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Eben Holden - A Tale of the North Country
by Irving Bacheller
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McClingan came into my room with me awhile then. He had been everywhere, it seemed to me, and knew everybody worth knowing. I was much interested in his anecdotes of the great men of the time. Unlike the obituary editor his ear was quite as ready as his tongue, though I said little save now and then to answer a question that showed a kindly interest in me.

I went with him to his room at last, where he besought me to join him in drinking 'confusion to the enemies of peace and order'. On my refusing, he drank the toast alone and shortly proposed 'death to slavery'. This was followed in quick succession by 'death to the arch traitor, Buchanan'; 'peace to the soul of John Brown'; 'success to Honest Abe' and then came a hearty 'here's to the protuberant abdomen of the Mayor'.

I left him at midnight standing in the middle of his room and singing 'The Land o' the Leal' in a low tone savoured with vast dignity.



Chapter 35

I was soon near out of money and at my wit's end, but my will was unconquered. In this plight I ran upon Fogarty, the policeman who had been the good angel of my one hopeful day in journalism. His manner invited my confidence.

'What luck?' said he.

'Bad luck' I answered. 'Only ten dollars in my pocket and nothing to do.'

He swung his stick thoughtfully.

'If I was you,' said he, 'I'd take anything honest. Upon me wurred, I'd ruther pound rocks than lay idle.'

'So would I.'

'Wud ye?' said he with animation, as he took my measure from head to foot.

'I'll do anything that's honest.'

'Ah ha!' said he, rubbing his sandy chin whiskers. 'Don't seem like ye'd been used if hard wurruk.'

'But I can do it,' I said.

He looked at me sternly and beckoned with his head.

'Come along,' said he.

He took me to a gang of Irishmen working in the street near by.

'Boss McCormick!' he shouted.

A hearty voice answered, 'Aye, aye, Counsellor,' and McCormick came out of the crowd, using his shovel for a staff.

'A happy day if ye!' said Fogarty.

'Same if youse an' manny o' thim,' said McCormick.

'Ye'll gi'me one if ye do me a favour,' said Fogarty.

'An' what?' said the other.

'A job for this lad. Wull ye do it?'

'I wall,' said McCormick, and he did.

I went to work early the next morning, with nothing on but my underclothing and trousers, save a pair of gloves, that excited the ridicule of my fellows. With this livery and the righteous determination of earning two dollars a day, I began the inelegant task of 'pounding rocks no merry occupation, I assure you, for a hot summer's day on Manhattan Island.

We were paving Park Place and we had to break stone and lay them and shovel dirt and dig with a pick and crowbar.

My face and neck were burned crimson when we quit work at five, and I went home with a feeling of having been run over by the cars. I had a strong sense of soul and body, the latter dominated by a mighty appetite. McClingan viewed me at first with suspicion in which there was a faint flavour of envy. He invited me at once to his room, and was amazed at seeing it was no lark. I told him frankly what I was doing and why and where.

'I would not mind the loaning of a few dollars,' he said, 'as a matter o' personal obligement I would be most happy to do it—most happy, Brower, indeed I would.'

I thanked him cordially, but declined the favour, for at home they had always taught me the danger of borrowing, and I was bound to have it out with ill luck on my own resources.

'Greeley is back,' said he, 'and I shall see him tomorrow. I will put him in mind o'you.'

I went away sore in the morning, but with no drooping spirit. In the middle of the afternoon I straightened up a moment to ease my back and look about me.

There at the edge of the gang stood the great Horace Greeley and Waxy McClingan. The latter beckoned me as he caught my eye. I went aside to greet them. Mr Greeley gave me his hand.

'Do you mean to tell me that you'd rather work than beg or borrow?' said he.

'That's about it,' I answered.

'And ain't ashamed of it?

'Ashamed! Why?' said I, not quite sure of his meaning. It had never occurred to me that one had any cause to be ashamed of working.

He turned to McClingan and laughed.

'I guess you'll do for the Tribune,' he said. 'Come and see me at twelve tomorrow.

And then they went away.

If I had been a knight of the garter I could not have been treated with more distinguished courtesy by those hard-handed men the rest of the day. I bade them goodbye at night and got my order for four dollars. One Pat Devlin, a great-hearted Irishman, who had shared my confidence and some of my doughnuts on the curb at luncheon time, I remember best of all.

'Ye'll niver fergit the toime we wurruked together under Boss McCormick,' said he.

And to this day, whenever I meet the good man, now bent and grey, he says always, 'Good-day if ye, Mr Brower. D'ye mind the toime we pounded the rock under Boss McCormick?

Mr Greeley gave me a place at once on the local staff and invited me to dine with him at his home that evening. Meanwhile he sent me to the headquarters of the Republican Central Campaign Committee, on Broadway, opposite the New York Hotel. Lincoln had been nominated in May, and the great political fight of 1860 was shaking the city with its thunders.

I turned in my copy at the city desk in good season, and, although the great editor had not yet left his room, I took a car at once to keep my appointment. A servant showed me to a seat in the big back parlour of Mr Greeley's home, where I spent a lonely hour before I heard his heavy footsteps in the hail. He immediately rushed upstairs, two steps at a time, and, in a moment, I heard his high voice greeting the babies. He came down shortly with one of them clinging to his hand.

'Thunder!' said he, 'I had forgotten all about you. Let's go right in to dinner.

He sat at the head of the table and I next to him. I remember how, wearied by the day's burden, he sat, lounging heavily, in careless attitudes. He stirred his dinner into a hash of eggs, potatoes, squash and parsnips, and ate it leisurely with a spoon, his head braced often with his left forearm, its elbow resting on the table. It was a sort of letting go, after the immense activity of the day, and a casual observer would have thought he affected the uncouth, which was not true of him.

He asked me to tell him all about my father and his farm. At length I saw an absent look in his eye, and stopped talking, because I thought he had ceased to listen.

'Very well! very well!' said he.

I looked up at him, not knowing what he meant.

'Go on! Tell me all about it,' he added.

'I like the country best,' said he, when I had finished, 'because there I see more truth in things. Here the lie has many forms—unique, varied, ingenious. The rouge and powder on the lady's cheek—they are lies, both of them; the baronial and ducal crests are lies and the fools who use them are liars; the people who soak themselves in rum have nothing but lies in their heads; the multitude who live by their wits and the lack of them in others—they are all liars; the many who imagine a vain thing and pretend to be what they are not liars everyone of them. It is bound to be so in the great cities, and it is a mark of decay. The skirts of Elegabalus, the wigs and rouge pots of Madame Pompadour, the crucifix of Machiavelli and the innocent smile of Fernando Wood stand for something horribly and vastly false in the people about them. For truth you ve got to get back into the woods. You can find men there a good deal as God made them' genuine, strong and simple. When those men cease to come here you'll see grass growing in Broadway.

I made no answer and the great commoner stirred his coffee a moment in silence.

'Vanity is the curse of cities,' he continued, 'and Flattery is its handmaiden. Vanity, flattery and Deceit are the three disgraces. I like a man to be what he is—out and out. If he's ashamed of himself it won't be long before his friends'll be ashamed of him. There's the trouble with this town. Many a fellow is pretending to be what he isn't. A man cannot be strong unless he is genuine.

One of his children—a little girl—came and stood close to him as he spoke. He put his big arm around her and that gentle, permanent smile of his broadened as he kissed her and patted her red cheek.

'Anything new in the South?' Mrs Greeley enquired.

'Worse and worse every day,' he said. 'Serious trouble coming! The Charleston dinner yesterday was a feast of treason and a flow of criminal rhetoric. The Union was the chief dish. Everybody slashed it with his knife and jabbed it with his fork. It was slaughtered, roasted, made into mincemeat and devoured. One orator spoke of "rolling back the tide of fanaticism that finds its root in the conscience of the people." Their metaphors are as bad as their morals.

He laughed heartily at this example of fervid eloquence, and then we rose from the table. He had to go to the office that evening, and I came away soon after dinner. I had nothing to do and went home reflecting upon all the great man had said.

I began shortly to see the truth of what he had told me—men licking the hand of riches with the tongue of flattery men so stricken with the itch of vanity that they grovelled for the touch of praise; men even who would do perjury for applause. I do not say that most of the men I saw were of that ilk, but enough to show the tendency of life in a great town.

I was filled with wonder at first by meeting so many who had been everywhere and seen everything, who had mastered all sciences and all philosophies and endured many perils on land and sea. I had met liars before—it was no Eden there in the north country—and some of them had attained a good degree of efficiency, but they lacked the candour and finish of the metropolitan school. I confess they were all too much for me at first. They borrowed my cash, they shared my confidence, they taxed my credulity, and I saw the truth at last.

'Tom's breaking down,' said a co-labourer on the staff one day. 'How is that?' I enquired.

'Served me a mean trick.'

'Indeed!'

'Deceived me,' said he sorrowfully.

'Lied, I suppose?'

'No. He told the truth, as God's my witness.'

Tom had been absolutely reliable up to that time.



