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  • 1890
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She had by this time dug up the keg from its hiding-place, and now filled Tony’s canteen.

“Tank you, missus; de Lord bress you for what you’ve done, wheder I get Massa Wingfield off or wheder we bofe get killed ober de job. But I must get back as fast as I can. Ef it was dark before I got to camp dey would wonder whar I had been.”

“Oh, you have plenty of time,” the woman said; “it won’t be dark till eight o’clock, and it’s not seven yet. I will set to and boil a good chunk of pork and bake some cakes. It’s no use getting out of the hands of the Yanks and then going and getting starved in the swamps.”

Directly Tony got back to his regiment he strolled over to the shed where Vincent was confined. Two sentinels were on duty, the sergeant and the two other men were lying at full length en the ground some twenty yards away. Their muskets were beside them, and it was evident to Tony by the vigilant watch that they kept upon the shed that their responsibility weighed heavily upon them and that Captain Pearce had impressed upon them that if the prisoner escaped they would certainly be shot.

“Well, Sergeant John Newson,” Tony began, “I hab just walked ober to see how you getting on. It am a mighty ‘sponsible business dis. I had six hours of him, and it make de perspiration run down my back to tink what a job it would be for me if dat fellow was to run away.”

“Dat’s just what dis chile feel, Sergeant Tony Morris; I am zactly like dat, and dat’s what dese men feel too. We am all on guard. De captain say, put two on guard at de shed and let de oders relieb dem ebery hour. So dey shall; but dose off duty must watch just the same. When it gets dark we get close up, so as to be ready to jump in directly we hear a stir. Dis fellow no fool us.”

“Dat’s the way, Sergeant Newson, dat am de way. Neber close your eye, but keep a sharp look on dem. It’s a pity dat you not in camp to-night.”

“How am dat, how am dat?” the sergeant asked.

“To tell you de truf, sergeant, tree or four ob us hab smuggled in some spirits, and you are one of dose who would hab come in for a share of it if you had been dere.”

“Golly!” the sergeant exclaimed; “but dat is bery unfortunate. Can’t you manage to bring me a little here?”

“Well, you know, it’s difficult to get out ob camp.”

“Oh, you could get through. Dere is no fear about you being caught.”

“I don’t know,” Tony replied with an air of reluctance. “Well, I will see about it. Ef I can crawl troo de sentries, and bring some for you and de oders, I will. It will help keep you awake and keep out de damp.

“Dat’s right down good ob you,” the other said cordially. “You good man, Tony Morris; and if I can do as much for you anoder time, I do it.”

Having settled this, Tony went round to the hospital tent in rear of the regiment, having tied up his face with a handkerchief.

“Well, what is it, sergeant?” the negro, who acted as an orderly and sometimes helped the surgeon mix his drugs, asked. “De doctor am gone away, and I don’t ‘spect he come back again to-night.”

“Dat am bery bad ting,” Tony said dolefully. “Can’t you do something for me, Sam Smith? I tink you know quite as much about de medicines as de doctor himself.”

“Not quite so much, sergeant, not quite so much; but I’se no fool, and my old mother she ‘used to make medicine for de plantation and knew a heap about herbs, so it am natural dat I should take to it. What can I gib you?”

“Well, Sam, you see sometimes I’se ‘flicted dre’fful wid de faceache him just go jump, jump, jump, as ef he bust right up. Mose times I find de best ting am to put a little laudabun in my mouf, and a little on bit of rag and put him outside. De best ting would be for you to gib me little bottle of him; den when de pain come on I could jess take him, and not be troubling you ebery day. And Sam, jus you whisper–I got hold of a little good stuff. You gib me tin mug; me share what I hab got wid you.”

The negro grinned with delight, and going into the tent brought out a tin mug.

“Dat’s all right, Sam; but you hab no brought de bottle of laudabun too. You just fetch dat, and I gib you de spirit.”

The negro went in again, and in two minutes returned with a small bottle of laudanum.

“Dat’s a fair exchange,” Tony said, taking it, and handing to the man his mug half full of spirit.

“Dat am someting like,” the black said, looking with delight at the liberal allowance. “Me drink him de last ting at night, den me go to sleep and no one ‘spect nuffin’. Whereber you get dat spirit?”

“Never you mind, Sam,” Tony said with a grin. “Dar’s more where dat comes from, and maybe you will get anoder taste ob it.”

Then after leaving the hospital tent he poured half the spirits away, for he had not now to depend upon the effect of that alone; and it were bettor not to give it too strong, for that might arouse the suspicion of the guard. Then he uncorked the bottle of laudanum.

“I don’t know how much to gib,” he said to himself. “No good to kill dem. Me don’t ‘spect de stuff bery strong. Dese rogues sell all sorts of stuff to de government. Anyting good enough for de soldier. Dey gib him rotten boots, and rotten cloth, and bad powder, and all sorts of tings. I spect dey gib him bad drugs too. However, me must risk it. Dis bottle not bery big, anyhow–won’t hold more dan two or three teaspoon. Must risk him.”

So saying he poured the contents of the vial into the canteen, and then going to a water-cart filled it up. He waited until the camp was quiet, and then, taking off his boots and fastening in his belt his own bayonet and that of one of the men sleeping near, he quietly and cautiously made his way out of camp. There were no sentries placed here, for there was no fear whatever of an attack, and he had little difficulty in making his way round to the back of the village to the spot where Vincent was confined. He moved so quietly that he was not perceived until he was within a few yards of the shed.

“Sergeant Newson, am you dere?”

“Bress me, what a start you hab given me, for suah!” the sergeant said. “I did not hear you coming.

“You didn’t s’pose I was coming along shouting and whistling, Sergeant Newson? Don’t you talk so loud. Dar am no saying who’s about.”

“Hab you brought de stuff?”

“You don’t suppose I should hab come all dis way to tell you I hab not got it. How am de prisoner?”

“Oh, he’s dere all right. My orders was to look in at dat little winder ebery five minutes, and dat when it began to get dark me was to tie him quite tight, and me hab done so. And one of de sentries goes in every five minutes and feels to see if de ropes are tight. He am dar, sure enough.”

“Dat’s quite right, Sergeant Newson. I knew when you came to have me as de captain knew what he was doing when he choose you for dis job. He just pick out de man he considers de very best in de regiment. Now, here is de spirit; and fuss-rate stuff it am, too.”

