Part 3 out of 8
"Yes, my poor girl, I am a father and have a heart; the more's the pity,
for just now something else is needed in its place. I suppose your
father is over yonder," and he nodded toward the Virginia shore.
"O Mr. Lincoln, my father is farther away than that. My father was
Senator Sprague--you served with him in Congress--I--I--thought that
perhaps you might take pity on his widow, his daughter, his son, if the
poor boy is still living, and--and--"
"Send you across the lines?"
"Oh, if God would put it in your heart!"
"It's in my heart fast enough, my poor child, but--"
"Impossible, Mr. President! The enemy, as it is, can open a Sabine
campaign on us, and tie our hands by stretching Northern women out in a
line of battle between the ranks!"
It was the weary, discouraging voice of the Secretary, imperiously
implying that the Executive must not interpose weakness and mercy where
Draconian rigor sat enthroned. The President smiled sadly.
"Ah, Mr. Secretary, a sister--a mother--give a great deal for the
country. We can not err much in granting their prayer. Make out an
Olympia, speechless with gratitude reverence could hardly articulate:
"My mother, myself, and Miss Marcia Perley."
"Her boy is not of age, and ran away to join my brother's company." She
had a woman's presence of mind to answer with this diplomatic evasion.
"I'm afraid you will only add to your distress, my poor child; but you
shall go." He inclined his head benignantly and passed into the inner
sanctuary behind the rail, when Olympia heard the Secretary say, grimly:
"I shall take measures to stop this sort of thing, Mr. President.
Hereafter you shall only come to this department at certain hours. At
all other times the doors shall be guarded."
A gray-haired man in undress uniform presently appeared, and as he
handed Olympia the large official envelope he said, respectfully:
"You never heard of me, Miss Sprague? Many years ago the Senator, your
father, did a kind turn for my brother--an employe in the Treasury. If
I can be of any aid to you in this painful business, pray give me a
chance to show a kindness to the family of a great and good man. My name
is Charles Bevan, and it is signed to one of the papers in this letter."
Within an hour all was ready, but they could not set out until the next
morning, when, by eight o'clock, the three ladies were _en route_. There
was a large company with them, all under a flag of truce. They passed
through the long lines of soldiery that lay intrenched on the Virginia
side of the Potomac, and pushed on to Annandale, where the rebel outpost
received them. Olympia's eyes dwelt on the wide-stretching lands of pine
and oak, remembering the pictures Jack had given in his letters of this
very same route. But there were few signs of war. The cleared places lay
red and baking under the hot August sun; the trees seemed crisp
At Fairfax Court-House, where the first signs of real warlike tenure
were seen, the visitors were taken into a low frame house, and each in
turn asked to explain the objects of her mission. Then the hospital
reports were searched. In half a dozen or more instances the sad-eyed
mothers were thrown into tremulous hope by the tidings of their
darlings' whereabouts. But for Olympia and Aunt Merry there was no clew.
No such names as Sprague or Perley were recorded in the fateful pages of
the hospital corps. But there were several badly wounded in the hospital
at Manassas, where fuller particulars were accessible.
They were conducted very politely by a young lieutenant in a shabby gray
uniform to an ambulance and driven four miles southward to Fairfax
Station on the railway, when, after despairing hours of waiting, they
were taken by train to Manassas. An orderly accompanied them, and as the
train passed beyond Union Mills, where the Bull Run River runs along the
railway a mile or more before crossing under it, the young soldier
pointed out the distant plateau, near the famous stone bridge, and, when
the train crossed the river, the high bluffs, a half-mile to the
northward, where the action had begun at Blackburn's Ford. He was very
respectful and gentle in alluding to the battle, and said, ingenuously,
pointing to the plateau jutting out from the Bull Run Mountains:
"At two o'clock on Sunday we would have cried quits to McDowell to hold
his ground and let us alone. But just as we were on our heel to turn,
Joe Johnston came piling in here, right where you see that gully yonder,
with ten thousand fresh men, and in twenty minutes we were three to one,
and then your folks had the worst of it. President Davis got off the
train at the junction yonder, and as he rode across this field, where we
are now, the woods yonder were full of our men, flying from the Henry
House Hill, where Sherman had cut General Bee's brigade to pieces and
was routing Jackson--'Stonewall,' we call him now, because General
Bonham, when he brought up the reserves, shouted, 'See, there, where
Jackson stands like a stone wall!' He's a college professor and very
pious; he makes his men pray before fighting, and has 'meetings' in the
commissary tent twice a week."
"Did Mr. Davis join in the battle?" Olympia asked, more to seem
interested in the garrulous warrior's narrative than because she really
had her mind on the story.
"Oh, dear, no. Old Johnston had finished the job before the President
(Olympia noticed that all Southerners dwelt upon this title with
complacent insistence) could reach the field. He was barely in time to
see the cavalry of 'Jeb' Stuart charge the regulars on the
The train came to a halt, and the young man said, cheerfully:
"Here we are. The hospital's still right smart over yonder in the
"But you will go with us, will you not?" Olympia asked in alarm, for it
was wearing toward night.
"Oh, yes; I'm detailed to remain with you until you have found out about
In the mellow sunset the three women followed the orderly across the
fields strewed with armaments, supplies, and the rough depot
paraphernalia of an army at rest. The hospital consisted of a large tent
for the slightly hurt, and a few old buildings and a barn for the more
serious cases. The search was futile. There were two or three of the
Caribees in the place, but they knew nothing of their missing comrades.
Indeed, Jack's detail by Colonel Sherman had effectually cut off all
trace of his movements after the battle began.
Mrs. Sprague's tears were falling softly as the orderly led them to the
surgeon's office. They were there shown the records of all who had been
buried on the field. Many, he informed them, sympathetically, had been
buried where they fell, in great ditches dug by the sappers. In every
case the garments had been stripped from the bodies before burial, so
that there was absolutely no means of identification. Most of the
wounded had, however, been sent to Richmond with the prisoners. "It
would not do," he added, kindly, "to give up all hope of the lost ones,
until they had seen the roster of the prisoners and the wounded in the
Richmond prisons and hospitals."
Quarters were given to them in a tent put at their disposal by the
surgeons, and in the long, wakeful hours of the night Olympia heard the
guard pacing monotonously before the door. The music of the bugles
aroused them at sunrise--a wan, haggard group, sad-eyed and silent. The
girl made desperate efforts to cheer the wretched mother, and even
privily took Merry to task for giving way before what was as yet but a
shadow. 'Twould be time enough for tears when they found evidence that
the stout, vigorous boys had been killed. As they finished the very
plain breakfast of half-baked bread, pea-coffee, and eggs, bought by the
orderly at an exorbitant rate, he said, good-naturedly:
"The train don't come till about ten o'clock. If you'd like to see the
battle-field, I can get the ambulance and take you over."
Olympia eagerly assented--anything was preferable to this mute misery of
her mother and Merry's sepulchral struggles to be conversational and
tearless. They drove through bewildering numbers of tents, most of them,
Olympia's sharp eyes noted, marked "U.S.A.," and she reflected, almost
angrily, that the chief part of war, after all, was pillage. The men
looked shabby, and the uniforms were as varied as a carnival, though by
no means so gay. Whenever they crossed a stream, which was not seldom,
groups of men were standing in the water to their middle, washing their
clothing, very much as Olympia had seen the washer-women on the
Continent, in Europe. They were very merry, even boisterous in this
unaccustomed work, responding to rough jests by resounding slashes of
the tightly wrung garments upon the heads or backs of the unwary wags.
"Why, there must be a million men here," Merry cried, as the tents
stretched for miles, as far as she could see.
"No; not quite a million, I reckon," the orderly said, proudly; "but we
shall have a million when we march on Washington."
"March on Washington!" Merry gasped, as though it was an official order
she had just heard promulgated. "But--but we aren't ready yet. We--"
Then she halted in dismay. Was she giving information to the enemy?
Would they instantly make use of it? Ah! she must, at any cost, undo
this fatal treason, big with disaster to the republic. "I mean we are
not ready yet to put our many million men on the march."
The orderly laughed. "I reckon your many million will be ready as soon
as our one million. You know we have a big country to cover with them.
You folks have only Washington to guard and Richmond to take. We have
the Mississippi and fifteen hundred miles of coast to guard. Now, this
corner is Newmarket, where Johnston waited for his troops on Sunday and
led them right along the road we are on--to the pine wood yonder--just
north of us. We won't go through there, because we ain't making a flank
movement," and he laughed pleasantly. They drove on at a rapid rate as
they came upon the southern shelf of the Manassas plateau.
"This," the orderly said, pointing to a small stone building in a bare
and ragged waste of trees, shrubs, and ruined implements of war, "is the
Henry House--what is left of it--the key of our position when Jackson
formed his stone wall facing toward the northwest, over there where your
folks very cleverly flanked us and waited an hour or two, Heaven only
knows what for, unless it was to give us time to bring up our
re-enforcements. Your officers lay the blame on Burnside and Hunter,
who, they declare, just sat still half the day, while Sherman got in
behind us and would have captured every man Jack of our fellows, if
Johnston hadn't come up, where I showed you, in the very nick of time."
The women were looking eagerly at the field of death. It was still as on
the day of the battle, save that instead of the thousands of beating
hearts, the flaunting flags, and roaring guns, there were countless
ridges torn in the sod, as if a plow had run through at random, limbs
and trees torn down and whirled across each other, broken wheels, musket
stocks and barrels, twisted and sticking, gaunt and eloquent, in the
tough, grassy fiber of the earth.
"In this circle of a mile and a half fifty thousand men pelted each
other from two o'clock that Sunday morning until four in the afternoon.
Up to two o'clock we were on the defensive. We were driven from the
broad, smooth road yonder that you see cutting through the trees,
northward a mile from here. Jackson alone made a stand; if it hadn't
been for him we should have been prisoners in Washington now, I reckon.
You see those men at work? They are picking up lead. We reckon that it
takes a ton of lead to kill a man."
"A ton of lead?" Olympia repeated.
"Yes. You wouldn't believe that thousands of men can stand in front of
each other a whole day and pour lead into each other's faces, and not
one in fifty is hit?"
"Ah!" Olympia commented, thinking that, after all, Jack might not have
"These are the trenches of the dead. Our dead are not here. They were
all taken and sent to friends. There are five hundred of your dead here
and near the stone bridge yonder. We lost three hundred killed in
"And are there no other marks than this plain board?" Olympia pointed to
a rough pine plank, sticking loosely in the ground, with the words
painted in lampblack: "85 Yanks. By the Hospital Corps, Bee's Brigade."
"That's all. They were all stripped--no means of identifying them. The
sun was very hot; the rain next day made the bodies rot, and the men had
to just shovel them in--" "Oh, oh! don't, pray don't!" Olympia cried, as
her mother tottered against the ambulance.
