Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Crisis, the — Volume 06
Author: Churchill, Winston, 1871-1947
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Crisis, the — Volume 06" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



THE CRISIS

By Winston Churchill

BOOK III


Volume 6.



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCING A CAPITALIST

A cordon of blue regiments surrounded the city at first from Carondelet
to North St. Louis, like an open fan. The crowds liked best to go to
Compton Heights, where the tents of the German citizen-soldiers were
spread out like so many slices of white cake on the green beside the
city's reservoir. Thence the eye stretched across the town, catching the
dome of the Court House and the spire of St. John's. Away to the west, on
the line of the Pacific railroad that led halfway across the state, was
another camp. Then another, and another, on the circle of the fan, until
the river was reached to the northward, far above the bend. Within was a
peace that passed understanding,--the peace of martial law.

Without the city, in the great state beyond, an irate governor had
gathered his forces from the east and from the west. Letters came and
went between Jefferson City and Jefferson Davis, their purport being that
the Governor was to work out his own salvation, for a while at least.
Young men of St. Louis, struck in a night by the fever of militarism,
arose and went to Glencoe. Prying sergeants and commissioned officers,
mostly of hated German extraction, thundered at the door of Colonel
Carvel's house, and other houses, there--for Glencoe was a border town.
They searched the place more than once from garret to cellar, muttered
guttural oaths, and smelled of beer and sauerkraut, The haughty
appearance of Miss Carvel did not awe them--they were blind to all manly
sensations. The Colonel's house, alas, was one of many in Glencoe written
down in red ink in a book at headquarters as a place toward which the
feet of the young men strayed. Good evidence was handed in time and time
again that the young men had come and gone, and red-faced commanding
officers cursed indignant subalterns, and implied that Beauty had had a
hand in it. Councils of war were held over the advisability of seizing
Mr. Carvel's house at Glencoe, but proof was lacking until one rainy
night in June a captain and ten men spurred up the drive and swung into a
big circle around the house. The Captain took off his cavalry gauntlet
and knocked at the door, more gently than usual. Miss Virginia was home
so Jackson said. The Captain was given an audience more formal than one
with the queen of Prussia could have been, Miss Carvel was infinitely
more haughty than her Majesty. Was not the Captain hired to do a
degrading service? Indeed, he thought so as he followed her about the
house and he felt like the lowest of criminals as he opened a closet door
or looked under a bed. He was a beast of the field, of the mire. How
Virginia shrank from him if he had occasion to pass her! Her gown would
have been defiled by his touch. And yet the Captain did not smell of
beer, nor of sauerkraut; nor did he swear in any language. He did his
duty apologetically, but he did it. He pulled a man (aged seventeen) out
from under a great hoop skirt in a little closet, and the man had a
pistol that refused its duty when snapped in the Captain's face. This was
little Spencer Catherwood, just home from a military academy.

Spencer was taken through the rain by the chagrined Captain to the
headquarters, where he caused a little embarrassment. No damning evidence
was discovered on his person, for the pistol had long since ceased to be
a firearm. And so after a stiff lecture from the Colonel he was finally
given back into the custody of his father. Despite the pickets, the young
men filtered through daily,--or rather nightly. Presently some of them
began to come back, gaunt and worn and tattered, among the grim cargoes
that were landed by the thousands and tens of thousands on the levee. And
they took them (oh, the pity of it!) they took them to Mr. Lynch's slave
pen, turned into a Union prison of detention, where their fathers and
grandfathers had been wont to send their disorderly and insubordinate
niggers. They were packed away, as the miserable slaves had been, to
taste something of the bitterness of the negro's lot. So came Bert
Russell to welter in a low room whose walls gave out the stench of years.
How you cooked for them, and schemed for them, and cried for them, you
devoted women of the South! You spent the long hot summer in town, and
every day you went with your baskets to Gratiot Street, where the
infected old house stands, until--until one morning a lady walked out
past the guard, and down the street. She was civilly detained at the
corner, because she wore army boots. After that permits were issued. If
you were a young lady of the proper principles in those days, you climbed
a steep pair of stairs in the heat, and stood in line until it became
your turn to be catechised by an indifferent young officer in blue who
sat behind a table and smoked a horrid cigar. He had little time to be
courteous. He was not to be dazzled by a bright gown or a pretty face; he
was indifferent to a smile which would have won a savage. His duty was to
look down into your heart, and extract therefrom the nefarious scheme you
had made to set free the man you loved ere he could be sent north to
Alton or Columbus. My dear, you wish to rescue him, to disguise him, send
him south by way of Colonel Carvel's house at Glencoe. Then he will be
killed. At least, he will have died for the South.

First politics, and then war, and then more politics, in this our
country. Your masterful politician obtains a regiment, and goes to war,
sword in hand. He fights well, but he is still the politician. It was not
a case merely of fighting for the Union, but first of getting permission
to fight. Camp Jackson taken, and the prisoners exchanged south, Captain
Lyon; who moved like a whirlwind, who loved the Union beyond his own
life, was thrust down again. A mutual agreement was entered into between
the Governor and the old Indian fighter in command of the Western
Department, to respect each other. A trick for the Rebels. How Lyon
chafed, and paced the Arsenal walks while he might have saved the state.
Then two gentlemen went to Washington, and the next thing that happened
was Brigadier General Lyon, Commander of the Department of the West.

Would General Lyon confer with the Governor of Missouri? Yes, the General
would give the Governor a safe-conduct into St. Louis, but his Excellency
must come to the General. His Excellency came, and the General deigned to
go with the Union leader to the Planters House. Conference, five hours;
result, a safe-conduct for the Governor back. And this is how General
Lyon ended the talk. His words, generously preserved by a Confederate
colonel who accompanied his Excellency, deserve to be writ in gold on the
National Annals.

"Rather than concede to the state of Missouri the right to demand that my
Government shall not enlist troops within her limits, or bring troops
into the state whenever it pleases; or move its troops at its own will
into, out of, or through, the state; rather than concede to the state of
Missouri for one single instant the right to dictate to my Government in
any matter, however unimportant, I would" (rising and pointing in turn to
every one in the room) "see you, and you, and you, and you, and every
man, woman, and child in this state, dead and buried." Then, turning to
the Governor, he continued, "This means war. In an hour one of my
officers will call for you and conduct you out of my lines."

And thus, without another word, without an inclination of the head, he
turned upon his heel and strode out of the room, rattling his spurs and
clanking his sabre.

It did mean war. In less than two months that indomitable leader was
lying dead beside Wilson's Creek, among the oaks on Bloody Hill. What he
would have been to this Union, had God spared him, we shall never know.
He saved Missouri, and won respect and love from the brave men who fought
against him.

Those first fierce battles in the state! What prayers rose to heaven, and
curses sank to hell, when the news of them came to the city by the river!
Flags were made by loving fingers, and shirts and bandages. Trembling
young ladies of Union sympathies presented colors to regiments on the
Arsenal Green, or at Jefferson Barracks, or at Camp Benton to the
northwest near the Fair Grounds. And then the regiments marched through
the streets with bands playing that march to which the words of the
Battle Hymn were set, and those bright ensigns snapping at the front;
bright now, and new, and crimson. But soon to be stained a darker red,
and rent into tatters, and finally brought back and talked over and cried
over, and tenderly laid above an inscription in a glass case, to be
revered by generations of Americans to confer What can stir the soul more
than the sight of those old flags, standing in ranks like the veterans
they are, whose duty has been nobly done? The blood of the color-sergeant
is there, black now with age. But where are the tears of the sad women
who stitched the red and the white and the blue together?

The regiments marched through the streets and aboard the boats, and
pushed off before a levee of waving handkerchiefs and nags. Then
heart-breaking suspense. Later--much later, black headlines, and grim
lists three columns long,--three columns of a blanket sheet! "The City of
Alton has arrived with the following Union dead and wounded, and the
following Confederate wounded (prisoners)." Why does the type run
together?

In a never-ceasing procession they steamed up the river; those calm boats
which had been wont to carry the white cargoes of Commerce now bearing
the red cargoes of war. And they bore away to new battlefields thousands
of fresh-faced boys from Wisconsin and Michigan and Minnesota, gathered
at Camp Benton. Some came back with their color gone and their red cheeks
sallow and bearded and sunken. Others came not back at all.

Stephen Brice, with a pain over his heart and a lump in his throat,
walked on the pavement beside his old company, but his look avoided their
faces. He wrung Richter's hand on the landing-stage. Richter was now a
captain. The good German's eyes were filled as he said good-by.

"You will come, too, my friend, when the country needs you," he said.
"Now" (and he shrugged his shoulders), "now have we many with no cares to
go. I have not even a father--" And he turned to Judge Whipple, who was
standing by, holding out a bony hand.

"God bless you, Carl," said the Judge And Carl could scarce believe his
ears. He got aboard the boat, her decks already blue with troops, and as
she backed out with her whistle screaming, the last objects he saw were
the gaunt old man and the broad-shouldered young man side by side on the
edge of the landing.

Stephen's chest heaved, and as he walked back to the office with the
Judge, he could not trust himself to speak. Back to the silent office
where the shelves mocked them. The Judge closed the ground-glass door
behind him, and Stephen sat until five o'clock over a book. No, it was
not Whittlesey, but Hardee's "Tactics." He shut it with a slam, and went
to Verandah Hall to drill recruits on a dusty floor,--narrow-chested
citizens in suspenders, who knew not the first motion in right about
face. For Stephen was an adjutant in the Home Guards--what was left of
them.

One we know of regarded the going of the troops and the coming of the
wounded with an equanimity truly philosophical. When the regiments passed
Carvel & Company on their way riverward to embark, Mr. Hopper did not
often take the trouble to rise from his chair, nor was he ever known to
go to the door to bid them Godspeed. This was all very well, because they
were Union regiments. But Mr. Hopper did not contribute a horse, nor even
a saddle-blanket, to the young men who went away secretly in the night,
without fathers or mothers or sisters to wave at them. Mr. Hopper had
better use for his money.

One scorching afternoon in July Colonel Carvel came into the office, too
hurried to remark the pain in honest Ephum's face as he watched his
master. The sure signs of a harassed man were on the Colonel. Since May
he had neglected his business affairs for others which he deemed public,
and which were so mysterious that even Mr. Hopper could not get wind of
them. These matters had taken the Colonel out of town. But now the
necessity of a pass made that awkward, and he went no farther than
Glencoe, where he spent an occasional Sunday. Today Mr. Hopper rose from
his chair when Mr. Carvel entered,--a most unprecedented action. The
Colonel cleared his throat. Sitting down at his desk, he drummed upon it
uneasily.

"Mr. Hopper!" he said at length.

Eliphalet crossed the room quickly, and something that was very near a
smile was on his face. He sat down close to Mr. Carvel's chair with a
semi-confidential air,--one wholly new, had the Colonel given it a
thought. He did not, but began to finger some printed slips of paper
which had indorsements on their backs. His fine lips were tightly closed,
as if in pain.

"Mr. Hopper," he said, "these Eastern notes are due this week, are they
not?"

"Yes, sir."

The Colonel glanced up swiftly.

"There is no use mincing matters, Hopper. You know as well as I that
there is no money to pay them," said he, with a certain pompous attempt
at severity which characterized his kind nature. "You have served me
well. You have brought this business up to a modern footing, and made it
as prosperous as any in the town. I am sorry, sir, that those
contemptible Yankees should have forced us to the use of arms, and cut
short many promising business careers such as yours, sir. But we have to
face the music. We have to suffer for our principles.

"These notes cannot be met, Mr. Hopper." And the good gentleman looked
out of the window. He was thinking of a day, before the Mexican War, when
his young wife had sat in the very chair filled by Mr. Hopper now. "These
notes cannot be met," he repeated, and his voice was near to breaking.

The flies droning in the hot office made the only sound. Outside the
partition, among the bales, was silence.

"Colonel," said Mr. Hopper, with a remarkable ease, "I cal'late these
notes can be met."

The Colonel jumped as if he had heard a shot, and one of the notes fell
to the floor. Eliphalet picked it up tenderly, and held it.

"What do you mean, sir?" Mr. Carvel cried. "There isn't a bank in town
that will lend me money. I--I haven't a friend--a friend I may ask who
can spare it, sir."

Mr. Hopper lifted up his hand. It was a fat hand. Suavity was come upon
it like a new glove and changed the man. He was no longer cringing. Now
he had poise, such poise as we in these days are accustomed to see in
leather and mahogany offices. The Colonel glared at him uncomfortably.

"I will take up those notes myself, sir."

"You!" cried the Colonel, incredulously, "You?"

We must do Eliphalet justice. There was not a deal of hypocrisy in his
nature, and now he did not attempt the part of Samaritan. He did not beam
upon the Colonel and remind him of the day on which, homeless and
friendless, he had been frightened into his store by a drove of mules.
No. But his day,--the day toward which he had striven unknown and
unnoticed for so many years--the day when he would laugh at the pride of
those who had ignored and insulted him, was dawning at last. When we are
thoughtless of our words, we do not reckon with that spark in little
bosoms that may burst into flame and burn us. Not that Colonel Carvel had
ever been aught but courteous and kind to all. His station in life had
been his offence to Eliphalet, who strove now to hide an exultation that
made him tremble.

"What do you mean, sir?" demanded the Colonel, again.

"I cal'late that I can gather together enough to meet the notes, Colonel.
Just a little friendly transaction." Here followed an interval of sheer
astonishment to Mr. Carvel.

"You have this money?" he said at length. Mr. Hopper nodded.

"And you will take my note for the amount?"

"Yes, sir."

The Colonel pulled his goatee, and sat back in his chair, trying to face
the new light in which he saw his manager. He knew well enough that the
man was not doing this out of charity, or even gratitude. He reviewed his
whole career, from that first morning when he had carried bales to the
shipping room, to his replacement of Mr. Hood, and there was nothing with
which to accuse him. He remembered the warnings of Captain Lige and
Virginia. He could not in honor ask a cent from the Captain now. He would
not ask his sister-in-law, Mrs. Colfax, to let him touch the money he had
so ably invested for her; that little which Virginia's mother had left
the girl was sacred.

Night after night Mr. Carvel had lain awake with the agony of those
Eastern debts. Not to pay was to tarnish the name of a Southern
gentleman. He could not sell the business. His house would bring nothing
in these times. He rose and began to pace the floor, tugging at his chin.
Twice he paused to stare at Mr. Hopper, who sat calmly on, and the third
time stopped abruptly before him.

"See here," he cried. "Where the devil did you get this money, sir?"

Mr. Hopper did not rise.

"I haven't been extravagant, Colonel, since I've worked for you," he
said. "It don't cost me much to live. I've been fortunate in
investments."

The furrows in the Colonel's brow deepened.

"You offer to lend me five times more than I have ever paid you, Mr.
Hopper. Tell me how you have made this money before I accept it."

Eliphalet had never been able to meet that eye since he had known it. He
did not meet it now. But he went to his desk, and drew a long sheet of
paper from a pigeonhole.

"These be some of my investments," he answered, with just a tinge of
surliness. "I cal'late they'll stand inspection. I ain't forcing you to
take the money, sir," he flared up, all at once. "I'd like to save the
business."

