Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

on more than one occasion to wit- don decided to send down the ness their defeat.

steamer Abbas, with his journal Gordon writes on the 30th July and letters, under an Arab captain. that Stewart's uniform had been She sailed on September 10th, and captured at Berber, and recom with her went Stewart, Power mends him for a K.C.M.G. In (* Times' correspondent), and Herthe same note he says: “If the bin (French consul). In Gordon's route gets open to Kassala I shall letter to Lord Wolseley, of Novemsend Stewart there, with journal ber 4th, he twice says that he sent —that is, if he will consent to go.” Stewart down. In his journal he On the following day, however, he writes that Stewart went of his had another plan, and writes: own free will. He appears to have D.V. we will send the Egyptian said, in so many words, to Stewart: troops here down to Berber and “I will not order you to go down, take it, so that they will be on for, though I fear not responsibility, their way home; and I shall send I will not put you in any danger in Stewart."

which I am not myself. You can On the 23d August he again go in honour, and the service you writes that he hopes shortly to will perform is great, but it is at take Berber and burn it; and that your own risk.” In his journal he Stewart would proceed to Dongola. says that he declined to order on Unfortunately this plan was aban- account of eventualities which doned, and Gordon sent his field might arise. Possibly he thought army to loot the Sheikh el-Obeid. that, as in his own case, The result was disastrous; the subject was too complex for an field army was destroyed, and its order.” It was evident that he fighting commander killed. This attached great importance to unlooked for disaster, which Stewart's arrival in Egypt, and he curred on September 4th, com- speculates on his progress and the pletely altered the situation at result of his sudden appearance. Khartum. The Mahdi was still We do not know Stewart's moat a distance ;? the city was pro- tive for volunteering to go down visioned for three months, and in the Abbas. His lips and those was in no danger of attack from of his companions are sealed for without until the Nile fell. But ever. He knew that for the next with the loss of the field army two months Gordon would be in there was no longer any prospect no danger of attack.

He was of successfully carrying out the acquainted with everything that evacuation; and the eventual fall had taken place, and was in a posiof Khartúm, unless aid came from tion to advise Government, as no without, was certain.

one else could, on the best course Under these circumstances it to pursue. He realised the vast became imperatively necessary to importance of being in direct cominform Government of the critical munication with Sir E. Baring state of affairs, and so enable them and Government; and he to take such action as would save doubt felt that, if he once got Khartúm and its defenders. Gor- down, the safety of Gordon and

" the

OC

no

1 The Mahdi only reached Om Durman on the 21st October.

2 When Stewart left London the only member of his family in town was his brother. In bidding “good-bye,” Gordon said to him, “Tell your mother that I will not place your brother in any danger which I do not share myself.” The words in his journal (November 5th) evidently refer to this.

331

SOME PLANTATION MEMORIES.

Khartúm would be assured. This who may have seen Stewart when would have been the case. Specu- the secret firman was read. Stewlation is idle, but it should not art, with the desert on either side be forgotten that if Stewart had of him, and nothing but an occapassed the cataracts he would have sional group of huts on the bank, met Kitchener at Debbeh on the probably assumed that all danger 19th September, that the Sussex was over. Perhaps also Suleiman Regiment reached Dongola on the lulled suspicion by telling him of 20th, and that there was then no the Mudir of Dongola's victory at force north of Khartúm that could Korti on the 11th, and that he have opposed the march of 500 had submitted to Government. British troops. Looking at all the There is strong reason to sup. circumstances, we consider that pose, from the peculiar shape of Stewart was justified in coming the river at this point, that the down in the Abbas, even though steamer was wrecked on purpose. he was not ordered to do so, and The Arabs knew that she was bethat when he left Khartúm he was ing sent down with Europeans, and guided by no unworthy motive, Gordon appears to have thought and went “in honour.” 1

that either Faraj (Ferragh) Pasha, The progress of the ill-fated Ab

or Awam, one of his clerks, had bas to the evening of the 14th sent information to the Mabdists. September, when she was four Amongst the passengers was a miles south of Berber, is described

messenger who had been sent by in the last letter Stewart wrote to Zobeir to Khartúm, and who is Gordon. The two escorting steam said to have escaped after having ers, after seeing the Abbas past been robbed of his papers. Berber, turned back, and a Mabdist