"I ask your pardon, ladies; I forgot that these are not things for
ladies to hear." He spoke in sincere contrition.
To relieve him Olympia smiled sadly, saying, "Won't you take us back,
The ambulance drove on into the Warrenton pike, and, if Olympia had
known it, within a stone's-throw of Jack's last effort, where the
cavalry picket came upon him. It was noon when they reached the station.
The orderly returned the ambulance to the hospital, brought down the
luggage, and the three women made a luncheon of fruit and dry bread,
declining the orderly's invitation to eat at the hospital. The train
came on three hours late. It was filled with military men, most of them
officers; but so soon as the orderly entered the rear coach, ushering in
his charges, two or three young men with official insignia on their
collars arose with alacrity and begged the ladies to take the vacant
places. At Bristow Station many of the officers got out and a number of
civilians entered from the coach ahead and took their places. Mrs.
Sprague, worn out by the fatigue of the journey and the strain upon her
mind, quite broke down in the hot, ill-ventilated car. There was no
water to be had, and Olympia turned inquiringly to the person opposite
"Could we possibly get any water--my mother is very much overcome?"
"Certainly, madam. There must be plenty of canteens on the train. I will
bring you some in a moment."
An officer who had been sharing the seat with Merry arose on hearing
this and said, kindly:
"Madam, if you will make use of your seat as a couch, perhaps your
mother will feel more comfortable reclining. I will get a seat
Olympia was too much distressed to think of acknowledging this courteous
action, but Merry spoke up timidly:
"We are most grateful to you, sir."
"Oh, don't mention it. Are you going far?" "Yes, we're going to
Richmond, to--to find our boys, lost in the battle two weeks ago."
"Oh, you're from the North." He was a young man, perhaps thirty,
evidently proud of his unsoiled uniform and the glittering insignia of
rank on the sleeve and collar.
"Yes, sir; we're from Acredale, near Warchester," Merry said, as though
Acredale must be known even in this remote place, and that the knowing
of it would bring a certain consideration to the travelers.
"Oh, yes, Warchester. I fell in with an officer from there after the
battle, a Captain Boone. Do you know him?"
"Oh, dear me, yes. He is from Acredale. He is captain of Company K of
the Caribee Regiment--"
"Caribee? Why, yes. I remember that name. We got their flags and sent
them to Richmond; we--"
"And, oh, sir, did you take the prisoners? I mean the Caribees--were
there many? Oh, dear sir, it is among them our boys were; they were
"Yes, ma'am, there were a good smart lot of them, and as you say all
very young. Boone himself can't be twenty-five."
"And are they treated well? Do they have care? Of course you did not ask
any of their names?" Merry asked eagerly, comforted to be able to talk
with some one who knew of the Caribees, for heretofore, of the scores
they had questioned, no one had ever heard of the regiment.
"Oh, as to that, ma'am, you know a soldier's life is hard, and a
prisoner's is a good deal harder. Most of your men are in Castle
Thunder--a large tobacco warehouse." He hesitated, and looked furtively
at Olympia administering water to her mother. "Perhaps," he said,
heartily, "if you would put a drop of whisky in the cup it would brace
up your mother's nerves. We find it a good friend down here, when it
isn't an enemy," he added, smiling as Olympia looked at the proffered
"I assure you, madam," (Southerners, in the old time at least, imitated
the pleasant continental custom of addressing all women by this
comprehensive term), "you will be the better for a sip yourself. It was
upon that we did most of our fighting the other day, and it is a mighty
good brace-up, I assure you."
But Olympia shook her head, smiling. Her mother had taken a fair dose,
and was, as she owned, greatly benefited by it. The young man sat on the
arm of the opposite seat, anxious to continue the conversation, but
divided in mind. Merry was trying to hide her tears, and kept her head
obstinately toward the window. Olympia, with her mother's head pillowed
on her lap, strove to fan a current of air into circulation. She gave
the young man a reassuring glance, and he resumed his seat in front of
her, beside the distracted Merry.
"You are from Richmond?" Olympia asked as he sat puzzling for a pretext
to renew the talk with her.
"Oh, no; I am from Wilmington, but I have kinsfolk in Richmond, I am on
General Beauregard's staff. My name is Ballman--Captain Ballman."
She vaguely remembered that Vincent Atterbury was on staff duty. Perhaps
this young man knew him.
"Do you know a Mr. Atterbury in--in your army?" she asked, blushing
"Atterbury--Atterbury--why, yes! I know there is such a man. He is in
General Jackson's forces--whether on the staff or not I can't say. Stay.
I saw his name in _The Whig_ this very day." He took out the paper and
glanced down the columns. "Ah, yes; is this the man?" And he read:
"Major Vincent Atterbury, whose wounds were at first pronounced serious,
is now at his mother's country-house on the river. He is doing
excellently, and all fears have been removed."
"Yes, that is he. We know him quite well." And she turned her head
window-ward, with a feeling of confidence in the mission, heretofore so
blank and wild. Vincent would aid them. He could bring official
intervention to bear, without which Jack might, even though alive and
well, be hidden from them. She whispered this confidence to her mother
as the train jolted along noisily over the rough road, and, a good deal
inspired by it, Mrs. Sprague began to take something like interest in
the melancholy country that flew past the window, as if seeking a place
to hide its bareness in the blue line of uplands that marked the
receding mountain spurs.
The captain was much more potential in providing a supper at the evening
station than the orderly, who was looked upon with some suspicion when
he told the story of his _proteges_. The zeal of the new Confederates
did not extend to aiding the enemy, even though weak women and within
the Confederate lines. It was nearly morning when the train finally drew
up in the Richmond station, and the captain, with many protestations of
being at their service, gave them his army address, and, relinquishing
them to the orderly, withdrew. It had been decided that the party should
not attempt to find quarters in the hotels, which their escort declared
were crowded by the government and the thousands of curious flocking to
the city since the battle.
He could, however, he thought, get them plain accommodations with an
aunt, who lived a little from the center of the town. They were forced
to walk thither, no conveyance being obtainable. After a long delay they
were admitted, the widow explaining that she had been a good deal
troubled by marauding volunteers. The orderly explained the situation to
his kinswoman, and without parley the three ladies were shown into two
plain rooms adjoining. They were very prim and clean; the morning air
came through the open windows, bearing an almost stupefying odor. It may
have been the narcotic influence of the flowers that brought sleep to
the three women, for in ten minutes they were at rest as tranquilly as
if in the security of Acredale.
A COMEDY OF TERRORS.
When Jack, the day after the battle, found himself able to take account
of what was going on, he closed his eyes again with a deep groan,
believing in a vague glimpse of peaceful rest that his last confused
sensation was real--that he was dead. But there were no airy aids of
languorous ease to perpetuate or encourage this delusion. Sharp pains
racked his head; his right arm burned and twinged as though he had
thrust it into pricking flames. Loud voices about, but invisible to him,
were swearing and gibing. He was lying on his back, his head on a line
with his body. A regular movement, broken by joltings that sent
torturing darts through his whole frame, told him without much
conjecture that he was in an ambulance. The accent of the voices outside
told him that it was a rebel ambulance and not a Northern one he was in.
He tried to raise his head to see his companions, but he might as well
have been nailed to the cross, so far as pain and helplessness went.
Then he lost the thread of his thought. He heard, in a vague, far-off
voice, men talking:
"We'll catch old Abe on our next trip ef we go on like this--eh, Ben?"
"I reckon. I'm jess going to take a furlough now. Hain't seen my girl
fo' foah months."
"How much did you pick up?"
"I've got five gold watches and right smart o' shinplasters, I don't
reckon they'll pass in our parts, but I'm going to trade 'em off with
some of these wounded chaps. They'll give gold for 'em fast enough."
"I got a heap of gold watches, jackknives, and sech. I don't know what
in the land to do with 'em. Suppose we can sell 'em in Richmond?"
"Yes--but how are we going to get to Richmond? We're ordered to dump
these Yanks at Newmarket and go back. Ef we don't get to Richmond, our
watches ain't worth a red cent. Jess like's not old Bory'll issue an
order to turn everything in. I'm blamed if I will!"
"Look yere, Ben, do you see that road off there to the right?"
"Yes, I do, but I don't see that it's different from any other road."
"Don't you? Well, honey, it's mitey sight different from all the roads
you ever saw. It takes you where you don't want to go."
"What do you mean, Bob?"
"I jess mean that ar road goes to Newmarket, where these Yanks are
ordered, but we've lost it and we shall come out in about an hour and a
half at the junction, whar th' train goes on to Richmond. See?"
"Bob Purvis, you are a general, suah," and then there followed low,
rollicking laughter, mingled with a gurgling as of a liquid swallowed
from a flask. "But how'll we manage at the junction? We can't go right
on the cars? There is some hocus-pocus about everything you do in
"Oh, jess you keep your eye on your dad, and you'll see things you never
saw afore. The minit them cavalry sneaks left us back thar, I made up my
mind I'd skip Newmarket. They've gone back to pick up more loot. No one
at the junction knows what our orders was. Besides, it'll be dark when
we get thar. The trains'll be full of our wounded. We'll slip these
Yanks in as if under orders. No one will know but we're hospital guards
on a detail for the wounded. When it is found out we shall be in
Richmond, and, if the provost folk get hold of me afore I've been home
and planted my haul, then I'm a Yank."
"By mitey, Ben, you are a general, suah." Then suppressed laughter and
the gurgling of the flowing enlivener. Jack blissfully fell into dreams,
wherein home things and warlike doings mingled in grotesque medley.
Relapses into consciousness followed at he knew not what intervals
thereafter. He was conscious of cruel torment and a clumsy transfer into
another vehicle, confused sounds of groans, curses, waving lights, and
the hissing of escaping steam almost in his very ears. Then the anguish
of thundering wheels, until his cracked brain reeled and he was
mercifully unconscious. How long? His eyes opened on a clean white wall,
flowers hung from the windows in plumy festoons, birds sang in the
yellow dazzling sunlight. What could it mean? Was he at home? Surely
there was nothing of war in these comfortable surroundings. His left arm
was free, there was no one lying near to impede its movement. So it
wasn't a hospital. He took vague note of all this before he tried to
lift his arm. He raised his hand to rub his eyes and to assure himself
that it was not a cruel delusion. When he took it away, a kind face--the
face of a woman--was bending over him.
"You are feeling better, aren't you, lieutenant?"
"Lieutenant"? Why did she call him lieutenant? Had he been promoted on
the battle-field? Was he in the Union lines? Oh, yes; else he would have
been in a hospital, with moaning men all about him. He tried to speak.
The woman put her finger to her lips, warningly.
"The doctor says you must not speak or be spoken to until you get
Days passed. He couldn't tell how many, for he lay, long hours at a
time, unconscious, the mental faculties mercifully dead while the
wounded ligatures knit themselves anew. His right arm had been cut by a
saber-stroke, and a pistol-ball had entered above the shoulder-blade.
