Half a Century eBook

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

He took up the lamp, threw the light on my face, and peered anxiously into it, and I looked straight into his eyes, and said: 

“I will!”

He laughed and set down the lamp, saying: 

“Then you must get over this!”

“You must get me over it.  Bring Dr. Kelly!”

Next morning, I had them carry me into a larger room, where the morning sun shone on me, and ten days after, started for Pennsylvania, where I spent three weeks with my old Swissvale neighbors, Col.  Hawkins and Wm. S. Haven.

When I returned to Washington, I found an official document, a recommendation from the Quarter-Master General, of my dismissal for absence without leave.  It was addressed to Secretary Stanton, who had written on the outside: 

“Respectfully referred to Mrs. Swisshelm, by Edwin M. Stanton.”

I went back to work, and learned that Mrs. Gen. Barlow had died of typhoid fever, in Washington.  No man died more directly for the Government.  Thousands who fell on the battle-field, exhibited less courage and devotion to that service, and did less to secure its success.  I know not where her body lies, but wherever it does, no decoration-day should pass in which her memory is not crowned with immortelles.

She died at a time when my life was despaired of, and when Mrs. Ingersol wrote to a Maine paper of my illness, adding: 

“I hope the Lord will not take her away, until He has made another like her.”

She told me afterwards that just then she held the world at a grudge; but it must have been relieved of my presence long ere this, if I had not found in homoepathy relief from pain, which for eight months made life a burden, and for which the best old-school physicians proposed no cure.



To show the capabilities of some of the women who thought they had a mission for saving the country by acting as hospital nurses, I give the history of one.

While I lay ill, a friend came and told of a most excellent woman who had come from afar, and tendered her services to the Government, who had exerted much influence and spent much effort to get into a hospital as nurse, but had failed.

Hearing of my illness, her desire to be useful led her to tender her services, so that if she could not nurse wounded soldiers she could nurse one who had.  The generous offer was accepted, and I was left an afternoon in her care.

I wanted a cup of tea.  She went to the kitchen to make it, and one hour after came up with a cup of tea, only this and nothing more, save a saucer.  To taste the tea.  I must have a spoon, and to get one she must go along a hall, down a long flight of stairs, through another hall and the kitchen, to the pantry.  When she had made the trip the tea was so much too strong that a spoonful would have made a cup.  She went down again for hot water,

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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