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Tt7oma.^ Ne[^on Pd.<&e ■m 













Unc' Edinhurg's Drowndin\ Meh Lady, Ok 
' Stracted, No I/aid Pawn, and Polly. 

Une volume, cloth, i2mo. Si. 25. 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 


Two Little Confederates 


THOMAS Nelson Page 




Copyright, 1888, by 
Charles Scribner's Sons. 

Press of J. J. Little & Co. 
Astor Place, New York. 



The old man walked up to the door, and standing on one 

side, flung it open Frontispiece. 

"I'm in command," said the gentleman, smiling at him 

over the towel Page / 5 

" Gentlemen, marsters, don't tech my horses, ef you 

please," said Uncle 'Ball a " 61 

Frank and Willy capture a member of the conscript-guard " 8y 

The boy faced his captor, who held a strap in one hand' " iig 

"Look! Look! Toey are running. They are beating our 

men !" exclaimed the boys " 73/ 

The boys sell their cakes to the Yankees *■*■ 7^7 

Some of the servants came back to their old home ... " 755 



THE "Two Little Confederates" lived at Oakland. It 
was not a handsome place, as modern ideas go, but down 
in Old Virginia, where the standard was different from 
the later one, it passed in old times as one of the best plantations 
in all that region. The boys thought it the greatest place in 
the world, of course excepting Richmond, where they had 
been one year to the fair, and had seen a man pull fire out of 
his mouth, and do other wonderful things. It was quite 
secluded. It lay, it is true, right between two of the county 
roads, the Court-house Road being on one side, and on the 
other the great " Mountain Road," down which the large 
covered wagons with six horses and jingling bells used to go ; 
but the lodge lay this side of the one, and "the big woods," 
where the boys shot squirrels, and hunted 'possums and coons, 
and which reached to the edge of " Holetown," stretched 
between the house and the other, so that the big gate-post 
where the semi-weekly mail was left by the mail-rider each 
Tuesday and Friday afternoon was a long walk, even by the 
near cut through the woods. The railroad was ten miles 
away by the road. There was a nearer way, only about half 


the distance, by which the negroes used to walk, and which 
during the war, after all the horses were gone, the boys, too, 
learned to travel ; but before that, the road by Trinity Church 
and Honeyman's Bridge was the only route, and the other 
was simply a dim bridle-path, and the "horseshoe-ford" was 
known to the initiated alone. 

The mansion itself was known on the plantation as "the 
great-house," to distinguish it from all the other houses on 
the place, of which there were many. It had as many wings 
as the angels in the vision of Ezekiel. 

These additions had been made, some in one generation, 
some in another, as the size of the family required ; and 
finally, when there was no side of the original structure to 
which another wing could be joined, a separate building had 
been erected on the edge of the yard which was called " The 
Office," and was used as such, as well as for a lodging-place 
by the young men of the family. The privilege of sleeping in 
the Office was highly esteemed, for, like the toga vh'ilzs, it 
marked the entrance upon manhood of the youths who were 
fortunate enough to enjoy it. There smoking was admissible, 
there the guns were kept in the corner, and there the dogs 
were allowed to sleep at the feet of their young masters, or 
in bed with them, if they preferred it. 

In one of the rooms in this building the boys went to 
school whilst small, and another they looked forward to 
having as their own when they should be old enough to be 
elevated to the coveted dignity of sleeping in the Ofifice. Hugh 


already slept there, and gave himself airs in proportion ; but 
Hugh they regarded as a very aged person ; not as old, it 
was true, as their cousins who came down from college at 
Christmas, and who, at the first outbreak of war, all rushed 
into the army ; but each of these was in the boys' eyes a 
Methuselah. Hugh had his own horse and the double- 
barrelled gun, and when a fellow got those there was little 
material difference between him and other men, even if he 
did have to go to the academy, — which was really something 
like oroing^ to school. 

The boys were Frank and Willy ; Frank being the eldest. 
They went by several names on the place. Their mother 
called them her "little men," with much pride; Uncle Balla 
spoke of them as "them chillern," which generally implied 
something of reproach ; and Lucy Ann, who had been taken 
into the house to "run after" them when they were little 
boys, always coupled their names as "Frank 'n' Willy." Peter 
and Cole did the same when their mistress was not by. 

When there first began to be talk at Oakland about the 
war, the boys thought it would be a dreadful thing; their 
principal ideas about war being formed from an intimate 
acquaintance with the Bible and its accounts of the wars of the 
Children of Israel, in which men, women and children were 
invariably put to the sword. This gave a vivid conception 
of its horrors. 

One evening, in the midst of a discussion about the 
approaching crisis, Willy astonished the company, who were 


discussing the merits of probable leaders of the Union armies, 
by suddenly announcing that he'd " bet they did n't have any 
general who could beat Joab." 

Up to the time of the war. the boys had led a very unevent- 
ful, but a very pleasant life. They used to go hunting with 
Hugh, their older brother, when he would let them go, and 
after the cows with Peter and Cole. Old Balla, the driver, 
was their boon comrade and adviser, and taught them to make 
whips, and traps for hares and birds, as he had taught them 
to ride and to cobble shoes. 

He lived alone (for his wife had been set free years before, 
and lived in Philadelphia). His room over "the old kitchen" 
was the boys' play-room when he would permit them to come 
in. There were so many odds and ends in it that it was a 
delightful place. 

Then the boys played blindman's-buff in the house, or hide- 
and-seek about the yard or garden, or upstairs in their den, a 
narrow alcove at the top of the house. 

The little willow-shadowed creek, that ran through the 
meadow behind the barn, was one of their haunts. They 
fished in it for minnows and little perch; they made dams 
and bathed in it ; and sometimes they played pirates upon 
its waters. 

Once they made an extended search up and down its banks 
for any fragments of Pharaoh's chariots which might have 
been washed up so high; but that was when they were 
younger and did not have much sense. 


THERE was great excitement at Oakland during the John 
Brown raid, and the boys' grandmother used to pray 
for him and Cook, whose pictures were in the papers. 

The boys became soldiers, and drilled punctiliously with 
guns which they got Uncle Balla to make for them. Frank 
was the captain, Willy the first lieutenant, and a dozen or 
more little negroes composed the rank and file, Peter and 
Cole being trusted file-closers. 

A little later they found their sympathies all on the side of 
peace and the preservation of the Union. Their uncle was 
for keeping the Union unbroken, and ran for the Convention 
against Colonel Richards, who was the chief officer of the 
militia in the county, and was as blood-thirsty as Tamerlane, 
who reared the pyramid of skulls, and as hungry for military 
renown as the great Napoleon, about whom the boys had read. 

There was immense excitement in the county over the 
election. Though the boys' mother had made them add to. 
their prayers a petition that their Uncle William might win, 
and that he might secure the blessings of peace ; and, though 
at family prayers, night and morning, the same petition was 
presented, the boys' uncle was beaten at the polls by a large 
majority. And then they knew there was bound to be war, 


and that it must be very wicked. They almost felt the 
" invader's heel," and the invaders, were invariably spoken of 
as "cruel," and the heel was described as of " iron," and was 
always mentioned as engaged in the act of crushing. They 
would have been terribly alarmed at this cruel invasion had 
they not been reassured by the general belief of the commu- 
nity that one Southerner could whip ten Yankees, and that, 
collectively, the South could drive back the North with pop- 
guns. When the war actually broke out, the boys were the 
most enthusiastic of rebels, and the troops in Camp Lee did 
not drill more continuously nor industriously. 

Their father, who had been a Whig and opposed secession 
until the very last, on Virginia's seceding, finally cast his lot 
with his people, and joined an infantry company; and Uncle 
William raised and equipped an artillery company, of which 
he was chosen captain ; but the infantry was too tame and the 
artillery too ponderous to suit the boys. 

They were taken to see the drill of the county troop of 
cavalry, with its prancing horses and clanging sabres. It was 
commanded by a cousin ; and from that moment they were 
cavalrymen to the core. They flung away their stick-guns in 
disgust ; and Uncle Balla spent two grumbling days fashioning 
them a stableful of horses with real heads and "sure 'nough " 
leather bridles. 

Once, indeed, a secret attempt was made to utilize the 
horses and mules which were running in the back pasture ; but 
a premature discovery of the matter ended in such disaster to 


all concerned that the plan was abandoned, and the boys had 
to content themselves with their wooden steeds. 

The day that the final orders came for their father and 
uncle to go to Richmond, — from which point they were ordered 
to "the Peninsula,",— the boys could not understand why 
every one was suddenly plunged Into such distress. Then, 
next morning, when the soldiers left, the boys could not 
altogether comprehend it. They thought it was a very fine 
thing to be allowed to ride Frank and Hun, the two war- 
horses, with their new, deep army saddles and long bits. 
They cried when their father and uncle said good-bye, and 
went away; but it was because their mother looked so pale 
and ill, and not because they did not think it was all grand. 
They had no doubt that all would come back soon, for old 
Uncle Billy, the " head-man," who had been born down in 
" Little York," where Cornwallis surrendered, had expressed 
the sentiment of the whole plantation when he declared, as he 
sat in the back yard surrounded by an admiring throng, and 
surveyed with pride the two glittering sabres which he had 
allowed no one but himself to polish, that " Ef them Britishers 
jest sees dese swodes dee '11 run !" The boys tried to explain 
to him that these were not British, but Yankees, — but he was 
hard to convince. Even Lucy Ann, who was incurably afraid 
of everything like a gun or fire-arm, partook of the general 
fervor, and boasted effusively that she had actually " tetched 
Marse John's big pistils." 

Hugh, who was fifteen, and was permitted to accompany 


his father to Richmond, was regarded by the boys with a 
feeHng of mingled envy and veneration, which he accepted 
with dignified complacency. 

Frank and Willy soon found that war brought some 
immunities. The house filled up so with the families of 
cousins and friends who were refugees that the boys were 
obliged to sleep in the Office, and thus they felt that, at a 
bound, they were almost as old as Hugh. 

There were the cousins from Gloucester, from the Valley, 
and families of relatives from Baltimore and New York, who 
had come south on the declaration of war. Their favorite 
was their Cousin Belle, whose beauty at once captivated both 
boys. This was the first time that the boys knew anything 
of crirls, except their own sister, Evelyn ; and after a brief 
period, during which the novelty gave them pleasure, the 
inability of the girls to hunt, climb trees, or play knucks, 
etc., and the additional restraint which their presence im- 
posed, caused them to hold the opinion that "girls were no 


IN course of time they saw a great deal of "the army, " — 
which meant the Confederates. The idea that the Yan- 
kees could ever get to Oakland never entered any one's 
head. It was understood that the army lay between Oakland 
and them, and surely they could never get by the innumerable 
soldiers who were always passing up one road or the other, 
and who, day after day and night after night, were coming to 
be fed, and were rapidly eating up everything that had been 
left on the place. By the end of the first year they had been 
coming so long that they made scarcely any difference ; but 
the first time a regiment camped in the neighborhood it 
created great excitement. 

It became known one night that a cavalry regiment, in 
which were several of their cousins, was encamped at Honey- 
man's Bridge, and the boys' mother determined to send a 
supply of provisions for the camp next morning ; so several 
sheep were killed, the smoke-house was opened, and all night 
long the great fires in the kitchen and wash-house glowed ; 
and even then there was not room, so that a big fire was 
kindled in the back yard, beside which saddles of mutton 
were roasted in the tin kitchens. Everybody was ' rushing." 
The boys were told that they might go to see the sol- 


diers, and as they had to get off long before daylight, they 
went to bed early, and left all "the other boys" — that is, 
Peter and Cole and other colored children — squatting about 
the fires and trying to help the cooks to pile on wood. 

It was hard to leave the exciting scene. 

They were very sleepy the next morning ; indeed, they 
seemed scarcely to have fallen asleep when Lucy Ann shook 
them ; but they jumped up without the usual application of 
cold water in their faces, which Lucy Ann so delighted to 
make ; and in a little while they were out in the yard, where 
Balla was standing holding three horses, — their mothers 
riding-horse ; another with a side-saddle for their Cousin Belle, 
whose brother was in the regiment ; and one for himself, — 
and Peter and Cole were holding the carriage-horses for 
the boys, and several other men were holding mules. 

Great hampers covered with white napkins were on the 
porch, and the savory smell decided the boys not to eat their 
breakfast, but to wait and take their share with the soldiers. 

The roads were so bad that the carriage could not oro ; 
and as the boys' mother wished to get the provisions to the 
soldiers before they broke camp, they had to set out at once. 
In a few minutes they were all in the saddle, the boys and 
their mother and Cousin Belle in front, and Balla and the 
other servants following close behind, each holding before 
him a hamper, which looked queer and shadowy as they rode 
on in the darkness. 

The sky, which was filled with stars when they set out. 


grew white as they splashed along mile after mile through 
the mud. Then the road became clearer; they could see 
into the woods, and the sky changed to a rich pink, like the 
color of peach- blossoms. Their horses were covered with 
mud up to the saddle-skirts. They turned into a lane only 
half a mile from the bridge, and, suddenly, a bugle rang out 
down in the wooded bottom below them, and the boys 
hardly could be kept from putting their horses to a run, so 
fearful were they that the soldiers were leaving, and that 
they should not see them. Their mother, however, told 
them that this was probably the reveille, or " rising-bell," of 
the soldiers. She rode on at a good sharp canter, and the 
boys were diverting themselves over a discussion as to who 
would act the part of Lucy Ann in waking the regiment of 
soldiers, when they turned a curve, and at the end of the 
road, a few hundred yards ahead, stood several horsemen. 

"There they are," exclaimed both boys. 

"No, that is a picket," said their mother; "gallop on, 
Frank, and tell them we are bringing breakfast for the regi- 

Frank dashed ahead, and soon they saw a soldier ride 
forward to meet him, and, after a few words, return with him 
to his comrades. Then, while they were still a hundred 
yards distant, they saw Frank, who had received some direc- 
tions, start off again toward the bridge, at a hard gallop. 
The picket had told him to go straight on down the hill, and 
he would find the camp just the other side of the bridge. 


He accordingly rode on, feeling very important at being 
allowed to go alone to the camp on such a mission. 

As he reached a turn in the road, just above the river, 
the whole regiment lay swarming below him among the large 
trees on the bank of the little stream. The horses were 
picketed to bushes and stakes, in long rows, the saddles lying 
on the ground, not far off ; and hundreds of men were mov- 
ing about, some in full uniform and others without coat or 
vest. A half-dozen wagons with sheets on them stood on 
one side among the trees, near which several fires were 
smoking, with men around them. 

As Frank clattered up to the bridge, a soldier with a gun 
on his arm, who had been standing by the railing, walked 
out to the middle of the bridge. 

" Halt ! Where are you going In such a hurry, my young 
man ?" he said. 

" I wish to see the colonel," said Frank, repeating as 
nearly as he could the words the picket had told him. 

" What do you want with him ? " 

Frank was tempted not to tell him ; but he was so im- 
patient to deliver his message before the others should 
arrive, that he told him what he had come for. 

" There he Is," said the sentinel, pointing to a place 
among the trees where stood at least five hundred men. 

Frank looked, expecting to recognize the colonel by 
his noble bearing, or splendid uniform, or some striking 


" Where ? " he asked, In doubt ; for while a number of 
the men were in uniform, he knew these to be privates. 

" There," said the sentry, pointing ; " by that stump, near 
the yellow horse-blanket." 

Frank looked again. The only man he could fix upon by 
the description was a young fellow, washing his face in a tin 
basin, and he felt that this could not be the colonel ; but he 
did not like to appear dull, so he thanked the man and rode 
on, thinking he would go to the point Indicated, and ask 
some one else to show him the officer. 

He felt quite grand as he rode in among the men, who, 
he thought, would recognize his Importance and treat him 
accordingly ; but, as he passed on. Instead of paying him the 
respect he had expected, they began to guy him with all 
sorts of questions. 

"Hullo, bud, going to jine the cavalry?" asked one. 
" Which Is oldest ; you or your horse ?" inquired another. 

"How's pa — and ma?" "Does your mother know 
you 're out ? " asked others. One soldier walked up, and 
putting his hand on the bridle, proceeded affably to ask him 
after his health, and that of every member of his family. At 
first Frank did not understand that they were making fun 
of him, but it dawned on him when the man asked him 
solemnly : 

" Are there any Yankees around, that you were running 
away so fast just now ?" 

" No ; If there were I'd never have {omvlA yo2i here," said 


Frank, shortly, in reply ; which at once turned the tide in his 
favor and diverted the ridicule from himself to his' teaser, 
who was seized by some of his comrades and carried off with 
much laughter and slapping on the back. 

" I wish to see Colonel Marshall," said Frank, pushing his 
way through the group that surrounded him, and riding up 
to the man who was still occupied at the basin on the stump. 

" All right, sir, I'm the man," said the individual, cheerily 
looking up with his face dripping and rosy from its recent 

"You the colonel!" exclaimed Frank, suspicious that he 
was again being ridiculed, and thinking it impossible that 
this slim, rosy-faced youngster, who was scarcely stouter 
than Hugh, and who was washing in a tin basin, could be the 
commander of all these soldierly-looking men, many of whom 
were old enough to be his father. 

" Yes, I'm the lieutenant-colonel. I'm in command," said 
the gentleman, smiling at him over the towel. 

Something made Frank understand that this was really 
the officer, and he gave his message, which was received with 
many expressions of thanks. 

" Won't you get down ? Here, Campbell, take this 
horse, will you ? " he called to a soldier, as Frank sprang 
from his horse. The orderly stepped forward and took the 

" Now, come with me," said the colonel, leading the way. 
""We must get ready to receive your mother. There are 



up',, ^^^ 

I'm in command" said the gentleman, smiling at him over the towel. 


some ladies coming — and breakfast," he called to a group 
who were engaged in the same occupation he had just ended, 
and whom Frank knew by instinct to be officers. 

The information seemed to electrify the little knot ad- 
dressed ; for they began to rush around, and in a few mo- 
ments they all were in their uniforms, and surrounding the 
colonel, who, having brushed his hair with the aid of a little 
glass hung on a bush, had hurried into his coat and was 
buckling on his sword and giving orders in a way which at 
once satisfied Frank that he was every inch a colonel. 

" Now let us go and receive your mother," said he to the 
boy. As he strode through the camp with his coat tightly 
buttoned, his soft hat set jauntily on the side of his head, 
his plumes sweeping over its side, and his sword clattering at 
his spurred heel, he presented a very different appearance 
from that which he had made a little before, with his head 
in a tin basin, and his face covered with lather. In fact. 
Colonel Marshall was already a noted officer, and before the 
end of the war he attained still higher rank and reputation. 

The colonel met the rest of the party at the bridge, and 
introduced himself and several officers who soon joined him. 
The negroes were directed to take the provisions over to the 
other side of the stream into the camp, and in a little while 
the whole regiment were enjoying the breakfast. The boys 
and their mother had at the colonel's request joined his mess, 
in which was one of their cousins, the brother of their cousin 


The gentlemen could eat scarcely anything, they were so 
busy attending to the wants of the ladies. The colonel, par- 
ticularly, waited on their cousin Belle all the time. 

As soon as they had finished the colonel left them, and 
a bugle blew. In a minute all was bustle. Officers were 
criving orders ; horses were saddled and brought out ; and, 
by what seemed magic to the boys, the men, who just before 
were scattered about among the trees laughing and eating, 
were standing by their horses all in proper order. The 
colonel and the officers came and said good-bye. 

Again the bugle blew. Every man was in his saddle. A 
few words by the colonel, followed by other words from the 
captains, and the column started, turning across the bridge, 
the feet of the horses thundering on the planks. Then the 
regiment wound up the hill at a walk, the men singing 
snatches of a dozen songs, of which " The Bonnie Blue 
Flag," " Lorena," and " Carry me Back to Old Virginia 
Shore," were the chief ones. 

It seemed to the boys that to be a soldier was the noblest 
thing on earth ; and that this regiment could do anything. 


AFTER this it became a common thing for passing regi- 
ments to camp near Oakland, and the fire blazed 
many a night, cooking for the soldiers, till the chickens 
were crowing in the morning. The negroes all had hen- 
houses and raised their own chickens, and when a camp was 
near them they used to drive a thriving trade on their own 
account, selling eggs and chickens to the privates while the 
of^cers were entertained in the " gret house." 

It was thought an honor to furnish food to the soldiers. 
Every soldier was to the boys a hero, and each young officer 
might rival Ivanhoe or Coeur de Lion. 

It was not a great while, however, before they learned 
that all soldiers were not like their favorite knights. At any 
rate, thefts were frequent. The absence of men from the 
plantations, and the constant passing of strangers made 
stealing easy ; hen-roosts were robbed time after time, and 
even pigs and sheep were taken without any trace of the 
thieves. The boys' hen-house, however, which was in the 
yard, had never been troubled. It was about their only 
possession, and they took great pride in it. 

One night the boys were fast asleep in their room in the 
office, with old Bruno and Nick curled up on their sheep- 


skins on the floor. Hugh was away, so the boys were the 
only " men " on the place, and felt that they were the pro- 
tectors of the plantation. The frequent thefts had made 
every one very suspicious, and the boys had made up their 
minds to be on the watch, and, if possible, to catch the thief. 

The negroes said that the deserters did the stealing. 

On the night in question, the boys were sound asleep 
when old Bruno gave a low growl, and then began walking 
and sniffing up and down the room. Soon Nick gave a 
sharp, quick bark. 

Frank waked first. He was not startled, for the dogs were 
in the habit of barking whenever they wished to go out-of- 
doors. Now, however, they kept it up, and it was in a strain 
somewhat different from their usual signal. 

"What's the matter with you ? Go and lie down, Bruno," 
called Frank. " Hush up, Nick!" But Bruno would not lie 
down, and Nick would not keep quiet, though at the sound of 
Frank's voice they felt less responsibility, and contented 
themselves with a low growling. 

After a little while Frank was on the point of dropping off 
to sleep again, when he heard a sound out in the yard, which 
at once thoroughly awakened him. He nudged Willy in the 

" Willy — Willy, wake up ; there's some one moving 
around outdoors." 

