Project Gutenberg's The Orpheus C. Kerr Papers. Series 2, by Robert H. Newell

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Title: The Orpheus C. Kerr Papers. Series 2

Author: Robert H. Newell

Release Date: December 26, 2010 [EBook #34754]

Language: English

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Transcriber's note: The original publication has been replicated faithfully except as listed here.




Carleton, Publisher, 413 Broadway.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862.


In the Clerk's office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.

[p. v]



[p. 9]





Washington, D. C., July 6, 1862.

When in the course of human events, my boy, it becomes necessary for a chap of respectable parentage to write a full and graphic account of a great battle, without exasperating the press-censor by naming the locality of the conflict, nor giving the number of the troops engaged, the officers commanding, the movements of the different regiments, the nature of the ground, the time of day, or the result of the struggle; when it becomes necessary for a chap of respectable parentage to do this, my boy, that chap reminds me of a poor chap I once knew in the Sixth Ward.

The poor chap took daguerreotype-likenesses in [p. 10] high style for low prices, and one day, there came to his third-story Louvre a good-looking young man, dressed in a high botanical vest-pattern and six large-sized breast-pins, and says he to the picture chap, confidentially:

"There's a young woman living in Henry-street, which I love, and who admires to see my manly shape; but her paternal father refuses to receive me into the family on account of my low celery. Now," says the breastpin-chap, knowingly, "I will give you just twenty-five dollars if you'll go to that house and take the portrait of that young lady for me, pretending that you have heard of her unearthly charms, and want her picture, to add to the collection shortly to be sent to the Prince of Wales."

Having witnessed the worst passions of his landlord that morning, my boy, and received a telegraphic dispatch of immediate importance from his tailor, the artist chap heard about the twenty-five dollar job with a species of deep rapture, and undertook to do the job. He went to the Henry-street palatial mansion with his smallest camera under his arm, and when he got into the parlor he sent for the young lady. But she didn't see it in that light, my boy, and she wouldn't come down. For a moment the poor chap was in a fix; but he was there to take her portrait, or perish in the attempt, and as he saw an oil-painting of the young girl over the mantelpiece, he took that, and skedaddled. The next day the breastpin-chap called at his Louvre again, and says to him:

"Have you taken Sary's portrait?"

"Yes," says the artist chap, "I took it." [p. 11]

"Where is it?" says the breastpin-chap with emotion.

"There it is," says the artist-chap, pointing to the oil-painting, with a pleasing expression of countenance.

As high art is not appreciated in this country, my boy, a policeman called at the Louvre that afternoon and removed the artist-chap to a place which is so musical that all the windows have bars, and each man carries a stave.

As my taste for music is not uncontrollable at present, my boy, and I can't write a full account of a battle, without referring in some degree to the struggle, which we are forbidden to mention, I shall not be particular as to details.

I am permitted to say that I went down to Paris with my gothic steed Pegasus on Monday last, and found the Mackerel Brigade coming back across Duck Lake with the frantic intention of changing its base of operations. The Conic Section, my boy, had been ordered to advance and force the Southern Confederacy to compel it to retreat, and the rapidity with which this was accomplished was a brilliant vindication of the consummate strategy of the general of the Mackerel Brigade. I found the general a few miles back of the scene of action issuing orders—for the same, with a little more sugar, and says I:

"Well, my indefatigable Napoleon, have you changed your base successfully?"

The general smiled like a complacent porpoise, and says he:

"We've reached our second base, my friend, being compelled to do so by the treble force of the enemy." [p. 12]

I went on to the second base, which I reached just in time to see Captain Villiam Brown, on his geometrical steed Euclid, arresting the flight of Company 3, Regiment 5, under Captain Samyule Sa-mith.

"Samyule! Samyule!" says Villiam, feeling behind him to make sure that his canteen was all right, "is this the way you treat the United States of America at such a critical period in her distracted history?"

"I scorn your insinivation," says Samyule, "and repel your observation. I am executing a rapid flank movement according to Hardee."

"Ah!" says Villiam, "excuse my flighty remarks. I do not mean to say that you can be frightened," says Villiam, soothingly; "but it's my opinion that your mother was very much annoyed by a large-sized fly just before you were added to the census of the United States of America."

Villiam's idea of the connection between cause and effect, my boy, is as clear as a brandy-punch when the sugar settles.

The battle now raged in a manner which I am not permitted to describe, with results I am not allowed to communicate. Villiam appeared wherever the fray was the thickest, waving his celebrated sword Escalibar (Anglo-Saxon of crowbar), and encouraging all the faint-hearted ones to get between himself and the blazing Confederacy. Borne a considerable distance backward by the force of circumstances, he had reached a comparatively clear spot in the rear, when he suddenly found himself confronted by Captain Munchausen, of the Southern Confederacy.

Captain Munchausen was mounted upon the thinnest [p. 13] excuse for four legs that I ever saw, my boy; and what tempted nature to form such an excuse when the same amount of bone-work would have brought more money, it was not for mortal man to know.

"Ha!" says Villiam, hastily reining-up Euclid, and touching his sword Escalibar, ominously, "we meet once more to discuss the great national question of personal carnage."

"Sir," says Captain Munchausen, superciliously waving his keen edged poker and drawing his fiery steed up from his knees, "it is my private intention to produce some slaughter in a private family of the name of Brown."

Fire flashed from Villiam's eyes, he replaced a small flask in his bosom, and says he:

"Come on, and let the fight come off."

Then, my boy, commenced a series of equestrian manœuvres calculated to exemplify all the latest improvements in cavalry tactics and patent circusses.—Round and round each other rode the fierce foemen, bobbing convulsively in their saddles like exasperated jumping-jacks, and cutting the atmosphere into minute slices with their deadly blades. Now did the determined Villiam amble sideways toward the rebel, thrusting fiercely at him when only a few yards intervened between them; and anon did the foaming Munchausen wriggle fiercely backward against the haunches of the steed Euclid, slashing right and left with tumultuous perspiration.

It was when this thrilling combat was at the hottest that the steed Euclid, being exasperated by a large [p. 14] blue-bottle fly, arose airily to his hind legs, and carried the Union champion right on top of his enemy. Down came the glittering Escalibar on the shoddy helmet of the astonished Munchausen; but the deadly blade was not sharp enough for its purpose, and only caused the foeman to make hasty profane remarks.

"Ah!" says Villiam, bitterly, eyeing his sword as Euclid waltzed backward, "I forgot to sharpen my brand after cutting that last plate of smoke-beef."

"Surrender!" shouted the unmanly Munchausen, noticing that Villiam was sheathing his blade, and bearing gracefully down upon him in an elaborate equestrian polka.

"Never!" says Villiam, drawing his revolver, and firing madly into the setting sun.

Swiftly as the lightning flashes did the Confederate champion follow suit with his pistol, sending a bullet horribly whizzing into the nearest tree.

"Die!" shouted Villiam, prancing excitedly in all directions, and delivering another shot. Then he gazed upon his revolver with an expression of inexpressible woe. The weapon had deceived him!

"Perish!" roared Munchausen, discharging another barrel as he went hopping about. After which, he ground his teeth, and gazed upon his pistol with speechless fury. The weapon had played him false!

I was gazing with breathless interest on this desperate encounter, my boy, expecting to see more slaughter, when Captain Munchausen suddenly turned his spirited stallion, and fled frantically from the scene; for he had heard the shouts of the approaching [p. 15] Mackerels, and did not care to be taken just then.

"Ha!" says Villiam, gazing severely at Company 3, Regiment 5, as it came pouring forward, "has the Southern Confederacy concluded to submit to the United States of America?"

What the answer was, my boy, I am not allowed to say; but you may rest satisfied that a thing has been done which I am not permitted to divulge; and should this lead, as I hope it will, to a movement I am not suffered to make public, it cannot fail to result in a consummation which I am forbidden to make known. But if, on the other hand, the strategic movement which I am not at liberty to describe should be followed by a stroke I am restrained from explaining, you will find that the effect it would not be judicious in me to set forth, will produce a consequence which the War Department denies me the privilege of developing.

I was speaking to a New England Congress chap, this morning, concerning the recent events which I am compelled to remain silent about, and, says he: "The proper way to save the Union is to bewilder the rebels by issuing calls for fresh troops at breakfast-time, and countermanding the calls as soon as the coffee comes in. Strategy," says the grave legislative chap, thoughtfully, "is not confined to the tented field; it may be used with good effect by Cabinet ministers; and our recent proposal to reduce the army 150,000 men was a piece of consummate legislative strategy."

Legislative strategy is a very good thing to bewilder [p. 16] the rebels, my boy; and if it also bewilders everybody else, the moral effect of the adjournment of Congress will prove rather beneficial than otherwise to our distracted country.

Yours, under suppression,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 17]



Washington, D. C., July 9th, 1862.

A few weeks ago, my boy, when national strategy seemed rapidly coming to a distinct understanding with the American Eagle, and the fall of Richmond had resolved itself into a mere question of time—as slightly distinguished from Eternity,—I became a member of the Cosmopolitan Club.

This club, my boy, is a select draft from the host of clumsy but respectable foreigners now assembled here to criticize the military performances of our distracted country, and I have the honor to represent my native land, solus, in it. Its members are, a civilized Russian chap named Vitchisvitch, a Turk named N. E. Ottoman, an Englishman named Smith-Brown, a Frenchman named Bonbon, a German named Tuyfeldock, a Spaniard and myself.

The object of this small international organization, which meets once every three weeks, is to advance the cause of free and easy literature in the lulls of national strife, and preserve coherent ideality and tolerable grammar from falling into disuse. The [p. 18] foreign chaps, my boy, all speak much better English than a majority of our brigadiers; and in order to give a system to our proceedings, it has been resolved, that each of us, in turn, shall relate an old-fashioned story relating to his own particular country; and that all shall take pains to contribute miscellaneous items for the general delectation of the club.

The privilege of producing the first story was voted to me, my boy, and at the meeting of the Cosmopolitan last evening, I produced from my pocket a manuscript already secured from me by a wealthy journal (Vanity Fair.Ed.) for a fabulous sum, and proceeded to regale assembled Europe with



The forces of the Southern Confederacy—so called because a majority of them were forced into the service—had just won another glorious victory over their disinclination to retreat, and were rapidly following it up, propelled by the National Army. The richest and best blood of the South was profusely running for the cause to which it was devoted, accompanied by those notable possessors in whose cases it poured in vein.

Seated at his breakfast-table in the city of Richmond, with his wife for a vis-a-vis at a board that might well have groaned for more things than one, and his daughter at his right hand, was Mr. Ordeth, [p. 19] a scion of one of those Virginia Families very properly designated as "First" for the reason that no other Families on earth have ever felt inclined to second them in anything.

Mr. Ordeth was a personage of fiery and chivalrous visage, from the lower circumference of which depended iron-grey whiskers, so similar in shape to the caudal appendage of a mule, that one might suppose nature to have intended the construction of an asinus domesticus when first she commenced to mould the mortal material, but, having inadvertently planted the tail at the wrong end, was satisfied to finish him off as a man. His hair was too much of a brush in its own character to agree well with an artificial brush in the objective case; he wore a robe de chambre richly illustrated with impossible flowers growing on improbable soil—let us say on holey ground; his nether continuations were spotted here and there with diminutive banners of broadcloth secession, and it was noticeable as he stretched his feet under the table that his slippers had once done duty as crochet watch-cases.

The table spread for the morning meal was peculiarly Virginiatic, being very rich in plate and poor in provender; for hoe-cake and fried Carolina potatoes were the only eatables visible, whilst the usual places of coffee-pot, bread-plate and salt-cellar were supplied with cards inscribed: "Coffee $20 per lb., in consequence of Blockade."—"Flour $24 per bbl."—"Salt $25 per lb." If any member of the Family felt inclined to wish for any of these last articles, he, or she, had but to glance at the card substitutes to lose instantaneously [p. 20] all appetite for said articles. There was philosophy in this idea, mon ami.

"Libby," said Mr. Ordeth, addressing his daughter, whose auburn curls and pretty face were none the less attractive because they crowned what seemed to be a troubled fountain of extremely loud calico with a dash of moonlight on top—"Libby," said he, "pass me the morning journal."

The morning journal, which had recently augmented its value as a family and commercial sheet by coming out on superior wrapping paper, was passed to her father by Libby, she having first satisfied herself, with a sigh of disappointment, that the list of deaths did not contain the name of a single one of her friends.

Woman, mon ami, does not regard death as you and I do. To her it is a sleep in which the slumberer himself becomes a dream for the rest of the world; and its announcement is to her the mere evening breeze that softly lifts another leaf in the sacred Volume of Memory, and lets the starlight, falling through a shower of tears, rest on a name henceforth to live immortal in the heart. I was told this by a young lady who wears spectacles and writes for the Boston press.

As Mr. Ordeth perused the latest news from the seat of war, his bosom heaved to such an extent that one or two of the pins confining the front of his dressing-gown to his throat gave out. "Honoria," said he, addressing his quiet little wife, who was spasmodically eating and repairing a rent in her dress simultaneously,—"we have again defeated the hordes of Lincoln, and I think, my dear, that we had better get ready to leave Richmond. The Enquirer says: 'Yesterday [p. 21] a half a hundred of our troops were attacked near Fredericksburg by nearly forty thousand Yankees, whom they compelled to retreat after them toward this city. We took four hundred prisoners who will be demanded of the enemy immediately, and all of our men, save the messenger bringing the news, are now briskly pushing forward in the direction of Fort Lafayette.' You see, my dear, we always whip them inland. The Yankees gain all their victories on water."

Which is very true; for it is as much a fact that the national troops win their triumphs on water, as it is that the rebels do their best on whiskey.

Mrs. Ordeth made no verbal reply to her husband's exultations, but assumed that simpering expression of countenance by which ladies are accustomed to denote their amiable willingness to swallow without question whatever the speaker may say.

"Providence is evidently favorable to the South," continued the head of the Family, impressively, "and has thus far treated us in a gentlemanly manner; but should it happen, Honoria, that the Hessian vandals of Lincoln should reach this city, I myself will be the first to fire all I hold dear, rather than let it fall into the hands of the invader. Yes!" exclaimed Mr. Ordeth with enthusiasm, rising from his chair and moving excitedly toward the door of the apartment,—"with my own hands would I apply the torch to you and to my child."

"O Victor," said Mrs. Ordeth, with tears springing to her eyes, "I reckon you would."

"Aside from the wrongs of the South," continued [p. 22] the inspired Ordeth, pushing his bowie-knife a little further round behind his back, that it might not hurt his hip,—"we have Family losses to avenge. Only yesterday, my uncle was struck at Yorktown with a shell that completely tore his head from his body."

"How perfectly absurd!" ejaculated the hitherto silent Libby.

"Why it's actually ridiculous," said Mrs. Ordeth.

And so it was. The sex have a keen perception of the ludicrous.

"How I wish that our vigilants had caught that low-minded Abolition whelp, Peters," continued the Virginian, grinding his teeth; "but he disappeared so suddenly that day, that I was entirely bewildered. To think that the hound—my cousin's son as he is—should dare to demand payment of a bill from a Southern gentleman! He will find congenial souls among Lincoln's hordes, I reckon."

The speaker evidently recognized the fact that a man with a bill to collect would derive very little benefit from Southern hoards, at any rate.

A close observer might have noticed that Miss Libby's cheeks betrayed the faintest tint of virgin wine at this last speech of her father's; but as it is not my business to inquire the wine wherefore of everything, I shall say no more about that at present.

While speaking, the paternal Ordeth had placed his hand unconsciously as it were on the knob of the door; and now, with a sudden movement, he opened the door. Or rather, he simply turned the knob; for the door fairly forced itself open against him, and [p. 23] there unexpectedly tumbled half way into the room a somewhat venerable person from Afric's sunny fountains. From the manner in which this colored person fell across the sill, it was evident that he had been upon his knees the instant before.

The ladies uttered little shrieks and then went on with their hoe-cake; but Mr. Ordeth viewed the intruder with a glance of suspicion.

"Jocko, you black reskel!" said he, in a suppressed manner, "what are you doing here?"

The oppressed African, who, like most slaves was pious, rose to his feet with touching humility, and said he:

"Ise watchin', Mars'r, for de Angel of de Lor'."

"Oh," returned the haughty Virginian, scorning to show how deeply he was affected, "you're watchin' for that, are you?"

"Yes, Mars'r," said the attached slave; "and I hab pray dat my good Mars'r may gib up drinkin' and be one of the good angels too. Oh, Mars'r Ordeth, I hab wrastle much for you in prayer."

I know not how that slaveholder's heart was affected by this beautiful instance of his humble bondman's devotion; but I do know, mon ami, that he reached forth his right hand, seized the chattel by the collar, and was heard to carry on a blasphemous conversation with him for the space of fifteen minutes thereafter, in the hall. [p. 24]


In a room directly over the one last mentioned—a room whose only furniture was a rude bedstead, a looking-glass with a writing-table under it and a gas-bracket extending half way across it, and a lounge extemporized from three tea-boxes and a quilt—stood Mr. Bob Peters, aged twenty-three, a bachelor and a fellow man. The time was just twenty-four hours after the scene depicted in my first chapter, and as the rays of the sunny Southern sun poured through a window upon the figure of Mr. Bob Peters, they revealed an individual who was evidently unable, just then, to make a raise himself.

Robert was a tall, smooth-faced, good-natured-looking youth, wearing a coat that buttoned up to his very chin and was painfully shiney at its various angles, corners, and button-holes; a pair of inexpressibles very roomy and equally glossy about the knees; a brace of carpet slippers, and (although indoors) a hat in a "Marie Stuart" condition. That is to say, the style of hat worn thus inappropriately by Mr. Bob Peters, corresponded to a fashion in vogue with the ladies not long ago, when the latter imagined that a bonnet very much mashed down in front caused each and all of them to present a touching and life-like resemblance to the unfortunate Queen of Scots. In fact, this bonnet did really give them just about such a frightened look as they might be supposed to wear should some [p. 25] modern Elizabeth Tudor order them all to instant execution.

Adding to the consideration of Mr. Bob Peters' severely straitened costume the fact that he was smoking an incredibly cheap segar, it is reasonable to infer that he was rather hard-up when awake and not much troubled with soft down when asleep.

Viewing Mr. Bob Peters financially and judging him by a golden rule, one could see about him considerable that was due unto others, as each of the others was likely to be dun unto him.

"Bless my soul!" soliloquized Mr. Bob Peters, hastily turning from a long and profound contemplation of himself in the mirror and commencing to pace noiselessly up and down the room,—"here's misery! Shut up in the garret of one of the First Families, with a chap thirsting for my blood at the head of the domestic circle down stairs, and the whole Confederacy ready to bolt me without salt—which is very dear here just now. Here's a situation for an unmarried man!" exclaimed Mr. Bob Peters, insanely tearing his "Marie Stuart" from his head and bitterly crunching it in his hand—"confined here as a prisoner by the young woman of my affections to save my life from her own father's sanguinary designs. Upon my soul!" groaned Mr. Bob Peters, drearily slapping his left leg, "it's enough to make me take to drinking, and I—"

"Dear Bob!"

Were you ever awakened from a horrid nightmare dream of capital punishment and sudden death, mon ami, by the soft, persuasive voice of woman calling you to a breakfast of etherial rolls and new-born eggs? If [p. 26] so, you can understand the feelings of Mr. Peters when these fond words roused him from his terrible reverie.

He spun blithely round on his dexter heel, absorbed the faithful Libby to his manly breast, and incontinently kissed for his lips a coating of lustrous bandoline from the head of the fashionable maiden.

"Oh bliss!" ejaculated Mr. Bob Peters, standing on one foot by way of intensifying the sensation, "my angel visits me in my dungeon, as angels visited other good men in the Scriptures."

"Oh Bob, how you do smell of smoke," said the devoted Libby.

"And thanks to your thoughtfulness for the regalias which have so lightened my lonely hours, since the day when you brought me up to this room and then told a virtuous and unsuspecting police that I had fled in the direction of the aurora borealis. By the way Libby," said Mr. Bob Peters, thoughtfully, "my segar-lighters are all out, and if you could make me a few more out of the rest of those Confederate Treasury Notes—"

"I will, I will," responded Miss Ordeth, lifting first one white shoulder and then the other, as though she would thereby work down her waist more firmly into the belt formed by Mr. Bob Peters' right arm; "but now, dear Bob, we must think of how you are to be got safely away from this house and out of the city. If my pa should find out that you have been here all this time, when he thought you were running for dear life, he would—I really believe"—said Miss Libby Ordeth, [p. 27] with increasing eyes, "that he would actually apply the torch to me without waiting for the Yankees!"

Mr. Bob Peters shuddered and turned pale, barely saving himself from fainting by clasping his companion more tightly and leaning heavily against her lips.

The infatuated girl did not see the face peering in through the half open door behind her, as she continued:—

"Quarter-past twelve is the hour, Bob, though I can't say on what night it shall be, yet. You must be already to start on any night, and in the meantime our meetings are, if possible, to be continued."

"You say that quarter-past twelve is the hour?" observed Mr. Peters, reflectively, patting the head against his shoulder in a somewhat paternal manner.

"Yes, dear Bob; and I wish I could be sure of pa's going to bed earlier than that; for I know it will be hard for you to go out into the street at that time of night. You are not accustomed to such late hours at home."

And, indeed, he was not; for Mr. Bob Peters' "hours" at home were apt to be considerably later, especially when he went into morning for some dear friend.

"Sweet innocence!" exclaimed the young man, much affected by this evidence of thoughtfulness in his behalf, "your kindness almost makes me forget the treatment I have experienced at the hands of your being's author."

"I think you can get off next Sunday night," continued Libby, "if brother is sergeant of the guard; for he promised to see that you got across the bridge and [p. 28] past the patrol. Jocko will open the street door for you when you start: and I want you to send me word, if you can, after you get to New-York, what kind of bonnets they're going to wear this summer."

"Dear girl!" murmured Bob, fondly, "I'll find out the style and mention it to one of our Generals, who will let you know by note, as soon as he arrives here."

"Dear Bob!—but I must go now. Is there anything I can send you to make you more comfortable?"

As they stood there facing each other, Mr. Bob Peters closed his right eye for an instant, and suffered the muscles of his month to relax, thereby expressing some want too deep for words.

"You shall have it," said the young girl, turning to leave the room. At the door she was met by Jocko, who entered as she passed out, for the ostensible purpose of removing the remains of the captive's recent surreptitious breakfast.

The sound of the maiden's light footsteps soon died away in the passage, like the vibrations of a high-strung instrument in a passage of music, and the two men stood alone together.

There they were—the White and the Black; the one a freeman in all save being deprived of his liberty; the other a slave in all save being unrestricted of his freedom. Who could tell what was working in the mind of each? Who should draw the line between those men, when all was dark for the white and a luckless wight was the black? Who should say that the white man was anything better than the black man, that the latter should bear the bonds of slavery—bonds [p. 29] as hard to bear even as Confederate bonds? Look at inanimate nature. Is it not the White of an egg that bears the yolk? Then why should the white man turn the yoke altogether over to the black man? But I must refuse to follow out this great metaphysical question any further. The weather is too warm. I will leave it to the Awful and Unfathomable German Mind, which delights to toy heavily with the elephants of Thought.

"Mars'r," said Jocko, handing a folded paper to the fugitive prisoner, "dis was gub to me for you by my chile Efrum, dat b'longs to Missus Adams; and I hope, Mas'r, dat you will read um with fear an' trem'lin, for the Lor' is very good to let you lib in your great sins, Mars'r."

How beautiful, mon ami, is that strong spirit of piety we often find developed in the uncultivated, like the rich oyster found on the barren sea-shore. Taken in connection with the children of Ham, it is as mustard to a sandwich, for moving us to occasional tears.

Mr. Bob Peters waved the faithful black from his presence, and read the note, which ran thus:

"Mr. Peters,—Sir:—Though, as a daughter of the Sonny South, I cannot but regard you as a traitor to our country, the memory of past hours in my soul-life induces me to act toward you as a heart-friend. I have heard, through those faithful beings of which your friends would rob and murder us, that you are a prisoner, and will save you. Contrive to get out of the house in some way on Sunday (to-morrow) evening, [p. 30] at a quarter of twelve, and you will find those waiting for you who will deliver you for a time from our vengeance. It is the impulsive heart-throb of a weak woman that bids me do this—not the spirit-aspiration of the Southern daughter.

"Eve Adams."

Mr. Bob Peters lowered the hand holding the note until it rested heavily on his right knee, and gazed before him, as he sat on his couch, with a puzzled expression of countenance. He had been sitting in this way, perfectly motionless, for five minutes perhaps, when the door was gently pushed open a few inches, a dainty white hand came through the aperture, deposited a mysterious black bottle on the floor very softly, and disappeared as it came. In an instant, Mr. Peters sprang to his feet, dashed the note to the ground, seized the bottle, and immediately applied it to his lips with great enthusiasm.

His Mistress had understood that last subtle glance he gave her. With the wonderful insight of man's deeper nature peculiar to girls about eighteen years old, she had divined the one thing required to make the captive comfortable.

Oh, woman, woman! In the language of a revised poet—

Without the smile from partial beauty won, Ah, what were man!—a world without a son!"

[p. 31]


The Adamses resided in one of the aristocratic by ways crossing Main Street, and were directly descended from those distinguished and chivalric anciens pauvres of the Old Dominion, who boasted the blood of the English cavaliers, and were a terror to their foes and creditors. Adams, the husband and father, was a fine specimen of the Southern gentleman in his day, possessing an estate in Louisa County, so completely covered with mortgages that no heir could get to it, and having won great fame by inventing an entirely new and singularly humorous oath for the benefit of a Yankee governess, when that despised hireling presumed to ask for a portion of her last year's salary. He might have lived to a green old age, but for the extraordinary joy he experienced at having negotiated a second mortgage on some property not worth quite half the first, which filled this worthy man with such exceeding great joy, that he drank rather more at a sitting than would start an ordinary hotel-bar, and died soon after of delirium tremens, as such noble and chivalric souls are very apt to do. The family left by the lamented Adams, consisting of a wife and one child—a daughter, at once assumed the most becoming style of mourning, moved in a funeral procession through society for six months, and then resigned themselves to the will of Providence with that beautiful cheerfulness which may either denote a high order of Christianity, or a low order of memory, as the case may be. [p. 32]

At the period of which the present veracious history treats, the bereaved mother and daughter were living in subdued style in the locality designated above. Among their most intimate associates were the Ordeths, between whose family and theirs there existed that pleasing and kindly familiarity which permits the most open recognition of mutual virtues in society and the most searching criticism of individual weaknesses at home. The Adamses and Ordeths met at each other's houses with gushes of endearment that edified all beholders; and if Miss Eve said to her mother on their way home from church that Libby Ordeth looked like a perfect fright in that ridiculous new bonnet of hers, it was only because her affectionate heart felt a pang at seeing her bosom-friend appear to less advantage than her own self-sacrificing self.

It is a touching peculiarity of this modern friendship, mon ami, that a majority of the errors its fairest votaries detect in each other, are those of the head—not of the heart. Eve Adams, whose diminutive size had given occasion to the mot by which she was denominated the "Widow's Mite," was calling at the Ordeths when Mr. Bob Peters first came in under a flag of truce from Fortress Monroe, and was witness to the chivalric reception accorded to that gentleman by his relatives, before his pecuniary mission was known. In the exuberance of his nature, Mr. Peters had kissed her with the rest of the family, and from the moment of receiving that chaste salutation, Eve had selected the Northern stranger as her hero in that ideal novel of spiritual yellow-covers in which all [p. 33] maidens live, and move and have their beings until stern reality bursts upon them in the shape of a husband or a snub.

From thenceforth she was a frequent visitor at the Ordeths, and laid close siege to the gay Robert's heart with all the languishment deemed necessary in such cases, and a tremendous flirtation was going on before the maiden discovered that the affections of the youth were already given to another. Then came a revulsion of feeling, opening the eyes of the Widow's Mite to the fact that Mr. Bob Peters was a thieving abolitionist, unworthy the toleration of any true daughter of the South. After this overpowering revelation, it was the first thought of Eve Adams to at once inform the festive Peters of the utter detestation in which she held him, and a favorable opportunity soon offered. At a social gathering at the Ordeth's, she had withdrawn for a moment to an ante-room, for the purpose of drawing from her bosom an elegant silver snuff-box, dipping therein a small brush, and subsequently applying the same to her pearly teeth, when Mr. Bob Peters entered unannounced, and agreeably demanded a "pinch." The situation was favorable to an avowal of enmity, and a suitable expression was rising to the lips of the maiden, when the thought of a still keener revenge kept her silent, and she contented herself with a temporary sneer and a majestic exit from the apartment.

It was soon after this incident that Mr. Bob Peters' presentation to Mr. Ordeth of the bill for furniture which he had been empowered to collect by a New York house, reminded the latter that it was his duty, [p. 34] as a patriot, to sacrifice even his cousin's son for the good of the Confederacy. With the stern self-devotion of an ancient Roman, Mr. Ordeth not only accused his hapless relative of flagrant Abolitionism, but at once made arrangements with the military authorities for that relative's immediate incarceration as an enemy to the Commonwealth. An enemy to the Commonwealth of Virginia must be indeed an unnatural wretch; for no such wealth is known to be in existence just now, and enmity to the dead is a thing inexcusable. It was a crime of which Mr. Bob Peters was incapable; yet would he have suffered for it, had not the devoted Libby concealed him in the hour of danger.

Of this concealment, Miss Eve had learned from Efrum, the son of Jocko, though she knew not how long it was to be continued.


Several of the Richmond churches were opened that Sunday night, and thither repaired many of the Cottonocracy, devotional children of Bale, to implore Providence in behalf of an army whose heroes have generally appeared, in the eyes of the Federal troops, to be wholly Leave-ites. The recent intelligence of "another confederate victory," at Williamsburg, had added a finishing touch to the panic created by reports of the triumphal retreat from Yorktown previously received, and the fervor of Richmond's piety on [p. 35] that evening was eminently worthy of a city liable at any moment to be cannonized. The reverend clergy of the rebel capital selected their texts from Exodus by instinct, as it were, and proved so conclusively that the Yankee invader was no man, that the listening congregations were impressed with an instructive and repentant sense of their own wickedness, (for they are the wicked who invariably flee when "no man" pursueth,) and several members evinced their new-born disgust at this sinful world by resolutely closing their eyes upon it at once.

In his pew sat Mr. Victor E. Ordeth, with his wife and son, the latter a member of the Richmond Home Guard. Stiff and erect he sat, like a solemn note of admiration in a printer's case, ready to be used at the end of any sounding passages, suffering an expression of weighty approval to cross his countenance when the preacher hoped the same planets might not thereafter be destined to shine on the North and the South.

And well he might; for there had been something in the late capture of New Orleans and other ports by the Union fleets to impress the Southern mind with no small dread of the North's tar.

Libby remained at home under plea of sick-headache; but no sooner were her parents fairly out of the house, than said plea proved to be entirely invalid. At least, the young lady darted to her own private room in a very sprightly manner, brought out from thence a small package, and finally repaired to the apartment wherein Mr. Bob Peters kept solitary vigils and a bright lookout. Before passing in, however, she paused to have a few words with the faithful [p. 36] Jocko, whom she discovered on his knees before the door of the captive's cell, with his right eye slightly to the left of the knob.

"Jocko!" she exclaimed, reproachfully, "what are you doing here, you ridiculous thing?"

"Miss Libby," said the humble servitor, looming dimly in the shadow of the hall as he slowly arose from his feet, "Ise ben prayin' dat you might become a christian, and one ob these days, when de great Hallelugerum come, hab wings and a harp."

Scarcely were these affecting words uttered, when Mr. Peters tore open the door rather disrespectfully, so greatly discomposing the devoted black that the latter incontinently fled.

"My dear girl," said Bob, leading his fair visitor into the room, "I'm delighted to see you. The shutters are up, the gas is lit, and I'm prepared to do the sentimental. Oh-um-m—Lubin's Extracts!" ejaculated Mr. Bob Peters. For he had kissed her.

"There, dear Robert, don't be so absurd. You know you are going to leave us to-night, and I have brought you—" here Libby blushed with that exquisitely ingenuous emotion which is excited by the consciousness of benefiting one we love—"I have brought you some things that may be of use on your journey. You won't be angry with me for it, will you, dear Bob? There's a smoking cap, and a pair of crochet slippers, and some drawing pencils, and a volume of Tupper."

"My darling Libby!" remarked the deeply affected Robert, alighting on those tempting lips once more. [p. 37] "But did you think, love—did you think to put a quart of ice-cream and a few hair-pins in the package?"

"Why, no."

"Ah, well," said Mr. Bob Peters, abstractedly, "I suppose I can buy them on the road."

Silence, disturbed only by the beating of those two hearts, reigned for a few seconds, then—

"Bob," said Libby, looking shyly up to him, "we shall be very happy when we are married and live North?"

"Yes, indeed," said Bob.

"We'll live in such a beautiful house on Fifth Avenue, dear, and have such nice things. Because, you know, you can make so much money by your writings."

"Millions! my love," said Mr. Bob Peters, with sudden and wonderful quietude of tone. "When I left New York prose was bringing two dollars for seven pounds in the heavy dailies, and philosophical poetry quoted at six shillings a yard, and no hexameters allowed except for Emerson and Homer. Ah!" said Mr. Peters, his melancholy deepening rapidly to bitterness, "my last poem sickened me. It was called 'Dirge: addressed to a lady after witnessing the Drama of the "Toodles,"' and commenced in this way:

'Not all the artist's pow'r can limn, Nor poet's grander verse disclose, The plaintive charm that ev'ning dim, Imparts unto the dying rose.'"

"How pretty!" said Libby. [p. 38]

"Yes, my dear," responded Mr. Peters, somewhat gloomily; "but because I used 'dim' to rhyme with 'limn,' all the papers credited it to General Morris."

Recollections of this flagrant piece of injustice so affected Mr. Bob Peters, that he smote his breast and called himself a miserable man. "I really don't know but I'd better stay here and be hung like a respectable patriot," murmured the desolated young man.

"How absurd!" exclaimed the young lady, "you will be glad enough to get away to-night. Remember, now, you are to start down stairs at quarter-past Twelve, precisely, and Jocko will open the front door for you. Then go straight to the bridge, where you will find my brother, who will get you by the guard."

"That reminds me," observed Mr. Peters, "what time is it? I must set my repeater."

Libby consulted her watch and answered that it was half-past eight, whereupon Mr. Bob Peters fished from his fob a vast silver conglomeration, and having wound it up with a noise like that of a distant coffee mill, and set it correctly, proceeded to hang it, for convenient reference, upon the gas-branch across the mirror.

"Dear Bob, good bye."

"Fare thee well, and if for ever, still remember me," responded Mr. Peters, with some vagueness.

"We shall meet again?" said Libby, lingering.

"If I did not believe it," replied Mr. Bob Peters, with vehemence, "I should at once proceed to kill myself at your feet, covering the walls and furniture of the apartment with my gore."

"God bless you, Bob." [p. 39]

They parted wiping their mouths. Miss Ordeth went down stairs in tears, had a fit of hysterics on the sofa, and fell asleep with her head in the card basket.


There he slumbered on that rude lounge, with his head upon his hands and his hands under his head. A man, like you—or me—or any other man. Did you ever notice how you always keep your eyes shut when you are asleep? The lids come down over your orbs, your soul's windows, like night over the sun. You shall have visions of Heaven, or Hades, according to what you had for supper. Lobster salad, or truffles, will act upon a sleeping man's great, dark soul, like one of Page's pictures on the open eye. Make it see light blue landscapes, and pallid faces looking out of pink distances. You think that young man there is sleeping upon a rude couch? No. He is sleeping upon something not palpable to your worldly eyes nor mine; he is sleeping upon an empty stomach. You dare not pity him. His scornful, stern man's soul would wither you if you talked to him of compassion. Such is man. An animal. A worm of the dust. Yet proud. Ha! you know it. You blush for your unworthy thought. Such is woman. Something aroused the sleeper suddenly. It might have been an angel's whisper, or the kiss of an insect. He sprang to his feet, shook himself, and mentally declared that [p. 40] he had come pretty near getting asleep. The idea was rational.

"By all that's blue! it can't be, though it is, by Jupiter!"

The gas was still burning brightly. Mr. Bob Peters had caught sight of his watch as it was reflected in the mirror, with the hands pointing to a quarter past Twelve. With great rapidity he grasped the repeater, stabbed it into his fob, crushed his demoralized hat upon his head, looked regretfully about the room, turned off the gas, and in another moment was stealthily groping his way down stairs, toward the front door. The door yielded to his hand, but no Jocko was there. "I suppose," murmured Mr. Peters to himself, "I suppose the faithful fellow is praying for me somewhere in the kitchen, with his hands resting on a jar of sweetmeats. Ah! I ought to be a better man than I am." With this excellent moral reflection, Mr. Bob Peters stepped into the street and faced boldly for the path to freedom; but at the very first corner his road was barred by two individuals in military caps and the first stage of intoxication.

"Aryupeters—eters!" said one, who was evidently desirous of having but a single word with him.

"With a Bob," replied the fugitive sententiously.

"Aw' ri', then," observed the two in chorus, and Mr. Peters quickly found himself attended on either side by guardians whose affectionate manner of monopolizing his arms suggested a civil process of the most uncivil sort.

"Treachery!" he exclaimed, struggling fiercely. The twain held him tightly, however, with the strength [p. 41] of tight-uns, and his exertion only caused them to venture divers pleasant oaths concerning the destiny of his eyes.

Onward they dragged him, down Broad street and up half a dozen other streets, until a certain rebel institution was gained. "In with'm," said one of his captors; and they hurried him past a sentry and through a hall into a long, low room, where half a dozen miserable candles stuck up against the walls revealed a dismal company of over a hundred—some stretched upon the floor, some standing about, and others clustered around what appeared to be a cot in one corner.

"Is this the Confederate Congress?" asked the astonished Bob, as his captors left him, turning the key and adjusting various bolts as they went out.

"It's Libby's pork-packing-house," answered the prisoner nearest him, "and you're jugged, I suppose, as a spy."

"Pork-packing!" ejaculated the bewildered Bob. "Why, this is treating me like a hog."

Several prisoners at once gave in their adhesion to this logical premise.

"Here's a case of betrayed innocence!" soliloquized Mr. Bob Peters, bitterly, "I've trusted to Libby, and Libby's taken me in."—

"I'm going to be exchanged, I tell you!"

The sound came from the cot in the corner, and as the crowd in that direction opened for a moment, the new-comer beheld a sight that, for a time, made him forget his own troubles. A tall, gaunt man in ragged, Zouave uniform was reclining upon his elbow on [p. 42] the miserable pallet, the pale, dismal light of the candles disclosing a ghastly wound on his right temple, from which the blood was trickling down upon his rusty and matted beard.

"I'm going to be exchanged, I tell you!" he exclaimed, waving the others away with his left hand and glaring directly at Bob. "I've been here a whole year, and Eighty's boys wants me back; and I'm going to be exchanged."

"The poor fellow was shot by one of the sentries this morning. He's from a New York regiment, and has been a prisoner ever since Bull Run," whispered one of the unfortunates to Bob.

The latter approached the wounded man and kindly asked; "Can I do anything for you, old fellow?"

The dying Zouave regarded him with a ghastly smile; "Yes," said he, "you can go down to Eighty's truck house and take care of little Jake till I'm exchanged. Will you, bub, will you?"

"Is Jake your child?" asked Bob.

"No," responded the Zouave, softly, "it's only a little yaller dorg. I aint got no wife, nor child, nor no friend except the masheen and little Jake. He's petty as a picture, bub, and he's slept with me many a gay old night around Catherine Market—he has. You'll be kind to him, bub, won't you?"

"Here! what's this noise about? What are yes doin' with lights this time ernight? I'll soon stop his Yankee groaning," were the words of a brutal keeper, who had just come in and was roughly elbowing his way toward the cot.

"Stand off, you hound!" shouted Bob, throwing [p. 43] himself between the keeper and the dying soldier. "Stand off!" growled the prisoners, fiercely crowding upon the intruder with murder in their faces.

"Hark!" said the Zouave, leaning listfully forward, "there goes the Hall bell—one—two—three——" His features lighted up as with the glow of a conflagration; his lips opened—

"Fire! Fire! Fire!"

And the Zouave fell back upon the cot—dead.

The keeper crawled forward like a whipped hound, and eyed the outstretched form with a face full of fear:

"Exchanged at last, by G—d!"

True, O traitorous hireling! and by God alone. For when that honest, loyal soul went out, there came to take its place an Avenging Spirit, that shall not cease to call on Heaven for vengeance on the Southern murderer until the cowardly stain of fifty thousand murders, such as this, are washed out in a terrible atonement.

"Poor little Jake," murmured Mr. Bob Peters, "I wonder if he's a terrier." Then, turning to the keeper,—"How long is my imprisonment in this terrible place to be continued?"

The keeper eyed the querist with no very amiable expression, "You'll stay here," said he, "until you take the Oath, I reckon."

"In that case, my native land, good night," responded the interesting captive, Byronically; "my incarceration will terminate with an epitaph—'Hic Jacet Robert Peters. A victim of miss-placed confidence. [p. 44] He died young'—Jailor, you are affected. Accept a quarter!"

The Cerberus clutched the proffered coin and eyed it with feverish intensity. It was evidently the first quarter he had seen since the commencement of his services in that hole. The man's better nature was touched. "Hist!" he said, drawing Mr. Peters aside and speaking in a whisper: "I can no longer conceal the truth. I am a Southern Union man."

It is a beautiful peculiarity of our common nature, mon ami, that crime never sinks so deeply nor perversion spreads so obstinately in the human soul, but there is still a deeper current of normal rectitude responsive to the force of currency. That this was known to the ancients, is evinced by the antique custom of placing coins on the eyes of the dead, thereby signifying to all concerned that, whatever faults might have perished with the deceased, de mortuis nil nisi bonum.

"Can't I have a room to myself?" asked Bob, after a short pause.

"Follow me," was the response; and he followed the keeper through a crowd of curious prisoners, up a stair-way against a wall, to a room on the next floor. The keeper opened the door with a key from one of his pockets, and led the way into an apartment whose only furniture was a bed, a ricketty chair and a bit of looking-glass on a shelf.

"I sleep here sometimes myself," said the keeper; "but you shall stay here for a small rent. Make yourself comfortable." [p. 45]

"Stop a minute," said Bob, as the man turned to leave. "Do you know how I came to be arrested?"

"I don't know exactly," was the answer; "but I believe you was informed upon by some woman. Good night. Here's the candle."

The prisoner cast himself upon the bed, as the key grated again in the lock, and was fast asleep before the poor fellows down stairs had extinguished their miserable lights.

In the morning the friendly keeper brought him his breakfast, consisting of a cup of something very much like "sacred soil" after a heavy rain, two geological biscuits and a copy of the Richmond Whig.

"What do you call this stuff?" asked Mr. Peters, ruefully eyeing the contents of the cup.

"Coffee," replied the keeper, blandly, "real Mocha."

Mr. Peters was silent. To call such fluid Mocha was sheer mockery.

The biscuits dispatched and the coffee defied, the captive betook himself to deep and admiring contemplation of the newspaper; and was deriving much valuable instruction from an article written to prove how skilfully and ingeniously the Southern Confederacy had struck a telling blow at its ruthless invaders by strategetically surrendering Norfolk, when an early visitor was admitted. Said visitor was a young man contained in a picturesquely-tattered uniform, with a fatigue cap on his head and a rusty sword rattling at his heels.

"Bob, my boy," said he, "how the mischief did you get into this scrape?" [p. 46]

"This is some of your family's Chivalry," responded Mr. Peters, shortly.

"My governor certainly did come it over you a little," observed the visitor, who was no other than the younger Ordeth; "but you might have gone off safely enough if you'd been at the bridge at quarter-past Twelve, as you were told. I don't like the governor's style any more than you do, and if you had come to time I could have passed you out of the lines easily enough."

"I did come to time," answered Bob, with great bitterness, "and a pretty time of night it was. How did I get into this scrape? The Southern Confederacy brought me here. I've had enough of you and your family. It affords me satisfaction to contemplate a perspective in which your family are attending a funeral of one of their number whose demise would be attended with funeral honors, if all his comrades were not engaged in the work of running away from McClellan."

Mr. Peters hazarded this cutting insinuation of the future with an expression of countenance rigidly severe.

"But, my dear boy, there is some mistake. You—"

"Enough, Sir!"

"Oh, very well; if you won't you won't," exclaimed the Confederate youth, growing very red in the face. "All I have to say is, that I have done my part as your friend. If you had been at the bridge at quarter-past Twelve last night, you might be back among the Yankees now. And, let me tell you, those same Yankees will never conquer the South." [p. 47]

"Perhaps not," said Mr. Peters, ironically.

"One of our officers has just invented a new gun that will soon teach the North manners," continued the Confederate, with increasing heat. "It throws one-hundred-pound balls as fast as a man can turn the handle."

"Ah!" said Bob, sneeringly.

"Yes; and it has but one defect."

"What's that?" asked Bob, with some appearance of interest.

"The handle won't turn!" ejaculated the young Virginian, darting hastily from the room to hide his emotion.

Mr. Peters looked vaguely after the retreating form of the sensitive youth, and as one of the keepers relocked the door again from the outside, his face sank upon his hands. What did his visitor mean by accusing him of not making his appearance at the appointed time? It was exactly quarter-past Twelve when he left the house. "I see how it is," murmured Mr. Peters, between his hands; "the boy has been taking something hot."


The ladies were taking their usual promenade through the main corridor of the jail, curiously gazing at times through the newly-grated door at the prisoners in the main room, and seasoning their morning [p. 48] gossip with piquant observations on the probable execution of the horrid creatures there confined. Mrs. Peyton took occasion to inform Mrs. Mason that she wouldn't pass a day without taking a look at the wretches for all the world; and Mrs. Mason informed Mrs. Peyton that her life would hardly be endurable if she did not live in hope of seeing all the Abolitionists there yet. Here young Mr. Baron ventured to intimate that the Yankee prisoners were fortunate in being favored with such an array of fair before them; for which he was saluted as an "absurd thing," and received a shower of taps from adjacent fans.

Miss Adams led her companion, a neighbor's child, to where a keeper was leaning idly against the wall.

"Are these all your prisoners?" she asked.

"All but one that was taken last night and is up stairs," replied the official.

"Is that one on exhibition?"

"I reckon he is, if you want to see him."

"Well," said Miss Adams, with an assumption of indifference, "I don't know that it's worth while; but—well, I reckon I will look at him."

"This way, then, if you please," said the keeper, leading the way up an adjacent flight of stairs and conducting the fair one to the room occupied by Mr. Peters.

Bob was gazing gloomily out of the window and did not recognize the presence of his new guests until the end of a parasol touched his shoulder.

"Miss Adams!" he exclaimed, offering his hand.

The young lady tossed her head haughtily: [p. 49]

"I don't wish to shake hands with an enemy of my country, sir."

"I see," said Bob, coolly, "the presence of a third party obliges us to vail our emotions. Keeper, leave the saloon."

"Pay no attention to him, Keeper," retorted Eve, indignantly, "I wish your attendance."

Not at all abashed by the severity of her tone, Mr. Peters nodded to the officer and smiled pleasantly.

"Then I must expose you with a witness to it," he said, good-naturedly; "you are offended, Miss Eve because I did not comply with your kind note and meet your friends at a quarter-of Twelve, instead of walking straight into trouble at quarter-past, as I did."

"You are beneath my notice," was the answer of Miss Adams; "but since you choose to speak so I must explain myself to this good man here. You are indebted to me for your present situation. I am a Southern woman, sir, and it was my duty as a Southerner, to see that you did not escape to injure our cause by telling some of your Northern falsehoods about us. I wrote you the note you speak of in order that you might be drawn from your hiding place, and also one to the authorities putting them on the watch. I may be a woman, but I have the heart of a man."

If Miss Adams did not have the heart of a man it was owing to no neglect on her part of any possible means to catch such a heart. That is to say, all her dearest and most intimate female friends said so.

Her speech was evidently intended to impress the prisoner with a torturing sense of woman's vengeance, but, contrary to her expectation, Mr. Peters received [p. 50] it with the utmost complacency. In fact, he even evinced a playful disposition and favored the attentive keeper with an insidious wink.

"I don't doubt that your intentions were excellent, Miss Eve," said Mr. Bob Peters, with an air of great enjoyment; "but they did not work as well as your affectionate heart designed. Because—you see—I did'nt come out at a quarter of Twelve at all, nor did I follow any of your directions. Oh, no! It was just quarter-past Twelve by my repeater when I departed from my late residence, and it's my private opinion that your dear friend, Miss Ordeth, had the privilege of being my adviser on that nocturnal occasion. Don't let your sensitive soul be afflicted with the thought that you have wronged confiding innocence," added Bob, pathetically, "for I do assure you that you are as guiltless as the child unborn."

"What do you mean, sir?" asked Eve, in some haste; "were you not arrested at a quarter of Twelve?"

"Why no!" said Bob. "Don't I tell you that I didn't break cover until quarter-past?"

"Well, sir," snarled Eve, with no little irritation, "you're here at any rate, and I hope you'll enjoy the society of your Yankee friends down stairs. I hope you'll all be hung. I do."

And the injured fair swept magnificently from the room, dragging with her the neighbor's child, and leaving Mr. Peters alone with the keeper.

"I say, she's a spunky one," remarked the latter. "It's a pity you really did'nt wait till quarter-past. I [p. 51] would'nt trust a woman with such eyes as hers—I would'nt."

"And I didn't trust them," said Bob. "It was full quarter-past by my repeater when I came out, and if I'm betrayed it's by another woman."

"Oh, come now," put in the keeper, deprecatingly, "it's all right, you know, between us two. It was'nt but quarter-past when I locked you in here, you know."

"What!" exclaimed Bob.

"Fact," said the keeper.

Mr. Peters deliberately drew out his watch and held it up in full view.

"By all that's true!" said Bob, "it was quarter-past Twelve by that repeater before I was taken last night."

The rebel official looked steadily into the eyes of his prisoner for a moment, and then withdrew hurriedly and in silence. He evidently mistrusted the sincerity of Mr. Peters, or believed that a man with such a fast watch was too much ahead of his time to be trusted without a watch of a different kind.


If some modern Burton would supply the world with an Anatomy of Patriotism, mon ami, I am inclined to believe that his first discovery in the process of dissection would be, that the modern quality of that name is essentially lacking in the anatomical [p. 52] composite of back-bone. Ordinary patriotism in practice, as far as I have been able to observe it, is equivalent, in general aspect and result, to an irresistible force in contact with an immovable body, those who are chiefly carried away with it metaphorically being the last to yield to its impulsion personally. In short, the quality appears to be a sentiment rather than a motive in its character, and moves us to inspire others rather oftener than it inspires us to move ourselves.

