(For The 8unny South.]
“ SPLENDIDE MEND A X. ’ *
BY C. WOODWARD HUTSON.
Were the winds wet to-ni^ht, Tressine,
That shook thy brown locks loose?
* No, no—ah! no,—there is no rain at all.”
Hast thou shed tears to-night, Treseine,
At hint of broken truce?
' No, no—ah! no,—there was no war with Paul.”
Why the wild stare that chills, Treseine,
My very heart to see ?
‘ No, no—ah! no,—there are no scared eyes here.”
•Horror! ’tie blood that wats, Treesine,
Those brown locks flowing free!
‘No, no—ah! no,«— ’tis but the red lamps flare.”
Killed? Was it that they cried, Tressine,
Below there in the street?
' No, no—ah! no,—all stabbed men do not die.”
Child, are you faintiug?—you, Tressine,
As pale as any sheet?
' No, no—ah! no,—it was not Paul—‘twae I!”
[Written for The Sunny South.]
WRITTEN IN BLOOD;
The Midnight Pledge.
A Story of the Last Napoleon’s lteign.
BY M. QUAD.
Two days after the execution of those of the
Red Band who had been sentenced to the guillo
tine, the balance were made ready for transport
ation to the penal settlement.
Walter and the rest of the men had their faces
shaved clean, their hair cut close, and were
droned,in semi-prison garb. The Colonel pro
tested against this “outrage on a free American
citizen, r ‘ but the prison authorities bade him
remember that Walter had been convicted of a
very grave crime, and would have suffered at the
guillotine but for the Emperor’s clemency.
It w r as not until all the prisoners had been
brought out to proceed to the transport that
Walter and Imogene had a chance to exchange
glances and nods of recognition. Her hair had
been cut close, and she was dressed in coarse
garb, and the change in both was so great that
even love’s eyes had to look twice.
Colonel Burton had been allowed to visit her
in her cell, and he had found much in her char
acter to respect and admire. He saw that she
had been led to turn conspirator through a sort
of enthusiasm, and that on all other subjects she
was perfectly rational and well learned. She
grieved much that she had brought such trouble
upon Walter, and the loss of father and brothers
was a heavy blow. The Colonel sounded her as
to her hopes of escape, which she acknowledged
to be very faint, although she was willing to
enter into any plan having a promise of success.
Marie had almost lost her mind, not so much
because of her having been detected and tried
for conspiracy, as of the failure of the plans which
would have made her a countess. She could not
be depended on in the least.
The men were about as weak-hearted as Marie,
having no hope of escape and spending their
time in weeping and lamenting. If any one plot
ted to escape, it would be Walter and Imogene,
and the Colonel was not interested in what
became of the others. Up to this time the offi
cials had refused to countenance the Alabamian’s
wish that a marriage should take place, but he
promised Imogene to make one more effort. He
wanted her to be on the alert in case he was not
permitted to see her again, and he left the prison
feeling quite certain that his plans would be suc
One evening about nine o’clock the prisoners
proceeded from the prison to the transport at
Havre. Roberts had been aboard for a week, and
the Colonel had described him to Walter and
them to him.
The two women were given quarters in rooms
of the cabin, reached by a separate companion-
way, and the men were stowed away by them
selves in a sort of steerage, which was little better
than a pew. Each one was provided with a straw
bed and blanket, a tin cup, spoon and plate, and
Walter looked at the tilth all around, and silently
wondered how many of them would be alive when
the ship reached her destination.
The women’s quarters were a little better,
though their beds were the same and they were j
to have the same food. There was more room, i
better light, and a few articles of plain furniture
The Colonel’s “ one more effort ” to secure per- j
mission for the marriage was successful. When !
it was found that he stood high in the estimation j
of the American Minister, and had plenty of '
money, official minds underwent a change in his !
favor. The transport was to sail Wednesday, and
Tuesday afternoon the Alabamian went aboard i
with a written order to the commander to see !
that the wishes of the American were complied
He was jubilant at having accomplished his 1
mission, and Walter and Imogene were happy, j
He went to a jeweler’s and secured the ring, one ]
of the officers of the ship went after a clergyman, !
and that evening the marriage took place.* The j
Colonel furnished wines and a collation for the
officers, grog and tobacco for the marines and
sailors, and his interest in the prisoners and his
lavish expenditure of gold extracted voluntary :
promises from the officers that Walter and Imo- I
gene should receive all the privileges which could
be allowed under the rules.
The bride and groom stood up in their prison
garb to be married, and the Colonel gave away
i the bride and was the first to claim a kiss. The ;
^officers granted permission for Walter to occupy !
