piano was soon broken by the ignorant hands that sounded
its chords at random ; but only Doro played on it now, and
nothing pleased him so well as to improvise melodies from
the plaintive Minorcan songs the little wife sang in her velvet
voice. Years passed; the money was all spent, and the
house full — a careless, idle, ignorant, happy brood, asking for
nothing, planning not at all, working not at all, but loving
each other in their own way, contented to sit in the sunshine,
and laugh, and eat, and sing, all the day long. The tall, gaunt
figure that came and went among them, laboring ceaselessly,
striving always against the current, they regarded with toler-
ating eyes as a species differing from theirs, but good in its
way, especially for work. The children loved the still silent
old woman, and generously allowed her to take care of them
until she tried to teach them ; then away they flew like wild
birds of the forest, and not one learned more than the alpha-
Doro died first, a middle-aged man; gently he passed
away without pain, without a care. '• You have been very
good to me, aunt ; my life has been a happy one ; I have had '
nothing to wish for," he murmured, as she bent to catch the
last look from his dying eyes.
He was gone ; and she bore on the burden he had left to
her. I saw her last year — an old, old woman, but working still.
One by one they died—
Last of all their race ;
Nothing left but pride,
Lace and buckled hote ;
Their quietus made,
On their dwelling-place
Ruthless hands are laid :
Down the old house goes !
Many a bride has stood
In yon spacious room ;
Here her hand was wooed
Underneath the rose ;
0*er that sill the dead
Reached the family tomb ;
All that were have fled—
Down the old house goes !
Edmund Clasbncb Stkdican.
Old Gardiston was a manor-house down in the rice-
lands, six miles from a Southern seaport. It had been
called Old Gardiston for sixty or seventy years, which
showed that it must have belonged to coloniaJ days, since
no age under that oi a century could have earned for it
that honorable title in a neighborhood where the Declara-
tion of Independence was still considered an event of com-
paratively modem times. The war was over, and the mis-
tress of the house. Miss Margaretta Gardiston, lay buried in
St. Mark's churchyard, near by. The little old church had
long been closed; the very road to its low stone doorway
was overgrown, and a second forest had grown up around
it ; but the churchyard was still open to those of the dead
io6 OLD GARDISTON.
who had a right there; and certainly Miss Margaretta had
this right, seeing that father, grandfather, and great-grand-
father all lay buried there, and their memorial tablets, quaint-
ly emblazoned, formed a principal part of the decorations of
the ancient little sanctuary in the wilderness. There was no
one left at Old Gardiston now save Cousin Copeland and
Gardis Duke, a girl of seventeen years. Miss Margaretta's
niece and heir. Poor little Gardis, having been bom a girl
when she should have been a boy, was christened with the
family name — a practice not uncommon in some parts of the
South, where English customs of two centuries ago still retain
their hold with singular tenacity ; but the three syllables were
soon abbreviated to two for common use, and the child grew
up with the quaint name of Gardis.
They were at breakfast now, the two remaining members
of the family, in the marble-floored dining-room. The latticed
windows were open ; birds were singing outside, and roses
blooming ; a flood of sunshine lit up every comer of the apart-
ment, showing its massive Chinese vases, its carved ivory
omaments, its hanging lamp of curious shape, and its spindle-
legged sideboard, covered with dark-colored plates and plat-
ters omamented with dark-blue dragons going out to walk,
and crocodiles circling around fantastically roofed temples as
though they were waiting for the worshipers to come out in
order to make a meal of them. But, in spite of these acces-
sories, the poor old room was but a forlom place : the marble
flooring was sunken and defaced, portions were broken into
very traps for unwary feet, and its ancient enemy, the pene-
trating dampness, had finally conquered the last resisting
mosaic, and climbed the walls, showing in blue and yellow
streaks on the old-fashioned moldings. There had been no
fire in the tiled fireplace for many years; Miss Margaretta
did not approve of fires, and wood was costly : this last rea-
son, however, was never mentioned ; and Gardis had grown
into a girl of sixteen before she knew the comfort of the
sparkling little fires that shine on the hearths momlng and
evening during the short winters in well-appointed Southern
homes. At that time she had spent a few days in the city
with some family friends who had come out of the war with
less impoverishment than their neighbors. Miss Margaretta
did not approve of them exactly ; it was understood that all
Southerners of " our class " were "impoverished." She did
not refuse the cordial invitation in toto, but she sent for Gar-
dis sooner than was expected, and set about carefully remov-
ing from the girl's mind any wrong ideas that might have
made a lodgment there. And Gardis, warmly, loving her aunt,
and imbued with all the family pride from her birth, imme-
diately cast from her the bright little comforts she had met in
the city as plebeian, and, going up stairs to the old drawing-
room, dusted the relics enshrined there with a new rever-
ence for them, glorifying herself in their undoubted antiquity.