“Golly, but it am strong!” the sergeant said, taking a long gulp at the canteen. “Dat warm de cockles ob de heart in no time. Yes, it am good stuff–just de ting for dis damp air. I hear as a lot of de white soldiers are down wid de fever already, and dere will be lots and lots more if we stop here long. Here, you two men, take a drink of dis; but mind, you mustn’t tell no one ’bout it. Dis a secret affair.”

The two negroes each took a long drink, and returned the canteen with warm expressions of approval.

“De oder men are on duty,” the sergeant said with the air of a man who knew his business; “dey mustn’t hab none of it, not until dey comes off. As we are de relief, it am proper and right dat we drink a drop out of a canteen ef we want it.”

“Quite so, Sergeant Newson,” Tony said in a tone of admiration. “Dat’s de way to manage dese tings–duty first and pleasure afterward.”

“It am nearly time to relieve guard,” the other said; “and den dey can have a drink.”

In five minutes the two soldiers relieved those on guard, and they also took a long drink at the canteen, to which the sergeant also again applied his lips.

“Now I must be going,” Tony said. “I will leave the canteen with you, sergeant. I have got some more of the stuff over there, and I dare say you will like another drink before morning.”

So saying he stole away, but halted and lay down twenty yards distant. In ten minutes he heard the sergeant say:

“I feel as if I could do just five minutes’ sleep. You keep your eyes on de shed, and ef you hear any officer coming his rounds you wake me up.”

Tony waited another half-hour and then crawled up. The sergeant was lying on his back sound asleep; the two men with him were on their faces, with their rifles pointing toward the shed, as if they had dropped off to sleep while they were staring at it. Then he crawled on to the shed. The soldier on sentry at the back had grounded his musket and was leaning against the shed fast asleep, while the one at the door had apparently slid down in a sitting position and was snoring.

“I hope I haben’t given it to dem too strong,” Tony said to himself; “but it can’t be helped anyhow.”

He opened the door and entered the shed.

“Are you awake, Marse Wingfield?”

“Yes, I am awake, Tony. Thank God you have come! How did you manage it?”

“I hab managed it, sah, and dey are all fast asleep,” Tony said, as he cut the ropes which bound Vincent.

“Now, sah, let’s be going quick. Dar am no saying when dey may come round to look after de guards. Dat’s what I hab been worrying about de last quarter ob an hour.”

Vincent sprang to his feet as the ropes fell from him, and grasped Tony’s hand.

“Here am a bayonet, sah. I hope we sha’n’t want to use dem, but dar am no saying.”

They made their way cautiously across the fields till they approached another camp. A few sentries were walking up and down in front of it, but they crawled round these and passed through the space between the regiment and that next to it. Several other camps were passed; and then, when Vincent knew that they were well in rear of the whole of them, they rose to their feet and started forward at a run. Suddenly Tony touched Vincent, and they both stood still. A distant shout came through the air, followed by another and another.

“I ‘spect dey hab found out we have gone, sah. Dey go round two or tree times in de night to sec dat de sentries are awake. Now, sah, come along.”

They were on the road now, and ran at full speed until they approached Union. They left the track as they neared the village, and as they did so they heard the sound of a horse at full gallop behind them.

“That’s an orderly taking the news of our escape. Sheridan’s cavalry are scattered all over the country, and there are two squadrons at Union Grove. The whole country will be alive at daybreak.”

Making their way through the fields they soon struck the track leading to Worley Farm, and in a few minutes were at the door. The woman opened it at once.

“I have been watching for you,” she said, “and I am real glad you have got safe away. Wait a minute and I will strike a light.”

“You had better not do that,” Vincent said. “They have got the alarm at Union Grove already, and if any one caught sight of a light appearing in your window, it would bring them down here at once.”

“They can’t see the house from Union,” the woman said. “Still, perhaps it will be best. Now, sir, I can’t do anything for you, because my men’s clothes are the same sort of cut as yours; but here’s a suit for this man.”

Thanking her warmly Vincent handed the things to Tony.

“Make haste and slip them on. Tony; and make your other things up into a bundle and bring them with you for a bit. We must leave nothing here, for they will search the whole country to-morrow. We will take the horse away too; not that we want it, but it would never do for it to be found here.”

“Will you take your letter again?” the woman asked.

“No, I will leave it with you. It will be no use now if I get through, but if you hear to-morrow or next day that I am caught, please carry it as we arranged. What is this?” he asked as the woman handed him a bundle.

“Here are eight or ten pounds of pork,” she said, “and some corn-cakes. If you are hiding away you will want something, and I reckon anyhow you won’t be able to make your way to our people for a bit. Now, if you are ready I will start with you.”

“You will start with us!” Vincent repeated in surprise.

“Certainly I will start with you,” the woman said. “How do you think you would be able to find your way a dark night like this? No, sir; I will put you on your way till morning. But, in the first place, which line do you mean to take?”

“I do not think there is much chance of getting back the way we came,” Vincent said. “By morning Sheridan’s cavalry will have got a description of me, and they will be scouring the whole country. The only chance will be to go north and cross the river somewhere near Norfolk.”

“I think, sah, you better go on wid your horse at once. No use wait for me. I come along on foot, find my own way.”

“No, Tony, I shall certainly not do that. We will either get off or be taken together. Well, I think the best plan will be to go straight down to the river. How far is it away?”

“About fifteen miles,” the woman said.

“If we got there we can get hold of a boat somehow, and either cross and then make straight for Richmond on foot, or go up the river in the boat and land in the rear of our lines. That we can settle about afterward. The first thing is to get to the river bank. We are not likely to meet with any interruption in that direction. Of course the cavalry are all on the other flank, and it will be supposed that I shall try either to work round that way or to make straight through the lines. They would hardly suspect that I shall take to the river, which is covered with their transports and store-ships.”

“I think that is the best plan,” the woman said. “There are scarce any villages between this and the river. It’s only just when you cross the road between Petersburg and Williamsburg that you would be likely to meet a soul, even in the daytime. There is scarce even a farmhouse across this section. I know the country pretty well. Just stop a minute and I will run up to the wood and fetch down the horse. There’s a big wood about a mile away, and you can turn him in there.”

A few minutes later they started, Vincent leading the horse and Tony carrying the bundle of food and his castoff uniform. The woman led them by farm roads, sometimes turning off to the right or left, but keeping her way with a certainty which showed how well she was acquainted with the country. Several times they could hear the dull sound of bodies of cavalry galloping along the roads; but this died away as they got further into the country. The horse had been turned loose a mile from their starting place. Vincent removed the bridle and saddle, saying: “He will pick up enough to feed on here for some time. When he gets tired of the wood he can work his way out into a clearing.”