" Umm-mm," groaned Willy, turning over and settling 
himself for another nap. 


The sound of a chicken chirping out In fright reached 
Frank's ear. 

"Wake up, Willy !" he called, pinching him hard. "There's 
some one at the hen-house." 

Willy was awake In a second. The boys consulted as to 
what should be done. Willy was sceptical. He thought 
Frank had been dreaming, or that it was only Uncle Balla, 
or " some one " moving about the yard. But a second cackle 
of warning reached them, and in a minute both boys were out 
of bed pulling on their clothes with trembling impatience. 

"Let's go and wake Uncle Balla," proposed Willy, getting 
himself all tangled In the legs of his trousers. 

" No ; I'll tell you what, let's catch him ourselves," sug- 
gested Frank. 

"All right," assented Willy. " We'll catch him and lock 
him up; suppose he's got a pistol? your gun maybe won't go 
off ; It does n't always burst the cap." 

" Well, your old musket Is loaded, and you can hold him, 
while I snap the cap at him, and get it ready" 

" All right — I can't find my jacket — I'll hold him." 
"Where In the world Is my hat?" whispered Frank. 
" Never mind, it must be In the house. Let's go out the back 
way. We can get out without his hearing us." 

" What shall we do with the dogs ? Let's shut them up." 
" No, let's take 'em with us. We can keep them quiet and 
hold 'em in, and they can track him If he gets away." 

" All right ; " and the boys slowly opened the door, and 


crept stealthily out, Frank clutching his double-barrelled gun, 
and Willy hugging a heavy musket which he had found and 
claimed as one of the prizes of war. It was almost pitch- 

They decided that one should take one side of the hen- 
house, and one the other side (in such a way that if they had 
to shoot, they would almost certainly shoot one another !) 
but before they had separated both dogs jerked loose from 
their hands and dashed away in the darkness, barking 

" There he goes round the garden," shouted Willy, as the 
sound of footsteps like those of a man running with all his 
might came from the direction which the dogs had taken. 

" Come on," and both started ; but, after taking a few 
steps, they stopped to listen so that they might trace the 

A faint noise behind them arrested their attention, and 
Frank tiptoed back toward the hen-house. It was too dark 
to see much, but he heard the hen-house door creak, and was 
conscious even in the darkness that it was being pushed slowly 

" Here's one, Willy," he shouted, at the same time putting 
his gun to his shoulder and pulling the trigger. The hammer 
fell with a sharp " click " just as the door was snatched to with 
a bang. The cap had failed to explode, or the chicken-eating 
days of the individual in the hen-house would have ended 
then and there. 


The boys stood for some moments with their guns pointed 
at the door of the hen-house expecting the person within to 
attempt to burst out ; but the dick of the hammer and their 
hurried conference without, in which it was promptly agreed 
to let him have both barrels if he appeared, reconciled him to 
remaining within. 

After some time it was decided to go and wake Uncle 
Balla, and confer with him as to the proper disposition of 
their captive. Accordingly, Frank went off to obtain help, 
while Willy remained to watch the hen-house. As Frank 
left he called back : 

" Willy, you take good aim at him, and if he pokes his 
head out — let him have it!" 

This Willy solemnly promised to do. 

Frank was hardly out of hearing before Willy was surprised 
to hear the prisoner call him by name in the most friendly 
and familiar manner, although the voice was a strano-e 

"Willy, is that you .?" called the person inside. 

" Where's Frank ?" 
" Gone to get Uncle Balla." 
" Did you see that other fellow?" 

" I wish you 'd shot him. He brought me here and played 
a joke on me. He told me this was a house I could sleep in, 
and shut me up in here,— and blest if I don't b'lieve it's 


nothin' but a hen-house. Let me out here a minute," he con- 
tinued, after a pause, cajolingly. 

" No, I won't," said Willy firmly, getting his gun ready 

There was a pause, and then from the depths of the hen- 
house issued the most awful groan : 

•' Umm ! Ummm!! Ummmm!!!" 

Willy was frightened. 

" Umm ! Umm ! " was repeated. 

" What's the matter with you ? " asked Willy, feeling 
sorry in spite of himself. 

" Oh ! Oh ! Oh ! I 'm so sick," groaned the man in the 

" How ? What 's the matter ? " 

" That man that fooled me in here gave me something to 
drink, and it's pizened me ; oh ! oh ! oh ! I 'm dying." 

It was a horrible groan. 

Willy's heart relented. He moved to the door and was 
just about to open it to look in when a light flashed across 
the yard from Uncle Balla's house, and he saw him coming 
with a flaming light-wood knot in his hand. 


INSTEAD of opening the door, therefore, Willy called to 
the old man, who was leisurely crossing the yard : 

"Run, Uncle Balla. Quick, run!" 

At the call Old Balla and Frank set out as fast as they 

"What's the matter? Is he done kill de chickens? Is 
he done got away ? " the old man asked, breathlessly. 

" No, he 's dyin'," shouted Willy. 

" Hi ! is you shoot him ? " asked the old driver. 

" No, that other man 's poisoned him. He was the robber 
and he fooled this one," explained Willy, opening the door 
and peeping anxiously in. 

" Go 'long, boy, — now, d' ye ever heah de better o' dat ? 
— dat man 's foolin' wid you ; jes' tryin' to git yo' to let him 

" No, he is n't," said Willy ; " you ought to have heard 

But both Balla and Frank were laughing at him, so he 
felt very shamefaced. He was relieved by hearing another 

" Oh, oh, oh ! Ah, ah ! " 

" You hear that ? " he asked, triumphantly. 


" I boun' I '11 see what 's the matter with him, the roscol ! 
Stan' right dyah, y' all, an' if he try to run shoot him, but 
mine you don' hit w^," and the old man walked up to the 
door, and standing on one side flung it open. " What you 
doin' in dyah after dese chillern's chickens ? " he called fiercely. 

" Hello, old man, 's 'at you ? I 's mighty sick," muttered 
the person within. Old Balla held his torch inside the house, 
amid a confused cackle and flutter of fowls. 

" Well, ef 't ain' a white man, and a soldier at dat ! " he 
exclaimed. " What you doin' heah, robbin' white folks' hen- 
roos' ? " he called, roughly. " Git up off dat groun' ; you 
ain' sick." 

" Let me get up, Sergeant, — hie — don't you heah the 
roll-call ? — the tent 's mighty dark ; what you fool me in 
here for ? " muttered the man inside. 

The boys could see that he was stretched out on the 
floor, apparently asleep, and that he was a soldier in uni- 
form. Balla stepped inside. 

" Is he dead?" asked both boys as Balla caught him by 
the arms, lifted him, and let him fall again limp on the 

" Nor, he 's dead-drunk," said Balla, picking up an empty 
flask. " Come on out. Let me see what I gwi' do wid 
you?" he said, scratching his head. 

" I know what I gwi' do wid you. I gwi' lock you up 
right whar you is." 

" Uncle Balla, s'pose he gets well, won't he get out ? " 


" Ain' / g-wi' lock him up ? Dat 's good from you, who 
was jes' gwi' let 'im out ef me an' Frank had n't come up 
when we did." 

Willy stepped back abashed. His heart accused him 
and told him the charge was true. Still he ventured one 
more question : 

" Had n't you better take the hens out ? " 

" Nor ; 't ain' no use to teck nuttin' out dyah. Ef he 
comes to, he know we got im, an' he dyahson' trouble 

And the old man pushed to the door and fastened the 
iron hasp over the strong staple. Then, as the lock had 
been broken, he took a large nail from his pocket and fast- 
ened it in the staple with a stout string so that it could not 
be shaken out. All the time he was working he was talking 
to the boys, or rather to himself, for their benefit. 

" Now, you see ef we don' find him heah in the mornin' ! 
Willy jes' gwi' let you get 'way, but a man got you now, 
wha'ar' been handlin' horses an' know how to hole 'em in the 
stalls. I boun' he '11 have to butt like a ram to git out dis 
log hen-house," he said, finally, as he finished tying the last 
knot in his string, and gave the door a vigorous rattle to 
test its strength. 

Willy had been too much abashed at his mistake to fully 
appreciate all of the witticisms over the prisoner, but Frank 
enjoyed them almost as much as Unc' Balla himself. 

" Now y' all go 'long to bed, an' I '11 go back an' teck 


a little nap myself," said he, in parting. " Ef he gits out 
that hen-house I '11 give you ev'y chicken I got. But he ain' 
gwinc git out. A mail s clone fasten him up dyah." 

The boys went off to bed, Willy still feeling depressed 
over his ridiculous rhistake. They were soon fast asleep, 
and if the dogs barked again they did not hear them. 

The next thing they knew, Lucy Ann, convulsed with 
laughter, was telling them a story about Uncle Balla and 
the man in the hen-house. They jumped up, and pulling 
on their clothes ran out in the yard, thinking to see the 

Instead of doing so, they found Uncle Balla standing by 
the hen-house with a comical look of mystification and cha- 
grin ; the roof had been lifted off at one end and not only the 
prisoner, but every chicken was gone ! 

The boys were half inclined to cry; Balla's look, however, 
set them to laughing. 

" Unc' Balla, you got to give me every chicken you got, 
'cause you said you would," said Willy. 

" Go 'way from heah. boy. Don' pester me when I 
studyin' to see which way he got out." 

" You ain't never had a horse get through the roof be- 
fore, have you ? " said Frank. 

" Go 'way from here. I tell you," said the old man, walk- 
ing around the house, looking at it. 

As the boys went back to wash and dress themselves, they 
heard Balla explaining to Lucy Ann and some of the other 


servants that "the man them chillern let git away had just 
come back and tooken out the one he had locked up " ; a 
solution of the mystery he always stoutly insisted upon. 

One thing, however, the person's escape effected — it pre- 
vented Willy's ever hearing any more of his mistake ; but 
that did not keep him now and then from asking Uncle Balla 
"if he had fastened his horses well." 


THESE hens were not the last things stolen from Oak- 
land. Nearly all the men in the country had gone 
with the army. Indeed, with the exception of a few 
overseers who remained to work the farms, every man in the 
neighborhood, between the ages of seventeen and fifty, was in 
the army. The country was thus left almost wholly unpro- 
tected, and it would have been entirely so but for the " Home 
Guard." as it was called, which was a company composed of 
young boys and the few old men who remained at home, and 
who had volunteered for service as a local guard, or police 
body, for the neighborhood of their homes. 

Occasionally, too, later on, a small detachment of men, 
under a leader known as a "conscript-officer," would come 
through the country hunting for any men who were subject 
to the conscript law but who had evaded it, and for deserters 
who had run away from the army and refused to return. 

These two classes of troops, however, stood on a very 
different footing. The Home Guard was regarded with much 
respect, for it was composed of those whose extreme age or 
youth alone withheld them from active service ; and every 
youngster in its ranks looked upon it as a training school, 
and was ready to die in defence of his home if need were, 


and, besides, expected to obtain permission to go into the 
army " next year." 

The conscript-guard, on the other hand, were grown men, 
and were thought to be shirking the very dangers and hard- 
ships into which they were trying to force others. 

A few miles from Oais:land, on the side toward the moun- 
tain road and beyond the big woods, lay a district of virgin 
forest and old-field pines which, even before the war, had 
acquired a reputation of an unsavory nature, though its in- 
habitants were a harmless people. No highways ran through 
this region, and the only roads which entered it were mere 
wood-ways, filled with bushes and carpeted with pine-tags ; 
and, being travelled only by the inhabitants, appeared to out- 
siders "to jes' peter out," as the phrase went. This territory 
was known by the unpromising name of Holetown. 

Its denizens were a peculiar but kindly race known to the 
boys as " poor white folks," and called by the negroes, with 
great contempt, "po' white trash." Some of them owned 
small places in the pines ; but the majority were simply ten- 
ants. They were an inoffensive people, and their worst 
vices were intemperance and evasion of the tax-laws. 

They made their living — or rather, they existed— by fish- 
ing and hunting ; and, to eke it out, attempted the cultivation 
of little patches of corn and tobacco near their cabins, or in 
the bottoms where small branches ran into the stream already 

In appearance they were usually so thin and sallow that 


one had to look at them twice to see them clearly. At best, 
they looked vague and illusive. 

They were brave enough. At the outbreak of the war 
nearly all of the men in this community enlisted, thinking, as 
many others did, that war was more like play than work, 
and consisted more of resting than of laboring. Although 
most of them, when in battle, showed the greatest fearless- 
ness, yet the duties of camp soon became irksome to them, 
and they grew sick of the restraint and drilling of camp-life ; 
so some of them, when refused a furlough, took it, and came 
home. Others stayed at home after leave had ended, feeling 
secure in their stretches of pine and swamp, not only from 
the feeble efforts of the conscript-guard, but from any parties 
who might be sent in search of them. 

In this way it happened, as time went by, that Hole- 
town became known to harbor a number of deserters. 

According to the negroes, it was full of them ; and many 
stories were told about glimpses of men dodging behind trees 
in the big woods, or rushing away through the underbrush like 
wild cattle. And, though the grown people doubted whether 
the negroes had not been startled by some of the hogs, which 
were quite wild, feeding in the woods, the boys were satisfied 
that the negroes really had seen deserters. 

This became a certainty when there came report after 
report of these wood-skulkers, and when the conscript-guard, 
with the brightest of uniforms, rode by with as much show and 
noise as if on a fox-hunt. Then it became known that desert- 


ers were, indeed, Infesting the piny district of Holetown, and 
in considerable numbers. 

Some of them, it was said, were pursuing agricuhure and 
all their ordinary vocations as openly as In time of peace, and 
more industriously. They had a regular code of signals, and 
nearly every person in the Holetown settlement was In league 
with them. 

When the conscript-guard came along, there would be a 
rush of tow-headed children through the woods, or some of 
the women about the cabins would blow a horn lustily ; after 
which not a man could be found In all the district. The horn 
told just how many men were In the guard, and which path 
they were following ; every member of the troop being 
honored with a short, quick " toot." 

''What are you blowing that horn for?" sternly asked 
the guard one morning of an old woman, — old Mrs. Hall, 
who stood out in front of her little house blowing like Boreas 
in the pictures. 

"Jes' blowin' fur Milllndy to come to dinner," she said, 
sullenly. " Can't y' all let a po' 'ooman call her gals to git 
some 'n' to eat ? You got all her boys In d'army, klllln' 'em ; 
why n't yo' go and git kilt some yo'self, 'stidder ridin' 'bout 
heah tromplin' all over po' folk's chickens ? " 

When the troop returned In the evening, she was still 

blowing ; " blowin' fur Milllndy to come home," she said, with 

more sharpness than before. But there must have been many 

Millindys, for horns were sounding all through the settlement. 




The deserters, at such times, were said to take to the 
swamps, and marvellous rumors were abroad of one or more 
caves, all fitted up, wherein they concealed themselves, like 
the robbers in the stories the boys were so fond of reading. 

After a while thefts of pigs and sheep became so common 
that they were charged to the deserters. 

Finally it grew to be such a pest that the ladies in the 
neighborhood asked the Home Guard to take action in the 
matter, and after some delay it became known that this valor- 
ous body was going to invade Holetown and capture the 
deserters or drive them away. Hugh was to accompany 
them, of course ; and he looked very handsome, as well as 
very important, when he started out on horseback to join the 
troop. It was his first active service ; and with his trousers 
in his boots and his pistol in his belt he looked as brave as 
Julius Caesar, and quite laughed at his mother's fears for him, 
as she kissed him good-bye and walked out with him to his 
horse, which Balla held at the gate. 

The boys asked leave to go with him ; but Hugh was so 
scornful over their request, and looked so soldierly as he 
galloped away with the other men that the boys felt as cheap 
as possible. 


WHEN the boys went into the house they found that 
their Aunt Mary had a headache that morning, and, 
even with the best intentions of doing her duty in 
teaching them, had been forced to go to bed. Their mother 
was too much occupied with her charge of providing for a 
family of over a dozen white persons, and five times as many 
colored dependents, to give any time to acting as substitute 
in the school-room, so the boys found themselves with a holi- 
day before them. It seemed vain to try to shoot duck on 
the creek, and the perch were averse to biting. The boys 
accordingly determined to take both guns and to set out for a 
real hunt in the big woods. 

They received their mother's permission, and after a lunch 
was prepared they started in high glee, talking about the 
squirrels and birds they expected to kill. 

Frank had his gun, and Willy had the musket ; and both 
carried a plentiful supply of powder and some tolerably round 
slugs made from cartridges. 

They usually hunted in the part of the woods nearest the 
house, and they knew that game was not very abundant there ; 
so, as a good long day was before them, they determined to 
cro over to the other side of the woods. 


They according^ly pushed on, taking a path which led 
through the forest. They went entirely through the big 
woods without seeing anything but one squirrel, and presently 
found themselves at the extreme edge of Holetown. They 
were just grumbling at the lack of game when they heard a 
distant horn. The sound came from perhaps a mile or more 
away, but was quite distinct. 

" What 's that ? Somebody fox-hunting ? — or is it a 
dinner-horn?'' asked Willy, listening intently. 

" It 's a horn to warn deserters, that 's what 't is," said 
Frank, pleased to show his superior knowledge. 

" I tell you what to do : — let 's go and hunt deserters," 
said Willy, eagerly. 

"All right. Won't that be fun !" and both boys set out 
down the road toward a point where they knew one of the 
paths ran into the pine-district, talking of the numbers of 
prisoners they expected to take. 

In an instant they were as alert and eager as young 
hounds on a trail. They had mapped out a plan before, and 
they knew exactly what they had to do. Frank was the cap- 
tain, by right of his being older; and Willy was lieutenant, 
and was to obey orders. The chief thing that troubled them 
was that they did not wish to be seen by any of the women 
or children about the cabins, for they all knew the boys, 
because they were accustomed to come to Oakland for sup- 
plies ; then, too, the boys wished to remain on friendly terms 
with their neighbors. Another thing worried them. They 


did not know what to do with their prisoners after they 
should have captured them. However, they pushed on and 
soon came to a dim cart-way, which ran at right-angles to 
the main road and which went into the very heart of Hole- 
town. Here they halted to reconnoitre and to inspect their 

Even from the main road, the track, as it led off through 
the overhanging woods with thick underbrush of chinquapin 
bushes, appeared to the boys to have something strange 
about it, though they had at other times walked it from end 
to end. Still, they entered boldly, clutching their guns. 
Willy suggested that they should go in Indian file and that 
the rear one should step in the other's footprints as the 
Indians do ; 'but Frank thought it was best to walk abreast, 
as the Indians walked in their peculiar way only to prevent 
an enemy who crossed their trail from knowing how many 
they were ; and, so far from it being any disadvantage for the 
deserters to know tlieii^ number, it was even better that they 
should know there were two, so that they would not attack 
from the rear. Accordingly, keeping abreast, they struck in ; 
each taking the woods on one side of the road, which he was 
to watch and for which he was to be responsible. 

The farther they went the more indistinct the track be- 
came, and the wilder became the surrounding woods. They 
proceeded with great caution, examining every particularly 
thick clump of bushes ; peeping behind each very large tree ; 
and occasionally even taking a glance up among its boughs ; 


for they had themselves so often planned how, If pursued, 
they would climb trees and conceal themselves, that they 
would not have been at all surprised to find a fierce deserter, 
armed to the teeth, crouching among the branches. 

Though they searched carefully every spot where a 
deserter could possibly lurk, they passed through the oak 
woods and were deep in the pines without having seen any 
foe or heard a noise which could possibly proceed from one. 
A squirrel had daringly leaped from the trunk of a hickory- 
tree and run into the woods, right before them, stopping im- 
pudently to take a good look at them ; but they were hunting 
larger game than squirrels, and they resisted the temptation 
to take a shot at him, — an exercise of virtue wliich brought 
them a distinct feeling of pleasure. They were, however, 
beginning to be embarrassed as to their next course. They 
could hear the dogs barking, farther on in the pines, and 
knew they were approaching the vicinity of the settlement ; 
for they had crossed the little creek which ran through a 
thicket of elder bushes and " gums," and which marked the 
boundary of Holetown. Little paths, too, every now and 
then turned off from the main track and went into the pines, 
each leading to a cabin or bit of creek-bottom deeper in. 
They therefore were in a real dilemma concerning what to 
do; and Willy's suggestion, to eat lunch, was a welcome one. 
They determined to go a little way into the woods, where 
they could not be seen, and had just taken the lunch out 
of the game-bag and were turning into a by-path, when they 



met a man who was coming- along at a slow, louno-jno- walk, 
and carrying a long single-barrelled shot-gun across his arm. 

When first they heard him, they thought he might be a 
deserter; but when he came nearer they saw that he was 
simply a countryman out hunting ; for his old game-bag (from 
which peeped a squirrel's tail) was over his shoulder, and he 
had no weapon at all, excepting that old squirrel-gun. 
" Good morning, sir," said both boys, politely. 
"Mornin! What luck y' all had?" he asked o-ood- 
naturedly, stopping and putting the butt of his gun on the ' 
ground, and resting lazily on it, preparatory to a chat. 
" We're not hunting; we're hunting deserters." 
" Huntin' deserters ! " echoed the man with a smile which 
broke into a chuckle of amusement as the thought worked its 
way into his brain. " Ain't you see' none ?" 

" No," said both boys in a breath, greatly pleased at his 
friendliness. " Do you know where any are?" 
The man scratched his head, seeming to reflect. 
" Well, 'pears to me I hearn tell o' some, 'roun' to'des 
that-a-ways," making a comprehensive sweep of his arm in the 
direction just opposite to that which the boys were taking. 
"I seen the conscrip'-guard a little while ago pokin' 'roun' 
this-a-way ; but Lor', that ain' the way to ketch deserters. I 
knows every foot o' groun' this-a-way, an' ef they was any 
deserters roun' here I'd be mighty apt to know it." 

This announcement was an extinguisher to the boys' hopes. 
Clearly, they were going in the wrong direction. 