Chapter 36

Those were great days in mid autumn. The Republic was in grave peril of dissolution. Liberty that had hymned her birth in the last century now hymned her destiny in the voices of bard and orator. Crowds of men gathered in public squares, at bulletin boards, on street corners arguing, gesticulating, exclaiming and cursing. Cheering multitudes went up and down the city by night, with bands and torches, and there was such a howl of oratory and applause on the lower half of Manhattan Island that it gave the reporter no rest. William H. Seward, Charles Sumner, John A. Dix, Henry Ward Beecher and Charles O'Connor were the giants of the stump. There was more violence and religious fervour in the political feeling of that time than had been mingled since '76. A sense of outrage was in the hearts of men. 'Honest Abe' Lincoln stood, as they took it, for their homes and their country, for human liberty and even for their God.

I remember coming into the counting-room late one evening. Loud voices had halted me as I passed the door. Mr Greeley stood back of the counter; a rather tall, wiry grey-headed man before it. Each was shaking a right fist under the other's nose. They were shouting loudly as they argued. The stranger was for war; Mr Greeley for waiting. The publisher of the Tribune stood beside the latter, smoking a pipe; a small man leaned over the counter at the stranger's elbow, putting in a word here and there; half a dozen people stood by, listening. Mr Greeley turned to his publisher in a moment.

'Rhoades,' said he, 'I wish ye'd put these men out. They holler 'n yell, so I can't hear myself think.

Then there was a general laugh.

I learned to my surprise, when they had gone, that the tall man was William H. Seward, the other John A. Dix.

Then one of those fevered days came the Prince of Wales—a Godsend, to allay passion with curiosity.

It was my duty to handle some of 'the latest news by magnetic telegraph', and help to get the plans and progress of the campaign at headquarters. The Printer, as they called Mr Greeley, was at his desk when I came in at noon, never leaving the office but for dinner, until past midnight, those days. And he made the Tribune a mighty power in the state. His faith in its efficacy was sublime, and every line went under his eye before it went to his readers. I remember a night when he called me to his office about twelve o clock. He was up to his knees in the rubbish of the day-newspapers that he had read and thrown upon the floor; his desk was littered with proofs.

'Go an' see the Prince o' Wales,' he said. (That interesting young man had arrived on the Harriet Lane that morning and ridden up Broadway between cheering hosts.) 'I've got a sketch of him here an' it's all twaddle. Tell us something new about him. If he's got a hole in his sock we ought to know it.'

Mr Dana came in to see him while I was there.

'Look here, Dana,' said the Printer, in a rasping humour. 'By the gods of war! here's two columns about that performance at the Academy and only two sticks of the speech of Seward at St Paul. I'll have to get someone if go an' burn that theatre an' send the bill to me.

In the morning Mayor Wood introduced me to the Duke of Newcastle, who in turn presented me to the Prince of Wales—then a slim, blue-eyed youngster of nineteen, as gentle mannered as any I have ever met. It was my unpleasant duty to keep as near as possible to the royal party in all the festivities of that week.

The ball, in the Prince's honour, at the Academy of Music, was one of the great social events of the century. No fair of vanity in the western hemisphere ever quite equalled it. The fashions of the French Court had taken the city, as had the Prince, by unconditional surrender. Not in the palace of Versailles could one have seen a more generous exposure of the charms of fair women. None were admitted without a low-cut bodice, and many came that had not the proper accessories. But it was the most brilliant company New York had ever seen.

Too many tickets had been distributed and soon 'there was an elbow on every rib and a heel on every toe', as Mr Greeley put it. Every miss and her mamma tiptoed for a view of the Prince and his party, who came in at ten, taking their seats on a dais at one side of the crowded floor. The Prince sat with his hands folded before him, like one in a reverie. Beside him were the Duke of Newcastle, a big, stern man, with an aggressive red beard; the blithe and sparkling Earl of St Germans, then Steward of the Royal Household; the curly Major Teasdale; the gay Bruce, a major-general, who behaved himself always like a lady. Suddenly the floor sank beneath the crowd of people, who retired in some disorder. Such a compression of crinoline was never seen as at that moment, when periphery pressed upon periphery, and held many a man captive in the cold embrace of steel and whalebone. The royal party retired to its rooms again and carpenters came in with saws and hammers. The floor repaired, an area was roped off for dancing—as much as could be spared. The Prince opened the dance with Mrs Governor Morgan, after which other ladies were honoured with his gallantry.

I saw Mrs Fuller in one of the boxes and made haste to speak with her. She had just landed, having left Hope to study a time in the Conservatory of Leipzig.

'Mrs Livingstone is with her,' said she, 'and they will return together in April.

'Mrs Fuller, did she send any word to me?' I enquired anxiously. 'Did she give you no message?

'None,' she said coldly, 'except one to her mother and father, which I have sent in a letter to them.

I left her heavy hearted, went to the reporter's table and wrote my story, very badly I must admit, for I was cut deep with sadness. Then I came away and walked for hours, not caring whither. A great homesickness had come over me. I felt as if a talk with Uncle Eb or Elizabeth Brower would have given me the comfort I needed. I walked rapidly through dark, deserted streets. A steeple clock was striking two, when I heard someone coming hurriedly on the walk behind me. I looked over my shoulder, but could not make him out in the darkness, and yet there was something familiar in the step. As he came near I felt his hand upon my shoulder.

'Better go home, Brower,' he said, as I recognised the voice of Trumbull. 'You've been out a long time. Passed you before tonight.'

'Why didn't you speak?'

'You were preoccupied.'

'Not keeping good hours yourself,' I said.

'Rather late,' he answered, 'but I am a walker, and I love the night. It is so still in this part of the town.'

We were passing the Five Points.

'When do you sleep,' I enquired.

'Never sleep at night,' he said, 'unless uncommonly tired. Out every night more or less. Sleep two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon—that's all I require. Seen the hands o' that clock yonder on every hour of the night.'

He pointed to a lighted dial in a near tower.

Stopping presently he looked down at a little waif asleep in a doorway, a bundle of evening papers under his arm. He lifted him tenderly.

'Here, boy,' he said, dropping corns in the pocket of the ragged little coat, 'I'll take those papers—you go home now.

We walked to the river, passing few save members of 'the force, who always gave Trumbull a cheery 'hello, Cap!' We passed wharves where the great sea horses lay stalled, with harnesses hung high above them, their noses nodding over our heads; we stood awhile looking up at the looming masts, the lights of the river craft.

'Guess I've done some good,' said he turning into Peck Slip. 'Saved two young women. Took 'em off the streets. Fine women now both of them—respectable, prosperous, and one is beautiful. Man who s got a mother, or a sister, can't help feeling sorry for such people.

We came up Frankfort to William Street where we shook hands and parted and I turned up Monkey Hill. I had made unexpected progress with Trumbull that night. He had never talked to me so freely before and somehow he had let me come nearer to hun than I had ever hoped to be. His company had lifted me out of the slough a little and my mind was on a better footing as I neared the chalet.

Riggs's shop was lighted—an unusual thing at so late an hour. Peering through the window I saw Riggs sleeping at his desk An old tin lantern sat near, its candle burning low, with a flaring flame, that threw a spray of light upon him as it rose and fell. Far back in the shop another light was burning dimly. I lifted the big iron latch and pushed the door open. Riggs did not move. I closed the door softly and went back into the gloom. The boy was also sound asleep in his chair. The lantern light flared and fell again as water leaps in a stopping fountain. As it dashed upon the face of Riggs I saw his eyes half-open. I went close to his chair. As I did so the light went out and smoke rose above the lantern with a rank odour.

'Riggs!' I called but he sat motionless and made no answer.

The moonlight came through the dusty window lighting his face and beard. I put my hand upon his brow and withdrew it quicidy. I was in the presence of death. I opened the door and called the sleeping boy. He rose out of his chair and came toward me rubbing his eyes.

'Your master is dead,' I whispered, 'go and call an officer.

Riggs's dream was over—he had waked at last. He was in port and I doubt not Annie and his mother were hailing him on the shore, for I knew now they had both died far back in that long dream of the old sailor.

My story of Riggs was now complete. It soon found a publisher because it was true.

'All good things are true in literature,' said the editor after he had read it. 'Be a servant of Truth always and you will be successful.'



Chapter 37

As soon as Lincoln was elected the attitude of the South showed clearly that 'the irrepressible conflict', of Mr Seward's naming, had only just begun. The Herald gave columns every day to the news of 'the coming Revolution', as it was pleased to call it. There was loud talk of war at and after the great Pine Street meeting of December 15. South Carolina seceded, five days later, and then we knew what was coming, albeit, we saw only the dim shadow of that mighty struggle that was to shake the earth for nearly five years. The Printer grew highly irritable those days and spoke of Buchanan and Davis and Toombs in language so violent it could never have been confined in type. But while a bitter foe none was more generous than he and, when the war was over, his money went to bail the very man he had most roundly damned.