Prompt attention would have given him recovery in a few days, but the
twenty-four hours in a cart and the cars made his condition, for a
But now he is visibly stronger, and his nurse brings people into the
room to see him. They look at him with wonder and admiration, while the
good lady is all in a flutter of delight. He hears himself spoken of
always as the "lieutenant," and hesitates to ask an explanation. The
physician comes but seldom, the lady explaining that all the doctors in
town are busy in the hospitals. The truth flashed upon him one morning,
when his hostess came bursting in to say:
"The provost guard has come to take your name. I don't know it, for when
you were brought here my son only heard you called lieutenant."
"My name is John Sprague"--Jack lifted himself to his elbow in
excitement and disregard of everything--"and my regiment is the--ah!" He
fell back, and the frightened dame hurried to him as she saw his changed
look and deadly pallor.
"Oh, how careless of me; how unthinking! There, lie perfectly still. I
will send the guard away and come back."
She was gone before he could recover his speech or enough coherence to
say what was in his mind. She informed the orderly that the ailing man
was John Sprague, a lieutenant in the First Virginia Volunteers, for
that was the regiment the hospital guards had named, when, on the night
of the arrival, the eager citizens swarmed at the station to take the
wounded to their homes, the hospitals being sadly unready. Jack
instantly suspected the situation, the conversation in the ambulance
coming back to him now distinctly. What should he do? He was in honor
bound to undeceive the kind-hearted and unwitting accomplice of the
fraud practiced on herself as well as on him. She came in presently with
an officer. Jack was not familiar with the rebel insignia, and could not
discover his rank or service, but he expected to hear himself denounced
as a spy or anything odious.
"Our surgeon has been sent to Manassas, and Dr. Van Ness is come to take
care of you in his place," the matron said, as Jack stared silent and
quavering at the new-comer. That gentleman examined the patient, shook
his head dubiously and declared high fever at work, and ordered absolute
quiet for at least twenty-four hours, when, if he could, he would
return. "Continue the prescriptions you have now, Mrs. Raines. All he
needs is quiet. The hospital steward will come to dress his wounds
Mrs. Raines came in with tea and toast in the evening, and as she spread
the napkin on the bed she prattled cheerily.
"I'm so happy to-night. I've just received a letter from my son. He's at
Manassas. He's been promoted to lieutenant from sergeant. It was read at
the head of the regiment--for gallant service at the Henry House, where
he captured part of a company of Yankees with a squad of cavalry. He's
only twenty-two, and if he lives he may be a general--if those cowardly
Yankees will only fight long enough. But I'm afraid they won't. _The
Whig_ says this morning that that beast Lincoln has to keep himself
guarded by a regiment of negroes, as the Northern people want to kill
him. I hope they won't, for if they did then they might put some one in
his place that has some sense, and then the war would come to an end and
we should be cheated in a settlement, for the Yankees are sharper than
our big-hearted, generous men. No, sir, no; you mustn't talk. I've
promised to keep you quiet, so lie still. I'll read _The Whig_ to you."
She ran over the meager dispatches made up of hearsay and
speculation--how the North had fallen into a rage with the Washington
authorities; how Lincoln's life wasn't safe; how the Cabinet had all
resigned; how the Democrats had arisen in Congress and in the State
Legislatures and demanded negotiations with "President Davis"; how
England was drawing up a treaty with the new Confederacy. Then she
turned to the local page. She ran over a dozen paragraphs recounting the
deeds of well-known Richmond heroes, but these made no impression upon
the listener, until she read:
"Major Vincent Atterbury, whose gallantry at the battle of the 21st
Richmond is a subject of pride to his friends, was transferred to his
country home, on the James, yesterday. He is still very low, but the
surgeons declare that home quiet and careful nursing will restore him to
his duties in time for the autumn campaign--if the Yankees do not
surrender before that time."
Jack's eyes were so bright when Mrs. Raines looked at him, as she
lowered the sheet, that she arose, exclaiming quickly:
"There, I have brought the fever back! Your eyes are glittering and your
cheeks are flushed. No, do not speak."
She moved precipitately from the room, and Jack sank back with a groan.
His danger, if not his difficulties, might be overcome now. He would
write to Mrs. Atterbury, and through Vincent arrange for an exchange.
But a still deeper trouble had been on his mind. Where were Barney and
Nick, and, worse than all, young Dick Perley? If any mishap had befallen
that boy, he would shrink from returning to Acredale. And his mother,
what must her state of mind be? How many days had passed since the
battle? He had no means of knowing. Ah, yes! The paper was there on the
stand, where Mrs. Raines had thrown it. He raised himself slowly and
seized it. Heavens! Saturday, August 4th? Two weeks since that fatal
Sunday! And his mother? Oh, he must find means to write, to telegraph.
"Mrs. Raines," he called, hoarsely, "Mrs. Raines!" She came running to
his side in alarm.
"Oh, what has happened? You are worse!"
"I am very comfortable; but, my kind friend, I must--I must let my
mother know that I am alive; she will think me dead."
"That's what I meant to ask you--just as soon as you seemed able to
talk. I would have gladly sent her word and invited her to come here,
but I didn't know the name nor the address. You didn't have a stitch of
clothes when you came except your underwear; the rest had been taken
off, the men said, because they were soiled and bloody, and there wasn't
a clew of any sort to your identity, except that you were a lieutenant
in a Virginia regiment. I thought we should find out when the provost
came, but they have sent to Manassas, and no answer has come back yet."
"The men who brought me here deceived you, Mrs. Raines. I do not belong
to a Virginia regiment; I belong to a New York regiment, and I am
"Great Father! A Yankee?" The poor woman sank on the nearest chair, as
some one who has been nursing a patient that suddenly turns out to have
small-pox or leprosy.
"Yes, Mrs. Raines: if you prefer that name, I'm a Yankee--but we call
only New-Englanders Yankees." He waited for her to speak, but as she sat
dumb, helpless, overcome, he continued: "I tried to explain the mistake
before, but your kindness cut me off. I can only say that, though you
have given me a mother's care and a Christian's consideration under a
misunderstanding, I trust you will not blame me for willful deception
nor regret the goodness you have shown the stranger in your hands."
"And those men that brought you here--were they Yankees, too?" she
asked, her mind dwelling, womanlike, on the least essential factor of
the problem in order to keep the grievous fact as far away as possible.
"Oh, no! they were your own people. There was no collusion, I assure
you." Jack almost laughed now, as the dialogue in the ambulance recurred
to him, and the adroit use the men had made of their unconscious charges
to secure a furlough. "No; I was more amazed than I can say when I came
to myself in this charming chamber--a paradise it seemed to me, a home
paradise--when your kind face bent over my pillow."
"It's a cruel disappointment," she said, rising and holding the back of
the chair as she tilted it toward the bed. "We were so proud of you--so
proud to have any one that had fought for our dear State in our own
house to nurse, to bring back to life. Every one on the street has some
one from the battle, and oh, what will be said of us when people know
that we--we--" But here the cruelty of the conclusion came too sharply
to her mind, and she walked to the window, sobbing softly.
"I can understand, believe me, Mrs. Raines, and I am going to propose a
means to you whereby I shall be taken from here, and your neighbors
shall never know that you entertained an enemy unawares, though God
knows I don't see why we should be enemies when the battle is over. If
your son were in my condition I should think very hard of my mother if
she were not to him what you have been to me."
"But I can't believe you're a Yankee; you were so gentle, so patient in
all the dreadful times when the surgeon was cutting and hacking. Oh, I
can't believe it! Oh, please say you are joking--that you wanted to give
me a fright. And you have a mother?" She came over near the bed again
and stood looking at him dismally, half in doubt, half in perplexed
wonder; for Yankee, in her mind, suggested some such monster as the
Greeks conjured when the Goths poured into the peninsula, maiming the
men and debauching the women. "I said Sprague wasn't a Virginia name,"
she murmered, plaintively, in a last desperate attempt to fortify
herself against the worst; "but there's no telling what names are in
Virginia now, since Norfolk has grown so big and folks come in that way
from all over the world."
Jack could scarcely keep a serious face, as this humorous lament
displayed the pride of the Dominion and the unconscious Boeotianism of
"Now, Mrs. Raines, here is what I propose: Major Atterbury, of whom you
read to me, is my nearest friend. We have been college comrades; he has
passed weeks at my home, and I have been asked to his, and meant to come
this autumn vacation, if the war had not broken out. I will write to his
mother, and she will have me removed to her house, and it need never be
known that you gave aid and comfort to the enemy."
"But the Atterburys will never receive you. They were the first to favor
secession, when all the rest of us opposed it. To tell you the truth,
Mr. Sprague, it is partly because we were abused a good deal for holding
back when the secession excitement was first started, that I am so--so
anxious about the story getting out that we entertained a Yankee
prisoner. My husband is in the service of the government in Norfolk, and
my son is in the army. But you know what neighborhood gossip is."
So, after a friendly talk in which the poor lady cried a great deal and
besought Jack's good-will for her darling William, if ever he were
luckless enough to be captured, the note was written and dispatched to
the Atterburys, whose city house was near the capital square. The
messenger returned a half-hour later, reporting the family out of town;
that they had taken the major to their country-place near Williamsburg,
on the banks of the James. The messenger had given the letter to the
housekeeper, who said that it would go out an hour later with the mail
sent daily to the family.
"Williamsburg is two hours' ride on the train," Mrs. Raines explained,
"and we sha'n't hear from them until to-morrow."
Jack said nothing; his mind was on his mother and the misery she must be
enduring. He turned restlessly on his pillow that night, and woke
feverish in the morning. Mrs. Raines now took as much pains to keep
people who called from seeing her hero as she had before put herself out
to display the invalid. Even the doctor, calling about nine o'clock, was
sent away on some pretext, and the poor lady waited with an anxiety,
almost as poignant as Jack's own, for the response to his note. About
noon it came. Mrs. Raines went to the door herself, not daring to trust
the colored girl, who had lavished untold pains on Jack's linen and the
manual part of his care. Jack heard low voices in the hallway, then on
the stairs, and he knew some one had come.
"Here is Miss Atterbury sent to fetch you, lieutenant," Mrs. Raines
said, now very much relieved, and impressed, too, by the powerful
friends her dangerous _protege_ was able to summon so promptly by
"You are Rosalind?" Jack said, smiling at a pair of the brownest and
most bewitching eyes fixed soberly on him. "I should have known you if I
had met you in the street, although you were a small girl when I saw
"You needn't take much credit for that, sir, since Vincent probably had
my portrait in all his coat-pockets and his room frescoed with
them--it's a trick of his. So you needn't pretend that it was family
likeness--I know better. Vincent has all the good looks of the family,
and I have all the good qualities."
