THE SOCK STORIES,
BY "AUNT FANNY'S" DAUGHTER.
RED, WHITE, AND BLUE SOCKS.
THE SECOND BOOK OF THE SERIES.
"AUNT FANNY'S" DAUGHTER,
THE AUTHOR OF "THE LITTLE WHITE ANGEL."
NEW YORK: LEAVITT & ALLEN, 21 & 23 MERCER ST. 1863.
ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by S. L. BARROW, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
JOHN F. TROW, PRINTER, STEREOTYPER, AND ELECTROTYPER, 50 Greene Street, New York.
CONTENTS OF VOL. II.
COLONEL FREDDY; OR, THE MARCH AND ENCAMPMENT OF THE DASHAHED ZOUAVES,
CHAP. I.—BELLIGERENT POWERS, 5
II.—BULL RUN, 30
III.—BEFORE MONTEREY, 50
IV.—A GRAND REVIEW, 87
V.—"HOME! SWEET HOME!" 111
THE MARCH AND ENCAMPMENT OF THE DASHAHED ZOUAVES.
TUESDAY morning dawned "as clear as a bell," as an old lady once said, and the Dashahed Zouaves, if not exactly up with the sun, were awake and stirring at a much earlier hour than usual; and after a rather more careful washing and brushing than soldiers usually indulge in, assembled on the lawn, looking as bright as their own buttons.
"What fun it is to be soldiers!" cried a little lisping fellow, one of the privates. "I only wish thome Southerners would come along now, and you'd thee how I'd thmash 'em."
"Bravo, Louie!" said Harry, laughing; "I dare say, if we were to go to the wars, you'd keep on fighting the battles of your country till you were chopped into inch bits!"
"And pickled! I expect to be made Lieutenant-general, Commander-in-chief, Colonel, Major, Captain, Lieutenant, Sergeant Hamilton at the very least!"
"Pooh! that's nothing to the feats of bravery I intend to perform!" cried Peter. "In my first battle I shall capture a 2,000-pound columbiad with one hand tied behind me, and carry it home for a paper weight!"
"While I'm charging a regiment of mounted infantry single handed, and making them throw away their swords, and pistols, and things, and run for that 'last ditch' of theirs double quick!" said Will Costar, laughing; "but here comes breakfast, I'm happy to say. It strikes me camping out makes a fellow awful hungry, as well as no end of brave."
A servant who had been sent from the house with breakfast materials, now approached, and the table being laid, the soldiers drew their camp stools around it; Colonel Freddy sitting at the head and pouring out coffee with great gravity. Everything was going on smoothly enough, when Harry tilted the tray on one side, and Charley knocked his elbow on the other, and away went the coffee to the very end of the table!
"Charley," exclaimed the Colonel, severely, "what do you mean, sir? I'll have you put in arrest if you don't look out!"
"Who'll put me there?"
"Me!" shouted Peter. "I'm the boy to manage refractories. You'll see how I will come after you with a sharp stick—bayonet, I mean—and put you in arrest like that!" snapping his fingers.
"By the way, when we've caught our rebels, where is the prison to be?" asked Jimmy.
"Why, in the smoke house. There's a patent spring bolt on the door—father had it fixed the last time we had hams made; and if anybody was once in there, they'd never get out in the world, unless they could draw themselves fine like a wire and squeeze through the chimney."
"We'll take care to keep out of it, then!" said Charley; "so, Colonel, I beg pardon for tilting the biggin—I didn't mean to do it so much—really!"
"I, too!" cried Harry; "shake hands, old chap!"
Good-tempered Freddy, always ready to "make up," caught a hand of each of his comrades, and breakfast went on amicably.
Now, there lived in the house an old English man servant named Jerry Pike. He had formerly been a groom and attendant on Peter's uncle, Major Schermerhorn, and volunteered in the army at the time of the war with Mexico, that he might follow his dear master, whom he had served and loved ever since the Major was a mere boy. He had fought bravely beside him in many a hard battle, and, for his gallant conduct, been promoted to the rank of sergeant. When the hand of death removed that kind master, Mr. Schermerhorn had gladly taken Jerry to his own house, and promised him that should be his home as long as he lived. So now, like a gallant old war horse, who has a fresh green paddock, and lives in clover in his infirm age, Jerry not only stood at ease, but lived at ease; and worked or not as he felt disposed.
When breakfast was over, Peter suddenly cried out, "I say, fellows, suppose we employ ourselves by having a drill! You know old Jerry that I told you about? I'll ask him to give us a lesson!"
"Yes! that will be grand fun!" said Freddy. "Do go and find him, Peter; I should really like to learn how to drill as the soldiers do; so when General McClellan comes along, he'll admire us as much as the English General, old Sir Goutby Slogo, did the Seventh Regiment when they paraded before the Prince. 'Really, most extraordinary style of marching these American troops have,' said he, 'most hequal to the 'Orse Guards and the Hoxford Blues coming down Regent street!'"
Meanwhile, Peter had scampered off to the house, and in a short time returned with a comical-looking little old man, dressed in faded regimentals.
He touched his cap to the boys as he approached, in military style, and then drew himself up so very stiff and straight, awaiting their orders, that, as Freddy whispered to Tom, it was a perfect wonder he didn't snap short off at the waist.
"Now, Jerry," began the Colonel, "we want you to give us a real drill, you know, just as you used to learn."
"Yes, a regular one!" chimed in the rest; "we'll run for our guns."
"Not fur your fust drill, I reckon, genl'men. You'll do bad enough without 'em, hech, hech!" cackled Jerry.
"Very well—come begin then, Jerry!" cried impatient Will.
"Are ye all ready?"
"Yes, and waiting."
"Then, genl'men, FALL IN!" exclaimed the sergeant, the first two words being uttered in his natural voice, but the last in an awful sepulchral tone, like two raps on the base kettle drum. Off duty, Jerry rather resembled a toy soldier, but when in giving his orders he stiffened his body, threw up his head, and stuck out his hands, he looked so like the wooden figures out of Noah's ark, that the boys burst into a shout of laughter.
"Now, genl'men," exclaimed Jerry in a severe tone, "this won't do. Silence in the ranks. Squad! 'Shun. The fust manoover I shel teach you, genl'men, is the manoover of 'parade rest.' Now look at me, and do as I do."
Anybody would have supposed, naturally enough, that to stand at rest meant to put your hands in your pockets and lean against a tree; but what Jerry did, was to slap his right hand against his left, like a torpedo going off, and fold them together; stick out his left foot, lean heavily upon his right, and look more like a Dutch doll than ever.
The boys accordingly endeavored to imitate this performance; but when they came to try it, a difficulty arose. Whatever might be their usual ideas on the subject, there was a diversity of opinion now as to the proper foot to be advanced, and a wild uncertainty which was the left foot. The new soldiers shuffled backward and forward as if they were dancing hornpipes; while Jerry shouted, "Now, then, genl'men, I can't hear them hands come together smartly as I'd wished, not like a row of Jarsey cider bottles a poppin' one arter the other, but all at once. Now, then, SQUAD! 'SHUN!" in a voice of thunder, "Stan' at parade rest! No—no—them lef futs adwanced! Well if ever!" And Jerry in his indignation gave himself such a thump on his chest that he knocked all the breath out of his body, and had to wait some moments before he could go on; while the boys, bubbling over with fun, took his scoldings in high good humor, and shrieked with laughter at their own ridiculous blunders, to the high wrath of their ancient instructor; who was so deeply interested and in earnest about his pursuit, that he didn't fail to lecture them well for their "insubornation;" which, indeed, nobody minded, except Tom Pringle, who, by the by, was from Maryland, and many of whose relations were down South. He had been looking rather sulky from the beginning of the drill, and now suddenly stepped from his place in the ranks, exclaiming, "I won't play! now I vow I won't!"
"Why, Tom, what is the matter? Are you mad at us?" cried half a dozen voices at once.
"Humm—" grumbled sulky Tom.
"What say? I can't hear you," said Freddy. "Nonsense, Tom, don't be poky, come back and drill."
"I won't! Let us alone, will you?"
"All we want is, let us alone!" chanted Peter. "There, Fred, let him be cross if he wants to, we can play without him;" and the boys ran back to their places in the ranks, Freddy calling out, "Come fellows, let's try that old parade rest once more;" and on Jerry's giving the command, they really did do it this time, and were pronounced capable of passing to grander evolutions.