I remember that one day, when he was sunk deep in composition, a negro came and began with grand airs to make a request as delegate from his campaign club. The Printer sat still, his eyes close to the paper, his pen flying at high speed. The coloured orator went on lifting his voice in a set petition. Mr Greeley bent to his work as the man waxed eloquent. A nervous movement now and then betrayed the Printer's irritation. He looked up, shortly, his face kindling with anger.

'Help! For God's sake!' he shrilled impatiently, his hands flying in the air. The Printer seemed to be gasping for breath.

'Go and stick your head out of the window and get through,' he shouted hotly to the man.

He turned to his writing—a thing dearer to him than a new bone to a hungry dog.

'Then you may come and tell me what you want,' he added in a milder tone.

Those were days when men said what they meant and their meaning had more fight in it than was really polite or necessary. Fight was in the air and before I knew it there was a wild, devastating spirit in my own bosom, insomuch that I made haste to join a local regiment. It grew apace but not until I saw the first troops on their way to the war was I fully determined to go and give battle with my regiment.

The town was afire with patriotism. Sumter had fallen; Lincoln had issued his first call. The sound of the fife and drum rang in the streets. Men gave up work to talk and listen or go into the sterner business of war. Then one night in April, a regiment came out of New England, on its way to the front. It lodged at the Astor House to leave at nine in the morning. Long before that hour the building was flanked and fronted with tens of thousands, crowding Broadway for three blocks, stuffing the wide mouth of Park Row and braced into Vesey and Barday Streets. My editor assigned me to this interesting event. I stood in the crowd, that morning, and saw what was really the beginning of the war in New York. There was no babble of voices, no impatient call, no sound of idle jeering such as one is apt to hear in a waiting crowd. It stood silent, each man busy with the rising current of his own emotions, solemnified by the faces all around him. The soldiers filed out upon the pavement, the police having kept a way clear for them, Still there was silence in the crowd save that near me I could hear a man sobbing. A trumpeter lifted his bugle and sounded a bar of the reveille. The clear notes clove the silent air, flooding every street about us with their silver sound. Suddenly the band began playing. The tune was Yankee Doodle. A wild, dismal, tremulous cry came out of a throat near me. It grew and spread to a mighty roar and then such a shout went up to Heaven, as I had never heard, and as I know full well I shall never hear again. It was like the riving of thunderbolts above the roar of floods—elemental, prophetic, threatening, ungovernable. It did seem to me that the holy wrath of God Almighty was in that cry of the people. It was a signal. It declared that they were ready to give all that a man may give for that he loves—his life and things far dearer to him than his life. After that, they and their sons begged for a chance to throw themselves into the hideous ruin of war.

I walked slowly back to the office and wrote my article. When the Printer came in at twelve I went to his room before he had had time to begin work.

'Mr Greeley,' I said, 'here is my resignation. I am going to the war.'

His habitual smile gave way to a sober look as he turned to me, his big white coat on his arm. He pursed his lips and blew thoughtfully. Then he threw his coat in a chair and wiped his eyes with his handkerchief.

'Well! God bless you, my boy,' he said. 'I wish I could go, too.'



Chapter 38

I worked some weeks before my regiment was sent forward. I planned to be at home for a day, but they needed me on the staff, and I dreaded the pain of a parting, the gravity of which my return would serve only to accentuate. So I wrote them a cheerful letter, and kept at work. It was my duty to interview some of the great men of that day as to the course of the government. I remember Commodore Vanderbilt came down to see me in shirt-sleeves and slippers that afternoon, with a handkerchief tied about his neck in place of a collar—a blunt man, of simple manners and a big heart, one who spoke his mind in good, plain talk, and, I suppose, he got along with as little profanity as possible, considering his many cares. He called me 'boy' and spoke of a certain public man as a 'big sucker'. I soon learned that to him a 'sucker' was the lowest and meanest thing in the world. He sent me away with nothing but a great admiration of him. As a rule, the giants of that day were plain men of the people, with no frills upon them, and with a way of hitting from the shoulder. They said what they meant and meant it hard. I have heard Lincoln talk when his words had the whiz of a bullet and his arm the jerk of a piston.

John Trumbull invited McClingan, of whom I had told him much, and myself to dine with him an evening that week. I went in my new dress suit—that mark of sinful extravagance for which Fate had brought me down to the pounding of rocks under Boss McCormick. Trumbull's rooms were a feast for the eye—aglow with red roses. He introduced me to Margaret Hull and her mother, who were there to dine with us. She was a slight woman of thirty then, with a face of no striking beauty, but of singular sweetness. Her dark eyes had a mild and tender light in them; her voice a plaintive, gentle tone, the like of which one may hear rarely if ever. For years she had been a night worker in the missions of the lower city, and many an unfortunate had been turned from the way of evil by her good offices. I sat beside her at the table, and she told me of her work and how often she had met Trumbull in his night walks.

'Found me a hopeless heathen,' he remarked.

'To save him I had to consent to marry him,' she said, laughing.

'"Who hath found love is already in Heaven,"'said McClingan. 'I have not found it and I am in'' he hesitated, as if searching for a synonym.

'A boarding house on William Street,' he added.

The remarkable thing about Margaret Hull was her simple faith. It looked to no glittering generality for its reward, such as the soul s 'highest good much talked of in the philosophy of that time. She believed that, for every soul she saved, one jewel would be added to her crown in Heaven. And yet she wore no jewel upon her person. Her black costume was beautifully fitted to her fine form, but was almost severely plain. It occurred to me that she did not quite understand her own heart, and, for that matter, who does? But she had somewhat in her soul that passeth all understanding—I shall not try to say what, with so little knowledge of those high things, save that I know it was of God. To what patience and unwearying effort she had schooled herself I was soon to know.

'Can you not find anyone to love you?' she said, turning to McClingan. 'You know the Bible says it is not good for man to live alone.

'It does, Madame,' said he, 'but I have a mighty fear in me, remembering the twenty-fourth verse of the twenty-fifth chapter of Proverbs: "It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetops than with a brawling woman in a wide house." We cannot all be so fortunate as our friend Trumbull. But I have felt the great passion.

He smiled at her faintly as he spoke in a quiet manner, his r s coming off his tongue with a stately roll. His environment and the company had given him a fair degree of stimulation. There was a fine dignity in his deep voice, and his body bristled with it, from his stiff and heavy shock of blonde hair parted carefully on the left side, to his high-heeled boots. The few light hairs that stood in lonely abandonment on his upper lip, the rest of his lean visage always well shorn, had no small part in the grand effect of McClingan.

'A love story!' said Miss Hull. 'I do wish I had your confidence. I like a real, true love story.

'A simple stawry it is,' said McClingan, 'and Jam proud of my part in it. I shall be glad to tell the stawry if you are to hear it.'

We assured him of our interest.

'Well,' said he, 'there was one Tom Douglass at Edinburgh who was my friend and classmate. We were together a good bit of the time, and when we had come to the end of our course we both went to engage in journalism at Glasgow. We had a mighty conceit of ourselves—you know how it is, Brower, with a green lad—but we were a mind to be modest, with all our learning, so we made an agreement: I would blaw his horn and he would blaw mine. We were not to lack appreciation. He was on one paper and I on another, and every time he wrote an article I went up and down the office praising him for a man o' mighty skill, and he did the same for me. If anyone spoke of him in my hearing I said every word of flattery at my command. "What Tom Douglass?" I would say, "the man o' the Herald that's written those wonderful articles from the law court? A genius, sir! an absolute genius!" Well, we were rapidly gaining reputation. One of those days I found myself in love with as comely a lass as ever a man courted. Her mother had a proper curiosity as to my character. I referred them to Tom Douglass of the Herald—he was the only man there who had known me well. The girl and her mother both went to him.

"Your friend was just here," said the young lady, when I called again. "He is a very handsome man."

'"And a noble man!" I said.

'"And didn't I hear you say that he was a very skilful man, too?"

'"A genius!" I answered, "an absolute genius!"

McClingan stopped and laughed heartily as he took a sip of water.

'What happened then?' said Miss I-lull.

'She took him on my recommendation,' he answered. 'She said that, while he had the handsomer face, I had the more eloquent tongue. And they both won for him. And, upon me honour as a gentleman, it was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me, for she became a brawler and a scold. My mother says there is "no the like o' her in Scotland".

I shall never forget how fondly Margaret Hull patted the brown cheek of Trumbull with her delicate white band, as we rose.

'We all have our love stawries,' said McClingan.

'Mine is better than yours,' she answered, 'but it shall never be told.'

'Except one little part if it,' said Trumbull, as he put his hands upon her shoulders, and looked down into her face. 'It is the only thing that has made my life worth living.'

Then she made us to know many odd things about her work for the children of misfortune—inviting us to come and see it for ourselves. We were to go the next evening.

