Page images
[ocr errors]

“He is one of the best and dearest of all my | which no man likes to utter. I have been friends."

wrong." “You—you will not use your influence to Warrener gazed at him in surprise, for the Mr. Carlyle's disadvantage—to—"

words had been spoken abruptly. “Nelly !"

“In what respect ?” One glance into the reproachful depths of his “ About-about your being a coward. I'm clear dark eyes was enough.

sorry I ever said so, Warrener-and I have re“I might have known it,” she said, in accents gretted that foolish quarrel a thousand times. of relief; “ but I was not quite sure.”

No one could fight by your side to-day, as I have "Some day, Nelly," he said, in a very low done, without being convinced that a braver voice, “I hope to convince you how entirely you man never breathed. I am sorry from the bothave misunderstood me of late. Meantime I tom of my heart for that college affray and all wish you and Captain Carlyle every happiness. its consequences. Do you forgive me?" Give me the old privilege of asking questions “Freely," was the instant reply, and the two for just once, Nelly, will you not ?"

young officers' hands were locked in a frank, “ Ask, then," she said, smiling and blush- earnest clasp of reconciliation. ing.

The next minute the word of command came, “Do you love Paul Carlyle truly and entire borne by a breathless young aid-de-camp; the ly?"

brigade began to move, yet amidst all the thun“As my own life,” was her answer, given in der of battle an uneasy thought kept besieging an earnest, frank tone that left no possible mar- Charles Warrener's heart in spite of his repeated gin for doubt or uncertainty.

efforts to avoid its recurrence. Charles Warrener spoke his adieux calmly, If this apology-for such it might undoubtedas any casual friend of her childhood might have ly be considered—had been spoken months ago, done, and passed out of Ellen Tracey's sight for- might he not have retained his old place in ever!

Ellen Tracey's heart? Alas! the amende honor

able had come all too late, and it was very, very All day long the red tide of battle had ebbed hard to forgive Paul Carlyle when he thought and flowed upon the fated field of Gettysburg. of Nelly. The peaceful crests of the blue hills, looking As he slowly lifted his eyes from the ground down from the far distance like grieved silent they fell upon the handsome, animated counteangels, were lost in the lurid smoke from burst- nance of Carlyle himself, who stood a few feet ing shells and thundering artillery; the sweet, distant, waiting for some expected order. The aromatic breath of the Pennsylvania pine forests enemy had fallen back a little, as if to prepare was strangely mingled with rolling, sulphureous for a fresh charge, and there was a moment of mist; the sun hung low in the west, and the comparative calm and inactivity on both sides. long shadows, creeping athwart the tumultuous And scarce a hundred paces beyond_though field, touched the clammy eyelids of dying men, by what Heaven-vouchsafed instinct his eyes who murmured incoherent words about "the were impelled in that particular direction he did evening being come," and died, all forgetful of not know—Warrener beheld the deadly gleam their gory wounds, as they might have fallen of a rifle-barrel flashing through the scanty foliasleep on their peaceful pillows at home. age of a cluster of dwarfed pine-trees that skirted

Ah, welladay! to think of the rivers of tears the valley, with its aim directed full at Carlyle's that have been wept, and still shall be wept, for heart. the brave men who perished on that day.

The first idea that shot through his brain Side by side Charles Warrener and Paul Car- with lightning rapidity was a blind, dizzy exultlyle had fought through all those terrible hours. ation. If Carlyle should fall Ellen was free, In all the weeks of their service in the Army of and who could venture to say what might betide? the Potomac they had never been thrown to- The next was a deliberate resolution at all gether so much as upon this day. Side by side hazards to save the life of the man whom Ellen they had charged, at the word of command, with loved. set teeth and iron features-side by side they There was no time for warnings-none for rehad stemmed the bloody torrents that poured filection-only one brief second in which to act. down on them from the hill-side like a rain of For as he threw himself before the astonished death.

and bewildered Carlyle there was a white, blind“Warrener,” said Carlyle, hurriedly, as he ing glare from the stunted pines, and a sharp came up to his old enemy, during a momentary report, almost inaudible through the roar of a pause in the conflict_"here's a pencil-note from hundred iron-throated cannon. Warrener was the Colonel : you will easily infer his plans." conscious of a strange, agonizing sensation, as if

