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Title: The Broken Sword - A Pictorial Page in Reconstruction
Author: Worthington, Dennison
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 "The Broken Sword - A Pictorial Page in Reconstruction" ***

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                      The Broken Sword


   A Pictorial Page in Reconstruction. By D. Worthington.



[Illustration: Alice Seymour]



                      THE BROKEN SWORD:

                            --OR--

              A PICTORIAL PAGE IN RECONSTRUCTION


                            --BY--

                        D. WORTHINGTON.


                         WILSON, N. C.:

                       P. D. GOLD & SONS,
                             1901.



          This work is respectfully inscribed to the

                Daughters of the Confederacy

                       By the Author,

      Who followed, as their fathers did, the "Southern
                           Cross."



INDEX.

                                             CHAP.     PAGE

  Introductory.                                         III

  Looking Backward                               I        9
  Our Scotch-Irish                              II       25
  The Assassins of the Peace of the South      III       34
  Types and Shadows                             IV       45
  Patriotic Men Deliberating                     V       60
  The Mills Are Grinding                        VI       72
  A Politician of the New School               VII       85
  Memorial Day                                VIII       96
  The Broken Cruse                              IX      109
  Freedom in Flower                              X      121
  The Majesty of the Law                        XI      139
  Home Again                                   XII      146
  A Knight of the White Camelia               XIII      153
  The Oath of Fealty                           XIV      174
  The Black Diplomat                            XV      185
  Under the Hammer                             XVI      197
  A House Warming                             XVII      208
  The Writ of Ejectment                      XVIII      218
  The Coroner's Inquest                        XIX      232
  A Daniel Come to Judgment                     XX      247
  An Unseen Hand Upon the Lever                XXI      259
  An Hour With Dickens                        XXII      273
  The Absent Minded Judge                    XXIII      281
  The Dipping of the Red Stars                XXIV      303
  The Parting of the Ways                      XXV      316


            ILLUSTRATED BY JAMES DEMPSEY BULLOCK.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                               Page

  Alice Seymour                                      _Frontispiece_

  "Ef yu wus to brake loose und drap, yu'd bust up
  ebery scalyhorg inde Souf."                                    44

  "Dare goes joshaway, now, wid Ole Glory strowed er
  roun' him, steppin lak a rare-hoss over de tater
  ridges."                                                       84

  "Kase de high shurruff he dun und seed what wuz
  ergwine ter cum arter de bellion fell, und he
  flopped ober ter de publikins"--"Ole Mars jon
  haint ergwine ter flop nowheys," replied
  Clarissa                                                      120

  "I'm ergwins back lak dat prodigle man dat et up
  dem corn cobs way out yander to de tuther eend
  o'de yearth."                                                 173



ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.



INTRODUCTION.

     "I have considered the oppressions that are done under the sun, and
     on the side of the oppressor there is power."


In the enforcement of the policy of Reconstruction in the South, the
evidences were from day to day becoming so cumulative and decisive, that
nothing but the discipline of an enraged party, coupled with the
"spoils" principle, prevented the whole mass of the community from a
universal expression of its desire to have it abandoned. Reasoning men
everywhere felt that it must continue to multiply its mischiefs. "But,"
said its authors, "treason must be made odious, and the late
insurrectionary States must feel that there is a higher law than that
promulgated by their ordinances of secession."

The Spanish inquisition, now the abhorrence of all enlightened minds,
was long sustained in many centuries by the tyrants' plea of necessity.
In the burning of a thousand heretics the religious zealot saw the hand
of God; in the destruction of a thousand sorcerers, the fanatic
discerned the commonweal of the people; so in the whipcords with which
the people of the South were so mercilessly scourged, there was found an
antiseptic for the gangrenous wounds inflicted by the civil war. All
these cruelties were legalized, while bleeding humanity was sinking
under the burden of oppression. In the collision of exasperated
passions, it is the temper of aggression that always strikes the first
blow. The government of the South by carpet-baggers was essentially
oppressive and inquisitorial. It was, in its practical operation, a pure
and unadulterated despotism, superseding the protection guaranteed by
the Federal Constitution to each and every State. It was under the
dominion of an organized anarchy, with legislatures and courts of
justice, subordinated to a lawless assemblage of unprincipled men
calling themselves the representatives and judges of the people. Among
its necessarily implied powers was that of confiscation; and numbered in
its enumeration of brutalities, was a nameless crime that shocked the
moral sense of mankind. Reconstruction came upon the South with fearful
impulse.

Perhaps the "hour is on the wing," when a worthier hand will write the
history of the institutional age that was sandwiched between the slavery
civilization ante-dating the sixties, and that which minimized the
pernicious power of manhood suffrage at the close of the century; or
perhaps when that remnant that still survives in the weakness of age to

    "Weep o'er their wounds, o'er tales of sorrow done.
    Shoulder their crutch and show how fields are won."

shall have "passed over the river;" when the threnody of the "olden
days" which to us is like the music of Carrol along the hills of
Slimora, "pleasant, but mournful to the soul," shall be forgotten, some
ambitious youth will uplift the veil; will take a glance of the whole
horizon, and the south will unbosom her griefs that have been so long
concealed. It will not do for a hand that drew the sword to guide the
pen. By a law of our nature all passive impressions impair our moral
sensibilities. Contact with misery renders us callous to those
experiences; a constant view of vice lessens its deformity. If any
expression in this humble narrative shall appear ill-tempered, let me
say in the language of Themistocles at the battle of Salamis, "Strike,
but hear me." The whole country has long since repudiated the dogma that
"all men are born free and equal" and endowed with certain
imprescriptible and inalienable rights. This heresy of course found its
highest expression in the post-bellum amendments to the constitution,
and the remedial statutes which made their efficiency complete. The war
was the logical fulfillment of prophecies that had their forecast in the
public councils before the nullification doctrine was forced upon the
Senate by Mr. Calhoun. It sprang without extraneous aid from
uninterpretable expressions in the organic law, which were finally
explained away in the effusion of blood. Reconstruction, in the
conception of men who provided the sinews of war, was the prolific
aftermath; and in this harvest field, the gleaners plied their vocation
with merciless activity, reinforced in their villainies by the freedmen,
who, in an experimental way, were publicly evincing their unfitness for
citizenship. The Civil war gendered this brood that filled the South
with horror, and their disorders and tumults precipitated a crisis that
plunged the Southland into a paroxysm from the Potomac to the Rio
Grande. There was no refuge from an evil that was all-pervasive. The
great war with its pageants and sacrifices, its banners and generals,
its storming soldiery and reservoirs of human blood was almost thrust
out of the memory as the patriots of the sixties stood face to face to
the all-encompassing perils of reconstruction. They saw the flag of the
Union--the almost lifeless emblem of the genius of their
liberties--frown feebly at the promulgation of a law that disfranchised
300,000 American citizens. The old banner seemed to turn her eye to the
eagle at her staff-head and ask him to lend her his wide-spreading
pinions, that she might bend the wing and fly away from the polluted
spot--from the embodied forms of evil and ruin. Almost every utterance
of the complaining tongue that was syllabled into speech, was to this
effect: "Will our country--our civilization--withstand the shock?" Our
Southern characters had been enriched by an assemblage of all the
treasures which refined intellect could accumulate; we had wisely built
upon foundations of public virtue; our institutions had the permanency
of age and respectability, and exhibited everywhere the fullest maturity
of athletic vigor. The paroles of Southern soldiers amnestied them from
arrest for past military offences, but the clothing which their poverty
obliged them to wear marked the target at which the lawless and vicious
shot at their will. Personal and State rights were abridged until
nothing was left of the sovereignty of the barren commonwealths or the
enthralled individual. There were no juries of the vicinage but negroes;
and daily the broken-hearted people were unwittingly aggrandizing
rapacious officials. To the most depraved of the negroes the
carpet-baggers were constantly appealing with arguments that stirred
their blood. This narrative will not in an historical sense deal with
the subject of reconstruction; from its want of compactness and
continuity it would prove inefficient as a lesson or a guide. We
present, however, imperfect portraits of a few men and women who were
unfortunately in the pathway of the storm that stripped the husbandman
of the fruits of his labor, the Southron of his liberty, stifled the
cries of the distressed, and rendered the tenures of property unstable
and insecure. In no conjuncture in which this paroxysm of politics
placed the former masters of slaves, did they abate their care and zeal
for their betterment. Monuments of brass and sculptured stone are not
sufficiently enduring to memorialize the virtues of the negroes of the
old plantations of the South, who watched and waited for the avenging
arm of Providence to right the wrongs of old master. May God's mercy
rest and abide upon this scattered remnant, that, like autumn's leaves
in the forest, have been blown hither and thither by the wraith of the
tempest.

[Illustration]



THE BROKEN SWORD.



CHAPTER I.

LOOKING BACKWARD.


I have surrendered at discretion to vagrant thoughts. Just as the idle
school-boy will pause beside the limpid stream to watch its eddying
waters as they go on and on, "never hasting, never resting," so I sit
to-night in the haze of the years that are dead, with the mind sadly
reminiscent, and I watch the shadows as they seem to sketch upon the
memory the familiar faces of our loved and lost, and I hear their
laughter and songs--grateful echoes from the realm of the long ago. I am
gazing again upon the sepulchre of the old South, after the plowshare
of war and reconstruction had run the last furrow. In the garnering of
the red harvest did our men and women of the sixties maintain themselves
with a proper decorum? Were they less patriotic, less self-sacrificing,
less ready with heart and hand to divert the destructive revolution of
principle than their fathers of '76, who in the upbuilding of
republican institutions wavered not in their purpose; when the terror
and ignominy of the scaffold were before them; when they knew their
blood must cement the foundations of the structure they were rearing,
and they themselves become the first sacrifice in the temple of liberty,
which they were dedicating? In that epoch and since we have been making
the grand experiment of self-government; not as Rome made it, when
liberty there was only a name for licentiousness; not as Greece made it,
when a demagogue swayed the deluded masses and lacked only a throne to
make him a king; but with a constitution that should deserve the
encomium of the people, for the unutterable blessings it should bestow;
a constitution impervious to unjust exactions and unpatriotic
suggestions, we hoped for a policy dictated in a spirit of compromise;
but as I look back upon the eventful past, the first adventure of Gil
Blas occurs to me. He had been furnished by his uncle with a sorry mule
and thirty or forty pistoles, and sent forth to seek his fortune. He set
out accordingly, but had not proceeded far from home, when, sitting on
his beast counting his pistoles with much satisfaction, into his hat,
the mule suddenly raised its head and pricked up its ears. Gil Blas
looked around to see the cause of its alarm, and perceived an old hat
upon the ground in the middle of the road, with a rosary of very large
beads in it. At the same time he heard a voice addressing him in a very
pathetic tone, "Good traveler, in the name of the merciful God, and of
all the saints, do drop a few pistoles in the hat." Looking in the
direction from which these words proceeded, he saw to his dismay the
muzzle of a blunderbuss projecting through the hedge, and pointing
directly at his head. Gil Blas, not much pleased with the looks of the
pious mendicant, dropped a few pistoles in the hat and scampered away as
fast as he could. This slight narrative presents to the mind of the
writer the most perfect emblem of the pacific remedy of reconstruction
in its beginning.

To the contemplative mind there is a melancholy pleasure in looking
backward; as shadows will enter unbidden into the camera obscura,
though every portal appears securely guarded; so memories will flit
fantastically into the imagination when every approach seems closed
against intrusion. I am looking backward, as it were, through a smoked
glass, for a great sunburst is within the radius of vision, a sunburst
that cheered our tired eyes with its thousand scintillant gleams in the
hot days of August A. D. Nineteen Hundred.

Looking backward upon a picturesque civilization--upon the old
homesteads and plantations of the South, with their hallowed
associations and ideals--with their impedimenta not of human chattels,
but of compact masses of freed slaves, the underpinning of that
civilization in its concrete form.

I have asked the historian, the essayist, the chronicler, the
clairvoyant, to aid me in the retrospection, but they answer dubiously.
There is no trodden path that I may pursue. No friendly hand that I may
clasp as I stride across fens and brakes, and morasses: even the echoes
of receding footsteps, like the laughter of happy voices are hushed and
dead "lang syne." There are faded letters however that I may read;
broken swords and battered shields hanging upon decaying walls; moth
eaten uniforms in garret and closet, that will guide me backward. The
line of vision is traversed by unwieldy throngs of dilapidated men, in
tattered gray clothes, without a federal head, without intelligent
momentum, breaking up and dissolving like icebergs drifting southward;
they are coming back home where there is neither grain for the sickle,
nor hope for the husbandman: coming back to little cottages where lights
in the windows kept burning for dear papa flickered and spumed, then
died down into the rustic candlesticks, when the little watchful eyes so
tired and weary, closed upon the moonlight that shimmered within the
humble chamber.

Looking back over grave yards, where we reverently laid away our jewels
to be placed by the Great Lapidary in His Crown by and by, when we shall
all rise from our sleep and shine in His emitted glory. Looking backward
over a strange realm, without boundaries or capitals, where there are no
soldiers and no battle fields, and where every thing is so fragrant and
ethereal. Here we may fashion pictures and weave around them gossamer
draperies as insubstantial as this golden twilight.

Hard-hitting, rough-riding moss-troopers rode over the subjugated
domains of the bewildered South, with swords that flashed and turned
every way like Alaric's; rode hither to obliterate the past, its
monuments, its shrines, its traditions; to scarify the old south with
harrows and bayonets; its altars, its homes, its civilization, and to
fetter with chains a great warlike people, with a purpose as fatuous as
ever animated the swart maid of Philistia. Against this senseless
vengeance, the South rebelled again with the same old defiance, the same
old manhood. You may prod the wounded lion with pikes and sabres, but
you cannot tread upon it with iron heels without hearing its roar and
feeling its fangs. To these marauders, the old South was but a moor fowl
to be plucked and eaten. To us she was dynastic, like Hapsburg,
Plantagenet or Hohenzollern. To them the South was a huge incubator, out
of which was hatched "Stratagems and treasons:" To us she was a Queen,
still wearing the purple, still grasping the sceptre, as in past
evolutions and crises. She was Our Queen when a full century ago, and
before there was a cabin upon her plantations she pleaded for the
emancipation of slaves and was insultingly asked to withdraw her
petition by the Merchant Marine of Massachusetts. She was Our Queen
when envenomed abolitionists were gathering the aftermath of the "Higher
law proclamation;" she was Our Queen when Ossawattomie Brown unleashed
his bloodhounds upon a fresher trail at Harper's Ferry; she was Our
Queen when Sumpter ran up a flag that had never before fluttered in a
gale, never before greeted a young nation with its maiden blushes,
followed by the hopes, the prayers, the aspirations, faith and loyalty
of ten million men, women and children; Our Queen when "old Traveler"
was stripped of his dust covered housings and led ever so weary back
into Old Mars. Bob's stables; Our Queen when the last cavalier wiped the
blood from his sabre and scabbarded it forever. God grant she may always
be Our Queen that we may be her liegemen, leal and right trusty in all
catastrophes! Hence we go back to think of her, to write of her, though
a widow bereaved of her husband, and a mother who has buried her first
born. There is no sword now to gleam like a flash of light over the
plumes of charging squadrons: there is no guidon to mark the line of
direction through defile and mountain pass: no call of the bugle "to
saddle and away," no thanksgiving like that of Jackson; "God crowned our
arms with Victory at McDowell yesterday;" No smile like that of Lee as
the Army of the Potomac with trailing banners was double quicking back
to Washington. Ah! no, but the old South through her blinding tears is
smiling still; her dear old face re-lighted by a fresher inspiration.

A trifling dash of time between 1860 and 1870, but events have been
packed away within that decade, that would overlap the four corners of
any other century in the calendar. Within those years were compounded
somewhere in laboratories all the combustible elements of war and
pillage; the casting the projectiles that would destroy a hemisphere.
Broken hearts--crushed hopes--desolated homes, an enslaved country,
wrongs, indignities, outrages, oppressions, all, all wrought by the
cruel instrumentalities of great masters of tragedy. Here is an old
mansion with turrets and esplanades and terraces long neglected and
sadly out of repair. Here are great oaks of a century's growth planted
and pruned by hands that have long since forgotten their cunning. Here
are lapping waters singing in low sweet octaves as they did when poured
out of the hollow of His Hand. Here is the old rookery out of which are
ricochetting birds almost of every voice and plume. Here are cattle, red
and dappled, cropping the meadow grass. Here are vast expanses clad in
the refreshing drapery of nature, upheaving their grassy billows. Here
are the crumbling cabins of the old slaves, in silent platoons that
flank the old mansion, the earmarks of a picturesque civilization abused
and denounced. Slaves, many of whom like the paintings of Titian and
Murillo and Correggio in the great mullioned halls have come down from
former generations. In yonder clump of soughing pines stood the little
meeting house of the "cullud folks" on "Old Marsa's plantation." Here
for decades they worshipped. In the little brook that glides along so
cheerily singing as it goes, they had baptized adult "bredrin and
sisterin." Here many of them had felt the touch of the Master upon the
emancipated souls, and heard His voice in their spiritual uplifting,
tenderly calling, and there when the gnarled and knotted hands had
ceased their toil "Ole Marsa and Ole Misses" had laid them crosswise
upon rigid, lifeless bosoms, that heaved not again with the pangs of
suffering; and out yonder under the maples, hard by the little babbling
brook, reverent and tender hands white and black had lowered the rude
coffin and covered it up in "God's acre," and here around the little
altar ole Marster, and Miss Alice and Mars Harry worshipped with them.
No master, no mistress, no slave in this consecrated ground; no black,
no white, in the invisible Presence; no hard times to come again; no
tithing men, nor tax gatherers; no snarling, snapping wolf to snatch the
gnawed bone from the hungry wife and her starving child. If the larder
were empty the "great house" had an exhaustless supply. If clothes were
rent there was "allus stuff in de loom;" If the clouds gathered for snow
"ole marsa" would put on his great coat and knock at the doors and ask,
"Boys, have you got plenty of good wood for the storm'?" If Joshua had
the "rheumatics" or Melinda the "shaking ager," or little Jeff the
hives, there were ointments and liquids, pills and lotions; and what
physician was so kind; whose hands so soft and tender, whose voice so
comforting and sympathetic as "ole missis's and young missis's?" There
was the garden from which the negroes would market their vegetables;
there was the little "water million" patch where little Jeff and Susan
Ann would run out at midday, and thump and thump and thump and would as
often run back with their mouths wide-open like a rift in a black cloud,
"Mammy, oh! Mammy, dat great big water million is mo'est ripe--be ripe
by Sunday sho," and their little black feet would knock off a jig on the
bare floor; then there was the pig sty where Sukey the "sassy poker," in
its sleekness and fatness, would grunt and frisk and cavort all the day
long. Then there was "Ole Boatswain," the coon dog, lazily napping in
the door--barking at the treed coon in his sleep; then there were the
"tater ridges" and the pumpkins and the cotton patches; then there were
the cackling hens and the pullets, the ducks and geese and guinea-fowls;
the eggs that Hannah and Clarissa and Melinda had counted a score of
times, and knew to a four pence a' penny how much they would fetch in
the town; and "dere was de wagin wid ole Bob an' ole Pete wid pinted
yeares, chawin' de bit same as it were fodder, ready to dash off fore
dey wus ready;" and there were the inventoried assets in trade, "free
forfs Hanna's and two forfs Melinda's and seben forfs Clarissy's," all
tumbled in disorder, live stock and dead stock. And then "dere was
Melinda and Judy a settin' a middle ships into de wagin, all agwine to
de town." And when the heavy wheels would rattle with its human freight
over the hard ground of Ingleside, as the moon was dipping its nether
horn below the line of vision, and Clara Bell and Melinda "a singin' de
ole ship of Zion," "ole Marster an' Missis an' Miss Alice would run
outen de great house jes to see if Ned had fotched us all back safe an'
sound. An' den when Christmas would come, de ole turkey gobbler would be
turnin' an' twistin' roun' and roun' fore de fire drappin' gravy in de
dish, and de barbeku would be brownin' and de lasses a stewin out de
taters in great big ubbens, fo de flambergasted cookin' stobes cum about
to pester folkes. And den dere would be ole Cæsar a shufflin' towards
ole Marser's room, and little Jeff a sneakin' on tip-toe to ketch ole
Marser's Christmas gift fore he seed em, an' Mary an' Polly creepin'
like cats in Miss Alice's chamber, to get their stockins that Santy
Claus had stuffed from top to toe; and den de clatter in de great dinin'
room, when wid bowls of cream, and flagons of mellow ole rye, Clarissa
and Melindv would be makin' egg-nog fur de fokeses, white and cullud, on
de plantation."

Oh! this golden prime!

There were no black soldiers in greasy uniforms a hep, hep, hepping
about the plantation; no firing of guns by riotous negroes on the
roadside; no drunken, revelling wretches to slash and deface portraits,
walls and corridors; no lecherous villains to accost and abuse
defenceless and inoffensive women; no vigils to keep for fear of
murders, burglaries and conflagrations; no angry forces and energies to
quicken and compound; no wife to say to her husband, "Have you fotched
any wittles back from the conwenshun? 'Fore God de chillun haint had
narry moufful o' nuffin to eat dis blessed day, nor me nuther."

Ah, no! the blessing that was vouchsafed unto Israel, despite its
rebellion, was all bountiful in this land. "I will give thee peace in
the land, and ye shall lie down, and there shall be none to make thee
afraid."

Then war came with its unutterable horrors and tumults. The old tallow
candles were snuffed out, and there were fears and alarms in the mansion
and the cabin; the thoroughbred was brought out of the stable with
yellow housings on, like the gelding of a knight errant, and the young
soldier, dressed all in gray with buff revers, rushed out of the house
and vaulted into the saddle. There were kisses and good byes--lost
echoes now--as the cavalier, young and happy and handsome, rode away.
Yes, rode away in the descending shadows, over the hills, through the
glades, to Manassas and to death. Yes, rode away to the death
wrestle--to where the guns were spitting fire.

"Bress yo souls, fokeses," said Uncle Ned one day, as he leaned upon his
staff like a sheik of the desert, "I looks back now und den, und peers
lak I kin see ole missis way back yander in de war times, when de kannon
was a plowin' froo de trees ober at Manassy, same as a sho nuff
harrykin, und killin' a million of our federick soldiers at wun time. I
seed her und Miss Alice cum outen de grate house, a fairly toting Mars
Harry dat rainy day he rid off to de war, und Mars Harry he looked same
as a gineral in all dem stripes und fedders, und Nelly she wuz jest a
chompin' de bit und er pawin' de yurth lak she wuz moes afeerd de war
want er gwine to hole out twell she und Mars Harry got dar; und den ole
missis looked up in Mars Harry's face, und I seed her laf, do she wuz
crying tu, und den I heerd hur say, 'My brave boy, how kin I ever giv yu
up! Will yer git er furlow und cum home arter de battle? Und den Mars
Harry he larfed too, und den I heerd him say, 'Oh mother don't be
childish, I'm jest er gwine off fer my helth. I'm gwine to bring yer a
yankee sord when we whups em and drives um tuther side o' de Pokomuc
river.' Und den ole missis she put her pendence in every word Mars Harry
tole her, kase when he rid off I heerd her tell Miss Alice dat her boy
want agwine to be gone long, and dat de yankeys was agwine to give up
fore dey fit ary battle; but bimeby, when ole missus seed dat Mars Harry
mout not git a furlow, she jest gin herself up to die. All de day long
pore old missis would walk up und down de piazzy a peekin' froo de trees
und axin' me ef I spishioned he was gwine to git kilt, und den when she
heerd dat our fokeses had fit de battle of Manassy, me und ole missis
sot up all night long, jes a watchin' fer Mars Harry to ride back lak he
rid off; but no Mars Harry neber didn't come back twell one rainy,
grizzly night me und ole missis heerd a clatter down de road, und den we
heerd somebody say, 'Wo! und den a passel ov soldiers cum up to missis
easy like, and axed her if Mr. Seymo' lived dere; und when ole missis
heerd dat word und seed de kivered wagin, she jes drapped down into de
road dead. Pore ole missis! De soldiers took her up in dere arms und
toted her into de 'grate house,' und dere was her and pore Miss Alice
in hysteriks, and ole marser not a sayin' ary wurd but a chokin 'mos to
def; und den de soldiers went back to de kivered wagin', and I heered
'em a draggin' outen it a great big box, and I seed dem totin it to de
'grate house' jes as easy and slow, wid dere milinterry hats offen dere
heds in de rain, und den I node it was Mars Harry. When ole missis cum
to, she made de soldiers take de led offen de coffin, und dere was Mars
Harry a lyin' dere wid his eyes shot right tight, a smilin de
butifullest all to hissef. Ole missis sot dere all dat nite lak a grate
big statu, a runnin her fingers fru his hair an' a talkin' to him jes de
same as if Mars Harry had rid back frum de war lak he rid off. An' den
ole marsa he cum in und looked at Mars Harry a smilin' to hissef, an' I
could see ole marsa shake an' shake, but he didn't say narry a wurd, an'
he tuck Mars Harry's sord out of de coffin; den bimeby I heerd him say
he was agwine to venge his death. Ole missis soon pined erway, cause
Mars Harry was her eyeballs. I tells ye fokeses, dat was de most
solemcholly site I ever seed in my born days. Poor ole missis didn't
stay long arter Mars Harry died; she dun gon home too, an' I specks Mars
Harry dun tole ole missis all erbout de battle of Manassy, an' how he
fit an' how he got kilt; und erbout dat yankey sord he nebber didn't
fotch back."

To a paternal ancestor of Colonel John Walter Seymour has been ascribed
this prayer in battle, "Oh Lord, thou knowest how busy I must be this
day. If I forget Thee, do not Thou forget me." Then rising, he gave the
command, "Forward, march! On, my lads!"

At eight o'clock on the morning of the 23rd of October, King Charles was
riding along the ridge of Edgehill, and looking down into the valley of
the Red Horse, a beautiful meadow, broken here and there by hedges and
copses, he could see with his glasses the parliamentary army as they
marched out of the town of Kleinton and aligned their forces in battle
array.

"I never saw the rebels in a body before," said the king. "I will give
them battle here." There were hot words around the royal standard.
Rupert, a dashing young general, who had seen the swift, fiery charges
of the fierce troopers in the thirty years war, was backed up by Patrick
Lord Ruthven and Sir Walter Seymour, among the many Scots who had won
renown under the great Augustus Adolphus and opposed fiercely by Lord
Lindsey, an old comrade of the Earl of Essex, commander-in-chief of the
rebel forces, who swore by all the saints in the calendar that he would
not serve again in an army under a boy, referring to Prince Rupert, who
was assigned by the king to command the army at Edge Hill that day.

It was to this circumstance that the country was indebted for the prayer
aforesaid. The brave soldier, unyielding in his loyalty to the king,
resigned his command as a general to command his company, and in so
doing gave affront to Lord Lindsay and the king; but subsequently, at
Scone, the king said to him, "You shall accompany me to London as a
privy counsellor."

It was from this doughty ancestor of blessed memory that John Walter
Seymour lineally descended. I have seen the old corselets, shackbolts,
shields and trefoils of that chivalric era that belonged to the old
baronet. Colonel Seymour had interested himself greatly in the
literature of that institutional era that had so close a connection with
the pomp and power of the Feudal system. He spoke learnedly too of the
ideal purity of the social and moral code of the age.

The Colonel himself was no ignoble scion of so noble an ancestor. He
had won his spurs and stars at Malvern Hill, and at the disbanding of
the army he had covered the faded stars upon his collar with his pocket
handkerchief until unobserved he could pluck them one by one and trample
them underfoot. His haughty spirit could not brook the shame that
overlaid him like a shroud when his sword passed out of his hands hilt
foremost at Appomattox. He had taken the beautiful Alice Glendower from
a neighboring estate as his wife twenty-six years ago, and now in the
year 186-, though a shadow darkening and deepening lay athwart heart and
home, the old man was still muttering curses long, loud and deep. He had
fully assimilated the indignant spirit of Coriolanus. "I would they were
barbarians (as they are though in Rome littered), not Romans as they are
not though calved in the porch of the capitol." His only surviving child
Alice was now in her twenty-third year. Harry, a princely fellow, a
young lieutenant of cavalry, had fallen at the battle of Manassas and
ever since that day the mother had steadily declined until now the end
had almost come. The likeness of the dead boy was photographed vividly
upon her heart and every tender chord was ceaselessly vibrating from the
presence of a grief, that recreated fancies and memories that brought
back to her the vanished idol. God's peace had settled upon the old home
and its hearth stones, one beautiful Sabbath morning, as the Colonel,
his daughter and old Clarissa had assembled in Mrs. Seymours's bed
chamber. The light of the morning sun shimmered through open windows,
and the shadows of the tree boughs like imprisoned fairies danced in
cotilion upon the polished floor. "The birds are singing so sweetly
to-day," observed the sick lady.

"Yes indeed, they are," replied her husband.

"My dear," she said as she turned her face to him, "I have been greatly
troubled by a horrid dream."

"Land sakes alive ole missis," interrupted Clarissa, "don't yu pester
yoursef to def erbout dreams these outlandish times. Dey is bad enuff
goodness nose widout dreaming dreams. Ned he jumped clean outen de bed
tother nite hollering for his ole muskit lak he was agwine to war--his
eyes fairly a sot in his head lak a craw-fish and a tarryfying me to def
and hollering 'fire! fire!' and a foaming at the mouf lak a mad dog, und
duz yu know what I dun ole missis? when dat drotted nigger hollered
fire! fire! I jes retched ober de table an' got de pale of water an' I
put out dat fire fore Ned skovered whay hit war. Dat fool nigger walks
perpendikler, now yu heers my racket." She laughed again and again as
she continued: "And Ned he wanted to fight; he was most drounded."

There was little of sentiment and less of diplomacy in the character of
Colonel Seymour; though he was exceedingly tolerant toward Clarissa with
her little vagaries and superstitions. What the dream of the good lady
was has never been known--the narrative was rudely broken off by the
interruption of Clarissa.

Would you know sweet Alice more intimately? I cannot portray her as she
deserves; her heart was like so many little cells into which were
unceasingly dropping the honey of blue thistle blossoms of charity. In
every den of wretchedness; in every hovel where squalor and disease
disputed all other dominions, she was a beam of sunshine, giving warmth
and cheer and joy. The little star-eyed daisies in the meadow would turn
up their tiny faces to greet her with smiles as she would pass them day
after day with the little basket upon her arm; God had put her here
among these poor people--among the deluded negroes as his missionary,
and I am quite sure He was pleased with her work. I cannot describe her
beauty and grace of person better than in the natural and characteristic
language of Clarissa "Miss Alice," she would say, "Yu is the most
butifullest white gal I ever seed in de wurrel; yer cheek is jes lak
mellow wine-sop apples, und yer eyes is blu und bright lak agate
marbles, und yer teeth as white as de dribben snow, und when yer laffs,
pen pon it, even de birds in de trees stops to lisen; und yu is jes as
suple und spry as de clown in de show."

Golden tresses like a nimbus of glory adorned her queenly head. Eyes of
blue graduated to the softest tint; cheeks that transfered the deep
blush from tender spring blossoms. Something in her there was that set
you to thinking of those "strange back-grounds of Raphael--that hectic
and deep brief twilight in which Southern suns fall asleep." With Alice
in her presence, Clarissa felt no evil; when the storm came with
blinding fire, its fierce thunders, her refuge was by her side. She was
her inspiration, her providence. The gentle hand upon the hot brow and
there came relief; an old fashioned lullaby from her sweet lips and the
fevered pickaninny in the cradle would turn upon his side and fall into
a grateful slumber. A prayer spoken out of a heart touched by pity or
sorrow, and instantly another heart would be uplifted in thanksgiving.
She exercised too a power over the freed slaves that made captive to her
will almost all the stubborn and rebellious negroes. Old Ned would have
plucked out his eyes for her and cast them at her feet; so would
Clarissa, so would Clarabel; so would old Caesar and Hannah and Joshua.
Only these rebelled against her influence, to wit: Aleck, Miles and
Ephraim. Clarissa would say to her young mistress so inquisitively,
"Miss Alice, why don't yu git married? Peers like child yer is too
sweet and pretty to live allus by yer lone, lorn self. Yer aint allers
gwine to be 'ticin an butiful like yer is now. By and by de crow's foot
is agwine to cum into yer lubly face and dere is gwine to be kurlikus
and frowns in yo eyes jes lak yo mammy's; she used to be pretty und
lubly jes' lak you, and whar is she now? De boys aint gwine to brak
their necks over you when yer gets ole an' ugly, nuther. Now dey is lak
a passel ov yallow jackets a swarmin' a-roun my house, and axin me dis
ting an' tuther ting about dare sweetheart, and bress yo dear life I has
to keep a patchin' up de fence whar dey climbs ober to keep de horgs an'
cattle beastes out o de crap. Dey is afraid to cum to de 'grate house;'
skeert of yu an' ole marser. Ole Mars John aint gwine to be here allus,
nuther; see how cranksided he is gettin' an' so ill an' contrawy that
we das'nt projec' wid him no mo; an' whar wud yu be chile in dis grate,
big house und dis grate big plantashun wid de cussed niggers a marchin'
an' a beatin' drums an' a shootin' guns lak ole Sherman's army, treadin'
down de corn an' 'taters und a momickin' up de chickins und de sheepses
und de cattle beastes? 'Taint agwine to do nohow. Dat it aint. I kin
count fourteen portly yung 'uns dat wud jump clean akross de crick fer
yer any hour God sends."

Alice could only silently hearken to the force of such plain,
matter-of-fact reasoning, but poor girl, there was not a single niche in
her heart into which she could lift an idol. Within the shrine there
were nothing but soulless effigies, so faded and old and lifeless that
they recalled only battle-fields and sepulchres. "Will her prince never
come, into whose eyes she can see mirrored her own self, her soul in its
beauty, love and happiness?" Do you ask? There is a medallion that hangs
by a golden chain across her fair bosom. "How long had she worn it
there," think you? Ever since

    "She was a child and he was a child,
      In his kingdom by the sea;
    When she loved with a love that was more than love,
      Alice and Arthur McRae."



CHAPTER II.

OUR SCOTCH-IRISH.


A person on entering the library in an old-fashioned mansion, situated
in the heart of a country that was very beautiful in the landscaping of
nature, at eleven a. m. of the 12th of November, would have observed a
venerable gentleman reclining upon an antique sofa, plainly upholstered
in morocco. The gentleman was reading from a book entitled, "The Life
and Speeches of Daniel Webster." The stranger might have further
observed, that the right hand of the old gentleman would now and again
move with some energy of expression, as if he were punctuating a
particular paragraph by an emphatic dissent. If the reader had been
asked for an opinion as to the character and ability of the illustrious
commoner, whose views were so logically expressed in the memoir, he
would have said without hesitation, that "He possessed the acumen of the
wisest of statesmen, but that his opinions as a strict constructionist
were extra hazardous, indeed out of harmony with the true theory of a
republican form of government--a government of co-ordinate states that
had entered voluntarily into a compact for a more perfect union. But (he
may have continued) against the doctrine of nullification, indeed
against the ordinances of secession, the irony of fate, through this
great man, projected an argument whose logic was irrefutable in its last
analysis. Foreshadowed events put into the mouth of Mr. Webster a
menace, whose uninterpretable meaning in 1833 was clearly understood
when the baleful power of the storm swept from the high seas the last
privateer with its letter of marque, disbanded the last armed scout
south of the breakwater of the Delaware, and broke the heart of the
greatest warrior since Charlemagne; a chieftain more honored in defeat
than Hannibal, or Napoleon, or Sobieski, or the great Frederick. This
master craftsman in the construction corps of the Republic; whose
resourceful intellect engrafted a principle as fixed and inviolable into
the Constitution as fate, propelled against the equity of 'peaceful
separation' the weight of an overmastering influence. This menace to the
South marked the tumultuous heart-beats of the commercial North, when it
contemplated the separation of indestructible states. It made of the
Republic a huge camp of instruction, into which the nations of the earth
were perpetually dumping their refuse populations; it girdled the South
with a cincture of embattled mercenaries; it imparted to the
Constitution a disciplinary vigor; it gave to partisan legislation an
inspiration; it gave to centralized power an omnipotent reserve that
unnerved every arm, paralyzed every tongue, and rendered organized
effort abortive in the crucial struggle for Southern independence. But,
sir, (and the eyes of the old man would gleam as with the light of an
overpowering genius), a government created by the States, amendable by
the States, preserved by the States, may be annihilated by the States."

It was one of those leaky, bleak November days, when the weather, out of
temper with itself, is continually making wry faces at the rain and the
forest and the cattle, that a gentleman lately arrived from the auld
town of Edinboro, shook the glistening rain-drops from his shaggy talma
in the great hall of Ingleside, as he observed to the host with a smile,
"Thot it was a wee bit scrowie, but the weether wad be fayre in its ain
gude time." It was indeed one of those leaden days that occasionally
comes in the Southland with the November chills, pinching the herds that
are out upon the glades and meadows, when the winds sang in the tree
boughs with a strange and melancholy rhythm. A sailor passing up the
forward ladder from the forecastle to observe the weather would say,
with a shudder, that it was a "greasy day," and that the sky and shrouds
and storm-sails were leaky. Col. Seymour, upon ordinary occasions, was a
gentleman of discrimination, and his judgment of character was fairly
correct. Like the true Scotch Southron, as he was, he had his own
ideals, his own loves and his own idiosyncrasies. He loved Scotland and
her people, her memories, her history, her renown, her trossachs, her
lakes, her mountains; they were his people, and Scotland was the "ain
love of his fayther and mither." He had not forgotten the language of
her beautiful hills and vales, though he was a boy when, with his
parents, he bade adieu to his bonny country to find a home across the
water in the Old North State, so prodigal and impartial in the
distribution of honors and riches to all who came with clean hands and
stout hearts. So when the neat and genteel Scotchman gave his name as
Hugh McAden, the old man's heart impulsively warmed towards his guest,
for he knew of a verity that a McAden everywhere was a man of honor--the
name, an open sesame to the hearts and homes of Scotch Americans.

"I will make you very comfortable to-day, sir," he observed, as he
escorted Mr. McAden to his library. There were great hickory logs, half
consumed, resting upon the antiquated brass andirons in the fire-place,
giving warmth and cheer to the whole room. The stranger, rubbing his
hands vigorously, for they were very cold and stiff, observed
interrogatively, "You do not let the chill ond weet coom into the
hoose?"

"No indeed," replied the Colonel with a broad smile, "these inflictions
are for other folks, whose liberty is upon the highways and in the
forests in such weather."

"Ah, for ither fauk; maybe the naygurs," laughingly suggested the
Scotchman.

"Yes, you can hear the guns in the woods, where they are hunting cattle
not their own. You can see drunken squads marching upon the roads upon
such a day."

"Ah!" he exclaimed, "ond do ye call this free America? May-be ye hae no
goovernment as ye haed lang syne, ond no law ither."

The Colonel assured the gentleman that public affairs were at sixes and
sevens, and the negroes now held the mastery over their former owners,
and their discipline was not over indulgent.

"Ond do the naygurs make the laws for sic as you?" he enquired in a
startled way.

"Oh yes," replied the Colonel, quite seriously.

"Alack-a-day!" exclaimed the astonished man. "The deil take sic a
goovernment, ond the deil tak sic a coontry, ond the deil tak the
naygurs! Coom to Edinboro, mon, where there is not o'ermuch siller, but
where ivery mon is his ain laird, ond his hoose is his ain hame. Ye ken
fine that I am a stranger hereaboot. Ond will the naygurs harm a poor
mishanalled mon like me?" he enquired in alarm. The Colonel, with an
effort to conceal his mirth, reassured his friend that no harm would
come to him.

"Ond wad ye say," the Scotchman interrupted, "that amang the naygurs
ond sic a government, that a puir body wad hae the protection o' his ain
queen?" he again asked, with his fears still unsubdued. The amiable
host, shaking from an effort at self-control, again remarked that the
carpet-bag government had made no attempt at personal violence upon
strangers, and that he was as safe here as in his own city of Edinboro;
and the Scotchman laughed away his fears.

"Sic an auld fule!" he exclaimed in great glee. "I am hardly masel in
these lowlands," the Scotchman continued, as the conversation changed
into more agreeable channels. "Ye hae na moontains ond bonnie hills
hereaboot," he continued, as he looked from the window upon the
low-lying fields and meadows.

"But, my friend," replied the Colonel, "if you will abide with me for
awhile you will quite forget your mountains, for there is a charm and
freshness in the landscape here when you become familiar with it."

"I am sure of thot," quickly answered the guest; "but ye ken fine that a
puir body must abide in his ain hame. What wad a man do in th' Soothland
wi' his beezeness in Edinboro?" And the Scotchman smiled as he asked the
unanswerable question. "Ah, well," the Colonel replied with an assumed
dignity, "you would do as we do."

"Ond what is thot?" asked the Scotchman.

"Swear and vapor from early morn to dewy eve."

"Ah! thot wad na do, thot wad na do," he replied, horrified at such a
suggestion, "The meenister in holy kirk wad discipline a puir body, ond
the deil wad be to play. I guess I'll gang hame agen ond do as ilka fauk
do in th' auld toon."

The Colonel had not been so happy in many a day as with the plain,
matter-of-fact Scotchman, in a sense, a type and representative of his
own people, and a man who could speak so eloquently of the fadeless
glory of old Scotland.

"Hae ye nae gude wife ond bairns?" he enquired.

"Yes, an invalid wife and an only child, sir," said the Colonel, as
tears began to gather in his eyes. "My only son, sir, was slain in
battle some years ago."

"Ond was it for sic a goovernment as ye hae noo, that ye gaed up your
bonnie lad to dee?" he asked quite innocently.

The old man bowed his head in silent grief. He could not answer, and he
walked across the room and looked out upon the murky sky--a funereal
coverlid, it appeared, laid over the grave of poor Harry.

"Puir lad," uttered Mr. McAden, half aside, as he drew his handkerchief
across his face and gazed abstractedly into the blazing fire. It was
quite an interval before the Colonel was able to subdue this paroxysm of
grief that had quite overcome him, and, availing himself of the earliest
opportunity to excuse himself, withdrew from the room. To Mr. McAden the
moment was fraught with sincere sorrow. He had unwittingly opened the
sluice-way at the veteran's heart, and great tides, crimsoned, as it
seemed, with the blood of poor Harry, were pouring into it. He could
find no surcease only in the oft-repeated exclamation of reproach.

"Sic an auld fule! Sic an auld fule! But I thocht the mon was o'er happy
in the love of his gude wife ond the bairn. Haed I thocht thot the lad
had deed in battle, I wad na gaed him sic a sair thrust in his auld
heart."

The Colonel retired to his own chamber to repair the injury that had
been done to his feelings, and presently he returned with a smiling
face, accompanied by his daughter, and he said, introducing her.

"This sir, is my daughter, Alice."

"Ah!" exclaimed Mr. McAden, rising with extended hand, "The lassie is
like the sire, Coonel. I can see the fayther in her een."

"And the counterpart of her mither in all except the een," replied her
father.

"You ond the gude wife ond the lassie must coom to Edinboro, Coonel; ye
ken fine thot her rooyal men ond weemen are i' th' groond noo, ond there
are memorials here ond there in the auld kirk-yards where their puir
bodies are laid, but our men ond weemen still are vera fayre ond gentle,
ond we niver put our een upon a naygur. Ond, now thot I can abide nae
langer wi' ye, will ye nae tell me a wee bit o' the history o' our ain
fauk in the Soothland, for ye ken fine thot the auld anes wad be askin
aboot this ane ond thot ane, in fine all aboot the Scotch in your ain
coontry, when I gae hame to Edinboro."

The subject referred to by the Scotchman was full of a picturesque
interest, and no man in the Southland took a higher delight in imparting
such information as he could command, than Colonel Seymour. Turning his
old arm-chair so that he could observe his guest more closely, he began:

"The characteristics of these people are ineffaceably impressed upon our
civilization. Indeed they are as deeply grounded into the religious and
social soil of North Carolina, as though they had taken root like the
rhododendron under the rocks and in the fissures of our hills and
mountains. The Scotch-Irish American, with gigantic strides, has at last
sat himself down upon the loftiest pinnacle of our 19th century
civilization. He has never yielded to oppression; he has never
compounded with evil. These brave people, bringing hither the virtues of
their fathers as well as their own, have given North Carolina its most
luminous page. They made the earliest industry of the Cape Fear--the
industry of colonization. It was an industry that sought to provide
homes for the people, and to dignify labor and life in the midst of
surroundings that taxed every resource of action, and the ultimate verge
of human daring; an industry that employed the plainest instruments--the
axe to hew down the forest, and the plow to turn the furrow. Their
primitive sires in these early settlements did not control those
powerful auxiliaries that now multiply the skill of man; nor did they
enjoy the aristocracy of the recognized power of wealth. They cared
nothing for mammonism, that some philosophical crank has defined to be a
physical force that makes men invertebrates. Here was life with the
struggle of pioneers; a struggle for place rather than for position; for
homes rather than castles, that prepared the intellect for a higher
development, and man for ultimate power. The victory of the axe and plow
were the pre-ordained antecedents to the victory of the forum and
pulpit, and the triumph over the crude obstructions of nature was the
divine prophecy of undisciplined toil. Out of the ruggedness of such an
epoch came forth a condition of virtue and integrity; of honest and
honorable convictions; of sincere patriotism; of a race of men who
looked to themselves only, and originated within this scant domain the
literature of economic life. It was here that the domestic sentiment
displayed its captivating charm. Nowhere on earth was there a more
generous love for children, and whenever this attribute of the heart
appears, the prophetic benediction of Christ, as childhood lay in His
hallowed arms, is fulfilled. Here was social life, too, in its freedom,
picturesqueness and animation, without demoralizing conditions. Away
northward and southward, bays and rivers stretched their wedded waves,
hills holding in their dead grasp the secrets of centuries; the ancient
miracles of fire and water where chaos had been transfixed in its
primeval heavings; all these were here subject to the mighty mastery
that men should eventually exert, and side by side with humble homes,
arose schools and churches--emblems of the power and purity of the
people. Here the ambassadors of Christ were persuasive with tongue,
fervent in spirit; they felt that their religion was more ancient than
government, higher than any influence; more sacred than any trust; a
religion that was benevolence in its gentlest mood, courage in its
boldest daring, affection in its intensest power; philanthropy in its
widest reach; patriotism in its most impassioned vigor; reason in its
broadest display; the mighty heart that throbbed through every artery;
fed every muscle; sped the hidden springs of an electric current through
every nerve. Such were and are "oor ain fauk in th' Soothland."

"Ah, I ken fine," replied the Scotchman with enthusiasm, "that your
forebears came from the hielands, and yoor knowledge of the gude fauk in
yoor ain coontry quite surprises me. Did ye not say that yoor fayther
ond mither came from Edinboro?" he inquired with animation.

"Yes," replied the Colonel, "in the good old days; and they lie buried
side by side in the little cemetery over the hill yonder, where I shall
rest after a wee bit."

"These are bonnie lands hereaboot, but there is mony a glade in auld
Scotland where a puir body may sleep as tranquilly," said the Scotchman
with feeling, "ond when I dee my sepulchre shall be near the auld hame
where there are no naygurs ond no sic a goovernment, in th' shadow o'
th' auld kirk o' my fayther ond mither."



CHAPTER III.

THE ASSASSINS OF THE PEACE OF THE SOUTH.


To the people of the South the infliction of the carpet-bag government
was an outrage that "smelled to heaven." The changed character--the
degradation of the South was a deplorable consequence--it was the
inoculating of a virus into the circulation of the body politic that it
will take a century to cleanse.

The power of attainting and confiscating, forbidden by the law from a
full knowledge of its lamentable use by the factious parliaments of
Great Britain, was shamelessly exercised by local jurisdictions of the
South until nothing was left to the most virtuous of patriots but their
name, their character, and the fragrance of their great and illustrious
actions, to go down to posterity. A stranger coming to any legislature
would have taken it at one time for a disorderly club-room, where
ignorant and vicious partisans, white and black, were assembled to lay
plans for their own aggrandizement and the prostration of the country.
At another time he would suppose it to be a hustings for the delivery of
electioneering harangues; at another, an areopagus for the condemnation
of all virtuous men; then a theatre, for the entertainment of a most
diverted auditory; always a laboratory for the compounding of alarms,
conspiracies and panics. In the deliberations of the members there was
no check to the license of debate, or the prodigal expenditure of money;
no voice to control their judgments of outlawry and sequestration.
Radamanthus himself, in some stage of his infernal process, would at
least listen to his victim; "First he punisheth, then he listeneth, and
lastly he compelleth to confess." The inventors of mythology could not
conceive of a Tartarus so regardless of the forms of justice as not to
allow the souls of the condemned to speak for themselves; but
reconstruction, trampling upon all laws, denied to the long-suffering
people of the South the right to plead their innocence in the face of
the concentrated accumulation of frightful accusations, all founded upon
the "baseless fabric of a vision."

Centuries ago the last saurian died in the ooze of the bad lands in
Kansas, but by an unnatural law of reproduction the carpet bagger and
scalawag, with the same destructive instincts, with the same malodorous
presence, found its bed of slime in the heart of the South and disported
with a devilish energy. Monsters of malice, spawning evil gendering
fanaticism, focussed their evil eye upon the millions of freedmen, whose
destiny and happiness were closely interwoven with their old masters;
with masters who had yielded their swords but not their honor; who were
"discouraged, yet erect; perplexed, yet not unto despair; pursued, yet
not forsaken; smitten down, yet not conquered." The poor negro, under
the seductive charms of these human serpents, languished, and
languishing, did die.

The carpet-baggers preached to the negroes an anti-slavery God, from the
gospel of hate, of revenge. Slavery was the tempest of their poor souls,
and revenge must assuage the swollen floods. "The thronged cities--the
marks of Southern prosperity and the monuments of Southern
civilization," said they, "are yours, yours to enjoy, to alienate, to
transmit to posterity. Your empire is established indestructibly
throughout the new South. This land shall not be permitted to remain as
a lair for the wild beasts that have clutched at the throat of this
republic to destroy it. We have heard the cries of our Israel in
bondage, and we have come to give you the land that flows with milk and
honey." Poor black souls! What a delusion! The day will surely come when
the curtain shall be drawn and the deceivers, active and dormant, in
this dark tragedy, shall be dragged before the footlights to receive the
curse of an indignant reprobation. Poor negro! He is starving for bread
and they give him the elective franchise. He begs to be emancipated from
hunger, and they decree that he shall be a freedman.

Who will dare assert that the pride, the patriotism, the spirit of the
South was not alarmingly compromised by the issues of the Civil War?--a
war that was the exercise of both violence and discipline by sovereign
authority. We are told that wars are an evil, come when they may; they
are just or unjust, moral or immoral, civilized or savage, as the
ingredients of violated rights--demand of reparation and refusal--shall
be observed, neglected or abused. Perhaps the prostrated South should
have been advertent to this fact before she delivered the first blow.
But whether right or wrong, when the armies were disbanded, when it
yielded its organic being--its sovereignty--to overwhelming resources
and numbers, the law of nations laid upon the paramount sovereignty
obligations which have never been performed, either in letter or spirit.
The government that re-instated its authority was bound by a circle of
morals, including the obligations of justice and mercy, reciprocally
acting and reacting.

The emancipation of five million slaves was a supplemental act of war; a
renewed declaration that the tramp of embattled armies should echo and
re-echo from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, until the foot of a slave
should not press its "polluted" soil. Their enfranchisement was neither
an act of war or of exasperation, but an act of diplomacy,
extra-hazardous as results have shown, with the effect of humiliating
the conquered South. It introduced throughout the South a sacrilegious
arm against the fairest superstructure of Christian manhood the world
has ever known; stamped the history of the nation with dishonor, and
betrayed the proudest experiment in favor of the rights of man. It
taught the freedmen, through the vicious counsel of intriguing,
designing demagogues, that their liberty was still insecure; that to
accomplish it in its ultimate triumph and blessing, the savage axe must
be laid at the root of the social institutions; that they must lay
violent hands upon the men, women and children who had made their
emancipation an accomplished fact. Hence a war whose horrors should be
accentuated by the lighted torch was inaugurated, and an inglorious
campaign of reprisals by placable tools, whose zeal to preserve what
they now purposed in their blind fanaticism to destroy, was a few years
before as ardent and persevering.

Poor, pitiable, deluded human beings, who as chattels real--impedimenta
of Southern plantations--had guarded the peace of the home, and many of
whom were faithful unto death!

Reconstruction superimposed an artificial citizenship--a citizenship
essentially lacking in every resource of intellectual strength--it was
without ideals or examples for the government of the freedmen of the
proud Southern commonwealths. The allegiance of the negroes was as
friable as a rope of sand; they were without a definite conception of
the responsibilities of sovereignty--without a fixed principle to guide
them in governmental policy--with impulses of brutish suggestion, and
under masters more inexorable, more exacting than those they had
deserted upon the abandoned plantations. How painful was such a crisis
that split up the old South into disgraced and bleeding fragments!

We come to speak for a moment of the microbes that ate their way into
the hearts of the seceded commonwealths, while the ruins of southern
homes were still smoking; and before the blood of chivalrous southrons
had dried upon our battle-fields. I commend the chalice to the lips of
those who will deny the truth of what is herein written and desire that
such a man might realize a bare modicum of what was suffered and
endured. The elective franchise was the panacea for every evil; an
antispasmodic, when there were occasional exacerbations in the public
mind; our fathers valued the elective franchise because in its patriotic
expression was the covenant of freemen.

When our hopes were feeblest, and our horizon darkest, the scalawag fled
like a hound to the sheltering woods whence he sallied forth like an
outlaw. The reddened disc of the sun that went down at Appomattox gave
him an inspiration for his hellish work, and he went out in the gloom of
the starless night, declaring with a more vicious temper than did Henry
of Agincourt "the fewer the men the greater the honor" or in its
appropriate paraphrase "the deeper the pockets the greater the spoil."
His philanthropy and selfish interests never clash. He claimed always to
be rigidly righteous, and was seen in the camp-meeting and the church
sanctified and demure to a proverb. He spoke of the poor negro in
paroxysms of charity--a most rare benevolence which employed its means
in theft and crime; a charity which performs its vows and gives its alms
with money plundered from the freedmen. The scalawag like other
unclassified vermin was without respectable antecedents; with an acute
sense of smell like the "lap-heavy" scout of the Andes, he sought his
prey when there was no fear of the approach of man. As an Irish
barrister once wrote upon the door of a plebians' carriage, "Why do you
laugh?" so the humorist of the sixties could have written upon the
shirt-front of the scalawag "Why do people hold their noses?" He was
never mentioned by naturalists, unless under some other name he was
paired off with the vulture. In reconstruction days the transformation
of this abortion of nature from vulture to serpent was made without the
break of a feather or the splitting of a talon. With a seductive grimace
he whispered into the open ear of the freedmen "In the day that thou
eatest thereof thou shalt not surely die." He was as much an augury of
evil as the brood of ravens that once alighted upon Vespasian's pillar.
Had he been seen plying his vocation in the first empire Napoleon would
have said to Fouche, "Shoot the accursed beast on the spot." The carpet
bagger when not fighting the pestiferous vermin in the Chickahominy
swamps was pilfering. He went into the army conscripted like a
gentleman; he came out of the army at night when the back of the sentry
was turned and without a furlough, like a patriot. These twain were the
autocrats of the new south, which had its christening in the blood of
heroes; they were the furies that rode the red harlot around the circle,
when her flanks were still wet with human slaughter, and her speed was
increased by the jeering negroes. When Sister Charity in an occasional
fit would fall unconsciously into the receptive bosom of her black lover
in the prayer-meeting, with the wild exclamation "Bress Gord I sees de
hosses und de charyut er cumin!" they would clap their hands in joy and
shout, "Persevere in the good cause my sister." When old deacon Johnson
upon some happy suggestion from the "sliding elder" would turn up the
white of one eye, they would turn up the whites of the others; and when
deacon Thompson came around for alms for the heathen, they would slip
under the pennies a brass-button and inwardly thank God they were not
like the poor publican or the hypocritical pharisee. Their first meeting
with the freedmen was flattering and agreeable; it was an expression of
frail vows of love, sweet but not permanent, which bore but the perfume
and dalliance of a moment; it was the fusing of units of power for the
purpose of spoil, and plunder. Sambo had prayed ardently for this
revelation, and it had come. The scalawag, carpet-bagger, and freedman
were parties of the first part, second part and third part in the
tripartite agreement, until the negro became the party of no part or the
worst part, and he began to mutter to himself in vulgar doggerel:

    "Ort is er ort und figger is er figger,
    All fur de white man und none fur de nigger."

When Sambo stole from the store to increase the joint stock-in-trade,
the plunder was checked off in the invoice and Sambo was checked off in
the penitentiary; if the firm went into liquidation it was because its
active and suffering partner went into jail. If the poor negro died with
assets the carpet-bagger "sot upon de state" like a carrion-crow upon a
putrid body. These human harpies were natural sons of the commune.

       *       *       *       *       *

The dirty co-partners opened up business in the south, as soon as
Sherman's army had crossed the border, under the attractive firm name
and style of "The Devil broke loose in Dixie." The iron-hoof of war had
so cruelly scathed the bosom of the south that it was like an over-ripe
carbuncle; it required a little scarifying and savage hands might
squeeze and sponge at will.

Credit was prostrate; society was disorganized, treasuries empty; debt
like a huge fragment of ice slipping away from the glacier upon the
mountain, was gathering volume and momentum as it rolled on and on, and
the poor old tottering, reeling country was still struggling on like a
bewildered traveller, followed by wolves, and overshadowed by vultures.
Corruption and ignorance were the only passports to power. No modern
instance of wrong and oppression can approach this Fructidor of the
sixties in the South. Human ghouls not so black as these vomited out,
the Carbonari of Italy, the Free Companions of France and the Moss
Troopers of England.

This condition of things, we dare assert, is without a parallel in the
history of any people, in any civilization. Even when Rome was swayed by
the keenest lust for conquest and dominion, their legions conquered the
barbaric states, not to degrade or destroy, but to attach them to her
invincible arms. Savage vengeance never went so far as to place the
slave above the master by way of retribution. This was the exciting
cause that brought into fullest display the natural law of reprisals and
retaliations upon the part of the Southern people.

The first prominent cause of public disturbance of which the
carpet-baggers were the authors was a most thorough and secret
organization of the negroes in all the counties into Loyal Leagues; in
many instances armed and adopting all the formula of signs, pass-words
and grips of an oath bound secret organization. When the negro is asked
why he votes the Republican ticket his simple answer always is, "Why Lor
bress your soul Marsa, we swo to do dat in de League." That simple
answer by this new suffragist, this new automaton of the ballot, is a
full explanation of the political solidity of the negro vote: With such
an element to work upon, ignorant and degraded, the carpet-baggers,
fierce and rapacious, have found themselves in Mahomet's seventh heaven
in the South.