Fires, indeed ! Certainly not.
The breakfast-table was spread with snowy damask, worn
thin almost to gossamer, and fairly embroidered with delicate
darning ; the cups and plates belonged to the crocodile set,
and the meager repast was at least daintily served. Cousin
Copeland had his egg, and Gardis satisfied her young appetite
with fish caught in the river behind the house by Pompey, and
a fair amount of Dinah's corn-bread. The two old slaves had
refused to leave Gardiston House. They had been trained all
their lives by Miss Margaretta ; and now that she was gone,
they took pride in keeping the expenses of the table, as she
had kept them, reduced to as small a sum as possible, know-
ing better than poor Gardis herself the pitiful smallness of the
family income, derived solely from the rent of an old"ware-
house in the city. For the war had not impoverished Gardis-
ton House ; it was impoverished long before. Acre by acre
the land had gone, until nothing was left save a small corn-
field and the flower-garden ; piece by piece the silver had
vanished, until nothing was left save three teaspoons, three
tablespoons, and four forks. The old warehouse had brought
in little rent during those four long years, and they had fared
io8 OLD GARDISTON.
hardly at Gardiston. Still, in their isolated situation away
from the main roads, their well-known poverty a safeguard*
they had not so much as heard a drum or seen a uniform,
blue or gray, and this was a rare and fortunate exemption in
those troublous times ; and when the war was at last ended.
Miss Mai^garetta found herself no poorer than she was before,
with this great advantage added, that now everybody was
poor, and, indeed, it was despicable to be anything else. She
bloomed out into a new cheerfulness under this congenial
state of things, and even invited one or two contemporaries
still remaining on the old plantations in the neighborhood to
spend several days at Gardiston. Two ancient dames accepted
the invitation, and the state the three kept together in the old
drawing-room under the family portraits, the sweep of their
narrow-skirted, old-fashioned silk gowns on the inlaid stair-
case when they went down to dinner, the supreme uncon-
sciousness of the break-neck condition of the marble flooring
and the mold-streaked walls, the airy way in which they drank
their tea out of the crocodile cups, and told little ^tories of
fifty years before, filled Gardis with admiring respect. She
sat, as it were, in the shadow of their greatness, and obedient-
ly ate only of those dishes that required a fork, since the three
spoons were, of course, in use. During this memorable visit
Cousin Copeland was always "engaged in his study" at
meal-times; but in the evening he appeared, radiant and
smiling, and then the four played whist together on the Chi-
nese table, and the ladies fanned themselves with stately
grace, while Cousin Copeland dealt not only the cards,
but compliments also— both equally old-fashioned and well
But within this first year of peace Miss Mai^garetta had died
— ^an old lady of seventy-five, but bright and strong as a winter
apple. Gardis and Cousin Copeland, left alone, moved on in
the same way : it was the only way they knew. Cousin Cope-
land lived oniy in the past, Gardis in the present ; and indeed
the future, so anxiously considered always by the busy, rest-
less Northern mind, has never been lifted into the place of
supreme importance at the South.
When bresddast was over, Gardis went up stairs mto the
drawing-room. Cousin Copeland, remarking, in his busy
little way, that he had important work awaiting him, retired
to his study — a round room in the tower, where, at an old
desk with high back full of pigeon4ioles, he had been accus-
tomed for years to labor during a portion of the day over
family documents a century or two old, recopying them with
minute care, adding foot-notes, and references leading back
by means of red-ink stars to other documents, and appending
elaborately phrased little comments neatly signed in flourishes
with his initials and the date, such as " Truly a doughty deed.
