WAS it the fault of poor Barbara Dinwiddie, that, when Sumter fell, and the gallant Anderson saw with anguish the old flag pulled down, she was the most desperate little Rebel in all Dixie ? By no means ! At school, at home, at church, she had been taught that Slavery was the divinest of all divine institutions ; that all those outside barbarians, known as Yankees, who questioned its justice, its policy, its eternal fitness, were worse than infidels ; that those favored individuals whose felicity it had been to be born and bred under the patriarchal benignity were the master race of this continent ; and that one Southern man could, with perfect ease to himself, and without any risk whatever of any unpleasant consequences, whip and put hors de combat any five of the “ homeless and traditionless race ” that could be brought against him.
Had not Mr. Jefferson Davis so styled them ? and had he not said that he would rather herd with hyenas than with Yankees ? Had not Mr. Yancey declared that all the Yankees were cowards ? Had not Mr. Walker, Secretary of State of the new Confederacy, predicted that the “ stars and bars ” would wave over Faneuil Hall in a twelvemonth ? Had not the Richmond papers assured the high-born sons of the South, who of course included the whole white population, that it was an utter impossibility for the chivalry to exist under the same government with the mean, intolerable mudsills of the North ? The wonder was, that the aforesaid chivalry could live under the same sun, breathe the same atmosphere, with such miscreants.
Was it, then, surprising that poor little Barbara, receiving in her narrow sphere no other political influences than these, should find herself at the age of seventeen the most eager of feminine sympathizers with Secession ? She burned to emulate Mrs. Greenhow, Belle Boyd, and other enterprising Amazons who early in the war distinguished themselves as spies or carriers for the Rebels. She almost blamed herself as recreant, because she read with a shudder the account of that Southern damsel who bade her lover bring back, as the most precious gift he could lay at her feet, a Yankee scalp. She tried to persuade herself that those little mementos, carved from Yankee bones, which were so fashionable at one time among the élite of the “ Secesh ” aristocracy, would not shock her own sensitive heart.
Barbara’s mother had done much to encourage these sentiments in her daughter. A match between Barbara and Colonel Pegram of South Carolina was one of that mother’s pet projects. Mrs. Dinwiddie was of “one of the first families of Virginia ” ; in which she was not singular. She had been brought up to regard the Old Dominion as the lawful dictatress of the legislation of the American continent; as sovereign, not only over her own borders, but over the Congress and especially the Treasury of the United States. The tobacco-lands of her father having given out through that sagacious system of culture which Slavery applies, and negro-raising for the supply of the slave-market farther south being in a temporary condition of paralysis, the lady had so far descended from her pedestal of ancestral pride as to encourage the addresses of Mr. Daniel Dinwiddie, a Baltimore merchant, and himself “ of excellent family,” though he had tarnished his hereditary honors by condescending to engage in trade. Two children were the fruits of the alliance which ensued, — our Barbara, and Mr. Culpepper Dinwiddie, who became eventually a major in the Rebel army.
What a dies irœ it was for poor Mrs. Dinwiddie, that day that “ Beast Butler ” rode at a slow walk through the streets of Baltimore, smoking his cigar, and swaying to and fro carelessly on his horse ! The poor lady was ready to cuff Mr. Dinwiddie’s ears, because that worthy citizen sat down to his mutton and claret that day at dinner as coolly as if nothing had happened. Barbara wept, and sang “My Maryland ” and the “Bonnie Blue Flag” till she made herself hoarse. She then glanced at a photograph of Colonel Pegram, and thought how well he looked the conquering hero.
Sunday came. It was a blessed satisfaction that at the Church of St. Fortunatus all the communicants were friends of the Rebellion. The Reverend Bogus de Bogus was himself an extremist in his advocacy of Slavery and the Slave Confederacy. But what was the consternation of the whole assembly, at hearing him, on that eventful Sabbath, pray for the President and other authorities of the United States ! Had he been tampered with by the Beast ? What was the world coming to ? How intolerable that the solar system should move on as regularly and indifferently as if nothing had happened !
The fomenters of Rebellion in the Monument City continued hopeful, notwithstanding the defection of the Reverend Bogus de Bogus. Mrs. Dinwiddie almost worried Dinwiddie’s life out, teasing him for money with which to buy quinine and percussion-caps to smuggle into Rebeldom. Barbara worked till her taper little forefinger looked like a nutmeg-grater, making shirts and drawers for the “gallant Palmetto Tenth,” in which certain sprigs of aristocracy from Baltimore had enlisted. The regiment was commanded by that splendid fellow, Charlie Pegram.
What was Barbara’s despair, on learning that all the products of her labors had been intercepted by the “ Beast,” and were safely stored at “ these headquarters ” ! Mrs. Dinwiddie went into hysterics at the news, but was suddenly restored, on hearing Dinwiddie enter, and inquire in the most cold-blooded manner, “Why is n’t dinner ready?” Falling upon that monster in human shape, she crushed him so far into silence by her indignation, that he was glad to make a meal of a few crackers and a glass of ale, and then retire for his afternoon cigar to the repose of his. counting-room.
The war (the civil, not the domestic, we mean) went on. Battle succeeded battle, and skirmish skirmish, with alternating successes, when at last came the Emancipation Proclamation, not in the earthquake, nor in the whirlwind, but in the still small voice. “ Well, what of it ? ’T is a mere paper bomb ! ” said Belshazzar at Richmond, looking out on Libby and Belle Isle. Mrs. Dinwiddie read the “ Richmond Enquirer,” and thought, for the thousandth time, how intolerable life would be, if ever again Yankees were to be suffered to live within a thousand miles of a genuine descendant of the Cavaliers. “ Spaniels must be whipped into subservience,” said Mr. Jefferson Davis, alluding to the abhorred race north of Mason and Dixon’s line.
“ Yes, they must be whipped ! ” echoed Mrs. Dinwiddie ; and soon afterwards came news of the capture of New Orleans, of Vicksburg, of Port Hudson, and at last of Atlanta. “ These horrid Yankees ! ” she shrieked. “ Why don’t we do something, Dinwiddie ? If one Southerner can whip five Yankees, why, in the name of common sense, don’t we do something ? Speak, you stupid, provoking man ! ”
“ Yes, yes, what was it you asked ? ” meekly interrogated Dinwiddie, who was calculating how much he had made in the recent rise of United States fivetwenties.
“ What was it? Oh, go to your tobacco-casks, your coupons, and your cotton, you soulless, huckstering old man ! You can look on and see Abolitionism getting rampant in this once proud city, and not lift a voice or a finger to save us from ruin ! You can see Maryland drifting into the horrible abyss of Yankeeism and Anti-slavery, and keep on doing business and minding the paltry affairs of your countingroom, as if all that gives grace and dignity to this wretched State were not on the verge of destruction ! If you’d had the spirit of a hare, you ’d have been a brigadier-general in the Confederate army by this time.”