THE MARRIAGE OF WALTER AND IMOGENE ON BOARD THE TRANSPORT.
the quarters at first set aside for the women alone,
and the Colonel added further articles of conven
ience. Before leaving the ship he whispered to
Walter that something would certainly happen
before the end of the voyage to release him, and
he managed to pass to him a purse of gold and
an American revolver, with a good supply of
“Now, my son,” he said, in the hearing of
the officers, “ you got yourself into a bad scrape,
and you must take the consequences like a man.
Obey all orders like a soldier, be contented with
your lot, and some time in the future perhaps the
Emperor will look kindly upon a petition for
your pardon. ”
He dared not pass a secret word with Roberts,
who passed very well for a Frenchman, but while
leaving the ship the two exchanged glances fVill
of words, and Roberts’ look plainly said that he
had made all possible preparations and that he
could be depended on to do his best.
“Hanged if I don’t feel weak in the eyes!”
muttered the Colonel, as he stood on the quay
and looked through the darkness at the ship
anchored in the harbor. “ I’ve fixed things the
best I could, and now Providence and backbone
has got to do the rest! ”
Next morning, before he was out of bed, the
La France was miles on her voyage, and Walter
and Imogene were showering blessings on his
head. Money will not always open prison doors,
but it will make prison life endurable and soften
official hearts which can not be melted by words
or tears. The officers of the transport were
kinder toward all the prisoners for what the Ala
bamian had done. It was the intention to keep
the men shackled, but this was not carried out.
The irons were removed, cards given them, and
discipline was content with keeping a marine
pacing up and down before the door, and another
across the companion-way. Three times per
day, after the voyage was fairly begun, the pris
oners were allowed to come on deck by fours for
air and exercise, and had little to complain of.
For appearance sake a guard was on duty before
the quarters occupied by Walter, Imogene and
Marie, but either of the three were at liberty to
pass him any hour after eight in the evening and
walk the deck. Imogene and Marie seldom
availed themselves of this privilege, but Walter
was frequently on deck. Even in his prison I
dress he had the look and bearing of a gentle- |
man, and the officers whispered among them-
Sometimes the cook carried the provisions down 1 had experience, he was told to take his baggage
to the prisoners, and again the boy Louis was
sent, and noticing the freedom in this respect
which these two persons enjoyed, Roberts se
cured the ground-work for a plan. He had a
fair knowledge of cookery, and by cautiously
inquiring among the crew, he found that he was
the only one who could go into the galley in
case anything happened to Henry. Once en
joying the privilege of carrying meals down to
the prisoners, the American could have oppor
tunity to plan with them.
How could Henry be disposed of? He was a
good-natured man, had the good-will of all the
sailors, and as he was in the best of health,
there was no hope of his falling sick during the
voyage. Once in awhile, when he had a leisure
moment, he went forward and chatted with the
sailors. He constantly hungered for liquor, al
though he never drank to excess, and this weak
ness of his was a strong point for Roberts. He
had smuggled aboard the transport before
she sailed a quantity of arsenic and laudanum,
having determined in his own mind to poison
the whole ship’s crew if he could not release hiss
prisoners otherwise. He had slyly saved a por
tion of the grog furnished by the Colonel at the
wedding, and as soon as his plans were fairly
and change his quarters. Thus far, his plans
were successful, but any exultation which he
might otherwise have felt was suppressed by the
thought that be had caused the death of a kind-
Next morning the new cook served breakfast
so well that no fault was found, and it was or
dered that he should remain in the galley until
the voyage was over. The boy Louis was sent
down with the prisoners meals, and he was the
first to inform them of what had occurred. He
was not personally pleased with the change, and
was free to say so, and Roberts saw that the boy
would do him an evil turn if he could.
It was three days before the American dared
venture down among the prisoners. Walter and
Imogene looked at him meaningly and inquir
ingly, and when Marie was not looking he nod
ded his head, and they no longer doubted that
this was a part of his plan to enable them to es
cape He had opportunity to hold a few words
of conversation with them, but it was not until
his fourth or fifth visit that he informed Walter
that everything was working smoothly.
Roberts did not want to commit another mur
der, but he was desperate.
“Will you agree to keep silence ? ’ he asked of
the boy, letting go his his hold for an instant.
“No! no!—I will have you hung; mur—”
Roberts seized his throat again, and rendered
reckless by desperation, held the boy against the
wall until life was extinct. He did not realize
until the body sank to the floor that he had
pressed his throat so hard, and he bent over and
sought to revive him. Life had departed, how
ever, and for a moment Roberts shrank away
from the open, bloodshot eyes and the contorted,
blackened face of his victim. Then he seized
the body and dragged it into the little room
where both slept and pushed it under the lower
bunk. Some time during the night he would
find opportunity to carry it out and drop it over
Not more than ten minutes had passed from
the time Roberts met the boy until he was back
in his galley again, trembling with excitement
and apprehension. The lad would be missed as
soon as any one aboard the ship, and what could
the cook say to account for his absence?