Mr. Victor E. Ordeth was a patriot in the conventional sense of the term, and when the Southern heart was first fired he took a very large ember to his own bosom. None could be more ready to repudiate all their Northern debts than was Mr. Ordeth to repudiate his, and his deadly hatred of the Abolitionist was only equaled by that of a New England man owning a colored drayman, and living next door to him. "We will raise a million of soldiers if need be," said the chivalrous Virginian at a public meeting in Richmond, "and sacrifice our last crust." After which he went comfortably home and growled very much at the dampness of his slippers and the barely perceptible chill in his buttered toast. Great admiration was evoked on all sides by this spirited conduct, and when he finally donated one hundred dollars of his creditors' money to the Volunteer fund, there was some talk of making him a brigadier; but it happened to leak out that he knew something of military business from early study, and, of course, that project had to be given up. A brigadier with military capability would be an anomaly indeed! [p. 53]

And so, this self-sacrificed gentleman meekly wore his honors in private life, his patriotism deepening and intensifying until it attained the pitch of verbal perfection demonstrated in the first chapter of this veracious narrative. Suddenly, however, this patriotism suffered what its possessor's pocket did not—a "sea change": the Confiscation Act passed by the Congress of the United States induced Mr. Ordeth to consider seriously what might possibly happen to a certain little property of his near Danville, in the event of certain Union achievements; and the news of McClellan's advance to within five miles of Richmond, did not tend to increase the patriotic fervor of this chivalrous Virginian.

It was on the second morning after the summary incarceration of Mr. Bob Peters, that Mr. Ordeth peremptorily called for his newspaper, and, having elevated his feet upon the window sill, proceeded to read the more humorous articles of the journal in question, which were chiefly devoted to the discussion of divers excellent plans for invading the North in one column, and burning Richmond in the next. The only other person in the apartment at the time was Mrs. Ordeth, who turned very pale when her lord took up his paper, and watched him as he read, with considerable agitation. She was evidently expecting an explosion, and it came.

Having perused with mitigated satisfaction a leader on the sublime nobility of soul evidenced by the people who destroyed their city at the approach of the enemy, Mr. Ordeth turned to the Local Department of the reduced sheet before him, and was electrified [p. 54] at the discovery therein of a full and accurate account of the arrest of "one Robert Peters, supposed to be a Yankee spy, who is said to have found refuge for some time past in the house of a well-known citizen, and who was seized at the instigation of a devoted Daughter of the South, who, by a pardonable device, lured him from his hiding place for that purpose. But for the disordered state of things just now, the citizen said to have harbored this fellow would be called to account for his equivocal concern in the matter."

The paper dropped from the hands of Mr. Ordeth, and he stared at his wife in utter bewilderment.

"Don't be angry with us, Victor!" exclaimed that lady, tremblingly; for she had seen the paper and anticipated what was coming. "Libby hid poor Bob away because she didn't want to see one of our own relations taken and hung, and when she told me of it I didn't dare to tell you."

"And do you mean to tell me that it was in my house he was secreted?" asked the Virginian, tragically.

"Yes, my dear, up-stairs, you know."

This unexampled revelation might have produced a scene, had not the door been opened at the moment by Jocko, who unceremoniously entered with a folded paper in his hand.

"Dis wus brung for you, Mars'r, by de angel ob de—I mean by de gemman wid gold on he shoulder."

The master hastily snatched the paper from the dutiful black, waved him magisterially from the presence, and found himself ordered to report on the following morning for military duty at the headquarters [p. 55] of the military commandant, Richmond. A new draft was ordered!

Passing the paper to his wife, without a word of comment, Mr. Ordeth commenced to pace the room with long and rapid strides. Finally, he stopped short before his lady's chair:—

"I am beginning to think," said he, coolly, "that the Union is best for the South, after all."

"Yes, my dear."

"And we must be off for Danville this very afternoon."


A pause, and then—

"I was hasty about Bob. My friend, General Evans, has just come in from Leesburg. I must explain this matter to him and get Bob discharged; for Bob may be of great service to us, my dear, when the Yankees take possession."

Mrs. Ordeth understood her husband well enough to appreciate this remarkable change in his sentiments, and refrained from exhibiting any astonishment at this speech. She only answered:

"You know best, Victor."

The head of the house received this judicious reply in full payment of all demands on his wife's attention, and immediately went forth to put his designs into execution—as fine a specimen of the Southern Union man as ever welcomed the advent of the loyal army with enthusiasm, and immediately presented a bill for damages sustained in the cause of Freedom! [p. 56]


Seated upon the lounge where he so often had rested, with her elbows resting upon the table on which his arms had so frequently reposed, sat the afflicted Libby. She had heard her paternal leave the house an hour before, and she had just heard the sound of his boots in the hall below as he returned; but she felt no desire to learn the reason thereof. Like her mother, she had seen the account of Mr. Peters' arrest in the morning paper, and her bewilderment at the statement respecting the device used to entrap that persecuted youth by a Daughter of the South, was only equalled by her grief at the unfortunate present predicament of her lover. So absorbed was she in her sorrows that she heard not the opening of the parlor door below her, nor the sound of footsteps on the stairs:—

"Miss Ordeth!"

Was it a dream? The beautiful mourner turned quickly in the direction of the sound, and beheld the bodily presentment of Mr. Bob Peters, who stood near the door with his shocking bad hat between his hands and an expression of stern reproach upon his countenance.

"Bob!—you here?" exclaimed the maiden, starting from her seat with a little shriek.

"Mr. Peters, if you please, Madame," said the late captive, with much dignity. "Owing to a great spread of Union sentiment in the bosom of your paternal [p. 57] relative, and his consequent representation in my behalf, I am here, to blast you with the sight of the innocence you have betrayed! I slipped up here to confront you, Madame," observed Mr. Peters, with some ease of manner, "while the old ones were packing the silver-plated spoons preparatory to a combined movement on the peaceful hamlet of Danville."

"What do you mean, you ridiculous thing?" asked Libby, scarcely believing her own ears.

"That we must part," returned Mr. Peters, calmly straightening an angle in the rim of his hat. "You named an hour for my nocturnal escape—quarter-past Twelve. I fled the Residence at that unseemly hour, though another maiden had previously invited me to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I went, and walked straight into the arms of the unsleeping Southern Confederacy, who was inebriated at the time, and conducted me to the penal pork-packing establishment. Enough! we part. I go to Danville with you, but only as an ordinary acquaintance of chilling reserve."

"Why Bob, what can you mean?" ejaculated Libby, to whom this remarkable speech was not particularly lucid; "it was not my fault that you were taken. If you had gone at quarter-past Twelve, as I told you, all would have been well. Oh, Bob, when Jocko told me next morning that he had waited for you a whole hour in the hall in vain, and when ma and I found that you had really gone at the wrong time, I sat right down and cried my eyes out."

"The wrong time!" exclaimed Mr. Peters, striding suddenly toward the mirror. "Impossible! Observe [p. 58] this repeater of mine, which is a reliable time-piece. On the night in question, this repeater was plainly before me, hanging on this gas bracket, before this looking-glass." Here Mr. Peters illustrated his assertion by suspending his watch from the bracket, under which it spun feebly for a moment. "At the very instant of my waking from a temporary slumber, I caught sight of this same repeater in the glass, and—why! what's this?"

In a moment every vestige of resentment had faded from the features of Mr. Bob Peters, and he stood staring at the reflection of his watch in the glass with the look of a man in the last stage of wonder.

Libby timidly drew near and placed a hand on his arm.

"What's the matter, dear?"

"What time is it now by the repeater?" asked Mr. Peters, excitedly, but without moving his eyes.

"Why, it's ten minutes past Ten," replied Libby, glancing at the face of the watch as it appeared in the mirror, and wondering what would come next.

"Look again!!" thundered Mr. Peters.

"Why," repeated Libby, half-frightened, "it's ten minutes past Ten."

Mr. Bob Peters deliberately took down his watch and pointed convulsively at its face with one finger. The time was ten minutes of Ten!

Mr. Peters' first act was to clasp the maiden to his bosom and kiss her unceremoniously. Then releasing her, he took two steps in a popular break-down and burst into a stentorian peal of laughter.

"I shall have to call Pa," said poor Libby.

"Not a bit of it!" shouted Bob, ceasing his Terpsichoreanism [p. 59] for a moment; "don't you see the joke? It's all in the looking-glass, my pet. When I thought it was a quarter past Twelve and fled the residence, it was really a quarter of Twelve—don't you see? The looking-glass reversed the hands on the watch!"

And so it was, mon ami. Hold your own time-piece with its face to a mirror, and you will "see the point."

But what can excuse that General who, after leading the whole country to expect that he would take Richmond in time for me to conclude this picture of Southern life, as I originally planned to do, now changes his base of operation in a strategic manner, and introduces a fizzle into romantic literature——

Here Smith-Brown, who happened to be awake, coughed intrusively, my boy, and says he:

"The fault is not the General's, my friend. The Secretary of War is alone to blame for it. He has killed literature."

How true was that speech, my boy. The Secretary is indeed responsible for this literary disaster, as well for everything else; and if he ever undertakes to stand on his own responsibility, he will find plenty of room to move about.

Yours, droopingly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 60]



Washington, D. C., July 12th, 1862.

Owing to the persistent stupidity of Congress and the hideously-treasonable machinations of the unscrupulous black republicans, my boy, the weather still continues very hot; and unless the thermometer falls very soon, an exhausted populace will demand an immediate change in the Cabinet. I am very warm, my boy—I am very warm; and when I reflect upon the agency of the abolitionists, who have brought this sort of thing about for the express purpose of injuring my Constitution, I am impelled to ask myself: Did our revolutionary forefathers indeed expire in vain? O my country! my country! it is very warm.

Such weather, my boy, is particularly trying to Sergeant O'Pake's friend,


I'm shtanding in the mud, Biddy,
With not a spalpeen near,
And silence, spaichless as the grave,
Is all the sound I hear.
[p. 61] Me gun is at a showlder arms,
I'm wetted to the bone,
And whin I'm afther shpakin' out,
I find meself alone.
This Southern climate's quare, Biddy,
A quare and bastely thing,
Wid Winter absint all the year,
And Summer in the Spring.
Ye mind the hot place down below?
And may ye niver fear
I'd dhraw comparisons—but then
It's awful warrum here.
The only moon I see, Biddy,
Is one shmall star, asthore,
And that's fornint the very cloud
It was behind before;
The watchfires glame along the hill
That's swellin' to the south,
And whin the sentry passes them
I see his oogly mouth.
It's dead for shlape I am, Biddy,
And dramein shwate I'd be,
If them ould rebels over there
Would only lave me free;
But when I lane against a shtump
And shtrive to get repose,
A musket ball he's comin' shtraight
To hit me spacious nose.
It's ye I'd like to see, Biddy,
A shparkin' here wid me
[p. 62] And then, avourneen, hear ye say,
"Och, Biddy darlint," then says I,
Says you, "get out of that;"
Says I, "me arrum mates your waist,"
Says you, "be daycent, Pat."
And how's the pigs and ducks, Biddy?
It's them I think of, shure,
That looked so innocent and shwate
Upon the parlor flure;
I'm shure ye're aisy with the pig
That's fat as he can be,
And fade him wid the best, because
I'm towld he looks like me.
Whin I come home again, Biddy,
A sargent tried and thrue,
It's joost a daycent house I'll build
And rint it chape to you.
We'll have a parlor, bedroom, hall,
A duck-pond nately done,
With kitchen, pig-pen, praty-patch,
And garret—all in one
But, murther! there's a baste, Biddy,
That's crapin' round a tree,
And well I know the crature's there
To have a shot at me.
Now, Misther Rebel, say yere prayers,
And howld yer dirthy paw,
Here goes!—be jabers, Biddy dear,
I've broke his oogly jaw!
[p. 63]

I was talking some moments ago with a Regimental Surgeon, who has more patients on a monument than Shakspere ever dreamed about, and says he: "In consequence of the great number of troops now about this city, all the oxygen in the atmosphere is exhausted, and we are very warm. Had all these troops been sent to McClellan two weeks ago," says he, using his lancet to pick a dead fly out of his tumbler, "we might be able to keep cool now. There is a terrible responsibility on somebody's shoulders."

That's very true, my boy, and it's very warm.

There was a panic this morning in financial circles, owing to the frantic conduct of a gambling chap from the Senate, who has been saving up money to bet on the fall of Richmond, and was trying to put it out at interest. "I'll take seven per cent. for it the first year," says he, anxiously, "and leave it standing until national strategy comes to a head."

A broker took it for five years, my boy, with the privilege of extending the time after each fresh victory.

Speaking of victories, my boy, I was present at the recent series of triumphs by the Mackerel Brigade, on the left shore of Duck Lake, and witnessed a succession of feats calculated to culminate either in the fall of Richmond or the fall of the year.

From the head-quarters in the city of Paris to the brink of Duck Lake, the Mackerels were drawn up in gorgeous line of battle, their bayonets resembling somewhat an uncombed head of steel hair, and their noses looking like a wavy strip of summer sunset. By their last great stragetical manœuvre, they had lured the Southern Confederacy to court its own destruction [p. 64] by flanking them at both ends of the line, and they were only waiting for the master-mind to give them the signal.

Samyule Sa-mith advanced from this place in the staff as I rode up, and says he:

"Comrades, the General depends on you to precede him to glory. We had hoped," says Samyule, feelingly, "to have the company of two French counts in this day's slaughter; but those two noble Gauls had not time to wait, as they desired to visit the Great Exhibition in London."

These remarks were well received, my boy; and when the order was given for Company 3, Regiment 5, to detour to the left, it would have been promptly obeyed but for an unforeseen incident. Just as Captain Villiam Brown was about to break line for the purpose, an aged chap came dashing down from a First Family country-seat near by, and says he to the General of the Mackerel Brigade:

"I demand a guard for my premises immediately. My wife," says he, with dignity, "has just been making a custard-pie for the sick Confederacies in the hospital, and as she has just set it out to cool near where my little boy shot one of your vandals this morning, she is afraid it might be taken by your thieving mudsills when they came after the body. I, therefore, demand a guard for my premises, in the name of the Constitution of our forefathers."

Here Captain Bob Shorty stepped forward, and says he:

"What does the Constitution say about custard pie, Mr. Davis?" [p. 65]

The aged chap spat at him, and says he:

"I claim protection under that clause which refers to the pursuit of happiness. Custard pies," says he, reasoningly, "are included in the pursuit of happiness."

"That's very true," says the General, looking kindly over his fan at the venerable petitioner. "Let a guard be detailed to protect this good old man's premises. We are fighting for the Constitution, not against it."

A guard was detailed, my boy, with orders to make no resistance if they were fired upon occasionally from the windows of the house; and then Captain Villiam Brown pushed forward with what was left of Company 3, to engage the Confederacy on the edge of Duck Lake, supported by the Orange County Howitzers. Headed by the band, who played patriotic airs as soon as he could shake the crumbs out of his key-bugle, the cavalcade advanced to the edge of the lake and opened a heavy salute of round shot and musketry on the atmosphere, whilst Commodore Head kept up a hot fire at the horizon with his iron-plated fleet and swivel gun.

Only waiting to finish a game of base ball, in which they had been engaged, four regiments of Confederacies, at whom this deadly assault was directed, threw aside their bats and ball dresses, put on their uniforms, loaded their muskets and batteries, and sent an iron shower in all directions. Greatly demoralized by this unseemly occurrence, a file of Mackerels under Sergeant O'Pake immediately threw down their muskets and knapsacks, emptied their pockets upon the [p. 66] ground, piled their neckties in a heap, and were making a rapid retrograde movement, when Villiam suddenly threw himself in their path, and says he:

"Where are you going to, my fearless eaglets?"

"Hem!" says the sergeant, with much French in his manner, "we thought of visiting the Great Exhibition in London."

"Ah!" says Villiam, understandingly, "you have acquired French in one easy lesson, and—"

Here an orderly rode up with an order for the Mackerels to fall back from the edge of the Lake immediately, leaving their artillery, bayonets, havelocks, and baggage behind them; and Villiam was obliged to conduct the movement, which was a part of the strategical scheme of the General of the Mackerel Brigade. As we retreated back into Paris, my boy, we were joined by the Conic Section, and shortly after by the Anatomical Cavalry, both of which had succeeded in leaving all their accoutrements on the field.

As we all rushed together before head-quarters in perfect order, and while the Confederacy was eating some provisions, which we had refrained from bringing off the late scene of conflict, the General of the Mackerel Brigade came from under a tree, where he had been tanning himself, and says he:

"My children, we have whipped them at all points, and the day is ours."

"Ah!" says Villiam, abstractedly, "the day is hours."

"My children," says the General, in continuation, "we have pushed the enemy to the wall without fracturing the Constitution, and have only put the war [p. 67] back six months. We can say with pride, my children, that we belong to the Army of Duck Lake, and shall have no more Bull Runs. My children, I love you. Accept my blessing."

We were reflecting upon this soul-stirring speech, my boy, and silently admiring the strategy which had brought us all together again so soon, when the sound of drum and fife called our attention to a club of political chaps who had just arrived by steamer from the Sixth Ward, and were filing past us to a platform recently erected in the very centre of Paris.

"I do believe," says Captain Bob Shorty, whisperingly, "I do believe we're going to have a mass meeting."

Onward went the political chaps to the platform.

A delegation mounted the steps, advanced to the front rails, and commenced unfurling a vast linen banner. The sun was just setting, my boy, and as his parting beams fell upon the uplifted faces of the political chaps, a soft breeze unrolled the standard, and the Mackerels read upon its folds—

IN 1865.

Shall it be said, after this, that republics are ungrateful? I think not, my boy—I think not. We [p. 68] have won a great and glorious victory, and the only question remaining to be answered is, Who is responsible for it, my boy—who is responsible for it?

Yours, in bewilderment,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 69]



Washington, D. C., July 19th, 1862.

Permit me to return thanks through your mail, my boy, for a large feather fan recently consigned to my address by one of the admiring Women of America. It looks like a tail freshly plucked from a large-sized American eagle, and is decorated with a French-plate mirror in the centre and other French plates around the edges. The kind-hearted woman of America (who writes from Boston) says in her presentation note—"I admire to see a fan in the hands of the sterner sex; for it shows that the same hero-fist that grasps the sword has enough inherent gentleness to wave the cooling bauble. Such is life. The hand which falls like a hundred pounds of granite on the flinty eye of his ke-yuntery's foes has the softness of a blessing when it caresses the golden head of plastic childhood.

Yours, gushingly, Zephyrina Percy."

I find the "cooling bauble" very useful to brush the flies from my gothic steed Pegasus, my boy, and am a fanatic "to this extent, no more."

[p. 70]

And here is what another young woman of America says to me in a note:

"My ma requests me to tell you that you ought to be ashamed of yourself, you hateful thing, for encouraging the vulgar people to be in favor of this nasty war, that is causing their superiors so much trouble, and has driven away the opera, and made enemies of those nice Southerners, with their beautiful big eyes and elegant swearing. Why don't you advocate a compromise, or a Habeas Corpus, or some other paper with names to it, and get Mr. Lincoln to stop the Constitution and order the war to be ended before there's any more assassinations and things? My pa was once a leather banker, and sold shoes for plantation servants, and made a great deal of money by it; but now he's a captain, or a surveyor, or some ridiculous thing, of the Home Guard, and may be massacred in cold blood the first time there's a battle in our neighborhood. My pa has to go to drill every night, and when he comes home in the morning he's so worn out with exhaustion that I've known him to lay right down in the hall and shed tears. My ma often says, that if Beauregard, or Palmerston, or any other foes should attack our house while pa is in that state, it would kill her dead. And I know it would make me so nervous that I should be a perfect fright for a week. My brother, Adolphus, has likewise joined the Home Guard, and has already had a bloody engagement with a Southerner named Tailor, who used to sell him clothes when the two sections were at peace. Adolphus says if it hadn't been for his double-quick, or some ridiculous [p. 71] military thing or other, he would have been made a prisoner. It makes me sick to see how much lowness there is about Adolphus since he joined the ridiculous army; he calls his dinner 'rations,' and addresses me as 'Corporal Lollypop,' (the absurd thing!) and calls ma's crinoline a 'counter-scarp.'

"My pa says that he shall have to sell the carriage and the beautiful dog-cart if this hateful war don't end by the first of next month; and when I asked him yesterday if we couldn't have the gothic villa next to the Jones's at Newport this summer, he actually swore! The Joneses, you know, are very pleasant, sociable, vulgar sort of people, with a little money; and it would kill me to see them putting on airs over us because we didn't happen to take a cottage with bow-windows like them. My pa says that old Jones has got a contract to make clothes for the soldiers, and has made a great deal of money by manufacturing coats and other ridiculous things out of blue paper instead of cloth. Augustus Jones says if he don't meet me at Newport this summer he will enlist as soon as he comes back; and it would be just like the absurd creature to do it. I don't see why pa can't get out an indictment or something against the blockade, and call on the postmaster or some other ridiculous thing to send his new stock of plantation shoes to Alabama under a guard, and bring back the money. I don't see the use of living in a republic if one can't do that much. My ma says that you newspaper people could stop the dreadful war if you would only advocate compromises and things, and not be so ridiculous. Why can't you leave out some of those absurd advertisements, and [p. 72] publish an article telling Mr. Lincoln that the war is ruining society? If it continues much longer, I shall have to wear my last year's bonnet a whole month, and I'd rather die. Do say something absurd, you ridiculous thing."

Have the war stopped right away, my boy,—have the war stopped right away.

Matters and things here are still in a strategic condition, and naught has disturbed our monotony, for a week, save a story they tell about the Honest Old Abe. It seems that two of the conservative Border State chaps, who are here for the express purpose of protesting against everything whatever, had a discussion about the Honest Abe, and one chap bet the other chap five dollars that he couldn't, by any possible means, speak to the President without hearing a small anecdote.

"Done!" says the other chap, gleefully, "I'll take the bet."

That very same night, at about twelve o'clock, he tore frantically up to the White House, and commenced thundering at the door like King Richard at the gates of Ascalon. The Honest Abe stuck his night-capped head out of the window, and says he:

"Is that you, Mr. Seward?"

"No, sir," says the Border State chap, glaring up through the darkness. "I'm a messenger from the army. Another great strategic movement has taken place, and our whole army have been taken prisoners by the Southern Confederacy. In fact," says the conservative [p. 73] chap, frantically, "the backbone of the rebellion is broken AGAIN."

"Hem!" says the Honest Abe, shaking a musquito from his nightcap, "this strategy reminds me of a little story. There was a man, out in Iowa, sat down to play a game of checkers with another man, inducing his friends around him to lend him the change necessary for stakes. He played and he played, and he lost the first game. Then he played much more cautiously, and lost the next game. His friends commenced to grumble; but, says he: 'Don't you worry yourselves, boys, and I'll show you a cute move pretty soon.' So he played, and he played, and he lost the third game. 'Don't be impatient, boys,' says he; 'you'll see that great move pretty soon, I tell you.' Then he played with great care, taking a long time to consider every move, and, by way of change, lost the fourth game. Close attention to what he was about, and much minute calculation, also enabled him to lose the fifth game. By this time his friends had lent him all their change, and began to think it was time for that great move of his to come off. 'Have you any more change?' says he. 'Why, no,' says they. 'Then,' says he, with great spirit, 'the time for that move I was telling you about has come at last.' As he commenced to rise from his chair, instead of continuing to play, his cleaned-out friends bethought themselves to ask him what that famous move was? 'Why,' says he, pleasantly, 'it's to move off for a little more change.'"

At the conclusion of this quaint tale, my boy, the Border State chap fled groaning to his quarters at [p. 74] Willard's, stuck a five-dollar Treasury Note under the pillow of the other Border State chap, and immediately took the evening train for the West.

Such is the story they tell, my boy; but I'm inclined to accept it merely as a work of fiction, with a truthful moral. Certain it is, that as strategy increases, small change grows scarcer, and it is the general opinion that no small change is needed in military matters.

In company with a patriotic democratic chap, who had come up from New York, for the express purpose of seeing that the negroes of the Southern Confederacy were not permitted to inform our forces of the movements of the enemy in contravention of the Constitution, I made a reconnoissance in force, on Monday, to the festive Shenandoah Valley. On our way thither, the democratic chap was greatly bitten by musquitos, for which he justly blamed the black republicans, who are trying to break up this Government, and on our arrival near Winchester, we stumbled upon a phlegmatic fellow-man in a swallow-tailed coat and green spectacles, who was seated on a stone by the roadside, reading the "Impending Crisis." The democratic chap passed on, swearing, to the nearest camp; but I paused before this interesting student.

"Well, old swallow-tails," says I, affably, "what are you doing in this section?"

He looked up at me with great severity of countenance, and says he: "I have come here, young man, to agitate the Negro Question; to open African schools; [p. 75] and, peradventure, to start a water cure establishment."

"What for?" says I.

"For the love of my species," says he, eagerly, "and for any little contract in the way of red breeches and spelling books that may be required for the reclaimed contrabands?"

Was this a case of purely disinterested philanthropy? Perhaps so, my boy, perhaps so; but the old swallow-tails reminded of a chap I once knew in the Sixth Ward. He was a high toned moral chap of much shirt-collar, with a voice that sounded like a mosquito in the bottom of a fish-horn, and a chin like a creased apple-dumpling. Years before he had married a Southern crinoline and talked about the glories of slavery in a polished and high-moral way; but as there happened just then to be a chance for him to run for alderman on the abolition ticket, he experienced a change of heart, and addressed a meeting on the evils of human bondage: "My friends," says he, patting his stomach in a heartfelt manner, "I once lived at the South and owned slaves; but never could I feel that it was right. My pastor would say to me: 'These men-slaves are black, you say; but have they not the same feelings with you, the same features—only handsomer?' I felt this to be so, my friends; I commenced to appreciate the enormity of holding human souls in bondage."

Here a susceptible venerable maiden in the audience became so overpowered by her emotions, that she placed her head in the lap of a respectable single gentleman, and fainted away. [p. 76]

"My friends," continued the high-toned moral chap, "I could not bear the stings of conscience; my nights were sleepless, but I slept during the day. There was I, pretending to be a Christian, yet holding men and women as chattels! Heavens himself was outraged by it, and I resolved to make a sacrifice for the sake of principle—to cease to be a slaveholder! I called my slaves together: I addressed them paternally and piously, and then I—(here the great, scalding tears rolled down the cheeks of the orator, and the audience sobbed horribly)—I bade them be good boys and girls, and then I—SOLD EVERY ONE OF THEM!"

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a movement of the audience toward the door. Men and women went out silently from the place, exchanging covert glances of smothered agitation with each other. Only one person remained with the orator. It was an old file with a blue umbrella, who had occupied a back seat and paid breathless attention to all the performances. After the others had left the hall, he walked deliberately from his seat to where the high-toned moral chap was still standing, and gazed into the face of the latter with an expression of unmitigated wonder. He then walked twice around him; having done which he confronted him again, thumped the ferule of his umbrella on the floor, and says he: "Well!" The old file paused an instant, and then says he: "well, I'll be dam," and waddled precipitately from the place.

I've often thought of it since then, my boy; and I've always wondered why it was that the solitary [p. 77] old file with the blue umbrella should say that he be dam.

To return to Western Virginia; I found, upon my arrival in one of the camps near Winchester, that the patriotic democratic chap was making arrangements to divide the army there into Wards, instead of regiments, in order, as he said, that the returns might come in systematically.

"For instance," says he, "suppose that in the skirmish with the Confederacy which is going on just ahead of us, we should lose—say seventy-five votes; how much easier it would be to say; the 'Fourth Ward shows a decrease since last year of seventy-five Republicans', than to say that such a regiment, of such a brigade, of such a division, has lost so and so?"

I was reflecting upon this novel and admirable way of putting it, my boy, when an orderly came tearing in, with a report of the skirmishing going on.

"Ha!" says the patriotic chap to him; "how does the canvas proceed?"

"Well," says the orderly, breathlessly, "Banks' outpost has lost twenty votes in the Tenth Ward by desertions, and has thirty double-votes wounded; but I think Banks can still keep neck-and-neck with McDowell."

"You do, hey?" says the patriotic chap, in great excitement. "Then McDowell must not lend Banks a single vote. Tell him to keep his Ward Committees under cover until Banks gets through with his canvas; for if he takes part in that, and the election results in a victory over the Confederacy, Banks will get all the [p. 78] credit of it, and win the card in the next Nominating Convention."

So McDowell's votes didn't re-enforce Banks in the skirmish, my boy, and Banks lost much popularity by being worsted, by the Confederacy.

As soon as the firing had ceased, I went out to meet some of the returning Wards, and came plump upon the swallow-tail chap, who was agitating the negro question in a corner of the late battle-field, surrounded by fugitive contrabands.

"Friend of the human race," says I, "how now?"

"Young man," says he, hastily tying a red silk pocket-handkerchief about his head, "I am teaching these oppressed beings to spell, having extemporized a college on the very scene of their recent emancipation."

"How far have the collegians progressed?" says I.

"They have got," says he, "to their a-b, abs. Thus; a-b, ab; o-abo; l-i li, aboli; t-i-o-n shun—abolition."

Shameful to relate, my boy, the swallow-tailed chap had no sooner said this, than a cavalry ward came charging helter-skelter, right through the college, tumbling the faculty into the mud, and bruising several sophomore graduates. Simultaneously, the patriotic democratic chap appeared on the scene, and insisted upon it that the contrabands should be immediately returned to the Southern Confederacy, as this is a white man's war. "Otherwise," says he, cholerically, "future reconciliation and reconstruction will be impossible."

Fearful that I should become confused a little if I remained there any longer, my boy, I at once retired [p. 79] from the place, in company with two sick votes, who were going home on furlough, and reached this city again in good order.

Almost the first fellow-being I met on my return was a seedy and earnest chap from New York, who was worth about a quarter in ready money, and had come to Washington post-haste to pledge the Empire State's last dollar, and last drop of blood for the vigorous prosecution of the war.

"See here, my self-denying Brutus," says I, as we took Richmond together at the bar, "who commissioned you to pledge so much as all that?"

"To tell the truth," says the seedy chap, confidentially, "it's all I've got left to pledge. I pledged my pinchbeck chronometer for three dollars," says he, sadly, "just before I left New York; and I'm trying this pledge on speculation."

I have sometimes feared, my boy, that our Uncle Samuel's concern is turning into a pawnbroking establishment on a large scale, where they make advances on everything tangible and intangible, except Richmond, my boy—except Richmond.

Yours, with a presentiment,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 80]



Washington, D. C., July 23d, 1862.

Yesterday morning, my boy, I refreshed myself by a lounge across Long Bridge to the fields about Arlington Heights, where blooming Nature still has verdant spots untrampled by the iron heel of strategic war.

How pleasant is it, my boy, to escape occasionally from the society of Congressmen and brigadiers, and take a lazy sprawl in the fragrant fields. It is the philosopher's way of enjoying Summer's



Still as a fly in amber, hangs the world
In a transparent sphere of golden hours,
With not enough of life in all the air
To stir the shadows or to move the flowers;
And in the halo broods the angel Sleep,
Wooed from the bosom of the midnight deep
By her sweet sister Silence, wed to Noon.
[p. 81]


Held in a soft suspense of summer light,
The generous fields with all their bloom of wealth
Bask in a dream of Plenty for the years,
And breathe the languor of untroubled Health.
Without a ripple stands the yellow wheat,
Like the Broad Seal of God upon the sheet
Where Labor's signature appeareth soon.


As printed staves of thankful Nature's hymn,
The fence of rails a soothing grace devotes,
With clinging vines for bass and treble cleffs
And wrens and robins here and there for notes;
Spread out in bars, at equal distance met,
As though the whole bright summer scene were set
To the unuttered melody of Rest!


Along the hill in light voluptuous wrapt
The daisy droops amid the staring grass,
And on the plain the rose and lily wait
For Flora's whispers, that no longer pass;
While in the shade the violet of blue
Finds in the stillness reigning nature through,
That which her gentle modesty loves best.


The mill-wheel motionless o'ershades the pool,
In whose frail crystal cups its circle dips;
The stream, slow curling, wanders in the sun
And drains his kisses with its silver lips;
The birch canoe upon its shadow lies,
The pike's last bubble on the water dies,
The water lily sleeps upon her glass.

[p. 82]


Here let me linger, in that waking sleep
Whose dreams are all untinged with haunting dread
Of Morning's finger on the eyelids pressed,
To rouse the soul and leave the vision dead.
And while deep sunk in this soft ecstasy
I count the pulse of Heaven dreamily,
Let all life's bitterness behind me pass!


How still each leaf of my oak canopy,
That holds a forest syllable at heart,
Yet cannot stir enough in all its veins
To give the murmured woodland sentence start!
So still—so still all nature far and near,
As though the world had checked its breath to hear
An angel's message from the distant skies!


This one last glance at earth—one, only one—
To see, as through a vail, the gentle face
Bent o'er me softly, with the timid love
That half distrusts the sleep which gives it grace.
The thought that bids mine eyelids half unclose
Fades to a dream, and out from Summer goes,
In the brown Autumn of her drooping eyes.

Thus irregular in rhythm and vagrant in measure, my boy, are the half-sleeping thoughts of a summer noon [p. 83] in Virginia; and it was fully an hour before I could summon enough strength of mind to peruse a letter recently consigned to me by a rustic chap in my native village.

This chap describes to me what he calls the "Downfall of the Dramy," and says he:

The Dramy is a article for which I have great taste, and which I prefer to prayer-meeting as a regular thing. Since the time I wore breeches intended to facilitate frequent spankings, I have looked upon theatrical artiks with a speeshees of excitement not to be egspressed. I was once paying teller to a barber artik who shaved a great theatrical artik, and although the theatrical artik never could pay for his shaving until he drew his celery, he always frowned so splendidly when he turned down his collar, and said: "What ho! there Figaro," that my infant mind yearned to ask him for a few tickets to the show.

This great respek for the dramy has grown with my hair, and since this high old war has desolated the dramy, my buzzom has been nothing else but a wilderness of pangs. The other evening, my fren—which is courting a six story house with a woman in the title deed—called at my shattoe, and proposed that we should wander amid the ruins of the dramy. "It's rejooced to a skellington," says he, quite mournful, "and its E pluribus Onion is gone down into the hocean wave." As my friend used this strong egspression, he tried to wink at me, but didn't get farther than a hik-cup. Arm in-arm, like two Siamese-twins in rejooced circumstances, we walked in speechless [p. 84] silence to what was formerly the entrance half of a theatre in the pallermy days of the dramy. It was like the entrance to the great desert of Sary, and as we groped our way through the grass to the ticket office, I observed six wild geese and a raccoon in a jungle that was a umberella stand in the pallermy days. The treasurer was entirely covered with cobwebs, which had been accumulating since the day he last saw speshee, and when he at last tore himself out, the sight of the quarter which I handed in sent him into immediate convulsions.

"Excuse me," says he, "if I weep over this preshus coin; but the force of old associations is too much for this affectionate heart."

He then sent a fly-blown little boy for a tumbler of brandy, and was weeping into it copious when we emerged from his presence. Upon entering the shattered temple of the dramy, we found a vetrun of 1812, which the manager had hired to keep company with the man what lit the gas, that artik having declared that if he was kept in solitude any longer he should shoot himself from sheer melancholy. It was the vetrun's business to keep moving from seat to seat until the performance was over, so that the artful cuss of a manager could say "every seat was okipied" in the next morning's newspaper. When the manager, who was representing the orkestra with a comb wrapt in paper, saw me and my fren, he paused in the middle of his overture, and said we should have a private box, but that the families of his principal artiks were keepin' house in the private boxes, and was [p. 85] rayther crowded for room. Seeing me put my hand in my pocket, he said, tearful:

"Tellum me, I conjure ye, are there any such things as quarters in the round world? It is now six months since I last mingled with the world, and I really forget how many make a dollar."

Touched to the quick by his plaintiff tone, I drew forth a quarter, and held it before his anguished vision. Never shall I forget how his eyes was sot on that ravishing coin.

"Can it indeed be real?" says he, "or is it but a quarter of the mind?"

I was afeard he might come the "let me clutch thee" dodge if I inflamed his imagination any longer; so I put it back into my pocket, and axidently revealed the handle of my revolver.

When my fren had cut the damp grass away from one of the orchestra seats with his jack-knife, we sat down and put up an umbrella to keep off the dew. Being a little nervous, I asked the manager if there was any snakes about; and he said he see a couple in the parroquet last night, but didn't think they had got down to the orkestra yet. The vetrun, which was the audience, stoppd chasing a bull-frog in the vestibule when the manager struck up "Days of Abstinence" on his comb, and immediately took his seat on chair No. 1, with which he always commenced. The curting was then unpinned, and disclosed a scene in a lumber-yard, with a heavy mortgage on it. The Count de Mahoginy is discovered in the ak of leaving his young wife, who is seated on a pile of shavings, for the purpose of obtaining immediate relief from the [p. 86] Union Defence Committee. The vetrun received him with great applause, and moved from seat to seat as though he was in a hurry to reach the gallery. When the artik spoke, there was so much empty stomik in his tones, that my fren said he seemed like a bean from another world. My fren is a spiritualist. The artik then went off at the left entrance, and immediately returned in the character of his own uncle, which had come home from California with two millions of dollars, and wished to give it to his affectionate nephew and niece. He found his niece in the lumber-yard, and having heard her sad story, divulged his intention to her and she immediately danced a Spanish par (which is French), and sung four songs in honor of the sixty-ninth regiment. Then the uncle danced a hornpipe, which he learned on the hocean; and so they kept agoin till about nine o'clock, when the countess said she heard her husband coming. The uncle was so taken aback by this, that he immediately made himself into a tableau representing the last charge of the Fire Zouaves at Bull Run: and as the comb struck up "I'm a loan, all a loan," the curtain was pinned up again. Just as the performance ended, the manager explained that he could only aford to keep two artiks—a male and female, and they only stayed because he had a mortgage on their wardrobes for over-drawed celery. "I'll light you to the door," says he, taking up one of the foot-lights, which was a turnip with a candle in it; "and I hope you'll come again when we projooce our new play. It's called 'The gas man's last charge,' and introjoces a real gas-meter and the sheriff."

[p. 87]

My fren and I made no reply, but walked sadly from the ruins with tears in our eyes.

The regular Drama, my boy, cannot hope to succeed, while the war which now monopolizes all attention is believed by some critics to be a regular farce.

Yours, tragically,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 88]



Washington, D. C., July 26th, 1862.

The high-minded and chivalrous Confederacy having refused to consider itself worsted in our recent great strategic victory near Paris, my boy, it only remained for the General of the Mackerel Brigade to commence undermining the Confederacy, after the manner of a civil engineer; and when last I visited the lines, I found a select assortment of Mackerels engaged in the balmy summer pastime of digging holes, and dying natural deaths in them.

There was one chap with an illuminated nose, who attracted my particular attention by landing a spade-full of sacred soil very neatly in my bosom, and says I to him:

"Well, my gallant sexton, how do the obsequies progress?"

"Beautiful," says he, pausing long enough to take a powder which the surgeon had left with him. "We've just struck a large vein of typhoid fever, and them air Peninsula veterans, which, you see in them holes yonder, [p. 89] are already delirious with it. Really," says the chap, with an air of quiet enjoyment, as he climbed into the hospital litter, just sent after him—"really, there's a smart chance of pushing on our cemetery to Richmond before the roads become impassable again."

I was looking after him, as the bearers carried him off, my boy, when I saw Captain Villiam Brown ambling leisurely toward me on his geometrical steed, Euclid, alternately perusing a paper which he held in his right hand, and discussing a canteen in his left. The countenance of the warrior was thoughtful, and his shovel swung listlessly against the charger's flank.

"How now, my Jack of Spades?" says I, sportively.

"Ah!" says Villiam, slowly descending from the roof of his stallion, and suffering the latter to lean against a tree, "here is a new Proclamation for the moral refreshment of the United States of America. Read this impartial edick," says Villiam impressively, "and you will find it worthy of the Union Track Society."

I took the official parchment, my boy, and found inscribed upon it the following affecting


Whereas, the United States of America now finds himself engaged in an unnatural struggle with the celebrated Southern Confederacy, for the Union which our forefathers planted; and it being our object to show the world that our intentions are honorable; it is hereby ordered, that the Mackerel Brigade do take possession of all guns, pistols, and howitzers previously fired at them by persons now in arms against this government, [p. 90] keeping strict account of said weapons, in order that their owners may be duly and amicably paid for them hereafter. It is further ordered that persons of Mackerel descent, occupying the cultivated grounds of the aforesaid Southern Confederacy, shall keep strict account of the time spent upon the same, in order that reasonable rent may be paid for the same as soon as the United States of America shall resume specie payment.

By order of
The General of the Mackerel Brigade.
Green Seal,
Vintage of 1776.

Having perused this document with much attention, I handed it back to Villiam, and says I:

"In purity of moral tone, my hero, that paper is worthy the descendant of 1776."

"1776!" says Villiam, reflectively. "Ah!" says Villiam, "it takes strategy to revive recollections of those days. We have at least seventeen hundred and seventy sick ones in our new hospital already. Come with me," says Villiam, genially, "and we will survey the interior aspeck of Strategy Hall."

Strategy Hall, my boy, is a fine airy hospital extemporized from a barn, on the estate of a prominent Southern Union man, now commanding a regiment of Confederacies. The house itself would have been taken, as it had somewhat more roof than the barn, and a little more shade; but when the General of the Mackerel Brigade learned that Washington had once thought of taking a second mortgage on it, he gave [p. 91] orders that no Mackerel should go within half a mile of the front door.

On entering Strategy Hall, I beheld a scene calculated to elevate sickness into a virtue, and shed immortal lustre upon the kind-hearted women of America. Comfortably stretched upon rails taken from Confederate fences, and of which a strict account had been kept, with a view to future compensation, were a whole section of the Mackerel Brigade, in the full enjoyment of strategic health. Over each chap's head hung his shovel, and a shingle inscribed with his name and address. Thus, the shingle nearest me read: "Spoony Bill, Hose Company 123, New York Fire Department."

And woman—lovely woman! was there, administering hot drinks to the fevered head, bathing with ice-water the brow of those shivering with the cruel ague, pouring rich gruel over the chin and neck of the nervous sufferer, and reading good books to the raving and delirious. It was with a species of holy awe that I beheld one of those human angels stand a hot coffee-pot upon the upturned face of one invalid, while she hastily flew to fill the right ear of a more urgent sufferer with cologne-water. And then to see her softly place one of the portable furnaces upon a very sick Mackerel's stomach, while she warmed the water with which his beloved head was presently to be shaved; and to see her bending over to ask one of the more dangerously ill ones if he would not like a nice fat piece of fresh pork, while the other end of her crinoline was scraping the head of the Mackerel on the opposite rail. [p. 92]

"O woman! in our hours of ease,
Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,
And variable as the shade
By the light, quivering aspen made;
When pain and anguish wring the brow
A ministering angel thou."

I could have remained here all day, my boy; for I found the berries, ice-cream, and liquors, prepared for the patients, really excellent; but Villiam hinted to me that a splendid piece of naval strategy was just about to come off on Duck Lake, and I desired to witness our national triumph on the ocean wave.

Having quitted Strategy Hall, I repaired to the shore of Duck Lake, where numerous Mackerels were already watching Commodore Head's fleet as it lay waiting for an expected rebel ram on the treacherous element. It appeared that a lurking Confederacy in Paris had waited until the Mackerels were all in their holes one day, and then hastily constructed an iron-plated ram from an old dry-goods box and two cooking stoves. With this formidable monster, he designed offering irregular opposition to the Government in the way of killing a few vandal regiments, after which he proposed to repair to the Confederate side of Duck Lake, and send the particulars of his victory to Europe through some of the more vigilantly blockaded Southern ports. He had completed his ram, my boy, and hidden it under some hay on the Lake shore, ready to commence his carnage when the time came; but one of the Mackerels happened to see it when he went fishing, and Commodore Head was [p. 93] at once ordered to have his iron-plated squadron in readiness to intercept and destroy the monster when she should appear.

"Riddle my turret!" says the Commodore, in his marine manner, as he sighted his swivel gun and placed his fishing-rod and box of bait near his stool on the quarter-deck, "I feel like grappling with half-a-dozen rams of chivalry—loosen my plates! if I don't."

And there we stood on that hot July afternoon, watching the noble craft as she sat like a duck on the water, the Mackerel crew sitting aft picking a marrow-bone, and the venerable Commodore tilted back on his stool upon the quarter-deck, fishing for bass.

Presently we could see the treacherous Confederacy stealing down to where his iron-plated monster lay hidden. Softly he removed the covering of hay, and cautiously did he place the ram in the water, carefully examining the priming of the old-fashioned blunderbuss he carried under his arm, as he stepped into this new Merrimac, and quietly raising his umbrella with one hand, while he paddled off with the other.

The distance between our fleet and the spectator being fully two yards, Villiam had thoughtfully provided bits of smoked glass for our party, and we now brought them to bear upon the scene of approaching slaughter. The Mackerel crew on board our squadron appeared to be wholly absorbed in the pleasing experiment of following, with a straw, the motions of a fly whose wings he had just pulled off, and Commodore Head had fallen into a refreshing slumber in the midst [p. 94] of his fishing. In fact, no means had been left unemployed to guard against a surprise.

Now, it happened that the nautical Confederacy did his paddling with his back to the bow of his iron-plated monster, and before he knew it, his ram went smack against the Mackerel fleet, with a sound like the smashing of many dinner-plates. So tremendous was the shock, that the stool upon which Commodore Head was tilted, gave way beneath his weight, and he came down upon the deck with a crash like muffled thunder. Simultaneously, the Confederacy discharged his blunderbuss two points to windward, and would have followed up his advantage by boarding at once; but by this time the Mackerel crew had recovered his presence of mind, and poured such a shower upon the intruder from a watering-pot which he found in the stern-sheets, that the latter retreated in great disorder.

Meanwhile, our gallant old naval hero had regained his feet, and having carefully put away his fishing tackle and box of bait, he made his appearance on the starboard, with his spy-glass under one arm, his speaking trumpet under the other, and his log-book between his teeth.

No sooner did the now thoroughly exasperated Confederacy behold his venerable figure, than he hastily shut up his umbrella and violently cracked him over the head with it, knocking off his spectacles, and greatly damaging his new white hat.

"Batter my armor!" thundered the commodore, picking up his spectacles and bending them straight again. "I don't want you to do that again."

"Scorpion!" roared the Confederacy, dropping his [p. 95] umbrella, and dancing up and down in his ram, with his arms in a boxing attitude. "Come on, base old being!"

"Then take thy doom," shrieked the maddened commodore, quickly striking a match on the bottom of one of his boots, and touching off the swivel gun. With a report like the explosion of a deadly pistol, the trusty weapon hurled its contents about two inches above the head of the Mackerel crew, wildly tearing off the cap of the latter, and shaking the staunch craft from stem to stern.

Somewhat alarmed by this demonstration, the Confederacy commenced shoving off with his ram, using his blunderbuss and umbrella as oars, and singing the Southern Marseillaise.

"Out with the sculls and give chase!" ejaculated Commodore Head, in a great perspiration. It was found, upon examination, that the sculls had been left on shore, and it was further discovered that the Mackerel fleet was aground; otherwise our victory would have been more complete.

With eyes strained to the utmost we were gazing upon all this from the beach, when Villiam suddenly placed a hand upon my arm, and says he: "Hark!"

We listened. There was a sound as of a faint human cry. It approached nearer. We could distinguish words. Nearer and nearer. The words now came clear and distinct to our quickened ears.

"Extry a-Her-rr-rr-ald, capture of Vicksburg and sinking of the rebel ram by Commore Head!"

Since newspapers have become so plentiful in this once distracted country, my boy, that even the babe [p. 96] shews them upon its mother's lap, the poorest man is enabled to see instantaneously, through a glass as it were, the most distant events—a glass, my boy, which makes things appear much larger at a distance than they seem to those close by.

Yours, admiringly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 97]



Washington, D. C., August 2d, 1862.

Some enthusiasm was excited here in the early part of the week, my boy, by the return of the Venerable Gammon from a visit to his aged family at Mugville, whither he goes regularly once a month for the benefit of the sagacious chaps of the press. A great blessing is the Venerable Gammon to the palladium of our liberties, my boy; for no sooner does our army cease to change its base of operations, and do other things calculated to make the war interesting and lengthy, than he pulls out his ruffles, sighs frequently, and melts away to Mugville. Then all the sagacious press chaps rush to the telegraph office and flash feverish paragraphs to the intelligent morning journals: "Highly important—Sudden departure of the Venerable Gammon for Mugville to attend the death-bed of a relative—Believed in military circles that this indicates a change in the Cabinet—Border States delegation has again waited on the President—More vigorous policy needed."

Whereupon the editors of all the intelligent morning [p. 98] journals ecstatically print the paragraphs, affixing to them: "Note by the Editor.—Washington is a town in the so called District of Columbia—situated on the Potomac. We infer from our correspondent's dispatch that it has not yet been taken by the rebels."

American journalism, my boy, in presenting a vast amount of matter daily, is eminently calculated to impress the youthful brain with a keen sense of what a wide distinction there is between Mind and Matter.

Immediately on the return of the Venerable Gammon, he commenced saying things, which made all the rest of mankind seem like withered children in comparison with him. He was beaming genially on the throng at Willard's, and says I to him:

"It would appear, my beloved Pater Patria, that military matters are not quite as interesting as a woman with a headache just now."

The Venerable Gammon pitied my youth, and waved his hand fatly by way of a silent blessing to all the world. "Military affairs," says he, effulgently, "are like metaphysics. Military affairs," says the Venerable Gammon, benignantly, "are like that which we do not understand—they defy our comprehension and comprehend our defiance."

Then all the Congressmen looked at each other, as much as to say the Union was saved at last; and I felt like a babe in the presence of the great Behemoth of the Scriptures.

How the Venerable Gammon has anything at all to do with this war, I can't find out, my boy, but when the affectionate populace learned that the Venerable Gammon had returned from Mugville, they [p. 99] swarmed around his carriage, and entreated him either to spit upon them, or save them from slow decay by a speech. It was then the Venerable man raised his hand in soothing benediction, and says he:

"My friends, you are young yet, and have much to learn concerning war. I can only say to you, my friends, that all goes well with McClellan; and, if you will only hasten to fill up old regiments, raise a few thousand new ones, and go yourselves, the advance upon Richmond may commence at any time."

The most enthusiastic cheering followed this comforting speech of the Venerable Gammon, and six ecstatic chaps immediately offered to volunteer as major-generals.

