Infomotions, Inc.The Drummer Boy / Trowbridge, John



Author: Trowbridge, John
Title: The Drummer Boy
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): frank; captain edney; jack; jack winch; drummer boy; old sinjin; old drummer; john winch
Contributor(s): Cruikshank, Robert [Illustrator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 71,744 words (short) Grade range: 7-9 (grade school) Readability score: 72 (easy)
Identifier: etext19999
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Title: The Drummer Boy

Author: John Trowbridge

Release Date: December 3, 2006 [EBook #19999]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE DRUMMER BOY ***




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                                  THE

                              DRUMMER BOY



                                  by

                           J. T. TROWBRIDGE



                               NEW YORK
                            HURST & COMPANY
                              PUBLISHERS



                        J. T. TROWBRIDGE SERIES
                        UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME
                          By J. T. TROWBRIDGE

                      Coupon Bonds.
                      Cudjo's Cave.
                      Drummer Boy, The.
                      Martin Merryvale, His X Mark.
                      Lucy Arlyn.
                      Father Bright Hopes.
                      Neighbor Jackwood.
                      Three Scouts, The.

       _Price, postpaid, 50c. each, or any three books for $1.25_

                            HURST & COMPANY
                         Publishers, New York




                               CONTENTS.


CHAPTER                                                          PAGE

     I. Frank at Home                                               5

    II. Off to the War                                             12

   III. Under Canvas                                               21

    IV. The old Drummer and the new Drum                           32

     V. Fun in Camp                                                41

    VI. Breaking Camp                                              51

   VII. Through Boston                                             59

  VIII. Annapolis                                                  71

    IX. Thanksgiving in Camp                                       81

     X. Frank's Progress                                           89

    XI. A Christmas Frolic                                         93

   XII. The Secessionist's Turkeys                                105

  XIII. The Expedition Moves                                      118

   XIV. The Voyage and the Storm                                  125

    XV. Hatterns Inlet                                            134

   XVI. How Frank lost his Watch                                  143

  XVII. In which Frank sees strange Things                        151

 XVIII. Bitter Things                                             161

   XIX. Seth gets "Riled"                                         170

    XX. Sunday before the Battle                                  178

   XXI. Up the Sound                                              187

  XXII. The Attack of the Gunboats                                194

 XXIII. The Troops disembark.--The Island                         201

  XXIV. The Bivouac                                               206

   XXV. Atwater                                                   212

  XXVI. Old Sinjin                                                219

 XXVII. The Skirmish                                              225

 XXVII. Jack Winch's Catastrophe                                  231

  XXIX. How Frank got News of his Brother                         238

   XXX. The Boys meet an old Acquaintance                         248

  XXXI. "Victory or Death!"                                       255

 XXXII. After the Battle                                          261

XXXIII. A Friend in need                                          268

 XXXIV. The Hospital                                              273

  XXXV. Conclusion                                                279




                    FRANK MANLY, THE DRUMMER BOY.


                                  I.

                            FRANK AT HOME.


One evening, in the month of October, 1861, the Manly family were
gathered together in their little sitting-room, discussing a question of
the most serious importance to all of them, and to Frank in particular.
Mrs. Manly sat by the table, pretending to sew; but now and then the
tears rushed into her eyes, and dropped upon her work, in spite of all
she could do to keep them back. Frank watched her with a swelling breast,
sorry to see his mother so grieved, and yet glad in one little corner of
his heart; for, although she had declared that she could not think of
granting his request, he knew well, by those tears of hers, that she was
already thinking of granting it.

"A pretty soldier you'll make, Frank!" said Helen, his elder sister,
laughing at his ambition. "You never fired a gun in your life; and if you
should see a rebel, you wouldn't know which end of the gun to point at
him, you'd be so frightened."

"Yes, I know it," retorted Frank, stoutly, determined not to be dissuaded
from his purpose either by entreaties or ridicule; "and for that reason I
am going to enlist as a drummer boy."

"Well," exclaimed Helen, "your hands will tremble so, no doubt you can
roll the drumsticks admirably."

"Yes, to be sure," replied Frank, with a meaning smile; for he thought
within himself, "If she really thinks I am such a coward, never mind;
she'll learn better some day."

"O, don't go to war, dear Frank," pleaded, in a low, sweet voice, his
younger sister, little Hattie, the invalid, who lay upon the lounge,
listening with painful interest to the conversation; "do, brother, stay
at home with me."

That affectionate appeal touched the boy's heart more deeply than his
mother's tears, his elder sister's ridicule, and his father's opposition,
all combined. He knelt down by little Hattie's side, put his arms about
her neck, and kissed her.

"But somebody must go and fight, little sister," he said, as soon as he
could choke back his tears. "The rebels are trying to overthrow the
government; and you wouldn't keep me at home--would you?--when it needs
the services of every true patriot?"

"Which of the newspapers did you get that speech out of?" asked Helen.
"If Jeff Davis could hear you, I think he'd give up the Confederacy at
once. He would say, 'It's no use, since Young America has spoken.'"

"Yes; like the coon in the tree, when he saw Colonel Crockett taking aim
at him," added Frank: "says the coon, 'Don't shoot! If it's you, colonel,
I'll come down!' And I tell ye," cried the boy, enthusiastically,
"there's something besides a joke in it. Jeff'll be glad to come down out
of his tree, before we hang him on it."

"But if you go to war, Frank," exclaimed the little invalid, from her
pillow, "you will be shot."

"I expect to be shot at a few times," he replied; "but every man that's
shot at isn't shot, sissy; and every man that's shot isn't killed; and
every man that's killed isn't dead--if what the Bible says is true."

"O my son," said Mrs. Manly, regarding him with affectionate earnestness,
"do you know what you say? have you considered it well?"

"Yes," said Frank, "I've thought it all over. It hasn't been out of my
thoughts, day or night, this ever so long; though I was determined not to
open my lips about it to any one, till my mind was made up. I know five
or six that have enlisted, and I'm just as well able to serve my country
as any of them. I believe I can go through all the hardships any of them
can. And though Helen laughs at me now for a coward, before I've been in
a fight, she won't laugh at me afterwards." But here the lad's voice
broke, and he dashed a tear from his eye.

"No, no, Frank," said Helen, remorsefully, thinking suddenly of those
whose brothers have gone forth bravely to battle, and never come home
again. And she saw in imagination her own dear, brave, loving brother
carried bleeding from the field, his bright, handsome face deathly pale,
the eyes that now beamed so hopefully and tenderly, closing--perhaps
forever. "Forgive my jokes, Frank; but you are too young to go to war. We
have lost one brother by secession, and we can't afford to lose another."

She alluded to George, the oldest of the children, who had been several
years in the Carolinas; who had married a wife there, and become a
slave-owner; and who, when the war broke out, forgot his native north,
and the free institutions under which he had been bred, to side with the
south and slavery. This had proved a source of deep grief to his parents;
not because the pecuniary support they had derived from him, up to the
fall of Fort Sumter, was now cut off, greatly to their distress,--for
they were poor,--but because, when he saw the Union flag fall at
Charleston, he had written home that it was a glorious sight; and they
knew that the love of his wife, and the love of his property, had made
him a traitor to his country.

"If I've a brother enlisted on the wrong side," said Frank, "so much the
more reason that I should enlist on the right side. And I am not so young
but that I can be doing something for my country, and something for you
here at home, at the same time. If I volunteer, you will be allowed state
aid, and I mean to send home all my pay, to the last dollar. I wish you
would tell me, father, that I can have your consent."

Mr. Manly sat in his easy-chair, with his legs crossed, his hands pressed
together, and his head sunk upon his breast. For a long time he had not
spoken. He was a feeble man, who had not succeeded well in the business
of life; his great fault being that he always relied too much upon
others, and not enough upon himself. The result was, that his wife had
become more the head of the family than he was, and every important
question of this kind, as Frank well knew, was referred to her for
decision.

"O, I don't know, I don't know, my son," Mr. Manly groaned; and,
uncrossing his legs, he crossed them again in another posture. "I have
said all I can; now you must talk with your mother."

"There, mother," said Frank, who had got the answer he expected, and now
proceeded to make good use of it; "father is willing, you see. All I want
now is for you to say yes. I must go and enlist to-morrow, if I mean to
get into the same company with the other boys; and I'm sure you'd rather
I'd go with the fellows I know, than with strangers. We are going to
befriend each other, and stand by each other to the last."

"Some of them, I am afraid, are not such persons as I would wish to have
you on very intimate terms with, any where, my child," answered Mrs.
Manly; "for there is one danger I should dread for you worse than the
chances of the battle-field."

"What's that?"

"That you might be led away by bad company. To have you become corrupted
by their evil influences--to know that my boy was no longer the pure,
truthful child he was; that he would blush to have his sisters know his
habits and companions; to see him come home, if he ever does, reckless
and dissipated--O, I could endure any thing, even his death, better than
that."

"Well," exclaimed Frank, filled with pain, almost with indignation, at
the thought of any one, especially his mother, suspecting him of such
baseness, "there's one thing--you shall hear of my death, before you hear
of my drinking, or gambling, or swearing, or any thing of that kind. I
promise you that."

"Where is your Testament, my son?" asked his mother.

"Here it is."

"Have you a pencil?"

"He may take mine," said Hattie.

"Now write on this blank leaf what you have just promised."

Mrs. Manly spoke with a solemn and tender earnestness which made Frank
tremble, as he obeyed; for he felt now that her consent was certain, and
that the words he was writing were a sacred pledge.

"Now read what you have written, so that we can all hear what you
promise, and remember it when you are away."

After some bashful hesitation, Frank took courage, and read. A long
silence followed. Little Hattie on the lounge was crying.

"But you ought to keep this--for I make the promise to you," he said,
reflecting that he had used his own Testament to write in.

"No, you are to keep it," said his mother, "for I'm afraid we shall
remember your promise a great deal better than you will."

"No, you won't!" cried Frank, full of resolution. "I shall keep that
promise to the letter."

Mrs. Manly took the Testament, read over the pledge carefully, and wrote
under it a little prayer.

"Now," said she, "go to your room, and read there what I have written.
Then go to bed, and try to sleep. We all need rest--for to-morrow."

"O! and you give your consent?"

"My son," said Mrs. Manly, holding his hand, and looking into his face
with affectionate, misty eyes, "it is right that you should do something
for your family, for we need your help. Your little sister is sick, your
father is feeble, and I--my hand may fail any day. And it is right that
you should wish to do something for your country; and, but that you are
so young, so very young, I should not have opposed you at all. As it is,
I shall not oppose you any more. Think of it well, if you have not done
so already. Consider the hardships, the dangers--every thing. Then decide
for yourself. I intrust you, I give you into the hands of our heavenly
Father."

She folded him to her heart, kissing him and weeping. Frank then kissed
his sisters good-night, his resolution almost failing him, and his heart
almost bursting with the thought that this might be the last evening he
would ever be with them, or kiss them good-night.




                                 II.

                           OFF TO THE WAR.


It was a calm, clear October night. The moonlight streamed through the
window of Frank's room, an he lay in bed, thinking of the evening that
was past, and of the morning that was to come. Little Willie, his younger
brother, was sleeping sweetly at his side. He had heard his sisters come
up stairs and go to bed in the room next to his; and they were conversing
now in low tones,--about him he was sure.

Would he ever sleep in that nice warm bed again? Would he ever again fold
dear little Willie in his arms, and feel his dewy cheek against his own,
as he did now? What was the future that awaited him? Who would fill his
mother's place when he was gone from her? He had read over the prayer she
wrote for him; it was still fresh in his thoughts, and he repeated it now
to himself in the silence of the moonlit chamber.

When he opened his eyes, he saw a white shape enter softly and approach
his bedside. There it stood in the moonlight, white and still. Was it a
ghost? Was it an angel? Frank was not afraid.

"Mother!"

"Are you awake, my darling?"

"O, yes, mother. I haven't slept at all."

"I didn't mean to awake you, if you were asleep," she said, kneeling down
beside him. "But I could not sleep; and I thought I would come and look
at you, and kiss you once more; for perhaps I shall never see you in your
bed again."

"O, mother, don't talk so. I hope I shall be spared to you a long, long
time yet."

"I hope you will; but we must think of the worst, and be prepared for it,
my son. If it is God's will, I can give you up. And you--you must make up
your mind to brave all dangers, even to die, if necessary. It is a great
and holy cause you are engaging in. It is no gay and pleasant adventure,
as perhaps you think. Are you sure you have thought of it well?"

"I have," responded Frank. "I am going; and I am going to do my duty,
whatever it is. For a few minutes after I came to bed, thinking of what
you had said, and of leaving you, and of"--here he choked--"I was almost
sorry I had said a word about going; it looked so dreary and sad to me.
But I said my prayers, and now I feel better about it. I don't think any
thing can shake my resolution again."

"If it is so," replied his mother, "I have nothing more to say." And she
kissed him, and gave him plentiful good advice, and finally prayed with
him, kneeling by his bedside.

"O, don't go, mother," said Frank; "it is such a comfort to have you
here! May-be it is the last time."

"May-be it is, my son. But I must bid you goodnight. You must sleep. See
how soundly Willie is sleeping all this time! He don't know that he is
losing a brother."

After she was gone, Frank felt more lonesome than ever, the house was so
silent, the moonshine in his chamber was so cold. But he hugged his warm
little brother close to his heart, and cried very softly, if he cried at
all.

I do not know how much he slept that night. No doubt his excited thoughts
kept him awake until very late, for he was fast asleep the next morning
when Helen came to call him.

"Hurrah!" he exclaimed, starting up; "fight for the old flag!" for he was
dreaming of a battle. "Hallo!" he said, rubbing his eyes open. "That you,
Helen?"

"A wide-awake drummer boy you are," she replied, with her usual
good-natured irony. "You'll have to rouse up earlier than this, I tell
you, if you ever beat the reveille for the soldiers."

"So much the more reason why I should have a good nap in the morning,
when I can," said Frank.

"Well, lie and sleep, if you want to," she added, with a touch of
tenderness. "I thought I'd let you know breakfast was ready."

But Frank was wide awake enough now. He felt there was something great
and grand in the day before him, and he was anxious to meet it. He was up
and dressed in a minute. He threw open his window, and looked away
towards the city, which lay dim and strange in the beautiful mists of the
morning, with the crimson clouds of the sunrise lifting like curtains
behind it. And the far-off roar of the rumbling streets reached his ear,
inspiring him freshly with hope and action.

All the family were at breakfast, except Hattie, the sick one, when Frank
came down stairs. Even Willie had crept out of bed before him, wondering
what made his brother sleep so long that morning. And now he found the
little fellow dividing his attentions between his breakfast and his toy
gun, which had acquired a new interest in his eyes since Helen had told
him Frank was going to the war.

"I'm going with my bwother Fwank," he declared, shouldering arms over his
johnny-cake. "And if any body--any webel"--breathing earnestly--"hurt my
bwother Fwank, me shoot 'em me will!"

"Yes," remarked Helen, "you and Frank will put down the rebellion, I've
not the least doubt."

This was meant for a sly hit at Frank's youthful patriotism; but Willie
took it quite seriously.

"Yes," he lisped; "me and Fwank--we put down the webellion. Take
aim!"--pointing his toy at his father's nose. "Fire! bang! See, me kill a
webel."

"How little the child realizes what it is to fight the rebels," said his
mother, with a sigh.

"I'm afraid," said Helen, "Frank doesn't realize it much more than Willie
does. He has just about as correct a notion about putting down the
_webellion_."

"Very likely," said Frank, who had learned that the beat way to treat a
joke of this kind is always to humor it, instead of being offended. For a
joke is often like a little barking dog--perfectly harmless, if you pass
serenely by without noticing it, or if you just say, "Poor fellow! brave
dog!" and pat its neck; but which, if you get angry and raise your stick,
will worry you all the more for your trouble, and perhaps be provoked to
bite.

There was a silence of several minutes--Willie alone manifesting a desire
to keep up the conversation on war matters. He stuck his johnny-cake on
the end of his gun, and bombarded his mother's coffee-cup with it; and
was about to procure more johnny-cake, in order to shell the sugar-bowl,
which he called "Fort Sumter," when Helen put an end to his sport by
disarming him.

"I want father to go to town with me, to the recruiting office," said
Frank; "for I don't suppose I will be accepted, unless he does."

That sounded like proceeding at once to business, which Mr. Manly never
liked to do. He was one of those easily discouraged men, whose rule is
always to postpone until to-morrow what they are not absolutely obliged
to do to-day. He waited, however, as usual, to hear what his wife would
say to the proposition, before expressing himself decidedly against it.
Fortunately, Mrs. Manly had energy and self-reliance enough for both.

"If you are still firmly resolved to go, then your father will go with
you to the recruiting office," she said; and that settled it: for Frank
was resolved--his character resembling his mother's in respect to energy
and determination.

Accordingly, after breakfast, Mr. Manly, with frequent sighs of
foreboding and discouragement, made a lather, honed his razor, and shaved
himself, preparatory to a visit to town. Frank, in the mean while, made
ready for his departure. He put in order the personal effects which he
intended to leave at home, and packed into a bundle a few things he
purposed to take with him. An hour passed quickly away, with all its busy
preparations, consultations, and leave takings; and the last moment
arrived.

"Say good-by twice to me," said Hattie, the little invalid, rising up on
her lounge to give him a farewell kiss.

"Why twice to you?" asked Frank.

"Because," she answered, with a sad, sweet smile, "If you do come home
from the war, perhaps you won't find me here;" for the child had a notion
that she was going to die.

"O sissy," exclaimed Frank, "don't say so; I shall come back, and I shall
find you well."

"Yes," replied Hattie, sorry that she had said any thing to make him feel
bad; "we will think so, dear brother." And she smiled again; just as
angels smile, Frank thought.

"Besides, this isn't my good-by for good, you know," said he. "I shall
get a furlough, and come home and see you all, before I leave for the
seat of war with my regiment." Frank couldn't help feeling a sort of
pride in speaking of _his regiment_. "And may-be you will all visit
me in camp before I go."

"Come," called his father, at the door; "if we are going to catch this
car, we must be off."

So Frank abbreviated his adieus, and ran.

"Wait, wait!" screamed Willie, pulling his cap on "Me go, me go!"

"Go where, you little witch?" cried Helen.

"Me go to war, along with my bwother Fwank. Put down webellion," pouted
the child, shouldering his gun, and trudging out of the door in eager
haste, fearing lest he should be left behind.

Mrs. Manly was parting from her son on the doorstep, putting back a stray
curl from his cheek, smoothing his collar, and whispering, with wet eyes
and quivering lips, "My child, remember!"

"I will--good-by!" were Frank's last words; and he hastened after his
father, just pausing on the next corner to look around at the faces in
the door of his home, and wave his hat at them. There was Hattie, leaning
on Helen's arm, and waving her handkerchief, which was scarcely whiter
than that thin white face of hers; and there was his mother gazing after
him with steadfast eyes of affection and blessing, while her hands were
fully occupied in restraining that small but fiery patriot, Willie, who,
with his cap over his eyes, was vehemently struggling to go with his
bwother Fwank.

This was the tableau, the final picture of home, which remained imprinted
on Frank's memory. For the corner was passed, and the doorway and windows
of the dear old house, and the dearer faces there, were lost to sight. He
would have delayed, in order to get one more look; but already the
tinkling bells gave warning of the near approach of the horse-car, and he
and his father had no more than time to reach the Main Street, when it
came up, and stopped to take them in.

In but little more than an hour's time, by far the most important step in
Frank's life had been taken. He had enlisted.

"Well," said his father, after Frank, with a firm and steady hand, had
written his name, "it is done now. You are a brave boy!"--with a tear of
pride, as he regarded his handsome, spirited young volunteer, and thought
that not many fathers had such promising sons.

While they were at the recruiting office, one of their neighbors came in.

"What!" he exclaimed, "you here? on business?"

"Patriotic business," replied Mr. Manly, showing his son with a fond
father's emotion. "He has volunteered, neighbor Winch."

"And you give your consent?"

"I do, most certainly, since he feels it his duty to go, and his mother
is willing."

Neighbor Winch stood speechless for a moment, the muscles of his mouth
working. "I have just heard," he said, in an agitated voice, "that my son
John has enlisted _without_ my consent; and I have come here to ascertain
the fact. Do you know any thing about it, Frank?"

"I suppose I do," replied Frank, with some reluctance. "He enlisted three
days ago. He wanted me to go with him then; but I----"

"You what?" said neighbor Winch.

"I couldn't, without first getting permission from my father and mother,"
explained Frank.

"O, if my John had only acted as noble a part!" said the neighbor. "It's
a bad beginning for a boy to run away. He has nearly broken his mother's
heart."

"Well, well, neighbor," observed Mr. Manly, consolingly, "reflect that
it's in a good cause. Jack might have done worse, you know."

"Yes, yes. He never was a steady boy, as you know. He has set out to
learn three different trades, and got sick of them all. I couldn't keep
him at school, neither. Of late nothing would do but he must be a
soldier. If I thought he'd stick to it, and do his duty, I wouldn't say a
word. But he'll get tired of carrying a gun, too, before he has seen hard
service. Where is he? Do you know, Frank?"

"He is in camp, in the Jackson Blues," mid Frank. "I am going as drummer
in the same company."

"I'm glad of that," replied Mr. Winch. "For, though he is so much older
than you, I think you always have had an influence over him, Frank--a
good influence, too." And the neighbor took the young volunteer's hand.

Frank's eyes glistened--he felt so touched by this compliment, and so
proud that his father had heard it, and could go home and tell it to his
mother and sisters.

Neighbor Winch went on: "I want you to see John, as soon as you can,
Frank, and talk with him, and try to make him feel how wrongly he has
acted----"

Here the poor man's voice failed him; and Frank, sympathizing with his
sorrow, was filled with gratitude to think that he had never been tempted
to grieve his parents in the same way.

Mr. Manly accompanied his son to the railroad depot, and saw him safely
in the cars that were to convey him to camp, and then took leave of him.
The young volunteer would have forgotten his manhood, and cried, if the
eyes of strangers had not been upon him; even as it was, his voice broke
when he said his last good-by, and sent back his love to his mother and
sisters and little Willie.




                                 III.

                            UNDER CANVAS.


The cars were soon off; and the heart of Frank swelled within him as he
felt himself now fairly embarked in his new adventure.

Soon enough the white tents of the camp rose in sight. The Stars and
Stripes floating under the blue sky, the soldiers in their blue uniforms,
the sentinels with their glittering bayoneted guns pacing up and down,
and above all, the sound of a drum, which he considered now to be a part
of his life, made him feel himself already a hero.

Several other recruits had come down in the train with him, accompanied
by an officer. Frank was a stranger to them all. But he was not long
without acquaintances, for he had scarcely alighted at the depot when he
saw coming towards him his neighbor and chum, Jack Winch, in soldier
clothes--a good-looking young fellow, a head taller and some two years
older than himself.

"Hello, Jack! how are you?"

"Tip-top!" said Jack, looking happy as a prince.

The officer who had brought down the recruits went with them to the
quartermaster's department, and gave orders for their outfit. When
Frank's turn came, his measure was taken, and an astonishing quantity of
army clothing issued to him. He had two pairs of drawers, two shirts, two
pairs of stockings, a blouse, a dress coat, an overcoat, a cap, a pair of
shoes, a pair of pantaloons, and a towel. Besides these he received a
knapsack, with two blankets; a haversack, with a tin plate, knife and
fork, and spoon; and a tin cup and canteen. He had also been told that he
should get his drum and drumsticks; but in this he was disappointed. The
department was out of drums.

"Never mind!" said Jack, consolingly. "You may consider yourself lucky to
draw your clothes so soon. I had to wait for mine till I was examined and
sworn in. The surgeons are so lazy, or have so much to do, or something,
it may be a week before you'll be examined."

Frank was soon surrounded by acquaintances whom he scarcely recognized at
first, they looked so changed and strange to him in their uniforms.

"How funny it seems," said he, "to be shaking hands with soldiers!"

"These are our tents," said Jack. "They all have their names, you see."

Which fact Frank had already noticed with no little astonishment.

The names were lettered on the canvas of the tents in characters far more
grotesque than elegant One was called the "Crystal Palace;" another, the
"Mammoth Cave;" a third bore the mystical title of "Owl House;" while a
fourth displayed the sign of the "Arab's Home;" etc.

"My traps are in the 'Young Volunteer,'" said Jack. "We give it that
name, because we are all of us young fellows in there. You can tie up
here too,"--entering the tent,--"if you want to."

Frank gladly accepted the proposition. "How odd it must seem," he said,
"to live and sleep under canvas!"

"You'll like it tip-top, when you get used to it," remarked Jack, with an
air of old experience.

Frank made haste to take off his civil suit and put on his soldier
clothes. Jack pronounced the uniform a splendid fit, and declared that
his friend looked "stunning."

"But you must have your hair cut, Frank. Look here; this is the fighting
trim!" and Jack Winch, pulling off his cap, made Frank laugh till the
tears came into his eyes, at the ludicrous sight. Jack's hair had been
clipped so close to his head that it was no longer than mouse's hair,
giving him a peculiarly grim and antique appearance.

"You look like Sinbad's Old Man of the Sea!" exclaimed Frank. "I won't
have my hair cut that way!"--feeling of his own soft brown curls, which
his mother was so fond of, and which he meant to preserve, if only for
her sake.

"Pshaw! you look like a girl! Come, Frank, there's a fellow in the 'Owl
House' that cuts all the hair for our company."

But here an end was put to the discussion by some of the boys without
crying, "Dinner!"

"Dinner!" repeated Jack. "Hurrah! let's go and draw our rations."

Three or four young volunteers now came into the tent, and, opening their
haversacks, drew forth their tin plates, knives and forks. Frank did the
same, and observing that they all took their tin cups, he took his also,
and followed them, with quite as much curiosity as appetite, to the
cook-shop, where a large piece of bread and a thick slice of boiled beef
was dealt out to each, together with a cup of coffee.

"How droll it seems to eat rations!" said Frank, on their return, seating
himself on his bed,--a tick filled with straw,--and using his lap for a
table.

The bread was sweet; but the beef was of not quite so fine a quality as
Frank had been used to at home and the coffee was not exactly like his
mother's.

"Here, have some milk," said Jack. "I've an account open with this
woman"--a wrinkled old creature, who came into the tent with a little
girl, bearing baskets of cakes and fruits, and a can of milk.

"No, I thank you," said Frank. "I may as well begin with the fare I shall
have to get used to some time, for I mean to send all my pay home to my
folks except what I'm actually obliged to use myself."

"You'll be a goose if you do!" retorted Jack. "I shan't send home any of
mine. I'm my own man now, ye see, and what I earn of Uncle Sam I'm going
to have a gallus old time with, you may bet your life on that!"

Frank drew a long breath, for he felt that the time had now come to have
the talk with his friend which Mr. Winch had requested.

"I saw your father, this morning, Jack."

"Did ye though? What did the old sinner have to say?"

"I don't like to hear you call your father such names," said Frank,
seriously. "And if you had seen how bad he felt, when he spoke of your
enlisting----"

"Pshaw, now, Frank! don't be green! don't get into a pious strain, I beg
of ye! You'll be the laughing-stock of all the boys, if ye do."

Frank blushed to the eyes, not knowing what reply to make. He had felt no
little pride in Mr. Winch's responsible charge to him, and had intended
to preach to his more reckless companion a good, sound, moral discourse
on this occasion. But to have his overtures received in this manner was
discouraging.

"Come," continued Jack, taking something from the straw, "we are soldiers
now, and must do as soldiers do. Have a drink, Frank?"--presenting a
small bottle.

"What is it?" Frank asked, and when told, "Brandy," he quickly withdrew
the hand he had extended. "No, I thank you, Jack, I am not going to drink
any thing of that sort, unless I need it as a medicine. And I am sorry to
see you getting into such habits so soon."

"Habits? what habits?" retorted Jack, blushing in his turn. "A little
liquor don't hurt a fellow. _I_ take it only as a medicine. You mustn't
go to being squeamish down here, I tell you." And Jack drank a swallow or
two, smacking his lips afterwards, as he returned the cork to the bottle.

By this time Frank's courage was up--his moral courage, I mean, which is
more rare, as it is far more noble, than any merely physical bravery in
the face of danger.

"I don't mean to be squeamish," he said; "but right is right, and wrong
is wrong, Jack. And what was wrong for us at home isn't going to be right
for us here. I, for one, believe we can go through this war without doing
any thing that will make our parents ashamed of us when we return."

"My eye!" jeered his companion; "and do you fancy a little swallow of
brandy is going to make my folks ashamed of me?"

"It isn't the single swallow I object to, Jack; it's the habit of
drinking. That's a foolish thing, to say the least, for young fellows,
like you and me, to get into; and we all know what it leads to. Who wants
to become a tobacco-spitting, rum-drinking, filthy old man?"

"Ha, ha, ha," laughed Jack; rather feebly, however, for he could not help
feeling that Frank was as much in the right as he was in the wrong. "You
look a long ways ahead, it seems to me. I haven't thought of being an old
man yet."

"If we live, we shall be men, and old men, too, some day," said Frank,
without minding his sneers. "And you know we are laying the foundations
of our future characters now."

"That's what your mother, or your Sunday school teacher, has been saying
to you."

"No matter who has said it. I know it's true, and I hope I never shall
forget it. I mean to become a true, honest man if I live; and now, I
believe, is the time to begin."

"O, no doubt you'll be great things," grinned Jack.

The tone in which he said this was highly offensive; and Frank was
provoked to retort,--

"You don't seem even to have thought what you are going to be. You try
first one thing, then another, and stick to nothing. That's what your
father said this morning, with tears in his eyes."

Jack turned red as fire, either with anger or shame, or both, and seemed
meditating a passionate reply, when some of his companions, who had been
eating their rations outside, entered the tent.

"Come in, boys," cried Jack, "and hear Frank preach. You didn't know we
had a chaplain in our company--did ye? That's the parson, there, with the
girl's hair. He can reel you off sermons like any thing. Fire away,
Frank, and show the boys."

"Yes, steam up, parson," said Joe Harris, "and give us a specimen."

"Play away, seven," cried Ned Ellis, as if Frank had been a fire-engine
of that number.

These, together with other facetious remarks, made Frank so ashamed and
confused that he could not say a word. For experience had not yet taught
him that even the most reckless and depraved, however they may laugh at
honest seriousness in a companion, cannot help respecting him for it in
their hearts.

"You needn't blush so, young chap," said tall Abram Atwater, a stalwart,
square-shouldered, square-featured young man of twenty, who alone had not
joined in the derisive merriment. "It won't hurt any of these fellows to
preach to them, and they know it."

Frank cast a grateful look at the tall soldier, who, though almost a
stranger to him, had thus generously taken his part against some who
professed to be his friends. He tried to speak, but could not articulate
a word, he was still feeling so hurt by Jack's ingratitude. Perhaps his
pride was as much wounded as his friendship; for, as we have hinted, he
had been a good deal puffed up with the idea of his influence over Jack.
This incident, as we shall see, had a bad effect upon Frank himself; for,
instead of persevering in the good work he had undertaken, he was
inclined to give up all hope of exerting an influence upon any body.

In the mean time Jack was washing down the sermon, as he said, with more
brandy.

"'Twas such an awful dry discourse, boys;" and he passed the bottle
around to the others, who all drank, except Abram Atwater. That stalwart
young soldier stood in the midst of the tent, straight and tall, with his
arms calmly folded under his blue cape (a favorite attitude of his), and
merely shook his head, with a mild and tolerant smile, when the liquor
was passed to him.

Such was the beginning of Frank's camp life. It was not long before he
had recovered from his confusion, and was apparently on good terms with
his messmates. He spent the afternoon in walking about the camp; watching
some raw recruits at their drill; watching others playing cards, or
checkers, or backgammon; getting acquainted, and learning the ways of the
camp generally.

So the day passed; and that night Frank lay for the first time
soldier-fashion, under canvas. He went to bed with his clothes on, and
drew his blanket over him. It was not like going to bed in his nice
little room at home, with Willie snuggled warmly beside him; yet there
was a novelty in this rude and simple mode of life that was charming. His
companions, who lay upon the ground around him, kept him awake with their
stories long after the lights were out; but at length, weary with the
day's excitement, he fell asleep.

There,--a dweller now in the picturesque white city of tents gleaming in
the moonlight, ruggedly pillowed on his soldier's couch, those soft brown
curls tossed over the arm beneath his head,--the drummer boy dreamed of
home. The last night's consultation and the morning's farewells were
lived over again in the visions of his brain; and once more his mother
visited his bedside; and again his father accompanied him to the
recruiting office. But now the recruiting office was changed into a
barber's shop, which seemed to be a tent supported by a striped pole;
where, at John Winch's suggestion, he was to have his hair trimmed to the
fighting-cut. The barber was a stiff-looking officer in epaulets, who
heated a sword red-hot in an oven, while Frank preached to him a neat
little sermon over his ration. Then the epaulets changed to a pair of
roosters with flaming red combs, that flapped their wings and crowed. And
the barber, approaching Frank with his red-hot sword, made him lie on his
back to be shaved. Then followed an excruciating sense of having his hair
pulled and his face scraped and burnt, which made him move and murmur in
his sleep; until, a ruthless attempt being made to thrust the sword up
his nostrils, he awoke.

Shouts of laughter greeted him. His companions had got up at midnight,
lighted a candle, and burnt a cork, with which they had been giving him
an artificial mustache and whiskers. He must have been a ludicrous sight,
with his countenance thus ornamented, sitting up on his bed, rubbing his
eyes open, and staring about him, while Winch and Harris shrieked with
mirth, and Ned Ellis flapped his arms and crowed.

Frank put up his hand to his head. O grief! his curls had been mangled by
dull shears in the unskilful hands of John Winch. The depredator was
still brandishing the miserable instrument, which he had borrowed for the
occasion of the fellow who cut the company's hair in the "Owl House."

Frank's sudden awaking, astonishment, and chagrin were almost too much
for him. He could have cried to think of a friend playing him such a
trick; and to think of his lost curls! But he had made up his mind to
endure every thing that might befall him with unflinching fortitude. He
must not seem weak on an occasion like this. His future standing with his
comrades might depend upon what he should say and do next. So he summoned
all his stoutness of heart, and accepted the joke as good-naturedly as
was possible under the circumstances.

"I wish you'd tell me what the fun is," he said, "so that I can laugh
too."

"Give him the looking-glass," cried Jack Winch, holding the candle, while
Ellis stopped crowing, to bring a little three-cornered fragment of a
broken mirror, by which Frank was shown the artistic burnt-cork work on
his face. He could hardly help laughing himself at his own hideousness,
now that the first disagreeable sense of being the sport of his friends
had passed.

"I hope you have had fun enough to pay for waking me up out of the
queerest dream any body ever had," he said. And he told all about the
barber, and the epaulets that became roosters, and the red-hot sword for
a razor, etc. Then, looking at himself again in the piece of glass, he
called out, "Give me those shears;" and taking them, he manfully cut off
his mutilated curls. "There, that isn't exactly the fighting-cut, Jack,
but 'twill do. Now, boys, tell some more of those dull stories, and I
guess I can go to sleep again."

And he lay down once more, declining to accept an urgent invitation to
preach.

"There, boys," said stout Abram Atwater, who had sat all the time
cross-legged, a silent, gravely-smiling spectator of the scene, "you
shan't fool him any more. He has got pluck; he has shown it. And now let
him alone."




                                 IV.

                  THE OLD DRUMMER AND THE NEW DRUM.


As yet, Frank had no drum. Neither had he any scientific knowledge of the
instrument. He was ambitious of entering upon his novel occupation, and
was elated to learn, the next morning, that he was to begin his
acquaintance with the noble art of drumming that very day.

"The sergeant is inquiring for you," said Abram Atwater, with his mild,
pleasant smile, calling him out of the tent.

Frank, who was writing a letter to his mother, on his knapsack, jumped up
with alacrity, hid his paper, and ran out to see what was wanted.

"This way, Manly," said the sergeant. "Here's the man that's to give you
lessons. Go with him."

The teacher was a veteran drummer, with a twinkling gray eye, a long,
thick, gray mustache, and a rather cynical way of showing his teeth under
it. He had some drumsticks thrust into his pocket, but no drum.

"I suppose," thought Frank, "we shall find our drums in the woods;" into
which his instructor straightway conducted him in order to be away from
the diversions and noises of the camp.

Frank was disappointed. The veteran gave him his first exercise--on a
board!

"I thought I was to learn on a drum," he ventured to suggest, looking up,
not without awe, at the bushy mustache.

"You don't want a drum till you know how to drum," said the veteran.

"But I should think it would be better----"

"Wait!" lifting his drumstick. "Do you understand what we are here for?"

"To learn to drum," replied Frank, in some astonishment.

"To learn to drum," repeated the veteran, a curious smile just raising
the corners of that grizzled mustache. "You understand correctly. Now, am
I your teacher, or are you mine?"

"You are mine, sir," answered the boy, still more amazed.

"Right again!" exclaimed the professor. "That's the way I understood it;
but I might be wrong, you know. We are all liable to be wrong--are we
not?"

"Yes, sir."

Frank stared.

"Good again! But now it is understood correctly; I am your instructor,
and you are not mine; that is it."

Frank assented.

"Very well! Now listen. Since I am to give you lessons, and you are not
to give me lessons, you will follow the method I propose, and excuse me
if I decline to follow your method. That is reasonable,--isn't it?"

"Certainly, sir," murmured the abashed pupil.

"The point settled, then, we will proceed," said the veteran, with the
same incomprehensible, half-sarcastic, half-humorous, but now quite
good-natured smile lighting up his grim visage.

"But before we proceed," said Frank, "may I just say what I was going
to?"

The old drummer lifted both his sticks, and his eyebrows too (not to
speak of his shaggy mustache), in surprise at the lad's audacity.

"Do you want me to report you as insubordinate?" he asked, after a pause,
during which the two regarded each other somewhat after the fashion of
two dogs making acquaintance--a tall, leering old mastiff looking surlily
down at the advances of an anxious yet stout and unflinching young
spaniel.

"No, sir," answered Frank. "But I thought----"

"You thought! What business have you to think?"

"No business, perhaps," Frank admitted, confronting the weather-beaten
old drummer with his truthful, undaunted, fine young face. "But I can't
help thinking sir, for all that."

"You can help expressing your thoughts out of season, though," said the
veteran.

"I will try to in future, sir," answered Frank, laughing.

At the same time a smile of genuine benevolence softened the tough,
ancient visage of the veteran; and they proceeded with the lesson.

After it was over, the teacher said to the pupil,--

"Now, my young friend, I will hear that observation or question of yours,
whatever it is."

"I think I have answered it for myself," said Frank. "I was going to say,
I should think it would be better to learn to drum on a drum; but I see
now, if I get to roll the sticks on a board, which is hard, I can roll
them so much the better on a drumhead, which is elastic."

"Right, my young friend," replied the veteran, approvingly. "And in the
mean time, we avoid a good deal of unpleasant noise, as you see." For he
had other pupils practising under his eye in the woods, not far from
Frank.

"And I should like to ask--if I could have permission," began Frank,
archly.

"Ask me any thing you please, out of lesson-hours." And the old drummer
patted the young drummer's shoulder.

Frank felt encouraged. He was beginning to like his teacher,
notwithstanding his odd ways; and he hoped the old man was beginning to
like him.

"I want to know, then, if you think I will make a drummer?"

"And what if you will not?"

"Then I shall think I ought to give up the idea of it at once; for I
don't want to be second-rate in any thing I once undertake."

"And you have been just a little discouraged over your first lesson? and
would be willing now to give up?"

"No, sir. I should feel very bad to be obliged to give up the drum."

"Very well. Then I can say something to comfort you. Stick to it, as you
have begun, and you will make a drummer."

"A first-rate one?" Frank asked, eagerly.

"First-rate, or else I am no judge."

"I am glad!" and the delighted pupil fairly jumped for joy.

From that time the two got on capitally together. Frank soon become
accustomed to the veteran's eccentric manners, and made great proficiency
in his exercises. And it was not long before the hard-featured old
drummer began to manifest, in his way, a great deal of friendly interest
in his young pupil.

"Now, my boy," said he one day, after Frank had been practising
successfully the "seven-stroke roll," greatly to the satisfaction of his
instructor,--"now, my boy, I think you can be safely intrusted with your
comrade."

"My comrade?" queried the pupil.

"I mean, your better half."

"My better half?"

Frank was mystified.

"Yes, your wife." And the grizzly mustache curled with quiet humor.

"I must be a married man without knowing it!" laughed Frank.

"Your ship, then," said the veteran, dryly. "Come with me."

And conducting Frank to his tent, he took from one side an object covered
with a blanket.

"My ship!" cried Frank, joyfully, already guessing what treasure was now
to be his.

