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Phyllida had burst into tears, begged Mrs. had responded dryly that Phyllida's husband's Rutledge to forgive her, left the house, and departure was not to be mourned, and she would married her preacher.
lend no countenance to such a proceeding. So Mrs. Rutledge had relented sufficiently Phyllida, attaching an overstrained importance toward her favorite handmaiden, the daughter to the matter, had hidden herself during the of one of her former slaves, to send her a sub- funeral, and refused to appear at church afterstantial wedding present, but that was all. ward, or even on the street, except after dark. Phyllida did not dare go to see her, nor did Meanwhile the devoted Narcissus silently she ever send for Phyllida. The fact that she turned the question over and over in the depths took the younger daughter, Narcissus, and of her loving soul, and failed to discover any proceeded to train her up to fill her sister's expedient, except one, before which she stood place argued nothing more than that she pre- aghast at first. Her sense of meum and tuum ferred to have around her the “old-fashioned” was rather undeveloped, like that of many of kind of negroes, as she phrased it, respectful the formerly enslaved race, but their sins are and docile, as any children of Aunt Clotilda principally in the line of coveted food, and clothwere sure to be. Mrs. Rutledge had small ing is another and more awful matter. Yet there patience for the class of flippant, impertinent lay that bonnet and veil, and an old black young colored girls who announce a negro gown besides, of no use to any one, in a trunk huckster to the mistress as a “gen'l'man who without a lock in the empty room at“ ol' Mis's," wants to see yo’,” and refuse to live in a house and Narcissus could lay her little brown paws where they cannot "call colored people ladies, on them at any moment. “ Ol' Mis' ” would and white folks women.”
be very angry, to be sure, if ever she found it Narcissus lacked the cleverness and good out, and “ol Mis?" had been very good to her: looks of her sister, but she was quiet and in- but how had she treated her dear Phyllida ? dustrious, at least. If Mrs. Rutledge revived The small heart hardened. the time-honored rule, relaxed in favor of the She walked to her work the next morning trustworthy Phyllida, of requiring a continuous with her usual companion, a “bright mulatto whistling to be kept up while the raisins were girl, who, like herself
, was a servant in one of being stoned for fruit-cake, it was not that she the city families, and, following the Southern really doubted the child, but thought it as well custom, went to her own home every night. to take precautions. Narcissus could whistle like Narcissus had much respect for her opinion, any mocking-bird, and these involuntary con- as that of an individual some years older than certs gave pleasure to everyone who overheard herself who had had the proud distinction of them. “Only Nonsense stoning raisins," Mrs. one term and a half at the “university." Rutledge would explain, with a quiet smile, to “Lily,” she said hesitatingly—“ Lily, what any visitor who remarked the music in the air. you reckon 't is to steal ?"
As months went by, Narcissus so grew in “Oh, go 'long, you no-'count nigger," refavor that her mistress began to have a comi- turned Mentor, jocosely. “'T is mighty wicked cally irreligious dislike to her going to church, to steal; dat 's all I know about it.” fearing that a taste for preachers might run in “Sutney 't is so," assented Narcissus; “but the family. But Narcissus was too young to what yo' reckon it is to steal ? Takin' other develop ministerial tendencies yet. The whole folks's t’ings fo' yo'se's ? " wealth of her heart was lavished in dog-like “ 'T ain't takin' your own t'ings, I reckon," devotion upon her pretty, unlucky elder sister, said Lily, smartly, with a toss of the head. who worked so hard for the helpless old man “But 'lowin' yo' wants 'em mighty badand had so little pleasure. I cannot say Non- 'lowin' yo' needs 'em? Is dat stealin'?” sense was sorry when Brer Brown died. Her Lily scratched her head meditatively. chief concern was Phyllida's sorrow that she “An' 'lowin' dey is n' fo' yo’se'f at all, dat had no mourning to wear for the much-revered can' be sure 'nough stealin'?” continued Narpreacher husband. Brer Brown had belonged cissus, anxiously. to one of the colored burial aid societies, which The strain was too much for Mentor's paprovided for his funeral; but the little means of tience and theological knowledge, and she the family had been exhausted during his long changed the subject. illness, and even debts incurred that rendered any further outlay impossible.