■' We are just going to eat our lunch," said Frank ; 
" won't you join us ? " 

Willy added his invitation to his brother's, and their 
friend politely accepted, suggesting that they should walk 
back a little way and find a log. This all three did ; and in a 
few minutes they were enjoying the lunch which the boys' 
mother had provided, while the stranger was telling the boys 
his views about deserters, which, to say the least, were very 

" I seen the conscrip'-guard jes' this mornin', ridin' 'round 
whar they knowd they war n' no deserters, but ole womens 
and children," he said- with his mouth full. " Why n't they 
go whar they knows deserters ?s ? " he asked. 

" Where are they ? We heard they had a cave down on 
the river, and we were going there," declared the boys. 

"Down on the river? — a cave? Ain' no cave down thar, 
without it 's below Rockett's mill ; fur I 've hunted and fished 
ev'y foot o' that river up an' down both sides, an' t' ain' a hole 
thar, big enough to hide a' ole hyah, I ain' know." 

This proof was too conclusive to admit of further argu- 

"Why don t y 071 go in the army?" asked Willy, after a 
brief reflection. 

"What? Why don't / go in the army?" repeated the 
hunter. " Why, I's i7i the army ! You did n' think I war n't 
in the army, did you ?" 

The hunter's tone and the expression of his face were so 


full of surprise that Willy felt deeply mortified at his rude- 
ness, and began at once to stammer something to explain 

" I b'longs to Colonel Marshall's regiment," continued the 
man, " an' I 's been home sick on leave o' absence. Got 
wounded in the leg, an' I 's jes' gettin' well. I ain' rightly 
well enough to go back now, but I 's anxious to git back ; 
I 'm gwine to-morrow mornin' ef I don' go this evenin'. You 
see I kin hardly walk now!" and to demonstrate his lame- 
ness, he got up and limped a few yards. " I ain' well yit," he 
pursued, returning and dropping into his seat on the log, with 
his face drawn up by the pain the exertion had brought on. 

" Let me see your wound. Is it sore now?" asked Willy, 
moving nearer to the man with a look expressive of mingled 
curiosity and sympathy. 

" You can't see it ; it 's up heah," said the soldier, touch- 
ing the upper part of his hip ; " an' I got another one heah," 
he added, placing his hand very gently to his side. " This 
one's whar a Yankee run me through with his sword.- Now, 
that one was where a piece of shell hit me, — I don't keer 
nothin' 'bout that," and he opened his shirt and showed a tri- 
angular, purple scar on his shoulder. 

" You certainly must be a brave soldier," exclaimed both 
boys, impressed at sight of the scar, their voices softened by 
fervent admiration. 

" Yes, I kep' up with the bes' of 'em," he said, with a 
pleased smile. 


Suddenly a horn beg'an to blow, " toot — toot — toot," as 
if all the "Mlllindys" in the world were being summoned. 
It was so near the boys that it quite startled them. 

" That 's for the deserters, now," they both exclaimed. 

Their friend looked calmly up and down the road, both 

" Them rascally conscrip'-guard been tellin' you all that, 
to gi' 'em some excuse for keepin' out o' th' army theyselves 
— that 's all. Th' ain' gwine ketch no deserters any whar in 
all these parts, an' you kin tell 'em so. I 'm gwine down thar 
an' see what that horn 's a-blown' fur ; hit 's somebody's 
dinner horn, or somp'n'," he added, rising and taking up his 

" Can't we go with you ? " asked the boys. 

" Well, nor, I reckon you better not," he drawled ; " thar 
's some right bad dogs down thar in the pines, — mons'us 
bad ; an' I 's gwine cut through the woods an' see ef I can't 
pick up a squ'rr'l, gwine 'long, for the ole 'ooman's supper, 
as I got to go 'way to-night or to-morrow ; she 's mighty 

" Is she poorly much ? " asked Willy, greatly concerned. 
" We '11 get mamma to come and see her to-morrow, and 
bring her some bread." 

" Nor, she ain' so sick ; that is to say, she jis' poorly and 
'sturbed in her mind. She gittin' sort o' old. Here, y' all 
take these squ'rr'ls," he said, taking the squirrels from his old 
game-bag and tossing them at Willy's feet. Both boys pro- 


tested, but he insisted. " Oh, yes ; I kin get some mo' fur 

" Y' all better go home. Well, good-by, much obliged to 
you," and he strolled off with his gun in the bend of his arm, 
leaving the boys to admire and talk over his courage. 

They turned back, and had gone about a quarter of a 
mile, when they heard a great trampling of horses behind 
them. They stopped to listen, and in a little while a squad- 
ron of cavalry came in sight. The boys stepped to one side 
of the road to wait for them, eager to tell the important in- 
formation they had received from their friend, that there were 
no deserters in that section. In a hurried consultation they 
agreed not to tell that they had been hunting deserters 
themselves, as they knew the soldiers would only have a 
laugh at their expense. 

" Hello, boys, what luck ?" called the officer in the lead, 
in a friendly manner. 

They told him they had not shot anything ; that the 
squirrels had been given to them ; and then both boys in- 
quired : 

" You all hunting for deserters ? " 

" You seen any ? " asked the leader, carelessly, while one 
or two men pressed their horses forward eagerly. 

" No, th' ain't any deserters in this direction at all," said 
the boys, with conviction in their manner. 

" How do you know ?" asked the officer. 

"'Cause a grentleman told us so." 


" Who ? When ? What gentleman ? " 

" A gentleman who met us a little while ago." 

" How long ago ? Who was he? " 

" Don't know who he was," said Frank. 

" When we were eating our snack," put in Willy, not to 
be left out. 

" How was he dressed ? Where was it ? What sort of 
man was he ? " eagerly inquired the leading trooper. 

The boys proceeded to describe their friend, impressed 
by the intense interest accorded them by the listeners. 

"He was a sort of a man with red hair, and wore a pair 
of gray breeches and an old pair of shoes, and was in his 
shirt-sleeves." Frank was the spokesman. 

"And he had a gun — a long squirrel-gun," added 
Willy, "and he said he belonged to Colonel Marshall's regi- 

"Why, that 's Tim Mills. He 's a deserter himself," 
exclaimed the captain. 

" No, he ain't — he ain't any deserter," protested both at 
once. " He is a mighty brave soldier, and he 's been home 
on a furlough to get well of a wound on his leg where he 
was shot." 

"Yes, and it ain't well yet, but he 's going back to his 
command to-night or to-morrow morning ; and he's got 
another wound in his side where a Yankee ran him through 
with his sword. We know he ain't any deserter." 

" How do you know all this ? '' asked the ofificer. 


" He told us so himself, just now — a little while ago, that 
is," said the boys. 

The man laughed. 

" Why, he 's fooled you to death. That 's Tim himself, 
that 's been doing all the devilment about here. He is the 
worst deserter in the whole gang." 

" We saw the wound on his shoulder," declared the boys, 
still doubting. 

" I know it ; he 's got one there, — that 's what I know 
him by. Which way did he go,— and how long has it 
been ? " 

"He went that way, down in the woods ; and it 's been 
some time. He 's got away now." 

The lads by this time were almost convinced of their 
mistake ; but they could not prevent their sympathy from 
being on the side of their late agreeable companion. 

" We'll catch the rascal," declared the leader, very fiercely. 
" Come on, men, — he can't have gone far ; " and he wheeled 
his horse about and dashed back up the road at a great pace, 
followed by his men. The boys were half inclined to follow 
and aid in the capture ; but Frank, after a moment's thought, 
said solemnly : 

" No, Willy ; an Arab never betrays a man who has eaten 
his salt. This man has broken bread with us ; we cannot 
give him up. I don't think we ought to have told about him 
as much as we did." 

This was an argument not to be despised. 


A little later, as the boys trudged home, they heard the 
horns blowing again a regular "toot-toot" for " Millindy." 
It struck them that supper followed dinner very quickly in 

When the troop passed by in the evening the men w^ere 
in very bad humor. They had had a fruitless addition to 
their ride, and some of them were inclined to say that the 
boys had never seen any man at all, which the boys thought 
was pretty silly, as the man had eaten at least two-thirds of 
their lunch. 

Somehow the story got out, and Hugh was very scornful 
because the boys had given their lunch to a deserter. ^ 


AS time went by the condition of things at Oakland 
changed — as it did everywhere else. The boys' mother, 
like all the other ladies of the country, was so devoted 
to the cause that she gave to the soldiers until there was 
nothing left. After that there was a failure of the crops, and 
the immediate necessities of the family and the hands on the 
place were great. 

There was no sugar nor coffee nor tea. These luxuries 
had been given up long before. An attempt was made to 
manufacture sugar out of the sorghum, or sugar-cane, which 
was now being cultivated as an experiment ; but it proved 
unsuccessful, and molasses made from the cane was the only 
sweetening. The boys, however, never liked anything sweet- 
ened with molasses, so they gave up everything that h|jd 
molasses in it. Sassafras tea was tried as a substitute for tea, 
and a drink made out of parched corn and wheat, of burnt 
sweet potato and other things, in the place of coffee ; but 
none of them were fit to drink — at least so the boys thought. 
The wheat crop proved a failure ; but the corn turned out 
very fine, and the boys learned to live on corn bread, as there 
was no wheat bread. 

The soldiers still came by, and the house was often full of 


young officers who came to see the boys' cousins. The boys 
used to ride the horses to and from the stables, and, being 
perfectly fearless, became very fine riders. 

Several times, among the visitors, came the young colonel 
who had commanded the regiment that had camped at the 
bridge the first year of the war. It did not seem to the boys 
that Cousin Belle liked him, for she took much longer to 
dress when he came ; and if there were other officers present 
she would take very little notice of the colonel. 

Both boys were in love with her, and after considerable 
hesitation had written her a joint letter to tell her so, at 
which she laughed heartily and kissed them both and called 
them her sweethearts. But, though they were jealous of 
several young officers who came from time to time, they felt 
sorry for the colonel, — their cousin was so mean to him. They 
were on the best terms with him and had announced their 
intention of going into his regiment if only the war should 
last long enough. When he came there was always a scram- 
ble to get his horse ; though of all who came to Oakland 
he rode the wildest horses, as both boys knew by practical 

At length the soldiers moved off too far to permit them 
to come on visits, and things were very dull. So it was for a 
long while. 

But one evening in May, about sunset, as the boys were 
playing in the yard, a man came riding through the place on 
the way to Richmond. His horse showed that he had been 


riding hard. He asked the nearest way to " Ground-Squirrel 
Bridge." The Yankees, he said, were coming. It was a raid. 
He had ridden ahead of them, and had left them about 
Greenbay depot, which they had set on fire. He was in too 
great a hurry to stop and get something to eat, and he rode 
off, leaving much excitement behind him ; for Greenbay was 
only eight miles away, and Oakland lay right between two 
roads to Richmond, down one or the other of which the party 
of raiders must certainly pass. 

It was the first time the boys ever saw their mother 
exhibit so much emotion as she then did. She came to the 
door and called : 

" Balla, come here." Her voice sounded to the boys a 
little strained and troubled, and they ran up the steps and 
stood by her. Balla came to the portico, and looked up 
with an air of inquiry. He, too, showed excitement. 

" Balla, I want you to know that if you wish to go, you 
can do so." 

" Hi, Mistis " began Balla. with an air of reproach ; 

but she cut him short and kept on. 

" I want you all to know it." She was speaking now so 
as to be heard by the cook and the maids who were standing 
about the yard listening to her. " I want you all to know it 
— every one on the place ! You can go if you wish ; but, if 
you go, you can never come back ! " 

" Hi, Mistis," broke in Uncle Balla, " whar is I got to go ? 
I wuz born on dis place an' I 'spec' to die here, an' be buried 


light yonder ; " and he turned and pointed up to the dark 
clumps of trees that marked the graveyard on the hill, a 
half mile away, where the colored people were buried. " Dat 
I does," he affirmed positively. " Y' all sticks by us, and 
we '11 stick by you." 

" I know I ain' gwlne nowhar wid no Yankees or nothin'," 
said Lucy Ann, in an undertone. 

" Dee tell me dee got hoofs and horns," laughed one of the 
women in the yard. 

The boys' mother started to say something further to 
Balla, but though she opened her lips, she did not speak ; she 
turned suddenly and walked into the house and into her 
chamber, where she shut the door behind her. The boys 
thought she was angry, but when they softly followed her a 
few minutes afterward, she got up hastily from where she had 
been kneeling beside the bed, and they saw that she had been 
crying. A murmur under the window called them back to 
the portico. It had begun to grow dark ; but a bright spot 
was glowing on the horizon, and on this every one's gaze was 

" Where is it, Balla ? What is it ? " asked the boys' mother, 
her voice no longer strained and harsh, but even softer than 

" It's the depot, madam. They 's burnin' it. That man 
told me they was burnin' ev'ywhar they went." 

" Will they be here to-night?" asked his mistress. 

'* No, marm ; I don' hardly think they will. That man 


said they could n't travel more than thirty miles a day ; but 
they 'ell be plenty of 'em here to-morrow — to breakfast." He 
gave a nervous sort of laugh. « 

" Here, — you all come here," said their mistress to the 
servants. She went to the smoke-house and unlocked it. 
" Go in there and get down the bacon — take a piece, each of 
you." A great deal was still left. " Balla, step here." She 
called him aside and spoke earnestly in an undertone. 

" Yes 'm, that 's so ; that 's jes' what I wuz gwine do," the 
boys heard him say. 

Their mother sent the boys out. She went and locked 
herself in her room, but they heard her footsteps as she 
turned about within, and now and then they heard her open- 
ing and shutting drawers and moving chairs. 

In a little while she came out. 

'' Frank, you and Willy go and tell Balla to come to the 
chamber door. He may be out in the stable." 

They dashed out, proud to bear so important a message. 
They could not find him, but an hour later they heard him 
coming from the stable. He at once went into the house. 
They rushed into the chamber, where they found the door of 
the closet open. 

" Balla, come in here," called their mother from within. 
" Have you got them safe ? " she asked. 

"Yes 'm ; jes' as safe as they kin be. I want to be 'bout 
here when they come, or I 'd go down an' stay whar they is." 

" What is it ? " asked the boys. 


"Where is the best place to put that?" she said, pointing 
to a large, strong box in which, they knew, the finest silver 
was kept ; indeed, all excepting what was used every day on 
the table, 

" Well, I declar', Mistis, that 's hard to tell," said the old 
driver, "without it 's in the stable." 

"They may burn that down." 

" That 's so ; you might bury it under the floor of the 
smoke-house ? " 

" I have heard that they always look for silver there," 
said the boys' mother. " How would it do to bury it in the 
garden ?" 

"That's the very place I was gwine name," said Balla, 
with flattering approval. - " They can't burn that down, and 
if they gwine dig for it then they '11 have to dig a long time 
before they git over that big garden." He stooped and lifted 
up one end of the box to test its weight. 

" I thought of the other end of the flower-bed, between 
the big rose-bush and the lilac." 

" That 's the very place I had in my mind," declared the 
old man. " They won' never fine it dyah ! " 

" We know a good place," said the boys both together ; 
" it 's a heap better than that. It 's where we bury our treas- 
ures when we play ' Black-beard the Pirate.'" 

"Very well," said their mother; "I don't care to know 
where it is until after to-morrow, anyhow. I know I can trust 
you," she added, addressing Balla. 


" Yes 'm, you know dat," said he, simply. " I '11 jes' go 
an' git my hoe." 

" The garden hasn't got a roof to it, has it, Unc' Balla ?" 
asked Willy, quietly. 

" Go 'way from here, boy," said the old man, making a 
sweep at him with his hand. " That boy ain' never done 
talkin' 'bout that thing yit," he added, with a pleased laugh, 
to his mistress. 

" And you ain't ever given me all those chickens either," 
responded Willy, forgetting his grammar. 

" Oh, well, I 'm gwV do it ; ain't you hear me say I 'm 
gwine do it ?" he laughed as he went out. 

The boys were too excited to get sleepy before the silver 
was hidden. Their mother told them they might go down 
into the garden and help Balla, on condition that they would 
not talk. 

" That 's the way we always do when we bury the treasure. 
Ain't it, Willy?" asked Frank. 

"If a man speaks, it's death!" declared Willy, slapping 
his hand on his side as if to draw a sword, striking a theatri- 
cal attitude and speaking in a deep voice. 

"Give the 'galleon' to us," said Frank. 

" No ; be off with you," said their mother. 

"That ain't the way," said Frank. " A pirate never digs 
the hole until he has his treasure at hand. To do so would 
prove him but a novice ; would n't it, W^illy ?" 

" Well, I leave it all to you, my little Buccaneers," said 


their mother, laughing. " I'll take care of the spoons and 
forks we use every day. I '11 just hide them away in a hole 

The boys started off after Balla with a shout, but remem- 
bered their errand and suddenly hushed down to a little 
squeal of delight at being actually engaged in burying treas- 
ure — real silver. It seemed too good to be true, and withal 
there was a real excitement about it, for how could they know 
but that some one might watch them from some hiding-place, 
or might even fire into them as they worked ? 

They met the old fellow as he was coming from the car- 
riage-house with a hoe and a spade in his hands. He was on 
his way to the garden in a very straightforward manner, but 
the boys made him understand that to bury treasure it was 
necessary to be particularly secret, and after some little 
grumbling, Balla humored them. 

The difficulty of getting the box of silver out of the house 
secretly, whilst all the family were up, and the servants were 
moving about, was so great that this part of the affair had to 
be carried on in a manner different from the usual programme 
of pirates of the first water. Even the boys had to admit 
this ; and they yielded to old Balla's advice on this point, but 
made up for it by additional formality, ceremony, and secrecy 
in pointing out the spot where the box was to be hid. 

Old Balla was quite accustomed to their games and fun — 
their "pranks," as he called them. He accordingly yielded 
willingly when they marched him to a point at the lower end 


of the yard, on the opposite side from the garden, and left 
him. But he was inchned to give trouble when they both re- 
appeared with a gun, and in a whisper announced that they 
must march first up the ditch which ran by the spring around 
the foot of the garden. 

" Look here, boys ; I ain' got time to fool with you 
chillern," said the old man. " Ain't you hear your ma tell 
me she 'pend on me to bury that silver what yo' gran'ma and 
gran'pa used to eat off o' — an' don' wan' nobody to know 
nothin' 'bout it ? An' y' all comin' here with guns, like you 
huntin' squ'rr'ls, an' now talkin' 'bout wadin' in the ditch !" 

'* But, Unc' Balla, that 's the way all buccaneers do," pro- 
tested Frank. 

" Yes, buccaneers always go by water," said Willy. 

" And we can stoop in the ditch and come in at the far 
end of the garden, so nobody can see us," added Frank. 

" Bookanear or bookafar, — I 'se gwine in dat garden and 
dig a hole wid my hoe, an' I is too ole to be wadin' in a 
ditch like chillern. I got the misery in my knee now, so bad 
I 'se sca'cely able to stand. I don't know huccome y' all ain't 
satisfied with the place you' ma an' I done pick, anyways." 

This was too serious a mutiny for the boys. So it was 
finally agreed that one gun should be returned to the office, 
and that they should enter by the gate, after which Balla was 
to go with the boys by the way they should show him, and 
see the spot they thought of. 

They took him down through the weeds around the gar- 


den, crouching under the rose-bushes, and at last stopped at a 
spot under the slope, completely surrounded by shrubbery. 

"Here is the spot," said Frank in a whisper, pointing 
under one of the bushes. 

" It's in a line with the longest limb of the big oak-tree 
by the gate," added Willy, "and when this locust bush and 
that cedar grow to be big trees, it will be just half-way between 

As this seemed to Balla a very good place, he set to work 
at once to dig, the two boys helping him as well as they 
could. It took a great deal longer to dig the hole in the 
dark than they had expected, and when they got back to 
the house everything was quiet. 

The boys had their hats pulled over their eyes, and had 
turned their jackets inside out to disguise themselves. 

" It 's a first-rate place ! Ain't it, Unc' Balla ?" they said, 
as they entered the chamber where their mother and aunt 
were waiting for them. 

" Do you think it will do, Balla?" their mother asked. 

"Oh, yes, madam ; it's far enough, an' they got mighty 
comical ways to get dyah, wadin' in ditch an' things — it will do. 
I ain' sho' I kin fin' it ag'in myself." He was not particularly 
enthusiastic. Now, however, he shouldered the box, with a 
grunt at its weight, and the party went slowly out through 
the back door into the dark. The glow of the burning depot 
was still visible in the west. 

Then it was decided that Willy should go before — he said 


to " reconnoitre," Balla said " to open the gate and lead the 
way,"— and that Frank should bring up the rear. 

They trudged slowly on through the darkness, Frank and 
Willy watching on every side, old Balla stooping under the 
weight of the big box. 

After they were some distance in the garden they heard, 
or thought they heard, a sound back at the gate, but decided 
that it was nothing but the latch clicking ; and they went on 
down to their hiding place. 

In a little while the black box was well settled in the hole, 
and the dirt was thrown upon it. The replaced earth made 
something of a mound, which was unfortunate. They had 
not thought of this; but they covered it with leaves, and 
ao-reed that it was so well hidden, the Yankees would never 
dream of looking there. 

" Unc' Balla, where are your horses?" asked one of the 

"That's for me to know, an' them to find out what kin," 
replied the old fellow with a chuckle of satisfaction. 

The whole party crept back out of the garden, and the 
boys were soon dreaming of buccaneers and pirates. 


THE boys were not sure that they had even fallen asleep 
when they heard Lucy Ann call, outside. They turned 
over to take another nap. She was coming up to the 
door. No, for it was a man's step, it must be Uncle Balla's ; 
they heard horses trampling and people talking. In a second 
the door was flung open, and a man strode into the room 
followed by one, two, a half-dozen others, all white and all in 
uniform. They were Yankees. The boys were too fright- 
ened to speak. They thought they were arrested for hiding 
the silver. 

" 0*^1 up, you lazy little rebels," cried one of the intruders, 
not unpleasantly. As the boys were not very quick in obey- 
ing, being really too frightned to do more than sit up in bed, 
the man caught the mattress by the end, and lifting it with a 
jerk emptied them and all the bedclothes out into the middle 
of the floor in a heap. At this all the other men laughed. 
A minute more and he had drawn his sword. The boys 
expected no less than to be immediately killed. They were 
almost paralyzed. But instead of plunging his sword into 
them, the man began to stick it into the mattresses and to 
rip them up ; while others pulled open the drawers of the 
bureau and pitched the things on the floor. 