“ All right,” said Warrener, glancing over the a stream of fire had torn its way through his note, and crushing it in his hand. Any thing frame, and then a thick mist came over his else you wish to say? We shall be wanted pres- vision. ently,” he added, as he saw Carlyle lingering in It lasted but for a moment; and when he an undecided sort of manner.

again opened his dim eyes he was supported on “Yes, there is something else,” said Carlyle, Carlyle's knee, under the grateful shade of a with an effort. “I wish to make a confession copse of tall hazels, while a deadly chill seemed turning his heart to ice, and the breath came in My name is Andrew Jackson Weeks. I relabored, shuddering gasps. He put aside the side at No. 1990 Whortleberry Street, Philadelcanteen of water which his companion was hold- phia, where is also my place of business. I am ing to his lips.

in the retail hosiery and trimmings line. Let “Drink, my boy, for the love of Heaven! me add that I am of feeble frame, of nervous Only one drop-it will revive you. Doctor, temperament, and of a timid, confiding disposilook at this wound-you must look, I tell you." tion. My health has also been poor for some

“It's of no use, Carlyle,” faintly murmured years. Finally, I am a widower without chilthe wounded man, as the surgeon to whom dren. On the 29th of last July I took a fortCarlyle had imperatively beckoned came un- night's holiday to recruit my exhausted system; willingly up; “it's of no use—I am dying !” and putting my head (and only) clerk in charge,

"Doctor, can't you save him ?" reiterated left the city, by steamboat, for Cape May. HavCarlyle, wildly. “It's only a rifle-shot. I ing once just escaped death by a railway collision, have seen men recover from worse wounds than I always travel by steamboat where it is possible. this. He must not die-he shall not !" I am aware that accidents frequently occur on

“No power on earth can save him, Captain the water also, but never having met with one, Carlyle," returned the surgeon, after one cool, I feel more confidence in this mode of travel. professional glance. “Do you see the way that Besides, the air does me good. We had not blood jets out-slow and regular, as if it was been more than a couple of hours “under way" pumped up? He's past saving, poor fellow !" when, as I was sitting alone upon the hurricane

And the man of healing went on his way to deck, gazing upon the fast receding shores of the those to whom he might be useful by some pos- noble Delaware, a stranger, who had been pursibility. It seemed heartless, but he had no suing the same occupation near me for some time to waste on doomed men.

moments, addressed me by courteously inquir“And you have thrown away your life to ing if I was going to the Cape. save mine. Oh, Warrener, it was not worth I replied that I was. the sacrifice!" wildly uttered Carlyle.

“Glad of it, Sir; so am I," said he, heartily. “Ellen would have broken her heart if you Then seeing, no doubt, a mild expression of surhad fallen," said Warrener, speaking slowly and prise upon my countenance at the cordiality of with difficulty. · Tell her"

his remark, he added : “Certainly I am glad of The gray, ashen shadows were creeping over it, because I shall not know any one to speak of his face; the cold dews that hang around the there probably, and so I hope to make a friend River of Death were gathering upon his brow; , and comrade of you, Sir." yet he could not die and be forgotten without one “ I'm very much obliged to you, Sir, I'm last word. And Paul Carlyle, bending low over sure," I replied, looking more particularly at the lips of the man whom he had so sorely wrong- him. ed, caught the last accent they should ever speak. He was a large, powerful man, with a high,

“ Tell Ellen that I was not a coward!" bald forehead, a Roman nose, and remarkably And so he died.

brilliant blue eyes; quite a distinguished-lookWhen that last message came to Ellen Tracey ing man, in fact, and, as I judged, about fifty in a letter from Paul Carlyle, all blotted and il years of age. I felt his condescension as quite legible, she shut herself in her own room all the a compliment, arguing from his appearance, and day, her only companion the bitterest remorse it was not wholly without a sentiment of respect that human heart can know. And in the even that I told him so. ing, when family prayers in the parlor were over, “Oh, no compliment at all,” said he, smiling. she went silently to the old red-covered Bible, “You are a man of sense. I see it in your eye. and sought out one passage from its time-worn I am a man of sense. You may, if you choose, pages :

see it in my eye" (as he spoke he bent his very Greater love hath no man than thisthat a bright gaze full upon me), " and so we are mates man lay down his life for his friends."