Dinwiddie was not a man of words. He had a wholesome horror of strongminded women ; and to that class he discovered, too late for his peace, that his wife belonged. So he simply replied, slightly stuttering, as was his wont, except when excited,—
“ If I had joined the army, Madam, I should have — have — ve ”-
“ I should have what ? ”
“ I should have been deprived of your — ahem — agreeable society ; and then you might have been a wid— wid— widow.”
“ I should have been proud, Sir, to have been your widow under such circumstances.”
“ Thank you, Mrs, Dinwiddie; but being a mod— mod— modest man myself, I ’d rather not make my wife proud.”
“ There ’s no danger of your ever doing that, Sir,” quoth Madam; “but I thank Heaven we ’re not wholly disgraced. We have one representative of our family in the Confederate army. My son Culpepper may live to make amends for his sire’s degeneracy.”
Dinwiddie was beginning to get roused.
“ My degeneracy, Madam ? Confound it, Madam, where would you and yours have been, if I had n’t saved you all from pau— pau— pauperism, Madam ? ”
It was rare that Dinwiddie made so long a speech, and the lady was astounded.
“ Sir,” said she, “ do you know it is a Culpepper of whom you speak ? ”
“ Devilish well I know it,” said the excited Daniel ; “and what you all had but your pride I never could find out; and what were you proud of? Of a dozen or two old family nig— nig— niggers, that were only a bill of expense to that pompous old cove, your father.”
Mrs. Dinwiddie began to grow livid with exasperation. Her husband had touched her on a tender point.
“ Go on, Sir,” said she ; “ I see your drift. I have suspected for some time that you were going to play the renegade ; to desert your order ; to prove false to the South ; to coöperate with miscreant Yankees in overturning our sacred institutions.”
“ Confound your sacred institutions, Madam ! Slavery is played out.”
“ Played out, you monstrous blasphemer ? An institution for which Scripture vouches ; an institution which the Reverend Dr. Palmer says comes right down to us from heaven ! Played out? Monster! I thank the Lord my two children have not been corrupted by these detestable Yankee notions that are upsetting all our old landmarks in this once noble city of Baltimore.”
“Noble? Ah, yes, — noble, I suppose, when it allowed its ruffians to shoot down a band of Northern soldiers who were marching to the support of Government! ”
“ You yourself said at the time, Mr. Dinwiddie, that it served them right.”
Dinwiddie winced, for this was a blow square on his forehead between his two eyes. He paused, and then, without knowing it, translated the words of a Latin moralist, and replied,—
“ Times change, and we change with them.”
“You will find, Sir, that a Culpepper does n't change,” said Madam ; and, with a gesture of queenly scorn, she swept with expansive crinoline out of the room.
“ So the ice is broken at last.” muttered Dinwiddie. “ I would n’t have believed I could have faced her so well. After all, I ’m not sure that the military is not my true sphere.”
His soliloquy was interrupted by the ring of muskets on the sidewalk in front of his house, and he jumped with a nervous horror. Looking from the window, he saw a file of soldiers, and an officer in the United States uniform, with one arm in a sling, and the hand of the other holding a drawn sword. He was a pale, but handsome youth, and looked up as if to read the name on the door. Then, followed by a sergeant, he ascended the steps and rang the bell.
“ What the Deuse is all this for, I wonder ? ” exclaimed Dinwiddie ; and in his curiosity he opened the outside door, anticipating the negro footman, Nero, who exchanged a glance of intelligence with the military man.
“ I am Captain Penrose, Sir,” said the officer; “ this is Sergeant MacFuse ; you, I believe, bear the name on the door-plate before us.”
Dinwiddie bowed an affirmative.
“ I have orders, Sir,” resumed the officer, “to search your house; and I will thank you to give me the opportunity with as little delay as possible, and without communicating with any member of your family.”
“ But, Captain, does anybody doubt my loyalty ? ”
“No one, Sir, that I am aware of,” replied the Captain, with a suavity that reassured and captivated Dinwiddie. “ We have n’t the slightest doubt, Sir, of your thoroughly loyal and honorable conduct and intentions ; but, Sir, there is, nevertheless, a Rebel mail in your house at this moment. I ’ll thank you to conduct us quietly to the little bathingroom communicating with your wife’s apartment on the second story.”
Dinwiddie saw through it all. He said not a word, but led the way up stairs.
“We shall have to pass through Madam’s room to get at the place,” he remarked ; “ for the door is locked on the inside.”
“ Yes, but the key is out, and I have a duplicate,” replied the officer. “We will enter by the door that opens on this passage-way. I will just give a gentle knock, to learn whether any one is in the bathing-room.”
He knocked, and there was no reply.
“ I think we may venture in,” he said.
He unlocked the door, and they entered,— Captain Penrose, Sergeant MacFuse, Dinwiddie, and Nero. The Captain pointed to a chest of drawers let into the wall, and said,—
“ Now, Sir, if you will open that lowest drawer, I think you will find what I am in search of.”
Dinwiddie opened the drawer, and a strong smell of tobacco, in which some furs were packed, made him sneeze ; but the Captain proved to be correct in his surmise. Nero displayed his ivory in a broad grin, and Dinwiddie lifted a small, but well-stuffed leather mail-bag.
At that moment the door leading into Mrs. Dinwiddie's apartment opened, and that lady, followed by Barbara, made her appearance. Nero’s grin was at once transformed into a look of intense solemnity, and the whites of his eyes were lifted in sympathetic amazement.
Madam's first effort was to snatch the mail-bag from her husband ; but he handed it to Sergeant MacFuse, who, receiving it, shouldered his musket with military formality.
“But this is an outrage, Sir!” exclaimed Mrs. Dinwiddie, finding words at length for her rage.
“Madam,” said Captain Penrose, “a carriage ought to be by this time at the door. Have the goodness, you and your daughter, to make the necessary preparations and accompany me and Sergeant MacFuse to the office of the Provost Marshal.”
“ I shall do no such thing ! ” said Madam, with set teeth, trembling with exasperation.
“You will relieve me, I am sure, Madam,” said the Captain, “ of anything so painful as the exercise of force.”
“Force!” cried Madam; “yes, that would be all in the line of you mean and dastardly Yankees, to use force to unprotected women ! ”
“ Oh, mother ! ” said Barbara, shocked, in spite of her Secession sympathies, at the maternal rudeness, and somewhat touched withal by the pale face and the slung arm of the handsome young officer ; “ I am sure the gentleman has ”—
“ Gentleman ! Ha, ha, ha ! You call him a gentleman, do you ? ” gasped Mrs. Dinwiddie, as, quite beside herself with passion, she sank into a chair.
