this Union. It may be well to
add, that this distinguished couple, all smiling and loving, are on
their way to Europe, where they are sure of receiving the attentions of
any quantity of "crowned heads." Mr. Snivel, in order not to let the
affair lack that _eclat_ which is the crowning point in matters of high
life, got smuggled into the columns of the highly respectable and very
authentic old "Courier," a line or two, in which the fashionable world
was thrown into a flutter by the announcement that Prince Grouski and
his wealthy bride left yesterday, _en route_ for Europe. This bit of
gossip the "New York Herald" caught up and duly itemised, for the
benefit of its upper-ten readers, who, as may be easily imagined, were
all on tip-toe to know the address of visitors so distinguished, and
leave cards.

Mrs. Swiggs has (we must return to her mission) scarcely set foot on
shore, when, thanks to a little-headed corporation, she is fairly set
upon by a dozen or more villanous hack-drivers, each dangling his whip
in her face, to the no small danger of her bonnet and spectacles. They
jostle her, utter vile imprecations, dispute for the right of carrying
her, each in his turn offering to do it a shilling less. Lady Swiggs is
indeed an important individual in the hands of the hack-drivers, and by
them, in a fair way of being torn to pieces. She wonders they do not
recognize her as a distinguished person, from the chivalric State of
South Carolina. The captain is engaged with his ship, passengers are
hurrying ashore, too anxious to escape the confinement of the cabin;
every one seems in haste to leave her, no one offers to protect her from
the clutches of those who threaten to tear her into precious pieces. She
sighs for Sister Slocum, for Mr. Hadger, for any one kind enough to
raise a friendly voice in her behalf. Now one has got her black box,
another her corpulent carpet-bag--a third exults in a victory over her
band-box. Fain would she give up her mission in disgust, return to the
more aristocratic atmosphere of Charleston, and leave the heathen to his
fate. All this might have been avoided had Sister Slocum sent her
carriage. She will stick by her black-box, nevertheless. So into the
carriage with it she gets, much discomfited. The driver says he would
drive to the Mayor's office "and 'ave them ar two coves what's got the
corpulent carpet-bag and the band-box, seed after, if it wern't that His
Honor never knows anything he ought to know, and is sure to do nothing.
They'll turn up, Mam, I don't doubt," says the man, "but it's next to
los'in' on 'em, to go to the Mayor's office. Our whole corporation, Mam,
don't do nothin' but eats oysters, drinks whiskey, and makes
presidents;--them's what they do, Marm." Lady Swiggs says what a pity so
great a city was not blessed with a bigger-headed corporation.

"That it is, Marm," returns the methodical hack-driver, "he an't got a
very big head, our corporation." And Lady Swiggs, deprived of her
carpet-bag and band-box, and considerably out of patience, is rolled
away to the mansion of Sister Slocum, on Fourth Avenue. Instead of
falling immediately into the arms and affections of that worthy and very
enterprising lady, the door is opened by a slatternly maid of all
work--her greasy dress, and hard, ruddy face and hands--her short,
flabby figure, and her coarse, uncombed hair, giving out strong evidence
of being overtaxed with labor. "Is it Mrs. Slocum hersel' ye'd be
seein'?" inquires the maid, wiping her soapy hands with her apron, and
looking querulously in the face of the old lady, who, with the air of a
Scotch metaphysician, says she is come to spend a week in friendly
communion with her, to talk over the cause of the poor, benighted
heathen. "Troth an' I'm not as sure ye'll do that same, onyhow; sure
she'd not spend a week at home in the blessed year; and the divil
another help in the house but mysel' and himsel', Mr. Slocum. A decent
man is that same Slocum, too," pursues the maid, with a laconic
indifference to the wants of the guest. A dusty hat-stand ornaments one
side of the hall, a patched and somewhat deformed sofa the other. The
walls wear a dingy air; the fumes of soapsuds and stewed onions offend
the senses. Mrs. Swiggs hesitates in the doorway. Shall I advance, or
retreat to more congenial quarters? she asks herself. The wily
hack-driver (he agreed for four and charged her twelve shillings) leaves
her black box on the step and drives away. She may be thankful he did
not charge her twenty. They make no allowance for distinguished people;
Lady Swiggs learns this fact, to her great annoyance. To the
much-confused maid of all work she commences relating the loss of her
luggage. With one hand swinging the door and the other tucked under her
dowdy apron, she says, "Troth, Mam, and ye ought to be thankful, for the
like of that's done every day."

Mrs. Swiggs would like a room for the night at least, but is told, in a
somewhat confused style, that not a room in the house is in order. That
a person having the whole heathen world on her shoulders should not have
her house in order somewhat surprises the indomitable lady. In answer to
a question as to what time Mr. Slocum will be home, the maid of all work
says: "Och! God love the poor man, there's no tellin'. Sure there's not
much left of the poor man. An' the divil a one more inoffensive than
poor Slocum. It's himsel' works all day in the Shurance office beyant.
He comes home dragged out, does a dale of writing for Mrs. Slocum
hersel', and goes to bed sayin' nothin' to nobody." Lady Swiggs says:
"God bless me He no doubt labors in a good cause--an excellent
cause--he will have his reward hereafter."

It must here be confessed that Sister Slocum, having on hand a
newly-married couple, nicely suited to the duties of a mission to some
foreign land, has conceived the very laudable project of sending them to
Aleppo, and is now spending a few weeks among the Dutch of Albany, who
are expected to contribute the necessary funds. A few thousand dollars
expended, a few years' residence in the East, a few reports as to what
might have been done if something had not interposed to prevent it, and
there is not a doubt that this happy couple will return home crowned
with the laurels of having very nearly Christianized one Turk and two
Tartars.

The maid of all work suddenly remembers that Mrs. Slocum left word that
if a distinguished lady arrived from South Carolina she could be
comfortably accommodated at Sister Scudder's, on Fourth Street. Not a
little disappointed, the venerable old lady calls a passing carriage,
gets herself and black box into it, and orders the driver to forthwith
proceed to the house of Sister Scudder. Here she is--and she sheds tears
that she is--cooped up in a cold, closet-like room, on the third story,
where, with the ends of her red shawl, she may blow and warm her
fingers. Sister Scudder is a crispy little body, in spectacles. Her
features are extremely sharp, and her countenance continually wears a
wise expression. As for her knowledge of scripture, it is truly
wonderful, and a decided improvement when contrasted with the meagre
set-out of her table. Tea time having arrived, Lady Swiggs is invited
down to a cup by a pert Irish servant, who accosts her with an
independence she by no means approves. Entering the room with an air of
stateliness she deems necessary to the position she desires to maintain,
Sister Scudder takes her by the hand and introduces her to a bevy of
nicely-conditioned, and sleek-looking gentlemen, whose exactly-combed
mutton chop whiskers, smoothly-oiled hair, perfectly-tied white cravats,
cloth so modest and fashionable, and mild, studious countenances,
discover their profession. Sister Scudder, motioning Lady Swiggs aside,
whispers in her ear: "They are all very excellent young men. They will
improve on acquaintance. They are come up for the clergy." They, in
turn, receive the distinguished stranger in a manner that is rather
abrupt than cold, and ere she has dispensed her stately courtesy, say;
"how do you do marm," and turn to resume with one another their
conversation on the wicked world. It is somewhat curious to see how much
more interested these gentry become in the wicked world when it is afar
off.

Tea very weak, butter very strong, toast very thin, and religious
conversation extremely thick, make up the repast. There is no want of
appetite. Indeed one might, under different circumstances, have imagined
Sister Scudder's clerical boarders contesting a race for an extra slice
of her very thin toast. Not the least prominent among Sister Scudder's
boarders is Brother Singleton Spyke, whom Mrs. Swiggs recognizes by the
many compliments he lavishes upon Sister Slocum, whose absence is a
source of great regret with him. She is always elbow deep in some
laudable pursuit. Her presence sheds a radiant light over everything
around; everybody mourns her when absent. Nevertheless, there is some
satisfaction in knowing that her absence is caused by her anxiety to
promote some mission of good: Brother Spyke thus muses. Seeing that
there is come among them a distinguished stranger, he gives out that
to-morrow evening there will be a gathering of the brethren at the
"House of the Foreign Missions," when the very important subject of
funds necessary to his mission to Antioch, will be discussed. Brother
Spyke, having levelled this battery at the susceptibility of Mrs.
Swiggs, is delighted to find some fourteen voices chiming in--all
complimenting his peculiar fitness for, and the worthy object of the
mission. Mrs. Swiggs sets her cup in her saucer, and in a becoming
manner, to the great joy of all present, commences an eulogium on Mr.
Spyke. Sister Slocum, in her letters, held him before her in strong
colors; spoke in such high praise of his talent, and gave so many
guarantees as to what he would do if he only got among the heathen, that
her sympathies were enlisted--she resolved to lose no time in getting to
New York, and, when there, put her shoulder right manfully to the wheel.
This declaration finds her, as if by some mysterious transport, an
object of no end of praise. Sister Scudder adjusts her spectacles, and,
in mildest accents, says, "The Lord will indeed reward such
disinterestedness." Brother Mansfield says motives so pure will ensure a
passport to heaven, he is sure. Brother Sharp, an exceedingly lean and
tall youth, with a narrow head and sharp nose (Mr. Sharp's father
declared he made him a preacher because he could make him nothing else),
pronounces, with great emphasis, that such self-sacrifice should be
written in letters of gold. A unanimous sounding of her praises
convinces Mrs. Swiggs that she is indeed a person of great importance.
There is, however, a certain roughness of manner about her new friends,
which does not harmonize with her notions of aristocracy. She questions
within herself whether they represent the "first families" of New York.
If the "first families" could only get their heads together, the heathen
world would be sure to knock under. No doubt, it can be effected in time
by common people. If Sister Slocum, too, would evangelize the world--if
she would give the light of heaven to the benighted, she must employ
willing hearts and strong hands. Satan, she says, may be chained,
subdued, and made to abjure his wickedness. These cheering
contemplations more than atone for the cold reception she met at the
house of Sister Slocum. Her only regret now is that she did not sell old
Cicero. The money so got would have enabled her to bestow a more
substantial token of her soul's sincerity.

Tea over, thanks returned, a prayer offered up, and Brother Spyke,
having taken a seat on the sofa beside Mrs. Swiggs, opens his batteries
in a spiritual conversation, which he now and then spices with a few
items of his own history. At the age of fifteen he found himself in love
with a beautiful young lady, who, unfortunately, had made up her mind to
accept only the hand of a clergyman: hence, she rejected his. This so
disturbed his thoughts, that he resolved on studying theology. In this
he was aided by the singular discovery, that he had a talent, and a
"call to preach." He would forget his amour, he thought, become a member
of the clergy, and go preach to the heathen. He spent his days in
reading, his nights in the study of divine truths. Then he got on the
kind side of a committee of very excellent ladies, who, having duly
considered his qualities, pronounced him exactly suited to the study of
theology. Ladies were generally good judges of such matters, and Brother
Spyke felt he could not do better than act up to their opinions. To all
these things Mrs. Swiggs listens with delight.

Spyke, too, is in every way a well made-up man, being extremely tall and
lean of figure, with nice Saxon hair and whiskers, mild but thoughtful
blue eyes, an anxious expression of countenance, a thin, squeaking
voice, and features sufficiently delicate and regular for his calling.
His dress, too, is always exactly clerical. If he be cold and pedantic
in his manner, the fault must be set down to the errors of the
profession, rather than to any natural inclination of his own. But what
is singular of Brother Spyke is, that, notwithstanding his passion for
delving the heathen world, and dragging into Christian light and love
the benighted wretches there found, he has never in his life given a
thought for that heathen world at his own door--a heathen world sinking
in the blackest pool of misery and death, in the very heart of an
opulent city, over which it hurls its seething pestilence, and scoffs at
the commands of high heaven. No, he never thought of that Babylon of
vice and crime--that heathen world pleading with open jaws at his own
door. He had no thought for how much money might be saved, and how much
more good done, did he but turn his eyes; go into this dark world (the
Points) pleading at his feet, nerve himself to action, and lend a strong
hand to help drag off the film of its degradation. In addition to this,
Brother Spyke was sharp enough to discover the fact that a country
parson does not enjoy the most enviable situation. A country parson must
put up with the smallest salary; he must preach the very best of
sermons; he must flatter and flirt with all the marriageable ladies of
his church; he must consult the tastes, but offend none of the old
ladies; he must submit to have the sermon he strained his brain to make
perfect, torn to pieces by a dozen wise old women, who claim the right
of carrying the church on their shoulders; he must have dictated to him
what sort of dame he may take for wife;--in a word, he must bear meekly
a deal of pestering and starvation, or be in bad odor with the senior
members of the sewing circle. Duly appreciating all these difficulties,
Brother Spyke chose a mission to Antioch, where the field of his labors
would be wide, and the gates not open to restraints. And though he could
not define the exact character of his mission to Antioch, he so worked
upon the sympathies of the credulous old lady, as to well-nigh create in
her mind a resolve to give the amount she had struggled to get and set
apart for the benefit of those two institutions ("the Tract Society,"
and "The Home of the Foreign Missions"), all to the getting himself off
to Antioch.



CHAPTER XXI.

MR. SNIVEL PURSUES HIS SEARCH FOR THE VOTE-CRIBBER.


While Mrs. Swiggs is being entertained by Sister Scudder and her
clerical friends in New York, Mr. Snivel is making good his demand on
her property in Charleston. As the agent of Keepum, he has attached her
old slaves, and what few pieces of furniture he could find; they will in
a few days be sold for the satisfaction of her debts. Mrs. Swiggs, it
must be said, never had any very nice appreciation of debt-paying,
holding it much more legitimate that her creditors accept her dignity in
satisfaction of any demand they chanced to have against her. As for her
little old house, the last abode of the last of the great Swiggs
family,--that, like numerous other houses of our "very first families,"
is mortgaged for more than it is worth, to Mr. Staple the grocer. We
must, however, turn to Mr. Snivel.

Mr. Snivel is seen, on the night after the secret interview at the
Charleston Hotel, in a happy mood, passing down King street. A little,
ill-featured man, with a small, but florid face, a keen, lecherous eye,
leans on his arm. They are in earnest conversation.

"I think the mystery is nearly cleared up, Keepum" says Snivel.

"There seems no getting a clue to the early history of this Madame
Montford, 'tis true. Even those who introduced her to Charleston society
know nothing of her beyond a certain period. All anterior to that is
wrapped in suspicion," returns Keepum, fingering his massive gold chain
and seals, that pend from his vest, then releasing his hold of Mr.
Snivel's arm, and commencing to button closely his blue dress coat,
which is profusely decorated with large gilt buttons. "She's the mother
of the dashing harlot, or I'm no prophet, nevertheless," he concludes,
shaking his head significantly.

"You may almost swear it--a bad conscience is a horrid bore; d--n me, if
I can't see through the thing. (Mr. Snivel laughs.) Better put our
female friends on their guard, eh?"

"They had better drop her as quietly as possible," rejoins Mr. Keepum,
drawing his white glove from off his right hand, and extending his cigar
case.

Mr. Snivel having helped himself to a cigar, says: "D--n me, if she
didn't faint in my arms last night. I made a discovery that brought
something of deep interest back to her mind, and gave her timbers such a
shock! I watched, and read the whole story in her emotions. One
accustomed to the sharps of the legal profession can do this sort of
thing. She is afraid of approaching this beautiful creature, Anna
Bonard, seeing the life she lives, and the suspicions it might create in
fashionable society, did she pursue such a course to the end of finding
out whether she be really the lost child of the relative she refers to
so often. Her object is to find one Mag Munday, who used to knock about
here, and with whom the child was left. But enough of this for the
present." Thus saying, they enter the house of the old antiquary, and
finding no one but Maria at home, Mr. Snivel takes the liberty of
throwing his arms about her waist. This done, he attempts to drag her
across the room and upon the sofa. "Neither your father nor you ever had
a better friend," he says, as the girl struggles from his grasp, shrinks
at his feet, and, with a look of disdain, upbraids him for his attempt
to take advantage of a lone female.

"High, ho!" interposes Keepum, "what airs these sort of people put on,
eh? Don't amount to much, no how; they soon get over them, you know. A
blasted deal of assumption, as you say. Ha, ha, ha! I rather like this
sort of modesty. 'Tisn't every one can put it cleverly." Mr. Snivel
winks to Keepum, who makes an ineffectual attempt to extinguish the
light, which Maria seizes in her hand, and summoning her courage, stands
before them in a defiant attitude, an expression of hate and scorn on
her countenance. "Ah, fiend! you take this liberty--you seek to destroy
me because I am poor--because you think me humble--an easy object to
prey upon. I am neither a stranger to the world nor your cowardly
designs; and so long as I have life you shall not gloat over the
destruction of my virtue. Approach me at your peril--knaves! You have
compromised my father; you have got him in your grasp, that you may the
more easily destroy me. But you will be disappointed, your perfidy will
recoil on yourselves: though stripped of all else, I will die protecting
that virtue you would not dare to offend but for my poverty." This
unexpected display of resolution has the effect of making the position
of the intruders somewhat uncomfortable. Mr. Keepum, whose designs
Snivel would put in execution, sinks, cowardly, upon the sofa, while his
compatriot (both are celebrated for their chivalry) stands off apace
endeavoring to palliate the insult with facetious remarks. (This
chivalry of ours is a mockery, a convenient word in the foul mouths of
fouler ruffians.) Mr. Snivel makes a second attempt to overcome the
unprotected girl. With every expression of hate and scorn rising to her
face, she bids him defiance. Seeing himself thus firmly repulsed, he
begs to assure her, on the word of a gentleman--a commodity always on
hand, and exceedingly cheap with us--he was far from intending an
insult. He meant it for a bit of a good turn--nothing more. "Always
fractious at first--these sort of people are," pursues Keepum,
relighting his cigar as he sits on the sofa, squinting his right eye.
"Take bravely to gentlemen after a little display of modesty--always!
Try her again, Squire." Mr. Snivel dashes the candle from her hand, and
in the darkness grasps her wrists. The enraged girl shrieks, and calls
aloud for assistance. Simultaneously a blow fells Mr. Snivel to the
floor. The voice of Tom Swiggs is heard, crying: "Wretch! villain!--what
brings you here? (Mr. Keepum, like the coward, who fears the vengeance
he has merited, makes good his escape.) Will you never cease polluting
the habitations of the poor? Would to God there was justice for the
poor, as well as law for the rich; then I would make thee bite the dust,
like a dying viper. You should no longer banquet on poor virtue.
Wretch!--I would teach thee that virtue has its value with the poor as
well as the rich;--that with the true gentleman it is equally sacred."
Tom stands a few moments over the trembling miscreant, Maria sinks into
a chair, and with her elbows resting on the table, buries her face in
her hands and gives vent to her tears.

"Never did criminal so merit punishment; but I will prove thee not worth
my hand. Go, wretch, go! and know that he who proves himself worthy of
entering the habitations of the humble is more to be prized than kings
and princes." Tom relights the candle in time to see Mr. Snivel rushing
into the street.

The moon sheds a pale light over the city as the two chivalric
gentlemen, having rejoined and sworn to have revenge, are seen entering
a little gate that opens to a dilapidated old building, fronted by a
neglected garden, situate on the north side of Queen street, and in days
gone by called "Rogues' Retreat." "Rogues' Retreat" has scared vines
creeping over its black, clap-boarded front, which viewed from the
street appears in a squatting mood, while its broken door, closed
shutters--the neglected branches of grape vines that depend upon decayed
trellise and arbors, invest it with a forlorn air: indeed, one might
without prejudicing his faculties imagine it a fit receptacle for our
deceased politicians and our whiskey-drinking congressmen--the last
resting-place of our departed chivalry. Nevertheless, generous reader,
we will show you that "Rogues' Retreat" serves a very different purpose.
Our mob-politicians, who make their lungs and fists supply the want of
brains, use it as their favorite haunt, and may be seen on the eve of an
election passing in and out of a door in the rear. Hogsheads of bad
whiskey have been drunk in "Rogues' Retreat;" it reeks with the fumes of
uncounted cigars; it has been the scene of untold villanies. Follow us;
we will forego politeness, and peep in through a little,
suspicious-looking window, in the rear of the building. This window
looks into a cavern-like room, some sixteen feet by thirty, the ceiling
of which is low, and blotched here and there with lamp-smoke and
water-stains, the plastering hanging in festoons from the walls, and
lighted by the faint blaze of a small globular lamp, depending from the
centre, and shedding a lurid glare over fourteen grotesque faces, formed
round a broad deal-table. Here, at one side of the table sits Judge
Sleepyhorn, Milman Mingle, the vote-cribber, on his right; there, on the
other, sits Mr. Snivel and Mr. Keepum. More conspicuous than anything
else, stands, in the centre of the table, bottles and decanters of
whiskey, of which each man is armed with a stout glass. "I am as well
aware of the law as my friend who has just taken his seat can be. But we
all know that the law can be made subordinate; and it must be made
subordinate to party ends. We must not (understand me, I do not say this
in my judicial capacity) be too scrupulous when momentous issues are
upon us. The man who has not nerve enough to make citizens by the
dozen--to stuff double-drawered ballot-boxes, is not equal to the times
we live in;--this is a great moral fact." This is said by the Judge,
who, having risen with an easy air, sits down and resumes his glass and
cigar.

"Them's my sentiments--exactly," interposes the vote-cribber, his burly,
scarred face, and crispy red hair and beard, forming a striking picture
in the pale light. "I have given up the trade of making Presidents, what
I used to foller when, you see, I lived in North Caroliner; but, I tell
you on the faith of my experience, that to carry the day we must let the
law slide, and crib with a free chain: there's no gettin' over this."

"It is due," interrupts the Judge, again rising to his feet and bowing
to the cribber, "to this worthy man, whose patriotism has been tried so
often within prison-walls, that we give weight to his advice. He bears
the brunt of the battle like a hero--he is a hero!" (The vote-cribber
acknowledges the compliment by filling his glass and drinking to the
Judge.)

"Of this worthy gentleman I have, as a member of the learned profession,
an exalted opinion. His services are as necessary to our success as
steam to the speed of a locomotive. I am in favor of leaving the law
entirely out of the question. What society sanctions as a means to party
ends, the law in most cases fails to reach," rejoins a tall,
sandy-complexioned man, of the name of Booper, very distinguished among
lawyers and ladies. Never was truth spoken with stronger testimony at
hand. Mr. Keepum could boast of killing two poor men; Mr. Snivel could
testify to the fallacy of the law by gaining him an honorable acquittal.
There were numerous indictments against Mr. Keepum for his dealings in
lottery tickets, but they found their way into the Attorney-General's
pocket, and it was whispered he meant to keep them there. It was indeed
pretty well known he could not get them out in consequence of the gold
Keepum poured in. Not a week passes but men kill each other in the open
streets. We call these little affairs, "rencontres;" the fact is, we are
become so accustomed to them that we rather like them, and regard them
as evidences of our advanced civilization. We are infested with
slave-hunters, and slave-killers, who daily disgrace us with their
barbarities; yet the law is weak when the victor is strong. So we
continue to live in the harmless belief that we are the most chivalrous
people in the world.

"Mr. Booper!" ejaculates Mr. Snivel, knocking the ashes from his cigar
and rising to his feet, "you have paid no more than a merited
compliment to the masterly completeness of this excellent man's
cribbing. (He points to the cribber, and bows.) Now, permit me to say
here, I have at my disposal a set of fellows, (he smiles,) who can fight
their way into Congress, duplicate any system of sharps, and stand in
fear of nothing. Oh! gentlemen, (Mr. Snivel becomes enthusiastic.) I
was--as I have said, I believe--enjoying a bottle of champagne with my
friend Keepum here, when we overheard two Dutchmen--the Dutch always go
with the wrong party--discoursing about a villanous caucus held to-night
in King street. There is villany up with these Dutch! But, you see,
we--that is, I mean I--made some forty or more citizens last year. We
have the patent process; we can make as many this year."

Mr. Sharp, an exceedingly clever politician, who has meekly born any
number of cudgellings at the polls, and hopes ere long to get the
appointment of Minister to Paris, interrupts by begging that Mr. Soloman
will fill his glass, and resume his seat. Mr. Snivel having taking his
seat, Mr. Sharp proceeds: "I tell you all what it is, says I, the other
day to a friend--these ponderous Dutch ain't to be depended on. Then,
says I, you must separate the Irish into three classes, and to each
class you must hold out a different inducement, says I. There's the Rev.
Father Flaherty, says I, and he is a trump card at electioneering. He
can form a breach between his people and the Dutch, and, says I, by the
means of this breach we will gain the whole tribe of Emeralds over to
our party. I confess I hate these vagabonds right soundly; but necessity
demands that we butter and sugar the mover until we carry our ends. You
must not look at the means, says I, when the ends are momentous."

"The staunch Irish," pursues the Judge, rising as Mr. Sharp sits down,
"are noble fellows, and with us. To the middle class--the grocers and
shopkeepers--we must, however, hold out flattering inducements; such as
the reduction of taxes, the repeal of our oppressive license laws,
taking the power out of the hands of our aristocracy--they are very
tender here--and giving equal rights to emigrants. These points we must
put as Paul did his sermons--with force and ingenuity. As for the low
Irish, all we have to do is to crib them, feed and pickle them in
whiskey for a week. To gain an Irishman's generosity, you cannot use a
better instrument than meat, drink, and blarney. I often contemplate
these fellows when I am passing sentence upon them for crime."

"True! I have the same dislike to them personally; but politically, the
matter assumes quite a different form of attraction. The laboring
Irish--the dull-headed--are what we have to do with. We must work them
over, and over, and over, until we get them just right. Then we must
turn them all into legal voting citizens--"

"That depends on how long they have been in the country," interrupts a
brisk little man, rising quickly to his feet, and assuming a legal air.

"Mr. Sprig! you are entirely behind the age. It matters not how long
these gentlemen from Ireland have been in the country. They take to
politics like rats to good cheese. A few months' residence, and a little
working over, you know, and they become trump voters. The Dutch are a
different sort of animal; the fellows are thinkers," resumes the Judge.

Mr. Snivel, who has been sipping his whiskey, and listening very
attentively to the Judge, rises to what he calls the most important
order. He has got the paper all ready, and proposes the gentlemen he
thinks best qualified for the naturalization committee. This done, Mr.
Snivel draws from his pocket a copy of the forged papers, which are
examined, and approved by every one present. This instrument is
surmounted with the eagle and arms of the United States, and reads thus:

     "_STATE OF NEW YORK_.

     "In the Court of Common Pleas for the city and county of New York:

     "I---- do declare on oath, that it is _bonâ fide_ my intention to
     become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all
     allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, State or
     sovereignty whatever, and particularly to the Queen of the United
     Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, of whom I am a subject."

     Signed this---- day of---- 184-.

        JAMES CONNOR, Clerk.

     "Clerk's office, Court of Common Pleas for the city and county of
     New York."

     "I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of an original
     declaration of intention remaining on record in my office, &c.,
     &c., &c."

"There! it required skill and practice to imitate like that" Mr. Snivel
exultingly exclaims. "We require to make thirty-seven citizens, and have
prepared the exact number of papers. If the cribbers do their duty, the
day is ours." Thus is revealed one of the scenes common to "Rogues'
Retreat." We shrink at the multiplicity of crime in our midst; we too
seldom trace the source from whence it flows. If we did but turn our
eyes in the right direction we would find the very men we have elected
our guardians, protecting the vicious, whose power they
covet--sacrificing their high trust to a low political ambition. You
cannot serve a political end by committing a wrong without inflicting a
moral degradation on some one. Political intrigue begets laxity of
habits; it dispels that integrity without which the unfixed mind becomes
vicious; it acts as a festering sore in the body politic.

Having concluded their arrangements for the Mayor's election, the party
drinks itself into a noisy mood, each outshouting the other for the
right to speak, each refilling and emptying his glass, each asserting
with vile imprecations, his dignity as a gentleman. Midnight finds the
reeling party adjourning in the midst of confusion.

Mr. Snivel winks the vote-cribber into a corner, and commences
interrogating him concerning Mag Munday. The implacable face of the
vote-cribber reddens, he contorts his brows, frets his jagged beard with
the fingers of his left hand, runs his right over the crown of his head,
and stammers: "I know'd her, lived with her--she used to run sort of
wild, and was twice flogged. She got crazed at last!" He shrugs his
stalworth shoulders and pauses. "Being a politician, you see, a body
can't divest their minds of State affairs sufficiently to keep up on
women matters," he pursues: "She got into the poor-house, that I
knows--"

"She is dead then?" interposes Mr. Snivel.

"As like as not. The poor relatives of our 'first families' rot and die
there without much being said about it. Just look in at that
institution--it's a terrible place to kill folks off!--and if she be not
there then come to me. Don't let the keepers put you off. Pass through
the outer gate, into and through the main building, then turn sharp to
the left, and advance some twenty feet up a filthy passage, then enter a
passage on the right, (have a light with you,) that leads to a dozen or
fourteen steps, wet and slippery. Then you must descend into a sort of
grotto, or sickly vault, which you will cross and find yourself in a
spacious passage, crawling with beetles and lizards. Don't be
frightened, sir; keep on till you hear moanings and clankings of chains.
Then you will come upon a row of horrid cells, only suited for dog
kennels. In these cells our crazy folks are chained and left to die.
Give Glentworthy a few shillings for liquor, sir, and he, having these
poor devils in charge, will put you through. It's a terrible place, sir,
but our authorities never look into it, and few of our people know of
its existence."

Mr. Snivel thanks the vote-cribber, who pledges his honor he would
accompany him, but for the reason that he opens crib to-morrow, and has
in his eye a dozen voters he intends to look up. He has also a few
recently-arrived sons of the Emerald Isle he purposes turning into
citizens.



CHAPTER XXII

MRS. SWIGGS FALLS UPON A MODERN HEATHEN WORLD.


Purged of all the ill-humors of her mind, Mrs. Swiggs finds herself, on
the morning following the excellent little gathering at Sister
Scudder's, restored to the happiest of tempers. The flattery
administered by Brother Spyke, and so charmingly sprinkled with his
pious designs on the heathen world, has had the desired effect. This
sort of drug has, indeed, a wonderful efficacy in setting disordered
constitutions to rights. It would not become us to question the
innocence, or the right to indulge in such correctives; it is enough
that our venerable friend finds herself in a happy vein, and is resolved
to spend the day for the benefit of that heathen world, the darkness of
which Brother Spyke pictured in colors so terrible.

Breakfast is scarcely over when Sister Slocum, in great agitation, comes
bustling into the parlor, offers the most acceptable apologies for her
absence, and pours forth such a vast profusion of solicitude for Mrs.
Swiggs' welfare, that that lady is scarce able to withstand the
kindness. She recounts the numerous duties that absorb her attention,
the missions she has on hand, the means she uses to keep up an interest
in them, the amount of funds necessary to their maintenance. A large
portion of these funds she raises with her own energy. She will drag up
the heathen world; she will drag down Satan. Furnishing Mrs. Swiggs
with the address of the House of the Foreign Missions, in Centre street,
she excuses herself. How superlatively happy she would be to accompany
Mrs. Swiggs. A report to present to the committee on finance, she
regrets, will prevent this. However, she will join her precisely at
twelve o'clock, at the House. She must receive the congratulations of
the Board. She must have a reception that will show how much the North
respects her co-laborers of the South. And with this, Sister Slocum
takes leave of her guest, assuring her that all she has to do is to get
into the cars in the Bowery. They will set her down at the door.

Ten o'clock finds our indomitable lady, having preferred the less
expensive mode of walking, entering a strange world. Sauntering along
the Bowery she turns down Bayard street. Bayard street she finds lined
with filthy looking houses, swarming with sickly, ragged, and besotted
poor; the street is knee-deep with corrupting mire; carts are tilted
here and there at intervals; the very air seems hurling its pestilence
into your blood. Ghastly-eyed and squalid children, like ants in quest
of food, creep and swarm over the pavement, begging for bread or
uttering profane oaths at one another. Mothers who never heard the Word
of God, nor can be expected to teach it to their children, protrude
their vicious faces from out reeking gin shops, and with bare breasts
and uncombed hair, sweep wildly along the muddy pavement, disappear into
some cavern-like cellar, and seek on some filthy straw a resting place
for their wasting bodies. A whiskey-drinking Corporation might feast its
peculative eyes upon hogs wallowing in mud; and cellars where swarming
beggars, for six cents a night, cover with rags their hideous
heads--where vice and crime are fostered, and into which your sensitive
policeman prefers not to go, are giving out their seething miasma. The
very neighborhood seems vegetating in mire. In the streets, in the
cellars, in the filthy lanes, in the dwellings of the honest poor, as
well as the vicious, muck and mire is the predominating order. The
besotted remnants of depraved men, covered with rags and bedaubed with
mire, sit, half sleeping in disease and hunger on decayed door-stoops.
Men with bruised faces, men with bleared eyes, men in whose every
feature crime and dissipation is stamped, now drag their waning bodies
from out filthy alleys, as if to gasp some breath of air, then drag
themselves back, as if to die in a desolate hiding-place. Engines of
pestilence and death the corporation might see and remove, if it would,
are left here to fester--to serve a church-yard as gluttonous as its own
belly. The corporation keeps its eyes in its belly, its little sense in
its big boots, and its dull action in the whiskey-jug. Like Mrs. Swiggs,
it cannot afford to do anything for this heathen world in the heart of
home. No, sir! The corporation has the most delicate sense of its
duties. It is well paid to nurture the nucleus of a pestilence that may
some day break out and sweep over the city like an avenging enemy. It
thanks kind Providence, eating oysters and making Presidents the while,
for averting the dire scourge it encourages with its apathy. Like our
humane and very fashionable preachers, it contents itself with looking
into the Points from Broadway. What more would you ask of it?

Mrs. Swiggs is seized with fear and trembling. Surely she is in a world
of darkness. Can it be that so graphically described by Brother
Syngleton Spyke? she questions within herself. It might, indeed, put
Antioch to shame: but the benighted denizens with which it swarms speak
her own tongue. "It is a deal worse in Orange street,[3] Marm--a deal, I
assure you!" speaks a low, muttering voice. Lady Swiggs is startled. She
only paused a moment to view this sea of vice and wretchedness she finds
herself surrounded with. Turning quickly round she sees before her a
man, or what there is left of a man. His tattered garments, his lean,
shrunken figure, his glassy eyes, and pale, haggard face, cause her to
shrink back in fright. He bows, touches his shattered hat, and says, "Be
not afraid good Madam. May I ask if you have not mistaken your way?"
Mrs. Swiggs looks querulously through her spectacles and says, "Do tell
me where I am?" "In the Points, good Madam. You seem confused, and I
don't wonder. It's a dreadful place. I know it, madam, to my sorrow."
There is a certain politeness in the manner of this man--an absence of
rudeness she is surprised to find in one so dejected. The red, distended
nose, the wild expression of his countenance, his jagged hair, hanging
in tufts over his ragged coat collar, give him a repulsiveness not
easily described. In answer to an inquiry he says, "They call me, Madam,
and I'm contented with the name,--they call me Tom Toddleworth, the
Chronicle. I am well down--not in years, but sorrow. Being sick of the
world I came here, have lived, or rather drifted about, in this sea of
hopeless misery, homeless and at times foodless, for ten years or more.
Oh! I have seen better days, Madam. You are a stranger here. May God
always keep you a stranger to the sufferings of those who dwell with us.
I never expect to be anything again, owe nothing to the world, and
never go into Broadway."