Mr. Carvel was disarmed. He went unsteadily to his desk, and none save
God knew the shock that his pride received that day. To rescue a name
which had stood untarnished since he had brought it into the world, he
drew forth some blank notes, and filled them out. But before he signed
them he spoke:

"You are a business man, Mr. Hopper," said he, "And as a business man you
must know that these notes will not legally hold. It is martial law. The
courts are abolished, and all transactions here in St. Louis are
invalid."

Eliphalet was about to speak.

"One moment, sir," cried the Colonel, standing up and towering to his
full height. "Law or no law, you shall have the money and interest, or
your security, which is this business. I need not tell you, sir, that my
word is sacred, and binding forever upon me and mine."

"I'm not afraid, Colonel," answered Mr. Hopper, with a feeble attempt at
geniality. He was, in truth, awed at last.

"You need not be, sir!" said the Colonel, with equal force. "If you were
--this instant you should leave this place." He sat down, and continued
more calmly: "It will not be long before a Southern Army marches into St.
Louis, and the Yankee Government submits." He leaned forward. "Do you
reckon we can hold the business together until then, Mr. Hopper?"

God forbid that we should smile at the Colonel's simple faith. And if
Eliphalet Hopper had done so, his history would have ended here.

"Leave that to me, Colonel," he said soberly.

Then came the reaction. The good Colonel sighed as he signed, away that
business which had been an honor to the, city where it was founded, I
thank heaven that we are not concerned with the details of their talk
that day. Why should we wish to know the rate of interest on those notes,
or the time? It was war-time.

Mr. Hopper filled out his check, and presently departed. It was the
signal for the little force which remained to leave. Outside, in the
store; Ephum paced uneasily, wondering why his master did not come out.
Presently he crept to the door of the office, pushed it open, and beheld
Mr. Carvel with his head bowed, down in his hands.

"Marse Comyn!" he cried, "Marse Comyn!"

The Colonel looked up. His face was haggard.

"Marse Comyn, you know what I done promise young MISS long time ago,
befo'--befo' she done left us?"

"Yes, Ephum."

He saw the faithful old negro but dimly. Faintly he heard the pleading
voice.

"Marse Comyn, won' you give Ephum a pass down, river, ter fotch Cap'n
Lige?"

"Ephum," said the Colonel, sadly, "I had a letter from the Captain
yesterday. He is at Cairo. His boat is a Federal transport, and he is in
Yankee pay."

Ephum took a step forward, appealingly, "But de Cap'n's yo' friend, Marse
Comyn. He ain't never fo'get what you done fo' him, Marse Comyn. He ain't
in de army, suh."

"And I am the Captain's friend, Ephum," answered the Colonel, quietly.
"But I will not ask aid from any man employed by the Yankee Government.
No--not from my own brother, who is in a Pennsylvania regiments."

Ephum shuffled out, and his heart was lead as he closed the store that
night.

Mr. Hopper has boarded a Fifth Street car, which jangles on with many
halts until it comes to Bremen, a German settlement in the north of the
city. At Bremen great droves of mules fill the street, and crowd the
entrances of the sale stables there. Whips are cracking like pistol
shots, Gentlemen with the yellow cavalry stripe of the United States Army
are pushing to and fro among the drivers and the owners, and fingering
the frightened animals. A herd breaks from the confusion and is driven
like a whirlwind down the street, dividing at the Market House. They are
going to board the Government transport--to die on the battlefields of
Kentucky and Missouri.

Mr. Hopper alights from the car with complacency. He stands for a while
on a corner, against the hot building, surveying the busy scene,
unnoticed. Mules! Was it not a prophecy,--that drove which sent him into
Mr. Carvel's store?

Presently a man with a gnawed yellow mustache and a shifty eye walks out
of one of the offices, and perceives our friend.

"Howdy, Mr. Hopper?" says he.

Eliphalet extends a hand to be squeezed and returned. "Got them
vouchers?" he asks. He is less careful of his English here.

"Wal, I jest reckon," is the answer: The fellow was interrupted by the
appearance of a smart young man in a smart uniform, who wore an air of
genteel importance. He could not have been more than two and twenty, and
his face and manners were those of a clerk. The tan of field service was
lacking on his cheek, and he was black under the eyes.

"Hullo, Ford," he said, jocularly.

"Howdy, Cap," retorted the other. "Wal, suh, that last lot was an extry,
fo' sure. As clean a lot as ever I seed. Not a lump on 'em. Gov'ment
ain't cheated much on them there at one-eighty a head, I reckon."

Mr. Ford said this with such an air of conviction and such a sober face
that the Captain smiled. And at the same time he glanced down nervously
at the new line of buttons on his chest.

"I guess I know a mule from a Newfoundland dog by this time," said he.

"Wal, I jest reckon," asserted Mr. Ford, with a loud laugh. "Cap'n
Wentworth, allow me to make you acquainted with Mr. Hopper. Mr. Hopper,
Cap'n Wentworth."

The Captain squeezed Mr. Hoppers hand with fervor. "You interested in
mules, Mr. Hopper?" asked the military man.

"I don't cal'late to be," said. Mr. Hopper. Let us hope that our worthy
has not been presented as being wholly without a sense of humor. He
grinned as he looked upon this lamb in the uniform of Mars, and added,
"I'm just naturally patriotic, I guess. Cap'n, 'll you have a drink?"

"And a segar," added Mr. Ford.

"Just one," says the Captain. "It's d--d tiresome lookin' at mules all
day in the sun."

Well for Mr. Davitt that his mission work does not extend to Bremen, that
the good man's charity keeps him at the improvised hospital down town.
Mr. Hopper has resigned the superintendency of his Sunday School, it is
true, but he is still a pillar of the church.

The young officer leans against the bar, and listens to stories by Mr.
Ford, which it behooves no church members to hear. He smokes Mr. Hopper's
cigar and drinks his whiskey. And Eliphalet understands that the good
Lord put some fools into the world in order to give the smart people a
chance to practise their talents. Mr. Hopper neither drinks nor smokes,
but he uses the spittoon with more freedom in this atmosphere.

When at length the Captain has marched out, with a conscious but manly
air, Mr. Hopper turns to Ford-- "Don't lose no time in presenting them
vouchers at headquarters," says he. "Money is worth something now. And
there's grumbling about this Department in the Eastern papers, If we have
an investigation, we'll whistle. How much to-day?"

"Three thousand," says Mr. Ford. He tosses off a pony of Bourbon, but his
face is not a delight to look upon, "Hopper, you'll be a d--d rich man
some day."

"I cal'late to."

"I do the dirty work. And because I ain't got no capital, I only get four
per cent."

"Don't one-twenty a day suit you?"

"You get blasted near a thousand. And you've got horse contracts, and
blanket contracts besides. I know you. What's to prevent my goin' south
when the vouchers is cashed?" he cried. "Ain't it possible?"

"I presume likely," said Mr. Hopper, quietly. "Then your mother'll have
to move out of her little place."



CHAPTER II

NEWS FROM CLARENCE

The epithet aristocrat may become odious and fatal on the banks of the
Mississippi as it was on the banks of the Seine. Let no man deceive
himself! These are fearful times. Thousands of our population, by the
sudden stoppage of business, are thrown out of employment. When gaunt
famine intrudes upon their household, it is but natural that they should
inquire the cause. Hunger began the French Revolution.

Virginia did not read this editorial, because it appeared in that
abhorred organ of the Mudsills, the 'Missouri Democrat.' The wheels of
fortune were turning rapidly that first hot summer of the war time. Let
us be thankful that our flesh and blood are incapable of the fury of the
guillotine. But when we think calmly of those days, can we escape without
a little pity for the aristocrats? Do you think that many of them did not
know hunger and want long before that cruel war was over?

How bravely they met the grim spectre which crept so insidiously into
their homes!

"Virginia, child." said Mrs. Colfax, peevishly, one morning as they sat
at breakfast, "why do you persist it wearing that old gown? It has gotten
on my nerves, my dear. You really must have something new made, even if
there are no men here to dress for."

"Aunt Lillian, you must not say such things. I do not think that I ever
dressed to please men."

"Tut, tut; my dear, we all do. I did, even after married your uncle. It
is natural. We must not go shabby in such times as these, or be out of
fashion, Did you know that Prince Napoleon was actually coming here for a
visit this autumn? We must be ready for him. I am having a fitting at
Miss Elder's to-day."

Virginia was learning patience. She did not reply as she poured out her
aunt's coffee.

"Jinny," said that lady, "come with me to Elder's, and I will give you
some gowns. If Comyn had been as careful of his own money as of mine, you
could dress decently."

"I think I do dress decently, Aunt Lillian," answered the girl. "I do not
need the gowns. Give me the money you intend to pay for them, and I can
use it for a better purpose."

Mrs. Colfax arranged her lace pettishly.

"I am sick and tired of this superiority, Jinny." And in the same breath.
"What would you do with it?"

Virginia lowered her voice. "Hodges goes through the lines to-morrow
night. I should send it to Clarence." "But you have no idea where
Clarence is."

"Hodges can find him."

"Pshaw!" exclaimed her aunt, "I would not trust him. How do you know that
he will get through the Dutch pickets to Price's army? Wasn't Souther
captured last week, and that rash letter of Puss Russell's to Jack
Brinsmade published in the Democrat?" She laughed at the recollection,
and Virginia was fain to laugh too. "Puss hasn't been around much since.
I hope that will cure her of saying what she thinks of people."

"It won't," said Virginia.

"I'll save my money until Price drives the Yankees from the state, and
Clarence marches into the city at the head of a regiment," Mrs. Colfax
went on, "It won't be long now."

Virginia's eyes flashed.

"Oh, you can't have read the papers. And don't you remember the letter
Maude had from George? They need the bare necessities of life, Aunt
Lillian. And half of Price's men have no arms at all."

"Jackson," said Mrs. Colfax, "bring me a newspaper. Is there any news
to-day?"

"No," answered Virginia, quickly. "All we know is that Lyon has left
Springfield to meet our troops, and that a great battle is coming,
Perhaps--perhaps it is being fought to-day."

Mrs. Colfax burst into tears, "Oh, Jinny," she cried, "how can you be so
cruel!"

That very evening a man, tall and lean, but with the shrewd and kindly
eye of a scout, came into the sitting-room with the Colonel and handed a
letter to Mrs. Colfax. In the hall he slipped into Virginia's hand
another, in a "Jefferson Davis" envelope, and she thrust it in her gown
--the girl was on fire as he whispered in her ear that he had seen
Clarence, and that he was well. In two days an answer might be left at
Mr. Russell's house. But she must be careful what she wrote, as the
Yankee scouts were active.

Clarence, indeed, had proven himself a man. Glory and uniform became him
well, but danger and deprivation better. The words he had written,
careless and frank and boyish, made Virginia's heart leap with pride.
Mrs. Colfax's letter began with the adventure below the Arsenal, when the
frail skiff had sunk near the island, He told how he had heard the
captain of his escort sing out to him in the darkness, and how he had
floated down the current instead, until, chilled and weary, he had
contrived to seize the branches of a huge tree floating by. And how by a
miracle the moon had risen. When the great Memphis packet bore down upon
him, he had, been seen from her guards, and rescued and made much of; and
set ashore at the next landing, for fear her captain would get into
trouble. In the morning he had walked into the country, first providing
himself with butternuts and rawhide boots and a bowie-knife. Virginia
would never have recognized her dashing captain of dragoons in this
guise.

The letter was long for Clarence, and written under great difficulties
from date to date. For nearly a month he had tramped over mountains and
across river bottoms, waiting for news of an organized force of
resistance in Missouri. Begging his way from cabin to cabin, and living
on greasy bacon and corn pone, at length he crossed the swift Gasconade
(so named by the French settlers because of its brawling ways) where the
bridge of the Pacific railroad had been blown up by the Governor's
orders. Then he learned that the untiring Lyon had steamed up the
Missouri and had taken possession of Jefferson City without a blow, and
that the ragged rebel force had fought and lost at Booneville. Footsore,
but undaunted, he pushed on to join the army, which he heard was
retreating southward along the western tier of counties of the state.

On the banks of the Osage he fell in with two other young amen in as bad
a plight as himself. They travelled together, until one day some rough
farmers with shotguns leaped out of a bunch of willows on the borders of
a creek and arrested all three for Union spies. And they laughed when Mr.
Clarence tried to explain that he had not long since been the dapper
captain of the State Dragoons.

His Excellency, the Governor of Missouri (so acknowledged by all good
Southerners), likewise laughed when Mr. Colfax and the two others were
brought before him. His Excellency sat in a cabin surrounded by a camp
which had caused the dogs of war to howl for very shame.

"Colfax!" cried the Governor. "A Colfax of St. Louis in butternuts and
rawhide boots?"

"Give me a razor," demanded Clarence, with indignation, "a razor and a
suit of clothes, and I will prove it." The Governor laughed once more.

"A razor, young man! A suit of clothes You know not what you ask."

"Are there any gentlemen from St. Louis here?" George Catherwood was
brought in,--or rather what had once been George. Now he was a big
frontiersman with a huge blond beard, and a bowie, knife stuck into his
trousers in place of a sword. He recognized his young captain of dragoons
the Governor apologized, and Clarence slept that night in the cabin. The
next day he was given a horse, and a bright new rifle which the
Governor's soldiers had taken from the Dutch at Cole Camp on the way
south, And presently they made a junction with three thousand more who
were their images. This was Price's army, but Price had gone ahead into
Kansas to beg the great McCulloch and his Confederates to come to their
aid and save the state.

   "Dear mother, I wish that you and Jinny and Uncle Comyn could have
   seen this country rabble. How you would have laughed, and cried,
   because we are just like them. In the combined army two thousand
   have only bowie-knives or clubs. Some have long rifles of Daniel
   Boone's time, not fired for thirty years. And the impedimenta are a
   sight. Open wagons and conestogas and carryalls and buggies, and
   even barouches, weighted down with frying-pans and chairs and
   feather beds. But we've got spirit, and we can whip Lyon's Dutchmen
   and Yankees just as we are. Spirit is what counts, and the Yankees
   haven't got it, I was made to-day a Captain of Cavalry under
   Colonel Rives. I ride a great, raw-boned horse like an elephant.
   He jolts me until I am sore,--not quite as easy as my thoroughbred,
   Jefferson. Tell Jinny to care for him, and have him ready when we
   march into St. Louis."

                  "COWSKIN PRAIRIE, 9th July.

   "We have whipped Sigel on the prairie by Coon Creek and killed--we
   don't know how many. Tell Maude that George distinguished himself
   in the fight. We cavalry did not get a chance.

   "We have at last met McCulloch and his real soldiers. We cheered
   until we cried when we saw their ranks of gray, with the gold
   buttons and the gold braid and the gold stars. General McCulloch
   has taken me on his staff, and promised me a uniform. But how to
   clothe and feed and arm our men! We have only a few poor cattle,
   and no money. But our men don't complain. We shall whip the
   Yankees before we starve."

For many days Mrs. Colfax did not cease to bewail the hardship which her
dear boy was forced to endure. He, who was used to linen sheets and eider
down, was without rough blanket or shelter; who was used to the best
table in the state, was reduced to husks.

