JOHN H. SEALS, | proprietor
ATLANTA, GA., SATURDAY, MAY 29, 1875.
[For The Sunny South.]
BY C. WOODWARD HUTSON.
The butterfly brushes his jewelly dust on
The dew-sprinkled lilac bloom;
The trusty old dog is just eating his crust on
The verge of bis master’s tomb.
I thiuk to myself, as I lodk at them idly,
How different are these two;
And fancy how men, too, would differ most widely,
In choosing ’twixt bright and true.
The thing that is hovering airily over
The garden's most fragrant stem,
Is merely an aimless and valueless rover,
Though beautiful as a gem.
Old Service has lost all the beauty youth gave him—
Is shaggy and lean and lame;
But, loving his master, ’twas his once to save him,
Through ruins and smoke and flame.
He followed him, too, in the campaigning marches,
As well as in hunts at home;
And followed his body when under the larches
They dug deep here in the loam.
They say that he will not livo long, for he misses
Tho hand that he loved to lick,—
The hand that caressed him as lovers with kisses
The hair that iB soft and thick.
Then, is not old Service a worthier creature
For notice of any one,
Tho’ charmless in movement, in form and in feature,
Than yonder ephemeron?
At the first gray light of the morning, Meli-
cent opened her window, that the cool wind
might revive her. She was oppressed, stifling
with the burden of that long night’s sleepless
wretchedness. She had lived through it, but
she felt as might the victim borne from an hour’s
racking upon the torture-wheel.
She sat at the window looking out, while the
sky changed and grew brighter and more glow
ing, until the sun burst forth through the gold
and crimson glory.
“The last sun he shall see,” thought Meli-
cent, and she turned quickly away, as though
the brightness jarred upon her sick heart. As
she did so, she saw that her father was lying
awake upon his bed, and that his eyes were
turned to her with a keen, anxious look, utterly
unlike the dull, mechanical gaze with which he
had been wont to regard her before, or at least
until within the last few days.
Wresting her thoughts from that maddening
centre round which they whirled, she forced
herself to perform for her father the usual little
services which he was accustomed to receive
from her—bathing his face and hands, combing
his hair that had whitened strangely within the
last few weeks, and adjusting the pillows, that
he might recline comfortably until it was time
for him to be dressed and seated in his chair.
When she had finished these w’onted attentions
and was standing absently smoothing the hair
from his forehead, while her thoughts were else
where, he suddenly drew her down to him,
clasped her with his arm, and kissed her. The
circumstance surprised her; it was the first time
he had kissed her since the night he was attacked.
She felt a tear drop upon her cheek—a single,
large, hot drop, unlike the tears he had often
shed in his fits of childish weeping. It was as
though this single tear had been wrung from
his eyes by the strong grasp of mortal anguish.
“My father, are you feeling worse?” Melicent
asked, bending over him.
He shook his head, but did not speak nor lift
his face, that was bent down upon his hand.
Melicent stood by him until he raised his head
and laid it back upon the pillow, closing his
eyes as though to sleep. Had she noticed closely,
she would have seen, by the quiver of the eye
lids and the twitching of the muscles about his
mouth, that the slumber was only apparent.
But Melicent’s mind was too deeply preoccu
pied for any such observation.
The execution of Xeil was to take place at
nine o’clock. Manch had told Melicent that he
would come to her this morning for a little while,
to bring any word that Xeil might wish to send,
and then return, that he might go with his friend
to the place of execution and stand by him to
the last moment.
It was now eight o’clock. Melicent had sent
away her untasted breakfast, and now, with
clenched hands and pale, drawn lips, she
walked the floor in the restlessness of anguish.
A low knock at the door made her start and stop
in her aimless walk. Maneli stole softly in and
stood beside her. He was neatly dressed in a
black suit that Melicent had had prepared for
him. He silently put his hand in hers, and she
pressed it convulsively, unable to speak, and
looked down into his pale face in dumb inquiry.