“Here come I on my two chips," Indespair, Phyllida had instructed Nonsense she began to sing airily, to apply to “ol' Mis'," as if of her own motion,
“Who's goin' to kiss my ruby, ruby lips? for the loan, just for the funeral, of the bonnet and veil which Mrs. Rutledge had herself “Nonsense, what you t'ink I heard Sunday worn during the first year of her widowhood, evening? Bob Sims was inquirin' if 't was and which now lay unused. Mrs. Rutledge any use to try to fly roun' your Phyllida."
“ Fly roun' our Phyllida ?” repeated Nar- "Be sure you open the blinds up-stairs becissus, in dismayed perplexity. “Phyllida 's a fore you go.” widder."
Yes, Miss Lucy,” said Narcissus again, and ** Huh,” said Lily,“ dat 's it. I dunno wha’slipped noiselessly up the ancient staircase runfo' all de men is plum' crazy after de widders. ning around three sides of the hall. Bob Sims say he'd be mighty proud of de Mrs. Rutledge rocked on. A neighbor came chance, sure 'nough. Den Ike Buzzard, dat in to chat for a few minutes, which prolonged nigger f’om de sand-hills, say he got no show- themselves into the twilight before she took ance; he picked out dat Phyllida fo' himself. leave. “Do wait a moment,” said Mrs. RutDen Bob Sims say de lady, Rev’end Mrs. ledge. “I'll have Nonsense gather some figs Brown, might have a word herself to say 'bout for you. Oh, Nonsense!” it. I hope,' he say, dat you have n’t de least But no Nonsense answered. Mrs. Rutledge conception dat I t’ink you 're a gen'l'man, called again. speakin' dat way 'bout a lady.' An' he hol' his “We won't wait on her. She must have gone head up mighty gran', an' walk off.”
home," she said at last, rising ponderously, with Narcissus listened to the recital of this thrill. a little sigh, “ though I scarcely remember her ing episode with wide-open eyes and mouth. coming down-stairs. Let me take you out into Before she could enter further protest against the gyarden, where you can help yourself.” And regarding her sister in any other light than that they passed out through the glass doors, under of a permanent widow, however, Lily arrived the great rose-vine, where a few summer Laat her bourn, and disappeared in the gateway marques hung, white and beautiful, down the of one of the large old houses, with wide gal- broad steps into the old-time garden. leries half hidden in green luxuriance, that The fire had long since burned itself out in lined the shady street.
the sky, and the darkness settled down, close, Narcissus went on a block farther, to the brooding, and sultry. Up-stairs in the empty Rutledge place. It was a mansion-house of room a little brown heap, fast asleep behind the ante-bellum days, whose ample, vine-hung trunk that contained the coveted bonnet, failed porch, two-storied verandas, and wide encir- to wake when the first darkness would have cling old-fashioned garden, its paths outlined covered a soft retreat. And the dull evening with tall hedges of box, gave it a grand air dragged on. that such trifles as weather-worn paint, a Something waked Narcissus at last. It might broken step, or a paling or two gone from the have been the continuous distressed lowing of fence, failed to disturb. She went in, and en- the cow, or the wild barking of dogs, or the tered upon her day's work, but with a languid excited crowing of cocks far beyond the usual air which was not natural to her. It attracted nocturnal serenade. It might have been the Mrs. Rutledge's attention. “Do, don't be so rumbling of a heavy train of cars on the railslow, Nonsense,” said she once. Are n't you road track near the house. In any case, her well, child ?”
cramped position recalled to her instantly where “Yes, Miss Lucy," returned Narcissus, am- she was, and the darkness warned her she had biguously; and she made a desperate spurt for overslept. She sprang up and opened the trunk, a moment, and then was slower than ever. while that portentous train came nearer and The day was so oppressive, there was such an nearer, unspeakable dullness in the air, that after all Was the lid bewitched that it shook so in it was not to be wondered at, Mrs. Rutledge her hand ? Every negro knew the old Rutledge thought.
