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The sunny South. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1875-1907, March 02, 1878, Image 1

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m mm coluctio VOL. Ill J. H. &W. B. SEALS, (fboEubtSs. ATLANTA, GA„ SATURDAY, MARCH 2. 1878. THE MIGHTY SEPULCHRE. ET MART E. l.RTAN. The earth 2 palace, o'er-rooted with Miic. With it thousand lamps ont swinpinp. But its floor is pated with a thousand craves. And we know they lie in the sea's deep caves, For, forever the voice of its myriad waves Are their solemn dirges s: oping. Yes, the earth is a sepulchre, vast and grand. And the name of its dead is legion. And the mountains, as their tall monuments stand, The winds moan of them in deserts of sand, And the midnight waves tell the lonely strand Of graves in the sea's still region. But goodly guests has that silent hall. The dust of the bravest and fairest— Hearts that nothing could e'er appal. And eyes that flashed at the spirit's call. But decay lies darkly down with them all, And hie touch their grave robes searcst. But the stars are weary of watching the dead. And the sea of singing' their dirges. And Barth—a Niobe—bows her head And clasps the dust of her children dead. And lists for the Messenger's stalely tread— The solemn herald of him \\ ho has said That death into life emerges. WHAT I WOULD HAVE. Written for Miss Rosa Ralston.) BT ueutkkaat riux. I’d have thee think of me. as one whose heart Bears in liie’e revel but the smallest part— Almost as of a spirit on whom the light Of fairer skies has shed a glory bright: Whose hopes, whose dreams, though once of mortal birth. Have winged their flight beyond the passing earth. I'd have thee think of me as of a flower. Whose life of beauty lasts but for an hour— On which thy gaze may but a moment rest Ere all its brightness fades upon thy breast; SLii leaves behind a perfume of its own. Whose sweetness lingers tho’ the bloom has flown, J'd have tbee think of me «e of a bird , - too - nine iiearu— The solemn night, when all around is still; And its clear notes thy trembling bosom fill. Awakening these sweet yearning dreams divine. But vague as breathings from a mystic shrine. I'd have thee think of me apart, alone. When twilight shadow s on the earth are thrown. As of those golden clouds that bathe the sky In rich, warm colors to thy longing eye. But which will melt into the far-off blue Of heaven, deepening on thy wistful view. I’d have thee think of me as of a dream, For I, like that, would to thy memory seem As something faint and shadowy, yet as bright. Olidinp around thee in the clear daj light — Haunting tby soul with beauty, strange and rare. Making thy lips seem ever still more lair. Se lifted his hat, and was passing on, when she detained him. WILD WORK. A PHASE OF MODERN CIVILIZATION. way. The current grew stronger every minute; | a will, and in a moment it was alongside them, the old man strained to tbs oars with ail his 1 and the tall, active oarsman had seized the chain of the flat, while he cried out to those on Based Upon Startling Incidents which Transpired in the RED RIVER Region of Louisiana. might, but in vain. The flat was tnrned slowly sideways by the stream and began to drill down, j instead of going across. Seeing the emergency. | Adelle sprang to a seat bf.bde the old negro, | seized one of the oars, and with art encouraging I word to hint, joined in his efforts to right the flat. For a moment, it seemed as if they might be successful, but the next instant the oar broke ! off short in the negro's hand, and he turned his : black face in blank dismay upon Adelle. At board: ‘Jump in the boat; push tb» horse into the river, old man; she will swim ashore. ’ His voice inspired confidence; he was obeyed at once, and pushing off from the flat, with ft few long strokes of the oar, he sent, the skiff out of mid-stream and presently out of danger of the boat, that now bore down upon the flat— crushing it under and sinking it, as though it the same instant, the green nod red signal lights j were a cockle shell, while the mare swimming gal- BY MARY 33. BRYA.N. of the steamer came into sight, as the Monsoon rounded the bend and seemed to bead directly for them. ‘De Lord above! We’ll be runned over in three jnmps of a rabbit, and I can t swim a lick!’ lantly neared the farther shore, and,under shelter of the opposite hank, the two girls, huddled in the skiff that tossed on the agitated water, looked on with blanched faces, and shuddered at their near escape from death. Zoe hid her cried old Jake, the perspiration streaming down j face in her hands; Adelle drew a deep breath and v - i i> i clmnrruii yttVi/A ho/1 Rf\ fill nnrt 11 T\ pi Y CHAPTER I. A red sunset flamed over the great wall of woods that stood against the horizon in the dis tance seeming to guard the acreB of level, rich ly fertile fields that stretched from its foot to the steep