In answer to the look he said, speaking with the
hnskiness of restrained feeling:
“ He’s wonderful calm this morning. He sent
his love to you and told me to bring little Bunch
to you for a keep-sake. He knew you would
take care of him.”
He put his hand in the bosom of his shirt and
took out the little squirrel, that nestled in his
hand and peeped out shyly with blinking'eyes,
having been so long accustomed to the dungeon.
Maneli held his head down and stroked the
silky fur of the squirrel in a rapid, mechanical
way, as if to keep down the tide of feeling
struggling in his breast. Melicent made him
sit down; then she took the little prison pet
in her hand.
■Tell me,” she said, when she could trust
[Written for The Sunny South.]
The Border Mystery.
IIY MARY E. BRYAN.
‘PEOPLE OF ALLUVIA! I AM HERE TO FREE YOUR PRISONER AND TO PROCLAIM HIS INNOCENCE!”
herself to speak, “tell me all he said, Manch.
Did he express no wish ?”
“He told me where he wanted to be buried.
It is close by the river, not far from where granny
1 lives, where a house was burned down a long
time ago—by the Injuns, I reckon. There’s an
old oak tree there, with half of it killed by the
] fire, and under it’s a grave that Ishmael used to
1 go to of nights and pull away the weeds and
grass from it, when he first came back. He
wants to be laid along-side that grave. There’s
j where she’s buried, he says—she he calls Milly.”
Melicent made no comment. She struggled
hard for composure before she asked another
“He is calm this morning, you say? Does he
not seem to feel the horror of that dreadful
“Not now,” answ’ered the boy. “He told me
he used to shiver and turn cold when he thought
of dyin’ that shameful way, you know, and he
would dream of all the people with their faces
turned up. glarin’ and hissin’ at the murderer
and wretch they would take him to be. But
that’s all done with now; his mind’s at peace.
He prayed last night; I never heard such a
prayer. He thought I was asleep, but I hadn’t
closed my eyes. He prayed ‘Christ help me,’
over and over on his knees, upon the cold, damp
floor, and at last he said twice, ‘Thy will be
cart. Wish ’twonld come by here, but no such
good luck. Everything has to go long by Tren
ton street, whether it’s a circus band ora funurl.”
As old Margaret mumbled on with the familiar
garrulity of an old and indulged servant, she
arranged the foot-stool and the chair-cushions
for her master, whom she had come to regard as
a large-sized infant, to be carefully attended to
as to comfort, but not otherwise regarded—sup
posing him incapable of taking intelligent notice
of what was going on. If she had looked into
He’s been sick, and he’s
of importance. As she put it before him now,
he took from his neck a small black cord, to
which Melicent saw that the key was attached.
He unlocked the box and took from it a small
bundle rolled in a white handkerchief, but not
so securely that, at the ends, could not be seen
the dim glitter of a serpent skin and the rough
handle of a knife. Melicent turned cold and
faint when she saw him thrust this package into
his bosom. At the same moment, old Margaret
entered the room.
“A carriage is here,” she said.
He turned to Melicent. A tumult of feeling
convulsed his brow, but he controlled himself.
“My love,” he said, “you will go with me?”
Then he looked at her and added hastily: “No,
no—you could not bear it. Remain here, Meli
cent. Kiss me, my love, and stay until ”
His voice faltered; he held out his arms in
silence. She realized then what he was about
to do. She sprung into his arms and clung to
him with passionate tenderness.
“My father, I will go with you anywhere. I
will never forsake you.”
The spirit of woman’s devotion was upon her.
*‘I have stood by thee in thine hour
Of glory and of bliss;
Doubt not itB memory’s living power
To strengthen me through this.”
• He clasped her tenderly, and a tear gathered
! in his eye. Hastily he dashed it off.
“Let us go at once!” he exclaimed. “God
i grant I may not be too late!”