Here Tony hid away his uniform among some thick bushes, and the three walked steadily along until the first tinge of daylight appeared on the sky. Then the woman stopped.

“The river is not more than half a mile in front of you,” she said; “so I will say good-by.”

“What will you do?” Vincent asked. “You might be questioned as you get near home.”

“I am going to put up at the last house we passed,” she said, “about three miles back. I know the people there, and they will take me in. I will stop there for a day or two, maybe, then walk back, so I shall have a true story to tell. That’s all right.”

Vincent said good-by to her, with many hearty thanks for the services she had rendered him, and had almost to force her to take notes for two hundred dollars from the bundle he had sewn up in the lining of his coat.

“You have saved my life,” he said, “and some day I hope to be able to do more to show my gratitude; but you must take this anyhow to tide you over the hard times, and find food for your husband and sons when they come back from the war.”

As soon as the woman had turned back Vincent and Tony continued on their way. The former had, as soon as they were fairly out from the Federal camp, told Tony in a few words that his wife was safe at home and their boy flourishing, and he now gave him further details of them.

“And how came you to enter the army, Tony?”

“Well, sah, dere wasn’t much choice about it. De Northern people, dey talk mighty high about der love for de negro, but I don’t see much of it in der ways. Why, sah, dey is twice as scornful ob a black man as de gentleman is in de Souf. I list in de army, sah, because dey say dey go to Richmond, and den I find Dinah and de boy.”

“Well, Tony, I little thought when I did you a service that it would be the means of you being able to save my life some day.”

“Not much in dat, sah. You sabe my life, because dey would, for suah, hab caught me and killed me. Den you save my wife for me, den you pay out dat Jackson, and now you hab killed him. I could hab shouted for joy, sah, when I saw you hit him ober de head wid de shovel, and I saw dat dis time he gib no more trouble to no one. I should hab done for him bery soon, sah. I had my eye upon him, and the fust time we go into battle he get a ball in his back. Lucky he didn’t see me. He not officer ob my company, and me look quite different in de uniform to what me was when I work on de plantation; but I know him, and wheneber I see him pass I hung down my head and I say to myself, ‘My time come soon, Massa Jackson; my time come bery soon, and den we get quits.'”

“It is wrong to nourish revenge, Tony; but I really can’t blame you very much as to that fellow. Still, I should have blamed you if you had killed him–blamed you very much. He was a bad man, and he treated you brutally, but you see he has been already punished a good deal.”

“Yes, you knock him down, sah. Dat bery good, but not enough for Tony.”

“But that wasn’t all, Tony. You see, the affair set all my friends against him, and his position became a very unpleasant one. Then, you see, if it hadn’t been for you he would probably have got through to our lines again after he had escaped with me. Then, you see, his father, out of revenge, stole Dinah away.”

“Stole Dinah!” Tony exclaimed, stopping in his work. “Why, sah, you hab been telling me dat she is safe and well wid Mrs. Wingfield.”

“So she is, Tony. But he stole her for all that, and had her carried down into Carolina; but I managed to bring her back. It’s a long story, but I will tell you about it presently. Then the knowledge that I had found Dinah, and the fear of punishment for his share of taking her away, caused old Jackson to fly from the country, getting less than a quarter of the sum his estate would have fetched two or three years ago. That was what made him and his son turn Unionists. So, you see, Jackson was heavily punished for his conduct to you, and it did not need for you to revenge yourself.”

“So he was, sah, so he was,” Tony said thoughtfully. “Yes, it does seem as if all dese tings came on kinder one after de oder just out ob dat flogging he gabe me; and now he has got killed for just de same cause, for if he hadn’t been obliged to turn Unionist he wouldn’t have been in dat dar battery at de time you came dere. Yes, I sees dat is so, sah; and I’se glad now I didn’t hab a chance ob shooting him down, for I should have done so for suah ef I had.”

They had now reached the river. The sun was just showing above the horizon, and the broad sheet of water was already astir. Steamers were making their way up from the mouth of the river laden with stores for the army. Little tugs were hurrying to and fro. Vessels that had discharged their cargo wore dropping down with the tide, while many sailing-vessels lay at anchor waiting for the turn of tide to make their way higher up. Norfolk was, however, the base from which the Federal army drew the larger portion of its stores; as there were great conveniences for landing here, and a railway thence ran up to the rear of their lines. But temporary wharfs and stages had been erected at the point of the river nearest to their camps in front of Petersburg, and here the cattle and much of the stores required for the army were landed. At the point at which Vincent and Tony had struck the river the banks wore somewhat low. Here and there were snug farms, with the ground cultivated down to the river. The whole country was open and free from trees, except where small patches had been left. It was in front of one of these that Vincent and Tony wore now standing.

“I do not think there is any risk of pursuit now, Tony. This is not the line on which they will be hunting us. The question is–how are we to get across?”

“It’s too far to swim, sah.”

“I should think it was,” Vincent said with a laugh. “It’s three or four miles, I should say, if it’s a foot. The first question is–where are we to get a boat? I should think that some of these farmhouses are sure to have boats, but the chances are they have been seized by the Yankees long ago. Still they may have some laid up. The Yanks would not have made much search for those, though they would no doubt take all the larger boats for the use of the troops or for getting stores ashore. Anyhow, I will go to the next farmhouse and ask.”

“Shall I go, sah?”

“No, Tony, they would probably take you for a runaway. No, I will go. There can be no danger. The men are all away, and the women are sure to be loyal. I fancy the few who were the other way before will have changed their minds since the Yanks landed.”

They followed the bank of the river for a quarter of a mile, and then Vincent walked on to a small farmhouse standing on the slope fifty yards from the water. Two or three children who were playing about outside at once ran in upon seeing a stranger, and a moment later two women came out. They were somewhat reassured when they saw Vincent approaching alone.

“What is it, stranger?” one of them asked. “Do you want a meal? We have got little enough to offer you, but what there is you are welcome to; the Yanks have driven off our cows and pigs and the two horses, and have emptied the barns, and pulled up all the garden stuff, and stole the fowls, and carried off the bacon from the beams, so we have got but an empty larder. But as far as bread and molasses go, you are welcome.”