bank of the river. Half the stream was lighted by the glow; the other half lay in the lengthening shadow of the deep bank. On the illuminated side, the bank exhibited in one place a natural terrace, beneath which sloped down a ‘second bank’—a sandbar projecting into the river, sparsely fringed by willows and yonng, rapidly growing cotton wood trees. To one of these was tied a large flat for ferrying people and horses across the river, and through the trees that grew on the upper bank, could be seen the cabin of the negro ferryman. Up to this cabin there rode a party of three, two young girls well mounted and gracefully habited, fol lowed by a gray haired negro attendant, mount ed on a mule that seemed as ancient as himself. Stopping in front of the cabin, the old negro uttered a ‘ hello !’ that was only answered by the echoes of the opposite hank: Again and again he called, but without re sponse; the old ferryman was either soundly asleep or absent. Getting down from his mule, the old negro approached the cabin to make in vestigations, while the two girls rode down the path to the water’s edge—the taller of the two— a lithe, slender brunette, with an air of style in her graceful movements and closely-fitting black habit that bespoke intercourse with good society in cities, checked her horse and took from her pocket an envelope, the seal of which was already broken. As she took out and unfolded the en closure, her companion touched the closely- written sheets with her riding whip saying: ‘ ion can't read that now, 1 imagine that to enjoy a love letter one must take it as the hum ming-bird takes the blossom he likes—leisurely and daintUJ - . You will have to wait till we get home. ‘Yes; and it seems that will never be. Why doesn t uncle Jake come on with the ferryman ? Yonder he iB now and nobody with him. Uncle Jake where is the ferryman ?’ Lord knows Missy. He door done locked; call him till my troat most split thoaten gitten’ any answer. Spec I’ll have to try to put you over myself.’ «That’s agood enough idea; you can take us over 1 know as weli as any ferryman on the river. Let’s hurry and get in the flat. The sun has been down these ten minutes' said the brunette Zoe, springing from the saddle, and stepping lightly with lifted skirts to the flat. • It’s hurry for true Missy, case de Monsoon’s cornin’ round de bend. Dat's her puffin and snortin’ so; and she’ll he around in no time. De Monsoon ain’t a boat to fool wid.’ * Best wait till she goes past’ said Adelle Hol man, who stood holding a beautiful mare by the bridle. But uncle Jake demurred. ‘ It’s powerful late and I ain’t had a mouthfull since brekfust, cept de cheese and crackers you give me Miss Dell. Dat ICohatchie’s a mighty unneighborly place for to spend de day in. A gentleman kin stand round dere all day hongry, and not a soul’ll ax him in to git a bite. We might as well be gitten' over here; I’ll have to make two trips any way. I can’t carry over all three o’ dem bosses to onct, I’ll take yer over and de mare, Fleta, and by dat time de boat will be done gone by. Den I come arter old Sol and de Gray.’ While he talked, he was unfastening the flat; lifting the chain, he threw it in with a resound ing clang. Then he led in Adelle’s mare, and the girls stepped in and stood in the rear of the flat, Adelle, placing her arm around Zoe to steady her city-raised friend, who was less ac customed than herself to this mode of crossing water. ‘Now be spry, uncle Jake,' she said, and the old man responded bravely, but he met with a difficulty at the outset in pushing off, for the flat was aground, and it required no little exer tion and a loss of precious time, to Btiove the unwieldy bulk off into water that would float it. When this was finally effected, the sonnd of the steamer’s revolving wheels, and the pifi-paff of her scape-pipe, sounded alarmingly near. Old Jake’s knotty hands trembled nervonsly as they grasped the oars and pulled for the opposite shore. He did well enough until he struck the swift, strong current of the river; then, in spite of his desperate efforts, the fiat made little head- his ebony face. Adelle dropped the oar and turned a startled glance upon the red and green signals that seemed to glare ominously, as there flashed into her mind the stories she had heard of skiffs and flats being run over by tie river steamers, whose night watch were not always as careful as they should be. The sight b id a paralyzing effect upon old Jake. Down he fell in a heap in the flat and began to pray, der. turned to the stranger, who had so opportunely come to the rescue. ‘We have been saved from death, I think, thanks to God and to von, sir,' she said, holding out her hand and looking for the first time into his face. What was there in that face to make her start and draw back her hand? He saw the movement and smiled—a cynical smile, that had yet a touch of proud patience in it. ‘Yes, thanusto de Lamb and to you, Mars Adelle shoos, him by the shoul- j Mitchell, we’se 'scaped bein squshed and drownded to death by dat very boat snortin so ‘ Get up,’Bhe said. ‘ Tak< this handkerchief ! nnconsarnedly down de river. You was sent and wave it, and shout to ti t boat as loud as j here by de Lord for to help poor niggers; and you can for your life.’ Then, as he rose and did her bidding, she went back to the rear of the fiat, where stood Zoe with a white face, and the mare, Fleta, with head erect and ears pricked forward, seeming to comprehend the situation. ‘Zoe,’ she said, ‘ if the boat doesn’t stop, you must get upon Fleta and make her jump into the river. She will swim to shore, and if yon will only hold on tightly, she will carry you safe. ’ ‘ And what are you going to do ?' ‘ Swim if I can; I used to do a little in that line. Here, I think you wili have to try Fleta, the boat does not seem to see us.’ she contin ued, with her strained gaze fixed on the lighted monster bearing down straight in their direction as they drifted helplessly in the middle of the stream. No one was to be seen on deck, it being the hour for the early supper of Western steamers, nor were there any signs that the white signal had been seen, or that anyone had heard Jake’s vociferous shouts of ‘stop; stop; help; stop yer boat dere. Youse ’bout to run over white folks. Hold up, you dere.’ Then dropping his voice to a hoarse mutter, • Lordy messy ! Eder she won’t hold up, or she can’t. Here she comes right down upon us, and yonder dem niggers in der cabins at old Mr. Pyle’s place, a eatin’ d^r supper, and lettin’ ns be drowned before der eyes.’ ‘Come,’ said Adelle, calm in spite of her white lips. ‘ Come, Zoe, and let tue help you upon Fleta.’ But at that instant, her arm was grasped by uncle Jake in. a sudden paroxysm of j j : * Bless de Lord; we’se saved !' L« exclaimed, ‘Look, missy.’ He pointed to a skiff rapidly nearing the flat from the side of th*-. river they hftji lately left. Sinewy arms propelled it with Witchell you’re doin your work.’ ‘Never mind that. Here’s the bank; get out old man and take vonr horses to the next cross ing- f ‘Next crossin’s a mile above here; twill be awful late for de ladies to be a ridin; and how’s they goin to ride, I’d like to know? Miss Dell’s mare done swim out on tother side and gone home like lightnin. Won’t dey all be wild, do, when dey see her comin all wet, and wid nobody on her back? Gray, here, won’t tote double no how, and old Sol won’t let women folks tech him, much less git on his back.’ ‘My own horse yonder is not safe for a lady to ride,’ Capt. Witchell’.said, pointing to a tine looking animal, standing loose where he had sprung from him on riding down to the hank and seeing the danger to those in the flat. ‘Where were you going, old man ?’ ‘To Mr. Vincent’s place— MissZoe’s brother— jest this side Bayou Renan.’ ‘Take the horses on to the crossing. I will row these ladies home in the skiff.’ ‘Don’t put yourself to that trouble, sir,’ in terposed Adelle, icily, ‘we can manage some way with the horses, or we can walk home if you wiil hand the oar to Jake and let him put us on the other side of the river.’ ‘Miss Dell aint you shamed of yonrself, talkin to Capt. YVitcheli like dat, and he jest done save you from bein drownded to death ! De Cap tain’s not gwine to hurt you, ef he is de col ored man’s friend. You better let him take you in de skiff; de massey knows when you gwineto git home, onless; and your pa’ll be distracted about you.’ But Adelle had risen and was preparing to leave the boat. ‘Sitdown, if you please,’ commanded Capt. ‘I shall take you home. It is already TERMS,] VT d vYnce™ no. m. dusk. To cross at the upper ferry would throw ; yon late in the night You need not look at or speak to me, and I shall have nothing to say to you. I shall land yon safely at home; then my duty as a gentleman will be done.’ As he spoke, he pushed the boat, from which j the negro had just stepped, away from the bank I and began to puli steadily and swiftly down I stream, after a word to Jake to tell him to fasten his horse where the animal stood. The trip was accomplished almost in silence. The girls sat together in the back part of the boat, their eyes fixed with a kind of laseinaion I npoD the upright, soldierly figure that wielded : the oars, his profile sometimes tnrned partly to | them, showing the bold, free outlines of throat and chin, the firm nose, the close-set month, with the slightly scornlnl lines about it, the thick light hair thrown back from the well-poised head. A full moon had risen over the dark rampart of woods that bonnded the distant prospect, and I long streams of silver light glorified the murky j river and eclipsed the lingering rosiness of sun- ; set. Adelle’s lovely face looked pale under her j dark riding hat, and changes of expression pass- : ed over her sensitive mouth and eyes, which ‘ still kept, however, the look of haughty