[Footnote 3: Now called Baxter street]

"Never go into Broadway," repeats Mrs. Swiggs, her fingers wandering to
her spectacles. Turning into Orange street, Mr. Toddleworth tenders his
services in piloting Mrs. Swiggs into Centre street, which, as he adds,
will place her beyond harm. As they advance the scene becomes darker and
darker. Orange street seems that centre from which radiates the avenues
of every vice known to a great city. One might fancy the world's
outcasts hurled by some mysterious hand into this pool of crime and
misery, and left to feast their wanton appetites and die. "And you have
no home, my man?" says Mrs. Swiggs, mechanically. "As to that, Madam,"
returns the man, with a bow, "I can't exactly say I have no home. I kind
of preside over and am looked up to by these people. One says, 'come
spend a night with me, Mr. Toddleworth,' another says, 'come spend a
night with me, Mr. Tom Toddleworth.' I am a sort of respectable man with
them, have a place to lay down free, in any of their houses. They all
esteem me, and say, come spend a night with me, Mr. Toddleworth. It's
very kind of them. And whenever they get a drop of gin I'm sure of a
taste. Surmising what I was once, they look up to me, you see. This
gives me heart." And as he says this he smiles, and draws about him the
ragged remnants of his coat, as if touched by shame. Arrived at the
corner of Orange street, Mr. Toddleworth pauses and begs his charge to
survey the prospect. Look whither she will nothing but a scene of
desolation--a Babylon of hideous, wasting forms, mucky streets, and
reeking dens, meet her eye. The Jews have arranged themselves on one
side of Orange street, to speculate on the wasted harlotry of the
other. "Look you, Madam!" says Mr. Toddleworth, leaning on his stick and
pointing towards Chatham street. "A desert, truly," replies the august
old lady, nervously twitching her head. She sees to the right ("it is
wantonness warring upon misery," says Mr. Toddleworth) a long line of
irregular, wooden buildings, black and besmeared with mud. Little houses
with decrepit doorsteps; little houses with decayed platforms in front;
little dens that seem crammed with rubbish; little houses with
black-eyed, curly-haired, and crooked-nosed children looking shyly about
the doors; little houses with lusty and lecherous-eyed Jewesses sitting
saucily in the open door; little houses with open doors, broken windows,
and shattered shutters, where the devil's elixir is being served to
ragged and besotted denizens; little houses into which women with
blotched faces slip suspiciously, deposit their almost worthless rags,
and pass out to seek the gin-shop; little houses with eagle-faced men
peering curiously out at broken windows, or beckoning some wayfarer to
enter and buy from their door; little houses piled inside with the
cast-off garments of the poor and dissolute, and hung outside with
smashed bonnets, old gowns, tattered shawls; flaunting--red, blue, and
yellow, in the wind, emblematic of those poor wretches, on the opposite
side, who have pledged here their last offerings, and blazed down into
that stage of human degradation, which finds the next step the
grave--all range along, forming a picturesque but sad panorama. Mr.
Moses, the man of the eagle face, who keeps the record of death, as the
neighbors call it, sits opulently in his door, and smokes his cigar;
while his sharp-eyed daughters estimate exactly how much it is safe to
advance on the last rag some lean wretch would pledge. He will tell you
just how long that brawny harlot, passing on the opposite side, will
last, and what the few rags on her back will be worth when she is
"shoved into Potters' Field." At the sign of the "Three Martyrs" Mr.
Levy is seen, in his fashionable coat, and a massive chain falling over
his tight waistcoat, registering the names of his grotesque customers,
ticketing their little packages, and advancing each a shilling or two,
which they will soon spend at the opposite druggery. Thus bravely wages
the war. London has nothing so besotted, Paris nothing so vicious,
Naples nothing so dark and despairing, as this heathen world we pass by
so heedlessly. Beside it even the purlieus of Rome sink into
insignificance. Now run your eye along the East side of Orange street. A
sidewalk sinking in mire; a long line of one-story wooden shanties,
ready to cave-in with decay; dismal looking groceries, in which the god,
gin, is sending his victims by hundreds to the greedy graveyard;
suspicious looking dens with dingy fronts, open doors, and windows
stuffed with filthy rags--in which crimes are nightly perpetrated, and
where broken-hearted victims of seduction and neglect, seeking here a
last refuge, are held in a slavery delicacy forbids our describing; dens
where negro dancers nightly revel, and make the very air re-echo their
profaning voices; filthy lanes leading to haunts up alleys and in narrow
passages, where thieves and burglars hide their vicious heads;
mysterious looking steps leading to cavern-like cellars, where swarm and
lay prostrate wretched beings made drunk by the "devil's elixir"--all
these beset the East side of Orange street. Wasted nature, blanched and
despairing, ferments here into one terrible pool. Women in
gaudy-colored dresses, their bared breasts and brawny arms contrasting
curiously with their wicked faces, hang lasciviously over "half-doors,"
taunt the dreamy policeman on his round, and beckon the unwary stranger
into their dens. Piles of filth one might imagine had been thrown up by
the devil or the street commissioner, and in which you might bury a
dozen fat aldermen without missing one; little shops where unwholesome
food is sold; corner shops where idlers of every color, and sharpers of
all grades, sit dreaming out the day over their gin--are here to be
found. Young Ireland would, indeed, seem to have made this the citadel
from which to vomit his vice over the city.

"They're perfectly wild, Madam--these children are," says Mr.
Toddleworth, in reply to a question Mrs. Swiggs put respecting the
immense number of ragged and profaning urchins that swarm the streets.
"They never heard of the Bible, nor God, nor that sort of thing. How
could they hear of it? No one ever comes in here--that is, they come in
now and then, and throw a bit of a tract in here and there, and are glad
to get out with a whole coat. The tracts are all Greek to the dwellers
here. Besides that, you see, something must be done for the belly,
before you can patch up the head. I say this with a fruitful experience.
A good, kind little man, who seems earnest in the welfare of these wild
little children that you see running about here--not the half of them
know their parents--looks in now and then, acts as if he wasn't afraid
of us, (that is a good deal, Madam) and the boys are beginning to take
to him. But, with nothing but his kind heart and earnest resolution,
he'll find a rugged mountain to move. If he move it, he will deserve a
monument of fairest marble erected to his memory, and letters of gold
to emblazon his deeds thereon. He seems to understand the key to some of
their affections. It's no use mending the sails without making safe the
hull."

At this moment Mrs. Swiggs' attention is attracted by a crowd of ragged
urchins and grotesque-looking men, gathered about a heap of filth at
that corner of Orange street that opens into the Points.

"They are disinterring his Honor, the Mayor," says Mr. Toddleworth. "Do
this sort of thing every day, Madam; they mean no harm, you see."

Mrs. Swiggs, curious to witness the process of disinterring so
distinguished a person, forgets entirely her appointment at the House of
the Foreign Missions, crowds her way into the filthy throng, and watches
with intense anxiety a vacant-looking idiot, who has seen some sixteen
summers, lean and half clad, and who has dug with his staff a hole deep
in the mud, which he is busy piling up at the edges.

"Deeper, deeper!" cries out a dozen voices, of as many mischievous
urchins, who are gathered round in a ring, making him the victim of
their sport. Having cast his glassy eyes upward, and scanned vacantly
his audience, he sets to work again, and continues throwing out dead
cats by the dozen, all of which he exults over, and pauses now and then
for the approbation of the bystanders, who declare they bear no
resemblance to his Honor, or any one of the Board of Aldermen. One
chubby urchin, with a bundle of _Tribunes_ under his arm, looks
mischievously into the pit, and says, "His 'Onor 'ill want the
_Tribune_." Another, of a more taciturn disposition, shrugs his
shoulders, gives his cap a pull over his eyes, and says, spicing his
declaration with an oath, "He'll buy two _Heralds_!--he will." The
taciturn urchin draws them from his bundle with an air of independence,
flaunts them in the face of his rival, and exults over their merits. A
splashing of mud, followed by a deafening shout, announces that the
persevering idiot has come upon the object he seeks. One proclaims to
his motley neighbors that the whole corporation is come to light;
another swears it is only his Honor and a dead Alderman. A third, more
astute than the rest, says it is only the head and body of the
Corporation--a dead pig and a decaying pumpkin! Shout after shout goes
up as the idiot, exultingly, drags out the prostrate pig, following it
with the pumpkin. Mr. Toddleworth beckons Lady Swiggs away. The
wicked-faced harlots are gathering about her in scores. One has just
been seen fingering her dress, and hurrying away, disappearing
suspiciously into an Alley.

"You see, Madam," says Mr. Toddleworth, as they gain the vicinity of Cow
Bay, "it is currently reported, and believed by the dwellers here, that
our Corporation ate itself out of the world not long since; and seeing
how much they suffer by the loss of such--to have a dead Corporation in
a great city, is an evil, I assure you--an institution, they adopt this
method of finding it. It affords them no little amusement. These
swarming urchins will have the filthy things laid out in state, holding
with due ceremony an inquest over them, and mischievously proposing to
the first policeman who chances along, that he officiate as coroner.
Lady Swiggs has not a doubt that light might be valuably reflected over
this heathen world. Like many other very excellent ladies, however, she
has no candles for a heathen world outside of Antioch."

Mr. Toddleworth escorts her safely into Centre street, and directs her
to the House of the Foreign Missions.

"Thank you! thank you!--may God never let you want a shilling," he says,
bowing and touching his hat as Mrs. Swiggs puts four shillings into his
left hand.

"One shilling, Madam," he pursues, with a smile, "will get me a new
collar. A clean collar now and then, it must be said, gives a body a
look of respectability."

Mr. Toddleworth has a passion for new collars, regards them as a means
of sustaining his respectability. Indeed, he considers himself in full
dress with one mounted, no matter how ragged the rest of his wardrobe.
And when he walks out of a morning, thus conditioned, his friends greet
him with: "Hi! ho! Mister Toddleworth is uppish this morning." He has
bid his charge good morning, and hurries back to his wonted haunts.
There is a mysterious and melancholy interest in this man's history,
which many have attempted but failed to fathom. He was once heard to say
his name was not Toddleworth--that he had sunk his right name in his
sorrows. He was sentimental at times, always used good language, and
spoke like one who had seen better days and enjoyed a superior
education. He wanted, he would say, when in one of his melancholy moods,
to forget the world, and have the world forget him. Thus he shut himself
up in the Points, and only once or twice had he been seen in the Bowery,
and never in Broadway during his sojourn among the denizens who swarm
that vortex of death. How he managed to obtain funds, for he was never
without a shilling, was equally involved in mystery. He had no very bad
habits, seemed inoffensive to all he approached, spoke familiarly on
past events, and national affairs, and discovered a general knowledge of
the history of the world. And while he was always ready to share his
shilling with his more destitute associates, he ever maintained a degree
of politeness and civility toward those he was cast among not common to
the place. He was ready to serve every one, would seek out the sick and
watch over them with a kindness almost paternal, discovering a singular
familiarity with the duties of a physician. He had, however, an
inveterate hatred of fashionable wives; and whenever the subject was
brought up, which it frequently was by the denizens of the Points, he
would walk away, with a sigh. "Fashionable wives," he would mutter, his
eyes filling with tears, "are never constant. Ah! they have deluged the
world with sorrow, and sent me here to seek a hiding place."



CHAPTER XXIII.

IN WHICH THE VERY BEST INTENTIONS ARE SEEN TO FAIL.


The city clock strikes one as Mrs. Swiggs, nervous and weary, enters the
House of the Foreign Missions. Into a comfortably-furnished room on the
right, she is ushered by a man meekly dressed, and whose countenance
wears an expression of melancholy. Maps and drawings of Palestine,
Hindostan, and sundry other fields of missionary labor, hang here and
there upon the walls. These are alternated with nicely-framed engravings
and lithographs of Mission establishments in the East, all located in
some pretty grove, and invested with a warmth and cheerfulness that
cannot fail to make a few years' residence in them rather desirable than
otherwise. These in turn are relieved with portraits of distinguished
missionaries. Earnest-faced busts, in plaster, stand prominently about
the room, periodicals and papers are piled on little shelves, and bright
bookcases are filled with reports and various documents concerning the
society, all bound so exactly. The good-natured man of the kind face
sits in refreshing ease behind a little desk; the wise-looking lean man,
in the spectacles, is just in front of him, buried in ponderous folios
of reports. In the centre of the room stands a highly-polished mahogany
table, at which Brother Spyke is seated, his elbow rested, and his head
leaning thoughtfully in his hand. The rotund figure and energetic face
of Sister Slocum is seen, whisking about conspicuously among a bevy of
sleek but rather lean gentlemen, studious of countenance, and in modest
cloth. For each she has something cheerful to impart; each in his turn
has some compliment to bestow upon her. Several nicely-dressed, but
rather meek-looking ladies, two or three accompanied by their knitting
work, have arranged themselves on a settee in front of the wise man in
the spectacles.

Scarcely has the representative of our chivalry entered the room when
Sister Slocum, with all the ardor of a lover of seventeen, runs to her
with open arms, embraces her, and kisses her with an affection truly
grateful. Choking to relate her curious adventure, she is suddenly
heaped with adulations, told how the time of her coming was looked to,
as an event of no common occurrence--how Brothers Sharp, Spyke, and
Phills, expressed apprehensions for her safety this morning, each in
turn offering in the kindest manner to get a carriage and go in pursuit.
The good-natured fat man gets down from his high seat, and receives her
with pious congratulations; the man in the spectacles looks askant, and
advances with extended hand. To use a convenient phrase, she is received
with open arms; and so meek and good is the aspect, that she finds her
thoughts transported to an higher, a region where only is bliss.
Provided with a seat in a conspicuous place, she is told to consider
herself the guest of the society. Sundry ovations, Sister Slocum gives
her to understand, will be made in her honor, ere long. The fact must
here be disclosed that Sister Slocum had prepared the minds of those
present for the reception of an embodiment of perfect generosity.

No sooner has Lady Swiggs time to breathe freely, than she changes the
wondrous kind aspect of the assembly, and sends it into a paroxysm of
fright, by relating her curious adventure among the denizens of the
Points. Brother Spyke nearly makes up his mind to faint; the
good-natured fat man turns pale; the wise man in the spectacles is seen
to tremble; the neatly-attired females, so pious-demeanored, express
their horror of such a place; and Sister Slocum stands aghast. "Oh!
dear, Sister Swiggs," she says, "your escape from such a vile place is
truly marvellous! Thank God you are with us once more." The good-natured
fat man says, "A horrible world, truly!" and sighs. Brother Spyke shrugs
his shoulders, adding, "No respectable person here ever thinks of going
into such a place; the people there are so corrupt." Brother Sharp says
he shudders at the very thought of such a place. He has heard much said
of the dark deeds nightly committed in it--of the stubborn vileness of
the dwellers therein. God knows he never wants to descend into it.
"Truly," Brother Phills interposes, "I walked through it once, and
beheld with mine eyes such sights, such human deformity! O, God! Since
then, I am content to go to my home through Broadway. I never forget to
shudder when I look into the vile place from a distance, nevertheless."
Brother Phills says this after the manner of a philosopher, fretting his
fingers, and contorting his comely face the while. Sister Slocum, having
recovered somewhat from the shock (the shock had no permanent effect on
any of them), hopes Sister Swiggs did not lend an ear to their false
pleadings, nor distribute charity among the vile wretches. "Such would
be like scattering chaff to the winds," a dozen voices chime in.
"Indeed!" Lady Swiggs ejaculates, giving her head a toss, in token of
her satisfaction, "not a shilling, except to the miserable wretch who
showed me the way out. And he seemed harmless enough. I never met a more
melancholy object, never!" Brother Spyke raises his eyes imploringly,
and says he harbors no ill-will against these vile people, but
melancholy is an art with them--they make it a study. They affect it
while picking one's pocket.

The body now resolves itself into working order. Brother Spyke offers up
a prayer. He thanks kind Providence for the happy escape of Sister
Swiggs--this generous woman whose kindness of heart has brought her
here--from among the hardened wretches who inhabit that slough of
despair, so terrible in all its aspects, and so disgraceful to a great
and prosperous city. He thanks Him who blessed him with the light of
learning--who endowed him with vigor and resolution--and told him to go
forth in armor, beating down Satan, and raising up the heathen world. A
mustering of spectacles follows. Sister Slocum draws from her bosom a
copy of the report the wise man in the spectacles rises to read. A
fashionable gold chain and gold-framed eye-glass is called to her aid;
and with a massive pencil of gold, she dots and points certain items of
dollars and cents her keen eye rests upon every now and then.

The wise man in the spectacles rises, having exchanged glances with
Sister Slocum, and commences reading a very long, and in nowise lean
report. The anxious gentlemen draw up their chairs, and turn attentive
ears. For nearly an hour, he buzzes and bores the contents of this
report into their ears, takes sundry sips of water, and informs those
present, and the world in general, that nearly forty thousand dollars
have recently been consumed for missionary labor. The school at Corsica,
the missions at Canton, Ningpo, Pu-kong, Cassaba, Abheokuta, and sundry
other places, the names of which could not, by any possibility, aid the
reader in discovering their location--all, were doing as well as could
be expected, _under the circumstances_. After many years labor, and a
considerable expenditure of money, they were encouraged to go forward,
inasmuch as the children of the school at Corsica were beginning to
learn to read. At Casaba, Droneyo, the native scholar, had, after many
years' teaching, been made conscious of the sin of idol-worship, and had
given his solemn promise to relinquish it as soon as he could propitiate
two favorite gods bequeathed to him by his great uncle. The furnace of
"Satanic cruelty" had been broken down at Dahomey. Brother Smash had,
after several years' labor, and much expense--after having broken down
his health, and the health of many others--penetrated the dark regions
of Arabia, and there found the very seat of Satanic power. It was firmly
pegged to Paganism and Mahomedan darkness! This news the world was
expected to hail with consternation. Not one word is lisped about that
terrible devil holding his court of beggary and crime in the Points. He
had all his furnaces in full blast there; his victims were legion! No
Brother Spyke is found to venture in and drag him down. The region of
the Seven Churches offers inducements more congenial. Bound about them
all is shady groves, gentle breezes, and rural habitations; in the
Points the very air is thick with pestilence!

A pause follows the reading. The wise man in the spectacles--his voice
soft and persuasive, and his aspect meekness itself--would like to know
if any one present be inclined to offer a remark. General satisfaction
prevails. Brother Sharp moves, and Brother Phills seconds, that the
report be accepted. The report is accepted without a dissenting voice. A
second paper is handed him by Sister Slocum, whose countenance is seen
to flash bright with smiles. Then there follows the proclaiming of the
fact of funds, to the amount of three thousand six hundred dollars,
having been subscribed, and now ready to be appropriated to getting
Brother Syngleton Spyke off to Antioch. A din of satisfaction follows;
every face is radiant with joy. Sister Swiggs twitches her head, begins
to finger her pocket, and finally readjusts her spectacles. Having
worked her countenance into a good staring condition, she sets her eyes
fixedly upon Brother Spyke, who rises, saying he has a few words to
offer.

The object of his mission to Antioch, so important at this moment, he
would not have misunderstood. Turks, Greeks, Jews, Arabs, Armenians, and
Kurds, and Yesedees--yes, brethren, Yesedees! inhabit this part of
Assyria, which opens up an extensive field of missionary labor, even
yet. Much had been done by the ancient Greeks for the people who roamed
in these Eastern wilds--much remained for us to do; for it was yet a
dark spot on the missionary map. Thousands of these poor souls were
without the saving knowledge of the Gospel. He could not shrink from a
duty so demanding--wringing his very heart with its pleadings! Giving
the light of the Gospel to these vicious Arabs and Kurds was the end and
aim of his mission. (A motion of satisfaction was here perceptible.) And
while there, he would teach the Jews a just sense of their Lord's
design--which was the subjugation of the heathen world. Inward light was
very good, old prophecies were very grand; but Judaism was made of
stubborn metal, had no missionary element in it, and could only be
forced to accept light through strong and energetic movement. He had
read with throbbing heart how Rome, while in her greatness, protected
those Christian pilgrims who went forth into the East, to do battle with
the enemy. Would not America imitate Rome, that mighty mother of
Republics? A deeper responsibility rested on her at this moment. Rome,
then, was semi-barbarous; America, now, was Christianized and civilized.
Hence she would be held more accountable for the dissemination of light.

In those days the wandering Christian Jews undertook to instruct the
polished Greeks--why could not Americans at this day inculcate the
doctrines of Jesus to these educated heathen? It was a bold and daring
experiment, but he was willing to try it. The Allwise worked his wonders
in a mysterious way. In this irrelevant and somewhat mystical style,
Brother Spyke continues nearly an hour, sending his audience into a
highly-edified state. We have said mystical, for, indeed, none but those
in the secret could have divined, from Brother Spyke's logic, what was
the precise nature of his mission. His speech was very like a country
parson's model sermon; one text was selected, and a dozen or more (all
different) preached from; while fifty things were said no one could
understand.

Brother Spyke sits down--Sister Slocum rises. "Our dear and very
generous guest now present," she says, addressing the good-natured fat
man in the chair, as Lady Swiggs bows, "moved by the goodness that is in
her, and conscious of the terrible condition of the heathen world, has
come nobly to our aid. Like a true Christian she has crossed the sea,
and is here. Not only is she here, but ready to give her mite toward
getting Brother Spyke off to Antioch. Another donation she proposes
giving the 'Tract Society,' an excellent institution, in high favor at
the South. Indeed I may add, that it never has offended against its
social--"

Sister Slocum hesitates. Social slavery will not sound just right, she
says to her herself. She must have a term more musical, and less grating
to the ear. A smile flashes across her countenance, her gold-framed
eye-glasses vibrate in her fingers: "Well! I was going to say, their
social arrangements," she pursues.

The assembly is suddenly thrown into a fit of excitement. Lady Swiggs is
seen trembling from head to foot, her yellow complexion changing to pale
white, her features contorting as with pain, and her hand clutching at
her pocket. "O heavens!" she sighs, "all is gone, gone, gone: how vain
and uncertain are the things here below." She drops, fainting, into the
arms of Sister Slocum, who has overset the wise man in the spectacles,
in her haste to catch the prostrate form. On a bench the august body is
laid. Fans, water, camphor, hartshorn, and numerous other restoratives
are brought into use. Persons get in each other's way, run every way but
the right way, causing, as is common in such cases, very unnecessary
alarm. The stately representative of the great Swiggs family lies
motionless. Like the last of our chivalry, she has nothing left her but
a name.

A dash or two of cold water, and the application of a little hartshorn,
and that sympathy so necessary to the fainting of distinguished
people--proves all-efficient. A slight heaving of the bosom is detected,
the hands--they have been well chaffed--quiver and move slowly, her face
resumes its color. She opens her eyes, lays her hand solicitously on
Sister Slocum's arm: "It must be the will of Heaven," she lisps,
motioning her head, regretfully; "it cannot now be undone--"

"Sister! sister! sister!" interrupts Sister Slocum, grasping her hand,
and looking inquiringly in the face of the recovering woman, "is it an
affection of the heart?--where is the pain?--what has befallen you? We
are all so sorry!"

"It was there, there, there! But it is gone now." Regaining her
consciousness, she lays her hand nervously upon her pocket, and pursues:
"Oh! yes, sister, it was there when I entered that vile place, as you
call it. What am I to do? The loss of the money does not so much trouble
my mind. Oh! dear, no. It is the thought of going home deprived of the
means of aiding these noble institutions."

Had Lady Swiggs inquired into the character of the purchaser of old
Dolly she might now have become conscious of the fact, that whatever
comes of evil seldom does good. The money she had so struggled to get
together to aid her in maintaining her hypocrisy, was the result of
crime. Perhaps it were better the wretch purloined it, than that the
fair name of a noble institution be stained with its acceptance.
Atonement is too often sought to be purchased with the gold got of
infamy.

The cause of this fainting being traced to Lady Swiggs' pocket book
instead of her heart, the whole scene changes. Sister Slocum becomes as
one dumb, the good fat man is seized with a nervous fit, the man in the
spectacles hangs his head, and runs his fingers through his crispy hair,
as Brother Spyke elongates his lean body, and is seen going into a
melancholy mood, the others gathering round with serious faces. Lady
Swiggs commences describing with great minuteness the appearance of Mr.
Tom Toddleworth. That he is the person who carried off the money, every
one is certain. "He is the man!" responds a dozen voices. And as many
more volunteer to go in search of Mr. Detective Fitzgerald. Brother
Spyke pricks up his courage, and proceeds to initiate his missionary
labors by consulting Mr. Detective Fitzgerald, with whom he starts off
in pursuit of Mr. Tom Toddleworth.



CHAPTER XXIV.

MR. SNIVEL ADVISES GEORGE MULLHOLLAND HOW TO MAKE STRONG LOVE.


Let us leave for a time the pursuit with which we concluded the
foregoing chapter, and return to Charleston. It is the still hour of
midnight. There has been a ball at the fashionable house of the
Flamingo, which still retains its name. In the great parlour we have
before described, standing here and there upon massive tables with
Egyptian marble-tops, are half-empty bottles of wine, decanters,
tumblers, and viands of various descriptions. Bits of artificial flowers
are strewn about the carpet, a shawl is seen thrown over one chair, a
mantle over another; the light is half shut off--everything bears
evidence of the gaieties of luxurious life, the sumptuous revel and the
debauch. The gilded mirrors reflect but two faces, both hectic and moody
of dissipation. George Mullholland and Mr. Snivel face each other, at a
pier-table. Before them are several half filled bottles, from one of
which Mr. Snivel fills George's glass.

"There is something in this champaign (one only gets rubbish in these
houses) that compounds and elevates one's ideas," says Mr. Snivel,
holding his glass in the light, and squinting his blood-shotten eyes,
the lids of which he has scarce power to keep open. "Drink,
George--drink! You have had your day--why let such nonsense trouble
you? The whole city is in love with the girl. Her beauty makes her
capricious; if the old Judge has got her, let him keep her. Indeed, I'm
not so sure that she doesn't love him, and (well, I always laugh when I
think of it), it is a well laid down principle among us lawyers, that no
law stands good against love." Mr. Snivel's leaden eyelids close, and
his head drops upon his bosom. "She never can love him--never! His
wealth, and some false tale, has beguiled her. He is a hoary-headed
lecher, with wealth and position to aid him in his hellish pursuits; I
am poor, and an outcast! He has flattered me and showered his favors
upon me, only to affect my ruin. I will have--"

"Pshaw! George," interrupts Mr. Snivel, brightening up, "be a
philosopher. Chivalry, you know--chivalry! A dashing fellow like you
should doff the kid to a knight of his metal: challenge him." Mr. Snivel
reaches over the table and pats his opponent on the arm. "These women,
George! Funny things, eh? Make any kind of love--have a sample for every
sort of gallant, and can make the quantity to suit the purchaser. 'Pon
my soul this is my opinion. I'm a lawyer, know pretty well how the sex
lay their points. As for these unfortunate devils, as we of the
profession call them (he pauses and empties his glass, saying, not bad
for a house of this kind), there are so many shades of them, life is
such a struggle with them; they dream of broken hopes, and they die
sighing to think how good a thing is virtue. You only love this girl
because she is beautiful, and beautiful women, at best, are the most
capricious things in the world. D--n it, you have gone through enough of
this kind of life to be accustomed to it. We think nothing of these
things, in Charleston--bless you, nothing! Keep the Judge your
friend--his position may give him a means to serve you. A man of the
world ought at all times to have the private friendship of as many
judges as he can."

"Never! poor as I am--outcast as I feel myself! I want no such
friendship. Society may shun me, the community may fear me, necessity
may crush me--yea! you may regard me as a villain if you will, but, were
I a judge, I would scorn to use my office to serve base ends." As he
says this he draws a pistol from his pocket, and throwing it defiantly
upon the table, continues as his lip curls with scorn, "poor men's lives
are cheap in Charleston--let us see what rich men's are worth!"

"His age, George!--you should respect that!" says Mr. Snivel,
laconically.

"His age ought to be my protection."

"Ah!--you forget that the follies of our nature too often go with us to
the grave."

"And am I to suffer because public opinion honors him, and gives him
power to disgrace me? Can he rob me of the one I love--of the one in
whose welfare my whole soul is staked, and do it with impunity?"

"D----d inconvenient, I know, George. Sympathize with you, I do. But,
you see, we are governed here by the laws of chivalry. Don't let your (I
am a piece of a philosopher, you see) temper get up, keep on a stiff
upper lip. You may catch him napping. I respect your feelings, my dear
fellow; ready to do you a bit of a good turn--you understand! Now let me
tell you, my boy, he has made her his adopted, and to-morrow she moves
with him to his quiet little villa near the Magnolia."

"I am a poor, forlorn wretch," interrupts George, with a sigh. "Those
of whom I had a right to expect good counsel, and a helping hand, have
been first to encourage me in the ways of evil--"

"Get money, Mullholland--get money. It takes money to make love strong.
Say what you will, a woman's heart is sure to be sound on the gold
question. Mark ye, Mullholland!--there is an easy way to get money. Do
you take? (His fingers wander over his forehead, as he watches intently
in George's face.) You can make names? Such things are done by men in
higher walks, you know. Quite a common affair in these parts. The Judge
has carried off your property; make a fair exchange--you can use his
name, get money with it, and make it hold fast the woman you love. There
are three things, George, you may set down as facts that will be of
service to you through life, and they are these: when a man eternally
rings in your ears the immoralities of the age, watch him closely; when
a man makes what he has done for others a boast, set him down a knave;
and when a woman dwells upon the excellent qualities of her many
admirers, set her down as wanting. But, get money, and when you have got
it, charm back this beautiful creature."

Such is the advice of Mr. Soloman Snivel, the paid intriguer of the
venerable Judge.



CHAPTER XXV.

A SLIGHT CHANGE IN THE PICTURE.


The two lone revellers remain at the pier-table, moody and hectic. Mr.
Snivel drops into a sound sleep, his head resting on the marble.
Weak-minded, jealous, contentious--with all the attendants natural to
one who leads an unsettled life, sits George Mullholland, his elbow
resting on the table, and his head poised thoughtfully in his hand. "I
will have revenge--sweet revenge; yes, I will have revenge to-night!" he
mutters, and sets his teeth firmly.

In Anna's chamber all is hushed into stillness. The silvery moonbeams
play softly through the half-closed windows, lighting up and giving an
air of enchantment to the scene. Curtains hang, mist-like, from massive
cornices in gilt. Satin drapery, mysteriously underlaid with lace, and
floating in bewitching chasteness over a fairy-like bed, makes more
voluptuous that ravishing form calmly sleeping--half revealed among the
snowy sheets, and forming a picture before which fancy soars, passion
unbends itself, and sentiment is led away captive. With such exquisite
forms strange nature excites our love;--that love that like a little
stream meanders capriciously through our feelings, refreshing life,
purifying our thoughts, exciting our ambition, and modulating our
actions. That love, too, like a quicksand, too often proves a destroyer
to the weak-minded.

Costly chairs, of various styles carved in black walnut, stand around
the chamber: lounges covered with chastely-designed tapestry are seen
half concealed by the gorgeous window curtains. The foot falls upon a
soft, Turkey carpet; the ceiling--in French white, and gilt
mouldings--is set off with two Cupids in a circle, frescoed by a skilled
hand. On a lounge, concealed in an alcove masked by curtains pending
from the hands of a fairy in bronze, and nearly opposite Anna's bed, the
old Judge sleeps in his judicial dignity. To-day he sentenced three
rogues to the whipping-post, and two wretched negroes--one for raising
his hand to a white man--to the gallows.

Calmly Anna continues to sleep, the lights in the girandoles shedding a
mysterious paleness over the scene. To the eye that scans only the
exterior of life, how dazzling! Like a refulgent cloud swelling golden
in the evening sky, how soon it passes away into darkness and
disappointment! Suddenly there appears, like a vision in the chamber,
the stately figure of a female. Advancing slowly to the bed-side, for a
minute she stands contemplating the sleeping beauty before her. A dark,
languishing eye, an aquiline nose, beautifully-cut mouth, and a
finely-oval face, is revealed by the shadow in which she stands. "How
willingly," she mutters, raising the jewelled fingers of her right hand
to her lips, as her eyes become liquid with emotion, and her every
action betokens one whose very soul is goaded with remorse, "would I
exchange all these worldly pleasures for one single day in peace of
mind." She lays aside her mantle, and keeps her eyes fixed upon the
object before her. A finely-rounded shoulder and exactly-developed bust
is set off with a light satin bodice or corsage, cut low, opening
shawl-fashion at the breast, and relieved with a stomacher of fine
Brussels lace. Down the edges are rows of small, unpolished pearls,
running into points. A skirt of orange-colored brocade, trimmed with
tulle, and surrounded with three flounces, falls, cloud-like, from her
girdle, which is set with cameos and unpolished pearls. With her left
hand she raises slightly her skirts, revealing the embroidered gimps of
a white taffeta underskirt, flashing in the moonlight. Small, unpolished
pearls ornament the bands of her short sleeves; on her fingers are
rings, set with diamonds and costly emeralds; and her wrists are clasped
with bracelets of diamonds, shedding a modest lustre over her
marble-like arms.

"Can this be my child? Has this crime that so like a demon haunts
me--that curses me even in my dreams, driven her, perhaps against her
will, to seek this life of shame?" She takes the sleeper's hand gently
in her own, as the tears gush down her cheeks.

The sleeper startles, half raises herself from her pillow, parts her
black, silky hair, that lays upon her gently-swelling bosom, and throws
it carelessly down her shoulders, wildly setting her great black orbs on
the strange figure before her. "Hush, hush!" says the speaker, "I am a
friend. One who seeks you for a good purpose. Give me your
confidence--do not betray me! I need not tell you by what means I gained
access to you."

A glow of sadness flashes across Anna's countenance. With a look of
suspicion she scans the mysterious figure from head to foot. "It is the
Judge's wife!" she says within herself. "Some one has betrayed me to
her; and, as is too often the case, she seeks revenge of the less guilty
party." But the figure before her is in full dress, and one seeking
revenge would have disguised herself. "Why, and who is it, that seeks me
in this mysterious manner?" whispers Anna, holding her delicate hand in
the shadow, over her eyes. "I seek you in the hope of finding something
to relieve my troubled spirit, I am a mother who has wronged her
child--I have no peace of mind--my heart is lacerated--"

"Are you, then, my mother?" interrupts Anna, with a look of scorn.

"That I would answer if I could. You have occupied my thoughts day and
night. I have traced your history up to a certain period. ("What I know
of my own, I would fain not contemplate," interrupts Anna.) Beyond that,
all is darkness. And yet there are circumstances that go far to prove
you the child I seek. Last night I dreamed I saw a gate leading to a
dungeon, that into the dungeon I was impelled against my will. While
there I was haunted with the figure of a woman of the name of Mag
Munday--a maniac, and in chains! My heart bled at the sight, for she, I
thought, was the woman in whose charge I left the child I seek. I
spoke--I asked her what had become of the child! She pointed with her
finger, told me to go seek you here, and vanished as I awoke. I spent
the day in unrest, went to the ball to-night, but found no pleasure in
its gay circle. Goaded in my conscience, I left the ball-room, and with
the aid of a confidant am here."

"I recognize--yes, my lady, I recognize you! You think me your abandoned
child, and yet you are too much the slave of society to seek me as a
mother ought to do. I am the supposed victim of your crime; you are the
favored and flattered ornament of society. Our likenesses have been
compared many times:--I am glad we have met. Go, woman, go! I would not,
outcast as I am, deign to acknowledge the mother who could enjoy the
luxuries of life and see her child a wretch."

"Woman! do not upbraid me. Spare, oh! spare my troubled heart this last
pang," (she grasps convulsively at Anna's hand, then shrinks back in
fright.) "Tell me! oh, tell me!" she pursues, the tears coursing down
her cheeks--

Anna Bonard interrupts by saying, peremptorily, she has nothing to tell
one so guilty. To be thus rebuked by an abandoned woman, notwithstanding
she might be her own child, wounded her feelings deeply. It was like
poison drying up her very blood. Tormented with the thought of her
error, (for she evidently labored under the smart of an error in early
life,) her very existence now seemed a burden to her. Gloomy and
motionless she stood, as if hesitating how best to make her escape.

"Woman! I will not betray your coming here. But you cannot give me back
my virtue; you cannot restore me untainted to the world--the world never
forgives a fallen woman. Her own sex will be first to lacerate her heart
with her shame." These words were spoken with such biting sarcasm, that
the Judge, whose nap the loudness of Anna's voice had disturbed,
protruded his flushed face and snowy locks from out the curtains of the
alcove. "The gay Madame Montford, as I am a Christian," he exclaims in
the eagerness of the moment, and the strange figure vanishes out of the
door.

"A fashionable, but very mysterious sort of person," pursues the Judge,
confusedly. "Ah! ha,--her case, like many others, is the want of a clear
conscience. Snivel has it in hand. A great knave, but a capital lawyer,
that Snivel--"

The Judge is interrupted in his remarks by the entrance of Mr. Snivel,
who, with hectic face, and flushed eyes, comes rushing into the chamber.
"Hollo!--old boy, there's a high bid on your head to-night. Ready to do
you a bit of a good turn, you see." Mr. Snivel runs his fingers through
his hair, and works his shoulders with an air of exultation. "If," he
continues, "that weak-minded fellow--that Mullholland we have shown some
respect to, hasn't got a pistol! He's been furbishing it up while in the
parlor, and swears he will seriously damage you with it. Blasted
assurance, those Northerners have. Won't fight, can't make 'em
gentlemen; and if you knock 'em down they don't understand enough of
chivalry to resent it. They shout to satisfy their fear and not to
maintain their honor. Keep an eye out!"

The Judge, in a tone of cool indifference, says he has no fears of the
renegade, and will one of these days have the pleasure of sending him to
the whipping-post.

"As to that, Judge," interposes Mr. Snivel, "I have already prepared the
preliminaries. I gave him the trifle you desired--to-morrow I will nail
him at the Keno crib." With this the Judge and the Justice each take an
affectionate leave of the frail girl, and, as it is now past one o'clock
in the morning, an hour much profaned in Charleston, take their
departure.

Armed with a revolver Mullholland has taken up his position in the
street, where he awaits the coming of his adversaries. In doubt and
anxiety, he reflects and re-reflects, recurs to the associations of his
past life, and hesitates. Such reflections only bring more vividly to
his mind the wrong he feels himself the victim of, and has no power to
resent except with violence. His contemplations only nerve him to
revenge.

