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the time, and, with that instinctive feeling which ence of undue emotion, bristled all over, as if in the midst of solitudes makes all mankind akin, each hair desired to start in business for itself. officers and men partook alike, the spell being The Baron's highest ambition in life was to kill broken finally by the voice of the commander a bear, and here he would find his bear. His soul calling on the sailors to row.
stirred within him at the thought. Alas! could Fifty minutes of steady pulling by the oarsmen we but see a fraction as far in prospect as in brought us back under the shadow of the trees, retrospect, how much of disaster might be avoided. where we disturbed a small community of wild All through, to the end of life, we travel, as it geese, which flew close along the surface of the were, in a fog, and as we paddle down stream water, leaving a ruffled track with their startled seldom know when we have drifted out of the wings. According to our compass,
channel until we strike a snag, or we were one-quarter of the lake's
find ourselves high and dry upon a circumference from our point of
shoal. entry, and it was determined to
The Baron grasped his Remingcontinue our explorations to a point
ton, and in a little while he was midway from the feeder and then
almost lost to view, as he jumped return directly across.
nimbly from log to log. The last A short distance further along
we saw of him was the skirts of his we found a corduroy road of un
coat, flopping up and down in the certain stability, which led back
dim distance. Perhaps twenty mininto the swamp from a floating plat
utes had passed when, clear and form of poplar logs chained to the
sharp, rang out the crack of his stumps. This was built by the
rifle, followed by a great splash negro lumbermen for the purpose
and sounds of combat. of hauling logs to the boats, which
The Baron had found his bear. sometimes get up into the lake.
Or stay, perchance the bear had At this point in our journey that
found his Baron. portion of our party known as the
The latter impression was greatly Baron became excited. His Teu
strengthened by a continuation of tonic visage lighted up with a glow
the noises in the swamp, in which of expectancy. He was a little
our Nimrod's voice mingled conman, with a fierce moustache and
stantly: “Ach, himmel! Vy dond goatee, which, under the influ
THE LADY OF THE LAKE. you kom? Donner und blitzen, Vol. XVII.-22
vat make you shtop, don't id? Ze beast vill beleaguered hero did not bethink himself of a haf me eat."
providential Bowie-knife concealed in his boot, With one accord, over the logs, through the and, producing the same, succeed in holding that water and brush, our whole party rushed madly bear by an ear while he tapped its life-blood. Not to the rescue, forgetful of falls and wettings, and so. Such scenes are the proper sequence of adrewarded at length by a sight too ludicrous for ventures in fiction. They are the exclusive preequanimity, even when a friend and fellow-voy- rogative of the writers of unverified facts. My ager stood in imminent peril at the paws and teeth duty compels me, as a faithful historian, and at of an enraged and wounded bear...
the risk of marring the interest in this record, to The Baron stood in a half-stooping pose upon state that the beast, becoming disgusted, perhaps, one end of a log, which rolled and pitched about, at the unwonted excitement about him, incontithreatening to precipitate him into the water nently turned tail and trotted lamely up the corthrough the efforts of his brute adversary at the duroy roadway, stopping occasionally to vent a opposite end. Bruin sprang to the attack with little ursine profanity toward our party. renewed vigor upon our arrival, and his victim! The ensuing hour's debate may be properly
hopped about on that log like a French dancing- I ignored. It was emphatic, especially on the part master, and wildly grasped at the air for support of our Teutonic sportsman, whose moustache and as his precarious foothold seemed every moment goatee bristled with unwonted fire for a long time to slide from under. When bruin essayed a nearer after, and who handled the cartridges he had left approach to his enemy, the latter, using the butt in the boat with much the same air as the man of his rifle as a ram, would force him over into who holds a lottery ticket just one remove from the water again. This performance was repeated the number drawing the first prize. several times, the besieged officer, meantime, Our masts were reset and sails trimmed to keeping up a continual fusillade of entreaty and catch the faintest breeze, and so we skirted along objurgation, while we ran helplessly about, for, be the shores for hours. Swamp-oaks, junipers, and it known, the Baron held our entire armament in poplars braided their outstretched foliage together, his hands and had neglected to take the reserve forming a dense background for the whitened ammunition from the boat, and was, furthermore, trunks of submerged and blasted cypress-trees. so placed upon the log that any aggressive measures Dismal indeed was the scene, even in its brightest upon our part must have driven the enraged brute mood, on a sunny November day. to more active efforts to dislodge the enemy. We had been favored thus far with a fair wind,
I wish a strict regard for facts might permit the and calculated that we were about half-way around record of a triumphant return to the boat with the the lake, or opposite our point of entrance. The dangling form of bruin carried upon a sapling by breeze now died out, and we drifted along with the sailors. A pity that, at the last moment, the the occasional use of the oars, hoping for a re
newal of the favors from the wind sprites. It And she's gone to the lake of the Dismal Swamp, was evident enough, soon after, that we had in Where all night long, by her fire-fly lamp, curred their anger in some way, for they persisted
She paddles her white canoe.” in giving us head-winds, with little, chopping seas, “By Jupiter! I believe you've exorcised her. during the remainder of the afternoon. Our See there!" exclaimed the Middy, and, looking sailors and marines worked well at the long oars; as indicated, we caught the distant gleam of but long before we could discover the little white a little light, sometimes dipping and disappearing rag left fluttering upon a cypress limb at the entirely, then sparkling again, and finally throwfeeder, twilight came down, and night followed ing an uninterrupted streak of light across the the twilight.