“Thank you,” Vincent said; “I am not in want of food. What I am in want of is a boat.”

“Boat!” the women repeated in surprise.

“Yes, I want to got across to the other side, or else to get up the river and land between Petersburg and Bermuda.”

“Sakes alive!” the woman exclaimed; “what do you want to do that for?”

“I will tell you,” Vincent replied. “I know I can trust my life to any woman in the Confederacy. I am one of General Wade Hampton’s officers, and I have come through their lines to find out what they are doing. I have been caught once, but managed to slip through their hands, but there is no possibility of making my way back across the country, for the Yankee cavalry are patrolling every road, and the only chance I have is of getting away by boat.”

“Step right in, sir,” the woman said. “It’s a real pleasure to us to have one of our officers under our roof.”

“I have a friend with me,” Vincent said; “a faithful negro, who has helped me to escape, and who would be hung like a dog if they could lay hands on him.”

“Bring him in, sir,” the woman said hospitably. “I had four or five niggers till the Yanks came, but they all ran away ’cause they knew they would either be set to work or made to fight; so they went. They said they would come back again when the trouble is over; maybe they will and maybe they won’t. At first the niggers about here used to look for the Yanks coming, but as the news got about of what happened to those they took from their masters, they concluded they were better off where they were. Call your boy in, sir; call him in.”

Vincent gave a shout, and Tony at once came up.

“Thank you, we don’t want anything to eat,” Vincent went on as the woman began to put some plates on the table. “We have just had a hearty meal, and have got enough food for three or four days in that bundle. But we want a boat, or, if we can’t find that, some sailors’ clothes. If I had them I would keep along the river down to Norfolk. The place will be full of sailors. We should not be likely to be noticed there.”

“I can’t help you in that,” the woman said; “but there are certainly some boats laid up along the shore. Now, Maria, who has got boats that haven’t been taken?”

“I expect the Johnsons have got one,” the other woman replied. “They had a small boat the boys and girls used to go out fishing in. I don’t think the Yanks have got that. I expect they hid it away somewhere; but I don’t know as they would let you have it. She is a close-fisted woman is Sarah Johnson.”

“I could pay her for its value,” Vincent said.

“Oh, well, if you could pay her she would let you have it. I don’t say she wouldn’t, anyhow, seeing as you are an officer, and the Yanks are after you. Still, she is close is Sarah Johnson, and I don’t know as she is so set on the Confederacy as most people. I tell you what I will do, sir. I will go down and say as a stranger wants to buy her boat, and no questions asked. She is just to show where the boat is hidden, and you are to pay for it and take it away when you want it.”

“That would be a very good plan,” Vincent said, “if you wouldn’t mind the trouble.”

“The trouble is nothing,” she said. “Johnson’s place ain’t above a mile along the shore.”

“I will go with you until you get close to the house,” Vincent said; “then, when you hear what she wants for the boat, I will give you the money for it, and you can show me where it is hidden.”

This was accordingly done. Mrs. Johnson, after a considerable amount of bargaining with Vincent’s guide, agreed to take twenty dollars for the boat, and upon receiving the money sent down one of her boys with her to show her where it was hidden. It was in a hole that had been scooped out in the steep bank some ten foot above the water’s edge, and was completely hidden from the sight of any one rowing past by a small clump of bushes. When the boys had returned to the farmhouse the woman took Vincent to the spot, and they then went back together.

Here he and Tony had a long talk as to whether it would be better to put out at once or to wait till nightfall. It was finally determined that it was best to make an immediate start. A boat rowed by two men would attract little attention. It might belong to any of the ships at anchor in the river, and might be supposed to have gone on shore to fetch eggs or chickens, or with a letter or a message.

“You see, both shores are in the hands of the Yankees,” Vincent said, “and there will not be any suspicion of a boat in the daytime. At night we might be hailed, and if we gave no answer fired upon, and that night bring a gunboat along to see what was the matter. No, I think it will be far best to go on boldly. There are not likely to be any bodies of Federal troops on the opposite shore except at Fortress Monroe, and perhaps opposite the point where they have got their landing below Petersburg. Once ashore we shall be safe. The peninsula opposite is covered with forest and swamp, and we shall have no difficulty in getting through however many troops they may have across it. You know the place pretty well, don’t you, Tony?”

Tony nodded. “Once across, sah, all de Yank army wouldn’t catch us. Me know ob lots ob hiding-places.”

“Them broad hats will never do,” the woman said; “but I have got some blue nightcaps I knitted for my husband. They are something like the caps I have seen some sailors wear; anyhow, they will pass at a distance, and when you take your coats and vests off, them colored flannel shirts will be just the right thing.”

“That will do capitally, and the sooner we are off the better,” Vincent said, and after heartily thanking the two women, and bestowing a present upon each of the children, they started along the shore.

The boat was soon got into the water, the oars put out, and they started. The tide was just low now, and they agreed to pull along at a short distance from the shore until it turned. As soon as it did so the vessels at anchor would be getting up sail to make up to the landing-place, and even had any one on board noticed the boat put out, and had been watching it, they would have other things to think about.

“It is some time since we last rowed in a boat together, Tony.”

“About three years, sah; dat time when you got me safe away. I had a bad fright dat day you left me, sah. It came on to blow bery hard, and some ob de men told me dat dey did not tink you would ever get back to shore. Dat made me awful bad, sah; and me wish ober and ober again dat me hab died in de forest instead ob your taking me off in a boat and trowing away your life. I neber felt happy again, sah, till I got your letter up in Canady, and knew you had got back safe dat day.”

“We had a narrow squeak of it, Tony, and were blown some distance up. We were nearly swamped a score of times, and Dan quite made up his mind that it was all up with us. However, we got through safe, and I don’t think a soul, except perhaps Jackson and that rascally overseer of ours, who afterward had a hand in carrying off your wife, and lost his life in consequence, ever had a suspicion we had been doing more than a long fishing expedition. I will tell you all about it when we are going through the woods. Now I think it’s pretty nearly dead water, and we will begin to edge across.”


Vincent directed his course so that while the boat’s head was still pointing up the stream, and she was apparently moving in the same direction as the ships, she was gradually getting out to the middle of the river. Had he tried to row straight across suspicion might at once have been excited. In half an hour they were in the middle of the stream. A vessel passing under full sail swept along at a distance of a hundred yards, and they were hailed. Vincent merely waved his hand and continued his course.