"Your sword, then, if you like that name better. For what his sword is to
a hero, what his ship is to a true sailor, what a wife is to a true
husband,--such, my young friend, to a genuine drummer is his drum."

So saying, the veteran threw aside the covering, and presented to his
pupil the long-coveted prize. The boy's eyes shone with pleasure, and (as
he wrote that evening to his parents) he was so happy he could have
hugged both the old drummer and the new drum.

"I selected it for you, and you may be sure it is a good one. It won't be
any handsomer, but, if you use it well, it won't be really much the
worse, for going through a campaign or two with you. For it is with drums
as it is with the drummers; they grow old, and get some honorable
scratches, and some unlucky bruises, and now and then a broken head; but,
God prospering them, they come out, at last, ugly to look at, perhaps"
(the veteran stroked his mustache), "but well-seasoned, and sound, and
very truly at your service."

Frank thought be saw a tear in his twinkling gray eye, and he was so much
affected by it, that he caught his hand in both of his, exclaiming,
"Bless you, dear sir! Dear, good sir, God bless you!"

The old man winked away the moisture from his eye, smiling still, but
with a quivering lip, and patted him gently on the shoulder, without
saying a word.

Frank had the sense to perceive that the interview was now over; the
veteran wished to be left alone; and, with the new drum at his side, he
left the tent, proud and happy, and wishing in his heart that he could do
something for that singular, kind old man.

As Frank was hastening to his tent, he was met by one of the captains in
his regiment, who, seeing the bright beaming face and new drum, accosted
him.

"So, you are a drummer boy--are you?"

"Yes, sir, I am learning to be one," said Frank, modestly.

Now, these two had seen each other often in camp and the captain had
always regarded Frank with a smile of interest and kindness, and Frank
(as he wrote home) had "always liked the looks of the captain
first-rate."

"I saw you, I think, the day you came here," said the captain. "You had
some curls then. What has become of them?"

Frank's lip twitched, and he cast down his eyes, ashamed to betray any
lingering feeling on that subject.

"The boys cut them off in my sleep, sir."

"The rogues!" exclaimed the captain. "And what did you do?"

Frank lifted his eyes with a smile. "I partly finished them myself--they
had haggled them so; and the next day I found a man to cut my hair
nicely."

"Well, it is better so, perhaps: short hair for a soldier. But I liked
those curls. They reminded me of a little sister of mine--she is gone
now--," in a low, mellow tone. "Are you attached to any company?"

"I am enlisted in the Jackson Blues."

"What is your name?"

"Frank Manly, sir."

"Are you any relation to Mrs. Manly, of----?"

"She is my mother, sir," said Frank, with proud affection.

"Is it possible! Mrs. Manly's son! Indeed, you look like her."

"Do you know my mother, sir?"

"My lad," said the captain, "I used to go to school to her. But, though I
have heard of her often, I haven't seen her for years."

"I shall write to her, and tell her about you," said Frank, delighted.
"She will be glad to hear that I have found so good a friend."

"Ask her," said the captain, "If she remembers Henry Edney, who used to
go to school to her in ----. She will recollect me, I am sure. And give
my very kind regards to her, and to your father; and tell them I regret I
didn't see you before you enlisted, for I want just such a drummer boy in
my company. But never mind," he added quickly, as if conscious of having
spoken indiscreetly, "you will do your duty where you are, and I will try
to do mine, for we must have only one thought now--to serve our country."

They separated, with more kind words on the captain's part, and with
expressions of gratitude on the part of Frank, who felt that, to
compensate him for John Winch's treachery, he was already securing the
friendship of a few of the best of men.

You may be sure the boy wrote to his mother all about the interview, and
told her how sorry he was that he had not enlisted in Captain Edney's
company; not only because he liked his new friend's kindness and affable
manners so well, but also because there existed in the ranks of the
Jackson Blues a strong prejudice against their own officers. Captain ----
was almost a stranger to his men, and seemed determined to continue so.
He seldom appeared amongst them, or showed any interest in their welfare.
He had never once drilled them, but left that duty entirely to the
sergeant. They consequently accused him boldly of laziness, ignorance,
and conceit--three qualities which men always dislike in their superiors.
How different was Captain Edney!




                                  V.

                            FUN IN CAMP.


Frank now practised his lessons on his drum, and was very happy. He had
passed the surgical examination a few days after his arrival in camp, and
been duly sworn into the service. This latter ceremony made a strong
impression on his mind. He stood in the open air, together with a number
of new recruits, and heard the Articles of War read; after which they all
took off their caps, and held up their right hands, while the oath was
administered.

One day, on returning to camp after his lesson in the woods, he was
astonished to see Jack Winch, with his cap off, his fighting-cut
displayed to all beholders, and his fist shaking, marched off by armed
soldiers.

"What are they doing with Jack?" he hastened to inquire of Abram Atwater,
who stood among his comrades with his arms composedly crossed under his
cape.

"He is put under guard," said the tall, taciturn soldier.

"You see," cried Joe Harris, coming up, "Jack had tipped the bottle once
too often, and got noisy. The sergeant told him to keep still. 'Dry up
yourself,' said Jack. 'Start,' says the sergeant; and he took hold of him
to push him towards the tent; but the next he knew, he got a blow square
in the face,--Jack was so mad!"

"Come, boys," said Ned Ellis, "Le's go over and see how he likes the
fun."

The proposal was accepted; and presently a strong deputation of the Blues
went to pay a visit to their disgraced comrade. Arrived at the guard
tent, a couple of sentinels crossed their bayonets before them. But
although they could not enter, they could look in; and there, seated on
the ground, they saw Jack, in a position which would have appeared
excessively ludicrous to Frank, but that it seemed to him too pitiful to
behold any comrade so degraded. In consequence of his continued fury and
violence, Jack had been secured in this fashion. Imagine a grotesque
letter _N_, to which feet, arms, and a head have been added, and you have
some idea of his posture, as seen in profile. His knees were elevated;
forming the upper angle of the letter. The lower angle was represented by
that portion of the body which forms the seat of the human animal. The
arms were passed over the upper angle, that is, the knees, and kept in
their place by handcuffs on the wrists, and by a musket thrust through,
over the arms and under the knees.

"Can't you untie them iron knots with your teeth, Jack?" said Joe,
meaning the handcuffs.

"How do you like the back to your chair?" said Ned.

"Let's see ye turn a somerset backwards, Jack."

And so forth. But Frank did not insult him in his disgrace.

Winch was by this time sufficiently sobered and humbled. He destroyed the
symmetry of the _N_ by doubling himself ingloriously over his knees and
hiding his face between them.

"Got the colic, Jack?" asked Harris--"you double up so."

Winch glared up at him a moment,--a ludicrous picture, with that writhing
face and that curious fighting-cut,--but cast down his eyes again,
sulkily, and said nothing.

"Come away, boys," whispered Frank. "Don't stay here, making fun of him.
Why do you?"

"Jack," said Ellis, "we're going to take a drink. Won't you come along
with us?"--tauntingly.

And the Blues dispersed, leaving poor Jack to his own bitter reflections.

He had learned one thing--who his friends were. On being released, he
shunned Harris and Ellis especially, for a day or two, and paid his court
to Frank.

"I am going to tell you something, Frank," said he, as they were once at
the pond-side, washing their plates after dinner. "I'm going to leave the
company."

"Leave the Blues?" said Frank.

"Yes, and quit the service. I've got sick of it."

"But I thought you liked it so well."

"Well, I did at first. It was a kind of novelty. Come, let's leave it. I
will."

"But how can you?"

"Easy enough. I am under age, and my father 'll get me off."

"I should think you would be ashamed to ask him to," Frank could not help
saying, with honest contempt.

Jack was not offended this time by his plainness, for he had learned that
those are not, by any means, our worst friends, who truly tell us our
faults.

"I don't care," he said, putting on an air of recklessness. "I ain't
going to lead this miserable dog's life in camp any longer, if I have to
desert"--lowering his voice to a whisper; "we can desert just as easy as
not, Frank, if we take a notion."

"I, for one," said Frank, indignantly, "shan't take a notion to do
anything so dishonorable. We enlisted of our own free will, and I think
it would be the meanest and most dishonest thing we could do to----"

"Hush!" whispered Jack. "There's Atwater; he'll hear us."

                 *            *            *            *

At midnight the drummer boy was awakened by a commotion in the tent.

"Come, Frank," said some one, pulling him violently, "we are going to
have some great fun. Hurrah!"

Frank jumped up. The boys were leaving the tent. He had already suspected
that mischief was meditated, and, anxious to see what it was, he ran out
after them.

He found the company assembled in a dark, mysterious mass in the street
before the row of tents.

"Get a rope around his neck," said one.

"Burn the tent," said another.

"With him in it," said a third.

"What does it all mean?" Frank inquired of his friend Atwater, whom he
found quietly listening to the conspirators.

"A little fun with the Gosling, I believe," said Atwater, with a shrug.
"They'd better let him alone."

"The Gosling" was the nickname which the Blues had bestowed on their
captain.

After a hurried consultation among the ringleaders, the company marched
to the tent where the Gosling slept. Only Atwater, Frank, and a few
others lingered in the rear.

"I hope they won't hurt him," said Frank. "Ought we not to give the
alarm?"

"And get the lasting ill-will of the boys?" said Atwater. "We can't
afford that."

The captain's tent was surrounded. Knives were drawn. Then, at a
concerted signal, the ropes supporting the tent were cut. At the same
time the captain's bed, which made a convenient protuberance in the side
of the tent, was seized and tipped over, while tent-pole, canvas, and
all, came down upon him in a mass.

"Help! guard! help!" he shrieked, struggling under the heap.

At the instant a large pile of straw, belonging to the quartermaster's
department close by, burst forth in a sheet of flame which illumined the
camp with its glare.

The boys now ran to their tents, laughing at the plight of their captain,
as he issued, furious, from the ruins. Frank began to run too; but
thinking that this would be considered an indication of guilt, he
stopped. Atwater was at his side.

"We are caught," said Atwater, coolly. "There's the guard." And he folded
his arms under his cape and waited.

"What shall we do?" said Frank, in great distress, not that he feared the
advancing bayonets, but he remembered John Winch's arrest, and dreaded a
similar degradation.

"There are two of them," said the half-dressed captain, pointing out
Frank and his friend to the officer of the guard.

In his excitement he would have had them hurried off at once to the
guard-tent. But fortunately the colonel of the regiment, who had been
writing late in his tent, heard the alarm, and was already on the spot.
He regarded the prisoners by the light of the burning straw. Frank,
recovering from the trepidation of finding himself for the first time
surrounded by a guard, and subject to a serious accusation returned his
look with a face beaming with courage and innocence. The colonel smiled.

"Have you been meddling with Captain ----'s bed and cutting his tent
down?" he asked.

"No, sir," said Frank, with a mien which bore witness to the truth.

"Do you know who set that fire?"

"No, sir."

"What are you out of your tent for?"

"I came to see the fun, sir. If it was wrong I am very sorry."

"What fun?"

"The boys were going to have some fun; I didn't know what, and I came to
see."

"What boys?"

"All the boys in our company."

"Which of them did the things your captain complains of?"

"I don't know, sir. They were all together; and who tipped the bed, or
cut the ropes, or set the fire, I can't tell."

"It seems they were all concerned, then."

"No, sir, not all. Some did the mischief, and the rest looked on."

"Did this person with you do any of the mischief?"

"No, sir; he was with me all the time, and we kept out of it."

"How happens it, then, that only you two are caught?"

"All the rest ran."

"And why didn't you run?"

"We had not been doing anything to run for," said Frank, with convincing
sincerity.

Atwater was then questioned, and gave similar answers.

"Captain ----," said the colonel, "I think it is evident these are not
the persons who are most deserving of punishment. This boy, certainly,
could not have been very deeply concerned in the assault, and I am
inclined to place entire confidence in his story."

The captain himself appeared not a little ashamed of having accused one
so young and ingenuous as the drummer boy. The prisoners were accordingly
released, and the investigation of the affair was postponed until the
morrow. Returning with Atwater to their tent, Frank could not repress the
joy he felt at their fortunate escape. But Atwater took the whole affair
with astonishing coolness, exhibiting no more emotion at their release
than he had betrayed at their entrapment.

"What a fellow you are!" said Frank, staying his enthusiastic step, while
his companion, with slow and stately pace, came up with him. "You don't
seem to care for any thing."

"Those that care the most don't always show it," said Atwater,
laconically, as they crept back into the tent.

All was hushed and dark within; but soon they heard whispers.

"Abe! Frank! that you?"

And they soon found that the tent was full of the fugitives, awaiting
their return.

"What made you let 'em catch you? How did you get off?" were the first
eager inquiries.

Dark as it was, Frank thought he could see Atwater shrug his shoulders
and look to him for the required explanation. For Abram was a fellow of
few words, and Frank was glib of speech.

So Frank, seated on his bed, related their adventure, to the great
delight of the boys, who bestowed the warmest praises upon them for their
spirit and fidelity. They had stood their ground when deserted by their
companions; and, although they had told the truth about the whole
company, they had not inculpated individuals. Thus Frank, as he
afterwards learned with pleasure, had by his courage and truthfulness won
both the confidence of his officers and the good will of his comrades.

The next day the company was called to an account for the offence. In
reply to the captain's charges, the sergeant, acting as spokesman for the
rest, stated the grievances of the men. The result was, that the captain
received directions to exercise his company in the colonel's presence;
and, complying reluctantly, demonstrated his own inefficiency in a manner
which elicited the merriment of spectators, and even provoked the colonel
to smile.

Soon after, in order to get rid of so incompetent an officer, and at the
same time punish the insubordination of the men, it was resolved to
disband the company. Thus was afforded to Frank the opportunity, which
seemed to him almost providential, of joining Captain Edney's company,
and to John Winch the desired chance to quit the service, of which he had
so soon grown weary.

At this time the boys' fathers came down together to visit them. John had
written home a pitiful letter, and Mr. Winch went to see about getting
him off.

But Jack was no sooner out of the service than he wished to be in again.
Frank, Atwater, and several others, had joined Captain Edney's company,
and he determined to follow their example.

"O John!" groaned Mr. Winch, in despair at this inconstancy, "when will
you learn to be a little more steady-minded? Here I have come expressly
to plead your cause, and get you off; but before I have a chance, you
change your mind again, and now nothing can persuade you to go home."

"Well," said John, "I didn't like the company I was in. I'm satisfied
now, and I'm going to serve my country."

"Well, well," said Mr. Winch, "I shall let you do as you please. But
reflect; you enlist with my consent now, and you must dismiss all hope of
getting off next time you are sick of your bargain."

"O, I shan't be sick of it again," said John, as full of ambition as he
had lately been of discontent and disloyalty.

In the mean time Frank made the most of his father's visit. He showed him
his new tent, his knapsack and accoutrements, and his handsome drum. He
introduced him to the old drummer, and to Atwater, and to Captain Edney.
The latter invited them both into his tent, and was so kind to them that
Frank almost shed tears of gratitude, to think that his father could go
home and tell what a favorite he was with his captain. Then, when
dinner-time came, Frank drew a ration for his father, in order that he
might know just what sort of fare the soldiers had, and how they ate it.
And so the day passed. And Frank accompanied his father to the cars, and
saw him off, sending a thousand good wishes home, and promising that he
would certainly get a furlough the coming week, and visit them.




                                 VI.

                            BREAKING CAMP.


Frank was disappointed in not being able to keep that promise. An order
came for the regiment to be ready to march in two days; in the mean time
no furloughs could be granted.

"I am sorry for you, Frank," said Captain Edney; "and I would make an
exception in your case, if possible."

"No, I don't ask that, sir," said Frank, stoutly. "I did want to see my
folks again, but----" He turned away his face.

"Well," said the captain, "I think it can be arranged so that you shall
see them again, if only for a short time. You can warn them in season of
our breaking camp, and they will meet you as we pass through Boston."

This was some consolation; although it was hard for Frank to give up the
long-anticipated pleasure of visiting his family, and the satisfaction of
relating his experience of a soldier's life to his sisters and mates. He
had thought a good deal, with innocent vanity, of the wonder and
admiration he would excite, in his uniform, fresh from camp, and bound
for the battlefields of his country; but he had thought a great deal more
of the happiness of breathing again the atmosphere of love and sympathy
which we find nowhere but at home.

The excitement which filled the camp helped him forget his
disappointment. The regiment was in fine spirits. It was impatient to be
on the march. Its destination was not known; some said it was to be moved
directly to Washington; others, that it was to rendezvous at Annapolis,
and form a part of some formidable expedition about to be launched
against the rebellion; but all agreed that what every soldier ardently
desired was now before them--active service, and an enemy to be
conquered.

The two days in which time the regiment was to prepare to move, became
three days--four days--a week; unavoidable obstacles still delayed its
departure, to the infinite vexation of Frank, who saw what a long
furlough he might have enjoyed, and who repeatedly sent to his friends
directions when and where to meet him, which he found himself obliged,
each time, to write in haste and countermand the next morning. Such are
some of the annoyances of a soldier's life.

But at length the long-delayed orders came. They were received with
tumultuous joy by the impatient troops. It was necessary to send the
ponderous baggage train forward a day in advance; and the tents were
struck at once. All was bustle, animation, and hilarity in the camp; and
a night of jubilee followed.

The drummer boy never forgot that night, amid all his subsequent
adventures. While his companions were singing, shouting, and kindling
fires, he could not help thinking, as he watched their animated figures
lighted up by the flames, that this was, probably, the last night many of
them would ever pass in their native states; that many would fall in
battle, and find their graves in a southern soil; and that, perhaps, he
himself was one of those who would never return.

"What are you thinking about, my bold soldier boy?" said a familiar
voice, while a gentle hand slapped him on the back.

He turned and saw the bushy mustache of his friend and master, the old
drummer, peering over his shoulder.

"O Mr. Sinjin!" said Frank. (The veteran wrote his name _St. John_, but
every body called him _Sinjin_.) "I was afraid I should not see you
again."

"Eh, and why not?"

"Because we are off in the morning, you know, and I couldn't find you
to-day; and----"

"And what, my lad?" said the old man, regarding him with a very tender
smile.

"I couldn't bear the thought of going without seeing you once more."

"And what should a young fellow like you want to see an ugly, battered,
miserable old hulk like me, for?"

"You have been very kind to me," said Frank, getting hold of the old
man's hard, rough hand; "and I shall be sorry to part with you, sir, very
sorry."

"Well, well." The veteran tried in vain to appear careless and cynical,
as he commonly did to other people. "You are young yet. You believe in
friendship, do you?"

"And don't you?" Frank earnestly inquired.

"I did once. A great while ago. But never mind about that. I believe in
_you_, my boy. You have not seen the world and grown corrupted; you are
still capable of a disinterested attachment; and may it be long before
the thoughtlessness of some, and the treachery of others, and the
selfishness of all, convince you that there is no such thing as a true
friend." And the old drummer gave his mustache a fierce jerk, as if he
had some grudge against it.

"O Mr. Sinjin," said Frank, "I shall never think so and I am sure you do
not. Haven't you any friends? Don't you really care for any body? Here
are all these boys; you know a good many of us, and every body that knows
you half as well as I do, likes you, and we are going off now in a few
hours, and some of us will never come back; and don't you care?"

"Few, I fancy, think of me as you do," said the old man, in a slightly
choking voice. "They call me _Old Sinjin_, without very much respect,"
grinning grimly under his mustache.

"But they don't mean any thing by that; they like you all the time, sir,"
Frank assured him.

"Well, like me or not," said the veteran, his smile softening as he
looked down at the boy's face upturned so earnestly to his in the
fire-light, "I have determined, if only for your sake, to share the
fortunes of the regiment."

"You have? O, good! And go with us?" cried Frank, ready to dance for joy.

"I've got tired, like the rest of you, of this dull camp life," said the
old drummer; "and seeing you pack your knapsack has stirred a little
youthful blood in my veins which I didn't suppose was there. I'm off for
the war with the rest of you, my boy;" and he poked a coal from the fire
to light his cigar, hiding his face from Frank at the same time.

Frank, who could not help thinking that it was partly for his sake that
the old man had come to this decision, was both rejoiced and sobered by
this evidence of friendship in one who pretended not to believe there was
such a thing as true friendship in the world.

"I am so glad you are going; but I am afraid you are too old; and if any
thing should happen to you----" Frank somehow felt that, in that case, he
would be to blame.

The old man said nothing, but kept poking at the coal with a trembling
hand.

"Here, Old Sinjin," said Jack Winch, "have a match. Don't be _singin'_
your mustaches over the fire for nothing;" with an irreverent pun on the
old man's name.

"Mr. Sinjin is going with us, Jack," said Frank.

"Is he? Bully for you, old chap!" said Jack, as the veteran, with a
somewhat contemptuous smile, accepted the proffered match, and smoked
away in silence. "We are going to have a gallus old time; nothing could
hire me to stay at home." For Jack, when inspired by the idea of change,
was always enthusiastic; he was then always going to have a gallus old
time, if any body knows what that is. "Here goes my shoes," pitching
those which he had worn from home into the fire.

"Why, Jack," said Frank, "what do you burn them for? Those were good
shoes yet."

"I know it. But I couldn't carry them. The other boys are burning up all
their old boots and shoes. Uncle Sam furnishes us shoes now."

"But you should have sent them home, Jack; I sent mine along with my
clothes. If you don't ever want them again yourself, somebody else may."

"What do I care for somebody else? I care more for seeing the old things
curl and fry in the fire as if they was mad. O, ain't that a splendid
blaze! It's light as day all over the camp. By jimmy, the fellows there
are going to have a dance."

John ran off. Old Sinjin had also taken his departure, evidently not
liking young Winch's company. Frank was left once more to his own
thoughts, watching the picturesque groups about the fires. It was now
midnight. The last of the old straw from the emptied ticks had been cast
into the flames, and the broken tent-floors were burning brilliantly.
Some of the wiser ones were bent on getting a little sleep. Frank saw
Atwater spreading his rubber blanket on the ground, and resolved to
follow his example. Others did the same; and with their woollen blankets
over them; their knapsacks under their heads, and their feet to the fire,
they bivouacked merrily under the lurid sky.

It was Frank's first experience of a night in the open air. The weather
was mild, although it was now November; the fires kept them warm; and but
for the noises made by the wilder sort of fellows they would have slept
well in that novel fashion. The drummer boy sank several times into a
light slumber, but as often started up, to hear the singing and laughter,
and to see Atwater sleeping all the while calmly at his side, the wakeful
ones making sport and keeping up the fires, and the flames glittering
dimly on the stacks of arms. The last time he awoke it was day; and the
short-lived camp-fires were paling their sad rays before the eternal
glory of the sunrise.

The veteran Sinjin beat the drummer's call. Frank seized his drum and
hurried to join his friend,--beating with him the last reveille which was
to rouse up the regiment in the Old Bay State.

After roll-call, breakfast; then the troops were drawn up under arms,
preparatory to their departure. A long train of a dozen cars was at the
depot, in readiness to receive the regiment, which now marched out of the
old camping-ground to the gay music of a band from a neighboring city.

After waiting an hour on the train, they heard the welcome whistle of the
engine, and the still more welcome clang of the starting cars, and off
they went amid loud cheers and silent tears.

Frank had no relatives or near friends in the crowd left behind, as many
of his comrades had, but his heart beat fast with the thought that there
were loved ones whom he should meet soon.

But the regiment reached Boston, and marched through the streets, and
paraded on the Common; and all the while his longing eyes looked in vain
for his friends, who never appeared. It seemed to him that nearly every
other fellow in his company saw friends either on the march or at the
halt, while he alone was left unnoticed and uncomforted. And so his
anticipated hour of enjoyment was changed to one of bitterness.

Why was it? His last letter must have had time to reach his family.
Besides, they might have seen by the newspapers that the regiment was
coming. Why then did they fail to meet him? His heart swelled with grief
as he thought of it,--he was there, so near home, for perhaps the last
time, and nobody that he loved was with him during those precious,
wasting moments.

But, suddenly, as he was casting his eyes for the twentieth time along
the lines of spectators, searching for some familiar face, he heard a
voice--not father's or mother's, or sister's, but one scarcely less dear
than the dearest.

"My bwother Fwank! me want my bwother Fwank!"

And turning, he saw little Willie running towards him, almost between the
legs of the policemen stationed to keep back the crowd.




                                 VII.

                           THROUGH BOSTON.


If ever "bwother Fwank" felt a thrill of joy, it was then. Willie ran
straight to his arms, in spite of the long-legged officer striding to
catch him, and pulling down his neck, hugged him, and kissed him, and
hugged and kissed him again, with such ardor that the delighted
bystanders cheered, and the pursuing policeman stepped back with a laugh
of melting human kindness.

"He's too much for me, that little midget is," he said, returning to his
place. "Does he belong to you, ma'am?" addressing a lady whose humid eyes
betrayed something more than a stranger's interest in the scene.

"They are my children," said the lady. "Will you be so good, sir, as to
tell the drummer boy to step this way?"

But already Frank was coming. How thankful he then felt that he was not a
private, confined to the ranks! In a minute his mother's arm was about
him, and her kiss was on his cheek, and Helen was squeezing one hand, and
his father the other, while Willie was playing with his drumsticks.

"I am all the more glad," he said, his face shining with gratitude and
pleasure, "because I was just giving you up--thinking you wouldn't come
at all."

"Only think," said Helen, "because you wrote on your letter, _In haste_,
the postmaster gave it to Maggie Simpson yesterday to deliver, for she
was going right by our house; but Dan Alford came along and asked her to
ride, and she forgot all about the letter, and would never have thought
of it again, I suppose, if I hadn't seen the postmaster and set off on
the track of it this morning. She had gone over to her aunt's, and I had
to follow her there; and then she had to go home again, to get the letter
out of her other dress pocket; but her sister Jane had by this time got
on the dress, in place of her own, which was being washed, and worn it to
school; and so we had to go on a wild-goose chase after Jane."

"Well, I hope you had trouble enough for one letter!" said Frank.

"But you haven't heard all yet," said Helen, laughing, "for when we found
Jane, she had not the letter, she had taken it out of the pocket, when
she put the dress on, and left it on the bureau at home. So off again we
started, Maggie and I, but before we got to her house, the letter had
gone again--her mother had found it in the mean time, and sent it to us
by the butcher boy. Well, I ran home, but no butcher boy had made his
appearance; and, do you think, when I got to the meat shop, I found him
deliberately sawing off a bone for his dog, with your letter in his
greasy pocket."

"He had forgotten it too!" said Frank.

"Not he! but he didn't think it of very much importance, and he intended
to bring it to us some time during the day--after he had fed his dog! By
this time father had got news that the regiment was in town; and such a
rush as we made for the horse-cars you never did see!"

"But Hattie! where is she?" Frank asked, anxiously.

Helen's vivacious face saddened a little.

"O, we came away in such a hurry we couldn't bring her, even if she had
been well enough."

"In she worse?"

"She gets no better," said Mrs. Manly, "and she herself thought she ought
not to try to come. Maggie Simpson offered to stay with her."

"I am so sorry! I wanted to see _her_. Did she send any message to me?"

"Yes," said his mother. "She said, 'Give my love to dear brother, and
tell him to think of me sometimes.'"

"Think of her sometimes!" said Frank. "Tell her I shall always think of
her and love her."

By this time Captain Edney, seeing Frank with his friends, came towards
them. Frank hastened to hide his emotion; and, saluting the officer
respectfully, said to him, with a glow of pleasure:--

"Captain Edney, this is my mother."

Captain Edney lifted his cap, with a bright smile.

"Well," he said, "this is a meeting I rather think neither of us ever
looked forward to, when we used to spend those long summer days in the
old schoolhouse, which I hope you remember."

"I remember it well--and one bright-faced boy in particular," said Mrs.
Manly, pressing his hand cordially.

"A rather mischievous boy, I am afraid I was; a little rebel myself, in
those days," said the captain.

"Yet a boy that I always hoped much good of," said Mrs. Manly. "I cannot
tell you how gratified I am to feel that my son is entrusted in your
hands."

"You may be sure I will do what I can for him," said the captain, "if
only to repay your early care of me."

He then conversed a few moments with Mr. Manly, who was always well
satisfied to stand a little in the background, and let his wife have her
say first.

"And this, I suppose, is Frank's sister," turning to Helen. "I should
have known her, I think, for she looks so much as you used to, Mrs.
Manly, that I can almost fancy myself stepping up to her with my slate,
and saying, 'Please, ma'am, show me about this sum?'"

Frank, in the mean time, was occupied in exhibiting to Willie his drum,
and in preventing him, partly by moral suasion, but chiefly by main
force, from gratifying his ardent desire to pound upon it.

"And here is our little brother," said the captain, lifting Willie,
notwithstanding his struggles and kicks, and kissing his shy, pouting
cheeks. "He'll make a nice drummer boy too, one of these days."

This royal flattery won the child over to his new friend immediately.

"Me go to war with my bwother Fwank! dwum, and scare webels!" panting
earnestly over his important little story, which the captain was obliged
to cut short.

"Well, Frank, I suppose you would like to spend the rest of the time with
your friends. Be at the Old Colony depot at five o'clock.
Meanwhile,"--touching his cap,--"a pleasant time to all of you."

So saying, be left them, and Frank departed with his friends, carrying
his drum with him, to the great delight of little Willie, whose heart
would have been broken if all hope of being allowed to drum upon it had
been cut off by leaving it behind.

"Mrs. Gillett has invited us to bring you to her house," said Mrs. Manly.
"I want to have a long talk with you there; and I want Mrs. Gillett's
brother, the minister, to see you."

Frank was not passionately fond of ministers; and immediately an
unpleasant image rose in his mind, of a solemn, black-coated individual,
who took a mournful satisfaction in damping the spirits of young people
by his long and serious conversations.

"You needn't strut so, Frank, if you _have_ got soldier clothes on,"
laughed Helen. "I'll tell folks you are smart, if you are so particular
to have them know it."

"Do, if you please," said Frank. "And I'll tell 'em you're handsome, if
you'll put your veil down so they won't know but that I am telling the
truth."

"There, Helen," said Mrs. Manly, "you've got your joke back with
interest. Now I'd hold my tongue, if I was you."

"Frank and I wouldn't know each other if we didn't have a little fun
together," said Helen. "Besides, we'll all feel serious enough by and by,
I guess." For she loved her brother devotedly, much as she delighted to
tease him; and she would have been glad to drown in merry jests the
thought of the final parting, which was now so near at hand.

They were cordially received at Mrs. Gillett's house; and there Mrs.
Manly enjoyed the wished-for opportunity of talking with her son, and
Willie had a chance to beat the drum in the attic, and Mrs. Gillett
secretly emptied Frank's haversack of its rations of pork and hard tack,
and filled it again with excellent bread and butter, slices of cold lamb,
and sponge cake. Moreover, a delightful repast was prepared for the
visitors, at which Frank laughed at his own awkwardness, declaring that
he had eaten from a tin plate so long, with his drumhead for a table,
that he had almost forgotten the use of china and napkins.

"If Hattie was only here now!" he said, again and again. For it needed
only his invalid sister's presence, during these few hours, to make him
perfectly happy.

"Eat generously," said the minister, "for it may be long before you sit
at a table again."

"Perhaps I never shall," thought Frank, but he did not say so lest he
might hurt his mother's feelings.

The minister was not at all such a person as he had expected to see, but
only a very pleasant gentleman, not at all stiffened with the idea that
he had the dignity of the profession to sustain. He was natural,
friendly, and quite free from that solemn affectation which now and then
becomes second nature in ministers some of us know, but which never fails
to repel the sympathies of the young.

Mr. Egglestone was expecting soon to go out on a mission to the troops,
and it was for this reason Mrs. Manly wished them to become acquainted.

"I wish you were going with our regiment," said Frank. "We have got a
chaplain, I believe, but I have never seen him yet, or seen any body who
has seen him."

"Well, I hope at least I shall meet you, if we both reach the seat of
war," said the minister, drawing him aside. "But whether I do or not, I
am sure that, with such a good mother as you have, and such dear sisters
as you leave behind, you will never need a chaplain to remind you that
you have something to preserve more precious than this mortal life of
ours,--the purity and rectitude of your heart."

This was spoken so sincerely and affectionately that Frank felt those few
words sink deeper into his soul than the most labored sermon could have
done. Mr. Egglestone said no more, but putting his arm confidingly over
the boy's shoulder, led him back to his mother.

And now the hour of parting had come. Frank's friends, including the
minister, went with him to the cars. Arrived at the depot, they found it
thronged with soldiers, and surrounded by crowds of citizens.

"O, mother!" said Frank, "you _must_ see our drum-major, old Mr.
Sinjin--my teacher, you know. There he is; I'll run and fetch him!"

He returned immediately, dragging after him the grizzled veteran, who
seemed reluctant, and looked unusually stern.

"It's my mother and father, you know," said Frank. "They want to shake
hands with you."

"What do they care for me?" said the old man, frowning.

Frank persisted, and introduced his father. The veteran returned Mr.
Manly's salute with rigid military courtesy, without relaxing a muscle of
his austere countenance.

"And this is my mother," said Frank.

With still more formal and lofty politeness, the old man bent his martial
figure, and quite raised his cap from his old gray head.

"Madam, your very humble servant!"

"Mr. St. John!" exclaimed Mrs. Manly, in astonishment. "Is it possible
that this is my old friend St. John?"

"Madam," said the veteran, with difficulty keeping up his cold, formal
exterior, "I hardly expected you would do me the honor to remember one so
unworthy;" bending lower than before, and raising his hat again, while
his lips twitched nervously under his thick mustache.

"Why, where did you ever see him, mother?" cried Frank, with eager
interest.

"Mr. St. John was an old friend of your grandfather's, Frank. Surely,
sir, you have not forgotten the little girl you used to take on your
knee and feed with candy?"--for the old man was still looking severe
and distant.

"I have not forgotten many pleasant things--and some not so pleasant,
which I would have forgotten by every body." And the old drummer gave
his mustache a vindictive pull.

"Be sure," said Mrs. Manly, "I remember nothing of you that was not kind
and honorable. I think you must have known who my son was, you have been
so good to him. But why did you not inform him, or me through him, who
_you_ were? I would have been so glad to know about you."

"I hardly imagined that."--The old cynical smile curled the heavy
mustache.--"And if I could be of any service to your son, it was needless
for you to know of it. I was Mr. St. John when you knew me; but I am
nobody but Old Sinjin now. Madam, I wish you a very good-day, and much
happiness. Your servant, sir!"

And shaking hands stiffly, first with Mrs. Manly, then with her husband,
the strange old man stalked away.

"Who is he? what is it about him?" asked Frank, stung with curiosity.
"Never did _I_ think _you_ knew _Old Sinjin_."

"Your father knows about him, and I will tell _you_ some time," said
Mrs. Manly, her eyes following the retreating figure with looks of deep
compassion. "In the mean time, be very kind to him, very gentle and
respectful, my son."

"I will," said Frank, "but it is all so strange! I can't understand it."

"Well, never mind now. Here is Captain Edney talking with Helen and Mr.
Egglestone, and Willie is playing with his scabbard. Pretty well
acquainted this young gentleman is getting!" said Mrs. Manly, hastening
to take the child away from the sword.

"Pitty thord! pitty man!" lisped Willie, who had fallen violently in love
with the captain and his accoutrements. "Me and Helen, we like pitty man!
We go with pitty man!"

Helen blushed; while the captain, laughing, took a piece of money from
his pocket and gave it to Willie for the compliment.

Frank, who had been absent a moment, now joined the group, evidently much
pleased at something.

"The funniest thing has happened! A fellow in our company,--and one of
the best fellows he is too! but I can't help laughing!--he met his girl
to-day, and they suddenly took it into their heads to get married; so
they sent two of their friends to get their licenses for them, one, one
way, and the other another way, for they live in different places. And
the fellow's license has come, and the girl's hasn't, and they wouldn't
have time to go to a minister's now if it had. It is too bad! but isn't
it funny? The fellow is one of my very best friends. I wrote to you about
him; Abe Atwater. There he is, with his girl!"

And Frank pointed out the tall young soldier, standing stately and
taciturn, but with a strong emotion in that usually mild, grave face of
his, perceptible enough to those who knew him. His girl was at his side,
crying.

"How I pity her!" said Helen. "But he takes it coolly enough, I should
think."

"He takes every thing that way," said Frank; "but you can't tell much by
his face how he feels, though I can see he is biting hard to keep his
heart down now, straight as he stands."

"I'll speak to her," said Helen; and while Frank accosted Atwater, she
made acquaintance with the girl.

"Yes," said the soldier, "it would be better to know I was leaving a wife
behind, to think of me and look for my coming back. But I never knew she
cared so much for me; and now it's too late."

"To think," said the girl to Helen, "he has loved me all along, but never
told me, because he thought I wouldn't have him! And now he is going, and
may be I shall never see him again! And we want to be married, and my
license hasn't come!" And she poured out her sorrows into the bosom of
the sympathizing Helen, with whom suffering and sympathy made her at once
acquainted.

Just then the signal sounded for the train to be in readiness to start.
And there were hurried partings, and tears in many a soldier's eye. And
Frank's mother breathed into his ear her good-by counsel and blessing.
And Atwater was bidding his girl farewell, when a man came bounding along
the platform with a paper in his hand--the marriage license.

"Too late now!" said Atwater, with a glistening smile. "We are off!"

"But here is a minister!" cried Helen,--"Mr. Eggleston!--O, Captain
Edney! have the train wait until this couple can be married. It won't
take a minute!"

The case of the lovers was by this time well understood, not only by
Captain Edney and Mr. Egglestone, but also by the conductor of the train
and scores of soldiers and citizens. An interested throng crowded to
witness the ceremony. The licenses were in the hands of the minister, and
with his musket at _order arms_ by his right side, and his girl at his
left, Atwater stood up to be married, as erect and attentive as if he had
been going through the company drill. And in a few words Mr. Egglestone
married them, Frank holding Atwater's musket while he joined hands with
his bride.

In the midst of the laughter and applause which followed, the soldier,
with unchanging features, fumbled in his pocket for the marriage fee. He
gave it to Mr. Egglestone, who politely handed it to the bride. But she
returned it to her husband.

"You will need it more than I shall, Abram!"--forcing it, in spite of
him, back into his pocket. "Good-by!" she sobbed, kissing him. "Good-by,
my husband!"

This pleasing incident had served to lighten the pain of Frank's parting
with his friends. When sorrowful farewells are to be said, no matter how
quickly they are over. And they were over now; and Frank was on the
departing train, waving his cap for the last time to the friends he could
not see for the tears that dimmed his eyes.

And the cars rolled slowly away, amid cheers which drowned the sound of
weeping. And the bride who had had her husband for a moment only, and
lost him--perhaps forever,--and the mother who had given her son to her
country,--perhaps never to receive him back,--and other wives, and
mothers, and fathers, and sisters, were left behind, with all the untold
pangs of grief and anxious love in their hearts, gazing after the long
swift train that bore their loved ones away to the war.




                                VIII.

                              ANNAPOLIS.


And the train sped on; and the daylight faded fast; and darkness shut
down upon the world. And still the train sped on.

When it was too dark to see any thing out of the car windows, and Frank
was tired of the loud talking around him, he thought he would amuse
himself by nibbling a little "hard tack." So he opened his haversack, and
discovered the cake, and bread and butter, and cold lamb, with which some
one who loved him had stored it. He was so moved by this evidence of
thoughtful kindness that it was some time before be could make up his
mind to break in upon the little stock of provisions, which there was
really more satisfaction in contemplating than in eating any ordinary
supper. But the sight of some of his comrades resorting for solace to
their rations decided him, and he shared with them the contents of his
haversack.

The train reached Fall River at nine o'clock, and the passengers were
transferred to the steamer "Metropolis." The boat was soon swarming with
soldiers, stacking their arms, and hurrying this way and that in the
lamp-light. Then the clanking of the engine, the trembling of the
steamer, and the sound of rushing water, announced that they were once
more in motion.

Frank had never been on salt water before, and he was sorry this was in
the night; but he was destined before long to have experience enough of
the sea, both by night and by day.

When he went upon deck the next morning, the steamer was cutting her way
gayly through the waters of New York harbor,--a wonderful scene to the
untravelled drummer boy, who had never before witnessed such an animated
picture of dancing waters, ships under full sail, and steamboats trailing
long dragon-tails of smoke in the morning air.

Then there was the city, with its forests of masts, its spires rising
dimly in the soft, smoky atmosphere that shrouded it, and the far, faint
sound of its bells musically ringing.

Then came the excitement of landing; the troops forming, and, after a
patriotic reception by the "Sons of Massachusetts," marching through the
city to the barracks; then dinner; and a whole afternoon of sight-seeing
afterwards.

The next day the regiment was off again, crossing the ferry, and taking
the cars for Philadelphia. From Philadelphia it kept on into the night
again, until it reached a steamer, in waiting to receive it, on
Chesapeake Bay.

