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and glance sadly down with their abiding eyes upon these fleeting shadows.
After all, who can deny that there is magic in a mirror, a weird atmosphere imprisoned between the metal and the glass, bo-rowing the occult powers of the gulf of space, and returning to us our own wraith and apparition at any hour of the . day or night when we smite it with a ray of light, — reaching with its searching power into the dark places where we have hidden ourselves, and seizing and projecting them in open sight? Who doubts that this sheeny panel on so many walls, with wary art slurring off its elusive gleam, could, at the one compelling word, paint again the reflections of all on which it silently dreams in its reticent heart, — the joy, the grief, the weeping face, the laughing lip, the lover's kiss, the tyrant's sneer, almost the crouched and bleeding soul on which that sneer descended, of which some wandering beam carried record? When we remember the Tiolin, inwardly ridged with the vibrations of old tames, old discords, who would wonder to find some charactery of light tracing its indelible script within the crystal substance? And here, if Vivia saw one other scene blaze out before her and vanish, why not believe, for fancy's sake, that it was as real a picture as the image of the dark and beautiful girl herself bending there with the carmine stain upon her cheek, the glowing, parted lips, the shining eyes, the shadowy hair?
Late spring down on the Maryland farm: you know it by the intense blue through that quaint window draped with such a lushness of vines, such a glory of blossom. In at the open door, whose frame is arabesqued with hanging sprays of sweethrier, with the pendent nest, with fluttering moth-wings sunshine - dusted, with crowds of bursting buds, pours the mellow sun in one great stream, pours from the peach - orchards the fragrant breeze laden with bird-song. A girl, standing aside, with clasped hands drooping before her, her gaze upon a shadow on the floor in the midst of-that broad stream of light. Casting that shadow, under the
lintel, a young man clad for travel. Since he left his Southern home, ruin has befallen it; he dares not ask one lapped in luxury to share such broken fortunes as his seem to-day, even though such stout shoulders, so valiant a heart, buffet them. If she loves, it is enough; they can wait; their treasure neither moth nor rust can corrupt; their jewel is imperishable. If
she loves He is looking in her eyes,
holding to her his hands. Slowly the girl meets his glance. A long look, one long, silent look, infinitude in its assurance, its glow wrapping her, blue and smiling as heaven itself, reaching him like the evening star seen through tears, — a word, a touch, had profaned with a trait of earthliness so remote, so spiritual a betrothal. He goes, and still the upwardsmiling girl sees the sunshine, hears the bird-song, — a boy dashes by the door and down the path to meet the last, closelingering embrace of two waiting arms at the gate, — and then there is nothing but Vivia bending and gazing at herself in the glass with a flushed and fevered eagerness of rapture.
"The wild, sweet tunes that darkly deep Thrill through thy veins and shroud thy
That swing thy blood with proud, glad sway,
"The joy of peace that wide and high
she sang, to ease her heart of its swelling gladness.
But here Vivia dared not concentrate her recollections, dared not dally with such distant delight, — twisted and tossed her hair into its coils, and once more opened the letter. Ray had not lived for three years under converging influences, years which are glowing wax beneath the seal of fresh impressions, years when one puts off or takes on the tendencies of a lifetime, — Bay had not lived those three school-years without contracting habits, whims, determinations of his own: let her have Beltran's reasons to meet Ray's objections.
