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By day, it is true, Monsieur Vignevielle was at his post in his quiet "bank." Yet here, day by day, he was the source of more and more vivid astonishment to those who held preconceived notions of a banker's calling. As a banker, at least, he was certainly out of balance; while as a promenader, it seemed to those who watched him that his ruling idea had now veered about, and that of late he was ever on the quiet alert, not to find, but to evade, somebody.
"Olive, my child," whispered Madame Delphine one morning, as the pair were kneeling side by side on the tiled floor of the church, "yonder is Miché Vignevielle! If you will only look at once-he is just passing a little in Ah, much too slow again; he stepped out by the side door." The mother thought it a strange providence that Monsieur Vignevielle should always be disappearing whenever Olive was with her.
One early dawn, Madame Delphine, with a small empty basket on her arm, stepped out upon the banquette in front of her house, shut and fastened the door very softly, and stole out in the direction whence
you could faintly catch, in the stillnes of the daybreak, the songs of the Gascon butchers and the pounding of their meataxes on the stalls of the market-house. She was going to see if she could find some birds for Olive, the child's appetite was so poor; and, as she was out, she would drop an early prayer at the cathedral. Faith and works.
"One must venture something, sometimes, in the cause of religion," thought she, as she started timorously on her way. But she had not gone a dozen steps before she repented her temerity. There was some one behind her.
There should not be anything terrible in a footstep merely because it is masculine; but Madame Delphine's mind was not prepared to consider that. A terrible secret was haunting her. Yesterday morning she had found a shoe-track in the garden. She had not disclosed the discovery to Olive, but she had hardly closed her eyes the whole night.
The step behind her now might be the fall of that very shoe. fall of that very shoe. She quickened her pace, but did not leave the sound behind. She hurried forward almost at a run; yet it was still there-no farther, no nearer. Two frights were upon her at once-one for herself, another for Olive, left alone in the house; but she had but the one prayer"God protect my child!" After a fearful time she reached a place of safety, the cathedral. There, panting, she knelt long enough to know the pursuit was, at least, suspended, and then arose, hoping and praying all the saints that she might find the way clear for her return in all haste to Olive.
She approached a different door from that by which she had entered, her eyes in all directions and her heart in her throat. "Madame Carraze!"
"But I was scare' fo' my lill' girl." "Noboddie_don' goin' trouble you' lill' gal, Madame Carraze."
Madame Delphine looked up into the speaker's strangely kind and patient eyes, and drew sweet re-assurance from them.
"Madame," said Monsieur Vignevielle, "wad pud you hout so hearly dis morning?" She told him her errand. She asked if he thought she would find anything.
"Yez," he said, "it was possible-a few lill' bécassines-de-mer, ou somezin' ligue. But fo' w'y you lill' gal lose doze hapetide ? " Ah, Miché,"-Madame Delphine might have tried a thousand times again without ever succeeding half so well in lifting the curtain upon the whole, sweet, tender, old, old-fashioned truth,-"Ah, Miché, she wone tell me!"
"Go h-open you' owze; I fin' you' daughteh dad 'uzban'."
Madame Delphine was a helpless, timid thing; but her eyes showed she was about to resent this offer. Monsieur Vignevielle put forth his hand-it touched her shoulder and said, kindly still, and without eager
"One w'ite man, Madame; 'tis prattycabble. I know 'tis prattycabble. One w'ite jantleman, Madame. You can truz me. I goin' fedge 'im. H-ondly you go h-open you' owze.'
Madame Delphine looked down, twining her handkerchief among her fingers. He repeated his proposition.
"You will come firz by you'se'f?" she asked.
"Iv you wand."
She lifted up once more her eye of faith. That was her answer.
Come," he said, gently, "I wan' sen' some bird ad you' lill' gal."
And they went away, Madame Delphine's spirit grown so exaltedly bold that she said as they went, though a violent blush followed her words:
"Miché Vignevielle, I thing Père Jerome mighd be ab'e to tell you someboddie."
FACE TO FACE.
MADAME DELPHINE found her house neither burned nor rifled.
"Ah! ma piti sans popa! Ah! my little fatherless one!" Her faded bonnet fell back between her shoulders, hanging on by the strings, and her dropped basket, with its "few lil' bécassines-de-mer" dangling from the handle, rolled out its okra and soup-joint upon the floor. "Ma piti! kiss!— -kiss-kiss! "
"But is it good news you have, or bad?” cried the girl, a fourth or fifth time.
"Dieu sait, ma c'ère; mo pas conné! God knows, my darling; I cannot tell!"