C. B. G. 1852." — " * Worthy,* quotha ? Nay, it seemeth unto
my poor comprehension a marvelous kindness I C. B. G.
1856."— "May we all profit by this! C. B. G. J 858."
This morning, as usual, Gardis donned her gloves, threw
open the heavy wooden shutters, and, while the summer
morning sunshine flooded the room, she moved from piece to
piece of the old furniture, carefully dusting it all. The room
was laige and lofty ; there was no carpet on the inlaid floor,
but a tapestry rug lay under the table in the center of the
apartment ; everything was spindle-legged, chairs, tables, the
old piano, two cabinets, a sofa, a card-table, and two little
tabourets embroidered in Scriptural scenes, reduced now to
shadows, Joseph and his wicked brethren having faded to the
same dull yellow hue, which Gardis used to think was not the
discrimination that should have been shown between the just
and the unjust. The old cabinets were crowded with curious
little Chinese images and vases, and on the high mantel were
candelabra with more crocodiles on them, and a large mirror
which had so long been veiled in gauze that Gardis had never
fairly seen the fat, g^lt cherubs that surrounded it. A few
inches of wax-candle still remained in the candelabra, but
they were never lighted, a tallow substitute on the table serv-
ing as a nucleus during the eight months of warm weather
no OLD GARDISTON.
when the evenings were spent in the drawing-room. When
it was really cold, a fire was kindled in the boudoir — a narrow
chamber in the center of the large rambling old mansion,
where, with closed doors and curtained windows, the three
sat together, Cousin Copeland reading aloud, generally from
the " Spectator," often pausing to jot down little notes as they
occurred to him in his orderly memorandum-book — " mere
outlines of phrases, but sufficiently full to recall the desired
train of thought," he observed. The ladies embroidered. Miss
Maigaretta sitting before the large frame she had used when
a girl. They did all the sewing for the household (very little
new materia], and much repairing of old), but these domestic
labors were strictly confined to the privacy of their own apart-
ments ; in the drawing-room or boudoir they always embroid-
ered. Gardis remembered this with sadness as she removed
the cover from the large frame, and glanced at " Moses in the
Bulrushes," which her inexperienced hand could never hope
to finish ; she was thinking of her aunt, but any one else would
have thought of the bulrushes, which were now pink, now
saffron, and now blue, after some mediaeval system of floss-
Having gone all around the apartment and dusted every-
thing, Chinese images and all, Gardis opened the old piano
and gently played a little tune. Miss Margaretta had been
her only teacher, and the young girl's songs were old-fash-
ioned ; but the voice was sweet and full, and before she knew
it she was filling the house with her melody.
" Little Cupid one day in a myrtle-bough strayed,
And among the sweet blossoms he playfully played.
Plucking many a sweet from the boughs of the tree,
Till he felt that his finger was stung by a bee,"
sang Gardis, and went on blithely through the whole, giving
Mother Venus's advice archly, and adding a shower of impro-
vised trills at the end.
OLD GARDISTON. m
" Bravo ! " said a voice from the garden below.
Rushing to the casement, Miss Duke beheld, first with
astonishment, then dismay, two officers in the uniform of the
United States army standing at the front door. They bowed
courteously, and one of them said, " Can I see the lady of the
house ? "
"I — I am the lady," replied Gardis, confusedly; then
drawing back, with the sudden remembrance that she should
not have shown herself at all, she ran swiftly up to the study
for Cousin Copeland. But Cousin Copeland was not there,
and the little mistress remembered with dismay that old Dinah
was out in the corn-field, and that Pompey had gone fishing.
There was nothing for it, then, but to go down and face the
strangers. Summoning all her self-possession. Miss Duke
descended. She would have preferred to hold pariey from
the window over the doorway, like the ladies of olden time,
but she feared it would not be dignified, seeing that the times
were no longer olden, and therefore she went down to the
entrance where the two were awaiting her. "Shall I ask
them in?" she thought. "What would Aunt Margaretta
have done?" The Gardiston spirit was hospitable to the
core ; but these — ^these were the Vandals, the despots, under
whose presence the whole fair land was groaning. No ; she
would not ask them in.
The elder officer, a g^ve young man of thirty, was spokes-
man. " Do I address Miss Gardiston ? " he said.