“ Yes, mother,” said Barbara, her heart moved by a thrill as natural as that which stirs the leaves of the embryo bud in May; “yes, mother, I call him a gentleman ; and I hope you will do nothing to prevent his calling you a lady.”
Captain Penrose looked with a sudden interest on the maiden. Strange that he had n’t noticed it before, but truly she was very, very pretty ! Light, not too light, hair ; blue eyes ; a charming figure ; a face radiant with sentiment and with intelligence ; verily, in all Baltimore, so justly famed for beautiful women, he had not seen her peer ! Barbara dropped her eyes. Decidedly the young officer's admiration was too emphatically expressed in his glance.
Mrs. Dinwiddie began to grow hysterical.
“ Madam,” said Captain Penrose, “ I fear your strength will not be equal to the task it is my painful duty to put you to ; and I will venture to break through my instructions so far as to say, that, if you will give me your promise—you and your daughter—to remain at home till you receive permission through me to quit the house, I will waive all further action at present.”
“ There, mother,” quoth Barbara, “ what could be more reasonable, — more gentlemanly? Say you consent to his terms.”
Mrs. Dinwiddie motioned a negative with her handkerchief, and stamped her feet, as if no power on earth should extort from her the slightest concession.
“ There, Sir, she consents, she consents, you see,” said Barbara.
“ Um — um—um!” shrieked Mrs. Dinwiddie, shaking her head, and stamping her feet with renewed vigor.
“ I see,” said Captain Penrose ; “and I need not ask if you, Miss Dinwiddie, also consent.”
“ I do. Sir ; and I thank you for your consideration,” said Barbara.
“I don’t — don’t — don't!” stormed the elderly lady, quivering in every limb, like a blown ribbon.
It was strange that Captain Penrose did not hear the exclamation, loud and emphatic as it was ; but he simply bowed and quitted the room, followed by Dinwiddie, Nero, and Sergeant MacFuse.
No sooner had the military men quitted the house than the dinner-bell rang. Madam refused to make her appearance. Barbara came down and presided. Boys in the street were crying the news of Sherman’s capture of Savannah.
“ Good for Sherman ! ” said Dinwiddie. “ I ’m devilish glad of it.”
Little Barbara looked up with consternation. She loved her father, but never before had she heard from his lips a decided expression of sympathy with the loyal cause. True, for the last six months he had said little on either side ; but, from the absence of any controversy between him and her mother, Barbara imagined that their political sentiments were harmonious.
She made no reply to her father’s remark, but kept up in that little brain of hers an amount of thinking that took away all her appetite for the dessert. Mrs. Dinwiddie entered before the table was cleared. Then there was a ring of the door-bell. It was the postman. Nero brought in a letter. Dinwiddie looked at the address.
“ ’T is a letter for Anjy,” said he. “ The handwriting looks like Culpepper’s.”
Anjy, or Angelina, was an old black ouuk, om, of the few surviving representatives of the vanished glories of the old Culpepper estate. She had taken a lively interest in the course of Maryland towards freedom ; and when at length that noble Commonwealth stripped off the last fetter from her limbs, and trampled it under her feet, Anjy was loudest among the colored people with her Hallelujahs. She was no longer a slave, thank the Lord ! There was a future of justice, of self-respect, of freedom now dawning upon her abused race.
As Anjy could not read, Barbara bad been duly authorized to open all her letters. She did so on this occasion, read, turned pale, and exclaimed, —
“ Horrible ! Oh, the villain ! ”
“What ’s the matter?” asked her father.
The letter was from his son, Culpepper, to the old family servant, and was in these words : —
“ DEAR ANJY, — I have very unpleasant news to tell you. Your son Tony has been shot by his master, Colonel Pegram, for refusing to fight against the Yankees, and trying to run away. Tony was much to blame. He had been a good boy till some confounded Abolitionists put it into his head that the Yankee scum were fighting the battles of the black man; when, as you well know, Anjy, the true friends of the black man are those who mean to keep him in that state of slavery for which the Lord plainly intended him. But Tony got this foolish notion of the Abolitionists into his head, and one day frankly told the Colonel that he would n’t fire a gun at the Yankees to save his own life ; whereupon the Colonel very properly had him whipped, and pretty badly, too. The next day Tony was caught trying to make his escape into the Yankee lines. He was brought before the Colonel, who told him, that, for your sake, Anjy, he would forgive him, if he would swear on the Bible not to do so again. Tony refused to swear this, began to rave about his rights, and finally declared that he was free, first under God’s law, next under the laws of the United States, and finally under the laws of Maryland. There were other negroes, slaves of officers, near by, listening to all this wicked stuff, and Pegram felt the importance of making an example ; so he drew his revolver and shot Tony through the heart. How could he help it, Anjy ? You must n't blame the Colonel. We all felt he could n’t have done otherwise. I saw Tony the minute after he was shot. He died easy. I emptied his pockets. There was nothing in them but a photograph of you, Anjy, a printed proclamation by the wretched Yankee tyrant, Abe Lincoln, and a handkerchief printed as an American flag. I ’m very sorry at this affair ; but you must seek comfort in religion, and pray that your poor deluded boy may be forgiven for his unfaithfulness and bad conduct. Affectionately,
This letter was read aloud, — not by Barbara, nor by her father, but by Mrs. Dinwiddie, who exclaimed, as she finished it, —
" Here’s the result of your Yankee teachings, Mr. Dinwiddie ! There was n’t a better boy than Tony in all Maryland, till the Abolitionists got hold of him. Pegram served him just right,— just as I would have done.”
Dinwiddie rose, pale, trembling, and all his features convulsed. Barbara covered her face with her hands and groaned. Never before had she seen such an expression on her father’s face. Turning to his wife, he said in a husky voice, which with a great effort he seemed to make audible, —
"Pegram was a murderer ; and you, Madam, if you commend his act, have in you the stuff out of which murderers are made. Now hear me, — you and Miss Barbara here. Here I repudiate Slavery, and every man, woman, or child who helps by word or deed to uphold such deviltry as that you have just read of. Long enough, Madam, I ’ve allowed ray conscience to be juggled, fooled, and blinded by your imperious will and absurd family pride. ’T is ended. This day I subscribe ten thousand dollars to the relief of the Georgia freedmen, made free by Sherman. Utter one syllable against it, and, so help me God, I ’ll make it twenty thousand. Further : if either you or your daughter shall dare, after this warning, to lift a needle in behalf of this Rebellion, — if I hear of either one of you lending yourself to the smuggling of Rebel mails, or giving aid of any kind to Rebel emissaries,— that moment I give you up to the regular authorities and disown you forever. You know that I am a man of few threats ; but you also know that what I say I mean.”
Dinwiddie waited a full minute for some reply to this unparalleled outburst, and then left the room with an air of dignity which neither Barbara nor her mother had ever witnessed before.
