Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

The quick perennial now is mine

As much as in my wakeful youth,-
Nay, more; for gleams of gathered truth
Their safety on its tempests shine.

This mighty now, this lord of life,

And yet of life itself the thrall,

Doth sparkle 'mid the sparkling all,
With transcendental vision rife;

With vision peering in the deeps

That deepen with the spiritual ken,
Aglow with blest revealings, when
The spirit towards its freedom leaps.
Life is no mouldering sapless swathe,

Our clay-clad bones in place to hold :

'Tis flame that kindles worlds untold, A fire whose warmest breath is faith.

IN THE SADDLE-ON THE PLAINS.

iry of

UP THE RIVER.

I.

long and really elegant apartment is ebellion.

well furnished. On each side are toleray's exploits i.

bly commodious sleeping-rooms dignifimission thithrd form of a western ed by the high-sounding title of “state the world's o though graced by the rooms." The table is spread with delieclipse tha 'Tower, not attractive. cacies of the season, and the epicurean the old Vincent, accustomed to the tourist will, on the whole, enjoy a sumCodsome craft of the Hudson, com- mer-trip upon a Western steamer. Its Beed the Prairie Flower to a land- flat bottom, with a single broad paddleabin in a huge scow.

wheel in the stern, adapts it to the sbalb.he engine and boiler are exposed to low Western waters, without wharves

w on the main deck. Instead of the or piers. The swift-running currents neat-engine-room with brightly burnish- and the ever-shifting bed of the rivers ed cylinders and rods, and varnished forbid the insertion of piles for piers; ws Is adorned with appropriate pic- and very often, in landing, the shore

res, and the corpulent oil-cans, bright side will be high and dry on the bank; and neatly disposed, there is only an but as the engine starts, the steamer, ugly maze of black machinery covered like a turtle, crawls lazily into its proper by the deck above. An Atlantic en- element. President Lincoln, whose mind gineer, in his cosy arm-chair, watches seems to have been specially turned to the smooth play of the engine, as a fond these peculiarities of Western navigamother would watch her child. The tion by his experience as a flat-boatman, Missouri “stoker” pulls and “jabs” made a singular invention for passing his plutonic monster as an irate driver steamers over shoals, which is on file in would “regulate” his mule.

the Patent Office. He was only several Leaving the “boiler-deck," and as- inches from the truth, in saying that a cending the broad stairway to the gunboat could run through a meadow

-a term which, in the Ameri- with a light dew on the grass. can tor Tue, signifies every thing from a As the steamer was leaving the

cook-shop,—the unfavorable about forty black deck-hands,
!ct, one nes agreeably relieved. This abouts,” gathered at the bows, and

.

“ saloon,"

[ocr errors]

as

swallow-tail cut, now quite out of and horse-hair, and marked " General vogue, and of that homespun dirt-color Price," or “ Colonel Romilly." Nor which, in the rebel uniforms, was dig- ought this young man to have attached nified by the epithet "gray.”

His to Mr. Romilly's back any label indicatheavy army shoes had doubtless been ing that he had been “ paroled at Apcaptured from the supply-train of some pomattox.” All these, and many similar of the “ Dutch” troopers aforesaid, and tricks, had at first been perpetrated so he wore them more as trophies than for coolly by McCann, and had excited so either their economy or beauty. But much half-suppressed mirth in Dumone token about his person-a.costly frees, that the elder Romilly's wrath meerschaum-indicated taste or refine- had fairly fixed upon the latter as the ment. His general exterior, though author of his annoyances. that of a man of strong personal quali- “Child,” said the elder Romilly, as ties, would have been marked he entered the ladies' cabin after a “rebel” in any of the border States. furious outburst of wrath at one of

