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Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXVII, No. 3, September 1850 online

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of her husband. My aunt and myself were her guests only a few months
ago, the evening of her removal to her new home.

“We entered before her little preparations were quite finished, and
found Mrs. Hall arranging some light window curtains for the prettily
furnished parlor, while a fine curly-haired, blue-eyed little fellow was
rolling on the carpet at her feet. She was still pale, and will never be
strong again, but a happier wife and mother this world cannot contain.
Her reward has been equal to her great self-sacrifice, and not only
this, but the example of her husband has reformed many of his old
associates, who at first jeered at him when he refused to join them.
There is not a bar now in all Milton, for one cannot be supported.”

More than one thoughtless girl in the little group clustered around
Isabel began, for the first time, to feel their responsibility as women,
when her little narrative was concluded. But the current of thought and
education is not so easily turned, and by the time the gentlemen entered
the room, most of them had forgotten every thing but a desire to
outshine each other in their good graces.

Emily Bradford alone remained in the shadow of a curtain, quiet and
apart; and as she stood there musing, her heart beat faster, it may be,
with an unacknowledged pang of jealousy as she saw Robert Lewis speaking
earnestly with Isabel.

“Heaven bless you, Miss Gray, I confess I wavered—you have made me
ashamed of my weakness; I will not mind their taunting now,” was all
that the grateful, warm-hearted man could say; and he knew by the
friendly clasp of Isabel’s hand that nothing more was needed. Who among
that group of noble and beautiful women had more reason for happiness
than Isabel Gray? Ah, my sisters, if you could but realise that all
beauty and grace are but talents entrusted to your keeping, and that the
happiness of many may rest upon the most trivial act, you would not use
that loveliness for an ignoble triumph, or so thoughtlessly tread the
path of daily life!

* * * * *

“Oh, Isabel,” said Lucy Rushton, bursting into her cousin’s room, some
two years from the scenes we have recorded, “what am I to do? Pray
advise me, for you always know every thing.”

“Not quite as wise as that, dear, but what am I to do for you?”

“Oh, Emily Bradford has been proposed for by young Lewis, and aunt, who
sees only his wealth and connections, is crazy for the match. Emily
really loves him devotedly; and what am I to do, knowing how near he
once came to downright intemperance? Is it my duty, or is it not, to
tell aunt? It has no effect on Emily, and, besides, he confessed it all
to her when he proposed.”

“And what does she say?”

“Why, it’s your fault, after all, for she quotes a story you told that
same night I heard about his folly. You told me that, too. Well, he
declares he has not drank a glass of wine since then, and never will
again. Particularly if he has Emily for his guiding angel, I suppose,
and all that sort of thing. And she believes him, of course.”

“Well, ‘of course’—don’t say it so despairingly; why not? I do, most
assuredly. I might perhaps have distrusted the reformation if it had
been solely on Emily’s account, a pledge made to gain her, but if I am
not very much mistaken, I think I can trace their attachment to that
same eventful night, but I am very certain he did not declare himself
until quite recently.”

“So I am to let Emily run the risk?”

“Yes, if she chooses it; though I do not think there is much. I should
have no hesitation to marry Lewis if I loved him. Emily is a thoughtful,
sensible girl. She does not act without judgment, and she is just the
woman to be the wife of an impulsive, generous man like Lewis.
Sufficient time has elapsed to try his principles, and her companionship
will strengthen them.”

And so it proved, for there are now few happier homes than the cheerful,
hospitable household over which Emily Lewis presides. Isabel Gray is
always a favorite guest, and Robert predicts that she will never marry.
It may prove so, for she is not of those who would sacrifice herself for
fortune, or give her hand to any man she did not thoroughly respect and
sympathise with, to escape that really very tolerable fate—becoming an
old maid.

- - -

[1] The circumstances here related are substantially true.

* * * * *




ON A PORTRAIT OF CROMWELL.


BY JAMES T. FIELDS.


“Paint me as I am,” said Cromwell,
Rough with age, and gashed with wars—
“Show my visage as you find it—
Less than truth my soul abhors!”

This was he whose mustering phalanx
Swept the foe at Marston Moor;
This was he whose arm uplifted
From the dust the fainting poor.