The boys felt themselves to be in a very exposed and de- 
fenceless condition ; and Willy, who had become tangled in 
the bedclothes, and had been a little hurt in falling, x\oyN that 
the strain was somewhat over, began to cry. 

In a minute a shadow darkened the doorway and their 
mother stood in the room. 

"Leave the room instantly!" she cried. "Aren't you 
ashamed to frighten children ! " 

" We have n't hurt the brats," said the man with the sword, 

" Well, you terrify them to death. It 's just as bad. Give 
me those clothes ! " and she sprang forward and snatched the 
boys' clothes from the hands of a man who had taken them 
up. She flung the suits to the boys, who lost no time in 
slipping into them. 

They had at once recovered their courage in the presence 
of their mother. She seemed to them, as she braved the in- 
truders, the grandest person they had ever seen. Her face 
was white, but her eyes were like coals of hre. They 
were very glad she had never looked or talked so to 

When they got outdoors the yard was full of soldiers. 
They were upon the porches, in the entry, and in the house. 
The smoke-house was open and so were the doors of all the 
other outhouses, and now and then a man passed, carrying 
some article which the boys recognized. 

In a little while the soldiers had taken everything they 


could carry conveniently, and even things which must have 
caused them some inconvenience. They had secured all the 
bacon that had been left in the smoke-house, as well as all 
other eatables they could find. It was a queer sight, to see 
the fellows sitting on their horses with a ham or a pair of 
fowls tied to one side of the saddle and an engraving, or a 
package of books, or some ornament, to the other. 

A new party of men had by this time come up from the 
direction of the stables. 

" Old man, come here ! " called some of them to Balla, who 
was standing near expostulating with the men who were about 
the fire. 

" Who ?— me ? " asked Balla. 

" B'ain't you the carriage driver?" 

" Ain't I the keridge driver ? " 

Yes, you ; we know you are, so you need not be lying 
about it." 

" Hi ! yes ; I the keridge driver. Who say I ain't ? " 

" Well, where have you hid those horses ? Come, we want 
to know, quick," said the fellow roughly, taking out his pistol 
in a threatening way. 

The old man's eyes grew wide. " Hi ! befo' de Lord! 
Marster, how I know anything of the horses ef they ain't in 
the stable, — there's where we keep horses ! " 

" Here, you come with us. We won't have no foolin' 
'bout this," said his questioner, seizing him by the shoulder 
and jerking him angrily around. " If you don't show us 


pretty quick where those horses are, we '11 put a bullet or two 
into you. March off there ! " 

He was backed by a half-a-dozen more, but the pistol, 
which was at old Balla's head, was his most efificient 

" Hi! Marster, don't pint dat thing at me that way. I ain't 
ready to die yit — an' I ain' like'dem things, noways," protested 

There is no telling how much further his courage could 
have withstood their threats, for the boys' mother made her 
appearance. She was about to bid Balla show where the 
horses were, when a party rode into the yard leading 

" Hi ! there are Bill and John, now," exclaimed the boys> 
recognizing the black carriage-horses which were being led 

" Well, ef dee ain't got 'em, sho' 'nough !" exclaimed the 
old driver, forgetting his fear of the cocked pistols. 

" Gentlemen, marsters, don't teck my horses, ef you 
please" he pleaded, pushing through the group that sur- 
rounded him, and approaching the man who led the horses. 

They only laughed at him. 

Both the boys ran to their mother, and, flinging their arms 
about her, burst out crying. 

In a few minutes the men started ofT, riding across the 
fields ; and in a little while not a was in sight. 

" I wish Marse William could see you ridin' 'cross them 


fields," said Balla, looking after the retiring troop in futile 

Investigation revealed the fact that every horse and mule 
on the plantation had been carried off, except only two or 
three old mules, which were evidently considered not worth 


AF'TER this, times were very hard on the plantation. 
But the boys' mother struggled to provide as best she 
could for the family and hands. She used to ride all 
over the county to secure the supplies which were necessary 
for their support ; one of the boys usually being her escort 
and riding behind her on one of the old mules that the raiders 
had left In this way the boys became acquainted with the 
roads of the county and even with all the bridle-paths in the 
neighborhood of their home. Many of these were dim enough 
too, running through stretches of pine forest, across old fields 
which were little better than jungle, along gullies, up ditches, 
and through woods mile after mile. They were generally 
useful only to a race, such as the negroes, which had an 
instinct for direction like that shown by some animals ; but 
the boys learned to follow them unerringly, and soon became 
as skilful in "keepin' de parf " as any night-walker on the 

As the year passed the times grew harder and harder, and 
the expeditions made by the boys' mother became longer and 
longer, and more and more frequent. 

The meat gave out, and, worst of all, they had no hogs 
left for next year. The plantation usually subsisted on bacon ; 


but now there was not a pig left on the place — -unless the old 
wild sow in the big woods (who had refused to be " driven 
up" the fall before) still survived, which was doubtful; for 
the most diligent search was made for her without success, 
and it was conceded that even she had fallen prey to the 
deserters. Nothing was heard of her for months. 

One day, in the autumn, the boys were out hunting in the 
big woods, in the most distant and wildest part, where they 
sloped down toward a little marshy branch that ran into the 
river a mile or two away. 

It was a very dry spell and squirrels were hard to find, 
owing, the boys agreed, to the noise made in tramping 
through the dry leaves. Finally, they decided to station 
themselves each at the foot of a hickory and wait for the 
squirrels. They found two large hickory trees not too far 
apart, and took their positions each on the ground, with his 
back to a tree. 

It was very dull, waiting, and a half-whispered colloquy 
was passing between them as to the advisability of giving it 
up, when a faint " cranch, cranch, cranch," sounded in the 
dry leaves. At first the boys thought it was a squirrel, and 
both of them grasped their guns. Then the sound came 
again, but this time there appeared to be, not one, but a 
number of animals, rustling slowly along. 

"What is it?" asked Frank of Willy, whose tree was a 
little nearer the direction from which the sound came. 

" 'Tain't anything but some cows or sheep, I believe," 


said Willy, in a disappointed tone. The look of interest 
died out of Frank's face, but he still kept his eyes in the 
direction of the sound, which was now very distinct. The 
underbrush, however, was too thick for them to see anything. 
At length Willy rose and pushed his way rapidly through the 
bushes toward the animals. There was a sudden " oof, oof," 
and Frank heard them rushing back down through the woods 
toward the marsh. 

" Somebody's hogs," he muttered, in disgust. 

" Frank ! Frank ! " called Willy, in a most excited tone. 


" It 's the old spotted sow, and she 's got a lot of pigs 
with her — great big shoats, nearly grown ! " 

Frank sprang up and ran through the bushes. 

" At least six of 'em ! " 

" Let 's follow 'em ! " 

" All right." 

The boys, stooping their heads, struck out through the 
bushes in the direction from which the yet retreating animals 
could still be heard. 

" Let 's shoot 'em." 

" All right." 

On they kept as hard as they could. What great news it 
was ! What royal game ! 

" It 's like hunting wild boars, is n't it ?" shouted Willy, 

They followed the track left by the animals in the leaves 


kicked up in their mad flight. It led down over the hill, 
through the thicket, and came to an end at the marsh which 
marked the beginning of the swamp. Beyond that it could 
not be traced ; but it was evident that the wild hogs had 
taken refuge in the impenetrable recesses of the marsh which 
was their home. 


AFTER circling the edge of the swamp for some time 
the boys, as it was now growing late, turned toward 
home. They were full of their valuable discovery, 
and laid all sorts of plans for the capture of the hogs. They 
would not tell even their mother, as they wished to surprise 
her. They were, of course, familiar with all the modes of 
trapping game, as described in the story books, and they dis- 
cussed them all. The easiest way to get the hogs was to 
shoot them, and this would be the most " fun ; " but it would 
never do, for the meat would spoil. When they reached 
home they hunted up Uncle Balla and told him about their 
discovery. He was very much inclined to laugh at them. 
The hogs they had seen were nothing, he told them, but 
some of the neighbors' hogs which had wandered into the 

When the boys went to bed they talked it over once 
more, and determined that next day they would thoroughly 
explore the woods and the swamp also, as far as they could. 

The follov/ing afternoon, therefore, they set out, and 
made immediately for that part of the woods where they had 
seen and heard the hogs the day before. One of them car- 
ried a gun and the other a long jumping-pole. After finding 
the trail they followed it straight down to the swamp. 



Rolling their trousers up above their knees, they waded 
boldly in, selecting an opening between the bushes which 
looked like a hog-path. They proceeded slowly, for the 
briers were so thick in many places that they could hardly 
make any progress at all when they neared the branch. So 
they turned and worked their way painfully down the stream. 
At last, however, they reached a place where the brambles 
and bushes seemed to form a perfect wall before them. It 
was impossible to get through. 

" Let 's go home," said Willy. " 'Tain't any use to try 
to get through there. My legs are scratched all to pieces 

" Let 's try and get out here," said Frank, and he turned 
from the wall of brambles. They crept along, springing 
from hummock to hummock. Presently they came to a spot 
where the oozy mud extended at least eight or ten feet before 
the next tuft of grass. 

" How am I to get the gun across ? " asked Willy, dole- 

"That 's a fact ! It 's too far to throw it, even with the 
caps off." 

At length they concluded to go back for a piece of log 
they had seen, and to throw this down so as to lessen the 

They pulled the log out of the sand, carried it to the 
muddy spot, and threw it into the mud where they wanted it. 

Frank stuck his pole down and felt until he had what he 


thought a secure hold on it, fixed his eye on the tuft of grass 
beyond, and sprang into air. 

As he jumped the pole slipped from its insecure support 
into the miry mud, and Frank, instead of landing on the 
hummock for which he had aimed, lost his direction, and 
soused flat on his side with a loud "spa-lash," in the water 
and mud three feet to the left. 

He was a queer object as he staggered to his feet in the 
quagmire ; but at the instant a loud " oof, oof," came from 
the thicket, not a dozen yards away, and the whole herd 
of hogs, roused, by his fall, from slumber in their muddy 
lair, dashed away through the swamp with " oofs " of 

" There they go, there they go ! " shouted both boys, 
eagerly, — Willy, in his excitement, splashing across the peril- 
ous-looking quagmire, and finding it not so deep as it had 

" There 's where they go in and out," exclaimed Frank, 
pointing to a low round opening, not more than eighteen 
inches high, a little further beyond them, which formed an 
arch in the almost solid wall of brambles surrounding the 

As it was now late they returned home, resolving to wait 
until the next afternoon before taking any further steps. 
There was not a pound of bacon to be obtained anywhere in 
the country for love or money, and the flock of sheep was 
almost orone. 


Their mother's anxiety as to means for Ivceping her de- 
pendents from starving was so great that the boys were on 
the point of telhng her what they knew ; and when they 
heard her wishing she had a few hogs to fatten, they could 
scarcely keep from letting her know their plans. At last 
they had to jump up, and run out of the room. 

Next day the boys each hunted up a pair of old boots 
which they had used the winter before. The leather was so 
dry and worn that the boots hurt their growing feet cruelly, 
but they brought the boots along to put on when they 
reached the swamp. This time, each took a gun, and they 
also carried an axe, for now they had determined on a plan 
for capturing the hogs. 

" I wish we had let Peter and Cole come," said Willy, 
dolefully, sitting on the butt end of a log they had cut, and 
wiping his face on his sleeve. 

" Or had asked Uncle Balla to help us," added Frank. 

" They 'd be certain to tell all about it." 

"Yes; so they would." 

They settled down in silence, and panted. 

" I tell you what we ought to do ! Bait the hog-path, as 
you would for fish." This was the suggestion of the angler, 

"With what?" 

" Acorns." 

The acorns were tolerably plentiful around the roots of 
the big oaks, so the boys set to work to pick them up. It 


was an easier job than cutting the log, and it was not long 
before each had his hat full. 

As they started down to the swamp, Frank exclaimed, 
suddenly, " Look there, Willy ! " 

Willy looked, and not fifty yards away, with their ends 
resting on old stumps, were three or four "hacks," or piles 
of rails, which had been mauled the season before and left 
there, probably having been forgotten or overlooked. 

Willy gave a hurrah, while bending under the weight of a 
large rail. 

At the spot where the hog-path came out of the thicket 
they commenced to build their trap. 

First they laid a floor of rails ; then they built a pen, five 
or six rails high, which they strengthened with " outriders." 
When the pen was finished, they pried up the side nearest 
the thicket, from the bottom rail, about a foot ; that is, high 
enough for the animals to enter. This they did by means of 
two rails, using one as a fulcrum and one as a lever, having 
shortened them enough to enable the work to be done from 
inside the pen. 

The lever they pulled down at the farther end until it 
touched the bottom of the trap, and fastened it by another 
rail, a thin one, run at right-angles to the lever, and across 
the pen. This would slip easily when pushed away from the 
gap, and needed to be moved only about an inch to slip from 
the end of the lever and release it ; the weight of the pen 
would then close the gap. Behind this rail the acorns were 


to be thrown ; and the hogs, in trying to get the bait, would 
push the rail, free the lever or trigger, and the gap would be 
closed by the fall of the pen when the lever was released. 

It was nearly night when the boys' finished. 

They scattered a portion of the acorns for bait along the 
path and up into the pen, to toll the hogs in. The rest they 
strewed inside the pen, beyond their sliding rail. 

They could scarcely tear themselves away from the pen ; 
but it was so late they had to hurry home. 

Next day was Sunday. But Monday morning, by day- 
light, they were up and went out with their guns, apparently 
to hunt squirrels. They went, however, straight to their trap. 
As they approached they thought they heard the hogs grunt- 
ing in the pen. Willy was sure of it ; and they ran as hard 
as they could. But there were no hogs there. After going 
every morning and evening for two weeks, there never had 
been even an acorn missed, so they stopped their visits. 

Peter and Cole found out about the pen, and then the 
servants learned of it, and the boys were joked and laughed 
at unmercifully. 

" I believe them boys is distracted," said old Balla, in the 
kitchen ; " settin' a pen in them woods for to ketch hogs, — 
with the gap open ! Think hogs goin^ stay in pen with gap 
open — ef any wuz dyah to went in ! " 

" Well, you come out and help us hunt for them," said 
the boys to the old driver. 

" Go 'way, boy, I ain' got time foolin' wid you chillern. 


bulldin' pen in swamp. There ain't no hogs in them woods, 
onless they got in dyah sence las' fall." 

" You saw 'em, did n't you, Willy ?" declared Frank. 
"Yes, I did." 

" Go 'way. Don't you know, ef that old sow had been in 
them woods the boys would have got her up las' fall— an' ef 
they had n't, she 'd come up long befo' this ? " 

" Mister Hall ketch you boys puttin' his hogs up in pen, 
he '11 teck you up," said Lucy Ann, in her usual teasing way. 
This was too much for the boys to stand after all they 
had done. Uncle Balla must be right. They would have to 
admit it. The hogs must have belonged to some one else. 
And their mother was in such desperate straits about meat ! 

Lucy Ann's last shot, about catching Mr. Hall's hogs, took 
effect; and the boys agreed that they would go out some 
afternoon and pull the pen down. 

The next afternoon they took their guns, and started out 
on a squirrel-hunt. 

They did not have much luck, however. 
" Let 's go by there, and pull the old pen down," said 
Frank, as they started homeward from the far side of the 

" It 's out of the way,— let the old thing rip." 
" We 'd better pull it down. If a hog were to be caught 
there, it would n't do." 

" I wish he would '.—but there ain't any hogs going to get 
caught," growled Willy. 


" He might starve to death." 

This suggestion persuaded Willy, who could not bear "to 
have anything suffer. 

So they sauntered down toward the swamp. 

As they approached it, a squirrel ran up a tree, and both 
boys were after it in a second. They were standing, one on 
each side of the tree, gazing up, trying to get a sight of the 
little animal among the gray branches, when a sound came to 
the ears of both of them at the same moment. • 

" What 's that ? " both asked together. 

" It 's hogs, grunting." 

" No, they are fighting. They are in the swamp. Let 's 
run," said Willy. 

" No ; we '11 scare them away. They may be near the 
trap," was PVank's prudent suggestion. " Let 's creep up." 

" I hear young pigs squealing. Do you think they are 
ours ? " 

The squirrel was left, flattened out and trembling on top 
of a large limb, and the boys stole down the hill toward the 
pen. The hogs were not in sight, though they could be 
heard grunting and scuffling. They crept closer. Willy 
crawled through a thick clump of bushes, and sprang to his 
feet with a shout. " We 've got 'em ! We 've got 'em ! " he 
cried, running toward the pen, followed by Frank. 

Sure enough ! There they were, fast in the pen, fighting 
and snorting to get out, and tearing around with the bristles 
high on their round backs, the old sow and seven large young 


hogs ; while a Htter of eight Httle pigs, as the boys ran up, 
squeezed through the rails, and, squealing, dashed away into 
the grass. 

The hogs were almost frantic at the sight of the boys, and 
rushed madly at the sides of the pen ; but the boys had made 
it too strong to be broken. 

After gazing at their capture awhile, and piling a few 
more outriders on the corners of the pen to make it more 
secure, the two trappers rushed home. They dashed breath- 
less and panting into their mother's room, shouting, " We 've 
o-ot 'em ! — we 've got 'em ! " and, seizing her, began to dance 
up and down with her. 

In a little while the whole plantation was aware of the 
capture, and old Balla was sent out with them to look at the 
hogs to make sure they did not belong to some one else, — as 
he insisted they did. The boys went with him. It was quite 
dark when he returned, but as he came in the proof of the 
boys' success was written on his face. He was in a broad 
grin. To his mistress's inquiry he replied, "Yes, 'm, they 's 
got 'em, sho' 'nough. They 's the beatenes' boys ! " 

For some time afterward he would every now and then 
break into a chuckle of amused content and exclaim, 
" Them 's right smart chillern." And at Christmas, when 
the hogs were killed, this was the opinion of the whole 


THE gibes of Lucy Ann, and the occasional little thrusts 
of Hugh about the "deserter business," continued and 
kept the boys stirred up. At length they could stand 
it no longer. It was decided between them that they must 
retrieve their reputations by capturing a real deserter and 
turning him over to the conscript-officer whose office was at 
the depot. 

Accordingly, one Saturday they started out on an expe- 
dition, the object of which was to capture a deserter though 
they should die in the attempt. 

The conscript-guard had been unusually active lately, and 
it was said that several deserters had been caught. 

The boys turned in at their old road, and made their way 
into Holetown. Their guns were loaded with large slugs, and 
they felt the ardor of battle thrill them as they marched along 
down the narrow roadway. They were trudging on when 
they were hailed by name from behind. Turning, they saw 
their friend Tim Mills, coming along at the same slouch- 
ing gait in which he always walked. His old single-barrel 
gun was thrown across his arm, and he looked a little 
rustier than on the day he had shared their lunch. The 
boys held a little whispered conversation, and decided on a 
treaty of friendship. 



" Good-morn in'," he said, on coming up to them. "How's 
your ma ? " 

" Good-morning. She's right well." 

" What y' all doin' ? Huntin' d'serters agin ?" he asked. 

" Yes. Come on and help us catch them." 

" No ; I can't do that — exactly ; — but I tell you what I 
can do. I can tell you whar one is ! " 

The boys' faces glowed. " All right!" 

" Let me see," he began, reflectively, chewing a stick. 
" Does y' all know Billy Johnson ? " 

The boys did not know him. 

" You sure you don't know him ? He's a tall, long fel- 
low, 'bout forty years old, and breshes his hair mighty slick ; 
got a big nose, and a gap-tooth,. and a mustache. He lives 
down in the lower neighborhood." 

Even after this description the boys failed to recognize 

" Well, he's the feller. I can tell you right whar he is, 
this minute. He did me a mean trick, an' I'm gwine to 
give him up. Come along." 

" What did he do to you ? " inquired the boys, as they 
followed him down the road. 

" Why — he — ; but 't 's no use to be rakin' it up agin. 
You know he always passes hisself off as one o' the conscrip'- 
guards, — that 's his dodge. Like as not, that's what he 's 
gwine try and put off on y' all now ; but don't you let him 
fool you." 


" We're not going to," said the boys, 

" He rigs hisself up in a uniform — jes' like as not he stole 
it, too, — an' goes roun' foolin' people, meckin' out he's such 
a soldier. If he fools with me, I'm gwine to finish him ! " 
Here Tim gripped his gun fiercely. 

The boys promised not to be fooled by the wily Johnson. 
All they asked was to have him pointed out to them. 

" Don't you let him put up any game on you 'bout bein' 
a conscrip'-guard hisself," continued their friend. 

" No, indeed we won't. We are obliged to you for telling 

" He ain't so very fur from here. He's mighty tecken 
up with John Hall's gal, and is tryin' to meek out like he's 
Gen'l Lee hisself, an' she ain't got no mo' sense than to 
b'lieve him." 

" Why, we heard, Mr. Mills, she was going to marry 

" Oh, no, / ain't a good enough soldier for her ; she 
wants to marry Geu7 Lee." 

The boys laughed at his dry tone. 

As they walked along they consulted how the capture 
should be made. 

" I tell you how to take him," said their companion. " He 
is a monstrous coward, and all you got to do is jest to 
bring your guns down on him. I would n't shoot him — 'nless 
he tried to run ; but if he did that, when he got a little dis- 
tance I'd pepper him about his legs. Make him give up his 


sword and pistol and don't let him ride ; 'cause if you do, 
he'll git away. Make him walk — -the rascal ! " 

The boys promised to carry out these kindly sugges- 

They soon came in sight of the little house where Mills 
said the deserter was. A soldier's horse was standing tied at 
the gate, with a sword hung from the saddle. The owner, 
in full uniform, was sitting on the porch. 

"I can't go any furder," whispered their friend; "but 
that's him— that's ' Gen'l Lee' — the triflin' scoundrel! — 
loafin' 'roun' here 'sted o' goin' in the army ! I b'lieve y' all 
is 'fraid to take him," eying the boys suspiciously. 

