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selves, bringing with them their beds and bed- In many instances a refuge was denied the unding. On the 28th, a gentleman residing in happy fugitives, they were driven out from the Norfolk, but acting as clerk at Page and Allen's places whither they had fled, and all intercourse ship-yard, died of the fever, having been sick with them was prohibited. No communication since the 25th. On the 31st was made the first was permitted with the cities, and if they had public admission of the existence of yellow fever been dependent upon their immediate neighbors in Norfolk. Seventeen cases and four deaths their citizens must have been penned up in the were acknowledged to have occurred in Barry's infected district to die of famine if they escaped Row. “The Board of Health now resolved on the fever. There were, however, some noble preventive measures. They ordered the imme- exceptions to this pervading selfishness. The diate removal of the sick and their families, the inhabitants of the eastern shore of Virginia speedy clearing out of all the occupants of these welcomed the fugitives with all the warmth of wretched hovels, and the barricading of the their ancient hospitality. Governor Wise fitstreet above and below the Row. “Too late!” ted up his dwelling-house, barns, and every the old story of epidemies. On the 7th of Au- available house on his estate, and cordially ingust a case was reported out of the infected vited the people of the two cities to accept such district, and the citizens began to be greatly shelter as he had to offer. Many crossed the alarmed. On the night of the 9th, Barry's Row Bay, and, on their arrival, found carriages was set on fire and burned to the ground. Hopes waiting to convey them to the hospitable homes were entertained that the disease would be abated of genuine Virginians. by the cleansing action of the flames; but they Meanwhile the disease was advancing with were disappointed. The disease continued to great strides among the remnant of the populaspread. Several influential citizens fell victims tion. On the 23d of August, the Portsmouth to its fury.
Transcript announced that it was compelled to The panic had now fairly commenced, and stop, since the only persons left about the office the old scenes of cowardly selfishness were re- were the editor and one compositor. On the enacted. ** The ties of blood were sundered; 24th, in Norfolk, there were five hundred sick, bonds of alliance were as if they had not been; and the next day there were forty burials. Sevfriend shuddered and shrank from friend; the eral physicians in both cities had died, and others sick and dying lay in hopeless despair, with | were sick, and the people looked forward with none to moisten their parched lips nor ad- alarm to the time when they would be unable minister a soothing draught; while burial for to avail themselves of the resources of medical the dead was with difficulty obtained.” The skill. Famine, too, stared them in the face, for flight became general. The population of Ports- the scanty supplies of provisions were growing mouth was reduced from eleven to four thou- still more scarce. At this time the sympathies sand; that of Norfolk, from sixteen to five thou- of the citizens of New York, Philadelphia, Balsand, Portsmouth was speedily almost desert- timore, and Richmond manifested themselves ed. Whole streets had only two or three families in a substantial manner. Money and provisions remaining. Hotels and stores, even drug shops, in ample quantities were forwarded. Baltimore, were closed; the great thoroughfares were emp- far from sharing in the panic which disgraced ty, grass grew up between the bricks, and weeds the neighboring towns, not only refrained from nodded orer the road-bed. The markets were instituting a quarantine against Norfolk vessels deserted except by a few negroes from the sur- but encouraged the citizens of that afflicted town rounding country, who brought in scanty and to seek an asylum upon her salubrious hills. insufficient supplies of vegetables and fruit. At Numbers availed themselves of this opportunity night the scene was even more melancholy than to escape from the pestilential atmosphere of during the day. Whole rows of houses entire- their home. The boats of the Bay Line continly deserted, every window closed, and emitting ued their daily trips to Norfolk long after they no ray of light, frowned grimly upon the passer- had ceased to pay expenses, and in every boat by. If here and there a light greeted the eye was a member of the Baltimore Board of its effect was even sadder, for it told of watch- Health, who kept the public advised of the ers by the bedside of the sick. From such win- progress of the fever. dows sounds of wailing floated out upon the si- There remained in both cities some noble lent air, and mingled with the long doleful howl spirits who rose above the terror which had of the dogs that missed their masters. These paralyzed the mass of the population. Hunter faithful animals seemed to have a mysterious Woodis, the heroic Mayor of Norfolk, and the perception of the calamity which overhung the officers of the United States Navy Yard at Portsdevoted cities. Banding themselves together, mouth, were especially conspicuous for their zeal they ran through the streets as though tracking and devotion to the cause of humanity. Late in the footsteps of the invisible destroyer who was August the Howard Association was organized, derastating their homes.
