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Feather-Caps, dancing from stone to stone with tireless feet, and bounding back and forth with every gay word that it occurred to her to say to anybody. Pictures ? She made them incessantly. She was a living dissolving view. You no sooner got one bright look or graceful attitude than it was straightway shifted into another. She kept Frank Scherman at her side for the first half-hour, and then, perhaps, his admiration or his muscles tired, for he fell back a little to help Madam Routh up a sudden ridge, and afterwards, somehow, merged himself in the quieter group of strangers.
By and by one of the Arnalls whispered to Mattie Shannon. “He's sidled off with her, at last. Did you ever know such a fellow for a new face? But it's partly the petticoat. He's such an artist's eye for color. He was raving about her all the while she stood hanging those shawls among the pines to keep the wind from Mrs. Linceford. She is n't downright pretty either. But she's got up exquisitely!”
Leslie Goldthwaite, in her lovely mountain-dress, her bright bloom from enjoyment and exercise, with the stray light through the pines burnishing the bronze of her hair, had innocently made a second picture, it would seem. One such effects deeper impression, sometimes, than the confusing splendor of incessant changes.
“Are you looking for something? Can I help you ?" Frank Scherman had said, coming up to her, as she and her friend Dakie, a little apart from the others, were poking among some loose pebbles.
“Nothing that I have lost,” Leslie answered, smiling. “Something I have a very presumptuous wish to find. A splended garnet geode, if you please!”
“That's not at all impossible,” returned the young man. “We 'll have it before we go down, - see if we don't !”
Frank Scherman knew a good deal about Feather-Cap, and something of geologizing. So he and Leslie — Dakie Thayne, in bis unswerving devotion, still accompanying — “sidled off” together, took a long turn round under the crest, talking very pleasantly — and restfully, after Sin Saxon's continuous brilliancy — all the way. How they searched among loose drift under the cliff, — how Mr. Scherman improvised a hammer from a slice of rock, - and how, after many imperfect specimens, they did at last “find a-purpose ” an irregular oval of dull, dusky stone, which burst with a stroke into two chalices of incrusted crimson crystals, - I ought to be too near the end of a long chapter to tell. But this search, and this finding, and the motive of it, were the soul and the crown of Leslie's pleasure for the day. She did not even stop to think how long she had had Frank Scherman's attention all to herself, or the triumph that it was in the eyes of the older girls, among whom he was excessively admired, and not very disguisedly competed for. She did not know how fast she was growing to be a sort of admiration herself among them, in their girls' fashion, or what she might do, if she chose, in the way of small, early belleship here at Outledge with such beginning, how she was “getting on," in short, as girls express it. And so, as Jeannie Hadden asked, “Where was the satisfaction ?”
“You never knew anything like it,” said Jeannie to her friend Ginevra, talking it all over with her that evening in a bit of a visit to Mrs. Thoresby's room. “I never saw anybody take so among strangers. Madam Routh was delighted with her; and so, I should think, was Mr. Scherman. They say he hates trouble ; but he took her all round the top of the mountain, hammering stones for her to find a geode.”
“ That's the newest dodge,” said Mrs. Thoresby, with a little sarcastic laugh. “Girls of that sort are always looking for geodes.” After this, Mrs. Thoresby had always a little well-bred venom for Leslie Goldthwaite.
At the same time, Leslie herself, coming out on the piazza for a moment after tea, met Miss Craydocke approaching over the lawn. She had only her errand to introduce her, but she would not lose the opportunity. She went straight up to the little woman, in a frank, sweet way. But a bit of embarrassment underneath, the real respect that made her timid, perhaps a little nervous fatigue after the excitement and exertion of the day, did what nerves and embarrassment, and reverence itself, will do sometimes, - played a trick with her perfectly clear thought on its way to her tongue.
“Miss Graywacke, I believe ?" she said, and instantly knew the dreadful thing that she had done.
“Exactly,” said the lady, with an amused little smile.