Stewart, in Gordon's words, was steamer started in pursuit. Close to “a brave, just, upright gentle. the 5th cataract two of Stewart's man.” He acted as such throughboats, with twelve Greeks, were out his brief life; and by his death captured; but afterwards all went England lost one who, had his life well till the morning of the 17th. been spared, might have rendered At 9 A.M. the Abbas struck on a her important services. sunken rock, and was hopelessly words of one well qualified to disabled. Stewart landed the give an opinion, when Stewart was stores and men, spiked the gun, killed “the army lost a gallant and threw the ammunition over soldier and the Queen an able pubboard. What followed has been lic servant. His like is not often described, from the accounts of to be found, and it may justly be survivors, by Sir H. Colvile in the said that his death was a serious

History of the Súdán Campaign.' national loss when it occurred.” It would appear that Stewart and Stewart's comrades and personal his two companions were, on some friends, who have placed monupretext, enticed into the house of ments to his memory in St PatFakri Wad Etman at Hebba. rick's Cathedral, and in the Chapel There they were foully murdered of his old school, Cheltenham Colby Suleiman Wad Gamr, a Mon- lege, may rest assured that he too, asir sheikh who had been appointed like Gordon, tried, under all cirone of the Council at Berber, and cumstances, “to do his duty.”

In the whole of Virginia-and But the latter still had their
that is saying much indeed—there property, and the negroes, though
was no more glorious prospect than no longer slaves, were still there
the one upon which our plantation as labourers to work it upon terms
looked out. Around us spread, in that were, in fact, more favourable
pleasant undulations of fallow and to all parties than slave labour.
forest, of tillage and pasture, the The actual paralysis that followed
warm, rich coloured but ragged the war was over. Landowners
landscape where Virginian home- had scraped together stock and
steads, gentle and simple

, lay implements, and made arrange-
sapinely amid their groves and ments with the newly freed
apple-orchards. Behind us the negroes to work their lands, and
incomparable peaks of the Blue the same generation that had lived
Ridge Mountains lifted their together in a kindly fashion as
heads many thousands of feet masters and slaves settled down as
into the sky. Before us a tribu master and servant. Above all,
tary range

, scarcely less beautiful, the prices of tobacco and grain
if less majestic, spread heaven. were high, and the material out-
wards a boundless sea of woodland look seemed upon the whole
upon which the bloom of spring, promising.
the lush
greenery of summer, the

Our plantation (the very phrase
fire of autumn, the white terror of nowadays is old-fashioned in Vir-
winter, proclaimed in a succession ginia) lay "'way back” from the
of splendid pageants the fight of railroad. Fifteen miles of a road
our placid lives.

such as no civilised community out-
These mountains, however, had side the Southern States could have
bat recently looked upon scenes even contemplated without dismay,
that were sufficiently stirring. lay between us and the station.
Por it was in the period immedi- No one but a Virginian, or some
ately following the war that the one broken in to the Virginia at-
plantation known then as the titude towards roads, would have
"Old Robertson Place" came into dared to venture over ours upon
our hands. From that vantage. wheels. And yet our neighbours
point we witnessed, and indeed had traversed it cheerfully for
partook in what may in one sense generations, and saw nothing seri-
be called, the close of the old ously amiss with it. The wrecks
Southern life.

of waggons and bullock-carts, the
Historically and financially the fragments of wheels and broken
long tale of the Slave States ended, shafts, that marked its course with
as every one knows, with the sur- such terrible significance, had no
render of Lee in April 1863. But alarms for the native-they were
for many years after that the all in the day's work. The Vir-
same people in most parts of ginia of slavery days, east of the
Virginia

, both white and black, Blue Ridge at any rate, had never
that had lived under the “Institu- grasped the conception of what
tion" and fought in defence of it, road-making meant. In Mashona-
were still upon the land. The land in the Rocky Mountains, in the
blacks were free, the whites were far backwoods of Canada, a primi-
ruined -- in a sense - it is true, tive highway is the natural accom-

In the

1

1

i Many years previously Gordon had placed an officer in a very similar position. He would give no order, but the officer left, and Gordon fully approved of his doing so.