God had made his face uncomely—
“Paint me as I am,” he said,
So he _lives_ upon the canvas
Whom they chronicled as _dead_!

Simple justice he requested
At the artist’s glowing hands,
“Simple justice!” from his ashes
Cries a voice that still commands.

And, behold! the page of History,
Centuries dark with Cromwell’s name,
Shines to-day with thrilling lustre
From the light of Cromwell’s fame!

* * * * *




A SEA-SIDE REVERIE.


BY ENNA DUVAL.


These white-capped waves roll on with pride, as if
The myth that ancient poësy did tell
Were true, and they did bear upon their breasts
King Néreus with state most royal. How
They leap and toss aloft their snowy crests;
And now a tumbling billow springing up
In air, does dash and bound—another comes—
Then playfully they meet, with bursting swell
Dashing their spray-wreaths on the shelving shore,
And quick the ripples hasten back, as if
To join the Ocëanides wild glee.
But when the beaming sunlight fades away
And storm-clouds gather—then the rolling waves,
Without a light, sweep on, and soon is heard
The under-current’s deep and solemn tones,
As on the shore it breaks.
How like to life
These ocean waves! When beaming with the rays
Of sunny Joy, Youths cresting billows bound,
Its frolick waves leap up with gleeful laugh,
Glitt’ring with pleasure’s light; but lo! a cloud
Obscures Life’s sky, and sorrow’s storm awakes,
The heavy swell of grief comes rolling on,
And all the sparkles of Life’s waves are gone!

* * * * *




THE BRIDE OF THE BATTLE.


A SOUTHERN NOVELET.


BY W. GILMORE SIMMS.


(_Concluded from page 91._)


CHAPTER VIII.

It was with feelings of a tumultuous satisfaction that Mat Dunbar found
himself in possession of this new prize. He at once conceived a new
sense of his power, and prepared to avail himself of all his advantages.
But we must suffer our friend Brough to become the narrator of this
portion of our history. Anxious about events, Coulter persuaded the old
African, nothing loth, to set forth on a scouting expedition to the
farmstead. Following his former footsteps, which had been hitherto
planted in security, the negro made his way, an hour before daylight,
toward the cabin in which Mimy, and her companion Lizzy, a young girl of
sixteen, were housed. They, too, had been compelled to change their
abodes under the tory usurpation; and now occupied an ancient tenement
of logs, which in its time had gone through a curious history. It had
first been a hog-pen, next a hunter’s lodge; had stabled horses, and had
been made a temporary fortress during Indian warfare. It was ample in
its dimensions—made of heavy cypresses; but the clay which had filled
its interstices had fallen out; of the chimney nothing remained but the
fire-place; and one end of the cabin, from the decay of two or more of
its logs, had taken such on inclination downward, as to leave the
security which it offered of exceedingly dubious value. The negro does
not much regard these things, however, and old Mimy enjoyed her sleeps
here quite as well as at her more comfortable kitchen. The place,
indeed, possessed some advantages under the peculiar circumstances. It
stood on the edge of a limestone sink-hole—one of those wonderful
natural cavities with which the country abounds. This was girdled by
cypresses and pines, and, fortunately for Brough, at this moment, when a
drought prevailed, entirely free from water. A negro loves any thing,
perhaps, better than water—he would sooner bathe in the sun than in the
stream, and would rather wade through a forest full of snakes than
suffuse his epidermis unnecessarily with an element which no one will
insist was made for his uses. It was important that the sink-hole near
Mimy’s abode should be dry at this juncture, for it was here that Brough
found his hiding place. He could approach this place under cover of the
woods. There was an awkward interval of twelve or fifteen feet, it is
true, between this place and the hovel, which the inmates had stripped
of all its growth in the search for fuel, but a dusky form, on a dusky
night, careful to crawl over the space, might easily escape the casual
glance of a drowsy sentinel; and Brough was partisan enough to know that
the best caution implies occasional exposure. He was not unwilling to
incur the risk. We must not detail his progress. Enough that, by dint of
crouching, crawling, creeping, rolling and sliding, he had contrived to
bury himself, at length, under the wigwam, occupying the space, in part,
of a decayed log connected with the clayed chimney; and fitting himself
to the space in the log, from which he had scratched out the rotten
fragments, as snugly as if he were a part of it. Thus, with his head
toward the fire, looking within—his body hidden from those within by
the undecayed portions of the timber, with Mimy on his side of the
fire-place, squat upon the hearth, and busy with the _hominy_ pot,
Brough might carry on the most interesting conversation in the world, in
whispers, and occasionally be fed from the spoon of his spouse, or drink
from the calabash, without any innocent person suspecting his
propinquity. We will suppose him thus quietly ensconced, his old woman
beside him, and deeply buried in the domestic histories which he came to
hear. We must suppose all the preliminaries to be dispatched already,
which, in the case of an African _dramatis personæ_, are usually
wonderfully minute and copious.