The next morning was rainy; and the rain continued all day, pouring
dismally; and it was raining still when, at midnight, the boat arrived at
Annapolis. In the darkness and storm the troops landed, and took up their
temporary quarters in the Naval Academy. In one of the recitation halls,
Frank and his comrades spread their blankets on the floor, put their
knapsacks under their heads, and slept as soundly after their wearisome
journey as they ever did in their beds at home. Indeed, they seemed to
fall asleep as promptly as if by word of command, and to snore by
platoons.

The next morning the rain was over. At seven o'clock, breakfast; after
which the regiment was reviewed on the Academy parade. Then Frank and a
squad of jovial companions set out to see the town,--taking care to have
with them an intelligent young corporal, named Gray, who had been there
before, and knew the sights.

"Boys," said young Gray, as they sallied forth, "we are now in Queen
Anne's city,--for that, I suppose you know, is what the word Annapolis
means. It was the busiest city in Maryland once; but, by degrees, all its
trade and fashion went over to Baltimore, and left the old town to go to
sleep,--though it has woke up and rubbed its eyes a little since the
rebellion broke out."

"When was you here, Gray?" asked Jack Winch.

Gray smiled at his ignorance, while Frank said,--

"What! didn't you know, Jack, he was here with the Eighth Massachusetts,
last April, when they saved Washington and the Union?"

"The Union ain't saved yet!" said Jack.

"But we saved Washington; that's every where admitted," said Gray,
proudly. "On the 19th of April the mob attacked the Sixth Massachusetts
in Baltimore, took possession of the city, and destroyed the
communication with Washington. You remember that, for it was the first
blood shed in this war; and April 19, 1861, takes its place with April
19, 1775, when the first blood was shed at Lexington, in the Revolution."

"Of course I know all that!" said Jack, who never liked to be thought
ignorant of any thing.

"Well, there was the government at Washington in danger, the Eighth
Massachusetts on its way to save it, and Baltimore in the hands of the
rebels. I tell you, every man of us was furious to cut our way through,
and avenge the murders of the 19th. But General Butler hit upon a wiser
plan, and instead of keeping on to Baltimore, we switched off, seized a
ferry-boat on the Chesapeake, just as she was about to be taken by the
secessionists, ran down here to Annapolis, saved the city, saved the old
frigate 'Constitution,' and, with the New York Seventh, went to work to
open a new route to Washington.

"Our boys repaired the railroad track, which the traitors had torn up,
and put in shape again the engine they had disabled. We had men that
could do anything; and that very engine was one they had made,--for the
South never did its own engine-building, but sent to Massachusetts to
have it done. Charley Homans knew every joint and pin in that old
machine, and soon had her running over the road again."

"How far is it to Washington?" asked Frank.

"About forty miles; but then we thought it a hundred, we were so
impatient to get there! What a march we had! all day and all night, the
engine helping us a little, and we helping the engine by hunting up and
replacing now and then a stray rail which the traitors had torn from the
track. A good many got used up, and Charley Homans took 'em aboard the
train. It was on that march I fell in with one of the pleasantest fellows
I ever saw; always full of wit and good-humor, with a cheery word for
every body. He belonged to the New York Seventh. He told me his name was
Winthrop. But I did not know till afterwards that he was Theodore
Winthrop, the author; afterwards Major Winthrop, who fell last June--only
two months after--at Big Bethel."

"It was a North Carolina drummer boy that shot him," said Frank.
"Winthrop was heading the attack on the battery; he jumped upon a log,
and was calling to the men, 'Come on!' when the drummer boy took a gun,
aimed deliberately, and shot him dead."

"I wouldn't want to be killed by a miserable drummer boy!" said Jack
Winch, envious because Frank remembered the incident.

"A drummer boy may be as brave as any body," said Frank, keeping his
temper. "But I wouldn't want to be even the bravest drummer boy, in a bad
cause."

"And as for being shot," said Gray, "I think Jack wouldn't willingly
place himself where there was much danger of being killed by any body."

"You'll see! you'll see!" said Jack, testily. "Just wait till the time
comes."

"What water is this the town fronts on?" asked Frank.

"The Chesapeake, of course! Who don't know that?" said Jack,
contemptuously.

"Only it ain't!" said Gray, with a quiet laugh. "This is the River
Severn. The Chesapeake is some two miles below."

"There, Jack," said Ned Ellis, "I'd give up now. You don't know quite so
much as you thought you did."

"What a queer old town it is," said Frank, generously wishing to draw
attention from Jack's mortification. "It isn't a bit like Boston. It
don't begin to be as smart a place."

"Of course not!" said Jack, more eager than ever now to appear knowing.
"And why should it be? Boston is the capital of Massachusetts; and if
Annapolis was only the capital of this state, it would be smart enough."

"What is the capital of this state?" asked Gray, winking slyly at Frank.

"Baltimore! I thought every body knew that," said Jack, with an air of
importance.

This ludicrous blunder raised a great laugh.

"O Jack! O Jack Winch! where did you go to school?" said Joe Harris, "not
to know that Frederick is the capital of Maryland."

"So it is! I had forgotten," said Jack. "Of course I knew Frederick was
the capital, if I had only thought."

At this the boys laughed louder than ever, and Jack flew into a passion.

"Harris was fooling you," whispered Frank. "Annapolis is the capital.
Gray is taking us now to see the State House."

"Ha, ha, ha!" Winch suddenly burst forth. "Did you think I didn't know?
Annapolis is the capital; and there's the State House."

"Is it possible?" said Gray. "The rebels must have changed it then, for
that was St. John's College when I was here before."

The boys shouted with merriment; all except Jack, who was angry. He had
been as fickle at his studies, when at school, as he had always been at
every thing else; never sticking long to any of them, but forever
beginning something new; until, at last, ignorant of all, he gave up,
declaring that he had knowledge enough to get through the world with, and
that he wasn't going to bother his brain with books any longer. It added
now to his chagrin to think that he had not education enough to prevent
him from appearing ridiculous among his mates, and that the golden
opportunity of acquiring useful information in his youth was lost
forever.

Meanwhile Frank's reflections were very different. Gray's reminiscences
of April had strongly impressed upon his mind the fact that he was now on
the verge of his country's battle-fields; that this was the first soil
that had been wrested from the grasp of treason, and saved for the
Union,--that the ground he stood upon was already historic. And now the
sight of some negroes reminded him that he was for the first time in his
life in a _slave state_.

"These are the fellows that are the cause of this war," said Gray,
indicating the blacks.

"Yes," said Winch, anxious to agree with him, "it's the abolitionists
that have brought the trouble on the country. They insisted on
interfering with the rights of the south, and so the south rebelled."

"We never interfered with slavery in the states where it belonged," said
Frank, warmly. "The north opposed the extension of slavery over new
territory, and took the power of the government out of the hands of the
slaveholders, who had used it for their own purposes so long; and that is
what made them rebel."

"Well, the north is partly to blame," insisted Jack, thinking he had Gray
on his side.

"Yes; to blame for letting the slaveholders have their own way so long,"
said Frank. "And just as much to blame for this rebellion, as my father
would be for my conduct, if he should attempt to enforce discipline at
home, and I should get mad at it and set the house on fire."

"A good comparison," said Gray. "Because we were going to restore the
spirit of the constitution, which is for freedom, and always was, though
it has been obliged to tolerate slavery, the slaveholders, as Frank says,
got mad and set Uncle Sam's house afire."

"He had heard somebody else say so, or he wouldn't have thought of it,"
said Jack, sullenly.

"No matter; it's true!" said Gray. "The south is fighting for
slavery,--the corner-stone of the confederacy, as the rebel
vice-president calls it,--while the north----"

"We are fighting for the Constitution and the Union!" said Jack.

"That's true, too; for the constitution, as I said, means freedom; and
now the Union means, union _without_ slavery, since we have seen that
union with slavery is impossible. We are fighting for the same thing our
forefathers fought for--Liberty!"

"They won liberty for the whites only," said Frank. "Now we are going to
have liberty for all men."

"If I had a brother that was a slaveholder and secessionist, I wouldn't
say any thing," sneered Jack.

Frank felt cut by the taunt; but he said, gayly,--

"I won't spoil a story for relation's sake! Come, boys, politics don't
suit Jack, so let's have a song; the one you copied out of the newspaper,
Gray. It's just the thing for the occasion."

Franks voice was a fine treble; Gray's a mellow bass. Others joined them,
and the party returned to the Academy, singing high and clear these
words:--

    "The traitor's foot is on thy shore,
         Maryland, my Maryland!
    His touch is on thy senate door,
         Maryland, my Maryland!
    Avenge the patriotic gore
    That stained the streets of Baltimore,
    When vandal mobs our banners tore,
         Maryland, my Maryland!

    "Drum out thy phalanx brave and strong,
         Maryland, my Maryland!
    Drum forth to balance right and wrong,
         Maryland, my Maryland!
    Drum to thy old heroic song,
    When forth to fight went Freedom's throng.
    And bore the spangled flag along,
         Maryland, my Maryland!"

"That's first rate!" said Frank, who delighted in music. "Gray altered
the words a little, and Mr. Sinjin found us the tune."

"Frank likes any thing that has a drum in it," said John Winch,
enviously. "He'll get sick of drums, though, soon enough, I guess."

"Jack judges me by himself," said Frank, gayly, setting out to run a race
with Gray to the parade-ground.




                                 IX.

                        THANKSGIVING IN CAMP.


St. John's College stands on a beautiful eminence overlooking the city.
The college, like the naval school, had been broken up by the rebellion;
its halls and dormitories were appropriated to government uses, and the
regiment was removed thither the next day.

"You will be surprised," Frank wrote home, "to hear that I have been
through the naval school since I came here, and that I am now in
college."

Few boys get through college as quick as he did. On the following day the
regiment abandoned its new quarters also, and encamped two miles without
the city. In the afternoon the tents were pitched; and where was only a
barren field before, arose in the red sunset light the canvas city, with
its regular streets, its rows of tent doors opening upon them, and its
animated, laughing, lounging, working inhabitants.

The next morning was fine. All around the camp were pleasant growths of
pine, oak, gum, and persimmon trees, and now and then a tree festooned
with wild grape-vines. Near by were a few scattered ancient-looking
farm-houses, with their out-door chimneys, dilapidated out-buildings,
negro huts, and tobacco fields. There were several other regiments in the
vicinity,--two of Massachusetts boys. And there the New York Zouaves, in
their beautiful Oriental costumes, were encamped. Frank climbed a tree,
and looked far around on the picturesque and warlike scene. The pickets,
which had gone out the night before, now returning, discharged their
loaded pieces at targets, the reports blending musically with the near
and distant roll of drums.

"What is the cheering for?" asked Frank, as he came in that day from a
ramble in the woods.

"For General Burnside," said Gray. "All the troops rendezvousing at
Annapolis are to be under his command, to be called the Coast Division.
It is to be another Great Armada; and our colonel thinks we shall see
fighting soon."

This good news had made the regiment almost wild with joy; for it desired
nothing so much as to be led against the enemy by some brave and famous
general.

Frank loved the woods; and the next day he induced his companions to go
with him and hunt for nuts and fruits. Although it was late in autumn,
there were still persimmons and wild grapes to be had, and walnuts, and
butternuts. But Frank had another object in view than that of simply
pleasing his appetite. Thanksgiving day, which is bred in the bones of
the New Englander, and which he carries with him every where, was at
hand, and the drummer boy had thought of something which he fancied would
suit well the festal occasion.

"What are you there after?" said John Winch, from a persimmon tree;
"filling your hands with all that green stuff. Come here; O, these little
plums are delicious, I tell you."

"These grapes are the thing," said Harris, from another tree. "I'm going
to eat all I can; then I'm going to get my pockets full of nuts and carry
back to camp."

Frank busied himself in his own way, however, and returned to camp with
his arms loaded with evergreens.

"What in time are you about?" said Winch, as Frank set himself
industriously to work with twigs and strings. "Oh, I know; wreaths! Boys,
le's make some wreaths. Give me some of your holly, won't you, Frank?"

"Yes," said Frank, "take all you want to use. I shall be very glad to
have you help me."

"Will you show me how?"

"Yes," said Frank; "sit down here. Bend your twigs and tie them together,
in the first place, for a frame. Then bind the holly on it, this way."

"O, ain't it fun?" said Winch, with his usual enthusiasm over a new
thing. "When we get these evergreens used up, we'll get some more, and
make wreaths for all the tents." He worked for about ten minutes; then
began to yawn. "Where's my pipe? I'm going to have a smoke. How can you
have patience with that nonsense, Frank? What's the use of a wreath,
anyhow, after it's made? Girl's play, I call it."

And off went Winch, having used up a ball of Frank's strings to no
purpose, and leaving his wreath half finished.

But Frank, never easily discouraged, kept cheerfully at work, leaving his
task only when duty called him.

Thursday came,--THANKSGIVING. A holiday in camp. The regiment had made
ample preparations to celebrate it. Instead of pork and salt junk, the
men were allowed turkeys; and in place of boiled hominy and molasses,
they had plum pudding. And they feasted, and told gay stories, and sang
brave songs, and thought of home, where parents, wives, sisters, and
friends were, they fondly believed, eating turkey and plum pudding at
the same time, and thinking of them. There was no drill that day; and no
practise with any drumsticks but those of the devoted turkeys.

One of the most pleasing incidents of the day occurred in the morning.
This was the presentation of wreaths. Frank had made one for each of the
company tents, and a fine one for Captain Edney, and one equally fine for
Mr. Sinjin, the drum-major, and a noble one for the colonel of the
regiment. He presented them all in person, except the last, which he
requested Captain Edney to present for him. The captain consented, and at
the head of a strong delegation of officers and men, proceeded to Colonel
----'s tent, called him out, and made a neat little speech, and presented
the wreath on the end of his sword.

The colonel seemed greatly pleased.

"I accept this wreath," he said, "as the emblemof a noble thought, which
I am sure must have inspired our favorite young drummer boy in making
it."

Frank blushed like a girl with surprise and pleasure at this unexpected
compliment.

"The wreath," continued the colonel, "is the crown of victory; and we
will hang up ours, my fellow-soldiers, on this memorable Thanksgiving
day, as beautiful and certain symbols of the success of BURNSIDE'S
EXPEDITION."

This short speech was greeted with enthusiastic applause. Frank was
delighted with the result of his little undertaking, feeling himself a
thousand times repaid for all his pains; while John Winch, seeing him in
such high favor with every body, could not help regretting, with many a
jealous pang, that he had not assisted in making the wreaths, and so
become one of the heroes of the occasion.

That evening another incident occurred, not less pleasing to the drummer
boy. With a block of wood for a seat, and the head of his drum for a
desk, he was writing a letter to his mother, by a solitary candle, around
which his comrades were playing cards on a table constructed of a rough
board and four sticks. Amid the confusion of laughter and disputes, with
heads or arms continually intervening between him and the uncertain
light, he was pursuing his task through difficulties which would have
made many a boy give up in vexation and despair, when a voice suddenly
exclaimed, with startling emphasis,--

"Frank Manly, drummer!" And at the same instant something was thrown into
the tent, like a bombshell, passing the table, knocking over the candle,
and extinguishing the light.

"Well, that's manners, I should say," cried the voice of Seth Tucket, a
fellow, as Frank described him, "who makes lots of fun for us, partly
because he is full of it himself, and partly because he is green, and
don't know any better." Tucket muttered and spat, then broke forth again,
"I be darned ef that pesky football didn't take me right in the face, and
spatter my mouth full of taller."

"Well, save the _taller_, Seth, for we're getting short of candles," said
Frank. "Here, who is walking on my feet?"

"It's me," said Atwater. "I'm going out to see who threw that thing in."

"You're too late," said Frank. "Strike a light, somebody, and let's see
what it is. It tumbled down here by my drum, I believe."

There was a general scratching of matches, and after a while the broken
candle was set up and relighted.

"I swan to man," then said Tucket, "jest look at that jack-of-spades. He
got it in the physiognomy wus'n I did. 'Alas, the mother that him bare,
if she had been in presence there, in his _greased cheeks_ and _greasier
hair_, she had not known her child.'"

These words from Marmion, aptly altered to suit the occasion, Seth, who
was not so green but that he knew pages of poetry by heart, repeated in a
high-keyed, nasal sing-song, which set all the boys laughing.

"A pretty way, too, to _turn up_ Jack, I should say," he added, in
allusion to the candlestick,--a _turnip_, with a hole in it,--which had
rolled over his cards.

In the mean time, Frank and Jack Winch were scrambling for the missile.

"Let me have it," snarled Jack.

"It's mine; my name was called when it was flung in," said Frank,
maintaining his hold.

"Well, keep it, then!" said John. "It's nothing but a great wad of
paper."

"It's a torpedo! an infernal machine!" cried Tucket. "Look out, Manly!
it'll blow us all into the next Fourth of July."

Frank laughed, as he began to undo the package. The first wrapper was of
brown paper with these words written upon it, in large characters:--

                       "FRANK MANLY, _Drummer_.
                          _Inquire Within._"

Beneath that wrapper was another, and beneath that another, and so on,
apparently an endless series. The boys all gathered around Frank, looking
on as he removed the papers one by one, until the package, originally as
big as his head, had dwindled to the dimensions of his fist.

"It's got as many peels as an onion," said Tucket.

"Nothing but papers. I told ye so!" said Jack Winch.

But Frank perceived that the core of the package was becoming
comparatively solid and weighty. There was certainly something besides
paper there. What could it be? a stone? But what an odd-shaped stone it
was! Stones are not often of such regular shape, so uniformly round and
flattened. He had almost reached the last wrapper; his heart was beating
anxiously; but, before he removed it, he thought he heard a peculiar
sound, and held down his ear. A flush of delight overspread his
countenance, and he clasped the ball in both hands, as if it had been
something precious.

"O, boys!" he exclaimed, looking up eagerly for their sympathy, "where
_did_ it come from? Atwater, did you see any body?"

Nobody. It was all a mystery.

"Boys, it's for me, isn't it?" said Frank, still hugging his treasure, as
if afraid even of looking at it, lest it should fly away.

"Come, let's see!" and Winch impatiently made a snatch to get at it.

Atwater coolly took him by the arm, and pulled him back. Then Frank,
carefully as a young mother uncovered the face of her sleeping baby,
removed the tinsel paper, which now alone intervened between the object
and his hand, and revealed to the astonished eyes of his comrades a tiny,
beautiful, smiling-faced silver watch.

"O, isn't it a beauty?" said Frank, almost beside himself with delight;
for a watch was a thing of which he had greatly felt the need in beating
his calls, and wished for in vain. "Who could have sent it? Don't you
know, boys, any of you?" he asked, the mystery that came with the gift
filling him with strange, perplexed gladness.

"All I know is," said Tucket, "I'd be willing to have six candles, all
lit, knocked down my throat, and eat taller for a fortnight, ef such a
kind of a football, infernal machine,--_watch you call it_,--would only
come to me."

"Frank'll feel bigger 'n ever now, with a watch in his pocket," said the
envious Jack Winch, with a bitter grin.

All had some remark to make except Atwater, who stood with his arms drawn
up under his cape, and smiled down upon Frank well pleased.

Frank in the mean time was busily engaged in trying to discover, among
all the papers, some scrap of writing by which the unknown donor might be
traced. But writing there was none. And the mystery remained unsolved.




                                  X.

                          FRANK'S PROGRESS.


So passed Thanksgiving in camp.

The next day the boys, with somewhat lugubrious faces, returned to their
hard diet of pork and hominy, heaving now and then a sigh of fond
remembrance, as they thought of yesterday's puddings and turkeys.

And now came other hardships. The days were generally warm, sometimes hot
even, like those of July in New England. But the nights were cold, and
growing colder and colder as the winter came on. And the tents were but a
thin shelter, and clothing was scanty, and the men suffered. Many a time
Frank, shivering under his blanket, thought, with a swelling and homesick
heart, of Willie in his soft, warm bed, of his mother's inexhaustible
store of comforters, and of the kitchen stove and the family breakfast,
those raw wintry mornings.

From the day the regiment encamped, the men had expected that they were
soon to move again. But now they determined that, even though they should
have orders to march in three days, they would make themselves
comfortable in the mean while. They accordingly set to work constructing
underground stoves, covered with flat stones, with a channel on one side
to convey away the smoke, and a deeper channel on the other for the
draft. These warmed the earth, and kept up an even temperature in the
tents all night.

I said Frank sometimes had homesick feelings. It was not alone the
hardships of camp life that caused them. But as yet he had not received a
single letter from his friends, and his longing to get news from them was
such as only those boys can understand who have never been away from home
until they have suddenly gone upon a long and comfortless journey, and
who then begin to realize, as never before, all the loving care of their
parents, the kindness of brothers and sisters, and the blessedness of the
dear old nest from which they have untimely flown.

Owing to the uncertainty of the regiment's destination, Captain Edney had
told his men to have all their friends' letters to them directed to
Washington. There they had been sent, and there, through some
misunderstanding or neglect, they remained. And though a small mail-bag
full had been written to Frank, this was the reason he had never yet
received one.

Alas for those missing letters! The lack of them injured Frank more
deeply and lastingly than simply by wounding his heart. For soon that
hurt began to heal. He was fast getting used to living without news from
his family. He consoled himself by entering more fully than he had done
at first into the excitements of the camp. And the sacred influence of
HOME, so potent to solace and to save, even at a distance, was wanting.

And here begins a portion of Frank's history which I would be glad to
pass over in silence. But, as many boys will probably read this story who
are not altogether superior to temptation, and who do not yet know how
easy it is for even a good-hearted, honest, and generous lad sometimes to
forget his mother's lessons and his own promises, and commence that slow,
gradual, downward course, which nearly always begins before we are aware,
and from which it is then so hard to turn back; and as many may learn
from his experience, and so save themselves much shame and their friends
much anguish, it is better that Frank's history should be related without
reserve.

In the first place, he learned to smoke. He began by taking a whiff, now
and then, out of the pipe of a comrade, just to be in fashion, and to
keep himself warm those chill evenings and mornings. Then a tobacco
planter gave him, in return for some polite act on his part, a bunch of
tobacco leaves, which Frank, with his usual ingenuity, made up into
cigars for himself and friends. The cigars consumed, he obtained more
tobacco of some negroes, addicted himself to a pipe, and became a regular
smoker.

Now, I don't mean to say that this, of itself, was a very great sin. It
was, however, a foolish thing in Frank to form at his age a habit which
might tyrannize over him for life, and make him in the end, as he himself
once said to John Winch, "a filthy, tobacco-spitting old man."

But the worst of it was, he had promised his mother he would not smoke.
He thought he had a good excuse for breaking his word to her. "I am
sure," he said, "if she knew how cold I am sometimes, she wouldn't blame
me." Unfortunately, however, when one promise has been broken, and nobody
hurt, another is broken so easily!

Ardent, sympathetic, fond of good-fellowship, Frank caught quickly the
spirit of those around him. He loved approbation, and dreaded any thing
that savored of ridicule. He disliked particularly the appellation of
"the parson," which John Winch, finding that it annoyed him, used now
whenever he wished to speak of him injuriously. Others soon fell into the
habit of applying to him the offensive title, without malice indeed, and
for no other reason, I suppose, than that nicknames are the fashion in
the army. To call a man simply by his honest name seems commonplace; but
to christen him the "Owl" if his eyes are big, or "Old Tongs" if his legs
are long, or "Step-and-fetch-it" if he suffers himself to be made the
underling and cats-paw of his comrades,--that is considered picturesque
and amusing.

Frank would have preferred any of these epithets to the one Winch had
fastened upon him. Perhaps it was to show how little he deserved it,
that he made his conduct appear as unclerical as possible--smoking,
swaggering, and, I am sorry to add, swearing. Imbibing unconsciously the
spirit of his companions, and imitating by degrees their habits and
conversation, he became profane before he knew it,--excusing himself on
the plea that every body swore in the army. This was only too near the
truth. Men who had never before indulged in profanity, now frequently let
slip a light oath, and thought nothing of it. For it is one of the great
evils of war that men, however refined at home, soon forget themselves
amid the hardships, roughness, and turbulence of a soldier's life. It
seems not only to disguise their persons, but their characters also; so
that those vices which would have shocked them when surrounded by the
old social influences appear rather to belong to their new rude, half
barbarous existence. And we all know the pernicious effect when numbers
of one sex associate exclusively together, unblessed by the naturally
refining influence of the other.

Such being the case with men of years and respectability, we need not
wonder that Frank should follow their example. Indeed, from the first, we
had but one strong ground of hope for one so young and susceptible--that
he would remember his pledges to his mother. These violated, the career
of ill begun, where would he end?

Here, however, I should state that Frank never thought, as some boys do,
that it is smart and manly to swear. Sometimes we hear a man talk, whom
the vicious habit so controls that he cannot speak without blasphemy.
With such, oaths become as necessary a part of speech as articles or
prepositions. If deprived of them they are crippled; they seem lost, and
cannot express themselves. They are therefore unfit for any society but
that of loafers and brawlers. Such slavery to an idle and foolish custom
Frank had the sense to detest, even while he himself was coming under its
yoke.

Here, too, before quitting the subject, justice requires us to bear
witness in favor of those distinguished exceptions to the common
profanity, all the more honorable because they were few. Although,
generally speaking, officers and men were addicted to the practice, the
language of here and there an officer, and here and there a private,
shone like streaks of unsullied snow amid ways of trodden mire. Captain
Edney never swore. Atwater never did. No profane word ever fell from the
lips of young Gray. And there were others whose example in this respect
was equally pure.

Fortunately, Frank was kept pretty busy these times; else, with that
uneasy hankering for excitement which possesses unoccupied minds, and
that inclination to mischief which possesses unoccupied hands, he might
have acquired worse vices.

No doubt some of our young readers will be interested to know what he had
to do. The following were some of his duties:--

At daybreak the _drummer's call_ was beat by the drums of the guard-tent.
Frank, though once so profound a sleeper, had learned to wake instantly
at the sound; and, before any of his comrades were astir, he snatched up
his drum, and hurried from the tent. That call was a signal for all the
drummers to assemble before the colors of the regiment, and beat the
reveille. Then Frank and his fellow-drummers practised the _double-quick_
for two hours. Then they beat the _breakfast call_. Then they ate their
breakfast. At eight o'clock they had to turn out again, and beat the
_sergeant's call_. At nine o'clock they beat for _guard mounting_. Then
they practised two hours more at _wheeling_, _double-quick_, _etc_. They
then beat the _dinner call_. Then they had the pleasure of laying aside
the drumsticks, and taking up the knife and fork once more. After dinner
more _calls_ and similar practice. The time from supper (five o'clock)
until the beat for the evening roll-call (at eight), the drummers had to
themselves. After that the men were dismissed for the night, and could go
to bed if they chose,--all except the drummers, who must sit up and beat
the _tattoo at nine_. That is the signal for the troops to retire. Then
come the _taps_ (to extinguish lights), beat by each drummer in the
company, going down the line of tents.

There were other calls besides those mentioned, such as the company
_drill call_, the _adjutants call_, to _the color_, _etc._, all of which
were beat differently; so that, as you see, the drummer boy's situation
was no sinecure.

He found his watch of great assistance to him, in giving him warning of
the moment to be ready for the stated calls. Although evidently a new
watch, it had been well regulated, and it kept excellent time. The secret
donor of this handsome present was still undiscovered. Sometimes he
suspected the colonel, sometimes Captain Edney; then he surmised that it
must somehow have come to him from home. But all his conjectures and
inquiries on the subject were alike in vain; and he enjoyed the exquisite
torment of feeling that he had a lover somewhere who was unknown to him.




                                  XI.

                           A CHRISTMAS FROLIC.


Christmas came. The men had a holiday, but no turkeys, no plum puddings,
except such as had come to individuals in private boxes from home. The
sight of these boxes was not very edifying to those who had none. Frank,
who was once more in communication with his friends, had expected such a
box, and been disappointed.

"You just come along with me, boys," said Seth Tucket, "and we'll lay in
for as merry a Christmas as any of 'em. It may come a little later in
the day; but patient waiters are no losers,--as the waiter said when he
picked the pockets of the six gentlemen at dinner."

"What's the fun?" asked the boys, who were generally ready for any sport
into which Seth would lead them.

He answered them enigmatically. "'_Evil, be thou my good!_'--that's what
Milton's bad angel said. '_Fowl, be thou my fare!_'--that's what I say."
From which significant response, followed by an apt imitation of a
turkey-gobbler, the boys understood that he had some device for
obtaining poultry for dinner.

It was a holiday, and I have said, and they had already got permission
to go beyond the lines. There were some twenty of them in all, Frank
included. Tucket led them to a thicket about two miles from camp, where
they halted.

"You see that house yonder? That's where old Buckley lives--the meanest
man in Maryland."

"I know him," said Frank. "He's a rebel; he threatened to set his dog on
us one day. He hates the Union uniform worse than he does the Old
Scratch."

"He has got lots of turkeys," said Ellis, "which he told the sergeant
he'd see die in the pen before he'd sell one to a Yankee."

"I know where the pen is," said John Winch; "he keeps 'em shut up, so our
boys shan't steal 'em, and he and his dog and his nigger watch the pen."

"Well, boys," said Seth, "now the thing is to get the turkeys. As rebel
property, it's our duty to confiscate 'em, and use 'em for the support of
the Union cause. Now I've an idee. I'll go over in the woods there, and
wait, while one of you goes to the house and asks him if he has got any
turkeys to sell. He'll say no, of course. Then ask him if you may have
the one out in the woods there. He'll say there ain't none in the woods;
but you must insist there is one, and say if 'tain't his you'll take it,
and settle with the owner when he calls. That'll start him, and I'll see
that he goes into the woods fur enough, so that the rest of you can rush
up, grab every man his turkey, and skedaddle. Winch 'll show you the way;
he says he knows the pen. 'Charge, Ellis, charge! On, Harris, on! Shall
be the words of private John.' But who'll go first to the house?" asked
Seth, coming down from the high key in which he usually got off his
poetry.

"Let Frank," said Harris; "for he knows the man."

"He? He dasn't go!" sneered Jack. "He's afraid of the dog."

This base imputation decided Frank to undertake the errand, which, after
all, notwithstanding the danger attending it, was less repugnant to his
feelings than more direct participation in the robbery.

Seth departed to ensconce himself in the woods. Frank then went on to the
secessionists house, quieting his conscience by the way with reflections
like these: It was owing to such men as this disloyal Marylander that the
Union troops were now suffering so many hardships. The good things
possessed by traitors, or by those who sympathised with traitors, were
fairly forfeited to patriots who were giving their blood to their
country. Stealing, in such a case, was no robbery. And so forth, and so
forth--sentiments which prevailed pretty generally in the army. Besides,
there was fun in the adventure; and with boys a little fun covers a
multitude of sins.

The fun, however, was considerably dampened, on Frank's part, as he
approached the house. "Bow, wow!" suddenly spoke the deep, dreadful tones
of the rebel mastiff. He hated the national uniform as intensely as his
master did, and came bounding towards Frank as if his intention was to
eat him up at once.

Now, the truth is, Frank was afraid of the dog. His heart beat fast, his
flesh felt an electric chill, and there was a curious stirring in the
roots of his hair. The dog came right on, bristling up as large as two
dogs, opening his ferocious maw, and barking and growling terribly. Then
the fun of the thing was still more dampened, to the boy's appreciation,
by a sudden suspicion. Why had his companions thrust the most perilous
part of the enterprise upon him, the youngest of the party? It was mean;
it was cowardly; and the whole affair was intended to make sport for the
rest, by getting him into a scrape. So, at least, thought Frank.

"But I'll show them I've got some pluck," said something within him,
proud and determined.

To fear danger is one thing. To face it boldly, in spite of that fear, is
quite another. The first is common; the last is rare as true courage. The
dog came straight up to Frank, and Frank marched straight up to the dog.

"Even if I had known he would bite," said Frank, afterwards, "I'd have
done it." For he did not know at the time that this was the very best way
to avoid being bitten. The dog, astonished by this straightforward
proceeding, and probably thinking that one who advanced unflinchingly,
with so brave a face, without weapons, must have honest business with his
master, stepped aside, and growlingly let him pass.

"Where's your master?" said Frank, coolly, to an old negro, who was
shuffling across the yard. "I want to see him a minute."

"Yes, massa," said the black, pulling at his cap, and bowing
obsequiously.

He disappeared, and presently "old Buckley" came out, looking worthy to
be the dog's master.

"Perhaps," thought Frank, "if I treat him in the same way, he won't bite,
either;" and he walked straight up to him. The biped did not bark or
growl, as the quadruped had done, but he looked wickedly at the intruder.

"How about those turkeys?" said Frank.

"What turkeys?" returned the man, surlily.

"It is Christmas now, and I thought you might be ready to sell some of
them," continued Frank, nothing daunted.

"I've no turkeys to sell," said the man.

"But you had a lot of them," said Frank.

"I had fifty." Buckley looked sternly at Frank, and continued: "Half of
them have been stolen by you Yankee thieves. And you know it."

"Stolen! If that isn't too bad!" exclaimed Frank. "I am sure I have never
had one of them. Are you certain they have been stolen? I heard a gobbler
over in the woods here, as I came along."

"You did?" said the man.

Frank thought it only a very white lie he was telling, having heard, at
all events, a very good imitation of a gobbler. He repeated roundly his
assertion. The man regarded him with a steady scowling scrutiny for near
a minute, his surly lips apart, his hands thrust into his pockets. Frank,
who could speak the truth with as clear and beautiful a brow as ever was
seen, could not help wincing a little under the old fellow's slow,
sullen, suspicious observation.

"Boy," said the man, without taking his hands from his pockets, "you're a
lying to me!"

"Very well," said Frank, turning on his heel, "if you think so, then I
suppose it isn't your turkey."

"And what are you going to do about it?" said the man.

"The federal army," said Frank, with a smile, "has need of that turkey. I
shall take him, and settle with the owner when he turns up."

And he walked off. The man was evidently more than half convinced there
was a turkey in the woods--probably one that had escaped when a part of
his flock was stolen.

"Toby," said he, "fetch my gun."

The old negro trotted into the house, and trotted out again, bringing a
double-barrelled shot-gun, which Frank did not like the looks of at all.

"There's some Yankee trick here," said the secessionist, cocking the
piece, and carefully putting a cap on each barrel; "but I reckon they'll
find me enough for 'em. Toby, you stay here with the dog, and take care
of things. Now, boy, march ahead there, and show me that gobbler."

The old negro grinned. So did his master, in a way Frank did not fancy.
It was a morose, menacing, savage grin--a very appropriate prelude, Frank
thought, to a shot from behind out of that two-barrelled fowling-piece.
But it was too late now to retreat. So, putting on a bold and confident
air, he started for the woods, followed by the grim man with the gun.

His sensations by the way were not greatly to be envied. He had never
felt, as he afterwards expressed it, so _streaked_ in his life. By that
term I suppose he alluded to those peculiar thrills which sometimes
creep over one, from the scalp to the ankles, when some great danger is
apprehended. For it was evident that this man was in deadly earnest.
Tramp, tramp, he came after Frank, with his left hand on the stock of
his gun, the other on the lock, ready to pop him over the moment he
should discover he had been trifled with. No doubt their departure had
been watched by the boys from the thicket, and the unlucky drummer
expected every moment to hear the alarm of a premature attack upon the
turkey-pen, which would, unquestionably, prove the signal for his own
immediate execution.

"He will shoot me first," thought Frank, "to be revenged; then he'll ran
back to defend his property."

And now, although he had long since made up his mind that he was willing
to die, if necessary, fighting for his country, his whole soul shrunk
with fear and dread from the shameful death, in a shameful cause, with
which he was menaced.

"_Shot, by a secessionist, in the act of stealing turkeys._" How would
that sound, reported to his friends at home?

"_Shot while gallantly charging the enemy's battery_." How differently
that would read! and the poor boy wished that he had let the miserable
turkeys alone, and waited to try his fortunes on the battle-field.

However, being once in the scrape, although the cause was a bad one, he
determined to show no craven spirit. With a heart like hot lead within
him, he marched with every appearance of willingness and confidence into
the woods, regarding the gun no more than if it had been designed for the
obvious purpose of shooting the gobbler.

"When we come in sight of him," said Frank, "let me shoot him, won't
you?"

"H'm! I reckon I'll give you a shot!" muttered the man, with darkly
dubious meaning.

"I wish you would," said Frank. "Our boys have two cartridges apiece
given them every day now, and they practise shooting at a target. But as
I am a drummer, I don't have any chance to shoot. There's your turkey
now."

In fact an unmistakable gobble was just then heard farther on in the
woods.

"May I take the gun and go on and shoot him?" Frank asked, with an
innocent air.

And he stopped, determined now to get behind the man, if he could not
obtain the gun.

The rebel laughed grimly at the idea of giving up his weapon. But the
sound of the turkey, together with the boy's cool and self-possessed
conduct, had so far deceived him that he no longer drove Frank inexorably
before him, but permitted him to walk by his side, and even to lag a
little behind.

"Gobble, obble, obble!" said the turkey, behind some bushes, still
several rods off.

"Yes, that's my turkey!" said the man, ready enough to claim the unseen
fowl.

"How do you know he is yours?" asked Frank.

"I know his gobble. One I had stole gobbled jest like that." And the
secessionist's stern features relaxed a little.

Frank's relaxed a little, too; for, serious as his dilemma had seemed
a minute since, he could not but be amused by the man's undoubting
recognition of _that_ gobble.

"All turkeys make a noise alike," said Frank.

"No they don't, no they don't!" said the man, positively,--no doubt
fearing a plot to get the fowl away from him, and anxious to set up his
claim in season. "I reckon I know about turkeys. Hear that?"--as the
sound was heard again, still at a distance. "That's my bird. I should
know that gobble among five hundred."

Frank suppressed his merriment, thinking that now was his time to get
away.

"Well," said he, "unless you'll sell me the bird, I don't know that
there's any use of my going any farther with you."

He expected a repetition of the refusal to sell, when he would have the
best excuse in the world for making his escape. But Buckley was still
suspicious of some trick,--fearing, perhaps, that Frank would run off and
get help to secure the turkey.

"We'll see; we'll see. Wait till we get the bird," said the man. "You've
done me a good turn telling me about him, and mayhap I'll sell him to you
for your honesty. But wait a bit; wait a bit."

They were fast approaching the bushes where the supposed turkey was.

"Quit, quit, quit! Gobble, obble, obble!" said the pretended fowl.

"He _must_ know now," thought Frank, with renewed apprehension; but he
dared not run.

In fact, the old fellow was beginning to see that his recognition of
_his_ gobbler had been premature. A patch of blue uniform was visible
through the brush. The rebel stopped, and drew up his gun. As Hamlet
killed Polonius for a rat, so would he kill a Yankee for a turkey.
Click! the piece was cocked and aimed.

"Here, you old clodhopper, you; don't you shoot! don't you shoot!"
screamed Seth Tucket, rushing wildly out of the bushes just as the rebel
pulled the trigger.




                                 XII.

                     THE SECESSIONIST'S TURKEYS.


In the mean time the boys watching from their ambush, and seeing that the
rebel had gone off with Frank, but left his dog and negro behind, armed
themselves with clubs. When all was ready, Winch gave the word, and
forward they dashed at the doublequick, clearing more than half the space
intervening between them and the barns, before they were discovered by
the enemy. Then the dog bounded out with a bark, and the old negro began
to "holler," and the rebel's wife and daughter ran out and screamed, and
an old negress also appeared, brandishing a broom, and adding her voice
to the chorus.

At this moment the report of a gun came from the direction in which the
secessionist had gone off with Frank.

John Winch heard it, just as the dog met the charging party. Who was
killed? Frank or Seth? John did not know, but he was frightened. He had
come for fun and poultry, not for fighting and bullets. Neither was he
particularly ambitions to be bitten by that monstrous dog. He lost faith
in his club, and dropped it. He lost confidence in the prowess of his
companions, and deserted them. In short, Jack Winch, who had been one of
the most eager to engage in the adventure, took ignominiously to his
heels.

He reached the thicket before venturing to look behind him. Then he saw
that his comrades had frightened away the negro, beaten back the dog, and
taken the turkey-pen by storm. He would now have been but too glad to
join them; but it was too late. Having accomplished their undertaking,
they were returning, each bringing, pendent by the legs, a flopping fowl.

It is better to be a brave man than a coward, even in a bad cause.
Fortune often favors brave men in the wrong in preference to aiding
cowards in the right, for Fortune loves not a poltroon. John Winch felt
at that moment that nobody henceforth would love or favor him, and he
began to frame excuses for his shameful conduct.

"Hello, Jack Winch," cried Ellis, coming up with a turkey in one hand
and a chicken in the other, "you're a smart leader--to run away from a
yelping dog like that!"

"Coward! coward!" chimed in the others, with angry contempt.

