Kincaid's Battery eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 307 pages of information about Kincaid's Battery.

But Charlie was by this time so nervously spent and in such pain that the first thing must be to get him into bed again—­at Callender House, since nothing could induce him to let sister, sweetheart or grandmother know he had not got away.  To hurt his pride the more, in every direction military squads with bayonets fixed were smartly fussing from one small domicile to another, hustling out the laggards and marching them to encampments on the public squares.  Other squads—­of the Foreign Legion, appointed to remain behind in “armed neutrality”—­patroled the sidewalks strenuously, preserving order with a high hand.  Down this street drums roared, fifes squealed and here passed yet another stately regiment on toward and now into and down, Calliope Street, silent as the rabble it marched through, to take train for Camp Moore in the Mississippi hills.

“Good Lord!” gasped Charlie, “if that isn’t the Confederate Guards!  Oh, what good under heaven can those old chaps do at the front?”—­the very thing the old chaps were asking themselves.

LI

THE CALLENDER HORSES ENLIST

Mere mind should ever be a most reverent servant to the soul.  But in fact, and particularly in hours stately with momentous things, what a sacrilegious trick it has of nagging its holy mistress with triflet light as air—­small as gnats yet as pertinacious.

To this effect, though written with a daintier pen, were certain lines but a few hours old, that twenty-fourth of April, in a diary which through many months had received many entries since the one that has already told us of its writer paired at Doctor Sevier’s dinner-party with a guest now missing, and of her hearing, in the starlight with that guest, the newsboys’ cry that his and her own city’s own Beauregard had opened fire on Fort Sumter and begun this war—­which now behold!

Of this droll impishness of the mind, even in this carriage to-day, with these animated companions, and in all this tribulation, ruin, and flight, here was a harrying instance:  that every minute or two, whatever the soul’s outer preoccupation or inner anguish, there would, would, would return, return and return the doggerel words and swaggering old tune of that song abhorred by the gruff General, but which had first awakened the love of so many hundreds of brave men for its brave, gay singer now counted forever lost: 

  “Ole mahs’ love’ wine, ole mis’ love’ silk—­”

Generally she could stop it there, but at times it contrived to steal unobserved through the second line and then no power could keep it from marching on to the citadel, the end of the refrain.  Base, antic awakener of her heart’s dumb cry of infinite loss!  For every time the tormenting inanity won its way, that other note, that unvoiced agony, hurled itself against the bars of its throbbing prison.

  “Ole mahs’ love’ wine, ole mis’ love’—­”

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Kincaid's Battery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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