The mother dropped into a chair, covered her face with her apron, and burst into tears, then looked up with an effort to smile, and wept afresh.
"What have you been doing?" asked the daughter, in a long-drawn, fondling tone. She leaned forward and unfastened her mother's bonnet-strings. "Why do you cry?"
"For nothing at all, my darling; for nothing-I am such a fool."
But the daughter was desperate :
"Oh, tell me, my mother, who is coming?" "My darling, it is our blessed friend, Miché Vignevielle ! "
"To see me?" cried the girl. "Yes."
"Oh, my mother, what have you done?" Why, Olive, my child," exclaimed the little mother, bursting into tears, “do you forget it is Miché Vignevielle who has promised to protect you when I die?"
The daughter had turned away, and entered the door; but she faced around again, and extending her arms toward her mother, cried:
"How can he is a white man-I am a poor
"Ah! chérie," replied Madame Delphine, seizing the outstretched hands, "it is there
it is there that he shows himself the best man alive! He sees that difficulty; he proposes to meet it; he says he will find you a suitor !"
Olive freed her hands violently, motioned her mother back, and stood proudly drawn up, flashing an indignation too great for speech; but the next moment she had uttered a cry, and was sobbing on the floor.
The mother knelt beside her and threw an arm about her shoulders.
Oh, my sweet daughter, you must not cry! I did not want to tell you at all! I did not want to tell you! It isn't fair for you to cry so hard. to cry so hard. Miché Vignevielle says you shall have the one you wish, or none at all, Olive, or none at all."
"None at all! none at all! None, none, none!"
"No, no, Olive," said the mother, “none at all. at all. He brings none with him to-night, and shall bring none with him hereafter."
Olive rose suddenly, silently declined her mother's aid, and went alone to their chamber in the half-story.
Madame Delphine wandered drearily from door to window, from window to door, and presently into the newly furbished front room, which now seemed dismal beyond degree. There was a great Argand lamp in one corner. How she had labored that day to prepare it for evening illumination! Á little beyond it, on the wall, hung a crucifix. She knelt under it, with her eyes fixed upon it, and thus, silently, remained until its outline was undistinguishable in the deepening shadows of evening.
She arose. A few minutes later, as she was trying to light the lamp, an approaching
step on the sidewalk seemed to pause. Her heart stood still. She softly laid the phosphorus-box out of her hands. A shoe grated softly on the stone step, and Madame Delphine, her heart beating in great thuds, without waiting for a knock, opened the door, bowed low, and exclaimed in a soft, perturbed voice:
"Miché Vignevielle ! "
He entered, hat in hand, and with that almost noiseless tread which we have noticed. She gave him a chair and closed the door; then hastened, with words of apology, back to her task of lighting the lamp. her hands paused in their work again,Olive's step was on the stairs; then it came off the stairs; then it was in the next room, and then there was the whisper of soft robes, a breath of gentle perfume, and a snowy figure in the door. She was dressed for the evening.
In the Department of the Gulf, as it was called, the year 1864 had passed with very few rays of sunshine for the Union cause. The only important military event had been the unfortunate attempt of General Banks to penetrate the Red River country to Shreveport, by the novel tactics of using his baggage-wagons as an advance guard. As a matter of course he was badly whipped, and the unhappy army wearily retraced its steps, while the soldier boys amused themselves with the refrain:
(To be continued.)
We all skedaddled from Grand Ecore."
ately with the lamp, and at that moment it responded with a tiny bead of light. "I am here, my daughter."
AN AUGUST MORNING WITH FARRAGUT.
The incidents of the advance and of the retreat, especially the latter, are worthy the pen of a "modern Froude or Macaulay," and he will probably yet be found among some of the young, well-trained soldiers from New England, or in some Joaquin Miller or Bret Harte who was with the lessdisciplined western men. After the army reached the Mississippi it went into permanent camp, a large portion of the troops were sent north to Sheridan, and affairs in the department became unusually dull and quiet. The only commander who had done
She hastened to the door, and Olive, all unaware of a third presence, lifted her white arms, laid them about her mother's neck, and, ignoring her effort to speak, wrested a fervent kiss from her lips. The crystal of the lamp sent out a faint gleam; it grew; it spread on every side; the ceiling, the walls lighted up; the crucifix, the furniture of the room came back into shape.
"Maman!" cried Olive, with a tremor of consternation.