It is a subject of interest and maybe of admonition to the people North
and South, how political institutions, in an age of the highest
civilization and under the most explicit constitutional forms, may be
changed or abolished by a process of partisan policy, when inaugurated
in a spirit of hate, revenge or avarice. Pseudo-philanthropists may talk
never so eloquently about an "equality before the law" when equality is
not found in the great natural law of race ordained by the Creator. That
cannot be changed by statute which has been irrevocably fixed by the
fiat of the Almighty. The result of this mongrel combination of
carpet-bagger, scalawag and negro; this composition of vice and
ignorance and rapacity, was plainly seen everywhere. Robbery and public
plunder were rampant in the State capital. The expenses of government
were at once increased five hundred per cent. Verily the pregnant
suggestion of the carpet-bagger that the only way to bring down the
white people of the South to the level of the negro was to tax them
down, was carried out with a sweeping vengeance. These thieves and
robbers, who had fastened themselves like vampires upon the public
treasury, and unlike the leach, did not let go their hold when full,
were still gorging themselves by new methods of plunder. No such rate of
taxation upon the same basis of property valuation has ever occurred in
the history of the world. A tithe of this rate of taxation lost to the
crown of England her thirteen American colonies. All the county
auditors, county treasurers, trial justices in the courts of record
were utterly incompetent and utterly corrupt. The juries in the courts
of records were mostly negroes, summoned by negro sheriffs, and the
pardoning power in the hands of venal and truculent governors was
shamefully prostituted. The most unblushing villainies and crimes were
either officially condoned or remitted and forgiven.

The people were taxed by millions; millions were paid out, and no
vouchers were ever taken or found.

In the face of such universal misrule, speculation and tyranny, there
could be no greater misrepresentation of the truth than is contained in
the oft-reiterated accusation, that the white people of the South are
fierce, aggressive and defiant in their conduct towards those placed in
authority over them by the Federal or State law. Aggressive and defiant!
How vain and worse than useless would such conduct be against the
overwhelming power of the tyrants who oppose them. It is against all the
instincts of life, when despair has taken the place of hope.

Defiant? Does the poor unresisting hare, when trembling with frenzied
apprehension under the feet and wide open jaws of the hound exhibit much
defiance, or much hope of victory in a death struggle with its cruel and
merciless foe? It makes no resistance--no motion or attitude of battle
for life except that involuntary and spasmodic action produced by pain
and suffering.

[Illustration: "Ef yu wus to brake loose und drap, yu'd bust up ebery
scallyhorg in de Souf."]



CHAPTER IV.

TYPES AND SHADOWS.


The development of the negro, educationally, has been embarrassed by
natural causes that he has been unable to overcome. In a great variety
of instances he has failed to be actuated by an intellectual or
benevolent reason. In the evolution of the negro from a savage to a
slave, from a slave to a freedman, and from a freedman to a citizen,
only in exceptional instances has he been able to originate a theory or
experiment that has been profitable to himself or others. No high state
of civilization has ever originated from them. History teaches us that a
nation may pass through an ascending or descending career. It may, by
long-continued discipline, exhibit a general, mental advance; or it may
go through other demoralizing processes, until it descends to the very
bottom of animal existence.

Man is distributed throughout the earth in various conditions: in
temperate zones he presents the civilization of Europe and America; in
torrid zones the ignorance and nakedness of the African. It was out of
the stew-pan of the equator that the negro was fished--with all the
features and instincts of a barbarism, from which he is slowly
emerging--by cruel and irresponsible traders. The religious ideals of
the negro are vague and indeterminate. They are intensely superstitious,
and believe, as their ancestors before them, in sorcery and witchcraft.
Although their powers of origination are inefficient, they readily
imitate the manners, customs and idiosyncracies of their masters, and
frequently exhibit a superficial polish. They are emotional rather than
practical in their religion. They are not naturally revengeful or
vindictive, and they have shown a sentiment of gratitude that greatly
endeared them to their owners. When war was flagrant, and they felt that
it was waged for their emancipation--that the institution of slavery was
menaced by Federal arms, in unnumbered instances they held in sacred
trust millions of dollars worth of property and the lives of thousands
of defenseless human beings, who held over them, without challenge, the
rod of domestic government.

Under all exasperating causes up to and during the war, hundreds of
slaves remained loyal to the interests and authority of their masters.

Conditions, however, highly inflammatory, developed passions that made
them brutish, dishonest and cruel. Their emotional religion and their
prejudices acted concurrently. The carpet-bagger found these unlighted
fagots distributed everywhere throughout the South; he had only to
entice them by delusive promises; he had only to say to them, "Will you
be slaves, or freedmen?"--to put into their hands a new commission, and
into their hearts a new faith, differentiated from the old in order to
kindle the fires of hate and revenge.

The Freedman's Bureau in the South was the nineteenth century
Apocalypse--a revelation truly to the poor negroes, who had devoutly
longed for its coming. The event, they thought, would be distinguished
by their sudden enrichment; its huge commissariat would leak from every
pore with the oil of fatness; officials, patient and sympathetic, would
stand at its portals to distribute pensions and subsistence, and the
star-spangled banner waving from the masthead would bow its welcome to
all who came. Something for nothing was their great law of reciprocity.
Four million slaves fastened themselves like barnacles upon this odious
institution, an extremely partisan agency, deadly and inimical--hostile
to the peace of the South and the interests of her people. These slaves,
maddened by their misery, looked back upon the ruined plantations, and
laughed when they felt that the whirlwind of retribution had swept over
the land.

Aleck, a former slave of Colonel Seymour, but whose rebellion to the
slightest authority had latterly been shown by expressions cruel and
insulting, and who affected a social equality with the carpet-baggers,
halloed over the picket fence in the small hours of the night, to Johua,
who was now eighty years of age:

"Hay, dar, yu franksized woter! hez yu heerd de news, ur is yu pine
plank ceasded? Hay, dar, Joshaway! De bero man is dun und riv wid de
munny, und he lows dat he is ergwine ter penshun off de ole isshu
niggers fust."

"Aye, aye!" exclaimed Joshua, almost mechanically, as he aroused himself
with an effort, and rubbed the sleep out of his dimmed eyes, "Don't you
heer dat, Hanner?" he asked his old wife. "Ergwine to penshun off de ole
isshu niggers fust! Grate Jarryko! Who dat er woicin' dat hebbenly
pocklermashun outen dar in de shank o' de night? Haint dat yu, brudder
Wiggins?"

"Yaw," Aleck replied, "dis is me, sho. De bero man hez dun und sont me
to norate dis pocklermashun to you und Ned."

"Grate Jarryko!" exclaimed Joshua, again excitedly. "Hanner," he
continued, "ef yu ever seed a cricket hop spry 'pon de hath, jess watch
dis heer ole isshu jump inter his gyarments."

As the negro was groping about in the dark for his ragged clothes he
said half parenthetically, "Dat dare voice fetches to my membrunce de
scriptur agen, whay hit says "Fling yo bred into de warter und hit is
ergwine to cum out a ho cake." Yu is er shoutin', sliding-baccurd
mefodis Hanner und don't pin yo fafe to providence but to grace, und
grace is ergwine to keep you perpendikkler in Filadelfy meeting-house,
but hit haint ergwine to fetch no horg meat nur taters nudder, dis side
of de crick. Hit wur providence dat fotched dat bero man into de
souf-land wid de munny to de ole lams of de flock. Don't yu see?"

"I sez ole lams," snapped Hannah; "ef day wuz de onliest wuns gwine to
be penshunned off, yu'd be stark nekked as er buzzard, kase yu is dun un
backslewed wusser dan a scaly horg."

"Grate Jarryko!" ejaculated Joshua, "How's a mishunnary ergwine to back
slew, tell me dat? Kase you jined Filadelfy church, you haint got all de
liggion in de world. Dare's Zion und dare's Massedony und dare's de
baptizin crick und den dares fafe und providence. Don't you see Hannah?
I'm ergwine to ax yu enudder pint rite dare," continued Joshua. "Who dat
way back yander in the dissart, dat de good Lord fed wid ravens, when de
rashuns gin out? Pend upon it, dat woice out yander imitates de woice of
the proffit Heckerlijer, dat flung his leg outen jint, er tusselling wid
de harkangel."

"Twant Heckerlijer" answered Hannah sharply, as she threw a splinter of
lightwood upon the embers. "Yu's allus a mysterfying de scriptures when
yu's er spashiatin erbout dem proffets; yu haint never heerd no such a
passage as dat from de circus rider, nur de slidin elder nudder; ef dat
cum outer de scriptur, hits by und 'twixt de misshunaries, und day is
fell frum grace same as yu."

"Now yu's acting scornful agen de misshunarys" replied Joshua
contemptuously, "Ef you ever gits to hebben, let me pete dat ergin; I
sez, ef you ever gets to hebben yu's ergwine to hole a argyment wid de
possel Joner, und den yu's ergwine to be flung outen de gate."

"Whay did yu get dat possell frum?" asked Hannah with irritation.
"Whicherway is de sebben starrs Joshua?" She asked as she changed the
subject.

"Day is skew-west over yander," said Joshua as he went to the door to
look out into the night; "Und bress de Lord" he continued, "peers lak
day is a nussing de bero man und de munny er standin' disserway
purpundikkler, fo und aft?"

"Is yu ergwine to de town und hit pitch dark?" enquired Hannah. "How in
de name of Gord is yu gwine to get to de tuther eend of de crick, und yu
bline ez a sand mole flung outer de ground?"

"Now yu's er flingin' a damper on my ambishun ergin. How's I ergwine to
fetch de munny back epseps I gits to the tuther eend?" asked Joshua
crustily. "Duz yu speck me to slew frum wun eend to the tuther lak a
skeeter hork? Tell me dat."

"Lors a massy" he cried out in pain, as he danced around the room on one
foot, "fur de hebbins sake fling dat ole free-legged cheer outer dis
house into de mash. Grate Jarryko! de debble has sho got hisself tangled
up wid de harrydatterments of dis house. Yu mouter knowed dat pizened
cussed impelment was ergwine to cum in contack wid sum of my jints."

"Yu jess nuss dat ole hoof of yourn in boff hands lak dat," said Hannah
provokingly "twell I strikes a lite und den I'm ergwine to clap fur yu
to dance er misshunery reel."

"Don't tanterlize me no mo Hanner wid dem reels und me in all dis rack
und missury! Grate Jarryko! Dis heer ole happy sack haint ergwine to
hole all dat munny," observed Joshua, after a moment and still groaning
with pain.

"Den you mout take de bofat, und de blu chiss, und den dare's de wheel
borrer und de steer kyart. Fetch all yu kin Joshaway, fur me und yu is
ergwine to need hit every bit und grane. Dat ole beaver of yourn wid de
tip eend er flipperty-flopity disserway und datterway, same ez a kyte in
de gale is jamby gin out, und den dares de lan, und de grate house, und
de hosses und de kerrige, und de peanny forty, und de kalliker kote, und
de snuff, und--und--"

"Don't fling no mo unds--unds--at me," interrupted Joshua in disgust,
"epsep yu aims fur me to drap rite back into de bed, whay I wur wen de
proklermashun isshued."

Hannah made no answer to this effusion of temper, but going slyly to an
old chest in the corner, she took from it a bottle containing a gill or
more of ardent spirits and giving it to the old negro, said, "Anint dat
ole jint wid dis good truck, Joshaway, hit will swage de missury."

Joshua looked up with a countenance beaming like the full moon coming
out of a black cloud, and playfully said to his old wife, "Honey I kin
swage de missury mo better disser way;" drank it down and then
exclaimed, "Bress God, dat sarchin pain is dun und gon."

"Dont you forget honey," said Joshua again, patronizingly as he was
about stepping out of the door with his stick and haversack, "dat nex
Saddy, arter dis Saddy cummin, dem dare high steppers dats gwine to cum
home wid me dis arternoon is ergwine to raise a harry kane 'twixt dis
house und de federick sammyterry whay old Semo und dat secesh gubberner
is ergwine to preach de funeral of ole Ginurul Bellion, lately ceasded,
und when me und yu gits into de kerrige, great Jarryko! I'm ergwine to
hole dem rones disserway, und whern day gits 'twixt de flatform und ole
glory, I'm ergwine to histe 'em up on dare hine legs, jess so, see!"

Old Hannah clapped her hands with joy and laughed again and again
"Bress Gord" she exclaimed with excitement; "yu is same ez a yurling
colt yoself Joshaway, I'm ergwine to give yu a moufful of fodder and
shet yu up wid de steer, kase de way yu's a histing up yo rare legs und
er chompin' de bit, yu's ergwine to eat up de gyarden sass same as de
steer."

Joshua looked scornfully at his wife and observed with a fierce scowl,
"Day haint no passifyin' wun of dese backslewed mefodiss epseps yu's er
totin every bit of de strane yoself, fo I gits back wid de kerrige und
de hosses," he continued quite earnestly "Yu mout move all de harry
detaments outen de house, ready fur de grate house, und yu mont rent dis
house to ole Semo pervidin' he pays de rent, und you mout turn de munny
over to de darters of de sammytary siety."

"Ugh! Ugh! I heers yu; fetch dem nales und de snuff Joshaway!" Hannah
halloed as Joshua now in a good humor limped away in the darkness
singing merily;

    "When I was ergrwine down de field,
      De blacksnake bit me on de heel;
    Und ez I riz to fire my best
      I run ergin a yaller jacket's nest.

"Yaller jackets indeed" echoed Hannah as she proudly tossed her aged
head, "when Joshua fetches dem rones und kerrige, dare haint ergwine to
be no yaller jackets on me ur him udder."

The village was thronged with the black wards of the government, when
Joshua arrived wearied and hungry. Allured by expectations that had
been most wantonly excited, the negroes flocked into the town with
trunks, valises, travelling bags, some of them of the most primitive
description, within which to put their pensions. Flattering expressions
came from truly loyal hearts, when the agent of the freedman's bureau
ascended the court house steps to address the freedmen. His very
presence was like the sunlight over the darkened land, but alas; he was
the man who was to pass out to each and all of the misguided negroes the
cup of disappointment and bitterness, and they in their nakedness and
stupidity would drink its lees with the desperate resoluteness of
fanatics.

Joshua stood with his old skinny hands clasped upon his bosom, looking
up in an attitude of reverence.

"Grate Jarryko!" he said to himself; "Ef dis bellion hadn't upriz de ole
isshu nigger mouter been way back yander a totin' de grubbin hoe fur
Jeff Davis, de secesh, und de ole bull whup er natally cryin fur de po
niggers meat. Ef Hanner seed dis site, she'd jine de mishunary's, kase
she mouter node dat providence had sont dat bero man und hit is mo
better dan grace."

The old negro saw the diamonds glittering upon the enameled shirt bosom
of the agent and he said again in rapture.

"Day is same ez de starrs in de hellyments."

He saw a huge chain dangling from his neck, and he exclaimed.

"Grate Jarryko! ef de ole ship of Zion wur to git shipracked in Galilee,
yu mout grapple her wid dat dare chain und hit mout hole twell de
harrykin swaged."

The old negro was lost in wonder, and at last overpowered by fatigue,
and the press of the throng, he dropped out of line and fell asleep upon
an empty crate. How long he slept does not enter into the chronicle.
There were mischievous boys then as there are now, and whilst he slept
they collected from old bureau drawers one hundred dollars of brand new
confederate treasury notes of the issue of 1864, and placed them loosely
in his beaver and covered it over with his red pocket handkerchief. Upon
awaking, Joshua rubbed his eyes, and then his knees and his elbows;
looked around dazedly, and exclaimed.

"Consound my buttons, ef de bero man haint dun und penshuned off de
niggers, und gon; und dis heer nigger a drapped back to sleep, lak a
idgeot, wid nary cent of de penshun. Grate Jarryko! I knows what Hanner
is ergwine to say; she's ergwine to ax me erbout de hosses, und den
she's ergwine to aggravate me wid providence dis, und grace dat, und
mishunary heer, und meferdis dare. Ef yu'd pervided yoself wid sum of
dat grace down at Filadelfy meetin' house Joshaway, she's ergwine to
say, you mouter fotched de rones und de kerrige too. Grate Jarryko! hit
peers lak provedense hez dun und flung de fat in de fire arter all."

Taking up his old hat, the confederate money went scurrying here and
there; the old negro looked around him suspiciously, and exclaimed in an
excited way.

"Grate Jarryko! whicherway did all dis munny cum from? hit wur
provedense dat time und no mistake; now yu sees Hanner which wun of dem
meeting houses is got de under holt; Yu's dun und hilt to grace, und me
runs wid fafe, und whicherwun is got de munny? Tell me dat?"

Whilst Joshua was sleeping, Hannah was busy hammering and packing the
scant furniture for its removal to the great house, and at high noon
everything was out of doors. The squealing pig was fettered like a
convict, and old Boatswain, the coon dog, was tied and howling like a
catamount. Joshua placed the money into his haversack, with the nails
and snuff, looked up at the setting sun, and said to himself.

"I mout let Hanner pick out dem hosses, und de kerrige, kase she mout
not like de rones."

The old negro struck a bee-line for home with the further observation.

"Grate Jarryko! ef hit warnt fur Ganderbilt, I specks dis ole nigger
mout be de richest man on de top side of de yurth."

He paused for a moment and said.

"I dun und forgit; I'm mo'est sho Hanner is ergwine to ax fer sperrets
fur her griping missury."

And he stepped into the nearest groggery and purchased a pint or more
with the money an old friend had given him.

"Now den ole town, I bids yu farwell twell yu sees me und Hanner in de
kerrige."

As Joshua was going on toward home his mind became speculative. Great
schemes in a crude way were thought of, and he said to himself.

"Now dat de munny is dun un riv, ef I ketches Hanner wun mo time wid a
hoe in her hands, I'm ergwine to git a vorcement. She mout take lessons
on de peanny-forty from dat white gal in de grate house und play de
hopperatticks arternoons arter me und her hez driv over de plantushun
und seed to de craps. When I gits home I'm ergwine to berry dis munny
under de tater hill und I haint ergwine to let Hanner spishun whay I
keeps hit, kase she'll buy all de hosses in de Newnited States und
finely hit will all be gone. I'm ergwine to fling de whup und pull de
ribbuns myself, und ole Semo de secesh jess got to git outen de grate
house. Lemme see how dese sperrets tastes," he said. And he reached in
his ole haversack, got the flask and put it to his mouth. "Gurgle,
gurgle, gurgle; umph," he said, smacking his lips, "dat is sho good
truck. Is yu got gumpshun nuff ter count dis munny, specks it oversizes
your judgment, ole hoss," and he began to count upon his fingers, "five
hundred, hundred fousand, hundred million. Great king! what am I gwine
ter do wid dis munny; ef ole Mars Linkun cud see Joshaway now, wid his
freedom und de grate house und de plantashun und de hosses, he wud larf
und larf frum wun eend of his mouf to the tother. You see's now Mr.
Bellyun what yu is dun und dun fur yosef crackin de whup ober de po
nigger."

A distance of two miles had been placed between the old negro and the
village and he had two more miles to go. One mile ahead ran with a swift
current the black waters of Chowattuck, but there was a substantial foot
log thrown across it, and it was ordinarily safe. Joshua had gone but a
little farther when he wanted to sample "dem dar sperrets agin," "Pen
upon it, I nattally feels dat ar truck er oozin outen my toe nails." The
"tikler" was turned up again, and gurgle, gurgle, gurgle sang the fiery
spirits. The money now had greatly multiplied; the trees upon the
roadside were somersaulting, and the road itself, like a serpent, was
twisting in and out about his tangled legs. Joshua stopped in sight of
the water with the observation.

"Hole on dar ole hoss, what is yu ergwine ter do, dis munny aint ergwine
to tote yu ober dis crick; ole glory back yander aint gwine ter heer yu
hollow, what is yer gwine to do?"

He put his hands upon his old knees, and rubbed them down, brought his
coat sleeves with a fierce swing across his cavernous mouth, fetched a
grunt or two, then planted his feet upon the foot-log.

"Studdy yosef ole hoss, studdy yosef, ef yu draps inter dis heer crick
und gits drounded, it's ergwine to bust up ebery scalyhorg in der
souf."

Three times he tried to walk the log and as often fell off before
reaching the water.

"Konsoun de crick," he muttered, "hit hadn't orter be heer no how, er
pesterrin fokses er cummin und er gwine; pears lak now de bellion is dun
und fell dere is a dratted crick at ebery crook in de rode; blame my
hide ef I aint gwine ercross ef I has ter crawl lak a santypede; I kin
straddle de dratted fing un I kin git ercross arter a fashun, but what
is I gwine ter do wid de happy-sak und de munny? I is bleeged ter use
bof hands ter hold on to de dratted log when I slips und slides, und I
kaint tote de happy-sak in my mouf, kase I haint got but one ole snag in
my hed, and hit is in de furder eend; consound it, whay it hadn't orter
be no how. I kin tie de happy-sak to de kote keerts, und den ole hoss,
yu und me kin land on de tother side of de crick lak a kildee. Ef I was
ergwine tother way dar wud be a passel ob kaarts cummin dis way; dey is
allus gwine de rong way at de rong time." So argued Joshua as he
fastened the haversack to the only button on the back of his coat.

"Now den ole buttun, ef yu was ter brake loose, un drap yu wud werk
bigger strucshun dan a yeth-shake, dat yu wud. Provedense is ergwine to
do hits part ef Hanner is dun und dun hern."

Slipping and sliding, the old negro was approaching the other end of the
foot log; his heavily weighted coat skirts thumping against his shanks,
when he was sliding along under an overhanging cypress bush about midway
of the deep channel, "kerchunk" some heavy object dropped into the
water.

"Grate Jarryko!" exclaimed the old negro alarmed, "what a tremenjous
mockisun snake dat was a drapping off dat dar bush; I'm ergwine ter git
erway frum dis crick, sho yo born."

Slipping and sliding he finally got to the end, and with the
observation "Peers lak I feels mity lightsum in de hine parts," he put
his hand behind him to feel for his haversack, and found it gone.

The loss of the treasure for the moment confused the old negro, then he
began to cry and swear, until his grief at last found expression in the
exclamation:

"Grate Jarryko! Dem passages o' scriptur erbout fafe und erbout grace
und erbout proverdense got twisted und tangled togedder into a loblolly,
und bress de Lawd, dis heer happuning is de eend of it all."

He then looked back upon the raging flood, utterly forlorn, and
plaintively addressed himself to his situation:

"Now, whot's Hanner gwine ter do erbout dem hosses und de kerrige und de
grate house, und dey kivered up in dat sloshy graveyard--drownded to def
in de turkle hole? Dat ole button dun und broke loose und drapped in de
werry wustest place on de top side o' de yeth. Now Hanner she's ergwine
ter say hit wuz de sperrets. Well, den, how did de sperrets git inter de
button? Dat's de pint. She mout say ergen dat ef dem sperrets hadn't got
mixed up wid de ankle jints dat dis nigger mouter slewed ter disser eend
und hilt on ter de munny. Well, den, how cum de drotted crick in de
middle o' de rode? Dat's er nudder pint. Dis heer missury dun und cum
erbout twixt Hanner und de debbil; dats de how. She er drapped back
yander, er singin',

    'Hold de fort, fer I'm er coming'

und er spectin' de hosses und de kerrige, und bress de Lawd she dun und
flung de fat in de fiar her own sef. How's I ergwine ter hole de fort
wid de ammynishun in de dratted crick? I haint ergwine ter put de blame
on de sperrits, kase hit hadn't orter go dare. She mout er node dat ole
buttun warnt ergwine to tote dat strane, und dat hit wus ergwine ter
brake loose und drap fust er las. How wus I er gwine ter git ter dis
eend epseps I had fafe in de button? Now she mout say ergin dat I hed
orter slewed across fust und den slewed back und fotched de munny. Bress
de Lawd, how wuz I ergwine ter know de munny wuz gwine to stay at de
tuther eend und I at disser eend? Tell me dat. Twixt de scalyhorgs und
dat Mefodis meetin house, dare's ergwine ter cum a slycoon in dis lan'
yit."

As Joshua approached his cabin he looked up and saw his old wife sitting
in a dilapidated rocking chair, surrounded by the scant furniture, and
singing:

    "Tis grace hez fotched me safe dis fur.
    Und grace gwine take me home."

He stopped abruptly and began to groan and mutter.

"Grate Jarryko!" he exclaimed, as he vigorously rubbed one foot against
the other, "Ef yu's spectin' dem rones to tote yu in de kerrige to
Filadelfy meetin' house, hits ergwine ter be by und twixt mo better
grace dan yu's got, ur me udder."

The old negro looked up again over the broken rim of his beaver, and he
began to mutter again, "Grate Jarryko! Ef dat fool nigger haint dun und
gone und turned de house inside outtards! De debbil hez sho broke loose
in de middle ships o' dis ole plantashun, und dem evil sperrets is in
cohoot wid won ernudder."

At this point Hannah observed Joshua zigzagging across the field without
horses or carriage, and her wrath was exceeding fierce.

"Pend upon it," she exclaimed, "dat ar ole nigger fool de werry
eyeballs outen yo hed. Gwine ter fetch de rones und de kerrige! Grate
king! Ef de good Lawd spares me twell den, when de jedge cums er roun'
ter de kote, I'm ergwine ter git me er vorcement. Mont ez well go inter
cohootnership wid a billy gote, widout ary moufful o' fodder ez dat ole
black idgeot."

When Joshua came within hailing distance, Hannah halloed to him; "Whay
hez yu been all dis nite Joshaway? Here I'se sot und sot ever sense
daylite down, in de jam of de chimney und every now und den hit peeerd
lak I heerd dem rones er plumputy plump down de rode, er cummin same ez
a sho nuff harrykin, und bress Gord heer yu cums ergin wid de drunken
reels lak er ole hoss, wid de bline staggers, mommucked up wusser dan a
kadnipper; Look at dat ole bever hat, er layin' dare pine plank lak a
turkle trap sot bottom uppards."

Joshua heaved one or more sighs as he blurted out in a drowsy way; "Dem
dare hosses yu heerd down de rode, er blickerty blick, dun und got
drownded to def in de crick last nite."

"Grate king!" exclaimed Hannah wrathfully; "ef de good Lord spares me
twell den, when de jedge gits to de kote, I'm gwine to git me a
vorcement."

"Und me too;" ejaculated Joshua as he stretched himself upon a plank for
a nap.



CHAPTER V.

PATRIOTIC MEN DELIBERATING.


At the hour of 3 p. m., in the early autumn of 186--, several
representative gentlemen met by previous agreement in the library of
Colonel Seymour. This congress of Southern leaders of the old school,
after the interchange of the usual courtesies, resolved themselves into
"A Committee of the Whole upon the state of the Union," with Judge
Bonham in the chair, and was addressed at length by Governor Ainsworth.
This gentleman had honored his state as one of its Senators in the
Federal Congress; again as Secretary of the Navy, and had filled by
successive elections the office of Governor for three terms. He had
reached that mellow age when the intellect becomes largely
retrospective. The manner of this distinguished statesman was singularly
individual. In early life strongly inclined to the contemplation of
perplexing political questions, he possessed a graphic, nervous force--a
kind of untamed vigor--a raciness of flavor in speech that belonged only
to the individual who thought for himself. There were few men more
richly endowed; his intellect was of the highest order--clear, rapid and
comprehensive--combined with an extraordinary facility of expressing and
illustrating his ideas, both in conversation and debate. He possessed a
rich imagination, a rare and delicate taste, a gentle and sportive wit,
and an uninterrupted flow of humor, that made him the delight of every
circle. Nor were his moral qualities less deserving of respect and
admiration. He was generous, brave, patriotic and independent. He was
the slave of no ambitious or selfish policy; the hunter of no
factitious or delusive popularity; he spoke the language of truth,
justice and wisdom. A "throb of gratitude beat in the hearts of the
people," and the sentiment of an affectionate respect glowed in their
bosoms for the "old man eloquent." His speeches, too, were essentially
characteristic, abounding in keen satire, humor, and frequently in the
most direct and idiomatic language. Given to intense conviction rather
than to subtle discernment, and devoting his unusual ability to studied
effort, he could, whenever he felt so inclined, "strip the mask from the
hypocrite, and the cowl from the bigot."

This was the man toward whom the patriotic sentiment of the country was
directed; the man who might, by possibility, lash the raging Hellespont
into submission. "But what avail," said he as he leaned heavily upon his
staff, "are arguments and protests? Can we charm the serpent into
harmlessness by the feeble chirping of the wren? Can we tranquilize the
country by indignant declamation?" Then with an effort he assumed a
poise still more dignified and serious, as he continued:

"Gentlemen, when the seas are lashed into a rage, no matter who are the
mad spirits of the storm, they cannot say to their tumultuous waters,
'thus far shalt thou go, and no farther, and here shalt thy proud waves
be stayed.' There are other powers in motion beneath its surface, which
they wist not of, and whose might they can neither direct or control. I
have stood upon the shores of the mighty ocean, and observed the
forerunners of the coming storm. I have heard the moan of its restless
waters in the caverns of the great deep, and have seen the upheaving of
the billows, which rose, and raged and tossed as foam from their bosoms,
the wild spirits that gendered the tempest. I envy not the triumph of
those who have troubled the waters; who have laid waste the South, who
have beggared her proud people. I had rather stand with my countrymen
powerless, but brave and unyielding, than to wield the thunderbolts of
Jove, if I must employ their power and resource in wrong and oppression.
When the last spark of Roman liberty was extinguished; when no voice but
that of Augustus was heard, and no power but that of Augustus was felt,
his venal flatterers vied with each other in deifying their god, and
degrading those firm, defiant spirits who stood for their country and
its tranquility. Cæsar had subjugated the world, all but the dark
unbending soul of Cato. In a catastrophe, such as this, let that band of
patriots to which it is my pride to belong, share in the spirit of the
last of the Romans; that spirit which scorns to bow before any earthly
power, save that of their beleaguered country.

The reconstruction government has purposely demoralized the economic
conditions which contributed to the prosperity of the South. Full well
it knew that the wealth of the people depended upon their labor. There
was a time when plunder was the great resource of the nations of the
earth. The first kingdom was sustained by pillage and conquest, and
great Babylon, the glory of the Chaldean empire, was adorned by the
spoils of all Asia; the Assyrian was plundered by the Persian, the
Persian by the Macedonian, and it at last devoured by the Roman power.
The wolf which nursed its founder, gave a hunger for prey insatiable to
the whole world. There was not a temple nor a shrine between the
Euphrates and the salted sea that was not pillaged by these marauders.
The tide of ages, century after century, had rolled over the last
fragment of Roman power; the light of science had broken upon the world,
before mankind seemed to realize that our Creator, dead aeons ago had
said: 'By the sweat of his brow man should eat his bread all the days of
his life.'

Wealth is power, and the wealth of a nation is its labor, its abundant
control of all the great agencies of nature employed in production. The
products of human labor, its food and clothing, like the fruits of the
earth are annual, and God in his wisdom has adjusted human wants to
their power of production. Like the bread from heaven the dews of every
night produce the crops, and the labors of every day gather the harvest.
What, but an almost boundless power of consumption and reproduction has
given to the South its athletic vigor, and yet the enfranchisement of
the negroes has been a fatal blow to every industrial interest. It has
left our plows to rot in the furrow, and our plantations to grow up in
briers and brambles.

That liberty, which ranks in our organic law next to life, is subjected
to the caprice of those who happen in the ever varying conditions of
human affairs to be placed over us as masters. The South believed that
the theory of the government derived its chiefest captivation from its
regard to the equal rights of all its citizens and from its pledge to
maintain and preserve those rights. It assumed to proclaim the happiness
of the people to have been the object of its institution, and to
guarantee to each and to all without limitation the enjoyment of life,
liberty, and property.

It has been reserved for the power of oppression, in its active and
diffused state, to give effect to the unhallowed innovation upon the
rights of the South.

Reconstruction is the Gethsemane of southern life. God's law is higher
than man's law. Man's feeble statutes cannot annul the immutable
ordinances of the Almighty. Those whom God has put asunder, let no man
join together.

Who could have foreseen that in the first century of our existence
African freedmen would rule sovereign commonwealths, and become the
judges of the rights and property of a race who had ruled the destinies
of the world since governments--patriarchal, monarchical or
constitutional--was known to man?

The true, sincere and rational humanitarian looks with sorrow upon the
future state of the misguided negroes; for when this institutional age
shall have passed away, he sees the exodus or extirpation of this
disturbing element in the social and political conditions of the more
powerful sovereign race. The authors of the infamous policy have written
their _hic jacet_ against our civilization.

No where can there be found in the history of any country where the
civil and military policy have been so basely prostituted, or where the
safeguards of liberty, life and property were ever entrusted to freed
slaves--human chattels; slaves who never for a moment have been in a
state of pupilage. It is an epoch that marks the decadence of the
manhood and civilization of a great nation--homogeneous, prosperous,
enlightened and happy. The nearest approximation to this era of ruin--of
social degradation--was when the slaves in Rome were enfranchised by
order of the emperor, and conditions there were totally dissimilar.
Whilst they enjoyed certain rights and prerogatives of manumission, they
were still held to duties of obedience and gratitude. Whatever were the
fruits of their toil and industry, their patrons shared or inherited the
third part, or even the whole of their acquisitions. In the decline of
this great empire, the proud mistress of the world, we are told that
hereditary distinctions were gradually abolished, and the reason or
instinct of Justinian completed the simple form of an absolute monarchy.
In the eye of the law all Romans were equal and all subjects were
citizens. The inestimable character was degraded to an obsolete and
empty name. The voice of a Roman could no longer enact laws or create
the annual ministers of his power.

"It may take many generations perhaps, for moral changes are slow, to
put out all our lights of knowledge that are now beaming from every
cottage in the South; but one after another they will be extinguished,
and with them the beacon torch of liberty. When the white men of the
South shall come to see how things are, and to realize the downward
tendency, physical, intellectual manhood will make a throe to regain the
height it has lost, and if it fails, a storm will arise from the
elements they are compounding, that will break somewhere and spend
itself with desolating fury. They cannot degrade a people who have been
enlightened and free, prosperous and happy, without igniting a mass
which they can no more control, than they can the central fires of
Vesuvius.

"Up to the commencement of hostilities between the North and the South,
there were in the South millions of people employed directly or
indirectly in the honest and wholesome avocation of agriculture, and by
its great encouraging system, sustained in a condition of existence,
both moral and physical, equally as prosperous and independent as any
other agricultural people in any other region of the earth. They were
white men who piece by piece built up the whole superstructure, and
thereby reinforced the country with so much labor and skill; furnished
so much mutual employment for that skill and labor, aided as they were
by so many instrumentalities of toil and agents of production. What a
country it was--supplied by this system from the labor of our own hands
and workshops, with all the machinery, fruits of the earth, and all the
needful fabrics of human skill. This great system comprehended every
class and every source of material wealth. Under this system our people
prospered. The white population of the South came by descent from a
parent stock, that from the foundation of society had governed in wisdom
and moderation the most enlightened countries of the world; who had
written every constitution, fought every battle, endowed every charity,
established every government, introduced every reform that has given to
the world its christian development and progress.

"When these extra-hazardous reconstruction acts were submitted to the
Legislature of the South, they refused to "chop logic" with the
Reconstruction party. It would have been contrary to the experience of
mankind, and an exception to all the teachings of history, if in the
high excitement then prevailing--the exasperation of the people--the
outrages threatened and inflicted, the South had yielded one jot or
tittle or swerved from its honest, patriotic convictions. The transition
was from a state in which the integrity and intelligence of the white
race, ennobled by centuries of meritorious service, had ruled; to a
government by a black race that less than five generations before had
been hunted like wild beasts in the jungles of the dark continent; who
were handcuffed and decoyed into slave ships, and who had been slaves
until the proclamation of President Lincoln emancipated them in the
territory protected by the U. S. Army. The transition was to a condition
of things in which white men to the number of three hundred thousand
were disfranchised and deprived of the right to vote and to hold office,
and the enfranchisement of more than a corresponding number of benighted
negroes with the right to vote and hold office. The transition of the
slave, was too sudden--too alarming--too degrading. No people who were
proud of their traditions, their institutions, could have looked upon
such a change with complacency; nor seen their local government pass
into the hands of their slaves--irresponsible, illiterate, brutish,
rapacious, without being goaded into violent resistance.

"It has been remarked 'Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy
name.' If the gift of the elective franchise enabled the negro to
protect himself in his rights of person and property, the denial of it
to the white man took away from him that protection and that right. They
went even to lower depths, and by the election and registration laws
basely surrendered into the hands of the carpet-baggers all power. The
judiciary, the last refuge of the unfortunate and oppressed is stricken
down and stripped of both ermine and respectability. The ballot box--the
sanctuary of freedom--the ballot box--the only secure refuge of
liberty--the ballot box, the armory where freedom's weapons are wont to
terrify tyrants, is made the charnel house in which the assassinated
liberties of a defenceless, prostrated people are buried; is made the
dice box in which are staked and played for by the freedmen of the South
the revenues of plundered commonwealths. What wonder in this lust for
power men should become strangers to the people they govern, outlaws to
honesty and patriotism.

"They know no law but that of force, and no God but Mammon. They ply
their theft upon every citizen, enthrall him with taxation, deny him the
right to be seen or heard or felt at the ballot box or before the court.
In the train of these outrages and indignities came a flood of
unwholesome oppressive laws, creating new offices, increasing the
salaries of incompetent and truculent officials, multiplying the cost
and expenditures of government, and correspondingly increasing the
burdens of taxation. Then came martial law, militia campaigns, loyal
leagues, murders, arsons, burglaries, rapes, and a reign of terror and
intimidation to make the way for the easy perpetration of the most
monstrous and unparallelled wrongs, frauds and outrages that ever cursed
the earth. The South, like a beautiful captive, was turned over to be
deflowered and defiled. She could only cry in her desperation--"I am
within your brutal power, and gagged and pinioned must submit."

"Our elective judiciary has contributed immeasurably to the vicious,
demoralizing spirit of the age." The intelligent and upright judge is
the representative of the law in its simplicity, sufficiency and
learning. He is the living exponent of its justice. Whatever the law is
will appear in him, and whatever it does will be done through him. The
different departments of industrial activity center in him. The plowman
in the field, the smith at his anvil, the miner in the earth, the
operative in the factory, the banker at his desk, are all a vital part
of his being. He is the foremost agent of providence in keeping up the
natural distinction of race and position. His creed is that men are not
to be antagonists, but friends. Differ they must in usages and
institutions, in habits and pursuits; but in his opinion they differ,
not that they may be separated, but for a truer sympathy and a compacter
union. Mountains and seas insulate, language and religion differentiate
men, but the law in its economical administration corrects these things
into the elements of a genuine brotherhood. The fortunes of the world,
so far as they are delegated to human care, are in his hands. The
peaceful progress of society is blended with his personal integrity.
Commonwealths, corporations and individuals vest their wealth, their
reputation, their security in him, and if any one man more than another
is under the most sacred of earthly obligations to be an example of the
highest integrity, the most exact justice, the noblest virtue of
thought, word and action, it is the judge of our courts of record. No
feudal baron--no courtly knight--ever had the power that may now be
exercised by him.

"Our civilization pledges us to the sway of moral principles; its rule
is imperative, because we have assumed the title of men, domesticated
our hearts, and accepted the religion of Jesus Christ. Judicial life, by
the earnestness with which it has acted in the past crisis of our state
and national history, by the patriotic devotion and interpretation of
the constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof, by its
conservative temper in resisting fanaticism, vice, corruption and fraud
has shown itself a watchful guardian of the momentous trusts confided to
its keeping. The honest, learned judge has pledged himself for the faith
of contracts and treaties; he has jealously guarded the institutions of
the country and bravely upheld them as the embodiment of our doctrines
and our hopes. The traditions, laws and customs of the country have been
committed to him, and with the ever active jealousy of encroachment, he
has not disguised his fears of centralization or oppression. Hitherto,
irrespective of all party relations, the judicial system was slowly but
surely working out the great problems of domestic prosperity. Times have
changed, however, and we have changed with them. Our present elective
judiciary is indeed the black vomit of reconstruction.

"It may be seriously questioned whether under any circumstances the
elective system is adequate for the purpose designed. All classes, high
and low, sooner or later come before the tribunal of justice. Its
judgments and decrees affect the humblest, as well as the most powerful
individual and control the strongest combinations of men. We know that
it is utterly impossible to keep the nomination and election clear of
mere political influences and those of the worst kind. It is said that
revolutions never go backward; nevertheless in the teeth of the adage I
confess that I can see no better way of selecting judges than the mode
pointed out by the unamended constitutions and the laws and by the
general good sense of mankind. I believe that this method is wise and
conservative, in harmony with our institutions and sufficiently
democratic to satisfy the people. All the rest is faction, demagogism
and cabal. The judge should represent no interest, no party, only the
law; he is an umpire between man and man, between the individual and the
body social.

"What is required in the judge is ability, learning, integrity. In
public station it is as necessary to be thought honest as to be so, and
the moment the popular mind once takes in the true position of the
elective judge, the moment that it perceives the magistrate to be
possessed of neither true power nor real dignity, and exposed
perpetually to temptation, that moment the influence and usefulness of
the judge will be destroyed. Their judgments in such cases will be
received without respect and obeyed only so far as they can be enforced,
and if the people shall ever break down and trample under foot the
defences of unpopular power; the Judiciary will be scouted from their
seats, their filthy and tattered ermine will be torn from their backs,
and they will be driven out into hopeless ignominy as the meanest of
sycophants, and the most truculent of demagogues.... A hundred and
eighty years ago the English parliament, sick of the miseries resulting
from a corrupt judiciary, changed the tenure of the office, abolished
their dependence on the sovereign and made the tenure of their
existence dependent on their good behavior alone. From that time to this
the English judiciary has risen in character and influence. With us the
system is elective. The judicial candidate, like a fish monger, goes
with his wares into a market overt. He advertises his opinions--his
promises, he makes his pledges, he puts a premium upon the ballot, he
weighs to a nicety the purchasable value of negro electors. The rival
candidate does the same, and hence the office is purchasable at the
price of manhood, integrity, learning and capacity. Thus the whole
machinery of the courts is run with an eye single to making political
capital for the radical party and intensifying their hatred toward the
South.

"And now gentlemen," the governor said in conclusion, "our meeting here
to-day will be without its influence upon a power that can 'kill and
make alive.'"

At the conclusion of the speech of the governor, it was resolved that
messengers should be sent to the president with full power to enter into
any treaty or compact for the maintenance of peace and order, and that
Governor Ainsworth and Colonel Seymour shall be charged with the
execution of the mission.



CHAPTER VI.

THE MILLS ARE GRINDING.


It was the hour of high noon that a gentleman and lady alighted from a
carriage at the foot of the mansion of Colonel Seymour without previous
announcement. The gentleman was a person of attractive presence and
perhaps forty-five years of age. The lady was not attractive, a little
patronizing in her manners, and perhaps thirty-five years of age. Their
_patois_ was that of English people; to an artistic ear, however, this
may have appeared feigned. Their manner in the presence of the host was
unconstrained; indeed they expressed themselves with unusual freedom.
The gentleman gave his name as Mr. Jamieson, and the lady as his niece,
Miss Harcourt, both of them lately arrived from London. He had
interested himself, he said, in scientific researches for the past few
years, and was now pursuing an inquiry that he hoped would be of
practical use to the South. The "London Society," whose agent he was,
was seeking from all available sources the most exhaustive information
about the negro in his gradations from the savage to the citizen; and he
took occasion to say that his principals had been greatly astonished
because of the alarming strides the negro had made in a country that,
less than a century ago, made the British power tremble in its very
strong-holds. He would be pleased to ask if this sudden transition from
slavery to freedom had not reversed the orderly procedure of the
government in respect to its administration in the South. To this
inquiry Colonel Seymour replied, quite epigrammatically, "that the
world had no precedent for the revolutionary measures which were being
enforced in the South."

The stranger continuing, observed that he had desired this interview
before exploiting a field untried and perhaps dangerous; and he would be
greatly obliged if his host would be as frank and communicative as
possible.

In the course of this interview, the arguments employed by the stranger
disarmed the old man's suspicions, and in a confidential way the Colonel
told Mr. Jamieson that he would communicate his knowledge of the matters
as far as he could, but feared it would not be of much value, as he was
under suspicion by the Federal authorities; having fought under Lee in
the many battles of the South, he was still vehemently protesting
against the invasion of his own country by the carpet bag government.

"You were, then, a Confederate soldier?" inquired the stranger.

"Yes, and was paroled at Appomattox," sententiously rejoined the
veteran.

"Now, my dear sir, you greatly interest me; may I inquire your rank in
the Confederate army?"

"I was a Colonel of cavalry, sir."

"Were you at Gettysburg, sir?"

"Yes, and was wounded as we were falling back to the Potomac."

"Gettysburg! Ah, yes!" the stranger observed reflectively; "this battle
was quite disastrous to the South, I believe, and was claimed by the
North as a great victory."

"And what upon the face of the earth have they not claimed?" excitedly
replied the veteran.

"Ah yes, they are a boastful people," said Mr. Jamieson. "I doubt not
they claimed victories they never won. You of course are still of the
opinion that the South was right?"

"No opinion about it. I know she was right. We never resorted to
hostilities until our institutions were assailed."

"I am sure your statement is correct, sir," said the Englishman. "While
our government, then in the control of a radical ministry, was
officiously unfriendly to the South, your government had a great army of
sympathizers in England who deplored its downfall; indeed, the president
of our society was an active sympathizer with your country, and the bank
in which he was a director, upon his private account emitted bills of
credit that were used by the agents of the Confederate government in the
purchase of materials of war. I presume, sir," continued the Englishman,
"you would have no hesitation in going to war again if the same
casus-belli existed?"

"No indeed, sir."

"And you are of opinion that it would not be treasonable to oppose the
policy of the government in respect to its acts of reconstruction?"

"If armed with adequate power, I should not hesitate in respect to my
duty in the premises," replied the veteran with a show of temper.

"I am very glad, sir, that you have been entirely frank with me," said
the stranger, "and I fully appreciate your feelings. I suspect that you
do not think that a strongly centralized government in any contingency
is the least oppressive form of government?"

"Assuredly not, sir. Nature has established a diversity of climates,
interests and habits in the extensive territories embraced by the
Federal government. We cannot assimilate these differences by
legislation. We cannot conquer nature. Other differences have been
introduced by human laws and adventitious circumstances, very
difficult, if not impossible to be adjusted by Federal legislation,
hence the necessity of local legislatures with adequate powers, and a
general government with its appropriate powers."

"I presume, sir," said the stranger, "that you cannot conscientiously
support the reconstruction measures of Congress and the president?"

"I cannot and will not, sir," responded Colonel Seymour with emphasis;
"and if you were advertant to that point of time in the history of our
late war when, from sheer exhaustion, the South laid down its arms, you
would not ask the question. There were hundreds of thousands of
patriotic men in the North, who, upon the question of the emancipation
of the negro, concurred in its propriety, yea, its necessity, but who
denounced those reactionary measures that were crystalized and enforced
with cruelty against the South. In our judgment these measures were not
only extra-hazardous, but inherently oppressive. It would have been a
pernicious power in the hands of an intelligent, conservative,
law-abiding people, but most deadly in the hands of ignorant,
unscrupulous and truculent officials. You must remember that the South,
in a metaphorical sense, was an immense area sown in grain ready to be
harvested, with its hedges trampled under foot and destroyed, and
inviting cattle and swine to enter and devour. The herds came greedily
through every gap, and like the wild beasts upon our western prairies,
depastured and consumed almost the whole."

"How wonderfully recuperative have been the energies of your people
sir," interrupted the stranger.

"Yes, but will you allow me to proceed?" replied the Colonel; "We
believed that when the war ended, the people of the South relying upon
the pledges made by the union generals in the field before the armies
were disbanded; on the negotiations preceding the surrender; on the
proclamation of President Lincoln; and the publications of the press; as
well as upon the terms actually agreed on between Grant and Lee, and
Johnson and Sherman, at the time of the capitulation of the Confederate
armies; that when resistence to federal authority ceased, and the
supremacy of the constitution of the United States was acknowledged; and
especially after the ordinances of secession were repealed, and an
amendment to the constitution, abolishing slavery wherever it existed,
was ratified by the legislatures of the insurrectionary states; that a
full and complete restoration of the southern states to their former
position of equal states would at once take place; and after the
exhaustion of such a war they hailed the return of peace with
satisfaction; they acknowledged defeat; accepted the situation, and went
to work to rebuild their waste places and to cultivate their crops. The
men who composed the union armies, found on their return home, a
healthy, prosperous, peaceable and well organized society; while the
government with a prodigal hand freely distributed pay, pensions, and
bounties. It was not so in the south; society here was disorganized; the
strain upon the people to supply the armies in the fields had exhausted
their resources; labor was absolutely demoralized; the negroes being
freed, in their ignorance and delusion were not slow to understand their
changed condition, and became aggressive, riotous and lawless. Under
such circumstances it was impossible to restore harmony in the civil
government without the utmost confusion; yet so earnestly did our people
struggle to return to their allegiance and thus entitle them to the
protection which had been promised, that from the day of the surrender
of the Confederate army, not a gun has been fired; no hostile hand has
been uplifted against the authority of the United States, but before
breathing time even was allowed, a set of harpies, many of whom had
shirked the dangers of the battle field, pounced down upon our people to
ravage, plunder, and destroy. All remonstrances, entreaties, resistances
were stifled by the cry of treason and disloyalty and by the hollow
pretence that the plunderers were persecuted because of their loyalty to
the Union. A system has grown up in the South with obstinacy, whereby
great protected monopolies are fostered at the expense of its
agricultural labor; then follow the series of offensive measures known
as the reconstruction acts; but one further observation sir, and I have
done. The English people had no just conception of the oppressions want
only inflicted upon the South; of the insolence and rapacity of the
carpet-baggers and freedmen who were made our masters."

There was quite an interval before the stranger replied.

"Your address sir has been a revelation indeed; it is a lesson of great
educational value and I sincerely hope I may hear you again. Would you
care to present your views in writing?"

The Colonel without any suggestion of evil said to the stranger. That
possibly at some future day he might find the leisure to do so.

"And now you must allow me to thank you, before leaving, for the
courtesy you have shown. I shall take pleasure in reporting this
interview."

Colonel Seymour upon entering his wife's chamber remarked to her "I have
found a friend in need; an Englishman who was delightfully entertaining
and who represents certain humanitarian interests. I expect to hear
something very flattering to the South when he submits a report to his
principal."

Mrs. Seymour who had passed that period in life, when she could look
hopefully upon anything, observed quite sadly. "I hope it is so, my dear
husband; I hope the future has very much happiness in store for you; but
I am suspicious of strangers who seem to have no other business with
you, than to obtain your views upon the unhappy events that are girdling
our home as it were with a zone of fire." "Ah," exclaimed the husband,
"you do not understand, perhaps your opinion will change in a few days."

"I hope so" the sick lady replied feebly.

We pretermit events more or less irritating to follow the urbane
Englishman. The reader has perhaps surmised that he was an agent of the
secret service bureau. This was true, as Colonel Seymour learned to his
sorrow, within forty eight hours after the man and the lady dropped out
of the wide open arms of the old mansion. But how could a southern
gentleman withhold knowledge when sought under such a disguise. He spoke
as he felt; and if the weapons that he used to punctuate his expressions
were boomerangs that impaled him on its points, he could not help it.
Anywhere, everywhere, he would have spoken his convictions without
concealment, without equivocation. Laflin came to Ingleside; came to
foreclose a poor man's liberty, without a day of redemption. The old man
saw the offensive carpet-bagger approaching the mansion and met him
sternly with the interrogatory. "What is your business?"

"Ah!" sneeringly answered the carpet-bagger, "that is a fine question to
ask a gentleman. Do you recognize that seal sir" he continued, handing
the old man an official requisition bearing the broad seal of the
department of justice upon it "you will perhaps conclude, sir, that it
will be compatible with your safety to return with me; I promise you a
safe conduct to Washington."

"I will go with you" replied the old man with all the suavity possible,
"but you will allow me to prepare for the journey."

"Certainly sir," said Laflin, "but I must see that you do not provide
yourself with arms."

"I do not want my house polluted by your presence," cried the old man in
the vehemence of his feelings.

"Then you shall go as you are," gruffly replied the carpet-bagger.

Alice had but little to say to the man, knowing that entreaty or
expostulation would be unavailing, and Clarissa slunk away from him as
if he were the forerunner of the plague. When the Colonel arrived in the
village he saw the white-haired governor with his overcoat upon his
arms, and his valise and umbrella upon a chair beside him. He knew
intuitively that their missions were the same, that their destination
was Washington.

"What are you doing here governor?" asked Colonel Seymour.

The dejected man replied deliberately, "I am going to Washington sir.
May I ask your destination as I observe you are traveling too?"

"You see my guide, do you not," answered the Colonel with a frigid
smile.

"Yes and I am informed he is mine also; so we shall not get lost on the
route shall we?" answered the governor lugubriously. "I presume we shall
have a suite of rooms at the old capital," asked the Colonel
provokingly.

"Perhaps so, if the President doesn't invite us to the executive
mansion. I hope he will do this as I have no bank account North, and but
little currency in my pocket," replied the Governor in irony. "By the
way Colonel," continued the Governor, "did you have an elegant gentleman
and his niece to call upon you a few days ago? Quite an interesting man
was he not? I hope we shall have a good report from him when he returns
home."

"And were you confidential toward this man?" asked Colonel Seymour.

"Why yes, quite so," replied the Governor innocently. "I found him so
agreeable and so intelligent withal, that I told him all that I knew and
I am expecting great things when I hear from him."

"Do you think, Governor," asked the Colonel quizzically, "that the
Englishman has given us free transportation to Washington to be examined
and punished as suspects?"

"Why my dear sir" replied the old Governor, "you alarm me. Is it
possible we are the dupes of a government spy so clever and
intelligent?"

"That is my opinion, sir," replied the Colonel.

"Is it possible? My, my, my!" he ejaculated, and sank back in the
upholstered seat, and after awhile fell asleep.

These were men who had made the wager of battle for eleven proud
commonwealths and lost; men coming now with their patriotism repudiated,
to be told that their traditions were treasonable, their principles
insurrectionary; to be badgered into compliance; to be scourged into
submission; men who believed with a living faith that they had given
American reasons for convictions that ought not to be challenged, coming
now heroically to receive their doom.

The Governor, on entering the great judgment hall with Colonel Seymour,
was surprised to see in the person of the chairman a highly honored
colleague upon the committee of ways and means in the congress of 1858.
The recognition was mutual, and the distinguished chairman descending
from the dais, demonstratively grasped the old Governor's hand,
exclaiming, "My dear sir, what has brought you here?" The excess of joy
experienced by the Governor quite overcame him, and for a moment he did
not answer, but he replied after awhile as coherently as he could, that
he had never been informed of the charge against him.

"Ah!" replied the chairman sympathetically, "That is indeed regretable,
but the discipline of this court does not contain within itself the germ
of an arbitrary prerogative. No man, however bitter may be his opinions
shall be condemned unheard." The Englishman, under the alias of Mr.
Jamieson appeared as a witness in the person of Jonathan Hawkins.

It is unnecessary to go through the trial that followed. "You are at
liberty," said the chairman, at its conclusion, "to go wheresoever you
will. You shall be safeguarded while you remain in the city, and we
shall exert our utmost to protect you and your interests at home. Mr.
Laflin," he continued, "you will procure passports for these gentlemen
whom you have brought here without a pretext of reason."

Our old friends, taking up their hats and canes, returned their grateful
thanks to the honorable commission, whose judicial fairness was so
praise-worthy; and turned their faces homeward; the Governor exclaiming
through his clenched teeth, "The infamous, villainous Englishman!"

"Why, bless my soul, Governor," exclaimed the Colonel in a startled
tone, "What an opportune moment to have carried out the wishes of our
meeting!"

"What meeting do you refer to sir?" asked the Governor in surprise.

"Why, my dear sir, had you forgotten that we were deputized to visit the
authorities in Washington at the meeting presided over by Judge Bonham?"

"Well, well, well!" ejaculated the Governor, "I verily believe, sir, if
peace is not speedily restored to the country that I will become a
driveling idiot."

The Colonel adroitly changed the subject by observing, "It has occurred
to me that if the practical operation of the reconstruction acts was
directly in the control of the authorities in Washington, we should see
that they are our friends; I am sure that the sentiment of the Northern
people is in favor of the restoration of the South, and would counteract
the vicious primary mischief resulting from a criminal abuse of power--I
mean that power that is centralized in the Southern States."

"I am looking for conservative measures myself from the wise men who are
in charge of the government," replied the Governor. "The infernal spoils
system in the South, if not checkmated, will destroy the country. This
same spoils principle has been the cause of more wretchedness and guilt,
individual and national, than any other in the history of human
suffering. It is the incentive alike to the burglar who breaks and
enters your house at night and the highwayman who waylays your path and
takes your life; that, rising from individuals to multitudes, it is the
impelling motive to all the plunderings and desolations of military
conquests; it forces the gates of cities; plunders temples of religion;
the great despoiler of private rights and national independence. It was
the spoils system that united the barbarians of the North and finally
overthrew the vast fabric of Roman policy law and civilization; and it
is this principle, worse than war, that has shaken to their foundation
our free and happy institutions.

Perhaps we shall meet at the cemetery to-morrow, if there are no English
spies around," suggested the Governor.

"Yes, yes; and adieu until then," replied the Colonel, as they alighted
from the cars.

[Illustration: "Dare goes joshaway, now, wid Ole Glory strowed er roun'
him, steppin lak a rare-hoss over de tater ridges."]



CHAPTER VII.

A POLITICIAN OF THE NEW SCHOOL.


Uncle Joshua was the color guard in a volunteer company of negroes,
whose muster roll, like a thermometer, ran up into the nineties. As he
shook out the folds of the scarlet-veined banner of the free one morning
in his cabin, he observed to his old wife, "Hit peers lak dat dare wus
ernudder wun o' dem possels, ef my membrunce sarves me rite, dat toted
de flag fur Ginrul Farryo when he wus er heppin disserway und datterway
froo de dessart; but I moest furgit dat gemman's name. Twant Absurdam,
I'm moest sho, und hit twant Jack-in-de-bed, nudder. Duz yu reckermember
dat possel, Hanner? Yu und de locus preacher is erquainted wid all dem
aintshunts."

"Umph!" grunted Hanna, "yu's gwine fur back fur sumbody to tote de flag.
Ef yu hez gin out why don't you fling hit over to Efrum? Ur is yu aiming
ter immertate dat aintshunt?"

"Grate Jarryko!" exclaimed Joshua, irritated by such a question. "Duz yu
see dat fodder foot, und duz yu see dat shuck foot? Well, den, when de
leftenant sez 'hep, hep, hep, hep, hep--fodder foot, shuck foot!' I'm
ergwine ter fling dem footsies out disserway--see? Und I'm ergwine ter
tote ole glory fo und aft, jess so, twell I gits ter be de ginrul, und
den I'm ergwine ter fling dem identikle footses in de saddle, disserway,
und uprare de rone on his hine shanks, jess lak dat."

"Umph!" grunted ole Hannah, "To be sho yu's jess rivved out o' de
babboon show! Yu's er sho nuff limber Jack--jest ez suple ez a yurling
gote, ebery bit und grane!"

