The banner of the South. (Augusta, Ga.) 1868-1870, October 15, 1870, Image 1
VOL. 111. From the Dublin Irishman. Faithful Forever- Fellow-laborer in the vineyard, have you worked the whole day long? Have you striv’n to reap the Iftrvest with a cheerful heart and strong; Ne’er standing in the furrows while the burning sun blazed down On the toilers ranged around you—and the laughing grapes of brown? Well it is, if though the turmoil and an noyance of the day You have wrought as men should do it, delving in the sluggish clay; Never grumbling, never waitiug, while the golden hour passed, Till the sun the mountain’ shadows slant ing on the green sward cast. Fellow-watcher on the tower, placed beside the moaning sea, Have 3’ou watched from night to morn ing, waiting Ireland's destiny— While the waves were white and cheer less, and a blackness filled the sky, And your brothers by the millions sank amidst the waves to die ? Well, no doubt, your meed is glorious if you braved the wintry night— Nobler still ’twill be for all who wait the dawn of Freedom’s light. ? But for you, who stood so fearless on that tower by the brine, , Mother Ireland pours a blessing on your head, oh, brother mine! Fellow-traveller, passing onward o’er the desert’s burning sand— You w r ho braved the breath of devils, marching to the Promised Land; Hell and furies loosed against you, and the face of heaven bare, For your valor, Mother Ireland gives you presents rich and rare ! Arid for all the blood you offered—for your suffering and your pain— She blesses you and toils you go the way of death again. Go, and face the devils over—go, and spurn the proffered gold— For your Cypress-Queen is wearing still the crown she wore of old ! Oh! my brothers, if an angel came adown the starry slopes, And told you that fulfilment of your promises and hopes Depended on the way you kept the plight you pledged your land— Would you not be lip and doing with the strength of heart and hand ? Yet, the heart that beats within you, and the conscience that you keep, Tell you Ireland’s only buried in the arms of slumber deep; And that awake she must, but cannot— and that w hile your hearts are cold Our Cypress-Queen must ever wear the crown she wore of old. M.C.K. From Lippincott’s Magazine. WILLIE’S WIFE. A blustering evening! lam alone. An old maid, with no husband to destroy her peace, nor any dreadful annoyances in the shape of children, with money enough at interest to keep the wolf from the door, and a house of her own over head, might surely expect, after the tea things were washed and put away, the fire made, the table drawn close to it, the lamp close to her elbow, and a book close to her nose, an old maid thus happily situated might. I say, in all reason, ex pect a comfortable time. Alas! far from it! The wind whistles around the house with more than ordinary defiance, and I tremble inwardly; for well do I know, and well docs it know also, the cracks and holes in my dilapidated dwell ing. Here it comes whistling and roar mg! With a whisk it turns my new wig askew; with another, the leaves of my book are fluttering and flapping, as if they were in league with the boisterous thing. I adjust my wig and re-find my place in vain ! There it comes, again and again ! A rough blast down the chimney sends the smoke pouring into the room, scattering a shower of ashes over my clean white curtains, I slam my book with a petulant jerk, take up ray lamp, and start on an indig nant march up to bed. Creak, creak go the boards, as if they were possessed.— The door refuses to open ; I jerk and pull spasmodically; another blast of wind; my lamp goes out; still I tug at the door ; it opens suddenly, and down I g). Miss Jemima Bloor picks herself up, minus dignity, temper and a wig. I grope my way up stairs, stepping lightly on certain shaking steps, and running a splinter into my hand from the broken bannister. I reach my room at last; must leave the door unlocked because the lock is out of order ; undress, creep into bed, and cannot close my eyes, be cause there is a piece of loose plaster gaping just above rny head—more to me than the sword of Damocles. During the long hours of that sleepless night I worked myself up to a desperate resolution. The case, you see, was grave and urgent; Iran imminent risk of losing that bland, amiable disposition which (as I know from the concurrent testimony of my most discriminating friends,) is natural to me. The house shall be thoroughly repaired! Not