A click, and the door cautiously opens, as if some votary of crime was
about to issue forth in quest of booty. The hostess' head protrudes
suddenly from the door, she scans first up and then down the street,
then withdraws it. The Judge and Mr. Snivel, each in turn, shake the
landlady by the hand, and emerge into the street. They have scarce
stepped upon the sidepath when the report of a pistol resounds through
the air. The ball struck a lamp-post, glanced, passed through the collar
of Judge Sleepyhorn's coat, and brushed Mr. Snivel's fashionable
whiskers. Madame Ashley, successor to Madame Flamingo, shrieks and
alarms the house, which is suddenly thrown into a state of confusion.
Acting upon the maxim of discretion being the better part of valor, the
Judge and the Justice beat a hasty retreat into the house, and secrete
themselves in a closet at the further end of the back-parlor.

As if suddenly moved by some strange impulse, Madame Ashley runs from
room to room, screaming at the very top of her voice, and declaring that
she saw the assassin enter her house. Females rush from their rooms and
into the great parlor, where they form groups of living statuary,
strange and grotesque. Anxious faces--faces half painted, faces hectic
of dissipation, faces waning and sallow, eyes glassy and lascivious,
dishevelled hair floating over naked shoulders;--the flashing of
bewitching drapery, the waving and flitting of embroidered underskirts,
the tripping of pretty feet and prettier ankles, the gesticulating and
swaying of half-draped bodies--such is the scene occasioned by the bench
and the bar.

Madame Ashley, having inherited of Madame Flamingo the value of a
scrupulous regard for the good reputation of her house, must needs call
in the watch to eject the assassin, whom she swears is concealed
somewhere on the premises. Mr. Sergeant Stubbs, a much respected
detective, and reputed one of the very best officers of the guard,
inasmuch as he never troubles his head about other people's business,
and is quite content to let every one fight their own battles,--provided
they give him a "nip" of whiskey when they are through, lights his
lantern and goes bobbing into every room in the house. We must here
inform the reader that the cause of the _emeute_ was kept a profound
secret between the judicial gentry. Madame Ashley, at the same time, is
fully convinced the ball was intended for her, while Anna lays in a
terrible fright in her chamber.

"Ho," says Mr. Stubbs, starting back suddenly as he opened the door of
the closet in which the two gentlemen had concealed themselves. "I see!
I see!--beg your pardon, gentlemen!" Mr. Stubbs whispers, and bows, and
shuts the door quickly.

"An infernal affair this, Judge! D--n me if I wouldn't as soon be in the
dock. It will all get out to-morrow," interposes Mr. Snivel,
facetiously.

"Blast these improper associations!" the high functionary exclaims,
fussily shrugging his shoulders, and wiping the sweat from his forehead.
"I love the girl, though, I confess it!"

"Nothing more natural. A man without gallantry is like a pilgrim in the
South-West Pass. You can't resist this charming creature. In truth it's
a sort of longing weakness, which even the scales of justice fail to
bring to a balance."

Mr. Stubbs fails to find the assassin, and enters Madame Ashley's
chamber, the door of which leads into the hall. Here Mr. Stubbs's quick
eye suddenly discerns a slight motion of the curtains that enclose the
great, square bed, standing in one corner. "I ax your pardon, Mam, but
may I look in this 'ere bed?" Mr. Stubbs points to the bed, as Madame,
having thrown herself into a great rocking chair, proceeds to sway her
dignity backward and forward, and give out signs of making up her mind
to faint.

Mr. Stubbs draws back the curtains, when, behold! but tell it not in the
by-ways, there is revealed the stalworth figure of Simon Patterson, the
plantation parson. Our plantation parsons, be it known, are a singular
species of depraved humanity, a sort of itinerant sermon-makers, holding
forth here and there to the negroes of the rich planters, receiving a
paltry pittance in return, and having in lieu of morals an excellent
taste for whiskey, an article they invariably call to their aid when
discoursing to the ignorant slave--telling him how content with his lot
he ought to be, seeing that God intended him only for ignorance and
servitude. The parson did, indeed, cut a sorry figure before the gaze of
this indescribable group, as it rushed into the room and commenced
heaping upon his head epithets delicacy forbids our inserting
here--calling him a clerical old lecher, an assassin, and a disturber of
the peace and respectability of the house. Indeed, Madame Ashley quite
forgot to faint, and with a display of courage amounting almost to
heroism, rushed at the poor parson, and had left him in the state he was
born but for the timely precautions of Mr. Stubbs, who, finding a
revolver in his possession, and wanting no better proof of his guilt,
straightway took him off to the guard-house. Parson Patterson would have
entered the most solemn and pious protestation of his innocence but the
evidence was so strong against him, and the zeal of Mr. Sergeant Stubbs
so apparent, that he held it the better policy to quietly submit to the
rough fare of his new lodgings.

"I have a terror of these brawls!" says Mr. Snivel, emerging from his
hiding-place, and entering the chamber, followed by the high legal
functionary.

"A pretty how-do-ye-do, this is;" returns Madame Ashley, cooling her
passion in the rocking-chair, "I never had much respect for parsons--"

"Parsons?" interrupts Mr. Snivel, inquiringly, "you don't mean to say it
was all the doings of a parson?"

"As I'm a lady it was no one else. He was discovered behind the curtain
there, a terrible pistol in his pocket--the wretch!"

Mr. Snivel exchanges a wink with the Judge, points his thumb over his
left shoulder, and says, captiously: "I always had an implacable hatred
of that old thief. A bad lot! these plantation parsons."

Mr. Stubbs having discovered and removed the assassin, the terrified
damsels return to their chambers, and Madame Ashley proceeds to close
her house, as the two legal gentlemen take their departure. Perhaps it
would be well to inform the reader that a principal cause of Anna's
preference for the Judge, so recently manifested, was the deep
impression made on her already suspicious mind by Mr. McArthur, the
antiquary, who revealed to her sincerely, as she thought, her future
dark destiny.



CHAPTER XXVI.

IN WHICH A HIGH FUNCTIONARY IS MADE TO PLAY A SINGULAR PART.


The morning following the events detailed in the foregoing chapter,
finds the august Sleepyhorn seated on his judgment-seat. The clock
strikes ten as he casts his heavy eyes over the grotesque group gathered
into his little, dingy court-room; and he bows to his clerk, of whom he
gets his law knowledge, and with his right hand makes a sign that he is
ready to admonish the erring, or pass sentence on any amount of
criminals. History affords no record of a judge so unrelenting of his
judgments.

A few dilapidated gentlemen of the "_learned_ profession," with sharp
features and anxious faces, fuss about among the crowd, reeking of
whiskey and tobacco. Now they whisper suspiciously in the ears of
forlorn prisoners, now they struggle to get a market for their legal
nostrums. A few, more respectably clothed and less vicious of aspect,
sit writing at a table inside the bar, while a dozen or more punch-faced
policemen, affecting an air of superiority, drag themselves lazily
through the crowd of seedy humanity, looking querulously over the
railing encircling the dock, or exchanging recognitions with friends.

Some twenty "negro cases" having been disposed of without much respect
to law, and being sent up for punishment (the Judge finds it more
convenient to forego testimony in these cases), a daughter of the
Emerald Isle, standing nearly six feet in her bare soles, and much
shattered about the dress, is, against her inclination, arraigned before
his Honor. "I think I have seen you before, Mrs. Donahue?" says the
Judge, inquiringly.

"Arrah, good-morning, yer 'onher! Shure, it's only the sixth time these
three weeks. Doesn't meself like to see yer smiling face, onyhow!" Here
Mrs. Donahue commences complimenting the Judge in one breath, and laying
no end of charges at the door of the very diminutive and harmless Mister
Donahue in the next.

"This being the sixth time," returns his Honor, somewhat seriously, "I
would advise you to compromise the matter with Donahue, and not be seen
here again. The state of South Carolina cannot pay your fees so often--"

"Och, bad luck to Donahue! Troth, an' if yer onher'd put the fees down
to Donahue, our acquaintance 'ouldn't be so fraquent." Mrs. Donahue says
this with great unction, throwing her uncombed hair back, then daintily
raising her dress apace, and inquiring of Mr. Sheriff Hardscrabble, who
sits on his Honor's left, peering sharply through his spectacles, how he
likes the spread of her broad, flat foot; "the charging the fees to
Donahue, yer onher, 'd do it!" There was more truth in this remark than
his Honor seemed to comprehend, for having heard the charge against her
(Mr. Donahue having been caught in the act of taking a drop of her gin,
she had well-nigh broken his head with the bottle), and having listened
attentively while poor Donahue related his wrongs, and exhibited two
very well blacked eyes and a broken nose, he came to the very just
conclusion that it were well to save the blood of the Donahues. And to
this end did he grant Mrs. Donahue board and lodging for one month in
the old prison. Mrs. Donahue is led away, heaping curses on the head of
Donahue, and compliments on that of his Honor.

A pale, sickly looking boy, some eleven years old, is next placed upon
the stand. Mr. Sergeant Stubbs, who leans his corpulent figure against
the clerk's desk, every few minutes bowing his sleepy head to some
friend in the crowd, says: "A hard 'un--don't do no good about here. A
vagrant; found him sleeping in the market."

His Honor looks at the poor boy for some minutes, a smile of kindliness
seems lighting up his face; he says he would there were some place of
refuge--a place where reformation rather than punishment might be the
aim and end, where such poor creatures could be sent to, instead of
confining them in cells occupied by depraved prisoners.

Mr. Sheriff Hardscrabble, always eager to get every one into jail he
can, inasmuch as it pays him twenty-two cents a day clear profit on each
and every person confined, says: "A hard customer. Found sleeping in the
market, eh? Well, we must merge him in a tub of water, and scrub him up
a little." Mr. Hardscrabble views him with an air of satisfaction,
touches him with a small cane he holds in his hand, as if he were
something very common. Indeed, Mr. Hardscrabble seems quite at a loss to
know what species of animal he is, or whether he be really intended for
any other use than filling up his cells and returning him twenty-two
cents a day clear profit. "Probably an incendiary," mutters the
sagacious sheriff. The helpless boy would explain how he came to sleep
in the market--how he, a poor cabin-boy, walked, foot-sore and hungry,
from Wilmington, in the hope of getting a ship; and being moneyless and
friendless he laid down in the market to sleep. Mr. Hardscrabble,
however, suggests that such stories are extremely common. His Honor
thinks it not worth while to differ from this opinion, but to the end
that no great legal wisdom may be thrown away, he orders the accused to
be sent to the common jail for three months. This, in the opinion of
Judge Sleepyhorn, is an extremely mild penalty for being found sleeping
in the market.

Next there comes forward a lean, up-country Cracker, (an half-civilized
native,) who commences telling his story with commendable simplicity,
the Judge in the meanwhile endeavoring to suppress a smile, which the
quaintness of his remarks excite. Making a tenement of his cart, as is
usual with these people when they visit the city, which they do now and
then for the purpose of replenishing their stock of whiskey, he had,
about eleven o'clock on the previous night, been set upon by three
intoxicated students, who, having driven off his mule, overturned his
cart, landing him and his wife prostrate in the ditch. A great noise was
the result, and the guard, with their accustomed zeal for seizing upon
the innocent party, dragged up the weaker (the Cracker and his wife) and
let the guilty go free. He had brought the good wife, he added, as a
living evidence of the truth of what he said, and would bring the mule
if his honor was not satisfied. The good wife commences a volley of what
she is pleased to call voluntary testimony, praising and defending all
the good qualities of her much-abused husband, without permitting any
one else an opposing word. No sufficient charge being brought against
the Cracker (he wisely slipped a five dollar bill into the hands of
Stubbs), he joins his good wife and goes on his way rejoicing.

During this little episode between the court and the Cracker's wife,
Madame Grace Ashley, arrayed in her most fashionable toilet, comes
blazing into Court, bows to the Judge and a few of her most select
friends of the Bar. A seat for Madame is provided near his Honor's desk.
His Honor's blushes seem somewhat overtaxed; Madame, on the other hand,
is not at all disconcerted; indeed, she claims an extensive acquaintance
with the most distinguished of the Bar.

The Judge suggests to Mr. Stubbs that it would be as well to waive the
charge against the clergyman. Somewhat the worse for his night in the
guard-house, Parson Patterson comes forward and commences in the most
unintelligible manner to explain the whole affair, when the Judge very
blandly interrupts by inquiring if he is a member of the clergy at this
moment. "Welle," returns the parson, with characteristic drawl, "can't
zactly say I am." The natural seediness of the parson excites suspicion,
nevertheless he is scrupulous of his white cravat, and preserves withal
a strictly clerical aspect. Having paused a few moments and exchanged
glances with the Judge, he continues: "I do nigger preaching on
Sunday--that is (Parson Patterson corrects himself), I hold forth, here
and there--we are all flesh and blood--on plantations when I have a
demand for my services. Our large planters hold it good policy to
encourage the piety of their property."

"You make a good thing of it?" inquires the Judge, jocosely. The parson
replies, with much meekness of manner, that business is not so good as
it was, planters having got it into their heads that sermons can be got
at a very low figure. Here he commences to explain his singular
position. He happened to meet an old and much-esteemed friend, whom he
accompanied home, and while spending the evening conversing on
spiritual matters--it was best not to lie--he took a little too much. On
his way to the hotel he selected Beresford street as a short cut, and
being near the house where he was unfortunately found when the shooting
took place, he ran into it to escape the police--

"Don't believe a word he says," interrupts Madame Ashley, springing
suddenly to her feet, and commencing to pour out her phials of wrath on
the head of the poor parson, whom she accuses of being a suspicious and
extremely unprofitable frequenter of her house, which she describes as
exceedingly respectable. "Your Honor can bear me out in what I say!"
pursues Madame, bowing with an air of exultation, as the sheriff demands
order.

"A sorry lot, these plantation preachers! Punish him right soundly, your
honor. It is not the first time he has damaged the respectability of my
house!" again interrupts Madame Ashley. His Honor replies only with a
blush. Mr. Snivel, who watches with quisical countenance, over the bar,
enjoys the joke wonderfully.

Order being restored, the Judge turns to address the parson.

"I see, my friend--I always address my prisoners familiarly--you place
but little value on the fact of your being a clergyman, on the ground
that you only preach to slaves. This charge brought against you is a
grave one--I assure you! And I cannot incline to the view you take of
your profession. I may not be as erudite as some; however, I hold it
that the ignorant and not the learned have most need of good example."

"Aye! I always told the old reprobate so," interposes Madam Ashley, with
great fervor.

"A charge," resumes the Judge, "quite sufficient to warrant me in
committing you to durance vile, might be preferred. You may thank my
generosity that it is not. These houses, as you know, Mr. Patterson, are
not only dangerous, but damaging to men of potent morality like you."

"But, your Honor knows, they are much frequented," meekly drawls the
parson.

"It affords no palliation," sharply responds the Judge, his face
crimsoning with blushes. "Mark ye, my friend of the clergy, these places
make sad destruction of our young men. Indeed I may say with becoming
sincerity and truth, that they spread a poison over the community, and
act as the great enemy of our social system."

"Heigh ho!" ejaculates Madame Ashley, to the great delight of the throng
assembled, "Satan has come to rebuke sin." Madame bids his Honor a very
polite good morning, and takes her departure, looking disdainfully over
her shoulder as she disappears out of the door.

Not a little disturbed in his equanimity, the Judge pursues his charge.
"The clergy ought to keep their garments clear of such places, for being
the source of all evil, the effect on the community is not good--I mean
when such things are brought to light! I would address you frankly and
admonish you to go no more into such places. Let your ways merit the
approbation of those to whom you preach the Gospel. You can go.
Henceforth, live after the ways of the virtuous."

Parson Patterson thanks his Honor, begs to assure him of his innocence,
and seems only too anxious to get away. His Honor bows to Mr. Patterson,
Mr. Patterson returns it, and adds another for the audience, whereupon
the court adjourns, and so ends the episode. His Honor takes Mr.
Snivel's arm, and together they proceed to the "most convenient" saloon,
where, over a well-compounded punch, "the bench and the bar" compliment
each other on the happy disposal of such vexatious cases.



CHAPTER XXVII.

THE HOUSE OF THE NINE NATIONS, AND WHAT MAY BE SEEN IN IT.


On the corner of Anthony street and the Points,[4] in New-York, there
stands, like a grim savage, the house of the Nine Nations, a dingy
wooden tenement, that for twenty years has threatened to tumble away
from its more upright neighbor, and before which the stranger wayfarer
is seen to stop and contemplate. In a neighborhood redolent of crime,
there it stands, its vices thick upon its head, exciting in the mind of
the observer its association with some dark and terrible deed. On the
one side, opens that area of misery, mud and sombre walls, called "Cow
Bay;" on the other a triangular plot, reeking with the garbage of the
miserable cellars that flank it, and in which swarms of wasting beings
seek a hiding-place, inhale pestilential air, and die. Gutters running
with seething matter; homeless outcasts sitting, besotted, on crazy
doorsteps; the vicious, with savage visage, and keen, watchful eye,
loitering at the doors of filthy "groceries;" the sickly and neglected
child crawling upon the side-pave, or seeking a crust to appease its
hunger--all are found here, gasping, in rags, a breath of air by day, or
seeking a shelter, at night, in dens so abject that the world can
furnish no counterpart. And this forlorn picture of dilapidated houses,
half-clad, squabbish women, blistered-faced men, and sickly children,
the house of the Nine Nations overlooks. And yet this house, to the
disgrace of an opulent people be it said, is but the sample of an
hundred others standing in the same neighborhood.

[Footnote 4: Now Worth street and Mission Place.]

With its basement-doors opening into its bottomless pit; with its
continual outgoing and ingoing of sooty and cruel-visaged denizens; with
its rickety old steps leading to the second story; with its battered
windows, begrimed walls, demolished shutters, clapboards hanging at
sixes and sevens--with its suspicious aspect;--there it stands, with its
distained sign over the doors of its bottomless pit. You may read on
this sign, that a gentleman from Ireland, who for convenience' sake we
will call Mr. Krone, is licensed to sell imported and other liquors.

Indeed the house of the Nine Nations would seem to say within itself: "I
am mother of this banquet of death you behold with your eyes." There it
stands, its stream of poison hurrying its victims to the grave; its
little dark passages leading to curious hiding-places; its caving roof,
and its ominous-looking back platform, overlooking the dead walls of
Murderers' Yard. How it mocks your philanthropy, your regal edifices,
your boasted charities--your gorgeous churches! Everybody but the
corporation knows the house of the Nine Nations, a haunt for wasted
prostitutes, assassins, burglars, thieves--every grade of criminals
known to depraved nature. The corporation would seem either to have a
charming sympathy for it, or to look upon it with that good-natured
indifference so happily illustrated while eating its oysters and
drinking its whiskey. An empty-headed corporation is sure always to
have its hands very full, which is the case with yours at this moment.
Having the people's money to waste, its own ambition to serve, and its
hat to fill with political waste paper--what more would you ask of it?

The man of the house of the Nine Nations, you ought to know, makes
criminals by the hundred, deluges your alms houses with paupers, and
makes your Potters' field reek with his victims: for this he is become
rich. Mr. Krone is an intimate friend of more than one Councilman, and a
man of much measure in the political world--that is, Mr. Krone is a
politician-maker. When you say there exists too close an intimacy
between the pugilist and the politician, Mr. Krone will bet twenty
drinks with any one of his customers that he can prove such doctrines at
fault. He can secure the election of his favorite candidate with the
same facility that he can make an hundred paupers per week. You may well
believe him a choice flower in the bouquet of the corporation; we mean
the corporation that banquets and becomes jubilant while assassins stab
their victims in the broad street--that becomes befogged while bands of
ruffians disgrace the city with their fiendish outrages--that makes
presidents and drinks whiskey when the city would seem given over to the
swell-mobsman--when no security is offered to life, and wholesale
harlotry, flaunting with naked arms and bared bosoms, passes along in
possession of Broadway by night.

It is the night succeeding the day Lady Swiggs discovered, at the house
of the Foreign Missions, the loss of her cherished donations. As this is
a world of disappointments, Lady Swiggs resigns herself to this most
galling of all, and with her Milton firmly grasped in her hand, may be
seen in a little room at Sister Scudder's, rocking herself in the
arm-chair, and wondering if Brother Spyke has captured the
robber-wretch. A chilly wind howls, and a drizzling rain falls thick
over the dingy dwellings of the Points, which, sullen and dark, seem in
a dripping mood. A glimmering light, here and there, throws curious
shadows over the liquid streets. Now the drenched form of some
half-naked and homeless being is reflected, standing shivering in the
entrance to some dark and narrow alley; then the half-crazed inebriate
hurries into the open door of a dismal cellar, or seeks eagerly a
shelter for his bewildered head, in some suspicious den. Flashing
through the shadow of the police lamp, in "Cow Bay," a forlorn female is
seen, a bottle held tightly under her shawl. Sailing as it were into the
bottomless pit of the house of the Nine Nations, then suddenly returning
with the drug, seeking the cheerless garret of her dissolute partner,
and there striving to blunt her feelings against the horrors of
starvation.

Two men stand, an umbrella over their heads, at the corner, in the glare
of the bottomless pit, which is in a blaze of light, and crowded with
savage-faced figures, of various ages and colors,--all habited in the
poison-seller's uniform of rags. "I don't think you'll find him here,
sir," says one, addressing the other, who is tall and slender of person,
and singularly timid. "God knows I am a stranger here. To-morrow I leave
for Antioch," is the reply, delivered in nervous accents. The one is
Brother Syngleton Spyke, the other Mr. Detective Fitzgerald, a man of
more than middle stature, with compact figure, firmly-knit limbs, and an
expression of countenance rather pleasant.

"You see, sir, this Toddleworth is a harmless creature, always aims to
be obliging and civil. I don't, sir--I really don't think he'll steal.
But one can't tell what a man will do who is driven to such straits as
the poor devils here are. We rather like Toddleworth at the station,
look upon him as rather wanting in the head, and for that reason rather
incline to favor him. I may say we now and then let him 'tie up' all
night in the station. And for this he seems very thankful. I may say,"
continues Mr. Fitzgerald, touching the visor of his cap, "that he always
repays with kindness any little attention we may extend to him at the
station, and at times seems too anxious to make it his home. We give him
a shirt and a few shillings now and then; and when we want to be rid of
him we begin to talk about fashionable wives. He is sure to go then.
Can't stand such a topic, I assure you, sir, and is sure to go off in a
huff when Sergeant Pottle starts it."

They enter the great door of the bottomless pit; the young missionary
hesitates. His countenance changes, his eyes scan steadily over the
scene. A room some sixty feet by twenty opens to his astonished eyes.
Its black, boarded walls, and bare beams, are enlivened here and there
with extravagant pictures of notorious pugilists, show-bills, and
illustrated advertisements of lascivious books, in which the murder of
an unfortunate woman is the principal feature. Slippery mud covers the
floor. Mr. Krone sits on an empty whiskey-barrel, his stunted features
betraying the hardened avarice of his character. He smokes his black
pipe, folds his arms deliberately, discoursing of the affairs of the
nation to two stupefied negroes and one blear-eyed son of the Emerald
Isle. Three uncouth females, with hair hanging matted over their faces,
and their features hidden in distortion, stand cooling their bared limbs
at a running faucet just inside the door, to the left. A group of
half-naked negroes lie insensible on the floor, to the right. A little
further on two prostrate females, shivering, and reeking of gin, sleep
undisturbed by the profanity that is making the very air resound. "The
gin gets a-many of us," is the mournful cry of many a wasting inebriate.
Mr. Krone, however, will tell you he has no sympathy with such cries.
You arraign, and perhaps punish, the apothecary who sells by mistake his
deadly drug. With a philosophical air, Mr. Krone will tell you he deals
out his poison without scruple, fills alms-houses without a pang of
remorse, and proves that a politician-maker may do much to degrade
society and remain in high favor with his friends of the bench of
justice. On one side of the dungeon-like place stands a rickety old
counter, behind which three savage-faced men stand, filling and serving
incessant potions of deleterious liquor to the miserable beings, haggard
and ragged, crowding to be first served. Behind the bar, or counter,
rises a pyramid of dingy shelves, on which are arranged little painted
kegs, labelled, and made bright by the glaring gas-light reflected upon
them. On the opposite side, on rows of slab benches, sit a group of
motley beings,--the young girl and the old man, the negro and the frail
white,--half sleeping, half conscious; all imbibing the stifling
draught.

Like revelling witches in rags, and seen through the bedimmed atmosphere
at the further end of the den, are half-frantic men, women, and girls,
now sitting at deal tables, playing for drinks, now jostling, jeering,
and profaning in wild disorder. A girl of sixteen, wasted and deformed
with dissipation, approaches Brother Spyke, extends her blanched hand,
and importunes him for gin. He shudders, and shrinks from her touch, as
from a reptile. A look of scorn, and she turns from him, and is lost
among the grotesque crowd in the distance.

"This gin," says Mr. Fitzgerald, turning methodically to Brother Spyke,
"they make do for food and clothing. We used to call this the devil's
paradise. As to Krone, we used to call him the devil's bar-tender. These
ragged revellers, you see, beg and steal during the day, and get gin
with it at night. Krone thinks nothing of it! Lord bless your soul, sir!
why, this man is reckoned a tip-top politician; on an emergency he can
turn up such a lot of votes!" Mr. Fitzgerald, approaching Mr. Krone,
says "you're a pretty fellow. Keeping such a place as this!" The
detective playfully strikes the hat of the other, crowding it over his
eyes, and inquiring if he has seen Tom Toddleworth during the day. Mr.
Toddleworth was not seen during the day. No one in the bottomless pit
knows where he may be found. A dozen husky voices are heard to say, he
has no home--stores himself away anywhere, and may be found everywhere.

Brother Spyke bows, and sighs. Mr. Fitzgerald says: "he is always
harmless--this Toddleworth." As the two searchers are about to withdraw,
the shrunken figure of a woman rushes wildly into the pit. "Devils!
devils!--hideous devils of darkness! here you are--still
hover--hover--hovering; turning midnight into revelling, day into horrid
dreaming!" she shrieks at the top of her voice. Now she pauses suddenly,
and with a demoniacal laugh sets her dull, glassy eyes on Mr. Krone,
then walks round him with clenched fists and threatening gestures. The
politician-maker sits unmoved. Now she throws her hair about her bare
breasts, turns her eyes upward, imploringly, and approaches Brother
Spyke, with hand extended. Her tale of sorrow and suffering is written
in her very look. "She won't hurt you--never harms anybody;" says Mr.
Fitzgerald, methodically, observing Brother Spyke's timidity.

"No, no, no," she mutters incoherently, "you are not of this place--you
know, like the rich world up-town, little of these revelling devils.
Cling! yes, cling to the wise one--tell him to keep you from this, and
forever be your teacher. Tell him! tell him! oh! tell him!" She wrings
her hands, and having sailed as it were into the further end of the pit,
vaults back, and commences a series of wild gyrations round Mr. Krone.

"Poor wretch!" says Brother Spyke, complacently, "the gin has dried up
her senses--made her what she is."

"Maniac Munday! Maniac Munday!" suddenly echoes and re-echoes through
the pit. She turns her ear, and with a listless countenance listens
attentively, then breaks out into an hysterical laugh. "Yes! ye
loathsome denizens. Like me, no one seeks you, no one cares for you. I
am poor, poor maniac Munday. The maniac that one fell error brought to
this awful end." Again she lowers her voice, flings her hair back over
her shoulders, and gives vent to her tears. Like one burdened with
sorrow she commences humming an air, that even in this dark den floats
sweetly through the polluted atmosphere. "Well, I am what I am," she
sighs, having paused in her tune. "That one fatal step--that plighted
faith! How bitter to look back." Her bony fingers wander to her lips,
which she commences biting and fretting, as her countenance becomes pale
and corpse-like. Again her reason takes its flight. She staggers to the
drenched counter, holds forth her bottle, lays her last sixpence
tauntingly upon the board, and watches with glassy eyes the drawing of
the poisonous drug. Meanwhile Mr. Krone, with an imprecation, declares
he has power to elect his candidate to the Senate. The man behind the
counter--the man of savage face, has filled the maniac's bottle, which
he pushes toward her with one hand, as with the other he sweeps her coin
into a drawer. "Oh! save poor maniac Munday--save poor maniac Munday!"
the woman cries, like one in despair, clutching the bottle, and reels
out of the pit.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

IN WHICH IS PRESENTED ANOTHER PICTURE OF THE HOUSE OF THE NINE NATIONS.


Pale and hesitating, Brother Spyke says: "I have no passion for delving
into such places; and having seen enough for one night, am content to
leave the search for this vile old man to you." The valiant missionary
addresses Mr. Fitzgerald, who stands with one foot upon the rickety old
steps that lead to the second story of the House of the Nine Nations.

This morning, Brother Spyke was ready to do battle with the whole
heathen world, to drag it up into light, to evangelize it. Now he quails
before this heathen world, so terribly dark, at his own door.

"You have, sir," says the detective, "seen nuthin' as yet. The sights
are in these 'ere upper dens; but, I may say it, a body wants nerve.
Some of our Aldermen say ye can't see such sights nowhere else."

The missionary replies, holding tenaciously to his umbrella, "That may
be true; but I fear they will be waiting me at home." Again he scans
inquiringly into the drenched area of the Points; then bidding the
officer good-night, is soon out of sight, on his way into Centre Street.
Reaching the old stoop, the detective touches a spring, and the
shattered door opens into a narrow, gloomy passage, along which he
gropes his way, over a floor cobbled with filth, and against an
atmosphere thick of disease. Now a faint light flashes through a crevice
in the left wall, plays fantastically upon the black surface of the
opposite, then dies away. The detective lights his lantern, stands a
moment with his ear turned, as if listening to the revelry in the
bottomless pit. A door opens to his touch, he enters a cave-like
room--it is the one from out which the light stole so curiously, and in
which all is misery and sadness. A few embers still burn in a great
brick fireplace, shedding a lurid glow over the damp, filthy walls, the
discolored ceiling, and the grotesque group upon the floor. "You needn't
come at this time of night--we are all honest people;" speaks a massive
negro, of savage visage, who (he is clothed in rags) sits at the left
side of the fireplace. He coaxes the remnant of his fire to cook some
coarse food he has placed in a small, black stew-pan, he watches with
steady gaze. Three white females (we blush to say it), their bare,
brawny arms resting on their knees, and their disfigured faces drooped
into their hands, form an half circle on the opposite side.

"The world don't think nothin' of us down here--we haven't had a bite to
eat to-night," gruffly resumes the negro.

"May them that have riches enjoy them, for to be supperless is no
uncommon thing wid us," interrupts one of the women, gathering about her
the shreds of her tattered garment, parting the matted hair over her
face, and revealing her ghastly features. The detective turns his light
full upon her. "If we live we live, if we die we die--nobody cares! Look
you yonder, Mr. Fitzgerald," continues the negro, with a sarcastic leer.
Turning his light to where the negro points, the detective casts a
glance into the shadow, and there discovers the rags move. A dozen pair
of glassy eyes are seen peering from out the filthy coverings, over
which lean arms and blanched hands keep up an incessant motion. Here an
emaciated and heart-sick Welsh girl, of thirteen (enciente) lays
shivering on the broken floor; there an half-famished Scotch woman, two
moaning children nestling at her heart, suffers uncovered upon a pallet
of straw. The busy world without would seem not to have a care for her;
the clergy have got the heathen world upon their shoulders. Hunger, like
a grim tyrant, has driven her to seek shelter in this wretched abode.
Despair has made her but too anxious that the grave or prison walls
should close the record of her sorrows. How tightly she with her right
hand presses her babe to her bosom; how appealingly with her left she
asks a pittance of the detective! Will he not save from death her
starving child? He has nothing to give her, turns his head, answers only
with a look of pity, and moves slowly towards the door.

"You have not been long off the Island, Washington?" inquires the
detective, with an air of familiarity.

"I wish," replies the negro, sullenly, "I was back. An honest man as I
is, can't get on in this world. Necessity makes rascals of better men
than me, Mr. Fitzgerald. Mr. Krone (he's a white man, though) makes all
the politicians for the district, and charges me eight dollars a month
for this hole. Just measure them two things together, Mr. Fitzgerald;
then see if takin' in sixpenny, lodgers pays." Mr. Fitzgerald commences
counting them. "You needn't count," pursues the negro, uncovering his
stew-pan, "there's only eighteen in to-night. Have twenty, sometimes!
Don't get nothin' for that poor Scotch woman an' her children. Can't
get it when they hain't got it--you know that, Mr. Fitzgerald."

The detective inquires if any of them have seen Mr. Toddleworth to-day.
Washington has not seen him, and makes no scruple of saying he thinks
very little of him.

"Faith an' it's hard times with poor Tom," speaks up one of the women,
in a deep brogue. "It was only last night--the same I'm tellin' is true,
God knows--Mrs. McCarty took him to the Rookery--the divil a mouthful
he'd ate durin' the day--and says, bein' a ginerous sort of body, come,
take a drop, an' a bite to ate. Mister Toddleworth did that same, and
thin lay the night on the floor. To-night--it's the truth, God
knows--Tom Downey took him above. An' it's Tom who woundn't be the frind
of the man who hadn't a shillin' in his pocket."

The detective shrugs his shoulders, and having thanked the woman,
withdraws into the passage, to the end of which he cautiously picks his
way, and knocks at a distained door that fronts him. A voice deep and
husky bids him enter, which he does, as the lurid glare of his lantern
reveals a room some twelve by sixteen feet, the plaster hanging in
festoons from the black walls, and so low of ceiling that he scarce can
stand upright. Four bunk-beds, a little bureau, a broken chair or two,
and a few cheap pictures, hung here and there on the sombre walls, give
it an air of comfort in grateful contrast with the room just left. "Who
lives here?" inquires the detective, turning his light full upon each
object that attracts his attention. "Shure it's only me--Mrs. Terence
Murphy--and my three sisters (the youngest is scarce fourteen), and the
two English sisters: all honest people, God knows," replies Mrs. Murphy,
with a rapid tongue.

"It's not right of you to live this way," returns the detective,
continuing to survey the prostrate forms of Mrs. Murphy, her three
sisters, and the two fair-haired English girls, and the besotted beings
they claim as husbands. Alarm is pictured in every countenance. A
browned face withdraws under a dingy coverlid, an anxious face peers
from out a pallet on the floor, a prostrate figure in the corner
inquires the object of Mr. Detective Fitzgerald's visit--and Mrs.
Murphy, holding it more becoming of respectable society, leaves the bed
in which she had accommodated five others, and gets into one she calls
her own. A second thought, and she makes up her mind not to get into
bed, but to ask Mr. Fitzgerald if he will be good enough, when next he
meets his Onher, the Mayor, just to say to him how Mr. Krone is bringing
disgrace upon the house and every one in it, by letting rooms to
negroes. Here she commences pouring out her pent-up wrath upon the head
of Mr. Krone, and the colored gentleman, whom she declares has a dozen
white females in his room every night. The detective encourages her by
saying it is not right of Mr. Krone, who looks more at the color of his
money than the skin of his tenants. "To come of a dacint family--and be
brought to this!" says Mrs. Murphy, allowing her passion to rise, and
swearing to have revenge of the negro in the next room.

"You drink this gin, yet--I have warned you against it," interposes the
detective, pointing to some bottles on the bureau. "Faith, an' it's the
gin gets a many of us," returns the woman, curtly, as she gathers about
her the skirts of her garments. "Onyhow, yerself wouldn't deprive us of
a drop now and then, jist to keep up the spirits." The detective shakes
his head, then discloses to them the object of his search, adding, in
parenthesis, that he does not think Mr. Toddleworth is the thief. A
dozen tongues are ready to confirm the detective's belief. "Not a
shillin' of it did the poor crature take--indeed he didn't, now, Mr.
Fitzgerald. 'Onor's 'onor, all over the wurld!" says Mrs. Murphy,
grasping the detective by the hand. "Stay till I tell ye all about it.
Mary Maguire--indeed an' ye knows her, Mr. Fitzgerald--this same
afternoon looked in to say--'how do ye do, Mrs. Murphy. See this! Mrs.
Murphy,' says she, 'an' the divil a sich a pocket of money I'd see
before, as she held in her right hand, jist. 'Long life to ye, Mary,'
says I. 'We'll have a pint, Mrs. Murphy,' says she. 'May ye niver want
the worth of it,' says I. And the pint was not long in, when Mary got a
little the worse of it, and let all out about the money. 'You won't
whisper it, Mrs. Murphy,' says she, 'if I'd tell ye in confidence by
what manes I got the lift?'"

"'Not in the wide world, Mary,' says I; 'ye may trust me for that same.'
'Shure didn't I raise it from the pocket of an auld woman in spectacles,
that watched the fool beyant dig up the corporation.' 'An' it'll not do
yerself much good,' says I, liftin' the same, and cuttin' away to the
house. 'You won't whisper it?' says she."

"I can confirm the truth of that same," rejoins a brusque-figured man,
rising from his pallet, and speaking with regained confidence. "Mary
looked in at the Blazers, and being the worse of liquor, showed a dale
of ready money, and trated everybody, and gave the money to everybody,
and was wilcome wid everybody. Then Mrs. McCarty got aboard of her
ginerosity, and got her into the Rookery, where the Miss McCartys
thought it would not be amiss to have a quart. The same was brought in,
and Mary hersel' was soon like a dead woman on the floor, jist--"

"And they got the money all away?" interrupts the detective.