Shall we presume to talk of drafting, my boy, when there is such readiness on the part of the people to lead the troops? I think not, my boy, I think not. Let the draft be protested.

On Wednesday I again took a trip to Paris, accompanied by my frescoed dog, Bologna, and found upon reaching that city that the Mackerel Brigade had built itself a theatre, after the manner of Drury Lane, and was about to partake of the rich intellectual drama. This chaste temple might possibly be taken for a cowshed, my boy, by those who are not conversant with architecture in one story. It occupies a spot which has been rising ground ever since the Mackerels commenced to dig trenches around it, and the front door is so spacious that you have to go all around the building to find where it stops opening. The seats are similar to those which are supposed to have been so popular with the Count de Grasse and the stage is exquisitely [p. 100] extemporized from several flour-barrels, with a curtain created from the flannel petticoats recently belonging to the wife of the Southern Confederacy.

Passing over all intervening events, my boy, let me direct your special attention to the night we celebrated, when I found myself occupying a box (previously used for crackers) in the temple of the Muses, surrounded by uniforms and dazzled by the glitter of the shovels worn by the military celebrities present. In a box (marked "Sperm Candles—First quality") on my right, I noticed a number of distinguished persons whom I did not know, and to the left were grouped several celebrated visitors with whom I was not acquainted. The stage itself realized numerous brilliant footlights in the way of bottles containing gorgeous tallow-dips; and when the orchestra brought out his key-bugle and struck up the martial strain of "I want to be an Angel," there was a dry eye in the house.

(Make a note of this last unparalleled fact, my boy; for you, nor any other mortal man, ever heard of its occurrence before.)

The curtain having been taken down by a gentleman who had forgotten to wash himself when the washstand went round last time, the play commenced; and I found it to be




The plot of this admirable work is very simple, my boy, and appeals to those sentiments of the human [p. 101] heart which affect the liver. The scene is laid in Washington, where it has been frequently seen, and the drama opens with a fine


Abram, spare the South,
Touch not a single slave:
Nor e'en by word of mouth,
Disturb the thing we crave.
'Twas our forefather's hand
That Slavery begot;
There, Abram, let it stand
Thine Acts shall harm it not.

At the conclusion of this spirited National Anthem, the Border States chaps who have been singing it are invited to have another interview with the President, who has only seen them twice the same morning. As they pass out, the celebrated Miss Columbia appears, wrapt in deep thought and the American flag, and reading the twenty-third proclamation for the current month. She asks her heart if she is indeed divorced—if her once happy Union is indeed broken; and as her heart refuses to answer any such common question, a doubt is allowed to remain in the bosom of the spectator. In deep agony she kneels at the monument of Washington and softly sings "Hail Columbia," while the Southern Confederacy, who has just arrived, proceeds to plant batteries all round her, assisted in the work by reliable contrabands. After some moments spent in prayer for the repose of Secretary [p. 102] Welles, Columbia discovered her surroundings, and is about to make a faint, when the spirit of Napoleon appears, and tells her she has nothing to fear, as he is about to change his base of operations, and take Richmond. He tells her he would have taken it long before but for the Tribune. This is a very fine scene—very fine. The spirit of Napoleon then proceeds to pick up everything he can find and throw it over to the Southern Confederacy, at the same time swinging himself around so that his left fist may be presented to the enemy instead of his right, only pausing long enough to drive back a reliable contraband who has started to desert to him. Matters are progressing admirably, and the Confederacy has only planted 24 more batteries around Columbia, when the Conservative Chorus comes tearing back to the scene, with the news that the President has determined to pay for all runaway slaves in postage-stamps! This splendid stroke of policy so completely staggers the Confederacy, that he only erects thirty-two more batteries, and acknowledges that his back-bone is broken: Strange to say, Columbia still labors under the delusion that she is in danger; but is finally re-assured by the spirit of Napoleon, who convinces her that all is going well, and at once draws his shovel and commences to dig a hole. Columbia asks: "Wherefore this digging?" To which the response is:

"Our Union in its broken state
Is discord to the soul:
And therefore are we digging here
To make the Union hole."
[p. 103]

The digging proceeds until the spirit of Napoleon is sunk deep into the earth, when the Southern Confederacy deliberately steps over the hole and captures Washington, at the same time ordering Columbia to black his boots. Columbia would be utterly bereft of hope at this turn in affairs but for the cheerful conduct of the Conservative Chorus, who bid her rejoice that the good old times have come again. Columbia then remembers that she did indeed black the boots of the Confederacy in the good old times, and it suddenly flashes upon her that the Union is, in truth, restored—AS IT WAS. A brilliant blue light is thrown upon the scene, and as the curtain falls the Conservative Chorus are seen in the act of taking all the credit to themselves and indignantly refusing to pay their war taxes.

This affecting drama of real life was played entirely by gifted Mackerels, my boy, the one who acted Columbia being possessed of a voice as musical as that which sometimes comes from between the teeth of a new saw.

When the last round of applause had subsided, and I was leaving the theatre, I came upon the dramatist, Captain Villiam Brown, who appeared to be waiting to hear what I had to say about his work. Says I to him:

"Well, my versatile Euripides, your play resembles the better dramas of Æschylus, inasmuch as it is all Greek to me."

"Ah!" says Villiam, hastily assuming the attitude in which Shakspere generally appears in his pictures. "Did I remind you forcibly of the bard of Avon?" [p. 104]

"Yes," says I, kindly; "you might easily be taken for Shakspere—after dark."

As I turned to leave him, my boy, I could not help thinking how often the world will call a man a "Second" So-and-so, long before he has anything like commenced to be first, even.

Yours, doubtingly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 105]



Washington, D. C., August 5th, 1862.

This is a dull day, my boy; and when there is no longer any sunshine to make steel bayonets and brass buttons glimmer to the eye, war is stript of half its pomp, and the American mind takes a plain, practical view of the strife.

Truth to tell, this secession is a very shabby, unromantic thing to fight about. There is really no poetry at all about it, my boy, and when one would rhyme about it, the mantle of poesy refuses to fall upon him, though a bogus sort of Hood may possibly keep him in countenance. The cause of this war is simply this—


C. Bonds—see slaves—
See seizures made in every kind of way;
See debts sequestrated—
Sea-island frustrated;
Segars—seditionists—and C. S. A.,
[p. 106]
Seduced from honor bright—
Secluded from serenest Wisdom's light—
Sea-pent by ships of war—
Selected planters for the world no more;
Severely snubbed by all—
Secure to fall;
Sedately left alone by all who see
Seed poisonous sown in sectional retrogression;
See-saw diplomacy, sedition foui per se;
Sequel—that serio-comic scene—

Speaking of poetry; I attended the meeting of the Cosmopolitan Club on Monday night, and was much electrified by the treasures of British literature unfolded by Smith-Brown. That double-chinned chap brought to view a roll of manuscript, and says he:

"Instead of reading a story for your entertainment, gentlemen, I propose to make you acquainted with the war-sentiments of a few of Albion's poet's, as expressed in certain unpublished verses of theirs which have privately come into my possession.

"First, let me commend to your attention some amiable rhymes by a bard who knows more about this blarsted country than it knows about hitself":



In Heaven's Chancery the Records stand
Of men and deeds in each and ev'ry land,
And as new rulers rise, or empires fall,
Appointed angels make a note of all.
[p. 107]
To mark the changes in this world of late
There came a Spirit from the Throne of Fate,
Instructed closely, to be sure and see
Who earth's chief rulers for this year might be.
His task accomplished, back the Spirit flew
To Heaven's Chancery, as bade to do,
And from his vestments took the mystic scroll
That named each potentate, from Pole to Pole.
Recording Angels glanced it sharply o'er,
To note each change from what the Records bore;
But found no nations changing potentates
Until they came to the United States.
"Another President!" the angels sighed,
"Another President!" the Fates replied;
And straight a pen the Chief Recorder took
To write the ruler's name within his book.
He wrote—(alas! 'twill hardly be believed
The very angels could be so deceived)—
He wrote the name that all his sprites might read—
Not Abr'am Lincoln; no! but—Thurlow Weed.

!!  *  *  *  !!  *  *  *  !!

If foreign nations fail to judge your cause
In strict accordance with set Christian laws,
It is no proof of their intending crimes,
Since angels, even, make mistakes at times!
[p. 108]

We were all silent after that, my boy, and says the old British chap:

"The next manuscript expresses the conservative sentiment of Britain's Isle, the measure being peculiar and the manner inquiring. Hattention!—




Oh, the war, the war,
Oh, the war, the war,
Oh, the war—
With pools of gory, dripping grime,
And ghastly, beastly, horrible rime,
The soldier bloody, stiff and stark—
The cannon thunders, hark! hark!
Columbia, how's the war?


Oh, the blood, the blood,
Oh, the blood, the blood,
Oh, the blood—
Curdling, welling, staining the ground,
Bubbling from wounds with sick'ning sound;
The life gone out in a wind of swords,—
Murderers leagued in hordes! hordes!
Columbia, how's the blood?


Oh, the roar, the roar,
Oh, the roar, the roar,
Oh, the roar—
Thousands grappling, tearing to death,
Fever, madness and hell in a breath;
Rage, despair, oath and scream—
Rivers crimson stream! stream!
Columbia, how's the roar?

[p. 109]


Oh, the blaze, the blaze,
Oh, the blaze, the blaze.
Oh, the blaze,
Homes in flames, lighting the storm,
Torches for death in a brother's form;
Ruin, ravage, ashes and smoke,—
Hopes and heart-strings broke! broke!
Columbia, how's the blaze?


Oh, the groan, the groan,
Oh, the groan, the groan,
Oh, the groan—
Mothers sonless, homeless and old,
Sisters brotherless, lone and cold,
Children starving, wailing for bread,—
Fathers and brothers dead! dead!
Columbia, how's the groan?


Oh, the woe, the woe,
Oh, the woe, the woe,
Oh, the woe,
Cities famishing, villages still,
Blood in the valley and fire on the hill;
[p. 110] Horror, havoc, curses and tears,—
Dark desolation for years! years!
Columbia, how's the woe?


Oh, the end, the end,
Oh, the end, the end,
Oh, the end,
Griefs and graves at every hearth,
Heaven offended, outraged Earth:
Prayers for vengeance from ev'ry tomb—
Borne to the living a doom! doom!
Columbia, how's the end?

Here Bonbon, the French chap, struck in, and says he: "Oh, the ass, the ass, Oh, the ass, the ass, Oh, the ass——"

"Silence, Napoleon!" says the British chap, "and r-r-remember Waterloo! The next metrical gem," says he, "illustrates the deeper profundity of British thought, and conveys a moral lesson of the deepest significance to babes and sucklings. Hem!"—



I hold it good—as who shall hold it bad?
To lave Columbia in the boiling tears
I shed for Freedom when my soul is sad,
And having shed proceed to shed again:
For human sadness sad to all appears,
And tears men sometimes shed are shed by men.
[p. 111]
The normal nation lives until it dies,
As men may die when they have ceased to live;
But when abnormal, by a foe's surprise,
It may not reach its first-appointed goal;
For what we have not is not ours to give,
And if we miss it all we miss the whole.
Columbia, young, a giant baby born,
Aimed at a manhood ere the child had been,
And slipping downward in a strut forlorn,
Learns, to its sorrow, what 'tis good to know,
That babes who walk too soon, too soon begin
To walk in this dark vale of life below.
When first the State of Charleston did secede,
And Morrill's tariff was declared repealed,
The soul of Freedom everywhere did bleed
For that which, having seen, it sadly saw;
So true it is, death-wounds are never healed,
And law defied is not unquestioned law.
The mother-poet, England, sadly viewed
The strife unnatural across the wave,
And with maternal tenderness renewed
Her sweet assurances of neutral love;
A mother's love may not its offspring save;
But mother's love is still a mother's love.
Learn thou, Columbia, in thine agony,
That England loves thee, with a love as deep
As my "Proverbial Philosophy"
Has won for me from her approving breast;
The love that never slumbers cannot sleep,
And all for highest good is for the best.
[p. 112]
Thy Freedom fattens on the work of slaves,
Her Grace of Sutherland informeth me;
And all thy South Amboy is full of graves,
Where tortured bondmen snatch a dread repose;
Learn, then, the race enslaved is never free,
And in thy woes incurred, behold thy woes.
Thy pride is humbled, humbled is thy pride,
And now misfortunes come upon thee, thick
With dark reproaches for the right defied,
And cloud thy banner in a dim eclipse;
Sic transit gloria gloria transic sic,
The mouth that speaketh useth its own lips.
Thus speeds the world, and thus our planet speeds;
What is, must be; and what can't be, is not;
Our acts unwise are not our wisest deeds,
And what we do is what ourselves have done;
Mistakes remembered are not faults forgot,
And we must wait for day to see the sun.

I looked up at Smith-Brown, my boy, and says I:

"What does he mean by the 'State of Charleston,' my fat friend?"

"Why," says he, "that's a poetic license, or American geography diluted by the Atlantic. And here we have something by the gifted hauthor of 'Locksley Hall,' which it is somewhat in that vein: [p. 113]



Westward, westward flies the eagle, westward with the setting sun,
To an eyrie growing golden in a morning just begun;
Where the world is new in promise of a virgin nation's love.
And the grand results of ages germs of nobler ages prove;
Where a prophecy of greatness runs through all the soul of youth,
And the miracle of Freedom blesses in a living truth;
Where the centuries unnumbered narrow to a single night,
And their trophies are but planets wheeling round a central light.
Where the headlands breast the Ocean sweeping round creation's East,
And the prairies roll in blossoms to the Ocean of the West;
Where the voices of the seas are blended o'er a nation's birth,
In the harmony of Nature's hymn to Liberty on earth.
Land of Promise! Revelation of a loyalty that springs
From a grander depth of purple than the heritage of kings—
From the inner purple cherished at the thrones of lives sublime,
Cast in glorious consecration 'neath the plough of Father Time—
Home of Freedom, hope of millions born and slain and yet to be,
Shall the spirit of the bondless, caught from heaven, fail in thee?
[p. 114] Shall the watching world behold thee falling from thy starry height?
Like a meteor, in thine ending leaving only darker night?
Oh! my kinsmen, Oh! my brothers—fellow-heirs of Saxon hearts,
Lo the Eagle quits his eyrie swifter than a swallow darts,
And the lurid flame of battle burns within his angry eye,
Glowing like a living ember cast in vengeance from the sky.
At thy hearth a foe has risen, fiercer yet to burn and kill,
That he was thy chosen brother—friend no more, but brother still;
For the bitter tide of hatred deeper runs and fiercer grows,
As the pleading voice of Nature addeth self-reproach to blows.
Strike! and in the ghastly horrors of a fratricidal war,
Learn the folly of your wanderings from the guiding Northern Star;
What were all your gains and glories, to creation's fatal loss
When ye crucified your Freedom on the cruel Southern Cross?
Oh! my brothers narrow-sighted—Oh! my brothers slow to hear
What the phantoms of the fallen ever whisper in the ear;
God is just, and from the ruins of the temple rent in twain
Rises up the invocation of a warning breathed in vain.
All thy pillars reel around thee from the fury of the blow,
And the fires upon thine altars fade and flicker to and fro;
[p. 115] Call the vigor of thy manhood into arms from head to foot,
Strike! and in thy strife with error let the blow be at the root.
So thy war shall wear the glory of a purpose to refine
From the dross of early folly all the honor that is thine;
So thine arms shall gather friendship to the standard of a cause
Blending in its grand approval British hearts and British laws.
Form thy heroes into armies from the mart and from the field,
And their ranks shall stretch around thee in a bristling, living shield;
Take the loyal beggar's offer; for the war whose cause is just
Breathes the soul of noblest daring into forms of meanest dust.
Let thy daughters wreathe their chaplets for the foreheads of the brave,
Let thy daughters trace their lineage from the patriot's honored grave;
Woman's love is built the strongest when it rests on woman's pride,
Better be a soldier's widow than a meek civilian's bride.
Onward let thine Eagles lead thee, where the livid Southern sun
Courts the incense for the heavens of a righteous battle won;
And the bright Potomac, winding through the fields unto the sea
Shall no longer mark the libel—what is bond and what is free.
[p. 116]
Rising from the fierce ordeal washed in blood and purified,
See the future stretch before thee, limitless on every side;
And in all the deep'ning envy of the nations wed to sloth,
Mark the record of thy progress, see the mirror of thy growth.
Rising from thy purifying, like a giant from his rest,
Thou shalt find thy praise an echo from the East unto the West;
Thou shalt find thy love a message from the South unto the North,
Each its past mistake of duty finding out and casting forth.
And thy States in new communion, by the blood they all have shed,
Shall be wedded to each other in the pardon of the dead;
Each, a scale of steel to cover vital part from foreign wrong,
All, a coat of armor guarding that to which they All belong.
Thou shalt measure seas with navies, span the earth with iron rails,
Catch the dawn upon thy banner and the sunset on thy sails;
Northern halls of ice shall echo to thy sailor's merry note,
And the standard of thy soldier on the Southern isle shall float.
Turning to thy mother, England, thou shalt find her making boast
Of the Great Republic westward, born of strength that she has lost;
And thy Saxon blood shall join ye, never to be torn apart,
Moving onward to the future, hand in hand and heart to heart.
[p. 117]

At the conclusion of this last reading, my boy, we separated. When we are "heart to heart" with England, my boy, the heart that is underneath may possibly have ceased to beat.

Yours, to beat, or not to beat,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 118]



Washington, D. C., August 9th, 1862.

If tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy Sleep, should ever take it into her head to invade our distracted country, she would meet with less resistance in Washington than it is possible for the able-bodied mind to comprehend. Notwithstanding the fact that President Lincoln is an honest man, my boy, the genius of Slumber has opened a large wholesale establishment here, and the tendency to repose is so general that the authorities are just able to wink at secession sympathizers. It takes so long to get the news of the war from New York, that our citizens grow languid in the intervals. On Monday, indeed, an enterprising chap from Nantucket opened a Museum on the outskirts of the town, by way of varying the monotony, and quite a numerous crowd assembled to witness the performance. This Museum comprises a real two shilling piece, inclosed in a strong glass case, to preserve it from the violence of the mob, and even respectable old married men go to see it, for the sake of past associations. On the occasion of my visit to [p. 119] this unique establishment I arrived shortly before the exhibition began, and found a brilliant array of beauty and fashion for an audience. It was quite interesting, my boy, to hear the conversation going on. There was a fine young chap just in front of me who has recently been appointed to the staff of the Commander-in-Chief in consequence of his great experience in the coal business, and says he to another Lubin's Extracts chap:

"Fwedwick, who is that wavishing creatchah ovah they-ar, with the Peach-Orchard eyes and Lehigh hair?"

"Aw, dimmy," says Lubin's Extracts, "that's the great heiress. She's worth eighty thousand postage-stamps."

"The wed kind?" says the young staff-chap, eagerly—"is it the sticky wed kind, Fwed?"

"No," says Lubin's Extracts, scornfully; "it's the green ten cent kind."

"Intwojoose me," says the staff-chap, excitedly—"intwojoose me, Fwed; I must know her—upon my soul I must."

Upon his soul, my boy—he said upon his soul! When it is possible for an introduction to take place upon such a soul as that, my boy, it will be comparatively able to manœuvre an elephant brigade on the extreme point of an infant needle.

When the manager of the Museum came out to lecture upon his great natural curiosity, there was immediate silence; and when the case was uncovered, revealing the quarter to full view, several very old gentlemen [p. 120] fainted! Alas! they remembered the time when—but no matter now—no matter now.

"Ladies and gentlemen," says the manager, pointing solemnly to his treasure, "the rare and beautiful coin which you now behold was well known to our forefathers, who stamped the figure of Liberty upon it, in order to show the world that this is the only country where man is at Liberty to deal in slaves by way of financial speculation. This rare coin disappeared as soon as the Liberty I speak of seemed to be endangered, nor will it reappear in this country again while there are so many brokers ahead."

On quitting this admirable exhibition, my boy, I did not return to this city, but went immediately down to Accomac, to attend the great Union meeting. Accomac, my boy, has at length determined that this war shall be vigorously carried on, even if it takes several public speakers to say so; and the conduct of Accomac, in calling a meeting for such a purpose, reminds me of a chap in the Sixth Ward.

He was a respectable family chap, who had formed a partnership with all his neighbors for the express purpose of taking entire and exclusive charge of their business for them, and evinced such a deep interest in the most private affairs of his friends, that absence did not conquer their love for him. One Sunday there was a city missionary at the church he attended, who implored the aid and prayers of the congregation in behalf of a poor but pious family, who were starving to death around the corner. "Hev any tracts been left with our suffering frens?" says the respectable chap, rising in his pew and pinching his benevolent [p. 121] chin thoughtfully. "Yes," says the missionary, sadly, "we sent them some tracts on the immortality of the soul; but, horrible to relate, they gained no flesh by them." The respectable chap, who was a baker by profession, was much moved by this revelation of human depravity, and says he to a bald-headed chap in the next pew: "Brother Jones, you must attend to this sad case in the morning. We must remember our fellow-beings in affliction, Brother Jones. Early to-morrow you must take some bread to this suffering family. If you have no bread of your own, Brother Jones," says the respectable chap, feelingly, "come to my shop and I—I will sell you some for this charitable purpose." But Brother Jones proved to be a grievous backslider, my boy, and said he had an engagement to go to Hoboken on the morning in question. "Very well," says the respectable chap, when he heard this, "then I will arrange it in another way. Tell our starving brothers and sisters to have faith," says he to the missionary, in a heartfelt manner, "and they shall be fed, even as the ravings fed my old friend Elijah." So, the next day he called a meeting of brethren to pray that food might be sent to the suffering ones, and they used up the entire English language in prayer to such an extent, that when the respectable chap topped off with a benediction, he had to introduce some Latin quotations. They had just finished this noble work of Christian benevolence, when the missionary came tearing in, and says he: "It's all over; they're all dead; the last child starved to death half an hour ago." The respectable chap stared at him aghast, and says he: "Did you tell them to [p. 122] have faith?" The missionary cracked a peanut, and says he: "Verily, I did; but they said they couldn't have faith on empty stomachs." The respectable chap pondered a while, and says he: "If they didn't have faith, my frens, the whole matter is explained. We, at least, have done our duty. We have prayed for them, frens—we have prayed for them." And the brethren went home to their dinners.

Public mass meetings, my boy, to help a struggling country, are like prayer-meetings to aid the starving poor; the intention is good, but the practical benefit resulting therefrom is not visible to the naked eye.

There was a large meeting at Accomac, several new liquor-shops having been opened there recently, and the speakers were as eloquent as it is possible for men to be when advising other men to do what they don't care to do themselves. A chap of large abdominal developments was specially fervid. Says he: "Let us show to them as is tyrants and reveling in the agonies of down-trodden Europe, that this Republic is able to put down all enemies whatsomever, without interfering with any of the inalienable rights of those who, though our enemies, are still our long-lost brothers. (Frantic applause.) Shall it be said that twenty-two millions of people cannot put down eight millions without injuring those eight millions? (Shrieks of approbation, and cries of "That's so!") No! a thousand times no! We fight, not to injure the South; not to interfere with them, which is our own flesh and blood, but to sustain the Constitution rendered sacred by Revolutionary gore! (Overwhelming enthusiasm.) The creatures which is trying to break up this here [p. 123] beneficent Government, ask us what we are fighting for, then? Gracious hevings! what a question is this! Do they not know what we are fighting for—that in this unhappy struggle we—that our purpose, I would say, in prosecuting hostilities is to—is to—DO IT? Of course it is."

This speech, short, terse, and to the purpose, was gloriously received by everybody, except a friendless chap, who said he didn't understand the last clause; and he was immediately sent to jail for daring to be so traitorously obtuse.

Though the General of the Mackerel Brigade was seated upon the highest barrel on the platform, my boy, and blew his nose louder than any one else, he did not wish to be seen, nor did he intend that the assemblage should call upon him for the speech sticking out of his side-pocket; but when the throng accidentally found him to be the most prominent figure in sight, they thoughtlessly called upon him to say something. The General laid aside his fan with some embarrassment, and says he:

"My children, I love you. My children," says the General, motioning to his aid to fill the tumbler again, "I daresay you expect me to say something, and though I am unprepared to speak, there is one thing I will say. If anything goes wrong in this war, nobody is to blame, as I alone am responsible. Bless you, my children."

As the idol of the populace finished these touching remarks, and resumed his tumbler and fan, there was but one sentiment in the whole of that vast assemblage, and a democratic chap immediately went and [p. 124] telegraphed to Syracuse that the prospect for a Democratic President in 1865, was beautiful.

The meeting might have lasted another week, my boy, thereby rendering the Union cause utterly invincible, but for the imprudence of an insane chap who proposed that some of the young men present should enlist. This malapropos and singularly inconsistent suggestion broke up the assemblage at once, in great disorder—volunteering being just the last thing that any one thought of doing. Greatly edified and encouraged by what I had heard, my boy, I made all haste for Paris, where I found the Mackerel Brigade and Commodore Head's fleet in great excitement over the case of an Irish gentleman who believed this to be a white man's war, and had started for Paris, just fourteen minutes after landing in this country, for the express purpose of protesting against any labor being performed by negroes, while there were white men to do it. Colonel Wobert Wobinson, of the Anatomical Cavalry, quieted him by saying that, although a number of negroes were then engaged in digging trenches, a new line of holes in a far more unhealthy place would be commenced in the morning, and that none but Irishmen should be permitted to dig them.

On the night previous to my arrival, my boy, while all the Mackerels were watching the stars with a view to prevent any surprise from that quarter, the Southern Confederacy on the other side of Duck Lake trained four large fowling-pieces upon their peaceful camp from behind a wood-pile, and commenced a ferocious and ear-splitting bombardment. It was some hours before our men could be got into position to return the [p. 125] fire, as Captain Bob Shorty had forgotten where they had put the Orange County Howitzers when last using them. The fleet, too, was somewhat delayed in getting into action, as Commodore Head experienced some difficulty in unlocking the box into which he always puts his spectacles and slow-match before retiring at night.

Finally, however, the howitzers were discovered behind some boards, and the spectacles and slow-match were forthcoming, and our troops were pouring a hot fire across Duck Lake before the Confederacy had got two-thirds of the way back to Richmond. Next morning, my boy, the Conic Section crossed the Lake, and cleared away everything on the opposite shore except the before-mentioned wood-pile. The latter contains the same kind of wood that was burned in the time of Washington, my boy, and twenty men were appointed to guard it from the profanation of our troops. We must protect such property at all hazards, my boy, or the Constitution becomes a nullity.

Having crossed the treacherous element to view the immediate scene of these proceedings, and learned from Captain Villiam Brown that our pickets were within ten miles of the Confederacy's capital, I was about to make some short remark, when a messenger came riding forward in a great perspiration, and says he;

"Our pickets have been driven in."

"Ha!" says Villiam, "is the Confederacy again advancing upon the United States of America?"

"Our pickets," says the messenger, impressively [p. 126] "have been driven in; they have been driven into Richmond."

"Ah!" says Villiam, pleasantly, "then send out some more pickets."

I strolled away from the pair, my boy, reflecting upon the possibility of enough Mackerel pickets reaching Richmond in this way to make the Union sentiment there stronger than ever, and was looking listlessly to my footing, when I chanced to espy a paper on the ground. Picking it up, I found it to be a note from the wife of the Southern Confederacy to her cousin, dropped, probably by one of the Confederacies of the wood-pile. It bore the date of April the First, and read as follows:

"Dear Juleyer:—I have just space of time to write you these few lines, hoping that these few lines will find you the same, and in the enjoyment of the same blessing. O my unhappy country! how art thou suffering at this present writing! I have not had a single new bonnet for two weeks, my beloved Juleyer, and my Solferino gloves are already discolored by the perspiration I have shed when thinking of my poor, dear South. My husband, the distinguished Southern Confederacy, is so reduced by trials, that he is a mere skeleton skirt. Oh, my Juleyer, how long is this to continue? Ere another century shall have passed away, the Yankees will have approached nearer Charleston and Savannah, and the blockade become almost effective. Since the Mackerel Brigade has changed its base of operations, even Richmond seems doomed to fall in less than fifty years. Everything [p. 127] looks dark. Tell me the price of dotted muslin, for undersleeves, when you write again, and believe me,

Your respected cousin,
"Mrs. S. C."

There's only one thing about this letter bothers me, and that's the date, my boy—the date.

When very near this city, on my return home, I met a chap, weighing about two hundred and twenty-five pounds, who was on his way to a lawyer's to get his exemption from the draft duly filed.

"See here, my patriotic invalid," says I, skeptically, "how do you come to be exempt?"

"I am exempt," says he, in a proudly melancholy manner, "because I am suffering from a broken heart."

"Hem," says I.

"It's true," says he, sniffling dismally. "I asked the female of my heart to have me. She said I hadn't enough postage-stamps to suit her ideas of personal revenue, and she didn't care to do my washing. That was enough: my heart is broken, and I am not an able-bodied man."

Drafting, my boy, is of a nature to develop the seeds of disease in the hitherto healthy human system—seeds which, if suffered to fructify, will be likely to ultimate in what gentlemen of burglarious accomplishments would chastely and botanically denominate a very large-sized "plant."

Yours, seriously,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 128]



Washington, D. C., August 15th, 1862.

Once more, my boy, this affectionate heart would render tribute of gushing admiration to the large souled women of America, who are again commencing to luxuriate and comfort our majestic troops with gifts almost as useful to a soldier as a fishing-pole would be to the hilarious Arab of Sahara. As I ambled airily near Fort Corcoran on Monday, my boy, mounted on my gothic steed Pegasus, and followed by the frescoed dog Bologna, after the manner of the British nobility, I chanced upon a veteran of the Mackerel Brigade, who had come up from Paris on one of those leaves of absence which grow from the tree styled Sycamore. He was seated under a wayside oak, examining some articles that had recently come to him in a package; now and then addressing his eyes in the more earnest language of the Sixth Ward.

Having reined-in my spirited architectural animal, and merely pausing to administer a crumb of cracker from my pocket to a hapless blue-bottle fly which had [p. 129] rashly alighted from the backbone of the charger, and was there starving to death, I saluted the Mackerel veteran, and, says I:

"Comrade, wherefore do you select this solitary place to use language only fitting a brigadier when he is speaking to an inferior officer, or a high-toned conservative when referring to negroes, Wendell Phillips, and the republican party?"

The veteran Mackerel sighed deeply, as he spread open the package to full view, my boy, and says he, respectfully:

"Are you a married man, my cove?"

"No," says I, with a feeling of mingled insignificance and financial complacency, "I never paid a milliner's bill in my life."

"Neither did I," said the veteran, with a gleam of satisfaction, "neither did I; I always has them charged to me; but still I am the wedded pardner of one which is a woman. I have loved her," says the veteran passionately, "I have loved her better than I loved number Three's masheen, with which I was brought up, and that seemed to me like my own brother. I have stayed home from a fire more than once to go to church with her; and the last words I said to her when I come here was: 'Old woman! if Six's foreman comes here after that wrench, while I'm away, tell him I'll break that nose of his when I come back!' We was all confidence together," says the veteran, smiting his chest, madly; "and I never threw a brick that I didn't tell her of it, and now she's gone and sent me a copy of the Temperance Pledge, a pair of skates, two bottles of toothache drops, and six [p. 130] sheets of patent fly-paper. I really believe," says the veteran, bitterly—"I really believe that she thinks I ain't got nothing to do here but to keep house and take care of an aged grandmother."

At the conclusion of this unnatural speech, my boy, I hastily trotted away upon my architectural steed; for I had not patience enough to talk longer with one whose whole nature seemed so utterly incapable of appreciating those beautiful little attentions which woman's tender heart induces her to bestow upon the beloved object. Since the last time I was sick, my boy, I have entertained a positive veneration for the wonderful foresight of that blessed sex, whose eyes remind me of pearl buttons. At that period, when the doctors had given me up, and nothing but their absence seemed capable of saving my life, one of the prevalent women of America heard of my critical condition, and, by her deep knowledge of human nature, was enabled to rescue me. She sent me a bottle of stuff, my boy, saying, in a note of venerable tone, that it had cured her of chapped hands several times, and she hoped it might break my fever. With a thankful, confident heart, I threw the bottle out of the window, my boy, and got well in less than three months.

The other day, I went down to Accomac again, to see the General of the Mackerel Brigade, who had invited me to be present while he made an offer of bliss to a delegation from that oppressed race which has been the sole cause of this unnatural war, and is, therefore, exempted from all concern in it.

The General, my boy, was seated in his temporary room of audience when I arrived, examining a map of [p. 131] the Border States through a powerful magnifying-glass, and occasionally looking into a tumbler, as though he expected to find something there.

"Well, old Honesty," says I, affably, "what is our next scheme for the benefit of the human race?"

He smiled paternally upon me, and says he:

"It is my purpose to settle the Negro Question in accordance with the principles laid down in the Book of Exodus. Thunder!" says the General, with magisterial emphasis, "if we do not secure the pursuit of happiness to the slave, even, we violate the Constitution and become obnoxious to the Border communities."

I was reflecting upon this remark, my boy, and wondering what the Constitution had to do with the Book of Exodus, when the delegation made its appearance, and caused the room to darken perceptibly. Not to lose time, the General waved his hand for the visitors to be seated, and, says he:

"You and we are different races, and for this reason it must be evident to you, as well as to myself, that it is better you should be voluntarily compelled to colonize some distant but salubrious shore. There is a wide difference between our races; much wider, perhaps, than that which exists between any other two races. Your race suffers very greatly, and our race suffers in suffering your race to suffer. In a word, we both suffer, which establishes a reason why our race should not suffer your race to remain here any longer. You who are here are all present, I suppose."

A voice—"Yes, sah."

"Perhaps you have not been here all your lives. [p. 132] Your race is suffering the greatest wrong that ever was; but when you cease to suffer, your sufferings are still far from an equality with our sufferings. Our white men are now changing their base of operations daily, and often taking Malvern Hills. This is on your account. You are the cause of it. How you have caused it I will not attempt to explain, for I do not know; but it is better for us both to be separated, and it is vilely selfish in you (I do not speak unkindly) to wish to remain here in preference to going to Nova Zembla. The fact that we have always oppressed you renders you still more blameable, especially when we reflect upon the fact that you have never shown resistance. A trip on your part to Nova Zembla will benefit both races. I cannot promise you much bliss right away. You may starve at first, or die on the passage; but in the Revolutionary War General Washington lived exclusively on the future. He was benefitting his race; and though I do not see much similarity between his case and yours, you had better go to Nova Zembla. You may think that you could live in Washington, perhaps more so than you could on a foreign shore. This is a mistake. None but white army contractors and brigadiers on furlough can live here.

"The festive isle of Nova Zembla has been in existence for some time, and is larger than any smaller place I know of. Many of the original settlers have died, and their offspring would still be living had they lived long enough to become accustomed to the climate. You may object to go on account of your affection for our race, but it does not strike me that there is any cogent [p. 133] reasons for such affection. So you had better go to Nova Zembla. The particular place I have in view for your colonization is the great highway between the North Pole and Sir John Franklin's supposed grave. It is a popular route of travel, being much frequented by the facetious penguin and the flowing seal. It has great resources for ice-water, and you will be able to have ice cream every day, provided you supply yourselves with the essence of lemon and patent freezers. As to other food, I can promise you nothing. There are fine harbors on all sides of this place, and though you may see no ships there, it will be still some satisfaction to know that you have such admirable harbors. Again, there is evidence of very rich bear-hunting. When you take your wives and families to a place where there is no food, nor any ground to be cultivated, nor any place to live in, then the human mind would as naturally turn to bear-hunting as to anything else. But if you should die of starvation at the outset, even bear-hunting may dwindle into insignificance. Why I attach so much importance to bear-hunting is, it will afford you an opportunity to die more easily than by famine and exposure. Bear-hunting is the best thing I know of under such circumstances.

"You are intelligent, and know that human life depends as much upon those who possess it as upon anybody else. And much will depend upon yourselves if you go to Nova Zembla. As to the bear-hunting, I think I see the means available for engaging you in that very soon without injury to ourselves. I wish to spend a little money to get you there, and may possibly [p. 134] lose it all; but we cannot expect to succeed in anything if we are not successful in it.

"The political affairs of Nova Zembla are not in quite such a condition as I could wish, the bears having occasional fights there, over the body of the last Esquimaux governor; but these bears are more generous than we are. They have no objection to dining upon the colored race.

"Besides, I would endeavor to have you made equals, and have the best assurance that you should be equals of the best. The practical thing I want to ascertain is, whether I can get a certain number of able-bodied men to send to a place offering such encouragement and attractions. Could I get a hundred tolerably intelligent men, with their wives and children, to partake of all this bliss? Can I have fifty? If I had twenty-five able-bodied men, properly seasoned with women and children, I could make a commencement.

"These are subjects of very great importance, and worthy of a month's study of the paternal offer I have made you. If you have no consideration for yourselves, at least consider the bears, and endeavor to reconcile yourselves to the beautiful and pleasing little hymn of childhood, commencing:

"I would not live always;
I ask not to stay."

At the termination of this flattering and paternal address, my boy, the delegation took their hats and commenced to leave in very deep silence; thereby proving that persons of African descent are utterly [p. 135] insensible of kindness and much inferior to the race at present practising strategy on this continent.

Colonization, my boy, involves a scheme of human happiness so entirely beyond the human power of conception, that the conception of it will almost pass for something inhuman.

Yours, utopianically,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 136]



Washington, D. C., August 22, 1862.

On Monday morn, my boy, whilst I was pulling on a pair of new boots that have some music in their soles, there arose near my room door a sound as of one in dire agony, closely followed by a variously-undulated moan, as of some deserted woman in distress. Hastily discontinuing my toilet, and darting to the threshold, I beheld one of those scenes of civil war which impress the sensitive soul with horror and meet the just reprobation of feeling Albion.

Rampant between two marrow-bones, my boy, was my frescoed dog, Bologna, eyeing, with horrid fury, Sergeant O'Pake's canine friend, known as Jacob Barker, and ever and anon uttering sentences of supernatural wrath. To these the excited Barker responded in deep bass of great compass, his nose curling with undisguised disdain, and his eyes assimilating to that insidious and fiery squint which betokens inexpressible malignity. There was something not of earth, my boy, in the frescoed Bologna's distortion of countenance as he attempted to keep an eye on each bone, [p. 137] and at the same time look full in the face of his foe; and there was that in the sounds of his strain which betokened Sirius indecision.

As I gazed upon these two infuriated wonders of natural history, my boy, and recognized the fact that the existence of two bones in contention prevented an actual battle, because neither combatant was willing to lose sight of either of them; whilst the presence of but one bone would have simplified the matter, and precipitated a decisive conflict, I could not but think that I saw symbolized before me the situation of our distracted country.

The United States of America, my boy, and the well-known Southern Confederacy, are like two irascible terriers practising defiant strategy between two bones, the one being the festive negro-question, and the other the Union. Now it seems to me, my boy—it seems to me, that if the gay animal with U. S. on his collar would only dispose of the bone nearest him without further vocalism, there would be a better chance for him to secure the other bone in the combat sure to come.

Dogs, my boy, and men, are very much alike, in their hostile meetings, neither seeming to know just exactly which is truly their magnum bonum.

Ascending the roof of my architectural steed, Pegasus, on Tuesday, I induced the gothic animal to adopt a pace sometimes affected by the fleet tortoise, and went down to Accomac in pursuit of knowledge respecting recruiting. Just before reaching that Arcadian locality, my boy, I met Colonel Wobert Wobinson, of the Western Cavalry, who had been down [p. 138] there to induce volunteering and infuse fresh confidence into the masses. He offered a bounty of two hundred dollars; three dollars to be paid immediately, and the rest as soon as the war commences in earnest; and promised to each man a horse physically incapacitated from running away from anything.

"Well, my bold dragoon," says I, cordially, noticing that Pegasus had already fallen into a peaceful doze, "how go enlistments?"

The colonel waved away an abstracted crow that was hovering in deep reverie over my charger's brow, and says he: "I have enlisted all the people of Accomac."

"I want to know," says I, Bostonianly.

"Yes," says he, "I called a meeting, and succeeded in enlisting all—their sympathies."

As I gazed upon the equestrian warrior, my boy, methought I saw the youngest offspring of a wink trembling in a corner of his right eye, and I felt that the world renowned Snyder was at that moment laboring under a heavy incubus. Such is life.

The state of health in Accomac indicates that the demon of disease is abroad in the land, looking chiefly for his victims among those between the tender ages of eighteen and forty-five. Instead of having a sling in his hand, like the young warrior David, each young man I met had his hand in a sling, whilst the dexter leg of more than one able-bodied patriot suggested the juvenile prayer of "Now I lame me, down to slip." And there were the women of America fairly crying in terror of the draft, instead of bearing themselves like the Spartan ribs of old. [p. 139]

Alas! my boy, why cannot our people realize, that a nation, like a cooking-stove, cannot keep up a steady fire without a good draft. We need men for the crisis, and we only find cry sisses for the men.

I could not stay here, so I hastened on to Paris, where a great strategic movement was about to supply all the world with fresh recollections of the late Napoleon. I say late Napoleon, my boy, because our Napoleon is apt to be behind time.

As far back as I can remember, I have been fully aware that this movement was about to take place, but would not, like too many other correspondents, betray the confidence reposed in me. This bosom, my boy, this manly and truthful bosom, is about the right shop for confidence. Nor is it like the bosoms of those who can truthfully say that they never give important information to the enemy, though every body knows that they sell it.

On arriving in Paris, I saw at once that preparations for outgeneraling the deceived Confederacy had already commenced; for the down-trodden General of the Mackerel Brigade had assembled the reliable contrabands whom he had used for some weeks past, and was taking leave of them in a heart-felt manner.

Mounted on a small keg, from the bung hole of which came the aroma of pleasant rye fields, the General softly wiped his lips, and says he:

"Being members of a race which we regard as a speshees of monkeys, my black children, the fact that this is a white man's war will prevent your taking part in the entirely different race about to come off. After the manner of Andrew Jackson at New Orleans, I [p. 140] have called upon you to do something for your adopted country; but as my friend Andrew was particular to make his proclamation read 'free negroes,' there can be no parallel between the two cases further. Therefore, return to your masters, my children, and tell them that the United States of America wars not against them rights of which you are a part. Go! And remember, that as Gradual Emancipation is about to come off, you will soon know the juicy richness of being free to visit all parts of the world, except those not included in the pleasing map of Nova Zembla."

The contrabands departed, my boy, in blissful procession, and many of them are undoubtedly happy enough now. Happier, my boy, than they could hope to be if suffered to remain in this conservative and constitutional world.

While the Mackerels were coming out of their holes, and polishing their shovels for the march, I observed that the general walked thoughtfully to his tent, in deep silence. I found Captain Villiam Brown expelling two reporters from the lines, lest they should prematurely divulge the movement then going on to the Confederacy seated on an adjacent fence, and says I to him:

"Tell me, my fiery warrior, wherefore is it that the chieftain seeks his solitary tent?"

"Ah!" says Villiam, reverently, "it is to pray for the cause of liberty and the rights of man, after the manner of George Washington, Mount Vernon, Virginia. Come with me, my cherub," says Villiam piously, "and you shall see martial greatness in a touching aspeck." [p. 141]

We went softly to the tent together, my boy, and there beheld the beloved general of the Mackerel Brigade, with his face devoutly upturned. His face was devoutly upturned, my boy; but we could see something intervening between his countenance and the sky, and discovered, upon closer inspection, that it was a tumbler. Can it be, my boy, that this good man thought that Heaven, like any distant earthly object, could be brought nearer by looking toward it through a glass? Here is food for thought, my boy—here is food for thought.

And now, Commodore Head having fished his iron-clad fleet from the tempestuous bosom of Duck Lake, and everything being in readiness—the march of the Mackerel Brigade commenced, with a silence so intense that we could distinctly hear all that anybody said.

First, came a delegation of political chaps from the Sixth Ward, conversing with each other on the state of the country, and considering eight hundred and forty excellent plans for saving the Union, and getting up a straight-out ticket.

Then appeared the well-known promenade band of the Mackerel Brigade, executing divers pleasant morceaux on his night-key bugle, an occasional stumble over a stone giving the airs a happy variety of sudden obligati improvements.

Next appeared the idolized General of the Mackerel Brigade, modestly refusing to receive all the credit for the skillful movement, and assuring his staff that he really would not prefer to be President of the United States in 1865. [p. 142]

Followed by Commodore Head, with his squadron on his shoulders, swearing as usual in his iron-plated manner, and vowing to capture Vicksburg before he was twenty years older.

Then advanced Captain Villiam Brown, Eskevire, Captain Bob Shorty, and Captain Samyule Sa-mith, each indignantly rejecting the idea that this movement was a retreat, and expressing the hope that Wendell Phillips would be immediately hung for it.

Then came a train of wagons containing all the provisions that could not be thrown away.

Succeeded by the Mackerel Brigade with shovels at a shoulder-arms, and noses suggestive of strawberry patches in the balmy month of June.

And was this all the procession? you will ask; did nothing come after the Brigade itself?

I am not a positive man, my boy, and care not to assert a thing unless I positively know it to be true. It was growing dark when we reached our destination, and I could not see distinctly toward the rear: yet I think I did see something coming after the Mackerel Brigade.

What was it?

It was the Southern Confederacy, my boy—the Southern Confederacy.

Your, excitedly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 143]



Washington, D. C., August 25th, 1862

Ever since the British chap read all that unpublished British poetry at the Club, my boy, I have been anxious to favor him with an "Idyl," written by a friend of mine who has traveled much in Albion, and writes ex-cathedra. Last night there was a fair chance, and I then introduced


Incrusted in his island home that lies beyond the sea,
Behold the great original and genuine 'Tis He;
A paunchy, fuming Son of Beef, with double weight of chin,
And eyes that were benevolent—but for their singular tendency
to turn green whenever it is remarked that his
irrepressible American cousins have made another
Treaty with China ahead of him—and taken Albion in.
This Neutral British Gentleman, one of the modern time.
[p. 144]
With William, Duke of Normandy, his ancestors, he boasts,
Came over from the shores of France to whip the Saxon hosts;
And this he makes a source of pride; but wherefore there should be
Such credit to an Englishman—in the fact that he is descended
from a nation which England is forever pretending
to regard as slightly her inferior in everything,
and particularly behind her in military and naval
affairs—we really cannot see.
This Neutral British Gentleman, one of the modern time.
He deals in Christianity, Episcopalian brand,
And sends his missionaries forth to bully heathen land;
Just mention "Slavery" to him, and with a pious sigh
He'll say it's 'orrid, scandalous—although he's ready to fight
for the Cotton raised by slaves, and forgets how he
butchered the Chinese to make them take Opium,
and blew the Sepoys from the guns because the
poor devils refused to be enslaved by the East India
Company—or his phi-lan-thro-py.
This Neutral British Gentleman, one of the modern time.
He yields to Brother Jonathan a love that passeth show—
"We're Hanglo-Saxons, both of us, and carn't be foes, you know."
But as a Christian Englishman, he cannot, cannot hide
His horror of the spectacle—of four millions of black beings
being held in bondage by a nation professing the
largest liberty in the world, though in case of an
anti-slavery crusade the interests of his Manchester
factors would imperatively forbid him to—take
part on either side.
This Neutral British Gentleman, one of the modern time.
[p. 145]
Now seeing the said Jonathan by base rebellion stirred,
And battling with pro-slavery, it might be thence inferred
That British sympathy, at last, would spur him on to strife;
But, strange to say, this sympathy—is labelled "Neutrality,"
and consigned to any rebel port not too closely blockaded
to permit English vessels, loaded with munitions, to
slip in. And when you ask Mr. Bull what he means
by this inconsistent conduct, he becomes virtuously
indignant, rolls up his eyes, and says: "I carn't
endure to see brothers murdering each other and
keeping me out of my cotton—I carn't, upon my life!"
This Neutral British Gentleman, one of the modern time.
Supposing Mr. Bull should die, the question might arise:
Will he be wanted down below, or wafted to the skies?
Allowing that he had his choice, it really seems to me
The moral British Gentleman—would choose a front seat with
his Infernal Majesty; since Milton, in his blank
verse correspondence with old Times, more than
once hinted the possibility of Nick's rebellion
against Heaven succeeding; and as the Lower Secessia
has cottoned to England through numerous
Hanoverian reigns, such a choice on the part of the
philanthropical Britisher would be simply another
specimen—of his Neutral-i-ty!
This Neutral British Gentleman, one of the modern time.

When Smith-Brown had heard that, my boy, he sniffed grievously, and says he: "England never was happreciated in this blarsted country."

I believe him, my boy.

It being Bonbon's turn to read a story, he unrolled his papers and gave us [p. 146]


"During my short stay in France, I belonged to a convent of Carthusian monks, and there became acquainted with the man whose confession constitutes my story. He had applied for admission to our order, as one who had tired of life's gaieties, and bestowed his wealth, which was enormous, upon the holy church. Brother Dominique was the name he assumed; and his austere devotion speedily gained him notoriety for great piety; but there was something so unnatural in his actions, and, at times, so incoherent in his speech, that we, who were his daily companions, involuntarily shuddered when he spoke to us. Among the various incongruities of his character, was a gloomy reserve—or, rather, pride, which repulsed all advances of friendship, and impressed upon the mind a conviction that Brother Dominique's religion was more like that of a hypocrite foiled in his schemes, than of a pure-minded man, whose sense of duty to his Creator had induced him to assume the serge and rosary. This conviction was more than confirmed by his occasional exclamations of anger and defiance, as though once more a prey to the passions of an outer world; and, at the expiration of a year from the time of his entrance, the new brother was an object of suspicion, if not dislike, to the whole convent, excepting myself.

"My sentiments in regard to him were those of pity; for I felt confident that some great sorrow was preying upon his mind; and the wild agony which would often contort his whole countenance, while at [p. 147] evening prayers, made me anxious to know something of his history.

"One evening, having received an order to visit the cell of Dominique from our superior, I was surprised to find a curiously-fashioned lamp, burning in a niche, directly opposite an iron cot, on which the monk was sleeping. Knowing that the convent rules expressly forbade a light at that hour, I was about to extinguish it, when there fell upon my startled ear a loud yell, like that of a springing tiger, and, in an instant, I was seized by the throat. Filled with dismay, I struggled to extricate myself, when the beams of the lamp fell upon the writhing features of Dominique, pallid as those of a corpse, and spattered with froth from his lips.

"'Devil, I defy thee!' he exclaimed, dashing me violently against the wall; and then quitting his hold.

"'Brother Dominique, are you mad?' I asked, as soon as I could recover my breath.