and its members systematically prosecuted those The surrounding country was overrun by the good deeds which they had already commenced fugitives; barns, school-houses, churches, every as individuals. It was high time for the foravailable shelter was crowded. But, alas! the mation of such an organization, for the Corpopanic was not confined to the cities. The coun- ration was virtually dissolved, the Mayor betry and the neighboring towns partook of it. ing completely overworked, the majority of the
Court and the Councils absent, the collection of fevers were really fatal cases of yellow fever. the revenue suspended, and the city treasury Even yet, we do not fully know all the facts in
On the 25th of August the Mayor relation to the origin and course of this epidied at his post, and Norfolk was left in the demic. From what we do know, however, it hands of the Howard Association.
appears unquestionable that it was imported During the first week in September the epi- from the West Indies. There certainly is no demic reached its height, the deaths amounting local cause in the neighborhood of Fort Hamto 80 in a day. A new horror was now added ilton and Governor's Island which does not exto the calamities of the unhappy city. The sur- ist to a greater degree in many parts of the viving undertakers, though working night and city of New York, and along the marshy flats day, and often knocking together rough boards of Staten Island and New Jersey. Yet it is in their haste, could not half supply the demand. notorious that the disease originated in the imCorpses began to accumulate in private houses, mediate neighborhood of the shipping, and that and a ghastly heap of bodies slowly gathered in its propagation can be traced to communication the yard of the hospital. The Howard Associ- with the quarantined fleet and with the disation sent out an urgent appeal for coffins. On trict infected by it. It must also be rememSunday, the 3d of September, fifty coffins ar- bered that the summer was peculiarly unfavorrived from Baltimore, and the next day eighty able to the development of yellow fever. There were received from Richmond. An eye-witness was at no time any long continuance of excesspeaks of “that dark Sabbath morning, when sively hot weather. The month of August, we saw forty men, each bearing a coffin on his which has the most important influence over shoulder, sent in saddest mercy from abroad, the generation and extension of this disease, and seized as soon as sent, that the corrupting was unusually cold. Yet, in spite of these cbremains of those dearest to them might be re- stacles to the spread of pestilence, yellow fever moved from their sight forever." From that broke out near the quarantine anchorage, and time forward coffins constituted a regular item extended slowly to the cities of New York and in the supplies sent to the afflicted cities. Brooklyn. Had the weather been such as it
The universality of the disease was manifest- was in 1855, nothing could have saved the ed, as in other places, by the greater or less in- crowded population of the islands about New disposition of those who were not considered as York Bay from a most terrible and deadly visitactually sick. Headache, lassitude, nausea, and ation. As it is, the prevalence of the disease wandering pains in the back and limbs, were during such a summer, is an evidence of ungenerally complained of, and nearly every face usual activity in the epidemic cause. wore the yellow livery of the pestilence. Ten The sanitary history of the American contiphysicians had perished at their posts in Norfolk, nent since 1850, proves, we think, most concluand the situation of the people would have been sively, that we are in the midst of another yeleven more terrible had not medical men from low fever vortex, like those of 1793 and 1819. abroad hastened to their relief. Sixty of these For several years to come the people of the volunteers were accepted by the Howard Asso- sea-board cities of our country should be more ciation, and that organization was obliged to than ever active in the employment of such sanissue a circular stating that their wants were itary regulations as are necessary to avert this fully supplied, and that unacclimated visitors plague. These, and the laws which regulate would only furnish additional food to the pesti- the progress of epidemic disease, will form the lence. As it was, twenty-five of these stran- theme of our next and last chapter. gers died of the fever. Toward the close of September the weather
A GENTLEMAN OF THE JURY. became dry and cool, and there was a marked I MAKE it a point to respond punctually to in
natured Comthe number of the deaths. On the 25th a missioner who presides over that legalized lotmeeting of physicians was held, and the 1st of tery by which the “good men and true," who October was named as the day on which the are to serve the community in the capacity of strangers would leave. The mortality will never jurors, are periodically designated. Not that I be accurately known. Four thousand are said prefer the stove heat of the court-rooms to the to have perished in both cities, forty-five per healthier atmosphere of my own fireside, or cent. of the total population, and this estimate other people's public quarrels to my own peaceis believed to be too low. The entire duration ful private affairs; but partly because I am oldof the epidemic was 137 days.
