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Robert E. Lee Portrait
Page) as it is said many a blustering bully does—he ran barking after
the fragments and trying to catch them; thinking, no doubt, that it was some
pyrotechnic display got up for his especial amusement.
This settled the question of
Jack's bravery, and from this time forward he seemed to form an affection for
our officers, and they for him, which nothing could alter, and he has
accompanied them through all their vicissitudes and changes of prison to
The stories told of this dog's
sagacity and devotion would seem incredulous had they not come from the most
varied and reliable sources. On the road, when our parched men were fainting
from thirst, he would always run forward, and whenever he discovered a pool of
water would rush back, barking loudly, to tell them of it. When they were
supplied with only five crackers to each man for five days—with no meat—and our
poor fellows were literally dying from starvation, this noble animal has been
known to go and catch chickens for them and to bring them in his mouth! or he
would waylay every rebel horse or wagon passing with food, and bark imploringly
for them to bring relief. On one occasion, when a sick and exhausted Union
soldier had been left behind, Jack staid with him for several hours until a
wagon took him up.
But one of the most remarkable
features in his character is his utter hatred of the rebels. His actions, in
this respect, really seemed to go beyond brute instinct. No kindness, no attempt
at caressing could get the "gray-coats" to win him over or even induce him to
take food from them; but he growled and snapped at them upon all occasions,
until many threatened to shoot him. When they got to the Richmond prison,
another large dog was there being fondled by a secesh officer, and Jack stood
looking at both, apparently with the greatest hatred and disgust. When the
officer left, the secesh dog tried to scrape an acquaintance with Jack, but the
latter did not covet any such friendship. He rushed upon the canine rebel, gave
him a sound thrashing, and, although larger than himself, fairly tossed him over
Jack is a great disciplinarian.
When on duty, he knows the various roll-calls so well that he pays no attention
to any of them but one—that of his officers. As soon as he heard this, he used
to run about in the greatest excitement, as if to call his friends together, and
then, placing himself alongside of the drummer, would put up his nose and
commence a long howl—the boys used to say answering to his name. In traveling he
seemed to take the whole responsibility upon himself. Whenever the cars stopped
he was invariably the first to jump off, and the whistle no sooner sounded than
he was the first to jump on again.
But no character is perfect, and
we are sorry to say there is a serious blemish in Jack's. He is an aristocrat of
the first water; one of the regular out-and-out F.F.V.'s. From first to
last—except to help them when in distress—he never would associate with
privates, but always stuck fast to where the shoulder-straps were assembled.
But, after all, in this respect poor Jack is only following the example of many
a human toady and tuft-hunter that can be called to mind; and before we blame
this young puppy for cringing to the rich and great, let us remember that he is
not the only puppy who does so.
Upon the whole, Jack is an
immense favorite with all who know him, but especially the First Maryland
regiment, who claim him as their own, and who were tickled at the idea of seeing
him handed down to immortality in the pages of Harper. They expressed a
determination of having, as soon as they got to Baltimore, a splendid collar
made expressly for their favorite; and we shall be surprised if this lucky dog
does not become a great lion in the monumental city.
LILY likeness! That is all the
word in our cool dictionary that will tell you any thing of Lois Hall; though,
to he business-like, I should commence with the cottage, standing on a little
brownish rise, with a faint flower-garden, and an ineffectual vegetable patch,
from which you are to infer that the soil was stubborn, and likely to prove too
much for the little hired boy—sole scrap of masculinity about the premises of
Mrs. Hall; and that the only neighbor was the sea, tumbling in disorderly
fashion on the desolate beach below them.
Lois's room looked on it, out of
one little white-curtained window; the other kept itself informed as to the
state of the country, and the probabilities of visitors coming "across-lots."
Between them stood a bureau, whose drawers had been rifled by Tory marauders;
troubled with an eruption of brass knobs and handles, having a swinging oval
mirror, and a small infinity of little drawers, where, doubtless, some belle of
the Revolution bestowed her powder and patches, her buckles and ruffles. In a
corner was the bed, modeled, as to proportions, after that of the unlucky
Canaanitish king of old—one which made getting in peculiar and getting out
problematical, and offered you your choice of locality, if you had any fancies
about your head and particular points of the compass; grimly carved, and
unrelenting, even over Lois, asleep there, her brown hair falling all over the
pillow, and a little hand clutching painfully at the coverlet. Lazy child!
waking, half an hour after the usual time, with a start and troubled eyes.
"Lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil," murmured Lois, as she knelt down to pray. "Does the
Father of Lies send such dreams?"