SOME PLANTATION MEMORIES.

In the whole of Virginia—and But the latter still had their that is saying much indeed—there property, and the negroes, though was no more glorious prospect than no longer slaves, were still there the one upon which our plantation as labourers to work it upon terms looked out. Around us spread, in that were, in fact, more favourable pleasant undulations of fallow and to all parties than slave labour. forest, of tillage and pasture, the The actual paralysis that followed warm, rich coloured but ragged the war was over. Landowners landscape where Virginian home- had scraped together stock and steads, gentle and simple, lay implements, and made arrangesupinely amid their groves and ments with the newly freed apple-orchards. Behind us the negroes to work their lands, and incomparable peaks of the Blue the same generation that had lived Ridge Mountains lifted

lifted their together in a kindly fashion as heads many thousands of feet masters and slaves settled down as into the sky. Before us a tribu- master and servant. Above all, tary range, scarcely less beautiful, the prices of tobacco and grain if less majestic, spread heaven were high, and the material outwards a boundless sea of woodland look seemed upon the whole upon which the bloom of spring, promising. the lush greenery of summer, the Our plantation (the very phrase fire of autumn, the white terror of nowadays is old-fashioned in Virwinter, proclaimed in a succession ginia) lay “'way back” from the of splendid pageants the flight of railroad. Fifteen miles of a road our placid lives.

such as no civilised community outThese mountains, however, had side the Southern States could have but recently looked upon scenes even contemplated without dismay, that were sufficiently stirring. lay between us and the station. For it was in the period immedi- No one but a Virginian, or some ately following the war that the one broken in to the Virginia atplantation known then as the titude towards roads, would have

bertson Place" came into dared to venture over ours upon our hands. From that vantage- wheels. And yet our neighbours point we witnessed, and indeed had traversed it cheerfully for partook in what may in one sense generations, and saw nothing seribe called, the close of the old ously amiss with it. The wrecks Southern life.

of waggons and bullock-carts, the Historically and financially the fragments of wheels and broken long tale of the Slave States ended, shafts, that marked its course with as every one knows, with the sur such terrible significance, had no render of Lee in April 1865. But alarms for the native—they were for many years after that the all in the day's work. The Virsame people in most parts of ginia of slavery days, east of the Virginia, both white and black, Blue Ridge at any rate, had never that had lived under the “Institu- grasped the conception of what tion” and fought in defence of it, road-making meant. In Mashonawere still upon the land. The land, in the Rocky Mountains, in the blacks were free, the whites were far backwoods of Canada, a primiruined — in a sense it is true. tive highway is the natural accom

[ocr errors]

333

even

paniment of the dawn of civilisa as he passed by with his mule- or tion, But Virginia is the oldest his ox-cart, and dropped the tribucommunity of Englishmen outside tary tear to the ghost of the old England. It is an ancient and family conveyance, which he had

a distinguished province. once steered with such éclat. Some For over two centuries it has had of these old carcasses survive to something like a territorial aris- this very day, in remote corners tocracy living upon its soil. Their of barnyards and orchards—buried pleasures and their interests have in briers and weeds, a harbour of been wholly rural. No people refuge for the "broody "hen and have ever existed in the wide world roosting turkey. Our road, it was to whom country locomotion was true, was perhaps the worst, if more important. And yet in most there could be a worst, in the parts, not only till the Civil War