" No, we ain't ; you'll see," said both boys, fired at the 

" All right ; I'm goin' to wait right here and watch you. 
Go ahead." 

The boys looked at the guns to see if they were all right, 
and marched up the road keeping their eyes on the enemy. 
It was agreed that Frank was to do the talking and give the 

They said not a word until they reached the gate. They 
could see a young woman moving about in the house, setting 
a table. At the gate they stopped, so as to prevent the man 
from getting to his horse. 

The soldier eyed them curiously. " I wonder whose boys 
they is ?" he said to himself. " They's certainly actin' com- 
ical ! Playin' soldiers, I reckon." 



" Cock your gun — easy," said Frank, in a low tone, suit- 
ing his own action to the word. 

Willy obeyed. 

" Come out here, if you please," Frank called to the man. 
He could not keep his voice from shaking a little, but the 
man rose and lounged out toward them. His prompt com- 
pliance reassured them. 

They stood, gripping their guns and watching him as he 

" Come outside the gate ! " He did as Frank said. 

"What do you want ?" he asked impatiently. 

"You are our prisoner," said Frank, sternly, dropping 
down his gun with the muzzle toward the captive, and giving 
a glance at Willy to see that he was supported. 

''\o\ix what ? What do you mean ?" 

" We arrest you as a deserter." 

How proud Willy was of Frank ! 

" Go 'way from here ; I ain't no deserter. I'm a-huntin' 
for deserters, myself," the man replied, laughing. 

Frank smiled at Willy with a nod, as much as to say, " You 
see, — just what Tim told us !" 

" Ain't your name Mr. Billy Johnson ? " 

" Yes ; that's my name." 

" You are the man we're looking for. March down that 
road. But don't run, — if you do, we'll shoot you ! " 

As the boys seemed perfectly serious and the muzzles of 
both guns were pointing directly at him, the man began to 


think that they were in earnest. But he could hardly credit 
his senses. A suspicion flashed into his mind. 

" Look here, boys," he said, rather angrily, " I don't 
want any of your foolin' with me. I'm too old to play with 
children. If you all don't go 'long home and stop giving 
me impudence, I'll slap you over!" He started angrily 
toward Frank. As he did so, Frank brought the gun to his 

" Stand back ! " he said, looking along the barrel, right 
into the man's eyes. " If you move a step, I'll blow your 
head off ! " 

The soldier's jaw fell. He stopped and threw up his 
arm before his eyes. 

" Hold on ! " he called, " don't shoot ! Boys, ain't you 
got better sense 'nt hat ?" 

" March on down that road. Willy, you get the horse," 
said Frank, decidedly. 

The soldier glanced over toward the house. The voice 
of the young woman was heard singing a war song in a high 

" Ef Millindy sees me, I'm a goner," he reflected. " Jes 
come down the road a little piece, will you ? " he asked, per- 

" No talking, — march ! " ordered Frank. 

He looked at each of the boys ; the guns still kept their 
perilous direction. The boys' eyes looked fiery to his sur- 
prised senses. 


" Who Is y' all ?" he asked. 

" We are two little Confederates ! That's who we are," 
said Willy. 

" Is any of your parents ever — -ever been in a asylum ?" 
he asked, as calmly as he could. 

"That's none of your business," said Captain Frank 
** March on ! " 

The man cast a despairing glance toward the house, where 
"The years" were "creeping slowly by, Lorena," in a very 
high pitch, — and then moved on. 

" I hope she ain't seen nothin'," he thought. " If I jest 
can git them guns away from 'em " 

Frank followed close behind him with his old gun held 
ready for need, and Willy untied the horse and led it. The 
bushes concealed them from the dwelling. 

As soon as they were well out of sight of the house, 
Frank gave the order : 

-Halt!" They all halted 

" Willy, tie the horse." It was done. 

"I wonder if those boys is thinkin' 'bout shootin' me?" 
thought the soldier, turning and putting his hand on his pistol. 

As he did so, Frank's gun came to his shoulder. 

"Throw up your hands or you are a dead man." The 
hands went up. 

" Willy, keep your gun on him, while I search him for any 
weapons." Willy cocked the old musket and brought it to 
bear on the prisoner. 


" Little boy, don't handle that thing so reckless," the man 
expostulated. " Ef that musket was to go off, it might kill 
me ! " 

" No talking," demanded Frank, going up to him. " Hold 
up your hands. Willy, shoot him if he moves." 

Frank drew a long pistol from its holster with an air of 
business. He searched carefully, but there was no more. 

The fellow gritted his teeth. " If she ever hears of //i/s, 
Tim's got her certain," he groaned ; " but she won't never 

At a turn in the road his heart sank within him ; for just 
around the curve they came upon Tim Mills sitting quietly 
on a stump. He looked at them with a quizzical eye, but 
said not a word. 

The prisoner's face was a study when he recognized his 
rival and enemy. As Mills did not move, his courage re- 

"Good mornin', Tim," he said, with great politeness. 

The man on the stump said nothing ; he only looked on 
with complacent enjoyment. 

" Tim, is these two boys crazy ? " he asked slowly. 

" They 're crazy 'bout shootin' deserters," replied Tim. 

" Tim, tell 'em I ain't no deserter." His voice was full 
of entreaty. 

"Well, if you ain't a d'serter, what you doin' outn the 
army ? " 

"You know " began the fellow fiercely; but Tim 


shifted his long single-barrel lazily into his hand and looked 
the man straight in the eyes, and the prisoner stopped. 

"Yes, I know," said Tim with a sudden spark in his 
eyes. " hvi yoii know," he added after a pause, during which 
his face resumed its usual listless look. " An' my edvice to 
you is to go 'long with them boys, if you don't want to git 
three loads of slugs in you. They may put 'em in you 
anyway. They's sort of 'stracted 'bout d'serters, and I can 
swear to it." He touched his forehead expressively. 

" March on !" said Frank. 

The prisoner, grinding his teeth, moved forward, followed 
by his guards. 

As the enemies parted each man sent the same ugly look 
after the other. 

" It's all over I He's got her," groaned Johnson. As 
they passed out of sight, Mills rose and sauntered somewhat 
briskly (for him) in the direction of John Hall's. 

They soon reached a little stream, not far from the depot 
where the provost-guard was stationed. On its banks the man 
made his last stand ; but his obstinacy brought a black muzzle 
close to his head with a stern little face behind it, and he was 
fain to march straight through the water, as he was ordered. 

Just as he was emerging on the other bank, with his boots 
full of water and his trousers dripping, closely followed by 
Frank brandishing his pistol, a small body of soldiers rode 
up. They were the conscript-guard. Johnson's look was de- 


" Why, Billy, what in thunder ? Thought you were 

sick in bed ! " 

Another minute and the soldiers took in the situation by 
instinct — and Johnson's rage was drowned in the universal 
explosion of laughter. 

The boys had captured a member of the conscript-guard. 

In the midst of all, Frank and Willy, overwhelmed by 
their ridiculous error, took to their heels as hard as they 
could, and the last sounds that reached them were the roars 
of the soldiers as the scampering boys disappeared in a cloud 
of dust. 

Johnson went back, in a few days, to see John Hall's 
daughter ; but the young lady declared she would n't marry 
any man who let two boys make him wade through a creek ; 
and a month or two later she married Tim Mills. 

To all the gibes he heard on the fubject of his capture, 
and they were many, Johnson made but one reply : 

"Them boys 's had parents in a a — sylum, sure!" 


IT was now nearing the end of the third year of the war. 
Hugh was seventeen, and was eager to go into the 

army. His mother would have hked to keep him at 
home ; but she felt that it was her duty not to withhold any- 
thing, and Colonel Marshall offered Hugh a place with him. 
So a horse was bought, and Hugh went to Richmond and 
came back with a uniform and a sabre. The boys truly 
thought that General Lee himself was not so imposing or so 
great a soldier as Hugh. They followed him about like two 
pet dogs, and when he sat down they stood and gazed at 
him adoringly. 

When Hugh rode away to the army it was harder to part 
with him than they had expected ; and though he had left 
them his gun and dog, to console them during his absence, it 
was difficult to keep from crying. Everyone on the planta- 
tion was moved. Uncle Balla, who up to the last moment 
had been very lively attending to the horse, as the young sol- 
dier galloped away sank down on the end of the steps of the 
office, and, dropping his hands on his knees, followed Hugh 
with his eyes until he disappeared over the hill. The old 
driver said nothing, but his face expressed a great deal. 

The boys' mother cried a great deal, but it was generally 
when she was by herself. 


"She 's afraid Hugh '11 be kilt," Willy said to Uncle 
Balla, in explanation of her tears, — the old servant having 
remarked that he " b'lieved she cried more when Hugh went 
away, than she did when Marse John and Marse William both 

" Hi ! war n't she 'fred they '11 be kilt, too ? " he asked in 
some scorn. 

This was beyond Willy's logic, so he pondered over it. 

" Yes, but she 's afraid Hugh '11 be kilt, as k'^// as them," 
he said finally, as the best solution of the problem. 

It did not seem to wholly satisfy Uncle Balla's mind, for 
when he moved off he said, as though talking to himself : 

"She sutn'ey is 'sot' on that boy. He '11 be a gen'l his- 
self, the first thing she know." 

There was a bond of sympathy between Uncle Balla and 
his mistress which did not exist so strongly between her and 
any of the other servants. It was due perhaps to the fact 
that he was the companion and friend of her boys. 

That winter the place where the army went into winter- 
quarters was some distance from Oakland ; but the young 
officers used to ride over, from time to time, two or three 
together, and stay for a day or two. 

Times were harder than they had been before, but the 
young people were as gay as ever. 

The colonel, who had been dreadfully wounded in the 
summer, had been made a brigadier-general for gallantry. 
Hugh had received a slight wound in the same action. The 


General had written to the boy's mother about him ; but he 
had not been home. The General had gone back to his 
command. He had never been to Oakland since he was 

One evening, the boys had just teased their Cousin Belle 
into reading them their nightly portion of "The Talisman," 
as they sat before a bright lightwood fire, when two horse- 
men galloped up to the gate, their horses splashed with mud 
from fetlocks to ears. In a second, Lucy Ann dashed head- 
long into the room, with her teeth gleaming : 

" Here Marse Hugh, out here ! " 

There was a scamper to the door — the boys first, shouting 
at the tops of their voices, Cousin Belle next, and Lucy Ann 
close at her heels. 

" Who 's with him, Lucy Ann ? " asked Miss Belle, as they 
reached the passage-way, and heard several voices outside. 

"The Gunnel's with 'im." 

The young lady turned and fled up the steps as fast as she 

"You see I brought my welcome with me," said the Gen- 
eral, addressing the boy's mother, and laying his hand on 
his young aide's shoulder, as they stood, a little later, " thaw- 
ing out " by the roaring log-fire in the sitting-room. 

" You always bring that ; but you are doubly welcome for 
bringing this young soldier back to me," said she, putting her 
arm affectionately around her son. 

Just then the boys came rushing in from taking the horses 


to the stable. They made a dive toward the fire to warm 
their Httle chapped hands. 

" I told you Hugh war n't as tall as the General," said 
Frank, across the hearth to Willy. 

" Who said he was ? " 


" I did n't." 

" You did." 

They were a contradictory pair of youngsters, and their 
voices, pitched in a youthful treble, were apt in discussion 
to strike a somewhat higher key; but it did not follow that 
they were in an ill-humor merely because they contradicted 
each other. 

"What did you -say, if you did n't say that?" insisted 

" I said he looked as if he tJioiight himself as tall as the 
General," declared Willy, defiantly, oblivious in his excite- 
ment of the eldest brother's presence. There was a general 
laugh at Hugh's confusion ; but Hugh had carried an order 
across a field under a hot fire, and had brought a regiment 
up in the nick of time, riding by its colonel's side in a charge 
which had changed the issue of the fight, and had a sabre 
wound in the arm to show for it. He could therefore afford 
to pass over such an accusation with a little tweak of Willy's 

" Where 's Cousin Belle ? " asked Frank. 

" I s'peck she 's putting on her fine clothes for the Gen- 


eral to see. Did n't she run when she heard he was 
here ! " 

" Willy ! " said his mother, reprovingly. 

" Well, she did, Ma." 

His mother shook her head at him ; but the General put 
his hand on the boy, and drew him closer, 

" You say she ran ? " he asked, with a pleasant light in his 

" Yes, sirree ; she did thaty 

Just then the door opened, and their Cousin Belle entered 
the room. She looked perfectly beautiful. The greetings 
were very cordial — to Hugh especially. She threw her arms 
around his neck, and kissed him. 

"You young hero!" she cried. "Oh, Hugh, I am so 
proud of you ! " — kissing him again, and laughing at him, 
with her face glowing, and her big brown eyes full of light. 
" Where w^ere you wounded ? Oh ! I was so frightened 
when I heard about it !" 

"Where was it? Show it to us, Hugh; please do," 
exclaimed both boys at once, jumping around him, and pull- 
ing at his arm. 

"Oh, Hugh, is it still very painful ?" asked his cousin, her 
pretty face filled with sudden sympathy. 

"Oh! no, it was nothing — nothing but a scratch," said 
Hugh, shaking the boys off, his expression being divided 
between feigned indifference and sheepishness, at this praise 
in the presence of his chief. 


" No such thing, Miss Belle," put in the General, glad of 
the chance to secure her commendation. " It might have 
been very serious, and it was a splendid ride he made." 

" Were you not ashamed of yourself to send him into 
such danger ?" she said, turning on him suddenly. "Why 
did you not go yourself ?" 

The young man laughed. Her beauty entranced him. 
He had scars enough to justify him in keeping silence under 
her pretended reproach. 

" Well, you see, I could n't leave the place where I was. 
I had to send some one, and I knew Hugh would do it. He 
led the regiment after the colonel and major fell — and he did 
it splendidly, too." 

There was a chorus from the young lady and the boys 

" Oh, Hugh, you hear what he says ! " exclaimed the 
former, turning to her cousin. " Oh, I am so glad that he 
thinks so ! " Then, recollecting that she was paying him 
the highest compliment, she suddenly began to blush, and 
turned once more to him. " Well, you talk as if you were 
surprised. Did you expect anything else ? " 

There was a fine scorn in her voice, if it had been 

" Certainly not ; you are all too clever at making an 
attack," he said coolly, looking her in the eyes. " But I have 
heard even of your running away," he added, with a twinkle 
in his eyes. 


" When ? " she asked quickly, with a Httle guilty color 
deepening in her face as she glanced at the boys. " I never 

" Oh, she did ! " exclaimed both boys in a breath, break- 
ing in, now that the conversation was within their range. 
You ought to have seen her. She ]\isX. Jlezu / "" exclaimed 

The girl made a rush at the offender to stop him. 

" He does n't know what he is talking about," she said, 
roguishly, over her shoulder. 

" Yes, he does," called the other. " She was standing at 
the foot of the steps when you all came, and — oo — oo — 
oo — " the rest was lost as his cousin placed her hand close 
over his mouth. 

" Here ! here! run away ! You are too dangerous. They 
don't know what they are talking about," she said, throw- 
ing a glance toward the young officer, who was keenly 
enjoying her confusion. Her hand slipped from Willie's 
mouth and he went on. " And when she heard it was 
you, she just clapped her hands and ran — oo — oo — 

" Here, Hugh, put them out," she said to that young 
man, who, glad to do her bidding, seized both miscreants by 
their arms and carried them out, closing the door after 

Hugh bore the boys into the dining-room, where he kept 
them until supper-time. 



After supper, the rest of the family dispersed, and the 
boys' mother invited them to come with her and Hugh to 
her own room, though they were eager to go and see the 
General, and were much troubled lest he should think their 
mother was rude in leaving him. 


THE next day was Sunday. The General and Hugh 
had but one day to stay. They were to leave at day- 
break the following morning. They thoroughly en- 
joyed their holiday; at least the boys knew that Hugh did. 
They had never known him so affable with them. They did 
not see much of the General, after breakfast. He seemed to 
like to stay "stuck up in the house" all the time, talking to 
Cousin Belle ; the boys thought this due to his lameness. 
Something had occurred, the boys did n't understand just 
what ; but the General was on an entirely new footing with 
all of them, and their Cousin Belle was in some way con- 
cerned in the change. She did not any longer run from the 
General, and it seemed to them as though everyone acted as 
if he belonged to her. The boys did not altogether like the 
state of affairs. That afternoon, however, he and their 
Cousin Belle let the boys go out walking with them, and he 
was just as hearty as he could be ; he made them tell him 
all about capturing the deserter, and about catching the 
hogs, and everything they did. They told him all about their 
" Robbers' Cave," down in the woods near where an old 
house had stood. It was between two ravines near a spring 
they had found. They had fixed up the " cave " with boards 
and old pieces of carpet " and everything," and they told 


him, as a secret, how to get to It through the pines without 
leaving a trail. He had to give the holy pledge of the 
" Brotherhood " before this could be divulged to him ; but 
he took it with a solemnity which made the boys almost for- 
give the presence of their Cousin Belle. It was a little awk- 
ward at first that she was present ; but as the " Constitution " 
provided only as to admitting men to the mystic knowledge, 
saying nothing about women, this difficulty was, on the Gen- 
eral's suggestion, passed over, and the boys fully explained 
the location of the spot, and how to get there by turning off 
abruptly from the path through the big woods right at the 
pine thicket, — and all the rest of the way. 

" 'T ain't a ' sure-enough ' cave," explained Willy ; " but 
it 's 'most as good as one. The old rock fire-place is just 
like a cave." 

" The gullies are so deep you can't get there except that 
one way," declared Frank. 

" Even the Yankees could n't find you there," asserted 

" I don't believe anybody could, after that ; but I trust 
they will never have to try," laughed their Cousin Belle, with 
an anxious look in her bright eyes at the mere thought. 

That night they were at supper, about eight o'clock, when 
something out-of-doors attracted the attention of the party 
around the table. It was a noise, — a something indefina- 
ble, but the talk and mirth stopped suddenly, and everybody 


There was a call, and the hurried steps of some one run- 
ning, just outside the door, and Lucy Ann burst into the 
room, her face ashy pale. 

" The yard's full o' mens — Yankees," she gasped, just as 
the General and Hugh rose from the table. 

" How many are there ? " asked both gentlemen. 

" They 's all 'roun' the house ev'y which a-way." 

The General looked at his sweetheart. She came to his 
side with a cry. 

" Go up stairs to the top of the house," called the boys' 

" We can hide you ; come with us," said the boys. 

" Go up the back way, Frank 'n' Willy, to you-all's den," 
whispered Lucy Ann. 

" That 's where we are going," said the boys as she went 

"You all come on ! " This to the General and Hugh. 

" The rest of you take your seats," said the boys' mother. 

All this had occupied only a few seconds. The soldiers 
followed the boys out by a side-door and dashed up the nar- 
row stairs to the second-story just as a thundering knocking 
came at the front door. It was as dark as pitch, for candles 
were too scarce to burn more than one at a time. 

"You run back," said Hugh to the boys, as they groped 
along. " There are too many of us. I know the way." 

But it was too late ; the noise down stairs told that the 
enemy was already in the house ! 


As the soldiers left the supper-room, the boys' mother 
had hastily removed two plates from the places and set two 
chairs back against the wall ; she made the rest fill up the 
spaces, so that there was nothing to show that the two men 
had been there. 

She had hardly taken her seat again, when the sound of 
heavy footsteps at the door announced the approach of the 
enemy. She herself rose and went to the door ; but it was 
thrown open before she reached it and an officer in full Fed- 
eral uniform strode in, followed by several men. 

The commander was a tall young fellow, not older than 
the General. The lady started back somewhat startled, and 
there was a confused chorus of exclamations of alarm from 
the rest of those at the table. The officer, finding himself in 
the presence of ladies, removed his cap with a polite bow. 

" I hope, madam, that you ladies will not be alarmed," he 
said. "You need be under no apprehension, I assure you." 
Even while speaking, his eye had taken a hasty survey of the 

" We desire to see General Marshall, who is at present in 
this house, and I am sorry to have to include your son in my 
requisition. We know that they are here, and if they are 
given us, I promise you that nothing shall be disturbed." 

" You appear to be so well instructed that I can add Jittle 
to your information," said the mistress of the house, haught- 
ily. " I am glad to say, however, that I hardly think you 
will find them." 


" Madam, I know they are here," said the young soldier 
positively, but with great politeness. " I have positive in- 
formation to that effect. They arrived last evening and 
have not left since. Their horses are still in the stable. I 
am sorry to be forced to do violence to my feelings, but I 
must search the house. Come, men." 

" I doubt not you have found their horses," began the 
lady, but she was interrupted by Lucy Ann, who entered at 
the moment with a plate of fresh corn-cakes, and caught the 
last part of the sentence. 

" Come along, Mister," she said, " I '11 show you myself." 
and she set down her plate, took the candle from the table, 
and walked to the door, followed by the soldiers. 

" Lucy Ann ! " exclaimed her mistress ; but she was too 
much amazed at the girl's conduct to say more. 

" I know whar dey is ! " Lucy Ann continued, taking no 
notice of her mistress. They heard her say, as she was shut- 
ting the door, " Y' all come with me ; I 'feared they gone ; 
ef they ain't, I know whar they is ! " 

" Open every room," said the officer. 

" Oh, yes, sir ; I gwine ketch 'em for you," she said, eagerly 
opening first one door, and then the other, "that is, ef they 
ain' gone. I mighty 'feared they gone. I seen 'em goin' out 
the back way about a little while befo' you all come, — but I 
thought they might 'a' come back. Mister, ken y' all teck 
me 'long with you when you go ?" she asked the officer, in a 
low voice. " I want to be free." 


" I don't know ; we can some other time, if not now. We 
are going to set you all free." 

"Oh, glory ! Come 'long, Mister ; let's ketch 'em. They 
ain't heah, but I know whar dey is." 

The soldiers closely examined every place where it was 
possible a man could be concealed, until they had been over 
all the lower part of the house. 

Lucy Ann stopped. " Dey's gone ! " she said positively. 

