"You see, sir, this Toddleworth is a harmless creature, always aims to be obliging and civil. I don't, sir-I really don't think he'll steal. But one can't tell what a man will do who is driven to such straits as the poor devils here are. We rather like Toddleworth at the station, look upon him as rather wanting in the head, and for that reason rather incline to favor him. I may say we now and then let him 'tie up' all night in the station. And for this he seems very thankful. I may say," continues Mr. Fitzgerald, touching the visor of his cap, "that he always repays with kindness any little attention we may extend to him at the station, and at times seems too anxious to make it his home. We give him a shirt and a few shillings now and then; and when we want to be rid of him we begin to talk about fashionable wives. He is sure to go then. Can't stand such a topic, I assure you, sir, and is sure togo off in a huff when Sergeant Pottle starts it."
They enter the great door of the bottomless pit; the young missionary hesitates. His countenance changes, his eyes scan steadily over the scene. A room some sixty feet by twenty opens to his astonished eyes. Its black, boarded walls, and bare beams, are enlivened here and there with extravagant pictures of notorious pugilists, show-bills, and illustrated advertisements of lascivious books, in which the murder of an unfortunate woman is the principal feature. Slippery mud covers the floor. Mr. Krone sits on an empty whiskey-barrel, his stunted features betraying the hardened avarice of his character. He smokes his black pipe, folds his arms deliberately, discoursing of the affairs of the nation to two stupefied negroes and one blear-eyed son of the Emerald Isle. Three uncouth females, with hair hanging matted over their faces, and their features hidden in distortion, stand cooling their bared limbs at a running faucet just inside the door, to the left. A group of half-naked negroes lie insensible on the floor, to the right. A little further on two prostrate females, shivering, and reeking of gin, sleep undisturbed by the profanity that is making the very air resound. "The gin gets a-many of us," is the mournful cry of many a wasting inebriate. Mr. Krone, however, will tell you he has no sympathy with such cries. You arraign, and perhaps punish, the apothecary who sells by mistake his deadly drug. With a philosophical air, Mr. Krone will tell you he deals out his poison without scruple, fills alms-houses without a pang of remorse, and proves that a politician-maker may do much to degrade society and remain in high favor with his friends of the bench of justice. On one side of the dungeon-like place stands a rickety old counter, behind which three savage-faced men stand, filling and serving incessant potions of deleterious liquor to the miserable beings, haggard and ragged, crowding to be first served. Behind the bar, or counter, rises a pyramid of dingy shelves, on which are arranged little painted kegs, labelled, and made bright by the glaring gas- light reflected upon them. On the opposite side, on rows of slab benches, sit a group of motley beings,—the young girl and the old man, the negro and the frail white,—half sleeping, half conscious; all imbibing the stifling draught.
Like revelling witches in rags, and seen through the bedimmed atmosphere at the further end of the den, are half-frantic men, women, and girls, now sitting at deal tables, playing for drinks, now jostling, jeering, and profaning in wild disorder. A girl of sixteen, wasted and deformed with dissipation, approaches Brother Spyke, extends her blanched hand, and importunes him for gin. He shudders, and shrinks from her touch, as from a reptile. A look of scorn, and she turns from him, and is lost among the grotesque crowd in the distance.
"This gin," says Mr. Fitzgerald, turning methodically to Brother Spyke, "they make do for food and clothing. We used to call this the devil's paradise. As to Krone, we used to call him the devil's bar-tender. These ragged revellers, you see, beg and steal during the day, and get gin with it at night. Krone thinks nothing of it! Lord bless your soul, sir! why, this man is reckoned a tip-top politician; on an emergency he can turn up such a lot of votes!" Mr. Fitzgerald, approaching Mr. Krone, says "you're a pretty fellow. Keeping such a place as this!" The detective playfully strikes the hat of the other, crowding it over his eyes, and inquiring if he has seen Tom Toddleworth during the day. Mr. Toddleworth was not seen during the day. No one in the bottomless pit knows where he may be found. A dozen husky voices are heard to say, he has no home-stores himself away anywhere, and may be found everywhere.
Brother Spyke bows, and sighs. Mr. Fitzgerald says: "he is always harmless-this Toddleworth." As the two searchers are about to withdraw, the shrunken figure of a woman rushes wildly into the pit. "Devils! devils!—hideous devils of darkness! here you are-still hover-hover-hovering; turning midnight into revelling, day into horrid dreaming!" she shrieks at the top of her voice. Now she pauses suddenly, and with a demoniacal laugh sets her dull, glassy eyes on Mr. Krone, then walks round him with clenched fists and threatening gestures. The politician-maker sits unmoved. Now she throws her hair about her bare breasts, turns her eyes upward, imploringly, and approaches Brother Spyke, with hand extended. Her tale of sorrow and suffering is written in her very look. "She won't hurt you-never harms anybody;" says Mr. Fitzgerald, methodically, observing Brother Spyke's timidity.
"No, no, no," she mutters incoherently, "you are not of this place-you know, like the rich world up-town, little of these revelling devils. Cling! yes, cling to the wise one-tell him to keep you from this, and forever be your teacher. Tell him! tell him! oh! tell him!" She wrings her hands, and having sailed as it were into the further end of the pit, vaults back, and commences a series of wild gyrations round Mr. Krone.
"Poor wretch!" says Brother Spyke, complacently, "the gin has dried up her senses-made her what she is."
"Maniac Munday! Maniac Munday!" suddenly echoes and re-echoes through the pit. She turns her ear, and with a listless countenance listens attentively, then breaks out into an hysterical laugh. "Yes! ye loathsome denizens. Like me, no one seeks you, no one cares for you. I am poor, poor maniac Munday. The maniac that one fell error brought to this awful end." Again she lowers her voice, flings her hair back over her shoulders, and gives vent to her tears. Like one burdened with sorrow she commences humming an air, that even in this dark den floats sweetly through the polluted atmosphere. "Well, I am what I am," she sighs, having paused in her tune. "That one fatal step-that plighted faith! How bitter to look back." Her bony fingers wander to her lips, which she commences biting and fretting, as her countenance becomes pale and corpse-like. Again her reason takes its flight. She staggers to the drenched counter, holds forth her bottle, lays her last sixpence tauntingly upon the board, and watches with glassy eyes the drawing of the poisonous drug. Meanwhile Mr. Krone, with an imprecation, declares he has power to elect his candidate to the Senate. The man behind the counter-the man of savage face, has filled the maniac's bottle, which he pushes toward her with one hand, as with the other he sweeps her coin into a drawer. "Oh! save poor maniac Munday-save poor maniac Munday!" the woman cries, like one in despair, clutching the bottle, and reels out of the pit.
IN WHICH IS PRESENTED ANOTHER PICTURE OF THE HOUSE OF THE NINE NATIONS.
PALE and hesitating, Brother Spyke says: "I have no passion for delving into such places; and having seen enough for one night, am content to leave the search for this vile old man to you." The valiant missionary addresses Mr. Fitzgerald, who stands with one foot upon the rickety old steps that lead to the second story of the House of the Nine Nations.
This morning, Brother Spyke was ready to do battle with the whole heathen world, to drag it up into light, to evangelize it. Now he quails before this heathen world, so terribly dark, at his own door.
"You have, sir," says the detective, "seen nuthin' as yet. The sights are in these 'ere upper dens; but, I may say it, a body wants nerve. Some of our Aldermen say ye can't see such sights nowhere else."
The missionary replies, holding tenaciously to his umbrella, "That may be true; but I fear they will be waiting me at home." Again he scans inquiringly into the drenched area of the Points; then bidding the officer good-night, is soon out of sight, on his way into Centre Street. Reaching the old stoop, the detective touches a spring, and the shattered door opens into a narrow, gloomy passage, along which he gropes his way, over a floor cobbled with filth, and against an atmosphere thick of disease. Now a faint light flashes through a crevice in the left wall, plays fantastically upon the black surface of the opposite, then dies away. The detective lights his lantern, stands a moment with his ear turned, as if listening to the revelry in the bottomless pit. A door opens to his touch, he enters a cave-like room-it is the one from out which the light stole so curiously, and in which all is misery and sadness. A few embers still burn in a great brick fire-place, shedding a lurid glow over the damp, filthy walls, the discolored ceiling, and the grotesque group upon the floor. "You needn't come at this time of night-we are all honest people;" speaks a massive negro, of savage visage, who (he is clothed in rags) sits at the left side of the fireplace. He coaxes the remnant of his fire to cook some coarse food he has placed in a small, black stew-pan, he watches with steady gaze. Three white females (we blush to say it), their bare, brawny arms resting on their knees, and their disfigured faces drooped into their hands, form an half circle on the opposite side.
"The world don't think nothin' of us down here-we haven't had a bite to eat to-night," gruffly resumes the negro.
"May them that have riches enjoy them, for to be supperless is no uncommon thing wid us," interrupts one of the women, gathering about her the shreds of her tattered garment, parting the matted hair over her face, and revealing her ghastly features. The detective turns his light full upon her. "If we live we live, if we die we die-nobody cares! Look you yonder, Mr. Fitzgerald," continues the negro, with a sarcastic leer. Turning his light to where the negro points, the detective casts a glance into the shadow, and there discovers the rags move. A dozen pair of glassy eyes are seen peering from out the filthy coverings, over which lean arms and blanched hands keep up an incessant motion. Here an emaciated and heart-sick Welsh girl, of thirteen (enciente) lays shivering on the broken floor; there an half-famished Scotch woman, two moaning children nestling at her heart, suffers uncovered upon a pallet of straw. The busy world without would seem not to have a care for her; the clergy have got the heathen world upon their shoulders. Hunger, like a grim tyrant, has driven her to seek shelter in this wretched abode. Despair has made her but too anxious that the grave or prison walls should close the record of her sorrows. How tightly she with her right hand presses her babe to her bosom; how appealingly with her left she asks a pittance of the detective! Will he not save from death her starving child? He has nothing to give her, turns his head, answers only with a look of pity, and moves slowly towards the door.