“No need, — no need. Do you think I don't know what name I go by, behind my back? They suppose because I 'm old and plain and single, and wear a front, and don't understand rats and the German, that I'm deaf and blind and stupid. But I believe I get as much as they do out of their jokes, after all.” The dear old soul took Leslie by both her hands as she spoke, and looked a whole world of gentle benignity at her out of two soft gray eyes, and then she laughed again. This woman had no self to be hurt.
“We stopped at the Cliff this morning,” Leslie took heart to say; "and they were so glad of your parcel, — the little girl and her aunt. And Prissy gave me something to bring back to you, - a splendid specimen of beryl that she has found.”
“Then my mind 's at rest !” said Miss Craydocke, cheerier than ever. “ I was sure she 'd break her neck, or pull the mountain down on her head some day looking for it.”
“ Would you like — I 've found - I should like you to have that too, -a garnet geode from Feather-Cap?” Leslie thought she had done it very clumsily, and in a hurry, after all.
“Will you come over to my little room, dear, - number fifteen, in the west wing, - to-morrow some time, with your stones ? I want to see more of you.”
There was a deliberate, gentle emphasis upon her words. If the grandest person of whom she had ever known had said to Leslie Goldthwaite, “ I want to see more of you,” she would not have heard it with a warmer thrill than she felt that moment at her heart.
Author of " Faith Gartney's Girlhood."
TAKING THE FORTS AT PORT ROYAL. FTER the departure of the Huguenots from Fort Carolina the place be7 came again a solitude. Years rolled by. Vines crept over the crumbling wall. Acorns sprouted in the mellow earth, and became trees, with long trails of gray moss growing upon the branches. The wild deer made the old fort their home. A hundred years passed before settlers came to the lonely shores. The harbor was wide, – the best on the Atlantic coast south of Hampton Roads, – but the emigrants from France and England chose Charleston as the place for founding their American home. Few vessels entered the roadstead till the Revolutionary war, when English ships of war sometimes dropped anchor inside the bar, and the crews put out in their boats to shoot the ducks and plovers in the marshes, and gather oysters on the beach. Sometimes, in the calm, still evenings, they heard a muffled drum beat beneath the waters, as if far down beneath the surface a drummer was beating the dead march. They were surprised to find that it was caused by a very odd-looking fish, four or five feet in length, covered with large scales, having a great head, with sharp teeth in the under jaw, and a bony roof to his mouth.
There were few settlers on the Sea Islands at that time. The soil was rich, but not so well adapted to the raising of wheat and corn as the uplands in the interior of the country. Two thousand years ago, before Christ was born in Bethlehem, the people of India made cloth from cotton, and the old historian, Herodotus, tells us of trees and shrubs which bore fleeces as white as snow. A planter of South Carolina obtained some seeds of the cottonplant from India, and in process of time the people began to use the snowwhite fibres which surround the seeds for the manufacture of cloth. Then it was discovered that the rich lands along the sea were the best in the world for the cultivation of cotton. Planters came, cut down the forests, bought negroes by the hundred, and in time became very rich.
Up the river, four or five miles from the fort, they laid out the town of Beaufort, – a pleasant place. Being rich, and owning slaves, the planters of the islands became aristocratic, and looked with contempt upon all white men who were obliged to work for a living. Some of these men were exceedingly cruel to their slaves, and God only knows the terrible anguish which the poor creatures suffered during their long bondage. Through many years they prayed for freedom, which came very suddenly one morning, and which was the second great historical event occurring at Port Royal.
Soon after South Carolina seceded from the Union, two forts were erected, - one on Hilton Head, called Fort Walker, where the Rebels planted twentythree guns, - the other on Bay Point, called Fort Beauregard, which mounted twenty guns. All of the buoys which had floated in the water, to mark the channel, were removed, and the Rebel soldiers in the forts were confident that they could very quickly send any ship to the bottom which might try to enter the harbor. Behind Fort Walker there was a wide plain, the plantation-home of General Drayton, who commanded the Rebel troops. It was in November, and his fields were white with cotton. His slaves were gathering it, working from daybreak till dark, while the soldiers in camp marched on parade, sang songs, told stories, and wondered if the Yankees would ever dare to attempt to take the forts.
