Yankee Girl at Fort Sumter(txt+pdf+epub+mobi电子书下载)

作者:Curtis, Alice Turner


Yankee Girl at Fort Sumter

Yankee Girl at Fort Sumter试读:


Sylvia Fulton, a little Boston girl, was staying with her father and mother in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina, just before the opening of the Civil War. She had become deeply attached to her new friends, and their chivalrous kindness toward the little northern girl, as well as Sylvia's perilous adventure in Charleston Harbor, and the amusing efforts of the faithful negro girl to become like her young mistress, all tend to make this story one that every little girl will enjoy reading, and from which she will learn of far-off days and of the high ideals of southern honor and northern courage.


"Your name is in a song, isn't it?" said Grace Waite, as she and her new playmate, Sylvia Fulton, walked down the pleasant street on their way to school.

"Is it? Can you sing the song?" questioned Sylvia eagerly, her blue eyes shining at what promised to be such a delightful discovery.

Grace nodded smilingly. She was a year older than Sylvia, nearly eleven years old, and felt that it was quite proper that she should be able to explain to Sylvia more about her name than Sylvia knew herself.

"It is something about 'spelling,'" she explained, and then sang, very softly:

   "'Then to Sylvia let us sing,       That Sylvia is spelling.     She excels each mortal thing,       Upon the dull earth dwelling.'

"I suppose it means she was the best speller," Grace said soberly.

"I think it is a lovely song," said Sylvia. "I'll tell my mother about it. I am so glad you told me, Grace."

Sylvia Fulton was ten years old, and had lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for the past year. Before that the Fultons had lived in Boston. Grace Waite lived in the house next to the one which Mr. Fulton had hired in the beautiful southern city, and the two little girls had become fast friends. They both attended Miss Patten's school. Usually Grace's black mammy, Esther, escorted them to and from Miss Patten's, but on this morning in early October they were allowed to go by themselves.

As they walked along they could look out across the blue harbor, and see sailing vessels and rowboats coming and going. In the distance were the three forts whose historic names were known to every child in Charleston. Grace never failed to point them out to the little northern girl, and to repeat their names:

"Castle Pinckney," she would say, pointing to the one nearest the city, and then to the long dark forts at the mouth of the harbor, "Fort Sumter, and Fort Moultrie."

"Don't stop to tell me the names of those old forts this morning," said Sylvia. "I know just as much about them now as you do. We shall be late if we don't hurry."

Miss Patten's house stood in a big garden which ran nearly to the water's edge. The schoolroom opened on each side to broad piazzas, and there was always the pleasant fragrance of flowers in the big airy room. Sylvia was sure that no one could be more beautiful than Miss Patten. "She looks just like one of the ladies in your 'Godey's Magazine,'" she had told her mother, on returning home from her first day at school.

And with her pretty soft black curls, her rosy cheeks and pleasant voice, no one could imagine a more desirable teacher than Miss Rosalie Pattten. There were just twelve little girls in her school. There were never ten, or fourteen. Miss Patten would never engage to take more than twelve pupils; and the twelve always came. Mrs. Waite, Grace's mother, had told Mrs. Fulton that Sylvia was very fortunate to attend the school.

School had opened the previous week, and Sylvia had begun to feel quite at home with her new schoolmates. The winter before, Mrs. Fulton had taught her little daughter at home; so this was her first term at Miss Patten's.

Miss Patten always stood near the schoolroom door until all her pupils had arrived. As each girl entered the room she made a curtsey to the pretty teacher, and then said "good-morning" to the pupils who had already arrived, and took her seat. When the clock struck nine Miss Rosalie would take her place behind the desk on the platform at the further end of the room, and say a little prayer. Then the pupils were ready for their lessons.

"Isn't Miss Rosalie lovely," Sylvia whispered as she and Grace moved to their seats, "and doesn't she wear pretty clothes?"

Grace nodded. She had been to Miss Rosalie's school for three years, and she wondered a little at Sylvia's admiration for their teacher, although she too thought Miss Patten looked exactly like a fashion plate.

Grace was eager to get to her desk. From where she sat she could see the grim lines of the distant forts; and this morning they had a new value and interest for her; for at breakfast she had heard her father say that, although the forts were occupied by the soldiers of the United States Government, it was only justice that South Carolina should control them, and if the State seceded from the Union Charleston must take possession of the forts. With the consent of the United States Government if possible, but, if this was refused, by force.