county. It was lifted for a conbut up to this very day, the two siderable part of its course off the horse plough has been the only red clay of the lower country, and factor in road inending and con wound its tortuous way over the struction. Over these unspeakable shoulder of mountain-spurs, where tracks of mud, pleasantly broken by the winter rains did not stand, but slabs of rock and wandering tree tore into atoms every feeble effort roots, it was not only the waggon that was made to soften the natural of rural commerce that had to jolt, obstacles of rock and gully. It was but the family coach itself to rock a road that would have made even and stagger on its way to dance or a Rocky Mountain teamster hold wedding, to church or merry-mak- his breath. But our local patriots ing_and with what loss of dignity were quite equal to the occasion, can be well imagined. These old and used to declare, when twitted relics of past splendour (as the by people who

were fortunate word is used in Virginia), with enough to live off it, that it was, their leather springs, have long at least, a fine winter road. That vanished now. But I can recall is to say, you couldn't sink permany a venerable specimen that manently into a mud-hole-you survived the war, and can either broke your neck or got over them even now writhing in all it.

But then, again, it was almost the agonies of a bottomless mud

as bad in summer; whereas in the hole, the negro coachman cran

lower country, when the mud ing forward with loud shouts of hardened on the track, a reckwonderfully worded exhortations less driver with a fast horse and to his struggling horses. It was a strong buggy could make five many years before these rickety miles an hour with luck. emblems of ante-bellum dignity dis Our neighbourhood was beyond appeared entirely from the road. doubt a bit isolated, and this perOne after another they made their haps accounted for the fact of oldfinal trip to the village wheelwright, time ideas dying harder than in to be hopelessly condemned even by other parts with which I am famithat resourceful functionary, and liar-particularly among the neleft, perchance, to rot upon the way- groes. Of these, great numbers side amid the wreck of humbler of the best of the old régime were machinery. Much sorrowful con- still, at the time I write of, living solation, I have reason to think, and in their prime, and some of was afforded by these bleaching them were in every sense as reliskeletons to the ex-family retainer able and as trustworthy as good

English farm-servants. Their fami- man used to complain, " but it ain't
lies had generally got out of hand, no manner of use these new-fan-
but the older darkies were often the gled notions of projeckin' roun’
very models of industry, and even fast byar den dar, there ain't no
honesty. One old man in particu- satisfyin

' young folks these times."
the plan-

So the forest above Archie's
lar whom we found

upon
tation, renting an outlying cabin cabin continued to wave in all its
and a few stony acres in a moun. pristine luxuriance, and to this
tain hollow,was of this description. day the wild turkey still leads her
So far as cleared land went, he young in summer-time beneath its
had what he would have called “a friendly shades, and the squirrel
mighty po' chance fur terbaccer,” gambols amid its huge grey trunks,
which at that time was the crop and the spotted woodpecker still
which dazzled and filled the eye of wakes with cheery tapping its
the emancipated slave. But old mysterious echoes.
Uncle Archie had two or three

Uncle Archie, it will be gath-
stalwart sons who worked out for ered, was a laudator temporis acti
wages, and when he went into this of the most pronounced kind. I
dignified retirement he forgot that think he would have reversed the
the patriarchal era was over in issue of the war and put his whole
Virginia – between parent and race back into slavery again, if he
child as between master and slave. had had his will. The times, ac-
The old gentleman was quite sur cording to Archie, were all out of
prised when his “chaps” showed joint. The revolt of his sons sat
a disposition to appropriate their sorely on bis mind. He had been
own wages to their own uses. an industrious, hard-working man
Archie ħad built his own cabin all his life, and had belonged to a
after the war in a corner of the kind but hard-working master-
plantation at the foot of a heavily one of those thousands of small
timbered mountain, whence a crys- slave - owners of whom the usual
tal brook, breaking from the shade literature on this subject shows its
of the forest, went babbling over ignorance by taking no account.
his patch of open tillage land. Rough, decent men, whose ap-
Up over this wide expanse of oak pearance, education, habits, and
and chestnut foliage the old man means were those of small working
had gazed with sanguine eye, and farmers, neither more nor less,
pictured the tall trees tumbling in who owned perhaps a couple of
every direction, and vast tobacco- families of coloured folks, and not
lands opening, beneath the sturdy seldom laboured with them on the
strokes of bis obedient and filial small farm that supported all.
offspring-inspired, of course, and Archie had looked forward to
directed by the wisdom that lay running a bit of rented land with
beneath his own snowy brow. his own family upon somewhat the
But Archie's “chaps” showed no same principles--inclusive of the
disposition whatever to develop & whip, if needed. He was
family estate for their clothes and ardent member of the Baptist
rations, when they grew to be Church, and had hoped, no doubt,
worth ten dollars a-month to any for a leisurely as well as a dignified
farmer in the neighbourhood. old age in which he could pursue
"I've dun frailed them chillern” on fence-rails and at cross-roads
(they were eighteen and twenty) that taste for religious discussion
"* till my arms jes ache," the old and controversy which his soul de-
VOL. CLXI.--NO. DCCCCLXXVII.