The ofificer motioned to her to go up stairs. 

"Yes, sir, I wuz jes' goin' tell you we jes' well look up- 
stairs, too," she said, leading the way, talking all the time, 
and shading the flickering candle with her hand. 

The little group, flat on the floor against the wall in their 
dark retreat, could now hear her voice distinctly. She was 
speaking in a confidential undertone, as if afraid of being 

" I wonder I did n't have sense to get somebody to watch 
'em when they went out," they heard her say. 

" She 's betrayed us !" whispered Hugh. 

The General merely said, ." Hush," and laid his hand 
firmly on the nearest boy to keep him still. Lucy Ann led 
the soldiers into the various chambers one after another. At 
last she opened the next room, and, through the wall, the 
men in hiding heard the soldiers go in and walk about. 

They estimated that there were at least half-a-dozen. 

"Is n't there a garret?" asked one of the searching 


" Nor, sir, 't ain't no garret, jes' a loft ; but they ain't up 
there," said Lucy Ann's voice. 

" We '11 look for ourselves." They came out of the room. 
" Show us the way." 

" Look here, if you tell us a lie, we'll hang you ! " 

The voice of the of^cer was very stern. 

" I ain' gwine tell you no lie, Mister. What you reckon 

I wan' tell you lie for ? Dey ain' in the garret, I know, 

Mister, please don't p'int dem things at me. I 's 'feared o' 
dem things," said the girl in a slightly whimpering voice ; " I 
gwine show you." 

She came straight down the passage toward the recess 
where the fugitives were huddled, the men after her, their 
heavy steps echoing through the house. The boys were 
trembling violently. The light, as the searchers came nearer, 
fell on the wall, crept along it, until it lighted up the whole 
alcove, except where they lay. The boys held their breath. 
They could hear their hearts thumping. 

Lucy Ann stepped into the recess with her candle, and 
looked straight at them. 

"They ain't in here," she exclaimed, suddenly putting her 
hand up before the flame, as if to prevent it flaring, thus 
throwing the alcove once more into darkness. " The trap- 
door to the garret 's 'roun' that a-way," she said to the sol- 
diers, still keeping her position at the narrow entrance, as if 
to let them pass. When they had all passed, she followed 


The boys began to wriggle with deUght, but the General's 
strong hand kept them still. 

Naturally, the search in the garret proved fruitless, and 
the hiding-party heard the squad swearing over their ill-luck 
as they came back ; while Lucy Ann loudly lamented not 
having sent some one to follow the fugitives, and made a 
number of suggestions as to where they had gone, and the 
probability of catching them if the soldiers went at once in 

" Did you look in here ? " asked a soldier approaching the 

" Yes, sir ; they ain't in there." She snuffed the candle 
out suddenly with her fingers. " Oh, oh ! — my light done 
gone out ! Mind ! Let me go in front and show you the 
way," she said ; and, pressing before, she once more led them 
along the passage. 

" Mind yo' steps ; ken you see ? " she asked. 

They went down stairs, while Lucy Ann gave them minute 
directions as to how they might catch " Marse Hugh an' the 
Gen'l " at a certain place a half-mile from the house (an un- 
occupied quarter), which she carefully described. 

A further investigation ensued downstairs, but in a little 
while the searchers went out of the house. Their tone had 
changed since their disappointment, and loud threats floated 
up the dark stairway to the prisoners still crouching in the 
little recess. 

In a few minutes the boys' Cousin Belle came rushing 
up stairs. 


" Now's your time ! Come quick," she called ; " they will 
be back directly. Is n't she an angel ! " The whole party 
sprang to their feet, and ran down to the lower floor. 

" Oh, we were so frightened ! " " Don't let them see 
you." " Make haste," were the exclamations that greeted 
them as the two soldiers said their good-byes and prepared to 
leave the house. 

" Go out by the side-door ; that 's your only chance. 
It 's pitch-dark, and the bushes will hide you. But where are 
you going ? " 

" We are going to the boys' cave," said the General, buck- 
ling on his pistol ; " I know the way, and we '11 get away as 
soon as these fellows leave, if we cannot before." 

" God bless you ! " said the ladies, pushing them away in 
dread of the enemy's return. 

"Come on, General," called Hugh in an undertone. The 
General was lagging behind a minute to say good-bye once 
more. He stooped suddenly and kissed the boys' Cousin 
Belle before them all. 

"Good-bye. God bless you!" and he followed Hugh 
out of the window into the darkness. The girl burst into 
tears and ran up to her room. 

A few seconds afterward the house was once more filled 
with the enemy, growling at their ill-luck in having so nar- 
rowly missed the prize. 

" We '11 catch 'em yet," said the leader. 


THE raiders were up earjy next morning scouring the 
woods and country around. They knew that the fugi- 
tive soldiers could not have gone far, for the Federals 
had every road picketed, and their main body was not far 
away. As the morning wore on, it became a grave question 
at Oakland how the two soldiers were to subsist. They 
had no provisions with them, and the roads were so closely 
watched that there was no chance of their obtaining any. 
The matter was talked over, and the boys' mother and Cousin 
Belle were in despair. 

" They can eat their shoes," said Willy, reflectively. 

The ladies exclaimed in horror. 

" That's what men always do when they get lost in a wil- 
derness where there is no game." 

This piece of information from Willy did not impress his 
hearers as much as he supposed it would. 

" I '11 tell you ! Let me and Frank go and carry 'em 
something to eat ! " 

" How do you know where they are ? " 

"They are at our Robber's Cave, are n't they, Cousin 
Belle ? We told the General yesterday how to get there, 
did n't we ?" 


" Yes, and he said last ni^ht that he would ^o there." 

Willy's idea seemed a good one, and the offer was 
accepted. The boys were to go out as if to see the troops, 
and were to take as much food as they thought could pass 
for their luncheon. Their mother cooked and put up a 
luncheon large enough to have satisfied the appetites of two 
young Brobdingnagians, and they set out on their relief expe- 

The two sturdy little figures looked full of importance as 
they strode off up the road. They carried many loving mes- 
sages. Their Cousin Belle gave to each separately a long 
whispered message which each by himself was to deliver to 
the General. It was thought best not to hazard a note. 

They were watched by the ladies from the portico until 
they disappeared over the hill. They took a path which 
led into the woods, and walked cautiously for fear some of 
the raiders might be lurking about. However, the boys saw 
none of the enemy, and in a little while they came to a 
point where the pines began. Then they turned into the 
woods, for the pines were so thick the boys could not be seen, 
and the pine tags made it so soft under foot that they could 
walk without making any noise. 

They were pushing their way through the bushes, when 
Frank suddenly stopped. 

" Hush ! " he said. 

Willy halted and listened. 

" There they are." 


— - — ^ 

From a little distance to one side, in the direction of the 
path they had just left, they heard the tramplioi,^ of a num- 
ber of horses' feet. 

" That's not our men," said Willy. " Hugh and the 
General have n't any horses " 

" No ; that's the Yankees," said Frank. " Let's lie down. 
They may hear us." 

The boys flung themselves upon the ground and almost 
held their breath until the horses had passed out of hearing. 

" Do you reckon they are hunting for us ?" asked Willy 
in an awed whisper. 

" No, for Hugh and the General. Come on." 

They rose, went tipping a little deeper into the pines, and 
again made their way toward the cave. 

" Maybe they 've caught 'em," suggested Willy. 

" They can't catch 'em in these pines," replied Frank. 
" You can't see any distance at all. A horse can't get through, 
and the General and Hugh could shoot 'em, and then get 
away before they could catch 'em." 

They hurried on. 

" Frank, suppose they take us for Yankees ? " 

Evidently Willy's mind had been busy since Frank's last 

" They are n't going to shoot 2ts'' said Frank ; but it was 
an unpleasant suggestion, for they were not very far from 
the dense clump of pines between two gullies, which the 
boys called their cave. 


" We can whistle," he said, presently. 

"Won't Hugh and the General think we are enemies 
trying to surround them?" Willy objected. The dilemma 
was a serious one. "We '11 have to crawl up," said Frank, 
after a pause. 

And this was agreed upon. They were soon on the edge 
of the deep gully which, on one side, protected the spot from 
all approach. They scrambled down its steep side and began 
to creep along, peeping over its other edge from time to 
time, to see if they could discover the clearing which marked 
the little green spot on top of the hill, where once had stood 
an old cabin. The base of the ruined chimney, with its im- 
mense fire-place, constituted the boys' " cave." They were 
close to it, now, and felt themselves to be in irfiminent dan- 
ger of a sweeping fusillade. They had just crept up to the 
top of the ravine and were consulting, when some one imme- 
diately behind them, not twenty feet away, called out : 

" Hello! What are you boys doing here ? Are you try- 
ing to capture us ? " 

They jumped at the unexpected voice. The General 
broke into a laugh. He had been sitting on the ground on 
the other side of the declivity, and had been watching their 
manoeuvres for some time. 

He brought them to the house-spot where Hugh was 
asleep on the ground ; he had been on watch all the morn- 
ing, and, during the General's turn, was making up for his 
lost sleep. He was soon wide awake enough, and he and 


the General, with appetites bearing witness to their long fast, 
were without delay engaged in disposing of the provisions 
which the boys had brought. 

The boys were delighted with the mystery of their sur- 
roundings. Each in turn took the General aside and held a 
long interview with him, and gave him all their Cousin 
Belle's messages. No one had ever treated them with such 
consideration as the General showed them. The two men 
asked the boys all about the dispositions of the enemy, but 
the boys had little to tell. 

" They are after us pretty hotly," said the General. "I 
think they are going away shortly. It 's nothing but a raid, 
and they are moving on. We must get back to camp to- 

" How are you going?" asked the boys. "You have n't 
any horses." 

" We are going to get some of their horses," said the offi- 
cer. '' They have taken ours— now they must furnish us with 

It was about time for the boys to start for home. The 
General took each of them aside, and talked for a long time. 
He was speaking to Willy, on the edge of the clearing, when 
there was a crack of a twig in the pines. In a second he had 
laid the boy on his back in the soft grass and whipped out a 
pistol. Then, with a low, quick call to Hugh, he sprang 
swiftly into the pines toward the sound. 

"Crawl down into the ravine, boys," called Hugh, follow- 


ing his companion. The boys rolled down over the bank 
like little ground-hogs; but in a second they heard a familiar 
drawling voice call out in a subdued tone : 

•' Hold on, Cunnel ! it 's nobody but me ; don't you know 
me?" And, in a moment, they heard the General's aston- 
ished and somewhat stern reply : 

"Mills, what are you doing here? Who's with you? 
What do you want?" 

"Well," said the new-comer, slowly, "I 'lowed I 'd come 
to see if I could be o' any use to you. I heard the Yankees 
had run you 'way from Oakland last night, and was sort o' 
huntin' for you. Fact is, they 's been up my way, and I sort 
o' 'lowed I 'd come an' see ef I could help you git back to 

" Where have you been all this time? 1 wonder you are 
not ashamed to look me in the face !" 

The General's voice was still stern. He had turned 
around and walked back to the cleared space. 

The deserter scratched his head in perplexity. 

" I need n' 'a' come," he said, doggedly. " Where 's them 
boys? I don' want the boys hurted. I seen 'em comin' 
here, an' I jes' followed 'em to see they did n't get in no 
trouble. But " 

This speech about the boys effected what the offer of per- 
sonal service to the General himself had failed to bring about. 

" Sit down and let me talk to you," said the General, 
throwing himself on the grass. 


Mills seated himself cross-legged near the officer, with his 
gun across his knees, and began to bite a straw which he 
pulled from a tuft by his side. 

The boys had come up out of their retreat, and taken 
places on each side of the General. 

"You all take to grass like young partridges," said the 
hunter. The boys were flattered, for they considered any 
notice from him a compliment. 

" What made you fool us, and send us to catch that con- 
script-guard ? " Frank asked. 

" Well, you ketched him, did n't you ? You 're the only 
ones ever been able to ketch him," he said, with a low chuckle. 

" Now, Mills, you know how things stand," said the Gen- 
eral. " It 's a shame for you to have been acting this way. 
You know what people say about you. But if you come 
back to camp and do your duty, I '11 have it all straightened 
out. If you don't, I '11 have you shot." 

His voice was as calm and his manner as composed 
as if he were promising the man opposite him a reward 
for good conduct. He looked Mills steadily in the eyes all 
the time. The boys felt as if their friend were about to be 
executed. The General seemed an immeasurable distance 
above them. 

The deserter blinked twice or thrice, slowly bit his shred 
of straw, looked casually first toward one boy and then to- 
ward the other, but without the slightest change of expres- 
sion in his face. 


" Cun'l," he said, at length, " I ain't no deserter. I ain't 
feared of bein' shot. Ef I was, I would n' 'a' come here 
now. I 'm gwine wid you, an' I 'm gwine back to my com- 
pany ; an' I 'm gwine fight, ef Yankees gits in my way ; but 
ef I gits tired, I 's comin' home ; an' tain't no use to tell you 
I ain't, 'cause I is, — an' ef anybody flings up to me that I 's 
a-runnin' away, I 'm gwine to kill 'em !" 

He rose to his feet in the intensity of his feeling, and his 
eyes, usually so dull, were like live coals. 

The General looked at him quietly a few seconds, then 
himself arose and laid his hand on Tim Mills' shoulder. 

" All right," he said, 

" I got a little snack M'lindy put up," said Mills, pulling 
a substantial bundle out of his game-bag. " I 'lowed maybe 
you might be sort o' hongry. Jes' two or three squirrels 
I shot," he said, apologetically. 

" You boys better git long home, I reckon," said Mills 
to Willy. " You ain' 'fraid, is you? 'Cause if you is, I '11 go 
with you." 

His voice had resumed its customary drawl. 

" Oh, no," said both boys, eagerly. " We are n't afraid." 

" An' tell your ma I ain' let nobody tetch nothin' on the 
Oakland plantation ; not sence that day you all went huntin' 
deserters ; not if I knowed 'bout it." 

" Yes, sir." 

"An' tell her I 'm gwine take good keer o' Hugh an' the 
Gunnel. Good-bye ! — now run along ! " 


" All right, sir, — good-bye." 

" An' ef you hear anybody say Tim Mills is a d'serter, tell 
'em it 's a lie, an' you know it. Good-bye." He turned away 
as if relieved. 

The boys said good-bye to all three, and started in the 
direction of home. 


AFTER crossing the gully, and walking on through the 
woods for what they thought a safe distance, they 
turned into the path. 

They were talking very merrily about the General and 
Hugh and their friend Mills, and were discussing some ro- 
mantic plan for the recapture of their horses from the enemy, 
when they came out of the path into the road, and found 
themselves within twenty yards of a group of Federal sol- 
diers, quietly sitting on their horses, evidently guarding the 

The sight of the blue-coats made the boys jump. They 
would have crept back, but it was too late — they caught the 
eye of the man nearest them. They ceased talking as 
suddenly as birds in the trees stop chirruping when the hawk 
sails over ; and when one Yankee called to them, in a stern 
tone, " Halt there ! " and started to come toward them, their 
hearts were In their mouths. 

" Where are you boys going ? " he asked, as he came up 
to them. 

" Going home." 

" Where do you belong ? " 

" Over there — at Oakland," pointing in the direction of 


their home, which seemed suddenly to have moved a thou- 
and miles aways. 

" Where have you been ?" The other soldiers had come 
up now. 

" Been down this way." The boys' voices were never so 
meek before. Each reply was like an apology. 

" Been to see your brother ? " asked one who had not 
spoken before — a pleasant looking fellow. The boys looked 
at him. They were paralyzed by dread of the approaching 

" Now, boys, we know where you have been," said a small 
fellow, who wore a yellow chevron on his arm. He had a 
thin moustache and a sharp nose, and rode a wiry, dull sorrel 
horse. " You may just as well tell us all about it. We know 
you 've been to see 'em, and we are going to make you carry 
us where they are." 

" No, we ain't," said Frank, doggedly. 

Willy expressed his determination also. 

" If you don't it 's going to be pretty bad for you," said 
the little corporal. He gave an order to two of the men, 
who sprang from their horses, and, catching Frank, swung 
him up behind another cavalryman. The boy's face was very 
pale, but he bit his lip. 

" Go ahead," — continued the corporal to a number of his 
men, who started down the path. " You four men remain 
here till we come back," he said to the men on the ground, 
and to two others on horseback, " Keep him here," jerking 


his thumb toward Willy, whose face was already burning 
with emotion. 

" I 'm going with Frank," said Willy. " Let me go." 
This to the man who had hold of him by the arm. " Frank, 
make him let me go," he shouted, bursting into tears, and 
turning on his captor with all his little might. 

"Willy, he 's not goin' to hurt you, — don't you tell!" 
called Frank, squirming until he dug his heels so into the 
horse's flanks that the horse began to kick up. 

" Keep quiet, Johnny ; he 's not goin' to hurt him," said 
one of the men, kindly. He had a brown beard and shin- 
ing white teeth. 

They rode slowly down the narrow path, the dragoon 
holding Frank by the leg. Deep down in the woods, beyond 
a small branch, the path forked. 

" Which way ?" asked the corporal, stopping and address- 
ing Frank. 

Frank set his mouth tight and looked him in the eyes. 

" Which is it ? " the corporal repeated. 

" I ain't going to tell," said he, firmly. 

" Look here, Johnny ; we 've got you, and we are going 
to make you tell us ; so you might just as well do it, easy. 
If you don't, we 're goin' to make you." 

The boy said nothing. 

" You men dismount. Stubbs, hold the horses." He 
himself dismounted, and three others did the same, giving 
their horses to a fourth. 



" Get down ? "—this to Frank and the soldier behind 
whom he was riding. The soldier dismounted, and the boy 
slipped off after him and faced his captor, who held a strap in 
one hand. 

" Are you goin' to tell us ? " he asked. 

'' No." 

" Don't you know ? " He came a step nearer, and held 
the strap forward. There was a long silence. The boy's 
face paled perceptibly, but took on a look as if the proceed- 
ings were indifferent to him. 

" If you say you don't know "—said the man, hesitating 
in face of the boy's resolution. " Don't you know where 
they are ? " 

" Yes, I know ; but I ain't goin' to tell you," said Frank, 
bursting into tears. 

"The little Johnny 's game," said the soldier who had told 
him the others were not going to hurt Willy. The corporal 
said something to this man in an undertone, to which he 
replied : 

" You can try, but it is n't going to do any good. I don't 
half like it, anyway." 

Frank had stopped crying after his first outburst. 

" If you don't tell, we are going to shoot you," said the 
little soldier, drawing his pistol. 

The boy shut his mouth close, and looked straight at the 
corporal. The man laid down his pistol, and, seizing Frank, 
drew his hands behind him, and tied them. 


"Get ready, men," he said, as he drew the boy aside to a 
small tree, putting him with his back to it. 

Frank thought his hour had come. He thought of his 
mother and Willy, and wondered if the soldiers would shoot 
Willy, too. His face twitched and grew ghastly white. Then 
he thought of his father, and of how proud he would be of 
his son's bravery when he should hear of it. This gave him 

"The knot — hurts my hands," he said. 

The man leaned over and eased it a little. 

" I was n't crying because I was scared," said Frank. 

The kind looking fellow turned away. 

" Now, boys, get ready," said the corporal, taking up his 

How large it looked to Frank. He wondered where the 
bullets would hit him, and if the wounds would bleed, and 
whether he would be left alone all night out there in the 
woods, and if his mother would come and kiss him. 

" I want to say my prayers," he said, faintly. 

The soldier made some reply which he could not hear, 
and the man with the beard started forward ; but just then 
all grew dark before his eyes. 

Next, he thought he must have been shot, for he felt wet 
about his face, and was lying down. He heard some one say, 
" He 's coming to ;" and another replied, " Thank God ! " 

He opened his eyes. He was lying beside the little 
branch with his head in the lap of the big soldier with the 



beard, and the little corporal was leaning over him throwing 
water in his face from a cap. The others were standing 

"What 's the matter ?" asked Frank. 

"That 's all right," said the little corporal, kindly. "We 
were just a-foolin' a bit with you, Johnny." 

" We never meant to hurt you," said the other. " You 
feel better now ? " 

" Yes, where 's Willy ? " He was too tired to move. 

" He 's all right. We '11 take you to him." 

" Am I shot ? " asked Frank. 

" No ! Do you think we 'd have touched a hair of your 
head — and you such a brave little fellow ? We were just try- 
ing to scare you a bit and carried it too far, and you got a 
little faint,— that 's all." 

The voice was so kindly that Frank was encouraged to sit 

" Can you walk now ? " asked the corporal, helping him 
and steadying him as he rose to his feet. 

" I '11 take him," said the big fellow, and before the boy 
could move, he had stooped, taken Frank in his arms, and 
was carrying him back toward the place where they had left 
Willy, while the others followed after with the horses. 

" I can walk," said Frank. 

" No, I '11 carry you, b-bless your heart ! " 

The boy did not know that the big dragoon was looking 
down at the light hair resting on his arm, and that while he 


trod the Virginia wood-path, in fancy he was home in Dela- 
ware ; or that the pressure the boy felt from his strong arms, 
was a caress given for the sake of another boy far away on 
the Brandywine. A little while before they came in sight 
Frank asked to be put down. 

The soldier gently set him on his feet, and before he let 
him go kissed him. 

" I 've got a curly-headed fellow at home, just the size of 
you," he said softly, 

Frank saw that his eyes were moist. " I hope you '11 get 
safe back to him," he said. 

" God grant it ! " said the soldier. 

When they reached the. squad at the gate, they found 
Willy still in much distress on Frank's account ; but he wiped 
his eyes when his brother reappeared, and listened with pride 
to the soldiers' praise of Frank's " grit " as they called it. 
When they let the boys go, the little corporal wished Frank to 
accept a five-dollar gold piece ; but he politely declined it. 


THE story of Frank's adventure and courage was the talk 
of all the Oakland plantation. His mother and Cousin 
Belle both kissed him and called him their little hero. 
Willy also received a full share of praise for his courage. 

