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The sunny South. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1875-1907, May 13, 1876, Image 1

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[ tuc rtowens VOL II. JOHN H. SEALS, f/SSiSffinSiL VTLANTA, GA., SATURDAY, MAY VI I87t?. (Written in 1870—Republished by Request.) HON. ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS. BY MARY K. BRYAN. A desolating storm of strife has passed. Misery and wrong have seared a goodly land; Change ha* swept over it with wild waves since last. In the pale autumn light. I saw thee stand, And heard thy calm lips prophesy of things Now with the awful past, and watched thine eye Darken and deepen, till thy words seemed wings Of might}' omen shadowing the sky; While low on Fancy’s ear a voice of doom Knelled from the impending years, until the gloom Thy trustful spirit pierced with rays of hope; Gleam such to day upon our horoscope? The temple of our pride is in the dust. The banner of our chivalry is furled. And yet the altar of a Nation's trust Has not been wholly down to rnln hurled; For still the storm of wrath has spared us theo And noble spirits like to thine, that stand — Lone pillars above the ruins - grand and free. Though scathed by Fate - which yet onr eyes may soe An 1 gather faith that. He aven may save the land That human power has scourged with ruthless hand. But ihou- what hopes are thine, oh! thou to whom Genius unfolded all her promise rare. And to thy spirit gave her eagle plume The heights of thought— the sun of power to dare? To whom Ambition sung her loftiest hymn. Whom Fame has crown’d with laurels nobly won? Comes there no cloud of disappointment dim Between thy eagle vision and the sun ? No sha le of sorrow (all unraixed with shame) That faith to thy sad country through all blame Lost thee the guerdon it was thine to claim Of place and power and an applauded name ? Not so; the Eagle is the Eagle still, nis wing No traitorous stain pollutes; his lustrous eye Fixed on the goal forever brightening— The Sun of Truth in Heaven’s eternal sky. No meteor goal- applause of changeful men Or gilded laurels —that brave pinion speeds And clearer pierces the unclouded ken — And brighter, with the memory of good deeds; For on thy record of those turbulent years. That lie behind us dark with blood and tears, No stain of selfishness or crime appears. That fierce apotheosis of physical power, When shook the world to trumpets and the tread Of conqueror’s mailed lieel— what brought that hour To thee, calm spirit? what honors for thy head? Gray hairs that never cam* for selfish cares; Wan brows through watching by the dying bed; Wealth spent with thoughtful hand to stay the fears of widowed mothers v u'ling for their S ad And trembling ror iheii ; t *Uss living, - thine Are victories no historic Muse may twin . But bright in Heaven’s immortal wreath they shine. The F.agle is the Eagle still. His way * Lies far above the vultures that we see Whetting the beak of selfish greed to-day Abo>e the carouse «*f dead Liberty. He recks not of the clamor that they raise— His aim is clear, his meed securely won; Him with their love a noble people praise. And ministering angels whisper him, “Well done.” “ Then he pulled the body to lhe edge of the bridge, and pushed it into the seething, boiling currentdteneath.-' Written Eipresuly for Tli«> Sonny South. THE MUTE BANKER, ■OE,- The House of Secrets. BY GEORGE H. POWERS, Author of “The Purchased Bridegroom,” “The Poor Student,” “False,” “Which Will He Mari) {” “ The Bigamist,” “ The iMysterious Stranger,” etc. he would have laughed at the idea that they were destined to he rival lovers and hitter enemies. Notwithstanding the banker’s engagement to the peerh ss Mabel, Jonathan Gump determined down in the depths of his heart that she should become all his own; and with feverish impa tience he awaited theceniirv.. >f the morrow, when ho might visit her at her "Other’s home. The night passed, and the anxiously expected morning came. Scarcely iiad the sun ascended to a level with the distant .tree-tops when he set out upon his delightful ?>»und, doubting not hut time and perseverance would accord to him the victory. At Camden he met Dr. Strong, and learning that he, too, would visit the city that day, invited him to occupy a seat in his carriage. The offer was accepted and the journey again i ing. He was received with beaming cordiality. “You will not neglect Mrs. Vane?” said the j hanker, as Mr. Gump turned to depart, having transacted his business. “You will call upon ! her? I gave her to understand that you would j last evening. I recommended you to her very highly, and could scarcely forgive myself should you fail to visit her. And now, Mr. Gump, how - much will reward your gallant deed of yester- i day ?” 