"'It is a lie! I am not mad!' he ejaculated, glaring fiercely upon me, and biting his lip until the blood streamed from his beard.

"Hardly knowing what I did, I again approached the lamp; when he again sprang to my side, and pushed me violently from before it.

"'Must I kill you, too?' he said, in a whisper that pierced me.

"'You are excited,' I replied, with all the calmness I could muster. 'I thought you were asleep, or I should first have spoken to you about your lamp, the burning of which, at this late hour, is a violation of the rules.' [p. 148]

"He covered his face with his hands while I was speaking; and when he again looked up, all traces of former agitation had vanished.

"'Forgive me, father,' he said, with composure. 'Our superior has granted me the privilege of having a light always burning, as I am subject to fits, such as you have just witnessed, and cannot do without it. God have mercy upon me! I might have murdered you,' he added, turning suddenly pale again, and leaning against the damp wall.

"I delivered my message, being anxious to leave a being whose passions were so violent when aroused; but he called me back as I turned away, and resting upon his hard bed, motioned for me to take a seat beside him.

"I hesitated about complying at first; but there was an expression of mingled sorrow and entreaty resting upon his whole countenance, that awoke my sympathy and conquered fear. Closing the door of the cell, I obeyed him in silence, and sat down with a feeling of awe not to be defined.

"'Father,' he said, laying one hand on each of my shoulders, and staring fixedly in my face, 'Will you hear me confess?'

"The extreme abruptness of the question made me start from him with a gesture of surprise, but I answered not.

"'Will you hear a tale of crime from a criminal?' he continued, pressing heavily upon me, 'a tale of murder from a murderer!'

"I felt convinced that I had a maniac to deal with, and remembering to have heard that any sign of timidity [p. 149] but added fuel to the fires of insanity, I steadily returned his stare, and responded as quietly as I could.

"'Brother Dominique, if your soul is burthened with crimes, why not confess to the superior who is our father confessor?'

"'No, no!' he exclaimed, frantically. 'To you, or no one.'

"Fearful that, by refusing, I should again arouse him to violence, I drew my cowl closely over my head to guard against the damp air, and bade him tell me his sorrows.

"He, at once, fell upon his knees before me—nor could I persuade him to assume any other attitude.

"'Here on my knees,' he began, 'will I tell a tale that shall freeze your blood, and make you turn from me in scorn, or hatred. You will not betray me?'

"I assured him I would not.

"'I am the last of a noble Florentine house, which bears the names of sovereigns upon its registers. My father was a cold, stern man, proud of his high descent, and arrogant with those beneath him. My mother was the daughter of a Venetian noble, bright and beautiful as a diamond, and insensible to all the softer warmths of women as is that precious gem. I was their only child, and all the love their hearts were capable of feeling was bestowed upon me; all my desires were gratified ere expressed; obsequious menials stood about my path eager to obey my slightest nod; velvet received my infant footsteps, and the atmosphere around me was one of mellow music.

"'I grew up to manhood a pampered child of fortune, [p. 150] happy only in the midnight orgie or early morning revel, and the most polished profligate of my native city; yet my father regarded me with feelings of pride, and my mother looked upon her son as one well worthy to inherit the flaunting fortunes of his house. Although my father was ever kind to me he was subject to occasional fits of violence, when he would beat the servants, and render it necessary for his friends to confine him. It was said that he had seized a gipsey woman who had been caught in the act of stealing, causing her to be burned alive, and that while the flames were torturing the poor wretch, she had denounced her executioner with the bitterest execrations, and declared that he and his offspring should feel the curse of madness. The prophecy so worked upon my father's mind as to occasion periodical attacks of insanity, at which seasons he would rave fearfully, and, as I said before, render temporary confinement necessary. I cannot say that the knowledge of this fact had any effect upon me then, for I was gay and thoughtless; but, alas! it has since proved my bane, and poisoned every cup that has touched my lips.

"'Onward I flew, in a whirl of wildest dissipation, until my twenty-first birth day, when my father ordered me to meet him in the library at a certain hour. Not daring to disobey him, although I anticipated some cutting rebuke for my late headlong course, I waited upon him at the appointed time, and was relieved when he asked me in a kind tone to take a seat near him.

"'"Dominique," he said, "you have now reached [p. 151] an age when you must give up childish follies, and be a man. You are my only son, and my titles and fortune must one day be yours. It is my hope that you may support them with honor; but, in order to do this you must take a decided step at once—you must marry."

"'Although arrived at that period of life when woman usually becomes the principal object of man's hope and ambition, I was totally indifferent to them, and ridiculed those of my friends who had married, or, as I termed it, become slaves for life. But I knew my father's temper too well to thwart him, and appeared to acquiesce in his designs for my future benefit. He informed me that the lady whom he had selected to be my bride, was of a noble family, and would be at our villa in a few days, when he wished me to render myself as agreeable as possible, and at once commence my wooing.

"'I left him with a feeling of despair at being so soon obliged to give up my gay companions and become suppliant to one whom I had never before seen, and belonging to a sex that I held in contempt.

"'In my trouble I appealed to a young nobleman, an associate of mine, for advice, and he recommended that I should go abroad without my father's knowledge—afterwards giving him my reasons for so doing in a letter, and humbly asking his forgiveness. This advice just suited my disposition, and I resolved to follow it. Accordingly I collected sufficient funds for my journey, and on the morning of the day when my [p. 152] intended bride was to arrive at our villa, I started with my valet for France.

"'Upon reaching Paris I wrote to my father, declaring my determination to remain unmarried until tired of being my own master, and concluding by asking his pardon for the step which I had taken. My father did not answer this letter, and hence I supposed that he was seriously offended; but this conviction did not prey upon my mind for any length of time—indeed, I soon became more notorious in the French capital than I had been at home for unbounded extravagance and heedless dissipation. The well-known prominence and wealth of my family gained access for me to the circles of the most exclusive aristocracy. The glory and power of the unfortunate Louis and his peerless queen, Marie Antoinette, were already on the wane; yet their magnificence far eclipsed that of any other European court, and many traitors stood in the glittering throng that swarmed about them, whose meekly down-cast eyes were destined to blaze with the fires of rebellion, and whose swords were yet to flash terror into the heart of that sovereign who regarded them then as the staunchest bulwarks of his throne. With all due ceremony, I was presented to the ill-fated representatives of royalty, and quickly found myself the cynosure of all eyes, leered at by languishing dames, sneered at by those of my own sex whom nature had slighted, and honored with the attention of more than one aristocrat who afterwards fell a victim to the fury of red republicanism. But the sword of Damocles was suspended over our heads, and it soon fell with a clash that aroused [p. 153] echoes in every corner of the globe. When first the ferocious Club proclaimed its prerogative, I joined with others in treating it as a subject beneath our notice; but, as the flames of insurrection spread, and street barricades were successfully defended against the assaults of the National Guard, I began to feel the danger of being an aristocrat, and take measures for flight when events should have reached their crisis. It was too late. At the dead of night, I was aroused from my sleep by a violent uproar in the street below, accompanied by a thundering at the court yard gates of my hotel. I sprang from my couch to the window, and, with a vague apprehension of what was to come, pulled aside the curtain and looked forth. Holy Virgin! what a sight was there!—Thousands of howling demons, fast losing all semblance of humanity, surging and roaring like an infernal sea, with ghastly death-lights leaping above its waves and drowning grim shadows beneath. 'Blood! blood!' was their watchword, and I heard my name bandied from lip to lip, with bitter execrations. My pride was aroused, and conquered every other emotion. Hastily drawing a heavy military cloak over my head and form, I opened the casement, and walked out upon the balcony. So completely did my garment shroud me, that the bloodhounds knew me not, and for a moment their hellish cries sank into dead silence.

"'"Open the gates, or we will burn you alive," shouted a hoarse voice.

"'"Vive le Roi!" I shouted in answer.

"'Oh, what rage there was in the yell responsive [p. 154] to my taunt. It seemed as though Pandemonium had sent its countless fiends to join in the chorus of brutal fury. The gates were fast yielding, and my servants were constantly reminding me with pallid faces that I was ruthlessly sacrificing their lives for my own. In a moment, my resolution was made. I hastily assumed my usual dress, and wrapping the cloak about me, went down into the court and placed myself in a dark corner.

"'"Open the gates," I cried, disguising my voice, and throwing it as far forward as possible.

"'With quaking limbs, my servant obeyed the order, and in another moment, I felt the hot tide of devils bolting past me, into the elegant saloons of my hotel. So intent were the mob upon despoiling and plundering, that I was enabled to gain the street unmolested; but at that point, some enemy called my name, and with a shout of triumph, hundreds of infuriate demons started toward me. Knowing that resistance would be worse than madness, I drew my sword, and clenching it firmly in my right hand, with the point in front of me, I ran swiftly before them. Again arose the shouts, and onward came my enemies, panting for blood. Desperation gave me strength, and like a hunted deer, I far out-sped my pursuers; but human nature cannot be taxed beyond a certain point, and as I turned into the Rue St. Martin, my strength began to fail me, and my breath came hot and quick. Giving up all hope of escape and resolving to sell my life dearly, I was about to stand at bay, when an open door in a house close by caught my glance, and with the rapidity of thought, I darted [p. 155] through and closed it behind me. My hunters had not yet turned the corner, but I could hear their cries and with regained strength, I ascended a flight of stairs and entered an apartment, when a scream of surprise arrested my progress. A young girl stood before me with uplifted hands and astonishment painted upon every feature.

"'"Holy Mother! What would you have, monsieur?"

"'"I am pursued by the canaille, mademoiselle, and entered here to recruit my strength. I will die like a man."

"'"You are a royalist?"


"'I turned to the door, when she eyed me closely for some moments, and then opening a closet in the wall, pointed to its interior, without speaking. I saw at once that she wished to save me, and after raising her hands to my lips in mute expression of my gratitude, I entered the closet, and heard her turn the key in the lock. Almost at the same moment, loud shouts arose from the street and heavy footsteps were heard ascending the stairs.

"'"Whose house is this?" demanded a gruff voice, as its owner apparently entered the room, in company with others.

"'"Citizen Foliere's," answered my protectress, in sweet, calm tones.

"'"Which side?"

"'"Vive la Republique."

"'"Tres bien. He can't be here, comrades; he has [p. 156] given us the slip. Where is your father, mademoiselle?"

"'"He went to join in the attack on a hotel in the Rue St. Honore."

"'"Then he will be back soon, for the building is in flames, though its master has escaped us. Adieu, mademoiselle."

"'My nerves and muscles had been drawn to the last degree of tension, excitement had buoyed me up for a time; but now that my pursuers were departing and danger no longer surrounded me, a reaction took place, and I fell insensible upon the floor of my closet, while my fair jailer was in the act of liberating me.

"'Soon a scorching heat fell upon my brain, and in fancy I returned to my father's house. Dire shapes of blood haunted me, until I raved like a maniac and cursed the author of my being as the author of my destruction.

"'I woke as from a dream, and found myself lying upon a soft couch, attended by a physician, and a tall, middle-aged man, wearing the red republican badge—I owed my life to one of a class which I had ever despised. Monsieur Foliere had returned home soon after my pursuers had quitted it; and found his daughter attempting to revive me; great as was the risk he incurred by protecting a royalist, he did not hesitate to send at once for a surgeon, and order every comfort necessary to preserve my life.

"'I endeavored to express my gratitude; but the stern citizen frowned, and from that time forth, I said no more on the subject. Health slowly returned to its temple, and as it sent the warm blood tingling [p. 157] freshly through my veins, love mingled with the current that flowed to the heart. Cerise, my saviour, my guardian angel, hovered about my pillow like a spirit of light, awaking in my breast a passion which had never dwelt there before. She was not what the world termed a beauty; but there was a quiet grace about her actions, and a smiling, lovely dignity ever shining from her large brown eyes, that so drew her to me, as to make me silent and melancholy when she was not present.

"'Not to linger over a period, the purest and brightest of my existence, suffice it to say, that Cerise returned my passion, and I was blest with her love. I told her my name, and painted the splendors of Florence, while she listened with a gentle smile of approbation, and consented to become my wife, should her father raise no objection.

"'Anticipating no difficulty in that quarter, my happiness was unalloyed, and I considered her as all my own. At length, when my health was fully re-established, I asked a private interview with Citizen Foliere, and demanded the hand of his daughter in marriage. I described in glowing terms my love for Cerise and her reciprocation—I spoke of my high rank in Florence, the many honors of my family, and its great antiquity; the advantages which would accrue to him from having such a son-in-law—in fact, presented my views in every light of interest and paternal affection that I could devise. The stern republican heard me through in silence, and then answered coldly—

"'"Young man, you were received into my house, [p. 158] a fugitive from retributive justice, and sheltered by me at the risk of my own good name and life. I pitied your youth, and yielded my protection, when duty bade me surrender you to my friends. Would you repay me by robbing me of my richest treasure, or forever blighting her existence by arousing in her bosom a hopeless passion? My daughter cannot be yours, though you boasted the blood of a sovereign; she shall never sit in the palaces of our oppressors. My decision is irrevocable, and this subject must be forever at rest."

"'Frantic with indignation and disappointment, I flew to Cerise, and with the violence of a maniac, acquainted her with my ill-success; I swore she should be mine, or I would slay myself at her feet. By turns she wept and expostulated, until I accused her of faithlessness, when she threw herself into my arms, and in an agony of tears, bade me do with her as I pleased.

"'That night I was on my way from Paris, with my wife clasped to my breast, calling down heaven's bitterest curses upon my head, should I ever cease to love her as I then did, and kissing the hot tears from her cheeks in a burning, maddening transport of blind devotion.

"'Oh madman! wretch that I was—why did I not fall a withered corpse at the feet of that innocent girl, who sacrificed a father's love for me?

"'At Genoa I purchased a villa in a retired spot, and there tasted the intoxicating joys of elysium; but fate was darkening in clouds above my head, and the bridal garlands were soon to blossom in a harvest of [p. 159] blood. I wrote again to my father, acquainting him with the step I had taken, and narrating my escape from death in France. An answer soon came, and in the presence of my wife I read as follows:

"'"Dominique—Foolish boy, you have well nigh driven me to madness by your conduct, and your mother has gone to the grave a victim to the folly of her son. Come hither at once, if you would not kill me also, and behold the wreck that remains of

"'"Your Father."

"'The vague tone of this communication, and the intelligence of my mother's death, overwhelmed me with sorrow. Cerise, dear Cerise, fell upon my bosom and reproached herself as being the author of all my troubles. In vain did I try to forget my own griefs, and strive to console her; she soon became calm, but the smile of contentment no longer beamed from her eyes, and her peace was departed forever. She insisted upon obedience to my father's request, and when I yielded, accompanied me to my native city silent and tearless.

"'Resolving to see my father alone, I left my wife at an obscure house in the suburbs of the city, and promising to return when I had softened my parent's wrath, I set out with a heavy heart for the home of my childhood.

"'The servants at once recognized me, but I could only learn it from their glances, for they led the way in silence to the saloon of reception.

"'My father was seated in a remote corner, conversing [p. 160] with some person when I entered, and on beholding me, at once came forward and embraced me with every token of affection. Astounded at receiving such a salute, when I expected nothing but reproach, I stood motionless, staring at him in silence, until the other person present approached. Never shall I forget the appearance of Lucia on that day. Her raven locks, falling below her waist and mingling imperceptibly with the folds of her sable robe, contrasted strikingly with the snow-white purity of her complexion, over which her piercing eyes, shed a lustre truly spiritual. As my father introduced us, our glances met, and I felt a thrill to my inmost soul.

"'It maddens me to dwell upon those scenes, and I will hasten to the conclusion of my story. I forgot Cerise, my honor—everything, in the society of her who had once been selected to wed with me. Day followed day until a month had elapsed, and I still remained fascinated to the spot, false to my vows, false to my wife, and true to nothing but blind infatuation. My father beheld me sinking deeper and deeper in the black waves of infamy, and a light of demoniac exultation burned in his eyes. I marked his triumph, and I, too, felt a savage joy, though for what reason, I knew not.

"'At length he taunted me as the husband of a lazarone. He pointed with hellish glee to where Lucia stood, the incarnation of perfection, and bade me behold what I had lost. My brain was on fire, a thousand furies tugged at my heartstrings, and as my father clasped my hands in his and looked down into my soul, I felt that savage joy again, and a demon [p. 161] possessed me. My father approached his face to mine, until his hot breath burned upon my cheek, and whispered in my ear; it was enough. With a loud laugh I left him and flew, rather than ran, to where my deserted wife was watching for me, sad and alone.

"'Why did she not tax me with my perfidy? Why did not her angel soul arise in its innocent love, to crush me with the glancing of an eye? Oh, that she had uttered one reproach, one bitter word! She saw me, and with a cry of joy, cast her white arms about my neck, as on our marriage; they were like chains of searing, glowing iron to me, and I dashed her from me, howling in the delirium of my torments. She marked the wild fire that flashed from my eye, the dark flush that burned upon my cheek, my breast heaving with the struggles of the fiend within, my hair hanging in disordered masses over my throbbing brow, the cowardly trembling of the hand concealed in my bosom; she beheld a fiend incarnate in the form of one who had sworn to love and cherish her forever; yet no word of reproach arose from those lips I had so often kissed. Again her arms were about me, and again I attempted to dash her to the ground.

"'"My husband, my dear Dominique!" she shrieked, clinging to me, and pressing her cheeks, pallid and cold, against mine, glowing and burning with the reflected fires of hell. The spell of madness fell upon me, as I struggled with that faithful wife, and hissing froth boiled from between my teeth, mingling with her long locks of auburn hair. I suffered all the torments of the damned as we swayed to and fro, until [p. 162] her strength began to fail and her arms relaxed their hold. Then, with a horrid laugh, I wound her long curls about my hand, and plunged a stiletto to its hilt in her breast.

"'The warm blood of life poured in a torrent upon me, and as my victim lay gasping upon the ground, I danced frantically about her, laughing with glee.

"'I did not wait to see her die—I dared not do it—but all gory as I was, I returned to my father. He met me with a smile, and his calmness communicated itself to me.

"'I was happy then—oh! yes, very happy!

"'With blood upon my hand, and madness in my brain, I wooed Lucia with all the cunning of insanity, and another gentle heart soon beat for me alone.

"'We were married! I remember the bright glare of the lights, the holy dignity of the priests, the gay laughter of the brilliant company, as my health and happiness were pledged in goblets of rare wines, the face of my second wife shining like that of an angel, with fond, confiding love for me; and then my father! We looked at each other, and smiled exultantly—we murderers, madmen, receiving the homage of reasonable beings. I was filled with mad joy, and sent forth peals upon peals of laughter while the ceremony was being performed. My father joined in my unnatural merriment, and surprise and fear was painted on every countenance. I saw the lips of Lucia tremble, and squeezed her hand so that she groaned with pain. Oh! what would I not have given to have been in the open air, yelling my triumph to the beast in his lair and the bird on the wing; making nature's arena to [p. 163] echo my bursts of mirth, and rising far above the earth on a sea of discord. My father continued near me through the ceremony, and left the saloon at its conclusion; but I knew that his feelings were like mine and envied his liberty.

"'Then I grew calm again, and friends congratulated me, and music filled the air, and the dance went on, and I kissed my bride until she involuntarily shrank from me in confusion. I was very happy then.

"'At length the midnight hour arrived and the maidens of Lucia conducted her, veiled in blushes, to the nuptial couch. How beautiful did she look, arrayed in spotless white, such as bright angels wear. An hour elapsed ere I flew to her chamber and threw myself upon the floor in a paroxysm of mirth. There was a large lamp of glass that burned before a mirror in our bridal chamber, and as its perfumed oil was consumed a delicious odor ladened the air; as I rolled upon the carpet and tore it with my teeth, the light shone in my eyes, and in an instant I ceased all motion and stared fixedly at it, while cold drops of water came out upon my temple.

"'Timidly my bride approached and spoke to me; but I answered her not; for there was another form before my eyes; another bride speaking to my soul. There was an explosion; the lamp fell into a thousand pieces, and where it had been there stood my murdered wife, with the blood pouring from her bosom, and the stiletto in her hand. I saw her as plainly as I now see you, and she bade me slay her rival! I knew my fate decreed it so; I dared not disobey the dead, and with a howl of fury, I sprang upon Lucia, my second [p. 164] bride. In vain she clasped her hands to me in prayer for mercy; in vain she tried to shriek for help; I grasped her pale throat until my nails sank into the flesh, and a purple hue spread over her face. There I saw her sink from blooming health to ghastly death, and every feature was visible to me in all its convulsive workings, although the light was out.

"'My spirit wife stood before me and my last victim, until she faded to nothing in the morning light.

"'As the beams of the sun streamed in upon me, I took my dead bride in my arms and stalked gaily down to the saloon of my father. I heard him laughing loudly, and with a laugh I answered him as I carried my burden into his presence. He, too, had something in his arms, and it was the lifeless form of Cerise, crumbling to decay, and fresh from a banquet of worms. We placed our treasures side by side upon a table, and embraced each other with yells of laughter. Higher and higher rose our mirth, and louder grew our shouts of triumph, until the street beneath us was crowded with people, and the servants burst into the saloon where we held our revel.

"'We were seized and carried before the Duke, with the cold corpses of my wives; but we laughed when they called us murderers, and cursed when others called us madmen.

       *       *       *       *       *

"'The keepers of the madhouse awoke me from my slumbers to tell me that my father had died during the night. What was that to me? I wanted a light burning beside me all night, and then he would not come from the grave to visit me. So I laughed and was merry to think that I was locked up in a madhouse. [p. 165] After many years I was released from my prison, and came thither to take the cowl of a monk. Think not that I am mad, holy father, when I solemnly swear that the shades of my wives stand beside me every night, and only wait until the light goes out, to drag me down to hell. I see them now, with bleeding bosom, and throat bearing the prints of my nails! Cerise! Lucia! I defy thee both! The lamp still burns! ha! ha! ha!'

"With a horrid laugh brother Dominique fell upon his face on the ground, like one blasted by a stroke from heaven; and with a vague feeling of terror, I crawled stealthily to my own cell.

"On the following day we met at morning prayer, in the chapel, but he treated me as though we had never known each other, and the events of the preceding night were never again mentioned by either of us.

"One evening, loud peals of laughter were heard issuing from the cell of the maniac, and several of the monks hastened thither with me, to learn its cause. On opening the door, I first beheld the lamp lying extinguished in its niche, while brother Dominique was stretched upon the stony pavement in strong convulsions, giving vent every now and then to sounds of mirth, so dreadful that we stopped our ears, and fled horrified to the superior. When all was again silent we returned to the cell; but the maniac was not there, and the niche was vacant."

Such, my boy, was the story related by M. Bonbon, the reading making him hoarse, and the plot suggesting a nightmare also.

Yours, staringly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 166]



Washington, D. C., August 30th, 1862.

As every thing continues to indicate, my boy, that President Lincoln is an honest man, I am still of the opinion that the restoration of the Union is only a question of time, and will be accomplished some weeks previous to the commencement of the Millennium. It is the "Union as it was" that we want, my boy, and those who have other articles to sell are hereby accused of being accursed Abolitionists. I was talking the other day to a venerable Congressman from Maryland, who had just arrived to protest against the disturbance of mail facilities between Baltimore and the capital of the Southern Confederacy, and says he, "I have several friends who are Confederacies, and they inform me that they are perfectly willing to return to the Union as it Was, in case they should fail in their present enterprise. If I thought," says the Congressman, hastily placing a lottery-ticket in his vest-pocket, "if I thought that this war was to be waged for the purpose of injuring the Southern Confederacy, rather than to restore the Union as it was, [p. 167] I should at once demand more mileage of the Government, and repeatedly inquire what had become of all the 'Wide-Awakes.'"

As he uttered this last horrible threat, my boy, I was impressed with a sense of something darkly democratic. Too many of the "Wide-Awakes" of the last campaign are indeed fast asleep now, when their country needs them. I saw one of them slumbering near Culpepper Court House last week. He was sleeping with his right arm twisted in the spokes of a disabled cannon wheel, and a small purple mark was on his right temple. But he was not alone in his forgetful sloth, my boy; for near him, and rigidly grasping his disengaged hand, was a Democrat slumbering too!

The sight, I remember, rendered me so honestly indignant, that I could not help pointing it out to the Mackerel Chaplain, who was engaged in selling hymn-books to the wounded. The Chaplain looked a moment at the Fusion Ticket before us.

"They sleep for the Flag," says he, softly, "and may its Stars shed pleasant dreams upon their loyal souls for ever."

The Chaplain is an enthusiast, my boy, and this is what he has written about


The planets of our Flag are set
In God's eternal blue sublime,
Creation's world-wide starry stripe
Between the banner'd days of time.
[p. 168]
Upon the sky's divining scroll,
In burning punctuation borne,
They shape the sentence of the night
That prophesies a cloudless morn.
The waters free their mirrors are;
And fair with equal light they look
Upon the royal ocean's breast,
And on the humble mountain brook.
Though each distinctive as the soul
Of some new world not yet begun,
In bright career their courses blend
Round Liberty's unchanging Sun.
Thus ever shine, ye Stars, for all!
And palsied be the hand that harms
Earth's pleading signal to the skies,
And Heav'ns immortal Coat of Arms.

You are probably aware, my boy, that the unconquerable Mackerel Brigade is still advancing upon Washington in a highly respectable and strategic manner; and that all correspondents are excluded from the lines, lest some of them, in their natural blackness of heart, should construe the advance upon Washington into a retreat from Richmond.

But I gained admission to the scene by adopting the airy and pleasing uniform of the Southern Confederacy; and am thereby enabled to give you some further account of the skillful retrograde advance to which I dimly referred in my absorbing last. [p. 169]

The uniform of the Southern Confederacy is much respected by many of our officers, my boy, and is the only guise in which a fellow-being may scrutinize the national strategic works with entire safety.

Thus attired, I joined the Mackerel Brigade in its cheerful work of pushing Richmond away from its martial front, and having penetrated to the rear where horrible carnage was being wrought in the frantic ranks of the Confederacy, I beheld the idolized General of the Mackerel Brigade anxiously searching for something upon the ground. In a moment, he looked up, and says he to the warriors in his neighborhood:

"My children, have you seen anything of a small black bottle that I placed upon the grass, just now, when I turned to speak to my aid?"

A Mackerel chap coughed respectfully, and says he: "I guess it was taken by some equestrian Confederacies, which has just made another raid."

"Thunder!" says the General, "that's the third bottle I've lost in the same way within an hour." And he proceeded slowly and thoughtfully to mount his horse, which stood eyeing him with funereal solemnity and many inequalities of surface.

Turning to another part of the line, my boy, I beheld Captain Villiam Brown and Captain Bob Shorty in the act of performing a great strategic movement with the indomitable Conic Section, many of whom were employing the moment to take a last look at the canteens presented to them before leaving home by their devoted mothers. A number of reckless Confederacies had just crossed a bridge spanning a small stream near by, and the object of this daring movement [p. 170] was to suddenly destroy the bridge before they could retreat and then make prisoners of the whole.

It was a sublime conception, my boy—it was a sublime conception, and rich with strategy.

Like panthers surrounding their unsuspecting prey, the wily Mackerels swept noiselessly across the bridge, applied their axes with the quickness of thought, and in a moment the doomed structure fell splashing into the water. It was beautiful to see Villiam's honest exultation at this moment; his eyes brightened like small bottles of brandy with the light shining through them, and says he:

"We have circumvented the Confederacy. Ah!" says Villiam, proudly; "the United States of America is now prepared to continue in the exchange business, and—"

He paused. He paused, my boy, because he suddenly observed that Captain Bob Shorty had commenced to scratch his head in a dismal manner.

"I'm blessed," says Captain Bob Shorty, in a cholerical manner—"I'm blessed if I don't think there's some mistake here, my military infant!"

"Ha!" says Villiam, with dignity; "do you discover a flaw in the great chain woven by the United States of America around the doomed Confederacy?"

Captain Bob Shorty again scratched his head, and says he:

"I don't wish to make unpleasant insinuations; but it seems to me that this here body of infantry has left itself on the wrong side of the stream!"

And so it had, my boy. By one of those little mistakes which will sometimes occur in the most victorious armies, [p. 171] the Conic Section had thoughtlessly crossed the bridge before destroying it, thus leaving themselves on one side of the river, while the riotous Confederacies were on the other.

How they got across again, at a fordable place higher up, just in time to see the Confederacies cross again, at a fordable place lower down, I will not pause to tell you, as such information might retard enlistments.

Once more stationing myself near the General of the Mackerel Brigade, who sat astride his funereal charger like the equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington, I was watching his motions attentively, when a body of horsemen suddenly dashed by him, and I saw, as they disappeared, that he was left bareheaded.

"Thunder!" says the general, winking very violently in the sunlight, and rattling his sword in a fearless manner, "where's my cap gone to?"

There was a respectful Mackerel chap at hand, and says he:

"I think it was took by the equestrian Confederacy, which has jest made another raid."

"Hum!" says the general, thoughtfully, "that's very true. Thunder!" says the general to himself, as it were: "this is all Greeley's work."

Pondering deeply over this last remark, I sauntered to another part of the field, where the Orange County Howitzers were being prepared to repel the charge of a regiment of Confederacies, who had just come within our lines for the purpose. The artillery was well handled, my boy, and not a piece would have been captured but for the splendid discipline of the gunners. [p. 172] They were too well disciplined to dispute orders, my boy; and as Captain Samyule Sa-mith had accidentally forgotten to give the order to "load" before he told them to fire, the effect of our metal upon the hostile force was not as inflammatory as it might have been.

The next I saw of Samyule, he was making his report to the general, who received him with much enthusiasm.

"Where are your guns, my child?" says the general, with paternal affability.

Samyule blew his nose in a business-like manner, and says he;

"Several of them have just gone South."

I am unable to state what response the general intended to make, my boy; for at this instant a body of horsemen swept between the speakers, one of the riders jerking the veteran's horse violently from under him, and galloping the steed away with him. Up sprang the general, in a violent perspiration, and says he:

"Where's my horse gone to?"

"I guess," says a Mackerel chap, stepping up—"I guess that it was took by the equestrian Confederacy, which has just made another raid."

"Thunder!" says the general, "they'll take my coat and vest next." And he retired to a spot nearer Washington.

I would gladly continue my narrative of the advance movement, my boy, showing how our forces continued their march in excellent order, safely reaching a spot within ten miles of the place they gained [p. 173] on the following day; but such revelations would simply tend to confuse your weak mind with those great doubts concerning military affairs which tend to render civilization impertinently critical.

It is the simple duty of civilians, my boy, to implicitly trust our brass-buttoned generals; of whom there are enough to furnish the whole world with war—and never finish it at that.

Yours, weekly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 174]



Washington, D. C., Sept. 4th, 1862.

While I was lounging in a banker's drawing-room this morning, my boy, waiting for the filthy lucre chap to come down and say that he was glad to see me, I chanced to see the eternal "L'Amour" and "La Femme" lying upon a table in the apartment. The sight threw me into a bad humor, for I detest those books, my boy, and wish the United States of America had never seen them.

Monsieur Michelet, a French individual of questionable morals, first writes a book about "Love," and then clinches it with one about "Woman." It is hardly necessary to add, that he treats both subjects in a thoroughly French manner, and makes one a continuation of the other. Love is a charming little story in every man's life, "complete in one number"—Number one. Woman is a love-story, "to be continued" until, like all other continued stories, it ends with marriage!

Such is the logic implied by Monsieur Michelet's two books, and whether it is calculated to elevate or degrade the weaker sex, a majority of educated [p. 175] American women have eagerly read the books and accepted the sentiments as so many compliments. And the men? They leisurely rove through the leaves of monsieur's mental Valambrosa, and say: "How Frenchy!" And in that natural exclamation we find the most complete and just criticism of "L'Amour" and "La Femme" possible to American lips or pen.

This Michelet, my boy, is a man of talent and remarkably clear poetical perception. He is as much like Hallam as a Frenchman can be like an Englishman, and France honors him for his development of the poetry of her history; but is that any reason why he should be accepted as the modern High-priest of Love and the Censor of Woman? By no means. Madame de Stael was thinking of a Frenchman when she wrote: "Love is only an episode in man's life"—and may have referred to herself when she added: "but it is woman's whole existence." Had an American woman spoken this, we should suspect the sentiment to be nothing more than the reproach of a disappointed passion; but of the Frenchman it is indisputably true, as well as of woman wherever we find her.

The French do not know what Fidelity means, my boy; they have chameleon souls, and remain true to one object only until another comes within their reach. Like mad bulls, they are attracted by the quiescent warmth of fiery-red; and, having attained it, tear it to pieces in their passion.

What can such people know about Love? Nothing. They call Love "L'Amour," and when we speak of a [p. 176] man's "amours," we mean that he "loves" like a Frenchman. Monsieur Michelet is a Frenchman; and supposing him to be an ordinary one, we must accept his sentiments regarding Woman as we would those of an Apicius regarding a delicacy he apostrophizes before devouring. But Michelet's temperament is poetical, and while he looks upon Woman as a foretaste of the sensualist's paradise, and upon Love as the means of gaining it, he covers up the grossness of his ideas with robes borrowed from the angels. Adopting Kepler's canon, that "harmony is the perfection of relations," he makes Woman, the creature, a continuation of Love, the sentiment; and the tenor of his "L'Amour" and "La Femme" is, that both must be possessed by man, in order to perfect the union which makes them a perfect One.

Wherever I go I find these books: cheek to cheek they repose on the carved table of the lady's boudoir; shoulder to shoulder they stand on the library shelf; tete-a-tete they give the rich centre-table an equivocal aspect. Young men and maidens, old men and matrons, children and chambermaids read them; yet they have no social effect. Woman understands love and herself; Man thinks he understands both; and the fictitious fervor of Monsieur Michelet has no more effect upon either than so much prismatic froth. It addresses itself piquantly to the eye, and murmurs like a shell in the ear; but once out of sight and hearing, and it is only an excuse for light talk and laxity of thought.

I am glad to record this; it shows that our national morality is in no danger of being wrecked on the [p. 177] French coast by any such tropical gales as Michelet, Feydeau, or Dumas can blow. Let our publishers bring over a few more cargoes from the Augæan stables of French literature in English bottoms, and I will guarantee them large profits. We will read them, and immediately forget all about it.

But to return to Michelet again. Our women read his "Woman," and imagine that it compliments their sex—flatters them. Fortunate is it, that flattery very seldom changes a woman's character, though it may sway her judgment. She accepts it as her right, but seldom believes it. Queen Elizabeth graciously extended her hand to be kissed when her noble lover compared her to "the sun, whose faintest ray extinguishes the brightest planet;" yet that same hand had signed the flatterer's death-warrant. At the moment she was pleased, and her good sense dazed; but her heart was not reached. Flattery, skillfully administered, may add fuel to a woman's love; but the fire must first be kindled with something more sympathetic. An American woman may read "La Femme," and complacently receive its subtle equivoques as so much fuel added to her vanity; but that vanity was kindled into existence in the first place by the genuine homage of some honest man.

It was Michelet's "Woman," my boy, that suggested this letter; yet I did not intend, at the outset, to devote so much space to his unwholesome sophistry. If I have shown, however, that Michelet's "Woman" is only such a being as he would have created under that name, could he have changed places with the Deity, I have not wasted time and ink. Thank [p. 178] fortune, there is but one French deity, and his proper name commences with a D.

Now, let me give my own idea of Woman—not "La Femme."

As she stands before me in the light of Nature, she is no "enigma," as voluntarily-puzzled poets have called her; but a being easily defined, and not more nearly related to the angels than man. To the best of her sex we attribute one natural weakness and one virtue—Curiosity and Modesty. Everybody must allow this much. But why should we make such a distinction between these two qualities? Let us trace them back to their exemplar:

Eve's curiosity was the first effect of her serpentine temptation. Was it not? Well, that curiosity caused her to eat the forbidden fruit. Having eaten it, and caused Adam to eat, she suddenly became possessed of modesty, and made herself an apron of fig-leaves. It is but natural to infer that her first blush was worn at the same time, though Milton attributes blushes to the angels. As angels are immaterial beings, I think Milton was mistaken. Now, if modesty, as well as curiosity, was the result of Satanic temptation, why should one be called a weakness and the other a virtue? Are not both the fruits of original sin?

Woman's love is said to be stronger and more lasting than man's. Is it so? Let us trace it back to its beginning:

Eve's love for Adam did not prevent her fall. She met the Prince of Darkness and listened to his blandishments, as too many ladies of the present time prefer the society of bogus courtiers to that of their [p. 179] Adams of husbands. She forever disgraced Adam, herself, and her future family, just to please the tempter. Was this a proof the depth and vitality of Woman's love? And Adam? Why, rather than refuse any request of the woman he loved, however extravagant, he voluntarily shared in her ruin, and courted the curse of her fall. Did this prove that Man's love is weaker and shorter-lived than Woman's?

Now, I should like to see some one impudent enough to assert that Eve was more curious, or less modest, or more fickle than are the best of her female descendants. Such impudence is not compatible with the present position of civilization. Then, as Eve was the great exemplar of her sex in Modesty and Fidelity as well as Curiosity, it follows that Woman's Modesty is the result of inherited sin, and her Fidelity in Love no greater than Man's.

Alas! for the "angels" of the poets, my boy. Prove that her Modesty and Love are anything but heavenly, and what remains to make Woman angelic?

I could honor, love, and might obey the Best of Her Sex; but I shall never worship her. She is not a Deity—only a Woman. I believe that God intends each woman for a wife; yet six marriages out of every dozen are unhappy ones. And what is the reason? Simply this:

Before marriage, man generally accepts one of the two poetical theories respecting Woman. He either supposes her to be an angel, purer and more elevated in her nature than he in his; or gloats over her as a delicate morsel prepared for his special delectation by the gods. In either case, he finds out his mistake [p. 180] when it is too late to rectify it, and his disappointment is but the refinement of disgust. He either discovers that woman is only a human being, and very much like himself by nature; or that constant familiarity with her brings her down to the level of a man in his estimation. There is but one possibility of escape from disappointment in either case; the death of husband or wife within a year of the wedding day!

Husbands and wives, have I spoken truly?

But there are exceptions to every rule. Some men marry women for the sake of having homes of their own; others, for money; still others, because it is the fashion. The man who marries for a comfortable home often gets what he desired, and is contented; the mercenary husband is likely to do and feel the same; the fashionable husband generally cuts his throat. These exceptions do not break the rule.

It may be asked: Why do widowers so often marry again, if they were so disappointed in their first wives? My boy, you are no philosopher. How many men have learned wisdom by experience? Only a few, and they are all dead. If a sailor is shipwrecked, and nearly killed on his first voyage, does he forsake the sea forever after? If a man buys an image supposed to be made of marble, and discovers that it is plaster, does he never buy another image? Because you and your neighbors chance to buy a barrel of bad eggs, are you satisfied that good ones are not to be had?

An enthusiastic young man marries a girl whom he supposes to be an "angel." A year passes, and he mourns over his mistake. A few more roll away, and [p. 181] she dies. Does the widower profit by his experience? No! He says to himself: "My late wife was not an 'angel;' but that sweet girl I saw yesterday certainly is. She is entirely different from my late wife." Well, he marries angel No. 2. She proves to be No. 1 in a different dress.

A tropical young man is infatuated with the physical beauty of a girl, and marries her with the idea that he will never weary of looking at her. A year passes, and he is heartily tired of her. She dies. Does the widower profit by his experience? No! He says to himself: "I was wearied of my late wife because her hair, eyes and complexion were the same as mine. Physiologists say that opposites are necessary to matrimonial bliss. There is Miss ——, with her hair, eyes and complexion, in direct antithesis with mine. I am sure I should never weary of her!" He marries her. And tires of her.

Do you see, my boy?

And now to remedy this evil: Let us look upon woman as she is. If an "angel" with golden hair, snowy complexion, pearly teeth, heaven blue eyes, and no appetite, sounds better in poetry than a true woman, with auburn hair, fair complexion, clean teeth, and nice blue eyes, why, let the poets rant about "angels." But poetry has nothing to do with so practical an event as marriage, and its "angels" will not do for wives. A man cannot be guilty of a more absurd and unprovoked piece of injustice, than that of persisting in believing his bride more of an angel than human. He might as well go to a jeweller's, and insist upon buying a pearl for a diamond, when [p. 182] the certain result of such folly would be his denunciation of the pearl as a swindle, when time convinced him of its real character. No true woman desires to be looked upon as an "angel," nor to have her beauty valued as a joy imperishable.

It is very common for women to lament the indifference of husbands who were the most attentive and obedient of lovers. I have explained the cause of the defection.

To secure happiness—or contentment, at least—in the marriage state, we must regard woman as our equal by nature, whatever superiority or inferiority she may possess by virtue of her mental or social education. We must not look up to her, nor down upon her, but straight at her. We must not base our love for her upon supposed angelic qualities. If we desire to make her happy, and be happy ourselves, we must recognize her human origin in common with our own, and accept her physical inferiority as security for the continuance of our own love in all its normal strength.

Of course there are grades in human nature. Some natures are more refined than others, from the effects of their surroundings and education. But the lover should recognize no degree higher than his own when he selects his mistress. Then, if hers proves higher than his, after marriage, he is delighted; if the same as his, he is satisfied. But suppose it should prove lower than his? Such a supposition is untenable in a marriage of mutual affection. A superior nature will never gravitate to an inferior one by the attraction of real love. There must be a natural sympathy; [p. 183] and sympathy is the rock upon which all true love is founded.

Love never yet blended incompatible natures in marriage. Money often does—brute-insanity sometimes.

You have probably concluded, by this time, my boy, that my ideas of the true Woman and Monsieur Michelet's views of "La Femme" are decidedly at variance.

I have sufficient faith in the good sense of Woman to believe that she will give preference to my doctrine. If so, she will not translate "La Femme" as "Woman," but as "grisette," "lorette," or "camelia lady." To christen such a work "Woman," is to lay a snare for the Best of Her Sex, and catch the Weakest in it. The female who allows it to affect her may possibly make "a neatly-shod grisette," but never a good wife.

It may be asked why I have made "Woman" the subject of this letter, and why I have adopted such a Frenchy style?

Simply because there is no subject less understood, my boy, by the generality of young mankind; and because I deem it best to practice the doctrine of similia similibus curantur (in style) while quarreling with Monsieur Michelet.

Yours, sentimentally,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 184]



Washington, D. C., September 5th, 1862.

Everything is confident and buoyant here, my boy, a sense that the President is an honest man, inspiring confidence on every side, and surrounding the Government with well-known confidence men. The repeated safety of the Capital, indeed, has even inspired the genius of New England, as illustrated by a thoughtful Boston chap, with one of those enlarged business ideas which will yet enable that section to betrade the whole world. The thoughtful Boston chap has read all the war-news, my boy, for the last six months, and as he happens to be a moral manufacturer of burglar-proof safes, a happy pecuniary thought struck him forcibly. After joining the church, to make sure of his morality here, he came hither in haste, opened an establishment, read the war-news once more, and then issued the following enterprising card: [p. 185]


Everybody thought it was the safe they'd read so much about in the papers, my boy, and several hundreds were sold.

There was another chap, named Burns, the inventor of a Family and Military Gridiron, who noticed how the thoughtful Boston chap was making money by the advertising necessities of our distracted country. Having been born in Connecticut at a very early age, my boy, he was not long in finding a way to make his own eternal fortune, after the same meritorious manner. So he at once repaired to a liquor shop, to make sure that a majority of our staff-officers would hear him, and then, says he, in stentorian tones:

"My sympathies are all with the Southern Confederacy, to whom I send the weekly journals of romance on the day of publication. As to the Union," says the Connecticut chap, hotly, "I have less confidence in it than I have in my Patent Economical Family and Military Gridiron."

He was immediately arrested for this seditious talk, my boy, and all the reporters telegraphed an exciting dispatch to the reliable morning journals:

"Exciting Affair—Arrest of an Influential Rebel!—The celebrated Mr. Burns has been arrested for publicly saying that he had more confidence in his [p. 186] well-known and ingenious patent Economical Family and Military Gridiron than he had in the Union. Upon hearing of his incarceration, the most sanguine rebel sympathizers here admitted that the cause of the South was lost forever."

The Connecticut chap remained in custody until he had received four hundred orders for gridirons, from private families and army-chaplains, and then he explained that the words he had used were uttered in the heat of passion, and he was, of course, honorably discharged from prison, to make way for a shameless, aged miscreant just committed for two years' hard labor, on suspicion of having discouraged enlistments by asserting that, although he was too old to go to the war himself, he intended to send a substitute.

Simultaneously, all the reporters telegraphed again to the reliable morning journals:

"The Burns Affair Settled!—Full Particulars of the Gridiron!—Mr. Burns, the celebrated inventor of the famous Patent Gridiron, has been honorably discharged by order of the Secretary of War. His inimitable Gridiron is destined to have an immense sale.

"It cooks a beafsteak in such a manner that the appetite is fully satisfied from merely looking at it, and the same steak will do for breakfast next morning. This is a great saving. Persons having nothing to eat find this Gridiron a great comfort, and hence the propriety of introducing it in the army."

The Gridirons are having a great sale, my boy, and [p. 187] it is believed that the business interests of the country are being rapidly improved by the war.

Knowing that the Mackerel Brigade was making preparations to entrap the Southern Confederacy at Molasses Junction, I ascended to the upper gallery of my architectural steed, Pegasus, on Tuesday, in order that I might not be unduly hurried on my journey. Taking Accomac on my way to the battle-field, my boy, I called upon Colonel Wobert Wobinson, who is superintending preparations for the draft there, and was witness to an incident suitable to be recorded in profane history.

The draft in Accomac, my boy, is positively to take place on the 11th of September; but it is not believed that the enrollment can be finished before the 15th; in which case, the draft must inevitably take place on the 20th. In fact, the Judge-Advocate of the Accomac states positively that the conscription will commence on the 1st of October; and volunteering is so brisk that no draft may be required. At least, such is the report of those best acquainted with the more decisive plans of the War Department, which thinks of joining the Temperance Society.

The exempts were filing their papers of exemption with Colonel Wobert Wobinson, my boy, and amongst them was one chap with a swelled eye, a deranged neck-tie, and a hat that looked as though it might have been used as an elephant's foot-bath. The chap came in with a heavy walk, and says he:

"Being a married man, war has no terror for me; but I am obliged to exempt myself from military affairs on account of the cataract in my eyes." [p. 188]

Colonel Wobert Wobinson looked at him sympathizingly, and says he: "You might possibly do for a major-general, my son, as it is blindness principally that characterises a majority of our present major-generals in the field; but fearing that your absence from home might cause a prostration in the liquor business, I will accept your cataract as valid."

The poor chap sighed until he reached the first hiccup, and then says he: "I wish I could cure this here cataract, which causes my eyes to weep in the absence of all woe."

"Do your orbs liquidate so freely?" says the Colonel, with the air of a family physician.

"Yes," says the poor chap, gloomily, "they are like two continual mill streams."

"Mill streams!" says Colonel Wobinson meditatively, "mill streams! Why, then, you'd better dam your eyes."

"I think, my boy, I say I think, that this kindly advice of Colonel Wobert Wobinson's must have been misunderstood in some way; for an instant departure of several piously-inclined recruits took place precipitately, and the poor chap chuckled like a fiend.

It is the great misfortune of our mother tongue, my boy, that words of widely-different meanings have precisely the same sound, and in using one you seem to be abusing another.

Arriving near the celebrated Molasses Junction, where a number of Mackerels were placing a number of new cars and locomotives on the track—the object being to delude the Southern Confederacy into taking a ride in them, when, it was believed, the aforesaid [p. 189] Confederacy would speedily be destroyed by one of those "frightful accidents" without which a day on any American railroad would be a perfect anomaly—arriving there, I say, I took an immediate survey of the appointed field of strife.

To the inexperienced civilian eye, my boy, everything appeared to be in a state of chaotic confusion, which nothing but the military genius of our generals could make much worse. On all sides, my boy, I beheld the Mackerel chaps marching and countermarching; falling back, retiring, retreating, and making retrograde movements. Some were looking for their regiments; some were insanely looking for their officers, as though they did not know that the latter have resided permanently in Washington ever since the war commenced; some were making calls on others, and here and there might be seen squads of Confederates picking up any little thing they might happen to find.

Finding the general of the Mackerel Brigade lunching upon a bottle and tumbler near me, I saluted him, and says I:

"Tell me, my veteran, how it is that you permit the Southern Confederacy to meander thus within your lines?"

The general looked toleratingly at me, and says he;

"I have a plan to entrap the Confederacy, and end this doomed rebellion at one stroke. Do you mark that long train of army wagons down there near my quarters?"

"Yes," says I, nervously.

"Well, then, my nice little boy," says the general, [p. 190] cautiously, "I'll tell you what the plan is. These wagons contain the rations of our troops. It is my purpose to induce the celebrated Confederacy to capture these wagons and attempt to eat those rations. If the Confederacy will only do that," says the general, fiercely, "it will be taken sick on the spot, and we shall capture it alive."

I could not but feel shocked at this inhuman artifice, my boy. The Southerners have indeed acted in away to forfeit all ordinary mercy, but still, we should abstain from any retaliatory act savoring of demoniac malignity. Our foes are at least human beings.

Suppressing my horror, however, I assumed a practical aspect, and says I:

"But how are the Mackerel warriors to subsist, my Napoleon, if you allow the rations to go?"

"Thunder!" says the general, handing me a paper from his pocket. "They are to subsist exclusively on the enemy. Just peruse this document, which I have just fulminated."

Taking the paper, I found it to be the following


Whereas, The matter of provisions is a great expense to the United States of America, besides offering inducements for unexpected raids on the part of the famishing foeman; the Mackerel Brigade is hereby directed to live entirely upon the Southern Confederacy, eating him alive wherever found, and partaking of no other food.

The Brigade will not be permitted to take any clothing [p. 191] with it on the march, being required henceforth to dress exclusively in the habiliments of captured Confederacies.

We have done with retrograde movements. No more lines of retreat will be kept open, and henceforth the Mackerel Brigade is to make nothing but great captures.

By order of
The General of the Mackerel Brigade.
[Green Seal.]

This able document, my boy, pleased me greatly as an evidence that the war had indeed commenced in earnest; and though at that moment, I beheld some half a dozen Confederacies ransacking the tent where the general kept his mortgages, his bank account, and other Government property, I felt that our foes were about to be summarily dealt with at last.

An orderly having finally given notice to the Confederacies rummaging within our lines to get to their proper places, in order that the battle might begin, the Anatomical Cavalry, under Captain Samyule Sa-mith, made a headlong charge upon a body of foes who were destroying a bridge near the middle of the field, and succeeded in obliging them to remain there. This brilliant movement was the signal for a general engagement, and a regiment of Confederacies at once advanced within our lines and inquired the way to Washington.