"That's why you've come to console the afflicted?"
"Yes, duty--you know how disagreeable that is. Vincent declared he would
come himself, if I didn't, and mamma wouldn't hear of your being moved
by servants alone, so I am here. But I give you fair warning that I am a
rebel of the most ferocious sort. You shall ride under the 'bonnie blue
flag' to Rosedale, and you shall salute our flag every morning when it
"I am the most docile of men and the easiest of invalids. I will ride
under Captain Kidd's flag and salute the standard of the Grand Turk, to
be near Vincent just now."
When Rosalind's colored aids had placed him in the big family carriage,
and he had bidden Mrs. Raines farewell, the young lady resumed: "Ah, I
know you! Vincent has told me about your Yankee ways. Not another word,
sir. I'll act as guide, and tell you all we see of note as we go on.
There where your eyes are resting now is the Confederate Hall of
Independence; that modest house on the corner is President Davis's. We
are going to build him another by and by--after we capture Washington
and get our belongings--no--no--you needn't speak. I know what you want
to say. That's Washington's monument, and there is our dear old
Jefferson. Doesn't it quicken even your slow Yankee blood to pass the
walls that heard Jefferson at his greatest, that held Patrick Henry,
that covered Washington? Ah! if you Northern Pharisees were not
money-grubbers and souless to everything but the almighty dollar, you
would join hands with us in creating our new Confederacy. Yes, sir,
you're my prisoner. We shall see that one Yankee is kept out of
mischief--if the war lasts--which is not likely, as your folks are quite
cowed by the victory at Bull Run. Wasn't it a splendid fight? I shall
never forgive Vin for not letting me know it was coming off. Vin, you
know, is on General Early's staff. He knew two days before that there
was to be a fight, for he started from Winchester to keep the railway
clear and lead the troops to the Henry House when they got off the cars.
He was in the thickest of the fight, near Professor Jackson--Stonewall,
they call him now. He--Vin--had three horses killed, and was made a
major on the field by General Joe Johnston. What?----"
"Please let the carriage stop a moment. I want to absorb that lovely
He pointed to the James, debouching from the hills over which the
carriage was slowly rolling. The afternoon sun was behind them; but far,
far to the eastward the noble river wound through masses of dark, deep
green until it was lost in a glow of shimmering mirage in the
"Isn't it lovely? We shall have a nobler capital city than Washington,
with its horrid red streets, its wilderness of bare squares, its
"Carcassonne," Jack murmured.
"An exquisite bit of verse and a touching story. I----"
"There, there--stop. You are talking again. You shall read the poem to
me--that is, if it isn't a glorification of the North."
"No; Carcassonne was a city of the South."
"Really--you must not talk. I'm not going to open my lips again until we
get to the boat."
She settled back in her place and took out a book, looking over the top
at him from time to time. The motion of the vehicle, the warmth of the
day, and the odorous breath of flowers and shrubs gradually dulled his
mischievous spirits, and he slept tranquilly until the carriage drew up
at the wharf at Harrison's Landing, whence, taken on a primitive ferry,
they in an hour or more arrived at a long wooden pier extending into the
river. It was nearly six o'clock when the carriage entered a solemn
aisle of pines ending in a labyrinth of oleanders and the tropic-like
plants of the South. Then an old-fashioned porticoed mansion came into
view, and on signal from the driver a _posse_ of colored servants came
trooping out noisily to carry the invalid in. Mrs. Atterbury was on the
veranda, and stepped down to the carriage to welcome the guest. She
greeted him with the affectionate cordiality of a mother, and asked:
"How have you borne the fatigue? I hope Rosa hasn't let you talk?"
"If I may speak now it will be to bear testimony that I have been made a
mummy since noon. I haven't been permitted to ask the local habitation
or name of the scenic delights that have made the journey a panorama of
beauty and my guide a tyrant, to whom, by comparison, Caligula was a
"Since you slept most of the way you must have dreamed the beauty, as
you certainly have invented the tyrant," Rosa retorted, as the brawny
servants lifted Jack bodily and carried him up the three steps and into
"Your quarters are next to my son's, if you think you can endure the
constant outbreaks of that locality. We are with him in all but his
sleeping hours, so you will do well to reflect before you decide."
"Oh, I shall insist on being near Vincent. He's too badly hurt to
overcome me in case we are tempted to fight our battles over again."
"But he has allies here, sir, and you must remember that you are a
prisoner of war," Rosa cried from the landing above, _en route_ to
minister to her hero before the Yankee invaded him. Vincent was propped
up in the bed with a mass of pillows, and the two friends embraced in
college-boy fashion, too much moved for a moment to begin the flood of
questions each was eager to ask and answer.
"Before I say a word of anything else, Vint, I want you to do me a great
service. It is two weeks since the battle. I am sure my mother can not
have any certain information about me. Can you manage any way to get a
letter or telegram sent her?"
"Of course I can. Nothing easier. Write your telegram. I will send it
under cover to General Early. He will forward it by flag of truce to
Washington, and it will be sent North from there."
But Jack's letter was never sent, for when the post came from Richmond
the next day, Vincent read in the morning paper a surprising
"'Among the distinguished arrivals in the city within the week, we have
just learned of the presence of Mrs. Sprague, wife of the famous
Senator, a contemporary with Clay and Webster. Mrs. Sprague has come to
Richmond in search of her son, who was captured or killed on the field
near the Henry House. She comes with her daughter under a safeguard from
General Johnston, who knew the family when he was at West Point. Mrs.
Sprague is stopping with Mrs. Bevan, on Vernon Street, and is under the
escort of Private William Bevan of the general headquarters.'"
UNDER TWO FLAGS.
That modest paragraph in the morning paper wrought amazing results in
the fortunes of many of the people we are interested in. A regiment of
cavalry encamped near the outskirts of the city on the line of the
Virginia Central had broken camp early in the morning to march
northward. One company detailed to bring up the rear was still loitering
near the station when the newspapers were thrown off the train and
eagerly seized by the men, who bestrewed themselves in groups to hear
the news read aloud.
"Here, you Towhead, you're company clerk; you read so that we can all
In response to this a stripling, in the most extraordinary costume, came
out from the impedimenta of the company with a springy step and
consequential air. You wouldn't have recognized the scapegrace, Dick
Perley, in the carnival figure that came forward, for his curling blond
hair was closely cropped, his face was smeared with the soilure of pots
and pans, and it was evident that the eager warrior had exchanged the
weapons of war for the utensils of the company kitchen. He read in a
high, clear treble the telegraphic dispatches, the sanguinary editorial
ratiocinations, Orphic in their prophetic sententiousness, and then
turned to the local columns.
Any one listening to the lad would never have suspected that he was not
a Southron. He prolonged the _a's_ and _o's_, as the Southern trick is,
and imitated to such perfection the pleasant localisms of Virginian
pronunciation, that keener critics of speech and accent than these
galliard troops would have been deceived. But suddenly his voice breaks,
he falls into the clear, distinct enunciation of New York--the only
speech in the Union that betrays no sign of locality. He is reading the
lines about the distinguished arrivals. Fortunately at the instant there
is a blast from the bugles--"Fall in!"--and the men rush to their
horses. In twenty minutes the company is clattering out on the
Mechanicsville road, and at noon, when the squadron halted for dinner,
the company cook had to rely on the clumsy ministrations of his colored
aides. "Towhead" had disappeared.
Olympia, after a night of anguish, began the new day with a heavy burden
on her mind. Mrs. Sprague was delirious. The physician summoned during
the night shook his head gravely. She was suffering from overexertion,
heat, and anxiety. He was unable to do more than mitigate her
sufferings. He recommended country air and absolute repose. Merry, too,
though holding up bravely, gave signs of breaking down. The two
women--Olympia and Merry--under the escort of young Bevan, had gone
through the prisons, the dreadful Castle Winder, and through the
hospitals, with hope dying at every new disappointment. They came across
many of the Caribees, and saw a member of Congress, caught on the
battle-field, who knew the regiment well.
Jack had been traced to Porter's lines, then far to the left, where Nick
had been told to wait. Nick was among the sweltering mass at Castle
Winder, but he could trace the missing no farther. He told of Jack's
persistent valor to the last, and the dreadful moment, when he, Jack,
had been separated. Dick he had not seen at all. Olympia made
intercession for Nick's release, but was informed that nothing could be
done until a cartel of exchange had been arranged. The Yankee
authorities had in the first five months of the war refused to make any
arrangement, while the Union forces were capturing the Confederate
armies in West Virginia and Missouri. Now that the Confederates held an
equal number, they were going to retaliate upon the overconfident North.
Olympia placed five hundred dollars at Nick's disposal in the hands of
the commandant to supply the lad with better food than the commissary
furnished, and, promising him strenuous aid so soon as she got back to
Washington, she resumed the quest for the lost. She had written out an
advertisement, to be inserted in all the city papers, and was to visit
the offices herself with young Bevan that evening. She had her bonnet
on, and was charging Merry how to minister to the ailing mother, when
the hostess knocked at the door. "A lady is in the parlor who says she
must see Mrs. Sprague immediately." Olympia followed Mrs. Bevan down
tremblingly, far from any anticipation of what was in store for her;
rather in the belief that it was some wretched mother from Acredale who
had learned of their presence and hoped to get aid for an imprisoned
son, husband, or brother. But when she saw the kind, matronly face of
Mrs. Raines beaming with the delight of bearing good news, she sank into
a chair, saying faintly:
"Did you wish to see me, Mrs.--Mrs.--"
"You are not Mrs. Sprague?"
"No; my mother is very ill. I am Mrs. Sprague's daughter. Can I--"
"Well, Miss Sprague, I think I can cure your mother. I--"
She arose and walked mysteriously to the door and looked into the
"I know what the disease is your mother is suffering from."
She couldn't resist prolonging the consequence of her mission. All women
have the dramatic instinct. All love to intensify the unexpected. But
Olympia's listless manner and touching desolation spurred her on. She
put her fingers to her lips warningly, and coming quite near her
whispered, as she had seen people do on the stage:
"Don't make any disturbance; don't faint. Your brother is alive and
well! There, there--I told you."
Olympia was hugging the astonished woman, who glanced in terror over her
shoulder to see that feminine curiosity was not dangerously alert. "You
will ruin me," she whispered, "if you don't be calm." Then Olympia
suddenly recovered herself, sobbing behind her handkerchief. "He has
been at my house two weeks. He left yesterday and is now with Major
Atterbury's family on the James River, near Williamsburg. Miss Atterbury
came herself to take him there yesterday morning. I saw your name in
_The Examiner_ only an hour ago, and I came at once to relieve the
distress I knew you must be suffering."
Then the kind soul told the story, charging the sister never to reveal
the facts. She withdrew very happy and contented, for Olympia had said
many tender things; she almost felt that she had done the Confederacy a
great service, to have laid so many people under an obligation that
might in the future result in something remarkable for the cause.