"But, Aunt Lillian," cried Virginia, "he is fighting for the South. If he
were fed and clothed like the Yankees, we should not be half so proud of
him."

Why set down for colder gaze the burning words that Clarence wrote to
Virginia. How she pored over that letter, and folded it so that even the
candle-droppings would not be creased and fall away! He was happy, though
wretched because he could not see her. It was the life he had longed for.
At last (and most pathetic!) he was proving his usefulness in this world.
He was no longer the mere idler whom she had chidden.

   "Jinny, do you remember saying so many years ago that our ruin would
   come of our not being able to work? How I wish you could see us
   felling trees to make bullet-moulds, and forging slugs for canister,
   and making cartridges at night with our bayonets as candlesticks.
   Jinny dear, I know that you will keep up your courage. I can see
   you sewing for us, I can hear you praying for us."

It was, in truth, how Virginia learned to sew. She had always detested
it. Her fingers were pricked and sore weeks after she began. Sad to
relate, her bandages, shirts, and havelocks never reached the front,
--those havelocks, to withstand the heat of the tropic sun, which were made
in thousands by devoted Union women that first summer of the war, to be
ridiculed as nightcaps by the soldiers.

"Why should not our soldiers have them, too?" said Virginia to the
Russell girls. They were never so happy as when sewing on them against
the arrival of the Army of Liberation, which never came.

The long, long days of heat dragged slowly, with little to cheer those
families separated from their dear ones by a great army. Clarence might
die, and a month--perhaps a year--pass without news, unless he were
brought a prisoner to St. Louis. How Virginia envied Maude because the
Union lists of dead and wounded would give her tidings of her brother
Tom, at least! How she coveted the many Union families, whose sons and
brothers were at the front, this privilege!

We were speaking of the French Revolution, when, as Balzac remarked, to
be a spy was to be a patriot. Heads are not so cheap in our Anglo-Saxon
countries; passions not so fierce and uncontrollable. Compare, with a
prominent historian, our Boston Massacre and St. Bartholomew.

They are both massacres. Compare Camp Jackson, or Baltimore, where a few
people were shot, with some Paris street scenes after the Bastille.
Feelings in each instance never ran higher. Our own provost marshal was
hissed in the street, and called "Robespierre," and yet he did not fear
the assassin's knife. Our own Southern aristocrats were hemmed in in a
Union city (their own city). No women were thrown into prison, it is
true. Yet one was not permitted to shout for Jeff Davis on the street
corner before the provost's guard. Once in a while a detachment of the
Home Guards, commanded by a lieutenant; would march swiftly into a street
and stop before a house, whose occupants would run to the rear, only to
encounter another detachment in the alley.

One day, in great excitement, Eugenie Renault rang the bell of the Carvel
house, and ran past the astounded Jackson up the stairs to Virginia's
room, the door of which she burst open.

"Oh, Jinny!" she cried, "Puss Russell's house is surrounded by Yankees,
and Puss and Emily and all the family are prisoners!"

"Prisoners! What for?" said Virginia, dropping in her excitement her last
year's bonnet, which she was trimming with red, white, and red.

"Because," said Eugenie, sputtering with indignation "because they waved
at some of our poor fellows who were being taken to the slave pen. They
were being marched past Mr. Russell's house under guard--Puss had a
small--"

"Confederate flag," put in Virginia, smiling in spite of herself.

"And she waved it between the shutters," Eugenie continued. And some one
told, the provost marshal. He has had the house surrounded, and the
family have to stay there."

"But if the food gives out?"

"Then," said Miss Renault, in a voice of awe, "then each one of the
family is to have just a common army ration. They are to be treated as
prisoners."

"Oh, those Yankees are detestable!" exclaimed Virginia. "But they shall
pay for it. As soon as our army is organized and equipped, they shall pay
for it ten times over." She tried on the bonnet, conspicuous with its red
and white ribbons, before the glass. Then she ran to the closet and drew
forth the white gown with its red trimmings. "Wait for me, Genie," she
said, "and we'll go down to Puss's house together. It may cheer her to
see us."

"But not in that dress," said Eugenie, aghast. "They will arrest you."
"Oh, how I wish they would!" cried Virginia. And her eyes flashed so that
Eugenie was frightened. "How I wish they would!"

Miss Renault regarded her friend with something of adoration from beneath
her black lashes. It was about five in the afternoon when they started
out together under Virginia's white parasol, Eugenie's slimmer courage
upheld by her friend's bearing. We must remember that Virginia was young,
and that her feelings were akin to those our great-grandmothers
experienced when the British held New York. It was as if she had been
born to wear the red and white of the South. Elderly gentlemen of
Northern persuasion paused in their homeward walk to smile in admiration,
--some sadly, as Mr. Brinsmade. Young gentlemen found an excuse to
retrace their steps a block or two. But Virginia walked on air, and saw
nothing. She was between fierce anger and exaltation. She did not deign
to drop her eyes as low as the citizen sergeant and guard in front of
Puss Russell's house (these men were only human, after all); she did not
so much as glance at the curious people standing on the corner, who could
not resist a murmur of delight. The citizen sergeant only smiled, and
made no move to arrest the young lady in red and white. Nor did Puss
fling open the blinds and wave at her.

"I suppose its because Mr. Russell won't let her," said Virginia,
disconsolately, "Genie, let's go to headquarters, and show this Yankee
General Fremont that we are not afraid of him."

Eugenie's breath was taken away by the very boldness of this
proposition.. She looked up timidly into Virginia's face, and
hero-worship got the better of prudence.

The house which General Fremont appropriated for his use when he came
back from Europe to assume command in the West was not a modest one. It
still stands, a large mansion of brick with a stone front, very tall and
very wide, with an elaborate cornice and plate-glass windows, both tall
and broad, and a high basement. Two stately stone porches capped by
elaborate iron railings adorn it in front and on the side. The chimneys
are generous and proportional. In short, the house is of that type built
by many wealthy gentlemen in the middle of the century, which has best
stood the test of time,--the only type which, if repeated to-day, would
not clash with the architectural education which we are receiving. A
spacious yard well above the pavement surrounds it, sustained by a wall
of dressed stones, capped by an iron fence. The whole expressed wealth,
security, solidity, conservatism. Alas, that the coal deposits under the
black mud of our Western states should, at length, have driven the owners
of these houses out of them! They are now blackened, almost buried in
soot; empty, or half-tenanted by boarders, Descendants of the old
families pass them on their way to business or to the theatre with a
sigh. The sons of those who owned them have built westward, and west-ward
again, until now they are six miles from the river.

On that summer evening forty years ago, when Virginia and Eugenie came in
sight of the house, a scene of great animation was before them. Talk was
rife over the commanding general's pomp and circumstance. He had just
returned from Europe, where pomp and circumstance and the military were
wedded. Foreign officers should come to America to teach our army dress
and manners. A dashing Hungarian commanded the general's body-guard,
which honorable corps was even then drawn up in the street before the
house, surrounded at a respectable distance by a crowd that feared to
jest. They felt like it save when they caught the stern military eye of
the Hungarian captain. Virginia gazed at the glittering uniforms,
resplendent in the sun, and at the sleek and well-fed horses, and
scalding tears came as she thought of the half-starved rabble of Southern
patriots on the burning prairies. Just then a sharp command escaped in
broken English from the Hungarian. The people in the yard of the mansion
parted, and the General himself walked proudly out of the gate to the
curb, where his charger was pawing the gutter. As he put foot to the
stirrup, the eye of the great man (once candidate, and again to be, for
President) caught the glint of red and white on the corner. For an
instant he stood transfixed to the spot, with one leg in the air. Then he
took it down again and spoke to a young officer of his staff, who smiled
and began to walk toward them. Little Eugenie's knees trembled. She
seized Virginia's arm, and whispered in agony.

"Oh, Jinny, you are to be arrested, after all. Oh, I wish you hadn't been
so bold!"

"Hush," said Virginia, as she prepared to slay the young officer with a
look. She felt like flying at his throat, and choking him for the
insolence of that smile. How dare he march undaunted to within six paces
of those eyes? The crowd drew back, But did Miss Carvel retreat? Not a
step. "Oh, I hope he will arrest me," she said passionately, to Eugenie.
"He will start a conflagration beyond the power of any Yankee to quell."

But hush! he was speaking. "You are my prisoners"? No, those were not the
words, surely. The lieutenant had taken off his cap. He bowed very low
and said:

"Ladies, the General's compliments, and he begs that this much of the
sidewalk may be kept clear for a few moments."

What was left for them, after that, save a retreat? But he was not
precipitate. Miss Virginia crossed the street with a dignity and bearing
which drew even the eyes of the body-guard to one side. And there she
stood haughtily until the guard and the General had thundered away. A
crowd of black-coated civilians, and quartermasters and other officers in
uniform, poured out of the basement of the house into the yards. One
civilian, a youngish man a little inclined to stoutness, stopped at the
gate, stared, then thrust some papers in his pocket and hurried down the
side street. Three blocks thence he appeared abreast of Miss Carvel. More
remarkable still, he lifted his hat clear of his head. Virginia drew
back. Mr. Hopper, with his newly acquired equanimity and poise, startled
her.

"May I have the pleasure," said that gentleman, "of accompanying you
home?"

Eugenie giggled, Virginia was more annoyed than she showed.

"You must not come out of your way," she said. Then she added. "I am sure
you must go back to the store. It is only six o'clock."

Had Virginia but known, this occasional tartness in her speech gave
Eliphalet an infinite delight, even while it hurt him. His was a nature
which liked to gloat over a goal on the horizon He cared not a whit for
sweet girls; they cloyed. But a real lady was something to attain. He had
revised his vocabulary for just such an occasion, and thrown out some of
the vernacular.

"Business is not so pressing nowadays, Miss Carvel," he answered, with a
shade of meaning.

"Then existence must be rather heavy for you," she said. She made no
attempt to introduce him to Eugenie. "If we should have any more
victories like Bull Run, prosperity will come back with a rush," said the
son of Massachusetts. "Southern Confederacy, with Missouri one of its
stars an industrial development of the South--fortunes in cotton"

Virginia turned quickly, "Oh, how dare you?" she cried. "How dare you
speak flippantly of such things?" His suavity was far from overthrown.

"Flippantly Miss Carvel?" said he. "I assure you that I want to see the
South win." What he did not know was that words seldom convince women.
But he added something which reduced her incredulity for the time. "Do
you cal'late," said he,--that I could work for your father, and wish ruin
to his country?"

"But you are a Yankee born," she exclaimed.

"There be a few sane Yankees," replied Mr. Hopper, dryly. A remark which
made Eugenie laugh outright, and Virginia could not refrain from a smile.

But much against her will he walked home with her. She was indignant by
the time she reached Locust Street. He had never dared do such a thing
before, What had got into the man? Was it because he had become a
manager, and governed the business during her father's frequent absences?
No matter what Mr. Hopper's politics, he would always be to her a
low-born Yankee, a person wholly unworthy of notice.

At the corner of Olive Street, a young man walking with long strides
almost bumped into them. He paused looked back, and bowed as if uncertain
of an acknowledgment. Virginia barely returned his bow. He had been very
close to her, and she had had time to notice that his coat was
threadbare. When she looked again, he had covered half the block. Why
should she care if Stephen Brice had seen her in company with Mr, Hopper?
Eliphalet, too, had seen Stephen, and this had added zest to his
enjoyment. It was part of the fruits of his reward. He wished in that
short walk that he might meet Mr. Cluyme and Belle, and every man and
woman and child in the city whom he knew. From time to time he glanced at
the severe profile of the aristocrat beside him (he had to look up a bit,
likewise), and that look set him down among the beasts of prey. For she
was his rightful prey, and he meant not to lose one tittle of enjoyment
in the progress of the game. Many and many a night in the bare little
back room at Miss Crane's, Eliphalet had gloated over the very event
which was now come to pass. Not a step of the way but what he had lived
through before.

The future is laid open to such men as he. Since he had first seen the
black cloud of war rolling up from the South, a hundred times had he
rehearsed the scene with Colonel Carvel which had actually taken place a
week before. A hundred times had he prepared his speech and manner for
this first appearance in public with Virginia after he had forced the
right to walk in her company. The words he had prepared--commonplace, to
be sure, but carefully chosen--flowed from his lips in a continual nasal
stream. The girl answered absently, her feminine instinct groping after a
reason for it all. She brightened when she saw her father at the doors
and, saying good by to Eugenie, tripped up the steps, bowing to Eliphalet
coldly.

"Why, bless us, Jinny," said the Colonel, "you haven't been parading the
town in that costume! You'll have us in Lynch's slave pen by to-morrow
night. My land!" laughed he, patting her under the chin, "there's no
doubt about your sentiments, anyhow."

"I've been over to Puss Russell's house," said she, breathless. "They've
closed it up, you know--" (He nodded.) "And then we went--Eugenie and I,
to headquarters, just to see what the Yankees would do."

The Colonel's smile faded. He looked grave. "You must take care, honey,"
he said, lowering his voice. "They suspect me now of communicating with
the Governor and McCulloch. Jinny, it's all very well to be brave, and to
stand by your colors. But this sort of thing," said he, stroking the
gown, "this sort of thing doesn't help the South, my dear, and only sets
spies upon us. Ned tells me that there was a man in plain clothes
standing in the alley last night for three hours."

"Pa," cried the girl, "I'm so sorry." Suddenly searching his face with a
swift instinct, she perceived that these months had made it yellow and
lined. "Pa, dear, you must come to Glencoe to-morrow and rest You must
not go off on any more trips."

The Colonel shook his head sadly.

"It isn't the trips, Jinny There are duties, my dear, pleasant duties
--Jinny--"

"Yes?"

The Colonel's eye had suddenly fallen on Mr, Hopper, who was still
standing at the bottom of the steps. He checked himself abruptly as
Eliphalet pulled off his hat,

"Howdy, Colonel?" he said.

Virginia was motionless, with her back to the intruder, She was frozen by
a presentiment. As she saw her father start down the steps, she yearned
to throw herself in front of him--to warn him of something; she knew not
what. Then she heard the Colonel's voice, courteous and kindly as ever.
And yet it broke a little as he greeted his visitor.

"Won't--won't you come in, Mr. Hopper?"

Virginia started

"I don't know but what I will, thank you, Colonel," he answered; easily.
"I took the liberty of walking home with your daughter."

Virginia fairly flew into the house and up the stairs. Gaining her room,
she shut the door and turned the key, as though he might pursue her
there. The man's face had all at once become a terror. She threw herself
on the lounge and buried her face in her hands, and she saw it still
leering at her with a new confidence. Presently she grew calmer; rising,
she put on the plainest of her scanty wardrobe, and went down the stairs,
all in a strange trepidation new to her. She had never been in fear of a
man before. She hearkened over the banisters for his voice, heard it, and
summoned all her courage. How cowardly she had been to leave her father
alone with him.

Eliphalet stayed to tea. It mattered little to him that Mrs. Colfax
ignored him as completely as if his chair had been vacant He glanced at
that lady once, and smiled, for he was tasting the sweets of victory. It
was Virginia who entertained him, and even the Colonel never guessed what
it cost her. Eliphalet himself marvelled at her change of manner, and
gloated over that likewise. Not a turn or a quiver of the victim's pain
is missed by your beast of prey. The Colonel was gravely polite, but
preoccupied. Had he wished it, he could not have been rude to a guest. He
offered Mr. Hopper a cigar with the same air that he would have given it
to a governor.