The mother first broke silence. She began with an hysterical laugh, and then said, —
“ If he thinks to involve me in his cowardly treason to the South, he ’ll find himself mistaken. Don't look so pale and frightened, you foolish girl ! Go and put on your things for the Bee.”
The Bee was a society of fashionable ladies, of pronounced disloyalty, who met once a week to make up garments for Rebel officers.
“ I shall go to the Bee no more, mother,” said Barbara ; “ besides, I have given my promise to keep the house till I have permission to quit it.”
, “ And do you venture to set your father's orders above mine, you presuming girl ? Are you, too, going to desert the Southern cause ?”
Barbara’s reply was interrupted by the entrance of old Anjy. The scene which had just transpired had been faithfully transferred to the memory of the listening and observant Nero, who had communicated it all to the party chiefly interested.
Mrs. Dinwiddie quailed a little as she met Anjy’s glance ; but Barbara rose and threw her arms about the faithful old creature’s neck, and, bursting into tears, exclaimed, —
“ Oh, Anjy ! ’t was the act of a devil!
I hate him for it! ”
“ Mind what you say, Barbara ! ” said Mrs. Dinwiddie.
Barbara withdrew her arms, and, folding them, looked her mother straight in the face and said, —
“ My father did not speak too harshly of it. ’T was a foul and cowardly murder.”
“ Oh ! ” cried Mrs. Dinwiddie, again threatening a relapse into hysterics.
“ My dear, dear Anjy,” said Barbara, her tears flowing afresh, “come up to my room, and I will read you your letter.”
With a face tearless and inflexible, Anjy allowed herself to be led out of the dining-hall, and up stairs into Barbara’s apartment. The two stayed there a couple of hours, heedless of every summons for them to come forth.
AT seventeen the process of conversion is apt to be rapid. Barbara lay awake nearly all that night, thinking, praying, and weeping. With her sudden detestation of Pegram mingled the personal consideration that he knew that Tony was the son of her own favorite Anjy, —the friend of her childhood.
“ If he had had one spark of true regard for me,” thought Barbara, “ not to save the whole Southern Confederacy would he have shot the son of Anjy, Pegram is a brutal ruffian, and Slavery has made him that,”
Anjy helped on the work of conversion by her anguish and her solemn adjurations. The old woman had picked up arguments, both moral and economical, enough to have posed even Mr. Alexander H. Stephens himself, the philosophical apostle of that new dispensation whose deity was born of the cotton-gin and sired by the devil Avarice.
Barbara rose and breakfasted late that morning. At eleven o’clock she took her music-lesson. Let us leave her for a few minutes, and fly to another part of the city, where, in one of the rooms of the Provost-Marshal’s office, the Rebel mail was being examined. Captain Penrose entered, and Detective Wilkins handed him a letter he had just opened. It was addressed to Colonel Pegram, and was signed by Mrs. Daniel Dinwiddie. We will take the liberty of quoting a portion of it.
“ I know, my dear Charlie, that you have been obliged to draw largely on your financial resources in aid of the great cause of Southern independence, and I am not surprised that you should find yourself so severely pushed for money. I sent you five hundred dollars in greenbacks in my last, the savings of Barbara and myself. I hope to send you as much more by the next mail. I regret to say that for the last six months my husband has utterly refused to allow me one cent for what he calls disloyal purposes. I consequently have to practise some finesse in getting what I do. The money he gives us for dresses and for charity is all saved up for you ; and then I manage to make our grocer’s and butcher’s bills appear twice as large as they really are, and thus add to our savings. It is mortifying to have to resort to these shifts ; but when I reflect on what it is all for, I feel abundantly justified. Mr. Dinwiddie’s income the last two years has been enormous. He is taxed for upwards of a million. A good part of this, my dear Charlie, shall be yours as soon as you change the title of friend for the nearer one of son-in-law. You complain that Barbara would n’t engage herself the last time you met. Her refusal was merely an act of maiden coyness, and only meant, 'I want to be won, but not too easily.’ She sees no young men, and I watch her closely ; for I am resolved that your interests shall be as well looked after as if you were on the spot.”
As Captain Penrose finished reading the letter, Mr. Dinwiddie walked in, and it was handed to him for perusal. That worthy merchant glanced through it rapidly, and a grim smile overspread his features. “We shall see, Madam,” he said, folding up the letter, and handing it to Detective Wilkins for filing. Then, turning to the Captain, he remarked, —
“You are from Maine, I believe, Captain Penrose ? ”
“Yes, Mr. Dinwiddie,—from the very extremity of Yankeedom.”
“Well, Captain, I have this morning seen a friend of your father’s, who bade me say to you he is in the city for a day or two, and hopes to see you before he leaves.”
“To whom do you refer ? ”
“ To Mr. Calvin Carver, of Montreal.”
“Oh, yes ; I’ve often heard my father speak of him as one of the best men in the world.”
“ A man, Captain Penrose, of whom you may truly say, ‘ His word is as good as his bond.’ I never knew him to overstate a fact, and that is saying a great deal of an active business man. I have not seen him before to-day since my marriage.”
“ I shall take an early opportunity of calling on him, Mr. Dinwiddie.”
“ He told me, Captain, of your gallant conduct the other day at Nashville, during Hood’s attack. He said I ought to give Stanton no peace till he has you promoted to a colonelcy.”
“All in good time, Mr. Dinwiddie. There are hundreds of brave fellows who have a prior claim. And now, Sir, permit me to say, that I have consulted with the Provost-Marshal, and my official duty requires me to call on your wife and daughter, and notify them that they are at liberty to go where they please.”
The Captain might have added, had he thought it discreet, that the police authorities had concluded they should learn more of the secrets of the Rebel plotters by allowing Madam to go at large than by keeping her shut up.
Dinwiddie stood nervously playing with his watch-key. An idea had occurred to him, — a glorious, a ravishing idea, — an idea which, if concreted successfully into action, would revenge him triumphantly on his wife for the tricks revealed in the letter he had just read.
“ Captain,” said he, “ if you are going to my house, have you any objection to take a letter for my daughter ? ”
“ I shall be pleased to do so,” returned the Captain ; but he would have put more warmth into his reply, had it not been for certain chilly misgivings in regard to the preoccupation of Barbara’s heart.
Mr. Dinwiddie sat down at a table, and wrote these lines : —
“ BARBARA, — Captain Arthur Penrose, of Maine, visits you in pursuance of his yesterday’s promise. If you have any regard for your poor, distracted father, — if you would save me from the deepest, the direst mortification, — exert all your powers to conciliate Captain Penrose, and to detain him till I return home and relieve you. I will explain all to you hereafter. My peace of mind depends largely on your being able to do this. Urge him to call again. In haste, your father.”
The Captain received this missive, bowed, and walked off in the direction of Dinwiddle's house.
Nero came to the door.