"I sprained my ankle. Didn't you know it?" said the miserable Jack, with
a writhing countenance, limping.

"Sprained your granny!" exclaimed Harris. "I never saw a sprained ankle
go over the ground as fast as yours did, just as we came to the dog."

"Then I heard the gun," said Jack, "and I was afraid either Seth or Frank
was shot."

"Woe to the man of turkeys if they are!" said Joe, twisting the neck of
his fowl to quiet it. "We'll serve him as I am serving this hen."

The boys hastened to a rendezvous they had appointed with the absent
ones, followed by Jack at a very creditable pace, considering his
excruciating lameness.

As yet, neither Frank nor Seth had been shot. The charge of buck shot
fired from the rebel fowling-piece had entered the bushes just as the
blue uniform left them. But the secessionist cocked the other barrel of
his piece immediately, with the intention of making up for the error of
his first aim.

"Shoot me," shouted Seth, "and you'll be swinging from that limb in five
minutes!"

The man hesitated, glancing quickly about for those who were expected to
put Seth's threat into execution.

"I've twenty fellows with me," added Seth, "and they'll string you up in
no time, by darn!"

The secessionist was not so much impressed by the rather slender oath
with which Seth clinched his speech, as by the sharp and earnest tone in
which the whole was uttered,--Seth walking savagely up to him as he
spoke. All the while, the alarm raised by the negro, and the dog, and the
women, was sounding in the man's ears.

"They're after my turkeys! This is your trick, boy!" and he sprang upon
Frank, lifting his gun as if to level him to the earth.

But Seth sprang after him, and seized the weapon before it descended.
That green down-easter was cool as if he had been at a game of ball. He
was an athletic youth, and he readily saw that Buckley, though a sturdy
farmer, was no match for him. He pushed him back, shouting shrilly, at
the same time, in the words of his favorite poet,--

"'Now, if thou strik'st him but one blow, I'll hurl thee from the brink
as far as ever peasant pitched a bar!'"

This strange form of salutation astonished the rebel even more than the
rough treatment he received at the hands of the vigorous and poetical
Tucket. He saw that it was no time to stay and parley. He knew that his
turkeys were going, and, muttering a parting malediction at Frank, he set
off at a run to protect his poultry-yard.

"Now's our time," said Tucket, starting for the rendezvous, and striking
into another quotation from his favorite minstrel, parodied for the
occasion. "'Speed, Manly, speed! the cow's tough hide on fleeter foot was
ne'er tied. Speed, Manly, speed! such cause of haste a drummer's sinews
never braced. For turkey's doom and rebel deed are in thy course--speed,
Manly, speed!'"

And speed they did, arriving at the place of meeting just as their
companions came up with the poultry.

"Hello, Jack!" said Frank; "what's the matter with you?"

"He stumbled over a great piece of bark," Ellis answered for Winch.

"Did you, Jack?"

"Yes!" said Jack, putting on a look of anguish. He had not thought of the
bark before, but supposing Ellis had seen such a piece as he spoke of, he
accepted his theory of the stumbling as readily as the rebel had
recognized in Seth's gobbling one of his own lost turkeys. "And broke my
ankle," added Jack.

"What kind of bark was it? do you know?" said Ellis.

"No. I was hurt so I didn't stop to look."

"Well, I'll tell you. It was the dog's bark." And Ellis and his comrades
shouted with laughter, all except poor Jack Winch, who knew too well that
no other kind of bark had checked his progress.

Then the turkey-stealers had their adventure to relate, and Frank had his
amusing story to tell, and Tucket could brag how near he had come to
being shot for one of Buckley's gobblers, and all were merry but Jack,
who had brought from the field nothing but a counterfeit lameness and
dishonor, and who accordingly lagged behind his comrades, sulky and dumb.

"He limps dreadfully--when any body is looking at him," said Harris.

"Nobody killed, and only one wounded," said Frank.

"The sight of old Buckley coming with his dog would be better than a
surgeon, to cure that wound," said Tucket. "You'd see Winch leg it faster
'n any of us--like the old woman that had the hypo's, and hadn't walked a
step for twenty years, and thought she couldn't; but one day her friends
got up a ghost to scare her, and she ran a mile before they could ketch
her."

Do you know how these jokes, and the laughter that followed, sounded on
the ear of Jack Winch? Even the bark of the rebel mastiff was music in
comparison, and his bite would have hurt him less.

"By the way," said Seth, "the old skinflint will be after us, sure as
guns. Hurry! or we'll hear--'The deep-mouthed bull-dog's heavy bay
resounding up the rocky way, and faint, from farther distance borne, the
darned old rebel's dinner horn.' Give me that chicken, Ellis. And, boys,
we must manage some way to smuggle these fowls into camp. I can carry
this chicken under my coat; but how in Sam Hill you'll manage with the
turkeys, I don't see."

"I know," said Frank, always full of invention. "If nobody else has a
better plan, I've thought of a good one."

Several devices were suggested, but none met with general approbation.
Then Frank explained his.

"Cover up the turkeys with evergreens, and we will go in with our arms
full, as if we were going to make wreaths for the regiment."

This plan was agreed upon, and shortly after the adventurers might have
been seen returning to camp loaded down with boughs and vines. Jack alone
came in empty-handed. Frank had no turkey, and so he threw down his load
outside the tent, where any one could examine it.

It was not long before the owner of the turkeys made his appearance,
carrying to headquarters his complaint of the robbery. Unfortunately,
Frank was not only known as a drummer boy, but he wore the letter of his
company on his cap. Besides, his youth rendered his identification
comparatively easy. As might have been expected, therefore, he was soon
called to an account. Captain Edney himself came to investigate the
matter, accompanied by the secessionist.

"That's the boy," said Buckley, with determined vindictiveness, when
Frank was arraigned before him.

Frank could not help looking a little pale, for he felt that he was in a
bad scrape, and how he was to get out of it, without either lying or
betraying his accomplices, he could not see. He did not care so much
about himself, but he would not for any thing have borne witness against
the others. He had almost made up his mind to tell a sturdy falsehood, if
necessary,--to stoop to a dishonorable thing in order to avoid another,
which he considered even more damaging to his character. For such is
commonly the result of wrongdoing; one step taken, you must take another
to retrieve that. One foot in the mire, you must put the other in to get
that out.

However, the drummer boy still hoped that by putting a bold face on the
matter, and prevaricating a little, he might still keep clear of that
thing he had been taught always to abhor--a downright untruth.

"This man brings serious charges against you, Frank," said Captain Edney.

"I should think it was for me to bring charges against him," replied
Frank, trying to look indignant.

"Why, what has he done to you?" The captain could not help smiling as he
spoke, and Frank felt encouraged.

"He's a rebel of the worst kind. He is always insulting the federal
uniform, and he seems to think that whoever wears it is a villain. He
threatened to set his dog on me the other day, and to-day he was going to
knock me down with his gun."

"What was he going to knock you down for? You must have done something to
provoke him."

"Yes, I did!" said Frank, boldly. "I went to his house, and asked him, in
the politest way I could, if he would sell us fellows a turkey. I might
have known that it would provoke him, for he has been heard to say he'd
rather his turkeys should die in the pen than that a Union soldier should
have one, even for money."

It was evident to the secessionist that instead of making out a case
against the boy, the boy was fast making out a case against him. In his
impatience he broke forth into violent denunciations of Frank, but
Captain Edney stopped him.

"None of that, sir, or I'll send you out of the camp forthwith. He
says,"--turning to Frank,--"that you decoyed him into the woods while
your companions stole his turkeys."

"Decoyed him?" said Frank. "He may call it what he pleases. I'll tell you
just what I did, sir. He said he hadn't any turkeys. So I said, 'Then the
one I heard in the woods, as I came along, isn't yours--is it?'"

"Had you heard one?"

"I had heard a noise so much like one,"--laughing,--"that he himself,
when he heard it, was ready to swear it was his gobbler."

"And was it really a turkey?"

"No, sir. It was Seth Tucket hid behind the bushes."

Frank was now conscious of making abundant fun for his comrades, who all
crowded around, listening with delight to the investigation. Even Captain
Edney smiled, as he gave a glance at the green-looking, seriously-winking
Seth.

"So it was you that played the gobbler, Tucket," said the captain.

"I hope there wan't no great harm in't ef I did, sir," replied Seth, with
ludicrous mock solemnity. "Bein' Christmas so, I thought I'd like a
little bit of turkey, sir, ef 'twant no more than the gobble. And there I
was, enjoying it all by myself, hevin' a nice time, when this man comes
up and lays claim to me for his turkey."

This sober declaration, uttered in a high key, with certain jerks of the
arms and twists of the down-east features, which Seth could use with the
drollest effect, excited unrestrained mirth among the men, and made the
officer's sword-belts shake not a little with the suppressed merriment
inside.

"What do you mean by his claiming you?" asked the captain.

"He told Manly I belonged to him, and that some thieving Yankee had
stolen me." said Seth, with open eyes and mouth, as if he had been making
the most earnest statement. "Now I'll leave it to any body ef that's so.
And I guess that's about all his complaints of hevin' turkeys stole
amounts to; for ef he can make a mistake so easy in my case, he may in
others. Though mabby he means I stole the _gobble_ of one of his
turkeys. I own it's a gobble I picked up somewheres, but I didn't know
'twas his." And Tucket drew down his face with an expression of
incorruptible innocence.

"Well, boys," said the captain, silencing the laughter, "we have had fun
enough for the occasion, though it _is_ a merry Christmas. No more
buffoonery. Tucket. Were you aware, Frank, that it was Tucket, and not a
turkey, in the bushes, when you took this man to the woods?"

"I rather thought it was Tucket," said Frank, "though the man stuck to it
so stoutly that 'twas his gobbler, I didn't know but----"

"Never mind about that." The captain saw that it was Frank's object to
lead the inquiry back to the ludicrous part of the business, and promptly
checked him. "What was your motive in deceiving him?"

"To have a little fun, sir."

"Did you not know that there was a design to rob his poultry pen?"

Frank recollected his momentary doubts as to the good faith of his
companions, when the dog assailed him, and thought he could make that
uncertainty the base of a strong "No, sir."

"But you know his pen was robbed?"

"No, sir, I do not know it----," Frank reflecting as he spoke, that a
man cannot really _know_ any thing of which he has not been an
eye-witness, and comforting his conscience with the fact that he had not
_seen_ the turkeys stolen.

"Now,"--Captain Edney did not betray by look or word whether he believed
or doubted the boy's assertion,--"tell me who was with you in the woods."

"Seth Tucket, sir."

"Who else?"

"O, ever so many fellows had been with me."

"Name them."

And Frank proceeded to name several who had really been with him that
morning, but not on the forage after poultry. On being called up and
questioned, they were able to give the most positive testimony, to the
effect that they had neither stolen any fowls themselves nor been with
any party that had. In the mean time the sergeant and second lieutenant
instituted a search through the company's tents, and succeeded in finding
a solitary turkey, which nobody could give any account of, and which
nobody claimed. This the secessionist identified; averring that there
were also a dozen more, besides several chickens, for which redress was
due. But not one of them could be discovered, perhaps because they were
so skilfully concealed, but more probably because those who searched were
not anxious to find.

Captain Edney accordingly paid the man for the loss of the single turkey,
which he ordered sent immediately to the hospital. He also told the
secessionist that he would pay him for all the poultry he was ready to
swear had been appropriated by the men of his company, provided he would
first take the oath of allegiance to the United States. This Buckley
sullenly refused to do, and he was immediately conducted by a guard
outside the lines. Seth Tucket followed at a short distance, saying, as
he put his hand in his pocket, as if to produce some money, "Say, friend!
better le' me pay ye for that gobble I stole. Any thing in reason, ye
know."

But Buckley gave him only a glance of compressed rage, and marched off in
silence, with disappointment and revenge in his heart.




                                XIII.

                        THE EXPEDITION MOVES.


Frank won the greatest credit from his comrades by the manner in which
he had gone through the investigation. And the fowls, which those who
searched could not discover, found their way somehow to the cooks, and
back again to the boys, and were shared among their companions, who had
a feast and a good time generally.

But when all was over, and the excitement which carried Frank through
had subsided, and it was night, and he lay in the darkness and solitude
of the tent, with his comrades asleep around him,--then came sober
reflection; and he thought of the poor man who had lost his turkeys, and
who, for one, had got no fun out of the business; and he remembered that
he had, to all intents and purposes, lied to Captain Edney; and he knew
in his heart that he had done a dishonest thing.

Yes, he had actually been engaged in stealing turkeys. He was guilty
of an act of which, a few weeks before, he would have deemed himself
absolutely incapable. All the mitigating circumstances of the case, which
had lately stood out so clear and strong as almost to hide the offence
from his moral vision, now faded, and shrunk away, and the wrong itself
stood forth, alone, in its undisguised ugliness.

"What is it to me that the man is a secessionist? That doesn't give us
the right to rob him. He is not in arms against the government; and we
don't know that he assists the rebels in any way, either by giving them
information or money. Perhaps he had good reason to hate the Union
soldiers. If he had not before, he has now. I wish I had let his turkeys
alone."

These words Frank did not exactly frame to himself, lying there in the
dark and silent tent; but so said the soul within him. And the next day
the culpability of his conduct was brought home still more forcibly to
his conscience by the receipt of a box from home. It contained, besides a
turkey, pies, cakes, apples, and letters. And in one of the letters his
mother wrote,--

    "I hope these things will reach you by Christmas, and that you will
    enjoy them, and share them with those who have been good to you, and
    be very happy. We all think of the hardships you have to go through,
    and would willingly give up many of our comforts if you could only
    have them. We shall not have any turkey at Christmas--we shall all
    be so much happier to think you have one. For I would not have you
    so much as _tempted_ to do what you say some of the soldiers have
    done--that is, steal the turkeys belonging to the secessionists. If
    there are rebels at heart, not yet in open opposition to the
    government, I would have you treat them kindly, and not provoke them
    to hate our cause worse than they do already. And always remember
    that, whatever the government may see fit to do to punish such men,
    you have no right to interfere with either their private opinions or
    their private property."

Why was it that the contents of Frank's Christmas box did not taste so
good to him as he had anticipated? Simply because he could partake of
neither pie nor turkey without the sorry sauce of a reproving conscience.

He thought to atone for his fault by magnanimity in sharing with others
what he could not relish alone. He gave liberally to all his mates, and
carried a large piece of the turkey, together with a generous supply of
stuffing, and an entire mince pie, to his old friend Sinjin.

Now, Frank had not, for the past month, been on as good terms with the
veteran as formerly. The meeting with Mrs. Manly in Boston seemed to have
awakened unpleasant remembrances in the old drummer's mind, and to render
him unpleasantly stiff and cold towards her son. He had received the
thanksgiving wreath with a very formal and stately acknowledgment, and
Frank, who knew not what warm torrents might be gushing beneath the stern
old man's icy exterior, had kept himself somewhat resentfully aloof from
him ever since. But he still felt a yearning for their former friendship,
and he now hoped, with the aid of the good gifts of which he was the
bearer, to make up with him.

"I wish you a merry Christmas," said Frank, arrived at the old man's
tent.

"You are rather late for that, it seems to me," replied Sinjin, lifting
his brows, as he sat in his tent and looked quietly over his shoulder at
the visitor.

"I know it," said Frank. "But the truth is, I hadn't any thing to wish
you a merry Christmas with yesterday. But this morning I got a box by
express, full of goodies, direct from home."

"Ah!" said the old man, with a singular unsteadiness of eye, while he
tried to look cold and unconcerned.

"Yes; isn't it grand? A turkey of my mother's own stuffing, and pies of
her own baking, and every thing that's splendid. And she said she hoped
you would accept a share, with her very kind regards. And so I've brought
you some."

The old man had got up on his feet. But he did not offer to relieve
Frank's hands. He made no reply to his little speech; and he seemed not
so much to look _at_ him, as _through_ him, into some visionary past far
away. Perhaps it was not the drummer boy he saw at all, but fairer
features, still like his--a sweet young girl; the same he used to trot
upon his knees, in those unforgotten years, so long ago, when he was in
his manhood's prime, and life was still fresh to him, and he had not
lost his early faith in friendship and love.

There Frank stood, holding the cover of the Christmas box, with the good
things from home upon it, and waited, and wondered; and there the old man
stood and dreamed.

"Please, sir, will you let me leave them here?" said Frank, ready to cry
with disappointment at this strange reception.

The old man heaved a sigh, brushed his hand across his eyes, and came
back to the present. He stooped and took the gift with a tremulous smile,
but without a word. He did not tell the drummer boy that he had, in that
instant of forgetfulness, seen his mother as she was at his age, and that
his old heart now, though seemingly withered and embittered, gushed again
with love so sorrowful and yearning, that he could have taken her son in
his arms, even as he had so often taken her, and have wept over him. And
Frank, in his ignorance, went away, feeling more hurt than ever at his
old friend's apparent indifference.

                 *            *            *            *

And now matters were assuming a more and more warlike appearance. For
some time Frank's regiment had been out on brigade drill twice a week,
and he had written home a glowing description of the scene. But an
incomparably grander sight was the inspection and review of the entire
division, which took place the last week of December. The parade ground,
comprising two thousand acres, at once smooth and undulating, was
admirably fitted to show off, with picturesque and splendid effect, the
evolutions of regiment, brigade, and division. Thousands of spectators
flocked from Annapolis and the vicinity, in vehicles, on horseback, and
on foot, to witness the display.

Frank was with his company, carrying his knapsack, haversack, tin cup,
and canteen, like the rest, and with his drum at his side. He could not
but feel a pride in the grand spectacle of which he formed a part. At
eleven o'clock, Brigadier-General Foster, commanding the department in
Burnside's absence, passed down the line, accompanied by a numerous
staff, and followed by the governor of the state and members of the
legislature. They inspected each regiment in turn; and many were the
looks of interest and pleased surprise which the young drummer boy
received from officers and civilians.

The reviewing party then took its position on the right, the words of
command rang along the line, and regiment after regiment, breaking into
battalion column, filed, with steady tramp, in superb, glittering array,
to the sound of music, past the general and his assistants. No wonder the
drummer boy's heart beat high with military enthusiasm, as he marched
with his comrades in this magnificent style, marvelling what enemy could
withstand such disciplined masses of troops.

And now the fleet of transports, which were to convey them to their
destination, were gathering at Annapolis. The camp was full of rumors
respecting the blow which was to be struck, and the troops were eager to
strike it.

So ended the old year, the first of the war; and the new year came in. It
was now January, 1862.

On the 3d, the regiment was for the first time paid off. Frank received
pay for two months' service, at twelve dollars a month. He kept only four
dollars for his own use, and sent home the remaining twenty dollars in a
check, to be drawn by his father in Boston. It was a source of great
pride and satisfaction to him that he could send money to his parents;
and he wondered at the greedy selfishness of John Winch, who immediately
commenced spending his pay for pies and cakes, at the sutler's enormous
prices.

On the 6th, the regiment broke camp and marched to Annapolis. There was
snow on the ground, which had fallen the night before; and the weather
was very cold. The city was a scene of busy activity. The fleet lay in
the harbor. Troops and baggage trains crowded to the wharves. Transport
after transport took on board its precious freight of lives, and hauling
out into the stream to make room for others, dropped anchor off the town.

After waiting five hours--five long and dreary hours--at the Naval
Academy, our regiment took its turn. One half went on board an armed
steamer, whose decks were soon swarming with soldiers and bristling with
guns. The other half took passage in a schooner. And the steamer took the
schooner in tow, and anchored with her in the river. And so Frank and his
comrades bade farewell to the soil of Maryland.

The excitement of these scenes had served to put Frank's conscience to
sleep again. However, it received a sting, when, on the day of leaving
Annapolis, he learned that the secessionist whose turkeys had been
stolen, had, in revenge for his wrongs, quitted his farm, and gone to
join the rebel army.




                                XIV.

                      THE VOYAGE AND THE STORM.


On the morning of the 9th of January the fleet sailed.

Frank was on board the schooner towed out by her steam consort.

Although the morning was cold and wet, the decks of the transports were
crowded with troops witnessing the magnificent spectacle of their own
departure.

Just before they got under way, a jubilant cheering was heard. Frank made
his way to the vessel's side, to see what was going on. A small row-boat
passed, conveying some officer of distinction to his ship. Frank observed
that he was a person of quite unpretending appearance, but of pleasant
and noble features.

"Burnside! Burnside! Burnside!" shouted a hundred voices.

And in acknowledgment of the compliment, the modest hero of the
expedition stood up in the boat, and uncovered his high, bald forehead
and dome-like head.

The rowers pulled at their oars, and the boat dashed on over the dancing
waters, greeted with like enthusiasm every where, until the general's
flag-ship, the little steamer Picket, took him on board.

And now the anchors were up, the smoke-pipes trailed their cloudy
streamers on the breeze, flags and pennants were flying, paddle-wheels
began to turn and plash, the bands played gay music, and the fleet drew
off, in a long line of countless steamers and sailing vessels, down the
Severn, and down the Chesapeake.

All day, through a cold, drizzling rain, the fleet sailed on, the
transports still keeping in sight of each other, in a line extending for
miles along the bleak, inhospitable bay.

The next morning, Frank went on deck, and found the schooner at anchor in
a fog. The steamer lay alongside. No other object was visible--only the
restlessly-dashing waters. The wild shrieking of the steamer's whistle,
blowing in the fog to warn other vessels of the fleet to avoid running
down upon them, the near and far responses of similarly screaming
whistles, and of invisible tolling bells, added impressiveness to the
situation.

At nine o'clock, anchors were weighed again, and the fleet proceeded
slowly, feeling its way, as it were, in the obscurity. There was more or
less fog throughout the day; but towards sundown a breeze blew from the
shore, the fog rolled back upon the sea, the clouds broke into wild
flying masses, the blue sky shone through, and the sunset poured its
placid glory upon the scene.

Again the troops crowded the decks. The fleet was entering Hampton Roads.
Upon the right, basking in the golden sunset as in the light of an
eternal calm, a stupendous fortress lay, like some vast monster of old
time, asleep. Frank shivered with strange sensations as he gazed upon
that immense and powerful stronghold of force; trying to realize that,
dreaming so quietly there in the sunset, those gilded walls, which seemed
those of an ancient city of peace, meant horrible, deadly war.

"By hooky!" said Seth Tucket, coming to his side, "that old Fortress
Monroe's a stunner--ain't she? I'd no idee the old woman spread her hoop
skirts over so much ground."

"You can see the big Union gun there on the beach," said Atwater. "To
look at that, then just turn your eye over to Sewell's Point there, where
the rebel batteries are, makes it seem like war." And the tall, grave
soldier smiled, with a light in his eye Frank had seldom seen before.

The evening was fine, the sky clear, the moon shining, the air balmy and
spring-like. The fleet had come to anchor in the Roads. The bands were
playing, and the troops cheering from deck to deck. The moonlight
glittered on the water, and whitened the dim ships riding at anchor, and
lay mistily upon the bastions of the great slumbering fortress. At a late
hour, Frank, with his eyes full of beauty and his ears full of music,
went below, crept into his berth, and thought of home, and of the great
world he was beginning to see, until he fell asleep.

The next day the fleet still lay in Hampton Roads. There were belonging
to the expedition over one hundred and twenty-five vessels of all
classes, freighted with troops, horses, forage, and all the paraphernalia
of war. And this was the last morning which was to behold that
magnificent and powerful armada entire and unscattered.

At night the fleet sailed. Once at sea, the sealed orders, by which each
vessel was to shape its course, were opened, and Hatteras Inlet was found
to be its first destination.

The next day was Sunday, January 12. The morning was densely foggy.
Frank, who had been seasick all night, went on deck to breathe the fresh
sea air. The steamer, still towing the Schooner, was just visible in the
fog, at the other end of the great sagging hawser. And the sea was
rolling, rolling, rolling. And the ship was tossing, tossing, tossing.
And Frank's poor stomach, not satisfied with its convulsive efforts to
turn him wrong side out the night before, recommenced heaving, heaving,
heaving. He clung to the rail of the schooner, and every time it went
down, and every time it came up, he seemed to grow dizzier and sicker
than ever. He consoled himself by reflecting that he was only one of
hundreds on hoard, who were, or had been, in the same condition; and when
he was sickest he could not help laughing at Seth Tucket's inexhaustible
drollery.

"Well, try again, ef ye want to," said that poetical private, addressing
his stomach. "Be mean, and stick to it. Keep heaving, and be darned!"

Stomach took him at his word, and for a few minutes he leaned heavily by
Frank's side.

"There!" he said to it, triumphantly, "ye couldn't do any thing, and I
told ye so. Now I hope ye'll keep quiet a minute. Ye won't? Going at it
again? Very well; do as you please; it's none o' my business--by
gosh!"--lifting up his head with a bitter grin; "that inside of me is
like Milton's chaos, in Paradise Lost. 'Up from the bottom turned by
raging wind and furious assault!'--Here it goes again!"

Frank had been scarcely less amused by the misery of Jack Winch, who
declared repeatedly that he should die, that he wished he was dead, and
so forth, with groanings unutterable.

But Frank kept up his courage, and after eating a piece of hard bread for
breakfast, began to feel better.

Towards noon the fog blew off, and the beach was visible on the
right,--long, low, desolate, a shore of interminable sand, over which the
breakers leaped and ran like hordes of wild horses with streaming tails
and manes. Not a sign of vegetation was to be seen on that barren coast,
nor any trace of human existence, save here a lonely house on the ridge,
and yonder a dismantled wreck careened high upon the beach, or the ribs
of some half-buried hulk protruding from the sand.

On the other side was an unbroken horizon of water. Numerous vessels of
the fleet were still in sight And now a little steamer came dashing gayly
along, hailed with cheers. It was the Picket, General Burnside's
flag-ship.

In the afternoon, more fog. But at sunset it was clear. The wind was
light, blowing from the south. But now the ocean rolled in long, enormous
swells, showing that the vessels were approaching Cape Hatteras; for,
whatever may be the aspect of the sea elsewhere, here its billows are
never at rest.

So the sun went down, and the night came on, with its cold moon and
stars, and Hatteras lighthouse shot its arrowy ray far out across the
dark water.

The breeze freshened and increased to a gale; and the violence of the
waves increased with it, until the schooner creaked and groaned in every
part, and it seemed as if she must break in pieces. Sometimes the billows
burst upon the deck with a thunder-crash, and, sweeping over it, poured
in cataracts from her sides. Now a heavy cross-sea struck her beams with
the jarring force of an avalanche of rocks, flinging more than one
unlucky fellow clear from his berth. And now her bows went under, sunk by
a weight of rolling water, from which it seemed for an instant impossible
that she could ever emerge. But rise she did, each time, slowly,
laboring, quivering, and groaning, like a living thing in mortal agony.
Once, as she plunged, the great cable that united her fortunes with those
of the steamer, unable to bear the tremendous strain, snapped like a wet
string; and immediately she fell off helplessly before the gale.

The troops had a terrible night of it. Many were deathly sick. Two or
three broke their watches, besides getting badly bruised, by pitching
from their bunks. Frank would not have dared to go to sleep, even if he
could. Once, when the ship gave a lurch, and stopped suddenly, striking
the shoulder of a wave, he heard somebody tumble.

"Who's that?" he asked.

And the nasal sing-song of the poetical Tucket answered, "'Awaking with a
start, the waters heave around me, and on high the winds lift up their
voices; I depart, whither I know not; but the hour's gone by when
Boston's lessening shores can grieve or glad mine eye.'"

And Tucket crept back into his bunk.

"We're all going to the bottom, I'm sure," whined John Winch, from the
top berth, over Frank. "I believe we're sinking now."

"Well," said Frank, "the water will reach me first, and you'll be one of
the last to go under; you've that for a satisfaction."

"I believe that's what he chose the top berth for," said Harris.

"How can you be joking, such a time as this?" said John. "Here's Atwater,
fast asleep! Are you, Atwater?"

"No," said the soldier, who lay sick, with his thoughts far away.

"Ellis is; ain't you, Ellis?" And Jack reached to shake his comrade. "How
can you be asleep, Ned, when we're all going to the bottom?"

"Let me alone!" growled Ned.

"We are going to the bottom," said Jack,--the ship just then rolling in
the trough of the sea.

"I can't help it if we are," replied Ellis, sick and stupefied; "and I
don't care much. Let me go to the bottom in peace."

"O Lord! O Lord! O Lord!" moaned Jack, in despair, feeling more like
praying than ever before in his life.

Tucket had a line of poetry to suit his case:--

"'And then some prayed--the first time in some years;'" he said, quoting
Byron. And he proceeded with a description of a shipwreck, which was not
very edifying to the unhappy Winch: "'Then rose from sea to sky the wild
farewell,'" etc.

"I never would have enlisted if I was such a coward as Jack," said
Harris, contemptuously.

"I ain't a coward," retorted Jack. "I enlisted to fight, not to go to sea
and be drowned."

"Drownded--ded--ded--dead!" said Tucket.

"O, yes," said Harris, "you are mighty fierce for getting ashore and
fighting. But when you were on land you were just as glad to get to sea.
Now I hope you'll get enough of it. I wouldn't mind a shipwreck myself,
just to hear you scream."

Then Tucket: "'At first one universal shriek there rushed, louder than
the loud ocean,--like a crash of echoing thunder; and then all was
hushed, save the wild wind, and the remorseless dash of billows; but at
intervals there gushed, accompanied with a convulsive splash, a solitary
shriek--the babbling cry of private Winch, in his last agony!'"

After this, conversation ceased for a time, and there was no noise but of
the storm, and the groanings of the ship and of the sick.

Frank could not sleep, but, clinging to his berth, and listening to the
shock of billows, thought of the other vessels of that brave fleet,
scattered and tossed, and wondered at the awful power of the sea.

Then he remembered the story Corporal Gray had that day told them of the
great Spanish Armada, which sailed in the days of Queen Elizabeth to
invade England, and was blown to its destruction by the storms of the
Almighty; and he questioned within himself whether this proud expedition
was destined for a similar fate. Already he seemed to hear the
lamentations of those at home, and the frantic rejoicings of the rebels.

The next morning the wind lulled; but the sea still ran high. The sun
rose upon a scene of awful grandeur. The schooner was sailing under the
few rags of canvas which had withstood the gale. The steamer was nowhere
in sight; but other vessels of the shattered fleet could be seen, some
near, and some half below the horizon, far out at sea. The waves,
white-capped, green-streaked, ceaselessly shifting, with dark blue
hollows and high-curved crests all bursting into foam, came chasing each
other, and passed on like sliding liquid hills, spurning the schooner
from their slippery backs.

"'Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean! roll! ten thousand fleets sweep
over thee in vain!'" observed Tucket, coming on deck with Frank, and
gazing around at the few tossed remnants of the storm-scattered
expedition.

Wild and terribly beautiful the scene was; and Frank, who had often
wished to behold the ocean in its fury, was now sufficiently recovered
from his sickness to enjoy the opportunity. Nor was the wondering delight
with which he saw the sun rise out of the deep, and shine across the
tumbling yeasty waves, at all diminished by the drolleries of his friend
Seth, who kept at his side, saying the queerest things, and ever and anon
shouting poetry to the running seas.

"'Though the strained mast should quiver as a reed, and the rent canvas
fluttering strew the gale, still must I on; for I am as a weed flung from
the rocks on Ocean's foam to sail, where'er secession breeds, or
treason's works prevail,'"--added Seth, altering the verse to suit the
occasion.

The fleet had indeed been rudely handled in that rough night off the
cape. But now sail after sail hove in sight, all making their way as best
they could towards the inlet. This some reached, and got safely in before
night. Others, attempting to enter, got aground, and were with difficulty
got off again. Some anchored outside, and some lay off and on, waiting
for morning, to be piloted past the shoals, and through the narrow
channel, to a safe anchorage inside.




                                 XV.

                           HATTERAS INLET.


But what a morning dawned! Another storm, more terrible than the first,
had been raging all night, and its violence was still increasing. And now
it came on to rain; and rain and wind and sea appeared to vie with each
other in wreaking their fury on the ill-starred expedition.

Tuesday night the storm abated, and Wednesday brought fair weather. The
fleet in the mean time had suffered perils and hardships which can never
be told. Many of the transports were still missing. Many were at anchor
outside the inlet, waiting for pilots to bring them in. Some had been
lost. The "City of New York," a large steam propeller, freighted with
stores and munitions of war, had struck on the bar, and foundered in the
breakers. The crew, after clinging for twenty-four hours in the rigging
to avoid being washed off by the sea, which made a clean breach over her,
had been saved, but vessel and cargo were a total loss. Frank had watched
the wreck, which seemed at one moment to emerge from the waves, and the
next was half hidden by the incoming billows, and enveloped in a white
shroud of foam.

The schooner had escaped the dangers of the sea, and was safe at last
inside the inlet; as safe, at least, as any of the fleet, in so
precarious an anchorage.

There was still another formidable bar to pass before the open waters of
Pamlico Sound could be entered. The transports that had got in were lying
in a basin, full of shoals, with but little room to swing with the tide,
and they were continually running into each other, or getting aground.
Nor was it encouraging to see bales of hay from one of the wrecks lodge
at low water upon the very sand-bar which the fleet had still to cross.

Frank and his comrades took advantage of the fair weather to make
observation of the two forts, Hatteras and Clark, which command the
situation. These were constructed by the rebels, but had been captured
from them by General Butler and Commodore Stringham, in August, 1861, and
were now garrisoned by national troops. They stand on the south-western
limb of one of the low, barren islands which separate this part of
Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic. Between two narrow sand-spits the tides
rush in and out with great force and rapidity; and this is the inlet--a
mere passage cut through into the sound by the action of the sea.

As the schooner was being towed farther in, some men in a boat, who had
been ashore at Fort Hatteras, and were returning to their ship, came
alongside. The party consisted of some officers belonging to a New Jersey
regiment, together with a boat's crew of six men.

"Throw us a line," they said; "and tow us along."

A line was flung to them from the schooner; but they had some difficulty
in getting it, for the waves were running high in the channel. Pending
the effort, the tiller slipped from the hands of the officer who was
steering; a heavy sea struck the boat on the quarter, and she capsized.
Boats were lowered from the schooner, and sent to the rescue. It was a
scene of intense and anxious interest to Frank, who was on deck and saw
it all. The men in the water righted the boat several times, but she
filled and capsized as often. One officer was seen to get his feet
entangled, sink with his head downward, and drown in that position before
he could be extricated. He was the colonel of the regiment. The surgeon
of the regiment also perished. All the rest were saved.

The drowned bodies were brought upon deck, and every effort was made to
bring back life into them; but in vain. And there they lay; so full of
hope, and courage, and throbbing human life an hour ago--now two pale,
livid corpses. The incident made a strong impression on Frank, not yet
accustomed to the aspect of death, which was destined to become so
familiar to his eyes a few days later.

Still the dangers and delays that threatened to prove fatal to the
expedition were far from ended. It seemed that the rebels were the
enemies it had least to fear. Avarice, incapacity, and treachery at home
had conspired with the elements against it. Many of the larger vessels
drew too much water for the passage into the sound, and were wholly unfit
for the voyage.

"The contractors," said Burnside, "have ruined me; but God holds me in
his palm, and all will yet be well."

With nothing to distinguish him but his yellow belt, in blue shirt,
slouched hat, and high boots, he stood like a sea-god (says an
eye-witness) in the bows of his light boat, speaking every vessel, and
inquiring affectionately about the welfare of the men.

Storm succeeded storm, while the fleet was yet at the inlet; many days
elapsing before the principal vessels could be got over the "bulkhead,"
as the bar is called, which still intervened between them and the sound.
To add to the sufferings of the troops, the supply of fresh water gave
out. Much of that with which the transports had been provided by
dishonest or imbecile contractors, had been put up in old oil casks,
which imparted to it a taste and odor far from agreeable. But even of
such wretched stuff as this, there was at length none to be had.

"We had ham for dinner yesterday," wrote Frank; "but as we had nothing to
drink after it, we thought we should die of thirst. I never suffered so
in my life; and O, what would I have given for a good drink out of our
well at home! We were as glad as so many ducks, this morning, to see it
rain. O, it did pour beautifully! I never knew what a blessing rain was
before. I went on deck, and got wet through, catching water where it
dripped from the rigging. But I didn't care for the soaking--I had filled
my canteen; and I tell you, that nasty rain-water was a luxury."

The noble-hearted general was grieved to the soul by the sufferings of
his men. Neither day nor night did he seem to desist for a moment from
his efforts to atone, by his own vigilance and activity, for the culpable
inefficiency and negligence of others. He hastened to Fort Clark, where
there was a condenser for converting salt water into fresh, and attended
personally to putting it into operation. By this means a miserably meager
supply was obtained,--enough, however, together with the rain that was
caught, to keep the demon of thirst at bay until the water vessels could
arrive.

Ten days elapsed after the schooner entered the inlet before she was got
over the bulkhead into the open sound. And still ten days more were
destined to slip by before any general movement against the enemy was
attempted by the fleet. In the mean while the troops confined on
shipboard resorted to a thousand devices for passing away the time. There
was dancing, there was card-playing, there was singing; and many new
games were invented for the occasion. Frank learned the manual of arms.

Something else he learned, not so much to his credit. Before saying what
that was, I wish to remind the reader of the peculiar circumstances in
which he was placed--the tedious hours; the hardships, which he was glad
to forget at any cost; the example of companions, all older, and many so
much older than himself; and, not least by any means, his own ardent and
susceptible nature.

One day he joined his comrades in a game of bluff. Now, bluff is a game
there is no fun in unless some stake is played for. The boys had been
ashore, and gathered some pebbles and shells from the beach, and these
were used for the purpose. Frank had great success. He won more shells
than any body. In the excitement, he forgot his thirst, and all the
accompanying troubles. He forgot, too, that this was a kind of gambling.
And he was so elated, that when somebody proposed to play for pennies, he
did not think that it would be much worse to do that than to play for
shells and pebbles.

Unfortunately, he was still successful. He won twenty cents in about an
hour. He did not intend to keep them, for he did not think that would be
right. "I'll play," said he, "and let the boys win them back again." But,
at the next sitting, he won still more pennies; so that he thought he
could well afford to play a bolder game. His success was all the more
gratifying when he considered that he was the youngest of the party, and
that by skill and good fortune he was beating his elders.

One day, after he had won more than a dollar,--which seems a good deal of
money to a boy in his condition,--he began to lose. This was not so
amusing. He had made up his mind that when his winnings were gone, he
would stop playing; and the idea of stopping was not pleasant to
contemplate. How could he give up a sport which surpassed everything else
in the way of excitement? However, he determined to keep his resolution.
And it was soon brought to a test.

The luck had turned, and Frank found himself where he began. If he played
any more, he must risk his own money. He didn't mind losing a few
pennies,--that was nothing serious; but the boys were not playing for
simple pennies now.

"I believe I've played enough, boys," said he, passing his hand across
his heated brow, and casting his eyes around at objects which looked
strange to them after their long and intense application to the cards.

"O, of course!" sneered Jack Winch, who was watching the game, "Frank'll
stop as soon as he is beginning to lose a little."

Jack was not playing, for a very good reason. He had spent nearly all his
money, and lost the rest. He had lost some of it to Frank, and was
consequently very desirous of seeing the latter brought to the same
condition as himself.

The sneering remark stung Frank. He would gladly have pleaded Jack's
excuse for not playing any more; but he had still in his pocket over two
dollars of the money he had reserved for himself when the troops were
paid off. And it did seem rather mean in him, now he thought of it, to
throw up the game the moment others were serving him as he had been only
too willing to serve them.

"I'm not afraid of losing my money," said he, blushing; "but I've had
enough play for one day."

"You didn't get sick of it so easy when the luck was on your side," said
Harris, who had lost money to Frank, and now wanted his revenge.

"For instance, yesterday, when the Parrott was talking to the boy," said
Seth.

The Parrott he spoke of was one of the twelve-pound Parrott guns the
schooner carried; and the boy was the _buoy_, or target, in the water,
at which the gunners had practised firing round shot. Frank remembered
how all wanted to put aside the cards and watch the sport except
himself. At another time he would have taken great interest in it, and
have been on hand to cheer as enthusiastically as any body when the
well-aimed shots struck the water; but his mind was completely absorbed
in winning money. There was no such noble diversion on deck to-day; and
it was only too easy to set? his real reason for getting so soon tired
of bluff.

"That's right, Frank; stop! Now's a good time," said Atwater, who watched
the game a good deal, but never took a hand in it.

"Well, I shan't urge him, ef he's in 'arnest," said Seth; "though he has
kep' me at it a darned sight longer 'n I wanted to, sometimes, when 'twas
my tin 'stid of his'n that was goin' by the board. Stop where ye be, my
bold drummer boy; keep yer money, ef ye've got any left; that is the best
way, after all. 'I know the right, and I approve it, too; I know the
wrong, and yet the wrong pursue,'" added Tucket, dealing the cards.

