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

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she had been made to witness, was that of her father, surrounded by a
guard, and the halter about his neck, waiting only the terrible word
from the ruffian in authority.

In that sight, the unhappy girl lost all consciousness. She would have
fallen upon the ground, but that the hand of Dunbar still grasped her
wrist. He now supported her in his arms.

“Marry us at once,” he cried to Veitch.

“But she can’t understand—she can’t answer,” replied the priest.

“That’s as it should be,” answered Dunbar, with a laugh; “silence always
gives consent.”

The reply seemed to be satisfactory, and Veitch actually stood forward
to officiate in the disgraceful ceremony, when a voice at the entrance
drew the attention of the parties within. It was that of Elijah Fields.
How he had made his way to the building without arrest or interruption
is only to be accounted for by his pacific progress—his being without
weapons, and his well-known priestly character. It may have been thought
by the troopers, knowing what was in hand, that he also had been sent
for; and probably something may be ascribed to the excitement of most of
the parties about the dwelling. At all events, Fields reached it without
interruption, and the first intimation that Dunbar had of his presence
was from his own lips.

“I forbid this proceeding in the name and by the authority of God,” was
the stern interruption. “The girl is already married!”


CHAPTER X.

Let us now retrace our steps and follow those of Richard Coulter and his
party. We have seen what has been the progress of Elijah Fields. The
route which he pursued was considerably longer than that of his
comrades; but the difference of time was fully equalized by the superior
and embarrassing caution which they were compelled to exercise. The
result was to bring them to the common centre at nearly the same moment,
though the policy of Coulter required a different course of conduct from
that of Fields. Long before he reached the neighborhood of old Sabb’s
farm, he had compelled his troopers to dismount, and hide their horses
in the forest. They then made their way forward on foot. Richard Coulter
was expert in all the arts of the partisan. Though eager to grapple with
his enemy, and impatient to ascertain and arrest the dangers of his
lovely wife, he yet made his approaches with a proper caution. The
denseness of the forest route enabled him easily to do so, and making a
considerable circuit, he drew nigh to the upper part of the farmstead,
in which stood the obscure out-house, which, when Dunbar had taken
possession of the mansion, he assigned to the aged couple. This he found
deserted. He little dreamed for what reason, or in what particular
emergency the old Dutchman stood at that very moment. Making another
circuit, he came upon a copse, in which four of Dunbar’s troopers were
grouped together in a state of fancied security. Their horses were
fastened in the woods, and they lay upon the ground, greedily interested
with a pack of greasy cards, which had gone through the campaign. The
favorite game of that day was _Old Sledge_, or _All Fours_, or _Seven
Up_; by all of which names it was indiscriminately known. Poker, and
Brag, and Loo, and Monte, and _Vingt’un_, were then unknown in that
region. These are all modern innovations, in the substitution of which
good morals have made few gains. Dragoons, in all countries, are
notoriously sad fellows, famous for swearing and gambling. Those of
Dunbar were no exception to the rule. Our tory captain freely indulged
them in the practice. He himself played with them when the humor suited.
The four upon whom Coulter came were not on duty, though they wore their
swords. Their holsters lay with their saddles across a neighboring log,
not far off, but not immediately within reach. Coulter saw his
opportunity; the temptation was great; but these were not exactly his
prey—not yet, at all events. To place one man, well armed with rifle
and pair of pistols, in a situation to cover the group at any moment,
and between them and the farmstead, was his plan; and this done, he
proceeded on his way. His policy was to make his first blow at the head
of the enemy—his very citadel—trusting somewhat to the scattered
condition of the party, and the natural effect of such an alarm to
scatter them the more. All this was managed with great prudence, and
with two more of his men set to watch over two other groups of the
dragoons, he pushed forward with the remaining four until he reached the
verge of the wood, just where it opened upon the settlement. Here he had
a full view of the spectacle—his own party unseen—and the prospect was
such as to compel his instant feeling of the necessity of early action.
It was at the moment which exhibited old Sabb in the hands of the
provost, his hands tied behind him, and the rope about his neck. Clymes,
the lieutenant of Dunbar, with drawn sword, was pacing between the
victim and the house. The old Dutchman stood between two subordinates,
waiting for the signal, while his wife, little dreaming of the scene in
progress, was kept out of sight at the bottom of the garden. Clymes and
the provost were at once marked out for the doom of the rifle, and the
_beads_ of two select shots were kept ready, and leveled at their heads.
But Dunbar must be the first victim—and where was he? Of the scene in
the house Coulter had not yet any inkling. But suddenly he beheld
Frederica at the window. He heard her shriek, and beheld her, as he
thought, drawn away from the spot. His excitement growing almost to
frenzy at this moment, he was about to give the signal, and follow the
first discharge of his rifles with a rush, when suddenly he saw his
associate, Elijah Fields, turn the corner of the house, and enter it
through the piazza. This enabled him to pause, and prevented a premature
development of his game. He waited for those events which it is not
denied that we shall see. Let us then return to the interior.

