"Ah, Richard, you have found out all you could, and I am glad of it, except of what I, myself, have had to betray to you; for that was more than one would want to tell her twin brother. But I had to create you my scout, and I had only two or three hours for my whole work of creation."
On the next afternoon but one we heard that a great column of our soldiers was approaching on the nearest highway, bound up the railroad to Joe Johnston's army from the region about Port Hudson, and Charlotte instantly proposed that our ladies deal out food and drink from some shady spot on the roadside. It was one of those southern summer days when it verily seems hotter in the shade than in the sun--unless you are in the sun. The force was wholly artillery and infantry, the last Confederate infantry that region ever saw in column under arms; poor, limping, brown-faced, bloody-footed boys! their weapons were the only clean things, the only whole things, about them except their unbroken spirit; and when the very foremost command chanced to be one which the Harpers had seen in New Orleans the day it left there marching in faultless platoons and spotless equipments through the crowds that roared acclaim and farewell, our dear ladies, for one weak moment, wept.
The staff-officer cut away its cornhusk wrapping and read aloud the owner's name on the hilt. The General laid the mighty weapon across his palm and sternly shut his lips. "How did you get through the enemy's pickets with this?".
But my unsoldierly motive for going to headquarters kept my misgivings alive. I was hungry for the gentilities of camp; to be where Shakespeare was part of the baggage, where Pope was quoted, where Coleridge and Byron and Poe were recited, Macaulay criticized, and "Les Mis茅rables"--Madame Le Vert's Mobile translation--lent round; and where men, when they did steal, stole portable volumes, not currycombs. Ned Ferry had been Major Harper's clerk, but had managed in several instances to display such fitness to lead that General Austin had lately named him for promotion, and the quartermaster's clerk was now Lieutenant Ferry, raised from the ranks for gallantry, and followed ubiquitously by a chosen sixty or so drawn from the whole brigade. Could the like occur again? And could it occur to a chap who could not comprehend how it had ever occurred at all?
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"Say, Dick!" he began, as she moved away, "look here, I'm going to tell you something; Ned Ferry's in love with Charlotte Oliver!".
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