The first of these was the turn about so as to fall in ranks; something the Dashahed Zouaves hadn't dreamt of before. Get into ranks? Nothing could be easier than to stand four in a row, as they had done before; but when it came to "right face," most of the soldiers were found to have opposite views on the subject, and faced each other, to their mutual astonishment. The natural consequence was, that in three seconds the regiment was in such a snarl and huddle, that no one could tell which rank he belonged to or anything else; so Jerry, perfectly purple in the face with shouting, by way of helping them out of the scrape, gave them the following remarkable advice: "Squad, 'shun! At th' wud 'Foz' the rer-rank will stepsmartly off wi' th' leffut, tekkinapesstoth' rare—Fo-o-o-res!"
"W-h-a-t!" was the unanimous exclamation.
Jerry repeated his mandate, which, after infinite puzzling (the honest sergeant being no assistance whatever), was discovered to mean, "At the word 'Fours,' the rear rank will step smartly off with the left foot, taking a pace to the rear. Fours!"
This difficulty solved, the next "article on the programme," as Peter said, was the command March! or "harch!" according to Jerry.
Out stepped Freddy, confident that he knew this much at any rate, followed by the others; but here again that celebrated left foot got them into trouble. The right foot would pop out here and there, and as sure as it did, at the third step the unlucky Zouave found his leg firmly stuck between the ankles of the boy in front; and the "man" behind him treading on his heels in a way calculated to aggravate a saint; while meantime, the fellows in the rear rank, who were forever falling behind while they were staring at their feet to make sure which was the left one, would endeavor to make up for it by taking a wide straddling step all of a sudden, and encircled the legs of people in front; a proceeding which, not being in accordance with "Hardee's Tactics," was not received with approbation by Jerry; who, looking at them with a sort of deprecating pity, hoarsely said, "Now, Company D! wot—wrong agin? fowod squad! wun, too, three, foore; hup! hup! hup! hold your head up, Mr. Fred; turn out your toes, Master William, and keep STEADY!"
"Goody!" exclaimed Freddy at last, stopping short in the middle of his marching, "I can't stand this any longer! There, Jerry, we've had drill enough, thank you; I am knocked into a cocked hat, for my part!"
"Very well, sir; it is powerful hot; an' I must say you young genl'men have kep' at it steadier nor I expected, a gred deal."
"Thank you, Jerry," said George, laughing, "we shall not forget our first drill in a hurry. I can't tell, for my part, which has been most bothered, you or we."
"Allers glad to give you a little practice," grinned Jerry, "though you'd rive the gizzard out of an army drill sergeant, I'd wenture to say, if he hed the teachin' of you. Hech! hech! hech! Mornin', genl'men, your sarvent," and Jerry touched his cap to Colonel Freddy and marched off chuckling.
As soon as he had made his exit, the boys clustered around Tom, as he sat turning his back on as many of the company as possible, and all began in a breath, "Now, Tom, do tell us what you're mad at; what have we done? please speak!"
"Well, then," shouted Tom, springing up, "I'll tell you what, Frederic Jourdain! I won't be ordered around by any old monkey like that,"—pointing toward Jerry—"and as for you and your ordering about, I won't stand that either! fine as you think yourself; the Colonel, indeed!"
"Why, Tom, how can you talk so? can't you play like the rest of us? I'm sure I haven't taken advantage of being Colonel to be domineering; have I, boys?"
"No, no! not a bit, Fred—never mind what he says!"
"Oh do—don't appeal to them! You do that because you daren't say outright you mean to have everything your own way. That may be very well for them—you're all a parcel of Yankee shopkeepers together—but, I can tell you, no Southern gentleman will stand it!"
"North or South, Tom," began Will Costar, pretty sharply, "every regiment must have a head—and obey the head. We've chosen Fred our Colonel, and you must mind him. When he tells you to drill you've got to do it!"
Tom wheeled round perfectly furious. "You say that again," he shouted, "and I'll leave the regiment! I will. I won't be told by any Northerner that I'm his subordinate, and if my State hadn't thought so too, she'd never have left the Union."
"What! you dare to say anything against the Union!" cried George, turning white with rage; "do you mean to say that you admire the South for seceding?"
"Yes! I've a great mind to secede myself, what's more!"
Freddy, as I said, was as sweet-tempered a little fellow as ever lived; but he was fairly aroused now. His blue eyes flashed fire; he crimsoned to the temples; his fists were clenched—and shouting, "you traitor!" like a flash, he sent Tom flying over on his back, with the camp stool about his ears.
Up jumped Tom, kicked away the stool, and rushed toward Fred. But the others were too quick for him; they seized his arms and dragged him back; Peter calling out "No, don't fight him, Colonel; he's not worth it; let's have a court martial—that's the way to serve traitors!"
Amid a perfect uproar of rage and contempt for this shameful attack on their Colonel, the Zouaves hastily arranged some camp stools for judge and jury; and George being chosen judge, the oldest members of the regiment took their places around him, and Tom was hauled up before the Court.
"Oh stop, pray stop!" cried Freddy at this stage of affairs. "Indeed, I forgive him for what he said to me, if he will take back his language about the Union. I can't stand that."
"You hear what the Colonel says," said George, sternly; "will you retract?"
"No, never! if you think I'm going to be frightened into submission to a Northerner you're very much mistaken! No Southerner will ever be that! and as for your precious Union, I don't care if I say I hope there never will be a Union any more."
"Then, by George!" shouted the judge, fairly springing from his seat, "You're a traitor, sir! Fellows, whoever is in favor of having this secessionist put under arrest, say Aye!"
"Aye! AYE! AYE!" in a perfect roar.
"Does any one object?" Nobody spoke.
"Then I sentence him to be confined in the guard house till he begs pardon; Livingston, Costar, and Boorman to take him there."
His captors pounced upon their prisoner with very little ceremony when this sentence was pronounced; when Tom, without attempting to escape, suddenly commenced striking out at every one he could reach. A grand hurley-burley ensued; but before long Tom was overpowered and dragged to the smoke, alias guard house; heaping insults and taunts on the Union and the regiment all the way. Harry flung open the door of the prison, a picturesque little hut built of rough gray stone, and covered with Virginia creepers and wild honeysuckles. The others pushed Tom in, and Peter, dashing forward, slammed the door on him with a bang. Snap! went the bolt, and now nothing earthly could open it again but a Bramah key or a gunpowder explosion. Young Secession was fast, and the North triumphant. Hurrah!
THEIR first excitement over, the gallant Zouaves couldn't help looking at each other in rather a comical way. To be sure, it was very aggravating to have their country run down, and themselves assailed without leave or license; but they were by no means certain, now they came to think of it, that they had acted rightly in doing justice to the little rebel in such a summary manner. Peter especially, who had proposed the court martial, had an instinctive feeling that if his father were to learn the action they had taken, he would scarcely consider it to tally with the exercise of strict politeness to company. In short, without a word said, there was a tacit understanding in the corps that this was an affair to be kept profoundly secret.
While they were still silently revolving this delicate question, little Louie Hamilton suddenly started violently, exclaiming, "Only listen a moment, felloth! what a strange noithe! It sounds like thome wild beast!"
"Noise? I don't hear any," said Freddy; "yes I do, though—like something trampling the bushes!"
"There's nothing worse than four cows and a house dog about our place," said Peter; "but what that is I don't know—hush!"
The boys listened with all their ears and elbows, and nearly stared themselves blind looking around to see what was the matter. They had not long to wait, however, for the trampling increased in the wood, a curious, low growling was heard, which presently swelled to a roar, and in a moment more, an immense brindled bull was seen dashing through the locusts, his head down and heels in the air, looking not unlike a great wheel-barrow, bellowing at a prodigious rate, and making straight toward the place where they stood!
"Murder, what shall we do?" cried Louie, turning deadly pale with terror, while the Zouaves, for an instant, appeared perfectly paralyzed.
"Why run! run for your lives!" shouted George, who was the first to recover himself. "Peter, you lead the way; take us the shortest cut to the house, and—oh!"
Not another word did George utter. He was saving his breath for the race. And now, indeed, began a most prodigious "skedaddle;" the boys almost flying on ahead, running nearly abreast, and their terrible enemy close behind, tearing up the ground with his horns, and galloping like an express!
On sped the gallant Zouaves, making off as rapidly from the scene of action as their namesakes from Manassas, without pausing to remark which way the wind blew, until, at last, they had skirted the grove, and were on the straight road for the house. Here Peter stopped a moment, "Because some of the men will be near here, perhaps," he pantingly said, "and Master Bull will be caught if he ventures after us." Scarcely had he spoken, when the furious animal was once more seen, dashing on faster than ever, and flaming with rage, till he might have exploded a powder mill! Now for a last effort! One determined burst over the smooth road, and they are safe in the house!
Little Louie, who was only nine years old, and the youngest of the party, had grasped hold of Freddy's hand when they first started; and been half pulled along by him so far; but now that safety was close at hand, he suddenly sank to the ground, moaning out, "Oh Fred, you must go on and leave me; I can't run any more. Oh mamma!"
