"That's whatbitcoin cash yield they want to find out."
There were the charms of innocence and simplicity in the mannerof her as she stopped just within the doorway, whence sheregarded Mary with a timid, pleading gaze, her slender littleform poised lightly as if for flight"Did you want me, dear?" she asked. There was somethinghalf-plaintive in the modulated cadences of the query.xrp current price graph"Agnes," Mary answered affectionately, "this is Mr. Irwin, whohas come to see you in behalf of General Hastings.""Oh!" the girl murmured, her voice quivering a little, as thelawyer, after a short nod, dropped again into his seat; "oh, I'mso frightened!" She hurried, fluttering, to a low stool behindthe desk, beside Mary's chair, and there she sank down, droopingslightly, and catching hold of one of Mary's hands as if in mutepleading for protection against the fear that beset her chastesoul.
"Nonsense!" Mary exclaimed, soothingly. "There's really nothingat all to be frightened about, my dear child." Her voice wasthat with which one seeks to cajole a terrified infant. "Youmustn't be afraid, Agnes. Mr. Irwin says that General Hastingsdid not promise to marry you. Of course, you understand, mydear, that under no circumstances must you say anything thatisn't strictly true, and that, if he did not promise to marryyou, you have no case--none at all. Now, Agnes, tell me: didGeneral Hastings promise to marry you?""Oh, yes--oh, yes, indeed!" Aggie cried, falteringly. "And I wishhe would. He's such a delightful old gentleman!" As she spoke,the girl let go Mary's hand and clasped her own togetherecstatically.The legal representative of the delightful old gentleman scowleddisgustedly at this outburst. His voice was portentous, as heput a question."Was that promise made in writing?""No," Aggie answered, gushingly. "But all his letters were inwriting, you know. Such wonderful letters!" She raised her blueeyes toward the ceiling in a naive rapture. "So tender, andso--er--interesting!" Somehow, the inflection on the last worddid not altogether suggest the ingenuous."Yes, yes, I dare say," Irwin agreed, hastily, with someevidences of chagrin. He had no intention of dwelling on thatfeature of the letters, concerning which he had no doubtwhatsoever, since he knew the amorous General very well indeed.They would be interesting, beyond shadow of questioning, horriblyinteresting. Such was the confessed opinion of the swain himselfwho had written them in his folly--horribly interesting to allthe reading public of the country, since the General was aconspicuous figure.
Mary intervened with a suavity that infuriated the lawyer almostbeyond endurance."But you're quite sure, Agnes," she questioned gently, "thatGeneral Hastings did promise to marry you?" The candor of hermanner was perfect."How!" cried Crockston, "and is that the only difficulty?"
"Oh! oh! Master Crockston," said James Playfair, "the difficulty is not in entering, but in getting out again.""Nonsense!" replied the American, "that does not make me at all uneasy; with a boat like the Dolphin and a Captain like Mr. James Playfair, one can go where one likes, and come out in the same manner."Nevertheless, James Playfair, with telescope in his hand, was attentively examining the route to be followed. He had before him excellent coasting guides, with which he could go ahead without any difficulty or hesitation.Once his ship was safely in the narrow channel which runs the length of Sullivan Island, James steered bearing towards the middle of Fort Moultrie as far as the Pickney Castle, situated on the isolated island of Shute's Folly; on the other side rose Fort Johnson, a little way to the north of Fort Sumter.
At this moment the steamer was saluted by some shot which did not reach her, from the batteries on Morris Island. She continued her course without any deviation, passed before Moultrieville, situated at the extremity of Sullivan Island, and entered the bay.Soon Fort Sumter on the left protected her from the batteries of the Federalists.
This fort, so celebrated in the civil war, is situated three miles and a half from Charleston, and about a mile from each side of the bay: it is nearly pentagonal in form, built on an artificial island of Massachusetts granite; it took ten years to construct and cost more than 900,000 dollars.It was from this fort, on the 13th of April, 1861, that Anderson and the Federal troops were driven, and it was against it that the first shot of the Confederates was fired. It is impossible to estimate the quantity of iron and lead which the Federals showered down upon it. However, it resisted for almost three years, but a few months after the passage of the Dolphin it fell beneath General Gillmore's three hundred-pounders on Morris Island.But at this time it was in all its strength, and the Confederate flag floated proudly above it.Once past the fort, the town of Charleston appeared, lying between Ashley and Cooper Rivers.
James Playfair threaded his way through the buoys which mark the entrance of the channel, leaving behind the Charleston lighthouse, visible above Morris Island. He had hoisted the English flag, and made his way with wonderful rapidity through the narrow channels. When he had passed the quarantine buoy, he advanced freely into the centre of the bay. Miss Halliburtt was standing on the poop, looking at the town where her father was kept prisoner, and her eyes filled with tears.At last the steamer's speed was moderated by the Captain's orders; the Dolphin ranged along the end of the south and east batteries, and was soon moored at the quay of the North Commercial Wharf.Chapter VII A SOUTHERN GENERALThe Dolphin, on arriving at the Charleston quay, had been saluted by the cheers of a large crowd. The inhabitants of this town, strictly blockaded by sea, were not accustomed to visits from European ships. They asked each other, not without astonishment, what this great steamer, proudly bearing the English flag, had come to do in their waters; but when they learned the object of her voyage, and why she had just forced the passage Sullivan, when the report spread that she carried a cargo of smuggled ammunition, the cheers and joyful cries were redoubled.