intervening water. Many and often-repeated false alarms were given, “Ve vill try the effect of a salute on her ladyas some one fancied he saw the signal-flag through ship,” said the Baron, taking up his rifle. • the gloom, and several times we were involved in | Then the sharp crack of the weapon rang out a labyrinth of half-sunken logs and cypress-trees, and died away in rippling detonations upon the to our imminent peril. Then came debates as to opposite shores. the probability of our having passed the feeder The approaching light waved and tossed in mouth. And we doubled on our course, hoping reply, followed by an answering shot. An end to to verify the vehement assertions of the Middy, romance. We knew, then, that our visitor was, that he had seen an opening in the trees. Alas! without doubt, the bear hunter from the lock. it was a delusion. The Baron had given up all And so it proved. His family had told him of hopes of meeting another bruin long before night our visit in the morning, and he rightly guessed, set in, and had relapsed into a moody reverie. when we failed to come by at night, that we were Some of the other members of the crew, when lost, and so started in his dug-out to put a light at unemployed at the oars, tried hard to emulate bis the signal tree. Our lantern had been discovered stoical nursing of his pipe, while, it may as well almost as soon as his. be confessed, vivid visions of a ghostly boat's A night upon the floor, in the midst of an crew, rowing around the lake in never-ending already closely-stowed circle of sleepers, seemed circles, obtruded themselves.
luxury indeed, after the escape from the chilly Perhaps some Moore, of coming lyric fame, confines of the lake; and a dull, rainy day folmight chance upon these lone shores, and embody lowing was accepted as the brightest of morns as our fate in immortal verse; but what good ? we we poled along the current setting toward the would not be there to read it. Of what practical canal. Somewhat later, in clearing weather, we use is posthumous fame? Better far a warm corner were exhilarated by a race with the steamer from in even so humble a cot as that of our last Elizabeth City to town. night's occupation. The Civil Rights Hotel and The adventures of the “Dismal Swamp Explorits sable proprietor would have been hailed with ing Expedition” will occupy a prominent place in joy at this moment. Possibly we might meet the, the annals of the Plymouth's quarter-deck, and lonely paddler called to mind when our com- without doubt was told to the marines by their mander recited :
returning comrades with embellishments suited to “They made her a grave, too cold and damp
the tastes of that highly credulous branch of the For a soul so warm and true.
| Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday Eve'gs. 8 o'clock. It is proposed in the following pages to set The Wonderful Child Medium Magnolia will be present forth the experience of three amateurs who at
each evening tempted for themselves to investigate and explore We pulled the bell, the door opened, we entered a few of the mysteries of that which has commonly a dimly-lighted hall, and a rather short, squarely. been called “spiritualism." They were especially built, sharp-featured, low-browed, pock-marked prompted so to do at the particular point of time man, perhaps thirty-five years of age, stood before selected, by the fact that just then a fresh wave of superstition seemed to be sweeping over the “Is Mr. Johnson in?" we asked. community, even the daily secular newspapers “I am Mr. Johnson," said the door-tender. containing provokingly mysterious accounts of Mr. Johnson did not impress us as a man who "mediunis," "s séances," "manifestations," and would be a very skillful manipulator in any attempt “materializations.” A very natural desire not to at tricks of legerdemain. He shot quick, nervous be too far behind the age, even in a knowledge of glances from his deeply-set blue eyes, and the other “spheres' than their own, led them to in | expression of his countenance was that of one quire into the meaning of the strange phrases habitually suspicious, and on the defensive against which seemed so familiar to the ears of some prejudice, criticism, and ridicule. He had not The party who set out with this end in view were the cool, collected, self-possessed manner which by no means disciples of the faith they were about | we supposed would characterize an adept in deto question, but, on the other hand, were rather ception. That he was an illiterate man was soon skeptical in their sentiments. Not so much so, made evident by his conversation. however, that they felt unable to render an impar We explained the object of our call, were courtial verdict upon the evidence. One of the three teously received, and ushered into the front parlor. investigators was an author, S- , whose name The room was modestly furnished, its walls would be well known if mentioned. Another was were hung with pictures, the gas was lighted, a a physician, whose skill in the diagnosis of disease fire was burning in the grate, and there was a led to the hope that he would detect any delusion general air of homeliness and comfort which might or hallucination of which his friends might be- prove attractive to the average spirit from some come the victims; a third was the writer, who less favored sphere. We found it already comproposes to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and fortably filled with about eighteen people, all of nothing but the truth." They wished to examine, them appearing respectable and intelligent, even on different evenings and in different places, two more so, perhaps, than the medium himself. Among phases of professed spiritual manifestations; viz., them were long-bearded, dreamy-eyed, solemn“materialization of spirits," and “independent visaged old men, who, we learned, had been writing."