"No, no, Louie! don't do so!" cried Freddy. "Get up, little man! why, you can't think I would leave you, surely?" and, stooping down, the brave little fellow caught Louie up in his arms, and, thus burdened, tried to run on toward the house.
The rest of the boys were now far beyond them; and had just placed their feet upon the doorstone, when a loud shout of "help!" made them turn round; and there was Freddy, with Louie in his arms, staggering up the road, the horns of the bull within a yard of his side!
Like a flash of lightning, Will snatched up a large rake which one of the men had left lying on the grass, and dashed down the road. There is one minute to spare, just one! but in that minute Will has reached the spot, and launching his weapon, the iron points descend heavily on the animal's head.
The bull, rather aghast at this reception, which did not appear to be at all to his taste, seemed to hesitate a moment whether to charge his adversary or not; then, with a low growl of baffled fury, he slowly turned away, and trotted off toward the wood.
The help had not come a minute too soon; for Freddy, his sensitive organization completely overwrought by the events of the morning and his narrow escape from death, had fallen fainting to the ground; his hands still clenched in the folds of little Louie's jacket. Will instantly raised him, when he saw that all danger was over, and he and some of the others, who had come crowding down the road, very gently and quickly carried the insensible boy to the house, and laid him on the lounge in the library; while Peter ran for the housekeeper to aid in bringing him to life.
Good Mrs. Lockitt hurried up stairs as fast as she could with camphor, ice water, and everything else she could think of good for fainting.
"Mrs. Lockitt, where is papa?" asked Peter, as he ran on beside her.
"Gone to New York, Master Peter," she replied; "I don't think he will be home before dinner time."
Our little scapegrace breathed more freely; at least there were a few hours' safety from detection, and he reentered the library feeling considerably relieved.
There lay Colonel Freddy, his face white as death; one little hand hanging lax and pulseless over the side of the lounge, and the ruffled shirt thrust aside from the broad, snowy chest. Harry stood over him, fanning his forehead; while poor Louie was crouched in a corner, sobbing as though his heart would break, and the others stood looking on as if they did not know what to do with themselves.
Mrs. Lockitt hastened to apply her remedies; and soon a faint color came back to the cheek, and with a long sigh, the great blue eyes opened once more, and the little patient murmured, "Where am I?"
"Oh, then he's not killed, after all!" cried Louie, running to his side. "Dear, dear Freddy! how glad I am you have come to life again!"
This funny little speech made even Freddy laugh, and then Mrs. Lockitt said, "But, Master Peter, you have not told me yet how it happened that Master Frederic got in such a way."
The eyes of the whole party became round and saucer-y at once; as, all talking together, they began the history of their fearful adventure. Mrs. Lockitt's wiry false curls would certainly have dropped off with astonishment if they hadn't been sewed fast to her cap, and she fairly wiped her eyes on her spectacle case, which she had taken out of her pocket instead of her handkerchief, as they described Freddy's noble effort to save his helpless companion without thinking of himself. When the narrative was brought to a close, she could only exclaim, "Well, Master Freddy, you are a little angel, sure enough! and Master William is as brave as a lion. To think of his stopping that great creetur, to be sure! Wherever in the world it came from is the mystery." So saying, Mrs. Lockitt bustled out of the room, and after she had gone, there was a very serious and grateful talk among the elder boys about the escape they had had, and a sincere thankfulness to God for having preserved their lives.
The puzzle now was, how they were to return to the camp, where poor Tom had been in captivity all this time. It was certainly necessary to get back—but then the bull! While they were yet deliberating on the horns of this dilemma, the library door suddenly opened, and in walked—Mr. Schermerhorn!
"Why, boys!" he exclaimed, "how do you come to be here? Fred, what's the matter? you look as pale as a ghost!"
There was general silence for a moment; but these boys had been taught by pious parents to speak the truth always, whatever came of it. Ah! that is the right principle to go on, dear children; TELL THE TRUTH when you have done anything wrong, even if you are sure of being punished when that truth is known.
So George, as the eldest, with one brave look at his comrades, frankly related everything that had happened; beginning at the quarrel with Tom, down to the escape from the bull. To describe the varied expression of his auditor's face between delight and vexation, would require a painter; and when George at last said, "Do you think we deserve to be punished, sir? or have we paid well enough already for our court martial?" Mr. Schermerhorn exclaimed, trying to appear highly incensed, yet scarcely able to help smiling:
"I declare I hardly know! I certainly am terribly angry with you. How dare you treat a young gentleman so on my place? answer me that, you scapegraces! It is pretty plain who is at the bottom of all this—Peter dares not look at me, I perceive. At the same time, I am rather glad that Master Tom has been taught what to expect if he runs down the Union—it will probably save him from turning traitor any more, though you were not the proper persons to pass sentence on him. As for our plucky little Colonel here—shake hands, Freddy! you have acted like a hero! and for your sake I excuse the court martial. Now, let us see what has become of the bull, and then go to the release of our friend Tom. He must be thoroughly repentant for his misdeeds by this time."
Mr. Schermerhorn accordingly gave orders that the bull should be hunted up and secured, until his master should be discovered; so that the Zouaves might be safe from his attacks hereafter. If any of our readers feel an interest in the fate of this charming animal, they are informed that he was, with great difficulty, hunted into the stables; and before evening taken away by his master, the farmer from whom he had strayed.
Leaving the others to await his capture, let us return to Tom. He had not been ten minutes in the smoke house before his wrath began to cool, and he would have given sixpence for any way of getting out but by begging pardon. That was a little too much just yet, and Tom stamped with rage and shook the door; which resisted his utmost efforts to burst. Then came the sounds without, the rushing, trampling steps, the furious bellow, and the shout, "Run! run for your lives!" Run! why on earth must they? What had happened? and especially what would become of him left alone there, with this unseen enemy perhaps coming at him next. He hunted in vain in every direction for some cranny to peep through; and if it had been possible, would have squeezed his head up the chimney. He shouted for help, but nobody heard him; they were all too frightened for that. He could hear them crunching along the road, presently; another cry, and then all was still.
"What shall I do?" thought poor Tom. "Oh, where have they gone to? Please let me out, Freddy! do forgive me, boys! I'll f-fight for the Union as m-much as you like! oh! oh!" and at last—must it be confessed?—the gallant Secesh finished by bursting out crying!
Time passed on—of course seeming doubly long to the prisoner—and still the boys did not return. Tom cried till he could cry no more; sniffling desperately, and rubbing his nose violently up in the air—a proceeding which did not ameliorate its natural bent in that direction. He really felt thoroughly sorry, and quite ready to beg pardon as soon as the boys should return; particularly as they had forgotten to provide the captive with even the traditional bread and water, and dinner-time was close at hand. While he was yet struggling between repentance and stomachache, the welcome sound of their voices was heard. They came nearer, and then a key was hastily applied to the fastenings of the door, and it flew open, disclosing the Zouaves, with Freddy at the head, and Mr. Schermerhorn bringing up the rear.
Tom hung back a moment yet; then with a sudden impulse he walked toward Freddy, saying, "I beg your pardon, Colonel; please forgive me for insulting you; and as for the flag"—and without another word, Tom ran toward the flag staff, and catching the long folds of the banner in both hands, pressed them to his lips.
"The chivalry forever!" said Mr. Schermerhorn, smiling. "That's right, Tom! bless the old banner! it is your safeguard, and your countrymen's too, if they would only believe it. Go and shake hands with him, boys; he is in his right place now, and if ever you are tempted to quarrel again, I am sure North and South will both remember
IT is not necessary to describe the particular proceedings of the Dashahed Zouaves during every day of their camp life. They chattered, played, drilled, quarrelled a little once in a while, and made it up again, eat and slept considerably, and grew sunburnt to an astonishing degree.
It was Thursday morning, the fourth of their delightful days in camp. Jerry had been teaching them how to handle a musket and charge bayonets, until they were quite excited, and rather put out that there was no enemy to practise on but the grasshoppers. At length, when they had tried everything that was to be done, Harry exclaimed, "I wish, Jerry, you would tell us a story about the wars! Something real splendid, now; perfectly crammed with Indians and scalps and awful battles and elegant Mexican palaces full of diamonds and gold saucepans and lovely Spanish girls carried off by the hair of their heads!"
This flourishing rigmarole, which Harry delivered regardless of stops, made the boys shout with laughter.
"You'd better tell the story yourself, since you know so much about it!" said Tom.
"I allow you've never been in Mexico, sir," said Jerry, grinning. "I doubt but thar's palisses somewhar in Mexico, but I and my mates hev been thar, an' we never seed none o' 'em. No, Master Harry, I can't tell ye sich stories as that, but I do mind a thing what happened on the field afore Monterey."