an other night will I sleep in it till it is ! I arose at peep of day, and noon found me domesticated at Mrs. Robinson’s, just over the way. lam to sleep on the lounge in her parlor, for the little woman possesses only two rooms and a kitchen I immediately assembled all the car penters, glaziers, tinners, bricklayers, painters and paper-hangers with whom our village is blessed. My house is be ing repaired and renewed outside and in. I contemplate the changes thus going on with—well, let the troth be told—with somewhat mixed emotions. lam slowly coming to the conclusion that there is no such thing as perfect happiness i.i this sublunary sphere. Men are so intense aggravating, especially carpenters, gla ziers, tinners, bricklayers, painters, and paper-hangers. One afternoen we sat —my hostess and I—in her little parlor; I at the front window, looking across the street and watching that rascally John Stocker, the carpenter. Good heavens ! There he sat in mv best room window, swinging his heels and smoking a pipe—not a thought of my work in his head ! Now, the odious creature knows—no one bet ter—what a hurry I am in and how I dcstest a pipe. Yet here I may be for all he cares, sleeping on Mrs. Robinson’s lounge for a month or two, and all the time my parlor--Miss Jemima Bluor’s best room scented with tobacco! I wonder if the man expects to goto heaven when he dies ? I wonder if he expects me to pay him three dollars a day for smoking his pipe and swinging his heels. Ah ! there comes Joseph Baldwin just back from dinner, and—let me see—it’s twenty-five minutes past two. If I had my way about women’s rights i’d put the men out of this world altogether; that would settle the question. What are they, after all, but an aggravation, a marplot, and a general nuisance ? Now there goes Will WiUy, tramping l ight over my verbena-bed I Has the man no eyes in his head? or did his mother never succeed in beating it into his dull brain that a verbena bed is not to be walked on, and that a garden path is ? And, now I think of it, it was only yesterday I found five broken panes in my up stairs window. Yet that faithless, good for-notking glazier had sworn to mo that very morning that he had taken every sash out, from garret to cellar, and left all in perlect order. Lords of crea tion, indeed 1 Lords of fiddlestick ! Wonderful example of intellect—was it not ?—to take a window-sash out for re- AUGUSTA, GA., OCTOBER 15, 1870. pairs, and put it back in perfect order with five broken panes in it ! If Miss Jemima Bloor were to sit in a maiden lady’s best-room window and smoke a pipe and swing her heels —if she were to come from dinner to her work at twenty minutes after two—if she were to go tramping about on people’s verbena beds —if she were to declare a window sash with five broken -panes iti it to be completely repaired—would she call her self a lady of creation and a superior in tellect? I ask the world, would she call herself a lord or a lady of creation and a su— At this point my indignant reflections were interrupted by a soft splish-splash and a subdued little flutter of sobs. My hostess had been knitting, with her comfortable fat hands, a baby’s hood for Mrs. Peters, next door. As I looked up I saw the tears trickle down on her knitting needles till they shone and winked at me in an impish manner. This little woman is my mental cush ion—my social rest. Mild, round and rosy in body and mind, crying is the only 1-ixury she seems thoroughly to enjoy. The tears roll over her plump cheeks as if they were used to it, and leave them plumper than before. The round, light blue eyes are always ready for a shower, and look all the rounder and bluer after it is over. I never kuew her to have an original idea ; indeed, I think she never had but one very clear idea of any de scription. The thought of her whole life had been “her Willie.” Mrs. Robinson, although a weak little woman enough, has had a curious history of her own. She was an orphan ; had married at twenty, William Robinson, a sailor of the town, and had moved into her present home, with her husband and an old uncle with whom she had lived before her mar riage. Tw) months afterward young William sailed for India The appointed time for his return had passed ; month by month went by, and still his wife look ed for him who never came. After two years the old uncle was laid at rest, and the little woman was left quite alone. How she waited and watched—-watched all through youth, all through middle age —waited and watched in vain through twenty long, long years! In all that time her one thought when she rose in the morning was of “Willie;” her last thought as she laid down at night was of her lost husband. Nightly, long attcr vve had gone to bed and she thought me asleep, her little figure would steal from the bed-room and kneel in a spot she had often shown me, where Willie had said his goodbye, and there she would pray, in a low, soft voice, the words always the same : “My God, take me home to my Willie ; oh, come and take me! Willie, my husband, come back and take me !’’ And then she would creep away to her room as quickly as she came. By the fireplace stood Willie’s arm chair; out in the pantry was Willie’s cup and saucer, carefully, tenderly washed every day. Over the mantlepieee hung Willie’s picture—to her, that of a beau tiful here; to me, that of a rather com monplace young man, with blue eyes, light curling hair, large features, aud a turned-up nose. I have seen love, de votion, infatuation, all manner of mis chief brought on through men; but never, iu all my experience, had I encountered such complete merging of one life into another. To her, Willie seemed to be not all this world only, but all she dream ed of in the world to come. Sue did not think of him as on earth, but as iu heaven. The little woman’s mind and heart were a study to me. I was sitting, with my hands in my lap, thinking her over, she still knitting, aud the click of the needles diversified by the splash, jxsfc audible of the large, comfortable tears on her neat black silk, when we were both startled by a vigorous swing of the gate and a heavy step on the gravel. A moment more and the door was flung open, and suddenly, without word or gesture, a large, weather beaten, rough-looking man stood like an apparition before us. A long, purple scar, crossing his forehead and check, gave a sinister expression to ©ne eye. lie stared at us, then gazed about the room for some time without speaking; at last he fastened his eyes on Mrs. Robinson. She crept behind me and whispered, “Please send him away, Miss Jemima; see how he stares ! Dear, dear ! what a dreadful man !” “What do you wish, sir?’’ I inquired, boldly enough, I think, although quaking internally, for he had now transferred his eyes to me. “Does Mrs. Mary Jane Robinson live here ?” The harsh voice nude us both start. “Yes; I am Mrs. Robinson,” said the little woman, retreating further behind me. Suddenly I was seized, chair and all, and deposited in the middle of the room ; the next moment the stranger lifted Mrs. Robinson and gave her a bear like hug, the little woman struggling and screaming with all her might. I ran to the door, intending to call for help; but the words “Mary, my wife, don’t you know me ?” struck me dumb. I turned in amazement. He still held her in his arms. She had ceased struggling, anti was looking at him with strange, wild, shining eyes. Was her mind shaken f Had the shock been too much for her ? “Let her go; you will kill her!” I cried, scarcely knowing what I said. He put her down gently, still holding her hand. She stood quite still and passive, as if frozen, the two fixed bright eves starting from her death-white face. The man looked from one to the other in a frightened way. “Do you think I’ve frightened her out of her wits ?” he asked, in an uneasy whisper, as she stood with her eyes rivet ed on his face. “I dare say you have.” I blurted out, curtly, as I turned to Mrs. Robinson. “Mary, my dear, what is it ?” taking her passive hands in mine. She made no motion, not even shifting her eyes “Won’t you speak to me, Mary ?” The eyes turned on me, and slipping her hands from mine, she groped in the air like a blind person. It was terrible to see ! “Mary,” I said, desperately, “it is your husband come back to you”—any thing I thought to rouse her; “won’t you speak to him ?” “Yes,” said Mr. R.binson, eagerly, “I am your husband, don’t you know me, Mary ? Ain’t you glad to see me, my dear ?” The tears stood in his eyes, and although they could not soften the look of the scarred one, still I could see a dim— a very dim—likeness to the picture over the mantelpiece, and could no longer doubt his identity. Deep lines seemed to grow in the little woman’s face as ho spoke to her; the very rotindness appear ed to fall into sharp angles, such as long years of sorrow had failed to produce. “Send him away; teli the man to go away. Cannot he go away ?” she