She assisted him down the steps. In the hall
he seized a stick that lmng against the wall, and
; with this he succeeded in reaching the carriage.
“Drive on,” he said, as he entered it; “drive
as fast as your team can be made to go.”
“ Where ?” inquired the man.
“To the gallow’8 !” he answered; and again
that gleam of grim mirth swept across his lips.
“Melicent,” he said, “I have told you my
ambitious plans; I talked to you of my antici
pated rise in life. Behold ! here is the rise—the
scaffold of a gallows !”
Melicent could not reply, and he spoke no
more during the ride, except to urge the man to
“drive faster,” as he leaned forward and looked
anxiously before him.
The place of execution was upon a hill a short
distance out of town. They came in sight of it
at last; they saw the gallows on the brow of the
hill, clearly defined against tho sky. TV.ree fig
ures stood upon it—the Sheriff, who was also the
hangman, the prisoner, and the faithful child.
The dense crowd that surrounded it was still as
if hushed into awful expectancy.
“Faster!” cried Judge Weir hoarsely, seizing
the whip and lashing the horses with his own
hand. Snorting in terror and straining every
muscle, they sprang up the long hill with furi
Melicent saw the hangman approach and lay
his hands upon the prisoner. Instinctively she
“ Don’t mind him.
The old man did not gainsay her statement.
After uttering that one word, he stood as if trans
formed to granite, staring blankly down at the uttered a low scream.
prisoner in the cart, over whose own face there j “No use to go any further,” said the driver,
had passed an instantaneous and singular change i “It’ll all be over in another minute, and we can
— an expression of wild amazement, doubt, per- ! see it here as well as nearer. Couldn’t get
plexity; then, in a twinkling, the shade of doubt through that crowd nowhere.”
grew fainter, and the prisoner slowly shook his “Drive on!” thundered the old man at his
head. Had he recognized the man overhead? j side; then suddenly he waved aloft a white
his face while she talked, she would have changed j and was this a sign for him to keep silent? handkerchief he had hastily attached to the
her opinion. Its expression would have checked The crowd, that for an instant had been breath- i stick.
the words on her lips and made her withered j lessly impressed by the tragic look and voice of “A reprieve ! a reprieve !” he shouted in that
hands tremble and drop in scared surprise. the man at the window, now moved on with tremendous voice that seemed made to shake
Unable to restrain her feelings, Melicent had ; jeers, hisses and laughter. The black driver of ; the nerves and trample upon the wills of ordi-
quitted the room, and shutting herself in her the cart cracked his whip and showed his teeth ! nary mortals.
closet, knelt upon the floor, with the crucifix with a good-humored oath, and the procession The crowd heard. They turned as with one
pressed to her breast and dumb prayers upon moved on, leaving the tall figure of the gray- 1 impulse and beheld the carriage driven towards
her lips. Here she meant to remain till the fatal j haired man still standing at the window. But them with such furious speed, and the imposing
hour had passed. ! now his daughter had come to his side. Startled i figure in front holding aloft the fluttering white
Meantime old Margaret, while pretending to i by that loud cry, Melicent had risen from her I signal,
feed the squirrel in its cage, had kept a close ; knees, and hurrying into the room, had found j “A reprieve! a reprieve!” they echoed, and
look-out from the window. The distant, con- ! her father standing erect and staring out into parted right and left, leaving a space, through
fused sound of many voices, pierced with occa- the street—at what spectacle she could guess too which the carriage was driven to the scaffold’s
sional shouts, which she had been hearing for : well. She was not so utterly amazed as the old foot. Then its occupants descended from it—
some time, seemed to grow nearer-to mingle 1 servant had been, for she had noted for some 1 the old man calm and determined leaning upon
with the tramp of feet and the rumble of wheels, days the change that was taking place in her the daughter, who kept her consciousness in that
Suddenly the foremost object of a miscellane- i father’s condition. She laid her hand upon his dreadful moment only by the strength his mag-
ons procession turned the street corner upon arm and drew him gently from the window. netic power imparted. As the wind blew back