" I am Miss Duke. My aunt. Miss Gardiston, is not liv-
ing," replied Gardis.
"Word having been received that the yellow fever has
appeared on the coast, we have been ordered to take the
troops a few miles inland and go into camp immediately. Miss
Duke. The grove west of this house, on the bank of the
river, having been selected as camping-ground for a portion
of the command, we have called to say that you need feel no
alarm at the proximity of the soldiers ; they will be under
strict orders not to trespass upon your grounds."
112 OLD GARDISTON.
** Thanks," said Gardis mechanically ; but she was alarmed ;
they both saw that.
** I assure you, Miss Duke, that there is not the slightest
cause for nervousness/' said the younger officer, bowing as he
"And your servants will not be enticed away, either,"
added the other.
"We have only two, and they — would not go," replied
Gardis, not aggres^vely, but merely stating her facts.
The glimmer of a smile crossed the face of the younger
officer, but the other remained unmoved.
"My name, madam, is Newell — David Newell, captain
commanding the company that will be encamped here. I
beg you to send me word immediately if anything occurs to
disturb your quiet," he said.
Then the two saluted the little mistress with formal cour-
tesy, and departed, walking down the path together with a
quick step and soldierly, bearing, as though they were on
" Ought I to have asked them in ? " thought Gardis ; and
she went slowly up to the drawing-room again and closed the
piano. " I wonder who said * bravo ' ? The younger one, I
presume." And she presumed correctly.
At lunch (corn-bread and milk) Cousin Copeland's old-
young face appeared promptly at the dining-room door.
Cousin Copeland, Miss Margaretta's cousin, was a little old
bachelor, whose thin dark hair had not turned gray, and
whose small bright eyes needed no spectacles ; he dressed
always in black, with low shoes on his small feet, and his
clothes seemed never to wear out, perhaps because his little
frame hardly touched them anywhere; the cloth certainly was
not strained. Everything he wore was so old-fashioned, how-
ever, that he looked like the pictures of the high-coUared,
solemn little men who, accompanied by ladies all bonnet, are
depicted in English Sunday-school books following funeral
processions, generally of the good children who die young.
" O Cousin Copeland, where were you this morning when
I went up to your study ? " began Gardis, full of the event of
" You may well ask where I was, my child," replied the
bachelor, cutting his toasted corn-bread into squares with
mathematical precision. "A most interesting discovery —
most interesting. Not being thoroughly satisfied as to the
exact identity of the first wife of one of the second cousins of
our grandfather, a lady who died young and left no descen-
dants, yet none the less a Gardiston, at least by marriage, the
happy idea occurred to me to investigate more fully the con-
tents of the papers in barrel number two on the east side of
the central garret — documents that I myself classified in 1849,
as collateral merely, not relating to the main line. I assure
you, my child, that I have spent there, over that barrel, a most
delightful morning — most delightful. I had not realized that
there was so much interesting matter in store for me when I
shall have finished the main line, which will be, I think, in
about a year and a half— a year and a half. And I have good
hopes of finding there, too, valuable information respecting
this first wife of one of the second cousins of our respected
grandfather, a lady whose memory, by some strange neglect,
has been suffered to fall into oblivion. I shall be proud to
constitute myself the one to rescue it for the benefit of pos-
terity," continued the little man, with chivalrous enthusiasm,
as he took up his spoon. (There was one spoon to spare
now ; Gardis often thought of this with a saddened heart.)
Miss Duke had not interrupted her cousin by so much as an
impatient glance ; trained to regard him with implicit respect,
and to listen always to his gentle, busy little stream of talk,
she waited until he had finished all he had to say about this
" first wife of one of the second cousins of our g^randfather "
(who, according to the French phrase-books, she could not
help thinking, should have inquired immediately for the green
shoe of her aunt's brother-in-law's wife) before she told her
story. Cousin Copeland shook his head many times during
114 O^^ GARDISTON.
the recital. He had not the bitter feelings of Miss Margaretta
concerning the late war ; in fact, he had never come down
much farther than the Revolution, having merely skirmished
a little, as it were, with the war of 1812 ; but he knew his
cousin's opinions, and respected their memory. So he " ear-
nestly hoped " that some other site would be selected for the
camp. Upon being told that the blue army-wagons had al-
ready arrived, he then " earnestly hoped " that the encamp-
ment would not be of long continuance. Cousin Copeland
had hoped a great many things during his life ; his capacity
for hoping was cheering and unhmited; a hope carefully
worded and delivered seemed to him almost the same thing
as reality ; he made you a present of it, and rubbed his little
hands cheerfully afterward, as though now all had been said.