“ Is Mrs. Dinwiddie in ? ”
“No, Cap’n, but Miss Barbara is in,” said the conspiring Nero, in a tone of encouragement.
Madam, it should be remarked, was out making calls on a few leading feminine sympathizers ; but she did not notice, that, wherever she went, a little man in black, with a postman’s big pocket-book in his hands, followed, as if busily employed in delivering letters.
Captain Penrose sent up his card, together with the missive he was charged with. Nero returned the next minute, and ushered him into the drawingroom, assuring him, with overflowing suavity, that Miss Barbara would be down in a minute. It was with profound agitation that that young lady read her father’s note. What could be the matter ?
She looked in the glass, — combed back her profuse flaxen hair so as to expose her fair temples in the most approved fashion of the hour, — took a little tea-rose from the silver vase on her bureau, — and then, with a beating heart, stepped down the broad, low stairs into the drawing-room.
Captain Penrose was examining an exquisite painting of an iceberg, which hung on the wall over the piano. He turned to Barbara, bowed gravely, and said, —
“ I merely came to say, Miss Dinwiddie, that there is no longer any restraint upon your movements. You are at liberty to go where you please. Your mother, I learn, has already anticipated the permission for herself. You may say to her, that, in her case also, the prohibition is removed. I will bid you a very good morning.”
He bowed, and had almost reached the door before Barbara could recover her composure sufficiently to say, —
“ Sir,— Captain Penrose,— I beg you not to leave me so abruptly. Pray be seated.”
The Captain, arch-hypocrite that he was, looked at the clock as if he were closely pushed for time, and replied, —
“ My official duties, Miss Dinwiddie, are so pressing — so ”-
“ But I ’ve something particular to say to you,” said Barbara, grown desperate.
“ Indeed ! Then I 'm at your service.”
Barbara pointed to an arm-chair ; but the Captain wheeled it up to her, and at the same time pushed along an ottoman for himself. As soon as the lady was seated, he, too, sat.
There was a pause, and rather a long one.
“ Now, Miss Dinwiddie, I shall be happy to hear your communication.”
“ Ahem ! I noticed, Sir, as I came in, that you were looking at yonder painting.”
“ Yes ; is it not most admirable ? ’T is by a Boston artist, I see, — by Curtis.”
“ Indeed ! 'T is a picture my father bought only last week. ’T was recommended to him by Mr. Carver ; for father does not pretend to be a connoisseur. You think it good ? ”
“ Good ? ’T is exquisite ! Look at the atmosphere over that water. You might feel a cool exhalation from it on a hot day. The misty freshness rolling off, and lit up by the cheery sunlight, is Nature itself. It carries me away — far away — once more to the coast of Labrador, where I spent a summer month in my youth. But, Miss Dinwiddie, how happens it that you condescend, in times like these, to patronize a Yankee artist ? When Colonel Pegram comes, you must take down that picture and hide it.”
Barbara started and blushed.
“ What do you know, Sir, of Colonel Pegram ? ”
“ Nothing, except that he is a fortunate man, unless Rumor belies him.”
“ If you refer, Sir, to that foolish report in regard to myself which was current last winter, I beg to assure you there is no truth in it.”
“ Not now, perhaps.”
“Never shall it be true!” exclaimed Barbara, starting up and pacing the floor.
" Excuse me,” said the Captain, also rising, — “ excuse me, if I have been impertinent on so slight an acquaintance.”
He had his hat in his hand, and walked towards the door.
“ Deuse take the fellow ! can't he stay patiently here five minutes ? ” thought Barbara. She dropped the rose she had been holding. The Captain picked it up and offered it.
“ Keep it, Sir, if you think it worth while,” said Barbara, — driven to this incipient impropriety by the vague apprehensions excited by her father’s letter.
“Thank you,” replied the Captain, so taken by surprise that he forgot his military laurels, and showed a faint heart by a blush.
Barbara esteemed it a very charming symptom ; and as the Captain, with his one unwounded arm, tried rather awkwardly to put the flower in the buttonhole of his waistcoat, she stepped up with a “ Let me aid you”; and, taking from her own dress a pin, fastened the rose nicely as near as she could to the beating heart of the imperilled soldier. Alas ! it his thoughts had been put into words, he would have soliloquized, “ Look here, Captain, I ’m afraid you are deporting yourself very much like a simpleton. Pluck up a spirit, man ! ”
“ There ! I’m sure’t is very becoming,” quoth Barbara, mischievously.
“ You see how convenient it is to have two hands,” returned the Captain. “And your having two hands, Miss Dinwiddie, reminds me that your piano stands open, showing its teeth, as if it, smiling, wanted to say, ‘ Come, play on me.’ ”
“ What a lucky idea ! ” thought Barbara. “ Now I have him, and will hold him. He shall get enough of it. When will pa come, I wonder ?—Are you fond of music, Captain Penrose ? ”
“ Yes ; I used to be a performer before I was disabled.”
“ But your voice is not disabled. You sing ? ”
“A little ; but I ’m out of practice.”
“No matter. Come ! Here’s a martial piece, suitable for the times : ' To Greece we give our shining blades.’ ”
It was one of the Captain’s favorites ; and as the two voices, resonant and penetrating, rose on the chorus in perfect accord, the singers thought they had never sung so well before, and each attributed it to the excellent time of the other. Nero and another person listened at the aperture of the folding-doors : Nero, who was musical, going through a show of vehement applause, and throwing himself about in a manner that would have made his fortune as an Ethiopian minstrel.
Other songs followed in rapid succession ; and when the Captain sang “ Annie Lawrie,” con expressione, accompanying himself on the piano with one hand, Barbara exclaimed, with a frank burst of genuine admiration,—
“ Oh, but you sang that superbly ! ”
She had quite forgotten her anxiety about her father’s return.
Then they talked of the popular composers ; and from music their conversation glanced on literature ; and from literature the Captain ventured on the dangerous ground of politics.
“Are you incorrigibly a Rebel?” he asked.
Barbara looked down. She feared that any confession of change in her notions would seem too much like insincerity.
“ Now I ’m going to lecture you,” he continued. “Are you not rejoiced that Maryland is a Free State ? that no longer on this soil a man has power to rob a fellow-man of his labor, and to shoot him down, if he lifts a hand in opposition to brutal oppression ? Does not your generous heart tell you that the system under which such injustice is organized is wrong, unchristian, devilish ? Are we not well rid of the curse ? ”
Barbara looked up, and responded in a hearty, emphatic Yes.
“ But," she added, “ my conversion is recent. And who do you suppose converted me ? ”
“ I cannot imagine.”
Here a door was thrown open, and Mr. Dinwiddie entered. The perfidious man had been listening. Captain Penrose glanced guiltily at the clock, and saw, to his consternation, that two hours had somehow unaccountably slipped away.
