“She was your Betsy Myers,” interrupted I.
“And when I was old enough I was sent into Connecticut, to the best of schools. This lasted till I was sixteen. Fortunately for me, perhaps, the Montgomery Battalion then dissolved. I was finding it hard to answer the colonel’s annual letters. I had my living to earn,—it was best I should earn it. I declined a proposal to go out as a missionary. I had no call. I answered one of Miss Beecher’s appeals for Western teachers. Most of my life since has been a school-ma’am’s. It has had ups and downs. But I have always been proud that the Public was my godfather; and, as you know,” she said, “I have trusted the Public well. I have never been lonely, wherever I went. I tried to make myself of use. Where I was of use I found society. The ministers have been kind to me. I always offered my services in the Sunday schools and sewing-rooms. The school committees have been kind to me. They are the Public’s high chamberlains for poor girls. I have written for the journals. I won one of Sartain’s hundred-dollar prizes—”
“And I another,” interrupted I.
“When I was very poor, I won the first prize for an essay on bad boys.”
“And I the second,” answered I.
“I think I know one bad boy better than he knows himself,” said she. But she went on. “I watched with this poor Miss Stillingfleet the night she died. This absurd ‘distribution’ had got hold of her, and she would not be satisfied till she had transferred that strange ticket, No. 2,973, to me, writing the indorsement which you have heard. I had had a longing to visit New York and Hoboken again. This ticket seemed to me to beckon me. I had money enough to come, if I would come cheaply. I wrote to my father’s business partner, and enclosed a note to his only sister. She is Mrs. Mason. She asked me, coldly enough, to her house. Old Mr. Grills always liked me,—he offered me escort and passage as far as Troy or Albany. I accepted his proposal, and you know the rest.”
When I told Fausta my story, she declared I made it up as I went along. When she believed it,—as she does believe it now,—she agreed with me in declaring that it was not fit that two people thus joined should ever be parted. Nor have we been, ever!
She made a hurried visit at Mrs. Mason’s. She prepared there for her wedding. On the 1st of November we went into that same church which was our first home in New York; and that dear old raven-man made us
THE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET.
BY J. THOMAS DARKAGH (LATE C.C.S.).
[This paper was first published in the “Galaxy,” in 1866.]
* * * * *
I see that an old chum of mine is publishing bits of confidential Confederate History in Harper’s Magazine. It would seem to be time, then, for the pivots to be disclosed on which some of the wheelwork of the last six years has been moving. The science of history, as I understand it, depends on the timely disclosure of such pivots, which are apt to be kept out of view while things are moving.