"Thank'ee, Colonel, I don't smoke," he said, waving the bog away.

Mrs. Colfax flung herself out of the room.

It was ten o'clock when Eliphalet reached Miss Crane's, and picked his
way up the front steps where the boarders were gathered.

"The war doesn't seem to make any difference in your business, Mr.
Hopper," his landlady remarked, "where have you been so late?"

"I happened round at Colonel Carvel's this afternoon, and stayed for tea
with 'em," he answered, striving to speak casually.

Miss Crane lingered in Mrs. Abner Reed's room later than usual that
night.



CHAPTER III

THE SCOURGE OF WAR

"Virginia," said Mrs. Colfax, the next morning on coming downstairs, "I
am going back to Bellegarde today. I really cannot put up with such a
person as Comyn had here to tea last night."

"Very well, Aunt Lillian. At what time shall I order the carriage?"

The lady was surprised. It is safe to say that she had never accurately
gauged the force which Virginia's respect for her elders, and affection
for her aunt through Clarence, held in check. Only a moment since Mrs.
Colfax had beheld her niece. Now there had arisen in front of her a tall
person of authority, before whom she deferred instinctively. It was not
what Virginia said, for she would not stoop to tirade. Mrs. Colfax sank
into a chair, seeing only the blurred lines of a newspaper the girl had
thrust into her hand.

"What--what is it?" she gasped. "I cannot read."

"There has been a battle at Wilson's Creek," said Virginia, in an
emotionless voice. "General Lyon is killed, for which I suppose we should
be thankful. More than seven hundred of the wounded are on their way
here. They are bringing them one hundred and twenty miles, from
Springfield to Rollo, in rough army wagons, with scarcely anything to eat
or drink."

"And--Clarence?"

"His name is not there."

"Thank God!" exclaimed Mrs. Colfax. "Are the Yankees beaten?"

"Yes," said Virginia, coldly. "At what time shall I order the carriage to
take you to Bellegarde?"

Mrs. Colfax leaned forward and caught the hem of her niece's gown. "Oh,
let me stay," she cried, "let me stay. Clarence may be with them."

Virginia looked down at her without pity.

"As you please, Aunt Lillian," she answered. "You know that you may
always stay here. I only beg of you one thing, that when you have
anything to complain of, you will bring it to me, and not mention it
before Pa. He has enough to worry him."

"Oh, Jinny," sobbed the lady, in tears again, "how can you be so cruel at
such a time, when my nerves are all in pieces?"

But she did not lift her voice at dinner, which was very poor indeed for
Colonel Carvel's house. All day long Virginia, assisted by Uncle Ben and
Aunt Easter, toiled in the stifling kitchen, preparing dainties which she
had long denied herself. At evening she went to the station at Fourteenth
Street with her father, and stood amongst the people, pressed back by the
soldiers, until the trains came in. Alas, the heavy basket which the
Colonel carried on his arm was brought home again. The first hundred to
arrive, ten hours in a hot car without food or water, were laid groaning
on the bottom of great furniture vans, and carted to the new House of
Refuge Hospital, two miles to the south of the city.

The next day many good women went there, Rebel and Union alike, to have
their hearts wrung. The new and cheap building standing in the hot sun
reeked with white wash and paint. The miserable men lay on the hard
floor, still in the matted clothes they had worn in battle. Those were
the first days of the war, when the wages of our passions first came to
appal us. Many of the wounds had not been tended since they were dressed
on the field weeks before.

Mrs. Colfax went too, with the Colonel and her niece, although she
declared repeatedly that she could not go through with such an ordeal.
She spoke the truth, for Mr. Carvel had to assist her to the
waiting-room. Then he went back to the improvised wards to find Virginia
busy over a gaunt Arkansan of Price's army, whose pitiful, fever-glazed
eyes were following her every motion. His frontiersman's clothes, stained
with blackened blood, hung limp over his wasted body. At Virginia's
bidding the Colonel ran downstairs for a bucket of fresh water, and she
washed the caked dust from his face and hands. It was Mr. Brinsmade who
got the surgeon to dress the man's wound, and to prescribe some of the
broth from Virginia's basket. For the first time since the war began
something of happiness entered her breast.

It was Mr. Brinsmade who was everywhere that day, answering the questions
of distracted mothers and fathers and sisters who thronged the place;
consulting with the surgeons; helping the few who knew how to work in
placing mattresses under the worst cases; or again he might have been
seen seated on the bare floor with a pad on his knee, taking down the
names of dear ones in distant states,--that he might spend his night
writing to them.

They put a mattress under the Arkansan. Virginia did not leave him until
he had fallen asleep, and a smile of peace was come upon his sunken face.
Dismayed at the fearful sights about her, awed by the groans that rose on
every side, she was choosing her way swiftly down the room to join her
father and aunt in the carriage below.

The panic of flight had seized her. She felt that another little while in
this heated, horrible place would drive her mad. She was almost at the
door when she came suddenly upon a sight that made her pause.

An elderly lady in widow's black was kneeling beside a man groaning in
mortal agony, fanning away the flies already gathering about his face. He
wore the uniform of a Union sergeant,--dusty and splotched and torn. A
small Testament was clasped convulsively in the fingers of his right
band. The left sleeve was empty. Virginia lingered, whelmed in pity,
thrilled by a wonderful womanliness of her who knelt there. Her face the
girl had not even seen, for it was bent over the man. The sweetness of
her voice held Virginia as in a spell, and the sergeant stopped groaning
that he might listen:

"You have a wife?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"And a child?"

The answer came so painfully.

"A boy, ma'am--born the week--before I came--away."

"I shall write to your wife," said the lady, so gently that Virginia
could scarce hear, "and tell her that you are cared for. Where does she
live?"

He gave the address faintly--some little town in Minnesota. Then he
added, "God bless you, lady."

Just then the chief surgeon came and stood over them. The lady turned her
face up to him, and tears sparkled in her eyes. Virginia felt them wet in
her own. Her worship was not given to many. Nobility, character,
efficiency,-all were written on that face. Nobility spoke in the large
features, in the generous mouth, in the calm, gray eyes. Virginia had
seen her often before, but not until now was the woman revealed to her.

"Doctor, could this man's life be saved if I took him to my home?"

The surgeon got down beside her and took the man's pulse. The eyes
closed. For a while the doctor knelt there, shaking his head. "He has
fainted," he said.

"Do you think he can be saved?" asked the lady again. The surgeon
smiled,--such a smile as a good man gives after eighteen hours of
amputating, of bandaging, of advising,--work which requires a firm hand,
a clear eye and brain, and a good heart.

"My dear Mrs. Brice," he said, "I shall be glad to get you permission to
take him, but we must first make him worth the taking. Another hour would
have been too late." He glanced hurriedly about the busy room, and then
added, "We must have one more to help us."

Just then some one touched Virginia's arm. It was her father.

"I am afraid we must go, dear," he said, "your aunt is getting
impatient."

"Won't you please go without me, Pa?" she asked. "Perhaps I can be of
some use."

The Colonel cast a wondering glance at the limp uniform, and went away.
The surgeon, who knew the Carvel family, gave Virginia a look of
astonishment. It was Mrs. Brice's searching gaze that brought the color
to the girl's, face.

"Thank you, my dear," she said simply.

As soon as he could get his sister-in-law off to Locust Street in the
carriage, Colonel Carvel came back. For two reeking hours he stood
against the newly plastered wall. Even he was surprised at the fortitude
and skill Virginia showed from the very first, when she had deftly cut
away the stiffened blue cloth, and helped to take off the rough bandages.
At length the fearful operation was finished, and the weary surgeon,
gathering up his box, expressed with all the energy left to him, his
thanks to the two ladies.

Virginia stood up, faint and dizzy. The work of her hands had sustained
her while it lasted, but now the ordeal was come. She went down the
stairs on her father's arm, and out into the air. All at once she knew
that Mrs. Brice was beside her, and had taken her by the hand.

"My dear?" she was saying, "God will reward you for this act. You have
taught many of us to-day a lesson we should have learned in our Bibles."

Virginia trembled with many emotions, but she answered nothing. The mere
presence of this woman had a strange effect upon the girl,--she was
filled with a longing unutterable. It was not because Margaret Brice was
the mother of him whose life had been so strangely blended with hers
--whom she saw in her dreams. And yet now some of Stephen's traits seemed
to come to her understanding, as by a revelation. Virginia had labored
through the heat of the day by Margaret Brice's side doing His work,
which levels all feuds and makes all women sisters. One brief second had
been needful for the spell.

The Colonel bowed with that courtesy and respect which distinguished him,
and Mrs. Brice left them to go back into the room of torment, and watch
by the sergeant's pallet. Virginia's eyes followed her up the stairs, and
then she and her father walked slowly to the carriage. With her foot on
the step Virginia paused.

"Pa," she said, "do you think it would be possible to get them to let us
take that Arkansan into our house?"

"Why, honey, I'll ask Brinsmade if you like," said the Colonel. "Here he
comes now, and Anne."

It was Virginia who put the question to him.

"My dear," replied that gentleman, patting her, "I would do anything in
the world for you. I'll see General Fremont this very afternoon.
Virginia," he added, soberly, "it is such acts as yours to-day that give
us courage to live in these times."

Anne kissed her friend.

"Oh, Jinny, I saw what you were doing for one of our men. What am I
saying?" she cried. "They are your men, too. This horrible war cannot
last. It cannot last. It was well that Virginia did not see the smile on
the face of the commanding general when Mr. Brinsmade at length got to
him with her request. This was before the days when the wounded arrived
by the thousands, when the zeal of the Southern ladies threatened to
throw out of gear the workings of a great system. But the General, had
had his eye on Mr. Carvel from the first. Therefore he smiled.

"Colonel Carvel," said Mr. Brinsmade, with dignity, "is a gentleman. When
he gives his word, it is sacred, sir."

"Even to an enemy," the General put in, "By George, Brinsmade, unless I
knew you, I should think that you were half rebel yourself. Well, well,
he may have his Arkansan."

Mr. Brinsmade, when he conveyed the news to the Carvel house, did not say
that he had wasted a precious afternoon in the attempt to interview his
Excellency, the Commander in-chief. It was like obtaining an audience
with the Sultan or the Czar. Citizens who had been prominent in affairs
for twenty years, philanthropists and patriotic-spirited men like Mr.
Brinsmade, the mayor, and all the ex-mayors mopped their brows in one of
the general's anterooms of the big mansion, and wrangled with beardless
youths in bright uniforms who were part of the chain. The General might
have been a Richelieu, a Marlborough. His European notions of uniformed
inaccessibility he carried out to the letter. He was a royal personage,
seldom seen, who went abroad in the midst of a glittering guard. It did
not seem to weigh with his Excellency that these simple and democratic
gentlemen would not put up with this sort of thing. That they who had
saved the city to the Union were more or less in communication with a
simple and democratic President; that in all their lives they had never
been in the habit of sitting idly for two hours to mop their brows.

On the other hand, once you got beyond the gold lace and the etiquette,
you discovered a good man and a patriot. It was far from being the
General's fault that Mr. Hopper and others made money in mules and
worthless army blankets. Such things always have been, and always will be
unavoidable when this great country of ours rises from the deep sleep of
security into which her sons have lulled her, to demand her sword. We
shall never be able to realize that the maintenance of a standing army of
comfortable size will save millions in the end. So much for Democracy
when it becomes a catchword.

The General was a good man, had he done nothing else than encourage the
Western Sanitary Commission, that glorious army of drilled men and women
who gave up all to relieve the suffering which the war was causing. Would
that a novel--a great novel--might be written setting forth with truth
its doings. The hero of it could be Calvin Brinsmade, and a nobler hero
than he was never under a man's hand. For the glory of generals fades
beside his glory.

It was Mr. Brinsmade's carriage that brought Mrs. Brice home from her
trying day in the hospital. Stephen, just returned from drill at Verandah
hall, met her at the door. She would not listen to his entreaties to
rest, but in the evening, as usual, took her sewing to the porch behind
the house, where there was a little breeze.

"Such a singular thing happened to-day, Stephen," she said. "It was while
we were trying to save the life of a poor sergeant who had lost his arm.
I hope we shall be allowed to have him here. He is suffering horribly."

"What happened, mother?" he asked.

"It was soon after I had come upon this poor fellow," she said. "I saw
the--the flies around him. And as I got down beside him to fan them away
I had such a queer sensation. I knew that some one was standing behind
me, looking at me. Then Dr. Allerdyce came, and I asked him about the
man, and he said there was a chance of saving him if we could only get
help. Then some one spoke up,--such a sweet voice. It was that Miss
Carvel my dear, with whom you had such a strange experience when you
bought Hester, and to whose party you once went. Do you remember that
they offered us their house in Glencoe when the Judge was so ill?"

"Yes," said Stephen.

"She is a wonderful creature," his mother continued. "Such personality,
such life! And wasn't it a remarkable offer for a Southern woman to make?
They feel so bitterly, and--and I do not blame them." The good lady put
down on her lap the night-shirt she was making. "I saw how it happened.
The girl was carried away by her pity. And, my dear, her capability
astonished me. One might have thought that she had always been a nurse.
The experience was a dreadful one for me--what must it have been for her.
After the operation was over, I followed her downstairs to where she was
standing with her father in front of the building, waiting for their
carriage. I felt that I must say something to her, for in all my life I
have never seen a nobler thing done. When I saw her there, I scarcely
knew what to say. Words seemed so inadequate. It was then three o'clock,
and she had been working steadily in that place since morning. I am sure
she could not have borne it much longer. Sheer courage carried her
through it, I know, for her hand trembled so when I took it, and she was
very pale. She usually has color, I believe. Her father, the Colonel, was
with her, and he bowed to me with such politeness. He had stood against
the wall all the while we had worked, and he brought a mattress for us. I
have heard that his house is watched, and that they have him under
suspicion for communicating with the Confederate leaders." Mrs. Brice
sighed. He seems such a fine character. I hope they will not get into any
trouble."

"I hope not, mother," said Stephen.

It was two mornings later that Judge Whipple and Stephen drove to the
Iron Mountain depot, where they found a German company of Home Guards
drawn up. On the long wooden platform under the sheds Stephen caught
sight of Herr Korner and Herr Hauptmann amid a group of their countrymen.
Little Korner came forward to clasp his hands. The tears ran on his
cheeks, and he could not speak for emotion. Judge Whipple, grim and
silent, stood apart. But he uncovered his head with the others when the
train rolled in. Reverently they entered a car where the pine boxes were
piled one on another, and they bore out the earthly remains of Captain
Carl Richter.

Far from the land of his birth, among those same oaks on Bloody Hill
where brave Lyon fell, he had gladly given up his life for the new
country and the new cause he had made his own.

That afternoon in the cemetery, as the smoke of the last salute to a hero
hung in the flickering light and drifted upward through the great trees,
as the still air was yet quivering with the notes of the bugle-call which
is the soldiers requiem, a tall figure, gaunt and bent, stepped out from
behind the blue line of the troops. It was that of Judge Whipple. He
carried in his hand a wreath of white roses--the first of many to be laid
on Richter's grave.