"You have not been long off the Island, Washington?" inquires the detective, with an air of familiarity.
"I wish," replies the negro, sullenly, "I was back. An honest man as I is, can't get on in this world. Necessity makes rascals of better men than me, Mr. Fitzgerald. Mr. Krone (he's a white man, though) makes all the politicians for the district, and charges me eight dollars a month for this hole. Just measure them two things together, Mr. Fitzgerald: then see if takin' in sixpenny lodgers pays." Mr. Fitzgerald commences counting them. "You needn't count," pursues the negro, uncovering his stew-pan, "there's only eighteen in to-night. Have twenty, sometimes! Don't get nothin' for that poor Scotch woman an' her children. Can't get it when they haint got it-you know that, Mr. Fitzgerald."
The detective inquires if any of them have seen Mr. Toddleworth to-day. Washington has not seen him, and makes no scruple of saying he thinks very little of him.
"Faith an' it's hard times with poor Tom," speaks up one of the women, in a deep brogue. "It was only last night-the same I'm tellin' is true, God knows-Mrs. McCarty took him to the Rookery-the divil a mouthful he'd ate durin' the day-and says, bein' a ginerous sort of body, come, take a drop, an' a bite to ate. Mister Toddleworth did that same, and thin lay the night on the floor. To-night-it's the truth, God knows-Tom Downey took him above. An' it's Tom who woundn't be the frind of the man who hadn't a shillin' in his pocket."
The detective shrugs his shoulders, and having thanked the woman, withdraws into the passage, to the end of which he cautiously picks his way, and knocks at a distained door that fronts him. A voice deep and husky bids him enter, which he does, as the lurid glare of his lantern reveals a room some twelve by sixteen feet, the plaster hanging in festoons from the black walls, and so low of ceiling that he scarce can stand upright. Four bunk-beds, a little bureau, a broken chair or two, and a few cheap pictures, hung here and there on the sombre walls, give it an air of comfort in grateful contrast with the room just left. "Who lives here?" inquires the detective, turning his light full upon each object that attracts his attention. "Shure it's only me-Mrs. Terence Murphy-and my three sisters (the youngest is scarce fourteen), and the two English sisters: all honest people, God knows," replies Mrs. Murphy, with a rapid tongue. "It's not right of you to live this way," returns the detective, continuing to survey the prostrate forms of Mrs. Murphy, her three sisters, and the two fair-haired English girls, and the besotted beings they claim as husbands. Alarm is pictured in every countenance. A browned face withdraws under a dingy coverlid, an anxious face peers from out a pallet on the floor, a prostrate figure in the corner inquires the object of Mr. Detective Fitzgerald's visit-and Mrs. Murphy, holding it more becoming of respectable society, leaves the bed in which she had accommodated five others, and gets into one she calls her own. A second thought, and she makes up her mind not to get into bed, but to ask Mr. Fitzgerald if he will be good enough, when next he meets his Onher, the Mayor, just to say to him how Mr. Krone is bringing disgrace upon the house and every one in it, by letting rooms to negroes. Here she commences pouring out her pent-up wrath upon the head of Mr. Krone, and the colored gentleman, whom she declares has a dozen white females in his room every night. The detective encourages her by saying it is not right of Mr. Krone, who looks more at the color of his money than the skin of his tenants. "To come of a dacint family-and be brought to this!" says Mrs. Murphy, allowing her passion to rise, and swearing to have revenge of the negro in the next room.
"You drink this gin, yet-I have warned you against it," interposes the detective, pointing to some bottles on the bureau. "Faith, an' it's the gin gets a many of us," returns the woman, curtly, as she gathers about her the skirts of her garments. "Onyhow, yerself wouldn't deprive us of a drop now and then, jist to keep up the spirits." The detective shakes his head, then discloses to them the object of his search, adding, in parenthesis, that he does not think Mr. Toddleworth is the thief. A dozen tongues are ready to confirm the detective's belief. "Not a shillin' of it did the poor crature take-indeed he didn't, now, Mr. Fitzgerald. 'Onor's 'onor, all over the wurld!" says Mrs. Murphy, grasping the detective by the hand. "Stay till I tell ye all about it. Mary Maguire-indeed an' ye knows her, Mr. Fitzgerald-this same afternoon looked in to say—'how do ye do, Mrs. Murphy. See this! Mrs. Murphy,' says she, 'an' the divil a sich a pocket of money I'd see before, as she held in her right hand, jist. 'Long life to ye, Mary,' says I. 'We'll have a pint, Mrs. Murphy,' says she. 'May ye niver want the worth of it,' says I. And the pint was not long in, when Mary got a little the worse of it, and let all out about the money. 'You won't whisper it, Mrs. Murphy,' says she, 'if I'd tell ye in confidence by what manes I got the lift?'"
"'Not in the wide world, Mary,' says I; 'ye may trust me for that same.' 'Shure didn't I raise it from the pocket of an auld woman in spectacles, that watched the fool beyant dig up the corporation.' 'An' it'll not do yerself much good,' says I, liftin' the same, and cuttin' away to the house. 'You won't whisper it?' says she."
"I can confirm the truth of that same," rejoins a brusque-figured man, rising from his pallet, and speaking with regained confidence. "Mary looked in at the Blazers, and being the worse of liquor, showed a dale of ready money, and trated everybody, and gave the money to everybody, and was wilcome wid everybody. Then Mrs. McCarty got aboard of her ginerosity, and got her into the Rookery, where the Miss McCartys thought it would not be amiss to have a quart. The same was brought in, and Mary hersel' was soon like a dead woman oh the floor, jist—"
"And they got the money all away?" interrupts the detective.
"Faith, an' she'll not have a blessed dollar come daylight," continues the man, resuming his pallet.
The detective bids Mrs. Murphy good night, and is soon groping his way over a rickety old floor, along a dark, narrow passage, scarce high enough to admit him, and running at right angles with the first. A door on the left opens into a grotto-like place, the sickly atmosphere of which seems hurling its poison into the very blood. "Who's here?" inquires the detective, and a voice, feeble and hollow, responds: "Lodgers!"
The damp, greasy walls; the broken ceilings; the sooty fireplace, with its shattered bricks; the decayed wainscoating-its dark, forlorn aspect, all bespeak it the fit abode of rats. And yet Mr. Krone thinks it comfortable enough (the authorities think Mr. Krone the best judge) for the accommodation of thirteen remnants of human misery, all of whom are here huddled together on the wet, broken floor, borrowing warmth of one another. The detective's light falls curiously upon the dread picture, which he stands contemplating. A pale, sickly girl, of some eleven summers, her hair falling wildly over her wan features, lays upon some rags near the fireplace, clinging to an inebriated mother. Here a father, heartsick and prostrate with disease, seeks to keep warm his three ragged children, nestling about him. An homeless outcast, necessity forces him to send them out to prey upon the community by day, and to seek in this wretched hovel a shelter at night. Yonder the rags are thrown back, a moving mass is disclosed, and there protrudes a disfigured face, made ghostly by the shadow of the detective's lantern. At the detective's feet a prostrate girl, insensible of gin, is seized with convulsions, clutches with wasted hands at the few rags about her poor, flabby body, then with fingers grasping, and teeth firmly set, her whole frame writhes in agony. Your missionary never whispered a kind, encouraging word in her ear; his hand never pressed that blanched bone with which she now saddens your heart! Different might it have been with her had some gentle- tongued Brother Spyke sought her out, bore patiently with her waywardness, snatched her from this life of shame, and placed her high in an atmosphere of light and love.
It is here, gentle shepherds, the benighted stand most in need of your labors. Seek not to evangelize the Mahomedan world until you have worked a reform here; and when you have done it, a monument in heaven will be your reward.
"Mr. Toddleworth is not here," says the detective, withdrawing into the passage, then ascending a broken and steep stairs that lead into the third story. Nine shivering forms crouched in one dismal room; four squabbish women, and three besotted men in another; and in a third, nine ragged boys and two small girls-such are the scenes of squalid misery presented here. In a little front room, Mr. Tom Downey, his wife, and eight children, lay together upon the floor, half covered with rags. Mr. Downey startles at the appearance of the detective, rises nervously from his pallet, and after the pause of a moment, says: "Indeed, yer welcome, Mr. Fitzgerald. Indeed, I have not-an' God knows it's the truth I tell-seen Mr. Toddleworth the week;" he replies, in answer to a question from the detective.
"You took a drop with him this afternoon?" continues the detective, observing his nervousness.
"God knows it's a mistake, Mr. Fitzgerald." Mr. Downey changes the subject, by saying the foreigners in the garret are a great nuisance, and disturb him of his rest at night.