It came time for him to carry supper down to
the prisoners, and in a few swift words he com
municated to Walter the fact of the new murder,
and his fears that it would be discovered. As
soon as he had gone, Walter looked himself over
to see that he had nothing about him which
would give rise to suspicion, and anxiously
awaited the lapse of time.
Prudence whispered to Roberts that he should
throw overboad the poisons in his trunk, which
would be strong proofs against him, but he de
layed. While supper was being served to the
crew some one inquired for Louis, and as no one
had seen him for hours, the inquiry soon became
general. When Roberts was questioned, he
“I cuffed his ears soon after dinner, and he
has found a hiding place somewhere, and is
“Oh, well, let him sulk and go hungry until
he can behave himself, ” replied the sailors, and
nothing more was said about the lad.
When evening came, the cook made ready to
dispose of the body. That once out of the way,
and there was no proof against him. The window
| in the galley which looked out upon the sea was
1 not large enough to admit of the body b«ng
pushed out, and Roberts m'ust take it in'his
| arms, step out of the galley, walk several paces
and throw it over the rail. Night came on dark,
and the breeze blew up freshly—two things to
favor him. He extinguished the lights in the
galley, dragged the body to the door, and waited
until his path was clear.
The moment at length arrived, and he picked
the body up, stepped to the rail, and was in the
act of pushing it over when a hand seized his
arm and another the body. It was the corporal
of marines, who had chanced to pass that way
at an unfortunate moment, and his keen eyes
and quick wit told him the story in an instant.
“ What deviltry is this !” he exclaimed, as he
grasped the cook and his burden.
Roberts wheeled and tried to break away from
him, but the corporal held his grip and raised
an alarm which brought half a dozen men
around them in a moment.
“Murder has been done here !” cried the cor
poral, as he pointed to the body of the boy, bal
anced on the rail.
“Why, it’s stiff and cold !” exclaimed one of
the men, as he laid hold of the corpse.
Roberts was caught, and for several minutes
he was so dumbfounded that he could not reply
to one of the hundred questions hurled at him.
He was placed under guard, the body laid on
deck, and in a brief time the whole ship knew
what had happened, and the excitement was
“What made you do this willful murder!”
asked the Captain, as he stood before the
“The lad provoked me to anger, and I killed
him before I knew what I had done !” answered
The boy Louis was a thorn in the new cook’s
side, being sullen, impudent and lazy; and one
laid, he allowed the cook a sip from the bottle I ^ a y> about a week after taking possession of the
now and then. i galley, Roberts gave the lad a smart cuffing.
Roberts knew enough about the action of ar- | The boy was forced to submit, as he knew that j t> , er f g
senic to understand that an over-dose would de- be"’ 0 old. receive no sympathy from the officers, | H a placed j n chains and the officers made
feat death, but render the patient very ill, and but he vowed that he would be rev enged That | a gearch J hig effects . when they came npon
very likely bring on a fever which might last afternoon, as Roberts returned i a a t to the arsenic and laudanum, they were puzzled for
for a fortnight. He had determined to dose the I the store-room, he found the lad had broken moment and then a S u 8pl cion of the truth
cook, which was his only way to secure his j °P“ bis trunk. He was just,mtune to catch flaghed acr ’ 08S their minds . For what other pur-
place, and outside of this strong dislike to take (be boy, who had the paper of arsenic in one g could be want them except to poison some
human life, except in self-defense, he really j band and the bottle of laudanum in the other, : ^ perhaps all of them? It was not long
liked Henry, and hoped that he would suffer ; ( ent *n carrying them to the comma d r, when , ^ f they called up the fate of Henry, the cook,
no more than a few days of sickness. | the articles were wrested from him, and his ears ^ ^ J ey that he had dl J’ 0 f poison ;
When the La France had been out from Havre i CU t , a & am ’ , , ! and that the poison had been administered by
three weeks and a day, Roberts executed his , “ I know what those things are, for I read the Roberts .
plans. He charged the liquor heavily with the l a P e ^ s » whined. 111 go and tell the Cap- The next s t e p was to pi ace shackles on every
poison, and that night about ten o’clock the | biin^that^you ve^go^t poison in your chest ^ - male prisoner, Walter included, and to double
cook, according to previous agreement, slipped
down into the forecastle, found the bottle in a
place agreed upon, satisfied his thirst, and crept
back to his quarters. Roberts at once secured
the bottle and tossed it overboard, and then he
overhauled his chest and secreted everything
which could raise suspicion against him.