We must not forget the startling words with which Elijah Fields
interrupted the forced marriage of Frederica with her brutal persecutor.

“The girl is already married.”

Dunbar, still supporting her now quite lifeless in his arms, looked up
at the intruder in equal fury and surprise.

“Ha, villain!” was the exclamation of Dunbar, “you are here?”

“No villain, Captain Dunbar, but a servant of the Most High God!”

“Servant of the devil, rather! What brings you here—and what is it you
say?”

“I say that Frederica Sabb is already married, and her husband living!”

“Liar, that you are, you shall swing for this insolence.”

“I am no liar. I say that the girl is married, and I witnessed the
ceremony.”

“You did, did you?” was the speech of Dunbar, with a tremendous effort
of coolness, laying down the still lifeless form of Frederica as he
spoke; “and perhaps you performed the ceremony also, oh, worthy servant
of the Most High!”

“It was my lot to do so.”

“Grateful lot! And pray with whom did you unite the damsel?”

“With Richard Coulter, captain in the service of the State of South
Carolina.”

Though undoubtedly anticipating this very answer, Dunbar echoed the
annunciation with a fearful shriek, as, drawing his sword at the same
moment, he rushed upon the speaker. But his rage blinded him; and Elijah
Fields was one of the coolest of all mortals, particularly when greatly
excited. He met the assault of Dunbar with a fearful buffet of his fist,
which at once felled the assailant; but he rose in a moment, and with a
yell of fury he grappled with the preacher. They fell together, the
latter uppermost, and rolling his antagonist into the fire-place, where
he was at once half buried among the embers, and in a cloud of ashes. In
the struggle, however, Dunbar contrived to extricate a pistol from his
belt, and to fire it. Fields struggled up from his embrace, but a
torrent of blood poured from his side as he did so. He rushed toward the
window, grasped the sill in his hands, then yielded his hold, and sunk
down upon the floor, losing his consciousness in an uproar of shots and
shouts from without. In the next moment the swords of Coulter and Dunbar
were crossed over his prostrate body. The struggle was short and fierce.
It had nearly terminated fatally to Coulter, on his discovering the
still insensible form of Frederica in his way. In the endeavor to avoid
trampling upon her, he afforded an advantage to his enemy, which nothing
prevented him from employing to the utmost but the ashes with which his
eyes were still half blinded. As it was, he inflicted a severe cut upon
the shoulder of the partisan, which rendered his left arm temporarily
useless. But the latter recovered himself instantly. His blood was in
fearful violence. He raged like a _Birserker_ of the
Northmen—absolutely mocked the danger of his antagonist’s
weapon—thrust him back against the side of the house, and hewing him
almost down with one terrible blow upon the shoulder, with a mighty
thrust immediately after, he absolutely speared him against the wall,
the weapon passing through his body, and into the logs behind. For a
moment the eyes of the two glared deathfully upon each other. The sword
of Dunbar was still uplifted, and he seemed about to strike, when
suddenly the arm sunk powerless—the weapon fell from the nerveless
grasp—the eyes became fixed and glassy, even while gazing with tiger
appetite into those of the enemy—and, with a hoarse and stifling cry,
the captain of loyalists fell forward upon his conqueror, snapping, like
so much glass, the sword that was still fastened in his body.