place was haunted. Perhaps she was stealing, The breathless morning wore itself out at after all, and the ghost was going to appear last, and the still more breathless afternoon suc- to punish her. If she only had her daddy's ceeded it. The glowing sun dropped wearily graveyard rabbit-foot! But could a ghost shake into the west, lighting up the fires of a gorgeous the whole room till the windows rattled? What sunset. Mrs. Rutledge remarked it, as she sat was happening? in the great hall, where the doors at each end With one spring, the child, clutching the illstood open in order that the draft might draw omened bonnet, landed in the entry, and eswhat air there was to be caught through the sayed to go down the stairs. They rolled from screen of rose-vines. It was usually comfort- side to side, like a ship in a storm, and the lighted able here, even in the fiercest weather, but lamp in the hall swung to and fro, pendulumto-day not a fold of her voluminous white wise. The walls seemed to beat her against the wrapper stirred.
balusters, and the balusters to toss her back “Oh, Nonsense!” she called from her rock- against the walls, a helpless shuttlecock between ing-chair.
two battledores. She threw the bonnet on her * Yes, Miss Lucy," said Narcissus, appear- head, and clung to the rail, shrieking aloud in ing shadow-like in the doorway.
terror. From the negro settlement in the hol
low below the house floated up cries of “Lohd, What are you talking about? What did you hab mercy!” and more inarticulate screams have on your head in the hall ? ” and howls of despair.
Narcissus started as the voice became once “ 'T is de Judgmen' Day!” gasped Nar- more familiar to her. She stooped and felt cissus, reeling down the rocking stairs, and about on the ground for something which she falling at the feet of her mistress, who came at last found and held up toward her mistress hurrying from her chamber at that instant. a something battered and shapeless, from The little brown figure, crowned by the pre- which a long ragged tail dangled dismally. posterous bonnet with its veil trailing on the " Dis!" she said: floor, clasped her knees with the strength of All the tragedy of the crime that thwarts desperation and would not relax its hold. its own ends was in her tone.
“De Judgmen' Day! de Judgmen' Day!" Some months afterward, one bright aftershe sobbed. “Sen’it away, Miss Lucy! sen'it noon when the great earthquake was a thing away! It done come 'cause I so bad - I'll of the past, a light tap sounded at the door of never steal no mo'. Do sen' it away!” Mrs. Rutledge's room. “Let go, child," said Mrs. Rutledge, sharply, “Come in," she said. There was a slight
a freeing herself by force. “We must get out of hesitation, and then, to her surprise, Phyllida the house; it 's an earthquake!”
entered, - a transformed, glorified Phyllida, But the event was equally terrifying, what- whose fresh crape bonnet and veil framed in ever name it bore, and Narcissus's knees gave a face bewitching with suppressed excitement. way under her, so that she was dragged, rather Her long eyelashes swept the dark-olive cheek than led, out the door and to the brink of the with a certain demure consciousness, and belong flight of steps. Her foot caught in the long trayed the radiance of the downcast eyes. veil, she lost her balance and fell, jerking her «Phyllida! I had no idea it was you," said hand from Mrs. Rutledge's grasp. Down, down, Mrs. Rutledge, not unkindly, though a remshe went, over and over, wound and wrapped nant of her old deep-seated wrath at the notion and twisted in the length of the fatal veil, strik- of mourning for Brother Brown stirred in her ing each separate stair with a distinct thud, breast. till she reached the bottom. Then dead silence. “Howdy, Miss Lucy?” said Phyllida, with
Mrs. Rutledge, her eyes dazzled by coming some traces of embarrassment. “How's all?" from the lighted house, looked off into the “We're right well. I know you are all well darkness, and saw nothing. “Nonsense,” she at home, or Nonsense would have told me." cried anxiously," where are you?"