The boys, delightedly exclaiming, "A story! a story! hurrah!" drew their camp stools around him; and Jerry, after slowly rubbing his hand round and round over his bristling chin, while he considered what to say first, began his story as follows:
"It wor a Sunday night, young genl'men, the 21st of September, and powerful hot. We had been fightin' like mad, wi' not a moment's rest, all day, an' now at last wor under the canwas, they of us as wor left alive, a tryin' to sleep. The skeeters buzzed aroun' wonderful thick, and the groun' aneath our feet wor like red-hot tin plates, wi' the sun burnin' an blisterin' down. At last my mate Bill says, says he, 'Jerry, my mate, hang me ef I can stan' this any longer. Let you an' me get up an' see ef it be cooler out-o'-doors.'
"I wor tired enough wi' the day's fight, an' worrited, too, wi' a wound in my shoulder; but the tent wor no better nor the open field, an' we got up an' went out. Thar wor no moon, but the sky was wonderful full o' stars, so we could see how we wor stannin' wi' our feet among the bodies o' the poor fellows as had fired their last shot that day. It wor a sight, young genl'men, what would make sich as you sick an' faint to look on; but sogers must larn not to min' it; an' we stood thar, not thinkin' how awful it wor, and yet still an' quiet, too.
"'Ah, Jerry,' says Bill—he wor a young lad, an' brought up by a pious mother, I allow—'I dunnot like this fightin' on the Sabba' day. The Lord will not bless our arms, I'm afeard, if we go agin His will so.'
"I laughed—more shame to me—an' said, 'I'm a sight older nor you, mate, an' I've seed a sight o' wictories got on a Sunday. The better the day, the better the deed, I reckon.'
"'Well, I don't know,' he says; 'mebbe things is allers mixed in time o' war, an' right an' wrong change sides a' purpose to suit them as wants battle an' tumult to be ragin'; but it don't go wi' my grain, noways.'
"I hadn't experienced a change o' heart then, as I did arterward, bless the Lord! an' I hardly unnerstood what he said. While we wor a stannin' there, all to onct too dark figgers kim a creepin' over the field to'ard the Major's tent. 'Look thar, Jerry,' whispered Bill, kind o' startin' like, 'thar's some of them rascally Mexicans.' I looked at 'em wi'out sayin' a wured, an' then I went back to the tent fur my six-shooter—Bill arter me;—fur ef it ain't the dooty o' every Christian to extarminate them warmints o' Mexicans, I'll be drummed out of the army to-morrer.
"Wall, young genl'men—we tuck our pistols, and slow and quiet we moved to whar we seed the two Greasers, as they call 'em. On they kim, creepin' to'ard my Major's tent, an' at las' one o' 'em raised the canwas a bit. Bill levelled his rewolver in a wink, an' fired. You shud ha' seed how they tuck to their heels! yelling all the way, till wun o' em' dropped. The other didn't stop, but just pulled ahead. I fired arter him wi'out touching him; but the noise woke the Major, an' when he hearn wot the matter wor, he ordered the alarm to be sounded an' the men turned out. 'It's a 'buscade to catch us,' he says, 'an' I'm fur being fust on the field.'
"Bill an' I buckled on our cartridge boxes, caught up our muskets, an' were soon in the ranks. On we marched, stiddy an' swift, to the enemy's fortifications; an' wen we were six hundred yards distant, kim the command, 'Double quick.' The sky hed clouded up all of a suddent, an' we couldn't see well where we wor, but thar was suthin' afore us like a low, black wall. As we kim nearer, it moved kind o' cautious like, an' when we wor within musket range, wi' a roar like ten thousand divils, they charged forred! Thar wor the flash and crack o' powder, and the ring! ping! o' the bullets, as we power'd our shot on them an' they on us; but not another soun'; cr-r-r-ack went the muskets on every side agin, an' the rascals wor driven back a minnit. 'Charge bayonets!' shouted the Major, wen he seed that. Thar wos a pause; a rush forred; we wor met by the innimy half way; an' then I hearn the awfullest o' created soun's—a man's scream. I looked roun', an' there wos Bill, lying on his face, struck through an' through. Thar wos no time to see to him then, fur the men wor fur ahead o' me, an' I hed to run an' jine the rest.
"We hed a sharp, quick skirmish o' it—for ef thar is a cowardly critter on the created airth it's a Greaser—an' in less nor half an' hour wor beatin' back to quarters. When all wor quiet agin, I left my tent, an' away to look fur Bill. I sarched an' sarched till my heart were almost broke, an at last I cried out, 'Oh Bill, my mate, whar be you?' an' I hearn a fibble v'ice say, 'Here I be, Jerry!'
"I swon! I wor gladder nor anything wen I hearn that. I hugged him to my heart, I wor moved so powerful, an' then I tuck him on my back, an' off to camp; werry slow an' patient, fur he were sore wownded, an' the life in him wery low.
"Wall, young genl'men, I'll not weary you wi' the long hours as dragged by afore mornin'. I med him as snug as I could, and at daybreak we hed him took to the sugeon's tent.
"I wor on guard all that mornin' an' could not get to my lad; but at last the relief kim roun', an' the man as was to take my place says, says he, 'Jerry, my mate, ef I was you I'd go right to the hosp'tl an' stay by poor Bill' (fur they all knew as I sot gret store by him); 'He is werry wild in his head, I hearn, an' the sugeon says as how he can't last long.'
"Ye may b'lieve how my hairt jumped wen I hearn that. I laid down my gun, an' ran fur the wooden shed, which were all the place they hed fur them as was wownded. An' thar wor Bill—my mate Bill—laying on a blanket spred on the floore, wi' his clothes all on (fur it's a hard bed, an' his own bloody uniform, that a sojer must die in), wi' the corpse o' another poor fellow as had died all alone in the night a'most touching him, an' slopped wi' blood. I moved it fur away all in a trimble o' sorrer, an' kivered it decent like, so as Bill mightn't see it an' get downhearted fur hisself. Then I went an' sot down aside my mate. He didn't know me, no more nor if I wor a stranger; but kept throwin' his arms about, an' moanin' out continual, 'Oh mother! mother! Why don't you come to your boy?'
"I bust right out crying, I do own, wen I hearn that, an' takin' his han' in mine, I tried to quiet him down a bit; telling him it wor bad fur his wownd to be so res'less (fur every time he tossed, thar kim a little leap o' blood from his breast); an' at last, about foore o'clock in the day, he opened his eyes quite sensible like, an' says to me, he says, 'Dear matey, is that you? Thank you fur coming to see me afore I die.'
"'No, Bill, don't talk so,' I says, a strivin' to be cheerful like, tho' I seed death in his face, 'You'll be well afore long.'
"'Aye, well in heaven,' he says; and then, arter a minnit, 'Jerry,' he says, 'thar's a little bounty money as belongs to me in my knapsack, an' my month's wages. I want you, wen I am gone, to take it to my mother, an' tell her—'(he wor gaspin' fearful)—'as I died—fightin' fur my country—an' the flag. God bless you, Jerry—you hev been a good frien' to me, an' I knows as you'll do this—an' bid the boys good-by—fur me.'
"I promised, wi' the tears streamin' down my cheeks; an' then we wor quiet a bit, fur it hurt Bill's breast to talk, an' I could not say a wured fur the choke in my throat. Arter a while he says, 'Jerry, won't you sing me the hymn as I taught you aboard the transport? about the Lord our Captin?'
"I could hardly find v'ice to begin, but it wor Bill's dying wish, an' I made shift to sing as well as I could—
"'We air marchin' on together To our etarnal rest; Niver askin' why we're ordered— For the Lord He knoweth best. Christ is our Captain! 'Forred!' is His word; Ranks all steady, muskets ready, In the army o' the Lord!
"'Satan's hosts are all aroun' us, An' strive to enter in; But our outworks they are stronger Nor the dark brigades o' sin! Christ is our Fortress! Righteousness our sword; Truth the standard—in the vanguard— O' the army o' the Lord!
"'Comrads, we air ever fightin' A battle fur the right; Ever on the on'ard movement Fur our home o' peace an' light. Christ is our Leader! Heaven our reward, Comin' nearer, shinin' clearer— In the army o' the Lord!'