Poor Richter! How sad his life had been! And yet he had not filled it
with sadness. For many a month, and many a year, Stephen could not look
upon his empty place without a pang. He missed the cheery songs and the
earnest presence even more than he had thought. Carl Richter,--as his
father before him,--had lived for others. Both had sacrificed their
bodies for a cause. One of them might be pictured as he trudged with
Father Jahn from door to door through the Rhine country, or shouldering
at sixteen a heavy musket in the Landwehr's ranks to drive the tyrant
Napoleon from the beloved Fatherland Later, aged before his time, his
wife dead of misery, decrepit and prison-worn in the service of a
thankless country, his hopes lived again in Carl, the swordsman of Jena.
Then came the pitiful Revolution, the sundering of all ties, the elder
man left to drag out his few weary days before a shattered altar. In Carl
a new aspiration had sprung up, a new patriotism stirred. His, too, had
been the sacrifice. Happy in death, for he had helped perpetuate that
great Union which should be for all time the refuge of the oppressed.



CHAPTER IV

THE LIST OF SIXTY

One chilling day in November, when an icy rain was falling on the black
mud of the streets, Virginia looked out of the window. Her eye was caught
by two horses which were just skeletons with the skin stretched over
them. One had a bad sore on his flank, and was lame. They were pulling a
rattle-trap farm wagon with a buckled wheel. On the seat a man, pallid
and bent and scantily clad, was holding the reins in his feeble hands,
while beside him cowered a child of ten wrapped in a ragged blanket. In
the body of the wagon, lying on a mattress pressed down in the midst of
broken, cheap furniture and filthy kitchen ware, lay a gaunt woman in the
rain. Her eyes were closed, and a hump on the surface of the dirty quilt
beside her showed that a child must be there. From such a picture the
girl fled in tears. But the sight of it, and of others like it, haunted
her for weeks. Through those last dreary days of November, wretched
families, which a year since had been in health and prosperity, came to
the city, beggars, with the wrecks of their homes. The history of that
hideous pilgrimage across a state has never been written. Still they came
by the hundred, those families. Some brought little corpses to be buried.
The father of one, hale and strong when they started, died of pneumonia
in the public lodging-house. The walls of that house could tell many
tales to wring the heart. So could Mr. Brinsmade, did he choose to speak
of his own charities. He found time, between his labors at the big
hospital newly founded, and his correspondence, and his journeys of
love,--between early morning and midnight,--to give some hours a day to
the refugees.

Throughout December they poured in on the afflicted city, already
overtaxed. All the way to Springfield the road was lined with remains of
articles once dear--a child's doll, a little rocking-chair, a colored
print that has hung in the best room, a Bible text.

Anne Brinsmade, driven by Nicodemus, went from house to house to solicit
old clothes, and take them to the crowded place of detention. Christmas
was drawing near--a sorry Christmas, in truth. And many of the wanderers
were unclothed and unfed.

More battles had been fought; factions had arisen among Union men.
Another general had come to St. Louis to take charge of the Department,
and the other with his wondrous body-guard was gone.

The most serious problem confronting the new general--was how to care for
the refugees. A council of citizens was called at headquarters, and the
verdict went forth in the never-to-be-forgotten Orders No. 24.

"Inasmuch," said the General, "as the Secession army had driven these
people from their homes, Secession sympathizers should be made to support
them." He added that the city was unquestionably full of these.

Indignation was rife the day that order was published. Sixty prominent
"disloyalists" were to be chosen and assessed to make up a sum of ten
thousand dollars.

"They may sell my house over my head before I will pay a cent," cried Mr.
Russell. And he meant it. This was the way the others felt. Who were to
be on this mysterious list of "Sixty"? That was the all-absorbing
question of the town. It was an easy matter to pick the conspicuous ones.
Colonel Carvel was sure to be there, and Mr. Catherwood and Mr. Russell
and Mr. James, and Mr. Worington the lawyer. Mrs. Addison Colfax lived
for days in a fermented state of excitement which she declared would
break her down; and which, despite her many cares and worries, gave her
niece not a little amusement. For Virginia was human, and one morning she
went to her aunt's room to read this editorial from the newspaper:-- "For
the relief of many palpitating hearts it may be well to state that we
understand only two ladies are on the ten thousand dollar list."

"Jinny," she cried, "how can you be so cruel as to read me that, when you
know that I am in a state of frenzy now? How does that relieve me? It
makes it an absolute certainty that Madame Jules and I will have to pay.
We are the only women of importance in the city."

That afternoon she made good her much-uttered threat, and drove to
Bellegarde. Only the Colonel and Virginia and Mammy Easter and Ned were
left in the big house. Rosetta and Uncle Ben and Jackson had been hired
out, and the horses sold,--all save old Dick, who was running,
long-haired, in the fields at Glencoe.

Christmas eve was a steel-gray day, and the sleet froze as it fell. Since
morning Colonel Carvel had sat poking the sitting-room fire, or pacing
the floor restlessly. His occupation was gone. He was observed night and
day by Federal detectives. Virginia strove to amuse him, to conceal her
anxiety as she watched him. Well she knew that but for her he would long
since have fled southward, and often in the bitterness of the night-time
she blamed herself for not telling him to go. Ten years had seemed to
pass over him since the war had begun.

All day long she had been striving to put away from her the memory of
Christmas eves past and gone of her father's early home-coming from the
store, a mysterious smile on his face; of Captain Lige stamping noisily
into the house, exchanging uproarious jests with Ned and Jackson. The
Captain had always carried under his arm a shapeless bundle which he
would confide to Ned with a knowing wink. And then the house would be
lighted from top to bottom, and Mr. Russell and Mr. Catherwood and Mr.
Brinsmade came in for a long evening with Mr. Carvel over great bowls of
apple toddy and egg-nog. And Virginia would have her own friends in the
big parlor. That parlor was shut up now, and icy cold.

Then there was Judge Whipple, the joyous event of whose year was his
Christmas dinner at Colonel Carvel's house. Virginia pictured him this
year at Mrs. Brice's little table, and wondered whether he would miss
them as much as they missed him. War may break friendships, but it cannot
take away the sacredness of memories.

The sombre daylight was drawing to an early close as the two stood
looking out of the sitting-room window. A man's figure muffled in a
greatcoat slanting carefully across the street caught their eyes.
Virginia started. It was the same United States deputy marshal she had
seen the day before at Mr. Russell's house.

"Pa," she cried, "do you think he is coming here?"

"I reckon so, honey."

"The brute! Are you going to pay?"

"No, Jinny."

"Then they will take away the furniture."

"I reckon they will."

"Pa, you must promise me to take down the mahogany bed in your room. It
--it was mother's. I could not bear to see them take that. Let me put it in
the garret."

The Colonel was distressed, but he spoke without a tremor.

"No, Jinny. We must leave this house just as it is." Then he added,
strangely enough for him, "God's will be done."

The bell rang sharply. And Ned, who was cook and housemaid, came in with
his apron on.

"Does you want to see folks, Marse Comyn?"

The Colonel rose, and went to the door himself. He was an imposing figure
as he stood in the windy vestibule, confronting the deputy. Virginia's
first impulse was to shrink under the stairs. Then she came out and stood
beside her father.

"Are you Colonel Carvel?"

"I reckon I am. Will you come in?"

The officer took off his cap. He was a young man with a smooth face, and
a frank brown eye which paid its tribute to Virginia. He did not appear
to relish the duty thrust upon him. He fumbled in his coat and drew from
his inner pocket a paper.

"Colonel Carvel," said he, "by order of Major General Halleck, I serve
you with this notice to pay the sum of three hundred and fifty dollars
for the benefit of the destitute families which the Rebels have driven
from their homes. In default of payment within a reasonable time such
personal articles will be seized and sold at public auction as will
satisfy the demand against you."

The Colonel took the paper. "Very well, sir," he said. "You may tell the
General that the articles may be seized. That I will not, while in my
right mind, be forced to support persons who have no claim upon me."

It was said in the tone in which he might have refused an invitation to
dinner. The deputy marvelled. He had gone into many houses that week; had
seen indignation, hysterics, frenzy. He had even heard men and women
whose sons and brothers were in the army of secession proclaim their
loyalty to the Union. But this dignity, and the quiet scorn of the girl
who had stood silent beside them, were new. He bowed, and casting his
eyes to the vestibule, was glad to escape from the house.

The Colonel shut the door. Then he turned toward Virginia, thoughtfully
pulled his goatee, and laughed gently. "Lordy, we haven't got three
hundred and fifty dollars to our names," said he.

The climate of St. Louis is capricious. That fierce valley of the
Missouri, which belches fitful blizzards from December to March, is
sometimes quiet. Then the hot winds come up from the Gulf, and sleet
melts, and windows are opened. In those days the streets will be fetlock
deep in soft mud. It is neither summer, nor winter, nor spring, nor
anything.

It was such a languorous afternoon in January that a furniture van,
accompanied by certain nondescript persons known as United States Police,
pulled up at the curb in front of Mr. Carvel's house. Eugenie, watching
at the window across the street, ran to tell her father, who came out on
his steps and reviled the van with all the fluency of his French
ancestors.

Mammy Easter opened the door, and then stood with her arms akimbo, amply
filling its place. Her lips protruded, and an expression of defiance hard
to describe sat on her honest black face.

"Is this Colonel Carvel's house?"

"Yassir. I 'low you knows dat jes as well as me." An embarrassed silence,
and then from Mammy, "Whaffor you laffin at?"

"Is the Colonel at home?"

"Now I reckon you knows dat he ain't. Ef he was, you ain't come here
'quirin' in dat honey voice." (Raising her own voice.) "You tink I dunno
whaffor you come? You done come heah to rifle, an' to loot, an' to steal,
an' to seize what ain't your'n. You come heah when young Marse ain't to
home ter rob him." (Still louder.) "Ned, whaffor you hidin' yonder? Ef
yo' ain't man to protect Marse Comyn's prop-ty, jes han' over Marse
Comyn's gun."

The marshal and his men had stood, half amused, more than half baffled by
this unexpected resistance. Mammy Easter looked so dangerous that it was
evident she was not to be passed without extreme bodily discomfort.

"Is your mistress here?"

This question was unfortunate in the extreme.

"You--you white trash!" cried Mammy, bursting with indignation. "Who is
you to come heah 'quiring fo' her! I ain't agwine--"

"Mammy!"

"Yas'm! Yas, Miss Jinny." Mammy backed out of the door and clutched at
her bandanna.

"Mammy, what is all this noise about?" The torrent was loosed once more.

"These heah men, Miss Jinny, was gwine f'r t' carry away all yo' pa's
blongin's. I jes' tol' 'em dey ain't comin' in ovah dis heah body."

The deputy had his foot on the threshold. He caught sight of the face of
Miss Carvel within, and stopped abruptly.

"I have a warrant here from the Provost Marshal, ma'am, to seize personal
property to satisfy a claim against Colonel Carvel."

Virginia took the order, read it, and handed it back. "I do not see how I
am to prevent you," she said. The deputy was plainly abashed.

"I'm sorry, Miss. I--I can't tell you how sorry I am. But it's got to be
done."

Virginia nodded coldly. And still the man hesitated. "What are you
waiting for?" she said.

The deputy wiped his muddy feet. He made his men do likewise. Then he
entered the chill drawing-room, threw open the blinds and glanced around
him.

"I expect all that we want is right here," he said. And at the sight of
the great chandelier, with its cut-glass crystals, he whistled. Then he
walked over to the big English Rothfield piano and lifted the lid.

The man was a musician. Involuntarily he rested himself on the mahogany
stool, and ran his fingers over the keys. They seemed to Virginia,
standing motionless in the ball, to give out the very chords of agony.

The piano, too, had been her mother's. It had once stood in the brick
house of her grandfather Colfax at Halcyondale. The songs of Beatrice lay
on the bottom shelf of the what-not near by. No more, of an evening when
they were alone, would Virginia quietly take them out and play them over
to the Colonel, as he sat dreaming in the window with his cigar,
--dreaming of a field on the borders of a wood, of a young girl who held
his hand, and sang them softly to herself as she walked by his side. And,
when they reached the house in the October twilight, she had played them
for him on this piano. Often he had told Virginia of those days, and
walked with her over those paths.

The deputy closed the lid, and sent out to the van for a truck. Virginia
stirred. For the first time she heard the words of Mammy Easter.

"Come along upstairs wid yo' Mammy, honey. Dis ain't no place for us, I
reckon." Her words were the essence of endearment. And yet, while she
pronounced them, she glared unceasingly at the intruders. "Oh, de good
Lawd'll burn de wicked!"

The men were removing the carved legs. Virginia went back into the room
and stood before the deputy.

"Isn't there something else you could take? Some jewellery?" She flushed.
"I have a necklace--"

"No, miss. This warrant's on your father. And there ain't nothing quite
so salable as pianos."

She watched them, dry-eyed, as they carried it away. It seemed like a
coffin. Only Mammy Easter guessed at the pain in Virginia's breast, and
that was because there was a pain in her own. They took the rosewood
what-not, but Virginia snatched the songs before the men could touch
them, and held them in her arms. They seized the mahogany velvet-bottomed
chairs, her uncle's wedding present to her mother; and, last of all, they
ruthlessly tore up the Brussels carpet, beginning near the spot where
Clarence had spilled ice-cream at one of her children's parties.

She could not bear to look into the dismantled room when they had gone.
It was the embodied wreck of her happiness. Ned closed the blinds once
more, and she herself turned the key in the lock, and went slowly up the
stairs.



CHAPTER V

THE AUCTION

"Stephen," said the Judge, in his abrupt way, "there isn't a great deal
doing. Let's go over to the Secesh property sales."

Stephen looked up in surprise. The seizures and intended sale of
secession property had stirred up immense bitterness and indignation in
the city. There were Unionists (lukewarm) who denounced the measure as
unjust and brutal. The feelings of Southerners, avowed and secret, may
only be surmised. Rigid ostracism was to be the price of bidding on any
goods displayed, and men who bought in handsome furniture on that day
because it was cheap have still, after forty years, cause to remember it.

It was not that Stephen feared ostracism. Anne Brinsmade was almost the
only girl left to him from among his former circle of acquaintances. Miss
Carvel's conduct is known. The Misses Russell showed him very plainly
that they disapproved of his politics. The hospitable days at that house
were over. Miss Catherwood, when they met on the street, pretended not to
see him, and Eugenie Renault gave him but a timid nod. The loyal families
to whose houses he now went were mostly Southerners, in sentiment against
forced auctions.

However, he put on his coat, and sallied forth into the sharp air, the
Judge leaning on his arm. They walked for some distance in silence.

"Stephen," said he, presently, "I guess I'll do a little bidding."

Stephen did not reply. But he was astonished. He wondered what Mr.
Whipple wanted with fine furniture. And, if he really wished to bid,
Stephen knew likewise that no consideration would stop him.

"You don't approve of this proceeding, sir, I suppose," said the Judge.

"Yes, sir, on large grounds. War makes many harsh things necessary."

"Then," said the Judge, tartly, "by bidding, we help to support starving
Union families. You should not be afraid to bid, sir."