“We 're tol'ble," said Phyllida, fingering She descended by a more stately stepping her handsome black dress with nervous hands. than her handmaiden. “Narcissus !" she called “I suppose you have come to show me your again, as she set foot on terra firma, which now new mourning ?” said Mrs. Rutledge, relentonce more merited the name. Fright made hering somewhat, touched by the girl's evident voice hoarse and unnatural.
discomfort. “It becomes you, Phyllida. How Something low and dark raised itself up did you contrive to get it?” painfully before her. As her eyes became ac- "My husban' give it to me, Miss Lucy,” said customed to the night, she could dimly discern Phyllida, without raising her eyes. her small servant kneeling at her feet with "Your husband !" echoed Mrs. Rutledge, clasped hands, a little Samuel in bronze. not without a blood-curdling premonition of
"Heah, Mars' Angel Gabriel," said she, sol- a new species of ghost-story. emnly.
“Yes, Miss Lucy. Bob Sims. I was mar“ Narcissus !” said Mrs. Rutledge once ried to him last Saturday. He give me de more, fearing the fall had shaken the child's mo’nin' fo' a weddin' gif'. I tol Nonsense not wits as well as her body.
to tell yo'. I wanted to surprise yo'. I thought “ Heah I am, Mars' Angel Gabriel,” re- yo’ 'd be please dis time?”— pleadingly. peated Narcissus in the same awe-struck tone, Mrs. Rutledge was silent for a moment as raising her eyes to the tall white figure loom- she bent her head over her work. Then she ing over her. Mrs. Rutledge had been forced said, her voice tremulous with some sort of to appear on the scene in a somewhat im- emotion, “ Phyllida, I–I congratulate you. promptu costume. “O good Mars' Angel There can be no doubt that such a considerate Gabriel, I did reckon 't was n't plum’ stealin' bridegroom will make a good husband.” when 't was for Phyllida, but now I s'pect it And Nonsense, standing in the doorway, was. I never _"
shadowlike but triumphant, felt that the awful “Nonsense!” cried Mrs. Rutledge, giving memory of the night of the earthquake was the her a little shake.“ Don't you know me? one flaw in the splendor of this scene.
Grace Wilbur Conani,
TOPICS OF THE TIME.
A New Edition of
The French Assignats and Mandats. " The Century's” Cheap-Money Papers.
It would have been reasonable to suppose that the exN compliance with many requests for an edition in perience which France had with cheap money under
larger type and more enduring form, the articles on John Law's guidance in the early part of the eighteenth * Cheap Money Experiments," which appeared origi. century, as described lately in these columns, would nally in this department of The Century, and were have imparted a lesson not soon forgotten. But such afterward collected and republished in a pamphlet, have was not the case. Before the end of the century a new been again republished by The Century Co. in an at- and not dissimilar experiment was made in the same tractive volume. It is printed in large, clear type, and direction, ending, like its predecessor, in failure and neatly bound in cloth. Some additional chapters, which almost boundless confusion and disaster. have appeared in The CENTURY since the publication One of the first and most serious troubles which conof the pamphlet, have been added. In its amended fronted the republic established by the French Revoluform the book is, even more than the pamphlet was, a tion of 1789 was the scarcity of money. This was due compact and comprehensive handbook of the most to many causes, but chiefly, says Thiers, to the “want notable attempts which have been made in past and of confidence occasioned by the disturbances.” The present times to attain State or national prosperity by same authority adds the following general truth about making money“cheap and plentiful." No similar com- circulation, which is applicable to all countries and in pilation is to be found in the whole range of economic all times: “Specie is apparent by the circulation. literature.
When confidence prevails, the activity of exchange is In calling attention to this new publication of the extreme; money moves about rapidly, is seen every* Cheap Money” articles, it is pleasant to record the where, and is believed to be more considerable because fact that since their first publication a death-blow has it is more serviceable: but when political commotions been formally administered to the Free-Silver heresy, create alarm, capital languishes, specie moves slowly; which, in many respects, was the most dangerous it is frequently hoarded, and complaints are unjustly “cheap-money” delusion that ever confronted the made of its absence." To increase the supply of circuAmerican people.