Grace had been thinking about this all the morning, wondering if Charleston men would really send off the soldiers in the forts. She had not spoken of this to Sylvia as they came along the street facing the harbor, and now as she looked at the distant forts on guard at the entrance of the harbor, she resolved to ask Miss Rosalie why the United States should interfere with the "Sovereign State of South Carolina," which her father had said would defend its rights. "Question time" was just before the morning session ended. Then each pupil could ask a question. But as a rule only one or two of the girls had any inquiry to make. To-day, however, there were several who had questions to ask and Grace waited with what patience she could until it was her turn. When Miss Rosalie smiled at her and called her name, Grace rose and said:

"Please, Miss Rosalie, if Charleston owns the forts, could anyone take them away?"

The teacher's dark eyes seemed to grow larger and brighter, and she straightened her slender shoulders as if preparing to defend the rights of her State.

"My dear girl, who would question the right of South Carolina to control all forts on her territory? We all realize that this is a time of uncertainty for our beloved State; we may be treated with harshness, with injustice, but every loyal Carolinian will protect his State."

The little girls looked at each other with startled eyes. What was Miss Rosalie talking about, they wondered, and what did Grace Waite mean about anybody "taking" Fort Sumter or Fort Moultrie? Of course nobody could do such a thing.

School was dismissed with less ceremony than usual that morning, and the little girls started off in groups, talking and questioning each other about what Miss Rosalie had said.

Two or three ran after Grace and Sylvia to ask Grace what she meant by her question.

"Of course we know that northern people want to take our slaves away from us," declared Elinor Mayhew, the oldest girl in school, whose dark eyes and curling hair were greatly admired by auburn-haired, blue-eyed Sylvia, "but of course they can't do that. But how could they take our forts?"

"I don't know," responded Grace. "That's why I asked Miss Rosalie. I guess I'll have to ask my father."

"We'll all ask our fathers," said Elinor, "and to-morrow we will tell each other what they say. I don't suppose YOUR father would care if the forts were taken," and she turned suddenly toward Sylvia. "I suppose all the Yankees would like to tell us what we ought to do."

Sylvia looked at her in surprise. The tall girl had never taken any notice of the little Boston girl before, and Sylvia could not understand why Elinor should look at her so scornfully or speak so unkindly. The other girls had stopped talking, and now looked at Sylvia as if wondering what she would say.

"I don't know what you mean," she answered bravely, "but I know one thing: my father would want what was right."

"That's real Yankee talk," said Elinor. "They say slavery isn't right."

There was a little murmur of laughter among the other girls. For in 1860 the people of South Carolina believed they were quite right in buying negroes for slaves, and in selling them when they desired; so these little girls, some of whom already "owned" a colored girl who waited upon them, had no idea but what slavery was a right and natural condition, and were amused at Elinor's words.

"Why do you want to be so hateful, Elinor?" demanded Grace, before Sylvia could reply. "Sylvia has not said or done anything to make you talk to her this way," and Grace linked her arm in Sylvia's, and stood facing the other girls.

"Well, Grace Waite, you can associate with Yankees if you wish to. But my mother says that Miss Patten ought not to have Sylvia Fulton in her school. Come on, girls; Grace Waite can do as she pleases," and Elinor, followed by two or three of the older girls, went scornfully down the street.

"Sylvia! Wait!" and a little girl about Sylvia's age came running down the path. It was Flora Hayes; and, next to Grace Waite, Sylvia liked her the best of any of her new companions.

"Don't mind what Elinor Mayhew says. She's always horrid when she dares to be," said Flora.

Flora's father was a wealthy cotton planter, and their Charleston home was in one of the historic mansions of that city. Beside that there was the big old house on the Ashley River ten miles from the city, where the family stayed a part of the time.

Flora's eyes were as blue as Sylvia's, and her hair was very much the same color. She was always smiling and friendly, and was better liked than Elinor Mayhew, who, as Flora said, was always ready to tease the younger girls.

"I don't know what she meant," said Sylvia as, with Grace on one side and Flora on the other, they started toward home.

"She is just hateful," declared Grace. "I wish I had not asked Miss Rosalie about the forts. But I did want to know. It would be dreadful not to see them where they have always been."

"Oh, Grace! You didn't think they were going to move the forts to Washington, did you?" laughed Flora. "I know better than that. Taking the forts means that the Government of the United States would own them instead of South Carolina."

Grace laughed good-naturedly. She was always as ready to laugh at her own mistakes as at those of others; and in the year that Sylvia had known her she had never seen Grace vexed or angry.

Both Grace and Flora advised Sylvia not to tell her mother of Elinor's unkindness, or of her taunting words. But it was rather difficult for Sylvia to keep a secret from her mother.