reserve ; that had come over them, at first sight of Capt Witchell's face. Zoe had her rich, soft cheek buried in her un gloved hand, that had a diamond flashing on the betrothal finger. She had turned her dark eyes wonderingly from her friend to Capt, Witchell. when Adelle had so coldly declined any further ; service from the man who had just rescued j them; but a whispered sentence served to make her understand, and she nodded her head acqui- | escingly, and remained silent except for a mur- j mured word to her companion, about the beauty i °t the night and her fears that the family would I be alarmed on their account. A turn in the river brought the Vincent plan tation into sight and close proximity. A little white-washed country store came first of the buil dings, and was perched rather near the shelving S bank, while behind it stood the stable, the corn~- crib and “lot." Before the gate of this last, forms were seen movi_ng_about Ta^ron't 01 the store. The mare Fleta, dripping Iron* her bath in the river, had a few moments before , stopped in front of the stable, and Hugh Vincent ; was excited with apprehensions concerning the fate of bis sister and her Iriend. As he caught i sight of the boat, he hurried to the bank, follow- i ed by the negroes who had been grouped around the trembling mare. As tne skiff grated upon the sand, Capt. j Witchell leaped out and held the chain to steady j the little craft, while the girls got out. He offer- i ed them no other assistance, and he merely j bowed, when Zoe, stopping near him, could not ! forbear saying: j ‘ i am ver^ sorry to have put you to all this 1 trouble. I thank you very much for the assist ance you have rendered us this evening.’ Adelle’s foot slipped as she stepped from the ! skiff; she would have fallen had not Capt. Witch- j ell’s arm caught her and placed her firmly on j the ground. Confusedly she murmured her thanks. He inclined his head slightly in ac knowledgment, sprang into the boat, and pushed i off, as Mr. Vincent came down the bank, saying : as he met the girls: ‘ I am glad, I tell you, to see you two back safe. Fleta came up a white ago with the saddle and bridle on, wet as a fish, and frightened me mightily. Lucky I saw you before the alarm was carried to the house, to scare your father, j cousin Dell, and my wife and Miss Floyd all for nothing. YVhat has happened ?' ‘We came near being run over by the Monsoon, : as we were crossing at Watt's ferry,” explained [ Zoe. ‘An oar broke in Uncle Jake’s hand, and he couldn’t manage the flat Tne boat was close upon us. when a man came to our assistance I with a skill', just in time to get us off before the I steamer went rushing over the flat. The mare 1 had jumped out and swam ashore; the other 1 horses we had left behind on the hank. Uncle Jake has gone to cross them at the upper ferry, ana the man brought us home in the skiff.’ ‘Did you ask him in to rest and take supper with us? Yon didn’t? Well, it was as little as you could have done after his risk and trouble on your account. Is that your city politeness?' ‘Cousin Hugh,’ interposed Adelle, ‘the man was Capt. Witchell. We did not think he would be welcome.’ ‘ Witchell the deuce ! That carpet-bag scoun drel? I had rather you owed a favor to the blackest nigger about than to one of tnat set of thieves —jackalls, that come here to fatten on the carcass of our dead liberties. I wonder yon accepted an obligation from him, Zoe,’ ‘Would you have had us drown, brother? Besides, we didn’t know the man until after he had rescued us. I had never seen him, and Dell was too much frightened to recognize him at first.' • Well, I suppose it could not be helped. Old Jake was the one to blame. It’s like his thick head, trying to cross at dusk with a boat com ing 'round the bend; letting you two get under obligations, and such a —d , I beg pardon, Dell—snch a rascal as Witchell. I’ll row him up about it when he comes. Of course, he thinks it was all right. It was Mars Witchell — the God of every darkey about here—the re doubtable Captain ! Where did he get the title, I wonder ? I’m told he was keeper in a Ver mont mad-house, before he came here to get rich off our people. I suppose he was on his way down here to organize a Loyal League among the darkeys and the scalawags, that are to meet at the nigger church on the old Burn's place to-night A dark assembly it’ll be, in every sense of the word; only two or three white skins among them, and they ashamed of their color and apologizing for it with all their might. I can’t see why Witchell is hugging the new voting power just now. He can’t want more office after just being appointed District Judge by the Governor, without the formality of an election; but he is a shrewd, far-sighted scamp, and he means to fly his kite high I imagine.’ They had reached the yard gate—set in a low paling that was over run with trumpet vines. The house was an unpicturesque, whitey-brown