I have said that "lily-likeness"
was the only word for Lois, yet I wish that I could better define her peculiar
charm. Other girls had hair as soft and abundant, brighter color, for Lois was
pale, form as lithe; neither was there strength or lofty purpose in the lines of
her face: yet she took you always by surprise; she was just what you had not
expected to see. Then, too, lived a peculiar charm in Lois's touch; every thing
that had been
near her blabbed of its
happiness: the little collar lying across the toilet cushion; the velvet bow
that John Gifford had taken from her hair and kissed the night before he went to
join his regiment.
She was thinking now of it and
him. When he came back she was to marry him; she had loved—no, not that—she had
liked him all her life, from the time that he fought her battles at school till
now. He was the son of their nearest neighbor; was taller, stronger,
better-looking, kinder, braver, than any one else. It was quite natural. She had
been more proud than grieved when he went away, and always calmly certain that
he would come back safe, only her dream troubled her. It had been of him, and
all pain and confusion; and I doubt if she quite recovered serenity till, on her
way down, she had looked out on the piazza, and breathed in the morning peace
and freshness before entering the "sitting-room," as it is styled in New England
Her mother turned from the window
with a face brighter than the sun pouring in between the muslin curtains,
leaving for Lois's view a tall figure with a lieutenant's strap on his broad
shoulders, and a face that, however browned and altered by the shading of a
mustache and cutting short of curling hair, was still John Gifford's.
Lois stopped short in utter
wonder. Her mother quietly stepped from the room, closing the door behind her.
"Well, Apple-blossom!" cried
John, "I am not a ghost, you see!"
At sound of the voice Lois
remembered herself, and went quickly to him, holding out both hands.
"So it is really you! I am not
half awake yet! I thought you were part of my dream. How you have changed!"
"You have not!" said the admiring
John. Then suddenly catching her close in his strong arms:
"Oh, Lois, Lois! how can you? Is
this your girl's nonsense, or does your still heart really know nothing of what
is going on in mine? Child, I have lived in the thought of you as we ought to
live to God. Why, I have stopped when the battle was at the maddest to make sure
that that bit of ribbon of yours was safe, warming my heart; and all the hateful
time in the hospital I had but one prayer, 'O God, come what will, let me see my
little Lois again!'—while you—you are so coldly sweet."
Lois looked puzzled and
"Why I am very glad to see you,
dear John, only it is so sudden, and so strange. Did you come last night? I
heard nothing of it."
"We made noise enough," holding
her fast, and stroking her lovely brown hair.
" I have some one with me—Captain
Dinwiddie; he is a splendid fellow, got a bad hit in that last affair of ours,
and I brought him here for you and mother to nurse up. He hasn't a near relative
in the world, and these hotels are so deuced hard on a poor fellow that is half
sick and in a hurry to get well."
Lois clouded at once.
"You know I don't like strangers,
But, my darling, this is my
friend. He saved my life. When we were ordered on our final rush across that
confounded slaughter trap of a field, my leg met a ball, and in the thickest of
the fight down I went like a baby. Allan—that's the Captain, you understand—saw
me tumble, sung out to some of the men, and came on, our fellows say, like a
tiger, pitched into half a dozen rebels so they thought the very devil was after
them, picked me up (he is not a stout man, but he took nearly all my weight
himself), fairly carried me off under the very nose of the battery blazing away
at us like Vesuvius or some of those fellows. Is that a stranger! We've stuck
together like David and Jonathan. I don't believe there has been a skirmish, or
a ticklish reconnoissance, or a hard camping out, that we haven't shared
together; and then, Lois," argues this impetuous John, calming a little, "if I
took him home you know what the girls are. They couldn't nurse him or talk to
him as you can, and your mother is willing. What do you suppose she said last
night, bless her!—that she would take a regiment in if they were friends of
mine;" and John burst into a somewhat forced laugh, by way of contradicting his
"This Captain must he a hero. I
should like to see him," thought Lois; for John never could enter in her
imagination even as candidate for that distinction. He was blundering about
women's matters, and not always kind to the queen's English—things impossible to
reconcile with heroship.
"Well, pussy?" asked John, a
little anxiously. Born to be hen-pecked was our John evidently, but then so was
the Duke of Marlborough.
"I was wrong. I am glad you
brought Captain Dinwiddie here," answered Lois, quietly.
The door opened. " He is coming!"
whispered John, still trying to hold her fast, but she slipped away from him
like snow, and stood expectant. The first look was a disappointment.
Captain Dinwiddie was thirty at
least, probably thirty-five, and looked to Lois's inexperienced eyes slightly
made. His features were irregular, his only beauty a pair of fine eyes, normally
gray, but changing perpetually to blue and even intensest black, and almost
feminine softness—owing doubtless to the remarkable length of the lashes, yet
interpenetrated every tone and look, that "charm" as subtle and impossible to
define when found in man as in woman—and Lois, who had recoiled at first, caught
herself, before ten minutes were well over, liking him very much. Came
simultaneously with this admission an oppressing sense of being ill at ease, of
every thing looking its worst, of John's boorishness, of the mortifying
plainness of their housekeeping. Engaged in this profitable thinking, she could
hardly have told whether she had eaten breakfast or not. John, however, at the
zenith of his happiness, read nothing of this in Lois's downcast face. He was
busy with his plans for the day.
