Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Half a Century.

She wrung her hands, bowed over her knees, in a paroxysm of tears, then raised herself, threw back her head, and exclaimed.  “But oh! boys dear, wouldn’t I rather you were where you are this night, than that you had thrown down your guns and run!”



Looking down the long vista of memory, to the many faces turned to me from beds of pain, I find few to which I can attach a name, and one I seem never to have looked upon but once.  It is a long, sallow face, surmounted by bushy, yellow hair; it has a clear, oval outline, and straight nose, brown eyes and a down of young manhood on the wasted, trembling lips; I knew it then, as the face of a fever patient, but not one to whom I had rendered any special service, and felt surprised when the trembling lips said, in a pitiful, pleading way.

“We boys has been a talkin’ about you!”

“Have you, my dear—­and what have you boys been saying about me?”

“We’ve jist been a sayin’ that good many ladies has been kind to us, but none uv ’em ever loved us but you!”

“Well, my dear, I do not know how it is with the other ladies, but I am sure I do love you very, very dearly!  You do not know half how much I love you.”

“Oh, yes, we do! yes, we do! we know ’at you don’t take care uv us ’cause it’s your juty! you jist do it ’cause you love to!”

“That is it exactly—­just because I love to, and because I want you to get well and go to your mothers.”

“Yes! but the boys says you don’t care about ’em when they get well.”

“They do not need to have me care for them when they are well.”

“Oh, yes, they do! yes, they do! an’ if that’s the way you’re a goin’ to serve me, I’ll stay sick a long time.”

When hospital stores came to me so fast that there was great trouble in getting them wisely distributed, Campbell lent me an ambulance to go around, see where they were needed, and supply as many as I could.  I had a letter from an old Pittsburg neighbor, asking me to see his brother in Douglas Hospital, and went in an ambulance well supplied with jellies and fruit.

Douglas Hospital was an institution of which the city was proud.  It had much finer buildings than any other in the city, occupied the finest residence block in the city, and had a wide reputation for grandeur and beauty and superb management.  I found the halls and rooms quite as elegant as I had any reason to expect, but was surprised to find that elegance undisturbed by the presence of sick or wounded men.  In one back room a wounded officer looked lonely, and they said there were other rooms used for sick soldiers, but all I saw were parlors, reception rooms, offices and sleeping apartments for surgeons, and the Lady Abbess, with her attendant Sisters of Mercy or Charity.

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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