Ailsa Paige eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 453 pages of information about Ailsa Paige.

But the first gray pallor of the dawn awoke a nation for the first time certain of its entity, roaring its comprehension of it from the Lakes to the Potomac, from sea to sea; and the red sun rose over twenty States in solid battle line thundering their loyalty to a Union undivided,

And on that day rang out the first loud call to arms; and the first battalion of the Northland, seventy-five thousand strong, formed ranks, cheering their insulted flag.

Then, southward, another flag shot up above the horizon.  The world already knew it as The Stars and Bars.  And, beside it, from its pointed lance, whipped and snapped and fretted another flag—­square, red, crossed by a blue saltier edged with white on which glittered thirteen stars.

It was the battle flag of the Confederacy flashing the answer to the Northern cheer.




Berkley sat up in bed and viewed his environment with disgust.

“These new lodgings would make a fair kennel, wouldn’t they, Burgess?—­if a man isn’t too particular about his dog.”

The servant entered with a nasty smirk.  “Yes, sir; I seen a rat last night.”

“He’s not the only one, is he, Burgess,” yawned Berkley.  “Oh, hell!  I’ve got to dress.  Did you paint that bathtub?  I guess you did, the place reeks like a paint shop.  Anyway, it kills less desirable aromas.  Where’s the water?”

He swung his symmetrical body to the bed’s edge, dropped lightly to the carpet, unloosed his night robe, and stretched himself.

“Was I very drunk, Burgess?”

“No, sir; you just went to sleep.  You haven’t got no headache, have you?”

“No—­but it was only corn whisky.  I didn’t remember what I did with it.  Is there any left?”

“Not much, sir.”

The servant, ugly to the verge of deformity, and wearing invariably the abominable smirk that disgusted others but amused Berkley, went about his duties.

Berkley blinked at him reflectively, then bathed, dressed, and sat down to a bowl of chocolate and a bit of bread.

“What the devil was all that row this morning, Burgess?”

“War, sir.  The President has called for seventy-five thousand men.  Here it is, sir.”  And he laid a morning paper beside the cup of chocolate, which Berkley studied between sips, commenting occasionally aloud: 

“Heavens, Burgess, why, we’re a race of patriots!  Now who on earth could have suspected that. . . .  Why, we seem to be heroes, too!  What do you think of that, Burgess?  You’re a hero; I’m a hero; everybody north of Charleston is an embattled citizen or a hero!  Isn’t it funny that nobody realised all this before?” . . .  He turned the paper leisurely sipping his chocolate. . . . “Of course—­the ‘dear old flag’!  That’s the cheese, isn’t it, Burgess?  Been insulted, hasn’t it?  And we’re all going to Charleston to punch that wicked Beauregard in the nose. . . .  Burgess, you and I are neglecting our duty as heroes; there’s much shouting to be done yet, much yelling in the streets, much arguing to be done, many, many cocktails to be firmly and uncompromisingly swallowed.  Are you prepared to face the serious consequences of being a hero?”

Project Gutenberg
Ailsa Paige from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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