"It is Miché Vignevielle, my daughter
The gloom melted swiftly away before the eyes of the startled maiden, a dark form stood out against the farther wall, and the light, expanding to the full, shone clearly upon the unmoving figure and quiet face of
anything worthy of special honor in that department, at any time, was Farragut, who had passed the forts below New Orleans, captured the city, and afterward had assisted General Grant to open the Mississippi. The soldiers in the department had endured hard and dangerous service, as difficult and as deadly as that of any army in the field, but, owing to incompetent leadership, they had accomplished little in such results as would count in helping to suppress the rebellion. In important matters, like the taking of New Orleans, they had merely followed in Farragut's wake, and garrisoned the places which the navy had captured. This, however, included nearly every southern sea-port, and, at the time in question, the only important point along the Gulf coast still held by the rebels was Mobile.
dozen or more United States army signal officers and sergeants, with their detachments of two or three men each. They started with sealed orders from him who was lately known as "Old Probabilities," the lamented General Albert J. Myer, then in New Orleans as chief signal officer on the staff of Major-General Canby, commanding the department. The orders, when opened, were found to contain instructions to report to the fleet under Admiral Farragut, then blockading the entrance to Mobile Bay. The command was in charge of Major F. W. Marston, senior officer, by whom assignments were made to special service. On the morning of the 4th, the fleet was reached, the command reported to the Admiral, and was at once distributed among the vessels of the fleet, as follows:Major Marston and Lieutenant Kinney to the flag-ship Hartford, Captain Dencke to the Brooklyn, Lieutenant Adams to the Lackawanna, Lieutenant Dane to the Richmond, Lieutenant Jerome to the Bienville. Instructed non-commissioned officers were placed on the monitors and on the lesser wooden vessels.
The situation at that time was as follows: The Union fleet was riding at anchor in the Gulf, the wooden vessels being several miles from the forts at the entrance of the harbor. Mobile Bay is shaped somewhat like a funnel, gradually widening from the city to the Gulf, a distance of some thirty miles. The entrance is protected by a long, narrow arm of sand, extending from the main-land westerly, and having Fort Morgan on the extreme western point. Across the channel from Fort Morgan, and perhaps three miles distant, is Dauphin Island, strip of sand having Fort Gaines on its eastern end, directly opposite Morgan. A A little further to the west is Shell Island, upon which stood little Fort Powell, commanding a narrow channel through which light draught vessels could enter the bay. A short distance out to sea, between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan, and in front of the main entrance to the bay, is Sand Island, a barren spot, under the lee of which three of our monitors were lying. At the rear of Fort Gaines, General Granger had effected a landing, and had begun the work of laying siege to the fort. The army signal officers were sent on board the fleet, not with any intention of having their services used in passing the forts, but in order to establish communication afterward between the fleet and the army, for the purpose of
co-operating in the capture of the forts. The primary objects of Admiral Farragut in entering the bay were, the moral effect of a victory, the complete closing of Mobile to the outside world, and the capture or destruction of the Tennessee; he also wished to cut off all possible means of escape from the garrisons of the forts; and to give his fleet, which had been tossed on the uneasy waters of the Gulf for many months, a safe and quiet anchorage. There was no immediate expectation of capturing the city of Mobile, which was safe by reason of a solid row of piles and torpedoes across the river, three miles from the city. Moreover, the larger vessels of the fleet could not approach within a dozen miles of the city, on account of shallow water. But the lower bay offered a charming resting-place for the fleet, with the additional attraction of plenty of fish and oysters, and an occasional chance to forage on shore.
It was the good fortune of the writer to be assigned to duty on the flag-ship, and his story will necessarily be chiefly of his own personal observations and experiences. On the afternoon of the day of our arrival, Admiral Farragut, with the commanding officers of the different vessels, made a reconnaissance on the steam-tender Cowslip, running inside of Sand Island, where the monitors were anchored, and near enough to get a good view of both forts. On the left, some two miles distant, was Fort Gaines, a small brick and earth work, mounting a few heavy guns, but too far away from the ship channel to cause much. uneasiness to the fleet. Fort Morgan was on the right, one of the strongest of the old stone forts, and greatly strengthened by immense piles of sand-bags, covering every portion of the exposed front. The fort was well equipped with three tiers of heavy guns, some of them of the best English make, imported by the Confederates. In addition, there was in front a battery of eleven powerful guns, at the water's edge on the beach. All the guns, of both fort and water-battery, were within point-blank range of the only channel through which the fleet could pass. The rebels considered the works impregnable, but they did not depend solely upon them. Just around the point of land, behind Fort Morgan, we could see that afternoon three saucy-looking gun-boats and the famous ram Tennessee. The latter was then considered the strongest and most powerful iron-clad ever put afloat; looking like a great turtle, with sloping sides covered