I finished my work at nine that night and then we walked through noisome streets and alleys—New York was then far from being so clean a city as now—to the big mission house. As we came in at the door we saw a group of women kneeling before the altar at the far end of the room, and heard the voice of Margaret Hull praying' a voice so sweet and tender that we bowed our heads at once, and listened while it quickened the life in us. She plead for the poor creatures about her, to whom Christ gave always the most abundant pity, seeing they were more sinned against than sinning. There was not a word of cant in her petition. It was full of a simple, unconscious eloquence, a higher feeling than I dare try to define. And when it was over she had won their love and confidence so that they clung to her hands and kissed them and wet them with their tears. She came and spoke to us presently, in the same sweet manner that had charmed us the night before' there was no change in it We offered to walk home with her, but she said Trumbull was coming at twelve.

'So that is "The Little Mother" of whom I have heard so often,' said McClingan, as we came away.

'What do you think of her?' I enquired.

'Wonderful woman!' he said. 'I never heard such a voice. It gives me visions. Every other is as the crackling of thorns under a pot.'

I came back to the office and went into Mr Greeley's room to bid him goodbye. He stood by the gas jet, in a fine new suit of clothes, reading a paper, while a boy was blacking one of his boots. I sat down, awaiting a more favourable moment. A very young man had come into the room and stood timidly holding his hat.

'I wish to see Mr Greeley,' he said.

'There he is,' I answered, 'go and speak to him.'

'Mr Greeley,' said he, 'I have called to see if you can take me on the Tribune.'

The Printer continued reading as if he were the only man in the room.

The young man looked at him and then at me—with an expression that moved me to a fellow feeling. He was a country boy, more green and timid even than I had been.

'He did not hear you—try again,' I said.

'Mr Greeley,' said he, louder than before, 'I have called to see if you can take me on the Tribune.'

The editor's eyes glanced off at the boy and returned to their reading.

'No, boy, I can't,' he drawled, shifting his eyes to another article. And the boy, who was called to the service of the paper in time, but not until after his pen had made him famous, went away with a look of bitter disappointment.

In his attire Mr Greeley wore always the best material, that soon took on a friendless and dejected look. The famous white overcoat had been bought for five dollars of a man who had come by chance to the office of the New Yorker, years before, and who considered its purchase a great favour. That was a time when the price of a coat was a thing of no little importance to the Printer. Tonight there was about him a great glow, such as comes of fine tailoring and new linen.

He was so preoccupied with his paper that I went out into the big room and sat down, awaiting a better time.

'The Printer's going to Washington to talk with the president,' said an editor.

Just then Mr Greeley went running hurriedly up the spiral stair on his way to the typeroom. Three or four compositors had gone up ahead of him. He had risen out of sight when we heard a tremendous uproar above stairs. I ran up, two steps at a time, while the high voice of Mr Greeley came pouring down upon me like a flood. It had a wild, fleering tone. He stood near the landing, swinging his arms and swearing like a boy just learning how. In the middle of the once immaculate shirt bosom was a big, yellow splash. Something had fallen on him and spattered as it struck We stood well out of range, looking at it, undeniably the stain of nicotine. In a voice that was no encouragement to confession he dared 'the drooling idiot' to declare himself. In a moment he opened his waistcoat and surveyed the damage.

'Look at that!' he went on, complainingly. 'Ugh! The reeking, filthy, slobbering idiot! I'd rather be slain with the jaw bone of an ass.'

'You'll have to get another shirt,' said the pressman, who stood near. 'You can't go to Washington with such a breast pin.'

'I'd breast pin him if I knew who he was,' said the editor.

A number of us followed him downstairs and a young man went up the Bowery for a new shirt. When it came the Printer took off the soiled garment, flinging it into a corner, and I helped him to put himself in proper fettle again. This finished, he ran away, hurriedly, with his carpet-bag, and I missed the opportunity I wanted for a brief talk with him.



Chapter 39

My regiment left New York by night in a flare of torch and rocket. The streets were lined with crowds now hardened to the sound of fife and drum and the pomp of military preparation. I had a very high and mighty feeling in me that wore away in the discomfort of travel. For hours after the train started we sang and told stories, and ate peanuts and pulled and hauled at each other in a cloud of tobacco smoke. The train was sidetracked here and there, and dragged along at a slow pace.

Young men with no appreciation, as it seemed to me, of the sad business we were off upon, went roistering up and down the aisles, drinking out of bottles and chasing around the train as it halted. These revellers grew quiet as the night wore on. The boys began to close their eyes and lie back for rest. Some lay in the aisle, their heads upon their knapsacks. The air grew chilly and soon I could hear them snoring all about me and the chatter of frogs in the near marshes. I closed my eyes and vainly courted sleep. A great sadness had lain hold of me. I had already given up my life for my country—I was only going away now to get as dear a price for it as possible in the hood of its enemies. When and where would it be taken? I wondered. The fear had mostly gone out of me in days and nights of solemn thinking. The feeling I had, with its flavour of religion, is what has made the volunteer the mighty soldier he has ever been, I take it, since Naseby and Marston Moor. The soul is the great Captain, and with a just quarrel it will warm its sword in the enemy, however he may be trained to thrust and parry. In my sacrifice there was but one reservation—I hoped I should not be horribly cut with a sword or a bayonet. I had written a long letter to Hope, who was yet at Leipzig. I wondered if she would care what became of me. I got a sense of comfort thinking I would show her that I was no coward, with all my littleness. I had not been able to write to Uncle Eb or to my father or mother in any serious tone of my feeling in this enterprise. I had treated it as a kind of holiday from which I should return shortly to visit them.

All about me seemed to be sleeping—some of them were talking in their dreams. As it grew light, one after another rose and stretched himself, rousing his seat companion. The train halted, a man shot a musket voice in at the car door. It was loaded with the many syllables of 'Annapolis Junction'. We were pouring out of the train shortly, to bivouac for breakfast in the depot yard. So I began the life of a soldier, and how it ended with me many have read in better books than this, but my story of it is here and only here.

We went into camp there on the lonely flats of east Maryland for a day or two, as we supposed, but really for quite two weeks. In the long delay that followed, my way traversed the dead levels of routine. When Southern sympathy had ceased to wreak its wrath upon the railroads about Baltimore we pushed on to Washington. There I got letters from Uncle Eb and Elizabeth Brower. The former I have now in my box of treasures—a torn and faded remnant of that dark period.

DEAR SIR 'pen in hand to hat you know that we are all wel. also that we was sorry you could not come horn. They took on terribul. Hope she wrote a letter. Said she had not herd from you. also that somebody wrote to her you was goin to be married. You had oughter write her a letter, Bill. Looks to me so you hain't used her right. Shes a comm horn in July. Sowed corn to day in the gardin. David is off byin catul. I hope God will take care uv you, boy, so goodbye from yours truly

EBEN HOLDEN

I wrote immediately to Uncle Eb and told him of the letters I had sent to Hope, and of my effort to see her.

Late in May, after Virginia had seceded, some thirty thousand of us were sent over to the south side of the Potomac, where for weeks we tore the flowery fields, lining the shore with long entrenchments.

Meantime I wrote three letters to Mr Greeley, and had the satisfaction of seeing them in the Tribune. I took much interest in the camp drill, and before we crossed the river I had been raised to the rank of first lieutenant. Every day we were looking for the big army of Beauregard, camping below Centreville, some thirty miles south.

Almost every night a nervous picket set the camp in uproar by challenging a phantom of his imagination. We were all impatient as hounds in leash. Since they would not come up and give us battle we wanted to be off and have it out with them. And the people were tired of delay. The cry of 'ste'boy!' was ringing all over the north. They wanted to cut us loose and be through with dallying.

Well, one night the order came; we were to go south in the morning—thirty thousand of us, and put an end to the war. We did not get away until afternoon—it was the 6th of July. When we were off, horse and foot, so that I could see miles of the blue column before and behind me, I felt sorry for the mistaken South. On the evening of the 18th our camp-fires on either side of the pike at Centreville glowed like the lights of a city. We knew the enemy was near, and began to feel a tightening of the nerves. I wrote a letter to the folks at home for post mortem delivery, and put it into my trousers pocket. A friend in my company called me aside after mess.

'Feel of that,' he said, laying his hand on a full breast.

'Feathers!' he whispered significantly. 'Balls can't go through 'em, ye know. Better n a steel breastplate! Want some?

'Don't know but I do,' said I.

We went into his tent, where he had a little sack full, and put a good wad of them between my two shirts.

'I hate the idee o'bein'hit 'n the heart,' he said. 'That's too awful.

I nodded my assent.

'Shouldn't like t'have a ball in my lungs, either,' he added. ''Tain't necessary fer a man t'die if he can only breathe. If a man gits his leg shot off an' don't lose his head an' keeps drawin' his breath right along smooth an even, I don't see why he can't live.

Taps sounded. We went asleep with our boots on, but nothing happened.