Stephen bit his lip. Sometimes Mr. Whipple made him very angry.

"I am not afraid to bid, Judge Whipple." He did not see the smile on the
Judge's face.

"Then you will bid in certain things for me," said Mr. Whipple. Here he
hesitated, and shook free the rest of the sentence with a wrench.
"Colonel Carvel always had a lot of stuff I wanted. Now I've got the
chance to buy it cheap."

There was silence again, for the space of a whole block. Finally, Stephen
managed to say:-- "You'll have to excuse me, sir. I do not care to do
that."

"What?" cried the Judge, stopping in the middle of a cross-street, so
that a wagon nearly ran over his toes.

"I was once a guest in Colonel Carvel's house, sir. And--"

"And what?"

Neither the young man nor the old knew all it was costing the other to
say these things. The Judge took a grim pleasure in eating his heart. And
as for Stephen, he often went to his office through Locust Street, which
was out of his way, in the hope that he might catch a glimpse of
Virginia. He had guessed much of the privations she had gone through. He
knew that the Colonel had hired out most of his slaves, and he had
actually seen the United States Police drive across Eleventh Street with
the piano that she had played on.

The Judge was laughing quietly,--not a pleasant laugh to hear,--as they
came to Morgan's great warerooms. A crowd blocked the pavement, and
hustled and shoved at the doors,--roughs, and soldiers off duty, and
ladies and gentlemen whom the Judge and Stephen knew, and some of whom
they spoke to. All of these were come out of curiosity, that they might
see for themselves any who had the temerity to bid on a neighbor's
household goods. The long hall, which ran from street to street, was
packed, the people surging backward and forward, and falling roughly
against the mahogany pieces; and apologizing, and scolding, and swearing
all in a breath. The Judge, holding tightly to Stephen, pushed his way
fiercely to the stand, vowing over and over that the commotion was a
secession trick to spoil the furniture and stampede the sale. In truth,
it was at the Judge's suggestion that a blue provost's guard was called
in later to protect the seized property.

How many of those mahogany pieces, so ruthlessly tumbled about before the
public eye, meant a heartache! Wedding presents of long ago, dear to many
a bride with silvered hair, had been torn from the corner where the
children had played--children who now, alas, were grown and gone to war.
Yes, that was the Brussels rug that had lain before the fire, and which
the little feet had worn in the corner. Those were the chairs the little
hands had harnessed, four in a row, and fallen on its side was the
armchair--the stage coach itself. There were the books, held up to common
gaze, that a beloved parent had thumbed with affection. Yes, and here in
another part of the hall were the family horses and the family carriage
that had gone so often back and forth from church with the happy brood of
children, now scattered and gone to war.

As Stephen reached his place beside the Judge, Mr. James's effects were
being cried. And, if glances could have killed, many a bidder would have
dropped dead. The heavy dining-room table which meant so much to the
family went for a song to a young man recently come from Yankeeland,
whose open boast it was--like Eliphalet's secret one--that he would one
day grow rich enough to snap his fingers in the face of the Southern
aristocrats. Mr. James was not there. But Mr. Catherwood, his face
haggard and drawn, watched the sideboard he had given his wife on her
silver wedding being sold to a pawnbroker.

Stephen looked in vain for Colonel Carvel--for Virginia. He did not want
to see them there. He knew by heart the list of things which had been
taken from their house. He understood the feeling which had sent the
Judge here to bid them in. And Stephen honored him the more.

When the auctioneer came to the Carvel list, and the well-known name was
shouted out, the crowd responded with a stir and pressed closer to the
stand. And murmurs were plainly heard in more than one direction.

"Now, gentlemen, and ladies," said the seller, "this here is a genuine
English Rothfield piano once belonging to Colonel Carvel, and the
celebrated Judge Colfax of Kaintucky." He lingered fondly over the names,
that the impression might have time to sink deep. "This here magnificent
instrument's worth at the very least" (another pause) "twelve hundred
dollars. What am I bid?"

He struck a base note of the keys, then a treble, and they vibrated in
the heated air of the big hall. Had he hit the little C of the top
octave, the tinkle of that also might have been heard.

"Gentlemen and ladies, we have to begin somewheres. What am I bid?"

A menacing murmur gave place to the accusing silence. Some there were who
gazed at the Rothfield with longing eyes, but who had no intention of
committing social suicide. Suddenly a voice, the rasp of which penetrated
to St. Charles Street, came out with a bid. The owner was a seedy man
with a straw-colored, drunkard's mustache. He was leaning against the
body of Mrs. Russell's barouche (seized for sale), and those about him
shrank away as from smallpox. His hundred-dollar offer was followed by a
hiss. What followed next Stephen will always remember. When Judge Whipple
drew himself up to his full six feet, that was a warning to those that
knew him. As he doubled the bid, the words came out with the aggressive
distinctness of a man who through a long life has been used to
opposition. He with the gnawed yellow mustache pushed himself clear of
the barouche, his smouldering cigar butt dropping to the floor. But there
were no hisses now.

And this is how Judge Whipple braved public opinion once more. As he
stood there, defiant, many were the conjectures as to what he could wish
to do with the piano of his old friend. Those who knew the Judge (and
there were few who did not) pictured to themselves the dingy little
apartment where he lived, and smiled. Whatever his detractors might have
said of him, no one was ever heard to avow that he had bought or sold
anything for gain.

A tremor ran through the people. Could it have been of admiration for the
fine old man who towered there glaring defiance at those about him? "Give
me a strong and consistent enemy," some great personage has said, "rather
than a lukewarm friend." Three score and five years the Judge had lived,
and now some were beginning to suspect that he had a heart. Verily he had
guarded his secret well. But it was let out to many more that day, and
they went home praising him who had once pronounced his name with
bitterness.

This is what happened. Before he of the yellow mustache could pick up his
cigar from the floor and make another bid, the Judge had cried out a sum
which was the total of Colonel Carvel's assessment. Many recall to this
day how fiercely he frowned when the applause broke forth of itself; and
when he turned to go they made a path for him, in admiration, the length
of the hall, down which he stalked, looking neither to the right nor
left. Stephen followed him, thankful for the day which had brought him
into the service of such a man.

And so it came about that the other articles were returned to Colonel
Carvel with the marshal's compliments, and put back into the cold parlor
where they had stood for many years. The men who brought them offered to
put down the carpet, but by Virginia's orders the rolls were stood up in
the corner, and the floor left bare. And days passed into weeks, and no
sign or message came from Judge Whipple in regard to the piano he had
bought. Virginia did not dare mention it to the Colonel.

Where was it? It had been carried by six sweating negroes up the narrow
stairs into the Judge's office. Stephen and Shadrach had by Mr. Whipple's
orders cleared a corner of his inner office and bedroom of papers and
books and rubbish, and there the bulky instrument was finally set up. It
occupied one-third of the space. The Judge watched the proceeding grimly,
choking now and again from the dust that was raised, yet uttering never a
word. He locked the lid when the van man handed him the key, and thrust
that in his pocket.

Stephen had of late found enough to do in St. Louis. He was the kind of
man to whom promotions came unsought, and without noise. In the autumn he
had been made a captain in the Halleck Guards of the State Militia, as a
reward for his indefatigable work in the armories and his knowledge of
tactics. Twice his company had been called out at night, and once they
made a campaign as far as the Merimec and captured a party of recruits
who were destined for Jefferson Davis. Some weeks passed before Mr.
Brinsmade heard of his promotion and this exploit, and yet scarcely a day
went by that he did not see the young man at the big hospital. For
Stephen helped in the work of the Sanitary Commission too, and so strove
to make up in zeal for the service in the field which he longed to give.

After Christmas Mr. and Mrs. Brinsmade moved out to their place on the
Bellefontaine Road. This was to force Anne to take a rest. For the girl
was worn out with watching at the hospitals, and with tending the
destitute mothers and children from the ranks of the refugees. The
Brinsmade place was not far from the Fair Grounds,--now a receiving camp
for the crude but eager regiments of the Northern states. To Mr.
Brinsmade's, when the day's duty was done, the young Union officers used
to ride, and often there would be half a dozen of them to tea. That
house, and other great houses on the Bellefontaine Road with which this
history has no occasion to deal, were as homes to many a poor fellow who
would never see home again. Sometimes Anne would gather together such
young ladies of her acquaintance from the neighbor hood and the city as
their interests and sympathies permitted to waltz with a Union officer,
and there would be a little dance. To these dances Stephen Brice was
usually invited.

One such occasion occurred on a Friday in January, and Mr. Brinsmade
himself called in his buggy and drove Stephen to the country early in the
afternoon. He and Anne went for a walk along the river, the surface of
which was broken by lumps of yellow ice. Gray clouds hung low in the sky
as they picked their way over the frozen furrows of the ploughed fields.
The grass was all a yellow-brown, but the north wind which swayed the
bare trees brought a touch of color to Anne's cheeks. Before they
realized where they were, they had nearly crossed the Bellegarde estate,
and the house itself was come into view, standing high on the slope above
the withered garden. They halted.

"The shutters are up," said Stephen. "I understood that Mrs. Colfax had
come out here not long a--"

"She came out for a day just before Christina," said Anne, smiling, "and
then she ran off to Kentucky. I think she was afraid that she was one of
the two women on the list of Sixty."

"It must have been a blow to her pride when she found that she was not,"
said Stephen, who had a keen remembrance of her conduct upon a certain
Sunday not a year gone.

Impelled by the same inclination, they walked in silence to the house and
sat down on the edge of the porch. The only motion in the view was the
smoke from the slave quarters twisting in the wind, and the hurrying ice
in the stream.

"Poor Jinny!" said Anne, with a sigh, "how she loved to romp! What good
times we used to have here together!"

"Do you think that she is unhappy?" Stephen demanded, involuntarily.

"Oh, yes," said Anne. "How can you ask? But you could not make her show
it. The other morning when she came out to our house I found her sitting
at the piano. I am sure there were tears in her eyes, but she would not
let me see them. She made some joke about Spencer Catherwood running
away. What do you think the Judge will do with that piano, Stephen?"

He shook his head.

"The day after they put it in his room he came in with a great black
cloth, which he spread over it. You cannot even see the feet."

There was a silence. And Anne, turning to him timidly, gave him a long,
searching look.

"It is growing late," she said. "I think that we ought to go back."

They went out by the long entrance road, through the naked woods. Stephen
said little. Only a little while before he had had one of those vivid
dreams of Virginia which left their impression, but not their substance,
to haunt him. On those rare days following the dreams her spirit had its
mastery over his. He pictured her then with a glow on her face which was
neither sadness nor mirth,--a glow that ministered to him alone. And yet,
he did not dare to think that he might have won her, even if politics and
war had not divided them.

When the merriment of the dance was at its height that evening, Stephen
stood at the door of the long room, meditatively watching the bright
gowns and the flash of gold on the uniforms as they flitted past.
Presently the opposite door opened, and he heard Mr. Brinsmade's voice
mingling with another, the excitable energy of which recalled some
familiar episode. Almost--so it seemed--at one motion, the owner of the
voice had come out of the door and had seized Stephen's hand in a warm
grasp,--a tall and spare figure in the dress of a senior officer. The
military frock, which fitted the man's character rather than the man, was
carelessly open, laying bare a gold-buttoned white waistcoat and an
expanse of shirt bosom which ended in a black stock tie. The ends of the
collar were apart the width of the red clipped beard, and the mustache
was cropped straight along the line of the upper lip. The forehead rose
high, and was brushed carelessly free of the hair. The nose was almost
straight, but combative. A fire fairly burned in the eyes.

"The boy doesn't remember me," said the gentleman, in quick tones,
smiling at Mr. Brinsmade.

"Yes, sir, I do," Stephen made haste to answer. He glanced at the star on
the shoulder strap, and said. "You are General Sherman."

"First rate!" laughed the General, patting him. "First rate!"

"Now in command at Camp Benton, Stephen," Mr. Brinsmade put in. "Won't
you sit down, General?"

"No," said the General, emphatically waving away the chair. "No, rather
stand." Then his keen face suddenly lighted with amusement,--and
mischief, Stephen thought. "So you've heard of me since we met, sir?"
"Yes, General."

"Humph! Guess you heard I was crazy," said the General, in his downright
way.

Stephen was struck dumb.

"He's been reading the lies in the newspapers too, Brinsmade," the
General went on rapidly. "I'll make 'em eat their newspapers for saying I
was crazy. That's the Secretary of War's doings. Ever tell you what
Cameron did, Brinsmade? He and his party were in Louisville last fall,
when I was serving in Kentucky, and came to my room in the Galt House.
Well, we locked the door, and Miller sent us up a good lunch and wine,
After lunch, the Secretary lay on my bed, and we talked things over. He
asked me what I thought about things in Kentucky. I told him. I got a
map. I said, 'Now, Mr. Secretary, here is the whole Union line from the
Potomac to Kansas. Here's McClellan in the East with one hundred miles of
front. Here's Fremont in the West with one hundred miles. Here we are in
Kentucky, in the centre, with three hundred miles to defend. McClellan
has a hundred thousand men, Fremont has sixty thousand. You give us
fellows with over three hundred miles only eighteen thousand.' 'How many
do you want?' says Cameron, still on the bed. 'Two hundred thousand
before we get through,' said I. Cameron pitched up his hands in the air.
'Great God?' says he, 'where are they to come from?' 'The northwest is
chuck full of regiments you fellows at Washington won't accept,' said I.
'Mark my words, Mr. Secretary, you'll need 'em all and more before we get
done with this Rebellion.' Well, sir, he was very friendly before we
finished, and I thought the thing was all thrashed out. No, sir! he goes
back to Washington and gives it out that I'm crazy, and want two hundred
thousand men in Kentucky. Then I am ordered to report to Halleck in
Missouri here, and he calls me back from Sedalia because he believes the
lies."

Stephen, who had in truth read the stories in question a month or two
before, could not conceal his embarrassment He looked at the man in front
of him,--alert, masterful intelligent, frank to any stranger who took his
fancy,--and wondered how any one who had talked to him could believe
them.

Mr. Brinsmade smiled. "They have to print something, General," he said.

"I'll give 'em something to print later on," answered the General,
grimly. Then his expression changed. "Brinsmade, you fellows did have a
session with Fremont, didn't you? Anderson sent me over here last
September, and the first man I ran across at the Planters' House was
Appleton. '--What are you in town for?' says he. 'To see Fremont,' I
said. You ought to have heard Appleton laugh. 'You don't think Fremont'll
see you, do you?' says he. 'Why not?' 'Well,' says Tom, 'go 'round to his
palace at six to-morrow morning and bribe that Hungarian prince who runs
his body-guard to get you a good place in the line of senators and
governors and first citizens, and before nightfall you may get a sight of
him, since you come from Anderson. Not one man in a hundred,' says
Appleton, I not one man in a hundred, reaches his chief-of-staff.' Next
morning," the General continued in a staccato which was often his habit,
"had breakfast before daybreak and went 'round there. Place just swarming
with Californians--army contracts." (The General sniffed.) Saw Fremont.
Went back to hotel. More Californians, and by gad--old Baron Steinberger
with his nose hanging over the register."