A small, crooked stair leads into "Organ-grinders' Roost," in the garret. To "Organ-grinders' Roost" the detective ascends. If, reader, you have ever pictured in your mind the cave of despair, peopled by beings human only in shape, you may form a faint idea of the wretchedness presented in "Organ-grinders' Roost," at the top of the house of the Nine Nations. Seven stalworth men shoot out from among a mass of rags on the floor, and with dark, wandering eyes, and massive, uncombed beards, commence in their native Italian a series of interrogatories, not one of which the detective can understand. They would inquire for whom he seeks at this strange hour. He (the detective) stands unmoved, as with savage gesture-he has discovered his star-they tell him they are famishing of hunger. A pretty black-eyed girl, to whose pale, but beautifully oval face an expression of sorrow lends a touching softness, lays on the bare floor, beside a mother of patriarchal aspect. Now she is seized with a sharp cough that brings blood at every paroxysm. As if forgetting herself, she lays her hand gently upon the cheek of her mother, anxious to comfort her. Ah! the hard hand of poverty has been upon her through life, and stubbornly refuses to relax its grip, even in her old age. An organ forms here and there a division between the sleepers; two grave-visaged monkeys sit chattering in the fireplace, then crouch down on the few charred sticks. A picture of the crucifix is seen conspicuous over the dingy fireplace, while from the slanting roof hang several leathern girdles. Oh, what a struggle for life is their's! Mothers, fathers, daughters, and little children, thus promiscuously grouped, and coming up in neglect and shame. There an old man, whom remorseless death is just calling into eternity, with dull, glassy eyes, white, flowing beard, bald head, sunken mouth, begrimed and deeply-wrinkled face, rises, spectre-like, from his pallet. Now he draws from his breast a small crucifix, and commences muttering to it in a guttural voice. "Peace, peace, good old man-the holy father will come soon-the holy virgin will come soon: he will receive the good spirit to his bosom," says a black-eyed daughter, patting him gently upon the head, then looking in his face solicitously, as he turns his eyes upward, and for a few moments seems invoking the mercy of the Allwise. "Yes, father," she resumes, lightening up the mat of straw upon which he lays, "the world has been unkind to you, but you are passing from it to a better-you will be at peace soon."
"Soon, soon, soon," mumbles the old man, in a whisper; and having carefully returned the crucifix to his bosom, grasps fervently the hand of the girl and kisses it, as her eyes swim in tears.
Such, to the shame of those who live in princely palaces, and revel in luxury, are but faintly-drawn pictures of what may be seen in the house of the Nine Nations.
The detective is about to give up the search, and turns to descend the stairs, when suddenly he discerns a passage leading to the north end of the garret. Here, in a little closet-like room, on the right, the rats his only companions, lies the prostrate form of poor Toddleworth.
"Well, I persevered till I found you," says the detective, turning his light full upon the body. Another minute, and his features become as marble; he stands aghast, and his whole frame seems struggling under the effect of some violent shock. "What, what, what!" he shouts, in nervous accents, "Murder! murder! murder! some one has murdered him." Motionless the form lies, the shadow of the light revealing the ghastly spectacle. The head lies in a pool of blood, the bedimmed eyes, having taken their last look, remain fixedly set on the black roof. "He has died of a blow-of a broken skull!" says the frightened official, feeling, and feeling, and pressing the arms and hands that are fast becoming rigid. Life is gone out; a pauper's grave will soon close over what remains of this wretched outcast. The detective hastens down stairs, spreads the alarm over the neighborhood, and soon the House of the Nine Nations is the scene of great excitement.
IN WHICH MAY BE SEEN A FEW OF OUR COMMON EVILS.
LEAVING for a time the scenes in the House of the Nine Nations, let us return to Charleston, that we may see how matters appertaining to this history are progressing. Mr. Snivel is a popular candidate for the Senate of South Carolina; and having shot his man down in the street, the question of his fighting abilities we regard as honorably settled. Madame Montford, too, has by him been kept in a state of nervous anxiety, for he has not yet found time to search in the "Poor-house for the woman Munday." All our very first, and best-known families, have dropped Madame, who is become a wet sheet on the fashionable world. A select committee of the St. Cecilia has twice considered her expulsion, while numerous very respectable and equally active old ladies have been shaking their scandal-bags at her head. Sins have been laid at her door that would indeed damage a reputation with a fairer endorsement than New York can give.
Our city at this moment is warmed into a singular state of excitement. A Georgia editor (we regard editors as belonging to a very windy class of men), not having the mightiness of our chivalry before him, said the Union would have peace if South Carolina were shut up in a penitentiary. And for this we have invited the indiscreet gentleman to step over the border, that we may hang him, being extremely fond of such common-place amusements. What the facetious fellow meant was, that our own State would enjoy peace and prosperity were our mob-politicians all in the penitentiary. And with this sensible opinion we heartily agree.
We regard our state of civilization as extremely enviable. To-day we made a lion of the notorious Hines, the forger. Hines, fashioning after our hapless chivalry, boasts that South Carolina is his State-his political mother. He has, nevertheless, graced with his presence no few penitentiaries. We feasted him in that same prison where we degrade and starve the honest poor; we knew him guilty of an henious crime-yet we carried him jubilantly to the "halls of justice." And while distinguished lawyers tendered their services to the "clever villain," you might have witnessed in sorrow a mock trial, and heard a mob sanction with its acclamations his release.
Oh, truth and justice! how feeble is thy existence where the god slavery reigns. And while men are heard sounding the praises of this highwayman at the street corners, extolling men who have shot down their fellow-men in the streets, and calling those "Hon. gentlemen," who have in the most cowardly manner assassinated their opponents, let us turn to a different picture. Two genteely-dressed men are seen entering the old jail. "I have twice promised them a happy surprise," says one, whose pale, studious features, wear an expression of gentleness. The face of the other is somewhat florid, but beaming with warmth of heart. They enter, having passed up one of the long halls, a room looking into the prison-yard. Several weary-faced prisoners are seated round a deal table, playing cards; among them is the old sailor described in the early part of this history. "You don't know my friend, here?" says the young man of the studious face, addressing the prisoners, and pointing to his companion. The prisoners look inquiringly at the stranger, then shake their heads in response.
"No, you don't know me: you never knew me when I was a man," speaks the stranger, raising his hat, as a smile lights up his features. "You don't know Tom Swiggs, the miserable inebriate—"
A spontaneaus shout of recognition, echoing and re-echoing through the old halls, interrupts this declaration. One by one the imprisoned men grasp him by the hand, and shower upon him the warmest, the heartiest congratulations. A once fallen brother has risen to a knowledge of his own happiness. Hands that raised him from that mat of straw, when the mental man seemed lost, now welcome him restored, a purer being.
"Ah, Spunyarn," says Tom, greeting the old sailor with child-like fondness, as the tears are seen gushing into the eyes, and coursing down the browned face of the old mariner, "I owe you a debt I fear I never can pay. I have thought of you in my absence, and had hoped on my return to see you released. I am sorry you are not—"
"Well, as to that," interrupts the old sailor, his face resuming its wonted calm, "I can't-you know I can't, Tom,—sail without a clearance. I sometimes think I'm never going to get one. Two years, as you know, I've been here, now backing and then filling, in and out, just as it suits that chap with the face like a snatch-block. They call him a justice. 'Pon my soul, Tom, I begin to think justice for us poor folks is got aground. Well, give us your hand agin' (he seizes Tom by the hand); its all well wi' you, anyhows.'
"Yes, thank God," says Tom, returning his friendly shake, "I have conquered the enemy, and my thanks for it are due to those who reached my heart with kind words, and gave me a brother's hand. I was not dead to my own degradation; but imprisonment left me no hope. The sting of disappointment may pain your feelings; hope deferred may torture you here in a prison; the persecutions of enemies may madden your very soul; but when a mother turns coldly from you—No, I will not say it, for I love her still—" he hesitates, as the old sailor says, with touching simplicity, he never knew what it was to have a mother or father. Having spread before the old man and his companions sundry refreshments he had ordered brought in, and received in return their thanks, he inquires of Spunyarn how it happened that he got into prison, and how it is that he remains here a fixture.
"I'll tell you, Tom," says the old sailor, commencing his story. "We'd just come ashore-had a rough passage-and, says I to myself, here's lay up ashore awhile. So I gets a crimp, who takes me to a crib. 'It's all right here-you'll have snug quarters, Jack,' says he, introducing me to the chap who kept it. I gives him twenty dollars on stack, and gets up my chest and hammock, thinking it was all fair and square. Then I meets an old shipmate, who I took in tow, he being hard ashore for cash. 'Let us top the meetin' with a glass,' says I. 'Agreed,' says Bill, and I calls her on, the very best. 'Ten cents a glass,' says the fellow behind the counter, giving us stuff that burnt as it went. 'Mister,' says I, 'do ye want to poison a sailor?' 'If you no like him,' says he, 'go get better somewhere else.' I told him to give me back the twenty, and me dunnage.
"'You don't get him-clear out of mine 'ouse,' says he,
"'Under the peak,' says I, fetching him a but under the lug that beached him among his beer-barrels. He picked himself up, and began talking about a magistrate. And knowing what sort of navigation a fellow'd have in the hands of that sort of land-craft, I began to think about laying my course for another port. 'Hold on here,' says a big-sided land-lubber, seizing me by the fore-sheets. 'Cast off there,' says I, 'or I'll put ye on yer beam-ends.'
"'I'm a constable,' says he, pulling out a pair of irons he said must go on my hands."
"I hope he did not put them on," interrupts the young theologian, for it is he who accompanies Tom.
"Avast! I'll come to that. He said he'd only charge me five dollars for going to jail without 'em, so rather than have me calling damaged, I giv him it. It was only a trifle. 'Now, Jack,' says the fellow, as we went along, in a friendly sort of way, 'just let us pop in and see the justice. I think a ten 'll get ye a clearance.' 'No objection to that,' says I, and in we went, and there sat the justice, face as long and sharp as a marlinspike, in a dirty old hole, that looked like our forecastle. 'Bad affair this, Jack,' says he, looking up over his spectacles. 'You must be locked up for a year and a day, Jack.'