Three days and nights we waited. Some called it a farce, some swore, some talked of going home. I went about quietly, my bosom under its pad of feathers. The third day an order came from headquarters. We were to break camp at one-thirty in the morning and go down the pike after Beauregard. In the dead of the night the drums sounded. I rose, half-asleep, and heard the long roll far and near. I shivered in the cold night air as I made ready, the boys about me buckled on knapsacks, shouldered their rifles, and fell into line. Muffled in darkness there was an odd silence in the great caravan forming rapidly and waiting for the word to move. At each command to move forward I could hear only the rub of leather, the click, click of rifle rings, the stir of the stubble, the snorting of horses. When we had marched an hour or so I could hear the faint rumble of wagons far in the rear. As I came high on a hill top, in the bending column, the moonlight fell upon a league of bayonets shining above a cloud of dust in the valley—a splendid picture, fading into darkness and mystery. At dawn we passed a bridge and halted some three minutes for a bite. After a little march we left the turnpike, with Hunter's column bearing westward on a crossroad that led us into thick woods. As the sunlight sank in the high tree-tops the first great battle of the war began. Away to the left of us a cannon shook the earth, hurling its boom into the still air. The sound rushed over us, rattling in the timber like a fall of rocks. Something went quivering in me. It seemed as if my vitals had gone into a big lump of jelly that trembled every step I took. We quickened our pace; we fretted, we complained. The weariness went out of our legs; some wanted to run. Before and behind us men were shouting hotly, 'Run, boys! run!' The cannon roar was now continuous. We could feel the quake of it. When we came over a low ridge, in the open, we could see the smoke of battle in the valley. Flashes of fire and hoods of smoke leaped out of the far thickets, left of us, as cannon roared. Going at double quick we began loosening blankets and haversacks, tossing them into heaps along the line of march, without halting. In half an hour we stood waiting in battalions, the left flank of the enemy in front. We were to charge at a run. Half-way across the valley we were to break into companies and, advancing, spread into platoons and squads, and at last into line of skirmishers, lying down for cover between rushes.

'Forward!' was the order, and we were off, cheering as we ran. O, it was a grand sight! our colours flying, our whole front moving, like a blue wave on a green, immeasurable sea. And it had a voice like that of many waters. Out of the woods ahead of us came a lightning flash. A ring of smoke reeled upward. Then came a deafening crash of thunders—one upon another, and the scream of shells overhead. Something stabbed into our column right beside me. Many went headlong, crying out as they fell. Suddenly the colours seemed to halt and sway like a tree-top in the wind. Then down they went!—squad and colours—and we spread to pass them. At the order we halted and laid down and fired volley after volley at the grey coats in the edge of the thicket A bullet struck in the grass ahead of me, throwing a bit of dirt into my eyes. Another brushed my hat off and I heard a wailing death yell behind me. The colonel rode up waving a sword.

'Get up an' charge!' he shouted.

On we went, cheering loudly, firing as we ran, Bullets went by me hissing in my ears, and I kept trying to dodge them. We dropped again flat on our faces.

A squadron of black-horse cavalry came rushing out of the woods at us, the riders yelling as they waved their swords. Fortunately we had not time to rise. A man near me tried to get up.

'Stay down!' I shouted.

In a moment I learned something new about horses. They went over us like a flash. I do not think a man was trampled. Our own cavalry kept them busy as soon as they had passed.

Of the many who had started there was only a ragged remnant near me. We fired a dozen volleys lying there. The man at my elbow rolled upon me, writhing like a worm in the fire.

'We shall all be killed!' a man shouted. 'Where is the colonel?'

'Dead,' said another.

'Better retreat,' said a third.

'Charge!' I shouted as loudly as ever I could, jumping to my feet and waving my sabre as I rushed forward. 'Charge!'

It was the one thing needed—they followed me. In a moment we had hurled ourselves upon the grey line thrusting with sword and bayonet.

They broke before us—some running, some fighting desperately.

A man threw a long knife at me out of a sling. Instinctively I caught the weapon as if it had been a ball hot off the bat. In doing so I dropped my sabre and was cut across the fingers. He came at me fiercely, clubbing his gun—a raw-boned, swarthy giant, broad as a barn door. I caught the barrel as it came down. He tried to wrench it away, but I held firmly. Then he began to push up to me. I let him come, and in a moment we were grappling hip and thigh. He was a powerful man, but that was my kind of warfare. It gave me comfort when I felt the grip of his hands. I let him tug a jiffy, and then caught him with the old hiplock, and he went under me so hard I could hear the crack of his bones. Our support came then. We made him prisoner, with some two hundred other men. Reserves came also and took away the captured guns. My comrades gathered about me, cheering, but I had no suspicion of what they meant. I thought it a tribute to my wrestling. Men lay thick there back of the guns—some dead, some calling faintly for help. The red puddles about them were covered with flies; ants were crawling over their faces. I felt a kind of sickness and turned away.

What was left of my regiment formed in fours to join the advancing column. Horses were galloping riderless, rein and stirrup flying, some horribly wounded. One hobbled near me, a front leg gone at the knee.

Shells were flying overhead; cannonballs were ricocheting over the level valley, throwing turf in the air, tossing the dead and wounded that lay thick and helpless.

Some were crumpled like a rag, as if the pain of death had withered them in their clothes; some swollen to the girth of horses; some bent backward, with arms outreaching like one trying an odd trick, some lay as if listening eagerly, an ear close to the ground; some like a sleeper, their heads upon their arms; one shrieked loudly, gesturing with bloody hands, 'Lord God Almighty, have mercy on me!

I had come suddenly to a new world, where the lives of men were cheaper than blind puppies. I was a new sort of creature, and reckless of what came, careless of all I saw and heard.

A staff officer stepped up to me as we joined the main body.

'You ve been shot, young man,' he said, pointing to my left hand.

Before he could turn I felt a rush of air and saw him fly into pieces, some of which hit me as I fell backward. I did not know what had happened; I know not now more than that I have written. I remember feeling something under me, like a stick of wood, bearing hard upon my ribs. I tried to roll off it, but somehow, it was tied to me and kept hurting. I put my hand over my hip and felt it there behind me—my own arm! The hand was like that of a dead man—cold and senseless. I pulled it from under me and it lay helpless; it could not lift itself. I knew now that I, too, had become one of the bloody horrors of the battle.

I struggled to my feet, weak and trembling, and sick with nausea. I must have been lying there a long time. The firing was now at a distance: the sun had gone half down the sky. They were picking up the wounded in the near field. A man stood looking at me. 'Good God!' he shouted, and then ran away like one afraid. There was a great mass of our men back of me some twenty rods. I staggered toward them, my knees quivering.

'I can never get there,' I heard myself whisper.

I thought of my little flask of whiskey, and, pulling the cork with my teeth, drank the half of it. That steadied me and I made better headway. I could hear the soldiers talking as I neared them.

'Look a there!' I heard many saying. 'See 'em come! My God! Look at 'em on the hill there!

The words went quicidy from mouth to mouth. In a moment I could hear the murmur of thousands. I turned to see what they were looking at. Across the valley there was a long ridge, and back of it the main position of the Southern army. A grey host was pouring over it—thousand upon thousand—in close order, debouching into the valley.

A big force of our men lay between us and them. As I looked I could see a mighty stir in it. Every man of them seemed to be jumping up in the air. From afar came the sound of bugles calling 'retreat, the shouting of men, the rumbling of wagons. It grew louder. An officer rode by me hatless, and halted, shading his eyes. Then he rode back hurriedly.

'Hell has broke loose!' he shouted, as he passed me.

The blue-coated host was rushing towards us like a flood' artillery, cavalry, infantry, wagon train. There was a mighty uproar in the men behind me—a quick stir of feet. Terror spread over them like the travelling of fire. It shook their tongues. The crowd began caving at the edge and jamming at the centre. Then it spread like a swarm of bees shaken off a bush.

'Run! Run for your lives!' was a cry that rose to heaven.

'Halt, you cowards!' an officer shouted.

It was now past three o clock.

The raw army had been on its feet since midnight. For hours it had been fighting hunger, a pain in the legs, a quivering sickness at the stomach, a stubborn foe. It had turned the flank of Beauregard; victory was in sight. But lo! a new enemy was coming to the fray, innumerable, unwearied, eager for battle. The long slope bristled with his bayonets. Our army looked and cursed and began letting go. The men near me were pausing on the brink of awful rout In a moment they were off, pell-mell, like a flock of sheep. The earth shook under them. Officers rode around them, cursing, gesticulating, threatening, but nothing could stop them. Half a dozen trees had stood in the centre of the roaring mass. Now a few men clung to them—a remnant of the monster that had torn away. But the greater host was now coming. The thunder of its many feet was near me; a cloud of dust hung over it. A squadron of cavalry came rushing by and broke into the fleeing mass. Heavy horses, cut free from artillery, came galloping after them, straps flying over foamy flanks. Two riders clung to the back of each, lashing with whip and rein. The nick of wagons came after them, wheels rattling, horses running, voices shrilling in a wild hoot of terror. It makes me tremble even now, as I think of it, though it is muffled under the cover of nearly forty years! I saw they would go over me. Reeling as if drunk, I ran to save myself. Zigzagging over the field I came upon a grey-bearded soldier lying in the grass and fell headlong. I struggled madly, but could not rise to my feet. I lay, my face upon the ground, weeping like a woman. Save I be lost in hell, I shall never know again the bitter pang of that moment. I thought of my country. I saw its splendid capital in ruins; its people surrendered to God's enemies.