“I dare say those fellows wonder what we are up to, Tony; but they are not likely to stop to inquire. In another quarter of an hour we shall be pretty safe. Ah! there’s a fellow who might interfere with us,” he added looking round. “Do you see that little black thing two miles ahead of us? that’s a steam launch. If she sees us making over she’s likely enough to come and ask us some questions. We had better head a little more toward the shore now. If it comes to a race every foot is of importance.”

Up to now they had been rowing in an easy and leisurely manner, avoiding all appearance of haste. They now bent to their oars, and the boat began to travel a good deal faster through the water. Vincent glanced over his shoulder frequently at the steam launch.

“She is keeping straight on in the middle of the channel, Tony; evidently she hasn’t noticed us yet.”

Ten minutes after passing the ship he exclaimed sharply:

“Row, Tony, as hard as you can; the launch has just passed that ship, and has changed her course. I expect the captain has called their attention to us. It’s a race now.”

The boat, at the moment the launch changed her course, was rather more than halfway between the center of the channel and the shore. The launch was in the center of the channel, and three-quarters of a mile higher up. She had evidently put on steam as she started to cut off the boat, for there was now a white wave at her bow.

“I think we shall do it, Tony,” Vincent said. “I don’t suppose she can go above eight miles an hour and we are certainly going four, and she has more than twice as far to travel as we have.”

Those on board the launch were evidently conscious that they were likely to lose the race, for in a few minutes they began to open fire with their rifles.

“Fire away,” Vincent said. “You ain’t likely to hit us a thousand yards off, and we haven’t another three hundred to row.”

The bullets whistled overhead, but none of them struck the water within many yards of the boat, and the launch was still four or five hundred yards away when the bow of the boat touched the shore. Several muskets were discharged as Vincent and Tony leaped out and plunged into the bushes that came down to the water’s edge. The launch sent up a sharp series of whistles, and random shots were for some time fired into the bushes.

“It is lucky she didn’t carry a small gun in her bow,” Vincent said; “for though seven or eight hundred yards is a long range for a rifle, they might likely enough have hit us if they had had a gun. Now, Tony, we shall have to be careful, for those whistles are no doubt meant as an alarm; and although she cannot tell who we are, she will probably steam up, and if they have any force opposite Bermuda will give them news that two suspicious characters have landed, and they will have parties out to look for us.”

“Dey can look as long as dey like, sah. Ef dose slave-hunters can’t find people in de swamps what chance you tink dose soldiers have? None at all. Dey haven’t got no reward before dere eyes, and dey won’t want to be going in ober dere shoes into de mud and dirtying dere uniforms. No fear ob dem, sah. Dey make as much noise when dey march in de wood as a drove ob pigs. You can hear dem a quarter ob a mile away.”

They tramped on through the woods through which McClellan’s force had so painfully made their way during their first advance against Richmond. From time to time they could hear noises in the forest–shouts, and once or twice the discharge of firearms.

“Dey call dat hunting, I s’pose,” Tony said scornfully.

They kept steadily on until it began to grow dark in the forest. They were now in the White Oak Swamp and not eight miles from Richmond, and they thought it better to pause until it became quite dark, for they might be picked up by any raiding party of cavalry. Vincent was in high spirits. Now, that he had succeeded in his enterprise, and had escaped almost by a miracle, he was eager to get back to Richmond and carry his news down to General Lee. Tony was even more anxious to push on. At last, after three years’ absence, he was to see his wife and child again, and he reluctantly agreed to Vincent’s proposal for a halt.

“We sha’n’t stop very long, Tony; and I own I am waiting quite as much because I am hungry and want to eat, and because I am desperately tired, as from any fear of the enemy. We walked twenty miles last night from Union Grove to the river, then I walked to the boat, back to the farm and then back to the boat again–that’s three more miles–and we have gone another twenty now. I am pretty nearly dead beat, I can tell you.”

“I’se tired too, sah; but I feel I could go on walking all night if I was to see Dinah in de morning.”

“Well, I couldn’t, Tony; not to see any one. I might be willing enough, but my legs wouldn’t take me.”

They ate a hearty meal, and almost as soon as they had finished Vincent stood up again.

“Well, Tony, I can feel for your impatience, and so we will struggle on. I have just been thinking that when I last left my mother a week since she said she was thinking of going out to the Orangery for a month before the leaves fell, so it is probable that she may be there now. It is only about the same distance as it is to Richmond, so we will go straight there. I shall lose a little time, of course; but I can be driven over to Richmond, so it won’t be too much. Besides, I can put on a pair of slippers. That will be a comfort, for my feet feel as if they were in vises. A cup of tea won’t be a bad thing, too.”

During their walk through the wood Vincent had related the circumstances of the carrying away of Dinah and of her rescue. When he had finished Tony had said:

“Well, Massa Wingfield, I don’t know what to say to you. I tought I owed you enuff before, but it war nothing to dis. Just to tink dat you should take all dat pains to fetch Dinah back for me. I dunno how it came to you to do it. It seems to me like as if you been sent special from heben to do dis poor nigger good. Words ain’t no good, sah; but of I could give my life away a hundred times for you I would do it.”

It took them nearly three hours’ walking before they came in sight of the Orangery.

“There are lights in the windows,” Vincent said. “Thank goodness they are there.”

Vincent limped slowly along until he reached the house.

“You stay out here, Tony. I will send Dinah out to you directly. It will be better for her to meet you here alone.”

Vincent walked straight into the drawing-room, where his mother and Annie were sitting.

“Why, Vincent!” Mrs. Wingfield exclaimed, starting up, what has happened to you? What are you dressed up like that for? Is anything the matter?”

“Nothing is the matter, mother, except that I am as tired as a dog. Yes, my dress is not quite fit for a drawing-room,” he laughed, looking down at the rough trousers splashed with mud to the waist, and his flannel shirt, for they had not waited to pick up their coats as they left the boat; “but nothing is the matter, I can assure you. I will tell you about it directly, but first please send for Dinah here.”

Mrs. Wingfield rang the bell on the table beside her.

“Tell Dinah I want to speak to her at once,” she said to the girl that answered it. Dinah appeared in a minute.

“Dinah,” Vincent said, “has your boy gone to bed?”

“Yes, sah; been gone an hour ago.”

“Well, just go to him, and put a shawl round him, and go out through the front door. There is some one standing there you will be glad to see.”

Dinah stood with open eyes, then her hands began to tremble.

“Is it Tony, sah; for de Lord’s sake, is it Tony?”