"Arter I hed sung the hymn—an' it wor all I could do to get through—Bill seemed to be a sight easier. He lay still, smilin' like a child on the mother's breast. Pretty soon arter, the Major kim in; an' wen he seed Bill lookin' so peaceful, he says, says he, 'Why, cheer up, my lad! the sugeon sayd as how you wor in a bad way; but you look finely now;'—fur he didn't know it wor the death look coming over him. 'You'll be about soon,' says the Major, 'an' fightin' fur the flag as brave as ever,'
"Bill didn't say nothing—he seemed to be getting wild agin;—an' looked stupid like at our Major till he hearn the wureds about the flag. Then he caught his breath suddint like, an', afore we could stop him, he had sprang to his feet—shakin' to an' fro like a reed—but as straight as he ever wor on parade; an', his v'ice all hoarse an' full o' death, an' his arm in the air, he shouted, 'Aye! God—bless—the—flag! we'll fight fur it till—' an' then we hearn a sort o' snap, an' he fell forred—dead!
"We buried him that night, I an' my mates. I cut off a lock o' his hair fur his poor mother, afore we put the airth over him; an' giv it to her, wi' poor Bill's money, faithful an' true, wen we kim home. I've lived to be an old man since then, an' see the Major go afore me, as I hoped to sarve till my dyin' day; but Lord willing I shel go next, to win the Salwation as I've fitten for, by Bill's side, a sojer in Christ's army, in the Etarnal Jerusalem!"
The boys took a long breath when Jerry had finished his story, and more than one bright eye was filled with tears. The rough words, and plain, unpolished manner of the old soldier, only heightened the impression made by his story; and as he rose to go away, evidently much moved by the painful recollections it excited, there was a hearty, "Thank you, sergeant, for your story—it was real good!" Jerry only touched his cap to the young soldiers, and marched off hastily, while the boys looked after him in respectful silence. But young spirits soon recover from gloomy influences, and in a few moments they were all chattering merrily again.
"What a pity we must go home Monday!" cried Louie; "I wish we could camp out forever! Oh, Freddy, do write a letter to General McClellan, and ask him to let us join the army right away! Tell him we'll buy some new india-rubber back-bones and stretch ourselves out big directly, if he'll only send right on for us!"
"Perhaps he would, if he knew how jolly we can drill already!" said Peter, laughing. "I tell you what, boys, the very thing! let's have a review before we go home. I'll ask all the boys and girls I know to come and look on, and we might have quite a grand entertainment. Won't that be splendid? We can march about all over, and fire off the cannons and everything! I'm sure father will let us."
"Yes, but how's General McClellan to hear anything about it?" inquired practical Louie.
"Why—I don't know," said Peter, rather taken aback by this view of the subject. "Well, somehow—never mind, it will be grand fun, and I mean to ask my father right away."
"Take me with you?" called a dozen fellows directly. Finally it was concluded that it might make more impression on Mr. Schermerhorn's mind, if the application came from the regiment in a body; so, running for their swords and guns, officers and men found their places in the battalion, and the grand procession started on its way—chattering all the time, in utter defiance of that "article of war" which forbids "talking in the ranks." Just as they were passing the lake, they heard carriage wheels crunching on the gravel, and drew up in a long line on the other side of the road to let the vehicle pass them; much to the astonishment of two pretty young ladies and a sweet little girl, about Freddy's age, who were leaning comfortably back in the handsome barouche.
"Why, Peter!" exclaimed one of the ladies, "what in the world is all this?"
"This!" cried Peter, running up to the carriage, "why, these are the Dashahed Zouaves, Miss Carlton. We have been in camp ever since Monday. Good morning, Miss Jessie," to the little girl on the front seat, who was looking on with deep interest.
"Oh, to be sure, I remember," said Miss Carlton, laughing; "come, introduce the Zouaves, Peter; we are wild to know them!"
The boys clustered eagerly about the carriage and a lively chat took place. The Zouaves, some blushing and bashful, others frank and confident, and all desperately in love already with pretty little Jessie, related in high glee their adventures—except the celebrated court martial—and enlarged glowingly upon the all-important subject of the grand review.
Colonel Freddy, of course, played a prominent part in all this, and with his handsome face, bright eyes, and frank, gentlemanly ways, needed only those poor lost curls to be a perfect picture of a soldier. He chattered away with Miss Lucy, the second sister, and obtained her special promise that she would plead their cause with Mr. Schermerhorn in case the united petitions of the corps should fail. The young ladies did not know of Mrs. Schermerhorn's departure, but Freddy and Peter together coaxed them to come up to the house "anyhow." The carriage was accordingly taken into the procession, and followed it meekly to the house; the Zouaves insisting on being escort, much to the terror of the young ladies; who were in constant apprehension that the rear rank and the horses might come to kicks—not to say blows—and the embarrassment of the coachman; who, as they were constantly stopping unexpectedly to turn round and talk, didn't know "where to have them," as the saying is. However, they reached their destination in safety before long, and found Mr. Schermerhorn seated on the piazza. He hastened forward to meet them, with the cordial greeting of an old friend.
"Well, old bachelor," said Miss Carlton, gayly, as the young ladies ascended the steps, "you see we have come to visit you in state, with the military escort befitting patriotic young ladies who have four brothers on the Potomac. What has become of Madame, please?"
"Gone to Niagara and left me a 'lone lorn creetur;'" said Mr. Schermerhorn, laughing. "Basely deserted me when my farming couldn't be left. But how am I to account for the presence of the military, mademoiselle?"
"Really, I beg their pardons," exclaimed Miss Carlton. "They have come on a special deputation to you, Mr. Schermerhorn, so pray don't let us interrupt business."
Thus apostrophised, the boys scampered eagerly up the steps; and Freddy, a little bashful, but looking as bright as a button, delivered the following brief oration: "Mr. Schermerhorn: I want—that is, the boys want—I mean we all want—to have a grand review on Saturday, and ask our friends to look on. Will you let us do it, please?"
"Certainly, with the greatest pleasure!" replied Mr. Schermerhorn, smiling; "but what will become of you good people when I tell you that I have just received a letter from Mrs. Schermerhorn, asking me to join her this week instead of next, and bring Peter with me."
"Oh! father, please let me stay!" interrupted Peter; "can't you tell ma I've joined the army for the war? We all want to stay like everything!"
"And forage for yourselves?" said his father, laughing. "No, the army must give you up, and lose a valuable member, Master Peter; but just have the goodness to listen a moment. The review shall take place, but as the camp will have to break up on Saturday instead of Monday, as I had intended, the performances must come off to-morrow. Does that suit your ideas?"
The boys gave a delighted consent to this arrangement, and now the only thing which dampened their enjoyment was the prospect of such a speedy end being put to their camp life. "Confound it! what was the fun for a fellow to be poked into a stupid watering place, where he must bother to keep his hair parted down the middle, and a clean collar stiff enough to choke him on from morning till night?" as Tom indignantly remarked to George and Will the same evening. "The fact is, this sort of thing is the thing for a man after all!" an opinion in which the other men fully concurred.
But let us return to the piazza, where we have left the party. After a few moments more spent in chatting with Mr. Schermerhorn, it was decided to accept Colonel Freddy's polite invitation, which he gave with such a bright little bow, to inspect the camp. You may be sure it was in apple-pie order, for Jerry, who had taken the Zouaves under his special charge, insisted on their keeping it in such a state of neatness as only a soldier ever achieved. The party made an extremely picturesque group—the gay uniforms of the Zouaves, and light summer dresses of the ladies, charmingly relieved against the background of trees; while Mr. Schermerhorn's stately six feet, and somewhat portly proportions, quite reminded one of General Scott; especially among such a small army; in which George alone quite came up to the regulation "63 inches."
Little Jessie ran hither and thither, surrounded by a crowd of adorers, who would have given their brightest buttons, every "man" of them, to be the most entertaining fellow of the corps. They showed her the battery and the stacks of shining guns—made to stand up by Jerry in a wonderful fashion that the boys never could hope to attain—the inside of all the tents, and the smoke guard house (Tom couldn't help a blush as he looked in); and finally, as a parting compliment (which, let me tell you, is the greatest, in a boy's estimation, that can possibly be paid), Freddy made her a present of his very largest and most gorgeous "glass agates;" one of which was all the colors of the rainbow, and the other patriotically adorned with the Stars and Stripes in enamel. Peter climbed to the top of the tallest cherry tree, and brought her down a bough at least a yard and a half long, crammed with "ox hearts;" Harry eagerly offered to make any number of "stunning baskets" out of the stones, and in short there never was such a belle seen before.
"Oh, a'int she jolly!" was the ruling opinion among the Zouaves. A private remark was also circulated to the effect that "Miss Jessie was stunningly pretty."
The young ladies at last said good-by to the camp; promising faithfully to send all the visitors they could to the grand review, and drove off highly entertained with their visit. Mr. Schermerhorn decided to take the afternoon boat for the city and return early Friday morning, and the boys, left to themselves, began to think of dinner, as it was two o'clock. A brisk discussion was kept up all dinner time you may be sure, concerning the event to come off on the morrow.