at once. By-the-by, there is a terrible crush at For Ellen knew that Charles Warrener had the Cape. Hasn't been such a crowd these laid down his life for her sake.

twenty years. Government money, Sir; Gov

ernment money. Contractors, or, as I call them, MY FRIEND CRACKTHORPE.

extractors, of Uncle Sam, aud the like. A per

fect jam. Garrets, cellars, outhouses, ice-houses, AM going to write a plain statement of it dog-houses, all crammed, Sir. Not a soft plank

just as it occurred. I don't expect sympathy to be had at any price. You've taken a room from muscular, strong-minded persons. On beforehand, of course ?” the contrary, I expect sneers, and perhaps con- I was forced to confess that I had not, and tempt. But I am used to such treatment from added that, had I known the crowd to be so exthat class of my fellow-men. And to prove my traordinary, I should certainly have gone someindifference to this, as well as to vouch for the where else. truth of my statement, I give my name and ad- “No use, Sir,” said he: “they're all the dress in full, and am further willing, if called same. Atlantic City, Newport, Long Branch, upon, to make affidavit to the same before any Saratoga, all jammed, crammed, rammed full. justice of the peace in the county.

I've tried 'em all. But I'm all right this time,

[ocr errors]

and so shall you be. I'm resolved we shall have ing till all the guests should be seated), Mr. a good time, Sir, and I'll tell you what we'll do. Crackthorpe strode up to him with much dignity, I've got a room: telegraphed five days ago, and and whispered for a few moments in his ear. sent the first week's board in advance by letter. The captain first slightly frowned, then reWell, you shall share it. We'll room together, laxed his brow, looked down the room at me, bathe together, eat together, walk, ride, drink, smiled, and said, aloud, smoke, and have a regular jolly time together. “Certainly, Sir, certainly; here, steward ! So it's all arranged, and now let us introduce Place this gentleman's friend alongside him at ourselves and be friends. My name is Crack- table, as he desires. All right, Sir, he'll arthorpe, Anthony Crackthorpe-Mad Anthony,' range it.” And the somewhat crest-fallen stewsome of my serious friends call me, because I ard did as he was commanded. love to be jovial and free: no harm in that, even When we arrived at the landing, my companif our hairs are thinning-eh, Mr.- ?” ion, with the same authoritative kindness, took

I gave him my name, and thanked him again charge of the disembarkings, the luggage, the for his very open-hearted and generous offer of seats in the stage, and the settlement of the companionship, though I ventured to make some fares. “I'll be paymaster," said he, gayly, opposition to his self-sacrificing proposal, and to “and we can settle at our leisure. Leave every hesitate accepting such unusual favors from a thing to me. I'm an old hand, Weeks, my boy, stranger, to whom I might not prove as agree at this sort of thing.” able or congenial on more intimate acquaint- Arrived at the hotel, Mr. Crackthorpe took ance as he was disposed to think me at first me by the arm, marched into the saloon, and sight. But he cut me short, pooh-poohed my insisted on my sitting down and resting myself. modesty, and was so genially peremptory and “You're not strong, Weeks, you know," while entertaining that I could do nothing but yield he attended to all the business of the room and every thing to him, and inwardly bless my stars name

me-registering. for having encountered such a phenix of a wa- In a few minutes he came smiling back. tering-place chum.

“ All right, Weeks !" cried he; “No. 440, left We were soon on the most familiar terms, and wing, fourth flight, double-bedded room; not he assumed the command of our "expedition” very grand, I suspect, but better than any of our with a pleasant authority that was perfectly ir- fellow-travelers will get. Baggage sent up. resistible to me, and left me no will of my own Come along, I'll introduce you to the propriewhatever. I did not, however, feel the want tor." of any, and was thoroughly contented to exert The proprietor was standing in his office. none. My late wife, in fact, used frequently to “My particular friend and room-mate, Mr. tell me that I never had a will of my own. In Weeks,” said Mr. Crackthorpe, introductively. which assertion the life I led with her, as well "Not very robust, Sir, but in good hands, isn't as the events herein to be related, may probably he, Mr. North? We'll make a new man of him go far with some of my readers to prove her cor- in a week; won't we, Sir ?".

