‘ "Oh, a dainty plant is the ivy green,
Creeping over dead men's graves."
’ the "ivy green" of this war is the speculators and extortioners. If they have a short life, it is a merry one. The ugliest feature in this whole struggle has been the development of a spirit of money-making so insatiable that neither patriotism, conscience nor religion can restrain its excesses, nor even teach it to blush. It is a horrid sight, after a great battle, to see dogs and swine devouring the dead; and every one feels disposed to kill the brutes on the spot. Yet, except that they go on four legs, and have no fastidiousness upon the subject of fattening themselves on human flesh, We see no difference between them and the two-legged animals who grow rich and pampered upon the heart's blood of their country. If the doctrine of transmigration of souls were true, We can easily imagine that speculators and extortioners pass after this life into the bodies of those animals which feed upon the carcases of fallen heroes. In a book of Judge Johnson, of South Carolina, a story is told, intended to illustrate the bargaining and avaricious traits of New England money-lovers, which, with some modifications, We may apply with equal justice to our own extortioners and speculators. Henry Trevor, the hero of the book in question, had signed a bond with the Devil, some thirty years before, bartering away his soul for a certain period of uninterrupted pleasure and prosperity. At the appointed hour, the Devil appears, but, upon his urgent entreaties, gives him a respite of four days, and even makes him this liberal proposition: "Provided that you will deliver to me at the close of the war the souls of twenty-five other persons, I will take them as a substitute for yours, and agree to cancel your bond." We shall now let Trevor tell his own story: ‘ I instantly set to work and published the following advertisement: "Wanted to Purchase, immediately, twenty-five souls. being very anxious to obtain them, and having abundance of money, the subscriber is willing to allow a high price, and to pay the cash down. Henry Trevor" "Expecting, of course, great difficulty in finding out persons willing to sell, I employed most of the day in circulating this notice as widely as possible. Upon returning to my house, however, I found several hundred persons already assembled to treat with me. They were all speculators, and some of them had made large fortunes in flour, others in salt, others in beef and bacon, others in wood and other necessaries of life. "well, my friend," said I, accosting one of them, "What will you take for your soul?" "What are you going to do with it?" inquired he. "I want it to go to the old Boy in my place." I replied. "Oh, is that all?" said he; "I didn't know but you wanted to melt it up in charity. Well, seeing I have no use for it, you may have it cheap. I will take four hundred dollars in Confederate notes, or ten dollars in specte, for my soul." "Very well," said I, "I will give it to you, though I am by no means certain that I am not paying more than ten times its value." "the above may serve as a specimen of my purchases. I soon bought the twenty-five at prices ranging from two to ten dollars, as the fear or avarice of the seller predominated. Towards the last, as the company perceived that my number was nearly made up, great competition was excited, and prices fell exceedingly. I could then have bought as many as I pleased for next to nothing. Those who had not sold, went away bitterly be waiting their disappointment. "After paying to each man his money, I locked up my New purchases in a safe room, telling them that in a few days the Devil would visit them for inspection, in order to identify them upon the conclusion of peace with the United States. The rogues where in high spirits, conscious of the intrinsic worthlessness of the property they had transferred, and confident that if the Devil waited till the end of the war for the consummation of the contract, it would be long enough, in all reason, for their purposes.--they remained in their prison very busily engaged in speculating and trading with each other, and I was informed that by night there was not a single one of them who had not made a small fortune by his speculations. " upon the Devil's re-appearance, I met him without fear, and producing my twenty-five substitutes, demanded a receipt in full. "Mr. Trevor," said he, looking scornfully and offended, "I had a better opinion of you than to suppose that you would attempt to cheat me in this shameful manner. Do you think to pay your debts to me in that which is my own property already?--this is the same as if you owed your neighbor twenty-five cattle, and were to go into his field and take beast with his brand on them, and offer them to him as payment. These men all have my mark on them. There is a fellow who has made the widows and children of soldiers starve by his operations in flour, and not one of them but has the blood of innocents whom his extortions have murdered — the only blood he has seen during the war — upon his head. The tears of misery, the dying groans they have caused, have filled all hell with rapture. And besides, to put the matter on another ground, this is no compliance with my offer, for these creatures have no souls, I will show you." ’ the Devil, it is to be understood, is a wonderfully skillful chemist, and knows how to analyse all substances, whether material or spiritual. In a few moments he erected a furnace, seized one of the speculators, and disengaged from the body that which in these animals supplies the place of a soul. It stood up before me a thing utterly strange and indescribable. He put it into a large crucible, reduced it to a fluid mass, and then separated the component parts. It consisted of parts in a thousand.
|Nameless and numberless small vices||140.|
|Bacon and Cabbage, Apple Brandy and Sorghum Molasses||235.|