網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

eyes full of tears, in a low trembling tone of voice, evidently feeling the force of the eloquent poetry, said,-"General Hamilton, I hope your prayer may be answered." This eloquent sentiment of Hamilton, with the equally eloquent answer of the Seraph Girl, produced the most thrilling effect throughout the company. The angelic appearance of this precocious child, only two years old. possessing all the charms of an accomplished and educated young lady of sixteen,--associated with the reflection, that a decisive battle was soon to be fought, which might lay us all low in the tomb, rushed upon us like an electric shock.

shot that wolf in her den, of which I have read in my primer ?" "Oh! my dear, I felt as if I should kill him." "Were you not afraid, when you were lashed to the tree, and the young Indian was throwing his tomahawk at your head as a target?" "Not in the least, my dear. I felt as you do, that there is a hand above to shield the brave." "Good night, my brave General! May you live to save your country." "Good night my dear Alice; I hope I may live to see you the happy wife of a much braver and better man than I am." "That is impossible. No braver man ever lived than General Putnam; so says my good Lady Washington, and I believe it."

It now remained for me to give a specimen of my Indian politeness; which I feared would disgrace myself and the company. Alice had learned from her mother that I was a chief in Washington's army; and had recently been stationed in the woods, back of her house, for their protection. Breaking loose from Lady Washington, she waved her tiny hand, which held a white silk handkerchief, and requested the company to be seated; saying, "Allow me to greet the chief in my own way." As soon as we had seated ourselves, to my great surprise, and to the astonishment of the company, running up to me, she jumped into my lap; and springing upon her feet, laying my thick and long black hair back of my ears, she threw her arms round my neck, and commenced hugging and kissing me; while I endeavored to return them as fast as I could. "My dear chief," said Alice,-"I have long wished to see you, to kiss you, and tell you how I love you. Mamma says you and your braves have come to protect us from the Indians." "Yes, my dear Alice, I have come for that purpose." "How many red warriors

Lady Washington and the Seraph Girl now advanced to old General Putnam, of Wolf memory; who had watched every motion and point of etiquette; evidently preparing to acquit himself in his turn. Putnam was a full-blooded hero, and a noble soul; but was not so refined in his gallantry as Washington, Hamilton and other guests. Alice now advanced for the hero's kiss, presenting him with a bouquet. The General, taking her in his arms, buried his large fat mouth in her angelic cheeks; and giving her some half dozen hearty kisses, all over her face, returned her to the floor, as if the matter was ended. Alice, looking up into his rough, good-natured face, said; "General, fair play is the jewel! it is my turn now." Kneeling down and placing his face to her lips, she went at him in earnest, and printed on his scarred and weather-beaten cheeks, as many kisses as she had received from the old hero, and a few more for interest. "Now General we are even," said Alice. "One question if you please." "Certainly, as many as you will; only do not swamp me on the start," replied the brave man. "General, how did you feel when you

"Nearly

have you my dear chief?" three thousand." "Oh! well, then we are safe and our country will soon be free. I have one request my dear chief, will you grant it?" Certainly, any thing in my power is at your service." "It is this, if the savages should overpower your braves, and take us prisoners, sell me to them in exchange for my parents,-sacrifice me, any way, to save them." "Never fear my dear, things will not come to that; but if the fate of war turns against us, as a last resort, I will comply with your terms as well as I can; but I will follow the enemy to their graves, until I rescue you from their grasp." "I thank you; good night my dear chief." "Good night Alice!"

Her special attention to me was readily understood by the company; as my post was so near her father's house; and an attack was daily expected from Brant and his hostile Indians.

66

Passing to Doctor Franklin, who sat next to me, to whom Lady Washing ton now gave the Seraph Girl a very courteous introduction, all eyes, were now turned towards them, to see how the cool philosopher would acquit himself, in controlling the lightning of the female heart; which was now to flash upon his nerves from an infant, who was the embodiment of all female excellence, at the early age of twenty-four moons. Alice approached the Doctor with her usual charms, which were always irresistible; while the philosopher was melted to tears at her matchless beauty and unrivaled precocity. He bowed reverently upon his knees, kissing her ruby lips very earnestly; while Alice returned his caresses with her usual warmth, and placed upon his head a wreath of roses of various colors, prepared by her own hands,--saying, "Dear Doctor, you can control the forked lightnings, can you

not control the destiny of our country in favor of liberty?" "I can try dear girl; but the ttle is not always to the strong; nor does victory always perch on the standard of the wise; but be assured all that I can do for my country, will be done!"