“And dis nigger, Tory, he’s maussa yer for true?”

“I tell you, Brough, he’s desp’r’t bad! He tak’ ebbry ting for he’sef!
He sway (swears) ebbry ting for him—we nigger, de plantation, boss,
hog, hominy; and ef young misses no marry um—you yeddy? (hear)—he will
hang de maussa up to de sapling, same as you hang scarecrow in de
cornfiel’!”

Brough groaned in the bitterness of his spirit.

“Wha’ for do, Brough?”

“Who gwine say? I ’spec he mus fight for um yet. Mass Dick no chicken!
He gwine fight like de debbil, soon he get strong, ’fore dis ting gwine
happen. He hab sodger, and more for come. Parson ’Lijah gwine fight
too—and dis nigger’s gwine fight, sooner dan dis tory ride, whip and
spur, ober we plantation.”

“Why, wha’ you tink dese tory say to me, Brough?”

“Wha’ he say, woman?”

“He say he gwine gib me hundred lash ef I no get he breckkus (breakfast)
by day peep in de morning!”

“De tory wha’ put hick’ry ’pon your back, chicken, he hab answer to
Brough.”

“You will fight for me, Brough?”

“Wid gun and bagnet, my chicken.”

“Ah, I blieb you, Brough; you was always lub me wid you’ sperrit!”

“Enty you blieb? You will see some day! You got ’noder piece of bacon in
de pot, Mimy? Dis hom’ny ’mos’ too dry in de t’roat.”

“Leetle piece.”

“Gi’ me.”

His creature wants were accordingly supplied. We must not forget that
the dialogue was carried on in the intervals in which he paused from
eating the supper which, in anticipation of his coming, the old woman
had provided. Then followed the recapitulation of the narrative, details
being furnished which showed that Dunbar, desperate from opposition to
his will, had thrown off all the restraints of social fear and decency,
and was urging his measures against old Sabb and his daughter with
tyrannical severity. He had given the old man a sufficient taste of his
power, enough to make him dread the exercise of what remained. This
rendered him now, what he had never been before, the advocate himself
with his daughter in behalf of the loyalist. Sabb’s virtue was not of a
self-sacrificing nature. He was not a bad man—was rather what the world
esteems a good one. He was just, as well as he knew to be, in his
dealings with a neighbor; was not wanting in that charity, which, having
first ascertained its own excess of goods, gives a certain proportion to
the needy; he had offerings for the church, and solicited its prayers.
But he had not the courage and strength of character to be virtuous in
spite of circumstances. In plain language, he valued the securities and
enjoyments of his homestead, even at the peril of his daughter’s
happiness. He urged with tears and reproaches, that soon became
vehement, the suit of Dunbar as if it had been his own; and even his
good _vrow_, Minnecker Sabb, overwhelmed by his afflictions and her own,
joined somewhat in his entreaty. We may imagine poor Frederica’s
afflictions. She had not dared to reveal to either the secret of her
marriage with Coulter. She now dreaded its discovery, in regard to the
probable effect which it might have upon Dunbar. What limit would there
be to his fury and brutality, should the fact become known to him? How
measure his rage—how meet its excesses? She trembled as she reflected
upon the possibility of his making the discovery; and while inly
swearing eternal fidelity to her husband, she resolved still to keep her
secret close from all, looking to the chapter of providential events for
that hope which she had not the power to draw from any thing within
human probability. Her eyes naturally turned to her husband, first of
all mortal agents. But she had no voice which could reach to him—and
what was his condition? She conjectured the visits of old Brough to his
spouse, but with these she was prevented from all secret conference. Her
hope was, that Mimy, seeing and hearing for herself, would duly report
to the African; and he, she well knew, would keep nothing from her
husband. We have witnessed the conference between this venerable couple.
The result corresponded with the anticipations of Frederica. Brough
hurried back with his gloomy tidings to the place of hiding in the
swamp; and Coulter, still suffering somewhat from his wound, and
conscious of the inadequate force at his control, for the rescue of his
wife and people, was almost maddened by the intelligence. He looked
around upon his party, now increased to seven men, not including the
parson. But Elijah Fields was a host in himself. The men were also true
and capable—good riflemen, good scouts, and as fearless as they were
faithful. The troop under Dunbar consisted of eighteen men, all well
armed and mounted. The odds were great, but the despair of Richard
Coulter was prepared to overlook all inequalities. Nor was Fields
disposed to discourage him.