The rout of wagons had gone by I could now hear the heavy tramp of thousands passing me, the shrill voices of terror. I worked to a sitting posture somehow—the effort nearly smothered me. A mass of cavalry was bearing down upon me. They were coming so thick I saw they would trample me into jelly. In a flash I thought of what Uncle Eb had told me once. I took my hat and covered my face quiddy, and then uncovered it as they came near. They sheared away as I felt the foam of their nostrils. I had split them as a rock may split the torrent. The last of them went over me—their tails whipping my face. I shall not soon forget the look of their bellies or the smell of their wet flanks. They had no sooner passed than I fell back and rolled half over like a log. I could feel a warm flow of blood trickling down my left arm. A shell, shot at the retreating army, passed high above me, whining as it flew. Then my mind went free of its trouble. The rain brought me to as it came pelting down upon the side of my face. I wondered what it might be, for I knew not where I had come. I lifted my head and looked to see a new dawn—possibly the city of God itself. It was dark—so dark I felt as if I had no eyes. Away in the distance I could hear the beating of a drum. It rang in a great silence—I have never known the like of it. I could hear the fall and trickle of the rain, but it seemed only to deepen the silence. I felt the wet grass under my face and hands. Then I knew it was night and the battlefield where I had fallen. I was alive and might see another day—thank God! I felt something move under my feet I heard a whisper at my shoulder.

'Thought you were dead long ago,' it said.

'No, no,' I answered, 'I'm alive—I know I'm alive—this is the battlefield.

''Fraid I ain't goin' t' live,' he said. 'Got a terrible wound. Wish it was morning.'

'Dark long?' I asked.

'For hours,' he answered. 'Dunno how many.'

He began to groan and utter short prayers.

'O, my soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning,' I heard him cry in a loud, despairing voice.

Then there was a bit of silence, in which I could hear him whispering of his home and people.

Presently he began to sing:

'Guide me, O thou great Jehovah! Pilgrim through this barren land I am weak but thou art mighty'

His voice broke and trembled and sank into silence.

I had business of my own to look after—perhaps I had no time to lose—and I went about it calmly. I had no strength to move and began to feel the nearing of my time. The rain was falling faster. It chilled me to the marrow as I felt it trickling over my back. I called to the man who lay beside me—again and again I called to him—but got no answer. Then I knew that he was dead and I alone. Long after that in the far distance I heard a voice calling. It rang like a trumpet in the still air. It grew plainer as I listened. My own name! William Brower? It was certainly calling to me, and I answered with a feeble cry. In a moment I could hear the tramp of someone coming. He was sitting beside me presently, whoever it might be. I could not see him for the dark. His tongue went clucking as if he pitied me.

'Who are you?' I remember asking, but got no answer.

At first I was glad, then I began to feel a mighty horror of him.

In a moment he had picked me up and was making off. The jolt of his step seemed to be breaking my arms at the shoulder. As I groaned he ran. I could see nothing in the darkness, but he went ahead, never stopping, save for a moment, now and then, to rest I wondered where he was taking me and what it all meant. I called again, 'Who are you?' but he seemed not to hear me. 'My God!' I whispered to myself, 'this is no man—this is Death severing the soul from the body. The voice was that of the good God.' Then I heard a man hailing near by.

'Help, Help!' I shouted faintly.

'Where are you?' came the answer, now further away. 'Can't see you.' My mysterious bearer was now running. My heels were dragging upon the ground; my hands were brushing the grass tops. I groaned with pain.

'Halt! Who comes there?' a picket called. Then I could hear voices.

'Did you hear that noise?' said one. 'Somebody passed me. So dark can't see my hand before me.

'Darker than hell!' said another voice.

It must be a giant, I thought, who can pick me up and carry me as if I were no bigger than a house cat. That was what I was thinking when I swooned.

From then till I came to myself in the little church at Centreville I remember nothing. Groaning men lay all about me; others stood between them with lanterns. A woman was bending over me. I felt the gentle touch of her hand upon my face and heard her speak to me so tenderly I cannot think of it, even now, without thanking God for good women. I clung to her hand, clung with the energy of one drowning, while I suffered the merciful torture of the probe, the knife and the needle. And when it was all over and the lantern lights grew pale in the dawn I fell asleep.

But enough of blood and horror. War is no holiday, my merry people, who know not the mighty blessing of peace. Counting the cost, let us have war, if necessary, but peace, peace if possible.



Chapter 40

But now I have better things to write of things that have some relish of good in them. I was very weak and low from loss of blood for days, and, suddenly, the tide turned. I had won recognition for distinguished gallantry they told me—that day they took me to Washington. I lay three weeks there in the hospital. As soon as they heard of my misfortune at home Uncle Eb wrote he was coming to see me. I stopped him by a telegram, assuring him that I was nearly well and would be home shortly.

My term of enlistment had expired when they let me out a fine day in mid August. I was going home for a visit as sound as any man but, in the horse talk of Faraway, I had a little 'blemish'on the left shoulder. Uncle Eb was to meet me at the jersey City depot. Before going I, with others who had been complimented for bravery, went to see the president. There were some twenty of us summoned to meet him that day. It was warm and the great Lincoln sat in his shirt-sleeves at a desk in the middle of his big office. He wore a pair of brown carpet slippers, the rolling collar and black stock now made so familiar in print. His hair was tumbled. He was writing hurriedly when we came in. He laid his pen away and turned to us without speaking. There was a careworn look upon his solemn face.

'Mr President,' said the general, who had come with us, 'here are some of the brave men of our army, whom you wished to see.

He came and shook hands with each and thanked us in the name of the republic, for the example of courage and patriotism we and many others had given to the army. He had a lean, tall, ungraceful figure and he spoke his mind without any frill or flourish. He said only a few words of good plain talk and was done with us.

'Which is Brower?' he enquired presently.

I came forward more scared than ever I had been before.

'My son,' he said, taking my hand in his, 'why didn't you run?'

'Didn't dare,' I answered. 'I knew it was more dangerous to run away than to go forward.'

'Reminds me of a story,' said he smiling. 'Years ago there was a bully in Sangamon County, Illinois, that had the reputation of running faster and fighting harder than any man there. Everybody thought he was a terrible fighter. He'd always get a man on the run; then he'd ketch up and give him a licking. One day he tadded a lame man. The lame man licked him in a minute.

'"Why didn't ye run?" somebody asked the victor.

'"Didn't dast," said he. "Run once when he tackled me an I've been lame ever since."

"How did ye manage to lick him?" said the other.

'"Wall," said he, "I hed to, an' I done it easy."

'That's the way it goes,' said the immortal president, 'ye do it easy if ye have to.

He reminded me in and out of Horace Greeley, although they looked no more alike than a hawk and a handsaw. But they had a like habit of forgetting themselves and of saying neither more nor less than they meant. They both had the strength of an ox and as little vanity. Mr Greeley used to say that no man could amount to anything who worried much about the fit of his trousers; neither of them ever encountered that obstacle.

Early next morning I took a train for home. I was in soldier clothes I had with me no others—and all in my car came to talk with me about the now famous battle of Bull Run.

The big platform at Jersey City was crowded with many people as we got off the train. There were other returning soldiers—some with crutches, some with empty sleeves.

A band at the further end of the platform was playing and those near me were singing the familiar music,

'John Brown's body lies a mouldering in the grave.

Somebody shouted my name. Then there rose a cry of three cheers for Brower. It's some of the boys of the Tribune, I thought—I could see a number of them in the crowd. One brought me a basket of flowers. I thought they were trying to have fun with me.

'Thank you!' said I, 'but what is the joke?'

'No joke,' he said. 'It's to honour a hero.'

'Oh, you wish me to give it to somebody.'

I was warming with embarrassment

'We wish you to keep it,' he answered.

In accounts of the battle I had seen some notice of my leading a charge but my fame had gone farther—much farther indeed—than I knew. I stood a moment laughing—an odd sort of laugh it was that had in it the salt of tears—and waving my hand to the many who were now calling my name.

In the uproar of cheers and waving of handkerchiefs I could not find Uncle Eb for a moment. When I saw him in the breaking crowd he was cheering lustily and waving his hat above his head. His enthusiasm increased when I stood before him. As I was greeting him I heard a lively rustle of skirts. Two dainty, gloved hands laid hold of mine; a sweet voice spoke my name. There, beside me, stood the tall, erect figure of Hope. Our eyes met and, before there was any thinking of propriety, I had her in my arms and was kissing her and she was kissing me.

It thrilled me to see the splendour of her beauty that day; her eyes wet with feeling as they looked up at me; to feel again the trembling touch of her lips. In a moment I turned to Uncle Eb.

'Boy,' he said, 'I thought you...' and then he stopped and began brushing his coat sleeve.

'Come on now,' he added as he took my grip away from me. 'We're goin' t' hev a gran' good time. I'll take ye all to a splendid tavern somewheres. An' I ain't goin' if count the cost nuther.

