Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Half a Century.

“Young man! stay where you are!  Your friend must be too ill to do without you.  I will see the young lady to her quarters.  The vidette is on the corner, and we do not need you!”

We came away filled with wonder, but we did not for some time realize the danger.  We came to know that Miss Dix’s caution was not altogether unwise; that women had been led into traps of this kind, when it would have been well for them had they died there, and when duty to themselves and the public required them to get one or more doctors ready for dissection.  After that lesson, however, I did not fear to leave Georgie, who remained with the army, doing grand work, until Richmond fell, but laying the foundation of that consumption, of which she died.

Of all the lives which the Rebellion cost us, none was more pure, more noble, than that of this beautiful, refined, strong, gentle girl.

CHAPTER LXXI.

“NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP.”

The Sanitary Commission soon got a supply of clothing, and sent two men to wash and dress my patients.  These, with the one sweeping floors with branches, were an incalculable help and comfort; but these two did their work and passed on to other places.  One of the men they had dressed grew weak, and I was at a loss to account for his symptoms, until by close questioning, I drew from him the answer,

“It is my other wound!”

These words sounded like a death-knell, but I insisted on seeing the other wound, and found four bullet holes under his new clothes.  From the one wound, for which I had been caring, he might easily recover; but with four more so distributed that he must lie on one, and no surgeon to make trap doors, no bed—­there was no hope.  He was so bright, so good, so intelligent, so courageous, it was hard to give him up.  Ah, if I had him in Campbell, with Dr. Kelly to use the knife!  How my heart clung to him!

He lay near the center of the room, with his head close to a column; and one night as I knelt giving him drink, and arranging his knapsack and brick pillow, making the most of his two blankets, and thinking of his mother at home, I was suddenly impressed by the beauty and grandeur of his face;—­his broad, white brow shaded by bushy, chestnut hair, half curling; the delicate oval of his cheeks; the large, expressive grey eyes; the straight nose and firm chin and lips!—­he could not have been more than twenty-two, almost six feet high, with a frame full of vigor.  How many such men were there in this land?  How many could we afford to sacrifice in order to preserve a country for the use of cowards and traitors, and other inferior types of the race?

The feeble light of my candle threw this picture into strong relief against the surrounding gloom, and it was harder than ever to give him up, but this must be done; and I wanted to extract from that bitter cup one drop of sweetness for his mother; so I said to him: 

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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