1 Confident that he was stinging Jonathan Gump | with the serpent's venom, the banker turned to his safe and selected from a pile of bills two ; fifty-dollar notes, which he laid before the man : who had promised himself to win the pure heart , of lovely Mabel Vane. Jonathan regarded him sternly, but said noth- CnAPTER III—Continued. “I heard it in Camden,” continued the Judge. “I first found the pony, and then I thought something was wrong. When I learned where you were, Mabel, I concluded to come out and take yon home, for your mother will be very anxious concerning your absence. IIow soon cun you he ready to go. for it is getting late?” “ This minute,” said Mabel, arising with alac rity. “ Mr. Gump, will you please ring for my sundown ?” Alas! the “sundown” Mr. Gump had failed to rescue with its lovely owner; and so Mabel w^s compelled to ride to the city in a bonnet belonging to the maid Mary. Then turning to Mr. Gump, she said: “Here is our address. You must call and let my mother thank you.” “Yes. to be sure,” said Judge Thompson. “ Mrs. Vane must thank you, and if you will call at my hank, 1 will remunerate you as you de serve. ” With this, the banker stepped into the hall enemies maintained that it was a mean trick to mislead the unlettered Mayor. In a short time, Judge Thompson was considered a sharp lawyer, and practice grew in his hands until he was re puted wealthy. Every moment which he could spare was de voted to ministerial duties, to the superintend ence of Sabhatli schools, and to noticeable char ities. Churches were lifted from the bondage of debt by the aid of his generous purse; and needy ministers and colleges were the recipi ents of his bounty. That Judge Thompson was a good man, one whose daily life was in har mony with his professions, but few doubted; and when he declared in public class-meeting, that he had not committed a sin for three years, the assertion was generally believed. With Judge Thompson's increasing wealth, there grew up in his heart a restless ambition to hold office; and soon afterward, he was chosen to that position in the gift of the people whence he derived the title by which we have addrissed him. At the end of Jus first term, it was notice- resumed. “I am intending to visit my sister,” explained the worthy Doctor. “Her husband was a scoun drel, and I had ti e audacity to tell my sister so. We’ve never been friends since. Indeed, I have not seen her since. Her husband died several Will this be sufficient?” asked the banker. “Judge Thompson, you will oblige me by returning those bills to your safe,” was the an gry reply. “Let me say, further, that you have no such small opinion of me as your actions would seem to indicate. You know that I am years ago, and I want to make peace with her : not little enough to accept remuneration for an now. She has one child—a baby when we parted act of humanity; and yet, you have been little enemies. I presume she is a young lady now; ■ enough to insult me with an oher of this kind, her name is Mabel.” ; I will now r answer you in regard to Mrs. Vane. ssured that I shall call upon her. and when he had passed from view', Mabel able that his possessions had grown remarkably; turned to Jonathan Gump, and giving him her hands, said: “Believe me, I am oh! so grateful; and we shall be delighted to have you call very soon at onr home, where we may thank you, and show’ our appreciation of your goodness to me.” “I love her even now !” he cried; “and will win her for my own, or perish in the attempt.” Judge Thompson escorted Mabel to the car riage, and tenderly assisted her to a seat therein. As they turned toward their homes, she broke the silence with a ringing laugh. “ What is it?” asked her lover. “I was just thinking,” she said, “what an odd name ! Jonathan Gump !” and she laid her hand confidingly upon the banker’s arm. Jonathan saw the act, and felt a hitter sting in his heart. He wished that Mabel bad eliosen to have ridden the beautiful pony, instead of ac cepting a seat in bis carriage. He did not know that the pony was the banker’s gift. “Mabel!” exclaimed Jonathan. “Yes, sir; Mabel Vane ” “That,” said Jonathan Gump with heightened color, “is the name of ihuhidy I rescued from the river yesterday.” “Good !” cried Dr. Strong delightedly. “I suspected as much. Mabel looks as my sister did many years ago. They •me she is”a good girl. I am glad of it. IV.' tell you why. Mr. Gump. Yesterday you corASded to me a secret. I now return the compliment. I shall leave Ma bel a cool one hundred thousand. You smile. I tell you, sir, that I can do it: I’ve got the rocks in solid gold. I am an old bachelor. I’ve worked hard all my life, and I’ve saved what I’ve earned. Mabel gets it all. Why do _>ou smile, sir.” “At an idea of mine.” “Let’s hear it.” “Oh, it’s unimportant.” “ Let it out.” “I will if vou will answer me a question.” I will.” ‘Does Judge Thompson know that Miss Vane j hand the preceding evening. and there were a few' short-sighted gentlemen who insisted that he had appropriated to his own use the stealings of the ofiioe; and rival at torneys were heard to say, that the Judge, in the boundless accommodations of his heart, had in his official capacity taken fees from both plain tiff and defendant, rather than offend. Afterward he was chosen a member of the State Assembly, and brother members dt dared that he was the paid tool of all the corrupt rings in and around the capitol. Indeed, it was currently i timated to me several times, reported that he donated a thousand dollars to a | “ Did you deny it?” college -from a fund entrusted to him to pur- “No.” chase votes with. “Now, I will tell you why