"I should like to know, for my part, what we do in a review," said Jimmy, balancing his fork artistically on the end of his finger, and looking solemnly round the table.
"Why, show off everything we know!" said Charley Spicer. "March about, and form into ranks and columns, and all that first, then do charming "parade rest," "'der humps!" and the rest of it; and finish off by firing off our guns, and showing how we can't hit anything by any possibility!"
"But these guns won't fire off!" objected Jimmy.
"Well, the cannon then!"
"But I'm sure father won't let us have any powder," said Peter disconsolately. "You can't think how I burnt the end of my nose last Fourth with powder! It was so sore I couldn't blow it for a week!"
The boys all burst out laughing at this dreadful disaster, and George said, "You weren't lighting it with the end of your nose, were you?"
"No; but I was stooping over, charging one of my cannon, and I dropped the 'punk' right in the muzzle somehow, and, would you believe it, the nasty thing went off and burnt my nose! and father said I shouldn't play with powder any more, because I might have put out my eyes."
"Well, we must take it out in marching, then," said Freddy, with a tremendous sigh.
"No, hold on; I'll tell you what we can do!" cried Tom, eagerly. "I have some 'double headers' left from the Fourth; we might fire them out of the cannon; they make noise enough, I'm sure. I'll write to my mother this afternoon and get them."
The boys couldn't help being struck with the generosity of this offer, coming from Tom after their late rather unkind treatment of him; and the older ones especially were very particular to thank him for his present. As soon as dinner was over, he started for the house to ask Mr. Schermerhorn to carry his message. As he hurried along the road, his bright black eyes sparkling with the happiness of doing a good action, he heard trotting steps behind him, felt an arm stealing round his neck, schoolboy fashion, and there was Freddy.
"I ran after you all the way," he pantingly said. "I want to tell you, dear Tom, how much we are obliged to you for giving us your crackers, and how sorry we are that we acted so rudely to you the other day. Please forgive us; we all like you so much, and we would feel as mean as anything to take your present without begging pardon. George, Peter, and I feel truly ashamed of ourselves every time we think of that abominable court martial."
"There, old fellow, don't say a word more about it!" was the hearty response; and Tom threw his arm affectionately about his companion. "It was my fault, Freddy, and all because I was mad at poor old Jerry; how silly! I was sorry for what I said right afterward."
"Then we are friends again?" cried Freddy, joyfully.
"Yes; I'll like you as long as I live! and ever so much longer." And so we will leave the two on their walk to the house, and close this abominably long chapter.
A GRAND REVIEW.
THERE are really scarcely words enough in the dictionary properly to describe the immense amount of drill got through with by the Dashahed Zouaves between three o'clock that afternoon and twelve, noon, of the following day. This Friday afternoon was going to be memorable in history for one of the most splendid reviews on record. They almost ran poor old Jerry off his legs in their eagerness to go over every possible variety of exercise known to "Hardee's Tactics," and nearly dislocated their shoulder blades trying to waggle their elbows backward and forward all at once when they went at "double quick;" at the same time keeping the other arm immovably pinioned to their sides. Then that wonderful operation of stacking the rebellious guns, which obstinately clattered down nine times and a half out of ten, had to be gone through with, and a special understanding promulgated in the corps as to when Jerry's "'der arms!" meant "shoulder arms," and when "order arms" (or bringing all the muskets down together with a bang); and, in short, there never was such a busy time seen in camp before.
Friday morning dawned, if possible, still more splendidly than any of the preceding days, with a cool, refreshing breeze, just enough snowy clouds in the sky to keep off the fiery summer heat in a measure, and not a headache nor a heartache among the Zouaves to mar the pleasure of the day. The review was to come off at four o'clock, when the July sun would be somewhat diminished in warmth, and from some hints that Jerry let fall, Mrs. Lockitt, and the fat cook, Mrs. Mincemeat, were holding high council up at the house, over a certain collation to be partaken of at the end of the entertainments.
As the day wore on the excitement of our friends the Zouaves increased. They could hardly either eat their dinners, or sit down for more than a moment at a time; and when, about three o'clock, Mr. Schermerhorn entered the busy little camp, he was surrounded directly with a crowd of eager questioners, all talking at once, and making as much noise as a colony of rooks.
"Patience, patience, my good friends!" laughed Mr. Schermerhorn, holding up a finger for silence. "Every one in turn. Tom, here are your 'double headers,' with love from your mother. Fred, I saw your father to-day, and they are all coming down to the review. George, here is a note left for you in my box at the Post Office, and Dashahed Zouaves in general—I have one piece of advice to give you. Get dressed quietly, and then sit down and rest yourselves. You will be tired out by the end of the afternoon, at all events; so don't frisk about more than you can help at present;" and Mr. Schermerhorn left the camp; while the boys, under strong pressure of Jerry, and the distant notes of a band which suddenly began to make itself heard, dressed themselves as nicely as they could, and sat down with heroic determination to wait for four o'clock.
Presently, carriages began to crunch over the gravel road one after another, filled with merry children, and not a few grown people besides. Mr. and Mrs. Jourdain, with Bella, were among the first to arrive; and soon after the Carltons' barouche drove up. Jessie, for some unknown reason, was full of half nervous glee, and broke into innumerable little trilling laughs when any one spoke to her. A sheet of lilac note paper, folded up tight, which she held in her hand, seemed to have something to do with it, and her soft brown curls and spreading muslin skirts were in equal danger of irremediable "mussing," as she fidgetted about on the carriage seat, fully as restless as any of the Zouaves.
Mr. Schermerhorn received his guests on the piazza, where all the chairs in the house, one would think, were placed for the company, as the best view of the lawn was from this point. To the extreme right were the white tents of the camp, half hidden by the immense trunk of a magnificent elm, the only tree that broke the smooth expanse of the lawn. On the left a thick hawthorne hedge separated the ornamental grounds from the cultivated fields of the place, while in front the view was bounded by the blue and sparkling waters of the Sound.
Soon four o'clock struck; and, punctual to the moment, the Zouaves could be seen in the distance, forming their ranks. Jerry, in his newest suit of regimentals, bustled about here and there, and presently his voice was heard shouting, "Are ye all ready now? SQUAD, 'SHUN! HARCH!" and to the melodious notes of "Dixie," performed by the band, which was stationed nearer the house, the regiment started up the lawn! Jerry marching up beside them, and occasionally uttering such mysterious mandates as, "Easy in the centre! keep your fours in the wheel! Steady now!"
Oh, what a burst of delighted applause greeted them as they neared the house! The boys hurrahed, the girls clapped their hands, ladies and gentlemen waved their hats and handkerchiefs; while the Dashahed Zouaves, too soldierly now to grin, drew up in a long line, and stood like statues, without so much as winking.
And now the music died away, and everybody was as still as a mouse, while Jerry advanced to the front, and issued the preliminary order:
"To the rear—open order!" and the rear rank straightway fell back; executing, in fact, that wonderful "tekkinapesstoth'rare" which had puzzled them so much on the first day of their drilling. Then came those other wonderful orders:
"P'sent humps! "Der humps! "Gr'nd humps!"
And so on, at which the muskets flew backward and forward, up and down, with such wonderful precision. The spectators were delighted beyond measure; an enthusiastic young gentleman, with about three hairs on each side of his mustache, who belonged to the Twenty-second Regiment, declared "It was the best drill he had seen out of his company room!" a celebrated artist, whose name I dare not tell for the world, sharpened his pencil, and broke the point off three times in his hurry, and at last produced the beautiful sketch which appears at the front of this volume; while all the little boys who were looking on, felt as if they would give every one of their new boots and glass agates to belong to the gallant Dashahed Zouaves.
After the guns had been put in every possible variety of position, the regiment went through their marching. They broke into companies, formed the line again, divided in two equal parts, called "breaking into platoons," showed how to "wheel on the right flank," and all manner of other mysteries.
Finally, they returned to their companies, and on Jerry's giving the order, they started at "double quick" (which is the most comical tritty-trot movement you can think of), dashed down the slope of the lawn, round the great elm, up hill again full speed, and in a moment more were drawn up in unbroken lines before the house, and standing once again like so many statues.
It was really splendid! Round after round of applause greeted the Zouaves, who kept their positions for a moment, then snatching off their saucy little fez caps, they gave the company three cheers in return, of the most tremendous description; which quite took away the little remaining breath they had after the "double quick."
Thus ended the first part of the review; and now, with the assistance of their rather Lilliputian battery, and Tom's double headers, they went through some firing quite loud enough to make the little girls start and jump uncomfortably; so this part of the entertainment was brought to rather a sudden conclusion. Jerry had just issued the order, "Close up in ranks to dismiss," when Mr. Schermerhorn, who, with Miss Carlton and Jessie, had left the piazza a few minutes before, came forward, saying, "Have the goodness to wait a moment, Colonel; there is one more ceremony to go through with."