No doubt he meant to give Frank good advice. But to the sensitive and
proud spirit of the boy, it sounded like withering sarcasm. He couldn't
stand that.

"I'll play fifteen minutes longer," said he, looking at his watch, "if
that'll please you."

"A quarter of an hour!" said Harris, contemptuously. "We'd better all
stop now, and come at it fresh again, by and by."

The proposition was acceded to; for what could Frank say against it? He
had not the courage to say, "Boys, I feel that I have been doing wrong,
and I mean to stop at once;" but he thought it more manly to play once
more, if only to show that he was not afraid of losing. "And perhaps," he
thought, remembering his former luck, "I shall win."




                                XVI.

                      HOW FRANK LOST HIS WATCH.


Play again he did accordingly; and, sure enough, he won. He brought
Tucket to his last dime. The poetical and philosophic spirit in which
that good-humored young man contemplated his losses, was worthy of a
better cause.

"'Fare thee well, and, if forever, still forever fare thee well,'" he
remarked, staking the said dime. And when it was lost,--for Frank "raked
the pile,"--he added, pathetically, going from Byron to Burns, "'Fare
thee weel, thou brightest, fairest; fare thee weel, thou last and
dearest! Had we never loved sae kindly, had we never loved sae blindly,
never met, or never parted, I had ne'er been broken-hearted.' Boys, I'm
dead broke, and must quit off, without some of you that are flush will
lend me a quarter."

"Ask Frank," said Ellis; "he's the flushest."

So Frank lent Seth a quarter, and with that quarter Seth won back all his
money, and, in the course of two more sittings, cleaned Frank out, as the
phrase is.

Then, one would say, Frank had a valid excuse to retire, if not before.
He had risked his money, and lost it. Certainly nothing more could be
expected of him. Seth grinned, and Jack Winch rubbed his hands with
delight.

But now _Frank_ was not content. His heart was gnawed by chagrin. He
had not really wished to stop playing at all; for the sense of vacancy
and craving which always, in such natures, succeeds the cessation of
unhealthy excitement, is misery enough in itself. But to have left off
with as much money in his pocket as he began with, would have been
felicity, compared with the bitter consciousness of folly, the stinging
vexation and regret, which came with his misfortunes.

"I'll lend ye, if ye like," said the good-natured Seth--perhaps in return
for the similar favor he had received; or rather because he pitied the
boy, and meant to let him win back his money; for, with all his mischief
and drollery, this Tucket was one of the most generous and kind-hearted
of Frank's friends.

The offer was gladly accepted; and Frank, praying Fortune to favor him,
made a promise in his heart, that, if she would aid him to recover his
losses, he would then bid farewell forever to the enticing game.

But the capricious goddess does not answer prayers. On the contrary, she
delights to side with those who need her least, spurning away the
supplicants at her feet.

Frank borrowed a quarter, and lost it immediately. He borrowed again,
determined to play more carefully. He waited until he had an excellent
hand, then staked his money.

Tucket and Ellis did not play; and the game was between Frank and Harris.
Both were confident, and they kept doubling their stakes, Frank borrowing
again and again of Seth for the purpose. He held four kings, the
strongest hand but one in the game. He knew Harris's style of playing too
well to be much daunted by his audacity, not believing that he held that
one stronger hand than his.

"I'll lend ye as long as ye call for more," said Seth; "only, seeing
you've borrowed already more'n I've won of ye, s'posin' ye give me some
security?"

"I've nothing to give," said Frank.

"There's your watch," suggested Winch, who had had a glimpse of Joe's
cards. And at the same time he winked significantly, giving Frank to
understand that his antagonist had not a hand of very great strength.

Thus encouraged, sure of victory, and too much beside himself to consider
the sacred nature of the object he was placing in pawn, Frank handed over
his watch to Seth, and received from him loan after loan, until he was
eight dollars in his debt. Seth did not like to advance any more than
that on the watch. So the critical moment arrived. Frank, with flushed
face and trembling hands, placed his all upon the board. Then Harris,
showing his cards, with a smile, swept the pile towards his cap.

"Let me see!" cried Frank, incredulous, staying his arm until he could be
sure of the cards.

His flushed face turned white; his hand fell upon the bench as if
suddenly palsied.

"Two pairs of aces! that's what I call luck, Joe," said Winch, scarce
able to restrain his joyous chuckling.

Frank looked up at him with wild distress and kindling fury in his face.

"It was you, Jack Winch! You made me----"

"Made you what?" said John, insolently.

What, indeed? He had by looks, which spoke as plainly as words, assured
Frank that Harris held but an indifferent hand; whereas he held the best
the pack afforded. By that falsehood,--for, with looks and actions at
your command, it is not necessary to open your mouth in order to tell the
most downright, absolute lie,--he had induced Frank to play on boldly to
his own ruin.

But was he alone to blame? Even if he had told the truth about Joe's
hand, ought Frank to have been influenced by it? He had no right to that
knowledge, and to take advantage of it was dishonest.

No doubt Frank himself thought so, now he reflected upon it. To accuse
Jack was to confess his own disingenuousness. He was by nature as fair
and open as the day; he despised a base deception; and it was only as an
inevitable consequence of such wrong doings as lead directly to
faithlessness and duplicity, that he could ever become guilty of these
immoralities.

Such is the vice of gambling--a process by which men hope to obtain their
neighbors' goods without yielding an equivalent for them; and which,
therefore, inflames covetousness, and accustoms the mind to the
contemplation of unjust gains, until it is ready to resort to any unjust
means of securing them. Do you say there are honest gamblers? The term is
a contradiction. You might, with equal consistency, talk of truthful
liars. To get your money, or any thing else, without rendering an
equitable return, is the core of all dishonesty, whether in the gamester,
the pickpocket, the man who cheats in trade, or the boy who robs
orchards. And a conscience once debauched by dishonest aims, will not, as
I said, long scruple at unfair means.

Singularly enough, Frank was more abashed by the betrayal of the unfair
means he had attempted to use, than he had yet been by any consciousness
of the immorality of the practice which led to them. He could not say to
Winch, "You told me I was sure of winning, and so deceived me." He only
looked at him a moment, with wild distress and exasperation on his face,
which quickly changed to an expression of morose and bitter despair; and
dropping his head, and putting up his hands, he burst into irrepressible
sobs.

"My watch! my watch that was given to me--" and which he had so
ignominiously gambled away. No wonder he wept. No wonder he shook from
head to foot with the passion of grief, as the conviction of his own
folly and infatuation burned like intolerable fire in his soul.

"Dry up, baby!" said Jack, through his teeth. "There comes the captain."

Baby? Poor Frank! It was because he was not altogether given over to
recklessness and vice that he cried at the thought of his lost watch, and
of his gross ingratitude to the unknown giver. Still he felt that it was
weak in him to cry. He who risks his property in order to get possession
of another's should be philosopher enough to take with equanimity the
loss of his own.

"Don't be childish, Frank; don't be silly!" said his friends.

And, indeed, he had the strongest reason for suppressing his sobs.
Captain Edney was approaching. He was the last person to whom he would
have wished to betray his guilt and misfortune. He loved and respected
him; and we fear most the disapprobation of those we love and respect.
Moreover, through him the heart-breaking intelligence of her son's evil
courses might reach Mrs. Manly. But no doubt Frank's chief motive for
concealing the cause of his grief from Captain Edney was the suspicion he
still entertained, notwithstanding that officer's professed ignorance of
the entire matter, that he was in reality the secret donor of the watch.
So he choked back his sobs, and pretended to be assorting some pebbles,
which the boys used as counters, especially when certain officers were
passing, who would have reproved them if they had seen money on the
board. And Captain Edney, whether he suspected any thing wrong, or not,
walked on; and that restraint upon Frank's feelings was removed.

But having once controlled the outburst, he did not suffer them to get
the better of him again. With a look of silent and sullen despair, he got
up, and went to his bunk, and threw himself upon it, and, turning his
face to the wall, refused to be comforted.

It was the wooden wall of the ship's timbers--the same he had looked at
in sickness, in storms at sea, by day, and at night by the dim light of
the swinging ship's lanterns; and when he lay calmly at rest, in the palm
of God, amid the convulsions and dangers of the deep, and when, in the
tediousness of long, dull days of waiting, he had lain there, and solaced
himself with sweet thoughts of home.

But never had the ribbed ship's side appeared to him as now. And yet it
was the same; but he was not the same. He was no longer the bright,
hopeful, happy boy as before, but miserable, guilty, broken-hearted. And
as we are, so is the world to us; the most familiar objects changing
their aspect with every change in the soul. Does the sunshine, which was
bright yesterday, look cold to-day? and is the sweet singing of birds
suddenly become as a mockery to the ear? and the faces of friends, late
so pleasant to see, have they grown strange and reproachful? and is life,
before so full of hope, turned sour, and vapid, and bitter? O, my friend,
I pity you; but the change, which you probably think is in the world, is
only in yourself.

"The parson seems to have fallen from grace," said John Winch,
sarcastically.

"Hold your tongue!" said Atwater, sternly. "You are all more to blame
than he is. Of course, a boy of his age will do what he sees older ones
do. It's a shame to get his money and watch away from him so."

And the honest fellow went and sat by Frank, and tried to console him.

"Go away! go away!" said Frank, in his anguish. "Don't trouble yourself
about such a miserable fool as I am. I deserve it all. Let me be!"

Atwater, who was sadly deficient in what is called the gift of gab, had
no soothing words at his command, full as his heart was of compassion.
And after sitting some time by the unhappy boy, patting him softly on the
shoulder, he arose, and went away; concluding that his absence would be a
relief to one so utterly miserable.

Then Seth Tucket came, and took his place.

"That's always the way with bad luck, I swan," he said, sympathizingly.
"Misfortunes always come in heaps. It never rains but it pours."

"I wish you'd let me alone!" said the boy, peevishly.

"That's fair, I swan!" said Seth. "But le' me tell ye. Ef I hed won the
watch, I'd give it back to ye in a minute. But Harris is the winner, and
I've only the watch now to show for my money. But here's a half dollar to
begin again with. You know what luck is at cards,--how it shifts, now
this way, now that, like a cow's tail in fly-time,--and I hain't the
least doubt but with that half dollar you'll win back all your money, and
your watch too."

The offer was kindly meant; and it encouraged a little spark of comfort
in Frank's heart. To win back his losses--that was his only hope. He took
the money, silently pressing Seth's hand. After that he struggled to
forget his grief in thoughts of his former good fortune, which he
believed would now return to him.




                                XVII.

                 IN WHICH FRANK SEES STRANGE THINGS.


In this frame of mind, Frank went on deck. He saw the old drum-major
coming towards him. Being in any thing but a social mood, he tried to
avoid him; and turning his back, walked away. But the veteran followed,
and came to his side.

"Well, my young man," said the old cynic, exhibiting a little agitation,
and speaking in a hurried tone, unusual with him, "I hear brave tidings
of you."

His voice sounded harsh and sarcastic to the irritated boy; and, indeed,
there was resentment enough in the veteran's breast, as well as a bitter
sense of injury and disappointment, as he spoke.

Frank, nursing his sore heart, the wounds of which he could not bear to
have touched by the most friendly hand, compressed his lips together, and
made no reply.

"So you have been really gambling--have you?" added the old man, in tones
of suppressed emotion.

"That's my business," said Frank, curtly.

He regretted the undutiful words the instant they escaped his lips. But
he was too proud to ask pardon for them. As for the old man, he stood
silent for a long time, looking down at the boy, who looked not up again
at him. And there was a tremor in his lip, and a dilatation in his eye,
which at length grew misty with a tear that gathered, but did not fall.
And with a sigh, he turned away.

"Well, be it so!" Frank heard him say, as if to himself. "I thought--I
hoped--but no matter."

He thought--he hoped--what? That his early faith in love and friendship,
which had so long been dead, might be raised to life again by this boy,
for whom he had conceived so singular a liking, and who, like all the
rest, proved ungrateful and unworthy when the hour of trial came.

Alas! such is the result of our transgressions. Once having offended our
own souls, we are quick to offend others. And vice makes us irritable,
ungenerous, unjust. And not a crime can be committed, but its evil
consequences follow, not the author of it only, but also the innocent,
upon whom its blighting shadow falls.

"Frank, if you want some fun!" said an eager whisper, with a promise of
mischief in it; a hand at the same time twitching the boy's coat.

It was Ned Ellis, who had come for him, and was hastening away again.
Frank followed--all too ready for any enterprise that would bring the
balm of forgetfulness to his hurt mind.

The boys entered the hold of the vessel, where, in the hush and
obscurity, a group of their companions; stood or sat, among the barrels
and boxes, still as statues, until they recognized the new comers.

"All right! nobody but us," whispered Ned, clambering over the freight,
accompanied by Frank.

"Come along, and make no noise, if you value your hides," said Harris.
"Here, Frank, is something to console ye for your bad luck." And he held
out something in a tin cup.

"What is it?" said Frank; "water?"

"Something almost as good," said Harris. "It was water the boys came down
here in search of; and they've tapped five barrels of sirup in the
operation, and finally they've stuck the gimlet into a cask of--taste
on't."

Frank knew what it was by the smell. It was not the first time he had
smelt whiskey; or tasted it, either. But hitherto he had stopped at the
taste, having nothing but his curiosity to gratify. Now, however, he bad
something else to gratify--a burning thirst of the body, aggravated by
his feverish excitement, and a burning thirst of the soul, which demanded
stimulus of any kind whatsoever that would allay the inward torment.

And so he drank. He did not love the liquor, although the rank taste of
it was ameliorated by a liberal admixture of sirup. But he felt the
internal sinking and wretchedness of heart and stomach braced up and
assuaged by the first draught; so he took another. And for the same
reason he indulged in a third. And so it happened that his head began
shortly to swim, his eyes to see double, and things to look queer to them
generally. The dim hold of the vessel might have been the pit of
darkness, and the obscure grinning faces of his comrades might have been
those of imps therein abiding, for aught he knew to the contrary, or
cared. He began to laugh.

"What's the matter, Frank?"

"Nothing," he said, thickly; "only it's so droll." And he sat down on a
cask, laughing again with uncontrollable merriment--at nothing; an
infallible symptom that a person is either tipsy or a fool. But Frank was
not a fool. _Ergo:_ he was tipsy.

"Get him up as quick as we can, boys," he heard some one saying, "or else
we can't get him up at all."

"Better leave him here till he gets over it," said another. "That'll be
the best way."

"Who'd have thought a little dodger like that would upset him?" said
somebody else. "By George we'll all get found out, through him."

"Whads mare?" said Frank, meaning to ask, "What is the matter?" but
somehow he could not make his organs of articulation go off right. "'Zis
wachecall drung?" (Is this what you call drunk?)

"Can ye walk?"--He recognized the voice of his friend Tucket.--"It's too
bad to leave him here, boys. We must get him to his berth 'fore he's any
worse."

"Zhue, Sef?" (Is it you, Seth?) Frank, with the help of his friend, got
upon his feet. "No, I don' breeve I'm drung; I be bernaliddlewile;"
meaning to say he did not believe he was intoxicated, and to express his
conviction that he would be better in a little while.

Seth repeated his first inquiry.

"Izzindee! I kung wong!" (Yes, indeed, I can walk.) And Frank, as if to
demonstrate the absurdity of the pretence, went stumbling loosely over
the freight, saved from falling only by the assistance of his friend.

"Here's the ladder," said Tucket; "now be careful."

"'M I goung upthlarer, or am I goung downth larer?" (Was he going up the
ladder or was he going down the ladder?)

Tucket proceeded to show him that the ladder was to be ascended; and,
directing him how to hold on, and how to place his feet, boosted him
gently, while a comrade above drew him also gently, until he was got
safely out.

"I did that perrywell!" said Frank. "Now lemme hell Sef!" (Now let me
help Seth.) "You're a bully fellel, Sef. I'll hellup ye!"

"Thank ye, boy," said Tucket; indulging him in the ludicrous notion that
_he_ was helping _his friends_. "Much obliged."

"Nod tall!" (Not at all,) said Frank. "Bully fellels like youme
mushellpitchuthth." (Must help each other.) "You unstan me, Sef?"

"Yes, I understand you. But keep quiet now, and come along with me."

So saying, the athletic soldier threw his arm affectionately around
Frank, hurried him away to his bunk, and tumbled him into it without much
ceremony.

Not unobserved, however. Captain Edney, who had had an anxious eye on
Frank of late, saw him retire to his quarters in this rather suspicious
manner.

"What's the matter with him?" he inquired of Seth.

"Nothing very serious, I believe, sir," replied Tucket, with the most
perfect seriousness. "A little seasick, or sunthin of the kind. He'll git
over it in a jiffy."

The waves were not running sufficiently high in the sound, however, to
render the theory of seasickness very plausible; and, to satisfy his
mind, Captain Edney approached Frank's bunk, putting to him the same
question.

Frank replied in scarcely intelligible language, with a swimming gaze,
tending to the cross-eyed, at the captain, "that there was nothing in
partiggler the mare with him, but he was very busy.

"Busy?" said Captain Edney, severely; "what do you mean?"

"Not busy; but _busy, busy_!" repeated Frank.

"You mean dizzy?"

"Yes, thad's it! bizzy." He had somehow got _boozy_ and _dizzy_ mixed
up.

"What makes you dizzy?"

"Boys gimme some drink, I donowat."

"The boys gave you some drink? You don't know what?--Tucket," said
Captain Edney, "what's all this? Who has been getting that boy drunk?"

Seth perceived that any attempt to disguise the truth would be futile,
except so far as it might be possible by ingenious subtleties to shield
his companions. The alarm, be believed, must have reached them by this
time, and have scattered the group at the whiskey barrel; so he answered
boldly,--

"The fact, sir, is jest this. We've been about half crazy for water, as
you know, for the past week or two; and men'll do almost any thing for
relief, under such circumstances. It got rumored around, somehow, that
there was plenty of water in the vessel, and the boys went to hunting
for't, and stumbled on the quartermaster's stores, and tapped a few
casks, I believe, mostly sirup, but one turned out to be whiskey. Dry as
we be, it's no more'n nat'ral 't we should drink a drop, under the
circumstances."

"Who tapped the casks?"

"That's more'n I know. I didn't see it done," said Seth.

"Who drank?"

"I drinked a little, for one; jest enough to know 't wan't water.

"And how many of you are drunk?" demanded Captain Edney.

"I a'n't, for one. But I believe Manly is a little how-come ye-so. I'll
say this for him, though: he had nothing to do with tapping the casks,
and he didn't seem to know what it was the boys gin him. He was dry; it
tasted sweet, and he drinked, nat'rally."

"Who gave him the whiskey?"

"I didn't notice, particularly," said Seth.

His accomplices were summoned, the quartermaster was notified, and the
affair was still further investigated. All confessed to having tasted the
liquor, but nobody knew who tapped the casks, or who had given the
whiskey to Frank, and all had the same plausible excuse for their
offence--intolerable thirst. It was impossible, where all were leagued
together, and all seemed equally culpable, to single out the ringleaders
for punishment, and it was not desirable to punish all. After a while,
therefore, the men were dismissed with a reprimand, and the subject
postponed indefinitely. That very afternoon forty barrels of water came
on board, and the men had no longer a pretext for tapping casks in the
hold; and a few days later was the battle, in which they wiped out by
their bravery all memory of past transgressions.

And Frank? The muss, as the boys called it, was over before his senses
recovered from their infinite bewilderment. He lay stupefied in his bunk,
which went whirling round and round with him, sinking down and down and
down, into void and bottomless chaos, where solid earth was none--type of
the drunkard's moral state, where virtue has lost its foot-hold, and
there is no firm ground of self-respect, and conscience is a loosened
ledge toppling treacherously, and there is no steady hope to stay his
horrible whirling and sinking. Stupefaction became sleep; with sleep
inebriation passed; and Frank awoke to misery.

It was evening. The boys were playing cards again by the light of the
ship's lantern. The noise and the glimmer reached Frank in his berth, and
called him back to time and space and memory. He remembered his watch,
his insolent reply to his old friend Sinjin, the scene in the hold of the
vessel, the sweet-tasting stuff, and the dizziness, a strange ladder
somewhere which he had either climbed or dreamed of climbing; and he
thought of his mother and sisters with a pang like the sting of a
scorpion. He could bear any thing but that.

He got up, determined not to let vain regrets torment him. He shut out
from his mind those pure images of home, the presence of which was
maddening to him. Having stepped so deep into guilt, he would not, he
could not, turn back. For Frank carried even into his vices that
steadiness of resolution which distinguishes such natures from those of
the Jack Winch stamp, wavering and fickle alike in good and ill. He
possessed that perseverance and purpose which go to form either the best
and noblest men, or, turned to evil, the most hardy and efficient
villains. Frank was no milksop.

"O, I'm all right," said he, with a reckless laugh, in reply to his
comrades' bantering. "Give me a chance there--can't you?"

For he was bent on winning back his watch. It seemed that nothing short
of the impossible could turn him aside from that intent. The players made
room for him, and he prepared his counters, and took up his cards.

"What do you do, Frank?" was asked impatiently; all were waiting for him.

What ailed the boy? He held his cards, but he was not looking at them.
His eyes were not on the board, nor on his companions, nor on any object
there. But he was staring with a pallid, intense expression--at
something. There were anguish, and alarm, and yearning affection in his
look. His hair was disordered, his countenance was white and amazed; his
comrades were astonished as they watched him.

"What's the matter, Frank? what's the matter?"

Their importunity brought him to himself.

"Did you see?" he asked in a whisper.

They had seen nothing that he had seen. Then it was all an illusion? a
fragment of his drunken dreams? But no drunken dream was ever like that.

"Yes, I'll play," he said, trying to collect himself thinking that he
would forget the illusion, and remembering he had his watch to win back.

But his heart failed him. His brain, his hand failed him also.
Absolutely, he could not play.

"Boys, I'm not very well. Excuse me--I can't play to-night."

And hesitatingly, like a person who has been stunned, he got up, and left
the place. Few felt inclined to jeer him. John Winch begun to say
something about "the parson going to pray," but it was frowned down.

Frank went on deck. The evening was mild, the wind was south, the sky was
clear and starry; it was like a May night in New England. The schooner
was riding at anchor in the sound; other vessels of the fleet lay around
her, rocking gently on the tide--dim hulls, with glowing, fiery eyes; and
here there was a band playing, and from afar off came the sound of solemn
singing, wafted on the wind. And the water was all a weltering waste of
waves and molten stars.

But little of all this Frank saw, or heard, or heeded. His soul was rapt
from him; he was lost in wonder and grief.

"Can you tell me any thing?" said a voice at his side.

"O, Atwater," said Frank, clutching his hand, "what does it mean? As I
was playing, I saw--I saw--every thing else disappeared; cards, counters,
the bench we were playing on, and there before me, as plainly as I ever
saw any thing in my life----"

"What was it?" asked Atwater, as Frank paused, unable to proceed.

"My sister Hattie." then said Frank, in a whisper of awe, "in her coffin!
in her shroud! But she did not seem dead at all. She was white as the
purest snow; and she smiled up at me--such a sweet, sad smile--O! O!"

And Frank wrung his hands.




                                XVIII.

                            BITTER THINGS.


Atwater could not have said much to comfort him, even if he had had the
opportunity. Some young fellows who had heard of Frank's losses at bluff,
and of his intoxication, saw him on deck, and came crowding around to
have some jokes with him. Atwater retired. And Frank, who had little
relish for jokes just then, went below, and got into his berth, where he
could be quiet, and think a little.

But thinking alone there with his conscience was torture to him. He
turned on his bed and looked, and saw Atwater sitting in his bunk, with
a book in his hand, reading by the dim light. The card-playing was going
on close by, and jokes and oaths and laughter were heard on all sides;
but Atwater heeded no one, and no one heeded him.

Only Frank: he regarded the still, earnest soldier a long time, silently
admiring his calmness and strength, so perfectly expressed in his mild,
firm, kindly, taciturn face, and wondering what book he had.

"What are you reading, Atwater?" he at length asked.

"My Bible," replied the soldier, giving him a grave, pleasant smile.

Frank felt pained,--almost jealous. I can't tell how it is, but we don't
like too well the sight of our companions cheerfully performing those
duties which we neglect or hate. Cain slew Abel for that cause.

"I didn't know you read that," said Frank.

"I never have too much. But my wife----" The soldier's voice always sunk
with a peculiarly tender thrill whenever he spoke of his bride of an
hour, or rather of a minute, whom he had wedded and left in such haste.
"She slipped a Bible in my knapsack unbeknown to me. I had a letter from
her to-day, in which she asked me if I read it. So I must read it, and
say yes, if only to please her. But the truth is," said Atwater, with a
brightening eye, "I find good in it I never thought was there before."

Frank had no word to answer him. Conscience-stricken, sick at heart,
miserable as he could be, he could only lie there in his berth, and look
at the brave soldier, and envy him.

He remembered how, not long ago, when his mother's wishes were more to
him than they had been of late, he had desired to read his Testament for
her sake, but had not dared to do so openly, fearing the sneers of his
comrades. And his mother, in every letter, repeated her injunction, "My
son, read your Testament;"--which had become to him as the idle wind. For
never now, either by stealth or openly, did he read that book.

Yet here was this plain, honest soldier,--many called him dull,--for whom
a word from one he loved was sufficient; he took the book as if that word
were law. And the looks, the jests, which Frank had feared, were nothing
to him.

Ashamed, remorseful, angry with himself, the boy lay thinking what he
should do. A few bitter moments only. Then, opening his knapsack, he took
out his Testament, and sitting in his bunk so that the light would shine
on the page, opened it and read. His companions saw, and were surprised
enough. But nobody jeered. What was the reason, I wonder?

And this was what Frank read. Written on a blank leaf, with a pencil, in
his own hand, were these words:--

    _"I do now solemnly promise my mother and sisters that, when I am
    in the army, I will never be guilty of swearing, or gambling, or
    drinking, or any other mean thing I know they would not approve of.
    And I do solemnly pledge my word that they shall sooner hear of my
    death than of my being guilty of any of those things._ Frank Manly."

And beneath those words were written these also, in his mother's hand:--

    _"O heavenly Father! I beseech Thee, help my dear son to keep his
    promises. Give him strength to resist temptation. Save him, I pray
    Thee, from those who kill the body, but above all from those who kill
    the soul. If it be Thy gracious will, let him pass safely through
    whatever evils may beset him, and return to us uncontaminated and
    unhurt. But if this may not be, then, O, our Saviour! take him, take
    my precious child, I implore Thee, pure unto Thyself. And help us all
    so to live, that we shall meet again in joy and peace, if not here,
    hereafter. Amen._"

Frank did not turn that page, but sat looking at it long. And he saw
something besides the words there written. He saw himself once more a boy
at home, the evening before his enlistment; pencil in hand, writing that
solemn promise; his mother watching near; the bright face of his sister
Helen yonder, shadowed by the thought of his going; the little invalid
Hattie on the lounge, her sad face smiling very much as he saw it smiling
out just now from the flowers in the coffin.

He saw his mother also, pencil in hand, writing that prayer,--her
countenance full of anxious love and tears, her gentle lips tremulous
with blessings. He saw her come to his bed in the moonlight night, when
last he slept there with little Willie at his side, as maybe he will
never sleep again. And he heard her counsels and entreaties, as she knelt
there beside him; and felt her kisses; and lived over once more the
thoughts of that night after she was gone, and when he lay sleepless with
the moonlight on his bed.

But here he was now--not away there in the room at home, but here, among
soldiers, on shipboard. And the pure, innocent Frank of that night lived
no more. And all those promises had been broken, one by one. And he knew
not what to do, he was so miserable.

Yet--the sudden thought warmed and thrilled his breast--he might be pure
as then, he might be innocent as then, and all the stronger for having
known what temptation was, and fallen, and risen again. And he might keep
those promises in a higher and nobler sense than he dreamed of when he
made them; and his mother's prayer might, after all, be answered.

"Frank," said the voice of Captain Edney. He had come to visit the
quarters of his company, and, seeing the boy sitting there so absorbed,
his young face charged with thought and grief, had stopped some moments
to regard him, without speaking.

Frank started, almost like a guilty person, and gave the military salute
rather awkwardly as he got upon his feet. He had been secretly dreading
Captain Edney's displeasure, and now he thought he was to be called to an
account.

"I have something for you in my room," said the officer, with a look of
serious reserve, unlike the cheerful, open, brotherly glance with which
he formerly regarded the drummer boy.

Frank accompanied him, wondering what that something was. A reproof for
his drunkenness, or for gambling away the watch, he expected more than
any thing else; and his heart was heavy by the way.

"Did you know a mail came on board to-day?" said the captain, as they
entered his stateroom.

Frank remembered hearing Atwater say he had that day got a letter from
his wife. But his mind had been too much agitated by other things to
consider the subject then.

"No, sir, I didn't know it."

"How happens that? You are generally one of the most eager to receive
letters."

Frank hung his head. What answer could he make? That he was intoxicated
in his berth when the mail arrived? A sweat of shame covered him. He was
silent.

"Well, well, my boy!"--Captain Edney patted him gently on the
shoulder,--"you are forgiven this time. I am sure you did not mean to
get drunk."

"O, sir!" began Frank, but stopped there, over whelmed by the captain's
kindness.

"I know all about it," said Captain Edney. "Tucket assures me that he and
the rest were more to blame than you. But, for the sake of your friends,
Frank, take warning by this experience, and never be betrayed into any
thing of the kind again. I trust you. And here, my boy, are your
letters."

He put half a dozen into Frank's hands. And Frank, as he took them, felt
his very heart melt within him with gratitude and contrition. He was not
thinking so much of the letters as of Captain Edney and his watch.

"Forgive me; forgive me!" he humbly entreated.

"I do, freely, as I told you," said the captain.

"But--the watch you gave me!"

"Dear boy!"--the captain put his arm kindly about him,--"haven't I always
told you I knew nothing about the watch? I did not give it to you, nor do
I know what generous friend did."

"It is true, then?" Frank looked up with a half-glad, half-disappointed
expression. He was disappointed to know that so good a friend was not
the donor of the watch, and yet glad that he had not wronged _him_ by
gambling it away. "Then, Captain Edney, I wish you would tell me what to
do. I have done the worst and meanest thing. I have lost the watch."

And he went on to relate how he had lost it. Captain Edney heard him with
deep concern. He had all along felt a sense of responsibility for the boy
Mrs. Manly had intrusted to him, as well as a genuine affection for him;
he had therefore double cause to be pained by this unexpected
development.

"Frank," said he, "I am glad I did not first hear this story from any
body else; and I am glad that the proof of your thorough repentance
accompanies the confession. That breaks the pain of it. To-morrow I will
see what can be done about the watch. Perhaps we shall get it again.
To-night I have only one piece of advice to give. Don't think of winning
it back with cards."

"Then how shall I ever get it?" asked Frank, in despair. For he did not
wish his mother to know of the circumstances; and to buy the watch back
when he was paid off again, would be to withhold money which he felt
belonged to her.

Captain Edney could not solve the difficulty; and with that burden upon
his mind, Frank returned to his bunk with his letters.

He bent over them with doubt and foreboding. The first he selected was
from his mother. As he opened it, his eye caught these words:--

    "... He says that you beat some of the worst men in the regiment at
    their own vices. He says you are generally smoking, except when you
    take out your pipe to swear. According to his account, you are one of
    the profanest of the profane. And he tells of your going with others
    to steal turkeys of a secessionist in Maryland, and how you got out
    of the scrape by the most downright lying. He gives the story so
    circumstantially that I cannot think he invented it, but am compelled
    to believe there is something in it. O, my child, is it possible? Ill
    as your sister is, to hear these things of you is a greater trial
    than the thought of parting with her so soon. Have you forgotten your
    promises to me? Have you forgotten----"

Frank could read no more. He gnashed his teeth together, and held them
tight, like a person struggling against some insupportable pain. His
sister so ill? That was Hattie. He saw the name written farther back. "He
says,"--"according to his account,"--who was it sending home such stories
about him? He glanced up the page, until his eye fell upon the name.

    "_John Winch_----"

O, but this was too much! To be accused of swearing by _him_! To be
charged with stealing by one who went with him to steal, and did not,
only because he was a coward! Frank felt an impulse to fall instantly
upon that wretched youth, and choke the unmanly life out of him. John
was at that moment writing a letter under the lantern, probably filling
it with more tales about him;--and couldn't he tell some great ones
now!--grinning, too, as he wrote; quite unaware what a tiger was
watching him, athirst for his blood.

Yes. Winch had got letters to-day, and, learning what a lively sensation
his stories of Frank created, had set to work to furnish the sequel to
them; giving interesting particulars up to latest dates.

N. B. He was writing on the head of Frank's drum, which he had borrowed
for the purpose. He had written his previous letters on the same. It was
a good joke, he thought, to get the boy he was abusing to contribute some
needful assistance towards the work; it added a flavor to treachery. But
Frank did not so much enjoy the pleasantry. He was wild to be beating the
tattoo, not on the said drum, but on the head of the rogue who was
writing on the drum, and with his fist for drumsticks.

But he reflected, "I shall only be getting deeper into trouble, if I
pitch into him. Besides, he is a good deal bigger than I,"--a powerful
argument in favor of forbearance. "I'll wait; but I'll be revenged on him
some way."

Little did he know--and as little did Winch surmise--how that revenge was
to be accomplished. But it was to be, and soon.

For the present, Frank had other things to think of. He read of Hattie's
fading away; of her love for him; and the tender messages she
sent,--perhaps the last she would ever send to him. And he remembered his
wonderful vision of her that evening. And tears came to cool and soften
his heart.

And so we quit him for the night, leaving him alone with his letters, his
grief, and his remorse.




                                XIX.

                         SETH GETS "RILED."


There is in the life of nearly every young person a turning-point of
destiny. It may be some choice which he makes for himself, or which
others make for him, whether of occupation, or companion, or rule of
life. It may be some deep thought which comes to him in solitary
hours,--some seed of wisdom dropped from the lips of teacher, parent, or
friend, sinking silently as starlight into the soul, and taking immortal
root there, unconsciously, perhaps, even to himself. Now it is the
quickening of the spirit at the sight of God's beautiful universe--a
rapture of love awakened by a morning in spring, by the blue infinity of
the sky, by the eternal loneliness and sublimity of the sea. Or, in some
moment of susceptibility, the smiles of dear home faces, the tender trill
of a voice, a surge of solemn music, may have power over the young heart
to change its entire future. And again, it is some vivid experience of
temptation and suffering that shapes the great hereafter. For the
Divinity that maketh and loveth us is forever showering hints of beauty
and blessedness to win back our wandering affections,--dropping cords of
gentlest influences to draw home again all hearts that will come.

Then the spirit of the youth rises up within him, and says,--

"Whereas I was blind, now I am beginning to see. And whereas I was weak,
now, with God's help, I will strive for better things. Long enough have I
been the companion of folly, and all the days of my life have I been a
child. But now I perceive that I am to become a man, and I will
henceforth think the thoughts and do the deeds of a man."

Such an experience had come to Frank; and thus, on the new morning, as he
beheld it rise out of the sea, his spirit spake unto him.

He answered his mother's letter, confessing that his conduct had afforded
only too good a foundation for Jack's stories.

"The trouble, I think, is," said he, "that I wrote my promises first
with _a pencil_. They did get a little _rubbed out_ I own. I have since
taken _a pen_, and written them all over again, word by word, and letter
by letter, _with ink_. So you may depend upon it, dear mother, that not
another syllable of my pledge will _get blurred_ or _dimmed_, either on
the _leaf of my Testament_; or on the _page of my heart_. Only _believe
this_, and then you may believe as much as you please of what J. W.
writes."

Not a word to the same _J. W._ did Frank say of the base thing he had
done; and as for the revenge he had vowed, the impulse to wreak it in
tigerish fashion had passed like a night-fog before the breezy purity of
the new life that had dawned.

In a couple of days Frank had mostly recovered his equanimity. The loss
of the watch was still a source of anxious grief to him, however; less on
his own account, let me say, than for the sake of the unknown giver. Nor
had he, as yet, found any opportunity to atone for his rudeness to the
old drum-major, who had lately, for some cause, gone over to the other
wing of the regiment on board the steamer, so that Frank yearned in vain
to go to him and humbly beg forgiveness for his fault.

"What has taken Mr. Sinjin away?" he asked of his friend, the young
corporal.

Gray shrugged his shoulders, and looked at Frank as if he had a good mind
to tell a secret.

"How should I know? He's such a crotchety old boy. I don't think he could
account for his conduct himself. He asked permission to remove his
quarters to the steamer, and got it; pretending, I believe, that he could
have better accommodations there."

"And _I_ believe," said Frank, "that you know more about it than you
will own."

"Well, I have my suspicions. Shall I be candid with you, Frank? and
you'll forgive me if I hurt your feelings?"

"Yes," said Frank, anxiously.

"Well, then," said Gray. "I suppose you know Sinjin had taken a great
fancy to you."

"I thought at one time he liked me."

"At one time? I'll wager my head he was liking you the most when he
appeared to the least--he's such a queer old cove! I've heard he was
disappointed in love once, and that some friend of his proved traitor to
him; and that's what has made him so shy of showing any thing like
affection for any body. Well, he heard of your gambling, and went to talk
with you about it, and you said something to him that wounded him so I
think he couldn't bear the sight of you afterwards."

The boy's heart was wrung by this revelation. What reason, he demanded to
know, had Gray for thinking thus?

"Because I know the man, and because I know something which I think you
ought to know." Gray drew Frank confidentially aside. "He may
anathematize me for betraying his secret; but I think it is time to do
him justice, even against his will. Frank, it was Old Sinjin who gave you
the watch."

Frank's heart leaped up, but fell again instantly, convulsed with pain
and regret.

"Are you sure, Gray?"

"Sure as this: I was with him when he bought the watch in Annapolis. I
helped him to do it up in the wrappers. And it was I that pitched it into
the tent at you Thanksgiving-day evening. That is being pretty
sure--isn't it?"

"And he knows that I lost it?" said Frank.

"He had just heard so when he went to speak with you about gambling."

"And I told him it was none of his business," said Frank, remorsefully.
"O, he will never forgive me now; and who can blame him? Good old man!
dear, good old man! My mother told me to be always very kind to him--and
how have I repaid his goodness to me!"

It seemed now that the boy could not control his impatience until once
more he had seen his benefactor, confessed all to him, and heard him say
he was forgiven for his unkindness and ingratitude.

But the old drummer still remained on board the steamer. And Frank had
only this faith to comfort him--that if his repentance was sincere, and
he henceforth did only what was right, all would yet be well.

The next morning he was viewing the sunrise from the deck, when Seth
Tucket came to his side.

"'Once more upon the waters! yet once more! and the waves bound beneath
me as the steed that knows his rider--welcome to their roar!' Only they
don't bound much, and they don't roar to-day," said Seth. "The boys have
found out it's Sunday; and as we're to have a battle 'fore the week's
out, they seem to think it's about as well to remember there's a
difference in days. How are you, Manly?"

"Better," said Frank, with a smile.

"Happy?"--with a grimace meant to be sympathizing, but which was droll
enough to be laughable.

"Happier than I was," said the drummer boy. "Happier than I've been for a
long time."

"What! not happier, now you've lost every thing, than when you was hevin'
such luck at play?"

"I wasn't happy then. I thought I was. But I was only excited. I am
happier now that I've lost every thing; it's true, Tucket."

"Well, I swan to man! I thought you was mourning over your luck, and I
was bringing ye sunthin' to kind o' cheer ye up. Glad to hear you've no
need. Fine day, but rather windy. Wonder what's the time!"

So saying, Seth drew out the watch, and regarded it with provoking
coolness.

"I'm plagued ef the darned thing hain't run down! Say, Frank, ye couldn't
think of throwin' in the key, too--could ye? I can't wind her up without
a key."

Frank choked a little, but his look was cheerful, as he put his hand in
his pocket, and, without a word, delivered over to the new owner of the
watch the key also.

"Thank ye; much obleeged;" and Seth "wound her up" with extraordinary
parade. Then he shook it, and held it to his ear. Then he said, "All
right! she's a puttin' in again, lickety-switch! Good watch, that." Then
he set it "by guess." Then he was returning it to his pocket, when a new
thought seemed to strike him.

"What do ye do for a watch-pocket, Frank? Gov'ment don't provide
watch-pockets, seems."

"I made one for myself," said Frank.

"Sho now! ye didn't, though--did ye? What with?"

"With a needle and thread I brought from home, and with another old
pocket," said Frank.

"Well, you air the cutest! Say, what'll ye tax to make me one? I don't
care to hev it very large; a small watch, so."

A dry proposal, that. It was not enough to furnish watch and watch-key;
but Frank was required also to provide a watch-pocket.

"What do ye say?" asked Seth, with a shrewd squint.

"I'll make you one for nothing," said Frank.