He was determined to carry my grip for me. Hope had a friend with her who was going north in the morning on our boat. We crossed the ferry and took a Broadway omnibus, while query followed query.

'Makes me feel like a flapjack t'ride 'n them things,' said Uncle Eb as we got out.

He hired a parlour and two bedrooms for us all at the St Nicholas.

'Purty middlin' steep!' he said to me as we left the office. 'It is, sartin! but I don't care—not a bit. When folks has if hev a good time they've got t' hev it.

We were soon seated in our little parlour. There was a great glow of health and beauty in Hope's face. It was a bit fuller but had nobler outlines and a colouring as delicate as ever. She wore a plain grey gown admirably fitted to her plump figure. There was a new and splendid 'dignity in her carriage, her big blue eyes, her nose with its little upward slant. She was now the well groomed young woman of society in the full glory of her youth.

Uncle Eb who sat between us pinched her cheek playfully. A little spot of white showed a moment where his fingers had been. Then the pink flooded over it.

'Never see a girl git such a smack as you did,' he said laughing.

'Well,' said she, smiling, 'I guess I gave as good as I got.'

'Served him right,' he said. 'You kissed back good 'n hard. Gran sport!' he added turning to me.

'Best I ever had,' was my humble acknowledgement.

'Seldom ever see a girl kissed so powerful,' he said as he took Hope hand in his. 'Now if the Bible said when a body kissed ye on one cheek ye mus' turn if other I wouldn't find no fault. But ther's a heap o differ'nce 'tween a whack an' a smack.

When we had come back from dinner Uncle Eb drew off his boots and sat comfortably in his stocking feet while Hope told of her travels and I of my soldiering. She had been at the Conservatory, nearly the whole period of her absence, and hastened home when she learned of the battle and of my wound. She had landed two days before.

Hope's friend and Uncle Eb went away to their rooms in good season. Then I came and sat beside Hope on the sofa.

'Let's have a good talk,' I said.

There was an awkward bit of silence.

'Well,' said she, her fan upon her lips, 'tell me more about the war.

'Tired of war,' I answered; 'love is a better subject.

She rose and walked up and down the room, a troubled look in her face. I thought I had never seen a woman who could carry her head so proudly.

'I don't think you are very familiar with it,' said she presently.

'I ought to be,' I answered, 'having loved you all these years.

'But you told me that—that you loved another girl,' she said, her elbow leaning on the mantel, her eyes looking down soberly.

'When? Where?' I asked.

'In Mrs Fuller's parlour.'

'Hope,' I said, 'you misunderstood me; I meant you.

She came toward me, then, looking up into my eyes. I started to embrace her but she caught my hands and held them apart and came close to me.

'Did you say that you meant me?' she asked in a whisper.

'I did.'

'Why did you not tell me that night?

'Because you would not listen to me and we were interrupted.

'Well if I loved a girl,' she said, 'I'd make her listen.'

'I would have done that but Mrs Fuller saved you.'

'You might have written,' she suggested in a tone of injury.

'I did.'

'And the letter never came—just as I feared.'

She looked very sober and thoughtful then.

'You know our understanding that day in the garden,' she added. 'If you did not ask me again I was to know you—you did not love me any longer. That was long, long ago.

'I never loved any girl but you,' I said. 'I love you now, Hope, and that is enough—I love you so there is nothing else for me. You are dearer than my life. It was the thought of you that made me brave in battle. I wish I could be as brave here. But I demand your surrender—I shall give you no quarter now.

'I wish I knew,' she said, 'whether—whether you really love me or not?

'Don't you believe me, Hope?

'Yes, I believe you,' she said, 'but—but you might not know your own heart.

'It longs for you,' I said, 'it keeps me thinking of you always. Once it was so easy to be happy; since you have been away it has seemed as if there were no longer any light in the world or any pleasure. It has made me a slave. I did not know that love was such a mighty thing.

'Love is no Cupid—he is a giant,' she said, her voice trembling with emotion as mine had trembled. 'I tried to forget and he crushed me under his feet as if to punish me.

She was near to crying now, but she shut her lips firmly and kept back the tears. God grant me I may never forget the look in her eyes that moment. She came closer to me. Our lips touched; my arms held her tightly.

'I have waited long for this,' I said—'the happiest moment of my life! I thought I had lost you.

'What a foolish man,' she whispered. 'I have loved you for years and years and you—you could not see it, I believe now.'

She hesitated a moment, her eyes so close to my cheek I could feel the beat of their long lashes.

'That God made you for me,' she added.

'Love is God's helper,' I said. 'He made us for each other.

'I thank Him for it—I do love you so,' she whispered.

The rest is the old, old story. They that have not lived it are to be pitied.

When we sat down at length she told me what I had long suspected, that Mrs Fuller wished her to marry young Livingstone.

'But for Uncle Eb,' she added, 'I think I should have done so—for I had given up all hope of you.'

'Good old Uncle Eb!' I said. 'Let's go and tell him.

He was sound asleep when we entered his room but woke as I lit the gas.

'What's the matter?' he whispered, lifting his head.

'Congratulate us,' I said. 'We're engaged.

'Hey ye conquered her?' he enquired smiling.

'Love has conquered us both,' I said.

'Wall, I swan! is thet so?' he answered. 'Guess I won't fool away any more time here in bed. If you childen'll go in t'other room I'll slip into my trousers an' then ye'll hear me talk some conversation.

'Beats the world!' he continued, coming in presently, buttoning his suspenders. 'I thought mos' likely ye'd hitch up t'gether sometime. 'Tain't often ye can find a pair s'well matched. The same style an gaited jest about alike. When ye goin' t' git married?

'She hasn't named the day,' I said.

'Sooner the better,' said Uncle Eb as he drew on his coat and sat down. 'Used if be so t'when a young couple hed set up 'n held each other's han's a few nights they was ready fer the minister. Wish't ye could fix it fer 'bout Crissmus time, by jingo! They's other things goin'if happen then.' s pose yer s'happy now ye can stan' a little bad news. I've got if tell ye—David's been losin' money. Hain't never wrote ye 'bout it—not a word—'cause I didn't know how 'twas comin' out.

'How did he lose it?' I enquired.

'Wall ye know that Ow Barker—runs a hardware store in Migleyville—he sold him a patent right. Figgered an' argued night an' day fer more 'n three weeks. It was a new fangled wash biler. David he thought he see a chance if put out agents an' make a great deal o'money. It did look jest as easy as slidin' downhill but when we come slide—wall, we found out we was at the bottom o the hill 'stid o' the top an' it wan't reel good slidin. He paid five thousan' dollars fer the right o'ten counties. Then bym bye Barker he wanted him t'go security fer fifteen hunderd bilers thet he was hevin' made. I to!' David he hedn't better go in no deeper but Barker, he promised big things an' seemed if be sech a nice man 'at fin'ly David he up 'n done it. Wall he's hed 'em t' pay fer an' the fact is it costs s'much if sell 'em it eats up all the profits.

'Looks like a swindle,' I said indignantly.

'No,' said Uncle Eb, ''tain't no swindle. Barker thought he hed a gran' good thing. He got fooled an' the fool complaint is very ketchin'. Got it myself years ago an' I've been doctorin' fer it ever sence.

The story of David's undoing hurt us sorely. He had gone the way of most men who left the farm late in life with unsatisfied ambition.

'They shall never want for anything, so long as I have my health,' I said.

'I have four hundred dollars in the bank,' said Hope, 'and shall give them every cent of it.

'Tain' nuthin'if worry over,' said Uncle Eb. 'If I don' never lose more'n a little money I shan't feel terrible bad. We're all young yit. Got more'n a million dollars wuth o' good health right here 'n this room. So well, I'm 'shamed uv it! Man's more decent if he's a leetle bit sickly. An' thet there girl Bill's agreed t'marry ye! Why! 'Druther hev her 'n this hull city o' New York.

'So had I,' was my answer.

'Wall, you am'no luckier 'n she is—not a bit,' he added. 'A good man's better 'n a gol'mine ev'ry time.

'Who knows,' said Hope. 'He may be president someday.

'Ther's one thing I hate,' Uncle El continued. 'That's the idee o hevin' the woodshed an' barn an' garret full o' them infernal wash bilers. Ye can't take no decent care uv a hoss there 'n the stable' they're so piled up. One uv 'em tumbled down top o' me t'other day. 'Druther 'twould a been a panther. Made me s'mad I took a club an' knocked that biler into a cocked hat. 'Tain't right! I'm sick o' the sight uv 'em.

'They'll make a good bonfire someday,' said Hope.

'Don't believe they'd burn,' he answered sorrowfully, 'they're tin.

'Couldn't we bury 'em?' I suggested.

'Be a purty costly funeral,' he answered thoughtfully. 'Ye'd hev if dig a hole deeper n Tupper's dingle.

'Couldn't you give them away?' I enquired.