CHAPTER XI.

We must briefly retrace our steps. We left Richard Coulter, in ambush,
having so placed his little detachments as to cover most of the groups
of dragoons—at least such as might be immediately troublesome. It was
with the greatest difficulty that he could restrain himself during the
interval which followed the entry of Elijah Fields into the house.
Nothing but his great confidence in the courage and fidelity of the
preacher could have reconciled him to forbearance, particularly as, at
the point which he occupied, he could know nothing of what was going on
within. Meanwhile, his eyes could not fail to see all the indignities to
which the poor old Dutchman was subjected. He heard his groans and
entreaties.

“I am a goot friend to King Tshorge! I was never wid de rebels. Why
would you do me so? Where is de captaine? I have said dat my darter
shall be his wife. Go bring him to me, and let him make me loose from de
rope. I’m a goot friend of King Tshorge!”

“Good friend or not,” said the brutal lieutenant, “you have to hang for
it, I reckon. We are better friends to King George than you. We fight
for him, and we want grants of land as well as other people.”

“Oh, mine Gott!”

Just then, faint sounds of the scuffle within the house, reached the
ears of those without. Clymes betrayed some uneasiness; and when the
sound of the pistol-shot was heard, he rushed forward to the dwelling.
But that signal of the strife was the signal for Coulter. He naturally
feared that his comrade had been shot down, and, in the some instant his
rifle gave the signal to his followers, wherever they had been placed in
ambush. Almost simultaneously the sharp cracks of the fatal weapon were
heard from four or five several quarters, followed by two or three
scattered pistol-shots. Coulter’s rifle dropt Clymes, just as he was
about to ascend the steps of the piazza. A second shot from one of his
companions tumbled the provost, having in charge old Sabb. His remaining
keeper let fall the rope and fled in terror, while the old Dutchman,
sinking to his knees, crawled rapidly to the opposite side of the tree
which had been chosen for his gallows, where he crouched closely,
covering his ears with his hands, as if, by shutting out the sounds, he
could shut out all danger from the shot. Here he was soon joined by
Brough, the African. The faithful slave bounded toward his master the
moment he was released, and hugging him first with a most rugged
embrace, he proceeded to undo the degrading halter from about his neck.
This done, he got the old man on his feet, placed him still further
amongst the shelter of the trees, and then hurried away to partake in
the struggle, for which he had provided himself with a grubbing hoe and
pistol. It is no part of our object to follow and watch his exploits;
nor do we need to report the several results of each ambush which had
been set. In that where we left the four gamblers busy at _Old Sledge_,
the proceeding had been most murderous. One of Coulter’s men had been an
old scout. Job Fisher was notorious for his stern deliberation and
method. He had not been content to pick his man, but continued to
revolve around the gamblers until he could range a couple of them, both
of whom fell under his first fire. Of the two others, one was shot down
by the companion of Fisher. The fourth took to his heels, but was
overtaken, and brained with the butt of the rifle. The scouts then
hurried to other parts of the farmstead, agreeable to previous
arrangement, where they gave assistance to their fellows. The history,
in short, was one of complete surprise and route—the dragoons were not
allowed to rally; nine of them were slain outright—not including the
captain; and the rest dispersed, to be picked up at a time of greater
leisure. At the moment when Coulter’s party were assembling at the
dwelling, Brough had succeeded in bringing the old couple together. Very
pitiful and touching was the spectacle of these two embracing with
groans, tears, and ejaculations—scarcely yet assured of their escape
from the hands of their hateful tyrant.

But our attention is required within the dwelling. Rapidly extricating
himself from the body of the loyalist captain, Coulter naturally turned
to look for Frederica. She was just recovering from her swoon. She had
fortunately been spared the sight of the conflict, although she
continued long afterward to assert that she had been conscious of it
all, though she had not been able to move a limb, or give utterance to a
single cry. Her eyes opened with a wild stare upon her husband, who
stooped fondly to her embrace. She knew him instantly—called his name
but once, but that with joyful accents, and again fainted. Her faculties
had received a terrible shock. Coulter himself felt like fainting. The
pain of his wounded arm was great, and he had lost a good deal of blood.
He felt that he could not long be certain of himself, and putting the
bugle to his lips, he sounded three times with all his vigor. As he did
so, he became conscious of a movement in the corner of the room. Turning
in this direction, he beheld, crouching into the smallest possible
compass, the preacher, Veitch. The miserable wretch was in a state of
complete stupor from his fright.