"'You'll give a sailor a hearin', won't ye?' says I. 'As to that,—well, I don't know, Jack; you musn't break the laws of South Carolina when you get ashore. You seem like a desirable sailor, and can no doubt get a ship and good wages-this is a bad affair. However, as I'm not inclined to be hard, if you are disposed to pay twenty dollars, you can go.' 'Law and justice,' says I, shaking my fist at him-'do ye take this salt-water citizen for a fool?'
"'Take him away, Mr. Stubble-lock him up!—lock him up!' says the justice, and here I am, locked up, hard up, hoping. I'd been tied up about three weeks when the justice looked in one day, and after inquiring for me, and saying, 'good morning, Jack,' and seeming a little by the head: 'about this affair of yourn, Jack,' says he, 'now, if you'll mind your eye when you get out—my trouble's worth ten dollars-and pay me, I'll discharge you, and charge the costs to the State.'
"'Charge the cost to the State!' says I. 'Do you take Spunyarn for a marine?' At this he hauled his wind, and stood out."
"You have had a hearing before the Grand Jury, have you not?" inquires Tom, evincing a deep interest in the story of his old friend.
"Not I. This South Carolina justice is a hard old craft to sail in. The Grand Jury only looks in once every six months, and then looks out again, without inquiring who's here. And just before the time it comes round, I'm shuffled out, and just after it has left, I'm shuffled in again-fees charged to the State! That's it. So here I am, a fee-making machine, bobbing in and out of jail to suit the conveniences of Mister Justice. I don't say this with any ill will-I don't." Having concluded his story, the old sailor follows his visitors to the prison gate, takes an affectionate leave of Tom Swiggs, and returns to join his companions. On the following day, Tom intercedes with Mr. Snivel, for it is he who thus harvests fees of the State by retaining the old sailor in prison, and procures his release. And here, in Mr. Snivel, you have an instrument of that debased magistracy which triumphs over the weak, that sits in ignorance and indolence, that invests the hypocritical designer with a power almost absolute, that keeps justice muzzled on her throne-the natural offspring of that demon-making institution that scruples not to brunt the intellect of millions, while dragging a pall of sloth over the land.
CONTAINING VARIOUS THINGS APPERTAINING TO THIS HISTORY.
MARIA MCARTHUR having, by her womanly sympathy, awakened the generous impulses of Tom Swiggs, he is resolved they shall have a new channel for their action. Her kindness touched his heart; her solicitude for his welfare gained his affections, and a recognition of that love she so long and silently cherished for him, is the natural result. The heart that does not move to woman's kindness, must indeed be hard. But there were other things which strengthened Tom's affections for Maria. The poverty of her aged father; the insults offered her by Keepum and Snivel; the manner in which they sought her ruin while harassing her father; the artlessness and lone condition of the pure-minded girl; and the almost holy affection evinced for the old man on whom she doated-all tended to bring him nearer and nearer to her, until he irresistibly found himself at her feet, pledging that faith lovers call eternal. Maria is not of that species of being the world calls beautiful; but there is about her something pure, thoughtful, even noble; and this her lone condition heightens. Love does not always bow before beauty. The singularities of human nature are most strikingly blended in woman. She can overcome physical defects; she can cultivate attractions most ap- preciated by those who study her worth deepest. Have you not seen those whose charms at first-sight found no place in your thoughts, but as you were drawn nearer and nearer to them, so also did your esteem quicken, and that esteem, almost unconsciously, you found ripening into affection, until in turn you were seized with an ardent passion? You have. And you have found yourself enamored of the very one against whom you had endeavored most to restrain your generous impulses. Like the fine lines upon a picture with a repulsive design, you trace them, and recur to them until your admiration is carried away captive. So it is with woman's charms. Tom Swiggs, then, the restored man, bows before the simple goodness of the daughter of the old Antiquary.
Mr. Trueman, the shipowner, gave Tom employment, and has proved a friend to him. Tom, in turn, has so far gained his confidence and respect that Mr. Trueman contemplates sending him to London, on board one of his ships. Nor has Tom forgotten to repay the old Antiquary, who gave him a shelter when he was homeless; this home is still under the roof of the old man, toward whose comfort he contributes weekly a portion of his earnings. If you could but look into that little back-parlor, you would see a picture of humble cheerfulness presented in the old man, his daughter, and Tom Swiggs, seated round the tea-table. Let us, however, turn and look into one of our gaudy saloons, that we may see how different a picture is presented there.
It is the night previous to an election for Mayor. Leaden clouds hang threatening over the city; the gaslight throws out its shadows at an early hour; and loud-talking men throng our street-corners and public resorts. Our politicians tell us that the destiny of the rich and the poor is to forever guard that institution which employs all our passions, and absorbs all our energies.
In a curtained box, at the St. Charles, sits Mr. Snivel and George Mullholland-the latter careworn and downcast of countenance. "Let us finish this champaign, my good fellow," says the politician, emptying his glass. "A man-I mean one who wants to get up in the world-must, like me, have two distinct natures. He must have a grave, moral nature-that is necessary to the affairs of State. And he must, to accommodate himself to the world (law and society, I mean), have a terribly loose nature-a perfect quicksand, into which he can drag everything that serves himself. You have seen how I can develop both these, eh?" The downcast man shakes his head, as the politician watches him with a steady gaze. "Take the advice of a friend, now, let the Judge alone-don't threaten again to shoot that girl. Threats are sometimes dragged in as testimony against a man (Mr. Snivel taps George admonishingly on the arm); and should anything of a serious nature befall her-the law is curious-why, what you have said might implicate you, though you were innocent."
"You," interrupts George, "have shot your man down in the street."
"A very different affair, George. My position in society protects me. I am a member of the Jockey-Club, a candidate for the State Senate—a Justice of the Peace—yes, a politician! You are—Well, I was going to say-nothing! We regard northerners as enemies; socially, they are nothing. Come, George, come with me. I am your best friend. You shall see the power in my hands." The two men saunter out together, pass up a narrow lane leading from King Street, and are soon groping their way up the dark stairway of an old, neglected-looking wooden building, that for several years has remained deserted by everything but rats and politicians,—one seeming to gnaw away at the bowels of the nation, the other at the bowels of the old building. Having ascended to the second floor, Mr. Snivel touches a spring, a suspicious little trap opens, and two bright eyes peer out, as a low, whispering voice inquires, "Who's there?" Mr. Snivel has exchanged the countersign, and with his companion is admitted into a dark vestibule, in which sits a brawny guardsman.
"Cribs are necessary, sir-I suppose you never looked into one before?"
George, in a voice discovering timidity, says he never has.
"You must have cribs, and crib-voters; they are necessary to get into high office-indeed, I may say, to keep up with the political spirit of the age." Mr. Snivel is interrupted by the deep, coarse voice of Milman Mingle, the vote-cribber, whose broad, savage face looks out at a small guard trap. "All right," he says, recognizing Mr. Snivel. Another minute, and a door opens into a long, sombre-looking room, redolent of the fumes of whiskey and tobacco. "The day is ours. We'll elect our candidate, and then my election is certain; naturalized thirteen rather green ones to-day-to-morrow they will be trump cards. Stubbs has attended to the little matter of the ballot-boxes." Mr. Snivel gives the vote-cribber's hand a warm shake, and turns to introduce his friend. The vote-cribber has seen him before. "There are thirteen in," he says, and two more he has in his eye, and will have in to-night, having sent trappers out for them.
Cold meats, bread, cheese, and crackers, and a bountiful supply of bad whiskey, are spread over a table in the centre of the room; while the pale light of two small lamps, suspended from the ceiling, throws a curious shadow over the repulsive features of thirteen forlorn, ragged, and half-drunken men, sitting here and there round the room, on wooden benches. You see ignorance and cruelty written in their very countenances. For nearly three weeks they have not scented the air of heaven, but have been held here in a despicable bondage. Ragged and filthy, like Falstaff's invincibles, they will be marched to the polls to-morrow, and cast their votes at the bid of the cribber. "A happy lot of fellows," says Mr. Snivel, exultingly. "I have a passion for this sort of business-am general supervisor of all these cribs, you understand. We have several of them. Some of these 'drifts' we kidnap, and some come and be locked up of their own accord-merely for the feed and drink. We use them, and then snuff them out until we want them again." Having turned from George, and complimented the vote-cribber for his skill, he bids him good-night. Together George and the politician wend their way to an obscure part of the city, and having passed up two flight of winding stairs, into a large, old-fashioned house on the Neck, are in a sort of barrack-room, fitted up with bunks and benches, and filled with a grotesque assembly, making night jubilant-eating, drinking, smoking, and singing. "A jolly set of fellows," says Mr. Snivel, with an expression of satisfaction. "This is a decoy crib-the vagabonds all belong to the party of our opponents, but don't know it. We work in this way: we catch them-they are mostly foreigners-lock them up, give them good food and drink, and make them-not the half can speak our language-believe we belong to the same party. They yield, as submissive as curs. To morrow, we-this is in confidence-drug them all, send them into a fast sleep, in which we keep them till the polls are closed, then, not wanting them longer, we kick them out for a set of drunkards. Dangerous sort of cribbing, this. I let you into the secret out of pure friendship." Mr. Snivel pauses. George has at heart something of deeper interest to him than votes and vote-cribbers. But why, he says to himself, does Mr. Snivel evince this anxiety to befriend me? This question is answered by Mr. Snivel inviting him to take a look into the Keno den.
THE KENO DEN, AND WHAT MAY BE SEEN IN IT.