"Faith, an' she'll not have a blessed dollar come daylight," continues
the man, resuming his pallet.

The detective bids Mrs. Murphy good night, and is soon groping his way
over a rickety old floor, along a dark, narrow passage, scarce high
enough to admit him, and running at right angles with the first. A door
on the left opens into a grotto-like place, the sickly atmosphere of
which seems hurling its poison into the very blood. "Who's here?"
inquires the detective, and a voice, feeble and hollow, responds:
"Lodgers!"

The damp, greasy walls; the broken ceilings; the sooty fireplace, with
its shattered bricks; the decayed wainscoating--its dark, forlorn
aspect, all bespeak it the fit abode of rats. And yet Mr. Krone thinks
it comfortable enough (the authorities think Mr. Krone the best judge)
for the accommodation of thirteen remnants of human misery, all of whom
are here huddled together on the wet, broken floor, borrowing warmth of
one another. The detective's light falls curiously upon the dread
picture, which he stands contemplating. A pale, sickly girl, of some
eleven summers, her hair falling wildly over her wan features, lays upon
some rags near the fireplace, clinging to an inebriated mother. Here a
father, heart-sick and prostrate with disease, seeks to keep warm his
three ragged children, nestling about him. An homeless outcast,
necessity forces him to send them out to prey upon the community by day,
and to seek in this wretched hovel a shelter at night. Yonder the rags
are thrown back, a moving mass is disclosed, and there protrudes a
disfigured face, made ghostly by the shadow of the detective's lantern.
At the detective's feet a prostrate girl, insensible of gin, is seized
with convulsions, clutches with wasted hands at the few rags about her
poor, flabby body, then with fingers grasping, and teeth firmly set, her
whole frame writhes in agony. Your missionary never whispered a kind,
encouraging word in her ear; his hand never pressed that blanched bone
with which she now saddens your heart! Different might it have been with
her had some gentle-tongued Brother Spyke sought her out, bore patiently
with her waywardness, snatched her from this life of shame, and placed
her high in an atmosphere of light and love.

It is here, gentle shepherds, the benighted stand most in need of your
labors. Seek not to evangelize the Mahomedan world until you have worked
a reform here; and when you have done it, a monument in heaven will be
your reward.

"Mr. Toddleworth is not here," says the detective, withdrawing into the
passage, then ascending a broken and steep stairs that lead into the
third story. Nine shivering forms crouched in one dismal room; four
squabbish women, and three besotted men in another; and in a third, nine
ragged boys and two small girls--such are the scenes of squalid misery
presented here. In a little front room, Mr. Tom Downey, his wife, and
eight children, lay together upon the floor, half covered with rags. Mr.
Downey startles at the appearance of the detective, rises nervously from
his pallet, and after the pause of a moment, says: "Indeed, yer welcome,
Mr. Fitzgerald. Indeed, I have not--an' God knows it's the truth I
tell--seen Mr. Toddleworth the week;" he replies, in answer to a
question from the detective.

"You took a drop with him this afternoon?" continues the detective,
observing his nervousness.

"God knows it's a mistake, Mr. Fitzgerald." Mr. Downey changes the
subject, by saying the foreigners in the garret are a great nuisance,
and disturb him of his rest at night.

A small, crooked stair leads into "Organ-grinders' Roost," in the
garret. To "Organ-grinders' Roost" the detective ascends. If, reader,
you have ever pictured in your mind the cave of despair, peopled by
beings human only in shape, you may form a faint idea of the
wretchedness presented in "Organ-grinders' Roost," at the top of the
house of the Nine Nations. Seven stalworth men shoot out from among a
mass of rags on the floor, and with dark, wandering eyes, and massive,
uncombed beards, commence in their native Italian a series of
interrogatories, not one of which the detective can understand. They
would inquire for whom he seeks at this strange hour. He (the detective)
stands unmoved, as with savage gesture--he has discovered his star--they
tell him they are famishing of hunger. A pretty black-eyed girl, to
whose pale, but beautifully oval face an expression of sorrow lends a
touching softness, lays on the bare floor, beside a mother of
patriarchal aspect. Now she is seized with a sharp cough that brings
blood at every paroxysm. As if forgetting herself, she lays her hand
gently upon the cheek of her mother, anxious to comfort her. Ah! the
hard hand of poverty has been upon her through life, and stubbornly
refuses to relax its grip, even in her old age. An organ forms here and
there a division between the sleepers; two grave-visaged monkeys sit
chattering in the fireplace, then crouch down on the few charred sticks.
A picture of the crucifix is seen conspicuous over the dingy fireplace,
while from the slanting roof hang several leathern girdles. Oh, what a
struggle for life is their's! Mothers, fathers, daughters, and little
children, thus promiscuously grouped, and coming up in neglect and
shame. There an old man, whom remorseless death is just calling into
eternity, with dull, glassy eyes, white, flowing beard, bald head,
sunken mouth, begrimed and deeply-wrinkled face, rises, spectre-like,
from his pallet. Now he draws from his breast a small crucifix, and
commences muttering to it in a guttural voice. "Peace, peace, good old
man--the holy father will come soon--the holy virgin will come soon: he
will receive the good spirit to his bosom," says a black-eyed daughter,
patting him gently upon the head, then looking in his face solicitously,
as he turns his eyes upward, and for a few moments seems invoking the
mercy of the Allwise. "Yes, father," she resumes, lightening up the mat
of straw upon which he lays, "the world has been unkind to you, but you
are passing from it to a better--you will be at peace soon."

"Soon, soon, soon," mumbles the old man, in a whisper; and having
carefully returned the crucifix to his bosom, grasps fervently the hand
of the girl and kisses it, as her eyes swim in tears.

Such, to the shame of those who live in princely palaces, and revel in
luxury, are but faintly-drawn pictures of what may be seen in the house
of the Nine Nations.

The detective is about to give up the search, and turns to descend the
stairs, when suddenly he discerns a passage leading to the north end of
the garret. Here, in a little closet-like room, on the right, the rats
his only companions, lies the prostrate form of poor Toddleworth.

"Well, I persevered till I found you," says the detective, turning his
light full upon the body. Another minute, and his features become as
marble; he stands aghast, and his whole frame seems struggling under the
effect of some violent shock. "What, what, what!" he shouts, in nervous
accents, "Murder! murder! murder! some one has murdered him." Motionless
the form lies, the shadow of the light revealing the ghastly spectacle.
The head lies in a pool of blood, the bedimmed eyes, having taken their
last look, remain fixedly set on the black roof. "He has died of a
blow--of a broken skull!" says the frightened official, feeling, and
feeling, and pressing the arms and hands that are fast becoming rigid.
Life is gone out; a pauper's grave will soon close over what remains of
this wretched outcast. The detective hastens down stairs, spreads the
alarm over the neighborhood, and soon the House of the Nine Nations is
the scene of great excitement.



CHAPTER XXIX.

IN WHICH MAY BE SEEN A FEW OF OUR COMMON EVILS.


Leaving for a time the scenes in the House of the Nine Nations, let us
return to Charleston, that we may see how matters appertaining to this
history are progressing. Mr. Snivel is a popular candidate for the
Senate of South Carolina; and having shot his man down in the street,
the question of his fighting abilities we regard as honorably settled.
Madame Montford, too, has by him been kept in a state of nervous
anxiety, for he has not yet found time to search in the "Poor-house for
the woman Munday." All our very first, and best-known families, have
dropped Madame, who is become a wet sheet on the fashionable world. A
select committee of the St. Cecilia has twice considered her expulsion,
while numerous very respectable and equally active old ladies have been
shaking their scandal-bags at her head. Sins have been laid at her door
that would indeed damage a reputation with a fairer endorsement than New
York can give.

Our city at this moment is warmed into a singular state of excitement. A
Georgia editor (we regard editors as belonging to a very windy class of
men), not having the mightiness of our chivalry before him, said the
Union would have peace if South Carolina were shut up in a penitentiary.
And for this we have invited the indiscreet gentleman to step over the
border, that we may hang him, being extremely fond of such common-place
amusements. What the facetious fellow meant was, that our own State
would enjoy peace and prosperity were our mob-politicians all in the
penitentiary. And with this sensible opinion we heartily agree.

We regard our state of civilization as extremely enviable. To-day we
made a lion of the notorious Hines, the forger. Hines, fashioning after
our hapless chivalry, boasts that South Carolina is his State--his
political mother. He has, nevertheless, graced with his presence no few
penitentiaries. We feasted him in that same prison where we degrade and
starve the honest poor; we knew him guilty of an heinous crime--yet we
carried him jubilantly to the "halls of justice." And while
distinguished lawyers tendered their services to the "clever villain,"
you might have witnessed in sorrow a mock trial, and heard a mob
sanction with its acclamations his release.

Oh, truth and justice! how feeble is thy existence where the god slavery
reigns. And while men are heard sounding the praises of this highwayman
at the street corners, extolling men who have shot down their fellow-men
in the streets, and calling those "Hon. gentlemen," who have in the most
cowardly manner assassinated their opponents, let us turn to a different
picture. Two genteely-dressed men are seen entering the old, jail. "I
have twice promised them a happy surprise," says one, whose pale,
studious features, wear an expression of gentleness. The face of the
other is somewhat florid, but beaming with warmth of heart. They enter,
having passed up one of the long halls, a room looking into the
prison-yard. Several weary-faced prisoners are seated round a deal
table, playing cards; among them is the old sailor described in the
early part of this history. "You don't know my friend, here?" says the
young man of the studious face, addressing the prisoners, and pointing
to his companion. The prisoners look inquiringly at the stranger, then
shake their heads in response.

"No, you don't know me: you never knew me when I was a man," speaks the
stranger, raising his hat, as a smile lights up his features. "You don't
know Tom Swiggs, the miserable inebriate--"

A spontaneous shout of recognition, echoing and reechoing through the
old halls, interrupts this declaration. One by one the imprisoned men
grasp him by the hand, and shower upon him the warmest, the heartiest
congratulations. A once fallen brother has risen to a knowledge of his
own happiness. Hands that raised him from that mat of straw, when the
mental man seemed lost, now welcome him restored, a purer being.

"Ah, Spunyarn," says Tom, greeting the old sailor with childlike
fondness, as the tears are seen gushing into the eyes, and coursing down
the browned face of the old mariner, "I owe you a debt I fear I never
can pay. I have thought of you in my absence, and had hoped on my return
to see you released. I am sorry you are not--"

"Well, as to that," interrupts the old sailor, his face resuming its
wonted calm, "I can't--you know I can't, Tom,--sail without a clearance.
I sometimes think I'm never going to get one. Two years, as you know,
I've been here, now backing and then filling, in and out, just as it
suits that chap with the face like a snatch-block. They call him a
justice. 'Pon my soul, Tom, I begin to think justice for us poor folks
is got aground. Well, give us your hand agin' (he seizes Tom by the
hand); its all well wi' you, anyhows.'

"Yes, thank God," says Tom, returning his friendly shake, "I have
conquered the enemy, and my thanks for it are due to those who reached
my heart with kind words, and gave me a brother's hand. I was not dead
to my own degradation; but imprisonment left me no hope. The sting of
disappointment may pain your feelings; hope deferred may torture you
here in a prison; the persecutions of enemies may madden your very soul;
but when a mother turns coldly from you--No, I will not say it, for I
love her still--" he hesitates, as the old sailor says, with touching
simplicity, he never knew what it was to have a mother or father. Having
spread before the old man and his companions sundry refreshments he had
ordered brought in, and received in return their thanks, he inquires of
Spunyarn how it happened that he got into prison, and how it is that he
remains here a fixture.

"I'll tell you, Tom," says the old sailor, commencing his story. "We'd
just come ashore--had a rough passage--and, says I to myself, here's lay
up ashore awhile. So I gets a crimp, who takes me to a crib. 'It's all
right here--you'll have snug quarters, Jack,' says he, introducing me to
the chap who kept it. I gives him twenty dollars on stack, and gets up
my chest and hammock, thinking it was all fair and square. Then I meets
an old shipmate, who I took in tow, he being hard ashore for cash. 'Let
us top the meetin' with a glass,' says I. 'Agreed,' says Bill, and I
calls her on, the very best. 'Ten cents a glass,' says the fellow behind
the counter, giving us stuff that burnt as it went. 'Mister,' says I,
'do ye want to poison a sailor?' 'If you no like him,' says he, 'go get
better somewhere else.' I told him to give me back the twenty, and me
dunnage.

"'You don't get him--clear out of mine 'ouse,' says he.

"'Under the peak,' says I, fetching him a but under the lug that beached
him among his beer-barrels. He picked himself up, and began talking
about a magistrate. And knowing what sort of navigation a fellow'd have
in the hands of that sort of land-craft, I began to think about laying
my course for another port. 'Hold on here,' says a big-sided
land-lubber, seizing me by the fore-sheets. 'Cast off there,' says I,
'or I'll put ye on yer beam-ends.'

"'I'm a constable,' says he, pulling out a pair of irons he said must go
on my hands."

"I hope he did not put them on," interrupts the young theologian, for it
is he who accompanies Tom.

"Avast! I'll come to that. He said he'd only charge me five dollars for
going to jail without 'em, so rather than have me calling damaged, I giv
him it. It was only a trifle. 'Now, Jack,' says the fellow, as we went
along, in a friendly sort of way, 'just let us pop in and see the
justice. I think a ten 'll get ye a clearance.' 'No objection to that,'
says I, and in we went, and there sat the justice, face as long and
sharp as a marlinspike, in a dirty old hole, that looked like our
forecastle. 'Bad affair this, Jack,' says he, looking up over his
spectacles. 'You must be locked up for a year and a day, Jack.'

"'You'll give a sailor a hearin', won't ye?' says I. 'As to that,--well,
I don't know, Jack; you musn't break the laws of South Carolina when you
get ashore. You seem like a desirable sailor, and can no doubt get a
ship and good wages--this is a bad affair. However, as I'm not inclined
to be hard, if you are disposed to pay twenty dollars, you can go.' 'Law
and justice,' says I, shaking my fist at him--'do ye take this
salt-water citizen for a fool?'

"'Take him away, Mr. Stubble--lock him up!--lock him up!' says the
justice, and here I am, locked up, hard up, hoping. I'd been tied up
about three weeks when the justice looked in one day, and after
inquiring for me, and saying, 'good morning, Jack,' and seeming a little
by the head: 'about this affair of yourn, Jack,' says he, 'now, if
you'll mind your eye when you get out--my trouble's worth ten
dollars--and pay me, I'll discharge you, and charge the costs to the
State.'

"'Charge the cost to the State!' says I. 'Do you take Spunyarn for a
marine?' At this he hauled his wind, and stood out."

"You have had a hearing before the Grand Jury, have you not?" inquires
Tom, evincing a deep interest in the story of his old friend.

"Not I. This South Carolina justice is a hard old craft to sail in. The
Grand Jury only looks in once every six months, and then looks out
again, without inquiring who's here. And just before the time it comes
round, I'm shuffled out, and just after it has left, I'm shuffled in
again--fees charged to the State! That's it. So here I am, a fee-making
machine, bobbing in and out of jail to suit the conveniences of Mister
Justice. I don't say this with any ill will--I don't." Having concluded
his story, the old sailor follows his visitors to the prison gate, takes
an affectionate leave of Tom Swiggs, and returns to join his companions.
On the following day, Tom intercedes with Mr. Snivel, for it is he who
thus harvests fees of the State by retaining the old sailor in prison,
and procures his release. And here, in Mr. Snivel, you have an
instrument of that debased magistracy which triumphs over the weak, that
sits in ignorance and indolence, that invests the hypocritical designer
with a power almost absolute, that keeps justice muzzled on her
throne--the natural offspring of that demon-making institution that
scruples not to brunt the intellect of millions, while dragging a pall
of sloth over the land.



CHAPTER XXX.

CONTAINING VARIOUS THINGS APPERTAINING TO THIS HISTORY.


Maria McArthur having, by her womanly sympathy, awakened the generous
impulses of Tom Swiggs, he is resolved they shall have a new channel for
their action. Her kindness touched his heart; her solicitude for his
welfare gained his affections, and a recognition of that love she so
long and silently cherished for him, is the natural result. The heart
that does not move to woman's kindness, must indeed be hard. But there
were other things which strengthened Tom's affections for Maria. The
poverty of her aged father; the insults offered her by Keepum and
Snivel; the manner in which they sought her ruin while harassing her
father; the artlessness and lone condition of the pure-minded girl; and
the almost holy affection evinced for the old man on whom she doted--all
tended to bring him nearer and nearer to her, until he irresistibly
found himself at her feet, pledging that faith lovers call eternal.
Maria is not of that species of being the world calls beautiful; but
there is about her something pure, thoughtful, even noble; and this her
lone condition heightens. Love does not always bow before beauty. The
singularities of human nature are most strikingly blended in woman. She
can overcome physical defects; she can cultivate attractions most
appreciated by those who study her worth deepest. Have you not seen
those whose charms at first-sight found no place in your thoughts, but
as you were drawn nearer and nearer to them, so also did your esteem
quicken, and that esteem, almost unconsciously, you found ripening into
affection, until in turn you were seized with an ardent passion? You
have. And you have found yourself enamored of the very one against whom
you had endeavored most to restrain your generous impulses. Like the
fine lines upon a picture with a repulsive design, you trace them, and
recur to them until your admiration is carried away captive. So it is
with woman's charms. Tom Swiggs, then, the restored man, bows before the
simple goodness of the daughter of the old Antiquary.

Mr. Trueman, the shipowner, gave Tom employment, and has proved a friend
to him. Tom, in turn, has so far gained his confidence and respect that
Mr. Trueman contemplates sending him to London, on board one of his
ships. Nor has Tom forgotten to repay the old Antiquary, who gave him a
shelter when he was homeless; this home is still under the roof of the
old man, toward whose comfort he contributes weekly a portion of his
earnings. If you could but look into that little back-parlor, you would
see a picture of humble cheerfulness presented in the old man, his
daughter, and Tom Swiggs, seated round the tea-table. Let us, however,
turn and look into one of our gaudy saloons, that we may see how
different a picture is presented there.

It is the night previous to an election for Mayor. Leaden clouds hang
threatening over the city; the gas-light throws out its shadows at an
early hour; and loud-talking men throng our street-corners and public
resorts. Our politicians tell us that the destiny of the rich and the
poor is to forever guard that institution which employs all our
passions, and absorbs all our energies.

In a curtained box, at the St. Charles, sits Mr. Snivel and George
Mullholland--the latter careworn and downcast of countenance. "Let us
finish this champaign, my good fellow," says the politician, emptying
his glass. "A man--I mean one who wants to get up in the world--must,
like me, have two distinct natures. He must have a grave, moral
nature--that is necessary to the affairs of State. And he must, to
accommodate himself to the world (law and society, I mean), have a
terribly loose nature--a perfect quicksand, into which he can drag
everything that serves himself. You have seen how I can develop both
these, eh?" The downcast man shakes his head, as the politician watches
him with a steady gaze. "Take the advice of a friend, now, let the Judge
alone--don't threaten again to shoot that girl. Threats are sometimes
dragged in as testimony against a man (Mr. Snivel taps George
admonishingly on the arm); and should anything of a serious nature
befall her--the law is curious--why, what you have said might implicate
you, though you were innocent."

"You," interrupts George, "have shot your man down in the street."

"A very different affair, George. My position in society protects me. I
am a member of the Jockey-Club, a candidate for the State Senate--a
Justice of the Peace--yes, a politician! You are--Well, I was going to
say--nothing! We regard northerners as enemies; socially, they are
nothing. Come, George, come with me. I am your best friend. You shall
see the power in my hands." The two men saunter out together, pass up a
narrow lane leading from King Street, and are soon groping their way up
the dark stairway of an old, neglected-looking wooden building, that for
several years has remained deserted by everything but rats and
politicians,--one seeming to gnaw away at the bowels of the nation, the
other at the bowels of the old building. Having ascended to the second
floor, Mr. Snivel touches a spring, a suspicious little trap opens, and
two bright eyes peer out, as a low, whispering voice inquires, "Who's
there?" Mr. Snivel has exchanged the countersign, and with his companion
is admitted into a dark vestibule, in which sits a brawny guardsman.

"Cribs are necessary, sir--I suppose you never looked into one before?"

George, in a voice discovering timidity, says he never has.

"You must have cribs, and crib-voters; they are necessary to get into
high office--indeed, I may say, to keep up with the political spirit of
the age." Mr. Snivel is interrupted by the deep, coarse voice of Milman
Mingle, the vote-cribber, whose broad, savage face looks out at a small
guard trap. "All right," he says, recognizing Mr. Snivel. Another
minute, and a door opens into a long, sombre-looking room, redolent of
the fumes of whiskey and tobacco. "The day is ours. We'll elect our
candidate, and then my election is certain; naturalized thirteen rather
green ones to-day--to-morrow they will be trump cards. Stubbs has
attended to the little matter of the ballot-boxes." Mr. Snivel gives the
vote-cribber's hand a warm shake, and turns to introduce his friend. The
vote-cribber has seen him before. "There are thirteen in," he says, and
two more he has in his eye, and will have in to-night, having sent
trappers out for them.

Cold meats, bread, cheese, and crackers, and a bountiful supply of bad
whiskey, are spread over a table in the centre of the room; while the
pale light of two small lamps, suspended from the ceiling, throws a
curious shadow over the repulsive features of thirteen forlorn, ragged,
and half-drunken men, sitting here and there round the room, on wooden
benches. You see ignorance and cruelty written in their very
countenances. For nearly three weeks they have not scented the air of
heaven, but have been held here in a despicable bondage. Ragged and
filthy, like Falstaff's invincibles, they will be marched to the polls
to-morrow, and cast their votes at the bid of the cribber. "A happy lot
of fellows," says Mr. Snivel, exultingly. "I have a passion for this
sort of business--am general supervisor of all these cribs, you
understand. We have several of them. Some of these 'drifts' we kidnap,
and some come and be locked up of their own accord--merely for the feed
and drink. We use them, and then snuff them out until we want them
again." Having turned from George, and complimented the vote-cribber for
his skill, he bids him good-night. Together George and the politician
wend their way to an obscure part of the city, and having passed up two
flight of winding stairs, into a large, old-fashioned house on the Neck,
are in a sort of barrack-room, fitted up with bunks and benches, and
filled with a grotesque assembly, making night jubilant--eating,
drinking, smoking, and singing. "A jolly set of fellows," says Mr.
Snivel, with an expression of satisfaction. "This is a decoy crib--the
vagabonds all belong to the party of our opponents, but don't know it.
We work in this way: we catch them--they are mostly foreigners--lock
them up, give them good food and drink, and make them--not the half can
speak our language--believe we belong to the same party. They yield, as
submissive as curs. To morrow, we--this is in confidence--drug them all,
send them into a fast sleep, in which we keep them till the polls are
closed, then, not wanting them longer, we kick them out for a set of
drunkards. Dangerous sort of cribbing, this. I let you into the secret
out of pure friendship." Mr. Snivel pauses. George has at heart
something of deeper interest to him than votes and vote-cribbers. But
why, he says to himself, does Mr. Snivel evince this anxiety to befriend
me? This question is answered by Mr. Snivel inviting him to take a look
into the Keno den.



CHAPTER XXXI.

THE KENO DEN, AND WHAT MAY BE SEEN IN IT.


The clock has just struck twelve. Mr. Snivel and George, passing from
the scenes of our last chapter, enter a Keno den,[5] situated on Meeting
street. "You must get money, George. Here you are nothing without money.
Take this, try your hand, make your genius serve you." Mr. Snivel puts
twenty dollars into George's hand. They are in a room some twenty by
thirty feet in dimensions, dimly-lighted. Standing here and there are
gambling tables, around which are seated numerous mechanics, losing, and
being defrauded of that for which they have labored hard during the
week. Hope, anxiety, and even desperation is pictured on the
countenances of the players. Maddened and disappointed, one young man
rises from a table, at which sits a craven-faced man sweeping the
winnings into his pile, and with profane tongue, says he has lost his
all. Another, with flushed face and bloodshot eyes, declares it the
sixth time he has lost his earnings here. A third reels confusedly about
the room, says a mechanic is but a dog in South Carolina; and the sooner
he comes to a dog's end the better.

[Footnote 5: A gambling den.]

Mr. Snivel points George to a table, at which he is soon seated.
"Blank--blank--blank!" he reiterates, as the numbers turn up, and one by
one the moody bank-keeper sweeps the money into his fast-increasing
heap. "Cursed fate!--it is against me," mutters the forlorn man.
"Another gone, and yet another! How this deluding, this fascinating
money tortures me." With hectic face and agitated nerve, he puts down
his last dollar. "Luck's mysterious!" exclaims Mr. Snivel, looking on
unmoved, as the man of the moody face declares a blank, and again sweeps
the money into his heap. "Gone!" says George, "all's gone now." He rises
from his seat, in despair.

"Don't get frantic, George--be a philosopher--try again--here's a ten.
Luck 'll turn," says Mr. Snivel, patting the deluded man familiarly on
the shoulder, as he resumes his seat. "Will poverty never cease
torturing me? I have tried to be a man, an honest man, a respectable
man. And yet, here I am, again cast upon a gambler's sea, struggling
with its fearful tempests. How cold, how stone-like the faces around
me!" he muses, watching with death-like gaze each number as it turns up.
Again he has staked his last dollar; again fortune frowns upon him. Like
a furnace of livid flame, the excitement seems burning up his brain. "I
am a fool again," he says, throwing the blank number contemptuously upon
the table. "Take it--take it, speechless, imperturbable man! Rake it
into your pile, for my eyes are dim, and my fortune I must seek
elsewhere."

A noise at the door, as of some one in distress, is heard, and there
rushes frantically into the den a pale, dejected-looking woman, bearing
in her arms a sick and emaciated babe. "Oh, William! William!--has it
come to this?" she shrieks, casting a wild glance round the den, until,
with a dark, sad expression, her eye falls upon the object of her
search. It is her husband, once a happy mechanic. Enticed by degrees
into this den of ruin, becoming fascinated with its games of chance, he
is how an _habitue_. To-night he left his suffering family, lost his all
here, and now, having drank to relieve his feelings, lies insensible on
the floor. "Come home!--come home! for God's sake come home to your
suffering family," cries the woman, vaulting to him and taking him by
the hand, her hair floating dishevelled down her shoulders. "I sent
Tommy into the street to beg--I am ashamed--and he is picked up by the
watch for a thief, a vagrant!" The prostrate man remains insensible to
her appeal. Two policemen, who have been quietly neglecting their duties
while taking a few chances, sit unmoved. Mr. Snivel thinks the woman
better be removed. "Our half-starved mechanics," he says, "are a
depraved set; and these wives they bring with them from the North are a
sort of cross between a lean stage-driver and a wildcat. She seems a
poor, destitute creature--just what they all come to, out here." Mr.
Snivel shrugs his shoulders, bids George good night, and takes his
departure. "Take care of yourself, George," he says admonitiously, as
the destitute man watches him take his leave. The woman, frantic at the
coldness and apathy manifested for her distress, lays her babe hurriedly
upon the floor, and with passion and despair darting from her very eyes,
makes a lunge across the keno table at the man who sits stoically at the
bank. In an instant everything is turned into uproar and confusion.
Glasses, chairs, and tables, are hurled about the floor; shriek follows
shriek--"help! pity me! murder!" rises above the confusion, the watch
without sound the alarm, and the watch within suddenly become conscious
of their duty. In the midst of all the confusion, a voice cries out:
"My pocket book--my pocket book!--I have been robbed." A light flashes
from a guardsman's lantern, and George Mullholland is discovered with
the forlorn woman in his arms--she clings tenaciously to her
babe--rushing into the street.



CHAPTER XXXII.

WHICH A STATE OF SOCIETY IS SLIGHTLY REVEALED.


A week has rolled into the past since the event at the Keno den.

Madame Montford, pale, thoughtful, and abstracted, sits musing in her
parlor. "Between this hope and fear--this remorse of conscience, this
struggle to overcome the suspicions of society, I have no peace. I am
weary of this slandering--this unforgiving world. And yet it is my own
conscience that refuses to forgive me. Go where I will I see the cold
finger of scorn pointed at me: I read in every countenance, 'Madame
Montford, you have wronged some one--your guilty conscience betrays
you!' I have sought to atone for my error--to render justice to one my
heart tells me I have wronged, yet I cannot shake off the dread burden;
and there seems rest for me only in the grave. Ah! there it is. The one
error of my life, and the moans used to conceal it, may have brought
misery upon more heads than one." She lays her hand upon her heart, and
shakes her head sorrowfully. "Yes! something like a death-knell rings in
my ears--'more than one have you sent, unhappy, to the grave.' Rejected
by the one I fancy my own; my very touch, scorned; my motives
misconstrued--all, perhaps, by--a doubt yet hangs between us--an
abandoned stranger. Duty to my conscience has driven me to acts that
have betrayed me to society. I cannot shake my guilt from me even for a
day; and now society coldly cancels all my claims to its attentions. If
I could believe her dead; if I but knew this girl was not the object of
all my heart's unrest, then the wearying doubt would be buried, and my
heart might find peace in some remote corner of the earth. Well,
well--perhaps I am wasting all this torture on an unworthy object. I
should have thought of this sooner, for now foul slander is upon every
tongue, and my misery is made thrice painful by my old flatterers. I
will make one more effort, then if I fail of getting a certain clue to
her, I will remove to some foreign country, shake off these haunting
dreams, and be no longer a victim to my own thoughts." Somewhat
relieved, Madame is roused from her reverie by a gentle tap at the door.
"I have waited your coming, and am glad to see you," she says, extending
her hand, as a servant, in response to her command, ushers into her
presence no less a person than Tom Swiggs. "I have sent for you," she
resumes, motioning him gracefully to a chair, in which she begs he will
be seated, "because I feel I can confide in you--"

"Anything in my power is at your service, Madame," modestly interposes
Tom, regaining confidence.

"I entrusted something of much importance to me, to Mr. Snivel--"

"We call him the Hon. Mr. Snivel now, since he has got to be a great
politician," interrupts Tom.

"And he not only betrayed my Confidence," pursues Madame Montford, "but
retains the amount I paid him, and forgets to render the promised
service. You, I am told, can render me a service--"

"As for Mr. Snivel," pursues Tom, hastily, "he has of late had his hands
full, getting a poor but good-natured fellow, by the name of George
Mullholland, into trouble. His friend, Judge Sleepyhorn, and he, have
for some time had a plot on hand to crush this poor fellow. A few nights
ago Snivel drove him mad at a gambling den, and in his desperation he
robbed a man of his pocket-book. He shared the money with a poor woman
he rescued at the den, and that is the way it was discovered that he was
the criminal. He is a poor, thoughtless man, and he has been goaded on
from one thing to another, until he was driven to commit this act.
First, his wife was got away from him--" Tom pauses and blushes, as
Madame Montford says: "His wife was got away from him?"

"Yes, Madame," returns Tom, with an expression of sincerity, "The Judge
got her away from him; and this morning he was arraigned before that
same Judge for examination, and Mr. Snivel was a principal witness, and
there was enough found against him to commit him for trial at the
Sessions." Discovering that this information is exciting her emotions,
Tom pauses, and contemplates her with steady gaze. She desires he will
be her guide to the Poor-House, and there assist her in searching for
Mag Munday, whom, report says, is confined in a cell. Tom having
expressed his readiness to serve her, they are soon on their way to that
establishment.

A low, squatty building, with a red, moss-covered roof, two lean
chimneys peeping out, the windows blockaded with dirt, and situated in
one of the by-lanes of the city, is our Poor-House, standing half hid
behind a crabbed old wall, and looking very like a much-neglected
Quaker church in vegetation. We boast much of our institutions, and
this being a sample of them, we hold it in great reverence. You may say
that nothing so forcibly illustrates a state of society as the character
of its institutions for the care of those unfortunate beings whom a
capricious nature has deprived of their reason. We agree with you. We
see our Poor-House crumbling to the ground with decay, yet imagine it,
or affect to imagine it, a very grand edifice, in every way suited to
the wants of such rough ends of humanity as are found in it. Like Satan,
we are brilliant believers in ourselves, not bad sophists, and
singularly clever in finding apologies for all great crimes.

At the door of the Poor-House stands a dilapidated hearse, to which an
old gray horse is attached. A number of buzzards have gathered about
him, turn their heads suspiciously now and then, and seem meditating a
descent upon his bones at no very distant day. Madame casts a glance at
the hearse, and the poor old horse, and the cawing buzzards, then
follows Tom, timidly, to the door. He has rung the bell, and soon there
stands before them, in the damp doorway, a fussy old man, with a very
broad, red face, and a very blunt nose, and two very dull, gray eyes,
which he fortifies with a fair of massive-framed spectacles, that have a
passion for getting upon the tip-end of his broad blunt nose.

"There, you want to see somebody! Always somebody wanted to be seen,
when we have dead folks to get rid of," mutters the old man,
querulously, then looking inquiringly at the visitors. Tom says they
would like to go over the premises. "Yes--know you would. Ain't so dull
but I can see what folks want when they look in here." The old man, his
countenance wearing an expression of stupidity, runs his dingy fingers
over the crown of his bald head, and seems questioning within himself
whether to admit them. "I'm not in a very good humor to-day," he rather
growls than speaks, "but you can come in--I'm of a good family--and I'll
call Glentworthy. I'm old--I can't get about much. We'll all get old."
The building seems in a very bad temper generally.

Mr. Glentworthy is called. Mr. Glentworthy, with a profane expletive,
pops his head out at the top of the stairs, and inquires who wants him.
The visitors have advanced into a little, narrow passage, lumbered with
all sorts of rubbish, and swarming with flies. Mr. Saddlerock (for this
is the old man's name) seems in a declining mood, the building seems in
a declining mood, Mr. Glentworthy seems in a declining mood--everything
you look at seems in a declining mood. "As if I hadn't enough to do,
gettin' off this dead cribber!" interpolates Mr. Glentworthy,
withdrawing his wicked face, and taking himself back into a room on the
left.

"He's not so bad a man, only it doesn't come out at first," pursues Mr.
Saddlerock, continuing to rub his head, and to fuss round on his toes.
His mind, Madame Montford verily believes stuck in a fog. "We must wait
a bit," says the old man, his face seeming to elongate. "You can look
about--there's not much to be seen, and what there is--well, it's not
the finest." Mr. Saddlerock shuffles his feet, and then shuffles himself
into a small side room. Through the building there breathes a warm,
sickly atmosphere; the effect has left its marks upon the sad, waning
countenances of its unfortunate inmates.

Tom and Madame Montford set out to explore the establishment. They
enter room after room, find them small, dark, and filthy beyond
description. Some are crowded with half-naked, flabby females, whose
careworn faces, and well-starved aspect, tells a sorrowful tale of the
chivalry. An abundant supply of profane works, in yellow and red covers,
would indeed seem to have been substituted for food, which, to the shame
of our commissioners, be it said, is a scarce article here. Cooped up in
another little room, after the fashion of wild beasts in a cage, are
seven poor idiots, whose forlorn condition, sad, dull countenances, as
they sit round a table, staring vacantly at one another, like mummies in
contemplation, form a wild but singularly touching picture. Each
countenance pales before the seeming study of its opponent, until,
enraptured and amazed, they break out into a wild, hysterical laugh. And
thus, poisoned, starved, and left to die, does time with these poor
mortals fleet on.

The visitors ascend to the second story. A shuffling of feet in a room
at the top of the stairs excites their curiosity. Mr. Glentworthy's
voice grates harshly on the ear, in language we cannot insert in this
history. "Our high families never look into low places--chance if the
commissioner has looked in here for years," says Tom, observing Madame
Montford protect her inhaling organs with her perfumed cambric. "There
is a principle of economy carried out--and a very nice principle, too,
in getting these poor out of the world as quick as possible." Tom pushes
open a door, and, heavens! what a sight is here. He stands aghast in the
doorway--Madam, on tip-toe, peers anxiously in over his shoulders. Mr.
Glentworthy and two negroes--the former slightly inebriated, the latter
trembling of fright--are preparing to box up a lifeless mass, lying
carelessly upon the floor. The distorted features, the profusion of
long, red hair, curling over a scared face, and the stalworth figure,
shed some light upon the identity of the deceased. "Who is it?"
ejaculates Mr. Glentworthy, in response to an inquiry from Tom. Mr.
Glentworthy shrugs his shoulders, and commences whistling a tune. "That
cove!" he resumes, having stopped short in his tune, "a man what don't
know that cove, never had much to do with politics. Stuffed more ballot
boxes, cribbed more voters, and knocked down more slip-shod
citizens--that cove has, than, put 'em all together, would make a South
Carolina regiment. A mighty man among politicians, he was! Now the devil
has cribbed him--he'll know how good it is!" Mr. Glentworthy says this
with an air of superlative satisfaction, resuming his tune. The dead man
is Milman Mingle, the vote-cribber, who died of a wound he received at
the hands of an antagonist, whom he was endeavoring to "block out" while
going to the polls to cast his vote. "Big politician, but had no home!"
says Madame, with a sigh.