Having given them the desired information, and allowed a number of other similar regiments to take a position between the Mackerels and the capital, the [p. 192] general gave orders for the Conic Section and the Orange County Howitzers to fall cautiously back, in order that the remaining Confederacies might get between us and Richmond.

You will perceive that by this movement, my boy, we cut the enemy's force completely in two, thus compelling him to attack us either in the front or in the rear, and giving him no choice of any other operation save flank movements. Our plans being thus perfected, Captain Villiam Brown, with Company 3, Regiment 5, was ordered to charge into a wood near at hand, with a view to induce some recently-arrived reserve Confederacies to take position in our centre, while still others would be likely to flank us on the right and left.

You may remember, my boy, that it has heretofore been our misfortune to fight on the circumference of a circle, while the Confederacy had the inside, and this great strategic scheme was intended to produce a result vice versa.

It was a great success, my boy—a great success; and our troops presently found themselves inside the most complete circle on record. Villiam Brown not only charged into the wood, but staid there; and when one of the Orange County Howitzers was discharged with great precision at a reporter who was caught sneaking into our lines, the report was heard by the Venerable Gammon at Washington, causing that revered man to telegraph to all the papers, that no one need feel alarmed, as he was perfectly safe, and that our victory was very complete.

What particular danger the Venerable Gammon had [p. 193] incurred, I can't say, my boy; nor what he knew about the battle; but his dispatch caused renewed confidence all over the country, and was a great comfort to his friends.

Having got the Confederacies just where he wanted them, the General of the Mackerel Brigade now dispatched ten veterans under Sergeant O'Pake to attack a few hundred foes who had intrenched themselves in an unseemly manner right among our wagons. The Mackerels were well received as prisoners of war, and paroled on the spot; a proceeding which so greatly pleased the idolized general, that he at once issued this second


It must be understood, that in his recent proclamation directing the Mackerel Brigade to dine exclusively upon Southern Confederacies, the general commanding did not intend that such dining should take place without the free consent of aforesaid Confederacies.

It must not be understood that the order concerning the confiscation of Confederate garments is intended to authorize a forcible confiscation of such costume, in opposition to the free will of the wearers.

By "no lines of retreat being kept open," is meant: no lines of which the general commanding was at that time cognizant.

The General of the Mackerel Brigade.
[p. 194]

This admirable order, my boy, produced great enthusiasm in the ranks, as no Confederacies had yet been caught, and there was some danger of starvation in the corps.

And now, my boy, occurred that magnificent piece of generalship which is destined to live forever on the annals of fame, and convince the world that our military leaders possess a genius eminently fitting every one of them for the next Presidency, or any other peaceful office. By skillful manœuvring, the gifted General of the Mackerel Brigade had succeeded in cutting the enemy's force to pieces, the pieces being mixed up with our own army. Then came the words: "Forward, double-quick!"

Facing toward Washington, our vanguard forced the Confederacies before them to move right ahead. Swiftly following the vanguard, and evidently fancying that it was flying before them, came a regiment of Confederacies. Pursuing the latter, as though in triumph, appeared the Conic Section, Mackerel Brigade; closely succeeded in its turn by a regiment of Confederacies in charge of our baggage-wagons; racing after whom was a regiment of Mackerels; and so on to the end of the line.

You may ask me, my boy, with which side rested the victory in this remarkable movement?

That question, my boy, cannot be decided yet, as the whole procession has scarcely reached Washington; but the answer may be said to depend very much upon whether the last regiment coming in is Mackerel or Confederate.

The contest, my boy, has assumed a profound metaphysical [p. 195] aspect, and the development of a little more military genius on our own side will tend to utterly confound our enemies and—everybody else.

Yours, ponderingly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 196]



Washington, D. C., September 9th, 1862.

You may remember, my boy, that some months ago there was a trespass of depraved burglarious chaps at Wheatland, the seat of Ex-President Buchanan. The matter might have slipped my own mind, had not the British member of the Cosmopolitan, last night, read aloud the following memorandum of the thing, found in a deserted Confederate camp on the Rappahannock. The Briton waved his hand for silence, and says he:



It really seems as if the trick
Of this here game, secession,
Was bound to bring disgrace upon
Each wirtuous profession.
[p. 197]
The days of chivalry are gone,
When gentlemen wos plucky,
And sooner'd starve than lower themselves
To make their swag and lucky.
Why, when I wos a little prig,
And took the junior branches,
We all looked down upon the chap
That traveled vulgar ranches.
It wos beneath a gentleman
To stoop to vulgar stealin's;
And when I see how things is changed,
It really hurts my feelin's.
We had some dignity, you see,
And upper circles knew it;
For if a thing wos wicious mean,
We wos too proud to do it!
The crib that wos respectable
Among the higher classes,
We cracked in style, like gentlemen.
And took the spoons and glasses.
But when a crib wos something low—
An author's, or a preacher's—
We had too much of self-respect
To recognize the creatures.
If taking watches wos the lay,
Or handkerchers, or purses,
[p. 198] We never noticed wulgar nobs,
Nor wictims of rewerses.
But things is changed since Johnny died,
And our profession's fallen
So werry low, it really ain't
A gentlemanly callin'.
There's some as once wos gentlemen
When cracksmen's art was balmy,
Now shame us all by fig'ring as
Contractors for the army!
What wonder, when our former pal,
A vulgar, sneakin' knave is,
They hang our pictures in a row
With Floyd, and Cobb, and Davis?
But just as if this wa'n't enough
To make us hide our faces,
A man we once look'd up to, all,
Must add to our disgraces;
A base, degenerate, shameless cove
Has sullied our profession,
By stoopin' to a lay that is
Depraved beyond expression.
He's activally come and went—
The werry thought's unmannin'—
He's activally gone and robbed
Ex-President Buchanan!
[p. 199]

Alas! my boy, there is naught so fallen in humanity, but it may become still more depraved. I have known members of State Legislatures to be finally elected Congressmen. After the above chanson had been read, the Spanish member gave us his story of



"I always respect a man who drinks good Port, especially if he frequently invites me to take dinner with him, and hence I have selected as my hero, a gallant Spaniard, whose fondness for the delicious juice was never doubted.

"Don Bobadil Banco was a gentleman of good family, who graduated with honor at Salamanca, and retired from thence to Madrid, in company with a fellow student named Don Philip Funesca. The erudite pair hired lodgings in an aristocratic part of the city, and after much delay, installed one Dame Margy as their housekeeper, cook, and chambermaid, being resolved to husband their scanty resources until, by coming of age, they could inherit the estates and fortunes of their fathers.

"It is to be presumed that the friends entered society and made consummate fools of themselves, as very young men generally do when they first mingle with ladies; but as that period of their career can possess very little novelty for most people, I shall only favor it with this passing notice, and at once introduce [p. 200] the gallant pair as they appeared on the —— night, in the month of ——, in the year of our Lord ——, at — o'clock.

"In a very small room, before a very small window, was standing a very small table, at the side of which were two very shabby chairs, on which were seated two very young men; and as it was growing very dark, two very small candles, in two very small candlesticks, were placed on the very small table, in company with two very small decanters, filled with very cheap Port, and two very old goblets, of very dirty pewter.

"The two very young men remained very still for a very long time, save when they made very long applications to the very old goblets of very cheap Port; and as you must be very anxious to know whether these very young men were very ugly or very good looking, I shall be very happy to profit by this very opportune state of things, and give a very concise description of their personal charms.

"Don Bobadil was very tall, very thin, with very long black hair, very small black eyes; very yellow complexion, very good teeth, and was dressed very foppishly.

"Don Philip was very short, very fat, with very long brown hair, very large brown eyes, very fair complexion, very large mouth, and was plainly attired.

"They both looked very happy, and drank very often.

"'Well, Philip,' said Bobadil, at length, 'a bachelor's life, in Madrid, is not quite so charming as in Salamanca; upon my word I have almost become a [p. 201] limb of society, and it will prove a sad dismemberment when I go to my father's villa. These gay senoritas have so completely infatuated me, that I am never happy out of their company, and when I think of leaving them altogether, it makes me really miserable,' and the Don consoled himself with a huge swallow of wine.

"'I perfectly agree with you,' answered Don Philip, 'and dread the idea of leaving the dear charmers without making one of them a prisoner.'

"'We must have more gold soon,' said Bobadil, gloomily, taking a goblet of Port.

"'You speak truly, my friend. Our purses are growing very light, and nothing but wealthy wives will make them heavy. How unjust is the decree that makes us wait until we are older before we can help ourselves to the treasures of our families. Here are nearly thirty hairs upon my chin, and yet the grim old hidalgoes call me a boy yet. Sancta Maria! I should like to cross swords with some of those shaking grandees, just to convince them that I have the strength of a man, if I have not his years.'

"'The wish is perfectly natural, Don Philip, yet it can do us no good at present, when our last flagons of wine stand before us, and Dame Margy grows clamorous for her dues,' said Bobadil, imbibing large draughts of grape juice.

"'O, beatissimo, neustra Senora! Don't dwell on unpleasant facts, Don Bobadil,' responded the other; 'we must replenish our treasures, and the means to do it should be our present consideration. We must marry stores of maravedis.' [p. 202]

"'That is coming to the point, my dear friend, and your words are worthy of a sage; but, my dear Philip, to tell the truth, I dread marriage for one reason, namely: that, by engaging in it, one becomes liable to incur responsibilities known as babies. I do hate those noisy little nuisances as I hate the devil, and, to have one constantly squalling in my ears, would soon make a madman of me,' and our hero drank heartily of liquor.

"'I will allow the truth of what you say,' replied Philip; 'the cry of an infant is not quite as musical as the harp of Orpheus. Still, it is better to endure such annoyance than to go about with empty purses, and when one who is poor desires to have money, he must endure matrimony, or become a rogue. Now there is Lisette, ready to fall into my arms at any moment, and bring me a long purse; but I will never leave you a bachelor, though I starve.'

"Tears arose involuntarily to the eyes of Bobadil, as his friend spoke thus disinterestedly, and, after holding a cup of wine to his lips for some moments, he answered:

"'My dear fellow, you are a sage and I am a fool. You shall not starve for me though I have to become the father of five hundred little imps to save you. Yes, dear Philip, I will sacrifice myself upon the altar of friendship, and become a victim of Hymen.' Here the emotions of the Spaniard became so violent that a large quantity of Port wine was necessary to prevent syncope.

"Don Philip started from his seat, and eyed his friend with every mark of unbounded surprise. [p. 203]

"'Can you do it soon?' he asked hurriedly.

"'Before another pair of days have shown their tails above the tide of time,' answered Bobadil with poetic fervor, having recourse to the decanter containing Port.

"'My dear friend, you must be drunk.'

"'No, Don Philip, I am sober as a monument.'

"'Has some fair sonora smiled upon you?'

"'Not only has she smiled upon me, but she has actually laughed at me. Port would never intoxicate me.'

"'Per Dio! I never heard of this before, Bobadil.'

"'Nevertheless, Don Philip, it is true as a pater. My pride would not allow me to mention my case to you, until I became successful in my suit; and when that was decided, I waited until you should be similarly circumstanced, and we might marry together. Your frequent absence from our lodgings, at night, aroused my suspicions, and I resolved to find out your secret before imparting mine. Now that you have named your mistress, I will acknowledge that I, also, have one, whose name is Leonora, and I intend to make her my wife, when you lead Lisette to the altar.'

"'I am rejoiced to hear you speak thus,' answered Don Philip, 'and Lisette will partake of my joy; but, tell me, Bobadil, will you gain wealth by this union?'

"'Gold enough to build a second Escurial, my dear Philip. Leonora is the daughter of a rich Jew, and can show more maravedis than the Infanta of Spain.' [p. 204]

"'Better and better. But how is it that her father will allow her to wed a Catholic?' inquired Philip.

"'He is not to be consulted in the matter at all. I may as well relate the circumstances of our acquaintance, and you will at once perceive that the Israelite's consent is not required. Two weeks ago, I was passing a small house not far from the Plaza del Rio, and, chancing to look up, beheld the face of a beautiful Senora looking from a window. Our glances met, whereupon she drew back with a blush, and I gallantly kissed the tip of my glove. Although she immediately drew shut the lattice, I fancied, from her look, that she was not displeased with my conduct, and set about finding out who she was. I soon ascertained that her father was a rich Jew, named Miguel, that his wife was dead, and that he lived with his daughter and a wrinkled duenna, whom he had enlisted to watch Leonora. Much as I despise Jews, the beauty of Leonora had sunk into my heart, and I resolved to have an interview with her, though our most Holy Church, should excommunicate me for it. Accordingly, I passed the house every day for a week, and each time the lady withdrew from the window with a blush, as I saluted her. This encouraged me to scrape acquaintance with the pythoness who guarded her, and by means of several small bribes, I was at length admitted to a private interview with Leonora. My idol was coy at first, but after one or two stolen visits, she returned my passion in an honorable way, and will become my bride whenever it may please me to carry her off from her old thief of a father.' [p. 205]

"'But the Jew has all the gold,' said Don Philip, despondingly.

"'Not so,' replied Bobadil. 'My angel has a fortune of her own locked up in a trunk, and I shall take good care to secure it in the first place.'

"His friend's countenance was lighted by a smile, but it passed away as he again spoke—

"'Our priests will never consent to your marriage with a Jewess.'

"'What an owl you are,' retorted Don Bobadil; 'Leonora shall pass for as good a Catholic as the Pope himself.'

"'My dear friend, you delight me!' exclaimed Don Philip, springing from his seat and embracing Bobadil; 'let us then make ourselves and our mistresses happy at once—this very night! You can go after Leonora while I seek Lisette.'

"Our hero found it necessary to take a drink of something after this proposition, and then responded:

"'Spoken like a Spaniard and a gentleman; I will go to the house of Miguel and bring the trunk of treasure from thence—that, you know, should be secured first. After bringing it hither I will go back after Leonora, and when next we meet I shall be a married man.'

"'Do so, Don Bobadil,' returned Philip, 'and I will, in like manner, gain the fortune and hand of Lisette. Let us hasten, my friend, and we shall be independently wealthy before morning.'

"Together they drank the remainder of the wine, and having given certain orders to Dame Margy, left the house, each taking a different route. [p. 206]

"It rained in torrents, when my hero wrapped his long cloak about him and set out. The tormenting drops ran the length of his nose and poured into his bosom, they crawled damply down his boots, they trickled grievously into his ears, they clung to his long black hair, and soaked through his sombrero; yet did the brave Spaniard press onward, as a hero advances to the breastworks amid a storm of shot and shells. Love had cast its thickest blanket about his heart, and a flame burned glaringly there that nothing but matrimony and maravedis could quench. Arriving in front of his mistress's abode, my hero picked up a handful of sand, and threw it lightly against a window pane, such being the signal by which he was to make known his presence when Miguel was at home. Almost immediately a lattice was opened, and a woman's head, ornamented with a scarlet cap de nuit was thrust out.

"'Who's that?' demanded the duenna, snappishly.

"'It's only me,' responded Don Bobadil, in low tones.

"'And who's me?' asked the amiable woman.

"'Don Bobadil Banco.'

"'Don Bobadil Banco had better go home, if he don't want to have his head broken with a flowerpot,' snarled the duenna.

"'Now, my dear Laura.'

"'Don't 'dear' me! Are you drunk?'

"'I must see Donna Leonora,' said Bobadil.

"'You are drunk!' screamed the lady.

"'No, I am not; but, pray, make less noise, my good Laura, or you will have the alguazils about my [p. 207] ears. Tell your lady that I am here, and you shall have a purse of ducats.'

"'Oh! ah! I will,' replied the mercenary woman, retiring quickly from the window and again closing the lattice.

"The adventurous Spaniard stood in soak for half an hour, at the end of which Dame Laura, cautiously admitted him at the door, and he soon knelt before his mistress. Donna Leonora was a charming little brunette, with raven curls and sparkling black eyes full of mirth.

"'Sancta Maria! what is the matter, Don Bobadil?' she exclaimed, eyeing the kneeling personage with surprise.

"'Dearest Leonora, idol of my heart!' replied Bobadil, clasping her waist, 'here on my knees let me implore you to become mine forever, and make me happier than the angels. Recent events, which I cannot explain at present, have rendered it necessary for me to thus intrude upon you at an unseasonable hour, and implore that your promise to become my bride may be at once fulfilled.'

"'But this is so sudden,' murmured the lady.

"'Pardon my haste, dear Leonora,' answered Don Bobadil. 'I know how exquisitely sensitive your nature is; but heaven destined us for each other, and when I leave you, I leave a part of myself.'

"'The gentleman speaks wisely,' interrupted the duenna. 'Your father has smoked his opium and will sleep until after meridian to-morrow. Go with Don Bobadil, Senora, and Miguel shall learn all from me when he awakes.' [p. 208]

"Leonora resisted for awhile; but her objections were speedily overcome, and she at length yielded to the combined entreaties of her lover, and subtle reasoning of her mercenary duenna. Such is love.

"'Here is a load for you, Senor,' said the latter personage, pointing to a chest studded with brass nails that stood near. 'Carry it off as quickly as possible, and return for your mistress when you have placed her fortune in a safe place.'

"Our hero at once acceded to plans so consonant with his own, and after embracing the Senorita, he seized the chest and hastened with it to his lodgings. It was a heavy load for one man, and the rain still poured furiously down; but the lover danced on like a feather before the vagrant zephyrs of spring, and soon deposited his precious freight in the room where he had lately held converse with Don Philip. This done, he hastened back to the house of Don Miguel, impatient to secure his fair bride; but Dame Laura met him at the door, with her fingers pressed upon her lips, and her form barring his further progress.

"'Hist! not a word!' she whispered cautiously. 'The Jew was aroused by the noise you made descending the stairs, and would not be satisfied until he had searched the house with a candle in one hand and a drawn sword in the other. He is quiet now, and if not again disturbed, will soon sleep again. Return to your lodgings, and when Miguel slumbers, I will hasten thither with my lady. Not a word! Go!'

"Conquering his impatience, Don Bobadil thrust a purse of slim proportions into the bony hand of his [p. 209] confidante, and turned into the street without breathing a syllable.

"As he ascended the stairs to his own room, the sound of voices fell upon his ear, and fearing for the safety of his treasure, he rushed headlong into the apartment with his sword drawn and a determination to slaughter the intruders. His anger was soon turned to pleasure, when he beheld Don Philip seated beside a very pretty female, whose hands he held in his own, and whose ringletted head rested upon his shoulder, with an air of familiarity that would have been the death of any old maid, whose sight could have been blighted by such a scene. He also noticed a chest somewhat smaller than the one he had obtained by right of seizure, standing near the window, and felt doubly happy in the conviction that his friend had brought home something more substantial than a wife.

"'Lisette, this is my friend, Don Bobadil Banco,' said Don Philip, leading the lady forward and presenting her. 'This, Don Bobadil, is my wife, and though she has no proud title, I shall be proud to present her to my family as one worthy of a gentleman's affection.'

"'My dear Philip, allow me to congratulate you on the possession of a lady, who, if her virtue equals her beauty, must indeed be an angel,' and our hero bowed with his accustomed courtesy to the blushing Senorita.

"'But where is the mistress, of whom you boasted a short time since?' asked Philip, glancing towards the door, as though expecting to behold a fourth person. [p. 210] 'I supposed that I should find her here with a priest.'

"'The Jew took me for a thief, and woke up, or Donna Leonora would be here now. But her duenna has promised to bring her hither soon and we must have patience.'

"'Then take a seat, Don Bobadil, and I will relate the manner in which I became possessed of Lisette, for I know you are dying to hear it, though your pride hides your curiosity. While we were at Salamanca, I became acquainted with a poor orphan girl, who won my heart by her beauty and virtuous conduct. Other students saw and admired her; but their admiration was not such as honor sanctioned, and the girl left the place, preferring a strange place with quiet, to a home in which she was constantly subject to insult and annoyance. At the time I knew not the reasons for her sudden departure, and it filled me with sorrow. I hid my feelings from you, however, fearing that your disposition for mirth might lead you to make a butt of me. I came hither with you, and beheld many fair ladies, but to none did my heart incline, and the fair orphan of Salamanca remained mistress of my thoughts. About a week after our arrival in Madrid, you went to a ball one evening, leaving me to comfort Dame Margy until you came back. Not much liking such company, I strolled forth to the grand plazza and entered a theatre with the crowd. Numerous familiar faces appeared in various parts of the building, and while I went about to greet my friends, the play was commenced. I believe I should not have looked upon the stage at all, so busily was I engaged, had not the [p. 211] tones of a voice made me start back in amazement, and look wildly toward the performers. Near the centre of the stage, clad in the costume of her role, and bowing in a flowery train, was a form and face that sent the blood hurtling through my veins like molten lead. After standing like one petrified for some moments, I suddenly quitted the boxes, and gained admittance behind the scenes. I had not been mistaken; the orphan of Salamanca and the actress of Madrid were one. I need not tell an ardent lover like yourself the effect of such a meeting; it is sufficient to say, that Lisette bade farewell to the stage, whither necessity had forced her, and took from thence a liberal compensation. Such is the history of my amour, Don Bobadil; and, as we each have caskets at hand, I propose that we become acquainted with their contents.'

"'Donna Leonora owns the one I brought hither, and it may displease her should I open it,' answered our hero.

"'Not at all, my friend; she is to be your wife before morning, and what belongs to your wife belongs equally to you.'

"'Oh! very well,' responded Bobadil.

"'I will display the riches of Lisette first to encourage you, and you may follow with the dowry of Senora Leonora,' said Don Philip, taking off the lid of the second chest.

"Our hero looked on in surprise, as his friend displayed its contents, and his pride made him tremble, lest his own portion should prove less costly. There were gorgeous robes, satin slippers, magnificent ornaments [p. 212] of gold, sparkling brilliants, bracelets, necklaces, and brooches, set with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds, a tiara sparkling like a constellation of midnight stars, and an immense leather bag filled with valuable coins.

"'Why, Don Philip, you have all the riches of Indus here!' exclaimed Don Bobadil, opening wide his eyes in astonishment.

"'So much for your discrimination, Bobadil,' returned Philip. 'These robes belong to an actress' wardrobe, and are more gaudy than valuable. These rubies, emeralds, and diamonds are pieces of colored and crystal glass, intended to dazzle unsophisticated eyes, but nearly worthless to the jeweler; the gold setting is worth its weight in brass, and these coins alone are genuine. But let us now look upon your dowry, my friend, when, I doubt not, that we shall be made to wink by the glitter of pure gems and true metal.'

"As Don Bobadil listened to the explanations of his friend, his eyes glistened, and at the conclusion he walked proudly towards his chest, with a feeling of conscious superiority.

"'I will not boast,' he said, haughtily; 'but Jews are not overfond of tinsel, and my mistress's robes have not a value peculiar to the dimly-lighted stage,' so saying, he threw back the cover of his treasure casket.

"A shade of disappointment rested upon his features at the first view, but he disdained to give it utterance, and carelessly threw aside a robe of cheap material, trimmed with imitation ermine. But, alas, the next [p. 213] was a garment of scarlet, with bells attached to the skirt; then one of green, with faded tinsel ornaments; another of white flannel, with tarnished silver lace stars about the waist.

"During this exhibition, Lisette was apparently endeavoring to swallow her handkerchief, while Don Philip looked anxiously toward the ceiling, as though its intricate pattern had suddenly become an object of absorbing interest.

"Sternly did Don Bobadil delve into his mine of female apparel, expecting soon to strike a vein of monstrous diamonds with a mosaic of gold. He reaches it at last! Yes, there it is! Mark his glance of pride and exultation as he says:

"'Don Philip, will you assist me? The Jew's ducats are very heavy, and the bag containing them rather larger than a Senora's night-cap.'

"Don Philip did as he was desired, when suddenly our hero dropped his end of the bag, with a cry more piercing than that of an enraged hyena. Oh shades of Mater Money! Por vida del diablo! The bag moved, there came a cry, and there appeared in the opening of its leather covering the head of a baby!

"'Oh, Holy Virgin! Thunder and lightning! Fire! Murder! I'm lost, tormented, tortured, cheated! Cruel Leonora! Infamous woman! d—d old duenna!' roared the unhappy Bobadil, stamping and steaming like an infuriated tea-pot.

"'Be calm, my dear friend, I pray you be calm,' cried Don Philip, vainly endeavoring to conquer his mirth, while Lisette rolled on the floor in a paroxysm of laughter. [p. 214]

"'Don't tell me to be calm!' bellowed Bobadil. 'Look there! My horror, detestation, abhorrence—a baby! Hear it squeal! I'll strangle the cursed little fiend! Oh, oh, oh!—diablo!'

"'You will arouse the neighborhood.'

"'What do I care! I'm betrayed, swindled, ruined, seduced! Stab me, shoot me, make a bloody corpse of me. Kill that baby, or I'll make your wife an orphan!'

"'What's all this?' asked Dame Margy, darting into the apartment and holding up her hands in wild astonishment.

"'Don't you hear it yell?' howled Bobadil, tearing out his hair by handfulls. 'It's a baby!'

"Dame Margy came very near fainting, and Lisette was obliged to go to her assistance, while Don Philip approached his enraged friend and succeeded in soothing him.

"'Act like a man,' he said, 'and take measures to punish the perpetrator of the infamous outrage. The baby is a poor innocent little thing, and Lisette will attend to it. Lisette, look after the baby! Now, Don Bobadil, repress your emotions.'

"The retired actress obeyed her intended husband with alacrity, assisted by Dame Margy, who was fully revived, and our hero burst into tears.

"'Oh, Philip!' he blubbered, 'miserable wretch, that I am, what shall I do? That infamous woman will be here in a moment, and I know not how to act. Oh! curse that baby!'

"'Woman's wit shall aid you,' said the hitherto silent Lisette, after whispering to Dame Margy, who immediately [p. 215] left the apartment. 'Don Bobadil, you must assume the attire of your housekeeper, and leave Philip and me to account for your supposed absence, when Donna Leonora arrives.'

"As she finished speaking, the old housekeeper returned with a promiscuous assortment of female garments, and before our hero had time to resist, he presented the appearance of a stout old lady.

'Don't speak a word,' said Don Philip, placing an immense bonnet and veil upon his head, 'you must pass for Dame Margy, and leave me to settle with your cruel mistress.'

"Though not quite satisfied with this arrangement, Don Bobadil accepted in silence, especially as the sound of approaching footsteps fell upon his ear, as they tumbled him to a distant seat.

"Dame Margy fled through an opposite door just as two figures, deeply veiled, entered the apartment.

"'Holy Virgin! who has rifled my chest? And where is Don Bobadil?' exclaimed Leonora, clasping her hands.

"'Lady,' said Don Philip, advancing to meet her with much dignity, 'as the friend of Don Bobadil Banco, it is my duty to inform you that he has discovered ALL, and left Madrid forever.'

"'All!' exclaimed the lady and duenna in a breath.

"'Yes, senora, my friend hates babies!'

"Like two agitated fawns, Leonora and her attendant dropped their veils and sprang to the side of the chest. [p. 216]

"'Why!—what—who has done this?' exclaimed the fair Jewess, quivering like an aspen leaf.

"'You, lady, can best answer that question.'

"'It is false! My whole fortune was in that chest! I am cheated, deceived, ruined!'

"'Peace! infamous woman!' thundered Don Bobadil, no longer able to restrain his rage, and darting toward her. But he stepped upon his skirts, and pitched headlong to the floor.

"'Do I dream?' murmured Leonora in affright.

"'You do not,' screamed our hero, tucking his petticoats under his arms, and tearing off the veil that concealed his face. 'Behold! false one! behold! Don Bobadil Banco!'

"'Dear Bobadil, you would not kill me?'

"'No, Leonora, you shall live to repent of this. Take that wretched baby to its father, or I will strangle it before your eyes.'

"'By the God we all worship, I swear I never saw the child before!' exclaimed Leonora, looking solemnly upward.

"Her air of truthfulness carried conviction with it, and Bobadil stood like one thunderstruck; but soon a new expression fell upon his countenance, and he turned gravely to the duenna.

"'Perhaps you own the—the baby!'

"'You're a nasty dirty beast!' retorted the chaste creature, rushing from the room like a ricochetting shot.

"'I can answer for the innocence of Laura,' said Leonora, calmly.

"Rebuked by her dignified manner, our hero mentally [p. 217] exonerated her from all blame; yet there was the baby, screaming lustily, and no other valuables were found in the chest.

"'Forgive me, if I have wronged you,' he said, penitently, 'I judged too quickly; but then I took those gaudy robes from yonder chest, and—who owns the baby?'

"'I see how it is,' said Donna Leonora composedly, turning toward the door, 'you have adopted this plan to rob me of the little fortune I possessed. I would willingly incur a much greater loss to escape from such a monster. Keep my gold, Don Bobadil, and say you become a better man.'

"Our hero stood motionless, involved in a maze of doubts and fears; and the lady was about departing, when Lisette suddenly sprang forward, and prevented her.

"'Stop, lady!' she exclaimed, 'the trick has gone far enough—I own the baby!'

"'Lisette speaks truly, and I am the baby's father!' said Don Philip, grasping the hand of our perplexed hero.

"'Villain!' exclaimed Bobadil, feeling for his sword.

"'Wretch!' screamed Leonora, feeling for her handkerchief.

"'I humbly crave your mercy, until you have heard my story,' replied Don Philip, coolly placing his arm about the waist of his Lisette. 'This lady,' he continued, 'is my wife, and has been such for two years. I have kept my secret thus rigidly, that it should not reach the ears of my family until I had arrived [p. 218] at man's estate; but when you determined to take a wife I resolved to make you my confidant. While you were at the house of Miguel to-night, I brought my wife and baby hither, wishing to surprise you at your return. I found your chest filled with the riches I afterwards showed you as the property of an actress, and prompted by a spirit of mirth, I exchanged its contents for those of our own. Knowing your hostility to babies, I placed the young Bobadil in your casket also, and had you taken notice of small things, you would have observed that I left the lid partly open. It's only a reminiscence of college trickery, my dear Bobadil, and if it has given offence, behold the culprit at your feet.'

"The friendly smile of his friend and the imploring glance of Lisette, completely overcame our hero's resentment, and he extended his hand in all gentleness; then turning quickly to the silent, though smiling Leonora, he fell at her feet, exclaiming:

"'Dear lady, we are both victims of our friend's frolic, and there should be no anger between us. I do dislike babies so much, that the sight of one makes me desperate; but now that all is explained, I hope you will forgive me.'

"The lady smiled so encouragingly upon him, that he soon stood face to face—I mean lips to lips—with her.

"'Let us seek a priest,' said Don Philip, with solemnity.

"How this proposition was received, may be assumed from the fact that Dame Margy soon locked up an empty house. How Miguel the Jew conducted [p. 219] when he awoke next morning; how the families of our friends received the news of their scions' marriages, and how the young gentlemen felt themselves, are matters not explained by history; but it is certain that Don Bobadil and Don Philip were never again in want of ducats, and it is also certain that if any one wished to see an angry man, he could be gratified by eyeing the youngest Banco in a suspicious manner, and asking in mysterious tones—'Who owns the Baby?'"

At the conclusion of this exemplary Spanish tale, my boy, we "adjourned" our slumbers to Willard's.

Yours, drowsily,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 220]



Washington, D. C., September 12th, 1862.

As I sit looking out of my window, my boy, on the street below, and notice how tranquilly all things are going on here, despite the excitement of the time, a deep sense of satisfaction steals over me, and the American Eagle of patriotic pride flaps his breezy pinions on the oak tree of my heart. Though I have just been laughing myself almost sick at the ludicrous manner in which my friend, the Confederacy, has walked right straight into the cunning trap prepared for his destruction by our own noble and profound generals, actually hastening his own annihilation by rushing blindly through our lines, and capturing the twenty or thirty artful villages, towns, and garrisons left there for the express purpose of tempting him to his dreadful doom—though I have just been splitting my sides over this roaring case of ridiculous suicide, my boy, the city of Washington still maintains its calmness! Ever conscious that conquer we must, for our cause it is just, this city remains as placid as a summer dream; nearly all the liquor-shops doing a [p. 221] good business through the day, and the evening finding a majority of our army officers at their posts.

Lamp-posts, my boy.

There is something touchingly grand in the calmness of Washington under such circumstances, and it reminds me of a pleasing little incident in the Sixth Ward.

There was a female millinery establishment on the third floor of a building composed principally of stairs, fed with frequent small rooms, and the expatriated French comtesse, who realized fashionable bonnets there, used one of her windows to display her wares. At this window, my boy, she always kept a young woman of much bloom and symmetry, with the latest Style on her head, and an expression of unutterable smile on her face. A young chap carrying a trumpet in the Fire Department happened to notice that this angel of fashion was always at the window when he went by; and as the thought that she particularly admired his personal charms crept over him, he at once adopted the plan of passing by every day, attired in the garments best calculated to render fire-going manhood most beautiful to the eye. He donned a vest representing in detail the Sydenham flower-show on a yellow ground, wore inexpressibles representing innumerable black serpents ascending white columns, assumed a neck-tie concentrating all the highest glories of the Aurora Borealis, mounted two breast-pins and three studs torn from some glass-house, and wore a hat that slanted on his head in an engaging and intelligent manner. Day after day he passed before the millinery establishment, my boy, still beholding [p. 222] the beloved object at the window, and occasionally placing his hand upon his heart in such a way as to show a large and gorgeous seal-ring containing the hair of a fellow-fireman who had caught such a cold at a great fire that he died some years after. "How cam she is!" says he to himself, "and she's as pretty as ninety's new hose-carriage. It seems to me," says the young chap to himself, stooping down to roll up the other leg of his pants—"it seems to me that I never see anything so cam. She observes my daily agoing and yet she don't so much as send somebody down to see if there's any overcoats in the front entry."

One day, my boy, a venerable Irish gentleman, keeping a boarding-house and ice-cream saloon in the basement of the establishment, happened to go to sleep on the stairs with a lighted camphene lamp in his hand, and pretty soon the bells were ringing for a conflagration in that district. Immediately our gallant firemen were on their way to the spot; and having first gone through forty-two streets on the other side of the city to wake the people up there and apprise them of their great danger, reached the dreadful scene, and instantly began to extinguish the flames by bringing all the furniture out of a house not more than three blocks below. In the midst of these self-sacrificing efforts, a form was seen to dart into the burning building like a spectre. It was the enamored young chap who carried a trumpet in the department. He had seen the beloved object sitting at the window, as usual, and was bent upon saving her, even though he missed the exciting fight around the corner. Reaching [p. 223] the millinery-room door, he could see the object standing there in the midst of a sea of fire. "How cam she is," says he. "Miss Milliner," says he, "don't you see you're all in a blaze?" But still she stood at the window in all her calmness. The devoted young chap turned to a fellow-fireman who was just then selecting two spring bonnets and some ribbon for his wife, in order to save them from the flames, and says he: "Jakey, what shall I do?" But Jakey was at that time picking out some artificial flowers for his youngest daughter, my boy, and made no answer. Unable to reach the devoted maid, and rendered desperate by the thought that she must be asleep in the midst of her danger, the frantic young chap madly hurled his trumpet at her. It struck her, and actually knocked her head off! Horrified at what he had done, the excited chap called himself a miserable wretch, and was led out by the collar. It was Jakey who did this deed of kindness, and says he: "What's the matter with you, my covey?" The poor young chap wrung his hands, and says he: "I've killed her, Jakey, I've killed her—and she so cam." Jakey took some tobacco, and then says he: "Why, that was only a pasteboard gal, you poor devil." And so it was, my boy—so it was; but the affair had such an effect upon the young chap that he at once took to drinking, and when delirium tremens marked him for its own, his last words were: "I've killed her, Jakey, I've killed her—and she so cam."

Washington, my boy, is "cam" in the midst of a conflagration. That is to say, the Government is [p. 224] "cam," they say; and it may be doubted whether it would be otherwise, even with its head knocked off.

The other day, I paid another visit to the Mackerel camp across the river, and was present at a meeting of officers called to debate upon the propriety of presenting a sword to the beloved general, for his heroism in the late great battle. Captain Samyule Sa-mith was in favor of the presentation, and says he: "Our inimitable leader, which is the admiration of everybody, richly deserves the blade in question. In the thickest of that deadly fray, his coat-tails were torn entirely off by a parrot shell."

Captain Villiam Brown placed the bottle on the table again, and says he:

"At which joint were the tails amputated, Samyule?"

Samyule took a little more sugar with his, and says he:

"Close to the buttons."

"Ah!" says Villiam, "which way was the conqueror's face turned at the time?"

"I can't say," says Samyule; "but I don't see what that has to do with it."

"That's because you have a feeble intelleck, Samyule," says Villiam, mildly. "The human form," says Villiam, reasoningly, "has such variations of surface, that a projectile hurled at it in a straight line, cannot simply graze it to any extent without making a wound in some place. The coat-tails of the human form," says Villiam, lucidly, "could not without injury to that form be severed at the buttons by a ball, unless they were sticking straight out at the instant; and it [p. 225] is important that the United States of America should know whether the face of the wearer was turned toward the Southern Confederacy, or in an opposite direction, at the exact moment of the disaster."

The electrifying wisdom of this thoughtful speech, my boy, had the effect to produce an immediate adjournment of the general's friends; for when the test of anatomy is applied to a man's bravery, that bravery becomes a mere matter of form.

The general, my boy, is the idol of his Mackerel children, and as our armies slowly advance to deal the death-blow to this impious rebellion, it will be proved that he was not responsible for a single one of the mistakes he has made, and could have taken Richmond long ago, but for his inability to do so. Heaven forgive these Jacobin black-republicans who object to his being President in 1865! This is the prayer of twenty millions of free white men under the Constitution, as was very justly observed to me by a political chap from New Haven last week. On Tuesday, the Mackerel Brigade was on the outskirts of Accomac—Company 3, Regiment 1, being sent ahead, under Colonel Wobert Wobinson, to watch the movements of some regiments of Confederacies, who were believed to be either there or in South Carolina. The advance-guard stayed there two days, my boy, and then an orderly came riding in to the general, with the request that he would immediately send re-enforcements and provisions, as Company 3, Regiment 1, was in danger of starvation and defeat, at short notice.

The general ceased fanning himself for a moment, and says he to the perspiring orderly: [p. 226]

"I have heard your request, my child; but before I comply with it, I wish to know what is the present political complexion of Colonel Wobinson."

The half-starved orderly clasped his thin hands together, and says he:

"I don't know; but for God's sake, general, send us something to eat, and some help, or not one of us can be saved."

The general waved his hand magisterially, and says he:

"That's very true. But I must first know what are the sentiments of Colonel Wobinson on the negro question."

The orderly might have responded, my boy, had he not fainted just then from weakness. In pity for his comrades, orders were at once given for the transportation of provisions, and re-enforcements to Company 3 before the end of the month; and had the before mentioned Confederacies delayed marching into Accomac until that time, I should not be obliged now to chronicle another of those disasters to our arms, which the traitorous harangues of Wendell Philips have so outrageously produced.

If this war is to be prosecuted with vigor, my boy, we must repose unlimited confidence in the ability of the Administration and of our generals, resolutely frowning down all Jacobin demonstrations at home, and suffering our leaders to be interfered with by no one but each other. If we permit civilians to manage matters, the country will be undone; but if, on the contrary, we trust everything to our generals, the country will be "done"—brown. [p. 227]

Luckily for us all, the occupation of Accomac by the celebrated Southern Confederacy, is a part of the great plan of the General of the Mackerel Brigade to end this rebellion in one crushing blow, and as soon as the entire Confederacy shall have entered Accomac in safety, the Mackerel Brigade will proceed to bag it.

You don't see exactly how this is to be done, eh?

There you go again, my boy! always meddling with what you don't understand, and presuming, in your civilian imbecility, to doubt the practicability—not to say the utility—of a covert invincibility, rendering it a futility on the part of Southern agility to take for weak debility what is really strategic facility, and bound, in its great fertility of warlike inventibility and utter reliability, to turn all the foe's agility to a final accountability, that shall cause him, in future humility, to treat us, at least, with civility.

Such, my boy, is the Mackerel plan, to a T.

This strategy's like some plan for grain depending so much on a fall of rain, that, in less than a week, should the drought remain, 'twould ruin it altogether. It pondereth blindly whether or no the opposite hosts will do so-and-so: and how it will end at last, you know, dependeth upon the "whether".

Yours, calmly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 228]



Washington, D. C., September 20, 1862.

I am in a star-spangled state of mind, my boy, in consequence of our recent great victories, and would most respectfully request the Governors of all the States to push forward re enforcements immediately. Having rashly ventured into Accomac after forage and the pursuit of happiness, the well-known Southern Confederacy is now hemmed-in with much carnage, and finds itself hem'd and haw'd. The South, the South, we love her still, no love than ours profounder; and, having cornered her at last, we've thrown our arms around her.

Let us rejoice together, my boy, over the victory that has brought new lustre to our flag, and proceed to extract from history a few parallels calculated to indicate that the United States of America are somewhat superior to the ancients in the art of war.

At the battle of Thermopylæ the heroic Greeks engaged in the conflict with their foes to the number of some thousands, and as their foes also prosecuted hostilities [p. 229] simultaneously, the result was a struggle terminating in the discomfiture of the defeated party. Omnium vincit omnia. At the siege of Troy, the Trojans became involved in active warfare with the Greeks, the latter being the adversaries of their opponents, and though either side used their weapons against the other side, victory finally perched upon the banners of the conqueror, and produced the general effect of sic transit gloria mundi. The Troy Tribune suppressed all mention of McClellan in its account of this spirited affair. The dreadful struggle of Argentium was commenced by the attack of one host upon its antagonists, and raged bitterly, until a cessation of hostilities found the victors holding an advantage over the defeated. Burnside's division was not engaged. In the awful affair of Roncesvalles, the myrmidons of Charlemagne and the hirelings of Spain committed a breach of the peace by prosecuting a mutual affray, resulting in the overthrow of the legions which were principally overcome, and an advantage for the brigades chiefly entitled to the victory. Nihil est nullus.

It will be perceived, my boy, that the army of the Potomac was engaged in none of those celebrated contests, as they did not all take place in the same week. We make much better time, my boy, than the ancients.

I told you in my last, that the celebrated Southern Confederacy had courted inevitable destruction by marching madly into Accomac at the very moment when the victorious Mackerel Brigade was marching out—and before I proceed further with the tale of invasion, [p. 230] I must pause to relate the strange episode of Spurioso Grimaldi.

Spurioso Grimaldi, my boy, superintended the emigration from Italy to this country of a hand-organ that was banished for playing revolutionary tunes some time ago, and on arriving upon our shores proceeded immediately to don a red shirt, and plan revolutions for the coming fall and winter seasons. Upon the breaking out of the war he enlisted three volunteers under his banner from the chorus of the Academy of Music; but it was not until the recent occupation of Accomac that he attempted to put his first revolutionary scheme into operation. Then, indeed, he armed his three divisions with three George Law muskets, and having gained the borders of suffering Accomac, he issued the following:


Accomackians! How are you to day? This is, indeed, a pleasant morning, and the crops look well. Accomackians, arise! For years you have been the terror of all strangers stopping at your hotels. The accommodations you offer, taken into consideration with the prices you charge, are sufficient to appal the world! Arise! Remember Waterloo, and Wagram, and Bull Run, and other battles in which you took no active part. Now! Right away! Hey?

[p. 231]

As the Union element still lives in Accomac, my boy, and wishes nothing done to disturb the neighborhood, he could not but deem Mr. Grimaldi's movement ill advised, and issued the following responsive


S. Grimaldi, at the head of an army of three equipped and disciplined troops, calls the Accomackians to arms. This is scarcely the time for such a call, and the army of liberation is scarcely adequate to the enterprise proposed. Some disaster might occur should an army of three equipped and disciplined troops attack a force of twenty thousand, under Stonewall Jackson, at this present crisis. Therefore, let Accomac rest in peace, and continue to keep a hotel.

Union L. Lament.

These proceedings caused great excitement down at Paris and London, my boy, and the excellent and independent journals of those places proceeded at once to publish several yards of profound editorial on the probable convulsion of the earth's surface, in consequence of S. Grimaldi's revolutionary proceedings.

"The entire habitable universe," said the Paris Pitcher, "appears on the verge of terrible upheavings, and the army of S. Grimaldi seems destined to work an entire change in the economy of the creation, and oblige the North and South Poles to change places permanently." [p. 232]

Not to be outdone, the London Tumbler issued an extra, composed entirely of auction advertisements and an excited editorial: "The black cloud so long brooding over the shrinking countenance of upturned nature seems at length prepared to vomit its horrid flames over the entire surface of animated humanity. S. Grimaldi, who is now marching on Accomac, is not unlikely to prove the instrument of this earth-rending explosion. The unholy American rebellion dwindles to insignificant nothingness in comparison with this terrible affair."

So Grimaldi marshaled his three divisions, my boy, and having marched upon Accomac, was promptly arrested by the police and incarcerated to await an examination. So much for the episode of Spurioso Grimaldi.

Turning from events which have a deeper interest for Europe than for our own victorious but distracted country, let me cheer and improve your mind, my boy, with some account of the recent glorious victories around Accomac, wherein the fearless and unwounded Mackerel Brigade acquired another coat of glory, making the third this season.

It was Tuesday morn, when Captain Samyule Sa-mith of the advance guard, having satisfied himself that the Brigade was about to achieve its crowning victory, concluded that the time for expiring after the manner of General Wolfe at Quebec had arrived at last. The battle had already commenced, my boy, and a squad of evil-minded Confederacies were in full retreat after the Mackerel pickets, when Samyule hastily fell upon his back, and beckoned for the artist [p. 233] of Frank Leslie's Illustrated paper, motioned for the nearest reporter to take out his note-book, drew a lock of red hair from his bosom and kissed it, waved his left hand feebly toward his country's standard, and, says he: "Téte d'Armée! I die for the old fla—"

"Stop!" shrieked a Mackerel, dashing frantically to his side at this instant. "The Anatomical Cavalry, which is ordered to charge the foe, wishes to know if it shall take its horses along."

Up sprang Samyule, and says he:

"Tell the horsemen to take everything but their trunks with them, and not to stay more than a week. I really believe," says Samyule in a great passion—"I really believe the artillery will be wanting to know next if they'd better load before firing."

Just at this time, my boy, the Conic Section of the Mackerel Brigade, under Captain Villiam Brown, came charging toward the spot with fixed bayonets, their gallant leader waving his sword, Escalibar, over his head, and calling on his troops to lead on to victory. Forward they went like mad, rushing past us in swift fury, and composing the heaviest visitation of red noses ever yet launched upon a foe. To be sure, no foe was visible in the immediate line of their charge; but as they happened to be going down a pretty steep hill at the time, it was quite possible that they might meet some adversaries before they could stop themselves.

Fired by the sight, Captain Samyule Sa-mith flew to take command of a company of Mackerels, who were busily firing their muskets at some Confederacies not more than two miles distant; and having placed [p. 234] himself at the head thereof, was about to proceed in pursuit of warlike adventures, when he caught sight of a body of men, followed by another body of men, moving along in the valley below him.

"Hem!" says Samyule, ponderingly, "what is this sight mine eyes behold?"

"Oh," says a sergeant beside him, "that's the No. 3 army of the Confederacy, escorting some prisoners which they have just taken at Harper's Ferry."

Samyule regarded the spectacle attentively for a moment, and says he: "Well, there's only one thing more I want to know about it. I want to know," says Samyule thoughtfully, "which of them two bodies of infantry is the army, and which is the prisoners?"

Was there the tiniest, wee-ist, smallest fragment of sarcasm in his speech? Find out for yourself, my boy—find out for yourself.

It was shortly after this remark, and while the Orange County Howitzers were raining a tempest of shot and shell at everything but the enemy, that a small bit of shrapnell fell near Samyule's feet, and again reminded him of his latter end. Noting that he was observed by those around him, my boy, and that the surroundings of the scene were picturesque, he uttered a hollow groan and fell prone to the earth. Then picking up the bit of shrapnell, and laying it upon his heart, he kicked once, and says he:

"Is it almost morning, mother? Hurra for the old fla—"

"Forward with Company 2, immediately," thundered a messenger who at this moment came tearing [p. 235] to the spot. "The Confederacy has flanked the Conic Section, and is trying to escape."

Preferring to defer death itself rather than see his beloved country outwitted by the rebels, Captain Samyule Sa-mith darted swiftly to his feet at the word, and instantaneously led Company 2 down the hill at double-quick. I followed him half-way, my boy, and then turned off into a cross road, where I found Captain Villiam Brown striving to get a portion of the devoted Conic Section into a straight line by ranging it against a fence. Villiam ceased his labors when he saw me approaching, and says he:

"Here's conquering beings for you. Ah!" says Villiam, proudly, "I sent these invincible beings on a bayonet charge just now, and they have all come back without their muskets."

"What did they do with them?" says I.

"Left them sticking in the foe," says Villiam, exultingly.

"Are you sure of that, my Alcibiades?" says I, skeptically.

"Why," says Villiam, confidentially, "they didn't bring a single one back with them, and of course they must have left them sticking into the paralyzed Confederacies."

If Villiam could draw a checque as easily as he can draw an inference, my boy, he might paper the outside of the universe with ten dollar bills and have enough fifties left to make a very deep border.

Leaving the decimated corps to reorganize, I hastened down the hill again, and arrived at the bottom only to find a group of reporters and Mackerels [p. 236] surrounding a manly prostrate form. Company 2 had just succeeded in routing some Confederacies from a melon-patch, and Captain Samyule Sa-mith was improving the opportunity to expire once more in an affecting manner.

Lifting his feeble head when he saw me, and pulling a small flag a little further out of a side-pocket in his coat, the perishing warrior smiled half way down his chin, and says he:

"I still live! All hail to the old fla—"

"One moment, if you please!" shouted Colonel Wobert Wobinson, breaking through the group.—"Could you make it convenient to pay me that dollar you owe me, Samyule?"

Samyule arose deliberately to his feet again, my boy, wearing upon his countenance the most awful expression I ever saw upon a human face.

"Well," says Samyule, furiously, "I've tried to die for my country three times to-day, and never got further than the old fla—! There is such vulgarity in them which incessantly surrounds me," says Samyule, bitterly, "that they won't even let me die in peace."

Here a Mackerel chap sniffed differentially, and says he: "But you was trying to die in war, capting."

There was something so inhuman in the idea of a man making a joke on such a serious occasion, as that, my boy, that the entire party was struck dumb with horror; and one of the spectators retired precipitately behind a tree, where I immediately heard him laughing wildly with joy over the thought that it was not [p. 237] himself who had been guilty of such a hideous enormity.