fashioned enough to regard jury duty, like every During the year 1856 yellow fever reached other duty, as better done than left undone, New York and its environs. Its ravages were and partly because I have never yet been able chiefly confined to the shores of Long Island. to devise any excuse for its neglect which Some cases occurred on Staten Island, in Brook- would pass muster, either in the forum of conlyn, and in the city of New York, though, ac- science, or at the bar of our city courts. cording to the usual custom of a mercantile quite too hale and hearty to venture toward the community, the presence of the disorder was Bench with a physician's certificate testifying pertinaciously denied. Many of the deaths re- of chronic maladies aggravated by long-conported as occurring from bilious and remittenttinued sitting and close mental application; I
can not plead or personate that melancholy and paper, “partly in writing and partly in print,” incurable deafness of which, on the first day of which I perceived at once was an invitation to every term, there are so many sad examples; I the same judicial matinée to which I was making hold no commission in any brigade, light or my way. In the desperate effort to extract au heavy, to compel my service on parade when I idea out of this cabalistic scroll at all hazards, ought to be in court; I run with no engine; I he was perusing it upside down, with occasional raspect the Christian Sabbath, so that Saturday references to the blank side, and having just brings with it no special exemption ; I am Prot- about touched bottom in his bewilderment, he estant and Presbyterian, so that neither Ash caught my arm as I passed, and arrested me Wednesday nor any saint's day, feast or fast, with the question, morable or immovable, ever affords me a re- “Mein freund, wo ist der Shuperior Court?" ligious respite ; I have no friend at court, in I pointed to the shrine of justice thus desigthe shape of judge or counsel, to reprieve me for nated, and we went up the steps together. Just a week at a time, or commute my term from as we entered the court-room, the stentorian the full fortnight to a half hour; nor have I yet voice of the clerk pronounced the name of divined the secret by which all South Street "Hans Kraut," whereupon my new acquaintand Fifth Avenue, while grumbling with united ance responded, with such consciousness of pervoice about the delays of the law and the lawyers, sonal identity and proprietorship of that monoand the degeneracy of modern juries, quietly syllabic appellation expressed in his tone, as to shirk the work and leave it, like the voting at startle the whole assembly, and raise the eyes primary elections, and other disagreeable items of the Chief Justice himself underneath their of the whole duty of a New Yorker, to be done shaggy brows. by less reputable proxies, rather than do it them- As luck would have it, the first turn of the selves.