Whatever may bave been Mr. Romil- these peccadilloes, “there are three ly's affection for his daughter, he was Yapkee mercenaries on board-a cap far less assiduous in his attentions than tain, adjutant, and lieutenant." many, especially of the younger gentle- “Yes, pa," replied his daughter, men on board, who could claim no blushing relationship to her. Indeed, they were "If you have ever allowed one of so little in each other's company, that, them to speak to you, don't permit it at first, many

of the passengers were not again." aware that any relationship existed be- "Certainly not, pa." tweon them. And these were unfortunate That evening Dumfrees missed his days; for, with Terry McCann, the war accustomed partner in the moonlight was not yet so far over as to exempt a promenade. Retiring late, he was soon grave, elderly Missouri rebel from his

wrapped in profound slumber. It was proper liability to be made the butt of in such silent hours as these that the a practical joke whenever an opportu- fertile genius of Terence McCann war nity occurred to pipe all hands to mis- most suggestive of mischief. Occupy. chief.

ing the same state-room with Dumfrees, Now, if there is one sacred right dear and knowing that within a few yards to every Missourian, it is that of in- . of them were the adjoining state-rooms dulging in a quiet smoke and an un- of the rich old Missourian and the loveinterrupted nap after dinner. Mr. Ro- ly rebel Miss Romilly, McCann silently milly had preferred, for this purpose, a

donned the adjutant's uniform, emerged seat in the shade on the promenade deck. from the state-room, and was soon seatRelapsing back in his chair as he fell ed as near as he could get to the wininto the invisible arms of Morpheus, it dow of Miss Romilly's state-room withis a physiological fact that he could not out coming within reach of the elder bend his head as far backward as was Romilly's cane. The night was lovely; essential to the full enjoyment of his many of the passengers found the calm slumbers, without throwing up his nos- beauty of the moonlight on the river trils, opening his mouth, and issuing more attractive than slumber; and the therefrom a snore which was very like miscbievous McCann no sooner began a bray. But this was no reason why his travesty of a serenade, than he was the facetious Terry McCann should conscious of having a large and attenmake this place a receptacle for stray tive auditory; Miss Romilly's curtain bits of cake, or dead flies.

Nor was

withdrew far enough to reveal to her there any propriety in suspending from the uniform of Adjutant Dumfrees, and the hurricane-deck, in immediate conti- soon as she listened to the remarkable guity to the sleeper's nose, a huge Corko- strain, she concluded that, after all, the nian spitler, made of cork, sealing-wax, adjutant had some weak points which

'terested in each other. It soon trans- dainty, petite Miss Romilly, with her pired that these opportunities were lovely, large, flashing black eyes, her freely improved by Adjutant Dumfrees, magnificent wealth of raven hair, that not without the coy but pleased consent needed no vile chignon or cheap trickof the object of his sudden interest. Miss cry of the hairdresser, but burst from Isabel Romilly, familiarly and appropri- its partial confinement in waving tresses ately known as Belle Romilly, was a and flowing curls, that seemed to have dainty, witching brunette rebel of some no particular limits to their audacious fifteen summers, proud of her ancient abundance, was condescending to amuse name and of the exploits of her brother, herself, on her voyage up the river, by Colonel Romilly, C. S. A. This officer making her second or third conquest. had spread terror into the hearts and Indeed, she was quite interested in her homes of the detested Yankees, and had admirer. His form was handsome, dedriven the St. Louis Dutch, as Fre- spite the unpleasant associations of his mont's troops were styled, hundreds of Yankee uniform. He had a clear commiles, on scores of occasions, in igno- plexion, teeth of pearl, and a fine, inminious defeat. Such exploits were no telligent face, and melodious voice. But less brilliant in her esteem, from the fact what Terry McCann would have styled that she had read them, or heard them his " best hold” was, that he was runrecited by her preceptress, in the se- ning over with learning. He had cluded recesses of a convent near New gathered much from judicious reading, Orleans, whither she had been sent as and could recite by the hour, during to a harbor of refuge as well as semi- their late moonlight walks, beautiful nary of feminine learning during the thoughts, couplets, and verses from the rebellion. The tales of Colonel Romil- poets, as well as the best prose-writers. ly's exploits had grown in their trans- His conversation was withal respectful mission thither so as to rival those of and tender. He ingeniously assumed the world's greatest captains, and far that Miss Romilly was already familiar

eclipse the humbler acbievements of with all the strange books and authors • the other heroes, whether Federal or with which his fluent memory made her