"Now, den," continued Joshua, without heeding the ridiculous
interruption, "I wuz studdin up dat possel, when you flung yo mouf inter
de argyment."

"Wuz dat gemman a Mefodis ur Mishunary?" inquired Hannah, provokingly.

"Grate Jarryko! How's I ergwine to know dis fur back? Kin I skiver er
humans clean clar ercross de dissart, und retch back ter de eend o' de
yeth, wid dese wun-eyed specks? Ef he hilt on to grace, he wur a shoutin
Mefodis; und ef he run wid Proverdense, he wur a Mishunary; und ef he
hilt on ter sumfin wusser, he wur a harrytick. Dat's ez fur ez I'm
gwine, doubt I node fur sartin. I'm moest sho, do, he wur a Mishunary,
kase he didn't drap back when he cum in contack wid de water."

"Grate king!" snapped Hannah, as she kindled into a passion. "Wuz yu
dare? Yu talks lak dare warnt no Mefodis mixed up wid dem harryticks;
gwine on wid yer warter in de bilin dissart! Better git de Zion bushup
to larn yu de scriptur."

"Oh, my sole!" groaned Joshua. "Ef hit warnt fer de Mishunarys in dis
Soufland, dare mout be a wusser war dan ole Jeff Davis de secesh's. I'm
ergwine ter ax yer wun pint mo, und den me und Ole Glory is ergwine ter
hit de grit fur de conwenshun. Which wun o' dem slidin elders o' yourn
hilt a confurence in dat dissart whey dare warnt no warter, und no
chickens nudder, und whay de po parished up Mishunary hed to furrige er
roun fer dare dinner? Now den!"

There were shops and bazaars scattered here and there about the public
streets of the shire town within the recesses of which sat colored women
selling their merchandise; now and then accentuating some passing
pageant by the clapping of hands and other noisy demonstrations. There
were disorderly, ruffianly negroes, in greasy uniforms, neither
brigaded or disciplined, patrolling the country, discharging their
muskets at random; and about the premises of Colonel Seymour there was a
squad, more or less menacing, marching and counter-marching in the
carriage way near the mansion, and the old man in his desperation cried
out "Oh that I could gird the sword upon my thigh, like the man Barak,
and could smite these devils to the earth."

"Mars Jon," interrupted Clarissa, "yer mout as well let dese devilis
niggers lone; de Lord is agwine to slam dem to de yearth fore dey knows
it; he is agwine to vour dem up lak hoppergrasses; day a ransakin all
ober creashun fur franksized niggers to wote de yaller ticket in de
convenshun; mout as well hab so many billy goats a wotin fur ole Abrum
Laffin, de meanest, low downest scalyhorg in de wurrel. Yander goes ole
Joshaway now, wid ole glory strode er roun him, steppin lak a rare-hoss
ober de tater ridges agwine to de town." And she pointed to a group of
four crossing the field from Joshua's cabin, marching under the stars
and stripes, that swung lifelessly over old Joshua's right shoulder. We
had just as well go with Joshua and witness the proceedings. The first
observation the old negro made as he came up was this, "How much is de
boss agwine to gib fur wotin fur him to go to de legislatur?"

"Agwine to giv yer, yer axes," replied a partisan of Laflin. "Yer dun
und got freedom, haint yer? yer dun und jined de milintary cumpny, haint
yer? Yer is de most selfishes nigger dat I ebber seed. Is yer aimin to
git de whole kommisary flung in? What mo dos yer speck?" continued the
black partisan. Freedom haint nebber made de pot bile at my house nary
time, und it haint nebber fotched no sweetenin dar, und it haint put no
sperrets in de jimmyjon, und it haint nebber sot out no taters nudder,
und wid all dis lustration in de land, it haint agwine too, nudder. Jess
as well be a naked snow-bird wid nary whing as wun ob dese franksized
niggers. Too much freedom in de lan now, und not nuff horgs and
catfishes. I'se been a wotin und a wotin eber since de belyun fell--a
trapsing to de town bakkards und furruds, und I haint nebber got nuffin
but freedom yit--not eben de rappins ob my little finger; und I has been
hep, hep, hep, hep, heppin in de miluntary cumpny ober tater ridges und
fru de brier patches und de skeeters, und de cap'in haint nebber said
nary time, Joshaway, I'm agwine to put yaller upperlips on yer jacket,
und I'm agwine ter gib yer a sord wid a wheel. Nary time hab de boss
axed me how much meal I had in de gum, ur how much taters I hab in de
hill; und I haint nebber had but wun little speck ob munny sense freedom
cum in de lan, und den it wus Federick munny. Ef I dont git nuffin
bettern dat I has got, und dat mity quick, dis po nigger is agwine to
drap outer de ranks into de sametary. Dis here war has turned loose a
passel ob niggers all ober de kentry wid dere freedum und muskets, und
bress Gord dere aint nary turkle in de swamp, nur catfish nudder, yu
mout say; und eben de sparrers when dey sees a nigger a cummin shakes
his tail, und sais 'ugh, ugh; I'm agwine erway frum here.' Ole mars Jon
had rudder de hoppergrasses wud kivver de hole lan, und de tarypin bugs
too. Eber time de boss gits lected he ups and sezs, sez he, 'Josh, de
nex time I runs I'm agwine to make yer er magistreet, so yer kin sot on
white fokses, und bress de Lord, dat time haint nebber cum yit.'"

"Shut dat big mouf ob yourn," sharply commanded Laflin's constituent.

"I haint agwine to do dat, nudder," saucily replied the old negro. "Ef
de boss don't gib me er dram, ur sumfing when I gits to town, I'm
agwine to wote fur tuther man. De ole ooman tole me to ax de boss fur a
kaliker kote; sed how dat she wus jam nigh as ragged as a skeer-crow.
Hanner is a gitten monstrus tired ob freedom, und dese franksized
niggers--yer heers my racket. Aye! aye," he exclaimed patriotically,
"dars ole glory now a shinin froo de trees," and with that the bandy
shanked negro cut a pigeon wing in the middle of the road; and sure
enough, the banner of the free, displaying its broad stripes and bright
stars was nodding its welcome to its African heroes, who had worked out
their emancipation with ploughshares and scythe blades.

"I knows," the negro continued in rapture, "when I sees dat butifullest
flag er wavin und see-sawin dat dere is bound to be a stummic full ob
good whittles sumwheres, but I's monstrous skeert hits agwine to gib out
fore hit gits to me." And just now the faintest tintinnabulation of an
asthmatic brass band broke upon old Joshua's ear like the sound of a
dinner horn, on a long, dry summer day. Joshua braced up for the home
stretch and began to take long slouchy strides, as if he were on the old
parade ground again. Calling out to his comrades "Forrud, march to de
town; hep, hep, hep, hep, hep, eyes to de front, charge, bagonets!" As
he approached the rallying ground of the Laflin hosts, a recruiting
agent from Laflin's opponent, took him by the arm and said
patronizingly, "Let me put a bug in your ear, ole man."

Joshua jerked away with the startled cry "No sar, no sar, don't do dat
white man, kase I kaint heer good no how, und ef yer puts dat ar bug in
my yeer, how in de name ob Gord is I ebber agwine to git him outen dere
eny more, and hit mout be a horned bug ur a stingin bug. I'll fite eny
man dat puts a bug in my yeer, dat I will; stan back, white man; dont
cum nigh me wid nun ob dem creeturs."

"You don't understand me, my friend" replied the scalawag, "our side are
home folks, bred and born right here, and we know what we can do for our
colored friends when we get to the legislature, and we are going to buy
plantations for our men, and we are going to make our old friends like
you sheriffs."

"Dats a mity heep ob promisin, white man," replied the negro
suspiciously, "How menny shurrufs is yer agwine to hab in dis county?"

"Forty seven," replied the Scalawag.

"How menny jail houses is yer agwine to hab," asked the negro.

"We are going to do away with the jails," said he.

"Is?" exclaimed Joshua in surprise. "Ugh, Ugh! forty-leven shurrufs in
dis county und all clecting taxes at wun time, Grate Jarryko, dar wont
be nary tater, nur nary horg, nur nary ole settin hin--nur nary nigger
in sebenteen fousan miles ob dis place. Saks a live, white man, dos yer
aim to massercree fokes fo und aft? Whar wus yer when dey fit de war
enny how?"

"Oh, I was at home raising breadstuffs for the poor," he answered.

"Raisin which fur de po, boss?" enquired Joshua.

"Breadstuffs," he replied.

"Und did de po git dey share?" asked Joshua.

"Yes, indeed," the scalawag answered.

"Und wus yer in de pennytenshun when yer raised dat truck?" further
enquired Joshua.

"No, indeed," he said.

Joshua gazed comically into the face of the politician as he said;
"Lemme look at yu rite good wid boff eyes, wid dese ole specks on,
disserway; dare. Haint I seed yu afore?"

"Perhaps so; I cant say" replied the scalawag furtively.

"Ugh! Ugh!" exclaimed Joshua.

"Haint I seed yu at Zion's meeting house wun time, at de stracted
meetin? Dat time sister Cloe drapped back into er concushun und yu wuz
de yarb doctor dat fotched her too, und yu tuck yo pay outen de munny
dat wuz gwine to de orfins?"

"No, no, you are thinking of some one else I am sure."

"Und hit warnt yu nudder dat drunk up de sakryment de dekons stode away
under de mussy seat?"

"No, indeed! why do you ask such a question?"

"Kase," replied Joshua quite saucily, "dem dare too eyes of yourn puts
me in membrance of dat scalyhorg in de scriptur whay wuz drug outer de
kote house ded, him und Sofy Mariah, too, kase day made er mis hit
erbout dat lan."

"Oh Jerusalem!" retorted the scalawag "Lets get back to the subject."

"Jess so! Jess so!" exclaimed Joshua, laughing, "yu sees yu's dun und
kotched, und yu aims to drap back in de convenshun agen."

"We pay one dollar in gold and a jug of whisky to every Laflin man that
votes with us. Do you hear?" observed the scalawag.

"Now yer is er a gettin down to de pint," exclaimed the negro smiling.
"Is yer man agwine to git lected?"

"Certainly, certainly, sir."

"Dats all right, den, when dos I git de munny und de sperrits, fore I
wotes ur arterwurds?" asked Joshua dubiously.

"We don't pay in advance," replied the scalawag.

"Don't, hey?" exclaimed Joshua.

"Well Laflin, he do, und I mout wote fore I git de pay, und yer man
mout not git lected, den my wote wud be flung away, und de munny und de
sperrits too, dats de pint. Yer see, boss," Joshua continued
argumentatively, "us franksized woters is bleeged to make er leetle
kalkerlashun und den ef we gits disappinted its kase de white fokses
obersizes de niggers. Don't yer see how de cat is agwine to jump, boss?"
he whispered confidentially, "yer mout put de spirits in de jimmyjon
now, und I mout take a drap ur too fore I wotes und yer mout hold back
de munny twelt yer man is lected; how dos dat do?"

"All right," announced the scalawag. "You come with me." And old Joshua
in his "hop, step and go fetchit" way followed the politician until he
brought up squarely against one of Laflin's lieutenants, who took him
savagely by the limp paper collar.

"Wher's yer agwine lak a struttin turkey gobbler, wid dat white man, yer
fool nigger? Don't yer know dat ar white trash will put yer back in
slabery?"

The rival candidates were running for the legislature. On one side of
the court house square were aligned the adherents of Laflin, the
carpet-bagger; on the other side the adherents of Hale the scalawag. Each
was haranguing the black sovereigns of the South--men who in other
fields had toiled ever so hard for their country, but whose hands were
unskilled, and whose minds were untutored in this the grandest of human
endeavors--the building up of an immense superstructure that shall stand
"four square to all the winds that blow."

Each candidate had his claquers, slipping into rough, horny hands the
paper representative of manhood, intellectual, patriotic
manhood--manhood compromised by no overt act of treason.

Every star and every stripe upon that magnificent banner just overhead
accentuated the fact that in devious wanderings over blood stained
battle fields, fire scathed villages, homes and plantations it had
followed manhood suffrage as faithfully as it did the tithing agent
throughout the South. Suspended above the heads of the free men, across
the street, was this blood-red warning "No man shall vote here who
followed Lee and Jackson." Vain delusion; as if there could be treason
under that flag; or traitors lurking in its shadows like mad Malays!
Stranger still, that the dust of Jackson should re-animate hearts that
had been broken in a catastrophe, too terrible to be uttered by
patriots. Strangest of all, that living heroes should gather at a
banquet where toasts were spoken in frantic curses of the brave by
fanatics! To the right were barrels of whiskey on tap; to the left were
huge piles of yellow tickets with appropriate devices upon them; and to
the front waved over a bloodless conquest the "Star Spangled banner,"
just as triumphantly as it did at the head of the charging battalions of
Lee and Jackson in Mexico, just as proudly as when the Southern cross
yielded its sovereignty upon the ill-starred field of Appomattox.
Crimsoned to a deeper blush to-day methinks because it is made to
dishonor Lee and Jackson, who shall live forever in the pantheon of
history--as men worthy of emulation, as heroes whose fame is already
written upon amaranthine tablets.

    "Who sees them act but envies every deed--
    Who hears them groan and does not wish to bleed;
    Great men struggling with the storms of state,
    And greatly fallen with a falling state."

    "Welcome, my son, here lay him down, my friends,
      Full in my sight, that I may view at leisure
    The bloody corse and count those glorious wounds.
      How beautiful is death when earned by virtue."

About high noon Joshua, with his old beaver caved in on both sides and
one skirt of his blue coat torn away, was seen to oscillate, as it were,
betwixt the whiskey barrel on the Laflin side and the rum barrel on
Hales' side, and doubtless, so far as his vote was concerned, preserving
a strict neutrality, that is to say, in the plantation language of the
old negro, "Bress de Lawd, I was so flushtrated wid dat meextry o' rum
und sperrits dat I flung in six wotes fur de cyarpet-sacker und er eben
haf dozen fur de scalyhorg." The result officially declared, made the
agreement between Joshua and Hales' manager about the payment of money
"arter yo man is dun und lected" a nude pact.

Laflin was nominated, and in his address to his constituents flattered
himself that the nomination came unsought and with practical unanimity.

"Our enemies," said he, "shall feel our power, and you will be asked to
co-operate in such manner as will place you above them in this
government. Can I depend on you?"

"Dat yer kin!" came from a hundred throats. "Hurrah for de boss! He is
de ginrul fur dis kentry, und he will lick out de white trash! Yes
siree!"

Such were the exclamations that deafened the ear and horrified the
sense. Joshua was too drunk to be offensively partisan. He lay in the
street waving his old beaver hat and hurrahing the best he could for
Laflin, as he held on to "de jimmyjon," and singing in a drunken,
maudlin way--

"Dis jug lak a ribber is er flowin,
Und I don't keer how fast it flows on boys, on;
While de korn in de low groun is er growin,
Und dis mouf ketch de stuff as it runs."

When Joshua got home next morning the sun was blazing like a great ball
of fire from the mid-heavens. Both skirts of his old blue coat were
gone. His old beaver was flopping and hung limp and crownless over his
right eye, and his old wife paused in her work in her garden to observe
the dilapidated negro as he approached his cabin. She could hear him
muttering to himself, "Talk erbout de niggers ergwine ter de conwenshun,
und er runnin dis here kentry, und er gittin de eddykashun und er bossin
de white fokeses, ef ennybody is er mint ter gin me wun dollar fer my
pribileges, I'm ergwine ter sell out, und I mout tak pay in Federic
munny."

"Ergwine ter sell out, is yer!" exclaimed Hannah with a grunt.

Joshua looked up startled, and pushing the broken brim of his old hat
from his eyes, he saw it was Hannah who had interrupted his soliloquy,
and she continued in ridicule, "Yu is too brash, Joshaway; yer mout git
ter be presydent, den yer cud git er cote wid two skurts to hit. Yu keep
er wotin und er wotin, und bimeby yu is ergwine ter be wun ob dem
Mishunary possels wid whings, same ez er blue herron."

Joshua saw that his wife was making him ridiculous, and he slunk away
into the old cabin and fell asleep upon the rickety bed.



CHAPTER VIII.

MEMORIAL DAY.


The patriotic men of the South who had so valorously insisted upon their
rights throughout the deadly passage at arms, felt that now the war was
over, that the country should settle down on the great common principle
of the constitution--the principle that had triumphed in 1780. They had
an intuitive abhorrence to confiding extravagant power in the hands of
the corrupt and ignorant. They could not understand how the Union could
be preserved by the annexation of eleven conquered provinces, and asked
themselves the question, "Will not the light of these eleven pale stars
be totally obscured by a central sun blighting and destroying every germ
of constitutional liberty?" The Union, said they, was safe in the hands
of President Lincoln. Rome was safe when Cincinnatus was called from the
plow, but she was torn asunder by the wars of Scylla and Marius, and
history is more or less a repetition of itself.

Despite the catastrophe that overlaid the South because of the unhappy
issue of the war; the gravity of which enemies, both domestic and
foreign, have scandalized by calling it "rebellion," despite the fact
that disbanded forces were still prosecuting their conquests, not
against disciplined armies in the field, but against men, women and
children, in the lawful pursuit of peace and happiness, with a vengeance
hourly reinforced by new resources and fresh horrors, and with a terror
that mastered our fettered souls; our people felt that there was at
least one refuge from the blast of the tornado--still a sheltering rock
to which they could flee from the cruel cloud-burst.

In passing the eye rapidly over the outline of the circumstances in
which persecution originated; in reviewing the cause that unsettled the
deep foundations of social life, the southern people felt that there
were hallowed spots of ground so strongly buttressed in the hearts of
the people that the violence of the storm could not rustle a leaf or
shake a twig; that these consecrated precincts they could lawfully
appropriate, and as to this claim, the carpet-baggers with all their
hosts of misrule had the honor, magnanimity and mercy to forget, forgive
and forbear. Here at least there could be no intrusion, because the
baser passions were fenced upon the outside; and amid this sad
continuity of graves the heart would be uplifted in gratitude to God,
who in his great mercy had given to the nineteenth century and to the
South, such undying examples of patriotism and valor. Here lie the bones
of men who dared to say, when the political system of the South was
strangely inverted, that it was such a menace to southern institutions
that it could not go unchallenged; a palpaple violation of the public
faith. To what other convulsions and changes are we predestined? they
asked. Shall we leave our character, our civilization, our very being to
the unresisted assault and prepare such an epitaph for our tombs? Shall
we declare ourselves outlawed from the community of nations? "Nay, war
rather to the cost of the last dollar, and slaughter of the last man."
Such was the sentiment of the men who sleep so peacefully in these
graves. Such was the sentiment of the men, women and children, who
to-day stand over these graves to honor the brave, and to reproduce a
fresh page in history, and lay it reverently by in our southern
Valhalla.

Col. Seymour was the orator of the day. "Stonewall Jackson," his old
commander, the subject, and his friends, Judge Bonham and the
ex-governor honored auditors. The old governor, whitelocked and
furrowed, in introducing the orator observed with a proper decorum. "For
what Stonewall Jackson and his brave men did, we have no apologies to
make here or elsewhere. I had rather wear here," said he, striking his
aged breast, "a scar from the victorious field of Manassas, than the
jewelled star of St George, or the Victorian Cross."

I can reproduce in a fragmentary way parts of the patriotic address
which I herein give to the reader, to show that there was "life in the
old land yet."

     "MY COMRADES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

"One year ago to-day, with the reverence of a pilgrim, I stood by the
grave of Stonewall Jackson; and I remembered that every battle order he
ever wrote, every victory he ever won, was a thank offering to the
christian's God.

"I thought, too, of the thousand highways that rayed out from citadels
of oppression, barricaded with human bones. I thought of the seas of
human slaughter, whose redundant tides flowed on and on as libations
upon the altars of ambition.

"I saw as it were the faded crowns and the crumbling thrones of dead
despots, who once girdled the earth with a cincture of fire, and marked
its boundaries with the sword, writing again their achievements where
mankind might read and wonder.

"I saw again the accusing throngs of pensioned widows from the Moselle,
the Rhine, the Danube, the Nile, and wherever else the scarlet standards
of fanaticism flaunted their challenge, hastening to record their
anguish, where the tyrants had memorialized their deeds.

"I saw everywhere the badges of speculative knavery, of incorrigible
wrong; Cossacks all, who knew no law but force, and no patriotism but
greed.

"I thought of the Spaniard, riding to the stirrup-leather in the blood
of babes in the Netherlands; of the Hun and his proclamation 'beauty and
booty,' and I thought of the angel of God's mercy proclaiming an
armistice; giving a refreshing peace to the saturated earth after these
monsters were dead, and I bowed with a profounder reverence at this
hallowed grave in the valley of Virginia.

"I thought then of Alcibiades at Abydos; of Alexander at Issus; of
Scipio at Zama; of Hannibal at Cannae; of Pompey at Pharsalia; of Cæsar
at the Rubicon; of Napoleon at Marengo; and I thought, as Vattel
thought, that warriors such as these failed to prosecute the rights of
their countrymen by force.

"I thought of the keen blade of the assassin that cut in twain the heart
of Alcibiades; of the dagger of Brutus; of the murder of Clitus; of the
hemlock; of the suicide's sword at Thrapsus; of the assassination at
Miletus; of the fifth paragraph in the will of Napoleon; and then I
thought of the bleeding earth these warriors had scarified and scourged,
until they were drunken with excess of human slaughter; and then I
looked back over the tide of centuries for a single example of
disinterested patriotism, and I bowed my head once more to hear a
protest from principalities in their orphanage, and commonwealths in
their sorrow.

"I thought again of Jackson, as he knelt in prayer, when the great guns
were signaling the issue of battle, as with hands uplifted to heaven he
was supplicating his Father to guide and guard his poor country in her
sore hour of travail, and I thought if there were a Pericles somewhere,
who from the foot of our American Acropolis would sound his fame, the
'bloody chasm' would be bridged by a single span.

"A little more than three years ago, by the violation of a plain order,
the tears of a nation, magnanimous and patriotic, rained down upon and
extinguished almost the last camp fire of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Within
that short period events, like chasing shadows, both clouded and
glorified the perspective of history. Within a like period of time this
great country, by a vigorous discipline, has completely obliterated
lines and boundaries that once circumscribed the ambition of men. A
trifling order methinks of Jackson, but it cancelled our charter of
freedom, it rendered a nude pact our declaration of independence. It was
only the nod of the head of an unlettered peasant at Hougomont, but it
sent somersaulting into the sunken road of Ohain the steel clad
cuirassiers of Napoleon the great; dipped the imperial purple starred
with bees, into the silt of the English channel, and paragraphed the
capitulation of Paris with the civil death of the great emperor. Such
are some of the pivots upon which great crises rotate.

Forty eight years after the Scotch-Greys pierced the uplifted visors of
the old guard, there glided down the echoing corridors of time this
sententious order; "Shoot down without halting the man who dares to
cross the lines to-night."

The catastrophe that rode as a courier upon the flank of this order,
hacked the sword, unnerved the arm that was carving out of a heart of
fire a civilization whose altars and whose shrines were relumed by the
torch of liberty; but the God of battles, amid the carnage, called a
halt. It was a night of exasperation, of despair. Ten million people
watched, as watchers never watched before, the last flickering of a
life that laid down its all, at the altar of love and duty. Those ten
million people kept their vigil like vestal virgins, and saw, alas, the
frenzied spirit of hate and wrath snuff out the candle and heard the
groans of the victim of his own blunder, as he cried out in his
delirium, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the
trees."

There has been now and again an illustrious personage, who appears to us
to have been mirrored upon the foreground of events like some titanic
silhouette. The irony of fate has dealt with such a man, as the creature
of an hour, holding him in thrall in time of peace, to become the storm
spirit in some great crisis. When he dies the face of history is
saddened and obscured, and a twilight like that observed under Southern
skies, falls upon the world. Such a person may be fitly called the
courier of fate; or better still, the tragedian of revolution. He cannot
be weighed or measured by the definitive judgment of contemporaries.
When he dies the stride of conquest is checked; sword blades dripping
with human blood are thrust back into scabbards. In war, he is its
inspiration; its providence.

I make no allusion just now to that splendid effigy that is yet
discerned in the haze that lowers over Vienna, Berlin and Moscow; that
incomprehensible tutor of strategic science, who with sword and cannon
cut a red swath through the capital cities of Europe; and partitioned
the world into two dominions, as if he were only dividing in twain an
apple. I speak not of him, whom this man that "embarrassed God," found a
waif, and made a giant, whose death hastened to its decline that
splendid imperialism that the great Napoleon erected on the ruins of the
commune.

The fall of Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville thrust betwixt the
Confederacy and independence a pall so dense, that it could not be cut
asunder with the sword.

I can compare Stonewall Jackson with no hero, living or dead. He stood
in the foreground an unique personality--a phenomenon. With the genius
of war he appeared almost supernaturally mated. Whether his unparalleled
victories were the result of combinations essentially tactical, of
methods logically conceived, or of an intuition that almost without
arrangement forced its power upon vast evolutions, will perhaps never be
known.

The plain profile of this man reminds one of the hard-hitting,
rough-riding Roundhead. His dispatches smacked of the Calvinism of
Ireton and Cromwell. "God blessed our arms at McDowell yesterday."
Wherever there was a downpour of leaden rain Jackson and the "Ironsides"
would have been in accord. His was the spirit that resolved combinations
in his favor. His masterly apprehension of issues diminished the carnage
by plucking the fruit before it was fully ripe. In war as elsewhere he
was absorbed by a fatalism, such as Mohammedans sum up when they say
"What is to be, will be." Napoleon, like an astrologer, believed in a
star; Jackson, unlike an astrologer, believed in Him who made the star
and lighted it in the candelabra of night.

A few years ago an American asked a halting, mutilated soldier of the
Old Guard to tell him how Napoleon died? "The great Emperor dead! He
will not die," was the sententious answer from the man who had fought
under the shadow of his eagles at Wagram and Marengo. It was with
something of this vague, indefinable superstition, of this heroic belief
in "Old Stonewall" as their providence that one of the "Old Brigade"
would hearken dubiously to such a challenge, "Tell us how Stonewall
Jackson died?"

Critics who have judged with more or less asperity have said that his
capacity as a commander was limited to the manoeuvres of a corps.
Strange fatuity! A score of battle fields prove the opinion false. If
such had been the case, the history of Port Republic, Harper's Ferry,
Groveton and Winchester would have been written the other way.

I saw this imperturbable man at Cold Harbor. Again he reminded one of
the "predestined" leader of the Ironsides. "If the enemy stand at
sunset, press them with the bayonet." All commands issuing from him
found their climax in this supreme order. The hero of Toulon never
caressed the fire throated 12 pounder more ardently than did Jackson. He
would have swept every obstruction from the field with a single battery,
or failing in this would have "pressed" them with the bayonet. His camp
fires are now extinguished. The old army of the Shenandoah is an
aggregation of phantoms. Winchester, Port Royal, Fredericksburg and
Chancellorsville appear as mirage reminiscences rather, that steal
unbidden upon the soul when its depths are full of darkness and shadows.

"We walk to-day listlessly over the great, rough, heroic life of
Stonewall Jackson, but on either side of us are monuments and memorials
to his renown ever brightening to a higher luster.

It is a stern business, this going to war. Reconciliation is
problematical, more frequently impossible. The public pulse in 1861 was
intensely excited. One boastingly said upon one side that all the blood
that would be spilt, could be wiped up with a silk handkerchief. Another
on the other side with equal bravado answered that he would live to call
the roll of his slaves from the foot of Bunker Hill, and thus there was
boast and badinage until the "Anaconda" turned his many-hued scales to
the sun on the 21st of July, 1861.

The scene from the northern point of view was exceedingly dramatic--a
magnificent host all in tinsel--a composite picture of carnival and war.
A flash, as of gunpowder; a blazing up as of dry heath; a shout ever so
frightful, and half infernal, and the whole universe seemed wrapt in
flame and wild tumult. But the fire has died out; tumultuous passion is
allayed; the old South with its mountains and glades, rivers and
valleys, the stars above its sodden ground beneath, is still there.

"Jackson believed in the southern cause, as if it had been a revelation
from God. Cromwell said, 'Let us obey God's will' while he whetted his
sword blade to drink the slaughter of women, and nursing babes at
Drogheda. Jackson said, 'Let us obey God's will,' whilst bringing to the
altar the offering of universal emancipation.

"Jackson believed that the war of invasion was a heartless crusade
against mankind and womankind, and the civilization of the South, and
the higher law proclamation was the aftermath of the pernicious
broadcasting of seed sown by Horace Greely, Gerritt Smith, and Joshua R.
Giddings. The old stubble required to be ploughed under, said they;
unhappily in seeding the ground they scattered here and there dragons'
teeth and forthwith there sprang up armed men.

"Jackson believed that the 'Grand army' in holiday attire, with
flaunting banners and careering squadrons, were an aggregation of
iconoclasts, fierce destroyers of images, creeds, institutions,
traditions, homes, country. So believed he when the 'Anaconda' with
panting sides drew back to strike.

"Man to man, bayonet to bayonet, cannon to cannon, bosom to bosom, here
was challenged the asserted right of coercion, of frenzy against frenzy,
patriotism, anger, vanity, hope, dispair; each facing and meeting the
other like dark clashing whirlwinds."

Hither sped Jackson with the swoop of the eagle, down the valley from
Gordonsville to fresher carnage, to a bloodier banquet. Hither he came
with as high a resolve as ever animated Peter the Hermit, to plant upon
the sand dunes of Palestine the fiery cross; whether right or wrong,
cannot now be known. The formula by which he may be judged is yet
undiscovered.

Eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock, and Jackson with folded arms, occupies
the plateau near the "Henry House." Just beyond is a dark confused death
wrestle. Forty thousand athletes against eighty thousand athletes; two
hundred odd iron throats perpetually vomiting an emetic of death.

Hope within him burns like a freshly lighted fagot. There is a quiver in
the hardened nerves; the old sun-scorched cap is in his hand; the lips
are slightly parted; the order given, and the 'old Stonewall Brigade' is
hurled like an immense projectile upon ranks of human flesh. There is a
halt, a recoil; cannon spit out their fire, their hail, their death upon
bosoms bared to the shock. 'There stands Jackson like a Stonewall.'
Under that name he was baptized with blood at Manassas. Everywhere that
faded coat and tarnished stars were the oriflame of battle and the old
brigade followed them as if they had been the white plume of Navarre.

This incomparable leader never failed in a single battle from the day
when with 2800 men at Kernstown he held in check 20,000 men and covered
the retreat of the army from Centreville to Manassas, where he cut their
communications and decoyed their columns into the iron jaws of
Longstreets reserves. Such achievements were not accidental. No
manoeuvre could mislead the clear judgment that presided serenely in
that soul of fire. It is not too much to say that the conqueror of Port
Republic was an overmatch in strategy and technique of war for his
opponents.

    He's in the saddle, now fall in--
      Steady! the whole brigade!
    Hill's at the ford cut off; he'll win
      His way out with ball and blade.

    What matter if our shoes are worn--
    What matter if our feet are torn--
    The foe had better ne'er been born
    That gets in Stonewall's way.

There were other attractions there, too; flower girls had brought
hither, not the funereal cypress and willow, but bright and beautiful
carnations and violets, and streaming about the heads of the throngs
were battle flags, torn and tattered--almost shredded by shot and
shell--cross-barred with blue, with pale white stars like enameled
lilies peeping out of the azure ground. Lifeless eyes and voiceless lips
now, had cheered these flags with the same joy that once greeted the
eagles of Napoleon. Withered skeleton hands now, had borne them at the
head of charging squadrons and battalions, the guidons of victorious
armies--the guerdon of a nation's trust and faith. If out of the cold,
dead white stars could come again the old gleam of light as it lighted
up the line of direction over the mountain passes of Virginia and the
valley of the Shenandoah, what a halo of glory would encircle Winchester
and Gordonsville and Chantilly! how dramatic the narrative; how truthful
the history; how inspiring the reminiscence; how fully and completely
vindicated the Old South--the lost cause! But there is no light in the
stars, and the broad bands of blue upon the blood-red field are
disfiguring scars upon the face of an incident long since closed, and
closed forever, full of tragedy and patriotism.

The old Governor was exceedingly complimentary towards his old friend,
Colonel Seymour, "for his patriotic address," and very cordially invited
him to visit him at his home.

Alice had formed new acquaintances, and Clarissa too had honored this
most interesting occasion with her presence. She had carried a basketful
of flowers that had been carefully plucked and assorted by her young
mistress, and with very tender hands Alice had placed them in a stone
urn at the foot of a grave that seemed to have been more profusely
decorated than the others. Indeed, it was the grave of the soldier boy
who had been the first to fall in the terrible holocaust of war.

"Miss Alice," Clarissa asked quite feelingly, "Haint yu dun und fotched
back to yo membrunce dis here po sojer boy dat fout in de battle of
Manassy, und was brung back home to pine away und die? Me und yu seed
him arter he got home, und hit made my flesh creep und crawl lak
katterpillers when I seed how de yankeys had mommucked up dat po chile.
Dare wus wun arm all twisted kattykornered twell you couldn't tell
pine-plank whedder it growed wid de fingers pinted disserway or
datterway, und den dare wus er hole in de buzzum dat yu cud farely see
de daylight on de tother side. Grate king! De yankeys mouter shot dat po
chile wid a steer kyart; he wus de wustest lookin' humans I eber seed in
my born days, und he wus de onliest chile of his po mammy. Dare's her
grabe too. Dare day lay side by side, und de Lord in hebben only knows
what day's dun und sed erbout dis here war up yander. I'm ergwine ter
strow dese lillies o' de walley on boff on em. Po fings, I hopes und
prays day has dun und gon froo de purly gates whey dare aint no war, nur
tribulation of sperrets nudder." And the old negro knelt reverently at
the graves and placed the white flowers upon them. As she rose from the
solemn service she said feelingly to her young mistress, "Pend upon it,
missis, sumbody's bleeged to suffer fer all dis gwines on epseps dare
aint no troof in proverdense nur grace nudder. Miss Alice, bress yer
life, Gord aint ergwine ter suffer his people ter be mommucked up in no
sich er fashion. Now dar is dat po 'oman lying out dare; ef de yankeys
hadn't kilt her onliest son, she would be right here ergwine erbout
spreddin flowers on de grabes o' dese po sojers, und she'd er heerd ole
marser a speechifying to all dese fokeses."

Alice was not in the humor to indulge Clarissa in further observations.
She was thinking of a grave over yonder in old Virginia, and wondering
if some fair hand was not arranging the flowers and tenderly placing
them upon the grave of her boy lover.

The setting sun was shooting little slivers of gold from its beautiful
disc all around the cemetery, and the shadows from magnolias and weeping
willows were deepening and darkening all the while, when the Colonel,
his daughter and Clarissa drove home in the old barouche, tired out with
the fatigue incident to the day and its burdens.



CHAPTER IX.

THE BROKEN CRUSE.


The lights were burning with a soft glow one night in the mansion when
the announcement was made by Clarissa that a gentleman stood without,
desiring an audience with the old master. The gentleman introduced
himself as Mr. Summers (half apologetically), a reconstructed rebel.
There was a moment's pause in which, by the shimmer of the lighted
lamps, Colonel Seymour saw that the visitor was quite an elderly man,
without beard and with soft white hair. His address was easy and
insinuating. He was neatly clad in black cloth, and impressed Colonel
Seymour as being a man of affairs. Together they entered the library,
the Colonel observing that he conducted all business transactions in
that particular room just now. Considering the unusual hour at which the
visitor had arrived, in connection with the unpleasant incidents of a
quite eventful day, there was nothing reassuring in the visit: the times
were critical, to say the least, and his own situation so entirely
defenceless, that he felt as if "vigilance was truly the price of
liberty." So he addressed the stranger in a manner quite emphatic--

"May I enquire, sir, to what circumstance I am indebted for the honor of
this visit?"

"Why, certainly, sir," replied the bland stranger. "But will you permit
me first to ask after your health and that of your family? How are you,
sir?"

"My family--that is my wife--is quite unwell, sir. She has been an
invalid for many weeks, and I fear there is no possible hope of her
recovery," said the Colonel.

"Ah, that distresses me greatly; perhaps her condition is not so bad as
you fear. May I ask after your health, sir?"

The Colonel hesitated for a moment, and then observed, deliberately,
"Physically, I am quite well, sir."

"Did I not see you, sir, when we were re-crossing the Potomac on our mad
flight from Gettysburg at the lower ford?" enquired the stranger.

"Mad flight!" echoed the veteran with ill-concealed wrath. "Have you
such a conception of the orderly retreat of our great army without the
loss of a gun and without the capture of a man, as to characterize it as
a mad flight? Were you a Confederate soldier, sir, and do you insult my
intelligence, my loyalty, yea, my bravery, sir, by this challenged
inquiry?"

"My dear sir, if the statement pains you I will recall it instantly.
Pray excuse me. I was Major of the 7th Virginia Cavalry, and as the army
halted at the ford I saw an officer, a Colonel, who was badly wounded
and who with great difficulty sat his horse on that occasion. I now see
that the officer whom I then saw is the gentleman I now address, and I
heartily crave your pardon for the rash expression."

"Very well, then," replied the Colonel. "We are Confederate soldiers
again, and will make our future assaults upon the enemy, if you please,
and not upon Lee's army, that whipped the enemy at Gettysburg; yes, sir,
whipped them and fell back, sir, because our base of supplies was
menaced by the flooding of the Potomac, sir," fairly hissed the old man
in great excitement.

"My dear sir, why this excessive warmth?" cried the stranger; "I am sure
we understand each other; but, my dear sir, the war is over--why make
imaginary assaults upon an imaginary enemy? We are entirely in accord.
We entered the army because we then believed we were right, and--"

"Knew it, sir, knew it, and know it now, sir, know it now, sir,"
fiercely interrupted the Colonel.

"Will you allow me to ask, my dear sir, do you recall those events with
any degree of pleasure?" asked the stranger.

"Yes, and no. When I realize that then and now, the enemy with unbounded
resources was eternally casting into the vat of pernicious fermentation
every act, thought and suggestion that was doubtful in interpretation,
and brewing a concoction as nauseous as the black vomit of the red
harlot herself, and eructating it upon us--the recollection is painful;
but when I remember that every sword thrust into their vitals was the
act of a patriot, I delight to recall events that crowned the old South
with undying glory."

"Allow me one other observation, if you please," asked the stranger in a
tentative way. "Admittedly the South was right, but, my dear sir, do you
think it possible that men like yourself who gallantly fought for a
cause they sincerely believed to be just may not impress their
individuality upon an era that promises so much for the betterment of
our condition as a people?"

"Barely possible, I imagine," replied the Colonel.

"Are you inclined to favor a proposition that has in contemplation the
election of negroes to office."

"No sir; such a proposition, in my opinion, would be so abhorrent to our
ideals of sovereignty that I should consider myself a traitor to the
South and her people. Should I endorse such a proposition, it would be
an act of self degradation."

"But, my dear sir," argued the stranger, "you will pardon me if I should
say that every man must look out for his own safety. Patriotism to a
great extent, is a matter of sentiment, and a great man once said 'It is
the last refuge of a scoundrel.' You of course will not yield to such an
interpretation, nor would I ask you to do so, but, sir, we must let the
dead past bury its dead. We must live in the present, and we must as
skilled architects build for future generations a superstructure that
shall challenge the admiration of men yet unborn."

"That is to say, if I understand you," interrupted the Colonel, "you
propose to inoculate the South with the poison of your infamous
reconstruction policy, to engraft upon our institutions a new and
dangerous character, and besides other atrocious enormities to establish
the spoils principle--its temptation to licentiousness--the watchword to
animate your corrupt followers to a savage and unscrupulous warfare,
sparing neither sex nor age, practicing every species of fraud and
hypocrisy, confounding right and wrong, and robbing the innocent and
virtuous of their only treasure, their manhood and womanhood. What is
your proposition, sir," he exclaimed vehemently, "but a proclamation to
the venal and depraved to rally to the standard of a chief, who, like
the leader of an army of bandits, points to our God-forsaken country,
and says to your plunderers, 'This shall be the reward of victory.' This
is no exageration, sir; disguise it as you may, your proposition leads
to brigandage and ruin."

"But, my dear sir," replied the stranger, "you have so disarmed me by
your arguments that I fear my mission to you will be without avail--will
you allow me to proceed, sir? We deplore the fact, sir, that our most
virtuous men are still braving the dangers they might, with a little
circumspection avoid; still plunging headlong, as it were into great
heated furnaces whose doors are open to receive them."

"How would you advise, sir, that we can protect ourselves, so we will
not be utterly consumed, but only roasted here and there" asked the
Colonel epigrammatically.

"Ah, you trifle with serious matters" replied the white haired stranger.
"There is one way, sir, and one way only--adopt this, sir, and the
country will honor you with its blandishments. Take the tide at its
flood, and co-operate patriotically with those who are enforcing manhood
suffrage without respect to educational or property qualifications, and
the suffrages of the adult freemen, white and black, will be cast for
you for congress."

"Ah, a tempting bait," exclaimed the Colonel, "but it has a rancid
negroish scent, and the hook is too sharp--too sharp sir. Do you intend
to do this thing?" continued the Colonel interrogatively.

"Assuredly, sir," the stranger replied, with might and main.

"Then sir," shouted the indignant man, "this interview ends now."

"One more word," pleaded the stranger, "and I have done--please bear
with me a moment. The Central Executive Committee, of which I am a
member, feeling their great need of your invaluable services have
commissioned me to make known to you their earnest desire, that you will
accept a nomination, from the party, for Congress upon the reform
platform."

"You mean your ultra radical platform," suggested the Colonel.

"No, not exactly that," replied the stranger, "they desire further, if
however you will not accept, that you will submit your views upon the
perplexing subject of negro or manhood suffrage."

"And you are sure your committee will act upon suggestions from me?" he
asked.

"I am quite sure they will," answered Mr. Summers.

"Then, sir, please ask your committee, as a special request from John W.
Seymour, to put the negroes to work upon the farms; and the
carpet-baggers out of the state, and hang the scalawags by the neck
until they are dead, dead, dead, sir."

"Tut, tut, tut," exclaimed the old man excitedly, "you are beside
yourself. Remember, my dear sir, that you are sowing the wind, and by
and by strangers will reap the whirlwind. Good night, Colonel Seymour,
I hope you will think better of the matter.

As the white haired stranger passed out of the door, Clarissa, who was
closing it after him, enquired of her old master, "Mars Jon, what nice
farderly ole man was dat ole gemmen? he peared lak he wus mity
sorrowful. Iseed him put his handkercher to his face lak he mout be
weepin; what did yer say to him, ole marser, dat upsot him so bad?"

"Without deigning a reply Col. Seymour enquired of Clarissa what the
shouting and halloing at her house last night meant?"

"Did yer heer dat racket Mars Jon? I spected yer wus asleep. Twant
nuffin epceps Ned und Joshaway er cuttin up der shines. Dem niggers been
to town und cum bak drunk as horgs in de mash tub und sed how dat dey
had jined de milintery cumpny, und was agwine to clur up de po white
trash in de kentry, fo und aft; when yer hurd dem dey wus er hollern to
Ellik how dat de boss sed dat dey mout go to de town und draw de lan
und de mule und de penshun, dat dey wus agwine to git dern nex Saddy.
Lans sake, ole Marser, I specks we's agwine to have orful times in dis
kentry--de niggers turned loose lak blaten sheepses er shullikin und a
pilfern erbout ebery which a way. Ole fokses used to say dat when de tip
eend ob de moon wus rite red lak, dat yer mout look out fur wars und
yurthshaks too, und I seed dat ur site las nite 'twixt midnite und day
und it fotched what de ole fokses sed rite back to my member'nce. I'd
hate powerful to see any udder bellion in dis lan, dat I would. Not ef
day is ergwine to shoot steerkyarts und wheel-barrers clean froo our
federick sojers, lak dey dun de last time. Grate king, Mars Jon, what
sorter ammynishun did dem dare yankeys shoot outen dare kannons ennyhow?
Frum de way our po sojers wuz tore to pieces, dey put me in membrunce of
ambylances, und powerful big wuns at dat; Grate king! I natally heers
dare po flesh er sizzing dis minnit. Is you sho ole marser dat de good
Lord is ergwine to fetch all dem arms und legs und heds togedder, eend
fur eend at de resurreckshun, so our sojers is ergwine to know pine
plank which is dere'n, und dey drifted disserway und datterway in de
cornfields of Manassy und Chuckkermorger und de Bulls Run? Grate king!"

Contemporaneously with the coming of the troubles that were well nigh
overwhelming the old veteran and his beautiful daughter, the death of
the wife and mother came as it were the knell of doom--the giving away
of the last arch in the compact fabric of human life, the snapping of
the last filament in the web of destiny--the leaking of the last drop of
oil from the broken cruse. With her, the heart could be nerved to
extraordinary endeavor; with her, ever so many bright colors could be
painted upon the angry horizon; with her, the sunset heavens would
diffuse a glamour, all radiant and glorious, as if the angels were
kissing its banners into crimson and with deft fingers were garnishing
the leaky clouds with prismatic hues; with her, the little birds upon
sportive pinions would syllable their songs into the dialect of love.
But she was passing away--passing away like the shadowy vapor that
clings for a moment to the mountain's crest, like the resplendent star
that shimmers more beautifully as it is dipping its disc below the
western verge, and bids us good night--like the breath of the crushed
flower that exhales its aroma for a moment, and is gone. Passing away
from a home that is darkened by shadows, passing away from the hearts
that are consumed into dead white ashes.

What black stygian waters were rushing vehemently against the fretted
casements of these poor souls. Ties that are sundering here are binding
into a glorious sheaf loves and affections up yonder, as imperishable as
God's great throne. Passing away from the frigid griefs that are soon to
environ old Ingleside, when the blood in its channels is to pause in its
circulation, when a negro, vile and savage lacerates the dear, dear face
of her beautiful daughter, and her precious blood follows the thorns.
Passing away before the proud head of her noble husband is bowed in
ignominy, when the shackles of a felon encircle arms--enslave hands that
never struck a blow, except for his bleeding country. Passing away to
plead in her own glorified person to a merciful Father to speedily unite
the three in the realm of joy, where there are no shadows and no griefs.

Poor Alice knew as by revelation that the lifeless form before which she
was kneeling and weeping was not her mother. Oh, what a royal welcome,
what a banqueting upon love there will be by and by, when the terrors
of the horrid reconstruction shall so chill her young blood that it will
cease to flow, by and by, beyond the sighing and the weeping.

Tenderly, yea reverently, the body was placed into the casket and
removed to the parlor, just under the portrait of her dear soldier boy
who went to heaven from the gory field of Manassas. Friends had gathered
into the room and the man of God read from the blessed Book, "I am the
resurrection and the life." The solemn discourse was almost concluded
when ruffianly booted feet were heard in the verandah, and a loud knock
was heard at the door. Armed, uniformed negroes had come--come like an
Arctic gale, chilling and freezing heart and soul--with a mandate to
snatch the living from the dead.

Laflin himself would not have pursued the poor wretch within the barred
precincts of the sepulchre. The infidel powers of the East would have
paused when they saw this "truce of God." But there was no order of
adjournment in the message which they brought. "Forthwith" was the
unequivocal command and "forthwith" was now. They had come to take the
broken-hearted man, though he clung to the casket; come to prod him with
bayonets if the rigid limbs did not respond quickly to the command,
"Quick time--March!"

Once or twice, through sheer faint, the poor old man fell out of line
and against a black guard who violently pushed him into line with the
imprecation--

"D--n yu, git back inter yer place, er I'll stick my bagonet clar froo
yer."

He was arraigned before three white men and four negroes, and in the
presence of whom stood the white-haired stranger, Mr. Summers.

The Colonel did not clearly comprehend the character of the accusation
against him. He had been informed by no one except in a general way.
Perhaps he would learn as he followed Mr. Summers in his address to this
tribunal.

"Gentlemen," said Mr. Summers, continuing his speech, "whilst it was my
plain duty to report upon the case of Colonel Seymour, I do so with the
hope that he may be given a day to answer; indeed, gentlemen, I pray
that you may not deal harshly with this old man, who is now in the sere
and yellow leaf. You say that you will require him to turn his back upon
the traditions of the past--upon the ancient landmarks; that he shall
fraternize with our party, in fact become one of us, or his condition
shall be made intolerable and his life burdensome. Spare the rod,
gentlemen, for his sake and for the sake of his only child."

"What have you to say for yourself, sir," asked the chairman frigidly,
addressing himself to Colonel Seymour.

"Sir, I am an old man. One more turn of your wheel--the tightening of
the cord ever so slight--and a life worthless and burdensome will drop
at your feet. The standard of truth, virtue and patriotism has bowed its
once lofty crest, and is now prostrate in the dust. All that was
beautiful and lovely in this land of our fathers is sinking, rotting,
dying beneath the blight and mildew of your accursed lust of power. Why
should I survive? My life, sir, is behind me. You ask me to be your
slave. Sir, your bondage is inexorable--it is the life of an outlaw, a
traitor, a felon. You ask me to be your friend, and I should consort
with thieves; I should crucify every principle of a man. You ask me to
be your candidate--my consent would be an act of stultification. Sir,
against your savage principles I swear an eternal hatred and wage an
interminable war."

The feeble old man sank back exhausted into his seat.

"We intend," exclaimed the chairman with great deliberation, "to scarify
the old wounds of the rebels until they bleed afresh. Sixty days, sir,
within which to prove your loyalty. You can retire sir."

Thus ran the order, marked with three blood-red stars. * * *

[Illustration: "Kase de high shurruff he dun und seed what wuz ergwine
ter cum arter de bellion fell, und he flopped ober ter de
publikins"----"Ole Mars Jon haint ergwine ter flop nowheys," replied
Clarissa.]



CHAPTER X.

FREEDOM IN FLOWER.


Ned, who was now in his seventy-third year, was drinking to intoxication
from the cup the carpet-baggers had lifted to his lips.

He sat in the shade of a mulberry tree near his cabin furbishing his
musket for the next company inspection, and stopping now and then to
observe the sportive pranks of a domesticated raccoon.

He heard the irritable voice of his old master calling him from the
verandah of the mansion, and observed with gravity to his wife--

"Jes lissen at dat! Golly! to be sho ole Semo dun und furgit dat dis
Soufland is konkered und de niggers sot free. Haint dat a purefied
scandle? De werry fust munny I gits outen de bero, arter I pays fur de
clay-banks und de lan und de grate-house, I'm ergwine to uprare er silum
fer dat po stractified creetur way out in de big woods, twixt dis
plantashun und de crick, whay he kin call 'Ned, Ned!' und nobody's
ergwine ter ansur but de blue herrons. Don't yu heer his gwines on,
Clarsy? Jeemes' ribber! don't yu heer dat ofe he's dun und swore! Sposin
de surcus rider had er heerd dat cuss wurd he flung at me und yu? Golly!
he'd histe him upon de horns o' de haltar twell he riggled same ez er
fettered wezul. Dat makes me sez whot I duz erbout dese ole isshu white
fokeses. When dare aint no grass in de crap und de smoke house am full
o' meat, hits brudder dis und sister dat; but bimeby, when de ole isshu
draps inter de trap sot by de scalyhorgs, Jeemes' ribber! 'ligion hez
dun und tuck er backsot. Don't yu see? Yu mout sot down whey dat ole
man is wid yo teef clinched same ez er hasp in de lock, und he mout be
gwine on wid his stractified nonsense, und ef yu didn't spishun nuffin,
de fust fing you node hit mout be ole marser dis und ole marser dat, und
bimeby yu'd clean clare furgit yosef, dat yu wud, und be totin de
grubbin ho und er swettin ober de wire grass fur de secesh. Don't yu
see? Me und yu's jes bleeged ter walk perpendikler ur we's gwine ter be
kotched agen lak minks."

"Dat's de troof, hit sho is," interrupted Clarissa with emphasis.

"Und den," Ned continued, "me und yu mout be wusser niggers dan in
slabery time."

"Pend upon it dat po ole white man has dun und gon plum strakted. I
nebber seed sich shines as he is a cuttin up, by his lone lorn sef, in
all my born days, nur yu nudder. Dar he now trapesing furwards and
baccards wid boff hans ahin his back und histin up his cote skeerts, und
a callin, Ned, Ned! jes lac slabery times. Ef de good Lord puts off his
wisitation much furder, und don't take him outen his misry, hes gwine to
sassinate hissef fore de time kums. 'Ned, Ned; I ses Ned Ned,'" grunted
the old freedman mockingly. "Jes as well be callin wun of Joshaway's
catfishes outen de crick, ebery bit an grane. Clarsy, don't it mak you
sorter solumkolly to see how idjeotick ole mister Semo is a gittin, sens
de culled fokes is franksized?"

"It sho do," replied Clarissa with some force of expression.

"Pend erpon it woman, ef we culled genmen don't take holt of dis here
plantashun, und de house, und de craps, us is all agwine to suck sorrer,
shows you born."

"Dats de Lords truff" exclaimed Clarissa.

"Mr. Semo, he don't look arter nuffin, dat he don't," Ned continued, as
he laid his musket on the ground to rub his back against the jamb of the
chimney, "De hoppergrasses is avourin de craps, und de cotton is in de
gras up to de tip ends, und de dratted, flop-yeared dorgs is jamby et up
all de sheepses, und dere is dem hosses in de stable, a whinkering und a
whinkering fur a moufful ob fodder, un de cattle beastes is er strayin
erway inter de mash, und cum rane er shine, dare is ole Mars Jon asottin
dare lak er ole settin turkey hen er callin Ned, Ned; lak dare want no
freedum in de lan. Twant fur Miss Alice dat ole man und all tother
fokeses on dis here plantashun wud be lak a passel ob gizzard shads,
plum run down to nuffin."

"Now yu is a woicin it Ned," again exclaimed Clarissa, as she stitched
the last feather in Ned's military cap.

"Dare aint but one way fur dat ole man to eber sucker hissef outen his
misery und be spectable," said Ned.

"Und hows he agwine tu du dat Ned?" interrupted Clarissa.

"Don't hit stan ter reson dat ef ole Marse Jon wud jine de publikins und
go erbout de kentry baccards and furrards a speechifyin fur de
franksized woters, dat he wud git a offis? I don't blame ole marser fur
fitin arter Mars Harry got kilt. I'd fout tu, fur my onliest boy, but
whar Mars Jon dun rong wus kase he didn't stop Mars Harry fore he rid
off to Manassy. Kase Mars Harry he didn't no no better und ole marster
did, don't you see de pint, Clarsy?"

"I sho duz," again exclaimed Clarissa.

"Dere is de shuriff, he fit in de war, jess lak Mars Jon dun, and whars
dat man now? de high shuriff! Kase he seed what wus agwine tu kum when
de bellum fell, und he flopped ober to de publikins, und de fust fing
yu noes, dat man is ergwine tu be de pressiden ob de Newnited States."

"Haint yu seed fo now" continued Ned argumentatively, "wun of dem dare
lorgerhed turkles drap back into de mud, ergwine furder und furder und
er setlin down und downer twell he kivers hisself all epseps his two rad
eyes, und bimeby heer cums erlong ole Joshaway er probing wid de gig,
und bimeby he gits his konfedence, und den he flings him on de back und
tells him rite saft lak, 'please stay dar twell he cums back ergin;'
well den de skalyhorgs day dun und got deyselves skotched in de offusses
jes lak dat ar turkle, und de fust fing yu nose ef ole Mars Jon haint
ergwine to flop ur nuffin heer cums erlong ole Jeff Davis, de secesh
man, und ole Mars Jon er probin wid dare ole debbil fork, und bimeby day
flings dem publekins on de back und tells dem to stay rite dar twell day
cums back. Don't yu see; und den de fat is dun und flung in de fire und
de bellyun is dun un riz ergin."

"Ole Mars Jon ain't agwine to flop no whers, dat he aint," ejaculated
Clarissa.

"Den he aint agwine tu git no offis nudder," rejoined Ned, quite
seriously and relapsed into silence.

"Ned, whats yu agwine tu du wid yosef dis arternoon?" she asked.

"Me" asked Ned, "Ise agwine tu scotch mysef on dis here plank fur a nap,
dats what."

"Whats yu gwine to do," he asked.

"Me," asked Clarissa, "I'm agwine tu slabe fur er nocount free nigger,
lak yu, jess lak I has ben doin fur forty yers, dats what."

"No count free nigger hay! dats a sin to yu Clarsy, who keeps dat ar pot
bilin?"

"Bilin" she asked, in disgust, "Sposin yu lift dat ar led often dat pot
an see whats a bilin, taint nuffin yu fotched home, I tells yu dat."

Ned distrustfully advanced to the fire place and lifted the top from the
pot and sank back with a groan, into an old bottomless chair.

"What do ail you, Ned?" asked Clarissa, laughingly.

"Lors a massy, I wudn't a had yu projjeck wid me dat ar fashun fur a
hundred dollars. I wus skert tu ax yu what yu had in dare, und I kep a
studdin and a studdin, und I kep tryin to smel sum yerbs or udder ur
snuffin an er snuffin an er snuffin, und I kep listenin fur yu to say
'Ned, lift dat bilin pot offen de farr wid dem yurbs und horg meat; hit
ar sho dun by dis time', und Bress de Lord, it haint nuffin ceptin er
ole kalliker skeert; dat dar mistake is wurf a hundred dollars. Jess as
well flung a hundred dollars outen my pocket into de fire, as to gib me
dat ar set back."

"A hundred dollars," mockingly repeated Clarissa, "How much money has yu
had sence de belyun dun fell?"

"Me?" asked Ned.

"Yes, you, dats who, how many cents yu had most fo yer sence freedum cum
in de lan, und yu is as ragged as a settin pefowell."

"Nebber mind," said Ned, "I'm ergwine to git forty akers ob dis here
plantashun, und maby de grate house flung in, und I'm gwine to git de
peertest mule on de hill, und when I flings de whoop und pulls de
ribbuns, yu is ergwine to see a yerthshake."

"Ugh, Ugh!" ejaculated Clarissa, "I mout, und den agen I moutent. I sees
yu a flinging de whoop now, but taint ober nary wun ob ole Mars Jon's
mules, dat it taint. I seed a passel ob niggers tother day, jess lak yu,
a flingin de whup und a pullin de ribbuns, but twas in de conwic camp
jess whar yus agwine to be fo de hoppergrasses wours ole Mar's Jon's
crap. Dars yer a stretcht out on dat plank in de brilin sun, lak wun ob
dem streked lizzards on de wurm ob de fense, wid nary a moufful ob
wittles in de house, high nur lo. Cum here an see who dat is agwine long
yander ercross de medder in de hot brilin sun, wid her bonnit skeerts
lak de wings ob a white hearon, a floppin backards an furards, haint dat
Miss Alice?"

Ned raised his hand to shield his eyes from the hot glaring sun as he
observed, "Tain't nobody else. Ef dat ar white gal don't hab de
tarryfyin feber ur de brownskeeters, den I haint no doctor."