Olympia's purpose of breaking the news gradually to the invalid was
frustrated by her tell-tale eyes and buoyant movements.
"O Olympia, you have seen John!" she screamed, starting up--"where is
he? Oh, where is he? I know you have seen him!" And then there were
subdued laughter and tears, and mamma instantly declared her intention
of flying to the hero. But there was considerable diplomacy still
requisite. Mrs. Raines must not be compromised, and young Bevan must get
transportation for them to the Atterburys. It was past noon when the
carriage came for them. Olympia had come down-stairs to give Mrs. Bevan
final instruction regarding letters and luggage, when a resounding knock
came upon the door. Mrs. Bevan opened it herself, and Olympia, standing
in the hall, heard a well-known voice, quick, eager, joyous:
"Is Mrs. Sprague, here?"
"O Richard," Olympia cried, rushing at him--"ah, you darling boy!--Aunt
Merry--Aunt Merry! Come--come quick! He is here." But Aunt Merry at the
head of the stairs had heard the voice, and Dick, tearing himself
ungallantly from the embrace of beauty, was up the stairs in four leaps
and in the arms of the fainting spinster.
"It is Miss Perley's nephew," Olympia said, joyously, to the amazed lady
of the house, who stood speechless. "We had given up all hope of seeing
him, as his name was not on our army list. He ran away to be with my
brother, and we felt like murderers, as you may imagine, and are almost
as much relieved to find him as our own flesh and blood."
The subsequent conversation between the matron and the young girl seemed
to put the mistress of the house in excellent humor, and when the
carriage drove off she kissed all the ladies quite as rapturously as if
she had never vowed undying hatred and vengeance upon the Yankee people.
In the carriage the prodigal Dick rattled off the story of his
adventures. He had come to Company K after Jack had been sent out on the
skirmish-line. He had followed in wild despair the direction pointed out
to him. He had lost his way until he met Colonel Sherman's orderlies.
They had told him where the company was halted on the banks of
When he reached the place indicated he learned of Jack's detail to the
extreme right of the army. He dared not set out openly to follow. He ran
back in the bushes, out of sight, and then by a _detour_ struck the
stream far above to the right. The volleys away to the west guided him,
and he tore forward, bruising his flesh and tearing his raiment to
tatters. The stream seemed too deep to cross, for a mile or more, but
finally, finding that the firing seemed to go swiftly to the southward,
he plunged in. The banks on the other side were rugged and precipitous,
and he was obliged to push on in the morass that the stream wound
through. But nature gave out, and on a sunny slope he sat down to rest.
He soon fell into a sound sleep, and when he woke there was noise of men
laughing and shouting about him. He started to his feet.
"Hello! buster," a voice said near him. "What are you doin' away from
yer mammy? Beckon she'll think the Yanks have got you if you ain't home
The man who said this was lying peacefully under a laurel-bush. Others
were sprawled about, feasting on the spoil of Union haversacks.
"I knew then that I was in a rebel camp," Dick continued, "but I wasn't
afraid, because my clothes were not military; and, even if they had
been, they were so torn and muddy, no one would have thought of them as
a uniform. But, for that matter, a good many of the rebels had blue
trousers; and, as for regimentals, there really were none, as we have
them. I made believe that I lived in the neighborhood, imitated the
Southern twang, and was set to work right away helping the company cook.
The firing was still going on very near us, to the south, west, and
east. But the men didn't seem to mind it much. In about a half-hour
there was a sudden move.
"A volley was poured into us from the east, and in an instant all the
graybacks were in commotion. I heard the officers shout: 'We are
surrounded! Die at your post, men!' But the men didn't want to die at
their posts, or anywhere else, but made off like frightened rabbits. In
a few minutes we were all marching between two lines of Richardson's
Union brigade. I had no trouble in stepping out, and then I pushed on in
Jack's direction. But I could not find him when I got to Hunter's
headquarters. An orderly remembered seeing him, or rather seeing the men
that brought the good news that Sherman was on the rebel side of the
stone bridge early in the battle. There I found an orderly of
Franklin's, who had seen two men I described, sent off to the right to
picket, until the cavalry could be sent there. I came upon Nick Marsh
near the general's headquarters, and he told me the direction the others
had gone, but urged me to remain with him--as Jack would surely be back
there, horsemen having ridden out in that direction to relieve him. I
don't know how far I went, but it must have been a mile.
"There I had to lie in the bushes, for two columns of troops were coming
and going, the flying fellows that Sherman had routed near the stone
bridge and the re-enforcements that were tearing up from the Manassas
Railway. The men coming were laughing and singing as they ran. The men
flying were silent, and seemed too frightened to notice the forces
coming to their support. I broke out of the bushes and ran toward the
line of thick trees that seemed to mark the course of the river. As I
came out on a deep sandy road I ran right into troops, halting. There
were great cheering and hurrah; then a cavalcade of civilians came
through the rushing ranks at a gallop. 'Hurrah for President Davis! Hip,
hip, hurrah!' I saw him. He was riding a splendid gray horse, and as the
men broke into shouts he raised his hat and bowed right and left. He was
stopped for a few minutes just in front of where I stood, or, rather, I
ran to where he halted. There were long trains of wounded filing down
the road, and men without guns, knapsacks, or side-arms, breaking
through the bushes on all sides.
"'They've routed us, Mr. President,' a wounded officer cried, as the
stretcher upon which he was lying passed near Jeff Davis.
"'What part of the field are you from?' Davis asked, huskily.
"'Bartow's brigade, stone bridge. They've captured all our guns, and are
pouring down on the fords. You will be in danger Mr. President, if you
continue northward a hundred yards.'
"Sure enough, there was a mighty cheer, hardly a half-mile to the north
of us, and clouds of dust arose in the air. Davis watched the movement
through his glass, and, turning to a horseman at his side, cried,
"'The breeze is from the northwest; that dust is going toward the
Warrenton Pike. Johnston has got up in time; we've won the day!'
"With this he put spurs to his horse, and the squadron halted on the
road set off at a wild gallop. The words of the President were repeated
from man to man, and then a mighty shout broke out. It seemed to clip
the leaves from the trees, as I saw them cut, an hour or two before, by
the swarming volleys of musketry. A horseman suddenly broke from a path
just behind where I was.
"'Is President Davis here?' he asked, riding close to me, but not
"'He has just ridden off yonder.' I pointed toward the cloud of dust
east and north of us.
"'Split your throats, boys! General Beauregard has just sent me to the
President to welcome him with the news that the Yankees are licked and
flying in all directions! Not a man of them can escape. General
Longstreet is on their rear at Centreville.'
"There were deafening, crazy shouts; hats, canteens, even muskets, were
flung in the air, and the wounded, lying on the ground, were struck by
some of these things as they fell, in a cloud, about them. The shouts
grew louder and louder, they rose and fell, far, far away right and
left. Everybody embraced everybody else. Men who had been limping and
despondent before broke into wild dances of joy. Everybody wanted to go
toward the field of battle now, but a provost guard filed down the road
presently, and in a few minutes I saw a sight that made tears of rage
and shame blind me. Whole regiments of blue-coats came at a quick-step
through the dusty roadway, the rebel guards prodding them brutally with
their bayonets. The fellows near me, who had been running from the
fight, set up insulting cheers and cat-calls.
"'Did you'ns leave a lock of your hair with old Mas'r Lincoln?'
"'Come down to Dixie to marry niggers, have ye?' and scores of taunts
more insulting and obscene. Our men never answered. They were worn and
dusty. They had no weapons, of course, for the first thing the rebels
did was to search every man, take his money, watch, studs, even his coat
and shoes, when they were better than their own. Hundreds of our men
were in their stocking-feet, or, rather, in their bare feet, as they
tramped wearily through the burning sand and twisted roots. I heard one
of the rebels near me, an officer, say that the prisoners were all going
to the junction to take the cars. President Davis had ordered that they
should be marched through the streets of Richmond to show the people of
the capital the extent of the victory. Then the thought flashed into my
head that if our army had been captured, my best chance of finding Jack
would be to follow to Richmond and watch the blue-coats. I easily
slipped among the prisoners, came to the city and saw every man that
went to Castle Winder. But no one that I knew was among them, and I made
up my mind that Jack had escaped. I saw Wesley Boone's father and sister
at the Spottswood House yesterday, but I was too late to catch them,
and, when I asked the clerk at the desk, be said they had taken quarters
in the town--he didn't know where."
"That's a fact," Olympia exclaimed; "they left Washington before us. I
wonder if they found Wesley?"
"I don't know," Dick continued, "The officers were brought in a gang by
themselves, and I didn't see them. Well, I hung about the town, visiting
all the places I thought it likely Jack might be, and then I joined a
cavalry company that belonged to Early's brigade, at Manassas. I was
going there with them this morning to get back to our lines and find
Jack, when I saw the paragraph in _The Examiner_, telling of your coming
"What an intrepid young brave you are, Dick!" Olympia cried, as the
artless narrative came to an end.
"What a cruel boy, to leave his family and--and--run into such dreadful
danger!" Merry expostulated.
"What a devoted boy, to risk his life and liberty for our poor Jack!"
Mrs. Sprague said, bending forward to stroke the tow-head. The carriage
passed down the same road that Jack had gone the day before, whistling
sarcasms at his keeper. At Harrison's Landing there was a delay of
several hours, and the impatient party wandered on the shores of the
majestic James--glittering, like a sylvan lake, in its rich border of
woodland. The sun was too hot to permit of the excursion Dick suggested,
and late in the afternoon the wheezy ferry carried them down the
lake-like stream. On every hand there were signs of peace--not a fort,
not a breastwork gave token that this was in a few months to be the
shambles of mighty armies, the anchorage of that new wonder, the iron
battle-ship; the scene of McClellan's miraculous victory at Malvern, of
Grant's slaughtering grapplings with rebellion at bay, of Butler's comic
joustings, and the last desperate onslaughts of Hancock's legions. The
air, tempered by the faint flavor of salt in the water, filled the
travelers with an intoxicating vigor, lent strength to their jaded
forces, which, while tense with expectation, could not wholly resist the
delicious aroma, the lovely outlines of primeval forest, the melody of
strange birds, startled along the shore by the wheezy puffing of the
ferry. There were cries of admiring delight as the carriage ran from the
long wooden pier into the dim arcade of sycamore and pine, through which
the road wound, all the way to Rosedale. Then they emerged into a
gentle, rolling, upland, where cultivated fields spread far into the
horizon, and in the distance a dense grove, which proved to be the park
about the house. The coming of the carriage was a signal to a swarm of
small black urchins to scramble, grinning and delighted, to the wide
lawn. There was no need to sound the great knocker; no need to explain,
when Rosalind, hurrying to the door, saw Olympia emerging from the
vehicle. They had not seen each other in four years, but they were in
each other's arms--laughing, sobbing--exclaiming:
"How did you know? When did you come?"