“ I have been a loiterer, you see, Mr. Dinwiddie,” he said; “but the fault is your daughter’s. I will now take my leave.”
“ We shall be happy to see you again,” said Barbara, glancing assent to a nod from her father.
“ Yes, Captain Penrose,” said Dinwiddie, “ I hope you ’ll not drop our acquaintance, notwithstanding the circumstances under which it was made.”
“ I shall esteem any circumstances fortunate,” replied the Captain, “that have given me so agreeable a visit”; and, bowing, he left the room, and Barbara rang the bell for Nero to open the outer door.
“ Saved ! saved ! ” cried Dinwiddie, sinking into a chair, and covering his face with his handkerchief.
“ Saved ? How saved ? ” asked Barbara, alarmed.
“ Butno,” exclaimed Dinwiddie, starting up with a very tragic expression. “ Perhaps it was but a transient pow— pow-— power you exerted over him. Barbara, should you meet again, put forth all your attractions to — to — to bind him as with a sp— sp— spell to keep my fatal secret.”
“ What secret, father ? ”
“Hush—sh—sh!” said Dinwiddie, stepping on tiptoe to one door and then to another, and then looking with a cautious air under the sofa. He beckoned to his daughter. She drew near. Once more he looked anxiously around the room, and then whispered, in a hoarse, low tone, in her ear, these words, “You shall know 'all in due time.”
Little Barbara drew a long breath, and resolved that it should not be her fault, if the Captain was not captivated.
At that moment there was a ring at the door-bell; and Mrs. Dinwiddie came in from high conference with a select conclave of fashionable ladies, who yet clung with pathetic tenacity to the declining fortunes of Slavery and Secession.
FOR a fortnight matters seemed to go on swimmingly. Dinwiddie had, as he thought, so managed as to bring the young people repeatedly together without his wife’s having a suspicion of what was in the wind ; and when Captain Penrose called on him at his countingroom and asked whether he might pay his addresses to Barbara, Dinwiddie whirled round on his office-stool, jumped down, and gave the young soldier a cordial hug.
“Certainly, my dear boy ! Win her. She likes you. I like you. Everybody likes you. Go ahead.”
“It is proper to inform you, Sir,” said the Captain, “ that my income is only twelve hundred a year ; but " —
“ Pshaw ! What do I care for your income ? There ! Go and settle it with Barbara. You ’ll find her alone, I think. Mrs. Dinwiddie, for the last week, has been as busy as—-as—we ’ll not say who-—-in a gale of wind. Remember, ‘ Fortune favors the brave.’ I’m obliged to go to Philadelphia this afternoon. Good bye.”
In a transport of delight, the Captain darted from the office, took a carriage, and drove to Dinwiddle’s.
“Yes, Miss Barbara is in. Walk up, Captain.”
“ What could be more propitious ? Poets are not always in the right. Is n’t my love true love, and does n’t it run smooth ? ”
Wait awhile, my Captain ! Perhaps Shakspeare was not so much in error, after all.
Barbara’s eyes plainly spoke her pleasure at seeing him. Adjoining the drawing-room was a little boudoir filled with sunshine and flowers. Into that she led him. They sat down on one of those snug contrivances for a tête-à-ê, formed like the capital letter S. A fragrance as of spring was shed through the room from the open door of a conservatory, and a canary-bird near by was tuning his voice for a song.
“ Barbara, do you know it is a whole fortnight that we have known each other ? ”
She looked up at him inquiringly, for this was the third time he had called her by her first name. He continued,—
“ Barbara, I had a pleasant interview with your father this morning, and what do you suppose I said to him ? ”
“Said it was a fine day, most like,” returned Barbara, intent on spreading out the leaves of a half-blown rose.
“No, I said not a word about the weather. 1 asked him if he would have any objection to me for a son-in-law.”
“And what did he reply?” asked Barbara, after a pause, during which her little heart beat wildly.
“He told me I could settle it all with you.”
“Indeed!” said Barbara. “But I never had any genius for settlements. I always hated business.”
“ But this is a matter of pleasure, not of business,” urged the Captain ; and then coming round to her side, and falling on one knee, he took her unreluctant little hand, put it to his lips, and said, “ May I not have it for my own ? ”
Before she could reply, approaching steps were heard, and a youth of some nineteen years, wearing the coarse peajacket, red baize shirt, and glazed hat of a sailor, made his appearance.
“ Culpepper ! ” exclaimed Barbara, while the Captain resumed his seat,— “ is it you ? ”
“Yes,” replied the youth. “Sister, I have a few words to say to this man privately. Please leave the room.”
Master Culpepper was one of those nondescripts in social zoölogy, classed by some philosophers as “cubs,” and by others as “hobbledehoys,” — “not a man, nor a boy, but a hobbledehoy.” At school he had been set down as a hopeless blockhead, and Barbara had severely tasked her patience, trying to insinuate into his brains the little knowledge of the ordinary branches of education which he possessed. Consequently, though she was two years his junior, she had been accustomed to regard herself as several years his senior, and to talk to him as to the inferior he really was in everything but brute strength. The cub’s strong points, morally considered, were his family pride and his hatred of “ Abolitionism ” : in these he bade fair to surpass even the maternal proficiency.
“ Captain Penrose,” said Barbara, “this is my brother Culpepper. Now, Cully, go and play in the stable, that ’s a good boy.”
“ Do you know, Miss Barbara, that you are addressing a Major in the Confederate army,” replied Cully, folding his arms with a great effort at dignity. “ You will accost me hereafter as Major Dinwiddie, if you please.”
“Well, Major, this gentleman and myself are engaged, so ”-
“ Engaged ! ” howled Cully, with flashing eyes and vociferous speech. “Engaged ! And you dare to confess it to me, your brother ! Engaged ! And to an Abolitionist,-—a low-born Yankee! I cancel the engagement.”
Barbara was too much roused by the cub’s insolence to care to correct the misapprehension which he had blundered into so precipitately, and which she was now disposed to make a verity.
“ Do you mean to tell me,” demanded the cub, “ that you are engaged to be married to this man ? ”
“Yes, if he ’ll have me,” said Barbara, putting forth her hand, which Penrose eagerly seized, exclaiming,—
“ Will I have you, Barbara ? Yes, as the best treasure life can offer.”
And the first kiss was exchanged.
“ Look here,” said Cully, “ this business must stop where it is. I demand, Sir, that you leave the house with me this instant.”
And then, as an amused expression flitted over the Captain’s face, the cub asked angrily, —
“ Why do you smile, Sir ? ”
“Sir,” said the Captain, “your sister and I have cause for smiling ; we are happy.”
The cub took from his side-pockct a revolver and cocked it. Penrose stood up, and Barbara threw herself between him and her brother.