which Colonel Avery’s house was situated. It “Come away, dear father. It is time for you the hood of the silk mantle which old Margaret
* " lixi onJ met ” liar! flirnwn nrnnnrl unrl
to lie down and rest.” ’ had thrown around Melicent, and disclosed her
He gazed at her as one just aroused from a features to Mr. Avery, he uttered an involuntary
done.’ Then he lay down and went to sleep. I
listened to his breathin, calm as a baby’s, and at [ was the hangman's cart old Margaret had spoken
last I fell asleep myself. When I waked up it ; of. It was driven by a huge black negro, in red
was broad day, and Ishmael was sittin’ by, [ flannel shirt-sleeves; on either side of it was an
watchin’ me with such a sweet smile on his ! armed man to guard the prisoner, who sat inside
face—as sweet and peaceful-like as you’ve seen 1 upon a rough, black coffin, his hands bound be-
in the pictures of Jesus in the church. He j hind his back. The face of Neil Griffin, though
kissed me and said: j pale and emaciated, had a tranquil, even sweet,
“I’ve had such a sweet dream, Manch. I i expression. His eyes had no longer that wild,
thought I saw Milly, and she came to me dressed j hunted look, but were full of the sad calm of a I room, and said with his old calm authority:
all in blue like the sky, with white lilies in her spirit that had done fighting with Fate or flying “Margaret, will you get my hat and my coat
hair, and she held out a nosegay of the most from her pursuit. As he sat there, the target of at once-my best black coat?- Melicent, I am ing her fingers in a strong, convulsive grasp,
beautiful flowers. Just as I reached my hand j so many curious, pitiless eyes, there was no sign going, —do you comprehend?” He signed to the sheriff, who came down from
for it I woke, but I feel her smile deep down in of agitation apparent beyond the occasional Was it only his will that had been paralyzed, the platform and paused expectantly at his side,
my heart. It warms all the chill there and takes ; quiver of his lips and twitching of the eyelids, or had a sudden shock restored him, even as “Support me up to the scaffold.”
“No,” he said, “I am going; I must follow
him. I must lose no time. Let me go.”
“Father, be quiet, I entreat you. You are too
ill to go out. You are not able ”
He stepped forward into the middle of the
exclamation and started forward from his posi
tion among the crowd nearest the scaffold. But
something in her eye warned him not to ap
proach her. He had no part in this drama; she
would not involve him in its shame and grief.
At the foot of the scaffold, her father took his
hand from her arm.
“Remain here, my daughter,” he said, press-
away the pain of death, for I shall see her,
Manch: as sure as I am to die to-day, I'll meet
her in the only world that’s fit for such as her
to live in.”
The child’s voice sank to a husky whisper.
Melicent sobbed aloud. Neither of them noticed
the old man sitting silent in his chair, until the
sound of a deep groan made Melicent start and
look up in alarm at her father. She ran to him
quickly, but he gave no other sign of pain, and
he motioned her aside, muttering that there was
nothing the matter.
In a little while Manch went away, carrying
the flowers to Ishmael. with Melicent's kind love
His eyes rested upon Manch, who sat at his feet
on the floor of the cart, with his head bent down
upon his tightly-clenched hands.
Bowing respectfully to the request of the dis
tinguished-looking man, the officer gave him
the aid of his arm to assist him up the steps of
the platform. As Melicent saw him ascend that
and her prayers for the peace and repose of his did not see him until he touched her shoulder
soul. ; as he leaned forward. Then she turned and saw
one had smitten him ? Or was this the unnatu
ral strength and activity that sometimes pre
cedes and betokens death—all life’s forces con-
“Blessed God !” cried old Margaret, “if here centrated in one last struggle with dissolution?
ain” “ ’ ----- '
She thrust her head over the casement and stern, steady gleam in his eye, and she knew came before her; she felt herself tottering, and
looked down eagerly. She did not see what took that lie was resolved. Resistance to his will was instinctively stretched out her hand to find sup-
place just behind her. She did not see the man useless. She fell at once under the influence of port. It was seized by hard, bony fingers, and
that overmastering will, yielding passive acquies
cence to his wishes, as she had been wont to do.