James Playfair, without losing a moment, entered into negotiation with General Beauregard, the military commander of the town. The latter eagerly received the young Captain of the Dolphin, who had arrived in time to provide the soldiers with the clothes and ammunition they were so much in want of. It was agreed that the unloading of the ship should take place immediately, and numerous hands came to help the English sailors.Before quitting his ship James Playfair had received from Miss Halliburtt the most pressing injunctions with regard to her father, and the Captain had placed himself entirely at the young girl's service.
"Miss Jenny," he had said, "you may rely on me; I will do the utmost in my power to save your father, but I hope this business will not present many difficulties. I shall go and see General Beauregard to-day, and, without asking him at once for Mr. Halliburtt's liberty, I shall learn in what situation he is, whether he is on bail or a prisoner.""My poor father!" replied Jenny, sighing; "he little thinks his daughter is so near him. Oh that I could fly into his arms!"
"A little patience, Miss Jenny; you will soon embrace your father. Rely upon my acting with the most entire devotion, but also with prudence and consideration."This is why James Playfair, after having delivered the cargo of the Dolphin up to the General, and bargained for an immense stock of cotton, faithful to his promise, turned the conversation to the events of the day."So," said he, "you believe in the triumph of the slave-holders?""I do not for a moment doubt of our final success, and, as regards Charleston, Lee's army will soon relieve it: besides, what do you expect from the Abolitionists? Admitting that which will never be, that the commercial towns of Virginia, the two Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, fall under their power, what then? Will they be masters of a country they can never occupy? No, certainly not; and for my part, if they are ever victorious, they shall pay dearly for it.""And you are quite sure of your soldiers?" asked the Captain. "You are not afraid that Charleston will grow weary of a siege which is ruining her?""No, I do not fear treason; besides, the traitors would be punished remorselessly, and I would destroy the town itself by sword or fire if I discovered the least unionist movement. Jefferson Davis confided Charleston to me, and you may be sure that Charleston is in safe hands."
"Have you any Federal prisoners?" asked James Playfair, coming to the interesting object of the conversation."Yes, Captain," replied the General, "it was at Charleston that the first shot of separation was fired. The Abolitionists who were here attempted to resist, and, after being defeated, they have been kept as prisoners of war."
"And have you many?""About a hundred."
"Free in the town?""They were until I discovered a plot formed by them: their chief succeeded in establishing a communication with the besiegers, who were thus informed of the situation of affairs in the town. I was then obliged to lock up these dangerous guests, and several of them will only leave their prison to ascend the slope of the citadel, where ten confederate balls will reward them for their federalism."
"What! to be shot!" cried the young man, shuddering involuntarily."Yes, and their chief first of all. He is a very dangerous man to have in a besieged town. I have sent his letters to the President at Richmond, and before a week is passed his sentence will be irrevocably passed.""Who is this man you speak of?" asked James Playfair, with an assumed carelessness."A journalist from Boston, a violent Abolitionist with the confounded spirit of Lincoln."
"And his name?""Jonathan Halliburtt."
"Poor wretch!" exclaimed James, suppressing his emotion. "Whatever he may have done, one cannot help pitying him. And you think that he will be shot?""I am sure of it," replied Beauregard. "What can you expect? War is war; one must defend oneself as best one can."
"Well, it is nothing to me," said the Captain. "I shall be far enough away when this execution takes place.""What! you are thinking of going away already."
"Yes, General, business must be attended to; as soon as my cargo of cotton is on board I shall be out to sea again. I was fortunate enough to enter the bay, but the difficulty is in getting out again. The Dolphin is a good ship; she can beat any of the Federal vessels for speed, but she does not pretend to distance cannon-balls, and a shell in her hull or engine would seriously affect my enterprise.""As you please, Captain," replied Beauregard; "I have no advice to give you under such circumstances. You are doing your business, and you are right. I should act in the same manner were I in your place; besides, a stay at Charleston is not very pleasant, and a harbour where shells are falling three days out of four is not a safe shelter for your ship; so you will set sail when you please; but can you tell me what is the number and the force of the Federal vessels cruising before Charleston?"James Playfair did his best to answer the General, and took leave of him on the best of terms; then he returned to the Dolphin very thoughtful and very depressed from what he had just heard."What shall I say to Miss Jenny? Ought I to tell her of Mr. Halliburtt's terrible situation? Or would it be better to keep her in ignorance of the trial which is awaiting her? Poor child!"
He had not gone fifty steps from the governor's house when he ran against Crockston. The worthy American had been watching for him since his departure."Well, Captain?"
James Playfair looked steadily at Crockston, and the latter soon understood he had no favourable news to give him."Have you seen Beauregard?" he asked.
"Yes," replied James Playfair."And have you spoken to him about Mr. Halliburtt?"