2 A

see

an

English farm-servants. Their fami man used to complain, “but it ain't lies had generally got out of hand, no manner of use—these new-fanbut the older darkies were often the gled notions of projeckin'roun' very models of industry, and even fust hyar den dar, there ain't no honesty. One old man in particu- satisfyin' young folks these times.” lar whom we found upon the plan So the forest above Archie's tation, renting an outlying cabin cabin continued to wave in all its and a few stony acres in a moun- pristine luxuriance, and to this tain hollow, was of this description. day the wild turkey still leads her So far as cleared land went, he young in summer-time beneath its had what he would have called “a friendly shades, and the squirrel mighty po' chance fur terbaccer," gambols amid its huge grey trunks, which at that time was the crop and the spotted woodpecker still which dazzled and filled the eye of wakes with cheery tapping its the emancipated slave. But old mysterious echoes. Uncle Archie had two or three Uncle Archie, it will be gathstalwart sons who worked out for ered, was a laudator temporis acti wages, and when he went into this of the most pronounced kind. I dignified retirement he forgot that think he would have reversed the the patriarchal era was over in issue of the war and put his whole Virginia — between parent and race back into slavery again, if he child as between master and slave. had had his will. The times, acThe old gentleman was quite sur- cording to Archie, were all out of prised when his “chaps” showed joint. The revolt of his sons sat a disposition to appropriate their sorely on his mind. He had been own wages to their own an industrious, hard-working man Archie had built his own cabin all his life, and had belonged to a after the war in a corner of the kind but hard-working masterplantation at the foot of a heavily one of those thousands of small timbered mountain, whence a crys- slave - owners of whom the usual tal brook, breaking from the shade literature on this subject shows its of the forest, went babbling over ignorance by taking no account. his patch of open tillage land. Rough, decent men, whose apUp over this wide expanse of oak pearance, education, habits, and and chestnut foliage the old man means were those of small working had gazed with sanguine eye, and farmers, neither more nor less, pictured the tall trees tumbling in who owned perhaps a couple of every direction, and vast tobacco- families of coloured folks, and not lands opening, beneath the sturdy seldom laboured with them on the strokes of his obedient and filial small farm that supported all. offspring--inspired, of course, and Archie had looked forward to directed by the wisdom that lay running a bit of rented land with beneath his own snowy brow. his own family upon somewhat the But Archie's “chaps” showed no same principles—inclusive of the disposition whatever to develop a whip, if needed. family estate for their clothes and ardent member of the Baptist rations, when they grew to be Church, and had hoped, no doubt, worth ten dollars a-month to any for a leisurely as well as a dignified farmer in the

the neighbourhood. old age in which he could pursue “I've dun frailed them chillern” on fence-rails and at cross-roads (they were eighteen and twenty) that taste for religious discussion Istill my arms jes ache,” the old and controversy which his soul deVOL. CLXI.—NO. DCCCCLXXVII.

2 A

uses.

He was

an

« VorigeDoorgaan »