'Wall,' said he, helping himself to a chew of tobacco, 'we ve tried thet. Gin 'em t'everybody we know but there ain't folks enough' there's such a slew o'them bilers. We could give one if ev'ry man, woman an' child in Faraway an' hex enough left t'fill an acre lot. Dan Perry druv in t'other day with a double buggy. We gin him one fer his own fam'ly. It was heavy t'carry an' he didn't seem t' like the looks uv it someway. Then I asked him if he wouldn't like one fer his girl. "She ain't married," says he. "She will be some time," says I, "take it along," so he put in another. "You've got a sister over on the turnpike hain't ye?" says I. "Yes," says he. "Wall," I says, "don' want a hex her feel slighted." "She won't know 'bout my hevin' 'em," says he, lookin' 's if he'd hed enough. "Yis she will," I says, "she'll hear uv it an' mebbe make a fuss." Then we piled in another. "Look here," I says after that, "there s yer brother Bill up there 'bove you. Take one along fer him." "No," says he, "I don' tell ev'ry body, but Bill an' I ain't on good terms. We ain't spoke fer more'n a year."

'Knew he was lyin',' Uncle Eb added with a laugh, 'I'd seen him talkin' with Bill a day er two before.

'Whew!' he whistled as he looked at his big silver watch. 'I declare it's mos' one o clock They's jes' one other piece o' business if come before this meetin'. Double or single, want ye if both promise me t'be hum Crissmus.

We promised.

'Now childern,' said he. ''S time if go if bed. B'lieve ye'd stan' there swappin' kisses 'till ye was knee sprung if I didn't tell ye t' quit.

Hope came and put her arms about his neck, fondly, and kissed him good-night.

'Did Bill prance right up like a man?' he asked, his hand upon her shoulder.

'Did very well,' said she, smiling, 'for a man with a wooden leg.

Uncle Eb sank into a chair, laughing heartily, and pounding his knee. It seemed he had told her that I was coming home with a wooden leg! 'That is the reason I held your arm,' she said. 'I was expecting to hear it squeak every moment as we left the depot. But when I saw that you walked so naturally I knew Uncle Eb had been trying to fool me.

'Purty good sort uv a lover, ain't he?' said he after we were done laughing.

'He wouldn't take no for an answer,' she answered.

'He was alwuss a gritty cuss,' said Uncle Eb, wiping his eyes with a big red handkerchief as he rose to go. 'Ye'd oughter be mighty happy an' ye will, too—their am'no doubt uv it—not a bit. Trouble with most young folks is they wan'if fly tew high, these days. If they'd only fly clus enough t'the ground so the could alwuss touch one foot, they'd be all right. Glad ye ain't thet kind.

We were off early on the boat—as fine a summer morning as ever dawned. What with the grandeur of the scenery and the sublimity of our happiness it was a delightful journey we had that day. I felt the peace and beauty of the fields, the majesty of the mirrored cliffs and mountains, but the fair face of her I loved was enough for me. Most of the day Uncle Eb sat near us and I remember a woman evangelist came and took a seat beside him, awhile, talking volubly of the scene.

'My friend,' said she presently, 'are you a Christian?

''Fore I answer I'll hex if tell ye a story,' said Uncle Eb. 'I recollec' a man by the name o' Ranney over 'n Vermont—he was a pious man. Got into an argyment an' a feller slapped him in the face. Ranney turned t'other side an' then t'other an' the feller kep' a slappin' hot 'n heavy. It was jes' like strappin' a razor fer half a minnit. Then Ranney sailed in—gin him the wust lickin' he ever hed.

'"I declare," says another man, after 'twas all over, "I thought you was a Christian."

"Am up to a cert in p'int," says he. "Can't go tew fur not 'n these parts—men are tew powerful. 'Twon't do 'less ye wan'if die sudden. When he begun poundin' uv me I see I wan't eggzac'ly prepared."

''Fraid 's a good deal thet way with most uv us. We're Christians up to a cert'in p'int. Fer one thing, I think if a man'll stan' still an' see himself knocked into the nex' world he's a leetle tew good fer this.'

The good lady began to preach and argue. For an hour Uncle Eb sat listening unable to get in a word. When, at last, she left him he came to us a look of relief in his face.

'I b'lieve,' said he, 'if Balaam's ass hed been rode by a woman he never 'd hev spoke.'

'Why not?' I enquired.

'Never'd hev hed a chance,' Uncle Eb added.

We were two weeks at home with mother and father and Uncle Eb. It was a delightful season of rest in which Hope and I went over the sloping roads of Faraway and walked in the fields and saw the harvesting. She had appointed Christmas Day for our wedding and I was not to go again to the war, for now my first duty was to my own people. If God prospered me they were all to come to live with us in town and, though slow to promise, I could see it gave them comfort to know we were to be for them ever a staff and refuge.

And the evening before we came back to town Jed Feary was with us and Uncle Eb played his flute and sang the songs that had been the delight of our childhood.

The old poet read these lines written in memory of old times in Faraway and of Hope's girlhood.

'The red was in the clover an' the blue was in the sky: There was music in the meadow, there was dancing in the rye; An' I heard a voice a calling to the flocks o' Faraway An' its echo in the wooded hills—Go'day! Go'day! Go'day!

O fair was she—my lady love—an' lithe as the willow tree, An' aye my heart remembers well her parting words t' me. An' I was sad as a beggar-man but she was blithe an' gay An' I think o' her as I call the flocks Go'day! Go'day! Go'day!

Her cheeks they stole the dover's red, her lips the odoured air, An' the glow o' the morning sunlight she took away in her hair; Her voice had the meadow music, her form an' her laughing eye Have taken the blue o' the heavens an' the grace o' the bending rye.

My love has robbed the summer day—the field, the sky, the dell, She has taken their treasures with her, she has taken my heart as well; An' if ever, in the further fields, her feet should go astray May she hear the good God calling her Go'day! Go'day! Go'day!



Chapter 41

I got a warm welcome on Monkey Hill. John Trumbull came to dine with us at the chalet the evening of my arrival. McGlingan had become editor-in-chief of a new daily newspaper. Since the war began Mr Force had found ample and remunerative occupation writing the 'Obituaries of Distinguished Persons. He sat between Trumbull and McGlingan at table and told again of the time he had introduced the late Daniel Webster to the people of his native town.

Reciting a passage of the immortal Senator he tipped his beer into the lap of McClingan. He ceased talking and sought pardon.

'It is nothing, Force—nothing,' said the Scotchman, with great dignity, as he wiped his coat and trousers. 'You will pardon me if I say that I had rather be drenched in beer than soaked in recollections.

'That's all right,' said Mr Opper, handing him a new napkin. 'Yes, in the midst of such affliction I should call it excellent fun, McClingan added. 'If you ever die, Force, I will preach the sermon without charge.

'On what text?' the obituary editor enquired.

'"There remaineth therefore, a rest for the people of God,"'quoth McClingan solemnly. 'Hebrews, fourth chapter and ninth verse.

'If I continue to live with you I shall need it,' said Force.

'And if I endure to the end,' said McClingan, 'I shall have excellent Christian discipline; I shall feel like opening my mouth and making a loud noise.

McGlingan changed his garments and then came into my room and sat with us awhile after dinner.

'One needs ear lappers and a rubber coat at that table,' said he.

'And a chest protector,' I suggested, remembering the finger of Force.

'I shall be leaving here soon, Brower,' said McGlingan as he lit a cigar.

'Where shall you go?' I asked.

'To my own house.

'Going to hire a housekeeper?

'Going to marry one,' said he.

'That's funny,' I said. We're all to be married—every man of us.

'By Jove!' said McClingan, 'this is a time for congratulation. God save us and grant for us all the best woman in the world.



Chapter 42

For every man he knew and loved Mr Greeley had a kindness that filled him to the fingertips. When I returned he smote me on the breast—an unfailing mark of his favour—and doubled my salary.

'If he ever smites you on the breast,' McClingan had once said to me, 'turn the other side, for, man, your fortune is made.'

And there was some truth in the warning.

He was writing when I came in. A woman sat beside him talking. An immense ham lay on the marble top of the steam radiator; a basket of eggs sat on the floor near Mr Greeley's desk All sorts of merchandise were sent to the Tribune those days, for notice, and sold at auction, to members of the staff, by Mr Dana.

'Yes, yes, Madame, go on, I hear you,' said the great editor, as his pen flew across the white page.

She asked him then for a loan of money. He continued writing but, presently, his left hand dove into his trousers pocket coming up full of bills.

'Take what you want,' said he, holding it toward her, 'and please go for I am very busy.' Whereupon she helped herself liberally and went away.

Seeing me, Mr Greeley came and shook my hand warmly and praised me fer a good soldier.

'Going down town,' he said in a moment, drawing on his big white overcoat, 'walk along with me—won't you?

We crossed the park, he leading me with long strides. As we walked he told how he had been suffering from brain fever. Passing St Paul's churchyard he brushed the iron pickets with his hand as if to try the feel of them. Many turned to stare at him curiously. He asked me, soon, if I would care to do a certain thing for the Tribune, stopping, to look in at a shop window, as I answered him. I waited while he did his errand at a Broadway shop; then we came back to the office. The publisher was in Mr Greeley's room.

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