“Go, Margaret, immediately, and get a car
riage—a cab —anything,” she said.
that had been paralyzed rise to his feet as if sud
denly drawn up by some resistless hand, and
stand beside her, his face ghastly and his wide,
dilated eyes staring out upon the street. She
an arm grasped her waist and upheld her with
“Don't faint,” said a voice in her ear, which
she knew to be Hagar’s. “Don’t give ’em a
“Let it be brought at once,”ordered her mas- chance to gloat and triumph over you. Milly.
ter. It must be here in five minutes. And , I knew him just now,,the minute I saw his eye,
It was a beautiful Indian summer day. A light , him standing that she had never expected to see meantime, Melicent, bring me my clothes—my an< I now I comprehend all that’s happened,
haze vailed the sky—a delicious softness per- stand again—saw his face, his eyes, and shrieked best suit. I would be dressed well on my first You’ve tried to save the poor boy, my gal.
vaded the air. 'in terror. At the sound, the people passing public appearance in your city.” You’ve done him all the good you could, but the
“ It’s a tine day for de hanging,” said old Mar- below looked up. Many faces were upturned. He smiled—a ghastly gleam of merriment, hounds wanted blood. They ve been barkin’at
garet, as she wheeled her master's chair close to but the man at the window saw only one—that that crossed his face like a lurid flash of light- y° 11 ’ too; I’ve heard it all. Hold up your head
the open window, “and dere’ll be a heap of pallid face—the big, hollow, mournful eyes of ning, and left it darker than before. He spoke aI ul show 'em if they do silence you they can’t
folks dere to see it. Dev've been cornin’ in town the man in the cart—the man who sat upon the no more until he was dressed. crush you. Burn ’em with your eyes and curse
ever since sun-up. I ain't been to a bangin’ not i coffin his body was to fill. As those eyes met “Bring me the steel casket, Melicent,—it is ’em in your heart as I do !”
in five year, and I’d like mighty well to see dis l his, the face of the old man became terribly here.” Her eyes glared around with hate and defi-
here one. Dey say he’s gwine to make a speech convulsed. He beat the air with his arm: he “It is, but it is locked and the key cannot be ance, for there had been an attempt, on the plea
on de gallows,'and make a clean bress of it den. struggled to speak, and at last one word burst found.” of her violence, to keep her away from the exe-
He ain’t ’fessed a word to de minister, and he so from his lips in a mighty volume of sound,
nigh to judgment, and lookin’, dey say, like “ Hold!" he shouted.
death’s got a" grip on him a’ready and ’bout to . Every figure in the procession stood still—
“ Bring it; I will find the key.”
She opened an armoire in the room and took
from it a steel box with handles. It was the
cution and the last sight of the son she had not
been permitted to see while he lay in prison.
Her voice rose as she spoke, and she shook her
cheat de gallows out of its jess due. Good Lor! every face was lifted to the window whence the only one of their possessions he had taken anv clenched hand at the spot where the Mayor and
here’s a ox-wagon full of folks, wimmin and chil- command proceeded. One instant only: the note of when they were leaving his home. He Aldermen stood. But no notice was taken of
len, come in from de country, gone drivin’ right next, old Margaret had recovered from her had pointed to that and intimated his wish that ^ er now. All eyes were fixed upon the scaffold,
on to de jail. Dey goin’ to git out dere and * fright, and appearing at the window, called out it should be brought No key could be found all ears were strained to hear the
walk along wid de percession and de hangman’s shrilly:
-o it. but Melicent supposed it'to contain papers prieval brought by that stately old man with the(