The boys looked at each other in silent curiosity, wondering what could be coming; when, all at once, the chairs on the piazza huddled back in a great hurry, to make a lane for a beautiful little figure, which came tripping from the open door.
It was Jessie; but a great change had been made in her appearance. Over her snowy muslin skirts she had a short classic tunic of red, white, and blue silk; a wreath of red and white roses and bright blue jonquils encircled her curls, and in her hand she carried a superb banner. It was made of dark blue silk, trimmed with gold fringe; on one side was painted an American eagle, and on the other the words "Dashahed Zouaves," surrounded with a blaze of glory and gold stars. She advanced to the edge of the piazza, and in a clear, sweet voice, a little tremulous, but very distinct, she said:
"COLONEL AND BRAVE SOLDIERS:
"I congratulate you, in the name of our friends, on the success you have achieved. You have shown us to-day what Young America can do; and as a testimonial of our high admiration, I present you the colors of your regiment!
"Take them, as the assurance that our hearts are with you; bear them as the symbol of the Cause you have enlisted under; and should you fall beneath them on the field of battle, I bid you lay down your lives cheerfully for the flag of your country, and breathe with your last sigh the name of the Union! Colonel, take your colors!"
Freddy's cheeks grew crimson, and the great tears swelled to his eyes as he advanced to take the flag which Jessie held toward him. And now our little Colonel came out bright, sure enough. Perhaps not another member of the regiment, called upon to make a speech in this way, could have thought of a word to reply; but Freddy's quick wit supplied him with the right ideas; and it was with a proud, happy face, and clear voice that he responded:
"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
"I thank you, in the name of my regiment, for the honor you have done us. Inspired by your praises, proud to belong to the army of the Republic, we hope to go on as we have begun. To your kindness we owe the distinguishing colors under which we march hereafter; and by the Union for which we fight, they shall never float over a retreating battalion!"
Oh! the cheers and clapping of hands which followed this little speech! Everybody was looking at Freddy as he stood there, the colors in his hand, and the bright flush on his cheek, with the greatest admiration. Of course, his parents weren't proud of him; certainly not!
But the wonders were not at an end yet; for suddenly the band began playing a new air, and to this accompaniment, the sweet voice of some lady unseen, but which sounded to those who knew, wonderfully like Miss Lucy Carlton's, sang the following patriotic ballad:
"We will stand by our Flag—let it lead where it will— Our hearts and our hopes fondly cling to it still; Through battle and danger our Cause must be won— Yet forward! undaunted we'll follow it on! 'Tis the Flag! the old Flag! still unsullied and bright, As when first its fair stars lit oppression's dark night And the standard that guides us forever shall be The Star-spangled Banner, the Flag of the Free!
"A handful of living—an army of dead, The last charge been made and the last prayer been said; What is it—as sad we retreat from the plain That cheers us, and nerves us to rally again? 'Tis the Flag! the old Flag! to our country God-given, That gleams through our ranks like a glory from heaven! And the foe, as they fly, in our vanguard shall see The Star-spangled Banner, the Flag of the Free!
"We will fight for the Flag, by the love that we bear In the Union and Freedom, we'll baffle despair; Trust on in our country, strike home for the right, And Treason shall vanish like mists of the night. Then cheer the old Flag! every star in it glows, The terror of traitors! the curse of our foes! And the victory that crowns us shall glorified be, 'Neath the Star-spangled Banner, the Flag of the Free!"
As the song ended, there was another tumult of applause; and then the band struck up a lively quickstep, and the company, with the Zouaves marching ahead, poured out on the lawn toward the camp, where a bountiful collation was awaiting them, spread on the regimental table. Two splendid pyramids of flowers ornamented the centre, and all manner of "goodies," as the children call them, occupied every inch of space on the sides. At the head of the table Jerry had contrived a canopy from a large flag, and underneath this, Miss Jessie, Colonel Freddy, with the other officers, and some favored young ladies of their own age, took their seats. The other children found places around the table, and a merrier fete champetre never was seen. The band continued to play lively airs from time to time, and I really can give you my word as an author, that nobody looked cross for a single minute!
Between you and me, little reader, there had been a secret arrangement among the grown folks interested in the regiment, to get all this up in such fine style. Every one had contributed something to give the Zouaves their flag and music, while to Mr. Schermerhorn it fell to supply the supper; and arrangements had been made and invitations issued since the beginning of the week. The regiment, certainly, had the credit, however, of getting up the review, it only having been the idea of their good friends to have the entertainment and flag presentation. So there was a pleasant surprise on both sides; and each party in the transaction, was quite as much astonished and delighted as the other could wish.
The long sunset shadows were rapidly stealing over the velvet sward as the company rose from table, adding a new charm to the beauty of the scene. Everywhere the grass was dotted with groups of elegant ladies and gentlemen, and merry children, in light summer dresses and quaintly pretty uniforms. The little camp, with the stacks of guns down its centre, the bayonets flashing in the last rays of the sun, was all crowded and brilliant with happy people; looking into the tents and admiring their exquisite order, inspecting the bright muskets, and listening eagerly or good-humoredly, as they happened to be children or grown people, to the explanations and comments of the Zouaves.
And on the little grassy knoll, where the flag staff was planted, central figure of the scene, stood Colonel Freddy, silent and thoughtful for the first time to-day, with Jerry beside him. The old man had scarcely left his side since the boy took the flag; he would permit no one else to wait upon him at table, and his eyes followed him as he moved among the gay crowd, with a glance of the utmost pride and affection. The old volunteer seemed to feel that the heart of a soldier beat beneath the little dandy ruffled shirt and gold-laced jacket of the young Colonel. Suddenly, the boy snatches up again the regimental colors; the Stars and Stripes, and little Jessie's flag, and shakes them out to the evening breeze; and as they flash into view and once more the cheers of the Zouaves greet their colors, he says, with quivering lip and flashing eye, "Jerry, if God spares me to be a man, I'll live and die a soldier!"
The soft evening light was deepening into night, and the beautiful planet Venus rising in the west, when the visitors bade adieu to the camp; the Zouaves were shaken hands with until their wrists fairly ached; and then they all shook hands with "dear" Jessie, as Charley was heard to call her before the end of the day, and heard her say in her soft little voice how sorry she was they must go to-morrow (though she certainly couldn't have been sorrier than they were), and then the good people all got into their carriages again, and drove off; waving their handkerchiefs for good-by as long as the camp could be seen; and so, with the sound of the last wheels dying away in the distance, ended the very end of
THE GRAND REVIEW.
CHAPTER V.—AND LAST.
"HOME, SWEET HOME."
AND now, at last, had come that "day of disaster," when Camp McClellan must be deserted. The very sun didn't shine so brilliantly as usual, thought the Zouaves; and it was positively certain that the past five days, although they had occurred in the middle of summer, were the very shortest ever known! Eleven o'clock was the hour appointed for the breaking up of the camp, in order that they might return to the city by the early afternoon boat.
"Is it possible we have been here a week?" exclaimed Jimmy, as he sat down to breakfast. "It seems as if we had only come yesterday."
"What a jolly time it has been!" chimed in Charley Spicer. "I don't want to go to Newport a bit. Where are you going, Tom?"
"To Baltimore—but I don't mean to Secesh!" added Tom, with a little blush. "I have a cousin in the Palmetto Guards at Charleston, and that's one too many rebels in the family."
"Never mind!" cried George Chadwick; "the Pringles are a first rate family; the rest of you are loyal enough, I'm sure!" and George gave Tom such a slap on the back, in token of his good will, that it quite brought the tears into his eyes.
When breakfast was over, the Zouaves repaired to their tents, and proceeded to pack their clothes away out of the lockers. They were not very scientific packers, and, in fact, the usual mode of doing the business was to ram everything higgledy-piggledy into their valises, and then jump on them until they consented to come together and be locked. Presently Jerry came trotting down with a donkey cart used on the farm, and under his directions the boys folded their blankets neatly up, and placed them in the vehicle, which then drove off with its load, leaving them to get out and pile together the other furnishings of the tents; for, of course, as soldiers, they were expected to wind up their own affairs, and we all know that boys will do considerable hard work when it comes in the form of play. Just as the cart, with its vicious little wrong-headed steed, had tugged, and jerked, and worried itself out of sight, a light basket carriage, drawn by two dashing black Canadian ponies, drew up opposite the camp, and the reins were let fall by a young lady in a saucy "pork pie" straw hat, who was driving—no other than Miss Carlton, with Jessie beside her. The boys eagerly surrounded the little carriage, and Miss Carlton said, laughing, "Jessie begged so hard for a last look at the camp, that I had to bring her. So you are really going away?"
