Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Love and tears for the Blue,
Tears and love for the Gray.

FRANCIS MILES FINCH.

[blocks in formation]

Blue was the color of the uniforms of the Union soldiers; gray the color of the Confederates.

This poem puts tenderly and beautifully the hope that there will be no more bitter feeling between North and South. Both were brave, and both thought they were in the right.

At the fiftieth anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg the veterans of the North and the South, the Blue and the Gray, met and marched together on the battlefield; they ate together and talked of old times in perfect friendship and good humor. In this way they expressed the fine spirit of this poem.

THE SOLDIER'S REPRIEVE

[ocr errors]

“ Dear Father : When this reaches you I shall be in eternity. At first it seemed awful to me, but I have thought about it so much now that it has no terror. They say they will not 5 bind me, nor blind me, but that I may meet my death like a man. I thought, Father, it might have been on the field of battle for my country, and that, when I fell, it would be fighting

gloriously; but to be shot down like a dog for 10 nearly betraying it to die for neglect of duty !

Oh, Father, I wonder the very thought does not
kill me! But I shall not disgrace you.
going to write you all about it, and when I am
gone you may tell my comrades. I cannot now.

You know I promised Jemmie Carr's mother I would look after her boy, and when he fell sick I did all I could for him. He was not strong when he was ordered back into the ranks, and the day before that night I carried all his luggage, besides my own, on our march. Toward night we went on double-quick, and though the lug

I am

15

gage began to feel very heavy, everybody else was tired, too; and as for Jemmie, if I had not lent him an arm now and then, he would have dropped by the way. I was all tired out when we came into camp,

and then it was Jemmie's turn to be sentry, 5 and I would take his place; but I was tired too, Father. I could not have kept awake if a gun had been pointed at my head, but I did not know it until — well, until it was too late.

“They tell me to-day that I have a short reprieve 10 — given to me by circunstances —' time to write to you,'

- our good Colonel says. Forgive him, Father, he only does his duty; he would gladly save me if he could ; and do not lay my death up against Jemmie. The poor boy is broken-hearted, 15 and does nothing but beg and entreat them to let him die in my stead.

"I can't bear to think of Mother and Blossom. Comfort them, Father! Tell them that I died as a brave boy should, and that, when the war is over, 20 they will not be ashamed of me, as they must be

God help me; it is very hard to bear! Good-by, Father!”

now.

Late that night the door of the back stoop opened softly; a little figure glided out, and went down the footpath that led to the road by the mill. She seemed rather Aying than walking, 5 turning her head neither to the right nor to the left, looking only now and then to Heaven, and folding her hands as if in prayer. Two hours later the same young girl stood at the Mill Depot

watching the coming of the night train ; and the 10 conductor, as he reached down to lift her into the

car, wondered at the tear-stained face that was upturned toward the dim lantern he held in his hand. A ew questions and ready answers told

him all, and no father could have cared more 15 tenderly for his only child than he for our little

Blossom. She was on her way to Washington to ask President Lincoln for her brother's life. She had stolen away, leaving only a note to tell her father where and why she had gone. She had 20 brought Bennie's letter with her; no good, kind

heart like the President's could refuse to be melted by it. The next morning they reached New York, and the conductor hurried her on to Washington.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Every minute, now, might be the means of saving her brother's life. And so, in an incredibly short time, Blossom reached the capital, and hastened immediately to the White House.

The President had but just seated himself to his 5 morning's task of looking over and signing important papers, when, without one word of announcement, the door softly opened, and Blossom, with downcast

eyes and folded hands, stood before him. "Well, my child,” he said, in his pleasant, cheerful 10 tones, “what do you want so bright and early in the morning? “Bennie's life, please, sir,” faltered Blossom. 6. Bennie ! Who is Bennie?brother, sir. They are going to shoot him for sleeping at his post.”

“Oh yes,” and Mr. Lincoln ran his eye over the papers before him.

I remember. It was a fatal sleep. You see, child, it was at a time of special danger. Thousands of lives might have been lost for his culpable negligence.”

“So my father said,” replied Blossom gravely, “but poor Bennie was so tired, sir, and Jemmie so weak. He did the work of two, sir, and it was

“My

15

20

« ElőzőTovább »