"Come, by darn!" exclaimed Seth; "none o' that, now!"

"None of what?"

"You're a-trying my disposition!"--And, indeed, Tucket was visibly moved;
there was a tear in his eye--a bona fide tear. "I've a good disposition,
nat'rally; but I shall git riled ef you say much more. I've got your
watch, and that's all right. I've got the key, and that's all right, too.
But when you talk of makin' a watch-pocket for nothin', I tell ye a saint
couldn't stand that."

Frank, who thought he had learned to know pretty well the man's oddities,
was puzzled this time.

"I didn't mean to offend you, Tucket."

"No, you didn't. And now see here, Manly. We'll jest compromise this
matter, ef you've no 'bjection. I've no watch-pocket, and you've no
watch. So, s'posin' you carry the watch for me, and tell me what time it
is when I ax ye? That won't be too much trouble--will it?"

"Are you in earnest?" asked Frank.

"Yes, I be, clean up to the hub. The truth is, I can't carry that watch
with any kind o' comfort, and I'm bent on gitt'n' it off my hands, ef I
hef to throw it overboard. Here! It's yours; take it, and be darned!"
said Seth.

"I was going to propose to you,"--stammered Frank from his too full
heart,--"to take the watch, and pay you for it when I can."

"Ez for that the pay's no consequence. I was more to blame than you; and
the loss ought to be mine."

"But----" insisted Frank.

"No buts! Besides, I never make bargains Sundays." And Seth turned away,
abruptly, leaving the watch in Frank's hand.

The boy would have called him back, but a rush of emotions--joy,
gratitude, contrition--choked his voice. A dash of tears fell upon the
watch as he gazed on it, and pressed it, and would have kissed it, had he
been alone. It was his again; and that, after all, was an unalloyed
satisfaction. He could lie awake nights and study days to devise means to
reward Seth's generosity. And he would do it, he resolved. And Mr. Sinjin
should know that he had recovered the prize, and that he held it all the
more precious since he had found out the giver.




                                 XX.

                       SUNDAY BEFORE THE BATTLE.


Frank was leaning over the rail of the schooner gazing down at the
beautiful flashing water, and thinking of home. It was Sunday there, too,
he remembered; and he could almost hear the sweet-toned bells solemnly
chiming, and see the atmosphere of Sabbath peace brooding over field and
village, and feel the serious gladness of the time. The folks were
getting ready for church. There was his father, shaved and clean, in his
black stock and somewhat threadbare, but still respectable, best coat.
And there was Helen, bright and blooming, with her bonnet on, and with
her Bible and question-book in her hand, setting out for the morning
Sunday-school. His mother was not going to meeting; she was to stay at
home with Hattie, and read to her, or, what was better, comfort her with
affectionate, gentle, confiding words. But Willie was going with Helen,
as he seemed anxious, by strut, and hurry, and loud, impatient talk, to
let every body know. And Frank wished from his heart that he could be
with them that day; and he wondered, did they miss him, and were they
thinking of him, far off here in Carolina waters, alone in the midst of
such crowds of men?

"Wouldn't I like to be in that boat, boys!" said Ellis. "Don't she come
dancing on the waves!"

"She's pulling towards us," said Atwater. "I believe they're coming
aboard."

"O, Atwater!" cried Frank, as the boat drew near. "There's a face there I
know! One you know, too!" And he clapped his hands with joy; for it was a
face he had seen in Boston, and he felt that it came with news from home.

The rare brightness kindled in Atwater's eyes as he gazed, and remembered.
The boat came alongside, and hailed the schooner. And a man in the bow,
as it rose upon a wave, seizing hold of the ladder of tarred rope,
stepped quickly upon it, and came on board, cordially received by Captain
Edney, who appeared to have been expecting him.

"It's the minister that married Atwater!" the rumor ran round among the
troops. "What's his name, Frank?"

"His name's Egglestone," said Frank, his heart swelling with anxiety to
speak with him.

The minister had come on a mission of Christian love to the soldiers of
the expedition; and having, the day before, sent word to Captain Edney of
his arrival, he had in return received an invitation to visit the
schooner and preach to the men this Sunday morning.

A previous announcement that religious services would probably be held on
board, had excited little interest; the troops surmising that the
chaplain of the regiment, who had never been with them enough to win
their hearts or awaken their attention, was to rejoin them, and preach
one of his formal discourses.

But far different was the feeling when it was known that the "man that
married Atwater" was to conduct the exercises. Then the soldiers
remembered that they were New Englanders; and that here also God's
Sabbath shed its silent influence, far though they were from the rude
hills and rocky shores of home.

'Tis curious how a little leaven of memory will sometimes work in the
heart. Here was half a regiment of men, who had come to fight the battles
of their country. As with one accord they had left the amenities of
peaceful life behind them, and assumed the rugged manners of war. Of late
they had seemed almost oblivious of the fact that God, and Christian
worship, and Christian rules of life were still in existence. But to-day
they were reminded. To-day the child was awakened--the child that had
known the wholesome New England nurture, that had sat on mother's knee,
and had its earliest thought tuned to the music of Sunday bells; the
child that lay hidden in the deep heart of every man of them, the same
lived again, and looked forth from the eyes, and smiled once more in the
softened visage of the man. And the man was carried back, far from these
strange scenes, far from the relentless iron front of war, across alien
lands, and over stormy seas,--carried back by the child yearning
within,--to the old door yard, the village trees, the family fireside,
the family pew, and the hushed congregation.

It was Mr. Egglestone's aim, in the beginning of the sermon he preached
that morning, to remind the soldiers of their childhood. "It is a
thought," he said, "which almost moves me to tears,--that all these hardy
frames around me were but the soft, warm, dimpled forms of so many
infants once. And nearly every one of you was, I suppose, watched over by
tender parents, who beheld, with mutual joy, the development of each
beautiful faculty. The first step taken by the babe's unassisted feet,
the first articulate word spoken by the little lisping lips,--what
delight they gave, and how long were they remembered! And what thoughts
of the child's future came day and night to those parents' breasts! and
of what earnest prayers was it the subject! And of all the parents of all
those children who are here as men to-day, not one foresaw a scene like
this; none dreamed that they were raising up patriots to fight for
freedom's second birth on this continent, in the most stupendous of civil
wars.

"But Providence leads us by strange ways, and by hidden paths we come
upon brinks of destiny which no prophet foresaw. Now the days of peace
are over. Many of you who were children are now the fathers of children.
But your place is not at home to watch over them as you were watched
over, but to strive by some means to work out a harder problem than any
ever ciphered on slates at school."

Then he explained to his audience the origin of the war; for he believed
it best that every soldier should understand well the cause he was
fighting for. He spoke of the compact of States, which could not be
rightfully broken. He spoke of the serpent that had been nursed in the
bosom of those States. He related how slavery, from being at first a
merely tolerated evil, which all good men hoped soon to see abolished,
had grown arrogant, aggressive, monstrous; until, angered by resistance
to its claims, it had deluged the land with blood. Such was the nature of
an institution based upon selfishness and wrong. And such was the bitter
result of building a LIE into the foundations of our national structure.
Proclaiming to the world, as the first principle of our republican form
of government, that "all men are created free and equal," we had at the
same time held a race in bondage.

"Neither nation nor individual," said he, "can in any noble sense
succeed, with such rotten inconsistency woven into its life. It was this
shoddy in the garment of our Goddess of Liberty, which has occasioned the
rent which those needles there"--pointing to some bayonets--"must mend.
And it is this shoddy of contradiction and infidelity which makes many a
man's prosperity, seemingly substantial at first, promising warmth and
wear, fall suddenly to pieces, and leave his soul naked to the winds of
heaven."

It was not so much a sermon as a friendly, affectionate, earnest talk
with the men, whom he sought to counsel and encourage. There was a
melting love in his tones which went to their inmost souls. And when he
exhorted them to do the work of men who feared God, but not any mortal
foe, who dreaded dishonor, but not death, he made every heart ring with
the stirring appeal.

Then suddenly his voice sank to a tone of solemn sweetness, as he said,--

"Peace! O, my brothers! struggle and violence are not the all of life.
But God's love, the love of man to man, holiness, blessedness,--it is for
these realities we are created, and placed here on this beautiful earth,
under this blue sky, with human faces and throbbing human hearts around
us. And the end of all is PEACE. But only through fiery trial and valiant
doing can any peace worth the name come to us; and to make the future
truly blessed, we must make the present truly brave."

Before and after the discourse the men sang some of the good old tunes
which all had been familiar with at home, and which descended like warm
rain upon the ground where the scattered seed of the sermon fell.

The services ended, Mr. Egglestone went freely among the soldiers, and
conversed with any who wanted to have speech of him; especially with
Atwater; whose wife he had seen a few days before leaving Boston, where
she came to see him, having learned who he was, and that he was about
departing for the army in which her husband served.

After long waiting, Frank's turn came at last. They sat down on a bench
apart; and the clergyman told him he had lately seen his mother, and that
she had charged him with many messages. And one was a message of sorrow.

"She had heard unwelcome news of you," he said, holding the boy's hand.
"And she wished me to say to you what I could to save you from what she
dreads most--what any wise, loving mother dreads most for her child. But
is there need of my saying any thing? By what your captain tells me, and
still more by what your face tells me, I am convinced that I may spare my
words. You have had in your own experience a better lesson than any body
can teach you. You have erred, you have suffered. And"--he took a letter
from his pocket--"I have something here to make you remember what you
have learned--I think, for always."

Frank had listened, humbly, tremblingly, full of tears which he did not
shed for the eyes that were about them. But now he started, and took the
letter eagerly. "What's it? any bad news?" for he felt an alarming
presentiment.

"I do not think it is bad. If you had seen what I saw, you would not
think so either." Mr. Egglestone's manner was exceedingly tender, and his
voice was liquid and low. "All is well with your folks at home; both with
those who are there as you left them, and with the one whose true home is
not there any longer, but in a brighter land, we trust."

"O!"--it was almost a cry of pain that broke from Frank. "Hattie?"

"Yes, Frank; it is of Hattie I am speaking. She has passed away. I was
present, and saw her depart. And she was very calm and happy, and her
last look was a smile, and her last words were words of hope and love.
The letter will tell you all about it. I recall one thing, however, which
I will repeat, since it so nearly concerns you. They were speaking of
you. And she said, 'Maybe I shall see him before any of you will! Yes!'
she added, her face shining already like a spirit's with the joyful
thought, 'tell him how I love him; and say that I shall be with him when
he does not know!' And I am sure that, if it is possible for souls that
have escaped from these environments of flesh to be near us still, she
will often be near you, loving you, influencing you. Perhaps she is
present now, and hears all we say, and sees how badly you feel, and
thinks you would not feel quite so badly if you knew that she is happy."

Frank would have spoken, to ask some earnest question which arose in his
heart; but his feelings were too much agitated, and he could not trust
his voice.

"We will believe such things are true of our lost ones," Mr. Egglestone
said, with a parting pressure of the boy's hand. "For, with that faith,
we shall surely try so to live that, when they approach us, they will not
be repelled; and thus we will be guarded from evil, if not by any direct
influence of theirs, then by our own reverence and love for them."

With this he took his leave. And Frank crept into his bunk, and turned
away his face, before he dared to open and read his mother's letter.

In that letter there were no reproofs for his misconduct. But in place of
such his mother had written the simple story of Hattie's death, with many
affecting little details, showing her thoughtful tenderness for all, her
cheerful sweetness, and her love for Frank. Then followed affectionate
messages from them at home, who were very lonely now, and longed to have
him with them--all which had a power beyond any reproaches to win the boy
back to that purity of heart and life which belonged to his
home-affections, and was safe when they were strong, and was imperilled
when they were forgotten.

"O, to think," he said to himself, "only this morning I was imagining how
it looked at home to-day--and it is all so different! I am gone, and now
Hattie is gone too!"




                                 XXI.

                            UP THE SOUND.


So passed that Sunday, memorable to the expedition; for it ushered in the
battle-week.

Besides the transports and store-ships belonging to the coast division, a
squadron of United States gunboats, under command of Commodore
Goldsborough, had rendezvoused at the inlet. These were to take care of
the rebel fleet, attend to the shore batteries, and prepare the way for
the operation of the land forces.

All the vessels destined to take part in the advance were now over the
bulkhead, in Pamlico Sound. On Monday, the sailing vessels were hauled
into position, each astern of its steam-consort, by which it was to be
towed. Sixty-five vessels of various classes were to participate in the
movement; while upwards of fifty were to remain behind at the inlet,
holding in reserve sixty days' supply of stores for the entire
expedition.

The stay at the inlet had occasionally been enlivened by the arrival of
refugees, white and black, from the coast of North Carolina. Some of
these were citizens escaped from the persecutions meted out by the rebels
to all who still remained loyal to the old flag. Some were deserters from
the confederate army, in which they had been compelled to serve. Others
were slaves fleeing from bondage to freedom.

Again, on Monday, a sail-boat hove in sight, and, being overhauled by one
of the gunboats, proved to be loaded with these fugitives. They were
mostly negroes; two of whom were bright, intelligent boys, who gave such
evidence of joy at their escape, of loyalty to the Union, and of a
thorough knowledge of the country, that Flag-officer Goldsborough
retained them for the information they might be able to give, while the
rest were sent ashore.

And now, general orders were read to the troops, announcing to them that
they were soon to land on the coast of North Carolina, and reminding them
that they were there, not to pillage or destroy private property, but to
subdue the rebellion, and to maintain the Constitution and the laws.

Monday and Tuesday were occupied with preparations. But early Wednesday
morning--more than three weeks after the arrival of the expedition at the
inlet--the signals to weigh anchor and set sail were given.

Commodore Goldsborough's gunboat took the lead. Other vessels of the
naval squadron followed. Then came the transports--a goodly spectacle.

"''Twere wuth ten years of peaceful life, one glance at our array,'"
observed the poetical Tucket.

Each brigade formed three columns of steamers and sailing vessels in tow;
and brigade followed brigade. The shallow water of the sound was scarcely
ruffled by a breeze. It lay like a field of silver before the furrows of
the fleet. The tall, taper masts of the schooners pointed like needles to
the sky under which they moved. The aisles between the three columns of
ships were unbroken through the whole length of the fleet, which extended
for two miles over the surface of the sound, and advanced with such slow
and uniform motion, each vessel keeping its position, that now all seemed
moving as one, and again all seemed at rest, with the waters of the sound
flowing past their steady keels.

As yet, the destination of the fleet was unknown. As it proceeded at
first southward and westward, the rumor grew that Newbern was to be
attacked. But it was only the course of the channel which thus far shaped
its course; and after a few zigzag turns, the cause of which was
inexplicable to the green ones, ignorant of the shoals, it began to steer
due north. Then all doubts with regard to its destination vanished.

"Roanoke Island, boys! Roanoke Island!" was echoed from mouth to mouth on
board the schooner.

The day was beautiful--only a light breeze blowing, and a few light
clouds floating in the blue ether. And now the vessels at the inlet began
to sink below the horizon; first, the hulls, then the decks disappeared;
and lastly, spars and rigging went down behind the curve of the sphere,
and were visible no more to the clearest glass.

At the same time emerged in the west the main land of North Carolina. At
first, tall cypresses rose to view, growing as it were "out of a mirror."
Then appeared the long swampy shores, lying dim and low, with here and
there a miserable fish-house, the sole trace of human habitation.

At sundown the fleet was within ten miles of Roanoke Island. The signal
from the flag-ship was given, at which the vessels of each brigade drew
together, the clank of running-out chains sounded along the lines, the
anchors plashed, and the fleet was moored for the night.

As yet there were no signs of rebels. What the morrow, what the night,
might bring forth was all uncertainty. The night set in dark enough. But
soon the sky cleared, the moon came out resplendent, and the stars looked
down from their far eternal calm upon the evanescent shows of mortal
conflict--the batteries of the rebellion yonder, and here the fleet, no
more than the tiniest shells to those distant, serene, awful eyes of
Deity. And Frank looked up at the stars; and the spirit within him said,
"They will shine the same to-morrow night, and the next night, and
forever; and whether there is war or peace, whether victory comes or
defeat, and whether thou, child, art living or art dead, they know not,
they change not, neither do they rejoice or mourn." And the thought sank
deep into the heart of the boy as he retired to his bed, and closed his
eyes to sleep.

A sharp lookout was kept for the rebel gunboats all night, but they never
made their appearance. The next morning the weather was heavy--promising
rain. At eight o'clock, however, the signal to weigh anchor--the Union
Jack at the foremast, and the American flag at the stern--was telegraphed
from the flag-ship, and repeated by the flag-ship of each brigade. Again
the fleet got in motion, approaching the entrance to Croatan Sound. The
water was shoal, and progress was slow, and soon it came on to rain. It
was a dismal day; rain on the decks, rain on the water, rain on the
marshy shores of the main land, and over the forests beyond, where the
ghosts of blasted trees stretched their naked arms despairingly to the
dripping clouds. And now a low swampy point of Roanoke Island pushes out
into the dim water, under a veil of rain.

At about noon, most of the vessels came to anchor. But some of the
gunboats advanced to the entrance of Croatan Sound, and reconnoitred. The
rebel fleet was discovered, drawn up in line of battle on the west side
of the island, awaiting the conflict. A fog coming on, active operations
against the enemy were postponed, and the gunboats, withdrawing also,
came to anchor for the night.

During the day, several of the armed steamers, which had served as
transports, prepared to cooperate with the naval squadron in their true
character as gunboats; the troops on board of them being distributed
among other vessels of the coast division. Among the steamers thus
cleared was the schooner's consort; and thus it happened that Mr. Sinjin
returned to his old quarters, to the great joy of the drummer boy, whose
heart burned within him at the thought of meeting his old friend once
more, after their unhappy parting.

They met, indeed; but the schooner was now so crowded, and such was the
stir on board, that Frank scarce found an opportunity to offer the
veteran his hand, and get one look out of those serious gray eyes.

The drummers being assembled, the surgeon came to them, and gave each a
strip of red flannel to tie on his arm as a token, at the same time
informing them that, when the troops landed, they were to go with him and
help carry the wounded.

"This begins to look like serious business, my boy," said the old
drummer, kindly, as he stooped to assist Frank in tying on his badge.

His touch was very gentle. Frank's breast began to swell. But before he
could speak the old man had disappeared in the crowd.

"He don't know yet that I know he gave me the watch," thought the boy,
"and he wouldn't look and see that I have it again."

Then he regarded the red token on his arm, and remembered that they all
had other things to think of now.

Picket-boats were out in advance all night, at the entrance to Croatan
Sound, in the darkness and fog, keeping watch for the enemy. No enemy
appeared. Towards morning, however, the fog lifting, two rebel steamers
were seen hastily taking to their heels, having come down in the
obscurity to see what they could see.

It was Friday, the 7th of February. The morning was beautiful; the
sunrise came in clouds of glory; there was as yet no taint of battle in
the purity of the air. It was a lovely day for a sea fight. Frank climbed
into the rigging to observe.

At ten o'clock Goldsborough's gunboats could be seen making their way,
one by one, cautiously, through the narrow channel between marshy islands
into Croatan Sound. There were nineteen of them. The gunboats of the
coast division followed, six in number. The S. R. Spaulding, to which
Burnside had transferred his flag, next went in, making signals for the
transports to follow.

Far off a gun was heard. It was only a signal fired by a rebel steamer to
announce the approach of the squadron; but it thrilled the hearts of the
troops waiting to go into battle.

An hour later another cannon boomed, nearer and louder. It was a shot
tossed from the commodore's flag-ship at the rebels, who promptly
responded.

The flag-ship now hoisted the signal,--

"THIS DAY OUR COUNTRY EXPECTS EVERY MAN TO DO HIS DUTY."

From ship to ship, from man to man, from heart to heart, thrilled the
electric message. It was greeted by cheers and the thunder of guns. This
was at half past eleven o'clock.




                                XXII.

                     THE ATTACK OF THE GUNBOATS.


The spars of the transports were beginning to be thronged. Corporal Gray
brought up a glass to Frank.

"O, good!" cried Frank. "Is it yours?"

"No; it belongs to Mr. Sinjin."

"Did he send it to me?"

"Not he! But he had been casting that sharp eye of his up at you, and I
knew what he meant when he said, 'Corporal, there's a good lookout from
the masthead, if you'd like to take a glass up there."

"Did he really mean it for me, after all my bad treatment of him?" said
Frank. "Bless his old heart!"

With his naked eye for the general view, and the glass to bring out the
details, Frank enjoyed a rare spectacle that day. Roanoke Island and its
surroundings lay outspread before him like a map. On the west of it was
Croatan Sound, separating it from the marshes and forests of the main
land. On the east was Roanoke Sound, a much narrower sheet of water;
beyond which stretched that long, low, interminable strip of land which
forms the outer coast, or seaboard, of this double-coasted country. Still
east of that glimmered the blue rim of the Atlantic, a dozen miles away.
At about the same distance, on the north, beyond Roanoke Island and the
two sounds each side of it, opened the broad basin of Albemarle Sound,
like an inland sea. The island itself appeared to be some twelve miles in
its greatest length, and two or three in breadth, indented with numerous
creeks and coves, and forming a slight curve about Croatan Sound. It was
within this curve that the naval battle took place. It had now fairly
begun.

At noon the flag-officer's ship displayed the signal for closer action,
and the engagement soon became general.

The enemy's gunboats, seven in number, showed a disposition to fight at
long range, retreating up the sound as the fleet advanced--a movement
which soon brought the latter under the fire of a battery that opened
from the shore.

The air, which had previously been perfectly clear that morning, was now
loaded with clouds of smoke, which puffed from a hundred guns, and
surging up from the vessels of the squadron, from the rebel gunboats, and
from the shore battery, rolled away in broken, sun-illumined masses,
wafted by a light northeasterly breeze.

The soldiers in the rigging of the transports could see the flashes burst
from the cannons' mouths, the spouted smoke, the shots throwing up high
in air the water or sand as they struck, or coming skip-skip across the
sound, the shells exploding, and the terrible roar of the battle filled
the air.

For a time the fire of the attack was about equally divided between the
rebel steamers and the fortification on the island. It was soon
discovered, however, that boats had been sunk and a line of piles driven
across the channel abreast of the battery, to prevent the farther advance
of our gunboats in that direction. Behind those the retreating steamers
discreetly withdrew, where they were presently reenforced by several
other armed vessels. The gunboats made no attempt to follow, but took
positions to give their principal attention to the battery.

The fire from the shore gradually slackened, and thousands of hearts
swelled anew as the hour seemed at hand when the troops were to land and
carry the works at the point of the bayonet.

Burnside paced the deck of the Spaulding, keeping an eye on the fort,
watching the enemy's shots, and looking impatiently for the arrival of
the transports. At length they came crowding through the inlet, dropping
their anchors in the sound just out of range of the fort. Seen from the
gunboats, they were a sight not less astonishing than that which they
themselves were coming to witness. Troops, eagerly watching the conflict,
crowded the decks and hung upon the rigging like swarms of bees. Ropes,
masts, and yards were festooned with the heavy, clinging clusters, which
seemed ready to part and fall with their own weight. The effect of the
picture was enhanced by the mellow brilliancy of the afternoon sky,
against which the dark masses were clearly defined, and by the perfect
tranquility of the water, like a sea of glass mirroring the ships and
their loaded spars.

The gunboats sent to the ships the roar of their artillery, and the ships
sent back the chorus of thousands of cheering voices for every well-aimed
shot.

Frank was in the rigging of the schooner, watching the fight, making
drawings to send to his mother, and talking with his comrades, among whom
Sinjin's glass passed from hand to hand.

"I tell ye, boys!" remarks Seth Tucket, "this is a leetle ahead of any
game of bluff ever I took a hand in! The battery is about used up. S'pose
you look at your--my--our watch, Frank, and see how often the darned
rebels fire."

"Once in about ten minutes now," Frank informs him. "O! did you see that
shell burst? Right over one of our gunboats!"

"She's aground," says Gray, with the glass. "She can neither use her guns
nor get off! A little tug is going to help her."

"Bully for the tug!" says Jack Winch.

"Hurrah! hurrah!" ring the deafening plaudits from the ships.

"What is it?" is eagerly asked.

"The battery's flag-staff is shot away!" shouts Frank at the top of his
voice. "Hooray!"

"Some think the flag has been hauled down, to surrender the fort, but
it's a mistake," declares Gray. "See! up it goes again on a piece of the
pole! And the guns are at it again."

"Where's Burnside?" asks some one. And Tucket quotes,--

"'O, where was Roderick then? One blast upon his bugle horn were worth a
thousand men!'"

"He is sending off a boat to the shore yonder, to look for a
landing-place. We'll be going in there soon, boys!"

The boat approaches a cove called Ashby's Harbor, taking soundings as it
nears the land. On board of her is one of the negro lads, who fearlessly
pilots her towards scenes familiar to his days of bondage.

"They'd better keep their eyes skinned!" says Tucket. "There's rebels in
the mash there, I bet ye a dollar!"

The officers of the boat land safely, and reconnoitre. As they are
reembarking, however, up spring from the tall grass a company of rebels,
and flash, flash, goes a volley of musketry.

"I wish somebody had took me up on my bet," says Tucket; "'twould have
been a dollar in my pocket."

"They're off; nobody left behind; nobody hurt, I hope," says Gray,
watching the boat.

"Look, boys! the rebels works are afire!" is now the cry.

Flames break through the smoke, and the firing slackens on both sides for
a short time.

"It's only the barracks, probably, fired by a shell," says Gray. "They've
no idea of surrendering. They hold out well!"

The battery is completely enveloped in black smoke, out of which leaps
the white puff of the cannon, showing that the gunners are still at work.

"See! the gunboat that was aground is getting off! that's a brave tug
that's handling her!" cries Frank "O!"--an exclamation of surprise and
wonder. For just then the gunboat, swinging around so that she can bring
her guns to bear, lets fly her broadside, dropping shot and shell right
into the smoking battery.

"It's about time," says Jack Winch, "for us boys to go ashore and clean
the rebels out. I'm a gitting tired of this slow work."

"You'll get ashore soon enough, and have enough to do when you get
there," says Atwater. "There are strong batteries towards the centre of
the islands, that'll have to be taken when we go in."

"Abe's afraid," mutters Jack to some comrades near him. "Did ye see him,
and Frank, and Seth Tucket, reading their Testaments?"

"It was the 'Lady of the Lake' Seth was reading," says Harris. "He
carries it in his pocket, and pitches into it odd spells."

"Winch don't know the Lady of the Lake from the Bible!" chimes in
Tucket's high nasal voice.

"Yes, I do, too! The Lady of the Lake, that's one of Bryon's poems!
S'pose I don't know?"

"O, perfectly!" sneers Ellis, amid the laughter Jack's blunder elicits.
"And no doubt you'll soon find out who the cowards are among us, if you
don't know already."

"What's that, afire, away up the sound, close into the main land?" asks
the phlegmatic Atwater.

"I swan, ef 'tan't one of the rebel steamers! She's got disabled, and
they've run her ashore. She's all a sheet of fire now!"

"What's that saucy little tug around here for?"

"Burnside's aboard of her. He's coming to see if we're all right. We
shall land soon," says Gray.

"See!" cries Frank; "our gunboats are shelling the shore, to make a
landing-place for us. I wouldn't like to be in the woods there!"

"I guess Frank wouldn't!" observes Jack. "But I would; I'd like no better
fun than to rush right in and skedaddle the rebels with the bayonet;
that's the way to do it!"

"The woods are afire! Our shells have set them afire!" cries Ellis.
"Look! there come the rebel steamers again, down the western shore. They
think they can get down at us, now our gunboats are busy off there."

"When the cat's away the mice will play," says Tucket. "But the kittens
are after 'em!"

"There goes Burnside's tug to see what the row is!"

"The battery scarcely fires at all now," says Frank, looking at his
watch. "It's twenty minutes since it has fired a shot."

"There goes one! And see! the gunboats are fighting each other now like
mad--again!" cries Gray. "They're all so wrapped in smoke you can hardly
see one of 'em."--Bang, bang, bang!--"Isn't it grand?"

"A shell burst right over Burnside's tug!" exclaims Frank. "It burst, and
sprinkled the water all around it!"




                                XXIII.

                  THE TROOPS DISEMBARK.--THE ISLAND.


At four o'clock the last of the transports had entered the inlet, and
rejoined the fleet. Soon after commenced preparations for the landing of
the troops. The boats were lowered and manned, and the soldiers,
descending from decks and spars, began to crowd into them. Knapsacks were
left behind; the men taking with them only their arms, overcoats,
canteens, haversacks, and cartridge-boxes, with three days' rations of
pork, beef, and hard bread, and forty rounds of ball cartridges. Down
both sides of the vessels they passed, in rapid regular files, pouring
into the boats. Their guns were taken as they stepped upon the stairs,
and passed down to them as soon as they were embarked. Some took places
at the oars; the rest filed in fore and aft. It must have been an amazing
spectacle to the enemy to witness these stirring and formidable
preparations for finishing the work the gunboats had begun. The troops
were jubilant, and eager for battle.

As fast as the boats were filled, they pushed from the stairs to make
room for others, and lay upon their oars watching for the signals. These
were telegraphed from the flag-ship of each brigade. At the instant, the
boats swarmed the water in miniature fleets, with oars flashing, flags
flying, and arms gleaming in the sun. Rowing to the flag-ship, or steamer
detailed for the purpose, they attached themselves under her stern in two
lines as they arrived, each boat taking the painter of the one behind it
Then, at a signal whistle, the steamers started for the shore, each
towing its double string of boats.

In the mean time the fight between the fleet and the battery was
continued,--rather languidly, however, on the part of the battery; and a
couple of light draught gunboats, running in close to the shore,
continued shelling the woods about Ashby's Harbor, to cover the landing
of the troops.

When the steamers towing in the boats had arrived as near as the depth of
water would permit, the signal whistles were sounded, the painters were
cast off, the lines of boats broke simultaneously, the rowers took to
their oars and pulled with all speed for the shore. As soon as the prows
struck, the men jumped out, dashing through mud and water to the land.
Many did not wait for the boats to get in, but, in their eagerness to
follow their comrades, leaped overboard where the water was up to their
waists. Some got stuck in the mire, and were helped out by those who came
after them. Six thousand men were thus thrown upon the island at the
first disembarkation; while the remainder of the troops on the transports
watched the brilliant scene, and cheered lustily when they saw the flag
of the Union waving on the shore.

Frank's regiment was not yet disembarked. The boys were still in the
rigging, following with eager eyes the movements of the boats. An
exciting incident added interest to the scene. Before the boats landed, a
body of rebels in ambush, waiting to receive them, were betrayed by the
gleam of their muskets. A shell dropped discreetly into their
hiding-place, by one of the gunboats, sent them scampering, and the
troops landed without opposition.

"It's our turn now, boys!" cried Tucket. And they slipped from the
rigging, impatient to leap into the boats, and be put ashore. "I tell ye,
won't it feel good to straighten out a fellow's legs once, on dry land!"

The men were generally of Seth's opinion; their long confinement on
shipboard having become exceedingly monotonous and tiresome.

Frank was with his company. They loaded the boats to the gunwales. The
water was still smooth, save where it was broken into waves and whirling
eddies by the sweep of oars. The men shouted joyously, and waved their
caps. Frank stood in the bow, and swung his cap with the rest. But
looking back across the shining wakes at the forsaken schooner, a feeling
of sadness came over him--a feeling of regretful memory, as of one
leaving home.

There she lay, motionless; hull and spars painted dark against the sunset
sky; her rigging, to the finest cordage, traced in exquisitely distinct
lines upon that shining background--a picture of exceeding loveliness and
peace.

As the boats swept down towards the shore, and the schooner seemed to
recede into the flaming west, the network of cordage became black cobwebs
on the sky, then melted away and vanished altogether. At the same time,
the water, which the boats had troubled, grew smooth again, reflecting
the sunset glow, with the sombre hull and ebon spars painted upon it,
until Frank saw the spectre of a double ship suspended in a double
heaven.

And as the last view of the schooner was all beautiful, so his last
thoughts of her were all tender. He remembered no more against her the
hardships of the voyage, the seasickness, the two gills of water a day.
But that she had borne them faithfully through storms, that whether they
slept or waked she had not failed them,--this he remembered. And his
sister's death, and all his sufferings and errors, and the peace of soul
which had come to him at last, were associated now and henceforth, with
his memory of the ship swimming there in the illumined horizon. Only for
a brief interval, like a wind that comes we know not whence, and goes
again we know not whither, touching us with invisible perfumed wings,
these thoughts swept over the boy, and passed as quickly. And he turned
from gazing after the schooner to face the scenes before him. Nearer and
nearer drew the boats to the island. Its woods and shores lay cool and
tranquil in the evening light, and the troops there, half-hidden by the
tall grass and the trees, were tinted with a gleam of romance.

It was now fast growing dark. Clouds were gathering in the sky. From
their edges the last hues of the sunset faded, the moon was hid, and a
portentous gloom fell upon the waves. The cannon were still thundering at
intervals. The shells flew screaming through the air, and fell bursting
on the fort or in the woods. It was now so dark that the flash of the
guns had become lurid and sharp, and the meteoric course of the
projectiles could be traced by their fiery wake.

Amid this scene the boats entered the cove, and as the prows struck, or
before, the excited soldiers leaped out, regardless of mud and water.

"Shouldn't wonder if somebody got a wet foot," said Tucket, in the midst
of the plunging and plashing--himself in up to his hips. "'A horse! a
horse! my kingdom for a horse!' Here, Manly, take a grip of my coat tail.
I'm longer legged than you."

"I'm all right," said Frank. "I've no gun to carry, and I can get along."
And he floundered on as fast as the deep, clinging ooze would permit.

"This is what they call the sacred soil!" observed Harris. "Just the
thing, I should say, to breed rattle-snakes and rebels."

"I swan to man!" chimed in Tucket's voice from a distance,--for his long
legs had given him an advantage in the general race,--"there ain't no
shore after ye get to't. It's nothin' but salt ma'sh, all trod to pudd'n'
by the fellers that have been in ahead of us. I thought we was to be
_landed_; 'stead of that, we're swamped!"

The men pushed on, through marsh and swamp, sometimes in mire and water
knee-deep, and now in tall, rank grass up to their eyes; the darkness
adding to their dismal prospect.

"By Grimes!" mutters Jack Winch, "I don't think an island of this kind is
worth taking. It's jest fit for secesh and niggers, and nobody else."

"We must have the island, because it's a key to the coast," says Frank.

"I wouldn't talk war, if I couldn't carry a gun," retorts Jack, made
cross by the cold and wet.

"Perhaps before we get through you'll be glad to lend me yours," is
Frank's pleasant response, as he hastens forward through grass which
waves about his ears or lies trodden and tangled under foot.

"The gunboats have stopped firing," observes Atwater.

In fact, both gunboats and battery were now silent, the former having
drawn off for the night.




                                XXIV.

                            THE BIVOUAC.


"There's a good time coming, and near, boys! there's a good time coming,
and near!" sings out Tucket, holding his head high as he strides along,
for he has caught a sight of fires beyond, and the company are now
emerging upon a tract of sandy barrens, thinly covered with pines.

A road runs through the island. The advance of the column has already
taken possession of it. Skirmishers have been thrown forward into the
woods, and pickets are posted on the flanks.

The troops prepare to bivouac for the night. Fires are kindled, and soon
the generous flames blaze up, illumining picturesque groups of men, and
casting a wild glare far into the depths of the great, black, silent
woods. The trees seem to stand out like startled giants, gazing at the
unusual scene; and all above and around the frightened shadows lurk, in
ghostly boughs, behind dark trunks, among the deep grasses, and in
hollows of the black morass. And the darkness of the night overhangs the
army like a vast tent, sombrely flickering.

A dry fence of cypress and pine rails is, without hesitation,
appropriated to feed the fires of the bivouac; and the chilled, soaked
soldiers gather around them to get warm and dry.

"My brave fellows," says Captain Edney, passing among them, "do the best
you can for yourselves for the night. Try to keep warm, and get what rest
and sleep you can. You will need all your strength to-morrow."

"To-morrow," observes Winch, with a swaggering, braggart air, "we're
going to give the rebels the almightiest thrashing they've had yet! To
wade in their blood as deep as I've waded to-night in this mud and water,
that's what'll just suit me!"

"The less blood the better, boys," says Captain Edney. "But we must be
prepared to shed our own to the last drop, if need be, for we're bound to
sweep this island of every traitor to his country, before we leave it.
Make up your minds to that, boys!"

There is that in his tone which promises something besides child's play
on the morrow. He is calm, serious, spirited, resolute; and the hearts of
his men are fired by his words.

The troops are full of jest and merriment as they kick off their shoes,
and empty the water out of them, squeeze their dripping trousers, and,
lying on the ground, toast their steaming legs by the fires.

"I say, le's have a gallus old time to-night, to pay for our ducking,"
suggests Jack Winch. "I don't want to sleep."

"You ought to be off in the swamps, on picket duty, then," says Harris.
"Let them sleep that have a chance. For my part, I'm going to take the
captain's advice. There's no knowing what sounds will wake us up, or how
early."

"The sounds of muskets, I hope; and the earlier the better," says the
valiant Jack. "Dang that shoe! I believe I've roasted it! Bah! look at
Abe there, diving into his Testament, sure's you live."

And Winch, perceiving that Atwater paid no attention to the sneer, flung
his shoe at him. The soldier was reading by the light of the flames, when
the missile came, striking the book from his hands.

"Shame, shame!" cried Frank, indignantly. "Jack Winch, that is too mean."

"O, you go to"----France,--only Jack used a worse word,--"with that red
rag on your arm! I don't have any thing to say to non-combatants."

Frank might not have been able to stifle his indignation but for the
grave example of Atwater, who gave no more heed to Jack's shoe than he
had given to his base taunt, but, silently gathering up his book again,
brushed the sand from it, found his place, and resumed his reading, as
composedly as if nothing had happened. Neither did Frank say any thing.
But Ellis, near whom the shoe had fallen, tossed it back with a threat to
consign it to the fire if it came that way again.

"Wonder if my pocket-book got wet any," said Harris, taking out his money
and examining it.

"O, you feel mighty proud of your winnings!" said Jack, who seemed bent
on picking a quarrel with some one.

"Yes, I do," said Harris. "I'm just so proud of it as this,"--reaching
something towards the drummer boy. "Here, Frank, is all the money, I
believe, that I've won off you. We're going into a fight to-morrow, and
nobody knows how we shall come out of it. I want to stand right with
every body, if I can."

Frank was too much astonished to accept the money. He seemed to think
there was some joke in it.

"I'm in earnest," insisted Harris. "The truth is, I've been ashamed of
winning your money, ever since. You didn't mean it, but you've acted in a
way to _make_ me ashamed."

"I have! How?" Frank was more amazed than ever.

"Because you gave over play, though you had a chance to try again, and
acted as if you had got above such foolish things. It's time we all got
above them. You're a good-hearted fellow, Frank,--you've shown that,--and
nobody shall say I've robbed you."

Frank took the money with a heart too full for thanks. He thought Harris
a fellow of unexampled generosity, never considering how much his own
example had had to do with bringing about this most gratifying result.

Atwater stopped reading, and looked over his book at Harris with a smile
of pleasure and approval clear as daybreak. But the silent man did not
speak.

"Well! the idea of a battle makes some folks awful pious all at once!"
was Winch's comment.

Nobody heeded him. As for Frank, with triumph in his heart and money in
his fist, he ran barefoot to where Seth Tucket lay sprawled before the
blazing rails, feeling of his stockings, to see if they were dry enough
to put on.

"Hello, young chap! how goes it? 'Stranger what dost thou require? Rest,
and a guide, and food and fire.' Get down here and have a toasting. It
comes cheap."

Frank sat down, and began counting the money.

"What's all that?" demanded Seth.

"All I owe you, and a little to spare!" cried Frank, elated.

"Sho, ye don't say! See here, Frank! I never meant you should trouble
yourself about that. I'm all right, money or no money. I'm an independent
sort of nabob--don't need the vile stuff. 'Kings may be great, but Seth
is glorious, o'er all the ills of life victorious!' So put it away, and
keep it, Frank."

But when the drummer boy told him how he had come by the money, and that
it was his wish to settle his accounts before the battle, Tucket screwed
up his face with a resigned expression, and received back the loan.

A great weight was now lifted from Frank's mind. The vexing problem, how
he was to retain the watch and yet satisfy Seth's rightful claims, was
thus happily solved. He could have danced for joy, barefooted, in the
grassy sand. And he yearned more than ever now to see Mr. Sinjin, and
make up with him.

A few rods off, in the rear of the soldiers' bivouacs, the old drummer
could be seen, sitting with a group of officers around a fire of their
own. His stockings were hung upon the end of a rail, and he was busy
roasting a piece of pork on the end of a stick, held out at arm's length
to the fire. Frank saw that it was no time to speak with him then; so he
returned to his place, and sat down to put on his shoes and join those
who had not yet been to supper, over their rations.