About noon there was great commotion among the troops. 
They were far more numerous than they had been in the 
morning, and instead of riding about the woods in small 
bodies, hunting for the concealed soldiers, they were collect- 
ing together and preparing to move. 

It was learned that a considerable body of cavalry was 
passing down the road by Trinity Church, and that the depot 
had been burnt again the night before. Somehow, a rumor 
got about that the Confederates were following up the 

In an hour most of the soldiers went away, but a number 
still stayed on. Their horses were picketed about the yard 
feeding ; and they themselves lounged around, making them- 
selves at home in the house, and pulling to pieces the things 
that were left. They were not, however, as wanton in their 
destruction as the first set, who had passed by the year 

Among those who yet remained were the little corporal, 


and the big young soldier who had been so kind to Frank. 
They were in the rear-guard. At length the last man rode 

The boys had gone in and out among them, without being 
molested. Now and then some rough fellow would swear at 
them, but for the most part their intercourse with the boys 
was friendly. When, therefore, they rod'e off, the boys were 
allov/ed by their mother to go and see the main body. 

Peter and Cole were with them. They took the main 
road and followed along, picking up straps, and cartridges, 
and all those miscellaneous things dropped by a large body 
of troops as they pass along. 

Cartridges were very valuable, as they furnished the only 
powder and shot the boys could get for hunting, and their 
supply was out. These were found in unusual numbers. 
The boys filled their pockets, and finally filled their sleeves, 
tying them tightly at the wrist with strings, so that the 
contents would not spill out. One of the boys found even 
an old pistol, which was considered a great treasure. He 
bore it proudly in his belt, and was envied by all the others. 

It was quite late in the afternoon when they thought of 
turning toward home, their pockets and sleeves bagging down 
with the heavy musket-cartridges. They left the Federal 
rear-guard feeding their horses at a great white pile of corn 
v/hich had been thrown out of the corn-house of a neighbor, 
and was scattered all over the ground. 

They crossed a field, descended a hill, and took the main 


road at its foot, just as a body of cavalry came in sight. A 
small squad, riding some little distance in advance of the main 
body, had already passed by. These were Confederates. 
The first man they saw, at the head of the column by the 
colonel, was the General, and a little behind him was none 
other than Hugh on a gray roan ; while not far down the 
column rode their friend Tim Mills, looking rusty and sleepy 
as usual. 

"Goodness! Why here are the General and Hugh! 
How in the world did you get away ? " exclaimed the boys. 

They learned that it was a column of cavalry following 
the line of the raid, and that the General and Hugh had met 
them and volunteered. The soldiers greeted the boys cor- 

" The Yankees are right up there," said the youngsters. 

"Where? How many? What are they doing ? " asked 
the General. 

" A whole pack of 'em — right up there at the stables, and 
all about, feeding their horses and sitting all around, and 
ever so many more have gone along down the road." 

" Fling the fence down there ! " The boys pitched down 
the rails in two or three places. An order was passed back, 
and in an instant a stir of preparation was noticed all down 
the line of horsemen. 

A courier galloped up the road to recall the advance- 
guard. The head of the column passed through the gap, 
and, without waiting for the others, dashed up the hill at a 


gallop — the General and the colonel a score of yards ahead 
of any of the others. 

"Let's go and see the fight !" cried the boys; and the 
whole set started back up the hill as fast as their legs could 
carry them. 

" S'pose they shoot ! Won't they shoot us?" asked one 
of the negro boys, in some apprehension. This, though 
before unthought of, was a possibility, and for a moment 
brought them down to a slower pace. 

" We can lie flat and peep over the top of the hill." This 
was Frank's happy thought, and the party started ahead again. 
" Let's go around that way." They made a little detour. 

Just before they reached the crest they heard a shot, 
" bang ! " immediately followed by another, " bang ! " and in 
a second more a regular volley began, and was kept up. 

They reached the crest of the hill in time to see the Con- 
federates gallop up the slope toward the stables, firing their 
pistols at the blue-coats, who were forming in the edge of a 
little wood, over beyond a fence, from the other side of which 
the smoke of their carbines was rolling. They had evidently 
started on just as the boys left, and before the Confederates 
came in sight. 

The boys saw their friends dash at this fence, and could 
distinguish the General and Hugh, who were still in the 
lead. Their horses took the fence, going over like birds, 
and others followed, — Tim Mills among them, — while yet 
more went through a gate a few yards to one side. 


" Look at Hugh ! Look at Hugh ! " 

" Look ! That horse has fallen down ! " cried one of the 
boys, as a horse went down just at the entrance of the wood, 
rolling over his rider. 

" He's shot ! " exclaimed Frank, for neither horse nor 
rider attempted to rise. 

" See ; they are running ! " 

The little squad of blue-coats were retiring into the woods, 
with the grays closely pressing them. 

" Let 's cut across and see 'em run 'em over the bridge." 

" Come on ! " 

All the little group of spectators, white and black, started 
as hard as they could go for a path they knew, which led by 
a short cut througli the little piece of woods. Beyond lay a 
field divided by a stream, a short distance on the other side of 
which was a large body of woods. 

The popping was still going on furiously in the woods, and 
bullets were " zoo-ing " over the fields. But the boys could 
not see anything, and they did not think about the frying 

They were all excitement at the idea of " our men " 
whipping the enemy, and they ran with all their might to 
be in time to see them "chase 'em across the field." 

The road on which the skirmish took place, and down 
which the Federal rear-guard had retreated, made a sharp 
curve beyond the woods, around the bend of a little stream 
crossed by a small bridge ; and the boys, in taking the short 


cut, had placed the road between themselves and home ; but 
they did not care about that, for their men were driving the 
others. They "just wanted to see it." 

They reached the edge of the field in time to see that 
the Yankees were on the other side of the stream. The)' 
knew them to be where puffs of smoke came out of the oppo- 
site wood. And the Confederates had stopped beyond the 
bridge, and were halted, in some confusion, in the field. 

The firing was very sharp, and bullets were singing in 
every direction. Then the Confederates got together, and 
went as hard as they could right af them up to the wood, all 
along the edge of which the smoke was pouring in continuous 
puffs and with a rattle of shots. They saw several horses fall 
as the Confederates galloped on, but the smoke hid most of 
it. Next they saw a long line of fire appear in the smoke on 
both sides of the road, where it entered the wood ; then the 
Confederates stopped, and became all mixed up ; a number of 
horses galloped away without their riders, another line of 
white and red flame came out of the woods, the Confeder- 
ates began to come back, leaving many horses on the ground, 
and a body of cavalry in blue coats poured out of the wood 
in pursuit. 

" Look ! look ! They are running — they are beating our 
men !" exclaimed the boys. "They have driven 'em back 
across the bridge ! " 

" How many of them there are!" 

" What shall we do ? Suppose they see us ! " 


" Come on, Mah'srs Frank 'n' Willy, let 's go home," said 
the colored boys. " They '11 shoot us." 

The fight was now in the woods which lay between the 
boys and their home. But just then the gray-coats got 
together, again turned at the edge of the wood, and dashed 
back on their pursuers, and — the smoke and bushes on the 
stream hid everything. In a second more both emerged on 
the other side of the smoke and went into the woods on the 
further edge of the field, all in confusion, and leaving on the 
ground more horses and men than before. 

" What 's them things ' zip-zippin ' 'round my ears ?" asked 
one of the negro boys. 

" Bullets," said Frank, proud of his knowledge. 

" Will they hurt me if they hit me ?" 

" Of course they will. They '11 kill you." 

" I 'm gwine home," said the boy, and off he started at a 

"Hold on! — We're goin', too; but let's go down this 
way ; this is the best way." 

They went along the edge of the field, toward the point 
in the road where the skirmish had been and where the Con- 
federates had rallied. They stopped to listen to the popping 
in the woods on the other side, and were just saying how glad 
they were that " our men had whipped them," when a soldier 
came along. 

" What in the name of goodness are you boys doing 
here ? " he asked. 


" We 're just looking on an' lis'ning," answered the boys 

" Well, you 'd better be getting home as fast as you can. 
They are too strong for us, and they '11 be driving us back 
directly, and some of you may get killed or run over." 

This was dreadful ! Such an idea had never occurred to 
the boys. A panic took possession of them. 

" Come on ! Let 's go home ! " This was the universal 
idea, and in a second the whole party were cutting straight 
for home, utterly stampeded. 

They could readily have found shelter and security back 
over the hill, from the flying balls ; but they preferred to get 
home, and they made straight for it The popping of the 
guns, which still kept up in the woods across the little river, 
now meant to them that the victorious Yankees were driving 
back their friends. They believed that the bullets which 
now and then yet whistled over the woods with a long, sing- 
ing "zoo-ee," were aimed at them. For their lives, then, 
they ran, expecting to be killed every minute. 

The load of cartridges in their pockets, which they had 
carried for hours, weighed them down. As they ran they 
threw these out. Then followed those in their sleeves. 
Frank and the other boys easily got rid of theirs, but Willy 
had tied the strings around his wrists in such hard knots 
that he could not possibly untie them. He was falling 

Frank heard him call. Without slacking his speed he 


looked back over his shoulder. Willy's face was red, and his 
mouth was twitching. He was sobbing a little, and was tear- 
ing at the strings with his teeth as he ran. Then the strings 
came loose one after the other, the cartridges were shaken 
out over the ground, and Willy's face at once cleared up as 
he ran forward lightened of his load. 

They had passed almost through the narrow skirt of 
woods where the first attack was made, when they heard some 
one not far from the side of the road call, " Water ! " 

The boys stopped. "What 's that?" they asked each 
other In a startled undertone. A groan came from the same 
direction, and a voice said, " Oh, for some water ! " 

A short, whispered consultation was held. 

" He 's right up on that bank. There 's a road up there." 

Frank advanced a little ; a man was lying somewhat 
propped up against a tree. His eyes were closed, and there 
was a ghastly wound in his head. 

" Willy, It 's a Yankee, and he 's shot." 

" Is he dead ?" asked the others, in awed voices. 

" No. Let 's ask him if he 's hurt much." 

They all approached him. His eyes were shut and his 
face was ashy white. 

" Willy, it 's my Yankee ! " exclaimed Frank. 

The wounded man moved his hand at the sound of the 

" Water," he murmured. " Bring me water, for pity's 
sake ! " 


" I '11 get you some, — don't you know me ? Let me have 
your canteen," said Frank, stooping and taking hold of the 
canteen. It was held by its strap ; but the boy whipped out 
a knife and cut it loose. 

The man tried to speak; but the boys could not under- 
stand him. 

" Where are you goin' get it, Frank ?" asked the other boys. 

" At the branch down there that runs into the creek." 

" The Yankees '11 shoot you down there," objected Peter 
and Willy. 

" / ain' gwine that way," said Cole. 

The soldier groaned. 

"/'// go with you, Frank," said Willy, who could not 
stand the sight of the man's suffering. 

" We '11 be back directly." 

The two boys darted off, the others following them at a 
little distance. They reached the open field. The shooting 
was still going on in the woods on the other side, but they 
no longer thought of it. They ran down the hill and dashed 
across the little flat to the branch at the nearest point, washed 
the blood from the canteen, and filled it with the cool water. 

" I wish we had something to wash his face with," sighed 
Willy, "but I have n't got a handkerchief." 

" Neither have I." Willy looked thoughtful. A second 
more and he had stripped off his light sailor's jacket and 
dipped it in the water. The next minute the two boys were 
running up the hill again. 


When they reached the spot where the wounded man lay, 
he had slipped down and was flat on the ground. His feeble 
voice still called for water, but was much weaker than before. 
Frank stooped and held the canteen to the man's lips, and he 
drank. Then Willy and Frank, together, bathed his face 
with the still dripping cotton jacket. This revived him some- 
what ; but he did not recognize them and talked incoherently. 
They propped up his head. 

" Frank, it 's getting mighty late, and we 've got to go 
home," said Willy. 

The boys' voice or words reached the ears of the wounded 

" Take me home," he murmured ; " I want some water 
from the well by the dairy." 

" Give him some more water." 

Willy lifted the canteen. " Here it is." 

The soldier swallowed with difficulty. 

He could not raise his hand now. There was a pause. 
The boys stood around, looking down on him. " I 've come 
back home," he said. His eyes were closed. 

" He 's dreaming," whispered Willy. 

" Did you ever see anybody die ?" asked Frank, In a low 

Willy's face paled. 

" No, Frank ; let 's go home and tell somebody." 

Frank stooped and touched the soldier's face. He was 
talking all the time now, tl^ough they could not understand 


everything he said. The boy's touch seemed to rouse 

" It 's bedtime," he said, presently. " Kneel down and 
say your prayers for Father." 

" Willy, let 's say our prayers for him," whispered 

" I can say, ' Now I lay me.' " But before he could 

" ' Now I lay me down to sleep,' " said the soldier ten- 
derly. The boys followed him, thinking he had heard them. 
They did not know that he was saying — for one whom but 
that morning he had called "his curly-head at home " — the 
prayer that is common to Virginia and to Delaware, to North 
and to South, and which no wars can silence and no victories 
cause to be forgotten. 

The soldier's voice now was growing almost inaudible. 
He spoke between long-drawn breaths. 

" ' If I should die before I wake,' " 

" ' If I should die before I wake,' " they repeated, and 
continued the prayer. 

" ' And this I ask for Jesus' sake,' " said the boys, ending. 
There was a long pause. Frank stroked the pale face softly 
with his hand. 

" ' And this I ask for Jesus' sake, " whispered the lips. 
Then, very softly, " Kiss me good-night." 

" Kiss him, Frank." 

The boy stooped over and kissed the lips that had kissed 


him in the morning. Willy kissed him, also. The lips 
moved in a faint smile. 

" God bless " 

The boys waited, — but that was all. The dusk settled 
down in the woods. The prayer was ended. 

" He 's dead," said Frank, in deep awe. 

"Frank, are n't you mighty sorry?" asked Willy in a 
trembling voice. Then he suddenly broke out crying. 

" I don't want him to die I I don't want him to die! " 


WHEN the boys reached home it was pitch-dark. 
They found their mother very anxious about them. 
They gave an account of the " battle," as they called 
it, telling all about the charge, in which, by their statement, 
the General and Hugh did wonderful deeds. Their motl^er 
and Cousin Belle sat and listened with tightly folded hands 
and blanched faces. 

Then they told how they found the wounded Yankee sol- 
dier on the bank, and about his death. They were startled 
by seeing their Cousin Belle suddenly fall on her knees and 
throw herself across their mother's lap in a passion of tears. 
Their mother put her arms around the young girl, kissed and 
soothed her. 

Early the next morning their mother had an ox-cart (the 
only vehicle left on the place,) sent down to the spot to bring 
the body of the soldier up to Oakland, so that it might be 
buried in the grave-yard there. Carpenter William made the 
coffin, and several men were set to work to dig the grave in 
the garden. 

It was about the middle of the day when the cart came 
back. A sheet covered the body. The little cortege was a 
very solemn one, the steers pulling slowly up the hill and a 
man walking on each side. Then the body was put into the 


coffin and reverently carried to the grave. The boys' mother 
read the burial service out of the prayer-book, and afterward 
Uncle William Slow offered a prayer. Just as they were 
about to turn away, the boys' mother began to sing, " Abide 
with me ; fast falls the eventide." She and Cousin Belle and 
the boys sang the hymn together, and then all walked sadly 
away, leaving the fresh mound in the garden, where birds 
peeped curiously from the lilac-bushes at the soldier's grave 
in the warm light of the afternoon sun. 

A small packet of letters and a gold watch and chain, 
found In the soldier's pocket, were sealed up by the boys' 
mother and put In her bureau drawer, for they could not then 
be sent through the lines. There was one letter, however, 
which they buried with him. It contained two locks of hair, 
one gray, the other brown and curly. 

The next few months brought no new incidents, but the 
following year deep gloom fell upon Oakland. It was not 
only that the times were harder than they had ever been — 
though the plantation was now utterly destitute ; there were 
no provisions and no crops, for there were no teams. It was 
not merely that a shadow was settling down on all the land ; 
for the boys did not trouble themselves about these things, 
though such anxieties were bringing gray hairs to their 
mother's temples. 

The General had been wounded and captured during a 
cavalry-fight. The boys somehow connected their Cousin 


Belle with the General's capture, and looked on her with some 
disfavor. She and the General had quarrelled a short time 
before, and it was known that she had returned his ring. 
When, therefore, he was shot through the body and taken by 
the enemy, the boys could not admit that their cousin had 
any right to stay up-stairs in her own room weeping about it. 
They felt that it was all her own fault, and they told her so ; 
whereupon she simply burst out crying and ran from the 

The hard times grew harder. The shadow deepened. 
Hugh was wounded and captured in a charge at Petersburg, 
and it was not known whether he was badly hurt or not. 
Then came the news that Richmond had been evacuated. 
The boys knew that this was a defeat ; but even then they 
did not believe that the Confederates were beaten. Their 
mother was deeply affected by the news. 

That night at least a dozen of the negroes disappeared. 
The other servants said the missing ones had gone to Rich- 
mond "to get their papers." 

A week or so later the boys heard the rumor that General 
Lee had surrendered at a place called Appomattox. When 
they came home and told their mother what they had heard, 
she turned as pale as death, arose, and went into her cham- 
ber. The news was corroborated next day. During the fol- 
lowing two days, every negro on the plantation left, excepting 
lame old Sukey Brown. Some of them came and said they 
had to go to Richmond, that " the word had come " for them. 


Others, including even Uncle Balla and Lucy Ann, slipped 
away by night. 

After that their mother had to cook, and the boys milked 
and did the heavier work. The cooking was not much 
trouble, however, for black-eyed pease were about all they 
had to eat. 

One afternoon, the second day after the news of Lee's 
surrender, the boys, who had gone to drive up the cows to 
be milked, saw two horsemen, one behind the other, coming 
slowly down the road on the far hill. The front horse was 
white, and, as their father rode a white horse, they ran 
toward the house to carry the news. Their mother and 
Cousin Belle, however, having seen the horsemen, were 
waiting on the porch as the men came through the middle 
gate and rode across the field. 

It was their father and his body-servant, Ralph, who had 
been with him all through the war. They came slowly up 
the hill ; the horses limping and fagged, the riders dusty and 

It seemed like a funeral. The boys were near the steps, 
and their mother stood on the portico with her forehead rest- 
ing against a pillar. No word was spoken. Into the yard 
they rode at a walk, and up to the porch. Then their father, 
who had not once looked up, put both hands to his face, 
slipped from his horse, and walked up the steps, tears run- 
ning down his cheeks, and took their mother into his arms. 
It was a funeral — the Confederacy was dead. 


A little later, their father, who had been in the house, 
came out on the porch near where Ralph still stood holding 
the horses. 

" Take off the saddles, Ralph, and turn the horses out," 
he said. 

Ralph did so. 

" Here,— here 's my last dollar. You have been a faith- 
ful servant to me. Put the saddles on the porch." It was 
done. " You are free," he said to the black, and then he 
walked back into the house. 

Ralph stood where he was for some minutes without mov- 
ing a muscle. His eyes blinked mechanically. Then he 
looked at the door and at the windows above him. Suddenly 
he seemed to come to himself. Turning slowly, he walked 
solemnly out of the yard. 


THE boys' Uncle William came the next day. The two 
weeks which followed were the hardest the boys had 
ever known. As yet nothing had been heard of Hugh 
or the General, though the boys' father went to Richmond to 
see whether they had been released. 

The family lived on corn-bread and black-eyed pease. 
There was not a mouthful of meat on the plantation. A few 
aged animals were all that remained on the place. 

The boys' mother bought a little sugar and made some 
cakes, and the boys, day after day, carried them over to the 
depot and left them with a man there to be sold. Such a 
thing had never been known before in the history of the 

A company of Yankees were camped very near, but they 
did not interfere with the boys. They bought the cakes and 
paid for them in greenbacks, which were the first new money 
they had at Oakland. One day the boys were walking along 
the road, coming back from the camp, when they met a little 
old one-horse wagon driven by a man who lived near the 
depot. In it were a boy about Willy's size and an old lady 
with white hair, both in deep mourning. The boy was better 
dressed than any boy they had ever seen. They were 


The boys touched their Hmp Httle hats to the lady, and 
felt somewhat ashamed of their own patched clothes in the 
presence of the well-dressed stranger. Frank and Willy 
passed on. They happened to look back. The wagon 
stopped just then, and the lady called them : 

" Little boys ! " 

They halted and returned. 

" We are looking for my son ; and this gentleman tells 
me that you live about here, and know more of the country 
than any one else I may meet." 

" Do you know where any graves is ? — Yankee graves ? " 
asked the driver, cutting matters short, 

" Yes, there are several down on the road by Pigeon Hill, 
where the battle was, and two or three by the creek down 
yonder, and there 's one in our garden." 

" Where was your son killed, ma'am ? Do you know that 
he was killed ? " asked the driver, 

" I do not know. We fear that he was ; but, of course, 
we still hope there may have been some mistake. The last 
seen of him was when General Sheridan went through this 
country, last year. He was with his company in the rear- 
guard, and was wounded and left on the field. We hoped he 
might have been found in one of the prisons ; but there is no 
trace of him, and we fear " 

She broke down and began to cry. " He was my only 
son," she sobbed, " my only son — and I gave him up for the 
Union, and " She could say no more. 



Her distress affected the boys deeply. 

" If I could but find his grave. Even that would be 
better than this agonizing suspense." 

" What was your son's name ? " asked the boys, gently. 

She told them. 

" Why, that's our soldier ! " exclaimed both boys. 

" Do you know him ? " she asked eagerly. " Is — ? Is — ? " 
Her voice refused to frame the fearful question. 

" Yes, 'm. In our garden," said the boys, almost inaudi- 

The mother bent her head over on her grandson's shoul- 
der and wept aloud. Awful as the suspense had been, now 
that the last hope was removed the shock was terrible. She 
gave a stifled cry, then wept with uncontrollable grief. 

The boys, with pale faces and eyes moist with sympathy, 
turned away their heads and stood silent. At length she 
grew calmer. 

" Won't you come home with us ? Our father and mother 
will be so glad to have you," they said, hospitably. 