Vincent nodded, and with a little scream of joy she turned and ran straight to the front door. She could not wait now even to fetch her boy, and in another moment she was clasped in her husband’s arms.

“Now, Vincent, tell us all about it,” his mother said. “Don’t you see we are dying of curiosity?”

“And I am dying of fatigue,” Vincent said; “which is a much more painful sort of death, and I can think of nothing else until I have got these boots off. Annie, do run and tell them to bring me a pair of slippers and a cup of tea, and I shall want the buggy at the door in half an hour.”

“You are not going away again to-night, Vincent, surely?” his mother said anxiously. “You do look completely exhausted.”

“I am exhausted, mother. I have walked seven or eight-and-forty miles, and this cavalry work spoils one for walking altogether.”

“Walked forty-eight miles, Vincent! What on earth have you done that for?”

“Not from choice, I can assure you, mother; but you know the old saying, ‘Needs must when the devil drives,’ and in the present case you must read ‘Yankee’ instead of ‘the gentleman in black.’

“But has Petersburg fallen?” Mrs. Wingfield asked in alarm.

“No; Petersburg is safe, and is likely to continue so. But you must really be patient, mother, until I have had some tea, then you can hear the story in full.”

When the servant came in with the tea Vincent told her that she was to tell Dinah, whom she would find on the veranda, to bring her husband into the kitchen, and to give him everything he wanted. Then, as soon as he had finished tea, he told his mother and sister the adventures he had gone through. Both were crying when he had finished.

“I am proud of you, Vincent,” his mother said. “It is hard on us that you should run such risks; still I do not blame you, my boy, for if I had ten sons I would give them all for my country.”

Vincent had but just finished his story when the servant came in and said that the buggy was at the door.

“I will go in my slippers, mother, but I will run up and change my other things. It’s lucky I have got a spare suit here. Any of our fellows who happened to be going down to-night in the train would think that I was mad were I to go like this.”

It was one o’clock in the morning when Vincent reached Petersburg. He went straight to his quarters, as it would be no use waking General Lee at that hour. A light was burning in his room, and Dan was asleep at the table with his head on his arms. He leaped up with a cry of joy as his master entered.

“Well, Dan, here I am safe again,” Vincent said cheerily. “I hope you had not begun to give me up.”

“I began to be terribly frightened, sir–terribly frightened. I went dis afternoon and asked Captain Burley if he had any news ob you. He said ‘No;’ and asked me ef I knew where you were. I said ‘No, sah;’ that I knew nuffin about it except that you had gone on some dangerous job. He said he hoped that you would be back soon; and certainly, as far as dey had heard, nuffin had happened to you. Still I was bery anxious, and tought I would sit up till de last train came in from Richmond. Den I tink I dropped off to sleep.”

“I think you did, Dan. Well, I am too tired to tell you anything about it now, but I have one piece of news for you; Tony has come back to his wife.”

“Dat’s good news, sah; bery good news. I had begun to be afraid dat Tony had been shot or hung or someting. I know Dinah hab been fretting about him though she never said much, but when I am at home she allus asks me all sorts of questions ’bout him. She bery glad woman now.”

The next morning Vincent went to General Lee’s quarters.

“I am heartily glad to see you back,” the general said warmly as he entered. “I have blamed myself for letting you go. Well, what success have you had?”

“Here is a rough plan of the works, general. I have not had time to do it out fairly, but it shows the positions of all their principal batteries, with a rough estimate as to the number of guns that each is intended to carry.”

“Excellent!” the general said, glancing over the plan. “This will give us exactly the information we want. We must set to with our counter-works at once. The country is indeed indebted to you, sir. So you managed to cheat the Yankees altogether?”

“I should have cheated them, sir; but unfortunately I came across an old acquaintance who denounced me, and I had a narrow escape of being shot.”

“Well, Captain Wingfield, I must see about this business, and give orders at once. Will you come and breakfast with me at half-past eight? Then you can give me an account of your adventures.”

Vincent returned to his quarters, and spent the next two hours in making a detailed drawing of the enemy’s positions and batteries, and then at half-past eight walked over to General Lee’s quarters. The general returned in a few minutes with General Wade Hampton and several other officers, and they at once sat down to breakfast. As the meal was proceeding an orderly entered with a telegram for the general. General Lee glanced through it.

“This, gentlemen, is from the minister of war. I acquainted him by telegraph this morning that Captain Wingfield, who had volunteered for the dangerous service, had just returned from the Federal lines with a plan of the positions and strength of all the works that they are erecting. I said that I trusted that such distinguished service as he had rendered would be at once rewarded with promotion, and the minister telegraphs to me now that he baa this morning signed this young officer’s commission as major. I heartily congratulate you, sir, on your well-earned step. And now, as I see you have finished your breakfast, perhaps, you will give us an account of your proceedings.”

Vincent gave a detailed account of his adventures, which were heard with surprise and interest.

“That was a narrow escape, indeed,” the general said, as he finished. “It was a marvelous thing your lighting upon this negro, whom you say you had once had an opportunity of serving, just at that moment; and although you do not tell us what was the nature of the service you had rendered him, it must have been a very considerable service or he would never have risked his life in that way to save yours. When these negroes do feel attachment for their masters there are no more faithful and devoted fellows. Well, in your case certainly a good action has met with its reward; if it had not been for him there could be no question that your doom was sealed. It is a strange thing too your meeting that traitor. I remember reading about that escape of yours from the Yankee prison. He must have been an ungrateful villain, after your taking him with you.”

“He was a bad fellow altogether, I am afraid,” Vincent said; “and the quarrel between us was a long-standing one.”

“Whatever your quarrel was,” the general said hotly, “a man who would betray even an enemy to death in that way is a villain. However, he has gone to his account, and the country can forgive his treachery to her, as I have no doubt you have already done his conduct toward yourself.”

A short time afterward Vincent had leave for a week, as things were quiet at Petersburg.

“Mother,” he said on the morning after he got home, “I fear that there is no doubt whatever now how this struggle will end. I think we might keep Grant at bay here, but Sherman is too strong for us down in Georgia. We are already cut off from most of the Southern States, and in time Sherman will sweep round here, and then it will be all over. You see it yourself, don’t you, mother?”

“Yes, I am afraid it cannot continue much longer, Vincent. Well, of course, we shall fight to the end.”