                                 XXV.

                               ATWATER.


As the evening wore on, Atwater was observed sitting apart from the rest,
unusually silent and grave even for him; gazing at the fire, with the
book he had been reading closed and folded thoughtfully between his
hands.

Now Frank, following his example, had lately formed the resolution to
read a little in the Testament every night,--"if only for his mother's
sake." But to-night his Testament was in his knapsack, and his knapsack
was on board the schooner.

"I'll borrow Atwater's," he thought; and with this purpose he approached
the tall private.

"Sit down here, Frank," said Atwater, with a serious smile. "I want to
talk with you."

It was so extraordinary for the phlegmatic Abe to express a wish to talk
with any body, that Frank almost felt awed by the summons. Something
within him said that a communication of no trivial import was coming. So
he sat down. And the tongue of the taciturn was that night, for once in
his life, strangely loosened.

"I can't say it to the rest, Frank; I don't know why. But I feel as if I
could say it to you."

"Do," said Frank, thrilling with sympathy to the soldier's mysterious
emotion. "What is it, Abe?"

For a minute Atwater sat gazing, gazing--not at the fire. Then he lifted
from the book, which he held so tenderly, his right hand, and laid it
upon Frank's. And he turned to the boy with a smile.

"I've liked you from the first, Frank. Did you know it?"

"If you have, I don't know why," said Frank, deeply touched.

"Nor do I," said the private. "Some we like, and some we don't, without
the reason for it appearing altogether clear. I liked you even when you
didn't please me very well."

"You mean when----" began Frank, stammeringly.

"Yes, you know when. It used to hurt me to see and hear you--but that is
past."

"I hope so," said Frank, from his heart.

"Yes. And I like you better than ever now. And do you know, Frank, I
don't think I could say to you what I am going to, if you hadn't been in
trouble yourself, lately? That makes me feel I can come near you."

"O! are you in trouble, Abe?"

"Yes,"--with another mild, serious smile. "Not just such trouble as you
were in, though. It is nothing on my own account. It is on _hers_." And
the soldier's voice sunk, as it always did, when he alluded to his wife.

"You have heard from her?" asked Frank, with sympathizing interest.

"Nothing but good news; nothing but good news," said Atwater, pressing
the pocket where his letters were. "I wish you could know that girl's
heart. I am just beginning to know it. She has blessed me! She is a
simple creature--not so smart as some; but she has, what is better than
all that, a heart, Frank!"

Frank, not knowing what else to say, answered earnestly, that he was sure
of it.

"She has brought me to know this book," the soldier continued, his
features tremblingly alive with emotion. "I never looked into it much
before. I never thought much about it--whether it was true or not. But
whether it is true or not, there is something in it that reaches me
here,"--laying his hand on his heart,--"something that sinks into me. I
can't tell how. It gives me comfort."

Frank, still not knowing how to reply, murmured that he was glad to hear
it.

"Now, this is what I have been wanting to say to somebody," Abram went
on, in a calm but suppressed voice. "I am going into battle to-morrow.
Don't think I am afraid. I have no fear. But of one thing I am tolerably
certain. I shall not come out of that fight unhurt."

The smile which accompanied these words, quite as much as the words
themselves, alarmed Frank.

"Don't say that!" he entreated. "You are a little low-spirited, Abe;
that's it."

"O, no! I am not low-spirited in the least. My country demands
sacrifices. I, for one, am willing to die." This was said with singular
calmness and cheerfulness. But the soldier's voice failed him, as he
added, "It is only when I think of her----"

Frank, powerfully wrought upon, endeavored in vain to dissuade his friend
from indulging in such sad presentiments.

"Well, we will hope that they are false," said Atwater, but with a look
that betrayed how thoroughly he was convinced of their truth. "If I go
through safely, then we can laugh at them afterwards. But much may happen
in these coming twenty-four hours. Now, I am sitting here with you,
talking by these fires that light up the woods so. To-morrow night, this
which you call me,"--the soldier smilingly designated his body,--"may be
stretched upon this same earth, and you may talk in vain--it cannot
answer you."

"We don't know,--that's true," Frank agreed. "But I hope for the best."

"And that may be the best--for me. God knows. And for her, too,--though I
dread the stroke for her! This is what I want you to do for me, Frank. If
I fall,--_if_ I fall, you know,--you will write to her. Send back to her
my last words, with the book she gave me, and her letters. You will find
them all in this pocket, here. Will you?"

Frank could not refrain from tears, as he made the promise.

"That is all," said Atwater, cheerfully. "Now, my mind is easier. Now,
whatever comes, I am ready. Stay with me, if you like, and we will talk
of something else. Or shall we read a little together?"

"I'd like to read a little," said Frank.

And he opened the book to these words:--

"'Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the
soul.... Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall
not fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your
head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; ye are of more value than
many sparrows.'"

"How came you to read there?" said Atwater with a smile.

"I don't know," said Frank. "But it seems meant for you--don't it?"

"Yes, and it somehow makes me happy. Go on."

And Frank read,--

"'Think not I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace,
but a sword.'"

"That is for both of us, for all of us, for all our people to-day," said
Atwater. "I believe it is the struggle of Satan against Christ that has
brought on this war. To attempt to build up a nation on human
slavery--that is Satan. And I believe, wicked as we are at the north too,
that the principle of freedom we are fighting for is the opposite of
Satan. And whoever brings that into the world, brings a war that will
never cease until the right triumphs, and the wrong ceases forever."

Frank was astonished. He had never suspected that in this stiff, reserved
soldier there dwelt the spirit which, when their tongues are loosed,
makes men eloquent.

Atwater had roused up, and spoken with earnestness. But his glow passed,
and he said quietly,--

"Go on."

"'A man's foes shall be they of his own household.'"

There Frank stopped again, this time of his own accord. The words struck
him with peculiar force.

"That is true too," said Abram; "of the nation, for a nation is a
household; and of many, many families."

Frank studied the words a moment, and, after a struggle with his
feelings, said in a hushed voice,--

"Did you know, Abe, I've a brother in the rebel army?"

"I did not know. I have heard you have one somewhere in the south."

"Yes, you have heard Jack twit me about my secesh brother. And I have
been obliged to own he was a--traitor. And since I left home my folks
have had a letter from him, in which he wrote that he was on the point of
joining the confederate army, and that we would not probably hear from
him again. So I suppose he is fighting against us somewhere."

"Not here, I hope," said Atwater.

"As well here as any where," said Frank. "I always loved my brother. I
love him still. But, as you say, wicked as we are, Christ is in our
cause, and----" Frank read,--

"'He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and
he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.'"

"And I," said the boy, lifting up his face with a patriotic, even a
religious, fervor in it, "I love my country, I love the cause of right
and freedom, better than I love my brother!"

"With that true of us, with that love in our hearts," said Atwater, "we
can dare to fight, and whatever the result, I believe it will be well
with us. See what the book says."

And Frank read on.

"'He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that looseth his life
for my sake shall find it.'"

"That is enough," said Atwater. "I can bind that sentence like an armor
around my heart."

"What does it mean?"

"It means, I think, that though wickedness triumphs, it triumphs to its
own confusion, for it has no immortal life. But even the death of a saint
is victory."

After that the soldier seemed inclined to relapse into revery. Frank
thought he did not wish to talk any more; so he gave him back the book.
Abram put it in his pocket, and took the boy's hand.

"Good night, Frank," he smilingly said. "We shall see each other in the
morning."

"Good night, Abe."

Frank left him. And Atwater, stretching himself upon the ground, put his
arm beneath his head, and with the fire-light on his placid countenance,
dismissed all worldly care from his mind, and slept peacefully.




                                XXVI.

                             OLD SINJIN.


At the foot of a pine tree, on a pillow of boughs, lies the old
drum-major. The blaze of the bivouac fire covers him with its glow as
with a mantle. But his face looks haggard and care-worn, and his grizzled
mustache has a cynical curl even in sleep.

At a sound he starts, opening wide those watchful gray eyes an instant,
then closing them quickly. It is a footstep approaching.

Stealthily it comes, and passes by his side. Then silence--broken only by
the crackle and roar of the flames. At length one eye of the sleeper
opens a little, and peeps; and as it peeps, it sees, sitting on the pine
roots, in the broad fire-light, with his cap before his eyes shading
them, and his eyes fixed wistfully on him, Frank, the drummer boy.

The eye that opened a little and peeped, closes again. The old fellow
begins to snore.

"Poor old man!" says the boy to himself; "how tired he looks. And to
think I have done so much to hurt his feelings! I wish I could tell him
how sorry I am; but I must not wake him."

Again the ambushed eye opens, and the little corner of the sleeper's soul
that happens to be _not_ asleep, reconnoitres. Frank is sitting there
still, faithfully watching. A stream of electric fire tingles in that
misanthropic breast, at the sight. But still the old man snores.

"I may as well lie down and go to sleep too," says Frank. And, very
softly, so as not to awaken Mr. Sinjin, he lays himself down by his side,
puts his cheek on the pillow of boughs, and keeps perfectly still.

The heart of the veteran burns within him, but he makes no sign. And
now--hark! Patter, patter, patter. It is beginning to rain.

This, then, is what the dark canopy meant, hanging so luridly over the
fire-lit forest. Patter, patter; faster, faster; dripping through the
trees, hissing in the fire, capering like fairies on the ground, comes
the midnight rain.

Sinjin thinks it about time to wake. But Frank is stirring; so he
concludes to sleep a little longer, and see what he will do.

Frank takes some pine boughs, and lays them carefully over the old man,
to shelter him from the rain. Hotter and hotter glows the old heart
beneath; melt it must soon.

"There!" says Frank in a whisper; "don't tell him I did it!"

He is going. Old Sinjin can sleep--or pretend to sleep--no more.

"Hello! Who's there?"--awaking with amazing suddenness.--"That you,
Frank? What are you here for at this time of night?"

"O, I'm a privileged character. They let me go around the camp about as I
like, you know."

"How long has it been raining? And how came all this rubbish heaped over
me?"

The pattering becomes a rushing in the tree-tops, a wild sibilation as of
serpents in the fire, and a steady rattling and whizzing in the swamps.

"Well, well! this won't do, boy! Come with me!"

They run to the shelter of a huge leaning trunk and crouch beneath it.

"You're not so used to these things as I am," says the old man, shielding
the boy with his arms.

"Let me bring some boughs to throw over you!" cries Frank.

"No--sit still! You have heaped boughs enough on me for one night!"

"Were you--awake?"

"One eye was a little awake."

"And you saw!"

"I saw all you did, my boy!"

Frank knows not whether to be happy or ashamed. Neither speaks. The storm
is roaring in the trees. The water drips and the spray sifts upon them,
At length Frank says,--

"I wanted to tell you I have the watch again, and I know who gave it to
me, and I think he is one of the best old men in the world. And I wanted
to say that I am very sorry for every thing I have said and done that was
wrong."

The bosom of the lonely old man heaves as he answers, "Don't, my boy!
don't say you are sorry--I can't stand that!" And he hugs the boy close.

"But why didn't you want me to know you gave the watch?"

"Because I am such a foolish old fellow, and have forgotten how to treat
a friend. For twenty years and more I have not known what it was to have
a living soul care for me."

"O, it must be so hard for you to be alone so! Have you no sisters?"

"Sisters! I would tell you of one so proud, and rich, and in fashion,
that her great house has no room in it for a rusty old brother like me!"

Frank thought of his own sisters--of Hattie, who was gone, and of Helen,
who, though she should wed a prince, would never, he was sure, shut her
doors against him; and he was filled with pity for the poor old man.

"But you must have had friends?"

"I had one, who was a fast friend enough when he was poor and I had a
little property. But I became responsible for his debts, which he left me
to pay; then I was poor, whilst he grew rich and hated me!"

"Hated you?"

"Of course! We may forgive those who wrong us, but not those we have
wronged. He never forgave me for having been robbed by him!" And the old
man's voice grew hard and ironical at the recollection.

"Why didn't you ever get married?" asked Frank. "You have one of the
best, biggest hearts in the world, and you ought to have loved somebody
with it. Didn't you ever?"

The spirit of the old man shrank sensitively within him for a moment.
Then he said to himself, "He will know of it some day, and I may as well
tell him." For the heart that had been frozen for years this youth had
had power to thaw.

"I never loved--any woman--well enough to marry her. But there was once a
little girl that I had known from her cradle--for I was many years older
than she. I used to pet her, and tell her stories, and sing and play to
her, until I became more bound up in her than was very wise for one who
was not her father or her brother. Well, she got to be of your age, and
still ran to kiss me when I came, and never guessed what was growing up
in my heart and taking possession of me, for it was stronger than I, and
stronger than all the world. I saw her fast becoming a woman, and forgot
that I was at the same time fast becoming an old man. And one day I asked
her to marry me. I did not mean then, but in a few years. But she did not
stop to hear my explanations. She sprang from me with a scream. And that
ended it. She could never be to me again the innocent pet she had been,
and as for being what I wished--I saw at once how absurd the proposal
was! I saw that from that time she could regard me only with astonishment
and laughter. I was always extremely sensitive, and this affair, with the
other I have told you of, proved too much for me. I fled from society. I
enlisted as a drummer, and I suppose I shall never be any thing but a
drummer now. And this, my boy, is the reason I was never married."

Drearily sounded the old man's voice as he closed.

"It is all so sad!" said Frank. "But ought a man to do so, because he has
been once or twice deceived? I have heard my mother say that as we are to
others, so they will be to us. If we are generous, that excites them to
be generous; and love calls out love."

"Your mother says that?" replied Mr. Sinjin in a low voice. "Ah, and she
says true! If one is proud and reserved, he will find the world proud and
reserved: that I know! Because two or three failed me, I distrusted every
body, and was repaid with distrust. O my boy, do not do so! Never let
your soul be chilled by any disappointment, if you would not become a
solitary and neglected old man. Better trust a thousand times, and be
deceived as often, better love a thousand times in vain, than shut up
your heart in suspicion and scorn. Your mother is right, Frank,--in that,
as in every thing else, she is perfectly right!"

"It isn't too late yet--is it?--to have friends such as you like. I am
sure you can if you will," said Frank.

"You have almost made me think so," answered the old drummer. "You have
brought back to my heart more of its youth and freshness than I had felt
for years. I want you to know that, my boy."

Frank did not understand how it could be, and the old man did not inform
him. It was now very late. The rain poured dismally. Frank lay nestled in
the old man's bosom, like a child. For a long time he did not speak. Then
the veteran bent forward so that he could look in his face. The boy was
fast asleep.

"How much he looks like his mother! Her brow, her mouth! God bless the
lad, God bless him!"

And the old man sat and watched whilst the drummer boy slept.




                                XXVII.

                            THE SKIRMISH.


The night and the storm passed, and day dawned on Roanoke Island.

No reveille roused up the soldiers. Silently from their drenched, cold
beds, they arose and prepared for the rough day's work before them.

The morning was chill and wet, the rain still dripping from the trees.
Far in the cypress swamps the lone birds piped their matin songs--the
only sounds in those dim solitudes, so soon to be filled with the roar of
battle.

Ten thousand men had been landed from the fleet; and now ten thousand
hearts were beating high in anticipation of the conflict.

The line of advance lay along the road, which run in a northerly
direction through the centre of the island. Across this road the rebels
had erected their most formidable battery, with seemingly impenetrable
swamps on either side, an ample space cleared for the play of their guns
in front, and felled trees all around.

General Foster's brigade took the advance, having with it a battery of
twelve-pounders from the fleet, to operate on the enemy's front. General
Reno followed, with orders to penetrate on the left the frightful lagoons
and thickets which protected the enemy's flank. A third column, under
General Parke, brought up the rear.

General Foster rode forward with his staff into the woods, and made a
reconnoissance. The line of pickets opened to let the brigade pass
through. Not a drum was beat. Slowly, in silence, occasionally halting,
regiment succeeded regiment, in perfect order, with heavy muffled tramp.

Along the forest road they passed, the men laughing and joking in high
spirits, as if marching to a parade. The still, beautiful light of the
innocent morning silvered the trees. The glistering branches arched
above; the glistening stream of steel flowed beneath. Wreaths of vines,
beards of moss, trailed their long fringes and graceful drapery from the
boughs. The breeze shook down large shining drops, and every bush a
soldier touched threw off its dancing shower.

"'And Ardennes waves above them her green leaves, dewy with nature's
tear-drops, as they pass,'" remarked Seth Tucket.

"Come, none o' your solemncholy poetry to-day," said Jack Winch. "I never
felt so jolly in my life. There's only one kind of poetry I want to hear,
and that's the pouring of our volleys into the rebels."

"The pouring of their volleys into us ain't quite so desirable, I
suppose," said Harris.

"There wouldn't be much fun without some danger," said Jack.

"If that's fun, I guess Winch 'll have fun enough before we're through
with this job," remarked Ellis.

"What a long road it is!" cried Jack, impatiently.

"We'll come to a short turn in it pretty soon," said Atwater,
significantly.

"Well, Abe has spoken!" said Jack. "His mouth has been shut so tight all
along, I didn't think 'twould open till the time comes for him to cry
quarter."

"Atwater means to let his gun speak for him to-day," said Harris.

"What do we go so slow for? Why don't we hurry on?" said Jack. "I want to
get at the rebels some time this week. I don't believe they----"

He was going to say that he didn't believe they would wait to fire a
shot. But even as he spoke the confutation of his opinion resounded in
the woods. Crack--crack--crack--went the rebel muskets; then followed a
volley from the troops in advance.

"Why didn't you finish your sentence, Jack?" said Harris, with a smile.

"They're at it!" whispered Jack, in a changed voice.

"A little skirmishing," said Atwater, quietly.

Crack, crack, again; and--_sing!_--came a bullet over the heads of the
men, cutting the leaves as it passed.

"Too high," laughed Gray, coolly.

"Halt!" come the command, which John Winch, for one, obeyed with amazing
promptness.

"Hallo, Jack!" said Ellis; "who taught you to halt before the word is
given?"

"Are they going to keep us standing here all day?" said Jack, presently.

"He's as wide awake now to be on the move as he was to stop," laughed
Harris.

"Well," said Jack, nervously, "who likes to stand still and be shot at?"

"There's no shooting at us," replied Harris. "When it comes to that,
we'll see the fun you talk about."

Fun! Jack's countenance looked like any thing but fun just then.

He gained some confidence by observing the officers coolly giving their
orders, and the men coolly executing them, as if nothing of importance
had happened, or was expected to happen.

Captain Edney deployed his company, pressing forward into the swamp.
Bushes and fallen logs impeded their progress; the mud and water were in
places leg-deep; and the men were permitted to pick their way as best
they could. Suddenly out of a thicket a bullet came whizzing. Another and
another followed. One tore the bark from a tree close by Captain Edney's
head.

"Keep cool, boys!" he said; "and aim low."

He then gave the order, "Commence firing!" and the front rank men,
halting, poured their volley into the thicket--their first shot at the
enemy. Whilst they were reloading, the second rank advanced and delivered
their fire.

"Don't waste a shot, my brave fellows!" cried the captain. "Fire wherever
you see signs of a rebel. Always aim at _something_."

This last order was a very useful one; for many, in the excitement of
coming for the first time under fire, were inclined to let off their
pieces at random in the air; and the deliberation required to take aim,
if only at a bush behind which a rebel might be concealed, had an
excellent effect in quieting the nerves.

Yet some needed no such instruction. Atwater was observed to load and
fire with as steady a hand and as serene a countenance as if he had been
practising at a target. Others were equally calm and determined. There
were some, however, even of the brave, who, from constitutional
excitability, and not from any cowardice of spirit, exhibited symptoms of
nervousness. Their cheeks paled and their hands shook. But, the momentary
tremor past, these men become perhaps the most resolute and efficient of
all.

Such a one was Frank; who, though in the rear of the regiment, with the
ambulance corps, felt his heart beat so wildly at the first whiz of a
bullet over his head, that he was afraid he was going to be afraid.

Was Jack Winch another of the sort? It was pitiful to see him attempt to
load his piece. He never knew how it happened, but, instead of a
cartridge, he got hold of the tompion,--called by the boys the
"tompin,"--used to stop the muzzle of the gun and protect it from
moisture, and was actually proceeding to ram it down the barrel before he
discovered his mistake!

"Take a cartridge, Winch!" said Captain Edney, who was coolly noting the
conduct of his men.

So Jack, throwing away the stopper, took a cartridge. But his hand shook
_around_ the muzzle of the gun so that it was some time before he could
insert the charge. He had already dodged behind a tree, the men being
allowed to shelter themselves when they could.

"Dry ground is scarce as hen's teeth!" remarked Seth Tucket, droll as
ever, looking for a good place to stand while he was loading.

"Fun, ain't it?" said Ned Ellis, who had sought cover by the same tree
with Winch.

He stood at Jack's left hand, and a little behind him. Jack, too much
agitated to respond to the unseasonable jest, threw up the barrel of his
piece, in order to prime, when a bullet came, from nobody knew where,
aslant, and put an end to jesting for the present.

Jack felt a benumbing shock, and dropped his gun, the stock of which had
been shivered in his grasp. At the same instant Ellis dropped his gun
also, and threw out his hands wildly, exclaiming,--

"I am shot!"

And both fell to the ground together.

"That's what ye call two birds with one stun!" said Tucket, a flash of
ferocity kindling his face as he saw his comrades fall. "Pay 'em for
that, boys! Pay 'em for that!"

And hearing the order to charge the thicket, he went forward with a yell,
taking strides that would have done credit to a moose in his own native
woods of Maine.

Ellis had by this time got upon his feet again. But Jack lay still, his
neck bathed in blood.



                               XXVIII.

                      JACK WINCH'S CATASTROPHE.


Several companies were by this time engaged driving in the rebel
skirmishers, and three or four men had been disabled.

It was impracticable to take the stretchers, or litters for the wounded,
into such a wilderness of bogs and thickets; and accordingly the most
forward and courageous of the carriers leaped into the swamps without
them.

As soon as Frank heard that some of his company had been wounded, all
sense of danger to himself was forgotten, and no remonstrance from his
friend the drum-major could prevent his rushing in to assist in bringing
them off.

Finding that the boy, whose welfare was so precious to him, could not be
restrained, Mr. Sinjin plunged in with him, and kept at his side,
scrambling through mud and brush and water, and over logs and roots, in
the direction of the firing.

They had not gone far when they met a wounded soldier coming out. His
right hand hung mangled and ghastly and bleeding at his side. A slug from
a rifle musket had ploughed it through, nearly severing the fingers from
the wrist.

"Ellis!" cried Frank--"you hurt?"

Ned swung the disabled and red-dripping member up to view, with a sorry
smile.

"Not so bad as might be!" he said, with a rather faint show of gayety.
"Jack has got it worse."

"Jack who?"--for there were several Jacks in the company.

"Winch," said Ellis, whilst the old drummer was binding up his hand to
stop the blood.

"Is he killed?" asked Frank, with a strange feeling--almost of remorse,
remembering his late bitter and vindictive thoughts towards John.

"I don't know. We were both hit by the same ball, I believe. It must have
passed through his neck. It came from one side, and we tumbled both
together. What I tumbled for, I don't know. It didn't take me long to
pick myself up again!"

"And Jack?"

"There he lies, with blood all over his face."

"And nobody caring for him?"

"The boys have something else to think of!" said Ellis, with a pallid
smile.

Mr. Sinjin, having tied up the wound, directed him how to find the
surgeon. And Ellis, in return, pointed out the best way to get at Jack.

The company had advanced, driving the rebel skirmishers before them, and
leaving Winch where he had fallen. Frank and his companion soon reached
the spot. There lay the hapless youth under the roots of the tree, the
left side of his face and neck all covered with gore.

"Jack!" cried Frank, stooping by his side, and lifting his arm.

No answer. The arm fell heavily again as he released it.

"Dead!" said the boy, a sudden calmness coming over him. "We may as well
leave him where he is, and look for others."

"Not dead yet," said the more experienced Sinjin, feeling Jack's heart,
which was beating still. In corroboration of which statement Winch
uttered something between a gasp and a groan, and rolled up horrible
eyes.

Frank was standing, and the old man was trying to find Winch's wound, in
order to prevent his bleeding to death while they were carrying him out,
when the report of a rifle sounded, seemingly quite near, and a bullet
passed with a swift vehement buzz close by their ears. At the instant
Frank felt something like a quick tap or jerk on his arm. He looked, and
saw that the strip of red flannel, which betokened the service he was
engaged in, and which should have rendered his person sacred from any
intentional harm, had been shot away. A hole had been torn in his sleeve
also, but his flesh was untouched.

The old drummer looked up quickly.

"Are you hurt?"

"No," said Frank, feeling of his arm while he looked around to discover
where the shot came from. "It must have been a spent ball; for, see! it
fell there in the water!"--pointing at a pool behind them, the surface of
which was still rippling with the plunge of the shot.

Winch gave another groan.

"The wound must be an internal one," said Sinjin, "for he is not bleeding
much now."

Frank assisted to lift him, and together they bore him back towards the
road. It was a difficult task. Frank had neither the stature nor the
strength of a man; but he made up in energy and good will what he lacked
in force. Very carefully, very tenderly, through bogs and through
thickets, they carried the helpless, heavy weight of the blood-stained
volunteer.

"Frank! is it you?" murmured Winch, faintly.

"Yes, Jack!" panted the boy, out of breath with exertion.

"Am I killed?" articulated Jack.

"O, no!" said Frank. "You've got a bullet in you somewhere; but I guess
the surgeon will soon have it out, and you'll be all right again."

"O!" groaned Jack.

Just then there came another rifle-crack, not quite so near as before,
and another bullet came with its angry buzz. It cut a twig just over Mr.
Sinjin's head, and grazed a cypress tree farther on, at a point
considerably lower, and with a downward slant, as the mark revealed.

"Another spent ball," said Frank.

But the old drummer shook his head. "Those are no spent balls. Some
murderous rebel is aiming at us."

"How can that be?"

"I don't know. And our best way is not to stop to inquire, but to get out
of this as soon as possible."

"Frank!" groaned the burden they were bearing.

"What, Jack?"

"Forgive me, Frank!"

"For what?" said Frank, cheerily.

"For writing home lies about you."

"They were not all lies, I'm sorry to say, Jack. But even if they were, I
forgive you from my very soul."

Jack groaned, and said no more. Assistants now came to meet them, and
Frank, who was almost exhausted with the fatigue of bringing his comrade
so far, was relieved of the burden. The road was near, and Jack was soon
laid upon a stretcher.

"Frank!" he gasped, rolling his eyes again, "don't leave me! For God's
sake, stay by me, Frank!"

So Frank kept by his side, while the men bore him along the road to a
tree, where the surgeon had hung up his red flag, and established his
hospital.

Ellis had just undergone the amputation of his mangled hand, without once
flinching under the surgeon's knife, and he remained on the spot to
encourage Winch.

"If I die," began Jack, stirring himself more than he had been observed
to do before. "Frank, do you hear me?"

"What is it, Jack?" asked the sympathizing boy.

"If I die, don't let me be buried on this miserable island!"

"But you are not going to die," said the surgeon, kindly, cutting away
the clothes from his neck.

Mr. Sinjin assisted, while Frank anxiously awaited the result of the
examination. The surgeon looked puzzled. There was blood, but not any
fresh blood--and no wound! Not so much as a scratch of the skin.

Jack in the mean time was groaning dismally.

"What are you making that noise for?" exclaimed the surgeon, sharply.
"There isn't a hurt about you!"

"Ain't I shot?" cried Jack, starting up, as much astonished as any body;
for he had really believed he was a dead man. "I was hit, I know! and I
swooned away."

"You swooned from fright, then," declared the indignant surgeon. "Take
the fellow away!"

Jack, however, gratified as he was to learn he was not killed, testily
insisted that a bullet had passed through him, adducing the blood on his
face as a proof.

Thereupon Ellis broke into a laugh.

"It takes Jack to make capital out of a little borrowed blood. I know
something about that. When my hand was ploughed through, I slapped it
against his face; and down he went, fainting dead away." And,
notwithstanding the ache of his wound and his weakness, and the scenes of
horror thickening around, Ned leaned back against the tree, and laughed
merrily at what he called Jack's "awful big scare."

Frank felt immensely relieved, at first, on learning that Jack was not
killed; then immensely amused; and, lastly, immensely disgusted. He
remembered the severe struggle it cost to bring him out of the swamp, the
rolled-up eyes, the lugubrious groans, and the faintly murmured dying
request to be forgiven. And in the revulsion of his feelings he could not
help saying, "Yes, Jack, I forgive ye! and if you die, you shan't be
buried on this miserable island."

He was excited when he uttered this taunt, and he was sorry for it
afterwards. Seeing the craven slink away, conscious of the scorn of every
body, he felt a touch of pity for him.

"Jack," said he, with friendly intent, "why don't you go back and wipe
out this disgrace? _I_ would."

"Because," snarled Jack, goaded by his own shame and the general
contempt, "I'm hurt, I tell ye! _internally_, I s'pose,"--for he had
heard Mr. Sinjin use the word, and thought it a good one to suit his
case. And he lay down wretchedly by the roadside, and counterfeited
anguish, while the fresh troops marched by to the battle.

A fiery impulse seized the drummer boy. He glanced at his torn sleeve,
from which the badge had been shot away, and thought there was something
besides accident in what appeared so much like an omen. If it meant any
thing, was it not that his place was elsewhere than in the ambulance
corps?

He turned to Mr. Sinjin, and asked to be excused from going with the
stretcher. And Mr. Sinjin, who prized the boy's safety too highly to wish
to see him go again under fire, was only too glad to excuse him, never
once suspecting what wild purpose was in his heart.

The battle was now fairly begun. The rebel battery had opened. The
continual rattle of musketry and the thunder of heavy cannon shook the
island. The regiments in line in front of the cleared space before the
battery, returned the fire with energy, and the marine howitzers also
responded. Soon a shell from the enemy's work came flying through the
woods with a hum, which increased to a howl, and burst with a startling
explosion within a few rods of the hospital. Nobody was hurt; but the
incident had a very marked effect on Jack Winch. He got better at once,
and moved to the rear with an alacrity surprisingly in contrast with his
recent helplessness.




                                XXIX.

                  HOW FRANK GOT NEWS OF HIS BROTHER.


Frank was already moving off quite as rapidly, but in the opposite
direction. He plunged once more into the swamp, and returned to the spot
where Jack had fallen. The battle was raging beyond; the troops had
passed on; the ground was deserted. But there lay Winch's gun; with his
cartridge-box beside it. Near by was Ellis's piece, abandoned where it
had fallen. There, too, lay the red badge which had been shot from
Frank's arm. He picked it up, thinking his mother would like to have him
preserve it.

Then he slipped on the cartridge-box, and took up Winch's gun; for this
was the resolution which inspired him--to assume the poltroon's place in
the company, and by his own conduct to atone for the disgrace he had
brought upon it.

But the gun-stock was, as has been said, shattered; and Frank could not
have the satisfaction of revenging himself and his comrades for Winch's
cowardice with Winch's own gun. So he threw it down, and took up Ellis's,
which he found ready loaded and primed.

While he was examining the piece, he remembered the shots which he had
taken for spent balls, and bethought him to look around the woods in the
direction from which they had come. Raising his eyes above the
undergrowth, he beheld a singular phenomenon.

At first, he thought it was a wild animal--a coon, or a wildcat, coming
down a tree. Then there were two wildcats, descending together, or
preparing to descend. Then the wildcats became two human legs clasped
around the trunk, and two human arms appeared enjoying an equally close
hug above them. The body to which these visible members appertained was
itself invisible, being on the farther side of the trunk.

"That's the chap that was shooting at us!" was Frank's instantaneous
conviction.

And now he could plainly discern an object slung across the man's back,
as his movements swung it around a little to one side. It was the
sharpshooter's rifle.

Frank was so excited that he felt himself trembling--not with fear, but
with the very ardor of his ambition.

"Since he has had two shots at me, why shouldn't I have as much as one at
him?"

To disable and bring in the rebel who had shot the badge from his
arm--what a triumph!

But he was not in a good position for an effective shot, even if he could
have made up his mind to fire at a person who, though without doubt an
enemy, was not at the moment defending himself. It seemed, after all, too
dreadful a thing deliberately to kill a man.

Frank's excitement did not embarrass his faculties in the least, but only
rendered them all the more keenly alive and vigilant. It took him but a
moment to decide what to do. Through the swamp he ran with a lightness
and ability of which in calmer moments he would have been scarcely
capable. The exigency of the occasion inspired him. Such leaps he took
over miry places! so safely and swiftly be ran the length of an old mossy
log! so nimbly he avoided the undergrowth! and so suddenly he arrived at
last at the tree the rebel was descending!

For he was a rebel indeed. Frank knew that by his gray uniform and short
jacket. He had been perched in the thick top of a tall pine to pick off
our men during the skirmish. It was he who had taken the bark from the
tree near Captain Edney's head. It was he who had basely thought to
assassinate those who were carrying away the wounded. And now, the
advancing troops having passed him, he was taking advantage of the
solitary situation to slip down the trunk and make his escape through the
woods.

Unfortunately for him, he could not go up and down trees like a squirrel.
He proceeded _hugging_ his way so slowly and laboriously that Frank
reached the spot when he was still within a dozen feet of the ground.
Hearing a noise, and looking down over his arm, and seeing Frank, he
would have jumped the remainder of the distance. But Frank was prepared
for that.

"Stop, or I'll fire!"

Shrill and menacing rang the boy's determined tones through the soul of
the treed rebel. He saw the gun pointed up at him; so he stopped.

"What's wanting?" said he, gruffly.

"I want you to throw down that rifle as quick as ever you can!" cried
Frank.

"What do you want of my rifle?"

"I've a curiosity to see what sort of a piece you use to shoot at men
carrying off the wounded."

And the "grayback" (as the boys termed the rebels) could hear the ominous
click of the gun lock in Frank's hands.

"Was it you I fired at?"

"Yes, it was; and I'm bound to put lead into you now, if you don't do as
I tell you pretty quick!"

"I can't throw my gun down; I can't get it off," remonstrated the man.

"You never will come down from that tree alive, unless you do!" said
Frank.

"Well, take the d----d thing then!" growled the man. And unclasping one
arm from the tree, while he held on with the other and his two legs, he
slipped the belt over his head, and dropped the gun to the ground. "If it
had been good for any thing, I reckon you wouldn't be here now, bothering
me!" he added, significantly.

"No doubt!" said Frank. "You are brave fellows, to shoot out of trees at
men carrying off the wounded. Wait! I'm not quite ready for you yet."

And he stood under the tree, with his musket pointed upwards, ready
cocked, and with the point of the bayonet in rather ticklish proximity to
the most exposed and prominent part of the rebel's person.

"Ye think I'm going to stick here all day?" growled the desperate
climber.

"You'll stick there till you throw me down your revolver," Frank
resolutely informed him.

"How do you know I've got a revolver?"

"I saw your hand make a motion at your pocket. You thought you'd try a
shot at me. But you saw at the very next motion you'd be a dead man!"

"You mean to say you'd blow my brains out?"

"Yes, if your brains are where my gun is aimed, as I think the brains of
rebels must be, or they never would have seceded."

Frank's gun, by the way, was aimed at the above mentioned very exposed
and prominent part.

"Grayback" grinned and growled.

"Come, my young joker, I can't stand this!"

"You'll have to stand it till you throw down that revolver!"

"I'm slipping!"

"Then I'll give you something sharp to slip on!"

The man felt that he had really betrayed himself by making the
involuntary movement towards his breast-pocket, which Frank had been too
shrewd not to notice. The cocked gun, and bayonet, and resolute young
face below, were inexorable. So he yielded.

"Don't throw it towards me! Drop it the other side!" cried the wary
Frank.

The revolver was tossed down. Then Frank stepped back, and let the man
descend from his uncomfortable position.

"Boy!" said the man, as soon as his feet were safe on the ground, and he
could turn to look at his captor, "I reckon you're a cute 'un! A Yankee,
ain't ye?"

"Yes, and proud to own it!" said Frank. "Keep your distance!"--as the man
made a move to come nearer--"and don't you stoop to touch that gun!"

"Look here," said the man, coaxingly, "you'd better let me go! I'm out
of ammunition, and can't hurt any body. I'll give ye ten dollars if you
will."

"In confederate shinplasters?"

The rebel laughed. "No, in Uncle Sam's gold."

"You don't place a very high value on yourself," said Frank. "You are too
modest."

"Twenty dollars!"--jingling the money in his pocket. "Come, I'm a
gentleman at home, and I don't want to go north. Well, say thirty
dollars."

"If you hadn't said you were a gentleman, I might trade," said Frank.
"But a gentleman is worth more than you bid. You wouldn't insult a negro
by offering that for him!"

"Fifty dollars, then! I see you are sharp at a bargain. And you shall
keep that revolver."

"I intend to keep this, any way," said Frank, picking it up. "And the gun
that shot at me, too," slinging it on his back.

The rebel, seeing his determination, rose in his bids at once to a
hundred dollars.

"Not for a hundred thousand!" said Frank, who was now ready to move his
prisoner. "You are going the way my bayonet points, and no other. March!"

The rebel marched accordingly.

Frank followed at a distance of two or three paces, prepared at any
moment to use prompt measures in case his prisoner should attempt to turn
upon him or make his escape.

"How many of you fellows are hid around in these trees?" said Frank.

"Not many just around here--lucky for you!" muttered the disconsolate
rebel.

"Is that your favorite way of fighting?"

"People fight any way they can when their soil is invaded."

"What are holes cut in the pine trees for,--foot-holds for climbing?"

"Holes? them's turpentine boxes!" said the man, in some surprise at
Frank's ignorance. "Didn't you ever see turpentine boxes before?"

"Never till last evening. Is that the way you get turpentine?"

"That's the way we get turpentine. The sap begins to run and fill the
boxes along in March, and when they are full we dip it out with ladles
made on purpose, and put it into barrels."

"O, you needn't stop to explain!" cried Frank. "Push ahead!"

And the rebel pushed ahead.

It was a moment of unspeakable satisfaction to the drummer boy when he
had brought his prisoner through all the difficulties of the way to the
road. There he had him safe.

He was now in the midst of shocking and terrible scenes, but he heeded
them not as much as he would have heeded the smallest accident to a
fellow-creature a few hours before. Already he seemed familiar with
battles and all their horrors. Men were hurrying by with medical stores.
The wounded were passing, on stretchers, or in the arms of their friends,
or limping painfully, ghastly, bleeding, but heroic still. They smiled as
they showed their frightful hurts. One poor fellow had had his arm torn
off by a cannon ball: the flesh hung in strings. Some lay by the
roadside, faint from the loss of blood. And all the time the deadly,
deafening tumult of the battle went on.

To guard his prisoner securely was Frank's first thought. But greater,
more absorbing even than that, was the wild wish to see the enemies of
his country defeated, and to share in the glorious victory.

"Frank Manly! what sort of a beast have you got there?" cried a soldier,
returning from the action with a slight wound.

Frank recognized a member of another company in the same regiment to
which he belonged.

"I've got a sharpshooter that I've taken prisoner." And he briefly
related his adventure, every word of which the rebel, who rather admired
his youthful captor, voluntarily confirmed.

"It's just as he tells you," he said, assuming a candid, reckless air. "I
am well enough satisfied. If your men are equal to your boys, I shall
have plenty of company before night."

"You think we shall have you all prisoners?" inquired Frank, eagerly.

"This island," replied the rebel, "is a perfect trap. I've known it from
the beginning. You outnumber us two to one, and if the fight goes against
us, we've no possible chance of escape. We've five thousand men on the
island, and if we're whipped you'll make a pretty respectable bag. But
you never can conquer us,"--he hastened to add, fearing lest he was
conceding too much.

"Can't, eh?" laughed Frank. "Where's the last ditch?"

"Never mind about that," said the prisoner, with a peculiar grin.

By this time several other stragglers had gathered around them, eager to
hear the story of the drummer boy's exploit.

The rebel had looked curiously at his youthful captor ever since he had
heard him called by name. At length he said:--

"Have you got a brother in the confederate army?"

Frank changed color. "Why do you ask that?"

"Because we have a Captain Manly, from the north somewhere, who looks
enough like you to be a pretty near relation."

Frank trembled with interest as he inquired, "What is his given name?"

"Captain--Captain _George_ Manly, I'm pretty sure."

"Yes, sir,"--and sorry tears came into Frank's eyes as he spoke,--"I
suppose I must own he is my brother."

"Well, you've a smart chance of meeting him, I reckon,--if, as I said,
your men are equal to your boys. For he's fighting against you to-day,
and he's one of the pluckiest, and he won't run."




                                 XXX.

                  THE BOYS MEET AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE.