“There is no hope but in ourselves, Elijah,” was the remark of Coulter.

“Truly, and in God!” was the reply.

“We must make the effort.”

“Verily, we must.”

“We have seven men, not counting yourself, Elijah.”

“I too am a man, Richard;” said the other, calmly.

“A good man and a brave; do I not know it, Elijah? But we should not
expose you on ordinary occasions.”

“This is no ordinary occasion, Richard.”

“True, true! And you propose to go with us, Elijah?”

“No, Richard! I will go before you. I _must_ go to prevent outrage. I
must show to Dunbar that Frederica is your wife. It is my duty to
testify in this proceeding. I am the first witness.”

“But your peril, Elijah! He will become furious as a wild beast when he
hears. He will proceed to the most desperate excesses.”

“It will be for you to interpose at the proper moment. You must be at
hand. As for me, I doubt if there will be much if any peril. I will go
unarmed. Dunbar, while he knows that I am with you, does not know that I
have ever lifted weapon in the cause. He will probably respect my
profession. At all events, I _must_ interpose and save him from a great
sin, and a cruel and useless violence. When he knows that Frederica is
irrevocably married, he will probably give up the pursuit. If Brough’s
intelligence be true, he must know it now or never.”

“Be it so;” said Coulter. “And now that you have made your
determination, I will make mine. The odds are desperate, so desperate,
indeed, that I build my hope somewhat on that very fact. Dunbar knows my
feebleness, and does not fear me. I must effect a surprise. If we can do
this, with the first advantage, we will make a rush, and club rifles. Do
you go up in the dug-out, and alone, while we make a circuit by land. We
can be all ready in five minutes, and perhaps we should set out at
once.”

“Right!” answered the preacher; “but are you equal to the struggle,
Richard?”

The young man upheaved his powerful bulk, and leaping up to the bough
which spread over him, grasped the extended limb with a single hand, and
drew himself across it.

“Good!” was the reply. “But you are still stiff. I have seen you do it
much more easily. Still you will do, if you will only economise your
breath. There is one preparation first to be made, Richard. Call up the
men.”

They were summoned with a single, shrill whistle, and Coulter soon put
them in possession of the adventure that lay before them. It needed
neither argument nor entreaty to persuade them into a declaration of
readiness for the encounter. Their enthusiasm was grateful to their
leader whom they personally loved.

“And now, my brethren,” said Elijah Fields, “I am about to leave you,
and we are all about to engage in a work of peril. We know not what will
happen. We know not that we shall meet again. It is proper only that we
should confess our sins to God, and invoke his mercy and protection. My
brothers—let us pray!”

With these words, the party sunk upon their knees, Brough placing
himself behind Coulter. Fervent and simple was the prayer of the
preacher—inartificial but highly touching. Our space does not suffer us
to record it, or to describe the scene, so simple, yet so imposing. The
eyes of the rough men were moistened, their hearts softened, yet
strengthened. They rose firm and resolute to meet the worst issues of
life and death, and, embracing each of them in turn, Brough not
excepted, Elijah Fields led the way to the enemy, by embarking alone in
the canoe. Coulter, with his party, soon followed, taking the route
through the forest.


CHAPTER IX.