"Fremont was a little difficult to get at, General," said Mr. Brinsmade.
"Things were confused and discouraged when those first contracts were
awarded. Fremont was a good man, and it wasn't his fault that the
inexperience of his quartermasters permitted some of those men to get
rich."

"No," said the General. "His fault! Certainly not. Good man! To be sure
he was--didn't get along with Blair. These court-martials you're having
here now have stirred up the whole country. I guess we'll hear now how
those fortunes were made. To listen to those witnesses lie about each
other on the stand is better than the theatre."

Stephen laughed at the comical and vivid manner in which the General set
this matter forth. He himself had been present one day of the sittings of
the court-martial when one of the witnesses on the prices of mules was
that same seedy man with the straw-colored mustache who had bid for
Virginia's piano against the Judge.

"Come, Stephen," said the General, abruptly, "run and snatch one of those
pretty girls from my officers. They're having more than their share."

"They deserve more, sir," answered Stephen. Whereupon the General laid
his hand impulsively on the young man's shoulder, divining what Stephen
did not say.

"Nonsense!" said be; "you are doing the work in this war, not we. We do
the damage--you repair it. If it were not for Mr. Brinsmade and you
gentlemen who help him, where would our Western armies be? Don't you go
to the front yet a while, young man. We need the best we have in
reserve." He glanced critically at Stephen. "You've had military training
of some sort?"

"He's a captain in the Halleck Guards, sir," said Mr. Brinsmade,
generously, "and the best drillmaster we've had in this city. He's seen
service, too, General."

Stephen reddened furiously and started to protest, when the General
cried:-- "It's more than I have in this war. Come, come, I knew he was a
soldier. Let's see what kind of a strategist he'll make. Brinsmade, have
you got such a thing as a map?" Mr. Brinsmade had, and led the way back
into the library. The General shut the door, lighted a cigar with a
single vigorous stroke of a match, and began to smoke with quick puffs.
Stephen was puzzled how to receive the confidences the General was giving
out with such freedom.

When the map was laid on the table, the General drew a pencil from his
pocket and pointed to the state of Kentucky. Then he drew a line from
Columbus to Bowling Green, through Forts Donelson and Henry.

"Now, Stephen," said he, "there's the Rebel line. Show me the proper
place to break it."

Stephen hesitated a while, and then pointed at the centre.

"Good!" said the General. "Very good!" He drew a heavy line across the
first, and it ran almost in the bed of the Tennessee River. He swung on
Mr. Brinsmade. "Very question Halleck asked me the other day, and that's
how I answered it. Now, gentlemen, there's a man named Grant down in that
part of the country. Keep your eyes on him. Ever heard of him, Brinsmade?
He used to live here once, and a year ago he was less than I was. Now
he's a general."

The recollection of the scene in the street by the Arsenal that May
morning not a year gone came to Stephen with a shock.

"I saw him," he cried; "he was Captain Grant that lived on the Gravois
Road. But surely this can't be the same man who seized Paducah and was in
that affair at Belmont."

"By gum!" said the General, laughing. "Don't wonder you're surprised.
Grant has stuff in him. They kicked him around Springfield awhile, after
the war broke out, for a military carpet-bagger. Then they gave him for a
regiment the worst lot of ruffians you ever laid eyes on. He fixed 'em.
He made 'em walk the plank. He made 'em march halfway across the state
instead of taking the cars the Governor offered. Belmont! I guess he is
the man that chased the Rebs out of Belmont. Then his boys broke loose
when they got into the town. That wasn't Grant's fault. The Rebs came
back and chased 'em out into their boats on the river. Brinsmade, you
remember hearing about that.

"Grant did the coolest thing you ever saw. He sat on his horse at the top
of the bluff while the boys fell over each other trying to get on the
boat. Yes, sir, he sat there, disgusted, on his horse, smoking a cigar,
with the Rebs raising pandemonium all around him. And then, sir," cried
the General, excitedly, "what do you think he did? Hanged if he didn't
force his horse right on to his haunches, slide down the whole length of
the bank and ride him across a teetering plank on to the steamer. And the
Rebs just stood on the bank and stared. They were so astonished they
didn't even shoot the man. You watch Grant," said the General. "And now,
Stephen," he added, "just you run off and take hold of the prettiest girl
you can find. If any of my boys object, say I sent you."

The next Monday Stephen had a caller. It was little Tiefel, now a first
lieutenant with a bristly beard and tanned face, come to town on a few
days' furlough. He had been with Lyon at Wilson's Creek, and he had a sad
story to tell of how he found poor Richter, lying stark on that bloody
field, with a smile of peace upon his face. Strange that he should at
length have been killed by a sabre!

It was a sad meeting for those two, since each reminded the other of a
dear friend they would see no more on earth. They went out to sup
together in the German style; and gradually, over his beer, Tiefel forgot
his sorrow. Stephen listened with an ache to the little man's tales of
the campaigns he had been through. So that presently Tiefel cried out:

"Why, my friend, you are melancholy as an owl. I will tell you a funny
story. Did you ever hear of one General Sherman? He that they say is
crazy?"

"He is no more crazy than I am," said Stephen, warmly--

"Is he not?" answered Tiefel, "then I will show you a mistake. You recall
last November he was out to Sedalia to inspect the camp there, and he
sleeps in a little country store where I am quartered. Now up gets your
General Sherman in the middle of the night,--midnight,--and marches up
and down between the counters, and waves his arms. So, says he, 'land
so,' says he, 'Sterling Price will be here, and Steele here, and this
column will take that road, and so-and-so's a damned fool. Is not that
crazy? So he walks up and down for three eternal hours. Says he, 'Pope
has no business to be at Osterville, and Steele here at Sedalia with his
regiments all over the place. They must both go into camp at La Mine
River, and form brigades and divisions, that the troops may be handled.'"

"If that's insanity," cried Stephen so strongly as to surprise the little
man; "then I wish we had more insane generals. It just shows how a
malicious rumor will spread. What Sherman said about Pope's and Steele's
forces is true as Gospel, and if you ever took the trouble to look into
that situation, Tiefel, you would see it." And Stephen brought down his
mug on the table with a crash that made the bystanders jump.

"Himmel!" exclaimed little Tiefel. But he spoke in admiration.

It was not a month after that that Sherman's prophecy of the quiet
general who had slid down the bluff at Belmont came true. The whole
country bummed with Grant's praises. Moving with great swiftness and
secrecy up the Tennessee, in company with the gunboats of Commodore
Foote, he had pierced the Confederate line at the very point Sherman had
indicated. Fort Henry had fallen, and Grant was even then moving to
besiege Donelson.

Mr. Brinsmade prepared to leave at once for the battlefield, taking with
him too Paducah physicians and nurses. All day long the boat was loading
with sanitary stores and boxes of dainties for the wounded. It was muggy
and wet--characteristic of that winter--as Stephen pushed through the
drays on the slippery levee to the landing.

He had with him a basket his mother had put up. He also bore a message to
Mr. Brinsmade from the Judge It was while he was picking his way along
the crowded decks that he ran into General Sherman. The General seized
him unceremoniously by the shoulder.

"Good-by, Stephen," he said.

"Good-by, General," said Stephen, shifting his basket to shake hands.
"Are you going away?"

"Ordered to Paducah," said the General. He pulled Stephen off the guards
into an empty cabin. "Brice," said he, earnestly, "I haven't forgotten
how you saved young Brinsmade at Camp Jackson. They tell me that you are
useful here. I say, don't go in unless you have to. I don't mean force,
you understand. But when you feel that you can go in, come to me or write
me a letter. That is," he added, seemingly inspecting Stephen's white
teeth with approbation, "if you're not afraid to serve under a crazy
man."

It has been said that the General liked the lack of effusiveness of
Stephen's reply.



CHAPTER VI

ELIPHALET PLAYS HIS TRUMPS

Summer was come again. Through interminable days, the sun beat down upon
the city; and at night the tortured bricks flung back angrily the heat
with which he had filled them. Great battles had been fought, and vast
armies were drawing breath for greater ones to come.

"Jinny," said the Colonel one day, "as we don't seem to be much use in
town, I reckon we may as well go to Glencoe."

Virginia, threw her arms around her father's neck. For many months she
had seen what the Colonel himself was slow to comprehend--that his
usefulness was gone. The days melted into weeks, and Sterling Price and
his army of liberation failed to come. The vigilant Union general and his
aides had long since closed all avenues to the South. For, one fine
morning toward the end of the previous summer, when the Colonel was
contemplating a journey, he had read that none might leave the city
without a pass, whereupon he went hurriedly to the office of the Provost
Marshal. There he had found a number of gentlemen in the same plight,
each waving a pass made out by the Provost Marshal's clerks, and waiting
for that officer's signature. The Colonel also procured one of these, and
fell into line. The Marshal gazed at the crowd, pulled off his coat, and
readily put his name to the passes of several gentlemen going east. Next
came Mr. Bub Ballington, whom the Colonel knew, but pretended not to.

"Going to Springfield?" asked the Marshal, genially.

"Yes," said Bub.

"Not very profitable to be a minute-man, eh?" in the same tone.

The Marshal signs his name, Mr, Ballington trying not to look indignant
as he makes for the door. A small silver bell rings on the Marshal's
desk, the one word: "Spot!" breaks the intense silence, which is one way
of saying that Mr. Ballington is detained, and will probably be lodged
that night at Government expense.

"Well, Colonel Carvel, what can I do for you this morning?" asked the
Marshal, genially.

The Colonel pushed back his hat and wiped his brow. "I reckon I'll wait
till next week, Captain," said Mr. Carvel. "It's pretty hot to travel
just now."

The Provost Marshal smiled sweetly. There were many in the office who
would have liked to laugh, but it did not pay to laugh at some people.
Colonel Carvel was one of them.

In the proclamation of martial law was much to make life less endurable
than ever. All who were convicted by a court-martial of being rebels were
to have property confiscated, and slaves set free. Then there was a
certain oath to be taken by all citizens who did not wish to have
guardians appointed over their actions. There were many who swallowed
this oath and never felt any ill effects. Mr. Jacob Cluyme was one, and
came away feeling very virtuous. It was not unusual for Mr. Cluyme to
feel virtuous. Mr. Hopper did not have indigestion after taking it, but
Colonel Carvel would sooner have eaten, gooseberry pie, which he had
never tasted but once.

That summer had worn away, like a monster which turns and gives hot gasps
when you think it has expired. It took the Arkansan just a month, under
Virginia's care, to become well enough to be sent to a Northern prison He
was not precisely a Southern gentleman, and he went to sleep over the
"Idylls of the King." But he was admiring, and grateful, and wept when he
went off to the boat with the provost's guard, destined for a Northern
prison. Virginia wept too. He had taken her away from her aunt (who would
have nothing to do with him), and had given her occupation. She nor her
father never tired of hearing his rough tales of Price's rough army.

His departure was about the time when suspicions were growing set. The
favor had caused comment and trouble, hence there was no hope of giving
another sufferer the same comfort. The cordon was drawn tighter. One of
the mysterious gentlemen who had been seen in the vicinity of Colonel
Carvel's house was arrested on the ferry, but he had contrived to be rid
of the carpet-sack in which certain precious letters were carried.

Throughout the winter, Mr. Hopper's visits to Locust Street had continued
at intervals of painful regularity. It is not necessary to dwell upon his
brilliant powers of conversation, nor to repeat the platitudes which he
repeated, for there was no significance in Mr. Hopper's tales, not a
particle. The Colonel had found that out, and was thankful. His manners
were better; his English decidedly better.

It was for her father's sake, of course, that Virginia bore with him.
Such is the appointed lot of women. She tried to be just, and it occurred
to her that she had never before been just. Again and again she repeated
to herself that Eliphalet's devotion to the Colonel at this low ebb of
his fortunes had something in it of which she did not suspect him. She
had a class contempt for Mr. Hopper as an uneducated Yankee and a person
of commercial ideals. But now he was showing virtues,--if virtues they
were,--and she tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. With his great
shrewdness and business ability, why did he not take advantage of the
many opportunities the war gave to make a fortune? For Virginia had of
late been going to the store with the Colonel,--who spent his mornings
turning over piles of dusty papers, and Mr. Hopper had always been at his
desk.

After this, Virginia even strove to be kind to him, but it was uphill
work. The front door never closed after one of his visits that suspicion
was not left behind. Antipathy would assert itself. Could it be that
there was a motive under all this plotting? He struck her inevitably as
the kind who would be content to mine underground to attain an end. The
worst she could think of him was that he wished to ingratiate himself
now, in the hope that, when the war was ended, he might become a partner
in Mr. Carvel's business. She had put even this away as unworthy of her.

Once she had felt compelled to speak to her father on the subject.

"I believe I did him an injustice, Pa," she said. "Not that I like him
any better now. I must be honest about that. I simply can't like him. But
I do think that if he had been as unscrupulous as I thought, he would
have deserted you long ago for something more profitable. He would not be
sitting in the office day after day making plans for the business when
the war is over."

She remembered how sadly he had smiled at her over the top of his paper.

"You are a good girl, Jinny," he said.

Toward the end of July of that second summer riots broke out in the city,
and simultaneously a bright spot appeared on Virginia's horizon. This
took the form, for Northerners, of a guerilla scare, and an order was
promptly issued for the enrollment of all the able-bodied men in the ten
wards as militia, subject to service in the state, to exterminate the
roving bands. Whereupon her Britannic Majesty became extremely popular,
--even with some who claimed for a birthplace the Emerald Isle. Hundreds
who heretofore had valued but lightly their British citizenship made
haste to renew their allegiance; and many sought the office of the
English Consul whose claims on her Majesty's protection were vague, to
say the least. Broken heads and scandal followed. For the first time,
when Virginia walked to the store with her father, Eliphalet was not
there. It was strange indeed that Virginia defended him.

"I don't blame him for not wanting to fight for the Yankees," she said.

The Colonel could not resist a retort.

"Then why doesn't he fight for the South he asked"

"Fight for the South!" cried the young lady, scornfully. "Mr. Hopper
fight? I reckon the South wouldn't have him."

"I reckon not, too," said the Colonel, dryly.

For the following week curiosity prompted Virginia to take that walk with
the Colonel. Mr. Hopper being still absent, she helped him to sort the
papers--those grimy reminders of a more prosperous time gone by. Often
Mr. Carvel would run across one which seemed to bring some incident to
his mind; for he would drop it absently on his desk, his hand seeking his
chin, and remain for half an hour lost in thought. Virginia would not
disturb him.

Meanwhile there had been inquiries for Mr. Hopper. The Colonel answered
them all truthfully--generally with that dangerous suavity for which he
was noted. Twice a seedy man with a gnawed yellow mustache had come in to
ask Eliphalet's whereabouts. On the second occasion this individual
became importunate.

"You don't know nothin' about him, you say?" he demanded.

"No," said the Colonel.

The man took a shuffle forward.

"My name's Ford," he said. "I 'low I kin 'lighten you a little."

"Good day, sir," said the Colonel.

"I guess you'll like to hear what I've got to say."

"Ephum," said Mr. Carvel in his natural voice, "show this man out."

Mr. Ford slunk out without Ephum's assistance. But he half turned at the
door, and shot back a look that frightened Virginia.

"Oh, Pa," she cried, in alarm, "what did he mean?"