Doctor Rush the surgeon, and Doctor Witherspoon the chaplain, each in his turn acquitted themselves with their usual dignity and good humor, and greeted the little Seraph with several hearty kisses; which were returned by Alice in her becoming style. Doctor Witherspoon receiving her in his arms pronounced this laconic and very affecting blessing: "May the Lord of Hosts protect you, and in a good old age receive you back to your Heavenly home." Doctor Rush, laying his delicate hand on her head, pronounced the following eloquent sentiment: “As your blossoms are, so may your fruits be."

The introduction being over, Alice returned with Lady Washington to the ladies' apartment, in an adjoining room. Immediately her precocity, her beauty, her talents, and accomplishments became the general topic of discussion by all the guests. Washington declared her an angel. Hamilton said she did not belong to this world, and was short-lived. Putnam regarded her as the first of a new race of beings, which the revolution would soon introduce into America. Doctor Rush regarded her as twenty years in advance of her age; and as a most remarkable case of human precocity. Doctor Franklin thought she was an angel veiled in the casket of humanity. Doctor Witherspoon said she was a messenger from Heaven, designed to accomplish great good before her death. Her parents had named her ALICE; but Lady Washington had named her the SERAPII GIRI," in consequence of her superior gifts and angelic appearance

66

style. After a warm greeting, and a call for an encore from the company, General Hamilton called for a song. Advancing a few steps towards the distinguished orator, she bowed her respects most courteously, and sung Handel's immortal song, Angels ever bright and fair." I have heard all the inost distinguished singers of both sexes in Europe and America; and I feel bound in truth to say, that I never heard her equal; even Jenny Lind not excepted. Her sweet infantile tones, soft, and flowing as the Eolian harp; giving out every note and every word perfectly distinct,-as natural and unaffected as if only her mother were present, accompanied by the instruments in low and subdued tones, melted every one in the room to tears.

Waiting a few moments, while nothing but an occasional sigh interrupted the death-like silence of the audience; while the brave generals and wise doctors were weeping with their faces buried in their handkerchiefs, Alice

said very sweetly: "Ladies and gentlemen, I have a song for General Putnam." Instantly all were upon their feet; and she commenced Yankee Doodle, in very patriotic words, accompanied by the band; while all in the room, save the doctors, danced the tune, and encored with her, in full chorus.

Lady Washington then announced that her infancy must excuse the Seraph Girl for the evening. Tripping around the room like a little fairy, she kissed every one, saying a few short words to each, and retired midst the loud and prolonged cheers of every guest. During her appearance with the company, she sustained herself with perfect dignity and grace; without betraying any thing childish; and in a manner, that but few young ladies of sixteen, or any other years, could equal.

After a short interval of conversa

After supper a dance was proposed by General Washington, in honor of Alice's birth-day. The General's social band was with him; consisting of a harp, two violins, two flutes, and a violincello :--six of the best performers the country could afford; and were considered the best of Italian and German musicians. Washington and Alice opened the dance. Lady Washington, who had charge of the Seraph Girl, decided that it would be sufficient exercise for her young years, if she danced once with the Generals and sung each of them a song; knowing that the Doctors did not dance. Alice's education had been conducted in the family by the best teachers the country could afford; and her music and dancing, had been taught by a lady of distinction. Her ball dress of white satin, corresponded tastefully with every other article of her toilet.

Her long, full, and dark brown hair, hanging low on her snow white neck, in beautiful ringlets, and curling on her full bosom, dressed low with short sleeves, formed a most perfect miniature of female beauty. Her high and broad forehead, with arched eyebrows, and large blue eyes, adorned with a clear white skin, red cheeks, ruby lips, aquiline nose, and oval face, gracefully tapering from the temple to the small and beautiful chin, presented the most symmetrical and lovely picture I ever beheld; and this was the uniform opinion of all the company. Her dancing was extremely graceful, dignified, and modest; and every motion was poetical, without missing a figure or a step.

The dance being over, Washington called for a song from the Seraph Girl. Lady Washington leading her into the centre of the floor, she sung Hail Columbia, accompanied by the band, in the sweetest tone and best

66

tion, the bell rung for family prayers. The reverend chaplain, advancing with slow and solemn steps to the table, in the centre of the room; on which a servant placed the family Bible; and after reading in the most eloquent and impressive style the one hundred and third Psalm; while the company were all kneeling in the most humble and reverential manner, he uttered an eloquent and devout prayer, for his country, the Vernon family, the guests, and the Seraph Girl.