Frank was anxious to inquire further concerning his apostate brother; but
at this moment one of Foster's aids came up, and saw the prisoner.

"Where did you find that fellow?" The story was quickly told. "Well,"
said the officer, "you've taken the first prisoner to-day."

He then turned to question the captive, who seemed inclined to talk
freely about the position and force of the confederates.

"I'll take this fellow in charge," he said, perceiving that it was in his
power to give valuable information. "Come, too, if you like."

"I thank you; I want to join my company," said Frank.

"You'd rather do that than come and see the general?"

"I can see him any time when he wants me, but we don't have a fight every
day, sir."

"Well, he shall hear of you. Can I do any thing for you?"

"If you please, you may take this gun that I have captured; one is enough
for me."

The officer took it, saying, as he turned to go,--

"A spirited boy, and as modest as he is brave!"

In the mean time Frank's comrades in the fight were cutting their way
through a thick swampy jungle in the direction of the enemy's left flank.

Relieved of his prisoner, his ardor inflamed rather than quenched by the
evil tidings he had heard of his brother, he followed in their track,
passing directly across the fire of the battery.

The hurricane of destruction swept howling over him. The atmosphere was
thick with smoke. Grape-shot whizzed through the bushes. The scream of
rifled shot seemed to fill the very air with terror and shuddering. Right
before him a shell struck a forest tree, shivering limbs and trunk in an
instant, as if a bolt from heaven had fallen upon it. He felt that at any
moment his tender body too might be torn in pieces; but he believed God's
arm was about him, and that he would be preserved. Deep and solemn, happy
even, was that conviction. A sense of the grand and terrible filled him;
the whole soul of the boy was aroused. He was not afraid of any thing. He
felt ready for any thing, even death, in his country's service.

The mud was deep, and savage the entanglement of bushes on every side.
But the troops, breaking through, had made the way comparatively easy to
follow, and Frank soon overtook the regiment.

Great was Captain Edney's surprise at sight of him, with a gun in his
hand and with the glow of youthful heroism in his face.

"What are you here for?"

"To beg permission to take Winch's place in the ranks."

"Your place is with the ambulance corps."

"I got excused from that, sir. I am not strong enough to carry heavy men
through the swamps," said Frank, with a smile.

"But strong enough to take a man's place in the ranks!" said Captain
Edney.

"I would like to have you try me, sir."

You may know that Captain Edney loved the boy to whom he gave so many
words and such serious thought at a time of action and peril. Perhaps he
had heard of Winch's pusillanimity, and understood the spirit which
prompted Frank to fill his place. Certain it is he saw in the lad's eye
the guarantee that, if permitted, he would give no cowardly account of
himself that day. So, reluctantly, dreading lest evil might happen to
him, he granted his request; and with a thrill of joy, Frank sprang to
Atwater's side.

"I'm here, old Abe!"

"I'm glad--and sorry!" said Abe.

The company had halted, awaiting the movement of the troops in front.

"We are getting into a splendid position!" said Gray, who had passed
through the undergrowth to reconnoitre. "We're fairly on their flank, and
not discovered yet!"

"How far did you go?" asked Captain Edney.

"To the clearing, which is just there where the woods look lighter. I
could see the guns of the battery blazing away, and rebels in the woods
supporting it. They're too busy to notice us."

"We're discovered, though!" said Captain Edney as a bullet came chipping
its way among the twigs above them.

"The sharpshooters are after us!" said Gray, gayly. "And now we're after
them!"

The order was given to advance. The men dashed forward through the
bushes. They soon made the clearing, and marching along its edge, opened
fire by file upon the battery and the rebels in the woods.

"You do well, Frank!" said Atwater, seeing his young companion coolly
loading and firing at his side.

"It's a perfect surprise to them! they didn't think we could do it!"
cried Gray, elated. "Lively, boys! lively."

The firing, regular at first, running along the line from right to left,
soon became a continual rattling, each man loading at will, and firing
whenever an enemy's head showed itself.

"There! I popped you over, you sneaking rebel!" cried Seth Tucket,
watching the effect of his shot. "Take the fellow next to him there,
Harris! behind that stump!"

"Let him put up his head a little higher!" said Harris, taking aim.

He fired. The rebel dropped, not behind the stump, but beside it.

"You've saved him!" shouted Tucket. "That'll pay for Ellis and Jack
Winch!"

The fire of the enemy in the woods was soon concentrated on Captain
Edney's company, which happened to be most exposed.

"Fire and load lying!" rang the captain's voice through the din.

Frank saw those next him throw themselves down behind a fallen tree. He
did the same. The trunk presented an excellent rest for his musket, and
he fired across it. But when he came to load, he found difficulty. He had
been exercised in the manual of arms, yet the operation of ramming the
cartridge while on his back was beyond his practice. Give him time, and
he could do it. But he felt that time was precious, and that every shot
told.

He glanced at Atwater, resting on his left side as he brought his gun
back after discharging it; taking out his cartridge; then turning on his
back, holding the piece with both hands and placing the butt between his
feet; and in that position, with the barrel over his breast, charging
cartridge, drawing rammer, and so forth.

All which the tall soldier performed scientifically and quickly. Yet
Frank saw that it took even him much longer to load lying than standing.
What, then, could he hope to do?

What he did was this. He deliberately got upon his feet, and with the
balls singing around him, proceeded unconcernedly with his loading.

"Down!" called Atwater to him; "down! You're making a target of
yourself!"

Frank resolutely went on with his loading.

"Down, there! down, Frank!" shouted Captain Edney.

Frank shouted back,--

"I can't load unless I stand up, sir!"

"Never mind that! Down!" repeated his captain, peremptorily.

"I've got my cartridge down, any way," said Frank, triumphantly, dropping
again behind the log.

"Why don't you obey orders?" cried Gray.

"The orders were to load and fire, and I was bound to obey them before
any others!" said Frank, preparing to prime.

Just then Atwater, who was again on his back, suddenly dropped his piece,
which fell across his left arm, and brought his right hand to his breast.
The movement was so abrupt and unusual it attracted Frank's attention.

"Are you hit, Abe?"

And in an instant he saw the answer to his hurried question in a gush of
blood which crimsoned the poor, brave fellow's breast.

"It has come!" said Atwater.

"How could it--and you lying down so!" ejaculated Frank.

"I don't know--never mind me!" replied Abe, faintly.

Then Frank remembered the mysterious shots aimed at him and Sinjin in the
woods, and the subsequent solution of the mystery. He looked up--all
around--overhead.

"What's the trouble, Manly?" screamed Tucket. "What do you see?"

"There!" Frank shouted, pointing upwards; "there! the man that killed
Atwater!"

And in the branches of a tree, which stood but a few paces in front of
them, he showed, half hidden by the thick masses, the figure of a rebel.

The sharpshooter was loading his piece. Frank saw the movement, and would
have hastened to avenge the death of his friend before the assassin could
fire again. But he was out of caps, and must borrow. Tucket's gun was
ready.

"'Die thou shalt, gray-headed ruffian!'"

Seth shouted the words up at the man in the tree, and lying on his back,
brought the butt of his gun to his shoulder, aimed heavenward, and fired.

Scarce had flame shot from the muzzle, when down came the rebel's gun
tumbling to the ground; pursued out of the tree by something that
resembled a huge bird, with spread wings, swooping down terribly, and
striking the ground with a jar heard even amid the thunder of battle.

It was the rebel himself.

"'Rattling, crashing, thrashing, thunder down!'" screamed Seth Tucket,
his ruling passion, poetry, strong even in battle.

The man, pitching forwards in his fearful somerset, had fallen within a
few feet of Frank. The boy recovering from his astonishment at the awful
sight, felt a strange curiosity to see if he was dead.

He looked over the log. There lay the wretch, a hideous heap, the face of
him upturned and recognizable.

Where had Frank seen that grim countenance, that short, stiff, iron-gray
hair? Somewhere, surely. He looked again, trying to fix his memory.

"I swan to man, ef it ain't old Buckley!"

Seth was right. It was the Maryland secessionist whose turkeys the boys
had stolen, and who, in consequence, had made haste to avenge his wrongs
by joining the confederate army.

A strange, sickening sensation came over Frank at the discovery. Thus the
evil he had done followed him. But for that wild freak of plundering the
poor man's poultry-yard, he might be plodding now on his Maryland farm,
and Atwater would not be lying there so white and still with a bullet in
his breast.




                                XXXI.

                         "VICTORY OR DEATH."


Where all this time was the old drum-major? He too had disappeared from
the ambulance corps to assume, like Frank, a position of still more
arduous service and greater danger.

Shortly after Frank left him, word came that the battery of
boat-howitzers, which, from a curve in the road that commanded the rebel
works, had been doing splendid execution, was suffering terribly, and
getting short of hands. It must soon withdraw unless reinforced. But who
would volunteer to help work the guns?

The old man had been familiar with artillery practice. At the thought of
the service and the peril his spirit grew proud within him. But his heart
yearned for Frank.

"Where is Manly?" he inquired of Ellis.

"I believe he has gone into the fight with our company," said the wounded
volunteer.

The truth flashed upon the veteran. Yes, the boy he loved had gone before
him into danger. He no longer hesitated, or lost any time in getting
leave to report himself to the commander of the battery.

"What can you do?" was the hurried question put to him, as he stood in
the thick powder-smoke, calmly asking for work.

Just then, a gunner was taken off his feet by a cannon-ball.

"I can take this fellow's place, sir," said the old man, grimly.

"Take it!" replied the officer.

The wounded sailor was borne away, and the old drummer, springing to the
howitzer, assisted in working it until, its ammunition exhausted, the
battery was ordered to withdraw.

During the severest part of the action Mr. Sinjin had observed a person
in citizen's dress, with his coat off, briskly handling the cannon-balls.
Their work done, he turned to speak with him.

"You are a friend of my young drummer boy, I believe," said the old man.

"Yes, and a friend of all his friends!" cordially answered the
white-sleeved civilian.

"You can preach well, and fight well," said the veteran, his eyes
gleaming with stern pride.

"I prefer to preach, but I believe in fighting too, when duty points that
way," said Mr. Egglestone,--for it was he, flushed and begrimed with his
toil at the deadly guns.

Even as they were speaking, a cannon-ball passed between them. Mr.
Egglestone was thrown back by the shock of the wind it carried, but
recovered instantly to find himself unhurt. But where was the old
drummer? He was not there. And it was some seconds before the bewildered
clergyman perceived him, several paces distant, lying on his face by the
road.

                 *            *            *            *

The howitzers silenced, it was determined to storm the enemy's works.

Frank afterwards had the satisfaction of knowing that it was in part the
information gained from the prisoner he had taken that decided the
commanding general to order a charge.

Frank was with his company, where we left him, when suddenly yells rent
the air; and, looking, he saw the Zouaves of Parke's brigade dashing down
the causeway in front of the rebel redoubt.

They were met by a murderous fire. They returned it as they charged. As
their comrades fell, they passed over them unheedingly, and still kept
on--a sublime sight to look upon, in their wild Arab costumes, shouting,
"Zou! zou!" bounding like tigers, clearing obstructions, and sweeping
straight to the breastwork with their deadly bayonets.

"What is it?" asked Atwater, faintly.

"Victory!" answered Frank; for the firing ceased--the enemy were flying.

"That's enough!" And the still pallid face of the soldier smiled.

Victory! None but those who have fought a stern foe to the bloody close,
and seen his ranks break and fly, and the charging columns pursue, ranks
of bristling steel rushing in through clouds of battle smoke, know what
pride and exultation are in that word.

Victory! Reno's column, that had outflanked the rebels on the west side,
fighting valiantly, charged simultaneously with the Zouaves. The whole
line followed the example, and went in with colors flying, and shouts of
joy filling the welkin which had been shaken so lately with the jar of
battle. Over fallen trees, over pits and ditches, through brush, and bog,
and water, the conquering hosts poured in; Frank's regiment with the
rest, and himself among the foremost that planted their standard on the
breastwork.

There were the abandoned cannon, still warm and smoking. There lay a
deserted flag, bearing the Latin inscription "_Aut vincere aut
mori_,"--Victory or death,--flung down in the precipitate flight.

"They couldn't conquer, and they didn't want to die; so they split the
difference, and run," observed Seth Tucket.

There too lay the dead and dying, whom the boastful enemy had forsaken
where they fell. One of these who had _not_ run was an officer--handsome
and young. He was not yet dead. A strange light was in his eyes as he
looked on the forms of the foemen thronging around him, saw the faces of
the victors, and heard the cheering. Success and glory were for
them--for him defeat and death.

"Lift me up," he said, "and let me look at you once."

They raised him to a sitting posture, supported partly by a gun-carriage,
and partly by the arms of his conquerors. And they pressed around him,
their voices hushed, their triumphant brows saddened with respect for the
dying.

"Though we have been fighting each other," he said, solemnly, "we are
still brothers. God forgive me if I have done wrong! I too am a northern
man,--I too----"

As he spoke, a figure in the uniform of his foes sprang through the crowd
to his feet.

"O, my brother! O, my brother George!"

It was Frank Manly, who knelt, and with passionate grief clasped the hand
that had clasped his in fondness and merry sport so often in the happy
days of his childhood, when neither ever dreamed of their unnatural
separation and this still more unnatural meeting.

"Frank! my little brother! so grown! is it you?" said the wounded
captive, with dreamy surprise.

"O George! how could you?" Frank began, with anguish in his voice. But he
checked himself; he would not reproach his dying brother.

"My wife, you know!" was all the unhappy young man could murmur. He
looked at Frank with a faint and ever fainter smile of love, till his
eyes grew dim. "I am going, Frank. It is all wrong--I know now--but it is
too late. Tell mother----"

His words became inaudible, and he sank, swooning, in Captain Edney's
arms.

"What, George? what shall I tell mother?" pleaded Frank, in an agony.

"And father too," said the dying lips, in a moment of reviving
recollection. "And my sisters----" But the message was never uttered.

"George! O, George! I am here! Don't you see me?"

The dim eyes opened; but they saw not.

"Carry me up stairs! Let me die in the old room--our room, Frank."

It was evident his mind was wandering; he fancied himself once more at
home, and wished to be laid in the little chamber where he used to sleep
with Frank, as Frank had slept with Willie in later days.

"Kiss me, mother!" The ashen face smiled; then the light faded from it;
and the lips, grown cold and numb, murmured softly, "It is growing
dark--Good night!"

And he slept--the sleep of eternity.

When Frank rose up from the corpse he had mastered himself. Then Captain
Edney saw, what none had noticed before, that blood was streaming down
his arm--the same arm that had been grazed before; this time it had been
shot through.

"You are wounded!"

"Yes--but not much. I must go--let me go and take care of Atwater!"

"But you need taking care of yourself!"--for he was deadly pale.

"No, sir--I--Abe, there----"

Even as the boy was speaking he grew dizzy and fell fainting in his
captain's arms.




                                XXXII.

                          AFTER THE BATTLE.


It is over. The battle is ended, the victory won. The sun goes down upon
conquerors and conquered, upon the living and the dead. And the evening
comes, melancholy. The winds sigh in the pine-tops, the sullen waves dash
upon the shore, the gloom of the cypresses lies dismal and dark on
Roanoke Island.

Buildings suitable for the purpose, taken from the enemy, have been
converted into hospitals, and the wounded are brought in.

There is Frank with his bandaged arm, and Ellis with his stump of a hand
bound up, and others worse off than they. There is the surgeon of their
regiment, active, skilful, kind. There, too, is Mr. Eggleston, the
minister, proving his claim to that high title, ministering in the truest
sense to all who need him, holding to fevered lips the cup of medicine or
soothing drink, and holding to fevered souls the still more precious
drink.

There is Corporal Gray, assisting to arrange the hospital, and cheering
his comrades with an account of the victory.

"The rebels ran like herds of deer after we got the battery. We tracked
'em by the traps they threw away. Guns, knapsacks, coats,--they flung off
every thing, and skedaddled for dear life! We met an old negro woman, who
told us where their camp was; but some of 'em had taken another
direction, by a road that goes to the east side of the island. Our boys
followed, and found 'em embarking in boats. We fired on 'em, and brought
back two of their boats. In one we got Jennings Wise, of the Wise Legion,
that we had the bloody fight with flanking the battery. He was wounded
and dying.

"But our greatest haul was the camp the old negress pointed out The
rebels rallied, and as we moved up, fired upon us, doing no damage. We
returned the compliment, and dropped eight men. Then more running, of the
same chivalrous sort, our boys after them; when out comes a flag of truce
from the camp.

"'What terms will be granted us?' says the rebel officer.

"'No terms, but unconditional surrender,' says General Foster.

"'How long a time will be granted us to consider?'

"'Just time enough for you to go to your camp to convey the terms and
return.'

"Off went the rebel. We waited fifteen minutes. Then we pushed on again.
That movement quickened their deliberations; and out came Colonel Shaw,
the commander, and says to General Foster,--

"'I give up my sword, and surrender five thousand men!' For he didn't
know some two thousand of his force had escaped. What we have got is
about three thousand prisoners, and all their forts and quarters, which
we call a pretty good bag."

The boys forgot their wounds, they forgot their dead and dying comrades,
listening to this recital. But short-lived was the enthusiasm of one, at
least. Scarce was Gray gone, when Frank saw four men with a stretcher,
bringing upon it a grizzled, pallid old man.

"O, Mr. Sinjin! O, my dear, dear friend! You too!"

"Is it my boy?" said the veteran, with a wan smile. "Yes, I too! They
have done for me, I fear."

"But nobody told me. How--where----" The boy's grief choked his voice.

"An impertinent cannon-ball interrupted my conversation with Mr.
Egglestone," said the old man, stifling his agony as the men removed him
to a cot. "And took a--" he groaned in spite of himself--"a greedy
mouthful out of my side--that's all."

Frank knew not what to say or what to do, he was so overcome.

"There, my boy," said the old man, to comfort him, "no tears for me! It
is enough to see you again. They told me you were hurt--" looking at the
lad's disabled arm. "I am glad it is no worse." And the wan veteran
smiled content.

Frank, with his one hand, smoothed the pillow under the old gray head,
struggling hard to keep back his sobs as he did so.

"Who is my neighbor there?" Mr. Sinjin cheerfully asked.

"Atwater," Frank managed to articulate.

"Is it? I am sorry! A bad wound?"

"The bullet went through a Bible he carried, then into his breast, beyond
the reach of surgery, I am afraid," Mr. Egglestone answered for Frank.
"He lies in a stupor, just alive."

"Poor fellow!" said Mr. Sinjin, feelingly. "If Death must have one of us,
let him for once be considerate, and take me. Atwater is young, just
married,--he needs to live; but I--I am not of much account to any body,
and can just as well be spared as not."

"O, no, O, no!" sobbed Frank; "I can't spare you! I can't let you die!"

"My boy," said the old man, deeply affected, "I would like to tarry a
little longer in the world, if only for your sake. You have done so much
for me--so much more than you can ever know! You have brought back to my
old heart more of its youth and freshness than it had felt for years. I
thank God for it. I thank you, my dear boy."

With these words still ringing in his ear, Frank was taken away by the
thoughtful Mr. Egglestone and compelled to lie down.

"You must not agitate the old man, and you need repose yourself, Frank.
I fear the effects of all this excitement, together with that wound, on
your slender constitution."

"O, my wound is nothing!" Frank declared. "See that he and Atwater have
every thing done for them--won't you, Mr. Egglestone?"

The minister promised, and Frank endeavored to settle his mind to rest.

But he could not sleep. Every five minutes he started up to inquire after
his friends. Hour after hour passed, and he still remained wakeful as a
spirit doomed never to sleep again. His wounded arm pained him; and he
had so many things to think of,--his suffering comrades, old Buckley
shot out of the tree, his rebel brother, his folks at home, and all the
whirling incidents and horrors of that dread day.

So he thought, and thought; and prayed silently for the old drummer
groaning on his bed of pain; and pleaded for Atwater lying there, still,
with the death-shadow he had foreseen darkening the portal of his body.
And Frank longed for his mother, as he grew weary and weak, until at last
sleep came in mercy, and dropped her soft, vapory veil over his soul.

                 *            *            *            *

The thrilling news of the victory came north by telegraph. Then followed
letters from correspondents, giving details of the battle, when, one
morning, Helen Manly ran home in a glow of excitement, bringing a damp
and crumpled newspaper.

"News from Frank!" she cried, out of breath.

In a moment the little family was gathered about her, the parents eager
and pale.

"Is he living? Tell me that!" said Mrs. Manly.

"Yes, but he has been wounded, and is in the hospital."

"Wounded!" broke forth Mr. Manly in consternation; but his wife kept her
soul in silence, waiting with compressed white lips to learn more.

"In the arm--not badly. There is a whole half column about him here. For
he has made himself famous--Frank! our dear, dear Frank!" And the quick
tears flooding the girl's eyes fell upon the paper.

Mrs. Manly snatched the sheet and read, how her boy had distinguished
himself; how he had captured a rebel, and fought gallantly in the ranks,
and received a wound without minding it; and how all who had witnessed
his conduct, both officers and men, were praising him; it was all
there--in the newspaper.

"What adds to the romance of this boy's story," said the writer in
conclusion, "is a circumstance which occurred at the capture of the
breastwork. Among the dead and wounded left behind when the enemy took to
flight, was a rebel captain, of northern parentage, who came south a few
years ago, married a southern belle, became a slaveholder, joined the
slaveholders' rebellion in consequence, and lost his life in defence of
Roanoke Island. He lived long enough to recognize in the drummer boy
_his own younger brother_, and died in his arms."

Great was the agitation into which the family was thrown by this
intelligence.

"O that I had the wings of a dove!" said Mrs. Manly. "For I must go, I
must go to my child!"

Pride and joy in his youthful heroism, pain and grief for the other's
tragic end, all was absorbed in the dreadful uncertainty which hung about
the welfare of the favorite son; and she knew that not all the attentions
and praises of men could make up to him, there on his sick bed, for the
absence of his mother.

The family waited, however,--in what anguish of suspense need not to be
told,--until the next mail brought them letters from Mr. Egglestone and
Captain Edney. By these, their worst fears were confirmed. Exposure,
fatigue, excitement, the wound he had received, had done their work with
Frank. He was dangerously ill with a fever.

"O, dear!" groaned Mr. Manly, "this wicked, this wicked rebellion! George
is killed, and now Frank! What can we do? what can we do, mother?" he
asked, helplessly.

While he was groaning, his wife rose up with that energy which so often
atoned for the lack of it in him.

"I am going to Roanoke Island! I am going to my child in the hospital!"

That very day she set out. Alone she went, but she was not long without a
companion. On the boat to Fortress Monroe she saw a solitary and
disconsolate young woman, whose face she was confident of having seen
somewhere before. She accosted her, found her going the same journey with
herself, and on a similar errand, and learned her history.

"My husband, that I was married to at the cars just as his regiment was
leaving Boston, has been shot at Roanoke Island, and whether he is alive
or dead I do not know."

"Your husband," said Mrs. Manly,--"my son knows him well. They were close
friends!"

And from that moment the mother of Frank and the wife of Atwater were
close friends also, supporting and consoling each other on the journey.




                               XXXIII.

                          A FRIEND IN NEED.


At Roanoke Island, a certain tall, lank, athletic private had been
detailed for fatigue duty at the landing, when the steamer from the inlet
arrived.

Being at leisure, he was watching with an expression of drollery and
inquisitiveness for somebody to tell him the news, when he saw two
bewildered, anxious women come ashore, and look about them, as if waiting
for assistance.

Prompted by his naturally accommodating disposition, and no less by
honest curiosity, the soldier stepped up to them.

"Ye don't seem over'n above familiar in these parts, ladies," he said,
with his politest grin.

"We are looking for an officer who promised to aid us in finding our
friends in the hospital--or at least in getting news from them," said the
elder of the two,--a fine-looking, though distressed and careworn woman
of forty.

"Sho! wal. I s'pose he's got other things to look after, like as not!"
And the soldier, in his sympathy, cast his eyes around in search of the
officer. "Got friends in the hospital, hev ye?" Then peering curiously
under the bonnet of the young female, "Ain't you the gal that merried
Atwater?"

"O! do you know him? Is he--is he alive?" By which eager interrogatives
he perceived that she was "the gal."

The droll countenance grew solemn. "I ain't edzac'ly prepared to answer
that last question, Miss--Miss Atwater!" he said, with some embarrassment.
"But the fust I can respond to with right good will. Did I know
him!"--Tears came into his eyes as he added, "Abe Atwater, ma'am, was my
friend; and a braver soldier or a better man don't at this moment exist!"

"Then you must know my boy, too!" cried the elder female,--"Frank Manly,
drummer."

The soldier brightened at once.

"Frank Manly! 'Whom not to know argues one's self unknown.' Your most
obedient, ma'am,"--bowing and scraping. "Your son has attracted the
attention of the officers, and made himself pop'lar with every body.
Mabby ye haven't heerd----"

"I've heard," interrupted the anxious mother. "But how is he? Tell me
that!"

"Wal, he was a little grain more chirk last night, I was told. He has had
a fever, and been delirious, and all that--perty nigh losing his chance
o' bein' promoted, he was, one spell! But now I guess his life's about as
sure's his commission, which Cap'n Edney says there ain't no doubt
about."

"So young!" said Mrs. Manly, trembling with interest.

"He's young, but he's got what we want in officers--that is, sperit; he's
chock full of that. I take some little pride in him myself," added the
private. "We was almost like brothers, me and Frank was! 'In the desert,
in the battle, in the ocean-tempest's wrath, we stood together, side by
side; one hope was ours, one path!'"

"This, then, is Seth Tucket!" exclaimed Mrs. Manly, who knew him by his
poetry.

"That's my name, ma'am, at your service!" And Seth made another
tremendous bow. "But I see," he said, "you're anxious; ye want to git to
the hospital. I tell ye, Frank'll be glad to see ye; he used to rave
about you in his delirium; he would call '_mother! mother!_' sometimes
half the night."

"Poor child! poor, dear child!" said Mrs. Manly. "I can't wait! help me,
sir,--show me the way to him, if nothing more!"

"Hello!" shouted Seth. "Whose cart is this? Where's the driver of this
cart? It's been standin' here this hour, and nobody owns it." He jumped
into it. "Who claims this vehicle? 'Who so base as would not help a
woman? If any, speak! for him have I offended!' Nobody? Then I take the
responsibility--and the cart too! Hop in, ladies. Here's a board for you
to set on. I'll drive ye to the hospital, and bring back the kerridge
before Uncle Sam misses it."

The women were only too glad to accept the invitation, and they were soon
seated on the board. Seth adjusted his anatomy to the edge of the
cart-box, and drove off. But he soon stood up, declaring that a hungry
fellow like him couldn't stand that board,--he was too sharp set.

Mrs. Manly did not venture to ask again about Atwater,--what he had
already said of him having gone so heavily to the poor wife's heart. But
she could inquire about the old drum-major, who, she had heard, was
wounded.

"Old Sinjin? Wal! I'm in jest the same dilemmy consarning him as Atwater.
They've both been sick and at the pint of death ever sence the fight. Now
one of 'em's dead, and t'other's alive. A chap that was at the hospital
told me this morning, 'One of them sickest fellers in your regiment died
last night," says he; 'I don't know which of 'em,' says he. And I haven't
had a chance yet to find out."

"O, haste then!" cried the young wife. "May be my husband is living
still!"

"Shouldn't wonder the least might if he is," said Seth, willing to
encourage her. "For he has hung on to life wonderfully; he said he
believed you was coming, and he couldn't bear the idee of dying before he
could see you once more. Old Buckley's bullet has been found, you'll be
pleased to know."

"Old Buckley? Who is old Buckley?"

"The Maryland secessionist that shot your husband, and that I brought
down from the tree to pay for it. He never'll git into another tree,
without his soul goes into a gobble-turkey, as I should think it might,
and flies up in one to roost!"

"And the bullet!----"

"As I was going to tell ye, it's been found. It went through the Bible
that you gave him (and that Frank's preserving for you now, I believe),
and lodged in his body, the doctor couldn't tell where. But one night Mr.
Egglestone,--the fighting minister, you know, that merried you,--he was
bathing Abe's back, and what did he find but a bunch, that Abe said was
sore. 'Doctor!' says he, 'I've found the bullet!' And, sure enough! the
doctor come and cut out the lead. It had gone clean through the poor
feller,--into his breast, and out under his side!--Hello!" said Seth, "I
shall hev to turn out and wait for that company to march by. I swan to
man ef 'tain't my company,--or a part on't, at least! They're drumming
out a coward, to the tune of the _Rogue's March_!"

The women were all impatience to get on; and Mrs. Manly felt but the
faintest gleam of interest in the procession, until, as it drew near, in
a wretched figure, wearing, in place of the regimental uniform, a suit of
rags that might have been taken from some contraband, with drummers
before and fixed bayonets behind, she recognized--Jack Winch!

"Wal!" said Seth, "I'd ruther go into a fight and be shot dead than go
out of camp in that style! See that label, 'COWARD,' on his back? But he
deserves it, ef ever a chap did!"

And Seth, as he drove on, related the story of Jack's miserable boasting
and poltroonery. Much as she pitied the wretch, Mrs. Manly could not help
remembering his treachery towards her son, and feeling that Frank was now
amply avenged.




                                XXXIV.

                             THE HOSPITAL.


Let us pass on before, and take a peep into the hospital. There we find
Ned Ellis, playing dominoes with one hand, and joking to keep up the
spirits of his companions. There lies Frank on his cot, with blanched
countenance, eyes closed, and pale lips smiling, as if in dreams. Of his
two friends, Atwater and the old drummer, only one, as Seth Tucket said,
remains. One was carried out last night--in a coffin his cold form is
laid--life's fitful fever is over with him.

And the other? Very still, very pale, stretched on his narrow bed, no
motion of breathing perceptible, behold him! What is it we see in that
sculptured, placid face? Is it life, or is it death? It's neither life
nor death, but sleep, that dim gulf between.

Mr. Egglestone, who has been much about the hospital from the first,
enters with a radiant look, and steps lightly to Frank's side.

The drummer boy's eyes unclose, and smile their welcome.

"Better, still better, I am glad to see!" says the minister, cheerily.

"Almost well," answered Frank, although so weak that he can hardly speak.
"I shall be out again in a day or two. The fever has quite left me; and I
was having such a beautiful dream. I thought I was a water-lily, floating
on a lake; and the lake, they told me, was _sleep_; and I felt all
whiteness and peace! Wasn't it pretty?"

"Pretty, and true too!" said the minister, with a suffusing tear, as he
looked at the pale, gentle boy, and thought how much like a white
fragrant lily he was. "I have news for you, Frank. The steamer has
arrived."

"O! and letters?"

"Probably, though I have none yet. But something besides letters!"--Mr.
Egglestone whispered confidentially, "Atwater's wife is here!"

"Is she? Brave girl!--O, dear!" said Frank, his features changing
suddenly, "why didn't my mother come too! She might, I think! It seems as
if I couldn't wait, as if I couldn't live, till I see her!"

"Well, Frank," then said the minister, having thus prepared him, "your
mother did think--your mother is here!"

At the moment, Mrs. Manly, who could be no longer restrained, flew to the
bedside of her son. He started up with a wild cry; she caught him in her
arms; they clung and kissed and cried together.

"Mother! mother!" "My child! my darling child!" were the only words that
could be heard in that smothering embrace.

Mr. Egglestone turned, and took the hand of her companion, who had
entered with her, and led her to the cot where lay the still figure and
placid, sculptured face. O woman, be strong! O wife, be calm! keep back
the tears, stifle the anguish, of that heaving breast.

She is strong, she is calm, tears and anguish are repressed. She bends
over the scarcely breathing form, gazes into the utterly pallid face, and
with clasped hands in silence blesses him, prays for him--her husband.

For this is he--Abe Atwater, the shadow of death he foresaw still
darkening the portal of his body, as if hesitating to enter, nor yet
willing to pass by. And the face in the coffin outside there is the face
of the old drummer, whose soul, let us hope, is at peace. One was
taken--will the other be left?

The eyes of Abe opened; they beheld the vision of his wife, and gladness,
like a river of soft waters, glides into his soul. O, may it be a river
of life to him! As love has held his spirit back from death, so may its
power restore him; for such things have been; and there is no medicine
for the sick body or sinking soul like the breath and magnetic touch of
love.

Frank meanwhile was lying on his bed, holding his mother's hands, and
drinking in the joy of her presence. And she was feeding his rapture with
the tenderest motherly words and looks, and telling him of home.

"But how selfish I am!" said Frank, "How little you could afford to
leave, and come here! I thought I was going to be a help to you, and, the
best I can do, I am only a trouble and a hindrance!"

"I could not stop an instant to think of trouble or expense when my
darling was in danger!" exclaimed the grateful mother. "I feel that God
will take care of us; if we are his children, he will provide for all our
wants. Will he not, Mr. Egglestone?"

"When I have read to you this paper," replied the minister, "then you can
be the judge. I was requested to read it to Frank as soon as he was able
to hear it--after his friend's death."

"Is it something for me? Poor old Mr. Sinjin!" exclaimed Frank. "He died
last night, mother. But he was so happy, and so willing to go, I can't
mourn for him. What is the paper?"

"A few nights ago he requested me to come to his side and write as he
should dictate." And the clergyman, seating himself, read:--

          "'The Last Will and Testament of Servetus St. John,
                     commonly called Old Sinjin.

    "I, Servetus St. John, Drummer, being of sound mind, but of body fast
    failing unto death, having received its mortal hurt in battle for my
    country, do give and bequeath of my possessions as follows:--

    "'_Item._ My Soul I return to the Maker who gave it, and my Flesh to
    the dust whence it came.

    "'_Item._ To my Country and the Cause of Freedom, as I have given my
    last poor services, so I likewise give cheerfully my Life.

    "'_Item._ To Mehitabel Craig, my only surviving sister after the
    flesh, I give what alone she can claim of me, and what, as a dying
    sinner, I have no right to withhold, my full pardon for all
    offences.

    "'_Item._ To my present friend and comforter, Mr. Egglestone, as a
    memento of my deep obligations to him, I give my watch.

    "'_Item._ To my fellow-sufferer, Abram Atwater, or to his widow, in
    case of his decease, I bequeath the sum of one hundred dollars.

    "'_Item._ To my fellow-sufferer and dearly beloved pupil, Frank
    Manly, I give, in token of affection, a miniature which will be
    found after my death.

    "'_Item._ To the same Frank Manly I also give and bequeath the
    residue of all my worldly possessions, to wit:--'"

Then followed an enumeration of certain stocks and deposits, amounting to
the sum of three thousand dollars.

The will was duly witnessed, and Mr. Egglestone was the appointed
executor.

Frank was silent; he was crying, with his hands over his face.

"So you see, my young friend," said Mr. Egglestone, "you have, for your
own comfort, and for the benefit of your good parents, a snug little
fortune, which you will come into possession of in due time. As for the
miniature, I may as well hand it to you now. I found it after the old
man's death. He always wore it on his heart."

He took it from its little soiled buckskin sheath, and gave it to Mrs.
Manly. She turned pale as she looked at it. Frank was eager to see it,
and, almost reluctantly, she placed it in his hands. It might almost have
passed for a portrait of himself, only it was that of a girl; and he knew
at once that it was his mother, as she had looked at his age.

While he was gazing at the singular memento of the old man's romantic
and undying attachment, Mrs. Manly looked away, with the air of one
resolutely turning her mind from one painful subject to another.

"I wish to ask you, Mr. Egglestone, what disposition has been made
of--I had another son, you know."

He understood her.

"I trust," said he, "that what Captain Edney and myself thought proper to
do will meet your approval. After the battle, the wife of Captain Manly
sent a request to have his body forwarded to her by a flag of truce. We
consulted Frank, who told us to do as we pleased about it. Accordingly,
we obtained permission to grant her request, and the body of her husband
was sent to her."

There was for a moment a look, as of one who felt bitter wrong, on Mrs.
Manly's face; but it passed.

"You did well, Mr. Egglestone. To her who had got the soul belonged the
body also. May peace go with it to her desolated home!"

"Mother!" whispered Frank, gazing still at the miniature, "tell me! am I
right? do I know now why it was the dear old man thought so much of me?"

"If you have not guessed, my child. I will tell you. Years ago, when I
was the little girl you see there, he was good enough to think _I_ was
good enough to marry him. That is all."

Frank said no more, but laid the picture on his heart,--for it was his,
and the dearest part of the dear old man's legacy.




                                XXXV.

                             CONCLUSION.


After a long delay Captain Edney came; apologizing for not appearing to
welcome his drummer boy's mother and his old schoolmistress before. His
excuse was valid: one of his men, S. Tucket by name, had got into a
scrape by running off with one of Uncle Sam's carts, and he had been to
help him out of it.

He found a new light shining in the hospital--the light of woman's
influence; the light of life to Frank and his friend Atwater, nor to them
only, but to all upon whom it shone.

Mrs. Manly remained in the hospital until her son was able to travel,
when leave of absence was granted him, and all his friends crowded to bid
him farewell, as he departed in the boat with his mother for the
north--for home!

Of his journey, of his happy arrival, the greetings from father, sister,
little brother, friends--of all this I would gladly write a chapter or
two; but he is no longer the Drummer Boy now, and so our business with
him is over. And so he left the service? Not he.

"I'm to be a Soldier Boy now!" he declared to all those who came to shake
him by the hand and hear his story from his own lips.

His wound was soon healed, and he hastened to return to his regiment; for
he was eager to be learning everything belonging to the profession of a
soldier. It was not long, however, before he came north again--this time
on surprising business. Captain Edney, who had won the rank of Colonel at
the battle of Newbern, had been sent home to raise a regiment; and he had
been permitted to choose from his own company such persons as he thought
best fitted to assist him, and hold commissions under him.

He chose Gray, Seth Tucket, and Frank. Another of our friends afterwards
joined the regiment, with the rank of First Lieutenant; having quite
recovered from his wound, under the tender nursing of his wife.

With his friends Edney, Gray, Tucket, and Atwater, Frank was as happy as
ever a young officer in a new service could be. He began as second
lieutenant; but----

But here our story must end; for to relate how he has fought his way up,
step by step, to a rank which was never more fairly earned, would require
a separate volume,--materials for which we may possibly find some day in
his own letters to his mother, and in those of Colonel Edney to his
sister Helen.

                 *            *            *            *

Some extracts from a letter just received from the hero of these pages
may perhaps interest the reader.

    "I cannot tell you, sir, how much astonished I was on opening the
    package you sent me. I don't think the mysterious bundle that
    contained the watch dear old 'Mr. St. John' gave me surprised me
    half as much. I had never seen any _proof-sheets_ before, and hardly
    knew what to make of them at first. Then you should have heard me
    scream at Gray and Atwater. 'Boys,' says I, 'here's a story founded
    on our adventures!' I sat up all that night reading it, and I must
    confess I had to blush a good many times before I got through. I see
    you have not called any of us by our real names; but I soon found
    out who 'Abe,' and 'Seth,' and 'Jack Winch,' and all the other
    characters are meant for. I have read ever so many pages to 'Seth'
    himself, and he has laughed as heartily as any of us over his own
    oddities. We all wonder how you could have written the story, giving
    all the circumstances, and even the conversations that took place,
    so correctly; but I remember, when I was at your house, you kept me
    talking, and wrote down nearly every thing I said; besides which, I
    find there was a good deal more in my journal and letters than I
    supposed, when I consented to let you have them and make what use of
    them you pleased. Little did I think then, that ever such a book as
    the 'Drummer Boy' could be made out of them.

    "You ask me to point out any important errors I may notice, in order
    that you may correct them before the book is published. Well, the
    night the row was in camp, when the 'Blues' cut down the captain's
    tent, the company was ordered out, and the roll called, and three
    other fellows put under guard, before Abe and I were let off. I might
    mention two or three similar mistakes, but I consider them too
    trifling to speak of. There are, besides, two or three omissions,
    which struck me in reading the wind-up of the story. 'Jack Winch'
    went home, and died of a fever within a month. If it isn't too late,
    I wish you would put that in; for I think it shows that those who
    think most of saving their lives are sometimes the first to lose
    them.

    "You might add, too, that 'Mr. Egglestone' is now the chaplain of our
    regiment. We all love him, and he is doing a great deal of good here.
    I have put the 'Drummer Boy' into his hands, and I just saw him
    laughing over it. If every body reads it with the interest we do here
    in camp, it will be a great success.

    "There is another thing--but this you need not put into the book.
    With the money my dear old friend and master left me, I have bought
    the house our folks live in, so that, whatever happens to me, they
    will never be without a home....

    "In conclusion, let me say that, while you have told some things of
    me I would rather every body should forget, you have, on the whole,
    given me a much better character than I deserve.

    "We are already beginning to call each other by the names you have
    given us, and I take great pleasure in subscribing myself,

    "Yours, truly,

    "FRANK MANLY."




                 *            *            *            *


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