"I wunder whar dat ar gal is ergwine to here at twel erclock in de day,
und de July flies er farely deefnin de fokeses wid der racket?" asked
Clarissa.


"Lordy! Lordy! Clarsy," exclaimed Ned, "ef we uns only hed sum ob dem
gud wittles Miss Alice got in dat basket, I wudn't be in narry grane ob
a hurry fur dem forty akers ob lan und de mule nudder, wud yu?"

"Mout hab had gud wittles all dis time ef yu hadn't ben sich er
flambergastered fule. Yu und Joshaway er tarnally spasheating erbout
hopperrattucks und pianny fortys und de freedmun's bero und de
conwenshun und de miluntary, und bress de Lord nary wun ob yu's seed a
hunk o' meat ur a dust o' flour sense freedum cum in de lan, und boff ob
yu luks dis werry minit lak perishin conwicks, ur de sutler's mules
turned out to grass. Neber herd dat yungun open her mouf agin enybody in
my life, white er black. Ef yu axes her fer enyfing, she is er smolin de
butifulist smile all de bressed time, und ef de cullud fokeses' chillun
is er hongry she feeds dem wid lasses and homny und gud truck twell dey
is fitten ter pop open; und when dey is sick, she is jes lak er hark
angel, und bress Gord, dat ar gal is ergwine tu hab er golen krown, und
er harp too, und gole slippers, when her hed is lade low; und ef she
goes fust I'm ergwine ter keep her grabe kivered wid de butifulist
flowers in ole missus' flower garden." And Clarissa, overburdened with
the tumult of her tender soul, began to sob and cry.

"Hit nachully tares my ole hart strings outen my body to sen her dat
wurd; kase yu nose, Ned, dat Miss Alice's hans is tu swete und tender tu
cut de wud fur de kitchen und lif dem hebby pots in dis yer bilin sun.
Ef I had my chusin I wudn't gib wun stran ob her golen hare fur all de
freedum in de lan, und ole Lincum frowed in, dat I wudn't."

Clarissa could maintain her equilibrium whenever Ned expatiated upon
matters, persons and events unconnected with her young mistress, but
every chord of feeling in her black bosom was instantly vibrant with
emotion if anything in disparagement of her was spoken.

Dear, dear child! She was now oblivious to all that was passing in the
little cabin.

There she goes, singing a sweet lullaby, on her mission of love, moving
along in the sunshine that encircles her as with a magic zone of glory.

The little daisies lift up their heads to laugh as they whisper to each
other, "There she goes, our little sweetheart!" And an old woman
essaying to free herself from the fetters of the tyrant Death at the
other end of the line is whispering, "Here she comes, my darling!" Her
great, sympathetic nature, whose capacity was enlarged to embrace all
the poor, white and black, made the black cruel heart of Aleck, even,
unwittingly to relent after he had torn her fair face with the thorn
bush in the meadow.

When the paralytic, Alexander MacLaren, died twelve months ago, he
bequeathed a redundance of squalor and misery to his widow, and now
death in slouching strides was coming toward her little hut beyond the
meadow; coming as if unwilling to take away the old friend of sweet
Alice; coming, not like the swift cruel messenger, but languidly, even
dubiously; halting to ask if his commission would permit him to spare
her yet a little while for Alice's sake. There was a footfall upon the
door block; there was the low voice from within, "Come in, dearie," and
Alice and a flood of sunshine entered together.

"My sweet bairn," the old lady exclaimed, in the language of the
highlands, "how you do gladden my auld een! Let me kiss you, my lassie,
ond touch your bonnie hair with my auld stiffened fingers. I want to
feel your presence ivery minute."

Alice bowed lovingly at the bedside of the poor widow and kissed the
pallid cheek, and looking into the faded eyes asked, with heartfelt
sympathy, if she knew who had kissed her?

"Ah, vera well lassie," she answered smilingly. "I ken nae ane in this
puir auld world but you; And why should I dearie? Do you think I shall
ever cease to love you, Allie, you are sae bright and trustful; your
gentle spirit is like the little star that shines just yonner when the
twilight deepens into the night, its light ond joy ond comfort are for
some ither fauk, for some ither fauk," she repeated with earnestness.

"Oh, I do thank you, Mrs. MacLaren, for such kind, yet undeserved
expressions, they are sweet dewdrops that are always leaking from a
heart, kind and true," said Alice, as she brought from her little basket
such delicacies as she thought would tempt the sick lady.

"Now that you love me so dearly," continued Alice, "will you not take a
little nourishment, for my sake?"

"For your sake, dearie," interrogated the old lady, "thot I will, and
thank you with an auld ruck of a heart thot has but ane love--all for
you, chiel, all for you. If I live it will be to bless you, ond if I dee
I will whisper to the angels to love my sweet chiel as I have loved you,
Allie."

The old head was very tired and the eyes that now mirrored another light
than that which came through the natural senses were closing as Alice
sang so tenderly, so softly her favorite hymn; and it appeared to come
fragrant, laden with the aroma of the heather, with the memories of the
gude auld days from the glades and trossachs.

    "It's here we hae oor trials, ond it is here that He prepares
    A' his chosen for the raiment, which the ransomed sinner wears
    Ond it is here that he would hear us, mid oor tribulations sing
    We'll trust oor God who reigneth in the Palace of the King.

    "Though his palace is up yonner, He has kingdoms here below;
    Ond we are his ambassadors, wherever we may go;
    We've a message to deliver, ond we've lost anes hame to bring
    To be leal and loyal hearted, in the Palace of the King.

    "Its ivory halls are bonnie, upon which the rainbows shine,
    Ond its Eden bowers are trellised with a never fading vine;
    Ond the pearly gates of Heaven do a glorious radiance fling,
    On the starry floor that shimmers in the Palace of the King.

    "Noo nicht shall be in Heaven ond nae desolating sea,
    Ond nae tyrant's hoof shall trample in the City of the free;
    There is everlasting daylight ond a never-fading Spring,
    Where the Lamb is all the glory in the Palace of the King."

The widow lay as though she were dead, so tranquil was the slumber that
had kissed down her heavy eyelids, and her crossed hands were laid upon
the light coverlid that rested upon her bosom.

"Oh," thought Alice as she looked upon the scarcely animated human body,
"if it were not a sin, and if you were not so wearied, how I would envy
you, Mrs. MacLaren; you are soon to be so happy. Your tired feet will
soon press the 'Starry floor that shimmers in the palace of the King'
ond your tired een will soon 'behold the King in his beauty,' ond your
tired heart will throb with a divine feeling when He bids you welcome in
the 'palace of the King; ond he will gae you the title to your mansion
with a smile, ond you ken fine it is your ain hoose, ond after sich sae
travail you have coom hame to abide for aye.'"

After a while the old lady awoke to find Alice kneeling at her head, to
wipe the damp from her brow with her handkerchief.

Alice was the first to speak and she said quite endearingly "How are you
now, my dear Mrs. MacLaren? I hope you feel ever so much better."

The old lady with some effort raised her eyes and responded feebly,
"Better chiel. Ah my dearie," she said almost hopefully, "may be I'll
nae go to my ain hame the day. Just then I was so weary and I had almost
forgotten that you were still with me. Ond were you nae singing a wee
bit ago dearie? or was I dreaming ond heard the Angels singing, 'We'll
trust our God who reigneth in the palace of the King?' It might have
been the voice of my auld mither, I dinna ken, I dinna ken," she
repeated emotionally.

"If you are not tired, Allie, will you not read a passage from the
blessed book, just to make me think of the auld, auld story."

Alice took the Bible from the little deal table and upon opening its
pages a five dollar treasury note of the Confederate government, of the
issue of eighteen hundred and sixty two, fell upon the floor. It
appeared to Alice as a pictorial representation of war, its havoc, its
chariot wheels, with great cruel tires and knives, and its heaps of
slain. She turned it over and saw this writing, in a neat feminine hand
on the back, "It was not for the like of this that my lad was slain at
Gettysburg, it was for honor. With the tidings of his death came this
note from his hands. 'The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away,
blessed be the name of the Lord.'"

Alice placed the note back in the Bible with the thought almost
expressed by her tongue, "The liveliest emblems of Heaven are His
saints, who in the deep sense of anguish can uplift their hearts to Him
in simple child-like faith."

The old lady again expressed herself as feeling so much better. Poor
woman, perhaps it was but a momentary reinforcement of the vital energy,
that was preparing her for the last interview with death, when he should
come again with shroud and coffin. "And the Spirit and the bride say
come," the sweet girl began to read, "and let him that heareth say come,
and let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will let him take of the
water of life freely."

"The water of life freely, and let him that is athirst say come," echoed
the old lady feelingly. "Ond all, all, dearie, we shall hae in ower
aboondance in the palace of the King, bye and bye. Ond wud you mind
putting up a wee bit prayer for sich an auld rack of a body?"

Alice got down upon her knees and clasping the hands of the sick lady in
her own she prayed fervently that the Father of all mercies would watch
over her charge who had been faithful through her life; deal lovingly
with her, for she is thy child; be with her now and always to comfort
her and give her that peace which the world cannot give or take away.

Alice rose from her supplications to kiss the old lady once more before
taking her departure, when the invalid, pointing to a little box in
beautiful Mosaic upon the mantel, said to her, "You will find there a
little siller that I have put by for my beerial chiel, for the gown ond
the coffin ond the grave."

As Alice entered the old mansion at Ingleside with her mind tranquilized
by the experience through which she had just passed, she heard her
father in quite a loud voice, call one of his old servants, "Ned, Ned,
where is that black rascal Ephraim?"

"Don't know, mars Jon, came back the answer, Specks he is dun gone to de
baptising in de crick sar."

"Where is my saddle mare?"

"Don't know dat sar, nudder, specks she's dun gone wid Ephraim tu sar."

"Where is my new hat and umbrella?"

"Don't know mars Jon, specks dey is dun took demselves off en wid
Ephraim tu sar."

"Who is that banging on Miss Alice's piano?"

"Dey is dem culled ladies sar, Miss Maria und Miss Susan, er playin high
opperattucks sar. I seed dem er gwine in dere und spishoned dey wur
gwine rong, und I axed dem to play de high opperattucks some wheys else,
kase dis grate house was too dimmycratuck fur dem, but dey lowed dat
dere daddy had worked fur hit und dey wus hissen und den I didn't say no
mo, kase I wus afeared. Pend erpun hit, mars Jon, de bottom rail has dun
got on top now sho nuff."

Reconstruction had come with its mildew. Black cavernous mouths were
lapping up the virus and spitting it out everywhere. Retribution in
history had come too with the evolution of the negro.

The old master like a besieged baron of mediaeval civilization, was
still looking out upon his broad domains and his cattle upon a hundred
hills, but there was rust upon the plow shares, tares in the wheat,
cockles in the rye, and the high noon bell in its tower hung lifeless
and tongueless. No summons thence to the tired hands and feet and backs
upon the old plantation. Labor was disorganized--discipline a dead
precedent--the negroes, like the swallows and ravens in the old rookery,
homeward and townward as they list, were pluming their flight.

The many-gabled mansion lay fast asleep in the Sabbath nooning. A
bee-martin, as it leaped to wing from the neglected meadow, piped a
shrill note or two and scurried away after the thieving crow; and the
interlacing oaks and elms of a century's growth coquetted with the
whispering winds.

Alice felt that she had sustained a mortal shock when she heard the
sound of her mother's piano, every chord thrilling with strange
dissonance; boisterous, vulgar singing and the shuffling of feet upon
the richly carpeted floor.

She started to enter the room when a rude black hand was placed with
violence upon her arm, and she was thrust back into the hall, with the
remark, "jess git outen here forthwid. Us ladies is musin our selfs er
makin dis ole fing farly howl. Daddy ses how dat ef we cullud ladies
notices white trash lak yu is eny mo he's ergwine ter whup us an' whup
us good," and with this they courtesied toward each other and retired as
if they had been princesses of some black realm.

Alice wept out her indignation in her mother's room. Poor Alice! Sowing
the wind! By and by what shall the harvest be?

"Ned," called Colonel Seymour, "tell Aleck to come to me." Ned came back
in a few minutes concealing a grin with his open hand to his mouth.
"Boss," he said, "I seed Ellick, und he tole me how dat I mout tell yu
pintedly dat ef yu wants ter see him wusser dan he do yu, yu mout cum
ter him er let hit erlone udder. Dem wus his berry wurds." The old man
turned away with the wish in his heart that the black vat of
reconstruction might be heaped up to the brim with the freedmen who had
turned their backs upon their only friends.

As the evening sun was drawing a watery cloud before its face to shut
out, if possible, the degradation of the white people of the South,
Ephraim rode up at break-neck speed upon the exhausted mare and as he
alighted upon the foot-block he threw the bridle towards his old master
with the insulting demand, "unsaddle dat beastis Semo, widout yu wants
her tu tote de saddle all her life."

"You insolent scoundrel!" exclaimed the old man in white heat, "has it
come to this?"

"Looker heer, po white man, dus yu no who's yu er sassin? Ise er
spectable cullud gemman, sar, er franksized woter, sar, und what's yu
sar? Po down white trash. Take yer ole mar und yer ole umbrill, und yer
ole hat, und go ter de debbil." Thus was slipping away the eventide of
the day that God, in his infinite condescension aeons ago, had hallowed
and blessed.

In the excitement of these almost tragical events Alice had quite
forgotten the sick woman across the meadow, and she was hurrying there
as fast as she could, when she was intercepted in her journey by Aleck,
who commanded,

"Hole up dar, white 'oman! Whar is yer agwine wid dat baskit und dem
wittles?"

The girl was greatly alarmed at the presence of the brutish negro in
this solitary place and she spoke as complacently as possible and told
him that she was carrying some food to poor Mrs. MacLaren. "Will you not
let me go on?" she said; "the poor woman is very ill, and I am sure that
I am doing no one any harm."

"Yes yu is fer a fac, the negro replied with anger, pears lak yu an yer
yo ole daddy is terminated tu gin de culled genmen all de tribulashun yu
kin und we haint ergwine tu stan hit no longer. Boff ob yu is jist got
tu git outen de grate house und stop toting wittles tu de po white
trash. When we takes holt ob dis plantashun dey haint ergwine ter be
nary horg, nur chickin, nur pefowell on de lan und de culled genmen und
ladies will be bleeged to look at tother wuns and suck dey fingers in
misery."

As the negro turned away from the affrighted girl he purposely threw
against her fair face, with a deft hand a thorn switch, that tore the
flesh and caused the cheek to bleed and then laughed with the
gratification of an arch-fiend.

She went on her way in silence but her outraged spirit could hardly
contain itself, and this she said to herself with burning anger is
reconstruction! A civilization that with whipcords and chains has
suspended law and love and benevolence.

When Alice reached the little home of the widow she knew that the death
angel had entered before her and was putting his icy finger upon the eye
and the heart, and with an almost inaudible exclamation of "poor Allie"
she passed away.

With tenderness and love Alice arranged the coverlid over the body and
locked the door and went in search of help to prepare the old woman for
burial. She saw aunt Charlotte gathering sticks for fuel for the pot
that was boiling in her yard, for it was wash day, and told her that
poor old Mrs. MacLaren was dead. "Will you not go with me and give such
assistance as you can?" "Dat I wont," sharply replied the old negress
"Ise dun und got way by any sich drudgery as dat now a days. When wun ob
our siety ceases we has grate blowin' ob horns und muskits shooting at
de grabe und ebery body is as hapy as er rane frog in de willer tree.
Yu sees dem dere bilin cloes in de pot don't yu, and yu sees dat ar sun
ergwine down as peert as er race hoss, well den Ise got my orders from
Joe und I don't ame tu git a beatin when he cums home ef I kin hep it."

Alice went on and there were fantastic shadows here and there in the
primitive landscaping of nature and timid rays of the setting sun were
stealing softly through thorn and bush and bough. She found Mary Perkins
and her younger sister Gussie at home and she knew that poverty had not
destroyed their kindly natures. She told them with sadness her mission
and when the little assemblage gathered reverently in the little glebe
the next day and the man of God uncovered his white locks and looked
upon the forbidding pall and grave, there was a broken column of white
flowers resting over the dead heart of poor Mrs. MacLaren. "Earth to
earth, ashes to ashes," is the universal requiem of nature--the
proclamation an offended God uttered when he placed sentinel Cherubim
with flaming swords in Paradise to guard its portals. It was the voice
of the aged ambassador of Christ this day, when there was no responsive
sound to come forth from the dark chamber hidden under the clods of the
valley.

Alice returned from the burial in a spirit of resignation, clad in a
coat of mail figuratively speaking, strong and riveted in every joint.
"What sore need for the upbuilding of character in this degenerate age;
when evil is personified; when courage is so sadly needed," said the
girl, "I will try ever so hard to be pure in heart."

She joined her father in the verandah for a few moments, and she saw at
a glance that the old man was battling with conflicting emotions.

He said at last very disconsolately, as he stroked her golden tresses.
"I had hoped my darling child to go to my grave in a green old age, but
if it please God to take me and my child I should not murmur. God knows
I am drinking the lees from a cup full of bitterness. The
reconstructionists say that they are making treason odious and are
scouring the land for distinguished examples."

"Let us not despair, dear father" said Alice as she threw her arms
around the old man's neck. "You still own dear old Ingleside. Let us
sell what we have and flee ere the whirlwind shall overwhelm us with
evil, I will work for you father and we may be happy again some day,
somewhere. The good Lord will stay the hands of our oppressors but let
us not wait for that, let us go hence as quickly as we can."

"You almost unnerve me my dear child with your eloquence and tears, but
that will not do. I--I can clean the rust from my old sword and I am
sure it will cut as red a swath now as it did in '63. Our Scotch-Irish
blood is thicker than water. Never shall it be said by the craven
hearted enemy that John Seymour has ever defiled the proud lineage of
his people. Let us dismiss these unhappy thoughts and pray at least for
our disenthralment."

Monday came and the shadows began to deepen. The patriarchal oaks and
elms were still bowing gracefully each to its vis a vis. There was no
cook in the old mansion, no stable boy to feed the horses, and old
Jupiter like the old sexton among the graves was groping hither and
thither abstractedly, perhaps in quest of memories.

Clarissa the old standby had rebelled, rebelled against the sovereignty
that had been too indulgent and too patriarchal perhaps; rebelled
against a mistress and a master who condoned every failing of her
nature; rebelled against a destiny made up of the comforts of life,
without its sacrifices.

You will come back home some fair day Clarissa and there will be tears
in your eyes, there will be sorrow in your old black heart, and
penitence syllabled upon your tongue. You will come back to tell your
dear young mistress something of the delusions that made you swerve from
interest and duty and you will see the light of forgiveness in the
pretty blue eyes of Alice.

The message came as it were wrapped up in cactus leaves. "Tell Miss
Alice dat she needn't speck culled ladies is ergwine to mommick up dey
sevs no mo, cooking wittles fur de white trash. Ned is ergwine tu git er
organ und hosses und kerridge und she wus ergwine tu split de rode rate
wide open er cummin und ergwine. He's dun und jined de milintery company
und sakes er live dat genmen does hab de butifullist feathers and
buttons und muskit tu be sho!" Poor Alice in her heart "felt like one
who treads alone, some banquet hall deserted; whose lights had fled,
whose garlands dead and all but her departed."



CHAPTER XI.

THE MAJESTY OF THE LAW.


Another morning came and there was a cook perseveringly tasking herself
with a round of slavish duties in the kitchen; but she did not come from
Ned's cabin.

Old Jupiter, the pet hound, looked up into her fair face as if to say,
"You will not forget me when breakfast is ready will you?" As quietly as
possible she went about; there was no rattling of cups and plates, for
the new cook said as she came softly out of her chamber "my dear father
must not be disturbed this morning." She went resignedly to her toil.
There was a blister or two upon her soft white hands, "but father will
kiss the fire out of them when he comes to breakfast; and then we will
give thanks to God for His bounty and in our home it may be that we
shall be happy."

As her father entered the room, Alice ran to kiss him, observing that
she would not ask for a compliment this morning, as it seemed that
Clarissa had communicated her mad spirit to all the appurtenances of the
kitchen; the fire would not burn and the kettle had gone off upon a
rampage, perhaps as Clarissa's carriage would go when driven upon the
corduroy roads of reconstruction; and then again she had prodded her
hand unnecessarily with the sharp tines of a fork with which she was
marking points in the biscuits.

Her father laughed at her little deficiencies as he relaxed his stern
old face to kiss her and said to her approvingly "perhaps you will yet
be a CHEF in this responsible department my daughter."

Together they sat down to their meal; together their hearts were
uplifted unto Him who had made for them such ample provision.

"And now my daughter," said the colonel smilingly as he was leaving the
room "what are your prognostications for to-day. Shall we have peace and
rest, or surprises and?" he had not concluded the enquiry when a rude
knocking came from the hall door. A frown instantly shadowed the
veteran's face. The hour for inquisitorial visits or interruptions was
unseasonable, "what could it mean?" he queried.

"Is yo name Semo?" asked a ruffianly negro in uniform, as the old
soldier opened the door "It is," replied the colonel restraining his
wrath.

"Yu is summuns to kote sar forthwid."

"Why such a requisition, will you please explain," demanded the colonel.

"Don't ax fool questions white man; cum rite erlong, dis heer rit
bleeges me to tak yu ded er live."

The colonel went to the stable to saddle Nelly and she was gone,
Sweetheart was also gone, and so were the other horses.

He came back with the information; the negro laughed savagely in his
face, and told him "dat de milintery company was er drillin in de town
und he seed his hosses ergwine to de drill-ground wid de sargent und de
corprul und de flagman."

The colonel looked into the face of the negro as he asked despairingly:
"How am I to obey the order? I have no way of getting to your court."

"You has got ter go ded er live, I'm er gwine to gib yu one hour to git
ter kote und den I'm agwine ter fetch yu wid de possum common taters,"
and the negro gave his horse the whip and cantered away.

Sixty-five years had stiffened the joints of the old man; his muscles
and sinews were relaxed and gouty, but the order must be obeyed; no
temporizing with the policy of reconstruction, no annulling an order
when issued from a court.

The old gentleman halting from sheer weakness ascended the rickety
stairway of the court room and he saw the power of the law, its
learning, its dignity prostituted to ignoble purposes.

He saw the power of reconstruction, its ignorance, its venality
accentuated to a degree that provoked his abhorrence.

He saw as he entered the house the American flag drooping in graceful
folds over the bench, and he felt that judicial authority was reinforced
by the strength and dominion that overpowered the South.

A stupid negro as black as the hinges of midnight sat upon the judgment
seat; sat there as a representative of the law that had for its
substantial underpinning in all the bygone ages, honesty, capacity,
promptitude, justice; sat there under a commission to checkmate evil.

There were but two white men in this revolting presence, beside the
veteran, whose face was now marked by fatigue and despair, and who
dropped exhausted upon a rude bench.

They were not there from choice but because the law of the bewildered
land had brought them there.

Judge Blackstock's black face looked out of a canopy as of carded wool;
beetling eyebrows of snowy whiteness would rise and fall automatically
like the crest of a kingfisher; the contour of his face was made
ridiculously picturesque by great brass rimmed spectacles that sat
reposefully below the bridge of his nose.

A spring tide one day washed him out of a fisherman's hut into the
office of a justice of the peace, where he was dipping out of his Dutch
nets a larger fry.

The old negro was not vicious or malignant, only ignorant, fanatical and
superstitious, with a religious vein that ran in eccentric curves and
sharp lines through his stupid nature.

Laflin was his apotheosis, his providence, his inspiration. It was
Laflin he believed who had placed in the mid-heavens the great luminary
of freedom; who had written upon amaranthine leaves the proclamation of
emancipation; and who had erected within his reach the huge commissariat
dripping all the while with fatness.

It was to Laflin that he carried his docket every morning to be
paragraphed by stars and asterisks against the names of particular
offenders; and it was to Laflin that he read the judgments of the court
whenever rebels were indicted.

If "Ilderim" the sheik could have seen the old negro with his mace of
office presiding in his court he would have recognized his maternal
uncle.

The black judge retained his office rather by sufferance than
popularity. He was guided by convictions that were illogical and
foolish; slavery he believed to have been the whipcords of an offended
God with which he smote his chosen people the negroes hip and thigh.
This man was one of the judges who was caricaturing reconstruction;
inditing as it were a pictorial commentary of the law of crimes and
misdemeanors in misfitting cartoons.

"Make de pocklermashun, officer" he said to the negro constable as he
placed in his right cheek a huge quid of tobacco.

"Oh yes," shouted the constable "dis kote is open fur de suppreshun ob
jestis; walk light."

The judge adjusting his spectacles with a judicial temper, read aloud a
warrant. "De state agin Edward Sanders."

"Stand up dar prisner; is yu gilty ob dis high depredashun ob de law ur
is yu not gilty?"

"Not guilty," replied Mr. Sanders.

"What maks yu say dat white man?" asked his honor.

"Because I am not in the habit of lying," replied the offended man.
"Look a heer white man I aint agwine ter hab no bigity in dis kote,"
said the judge as he pointed his long bony finger with a savage frown at
the prisoner, "yer 'nose dis heer kote is agwin ter mak itsef ojeous und
a pine plank scandle und stinch to dem dat goes agin de law. Don't dis
heer warrant sezs how dat yu dun und dun dis heer depredashun und now yu
ups und sez how dat yu didn't. The jedge ob dis kote aint agwine agin
his own affidavy und yu is foun gilty upon de hipsy dixsy ob dis heer
warrant."

"But I beg that I may be allowed to introduce witnesses who would prove
me innocent," exclaimed the prisoner.

"How in de name ob God is dey gwine to prube yu innercent when de
warrant hab dun und foun yu gilty? tell me dat" asked the judge
argumentively.

"Do you mean to convict a man in your court who has not been judicially
tried," asked Mr. Sanders.

"Say dat ober agin" commanded the judge as he leaned forward using his
open hand as a ear trumpet; "dis kote don't comprehen de fassinashun ob
de question," and the prisoner repeated the question with emphasis.

"Eggzackly so," exclaimed the judge, "I sees de pint; you is perseeding
to put dis kote in contempt wid your obstropuous language; dis kote is
gwine to rite its judgment so de boss can read it widout his specks. Hit
has heerd de state pro und con und hit has measured out its ekality in
golden stillyurds, and upon de hole kase und de aggrawashuns dareof yu
is foun one hundred dollars und recognized fur your good behavens fur a
year und a day. Officer," he continued addressing the negro, "size up
dat white man's pile und tak out er hundred dollars fur de fine fore yu
turns him loose."

"Next case" he exclaimed, "dare is dat Betsy Collins agin; er witness
fur de state agin Mr. Thomson" he continued deprecatingly, "allus a
gittin up a great flustration agin de po house; a runnin to dis kote wid
arrant lies lak hit was agwine ter trude itsef on brudder Thomson's
feelins."

"What is you doin heer Betsy Collins wid your rad eye a bunged up lak yu
had been a salting a yellow jackets nest? I'm agwine to pospond dis kase
twell brudder Tompson arrivs in kote und terryegates de complaint."

"De next case am a forsible stenshion kase I'm gwine ter let it go by
too."

"Grate King" he exclaimed with an unjudicial gravity, as he bent his
spectacled face to peruse a name upon his docket, "dat ar name retches
from de Rappydan to de Jeemes rubber; Willyum Abender Dolbery Bowzer
Indian Ginrul Mackintosh. Haint dat name dun und fling yo back outen
jint? I'm ergwine to split hit rite wide open, und den I'm gwine to wide
hit up agin. Mouter node yu wur er wagrant ur a secesh nigger toting dat
secesh name und all dem Federick gyarments lak yu wuz de rare eend ob de
bellion."

"Whose horg's dat yu bin gitting yo rashuns offer?" the judge asked with
a fearful grin, and the negro prisoner was for a moment confused,
reassuring himself however he pleaded "not guilty" to the warrant and
asked that his case might be continued until his old master could be
subponed.

The judge looked toward the prisoner with a scowl as he observed,
"What's dat white man's name?"

"Ole Marser's named arter me," the prisoner humbly replied.

"Ugh! Ugh!" said the judge "Dats a sarcumstance agin you. I'm ergwine to
put yu whey dere haint ergwine to be no mo sturbance betwixt yu and de
horgs. Dis heer jedgment is ergwine to run agin yu twell dat ar horg is
fotched into de kote; und hit is ergwine to run in de name of de state."

"Grate Jarryko!" exclaimed Joshua excitedly from among the bystanders,
"dat dere jedgment ez same ez er surcle in de warter, hit haint got no
eend, Grate King! dat secesh nigger hez dun und got hissef shot up
forever und all dun and dun, by und twixt him und a piney woods rooter
that is dun and woured up fo de bellion fell."

"Dis kote is gwine to rejourn till to morrow mornin. Make de
pocklemashun, officer."

As the old negro judge by the aid of his staff was shuffling out of the
court house the Colonel was prompted to ask him why he had been rudely
taken from his home and brought as a prisoner before him. The old negro
looked at the Colonel in a furtive way as he replied irritatingly. "De
kote had to bate de trap wid one warmint ter catch anudder one." And
thus the mountebanks and harlequins of these outrageous times were
compounding dynamite in their laboratories that would ere long explode
under their feet.



CHAPTER XII.

HOME AGAIN.


Alice felt that in the afflictive dispensations that were from day to
day scourging the poor south, that in her own personal trials there was
an inscrutable Providence enacting its ordinances, and by and by the
"end would justify the means." Great and simple was the faith of this
beautiful child of the sunny south, great and simple her faith in the
unfailing source of truth, love, and Divine equity. Great was her faith
in the possibilities and recuperative power of a country that had been
scathed so remorselessly by the great storms of war. She had thrown
around her life a great bulkhead of faith, and she could suffer almost
uncomplainingly, for there was solace in tears and prayers when her
spiritual discernment brought her face to face with Him who said, "I'll
never leave thee nor forsake thee."

After the arrest of her father she retired to her chamber for a short
communion with her Savior, to whom she had yielded without reserve a
heart soon to be cast again into the heated furnace of affliction. She
came out of her room to respond to a feeble knock at the back door, and
she opened it to admit Clarissa. Alice saw instantly that something had
gone wrong with the negro, for there were great tears standing in her
liquid eyes and her speech was broken and emotional.

"Miss Alice," she exclaimed, amid her sobs with her black face buried in
her apron, "Ole Clarisy is so sorry, deed she is dat she trod on your
feelins, but Ned he suaded me clare outen my senses, deed he did
Missis, und I declares fore my Maker in heaben, dat when dat fool nigger
spaciated erbout dem hosses und kerriges, und horg und horminy pyannys
he was agwine ter fetch home, und de silk umbrells und de whoop skeerts
und sich lak, I jes drapped back into dat nigger busum und didn't see
wun bressed fing but kerriges und hosses er cummin und ergwine; und
bress yo sole, Miss Alice, all dat nite long Ned was gwine on bout dem
hosses und piany fortes und now und den he wud drap orf to sleep, und
den I heerd him hollow to Joshaway 'Git outen de way wid de rones, dese
heer clay banks is ergwine to tak dis rode, Glang Shurmans! Glang
Laflin!' und fo de Lord wun time dat stractified nigger pearched hissef
pon de tip eend ob de bedsted und hilt on to de postes same ez a
poll-parrot hollering 'wo! wo! wo!' und him plum fast asleep; und when
de fust lite of day cum I heerd him er coaxin ole Saltpeter, dats our
ole steer, wid a moufful of fodder, und den he hollered to me to fetch
de blue chiss to put de munny in und me und him got into de steer kyart
und dat ole Saltpeter jess turned hissef loose down dat rode same as
mars Jon's bay filly; but I haint neber seed no munny yet, nor de
clay-banks nudder; und Ned he lowed how dat de bero man dun an sed dat
de man dat was fetchin' de hosses to de souf, hed done und tucked de
rong rode, und mout not git heer in time to pitch de crap, but dat he
was gwine to cum sho, und I axed Ned ef he pinned his fafe to dat man
und de hosses, und day er straying disserway und datterway twixt de norf
and de souf und he lowed dat 'nobody cud hit de rite rode all de time
kase de bellion hed dun und flung all de rodes outen jint.' Den I ups
and sezs,'I nose wun rode dat haint flung outen jint und dis heer foot
passenger is agwine to take hit rite back to de grate house;' und heer I
is Miss Alice; und den I got er studdin erbout ole Marser und young
Missis und it peared lak I was stobbing dem to de hart wid a pitchfork,
und I sez to mysef sez I 'Clarisy is yu ergwine ter leave dem po
critters in de grate house wid de cussed niggers er pirooting froo de
land?' I dun cum back now Miss Alice to slave fur yu und ole Marser
twell I die; twell de ark angel stretches out his whings and taks me ter
rest in his busum. I know I was a stracted fool when I drapped the
kitchen key under de do, but bress your hart Miss Alice dar is sich a
flustrashun all ober de land, de niggers lak ragged ruffins ergwine to
de town und cummin back agin, er gallipin hosses und er blowin great big
horns pine blank lak dam yaller mornin glories, dat I is so pestered dat
I don't know de fo eend ob de grate house frum de hind eend." "Is you
been in de kitchen dis mornin Miss Alice?"

"Oh yes," replied Alice, "and everything is tidy and clean."

"Is!" ejaculated Clarissa. "Well I'm ergwine in dar und cook ole marsa
sum good wittles fur I knows he ergwine ter be most perished when he
comes. Po ole marsa; it do pear lak he is suckin sorrow all de bressed
time; to be sho dis wurrull is turned rong side outards; ef er ark angel
was ter pearch upon de tip eend ef de chimney und see de ruinashun of
dis po souf he wud'nt flop his whings but wun time fo he wud be clean
outen site, dat he wud'n't."

The coming back of the truant servant was a bright page in the life
history of Alice. She had been so sad, so lonely, so forsaken. She had
looked into the arching sky and saw nothing there but frowning clouds;
she had introspected her poor heart and there was nothing there but the
pictures of the dead; she thought of her friends and saw only grinning
phantoms. Still sowing the wind and sowing, sowing, came back the echo.

She went into the parlor and seating herself at the piano thrummed its
neglected chords, and was ever music or song so enrapturing. Surely an
invisible choir supplemented her sweet voice. She arose from the piano
and knelt at the little altar to pray for her father, who was at that
moment in the hands of these merciless people; who like Huns and Vandals
were riding rough shod over the south arresting arbitrarily the aged men
whose learning, experience and virtue had illustrated its civilization
and given impulse and direction to its grandeur and glory. She was
pleading with Him who had permitted his chosen people to be scourged by
the lashes of the Egyptian task-masters; pleading not for her life but
for another life, that like the wasted candle would flicker a little
longer and go out. Alice then went to the kitchen and found Clarissa
burnishing the tea service.

"Bress yor hart, young missis," Clarissa said "you allus cums lak a
streak o' sunshine. Ef de clouds was a drapping rain all de time I cud
see de bressed sun er shinin when yu'se erbout."

"I thank you Clarissa, but I don't deserve your compliments," Alice
replied. "I don't feel as if I could cheer any one or make one human
heart light or happy. What will they do with father Clarissa?" she
continued.

"De good Lord in heaben only knows, missis. Pears lak dey ez wouring dat
po man up wid leetle moufuls at de time, and he so innosen too."

"Poor father," she said to herself. "I have been made very strong by a
refreshing influence. If you could only place your burdens upon me until
I became wearied like yourself, I would be so happy."

At twilight the old man, foot sore and exhausted, tottered into the
verandah very much in the spirit of Cataline "nursing wrath and
breathing mischief." "How uniform in all ages," he vehemently
exclaimed, "are the workings of tyranny; how plausible its pretexts;
how detestable its purposes! I have thought of death and felt no fear
when I invited him to come and to come quickly; but I beseech the great
God now that he will spare me to behold my people rising in their
majesty, with a constitutional exercise of their power, to expel these
barbarians from the country; to preserve our laws, our peace, our
humanity; and to sustain the liberties of the people against the
imminent perils to which they stand exposed."

He knew that he was powerless against that oppression that lacked every
resource of intellectual vigor; he knew that whatever indignities were
offered to person or property were condoned or excused; he knew that the
manhood of the South was suffering a social attaint.

He told his daughter as best he could his humiliating experiences with
interjections and volleys of wrath; how that when he was confronted by a
black savage in the court he was told with fiendish laughter that the
officer "had fotched the rong man," "dat de state had no charge agin
him, but it mout hab fore he lef de town." Scarcely had the clear sun
begun to overlook the trees the next morning when the negro officer
again presented himself at the door with a requisition for Mr. Seymour.

"Yu is ordered ter kote ergin," the negro demanded. "The jedge sed how
dat he made er mistake yestiddy und sent de rong man ter jail."

"Let me see your warrant," Colonel Seymour sternly asked.

"If yu fetches a witnis I'll read de warrant," the ignorant brute
replied.

Clarissa who was dusting the furniture in the hall, overhearing an
animated conversation between her old master and the negro officer,
peeped out of the door when the negro saw her and commanded her to come
to him.

To go or to run, that was the question with Clarissa, but she made a
virtue of necessity and timidly obeyed the order.

"Hold up your right hand, yu po nigger trash," the negro exclaimed.

"Oh Lordy, Mr. jedge, what has I dun und dun?" cried Clarissa; "Ergwine
to de jail house fur nuffin in dis wurrul, me und ole marsa; und what is
ergwine ter cum ob miss Alice?"

"Hole your old mouf, I haint ergwine ter hurt yu. Stand rite dar as de
witnis und den you is deescharged," and with that he took from his
pocket a dirty yellow paper and began to spell out its contents.

The officer patronizingly remarked to Colonel Seymour as he was seating
himself in the buggy, "I can gib yu er ride to de kote ef yu will excep
of my sability." The Colonel thanked him, for his gouty joints were
rebelling. By a cruel inexorable law of gravitation the old man was
sinking from the level of a man to the condition of a slave. Alighting
at the court house he was mortified to see a white man and a negro
handcuffed together walking in the court room, in the custody of another
negro officer. As he walked toward the black judge, a score of brutish
negroes cried out "Yander is dat ole secesh, he'e ergwine to git jestis
now."

"Fetch Mr. Seymour fore me, sar," commanded the judge; "whar is squire
Wiggins und his affidavy?"

"Mr. Seymour, yu is scused of interruptin de squire heer in de joyment
ob his social pribileges, and dis kote has found yu gilty. Let dis
prisner be found er hundred dollars und ef yu haint got dat much munny
handy, de kote will change de jedgment und send yu ter jail."

The Colonel had no difficulty in finding a friend who advanced for him
the amount of the fine and he sought the carpet bagger Laflin to ask his
protection against future indignities. The name Laflin stank in the
nostrils of an outraged people. This free rover of reconstruction was
shameless and conscienceless; the marplot of every conservative
sentiment conceived for the betterment of the people; a human ogre with
but one eye that fixed its stare upon the dollar whether enveloped in a
tattered rag or a silken purse. The Colonel saw this man as he was
coming out of a low groggery arm in arm with negroes. "Can I speak to
you sir?" he replied.

Laflin turned fiercely upon him with the interrogatory.

"Who are you sir, and what is your business?"

"I am Mr. Seymour, and my business is to ask your protection."

"Ah indeed, you are the rebel who has been giving our people so much
trouble." the brute replied.

"I am sure you do not wish to annoy an old man who is trying to live
peaceably at home."

"Yes. I do sir, and I will hear nothing more from an infamous villain
like you."

"My people white and black have my authority to do as they will; to
insult and assault rebels and to make reprisals whenever they think
proper."

Thus day by day the uncrowned satraps were collecting material for the
coming carnival of vice and crime.



CHAPTER XIII.

A KNIGHT OF THE WHITE CAMELIA.


At early dawn in the language of the excited servant, "Dere is sich a
flustration agwine on outen old misses flower gyarden as I never seed in
my born days."

With this exclamation her young mistress was aroused from her slumber by
the old negro as she knocked violently at the door of her bed chamber in
a state of great perturbation.

"Fur de land sake! Miss Alice if yu wants to see a sho nuff harricane
run outen here as peart as yer ken. De stracted niggers big und leetle
has finely tuck de plantashun. Oh my sole, de heabens and de yearth has
cum togedder!"

Alice rushed to the window and was horrified at the sight before her.
She heard a jargon of boisterous defiant noises graduated from
inarticulate sounds to higher and varying keys with occasional snatches
of a disgusting song in falsetto.

    "We de bosses is er gwine to be,
    Kase ole Lincum dun set us free,
      In de year of Jubilo."

She saw to her disgust and mortification a score or two of negro
children romping like cattle through her sainted mother's flower garden.
They were plucking the dahlias and roses and other varieties of flowers
with ruthless hands, and blowing their petals hither and thither with
their vile breath into the air. Such desecration was never dreamed of by
Alice and she spoke angrily to the disgusting little vagrants and
attempted to drive them from the premises.

"Yer jes shet yer ole mouf, dats what, ole po white trash. Us yung uns
haint eben er studdin you. Is us Maria?"

"Dat us aint," pertly responded Maria. "Yers ole po white trash, dats
what my farder and my mudder ses you is, and us cullud ladies haint
ergwine to mess wid you nary bit und grane. Us is agwine to pull all
dese ole flowers und fling em on de groun, und us aint er skert of nary
ole skeer-crow lak yer is nudder."

And with these sundry and divers exclamations, Maria and Susan joined
hands and danced a break-down upon the flower beds, while the other
negro children big and little clapped hands and sang in shrill piping
notes another stanza of the song.

    "De bellion it is dun und fell,
    Und ole Marsa is gon to--well,
      In de year of Jubilo."

Alice attempted again to drive them away with her father's cane, when
they aligned themselves in positions of attack, and with brick-bats,
fragments of slate and glass and other weapons of improvised battle
challenged in angry volleys.

"We's jes dars yu to put yer ole foot outen dat do und we'll mash yer
hed wid er brick," and with that one of the missiles went crashing
through the imported plate glass of the front door, when the wicked
vermin scampered away with the warning cry.

"Dey is er cummin, Dey is er cummin, looker dare, looker dare," and hid
around chimney corners and among the brick underpinning.

Clarissa had viewed proceedings from the window of the kitchen with as
much interest as though it were a battle of real blood and thunder, and
running out of a door around a corner where she saw the kinky head of
"Sofy Ann" peeping, she seized her by her hair and soused her over head
and ears, in a hogshead filled with rain water that stood near the
kitchen "Fo Gord!" she exclaimed, "I don't know whedder to drown yer
outen out ur to baptize yer hed fomost. I'm gwine to wash offen yer sins
ef I nebber duz no mo," and she kept ducking the little nigger until she
was "moest drowned sho nuff." "Dar, now, I'm agwine to turn yer loose
dis time, yer imp of Satun; jest let me ketch yer wun mo time in ole
missis flower garden lak er hoss wid de blind staggers, und yer fokes
will hab to sen fur de crowner. Take yersef clean clear outen my site,
yer pizened varmint." The little negro, blubbering, spitting, coughing
and bellowing, sneaked away toward the office looking back with savage
glances, with eyes that stood out like a lobster's.

At this point of time the sound of wheels was heard down the roadway and
going to the door Alice saw a lady of uncertain age with a very keen
aspect, smartly dressed, alighting from a road cart. As she was
approaching the door Alice at once recognized her as the lady who
accompanied Mr. Jamieson, the Englishman, to the mansion only a short
time before and whom that gentleman had addressed as his niece.

"Will you give me the key to the office, Miss?" she asked pertly
addressing Alice.

"Now, dearies," she called to the negro children who had gathered
suspiciously around her, "Just go to the schoolroom; I will be with you
directly."

"Will you give me the key to the office Miss?" she asked this time with
much emphasis.

"Indeed, I have no control over the office, it is my father's, madam,
and he has his books and papers in it and doesn't wish them disturbed."
"My father is not in the house just now. Perhaps you had better wait
until he returns."

"Oh, indeed, miss, I carn't, I am a bit late just now, and I must be
prompt, miss, or I shall lose my position. It doesn't matter about your
father's books and papers, miss, that is a trifle; I guess I can find a
place for the books and papers if you do not choose to remove them
yourself. Get a move on you, Miss, if you please, as I remarked, I am a
bit late this forenoon."

"I do not wish to give you the key, madam," again replied the girl,
"What is your business upon my father's premises unbidden?"

"Ah, indeed, what impudence! Did I ever, I guess you will find out
quickly, miss! Will you give me the key miss, or shall I drive home
again and report you to Mr. Laflin?" The name Laflin was, figuratively
speaking, the burglar's tool that unlocked every door in this populous
county. With many wicked thoughts Alice delivered the key to the
school-mistress and with her arms around the necks of two negro girls
she trooped off to the office; the door was opened and into the room the
mistress and pupils entered.

"Oh, dear, dear, dear! exclaimed the school marm piteously. Whatever
shall I do with all this rubbish? Come here, dear gyurls and boys, be a
bit lively and remove these disgusting old things. Take them to the lady
of the house; I guess she will know what to do with them. We carn't have
thes trifles in the school room; no indeed we carn't" and pell-mell,
helter skelter, topsy turvey, books, periodicals and papers were thrust
out of doors into boxes, barrels, anything, anywhere as if they were so
many burglars "taken in the act."

Poor Alice cried and sobbed; but a new regime was fast crowding out the
memory of the olden days, it was the welding of an intermediate link
between the waning and the waxing--the disappearing and the appearing
civilizations.

"Now, dear gyurls and boys," said the mistress. "Take your seats. I
guess we will begin. Charlie, come here, dear. You are a sweet little
boy and I guess your mamma thinks so, too. How old are you, dear?"

"Seben, agwine in leben," answered the little black urchin quickly.

"Who made you, Charlie?"

"Who made me?" repeated the little negro saucily.

"Yes, who made you?"

"Oh I dunno, dat dere boy dere sez ole satan made me und him too."

"Oh, the precious little heathen," exclaimed the school marm,
discouragingly, "Did you ever hear of God?" she asked again.

"Yes mum, I dun und seed him wun time, when me und Jake wus a rabbit
huntin."

"Oh dear, dear, dear! Where did you see God? And what was he like?" she
asked.

"Seed him down de crick," answered the negro smartly.

"What was he like?"

"What wus he lak?" echoed Charlie, digging into his pockets with both
hands and standing upon one barefoot. "Lak a jacker lantern cum outen de
groun."

"What became of him?" asked the lady.

"What cum of him?" asked Charlie "He flewed clean erway," answered
Charlie as smartly as before.

"Oh my dear, dear, child, what is to become of you!" she exclaimed
disparagingly. "Susan, come here, my pretty gyurl," called the lady.
"Oh! how pretty are your sparkling jetty eyes," she exclaimed as she
turned up the little negro's face to kiss her. "Now dear, how old are
you?"

"Me!" asked the girl, "I's furteen gwine in foteen."

"And now tell me who made you?"

"Who made me!" echoed the child. "Oh, I fort yu axed dat ar boy who made
him," she answered with a broad smile.

"So I did; now I wish to know who made you?"

"I aint no kin to dat ar boy, kase his daddy aint got but wun eye und my
daddy has got too eyes."

"Who made you, child?"

"Ho, I furgot," replied Susan "Gord made me."

"That is correct," answered the teacher, "Now what did God make you out
of?"

"Outen?" again replied Susan, "Oh, outen lasses candy. My mudder says
kase I's so sweet."

"Dear, dear, dear, shall I give entirely up?" exclaimed the discomfited
lady. "Shall I try again? yes, perhaps I shall find a little leaven
directly." "Come here Willie; I can see from your bright face that you
are a smart little boy. Now tell me did you ever hear of the rebellion?"

"Belliun?" echoed Willie as he thrust his fingers into his mouth and out
again with a pop that made the children titter. "Neber heerd ob nuffin
else epseps de belliun."

"What is a traitor, dear boy?"

"Tater?" "What sort er tater, sweet tator ur Orish tater?" enquired
Willie.

"Perhaps I may teach the little heathen to understand," said the school
marm, suggestively. "Willie," she asked "What do you call that gentleman
who lives in that fine house over the way?"

"Calls him!" again repeated Willie, "I calls him po white trash; what
dos yer call him?"

"Oh dear, dear, dear," screamed the teacher utterly bewildered. One more
time she exclaimed "James, come here," and another little negro as
black as tar with one eye closed by a great knot upon it came forward.
"What is the matter, James, with your face?"

"Umph!" grunted James, "Specks if yer seed whar I been you'd know 'dout
axin. Dat ar boy has been scrougin me lak I wus a trabball."

"James, if you are a bad boy do you know where you will go when you
die?" asked the lady.

"Umph," exclaimed James, "I haint eben a studdin erbout which erway I'm
a gwine arter I die. I'm studdin which erway I'm ergwine arter I git
outen dat ar do. See dat ar boy a shaking he hed?" "He sez how dat ef I
cum by his mudders house agwine to my mudders house he's agwine to
scrouge me sum mo, und I'm skeert to go tuther way."

"One other question" (half aside), "James, if you live to be a man what
are you going to do for a living?"

"Gwine to do?" said James, "I'm agwine to be a lyer, so I kin set in de
kote house und sass de jedge." And thus the farce went on day after day
under the shadow of Ingleside.

Clarissa caught a depredating urchin trying to stand upon his head in a
half-filled barrel of crushed sugar in the pantry and said to herself
"You stays dar twell I get me er plank," and creeping like a cat back
again, and taking a fresh purchase on the board, she came down upon "de
middle ships of dat dar ar yungun lak er buzzum of struction; pend upon
it, Miss Alice, dat ar niggar is er flying twill yit wid sweetnin nuff
to last twell de July flies cum agin."

"This nest of dirt-daubers," as Colonel Seymour fitly described the
school, became a nuisance that must be abated by hook or crook. The law
was nothing more than a great stalking shadow. "If I could only secure
the services of Jake Flowers the regulator, thought the old man, "he and
I shall be a law unto ourselves."

This was the man whom Colonel Seymour desired as his file leader upon
the drill ground when the stalking shadow of the law failed to keep time
to the music, a law unto himself, whose forum should be "thar or
tharabouts" on the Ingleside plantation.

Jake Flowers the regulator had violated a law of the Sabbath by working
out some devilish invention, which, he observed with satisfaction, to
his wife, would keep the coroner sitting upon corpses until "the craps
were smartly out of the grass." The regulator stood in the open door,
looking out upon the great sheets of water that were falling from the
clouds. As he stood in his muddy boots, with both hands deep down into
his pockets, his carrotty hair in great shocks standing out of a
crownless hat as if an electric current had just passed through it, he
was picturesque in the extreme.

"Sally Ann!" he exclaimed "I am thinking."

"Well, think agen," Sally Ann answered tartly, "That mout fetch back old
Nance and the biddies." Sally Ann had been pouting ever since Jake went
to jail for the loss of her setting hen and the chicks.

"You haint got no call to go back on me, on the occasion of the old hen
and the nigger," said Jake seriously. "Hit wus providence or hit wus the
guvement, and twixt the two they has got a mighty prejudy agen a poor
man; when hit comes ter shullikin and pilferen they is hard to hender.
Weuns haint no more than dandy-lions in the path of the harrycane;
leastwise weuns kaint hit back.

"Nor hit haint providence; nor hit haint the guvement, nor hit haint
prejudy," Sally Ann replied angrily "Hit are pine blank cussedness. Some
folks is onnery Jake, and it is like the swamp-ager, hit is powerful
raging when the crap is knee-deep in the grass. I shouldn't wonder nary
bit and grain if Andy's crap aint in the yallers same as ourn." This was
said very provokingly, and Jake felt the sting of the reproof.

"Jeminy-cracky!" he exclaimed in a passion, "Harkee Sally, hit is tit
fur tat; be ye a pinin fur another fellow?"

"Why I guess maybe--I reckon--I mout assist yu'uns, leastwise I haint a
going to stand in yu'unsway." The regulator looked down as by accident
into the cradle: there was the sleeping babe, the pledge of a love that
had been hedged in all these days by privations, and his heart went out
toward his wife with the old time affection.

"Naw Sally Ann" he exclaimed with a husky voice, "Weuns kaint part when
there is no one to come betwixt us; weuns kaint say good-bye twell yuuns
is on yon side of the river."

The roses had faded out of the cheek of his wife, but there was the
old-fashioned sparkle in her eye; there was the old time love in her
heart, crossed sometimes by the perverse nature of her lord and master.

"Haint you made your will Jake?" asked Sally-Ann half seriously.

"Naw is you skeert honey?"

"Andy has done and made hissen and fetched it over here to read last
Sunday when you wus gone to the mash and hit read like scriptur."

Jake had been envious of Andy Vose for some time. When the need of the
country for men good and true had been most urgent, Vose had deserted to
the ranks of the enemy, and now he counted his flocks and herds by the
score. Jake was also jealous of the attentions the scalawag was from
time to time showing his young wife; these visits occurred most
frequently in the absence of the regulator, and these intrusions as he
felt they were, gave him alarm. After reflection, Jake concealing his
suspicions remarked with apparent unconcern, "Read like scriptur, I'll
be dorg gone!" "I haint got no call to make a will like Andy, honey. De
nigger officer levelled on old Nance and the biddies, and the live stock
has run plum out epsepting the babe and it is yourn any way honey."

This man was a terror to the freedmen. They had a tradition among
themselves that the very last seen of the regulator until after the war
was over was his ascension in a cloud of fire and smoke into "de
elements" holding fast to a dead negro. Jake said that this was
"pintedly" true, but that he came down again as his captain was going up
who told him when he had fairly lit to "charge bagonets." In the
language of the plains this Jake Flowers was an "eye opener." His
personal attractions he said had been spoilt by the blamed war. I am not
sure that the name of Jake Flowers appears upon the bloody roster of
battles lost and won; but for his doings at the Crater fight, so Jake
has observed, historians would have reversed the incidents of that
bloody day.

He claimed always to be the "Survival of the Fittest" and with the blind
faith of the Moslem he believed that there was a "Providence that shapes
our ends, rough hew them as we may."

His favorite posture whenever animated was as follows; he would sit with
his right leg crossed over his left, gently swaying his foot, with his
bearded chin resting reposefully in the palm of his hand, with the fore
and middle finger forming the letter V and pressed to his lips; through
which he would now and then expectorate; the man was also spavined in
the right knee joint that caused him to walk like a sailor on his "sea
legs." Like other men he had his delusions and whether good or evil,
they were the rule of action of his life. Jake was the reinforcement
vehemently demanded in this conjuncture. "With the regulator armed and
equipped, the enemy will flee without taking order as to its line of
march," thought the old man.

"I am utterly bewildered; can you help me Mr. Flowers to drive these
vermin from my home?" he asked the regulator.

"Wall, now," drawled the regulator, "I reckon I mout ef I am not
pestered ur nuthing; which eend do yer expect me to take holt of?"

Jake gave an extra motion to his spavined leg and looked up quizzically
into the rigid face of the old man.

"Clean them out sir, root and branch, if you will, sir!" exclaimed the
Colonel.

"Prezactly so," ejaculated the regulator, "Prezactly so," he reiterated.
"Does yer mean it pine blank, mister?" he again asked.

"Yes, yes, emphatically I do," responded Colonel Seymour.

"Drat my buttons if the thing haint done and did!" the regulator
answered with emphasis and taking his leave observed, "I'll see you
later, mister."

"If I kin regulate this kentry as it had orter to be did, there wont be
a biggerty nigger twixt here and Filadelfy," and he passed into a little
copse of woods that skirted his own humble domain.

The autumn days had come--Nature was preparing a more elaborate toilet
in her great boudoir--replenishing her exhausted stock of aromatics to
besprinkle the fields and forests, the glades and the hills; painting
the leaves with irridescent tints and even the sky with a mellow,
refreshing beauty; and in this excess of toil. Alice saw the handiwork
of Him who holds in the palm of His hand this great sphere.

She looked upward to the twinkling stars and it seemed to her as if God
had relumed the heavens with a brightly diffused glow of love. God the
Creator and man the creature--the Sovereign and the rebel, brought into
apposition with each other through the supernal harmonies of His
universal realm.

But the child was sad this beautiful October night. The birds were
nodding quietly in the old rookery; there was no music in the air, for
the winds under a coverlid of emerald and amber and carmine had gone
fast to sleep in the trees, and the tintinnabulation of the little bells
in the meadows had ceased altogether.

"If I could whisper to the stars what I would like to have them know of
my unhappy life they would sympathize and perhaps they would whisper
back.

"Poor forlorn child! How we pity you!"

"Tomorrow," she said reflectively, "I shall be twenty-four years of age,
and oh, how all encompassing has been the evil. Every picture that
glides athwart my heart is broken: every idol that I have fondly loved
is nothing more than an effigy. Delusions follow delusions; what is life
but a burden? If we look forward there are demons: if we look backward
there are coffins."

The poor wearied girl, sad and without hope, fell asleep in her mother's
chair as softly as if the angels were rocking the dear old chair and
singing the old nursery lullabies; they must have kissed her heavy
eyelids down; so profound, so tranquil was her slumber.

When she awoke the little birds were singing as cheerily all around her
in the magnolias and oaks as if their little tongues were touched with
the spirit of her happy dreams.

The cloud that overcast her face was gone and she went into the kitchen
where Clarissa was absorbed in her duties.

Clarissa exclaimed as she entered the kitchen, "Miss Alice, whar in de
name ob commun sense has yer been all dis time? Here I's been a cummun
and ergwine, a ransackin dis house high and low fur yer. Didn't yer heer
me callin yer, missis? I spishuned yar wus in ole marser's room fast
asleep."

Alice was obliged to confess, a little shamefacedly, that she had fallen
asleep in the little alcove in the verandah and had slept so soundly
that she heard no noises until awakened by the twittering of the birds
in the over-arching bower.

"Sakes alive, missis," exclaimed Clarissa "sum ob dese nites a grate big
snake is ergwine to drap rate down into yer lap und sting yer moest to
def. How dos yer feel missis arter dis toxication?" the negress asked
solicitously.

"Quite well, I thank you, Clarissa, my sleep was ever so refreshing,"
replied Alice smilingly.

"What does yer fink dem pizened yung warmints dud and dun yestiddy? Yu
knowed ole Bob Sal, dat ar ole fafeful mousin cat of ourn? Whar yer fink
I foun dat po ole cat, missis?"

"I am sure I do not know, Clarissa, I hope the negroes have not hurt
him," answered Alice.

"Deed they has too! Drowned to def in de hogshead, wid a brick tied
erround him. Dey is de outdaciousest yunguns I ebber seed in my born
days. Dere haint no telling what dey has dun und gon und dun to dis heer
plantashun, dat dey aint!"

"I am sorry," exclaimed Alice, "Is the cat quite dead, Clarissa?" she
asked.

"Ded!" exclaimed Clarissa, "Sakes alive, ef yer wus to see him yer wud
fink dat he had been ded all his life, dat yer wud. Has yer seen ole
Jube?" Clarissa continued.

"Yes, he is in the verandah," Alice replied.

"Ugh, Ugh! Glad ob dat. Fust fing Jube knows he'll be hobblin er round
on two legs ef he aint kilt rite ded. De outdacious niggers! I wushes
dey wus run outen de lan."