"You see, it will make your mother sorry, and she will fret about it," Flora had said; and at this Sylvia had decided that no matter what happened at school she would not tell her mother about it. She almost dreaded seeing Elinor again, and wondered why Elinor's mother had not wanted Miss Patten to take her as a pupil.

Mr. and Mrs. Fulton were surprised when at supper time Sylvia demanded to know what a "Yankee" was. She thought her mother looked a little troubled. But her father smiled. "Yankee is what Britishers call all Americans," he answered.

"Then Elinor Mayhew is just as much a Yankee as I am," thought Sylvia, and she smiled so radiantly at the thought that Mrs. Fulton was reassured, and did not question her.

The next day was Saturday, and Mr. Fulton had planned to take his wife and Sylvia to Fort Moultrie. The military band of the fort played every afternoon, and the parapet of the fort was a daily promenade for many Charleston people. During the summer workmen had been making necessary repairs on the fortifications; but visitors were always welcomed by the officers in charge, one of whom, Captain Carleton, was a college friend of Sylvia's father.

Sylvia could row a small boat very well, and her father had purchased a pretty sailboat which he was teaching her to steer. She often went with her father on trips about the harbor, and the little girl always thought that these excursions were the most delightful of pleasures.

There was a favorable breeze this Saturday afternoon, and the little boat, with its shining white paint and snowy sail, skimmed swiftly across the harbor. Sylvia watched the little waves which seemed to dance forward to meet them, looked at the many boats and vessels, and quite forgot Elinor Mayhew's unkindness. Her mother and father were talking of the black servants, whom they had hired with the house of Mr. Robert Waite, Grace's uncle. Sylvia heard them speak of Aunt Connie, the good-natured black cook, who lived in a cabin behind the Fultons' kitchen.

"Aunt Connie wants to bring her little girl to live with her. Their master is willing, if we have no objections," Sylvia heard her mother say.

"Oh, let the child come," Mr. Fulton responded; "how old is she?"

"Just Sylvia's age. Her name is Estralla," replied Mrs. Fulton.

"You'll have a little darky for a playmate, Sylvia. How will you like that?" her father asked. But before Sylvia could answer, the boat swung alongside the landing-place at the fort and she saw her father's friend, Captain Carleton, waiting to welcome them.

The band was playing, and a few people were on the parapet.

"Not many visitors to-day," said the Captain, as they all walked on together. "I am afraid the Charleston people resent the fact that the United States is protecting its property."

As they walked along the Captain pointed to the sand which the wind had blown into heaps about the sea-front of the old fort. "A child of ten could easily come into the fort over those sand-banks," he said.

"Whose fort is this?" asked Sylvia, so earnestly that both the Captain and her father smiled.

"It belongs to the United States, of which South Carolina is one," replied the Captain.

Sylvia gave a little sigh of satisfaction. Even Elinor Mayhew could not find any fault with that, she thought, and she was eager to get home and tell Grace what the Captain had said.

On the way back Sylvia asked her mother if she knew that there was a song with her name in it.

"Why, of course, dear child. You were named for that very Sylvia," replied her mother.

"'Then to Sylvia let us sing,    That Sylvia is excelling;  She excels each mortal thing    Upon the dull earth dwelling;  To her let us garlands bring'"—

sang Mrs. Fulton; "and you can thank your father for choosing your name," she added gaily.

"Oh! But Grace said it was about spelling," explained Sylvia; "but I like your way best," she added quickly.

There were a good many pleasant things for Sylvia to think of that night. Not every girl could be named out of a song, she reflected. Then there was the little colored girl Estralla, who was to arrive the next day, and besides these interesting facts, she had discovered who really owned the forts, and could tell her schoolmates on Monday. All these pleasant happenings made Sylvia forgetful of Elinor Mayhew's unkindness. Before bedtime she had learned the words of the song from which she was named. She knew Grace would think that "excelling" was much better than "spelling."


The next morning Sylvia was awakened by a tapping on her chamber door. Usually Jennie, the colored girl who helped Aunt Connie in the work of the house, would come into the room before Sylvia was awake with a big pitcher of hot water, and Sylvia would open her eyes to see Jennie unfastening the shutters and spreading out the fresh clothes. So this morning she wondered what the tapping meant, and called out: "Come in."

The door opened very slowly and a little negro girl, with a round woolly head and big startled eyes, stood peering in. She was barefooted, and wore a straight garment of faded blue cotton.