“I am not talking of giving up, mother; I am looking forward to the future. The first step will be that all the slaves will be freed. Now, it seems to me that however attached they may be to their masters and mistresses they will lose their heads over this, flock into the towns, and nearly starve there; or else take up little patches of land and cultivate them, and live from hand to mouth, which will be ruin to the present owners as well as to them. Anyhow for a time all will be confusion and disorder. Now, my idea is this, if you give all your slaves their freedom at once, offer them patches of land for their own cultivation and employ them at wages, you will find that a great many of them will stop with you. There is nowhere for them to go at present and nothing to excite them, so before the general crash comes they will have settled down quietly to work here in their new positions, and will not be likely to go away.”

“It is a serious step to take, Vincent,” Mrs. Wingfield said, after thinking the matter over in silence for some time. “You do not think there is any probability of the ultimate success of our cause?”

“None, mother; I do not think there is even a possibility. One by one the Southern States have been wrested from the Confederacy. Sherman’s march will completely isolate us. We have put our last available man in the field, and tremendous as are the losses of the enemy they are able to fill up the gaps as fast as they are made. No, mother, do not let us deceive ourselves on that head. The end must come, and that before long. The slaves will unquestionably be freed, and the only question for us is how to soften the blow. There is no doubt that our slaves, both at the Orangery and at the other plantations, are contented and happy; but you know how fickle and easily led the negroes are, and in the excitement of finding them selves free and able to go where they please, you may be sure that the greater number will wander away. My proposal is, that we should at once mark out a plot of land for each family and tell them that as long as they stay here it is theirs rent-free; they will be paid for their work upon the estate, three, four, or five days a week, as they can spare time from their own plots. In this way they will be settled down, and have crops upon their plots of land, before the whole black population is upset by the sudden abolition of slavery.”

“But supposing they won’t work at all, even for wages, Vincent?”

“I should not give them the option, mother; it will be a condition of their having their plots of land free that they shall work at least three days a week for wages.”

“I will think over what you say, Vincent, and tell you my decision in the morning. I certainly think your plan is a good one.”

The next morning Mrs. Wingfield told Vincent that she had decided to adopt his plan. He at once held a long consultation with the overseer, and decided which fields should be set aside for the allotments, choosing land close to the negroes’ quarters and suitable for the raising of vegetables for sale in the town.

In the afternoon Mrs. Wingfield went down with him. The bell was rung and the whole of the slaves assembled. Vincent then made them a speech. He began by reminding them of the kind treatment they had always received, and of the good feeling that had existed between the owners of the Orangery and their slaves. He praised them for their good conduct since the beginning of the troubles, and said that his mother and himself had agreed that they would now take steps to reward them, and to strengthen the tie between them. They would all be granted their freedom at once, and a large plot of land would be given to each man, as much as he and his family could cultivate with an average of two days a week steady labor.

Those who liked would, of course, be at liberty to leave; but he hoped that none of them would avail themselves of this freedom, for nowhere would they do so well as by accepting the offer he made them. All who accepted the offer of a plot of land rent-free must understand that it was granted them upon the condition that they would labor upon the estate for at least three days a week, receiving a rate of pay similar to that earned by other freed negroes. Of course they would be at liberty to work four or five days a week if they chose; but at least they must work three days and any one failing to do this would forfeit his plot of land. “Three days’ work,” he said, “will be sufficient to provide all necessaries for yourselves and families and the produce of your land you can sell, and will so be able to lay by an ample sum to keep yourselves in old age. I have already plotted out the land and you shall cast lots for choice of the plots. There will be a little delay before all your papers of freedom can be made out, but the arrangement will begin from to-day, and henceforth you will be paid for all labor done on the estate.”

Scarcely a word was spoken when Vincent concluded. The news was too surprising to the negroes for them to be able to understand it all at once. Dan and Tony, to whom Vincent had already explained the matter, went among them, and they gradually took in the whole of Vincent’s meaning. A few received the news with great joy, but many others were depressed rather than rejoiced at the responsibilities of their new positions. Hitherto they had been clothed and fed, the doctor attended them in sickness, their master would care for them in old age. They had been literally without a care for the morrow, and the thought that in future they would have to think of all these things for themselves almost frightened them. Several of the older men went up to Mrs. Wingfield and positively declined to accept their freedom. They were quite contented and happy, and wanted nothing more. They had worked on the plantation since they had been children, and freedom offered them no temptations whatever.

“What had we better do, Vincent?” Mrs. Wingfield asked.

“I think, mother, it will be best to tell them that all who wish can remain upon the old footing, but that their papers will be made out and if at any time they wish to have their freedom they will only have to say so. No doubt they will soon become accustomed to the idea, and seeing how comfortable the others are with their pay and the produce of their gardens they will soon fall in with the rest. Of course it will decrease the income from the estate, but not so much as you would think. They will be paid for their labor, but we shall have neither to feed nor clothe them; and I think we shall get better labor than we do now, for the knowledge that those who do not work steadily will lose their plots of land, and have to go out in the world to work, their places being filled by others, will keep them steady.”

“It’s an experiment, Vincent, and we shall see how it works.”

“It’s an experiment I have often thought I should like to make, mother, and now you see it is almost forced upon us. To-morrow I will ride over to the other plantations and make the same arrangements.”

During the month of August many battles took place round Petersburg. On the 12th the Federals attacked, but were repulsed with heavy loss, and 2,500 prisoners were taken. On the 21st the Confederates attacked, and obtained a certain amount of success, killing, wounding, and capturing 2,400 men. Petersburg was shelled day and night, and almost continuous fighting went on. Nevertheless, up to the middle of October the positions of the armies remained unaltered. On the 27th of that month the Federals made another general attack, but were repulsed with a loss of 1,500 men. During the next three months there was little fighting, the Confederates having now so strengthened their lines by incessant toil that even General Grant, reckless of the lives of his troops as he was, hesitated to renew the assault.

But in the South General Sherman was carrying all before him. Generals Hood and Johnston, who commanded the Confederate armies there, had fought several desperate battles, but the forces opposed to them were too strong to be driven back. They had marched through Georgia to Atlanta and captured that important town on the 1st of September, and obtained command of the network of railways, and thus cut off a large portion of the Confederacy from Richmond. Then Sherman marched south, wasting the country through which he marched, and capturing Savannah on the 21st of September.