Clarissa heard ole Jube bark, and looking out of the kitchen window she
saw the regulator shuffling along in his slip-shod way with an old
haversack slung over his shoulder coming toward the front verandah and
observed with some perturbation.

"Miss Alice, dos yer know de truf. I'm pintedly skeered ob dat speckled
face white man. He luks pine blank lak de kommisary ob de debbill
hissef. He aint arter no good on dis heer plantashun. De fust fing
enybody knows dere is ergwine to be de biggest flustrashun on dis lan
yer ever heerd in yer born days und nobody is agwine to know de heds nur
tails ov it. Look at dat ar wun eye of his'n farely blazin lak a
log-heep in de new ground in de nite time," and Clarissa shuddered as if
the clutch of the "kommisary" was already upon her.

"I have heard very strange stories about the man" said Alice very
solemnly, as if humoring the ignorant old woman's apprehensions.

"Deed I has too," she replied, "Und if dey is kerrect dat ar creetur
haint no human no how," and Clarissa shuddered again even more
violently; "Hit natally makes my flesh creep lak santipedes," she
exclaimed with fear. "Haint yu dun und heerd how dat Koo-kluck mommucked
up brudder Joshaway, Miss Alice?" asked Clarissa. "'Grate King!' How in
de name of de hebbens dat ole nigger ever retched dry lan eny mo wid all
dat skeer 'pon him, I haint never skivered. He lowed how dat hit wur
provedense, but den twixt me and yu Miss Alice und not to go no fudder,
Joshaway is allus ergwine wun way und provedense de tuther. Yander he
cums now lak wun of dem ole cranksided rare hosses, und I'm ergwine to
fetch him sum wittles rite fo yo eyes und den yu mout ax him fur
yosesef."

Joshua came up quite feebly, swathing his black face with his red
handkerchief and bowed humbly to his former mistress.

"Now yu mout ax him, Miss Alice, arter he wours up dat last moufful, and
I lay hit will fetch de creeps ober yu same as de mash ager."

The old negro seemed very grateful for the appetizing food and in a
heartfelt way thanked Alice over and over again.

"Mout I sing er Mishinary hime, yung missis?" he asked deferentially
after he had eaten the last morsel.

"Yes, indeed," replied Alice "I will be delighted to hear you." And he
sang very plaintively:

    "Oh Kanyun, sweet Kanyun when shall I see,
            When shall I git dere?"

After he had concluded the song the young lady asked sympathetically,

"I am told that you had quite an unhappy experience at the creek a few
nights ago Uncle Joshua? Can you tell me about it?" Joshua groaned and
then answered with a display of feeling.

"Twas wusser dan er sperience, yung missis," as he wiped the
perspiration from his face, "twas een wusser dan er yuthshake. Grate
Jarryko! 'twas een mo wusser dan de war."

"Ugh! Ugh! I tole yu so!" ejaculated Clarissa.

"But den," continued the old negro "Hit mouter been een wusser ef
provedense hadn't pinted dese heer foots to de hilands."

"Grate King!" again exclaimed Clarissa; "How cum yu flounderin erbout in
dat dere cole warter dat time of nite, brudder Joshaway?"

"How come I dare?" he replied. "Haint yu heerd ob dem evul sperrets in
de Scriptur dat de sliding elder calls de leepers? Well den, dat's how
cum I dare. How cum de koo kluck dare? How cum de drownded nigger dare?
Yu sees, missis, dis heer bellyun haint made mishunarys und possells
outen evybody. Dare's de Mefferdises und de harryticks und de Hardsides,
und when dey's all flung togedder in a loblolly, wid dare grace und dare
fafe und dare speriences, dat's de werry bestest time dese leepers has
fur dare Crismus, er probin disserway und datterway, kase dem dare
leepers dey spishuns dat whay dare is sich a mixtry ob de lams ob de
flock dare's bleeged ter be now und den er harrytick; dey sees sum ob de
lams er runnin wid grace und tuther wuns er graplin onter provedense,
und den ergin tuther wuns er seein wishuns in de day time, und dem
leepers mout ez soon git tangled up wid er Mishunary ez er harrytick er
Hardside; und dat's how I cum ter git kotched. Don't you see missis?"

"Were you thrown into the water by some evil-designing person, Uncle
Joshua?" asked Alice with a natural inquisitiveness.

Joshua groaned again; "Ugh-h-h-h!" he shuddered.

"Haint yu ergwine ter tell her de fust und last ob it' Joshaway?" asked
Clarissa, impatiently.

"Ef I hed one leetle moufful o' backer hit mout tak de ambishun outen de
tale, und den I mout tell hit mo strater. Haint yu got narry crumb
missis, dat I mout fling ergin dis ole akefied snag? Dare now; dis
backer is sho good! Now den, Sis Clarsy, ef yu ceeses yo mirashuns I'm
ergwine ter tell young missis how it all cum erbout frum de werry fust
mencement ter de latter eend."

"Grate Jarryko! hit puts dese here fousan-leg santypedes er rastlin
under my westcote when I draps back to dat ar casuality. Ugh-h-h-h!" he
shuddered again. "Now den, de tale goes disserway: Dare cum erlong by my
house in de shank of de nite dis yer furriger. I calls him a furriger,
but I spishuns his rite name is Koo-kluck (I'm monstrous skeert o' dat
white man ennyhow)--"

"Ugh-h-h-h!" shuddered Clarissa.

"Und he ups und sez, sez he, 'Joshaway, a woice is ergwine ter cum arter
erwhile to yo house, und don't yu go ergin it, und den I'd no whey de
munny is.' Dem wuz de werry wurds he spoke, missis, bress yo life. Und
den I ups und sez, sez I, How's I ergwine ter tell dat woice frum de
tuther wuns? Kase dare is de hoppergrasses und de cattle beastes er
woicin simultaneous all de time eroun my house; und den he sez, sez he,
'Hits er cummin frum de hellyments.' Jes so. Well den, sho nuff de woice
did cum dat werry nite, pine plank jess lak he sed fur de wurrel, und
hit wur er mity solumkolly woice, same ez de whinkering ob Mars Jon's
wun-eyed mule down in de mash in de snow wen de fodder is all gin out.
Hit called 'Joshaway! Joshaway!' jess lak dat, und Hanner she heerd it,
(peers lak she's allus studdin erbout dem rone hosses und de munny, when
her mind ain't er runnin on de sliden elder und de love feast down at
Filadelfy meetin house), und she ups und sez, sez she, 'Joshaway, is yu
gwine? Yu mout git de munny und den ergin yu moutn't.' But I seed dat
her mouts wuz mo stronger dan her moutn'ts, und I drug de ole happysack
outen de bofat, und den I sez, sez I, yes, I'm ergwine. Und bimeby I
gits ter de crick. Well, de moon hit wur rite over yander under de
seben storrs und peered lake hit wur er larfin und er larfin ter itsef
wid er mouf dat retched frum yur to yur und wun eye shot rite tite.

"Dare wuz de line tide ter de willer tree sho nuff, jess lak hit sed,
und hit peered lak hit were er tusselin wid a mity ambishun wid de
drownded happysack, er shassain disserway und den ergin datterway, lak
yu seed wun o' dese cow-eetch wines fo now er raslin in a mill race; und
I sez to mysef, sez I, Joshaway, yu's got a sho nuff bite dis time, und
hit haint er catfish nudder, nur hit aint er allynipper."

"Oh, my hebbens!" again vociferated Clarissa.

"Und den I drug und drug und drug, und bimeby I seed dat fish's two
eyes. Ugh-h-h-h! Und den I drapped back into de crick drownded to def.
Ugh-h-h-h!"

"Grate King," shouted Clarissa. "Wuz yu sho nuff drounded to def,
brudder Joshaway?"

"Und den when I seed dat niggers too eyes of hissen und--ugh-h-h-h!"

"Hung to de hook!" shrieked Clarissa interrogatively.

"To be sho, to be sho," replied Joshua with irritation; "Duz yu spishun
hit wur hung to de gallus? Und ez I drapped missis, ez I drapped," he
continued, "I flung out dese too hands jess so missis, und kotched holt
of er nudder nigger drounded to def by er sarcumstance dat haint neber
been skivvered."

"Und den yer cum too ergin?" queried Clarissa shaking with excitement.

"Naw chile," Joshua answered with gravity, "I haint neber cum too no mo,
dat I haint."

Jake had another delusion--that to do your work without makin mistakes
"yer must obsarve the consequences."

The old Colonel after he had finished his toilet walked out into the
verandah where he observed Jake ambling toward the house and singing in
a monotone an old army doggerel of questionable merit,

    "He who fights and runs away,
    Will live to fight another day,
    But he who is in battle slain:
    Will never live to fight again."

The regulator walked up the stone steps into the verandah with a leer in
his countenance, satan-like in its expression.

Old Jube slunk away with a sidelong glance at the regulator as if he
quite agreed with Clarissa that "He wus not a humans, nohow," and coiled
himself up for the nap that had been needlessly interrupted at the other
end of the verandah.

"Now then sir, how do you propose to proceed in this business?"

"I aint er going to proceed, the percession cums at the latter eend. Now
yer just hold yer breath, mister, twill I fix my curlecules, and then
you can crack your whip and the percession will start to the cemetery
with music by the band."

The regulator filled a doubled barrel army canteen full of gunpowder,
and attached to it a fuse that would burn half an hour before exploding.
After doing this he said to the Colonel,

"When yer sees the Yankee school-marm er coming just call off the cussed
niggers, twill I can plant hit."

Colonel Seymour drew from his pocket a dozen or more pennies as he
caught sight of the school marm riding down the road in her dogcart.

"Here, ye varmints!" he cried, and he threw one piece of money at the
time in the grass and the negroes scrambled for it like a flock of geese
over scattered grains of corn.

Simultaneously with the stroke of the old-fashioned clock, came an
explosion that recalled the Crater with all its horrors to the
regulator.

Clarissa ran out of the kitchen screaming, "Murder! Fire! the Yankees is
er comin. Great king, mars Jon, de ruf and de chimney on de offis is dun
blowed clean erway. In de name of Gord, what wus dat, ole marsa? Grate
Jerusalam! which er way did dat harrykin cum from? De road is fairly er
workin wid yung niggers widdout arms or legs ergwine er bellering every
which erway. Fo Gord, de last time I seed dat er Yankee wumun she wus er
flying fru de medder lak er white herrun!"

After the smoke of battle had cleared the regulator sneaked up to the
Colonel with a broad grin upon his face with the enquiry, "Did I do that
er job kerrect, mister?"

[Illustration: "I'm ergwine back lak dat prodigle man dat et up dem corn
cobs way out yander to de tuther eend o' de yearth."]



CHAPTER XIV.

THE OATH OF FEALTY.


Since the death of Mrs. Seymour the negroes had been busily plying their
offensive vocation filling to the very brim the vat of vicious
fermentation. The air at night was laden with ribaldry and the sounds of
guns. The old master's labors were greatly multiplied too, since the
negroes were all the while in some exasperating way or other celebrating
the "Emancipation Proclamation," the dawn of freedom. Their presence had
become a serious menace, an ever recurring cause of alarm. His
resources, too, were almost gone--the cattle had been slaughtered in the
range, the horses appropriated and returned when convenient, and he
dared not ask why this spoliation of his property.

Ned would occasionally announce his arrival upon the plantation by
furious blasts from a great cracked horn. He would be dressed from head
to foot in a blue uniform with bright brass buttons and yellow cords
upon the revers and sleeves of his jacket, and a coarse slouched hat
with crossed swords in front, a huge yellow cord with tassels around the
crown, and it surmounted by a peacock's feather. The old master saw with
disgust the foolish negro from the verandah, marching up and down the
carriage way with his bright musket, going through the manual of arms,
"Sport Harms! Horder arms! Charge bagonets!" Aleck and Ephraim and Henry
were dressed in the same fashion and going through the same evolutions
on another part of the plantation. Now and then a discharge from the
guns accompanied by demoniacal yells would frighten poor Alice almost to
death. In the dead hours of night these brutal negroes to terrify her
and her father would drill in the front yard of Ingleside with vulgar
and boisterous commands, and before breaking ranks they would discharge
their muskets with horrifying screams--"Jess immitatin de brav sojer
boys at Fort Piller," they said. Ingleside was virtually a camp of
military instruction!

"Clarissa," Alice exclaimed, "we must go away from here. We will be
murdered if we do not get away from these horrid negroes, I shall die
with fright if I remain here any longer. They can come at any hour of
the day or night and kill us. Father is old and feeble and cannot
protect me, and you know, Clarissa, I cannot protect him. Please go to
him and tell him we must get away this very day."

"Bress yo deer life, Miss Alice, ef yu seed how dis po ole heart was a
flip flappin, fust peert und den slow, lak a yaller hammer beatin ergen
er dedded gum, fust on wun side und den on de tuther, yu'd say ter
yosef, 'po Clarsy!' Fo de Lawd, I'm skeert mo wusser dan yu is, und ef
dis heer flustrashun is ergwine on much fudder de Lawd is gwine ter rane
down fire und brimstone on dese niggers lak he dun on dem Mallyskites,
und I specks er grate big hunk is ergwine to hit Ned und Joshaway too,
rite slam twixt de eyeballs. Dem dare niggers, jamby granddaddies of
Methuserlum, lookin lak hants in all dem fethers and brass buttons, er
heppin all ober de taters und de korn und de cotton, und bress de Lawd,
ef I must tell de truf, dey is as perished up ez a mash hen er settin on
turkle eggs. Yu needn't larf lak dat, Miss Alice; de Lawd is gwine ter
show dese niggers whos er totin de biggest strane, und when he sez de
wurd, dey's ergwine ter be dedder dan last yur's gode wines, und--"

"Perhaps, Clarissa," interrupted Alice, "these troublous times are but
mercies in disguise?"

"Oh, my King!" ejaculated Clarissa in alarm, "Murder's gwine ter rise,
yu sez? Oh, my hebbens! Is yu aiming fur dem kallamities tu cum
immegiate, missis?"

Alice laughed away the old negress' fears and replied in explanation:

"I said they were mercies--mercies in disguise."

"Dat is mo better, Miss Alice," observed Clarissa, slightly mollified.
"Kase I knoed ef dat tuther fing wuz ergwine ter hap'n, me und yu und
ole marser mout git kilt fo enybody but de niggers spishuned er
resurreckshun. Ole Clarsy's skin is powerful black missis, und dis kinky
hed is pided lak dat ole wether's in de medder, but I'm ergwine ter stan
by yu und ole marser twell de eend, und when Ole Marser up yander sez de
word, I'm ergwine ter ax yu ter berry Clarsy at ole missis' feet; und
den ef she heers de trumpet fust she'll call Clarsy, und ef I heers it
fust I'm ergwine ter call her, und den me und her will jine hans und fly
erway ter glory."

The pathos of this affectionate speech brought tears to the eyes of her
young mistress, and the thought came out of her great sympathetic
nature:

"Reconstruction so far has been a great smelting furnace--it has
separated the pure from the impure, and with its refining heat has
grappled with hooks of steel the hearts of mistress and servant. Would
that I could dictate a fitting eulogium for the faithful negroes; for
those who are groping still amid the shadows of an epoch that seems
obedient to no law but of caprice and change."

If I get to Heaven, Clarissa will be at the portal with some such
expression upon her tongue as this: "Bress yer hart, missis, I've been
waitin right here fur yer ever since I heard yer wus er cummin. Come
wid me, young missis, und let me show yer dis beautifullest city in de
hole wurrel."

"Sixty days within which to prove your loyalty!" "Sixty days" were
coming upon tireless pinions. Are the mills of the gods still grinding?
Is there yet water in the flume to run the heavy wheel? Is there still
grist to feed the stones?

"To prove your loyalty" ran the judgment. What badinage to toss into the
face of a man who had braved death upon a hundred battle-fields and all
for "loyalty!" He had proved it by great scarifications that would have
appalled every carpet-bagger in the South. Loyalty is the counterpart of
honor--the collaborator with duty, and the old soldier for sixty five
years had maintained and performed his part in his particular sphere of
life; yea out of the crucible of hell he had rescued his loyalty--his
character as pure as the untrodden snow.

Another sunrise shoots its gleams into the cribbed heart of Old
Ingleside, and Clarissa has not returned to prepare breakfast; what can
be the matter? "Perhaps she is unwell. I am sure she cannot be
faithless," argued Alice with herself. "I will go and see." As she
entered the door of the cabin she saw Ned rolling and tossing upon the
bed in wild delirium and she asked Clarissa what was the matter with her
husband.

"Don't know, Miss Alice," replied Clarissa, "epseps he is tuck wurser
wid wun ob dem bad spells agin; dey is cummin und agwine ebery now and
den, und he gits rite foolish und komikell."

Alice drew her chair closely to the bedside and felt of the old negro's
head and it was very hot; she felt his pulse and it was beating like a
triphammer. He was groaning, too, as if in great pain, crying out in
delirium occasionally "Charge bagonet! Sport harms! hep! hep! hep!" as
if drilling and going through the manual of the soldier. Alice saw that
something must be done and very quickly, and she said to Clarissa.

"I will run for the doctor."

"Lor, missis, yer a gwine a trapesing away over yander fur de doctur by
your lone lorn sef? I specks hits er mile ur too ef its ary step."

Within an hour the physician was at the bedside of the sick negro,
diagnosing the case and prescribing medicine.

"He is not in immediate danger," observed the physician to Alice, "But
he must be watched."

"I want to put him under your care and whatever your charge may be I
will pay it."

"Thank you, miss," replied the physician with a smile. "I will see that
he does not suffer for the want of medical treatment. By the way, how is
your father's health now, Miss Alice?" he asked.

"I think I can see that he is failing, sir," the girl replied sadly.

"I presume he, like every body else, is greatly annoyed by the
freedmen."

"Yes, a few of them have given us trouble," she replied.

"Perhaps I shall see you again to-morrow. You will find that the negro
will rest very well after his fever abates a little," and the doctor,
shaking Alice's hand cordially, bade her good morning.

"Now Clarissa," Alice said after the doctor had gone, "You run over home
and prepare breakfast for father, and I will watch by Uncle Ned until
you get back.

"Miss Alice," exclaimed Clarissa "sposin dat kommykle nigger gits outen
bed what is yer agwine to do den?"

The old negro's expression was so ludicrous that Alice was obliged to
laugh as she observed, "I will take care of him; never mind. If he gets
out of the bed I will get him back again."

"Und him a plum stracted idjeot?" ejaculated Clarissa as she passed out
of the door.

Alice pursuing the directions of the physician, brought from the spring
near by a bucket of very cold water and sat down again at the bedside
and very gently, soothingly, bathed the old negro's face and brow. The
fever was abating, still the deft fingers dripping with the water
pressed the fevered face. Once Ned partially aroused exclaimed
deliriously,

"I'se a woting ebery time fur de boss, who's yer a woting fur,
Joshaway?"

After quite awhile Ned awoke, at first a little abstracted and asked.

"Is dat yer, Clarsy, wid dem dar shiny eyes?" and again dropped into a
restful slumber.

This time there were no exacerbations, no delirium, but he slept as
tranquilly as a little child. The fever had passed away. He awoke and
saw the dear child whom he had so brutally wronged sitting like a
guardian angel by the bed; her white hands cool and refreshing still
pressing his forehead, and the old negro covered his wrinkled face with
his skinny hands and wept. Wept from a sense of shame, remorse. He
remembered that when her need was sorest he had acted the brute--turned
his back upon this poor child who with a full knowledge of his manifold
acts of cruelty and injustice was nursing him back to life.

"Is dat yer, Miss Alice?" he asked through his blinding tears. "Gord
bress yer dear sweet life, young misses, I fort yer wus ur angel. I
didn't fink dat my young misses dat I left ober yander in de grate house
by her lone sef, to fend fur hersef und de ole marsa, wud do dis urren
ob mussy fur a po' outcast nigger lak ole Ned." And the old negro began
to cry afresh.

"Don't cry, Uncle Ned, the good Lord commands us to visit the sick and I
am trying to do my duty toward Him and toward you. You are so much
better now; don't worry and cry over me. The Lord is chastening us, but
it is all for His glory, Uncle Ned."

"When I woke fust time, missis, I didn't know whar I wus," he continued,
wiping his eyes, "und den I drapped back to sleep agin und it peared lak
de butifullest sperits huvered all erround de bed, and wun ob dem mo
butifuller dan tother wuns crep rite easy lak und put her hand on my
forhed und I heerd tother wuns call her 'Alice,' und I spishuned it
mouter been yer, I knowed it wus yer. Does yer know why dis ole nigger
cried jess now, missis?" "Taint my fault dat I turned agin yer und ole
marsa--de Lord in Hebben knows it aint. Ef I had minded Clarsy, yer und
ole marsa wudn't faulted me no how. I wudn't hurt a har on yer hed for a
wurrell ful of freedum--dat I wudn't. De dratted niggers tole me how dat
I mout be biggety und play boss-lak, und den I wud git to be leftenant
und den I mout be cappen ob de miluntary cump'ny, und wear grate big
gold upperlips lak de boss, und ef I wus agwine to die dis minit I
clares on my solemnkolly ofe dat dem dare biggity white fokses in de
town is de meanest passel ob humans in de yurth. Dey is worsern
jack-lanterns 'ticin' de culled fokses furder und furder into misery.
Missis, ef yer und ole marser will oberlook dese here transgrashuns I'll
nebber, nebber gin yer no mo sorrer, dat I won't."

"Uncle Ned," replied Alice with her beautiful eyes radiant through
tears, "from the bottom of my heart I forgive you if you have ever given
offense to my father or to me. I think I can see that great good is to
come out of it all. Don't you know how the children of Israel suffered
in Egypt, and in their journeyings through the desert land, when the dry
parched lands yielded no corn and the Lord fed his people and led them
safely into Canaan?"

"Yes, marm, dat I duz, und He is ergwine ter leed us outen dese
lowgrounds, too, missis, und ef He doan do dat I knows whut He is
ergwine ter do--He is ergwine ter dribe dese Filistin men outen dis
kentry wid a storm ob yaller jackets lak He drib Farro outen de lan ob
de Mallyskites."

Clarissa having performed her work in the great house came into the
cabin at this moment and was greatly surprised to find Ned in an
animated conversation with her mistress: Ned observing as her footfall
arrested his attention:

"Dar now, Clarsy, yer is dun und gone und fotched us down agin."

"Fotched yer whar, Ned," exclaimed Clarissa in wonderment.

"Frum de perly gates, dat's whar," replied Ned. "Me und Miss Alice has
jes bin ergwine erbout all ober de New Jerusalum, und yu fotched us rite
back to de yurth agen--dat's er sin ter yer, Clarsy."

"Fo de Lawd, is yer er plum stracted idjet? What is yer er doin in de
New Jerusulum? Is yer dun und washed erway yer sins? I don't see no
whings in dis heer house--how did yer git up dar Ned."

Alice laughed immoderately, and even Ned obliged himself to confess "dat
he was in de sperret in de New Jerusulum."

"Miss Alice," asked Ned quite earnestly, "has yer got de good book wid
yer?"

"Yes, Ned, I have my mother's bible with me; wherever I go it is my
companion always. Shall I read a passage to you?" answered Alice.

"Ef yer plese, mum. I aims ter cut ernudder notch in my ole walkin
stick, und when I looks at dat I'm ergwine ter drap rite down und pray."

Alice opened the little thumb-worn book at the second chapter of John
and began to read:

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And
if any man sin we have an advocate with the Father--Jesus Christ the
Righteous."

"Don't you see, Uncle Ned," Alice said as she looked up into the old
negro's black face, "how good the Lord is to us? He puts it into the
mouth of His apostle to call us little children, and he tells us that
the Saviour is pleading for us poor sinners. 'Love not the world,
neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world the
love of the Father is not in him.' When we are in distress or trouble,"
continued Alice, "we must turn away from the beggarly elements of the
world and cast our cares upon Him, for He careth for us."

"Whot sort er elements did yer say, missis?" asked Ned attentively.

"Beggarly elements," replied Alice. "There is nothing that satisfieth in
this life, uncle Ned; and all the world can give us in comforts and
riches are as husks--we must look to Jesus and to Him only for
consolation--for salvation."

"Dat is de Gospel truf," exclaimed Clarissa, with emotion.

"Miss Alice, will yer fault me fur axin yer wun mo questun? Is dere eny
defference in hebben twixt er cullud pussun und a white pussun?"

"No indeed," replied Alice; "we are His children if we are faithful--the
work of His hands."

"Dat questiun, missis, has oversized me all dese days, und I was afeered
dat we was de gotes dat de Lawd drib ober on tother side, erway frum de
lams, kase, missis, when I gits dar I wants ter live rite close ter ole
marser's und young missis' 'great house,' whar I kin see yer und tend
yer boff."

"You will not need to do us that service, Uncle Ned. You will have a
mansion of your own; there will be no great houses there. The good Lord
will know no difference between you and me, only as you or I shall excel
here in doing His holy will. Don't you want to serve Him, old negro, so
you shall have a crown of rejoicing by and by?"

"Dat I does, young missis. My ole bones is mity shackly, und it aint
ergwine ter be long afore I goes outen dis cabin fer de las time; und ef
its His will ter call me fust, I'm agwine ter pick out de butifulest
great house in de city, und stay rite dere lak er watch-dorg twell yer
und ole marser cums und taks perseshun. When I gits outen dis bed,
missis, I'm gwine back home--gwine back to ole Mars Jon, lak dat
prodigle man dat woured up dem korn cobs way out yander."

Alice, the true hearted Christian, could not withhold her tears as the
old negro so eloquently, yet so ignorantly, revealed his love and
loyalty. She arose from her chair to bid him good bye:

"One word mo, missis, und den I'm dun. I wants jes one little drap o'
prayer, pleas'm."

Alice knelt reverently at the bed and tenderly prayed that the old negro
might be accepted as a child of the King--a royal son of a Royal Father,
whose kingdom was above all thrones and principalities, and from
everlasting to everlasting.

"Und now, Clarsy," said old Ned, "yer stan rite dere, und Miss Alice yer
stan whar yer is, und hear me swar dis ofe: 'I, Ned Semo, does swar und
kiss dis little bible ob ole missusses' who's dun und gon to hebben, dat
nebber mo' will I lif my mouf nur my han nur my hart in mischuf agen ole
marser und young Miss Alice, so help me Gawd!"

Let us believe that the recording angel in the heavenly court has
engrossed this oath in a never-fading holograph in his journal, and that
whenever the sacred tome is read as witnessing the good there is in the
creature, the word "approve" shall appear upon the margin.



CHAPTER XV.

THE BLACK DIPLOMAT.


Alice was persevering in those little attentions to the sick negro that
were operating in a salutary way upon his heart. What power, however
rebellious or unfriendly, could withstand the charm of that fragrant
life?--a life so redundant in acts of charity and benevolence, that
carried its dispensations into the cabins of the poor freedmen to whom
the authorities under reconstruction made so many promises--promises to
the ear to be broken to the hope.

The old negro's sympathies now and then for his master and young
mistress would die down into ashes, and then again, when he looked
toward Ingleside and thought of its defenceless inmates, his feelings
would be grateful and kind.

In all the years that were gone, his old master and mistress had been so
kind to him, in sickness and health; they had clothed and fed him;
without their assistance he would have been so helpless. Indeed, Ned had
never felt the rigors or oppression of slavery in this household or upon
this plantation. Old master's government was patriarchal, and
emancipation had come so inopportunely; somehow it never appealed to the
affections, or the love of the old negroes, but it came upon them as
other great crises have come--with arguments and reinforcements that
shattered every principle of manhood and bestialized their natures. It
came with proclamations against the universally denounced crime of
slavery, and with an energetically centralized power; and the old
negroes, unable to reason intelligently from premises so false and
enticing, forgot their loyalty to their friends and looked to the
carpet-bagger for a new revelation.

The lovely girl was always happy when ministering to the sick, even in
the huts of destitution and squalor. She was happy when she pressed
Uncle Ned's wrinkled brow and felt that the consuming fever had been
driven out of his system by medication and faithful nursing.

When her own heart was burdened by sorrow, she sang out of its fullness
and pathos to the negro, and the tears glided out of his eyes and ran
down into the deep-cut furrows of his black face.

The old negro discovered in the experience of the few eventful years
that there was nothing hopeful or helpful in the pledges or
proclamations of the reconstructionists. The very old negroes were not
counted in the aggregation of their numerical power, or in the sum total
of the freedmen. "Old Glory" never welcomed them with a dip of its proud
crest as they passed in and out of the town in tatters and rags. It
never bade them with its caress to pause within its grateful shadow in
the dog days when they were over wearied with marching and
counter-marching.

The great Commissariat persistently withheld its bounty when there was
no election--no votes to be polled for Laflin and his pampered minions.
These dilapidated creatures were post-prandial guests in the banqueting
halls of the bosses; hounds rather to gnaw the bones that were flung as
offal upon the refuse heaps. They were not the artisans who were toiling
upon the superstructure of the new south; not wanted in cabals,
intrigues, conventions; not the journeymen who where revamping the
political edifice; not mechanics who were furbishing the weapons of
plunder; not trained to the harness as beasts of burden in dragging the
car of reconstruction with its whetted knives over the prostrated
country. Hence it was that gaunt poverty with its steel tined fork was
constantly prodding the old negroes who had turned their backs upon
their masters and whose new masters were dull of hearing, hence it was
that so many who had hungered for the flesh pots were going back to the
leaks and garlic; hence it was that hunger had given such acuteness to
old Ned's sense of smell, that Alice was greeted with an exclamation
brimming over with gratitude.

"I'm so skeert, young missis, dat I haint ergwine to git outen dis house
in a hole munt."

The exclamation provoked a smile from the sweet girl who came laden with
good things for Ned and she replied apologetically,

"I am sorry, uncle Ned, that I couldn't know just what you wanted."

The sick negro shook his head, for his mouth was too full for verbal
explanations, and then bowed his thanks, observing after a moment.

"Clarsy, when I heerd yung missis at de do I node it was Santy Clors,
sho nuff."

"Bress you hart, missis, enny nigger dat wudn't fite twell def fur yu
und ole marser had ort to be hung by de nek twell hes ded."

Ned would have extemporized upon the subject perhaps at greater length;
but for the interruption of a dilapidated negro, dressed in a dingy
threadbare blue uniform; whose white head was covered by a decayed
beaver, from which a dirty red handkerchief hung over his left eye.

The new comer was Joshua; perhaps the first and most patriotic recruit
in the army of the freedmen; among the first to cut asunder the ligature
of slavery.

As the huge Commissariat advertised the fatness of reconstruction, so
Joshua advertised the leanness thereof.

The black diplomat in a tentative way was preparing the colored people
for an event of momentous consequence. His mission to Ned's cabin was
for this purpose.

"Mornin to yu boff," came the crusty greeting.

"Is dat yu, brudder Joshaway?" Clarissa enquired.

"Yes, dis is me."

"Cum in, den," said Clarissa, and Joshua, reeling from old age tottered
in and took a seat with a groan.

"Is dat you, Miss Alice?" he asked looking up and shading his eyes with
a palsied hand and seeing the young lady in the cabin.

"Scuse me, marm, I haint seed yu afore."

"Good morning, Uncle Joshua, I am very glad to see you. You are a
stranger to us and the old home. I should think you would come to see us
now and then, to know how we are getting on. Have you entirely forgotten
your old friends?"

The old negro dropped his head embarrassingly as he replied with
hesitation. "Not eggzackly, mum, but fokeses has dun und got so kurous
now a days dar haint no telling how menny scrapes yu is ergwine to git
kotched in; I'm moest afeered to git outen Hanner's wision, deed I is,
mum."

"You are not a soldier I hope, uncle Joshua? Do you belong to the army,"
asked Alice as she observed the blue uniform that he wore.

"No mum, not pintedly," the negro furtively answered. "Dat is I don't
tote no muskeet--und I got my deesharge from de leftenant--und I haint
got no offis in pertickler, but de cappen lowed dat he mout pint me
corpurul of de gyard at de kumissurry ef I cud hole out."

"Ef I cud hole out" sneeringly repeated Clarissa. "Ugh! Nigh unto er
hunded year ole er holin out; mouter say ef yu cud hole in; jess es
ragged es er sedge hen."

Alice was very much amused at the coarse wit of Clarissa, but it was
important that she should return home and perhaps, too, her presence
might embarrass the interview between the freed slaves, and taking uncle
Joshua's hand in her own she bade him good bye with the observation.

"Remember, old man, that father and I are still your friends; and when
you are in trouble or distress come to us. May God bless you, uncle
Joshua."

"Good by, missis!" exclaimed Joshua, as he wiped his eyes with his coat
sleeve, "May de Lord do de same to yu missis."

After the young lady had retired, Joshua, with some trepidation,
observed:

"Brudder Johnsing, Hanner sont me ober heer to ax yu und sister to de
weddin Saddy nite und to tell sister Johnsing how she mout bake er cake
wid ice on de tip eend of hit, ur she moutent ef she didn't want to."

"Who dat want er cake?" exclaimed Clarissa.

"Yu heerd whot I sed, didn't yu?" Joshua petulantly replied.

"Who dat ergwine to git married Joshua?" she asked.

"Efrum, dats who," replied Joshua.

"My King! dat biggerty nigger ergwine to git married sho nuff?"

"Deed he is, und he is ergwine to marry way up yander outen site
too--ergwine to git er portly white gal wid de moest dimuns und watch
chains und bunnets kivered wid hostrich fedders. When yu sees dat gal
yu'll see er hole steer kaart full of dimuns er shinin ebery which er
way; und yu has to keep yo eyes shot rite tite, don't yu ergwine to git
struck plum bline, same as de possle Peter dun when dat white man was
ergwine up to Jarriko; dat yu will! Is you und sister Jonsin ergwine to
de weddin; und is yu ergwine to bake de cake? Tell me dat fust."

Clarissa deliberately raised herself out of the rickety chair in which
she was sitting, with a grunt, and walked over to Joshua, and lifting
the old beaver from his head, remarked in a provoking way:

"I spishuned dat de boss had dun und crapped yo years wid swaller
forks."

"How much yu dun und got from ole Laffin fur bein his nigger; yu und
Efrum; tell me dat?"

"Swaller forks!" indignantly replied Joshua. "Sich humans as yu is dun
woured up de creeters dat toted de swaller-forks fo de belliun fell.
Swaller-forks!" he again repeated in disgust; and turned in his seat to
look savagely at Clarissa and held his peace.

"You need nt shine dem ole holler eyes at me, Joshaway; yuse ergwine
erbout er hipperty hop from wun house to ernudder wid yo weddin inwites
und I lay a fo pence yu haint got narry tater nur hocake nudder whar yu
stays. I don't look fur nuffin else but er yurthshake to swaller up de
pizened niggers big und little er keepin dis plantashun in er monstrus
flustrashun ebery day und nite de Lord sends. Ergwine to marry er portly
white gal! Great King! Und yu er noratin de news, lookin dis werry minit
lak a po run down gizzard shad wid one foot in de grabe und tuther wun
er slanting innards. Ergwine to de weddin! When yu sees er biggerty
nigger er jinin hissef to er white gal in dis lan, yu ergwine to see
seben moons in de hellyments at wun time."

"Yu and Efrum needn't spishun kase de Soufland is dun und konkered wun
time und flung upon hits back dat yu pizened niggers is gwine to git de
underholt de nex time, ef boff her hands is tied, Dares ole mars Jon's
sord a lyin agen de bofat er natally cryin fur a moufful of yore black
meat same as a strayed gander er squorkin for his shipmates, und it aims
to cut hit off whay hit aint ergwine to heal togedder no mo! und ef yu
don't walk mity perpundikkler, de werry fust time yu cums to yo
membrunce, dat ole crows' nest on de tip eend of yo ole hed is ergwine
to be layin in wun jam of de fence und yo old karkuss in er nudder.
Ergwine to de weddin! Grate Jerusalem!"

Joshua for a moment was completely disarmed by the rapid volleys from
Clarissa's battery, but he was not without resources, even in this
terrific encounter. He fixed his savage glance upon the old negress, as
he asked with due gravity.

"Is yu ergwine to fight for the secesh ef de war do take a fresh rise?"

"Yu heerd what I sed, Joshaway," replied Clarissa with a significant
gesture. "Ef yu don't want Mars Jon's sord er gashing yu into leetle
hunks of horg meat yu got to walk mity perpundikkler.

"Bress God!" exclaimed Joshua as he wiped his face with his dirty
handkerchief, "How kin a humans walk perpundikkler wid free crooks in de
back und de rumatiz in boff shanks?"

"Dat ole sord is ergwine to tak dem dere crooks outen yore back same as
a toof doctor jerkin out dat ole snag of yourn," answered Clarissa.

"To be sho yu haint ergwine agin yo own kuller?" suggested Joshua.

"Is yu fur de Nuniun ur de Secesh, ef de belliun haint squelched ur
nuffin?"

There was a directness about the question that momentarily unnerved
Clarissa but she saw that she was tacitly reinforced by Ned and she
replied with the same exhibition of temper.

"Me und Ned is boff ergwine to fight for ole marser, ef de war haint
swaged und de time we gits froo wid yu, yu's ergwine to immytate dat ole
gyarment, er layin dere in dat pail of poke juice."

"Grate Jarryko!" exclaimed Joshua with vehemence, "dat ar nigger dun und
fotched on ernudder belliun widout ary shutin ion ur muskeet udder.
Don't do hit, chile," he continued patronizingly, "kase ef yu uprares
ernudder insurreckshun fo dis heer wun is dun und ceasded in dis heer po
souf, de dekins in de church is ergwine to fling yer into outer
darkness. Yu er sot back er Sundys in de jam of de mussy seat wid eyes
shot tite lak de slidin elder, er singin 'Kanyun, sweet Kanyun,' und
bress Gawd yu is batin de lams ob de flock wid leetle mouffuls o' hell
farr."

"Ergwine tu de weddin! My Lord!" This was the derisive answer that
Clarissa made to this fanfaronade of old Joshua.

Ned laid upon the bed laughing to himself with his eyes fixed upon the
crude masonry of a dirt-dauber that was preparing to go into winter
quarters just above his head.

"Is yu dun wid speechifyin, sister Johnsin?" asked uncle Joshua as he
again wiped his moist face with his handkerchief. "Ef yu is, I has jes
got wun reckymendashun fur sich ez yu. Pend upon it, sister, ef yu wus
Hanner und Hanner wus yu, I wud play hail-kerlumby-happy-lan on yo ole
bones wid er palin fo brekfus und arter supper too, all de time. Ole
Satan hes dun und stobbed boff yo yeares wid pitch-forks, und de Lawd
nose he is wusser dan de boss, und de pitch-forks is wusser dan de
swaller-forks. Ef dat white gal wants to jine hersef to dat cullud
gemman, who's ergwine to hender? Tell me dat? I haint ergwine to pester
mysef wid no sich low down trash es yu is, und ef yu goes to de weddin
dare haint ergwine to be no weddin gyarment fur yu, und when yu nocks
at de do, brudder Effrum is ergwine to fling yu out into tarnel darkness
whar de whang doodlum hoops und hollers fur hits onliest chile."

"My King," exclaimed Clarissa "whot is dat ole nigger er spashiatin
erbout Ned?"

Ned could not restrain himself, but burst out into a great guffaw.
Joshua angered above measure gathered himself together and walked out of
the cabin with the observation:

"I wants to see wun mo whupping post in de lan fo I dies, und I wants
hits uprared at dis do, und I wants to fling de whoop fur de high
shuruff."

Upon the exit of Joshua Ned began seriously to think of the flagrant
acts of injustice which had more or less warped his nature; and all in
his heedless pursuit of freedom and sovereignty. He saw within his cabin
a perpetual menace to the peace of old master and young mistress. Upon
every visit that Alice made to his lowly home he saw that a grief too
deep to be sounded, bayonetted afresh her poor heart. The armed soldier
who slew her brother and sweetheart wore a blue jacket like the one that
hung in the rack above his bed; how could he be true to his oath with
these menaces flaunting in the face of his young mistress? So with a
huge frown upon his face he said to his wife, "Clarsy, dem ole blu
gyarments und dat ole muskett is jess whot plade de devul twixt me und
ole marser. Mouter node dey wud set ole marser er fire; he er fitin dem
yankys fur fo year in de war und got yung mars Harry kilt, to cum back
home und see dese heer niggers er marchin baccards und furrards all ober
de plantashun wid dem dar blu jackets jess lak de yankys wo in de war,
und er beatin drums dat sounds to ole marsa same as er berryin. Yu jess
take dem ole gyarments outen dis house und gib to Ellik, und tell him to
gib em to de boss leftenent, und tell him dat corpul Jonsin has sined
his persish in de milintery cumpny, und dat he aint ergwine to war no
mo."

"Dats whot you orter dun und dun fo yu jined," answered Clarissa
deprecatingly; "jess gon und fotched all dis trubble on de lan fur
nuffin. Mouter node ole marser was ergwine to raise er harrykane when he
seed de cussed niggers wid dere muskeets er marchin up und down de
plantashun lak er passel of squorking gooses. I got wexed mysef und I
haint fit in no war nudder. Dars dat po gal er cryin her eyeballs out,
und her po lovyer er lying ober yander under de cold clods of Furginny.
I don't specks nuffin else but dat ole Laflin ergwine to get all de
niggers in de New United States massacreed. Needn't pin dere fafe to
whippin de Souf ef she is flung upon her back.

"Yander cums Ellik now lak a lunytik wid fedders nuff on de tip eend of
his hat to stuff a fedder bed, wid his neck as stiff es er poker und his
eyes same es de sun in de clipse er sot in de sky."

"Halt! Serlute!" came a self addressed command from the negro sergeant.

"Aha! missus Jonsin, how is yo ladyship dis a. m.?" he asked in the
stern voice of an officer.

"I haint got no ladyship; dats whot I haint got, nur I haint ergwine to
say amen to no sich dooins nudder," replied Clarissa poutingly.

"Hi!" ejaculated the black sergeant; "why, missus Jonsin," he continued
"De las time I dun yu de onner to wisit yu, yu was spashiatin erbout de
fousend doller peanny corpul Jonsin was agwine to purchis fur yu, und
how yu was ergwine to play de hopperattiks fur yo frens.

"Ugh!" grunted Clarissa scornfully, "I plays de hopperattiks now ebery
day, twell my fingurs is clean wo' out on de wash bode, er slavin fur er
no count miluntary nigger jes lak yu."

"Nigger!" exclaimed the sergeant derisively, "Dere is no niggers in dis
'lan ob de free und de home ob de brave.' We is sufferens und kings, und
our wifes und dorters is queens; und yu holes de specter in yo hans ef
yu node it."

Clarissa, greatly irritated at the saucy negro, placed her arms akimbo,
and fixing her gaze upon him, exclaimed with wrath,

"Yu go erway frum here, Ellik. I natally spises yu enny how, yu hateful
creetur. I haint er puttin my mouf on yu, nigger, but fo' dis bressed
year runs out, yu is ergwine ter be er spexter, und de buzzards is
ergwine ter be er huvverin erroun yer ole bones; jess see ef day don't.
Ole Mars Jon aint ergwine ter stan no mo'. Yu und Efrum er trapesin
backards und farrards ober dis plantashun wid a hep, hep, hep, same as
Captin Grant ur Ginurl Linkum. Pend upon it, nigger, dem white fokeses
in de town fools yu to def yit."

"Yu sprises me, missus Jonsin," responded the negro with assumed
dignity. "I spishioned yu wus a patrot."

"No I haint, nudder, und I haint ergine tu be no patrot; but I kin tell
yu whot yu is ergwine ter be fo' dis year runs out--yu is ergwine ter be
er pennytenshur conwick, er yu is ergwine ter be histed twixt de hebbens
und de yurth on de gallus. Ef yu takes my wice yu'll burn up dem ole
sojer gyarments und tell ole Mars Jon yu is dun und cum back to stay.
Dat is de moest senserbulest fing you can doo; dats whot me und Ned dun
und dun und now ole mars Jon is es happy es a cockerroche in er borrul
of flour."

The sergeant waltzed up to Clarissa, and taking her with some violence
by the arm sang in a harsh unmusical voice:

    "Oh: say kin yu see by the dorhns early lite?"
when a heavy back banded blow sent the sergeant bowling, as Clarissa
shouted in her anger.

"Yaas, I sees de dorn und yu sees de stors."

"Ah!" he exclaimed "I perseeves yu is not er patrot," and he commanded
"Attenshun! eyes to de front! forrard march!" and marched away as he
whistled

    "De jay bird died wid de hooping coff,
    Und de sparrer died wid de kollery."

Clarissa made one observation as the negro marched off, "Yu will be ded,
sted of de sparrer und de jay bird."

What had become of the warning paragraph in the reconstruction calendar?
The three blood red stars that punctuated the enigmatical judgment,
"sixty days within which to prove your loyalty." Powers that be, at
whose shrine shall the persecuted man make the act of apotheosis? Shall
it be at the altar of Laflin, the freedman's deity? Shall it be in the
presence of the cringing minions who will mock at his calamity and laugh
when his fear cometh?

An arctic night has dropped down upon the south; and in our dense
blindness we know not in what direction lies the Serbonian bog. We once
erected upon this soil a mighty temple which wisdom and virtue
consecrated to patriotism. We laid the edifice upon foundations of
concession and compromise; and we were vain enough to believe that it
would stand forever; but not so. So the dykes of Holland; the mountains
of Switzerland, and the surrounding Sea of Venice were proclaimed as
everlasting pledges for the preservation of patriotism, but intestine
struggles engendered those revolutionary factions which invited the
attack of a despotism and secured its victory. So reasoned with himself
this veteran of the civil war, and the father of a loyal-hearted
daughter, this slave of a power whose minions were drunken with its
excess.



CHAPTER XVI.

UNDER THE HAMMER.


As Colonel Seymour was passing a group of negroes in the court-yard this
irritating remark from one of them arrested his attention. "Dat dar
secesh's home is agwine to be sold at auction ter day under a margige,
und de boss is ergwine ter buy hit;" and very soon thereafter a
half-grown negro boy ringing a huge bell, and bearing aloft a placard as
imperiously as a Roman lictor bore the axe and fasces, halted before
him, and displayed offensively the following advertisement. "By virtue
of a certain deed of mortgage executed by John W. Seymour and wife Alice
to James W. Bowden, and duly recorded in the proper office of the ----
county, and value duly assigned to me, I shall sell for cash on
Saturday, the 6th day of November, 186-- the lands and premises
described in said mortgage deed, and known and designated as Ingleside,
containing twenty-five hundred acres," Abram Laflin, assignee. Thus ran
the publication that may possibly furnish a key to the mystic meaning of
the three blood-red stars under the written order. "Sixty days in which
to prove your loyalty." To-day, and the patrimonial estate of Ingleside
with all but its cherished memories, will pass by right of purchase into
the hands of the carpet baggers and negroes; to-day, and the axe of the
barbarian will be laid at the roots of the ancestral oaks; to-day, and
the grained corridors will echo to ribaldry and wassail; to-day, and the
war scathed veteran and his beautiful daughter, like the pariahs of
Hindoostan, shelterless vagrants, will beg their bread and home. "If an
uninterpretable destiny; if an inscrutable providence so orders and
decrees, that I shall surrender this home, yet as token of the love I
bear this wretched country, I will abide by her; I will cherish her as
my wife, my mother, my child; I will defend her with my sword, my
speech, my life, and I will be to my oppressed countrymen, their friend,
their champion and their brother. I abhor these natural sons of Belial
who are whetting the knife that will drink their blood;" so exclaimed
the old soldier without a blemish upon his name. So thought the
fire-tried christian who was appealing to the ultimate tribunal for
right; so thought the man who was harrassed by every resource of
vengeance, as he turned his rigid face from the jeering crowd, the
assassins of his peace.

The old man with fading memory tried in vain to recollect the
transactions he had had with James W. Bowden, to whom he once owed
twenty-five thousand dollars, and to whom he had conveyed in trusts the
valuable estate of Ingleside. He asked appealingly of his daughter "Have
you no knowledge of these affairs that will aid me in this extremity."

"My dear father," she answered reflectively, "I am sure the debt has
been paid. Indeed I heard you say that you paid it in gold."

"But where are my papers?" he asked; "Scattered to the winds by the
school mistress and her negro pupils. Shall I ever be able to exhibit
any proof of its payment? Can you not assist me? Perhaps we may find
somewhere the cancelled note."

Bowden was dead and a profligate son alone survived.

There were a hundred negroes who thronged the negro auctioneer.

"What is I bid fur dis plantashun?" "Fifteen thousand dollars."

"Hold!" interrupted Colonel Seymour now advancing. "I forbid the sale of
this land or any part of it, the debt is paid."

"Ha, Ha. Ha," jeered the negroes, "dat dar secesh's mind is a puryfied
wanderin," shouted a chorus of voices. "Cry de bid Mr. auctioneer,"
shouted the negro Wiggins. "Ef dat ar white man mak eny mo sturbance,
we's agwine ter slap him in de jail forthwid. I warrantees de title fer
de boss." "Twenty thousand----twenty-five thousand----once, twice,
free, times dun und gone to Mr. Laflin."

The whole affair seemed an illusion, an unnatural evaporation of land
and houses--the Ingleside plantation dissipated into thin vapor like the
genii of the sealed casket in the Arabian Nights.

"Great God," exclaimed the broken hearted old man, "and Laflin the
wretch! Laflin the monster standing there in dumb show, and nodding his
head in savage and pantomimic gravity when the hammer fell."

The old Colonel and his daughter rode back to their home perhaps for the
last time. One of the blood-red stars had been blotted out of the
tyrants' calendar. Two more like the painted dolphins in the circus at
Antioch remained to be taken down, one by one. The search for the
missing document was renewed when they reached home, but unavailingly.
Alice however discovered in an old ash barrel in a neatly folded
package, two papers signed by Abram Laflin to her father; one a note for
five thousand dollars, the other a mortgage securing the payment of the
note. No trace however, of the twenty-five thousand dollar mortgage.
Alice carried the Laflin note to her father whose mind for a moment
appeared a complete blank; he then remembered the transaction
circumstantially.

"Yes, Yes," he exclaimed reminiscently; "the note was executed to me as
a fee, when he was indicted and acquitted for murder in 1866. Now he may
let slip the dogs of war, and 'damned be he who first cries hold!
Enough!'"

It was painful to observe that Mr. Seymour had become so injuriously
affected by the exciting events transpiring from day to day, that his
mind upon matters of business was almost inert. Certainly his memory was
fast failing; a giving away of the mental poise; and in consequence
thereof, poor Alice was picking up here and there great bits of trouble,
with as much freedom as the washwoman gathers sticks for her fire.
"Tomorrow she exclaimed will be the Sabbath. Blessed day will it bring
surcease from sorrow, a moment's respite from the maelstrom of trouble?"
she asked, "I can only hope. I feel sometimes like crying aloud, 'What
shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue'!"

When the morning broke tranquilly upon the old home, the little birds
were caroling in the trees, and the poor girl felt that her care worn
spirit should rest this holy Sabbath day. After the morning meal, her
father perturbed and dejected walked along the river's bank, and she
retired to the parlor where she sang and played. In the evening old Ned
came to express again his sense of gratitude to his young mistress and
his old master, and observed among other things, remorsefully, how
foolish he had been to take up with the vagaries of the negroes, who
were fomenting so much trouble. "And mars John," he continued, "I seed
where I was agwine rong, und I knowed yu wud fetch me outen de miry
clay. Times is er gitten so mistrustful dat I cum ter ax yu und yung
missis mouten me und Clarissa stay wid yu in de grate house? Whar we kin
run on urrans fo yu nite und day."

Old Ned like the hunted rabbit had been smoked out of his hollow.
Reconstruction with its insipid pageants had come: It had emptied its
cornucopia in the old commissariat; not a dust of flour, nor a fluid
dram of molasses, nor a pound of bacon had it put into the jug or sack
of the aged and the poor; and the stars and stripes waved as proudly
from its mast head as if there were no vacant stomachs, no hungry
freedmen in all the South. Colonel Seymour was inexpressibly glad to see
the change that had come over the spirit of the old slave. He had been
employed in many situations and he was faithful in all. He had been his
carriage driver; he had packed old missis trunks when she went to the
seaside or the springs in the happy old days; and Ned remembered how
contented he was, when an imaginary line separated peace from discord,
plenty from squalor. He had seen old missis put away in the ground, and
with him were feelings that would not be stifled that were now recasting
his nature, however sensual and hardened it had become by contact with
vicious companions. When the clouds of war lowered angrily Ned's faith
in old missis grew stronger and stronger, and like a watch dog always on
duty, so Ned was always at his post; to obey every command, to
anticipate every wish. It was Ned who held ajar the old plantation gate,
that day the young cavalier rode into the deepening shadows on his way
to Manassas, and with hat in hand bade him good-bye with the entreaty,
"Be shore und cum back nex Saddy to yo po mammy. I'll be rite heer to
open de gate." It was Ned who reverently placed the spray of the little
immortelle upon the grave of Mars Harry when the procession had turned
their faces homeward. It was Ned who carried "old Missis" in his arms
back to the carriage when she swooned at the grave, and now he had come
back like the prodigal confessing his sins.

"If Gord spares me ter outlive ole marser, I'm agwine ter put him erway
lak ole missis and yung mars Harry, und strow his grave wid hiasents und
lillys ob de valley. I haint agwine ter put no mo pendence in de carpet
baggers, dey will gouge de eyeballs outen yo hed, und I'm agwine ter
twist my eyes clean erround de tother side when I passes de ole
kommissery. 'Ole glory' is jess flirting up its skerts, und larfing when
poor ole niggers is agwine erlong de rode, jess es scornful es er
flop-eared mule when he pokes yu under de jaw wid his hind foot, widout
ary warnin. I wishes dat de bosum of struction wud slam de ole
kommissery clean clar to de yurth, dat I does."

"You seem to be very thoroughly disgusted with the situation Ned?"
observed the Colonel.

"I is mars John, deed I is. Ef a pusson fools yu won time, or maybe two
times, er yu mout say free time, you mout try him agin, but ef he fools
yu all de time ole Marser, what is yu agwine to do den, mout as well be
flinging de hook in de crick for Joshaway's munny, as agwine to dat ole
kommissery wid yo happysack speckin arry moufful ob wittles."

"Is that the experience of all the colored people?" the Colonel
inquired.

"No sar, no sar," Ned replied with feeling. "Dem dat carries woters to
de conwenshun, und drinks de bosses sperits dey gits a leetle now und
den, but tother wuns sucks de fingers in misury all de time, specktin,
un gittin disappinted."

"By the way tell me something about Ephraim, how is he getting on,"
asked the Colonel.

"Why bress your soul mars John he is clean outen site; er totin great
big yaller upper lips on his sholders, und er sword dat runs on a wheel
on de groun, und fedders on his hat same as a pee-fowell. He is dun und
growd outen my membrance. Dey got norated eroun dat he is agwine ter
marry a white gal in de town, und Joshaway und Hannah has dun and got er
inwite to de weddin."

"And Aleck, what is he doing?" asked the Colonel.

"Ugh, Ugh," exclaimed Ned, "now yu obersizes my kalkilashuns, mars John.
He's wusser den Efrum, er uprarin fine housen all ober dis plantashun."

"The savage?" muttered the enraged man. "All Laflin's doings I suppose.
Sixty days within which to prove your loyalty," he muttered. "The black
flag of the buccaneers of reconstruction marked not with death's heads
but by red stars!" A score of carpenters were plying their vocation on
the plantation. A confusion of sounds, such as sawing and hammering,
drowned the melody of the singing birds, and Aleck like the boldest of
pirates, was caracoling here and there giving orders; and fashionably
dressed negro women strolled offensively and imperiously over the
grounds.

"Mars Jon," exclaimed Ned, "I dun and tole yu so; now yu sees fo yosef."

Before the deed of purchase was recorded, the devilish freedmen were
enforcing their claim to the plantation by visible, notorious and
violent occupation. The colonel and Alice were sitting in the verandah
one beautiful starlit night; there was scarcely the rustle of a leaf and
the full-orbed moon was shining with a radiant splendour. Of course
there was but one event to think about. Was it not a grief that lay like
a dead bulk upon the heart, all the day and all the night; and peopled
their dreams with negroes and ogres too?

"Thank God," exclaimed Alice "mother is out of it all. They were but
heaping the fagots around the furnace when she so wearied went home to
her eternal rest. Now the fires are all consuming."

"My daughter," said Colonel Seymour dejectedly after awhile, "I will go
to my grave with the knowledge that the Bowden debt has been paid; and
not one cent do I owe upon it. It is possible I may err, but as God is
my judge, this great loss has come upon me, through the devilish
machinations of Laflin, in the employment of the school-mistress, to
occupy the office in which he knew my valuable papers were deposited. An
ingeniously devised plot doubtlessly, but one distressingly successful."

"Mars Jon," interrupted Clarissa quite seriously, "Haint yu neber foun
dem papers yit, yu was er sarchin fur?"

"No indeed, and I do not believe I shall ever find them."

"Grate King! Ole marser I specks dem dere pizen niggers shoolickin
eround de offis dun und stroyed em outen puryfied cussedness."

"Quite likely," rejoined the Colonel.

"Lemme studdy er minit," said Clarissa. "Pears lak Ned gin me sum papers
to stow erway in my ole blue chiss. Wud yu kno hit ef you wast to see
hit mars Jon? Don't speck it is wurf nuffin do. Ned he gin hit to me way
back yander, I dismember how long ergo, und he tole me to put it in de
blu chiss, twell he ax for hit. Don't speck hit is ergwine to do mars
Jon no good do, but hit haint ergwine to pizen noboddy ef hit don't doo
no good. I'm ergwine to fetch it rite now."

The old gentleman paid but little attention to the negro until he saw
her returning with uplifted hand like a stalking spectre.

"Now mars Jon," she cried, out of breath, "yu read dat paper, und cide
fo yoself."

As soon as the old man took the paper in his hand, he forgot his gouty
joints, and his white hairs; he forgot who he was or where he was and
danced a succession of Scottish reels with old Clarissa, as an unwilling
partner.

"Why father!" cried Alice in great fright, "Clarissa! Clarissa! What is
the matter with my dear father?"

"Oh! Oh! Oh! The mortgage and the note! The mortgage and the note!"
wildly screamed her father. "Thank God! Thank God!"

Clarissa, rubbing her head with both hands where it had struck a pillar
in the wild whirl of the dance, emotionally exclaimed, "Bress de Lord;
mars Jon has yu dun und gon plum crazy? I neber seed sich shines fo in
all my born days; jambye busted dis ole hed wide open ergin dat
postess."

"Clarissa," excitedly exclaimed the Colonel, "you shall have forty acres
and a mule too."

"Grate Jurusulum! Mars Jon, whot I want wid dat lan? Und I dun got wun
mule, und de Lord knose he tarrifies de life outen me."