"Really," repeated Freddy; "but I am so glad you came, Miss Jessie, just in time to see us off."
"You know soldiers take themselves away houses and all," said George; "you will see the tents come down with a run presently."
"And here comes Jerry to help us!" added Harry. As he spoke, the donkey cart rattled up, and Jerry, touching his cap to the ladies, got out, and prepared to superintend the downfall of the tents. By his directions, two of the Zouaves went to each tent, and pulled the stakes first from one corner, then the other; then they grasped firmly the pole which supported the centre, and when the sergeant ejaculated "Now!" like a flash! the tents slid smoothly to the ground all at the same moment, just as you may have made a row of blocks fall down by upsetting the first one.
And now came the last ceremony, the hauling down of the flag.
"Stand by to fire a salute!" shouted Jerry, and instantly a company was detached, who brought the six little cannon under the flagstaff, and charged them with the last of the double headers, saved for this purpose; Freddy stood close to the flagstaff, with the halyards ready in his hands. Crack! fizz! went six matches for the cannon. "Make ready! apply light, FIRE!"
BANG! and the folds of the flag stream out proudly in the breeze, as it rapidly descends the halyards, and flutters softly to the greensward.
There was perfectly dead silence for a moment; then the voice of Mr. Schermerhorn was heard calling, "Come, boys, are you ready? Jump in, then, it is time to start for the boat." The boys turned and saw the carriages which had brought them so merrily to the camp waiting to convey them once more to the wharf; while a man belonging to the farm was rapidly piling the regimental luggage into a wagon.
With sorrowful faces the Zouaves clustered around the pretty pony chaise; shaking hands once more with Jessie, and internally vowing to adore her as long as they lived. Then they got into the carriages, and old Jerry grasped Freddy's hand with an affectionate "Good-by, my little Colonel, God bless ye! Old Jerry won't never forget your noble face as long as he lives." It would have seemed like insulting the old man to offer him money in return for his loving admiration, but the handsome gilt-edged Bible that found its way to him soon after the departure of the regiment, was inscribed with the irregular schoolboy signature of "Freddy Jourdain, with love to his old friend Jeremiah Pike."
As for the regimental standards, they were found to be rather beyond the capacity of a rockaway crammed full of Zouaves, so Tom insisted on riding on top of the baggage, that he might have the pleasure of carrying them all the way. Up he mounted, as brisk as a lamplighter, with that monkey, Peter, after him, the flags were handed up, and with three ringing cheers, the vehicles started at a rapid trot, and the regiment was fairly off. They almost broke their necks leaning back to see the last of "dear Jessie," until the locusts hid them from sight, when they relapsed into somewhat dismal silence for full five minutes.
As Peter was going on to Niagara with his father, Mr. Schermerhorn accompanied the regiment to the city, which looked dustier and red brickier (what a word!) than ever, now that they were fresh from the lovely green of the country. By Mr. Schermerhorn's advice, the party took possession of two empty Fifth avenue stages which happened to be waiting at the Fulton ferry, and rode slowly up Broadway to Chambers street, where Peter and his father bid them good-by, and went off to the depot. As Peter had declined changing his clothes before he left, they had to travel all the way to Buffalo with our young friend in this unusual guise; but, as people had become used to seeing soldiers parading about in uniform, they didn't seem particularly surprised, whereat Master Peter was rather disappointed.
To go back to the Zouaves, however. When the stages turned into Fifth avenue, they decided to get out; and after forming their ranks in fine style, they marched up the avenue, on the sidewalk this time, stopping at the various houses or street corners where they must bid adieu to one and another of their number, promising to see each other again as soon as possible.
At last only Tom and Freddy were left to go home by themselves. As they marched along, keeping faultless step, Freddy exclaimed, "I tell you what, Tom! I mean to ask my father, the minute he comes home, to let me go to West Point as soon as I leave school! I must be a soldier—I can't think of anything else!"
"That's just what I mean to do!" cried Tom, with sparkling eyes; "and, Fred, if you get promoted before me, promise you will have me in your regiment, won't you?"
"Yes I will, certainly!" answered Freddy; "but you're the oldest, Tom, and, you know, the oldest gets promoted first; so mind you don't forget me when you come to your command!"
As he spoke, they reached his own home; and our hero, glad after all to come back to father, mother, and sister, bounded up the steps, and rang the bell good and hard, just to let Joseph know that a personage of eminence had arrived. As the door opened, he turned gayly round, cap in hand, saying, "Good-by, Maryland; you've left the regiment, but you'll never leave the Union!" and the last words he heard Tom say were, "No, by George, never!"
* * * * *
And now, dear little readers, my boy friends in particular, the history of Freddy Jourdain must close. He still lives in New York, and attends Dr. Larned's school, where he is at the head of all his classes.
The Dashahed Zouaves have met very often since the encampment, and had many a good drill in their room—the large attic floor which Mr. Jourdain allowed them for their special accommodation, and where the beautiful regimental colors are carefully kept, to be proudly displayed in every parade of the Zouaves.
When he is sixteen, the boy Colonel is to enter West Point Academy, and learn to be a real soldier; while Tom—poor Tom, who went down to Baltimore that pleasant July month, promising so faithfully to join Freddy in the cadet corps, may never see the North again.
And in conclusion let me say, that should our country again be in danger in after years, which God forbid, we may be sure that first in the field, and foremost in the van of the grand army, will be our gallant young friend,
IT took a great many Saturday afternoons to finish the story of "Colonel Freddy," and the children returned to it at each reading with renewed and breathless interest. George and Helen couldn't help jumping up off their seats once or twice and clapping their hands with delight when anything specially exciting took place in the pages of the wonderful story that was seen "before it was printed," and a great many "oh's" and "ah's" testified to their appreciation of the gallant "Dashahed Zouaves." They laughed over the captive Tom, and cried over the true story of the old sergeant; and when at length the very last word had been read, and their mother had laid down the manuscript, George sprang up once more, exclaiming; "Oh, I wish I could be a boy soldier! Mamma, mayn't I recruit a regiment and camp out too?" "And oh! if I could only present a flag!" cried his sister; "I wish I had been Jessie; what a pity it wasn't all true!"
"And what if I should tell you," said their mother, laughing, "that a little bird has whispered in my ear that 'Colonel Freddy' was wonderfully like your little Long Island friend Hilton R——?"
"Oh, mamma! why, what makes you think so?"
"Oh, something funny I heard about him last summer; never mind what!"
The children wisely concluded that it was no use to ask any more questions; at the same moment solemnly resolving that the very next time they paid a visit to their aunt, who lived at Astoria, they would beg her to let them drive over to Mr. R——'s place, and find out all about it.
After this, there were no more readings for several Saturdays; but at last one morning when the children had almost given up all hopes of more stories, George opened his eyes on the sock hanging against the door, which looked more bulgy than ever. "Hurrah!" he shouted; "Aunt Fanny's daughter hasn't forgotten us, after all!" and dressing himself in a double quick, helter-skelter fashion, George dashed out into the entry, forgot his good resolution, and slid down the banisters like a streak of lightning and began pummelling on his sister's door with both fists; shouting, "Come, get up! get up, Nelly! here's another Sock story for us!"
This delightful announcement was quite sufficient to make Helen's stockings, which she was just drawing on in a lazy fashion, fly up to their places in a hurry; then she popped her button-over boots on the wrong feet, and had to take them off and try again; and, in short, the whole of her dressing was an excellent illustration of that time-honored maxim, "The more haste, the worse speed;" George, meanwhile, performing a distracted Indian war dance in the entry outside, until his father opened his door and wanted to know what the racket was all about.
"Socks! socks! father!" cried George, joyfully.
At this moment Helen came out, and the two children scampered down stairs, and sitting down side by side on the sofa, they proceeded to examine this second instalment of the Sock stories. They found it was again a whole book; and the title, on a little page by itself, read "GERMAN SOCKS."
"Oh, I am so glad!" said Helen. "These must be more stories like that dear 'Little White Angel.'"
And so they proved to be; for, on their mother's commencing to read the first story, it was found to be called, "God's Pensioners;" and commenced, "It was a cold—" but stop! halt! This book was to be devoted to "Colonel Freddy;" but if you will only go to Mr. Leavitt's, the publishers, you will there discover what was the rest of the second Sock Stories.
* * * * *
Obvious punctuation errors repaired.
Page 41, "dilemna" changed to "dilemma" (horns of this dilemma)
Page 81, "arttisically" changed to "artistically" (his fork artistically)