“ Coward ! ” cried the cub, “ to allow yourself to be shielded by a woman ! ”
The cub, under the influence of Proslavery precedents, had really got it into his thick head, that he, under the circumstances, was the man of chivalry and valor, and that because the unarmed Penrose would not present a fair shot to his revolver, that gentleman was chargeable with an excess of poltroonery of which only a Yankee could be guilty.
The cub’s heroics were ignominiously cut short. Suddenly his two arms were seized from behind, while his pistol was wrenched from his grasp. Two armed policemen, followed by Mr. Dinwiddie and Nero, had entered the room.
“ Am I betrayed ? ” exclaimed the cub.
“ Blockhead ! ” said his father, “ Fort Warren shall henceforth be your school, till we knock a little common-sense into that obstinate skull of yours.”
“Fort Warren ! ” cried Cully, gnashing his teeth. “ But I ’m here on a furlough, disguised as a sailor, you perceive. I promised to be back to my regiment by Friday. Fort Warren ? ”
“ Never ! ” shrieked Mrs. Dinwiddie, entering the room from the conservatory, where she had been hiding. “ Kill me, but don’t compel my son to break his pledge to the Confederate authority.”
“ Bah ! ” said Dinwiddie. “ Officers, take the booby away.”
Nero almost sank into his boots with excess of enjoyment, but abruptly put on a very agonized face, and showed the whites of his eyes, as Mrs. Dinwiddie looked towards him.
Cully submitted, though with an ill grace, to what was plainly a case of necessity ; but he turned, before crossing the threshold, and said to Penrose, —
“ I take everybody to witness, Sir, that I prohibit your having anything further to do with my sister. The consequences be on your own head, if you disobey.”
“And I, Captain Penrose,” said Dinwiddie, “ take everybody to witness, that, if, after having paid the court that you have to my daughter, you now refuse to take her as your wife, the consequences, Sir, must be on your own head.”
“ Sir,” said the Captain, “ that is the most agreeable threat that I can imagine. 1 have already committed myself to your daughter.”
“Ah! disgraceful!” groaned Mrs. Dinwiddie.
“What do you say to that, Cully?” said the father, as, with no very gentle thrust, he replaced the glazed hat on the youth’s head.
Cully kept silent. The recollection of certain debts which could be paid only from the paternal purse inspired a prudent reserve.
“ Take him now,” said Dinwiddie to the officers ; “ give him as much gingerbread as he wants, and charge it to me.”
Cully and the officers disappeared.
“And now,” resumed Dinwiddie, “it is time for me to drive to the cars. Mrs. Dinwiddie, this is Captain Penrose, your future son-in-law. Treat him kindly in my absence. Farewell.”
The lady bowed not ungraciously, as Dinwiddie departed. She had been meditating, during the last minute, a new flank movement in favor of Colonel Pegram. She determined to change her base of operations. Barbara was amazed, but, in her inexperience, was wholly unsuspicious of strategy.
“ Captain Penrose, you ’ll stop and take tea with us?” said the wily lady of the house.
“ I shall be charmed to,” replied the Captain.
“ Mother, let me kiss you ! ” cried the innocent Barbara, delighted at what seemed the vanishing of the only obstacle to the betrothal of herself and the Yankee officer.
There was an ambush in preparation, of which these two did not dream.
Two days afterwards, Barbara and her mother were on their way to Montreal.
This was the flank movement, and it was thus accomplished. The second morning after her husband's departure, Mrs. Dinwiddie burst into Barbara’s apartment with the intelligence that she had just received a telegraphic dispatch from Mr. Dinwiddie, bidding her start at once for Montreal to procure certain funds in the hands of a certain party there, which funds were immediately wanted. Barbara, to whom all business matters were mysteries profound as the income-tax or the national debt, received it all without a question. She did not stop to ask, “ Why does n’t father send one of his clerks?” or “Why can’t he do it all by letter ? ” She took it for granted that there was a great hurry about something that required an instant journey to Montreal. So she wrote a letter to Captain Penrose, (which Mrs. Dinwiddie took good care to intercept,) and, before another hour had slipped by, mother and daughter were at the Northern railway station.
The old lady had taken the precaution to send Nero on an errand out of the city, and had hired a public hack to convey her to the cars. But as she was attending to her trunk, an officious gentleman in black stepped up to Barbara, and asked for what place she wished to have the baggage checked. Before Mrs. Dinwiddie could interpose, Barbara had answered, “ Montreal.” Thereupon the gentleman had simply remarked, “ I don’t think they check baggage so far,” and then had walked away in the direction of the telegraphoffice, — for what purpose the sequel must suggest. Mrs. Dinwiddie thought nothing more of the matter. They passed through Philadelphia and New York the next day uninterrupted.
At Rutland, Vt., a very civil sort of gentleman accosted them in the car, and, on learning that they were on their way to Canada, asked if they had passports. On Mrs. Dinwiddie’s replying in the negative, he informed her, that, by a recent order of the United States Government, persons travelling to and from Canada were required to have passports ; and he advised her to stop at Rutland, and he would telegraph to New York and procure them. After some hesitation, she consented to do this. The third day of her detention, her volunteer informant came with the necessary papers, and at the same time introduced Mr. Glide, an obsequious little gentleman, who said he was going to Montreal, and should be happy to render any service in his power to the ladies.
“ Surely, Sir, I have seen you before,” said Mrs. Dinwiddie. “Are you not from Baltimore ? ”
“Yes, Madam; and I will tell you where we last met: ’t was at the secret gathering of ladies and gentlemen for purchasing a new outfit for Mrs. Jefferson Davis.”
“ Hush ! ” said Mrs. Dinwiddie, Slightly alarmed.
“ Oh, there ’s no danger,” returned Mr. Glide. “ I ’m discreet. Your devotion to the Confederate cause, Madam, your noble efforts, your sacrifices, have long been known to me ; and I rejoice at having this opportunity of expressing my thanks and my admiration. Is there anything I can do for you ? ”
Mrs. Dinwiddie looked significantly at him, nodded her head by way of warning, and glanced at her daughter.
“ I see, Madam,” murmured Mr. Glide, in a confidential tone.
“ Barbara, go and pack my trunk,” said she.
Barbara left the room.
“Now, Sir,” resumed Mrs. Dinwiddie, “ I will confide to you my troubles. That young girl has recently engaged herself, against my wishes, to a young man, — a captain in the Yankee army.”
“ Engaged herself to a Yankee ? But, oh, Madam, what an affliction ! what a humiliation ! ”
“ Yes, Sir, ’t is all that.”
“ I agree with Mr. Davis, Madam, that the Yankees are the scum of the world. Is there no way by which you can avert from your family the threatened disgrace ? ”
“Well, Sir, I have formed a plan, and, if you will lend me your aid, I think we may manage to put the infatuated girl for a time where she will have an opportunity of recovering her senses.”
