This simple story commences on a November evening, in the autumn of 185-. Charleston and New York furnish me with the scenes and characters. Our quaint old city has been in a disquiet mood for several weeks. Yellow fever has scourged us through the autumn, and we have again taken to scourging ourselves with secession fancies. The city has not looked up for a month. Fear had driven our best society into the North, into the mountains, into all the high places. Business men had nothing to do; stately old mansions were in the care of faithful slaves, and there was high carnival in the kitchen. Fear had shut up the churches, shut up the law-courts, shut up society generally. There was nothing for lawyers to do, and the buzzards found it lonely enough in the market-place. The clergy were to be found at fashionable watering-places, and politicians found comfort in cards and the country. Timid doctors had taken to their heels, and were not to be found.