Mr. Glentworthy soon had what remained of the vote-cribber--the man to
whom so many were indebted for their high offices--into a deal box, and
the deal box into the old hearse, and the old hearse, driven by a
mischievous negro, hastening to that great crib to which we must all go.
"Visitors," Mr. Glentworthy smiles, "must not question the way we do
business here, I get no pay, and there's only old Saddlerock and me to
do all the work. Old Saddlerock, you see, is a bit of a miser, and
having a large family of small Saddlerocks to provide for, scrapes what
he can into his own pocket. No one is the wiser. They can't be--they
never come in." Mr. Glentworthy, in reply to a question from Madame
Montford, says Mag Munday (he has some faint recollection of her) was
twice in the house, which he dignifies with the title of "Institution."
She never was in the "mad cells"--to his recollection. "Them what get
there, mostly die there." A gift of two dollars secures Mr.
Glentworthy's services, and restores him to perfect good nature. "You
will remember," says Tom, "that this woman ran neglected about the
streets, was much abused, and ended in becoming a maniac." Mr.
Glentworthy remembers very well, but adds: "We have so many maniacs on
our hands, that we can't distinctly remember them all. The clergymen
take good care never to look in here. They couldn't do any good if they
did, for nobody cares for the rubbish sent here; and if you tried to
Christianize them, you would only get laughed at. I don't like to be
laughed at. Munday's not here now, that's settled--but I'll--for
curiosity's sake--show you into the 'mad cells.'" Mr. Glentworthy leads
the way, down the rickety old stairs, through the lumbered passage, into
an open square, and from thence into a small out-building, at the
extreme end of which some dozen wet, slippery steps, led into a dark
subterranean passage, on each side of which are small, dungeon-like
cells. "Heavens!" exclaims Madame Montford, picking her way down the
steep, slippery steps. "How chilling! how tomb-like! Can it be that
mortals are confined here, and live?" she mutters, incoherently. The
stifling atmosphere is redolent of disease.

"It straightens 'em down, sublimely--to put 'em in here," says Mr.
Glentworthy, laconically, lighting his lamp. "I hope to get old
Saddlerock in here. Give him such a mellowing!" He turns his light, and
the shadows play, spectre-like, along a low, wet aisle, hung on each
side with rusty bolts and locks, revealing the doors of cells. An
ominous stillness is broken by the dull clank of chains, the muttering
of voices, the shuffling of limbs; then a low wail breaks upon the ear,
and rises higher and higher, shriller and shriller, until in piercing
shrieks it chills the very heart. Now it ceases, and the echoes, like
the murmuring winds, die faintly away. "Look in here, now," says Mr.
Glentworthy--"a likely wench--once she was!"

He swings open a door, and there issues from a cell about four feet six
inches wide, and nine long, the hideous countenance of a poor, mulatto
girl, whose shrunken body, skeleton-like arms, distended and glassy
eyes, tell but too forcibly her tale of sorrow. How vivid the picture of
wild idiocy is pictured in her sad, sorrowing face. No painter's touch
could have added a line more perfect. Now she rushes forward, with a
suddenness that makes Madame Montford shrink back, appalled--now she
fixes her eyes, hangs down her head, and gives vent to her tears. "My
soul is white--yes, yes, yes! I know it is white; God tells me it is
white--he knows--he never tortures. He doesn't keep me here to die--no,
I can't die here in the dark. I won't get to heaven if I do. Oh! yes,
yes, yes, I have a white soul, but my skin is not," she rather murmurs
than speaks, continuing to hold down her head, while parting her long,
clustering hair over her shoulders. Notwithstanding the spectacle of
horror presented in this living skeleton, there is something in her look
and action which bespeaks more the abuse of long confinement than the
result of natural aberration of mind. "She gets fierce now and then,
and yells," says the unmoved Glentworthy, "but she won't hurt ye--"

[6]"How long," inquires Madame Montford, who has been questioning within
herself whether any act of her life could have brought a Human being
into such a place, "has she been confined here?" Mr. Glentworthy says
she tells her own tale.

[Footnote 6: Can it be possible that such things as are here pictured
have an existence among a people laying any claim to a state of
civilization? the reader may ask. The author would here say that to the
end of fortifying himself against the charge of exaggeration, he
submitted the MS. of this chapter to a gentleman of the highest
respectability in Charleston, whose unqualified approval it received, as
well as enlisting his sympathies in behalf of the unfortunate lunatics
found in the cells described. Four years have passed since that time. He
subsequently sent the author the following, from the "Charleston
Courier," which speaks for itself.

   "FROM THE REPORTS OF COUNCIL.
   "January 4th, 1843

"_The following communication was received from William M. Lawton, Esq.,
Chairman of the Commissioners of the Poor-house._

   "'Charleston, Dec. 17th, 1852.
   "'To the Honorable, the City Council of Charleston:

"'By a resolution of the Board of Commissioners of this City, I have
been instructed to communicate with your honorable body in relation to
the insane paupers now in Poor-house', (the insane in a poor-house!)
'and to request that you will adopt the necessary provision for sending
them to the Lunatic Asylum at Columbia. * * * * There are twelve on the
list, many of whom, it is feared, have already remained too long in an
institution quite unsuited to their unfortunate situation.

   "'With great respect, your very obedient servant,
   "'(Signed) WM. M. LAWTON,
   "'Chairman of the Board of Commissioners.'"]

"Five years,--five years,--five long, long years, I have waited for him
in the dark, but he won't come," she lisps in a faltering voice, as her
emotions overwhelm her. Then crouching back upon the floor, she supports
her head pensively in her left hand, her elbow resting on her knee, and
her right hand poised against the brick wall, "Pencele!" says Mr.
Glentworthy, for such is the wretched woman's name, "cannot you sing a
song for your friends?" Turning aside to Madame Montford, he adds, "she
sings nicely. We shall soon get her out of the way--can't last much
longer." Mr. Glentworthy, drawing a small bottle from his pocket, places
it to his lips, saying he stole it from old Saddlerock, and gulps down a
portion of the contents. His breath is already redolent of whiskey. "Oh,
yes, yes, yes! I can sing for them, I can smother them with kisses. Good
faces seldom look in here, seldom look in here," she rises to her feet,
and extends her bony hand, as the tears steal down Madame Montford's
cheeks. Tom stands speechless. He wishes he had power to redress the
wrongs of this suffering maniac--his very soul fires up against the
coldness and apathy of a people who permit such outrages against
humanity. "There!--he comes! he comes! he comes!" the maniac speaks,
with faltering voice, then strikes up a plaintive air, which she sings
with a voice of much sweetness, to these words:

   When you find him, speed him to me,
   And this heart will cease its bleeding, &c.

The history of all this poor maniac's sufferings is told in a few simple
words that fall incautiously from Mr. Glentworthy's lips: "Poor fool,
she had only been married a couple of weeks, when they sold her husband
down South. She thinks if she keeps mad, he'll come back."

There was something touching, something melancholy in the music of her
song, as its strains verberated and reverberated through the dread
vault, then, like the echo of a lover's lute on some Alpine hill, died
softly away.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

IN WHICH THERE IS A SINGULAR REVELATION.


Madame Montford returns, unsuccessful, to her parlor. It is conscience
that unlocks the guilty heart, that forces mortals to seek relief where
there is no chance of finding it. It was this irresistible emotion that
found her counseling Tom Swiggs, making of him a confidant in her search
for the woman she felt could remove the doubt, in respect to Anna's
identity, that hung so painfully in her mind. And yet, such was her
position, hesitating as it were between her ambition to move in
fashionable society, and her anxiety to atone for a past error, that she
dare not disclose the secret of all her troubles even to him. She sought
him, not that he could soften her anxiety, but that being an humble
person, she could pursue her object through him, unobserved to
society--in a word, that he would be a protection against the
apprehensions of scandal-mongers. Such are the shifts to which the
ambitious guilty have recourse. What she has beheld in the poor-house,
too, only serves to quicken her thoughts of the misery she may have
inflicted upon others, and to stimulate her resolution to persevere in
her search for the woman. Conscious that wealth and luxury does not
always bring happiness, and that without a spotless character, woman is
but a feeble creature in this world, she would now sacrifice everything
else for that one ennobling charm.

It may be proper here to add, that although Tom Swiggs could not enter
into the repentant woman's designs, having arranged with his employer to
sail for London in a few days, she learned of him something that
reflected a little more light in her path. And that was, that the woman
Anna Bonard, repined of her act in leaving George Mullholland, to whom
she was anxious to return--that she was now held against her will; that
she detested Judge Sleepyhorn, although he had provided lavishly for her
comfort. Anna knew George loved her, and that love, even to an abandoned
woman (if she could know it sincere), was dearer to her than all else.
She learned, too, that high up on Anna's right arm, there was imprinted
in blue and red ink, two hearts and a broken anchor. And this tended
further to increase her anxiety. And while evolving all these things in
her mind, and contemplating the next best course to pursue, her parlor
is invaded by Mr. Snivel. He is no longer Mr. Soloman, nor Mr. Snivel.
He is the Hon. Mr. Snivel. It is curious to contemplate the character of
the men to whose name we attach this mark of distinction. "I know you
will pardon my seeming neglect, Madame," he says, grasping her hand
warmly, as a smile of exultation lights up his countenance. "The fact
is, we public men are so absorbed in the affairs of the nation, that we
have scarce a thought to give to affairs of a private nature. We have
elected our ticket. I was determined it should be so, if Jericho fell.
And, more than all, I am made an honorable, by the popular sentiment of
the people--"

"To be popular with the people, is truly an honor," interrupts the lady,
facetiously.

"Thank you--O, thank you, for the compliment," pursues our hero. "Now,
as to this unfortunate person you seek, knowing it was of little use to
search for her in our institutions of charity--one never can find out
anything about the wretches who get into them--I put the matter into the
hands of one of our day-police--a plaguey sharp fellow--and he set about
scenting her out. I gave him a large sum, and promised him more if
successful. Here, then, after a long and tedious search--I have no doubt
the fellow earned his money--is what he got from New York, this
morning." The Hon. Mr. Snivel, fixing his eye steadily upon her, hands
her a letter which reads thus:

"NEW YORK, _Dec. 14th, 18--_.

"Last night, while making search after a habitant of the Points, a odd
old chip what has wandered about here for some years, some think he has
bin a better sort of man once, I struck across the woman you want. She
is somewhere tucked away in a Cow Bay garret, and is awful crazy; I'll
keep me eye out till somethin' further. If her friends wants to give her
a lift out of this place, they'd better come and see me at once.

   "Yours, as ever,
   "M---- FITZGERALD."

Mr. Snivel ogles Madame Montford over the page of a book he affects to
read. "Guilt! deep and strong," he says within himself, as Madame, with
flushed countenance and trembling hand, ponders and ponders over the
paper. Then her emotions quicken, her eyes exchange glances with Mr.
Snivel, and she whispers, with a sigh, "found--at last! And yet how
foolish of me to give way to my feelings? The affair, at best, is none
of mine." Mr. Snivel bows, and curls his Saxon mustache. "To do good
for others is the natural quality of a generous nature."

Madame, somewhat relieved by this condescension of the Hon. gentleman,
says, in reply, "I am curious at solving family affairs."

"And I!" says our hero, with refreshing coolness--"always ready to do a
bit of a good turn."

Madame pauses, as if in doubt whether to proceed or qualify what she has
already said. "A relative, whose happiness I make my own," she resumes,
and again pauses, while the words tremble upon her lips. She hears the
words knelling in her ears: "A guilty conscience needs no betrayer."

"You have," pursues our hero, "a certain clue; and of that I may
congratulate you."

Madame says she will prepare at once to return to her home in New York,
and--and here again the words hang upon her lips. She was going to say,
her future proceedings would be governed by the paper she holds so
nervously in her finger.

Snivel here receives a nostrum from the lady's purse. "Truly!--Madame,"
he says, in taking leave of her, "the St. Cecilia will regret you--we
shall all regret you; you honored and graced our assemblies so. Our
first families will part with you reluctantly. It may, however, be some
satisfaction to know how many kind things will be said of you in your
absence." Mr. Snivel makes his last bow, a sarcastic smile playing over
his face, and pauses into the street.

On the following day she encloses a present of fifty dollars to Tom
Swiggs, enjoins the necessity of his keeping her visit to the
poor-house a secret, and takes leave of Charleston.

And here our scene changes, and we must transport the reader to New
York. It is the day following the night Mr. Detective Fitzgerald
discovered what remained of poor Toddleworth, in the garret of the House
of the Nine Nations. The City Hall clock strikes twelve. The goodly are
gathered into the House of the Foreign Missions, in which peace and
respectability would seem to preside. The good-natured fat man is in his
seat, pondering over letters lately received from the "dark regions" of
Arabia; the somewhat lean, but very respectable-looking Secretary, is
got nicely into his spectacles, and sits pondering over lusty folios of
reports from Hindostan, and various other fields of missionary labor,
all setting forth the various large amounts of money expended, how much
more could be expended, and what a blessing it is to be enabled to
announce the fact that there is now a hope of something being done. The
same anxious-faced bevy of females we described in a previous chapter,
are here, seated at a table, deeply interested in certain periodicals
and papers; while here and there about the room, are several
contemplative gentlemen in black. Brother Spyke, having deeply
interested Brothers Phills and Prim with an account of his visit to the
Bottomless Pit, paces up and down the room, thinking of Antioch, and the
evangelization of the heathen world. "Truly, brother," speaks the
good-natured fat man, "his coming seemeth long." "Eleven was the hour;
but why he tarryeth I know not," returns Brother Spyke, with calm
demeanor. "There is something more alarming in Sister Slocum's absence,"
interposes one of the ladies. The house seems in a waiting mood, when
suddenly Mr. Detective Fitzgerald enters, and changes it to one of
anxiety. Several voices inquire if he was successful. He shakes his
head, and having recounted his adventures, the discovery of where the
money went to, and the utter hopelessness of an effort to recover it;
"as for the man, Toddleworth," he says, methodically, "he was found with
a broken skull. The Coroner has had an inquest over him; but murders are
so common. The verdict was, that he died of a broken skull, by the hands
of some one to the jury unknown. Suspicions were strong against one Tom
Downey, who is very like a heathen, and is mistrusted of several
murders. The affair disturbed the neighborhood a little, and the Coroner
tried to get something out concerning the man's history; but it all went
to the wind, for the people were all so ignorant. They all knew
everything about him, which turned out to be just nothing, which they
were ready to swear to. One believed Father Flaherty made the Bible,
another believed the Devil still chained in Columbia College--a third
believed the stars were lanterns to guide priests--the only angels they
know--on their way to heaven."

"Truly!" exclaims the man of the spectacles, in a moment of abstraction.

Brother Spyke says: "the Lord be merciful."

"On the body of the poor man we found this document. It was rolled
carefully up in a rag, and is supposed to throw some light on his
history." Mr. Fitzgerald draws leisurely from his pocket a distained and
much-crumpled paper, written over in a bold, business-like hand, and
passes it to the man in the spectacle, as a dozen or more anxious faces
gather round, eager to explore the contents.

"He went out of the Points as mysteriously as he came in. We buried him
a bit ago, and have got Downey in the Tombs: he'll be hanged, no doubt,"
concludes the detective, laying aside his cap, and setting himself,
uninvited, into a chair. The man in the spectacles commences reading the
paper, which runs as follows:

"I have been to you an unknown, and had died such an unknown, but that
my conscience tells me I have a duty to perform. I have wronged no one,
owe no one a penny, harbor no malice against any one; I am a victim of a
broken heart, and my own melancholy. Many years ago I pursued an
honorable business in this city, and was respected and esteemed. Many
knew me, and fortune seemed to shed upon me her smiles. I married a lady
of wealth and affluence, one I loved and doted on. Our affections seemed
formed for our bond; we lived for one another; our happiness seemed
complete. But alas! an evil hour came. Ambitious of admiration, she
gradually became a slave to fashionable society, and then gave herself
up to those flatterers who hang about it, and whose chief occupation it
is to make weak-minded women vain of their own charms. Coldness, and
indifference to home, soon followed. My house was invaded, my home--that
home I regarded so sacredly--became the resort of men in whose society I
found no pleasure, with whom I had no feeling in common. I could not
remonstrate, for that would have betrayed in me a want of confidence in
the fidelity of one I loved too blindly. I was not one of those who make
life miserable in seeing a little and suspecting much. No! I forgave
many things that wounded my feelings; and my love for her would not
permit a thought to invade the sanctity of her fidelity. Business
called me into a foreign country, where I remained several months, then
returned--not, alas! to a home made happy by the purity of one I
esteemed an angel;--not to the arms of a pure, fond wife, but to find my
confidence betrayed, my home invaded--she, in whom I had treasured up my
love, polluted; and slander, like a desert wind, pouring its desolating
breath into my very heart. In my blindness I would have forgiven her,
taken her back to my distracted bosom, and fled with her to some distant
land, there still to have lived and loved her. But she sought rather to
conceal her guilt than ask forgiveness. My reason fled me, my passion
rose above my judgment, I sank under the burden of my sorrow, attempted
to put an end to her life, and to my own misery. Failing in this, for my
hand was stayed by a voice I heard calling to me, I fled the country and
sought relief for my feelings in the wilds of Chili. I left nearly all
to my wife, took but little with me, for my object was to bury myself
from the world that had known me, and respected me. Destitution followed
me; whither I went there seemed no rest, no peace of mind for me. The
past floated uppermost in my mind. I was ever recurring to home, to
those with whom I had associated, to an hundred things that had endeared
me to my own country. Years passed--years of suffering and sorrow, and I
found myself a lone wanderer, without friend or money. During this time
it was reported at home, as well as chronicled in the newspapers, that I
was dead. The inventor of this report had ends, I will not name them
here, to serve. I was indeed dead to all who had known me happy in this
world. Disguised, a mere shadow of what I was once, I wandered back to
New York, heart-sick and discouraged, and buried myself among those
whose destitution, worse, perhaps, than my own, afforded me a means of
consolation. My life has long been a burden to me; I have many times
prayed God, in his mercy, to take me away, to close the account of my
misery. Do you ask my name? Ah! that is what pains me most. To live
unknown, a wretched outcast, in a city where I once enjoyed a name that
was respected, is what has haunted my thoughts, and tortured my
feelings. But I cannot withhold it, even though it has gone down,
tainted and dishonored. It is Henry Montford. And with this short record
I close my history, leaving the rest for those to search out who find
this paper, at my death, which cannot be long hence.

   "HENRY MONTFORD.
   "_New York, Nov. --, 184-._"

A few sighs follow the reading of the paper, but no very deep interest,
no very tender emotion, is awakened in the hearts of the goodly.
Nevertheless, it throws a flood of light upon the morals of a class of
society vulgarly termed fashionable. The meek females hold their tears
and shake their heads. Brother Spyke elongates his lean figure, draws
near, and says the whole thing is very unsatisfactory. Not one word is
let drop about the lost money.

Brother Phills will say this--that the romance is very cleverly got up,
as the theatre people say.

The good-natured fat man, breathing somewhat freer, says: "Truly! these
people have a pleasant way of passing out of the world. They die of
their artful practices--seeking to devour the good and the generous."

"There's more suffers than imposes--an' there's more than's written
meant in that same bit of paper. Toddleworth was as inoffensive a
creature as you'd meet in a day. May God forgive him all his faults;"
interposes Mr. Detective Fitzgerald, gathering up his cap and passing
slowly out of the room.

And this colloquy is put an end to by the sudden appearance of Sister
Slocum. A rustling silk dress, of quiet color, and set off with three
modest flounces; an India shawl, loosely thrown over her shoulders; a
dainty little collar, of honiton, drawn neatly about her neck, and a
bonnet of buff-colored silk, tastefully set off with tart-pie work
without, and lined with virtuous white satin within, so saucily poised
on her head, suggests the idea that she has an eye to fashion as well as
the heathen world. Her face, too, always so broad, bright, and
benevolent in its changes--is chastely framed in a crape border, so
nicely crimped, so nicely tucked under her benevolent chin at one end,
and so nicely pinned under the virtuous white lining at the other.
Goodness itself radiates from those large; earnest blue eyes, those
soft, white cheeks, that large forehead, with those dashes of silvery
hair crossing it so smoothly and so exactly--that well-developed, but
rather broad nose, and that mouth so expressive of gentleness.

Sister Slocum, it requires no very acute observer to discover, has got
something more than the heathen world at heart, for all those soft,
congenial features are shadowed with sadness. Silently she takes her
seat, sits abstracted for a few minutes--the house is thrown into a
wondering mood--then looks wisely through her spectacles, and having
folded her hands with an air of great resignation, shakes, and shakes,
and shakes her head. Her eyes suddenly fill with tears, her thoughts
wander, or seem to wander, she attempts to speak, her voice chokes, and
the words hang upon her lips. All is consternation and excitement.
Anxious faces gather round, and whispering voices inquire the cause. The
lean man in the spectacles having applied his hartshorn bottle, Sister
Slocum, to the great joy of all present, is so far restored as to be
able to announce the singular, but no less melancholy fact, that our
dear guest, Sister Swiggs, has passed from this world to a better. She
retired full of sorrow, but came not in the morning. And this so
troubled Sister Scudder that there was no peace until she entered her
room. But she found the angel had been there before her, smoothed the
pillow of the stranger, and left her to sleep in death. On earth her
work was well done, and in the arms of the angel, her pure spirit now
beareth witness in heaven. Sister Slocum's emotions forbid her saying
more. She concludes, and buries her face in her cambric. Then an
outpouring of consoling words follow. "He cometh like a thief in the
night: His works are full of mystery; truly, He chasteneth; He giveth
and taketh away." Such are a few of the sentiments lisped, regrettingly,
for the departed.

How vain are the hopes with which we build castles in the air; how
strange the motives that impel us to ill-advised acts. We leave
untouched the things that call loudest for our energies, and treasure up
our little that we may serve that which least concerns us. In this
instance it is seen how that which came of evil went in evil; how
disappointment stepped in and blew the castle down at a breath.

There could not be a doubt that the disease of which Sister Smiggs
died, and which it is feared the State to which she belongs will one day
die, was little dignity. Leaving her then in the arms of the House of
the Foreign Mission, and her burial to the Secretary of the very
excellent "Tract Society" she struggled so faithfully to serve, we close
this chapter of events, the reader having, no doubt, discovered the
husband of Madame Montford in the wretched man, Mr. Toddleworth.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

THE TWO PICTURES.


We come now to another stage of this history. Six months have glided
into the past since the events recorded in the foregoing chapter. The
political world of Charleston is resolved to remain in the Union a few
months longer. It is a pleasant evening in early May. The western sky is
golden with the setting sun, and the heavens are filled with battlements
of refulgent clouds, now softening away into night. Yonder to the East,
reposes a dark grove. A gentle breeze fans through its foliage, the
leaves laugh and whisper, the perfumes of flowers are diffusing through
the air birds make melodious with their songs, the trilling stream
mingles its murmurs, and nature would seem gathering her beauties into
one enchanting harmony. In the foreground of the grove, and looking as
if it borrowed solitude of the deep foliage, in which it is half buried,
rises a pretty villa, wherein may be seen, surrounded by luxuries the
common herd might well envy, the fair, the beautiful siren, Anna Bonard.
In the dingy little back parlor of the old antiquary, grim poverty
looking in through every crevasse, sits the artless and pure-minded
Maria McArthur. How different are the thoughts, the hopes, the emotions
of these two women. Comfort would seem smiling on the one, while
destitution threatens the other. To the eye that looks only upon the
surface, how deceptive is the picture. The one with every wish
gratified, an expression of sorrow shadowing her countenance, and that
freshness and sweetness for which she was distinguished passing away,
contemplates herself a submissive captive, at the mercy of one for whom
she has no love, whose gold she cannot inherit, and whose roof she must
some day leave for the street. The other feels poverty grasping at her,
but is proud in the possession of her virtue; and though trouble would
seem tracing its lines upon her features, her heart remains untouched by
remorse;--she is strong in the consciousness that when all else is gone,
her virtue will remain her beacon light to happiness. Anna, in the loss
of that virtue, sees herself shut out from that very world that points
her to the yawning chasm of her future; she feels how like a slave in
the hands of one whose heart is as cold as his smiles are false, she is.
Maria owes the world no hate, nor are her thoughts disturbed by such
contemplations. Anna, with embittered and remorseful feelings--with dark
and terrible passions agitating her bosom, looks back over her eventful
life, to a period when even her own history is shut to her, only to find
the tortures of her soul heightened. Maria looks back upon a life of
fond attachment to her father, to her humble efforts to serve others,
and to know that she has borne with Christian fortitude those ills which
are incident to humble life. With her, an emotion of joy repays the
contemplation. To Anna, the future is hung in dark forebodings. She
recalls to mind the interview with Madame Montford, but that only tends
to deepen the storm of anguish the contemplation of her parentage
naturally gives rise to. With Maria, the present hangs dark and the
future brightens. She thinks of the absent one she loves--of how she can
best serve her aged father, and how she can make their little home
cheerful until the return of Tom Swiggs, who is gone abroad. It must be
here disclosed that the old man had joined their hands, and invoked a
blessing on their heads, ere Tom took his departure. Maria looks forward
to the day of his return with joyous emotions. That return is the day
dream of her heart; in it she sees her future brightening. Such are the
cherished thoughts of a pure mind. Poverty may gnaw away at the
hearthstone, cares and sorrow may fall thick in your path, the rich may
frown upon you, and the vicious sport with your misfortunes, but virtue
gives you power to overcome them all. In Maria's ear something whispers:
Woman! hold fast to thy virtue, for if once it go neither gold nor false
tongues can buy it back.

Anna sees the companion of her early life, and the sharer of her
sufferings, shut up in a prison, a robber, doomed to the lash. "He was
sincere to me, and my only true friend--am I the cause of this?" she
muses. Her heart answers, and her bosom fills with dark and stormy
emotions. One small boon is now all she asks. She could bow down and
worship before the throne of virgin innocence, for now its worth towers,
majestic, before her. It discovers to her the falsity of her day-dream;
it tells her what an empty vessel is this life of ours without it. She
knows George Mullholland loves her passionately; she knows how deep will
be his grief, how revengeful his feelings. It is poverty that fastens
the poison in the heart of the rejected lover. The thought of this
flashes through her mind. His hopeless condition, crushed out as it were
to gratify him in whose company her pleasures are but transitory, and
may any day end, darkens as she contemplates it. How can she acquit her
conscience of having deliberately and faithlessly renounced one who was
so true to her? She repines, her womanly nature revolts at the
thought--the destiny her superstition pictured so dark and terrible,
stares her in the face. She resolves a plan for his release, and,
relieved with a hope that she can accomplish it while propitiating the
friendship of the Judge, the next day seeks him in his prison cell, and
with all that vehemence woman, in the outpouring of her generous
impulses, can call to her aid, implores his forgiveness. But the rust of
disappointment has dried up his better nature; his heart is wrung with
the shafts of ingratitude--all the fierce passions of his nature, hate,
scorn and revenge, rise up in the one stormy outburst of his soul. He
casts upon her a look of withering scorn, the past of that life so
chequered flashes vividly through his thoughts, his hate deepens, he
hurls her from him, invokes a curse upon her head, and shuts her from
his sight. "Mine will be the retribution!" he says, knitting his dark
brow.

How is it with the Judge--that high functionary who provides thus
sumptuously for his mistress? His morals, like his judgments, are
excused, in the cheap quality of our social morality.

Such is gilded vice; such is humble virtue.

A few days more and the term of the Sessions commences. George is
arraigned, and the honorable Mr. Snivel, who laid the plot, and
furthered the crime, now appears as a principal witness. He procures the
man's conviction, and listens with guilty heart to the sentence, for he
is rearraigned on sentence day, and Mr. Snivel is present. And while
the culprit is sentenced to two years imprisonment, and to receive
eighty lashes, laid on his bare back, while at the public whipping-post,
at four stated times, the man who stimulated the hand of the criminal,
is honored and flattered by society. Such is the majesty of the law.



CHAPTER XXXV.

IN WHICH A LITTLE LIGHT IS SHED UPON THE CHARACTER OF OUR CHIVALRY.


Mr. McArthur has jogged on, in the good old way but his worldly store
seems not to increase. The time, nevertheless, is arrived when he is
expected to return the little amount borrowed of Keepum, through the
agency of Mr. Snivel. Again and again has he been notified that he must
pay or go to that place in which we lock up all our very estimable
"first families," whose money has taken wings and flown away. Not
content with this, the two worthy gentlemen have more than once invaded
the Antiquary's back parlor, and offered, as we have described in a
former chapter, improper advances to his daughter.

Mr. Keepum, dressed in a flashy coat, his sharp, mercenary face, hectic
of night revels, and his small but wicked eyes wandering over Mr.
McArthur's stock in trade, is seen in pursuit of his darling object. "I
don't mind so much about the pay, old man! I'm up well in the world. The
fact is, I am esteemed--and I am!--a public benefactor. I never forget
how much we owe to the chivalric spirit of our ancestors, and in dealing
with the poor--money matters and politics are different from anything
else--I am too generous. I don't mind my own interests enough. There it
is!" Mr. Keepum says this with an evident relief to himself. Indeed it
must here be acknowledged that this very excellent member of the St.
Cecilia Society, and profound dealer in lottery tickets, like our fine
gentlemen who are so scrupulous of their chivalry while stabbing men
behind their backs, fancies himself one of the most disinterested beings
known to generous nature.

Bent and tottering, the old man recounts the value of his curiosities;
which, like our chivalry, is much talked of but hard to get at. He
offers in apology for the nonpayment of the debt his knowledge of the
old continentals, just as we offer our chivalry in excuse for every
disgraceful act--every savage law. In fine, he follows the maxims of our
politicians, recapitulating a dozen or more things (wiping the sweat
from his brow the while) that have no earthly connection with the
subject. "They are all very well," Mr. Keepum rejoins, with an air of
self-importance, dusting the ashes from his cigar. He only wishes to
impress the old man with the fact that he is his very best friend.

And having somewhat relieved the Antiquary's mind of its apprehensions,
for McArthur stood in great fear of duns, Mr. Keepum pops, uninvited,
into the "back parlor," where he has not long been when Maria's screams
for assistance break forth.

"Ah! I am old--there is not much left me now. Yes, I am old, my
infirmities are upon me. Pray, good man, spare me my daughter. Nay, you
must not break the peace of my house;" mutters the old man, advancing
into the room, with infirm step, and looking wistfully at his daughter,
as if eager to clasp her in his arms. Maria stands in a defiant
attitude, her left hand poised on a chair, and her right pointing
scornfully in the face of Keepum, who recoils under the look of
withering scorn that darkens her countenance. "A gentleman! begone,
knave! for your looks betray you. You cannot buy my ruin with your gold;
you cannot deceive me with your false tongue. If hate were a noble
passion, I would not vent that which now agitates my bosom on you. Nay,
I would reserve it for a better purpose--"

"Indeed, indeed--now I say honestly, your daughter mistakes me. I was
only being a little friendly to her," interrupts the chopfallen man. He
did not think her capable of summoning so much passion to her aid.

Maria, it must be said, was one of those seemingly calm natures in which
resentment takes deepest root, in which the passions are most violent
when roused. Solitude does, indeed, tend to invest the passionate nature
with a calm surface. A less penetrating observer than the chivalrous
Keepum, might have discovered in Maria a spirit he could not so easily
humble to his uses. It is the modest, thoughtful woman, you cannot make
lick the dust in sorrow and tears. "Coward! you laid ruffian hands on
me!" says Maria, again towering to her height, and giving vent to her
feelings.

"Madam, Madam," pursues Keepum, trembling and crouching, "you asperse my
honor,--my sacred honor, Madam. You see--let me say a word, now--you are
letting your temper get the better of you. I never, and the public know
I never did--I never did a dishonorable thing in my life." Turning to
the bewildered old man, he continues: "to be called a knave, and
upbraided in this manner by your daughter, when I have befriended you
all these days!" His wicked eyes fall guilty to the floor.

"Out man!--out! Let your sense of right, if you have it, teach you what
is friendship. Know that, like mercy, it is not poured out with hands
reeking of female dishonor."

Mr. Keepum, like many more of our very fine gentlemen, had so trained
his thoughts to look upon the poor as slaves created for a base use,
that he neither could bring his mind to believe in the existence of such
things as noble spirits under humble roofs, nor to imagine himself--even
while committing the grossest outrages--doing aught to sully the high
chivalric spirit he fancied he possessed. The old Antiquary, on the
other hand, was not a little surprised to find his daughter displaying
such extraordinary means of repulsing an enemy.

Trembling, and childlike he stands, conscious of being in the grasp of a
knave, whose object was more the ruin of his daughter than the recovery
of a small amount of money, the tears glistening in his eyes, and the
finger of old age marked on his furrowed brow.

"Father, father!" says Maria, and the words hang upon her quivering
lips, her face becomes pale as marble, her strength deserts her,--she
trembles from head to foot, and sinks upon the old man's bosom,
struggling to smother her sobs. Her passion has left her; her calmer
nature has risen up to rebuke it. The old man leads her tenderly to the
sofa, and there seeks to sooth her troubled spirit.

"As if this hub bub was always to last!" a voice speaks suddenly. It is
the Hon. Mr. Snivel, who looks in at the eleventh hour, as he says, to
find affairs always in a fuss. "Being a man of legal knowledge--always
ready to do a bit of a good turn--especially in putting a disordered
house to rights--I thought it well to look in, having a leisure minute
or two (we have had a convention for dissolving the Union, and passed a
vote to that end!) to give to my old friends," Mr. Snivel says, in a
voice at once conciliating and insinuating. "I always think of a border
feud when I come here--things that find no favor with me." Mr. Snivel,
having first patted the old man on the shoulder, exchanges a significant
wink with his friend Keepum, and then bestows upon him what he is
pleased to call a little wholesome advice. "People misunderstand Mr.
Keepum," he says, "who is one of the most generous of men, but lacks
discretion, and in trying to be polite to everybody, lets his feelings
have too much latitude now and then." Maria buries her face in her
handkerchief, as if indifferent to the reconciliation offered.

"Now let this all be forgotten--let friendship reign among friends:
that's my motto. But! I say,--this is a bad piece of news we have this
morning. Clipped this from an English paper," resumes the Hon.
gentleman, drawing coolly from his pocket a bit of paper, having the
appearance of an extract.

"You are never without some kind of news--mostly bad!" says Keepum,
flinging himself into a chair, with an air of restored confidence. Mr.
Snivel bows, thanks the gentleman for the compliment, and commences to
read. "This news," he adds, "may be relied upon, having come from
Lloyd's List: 'Intelligence was received here (this is, you must
remember, from a London paper, he says, in parentheses) this morning, of
the total loss of the American ship ----, bound from this port for
Charleston, U.S., near the Needles. Every soul on board, except the
Captain and second mate, perished. The gale was one of the worst ever
known on this coast--'"

"The worst ever known on this coast!" ejaculates Mr. Keepum, his wicked
eyes steadily fixed upon Maria. "One of Trueman's ships," Mr. Snivel
adds. "Unlucky fellow, that Trueman--second ship he has lost."

"By-the-bye," rejoins Keepum, as if a thought has just flashed upon him,
"your old friend, Tom Swiggs, was supercargo, clerk, or whatever you may
call it, aboard that ship, eh?"

It is the knave who can most naturally affect surprise and regret when
it suits his purposes, and Mr. Snivel is well learned in the art.
"True!" he says, "as I'm a Christian. Well, I had made a man of him--I
don't regret it, for I always liked him--and this is the end of the poor
fellow, eh?" Turning to McArthur, he adds, rather unconcernedly: "You
know somewhat of him?" The old man sits motionless beside his daughter,
the changes of whose countenance discover the inward emotions that
agitate her bosom. Her eyes fill with tears; she exchanges inquiring
glances, first with Keepum, then with Snivel; then a thought strikes her
that she received a letter from Tom, setting forth his prospects, and
his intention to return in the ship above named. It was very natural
that news thus artfully manufactured, and revealed with such apparent
truthfulness, should produce a deep impression in the mind of an
unsuspecting girl. Indeed, it was with some effort that she bore up
under it. Expressions of grief she would fain suppress before the enemy
gain a mastery over her--and ere they are gone the cup flows over, and
she sinks exhausted upon the sofa.

"There! good as far as it goes. You have now another mode of gaining the
victory," Mr. Snivel whispers in the ear of his friend, Keepum; and the
two gentlemen pass into the street.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

IN WHICH A LAW IS SEEN TO SERVE BASE PURPOSES.


Maria has passed a night of unhappiness. Hopes and fears are knelling in
the morning, which brings nothing to relieve her anxiety for the absent
one; and Mr. Snivel has taken the precaution to have the news of the
lost ship find its way into the papers.