" My dear Madam, I shall be delighted to serve you in any such good work. To save youth and beauty from the polluting touch of a Yankee captain might well call forth the warmest zeal, the most devoted daring, of any native of the sunny South.”
“ Sir, your sentiments do you honor. This, then, is my schemeIs there any chance of our being overheard ? ”
“ By none except the invisibles,” said Glide ; “ and they probably exist only in the imagination of Yankee fanatics.”
“ My plan,” whispered the lady, “ is to put my daughter in a convent until the gentleman to whom I have promised her, Colonel Pegram of the Confederate army, can have an opportunity of seeing her. Of course it would not take him five minutes to drive out of her head all thought of this Yankee lover.”
“ And has your daughter, Madam, no suspicion of this admirable scheme of yours ? ”
“ Not the slightest. She supposes we are going to Montreal on business of her father’s.”
“ Madam, you could n’t have been more fortunate in your confidence. It happens that I am on most intimate terms with Father Basil, the confessor of the nuns, and who, by the rules of the convent, must interrogate your daughter before she can be admitted to its privileges.”
“ But,” said Mrs. Dinwiddie, anxiously, “will Father Basil have the proper sympathy with my maternal motives and my Southern sentiments ? Will he be disposed to strain his authority a little in order to put my daughter in durance ? ”
“ I think I may venture to promise,” answered Glide, “that, such is my influence with him, he will do in the matter whatever I may request”
“ How fortunate ! ”
“ And now, Madam, you must make preparations for your departure. The cars start in ten minutes.”
Before seven o'clock that evening the whole party were comfortably disposed in one of the best of the Montreal hotels. The obliging Mr. Glide went forth immediately to make inquiries in Mrs. Dinwiddie’s behalf.
After breakfast the next day he presented himself to her and asked, —
“You have said nothing as yet to your daughter? ”
“ Not a word,” she replied.
“ Then,” said he, “ our course will be to drive at once to Father Basil’s residence, and get him to broach the whole matter to Miss Barbara. He has a very persuasive tongue, and I think she will at once yield to his exhortations. Should she, however, be disposed to resist forcibly our measures for her benefit, there will be the means at hand to carry them out.”
Barbara entered the room, wholly unsuspicious of the plots against her liberty.
“ The carriage will soon be at the door,” said her mother. “ Go and get ready.” And after a whispered hint from Mr. Glide, she added, “ Put on your pearl silk, Barbara. We shall have to call on certain persons of distinction.”
Barbara was soon ready. They all three entered the carriage, and after a drive of about a mile, it stopped before a large and elegant house.
“ Our father confessor lives in style,” whispered Mrs. Dinwiddie.
“ Yes,” returned Glide ; “one of his wealthy neophytes gives him a home here. If you will wait in this little basement room, Madam, I will conduct your daughter up to his library.”
“ Go with Mr. Glide, Barbara,” said Mrs. Dinwiddie.
Supposing it was merely one of the mysterious forms of business, little Barbara at once took the gentleman’s proffered arm and ascended the stairs with him.
Ten minutes, — twenty, — thirty, — Mrs. Dinwiddie waited, and nobody came. She looked at the furniture, the carpets, the paintings, till she had exhausted the curiosities of the apartment. Suddenly there was a sound of music from above, — not sacred music, — it sounded very much like the waltz from " Gustavus.” What could it all mean ?
At last Mr. Glide made his appearance.
“ Now, Madam, ’t is all arranged,” said he. “ I regret to say that we had to use the most stringent measures for reducing your daughter to terms. But she is so bound at last that she can have little hope of regaining her freedom.”
“ Bound, Sir ? Did you have to bind her?” asked Mrs. Dinwiddie, with a throb of maternal solicitude.
“ You shall see, Madam.”
He threw open the door at the head of the landing, and they entered a stately room, where some thirty or forty ladies and gentlemen seemed to be assembled. Mrs. Dinwiddie drew away her arm and almost swooned with amazement and consternation.
At the front end of the apartment, before a gorgeous mirror, stood Barbara and Captain Penrose. A veil and a bunch of orange-blossoms had been added to the young lady’s coiffure. At her side stood a handsome old gentleman, with bright, affectionate eyes, (very much like the Captain’s,) who seemed to regard her with a gratified look. On the side of Penrose stood — horrors ! — Mr. Dinwiddie himself, a smile of fiendish exultation on his face ; while a gentleman with a white cravat and a narrow collar to his coat, evidently an Episcopal clergyman, went up and shook hands with Barbara, and then mingled with the rest of the company.
A middle-aged gentleman, whom the guests accosted as Mr. Carver, drew near to Dinwiddie, and said,—
“ Now introduce me to your wife.”
Dinwiddie took his arm, and, leading him to where the lady stood, said, —
“ Wife, this is my old friend Carver, of whom you have so often heard me speak. Yonder stands your daughter, Mrs. Penrose, waiting for your maternal kiss of congratulation.”
Mrs. Dinwiddie debated with herself a moment whether to shriek, to fall into hysterics, to explode in a philippic, or to rush from observation. Her husband, seeing her hesitation, took her by the hand and led her into an unoccupied room. A veil must be dropped upon the connubial interview which then and there took place.
Suffice it to say, that, when she came forth leaning on the arm of Mr. Dinwiddie, it was with the air of one who has made up her mind to make the best of a case of necessity, — an air very much like that, I fancy, with which the South will yet take the arm of its consort, the North. She saw there was no longer any chance for another flank movement.
One vindictive glance she turned on the dapper Mr. Glide, as he stood guzzling Champagne, and looking the picture of meek fidelity; and then she courageously walked up, kissed her daughter, shook hands with the Captain, curtsied condescendingly to old Mr. Penrose, and smothered her astonishment as she best could, on being taken up to a lady of rare elegance of person and demeanor, whom she had set down as the wife of the Governor-General at least, but who, on presentation, she learned was the mother of her new son-in-law.
“ Ladies and gentlemen,” said Mr. Carver, — and at his voice the buzz of conversation was hushed, — “I believe we have none here who will not readily comply with the request I have now to make. Since all’s well that ends well, I ask it as a favor, that no person of this company, who may happen to be acquainted with the peculiar circumstances of this marriage, will mention them outside of the circle here present. Will you all say ay to this proposition ? ”
Amid smiles there rose what sounded like a unanimous assent ; but a close observer might have remarked that the perfidious Mr. Glide, instead of moving his lips affirmatively, simply lifted his Champagne-glass, and in the act raised his forefinger so as to cover the side of his nose. To this individual, no doubt the boon companion of some rascally reporter, we probably owe the circumstance that a garbled and incorrect account of this affair appeared in the Baltimore and Washington papers. The present writer has consequently felt it incumbent on him to place on record a version which, whatever may be said of it, cannot be stigmatized as exaggerated.