THE clock has just struck twelve. Mr. Snivel and George, passing from the scenes of our last chapter, enter a Keno den,
A gambling den. situated on Meeting street. "You must get money, George. Here you are nothing without money. Take this, try your hand, make your genius serve you." Mr. Snivel puts twenty dollars into George's hand. They are in a room some twenty by thirty feet in dimensions, dimly-lighted. Standing here and there are gambling tables, around which are seated numerous mechanics, losing, and being defrauded of that for which they have labored hard during the week. Hope, anxiety, and even desperation is pictured on the countenances of the players. Maddened and disappointed, one young man rises from a table, at which sits a craven-faced man sweeping the winnings into his pile, and with profane tongue, says he has lost his all. Another, with flushed face and bloodshot eyes, declares it the sixth time he has lost his earnings here. A third reels confusedly about the room, says a mechanic is but a dog in South Carolina; and the sooner he comes to a dog's end the better.
Mr. Snivel points George to a table, at which he is soon seated. "Blank-blank-blank!" he reiterates, as the numbers turn up, and one by one the moody bank-keeper sweeps the money into his fast-increasing heap. "Cursed fate!—it is against me," mutters the forlorn man. "Another gone, and yet another! How this deluding, this fascinating money tortures me." With hectic face and agitated nerve, he puts down his last dollar. "Luck's mysterious!" exclaims Mr. Snivel, looking on unmoved, as the man of the moody face declares a blank, and again sweeps the money into his heap. "Gone!" says George, "all's gone now." He rises from his seat, in despair.
"Don't get frantic, George-be a philosopher-try again-here's a ten. Luck 'll turn," says Mr. Snivel, patting the deluded man familiarly on the shoulder, as he resumes his seat. "Will poverty never cease torturing me? I have tried to be a man, an honest man, a respectable man. And yet, here I am, again cast upon a gambler's sea, struggling with its fearful tempests. How cold, how stone-like the faces around me!" he muses, watching with death-like gaze each number as it turns up. Again he has staked his last dollar; again fortune frowns upon him. Like a furnace of livid flame, the excitement seems burning up his brain. "I am a fool again," he says, throwing the blank number contemptuously upon the table. "Take it-take it, speechless, imperturbable man! Rake it into your pile, for my eyes are dim, and my fortune I must seek elsewhere."
A noise at the door, as of some one in distress, is heard, and there rushes frantically into the den a pale, dejected-looking woman, bearing in her arms a sick and emaciated babe. "Oh, William! William!—has it come to this?" she shrieks, casting a wild glance round the den, until, with a dark, sad expression, her eye falls upon the object of her search. It is her husband, once a happy mechanic. Enticed by degrees into this den of ruin, becoming fascinated with its games of chance, he is now an habitue. To-night he left his suffering family, lost his all here, and now, having drank to relieve his feelings, lies insensible on the floor. "Come home!—come home! for God's sake come home to your suffering family," cries the woman, vaulting to him and taking him by the hand, her hair floating dishevelled down her shoulders. "I sent Tommy into the street to beg-I am ashamed-and he is picked up by the watch for a thief, a vagrant!" The prostrate man remains insensible to her appeal. Two policemen, who have been quietly neglecting their duties while taking a few chances, sit unmoved. Mr. Snivel thinks the woman better be removed. "Our half-starved mechanics," he says, "are a depraved set; and these wives they bring with them from the North are a sort of cross between a lean stage-driver and a wildcat. She seems a poor, destitute creature-just what they all come to, out here." Mr. Snivel shrugs his shoulders, bids George good night, and takes his departure. "Take care of yourself, George," he says admonitiously, as the destitute man watches him take his leave. The woman, frantic at the coldness and apathy manifested for her distress, lays her babe hurriedly upon the floor, and with passion and despair darting from her very eyes, makes a lunge across the keno table at the man who sits stoically at the bank. In an instant everything is turned into uproar and confusion. Glasses, chairs, and tables, are hurled about the floor; shriek follows shriek—"help! pity me! murder!" rises above the confusion, the watch without sound the alarm, and the watch within suddenly become conscious of their duty. In the midst of all the confusion, a voice cries out: "My pocket book-my pocket book!—I have been robbed." A light flashes from a guardsman's lantern, and George Mullholland is discovered with the forlorn woman in his arms-she clings tenaciously to her babe-rushing into the street.
WHICH A STATE OF SOCIETY IS SLIGHTLY REVEALED.
A WEEK has rolled into the past since the event at the Keno den.
Madame Montford, pale, thoughtful, and abstracted, sits musing in her parlor. "Between this hope and fear-this remorse of conscience, this struggle to overcome the suspicions of society, I have no peace. I am weary of this slandering-this unforgiving world. And yet it is my own conscience that refuses to forgive me. Go where I will I see the cold finger of scorn pointed at me: I read in every countenance, 'Madame Montford, you have wronged some one-your guilty conscience betrays you!' I have sought to atone for my error-to render justice to one my heart tells me I have wronged, yet I cannot shake off the dread burden; and there seems rest for me only in the grave. Ah! there it is. The one error of my life, and the means used to conceal it, may have brought misery upon more heads than one." She lays her hand upon her heart, and shakes her head sorrowfully. "Yes! something like a death-knell rings in my ears-'more than one have you sent, unhappy, to the grave.' Rejected by the one I fancy my own; my very touch scorned; my motives misconstrued-all, perhaps, by-a doubt yet hangs between us-an abandoned stranger. Duty to my conscience has driven me to acts that have betrayed me to society. I cannot shake my guilt from me even for a day; and now society coldly cancels all my claims to its attentions. If I could believe her dead; if I but knew this girl was not the object of all my heart's unrest, then the wearying doubt would be buried, and my heart might find peace in some remote corner of the earth. Well, well-perhaps I am wasting all this torture on an unworthy object. I should have thought of this sooner, for now foul slander is upon every tongue, and my misery is made thrice painful by my old flatterers. I will make one more effort, then if I fail of getting a certain clue to her, I will remove to some foreign country, shake off these haunting dreams, and be no longer a victim to my own thoughts." Somewhat relieved, Madame is roused from her reverie by a gentle tap at the door. "I have waited your coming, and am glad to see you;" she says, extending her hand, as a servant, in response to her command, ushers into her presence no less a person than Tom Swiggs. "I have sent for you," she resumes, motioning him gracefully to a chair, in which she begs he will be seated, "because I feel I can confide in you—"
"Anything in my power is at your service, Madame," modestly interposes Tom, regaining confidence.
"I entrusted something of much importance to me, to Mr. Snivel—"
"We call him the Hon. Mr. Snivel now, since he has got to be a great politician," interrupts Tom.
"And he not only betrayed my confidence," pursues Madame Montford, "but retains the amount I paid him, and forgets to render the promised service. You, I am told, can render me a service—"
"As for Mr. Snivel," pursues Tom, hastily, "he has of late had his hands full, getting a poor but good-natured fellow, by the name of George Mullholland, into trouble. His friend, Judge Sleepyhorn, and he, have for some time had a plot on hand to crush this poor fellow. A few nights ago Snivel drove him mad at a gambling den, and in his desperation he robbed a man of his pocket-book. He shared the money with a poor woman he rescued at the den, and that is the way it was discovered that he was the criminal. He is a poor, thoughtless man, and he has been goaded on from one thing to another, until he was driven to commit this act. First, his wife was got away from him—" Tom pauses and blushes, as Madame Montford says: "His wife was got away from him?"
"Yes, Madame," returns Tom, with an expression of sincerity. "The Judge got her away from him; and this morning he was arraigned before that same Judge for examination, and Mr. Snivel was a principal witness, and there was enough found against him to commit him for trial at the Sessions." Discovering that this information is exciting her emotions, Tom pauses, and contemplates her with steady gaze. She desires he will be her guide to the Poor-House, and there assist her in searching for Mag Munday, whom, report says, is confined in a cell. Tom having expressed his readiness to serve her, they are soon on their way to that establishment.
A low, squatty building, with a red, moss-covered roof, two lean chimneys peeping out, the windows blockaded with dirt, and situated in one of the by-lanes of the city, is our Poor-House, standing half hid behind a crabbed old wall, and looking very like a much-neglected Quaker church in vegetation. We boast much of our institutions, and this being a sample of them, we hold it in great reverence. You may say that nothing so forcibly illustrates a state of society as the character of its institutions for the care of those unfortunate beings whom a capricious nature has deprived of their reason. We agree with you. We see our Poor-House crumbling to the ground with decay, yet imagine it, or affect to imagine it, a very grand edifice, in every way suited to the wants of such rough ends of humanity as are found in it. Like Satan, we are brilliant believers in ourselves, not bad sophists, and singularly clever in finding apologies for all great crimes.
At the door of the Poor-House stands a dilapidated hearse, to which an old gray horse is attached. A number of buzzards have gathered about him, turn their heads suspiciously now and then, and seem meditating a descent upon his bones at no very distant day. Madame casts a glance at the hearse, and the poor old horse, and the cawing buzzards, then follows Tom, timidly, to the door. He has rung the bell, and soon there stands before them, in the damp doorway, a fussy old man, with a very broad, red face, and a very blunt nose, and two very dull, gray eyes, which he fortifies with a pair of massive-framed spectacles, that have a passion for getting upon the tip-end of his broad blunt nose.
"There, you want to see somebody! Always somebody wanted to be seen, when we have dead folks to get rid of," mutters the old man, querulously, then looking inquiringly at the visitors. Tom says they would like to go over the premises. "Yes-know you would. Ain't so dull but I can see what folks want when they look in here." The old man, his countenance wearing an expression of stupidity, runs his dingy fingers over the crown of his bald head, and seems questioning within himself whether to admit them. "I'm not in a very good humor to-day," he rather growls than speaks, "but you can come in—I'm of a good family-and I'll call Glentworthy. I'm old-I can't get about much. We'll all get old." The building seems in a very bad temper generally.