lating medium, it was proposed that the National AsIn writing about the evils which free silver coinage sembly issue paper money based on the Church lands would entail, in THE CENTURY for May last, we said: which had been confiscated by the Government. These
lands were yielding no revenue, but were a heavy burNo great party in the United States, in national con- den. The money, to be called assignats, was really a vention assembled, will dare make itself responsible for form of titles to the confiscated lands; for it was rethe distress that would fall upon the masses of our popula- ceivable in payment for them, and was designed, in ad. bon from free and unlimited silver coinage.
dition to furnishing revenue to the Government, to The national conventions of the two great parties have bring about a distribution of those lands among the peoverified this prediction by putting into their platforms ple. The debates of the National Assembly upon the such explicit declarations against free silver coinage as to proposition showed that John Law's experiment had eliminate the question completely from the campaign. not been entirely forgotten. There was strong opposiAfter their action it is safe to say that the danger of the tion, but it was overcome by arguments that bear a free and unlimited coinage of a debased silver dollar curious resemblance to some which are heard in our day has passed away, probably forever. The question has in favor of various forms of cheap money which are adbeen taken out of politics, and it would be well for the vocated for the United States. “Paper money,” said country if all other financial questions could be taken one of the advocates of the assignats, “under a despotout with it. In a thoughtful, intelligent, and patrioticism is dangerous; it favors corruption : but in a nation address which he made on “The Silver Question in its constitutionally governed, which takes care of its own Relations to Legislation," before the Iroquois Club notes, which determines their number and use, that of Chicago, in March of last year, Mr. James Herron danger no longer exists.” How like that is to the arguEckels stated this point in words which we cannot ment heard here, and in the Argentine Republic as do better than quote as summing up accurately and well, that a great and rich and prosperous and free naforcibly the only sound view to be taken:
tion could make its own economic laws, invent its own I am not unconscious of the fact that in and of itself other nations with entire safety! These curious argu
monetary systems, and even defy the teachings of all this question has no place in politics. Under right and proper circumstances, its solution belongs to the professed ments carried the day in the National Assembly, and ħnancier, and not to the professed politician; but, unfor- a first issue of assignats, to the value of 400,000,000 tunately, those circumstances do not now surround it
. francs, was issued in December, 1789. They bore inThrough an error that in the past has been costly, and in the future bids fair to be fraught with disaster, it has been terest, and were made payable at sight, but no interest taken out of the list of business issues and thrust among was ever paid, and subsequent issues had no interest those of a political character; and with regard to its politi- provision. The first issue represented about one fifth cal bearing rather than with reference to its effect upon the material interests of our country, it is being presented of the total value of the confiscated lands. to the people.
Yet with this solid basis of value upon which to rest,
the assignats never circulated at par. A few months do was done. Still the great manufactories of Normandy after the first issue, demands began to be made for a were closed; those of the rest of the kingdom speedily folsecond issue, as is invariably the case in all experiments lowed, and vast numbers of workmen, in all parts of the
country, were thrown out of employment. of this kind. Talleyrand opposed the second issue in a In the spring of 1791 no one knew whether a piece of speech of great ability, many of whose passages have paper money, representing 100 francs, would, a month passed into economic literature as model statements of later, have a purchasing power of 100 francs, or 90 francs, fundamental monetary principles.