Confederate, of the recent struggle. conversant. In short, the young couple Belle Romilly hated the Yankees in the were fast acquiring a tender regard for abstract, but, as she had a passion for each other. the whirling mazes of the waltz and Miss Romilly was escorted by her polka, she excepted from the antipathy father, a tall, lank, taciturn, and grave such true young gentlemen of Northern planter of western Missouri, who looked birth as could with faultless grace at men without distinction of color or acquit themselves as partners. Adju- condition outside the range of his tant Dumfrees was so fortunate as to circle of friends, with the unaffected excel in the saltatory art. Besides, the pride and bluff contempt of one who is seclusion of her school, and the absence accustomed to own and rule them. Like of the young braves of Louisiana at many of the wealthy Missouri farmers, the wars, had deprived her of those his dress, even when abroad, gave no opportunities to captivate which were indication, and his angular, unshorn due to her natural charms, cultivation, face very few, that he might not have and intelligence. Mor over, remark been an eighty-acre squatter, instead of Belle's musing on the sapject : “ These the hereditary proprietor of several travelling acquaintances are so conve- mountain mines and plantations, and nient. If unexceptionable, it surely the recipient of a heavy rental from cannot harm one to make them, If investments in St. Louis,

His vest, they should prove otherwise, why, of sleeves, and pantaloons, were all several course, one cannot be expected to re- inches too short, making his lougitude member them; since really, in point of at every point awkwardly conspicuous. fact, one never knew them." So the His coat was of the antique, short,

as

swallow-tail cut, now quite out of and horse-hair, and marked “General vogue, and of that homespun dirt-color Price,” or “ Colonel Romilly.” Vor which, in the rebel uniforms, was dig- ought this young man to have attached nified by the epithet "gray."

His to Mr. Romilly's back any label indicatheavy army shoes had doubtless been ing that he had been “ paroled at Apcaptured from the supply-train of some pomattox." All these, and many similar of the “ Dutch " troopers aforesaid, and tricks, had at first been perpetrated so he wore them more as trophies than for coolly by McCann, and had excited so either their economy or beauty. But much half-suppressed mirth in Dumone token about his person-a.costly frees, that the elder Romilly's wrath meerschaum-indicated taste or refine- had fairly fixed upon the latter as the ment. His general exterior, though author of his annoyances. that of a man of strong personal quali- “Child,” said the elder Romilly, as ties, would have been marked he entered the ladies' cabin after a " rebel” in any of the border States. furious outburst of wrath at one of

Whatever may have been Mr. Romil- these peccadilloes, “there are three ly's affection for his daughter, he was Yankee mercenaries on board-a cap far less assiduous in his attentions than tain, adjutant, and lieutenant." many, especially of the younger gentle- “Yes, pa,” replied his daughter, men on board, who could claim no blushing. relationship to her. Indeed, they were "If you have ever allowed one of so little in each other's company, that them to speak to you, don't permit it at first, many of the passengers were not again." aware that any relationship existed be- “ Certainly not, pa." tween them. And these were unfortunate That evening Dumfrecs missed his days; for, with Terry McCann, the war accustomed partner in the moonlight was not yet so far over as to exempt a promenade. Retiring late, he was soon grave, elderly Missouri rebel from his wrapped in profound slumber.

It was pra er liability to be made the butt of in such silent hours as these that the

actical joke whenever an opportu- fertile genius of Terence McCann war ty occurred to pipe all hands to mis- most suggestive of mischief. Occupy. ujef.