And while our city seems in a state of very general excitement; while
great placards on every street corner inform the wondering stranger that
a mighty Convention (presided over by the Hon. S. Snivel) for dissolving
the Union, is shortly to be holden; while our political world has got
the Union on its shoulders, and threatens to throw it into the nearest
ditch; while our streets swarm with long, lean, and very hairy-faced
delegates (all lusty of war and secession), who have dragged themselves
into the city to drink no end of whiskey, and say all sorts of foolish
things their savage and half-civilized constituents are expected to
applaud; while our more material and conservative citizens are thinking
what asses we make of ourselves; while the ship-of-war we built to fight
the rest of the Union, lies an ugly lump in the harbor, and "won't go
over the bar;" while the "shoe-factory" we established to supply
niggerdom with soles, is snuffed out for want of energy and capacity to
manage it; while some of our non-slaveholding, but most active secession
merchants, are moving seriously in the great project of establishing a
"SOUTHERN CANDLE-FACTORY"--a thing much needed in the "up-country;"
while our graver statesmen (who don't get the State out of the Union
fast enough for the ignorant rabble, who have nothing but their folly at
stake) are pondering over the policy of spending five hundred thousand
dollars for the building of another war-ship--one that "will go over the
bar;" and while curiously-written letters from Generals Commander and
Quattlebum, offering to bring their allied forces into the field--to
blow this confederation down at a breath whenever called upon, are being
published, to the great joy of all secessiondom; while saltpetre,
broadswords, and the muskets made for us by Yankees to fight Yankees,
and which were found to have wood instead of flint in their hammers,
(and which trick of the Yankees we said was just like the Yankees,) are
in great demand--and a few of our mob-politicians, who are all "Kern'ls"
of regiments that never muster, prove conclusively our necessity for
keeping a fighting-man in Congress; while, we assert, many of our first
and best known families have sunk the assemblies of the St. Cecilia in
the more important question of what order of government will best
suit--in the event of our getting happily out of the Union!--our refined
and very exacting state of society;--whether an Empire or a Monarchy,
and whether we ought to set up a Quattlebum or Commander
dynasty?--whether the Bungle family or the Jungle family (both fighting
families) will have a place nearest the throne; what sort of orders will
be bestowed, who will get them, and what colored liveries will best
become us (all of which grave questions threaten us with a very
extensive war of families)?--while all these great matters find us in a
sea of trouble, there enters the curiosity-shop of the old Antiquary a
suspicious-looking individual in green spectacles.

"Mr. Hardscrabble!" says the man, bowing and taking a seat, leisurely,
upon the decrepit sofa. Mr. McArthur returns his salutation,
contemplates him doubtingly for a minute, then resumes his fussing and
brushing.

The small, lean figure; the somewhat seedy broadcloth in which it is
enveloped; the well-browned and very sharp features; the straight,
dark-gray hair, and the absent manner of Mr. Hardscrabble, might, with
the uninitiated, cause him to be mistaken for an "up-country" clergyman
of the Methodist denomination.

"Mr. Hardscrabble? Mr. Hardscrabble? Mr. Hardscrabble?" muses the
Antiquary, canting his head wisely, "the Sheriff, as I'm a man of
years!"

Mr. Hardscrabble comforts his eyes with his spectacles, and having
glanced vacantly over the little shop, as if to take an inventory of its
contents, draws from his breast-pocket a paper containing very ominous
seals and scrawls.

"I'm reluctant about doing these things with an old man like you," Mr.
Hardscrabble condescends to say, in a sharp, grating voice; "but I have
to obey the demands of my office." Here he commences reading the paper
to the trembling old man, who, having adjusted his broad-bowed
spectacles, and arrayed them against the spectacles of Mr. Hardscrabble,
says he thinks it contains a great many useless recapitulations.

Mr. Hardscrabble, his eyes peering eagerly through his glasses, and his
lower jaw falling and exposing the inner domain of his mouth, replies
with an--"Umph." The old Antiquary was never before called upon to
examine a document so confusing to his mind. Not content with a
surrender of his property, it demands his body into the bargain--all at
the suit of one Keepum. He makes several motions to go show it to his
daughter; but that, Mr. Hardscrabble thinks, is scarce worth while. "I
sympathize with you--knowing how frugal you have been through life. A
list of your effects--if you have one--will save a deal of trouble. I
fear (Mr. Hardscrabble works his quid) my costs will hardly come out of
them."

"There's a fortune in them--if the love of things of yore--" The old man
hesitates, and shakes his head dolefully.

"Yore!--a thing that would starve out our profession."

"A little time to turn, you know. There's my stock of uniforms."

"Well--I--know," Mr. Hardscrabble rejoins, with a drawl; "but I must
lock up the traps. Yes, I must lock you up, and sell you out--unless you
redeem before sale day; that you can't do, I suppose?"

And while the old man totters into the little back parlor, and, giving
way to his emotions, throws himself upon the bosom of his fond daughter,
to whom he discloses his troubles, Mr. Hardscrabble puts locks and bolts
upon his curiosity-shop. This important business done, he leads the old
man away, and gives him a lodging in the old jail.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

A SHORT CHAPTER OF ORDINARY EVENTS.


To bear up against the malice of inexorable enemies is at once the gift
and the shield of a noble nature. And here it will be enough to say,
that Maria bore the burden of her ills with fortitude and resignation,
trusting in Him who rights the wronged, to be her deliverer. What took
place when she saw her aged father led away, a prisoner; what thoughts
invaded that father's mind when the prison bolt grated on his ear, and
he found himself shut from all that had been dear to him through life,
regard for the feelings of the reader forbids us recounting here.

Naturally intelligent, Maria had, by close application to books,
acquired some knowledge of the world. Nor was she entirely ignorant of
those arts designing men call to their aid when seeking to effect the
ruin of the unwary female. Thus fortified, she fancied she saw in the
story of the lost ship a plot against herself, while the persecution of
her father was only a means to effect the object. Launched between hope
and fear, then--hope that her lover still lived, and that with his
return her day would brighten--fear lest the report might be founded in
truth, she nerves herself for the struggle. She knew full well that to
give up in despair--to cast herself upon the cold charities of a busy
world, would only be to hasten her downfall. Indeed, she had already
felt how cold, and how far apart were the lines that separated our rich
from our poor.

The little back parlor is yet spared to Maria, and in it she may now be
seen plying at her needle, early and late. It is the only means left her
of succoring the parent from whom she has been so ruthlessly separated.
Hoping, fearing, bright to-day and dark to-morrow, willing to work and
wait--here she sits. A few days pass, and the odds and ends of the
Antiquary's little shop, like the "shirts" of the gallant Fremont, whom
we oppressed while poor, and essayed to flatter when a hero, are
gazetted under the head of "sheriff's sale." Hope, alas! brings no
comfort to Maria. Time rolls on, the month's rent falls due, her father
pines and sinks in confinement, and her needle is found inadequate to
the task undertaken. Necessity demands, and one by one she parts with
her few cherished mementos of the past, that she may save an aged father
from starvation.

The "prisoner" has given notice that he will take the benefit of the
act--commonly called "an act for the relief of poor debtors." But before
he can reach this boon, ten days must elapse. Generous-minded
legislators, no doubt, intended well when they constructed this act, but
so complex are its provisions that any legal gentleman may make it a
very convenient means of oppression. And in a community where laws not
only have their origin in the passions of men, but are made to serve
popular prejudices--where the quality of justice obtained depends upon
the position and sentiments of him who seeks it,--the weak have no
chance against the powerful.

The multiplicity of notices, citations, and schedules, necessary to the
setting free of this "poor debtor" (for these fussy officials must be
paid), Maria finds making a heavy drain on her lean purse.

The Court is in session, and the ten days having glided away, the old
man is brought into "open Court" by two officials with long tipstaffs,
and faces looking as if they had been carefully pickled in strong
drinks. "Surely, now, they'll set me free--I can give them no more--I am
old and infirm--they have got all--and my daughter!" he muses within
himself. Ah! he little knows how uncertain a thing is the law.

The Judge is engaged over a case in which two very fine old families are
disputing for the blood and bones of a little "nigger" girl. The
possession of this helpless slave, the Judge (he sits in easy dignity)
very naturally regards of superior importance when compared with the
freedom of a "poor debtor." He cannot listen to the story of
destitution--precisely what was sought by Keepum--to-day, and to-morrow
the Court adjourns for six months.

The Antiquary is remanded back to his cell. No one in Court cares for
him; no one has a thought for the achings of that heart his release
would unburden; the sorrows of that lone girl are known only to herself
and the One in whom she puts her trust. She, nevertheless, seeks the old
man in his prison, and there comforts him as best she can.

Five days more, and the "prisoner" is brought before the Commissioner
for Special Bail, who is no less a personage than the rosy-faced Clerk
of the Court, just adjourned. And here we cannot forbear to say, that
however despicable the object sought, however barren of right the plea,
however adverse to common humanity the spirit of the action, there is
always to be found some legal gentleman, true to the lower instincts of
the profession, ready to lend himself to his client's motives. And in
this instance, the cunning Keepum finds an excellent instrument of
furthering his ends, in one Peter Crimpton, a somewhat faded and rather
disreputable member of the learned profession. It is said of Crimpton,
that he is clever at managing cases where oppression rather than justice
is sought, and that his present client furnishes the larger half of his
practice.

And while Maria, too sensitive to face the gaze of the coarse crowd,
pauses without, silent and anxious, listening one moment and hoping the
next will see her old father restored to her, the adroit Crimpton rises
to object to "the Schedule." To the end that he may substantiate his
objections, he proposes to examine the prisoner. Having no alternative,
the Commissioner grants the request.

The old Antiquary made out his schedule with the aid of the good-hearted
jailer, who inserted as his effects, "_Necessary wearing apparel_." It
was all he had. Like the gallant Fremont, when he offered to resign his
shirts to his chivalric creditor, he could give them no more. A few
questions are put; the old man answers them with childlike simplicity,
then sits down, his trembling fingers wandering into his beard. Mr.
Crimpton produces his paper, sets forth his objections, and asks
permission to file them, that the case may come before a jury of
"Special Bail."

Permission is granted. The reader will not fail to discover the object
of this procedure. Keepum hopes to continue the old man in prison, that
he may succeed in breaking down the proud spirit of his daughter.

The Commissioner listens attentively to the reading of the objections.
The first sets forth that Mr. McArthur has a gold watch;[7] the second,
that he has a valuable breastpin, said to have been worn by Lord
Cornwallis; and the third, that he has one Yorick's skull. All of these,
Mr. Crimpton regrets to say, are withheld from the schedule, which
virtually constitutes fraud. The facile Commissioner bows; the assembled
crowd look on unmoved; but the old man shakes his head and listens. He
is surprised to find himself accused of fraud; but the law gives him no
power to show his own innocence. The Judge of the Sessions was competent
to decide the question now raised, and to have prevented this reverting
to a "special jury"--this giving the vindictive plaintiff a means of
torturing his infirm victim. Had he but listened to the old man's tale
of poverty, he might have saved the heart of that forlorn girl many a
bitter pang.

[Footnote 7: Our Charleston readers will recognize the case here
described, without any further key.]

The motion granted, a day is appointed--ten days must elapse--for a
hearing before the Commissioner of "Special Bail," and his special jury.
The rosy-faced functionary, being a jolly and somewhat flexible sort of
man, must needs give his health an airing in the country. What is the
liberty of a poor white with us? Our Governor, whom we esteem singularly
sagacious, said it were better all our poor were enslaved, and this
opinion finds high favor with our first families. The worthy
Commissioner, in addition to taking care of his health, is expected to
make any number of speeches, full of wind and war, to several recently
called Secession Conventions. He will find time (being a General by
courtesy) to review the up-country militia, and the right and left
divisions of the South Carolina army. He will be feted by some few of
our most distinguished Generals, and lecture before the people of
Beaufort (a very noisy town of forty-two inhabitants, all heroes), to
whom he will prove the necessity of our State providing itself with an
independent steam navy.

The old Antiquary is remanded back to jail--to wait the coming day.
Maria, almost breathless with anxiety, runs to him as he comes tottering
out of Court in advance of the official, lays her trembling hand upon
his arm, and looks inquiringly in his face. "Oh! my father, my
father!--released? released?" she inquires, with quivering lips and
throbbing heart. A forced smile plays over his time-worn face, he looks
upward, shakes his head in sorrow, and having patted her affectionately
on the shoulder, throws his arms about her neck and kisses her. That
mute appeal, that melancholy voucher of his sorrows, knells the painful
answer in her ears, "Then you are not free to come with me? Oh, father,
father!" and she wrings her hands and gives vent to her tears.

"The time will come, my daughter, when my Judge will hear me--will judge
me right. My time will come soon--" And here the old man pauses, and
chokes with his emotions. Maria returns the old man's kiss, and being
satisfied that he is yet in the hands of his oppressors, sets about
cheering up his drooping spirits. "Don't think of me, father," she
says--"don't think of me! Let us put our trust in Him who can shorten
the days of our tribulation." She takes the old man's arm, and like one
who would forget her own troubles in her anxiety to relieve another,
supports him on his way back to prison.

It is high noon. She stands before the prison gate, now glancing at the
serene sky, then at the cold, frowning walls, and again at the old pile,
as if contemplating the wearying hours he must pass within it. "Don't
repine--nerve yourself with resolution, and all will be well!" Having
said this with an air of confidence in herself, she throws her arms
about the old man's neck, presses him to her bosom, kisses and kisses
his wrinkled cheek, then grasps his hand warmly in her own. "Forget
those who persecute you, for it is good. Look above, father--to Him who
tempers the winds, who watches over the weak, and gives the victory to
the right!" She pauses, as the old man holds her hand in silence. "This
life is but a transient sojourn at best; full of hopes and fears, that,
like a soldier's dream, pass away when the battle is ended." Again she
fondly shakes his hand, lisps a sorrowing "good-bye," watches him, in
silence, out of sight, then turns away in tears, and seeks her home.
There is something so pure, so earnest in her solicitude for the old
man, that it seems more of heaven than earth.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

A STORY WITHOUT WHICH THIS HISTORY WOULD BE FOUND WANTING.


On taking leave of her father, Maria, her heart overburdened with grief,
and her mind abstracted, turned towards the Battery, and continued,
slowly and sadly, until she found herself seated beneath a tree, looking
out upon the calm bay. Here, scarce conscious of those who were
observing her in their sallies, she mused until dusky evening, when the
air seemed hushed, and the busy hum of day was dying away in the
distance. The dark woodland on the opposite bank gave a bold border to
the soft picture; the ships rode sluggishly upon the polished waters;
the negro's touching song echoed and re-echoed along the shore; and the
boatman's chorus broke upon the stilly air in strains so dulcet. And as
the mellow shadows of night stole over the scene--as the heavens looked
down in all their sereneness, and the stars shone out, and twinkled, and
laughed, and danced upon the blue waters, and coquetted with the
moonbeams--for the moon was up, and shedding a halo of mystic light over
the scene--making night merry, nature seemed speaking to Maria in words
of condolence. Her heart was touched, her spirits gained strength, her
soul seemed in a loftier and purer atmosphere.

"Poor, but virtuous--virtue ennobles the poor. Once gone, the world
never gives it back!" she muses, and is awakened from her reverie by a
sweet, sympathizing voice, whispering in her ear. "Woman! you are in
trouble,--linger no longer here, or you will fall into the hands of your
enemies." She looks up, and there stands at her side a young female,
whose beauty the angels might envy. The figure came upon her so suddenly
that she hesitates for a reply to the admonition.

"Take this, it will do something toward relieving your wants (do not
open it now), and with this (she places a stiletto in her hand) you can
strike down the one who attempts your virtue. Nay, remember that while
you cling to that, you are safe--lose it, and you are gone forever. Your
troubles will soon end; mine are for a life-time. Yours find a
relaxation in your innocence; mine is seared into my heart with my own
shame. It is guilt--shame! that infuses into the heart that poison, for
which years of rectitude afford no antidote. Go quickly--get from this
lone place! You are richer than me." She slips something into Maria's
hand, and suddenly disappears.

Maria rises from her seat, intending to follow the stranger, but she is
out of sight. Who can this mysterious messenger, this beautiful stranger
be? Maria muses. A thought flashes across her mind; it is she who sought
our house at midnight, when my father revealed her dark future! "Yes,"
she says to herself, "it is the same lovely face; how oft it has flitted
in my fancy!"

She reaches her home only to find its doors closed against her. A
ruthless landlord has taken her all, and forced her into the street.

You may shut out the sterner sex without involving character or inviting
insult; but with woman the case is very different. However pure her
character, to turn her into the street, is to subject her to a stigma,
if not to fasten upon her a disgrace. You may paint, in your
imagination, the picture of a woman in distress, but you can know little
of the heart-achings of the sufferer. The surface only reflects the
faint gleams, standing out here and there like the lesser objects upon a
dark canvas.

Maria turns reluctantly from that home of so many happy associations, to
wander about the streets and by-ways of the city. The houses of the rich
seem frowning upon her; her timid nature tells her they have no doors
open to her. The haunts of the poor, at this moment, infuse a sanguine
joyousness into her soul. How glad would she be, if they did but open to
her. Is not the Allwise, through the beauties of His works, holding her
up, while man only is struggling to pull her down?

And while Maria wanders homeless about the streets of Charleston, we
must beg you, gentle reader, to accompany us into one of the great
thoroughfares of London, where is being enacted a scene appertaining to
this history.

It is well-nigh midnight, the hour when young London is most astir in
his favorite haunts; when ragged and well-starved flower-girls, issuing
from no one knows where, beset your path through Trafalgar and Liecester
squares, and pierce your heart with their pleadings; when the Casinoes
of the Haymarket and Picadilly are vomiting into the streets their frail
but richly-dressed women; when gaudy supper-rooms, reeking of lobster
and bad liquor, are made noisy with the demands of their
flauntily-dressed customers; when little girls of thirteen are dodging
in and out of mysterious courts and passages leading to and from
Liecester square; when wily cabmen, ranged around the "great globe,"
importune you for a last fare; and when the aristocratic swell, with
hectic face and maudlin laugh, saunters from his club-room to seek
excitement in the revels at Vauxhall.

A brown mist hangs over the dull area of Trafalgar square. The bells of
old St. Martin's church have chimed merrily out their last night peal;
the sharp voice of the omnibus conductor no longer offends the ear; the
tiny little fountains have ceased to give out their green water; and the
lights of the Union Club on one side, and Morley's hotel on the other,
throw pale shadows into the open square.

The solitary figure of a man, dressed in the garb of a gentleman, is
seen sauntering past Northumberland house, then up the east side of the
square. Now he halts at the corner of old St. Martin's church, turns and
contemplates the scene before him. On his right is that squatty mass of
freestone and smoke, Englishmen exultingly call the Royal Academy, but
which Frenchmen affect contempt for, and uninitiated Americans mistake
for a tomb. An equestrian statue of one of the Georges rises at the east
corner; Morley's Hotel, where Americans get poor fare and enormous
charges, with the privilege of fancying themselves quite as good as the
queen, on the left; the dead walls of Northumberland House, with their
prisonlike aspect, and the mounted lion, his tail high in air, and quite
as rigid as the Duke's dignity, in front; the opening that terminates
the Strand, and gives place to Parliament street, at the head of which
an equestrian statue of Charles the First, much admired by Englishmen,
stands, his back on Westminster; the dingy shops of Spring Garden, and
the Union Club to the right; and, towering high over all, Nelson's
Column, the statue looking as if it had turned its back in pity on the
little fountains, to look with contempt, first upon the bronze face of
the unfortunate Charles, then upon Parliament, whose parsimony in
withholding justice from his daughter, he would rebuke--and the picture
is complete.

The stranger turns, walks slowly past the steps of St. Martin's church,
crosses to the opposite side of the street, and enters a narrow, wet,
and dimly-lighted court, on the left. Having passed up a few paces, he
finds himself hemmed in between the dead walls of St. Martin's
"Work-house" on one side, and the Royal Academy on the other. He
hesitates between fear and curiosity. The dull, sombre aspect of the
court is indeed enough to excite the fears of the timid; but curiosity
being the stronger impulse, he proceeds, resolved to explore it--to see
whence it leads.

A short turn to the right, and he has reached the front wall of the
Queen's Barracks, on his left, and the entrance to the "Work-house," on
his right; the one overlooking the other, and separated by a narrow
street. Leave men are seen reluctantly returning in at the night-gate;
the dull tramp of the sentinel within sounds ominously on the still air;
and the chilly atmosphere steals into the system. Again the stranger
pauses, as if questioning the safety of his position. Suddenly a low
moan grates upon his ear, he starts back, then listens. Again it rises,
in a sad wail, and pierces his very heart. His first thought is, that
some tortured mortal is bemoaning his bruises in a cell of the
"Work-house," which he mistakes for a prison. But his eyes fall to the
ground, and his apprehensions are dispelled.

The doors of the "Work-house" are fast closed; but there, huddled along
the cold pavement, and lying crouched upon its doorsteps, in heaps that
resemble the gatherings of a rag-seller, are four-and-thirty shivering,
famishing, and homeless human beings--[8] (mostly young girls and aged
women), who have sought at this "institution of charity" shelter for the
night, and bread to appease their hunger.[9] Alas! its ruthless keepers
have refused them bread, shut them into the street, and left them in
rags scarce sufficient to cover their nakedness, to sleep upon the cold
stones, a mute but terrible rebuke to those hearts that bleed over the
sorrows of Africa, but have no blood to give out when the object of pity
is a poor, heart-sick girl, forced to make the cold pavement her bed.
The stranger shudders. "Are these heaps of human beings?" he questions
within himself, doubting the reality before him. As if counting and
hesitating what course to pursue for their relief, he paces up and down
the grotesque mass, touching one, and gazing upon the haggard features
of another, who looks up to see what it is that disturbs her. Again the
low moan breaks on his ear, as the sentinel cries the first hour of
morning. The figure of a female, her head resting on one of the steps,
moves, a trembling hand steals from under her shawl, makes an effort to
reach her head, and falls numb at her side. "Her hand is cold--her
breathing like one in death--oh! God!--how terrible--what, what am I to
do?" he says, taking the sufferer's hand in his own. Now he rubs it, now
raises her head, makes an effort to wake a few of the miserable
sleepers, and calls aloud for help. "Help! help! help!" he shouts, and
the shout re-echoes through the air and along the hollow court. "A woman
is dying,--dying here on the cold stones--with no one to raise a hand
for her!" He seizes the exhausted woman in his arms, and with herculean
strength rushes up the narrow street, in the hope of finding relief at
the Gin Palace he sees at its head, in a blaze of light. But the body is
seized with spasms, an hollow, hysteric wail follows, his strength gives
way under the burden, and he sets the sufferer down in the shadow of a
gas light. Her dress, although worn threadbare, still bears evidence of
having belonged to one who has enjoyed comfort, and, perhaps, luxury.
Indeed, there is something about the woman which bespeaks her not of the
class generally found sleeping on the steps of St. Martin's Work-house.

[Footnote 8: An institution for the relief of the destitute.]

[Footnote 9: This sight may be seen at any time.]

"What's here to do?" gruffly inquires a policeman, coming up with an air
of indifference. The stranger says the woman is dying. The policeman
stoops down, lays his hand upon her temples, then mechanically feels her
arms and hands.

"And I--must die--die--die in the street," whispers the woman, her head
falling carelessly from the policeman's hand, in which it had rested.

"Got her a bit below, at the Work'ouse door, among them wot sleeps
there, eh?"

The stranger says he did.

"A common enough thing," pursues the policeman; "this a bad lot. Anyhow,
we must give her a tow to the station." He rubs his hands, and prepares
to raise her from the ground.

"Hold! hold," interrupts the other, "she will die ere you get her
there."

"Die,--ah! yes, yes," whispers the woman. The mention of death seems to
have wrung like poison into her very soul. "Don't--don't move me--the
spell is almost broken. Oh! how can I die here, a wretch. Yes, I am
going now--let me rest, rest, rest," the moaning supplicant mutters in a
guttural voice, grasps spasmodically at the policeman's hand, heaves a
deep sigh, and sets her eyes fixedly upon the stranger. She seems
recognizing in his features something that gives her strength.

"There--there--there!" she continues, incoherently, as a fit of
hysterics seize upon her; "you, you, you, have--yes, you have come at
the last hour, when my sufferings close. I see devils all about
me--haunting me--torturing my very soul--burning me up! See them! see
them!--here they come--tearing, worrying me--in a cloud of flame!" She
clutches with her hands, her countenance fills with despair, and her
body writhes in agony.

"Bring brandy! warm,--stimulant! anything to give her strength! Quick!
quick!--go fetch it, or she is gone!" stammers out the stranger.

In another minute she calms away, and sinks exhausted upon the pavement.
Policeman shakes his head, and says, "It 'ont do no good--she's done
for."

The light of the "Trumpeter's Arms" still blazes into the street, while
a few greasy ale-bibbers sit moody about the tap-room.

The two men raise the exhausted woman from the ground and carry her to
the door. Mine host of the Trumpeter's Arms shrugs his shoulders and
says, "She can't come in here." He fears she will damage the
respectability of his house. "The Work-house is the place for her," he
continues, gruffly.

A sight at the stranger's well-filled purse, however, and a few
shillings slipped into the host's hand, secures his generosity and the
woman's admittance. "Indeed," says the host, bowing most servilely,
"gentlemen, the whole Trumpeter's Arms is at your service." The woman is
carried into a lonely, little back room, and laid upon a cot, which,
with two wooden chairs, constitutes its furniture. And while the
policeman goes in search of medical aid, the host of the Trumpeter's
bestirs himself right manfully in the forthcoming of a stimulant. The
stranger, meanwhile, lends himself to the care of the forlorn sufferer
with the gentleness of a woman. He smoothes her pillow, arranges her
dress tenderly, and administers the stimulant with a hand accustomed to
the sick.

A few minutes pass, and the woman seems to revive and brighten up. Mine
host has set a light on the chair, at the side of the cot, and left her
alone with the stranger. Slowly she opens her eyes, and with increasing
anxiety sets them full upon him. Their recognition is mutual. "Madame
Flamingo!" ejaculates the man, grasping her hand.

"Tom Swiggs!" exclaims the woman, burying her face for a second, then
pressing his hand to her lips, and kissing it with the fondness of a
child, as her eyes swim in tears. "How strange to find you thus--"
continues Tom, for truly it is he who sits by the forlorn woman.

"More strange," mutters the woman, shaking her head sorrowfully, "that I
should be brought to this terrible end. I am dying--I cannot last
long--the fever has left me only to die a neglected wretch. Hear
me--hear me, while I tell you the tale of my troubles, that others may
take warning. And may God give me strength. And you--if I have wronged
you, forgive me--it is all I can ask in this world." Here Tom
administers another draught of warm brandy and water, the influence of
which is soon perceptible in the regaining strength of the patient.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

A STORY WITH MANY COUNTERPARTS.


A very common story is this of Madame Flamingo's troubles. It has
counterparts enough, and though they may be traced to a class of society
less notorious than that with which she moved, are generally kept in the
dark chamber of hidden thoughts. We are indeed fast gaining an
unenviable fame for snobbery, for affecting to be what we never can be,
and for our sad imitation of foreign flunkydom, which, finding us rivals
in the realm of its tinsil, begins to button up its coat and look
contemptuously at us over the left shoulder. If, albeit, the result of
that passion for titles and plush (things which the empty-headed of the
old world would seem to have consigned to the empty-headed of the new),
which has of late so singularly discovered itself among our "best-known
families," could be told, it would unfold many a tale of misery and
betrayal. Pardon this digression, generous reader, and proceed with us
to the story of Madame Flamingo.

"And now," says the forlorn woman, in a faint, hollow voice, "when my
ambition seemed served--I was ambitious, perhaps vain--I found myself
the victim of an intrigue. I ask forgiveness of Him who only can forgive
the wicked; but how can I expect to gain it?" She presses Tom's hand,
and pauses for a second. "Yes, I was ambitious," she continues, "and
there was something I wanted. I had money enough to live in comfort,
but the thought that it was got of vice and the ruin of others, weighed
me down. I wanted the respect of the world. To die a forgotten wretch;
to have the grave close over me, and if remembered at all, only with
execration, caused me many a dark thought." Here she struggles to
suppress her emotions. "I sought to change my condition; that, you see,
has brought me here. I married one to whom I intrusted my all, in whose
rank, as represented to me by Mr. Snivel, and confirmed by his friend,
the Judge, I confided. I hoped to move with him to a foreign country,
where the past would all be wiped out, and where the associations of
respectable society would be the reward of future virtue.

"In London, where I now reap the fruits of my vanity, we enjoyed good
society for a time, were sought after, and heaped with attentions. But I
met those who had known me; it got out who I was; I was represented much
worse than I was, and even those who had flattered me in one sphere, did
not know me. In Paris it was the same. And there my husband said it
would not do to be known by his titles, for, being an exile, it might be
the means of his being recognized and kidnapped, and carried back a
prisoner to his own dear Poland. In this I acquiesced, as I did in
everything else that lightened his cares. Gradually he grew cold and
morose towards me, left me for days at a time, and returned only to
abuse and treat me cruelly. He had possession of all my money, which I
soon found he was gambling away, without gaining an entrée for me into
society.

"From Paris we travelled, as if without any settled purpose, into Italy,
and from thence to Vienna, where I discovered that instead of being a
prince, my husband was an impostor, and I his dupe. He had formerly
been a crafty shoemaker; was known to the police as a notorious
character, who, instead of having been engaged in the political
struggles of his countrymen, had fled the country to escape the penalty
of being the confederate of a desperate gang of coiners and
counterfeiters. We had only been two days in Vienna when I found he had
disappeared, and left me destitute of money or friends. My connection
with him only rendered my condition more deplorable, for the police
would not credit my story; and while he eluded its vigilance, I was
suspected of being a spy in the confidence of a felon, and ruthlessly
ordered to leave the country."

"Did not your passport protect you?" interrupts Tom, with evident
feeling.

"No one paid it the least regard," resumes Madame Flamingo, becoming
weaker and weaker. "No one at our legations evinced sympathy for me.
Indeed, they all refused to believe my story. I wandered back from city
to city, selling my wardrobe and the few jewels I had left, and
confidently expecting to find in each place I entered, some one I had
known, who would listen to my story, and supply me with means to reach
my home. I could soon have repaid it, but my friends had gone with my
money; no one dare venture to trust me--no one had confidence in
me--every one to whom I appealed had an excuse that betrayed their
suspicion of me. Almost destitute, I found myself back in London--how I
got here, I scarce know--where I could make myself understood. My hopes
now brightened, I felt that some generous-hearted captain would give me
a passage to New York, and once home, my troubles would end. But being
worn down with fatigue, and my strength prostrated, a fever set in, and
I was forced to seek refuge in a miserable garret in Drury-Lane, and
where I parted with all but what now remains on my back, to procure
nourishment. I had begun to recover somewhat, but the malady left me
broken down, and when all was gone, I was turned into the street. Yes,
yes, yes, (she whispers,) they gave me to the streets; for twenty-four
hours I have wandered without nourishment, or a place to lay my head. I
sought shelter in a dark court, and there laid down to die; and when my
eyes were dim, and all before me seemed mysterious and dark with curious
visions, a hand touched me, and I felt myself borne away." Here her
voice chokes, she sinks back upon the pillow, and closes her eyes as her
hands fall careless at her side. "She breathes! she breathes yet!" says
Tom, advancing his ear to the pale, quivering lips of the wretched
woman. Now he bathes her temples with the vinegar from a bottle in the
hand of the host, who is just entered, and stands looking on, his
countenance full of alarm.

"If she deys in my 'ouse, good sir, w'oat then?"

"You mean the expense?"

"Just so--it 'll be nae trifle, ye kno'!" The host shakes his head,
doubtingly. Tom begs he will not be troubled about that, and gives
another assurance from his purse that quite relieves the host's
apprehensions. A low, heavy breathing, followed by a return of spasms,
bespeaks the sinking condition of the sufferer. The policeman returns,
preceded by a physician--the only one to be got at, he says--in very
dilapidated broadcloth, and whose breath is rather strong of gin. "An'
whereabutes did ye pick the woman up,--an, an, wha's teu stond the
bill?" he inquires, in a deep Scotch brogue, then ordering the little
window opened, feels clumsily the almost pulseless hand. Encouraged on
the matter of his bill, he turns first to the host, then to Tom, and
says, "the wuman's nae much, for she's amast dede wi' exhaustion." And
while he is ordering a nostrum he knows can do no good, the woman makes
a violent struggle, opens her eyes, and seems casting a last glance
round the dark room. Now she sets them fixedly upon the ceiling, her
lips pale, and her countenance becomes spectre-like--a low, gurgling
sound is heard, the messenger of retribution is come--Madame Flamingo is
dead!



CHAPTER XL.

IN WHICH THE LAW IS SEEN TO CONFLICT WITH OUR CHERISHED CHIVALRY.


"What could the woman mean, when on taking leave of me she said, 'you
are far richer than me?'" questions Maria McArthur to herself, when,
finding she is alone and homeless in the street, she opens the packet
the woman Anna slipped so mysteriously into her hand, and finds it
contains two twenty-dollar gold pieces. And while evolving in her mind
whether she shall appropriate them to the relief of her destitute
condition, her conscience smites her. It is the gold got of vice. Her
heart shares the impulse that prompted the act, but her pure spirit
recoils from the acceptance of such charity. "You are far richer than
me!" knells in her ears, and reveals to her the heart-burnings of the
woman who lives in licentious splendor. "I have no home, no friend near
me, and nowhere to lay my head; and yet I am richer than her;" she says,
gazing at the moon, and the stars, and the serene heavens. And the
contemplation brings to her consolation and strength. She wanders back
to the gate of the old prison, resolved to return the gold in the
morning, and, was the night not so far spent, ask admittance into the
cell her father occupies. But she reflects, and turns away; well knowing
how much more painful will be the smart of his troubles does she
disclose to him what has befallen her.

She continues sauntering up a narrow by-lane in the outskirts of the
city. A light suddenly flashes across her path, glimmers from the window
of a little cabin, and inspires her with new hopes. She quickens her
steps, reaches the door, meets a welcome reception, and is made
comfortable for the night by the mulatto woman who is its solitary
tenant. The woman, having given Maria of her humble cheer, seems only
too anxious to disclose the fact that she is the slave and cast-off
mistress of Judge Sleepyhorn, on whose head she invokes no few curses.
It does not touch her pride so much that he has abandoned her, as that
he has taken to himself one of another color. She is tall and straight
of figure, with prominent features, long, silky black hair, and a rich
olive complexion; and though somewhat faded of age, it is clear that she
possessed in youth charms of great value in the flesh market.

Maria discloses to her how she came in possession of the money, as also
her resolve to return it in the morning. Undine (for such is her name)
applauds this with great gusto. "Now, thar!" she says, "that's the
spirit I likes." And straightway she volunteers to be the medium of
returning the money, adding that she will show the hussy her contempt of
her by throwing it at her feet, and "letting her see a _slave_ knows all
about it."

Maria fully appreciates the kindness, as well as sympathizes with the
wounded pride of this slave daughter; nevertheless, there is an
humiliation in being driven to seek shelter in a negro cabin that
touches her feelings. For a white female to seek shelter under the roof
of a negro's cabin, is a deep disgrace in the eyes of our very refined
society; and having subjected herself to the humiliation, she knows full
well that it may be used against her--in fine, made a means to defame
her character.

Night passes away, and the morning ushers in soft and sunny, but brings
with it nothing to relieve her situation. She, however, returns the gold
to Anna through a channel less objectionable than that Undine would have
supplied, and sallies out to seek lodgings. In a house occupied by a
poor German family, she seeks and obtains a little room, wherein she
continues plying at her needle.

The day set apart for the trial before a jury of "special bail" arrives.
The rosy-faced commissioner is in his seat, a very good-natured jury is
impanelled, and the feeble old man is again brought into court. Maria
saunters, thoughtful, and anxious for the result, at the outer door.
Peter Crimpton rises, addresses the jury at great length, sets forth the
evident intention of fraud on the part of the applicant, and the
enormity of the crime. He will now prove his objections by competent
witnesses. The proceedings being in accordance with what Mr. Snivel
facetiously terms the strict rules of special pleading, the old man's
lips are closed. Several very respectable witnesses are called, and aver
they saw the old Antiquary with a gold watch mounted, at a recent date;
witnesses quite as dependable aver they have known him for many years,
but never mounted with anything so extravagant as a gold watch. So much
for the validity of testimony! It is very clear that the very
respectable witnesses have confounded some one else with the prisoner.

The Antiquary openly confesses to the possession of a pin, and the
curious skull (neither of which are valuable beyond their associations),
but declares it more an oversight than an intention that they were left
out of the schedule. For the virtue of the schedule, Mr. Crimpton is
singularly scrupulous; nor does it soften his aspersions that the old
man offers to resign them for the benefit of the State. Mr. Crimpton
gives his case to the jury, expressing his belief that a verdict will be
rendered in his favor. A verdict of guilty (for so it is rendered in our
courts) will indeed give the prisoner to him for an indefinite period.
In truth, the only drawback is that the plaintiff will be required to
pay thirty cents a day to Mr. Hardscrabble, who will starve him rightly
soundly.