"Alice," remarked her father, still excited, "I know all about the
matter now. Old Mr. Bowden was very ill when I paid the debt, but feebly
raised himself in bed and marked upon the face of the note, 'Paid in
full.' Here it is," said the Colonel, "and he surrendered the note and
mortgage in the presence of his worthless son, and promised that he
would cancel the record; but the poor fellow died. His son witnessed the
settlement. I had no doubt that this villainous son, knowing that his
father had died before cancelling the mortgage, and believing that in
the terrible condition of the country I could not prove the payment of
the debt, did unlawfully, maliciously and feloniously conspire, combine
and confederate with the wretch Laflin to defraud me of my property.
Thank God the beasts have been hounded to their lair. I remember that
upon coming out of the town my hands were filled with letters and
papers, and in getting into my carriage this particular package dropped
into the road and I ordered Ned to pick it up, and I doubt not that
while I was busy reading Ned did not care to interrupt me, and put it
into his pocket, and thinking it of no value, forgot to give it to me. I
feel now like falling down upon my knees and thanking the great God of
heaven and earth for this, His especial providence and mercy."

It is said that in one of the beautiful isles in the southern
Pacific--the land of the mango and pineapple, where the air is
perpetually perfumed by the aroma of flowers; where the birds of every
plume and every voice, like animated pictures in gold and emerald and
carmine, flit in and out of whispering branches; where pellucid waters
ripple along, their voices keyed to song and laughter--that the people
are bestial and barbaric. They distil from a gum that exudes from one of
their umbrella-top trees an intoxicant that bestializes the man, woman
and child who drinks it, and he or she will run a-muck, ferocious in
temper, devilish in spirit, and betraying a morbid desire to destroy
whoever or whatever they may encounter. Here in these full grown years
of nineteenth-century civilization, amid Christian churches and
ministers; amid ten thousand object lessons suggesting the vanity of
human pursuits originating in wrong; the eternity of God's punishments;
the certainty and swiftness of His retributions--the black, defiled,
distorted genius of reconstruction was running a-muck, drinking from a
brazen chalice the sweetened liquor.



CHAPTER XVII.

A HOUSE WARMING.


A skilled artisan in the employment of the local authorities had been
for many days surveying and diagramming, until a certain area of the old
plantation remote from the mansion was arranged in geometrical figures,
scientifically corespondent to each other, and there were curves and
angles artistically precise. If the reader will place before him a
miniature flag of the Turkish empire, the alignment of the tenements of
the negroes will be seen, the concave line of the crescent indicating
the position of the modest little houses of the freedmen, and the star
the position of the stately mansion of Mr. Alexander Wiggins, a former
slave of Colonel Seymour.

Up to the time of this unblushing trespass upon the private domain of
Colonel Seymour, and indeed afterwards, the negroes, like rodents, had
burrowed in colonies in old dank cellars and where ever else they could
find rest and shelter. This unhappy condition, post-dating the surrender
at Appomattox, had a demoralizing effect upon them. They became
spiritless and languid, or else vicious and vindictive. They felt that
freedom was an illusion, an ignis fatuus that they had been recklessly
pursuing, that lured them further into an impenetrable morass. In the
excited state of their ignorant minds they had been indulging feverish
and extravagant projects; chimerical notions of wealth and
aggrandizement, and again like inert bodies they would drop lifelessly
into the very depths of despair. It is impossible just now for the most
active imagination to conceive a condition of human society more
wretched. The sympathies of the old masters were moved; their humanity
shocked; their very hearts grieved at the injustice done under the
direction of the freedman's bureau in this violent and forced state of
things.

"An outrage," exclaimed the Colonel, "long matured, maliciously devised,
and boldly perpetrated. Fanatics! you have emancipated by fraud and
violence the slaves you affect to pity; you have doomed them to beggary,
outlawry, prostitution and crime! You have filled them with discontent
and made them to feel a chain they never felt before, and turned against
them the care and consideration of their own masters, while your red
squadrons of fanaticism are careering wildly through our plantations, so
lately scourged by the hurricane of war; you the minions of a power
confessedly omnipotent. Will you, too, destroy the Doric edifice of our
morals, the Corinthian porticoes of our religion, stifle the
denationalizing stream until it swells in great tides of blood? When the
incendiary is lightning his torch, and the vultures are looking on with
felon eyes, may the holy memories of the past give you pause."

Thus spoke the old man in the eloquence of high-wrought feeling, for his
country; for the poor negroes who, like bats and owls, were peopling
dens and holes of darkness in this "land of the free and home of the
brave."

On the night of the 15th of September the elegant mansion of Mr.
Wiggins, the pampered slave of Laflin, lay smiling and smirking in
beautiful frescoes from turret to foundation stone; astral lamps hung in
rich festoons, shimmered from dome and window and verandah, lighting up
the broad pebbly avenues that rayed out from the central vestibule.

It was a night of surprises, of merriment, of revelry, of rivalries;
when the bat and owl came out of their hollow, the cat out of its lair,
the negro out of his cabin, the ku-klux out of his skin. It was a night
that punctuated reconstruction with a red-hot iron, and dropped its dead
ashes upon a score of hearth-stones. It was a night that stealthily
removed the fifth wheel from the chariot of the bosses and dropped its
inert body into the road.

Ah! there were surprises! Corporal Ephraim Gillum was to take unto
himself a wife, and Priscilla Pinxly, a spinster, was to take unto
herself husband. No doleful Jeremiads in this carnival; no forbidding of
banns; no scandal on religion; no trespass on the law. "Ef dat ar white
gal is a mine ter jine hersef ter dat cullud gemman, who's ergwine ter
hender?"

There were ferns and smilax, hollies and magnolias; there was an altar
embellished with carnations, red and white; who shall say it was
profaned by this ceremonial? There were heavily groined parlors reposing
in velvety carpets, bric-a-brac and rugs. Here were the minions of
reconstruction in red, white and blue, the favorites of this
institutional era; here were the animated beauties of the town
bedizened, bejeweled and beflowered; here was the pompous celebrant in
patent-leather slippers and dress coat, Elder Tuttle, paying court to
the ladies.

Here was the bride, a very spare lady in the forties, with fishy eyes
and gold spectacles. Here was the groom, as black as an antarctic
midnight, reposing uncomfortably in a celluloid collar that cut a
transverse line through both cheeks, dressed in blue uniform with yellow
epaulets upon his shoulders as large as sunflowers; here were the bats
and owls, human earth burrowers, who were not wanted at the wedding
supper, peeping slyly in the windows; here was Mrs. Parthenia Wiggins
in silks and satins, and her lord in satins and silks; here was Joshua
an octogenarian in regimentals, looking like a revolutionary drum major
in masquerade, greeting the happy hostess with the exclamation:--"Pend
pon it, your ladyship, I smelt dat barbeku clean clar to my house fore
it was kilt," pausing now and then in his circuit around the supper
table, to cut "de pigon whing;" here was old Hannah, in hoops and
frills, "er following Joshua, frustated lak, kase some gal or udder mout
run erway wid him unbeknownist to her;" here was old Ned "er settin in
der chimney corner all by his lone lorn sef;" and then here was a
skeleton at the feast, a spectre at the banquet, who greeted neither
host, groom or bride----a living knight of the "White Camelia." Then
there was a pause; then there was a proclamation by the host: "All hands
eround fur de fust kertillien," and there was a voluntary shuffling of
slippered, sandalled and booted feet. Then the music struck up and all
went merry as a marriage bell. Castanets and cymbals, cornets and
trombones, distributed huge chunks of melody, chopped off the "Star
Spangled Banner," "Rally around the flag boys," "The Girl I left behind
me," and "Brudder Ephrum got de coon and gone on."

As the dance went on and on in the great hall the Kuklux slipped out of
the shadows and into the parlor and concealed himself behind the
embowered altar. Ned, at his suggestion, stole into the dining room, and
taking the cover off of the basted pig, brought it out and gave it to
the hideous creature, and still the dance went on. With uplifted hand
Mr. Wiggins cried "Tention ladies und gemman's. All you who's inwited to
the weddin follow me to the parlor," and the band struck up "Johnny get
your gun." "Come parson, you shassay in fust," and the parson struck
out in an Irish reel, and the crowd followed like flotsam upon a current
of water, tossing here and there, up and down, automatically, to the
music.

"Now breddin und sistern," exclaimed the parson in a nasal sing-song,
"range erlong side de haltar whilst I spaciate upon dis weddin. Now den,
fustly und foremustly, who gin dis bride away?"

"I does" replied Mr. Wiggins, pompously stepping to the front.

"Well, den, I'll persede wid de sallymony. Fustly und foremostly, I'm
agwine in my sebenty seben year, please God I lives to see de harvest
moon, und I has been a exhauster, und locus preacher, und surkus rider,
und slidin elder fust und last, und I've jined black ones und yallow
ones und yallow ones und black ones, und now I'm agwine ter jine a white
und black one togedder in de yoke of bondage, und in the bonds of
purgertory, ef I haint upset fore I gits froo by de kommisserys ob de
debbil."

"Land sakes alive!" ejaculated Joshua, as he brought his hollow jaws
together with a resounding crash, "Don't talk about de kommissery,
parson; I'm hungry rite now."

"Now den, ef der is any pusson or debbil, here or here erbout, who is
agwine to nullify dis weddin, I commands dem ter hold dere peace foreber
mo."

Instantly a hooded figure of gigantic stature, clad in a gown of
dragons' tongues, with small red lanterns burning in the socket of his
eyes, arose behind the parson. The audience, first paralyzed with fear,
now gave shriek after shriek which filled the house, as he gave an
unearthly yell and with the basted pig cudgelled the black parson over
the head as he leaped with a frantic cry into the bosom of the
spectacled bride, and then through glass and shutter out of the window.

"Kuklux! Kuklux!" shrieked the terrified negroes, as in desperation they
fled out of the house.

Joshua, in his frantic efforts to escape, ran his head against a heated
stove and red hot coals of fire were scattered over rug, carpet and
floor. As the last society lady somersaulted out of the window, great
tongues of fire were lapping up frieze and cornice, and facade, and the
cresent and star disappeared in a ghastly cincture of fire.

As Jake the Kuklux was passing near the cabin of Joshua the next
morning, on his way to the dark recesses of the swamp, he heard groans
and incoherent exclamations that caused him to knock at the door and ask
what was the matter. No answer came, but the groans were louder and more
frequent. He opened the door and entered. Joshua was lying on the bed
swathed in red flannel and Hannah, with a bandanna tied around her head,
was tossing to and fro in an old rickety chair, holding her jaw in both
hands.

"Hello!" exclaimed the Kuklux, "What ails you folkses."

"Who dat a woicing dat lamentashun?" cried Joshua. "Go lang away wid yu
white man, I aint agwine to be pestered," he continued.

"Hi there Aunt Hannah, what ails you?"

"Oh my Lord!" exclaimed Hannah, amid her groans. "Go lang way frum heer
I haint agwine to put mysef on ekality wid no low down white trash lak
you is." And Hannah kept sea-sawing in the rickety chair. Jake took a
slouching stride toward the fire-place and making the letter V with his
fingers spat in the fire and accidentally overturned a stew pan in which
two or three small catfish were cooking.

"Fo my King! white man," exclaimed Hannah wrathfully, "What hes yu gon
und dun now? I wishes yu would stay outen dis house. Now whar is
Joshaway agwine to git his supper er me udder?"

This lamentation caused Joshua to unswathe the bandage about his eyes
and he groaned louder and longer. "Dem was de onliest mouffel ob wittles
in dis house, und now me und Hannah hes got ter suck de fingers twell de
good Lord send us mo," he exclaimed mournfully.

"You lay dar spectin de Lord to send you mo, und you will be stark naked
as a picked ginny hen," said Hannah.

Jake squinted his right eye as he drawled out:

"You knows Aunt Hannah dat de Lord does feed his lambs, don't you."

"How cum Joshaway enny of his lambs? Mouter say he is de debbils old
billy gote," answered Hannah savagely.

"Kase I is one of his lambs," said Joshua. "How cums I goes to Filadelfy
meeting-house ebery fourth Sunday, und how cums I courages de moners,
und how cums I goes to de baptizin und totes de passons gown? Tell me
dat."

"Ugh! Ugh!" grunted Hannah; "I nebber seed de lams cutting up sich
shines in a grate house lak yu dun las nite; yu went to de weddin,
didn't yu Joshaway? Und yu seed de kommissery ob de debbil; did yu see
de Lord's lambs dare? und yu set yo mouf for de barbeku, didn't yu, und
yu seed a harrykane too, didn't yu?"

"Oh, yu go erlong way frum here," said Joshua, "I natally spises dese
heer biggity niggers dat is tarnally butting up agen de good Lord's
jedgements. You is fell frum grace, dat's what yu done," replied Joshua
deprecatingly.

"Is?" ejaculated Hannah. "Und yu fell frum something last nite. What was
dat?"

"Now dat dere tantalizing nigger thinks I fell outen de window, but I
clumb down de jice, dat is what I dun," angrily replied the old negro.

"When you seed de bride und de passon und de tother lams lak yu,
Joshaway? tell me dat!" continued old Hannah provokingly.

"Nuff sed Hannah, yu dun und sot my po hed er akin wusser. You is de
debbils own billy gote not me."

Reaching down into his greasy haversack the Kuklux brought out a great
chunk of barbecue, and flourished it around old Joshua's head like a
musician's baton.

"Dar now Hannah, what I tole yu, you sees whar my fafe is, don't yu?"
said Joshua smiling. "Don't de Scriptur sez how dat ef yu hes fafe, ef
yu hes fafe," he repeated with emphasis, "you can tote away mountains,
tell me dat?"

"It mout," answered Hannah quizzically, "und den agin it mout'nt. Do hit
say anyfing erbout barbyku?" continued Hannah, "Tell me dat."

"Oh, go long, nigger," tartly answered Joshua; "I haint ergwine ter
argify de question no mo wid a debilish nigger dat actally mistrusts de
bible; yu is dun und sot in yo ways, und all Filadelfy church aint
ergwine ter save yu, nudder."

"Not ef it is ergwine ter preach dat dar kind ob fafe. I wudn't put no
pendence in de slidin elder ef he was to say pine plank dat dat dar
barbyku is in de bible."

"Don't de scriptur say how dat a passel ob horgs broke er loose outen de
gap und run down er hill und choked up de sea? Tell me dat? Und what
does yu make barbeku outen? Catfishes I spose!" asked Joshua
contemptuously.

Hannah turned her back upon the old negro with the observation, "You is
er black satan kotin de scriptur."

And all the time the musician's baton was marking curves around old
Joshua's head, and Joshua's hollow eyes, as if under the spell of a
mesmerist, were moving mechanically right and left, left and right,
while his great mouth was yawning like a cavern in a red marl pit.

"Boss," he exclaimed, "ef yu eber specks tu giv me ary mouful ob dat ar
barbyku, fur de Lawd's sake drap hit rite inter dis heer mouf," and he
brought his old jaws together with a resounding crash, like an alligator
biting at a leaping frog.

The ku-klux, without further teasing, gave the big chunk of meat to
Joshua, who devoured it like a starved dog.

"Haint yu ergwine ter give me nun?" asked Hannah.

Joshua slowly replied between bites,

"Yu is got er gripin misery now, Hanner, und ef yu wuz ter your dis
peppery stuff und tuck wid a gripin pain, I'd neber hear de eend ob it.
De nex time I'm ergwine ter give yu a grate big hunk, perwidin yu haint
got no gripin misery ur nuffin," he continued as he gnawed the last
piece of gristle from the bone.

"Boss," he observed, as he wiped his capacious mouth, "ef I hadn't bin
ticed erway by dat nigger sea-sawin ober dar, I wudn't er bin in dis
heer fixment. De women fokeses fotched de debil in dis heer wurld, und
bress de Lawd when dey is ceasded dey is ergwine ter take him erlong wid
dem. Does yer see how slak-sided I'se got? Look at dese ole holler eyes;
yu kin jamby play marbles in dem. I'm ergwine rite strate back ter ole
marser, lak dat progigle man in de scriptur, und I'm ergwine ter tell
him he mout hab my freedom. I'd ruther hab de tarrifyin fever dan be a
franksized woter. I wishes ole Laflin had er died fo' he wuz born,
upsottin de niggers, und dey ergwine erbout lak ragged ruffins, wid
nuffin ter do but beatin drums und wotin yaller tickets. Dar aint narry
grane o' rest nite nor day. Peers lak Hanner she gits sick de wery
wustest time in de wurld, und when she aint ailin she's tarnally moufin
erbout no meal in de gum und no catfish es in de stew-pan. De Lawd knows
dis ole stractified nigger hes sucked misery long ernuff. I haint neber
node ole marser ter turn his back on nobody, und es fur Miss Alice, her
purty white hans is wide open all de time, und she do say 'Uncle
Joshaway' de hebenliest I eber seed."

With these heartfelt expressions the old negro maintained a dead
silence, and Hannah, like the Temanite of old, essayed to answer,

"Yu needn't blame it all on me, dat yu needn't. Enybody er seein yu er
wourin up dat grate big hunk o' meat mout hab node yu wuz er horgish
nigger, und hit maks no diffunce who parishes so yo stumick is full. Er
lyin dar now er pickin yo ole snags und er hikkerpen es full es er dorg
tick, und me er settin here er fairly rackin wid mizry."

"Hush Hannah," interrupted Joshua, "nuff is nuff, ef yu had er wourd dat
barbyku und tuck defly sick, dar wudn't been no sleep in dis house dis
nite. 'Twant kase I hankered fo dat leetle grain ob fresh meat dat I
didn't wide wid yu, twas kase I knowd it was gwine gin yo stummick."

"Bress God," answered Hannah, "you's er powerful doctor, er puttin yo
mouf on sick folkses dat is peert und harty," and Hannah began
sea-sawing again.



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE WRIT OF EJECTMENT.


Shortly after the events narrated in the last chapter, the announcement
was made by Clarissa that a white man, "und dat biggety nigger Ellic,
was at de do to see ole marser." The interview occurred on the verandah.

Abram Laflin, the carpet-bagger, introduced the subject as follows:

"I observed" said he, "in passing the court house on yesterday, that you
had advertised my home to be sold to pay a debt of five thousand dollars
due you. Will you be kind enough to make the calculation and inform me
what is due you, principal and interest?"

"Certainly I will, with great pleasure," replied the Colonel. "Here is
the account accurately computed."

"Make your calculations, Mr. Wiggins, and see if the gentleman is
correct," he said to the negro.

Mr. Wiggins adjusted his gold rimmed eyeglasses, fingered a moment the
gold chain upon his immaculate shirt bosom, scratched his head a time or
two with the point of his gold pencil and passed the statement to his
lord and master.

"Ah, ha," exclaimed the carpet-bagger, "Four thousand three hundred and
fifty-seven dollars and thirty-three and one-third cents, and not five
thousand dollars as you have it, Mr. Seymour."

"Ah, very well" replied Mr. Seymour "You may settle by my calculation if
you wish, if not the sale shall go on."

"Give me the paper and pencil, Mr. Wiggins, I will make the calculation
for myself," said the carpet-bagger. "The result as you have it sir, is
correct. Here is your money sir."

"Now, sir, I will show you the gate," replied the Colonel with asperity.
"Good morning," and the two men locked arms and went away.

As the enraged man was entering the verandah, he was greeted
unexpectedly and obsequiously by Joshua, with "Compliments, ole Marser.
I have fotched you some long-necked gode seeds; spected yer would lak to
hab dem, mars Jon."

"Yes, Yes, I am glad you remembered me Joshua. I thought my old slave
had quite forgotten me," replied the Colonel.

"You mout hab spected dat ole masser, but I knowed all de time you wus
de onliest fren I had in de wurrell," answered the old negro.

"I am surprised to see you looking so badly, Joshua. Why your hair is as
white as cotton, and your clothes too are ragged and dirty, and there
are great hollows in your cheeks; what have you done with yourself old
man?"

The old negro dashed a great big tear from each eye as he replied
hesitatingly, "Better ax tother fokeses dat ar questun, ole marsa;
better ax de bosses at de kommissery; I'se been froo de froos sens I
seed you sar, mommucked up monstrus, dat I is. Dem dar pizen'd
carpet-baggers tole us cullud fokses ef we didn't do jess lak dey sed,
dat dey was agwine to put us bak in slavery, und dey skeert us jam ni to
def, dat dey did. Dey uprared a grate big sto in de town, und sakes
alive! de moest lasses und horg meat und flower und backer, und sich lak
yu nebber did see, mars Jon, und likker, too; und wun ob de bosses he
cum to de do und sez, sez he boys, fetch yer happysaks und jimmyjons
ebery Tuesday, und eberry Saddy nite de Lord sens und fill dem chok
full. I clar marser, I felt jess lak I wus in Paradise, wid de angels
er harpin pon golden harps und soppin lasses; und I took dat white man
at his word, und I'se been on de rode twixt my house und de sto fur
seben weeks, backards und forrards, a totin my ole jimmyjon un happy-sak;
I clar pon my Marser in Heben, I haint eben got de rappins ob my finger
from dat sto yit. De boss wud laf und say de rashuns had gin out fore I
got dere, und to cum agin nex Tuesday sho; und mars Jon, I'se jess
nachully a tired to def, widdout a moufful ob wittels in my house fur me
nur Hanner nudder, und we bof a perishin to def. Ole marsa, hain't yer
got nary ole ash tater, nur a leetle piece ob meat skin yer kin gib dis
ole darky jess to pacify his stummik, seems lak I jess hab to draw my
galluses rale tite roun it to keep it frum creepin fru my mouf."

The old soldier of fifty battles looked down upon the poor old negro in
his squalor and emaciation and wretchedness, and the tears came into his
eyes, too, as he said,

"If there is anything in this house to eat, Joshua, you shall have all
you want. I pity you from my heart, old negro. These people are not your
friends nor mine. The day will come when you will know them as they
are--enemies of every one who will not wash their dirty linen."

"Eber yu spoke de truf, Mars Jon, you spoke it den--hit's de God's
truf."

"Clarissa!" called the Colonel, "Clarissa!"

"Sar!" came Clarissa's voice from the kitchen. "I'se er cummin, ole
marsa, jes es fast es I ken."

As she saw Joshua she threw up her hands and impulsively exclaimed,

"Fur de Lawd's sake, Joshaway, whot do ail yer eny way? I faut yu wuz er
gostis er settin outen here wid ole marser. Po ole nigger! Duz sis
Hanner luk lak yu duz? De grabeyard is er yornin fer yu rite now." And
Clarissa placed her hand feelingly upon the old negro's white head,
saying the while, "Po Joshaway! Po nigger!" while Joshua covered his
face with his knotty hands and his feeble body shook as with a spasm.

In obedience to orders, Clarissa placed before Joshua a huge dish of
boiled ham, cabbage, potatoes--Irish and sweet--and the old negro in the
joy of his heart sprang nimbly to his aged and aching feet and "cut de
piggen whing jes ter sho ole marsa how spry und suple he wus."

"Bress Gawd!" he gratefully exclaimed, "I'se been happy two times in my
life--wun time when I jined de miluntary cumpny when de niggers wus
playin 'de jay bird' on der tootin horns (den I wus er fule), und tother
time wus dis here time."

After devouring like a starved brute the bulk of the food before him, he
considerately placed into his old beaver hat choice bits and fragments,
layer upon layer, with the observation,

"I wudn't er tasted a moufful o' dis good truck ef I hadn't er node
Hanner wuz ergwine ter git her shar. Jes er watchin me now lak a sparrer
hawk er settin on er lim! Tank yer a fousun times, ole marser! Tank yu,
too, sis Clarsy; tank eberybody in de whole wurld. Ole marsa," he
continued, "mout I hab jes wun wurd wid yer?"

"Why, certainly, Joshua; what more can I do for you?" asked the old man.

The old negro put his hand to his face as if he were shielding his eyes,
and asked sheepishly,

"Mars Jon, ef me und Hanner wus ter turn niggers ergin, jes lak slabery
times, wud yer tuck us home--yu und Miss Alice?"

"I would not have you do that, Joshua; but whenever you like, you and
Hannah can bring your belongings to the office and Alice and I will
always be your friends. You shall never suffer any more for something
to eat or wear as long as we live."

"Tank yer, ole marser, tank yu, a fousand times!" Joshua replied, as he
brushed away great liquid beads that were chasing each other down his
haggard cheeks. "Now I mus be ergwine, Mars Jon," and the old stiffened
joints bore homeward a filled body and a full heart, as he sang in an
untuned but sweet voice,

    "Oh de way's so delightful when I sarves de Lord,
    Oh de way's so delightful, journey on."

As the sun was going down the old Colonel looked across the field and
saw Joshua and Hannah with great bundles upon their heads coming toward
the mansion--coming back to the old home; coming back to be just as
humble, just as faithful, just as watchful as in the happy old days;
coming back to run errands if need be, with joints stiffened by
hardships and old age, but with hearts so light and trustful; coming
back like homing pigeons to roost under old master's wing in the dove
cote. Was there ever such a people before? The sweetest experience in
the domesticity of the South will vanish forever when the last old white
woolly head is laid low, when the ghostly smile is given to old mistress
from the death bed, and the last good-bye is said to "ole marser und ole
missis" as the death film overlays the eye. "Tak keer ob yosefs, ole
marser und ole missis, und meet me up yander." So thought the old master
as with liquid eyes he looked upward to the vaulted sky.

"Seben weeks" the old negro weighted down by the ever accumulating
burdens of life--its disappointments, its troubles--had with unsteady
gait and frequent halts stepped off each rod and furlong twixt "my house
und de sto, backards und forards, toting de jimmyjon und de happy-sak."
"Fur seben weeks" the torrid sun with its blistering heat had scorched
the old negro's head, and crisped the old negro's black skin until it
was spotted. For seven weeks a vacuum deep and broad lay between the
inner coatings of the famished stomach immeasurable and unfathomable.
For seven weeks "Old Glory" waved its welcome at one end of the
commissariat, and stark, pallid want walked out without a ration and
flaunted its rags at the other. Poor old negro, but what worth is
freedom without its pains and penalties; what worth is the huge
commissariat without the freedmen, and what worth is the freedmen
without the commissariat? Oh how happy the old negro in "de offis of ole
marser." By fits and starts old Joshua would awake throughout the nights
and call to Hannah, "Ole womun, duz yer kno whar yer is a roosting to
night? Aint agwine to de crick fur catfish in de mornin. I kno whar my
wittles is er cummin frum, bress de Lord. Cum rain ur shine, I haint
nebber agwine hongry agin, no mo. Old marsa dun und said, ole nigger yer
shall nebber want fur sumfing to eat und sumfing to ware no mo, und I
nebber cotched ole Mars Jon in a lie yit. Has yu, Hanner?"

"No, dat I haint, nur Miss Alice nudder," replied Hannah. "I haint got
no mo skeer erbout me, Joshaway, dan a billy gote. I kno's when Miss
Alice flings a dumplin in de pot for hersef, she is agwine to fling wun
in dare fur me too."

"Pears lak, Hanner, I kin heer my stummick ebery now und den nachully
singing de ole ship ob Zion, hit is so full ob ole marser's good
wittles."

Bright and early the next morning the old negro was standing in the wide
open door of the office, swinging his arms in exercise like a prize
fighter, and occasionally "cuttin de piggen whing out of doors," as he
said, "dat yung misses mout see how he could twist his foots erbout." As
he was skipping about the yard he discovered as it were, a moccasin
snake; a red, white, and blue stake about two feet long in the ground
near the office, and he knew what it was and called in a fit of rage to
Hannah. "Jess cum und see what dem dratted niggers has dun gon und dun.
Lord a massy! Duz dem pizened willians fink dey kin oberride dis here
plantashun wid me, und Ned, und ole marsa, und yung misses, und yu und
Claissy a fendin for deselvs? I'se agwine to lode up my muskit dis bery
nite, und de fust nigger dat cums pestering our white fokses on dis here
lan, I'se agwine to shoot two pounds of hot led into his karkas. Tak dis
ole streked striped stick, Hanner, und burn it up," and he jerked the
peg out of the ground as if it had been an aching molar in his gum, and
threw it violently into the fire-place.

"Who upon de yurth did fetch dese pizened stiks on dis lan? I'm ergwine
er roun dis yer plantashun, und maybe I'll fine sum mo ob de
ring-streeked-und-striped things, er painted jes like 'ole Glory' out
yander in de town, jes ter fool niggers und git dem sassinated lak er
passel o' polecats."

While Joshua was making the "grand rounds" over the plantation a
carriage with a pair of beautiful, high-stepping horses rolled up to the
door, and two "gemmen of culler" alighted and walked with unnatural
dignity to the door and rang the bell. Clarissa, of course, obeyed the
call, and in their presence was so bewildered that she asked them into
the library. Placing into her hands their cards _de visite_, upon which
were written the names of the "Hon. Alexander Wiggins" and the "Hon.
Ephraim Gillam," she carried them to Colonel Seymour.

Instantly the devil was aroused in the old man, and he told Clarissa to
tell them to get out of the house.

Clarissa, in executing the order, said, "Ole marser says how dat yu
niggers must go back out er doors. Jes tak yosef outen dis house
immegit." Then upon recognizing one of the negroes, she enquired, "Haint
dat yer Ellick, wid dem fine close und shoes, und gold specks, und bever
hat, comin into dis house lak yer was a king, or a gineral, or sumfing I
don't kno what? What is yer doing here in ole marser's house, anyhow? I
specks yer is up to sum devilment rate now."

"My name is not Ellic, replied the negro, und I am not up to devilment.
I am de prieter ob dis manshun house, und my stinguished friend, Mr.
Ephrum Gillum und me, hez cum to sarv a rit ob jectment upon Mr. Semo
fortwid."

"Lord hab marcy upon my soul!" exclaimed Clarissa in great excitement,
"Ef yer sarves dat dar fing on ole marsa, dares gwine to be a
ressurreckshun in dis grate house fortwid, yer haint agwine to lib to
git bak to town. You und dat udder nigger better tak yerselvs offen dis
lan fore marser sees yer; he spises yer worse den eny mocksin snake in
de crick, und yer nose it."

"Ah, well," the negro replied arrogantly, "Yu jess gib him dis writ ob
'jectment und tell him dat Mr. Wiggins und his lady will return
ter-morrer ebenin at ate o'clock und tak persesshun, und see dat yu
prepars a bed in de best chamber in dis mansion fur him."

"Jes yer fling dat pizen fing on de flo. I aint ergwine ter mess my hans
up wid no sich nasty trash, und yer tak yersefs offen here--don't I'm
agwine ter set Jube on yer, yer hateful creetur. Ugh! ef yer gits
anyfing pared on dis plantashun hit's ergwine ter be a ded-fall ter kill
yu cussed niggers. Dat's de bed yer is ergwine ter git ter morrer at ate
o'clock, 'member dat! Ugh! I specks when dat time cums yer will be ded
und gon rite strait ter torment."

Clarissa seized the tongs and prodded the document upon the floor as if
it had been a tarantula, then holding it at arm's length, muttering the
while like a savage, brought it to Colonel Seymour with the observation,

"Mars Jon, yer mout as well gib up dis grate house und de plantashun,
too, to de stinkin, outdashus niggers, don't dey is ergwine ter tarrify
de life outen yer, und me too."

To this the old man deigned no reply, but unfolding the paper and
reading it, he concluded there was but one thing to be done. For
one-third of a century he had been a highly respected communicant in the
Episcopal church; orthodox and consistent in his views and observances,
but upon reading the insulting document he swore like "our army in
Flanders."

"Clarissa," he exclaimed, "bring me my pistols. I will defend my own
with my life, and"--

"Mars Jon," interrupted Clarissa, "I'se skeert ob dem dar shootin iruns.
What is yer ergwine ter do, ole marser? Is yer ergwine ter hab a
resurreckshun in de grate house? Sposin yer und young missis gits
kilt--whot in de name ob Gawd is ergwine ter cum ob tother ones? Sarve
Ellick rite ef he gits masskreed; but sposin yer und Ned gits kilt, whot
is ergwine ter cum ob me und Miss Alice? Yer is too brash, ole marser."

The old soldier was quiet for a moment, and then he called Ned to him.

"Yes, Mars Jon, here I is, sar. Whot yer want now, Mars John?" Ned asked
humbly.

"Go and tell Mr. Jake Flowers to come here at once."

"Sartinly, Sar, mejitly, Mars Jon."

And in a short time Mr. Flowers, accompanied by Ned, saluted the Colonel
with,

"What are your orders for to-day, sir?"

Now, thought the Colonel, I shall marshal a force more terrible than an
army with banners. I shall recruit my regiment from the "Invincible
Empire," and I shall tear down and let them reconstruct if they can. "We
will march to victory under the flag of the 'White Camelia,' shall we
not, Mr. Flowers?" asked the Colonel.

"Well, when I wants to play demnation wid ther niggers, I don't fight
under no other," was the sententious answer of the regulator.

"Come into my library a moment, sir."

As the regulator was ambling along he put his two fingers to his mouth
and accidentally(?) expectorated "ambeer" in the eye of old Jupiter, the
fox hound, which set up a prolonged howl and caused Clarissa to exclaim
with great warmth;

"Mars Jon, did yer see dat ou'dashus white man a spettin dat dar backer
juce in ole Jube's tother eye? Wun ob dem is outen now, und I specks dat
fafefulest ole dorg will go plum blind. He is de fafefulest creetur on
dis hole plantashun. Po' ole Jube! Nebber mind, Clarsy is ergwine ter
set yer on dat speckled-face white man when he cums outen dat do, und is
ergwine ter give yu sum mo wittles ef yer chaws him good. Po' ole Jube!"
And Clarissa walked back into the kitchen with Jube following her, with
the further observation, "Twixt de niggers und de low-down white trash I
haint got no chusen--hit's a half duzzen wun way und a half duzzen
tother way, und de debbil tak de diffunce."

The Colonel drew a chair up to the table and asked the regulator to be
seated.

"Tomorrow night at eight o'clock sharp I will take possession of
Ingleside, peaceably if I can, forcibly if I must."

"When the Prince of the Thebaird sent this message to the queen of lower
Egypt, "Tomorrow I will knock at the door of your palace with the hilt
of my spear," she returned this warning, "And I will welcome you with
bloody hands, and the crocodiles of the Nile shall devour your carcass."

"What shall be our message, Mr. Flowers?"

The regulator thought a little dreamily for awhile, and then with the
usual squint in the right eye replied drowsily,

"Wall, thar is two ways to kill a nigger unbeknownst to him. I kin
ku-klux him, or I kin strike him with forked litenin; but I haint got
ammunition enuff to kill a hole passul at wunce."

The Colonel unfolded and laid upon the table a large sheet of paper,
such as engineers use in diagramming, and began in a perfunctory way to
mark off lines, angles, eccentric and concentric figures, until he fixed
the point of his pencil suspiciously at the upper abutment of a bridge
that spanned a rivulet, with this remark,

"Just here, sir, must be the point of attack. This is the only
defensible position upon the plantation. If the malicious negroes pass
this bridge, all is lost. Now, my friend," he continued, "heroic
diseases must be healed with heroic remedies. You and I are old
soldiers. Up and down the Chickahominy our army would have been tin
soldiers but for our sappers and miners. Now you may sap and mine to
your heart's content," he said jocularly. "Do you understand, Mr.
Flowers?"

"No, not eggzactly," replied Flowers. "Dos yer want ther cussed niggers
drounded?" he asked.

"No, only frightened so they will let me alone," replied the Colonel.

"Frightened!" ejaculated the regulator. "Wall, fokeses in gineral gits
frightened before they gits drounded, don't they? If I don't mistrust
you, Kernel, you wants the bridge upsot, and then you wants the kerridge
upsot, and then you wants the blamed niggers upsot, altogether in the
crick."

"If in your opinion my language bears that construction, you may
proceed," said the Colonel.

"Eggzactly so," replied the regulator. "I may percede with another
percession and a funeral at the tail eend of it. Eight o'clock, sharp!"
reiterated the regulator, and waving his hand backwards at the old man
in the verandah, cried back, "I will be thar or thar abouts," took his
leave.

Clarissa tried to sick "ole Jube" on the regulator as he passed through
the gate, but the old dog looked sheepishly into Clarissa's face and
wagged his tail, as much as to say, "Ef yer wants enybody sicked on dat
white man, jes sick yersef."

Nero never planned the destruction of Rome, nor Titus the destruction of
Jerusalem with a more implacable spirit then did the regulator the
destruction of the upper abutment of the wooden bridge on the Ingleside
plantation. As the bold man stood upon the bridge contemplating the work
to be done, and then upon the cold full orbed moon bathing its face in
light, cumulus clouds, and then on the cold waters, he said to himself;
"A soldier boy that can climb the elements in the Crater fight and butt
his head agin the stars, aint pestered by little diffikilties when it
comes to drownin niggers."

He threw off his coat, took up the crowbar and went to work. The apron
was then propped up upon skids too weak to bear the weight of a
carriage, but so skillfully as to ward off suspicion in case the
structure or any part of it should fall. At 7:30 sharp the work was done
and completely done, the pitfall was laid, and well laid, and at 7:40 a
black cavalcade, noisy and ruffianly, were galloping on the way to take
by force actual possession of Ingleside, against the emphatic protest of
its owner and against the law of the land. They were marching with their
trombones and their flags, flags striped and starred, just like the one
that laughed in the faces of the starved negroes that marched in
platoons, desperately hungry, out of the back doors of the Commissariat.
Just like the one ruffian Laflin wrapped about his beastly person when
he said to poor oppressed Seymour, "My freedmen may make reprisals
whenever they please in this accursed country." Just like the flag that
waved from the stern sheets of the batteau, that cold sleety night, when
Washington was cutting the ice out of his way upon the Delaware. Just
like the "Old Glory" that Ethan Allen wound around his head at
Ticonderoga. Just like the flag that thrilled every heart, that Philip
Barton Key immortalized in the first battle hymn of the Republic.

    "Tis the Star Spangled Banner long may it wave,
    Over the land of the free and the home of the brave."

"Ah, no," the Southern patriot would say "Our hot sun has tarnished its
bright stars, has made black and dingy the blue field, and see! it is
blushing ever so red, as it is made to accentuate the horrors of
reconstruction." But the flags were coming, so were the horses, and so
were the negroes, and so were the trombones, and so was death, each in a
vain attempt to bridge the chasm before 8 o'clock sharp. Ah, that crash,
that shriek, that doom! The affrightened horses break from the
descending carriage and scamper like zebras into the open fields of
Ingleside. The uniformed escort turn their horses heads and scamper
toward the town, even the trombones have ceased to sound now, but there
are echoing hoofs, and there are the wails of the dying, coming up from
the darkened abyss, and the moon is still bathing its face in the watery
clouds overhead. What! art thou a prophetess, Clarissa, that thou
shouldst have said "I specks when dat time cums yer will be ded and gone
rate strait to torment?"



CHAPTER XIX.

THE CORONER'S INQUEST.


The revolutionary iconoclasts had fully established their sway in the
worst and most irritating forms; their resources, directed by
irresponsible and offensive authority--controlling the fortunes, hopes
and fate of all classes--ramified and extended throughout the South.
Mountebanks sat in judgment upon the lives and liberties of a vanquished
people; everywhere violating all the guaranties of freedom. The alarming
vibrations of this unhallowed power were felt in every home. It was a
matter of anxious and fearful thought, "What must be the result of
collisions that are sure to come?" It were vain to threaten consequences
badgered as the people were into passive submission by a power that
ruled supreme--a power that was conducting its operations with
unmeasured cruelty wherever the ill-starred Confederacy had raised its
hated crest. Retaliation swift and sure pursued a few of the misguided
negroes whose black hands were upraised to smite the South. Now and
then, under the shadow of the citadel that was garrisoned by the
pensioned slaves, the victims of the murderous knife or deadly bullet
would be found. Hence the South was the harvest field for the
functionaries who delighted in the sudden visitations of Providence, and
who looked for the vultures upon circling pinions above the river as
couriers of cheering messages; in the language of the negroes, as the
"sky sheruffs" who served due notice upon the oppressed taxpayers of
this patronizing government of the freedmen.

By a custom that obtained very generally in the South in the post-bellum
days, there was a division of offices inequitably made, however, between
the carpet-baggers and the negroes; and to the negroes was assigned
among others of inconsiderable revenue, the office of county coroner.
This office for many generations before the war was a sinecure, but a
pictorial page now appears in the history of reconstruction,
electrotyped in disgusting caricatures. The office of coroner was
constructed out of a mediæval original; it was both ancient and
honorable--a remnant of the feudal system that superseded other forms of
government in Europe before and since the crusade. So considerable were
its revenues and dignity, that the lords chief justices of the King's
Bench of England coveted and enjoyed its emoluments and title; and to
descend from an antiquity so dignified and remote, from bewigged and
begowned lords justices to 15th amendment freedmen, was quite a sheer
descent. But reconstruction came with fantastical ideals; with its own
peculiar and irritating forms and institutions, and the political fabric
was ludicrously inverted and the freedmen appeared to walk through the
air on stilts.

When post-mortem investigations were exceedingly rare in a county that
boasted of its healthfulness and its obedience to law, the per diem of
the coroner was fixed by legislative enactment to ten dollars, with
certain enumerated charges, such as summoning, swearing and empanelling
the jury of inquest. But now there was an epidemic of accidental deaths
in this phenomenal era. Among the negroes the most natural thing was to
die--to die from exposure, from starvation, and sometimes from heroic
doses of manhood suffrage. They died in the river, in the creek, in the
lowgrounds. Old Uncle Elijah Thorpe, the coroner, would sit moodily by
the hour on his dilapidated stoop, intently gazing into the firmament
above him for the appearance of "de sky shurruff," and when the circling
scavengers of the country would flap and dip their pinions below the
fringe of the cypresses that bordered the river, his spirits would
revive, and refreshing smiles would play hide and seek in the black
caverns of his face.

The old coroner like Judge Blackstock, appeared to be the "survival of
the fittest." He had come out of the toils of slavery with his hair as
white as the snow, and with lines in his black face as if a "new ground
plow" had been running furrows into it. He was an old man when the great
guns were celebrating the emancipation of four million slaves. He was an
old man when the bosses placed into his horny, gouty hand the elective
franchise. He was an old man when he looked out one night, when the
stars were twinkling in the mid-heavens, and saw the luminary of freedom
with its bewildering corruscations. He was the advanced guard of the
freedmen who welcomed the agent of the bureau with waving of hats and
clapping of resounding hands. He was the file leader of Laflin's black
reinforcements. When Elijah began to grow rich out of the spoils of his
office he observed in a confidential way to Laflin,

"Ef de niggers keeps er gitten sassinated lak deys agwine on und de
jurer don't gin out, dis heer Soufland is agwine ter be a sametary from
one eend to de tother; the buzzards is lak a passel ob rode hands er
cummin und agwine," and then to disarm the carpet-bagger's cupidity he
continued with a lugubrious cast of countenance, "By de time I gits de
rashuns from de kommissery und de sperrits fur de jurer dars a mity
leetle spec left ob de poreseeds. De pay boss haint ekal to de
sponsuality of de offis."

These post-mortem inquiries, like all other functions of the time,
presented most ridiculous contrasts. While the circling carrion crows
were looking for dead negroes in the river and swamps, the negro women
in the cabins and kitchens were watching the movements of the coroner;
and whenever the public became advised "dat de corps ob humans was to be
sot upon" if the news came in the dead of the night, an outcry would go
from cabin to cabin; dusky faces would appear at dirty windows and an
inquiry in staccato from some sister would arouse her neighbour.

"Oh! Sophia Ann, has yu heerd de news, or is yu pine blank ded? De
crowner has dun und put de saddle on ole 'sametary' und de saddle-bags
und de jimmyjon too, und agwine ter set on er corps fortwid."

"Hush! sister Becky," would come the answer; "Aint you got anudder tack
of hystericks;" and rayless jaundiced lights would appear in windows;
then the screeching of fowls in the coops, then pots would simmer and
boil; then little Bill would be jerked out of bed with the angry
exclamation, "Fore de King, I believes dis heer yungun would sleep clar
froo de jedgment day und wudn't heer nary trumpet. Git outen heer yu
Bill und fetch dat ar steer und de kaart fore de door fortwid." And then
Bill, yawning and gaping and grunting, and twisting his arms over his
black head, would stagger with tangled feet to the stable and command,

"Cum outen dis heer door ole Linkum fore I whacks yu ober de hed wid dis
heer palin." And then old Linkum would toss his head and start towards
Bill with a boo--o-o and then back into his stall with another boo-oo,
and then Maria would shout from the kitchen,

"Yu Bill has yu und ole Linkum gone plum ter sleep? Why don't yu fetch
dat aggrawating steer outen dar?" And then she would turn to pack away
the pies and chickens in the basket, and then ole Linkum and Bill and
Maria and "Ladybird," the ugly fice dog, would be reinforced upon the
road by a picturesque caravan. There would be women and children of all
sizes, ages and conditions; then the hard cider carts, fakirs and pie
women, then the old parson and the deacons and the singing sisters, then
the man with a hand organ and a monkey, then a score of yelping hounds,
curs and fices, then the coroner in battered beaver and green goggles,
astride his flopped-eared, flee-bitten mule, "ole Samitary," all with
laughter, jest and song hurrying to the scene of the catastrophe; while
the poor misguided subjects of the investigation would be staring with
great lack-lustre eyes into the sky.

Upon this occasion the rising sun as he passed through the mist veiled
his face from a spectacle terribly ghastly. Four black corpses in silks
and satins and tawdry lace, with upturned faces, lay rigid with a seasaw
motion in the ooze and water; and a huge black object, like the back of
a leviathan with striped banners in his nostrils, dammed up the stream
that flowed with a sluggish current from the river. This then was the
end of the carnival; the due return upon the writ of ejectment.

What utopian dreams were whispered into ears into which the eddying
waters were intoning a refrain! Shall the mistress of Ingleside descend
into this cold, forbidding flood with the keys of her broad domain, and
place them as a symbolical delivery of title into hands so rigid and
nerveless, that never guarded its portals with one night's vigil? Shall
the officers of the law, under these broken arches, endorse a due return
upon the writ of ejectment? When we see the star spangled banner down
there, dyeing the waters as it seemed with blood, "with the Union" down,
does it bind us to an allegiance to the powers that sent these outlaws
upon their mission of assassination.

Joshua was very wretched when he heard of the horrifying disaster that
overreached the human beagles that were pursuing their quarry so
heartlessly. Old negroes like Joshua and Ned were fast becoming
disillusioned; they had danced attendance to Laflin and his pampered
slaves when they were desperately hungry; they had marched and counter
marched, when from sheer weakness they could scarcely keep step to the
fife and drum; they had seen the hollow pageantry; had heard the
discordant fanfares from brazen trumpets; the mockery of commands to
"fall in" and to "fall out;" indeed they had been lashed to the
treadmill of fatiguing servitude when there wasn't a bazaar or a
sutler's shop into which they could enter and beg a morsel of bread; and
when they "broke ranks" there wasn't a ration of meat or flour
distributed to the old hulks that were to all intents and purposes out
of commission. Joshua felt that all the events and catastrophes of this
mortal life were in some mysterious way the annotations of Sacred Writ,
and hence as he clothed himself in the spic-span homespun garments that
Alice had given him, he said to his wife,

"Now eff I kin ever find my old bever, und my specks, I'm agwine to ax
Miss Alice what de scriptur says erbout dis insurreckshun. Cording to my
membrance when de Mallyskites flung ole Farro outen de charryot into de
sea, dat Fillisten ginril was imitating Ellick in his devilishness;
haint dat scriptur, Hannah?"

Hannah looked up from her wash-board with earnestness and with just a
suggestion of temper as she observed:

"Whicherway in de scriptur duz yu find dat passage? Cordin to my
membrance dare want none of dem charryots in dem deys epsepting Lijah's,
und hit warn't hitched to no hosses."

As Joshua was going toward the mansion he said to himself, "Dey is
agwine to spishun ole marsa wid killing dem niggers, und den de werry
ole harrykin is gwine to brake loose in dis plantashun. Grate Jarryko!
Ef it cums to de wursest me und Ned und Clarsy und Hanna is agwine to
stan twixt him und dem twell de eend."

It appears to be exclusively the prerogative of women to be the burden
bearers for others; assuredly this virtue was heroically exercised by
the beautiful girl, whose heart was all sympathy for the misguided
wretches. Not one thought, not a care, for her poor, defenceless self;
all for the negroes who were drunken upon the lees of reconstruction,
the poor slaves of a power they dared not oppose.

"Uncle Joshua," she asked in tears "Have you heard the sad fate of Aleck
and Ephraim?"

"Yes, marm, I dun und heerd de news dis mornin fo sun up, und I'm
missurble fur yer und ole marsa, missis. Dis werry sassinashun cum to my
membrunce las nite twixt lebben 'clock und day, und when hit wuz fust
norated er roun, I ses ter Hanner, sez I, Dar now! I spishuned dat werry
axydent wuz ergwine ter happ'n. Und Hanner she ups und sez, sez she,
'How cum yer node mo dan tuther humans? Is yer er possel ur a wangel?'
Und den I upped und tole her, und hit cum erbout in disser fashun,
missis: A bitter sadness lay upon my piller las nite, yung missis, und
way in de shank o' de nite I seed yo precious mammy, und she wur er
weepin lak her po hart wud brake, und I sed to her, sez I, 'Ole missis,
haint dat yu?' Und den she smoled one leetle smole, und den she sed,
sez she, 'Ole nigger, I'm so missurble, for my dear husbun und my
preshus child are in danger; won't yu help em?' Und den she pinted her
lily finger down de appenu toards de crick, and den I heerd her say, sez
she, 'Rite dare is whar de niggers is ergwine ter kill my po dears;' und
den she banished lak a sperret outen my site. Fo Gawd, yung missis, dem
dar wurds sont a shower ob isickles all ober me."

This simple, affecting narrative chilled the heart of poor Alice, too,
and her grief became as frigid as if smitten by polar frosts.

Oh, what would Alice give for the reign of peace, of law in this Idumea
of the South! "Why prepare these watery sepulchres for the freedmen
whose hopes have been built upon their delusive pledges? Why starve and
drown them as if they were vermin, without aspirations and without
souls? Who can excel these authors of misrule in the fine art of
assassination?" she asked.

Clarissa stood at the side of her young mistress, whilst Joshua, as if
by inspiration, was narrating the vision of the night. She was
transfixed with terror, and shaking from head to foot she exclaimed:

"Bress Gawd! dis is de eend ob hit all--fust cums de belliun, den de
hosses und de charryot, den def!"

"Stop rite dar! Stop rite dar, Clarsy! Nary nudder wurd," exclaimed
Joshua with emphasis. "Don't de scriptur say how dat whot is ergwine ter
cum is ergwine ter cum? Und ef hit haint er gwine ter cum hit haint
ergwine ter cum; why, in cose; ef me und Ned hez ary grane ob spishun
erbout Miss Alice und ole marser, me und him is ergwine to uprare a
barrykade rite at de grate house, und dey will be drib back lak de
Mallyskites. Yu jess hole yer gripe upon Proverdense und grace, Clarsy,
und den we kin fling de charryots und de hosses in de creek agen, und
ole marser und yung missis will be saved."

"Grate king!" replied Clarissa, still greatly alarmed. "Yu mout ez well
uprare dat barrykade rite now; kase when dem niggers sees dese drounded
corpses er see-sawin in de creek, day is ergwine ter cum down on dis
hear grate house same ez de yaller flies on dem pided steers out yander
in de mash."

"Yu is too brash, sister," replied Joshua. "I haint ergwine ter hab dem
debbils spishunin dat dar's a trap sot fo I gits hit sot. When de moon
gits back yander hind de trees hit will be sot, und I aims fur yu ter
pull de trigger."

"Oh, my king!" blurted out Clarissa, as she wrung her hands, "und sposin
hit don't go off ur nuffin; den whot? Dis heer po nigger wud immytate
wun ob dem sojers dat wuz dug outen de krater way ole Mars Jon got his
def wound. Ef dat ar trap is sot its bleeged ter be upsot by sumbody
dat's got mo ambishun agen his kuller dan I is, yu heers my racket!"
exclaimed Clarissa in great excitement.

Joshua was the first to interview the dead bandits. I can see him
squatted upon his haunches with palsied finger pointed at the fishy eyes
exclaiming;

"Dar now square Wiggins jess see what yu is fotched up agen at las. I
dun und tole yu so; now haint yu dun und dun it er trying to skeer ole
marser outen de grate house; mout heb node yu was ergwine to git
obertook by sum jedgment ur udder. I don't spishun nuffin else dat fo
dis devilish konstruckshun is dun wid, dare haint ergwine to be er live
nigger in de Nunited States; und de biggerty niggers like yu und Efrum
is ergwine to mak hit wusser fur tuther fokeses. Yu dun und dun de
wussest fing yu ebber dun in yo born days, when yu sot down in dat dare
kerrige wid all dem flags er flying at de hine eend lak er sho nuff
surkuss; und deres yo po innosen wife er follerin yu backards und
furrards lak yu was ole Farro kommandin de yurth, er lying down dare
same as a drownded warmint in de crick, und her po leetle yunguns crying
mammy! mammy! und all dun und dun kase yu started a hullyberlo erbout
ole marser's plantashun; wurf mo den all de dratted niggers big und
leetle on de top side of de yurth; und kase yu fotched ole Shurmun's
army wid dare muskits in de ded ob de nite to tak ole marser und yung
missis ded er live. I nebber seed er nigger lak yu play biggerty dat de
good Lord didn't slam to de yurth wid his jedgments. Pend 'pon it de
Lord is gwine to git de under holt ebery time." And all the time Aleck
lay with great lack-lustre eyes staring and grinning at Joshua. "Und yu
is down dare too Efrum wid dem yaller upperlips, pine plank lak de sun
flowers in de jam of Hanna's gyarden er bobbin up und down same as a
kildee in de mash; und boff of yu er smokin in de tarnel hell farr. Und
all cum erbout kase dere's too much freedum in de lan. I nebber seed a
drounded nigger fore de bellion fell in all my born days, and now yer
kaint fro yer hook in de crick fur a catfish yer aint skeered yu mout
git tangled up wid a drounded nigger."

Joshua paused to wipe the perspiration from his face with his ragged
coat sleeve, and the great black crowd moved as by a common impulse to
the brink of the stream and gazed with a contrariety of emotions upon
the drowned negroes. The goggle eyed coroner with his beaver in his hand
stepped a little to the front and commanded attention.

"Breddin," he said, "dars a time to live und dars a time to die, und ef
I must spaciate upon def befo dis conjugation I mout say dat he cums in
a heap aways und a heap er fashuns; den agin he cums when he hedn't
ought ter cum. He cum dis time when he hedn't ought ter cum und he hes
flung de hole goverment out of jint."

"Und I specks de boss will be bleeged ter mak a signment ob de assets of
North Caliny. Fur de lans sake," exclaimed Joshua, "let me git wun
moufful ef she's agwine to bust." Without noting the interruption,
however, the coroner proceeded:

"I'm agwine ter ax brudder Skyles de slidin elder to lead us all in
prayer, und ter bless de Lord dat de crowner und jurer is rite heer to
sympathize with our bereaved friends in the bonds of iniquity."

Aleck and his ill fated friends were still sea-sawing in the water and
after the prayer the man with the hand organ and the monkey began to
play in squeaky, stridulous tones "The girl I left behind me."

Joshua the octogenarian, was among the men who were chosen upon the
jury.

"Now den what is yer gemman gwine ter side erbout dese drounded
corpses?" asked the coroner. There was a long painful pause when a very
venerable negro confronted the coroner with this enquiry;

"I rises to a question ob pribilige sar. I wishes to quire, ef a crowbar
mout be er witniss in his own beharf, sar?"

"Sartanly sar, sartanly," answered the coroner:

"How is yer agwine to swar hit?" he continued.

"Now yer oversizes my siggassity sar; yer axes pine blank" said the
coroner, raising his spectacles with great dignity, "'How dis jurer is
agwine to swar a crowbar;' is dat hit?"

"Yas sar," replied the negro.

"What sez yer gemman ob de jurer to dis qustun," asked the coroner.
After laying their heads together, a juror pompously observed.

"Dat he hed seed a horg crost questuned in de kote, und he convicted de
prisner."

"Were he a white man?" the jury asked.

"No sar, dat time de prisoner was a cullud gemman sar."

"Aye, Aye," they exclaimed in chorus.

"Und de nex time I seed a pare of galluses convict a prisner."

"Was he a cullud gemman?" again they asked.

"No sar, he were a po white man."

"Jess so, Jess so," they again exclaimed with infinite satisfaction.

"Fetch dat crowbar in heer und tell where yer git him," said the
coroner.

"I scovered him under de bridge," the negro answered.

"Whose name is dat, sar?' the coroner asked pointing to the letters J.
W. S. chiseled into the iron handle.

"Haint dat Semo's name?" he again asked.

"It ar" answered a juror.

"Constable," the coroner stormed with wrath, "Yer fech dat white man fo
me, ded er live, und summuns de possy common ta ters to go wid yer sar.
Und bredden," he continued, "we'll pass de jimmyjon und tak a swipe
while wee's erwaiting fur de prisner."

Clarissa looked out of the kitchen window and descried the negro
constable and his posse advancing rapidly toward the mansion. With her
hands just out of the kneaded flour she ran frantically to her young
mistriss with the exclamation,

"Lord have mercy, Miss Alice, yander cums ole Shermans army; de
plantashun is black und blu wid niggers wid der muskits," "Oh, my Lord
have mussy on us."

Alice though greatly alarmed, replied as calmly as possible,

"Dont you know Clarissa, we have never harmed these people. Do you think
they will kill us in cold blood. Where is father? Come father, come
Clarissa, we will go into the verandah and meet them, kindly face to
face. Come, father, I know you are brave--and you are a Christian. If
they have come to murder us--there is but a pang and all will be over.
In a moment we shall forget our griefs, our humiliations. Let us clasp
hands and die altogether."

The negro constable observing the distress of the family and wishing for
the time being to avoid excitement, halted his gang at the gate and
advanced to the old man with his warrant.

"Mr. Semo," said he, "Yer is scused of ferociously homisiden de corpses
in de crick und I'm sent to fetch yer to de crowner."

"All right I will accompany you," the old man said with resignation.

Poor Alice clung to her father's neck crying as if her heart would
break, and spoke pleadingly to the negro.

"May I not go with my father? May I not die with him? Oh, my dear, dear
father. I cannot bear the separation, the suspense. Please, please Mr.
Constable let my father remain here and let me suffer and die for him."

"Oh my daughter, my child," petulantly cried the old man, "this will not
do." "Dry your tears my dear child and be assured that the coroner
cannot do me harm. If he shall find me guilty, I shall remain in jail
only to-morrow. The court convenes on Monday next when I shall be
discharged and return home. Give me a kiss now, and remember dear, that
your father is safe: Good-bye, God bless you."

As Joshua, a juror, saw the feeble old man with great effort advancing
with the negro posse, he began to shed tears and covered his furrowed
face with his old beaver:

"Po Mars Jon," he sobbed audibly, "Has it cum to dis, scusing the
bestest man in de kentry wid foroshus homosiden. Marser, yu shall hab
jestice. I'll stan twix yer und def. Yu know'd nuffin about dis
massacre, jess ez innerson ob dis scusation ez a baby--ebery bit und
grane."