or 80, or 60. The result was that capitalists declined to
The assignat,” he embark their means in business. Enterprise received a said, “considered as a title of credit, has a positive and mortal blow. Demand for labor was still further diminmaterial value; this value of the assignat is precisely ished. The business of France dwindled into a mere livthe same as that of the land which it represents: but ing from hand to mouth. This state of things, too, while
it bore heavily against the interests of the moneyed classes, still it must be admitted, above all, that never will any was still more ruinous to those in more moderate, and national paper be upon a par with the metals; never
most of all to those in straitened, circumstances. With the will the supplementary sign of the first representative ply became a speculation – a speculation in which the pro
masses of the people the purchase of every article of supsign of wealth have the exact value of its model; the very fessional speculator had an immense advantage over the title proves want, and want spreads alarm and distrust buyer. Says the most brilliant apologist for French Revoaround it.” And again: “You can arrange it so that lutionary statesmanship, " Commerce was dead; betting
took its place.' people shall be forced to take a thousand francs in paper for a thousand francs in specie, but you never can In the early part of 1792 the assignat was 30 per arrange it so that the people shall be obliged to give cent. below par. In the following year it had fallen a thousand francs in specie for a thousand francs in to 67 per cent. below par. A basis for further issues paper." Still again : “Assignat money, however safe, was secured by the confiscation of lands of emigrant however solid, it may be, is an abstraction of paper nobles, and a food of assignats poured forth upon the money; it is consequently but the free or forced sign, country in steadily increasing volume. Before the close not of wealth, but merely of credit.” In answer to the of 1794 seven thousand millions had been issued, and arguments of Talleyrand, the most effective, because the year 1796 opened with a total issue of forty-five most “taking,” argument, if argument it can be called, thousand millions, of which thirty-six thousand millions was the following by Mirabeau: “It is in vain to com- were in actual circulation. By February of that year pare assignats, secured on the solid basis of these do- the total issue had advanced to 45,500,000,000, and the mains, to an ordinary paper currencypossessing a forced value had dropped to one two-hundred-and-sixty-fifth circulation. They represent real property, the most part of their nominal value. A note professing to be secure of all possessions, the land on which we tread.” worth about $20 of our money was worth about six
The advocates of money based on lands who are heard in our country to-day will recognize their own The Government now came forward with a new doctrine in this resounding phrase of Mirabeau. It car- scheme, offering to redeem the assignats, on the basis ried the day in the National Assembly, and in Septem- of 30 to 1, for mandats, a new form of paper money, ber, 1790, a second issue of assignats, to the value of which entitled the holder to take immediate possession, 800,000,000 francs, bearing no interest, was ordered. at their estimated value, of any of the lands pledged by
The decree for this second issue contained a pledge the assignats. Eight hundred millions in mandats were that in no case should the amount of assignats exceed issued, to be exchanged for the assignats, and the plates twelve hundred millions. But the nation was drunk for printing the latter were destroyed. Six hundred with its own stimulant, and pledges were of no value. millions more of mandats were issued for the public In June, 1791, a third issue of 600,000,000 was ordered. service. At first the mandats circulated at as high as This was followed soon afterward by a fourth issue of 80 per cent of their nominal value, but additional is300,000,000, and by a new pledge that the total amount sues sent them down in value even more rapidly than should never be allowed to exceed sixteen hundred mil. the assignats had fallen, and in a very short time they lions. But this pledge, like two others that had been were worth only one thousandth part of their nominal made before it, was broken as soon as a demand for value. It was evident that the end had come. Before more issues became irresistible. Fresh issues followed the assignats were withdrawn, the Government resorted one another in rapid succession in 1792, and at the close to various expedients to hold up their value by legislaof that year an official statement was put forth that a tive decrees. The use of coin was prohibited; a maxitotal of thirty-four hundred millions had been issued, mum price in assignats was fixed for commodities by of which six hundred millions had been destroyed, law; the purchase of specie was forbidden under penleaving twenty-eight hundred millions in circulation. alty of imprisonment in irons for six years; and the
Specie had disappeared from circulation soon after sale of assignats below their nominal value was forthe second issue, and the value of the assignats began bidden under penalty of imprisonment for twenty years to go steadily and rapidly downward. Business and in chains. Investment of capital in foreign countries industry soon felt the effects, and the inevitable col.
was punishable with death. All these efforts were as lapse followed. Ex-President Andrew D. White, whose futile as similar efforts had been in John Law's time. tract, “ Paper Money Inflation in France," is the most The value of the assignats went steadily down. Bread. admirable and complete statement of this experience riots broke out in Paris, and the Government was comwhich has been published, says of the situation at this pelled to supply the capital with provisions. When the stage:
mandats fell, as the assignats had fallen before them,
the Government was convinced that it was useless to What the bigotry of Louis XIV., and the shiftlessness of Louis XV. could not do in nearly a century, was ac. try to give value to valueless paper by simply printing complished by this tampering with the currency in a few
more paper and calling it by another name; and on months. Everything that tariffs and custom-houses could July 1, 1796, it swept away the whole mass by issuing