The jury, very much to Mr. Crimpton's chagrin, remain seated, and
declare the prisoner not guilty. Was this sufficient--all the law
demanded? No. Although justice might have been satisfied, the law had
other ends to serve, and in the hands of an instrument like Crimpton,
could be turned to uses delicacy forbids our transcribing here. The old
man's persecutors were not satisfied; the verdict of the jury was with
him, but the law gave his enemies power to retain him six months longer.
Mr. Crimpton demands a writ of appeal to the sessions. The Commissioner
has no alternative, notwithstanding the character of the pretext upon
which it is demanded is patent on its face. Such is but a feeble
description of one of the many laws South Carolina retains on her
statute book to oppress the poor and give power to the rich. If we would
but purge ourselves of this distemper of chivalry and secession, that so
blinds our eyes to the sufferings of the poor, while driving our
politicians mad over the country (we verily believe them all coming to
the gallows or insane hospital), how much higher and nobler would be our
claim to the respect of the world!

Again the old man is separated from his daughter, placed in the hands of
a bailiff, and remanded back to prison, there to hope, fear, and while
away the time, waiting six, perhaps eight months, for the sitting of the
Court of Appeals. The "Appeal Court," you must know, would seem to have
inherited the aristocracy of our ancestors, for, having a great aversion
to business pursuits, it sits at very long intervals, and gets through
very little business.

When the news of her father's remand reaches Maria, it overwhelms her
with grief. Varied are her thoughts of how she shall provide for the
future; dark and sad are the pictures of trouble that rise up before
her. Look whichever way she will, her ruin seems sealed. The health of
her aged father is fast breaking--her own is gradually declining under
the pressure of her troubles. Rapidly forced from one extreme to
another, she appeals to a few acquaintances who have expressed
friendship for her father; but their friendship took wings when grim
poverty looked in. Southern hospitality, though bountifully bestowed
upon the rich, rarely condescends to shed its bright rays over the needy
poor.

Maria advertises for a situation, in some of our first families, as
private seamstress. Our first families having slaves for such offices,
have no need of "poor white trash." She applies personally to several
ladies of "eminent standing," and who busy themselves in getting up
donations for northern Tract Societies. They have no sympathy to waste
upon her. Her appeal only enlists coldness and indifference. The "Church
Home" had lent an ear to her story, but that her address is very
unsatisfactory, and it is got out that she is living a very suspicious
life. The "Church Home," so virtuous and pious, can do nothing for her
until she improves her mode of living. Necessity pinches Maria at every
turn. "To be poor in a slave atmosphere, is truly a crime," she says to
herself, musing over her hard lot, while sitting in her chamber one
evening. "But I am the richer! I will rise above all!" She has just
prepared to carry some nourishment to her father, when Keepum enters,
his face flushed, and his features darkened with a savage scowl. "I have
said you were a fool--all women are fools!--and now I know I was not
mistaken!" This Mr. Keepum says while throwing his hat sullenly upon the
floor. "Well," he pursues, having seated himself in a chair, looked
designingly at the candle, then contorted his narrow face, and frisked
his fingers through his bright red hair, "as to this here wincing and
mincing--its all humbuggery of a woman like you. Affecting such morals!
Don't go down here; tell you that, my spunky girl. Loose morals is what
takes in poor folks."

Maria answers him only with a look of scorn. She advances to the door to
find it locked.

"It was me--I locked it. Best to be private about the matter," says
Keepum, a forced smile playing over his countenance.

Unresolved whether to give vent to her passion, or make an effort to
inspire his better nature, she stands a few moments, as if immersed in
deep thought, then suddenly falls upon her knees at his feet, and
implores him to save her this last step to her ruin. "Hear me, oh, hear
me, and let your heart give out its pity for one who has only her virtue
left her in this world;" she appeals to him with earnest voice, and eyes
swimming in tears. "Save my father, for you have power. Give him his
liberty, that I, his child, his only comfort in his old age, may make
him happy. Yes! yes!--he will die where he is. Will you, can you--you
have a heart--see me struggle against the rude buffets of an unthinking
world! Will you not save me from the Poor-house--from the shame that
awaits me with greedy clutches, and receive in return the blessing of a
friendless woman! Oh!--you will, you will--release my father!--give him
back to me and make me happy. Ah, ha!--I see, I see, you have feelings,
better feelings--feelings that are not seared. You will have pity on me;
you will forgive, relent--you cannot see a wretch suffer and not be
moved to lighten her pain!" The calm, pensive expression that lights up
her countenance is indeed enough to inspire the tender impulses of a
heart in which every sense of generosity is not dried up.

Her appeal, nevertheless, falls ineffectual. Mr. Keepum has no generous
impulses to bestow upon beings so sensitive of their virtue. With him,
it is a ware of very little value, inasmuch as the moral standard fixed
by a better class of people is quite loose. He rises from his chair with
an air of self-confidence, seizes her by the hand, and attempts to drag
her upon his knee, saying, "you know I can and will make you a lady.
Upon the honor of a gentleman, I love you--always have loved you; but
what stands in the way, and is just enough to make any gentleman of my
standing mad, is this here squeamishness--"

"No! no! go from me. Attempt not again to lay your cruel hands upon me!"
The goaded woman struggles from his grasp, and shrieks for help at the
very top of her voice. And as the neighbors come rushing up stairs, Mr.
Keepum valorously betakes himself into the street. Maddened with
disappointment, and swearing to have revenge, he seeks his home, and
there muses over the "curious woman's" unswerving resolution. "Cruelty!"
he says to himself--"she charges me with cruelty! Well," (here he sighs)
"it's only because she lacks a bringing up that can appreciate a
gentleman." (Keepum could never condescend to believe himself less than
a very fine gentleman.) "As sure as the world the creature is somewhat
out in the head. She fancies all sorts of things--shame, disgrace, and
ruin!--only because she don't understand the quality of our
morality--that's all! There's no harm, after all, in these little
enjoyments--if the girl would only understand them so. Our society is
free from pedantry; and there--no damage can result where no one's the
wiser. It's like stealing a blush from the cheek of beauty--nobody
misses it, and the cheek continues as beautiful as ever." Thus
philosophizes the chivalric gentleman, until he falls into a fast
sleep.



CHAPTER XLI.

IN WHICH JUSTICE IS SEEN TO BE VERY ACCOMMODATING.


A few days have elapsed, Maria has just paid a visit to her father,
still in prison, and may be seen looking in at Mr. Keepum's office, in
Broad street. "I come not to ask a favor, sir; but, at my father's
request, to say to you that, having given up all he has in the world, it
can do no good to any one to continue him in durance, and to ask of
you--in whom the sole power rests--that you will grant him his release
ere he dies?" She addresses Mr. Keepum, who seems not in a very good
temper this morning, inasmuch as several of his best negroes, without
regard to their value to him, got a passion for freedom into their
heads, and have taken themselves away. In addition to this, he is much
put out, as he says, at being compelled to forego the pleasure held out
on the previous night, of tarring and feathering two northerners
suspected of entertaining sentiments not exactly straight on the
"peculiar question." A glorious time was expected, and a great deal of
very strong patriotism wasted; but the two unfortunate individuals, by
some means not yet discovered, got the vigilance committee, to whose
care they were entrusted, very much intoxicated, and were not to be
found when called for. Free knives, and not free speech, is our motto.
And this Mr. Keepum is one of the most zealous in carrying out.

Mr. Keepum sits, his hair fretted back over his lean forehead, before a
table covered with papers, all indicating an immense business in lottery
and other speculations. Now he deposits his feet upon it; leans back in
his chair, puffs his cigar, and says, with an air of indifference to the
speaker: "I shall not be able to attend to any business of yours to-day,
Madam!" His clerk, a man of sturdy figure, with a broad, red face, and
dressed in rather dilapidated broadcloth, is passing in and out of the
front office, bearing in his fingers documents that require a signature
or mark of approval.

"I only come, sir, to tell you that we are destitute--" Maria pauses,
and stands trembling in the doorway.

"That's a very common cry," interrupts Keepum, relieving his mouth of
the cigar. "The affair is entirely out of my hands. Go to my attorney,
Peter Crimpton, Esq.,--what he does for you will receive my sanction. I
must not be interrupted to-day. I might express a thousand regrets; yes,
pass an opinion on your foolish pride, but what good would it do."

And while Maria stands silent and hesitating, there enters the office
abruptly a man in the garb of a mechanic. "I have come," speaks the man,
in a tone of no very good humor, "for the last time. I asks of you--you
professes to be a gentleman--my honest rights. If the law don't give it
to me, I mean to take it with this erehand." (He shakes his hand at
Keepum.) "I am a poor man who ain't thought much of because I works for
a living; you have got what I had worked hard for, and lain up to make
my little family comfortable. I ask a settlement and my own--what is
due from one honest man to another!" He now approaches the table,
strikes his hand upon it, and pauses for a reply.

Mr. Keepum coolly looks up, and with an insidious leer, says, "There,
take yourself into the street. When next you enter a gentleman's office,
learn to deport yourself with good manners."

"Pshaw! pshaw!" interrupts the man. "What mockery! When men like
you--yes, I say men like you--that has brought ruin on so many poor
families, can claim to be gentlemen, rogues may get a patent for their
order." The man turns to take his departure, when the infuriated Keepum,
who, as we have before described, gets exceedingly put out if any one
doubts his honor, seizes an iron bar, and stealing up behind, fetches
him a blow over the head that fells him lifeless to the floor.

Maria shrieks, and vaults into the street. The mass upon the floor
fetches a last agonizing shrug, and a low moan, and is dead. The
murderer stands over him, exultant, as the blood streams from the deep
fracture. In fine, the blood of his victim would seem rather to increase
his satisfaction at the deed, than excite a regret.

Call you this murder? Truly, the man has outraged God's law. And the
lover of law and order, of social good, and moral honesty, would find
reasons for designating the perpetrator an assassin. For has he not
first distressed a family, and then left it bereft of its protector? You
may think of it and designate it as you please. Nevertheless we, in our
fancied mightiness, cannot condescend to such vulgar considerations. We
esteem it extremely courageous of Mr. Keepum, to defend himself "to the
death" against the insults of one of the common herd. Our first
families applaud the act, our sensitive press say it was "an unfortunate
affair," and by way of admonition, add that it were better working
people be more careful how they approach gentlemen. Mr. Snivel will call
this, the sublime quality of our chivalry. What say the jury of inquest?

Duly weighing the high position of Mr. Keepum, and the very low
condition of the deceased, the good-natured jury return a verdict that
the man met his death in consequence of an accidental blow, administered
with an iron instrument, in the hands of one Keepum. From the
testimony--Keepum's clerk--it is believed the act was committed in
self-defence.

Mr. Keepum, as is customary with our fine gentlemen, and like a hero (we
will not content ourselves with making him one jot less), magnanimously
surrenders himself to the authorities. The majesty of our laws is not
easily offended by gentlemen of standing. Only the poor and the helpless
slave can call forth the terrible majesty of the law, and quicken to
action its sensitive quality. The city is shocked that Mr. Keepum is
subjected to a night in jail, notwithstanding he has the jailer's best
parlor, and a barricade of champaign bottles are strewn at his feet by
flattering friends, who make night jubilant with their carousal.

Southern society asks no repentance of him whose hands reek with the
blood of his poor victim; southern society has no pittance for that
family Keepum has made lick the dust in tears and sorrow. Even while we
write--while the corpse of the murdered man, followed by a few brother
craftsmen, is being borne to its last resting-place, the perpetrator,
released on a paltry bail, is being regaled at a festive board. Such is
our civilization! How had the case stood with a poor man! Could he have
stood up against the chivalry of South Carolina, scoffed at the law, or
bid good-natured justice close her eyes? No. He had been dragged to a
close cell, and long months had passed ere the tardy movements of the
law reached his case. Even then, popular opinion would have turned upon
him, pre-judged him, and held him up as dangerous to the peace of the
people. Yes, pliant justice would have affected great virtue, and
getting on her high throne, never ceased her demands until he had
expiated his crime at the gallows.

A few weeks pass: Keepum's reputation for courage is fully endorsed, the
Attorney-General finds nothing in the act to justify him in bringing it
before a Grand Jury, the law is satisfied (or ought to be satisfied),
and the rich murderer sleeps without a pang of remorse.



CHAPTER XLII.

IN WHICH SOME LIGHT IS THROWN ON THE PLOT OF THIS HISTORY.


June, July, and August are past away, and September, with all its
autumnal beauties, ushers in, without bringing anything to lighten the
cares of that girl whose father yet pines in prison. She looks forward,
hoping against hope, to the return of her lover (something tells her he
still lives), only to feel more keenly the pangs of hope deferred.

And now, once more, New York, we are in thy busy streets. It is a
pleasant evening in early September. The soft rays of an autumn sun are
tinging the western sky, and night is fast drawing her sable mantle over
the scene. In Washington Square, near where the tiny fountain jets its
stream into a round, grassy-bordered basin, there sits a man of middle
stature, apparently in deep study. His dress is plain, and might be
taken for that of either a working man, or a somewhat faded inspector of
customs. Heedless of those passing to and fro, he sits until night
fairly sets in, then rises, and faces towards the East. Through the
trunks of trees he sees, and seems contemplating the gray walls of the
University, and the bold, sombre front of the very aristocratic church
of the Reformed Dutch.

"Well!" he mutters to himself, resuming his seat, and again facing to
the west, "this ere business of ourn is a great book of life--'tis that!
Finds us in queer places; now and then mixed up curiously." He rises a
second time, advances to a gas-light, draws a letter from his pocket,
and scans, with an air of evident satisfaction, over the contents.
"Umph!" he resumes, and shrugs his shoulders, "I was right on the
address--ought to have known it without looking." Having resumed his
seat, he returns the letter to his pocket, sits with his elbow upon his
knee, and his head rested thoughtfully in his right hand. The picture
before him, so calm and soft, has no attractions for him. The dusky hues
of night, for slowly the scene darkens, seem lending a softness and
calmness to the foliage. The weeping branches of the willow,
interspersed here and there, as if to invest the picture with a touching
melancholy, sway gently to and fro; the leaves of the silvery poplar
tremble and reflect their shadows on the fresh waters; and the flitting
gas-lights mingle their gleams, play and sport over the rippled surface,
coquet with the tripping star-beams, then throw fantastic lights over
the swaying foliage; and from beneath the massive branches of trees,
there shines out, in bold relief, the marble porticoes and lintels of
stately-looking mansions. Such is the calm grandeur of the scene, that
one could imagine some Thalia investing it with a poetic charm the gods
might muse over.

"It is not quite time yet," says the man, starting suddenly to his feet.
He again approaches a gas-light, looks attentively at his watch, then
saunters to the corner of Fourth and Thompson streets. An old,
dilapidated wooden building, which some friend has whitewashed into
respectability, and looking as if it had a strong inclination to tumble
either upon the sidewalk, or against the great trunk of a hoary-headed
tree at the corner, arrests his attention. "Well," he says, having
paused before it, and scanned its crooked front, "this surely is the
house where the woman lived when she was given the child. Practice, and
putting two things together to find what one means, is the great thing
in our profession. Like its old tenant, the house has got down a deal.
It's on its last legs." Again he consults his watch, and with a
quickened step recrosses the Square, and enters ---- Avenue. Now he
halts before a spacious mansion, the front of which is high and bold,
and deep, and of brown freestone. The fluted columns; the
elegantly-chiselled lintels; the broad, scrolled window-frames; the
exactly-moulded arches; the massive steps leading to the deep, vaulted
entrance, with its doors of sombre and highly-polished walnut; and its
bold style of architecture, so grand in its outlines,--all invest it
with a regal air. The man casts a glance along the broad avenue, then
into the sombre entrance of the mansion. Now he seems questioning within
himself whether to enter or retrace his steps. One-half of the outer
door, which is in the Italian style, with heavy fluted mouldings, stands
ajar; while from out the lace curtains of the inner, there steals a
faint light. The man rests his elbow on the great stone scroll of the
guard-rail, and here we leave him for a few moments.

The mansion, it may be well to add here, remains closed the greater part
of the year; and when opened seems visited by few persons, and those not
of the very highest standing in society. A broken-down politician, a
seedy hanger-on of some "literary club," presided over by a rich, but
very stupid tailor, and now and then a lady about whose skirts something
not exactly straight hangs, and who has been elbowed out of fashionable
society for her too ardent love of opera-singers, and handsome actors,
may be seen dodging in now and then. Otherwise, the mansion would seem
very generally deserted by the neighborhood.

Everybody will tell you, and everybody is an individual so extremely
busy in other people's affairs, that he ought to know, that there is
something that hangs so like a rain-cloud about the magnificent skirts
of those who live so secluded "in that fine old pile," (mansion,) that
the virtuous satin of the Avenue never can be got to "mix in." Indeed,
the Avenue generally seems to have set its face against those who reside
in it. They enjoy none of those very grand assemblies, balls, and
receptions, for which the Avenue is become celebrated, and yet they
luxuriate in wealth and splendor.

Though the head of the house seems banished by society, society makes
her the subject of many evil reports and mysterious whisperings. The
lady of the mansion, however, as if to retort upon her traducers, makes
it known that she is very popular abroad, every now and then during her
absence honoring them with mysterious clippings from foreign
journals--all setting forth the admiration her appearance called forth
at a grand reception given by the Earl and Countess of ----.

Society is made of inexorable metal, she thinks, for the prejudices of
the neighborhood have not relaxed one iota with time. That she has been
presented to kings, queens, and emperors; that she has enjoyed the
hospitalities of foreign embassies; that she has (and she makes no
little ado that she has) shone in the assemblies of prime ministers;
that she has been invited to court concerts, and been the flattered of
no end of fashionable _coteries_, serves her nothing at home. They are
events, it must be admitted, much discussed, much wondered at, much
regretted by those who wind themselves up in a robe of stern morality.
In a few instances they are lamented, lest the morals and manners of
those who make it a point to represent us abroad should reflect only the
brown side of our society.

As if with regained confidence, the man, whom we left at the door
scroll, is seen slowly ascending the broad steps. He enters the vaulted
vestibule, and having touched the great, silver bell-knob of the inner
door, stands listening to the tinkling chimes within. A pause of several
minutes, and the door swings cautiously open. There stands before him
the broad figure of a fussy servant man, wedged into a livery quite like
that worn by the servants of an English tallow-chandler, but which, it
must be said, and said to be regretted, is much in fashion with our
aristocracy, who, in consequence of its brightness, believe it the exact
style of some celebrated lord. The servant receives a card from the
visitor, and with a bow, inquires if he will wait an answer.

"I will wait the lady's pleasure--I came by appointment," returns the
man. And as the servant disappears up the hall, he takes a seat,
uninvited, upon a large settee, in carved walnut. "Something mysterious
about this whole affair!" he muses, scanning along the spacious hall,
into the conservatory of statuary and rare plants, seen opening away at
the extreme end. The high, vaulted roof; the bright, tesselated floor;
the taste with which the frescoes decorating the walls are designed;
the great winding stairs, so richly carpeted--all enhanced in beauty by
the soft light reflected upon them from a massive chandelier of stained
glass, inspire him with a feeling of awe. The stillness, and the air of
grandeur pervading each object that meets his eye, reminds him of the
halls of those mediæval castles he has read of in his youth. The servant
returns, and makes his bow. "My leady," he says, in a strong
Lincolnshire brogue, "'as weated ye an 'our or more."

The visitor, evincing some nervousness, rises quickly to his feet,
follows the servant up the hall, and is ushered into a parlor of regal
dimensions, on the right. His eye falls upon one solitary occupant, who
rises from a lounge of oriental richness, and advances towards him with
an air of familiarity their conditions seem not to warrant. Having
greeted the visitor, and bid him be seated (he takes his seat, shyly,
beside the door), the lady resumes her seat in a magnificent chair. For
a moment the visitor scans over the great parlor, as if moved by the
taste and elegance of everything that meets his eye. The hand of art has
indeed been lavishly laid on the decorations of this chamber, which
presents a scene of luxury princes might revel in. And though the soft
wind of whispering silks seemed lending its aid to make complete the
enjoyment of the occupant, it might be said, in the words of Crabbe:

   "But oh, what storm was in that mind!"

The person of the lady is in harmony with the splendor of the apartment.
Rather tall and graceful of figure, her complexion pale, yet soft and
delicate, her features as fine and regular as ever sculptor chiselled,
her manner gentle and womanly. In her face, nevertheless, there is an
expression of thoughtfulness, perhaps melancholy, to which her large,
earnest black eyes, and finely-arched brows, fringed with dark lashes,
lend a peculiar charm. While over all there plays a shadow of languor,
increased perhaps by the tinge of age, or a mind and heart overtaxed
with cares.

"I received your note, which I hastened to answer. Of course you
received my answer. I rejoice that you have persevered, and succeeded in
finding the object I have so long sought. Not hearing from you for so
many weeks, I had begun to fear she had gone forever," says the lady, in
a soft, musical voice, raising her white, delicate hand to her cheek,
which is suffused with blushes.

"I had myself almost given her over, for she disappeared from the
Points, and no clue could be got of her," returns the man, pausing for a
moment, then resuming his story. "A week ago yesterday she turned up
again, and I got wind that she was in a place we call 'Black-beetle
Hole'--"

"Black-beetle Hole!" ejaculates the lady, whom the reader will have
discovered is no less a person than Madame Montford. Mr. Detective
Fitzgerald is the visitor.

"Yes, there's where she's got, and it isn't much of a place, to say the
best. But when a poor creature has no other place to get a stretch down,
she stretches down there--"

"Proceed to how you found her, and what you have got from her concerning
the child," the lady interrupts, with a deep sigh.

"Well," proceeds the detective, "I meets--havin' an eye out all the
while--Sergeant Dobbs one morning--Dobbs knows every roost in the Points
better than me!--and says he, 'Fitzgerald, that are woman, that crazy
woman, you've been in tow of so long, has turned up. There was a row in
Black-beetle Hole last night. I got a force and descended into the
place, found it crammed with them half-dead kind of women and men, and
three thieves, what wanted to have a fuss with the hag that keeps it.
One on 'em was thrashing the poor crazy woman. They had torn all the
rags off her back. Hows-ever, if you wants to fish her out, you'd better
be spry about it--'"

The lady interrupts by saying she will disguise, and with his
assistance, go bring her from the place--save her! Mr. Fitzgerald begs
she will take the matter practically. She could not breathe the air of
the place, he says.

"'Thank you Dobbs,' says I," he resumes, "and when it got a bit dark I
went incog. to Black-beetle's Hole--"

"And where is this curious place?" she questions, with an air of
anxiety.

"As to that, Madame--well, you wouldn't know it was lived in, because
its underground, and one not up to the entrance never would think it led
to a place where human beings crawled in at night. I don't wonder so
many of 'em does things what get 'em into the Station, and after that
treated to a short luxury on the Island. As I was goin' on to say, I got
myself fortified, started out into the Points, and walked--we take these
things practically--down and up the east sidewalk, then stopped in front
of the old rotten house that Black-beetle Hole is under. Then I looks
down the wet little stone steps, that ain't wide enough for a big man
to get down, and what lead into the cellar. Some call it Black-beetle
Hole, and then again some call it the Hole of the Black-beetles. 'Yer
after no good, Mr. Fitzgerald,' says Mrs. McQuade, whose husband keeps
the junk-shop over the Hole, putting her malicious face out of the
window.

"'You're the woman I want, Mrs. McQuade,' says I. 'Don't be puttin' your
foot in the house,' says she. And when I got her temper a little down by
telling her I only wanted to know who lived in the Hole, she swore by
all the saints it had niver a soul in it, and was hard closed up. Being
well up to the dodges of the Points folks, I descended the steps, and
gettin' underground, knocked at the Hole door, and then sent it smash
in. 'Well! who's here?' says I. 'It's me,' says Mrs. Lynch, a knot of an
old woman, who has kept the Hole for many years, and says she has no
fear of the devil."

Madame Montford listens with increasing anxiety; Mr. Detective
Fitzgerald proceeds: "'Get a light here, then;' says I. You couldn't see
nothing, it was so dark, but you could hear 'em move, and breathe. And
then the place was so hot and sickly. Had to stand it best way I could.
There was no standing straight in the dismal place, which was wet and
nasty under foot, and not more nor twelve by fourteen. The old woman
said she had only a dozen lodgers in; when she made out to get a light
for me I found she had twenty-three, tucked away here and there, under
straw and stuff. Well, it was curious to see 'em (here the detective
wipes his forehead with his handkerchief) rise up, one after another,
all round you, you know, like fiends that had been buried for a time,
then come to life merely to get something to eat."

"And did you find the woman--and was she one of them?"

"That's what I'm comin' at. Well, I caught a sight at the woman; knew
her at the glance. I got a sight at her one night in the Pit at the
House of the Nine Nations. 'Here! I wants you,' says I, takin' what
there was left of her by the arm. She shrieked, and crouched down, and
begged me not to hurt her, and looked wilder than a tiger at me. And
then the whole den got into a fright, and young women, and boys, and
men--they were all huddled together--set up such a screaming. 'Munday!'
says I, 'you don't go to the Tombs--here! I've got good news for you.'
This quieted her some, and then I picked her up--she was nearly
naked--and seeing she wanted scrubbing up, carried her out of the Hole,
and made her follow me to my house, where we got her into some clothes,
and seeing that she was got right in her mind, I thought it would be a
good time to question her."

"If you will hasten the result of your search, it will, my good sir,
relieve my feelings much!" again interposes the lady, drawing her chair
nearer the detective.

"'You've had.' I says to her, 'a hard enough time in this world, and now
here's the man what's going to be a friend to ye--understand that!' says
I, and she looked at me bewildered. We gave her something to eat, and a
pledge that no one would harm her, and she tamed down, and began to look
up a bit. 'Your name wasn't always Munday?' says I, in a way that she
couldn't tell what I was after. She said she had taken several names,
but Munday was her right name. Then she corrected herself--she was weak
and hoarse--and said it was her husband's name. 'You've a good memory,
Mrs. Munday,' says I; 'now, just think as far back as you can, and tell
us where you lived as long back as you can think.' She shook her head,
and began to bury her face in her hands I tried for several minutes, but
could get nothing more out of her. Then she quickened up, shrieked out
that she had just got out of the devil's regions, and made a rush for
the door."



CHAPTER XLIII.

IN WHICH IS REVEALED THE ONE ERROR THAT BROUGHT SO MUCH SUFFERING UPON
MANY.


Mr. Fitzgerald sees that his last remark is having no very good effect
on Madame Montford, and hastens to qualify, ere it overcome her. "That,
I may say, Madame, was not the last of her. My wife and me, seeing how
her mind was going wrong again, got her in bed for the night, and took
what care of her we could. Well, you see, she got rational in the
morning, and, thinking it a chance, I 'plied a heap of kindness to her,
and got her to tell all she knew of herself. She went on to tell where
she lived--I followed your directions in questioning her--at the time
you noted down. She described the house exactly. I have been to it
to-night; knew it at a sight, from her description. Some few practical
questions I put to her about the child you wanted to get at, I found
frightened her so that she kept shut--for fear, I take it, that it was a
crime she may be punished for at some time. I says, 'You was trusted
with a child once, wasn't you?' 'The Lord forgive me,' she says, 'I know
I'm guilty--but I've been punished enough in this world haven't I?' And
she burst out into tears, and hung down her head, and got into the
corner, as if wantin' nobody to see her. She only wanted a little good
care, and a little kindness, to bring her to. This we did as well as we
could, and made her understand that no one thought of punishing her, but
wanted to be her friends. Well, the poor wretch began to pick up, as I
said before, and in three days was such another woman that nobody could
have told that she was the poor crazy thing that ran about the lanes and
alleys of the Points. And now, Madame, doing as you bid me, I thought it
more practical to come to you, knowing you could get of her all you
wanted. She is made comfortable. Perhaps you wouldn't like to have her
brought here--I may say I don't think it would be good policy. If you
would condescend to come to our house, you can see her alone. I hope you
are satisfied with my services." The detective pauses, and again wipes
his face.

"My gratitude for your perseverance I can never fully express to you. I
owe you a debt I never can repay. To-morrow, at ten o'clock, I will meet
you at your house; and then, if you can leave me alone with her--"

"Certainly, certainly, everything will be at your service, Madame,"
returns the detective, rising from his seat and thanking the lady, who
rewards him bountifully from her purse, and bids him good night. The
servant escorts him to the door, while Madame Montford buries her face
in her hands, and gives vent to her emotions.

On the morning following, a neatly-caparisoned carriage is seen driving
to the door of a little brick house in Crosby street. From it Madame
Montford alights, and passes in at the front door, while in another
minute it rolls away up the street and is lost to sight. A few moments'
consultation, and the detective, who has ushered the lady into his
humbly-furnished little parlor, withdraws to give place to the pale and
emaciated figure of the woman Munday, who advances with faltering step
and downcast countenance. "Oh! forgive me, forgive me! have mercy upon
me! forgive me this crime!" she shrieks. Suddenly she raises her eyes,
and rushing forward throws herself at Madame Montford's feet, in an
imploring attitude. Dark and varied fancies crowd confusedly on Madame
Montford's mind at this moment.

"Nay, nay, my poor sufferer, rather I might ask forgiveness of you." She
takes the woman by the hand, and, with an air of regained calmness,
raises her from the floor. With her, the outer life seems preparing the
inner for what is to come. "But I have long sought you--sought you in
obedience to the demands of my conscience, which I would the world gave
me power to purify; and now I have found you, and with you some rest for
my aching heart. Come, sit down; forget what you have suffered; tell me
what befell you, and what has become of the child; tell me all, and
remember that I will provide for you a comfortable home for the rest of
your life." Madame motions her to a chair, struggling the while to
suppress her own feelings.

"I loved the child you intrusted to my care; yes, God knows I loved it,
and watched over it for two years, as carefully as a mother. But I was
poor, and the brother, in whose hands you intrusted the amount for its
support (this, the reader must here know, was not a brother, but the
paramour of Madame Montford), failed, and gave me nothing after the
first six months. I never saw him, and when I found you had gone
abroad--" The woman hesitates, and, with weeping eyes and trembling
voice, again implores forgiveness. "My husband gave himself up to
drink, lost his situation, and then he got to hating the child, and
abusing me for taking it, and embarrassing our scanty means of living.
Night and day, I was harassed and abused, despised and neglected. I was
discouraged, and gave up in despair. I clung to the child as long as I
could. I struggled, and struggled, and struggled--" Here the woman
pauses, and with a submissive look, again hangs down her head and sobs.

"Be calm, be calm," says Madame Montford, drawing nearer to her, and
making an effort to inspirit her. "Throw off all your fears, forget what
you have suffered, for I, too, have suffered. And you parted with the
child?"

"Necessity forced me," pursues the woman, shaking her head. "I saw only
the street before me on one side, and felt only the cold pinchings of
poverty on the other. You had gone abroad--"

"It was my intention to have adopted the child as my own when I
returned," interrupts Madame Montford, still clinging to that flattering
hope in which the criminal sees a chance of escape.

"And I," resumes the woman, "left the husband who neglected me, and who
treated me cruelly, and gave myself,--perhaps I was to blame for it,--up
to one who befriended me. He was the only one who seemed to care for me,
or to have any sympathy for me. But he, like myself, was poor; and,
being compelled to flee from our home, and to live in obscurity, where
my husband could not find me out, the child was an incumbrance I had no
means of supporting. I parted with her--yes, yes, I parted with her to
Mother Bridges, who kept a stand at a corner in West street--"

"And then what became of her?" again interposes Madame Montford. The
woman assumes a sullenness, and it is some time before she can be got to
proceed.

"My conscience rebuked me," she resumes, as if indifferent about
answering the question, "for I loved the child as my own; and the friend
I lived with, and who followed the sea, printed on its right arm two
hearts and a broken anchor, which remain there now. My husband died of
the cholera, and the friend I had taken to, and who treated me kindly,
also died, and I soon found myself an abandoned woman, an outcast--yes,
ruined forever, and in the streets, leading a life that my own feelings
revolted at, but from which starvation only seemed the alternative. My
conscience rebuked me again and again, and something--I cannot tell what
it was--impelled me with an irresistible force to watch over the
fortunes of the child I knew must come to the same degraded life
necessity--perhaps it was my own false step--had forced upon me. I
watched her a child running neglected about the streets, then I saw her
sold to Hag Zogbaum, who lived in Pell street; I never lost sight of
her--no, I never lost sight of her, but fear of criminating myself kept
me from making myself known to her. When I had got old in vice, and
years had gone past, and she was on the first step to the vice she had
been educated to, we shared the same roof. Then she was known as Anna
Bonard--"

"Anna Bonard!" exclaims Madame Montford. "Then truly it is she who now
lives in Charleston! There is no longer a doubt. I may seek and claim
her, and return her to at least a life of comfort."

"There you will find her. Ah, many times have I looked upon her, and
thought if I could only save her, how happy I could die. I shared the
same roof with her in Charleston, and when I got sick she was kind to
me, and watched over me, and was full of gentleness, and wept over her
condition. She has sighed many a time, and said how she wished she knew
how she came into the world, to be forced to live despised by the world.
But I got down, down, down, from one step to another, one step to
another, as I had gone up from one step to another in the splendor of
vice, until I found myself, tortured in mind and body, a poor neglected
wretch in the Charleston Poor-house. In it I was treated worse than a
slave, left, sick and heart-broken, and uncared-for, to the preying of a
fever that destroyed my mind. And as if that were not enough, I was
carried into the dungeons--the 'mad cells,'--and chained. And this
struck such a feeling of terror into my soul that my reason, as they
said, was gone forever. But I got word to Anna, and she came to me, and
gave me clothes and many little things to comfort me, and got me out,
and gave me money to get back to New York, where I have been ever since,
haunted from place to place, with scarce a place to lay my head. Surely
I have suffered. Shall I be forgiven?" Her voice here falters, she
becomes weak, and seems sinking under the burden of her emotions.
"If,--if--if," she mutters, incoherently, "you can save me, and forgive
me, you will have the prayers of one who has drank deep of the bitter
cup." She looks up with a sad, melancholy countenance, again implores
forgiveness, and bursts into loud sobs.

"Mine is the guilty part--it is me who needs forgiveness!" speaks Madame
Montford, pressing the hand of the forlorn woman, as the tears stream
down her cheeks. She has unburdened her emotions, but such is the
irresistible power of a guilty conscience that she finds her crushed
heart and smitten frame sinking under the shock--that she feels the very
fever of remorse mounting to her brain.

"Be calm, be calm--for you have suffered, wandered through the dark
abyss--truly you have been chastened enough in this world. But while
your heart is only bruised and sore, mine is stung deep and lacerated.
The image of that child now rises up before me. I see her looking back
over her chequered life, and pining to know her birthright. Mine is the
task of seeking her out, reconciling her, saving her from this life of
shame. I must sacrifice the secrets of my own heart, go boldly in
pursuit of her--" She pauses a moment. There is yet a thin veil between
her and society. Society only founds its suspicions upon the mystery
involved in the separation from her husband, and the doubtful character
of her long residence in Europe. Society knows nothing of the birth of
the child. The scandal leveled at her in Charleston, was only the result
of her own indiscretion. "Yes," she whispers, attempting at the same
time to soothe the feelings of the poor disconsolate woman, "I must go,
and go quickly--I must drag her from the terrible life she is
leading;--but, ah! I must do it so as to shield myself. Yes, I must
shield myself!" And she puts into the woman's hand several pieces of
gold, saying: "take this!--to-morrow you will be better provided for. Be
silent. Speak to no one of what has passed between us, nor make the
acquaintance of any one outside the home I shall provide for you." Thus
saying, she recalls Mr. Detective Fitzgerald, rewards him with a nostrum
from her purse, and charges him to make the woman comfortable at her
expense.

"Her mind, now I do believe," says the detective, with an approving
toss of the head, "her faculties'll come right again,--they only wants a
little care and kindness, mum." The detective thanks her again and
again, then puts the money methodically into his pocket.

The carriage having returned, Madame Montford vaults into it as quickly
as she alighted, and is rolled away to her mansion.



CHAPTER XLIV.

IN WHICH IS RECORDED EVENTS THE READER MAY NOT HAVE EXPECTED.


While the events we have recorded in the foregoing chapter, confused,
hurried, and curious, are being enacted in New York, let us once more
turn to Charleston.

You must know that, notwithstanding our high state of civilization, we
yet maintain in practice two of the most loathsome relics of
barbarism--we lash helpless women, and we scourge, at the public
whipping-post, the bare backs of men.

George Mullholland has twice been dragged to the whipping-post, twice
stripped before a crowd in the market-place, twice lashed, maddened to
desperation, and twice degraded in the eyes of the very negroes we teach
to yield entire submission to the white man, however humble his grade.
Hate, scorn, remorse--every dark passion his nature can summon--rises up
in one torturing tempest, and fills his bosom with a mad longing for
revenge. "Death!" he says, while looking out from his cell upon the
bright landscape without, "what is death to me? The burnings of an
outraged soul subdue the thought of death."

The woman through whom this dread finale was brought upon him, and who
now repines, unable to shake off the smarts old associations crowd upon
her heart, has a second and third time crept noiselessly to his cell,
and sought in vain his forgiveness. Yea, she has opened the door gently,
but drew back in terror before his dark frown, his sardonic scorn, his
frenzied rush at her. Had he not loved her fondly, his hate had not
taken such deep root in his bosom.