It would be useless for me to spend more time in showing how the battle raged to a victorious conclusion, leaving the Mackerel Brigade in triumphant possession of the ground it occupied at the outset, and the Confederacy rooted to the spot it held from the commencement.

Scarcely had the strife been finished half an hour, when the popular General of the Mackerel Brigade arrived to direct all the movements in person, and to gain some knowledge of the victories he had just won. Accompanying him was the political chap from New Haven, who at once proceeded to congratulate the troops and address them on the subject of the next election.

"My brothers in arms," says he, with fond familiarity, "having done our duty as patriots, let us proceed to ballot for President of the United States in 1865. Need I say that our victorious general is the man?"

Truly, my boy, we shall have little difficulty in selecting a chief magistrate next term, when there is such a General longing for the nomination.

Yours, politically,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 238]



Washington, D. C., September 27th, 1862.

"John Brown's body," which has been "marching on" for some time past, my boy, being thus considerably in advance of our strictly Constitutional Army, has at length made a great strategic movement, and evoked the following promissory note from our Honest Old Abe:

Colorless Domicil, Sept. 22d, 1862.

"Ninety days after date I promise to pay the Southern Confederacy, or order, the full amount of its deserts.

"$ Emancipation.

H. O. Abe.

The morning after this little settlement was made, my boy, I met the conservative Kentucky chap on Pennsylvania avenue, and was greatly edified by his high-minded remarks on the subject. "Having recently disposed of any attached contrabands to good [p. 239] advantage," says he, sagely, "I am now deeply convinced that my brother-in-law, the Southern Confederacy, has brought this dispensation upon himself. I have said all along that it would be so at last," says the genial Kentucky chap, casting another glance at the score of a recent game of Euchre which he held in his hand. "I have said all along that it would be so at last, and I am still disposed to sustain the Administration and crush the Black Republicans."

When I remembered the sentiments held by this accommodating chap only about a week ago, my boy, I could not but feel that he had made a remarkably sudden revolution on the axes he had to grind; and as there was a pleasing spice of human audacity in his easy way of suiting his style to the political demands of the moment, I was strongly reminded of a chap I once knew in the Sixth Ward.

He was a young chap of gorgeous vest-pattern, and one Sunday afternoon he went out riding with another sprightly young chap, who was accompanied by his plighted pink bonnet. They were riding joyously along in their hired vehicle, my boy, pleasantly discussing the merits of Eighty's new foreman, and other subjects equally well calculated to entertain and improve the fond female mind, when, as they turned a sharp corner, there loomed up, at some distance ahead, a house bearing a sign reading:


[p. 240]

No sooner did the spirited livery-horse observe this dangerous sign, my boy, than he dashed toward it in a manner worthy of my own gothic steed, the architectural Pegasus; and as there happened to be a few stones in the way, the two chaps and the pink bonnet were presently shot into the surrounding atmosphere without regard to the character of the day. While the excited quadruped went on with the two fore-wheels of the vehicle for the purpose of reading the sign nearer by, the chap of the gorgeous vest-pattern announced his safe arrival in a sand-bank by the appropriate and cheery cry of "Fire! fire! fire!" and the other chap and the pink bonnet warbled hasty thanksgivings in the bosom of a romantic ditch. How they finally caught the spirited livery horse, and induced him to come back to the city again by making a copy of the sign on a bit of paper, and placing it in his mouth, and how they ultimately reached home, you must imagine. But in about a week after, the unnatural livery-stable keeper brought suit against the smitten chap for the two hind-wheels of his wagon; and when the young chap of gorgeous vest-pattern was put upon the stand to prove that the catastrophe was not the driver's fault, he winked agreeably at the people, and says he: "My friend and assoshate exerted hisself visibly to subdue the fiery old oat-mill. As it was, his brains was nearly dashed out, his neck-tie was sprained, and he found his watch wound up."

Here the livery lawyer thought he had the friendly chap in a tight place, and says he:

"You say that by being thrown from the wagon so violently, the defendant's watch was wound up. Perhaps [p. 241] you will inform the court how such a strange phenomenon could occur?"

The young chap merely paused long enough to make another desperate attempt to reconcile the bottom-edge of his waistcoat to the top-edge of his inexpressibles, and says he, with a fine smile:

"Why, it was easy enough for his watch to be wound up by it, my covey; because he turned three times in the air before he lit."

Accommodating conservative chaps, my boy, though momentarily thrown out of their reckoning, by reason of sudden proceedings caused by the latest signs of the times, have a happy aptitude for turning-about as often as may seem necessary, before alighting on a fixed principle.

The Mackerel chaplain, who came up from Harper's Ferry on Monday afternoon, was delighted with H. O. Abe's promissory note, and considers that old John Brown is at last


God's scales of Justice hang between
The deed Unjust and the end Unseen,
And the sparrow's fall in the one is weighed
By the Lord's own Hand in the other laid.
In the prairie path to our Sun-set gate,
In the flow'ring heart of a new-born State,
Are the hopes of an old man's waning years,
'Neath headstones worn by an old man's tears.
[p. 242]
When the bright sun sinks in the rose-lipped West,
His last red ray is the headstone's crest;
And the mounds he laves in a crimson flood
Are a Soldier's wealth baptized in blood!
Do ye ask who reared those headstones there,
And crowned with thorns a sire's gray hair?
And by whom the Land's great debt was paid
To the Soldier old, in the graves they made?
Shrink, Pity! shrink, at the question dire;
And, Honor, burn in a blush of fire!
Turn, Angel, turn from the page thine eyes,
Or the Sin, once written, never dies!
They were men of the Land he had fought to save
From a foreign foe that had crossed the wave,
When his sun-lit youth was a martial song,
And shook a throne as it swelled along.
They were sons of the clime whose soft, warm breath
Is the soul of earth, and a life in death;
Where the Summer dreams on the couch of Spring,
And the songs of birds through the whole year ring;
Where the falling leaf is the cup that grew
To catch the gems of the new leaf's dew,
And the winds that through the vine-leaves creep
Are the sighs of Time in a pleasant sleep.
[p. 243]
But there lurked a taint in the clime so blest,
Like a serpent coiled in a ring-dove's nest,
And the human sounds to the ear it gave
Were the clank of chains on a low-browed Slave!
The Soldier old at his sentry-post,
Where the sun's last trail of light is lost,
Beheld the shame of the Land he loved,
And the old, old love in his bosom moved.
He cried to the land, Beware! Beware
Of the symboled Curse in the Bondman there!
And a prophet's soul in fire came down
To live in the voice of old John Brown.
He cried; and the ingrate answer came
In words of steel from a tongue of flame;
They dyed his hearth in the blood of kin,
And his dear ones fell for the Nation's Sin!
O, matchless deed! that a fiend might scorn,
O, deed of shame! for a world to mourn;
A Soldier's pay in his blood most dear,
And a land to mock at a Father's tear!
Is't strange that the tranquil soul of age
Was turned to strife in a madman's rage?
Is't strange that the cry of blood did seem
Like the roll of drums in a martial dream?
[p. 244]
Is't strange the clank of the Helot's chain
Should drive the Wrong to the old man's brain,
To fire his heart with a santon's zeal,
And mate his arm to the Soldier's steel?
The bane of Wrong to its depth had gone,
And the sword of Right from its sheath was drawn;
But the cabined Slave heard not his cry,
And the old man armed him but to die.
Ye may call him Mad, that he did not quail
When his stout blade broke on the unblest mail;
Ye may call him Mad, that he struck alone,
And made the land's dark Curse his own;
But the Eye of God looked down and saw
A just life lost by an unjust law;
And black was the day with God's own frown
When the Southern Cross was a martyr's Crown!
Apostate clime! the blood then shed,
Fell thick with vengeance on thy head,
To weigh it down 'neath the coming rod
When thy red right hand should be stretched to God.
Behold the price of the life ye took;
At the death ye gave 'twas a world that shook;
And the despot deed that one heart broke,
From their slavish sleep a Million woke!
[p. 245]
Not all alone did the victim fall,
Whose wrongs first brought him to your thrall;
The old man played a Nation's part,
And ye struck your blow at a Nation's heart!
The freemen-host is at your door,
And a Voice goes forth with a stern "No More!"
To the deadly Curse, whose swift redeem
Was the visioned thought of John Brown's dream.
To the Country's Wrong, and the Country's stain,
It shall prove as the scythe to the yielding grain;
And the dauntless pow'r to spread it forth,
Is the free-born soul of the chainless North.
From the East, and West, and North they come,
To the bugle's call and the roll of drum;
And a form walks viewless by their side—
A form that was born when the Old Man died!
The Soldier old in his grave may rest,
Afar with his dead in the prairie West;
But a red ray falls on the headstone there,
Like a God's reply to a Soldier's pray'r.
He may sleep in peace 'neath the greenwood pall,
For the land's great heart hath heard his call;
And a people's Will and a people's Might,
Shall right the Wrong and proclaim the Right.
[p. 246]
The foe may howl at the fiat just,
And gnash his fangs in the trodden dust;
But the battle leaves his bark a wreck,
And the Freeman's heel is on his neck.
Not all in vain is the lesson taught,
That a great soul's Dream is the world's New Thought;
And the Scaffold marked with a death sublime
Is the Throne ordained for the coming time.

The chaplain runs as naturally to poetry, my boy, as a water-melon does to seed, and his muse is apt to be—alas! what a melancholy one!

In my last epistle, I was somewhat hyperbolical when I meant to be metaphorical, as some of the older writers were allegorical when they meant to be categorical. I told you, my boy, that we had cornered the prudish Confederacy in Accomac, and "thrown our arms around her." Your natural ignorance will demand an explanation; and I deem it fit to say, that by the phrase "thrown our arms around her," I meant to say that certain Mackerel regiments, in furtherance of the profound strategy of the General of the Mackerel Brigade, had thrown their arms away, on every side of the entrapped Confederacy. It was believed that the Confederacy was perfectly safe for immediate capture, my boy; but upon the discovery that the fords of Allkwyet River, in the rear of Accomac, where the Confederacy could cross, were adjoining each other, and extended from the source of the river [p. 247] to its mouth, it was deemed proper to let the Confederacy court further ruination by retiring in that direction. Hence, whilst the watchful Conic section took a brief nap, the Anatomical Cavalry was sent rapidly in front of the disgracefully retreating Confederacy to clear the road for it to the river, and then telegraph the news of the great victory to all the excellent morning journals.

It was another splendid stroke of profound strategy, my boy, and would have crowned the idolized General of the Mackerel Brigade with new laurels, had he not been too bashfully modest to understand it himself.

Finding, however, that it seemed to be better than something worse, he told his staff a small story to clear his throat, and then unfurled the following


I, the General of the Mackerel Brigade, next President of the United States of America, and Commander-in-Chief of the Mackerel Army and superior improved iron-plated squadron, do hereby swear, that on this occasion, as in a previous instance, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically maintaining the Constitution forever destroyed, and restoring friendly relations between the sections and States inexorably alienated; that it is my practical purpose to suggest, at the next orderly meeting of the Mackerel Brigade, a practical offer of pecuniary compensation for the slaves of the so-called Border States which have refrained, through patriotic fear, from waging [p. 248] unnatural hostilities with the United States of America and my practical self. Gradual Emancipation having thus set in, as far as those States are concerned, either voluntarily, or by virtue of a superior discretion, persons of African descent will again be privileged, or voluntarily compelled to colonize in Nova Zembla, where bear hunting is still in full bloom; that on the first day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves by what is then known as the ruins of the Southern Confederacy, shall be then, thence, thenceforward and forever free, if they choose to consider themselves so, and are able to achieve their independence; that on the aforesaid first of April, the General of the Mackerel Brigade will designate the States, or parts of States, which have rendered this proclamation nugatory, by returning involuntarily, and by force of our arms, to their allegiance, inviting them to elect members of Congress, boarders at Willard's and Senators as usual, the same as though their somewhat-prolonged rebellion against the United States of America had been a rather meritorious arrangement, entitling them to more than ordinary consideration.

And I do hereby respectfully request all officers to refrain in future from paying the traveling expenses of persons of African descent sent by them to their revolted masters after a term of trench service, as there don't appear to be any common-sense in such expenditure.

And the General of the Mackerel Brigade will further recommend, that all citizens of the United States [p. 249] remaining loyal now, or who may become loyal, voluntarily or otherwise, at any period of the world's history, be fully compensated for all losses sustained by the United States, including the loss of memory or eye sight.

In witness whereof, behold the signature and seal of the

General of the Mackerel Brigade.
(Green Seal.)

While I am compelled to admit, my boy, that I do not exactly understand by what authority the General of the Mackerel Brigade is empowered to issue this Proclamation; and that some of its clauses—particularly the last—strike me as being somewhat muddled, I yet regard it as at least a faint evidence that the tremendous farce in which we have so long been playing such bloody parts is at last coming to an end.

And since the farce seems drawing to a close, perhaps your farcical Orpheus C. Kerr could select no fitter time than this to withdraw with grace from the field.

As this thought occurs to me, my boy, I look up, and behold a couple of our brigadiers a few paces off, with only two tumblers between them. Their faces are expressionless. I have seen apple-dumplings with more expression, especially when dressed with sauce. It is impossible, my boy, that any wise thing should enter into the heads of our brass-buttoned generals under any possible circumstances; and with heavy heart, I acknowledge the conviction that I must still rush the quill.

Yours, enduringly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 250]



Washington, D. C., October 4th, 1862.

Our Honest Abe, my boy, may lack these brilliant qualities which in the great legislator may constitute either the live-oak sceptre of true patriotism or the dexter finger of refined roguery, as the genius of the age pivots on honesty or diplomacy; but his nature has all the sterling characteristics of the heartiest manhood about it, and there is a smiling sun in his composition which never sets. That he is in his anecdotage, my boy, is a fact

"Which nobody can deny;
Or, if they do, they lie!"

yet even his anecdotes have that simple sunlight in them which is, perhaps, a greater boon to the high place of a nation in the dark hour, than the most weird and perpetual haze of crafty wisdom could be.

There was a dignified chap here from New York on Monday; a chap who has invented many political conventions in his time, and came here for the special [p. 251] purpose of learning everything whatsoever concerning the present comparative inactivity of the able-bodied Mackerel Brigade.

The Mackerel Brigade, my boy, has done little more than skirmish on the festive borders of the well-known Southern Confederacy since the great metaphysical victory in which it gained such applause and lost a few muskets, and the dignified convention chap called upon the Honest Abe to learn the meaning of the present situation.

Rumor states that it was the Honest Abe's hour of fragmentary leisure when this inquiring chap perforated the White House; and that he was sitting with his boots on the window-sill, carving a pine toothpick from a vagrant chip.

"Mr. President," says the dignified chap, affably, "such is the agony of the public mind in consequence of the present uncertainty in military affairs that I feel it my duty, as a humble portion of that Mind, to respectfully request of you some information as to the reason for the cotemporary Mackerel inactivity."

"Hem!" says the Honest Abe, combing his locks with his right hand, and placing a small bit of the chip in the right corner of his Etruscan mouth: "Perhaps I cannot better answer your question, neighbor, than by relating a small tale:

"There was a man out in Iowa who owned a large farm, on which he raised everything but the interest of his purchase-money, and it cost him so little to send his crops to the market that he was all the time wishing he could find the crops to send. Now, this man was very tenacious of his rights," says the Honest [p. 252] Abe, putting the argument with his jack-knife—"he was very tenacious of his rights; and when a squatter-sovereign from Missouri came and squatted right on one of his best pieces of land, he determined to whip that squatter-sovereign within an inch of his life, and then send him trooping. So he goes down one day to where the squatter had run up a shingle house," says the Honest Abe, brushing a chip from his right knee, "he goes down there, and says he to the squatter: 'If you don't make tracks from here in twenty-four hours, you varmint, I'll make you smell thunder and see chain-lightnin'.' The squatter threw away the axe with which he was thumping down a maple log for a door-post, and says he: 'This is a free country, stranger; and if you'll come to a place where the grass is thick enough to make a tidy tumble, we'll have it out at once.' This put the old man's dander right up," says the Honest Abe, pulling down his vest; "this put his dander right up, and says he: 'Grass be darned! Here's a spot of ground as bare as the top of Governor Chase's head, and I'll jest trouble you—y' old varmint you—to find how soft it is for a night's lodgings.' After this speech there was no more to be said; so the two geniuses repaired to the bare spot, and squared away at each other like all possest. The old man was great on the science of the thing," says the Honest Abe, using the toe of one boot as a boot-jack to pull the other half-way off—"the old man was great on the science of boxing; but the squatter had the muscle, and in about two winks the old 'un was packing the gravel. Up he got again, very ricketty in the shoulder-blades, and came to call like a grizzly [p. 253] in bee-time, striking out with a bang up science, and would have triumphed gloriously if he hadn't suddenly gone to gravel again, with all his baggage. On this occasion, he righted with both his elbows out of joint, and says he: 'You're as good as chawed up—y' old varmint, you—but I'll come back here next spring, and have it out with you on this same spot.' The squatter agreed to that, and they parted for the time.

"Now the story of this drawn-fight got abroad, you see," says the Honest Abe, working the blade of his jack-knife with his thumb—"it got abroad; and one day a neighbor went to the old 'un, and says he: 'There's one thing about that big fight of yours, Uncle Billy, I can't understand. What made you put off the end of the show till next spring?'

"'Have you seen the cantankerous spot where we fit?' says the old 'un, moving his shoulders uneasily.

"'Truelie,' says the neighbor.

"'Well,' says the old 'un, craftily, 'I'm just waiting till that thar spot has a trifle of grass on it.'"

At the conclusion of this natural little narrative, my boy, the dignified conventional chap hurried from the White House scratching his head: and I really believe, my boy—I really believe, that his sensitive soul detected an analogy not gushingly flattering to national strategy and the President of the United States for 1865.

Soon after hearing of this, I met him at Willard's, and says I: "Well, my sagacious Mirabeau, what is your final opinion of our Honest Abe?"

He merely paused long enough to swear at a button which happened to burst from the neck-band of his [p. 254] shirt just then, and says he: "The Honest Abe is a well-meaning Executive, enough. He's a well-meaning Executive," says the dignified chap, with an air of slightly-irritated good-nature; "but I wish he'd do something to save his country, instead of telling small tales all the time."

Our President is an honest man, my boy, and the glass in his spectacles isn't exactly made of the paper they print telegrams upon.

Learning that the Mackerel Brigade was still awaiting abject peace propositions from the exhausted Confederacy, on the borders of Accomac, I scaled the outer walls of my Gothic steed, Pegasus, on Wednesday, and sped thither on the metaphorical wings of retarded lightning. A wisp of hay was clinging to the wiry mane of the architectural animal, my boy, and this I used to delude the spirited steed from making those sudden stops in which he invariably indulges whenever a passing acquaintance hails us with the familiar salutation of "Hey!—where are you bound?" The charger has evidently a confused idea of the word "Hey," my boy.

Upon gaining the outskirts of Accomac, I met Company 3, Regiment 5, Mackerel Brigade, just coming out to make a bayonet-charge upon one of the Confederacy's earthworks not far away. I might have let the warriors pass by unheeded, my boy, as I was deeply ruminating upon strategy; but as they came nearer, I noticed among them a file of red noses dragging along a Mackerel, who was tearing and groaning like a madman. In fact, the chap became so violent just then, [p. 255] that Captain Villiam Brown precipitately dropped his canteen and halted the company.

I looked at the devoted and nearly-sober beings clustered about the struggling chap, and says I:

"Has mutiny reared his horrid front, my veterans? What ails our gymnastic friend?"

A Mackerel, largely patched in several departments of his attire, shaded his voice with a crab-like hand, and says he: "That is Jakey Mogs, which got a letter from his virchoose femly just the instant we was ordered to fix bayonets, and he's gone cracked because the Captain can't let him leave for home in a big rush."

Here the refractory chap burst furiously from those who were holding him, fell upon his knees before the captain, and says he, as he cried like a woman: "For God's sake, Cap, do let me go home just this once, and I swear to God I won't stay there more than just one minnit! My old woman wrote this herself (tearing the letter from his ragged breast), and she says our little Tom is dying. He's a-dying—O good Lord! it's too much! Please let me go, my dear, good Cap, and I won't be gone an hour; and I'll bring you back the pootiest little bull-tarrier you ever see; and you can shoot me for desertion—honor bright! My Tommy's a-dying, I tell you, and she's wrote for me to come right away. Just an hour, Cap, for God's sake!—only half an hour, and I'll come back and be shot—honor bright!"

As the wild words came pouring out of the poor fellow's working soul, there fell a breathless hush upon all his comrades; the line of bayonets seemed to me [p. 256] to reflect the soft light of the afternoon with a kind of strange quiver, and though the Captain turned his head sternly away from the suppliant, there was not that firmness in the arm circling to his hip which drives home the sword of the strong.

"Take the being under guard," says Villiam, hoarsely; "for he must go."

At the word, the rude father sprang to his feet, with a tigerish glare in his eyes, dashed the letter to the ground, tore his bowie from its sheath; and as, with the howl of a wild beast, he made a furious thrust at one of those who approached to secure him—Nature broke in the tempest, and he fell into the arms of a comrade, in a fit. They sent him back, then, to camp, and Company 3, Regiment 5, moved forward once again, as though nothing had happened.

Alas! my boy, when this whole war is the sensitive nerve of a vast nation, and vibrates a thrill of mortal agony to a million of souls at each jar the very air receives from a shot, what matter is it if a single heart be broken.

I pondered this deeply as I followed Company 3; nor did I heed the affable remarks occasionally volunteered by Captain Villiam Brown until we gained the edge of the field wherein was located a company of bushwhacking Confederacies, as was supposed, behind a scientific mud-work. Captain Bob Shorty and Captain Samyule Sa-mith were already on the ground to witness the bayonet charge; and it was well that they had provided bits of smoked glass to view it through, as the glaring brilliancy of the anticipated feat might have proved hurtful to the naked eye. As I took my [p. 257] place with them, my boy, I could not but admire the rapidity with which Captain Villiam Brown kicked some of his beings into a straight line before the foe's front, and at the same time addressed them after the manner of a great commander:

"Comrades," says Villiam, his voice quivering finely with uncontrollable valor, "the eyes of future centuries are looking down upon you on this present occasion, and your distracted country expects you to propel the gleamy steel. Ah!" says Villiam, taking another hasty look at his notes, "the distracted country has great confidence in bayonet charges, which are quite valuable on account of their scarcity in this unnatural war. My fellow-beings," says Villiam, allowing several Mackerels to get in front of him, that he might more readily direct their movements, "we will now proceed to charge bayonets."

From our point of vantage, we saw that serried host sweep on, my boy, their movements being exceedingly rapid for several yards; when they went slower, and finally stopped.

Captain Samyule Sa-mith eyed them intensely through his glass, and says he: "It appears to me that there is temporary inactivity in the ranks, and I can see some manly heads turned the wrong way."

Captain Bob Shorty frowned until his left eyebrow contracted a delicate streak of smoke from his glass, and says he: "You speak like one of feeble mind, Samyule. The legs, not the head, are the portions of the human frame to be watched in a baynit charge."

Taught by this remark, I gazed at the nether continuations [p. 258] of our country's hope and pride, and my glass told me that many of them were working in their sockets as though belonging to wholly irresponsible parties. Were those devoted men about to change their base of operations and entrap Stonewall Jackson's whole force again, without waiting to receive a shot?

It was a moment of dreadful suspense.

Then did the matchless genius of Villiam Brown arise to the full demands of the breathless occasion, in one of those subtle appeals to human nature's great undercurrent which leads men as children often are led. In the rear of the Confederacy's work was the slanting side of a precipitous hill, and to this hill-side he had secretly dispatched the paymaster of the corps, by a circuitous route, with a package that looked as though it might contain Treasury Notes under his arm. Just at this awful juncture, when the fate of the day hung by a hair, that paymaster made his appearance on the hill-side above the mud-work, and put on his spectacles to make himself more plainly visible.

"Comrades," says Villiam, pointing to the celestial figure, "yonder is the disbursing genius of the United States of America. Charge baynits, and let us be paid off."

Though the whole Confederacy had been in the way at that moment, my boy, it would not have delayed the charge. Forward went Company 3, Regiment 5, with mercenary celerity, capturing the hostile work with great success; and finding therein a Confederate letter, stating that the Confederacy could not so far demean itself as to fight a force whose leader had not been educated at West Point. [p. 259]

There is a point, my boy, beyond which the Confederacy cannot hope to offer successful resistance to our arms, and recent events would seem to indicate that it is West Point.

Yours, formally,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 260]



Washington, D. C., October 8th, 1862.

At the meeting of the Cosmopolitans last evening, my boy, N. E. Ottoman, the Turkish chap, related the tale of


"In all Circassia, there was no woman to be compared with Zara, for beauty. Her eyes were like the stars, her hair was threads of gold, her teeth were pearls, her complexion more white and pure than the marble of Patras, and her form was like those of the houris, whom Allah has locked up in paradise, for the benefit of all true believers.

"The father of this beautiful girl was a mountain chieftain, much noted for his physical strength, bravery, and insatiable avarice. His wife died in giving birth to Zara, and upon her child he lavished all the affection [p. 261] which his iron heart could nourish; but gold overcame the finer feelings of a parent, and Nemyl beheld the bud of childhood bursting forth into the soul-subduing woman with thoughts in which there was far more speculation than love.

"'You shall be sold to the Sultan,' said he to her, 'and he will soon become your most devoted slave. You may make him do what you will, and I shall become respected and rich, as the father of a Sultan's favorite.'

"Zara made no reply to such anticipations; for, although she honored the alem penali of mankind, her affections had lighted upon another object.

"During the war between the Russians and Circassians, truces of a few days' duration were quite frequent, and at such periods those of both parties who were upon the plains, intermingled, and spoke words of peace to each other. On one of these occasions, a Russian detachment was quartered near the habitation of Nemyl, and a young officer, who beheld Zara, fell in love with her at first sight, although he saw nothing but her form; for her face was covered.

"Garstoff (for such was his name) made various attempts to have communication with the insensible object of his passion; but, for some days, his efforts were in vain—the Circassians being very ready to keep truce with his countrymen, but very jealous, also, of any attention bestowed upon one of their own nation. The officer beheld the brief period of peace fast drawing to an end, and was about to resign his darling object, when fortune unexpectedly befriended him. [p. 262]

"One evening as he was returning to his camp, a sound of clashing steel fell upon his ear, and, turning in the direction from whence it came, he observed a horseman bravely defending himself against the assaults of four men in Turkish costume. Swift as lightning, his sword flew from his scabbard, and going to the assistance of the rider, he made two of the assailants bite the dust, while the others took to their heels and quickly disappeared.

"'Your assistance was most timely, and I owe my life to you,' said the horseman, dismounting from his steed, and peering into the face of his new ally.

"'I am happy to have been of service to a brave man,' replied Garstoff, 'but who were those scoundrels?'

"'I know them not,' answered the other, 'but suppose them to belong to a band of mountain thieves, who are prowling about the camps in search of plunder. I perceive, by your uniform, that you are one of our enemies. But we are at peace now, and as you have saved my live, I extend the hand of friendship to you. Come with me to my house, and we will eat salt together.'

"'May I know the name of my new friend?' asked the Russian.

"'I am Nemyl, and I put my trust in God.'

"'I cannot refuse your kind invitation,' said Garstoff. And Nemyl remounting his horse, the two set off at good speed not saying another word until they arrived at the house of the chieftain. It was a spacious but rude habitation, and the only attendant who welcomed the pair was a pretty little girl of scarce [p. 263] ten years. Nemyl fastened the horses of himself and visitor under a low shed, and then proceeded to an apartment where rabols, viands, various fruits, mountain herbs, and large vessels filled with coffee and eastern wines, were placed upon a table with covers for three persons.

"'We sup here,' he said, motioning Garstoff to a seat beside the board, and taking one himself. 'I expected to have met one of our chiefs to-night, and brought him to my house, but those fellows stopped me, and I changed my company. Eat—What is your name?'

"'Major Garstoff.'

"A shade passed over the features of Nemyl, at the sound of that name, and he grasped the hilt of his scymetar, for he had heard of the officer's attempt to speak with Zara, and it was only a thought of recent events that restrained him from rushing upon the bold barbarian with the fury of a tiger.

"Garstoff beheld the change in his host's manner, and had grasped his own weapon, to defend himself from any sudden attack, when a door was opened, and Zara entered the department, preceded by the little slave, looking more beautiful than ever.

"The officer was filled with various emotions by her presence; for he at once recognised her as the idol of his heart, and all feelings of anger disappeared at once.

"'This is my child Zara,' said Nemyl, with affected indifference. 'The great Sultan has an apartment for her in his seraglio, and his Aga has already bargained with me for her purchase.' [p. 264]

"Garstoff watched the girl's countenance, while her father spoke thus, and was delighted to perceive that she was discomposed by his words; but resolving to avoid a quarrel with his entertainer, he replied:

"'Happy must be the man, whether sultan or renegade, who is destined to claim so much beauty for his own.'

"The suspicions of Nemyl were lulled to sleep by such disinterested expressions, and he ate and drank with his visitor, in all good will, while Zara listened in silence to their conversation. At length, the fumes of the liquors which he had swallowed, mounted to his brain, and after giving vent to some incoherent oaths, the Circassian fell upon the floor in a state of insensibility. His visitor was quite astonished by such a catastrophe; but as it afforded him an opportunity to converse with Zara, he rather rejoiced at it.

"'Fair lady,' said he, 'can it indeed be true that your charms are destined to wither in the Sultan's harem?'

"'It is true, stranger,' answered Zara, in mournful tones, 'the Aga of Soliman, spoke with my father at Constantinople, and I am to be borne thither soon.'

"'Does such a fate please you, Zara?' asked the officer.

"'No!' replied the beautiful Circassian, with emphasis. 'But it is the will of Allah, and I must submit.'

"She arose from her seat, and beckoning for the attendant, was about to leave the apartment, when Garstoff, laid his hand upon her arm, and gently restrained her. [p. 265]

"'Forgive my rudeness,' he said, with much earnestness; 'but, Zara, I cannot behold your sacrifice, without endeavoring to avert it. I am a stranger to you; but you are not a stranger to me; for I have seen you, when you thought yourself unobserved, and a fire has been kindled in my breast, which nothing but possession of you can ever abate. Tell me to perform some deed, that I may prove the ardor of my love; let me save you from the fearful doom that threatens you—'

"'Stop! Christian,' interrupted the maid; 'I have never seen your face before, and how can I trust a stranger? Go! or Nemyl shall punish you when he awakes. I can hear your words no longer.'

"'Think not that I fear your father,' answered Garstoff, 'though I stand in his house; yet I will no longer excite your anger by staying here.'

"He arose, and would have departed, had not the daughter of Nemyl placed herself in his way.

"'What would you do for me?' she asked hurriedly.

"'I would sacrifice my life, if necessary.'

"'That would not help me, Christian. Dare you appear in the field as a rival to the sultan, for my favor?'

"'As a rival to ten thousand sultans, for such a reward.'

"'Why do you not buy me, then?'

"The Russian staggered back and turned pale at the suggestion; for it reminded him how wholly the woman was beyond his reach, and filled him with despair. [p. 266]

"'What sum would do it?' he asked.

"'Five thousand doblas,' answered Zara, composedly; 'the great sultan will give four thousand, and if you offer five, my father will surely sell me to you.'

"'Alas! what a curse is poverty!' exclaimed Garstoff, smiting his forehead. 'I have only my pay, and it would not amount to that sum in three years. What shall I do?'

"His sorrow evidently affected Zara, and for some moments they remained silent. At length, her eyes brightened, and she said in peremptory tones;

"'You can bear me away to your own country.'

"'That is true!' ejaculated the Russian, kissing her willing hand in ecstasy. 'Then indeed have I not suffered in vain. I will take you to a country where the sovereign will smile upon you as my bride, and you shall forget a land where women are sold like dogs. Bless you for the suggestion, dear Zara, I thought of it before; but dared not anticipate so much happiness. When will you fly with me?'

"'At this hour, two days hence, I will be in the garden alone!' responded the girl, with a familiar glance.

"'It is enough!' said Garstoff. 'I will be here with horses and arms, and morning shall behold you in the camp of my countrymen. Till then, farewell.'

"The lovers separated so hastily, because Nemyl had commenced to move; Zara going with the mute attendant to her apartment, and Garstoff departing for his encampment. When both had disappeared, Nemyl arose to his feet, while a dim, but grim smile, [p. 267] played about his lips, and all signs of intoxication vanished.

"'Oh, ho!' he muttered, between his set teeth. 'The son of a dog would rob me of my daughter and four thousand doblas. I will take good care to be in the garden two days hence, and the son of Shitan shall find what it is to rival the sublime sultan. They thought me drunk with grape juice, but they shall suffer for it. By Allah! they shall!' and he threw himself upon a couch, where he soon fell asleep, to dream of gold and vengeance.

"The truce was within three days of its expiration and Garstoff, overjoyed at the success of his impious design, hastened to prepare for its execution. He procured horses, assistants, and arms; and on the night appointed proceeded towards the house of Nemyl. When within a short distance of the garden, he dismounted from his horse and leaving that together with the others provided, in care of a few soldiers who composed his guard, he drew his sword and walked cautiously towards the place of rendezvous. Climbing to the top of the wall, he paused for a moment to survey the scene beneath; but all was still as the grave, and he sprang into the garden. A few fleecy clouds had hitherto obscured the moon; but now she sailed beyond their shade, and by her silver light the Russian discovered a figure dressed in white, at a short distance in front of him.

"'Zara,' he said, in low, distinct tones, going toward it.

"'Christian, I am here,' answered Zara (for she it was,) and in another moment she was in his arms. [p. 268]

"'We must haste away,' said Garstoff, when the first rapture of their meeting was over, and she hung upon his arm.

"'Yes! yes! I am afraid Nemyl has discovered us. There have been strange men about the house to-day,' replied Zara, looking timidly about her; for guilt is ever suspicious, even in broad day.

"Garstoff said no more, but quickly regained the wall; and, drawing forth a rope-ladder from under his coat threw it over the wall, so that it hung down on either side, and having fastened it in the middle, descended after Zara. Catching her in his arms, he darted back; and, in a few seconds, was standing with her upon the path.

"'Whose steps are those?' she exclaimed, in terror, as the sound of advancing footsteps fell upon her ears.

"'They are my soldiers, dearest,' answered her lover, applying a whistle to his lips, and blowing a shrill blast; although he was himself astonished that they approached before the signal agreed upon was given.

"'Draw your sword, captain—we are surprised!' shouted his followers, as they rode hastily up; and almost before the annoyed Garstoff could clasp his weapon, a troup of fierce Circassians surrounded him, while another party attacked his soldiers with great fury.

"'Surrender, dog of a Christian!' shouted Nemyl, in a voice of thunder.

"'Not while I live!' answered the officer.

"'Then disarm him, my men; but harm him not at [p. 269] your peril!' said the Circassian; and, after a desperate resistance, Garstoff was made a prisoner, Zara lay fainting in the arms of two stout mountaineers, and every Russian soldier bled to death.

"'To the house with them!' said Nemyl, in his usual tones, leading the way with an air of triumph.

"Garstoff soon found himself in the apartment where he had supped with the father of Zara, who now stood before him as his captor.

"'You have repaid my hospitality with a vengeance,' said Nemyl.

"'Beware how you abuse a Russian officer!' he answered, proudly.

"'Remember, Christian, the truce expires to-morrow, and if I keep you a prisoner until then, you will be treated as a prisoner of war.'

"'I know it.'

"'You are now completely in my power; and there is but one feeling that withholds my sword from your heart. Do you know what feeling that is?'


"'No, Christian devil! Nemyl knows no such word! It is gratitude for the preservation of my life towards my preserver. You are free. Depart in peace.'

"'I honor the nobility of your sentiments,' answered Garstoff, filled with admiration of such magnanimity; 'yet I would willingly yield my life to preserve Zara from the fate you promise her.'

"'Mention not her name. She deserves the bowstring, instead of the Sultan's embraces,' said Nemyl, sternly.

"'Are you then so insensible to——' [p. 270]

"'Will you give me five thousand doblas for her?'

"'A hundred thousand, if I had them!'

"'But you have them not?'

"'Alas, no!'

"'Then you cannot have Zara. Depart in peace.'

"Garstoff looked frantically about him for a moment and then rushed from the apartment like one demented.

"'My friends,' continued Nemyl, turning to the mountaineers, who stood behind him—'I wished you to aid me in recovering a lost treasure, and you drew your swords for me. My daughter is delivered from the Christian robber, and six of his soldiers are sent to Eblis. I gave the dog his life, because he saved mine, when it was nearly forfeited; but we shall soon meet in battle, and then let the Giaour beware! Depart in peace, my friends.'

"As I have before stated, Zara fell into a swoon, immediately after the first appearance of her father, on the evening of her attempted flight, and was carried to her chamber, unconscious of how the affray resulted. For two days, she was kept a prisoner in her own apartment, seeing no one but the little mute. At the end of that period, her father made his appearance, while she slept, and rudely pulled her from the couch on which she lay.

"'Holy Prophet, have mercy!' she exclaimed, in an agony of fear, imagining that he intended to slay her.

"'Dress, and prepare to depart!' thundered Nemyl. 'We must be on the road before day-break.'

"Trembling like an aspen, Zara suffered the attendant to array her, and then asked, with quivering lips [p. 271]

"'Where do you intend to take me!'

"'To the Sultan!' exclaimed Nemyl; and, as she sank upon her knees at his feet, he added, furiously, 'Base girl, you would have covered me with disgrace by following a Christian dog; but Allah gave me strength, and I slew the barbarian in his toils.'

"In silence the girl rose to her feet, and signified her readiness to depart by a low salaam.

"At the street door stood the litter prepared for her reception, and Nemyl pushing her into it, drew the curtains, and gave the signal to the drivers, while he mounted his horse and accompanied them. On arriving at the city of the Sultan (which they did after a tedious journey), Nemyl conveyed his daughter to the grand bazaar; for, in fact, he never received an offer from the Sultan, but spread the report that other purchasers might present themselves, whose positions would fail to gratify the desires of his inordinate ambition. Not long had he remained there with the litter, when the Kislar Aga of Soliman entered the bazaar, and made directly towards him, with long strides.

"'What animal have you in your litter that you keep it closed like a cage?' asked the Aga.

"'Your slave will show you that you may judge of it for yourself,' answered Nemyl, and drawing the curtains, disclosed Zara, with tears upon her cheeks.

"The Aga started back in amazement at beholding such a display of beauty, and all his anger vanished like snow beneath a sunbeam. He well knew that the addition of such an ornament to the Sultan's harem, through his instrumentality, would add greatly to his [p. 272] consequence; and his satisfaction was so evident, that Nemyl beheld it with delight, and—profited by it.

"'How much gold do you want for the girl?' asked the Aga, endeavoring to appear indifferent.

"'Five thousand doblas,' answered Nemyl, composedly.

"'Five thousand doblas! Bismillah! dare you laugh at our beards? That money would buy a dozen women.'

"'I was offered that by a Russian officer,' said the Circassian, without moving his eyes.

"For a moment the Aga hesitated, but the idea of selecting a favorite speedily overcame all his scruples, and bidding Nemyl follow him with the litter, he proceeded to a private door of the imperial seraglio, and gave Zara in charge of two female slaves.

"Thus was the fairest flower of Franquistan placed in the imperial garden, and he who had trained it was soon on his way home, with five thousand doblas in his pocket.

"What pencil could portray the delight of his sublime highness, or what tongue could repeat the language of his immaculate lips, when he beheld his Aga's new purchase.

"'Barek Allah!' praise be to God; 'what an hour!' he exclaimed, kissing her passionately.

"'She is already a favorite,' said the Aga, and smiled.

"'She will be a favorite,' said the queen's mother, and frowned.

"Zara wept, and would not be comforted during the first few days of her residence at the seraglio; but finally the kind words of his sublime highness conquered [p. 273] her obstinacy, and throwing herself at his feet, she made a full confession of her fondness for Garstoff, and his vain attempt to carry her away by stratagem.

"The Sultan was much afflicted by this news, for he really loved Zara, and was aware, that, should her defection become known, his honor would compel him to plunge her lifeless body into the Bosphorus.

"'My dear Zara,' he said, encircling her waist with his arms, 'you have been frank with me, but beware that you speak of this affair to no one else, or your life will surely be sacrificed. This Garstoff is dead, and can now be nothing to you; do not waste your affections upon a skeleton; but let them revert to me, and Soliman will become the slave of your will.'

"In such a manner did the Refuge of Mankind talk to the daughter of Nemyl, until she gradually drew the veil of forgetfulness over past sorrows, and respected his sublime highness, if she did not love him. Taking the highest rank in the harem, no wish of hers remained unanswered; masters of every art were furnished as her instructors; subservient slaves were ever ready to do her bidding, and costly presents of every description rolled in upon the favorite, from those who had—axes to grind.

"Each day the Sultan became more deeply in love with her, and in the same proportion, she became each day more odious to those, whom, from old age, or satiety, the magnificent Soliman had quitted for Zara. Among the most violent enemies of the new favorite, was the queen mother, who suborned the Kislar Aga to her will, and through him, maintained a thorough system of espionage upon every word and action of the [p. 274] object of her hatred; but Zara rendered all her efforts futile until one day while going abroad, she observed a person dressed in the janissary uniform, whose form appeared familiar; and what was her emotion, when he turned his face toward her, and discovered the features of Garstoff!"

Here the English member interrupted the reader, and says he:

"Good gracious! I thought that fellow was dead."

"No, sir," says the Turkish chap; "you should remember that Nemyl spared his life."

"I don't remember anything about it," says the British chap, crustily; "but I suppose you told that part of the story when I was asleep. Proceed."

"The Kislar Aga, who stood behind her litter, noted Zara's emotions and their apparent cause, and when he returned to the palace, made his instigatress acquainted with her rival's strange conduct. The wily woman at once perceived that Zara was partially in her power, and instructed her instrument to watch the favorite closely, and gain further information. Meanwhile, their intended victim suffered the pangs of remorse, and old feelings awakened from their long sleep, struggled fiercely with the usurping passions in her bosom. [p. 275]

"The sight of the Russian, whom she believed to be in his grave, made her frantic with sorrow, and she resolved to speak with him, although by so doing, she would risk discovery and an ignominious end.

"To accomplish her purpose she called upon the Aga, as he had always appeared devoted to her special interests, and, describing the person of her lover, asked him to carry a billet to Garstoff, and thus gain a rich reward.

"'Aga,' she said, with composure, 'you must find this man, and ask him if his name is not Garstoff. Should he start, and answer yes, give him this slip of paper, and say no more.'

"With many vows of fidelity, the Aga received the billet, and carried it direct to—the queen mother.

"The latter person did not hesitate to open it, and read as follows:

"'Garstoff: I have seen you, and would speak with you. Meet me near the mosque of Omar, to-morrow, at the tenth hour.'


"'She is caught at last,' said the triumphant plotter; 'but we must let the affair run on, until the Sultan may be convinced by his own eyes of her guilt.'

"Accordingly, the slave departed in search of the disguised Russian, whom he soon discovered from the description given him by Zara.

"'Is not your name Garstoff?' he asked.

"'Great heavens!—yes, it is!' answered the janissary, in great confusion. [p. 276]

"'Then here is something for you,' said the Aga; and, handing him the billet, turned upon his heel.

"Great was the surprise of Garstoff when he read the letter; but joy quickly overcame wonder, and he hastened to procure a suitable disguise for the strange meeting.

"At the appointed hour he stood before the mosque, and presently a muffled figure approached him, whom his beating heart proclaimed to be the long lost object of his adoration. It was indeed Zara, and, in one moment, they were in each other's arms.

"The Russian hastened to relate his adventures since they last saw each other, and finished by saying:

"'I gave up my commission, dearest Zara, to seek for you, and now that we once more behold each other, let us never part again. This hated uniform I assumed to facilitate my search; it shall be thrown aside now and forever.'

"Then Zara commenced her narrative, but was quickly interrupted.

"'Zara, tell me, for heaven's sake, have you listened to the Sultan's words of love? Are you, are you—his—slave?' gasped Garstoff, staggering against the wall.

"Zara looked to the ground.

"'I see it all,' he continued, in frantic accents. 'Zara, you are lost! lost to me forever! I go to my death. Zara, a last farewell!' He was about to leave her, when she caught his arm, and hissed in his ear:

"'Is this your love that you once boasted of?'

"'Zara, let me go; I am almost mad.' [p. 277]

"'And I am quite mad. Listen to me, faithless Christian. I beheld you in the streets when you saw me not, and have risked honor, life, every thing, to come to you, and be your slave. How could I help what has passed? My father—'

"'Zara, you should have died first.'

"For a time she remained silent, with her head bowed, and then said, in low tones:

"'Christian, you are right; I should, indeed, have preferred death to my present fate; but it is too late now. I will return to my master; yet do I hope to see you once again. Will you not grant me that favor?'

"'Once more,' answered Garstoff mechanically.

"'Then come here to-morrow, and you will find a large chest; place yourself in it, and two slaves will bring you to me. Do you promise?'

"'I do, Zara,' and, in deep sorrow, Garstoff turned away.

"'Base dog!' muttered Zara, as she again muffled her features, 'you have rejected the daughter of Nemyl, and she sleeps not while you press the earth.'

"The favorite sped hastily back to the palace, and entered by a secret door, while the Kislar Aga, who had concealed himself near her at the mosque, and witnessed the interview, hastened to the queen mother, and made his report, when she exclaimed:

"'Allah be praised! this Circassian will soon be under the Bosphorus; for Zara will meet her gallant, and his serene highness shall behold himself dishonored.'

"Knowing the extreme affection entertained for [p. 278] Zara by Soliman, the cautious woman was wary in her communication, and did not reveal the whole matter, until the Sultan's suspicions had been aroused by her hints. He first ridiculed, then listened silently, then believed; and, finally, agreed to conceal himself in the Sultana's apartment, and judge for himself.

"He waited until the moment of assignation approached, and was looking upon the unconscious object of his gaze with returning confidence, when a curtain of the apartment was raised, and two negro slaves entered, bearing a large chest between them.

"Zara motioned for them to leave it and depart; and then raising the lid, Garstoff stepped forth, and the Sultan uttered an inward groan.

"'Drink this, and it will give you strength,' said Zara, presenting a goblet of liquor to the janissary.

"Garstoff raised the cup to his lips, and drained it at a draught; on which the fair Circassian burst into a fit of hysterical laughter.

"'Is this a moment for merriment?' asked Garstoff, sternly.

"'Wine makes me merry!' she answered, drinking from another goblet. 'And now, Christian, do you know what you came here for?'

"'To see you for the last time.'

"'That is true, follower of Isauri—you go not hence alive!'

"'What mean you, woman?' exclaimed Garstoff, starting from his seat with pallid cheeks.

"'I mean that you have swallowed poison!' screamed Zara, the fire of insanity blazing from her eyes. [p. 279] 'You scorned the daughter of Nemyl, and she has taken revenge! Pray to Isauri—pray to—'

"Garstoff dropped upon the floor, a disfigured corpse, and the Sultan bounded from his place of concealment upon Zara; but the purple veins of her forehead were swelling out like cords, and before he could speak to her she was—dead!"

"Really," says Vitchisvitch, the Russian member, drawing a long breath, "there is too much of the 'blood and thunder' style about that story to suit me; but here is something more quiet."

And he proceeded, my boy, to make known unto us


"On a clear, cold night in December, Nicholas Dimitri, a young officer of Cossacks, was walking slowly through a public street of St. Petersburg, with a military cloak thrown over his shoulder, and looking steadfastly to the ground, as though intent upon some prospect of no ordinary interest. Acquaintances of all ranks were constantly passing him, but their silent salutes met no return, and many a surmise was hazarded as to what his mission was, that it caused such evident abstraction in one so generally admired for his flow d'esprit. Unconscious of attracting attention, Nicholas strode onwards wrapped in thought, until he became aware of violent collision with some [p. 280] person going in an opposite direction, and almost immediately a hoarse voice exclaimed:

"'What, in the name of all that's good, are you about? Are not the walks wide enough for both of us, that you must needs knock a man's breath out of his body in this way? By the Admiral's wig! I've a mind to return the compliment with my fists, you lubber.'

"The officer of Cossacks started involuntarily, as his reverie was thus broken, and beheld standing before him a very stout individual, rather below the ordinary height in stature, with iron-grey hair, prominent features much embrowned, and clad in a plain green uniform, such as was worn by the privates in the army. The little man stood directly in his path, with an expression of good natured defiance resting upon his countenance, and flourishing a short cane in his right hand.

"'I beg your pardon, sir,' said Nicholas, somewhat provoked, 'but I was hardly conscious of being in the street at all. Allow me to pass, sir, I am in haste.' He attempted to get by the little gentleman, but that person had no idea of allowing such a move, and in the coolest possible manner linked his arm with that of the impatient officer.

"'It's my watch now,' he said, with a short laugh, 'and as you don't bunk in just yet, we may as well be company for each other. I ain't particular about which way you go, so up with your irons and we'll scud.'

"'I can permit no such familiarities,' replied Nicholas, angrily, attempting to release his arm. 'Are [p. 281] you intoxicated, that you do not perceive I am an officer? Let go my arm, sir, or I will call the patrol, and place you under guard.'

"Notwithstanding this threat, the little man still hung on, and walked boldly beside him with great good humor.

"'Ha! ha! you think I belong to the army, Mr. Officer,' he observed, with much jocularity. 'I know rather more about the sea, and never tip my cap to anything less than a frigate captain. But never mind that. This street should be better lighted, and yet if it had been, I should never have known you—don't you think so? Now really don't you think the Emperor or Czar should pay more attention to lighting the streets? I should think the people would grumble about it—don't they?'

"Seeing that his new acquaintance was determined to walk beside him, the officer had resolved to let him talk without venturing a reply, but this slur upon the Czar wounded his pride, and he answered impatiently,

"'You cannot be a Russian, sir, or you would not dare speak thus disrespectfully of the greatest, noblest, and best living sovereign. Why should we need more light, sirrah, when the moon is shining brightly? Let me warn you not to speak this way before others, or you may receive rough treatment. Every Muscovite honors and loves the Czar as a father, and a slighter cause than that just given by you has cost many a foreigner his life in St. Petersburg.'

"As the young man spoke, he seemed to forget his [p. 282] companion, and yielded his whole soul to the enthusiasm of loyalty.

"'I like you,' said the little man, heartily.


"'Yes, and will help you.'

"'Help me?' asked Nicholas, stopping suddenly in his walk, eyeing his companion with mingled astonishment and suspicion.

"'I said so. Is there anything extraordinary in that!'