"Jack, Jack! Where is he? How is he?"
"Jack's able to eat," Rosa cried, darting down to embrace Mrs. Sprague,
and starting with a little cry of wonder as Aunt Merry exclaimed, timidly:
"We're all here. You've captured the best part of Acredale, though you
haven't got Washington yet."
"Why, how delightful! We shall think it is Acredale," Rosa cried,
welcoming the blushing lady. "And--I should say, if he were not so much
like--like 'we uns,' that this was my old friend, the naughty Richard,"
she said, welcoming the blushing youth cordially. (Dick avowed
afterward, in confidence to Jack, that she would have kissed him if he
hadn't held back, remembering his unkempt condition.) Mamma and Olympia
were shown up to the door of Jack's room, where Rosalind very discreetly
left them, to introduce the other guests to Mrs. Atterbury, attracted to
the place by the unwonted sounds. When presently the visitors were shown
into Vincent's room, Jack called out to them to come and see valor
conquered by love; and, when they entered, mamma was brushing her eyes
furtively, while she still held Jack's unwounded hand under the
counterpane. Master Dick excited the maternal alarm by throwing himself
rapturously on the wounded hero and giving him the kiss he had denied
Rosalind. Indeed, he showered kisses on the abashed hero, whose eyes
were suspiciously sparkling at the evidence of the boy's delight. He
established himself in Jack's room, and no urging, prayer, or reproof
could induce him to quit his hero's sight.
"I lost him once," he said, doggedly, "and I'm not going to lose him
again. Where he goes, I'm going; where he stays, I'll stay--sha'n't
"You shall, indeed, my dauntless Orestes; you shall share my fortunes,
whatever they be."
He insisted on a cot in the room, and there, during the convalescence of
his idol, he persisted in sleeping--ruling all who had to do with the
invalid in his own capricious humor, hardly excepting Mrs. Sprague, whom
he tolerated with some impatience. Letters were dispatched northward to
relieve the anxiety of Pliny and Phemie, as well as the Marshes. But it
hung heavily on Jack's heart that no trace of Barney had been found.
Advertisements were sent to the Richmond papers, and he waited in
restless impatience for some sign of the kind lad's well-being.
"Well, Jack, this isn't much like the pomp and circumstance of glorious
war," Olympia cried, the next morning, coming in from an excursion about
the "plantation," as she insisted on calling the estate, attended by
Merry, Rosa, and Dick. "I never saw such foliage! The roses are as large
as sunflowers, and there are whole fields of them!"
"Yes; I believe the Atterburys make merchandise of them."
"But who buys them about here? They seem to grow wild--as fine in form
and color as our hot-house varieties. Surely they are not bought by the
colored people, and there seems to be no one else--no other
inhabitants, I mean."
"Oh, no; they are shipped North in the season for them; but I don't
think the family has paid much attention to that branch of the business
of late years. Their revenues come from tobacco and cotton. Their
cotton-fields are in South Carolina and along the Atlantic coast."
"And are these colored people all slaves?" Her voice sank to a whisper,
for Vincent's door was ajar.
"Yes, every man jack of them. Did you ever see such merry rogues? They
laugh and sing half the night, and sing and work half the day."
"They don't seem unhappy, that's a fact," Olympia said, reflectively,
"but I should think ownership in flesh and blood would harden people;
and yet the Atterburys are very kind and gentle. I saw tears in Mrs.
Atterbury's eyes, yesterday, when mamma was sitting here with you."
"Yes," Jack said, unconsciously, "women enjoy crying--"
"You insufferable braggart, how dare you talk like that? Pray, what do
you know about women's likes and dislikes?"
"Oh, I beg pardon, Polly; I'm sure I didn't mean anything--I was taking
the minor for the major. All women like babies; babies pass most of
their time crying; therefore women like crying."
"Well, if that is the sum of your college training, it is a good thing
the war came--"
"What about the war? No treason in Rosedale, remember!" Vincent shouted
from the next room. "You pledged me that when you talked war you would
talk in open assembly." The voice neared the open doorway as he spoke.
The servant had moved the invalid's cot, where Vincent could look in
"There was really no war talk, Vint, except such war as women always
"I object, Jack, to your generalization," Olympia retorted. "It is a
habit of boyishness and immaturity.--He said a moment ago" (she turned
to Vincent) "that women loved crying, and then sneaked out by a very
"I'll leave it to Vint: All women love babies; babies do nothing but
cry; therefore, women love crying; there couldn't be a syllogism more
"Unless it be that all women love liars," Vincent ventured, jocosely.
"How do you prove that?"
"All men are liars; women love men; therefore--"
"Oh, pshaw! you have to assume in that premise. I don't in mine. It is
notorious that women love babies, while you have only the spiteful
saying of a very uncertain old prophet for your major--"
"Whose major?" Rosa asked, appearing suddenly. "I'll have you to know,
sir, that this major is mamma's, and no one else can have, hold, or make
eyes at him."
"It was the major in logic we were making free with," Jack mumbled,
laughing. "I hope logic isn't a heresy in your new Confederacy, as
religion was in the French Constitution of '93?"
Rosa looked at Olympia, a little perplexed, and, seating herself on the
cot with Vincent, where she could caress him furtively, said, with
"I don't know about logic, but we've got everything needed to make us
happy in the Montgomery Constitution."
"Have you read it?" Jack asked, innocently.
"How insulting! Of course I have. I read it the very first thing when it
appeared in the newspapers."
"Catch our Northern women doing that!" Jack interjected, loftily. "There
is my learned sister, she doesn't know the Constitution from Plato's
"Indeed, I do not; nor do I know Plato's Dialogues," Olympia returned,
quite at ease in this state of ignorance.
"Wherein does the Montgomery Constitution differ from the old one?" Jack
asked, looking at Vincent.
"I'm blessed if I know. I've read neither. I did read the Declaration of
Independence once at a Fourth-of-July barbecue. I always thought that
was the Constitution. Indeed, every fellow about here does! You know in
the South the women do all the thinking for the men. Rosa keeps my
"Well, then, Lord High Chancellor, tell us the vital articles in the
Montgomery document that have inspired you to arm Mars for the conflict,
plunge millions into strife and thousands into hades, as Socrates would
have said, employing his method?" Jack continued derisively.
"Our Constitution assures us the eternal right to own our own property."
"No one denied you that right, so far as the law went, under the old; it
was only the justice, the humanity, that was questioned. The right would
have endured a hundred years, perhaps forever, if you had kept still--"
"Come, Jack, I won't listen to politics," Olympia cried, with a warning
"No, the time for talk is past; it is battle, and God defend the right!"
Rosa said, solemnly.
"And you may be sure he will," Jack added, softly, as though to himself.
"But we've got far away from the crying and the babies," Vincent began,
when Jack interrupted, fervently:
"You monster!" the two girls cried in a breath.
"No, I can't conceive a sillier paradox than 'A babe in the house is a
well-spring of joy.' A woman must have written it first. Now, my idea of
perfect happiness for a house is to have two wounded warriors like
Vincent and me, tractable, amiable, always ready to join in rational
conversation and make love if necessary, providing we're encouraged."
"Really, Olympia, your Northern men are not what I fancied," Rosa cried,
with a laugh.
"What did you fancy them?"
"Oh, ever so different, from this--this saucy fellow--modest, timid,
shy; needing ever so much encouragement to--to--"
"Claim their due?" Jack added, slyly.
"Well, there is one that doesn't require much encouragement to claim
everything that comes in his way," Rosa retorts, and Olympia adds:
"And to spare my feelings you won't name him now."
"Exactly," said Rosa.
"How touching!" exclaimed Vincent.
"I left all my blood to enrich your soil, or I'd blush," replied Jack.
"Oh, no; it won't enrich the soil; it will bring out a crop of Johnny
Jump-ups, a weed that we don't relish in the South," retorted Rosa.
"Ah, Jack, you're hit there!--Rosa, I'm proud of you. This odious Yankee
needs combing down; he ran over us so long at college that he is
conceited in his own impudence," and Vincent exploded in shouts
"I fear you're not a botanist, Miss Rosa. It's 'Jack in the pulpit' that
will spring from Northern blood, and they'll preach such truths that the
very herbage will bring the lesson of liberty and toleration to you."
"What is this very serious discussion, my children?" Mrs. Atterbury
said, beaming sweetly upon the group. "I couldn't imagine what had
started Vincent in such boisterous laughter; and now, that I come, Mr.
Jack is as serious as we were at school when Madame Clarice told us of
"Jack was telling his, mamma, and that is still more serious than to
hear one's own," Vincent said, grinning at the moralist.
"But, to be serious a moment, I have written to my old friend General
Robert Lee, of Arlington, about Miss Perley. I know that he will grant
her permission to take Richard home with her, and the question now is
whether it is safe to let them go together alone?" Mrs. Atterbury
addressed the question to Olympia, making no account of Jack.
"Oh, let us leave the decision until you get General Lee's answer. If
they get the message in Acredale that Dick is safe and sound, I don't
see why they need go back before we do. I shall be able to travel in a
few weeks. If the roads were not so rickety I wouldn't be afraid to set
out now," Jack answered.
"Impossible! You can't leave for a month yet, if then," Vincent
proclaimed, authoritatively. "I know what gunshot wounds are: you think
they are healed, and begin fooling about, when you find yourself laid up
worse than ever. There's no hurry. The campaign can't begin before
October. I'm as anxious to be back as you are, but I don't mean to stir
before October. Perhaps you think it will be dull here? Just wait until
you are strong enough to knock about a bit; we shall have royal rides.
We'll go to Williamsburg and see the oldest college in the country.
We'll go down the James, and you shall see some of the richest lands in
the world. We'll get a lot of fellows out from Richmond and have our
regular barbecue in September. We wind up the season here every year
with a grand dance, and Olympia shall lead the Queen Anne minuet with
mamma's kinsman, General Lee, who is the President's chief of staff."
"This doesn't sound much like soldiering," Jack said, dreamily.
"No. When in the field, let us fight; when at home, let us be merry."
"A very proper sentiment, young men. We want you to be very merry, for
you must remember the time comes when we can't be anything but sad--when
you are away and the night of doubt settles upon our weak women's
hearts." It was Mrs. Atterbury who spoke, and the sentence seemed to
bring silence upon the group.