In a short time after reaching his quarters,
the cook was seized with violent pains, and
the guards. Travelick was interviewed by the
“Hush, you fool! isn’t it my business to poi
son all the rats I can ?” . ; Captain and charged with having been engaged
“ And I believe that you poisoned Henry ! | SO me plot, but he was so cool and assured,
shouted the boy; “you wanted his easy place,
and you got him out of the way !”
“I will have you flogged at the grating if you
repeat those words !” said Roberts, holding the
boy by the collar.
I’ll fix you for shaking me this way !” hissed
and answered all questions so promply, that he
was raised above suspicion and. freed from his
The officers could not, however, be convinced
that the other prisoners had not been plotting
with Roberts, and they made themselves believe
selves that it was a shame to send such a man to ! w } 1 il e attempting to find a remedy for them, he : the y°nng tiger. “ 111 go and tell about find- j that thev had had a narrow escape from a bloody
wear out his life in a penal settlement. j f e n down i n a sort of spa8m and the officer of m S this poison, and 111 tell em that I heard , revo lt, or from becoming the victims of a pois-
Roberts, as one of the crew, gave satisfaction j the deck bad to be i nforme d of his condition, yon speaking in English to that American . oner,
to his superiors, and made himself a favorite There was no doctor aboard the transport, Dut - “Come. Louis, let us be trieds, replied Rob- Roberts found that silence would serve him as
He realized before the vessel f roni her medicine-chest, the officer used such e F ts ’ knowing that the boy could arouse 3uspi- we n as any a ttempted explanations, and main
with his watch.
had been a week at sea that it would be next to , remedies as he judged the case demanded,
impossible for him to concoct any reasonable The cook had that evening eaten freely of
plan for the escape of the prisoners so long as gome sweetmeats which he had packed away in
he was serving in his capacity as a sailor. He his trunk, and after being convinced that he was
had no chance to exchange words with Walter, ] no t a victim of bilious colic, as he first believed,
and was not allowed by the rules of the ship to -
pass near the spot selected by the young man
for his daily walk. A guard was there night and
day to bar the passage of the prisoner’s quarters,
and Roberts felt that if he could not secure some
other situation he might as well abandon all
hope. He pondered and plotted for two or three
days, and then his opportunity came.
It was the duty of Henry, the cook, to pre
pare the meals for the prisoners, as well as for
the officers and crew. He had an assistant in
the person of a boy named Louis, a lad of four
teen, who was possessed of such a deceittul, ly
ing character that he soon had the ill-will of all
cion against him.
“I’ll have nothing to do with a murderer!”
growled the boy. “I saw a man die once from
arsenic, and he acted the same as poor Henry!”
“It was the sweetmeats, and you know it!”
he was of the opinion that the sweetmeats con- answered Roberts, but his change of tone and
tained poison. Two or three of the men worked [ ook were evidences of guilt in the eyes of the
over him for several hours, but in spite of all i bolder ** » ® al “* .,
that could be done, he suffered great agony, and 1 ‘ ^ k /. ^ lc * n * 11 ^. a * e . m °re than
finally expired, much to the sorrow of every one did, and I was not even sick from it. Ah.
tained a sullen demeanor and would not answer
another question put to him. If Travelick had
any fears that his fellow-countryman would
betray him, they were groundless. Roberts was
determined not to open his lips again, much
! less to criminate any one else.
The commander knew that the proper course
was to return his prisoner to France and have
him tried for murder on the high seas. There
T -» —. 7 . could be no doubt of his fate, but the feeling
on board. " : I believe you poisoned him, and I believe you among officers, marines and crew was so strong
Roberts was greatly grieved when finding that have 8 ot this P oison to dose us all, and release that it was finally dec ided to put the prisoner
he had committed murder, pad also rendered * ke prisoners ! ; on trial and execute the sentence of the judges
very nervous for fear that (he crime would be j Roberts tried to reason with him, but the ugly j forthwith.
charged to him. He finally heard it said that rascal saw that he had an advantage, and he was . Through the balance of the night Roberts was
the sweetmeats had been the cause of death, determined to 7 report his suspicions to the offi- ■ chained to the rail and guarded by a marine, and
and the sailors were not backward in wishing cers. next morning he was informed that he was to be
that the boy Louis had been the one to receive ! Finding that words were of no avail, Roberts i put on trial at once, charged with the murder of
the dose. Before the watch went below, the of- j resolved to commit another murder before al- j Henry and Louis. As all above deck were prej-
fieer of the deck interrogated each one as to his j lowing himself to be betrayed. The two were j udiced against the prisoner, the officers decided
ability to fill the place just made vacant by the alone, and he seized him by the throat and ! that six of the prisoners should sit as jurors. If J
death* and when Roberts replied that he had . backed him against the wall. J they decided, after hearing all the evidence, thatv
ThKTTNPT PI? TNT