"He must make his peace at home,"
he said, laughingly, "and Lois he dared say would entertain Captain Dinwiddie;"
at which Lois held her
peace, but inwardly fell into
consternation, for what had she in common with this fine Captain? So terrified
was she at the thought, that she even came out of her shell of coolness, and
eagerly whispered John to stay, holding his coat by one white finger and
blushing very much. John wouldn't have given that timid touch for the diamonds
of Sinbad; yet there was the fact of mother and sisters unvisited, stubborn as
ever, leaving him nothing but to ride away after all.
Lois sat down by her little
work-basket with a strip of muslin. Doubtless its hemming was of vital
importance, for if it had been the bond of peace or the ties of affection she
couldn't have given it more undivided attention. Allan drew up the lounge close
"May I lie down? I have gotten
used to self-petting since this troublesome wound."
Lois looked up at him. She had
not thought how really pale and suffering he seemed. He "certainly" took a new
inflection, for now that she knew what to do with him and could pity him he had
lost at once all his terrors.
He lay a while quietly watching
her—suddenly broke out,
"It was good in John to bring me
here. After our stormy life, you and this little quiet home are veritable
Paradise. I think myself there."
Certainly he looked his thought;
the hard lines had gone from his face; he might have been ten years younger, but
he could never long be quiet. He fidgeted, turned form side to side, drew
presently a book from his pocket.
"Lois—I beg pardon, Miss Hall—I
am so used to hear John speak of you by that pretty Puritan name of yours."
"Every one calls me so, you need
not make the exception."
"Well then, Lois," dwelling
lovingly on the word, "let me read to you;" and without waiting for assent, he
began the story of Enid.
Lois listened pleased at first,
but half way her lips began to curl.
"You don't like it?" he asked,
"The telling, but not the story."
"You wouldn't so have ridden with
the man you loved?"
Lois's eyes rather than her lips
"Then you have never—" He stopped
"What were you about to say?"
"I have thought better of it, I
shall not tell you."
"Positively no," and he went on
John came back late and looking
"Small benefit would he get from
his furlough! Mother was over head and ears in a lawsuit, and every one was in
trouble, and he must spend at least three days in town, perhaps more, and try to
straighten out the tangled skein."
Lois looked grave on hearing
this, but then that was only natural.
John staid not three days but a
week; wrote then, postponing his return indefinitely. "If he only had the
lawyers in proper position before a certain battery that he wot of, he thought
that he could bring them to terms; as it was, submission and patience were all
that were left."
That morning Allan's wound had
troubled him, and he had spent it on the sofa while Lois sat near with her
sewing. When lunch time came she would not permit him to stir, but brought up
the old-fashioned stand, that spent most of its time in being very much on one
side in a corner, and looking like a target, laid thereon a fresh cloth that
scented of rose leaves, a silver basket piled with roasted apples, and a pitcher
of a quaint stumpiness and solidity filled with cream. Just then came John's
letter. Allan watched her read, or rather hurry over it impatiently.
"He says it may be another week
before he comes," was her comment, letting the letter slip through her careless
fingers to the floor.
Allan picked it up.
"I have no pocket," said Lois,
"and it is too much trouble to go up stairs."
"What shall I do with it?"
"What you like."
"You mean that?"
"Yes; why not?"
Allan's eyes were at their
intensest, looking into hers with a glance that she could not bear an instant.
He rose deliberately, walked to the fire-place, held it over the coals an
instant, and dropped it in. At that Lois, who had been sitting like one
His tone was so sharp that she
shrank a little. "Nothing—there is no harm—I have read it; but oh! John would
never believe it!"
"I wish I were shriveled up, body
and soul, like that!" pointing to the black film quivering on the coals.
"Oh no! not without me!" cried
the girl who a week before smiled her scorn of Enid's tame constancy.
Allan turned and came hastily
toward her—stopped half way—ground out a bitter exclamation, and left the room;
and a little after Lois saw him galloping past the window on his way to town. He
came back late and went at once to his room. Thee next day he frequented the
kitchen, to Mrs. Hall's discomfiture, and stuck by that lady as though she were
his salvation, all the time plainly avoiding Lois. He was fighting Apollyon
manfully—fighting as a man will with remorse behind and dishonor in front.
Lois, poor child! understood
nothing of this. She had sometimes a dim, painful sense of wrong and danger, but
it was forgotten now in the new and overwhelming fear of having in some
unimaginable way offended him; and she wearied out memory trying to recall the
unhappy word or look that had done this mischief. For the hundredth
time she was thinking this over
as they were going down to the beach in utter, dreary silence, he with head bent
down and lip compressed.