“Bring water!” said Coulter. But the fellow neither stirred nor spoke.
He clearly did not comprehend. In the next moment, however, the faithful
Brough made his appearance. His cries were those of joy and exultation,
dampened, however, as he beheld the condition of his young mistress.

“Fear nothing, Brough, she is not hurt—she has only fainted. But run
for your old mistress. Run, old boy, and bring water while you’re about
it. Run!”

“But you’ arm, Mass Dick—he da bleed! You hu’t?”

“Yes, a little—away!”

Brough was gone; and with a strange sickness of fear, Coulter turned to
the spot where Elijah Fields lay, to all appearance, dead. But he still
lived. Coulter tore away his clothes, which were saturated and already
stiff with blood, and discovered the bullet-wound in his left side,
well-directed, and ranging clear through the body. It needed no second
glance to see that the shot was mortal; and while Coulter was examining
it, the good preacher opened his eyes. They were full of intelligence,
and a pleasant smile was upon his lips.

“You have seen, Richard, the wound is fatal. I had a presentiment, when
we parted this morning, that such was to be the case. But I complain
not. Some victim perhaps was necessary, and I am not unwilling. But
Frederica?”

“She lives! She is here; unhurt but suffering.”

“Ah! that monster!”

By this time the old couple made their appearance, and Frederica was at
once removed to her own chamber. A few moments tendance sufficed to
revive her, and then, as if fearing that she had not heard the truth in
regard to Coulter, she insisted on going where he was. Meantime, Elijah
Fields had been removed to an adjoining apartment. He did not seem to
suffer. In the mortal nature of his hurt, his sensibilities seemed to be
greatly lessened. But his mind was calm and firm. He knew all around
him. His gaze was fondly shared between the young couple whom he had so
lately united.

“Love each other,” he said to them; “love each other—and forget not me.
I am leaving you—leaving you fast. It is presumption, perhaps, to say
that one does not fear to die—but I am resigned. I have taken
life—always in self-defense—still I have taken life! I would that I
had never done so. That makes me doubt. I feel the blood upon my head.
My hope is in the Lord Jesus. May his blood atone for that which I have
shed!”

His eyes closed. His lips moved, as it were, in silent prayer. Again he
looked out upon the two, who hung with streaming eyes above him. “Kiss
me, Richard—and you, Frederica—dear children—I have loved you always.
God be with you—and—me!” He was silent.

Our story here is ended. We need not follow Richard Coulter through the
remaining vicissitudes of the war. Enough that he continued to
distinguish himself, rising to the rank of major in the service of the
state. With the return of peace, he removed to the farm-house of his
wife’s parents. But for him, in all probability, the estate might have
been forfeited; and the great love which the good old Dutchman professed
for King George might have led to the transfer of his grant to some one
less devoted to the house of Hanover. It happened, only a few months
after the evacuation of Charleston by the British, that Felix Long, one
of the commissioners, was again on a visit to Orangeburg. It was at the
village, and a considerable number of persons had collected. Among them
was old Frederick Sabb and Major Coulter. Long approached the old man,
and, after the first salutation, said to him—“Well, Frederick, have we
any late news from goot King Tshorge?” The old Dutchman started as if he
had trodden upon an adder—gave a hasty glance of indignation to the
interrogator, and turned away ex-claiming—“D—n King Tshorge! I don’t
care dough I nebber more hears de name agen!”

* * * * *




AUDUBON’S BLINDNESS.


BY PARK BENJAMIN.


John James Audubon, the great American naturalist, has
entirely lost his sight. _Newspaper Paragraph._

Blind—blind! yes, blind—those eyes that loved to look
On the bright pictures in great Nature’s book.
Quenched is that visual glory which arrayed
All the winged habitants of grove and glade,
And hill and prairie, in a garb as fair
As their own plumage stirred by golden air.