They were up at the little meadowside cottage of Mrs. Vennard, Ray's maternal aunt, a quiet widow, who was glad to receive her dying sister in her house a year and a half ago, as she bad often received her boys before, and who was still willing to eke out her narrow income with the board of one nephew and any summer guest; and as that summer guest, owing to an old family-friendship that overlooked differences of rank and wealth, Vivia had, for many a season, been established. Here, when bodings of trouble began to darken her sunny fields, she had, in early spring, withdrawn again, leaving her maiden aunt to attend to the affairs of the homestead, or to find more luxurious residence in watering-places or cities, as she chose. For Vivia liked the placid life and freedom of the cottage, and here, too, she had oftenest met those dear friends to whom one winter her father, long since dead, had taken her, and half of all that was pleasant in her life had inwoven itself with the simple surroundings of the place. Here, in that fatal spring when the first toesin alarmed the land, Ray, now scarcely any longer a boy, yet with a boy's singleness of mind, though possessing neither patience nor power for snbtilties of difficult reason and truth, thinking of no lonely portion, but of the one great fact of country, had been fired with spontaneous fervor, and had ever since been like some restive steed champing the bit and quivering to start . As for Vivia, she was a Maryland woman. Too burningly indignant, the blood bubbled in her heart for words sometimes, and she would be glad of Beltran's weapons with which to confront Kay when he returned from Boston, whither, the day before, without a word's explanation, he had betaken himself. So she turned again to the open letter, and scanned ks weightiest paragraphs.
"There is a strange reversal of right and wrong, when the American Peace Society declares itself for war. There is, then, a greater evil than war, even than civil war, with its red, fratricidal hands? — Slavery. But, could that be destroyed, it would be the first great evil ever overcome by force of arms. They fight tangibly with an intangible foe ; tangible issues rise between them; the black, intangible phantom hovers safe behind. But even should they visibly succeed, is there not left the very root of the matter to put forth fresh growth, — that moral condition in which the thing lived at all? An evil that has its source in the heart must be eradicated by slow medicinal cure of the blood. To fight against the stars in their courses, one must have brands of starry temper. No sudden shocks of battle will sweep Slavery from the sphere. Can one conquer the universe by proclamation ?' Lyra will rise to-morrow,' said some one, after Ca;sa,r reformed the calendar. 'Doubtless,' replied Cicero, 'there is an edict for it.' But, believe me, there can be no broad, stupendous evil, unless it be a part of God's plan; and in His own time, without other help from us than the performance of our duty, it will slough off its slime and rise into some fair superstructure. Our efforts dash like spray against the rock,—the spray is broken, the rock remains. To annihilate evil with evil,— that is an error in itself against which every man is justified in taking up his sword.
"So far, I have allowed the sin. Yet, sin or not, in this country the estate of the slave is unalterable. Segregately, the institution is their protection. For though there is no record of the contact of superior and inferior races on a basis of equality, where the inferior did not absorb the superior, yet, if every slave were set free to-day, imbruted through generations, it could not be on a basis of equality that we should meet, and they would be as inevitably sunk and lost as the detritus that a river washes into the sea. If the black stay here, it must be as a menial. In his own latitudes, where, alto- the third generation, the white man ceases to exist, he is the stronger; there the black man is king: let him betake himself to his realm. Abolition is impracticable, colonization feasible; on either is gunpowder wasted: one cannot explode a lie by the blast .
"But saying the worst of our incubus that can be said, could all its possible accumulation of wrong and woe exceed that of four years of such a war as this? Think a moment of what this land was, what a great beacon and celestial city across the waves to the fugitives from tyranny; think of our powerful pride in eastern seas, in western ports, when each ship's armament carried with it the broadside of so many sovereign States, when each citizen felt his own hand nerved with a people's strength, when no young man woke in the morning without the perpetual aurora of high hopes before him, when peace and plenty were all about us,—and then, think of misery at every hearth, of civilization thrust back a century, of the prestige of freedom lost among the nations, of the way paved for despots. And how needlessly!