wheel brought out Kraut's name and mine in Well! there is a popular prejudice in favor of close juxtaposition. We took our seats in the trial by jury, and somebody must serve. It is jury-box together, and on adjoining chairs. light work nowadays compared with those good Kraut was evidently in an atmosphere of novold times, somewhere about the date of the elty. It was his first appearance on that stage, Saxon Heptarchy, when every man on the pan- and he was so desirous of administering justice el was responsible for the justice of his verdict with vigor and promptness, that he was only to the extent of his property if not of his life. restrained by lack of opportunity from rendering Those were the times that tried the souls of a verdict, instanter, in every case on the calenjurors as well as the issues joined between the dar, before the first one had actually been called parties litigant. Just think of having to hang on. When this was called and fairly launched, for the fatal mistake of having made an honest and Court, counsel, and witnesses had taken one woman of Mrs. Box, when a verdict the other another by the cars, after the fashion of legal way would have sent her reputation into the proceedings in general, Kraut settled himself in limbo of lost characters; or of being mulct in a his chair with the gravity of a Lord Chancellor, cool five thousand for conspiring with eleven and looked as wise as an owl. other men to make Twist, the Wall Street bro- It was the simplest sort of case. The plaintker, pay his note like an honest debt, when in iff was a merchant, who had sold the defendfact it had been shaved, at first hand, at the ant goods and taken his note. The defendant unprincipled rate of three per cent. a month! kept the goods, but did not keep his promise
But all this is digression, and by way of intro- to pay. Then the plaintiff sued; whereupon duction to the personal reminiscence foreshad- the defendant set up a variety of very substanowed in the title to these paragraphs. Am I tial reasons why he ought not to be required to suspected by this time of being myself the gen- pay. What they were I forget, but they amounttleman there announced to the public? By no ed all together to precisely nothing. His counmeans; I have a hero in waiting, and he shall sel offered to prove a variety of facts, which had be forthcoming without further preliminary. nothing more to do with the case than the Prov
The last time I was captured on the coast of erbs of Solomon, so he came very soon to the Nisi Prius, about the beginning of the present end of his brief. There was something which year, just as I was making my way toward that the judge thought must go to the jury, and acdingy receptacle of public servants, in the north- cordingly that something, whatever it was, went east corner of the Park, which serves in the to the jury, and the jury went to their room. double capacity of engine-house and court- Kraut marched into the jury-room with head house, I encountered, in the middle of the path erect, and eyes, nose, and mouth dilated. He leading thither from the Hall of Records, a felt now that he was in power. He seated himmass of two hundred and fifty pounds of solid self for a second incubation on this very small Dutchman, surmounted by a very striking but egg, as it appeared to the two-and-twenty eyes not very prepossessing physiognomy, screwed which surveyed it in company with his two. up from its ordinary level of stupidity to an His colleagues supposed the jury unanimous, indefinable point of curiosity and perplexity. but, for form's sake, the inquiry was put to each A glance revealed the cause of the dilemma. man, “For whom do you find ?" and, as reguMeinherr was vainly endeavoring to decipher larly as put, came the response, “For plaintiff," the import of one of those familiar strips of blue until it lighted upon Kraut, who, to every body's
consternation, squared off with the unexpected But Kraut thought it was not worth while to answer,
risk his dollar, and expressing himself as per“I finds vor der tefendant!"
fectly willing to submit the matter to the other I suggested that Mr. Kraut was laboring jurymen, I immediately propounded to them under a misapprehension of terms, and meant the important question upon which depended “plaintiff,” but, der teufle a bit, he meant what the fortunes of the litigants. There was the he said, and said it again with an emphasis most surprising unanimity of opinion. Strange which made the officer look in at the door, un- to say, every man of the ten had made the subder the supposition that we had agreed and were ject of the cane his special study, and there was shouting for deliverance.
not a dissenting voice. The top was brass, and There was evidently a screw loose somewhere. the poorest brass, there was no doubt about it; Kraut must be managed, or we were in for a we agreed in less than three minutes, and renight session. I thought I would try the effect turning to the court-room recorded our verdict of a little persuasion, and edging him off into a in favor of the plaintiff, who, alarmed by our corner, I expressed my surprise that a gentle- unexpectedly long absence, had begun to imagman of such evident intelligence and sagacity as ine that he was to be immolated on the altar of himself should hesitate in so plain a case. I justice himself, instead of assisting at the sacrireviewed the whole testimony, and tried to ham- fice of his adversary. mer into his thick head the rudiments of the Kraut's eye was on the cane from the mocontroversy, and convince him of his error. He ment of our re-entry. A small cloud of suspiheard me very complacently to the end, and cion gathered on the horizon of his Dutch face then said:
at his first glance, and deepened into certainty “Ver gut-ver gut; but tell me this von as he concentrated all his energies on that sinting: Vas not dat der, vat you call der plaint- gle focal point, the yellow top. The plaintiff iff, this man who hat der gold-top cane ?” laid it down on the table while he paid the jury.