"Constable," asked the coroner, "fetch me dat crowbar und de prisner."
"Now den, dis heer crowbar is a witnis agin yer, Mr. Semo, what has yer
got to say agin dis scusation sar?"

The Colonel replied with dignity, "I have not seen it before in twelve
months, I am sure."

"How cum dis heer crowbar under de bridge, how cum de bridge fell down
und how cum dem fokses drounded, answer me dat?" sharply answered the
coroner.

"I cannot tell sir, I know nothing whatever about the matter, and----"

"Boss Crowner," interrupted Joshua, "does yer sposing dat ar crowbar was
de cashun ob dat dar drounen? Answer me dat fust. I aint agwine ter sot
on no man dat aint gilty. Diss heer bisniss is ticklish bisniss, I tell
yer dat rite now, und we is all sworn ter find out whedder dat crowbar
kilt dose fokses ur whedder dey kilt deyselves. Now yer look er heer,
when dis heer gang cum down dat rode a rasin und a hollering lak wild
panters, dey want a noticing nuffin und dat ole bridge hez been shackly
und cranksided for a mont, und der horses cummin a prancing und er
gallupin wid all dem flags a flying mout er knowed sumfin was agwine to
gib way, und ef I wotes ter hang eny body it is agwine to be de oberseer
ob de rode, taint agwine to be ole marser. Ef I wotes, I says ef I
wotes, I am agwine ter clar ole marser ob dis heer terble scusashun und
I am reddy ter wote rite now. I got a plenty ob munny und a plenty ob
good wittles, too, und I haint agwine to grunt und root roun de
kommissery lak a horg nudder, wid de ole flag a twisted ober de back lak
de tail ob a chiken rooster. Marser Jon shall hab jestis ef I hab to go
outen dese Nunited States fur it. Mout as well be sarchin fur fleas on a
catfish ez fer jestis in dis kote. I move dis honerble kote to turn ole
marser Jon loose, und I call for de wote rite now."

This speech of the old negro seemed, as it were, the gift of an oracle.
It grappled with a great subject of principle. Joshua was indeed an
immune, having nothing to fear from the negroes, on account of his
extreme old age and enjoying the trust of the Colonel and his daughter.

He looked up at the flag as he concluded, as it seemed to him just now
to be overcast with the murky vapors of oppression, and pointing his
bony finger toward its scarlet-veined folds, exclaimed with the pathos,
the spirit of an orator of nature,

"De grate Lawd forbid dat yore stripes, 'Ole Glory,' shall be washed in
de blood ob my ole marser. I welcomed yu in de Souf when I seed yu
chassayin in de wild storm; I bowed my ole hed to yu when yu flung yo
storry crown toards de hebens; I've marched backards und farrards, tired
unto def, when yu led de rigiment, und felt dere wuz power und pride und
peace under yo stripes und under yo storrs; und when hongry und starving
fur bread, I flung my ole bever in de air und cheered fur de flag ob de
Nunion. I lubs my ole marser ez I lubs yu, 'Ole Glory' und he mus not
die--he shall not die; ef de blood of Ellick und Efrum wuz upon his hans
und upon his soul ez thick ez de mud upon dare gyarments."

Suffice it to say that in the opinion of the jury John W. Seymour had
committed the murder alleged in the warrant and was committed to the
common jail for the unbailable capital crime.



CHAPTER XX.

"A DANIEL COME TO JUDGMENT."


The Reconstruction period in the South was offensively institutional.
There was a fascination about the spoils principle, the "cohesive power
of public plunder" that allured all conditions of men who put themselves
in juxtaposition to the new order of things. There was not a negro who
valued his manhood suffrage that did not yield implicit faith and
obedience to all that was told him by the carpet-baggers, who came south
as the "waves come when navies are stranded." The elective judiciary too
was no mean accessory in the wholesale plunder of the people; in the
sale, delay and denial of justice. The presence of the judge in the
county town to hold the court was, an event that was commonly
distinguished by farcical displays; exhibitions as it were of
harlequins, bazaars, organ-grinders and negroes. From the four quarters
of the county exhausted mules and oxen were brought into requisition and
hitched to primitive vehicles; negroes who were the worthless heads of
pauper families, astride the bare backs of horned cattle, arriving in
the town before the break of day and thronging the public buildings,
thoroughfares and court house. The leaders among the negroes would call
upon the judge in his chamber with a disgusting obsequiousness that
marked the depravity of their origin. Punishments at times were the
refinement of oppression and as often a mockery of the law. Partisan
judgments were not unusual or surprising.

An untried judge had come to hold the assizes; he had come without the
blast of a trumpet, but the compact assemblage awaited with every
demonstration of joy his presence upon the bench. The judge was a young
man, seemingly of great intellectual reserve, possessing a steel gray
eye that shot its glances through the subject as if it were but marking
a point through which his judgment of a man would enter. There were
courage, self poise, wisdom, integrity apparent in the man who had
arrived to administer the law. For the first time this judicial officer
saw before him an indistinguishable mass of the freedmen of the south.
He knew by intuition that they were ignorant, vicious and corruptible;
he saw that the prosecuting attorney was a negro, the deputies of the
sheriff were negroes, the foreman of the grand jury was a negro and
doubtless he addressed to himself this interrogatory in the law latin
_cui bono_?

"There were indictments almost without number for frauds, embezzlements
and forgeries; the travail of reconstruction."

Laflin had been perniciously active all the morning. Before the judge
had taken his seat upon the bench, he had interviewed many of the men
who had been summoned upon the venire to try a veteran of the lost cause
for murder and their pockets were filled with small bribes. He had
checked off twelve names and given the list to the solicitor with the
heartless remark "Now we'll hang the old secesh higher than Haman, and
you and I Mr. Solicitor will divide between us his homestead." At this
point of time an interruption came from one of the negro jurors to this
effect, "Boss dere's wun secesh nigger dat sez he's agwine to hang de
jurer epseps yu gin him wun mo dollar."

"Blast the wretch!" came the curse of this man of baleful power, "Where
is he?" he enquired.

"See dat man standin dere ergin dat postess, dats him."

"Here you fellow," said Laflin, "How much money have you been paid to
find the old secesh guilty?"

The negro in an abstracted way felt in his pockets and told the wretch
that one juror had been paid two dollars, while he had received only one
dollar, "und he mout conwic de rong man, den yu see boss, de pay mout
not be ekal to de sponuality. Fling in wun mo dollar und de jurer gwine
to hang dat secesh sho."

This conclave of diabolical spirits was held in the office of the
sheriff at the hour of 9 a. m. Back yonder in the common jail, behind
the fretted bars, was the veteran in the cell with black felons.

Why should the catalogue of this poor man's misfortune be enlarged, by
super-adding to the loss of domestic tranquility, that greatest of all
calamities, the loss of his liberty, aggravated by the imputation of
crime and its consequent ignominy. He feels that the storm without is
fraught with lightning, that renders desolate the face of nature, his
mind has lost its elasticity, its spring, its pride; and who is the
prisoner, whom the black crowd follow with the gaping vacuity of vulgar
ignorance, assaulting him now and again with obscene gibes, as he is led
from the cell to the dock? He is gifted by the God of nature with rare
endowments, whose unconquered spirit breaks forth in a sentiment such as
this,

    "Let the hangman lead these miscreants to the gibbet,
    And let the ravens of the air
    Fatten upon their flesh until they pick each tainted carcass from
      the bones."

There were indictments also for capital felonies, and in the dock sat
three hardened black criminals, and one aged white man of distinguished
presence, who was whispering now and then to a beautiful maiden in
tears, a maiden so radiant in personal attractions that she might have
sat approvingly for the portrait of Beatrice Cenci that looks down upon
the upturned faces in the Art Gallery in Florence. He was a veteran of
the civil war; a hero at Malvern Hill; colonel commanding the regiment
of cavalry that by an extra hazardous maneuver drove a Federal brigade
into the death trap. By his side sat as his attorney a white-haired
gentleman, who like a stately man of war, just going out of commission,
was sighting his guns upon the enemy for the last time. This spectacle
was so full of the pathos of human life that it deserves to be
perpetuated in the memory, after the dry rot shall have utterly
honey-combed the odious system of reconstruction. The arraignment of the
prisoner was proceeded with; the negro solicitor presuming upon the
hearty co-operation of the judge ventilated his spleen upon the
unfortunate prisoner.

"Stand up, prisoner at the bar," he commanded as he fairly spat his
venom like a jungle serpent into the face of the poor man. "Are you
guilty or not guilty of the felony and murder with which you stand
charged?" he cried.

"Not Guilty," answered the prisoner with a quiet dignity.

"By whom will you be tried," the officer inquired wrathfully.

"By God and my country," was the answer of this veteran of a hundred
battles; this wise counsellor of the law.

Were the twelve black jurors in the box his country? had they ever given
direction to his impulses as a patriot? had they ever nerved his arm to
strike down the foe, that scourged his home into barrenness and peopled
the city of the dead with his kindred? Had they like Joshua and Hur ever
stayed the hand of the prisoner, when with drawn sword he guarded the
portal of the temple? Great God! Shall these human chattels, without a
single intellectual resource, without one ray of discernment, besotted
and bedraggled by fanaticism, superstition and ignorance bring to this
poor man in this extremity a safe deliverance? In conducting the
prosecution, in the examination of the witnesses the same brutish
treatment was observed by the solicitor for the state toward the aged
prisoner, and with an offensive parade of authority he announced that
the state had closed its case; thereupon the white-haired Governor arose
to ask for the discharge of the prisoner for want of sufficient evidence
to convict. Now came the first interruption upon the part of the judge,
who up to this moment had observed a reticence quite noteworthy in a
high judicial officer who was holding his first court where the negroes
ruled.

"It is unnecessary Governor that I should hear you," he remarked with
evident self-poise.

Turning to the solicitor he asked with deliberation,

"Can you tell me how the indictment against this old man found its way
into this court?"

"I can, sir," the solicitor impudently replied, "and I propose," he
exclaimed vehemently, "to make good the charge by convicting this
assassin before this conscientious jury."

"Ah, indeed!" rejoined the judge quite complacently. "Are you quite sure
of your premises?"

"Yes indeed!" replied the solicitor.

"Take your seat, sir," the judge commanded, with a frown upon his
intelligent face. "I am informed," said he, addressing the negro
solicitor, "that you have been perniciously active in the persecution of
this feeble old man; that you have gone out of your way to harass and
humiliate him in all possible situations; that you have advised and
encouraged and rewarded placable agents and emissaries to render his
life burdensome and his condition intolerable; that you have caused
inquisitorial visits to be made to his home by ruffianly negroes in the
dead hours of the night; that you have conspired and confederated with a
loathsome being--a man, however, of controlling influence with the
negroes--by the name of Laflin, to inflict upon him and his daughter
every indignity your evil imagination could suggest; that acting under
your devilish advice and inventions, lawless, brutish negroes have set
at defiance every dictate of humanity, every precept of religion, and
every commandment of the law, and have turned his home into a hell; that
when a superficial examination into this case would have shown you that
this negro, whom you say was murdered by this unfortunate prisoner
gathered around him a bestial mob of the most despicable, offensive
negroes, armed with guns and swords to take his life by force of
insurrectionary combinations, you dare to clutch the ermine of this
court with your defiled fingers! You have disgraced the position you
occupy; your right to prosecute the criminal docket in this court is
suspended. You will take your seat in the prisoner's dock until I can
have you tried and sentenced to the penitentiary. This man is in your
custody, Mr. Sheriff. Mr. Clerk, you will at once issue a bench warrant
for the arrest of Abram Laflin and the coroner, Jackson Thorp, and have
them brought before me at once. Colonel Seymour," he continued,
addressing the prisoner, and at the same time extending his hand, "you
have my sympathy. I have observed with pain and indignation the alarming
condition of affairs in your county. I am sitting upon this bench as a
judge to discharge my duty in the fear of God. You are fully vindicated,
sir, and may retire when you please."

A stampede of negroes who had thronged the court room swept away every
obstruction, and within one hour after the arrest of the carpet-bagger
and the coroner, mules, oxen, negroes, dogs and organs and monkeys were
in precipitate flight through the town.

"Grate Jerusalem!" exclaimed an old negro who had fallen down the
stairway in his flight, "de debbil has sho broke loose in dis hear
town. Dat ar jedge is wusser dan a harrykane."

The scene that followed was intensely dramatic. Men who had never been
demonstrative before, at the hour of recess, thronged the judge to thank
him for his honesty and courage in this hour of trial. The Governor,
Colonel Seymour and his beautiful daughter awaited the presence of the
judge in the parlor of the public inn, and as the learned man entered
the room greatly embarrassed, Alice thought he was the manliest man she
ever saw--faultlessly handsome, with the poise of a patrician. The judge
took her extended hand, and blushing deeply, looked down into the
lustrous blue eyes that were laughing through tears and said, almost
audibly, to himself, "Is it possible that this beauty will ever fade?"
Could we introspect the great man's heart, we should find even then a
little weaver picking up here and there golden threads and
cris-crossing them into entangling meshes; and perhaps a little archer
was drawing back his bow to transfix two hearts and hold them up before
him while he laughed and laughed again at his conquest.

"Miss Seymour," the judge exclaimed, quite compassionately, "I regret
that your father has been so greatly outraged. I hope he will soon
forget it and that his life will be happy. I am grateful to you for the
pleasure of this visit. May I hope to see you at your home in the
country?"

Alice replied, both weeping and smiling, that she could never repay the
debt of gratitude.

"I feel that there is not now a cloud upon my little horizon--that your
considerate judgment has dispelled the shadows that veiled in my life,
and I shall live now for my father and his happiness."

"Ah, my dear miss!" replied the judge, somewhat confused, "do not thank
me for doing my duty. You don't know how my heart yearned towards your
helpless father in the hands of these barbarians." And all the while the
little archer, now an imprisoned eaves-dropper, was peeping out of the
curtains with his chubby hand to his tiny ear and whispering, "Love at
first sight."

Joshua was a unit in this compact mass of freedmen that squatted here
and there upon rude benches and crowded the aisles in that great
auditorium of negroes. There were snow-white dishevelled locks under
primitive hats and bonnets; there were hollow cheeks and lack lustre
eyes; there were hungry stomachs, limbs palsied and stiffened here in
the very May day of reconstruction. The commissariat with its great
reservoirs of fatness was ever so far away, and its approaches were
guarded by armed freedmen who like bearded pards demanded money. "Old
Glory" too, hung inert from the flag staff, blushing perhaps because the
judge is sitting upon the bench to despatch business; because a Daniel
has come to judge Laflin and to give him his pound of flesh without
blood. As the colonel was assisting his daughter into the buggy, after
the tumult was over, Joshua ambled up to him with his battered beaver in
his hand with fulsome congratulations.

"I knowed all de time ole marser dat yu was agwine to get clar. I seed
it in dat jedge's eyes when he heered dat ditement red. He got wexed dat
ar minit, und shuck his hed und I knowed den dat de state had flung de
fat in de farr, und I said to mysef, Joshaway, yu und ole marser is
agwine home wid wun anuder dis werry nite und it cum out lak I
spishuned."

"Uncle Joshua," interrupted Alice feelingly, "father and I are very
grateful for your kindness and you shall never suffer as long as we
live. Here is a dollar; buy Aunt Hannah what she needs, remember, you
must not buy whiskey with it."

"Tank yu yung missis, tank yu a fousand times. I am gwine to lay dis out
for Hannah. I aint agwine to tech narry cent of it, und when dat nigger
sees me coming home with all my bundles she is agwine to jump clean clar
outen her skin. I don't care ef I nebber sees dat kommissary no mo," and
in the transport of joy the old negro tossed his old beaver high into
the air while he lustily cried out, "free cheers for Miss Alice und ole
marser."

There were many things that pre-occupied the minds of Alice and her
father as they were driving home. The old man in a sentimental spirit
felt like exclaiming with the sacred writer "These, and such as these
are spots in our feasts of charity; clouds they are without water,
trees whose fruit withereth; raging waves of the sea foaming out their
own shame; wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness
forever."

As they neared the old homestead, Clarissa was standing in the gateway,
jumping up and down automatically with arms tossing like the fans of a
Dutch windmill, shouting frantically, "glory, glory, the dead has cum to
life agin, blessed Lord de insurreckshun has done und riz agen.
Jurusulum my happy home" and she threw her arms around her young
mistress and in the excess of feeling hugged even the old hound. "Come in
to de kitchen ole marser und Miss Alice fur de lans sake und see what a
snipshus dinner I has got, barbecue, taters and chicken and homily und
sich lak."

Joshua stood in the road to watch his ole marser fast disappearing in
the distance; then taking the crisp note from the lining of his old hat,
brandished it aloft as if it were 'old glory.' It was the first currency
of the kind he had ever seen, for the coroner had refused to pay his per
diem as a juror at the inquest, averring as an excuse therefor dat dat
wote was agin de consecushon und hit jam nigh spiled de hole werdict.
Joshua steadied himself against an empty whisky barrel and began to
calculate as to the purchasing capacity of the dollar note.

"Now lem me count on de tip eend of the fingers scusing de fumb dat
don't count," said he. "Hanner she wants a kote und a par of brogans,
allus awanting mo dan de munny is agwine to fetch," he observed
parenthetically, "und den dare is me, bleeged to have a weskote und
gallusses, und dat will take every bit und grane; und how is I agwine
to git eny bakker, und I'm bleeged to have a drap of sperrits. Now lem
me count over gin und git dis ole fumb outen de way; de kote is fifty
cents und de shoes is seventy five cents, dat won't do," he said as he
scratched his head, "I'm gwine to leabe off de kote; den dere is de
shoes seventy-five cents, und de weskote seventy-five cents; dat won't
do nudder. I'm agwine to leabe off de shoes; den dare is de gallusses
twenty-five cents, und de weskote seventy-five cents; den whar is de
bakker? I'm agwine to lebe off de weskote; den dare is de gallusses
twenty-five cents, und de bakker twenty-five cents, und de sperrits
fifty cents; de munny haint ergwine to hole out no udder way I can fix
it; now den de sperrits fust, und de bakker nex und gallusses las," and
when the old negro had solved the problem he struck a bee line to the
nearest groggery, saying to himself, "Ef Miss Alice had axed me not to
buy no sperrits I'd a been kotched pine plank."

"Two years in the penitentiary," Joshua heard some one exclaim as he was
passing the court house.

"Who dat boss gwine to de penitenshur?" he stopped to enquire.

"Abram Laflin," came the answer.

"Don't you heer dat!" exclaimed Joshua, "Fredum is sho gin out now.
Ellic dun und gon und got hissef drounded, und on de tip eend of dat de
boss is dun und got hissef in de penitenshur. Land sakes alive! Niggers
got to walk perpendickkler now," and with that the old negro dodged into
the tippling shop.

"Say boss?" Joshua said to the rum-seller, "Fill me a tickler rite full
er rum; don't put narry drap of whiskey in hit, kase ef yu dus my
creddick is dun und gon fur ebber. Now what dus I have to pay?" he asked
as he put the bottle into his haversack.

"Seventy-five cents," sharply answered the salesman.

"My King!" ejaculated Joshua, "Den what is I gwine to do about dem
gallusses?"

"Come old negro," the clerk crustily replied, "get out and let that man
come to the counter."

As Joshua was moving suspiciously out of the dram shop he glanced
savagely at the man and said to himself, "Dis heer low down white trash
is a gwine to be de ruinashun ob dis kentry yit, agougging de werry
eyeballs out ob yer hed, und yu are standin rite dare urseein dem do
hit. I wishes dat dar jedge wud git holt ob dese speretual shops und
squashes dem lak he dun dat ditement agin ole marser."

In the small hours of the night Joshua stumbled against the door of his
cabin crying like a lunatic.

"Fer de lan sake Hanner, run out here und kill dese heer snakes, und
fetch my muskit along wid yu."

And Hannah in her night robes ran out frantically crying, "Show me dem
dar sarpents, whar is dey Joshaway?"

"Dar dey go," said he, and seizing the musket he banged away at the
earth exclaiming, "Ef yu is sho naff snakes yu is in a bad fix und ef yu
aint sho nuff snakes den I's in a wusser wun."

"Yu stracted fool," angrily shouted Hannah, "Yu is got de lerium
tremenjous, dat's what ails yu."



CHAPTER XXI.

AN UNSEEN HAND UPON THE LEVER.


The old master at Ingleside had been so greatly exasperated by intrusive
visitors that Clarissa, who was now acting in the dual character of man
and maid, had received express orders to admit no one into the mansion
who could not give a good account of himself or herself; so when Judge
Livingstone rang the door-bell, Clarissa who was sweeping the dust from
the hall dropped the broom with the tart observation,

"I specks dat is ernudder dratted scalyhorg cum to tantylize ole mars
Jon," and she crept dubiously to the door to peep, and perceiving that
there was a white man in the verandah without a gun or other weapon of
offensive war, she halloed loudly through the keyhole.

"Whos yu?" To which no answer was returned.

"Don't yu heer me axes yu whos yu? If yu don't answer white man I'm
agwine to sick ole Jube on yu, und run yu outen dis plantashun. Whos yu
I sez?" repeated the old negro.

"My name is Mr. Livingtone, a friend of your young mistress, to whom I
would be pleased to speak," came the reply.

"I kaint heer nary wurd yu sez, fur ole Jube." "Git outen de way dorg
wid your whinin. You jes wait outen dar twell I axes Miss Alice mout yu
cum in. What you sez your name is?" again cried the old negro.

"I am Judge Liv----"

"Oh, my Lord," interrupted Clarissa with a scream, and she ran back
like a maniac wringing her hands and shouting,

"Oh, my po yung missis, de man has dun und cum to preach de funral; de
gallus is dun und uprared in dis grate house, und de jedge hez dun und
cum to pull de trigger, und de werry fust one he axes fur is yu.
Good-bye, Miss Alice," she exclaimed, as she frantically clutched her
dress and dropped upon her knees. "Und ef I nebber sees yu no mo in dis
wurell tak care of yerself und meet me in de starry hellyments whar dar
aint gwine ter be no mo tribbylashun of sperets."

It was a full minute before Alice could calm her agitation, as tears
from an excess of conflicting sensations ran down her cheeks. Regaining
self-possession she said with a show of authority, "You must not act in
this way Clarissa; what will the gentleman think of us if we do not
render a proper excuse for your misconduct?"

"Miss Alice," said Clarissa, as she placed her arms akimbo, "Ef yu had
seed dat dar man's eyes when he sed he was de jedge yu'd er run too, und
yu wudn't er stopt running twell yit. My King! dem eyes was wusser dan
shuting stors," she exclaimed, as she wiped the great beads of sweat
from her face with her apron.

"You go to the door now, and very politely invite the gentleman into the
parlor, be very careful Clarissa that you do not offend him."

As Clarissa, now reassured, was moving stealthily toward the door, her
mistress overheard her say to herself,

"I aint agwine to fend him epcepts he fends me fust, den I'm agwine ter
run agin, und I aint ergwine ter stop no mo twell I gits to de mashes."

Clarissa opened the door with a very polite bow, as she addressed the
stranger patronizingly.

"Misses sed how dat you mout come in, being how dat it was yu. So cum
erlong rite back of me. Git outen de way Jube, er scrapin quaintance wid
dat stinguished white man, same as he was a low down nigger; fust ting
you knose yu be shut up in de jail house widout ary moufful of wittles,
er howlin same as er wildcat."

It is proper just here to remark that Clarissa had never been a
correspondent or pupil of Lord Chesterfield. She had been emancipated
from the slavvish drudgery of the corn-field, promoted as it were from
the cabin to the mansion. Her manners were direct, pungent,
self-assertive, and her gibberish and volubility were immensely amusing
to the high official who was now adapting himself to conditions and
experiences as they prevailed in the southland; and from time to time
interrogating the negro as he or she appeared without the
superficialities of reconstruction.

As Clarissa saw Judge Livingstone safely in the parlor she went back to
her mistress, and with emphasis of speech and gesture told her what had
been said and done, and returned with the commands of her mistress to
the distinguished guest.

"You jes set rite whar yu is und mak yerself homelike, dar aint no
foolishness erbout our white folks. Me und Miss Alice has been aworrying
ourselves jamby to def ober de smutty cook pots, und she says how dat yu
must scuse her," and she wiped her black face again with her old apron.
The judge failing to comprehend the meaning of the negro in the crude
vernacular of the plantation, a speech that under all circumstances with
malice prepense slew the idioms of the English language, arose to
retire, regretting as he said, "That he could not see her young
mistress;" when Clarissa with great warmth expostulated.

"Hole on dar, Mars Jedge; Miss Alice is ergwine ter cum jes ez soon ez
she washes de smut offen her face und slicks back her eyebrows. My
king! duz yu speks er high quality lady lak my yung missis kin do
eberyting in wun minit? She haint ergwine ter brake her neck kase a
jedge cums heer a courtin her. My missis seed jedges fore ter-day; yu
aint de onliest jedge she ever seed." And with this confusing
declamation Clarissa shuffled out of the parlor with the parting remark,
"Yu's stay rite whar yu is twell she cums."

When the negro had gone the judge laughed immoderately. Indeed, he was
laughing with wide-open mouth as Alice entered the parlor, and advanced
to grasp her hand, confused and stammering.

"Ah, permit me," he said, "er, er, er, to felicitate myself that you
have given me the pleasure of this interview."

Alice felt a suspicion that the old negress had been amusing the learned
judge in her droll way, but she did not know to what extent she had been
compromised by her oddities and ignorance, and to quiet her
apprehensions as far as she could, she asked with seriousness:

"How long have you been in our county?"

"It is my first visit, and I have greatly enjoyed it," replied the
judge, with an effort to conceal his mirth. "The South has been an
object lesson of great educational value to me."

"Ah! and who are your teachers?" asked Alice.

"Why, who can they be but the negroes?" replied the judge
interrogatively.

"I am quite surprised!" exclaimed the young lady.

"Not so much so as I have been, I am sure," the judge replied. "I am a
Northern man with a heart firmly set against what I believed to be the
vagaries of Southern people: absorbing the sentiments and convictions of
my home folks; but since I have been in your country I have discovered
that the South has been outraged and scandalized beyond the point of
endurance. Do you know," he continued argumentatively, "that I have
never seen among my most intimate friends truer or nobler men, and I
have never seen in the jails and penitentiaries of the north a criminal
class more hardened and vicious than these wretches whom you call
carpet-baggers."

"Yes, indeed," replied Alice reflectively, "they have given us a great
deal of trouble, and we are so glad that you have punished the infamous
wretch Laflin, who has incited the negroes to acts of violence and
bloodshed."

"Yes," replied the judge, "I only regret that the law interposed a limit
to the measure of punishment. I would have been glad to have sentenced
the villain for life to the penitentiary at hard labor.

"By the way, Miss Seymour, the governor bade me say to your father that
he would join us here to-day. Will you convey the message to him at your
leisure?"

"Thank you, sir," said the girl. "Pray excuse me for a moment. My father
will be delighted to receive the information; the governor is an old and
dear friend."

The picture now presented to her distinguished guest, a man of clear
discernment, as Colonel Seymour, leaning upon the arm of his lovely
daughter--whose beautiful face was aglow with health--painfully walked
into the parlor, was picturesque and pathetic; indeed, it was the
deepening twilight and the blush of Aurora. Here were hard, rigid lines,
corded and seamed by age, and here were the pencilings of the artist,
whose handiwork is seen as well in the exquisite tintings of the morning
iris. Here were palsied limbs, snow-white hair, accentuated by intimate
contact with marvellous beauty and litheness of figure, that impressed
the intellectual, discriminating judge.

Advancing with extended hand, he met the old man upon the threshold of
the room with an affectionate refinement of manner that bespoke the
thoroughness of the gentleman; the Colonel observing to his guest, as
the latter conducted him to a chair, that the gout had made a cripple of
him, but that in all other respects he was quite himself. It was all too
evident to the far-sighted judge that an unseen hand had its grasp upon
the lever and was running the home-stretch with accelerated momentum.

"Your coming," said the Colonel, "has been like the bearing of a flag of
truce; it has given us hope--life; it has ungeared the harrow that
crushed us so remorselessly."

"I thank you, my dear sir," most gratefully answered the judge with
feeling. "I have endeavored to discharge my duty, and how could I do
this, sir, in this country without using the scourge? You have a fine
country and a magnanimous people--a people who love liberty and law--and
it is a personal affliction to witness in how many ways you are insulted
and oppressed."

At this juncture Clarissa knocked softly at the door to announce to her
mistress "dat de guberment hez dun und riv," and Alice, excusing
herself, retired, concealing her laughter as much as possible, which was
provoked by the ludicrous deficiencies of the corn-field negro. It was a
metaphor which the negro had ignorantly employed. The Governor was not
the government, or any part thereof. Had he been, Ingleside would have
been safeguarded by a sentinel utterly impervious to any sensation of
fear, not so ignorant or cowardly as Clarissa.

The arrival of the Governor was formally announced by Alice and he was
ushered into the parlor, and Alice withdrew to give some directions to
Clarissa, whom she found sitting in her rickety chair in the kitchen
humming

    "My ole Kentucky home, fur away."

"Clarissa," the young lady asked as she approached her, "what do you
suppose the judge thought of us this morning and of our maid of all
work?"

Clarissa looked up into the face of her young mistress with a stare
almost of vacuity, and after a moment's reflection said, with her
accustomed pertness,

"I kaint hep dat, Miss Alice, ole marser dun und gin me my orders, und I
want agwine ter let nobody pass nur repass ef I knoed it. Ole marser he
noes his bizness, und ef he tells me ter keep de kyarpet-sackers outen
dis grate house I'm ergwine ter do it ef de good Lawd spares me. Don't
fault me, Miss Alice, wid ole marser's doins, fur de lan's sake. How cum
dat dar jedge outen here any how? Dar aint no kote ergwine on in dis
heer grate house dat I noes of. Specks dar is ergwine ter be wun do, und
don't specks nuffin else but sumbodv is ergwine ter git conwicted und
sont clean erway frum heer," and the old negro laughed boisterously.
"Dat dar jedge is er portly man, but my king! dem dar eyes, ugh-h-h!
cuts froo yu same ez er razor."

Alice laughed again and again at the old negro, and after awhile
coyishly remarked, "Never mind, Clarissa, never mind."

Clarissa turned her old head to one side as she replied with great
earnestness.

"Taint wurf while to say neber mind Clarsy, neber mind, I seed fo now
what was agwine to be de upshot of dis bisniss. I knowed pine plank
which er way de cat wuz er gwine to jump. Ole missus allus sed dat yu
was ergwine to marry er jedge er a lyar er a mefodis slidin elder er a
sircus rider und I hopes und prays dat yu may, kase ef yu don't youse
ergwine ter be er lone lorn orfin creetur arter ole marser's hed dun und
layed low."

The conversation of the distinguished gentleman naturally drifted into
channels that had been cut very deep by the sharp edged tools of
reconstruction; the judge deferentially yielding to his seniors who had
witnessed the workmanship of unskilled hands, and what he ventured to
say from time to time was in the way of suggestions or mild
expostulations.

The Governor when discussing reconstruction was opinionated and
emphatic. Every paragraph was punctuated with a sneer, gesture or frown.

"Had the suggestions of president Lincoln prevailed," he began, "the
South would have been God's country; but wicked counsels predominated.
There was not a statute enacted by a legislature, nor an order made by a
general, nor a proclamation issued by a governor, nor a requisition made
by the head of a department that did not whet the sword with which they
were prodding into the bowels of the South, after the final
capitulation. These atrocious policies were conceptions of men who swore
in their wrath that not a blade of grass should spring where their
hellish coursers planted hoof; that in the realigning of the federal
union, strong black lines should be drawn with a savage vengeance over
the face of the South. Reconstruction was the act of self-destruction,
and the suicides deserve to be buried without the shedding of a tear,
without christian sepulture in outlawed graves. They made the thorn to
spring up where the fir-tree had flourished, and the bramble instead of
the myrtle tree. In these abominable acts there is death; death enough
to satisfy the grave. Before the ink was dry upon the parchment, before
the funereal bake-meats were cold, they contract an unnatural covenant
of marriage with four million slaves, disbanded outlaws from the army,
and put upon them the mask of freedom to conceal the horrid front of
tyranny. Sirs, we rebel against the outrage. When the Philistines are
upon us shall we not rise and shake ourselves, or shall we lay our heads
in the lap of Delilah, to be shorn of our power; to be bound in chains,
until we shall pray God to avenge our wrongs in the common destruction
of ourselves and our enemies. No sirs, they shall find that when we are
prostrated, that like Antæus we shall rise with renewed vigor from our
shame. Why this glozing title "Reconstruction?" Who shall declare its
generation? What holy font was polluted by its baptism? Whence its
bastard origin? Plots, the vile brood of malice have been hatched under
fanatical incubation and piloted southward, like flocks of harpies, that
by their uncleanness they might defile our civilization. Every blight of
calumny from ultra partisan--press and pulpit, has been blown upon
southern character. Their speeches are filled with fields scourged down
to barrenness, and negroes multiplied and worked up to the very tragedy
of indiscriminate assassinations. We will not propitiate the black
devils by heaping their altars with sacrifices; black fiends who, like
the great dragon in the Apocalypse, are sweeping after them into the
abysm, filled with slaughter, one third of the stars in our political
heaven. Which of these stars are to be fixed, or which are to be
planetary in this black firmament of eternal night; which primary, and
which central, which wandering stars and which satellites, are matters
for their savage taste. For my state may God in his infinite mercy
decree that the laws of position and movement may be ascertained and
established, before it, once so beautiful and bright, shall go down and
down forever below a horizon of blood. They may like wrestlers in the
arena bring us to our knees, but never sir, shall they lay us on our
backs. Let us alone, and the dews and the rains and the sunshine of
heaven, (the only creatures of God left by them in friendship with us)
shall give to our blood-stained fields moisture and fertility, and time
and labor and God's blessing shall cover the land with verdure, with
cottonfields and gardens, pastures and meadows. They promised us peace,
and it came with the mutterings of a tornado. In our vain efforts to
compromise the situation we turned our backs upon the past, hallowed as
were its memories. We had ceased to remember the execrations of
fanatics, even the 'league with the devil, and the covenant with hell.'

"We did all this and more, after we had passed fire-scathed through an
ordeal whose voice was storm and whose movement was earthquake, which
swept from us every visible substance; so that in our last and extremest
agony we were forced to cry aloud, like Francis at Pavia, "All is lost
save honor." We gave the government our parole; we hammered our swords
into plow-shares and pruning-hooks; we pitched our tents upon the
fire-blasted lands where once had been our homes, and with axe and
mattock and blade and plow began to cut away brambles and bushes and
cultivate our fields; and when we believed that we were secure in the
enjoyment of our rights of persons and property, the authors of
reconstruction swept down upon the beleaguered South like Hyder Ali upon
the Carnatic, and left scarcely a vestige upon which to hope, or from
which to rebuild, except our worn-out lands and our own splendid
manhood and womanhood. States were despoiled of their resources, towns
and cities were battered and burned; the angel of death had crossed
every threshhold, and three hundred thousand of the flower and chivalry
of the land were lying in soldiers' graves. Our public institutions were
languishing unto death; from centre to circumference there were
outlawries, assassinations, conflagrations; and our people looked into
the faces of each other and in their helplessness asked what other
calamities are reserved for us and our children. They seized upon four
million slaves and hurled them like immense projectiles against our
civilization. And to conclude, sir, for I find I am getting excited, in
this catastrophe our hopes were stayed upon the honest men of the North,
like you, sir, and our noble, patriotic women, like you, my dear miss,"
bowing with boyish gallantry to Alice. "The women of the sixties are
more than heroines in the storm-swept crisis--they are a revelation in
the flesh. What Arria was to Pætus, what Natalia was to Adrian, what
Gertrude was to Rudolph, what Helen, the Jennie Dean of the 'Heart of
Midlothian,' was to Tibbie, what Prascovia was to the Russian exile, our
self-sacrificing women are to us. There has never been an occasion when
the habit of instantaneous obedience to the voice of love and country
has produced more affecting and constant instances of devotion and
loyalty upon the part of the women, than in the gleaning of the
aftermath by hands saturated with all the crimes of the calendar.

"And now, gentlemen," (the Governor bowed), "if I have given offence by
any intemperate expression, will you please forgive me, for my wrath
waxes warm when concentrated upon the subject of reconstruction.
Perhaps, sir," he continued, addressing His Honor, "you are not in
sympathy with the views I may have inconsiderately expressed?"

"Why, my dear sir," the judge replied, "I have never been in sympathy
with a policy which you have so eloquently denounced, and which the
patriotic people of the North sincerely deprecate, and I quite agree
with you that reconstruction has unlocked a Pandora box of evils whose
fledgelings are hovering over this land."

The sun was now setting with an iridescent aureole of gold and carmine
and purple as the judge remarked apologetically, "I have been struggling
with myself between inclination and duty; indeed I find it
embarrassingly difficult to tear myself from so charming a circle. I
have only a few minutes to catch the train, and you don't know how much
I grieve to say good-bye. I shall be in your town again within the next
month, and may I indulge the hope that I shall be once more welcomed at
Ingleside?"

"We shall only be too glad to be similarly honored," replied Colonel
Seymour with deference.

Clarissa, who was standing near the door with her arms folded and
grinning like a blackamoor, gave the judge the parting bow, as he placed
into her hand a dollar note, and putting her apron to her face, so she
might whisper the better, with a negroish curtsy, said,

"Yu mus sho cum ergin mars jedge, our fokses laks yu mazing, und I'm
ergwine ter tell yu de nex time what Miss Alice dun und sed erbout yu; I
knose dats ergwine ter fotch yu back."

The Governor remained at Ingleside throughout the night and like a
gladiator in the arena was fighting, with the broad sword of invective,
a duel in dialectics with the parliamentarians of reconstruction; the
Colonel the meanwhile reinforcing the athlete as a reserve. Alice at a
late hour retired with her head filled with fantastic notions, and
Clarissa too stretched her aching bones upon her bed wondering in her
pragmatic way, "Ef dat shiny eyed judge was agwine ter hold his sho nuff
kote in de grate house, und ef she was agwine ter be de juror und Miss
Alice de konwick."

Old Joshua like an over-ripe sheaf of barley was now to lay his head in
the dust. The swift horses were harnessed and cantering toward his door.

"Son of man behold I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a
stroke, yet neither shalt thou mourn, neither shalt thy tears run down."
Four score and two years were the days of the years of his pilgrimage;
many and evil had the days of his years been. Would there be mourners at
the burial? Will 'old glory' hang its head again as it did at the
assizes, when an outraged commonwealth was proceeding to judgment
against Laflin for enumerated transgressions? Three score and ten years
are the complement of life, within which the balance sheet is prepared;
repenting against sinning; undoing against doing; dying against living;
accounts and contra-accounts, all fairly computed, and the quotient
announced by Him who breathes into man's nostrils the breath of life.
Four score and two years! What changes in the theories and forms of
governments; what contrarieties in the pursuits and ambitions of man.
The messenger came without the rattling of wheels, without knocking at
the door, came on unsandaled feet.

"Hannah, I'm agwine home, good-bye," was the hurried parting, as the
messenger thrust him into his chariot. Side by side he sat with the
voiceless ambassador, while the stars were twinkling in the midnight
sky; a fast disappearing type of the picturesque civilization of the
sixties. His tracks around the old commissariat are now faded into
nothingness, and old glory will wave on and on "froo de trees," just as
proudly as that day when he stood at its staff and patriotically saluted
the stars and stripes with uncovered head, proclaiming his loyalty in
the grateful expression, "I node when I seed yu a sea-sawing in de air
dat dar was a stummick full of good wittles some whays."

In the true representative outlines of the old South there is a number
dropped from the rolls, that is all. In its new birth of constitutional
liberty, postponed until patriots shall have tired of a government
inefficient and venal, the memory of Joshua, laden with fragrance, will
cling to hearts that now deplore his death. Good bye, Uncle Joshua until
we meet upon the golden strand! Until we see you again without your
staff, with your face radiant with a celestial gleam, in a fleecy robe,
with golden sandals; until we hear you say so contentedly, "Brederin,
dere is kommissaries all erroun in dis butiful country, und yu kin buy
widout munny und widout price."



CHAPTER XXII.

AN HOUR WITH DICKENS.


Alice felt that she could see a new light come into the window, into the
old home, into her soul; that a peace had come visibly into the shadowed
mansion, now that Aleck and Ephraim and the negro constable were dead in
the mud of the river; now that the Federal head had been removed by the
battle-axe of the fearless judge. She began to hope again, perhaps to
love again, who shall say? There was, it may be, a tiny sunbeam
coquetting with the old shadows that had so long overlaid every approach
to her young heart, and perhaps a little be-jewelled goldsmith was
tinkering and hammering upon a tiny arrow pointed with a ruby, and
feathered with tiny pinions of some diminutive bird, that nested among
fragrant mangoes far away in the isles of the sea, with which he was to
shoot down those unsightly idols that had long pre-empted her heart. The
days were loitering, she thought, in their flight, and the little
brownie who had been counting the numerals of time in their flight had
fallen asleep, and the old clock in the great hall ticked languidly as
if it were tired to death with its unvarying round of toil.

In this awakening to the brighter possibilities whom should she clasp to
her heart but her old friend, Charles Dickens? The Dickens of Dombey, of
Bleakhouse, of David Copperfield. She remembered how this marvellous
story-teller, so familiar to all young readers, who had so many children
of his own, the offspring of an overflowing fancy, one bleak day had
passed up and down Westminster Hall, clasping to his heart the magazine
that contained his first effusions, with eyes dimmed with pride and joy,
as he dropped stealthily, at twilight, a suspicious package into a dark
letter box down a dark alley. How many times the narrative had woven
golden filaments here and there through the warp of reconstruction! What
a bright filagree into the shadows that were unceasingly coming and
going! How many happy hours she had whiled away with Mr. Pickwick and
his admiring friends! How delightfully she had been entertained by the
wit of Samuel Weller, the eloquence of Sergeant Buzfuz, of Captain
Bunsby! Many a hypochondriac had laughed immoderately at the ludicrous
exercises of Crummles and the infant phenomenon! What a charming
companion is Dick Swiveller, the inimitable! Dear old Dick; reeling now
and then from excess of wine, but great hearted withal. Who does not
even now occasionally inhale the fragrant odors of the delicious punches
compounded by that blighted being, Mr. Wilkins Micawber, as he listens
to Sairy Gamp and laughs at Mrs. Harriss? Where is the tender-hearted
Christian who would shout for a policeman, while they are ducking
Shepherd, or pommelling Squeers, or cudgelling Pecksniff, or inflicting
divers and deserved assaults upon Uriah Heep? With what a motley crowd
of living characters Dickens has peopled our literature? What children
were ever like his children? What homes were ever like their homes?
There is little Pip and honest old Joe Gargery, who pauses for a moment
at his anvil to observe with animation, "Which I mean ter say, that if
you come into my place bull baiting and badgering me, come out! Which I
mean ter say, as sech, if yu're a man, come on! which I mean to say that
what I mean ter say, I mean to say and stand or fall by;" and Mrs. Joe
over watchful and over masterful always, who in the alembic of nature
had discovered no better way of bringing little Pip up than "by hand."
Then there is little Oliver Twist, a poor little waif, always hungry,
licking the platter and now and then, embarrassingly asking "for more;"
and poor Smikes is more terribly tragic, for he lived longer; and little
Nell the heart child of unnumbered thousands, tramping along the roads,
footsore and ever so weary, a poor little wanderer without home, until
the good Lord looks down into her tearful eyes and says one day, "Little
Nell your little hands and your little feet and your little heart are so
tired, will you not come with me, child?" And little Paul Dombey lying
wearily in the trundle bed, within sound of the manifold voices of the
sea, turns languidly to his sister Florence and asks with the natural
inquisitiveness of a child, "What are the wild waves saying?" And Joe
All Jones moves almost heedlessly on to death through more streets than
those of London; and Tom Pinch, Betsy Trotwood and faithful old Peggotty
and Ham, whose very oddities and deficiencies are turned into a crown of
glory; and the sneering melodramatic villains and scape-graces, Monck
and Quilp, and the blind man in Barnaby Rudge, and the Jew Fagan and
Murdstone and Carker; and the high spirited Steerforth and Nickleby and
Creakle, and Stiggins and Chadband and Sampson Brass and Snawley; and
poor little idiotic Barnaby, as on the way to the gallows he points to
the stars, and says to Hugh of the Maypole, "I guess we shall know who
made the stars now;" and last of all, but not least, Pecksniff, the
masterpiece of them all. From boot to hat he is all over and all under,
Pecksniff; drunk or sober he is Pecksniff. He is the virtuous Pecksniff
all the time, and altogether. He hugs himself to his own heart as the
embodiment of all the virtues of the decalogue and the beatitudes. No
matter into what rascality he may be plunging, his serene self conscious
virtue never forsakes him. The child wife, too, passes by us into the
spirit land, and there is the beautiful, dreamy eyed Agnes, who quite
charms us with her love and trust, and the sad, calm face of Florence
looks timidly upon us; and Mrs. Jellyby tells us to look out for
Borioboola Gha; and poor Micawber informs us that nothing has turned up
yet, and hinting darkly about laudanum and razors. What a marvellous
characterization! Will the world ever tire of this man and his children,
that he has materialized out of ideals so unpromising; whom he has
reared up in the slums of London, many of them upon garbage?

The blessed Sabbath day was passing uneventfully. There were no alarms
from any source. Old Hannah in her gloom was moving in and out of the
office and the "ole master" who had retired to his bed chamber was
weakening as the days would come and go. Alice, with the acumen of an
experienced physician, was noting the changes from time to time, and
realized that the final change would come some day and perhaps at an
hour least expected. The sad life of little Nell had wrought upon her
womanly feelings and she began to think of herself, her situation, of
her loneliness should her father be taken from her, and she thought of
the crude inelegant suggestion of old Clarissa.

"De crowsfoot is ergwine to cum into yer lubly face, und kurlykus and
frowns under yer eyes, und what wud you do in dis grate big grate house,
und dis great big plantashun by yer lone lorn self."

The contemplation of such a situation could only harrow her heart more
and more, but there was the gallant Arthur lying over in Virginia, and
she had plighted her troth to him that day, that she reviewed the
cavalry parade, when he stood by her side so handsome, so happy, in his
Confederate uniform, with the nodding plumes in his hat, when he said to
her, "Sweet Alice, will you be true to me until I return from the war?"
And she promised him with a kiss that she would; "and if dear Arthur you
shall never return, Alice will still be true to you."

Is there no limitation to such a contract; are not its conditions
already performed? She asked herself. Assuredly there are no marriages
in Heaven. She remembered that the Saviour of the world had said to the
Sadducees, "Ye do err not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage,
but are as the angels of God in Heaven." "Arthur knew that I loved
him--that I loved him from our childhood, and I am sure that our friends
as they enter the gates, are greeted by our friends up there, and that
they ask with so much interest and affection about their loved ones in
this sad, lonely terrene.

If Arthur could speak to me now, and could know that ere long I shall be
bereft of the last of my kindred, I am sure he would say to me with a
smile, "Sweet Alice, your loving heart has been my own all these sad
years, but we cannot marry here, though we may be sweethearts. You
require a manly heart in which you may place your burdens, and a manly
bosom upon which you may recline your tired, wearied head; strong arms
that shall shield you from every peril. Think of me at the nuptial hour
and know that I shall give you away at the altar with my blessing and
smile."

Thus ran the current of her meditation. Thus in her fancy she was
scattering over the flagstones, in the nave of the old church, a sheen
as of pure gold. Tired out with these thoughts she fell asleep in her
chair, and her dreams were sweet and refreshing until she was awakened
by a gentle rap upon the door which announced the presence of her
father.

Ned had now been installed as the butler at Ingleside. Clarissa
observing as he assumed his untried office, "Dat Ned was more spryer und
cud fend fur hesef bettern oman fokses. What cud wun lone lorn oman do
ef de carpet-sackers shud come back sho nuff. Old marser ort to fort ob
dis fo now."

The valuable estate of Burnbrae, an adjoining plantation, had fallen
under the auctioneer's hammer for unpaid taxes and an overdue mortgage.
The old owner had struggled with adverse fate to preserve it for his
children, in the same plight it had descended to him from his ancestors;
saving and excepting reasonable wear and tear and other unavoidable
casualties. This large estate of more than two thousand acres had been
purchased by Judge Bonham with its impedimenta of freed slaves that had
been dumped into its cellars like offal by the Freedman's Bureau.

This incident alone was a sad commentary upon the times. From affluence
to penury the descent had been sheer and without the fault of Mr. Baring
the owner. Judge Bonham said to him however that he should not want, and
that he might remain where he was at least for the present. The
purchasing of this property was the occasion of a visit from that
distinguished proprietor to Colonel Seymour at Ingleside. Judge Bonham
had been a distinguished lawyer and jurist, and in the very best of
times had highly dignified his profession by a seat upon the Superior
Court bench. He was, however, confronted now by a condition and not a
theory. He had interviewed from time to time the authors of his text
books, digests and reports, but from their dead lips came no
satisfactory response to the question, "What shall be done with these
poor negroes?" Thrust out of their home nests like unfledged eaglets,
their very sustenance precarious and their condition the most pitiable
and squalid. Idlers and vagrants, watching like a shipwrecked crew
hopelessly for succor, when there is none to come.

It happened that the judge and the Colonel were in confidential
communication for more than an hour, and doubtless the subject was
exhaustively examined and reviewed, as if it were under a microscope.
The judge, had been a widower for a few years, was a man of quite
dignified presence, and perhaps fifty-five years of age. He had seen
Alice but once before, at the Memorial exercises at the cemetery, and
to-day he contemplated the southern beauty as if he were looking upon
the face of Beatrice Cenci as it smiles upon the throngs from the
gallery at Florence. Her exquisite grace, her extraordinary beauty,
rekindled instantly the fire that had burned down into dead ashes so
many years ago.

He asked himself the question, "Can I be in love? Have I been ensnared
by the pretty fowler, enmeshed by the witcheries, the fascinations of
this royal and unsophisticated beauty?" And all this done and
accomplished without the movement of a finger upon her part.

"You, Livy Bonham, almost in the sere leaf, a veteran of fifty-four
years, striking the flag to a feebly manned battery of bewitching blue
eyes before it has opened fire! Impossible! Impossible!" This exclamation
was just loud enough for the Colonel to overhear, who enquired of the
judge, "what it was that was impossible?"

"Ah, I was thinking if I couldn't persuade the negroes to vacate my
premises, that was all."

"Perhaps I may find it necessary to consult you further, say to morrow.
You know I am living at Burnbrae now, and the distance between us is
very short, and I am sure we shall become very intimate."

When the judge left the mansion the old man, accompanied by Alice sought
rest in the parlor upon one of the mahogany sofas.

"And now my daughter you will please take up your book again and read to
me. What are you reading," he continued.

"I was reading just then my dear father," the girl replied, "about the
death of little Paul Dombey. I never weary of sentiments so heart
pervading that I find running like golden threads through all of
Dickens' works. You remember little Paul, father?"

"Yes, oh yes," replied the old man, "Read it all over again."

And Alice in her sweet, musical voice read so soothingly to her father
that he sank to sleep.

Closing the door softly behind her she went out into the verandah and
sang quite plaintively one or more old songs, it might have been for the
little birds that were piping their notes too in the tree boughs above
her.

Shall we slip away from Alice for a moment to invade the privacy of the
judge?

If the judge had knowledge of our unbidden presence, would he not say in
the law latin that we had committed a trespass, "_quare clausum
fregit_?" Oh, no, it would flatter him immensely to suspect that he was
in love, and that with the beauty of Ingleside. He was stupidly ignorant
after propounding the question a score of times to himself, his answer,
dubiously made, was always, "Well, we shall see perhaps."



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE ABSENT-MINDED JUDGE.


Burnbrae, the home of the Barings, with its productive acres fringed by
vine-clad vales and hills, had by an irrevocable event passed
irredeemably out of the possession of its embarrassed owner, and
heart-broken the old man yielded his tenure to the new master. The
mortgage debt and taxes, like omniverous caterpillars, began to eat away
at its four corners at one and the same time. Mr. Baring could only
await the inevitable hour with the saddest apprehensions. For himself it
was a matter of little consequence, for like the sea-tossed sailor, he
could discern within the length of a cable the ultimate haven,
land-locked and tranquil; but for his two daughters who would survive
him the stroke was almost heart-crushing.

The forced sales of beautiful homesteads like Burnbrae, in the days of
reconstruction were not much of an incident; when there was no halting
by that unbrigaded army that was laying waste field and plantation, and
scourging the land into nakedness; when by the extra judicial processes
of assimilation and absorption the spoils system was budding into a
vigorous life and the spoilsmen were animated, remorseless and
persevering.

Around this home there were memories dear and tender, trellissed in the
affections of the Barings; incense came forth from chambers and bowers,
and out yonder where the smooth white stones glisten in the moonlight
like platoons of white-gowned maidens, the Baring generations lay in
unbroken files.

It is a sad thing to see a home, like a worthless chattel, under the
hammer of a callous-hearted auctioneer; to hear him cry going, going,
going, with as much delight as if he were parting company with a
pestilence; but alas! with the owner it is like a judgment of outlawry
to pass the keys, the symbolical title, to the purchaser, who is
animated by no kind sentiment; who sees no tears and hears no sighs.
"Going, going, going!" There slips out of the master's control the
nursery where infancy was cradled, swathed in the manifolding of love
and tenderness.

I see in retrospection a beautiful young mother, with a redundance of
soft black hair as velvety as the wing of a raven, with her foot upon
the rocker smiling so sweetly upon the sleepy-eyed child, who arouses
her little tired self only long enough to whisper dreamily,

"Sing please, again, mama; sing Dix--" and falls asleep. And then there
is the old conservatory just under mother's window, aromatic with
memories. Mother called it her "Flowery kingdom," because every morning
and every evening she entered her throne-room there with its dais of
japonicas and camelias; and there were her little maids of honor in
russet and gold and carmine glistening in dewy diamonds and pearls; and
they would thrust back their silky night-caps and their little eyes
would be bright, as they peeped out of tiny hoods of blue and purple,
red and white. Ah, this was a royal realm of the queen mother, and those
little star rayed princesses were so loyal in their beauty and
fragrance. And this, too, like a beautiful pantomime, was passing away,
leaving only shadows that, like some horrid dream, were darkening the
soul. Oh, the charm, the aroma of the vine-clad conservatory, dear
mother's "Flowery kingdom" and her little royal maids?

And there is the old drawing-room with a bountiful bouquet of memories.
This hallowed chamber was so often refreshed in the golden twilight by
mother's presence, by mother's devotions, by mother's voice as it
blended softly with the harmonies of the old harpsichord; and it seems
as if there were sweet chimes out of doors in the stilly air, and
perhaps the stars were re-enforcing the old songs with whispering
symphonies.

Then there was the chamber just next to mother's, embowered in columbine
and the trailing arbutus where there are treasured still old letters,
books and shoes and articles of vertu that belonged to Walter; just
where he placed them before he enlisted in the Confederate cavalry;
before he died and was rudely buried without a winding sheet, under the
clods of the Shenandoah valley, that day that Stonewall Jackson unfurled
the star barred banner in the streets of Winchester; to rest, aye, to
rest until the bugler of the skies shall pipe the reveille. Going,
going, going. It is the knell of happy days; the dirge of hearts crushed
by sacrifices, sorrows; it is the thud of the cold clay upon the coffin
of hope; the shroud that a remorseless destiny has flung around our
idols as they fall one by one from their pedestals. "Going, going,
going," the echo is thrust back upon the bruised heart from the white
cold stones out yonder under the Mulberry. Perhaps Mr. Baring's
daughters, who planted about these sacred mounds the star eyed daisies
and the lily white violets, never thought of the dance that should go on
and on to the fascination of lute and harp in the resounding halls, when
the stranger should occupy in his right dear old Burnbrae. So
bewildering are the changes in this life. It seems to them but yesterday
that their lovely sister, a maiden of sixteen years, was laid away by
the side of their mother, to arise one day transfigured and glorified;
and now they were going to tell the old home with its cherished
memorials good-bye; and the old graveyard and mother's vine clad
"Flowery kingdom" too. Ah, every footfall is like an echo from some
deserted shrine; and there is no kind voice to bid them "come again."
The little twittering birds are piping the refrain of the sad, sad song
of the auctioneer. Others enter now with the keys of a lawful dominion;
they unlock the dead chambers, but the fragrance of happy lives is gone
like the breath exhaled from the nostril. The stranger never heard the
old harpsichord with its responsive chords, as they were swept by
mother's lily white hands and almost syllabled her angel voice. They
were never charmed by that sweet sunny voice that in so many twilights
has been singing vespers in heaven; they know naught of the dead white
ashes that lay in the unlighted furnaces of the poor souls, who are
saying now so tenderly, so tearfully, to their old home and its
memorials, its idols, "Good-bye, good-bye!"

Judge Bonham, the purchaser, had been highly distinguished in the civic
and military employments of the country. Like his old friend, Colonel
Seymour, he was with Lee at Spottsylvania, Gettysburg and Appommattox,
and like his colleague in the humiliations of the hour he had declined
to "bend the pregnant hinges of the knee that thrift may follow
fawning." To say that under all circumstances he maintained a
perpendicular, from which there was no swerving backwards or forwards or
to the right, or the left would be a falsification of biography. He,
like all other mortals upon this terrene had his passions, when his
temper, despite curbs and restraints, almost overmastered him. Judicial
experiences had affected his manners, so that he appeared austere and
unfriendly; but he had a kind heart, open-handed to a fault, true to his
convictions, his friends, his God.

There were curves and lines in the physical man here and there that
appeared misplaced and misshapen. His long stringy hair or what there
was left of it, was of a carrotty color, his nose was aquiline with
unnatural projections, and his mouth though a little rigid in outline
displayed, when animated, a beautiful set of teeth.

He was a very scholarly man; a religious man too, and entertained
throughout his life strong Calvinistic convictions. It was strange
indeed that a gentleman so exemplary in life, should sometimes run the
hazard of being suspected as a rogue by those who were ignorant of the
infirmity that harassed him all of his years. When meditating upon this
playfulness of nature he would observe confidentially, that in any
community where he was not known he would be oftener in the State's
prison than without it.

"Better a Bedouin in the trackless desert than a man who is forever
running the gauntlet at such a risk," he said embarrassingly.

There was the gossip of the town in which he lived as biting as the hoar
frost, revamped and magnified to his hurt. When the gossipping spinsters
heard that the judge was reinforcing his natural attractiveness by the
glossiest and finest of raiment, coming out of the wardrobe like the
butterfly out of the chrysalis, they hurried to and fro among the
neighbors, like magpies chattering and twittering, and they laid the
poor fellow under the power of an anodyne upon the cold marble slab, and
with scalpels scarified him horribly, as some women only can do. "Did
you ever! Did you ever!" came a refrain from puckered lips.

"Who would have believed it!" exclaimed Miss Jerusha Timpkins, as she
rolled up her dancing eyes and clasped her bony hands as if in
expostulation.

"The idea! The idea!" ejaculated Miss Narcissa Scoggins.