Mr. Glentworthy is called. Mr. Glentworthy, with a profane expletive, pops his head out at the top of the stairs, and inquires who wants him. The visitors have advanced into a little, narrow passage, lumbered with all sorts of rubbish, and swarming with flies. Mr. Saddlerock (for this is the old man's name) seems in a declining mood, the building seems in a declining mood, Mr. Glentworthy seems in a declining mood-everything you look at seems in a declining mood. "As if I hadn't enough to do, gettin' off this dead cribber!" interpolates Mr. Glentworthy, withdrawing his wicked face, and taking himself back into a room on the left.
"He's not so bad a man, only it doesn't come out at first;" pursues Mr. Saddlerock, continuing to rub his head, and to fuss round on his toes. His mind, Madame Montford verily believes stuck in a fog. "We must wait a bit," says the old man, his face seeming to elongate. "You can look about-there's not much to be seen, and what there is-well, it's not the finest." Mr. Saddlerock shuffles his feet, and then shuffles himself into a small side room. Through the building there breathes a warm, sickly atmosphere; the effect has left its marks upon the sad, waning countenances of its unfortunate inmates.
Tom and Madame Montford set out to explore the establishment. They enter room after room, find them small, dark, and filthy beyond description. Some are crowded with half-naked, flabby females, whose careworn faces, and well-starved aspect, tells a sorrowful tale of the chivalry. An abundant supply of profane works, in yellow and red covers, would indeed seem to have been substituted for food, which, to the shame of our commissioners, be it said, is a scarce article here. Cooped up in another little room, after the fashion of wild beasts in a cage, are seven poor idiots, whose forlorn condition, sad, dull countenances, as they sit round a table, staring vacantly at one another, like mummies in contemplation, form a wild but singularly touching picture. Each countenance pales before the seeming study of its opponent, until, enraptured and amazed, they break out into a wild, hysterical laugh. And thus, poisoned, starved, and left to die, does time with these poor mortals fleet on.
The visitors ascend to the second story. A shuffling of feet in a room at the top of the stairs excites their curiosity. Mr. Glentworthy's voice grates harshly on the ear, in language we cannot insert in this history. "Our high families never look into low places-chance if the commissioner has looked in here for years," says Tom, observing Madame Montford protect her inhaling organs with her perfumed cambric. "There is a principle of economy carried out-and a very nice principle, too, in getting these poor out of the world as quick as possible." Tom pushes open a door, and, heavens! what a sight is here. He stands aghast in the doorway-Madam, on tip-toe, peers anxiously in over his shoulders. Mr. Glentworthy and two negroes-the former slightly inebriated, the latter trembling of fright-are preparing to box up a lifeless mass, lying carelessly upon the floor. The distorted features, the profusion of long, red hair, curling over a scared face, and the stalworth figure, shed some light upon the identity of the deceased. "Who is it?" ejaculates Mr. Glentworthy, in response to an inquiry from Tom. Mr. Glentworthy shrugs his shoulders, and commences whistling a tune. "That cove!" he resumes, having stopped short in his tune, "a man what don't know that cove, never had much to do with politics. Stuffed more ballot boxes, cribbed more voters, and knocked down more slip-shod citizens-that cove has, than, put 'em all together, would make a South Carolina regiment. A mighty man among politicians, he was! Now the devil has cribbed him-he'll know how good it is!" Mr. Glentworthy says this with an air of superlative satisfaction, resuming his tune. The dead man is Milman Mingle, the vote-cribber, who died of a wound he received at the hands of an antagonist, whom he was endeavoring to "block out" while going to the polls to cast his vote. "Big politician, but had no home!" says Madame, with a sigh.
Mr. Glentworthy soon had what remained of the vote-cribber-the man to whom so many were indebted for their high offices-into a deal box, and the deal box into the old hearse, and the old hearse, driven by a mischievous negro, hastening to that great crib to which we must all go. "Visitors," Mr. Glentworthy smiles, "must not question the way we do business here, I get no pay, and there's only old Saddlerock and me to do all the work. Old Saddlerock, you see, is a bit of a miser, and having a large family of small Saddlerocks to provide for, scrapes what he can into his own pocket. No one is the wiser. They can't be-they never come in." Mr. Glentworthy, in reply to a question from Madame Montford, says Mag Munday (he has some faint recollection of her) was twice in the house, which he dignifies with the title of "Institution." She never was in the "mad cells"—to his recollection. "Them what get there, mostly die there." A gift of two dollars secures Mr. Glentworthy's services, and restores him to perfect good nature. "You will remember," says Tom, "that this woman ran neglected about the streets, was much abused, and ended in becoming a maniac." Mr. Glentworthy remembers very well, but adds: "We have so many maniacs on our hands, that we can't distinctly remember them all. The clergymen take good care never to look in here. They couldn't do any good if they did, for nobody cares for the rubbish sent here; and if you tried to Christianize them, you would only get laughed at. I don't like to be laughed at. Munday's not here now, that's settled-but I'll-for curiosity's sake-show you into the 'mad cells.'" Mr. Glentworthy leads the way, down the rickety old stairs, through the lumbered passage, into an open square, and from thence into a small out-building, at the extreme end of which some dozen wet, slippery steps, led into a dark subterranean passage, on each side of which are small, dungeon-like cells. "Heavens!" exclaims Madame Montford, picking her way down the steep, slippery steps. "How chilling! how tomb-like! Can it be that mortals are confined here, and live?" she mutters, incoherently. The stifling atmosphere is redolent of disease.
"It straightens 'em down, sublimely-to put 'em in here," says Mr. Glentworthy, laconically, lighting his lamp. "I hope to get old Saddlerock in here. Give him such a mellowing!" He turns his light, and the shadows play, spectre-like, along a low, wet aisle, hung on each side with rusty bolts and locks, revealing the doors of cells. An ominous stillness is broken by the dull clank of chains, the muttering of voices, the shuffling of limbs; then a low wail breaks upon the ear, and rises higher and higher, shriller and shriller, until in piercing shrieks it chills the very heart. Now it ceases, and the echoes, like the murmuring winds, die faintly away. "Look in here, now," says Mr. Glentworthy—"a likely wench-once she was!"
He swings open a door, and there issues from a cell about four feet six inches wide, and nine long, the hideous countenance of a poor, mulatto girl, whose shrunken body, skeleton-like arms, distended and glassy eyes, tell but too forcibly her tale of sorrow. How vivid the picture of wild idiocy is pictured in her sad, sorrowing face. No painter's touch could have added a line more perfect. Now she rushes forward, with a suddenness that makes Madame Montford shrink back, appalled-now she fixes her eyes, hangs down her head, and gives vent to her tears. "My soul is white-yes, yes, yes! I know it is white; God tells me it is white-he knows-he never tortures. He doesn't keep me here to die-no, I can't die here in the dark. I won't get to heaven if I do. Oh! yes, yes, yes, I have a white soul, but my skin is not," she rather murmurs than speaks, continuing to hold down her head, while parting her long, clustering hair over her shoulders. Notwithstanding the spectacle of horror presented in this living skeleton, there is something in her look and action which bespeaks more the abuse of long confinement than the result of natural aberration of mind. "She gets fierce now and then, and yells," says the unmoved Glentworthy, "but she won't hurt ye—"
Can it be possible that such things as are here pictured have an existence among a people laying any claim to a state of civilization? the reader may ask. The author would here say that to the end of fortifying himself against the charge of exaggeration, he submitted the MS. of this chapter to a gentleman of the highest respectability in Charleston, whose unqualified approval it received, as well as enlisting his sympathies in behalf of the unfortunate lunatics found in the cells described. Four years have passed since that time. He subsequently sent the author the following, from the "Charleston Courier," which speaks for itself.
"FROM THE REPORTS OF COUNCIL.
"January 4th, 1843.
"The following communication was received from William M. Lawton, Esq., Chairman of the Commissioners of the Poor-house.
"'Charleston, Dec. 17th, 1852. "'To the Honorable, the City Council of Charleston:
"'By a resolution of the Board of Commissioners of this City, I have been instructed to communicate with your honorable body in relation to the insane paupers now in Poor-house', (the insane in a poorhouse!) 'and to request that you will adopt the necessary provision for sending them to the Lunatic Asylum at Columbia.
* * * *
There are twelve on the list, many of whom, it is feared, have already remained too long in an institution quite unsuited to their unfortunate situation.
"'With great respect, your very obedient servant,
"'(Signed) WM. M. LAWTON, "'Chairman of the Board of Commissioners.'"
"How long," inquires Madame Montford, who has been questioning within herself whether any act of her life could have brought a human being into such a place, "has she been confined here?" Mr. Glentworthy says she tells her own tale.
"Five years,—five years,—five long, long years, I have waited for him in the dark, but he won't come," she lisps in a faltering voice, as her emotions overwhelm her. Then crouching back upon the floor, she supports her head pensively in her left hand, her elbow resting on her knee, and her right hand poised against the brick wall. "Pencele!" says Mr. Glentworthy, for such is the wretched woman's name, "cannot you sing a song for your friends?" Turning aside to Madame Montford, he adds, "she sings nicely. We shall soon get her out of the way-can't last much longer." Mr. Glentworthy, drawing a small bottle from his pocket, places it to his lips, saying he stole it from old Saddlerock, and gulps down a portion of the contents. His breath is already redolent of whiskey. "Oh, yes, yes, yes! I can sing for them, I can smother them with kisses. Good faces seldom look in here, seldom look in here," she rises to her feet, and extends her bony hand, as the tears steal down Madame Montford's cheeks. Tom stands speechless. He wishes he had power to redress the wrongs of this suffering maniac-his very soul fires up against the coldness and apathy of a people who permit such outrages against humanity. "There!—he comes! he comes! he comes!" the maniac speaks, with faltering voice, then strikes up a plaintive air, which she sings with a voice of much sweetness, to these words: When you find him, speed him to me, And this heart will cease its bleeding, &c.