“Yes," said I, “ of course that was the plaint- Kraut stepped forward and took it up. He gave iff.”
one despairing and disgusted look at its un“ Ver gut; then I finds against der plaint- mistakable, genuine, California brilliancy, and iff.”
then laid it down very gently, with the air of There was a twinkle in Kraut's eye, and a a man profoundly conscious of the great truth twitch in his chin, which revealed the secret of that there is one thing worse than being humhis finding. The gold top was at the bottom of bugged--and that is, to acknowledge it. his verdict. The plaintiff, like “the engineer Just then the court adjourned. hoist with his own petard,” was to be impaled on the head of his own cane, and beaten with The next day Kraut was drawn on the jury, his only weapon of defense. Kraut was im- but I escaped. That jury was out five hours, movable. He had seen enough of gold-sticks-in- and then came in, reporting that they stood waiting in his native land, and had evidently no eleven to one and couldn't agree. There was intention of signalizing his first experience as a no difficulty in identifying the disagreeing memjuror on the soil of freedom by a verdict in fa- ber. Kraut was having his revenge. So, too, vor of a party bearing so unmistakable a badge during the entire week. Every jury in which of aristocracy. Expostulation was useless ; ar- this worthy enemy of the aristocracy figured was gument worse than useless. Kraut was a gen- sure to disagree, or else Kraut would come in uine friend of the people; a Democrat not to be as foreman, with flying colors, and announce bribed or lured from the straight path of equal the verdict with an air of triumph, which disrights by a thousand gold-topped canes. He closed the dragooning process to which, in the was as firm as a rock. I spiked my battery of retirement of the jury-room, he had subjected proofs at once, and tried a chance shot of lighter his eleven comrades. calibre.
I was not particularly sorry when the revolv“Certainly, Mr. Kraut, plaintiffs with gold-ing wheel once more turned out Kraut and myheaded canes ought to be discouraged; but, my self together. We took the same chairs in which dear Sir, are you quite sure that in this case the we had been neighbors before, but there was a plaintiff's cane was really gold-headed ? He sourness about Kraut's expression which gave sat very near me, and, as far as I could see, it token of rather unneighborly feelings, and I was only washed with gilt, and that of very poor thought I detected symptoms of anticipated quality. In fact, I will bet you fifty dollars to conquest lurking in every feature of his broad one it was only brass.”'
face. “ So !” exclaimed Kraut, throwing into these What this trial was about I can not precisely expressive two letters-half interrogatory, half recollect. It was a commercial case, and there exclamation--all the surprise of which they are was a great deal of evidence about invoices, the vehicle for every Dutchman, high or low. bills of lading, stowage on deck or under deek, “So! dat machts a difference.” (After a pause) and other nautical matters as to all which it “Well, if der cane is gold-headed, I finds vor was very clear that Kraut was immediately ender tefendant; if der cano is brass, I finds vor veloped in the densest sort of fog; and, overder plaintiff.”
powered by the combined effects of litigation “Do you take the bet?” I quietly asked. and lager beer, his head dropped forward, and
he was, during the greater part of the trial, in a the shadow of coming submission fell still deepstate of profound insensibility.
er over his features. When we got into the jury-room, however, “ Meinherr,” said he, at last, “how many Kraut was wide awake again, and ready for ac- cigars have you got mit you ?” tion. There was some discussion as to the “ About three dozen," said I, knocking off rights of the parties, and for a short time there the ashes of No. 7 with my little finger, as I was a prospect of disagreement without refer- drew it from my lips to communicate this item ence to his inclination. Gradually the oppos- of statistics. ing views of the jurors were harmonized, and, " And-you-mean—to stay out here—till in about half an hour, we were a unit, Kraut you smoke them all ?" asked Kraut, his fears only excepted. He had kept quiet during the aiding his English. debate, but as soon as he perceived that there “Certainly,” said I, and I gave a long and was an era of good feeling among his colleagues, strong puff, corroborative of the assertion, and he threw in the apple of discord in the shape of resumed my devotion to my author. his customary dissent to the proposed verdict. Kraut fell back. He fired one or two guns Three or four of the jurors immediately caved in the way of Dutch oaths and expletives, but it in, and there was a Kraut faction at once ; was evident he was in full retreat. There was the more enterprising men of the majority presently a renewed buzzing of voices; and by"tackled" the Krauts without loss of time, and and-by a bustling little Irishman, who had been a very promising quarrel was the speedy re- manifesting great anxiety on the subject of supsult.