Meanwhile, all the inquiries set on foot through the agency of the
Atterburys failed to bring any tidings of Barney Moore. It suddenly
occurred to Jack that the poor fellow was masquerading as a rebel in the
bosom of some eager patriot like Mrs. Raines and he reluctantly
consented to let Dick go to Richmond to investigate. Perhaps Mrs. Raines
might know where the wounded men were taken that had come with him. Some
of the stragglers could at least be found. The advertisement asking
information concerning a wounded man arriving in Richmond with himself
was kept in all the journals. But Merry wouldn't consent to let Dick go
on the dangerous quest without her. She would never dare face her
sisters if any mishap came to the lad, and though Vincent put him under
the care of an experienced overseer, and ordered the town-house to be
opened for his entertainment, the timorous aunt was immovable.
"You must go and call on the President, Miss Merry. He receives
Thursdays at the State House. Then you'll see a really great man in
authority, not the backwoods clowns that have brought this country into
ridicule--such a man as Virginia used to give the people for President,"
Rosa said in the tone a lady of Louis XVIII's court might have used to
an adherent of the Bonapartes.
"Ah, Rosa, we saw a gentle, tender-hearted man in Washington--the very
ideal of a people's father. No one else can ever be President to me
while he lives," Olympia said, seriously.
"Lincoln?" Rosa asked, a little disdainfully.
"Yes, Abraham Lincoln. We have all misunderstood him. Oh if you could
have seen him as I saw him--so patient, so considerate: the sorrows of
the nation in his heart and its burdens on his shoulders; but confident,
calm, serene, with the benignant humility of a man sent by God," Olympia
added almost reverently. "It was he who came to our aid and ordered the
rules to be broken that our mother might seek Jack."
Rosa was about to retort, but a warning glance from Vincent checked her,
and she said nothing.
"I say, Dick, don't try to capture Jeff Davis or blow up the Confederate
Congress, or any other of the casual master strokes that may enter your
wild head. Remember that we have given double hostages to the enemy. We
have accepted their hospitality, and we have made ourselves their
guests," Jack said, half seriously, as the young Hotspur wrung his hand
in a tearful embrace.
"Above all, remember, Mr. Yankee, that you are in a certain sense a
civilian now; you must not compromise us by free speech in Richmond,"
"Ah, I know very well there's none of that in the South: you folks
object to free speech; they killed poor old Brown for it; that's what
you made war for, to silence free speech," Dick cried hotly, while Merry
pinched his arm in terror.
Dick began his campaign in the morning with longheaded address. He
visited the prison under ample powers from General Lee--procured though
Vincent's mediation. There were a score of the Caribees in Castle
Winder, and to these the boy came as a good fairy in the tale. For he
distributed money, tobacco, and other things, which enabled the
unfortunates to beguile the tedious hours of confinement. The prisoners
were crowded like cattle in the immense warehouse in squads of a hundred
or more. They had blankets to stretch on the floor for beds, a general
basin to wash in, and for some time amused themselves watching through
the barred windows the crowds outside that flocked to the place to see
the Yankees, and, when not checked by the guards, to revile and
Dick was enraged to see how contentedly the men bore the irksome
confinement, the meager food, and harsh peremptoriness of the beardless
boys set over them as guards. Most of the prisoners passed the time in
cards, playing for buttons, trinkets, or what not that formed their
scanty possessions. Dick learned that all the commissioned officers of
the company with Wesley Boone had been wounded or killed in the charge
near the stone bridge. Wesley had been with the prisoners at first. He
had been struck on the head, and was in a raging fever when his father
and sister came to the prison to take him away. No one could tell where
he was now, but Dick knew that he must be in the city, since there were
no exchanges, the Confederates allowing no one to leave the lines except
women with the dead, or those who came from the North on
Then he visited the provost headquarters, and was shown the complete
list of names recorded in the books there; but Barney's was not among
them. At the Spottswood Hotel, the day after his coming, he met Elisha
Boone, haggard, depressed, almost despairing. Dick had no love for the
hard-headed plutocrat, but he couldn't resist making himself known.
"How d'ye do, Mr. Boone? I hope Wesley is coming on well, sir."
Boone brought his wandering eyes down to the stripling in dull
"Why, where on earth do you come from? How is it you are free and
allowed in the streets?"
"Oh, I am a privileged person, sir. I am looking up Company K. You
haven't heard anything of young Moore, Barney, who lives on the Callao
road south of Acredale?"
"No, my mind has been taken up with my son"; his voice grew softer. "He
is in a very bad way, and the worst is there is no decent doctor to be
got here for love or money; all the capable ones are in the army, and
those that are here refuse to take any interest in a Yankee."
The father's grief and the unhappy situation of his whilom enemy touched
the lad; forgetting Jack's and Vincent's warning, Dick said,
"Oh, I can get him a good doctor. We have friends here." He knew, the
moment he had spoken the words, that he had been imprudent--how
imprudent the sudden, suspicious gleam in Boone's eye at once
"Friends here? Union men have no friends here. There are men here with,
whom I have done business for years, men that owe prosperity to me, but
when I called on them they almost insulted me. If you have friends, you
must have sympathies that they appreciate."
Dick knew what this meant. To be a Democrat had been, in Acredale, to be
charged with secret leanings to rebellion. He restrained his wrath
manfully, and said, simply:
"An old college friend of Jack's has been very kind to us."
"Us? I take it you mean the Spragues. They are stopping with Jeff Davis,
I suppose? It's the least he could do for allies so steadfast."
"You shouldn't talk that way, sir. Every man in the Caribees, except old
Oswald's gang, is a Democrat, but they are for the country
"Yes, yes, it may be so--but, the North don't think that way. Well, I'm
going to Washington to see if I can't get my boy out of this infernal
place, where a man can't even get shaved decently."
"And Miss Kate, Mr. Boone, where is she?"
"She is nursing Wesley, poor girl. She is having a harder trial than any
of us; for these devilish women fairly push into the sick-room to abuse
the North and berate the soldiers that fought at Manassas."
"I should like to call on Wesley--if you don't mind," Dick said,
"I shall be only too glad; and I'll tell you what it is, Richard, if
you'll make use of your friends here, to get Kate and Wesley some
comforts, some consideration, I'll make it worth your while. I'll see
that you do not have to wait long for a commission, and I'll pay you any
reasonable sum so soon as you get back North."
Dick restrained his anger under this insulting blow, perceiving, even in
the hotness of his wrath, that the other was unconscious of the double
ignominy implied in dealing with soldiers' rewards as personal bribes,
and proffering money for common brotherly offices. It was only when Jack
commended his astuteness, afterward, that Dick realized the adroitness
of his own diplomacy.
"Thank you, Mr. Boone. I shouldn't care for promotion that I didn't win
in war; and, as for money, I shall have enough when I need it. But any
man in the Caribees shall have my help. Under the flag every man is
"True. Yes; you are quite right. Kate will be very glad to see you."
They walked along, neither disposed to talk after this narrow shave from
a quarrel. Boone led the way to the northern outskirts of the city,
until they reached a dull-brown frame building, back some distance from
the street. A colored woman, with a flaming turban on her head, opened
the door as she saw them coming up the trim walk lined with shells and
gay with poppies, bergamot, asters, and heliotrope.
"This woman is a slave. She belongs to the proprietor of the hotel who
refused to receive Wesley. It was a great concession to let him come
here, they told me. But the poor boy might as well be in a Michigan
logging camp, for all the care he can get. But I'm mighty glad I met
you. I know you can help Kate while I am gone. I hated to leave her, but
I can do nothing here, and unless Wesley is removed he will never leave
this cussed town alive. I sha'n't be gone more than ten days."
Kate had been called by the turbaned mistress, and came into the room
with a little shriek of pleasure.
"O, Richard, what a delightful surprise! Have you seen your aunt? Ah! I
am so glad; she must be so relieved! And Mr. Sprague--have they
Dick retailed as much of the story as he thought safe, but he had to say
that the Spragues were all with the Atterburys in the country.
"How providential! Ah, if our poor Wesley could find some such friends!
He is very low. He recognizes no one. Unless papa can get leave to take
him North--I am afraid of the worst. Indeed, I doubt whether he could
stand so long a journey. You must stay the day with us. I am so lonely,
and I dread being more lonely still when papa leaves this evening."
Dick remained until late in the afternoon, sending word to Merry, who
came promptly to the aid of the afflicted. The next day Dick left his
aunt at the cottage with Kate, and warning them that he should be gone
all day, and perhaps not see them until the next morning, he set off for
Rosedale, where he told Jack Kate's plight. Vincent heard the story,
too, and when it was ended he said, decisively:
"Jack, we must send for them. It would never do to have the story told
in Acredale that you had found friends in the South--because you are a
Democrat, and Boone was thrust into negro quarters because he is an
It was the very thought on Jack's mind, and straightway the carriage was
made ready, with ample pillows and what not. Dick set out in great
state, filled with the importance of his mission and the glory of Jack's
cordial praises. He was to stop on the way through town and carry the
Atterbury's family physician to direct the removal. When he appeared
before Kate, with Mrs. Atterbury's commands that she and her brother
should make Rosedale their home until the invalid could be removed
North, the poor girl broke down in the sudden sense of relief--the
certainty of salvation to the slowly dying brother. The physician spent
many hours redressing the wounds. Gangrene had begun to eat away the
flesh of the head above the temple, and poor Wesley was unrecognizable.
He was quite unconscious of the burning bromine and the clipping of
flesh that the skillful hand of the practitioner carried on. When the
little group started on the long journey, the invalid looked more like
himself than he had since Kate found him. The drive lasted many hours.
Wesley was stretched in an ambulance, Kate sitting on the seat with the
driver, the physician and Dick following in the carriage. Merry went
back to the city house, where her nephew was to return as soon as Wesley
had been delivered at Rosedale. Her charge placed in the hands of the
kind hostess, Mrs. Atterbury, Kate broke down. She had borne up while
her head and heart alone stood between her brother and death; but now,
relieved of the strain, she fell into an alarming fever. A Williamsburg
veteran, who had practiced in that ancient college town, since the early
days of the century, took the Richmond surgeon's place, and the gay
summer house became, for the time, a hospital.
Meanwhile the rebel provost-marshal had simplified Dick's task a good
deal. An order was issued that all houses where wounded or ailing men
were lying should signalize the fact by a yellow flag or ribbon,
attached to the front in a conspicuous place. Thus directed, Dick walked
street after street, asking to see the wounded; and the fourth day,
coming to a residence, rather handsomer than the others on the street,
not two blocks from Mrs. Raines, Jack's Samaritan, he found a wasted
figure, with bandaged head and unmeaning eyes, that he recognized
"We haven't been able to get any clew as to his name or regiment. The
guards at the station said he belonged to the Twelfth Virginia, but none
of the members of that body in the city recognize him. You know him?"