"'Who are you?' demanded the officer, sternly.

"'No matter about that. I am your friend.'

"'How do I know that?' asked Nicholas, still more astonished.

"'I will prove it. You are in love!'

"'Most men are at some periods of their lives.'

"'Very true, but you are in love now, and the lady of your affection is far above you in station.'

"'How in heaven's name do you know this? Who are you?' exclaimed the officer, completely thrown off his guard, and staring wildly at his odd companion.

"'It matters not how I know, or who I am. Let it suffice to say that I do know, and can aid you,' said the little man, with a more dignified air than he had before assumed. 'Restrain your feelings, and merely answer yes or no, to what I am about to say. You are loved by the lady?'

"'I believe—or, rather, trust so.'

"'She is the Countess Walewski?'


"'Her ward Olinska?' [p. 283]

"'I shall answer no more questions,' said Nicholas, compressing his lips.

"'Then, Mr. Officer, I will ask no more questions, but confine myself strictly to statements. You love Olinska, and have a rival in Admiral Praxin, who is favored by the Czar. So strong are your rival's claims that you have no resource save a clandestine marriage. You are now on your way to the hotel of the Countess, intending to perfect your plans with her aid, and baffle the Czar in his designs for the advantage of Admiral Praxin. Don't say a word to me now, you will receive a message before long. Good night, Nicholas Dimitri.'

"The little man nodded his head most knowingly, and fairly ran off, leaving the astounded lover looking at the moon.

"Nicholas remained perfectly still for some moments, looking vacantly upward, and then went on his way, like one who had just awakened from a strange dream.

"'What can this mean?' he asked himself. 'This man, whom I never saw before, has told me of things which no mortal save myself should know, and he is even acquainted with my name. This matter must be quickly settled, or I shall be placed under arrest, with no hope for the future.'

"Arriving presently at the door of an aristocratic mansion, he sent up his card, and was speedily ushered into an elegant boudoir, where a beautiful and richly-dressed lady was waiting to receive him. The Countess Walewski was not a young woman, yet the bloom of earlier years still lingered on her cheek, and the [p. 284] sprightly vivacity of girlhood shot forth from her dark brown eyes.

"'My dear Nicholas, you are behind time,' she said, giving her hand to the young officer, and causing him to take a seat beside her on a velvet couch. 'Lovers are not often tardy in keeping their appointments, but as I am not the lady, I must excuse you. Upon my word—I did not observe it before—you look discontented. Nothing has happened, I hope?'

"'Dearest lady, we are betrayed!' answered Nicholas, gloomily.

"'You are jesting.'

"'Would to God, I were! A strange man encountered me in the street as I came hither—' and Nicholas gave a full account of his interview with the little man in green.

"The Countess appeared much alarmed by the narration, and, for some moments after its conclusion, remained silent, but at length she recovered sufficient courage to reply,

"'This is strange indeed—and yet, Nicholas, this man may be a member of the police, who, as you know, make themselves masters of our very thoughts. You say he expressed a desire to assist you, and declared himself your friend; he may have some object in this we know not of—'

"'No living man shall rob me of my prize,' interrupted Nicholas, passionately. 'Olinska will be guided by me, and before morning we will be far from the capital. There is no time to lose; we must hasten towards Moscow this very night. Where is she? Why is she not here to meet me?' [p. 285]

"'Restrain your passion; be prudent, I entreat you,' exclaimed the Countess, grasping his wrists. 'Olinska loves you, and you alone; but I am her guardian, and she submits to my wishes, as duty bids her. Be yourself, Nicholas, and avoid any rash action. You cannot see Olinska to-night.'

"'Has your ladyship combined with my enemies to make a madman of me?' asked the officer, with great bitterness.

"'Have my actions been those of an enemy?' responded the Countess, with a reproachful smile. 'My dear Nicholas, I would have spared you a pang, but you compel me to tell all. My ward is to have an interview with Admiral Praxin to-morrow, by order of the Czar.'

"'With Admiral Praxin!' exclaimed Nicholas, starting to his feet.

"'Such is the truth. I do not believe that Peter will compel Olinska; but his command was imperative, and must be obeyed at all risks. Do not fear for Olinska—she is wholly yours, though a king should ask her hand. The Admiral can only sue to be rejected, and after that you must fly.'

"'Lady, I submit to your wishes,' said Nicholas. 'I honor the Czar, as all Russians should honor him, but Olinska shall be mine, though he should send a dozen admirals to thwart me.'

"After some further consultation of a desultory character, the officer of Cossacks took his leave, and retired to a bed rendered sleepless by doubts and fears.

"On the following morning, before he had completed his toilet, a servant entered the apartment to [p. 286] announce a visitor, followed by a little creature, not more than three feet in height, dressed in a livery of blue and silver.

"'This gentleman desired to speak with you, sir, immediately,' said the grinning servant, pointing to the new comer, and bowing himself out of the room.

"The minute specimen of humanity said not a word, but assumed an air of great consequence, and with much ceremony presented a letter. Nicholas could not repress a smile at the messenger's grotesque appearance, but his mirth sobered into surprise when he read as follows:

"'Nicholas Dimitri: The bearer of this missive is my servant, who will be of great service to both you and myself, in events about to transpire. Answer his questions without hesitation, and rest assured that Olinska shall be yours, despite the Czar and Admiral Praxin, or I am much mistaken. I will be present at the wedding. Your friend,

"'The Little Man in Green.'

"The young officer dropped the note from his hand, and eyed the dwarf in silent amazement.

"'Is that your death warrant?' asked the latter, ironically.

"'Who wrote this?' demanded Nicholas.

"'My master.'

"'And who is your master?'

"'The Little Man in Green. Ha! ha!' laughed the dwarf. [p. 287]

"'His name? I must know his name!' exclaimed Nicholas.

"The abbreviated Mercury placed a finger beside his little nose, in a very knowing manner, at the same time winking sagaciously.

"'I can answer no such question,' he said; 'my master desires to remain incog. at present. My name is Orloff, and I wish you to answer one inquiry: Does the ward of the Countess Walewski have an interview with Admiral Praxin to-day?'

"'She does.'

"'That is sufficient; you will hear from me soon,' and Orloff fled through the open door, with a speed truly marvelous.

"Nicholas called after him in vain, and then called his servant to dress him, with a vague apprehension of evil, and a belief that no lover ever had so many to assist his wooing as himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Olinska, the daughter of a noble Polish family, was deprived of her parents at an early age, and selected for her guardian the high-minded Countess Walewski. Her childish years were spent in Warsaw, the city of her forefathers; but the Countess was obliged to remain at St. Petersburg, being a member of the Czarina's household, and thither she called her ward, to be presented at court, and drown the memory of her sorrows in the gaieties of the capital.

"Young, beautiful and unsophisticated, chaperoned by an illustrious lady, and reputed to be heiress of [p. 288] great wealth, the Polish maiden speedily became the magnet and toast of a brilliant circle, and a prize for which scores of young nobles contended. But the heart of Olinska was not to be purchased with titles, and while the scions of aristocracy knelt vainly at her feet, she bestowed her virgin affections upon Dimitri, whose silent homage defeated that of all others, with its proud, peculiar dignity. Military rank is esteemed by the Russians as little inferior to that of inheritance; yet they acknowledge a difference, and the line drawn between them by the usages of society cannot be overstepped with impunity. The young officer, although admitted into court circles, was aware of the distance between himself and the lady in a social sense; but the encouragement she gave him, so insensibly drew them together, that disparity of birth was forgotten, and love—the great leveller of conditions—reigned paramount.

"However misanthropically a man may express his indifference to the world's opinion, we are all, more or less, its most subservient slaves, and although Nicholas Dimitri assured his idol that the gossip of fashionables was nothing to him, he deemed it proper to solicit the kind offices of the Countess, as a go-between; and apparently visited the guardian, when, in reality, the fair ward was the object of his intentions.

"Peter the Great, who, at that period, occupied the throne of Russia, had an unpleasant habit of rewarding his bachelor friends for worthy deeds, with the hand of some fair maiden of his court; and, having beheld the Polish lady, he resolved to bestow her upon Admiral Praxin, who, though often regarded with suspicion [p. 289] by his sovereign, had lately rendered 'the state good service.' Olinska repulsed the old sailor's advances with disdain; but the Czar requested her to grant him a private interview, and a request from such a source being synonymous with a command, the lady felt obliged to grant it.

"Alone she sat, in a gorgeously furnished apartment, when the Admiral was announced, her sable locks shading a neck and bosom that rivalled the snow in their whiteness, and supporting her head with a hand of nature's choicest modeling.

"Admiral Praxin was a man in the 'sere and yellow leaf' of meridian life. His form was firm and upright, and his costume was that of a youthful courtier; but deep wrinkles tracked his brow with the footprints of age, and his hair had caught the snow-flakes of the mountain's farther side. That foretaste of eternal torments, the gout, had rather confused the measure of his tread, and the stout old Admiral entered the lady's presence with an ungraceful limp.

"As he passed into the room, a little figure clad in blue and silver, followed him noiselessly and, with wonderful agility, darted behind a curtain of the window.

"Olinska received her admirer with some embarrassment, which he seemed at first to reciprocate; but at length, after many leers and grimaces, his countenance assumed a determined expression, and he went directly to the point.

"'Madam,' he said, 'you can scarcely be ignorant of the object for which I now visit you; nor can you feel more deeply than I the extremely unpleasant position [p. 290] in which we are both placed, by the desire of Peter. Aside from the duty I owe my sovereign of submitting entirely to his will, I have a sentiment in my heart, which, should it find a reflection in yours, will make me the happiest of men. My title and fortune are trifles; but the sentiment of love for yourself, united to that of loyal obedience, may, perhaps, be deemed by you as more powerful suitors for your hand and heart.'

"'It were foolish in me to pretend to misunderstand you, my lord,' replied Olinska, with dignity. 'I am aware that the Czar favors your suit, and looks upon me as a fitting bride for one whom he delights to honor; but, greatly as I honor and respect both my sovereign and yourself, I must positively refuse obedience in this instance, and assume the right to act for myself. I am deeply grateful to you, my lord, for your intended kindness, but must, with all due respect, reject your offer, and close our interview.'

"As she spoke, her bosom heaved with emotions boiling within, her eye flashed, and the right of woman to maintain her prerogative shone from every feature.

"'Consider well, lady, before you drive me to despair by such cruelty!' exclaimed the Admiral, with vehemence. 'Consider what you are casting aside as worthless. I have influence at court beyond that of the most powerful; the very Czar fears to offend me, and the wife of Admiral Praxin will be second only to the imperial Catherine in grandeur and dominion. Let me hope that this is only maiden coyness, and that deliberation may alter your decision.'

"'I will not deceive you, my lord,' responded the [p. 291] lady, 'by awaking hopes which can never be realized. My hand shall never be yielded to any man by compulsion, or implied claims which I do not acknowledge; nor do I recognize any other right than my own to dispose of it. Dwell upon the subject no longer, or your title to the name of friend will be forfeited. Allow me to retire.'

"Dismay was betrayed in every lineament of the sailor's countenance, as he marked the firm tones in which these words were spoken; but anger quickly took its place as he asked, with a glance of suspicion,

"'Lady, have I a rival?'

"Olinska answered not, and arose to leave the apartment, when Praxin quickly intercepted her, and fell upon his knees.

"'Olinska, you shall not leave me thus!' he exclaimed, in tones hoarse with excitement. 'If love will not incline you to accept me, let ambition do it. I have the power to place you on the throne of Russia, if you but say the word; your own countrymen, the refugees from Sweden, and twenty thousand discontented serfs will rise at my bidding; the navy is mine, and, by a wave of the hand, I can become an Emperor.'

"With a look of the most unmitigated disdain, the lady regarded the supplicant at her feet.

"'I will not parley longer with a traitor,' she said, in tones so cold and piercing that he involuntarily recoiled from her, and she walked from the apartment with a queenly air.

"'I'll be revenged for this,' muttered the discarded suitor, as, with a frowning brow, he took his departure. [p. 292]

"Then forth sprang Orloff from his place of concealment, with a smile of no ordinary magnitude distorting his little face.

"'Good! and now for the Countess!' he exclaimed, following the Admiral.

"Meanwhile, Nicholas had wandered about the city in a most pitiable state of apprehension, and was about to rush madly to the hotel of the Countess, when he beheld the dwarf hastening toward him, carrying a letter at arm's length.

"'Here—from the Countess,' ejaculated Orloff, panting for breath, and handing him the missive. Nicholas hastily tore it open, and read:

"'Dear Nicholas:—Olinska has had an interview with the Admiral, and, from its results, I fear the worst. Have a chaise and four, at the private door of my hotel before sunset to-day. You may trust Orloff.

"'In haste, Walewski.'

"'Shall I engage the conveyance?' asked the dwarf, with a grin.

"'Yes! I will trust you,' replied the excited officer.

"'You will find all in readiness, at the private door, by four o'clock!' said Orloff, and he disappeared as quickly as he came.

"At the appointed hour, Nicholas repaired to the spot where a chaise and its attendants were awaiting him, and right speedily a muffled figure emerged from the private door, and touched his arm.

"'Olinska, dearest Olinska.' [p. 293]

"'Let us hasten, Nicholas, I fear we are betrayed,' answered Olinska, trembling in his arms.

"The officer quickly placed her in the chaise, and the horses had made their first spring forward when a great tumult arose in the street, and looking forth from a window of the vehicle, Nicholas beheld, to his dismay, half a score of imperial cavalry galloping furiously toward him.

"'Onward! onward!' he shouted to the drivers, and sank back upon his seat beside the fainting girl.

"At the top of their speed fled the four chaise horses, making the vehicle bounce from the earth as though it were composed entirely of springs; but they were no match for the full-blooded animals of the cavalry, and the latter soon came up with them.

"'Stop, in the name of the Czar,' said the leader, drawing his sword.

"At the command, the postillions dropped their reins, and the chaise came to a dead halt. Then the door was burst open; and Nicholas, with a pistol in each hand, sprang into the road.

"'Gentlemen,' he said hurriedly, 'you must allow me to proceed; the die is cast, and there is no turning back. Stand aside, sirs, I do not wish to shed your blood.'

"'Colonel Dimitri,' answered the leader, 'we are sorry that such is our duty, but the Czar has ordered us to apprehend you and your companion; and carry you before him; I therefore apprehend you in the name of Czar.'

"'This is tyranny and I will resist it to the last,' exclaimed the excited lover. 'I have not broken the [p. 294] laws, and am no political criminal. Why should I be treated thus? You may take me gentlemen, but not alive.'

"'We must do our duty,' answered the other. 'Surround and disarm him,' he added, turning to his followers.

"The soldiers approached to obey his orders, and the desperate colonel had levelled his weapons, when Olinska, sprang from the chaise and knelt upon the ground before him.

"'Submit, Nicholas; for my sake submit,' she exclaimed, energetically, clasping her hands towards him.

"Nicholas regarded her attentively for a moment, and then lowered his weapons.

"'I am your prisoner,' he said; 'take me where you will.'

"The captured pair, were returned to the vehicle, the horses' heads were turned, and in silence they proceeded to the palace of the Czar.

"The imperial mansion was very different in those days from what it now is. No gaudy trappings, neither external nor internal, proclaimed the abode of royalty; for Peter the Great appealed to hearts, not the eyes of his subjects, and for the inspection of foreigners he had an army, unrivaled in discipline and accoutrements, by any in Europe. A small ante-chamber, plainly furnished, and adorned with various models of ships, paintings, and rude implements of warfare led into the hall of audience, equally unostentatious, and the imperial dining saloon, plain as that of an ordinary tradesman. [p. 295]

"Into the latter apartment, Nicholas and Olinska were led by their captors, pale and silent, but undismayed.

"A long table, bearing on its centre an immense pie, was loaded with a rich repast; and about it, were seated the most distinguished nobles and generals of the empire, and Admiral Praxin; while at its head, on elevated seats, appeared the Czar and Czarina.

"'Ha! here are the two fugitives!' exclaimed Peter, observing the entrance of the party and approaching them.

"Nicholas started at the sound of that voice, and looking up, recognized in his sovereign, The Little Man in Green.

"'Your pardon, sire!' he exclaimed falling upon his knees, and remembering with the great trepidation how scurvily he had treated royalty in disguise.

"'Arise, Colonel Dimitri,' said the Czar kindly; 'you need not think of what has past; I am satisfied that you are a true and loyal subject. But what possessed you to run away with this little rebel, man? Did you not know that she was affianced to Admiral Praxin?'

"'Pardon me sire, I did not,' answered Nicholas.

"'And you Olinska; you have disregarded our wishes, and thrown the gallant admiral overboard?' continued Peter, addressing the trembling girl, with a mixture of severity and good-nature.

"Olinska bowed her head.

"'What say you Praxin? Are you willing to yield your bride to the army, and let the navy remain a bachelor?'

"The Admiral had turned all colors, at the first entrance [p. 296] of Olinska, but marking that she remained silent, he plucked up sufficient courage to reply.

"'I cannot accept the lady's hand without her heart.'

"'Did you sue for them like a man?' demanded Peter, sternly.

"'I hope so, your majesty.'

"'You lie, base traitor!' thundered the Czar, eyeing him with a glance that chilled his blood.

"'Has she betrayed me?' ejaculated Praxin, turning deadly pale, and involuntarily clutching the handle of his sword.

"'No,' answered Peter in hoarse tones, 'witness, come forth.'

"At that moment, the upper covering of the great pie was observed to move, and in another instant, it was thrown back, discovering the mighty Orloff, seated within the dish.

"'God save the Czar!' said the dwarf, rising and stepping forth upon the table, with a bow of studied politeness.

"'Orloff, point out the traitor,' said Peter.

"Orloff assumed an air of great penetration, and pointed toward the Admiral, who stood alone, with his back against the wall, a perfect picture of despairing guilt.

"'That is the man,' said the dwarf.

"'Give your proof.'

"'Your majesty must know, that I was present while Admiral Praxin was wooing the lady Olinska, and heard him say that your majesty dared not offend him; he also declared that she had but to say the word, and [p. 297] he would make her an Empress, explaining how he had the Poles, the Serfs, the Swedish refugees, and the navy at his command, ready at his bidding to make him Emperor of Russia.'

"'What say you to this charge?' demanded Peter.

"Praxin had regained somewhat of composure during the dwarf's speech; and at its conclusion he approached the Czar and falling upon his knees, surrendered his sword and belt.

"'I am guilty,' he said, in firm tones. 'Take my sword, gracious sovereign, and with it receive back the commission I have forever disgraced. In a moment of ungovernable passion I spoke words which should have choked me ere I uttered them, and which I would give my life to recall. I desire no mercy; yet I would ask forgiveness of Olinska, for daring to breathe treason in her presence.'

"'Let us both forget it,' said Olinska, gently.

"'Alas I can never forget it,' he replied, pressing her hands to his lips, and resuming his former attitude.

"The Czar gazed some moments attentively and silently upon the face of Praxin, as though to read his inmost soul, and then turning to Nicholas, he said:

"'Colonel Dimitri, it is but just that I should explain my conduct to you and Olinska, as it was by making an unconscious tool of you that I have ferreted this matter out. I intended that Olinska should have wedded the Admiral, not knowing that her affections had been given to another; but lately I have distrusted him and ordered a spy of the police to watch him closely. My agent speedily brought me [p. 298] news of your engagement, and your intended course; and I resolved to throw myself in your way, and gain a slight knowledge of your character. You know how I succeeded in that attempt. I also requested Olinska to receive the Admiral privately, and sent Orloff to be present—though concealed—at the interview. The Countess Walewski was made acquainted with my plans, by the dwarf, and hence your presence here. As a punishment for an attempt to outwit me, I command that you be married before you leave the palace. As for you, Admiral,' he continued, turning to Praxin, 'in consideration of the many services you have rendered us, I grant you a free pardon. You have been humiliated in the eyes of your friends, and have failed to win a prize worthy of my best subject. May you learn the lesson that passion will not always excuse dangerous words, nor is a sovereign's leniency everlasting.'

"Universal rejoicings followed this generous speech, and the victims of the royal whim retired from the imperial palace, married—for better or worse."

This Russian tale sent us all home very thirsty, my boy; for its effect was very dry.

Yours, weariedly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 299]



Washington, D. C., October 12th, 1862.

The Southern Confederacy having delayed to sue for peace, my boy, until the safety of Washington requires that national strategy should continue metaphysical hostilities, it may be as well for you and me as a nation to prepare for a speedy commencement of War in earnest. The North, my boy, has not begun to fight yet; and as the stolid centuries roll on, and the hoary years move one by one into the sunless solitude of Eternity, it becomes daily more evident that the North's actual putting forth of all its strength is merely a question of time. The giant is only just rousing from his slumbers, and nothing but his legs and feet appear to be thoroughly awake yet.

Now, is the time, my boy, for the idiotic Confederacy to save himself, by returning penitently to that beneficent Government which would have realized the millenium at half-past two o'clock on the Fourth of July, 1776, but for the unseemly villainy of the [p. 300] accursed Black Republicans, many of whom are shortly to be hung.

That is to say, such is the opinion of the Venerable Gammon, whose benignant presence is believed to have proved the salvation of our distracted country in the Revolutionary War, though I can find nothing, except his protecting patriarchal deportment toward all the present universe, to justify the idea that he ever benefited anything. It soothes the human soul, my boy, to hear this Venerable man discoursing on the most trite subjects in tones, and with an air calculated to bless all created things as with a paternal benediction. Surrounded by a number of his idolatrous national children, and standing in front of Willard's the other evening, he pointed fatly to a bright star overhead, and says he:

"That star is like our country. That star," says the Venerable Gammon, with a meaningless smile of angelic purity, "is like any other star on our flag; though clouds may hide it in its ascending node, it is still knowed to be ascending."

Then everybody felt cheered with the peaceful conviction that Columbia was saved at last; and it's my private belief, my boy—my private belief, that the attached populace looked upon this good old man as the one who had made the star.

Yet, strange as it may seem, this venerable Benefactor made a little mistake on Tuesday. A sportive young chap came to him with a newspaper in his hand, and says he: "Let me see if you can tell, my Pater Patria, what paper this article is in"—and proceeded to read the following high-minded editorial: [p. 301]


"True to their foul instincts, the Greely, Cheever, and Wendell Phillips herd of treasonable fanatics are now accusing their 'Honest Old Abe' of ruining the country. It was their votes that elected the rail-splitter, and now they turn tail upon him and howl maledictions because he will not carry out their fiendish intents by erecting a revolutionary guillotine in every Northern town and city. That blasphemous mountebank, Beecher, may as well cease his treasonable impiety at once; for he and his Sharps'-rifle crew are responsible for the present bankruptcy of the whole country, and the people will yet hold them to strict account for every drop of blood that has been and will be shed in this unnatural strife."

When sportive chap ceased reading, the Venerable Gammon waved his obese hand with the fond, familiar air of a pleased benignity, and says he:

"Of course, I know what paper that is, my son. I know the ring of those sterling conservative sentiments," says the Venerable Gammon, with calm satisfaction, "and am blessed in the knowledge that our loyal New York Herald is still true to the Constitution and to the principles of my old friend, Georgey Washington—or 'old Wash,' as he permitted me to call him."

The sportive chap softly picked his teeth with a wisp from a broom, and says he: "But this ain't the Herald [p. 302] at all, you dear old soul; it's a copy of the Richmond Whig!" It was at this very moment, my boy, that the Venerable Gammon was first attacked by that dreadful cough which put an end to all further conversation, and has since excited the most fearful apprehensions lest a bereaved country should suddenly be called to mourn the untimely loss of its benign idol.

On Tuesday afternoon, I had a talk with the Mackerel chaplain, who had remained here over Sunday to administer consolation to a dying brigadier, and was grievously wounded in spirit to find that the telegraph had committed a trifling breach of spelling, and that that brigadier was only dyeing his hair, which had suddenly turned white in a single night on the strength of a rumor that there might be some fighting in the morning.

The Mackerel chaplain, my boy, is of inestimable value to a wounded man, his vivid and spiritual manner of describing the celebrated Fire Department of the other world being a source of unspeakable comfort and reassurance to the sufferer. "I am afraid you have led a sinful life, my fellow-worm," says he to the sick Mackerel, "and can only advise you to buy one of these hymn-books from me, which I can afford to sell for six shillings."

But what the chaplain talked to me about, was his discovery, at a village not far from Winchester, of a new [p. 303]


It was a Sergeant old and gray,
Well singed and bronzed from siege and pillage,
Went tramping in an army's wake,
Along the turnpike of the village.
For days and nights the winding host
Had through the little place been marching,
And ever loud the rustics cheered,
'Till ev'ry throat was hoarse and parching.
The Squire and Farmer, maid and dame,
All took the sight's electric stirring,
And hats were waved and staves were sung,
And kerchiefs white were countless whirring.
They only saw a gallant show
Of heroes stalwart under banners,
And in the fierce heroic glow,
'Twas theirs to yield but wild hosannahs
The Sergeant heard the shrill hurrahs,
Where he behind in step was keeping;
But glancing down beside the road
He saw a little maid sit weeping.
"And how is this?" he gruffly said,
A moment pausing to regard her;—
"Why weepest thou, my little chit?"—
And then she only cried the harder.
[p. 304]
"And how is this, my little chit?"
The sturdy trooper straight repeated,
"When all the village cheers us on,
That you, in tears, apart are seated?
"We march two hundred thousand strong!
And that's a sight, my baby beauty,
To quicken silence into song
And glorify the soldier's duty."
"It's very, very grand, I know,"
The little maid gave soft replying;
"And Father, Mother, Brother too,
All say 'Hurrah' while I am crying;
"But think—O Mr. Soldier, think,
How many little sisters' brothers
Are going all away to fight
And may be killed, as well as others!"
"Why bless thee, child," the Sergeant said,
His brawny hands her curls caressing,
"'Tis left for little ones like you
To find that War's not all a blessing."
And "Bless thee!" once again he cried;
Then cleared his throat and looked indignant,
And marched away with wrinkled brow
To stop the struggling tear benignant.
[p. 305]
And still the ringing shouts went up
From doorway, thatch, and fields of tillage;
The pall behind the standard seen
By one alone, of all the village.
The oak and cedar bend and writhe
When roars the wind through gap and braken;
But 'tis the tenderest reed of all
That trembles first when Earth is shaken.

It is with infinite satisfaction, my boy, that I record the recognition of Commodore Head's priceless services on Duck Lake by the Secretary of the Navy. Our grim old son of Neptune is created Rear-Admiral, with the privilege of snubbing gunboat captains, receiving serenades, attending launches, and lavishing untold scorn upon the feeble imitations of affrighted Europe.

Hence, there would appear to be an imperative demand in current literature for an authoritative


This venerable ornament of our peerless naval service, to whom the eyes of the whole world are now directed, was born of one of his parents at an early period of his existence, and has since incurred the years temporarily elapsing between that epoch and the present auspicious occasion. The subject of our brief biography entered the navy when he was only fifty years [p. 306] old, as commander of the Mackerel iron-plated squadron on Duck Lake, where he became widely noted for success in fishing, as well as for his skill in eluding vessels running the blockade. At one time, indeed, he came very near capturing a Confederate ram, being only prevented by failing to find the key of the box containing his spectacles in time to reconnoiter the wily foe. Commodore Head's conversation concerning the speedy capture of Vicksburg, Charleston, Savannah and Mobile, is instructive to all minds, and his promotion is an event calculated to prove that the war is about to begin in earnest.

Rear-Admirals, my boy, are an aristocratic institution; and their creation must serve to convince besotted Europe, that in making a naval distinction between rank and file, our discriminating Government knows how to compromise matters by bestowing a new rank upon an old file.

It was on Wednesday that my architectural steed, the Gothic Pegasus, renewed his usual weekly journey to desolated Accomac, cheerfully conveying me thither at a speed that did not keep the same roadside house in view more than half an hour at a time. Having hitched the funereal stallion to a copy of Senator Sumner's recent Faneuil Hall speech, believing that document sufficiently heavy to hold him, I gave him a discarded straw-hat of mine for his dinner, and strolled into the Mackerel camp.

To the everlasting disgrace of our rulers be it said, my boy, I found the devoted Mackerel Brigade progressing [p. 307] toward deep suffering at a rate which made me thank Heaven that I owned no chickens within sight of the harrowing scene. Being thoughtlessly supplied with three days' rations at a time, these neglected martyrs incur all the perils of suffocation and cruel nightmare by doing nothing on the first day but eat from morning till night, what is left over at midnight being used to pelt each other with. Then for two whole days these gallant men who are fighting our battles find famine staring them in the face, and I actually heard one emaciated Mackerel chap offering a whole week's pay to another Mackerel chap for a Confederate cracker which he had picked up in a field, wishing to consign that cracker to his friends at home as a sample of the unnatural food with which an ungrateful Republic feeds its faithful soldiers. I even found many Mackerels without knapsacks and blankets, which they had lost in adventures at "Old Sledge"; and there was that in the countenances of others which sured me that their poor faces had not been washed since the commencement of the war!

My soul turns sick at these things, my boy, and they even have an effect upon a beholder's stomach. To think that our noble volunteers, our country's preservers, should be subjected to sufferings in which they have not even the poor consolation of knowing that somebody else than themselves is responsible therefor.

Reflectively I turned from the scene of agony, and had rambled some fifteen minutes in an adjacent bit of woods, when the sound of voices near by made me [p. 308] stop short behind a tree and peer eagerly through an opening in the nearest thicket.

Seated just beyond some evergreen bushes were four dilapidated Confederacies, solemnly discussing the great Emancipation Proclamation of our Honest Abe; whilst close by them, and astride of a mossy stone, was the accomplished swordsman, Captain Munchausen, frantically, and with many hiccups, endeavoring at one and the same time to catch a phantom fly and maintain his equestrian position.

One of the Confederacies took a bite from a cold potato which he held in his hand, and, says he:

"I reckon that it's near time for the unsubjugated South to adopt Retaliatory measures, and proclaim that all prisoners hereafter taken by the Confederacy shall be previously shot and made into bone-ornaments."

Here Captain Munchausen burst into an unseemly peal of laughter as he made another wild clutch at the phantom-fly, and says he:

"Wher—where's Mary's—ary's—snuff-box?"

Not perceiving that this special remark was relevant to the question in view, a second Confederacy merely tightened the string which held his inexpressibles in place, and, says he:

"What has been proposed by the Honorable Gentleman from the Alms House is not sufficiently severe. No mercy should be shown to the Washington demon, and I move that any Federal soldiers found disturbing a Confederacy during the progress of a battle shall be at once executed for arson."

The impression created by this motion extended [p. 309] even to Captain Munchausen, who fell flat on his face in a frantic attempt to catch the spectral insect, and exclaimed, in tones of awful solemnity:

"I don't want (hic) to be marri—ry—arried—Hic!"

After a moment's pause, the third Confederacy finished buttoning his coat with a bit of corn-cob, and says he:

"I move that the last Resolution be amended, to make it a capital crime for any person whatever to be guilty of Federal extraction."

Now, it chanced, my boy, that there was a Mackerel picket eating a confiscated watermelon in a clump of bushes close behind me; and just at this crisis of the debate, he casually tossed a piece of the rind in the direction of the Confederacies. It happened to fall in their midst, whereupon the enraged statesmen were seized with great tremblings, and immediately skedaddled in all directions, the last being Captain Munchausen, who at first endeavored to carry a rock of some hundred pounds' weight away with him, and ultimately retreated in a highly-circuitous manner, with an expression of abject despair under his cap.

It is said, my boy, that the celebrated Confederacy will resent the Proclamation by raising the Black Flag. It is a common belief, that if such be the case, it will be the duty of our generals to raise the blacks without flagging.

Yours, if it come to that,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 310]



Washington, D. C., October 19th, 1862.

It is a beautiful and improving thing, my boy, to see the wise and polished mob of a great nation paying unmitigated reverence to fussy gray hairs, and much shirt collar; and hence I never grew tired of considering the dignified case of the Venerable Gammon, whom everybody regards as the benign paternal relative of his country. When I see Generals, Senators, and other proprietors of Government property, hanging breathlessly upon the words of this sublime old man, just as though such words were so many gallows, I feel the cause of Justice typified to my mind's eye, and am myself enthusiastic enough to believe that hanging is too good for them. Whether at Willard's, the White House, the Capitol, or in his native Mugville, the Venerable Gammon is ever the same beneficent being, beaming blandly upon the whole universe from above his ruffles, and paternally permitting it to exist in his presence.

The precise thing he has done in his fearfully long [p. 311] lifetime, my boy, to beget such an agony of love and worship from everybody, has not yet come to the immediate knowledge of anybody; but he is the moss-grown oracle of the United States of America, and it gives me unspeakable satisfaction to reproduce as follows, his benign letter of advice to the idolized General of the Mackerel Brigade:

Mugville, July 4, 1776.

Dear Sirrah,—Justly regarding you as the next President of the United States, and an honored successor of my old friend, Georgey Washington, I deem it proper, by reason of my great importance and infirmities, to repeat in writing with a pen what I have before spoken to you with my tongue—this supplement to my printed views (dated April the First) on the highly inflamed condition of our glorious and distracted Union.

To meet the expectations of a populace admiring my venerable shape, I deem it consistent with my retiring modesty and infirmities to dictate to you the four plans you may pursue by way of making yourself President of our distracted Commonwealth in 1865.

I.—Throw off the old and assume a new designation—the sly old party; give the South entire control of the whole country, and, my wig upon it, we shall have no secession; but, on the contrary, an early return of the entire Confederacy to Washington. Without some equally benignant measure, we shall be compelled to fight all the Border States and put them [p. 312] down at once, instead of keeping two hundred thousand soldiers peaceably employed in making their loyalty continually sure.

II.—Collect the war taxes outside of the States where the tax-payers live, or declare upon paper that they are already collected.

III.—Conquer the seceded States by the unheard-of agency of an actual army. I think this might be done in a few hundred years by a young and able general to be found on some railroad, with six hundred thousand disciplined spades. Estimating a third of this number to remain for ever stationary on the Potomac, and a loss of a still greater number by consummate strategy and changings of base. The loss of chickens and contrabands on the other side would be frightful, however great the morality of the mudsills.

This conquest would cost money that might otherwise go to beautify the South, secure fifteen swearing and deeply-offended provinces, and be immediately followed by a new election for President in 1865.

IV.—Say to the Seceded States, in one of which I own some mortgages: "How are you, Southern Confederacy?"

Deliberately, I remain,
Your father and the country's,
V. Gammon.
[p. 313]

This touching letter, my boy, I recommend to your most prayerful consideration, as a paternal outpouring of shirt-collared old age.

Old age! how beautiful art thou in the glory of thy spectacles, and the sublime largeness of thy stomach and manner. And yet, would you believe it, my boy? I am sometimes possessed of great doubtings as to the genuineness of that majesty which makes a continually-looming Venerable Shape such a great blessing to an imperiled land. Sometimes there comes to me a rickety vision of:


As Age advances, ails and aches attend,
Backs builded broadest burdensomely bend;
Cuttingly cruel comes consuming Care,
Dealing delusions, drivelry, despair.
Empty endeavor enervately ends,
Fancy forlornly feigns forgotten friends;
Gout, grimly griping, gluttonously great,
Hasten's humanity's hard-hearted hate.
Intentions imbecile invent ideas
Justly jocunding jolly jokers' jeers:
Knowledge—keen kingdom knurlyably known—
Lingers, lamenting life's long lasting loan,
[p. 314]
Mammonly mumming, magnifying motes,
Nurtures numb Nature's narrowest nursery notes,
Opens old age's odious offering out—
Peevish punctilio, parrot-pining pout.
Qualmishly querrying, quarrelsomely quaint,
Rousing rife ridicules' repealed restraint;
Speaking soft silliness—such shallow show
That tottering toysters, tickled, titter too.
Useless, ungainly unbeloved, unblest,
Virtue's vague visor, vice's veiling vest,
Wheezingly whimpering, wanting wisdom, wit,
Xistence, Xigent, Xclaims—Xit!
Youths, you're yelept youth's youngest; yet you'll
Zestless zig-zaggers zanyable zealed.

I exhibited that pleasing little poem to a Mackerel chap, who stuttered, my boy; and he came so near going into apoplexy through his endeavors to read it, that I was obliged to make a joke, in order that he might smile, relax, and recover.

And now let your mind fly, like a wearied dove, to the celebrated Arcadian scenes of festive Accomac, where the Mackerel Brigade continues to reconnoitre in force, and awaits the death of the Confederacy by old age. Men, my boy, who entered this strategic war in the full bloom of youth, now go with stooping shoulders and tottering gait when they have a barrel of flour to carry, and the bloom has departed from every part of them save the extreme tip of that handle [p. 315] of the human countenance which first meets the edge of an open door in the dark. Even the Mackerel brass-band begins to grow feeble, often making pitiable attempts to execute stirring strains on his night key bugle, as though unconscious that by long disuse in his pocket it had become clogged with bread and cheese.

There is, on the Southern border of Accomac, my boy, a solitary house, containing furniture and the necessaries of life, which the Conic Section of the Mackerel Brigade had been ordered to guard. It stands immediately on the verdant banks of Awlkwyet River, where that stream must be at least ten inches deep; and as the first regular bridge is ten miles below it, of course the Conic Section, to guard the house, was placed at the end of that bridge—it being a principle of national strategy never to recognize any Confederate raid not made across a regular bridge.

Now it chanced, that while the Conic Section at the bridge was taking a short nap, having been up very late the night before; and while the beloved General of the Mackerel Brigade was visiting a portion of his beautiful home-circle in Paris, that a very dirty Confederacy, riding in a seedy go-cart, made his appearance on the bank of the river opposite the house, and commenced to make a raid right through the water to the shore this side. His geometrical steed wet his feet thereby, and the wheels of his squeaking vehicle were damped by this barbarian way of offering irregular opposition to the Government; but what cared he for the rules of civilized warfare, which are the only authorized West Point editions? Like all his infatuated [p. 316] countrymen, he was rendered less than strategic by the demon of Secession, and he crossed by the unmilitary ford instead of by the military bridge.

This is, indeed, heart-sickening.

There was a Mackerel chap who slept in the house to take care of a large black bottle, and when he heard the go-cart driving up before the door, he stuck his head out of the window, and says he:

"What is it which you would have in these irregular proceedings, Mr. Stuart?"

The Confederacy dismounted from his chariot, tied a bag of oats over his charger's head, and says he:

"I'm making a raid."

The Mackerel waved his hand southward, and says he:

"You'll find the bridge just below. Don't stay here," says the Mackerel, earnestly, "or you'll exasperate the North to fury."

Here the Confederacy made some remark in which the name of the North and a profane expletive were connected very closely, and proceeded to bring from the house a hobby-horse which stood in the hall. After placing this valuable article in his go-cart, he next brought out a cooking-stove; closely following this with some chairs, a dining-table, two feather beds, a tea-set, four wine-glasses and some tumblers, a looking-glass, four sheets, two cottage bedsteads, a Brussels carpet, and a Maltese cat. With these and a few other exceptions, my boy, he made no attempt to disturb private property; thereby proving that the President's Proclamation has already produced a wholesome effect in the degenerate South. [p. 317]

While this was going on, the vigilant Mackerel guard descended privately from a back window, and made a forced march to where the Conic Section were watching something which looked like a man in the Southern horizon—instantly making known the audacious raid of the thieving Confederacy, and asking whether the new levies of the Executive's last call were likely to arrive early enough to take measures for the prevention of the capture of Washington.

While the question was in debate, my boy, the beloved General of the Mackerel Brigade arrived with his trunk and umbrella from Paris, and having caused it to be telegraphed to all the reliable morning journals that the Confederacy were now in a fair way to be captured alive, he at once took measures to cut off the retreat of the latter. Captain Villiam Brown, with Company 3, Regiment 5, was at once ordered to construct a pontoon bridge across the river some miles below, and watch it vigilantly day and night; Captain Bob Shorty and Colonel Wobert Wobinson, with the Anatomical Cavalry, were dispatched to take possession of a railroad leading to Manassas; whilst Captain Samyule Sa-mith with the balance of the Conic Section, was commanded to make a detour of three hundred miles, and endeavor to reach the invaded house before midwinter set in.

All these movements were in accordance with profound strategy, my boy, and cut off the Confederacy from retreat by every route in the world, except the insignificant one he came by.

Satisfied that the war was going to end in about sixty days, after which we should have time to defeat [p. 318] combined Europe, the Mackerel guard hastened back to the domicil, which he reached just in time to find the Confederacy topping his go-cart with some kindling-wood from the cellar.

I regret to say, my boy—I blush for my species as I make the incredible revelation—that upon receiving the information of his surrounding and probable strategic capture by the vigilant Mackerel Brigade, the irreverent Confederacy burst into a hideous horse-laugh, and at once proceeded to appropriate the poor Mackerel chap's own shoes and stockings. With the deepest horror I record, that he also tweaked the Mackerel's nose.

"I did not intend this as a permanent invasion," says the impious Confederacy, as he remounted his go-cart and turned his geometrical Arabian toward the water again; "but I have just married a daughter of South Carolina—one of two twins—and reckoned that I needed some things to set up housekeeping. Farewell, foul Hessian," says the Confederacy, as he splashed through the water to the opposite bank—"fare thee well, and tell your fiendish ruler, that it is somewhat impossible to conquer the sunny South."

The Mackerel chap gazed thoughtfully after the go-cart as it disappeared on the other side of the balmy Awlkwyet stream, and says he: "Rail on, my erring brother; but if you'd only stayed here one more week, you might not have escaped thus for seven whole days. Had the army been insufficient to secure you," says the Mackerel to himself, "had the army been insufficient to secure you, why, there's the police." [p. 319]

Raids, my boy, are so intrinsically irregular in their character, that no provision can be made for them in a regular army; hence they are sometimes necessitated to take provisions for themselves as they go on.

Yours, radiantly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 320]



Washington, D. C., October 26th, 1862.

Early this morning, my boy, I sauntered across the Long Bridge and took my seat upon the topmost rail of a fence enclosing a trampled meadow. There I sat, like Marius, my boy, contemplating the architectural ruin embodied in my Gothic steed, Pegasus, and ever and anon whistling abstractedly to my frescoed dog, Bologna.

By the gods! I really love these dumb friends of mine. The speculative eye of the world sees in poor Pegasus nothing more than an architectural dream—the church architecture of the future—and, I must confess, my boy, that the Gothic charger does look something like a skeleton chapel at a distance; it sees in Bologna only a mongrel cur, whose taste for the calves of human legs is an epicurean outrage on walking society. But for me, my boy, there is a human pathos in the patient fidelity of these zoological curiosities which appeals to my best manhood. I have had a hard and thankless life of it; my experience with [p. 321] the knowing political chaps of the Sixth Ward was enough to grind everything like human tenderness out of my nature, and make me turn into an arrogant and contemptuous misanthrope; but there are times when the cold nose of Pegasus against my cheek, or a wag from that speaking tail of Bologna—which curls up behind him like a note of interrogation, to ask how his master feels—will give me such a sensation of wishing to protect and be kind to the Helpless, that I feel myself a better man for the practical Christianity of such humble society.

There is my mosquito, the youthful Humboldt, too! He came to me one night, about two years ago, my boy, practising much profound strategy to capture my nose; and when I foiled him by a free use of both arms of the service, the unterrified and humming manner in which he changed the base of his operations and came on again, excited my admiration and respect. Catching him in a little net cage made from the musquito bars of my bed, I kept him safely by me, and now use him as a test of human nature. In God's providence, each minute created thing has its appointed use, my boy, and depend upon it, the use of the musquito is to test human nature.

There was a veteran political chap from Albany called upon me last Sunday night. A sage and aged chap of infinite vest, who wears the broad-brimmed hat of reticent respectability, and nestles in much shirt-collar like a centuried owl. Having taken a pinch of snuff after the dirty manner of a Gentleman of the Old School, he merely paused to take a hasty glance [p. 322] at the plan for the next Senatorial election in his note book, and then says he:

"I'm grievously dis'pointed, yea, piteously vexed, to see the partisan spirit raging so furiously in State elections, at a time when an expiring country calls upon all her sons, irrespective of party, to join hands in the great work of saving her. Why cannot these turbulent denouncers of each other be like me, who recognize no division of party in this national crisis? I would have a union of all men to vote for the one great ticket of my choice; and even the democrat I would recognize as a fellow being in such a case."

I suspected this grievous old chap to be a hypocrite, my boy, and I managed to let Humboldt free from his cage for the purpose of testing him. As the aged chap commenced to get warm, Humboldt began to make raids round his sagacious head, and with divers slaps in the air, the aged chap waxed spirited, and says he;

"Pshoo! pshoo!—As I was saying, we should all strive to conciliate our political adversaries—pshoo! and endeavor to promote a spirit of unity even with the most disaffected peace men—pshoo, you beast!—and not act like Greeley and Wendell Phillips, and Beecher—confound it, pshoo!—and other infernal fanatics; who, by their indiscreet, imprudent—curse it, pshoo!—and infernal, God-forsaken niggerism, are wounding the tenderest feelings—thunder and lightning, pshoo!—and rousing the hellish passions of really good democrats, who thereby make capital from their sadly mistaken—blazes and blue lightning, pshoo!—and devilish craziness, which is unfortunately [p. 323] confusing—good heavens, pshoo, pshoo!—and damning their own party, and knocking thunder out of the gubernatorial canvass; besides—besides—"

Here this aged chap made a flying leap at Humboldt, missed his aim, and then dashed madly from the room.

Depend upon it, my boy, a musquito is a great test of human nature. The little chap operates like an outside conscience, and brings the real thing to the surface.

Why does not the Mackerel Brigade advance?

This, my boy, is the question of the hour. For what do our heroes wait? Is it for india-rubbers, or umbrellas, or fine-tooth combs? No! be not deceived: it is for none of these.

Hem! The fact is, my boy, many respectable though married Mackerels entered the army of the Accomac when they were in the prime of life; and as old age steals softly upon them, as the seasons and the bases of operations run through their changes, and year succeeds year, the eye-sight of many of them waxes dim, and fails in the process of Nature. I know some thousands of Mackerels, my boy, who are already so blind that they have not seen a rebel for six months; and hence, no advance-movement can be judiciously made until the brigade is supplied with spectacles. Without these, the idolized General of the Mackerel Brigade will not do anything until he gets ready. It was the want of these, as I now discover, that prevented our troops seeing the Southern Confederacy when he made his late raid across Awlkwyet River. Let the spectacles be at once procured, my boy; or an [p. 324] indignant and bleeding nation will at once demand a change in the Cabinet.

Company 3, Regiment 5, is the only Company yet fitted with glasses, and was therefore selected to make a reconnoissance toward Paris, under Colonel Wobert Wobinson, on Tuesday afternoon, for the purpose of discovering whether the Confederacies there were very tired of waiting yet. Glaring through their spectacles, these gallant beings advanced until they met a Parrot shell going the other way, and then returned with hasty discipline, bringing with them a captured contraband, who was so anxious to remain in their company that he actually ran very fast.

Upon regaining the camp in Accomac, my boy, the colonel had the intelligent contraband brought before him, and says he:

"If I mistake not, friend Africa, you were escaping from the bonds of oppression when we took you?"

The intelligent contraband shifted a silver soup-ladle from one pocket to the other, and says he:

"Yes, mars'r colonel, I hab left my ole mars'r for de good of his bressed soul." Here the attached bondman sniffed and shook his head.

"Are you pious?" says Colonel Wobinson, much affected by such an example of humble devotion.

"Yes, mars'r I is dat," says the fond creature, wiping his brow with a silk vest from his dress-coat pocket, "and I wished to save my ole mars'r from de sin of de wicked. I know dat it was wrong for him to own niggas, and dat he was more sinful de more he done it. And I run away, Mars'r Colonel, to save dat ole man's bressum soul from any more dam." [p. 325]

Colonel Wobinson took off his spectacles in order that the steam from his tears might not dim them, and says he:

"I had not looked for this in one so black. Leave those silver spoons with me, friend Africa, and I will send them to my wife. Sergeant, convey this dark being, who has taught us all such a lesson of self-sacrifice, to the chaplain; and tell the chaplain to look out for his pocket."

How beautiful is it, my boy, to see in the uncouth, unlettered slave, a spirit of piety so shiningly practical. When I beheld the brutalized bondman evince such signs of religion, I am reminded of those tender and precocious little babes, who sometimes delight their mothers with exalted utterances of the like, and am inclined to believe that one knows just as much about it as the other does.

It pains me to say, my boy, that Captain Villiam Brown so far forgot himself on Wednesday, upon discovering the non-arrival of the spectacles, that he used language of an incendiary description against the beloved General of the Mackerel Brigade, thereby proving himself to be one of those crazy fanatics who are trying to ruin our distracted country. He said, my boy, that the adored General of the Mackerel Brigade was a dead-beat, and furthermore observed that he would be very sorry to take his word.

Such language could not pass unnoticed, and a Court of Inquiry, composed of Captains Bob Shorty, Samyule Sa-mith, and Colonel Wobert Wobinson, was instantly called. The Court had a decanter and tumbler only, to aid its deliberations, it being determined by [p. 326] the War Department that no fact which could be detected even by the aid of a glass, should go uninspected.

Villiam having been summoned to the presence, Samyule declared the Court in session, and says he:

"The sad duty has become ours, to investigate certain charges against a brother in arms which has heretofore been the mirror of chivalry. It is specified against him:

"'First—That said Captain Villiam Brown, Eskevire, did affirm, declare, avow, testify, and articulate, with his tongue, licker, and organ of speech, that the General of the Mackerel Brigade was a dead-beat.

"'Second—That aforesaid Captain Villiam Brown, Eskevire, did proclaim, utter, enunciate, fulminate and swear, that he would not take the word of the General of the Mackerel Brigade.'

"What has the culprit to say to these charges? Did he say that our idolized Commander was a dead-beat?"

Villiam smiled calmly, and says he: "The chaste remark exactly fits the orifice of my lips."

"Confine yourself to English," says Colonel Wobinson, majestically. "What do you mean by the observation?"

"Why," says Villiam, pleasantly, "I meant, that before he was beaten he must be dead. And after death, you know," says Villiam, reaching one hand abstractedly toward the decanter, "after death, you know, we must all b'eaten by worms."

This explanation, my boy, was satisfactory, and conveyed a grave moral lesson; but the court felt convinced [p. 327] that the second charge could not be thus simply answered.

Captain Samyule Sa-mith set down the tumbler for a moment, and says he:

"You're not guilty on the first count, Villiam; but didn't you say that you wouldn't take the word of the General of the Mackerel Brigade?"

"Which I did," says Villiam.

"And what excuse have you to offer, my trooper?" says Captain Bob Shorty, pointing the question with his spoon.