ing the same state-room with Dumfrees, Now, if there is one sacred right dear and knowing that within a few yards to every Missourian, it is that of in- . of them were the adjoining state-rooms dulging in a quiet smoke and an un- of the rich old Missourian and the loveinterrupted nap after dinner. Mr. Ro- ly rebel Miss Romilly, McCann silently milly had preferred, for this purpose, a donned the adjutant's uniform, emerged seat in the shade on the promenade deck. from the state-room, and was soon seatRelapsing back in his chair as he fell ed as near as he could get to the wininto the invisible arms of Morpheus, it dow of Miss Romilly's state-room withis a physiological fact that he could not out coming within reach of the elder bend his head as far backward as was Romilly's cane. The night was lovely; essential to the full enjoyment of his many of the passengers found the calm slumbers, without throwing up his nos- beauty of the moonlight on the river trils, opening his mouth, and issuing more attractive than slumber; and the therefrom a snore which was very like mischievous McCann no sooner began a bray. But this was no reason why his travesty of a serenade, than he was the facetious Terry McCann should conscious of having a large and attenmake this place a receptacle for stray tive auditory; Miss Romilly's curtain bits of cake, or dead flies. Nor was withdrew far enough to reveal to her there any propriety in suspending from the uniform of Adjutant Dumfrees, and the hurricane-deck, in immediate conti- soon as she listened to the remarkable gusty to the sleeper's nose, a huge Corko- strain, she concluded that, after all, the nian spicier, made of cork, sealing-wax, adjutant had some weak points which she had not previously detected. Mean- overhanging limbs or fallen trees (lip while Terry sang :

ped in the rapid and surging current. The West! the rolling, billowy West !

Having negotiated with the owner An ocean the winds cannot stir from its rest, the purchase of a woodpile, which the Where wild-flowers purple cach foaming crest, And beauty is waiting to be possessed.

captain had spied half hidden on the bank, with the usual active services of

the “roustabouts," it was put “on II.

board," and the steamer was about to

resume her way. On right, on left, aborc, below,

“ Cast off that bow-line-lively!” Sprang up at once the lurking foe. Scort.

ordered the mate. The smoke of battle and the echoes

A negro sprang ashore, and, as he of its recent thunders still lingered was loosing the rope, the sharp report among Missouri's beautiful hills. In

of a rifle from the near wood startled this State, as in others, lawless bands the crew and passengers of the Prairie kept up their work of terror, and often Flower. A wreath of smoke shone of bloodshed. Guerillas prowled along white in the gloom of the wood; the the river, awaiting the unwary steamer. roustabout staggered forward with his In the dense forest, or near the lonely hand upon his breast, caught convul. road, the bushwhacker, half concealed sively at a low branch of the tree to by the thick underwood, waited to which the bow-line had been tied, then plunder and avenge.

fell backward with a groan, dead. Ere The Prairie Flower carried more than

the passengers, who had gathered upon the usual number of passengers. Fami- the upper deck to witness the “woodlies who had found refuge in St. Louis ing-up," could recover from their surduring the war, were returning to their prise, out from behind trees, down from homes in the interior of the State. the spreading branches, and up from Some of the late “Secesh," accepting the tall grass, appeared about seventy the situation, were seeking again their well-armed men. A moment ago, no charred and blackened homes, sullenly sound came from the densely wooded submitting to begin life anew, and in shore, save the chirp of the birds in the utter destitution, at a period when they boughs. Now it is thronged by as had hoped to be independent of its motley a crowd of riotous ruffians “ as burdens and prepared for its pleasures. ever scuttled ship or cut a throat.” Three fourths of the passengers thus Each had his rifle or musket, revolver, returning were still rebels at heart. In and the dreaded bowie. a secluded niche of their imagination's Nearly all were clothed in rags and temple they worshipped the “Lost the traditional slouched hat of the Cause."

Confederacy. Their pantaloons below “I dunno what we uns is gwine ter the knee hung in tatters, torn by the du," whined a tall, gaunt female, smok- brush through which they had often ing a very musty pipe, and with the been hunted. Many of them, shoeless, visible memory of snuff still clinging wore pieces of gunny-cloth bound around around her shrivelled lips. “Guy'ment their feet, and tied with strips of tuk away all eour niggers. My chillen bark. neber dun a day's work in deir mortal “What's the capting of this yeri lives; an neow we're turned out ter craft ?" shouted the leader. He was a root or die."

stout guerilla, in the prime of manAn opportunity soon occurred for hood, strength, and ruffianly fierceness, testing the loyalty of these returning attired in tattered Confederate gray-a Missourians. The steamer, running slouched hat with drooping brim; and short of fuel, neared the river-bank at black, unshorn hair fell to his shoulders. à point where the thick black forest Striding down to the edge of the bank. came down to the very water and the he again demanded,

« IndietroContinua »