"They taunted us, us the source of all their wealth, with the pauper's deserting the poor-house; we put it to proof; when, lo I with a hue and cry, the blood-hounds are upon us, the very dogs of war. So needless a war! For has it not been a fundamental principle tliat every people has a right to govern itself? We chose to exorcise that right. Was it worth the while to refuse it? Exhausted, drained, dispeopled, they may chain a vassal province to their throne; but, woe be to them, upon that conquering day, their glory has departed from them! The first Revolution was but the prologue to this: that was sealed in blood; in this might have been demonstrated the progress made under eighty years of freedom, by a peaceful separation. It is the Flight of the Tartar Tribe anew', and the whole barbarous Northern nation pours its hordes after, hangs on the flank, harasses, impedes, slaughters,
—but we reach the shadow of the Great Wall at last. If we had not the right to leave the league, how had we the right to enter? If we had not the right to leave, they also had not the right to withhold us. Yet, when we entered, resigning much, receiving much, retaining more, we were each a unit, a power, a commonwealth, a nation, or, as we chose to term it, a State, — as much a state as any of the great states of Europe, as Britain, as France, as Spain, and jealously ever since have we individually regarded any infringement on our integrity. That, and not the mere tangle of race that in time must unravel itself, is the question of the age. Long ago it was said that our people, holding it by transmission, never having struggled for it, would some day cease rightly to value the one chief bulwark of liberty. Nothing is more true. They of the North will lose it, we of the South shall gain it; for, battling on a grander scale than our ancestors, the South is to-day taking out the great habeas corpus of States!"
No matter whether all this was sophistry or truth. Bcltran had said it, — that was enough; so strongly did she feel his personality in what he wrote, that the soul was exultant, jubilant, defiant, within her. Other words there were in the letter, such words as are written to but one; the blood swept up to Vivia's lips as she recalled them, and her heart sprang and bounded like one of those balls kept in perpetual play by the leaping, bubbling column of a fountain. She was in one of those dangerous states of excitement after which the ancients awaited disaster. That last picture of the mirror dazzled her vision again ; she saw the sunshine, smelt the perfume, heard the bird-song. How a year had changed the scene! The house was a barrack; now down in ner Maryland peachorchards the black muzzles of Federal cannon yawned, and under the flickering shadows and sunshine the grimy gunners, knee-deep in grass and dew, brushed away the startled clover-blooms, as they touched fire to the breach. Beltran was a Rebel. Vivia was a Rebel, too! She ran down-stairs into'her little parlor overflowing with flowers. As she walked to and fro, the silent keys of her pianoforte met her eye. Excellent conductors. Half standing, half sitting, she awoke its voices, ard, to a rolling, silvery thunder of accompaniment, commenced singing, — .
'The lads of Kilmarnock had swords and had
And lang-bladed daggers to kill cavaliers, But they shrunk to the wall and the causey
At one toss of the bonnet of Bonny Dundee! So fill up my cup, come fill up my can, Saddle my horses and call up my men, Open your west-port and let me gae free, For it 'a up with the bonnets of Bonny Dundee!"
Some one in the distance, echoing the last line with an emphasis, caught her ear in the pause. It was Ray. He bad already returned, then. She snatched the letter and sped into the kitchen, where she was sure to find him.
Mrs. Yennard rocked in her miniature sitting-room at one side, contentedly matching patchwork. Little Jane Vennru.l, her step - daughter, — usually at work in the mills, but, since their close, making herself busy at home, whither she had brought a cookery-book through which Ray declared he expected to eat his way, — bustled about from room to room. Ray sat before the fire in the kitchen and toasted some savory morsel suspended on a string athwart the blaze.
"Where have you been, Ray ?" said Vivia, approaching, with her glowing checks, her sparkling eyes. "And what are you doing now?"
"Trying camp-life again," replied Ray, looking up at her in a fixed admiration.
"I 've had a letter from Beltran."
"Oh! where is he ?" cried Ray.
"Beltran is in camp."
"Perhaps on the Rio Grande, perhaps on the Potomac."
"Do you mean to say," cried Ray,
springing up, while string and all fell into the coals, "that Beltran, my brother"
"Is a Rebel."
"Then I am a rebel, too," said Ray, chokingly, sitting down again, and mechanically stooping to pick up the burning string, — "a rebel to him!"
"You won't be a rebel to him, if you 'll listen to reason, — his reason."
"He 's got no reason. It 's only because he was there."
"Now, Raymond Lamar! if you talk so, you sha'n't read the letter!"
"I don't want to read it."
"Have you left off loving Beltran, because he differs from you?"