For a moment the two children stared at each other. Then Sylvia remembered that Aunt Connie's little girl was coming to live with her mother.

"Are you Estralla?" she asked eagerly, sitting up in bed.

"Yas, Missy," replied the little darky, lifting the big pitcher of water and bringing it into the room, where she stood holding it as if not knowing what to do next.

"Set the pitcher down," said Sylvia.

"Yas, Missy," said Estralla, her big eyes fixed on the little white girl in the pretty bed who was smiling at her in so friendly a fashion. She took a step or two forward, her eyes still fixed on Sylvia, and not noticing the little footstool directly in front of her, over which she stumbled with a loud crash, breaking the pitcher and sending the hot water over her bare feet.

"Oh, Mammy! Mammy! Mammy!" she screamed, lying face downward on the floor with the overturned footstool and broken pitcher, while the steaming water soaked through the cotton dress.

In a moment Sylvia was out of bed.

"Get up, Estralla," she commanded, "and stop screaming."

The little darky's wails ceased, and she looked up at the slender white figure standing in front of her.

"I kyan't git up; I'se all scalded and cut," she sobbed, "an' if I does get up I'se gwine to get whipped for breaking the pitcher," and at the thought of new trouble in store for her, she began to scream again.

"Get up this minute," said Sylvia. "I don't believe the water was hot enough to scald you; it never is really hot. Here, help me sop it up," and grabbing her bath towel Sylvia began to mop up the little stream of water which was trickling across the floor.

Estralla managed to get to her feet. She was still holding fast to the handle of the broken pitcher. The front of her cotton dress was soaked, but she was not hurt.

"I'll get whipped, yas'm, I will, fer breaking the pitcher."

"You won't!" declared Sylvia, half angrily. "It's my mother's pitcher, and I'll tell her you didn't mean to break it. Now you go and put on another dress, and tell Jennie to come up here and wipe up this floor."

"I ain't got no other dress; an' if I goes an' tells I'll get whipped," persisted the child.

Sylvia began to wonder what she could do. She thought Estralla was stupid and clumsy to fall down and break the pitcher, and now she thought her silly to be so frightened.

"I tells you, Missy, I su'ly will be whipped," she repeated so earnestly that Sylvia began to believe it. "An' when my mammy sees my dress all wet—" and Estralla began to sob, but so quietly that Sylvia realized the little darky was really frightened and unhappy.

"Don't cry, Estralla," she said more gently, patting her on the shoulder. "I'll tell you what to do. You are just about my size, and I'll give you one of my dresses. It's pink, and it's faded a little, but it's pretty. And you take this towel and wipe up the floor as well as you can. Then you slip off your dress and put on mine." While Sylvia talked Estralla stopped crying and began to look a little more cheerful.

Sylvia ran to the closet and was back in a moment with a pink checked gingham. It had a number of tiny ruffles on the skirt, and a little frill of lace around the neck.

"Landy! You don't mean I kin KEEP that, Missy?" exclaimed Estralla, her face radiant at the very thought.

"Yes, quick. Somebody may come. Slip off your dress."

In a moment the old blue frock lay in a little heap on the floor, and Sylvia had slipped the pink dress over Estralla's head, and was fastening it. The little darky chuckled and laughed now as if she had not a trouble in the world.

"Listen, Estralla! Here, pick up every bit of the pitcher and put the pieces on the chair. Nobody shall know that you broke it. And now you take this wet towel and your dress and spread them somewhere outdoors to dry. You can tell your mammy I gave you the dress. Now, run quick. My mother may come."

Estralla stood quite still looking at Sylvia. She had stopped laughing.

"Will you' mammy scold you 'bout dat pitcher?" she asked.

"I don't know. Anyway, nobody shall know that you broke it. You won't be whipped. Run along," urged Sylvia.

But Estralla did not move. "I don't keer if I is whipped," she announced. "I guess, mebbe, my mammy won't whip hard."

"Sylvia, Sylvia," sounded her mother's voice, and both the little girls looked at each other with startled eyes.

"Run," said Sylvia, giving Estralla a little push. "Run out on the balcony." Estralla did not question the command, and in a moment, carrying dress and towel, she had vanished through the open window.

"Why, child! What has happened?" exclaimed Mrs. Fulton, coming into the room and looking at the overturned footstool, the pieces of the broken pitcher, and at Sylvia standing in the middle of the floor with an anxious, half-frightened expression.

"Don't look so frightened, dear child. A broken pitcher isn't worth it," said Mrs. Fulton smilingly. "It's only hot water, and won't hurt





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