In the meantime, our captain of loyalists had gone forward in his
projects with a very free and fearless footstep. The course which he
pursued, in the present instance, is one of a thousand instances which
go to illustrate the perfect recklessness with which the British
conquerors, and their baser allies, regarded the claims of humanity,
where the interests, the rights, or the affections of the whig
inhabitants of South Carolina were concerned. Though resolutely rejected
by Frederica, Dunbar yet seemed determined to attach no importance to
her refusal, but, dispatching a messenger to the village of Orangeburg,
he brought from thence one Nicholas Veitch, a Scotch Presbyterian
parson, for the avowed object of officiating at his wedding rites. The
parson, who was a good man enough perhaps, was yet a weak and timid one,
wanting that courage which boldly flings itself between the victim and
his tyrant. He was brought into the Dutchman’s cottage, which Dunbar now
occupied. Thither also was Frederica brought, much against her will;
indeed, only under the coercive restraint of a couple of dragoons. Her
parents were neither of them present, and the following dialogue ensued
between Dunbar and herself; Veitch being the only witness.

“Here, Frederica,” said Dunbar, “you see the parson. He comes to marry
us. The consent of your parents has been already given, and it is
useless for you any longer to oppose your childish scruples to what is
now unavoidable. This day, I am resolved, that we are to be made man and
wife. Having the consent of your father and mother, there is no reason
for not having yours.”

“Where are they?” was the question of Frederica. Her face was very pale,
but her lips were firm, and her eyes gazed without faltering into those
of her oppressor.

“They will be present when the time comes. They will be present at the
ceremony.”

“Then they will never be present!” she answered, firmly.

“Beware, girl, how you provoke me! You little know the power I have to
punish—”

“You have no power upon my voice or my heart.”

“Ha!”

The preacher interposed, “My daughter be persuaded. The consent of your
parents should be enough to incline you to Captain Dunbar. They are
surely the best judges of what is good for their children.”

“I cannot and I will not marry with Captain Dunbar.”

“Beware, Frederica,” said Dunbar, in a voice studiously subdued, but
with great difficulty—the passion speaking out in his fiery looks, and
his frame that trembled with its emotions.

“‘Beware, Frederica!’ Of what should I beware? Your power? Your power
may kill me. It can scarcely go farther. Know, then, that I am prepared
to die sooner than marry you!”

Though dreadfully enraged, the manner of Dunbar was still carefully
subdued. His words were enunciated in tones of a laborious calm, as he
replied,

“You are mistaken in your notions of the extent of my power. It can
reach where you little imagine. But I do not desire to use it. I prefer
that you should give me your hand without restraint or coercion.”

“That I have told you is impossible.”

“Nay, it is not impossible.”

“Solemnly, on my knees, I assure you that never can I, or will I, while
I preserve my consciousness, consent to be your wife.”

The action was suited to the words. She sunk on her knees as she spoke,
and her hands were clasped and her eyes uplifted, as if taking a solemn
oath to heaven. Dunbar rushed furiously toward her.

“Girl!” he exclaimed, “will you drive me to madness. Will you compel me
to do what I would not!”

The preacher interposed. The manner of Dunbar was that of a man about to
strike his enemy. Even Frederica closed her eyes, expecting the blow.

“Let me endeavor to persuade the damsel, my brother,” was the suggestion
of Veitch. Dunbar turned away, and went toward the window, leaving the
field to the preacher. To all the entreaties of the latter Frederica
made the same reply.

“Though death stared me in the face, I should never marry that man!”

“Death shall stare you in the face,” was the fierce cry of Dunbar. “Nay,
you shall behold him in such terrors as you have never fancied yet, but
you shall be brought to know and to submit to my power. Ho, there!
Nesbitt, bring out the prisoner.”

This order naturally startled Frederica. She had continued kneeling. She
now rose to her feet. In the same moment Dunbar turned to where she
stood, full of fearful expectation, grasped her by the wrist, and
dragged her to the window. She raised her head, gave but one glance at
the scene before her, and fell back swooning. The cruel spectacle which


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Online LibraryVariousGraham's Magazine, Vol. XXXVII, No. 3, September 1850 → online text (page 7 of 16)