But one morning – the 3d of November, 1861 — they saw a ship coming down from the north, - another, - another, and others, till the horizon seemed full of ships and steamers, which came to anchor off the harbor. It was the fleet of Admiral Dupont, whose blue flag was flying from the masthead of the Wabash, — the largest and noblest of all, — with thirty-two huge guns peeping from her port-holes. In the great battle of Trafalgar there were several ships which carried more than a hundred guns, but the Wabash would have been more than a match for the best of them; for Lord Nelson's heaviest guns were only sixty-eight pounders, while on board the Wa. bash were cannon carrying shot eleven inches in diameter and weighing two hundred pounds.
Accompanying the war-ships was General T. W. Sherman's army of ten thousand men. He was not the Sherman who afterward marched from Atlanta to the sea; but this General Sherman was in the battle of Buena Vista in Mexico, where he commanded a battery of light artillery which poured a terrible fire into the Mexicans.
The Rebels had several small gunboats in the harbor, commanded by Commodore Tatnall, who was a traitor to the government. Tatnall steamed down towards the Wabash, fired a shot or two, taking care to keep at a safe distance, and then ran back into the harbor, just as a little dog sometimes dashes bravely out to bark at a noble mastiff.
Admiral Dupont was not ready to make an attack upon the forts till the 7th, when, taking advantage of the high tide, he entered the harbor with his fleet. It was a noble sight. The sky was without a cloud, the air calm. It was like summer in those Southern latitudes, where roses are in bloom through all the year. The Wabash took the lead, and this was the order in which the fleet approached the forts. First Column.
Augusta. The fleet was in two columns, — the Bienville by the side of the Wabash, and the Augusta opposite the Pawnee. There were three other vessels, the Pocahontas, Forbes, and Mercury, which came up two hours later, and took part in the battle. Captain Drayton, of the Pocahontas, was brother of the
to ttb # REBEL FLEET
General who commanded the Rebel troops. They were both South Carolinians, -one a bitter Rebel, and the other a true patriot.
The Rebels were all ready and anxious to get a chance to send the fleet to the bottom of the harbor. The day before the battle, one of the Rebel officers thus wrote to a friend :-“We can give shell two to one, and hot and cold shot in quantities to suit. We are all ready for them, and will give a good account of ourselves to the Yankees. I will write to you next week, and give an account of the fight, the number of prisoners, and the list of vessels destroyed.”
The harbor is very wide, and Commodore Dupont decided to sail in a circle, firing upon Fort Beauregard as he sailed in, then, turning, open upon Fort Walker as he came out. Slowly and steadily the war steamers went in.
The tide was at its flood. The waters rip pled around the bows of the noble steamers.
It was a moment of ISLAND
intense silence. The ST. HELENA
Union gunners on the ISLAND
ships, and the Rebel gunners on the shore, stood silently by their pieces, with shot and shell around them. On board the ships, saw - dust had been strewn to soak up the blood which might otherwise run in streams upon the decks. To see that done tests a sailor's courage ; for it may be his own blood. The ship's side may be broken to splinters, and he torn to pieces, by something unseen.
Terrible the scenes on shipboard in battle! No doubt many sailors on the ships, and soldiers on the shore, thought of friends far away, of home, of the scenes of early days, of father, mother, brothers, and sisters, — for men never forget their childhood. Quite likely some of them uttered hasty prayers, as thousands have done when going into battle. But suddenly there was a flash from Fort Beauregard ; a great cloud of smoke, a thundering roar, a screaming and weird howling in the air. Prayers were forgotten ; men held their breath, till they saw the water boil and foam where the shots plunged. Then the