Suddenly the pain grew too
"What have I done?" she
exclaimed. "Are you angry with me? What is it? You make me so miserable, Allan!"
Captain Dinwiddie shuddered from
head to foot, and looked desperately away; but there were the soft, clinging
fingers on his arm, and the burning, pitiful face that he had seen with his
first unguarded look, and the sudden tremble of the sweet voice, and, above all,
the passionate love in his fierce heart; and suddenly honor, conscience, will,
whatever chains had bound him, snapped short. Words came like lava:
"Angry, and at you, my darling!
my own—" He stopped sharply. They were close on the beach. "Watch that wave," he
said, hoarsely. "If it break against this rock it is fate. If not—well, we shall
Even as he spoke it was upon
them, breaking over the fragment on which they stood, wetting Lois's dainty
"It is fate," he repeated.
"I will tell you by-and-by. Let
us go back." The afternoon was a wild one; sun showing fitfully among hurrying
clouds, and the wind moaning and shrieking after them as they went up toward the
house. Already it was almost dark in the cozy sitting-room, and the fire gleamed
and smouldered in twilight fashion. The house was deserted. Kitty had leave of
absence; Mrs. Hall had gone to a neighbor's. No better time for Allan Dinwiddie
than now. He caught Lois's hand and drew her down beside him.
"Lois," he said, "when, in place
of the apple-checked, black-eyed girl I had imagined, I first saw you, I said to
myself, this poor, blundering John has stumbled oil the pearl that I have been
uselessly looking for all may life. When you rebelled against Enid I knew that
you had never loved. I had guessed it from the first; you had all the calm of a
child. When I burned the letter I tried you; but your words called up John; I
fancied him amazed, reproachful, incredulous of my villainy. I hated the thought
of my perfidy. Child, what evil spirit was it that sent you to me then, with
your pleading eyes—as if I could be angry with you? Then, when I felt what a
straw I was in the vortex, I said, let chance decide: if the wave strike the
rock I will struggle no more; if not, I will leave this place to-night. Yet,
after all, Lois, it is you, not the wave, that must decide. Tell me, dear, what
is my verdict? Do you love me?"
Lois hid her face, but Allan drew
her hands away and held them; and then, her head drooping lower and lower,
"I thought that I loved John—I
did, indeed," she said, pitifully. "I was so ignorant. I never once guessed,
though I might have known, why I liked you so. Oh! I am a wicked, wicked girl! I
hope John will kill me!"
"You should have known John
better," cried some one coming out of the shadow, and showing them John himself.
Lois was too utterly appalled to
speak; move she could not, for Allan held her fast.
"There were two men in one city,"
went on the solemn voice, "the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had
exceeding many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, save one little
ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up—"
The steady tones faltered. Lois
"Let me go, Allan!—I will go! I
tell you this will kill me!"
She writhed herself free, and
going over to John tried to kneel before him, but he held her out at
"Kill me!" she said, faintly.
"For what ?—to add crime to
sorrow? Oh! Lois, it is bitter enough now! I prayed God that I might see you
again, come what would, and He heard me; and rather than have had such seeing I
would that my lips had stiffened in death while I was praying."
"It is not worth it," said Lois,
half proudly. "I am only a silly girl. Some day you will wonder how you could
have cared for me."
John took a little case from his
pocket and tossed it open on the table.
"See, Lois, these were for you:
you were always running in my head. I think your little finger was more precious
in my sight than all the women I ever saw. Fool that I was! all the way home I
pleased myself thinking how I should clasp them on your pretty wrists. I hid
myself when I saw you coming, thinking to surprise you. I never dreamed that you
didn't love me; yet I might have known that you were too young to look into your
own heart, or to bind yourself by such a solemn promise. But you—oh Allan! my
Allan raised his head.
"If it will be any satisfaction
to use me for a target."
"No, no!" cried Lois, hurrying
between them, "the blame is mine—all mine."
John turned pale at that. To see
her looking at Allan with such love in the eyes that had been so cold for him
was more than he could bear.
"It is a sore temptation," he
said, hurriedly. "I had better go. If I stay here longer I shall have as many
devils as the man whose name was Legion."
He went away, avoiding Mrs. Hall,
whom he saw coming at a distance. Lois sobbed hysterically, and Allan, who spite
of remorse could not help feeling triumph also, set himself to comfort her—an
easier matter that than to explain to Mrs. Hall who loved John almost as well as
she did Lois. Still the thing was done—could not be undone. Scandal would not
help it, so she sighed in secret, shielded and countenanced them outwardly,
above all hastened their marriage as fast as possible.
In her happiness Lois has almost
forgotten John's sad, stern face, and the solemn words uttered in the twilight;
but will sin forget her?