"Yes. He is of my regiment," Dick said, neglecting to mention the
regiment. "I will send word to his friends at once and have
"Oh, we are proud and happy to have him here. Our only anxiety was lest
he should die and his family remain in ignorance. But, now that you
identify him, we hope that we may be permitted to keep him until his
It was a stately matron who spoke with such a manner, as Dick thought,
must be the mark of nobility in other lands. He learned, with surprise,
that the Atterbury physician was ministering to Barney, though there was
nothing strange in that, since the doctor was the favorite practitioner
of the well-to-do in the city. That night he wrote to Jack, asking
instructions, and the next day received a note, written by Olympia,
advising that Barney be left with his present hosts until he recovered
consciousness; that by that time Vincent would be able to come up to
town and explain matters to the deluded family. The better to carry out
this plan, Dick was bidden to return to Rosedale, and thus, six weeks
after the battle and dispersion, all our Acredale personages, by the
strange chances of war, were assembled within sight of the rebel
capital, and, though in the hands of friends, as absolutely cut off from
their home and duties as if they had been captured in a combat with
A MASQUE IN ARCADY.
In the latter days of September, the life at Rosedale was but a faint
reminder of the hospital it had seemed in August. The young men were
able to take part in all the simple gayeties devised by Rosa to make the
time pass agreeably. Wesley was still subject to dizziness if exposed to
the sun, but Jack and Vincent were robust as lumbermen. Mrs. Sprague and
Merry sighed wearily in the seclusion of their chambers for the Northern
homeside, but they banished all signs of discontent before their
warm-hearted hosts. There was as yet no exchange arranged between the
hostile Cabinets of Richmond and Washington. Even Boone's potent
influence among the magnates of his party had not served him to effect
Wesley's release nor enabled him to return to watch over the boy's
fortunes. There was no one at Rosedale sorry for the latter calamity
outside of Wesley and Kate. I believe even she was secretly not
heart-broken, for she knew that her father would be antipathetic to the
outspoken ladies of Rosedale.
There had been an almost total suspension of military movements East and
West. Both sides were straining every resource to bring drilled armies
into the field, when the decisive blow fell. In his drives and walks
about the James and Williamsburg, Jack saw that the country was stripped
of the white male population. The negroes carried on all the domestic
concerns of the land. In these excursions, too, he marked, with a keen
military instinct, the points of defense General Magruder, who commanded
the department, had left untouched. He wondered if the Union arms would
ever get as far down as this. If they did, and he were of the force, he
would like to have a cavalry regiment to lead! Vincent was to rejoin his
command at Manassas in October. Jack looked forward to the event with
the most dismal discontent. To be tied up here, far from his companions;
to seem to enjoy ease, when his regiment was indurating itself by
drills, marches, and the rough life of the soldier for the great work it
was to do, maddened him.
"I give you fair warning, Vint, if an exchange isn't arranged before you
leave here, I shall cut stick: the best way I can."
"Good! How will you manage? It's a long pull between here and our front
at Manassas. How will you work it? Just as soon as you quit the shelter
of Rosedale, you are a suspect. Even the negroes will halt you. If you
should make for Fortress Monroe, you have all of Magruder's army to get
through. You would surely be caught in the act, and then I could do
nothing for you. You would be sent to Castle Winder, and that isn't a
very comfortable billet."
Some hint of Jack's discontent, or rather of his vague dream of flight,
came into Dick's busy head, and when one day they were tramping down by
the James together, he said, owlishly:
"I say, Jack, when Vincent goes, let us clear out!"
"I say yes, with all my heart, but how can it be done? We are more than
forty miles from the nearest Union lines. Whole armies are between us.
Any white man found on the highway is questioned, and if he can't give a
clear account of himself is sent to the provost prison. You remember the
other day, when we left the rest to go through the swamp road near
Williamsburg, we were hailed by a patrol, and if Vincent hadn't been
within reach we would have been sent to the provost prison. Even the
negroes act as guards."
"Don't be too sure of that. I've been talking to some of them. They are
'fraid as sin of the overseers, but you notice they shut up all the
negroes in their own quarters at night, don't you? If they were all
right, why should they do that?"
"Good heavens! you haven't been trying to make an uprising among the
Rosedale servants, Dick? Don't you know that no end of ours could
justify that? These people have been like brothers--like our own family
to us. It would be infamous--infamous without power in the language for
comparison--if we should requite their humanity by stirring up servile
strife. I should be the first to take arms against the slaves in such
revolt, and give my life rather than be instrumental in bringing misery
upon the Atterburys."
"Oh, keep your powder dry, Jack! I never dreamed of stirring 'em up.
What I mean is, that they are all restless and uneasy. They have an idea
that 'Massa Linculm' is coming down with a big army to set them free.
Many of them want to fly to meet this army. Many, too, would almost
rather die than leave their mistress. None of them--but the very bad
ones--could be induced under any circumstances to lift their hands
against the family or its property."
"I should hope not--at least through our instrumentality. The time must
come when they will leave the family, for the one call only and in one
way; that is, by cutting out slavery root and branch. However, that's
for the politicians to manage; all we have to do is to stand by the
colors and fight."
"I don't see much chance of standing by the colors here," Dick retorted,
wrathfully. "If you'll give me the word, I'll arrange a plan, and, as
soon as Vincent goes--we'll be off."
"I'm not your master, you young hornet; I can't see what you're doing
all the time. All I can do is to approve or reject such doings of yours
as you bring me to decide on."
Dick's eyes sparkled. "All right, I'll keep you posted, never fear."
They were a very jovial group that prattled about the long Rosedale
dining-table daily now, since every one was able to come down. The house
was furnished in the easy unpretentiousness that prevailed in the South
in other days. Cool matting covered all the floors, the hallways, and
bedchambers. The dining-room opened into a drawing-room, where Kate and
Olympia took turns at the big piano. The day was divided, English
fashion, into breakfast, luncheon, dinner, and supper, the latter as
late as nine o'clock in the night. Jack being unprovided with
regimentals, Vincent wore civilian garb, to spare the "prisoner" (as
Jack jocosely called himself) mortification. Gray was the "only wear"
obtainable in Richmond, Mrs. Atterbury enjoying with gentle malice the
rueful perplexities of her prisoner guests, Jack, Wesley, and Richard,
as they surrounded the board in this rebel attire.
"I shall feel as uncertain of myself when I get back to blue, as I do in
chess, after I have played a long while with the black, changing to
white. I manoeuvre for some time for the discarded color," Jack said,
"Oh, you'll hardly forget in this case," Rosa said, saucily; "it is for
the blacks you are manoeuvring constantly."
Jack looked up, startled, and glanced swiftly at Dick. Had that
headstrong young marplot been detected in treason with the colored
people? No. Dick met his glance clear-eyed, unconstrained. The shot must
have been a random one.
"I think you do us injustice, Miss Rosa," Wesley said. "I, for one, am
not interested in the blacks. All I want is the Union; after that I
don't care a rush!"
"I protest against politics," Mrs. Atterbury intervened, gently. "When I
was a girl the young people found much more interesting subjects than
Rosa: "Crops, mamma?"
Vincent: "A mistress's eyebrow?"
Dick: "Some other fellow's sister?"
Olympia: "Some other girl's brother?"
Mrs. Sprague: "Giddy girls?"
Merry: "Bad boys?"
"Well, something about all of these," Mrs. Atterbury resumed, laughing.
"I don't think young people in these times are as attached to each other
as we used to be in our day--do you, Mrs. Sprague?"
"I don't know how it is with you in the South; but we no longer have
young people in the North. Our children bring us up now--we do not
bring them up."
"That accounts for the higher average of intelligence among parents
noted in the last census," Olympia interrupts her mother to say.
"There, do you see?" Mrs. Sprague continues, with a smile, and in a tone
that has none of the asperity the words might imply. "No reverence, no
waiting for the elders, as we were taught."
"It depends a good deal, does it not, whether the elders are lovers?"
Vincent asked, innocently.
"Oh, don't look at me, Mrs. Sprague, for support or sympathy. Vincent is
your handiwork; he was formed in the North. He is one of your new school
of youth; he is Southern only in loyalty to his State. For a time I had
painful apprehensions that that, too, had been educated away."
"It was his reason that kept him faithful there," Rosa ventured, and
catches Vincent dropping his eyes in confusion from the demure glances
"Oh, no; pride. A Virginian is like a Roman, he is prouder to be a
citizen in the Dominion than a king in another country," Mrs. Atterbury
says, with stately decision. "No matter where his heart may be," and she
glanced casually at Olympia, "his duty is to his State."
"Politics, mamma, politics; remember your young days. Talk of kings,
courts, romance, madrigals--but leave out politics," Rosa cried,
"Let's turn to political economy. How do you propose disposing of your
tobacco and cotton this year?" Jack asked, gravely.
"We are under contract to deliver ten thousand bales at Wilmington to
our agent," Vincent replied. "As for tobacco, we expect to sell all we
can raise to the Yankee generals. We have already begun negotiations
with some of your commanders who are too good Yankees to miss the
"You're not in earnest?" Jack cried, aghast.
"As earnest as a maid with her first love."
"But who--who--is the miscreant that degrades his cause by such
"Oh, if you wait until you learn from me, you'll never be a dangerous
accuser. I learn in letters from friends in the West that all the cotton
crop has been contracted for by men either in the Northern army or high
in the confidence of the Administration. You see, Jack, we are not the
Arcadian simpletons you think us. This war is to be paid for out of
Northern pockets, any way you look at it. We've got cotton and tobacco,
you must have both; you've got money, we must have that. What we don't
sell to you we'll send to England."
All at the table had listened absorbedly to this strange revelation, and
Jack rose from the table shocked and discouraged.
Olympia seated herself at the piano, and, slipping out, as he supposed,
unseen, Jack strolled off into the fragrant alleys of oleander and
laurel. Dick, however, was at his heels. The two continued on in
silence, Dick trolling along, switching the bugs from the pink blossoms
that filled the air with an enervating odor.
"I say. Jack, I've found out something."
"What have you found out, you young conspirator?"
"Wesley Boone's trying to get the negroes to help him off."
"The devil he is!"
"Yes. Last night I was down in the rose-fields. Young Clem, Aunt
Penelope's boy, was sitting under a bush talking with a crony. I heard
him say, 'De cap'n'll take you, too, ef you doan say noffin'. He guv
Pompey ten gold dollars.'
"'De Lor'! Will he take ev'ybody 'long, too, Clem?'
"'Good Lor', no! He's goin' to get his army, and den he'll come an'
fetch all de niggahs.'
"Trying to get closer, I made a rustling of the bushes, and the young
imps shot through them like weasles before I could lay hands on them.
Now, what do you think of that?"
"If it is only to escape, all right; but if it is an attempt to stir up
insurrection, I will stop Wesley myself, rather than let him carry
"Wouldn't it be the best thing to warn Vincent? It would be a dreadful
thing to let him go and leave his poor mother and sister here
"Let me think it over. I will hit on some plan to keep Wesley from
making an ingrate of himself without bringing danger on our
Kate was dawdling on the lawn as the two returned to the house. Jack