I smiled. The Judge However this may be, these stories did not ! desires to marry Mabel. I suspected he had a obtain general credence, and after a few' years of pecuniary interest in so doing. I now know it.” this success, Judge Thompson was sufficiently! “Zounds! is that so? He’s a scoundrel, and wealth}’ to engage in the business of banking in : if Mabel marries him, she shall never have a the city of Itook Island. i penny of my savings. The first occasion I get In appearance he was not remarkable. In per- “ Rest assured that I shall call upon her. Judge j Thompson knows as well as I that there are un- ■ usual attractions there offered in the shape of ; the prettiest woman I have met in a travel ex- ! tending nearly around the earth.” “I do not doubt it,” was the pleasantly- | spoken rejoinder; “ hut it will do you no good, j The attraction you mention is spoken for and ! engaged.” “That is possible,” replied Mr. Gump with a j dry smile, and frankly. “Your language and j actions indicate that you are the fortunate man. ' But 1 do not care. For all of that, I shall win 1 Miss Vane’s affections. You now have fair i warning of my intentions. Good-morning, sir.” i His reception by Mrs. Y.ine and her daughter j was very llattoring. The former lady covered j him with thanks, and eulogized his conduct in j J such grateful terms that he must have been a i veritable hero in her eyes. Mabel blushed deeply in his presence, remeni- I baring the warm pressure she had given his is your heiress ?” “No; but lie suspects as much. He has so in- But as the afternoon passed, her embarrass- | ment wore away, and she gave herself wholly to j the entertainment of her visitor; and she was I so successful that Jonathan said to himself: I “Judge Thompson told me falsely. Her heart is free, and she is pledged to no living : man.” But even in that moment he had cause to think ! differently. Mrs. Vane handed Mabel a note, j which said: “Mabjsl,—I shall invite myself to tea with you son he was of medium height, well-made, but neither muscular nor unusually active. His hair was of a dandruffy, yellowish hue, his fore- dge Thompson was hv profession a preacher j head low and retiring, but deep from between he gospel, a lawyer, nnd a hanker. In a the eyes back to the ears. The expression of his CHAPTER IV. Ju of the gospel brief period lie abandoned the ministry to prac tice law, after a hasty perusal of the first volume of “ Blackstone,” and a yet more rapid glance at “Parsons on Contracts,” and in most pro found ignorance of the statutes of his own Shite. It is said that in one of his first, cases, before Mayor Carbon, of Camden, to sustain a point, he quoted from the code of an adjoining State, and so won the legal battle. Those who believed iri* Judge Thompson’s uprightness of character, j his truth and honesty, alleged that it was a Strike unintentional, or ignorance; while liis eye was pleasant, even while yon could not ban ish the thought that it was treacherous, and that its owner would steal. At all times he was gra cious and smiling, and frequently had been heard to observe that he had not sworn an oath since he was thirteen years of age. He was now thirty-five. Such was the man whom Jonathan Gump be lieved to be Mabel Vane’s affianced lover; and the day preceding, when he had deposited two hundred thousand dollars to the credit of Mr. Lawrence in Judge Thompson’s banking house, I will tell him as much. No, sir, Mr.—Mr. j this evening. Prevail upon Mr. Gump to re- Gump, if it is not presui.ang f oo much, I should j main and partake of your hospitalities. We be pleased if she would wed yourself.” [ should make him feel how grateful we are. Ee- “Bless you, Doctor, for those words,” cried j sides, he seems to be a worthy young man, Jonathan heartily. ' though poor, and one in whom I take a “ It was as I suspected,” muttered the Doctor, interest. Yours affectionately, and there was a suspicious moisture in his eyes, ^reat insomuch that he was compelled to wipe his spectacles a long time before lie could see plainly. The distance between Rack Island and Cam den is but four miles—a drive of half an hour along a splendid turnpike, and through mag nificent landscape and river scenery J. S. Thompson.” Mabel read this and passed it to Jonathan Gump, whose hopes fell as rapidly as they had \ river, the same identical river that he rescued “Your wish is sacred with me,’’’ _ e diod. j “Thank you; I shall re-ninin.” Je. Dr. Strong had returned to Camdea. by the noon Coal Valley train, soon following his re- I conciliation with bis sister, and that most esti- ! mable lady was now grieving because he would not form one of the party to sit down at her , table that evening. The Vanes were too poor to enjoy the luxury of a servant, and hence in the preparations of the evening meal, mother and daughter shared the time equally. At half-past five, Judge Thompson arrived, lie was most gracious in manner, overflowing with wit, and “big” with compliments for the I “brave fellow who had rescued our Mabel from death.” Mrs. Vane seemed to enjoy his society in a high degree, for it was her only ambition to see her daughter the wife of this wealthy banker, j But Jonathan thought that Malml was not very : much