"I couldn't tell you, Jinny," he answered. But she noticed that he was
very thoughtful as they walked home. The next morning Eliphalet had not
returned, but a corporal and guard were waiting to search the store for
him. The Colonel read the order, and invited them in with hospitality. He
even showed them the way upstairs, and presently Virginia heard them all
tramping overhead among the bales. Her eye fell upon the paper they had
brought, which lay unfolded on her father's desk. It was signed Stephen
A. Brice, Enrolling Officer.

That very afternoon they moved to Glencoe, and Ephum was left in sole
charge of the store. At Glencoe, far from the hot city and the cruel war,
began a routine of peace. Virginia was a child again, romping in the
woods and fields beside her father. The color came back to her cheeks
once more, and the laughter into her voice. The two of them, and Ned and
Mammy, spent a rollicking hour in the pasture the freedom of which Dick
had known so long, before the old horse was caught and brought back into
bondage. After that Virginia took long drives with her father, and coming
home, they would sit in the summer house high above the Merimec,
listening to the crickets' chirp, and watching the day fade upon the
water. The Colonel, who had always detested pipes, learned to smoke a
corncob. He would sit by the hour, with his feet on the rail of the porch
and his hat tilted back, while Virginia read to him. Poe and Wordsworth
and Scott he liked, but Tennyson was his favorite. Such happiness could
not last.

One afternoon when Virginia was sitting in the summer house alone, her
thoughts wandering back, as they sometimes did, to another afternoon she
had spent there,--it seemed so long ago,--when she saw Mammy Easter
coming toward her.

"Honey, dey's comp'ny up to de house. Mister Hopper's done arrived. He's
on de porch, talkin' to your Pa. Lawsey, look wha he come!"

In truth, the solid figure of Eliphalet himself was on the path some
twenty yards behind her. His hat was in his hand; his hair was plastered
down more neatly than ever, and his coat was a faultless and sober
creation of a Franklin Avenue tailor. He carried a cane, which was
unheard of. Virginia sat upright, and patted her skirts with a gesture of
annoyance--what she felt was anger, resentment. Suddenly she rose, swept
past Mammy, and met him ten paces from the summer house.

"How-dy-do, Miss Virginia," he cried pleasantly. "Your father had a
notion you might be here." He said fayther.

Virginia gave him her hand limply. Her greeting would have frozen a man
of ardent temperament. But it was not precisely ardor that Eliphalet
showed. The girl paused and examined him swiftly. There was something in
the man's air to-day.

"So you were not caught?" she said.

Her words seemed to relieve some tension in him. He laughed noiselessly.

"I just guess I wahn't."

"How did you escape?" she asked, looking at him curiously.

"Well, I did, first of all. You're considerable smart, Miss Jinny, but
I'll bet you can't tell me where I was, now."

"I do not care to know. The place might save you again."

He showed his disappointment. "I cal'lated it might interest you to know
how I dodged the Sovereign State of Missouri. General Halleck made an
order that released a man from enrolling on payment of ten dollars. I
paid. Then I was drafted into the Abe Lincoln Volunteers; I paid a
substitute. And so here I be, exercising life, and liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness."

"So you bought yourself free?" said Virginia. "If your substitute gets
killed, I suppose you will have cause for congratulation."

Eliphalet laughed, and pulled down his cuffs. "That's his lookout, I
cal'late," said he. He glanced at the girl in a way that made her vaguely
uneasy. She turned from him, back toward the summer house. Eliphalet's
eyes smouldered as they rested upon her figure. He took a step forward.

"Miss Jinny?" he said.

"Yes?"

"I've heard considerable about the beauties of this place. Would you mind
showing me 'round a bit?" Virginia started. It was his tone now. Not
since that first evening in Locust Street had it taken on such assurance,
And yet she could not be impolite to a guest.

"Certainly not," she replied, but without looking up. Eliphalet led the
way. He came to the summer house, glanced around it with apparent
satisfaction, and put his foot on the moss-grown step. Virginia did a
surprising thing. She leaped quickly into the doorway before him, and
stood facing him, framed in the climbing roses.

"Oh, Mr. Hopper!" she cried. "Please, not in here." He drew back, staring
in astonishment at the crimson in her face.

"Why not?" he asked suspiciously--almost brutally. She had been groping
wildly for excuses, and found none.

"Because," she said, "because I ask you not to." With dignity: "That
should be sufficient."

"Well," replied Eliphalet, with an abortive laugh, "that's funny, now.
Womenkind get queer notions, which I cal'late we've got to respect and
put up with all our lives--eh?"

Her anger flared at his leer and at his broad way of gratifying her whim.
And she was more incensed than ever at his air of being at home--it was
nothing less.

The man's whole manner was an insult. She strove still to hide her
resentment.

"There is a walk along the bluff," she said, coldly, "where the view is
just as good."

But she purposely drew him into the right-hand path, which led, after a
little, back to the house. Despite her pace he pressed forward to her
side.

"Miss Jinny," said he, precipitately, "did I ever strike you as a
marrying man?"

Virginia stopped, and put her handkerchief to her face, the impulse
strong upon her to laugh. Eliphalet was suddenly transformed again into
the common commercial Yankee. He was in love, and had come to ask her
advice. She might have known it.

"I never thought of you as of the marrying kind, Mr. Hopper," she
answered, her voice quivering.

Indeed, he was irresistibly funny as he stood hot and ill at ease. The
Sunday coat bore witness to his increasing portliness by creasing across
from the buttons; his face, fleshy and perspiring, showed purple veins,
and the little eyes receded comically, like a pig's.

"Well, I've been thinking serious of late about getting married," he
continued, slashing the rose bushes with his stick. "I don't cal'late to
be a sentimental critter. I'm not much on high-sounding phrases, and such
things, but I'd give you my word I'd make a good husband."

"Please be careful of those roses, Mr. Hopper."

"Beg pardon," said Eliphalet. He began to lose track of his tenses--that
was the only sign he gave of perturbation. "When I come to St. Louis
without a cent, Miss Jinny, I made up my mind I'd be a rich man before I
left it. If I was to die now, I'd have kept that promise. I'm not
thirty-four, and I cal'late I've got as much money in a safe place as a
good many men you call rich. I'm not saying what I've got, mind you. All
in proper time.

"I'm a pretty steady kind. I've stopped chewing--there was a time when I
done that. And I don't drink nor smoke."

"That is all very commendable, Mr. Hopper," Virginia said, stifling a
rebellious titter. "But,--but why did you give up chewing?"

"I am informed that the ladies are against it," said Eliphalet,--"dead
against it. You wouldn't like it in a husband, now, would you?"

This time the laugh was not to be put down. "I confess I shouldn't," she
said.

"Thought so," he replied, as one versed. His tones took on a nasal twang.
"Well, as I was saying, I've about got ready to settle down, and I've had
my eye on the lady this seven years."

"Marvel of constancy!" said Virginia. "And the lady?"

"The lady," said Eliphalet, bluntly, "is you." He glanced at her
bewildered face and went on rapidly: "You pleased me the first day I set
eyes on you in the store I said to myself, 'Hopper, there's the one for
you to marry.' I'm plain, but my folks was good people. I set to work
right then to make a fortune for you, Miss Jinny. You've just what I
need. I'm a plain business man with no frills. You'll do the frills.
You're the kind that was raised in the lap of luxury. You'll need a man
with a fortune, and a big one; you're the sort to show it off. I've got
the foundations of that fortune, and the proof of it right here. And I
tell you,"--his jaw was set,--"I tell you that some day Eliphalet Hopper
will be one of the richest men in the West."

He had stopped, facing her in the middle of the way, his voice strong,
his confidence supreme. At first she had stared at him in dumb wonder.
Then, as she began to grasp the meaning of his harangue, astonishment was
still dominant,--sheer astonishment. She scarcely listened. But, as he
finished, the thatch of the summer house caught her eye. A vision arose
of a man beside whom Eliphalet was not worthy to crawl. She thought of
Stephen as he had stood that evening in the sunset, and this proposal
seemed a degradation. This brute dared to tempt her with money. Scalding
words rose to her lips. But she caught the look on Eliphalet's face, and
she knew that he would not understand. This was one who rose and fell,
who lived and loved and hated and died and was buried by--money.

For a second she looked into his face as one who escapes a pit gazes over
the precipice, and shuddered. As for Eliphalet, let it not be thought
that he had no passion. This was the moment for which he had lived since
the day he had first seen her and been scorned in the store. That type of
face, that air,--these were the priceless things he would buy with his
money. Crazed with the very violence of his long-pent desire, he seized
her hand. She wrung it free again.

"How--how dare you!" she cried.

He staggered back, and stood for a moment motionless, as though stunned.
Then, slowly, a light crept into his little eyes which haunted her for
many a day.

"You--won't--marry me?" he said.

"Oh, how dare you ask me!" exclaimed Virginia, her face burning with the
shame of it. She was standing with her hands behind her, her back against
a great walnut trunk, the crusted branches of which hung over the bluff.
Even as he looked at her, Eliphalet lost his head, and indiscretion
entered his soul.

"You must!" he said hoarsely. "You must! You've got no notion of my
money, I say."

"Oh!" she cried, "can't you understand? If you owned the whole of
California, I would not marry you." Suddenly he became very cool. He
slipped his hand into a pocket, as one used to such a motion, and drew
out some papers.

"I cal'late you ain't got much idea of the situation, Miss Carvel," he
said; "the wheels have been a-turning lately. You're poor, but I guess
you don't know how poor you are,--eh? The Colonel's a man of honor, ain't
he?"

For her life she could not have answered,--nor did she even know why she
stayed to listen.

"Well," he said, "after all, there ain't much use in your lookin' over
them papers. A woman wouldn't know. I'll tell you what they say: they say
that if I choose, I am Carvel & Company."

The little eyes receded, and he waited a moment, seemingly to prolong a
physical delight in the excitement and suffering of a splendid creature.
The girl was breathing fast and deep.

"I cal'late you despise me, don't you?" he went on, as if that, too, gave
him pleasure. "But I tell you the Colonel's a beggar but for me. Go and
ask him if I'm lying. All you've got to do is to say you'll be my wife,
and I tear these notes in two. They go over the bluff." (He made the
motion with his hands.) "Carvel & Company's an old firm,--a respected
firm. You wouldn't care to see it go out of the family, I cal'late."

He paused again, triumphant. But she did none of the things he expected.
She said, simply:--"Will you please follow me, Mr. Hopper."

And he followed her,--his shrewdness gone, for once.

Save for the rise and fall of her shoulders she seemed calm. The path
wound through a jungle of waving sunflowers and led into the shade in
front of the house. There was the Colonel sitting on the porch. His pipe
lay with its scattered ashes on the boards, and his head was bent
forward, as though listening. When he saw the two, he rose expectantly,
and went forward to meet them. Virginia stopped before him.

"Pa," she said, "is it true that you have borrowed money from this man?"

Eliphalet had seen Mr. Carvel angry once, and his soul had quivered.
Terror, abject terror, seized him now, so that his knees smote together.
As well stare into the sun as into the Colonel's face. In one stride he
had a hand in the collar of Eliphalet's new coat, the other pointing down
the path.

"It takes just a minute to walk to that fence, sir," he said sternly. "If
you are any longer about it, I reckon you'll never get past it. You're a
cowardly hound, sir!" Mr. Hopper's gait down the flagstones was an
invention of his own. It was neither a walk, nor a trot, nor a run, but a
sort of sliding amble, such as is executed in nightmares. Singing in his
head was the famous example of the eviction of Babcock from the store,
--the only time that the Colonel's bullet had gone wide. And down in the
small of his back Eliphalet listened for the crack of a pistol, and
feared that a clean hole might be bored there any minute. Once outside,
he took to the white road, leaving a trail of dust behind him that a
wagon might have raised. Fear lent him wings, but neglected to lift his
feet.

The Colonel passed his arm around his daughter, and pulled his goatee
thoughtfully. And Virginia, glancing shyly upward, saw a smile in the
creases about his mouth: She smiled, too, and then the tears hid him from
her.

Strange that the face which in anger withered cowards and made men look
grave, was capable of such infinite tenderness,--tenderness and sorrow.
The Colonel took Virginia in his arms, and she sobbed against his
shoulder, as of old.

"Jinny, did he--?"

"Yes--"

"Lige was right, and--and you, Jinny--I should never have trusted him.
The sneak!"

Virginia raised her head. The sun was slanting in yellow bars through the
branches of the great trees, and a robin's note rose above the bass
chorus of the frogs. In the pauses, as she listened, it seemed as if she
could hear the silver sound of the river over the pebbles far below.

"Honey," said the Colonel,--"I reckon we're just as poor as white trash."

Virginia smiled through her tears.

"Honey," he said again, after a pause, "I must keep my word and let him
have the business."

She did not reproach him.

"There is a little left, a very little," he continued slowly, painfully.
"I thank God that it is yours. It was left you by Becky--by your mother.
It is in a railroad company in New York, and safe, Jinny."

"Oh, Pa, you know that I do not care," she cried. "It shall be yours and
mine together. And we shall live out here and be happy."

But she glanced anxiously at him nevertheless. He was in his familiar
posture of thought, his legs slightly apart, his felt hat pushed back,
stroking his goatee. But his clear gray eyes were troubled as they sought
hers, and she put her hand to her breast.

"Virginia," he said, "I fought for my country once, and I reckon I'm some
use yet awhile. It isn't right that I should idle here, while the South
needs me, Your Uncle Daniel is fifty-eight, and Colonel of a Pennsylvania
regiment.--Jinny, I have to go."

Virginia said nothing. It was in her blood as well as his. The Colonel
had left his young wife, to fight in Mexico; he had come home to lay
flowers on her grave. She knew that he thought of this; and, too, that
his heart was rent at leaving her. She put her hands on his shoulders,
and he stooped to kiss her trembling lips.

They walked out together to the summer-house, and stood watching the
glory of the light on the western hills. "Jinn," said the Colonel, "I
reckon you will have to go to your Aunt Lillian. It--it will be hard. But
I know that my girl can take care of herself. In case--in case I do not
come back, or occasion should arise, find Lige. Let him take you to your
Uncle Daniel. He is fond of you, and will be all alone in Calvert House
when the war is over. And I reckon that is all I have to say. I won't pry
into your heart, honey. If you love Clarence, marry him. I like the boy,
and I believe he will quiet down into a good man."

Virginia did not answer, but reached out for her father's hand and held
its fingers locked tight in her own. From the kitchen the sound of Ned's
voice rose in the still evening air.

     "Sposin' I was to go to N' Orleans an' take sick and die,
     Laik a bird into de country ma spirit would fly."

And after a while down the path the red and yellow of Mammy Easter's
bandanna was seen.

"Supper, Miss Jinny. Laws, if I ain't ramshacked de premises fo' you bof.
De co'n bread's gittin' cold."

That evening the Colonel and Virginia thrust a few things into her little
leather bag they had chosen together in London. Virginia had found a
cigar, which she hid until they went down to the porch, and there she
gave it to him; when he lighted the match she saw that his hand shook.

Half an hour later he held her in his arms at the gate, and she heard his
firm tread die in the dust of the road. The South had claimed him at
last.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Crisis, the — Volume 06" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home