While he was so doing, General Hood had marched into Tennessee, and after various petty successes was defeated, after two days’ hard fighting, near Nashville. In the third week in January, 1865, Sherman set out with 60,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry from Savannah, laying waste the whole country–burning, pillaging, and destroying. The town of Columbia was occupied, sacked, and burned, the white men and women and even the negroes being horribly ill-treated.

The Confederates evacuated Charleston at the approach of the enemy, setting it in flames rather than allow it to fall into Sherman’s hands. The Federal army then continued its devastating route through South Carolina, and at the end of March had established itself at Goldsboro, in North Carolina, and was in readiness to aid Grant in his final attack on Richmond.

Lee, seeing the imminence of the danger, made an attack upon the enemy in front of Petersburg, but was repulsed. He had now but 37,000 men with which to oppose an enemy of nearly four times that strength in front of him, while Sheridan’s cavalry, 10,000 strong, threatened his flank, and Sherman with his army was but a few days’ march distant. There was fierce fighting on the 29th, 30th, and 31st of March, and on the 2d of April the whole Federal army assaulted the positions at Petersburg, and after desperate fighting succeeded in carrying them. The Confederate troops, outnumbered and exhausted as they were by the previous week’s marching and fighting, yet retained their discipline, and Lee drew off with 20,000 men and marched to endeavor to effect a junction with Johnston, who was still facing Sherman. But his men had but one day’s provision with them. The stores that he had ordered to await them at the point to which he directed his march had not arrived there when they reached it, and, harassed at every foot of their march by Sheridan’s cavalry and Ord’s infantry, the force fought its way on. The horses and mules were so weak from want of food that they were unable to drag the guns, and the men dropped in numbers from fatigue and famine. Sheridan and Ord cut off two corps, but General Lee, with but 8,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, still pressed forward toward Lynchburg. But Sheridan threw himself in the way, and, finding that no more could be done, General Lee and the infantry surrendered, and a few days later Generals Lee and Grant met and signed terms of peace. General Johnston’s army surrendered to General Sherman, and the long and desperate struggle was at an end.

It was a dreadful day in Richmond when the news came that the lines of Petersburg were forced, and that General Lee no longer stood between the city and the invaders. The president and ministers left at once, and were followed by all the better class of inhabitants who could find means of conveyance. The negroes, Irish, and some of the lower classes at once set to work to pillage and burn, and the whole city would have been destroyed had not a Federal force arrived and at once suppressed the rioting.

Whatever had been the conduct of the Federal troops during the last year of the war, however great the suffering they had inflicted upon the unarmed and innocent population of the country through which they marched, the terms of peace that General Grant agreed upon, and which were, although with some reluctance, ratified by the government, were in the highest degree liberal and generous. No one was to be injured or molested for the share he had taken in the war. A general amnesty was granted to all, and the States were simply to return to the position in the Union that they occupied previous to the commencement of the struggle.

More liberal terms were never granted by a conqueror to the vanquished.

Vincent was with the cavalry who escaped prior to Lee’s surrender, but as soon as the terms of peace were ratified the force was disbanded and he returned home. He was received with the deepest joy by his mother and sister.

“Thank God, my dear boy, that all is over, and you have been preserved to us. We are beaten, but no one can say that we have been disgraced. Had every State done its duty as Virginia has we should never have been overpowered. It has been a terrible four years, and there are few families indeed that have no losses to mourn.”

“It was well you were not in Richmond, mother, the day of the riots.”

“Yes; but we had our trouble here too, Vincent. A number of the slaves from some of the plantations came along this way, and wanted our hands to join them to burn down their quarters and the house, and to march to Richmond. Tony and Dan, hearing of their approach, armed themselves with your double-barreled guns, went down and called out the hands and armed them with hoes and other implements. When the negroes came up there was a desperate quarrel, but our hands stood firm, and Tony and Dan declared that they would shoot the first four men that advanced, and at last they drew off and made their way to Richmond.

“Your plan has succeeded admirably. One or two of the hands went to Richmond next day, but returned a day or two afterward and begged so hard to be taken on again that I forgave them. Since then everything has been going on as quietly and regularly as usual, while there is scarcely a man left on any of the estates near.”

“And now, mother, that I find things are quiet and settled here, I shall go down to Georgia and fetch Lucy home. I shall be of age in a few months, and the house on the estate that comes to me then can be enlarged a bit, and will do very well.”

“Not at all, Vincent. Annie will be married next month. Herbert Rowsell was here two days ago, and it’s all settled. So I shall be alone here. It will be very lonely and dull for me, Vincent, and I would rather give up the reins of government to Lucy and live here with you, if you like the plan.”

“Certainly, I should like it, mother, and so, I am sure, would Lucy.”

“Well, at any rate, Vincent, we will try the experiment, and if it does not work well I will take possession of the other house.”

“There is no fear of that, mother, none whatever.”

“And when are you thinking of getting married, Vincent?”

“At once, mother. I wrote to her the day we were disbanded saying that I should come in a week, and would allow another week and no longer for her to get ready.”

“Then, in that case, Vincent, Annie and I will go down with you. Annie will not have much to do to get ready for her own wedding. It must, of course, be a very quiet one, and there will be no array of dresses to get; for I suppose it will be some time yet before the railways are open again and things begin to come down from the North.”

Happily Antioch had escaped the ravages of war, and there was nothing to mar the happiness of the wedding. Lucy’s father had returned, having lost a leg in one of the battles of the Wilderness a year before, and her brother had also escaped. After the wedding they returned to their farm in Tennessee, and Mrs. Wingfield, Annie, Vincent, and Lucy went back to the Orangery.

For the next three or four years times were very bard in Virginia, and Mrs. Wingfield had to draw upon her savings to keep up the house in its former state; while the great majority of the planters were utterly ruined.

The negroes, however, for the most part remained steadily working on the estate. A few wandered away, but their places were easily filled; for the majority of the freed slaves very soon discovered that their lot was a far harder one than it had been before, and that freedom so suddenly given was a curse rather than a blessing to them.

Thus, while so many went down, the Wingfields weathered the storm, and the step that had been taken in preparing their hands for the general abolition of slavery was a complete success.

With the gradual return of prosperity to the South the prices of produce improved, and ten years after the conclusion of the rebellion the income of the Orangery was nearly as large as it had been previous to its outbreak. Vincent, two years after the conclusion of the struggle, took his wife over to visit his relations in England, and, since the death of his mother in 1879, has every year spent three or four months at home, and will not improbably ere long sell his estates in Virginia and settle in England altogether.