" Do you think I should have asked them in ? " said Gar-
"Most certainly, most certainly. Hospitality has ever
been one of our characteristics as a family," said Cousin
Copeland, finishing the last spoonful of milk, which had come
out exactly even with the last little square of corn-bread.
" But I did not ask them."
*' Do I hear you aright ? You did not ask them. Cousin
Gardiston ? " said the little bachelor, pausing gravely by the
t«^ble, one hand resting on its shining mahogany, the other
extended in the attitude of surprise.
" Yes, Cousin Copeland, you do. But these are officers of
the United States army, and you know Aunt Margaretta's
feelings regarding them."
" True," said Cousin Copeland, dropping his arm ; " you
are right; I had forgotten. But it is a very sad state of
things, my dear — ^very sad. It was not so in the old days at
Gardiston House : then we should have invited them to din-
" We could not do that," said Gardis thoughtfully, " on
account of forks and spoons ; there would not be enough to
go^ But I would not invite them anyway," she added, the
color rising in her cheeks, and her eyes flashing. " Are they
not our enemies, and the enemies of our country ? Vandals ?
Despots ? "
"Certainly," said Cousin Copeland, escaping from these
signs of feminine disturbance with gentle haste. Long be-
fore, he was accustomed to remark to a bachelor friend that
an atmosphere of repose was best adapted to his constitution
and to his work. He therefore now retired to the first wife
of the second cousin of his grandfather, and speedily foigot
all about the camp and the officers. Not so Gardis. Putting
on her straw hat, she went out into the garden to attend to
her flowers and work off her annoyance. Was it annoyance,
or excitement merely ? She did not know. But she did know
that the grove was full of men and tents, and she could see
several of the blue-coats fishing in the river. " Very well,"
she said to herself hotly ; " we shall have no dinner, then ! "
But the river was not hers, and so she went on clipping the
roses, and tying back the vines all the long bright afternoon,
until old Dinah came to call her to dinner. As she went, the
bugle sounded from the grove, and she seemed to be obeying
its summons ; instantly she sat down on a bench to wait until
its last echo had died away. " I foresee that I shall hate that
bugle," she said to herself.
The blue-coats were encamped in the grove three long
months. Captain Newell and the lieutenant, Roger Saxton,
made no more visits at Gardiston House; but, when they
passed by and saw the little mistress in the garden or at the
window, they saluted her with formal courtesy. And the
lieutenant looked back ; yes, there was no doubt of that — ^the
lieutenant certainly looked back, Saxton was a handsome
youth ; tall and finely formed, he looked well in his uniform,
and knew it. Captain Newell was not so tall — a gray-eyed,
quiet young man. " Commonplace," said Miss Gardis. The
bugle still gave forth its silvery summons. •* It is insupport-
able," said the little mistress daily ; and daUy Cousin Copeland
repli^, " Certainly." But the bugle sounded on all the same.
ii6 OLD GARDISTON.
One day a deq)er wrath came. Miss Duke discovered
Dinah in the act of taking cakes to the camp to sell to the
" Well, Miss Gardis, dey pays me well for it, and we's
next to not'ing laid up for de winter," replied the old woman
anxiously, as the irate little mistress forbade the sale of so
much as " one kernel of com."
" Dey don't want de com, but dey pays well for de cakes,
dearie Miss Gardis. Yer see, yer don't know not'ing about
it ; it's only de Dinah makm' a little money for herself and
Pomp," pleaded the faithful creature, who would have given
her last crumb for the family, and died content. But Gardis
stemly forbade all dealings with the camp from that time
forth, and then she went up to her room and cried like a child.
" They knew it, of course," she thought ; " no doubt they
have had many a laugh over the bakery so quietly carried on
at Gardiston House. They are capable of supposing even
that / sanctioned it." And with angry tears she fell to plan-