per, came to me, with triumph beaming in both I extricated myself from the group, and tak- eyes, and the intelligence that “ Misther Kraat ing my chair to the window, which overlooked was agreeable, and that I was just wanted to the Park, with a prospect by no means unpleas- sign the saaled verdict.” ing, even in mid-winter, appropriated the only The sealed verdict was signed. We had other vacant seat for my more complete accom- been out just three hours; and as the officer modation, then drew from my pocket a very en- unlocked the door and restored us to freedom, tertaining volume, selected with great care in his face wore an expression of mingled satisanticipation of this duress, to which I had looked faction and surprise. It was just dusk; and forward ever since my last experience in the though he looked hard at Kraut, the latter kept same room, and lighting a capital cigar, de- his counsel, and his countenance too, and novoted myself with philosophicardor to both these thing betrayed him as having been smoked into sources of consolation. As I read and smoked that verdict ! I could perceive that the diversion in favor of Kraut was soon overcome, and that the desert- From that night Kraut evidently regarded ers to his standard had betrayed him, so that me with respect, and, had we chanced to sit he was left alone in his glory again, and occu- every day on the same cause, would doubtless pied his familiar position of one out of a dozen. have exhibited more discretion than valor in opThe ten tried him apparently by turns, and ex- posing my opinions. But we were not brought hausted upon him every thing conceivable in together again until the last day of the Term. the way of argument, entreaty, and vitupera- | On that day a cause was called, in which one tion, but he stood his ground, and by the time of our leading Insurance Companies was defendI had turned over the thirtieth page of my book, ant. The plaintiff was a retail dealer someand was in the act of lighting my third cigar, where in the Bowery or Chatham Street, and he had silenced them all, and remained firmly had been burned out with a total loss of all his intrenched in his obstinacy. The consequence stock, books, and fixtures. The fire had made was that they all subsided into sulkiness, and a clean sweep. He had a policy of insurance the interruption to my quiet enjoyments was re- for some two or three thousand dollars, and he duced to the minimum. So I sat, enveloped claimed to recover the whole amount. Kraut in smoke, and endeavoring, as far as I could, and I once more took the old seats--this time to reflect, in the perfect serenity of my counte- with very friendly greetings. He looked upon nance, the pleasing impressions of my author. me as twice his conqueror-once by stratagem The third cigar being reduced to ashes, I sup- and once by blockade--and his salutation was plied its place by a fourth ; and when that, too, very deferential. I felt that I could afford to had passed into vapor, its successor made an be civil, and that I might make him a useful immediate appearance, and I puffed on with the ally, in case of a dead lock in the jury on the gravity of a Grand Vizier.
impending trial. The case proceeded, and the The seventh cigar-and my train began to plaintiff disclosed a very plain state of facts. carry fire. I was in the midst of a graphic nar- There had been a fire, and he had lost every rative, and really quito oblivious of all my act- thing, and proved his loss to a penny. His ual surroundings, when I heard a sort of sup- principal witness was his mother, who had been pressed cough by my shoulder, and looking up the woman-of-all-work in the concern, and who there stood Kraut, as ugly as ever, but with pre- was as indefatigable at swearing as she could monitions of defeat unmistakably settling over ever have been at scrubbing or sweeping. The his fat face. I looked at him as though he company made a faint attempt to prove some were so much blank space or chair-back; and fraud in the matter, but their counsel made