The history of all this poor maniac's sufferings is told in a few simple words that fall incautiously from Mr. Glentworthy's lips: "Poor fool, she had only been married a couple of weeks, when they sold her husband down South. She thinks if she keeps mad, he'll come back."
There was something touching, something melancholy in the music of her song, as its strains verberated and reverberated through the dread vault, then, like the echo of a lover's lute on some Alpine hill, died softly away.
IN WHICH THERE IS A SINGULAR REVELATION.
MADAME MONTFORD returns, unsuccessful, to her parlor. It is conscience that unlocks the guilty heart, that forces mortals to seek relief where there is no chance of finding it. It was this irresistible emotion that found her counciling Tom Swiggs, making of him a confidant in her search for the woman she felt could remove the doubt, in respect to Anna's identity, that hung so painfully in her mind. And yet, such was her position, hesitating as it were between her ambition to move in fashionable society, and her anxiety to atone for a past error, that she dare not disclose the secret of all her troubles even to him. She sought him, not that he could soften her anxiety, but that being an humble person, she could pursue her object through him, unobserved to society-in a word, that he would be a protection against the apprehensions of scandal-mongers. Such are the shifts to which the ambitious guilty have recourse. What she has beheld in the poorhouse, too, only serves to quicken her thoughts of the misery she may have inflicted upon others, and to stimulate her resolution to persevere in her search for the woman. Conscious that wealth and luxury does not always bring happiness, and that without a spotless character, woman is but a feeble creature in this world, she would now sacrifice everything else for that one ennobling charm.
It may be proper here to add, that although Tom Swiggs could not enter into the repentant woman's designs, having arranged with his employer to sail for London in a few days, she learned of him something that reflected a little more light in her path. And that was, that the woman Anna Bonard, repined of her act in leaving George Mullholland, to whom she was anxious to return-that she was now held against her will; that she detested Judge Sleepyhorn, although he had provided lavishly for her comfort. Anna knew George loved her, and that love, even to an abandoned woman (if she could know it sincere), was dearer to her than all else. She learned, too, that high up on Anna's right arm, there was imprinted in blue and red ink, two hearts and a broken anchor. And this tended further to increase her anxiety. And while evolving all these things in her mind, and contemplating the next best course to pursue, her parlor is invaded by Mr. Snivel. He is no longer Mr. Soloman, nor Mr. Snivel. He is the Hon. Mr. Snivel. It is curious to contemplate the character of the men to whose name we attach this mark of distinction. "I know you will pardon my seeming neglect, Madame," he says, grasping her hand warmly, as a smile of exultation lights up his countenance. "The fact is, we public men are so absorbed in the affairs of the nation, that we have scarce a thought to give to affairs of a private nature. We have elected our ticket. I was determined it should be so, if Jericho fell. And, more than all, I am made an honorable, by the popular sentiment of the people—"
"To be popular with the people, is truly an honor," interrupts the lady, facetiously.
"Thank you-O, thank you, for the compliment," pursues our hero. "Now, as to this unfortunate person you seek, knowing it was of little use to search for her in our institutions of charity-one never can find out anything about the wretches who get into them-I put the matter into the hands of one of our day-police-a plaguey sharp fellow-and he set about scenting her out. I gave him a large sum, and promised him more if successful. Here, then, after a long and tedious search-I have no doubt the fellow earned his money-is what he got from New York, this morning." The Hon. Mr. Snivel, fixing his eye steadily upon her, hands her a letter which reads thus:
"NEW YORK, Dec. 14th, 18-.
"Last night, while making search after a habitant of the Points, a odd old chip what has wandered about here for some years, some think he has bin a better sort of man once, I struck across the woman you want. She is somewhere tucked away in a Cow Bay garret, and is awful crazy; I'll keep me eye out till somethin' further. If her friends wants to give her a lift out of this place, they'd better come and see me at once.
"Yours, as ever,
Mr. Snivel ogles Madame Montford over the page of a book he affects to read. "Guilt! deep and strong," he says within himself, as Madame, with flushed countenance and trembling hand, ponders and ponders over the paper. Then her emotions quicken, her eyes exchange glances with Mr. Snivel, and she whispers, with a sigh, "found-at last! And yet how foolish of me to give way to my feelings? The affair, at best, is none of mine." Mr. Snivel bows, and curls his Saxon mustache. "To do good for others is the natural quality of a generous nature."
Madame, somewhat relieved by this condescension of the Hon. gentleman, says, in reply, "I am curious at solving family affairs."
"And I!" says our hero, with refreshing coolness—"always ready to do a bit of a good turn."
Madame pauses, as if in doubt whether to proceed or qualify what she has already said. "A relative, whose happiness I make my own," she resumes, and again pauses, while the words tremble upon her lips. She hears the words knelling in her ears: "A guilty conscience needs no betrayer."
"You have," pursues our hero, "a certain clue; and of that I may congratulate you."
Madame says she will prepare at once to return to her home in New York, and-and here again the words hang upon her lips. She was going to say, her future proceedings would be governed by the paper she holds so nervously in her fingers.
Snivel here receives a nostrum from the lady's purse. "Truly,!—Madame," he says, in taking leave of her, "the St. Cecilia will regret you-we shall all regret you; you honored and graced our assemblies so. Our first families will part with you reluctantly. It may, however, be some satisfaction to know how many kind things will be said of you in your absence." Mr. Snivel makes his last bow, a sarcastic smile playing over his face, and passes into the street.
On the following day she encloses a present of fifty dollars to Tom Swiggs, enjoins the necessity of his keeping her visit to the poor-house a secret, and takes leave of Charleston.
And here our scene changes, and we must transport the reader to New York. It is the day following the night Mr. Detective Fitzgerald discovered what remained of poor Toddleworth, in the garret of the House of the Nine Nations. The City Hall clock strikes twelve. The goodly are gathered into the House of the Foreign Missions, in which peace and respectability would seem to preside. The good-natured fat man is in his seat, pondering over letters lately received from the "dark regions" of Arabia; the somewhat lean, but very respectable-looking Secretary, is got nicely into his spectacles, and sits pondering over lusty folios of reports from Hindostan, and various other fields of missionary labor, all setting forth the various large amounts of money expended, how much more could be expended, and what a blessing it is to be enabled to announce the fact that there is now a hope of something being done. The same anxious-faced bevy of females we described in a previous chapter, are here, seated at a table, deeply interested in certain periodicals and papers; while here and there about the room, are several contemplative gentlemen in black. Brother Spyke, having deeply interested Brothers Phills and Prim with an account of his visit to the Bottomless Pit, paces up and down the room, thinking of Antioch, and the evangelization of the heathen world. "Truly, brother," speaks the good-natured fat man, "his coming seemeth long." "Eleven was the hour; but why he tarryeth I know not," returns Brother Spyke, with calm demeanor. "There is something more alarming in Sister Slocum's absence," interposes one of the ladies. The house seems in a waiting mood, when suddenly Mr. Detective Fitzgerald enters, and changes it to one of anxiety. Several voices inquire if he was successful. He shakes his head, and having recounted his adventures, the discovery of where the money went to, and the utter hopelessness of an effort to recover it; "as for the man, Toddleworth," he says, methodically, "he was found with a broken skull. The Coroner has had an inquest over him; but murders are so common. The verdict was, that he died of a broken skull, by the hands of some one to the jury unknown. Suspicions were strong against one Tom Downey, who is very like a heathen, and is mistrusted of several murders. The affair disturbed the neighborhood a little, and the Coroner tried to get something out concerning the man's history; but it all went to the wind, for the people were all so ignorant. They all knew everything about him, which turned out to be just nothing, which they were ready to swear to. One believed Father Flaherty made the Bible, another believed the Devil still chained in Columbia College-a third believed the stars were lanterns to guide priests-the only angels they know-on their way to heaven."
"Truly!" exclaims the man of the spectacles, in a moment of abstraction.
Brother Spyke says: "the Lord be merciful."
"On the body of the poor man we found this document. It was rolled carefully up in a rag, and is supposed to throw some light on his history." Mr. Fitzgerald draws leisurely from his pocket a distained and much-crumpled paper, written over in a bold, business-like hand, and passes it to the man in the spectacles, as a dozen or more anxious faces gather round, eager to explore the contents.