Alas! no more can he behold the beam
Of morning touch the meadow or the stream;
No more the noontide’s rays pervade the scene,
Nor evening’s shadows softly intervene,
But on his sense funereal Night lets fall
The moveless folds of her impervious pall.

But he shall wake! and in a grander clime,
With vales more lovely, mountains more sublime,
There shall he view, without a film to hide,
Delicious pastures, streams that softly glide,
Groves clothed in living greenness, filled with plumes
Bright as the dawn, and various as the blooms
With which the early Summer decks his bowers—
Gems all in motion, life-invested flowers.

Fairer than those, albeit surpassing fair,
His pencil painted with a skill so rare
That they, whose feet have never trod the far
And wondrous places where such creatures are,
Know all their beauty with familiar love—
From the stained oriole to the snow-white dove.

Blind—blind! Alas! he is bereft of light
Who gave such pleasure to the sense of sight.
His eyes, that, like the sun, had power to vest
All forms with color, are with darkness prest:
Sealed with a gloom chaotic like the deep;
Shut in by shadows like the realm of sleep.

Yet ’tis not meet to mourn a loss so brief—
A pain, to which time cannot yield relief—
But which Eternity must banish soon,
With beams more lustrous than the blaze of noon;
Yet softer than the evening is or morn,
When he to light immortal shall be born;
And with a vision purified behold
More than the prophets, priests and bards have told.

* * * * *




SONNETS.


BY MARY SPENSER PEASE.


LOVE’S SUNSET.

As shadows lengthen with the day’s declining,
Like troops of dusky spectres onward creeping,
Weaving swart stripes amid the golden shining
Where meadow, brook and moss-grown hill lie sleeping;
With murky fingers Nature’s sweet book closing—
Each bell and blossom and each three-leaved clover,
With stealthy march the sun’s glad sway deposing,
Till, widening, deepening, darkness shrouds earth over:
So, thy declining love casts o’er my spirit
Chill shadows, freezing all my soul’s warm giving,
Chill shadows, deadening all my soul’s best merit,
And making blackest night my brightest living:
A long, long, fearful night—that knows no morning,
Save in wild, glowing dreams, that speak thy love’s returning.


LOVE’S SUNRISE.

As shadows vanish with the dawn’s advancing,
Like things of evil fleeing from Truth’s whiteness,
The mem’ry of their dark spell but enhancing
The warmth and light of morning’s dewy brightness;
Their chill power over—with a glad awaking
Starts to new life each sleeping leaf and flower,
Each bird and insect into wild song breaking—
All Nature’s heart-pulse thrilleth to the hour:
Thus, my life’s sun—its glory all pervading—
Fuses my soul with daylight warm and tender;
Thus, all strange fears, my spirit darkly shading—
All doubtings flee from its excess of splendor:
Thus, through my inmost heart—like joy-bells ringing—
The birds and honey-bees of thy dear love come singing.

* * * * *




DOCTRINE OF FORM.


There is a connection natural and necessary between the forms and
essences of things; some law which compels figure and faculty into
correspondence; some tie which binds nature, function, and end to shape,
volume, and intrinsic arrangement.

That a wheel must be circular, a lever inflexible, and a screw, wedge
and inclined plane shall have a determinate form, is clearly a condition
of adaptation to use; and because in machinery the arrangement of inert
matter is thus essential to the action and aim of all contrivance and
mutual adjustment of parts, we are apt to think configuration entirely a
question of mechanical fitness, and indifferent to and independent of
structures having no such office. But it is not so. Facts beyond number
show that it has definite and fixed relation to substance universally,
without limitation to a particular kind or sphere of use, or manner or
purpose of being.

I. There are examples enough to prove that the fundamental law,
connecting shape and arrangement with function, is stronger in the vital
and spiritual than in the mechanical sphere, and even supercedes its
settled order and method. An instance of this overruling force:—The
elephant in general organization is a quadruped, eminently; but his


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Online LibraryVariousGraham's Magazine, Vol. XXXVII, No. 3, September 1850 → online text (page 8 of 16)