Mr. North looked benevolently at me, shook The first occasion on which Mr. Crackthorpe hands, and said, “ He hoped so. assumed and carried out his authority was at the “And now come, Weeks," continued my steamboat dinner. The table was crowded, and friend, “ we'll go dress for supper." the waiters had placed my seat at some distance The impression produced upon me by the from that of my friend (for so I must now call brusque but kindly assumption of control on the him). When we arrived in the saloon, and he part of my self-elected companion was, thus far, saw the arrangement, he called one of the wait- entirely pleasant; and up to the moment when, ers, and, in a commanding tone, said to him: somewhat late that night, I dropped asleep in

“Steward, this won't do. Give this gentle- our double-bedded room, I had little reason to man a seat next to me, Sir, at once."

feel otherwise than grateful for an accidental “Very sorry, Sir, indeed, Sir,” replied the encounter and my ready submission. dark-skinned citizen; “but can't do it, Sir. But next morning the scene began to change. Seats all fixed now, Sir, indeed, Sir; 'less you At the break of day Mr. Crackthorpe awoke me, like to wait for de second table, Sir."

and bade me,

Come, rouse up, and have a “Second table !” exclaimed my friend, anni- splendid plunge in the surf before breakfast." hilating the apologetic steward with his eye. I demurred, and said, “I was sure it wouldn't “Just wait a moment, Weeks” (to me). “I'll agree with me. settle this in a jiffy. Which is the captain ?" “Nonsense !" cried he. “It will! it shall ! (to the steward.)

It will make a new man of you! Come, are “Oh, never mind!” interrupted I, deprecat- we not going to live and enjoy every thing toingly; "it isn't really any matter. Don't-gether, you know? I sha'n't bathe without my don't have any—any trouble on my account. chum. So hurry up, and let's have a run and a This will do very well—"

splash !" “It will not do, Weeks! We are chums, I still feebly begged to be excused. But he and we are going to sit together. Wait here!" wouldn't hear of it. With the most genial tone, and the steward having pointed out the captain and laughing gayly the while, he said I wasn't (who was standing at the head of the table, wait-half awake, and so snatched away the bed covers,


and vowed he'd “christen me sluggard from was a decided one to sever the intimate relathe pitcher on the wash-stand if I wasn't up in tions between Mr. Crackthorpe and myself, and a jiffy."

get rid of his, no doubt, most friendly but boisIn short, he forced me, in the most good-hu- terous and eccentric, if not dangerous, freedoms mored manner, to rise, dress, and accompany with my person. him to the beach. The morning was raw and On our way back to the hotel I hinted this to blustering. My teeth chattered, and I shivered him as delicately as possible. like a man with the aguc.

" What!” cried he, indignantly. “Do you “Pooh! pooh!" cried he, "a little run up want to desert me, Weeks, after my conduct toand down the sands will soon fix that.” And ward you, giving you half my room, taking all suiting the action to the word, he seized me the responsibilities of every thing on myself, dofirmly by the arm—we had both changed our ing every thing for us both, taking as muchclothes by this time for bathing-dresses-and ay, more care of you than myself? Where rushed me up and down the wet, pebbly margin would you have been this moment without me, of the sea with a speed that completely deprived Sir ? Out among the sharks, Weeks, tearing me of breath.

you to pieces—fighting for the bloody fragments! “Now for it!” he exclaimed, stopping sud- And you want to leave me because you swallowdenly, and before I could recover my wind ed a pint of salt-water! I sha'n't allow it, enough to ask, “For what?" my athletic friend Weeks! Mind you, I shall not allow you to caught me round the waist and fairly plunged exhibit such ingratitude. You'll never get back me head foremost into a tremendous breaker that home alive without me. Pooh, pooh, Weeks, was rushing, foaming up the beach. I made a don't think of it, but come along, change your desperate effort to shriek—my mouth opened-clothes, eat a hearty breakfast, and thank your was instantly filled with salt-water—and I re- friend Crackthorpe—as you will thank him bemember no more till I found myself again high, fore long in spite of yourself—for making a new but not in the least dry, on the shore, with Mr. man of you !" Crackthorpe rolling me forward and backward What could I do? As I said before, my will on the sand much as a baker rolls his dough, and was never very strong, and besides, when Mr. exclaiming, “Oh, come, no possum,' Weeks ! Crackthorpe looked at me with those very bright You can't humbug me, my boy; there! you're eyes of his, they really seemed to fascinate me. all right; have another dip?"