Rising from my knees a moment before the others, and glancing my eyes around the room, the sight made an

impression upon my heart, never to be forgotten. Here were found in one devotional group, the greatest generals, the wisest philosophers, and ladies of the first talents, and sweetest charms; all bending in humble reverence before the God of heaven. In one corner of the room were seen the family group; consisting of Judge Vernon, his lady and Alice; all kneeling together with their heads on the same sofa; while the little Seraph Girl was bowing between her parents, with her arms round their necks, kneeling. I would give a world of treasure for a true picture of this devout scene.

"1. Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day;

Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy gifts fading away:

Thou wouldst still be adored as this moment thou art,

Let thy loveliness fade as it will;

And around the dear ruin, each wish of my heart,
Would entwine itself verdantly still.

2. It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,

That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear.
Oh! the heart, that has truly loved, never forgets;
But as truly loves on to the close;

As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets,
The same look which she turned when he rose.

The next day Washington held a council of war in the same room, where was planned the campaign against the British forces, which resulted in their conquest, and the Independence of America. Washington gave me special direction for the protection of the frontier settlements; and particularly the Vernon and Eden families, where he and his family and suite were accustomed to resort during the Revolution. Martha Eden was one of the most distinguished heroines of the Revolution. Blessed with an ample fortune, her hospitality and home were freely enjoyed by Washington, La Fayette, Hamilton, Wayne, Greene, Gates, Maxwell, Lincoln, 4

VOL. I.

[ocr errors]

Henry Lee, Stevens, Walter Stewart, Ethan Allen, Pulaski, Butler, Morgan, Sinclair, Woodward, Varnum, Paul Jones, Cochrane, Craik, and other distinguished patriots of the Revolution, She did not open her doors merely for men of rank, but her spacious mansion was the home of the soldier. Such was her patriotism and liberality, that she saved the American army from starvation in one of their most dangerous days. Her gates in the public roads, that issued to the large plantation, which surrounded her mansion, bore, in conspicuous characters, this patriotic inscription," HOSPITALITY WITHIN TO ALL AMERICAN OFFICERS; AND REFRESIIMENT FOR THEIR SOLDIERS."

WAR NEWS.

THE Southern rebellion is rapidly culminating. This suicidal and treasonable project of Southern politicians, to prostrate the American Union, and erect a new government on its ruins, will soon meet its merited punishment. This mad ambition, to rule or ruin, commenced with John C. Calhoun more than forty years ago; and culminated with his pupil, Jefferson Davis, in 1861. The rebels look in vain to Europe for sympathy and aid, in founding a new government on slavery; a superannuated institution, which all civilized nations have abolished, except Spain; and it will soon perish there. The rebels, after clandestinely preparing for this treason during Buchanan's administration, by securing all the arms and ammunition of the Republic within their reach, openly commenced their work of ruin, immediately after the election of President Lincoln, under the false pretense that they would not submit to the administration of a Northern President, when, in truth, they had been secretly preparing for this rebellion several years before Lincoln was nominated for president; and long previous to the organization of the Republican party. South Carolina commenced her treasonable developments in 1832, under the lead of Calhoun; but fortunately for the American Union, General Jackson crushed the treason in its bud; and had Buchanan followed the example of his illustrious predecessor, his country would hail him as a second JackSouth Carolina, taking the lead in the Southern rebellion, has prostrated within her limits the National Government, and alienated, by her ruinous example, eleven of the States from the Union. But the friends of

son.

the Union have one consolation left, that although eleven of the Slave States have professedly rebelled against the Republic, yet more than one-half of the white population, and the great majority of the landholders, still remain friendly and loyal to the Republic; and are waiting with impatient anxiety, to openly declare their allegiance, as soon as Federal troops shall be stationed in their midst, to protect them in the enjoyment of their liberty.

The progress of the rebellion, since the election of President Lincoln, has been as rapid, as it has been suicidal to its authors. On the 28th of December last, the rebels seized Fort Moultrie, Castle Pinckney, the Customhouse, Post Office, and Arsenal, at Charleston; all belonging to the National Government. On the 2d of January, they seized Forts Pulaski and Jackson, and the United States Arsenal at Savannah, all government property.

On the 4th of January, they fraudulently took possession of Fort Morgan and the Arsenal, at Mobile. On the 9th of January, the rebels fired into the Star of the West, bearing the United States flag; while carrying provisions and reinforcements to a United States fort. On the 11th of January, they stole the United States Arsenal at Baton Rouge, and Forts Pike and Jackson. On the 12th of January, they seized the United States Navy-Yard at Pensacola, and Fort Barancas; and ever since have been preparing to attack Fort Pickens, and wrest it from the United States. On the 31st of January, they took possession of the United States Custom House, at New Orleans, and seized the mint with all its

« 上一頁繼續 »