Two or three days pass, he has armed himself "to the death," and is
resolved to make his escape, and seek revenge of his enemies. It is
evening. Dark festoons of clouds hang over the city, lambent lightning
plays along the heavens in the south. Now it flashes across the city,
the dull panorama lights up, the tall, gaunt steeples gleam out, and the
surface of the Bay flashes out in a phosphoric blaze. Patiently and
diligently has he filed, and filed, and filed, until he has removed the
bar that will give egress to his body. The window of his cell overlooks
the ditch, beyond which is the prison wall. Noiselessly he arranges the
rope, for he is in the third story, then paces his cell, silent and
thoughtful. "Must it be?" he questions within himself, "must I stain
these hands with the blood of the woman I love? Revenge, revenge--I will
have revenge. I will destroy both of them, for to-morrow I am to be
dragged a third time to the whipping-post." Now he casts a glance round
the dark cell, now he pauses at the window, now the lightning courses
along the high wall, then reflects back the deep ditch. Another moment,
and he has commenced his descent. Down, down, down, he lowers himself.
Now he holds on tenaciously, the lightning reflects his dangling figure,
a prisoner in a lower cell gives the alarm, he hears the watchword of
his discovery pass from cell to cell, the clashing of the keeper's door
grates upon his ear like thunder--he has reached the end of his rope,
and yet hangs suspended in the air. A heavy fall is heard, he has
reached the ditch, bounds up its side to the wall, seizes a pole, and
places against it, and, with one vault, is over into the open street.
Not a moment is to be lost. Uproar and confusion reigns throughout the
prison, his keepers have taken the alarm, and will soon be on his track,
pursuing him with ferocious hounds. Burning for revenge, and yet
bewildered, he sets off at full speed, through back lanes, over fields,
passing in his course the astonished guardmen. He looks neither to the
right nor the left, but speeds on toward the grove. Now he reaches the
bridge that crosses the millpond, pauses for breath, then proceeds on.
Suddenly a light from the villa Anna occupies flashes out. He has
crossed the bridge, bounds over the little hedge-grown avenue, through
the garden, and in another minute stands before her, a pistol pointed at
her breast, and all the terrible passions of an enraged fiend darkening
his countenance. Her implorings for mercy bring an old servant rushing
into the room, the report of a pistol rings out upon the still air,
shriek after shriek follows, mingled with piercing moans, and
death-struggles. "Ha, ha!" says the avenger, looking on with a sardonic
smile upon his face, and a curl of hate upon his lip, "I have taken the
life to which I gave my own--yes, I have taken it--I have taken it!" And
she writhes her body, and sets her eyes fixedly upon him, as he hastens
out of the room.

"Quick! quick!" he says to himself. "There, then! I am pursued!" He
recrosses the millpond over another bridge, and in his confusion turns a
short angle into a lane leading to the city. The yelping of dogs, the
deep, dull tramp of hoofs, the echoing of voices, the ominous baying
and scenting of blood-hounds--all break upon his ear in one terrible
chaos. Not a moment is to be lost. The sight at the villa will attract
the attention of his pursuers, and give him time to make a distance! The
thought of what he has done, and the terrible death that awaits him,
crowds upon his mind, and rises up before him like a fierce monster of
retribution. He rushes at full speed down the lane, vaults across a
field into the main road, only to find his pursuers close upon him. The
patrol along the streets have caught the alarm, which he finds spreading
with lightning-speed. The clank of side-arms, the scenting and baying of
the hounds, coming louder and louder, nearer and nearer, warns him of
the approaching danger. A gate at the head of a wharf stands open, the
hounds are fast gaining upon him, a few jumps more and they will have
him fast in their ferocious grasp. He rushes through the gate, down the
wharf, the tumultuous cry of his pursuers striking terror into his very
heart. Another instant and the hounds are at his feet, he stands on the
capsill at the end, gives one wild, despairing look into the abyss
beneath--"I die revenged," he shouts, discharges a pistol into his
breast, and with one wild plunge, is buried forever in the water
beneath. The dark stream of an unhappy life has run out. Upon whom does
the responsibility of this terrible closing rest? In the words of
Thomson, the avenger left behind him only "Gaunt Beggary, and Scorn,
with many hell-hounds more."

When the gray dawn of morning streamed in through the windows of the
little villa, and upon the parlor table, that had so often been adorned
with caskets and fresh-plucked flowers, there, in their stead, lay the
lifeless form of the unhappy Anna, her features pale as marble, but
beautiful even in death. There, rolled in a mystic shroud, calm as a
sleeper in repose, she lay, watched over by two faithful slaves.

The Judge and Mr. Snivel have found it convenient to make a trip of
pleasure into the country. And though the affair creates some little
comment in fashionable society, it would be exceedingly unpopular to pry
too deeply into the private affairs of men high in office. We are not
encumbered with scrutinizing morality. Being an "unfortunate woman," the
law cannot condescend to deal with her case. Indeed, were it brought
before a judge, and the judge to find himself sitting in judgment upon a
judge, his feelings would find some means of defrauding his judgment,
while society would carefully close the shutter of its sanctity.

At high noon there comes a man of the name of Moon, commonly called Mr.
Moon, the good-natured Coroner. In truth, a better-humored man than Mr.
Moon cannot be found; and what is more, he has the happiest way in the
world of disposing of such cases, and getting verdicts of his jury
exactly suited to circumstances. Mr. Moon never proceeds to business
without regaling his jury with good brandy and high-flavored cigars. In
this instance he has bustled about and got together six very solemn and
seriously-disposed gentlemen, who proceed to deliberate. "A mystery
hangs over the case," says one. A second shakes his head, and views the
body as if anxious to get away. A third says, reprovingly, that "such
cases are coming too frequent." Mr. Moon explains the attendant
circumstances, and puts a changed face on the whole affair. One juryman
chalks, and another juryman chalks, and Mr. Moon says, by way of
bringing the matter to a settled point, "It is a bad ending to a
wretched life." A solemn stillness ensues, and then follows the verdict.
The body being identified as that of one Anna Bonard, a woman celebrated
for her beauty, but of notorious reputation, the jury are of opinion
(having duly weighed the circumstances) that she came to her melancholy
death by the hands of one George Mullholland, who was prompted to commit
the act for some cause to the jury unknown. And the jury, in passing the
case over to the authorities, recommend that the said Mullholland be
brought to justice. This done, Mr. Moon orders her burial, and the jury
hasten home, fully confident of having performed their duty unswerved.

When night came, when all was hushed without, and the silence within was
broken only by the cricket's chirp, when the lone watcher, the faithful
old slave, sat beside the cold, shrouded figure, when the dim light of
the chamber of death seemed mingling with the shadows of departed souls,
there appeared in the room, like a vision, the tall figure of a female,
wrapped in a dark mantle. Slowly and noiselessly she stole to the side
of the deceased, stood motionless and statue-like for several minutes,
her eyes fixed in mute contemplation on the face of the corpse. The
watcher looked and started back, still the figure remained motionless.
Raising her right hand to her chin, pensively, she lifted her eyes
heavenward, and in that silent appeal, in those dewy tears that
glistened in her great orbs, in those words that seemed freezing to her
quivering lips, the fierce struggle waging in that bosom was told. She
heard the words, "You cannot redeem me now!" knelling in her ears, her
thoughts flashed back over years of remorse, to the day of her error,
and she saw rising up as it were before her, like a spectre from the
tomb, seeking retribution, the image of the child she had sacrificed to
her vanity. She pressed and pressed the cold hand, so delicate, so like
her own; she unbared the round, snowy arm, and there beheld the
imprinted hearts, and the broken anchor! Her pent-up grief then burst
its bounds, the tears rolled down her cheeks, her lips quivered, her
hand trembled, and her very blood seemed as ice in her veins. She cast a
hurried glance round the room, a calm and serene smile seemed lighting
up the features of the lifeless woman, and she bent over her, and kissed
and kissed her cold, marble-like brow, and bathed it with her burning
tears. It was a last sad offering; and having bestowed it, she turned
slowly away, and disappeared. It was Madame Montford, who came a day too
late to save the storm-tossed girl, but returned to think of the
hereafter of her own soul.



CHAPTER XLV.

ANOTHER SHADE OF THE PICTURE.


While the earth of Potter's Field is closing over all that remains of
Anna Bonard, Maria McArthur may be seen, snatching a moment of rest, as
it were, seated under the shade of a tree on the Battery, musing, as is
her wont. The ships sail by cheerily, there is a touching beauty about
the landscape before her, all nature seems glad. Even the heavens smile
serenely; and a genial warmth breathes through the soft air. "Truly the
Allwise," she says within herself, "will be my protector, and is
chastising me while consecrating something to my good. Mr. Keepum has
made my father's release the condition of my ruin. But he is but flesh
and blood, and I--no, I am not yet a slave! The virtue of the poor,
truly, doth hang by tender threads; but I am resolved to die struggling
to preserve it." And a light, as of some future joy, rises up in her
fancy, and gives her new strength.

The German family have removed from the house in which she occupies a
room, and in its place are come two women of doubtful character. Still,
necessity compels her to remain in it; for though it is a means resorted
to by Keepum to effect his purpose, she cannot remove without being
followed, and harassed by him. Strong in the consciousness of her own
purity, and doubly incensed at the proof of what extremes the designer
will condescend to, she nerves herself for the struggle she sees before
her. True, she was under the same roof with them; she was subjected to
many inconveniencies by their presence; but not all their flattering
inducements could change her resolution. Nevertheless, the resolution of
a helpless female does not protect her from the insults of heartless
men. She returns home to find that Mother Rumor, with her thousand
tongues, is circulating all kinds of evil reports about her. It is even
asserted that she has become an abandoned woman, and is the occupant of
a house of doubtful repute. And this, instead of enlisting the
sympathies of some kind heart, rather increases the prejudice and
coldness of those upon whom she has depended for work. It is seldom the
story of suffering innocence finds listeners. The sufferer is too
frequently required to qualify in crime, before she becomes an object of
sympathy.

She returns, one day, some work just finished for one of our high old
families, the lady of which makes it a boast that she is always engaged
in "laudable pursuits of a humane kind." The lady sends her servant to
the door with the pittance due, and begs to say she is sorry to hear of
the life Miss McArthur is leading, and requests she will not show
herself at the house again. Mortified in her feelings, Maria begs an
interview; but the servant soon returns an answer that her Missus cannot
descend to anything of the kind. Our high old families despise working
people, and wall themselves up against the poor, whose virtue they
regard as an exceedingly cheap commodity. Our high old families choose
rather to charge guilt, and deny the right to prove innocence.

With the four shillings, Maria, weeping, turns from the door, procures
some bread and coffee, and wends her way to the old prison. But the
chords of her resolution are shaken, the cold repulse has gone like
poison to her heart. The ray of joy that was lighting up her future,
seems passing away; whilst fainter and fainter comes the hope of once
more greeting her lover. She sees vice pampered by the rich, and poor
virtue begging at their doors. She sees a price set upon her own ruin;
she sees men in high places waiting with eager passion the moment when
the thread of her resolution will give out. The cloud of her night does,
indeed, seem darkening again.

But she gains the prison, and falters as she enters the cell where the
old Antiquary, his brow furrowed deep of age, sleeps calmly upon his
cot. Near his hand, which he has raised over his head, lays a letter,
with the envelope broken. Maria's quick eye flashes over the
superscription, and recognizes in it the hand of Tom Swiggs. A transport
of joy fills her bosom with emotions she has no power to constrain. She
trembles from head to foot; fancies mingled with joys and fears crowd
rapidly upon her thoughts. She grasps it with feelings frantic of joy,
and holds it in her shaking hand; the shock has nigh overcome her. The
hope in which she has so long found comfort and strength--that has so
long buoyed her up, and carried her safely through trials, has truly
been her beacon light. "Truly," she says within herself, "the dawn of my
morning is brightening now." She opens the envelope, and finds a letter
enclosed to her. "Oh! yes, yes, yes! it is him--it is from him!" she
stammers, in the exuberance of her wild joy. And now the words, "You
are richer than me," flash through her thoughts with revealed
significance.

Maria grasps the old man's hand. He starts and wakes, as if unconscious
of his situation, then fixes his eyes upon her with a steady, vacant
gaze. Then, with childlike fervor, he presses her hand to his lips, and
kisses it. "It was a pleasant dream--ah! yes, I was dreaming all things
went so well!" Again a change comes over his countenance, and he glances
round the room, with a wild and confused look. "Am I yet in
prison?--well, it was only a dream. If death were like dreaming, I would
crave it to take me to its peace, that my mind might no longer be
harassed with the troubles of this life. Ah! there, there!"--(the old
man starts suddenly, as if a thought has flashed upon him)--"there is
the letter, and from poor Tom, too! I only broke the envelope. I have
not opened it."

"It is safe, father; I have it," resumes Maria, holding it before him,
unopened, as the words tremble upon her lips. One moment she fears it
may convey bad news, and in the next she is overjoyed with the hope that
it brings tidings of the safety and return of him for whose welfare she
breathed many a prayer. Pale and agitated, she hesitates a moment, then
proceeds to open it.

"Father, father! heaven has shielded me--heaven has shielded me! Ha! ha!
ha! yes, yes, yes! He is safe! he is safe!" And she breaks out into one
wild exclamation of joy, presses the letter to her lips, and kisses it,
and moistens it with her tears, "It was all a plot--a dark plot set for
my ruin!" she mutters, and sinks back, overcome with her emotions. The
old man fondles her to his bosom, his white beard flowing over her
suffused cheeks, and his tears mingling with hers. And here she
remains, until the anguish of her joy runs out, and her mind resumes its
wonted calm.

Having broken the spell, she reads the letter to the enraptured old man.
Tom has arrived in New York; explains the cause of his long absence;
speaks of several letters he has transmitted by post, (which she never
received;) and his readiness to proceed to Charleston, by steamer, in a
few days. His letter is warm with love and constancy; he recurs to old
associations; he recounts his remembrance of the many kindnesses he
received at the hands of her father, when homeless; of the care, to
which he owes his reform, bestowed upon him by herself, and his burning
anxiety to clasp her to his bosom.

A second thought flashes upon her fevered brain. Am I not the subject of
slander! Am I not contaminated by associations? Has not society sought
to clothe me with shame? Truth bends before falsehood, and virtue
withers under the rust of slandering tongues. Again a storm rises up
before her, and she feels the poisoned arrow piercing deep into her
heart. Am I not living under the very roof that will confirm the
slanders of mine enemies? she asks herself. And the answer rings back in
confirmation upon her too sensitive ears, and fastens itself in her
feelings like a reptile with deadly fangs. No; she is not yet free from
her enemies. They have the power of falsifying her to her lover. The
thought fills her bosom with sad emotions. Strong in the consciousness
of her virtue, she feels how weak she is in the walks of the worldly.
Her persecutors are guilty, but being all-powerful may seek in still
further damaging her character, a means of shielding themselves from
merited retribution. It is the natural expedient of bad men in power to
fasten crime upon the weak they have injured.

Only a few days have to elapse, then, and Maria will be face to face
with him in whom her fondest hopes have found refuge: but even in those
few days it will be our duty to show how much injury may be inflicted
upon the weak by the powerful.

The old Antiquary observes the change that has come so suddenly over
Maria's feelings, but his entreaties fail to elicit the cause. Shall she
return to the house made doubtful by its frail occupants; or shall she
crave the jailer's permission to let her remain and share her father's
cell? Ah! solicitude for her father settles the question. The
alternative may increase his apprehensions, and with them his
sufferings. Night comes on; she kisses him, bids him a fond adieu, and
with an aching heart returns to the house that has brought so much
scandal upon her.

On reaching the door she finds the house turned into a bivouac of
revelry; her own chamber is invaded, and young men and women are making
night jubilant over Champagne and cigars. Mr. Keepum and the Hon. Mr.
Snivel are prominent among the carousers; and both are hectic of
dissipation. Shall she flee back to the prison? Shall she go cast
herself at the mercy of the keeper? As she is about following the
thought with the act, she is seized rudely by the arms, dragged into the
scene of carousal, and made the object of coarse jokes. One insists that
she must come forward and drink; another holds an effervescing glass to
her lips; a third says he regards her modesty out of place, and demands
that she drown it with mellowing drinks. The almost helpless girl
shrieks, and struggles to free herself from the grasp of her enemies.
Mr. Snivel, thinking it highly improper that such cries go free,
catches her in his arms, and places his hand over her mouth. "Caught
among queer birds at last," he says, throwing an insidious wink at
Keepum. "Will flock together, eh?"

As if suddenly invested with herculean strength, Maria hurls the ruffian
from her, and lays him prostrate on the floor. In his fall the table is
overset, and bottles, decanters and sundry cut glass accompaniments, are
spread in a confused mass on the floor. Suddenly Mr. Keepum extinguishes
the lights. This is the signal for a scene of uproar and confusion we
leave the reader to picture in his imagination. The cry of "murder" is
followed quickly by the cry of "watch, watch!" and when the guardmen
appear, which they are not long in doing, it is seen that the very
chivalric gentlemen have taken themselves off--left, as a prey for the
guard, only Maria and three frail females.

Cries, entreaties, and explanations, are all useless with such men as
our guard is composed of. Her clothes are torn, and she is found rioting
in disreputable company. The sergeant of the guard says, "Being thus
disagreeably caught, she must abide the penalty. It may teach you how to
model your morals," he adds; and straightway, at midnight, she is
dragged to the guard-house, and in spite of her entreaties, locked up in
a cell with the outcast women. "Will you not hear me? will you not allow
an innocent woman to speak in her own behalf? Do, I beg, I beseech, I
implore you--listen but for a minute--render me justice, and save me
from this last step of shame and disgrace," she appeals to the sergeant,
as the cell door closes upon her.

Mr. Sergeant Stubble, for such is his name, shakes his head in doubt.
"Always just so," he says, with a shrug of the shoulders: "every one's
innocent what comes here 'specially women of your sort. The worst
rioters 'come the greatest sentimentalists, and repents most when they
gets locked up--does! You'll find it a righteous place for reflection,
in there." Mr. Sergeant Stubble shuts the door, and smothers her cries.



CHAPTER XLVI.

GAINING STRENGTH FROM PERSECUTION.


You know it is Bulwer who says, and says truly: "There is in calumny a
rank poison that, even when the character throws off the slander, the
heart remains diseased beneath the effect." The force of this on Maria's
thoughts and feelings, surrounded as she was by the vile influences of a
Charleston cell, came with strange effect as she contemplated her
friendless condition. There is one witness who can bear testimony to her
innocence, and in Him she still puts her trust. But the charitable have
closed their ears to her; and the outside world is too busy to listen to
her story. Those words of the poor woman who said, "You are still richer
than me," again ring their sweet music in her ear, and give strength to
her weary soul. They come to her like the voice of a merciful
Providence, speaking through the hushed air of midnight, and breathing
the sweet spirit of love into the dusky figures who tenant that dreary
cell. To Maria it is the last spark of hope, that rarely goes out in
woman's heart, and has come to tell her that to-morrow her star may
brighten. And now, reader, turn with us to another scene of hope and
anxiety.

The steamer which bears Tom to Charleston is off Cape Romaine. He has
already heard of the fate of the old man McArthur. But, he asks himself,
may not truth and justice yet triumph? He paces and repaces the deck,
now gazing vacantly in the direction the ship is steering, then walking
to the stern and watching the long train of phosphoric light playing on
the toppling waves.

There was something evasive in the manner of the man who communicated to
him the intelligence concerning McArthur. "May I ask another question of
you, sir?" he inquires, approaching the man who, like himself, sauntered
restlessly along the deck.

The man hesitates, lights a fresh cigar. "You desire me to be frank with
you, of course," rejoins the man. "But I observe you are agitated. I
will answer your question, if it carry no personal wound. Speak, my
friend."

"You know Maria?"

"Well."

"You know what has become of her, or where she resides?"

Again the man hesitates--then says, "These are delicate matters to
discover."

"You are not responsible for my feelings," interrupts the impatient man.

"If, then, I must be plain,--she is leading the life of an outcast. Yes,
sir, the story is that she has fallen, and from necessity. I will say
this, though," he adds, by way of relief, "that I know nothing of it
myself." The words fall like a death-knell on his thoughts and feelings.
He stammers out a few words, but his tongue refuses to give utterance to
his thoughts. His whole nature seems changed; his emotions have filled
the cup of his sorrow; an abyss, deep, dark, and terrible, has opened to
his excited imagination. All the dark scenes of his life, all the
struggles he has had to gain his manliness, rise up before him like a
gloomy panorama, and pointing him back to that goal of dissipation in
which his mind had once found relief. He seeks his stateroom in
silence, and there invokes the aid of Him who never refuses to protect
the right. And here again we must return to another scene.

Morning has come, the guard-roll has been called, and Judge Sleepyhorn
is about to hold high court. Maria and the companions of her cell are
arraigned, some black, others white, all before so august a judge. His
eye rests on a pale and dejected woman inwardly resolved to meet her
fate, calm and resolute. It is to her the last struggle of an eventful
life, and she is resolved to meet it with womanly fortitude.

The Judge takes his seat, looks very grave, and condescends to say there
is a big docket to be disposed of this morning. "Crime seems to increase
in the city," he says, bowing to Mr. Seargent Stubbs.

"If your Honor will look at that," Mr. Stubbs says, smiling,--"most on
em's bin up afore. All hard cases, they is."

"If yeer Onher plases, might a woman o' my standin' say a woord in her
own difince? Sure its only a woord, Judge, an beein a dacent gintleman
ye'd not refuse me the likes."

"Silence, there!" ejaculates Mr. Seargent Stubbs; "you must keep quiet
in court."

"Faith its not the likes o' you'd keep me aisy, Mr. Stubbs. Do yee see
that now?" returns the woman, menacingly. She is a turbulent daughter of
the Emerald Isle, full five feet nine inches, of broad bare feet, with a
very black eye, and much in want of raiment.

"The most corrigible case what comes to this court," says Mr. Stubbs,
bowing knowingly to the judge. "Rather likes a prison, yer Honor. Bin up
nine times a month. A dear customer to the state."

The Judge, looking grave, and casting his eye learnedly over the pages
of a ponderous statute book, inquires of Mr. Seargent Stubbs what the
charge is.

"Disturbed the hole neighborhood. A fight atween the Donahues, yer
Honor."

"Dorn't believe a woord of it, yeer Onher. Sure, din't Donahue black the
eye o' me, and sphil the whisky too? Bad luck to Donahue, says I. You
don't say that to me, says he. I'd say it to the divil, says I. Take
that! says Donahue." Here Mrs. Donahue points to her eye, and brings
down even the dignity of the court.

"In order to preserve peace between you and Donahue," says his Honor,
good naturedly, "I shall fine you ten dollars, or twenty days."

"Let it go at twenty days," replies Mrs. Donahue, complimenting his
Honor's high character, "fir a divil o' ten dollars have I." And Mrs.
Donahue resigns herself to the tender mercies of Mr. Seargent Stubbs,
who removes her out of court.

A dozen or more delinquent negroes, for being out after hours without
passes, are sentenced thirty stripes apiece, and removed, to the evident
delight of the Court, who is resolved that the majesty of the law shall
be maintained.

It is Maria's turn now. Pale and trembling she approaches the circular
railing, assisted by Mr. Seargent Stubbs. She first looks imploringly at
the judge, then hangs down her head, and covers her face with her hands.

"What is the charge?" inquires the Judge, turning to the loquacious
Stubbs. Mr. Stubbs says: "Disorderly conduct--and in a house of bad
repute."

"I am innocent--I have committed no crime," interrupts the injured
woman. "You have dragged me here to shame me." Suddenly her face
becomes pale as marble, her limbs tremble, and the court is thrown into
a state of confusion by her falling to the floor in a swoon.

"Its all over with her now," says Mr. Stubbs, standing back in fear.

Crime has not dried up all the kinder impulses of Judge Sleepyhorn's
heart. Leaving the bench he comes quickly to the relief of the
unfortunate girl, holds her cold trembling hand in his own, and tenderly
bathes her temples. "Sorry the poor girl," he says, sympathizingly,
"should have got down so. Knew her poor old father when he was
comfortably off, and all Charleston liked him." His Honor adjourns
court, and ten minutes pass before the sufferer is restored to
consciousness. Then with a wild despairing look she scans those around
her, rests her head on her hand despondingly, and gives vent to her
tears. The cup of her sorrow has indeed overrun.

"It was wrong to arrest you, young woman, and I sympathize with you. No
charge has been preferred, and so you are free. A carriage waits at the
door, and I have ordered you to be driven home," says the judge,
relaxing into sympathy.

"I have no home now," she returns, the tears coursing down her wet
cheeks. "Slaves have homes, but I have none now."

"When you want a friend, you'll find a friend in me. Keep up your
spirits, and remember that virtue is its own reward." Having said this,
the Judge raises her gently to her feet, supports her to the carriage,
and sees her comfortably seated. "Remember, you know, where to find a
friend if you want one," he says, and bids her good-morning. In another
minute the carriage is rolling her back to the home from whence she was
taken. She has no better home now.



CHAPTER XLVII.

AN EXCITEMENT.


A bright fire burned that night in Keepum's best parlor, furnished with
all the luxuries modern taste could invent. Keepum, restless, paces the
carpet, contemplating his own importance, for he has just been made a
Major of Militia, and we have a rare love for the feather. Now he pauses
at a window and looks impatiently out, then frisks his fingers through
his crispy hair and resumes his pacing. He expects some one, whose
coming he awaits with evident anxiety. "The time is already up," he
says, drawing his watch from his pocket. The door-bell rings just then,
his countenance brightens, and a servant ushers Mr. Snivel in. "The time
is already up, my good fellow," says Keepum, extending his hand
familiarly,--Mr. Snivel saying, "I've so many demands on my time, you
know. We're in good time, you know. Must bring the thing to a head
to-night." A short conversation carried on in whispers, and they sally
out, and soon disappear down Broad street.

Just rounding the frowning walls of fort Sumter, a fort the restless
people never had any particular love for, is a big red light of the
steamer cutting through the sea like a monster of smoke and flame, on
her way up the harbor. Another hour, and she will be safely moored at
her landing. Tom stands on the upper deck, looking intently towards the
city, his anxiety increasing as the ship approaches the end of her
voyage, and his eager eye catching each familiar object only to remind
him more forceably of the time when he seemed on the downward road of
life. Hope had already begun to dispel his fears, and the belief that
what the man had told him was founded only in slander, became stronger
the more he pondered over it.

St. Michael's clock has just struck ten, and the mounted guard are
distributing into their different beats. Maria, contemplating what may
come to-morrow, sits at the window of her lonely chamber like one whom
the world had forgotten. The dull vibrating sound of the clock still
murmurs on the air as she is startled from her reverie by the sound of
voices under the window. She feels her very soul desponding. It does
indeed seem as if that moment has come when nature in her last struggle
with hope must yield up the treasure of woman's life, and sink into a
life of remorse and shame. The talking becomes more distinct; then there
is a pause, succeeded by Keepum and Snivel silently entering her room,
the one drawing a chair by her side, the other taking a seat near the
door. "Come as friends, you know," says Keepum, exchanging glances with
Snivel, then fixing his eyes wickedly on the woman. "Don't seem to enjoy
our company, eh? Poor folks is got to puttin' on airs right big,
now-a-days. Don't 'mount to much, anyhow; ain't much better than
niggers, only can't sell 'em." "Poor folks must keep up appearances,
eh," interposes Mr. Snivel. They are waiting an opportunity for seizing
and overpowering the unprotected girl. We put our chivalry to strange
uses at times.

But the steamer has reached her wharf; the roaring of her escaping steam
disturbs the city, and reëchoes far away down the bay. Again familiar
scenes open to the impatient man's view; old friends pass and repass him
unrecognized; but only one thought impels him, and that is fixed on
Maria. He springs ashore, dashes through the crowd of spectators, and
hurries on, scarcely knowing which way he is going.

At length he pauses on the corner of King and Market streets, and
glances up to read the name by the glare of gas-light. An old negro
wends his way homeward. "Daddy," says he, "how long have you lived in
Charleston?"

"Never was out on em, Mas'r," replies the negro, looking inquisitively
into the anxious man's face. "Why, lor's me, if dis are bin't Mas'r Tom,
what used t' be dis old nigger's young Mas'r."

"Is it you, Uncle Cato?" Their recognition was warm, hearty, and true.
"God bless you, my boy; I've need of your services now," says Tom, still
holding the hard hand of the old negro firmly grasped in his own, and
discovering the object of his mission.

"Jus' tote a'ter old Cato, Mas'r Tom. Maria's down da, at Undine's
cabin, yander. Ain't no better gal libin dan Miss Maria," replies Cato,
enlarging on Maria's virtues. There is no time to be lost. They hurry
forward, Tom following the old negro, and turning into a narrow lane to
the right, leading to Undine's cabin. But here they are doomed to
disappointment. They reach Undine's cabin, but Maria is not there.
Undine comes to the door, and points away down the lane, in the
direction of a bright light. "You will find her dare" says Undine; "and
if she ain't dare, I don' know where she be." They thank her, repay her
with a piece of silver, and hurry away in the direction of the light,
which seems to burn dimmer and dimmer as they approach. It suddenly
disappears, and, having reached the house, a rickety wooden tenement, a
cry of "Save me, save me! Heaven save me!" rings out on the still air,
and falls on the ear of the already excited man, like a solemn warning.

"Up dar! Mas'r Tom, up dar!" shouts Cato, pointing to a stairs leading
on the outside. Up Tom vaults, and recognizing Maria's voice,
supplicating for mercy, thunders at the door, which gives away before
his strength. "It is me, Maria! it is me!" he proclaims. "Who is this
that has dared to abuse or insult you?" and she runs and throws herself
into his arms. "A light! a light, bring a light, Cato!" he demands, and
the old negro hastens to obey.

In the confusion of the movement, Keepum reaches the street in safety
and hastens to his home, leaving his companion to take care of himself.

A pale gleam of light streams into the open door, discovering a tall
dusky figure moving noiselessly towards it. "Why, if here bin't Mas'r
Snivel!" ejaculates old Cato, who returns bearing a candle, the light of
which falls on the tall figure of Mr. Snivel.

"What, villain! is it you who has brought all this distress upon a
friendless girl?"----

"Glad to see you back, Tom. Don't make so much of it, my good
fellow--only a bit of a lark, you know. 'Pon my honor, there was nothing
wrong meant. Ready to do you a bit of a good turn, any time," interrupts
Mr. Snivel, blandly, and extending his hand.

"You! villain, do me a friendly act? Never. You poisoned the mind of my
mother against me, robbed her of her property, and then sought to
destroy the happiness and blast forever the reputation of one who is
dearer to me than a sister. You have lived a miscreant long enough. You
must die now." Quickly the excited man draws a pistol, the report rings
sharply on the ear, and the tall figure of Mr. Snivel staggers against
the door, then falls to the ground,--dead. His day of reckoning has
come, and with it a terrible retribution.

"Now Maria, here," says Tom, picking up a packet of letters that had
dropped from the pocket of the man, as he fell, "is the proof of his
guilt and my sincerity." They were the letters written by him to Maria,
and intercepted by Mr. Snivel, through the aid of a clerk in the
post-office. "He has paid the penalty of his misdeeds, and I have no
regrets to offer. To-morrow I will give myself up and ask only justice."

Then clasping Maria in his arms he bids old Cato follow him, and
proceeds with her to a place of safety for the night, as an anxious
throng gather about the house, eager to know the cause of the shooting.
"Ah, Mas'r Snivel," says old Cato, pausing to take a last look of the
prostrate form, "you's did a heap o' badness. Gone now. Nobody'll say he
care."



CHAPTER XLIX.

ALL'S WELL.


Two months have passed since the events recorded in the preceding
chapter. Tom has been arraigned before a jury of his peers, and
honorably acquitted, although strong efforts were made to procure a
conviction, for Mr. Snivel had many friends in Charleston who considered
his death a loss. But the people said it was a righteous verdict, and
justified it by their applause.

And now, the dark clouds of sorrow and trial having passed away, the
happy dawn of a new life is come. How powerfully the truth of the words
uttered by the woman, Undine, impresses itself on her mind now,--"You
are still richer than me." It is a bright sunny morning in early April.
Birds are making the air melodious with their songs; flowers blooming by
the roadside, are distilling their perfumes; a bright and serene sky,
tinged in the East with soft, azure clouds, gives a clear, delicate
outline to the foliage, so luxuriant and brilliant of color, skirting
the western edge of the harbor, and reflecting itself in the calm,
glassy water. A soft whispering wind comes fragrant from the west; it
does indeed seem as if nature were blending her beauties to make the
harmony perfect.

A grotesque group, chiefly negroes, old and young, may be seen gathered
about the door of a quaint old personage near the millpond. Their
curiosity is excited to the highest pitch, and they wait with evident
impatience the coming of the object that has called them together. Chief
among the group is old Cato, in his best clothes, consisting of a tall
drab hat, a faded blue coat, the tail extending nearly to the ground,
striped pantaloons, a scarlet vest, an extravagant shirt collar, tied at
the neck with a piece of white cotton, and his bare feet. Cato moves up
and down, evidently feeling himself an important figure of the event,
and admonishing his young "brudren," who are much inclined to mischief,
not a few having perched on the pickets of the parsonage, to keep on
their best behavior. Then he discourses with great volubility of his
long acquaintance with Mas'r Tom and Miss Maria.

As if to add another prominent picture to the scene, there appears at
the door of the parsonage, every few minutes, a magnificently got-up
negro, portly, grey hair, and venerable, dressed in unsullied black, a
spotless white cravat, and gloves. This is Uncle Pomp, who considers
himself an essential part of the parsonage, and is regarded with awe for
his Bible knowledge by all the colored people of the neighborhood. Pomp
glances up, then down the street, advances a few steps, admonishes the
young negroes, and exchanges bows with Cato, whom he regards as quite a
common brought-up negro compared with himself. Now he disappears, Cato
remarking to his companions that if he had Pomp's knowledge and learning
he would not thank anybody to make him a white man.

Presently there is a stir in the group: all eyes are turned up the road,
and the cry is, "Dare da comes." Two carriages approach at a rapid
speed, and haul up at the gate, to the evident delight and relief of the
younger members of the group, who close in and begin scattering sprigs
of laurel and flowers along the path, as two couple, in bridal dress,
alight, trip quickly through the garden, and disappear, Pomp bowing
them into the parsonage. Tom and Maria are the central figures of the
interesting ceremony about to be performed. Old Cato received a warm
press of the hand from Tom as he passed, and Cato returned the
recognition, with "God bress Mas'r Tom." A shadow of disappointment
deepened in his face as he saw the door closed, and it occurred to him
that he was not to be a witness of the ceremony. But the door again
opened, and Pomp relieved his wounded feelings by motioning with his
finger, and, when Cato had reached the porch, bowing him into the house.

And now we have reached the last scene in the picture. There, kneeling
before the altar in the parlor of that quaint old parsonage, are the
happy couple and their companions. The clergyman, in his surplice, reads
the touching service in a clear and impressive voice, while Pomp, in a
pair of antique spectacles, ejaculates the responses in a voice peculiar
to his race. Old Cato, kneeling before a chair near the door, follows
with a loud--Amen. There is something supremely simple, touching, and
impressive in the picture. As the closing words of the benediction fall
from the clergyman's lips, Maria, her pale oval face shadowed with that
sweetness and gentleness an innocent heart only can reflect, raises her
eyes upwards as if to return thanks to the Giver of all good for his
mercy and protection. As she did this a ray of light stole in at the
window and played softly over her features, like a messenger of love
come to announce a happy future. Just then the cup of her joy became
full, and tears, like gems of purest water, glistened in her eyes, then
moistened her pallid cheeks. Truly the woman spoke right when she said,

   "You are still still richer than me."



HOME INSURANCE COMPANY.
OFFICE, No. 112 & 114 BROADWAY.


CASH CAPITAL, ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Assets, 1st July, 1860, $1,481,819 27. Liabilities, 1st July, 1860,
54,068 67.


The Home Insurance Company continues to issue against loss or damage
by FIRE and the dangers of INLAND NAVIGATION AND TRANSPORTATION,
on terms as favorable as the nature of the risks and the real
security of the Insured and the Company will warrant.

LOSSES EQUITABLY ADJUSTED AND PROMPTLY PAID.

Charles J. Martin, President.   A.F. Willmarth, Vice-President.
J. MILTON SMITH, Secretary. JOHN MCGEE, Assistant Secretary.


DIRECTORS.

Wm. G. Lambert,                         of A. & A. Lawrence & Co.
Geo. C. Collins,                        of Sherman, Collins & Co.
Danford N. Barney,                          of Wells, Fargo & Co.
Lucius Hopkins,         President of Importers and Traders' Bank.
Thos. Messenger,                            of T. & H. Messenger.
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Chas. J. Martin,                                       President.
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B. Watson Bull,                                of Merrick & Bull.
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