The most I could and did do, was to resolve, I opened my eyes and sat up, feeling some- if Mr. Crackthorpe repeated any such exceedwhat as I imagine a rag, if permitted to feel, ingly rough acts of friendship, to quietly obtain would be apt to after being thoroughly saturated, a room at some other hotel if possible, and deimperfectly wrung out, and left to shiver and camp. flap in a raw, salt wind. In addition to this, I After a breakfast, which, on my part, was in also experienced a strange sensation at the pit of no sense “hearty”—“Weeks,” said Mr. Crackmy stomach which was the reverse of exhilarat- thorpe, “do you play ten-pins ?” ing.

“No, thank you," I replied, rather absently, Come, old fellow, have one more go?” for I was just then thinking that I should feel

"N-no th-th-ank you. Le’ss go home !” better after lying down for an hour, no doubt. And without waiting for Mr. Crackthorpe's con- “Well, it's never too late to learn. Capital sent I rose to my feet, and made a move toward exercise! Come along, we'll go and try a few the bathing shed. But my eccentric compan- games.” ion, whom I now inwardly thought not inaptly “I-I think I'll lie down for a little while.” named “Mad Anthony” by his friends, was too “Lie down? Fiddlestick! You've just got quick for me. Grasping my arm once more, up. You want exercise, Weeks, exercise! Roll he said, heartily,

the big balls for an hour, and you'll feel like a “Not yet. It'll never do you good if you new man. Come on." don't get used to it. I'll take care of you, and And putting my arm in his, he led me "like when we've had another run and another plunge a lamb to the slaughter,” if I may so express you'll feel like eating a horse.”

myself—to the bowling-alley. I had no means of resistance save words, and Under his directions I“ rolled the big balls for these he instantly deprived me of by the same an hour," without serious injury to myself or the double process as before. This time, however, pins, save that I became violently heated, and I took care to keep my mouth shut when the slightly sprained my right wrist. Then Mr. plunge-period arrived, and with the exception Crackthorpe carried me off to lunch. After of a tolerable quantity of sand in my ears and lunch I again made a proposition to lie down hair, and a moderately large cut on my foot from for a little while; but my Mentor insisted that I a sea-shell, I came out of this second “getting should spoil my entire day if I did, while, on used to it” pretty well.

the contrary, if I drank another julep and then My stomach, however, did not manifest the walked to the village with him-as of course I least morbid inclination for horse-flesh, but, on should, for were we not bound to stick together the contrary, was evidently disposed to part with by the time we got back to dinner I “would whatever of last night's cheer it might then con- feel like eating an alligator." tain. The only prominent desire I experienced The error of his former prophecy with regard to my desire for horse-meat had considerably first clear sensation was one of extreme loath. shaken my faith in his skill as a soothsayer, but ing and fear toward Mr. Crackthorpe. My feel. I did not quite dare to tell him so, and his mus- ings had undergone a complete and terrible recular arm was once more put in requisition to vulsion toward that robustuous would-be renoguide my not altogether enthusiastic steps over vator of my physique. I absolutely hated him! the hot sand, toward the spot where the village I inwardly cursed and reviled him! I would of Cape May was slowly baking in the sun. At bear him no longer! No! I would leave him the post-office there we met Mr. North, our land. I would be free! That instant I would seek anlord.

other apartment, another hotel, another water“How are you, Mr. Crackthorpe ?” said he, ing-place, if necessary, to be rid of his tyranny! “and how is your friend ?" he added, looking I rose, struck a light, threw on my clothes, benevolently at me.