"That man going to marry!" they all exclaimed in chorus. "My, my, my!"

"And pray who told you so?" asked Miss Jemima Livesay with a biting
expression.

"Why, where have you been, Jemima, all these months, you ain't heard it?
It is the town talk. Why, Amarylla Hedgepeth she heard it straight from
the knitting society. Squire Jiggetts told old Deacon Bobbett that the
judge had spoken to him to marry him to the beautiful Alice Seymour, and
Deacon Bobbett told his wife, and Mrs. Bobbett told Sarah Marlow, and
Sarah Marlow told Polly Ann Midgett, and Polly Ann ups and tells Martha
Gallop, and that's how the news gets to us strait."

"Well sir!" exclaimed Miss Serepta Hightower, forgetting she was
speaking to old maids who had a loathing for any expression that
suggested a man or the name or the memory of a man, except the man they
were prodding and scarifying. "I wouldn't believe it if the news came
pine blank from the clouds; that I wouldn't!" and she gave emphasis to
the utterance by the malicious and vehement stroking of one skinny fist
against the other.

"Why, that man?" she exclaimed with horror, "Why, he would forget his
marriage vows before he ever made them. Why when he led Malindy
Hartsease a blushing bride to the altar thirty years ago; why, don't you
all remember that he sauntered out of the church by his lone lorn self,
and the preacher had to go to his house in the dead of night in the
rain and tell him that he had left his bride in the church crying her
very eyeballs out?"

"The monster! the monster!" all exclaimed and skinny hands and skinny
arms and skinny necks were tossing and swaying automatically.

"Of course I warnt there myself (nor I either, came interruptions from
all the spinsters) but I heard my mother, poor soul, say that she was
right there and that she never felt so sorry for a poor human being in
all her life as she did for poor Malindy; but she has gone to her rest
now, thank the Lord!" and a dozen handkerchiefs instantly gravitated
toward a dozen hysterical faces.

"I pity any poor soul that ties herself to such a man as that from the
bottom of my heart," said Miss Anastasia Perkins in great sympathy. "Why
she won't know whether she is married or not, neither will he; just as
likely as not he will go courting somebody else with his poor wife a
sitting back in the chimney corner in the ashes."

"And there is another pint I haint ever said anything about, but I think
it ought to be known here betwixt ourselves and not to go any further"
said, Miss Martha Gallop "but the way he treated his poor wife Malindy
was a purified scandal. Now I aint a telling you this as coming from me,
for the good Lord knows when that thing happened, I was a little teensy
weensy tot, (with a coquettish toss of her antique head) but old aunt
Mehetibel Parsley knows all about it, and I've heard her say over and
over again that when Judge Bonham and Malindy would be riding in their
carriage to meeting that he would forget where he was going and would
fetch up right against the poor house three miles or more in the other
direction, and that poor mournful woman would be a sitting back in the
carriage with eyes as red as a gander's, and a looking pine plank like
she was coming from a funeral."

"Oh the cruel, cruel monster!" came another refrain, and skinny fists
would double up and strike against ancient knees like resounding boards,
and the spinsters would all heave great, tumultuous sighs, and corkscrew
curls, like spiral springs, would dance up and down mechanically upon
their well oiled pivots.

Judge Bonham was quite nervously gravitating toward a situation that
required great force of character; a situation always extra hazardous
and demanding the exercise of every resource.

This phlegmatic man was running the biblical parallel, dreaming dreams
and seeing visions; not the distorted creations of the night-mare, but
beautiful little crayons of love, swinging like tiny acrobats from blue
ribbons on the walls, and descending like vagrant sunbeams upon the
vermillion carpet; composite faces, too, with bright golden hair and
brighter blue eyes.

The old gentleman sat back in his easy chair, thinking of the
captivating beauty over at Ingleside, and there were ecstatic little
chimes ringing in his ears, and their chorus always was this,

    "I don't care what the gossips say,
    I shall marry some fair day."

"But am I really in love?" asked he. It was a perplexing question to a
mind unusually acute and active in the powers of analysis and synthesis;
to a mind that could grasp, multiply and divide remainders, particular
estates and reversions in all their infiniteness. And the old man began
to ponder seriously upon the situation.

Something quite unusual and quite unnatural was tinkering upon the
frayed out heart strings of the old judge, until the learned man quite
bewildered found himself addressing his reflected image in the mirror.

"Quite handsome, upon my honor, Mr. Livy Bonham," he exclaimed, "and she
will say so, too, when she sees her beautiful image in my soft blue
eyes; for they will speak to her in love and she will understand."

He turned from the mirror singing sweetly,

    "And bright blue was her ee,
      And for bonnie Annie Laurie
    I'll lay me doon and dee."

As he passed out of the door with his brand new beaver hat canted to the
right side of his head and twirling his gold-headed cane in his hand, he
said to his old cook,

"Remember, Harriet, to come to me when I return, as I shall have orders
for a general cleaning of the house by and by, and tell Lije to put the
carriage in apple-pie order."

"I wonder what mars judge do mean?" asked the simple negro as she turned
away, "Hit pears lak his mind is a purified a wonderin; noboddy haint
rid in dat kerrige since ole missis died, und it do seem lak a skandle
to rub ole missis' tracks out dis late day. Ef Mars Livy is agwine to
get married he orter dun und dun it soon arter old missis died, den dere
wudn't ben no skandle in de lan lak dere is agwine to be now. Folkses
high und low is ergwine to look skornful, wid dere fingers pinted at de
gal, und ax deyselves how cum she jined herself to ole marser, wid wun
foot in de grave, jes to suck sorrer arter he is dun und gon."

The man of fifty-five years was met at the door of Ingleside by the
faithful old butler, who bowed almost to the floor as he greeted the
judge, who, placing his hat into Ned's hands asked suspiciously if his
young mistress were at home?

"Deed she is, mars jedge," exclaimed Ned obsequiously.

"Miss Alice is always at home to er yung gemman lak you is sar. Und she
is diked monstrous, mars jedge, in lilacks und princess fedders und
jonquils, jes lak she cum outen de observatory, und she is speckin
cumpany dis werry minit, und I spek yu knose who dat is sar," said the
old negro as he dropped his voice almost to a whisper, laughing and
smirking the while.

"Angelic creature!" exclaimed the old man aside, as he began to feel a
creepiness up and down his back like great caterpillars upon the march.
"What infinite comprehension!" he exclaimed again as he seemed to jerk
spasmodically; "What an affectionate appreciation! Doubtless expecting
me as if my arrival had been telegraphed from Burnbrae."

"Mars jedge," asked Ned "dus you ame dis wisit for yung missis or ole
marser?"

"Undoubtedly, Ned, this visit is for your mistress," said the judge as
he rubbed his hands with energy. "When my plans are arranged I will
interview your marster--perhaps in the very near future."

"Eggzackly, yung marser," replied Ned as he twirled the judge's new
beaver in his hand. "Mout I mak jes wun kurreckshun, sar, fore yu gits
too fur?" asked Ned.

"Why, certainly; what is it Ned?"

The old negro placed his hands to his lips as if to keep back the sound
of his own voice and asked in a whisper, while a smile played around the
corners of his mouth, "Is you sho yus all rite, boss?"

"Why certainly," the judge replied with a degree of impatience "Do you
suppose I have come out of the low grounds?"

"Lans saks, yung marser, dis ole nigger don't ames to inturrup a gemman
of your sability. But boss yu dun und flung yo oberkote on de rack, duz
yu ame to go into the parlor whar yung missis is wid all her
hallibooloos ur dout ary weskote ur koller udder?" and the old negro
turned away his head and tittered, while the judge with the
embarrassment of a suspected felon was looking and feeling for the
missing garments; and he turned his ashen face with a hard grimace to
the old negro as if he had been the cause of this particular act of
absent-mindedness and said angrily.

"Ned if you ever mention this matter to man or beast your life shall pay
the forfeit."

"Deed I won't, mars jedge, dat I won't, kase dat mout fling de fat in de
farr."

"What shall I do, Ned?" asked the judge confidentially.

"Hit pears lak dat de onliess fing yu can do now is to slip outen dis do
rite easy fore ole Jube sees yu und wait out in de piazzy twell I fetch
wun of mars Jon's weskotes und collars, und den yu kin march in sar as
biggerty as when yu was de jedge in de kote."

"No, I will go back home; and shall I come again Ned?"

"Sartainly mars jedge, sartainly sar," said Ned, bowing and scraping.
"Ef you seed all dat finery Miss Alice has got strowed around her neck
und all dem white und pink und yellow jonquills und sweetbetsies und
snowballs und princess fedders on top of her bed, und all dun und dun
for yu mars jedge, dere wudn't be but seben tater ridges twixt dis grate
house und yourn; yu'd be pearter dan any rabbit in de mashes agwine und
a cummin."

The foolish widower passed out of the door and out of the gate singing
to himself,

    "Her brow is like the snowdrift,
    Her throat is like the swan."

His feelings toward the peerless beauty were stoutly reinforced by the
observation of the negro "und all dun und dun for yu mars jedge."
Clarissa ever and always upon the lookout in these suspicious times,
hearing only snatches of the conversation in the hall between the judge
and her husband called out imperiously,

"Ned cum to de do er minit," Ned in his slouchy way, giggling like an
idiot, advanced toward Clarissa.

"Whot ailed dat white man in dem fine cloes und stove-pipe hat agwine
outen de gate?" and Ned only giggled the more.

"Don't yu heer me axing you Ned?" stormed Clarissa.

Ned still giggling with both hands to his black mouth replied
distrustfully.

"I gin mars jedge my solum wurd dat I wudn't woice dat diffikilt twixt
me und him to man nur cattle beastis nudder."

"Woice what diffikilt Ned?" asked Clarissa in her provoking way. "You
knows I haint no man nur cattle beastis nudder; whot maks yu so
tantilizin? Ef you haint agwine to tell me I'm agwine rite strate to
Miss Alice; I knows she will mak yu tell her." Ned buried his face in
both hands and then peeping through his fingers sheepishly observed,

"Now Clarsy you knows you is monstrous handy noratin ebery blessed fing
you heers to tuther fokses; now ef I ups und tells yu, und it gits to
mars jedge's ears, whose agwine to stand twixt me und him? Tell me dat."

"I'm agwine to stan betwixt yu und de jedge, dats who," replied Clarissa
consequentially.

"Oh Lordy! Yu ergwine to stan twixt me und him," interrogated old Ned
contemptuously "Jes as well have ole Jube er stanin twixt me und de
jedge ebery bit und grane."

Clarissa thought for a moment and replied with infinite satisfaction.

"Miss Alice is ergwine ter stan twixt yu und de jedge, dats who."

"Dat mout do," said Ned, "und ef de jedge axes me about it I'm agwine to
send him rite strate to Miss Alice, und let dem two fite it out twixt
dey selves," and Ned with great circumstantiality placed Clarissa in
possession of the facts in the case.

"Fo de King!" exclaimed Clarissa after Ned had concluded. "I'm ergwine
rite strate und tell Miss Alice."

"Und den dars is gwine to be a rumpus in dis grate house," said Ned with
disgust as Clarissa shuffled down the hall to her young mistress's
chamber.

Nothing baffled by his misadventure, and realizing that faint heart
ne'er won fair lady, the judge reappeared at the hall door of Ingleside
with his beaver hat canted on the other side of his head, and rang the
door bell quite tentatively, as he felt that Ned would watch for his
coming, and would admit him without knocking.

"Now Ned," the judge remarked, as he passed his beaver to the old negro,
"examine me from head to foot and tell me if I'm all right." Ned did as
he was commanded in great detail of inspection and observed,

"Yes sar, dat yu is, mars jedge, I neber seed such a portly yung man in
all my days sar. Pend upon it boss, Miss Alice is ergwine to bite at the
hook fore yu flings out de bate. Ef I mout tell yu de truf you looks lak
yu was a stepping into de marrage sallymony dis werry minit und I don't
speck nofin else but dem yallow und white snowballs und sweet betsies
is ergwine to drap rite down und perish on yung misses hed when yu put
your little foot in dat dar parlor;" and the vain old man now fully
reassured, followed the old butler into the parlor, the latter remarking
in a highly patronizing way.

"Now, mars jedge, I'm ergwine to set yu down in de bridegroom's cheer,
kase I knows hit is ergwine to be yourn fore dis yeer is dun und gon,
und den I'm ergwine to be yourn too," he laughingly continued. "Kase I
belongs to yung missis und yung missis belongs to de jedge. Ha, ha, ha!"

After Ned had retired to the hall the vain old man, after looking all
around him, stealthily arose from his seat and surveyed his person in an
elaborate mirror over the mantle piece, arranging his hair, beard, and
eyebrows in every detail of evenness and position, and was thus
assaulted by the bewitching beauty of Ingleside without a picket or
skirmish line, and with his back to the conqueror of hearts. The dilemma
was excessively embarrassing and as he turned to speak to the queenly
beauty he began to stammer and quite unconsciously to make apologies.

"I called this morning, madam," he began, "er, er, er, to inquire after
the health of your father. You don't know er, er, er, how solicitous I
have been about him of late. How is he this morning?"

"He is very much better, I thank you, sir," replied Alice with an effort
at self control, "and if you will excuse me I will inform him that you
are here."

"I beg you will er, er, er"--stammered the judge with an uncontrollable
energy.

"Oh, I am sure it will do him so much good to see you," interrupted
Alice, as she gracefully bowed herself out of the room, leaving the
bewildered lover to destroy with huge battering rams the beautiful
castle which his ardent fancy and old Ned's sycophancy had erected.

"In olden times," soliloquized the judge, as he brought his clenched
hand with force upon his knee, "kings alone had their fools; and here I
am playing the miserable fool in the presence of an unsophisticated
maid. Father indeed! Why did I ask about her father, blasted idiot that
I am?"

The old judge was still scourging himself with the thongs of emphatic
rebuke, when to his surprise another judge entered the parlor with the
beautiful Alice upon his arm.

Colonel Seymour and the two judges had met before in the court room, and
were now enjoying themselves in an old-fashioned way in the elaborate
parlor of the old mansion.

Judge Bonham was very delicate and refined in his compliments of his
friend Judge Livingstone, who in the niceties of the law "could divide a
hair 'twixt the north and north-west side." He was the judge who had
extracted the poison sacs from the fangs of reconstruction; the judge
who had stampeded the vile and vicious hordes that thronged and polluted
the temple of justice. As Judge Bonham looked at the man, he felt that
the entreaty of the South had been answered by the Power that rules in
heaven and earth.

    "God give us men; a time like this demands
    Great minds, strong hearts, true faith and willing hands;
    Men whom the lust of office cannot buy,
    Men who have honor and will not lie."

These gentlemen had scarcely begun to sap the foundations of the
superstructure of reconstruction, when dinner was announced by the
beautiful hostess, who stood in the door, as judge Bonham declared,
encircled in a cincture of angelic grace. It was a bountiful meal; there
were cheer and laughter and polite jest at the board, and as these
distinguished gentlemen were bowing themselves out of the dining room,
Judge Bonham was observed by Clarissa to take a napkin ring from his
plate and put it in his pocket; with rolled up eyes and wide open mouth,
Clarissa looked like a black idol in a Chinese temple. The guests again
assembled in the library and Alice busied herself in arranging the table
for tea.

"What sorter man is dat tother jedge Miss Alice?" asked Clarissa in an
authoritative kind of a way. "I don't mean dat shiny-eyed jedge, but dat
man dat has got dem grate big warts on his nose. Ef dat ar jedge cum to
dis grate house many mo times ole missis silver is agwine to be all
gone. She tole me to look arter her plunder. I don't ame to sass dat ar
jedge Miss Alice, but de fust time I ketches him to hissef I'm ergwine
to ax him please turn dem dere pockets rong side outtards und lemme see
what he has got stowed erway in dere. Dem kote skeerts haint er bulgin
out datterway fur nuffin. Twixt dat secesh man und de scalyhorgs, wun is
jamby ez big er fellum ez de tuther; he ergwine erbout punishin tuther
fokses for gwine rong, und he, yu mout say, is er conwick hissef. I
nebber seed wot yu mout call a high quality white pusson steal yo fings
rite fore yo eyes in de broad open daylight lak dat."

"You must not talk that way about Judge Bonham, Clarissa," rejoined
Alice with irritation. "I am ashamed of you! What would father say if he
were to hear you accuse his guest of stealing!" Alice continued
rebukingly.

"Well, Miss Alice," said Clarissa apologetically, "It mout be dat I
spoke too brash; seems lak do ef he was a sho nuff jedge he orter have
mo manners dan agwine erbout shoolikin und pilferin lak dat; speks ef
dat white man was sarched yu mout find udder wallybles belonging to dis
grate house in his hine pockets dis werry minit; yu dun und heerd me say
dem dar kote skeerts aint a bulging out dat dar way fur nuffin."
Clarissa with malice prepense was arraigning the judge upon a cruel
indictment, a prejudiced prosecution and a predetermined verdict
evidently. There was but one plea that could avail the judge if Clarissa
were polled as the jury, and that would require the immediate
restitution of the stolen property, and an unconditional withdrawal from
old marser's great house; or to punctuate the verdict in Clarissa's
emphatic way,

"Don't yu never set yo foot in dis heer grate house no mo, epseps yu
want ole Jube to wour yu up with wun moufful, ef dem is all de manners
yu got."

"Permit me to ask you sir," observed Judge Bonham to Judge Livingstone,
"if the conditions prevailing in the South are not entirely unlike those
that obtain in the North?"

"Yes, indeed," replied Judge Livingstone. "It would be difficult to
realize that we live under the same Federal government. Society in this
country seems to be thoroughly disorganized. I can imagine that some
great upheaval of nature has widely separated the South from the North."

"I presume," said Judge Bonham, "that you have seen southern character
in all of its transformations in your courts?"

"Yes sir, and very frequently in its most abhorrent and disgusting
forms. There is such a variety of indictable frauds and many of them
growing out of the rudimentary education of the negroes, that this fact,
in my opinion, is the most cogent argument against their education."

"I am very decidedly of that opinion," replied Judge Bonham with
emphasis. "I believe if it were not for the criminal class of young
negroes there would be very few indictments in the courts; but as the
matter stands they are congested to that extent that our jails are
always over crowded and so are our dockets."

"Do you know, sir," replied Judge Livingstone, "that there is a side to
this ever-shifting panorama that challenges my profoundest sympathy? To
give you an illustration: A few days ago, in this county of F., I saw in
the dock a decayed old negro, who staggered into the bar from sheer
exhaustion. He was dying piece-meal from starvation. He was indicted for
the larceny of a peck of sweet potatoes. The prosecuting witness was a
white man of about forty years of age, and was what is provincially
known as a scalawag. I do not exaggerate very grossly when I say that a
blacksmith would have hammered a plowshare out of his hard face. The old
negro was convicted; he had no substantial defence. I said to him, 'I
want you to tell me why you took the potatoes.' The poor old negro
leaned heavily with both hands upon his staff, his unshorn white locks
giving him the appearance of a 'sheik of the desert,' and raising his
harrowed face, that was wet with tears, tremblingly addressed the court
as he grasped the railing for support, 'Mars Jedge, I hab neber nied dis
scusashun, und I tole de boss man ef he wudn't sen me to de jail I wud
wurk hit out ef hit tuck seben yurs. I libs erway ober yander cross de
mash. Dar is my ole marser a settin dar. He noes I'm er tellin yu de
naked truf, und God in hebben noes I wudn't tell yu nary lie. Dar is
foteen moufs in my fambly er cryin fer wittles ebery day de good Lawd
sends; und Malindy, dat's my dorter, haint struck a lick o' wurk fur mo
dan er hole yur; und dar's my growed-up son, dat's Joe, he got drounded
in de crick nigh unto er month ago; und dar's my po wife, dat's Mimy,
she tuck sick und died when she heerd dat Joe had drounded hissef, und
nobody in de wurrel ter git ary moufful o' wittles epsep me; und I was
so hongry, und de chillun wuz er cryin twell I wuz moest stracted; und I
had a grate big bone fellyun on dis heer han'--dar tis, rite dar--so I
cudn't wurk, und I went to de boss man, standin rite dar fo yo eyes, und
axed him fer two er free little stringy taters; und he cussed me und
driv me er way, und called me er ole free issu dimmycrat nigger; und my
ole marser libed so fur erway I cudn't git nary wurd to him; und den, ez
I wuz ergwine outen de plantashun, I seed two er free little stringy
taters, mout be fo taters, er lyin on de tip eend o' de ridge in de
brilin sun arter de taters had bin dug outen de patch, und I didn't fink
it wuz no harm to nobody, und I tuck um und toted um home in my pocket
ter de po little parishin yunguns, und--'

"Here the old negro broke down and cried as if his heart would break,
and then wiping his eyes with his ragged coat sleeve, he continued,

"Und den dey tuck me und put me in de jale; und I axed de high shurriff
ter please git wurd ter ole marser whar I wuz karserated, und he neber
sont no wurd ter ole marser. Marser Jedge, I'm ergwine on eighty-free
yurs ole, und ef I libs ter see nex Juvember, ef I don't make no mistake
I'll be gwine in er hundred. I aint neber been kotched in no scrapes
befo in my born days, has I ole marser?' Then turning to a white-haired
man on the jury, 'Nary body, white er cullud, hab eber crooked de finger
at enyfing I eber dun rong, und I'm too ole und crazyfied to be sont to
de penitenshury, und fur de Lawd's sake, Mars Jedge, please don't sen me
dar, ef yu duz my po little yunguns will parish ter def, und I axes all
yu white gemmen on dat jurrer ter pray fur me, und de jedge too.'

"The court and jury were in tears when this eloquent plea was
concluded, and the poor old negro, shaking from head to foot, sank back
into his seat, bowed his white head upon his staff and covered his black
face with his old hat. There was a painful pause in the court room;
handkerchiefs were freely displayed here and there, and ominous sounds,
as if there was weeping, was heard in the great press of people."

"What is your name?" asked the judge, addressing the white-haired juror
in the box to whom the old negro had appealed as his master.

"Grissom," modestly replied the man.

"Do you know the character of this old negro?" asked the judge.

"Very good, very good sir," the juror excitedly repeated, "trustworthy
and truthful under all circumstances sir."

After a moment's reflection the judge said to the old negro, "Stand up
old man." The negro reeling from weakness raised his bowed, palsied
frame, and repeated after the judge the formula used in recognizances as
follows substantially.

"I duz hereby nowledg dat I is debted to de State of Norf Caliny in de
sum ob ten millun dollars to be leveled pun my goods und cattle, lans
turnements und harry dettyments to be woid on kondishun dat I maks my
pussonel pearance fo de jedge of dis kote next Christmas und bide by de
jedgement of dis kote."

"Now old negro," said the judge sympathetically, "You can go home."

"Tank yer mars jedge," he exclaimed as he advanced to grasp the judge's
hand.

"May the good Lord in heaben allus be rite by your side when yu gibs
jedgement." Taking up his old hat he bowed to the gentlemen of the jury
with the observation,

"May nun of you white gemman ever git kotched in such a scrape as dis,
epseps yu has dis heer jedge to stand twixt yu und de gallus." He turned
again to the judge with a smile that played like sheet lightning over
his haggard face and inquired humbly.

"Mars Jedge, duz yu specks me to pay dat passel of munny to de state nex
Krismas too?"

At the conclusion of this narrative our mutual friend Judge Bonham arose
to take his leave, remarking as he did so "that his visit should be long
remembered, that his distinguished friends were so agreeable;" and
grasping the hand of the judge he congratulated him and the country that
"a Daniel had come to judgment." When the absent-minded gentleman
arrived home, his servant Lije discovered that the judge's head down to
his ears was immersed in a light derby hat, and he ventured to ask,

"Mars Jedge, what you agwine to do wid dat dar hat? To be sho you didn't
swop your brand new slick beaver off for dat dar camp kittle?"

The judge in his chagrin saw that he had carried away Judge
Livingstone's derby hat and had left his beaver in its place. And he
said sharply to Lije,

"Go through all of my pockets and see if I have stolen any of the
property of Colonel Seymour. I dare not trust myself to visit a neighbor
that I am not liable to be sent to the penitentiary." The negro Lije
exploiting all suspected places exhibited to the judge a table ring and
napkin, that by some inexplicable means had been transferred to his
pocket.

"Gracious heavens!" the humiliated man exclaimed, "Larceny both grand
and petit by the eternal! Felony without benefit of clergy! Return those
stolen articles at once, you black scamp, where they belong, and present
my compliments to Colonel Seymour, and tell him they got into the
possession of Judge Bonham without his knowledge and against his consent
and bring back my beaver and cane. Stop! stop!" he exclaimed excitedly,
"What is this?" drawing from his vest pocket a small miniature of Alice
that he had seen upon the parlor mantel. "Great Jerusalem!" he fairly
shrieked, "condemned beyond the hope of pardon."



CHAPTER XXIV.

THE DIPPING OF THE RED STARS.


"Will you oblige me at the piano, Miss Seymour?" Judge Livingstone
asked, as they were seated in the parlor at Ingleside after the
retirement of Judge Bonham.

With a show of embarrassment Alice consented as the judge escorted her
to the instrument.

"Shall I play your favorite?" she asked a little coquettishly.

"Ah no; not mine, but yours, I beg, and please accompany the chords with
your own sweet voice, will you not?"

Alice, thrumming the piano in a perfunctory way, lifted her eyes to her
guest as she replied smilingly,

"I have no favorite, sir, indeed I have not. Shall I play yours?"

"Well, yes; you may if you will not laugh at my old-fashioned fancy. I
do not mind telling you that one of my favorites is, 'Then You'll
Remember Me.' I suspect that there are selections from Beethoven, Mozart
and Chopin that are inexpressibly grand, but for soulful melody there is
nothing like the sweet, dear old song."

Alice threw her spirit into the old song, and with eyes glistening
through her tears, remarked sadly, "This old melody is very dear to me,
very, very dear."

"I should imagine so," replied the judge, "and I know if it could
syllable its love it would tell you of its passion for you. I think it
has taken possession of your whole heart, Miss Seymour," continued the
high official with animation.

To this tentative kind of inquiry Alice did not reply, but looked
blushingly into the judge's earnest face and sweetly laughed, like the
artless girl she was.

The golden hours were fast slipping away, and the little goldsmith was
hammering, too, at the tiny arrows.

"I fear I have afflicted you very cruelly, my sweet friend," the judge
observed after a pause, as he noted that the hour hand of the ivory time
piece upon the mantel had run its circuit eight times in succession. "I
doubt not that I have wearied you by the unreasonable length of my
visit; but like a bound captive, I have been held in thrall with silken
chains for forty-eight hours."

"And have you really enjoyed the time?" she asked, quite artlessly.

"Why, my dear Alice," he now ventured to address her, "I am in
love--enmeshed in the delightful toils of the most beautiful woman in
the wide, wide world. Will you permit me to declare my passion--my
love--for my queen, my beauty? To tell you that I have been captivated
by the only girl that can under all circumstances make me happy? And can
you, my sweet Alice, reciprocate the feeling?"

There was no response from the girl, but her soul was thrilled by an
experience new and exciting, and she buried her face in her hands for
the moment.

Perhaps there is very little to interest a third party in the initial
chapters of a love story; there are to be sure the old fancies that are
animated, then its incidents become melodramatic, and then we laugh, and
then possibly forget. As Alice raised her eyes to the portrait just
above the piano, her face radiant as it were with an indescribable
beauty, the enamored judge looked into the lustrous blue eyes and felt
that he read within their azure depths, the passion of a beautiful
woman's love; and with much confusion he observed,

"Perhaps Alice, I have originated a surprise for you; please do not be
alarmed if my feelings have overmastered my discretion."

The embarrassed girl essayed quite tactfully to withdraw the attention
of her suitor from the subject he was nervously pressing, and pointing
to the portrait of a gentleman wearing the stars of a colonel in the
Confederate army, she asked him if he recognized her father in the
painting.

"Do you know," she remarked without awaiting an answer "that I feel
inexpressibly sad when I think of our poor boys who wore the gray in the
bloody battles of the South?" and a tiny tear quivered in her soft eye.

"I doubt not," replied the judge in sympathy with her feelings, that the
retrospection is extremely painful. "I am sure that I have reason to
deplore a catastrophe, that over laid our beloved country as with a
shroud."

"You were not a soldier in the Union army?" she suggested
interrogatively.

"And could you respect me if I were?" he asked.

"Oh yes," Alice replied without hesitation, "you have been so true to
the South in the character of judge I can and do honor you, and I am
quite sure if you were a Yankee soldier you believed you were performing
your duty."

"My sweet Alice," he exclaimed. "Don't let us have Yankee soldiers in
this beautiful Southern home; you don't know how opprobriously the term
Yankee sounds to me. I was a Union soldier and fought under the Stars
and Stripes, through the bloody battle of Manassas, and can my rebel
sweetheart forgive me?" he asked, as he timidly took her soft hand in
his own.

"Assuredly sir," she replied "if you will give me your word upon honor,
that you never shot our poor boys in the battle; now did you?" she
feelingly asked as she looked into his face, aglow with the holy passion
of love.

"No," he replied emphatically, "but if I had carried a musket instead of
a sword I would have done my duty."

"Do you know sweet Alice that whilst there were frowning clouds upon the
horizon, there were rainbows with bright hues that bridged them over;
that whilst there were incidents excitingly tragical, there were
experiences that provoked laughter in camps and prisons? Let me give you
a single illustration that occurs to me just this moment, if you will
pardon me, and let me say that I am convinced that it was patriotism
that kept the Confederate soldiers in the army, where they preferred the
thick of the battle, and sought death itself as the highest reward of
the brave. It would illustrate our pride as a nation to put the gallant
soldiers of the South in an attitude of glory equal to our own.

"I was assistant provost marshal at the military prison at Point Lookout
in the years 1863 and 1864, and I recall an amusing character who was
brought into the prison with a large number of other prisoners who had
been captured at Chancellorsville. I think his name was Patrick
Sullivan, a red-haired freckled faced Irishman, clad in butternut
homespun; and every available square inch of coat, vest, pants and hat
was decorated by military buttons of all kinds and sizes. I asked the
prisoner why this superfluity of decorations? and he answered with a
drawl as he squinted his left eye;

"Wall mister, I reckin ye haint hearn tell how thrivin the cussed
Yankees used to be down South twell we un's got to thinnin em out
sorter; they come down thar pine blank in gangs, like skeeters in the
Savanny mashes, twell weun's run afoul of em like a passel of turkeys
chasing hopper grasses in the clover patches; and bless your soul honey
the captain lowed that every dead Yankee would fetch a gold dollar at
pay day, arter we had licked old Lincum; and I've got just nineteen
hundred and seventy-six ginerals and kurnels and captains and privates
in the rear rank to my credic at settlin day. That thar button up thar
in the tip end of my hat was a Major, that was skeddadlin to the rare
arter weun's was plumb licked at Bull Run; and that thar button on the
tother end of the hat was the fust giniral I kilt at Seben Pines; and
bless your soul honey, killing ginerals and majors after that won't no
more than shooting bull-bats down in Georgy; and as to captains and
leftenants, I just flung them in with the foot cavalry sorter
pomiscuous."

"Sad to say," the judge continued, "the poor fellow died in prison. We
buried him with all his generals and foot cavalry where the Potomac
sings its threnody by night and by day."

The narrative with the amusing grimaces of the judge interested Alice,
and she laughed until tears came into her eyes. She became serious again
however, and asked her guest if he really participated in the battle of
Manassas.

"Yes indeed," he rejoined, "and my experience in that battle was
inexpressibly sad. I cannot think of Manassas," he resumed, "that I do
not recall an incident full of pathos and glory. Without the mechanism
of a regular army; with a currency as erratic as the proclamation money
of the colonists, without experience or discipline, they had the
courage of Spartans; and the proud eminence they assumed in every
engagement made them heroes in the forlorn struggle. There is not a
single instance upon record where the swords or guns of the Southern
armies were tarnished by ignoble flight or inglorious surrender; and
whenever their flag was struck, it was because the elements of
resistance were exhausted. Sad indeed that the drama should have begun
and closed with such heart-rending tragedies. Could I so order and
direct the policy of the government, I would make the glory of our
American arms as imperishable as the Republicanism of our government. I
would make Gettysburg and Chancellorsville to gleam through the haze of
centuries like Marathon and Plataea and upon each return of the glorious
anniversaries, I would find a Pericles to proclaim from our American
Acropolis the fadeless glory of the men who wore the gray as well as the
men who wore the blue."

The impassioned eloquence of the distinguished guest enthused Alice with
a strange experience, and in her discriminating judgment she discovered
a lover whose exalted spirit of patriotism, whose fervid oratory,
challenged her admiration. She could only bow her thanks to her honored
friend whose role upon the tragic stage must have been highly dramatic.

"I was a lieutenant in the twenty-sixth Pennsylvania cavalry," he
continued, "and at the head of a squadron rode a dashing young
Confederate officer who, at the time I saw him, was in the act of
cleaving the head of one of our captains with his sabre, when a shot
from one of our men arrested the sabre in mid air, and he fell mortally
wounded from the saddle. I instantly dismounted and raised the young
officer in my arms who could only say, "Take the ring on my finger to
my darling Al----" and died. I have worn the ring ever since, vainly
prosecuting the search for the true claimant. I presume that the owner
will never be found. You will observe from its facets and artistic
workmanship that the diamond must be very costly; and if you will take
it into your hand you will read within the circlet your name and mine,
"Alice to Arthur"." The girl taking the ring into her hands uttered a
scream that pierced the judge's soul, and she fell heavily upon the
floor in a swoon.

"Merciful Father in Heaven," exclaimed the affrighted man in a paroxysm
of agony. "What have I done! what have I done!" Clasping the unconscious
girl to his bosom, he cried loudly for help, and Clarissa ran in great
agitation into the room shrieking out in a delirium of fear.

"Mars jedge has yu dun und sassinated my yung missis in cold blood in
dis heer great house? If yu has yu'l sho be swung on de gallus. Oh my
lands sakes alive! Jerrusulum my king!" and the old negro ran
frantically about the parlor, hither and thither, over turning tables
and chairs and throwing info the face of her young mistress great
clusters of flowers and water and rugs which had the happy effect of
resuscitating the poor girl; and on regaining her senses she looked
dazedly up and saw Clarissa coming with a teapot of boiling water, with
which the old negro in her transport was about to parboil her young
mistress. She motioned Clarissa away, and as soon as she could control
her voice she said to the judge;

"Oh, how I must have alarmed you sir!"

"Ugh! My King!" interrupted Clarissa in her grave earnestness "Yu knows
yu skeert us jamby to def; yu fokses aint fittin to stay in dis heer
parlor by yoselves, ef dem is de shines yu is agwine to cut up; a little
mo und yu mout been dead as a mackrel und den dat dar jedge mout be
hung on de gallus;" and with this unparliamentary speech the old negro,
decidedly out of temper with the situation of persons and things, strode
out of the room muttering to herself as she closed the door, "I aint
satisfied in my mind pine plank whedder Miss Alice had a sho nuff fit,
or whedder she drapped down dat dar way jest to be kotched up by the
jedge fo she hit de flo. Dese heer white gals is monstrous sateful dat
day is."

"You don't understand our maid," Alice observed to her guest
apologetically as Clarissa walked out of the room. "We have to make
allowances for her." The judge could not speak for a while, for
Clarissa's oddities had thrown him into a fit of laughter. After
recovering himself he said argumentatively. "I think I can see that the
civilization of the South will have lost much of its fragrance when the
old negroes are dead. The history of your country has been refreshed by
the charm they have brought to it; and I doubt not that despite their
strong individuality, their crudities, they will be sadly missed one of
these days."

"Now that I have survived those ridiculous sensations that quite
overpowered me," Alice blushingly remarked "will you accompany me for a
moment?" And the judge quietly assenting gave Alice his arm not knowing
whither she was leading him. She paused before an exquisite painting
partially veiled by drapery, and bade him look upon it. The judge
obeying her command, saw upon the wall the faithful portraiture of the
handsome young officer who was slain under his own eye at Manassas; and
from whose hand he had taken the ring that had thrown Alice into the
swoon.

"Ah!" he exclaimed emotionally "It is he, it is he, your lover, Alice,
your brave soldier boy who died for his darling, ever so far away."

"You will pardon my tears will you not?" she asked entreatingly, "if I
tell you that he was so true, so good, so brave, that I loved him so
dearly?"

"Yes, I can freely pardon, since you confide your grief, your love to
me. Take the ring Alice," he pleaded so eloquently, "Take it from Arthur
Livingstone, who loves you with his whole heart; who has come to
Ingleside, to your own sweet bower, to your own dear self, to proffer
his life, his honor; to relight the candle upon the same altar, upon
which your brave soldier boy first lighted it, when he proffered to you
his life, his homage, his all. He who returns the ring to you that you
gave Arthur Macrae, would take his place in your heart and guard its
portal with his life, until the very stars shall pale their fires in the
heavens above. God in Heaven will ratify the compact, and 'neither
powers, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor
life, nor death shall separate us from one another.'"

A smile of unutterable joy was the only answer she gave him.

"Now my darling," the judge pleaded passionately, "in the presence of
the angels and of your own Arthur, let us plight our holy troth to one
another."

The girl sweetly looking into the radiant face lovingly answered, "And
Arthur has promised to give me away at the altar, and to put the ring
that I gave him with my love; this ring upon my finger."

"Thank God," he exclaimed, in an ecstacy of feeling, "the cup of my joy
overflows," and pressing her soft hand to his lips he kissed it over and
over again, and looking only as a lover can look into her upturned
face, beaming with happiness, he said, "After all to what can I compare
the love of a true, beautiful woman?"

"May I guess?" she asked still laughing.

"Yes, oh yes," he rejoined.

"To the love of a true, manly man."

The scattered sun rays were coalescing and forming a nimbus of beauty
around every facade and chamber, except one in Ingleside. Upon this
threshold, shadows were by turns advancing and receding. The
undiplomatic ambassador with his commission of power to slay, without
being outlawed by any judicial tribunal, was inditing his judgment. It
ran in the name of Commonwealths and States Universal. This
Plenipotentiary had been into this mansion before, but he came without
terrors, without equipages, without liveried slaves. He came softly and
sweetly. There were no harsh commands that he uttered, no rattling of
wheels over cobble stones, no exhibition of a despotic will.

"My daughter," he whispered "you are wearied, come with me I will give
you rest." Will he come with this fascination again?

Here lies an old man broken like a wheel by the force of cataracts and
torrents, that have been increasing their momentum for all these years,
as they have heaved and billowed over his poor soul.

Pending the treaty of love in the parlor, old Ned and Clarissa were
holding a whispered conversation in the kitchen.

"Ned," Clarissa asked in alarm, "did dat dar jedge ax yu ary question
about Miss Alice when he cum in de do?"

"No, not pintedly," Ned answered.

Clarissa hung her head for a moment, and with her old checked apron to
her liquid eyes, she continued sobbingly, "Dar is gwine to cum a
breaking up in dis heer fambly Ned, sho as yu born. I seed it de fust
time dat furrinner sot his foot in dis heer grate house. Miss Alice aint
neber had her hart toched befo, but when he cum, her eyes looked bright
lak de stars, und a smile smole all over her beautiful face, und she has
been singing love himes ever since, and dat dar jedge when he gets whay
Miss Alice is, is jes as happy as a mole in a tater hill."

It was Ned's turn now to dash away a tear from his leaky eyes, and with
arms bent over his bowed bosom, and with drooping head and a seesaw
motion he said, "Clarsy, I been a studdin erbout dis heer situashun, und
ef dat dar furriner tices yung missis from dis heer plantashun, in de
name ob Gord what is agwine to come ob ole marser?"

"Yu better ax wot is agwine ter cum ob me und yu. Ole marser is agwine
away fust, yu heer my racket. I dun heerd deth er calling him. Ole
marser walks rite cranked-sided now, wid dat wheezin in his chiss, und
twixt dese franksized niggers, und dis outlandish konstrucshun, und ole
missis dun und gon, ole marser is er pinin lak a dedded gum in de low
ground."

"Eggzackly so, eggzackly so," ejaculated Ned, "Wot is agwine ter cum of
me und yu."

"Dares where yu interests me Ned; what is agwine ter cum of me und yu
sho nuff? Deres ole Joshaway nigh erbout one hundred years ole, ded und
gon now, jes lived on de rode trapezing baccards und furrards to de ole
kommissary, wid his happysack und jimmyjon as emty as my tub dere wid
nary botom, twell ole mars fotched him back home; und pend pon it, Ned,
ef Miss Alice don't make some perwishun fur me und yu, we's agwine to
suck sorrow as sho as yer born."

"Dat's de gospil troof," replied Ned.

"Uncle Ned," came the voice of Alice from the parlor, "Will you please
bring Judge Livingstone's hat to him?"

"Sartainly, yung missis," quickly the negro replied, and he ran as fast
as his stiff joints would permit, and bowing very humbly, placed the hat
in the judge's hand.

"And will you not give me a kiss now in the presence of your old
servant?" asked the judge. And the beautiful girl, half yielding,
allowed her lover to print one or more upon her rosy lips.

"Adieu my love, until I come again in October to claim my own."

Alice returned to the parlor and threw her soul into the old, old song,
the judge's favorite, "Then you'll remember me."

Ned shuffled back to Clarissa with his old bandana to his eyes with the
observation "Taint wuff while to pester yosef er sobbing und er sighing
no mo Clarsy, I dun und seed de margige sealed und livered. I heerd the
nupshall wows sploding same as er passel of poppercrackers."

"Oh my heavens," screamed Clarissa, as she jerked her old apron to her
eyes.

The three blood red stars were now blotted out of the reconstruction
calendar; like the painted dolphins in the circus at Antioch, they had
been taken down one by one. The old Colonel had been running flank and
flank with the athletes of reconstruction, but within the last stadium
he had lost, and the old man, like the fire scathed oak, was yielding
his life after all; dying like a gladiator with his wounds upon his
breast; dying, yet holding fast to the traditions of his fathers, with
no blemish upon their name or his; with no bar sinister upon the family
shield; with no stain upon his sword. Dying a Seymour, a soldier, a
southron of the bluest blood; dying with the prophecy upon his lips,
"The old South, by the help of God, shall be crowned with all the
blessings of civilization, with the last and highest attainments in the
manhood and womanhood of her people," Dying with another prophecy upon
his lips, scarcely audible, "My daughter, you will live to see the old
South, now reeling and tottering like a bewildered traveller, come to
her own again; like a magnanimous queen, reigning in love and
tranquility; her soil yielding its harvest in bounty, and her people
blessed in basket and store."



CHAPTER XXV.

THE PARTING OF THE WAYS.


Afflictive dispensations had so often heaped up against the horizon of
Alice's affections, frowning, angry clouds; the memory of bier and pall
had so cruelly overlaid her young life with its gloom that but for the
solace of religion, there would be no refuge from the bitterness of her
grief; from the shadows of the grave. But in her mother's chamber, with
her mother's precious Bible in her hands, she felt that there was a
fountain opened up before her, yes in the very house of David. "Blessed
Book! What is life without thee?" she exclaimed. "Is it not a faithful
transcript of the last will of our Redeemer? Is it not the key that
unlocks the door of Heaven? Yea the guide that elaborates its beauties?
'Eye hath not seen; ear hath not heard; neither hath it entered into the
heart of man to conceive of those things which He hath prepared for them
that love Him.'" She felt that in the world's tragedy of sin it was
indeed a savor of life unto life; that it erects in the human soul,
where there is sin, sorrow and despair, a sanitarium; rendering good for
evil, giving back pardon for injury; preferring pity to vengeance;
kneeling always upon the heights of virtue to uplift the broken-hearted.
Whether its blessed truths be spoken in prophecy or narrative; whether
whispered from the sepulchre or the crypt; whether thundered from Sinai
or Mars Hill; they tenderly lead poor, fallen human nature into the
portals of immortality, into the very gate of Heaven. "Has not
religion," she asked, "given to humanity an uplifted brow? Has it not
admonished man to put away from him every mercenary calculation and to
realize that the scourges of sin are rotting whip cords? Ah yes,
wherever there is a tear, there is love, wherever anguish there is
consolation, whenever the night is dark and starless and there are deep
shadows, an angel stands with bowed head and welcoming arms. What a balm
for the scarified, bleeding heart! A precious pearl of great price in a
casket of exceeding beauty; a sword of ethereal temper that divides unto
the sundering of bone and marrow; but there are diamonds upon the hilt
and golden tracery upon the scabbard. Ah, the resurrection, who gives
this promise, this faith, this hope? In all the dead aeons of dead
centuries, science, nature, man, have asked in vain 'If a man die shall
he live again?'--But just as in scaling a beautiful mountain, it needs
no chemistry to analyze the air, to tell us that it is free from miasma,
as every breath which paints a ruddier glow upon the cheek and sends a
tonic tide through the body, will tell of its invigorating touch; so it
needs no analysis, no reasoning, to persuade a spiritual mind that the
air of Heaven, the breath of God is in this book; and just as on Tabor's
brow, when from Christ His own glory pierced its callous, unfeeling
sides, it needed no refracting prism to tell us that it was the sunburst
of more than earthly radiance the pilgrims were gazing upon. So when a
Bible chapter is transfigured, when the Holy Spirit transmutes into it
his grace and glory, it will require neither a Paley or Shenstone to
prove that the power and wisdom of God are there; but radiant with
emitted splendor, in God's own light we will see it to be God's own
Book, and know it to be His blessed revelation. 'I know that my Redeemer
liveth and that in my flesh I shall see God.' The light of faith in the
afflicted man of God was burning feebly, but he begins to feel now the
strength, the virtue, which lies in innocency, as if God were beginning
to reveal Himself within him. He heeds no longer the hyper-Calvinist
when he tells him, 'Thou has taken a pledge from thy brother for naught,
and stripped the naked of their clothing; thou has not given water to
the weary, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.' He raises
his finger as if he would command attention and exclaims, not in irony,
but in tranquil self-possession, 'God forbid that I should justify you;
till I die, I will not remove my integrity from me. My righteousness I
will not let go. My heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.'

"Pictorial scriptures, truly, comprehending all manners, all conditions,
all countries. Egypt with the Nile and the Pyramids, the nomad Arabs,
the bewildered caravans, the heat of the tropics, the ice of the north,
are there; all save the frozen heart of Jewish traditions and
ceremonials. How divinely transfigured every page of the precious Book,
wherein is life eternal!"

In the great voiceless halls and chambers there was no sound but her
poor, tumultuous heart beating wildly against a bosom sore with weeping.
Alas, for ties that are so fragile, for pleasures that are so
transitory! Old Clarissa would steal tip-toe to her chamber, but she
dared not enter, and would return as softly to the kitchen.

"Po Miss Alice, she do suffer mazin. Pears lak ebery now und den when
her eyes gits bright und her face is sunny und sweet, und her lafter is
lak de ripplin ob de little brook in de medder, dat de good Lord draps
anudder drug in de cup und maks her drink ebery drap. Dere aint a gwine
to be no mo sorrer for Miss Alice now; yung Mars Harry is gon, und
missis is gon, und ole marser is gon, und bimeby her eyes is agwine to
git bright agin, und her purty solemcholly face is er gwine to be full
of smiles, und de little birds is ergwine to hang dere heads und drap to
sleep when she sings dem lubly ole fashined himes agin."

The poor girl finally fell asleep. It was the only anodyne that nature
had in her laboratory for a broken heart; and she slept as tranquilly as
a little child. She awoke refreshed by dreams, peopled by friends of her
early childhood, many of whom were living and happy. She went into the
kitchen, to give directions to Clarissa, whom she found at her
accustomed labor. Crushed and spiritless as she was, there was comfort
for her in the broken, incoherent utterances of the old negro.

"Don't cry no mo," said Clarissa quite sympathetically. "I used to heer
ole missis say when she was ailin monstrous bad, dat ebery cloud had a
silver linin, und I beliebs it pine plank. I beliebs dat when de good
Lord sends trouble on dis here lan He's ergwine ter sen grace too. Dat's
my belief, yung misses, und I'm ergwine to lib by it und I'm ergwine to
die by it. When I looked down into ole marser's grave and seed all dem
lilies ob de walley kivered up in de dirt, I node de good Lord was not
ergwine to mommuck up ole marser's soul fur nuthin. I node dere wuz
ergwine to be a transplantin in His hebenly garden of all de
beautifullest flowers dat withers and parishes here in dese low grouns
oh sorror, und I sez to mysef, dat I specks ole missis is er runnin ter
meet ole marser dis bery minit, wid boff hans chock full ob white roses
und jonquils und lilies ob de walley. Duz yer kno what I beliebs, Miss
Alice?" she continued, as she wiped her eyes in her old checked apron.
"When I sees a little white flower er droopin und er dying in ole
missis' garden, I nose dat she hez cum down fru de purly gates to pull
it und tak it back in her busum to yung Mars Harry; und when I sees a
little teensy baby a droopin und er dyin jest lak dat little flower, I
nose de good Lawd is er takin it home in His busum too. Wun ob dese days
yu und me is agwine ter see fur oursefs. Bress de Lawd!"

The days were passing now so languidly, and wretchedness was still
brooding in the heart of Alice. To one event, however, she looked
forward with intense yearnings. There was somewhere in the wide, wide
world a great sympathetic heart perpetually telegraphing its love, and
she was feeling the electric current in its pulsations every moment in
the day. He had promised to come again in the mellow, fragrant month of
October, before the flowers fade and die; when the artist of nature is
painting the foliage upon the trees green, purple and golden, and with a
richer iris the twilight sky, and dappling the fleecy clouds. Yes, he is
coming, not as the judge of the assizes, but as a prisoner of hope. Her
affections hitherto were divided--now he yearns for the whole heart.
Coming to endow her with a treasure selfishly coveted above rubies and
diamonds, above principalities and thrones; coming to plight his troth
at God's altar, that in sickness and in health they would cling to one
another till death doth part them.

How would Alice appear in her funereal robes before him, before the
altar? Perhaps Clarissa can reassure her in this dilemma.

"Miss Alice," she exclaimed as she clapped her hands approvingly, "If
yer is as butiful when the jedge cums as yer is now, dat er po man is
ergwine stracted wid hissef. I clare fore my blessed Marster up yander
if I had er node how butiful yer is agwine ter look in dat black
mourning, I wuld er swaded yer to dun und dun it fore ole marsa died."
And what is going to become of Clarissa and Ned? The mildew of age is
upon them both. For years past their old heads have been whitening with
the hoar frost. "Now ole marsa is dun und gon, de fambly is ergwine to
break up und de grate house is agwine to be the home of de owls, und de
swallers und de bull-bats." So thought Clarissa as in the quiet gloaming
she stood in the verandah, and listened to the melancholy winds and the
more melancholy bleating of the cattle. Ned had been doing little chores
about the house all the day, and after he had eaten his supper, he and
Clarissa had by permission assembled in the dining-room where they found
their young mistress engaged in some light needle work. She of course
welcomed the negroes heartily. They were her friends and had been
through many sore trials.

Clarissa was the first to break the silence, as she enquired of her
young mistress the day of the month.

"It is the 27th day of September replied Alice."

"Ugh! Ugh! I tole yer so Ned. Aint nex mont October?" she asked again.

"Yes, why do you ask?" replied Alice.

"Kase Ned sed the jedge warnt agwine to cum no mo twell juvember. Ned is
flustrated monstrus, Miss Alice. So skeered de jedge is ergwine to tak
yer away frum me und him."

"And if he does, I am sure you will both be very glad," Alice replied.

"Dat mout be so, yung mistress ef me und Clarsy wus peerter und cud fend
fur deyselves. But bofe uv us is mity cranksided now er days, und de
Lord in Heaben only nose whar we'se agwine to git ary moufful ob wittles
when yu is dun und gon to de tother eend ov de yearth. Me und Clarsy
slaved fur ole marsa fore de bellyun fell, und we aint got no ole marsa
to look bak to now, und we puts our pendence in yu yung mistress."

"If I go away, Uncle Ned," replied Alice, "you and Clarissa shall never
suffer as long as I live."

"Ugh! Ugh! now yer got de wurd," exclaimed Clarissa in tears.

"I haint er mistrusting yu Miss Alice," Ned answered, quite dejectedly,
as he raised his old coat sleeve to his face, "but when yer is dun und
gon clean away how is yer eber agwine to git to us, ef me er Clarissy
mout need ye? Dar is de pint right dar, misses. Ef I hes er bad miserry
in my head, und calls fur Miss Alice she cums lak er butterfly und lays
her soft hands on my po head und de missery stops rite short; und ef I
hankers arter er chiken it is de same fing. Ef yer duz go erway, misses,
old Ned will follow yer with his shaky jints twill yer gits clean, clar
outen site, und pray ebery day de Lord sens, dat yer mout be ez happy as
de angels."

It was Alice's turn as a matter of conceit to ask the old negro what he
thought of Judge Livingstone?

"Dat is a pinted questun," Ned answered hesitatingly.

"You mout ax me ef he was er suple man und dat wudn't be a pinted
questun, but yung missis I'm bleeged to mistrust dese furreners dat cums
down here und spreads deyselves all ober de lan, und fetches freedum und
de horg colery, und plays ruination wid our white fokses, und den runs
clean clar away wid our white gals, upsotting de whole creashun wid dey
flamborgasted fixments. You mout be happy way off yander to de tuther
eend ob de yearth, den agin you mouten. Yer can't tell misses how fur de
bull-frog is ergwine ter jump by lookin at his mouf."

To the foregoing argument Clarissa was assenting by repeated nods of
the head, ejaculating occasionally "Ugh! Ugh! dats de gospel trufe."

"But Uncle Ned," enquired Alice, "would you have me as your friend, a
poor lonely girl to remain at Ingleside without protection? Why don't
you know I would be miserable?"

"Yer mout be miserabler dan yer is, misses. Heep er times our white gals
finks dey is er upsotting de yearth by gittin jined to de furreners when
dey is er flinging de fat in de fire. Look at dat white gal ober de
medder. She run away wid wun ob dese carpet-sackers, und she wus dat
proud dat she wud hold her nose ef de po white trash breshed up agin her
cote skeerts. Und where is she now?"

"Ugh! Ugh!" ejaculated Clarissa. "Wid de furrener in de penitenshur, und
she ergwine to de ole kommissary fur her rashuns. Don't yer see?"
exclaimed Clarissa.

"Now misses I aint er sensing yer wid nun ob dis bad luck, und I aint er
putting de jedge on er ekality wid de furrener in de penitenshur, but
yer don't know misses what is ergwine to happen when de rope is er roun
yer neck, und de furrener has got hold ob de tuther eend."

"Dat yer don't," exclaimed Clarissa, rocking to and fro.

"Und yer don't know missis whar me und Clarissa is ergwine when dat ar
jedge gits to be de boss ob dis heer plantashun."

"Oh my Lord," shouted Clarissa as she burst into tears. "Dats maks me
ses wat I dos, yung missis, dat yu axes me a pinted questun. Dats de
truf. It sho is."

Old Ned groaned as the gravity of the argument seemed to affect him and
brushed a tear from his eye with the sleeve of his coat. The matter was
of momentous consequence to these old landmarks of a decayed
civilization, and they felt it acutely. Old Master as long as he lived
had held out the lighted candle to light up the dreary, tortuous paths
into which reconstruction was driving the old negroes; but the flame had
died down into cold ashes, and the hand that held it aloft was nerveless
and dead. There came as it were to their old hearts a sad, sad
refrain--"Breaking up! breaking up!" It came from the winds that moaned
in and out of broken window shutters. It came from the feathered
songsters, Prima Donnas of the air, who were sending forth their advance
agents to secure homes in Southern climes. "Breaking up! breaking up!"
Between such as these and their former masters were there not higher and
holier feelings and relations than those of master and servant? Without
them the South would have been the mere appurtenance of the commercial
North, dragging after it the weary chain of colonial dependence. What a
wilderness of wealth they brought to our firesides, what a teeming
aggregation of populous and powerful states! Let us at least give these
old slaves one look of kindness in the desolate twilight of their
lingering days.

The old negroes bade their young mistress a hearty good night. "May de
angels shelter yer dis nite und all tuther nites wid dere whings,
missis," exclaimed Ned as he followed Clarissa out of the door. It was
the saddest of all anticipations. They loved Alice as if she were the
apple of the eye--the heart's core. Their sufferings and privations,
their joys and happiness in common, had touched as it were the two
extremes of the varied horizon of life. And now they were advancing
toward the parting of the ways. Ned and Clarissa, with unsteady,
faltering footsteps toward the sunset, the gloaming, the end of life;
the young mistress toward the sunrise, never so resplendent as now.

       *       *       *       *       *

Judge Livingstone, with his clerical friend from the North, arrived at
the appointed time at Ingleside; he a bachelor of thirty-five, to wed
this beautiful heiress, the exquisite flower that had budded and bloomed
like a rose for twenty-six seasons. Arrived to lacerate the old slavish
hearts, that clung so helplessly to the young mistress, like morning
glories around the fair flower. Arrived to snatch from Ingleside so
rudely its life, its hope, its promise--the all in all to poor Clarissa
and old Ned. "Eben ole Jube knows dat sumfing solemkolly is ergwine to
happin," observed Clarissa to her young mistress, as she assisted the
bride in her adornments for the nuptial hour. "Jess look at dat ole
fafeful dorg a lyin dare jess a strugglin wid his moshuns, lak he was a
humans sho nuff."

The minister stood at the little altar in the parlor. The ring that
Alice had given to "Arthur" was slipped upon her finger, and in the
presence of the angels, Judge Livingstone and Alice were made man and
wife. As Ned and Clarissa passed out of the little verandah, Ned
observed with streaming eyes, "Now Clarsy, dere is no mo music fur us
but de crickets upon de hath. Miss Alice has dun und sung her las hime
und we kaint foller Miss Alice whar she is ergwine no mo. Ef we uns is
tuk sick we kaint holler fur Miss Alice no mo. I feels lak I haint got
no frend now. Miss Alice dun jined hersef to dat furriner."

"Dat is Gords truf Ned," exclaimed Clarissa as she drew her old checked
apron across her eyes, "Hit pears lak dere is nuffin in dis wurrel
epseps tribulashun of sperits. But bress her dear heart," the old negro
continued, "I hope she may be jes es happy es de larks down in de
medder, und dat when she arrivs way ober yander whar she is er gwine she
will send her membrunces to me und yu fortwid."

It was necessary that Ingleside should be placed in first class order.
Above all things else it was necessary that ample provision should be
made for Clarissa and Ned. These arrangements in minutest detail were
satisfactorily made, as the Judge observed to his bride one morning
after the wedding, "Do you not grieve to part from your old friends, my
dear?"

Tears came into the sweet girl's eyes as she replied so tenderly, "Yes,
yes, they cling so helplessly to me, but dear Arthur, you will not
forget them, will you?"

[THE END.]



ERRATA.


     In the 15th line, page 78, for "permit" read "pretermit."

     In line 25, page 99, the word "first" should read "fifth."

     In line 2, page 139, for "preservingly" read "perseveringly."



Transcriber's Note:

  Added List of Illustrations.

  The Errata noted at the end of the text have been corrected in this
  version.





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