wrestling for years with the mystery called spirit
ualism; of these, one was a very intelligent old the steps of a moderately respectable mansion in gentleman, a member of the editorial staff of an a moderately respectable portion of the city at important newspaper, and one who had entire about eight o'clock on a winter evening. This confidence in the truth of that which others in house contained the apartments, temporarily hired, the room believed to be a delusion. Of the latter of the medium, or professor, whose card, with the class were several keen-eyed skeptics, one a wideexception of the proper names, was as follows: awake newspaper reporter, who, like ourselves, HENRY S. JOHNSON,
had come to witness developments. We noticed Medium for Full-Form Materialization in the Light Select
some well-dressed sad-looking ladies, whose counSeances.
tenances wore the anxious expression of those who No. zu W— St. | possibly might be hoping to obtain some token of
remembrance from those whom they had loved cover no intricate machinery, and no place in and lost. There were other females less refined walls or ceiling of either room for magic-lantern in their appearance, who, we learned, were regu- / slides. The fact that the rooms were only tempolar habitués of the place, and who assisted the rarily hired for the evening performances by the medium by spiritual songs, and such other devices medium, while the rest of the house was still in as might be suggested to them. One, in particu- | possession of the usual occupants, seemed to mililar, was a burly, masculine-looking, self-possessed tate against the idea that any elaborate contrivfemale, who patronized medium, audience, and ance for deception could remain long undetected. spirits alike, offering her advice to all indiscrim- The unbelieving ones having thus had their inately with the greatest self-satisfaction and com- suspicions of “confederates in the rear,'' tempoplacency. But the bright particular star of the rarily at least, set at rest, the legitimate exercises evening was “the wonderful child-medium Mag- of the evening seemed about to commence. The nolia,” a pretty-faced, gentle, modest, guileless medium just arranged the chairs in the form of little girl, perhaps twelve years of age, who said a horse-shoe or a bent magnet, the two ends her real name was “ Jenny.” The frank expres- being at the sides of the cabinet next the slidingsion of countenance and her simplicity of manner doors, while the arc extended nearly to the front at once disarmed all suspicion of any attempt on windows of the parlor. He then commenced her part at deception or fraud, or of any collusion singling out individuals and assigning them seats. wi:h such an attempt by others.
It was the faithful and believing who were particuConnected with the front parlor with sliding. | larly favored, for they were placed near the cabidoors, which were open, was a second room, net, while far away in the crescent of the arc containing a bed, a clothes-closet, and the “ cab. were bestowed the skeptics and unbelievers. One inet." This cabinet, which seems to be an essen- burly individual, doubtless by design, had already tial feature in all spiritual “materializations," planted himself near the cabinet. was a four-walled tent of green cloth, perhaps five “Will you sit here?" said the medium, indifeet square and six feet high. It stood on a line cating a seat near the toe of the horse-shoe. with the folding-doors, with its front facing the “Thank you ; I am very well satisfied with my spectators in the front parlor. Its door was made present seat," said the victim. by the drapery, which could be drawn aside or | “Excuse me, but I am seating you by “impresclosed at pleasure. It contained only a wooden sion,'” said the medium, with an impressive inclistool, whose back was an upright post, in which nation of the head. were some stout iron rings.
The stout unbeliever succumbed. “Now," said the medium, “any gentlemen “Now," said the medium, commencing a short who wish may examine the cabinet and all that is speech, “we are all to be bound by the condiin the room. You see the solid iron rings, the tions of our contract. I promise, on my part, to strong post, the locked doors, and no way of give you a satisfactory séance; and if any gentleentering, except from the parlor.”
man is not satisfied after he has saw' the maniThe doctor, s- , myself, and one or two festations, his money will be returned to him." other skeptics examined the cabinet and the con | It should be stated that our tickets of admission tents of the rear room, to our own satisfaction, at to the other world cost us a dollar each. least. There was visible to mortal eyes of ordinary “The thing that I ask of you," continued the powers of vision a double bed without an occu- medium, “is that you shall harmonize ;' you pant, a clothes-closet without the customary con- | must “ harmonize',” said he, with emphasis. tents, an ingrain carpet on the floor, without any How this harmony could be effected we could perceptible place for a trap-door from beneath, a only conjecture; but we trusted that the inspiratent formed of green cloth, supported by a slender tion of the occasion would be sufficient for the iron frame large enough to accommodate in a emergencies as they arose. standing position perhaps half a dozen persons in “Now," said the medium, unexpectedly prothe flesh and, we were afterward forced to assume, ducing from some portion of his dress a number of an immense number of those out of it.
stout strips of muslin cloth, three inches wide and We were obliged to confess that we could dis- half a yard in length, “ let some gentleman tie