and took four steps toward my purpose. But I was about to answer for myself, but Mr.C. only four: for the chamber-door was locked on forestalled me.

the outside. Then the dim remembrance came “We're all right, Sir," he replied, smilingly. back to me of having heard him lock it, and I “Weeks is getting used to it here, and a few sat down on the bed in despair. What should days will make a new man of him, as I tell I do? Ring the bell? I looked round: the him."

bell was broken off. Pound on the door? "I hope it will, I'm sure!" answered Mr. shout? yell? I wanted to—I wanted to yell North, with much kindness, and so left us. furiously. But I was-yes, I was afraid. Be

At that moment, I confess, I could not join sides, I wished to get away quietly. I had no in the hope. The hot, long walk, added to the nerve for a scene. I wished to avoid him-to morning's various experiences in the “getting- give him the slip; to go off, and leave a note, used-to-it” line, and the juleps, had culminated politely dissolving our connection : not on any in a number of very unpleasant sensations. My account to irritate such a muscular, eccentric head ached, my feet—especially the cut one-gentleman, for he might—he might-what might seemed very hot and decidedly larger than my he not do? Challenge me, horsewhip me, folboots; and the fluid and solid entertainments I low me up to do me some injury....... Well, at had partaken of were continually reminding me any rate, I wonld pack up and get ready. A of their present state of digestion, by offering me waiter might pass along the entry—or Mr. Cracka taste of their condition, which was far from thorpe himself; ah! yes, where was he, I wonbeing grateful or refreshing to my palate. When dered ! I insinuated these feelings to Mr. Crackthorpe, However, I began to pack my valise. In anhe laughed, and slapped me encouragingly on other moment I heard footsteps approaching. the back, saying: “It's the salt air, Weeks; Oh! if it should be one of the waiters! I listyou're not quite used to it yet. Come along ened; the steps came nearer. I rushed to the with me, and we'll set it to rights in a jiffy.” door, and was about to call, when the footsteps And he led me to the druggist's.

stopped, the key rattled in the lock, the door “Bicarbonate of soda, brandy, and water," opened, and Mr. Crackthorpe stood before me. said he.

He looked slightly flushed, and exhaled an odor The ingredients were produced, he mixed of cigar smoke and alcoholic stimulants. them, and handed me the tumbler. "Drink “Hello, Weeks!” cried he. “All right again, that, old fellow, and in five minutes you'll feel old fellow!” Then catching sight of my valise, like another man!"

half packed, on the bed, and some articles which As I didn't think I could feel like a much I still held in my hands: “Hello!” he again more miserable one than Andrew Jackson exclaimed, “what are you doing, eh? What's Weeks, I was reckless of the prospect and swal- all this, Weeks? Where the devil are you golowed the dose. As I did so, however, I re-ing, Sir?" solved that when I got back to the hotel this “I-I was merely—I thought of-of looking time I would lie down, and that I would, as for a room where I wouldn't incommode you in soon as practicable, part company with Mr. this way, Mr. Crackthorpe.” Crackthorpe.

“Incommode me !" cried my former chum, How and when I did get back I hardly know. now my terror and aversion, fixing me with his I have a dim notion of having walked but a little gleaming eye; “what do you mean, Weeks, by way, then of being picked up by a passing car- this ungentlemanly proceeding? Did I not offer riage; of hearing Mr. Crackthorpe explain that to share my room and my society with you freely, “I

was a little knocked up, but would soon get Sir? And did you not embrace my offer as freely? used to it, and feel like a new man;" of seeing Did you not agree that we should be mates and the benevolent face of Mr. North in the carriage; comrades--that we would live, eat, drink, walk, of being carried up stairs and put to bed, and of bathe, and be, in a word, together during our hearing my companion go out and lock the door stay here? Have I not kept the covenant, Sir? outside. After this all was oblivion.

Have I not been a constant friend and companWhen I awoke it was dark, but I felt better. ion? Did I not save you from the sharks this My legs ached, my back ached, and my head morning, and put you to bed like a brother this ached, it is true; but I was not otherwise sick afternoon ? Well, Sir, do you mean to insult in other words, my stomach was calm. My very me by sneaking off in this manner? Do yon,

« PreviousContinue »