"Is the general a gentleman?" says Villiam, searchingly.

The court believed him to be such.

"Ah!" says Villiam, "then if he's a gentleman, he always keeps his word, and of course it is impossible to take it."

Verdict of "not guilty, with a recommendation to mercy."

Courts of Inquiry, my boy, are calculated to draw out the rich humor of military character, and are equally useful and appropriate with all other jokes, in times of devastating war.

Yours, smilingly,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 328]



Washington, D. C., November 7th, 1862.

The late election in New York, my boy, has electrified everybody except our Honest Abe, who still goes about smiling, like a long and amiable sexton, and continues to save our distracted country after the manner of an honest man. On Tuesday night, a high moral Democratic chap, of much watch-seal, who had just received a dispatch all about the election, went to see the Honest Abe, for the express purpose of telling him that the Democratic party had been born again, and was on the point of protesting against everything whatsoever, except the Constitution of our forefathers. He found the Honest Abe cracking some walnuts before the fire, my boy, and says he:

"The celebrated Democratic organization, of which I am Assistant Engineer, has carried the State of New York in a manner impossible to express, and will now proceed to demand of you a vigorous prosecution of that unnatural strife in which are involved our lives, our liberties, and the pursuit of happiness. We admire [p. 329] to see your harmless honesty," says the chap, blandly, "and we believe you to be a fresh egg; but we protest against the arbitrary arrest of men which is patriots, only conservatively Democratic; and we insist upon a vigorous prosecution of Constitutional hostilities against our misguided brothers who are now offering irregular opposition to the Government."

The Honest Abe cracked a walnut, and says he: "You say, neighbor, that the organization still insists upon a vigorous prosecution of the war?"

The Democratic chap sliced a toothpick from the arm of the chair with his knife, and says he: "That is the present platform on which we are E pluribus unum."

"Well," says the Honest Abe, "I believe that you mean well; but am reminded of a little story.

"When I was practicing law out in Illinois," says the Honest Abe, twisting the bow of his black necktie around from under his left ear, "there was an old cock, with two sons, living near me in a tumble-down old shanty. He lived there until half his roof blew off one windy night, and then he concluded to move to a new house, where the chimney didn't take up all the upper story. On the day when he moved, he'd got most all his traps changed to the other residence, and had sent one of his sons to see that they were all got safely indoors, when suddenly a shower commenced to come up. The old man and his other offspring, who had stayed to hurry him, were taking up a carpet from the floor at the time the first dose of thunder cracked, and the offspring says he, 'Hurry up, old crazy-bones, or we'll be ketched in the freshet before you get up [p. 330] this here rich fabric.' The stern parent heeded the admonition, and went ripping away the carpet around the edges of the room, until he came near where the offspring was standing, and there it stuck. He pulled, but it wouldn't come, and he says, says he: ''Pears to me that dod-rotted tack must be a tenpenny nail—it holds on so.' You see, the old screw was very blind without his specs," says the Honest Abe, buttoning his vest askew, "and he couldn't see just where the tack was. Another peal of thunder at this moment made the irascible offspring still madder, and he says, says he: 'You misabul old cripple, if you don't hurry up we'll be ketched, I tell you!' As he made this dutiful remark he went stamping to the window, and at the same moment the cantankerous tack came out, and the aged parent went over on his back with the carpet up to his chin. He got up and dusted, and says he: 'Well, now, that is cur'ous—how suddent it went.' Then he proceeded to rip away again, until it came near the window, and there it stuck once more. The wild offspring saw him tugging again, and it made him so wrathy that he says, says he: 'Why in thunder didn't you take the nails out first, you crooked old sinner, you? It's enough to make me weep afresh for the old woman, to see how you—' But he didn't finish his observation; for, as he walked toward where the hammer lay, the tack came out, and the old 'un went to bed again under the carpet. Up sprang the sad parent, spitting rags, and he says, says he: 'Well now, how cur'ous—to think it should come so suddent!' Still on he went, until the carpet was all up from around the edges; but when he tried to draw it away [p. 331] on his shoulder, it was fast somewheres yet. R-r-rum-bum-boom! went the thunder; and says the infuriated offspring, says he: 'Well, I never did see such a blundering old dad as you be. We'll be ketched in the rain as sure as grasshoppers; and all because you didn't take my advice about the hammer in the first place.' The poor old 'un tugged, and pulled, and panted, and says he: 'Well, now, it is cur'ous, I swun to massey. There can't be no tacks way out in the middle of the floor here, can they?' To make sure, the old blind-pate was going down on his knees to take a mouse-eye view, when all of a sudden he gave a start, and he says, says he: 'Why, 'pears to me, Sammy, you're standin' on the carpet yourself!' And so he was—so he was," says the Honest Abe, smiling into the fire, "and that was the why the carpet had stuck fast in so many places."

"Now," says the Honest Abe, poking the Democratic chap in the ribs with his knuckles; "if your organization wants me to move vigorously in this war, tell them not to be standing on my carpet all the time. Otherwise, I must still keep tacking about."

The Democratic chap had been slowly rising from his chair as this small moral tale drew toward its exciting conclusion, and at the last word he fled the apartment with quivering watch-seal.

Our President, my boy, has a tale for every emergency, as a rat-trap has an emergency for every tail.

It was on the morning of this same day, that I had a pleasing conversation on the state of our foreign relations with a phlegmatic British chap connected with the English Ministry, who is remaining here for the [p. 332] purpose of beholding anarchy in the North, which he has been requested to immediately communicate to one of Great Britain's morning journals. We were taking Richmond together at Willard's, my boy, and had just been speaking of the English Southern pirate "Alabama" in terms of neutrality, when suddenly the phlegmatic chap drew a roll of silk from one of his pockets, fastened it to his cane, unfurled it before my eyes, and says he:

"By the way, sir, 'ow do you like this ere h'original h'idea of mine? Do you see what it is?"

"Yes, friend Bifstek," says I, Frenchily, "that is indeed the Black Flag."

The chap turned very red in the face, my boy, and says he: "The Black Flag! what a 'orrible h'idea! You must be thinking of the h'Alabama. What h'induces you to suppose such a thing!"

The Black Flag

"Why," says I, "there's the Skull and Crossbones plain enough." [p. 333]

"Skull and Crossbones!!" says he, "why, that's the beautiful Hinglish crest—a crown and sceptres; and this is my new h'original design, ye know, for a new Hinglish Revenue Flag."

It was then, my boy, that I discovered my error, and apologized for my obliquity of vision. It was strange, indeed, that I should mistake for a skull the insignia of royalty, even though a crown is not unfrequently found identified with a numskull.

On the same Tuesday, my boy, there was a small election in a town just this side of Accomac, and I went down there early in the morning, to the office of the excellent independent evening journal, that I might see the returns as soon as they came in. The editor was talking to two chaps—a Republican and a Democrat—and, says he:

"The organ which my humble talents keep a-going is strictly independent, and I have no choice of candidates. I care only for my country, one and individual," says the editor, touchingly, "and can make no arbitrary discrimination of mere parties; but as you both advertise your tickets in my moral journal, a sense of duty may induce me to favor the side whose advertisement weighs the most."

After this gentle insinuation, my boy, each chap hastily commenced to write his advertisement. The Republican inscribed his upon a very heavy piece of brown wrapping-paper to make it weighty; but the Democrat selected a plain bit of foolscap, only putting in a hundred-dollar Treasury Note, to keep it from blotting.

When the editor came to look at the two, he coughed [p. 334] slightly, and says he: "I have always been a Democrat."

"But my advertisement certainly weighs the most," says the Republican chap, hotly.

The editor ate a chestnut, and says he: "Not in an intellectual sense, my friend."

"My paper is twice as heavy as his," says the chap; "and as to the Treasury Note, I had some scruples—"

"There!" says the editor, interruptingly, "you tell the whole story, my friend. In the temple of a free and reliable press, as well as elsewhere, some scruples bear very little proportion in weight to one hundredweight."

The American press, my boy, might occasionally adopt as an appropriate motto, the present Napoleon's observation, that "L'Empire c'est la PAY."

Turning from intellectual matters, let me glance at our country's hope and pride, the Mackerel Brigade, each member of whom feels confident of ultimately crushing out this hideous Rebellion as soon as national strategy shall have revealed the present whereabouts of the affrighted Confederacy. Last week, my boy, the Brigade moved gorgeously from Accomac, headed by the band, who played exciting strains upon his night-key bugle; and was only fired upon from the windows of wayside houses by helpless women, against whom the United States of America do not make war.

Woman, my boy, is the most helpless of God's creatures; and is so far from having power to help any other being, that she even can't help being herself sometimes.

The sun shone brightly down upon the spectacles of [p. 335] the ancient Mackerels as they once more took the road toward Paris; and as the light was reflected from the glistening glasses upon the carmine noses of which they were astride, it seemed as though each warrior had a rose in the middle of his countenance to symbolize the beautiful idea, that they had all arose for their distracted country's preservation.

Captain Villiam Brown, mounted on his geometrical steed, Euclid, was conversing affably with Captain Bob Shorty, as they rode along together, when a Lieutenant of the Anatomical Cavalry came dashing toward him, and says he:

"Captain, there's something missing from the rearguard."

Villiam assumed a thoughtful demeanor, and says he: "Is it a miss fire?"

"No," says the Lieutenant, agitatedly: "but we miss two—"

"Not baggage wagons?" says Villiam, giving such a start that Euclid nearly fell upon his knees; "don't tell me that two wagons are missing."

"Why no," says the Lieutenant, with emotion, "it's not two wagons that we miss, but two Brigadiers."

"Ah!" says Villiam, fanning himself with his cap. "How you alarmed me. I thought at first that it was two wagons. Let the procession go on, and I'll send for two more Brigs the next time I have a friend going to Washington."

It would please me, my boy, to detail the further movements of the Mackerels, but the cause of strategy demands that I should say no more on that topic just at present. [p. 336]

The beloved General of the Mackerel Brigade was at Washington when he heard of the advance which his enemies would pretend that he did not lead in person, and says he to the messenger:

"Are my gallant children ready for a fight?"

"Much so," says the messenger.

"Is the weather clear, my child?"


"Thunder!" says the General, valorously. "Then I really believe that I must move my headquarters across the Potomac!"

The Potomac, my boy—to speak with all due reverence for sacred things—in the numerous backs and forths it so constantly imposes upon the military, would seem calculated to turn this war into another Crusade, and make all our heroes literal soldiers of the "cross."

Yours, metaphorically,
Oepheus C. Kerr.

[p. 337]



Washington, D. C., November 12th, 1862.

Herr Tuyfeldock, my boy, the high-Dutch cosmopolitan, supernaturalized the last meeting of the club with his old-fashioned story of


"At the base of a lofty mountain, and overshadowed by its beetling cliffs, stood a rude hut, built of heavy logs, and surmounted by a roof, the eaves of which descended in broad scollops over the windows of the tenement, and gave it the appearance of a small boy wearing his father's hat. In the surrounding scenery there was a wild grandeur and magnificence with which no work of art would have been in keeping. Immediately in the rear of the humble habitation, abruptly rose one of a range known as the Hartz Mountains, stretching far away toward the west in waves of bright and shadowy emerald, as the light fell upon [p. 338] them, and covered with gloomy forests, peopled with unblest spirits by the legends of olden times. In front and on both sides, spreading out its vast expanse of verdant soil, until it appeared to meet with the horizon, was a noble plain, bearing scattered clumps of trees, through which a few isolated huts were discernable. It was like Light and Shade meeting, with the hut under the cliff to mark their boundaries.

"Evening had just begun to tint the fragrant air with her sombre hues, when a figure was apparent, moving over the plain in the direction of the lonely domicil, and, as it approached nearer, the muscular form and pleasing features of a young hunter were visible. He was exceedingly tall, yet symmetrical in every limb, and quick in his movements as a chamois on its native hills. His dress comprised a coat and leggins of blue material, ornamented with silver buttons, a pair of heavy boots, and a narrow-brimmed straw hat, from which a wolf's tail depended. He carried a long rifle, and a bag for small game swung, with a powder flask, or horn, at his side.

"Arriving in front of the hut, he paused a moment to examine some footprints on the soil, and then tapped gently at the door with the butt of his piece. In an instant it was opened by a beautiful girl, with light blue eyes, flaxen curls, and a complexion of pure red and white, who, though dressed in the coarsest attire, yet looked and shone a perfect goddess of the solitude.

"'Dearest Marcella,' exclaimed the hunter, seizing her extended hand, and carrying it to his lips with all the ardor of a lover. [p. 339]

"'I feared you were not coming to-night, Wilhelm,' answered Marcella, with a blush of pleasure, as she led him into the hut by the hand which she still retained.

"The apartment thus entered occupied the whole structure, save a portion apparently partitioned off with wolf skins; and a rude table, six chairs, and a goatskin covered couch, were the only articles of furniture it contained, excepting a few trophies of the chase hanging from the walls, and a woodman's axe placed over the mantel. The floor was composed of logs, and was very uneven, save directly opposite the fire-place, where a large flat stone was firmly imbedded in the earth; and a small oil lamp, swinging in chains from the arching roof above, gave forth a pale light which mingled imperceptibly with that of departing day in a mellow twilight.

"'Marcella,' said Wilhelm, as they sat beside each other on the couch, 'I can scarcely realize that you are the wild little fairy, with whom I used to explore the dark woods of haunted Hartz. I can remember, too, standing with you under the blighted pine, and relating old legends which I heard my father tell, while you listened with breathless attention, and looked like a startled chamois, when the wind rustled among the leaves.'

"'Those were happy days!' murmured Marcella.

"'They were, indeed!' continued Wilhelm, with enthusiasm—'yet why should infancy monopolize all the richest pleasures of life? As we grow older, our understanding becomes more clearly defined, and circumstances which rendered our childhood happy, should [p. 340] become more truly appreciated as blessings, instead of growing homely and irksome to us.'

"'It is because the matured mind requires a wider field for exercise,' said Marcella. 'When I used to roam with you in the forest or on the plain, those localities constituted our little world, and I cared for no other; but as my father taught me the learning of books, I awoke to a sense of uneasiness, and a consciousness of restricted liberty. The beautiful world of which I read became replete with attractions hitherto unknown to me, and I longed to quit these wild scenes, and behold the palaces of princes.'

"'So it was with me,' responded her lover. 'As you may remember, my parents hoarded up their little earnings, that I might enjoy the advantages of education, and I went to Gottingen with the feeling of one who was about to drink of pleasure at its fountain-head; but alas! Marcella, the wide world is like a piece of glass, which may sparkle in the distance with all the brilliancy of a diamond, and after leading us wildly onward, becomes the more worthless, for our endeavors to gain a closer view. I imagined that the learning of schools would confer happiness; it became mine, and I found it a mockery. I mixed with the rich, gay and gifted; but my object still eluded pursuit. Marcella, I became convinced that I left true happiness behind me, when I departed from home; and returned to its shelter, resolved to leave it no more. I tasted of the cup, and found it bitter.'

"'My father talks in that manner,' answered Marcella. 'He hates the world for the injury it has done him, and even our few neighbors excite his scorn, by [p. 341] their foolish fears of him. I am sure if they knew him well, they could not help loving him as I do; he is so noble, so brave, so generous, that I cannot understand why he is called "The Demented," unless it is because his superior intelligence is regarded by the hinds as a supernatural gift. Perhaps that is the reason,' she added, haughtily.

"'You wrong the honest peasants,' said the hunter, hastily; 'who, though ignorant, possess the gifts of reason and discrimination. Your father will not allow them to know him better, and the extraordinary quantity of game which he obtains would arouse superstitious whispers from more enlightened minds.'

"'Poor deluded creatures!' exclaimed Marcella, scornfully. 'Because my father's aim is truer than theirs, ought he to be looked upon as one demented? Because, by his skill in woodcraft, he surpasses their success, should they shun him with looks of horror? Because he refuses to join in their low revels, should they regard him as a ghost-seer? Wilhelm, you have learning, and ought to frown down these foolish superstitions, instead of partaking in them. Did you love Marcella as you have often sworn you do, the man who spoke evil of her parent, would from that moment become your enemy.'

"'And so he should, dearest Marcella; but alas! their suspicions are but too well founded, and though you may be offended, I dare not deny that I myself believe him to be in league with the Evil One.'

"'Then leave me!' exclaimed Marcella, starting from beside him. 'Why should you wish to wed the child of such a man? Might you not find a devil in [p. 342] me? Why should I love a being whose lips have declared my father a demon? Go! Wilhelm, I took you for a man; but you have the soul of a dwarf.'

"Her eyes flashed indignation as she spoke, and in the eyes of her lover she appeared more beautiful than ever.

"'I can forgive your reproaches, for I know them to be actuated by noble sentiments,' he replied, drawing her gently back to her seat. 'Honor to our parents is nature's first law, and God forbid that I should condemn it; but, dearest Marcella, there should be no reserve between us, who have grown up side by side, as it were, and I speak to you as I would to no one else—not even my parents. That I love you, you surely cannot doubt, and that love would be worth little to either of us, did it enjoin concealment of our true opinions from each other. I speak as an honest man, when I tell you, that I once beheld your father in the Black Forest, accompanied by a stranger, who was not of this world.'

"'Great God!' ejaculated Marcella, starting up with affright.

"'Forgive me, dearest; but you forced me to say it in my own defence. Calm yourself and we will talk of this fearful subject no longer.'

"'Wilhelm, you are not trifling with me?'

"'As I hope to be saved, no.'

"The daughter of Hermann trembled for a moment, as though the spirit of Fear had touched her, and the dim rays of the swinging lamp, as they fell upon her finely cut features, revealed the undisguised terror [p. 343] there betrayed. But she quickly settled rigidly as a marble effigy, and her voice was firm, as she said:

"'Wilhelm, I believe you, and may God help my unfortunate father. Tell me of what you saw, and disguise nothing!'

"'It were better to remain untold, Marcella.'

"'I must and will hear it,' she answered with cold determination.

"'Then it must be told,' said the young hunter, with an involuntary shudder. 'On the second day after my arrival from Gottingen University, I started out from my father's cot, to course hares, taking with me my dog and rifle, intending to remain absent all day. For some hours I was quite successful, and succeeded in killing a score of the fleet animals, but after noon they grew scarce, and as the sun was sinking in the west, I paused wearied and exhausted on the borders of the Black Forest, while my dog was panting in the shade. As I stood thus, leaning upon my gun, the sound of a bugle call fell upon my ears, and almost immediately afterwards your father suddenly passed me in the direction from whence it came, looking straight forward with a stony, fascinated stare, so full of mingled despair and earnestness, that I trembled with superstitious fear, and even my dog crawled to my feet, quivering in every limb. Onward he strode, unconscious of a watcher, to a shaded spot on the border, just beyond my position, known as the Witch's Circle. As he reached it, the bugle was again sounded, when immediately a tall cloaked figure rode out of the forest to meet him, and they saluted each other in silence. I could not discern the stranger's features, [p. 344] but I noticed with breathless horror that the steps of the horse which he rode, as well as those of another which he led by the bridle, gave forth no more sound than if they were planted in air——'

"Wilhelm suddenly paused in his narrative, as a beautiful White Fawn suddenly sprang from behind a suspended wolf skin, and alighted directly in front of him. Daylight no longer lent its rays to illumine the apartment, and as the animal's eyes were visible through the misty beams of the lamp, they seemed to glare and blaze like coals of vivid fire.

"'Heaven preserve me!' ejaculated the young hunter, crossing himself.

"'It is my pet, Leo; do not fear him,' said Marcella in low tones.

"'Your father mounted the unoccupied saddle,' continued Wilhelm, going on with his adventure; 'and together they disappeared between the pines; noiselessly as the falling of a feather. At short intervals I heard the sound of the bugle growing fainter and fainter, until it died away in the windings of the mountains. I called my dog and hastened home, without daring to look behind, lest I should behold the mysterious riders following on my track.'

"A short silence succeeded, during which Marcella gently wept, and caressed the fawn. At length she spoke:

"'Dear Wilhelm, I now see the reason why you have ever avoided my father, and come here only while he is away. Perhaps it is better that you should continue to do so, for he is very irritable, and your meeting might be attended with fearful results. Leave [p. 345] me, Wilhelm; I expect him every moment; it is already past his usual time of return.'

"'I must speak with your father to night, dearest,' said the hunter, encircling her waist with his arm.

"'God forbid!' she exclaimed, looking up to him with great alarm.

"'It must be so, Marcella; I am about to ask a gift of him, and his answer will either make me the happiest of men, or leave me miserable for life. I will ask his daughter of him as one who has a just claim, and I cannot believe he will refuse me.'

"'Wilhelm, you do not know my——'

"At this moment there came a measured rapping at the door, and Marcella arose to open it, trembling with undefined dread. Hermann the Demented pressed a kiss upon her brow as he passed the threshold, and entered his cabin.

"He was an old man, for his hair was grey, and deep wrinkles furroughed his brow; but his form was fully developed and upright as that of meridian manhood, and there was a changing fire in his eye that indicated all the energy of youth. His dress was a mixture of military and peasant garb, and he wore a tall, black felt hat, encircled with a red ribbon. Game of every kind hung in such profusion from his broad shoulders, that it almost entirely concealed his person, and he bore in his hand a rifle which few men could handle. On arriving beneath the lamp, he deposited his spoils upon the floor, and then, for the first time, observed the presence of the young hunter.

"'Ha! is that you Wilhelm!' he exclaimed, casting [p. 346] aside his rifle, and extending his hand in a friendly manner, 'I am especially glad to welcome a brother craftsman to my cover, on a night when I have had such uncommon luck. Look at that heap, and tell me if you ever saw another such.'

"'You are famed as a fortunate hunter,' answered the other, gazing upon the immense pile at his feet with astonishment.

"'Yes, yes, Wilhelm, there are few men can bag hares with Hermann, the Demented,' and the old man laughed a hollow laugh.

"'Your skill must indeed be extraordinary, when it enables you to secure many of these animals after nightfall, and without hounds,' returned Wilhelm, looking fixedly at the hunter with a penetrating glance.

"Immediately upon the entrance of her father Marcella had drawn the table from the wall, and commenced to prepare an humble meal; she was standing in a distant corner of the cabin, when her lover spoke thus:

"Hermann started back with a look of fierce anger.

"'What mean you, young man!' he asked in stern tones.

"'I had no intention of giving offence, Mynheer Hermann.'

"'Your looks, at least, were impertinent,' muttered the old hunter, turning abruptly from him, and commencing to sort his game.

"The simple meal was soon ready, and the three persons partook of it without so much as a whisper. When it was finished, and while the young girl was [p. 347] replacing her few utensils, Hermann produced a large Meerschaum pipe, and having filled it with tobacco, lit it with a chip from the fire-place; looking inquiringly at his guest as he smoked.

"'You were, doubtless, surprised to find me here?' said the latter, with some hesitancy in his manner.

"'I am not often so highly honored,' responded Hermann, quietly sending forth a wreath of smoke from between his teeth.

"'Do you understand my object, Mynheer Hermann?'

"'Certainly I do, Mynheer Wilhelm.'

"'Indeed,' ejaculated the young hunter, with a look of inquiry.

"'Of course,' said Hermann, ironically; 'you come to my cot, Mynheer Wilhelm, hoping to behold some diabolical orgie, or the working of some cabalistic spell, by which I secure success in the chase. You expect to see me in communion with the mountain spirits, and allowing a long-tailed demon to breathe upon my rifle. Look around you, my honored guest; is not my daughter some horrid witch in disguise? Is not this gentle fawn, a bloodthirsty spectre metamorphosed? Do you not see at least a dozen goblins climbing the barrel of my rifle? Ha, ha, ha! you will add another to the thousand and one legends about Hermann the Demented. And tell me, young man, what is to prevent my offering you as a sacrifice to my counsellor, the devil? People would say it served you right, for entering this unholy place. You had better depart before my familiar makes his appearance to sup with me, from the skulls of children. I assure [p. 348] you, mynheer, that yonder stone bottle contains human blood. Fly, before the spell begins to work.'

"Although the old man frequently laughed while speaking, there was a hollowness, and unreal zest in his mirth, that made the young hunter shudder.

"'You have made a great mistake, Mynheer Hermann,' he replied calmly. 'I came here with no such despicable intentions as those you attribute to me. To be plain and honest with you, I am here to ask a gift of you.'

"'What is it, boy?'

"'Your daughter, mynheer.'

"Dropping the pipe, and springing to his feet, Hermann confronted his guest, glaring upon him with vindictive fury.

"'Wretch! dare you insult me?' he howled, gnashing his teeth.

"'Mynheer Hermann, be calm, I beseech you; you have obliged me to make the request thus abruptly, and I am willing to abide the consequences. I love Marcella, and she loves me. I would make her my wife.'

"For a moment, the father held his hand to his brow and fixed a glance upon the young hunter, as though to read his inmost soul; then turning quickly to his child, who sat near him, trembling with fear, he asked excitedly:

"'Is this true, Marcella?'

"'Yes, dear father,' she replied, arising from her seat, and laying her head fondly upon his breast.

"He looked down upon her beautiful face, suffused with tears, in silence; slowly the flash of anger faded [p. 349] from his countenance, leaving the gleam of idolatrous affection shining there. The feelings of a parent overcame all others, and a bright drop glistened on his cheek.

"'My darling, my only treasure,' he murmured, pressing her closely to him. 'Your happiness is my only earthly object.'

"'Wilhelm,' he continued, placing his disengaged hand upon the youth's shoulder, 'I wronged you in my suspicions, and ask your forgiveness. Your face, as well as that of my darling, convince me that I wronged you. Yet I cannot grant you my child, until you have first heard somewhat of her history, and my own. Not but that she is a jewel, the proudest king might wear upon his bosom with honor,' he continued, with spirit; 'but no man shall ever accuse me of practising a lie.'

"He resumed his seat, still holding Marcella closely to his bosom, and went on:

"'To no other living being have I ever told my strange story, and there is that in your countenance, which tells me you are no traitor. Listen attentively to what I say: I was born on the estate of a nobleman in Transylvania, to whom my father was steward, and spent the happiest days of my existence roving about those vast domains, a free and joyous child. At the age of thirteen, I was placed in a school, where I advanced rapidly in learning, until I was the acknowledged phenomenon of the village, and the pride of my fond father. Years of unalloyed peace rolled over my head, during which I wooed the beautiful daughter of a landed gentleman—won and married her by stealth. [p. 350] Her father's rage knew no bounds in the first moments of discovery, and he threatened to separate us; but my wife's entreaties soon banished his anger, and we were soon received in full favor both by him and my own parents. Oh! what unsubstantial, foolish, joyous days were those! How did I idolize the girl, whom I had won, as a heathen worships his household god.

"'At length a fearful epidemic swept the country; my father was one of the first victims, and my heartbroken mother soon followed him, bequeathing us her dying benediction. It was my first trial, and in the bitterness of my grief, I left the familiar scenes of my boyhood. To this spot I came with my beautiful wife and built this cabin, resolving to spend the remainder of my days in these soothing solitudes. But my fate was yet to be accomplished. My father's employer found me out, and sent a message, earnestly requesting me to become his steward. Yielding to the importunities of my wife—for I could refuse her nothing—I accepted the proposal, and journeyed back to Transylvania with a heavy heart; for a cloud seemed hanging over me, a presentiment of sorrow to come. The nobleman received me more as an equal than as a servant, and uttered many encomiums on my father's worth, which could not but prove grateful to a heart like mine. I loved and honored him at once; and resolved to testify my gratitudė by a faithful discharge of my duties. He was still a young man, but I felt no jealousy, when the idol of my heart praised him, blind wretch that I was! At length, the cloud, so long forming, burst over me in a flood of misery. Almost immediately after the birth of our daughter, the father [p. 351] of my Marcella came to me and imparted a secret that almost deprived me of my senses. Poor old man! he thought I knew all before, and my ravings filled him with alarm. Frantically I swore revenge, and with murder in my heart, was about to seek the destroyer of my peace; but the old man restrained me, and after a violent debate, I resolved to say nothing to my wife about the matter, and kept a strict watch upon her. Alas! her father's suspicions proved too just. I surprised her in company with her paramour, and after loading them with the bitterest curses, took my daughter and returned to the hut under the cliff. My whole life was blighted, every hope was crushed; but the very madness of my despair gave me strength, and I swore vengeance on my enemy. On the evening of that fearful day, after lulling my unfortunate child to sleep, I knelt down on the flat stone before you, and in the fervor of delirium, called upon The Spirits of Hartz Mountains for aid. Scarcely had the sacrilegious petition left my lips, when there came a gentle knocking at the door, accompanied by a shrill bugle note, signifying bewilderment in the forest. Like one in a dream, I answered the mysterious summons, and immediately a White Fawn bounded into the hut, followed by a tall stranger, wrapped in a cloak of fine material.

"'"You called me and I have come," he said, in tones that made me shudder, and peer into his eyes, in which there was a fearful fascination which I could not resist.

"'"Who are you?" I managed to articulate.

"'"Varno of The Black Forest," he answered, in a [p. 352] voice of rolling thunder. I know not why it was, but at his reply my fear vanished, and my wrongs arose before me in their darkest coloring.

"'"Can you aid me?" I asked, returning his piercing glance. Never shall I forget the fearful distinctness with which he said:

"'"Hermann Vandervelt, I know what you would require of me, and you shall be satisfied, but there is a price attached to my services; three requests shall be granted, and then you must be mine, soul and body. Will you swear to this?"

"'Like a maniac, I fell upon my knees before the stranger, shouting, in the height of passion: "Grant me but revenge upon the betrayer of my honor, and I will be yours, eternally yours, soul and body yours; I swear by the God who—"

"'"Silence!" thundered the stranger, his eyes glowing like coals of withering, devouring fire.

"'"Hermann, you must swear by the Spirits of Hartz Mountains." Wrought up to frenzy, I obeyed him. He dictated a fearful oath, and when I had repeated it, he said, in tones that froze my blood:

"'"Hermann Vandervelt, take your rifle and seek your enemy; he shall fall by your hand. I will leave you this animal (pointing to the fawn,) and when you would see me, let it return to the forest. Remember, I have granted one request; two more shall be granted, and then you will be mine."

"'His horrid laugh is still ringing in my ears. In silence, I opened the door, and beheld, dimly through the darkness, a tall steed with blazing eyes, standing [p. 353] motionless upon the plain. As the stranger passed me, a momentary chill, like that of the grave, fell upon me; he mounted, and I saw him no longer. Grasping my rifle, I fled through the darkness like a fiend of blood, the White Fawn following my footsteps like a hound. No rest, no meat, did I take until I saw my enemy lying before me, bleeding to death, while the Fawn lapped his blood.

"'"I am Hermann!" I shouted in his ears, and then flew back wildly, as I came. My child was nearly dead from neglect when I returned from the doubly-cursed spot; but I tended her faithfully, and she soon went forth with me to the forest; and the White Fawn never left her side.

"'I was a successful hunter at first; but suddenly my fortune changed, and I could get no more food. Then was the spell of madness on me once more, and I set the White Fawn free. Again there came a knocking at the door; again the Fawn sprang in, followed by its master. My second request was granted—there remains but one more! From that night my familiar has met me on the borders of the Black Forest nightly, and the darkest depths are filled with game for me. Such is my story, Wilhelm, and here, on my bosom, reposes the child of my affection. Speak boldly, as becomes a man; would you wed the daughter of Hermann, the Demented?'

"While the old man related his fearful story, various emotions were apparent on the handsome face of Wilhelm, but at its conclusion unwavering resolution was stamped upon his features.

"'Hermann!' he said, extending his right hand to [p. 354] the old hunter, 'I sincerely pity you as the victim of circumstances, but the blight does not touch Marcella; I love her more dearly than ever, and if you will give her to me, she shall find in me a husband who would shed his last drop of blood for her.'

"'Wilhelm, you are worthy of my child, take her and may heaven grant you the blessings it has denied to me. Bring a holy man here to-morrow, and make her rightly yours. I would see her happy before I—' He suddenly paused, placed his weeping daughter in her lover's arms, and turned aside to hide the starting tear.

"Soon Wilhelm was wending his way over the plain, and the innocent Marcella retired to her narrow apartment of wolf skins; but the old man sat with his face beneath the lamp, and the White Fawn crouched beside him. Long did he meditate through the lonely watches of the night, and the sweat of agony stood upon his temples. Slowly did he stagger to where the wolf skins hung, and raising them in his trembling hands, dwelt mournfully upon the picture before him. There, on her couch, in all the artless grace of slumber, lay the only being on earth whom he loved. One faultless arm was hidden beneath the pillow, the other half shadowed her face, and bore a glossy veil of flaxen curls. Her ruby lips were apart, as though she had fallen asleep while yet the evening prayer was on her tongue. Dimly streamed the light of the swinging lamp upon the human temple of purity, and Hermann, the Demented, wept like an artless child.

"'It must be done—it is the last,' he murmured, [p. 355] dropping the rude partition, and quickly opening the cabin door.

"Swift as the meteor falling through the shades of night, flew the White Fawn out into the darkness, with a plaintive cry. With bowed head the old man clasped his hands and listened. He hears a shot, a bugle note echoes through the dew-ladened air, and the ghostly rider is again at his door.

"'You sent for me, and I am here,' said Varno, entering the cabin, and casting the White Fawn cold and dead, upon the floor.

"'I ask your aid!' said Hermann firmly.

"'Remember, it is the third and last time,' muttered the stranger.

"'I will fulfil my oath. Grant me my wish.'

"'Beware!' thundered the other.

"'Speak not so loudly, or you will wake my child,' said the hunter, gazing fearfully toward where Marcella slept.

"'Fear not, good Hermann, the sleep of the innocent cannot be disturbed by a Spirit of Evil. Declare your wish and it shall be granted.'

"'Then hear me, fiend, devil, or whatever thou art! I would have my child happy; I would have her husband ever warm in his love for her as he is this moment; I would have the curse of her parents forever averted from her head. Grant me this and I am thine.'

"'It shall be so,' answered Varno, with something like pity in his tones. 'Thou must meet me at sunset on the evening of to-morrow, beside the Witch's Circle—there [p. 356] shall our compact be fulfilled. This is the third and last. Remember.

"The dark spirit passed from the hut under the cliff but his shadow lingered behind; and the old hunter knelt beneath the swinging lamp, with the dead fawn at his feet, desolate and lone.

"The day smiled brightly on Marcella, the genial sunbeams dispelling night's horrors. She looked sadly when her father told her how the White Fawn had been wounded by some wandering hunter, and had sought the hut to die there; but the presence of Wilhelm made her cheerful as the morn, and Hermann felt rewarded for his sacrifice.

"A missionary monk stood within the old cabin, and said the words that joined two lives in one. When the holy rite was finished, the wedded pair knelt at the feet of The Demented, and called down Heaven's richest blessings on his head; but alas! he could not say 'Amen,' for he remembered his compact, and the words of Varno still rang in his ears. He watched his child with more than earthly care till the sun began to sink once more behind the Black Forest, then seizing his rifle, he kissed her blushing cheek, and sallied forth toward the mountains.

"'Dear father, may you soon give up such unholy pastimes,' murmured Marcella, looking fondly after him as his grey hairs floated in the wind.

"'God grant that he may,' murmured her husband, fervently, pressing her to his heart.

"But the old hunter returned no more. The wolf started as he lay in his lair, when a man rushed by his covert in the Black Forest. A bugle, wildly sounded, awoke [p. 357] the bird in his leafy bower. Two men met at the Witch's Circle, while a day was dying, and the shades of the wood closed over them forever."

       *       *       *       *       *

Yours, contemplatively,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

[p. 358]



Washington, D. C., November 15th, 1862.

As I calmly observe the present situation of our military affairs, my boy, and consider how persistently the Blue Ridge continues to get between our great strategic army and the dilapidated Southern Confederacy, I am impressed with the idea that the salvation of our distracted country demands the removal of either the Blue Ridge or the beloved General of the Mackerel Brigade.

I admit, my boy, that the Mackerel Brigade has spent time enough in one locality since the last battle to remove the incompetent and imbecile Blue Ridge, and that the immense number of spades consigned to that veteran corps might be construed into the belief that they were really engaged in that great stragetic task. Furthermore, that the Mackerels have only succeeded in marching fifteen miles in six weeks, legitimates the supposition that they are going up very steep hills; but it must be borne in mind, my boy, that it is [p. 359] the Honest Abe's best policy to conciliate all political parties for the sake of Northern unity of action, and it cannot be doubted that the removal of the Blue Ridge at this crisis would occasion the bitterest heart-burnings and jealousies in the manly bosom of our nation's Democratic organization. It would be construed into proof that the Honest Abe had yielded to the fiendish clamor of the crazy Abolitionists, and had rendered a restoration of the adored Union-as-it-Was of our forefathers impossible, by destroying that Blue Ridge which was an essential part of the Union. The manly Organization, my boy, would prefer an armistice with the unseemly Confederacy to a removal of the Blue Ridge—a removal, my boy, authorized neither by the Constitution, the pursuit of happiness, nor the rights of man. The Blue Ridge is at the head of our army, and our army is at the foot of the Blue Ridge. The mistaken Confederacy is on the other side, my boy, and the Organization very justly reasons, that the fiendish Abolitionists virtually confess themselves to be, in heart, on the same side with the Confederacy; for if their desired removal of the Blue Ridge were carried out, the distinction of the two opposite sides would be practically lost, and the United States of America and the Southern Confederacy would be all on one side, and there might be an unconstitutional collision.

Hence, my boy, the Honest Abe has concluded to leave the Blue Ridge where it is, and remove the idolized General of the Mackerel Brigade.

But before I proceed to describe the inexpressible anguish produced by the adoption of even this grievous [p. 360] alternative, permit me to record the useful proceedings of the National Insanitary Committee, in their philanthropical investigation of the lunacy now prevailing to an alarming extent in the Army of Accomac.

For some weeks past, my boy, insanity has been frightfully upon the increase in the ranks of the unconquerable Mackerel Brigade. Many Mackerels have even gone raving at times, persisting in the vague and incoherent exclamation that they "Couldn't See It." There was some hope that this terrible mental aberration might be stayed, if the superannuated corps were supplied with spectacles; but the relief thus given was only temporary; and finally, when one of the poor maniac chaps went so far as to yell, that, even by the aid of his spectacles, he couldn't see what was the use of butting against the Blue Ridge all the time, it was deemed proper to call in the National Insanitary Committee.

Captain Samyule Sa-mith, whose duty it was to draw the Brigade up in two lines—the sane chaps on one side of the fence, and the insane on the other—hastened back to Accomac to finish a game of "Old Sledge," on which four drinks were distinctly pending, and left the aged Committee to perform its task at leisure.

In anticipation of this sad ceremony, my boy, I had sent my architectural steed, the gothic Pegasus, down to Accomac, and thither I went on Tuesday morning, to amble totteringly from thence to the scene of Insanitary proceedings.

The Committee had just commenced work upon its line of chaps, and was examining the patients one by one. [p. 361]

The first invalid, Lively Mike, was born in the Sixth Ward, and weighed ninety-two pounds. He was a poor, slouching chap, my boy, resembling poverty's Ruin, two-thirds covered by an ivy vine of rags. His angular countenance was rich with unwashings, save a clean irregular circle just around his ugly mouth.

I asked how it happened that this one part of his face was clean, when all the rest was dirty; and they told me, my boy, that it was the place where his poor old mother had kissed him at parting.

Lively Mike's first symptom of his dreadful malady was a feeling of overwhelming weariness, as though he had been for a long time in one spot doing nothing. The feeling deepened into sullen, dangerous madness, until it was finally unsafe to let him go at large, as he had several times attempted to shoot scouting Confederacies.

The next hopeless patient was Big-nose Jake. Born at the commencement of his career in the Sixth Ward, and weighing ninety-four pounds without his knapsack, Big-nose had always enjoyed good health, with the exception of starvation; but was in the habit of muttering to himself that Strategy was a great humbug, and he'd rather die at home in his bunk in the engine-house than in a swamp, without a single fire in six months. His only way of keeping warm was by occasionally huddling up to a Confederate picket, and receiving his fire.

No. 3 was Baby Jim, a resident of the Sixth Ward for many years, and weighing ninety-one pounds. His first attack of his malady came in the shape of an incoherent and irrepressible desire to get up a Directory [p. 362] of Army Names, so that the families of Mackerels in the Army of Accomac might know where their relatives were, and how old they had got to be. Sometimes he would be suddenly seized with the absurd notion that the General of the Mackerel Brigade was killing more men by strategy than would be slain in fifty battles.

Another hapless maniac was Cross-eyed Tom. His family is well known in the Sixth Ward; weight, ninety-seven pounds. Always enjoyed excellent health, until one day, when it suddenly struck him—uncalled-for, as it were—that he hadn't seen the Colonel of his regiment for six months. The demon of insanity tempted him to believe that his Colonel had all along been drinking bad gin and threatening to resign, in Washington, instead of staying with his men and getting acquainted with them. He knew that he must be entirely mistaken about this, but couldn't shake off the horrible delusion.

A fifth lunatic was the Worth street Chicken. Had voted several times a day in the Sixth Ward, and weighed ninety-nine pounds. The Chicken could not say that he was really a sick man; but had moments when he could not resist the malignant temptation to imagine, that the celebrated Southern Confederacy was just as even with us now as it was a year ago, with several majestic raids for small trumps. At times he was troubled with bad dreams about all the Treasury Notes becoming worthless if the General of the Mackerel Brigade went into winter quarters.

And so the Insanitary Committee went down the whole line, my boy, closely questioning the poor chaps [p. 363] who had lost their reason, and eliciting continued proofs of the national ravages of Insanity.

"Truly," says the chief Insanitary chap, cleaning his nails with his jack-knife; "truly these unhappy beings are hopelessly deranged, and must be sent to the Asylum. Their ravings are beyond all precedent."

Just as he finished speaking, my boy, and whilst he was picking his teeth to assist meditation, Captain Samyule Sa-mith came riding hastily in from his successful game of "Old Sledge," bringing the stakes with him, and says he:

"Well, old Medicusses, have you examined the beings which is unhappily bereft of sense?"

"Yea," says the Insanitary chap, with a grievous groan, "we've examined all those poor creatures, in that whole line, and find them all hopelessly and incurably mad."

Samyule gave such a start that he split one of his boots, and says he:

"Which line?"

"Why, that line there," says the chap, pointing.

"By all that's Federal!" says Samyule, slapping his left leg; "I'll be blessed if you old goslings hav'n't been examining the WRONG LINE! Them veterans there are the sane ones!"

Insanity, my boy, like Charity, so seldom begins at home, that we sometimes mistake the best kind of sanity for it when we meet the latter, as a stranger, abroad. The man we call a maniac is frequently nothing more than a sane man seen through a maniac's spectacles.

But the whole body of Mackerels, sane and insane [p. 364] alike, unite in a feeling of strong anguish blended with enthusiasm, at the removal of the beloved General of the Mackerel Brigade. He has been so much a Father to them all, that they never expected to get a step farther while he was with them.

There's a piece of domestic philosophy for you, my boy.

When the General heard of his removal, my boy, he said that it was like divorcing a husband from a wife, who had always supported him, and immediately let fly the following

Farewell Address.

Head-quarters of the Army of Accomac,
Foot of the Blue Ridge.

My Children:

An order from the Honest Abe divorces us, and gives the command of all these attached beings to Major-General Wobert Wobinson. (Heartrending and enthusiastic cheers.)

In parting with you, I cannot express how much I love your dear bosoms. As an army, you have grown from youth to old age under my care. In you I have never found doubt nor coldness, nor anything else. The victories you have won under my command will live in the nation's works of fiction. The strategy we have achieved, the graves of many unripe Mackerels, the broken forms of those disabled by the Emancipation Proclamation—the strongest associations that can [p. 365] exist among men—still make it advisable that you should vote for me as President of the United States in 1865. Thus we shall ever be comrades in supporting the Constitution, and making the Constitution support us.

The General of the Mackerel Brigade.
[Green Seal.]

It was while this affecting document was being read to the Army, my boy, that a procession of political chaps with banners and a small cannon, landed from a boat on Awlkwyet River, and came filing affably into camp. Only pausing to insult two correspondents of the Tribune, and to fire the cannon so close to a farmhouse that it broke all the windows, these pleasant chaps at once organized a meeting and gave orders that all fighting should be postponed till after the session.

The Hon. Mr. X. Stream proceeded to say that he considered Mr. Lincoln a strictly honest, upright, able, and noble-hearted man (cheers); but it could not be denied that his Administration was a wretched failure—a blending of brutal imbecility with hellish despotism. (Much enthusiasm). While it continued so, everything in the stock-market would go up—upUP! until the bubble burst. The General of the Mackerel Brigade had been removed (universal sobbing) but it was only that he might shine the brighter before a Democratic Convention in 1865.

The Hon. Prince Van Brumagen next spoke. Undoubtedly, he would be called a traitor for what he [p. 366] was about to say, but he was accustomed to that sort of talk from every one who knew him. He wished to see this war vigorously pushed forward; but he could never consent to see violence offered to men who only warred against us because they were mistaken. Our Southern friends had imagined that the Abolitionists wanted to prevent their enjoyment of the pursuit of happiness which was guaranteed to them by the Constitution. They were mistaken, and seceded. The Union as it was had passed away from us, but was undoubtedly somewhere on the Globe; and as the Globe was constantly revolving, we had only to stand still, and it would come round again to us in due time.

The Hon. Fernando Fuel next undressed his thoughts to the meeting. As proprietor of the City of New York, which he had frequently bought, he protested against the removal of the General of the Mackerel Brigade at this inclement season of the year. The idolized General was beloved even by the Rebels, and his own devoted troops had cheered even louder when parting with him, if possible, than when he had first come among them.

Here the speaker was interrupted by a chap who suddenly touched off the cannon and simultaneously unfurled a new banner. Borrowing a piece of smoked glass, I looked through it at the dazzling standard, and read upon its eloquent folds: [p. 367]



Observe, my boy, this simple rule, to make a hero of a fool:

Just keep him where he is, until his lack of wisdom, want of Skill, attract unto his banner those who, from perverseness, will have foes. Then freely make his dullness known; and when you'd cast him from his throne, you'll find become his followers true, all men who seek a feud with you. To serve the always-malcontent, and give their spleen a chance for vent, a knave, a dunce, a stump! would do as well, my boy, as I, or you.

When cats and politicians quarrel, "use any cat's-paw", is the moral.

Yours, sagely,
Orpheus C. Kerr.

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Transcriber's Note: Blank pages have been deleted. Illustrations may
have been moved. Discovered publisher's punctuation errors have been
corrected. In addition, the following errors have been corrected:

 p. 25: salt--which is verydear[very dear] here just
 p. 27: for mr. bob peter's[peters'] "hours" at home were
 p. 29: connection with the childrem[children] of ham, it
 p. 33: south. after this overpowing[overpowering] revelation, it was
 p. 33: that mr. bob peter's[peters'] presentation to
 p. 37: in the heavy dalies,[dailies] and philosophical poetry
 p. 56: the account of mr. peter's[peters'] arrest in the
 p. 61: a musket ball be's[he's] comin' shtraight to
 p. 66: making a rapid retrogade[retrograde] movement, when villiam
 p. 74: i made a reconnoisance[reconnoissance] in force, on
 p. 79: have sometimes feared, by[my] boy, that our
 p. 97: moral drama by captaim[captain] villiam brown.
 p. 105: second regular meeting ot[of] the cosmopolitan club,
 p. 106: electrified by the treaures[treasures] of british literature
 p. 118: wink at secession symphathizers[sympathizers]. it takes so
 p. 129: the veteran mackerel signed[sighed] deeply, as he spread open
 p. 138: a horse physically incapacited[incapacitated] from running away
 p. 143: great original and geniune[genuine] 'tis he; a
 p. 151: of life when women[woman] usually becomes the principal
 p. 154: far out-sped my pusuers[pursuers]; but human nature
 p. 154: dearly, i was abont[about] to stand at bay,
 p. 161: masses over my throbing[throbbing] brow, the cowardly
 p. 163: bosom, and the stilletto[stiletto] in her hand.
 p. 168: of the skillful retrogade[retrograde] advance to which i
 p. 169: beheld the idolized genral[general] of the mackerel brigade
 p. 172: says the geneneral[general], with paternal affability
 p. 174: in which our co respondent[correspondent] astonishes us by
 p. 178: no "enigma," as voluutarily[voluntarily]-puzzled poets have
 p. 183: money often does--brute insanity[brute-insanity] sometimes
 p. 188: might cause a prostraton[prostration] in the liquor business,
 p. 228: of captain samyule sa-smith[sa-mith] to perish heroically
 p. 231: at paris and loudon[london], my boy, and the
 p. 232: be outdone, the loudon[london] tumbler issued an
 p. 235: the word, and instaneously[instantaneously] led company 2 down
 p. 246: fords of allkwyet riyer[river], in the rear
 p. 248: of the mackerel brigrade[brigade] will further recommend,
 p. 250: than the most wierd[weird] and perpetual haze
 p. 257: at the nether continnations[continuations] of our country's
 p. 258: operations and entrap stonwall[stonewall] jackson's whole
 p. 264: and he eat[ate] and drank with his visiter[visitor]
 p. 266: willing hand in extacy[ecstasy]. 'then indeed have i
 p. 272: "'five thousand doblas," answered nemly[nemyl], composedly.
 p. 272: god; 'what an houri[hour]!' he exclaimed, kissing her
 p. 276: are you--his--slave?' gasped gartstoff[garstoff], staggering
 p. 277: two slaves will will[delete will] bring you to me.
 p. 291: he took his deparure[departure]. "then forth sprang orloff
 p. 295: past; i am satified[satisfied] that you are a
 p. 297: a moment of ungoverable[ungovernable] passion i spoke words
 p. 298: for the unseemly villany[villainy] of the accursed
 p. 302: bereaved country should sudnenly[suddenly] be called to
 p. 308: from a cold potatoe[potato] which he held in
 p. 313: feigns forgotten friends; grout[gout], grimly griping
 p. 316: slept in the hous[house] to take care
 p. 318: had the army being[been] insufficient to secure you,
 p. 321: and make me turn [into] an arrogant and contemptuous
 p. 325: language of an incedeniary[incendiary] description against
 p. 325: of captains bob shortly[shorty], samyule sa-mith,
 p. 327: court felt convinced that that[del 2nd that] the second
 p. 326: ours, to investigate certing[certain] charges against
 p. 331: with quivering watch-seal. onr[our] president, my boy,
 p. 344: caressed the fawn. a[at] length she spoke:
 p. 351: scarcely had the sacreligious[sacrilegious] petition left my
 p. 350: "'"varno of het[the] black forest," he answered,
 p. 355: night, flew the wbite[white] fawn out into the
Start of text.

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