"He went out of the Points as mysteriously as he came in. We buried him a bit ago, and have got Downey in the Tombs: he'll be hanged, no doubt," concludes the detective, laying aside his cap, and setting himself, uninvited, into a chair. The man in the spectacles commences reading the paper, which runs as follows:
"I have been to you an unknown, and had died such an unknown, but that my conscience tells me I have a duty to perform. I have wronged no one, owe no one a penny, harbor no malice against any one; I am a victim of a broken heart, and my own melancholy. Many years ago I pursued an honorable business in this city, and was respected and esteemed. Many knew me, and fortune seemed to shed upon me her smiles. I married a lady of wealth and affluence, one I loved and doted on. Our affections seemed formed for our bond; we lived for one another; our happiness seemed complete. But alas! an evil hour came. Ambitious of admiration, she gradually became a slave to fashionable society, and then gave herself up to those flatterers who hang about it, and whose chief occupation it is to make weak-minded women vain of their own charms. Coldness, and indifference to home, soon followed. My house was invaded, my home-that home I regarded so sacredly-became the resort of men in whose society I found no pleasure, with whom I had no feeling in common. I could not remonstrate, for that would have betrayed in me a want of confidence in the fidelity of one I loved too blindly. I was not one of those who make life miserable in seeing a little and suspecting much. No! I forgave many things that wounded my feelings; and my love for her would not permit a thought to invade the sanctity of her fidelity. Business called me into a foreign country, where I remained several months, then returned-not, alas! to a home made happy by the purity of one I esteemed an angel;—not to the arms of a pure, fond wife, but to find my confidence betrayed, my home invaded-she, in whom I had treasured up my love, polluted; and slander, like a desert wind, pouring its desolating breath into my very heart. In my blindness I would have forgiven her, taken her back to my distracted bosom, and fled with her to some distant land, there still to have lived and loved her. But she sought rather to conceal her guilt than ask forgiveness. My reason fled me, my passion rose above my judgment, I sank under the burden of my sorrow, attempted to put an end to her life, and to my own misery. Failing in this, for my hand was stayed by a voice I heard calling to me, I fled the country and sought relief for my feelings in the wilds of Chili. I left nearly all to my wife, took but little with me, for my object was to bury myself from the world that had known me, and respected me. Destitution followed me; whither I went there seemed no rest, no peace of mind for me. The past floated uppermost in my mind. I was ever recurring to home, to those with whom I had associated, to an hundred things that had endeared me to my own country. Years passed-years of suffering and sorrow, and I found myself a lone wanderer, without friend or money. During this time it was reported at home, as well as chronicled in the newspapers, that I was dead. The inventor of this report had ends, I will not name them here, to serve. I was indeed dead to all who had known me happy in this world. Disguised, a mere shadow of what I was once, I wandered back to New York, heart-sick and discouraged, and buried myself among those whose destitution, worse, perhaps, than my own, afforded me a means of consolation. My life has long been a burden to me; I have many times prayed God, in his mercy, to take me away, to close the account of my misery. Do you ask my name? Ah! that is what pains me most. To live unknown, a wretched outcast, in a city where I once enjoyed a name that was respected, is what has haunted my thoughts, and tortured my feelings. But I cannot withhold it, even though it has gone down, tainted and dishonored. It is Henry Montford. And with this short record I close my history, leaving the rest for those to search out who find this paper, at my death, which cannot be long hence. "HENRY MONTFORD. "New York, Nov. -, 184-."
A few sighs follow the reading of the paper, but no very deep interest, no very tender emotion, is awakened in the hearts of the goodly. Nevertheless, it throws a flood of light upon the morals of a class of society vulgarly termed fashionable. The meek females hold their tears and shake their heads. Brother Spyke elongates his lean figure, draws near, and says the whole thing is very unsatisfactory. Not one word is let drop about the lost money.
Brother Phills will say this-that the romance is very cleverly got up, as the theatre people say.
The good-natured fat man, breathing somewhat freer, says: "Truly! these people have a pleasant way of passing out of the world. They die of their artful practices-seeking to devour the good and the generous."
"There's more suffers than imposes-an' there's more than's written meant in that same bit of paper. Toddleworth was as inoffensive a creature as you'd meet in a day. May God forgive him all his faults;" interposes Mr. Detective Fitzgerald, gathering up his cap and passing slowly out of the room.
And this colloquy is put an end to by the sudden appearance of Sister Slocum. A rustling silk dress, of quiet color, and set off with three modest flounces; an India shawl, loosely thrown over her shoulders; a dainty little collar, of honiton, drawn neatly about her neck, and a bonnet of buff-colored silk, tastefully set off with tart-pie work without, and lined with virtuous white satin within, so saucily poised on her head, suggests the idea that she has an eye to fashion as well as the heathen world. Her face, too, always so broad, bright, and benevolent in its changes-is chastely framed in a crape border, so nicely crimped, so nicely tucked under her benevolent chin at one end, and so nicely pinned under the virtuous white lining at the other. Goodness itself radiates from those large, earnest blue eyes, those soft, white cheeks, that large forehead, with those dashes of silvery hair crossing it so smoothly and so exactly-that well-developed, but rather broad nose, and that mouth so expressive of gentleness.
Sister Slocum, it requires no very acute observer to discover, has got something more than the heathen world at heart, for all those soft, congenial features are shadowed with sadness. Silently she takes her seat, sits abstracted for a few minutes-the house is thrown into a wondering mood-then looks wisely through her spectacles, and having folded her hands with an air of great resignation, shakes, and shakes, and shakes her head. Her eyes sud- denly fill with tears, her thoughts wander, or seem to wander, she attempts to speak, her voice choaks, and the words hang upon her lips. All is consternation and excitement. Anxious faces gather round, and whispering voices inquire the cause. The lean man in the spectacles having applied his hartshorn bottle, Sister Slocum, to the great joy of all present, is so far restored as to be able to announce the singular, but no less melancholy fact, that our dear guest, Sister Swiggs, has passed from this world to a better. She retired full of sorrow, but came not in the morning. And this so troubled Sister Scudder that there was no peace until she entered her room. But she found the angel had been there before her, smoothed the pillow of the stranger, and left her to sleep in death. On earth her work was well done, and in the arms of the angel, her pure spirit now beareth witness in heaven. Sister Slocum's emotions forbid her saying more. She concludes, and buries her face in her cambric. Then an outpouring of consoling words follow. "He cometh like a thief in the night: His works are full of mystery; truly, He chasteneth; He giveth and taketh away." Such are a few of the sentiments lisped, regrettingly, for the departed.
How vain are the hopes with which we build castles in the air; how strange the motives that impel us to ill-advised acts. We leave untouched the things that call loudest for our energies, and treasure up our little that we may serve that which least concerns us. In this instance it is seen how that which came of evil went in evil; how disapointment stepped in and blew the castle down at a breath.
There could not be a doubt that the disease of which Sister Smiggs died, and which it is feared the State to which she belongs will one day die, was little dignity. Leaving her then in the arms of the House of the Foreign Mission, and her burial to the Secretary of the very excellent "Tract Society" she struggled so faithfully to serve, we close this chapter of events, the reader having, no doubt, discovered the husband of Madame Montford in the wretched man, Mr. Toddleworth.
THE TWO PICTURES.
WE come now to another stage of this history. Six months have glided into the past since the events recorded in the foregoing chapter. The political world of Charleston is resolved to remain in the Union a few months longer. It is a pleasant evening in early May. The western sky is golden with the setting sun, and the heavens are filled with battlements of refulgent clouds, now softening away into night. Yonder to the East, reposes a dark grove. A gentle breeze fans through its foliage, the leaves laugh and whisper, the perfumes of flowers are diffusing through the air birds make melodious with their songs, the trilling stream mingles its murmurs, and nature would seem gathering her beauties into one enchanting harmony. In the foreground of the grove, and looking as if it borrowed solitude of the deep foliage, in which it is half buried, rises a pretty villa, wherein may be seen, surrounded by luxuries the common herd might well envy, the fair, the beautiful siren, Anna Bonard. In the dingy little back parlor of the old antiquary, grim poverty looking in through every crevasse, sits the artless and pure-minded Maria McArthur. How different are the thoughts, the hopes, the emotions of these two women. Comfort would seem smiling on the one, while destitution threatens the other. To the eye that looks only upon the surface, how deceptive is the picture. The one with every wish gratified, an expression of sorrow shadowing her countenance, and that freshness and sweetness for which she was distinguished passing away, contemplates herself a submissive captive, at the mercy of one for whom she has no love, whose gold she cannot inherit, and whose roof she must some day leave for the street. The other feels poverty grasping at her, but is proud in the possession of her virtue; and though trouble would seem tracing its lines upon her features, her heart remains untouched by remorse;—she is strong in the consciousness that when all else is gone, her virtue will remain her beacon light to happiness. Anna, in the loss of that virtue, sees herself shut out from that very world that points her to the yawning chasm of her future; she feels how like a slave in the hands of one whose heart is as cold as his smiles are false, she is. Maria owes the world no hate, nor are her thougnts disturbed by such contemplations. Anna, with embittered and remorseful feelings-with dark and terrible passions agitating her bosom, looks back over her eventful life, to a period when even her own history is shut to her, only to find the tortures of her soul heightened. Maria looks back upon a life of fond attachment to her father, to her humble efforts to serve others, and to know that she has borne with Christian fortitude those ills which are incident to humble life. With her, an emotion of joy repays the contemplation. To Anna, the future is hung in dark forebodings. She recalls to mind the interview with Madame Montford, but that only tends to deepen the storm of anguish the contemplation of her parentage naturally gives rise to. With Maria, the present hangs dark and the future brightens. She thinks of the absent one she loves-of how she can best serve her aged father, and how she can make their little home cheerful until the return of Tom Swiggs, who is gone abroad. It must be here disclosed that the old man had joined their hands, and invoked a blessing on their heads, ere Tom took his departure. Maria looks forward to the day of his return with joyous emotions. That return is the day dream of her heart; in it she sees her future brightening. Such are the cherished thoughts of a pure mind. Poverty may gnaw away at the hearthstone, cares and sorrow may fall thick in your path, the rich may frown upon you, and the vicious sport with your misfortunes, but virtue gives you power to overcome them all. In Maria's ear something whispers: Woman! hold fast to thy virtue, for if once it go neither gold nor false tongues can buy it back.