After questioning them a little further, she decided to go. 
The boys climbed into the back of the wagon. As they went 
along, the boys told her all about her son, — his carrying 
Frank, their finding him wounded near the road, and about 
his death and burial. 

" He was a real brave soldier," they told her consolingly. 

As they approached the house, she asked whether they 
could give her grandson something to eat. 


" Oh, yes, indeed. Certainly," they answered. Then, 
thinking perhaps they were raising her hopes too high, they 
explained apologetically : 

" We have n't got much. We did n't kill any squirrels 
this morning. Both our guns are broken and don't shoot 
very well, now." 

She was much impressed by the appearance of the place, 
which looked very beautiful among the trees. 

" Oh, yes, they're big folks," said the driver. 

She would have waited at the gate when they reached the 
house, but the boys insisted that they all should come in at 
once. One of them ran forward and, meeting his mother 
just coming out to the porch, told who the visitor was. 

Their mother instantly came down the steps and walked 
toward the gate. The women met face to face. There was 
no introduction. None was needed. 

" My son — " faltered the elder lady, her strength giving 

The boy's mother put her handkerchief to her eyes. 

" I have one, too ; — God alone knows where he is," she 

Each knew how great was the other's loss, and in sympa- 
thy with another's grief found consolation for her own. 



THE visitors remained at Oakland for several days, as 
the lady wished to have her son's remains removed to 
the old homestead in Delaware. She was greatly dis- 
tressed over the want which she saw at Oakland — for there 
was literally nothing to eat but black-eyed pease and the 
boys' chickens. Every incident of the war interested her. 
She was delighted with their Cousin Belle, and took much 
interest in her story, which was told by the boys' mother. 

Her grandson, Dupont, was a fine, brave, and generous 
young fellow. He had spent his boyhood near a town, and 
could neither ride, swim, nor shoot as the Oakland boys did ; 
but he was never afraid to try anything, and the boys took a 
great liking to him, and he to them. 

When the young soldier's body had been removed, the 
visitors left ; not, however, until the boys had made their 
companion promise to pay them a visit. After the departure 
of these friends they were much missed. 

But the next day there was a great rejoicing at Oakland. 
Every one was in the dining-room at dinner, and the boys' 
father had just risen from the table and walked out of the 
room. A second later they heard an exclamation of aston- 
ishment from him, and he called eagerly to his wife, " Come 


here, quickly ! " and ran down the steps. Every one rose 
and ran out. Hugh and the General were just entering the 

They were pale and thin and looked ill ; but all the past 
was forgotten in the greeting. 

The boys soon knew that the General was making his 
peace with their Cousin Belle, who looked prettier than ever. 
It required several long walks before all was made right; but 
there was no disposition toward severity on either side. It 
was determined that the wedding was to take place very 
soon. The boys' father suggested, as an objection to an im- 
mediate wedding, that since the General was just half his 
usual size, it would be better to wait until he should regain 
his former proportions, so that all of him might be married ; 
but the General would not accept the proposition for delay, 
and Cousin Belle finally consented to be married at once. 

The old place was in a great stir over the preparations. 
A number of the old servants, including Uncle Balla and 
Lucy Ann, had one by one come back to their old home. 
The trunks in the garret were ransacked once more, and 
enough was found to make up a wedding trousseau of two 

Hugh was to be the General's best man, and the boys 
were to be the ushers. The only difficulty was that their 
patched clothes made them feel a little abashed at the prom- 
inent roles they were to assume. However, their mother 


made them each a nice jacket from a striped dress, one of her 
only two dresses, and she adorned them with the mihtary brass 
buttons their father had had taken from his coat ; so they felt 
very proud. Their father, of course, was to give the bride 
away, — an office he accepted with pleasure, he said, provided 
he did not have to move too far, which might be hazard- 
ous so long as he had to wear his spurs to keep the soles 
on his boots. 

Thus, even amid the ruins, the boys found life joyous, 
and if they were without everything else, they had life, health, 
and hope. The old guns were broken, and they had to ride 
in the ox-cart ; but they hoped to have others and to do bet- 
ter, some day. 

The " some day " came sooner than they expected. 

The morning before the wedding, word came that there 
were at the railroad station several boxes for their mother. 
The ox-cart was sent for them. When the boxes arrived, 
that evening, there was a letter from their friend in Delaware, 
congratulating Cousin Belle and apologizing for having sent 
" a few things "to her Southern friends. 

The " few things " consisted not only of necessaries, but 
of everything which good taste could suggest. There was a 
complete trousseau for Cousin Belle, and clothes for each 
member of the family. The boys had new suits of fine cloth 
with shirts and underclothes in plenty. 

But the best surprise of all was found when they came to 


the bottom of the biggest box, and found two long, narrow 
cases, marked, "For the Oakland boys." These cases held 
beautiful, new double-barreled guns of the finest make. 
There was a large supply of ammunition, and in each case 
there was a letter from Dupont promising to come and spend 
his vacation with them, and sending his love and good wishes 
and thanks to his friends — the " Two Little Confederates." 






R.iclily and Fully Illustrated by R. B. Bircb. 

One volume, square 8vo. . . . . . ^i.oo. 

As a beautiful story filled with an exquisite pathos and sweet- 
ness, "Sara Crewe" took rank at once with the author's famous 
" Little Lord Fauntleroy," now in its forty-eighth thousand. As 
her former story ha 1 a boy for its hero, so this has a girl for its 
heroine— a weird, queer little creature whose elfish cleverness and 
odd ways, with her romantic imaginings an I "supposes," are made 
of striking interest by the exquisite art with which the author has 
woven them into the texture of the story. 

'• ' Sara Crewe ' wi"l join company with ' Lord Fauntleroy,' and the two to- 
gether will take their place among the classic children of liter„ture." The 

Christiati Union. 

"'Sara Crewe' is the Nineteenth Century Cinderella, equally triumphant in 

the ashes of the Kitchen or in the soft luxury of the Parlor. The story is beyond 

many a longer and nioie ambitious one in its fascinating, artistic, heart-subduing 

power. Like its predecessor, ' Fauntleroy,' it has come to stay in our literature 

among its best gems." — The Brooklyn Eagle. 

"Everybody was in love with ' Little Lord Fauntleroy,' and I think all the world and the rest of mankind 

will be in love with ' Sara Crewe.' The tale is so tender, so wise so human, that I wish every girl in Amer'ca 

could read it, for I think every one would be made better by it." — Louise Chandler Moulton. 

" It is a story to linger over in the reading, it is so brightly, frankly, sweetly and tenderly written, and to re- 
member and return to. In creating her little gentlewoman, ' Sara Crewe,' so fresh, so simple, so natural, so 
genuine, and so indomitable, Mrs. Burnett has added another Child to English fiction. No one who reads this 
story can read it without feeling or can doubt the loving genius of Mrs. Burnett. — R. H. Stoddard. 



Beautifully Illustrated toy R. B. Birch. 

One volume, square 8vo, .... ^2.00. 

The lapse of time only confirms the verdict with which this story was re- 
ceived — that it would take and hold its place among children's classics. 

" The story is a masterpiece of refinement and beauty." — T/te Newark Advertiser. 

"A delightful book for reading aloud to children becnuse it is one that both grown people 
and children can enjoy keenly, and the pleasure can b« equally shared."— 7'/5^ Chicago 

" In ' Little Lord Fauntleroy ' we gain another charming child to add to our gallery of juve- 
nile heroes and heroines ; one who teaches a great lesson with such truth and sweetness, that 
we part with him with real regret when the episode is over."— ioa/ja M. Alcott. 

"We have seldom found among the issues of children's books for many years a story so 
winsome and charmingly written. The " holy simplicity of childhood,' as 1*^6 Germans call it, 
is the key-note of the narrative. The little hero wins all hearts bv the irresistible sympathy of 
his nature, the inborn refinement of his manners, and the responsive goodness of his heart. — 
The Providence Journal. 


Little People: 

/^nd TleirHomes in Meadows, ^Voods and PVaters. 




One volume, square 8vo, 


HE boy or girl who reads this book will be astonished at ihc 
amount of curious and entertaining information which it con- 
tains about little insects, some of whose ways are familiar to 
all. The author is an ardent lover of nature, and writes with 
iffectionate fondness and with a charmingly simple and winning 
tyle of these tiny denizens of the field and water. She dwell-, 
in a way that will fascinate every .young reader, on the manner of 
development, habits, mode of life and appearance of animated mites, 
describing, in words that any child can understand, the wonderful trans- 
formations through which many of them pass and the strange and busy 
lives that they lead. It is a book that takes the young reader into a 
veritable fairy-land ; and the author's daintiness of touch 
enables her to maintam the pleasing illusion and to hold the 
g attention of her ) oung readc-s 

The Flower Fames— The Musical Elves- 
Little People in Armor— The Water Sprites— 
The Troublesome Midgets— The Wisest of the 
Little People— Fairies' Pets and their Relations 
— The Brownies. 



STORIES OF Life and Sport in the Norseland. 


With many full-Pme Illustrations. 

One Volume, 

Every boy who enjoys 
reading stones of adventure 
and of hair breadth escapes 
from all kinds of perils on 
sea and land will want to 
possess a copy of this book, 
in which Professor Boyesen 
has pictured some of the 
novel and exciting incidents 
in boys' lives in Norwav, 
Iceland, and other regions 
of the Norseland The 
cold, invigoraiing air of the 
North blows through these 
pages, but warm, red blood 
runs in the veins of the 
biave lads who are the he- 
roes of the tales. Whether 
they are beset by wolves, 
are suspended by a single 
strand of rope 'twixt sky 
and sea, are buried beneath 
the snow with starvation 
staring at them, are fishing 
for !^almon with a nine 
otter, or are wrecked on a 
rocky coast, the boys will 
be sure to follow their foit 
unes with zest and lli< 
keenest pleasure. The \ lu 
and the spirit of the nai 
tives are happily matcl 
by similar qualities in il 
numerous full page illustr 
tions in the book. 



Tharaid's Otter— Between Sea and Sky— Mikkel— The Famine Among the Gnomes— How Bernt 
Went Whaling— The Cooper and the Wolves-Magnie's Dangerous Ride— Thorwald and the Star 
Children— Big Hans and Little Hans- A New Winter Sport-The Skerry of Shrieks Fiddle -John's 



^ Tale of the Two T(oses. 


One volume, i2mo, paper, ^o cents ; cloth, ^i.oo. 

Rep ete with brik dialogue and enlivening incident, and told in the 

nervous, picturesque style peculiar to the author of '"Kidnapped" and 

■ ' Treasure Island " this tale of adventure will share the popularity of the best 

of Mr. Stevenson's romances. It is a story of thrilling 

nterest fr< m first to last. 

bsoibing hooV:''— 7 he New York Journal of Commerce. 
'"The story is full of the atmosphere of adventure, and is one of the strongest pieces 
of romantic writing tver done by Mr. Stevenson." — 7"/!^^oj/ff« Times. 
"It has all the good qualities of his other stories — their inveiitlon, their spirit and their 
charming Eng.ish. The hand that wrote 'Treasure Island ' and ' Kidnapped ' is visibU in 
its stirring p.iges." — The New I ork Mail and Express. 

"We have devoured the book at a sitting ; and were the question to arise which of the 
author's two books, ' Treasure Island ' or ' The P.l.ick Arrow ' should be preserved, if only- 
one cf them could esrape destruction, we should hesitate not a moment to cry out for 'The 
iilack Arrow.' It has all the charm of the other book and something more. The island is 
become a forest, with castUs and abbeys and caverns in us depths ; and the treasure a lovely 
maiden."— r/;^ Critic. 

"The Black Arrows are a kind of Robin Hoods, who foregather io the greenwood, 
kiU the King's venison, waylay the King's subjects, and exercise a simple and primi- 
tive injustice by ktllin>j everybody in any way connected with the objects of their 
special animosity. Mr. Stevenson has made a striking series of dramatic pictures, 
gorous and incessant. The lawless condition of the time is kept in evidence. Everybody is fighting 
or flving, plotting or baffling plots, doing or hindering overt wrong. The tale sweeps on to its close with plenty 
oielan.-'—The New York Tribune. 



Being Memoirs of llie AdYentnres of DaYid Baifonr In tlie Year 1751. 


One volume, i2mo, . . paper, ^oc. ; doth, .fi.Oo 

With i6 full-page illustrations. $i.:5. 

"Mr. Stevenson has never .nppeared to greater advantage than i.i 'Kid- 
napped.' " — The Nation. 

"He brings back old chivalries and piracies, and talks to the boyhood of 
to-day of shipwrecks and highwaymen, as if these venerable objects of worship 
had not been superseded long ago by mercantile heroes and dollar-coining 
newsboys."— The A tlantic Monthly. 

" It is written wi h a beautiful earnestne.'s ami verity that convince the reader, 
with every sentence, he is reading a true history, while the author's wonderful 
power of descrio'ioii, his cunning discrimination of character and his chnrming 
English combine to make the story irresisnhlp." — The Postnn Courier. 



One volume, i2mo, gilt top, 

"These verses are simply exquisite. They are the 
child's thought in thechild's language, and yet altogether 
poetical. 'We do not know anything in the whole range 
of English literature to equal them in their own peculiar 
charm. There is a subtle brainy in them which is 
indescribable an '. unequalled. — Tie Chu->-chmr>n.'" 


" A more exquisite and dainty a^t than Mr. Steven- 
son's has not coine to the service of children and their 
interpretation." — The Springfield Republican. 

"To our thinking, Mr. Stevenson has made a book 
which will become a classic in the not over-crowded 
field of child en's poetry." — The Brooklyn Union. 


The American Girl's Handy Book 


IVith nearly ^oo Illustrations by the Authors. 

One volume, square 8vo, ....... S3.00. 

Full of information upon the thousand and one things that interest every girl, this volume 
forms a notable companion to the book for boys by Daniel C. Beard, brother of the present 
authors, published last year. Everything that girls want to know about their sports, games, and 
winter afternoon and evening work, is told clearly and simply in this helpful and entertaining 
volume. Beginning with April Fool's Day, the authors take their readers through the circuit of 
the year, dwelling upon the sports, games, etc , appropriate to each season and to all the holidays, 
and furnishing welcome instruction regarding the many little accomplishments that girls like to 

become proficient in. The volume is fully and 

handsomely illustrated from drawings by the 

authors, wh >se designs are in the best sense illus- 

I-JOW to '""'^^^^ t""^'!^^ °^ the text. 



'^:^i and 
► /I Jo Others 



Una Beard 
Adelia RBea 






First of April — Wild Flovvers and Their 
Preservation — The Walking Club — Easter- 
Egg Game:: — Hovr to Make a Lawn -Tennis 
Net — May -Day Sports — Midsummer -Eve 
Games and Sports— Sea-side Cottage Deco- 
ration—A Girl's Fourth of July — An Impres- 
sion Album — Picnics, Burgoos, and Corn- 
Roasts— Botany as applied to Art — Quiet 
Games for Hot Weather — How to Make a 
Hammock — Corn-Husk and Flower Dolls — 
How to Make Fans— All Hallow Eve— Na- 
ture's Fall Decorations and how to Use Them 
— Nutting Parties — How to Draw, Paint in 
Oil-colors, and Model in Clay and Wax — China 
Painting- Christmas Festivities, and Home- 
made Christmas Gifts — Amusements and 
Games for tiie Holidays. 


One of our objects is to impress upon the minds of the girls the fact that they all possess talent and ability to 
«chieve more than they suppose possible, and we would encourage a belief in the remark made by a famous French- 
man :" When you Americans undertake anything you never stop to ascertain if it be possible, you simply do it " 

We desire also to help awaken the inventive faculty, usually uncultivated in girls, and, by giving detailed methods 
of new work and amusement, to put them on the road which they can travel and explore alone. 

We know well the feeling of hopelessness wh ch accompanies vagu<* directions, and, to make our explanations 
plain and lucid, we have ourselves, with very few exceptions, made all of the articles, played the games, and solved 
the problems described. 

The materials employed in the construction of the various articles are within easy reach of all, and the outlay, W 
most cases, little or nothing. 


Children's Stories of the Great Scientists. 


One volume, i2mo, ^1.2^. 

Miss Wright's two previous books have atnined such popularity, 
that a cordial welcome is anticipated for this new \olume. It deals, 
in a simple, entertaining man er, with sixteen of I', e great men of 
science, giving a brief, readable account of their Ives and of what dis- 
coveries they made. The narratives are fresh and animated, having 
that graphic picturesqueness which is rarely fovnd in the treatment 
of such topics. The portraits of Galileo, Newton, Franklin, Agassiz, 
Faraday, Darwin and others, reflect excellently the characters of 
the men. 

Children's Stories of American Progress. 


With Twelve Full-page Illustrations, from Drawings by J. STEEPLE Davis. 

One volume, i2mo, ...... ^1.2^^. 

The period included in the first two-thirds of the present century is vividly sketched in this vol- 
ume, the review covering the great steps taken in political, industrial and scientific development. 

" Miss Wright is favorably known by her volume of 
well-told 'Stories in American History,' and her 'Stories 
of American Progress' is equally worthy of commenda- 
tion. Taken together they present a series of pictures 
of f reat graphic interest. The illustrations are excel- 
lent."— 7>5^ A^a^/o«. 

"They are told in a singularly free and colloquial way, 
and each chapter is made more valuable by being opened 
with a swift and graphic glance over the antecedent time 
and events which led up to the particular points de- 
scribed. The illustrations add to the book's other points 
of attraction for young readers." — T/te Chicago Times. 

Children's Stories 
in American History. 


With Twelve Full-page Illustrations, from Drawings by 
J. Steeple Davis, 

One volume, i2mo, . . . ^1.2^. 

"The author writes with a peculiar charm that will insure an im- 
mense popularity for her book."— TAe Boston Home Journal. 

" It is suited to the comprehension of the youngest readers, and yet 
will please those well along in their 'teens.' " — The Albany Argus. 

" A most delightful and instructive collection of historical events, 
told in a simple and pleasant manner. Almost every occurrence in 
the gradual development of our country is woven into an attractive 
story for young people." — The San Francisco Evening Post 




One volume, royal 8vo, half leather. 


THREAD of romantic and touching interest run. through this tale by the 
author of the ever-popular *' Merry Adventuies of Robin Hood." The 
young hero is the motherless son of a valiant robber baron of the old 
days of mediteval Germany, when these lawless chiefs, with bands of 
fierce and desperaie retainers at their backs, were constantly fighting 
with each other or despoiling the caravans of the merchant burghers. 
The motive of the stoiy springs from the feud between Otto's father, the 
Lord of Drachenhausen. and the rival house of Trutz-Drachen. Mr. 
Pyle tells with great spirit the narrative of how the little fellow was kid- 
napped by Baron Henry of Trutz-Drachen, and of One-eyed Hans's thrilling adventures when 
he attempted the boy's rjscue. Otto is a lad of sweet and lovable character ; and his trustful 
tenderness of heart is brough: into striking prominence by contrast with savage roughness of 
most of those around him. The illustrations are in Mr. Pyle's best vein, graceful, spirited 
and vigorous. 


Of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire. 


One volume, royal 8vo, full embossed leather, $4.50; cloth, - ^^.00. 

" A superb book." — The Chicago Inter-Ocean. 
" An excellent piece of literary, artisiie and mecha 
cal work." — The Louisville Commercial. 

" A very i 
" A capLi 

•iginal work." — r^^ Boston Post. 
ating hook." — The London Daily 

" Tkts superb book is unquestionably the most original and elaborate ever produced by any American 
a'-tist. Mr. Pyle has told, with pencil an I pen the complete and consecutive story of Robin Hood and hit 
7nerry men in their haunts in Sherwood Forest, gathe<'ed from the old ballads and legends. Mr. Pyle's ad- 
mirable illustrations are strewn profusely through the booh." — Thb Boston Transcript. 

Little- John- knoweth-not-which- Road- to- take :'"g> 




American Boy's Hanby BeoK 



'One volume, octavo, fully Illustrated by the Author. 

Mr. Beard's book is the first to tell the active, inventive and practical American boy the thingi 
he really wants to know; the thousand things he wants to do, and the ten thousand ways in 
which he can do them, with the helps and ingenious contrivances which every boy can cither 
procure or tnake. The author divides the book among tlie sports of the four seasons ; and he 
has made an almost exhaustive collection of the cleverest modern devices, besides himself 
inventing an immense number of capital and practical idea-. 


Kite Time — War Kites — Novel Modes of 
Fishing — Home-made Fishing Tackle — How 
to Stock, Make and Keep a Fresh-Water 
Aquarium— How to Stock and Keep a Ma- 
rine Aquarium — Knots, Bends and Hitches — 
Dredge, Tangle and Trawl Fishing— Home- 
made Boats— How to Rig and Sail Small 
Boats— How to Camp Out Without a Tent 

— How to Rear Wild Birds — Home-made 
Hunting Apparatus — Traps and Trapping- 
Dogs — Practical Taxidermy for Boys — 
Snow Houses and Statuary — Winged Skaters 

— Winter Fishing — Indoor Amusements — 
How to Make % Magic Lantern — Puppet 
Shows — Home-made Masquerade and The- 
atrical Costumes — With many other subjects 
of a kindred nature. 




"It is the memory of the longing that used to possess myself and my boy friends of a few years ago for a real 
practical American boy's book that has induced me to offer this volume. Of course such a book cannot, in the nature 
of things, be exhaustive, nor is it, indeed, desirable that it should be. Its use and principal purpose are to stimulate 
the inventive faculties in boys, to bring them face to face v/ith practical emergencies when no book can supply the 
place of their own common sense and the exercise of personal intelligence and ingenuity." — trom the Author' -i 

" Each particular department is minutely illustrated, and the whole is a complete treasury, invaluable not only 
to the boys themselves, but to parents and guardians who have at heart their happiness and healthful development 
of mind and muscle." — Pittsburgh Telegraph, 

"The boy who has learned to play all the games and make all the toys of which it teaches, has unconsciously 
exercised the inventive faculty that is in him, has acquired skill with his hands, and has become a good mechanic 
and an embryo inventor without knowing it." — Milwaukee Evening Wisconsin,