pleased with his familiar address; and as | for himself, he felt his blood grow strong in his veins in intense hatred of this man of wealth | and arrogance. I It was quite dark when onr hero took his de- j parture, promising, at their earnest invitation, to make frequent visits to them in the future, i The banker followed him to his carriage, and ! as he mounted his seat to drive away, said: “Mr. Gump, are you determined in what you | stated this morning?” ! “In regard to Miss Vane?” I “Yes.” “Assuredly.” I “ Shall I repeat our conversation to her?” ask- I ed the hanker, with a sneer. Jonathan leaped to the ground quickly, his i eyes Hashing angrily and a determined look j therein. “I will do it myself,” he answered; and turn- ! ed the gate-latch to re-enter. “You shall not!” exclaimed the hanker, very pale. Laying his hand upon Mr. Gump’s arm, he j continued; “I was in jest; your words are safe within me, j and luck to you if yon win my prize from me. ! Good evening.” The banker bowed and re-entered the resi- . dt-nce oi the Vanes, ivaimly welcomed oy in mates. “There he is!” exclaimed Jonathan. “Bee j Low glad they are; and there he will remain for i hours. Wlmt, a fool I was to make such a re mark ! He will tell her, and it is sufficient to ! offend any young lady. I should not have said | it, having determined that she shall be mine.” The dusk of night grew blacker, ami dark, | leaden clouds obscured moon nnd sky. making the traveled and gray roads invisible. Yet the well-trained steeds kept their way, jogging leis urely along, their driver engaged in love’s con templation and heedless of surroundings. At last, Rock River bridge was readied and half way crossed over, when a light from a dark lantern was suddenly flashed in Jonathan Gump’s : face, and a crushing blow full upon his head laid him lifeless in his seat. As the frightened ! steeds started into a run, he was seized and i dragged from the carriage to the floor of the I bridge, and the infuriated animals rushed on, ; breaking the vehicle into a thousand pieces. The man who had dealt this cowardly stroke immediately secured two large rocks, and their nearness to the tragical scene which had just I been enacted showed that they had been placed there for a purpose. One of them he fastened to the neck of his victim, and the other to his feet. Then he pulled the body to the edge of the bridge and pushed it into the seething, boil ing current beneath. “So be it ever with those who would stand in my way,” said the muffled figure, as he Rtole away in the darkness, henceforth to know him self as wearing the brand of Cain. But a few steps behind him followed one who had witnessed all - the avenger, who knew’ that the body of his enemy, poor Jonathan Gump, had passed from sight forever ! CHAPTER V. Early in the morning following the tragedy, of which account is given in the preceding chapter, Dr. Strong was called to see a patient living north of the river, toward Rock Island. He returned with the rising of the sun, and was the firs: to discover the wreck of the splen did Lawrence carriage. A little farther yet he found the handsome steeds cG n j,.in death, and recognized them as the saim that Jonathan* Gump had driven the preceding day. Even then he did not comprehend the possible fate of the young stranger to whom he felt himself so suddenly and wonderfully attached. Lost in wonder, and possessed of a horrible dread of something terrible, be returned to the bridge and discovered that there the mad flight of the horses was commenced. “My God !” he cried; “this is terrible. His body has been thrown into the river by this terrible accident.” The worthy Doctor at once aroused the citi zens of Camden, who rushed to the scene of disaster and t- dy, scared out of the slight sense nature h; /en them. John Nowlan • -ested that Mr. Gump might have escaped ii i from the accident, and gone on to the Lawrence mansion. It was a very im probable idea, but Dr. Strong immediately dis patched a messenger to the great house, who re turned in half an hour accompanied by the servants. It then became known that Jonathan Gump had been seen by none of them since the pre ceding morning, and but one conclusion re mained- the handsome stranger had met death in the accident. “ To think,” cried Mrs. Madison, the house keeper, “that the dear man should die in the arisen. The letter went far toward confirming the banker’s avowal. “You will stay?” asked Mabel. “Do you wish it?” asked Jonathan, gazing at The journey was soon a icoinplished, and al- j her intently, and striving to read the secrets of most immediately they separated—the Doctor : her heart. to visit his sister, and Jonathan Gump to call at j “I certainly do,” she responded, and her eyes ^ w Judge Thompsons bank to deposit several thou- ! fell beneath his steady, piercing, almost rude ; “It’s an opinion that Mary and I have.” is sand dollars in government bonds. gaze. “ 'ton should be very careful not to make suchvTrt the beautiful lady from only yesterday; and lie the master in disguise.” Dr. Strong heard the remark, and pricked up his ears. “ How do you know that?” he quickly asked. “Did Mr. Gump confide such a secret to you ?” “Oh, no, sir; it’s guess-work,” was the answer.