"Left off loving Beltran!"
Vivia waited a moment, leaning on the back of his chair, and then Ray, bending, covered his face with his hands, and the large tears oozed from between his brown fingers.
Little Jane, whipping the frothy snow of her eggs, went on whipping all the harder for fear Ray should know she saw him. And Vivia, with one hand upon his head, took away the brown fingers, that her own cool, fragrant palm might press upon his burning lids. Such sudden tears belong to such tropical natures. For there was no anger or sullenness in Ray's grief; he was just and simply sorry.
"He must have forgotten me," said Ray, after a sober while.
"There was this note for you in mine, and a draft on New York, because ke thought you might be in arrears."
"No, I 'm not. Aunty can have the draft, though; she may need it before I come back," said Ray, brokenly, gazing into the fire. "Do you suppose Beltran wrote mine or yours first?"
"Then you *ve the last thing he ever set his hand to, perhaps l"
"Don't talk so, child!" said Vivia, with an angry shiver. "Come back! Where are you going?"
"I enlisted, yesterday, in the Kama* Cavalry."
"Great heavens, Ray! was there not another regiment in all the world than one to be sent down to New Mexico to meet Beltran and the Texan Rangers?" cried Vivia, wringing her hands.
Ray was on his feet again, a swarm of expletives buzzing inarticulately at his lips.
"I never thought of that," said he, whiter than ashes.
"What made you? oh, what made you?"
"There was no other company. I liked this captain. He gave me to-day's furlough. I *m going to - night; little Jane 's promised to fix my traps; she 's making me these cookies now, you see. Pshaw! Beltran 's up on the Potomac, or else- you could n't have gotten this letter, — don't you know? You made my heart jump into my mouth!"
And resuming his seat, to find his string and jack in cinders, he turned round astride his chair and commenced notching his initials into its back, with cautious glances at his aunt.
"That's for little Jane to cry over after I 'm gone," said he. «
"Ray How do you think Beltran will like it?"
"I can't help what Beltran likes. I shall be doing God's work."
"Beltran says God does His own work. He only requires of us our duty."
"That is my duty."
"You feel, Ray, as if you were possessed by the holy ardor of another Sir Galab&d!"
"I feel, Vivia, that I shall give what strength I have towards ridding the world of its foulest disease." . "With what a good grace that comes from yon!"
"With all the better grace."
"The old Berserker rage over again!"
"Quite as fine as running amuck."
"Ray, the race that does not rise for itself deserves its fate."
"Vivia, no race deserves such a fate as this one has found."
"Idle! I have seen slavery; own slaves: there is nothing monstrous in it."
"Wailing children, sundered families, women under the lash"
"You know very well, Ray, that there is a law against the separation of families."
"I never heard of it."
"Audubon says there is."
"A little bird told him," interpolated Jane.
"But I 've seen them separated."
"I don't believe," urged Vivia, "but for exceptional abuses, there 's a system providing for a happier peasantry on the face of the earth."
"It can't be a good system that allows such abuses."
"There are even abuses of the sacraments." ,
"Well, Ray, I don't believe in this pseudo-chivalry of yours, any more than Beltran does."
"If Beltran said black was white, you 'd think that true I"
"If Beltran said so, it would be true."
"It's no more likely that he should be right than that I should be."
"You could n't have spoken so about Beltran once!"
"Well, black or white, slave or free, never think I shall sit by and see my country fall to ruins."
"Your country? Do you suppose you love it any more than I do?"
"Yon 're a woman."
"Suppose I am a woman, you unkind boy"
"Well, you only love half of it, —the Southern half."
"I love my whole country !" cried Vivia, all affame. "I love these purple, rust-stained granites here, the great savannas there,—the pino forests, the sea - like prairies, — every river rolling down its roi-ky bed, — every inch of its beautiftd, glorious soil, — all its proud, free people. I love my whole country!"
"Only you hate some of its parasites. But Beltran would tell you that you have n't got any country. You may love your