said, piteously. “No, my dear,” said her husband : “I have come to stay, and I thought you’d be glad to see me.” His rough voice trembled a little. “Set?, I’ve carried your picture with me through thick and thin. When we were shipjwrecked I thought about it, and tied it up water proof, so I should have that any way; and all them long years, when Turn Bright and Georgo Griffith and me used to sit in our huts o’uights and talk over our wives and homes, your picture used to loJu so hopeful-litfe—just like you used to look them first two months—i almost forgot I was a shipwrecked sailor, thou sands of miles away. Uh, Mary, the long days and dreary nights, and the weeks, and the months, and the years all stretching out, one after the other ! Yes, child, it was awful dreary-like, and your picture got dim and blurred, and I grew gray afore my time; and George, poor fellow !—he died of a queer kind of a fever, and we buried him, decent as we could, under the big palm just above the hut. Then Tom and I led a rough kind of life; we got savage-like, and' didn’t seem to care much abont any thing. There he paused, and looked at Mary, sitting motionless; “I thought, sometimes, if ever I did get back, it would be kind o’hard for you to get used to me and my ways, and I’d feel awkward with decent folks. It was nigh on twenty years, I think, before we were found; but I thought maybe you’d be kind o’glad to see me, any way.” And the poor fel low broke down, and looked wistfully at his wife. But the little woman’s mind seemed quite gone. She did not answer him a word, and had again fallen into that fixed, unnatural stare. I thought I might rouse her by calling her thoughts back to daily things. “Mary, dear,” I said, “Mr. Robinson must be hungry after his journey ; won’t you get him some sup per ?” She left the room without a word, moving mechanically, like one in a dream. Half an hour passed, during which Robinson had given nie a sketch of his shipwreck. It was the old story —the same, with variations, that DeFoe and Tennyson and Adelaide Proctor have told. He and his two companions had been washed on an island, rich in beau tiful vegetation, but infinitely dreary in its solitude through the long, long years of watching to which the castaways were doomed. He told me how hope had almost died out, when one morning at sunrise, they saw a ship steering for the island, signalled her and were taken on board.— She was “The Zephyr,” b >und for New York; and in a little more than two months she brought them home. When Robinson had finished his story, I went out to see what had become of his wife. She was in the pantry, stand ing before Willie’s cup, and the blessetl tears were streaming down her face. As soon as she saw me she fell on my neck, sobbing convulsively. “Must I give him Willie’s cup ? No lips have touched it since he went away. How can I give it to that man ?” I let her cry until she was exhausted; then I raised her gently and carried her to bed. “Lie there fifteen minutes, dear; by that time I shall have supper ready.” She obe3 T ed as a little child might. When I went to her, she was white and still, her lids closed. Alarmed, I called her hastily by name, and she raised her eyes to mine. There was still the same fixed glitter in them. I lifted her from the bed and arranged her dreS3; she was quite passive under my hands. It was a dreary supper, and a more dreary evening. But at last it came to an end. I lay half the night turning restlessly on my lounge. The moonlight poured across the room in a broad stream. Wil lie’s picture looked down at me with an unearthly expression ; Willie’s arm-chair took weird forms in the dim light, i thought over the rapid succession of events until my head grew dizzy with thinking. Then the reproachful eyes of the young Willie seemed staring at me from the dark corners of the room; and. mingled with his youthful traits, came the rough features and sinister eye of the adult Robinson. Through this chaos of faces Mary’s too, came up, just as I had seen her when she stood at the door of her room, bidding me good-night, her eyes large with terror, and her hands stretched out to me for help, alas ! which bow could I give her ? For was he not her husband ? And is it not to her hus band that a womau must cleave ? Suddenly my heart stood still. r l lie? little woman herself crept noiselessly from the bed-room—her face looking horribly wan in the moonlight—crossed the pat .or and knelt in the accustomed ISO. 31.