Lansdale was full of excitement, flags flying everywhere; they had one streaming across from the top of the house, and another from a tree in the garden.
Harry had enlisted in response to the first call of troops, and was now away, fighting in Virginia; while she, praying night and day for his safety, was, with most of the ladies of the town, busy as a bee knitting stockings and making shirts for the men in the field, and preparing lint, bandages, and little dainties for the sick and wounded.
“Calm me, my God, and keep
While these hot breezes blow;
Be like the night-dew’s cooling balm
Upon earth’s fevered brow.”
“Fear not; I will help thee.”
—ISAIAH xiii. 13.
“Dear old auntie! to think how hard at work for her country she is, while I sit idle here,” sighed Elsie, closing the letter after reading it aloud to the assembled family. “Mamma, papa, Edward, is there nothing we can do?”
“We can do just what they are doing,” replied Rose with energy, “I wonder I had not thought of it before; shirts, stockings, lint, bandages, we can prepare them all; and send with them such fruits and delicacies as will carry from this far-off place. What say you, gentlemen?”
“I think you can,” was the simultaneous reply; Mr. Travilla adding, “and we can help with the lint, and by running the sewing-machines. I’d be glad to add to the comfort of the poor fellows on both sides.”
“And money is needed by their aid societies,” added Mr. Dinsmore.
“And I can send that!” Elsie exclaimed joyously
“Yes, we all can,” said her father.
Several busy weeks followed, and a large box was packed and sent off.
“If that arrives safely we will send another,” they said; for news had reached them that such supplies were sorely needed.
“What! at it again, little wife?” queried Mr. Travilla, entering Elsie’s boudoir the next morning, to find her delicate fingers busy with knitting-needles and coarse blue yarn.
“Yes, sir,” she said, smiling up at him, “it seems a slight relief to my anxiety about my country, to be doing something, if it is only this.”
“Ah! then I’ll take lessons, if you, or Aunt Chloe there will teach me,” he returned, laughingly drawing up a chair and taking a seat by her side. “Mammy, can you supply another set of needles, and more yarn?”
“Yes, massa;” and laying down the stocking she was at work upon, away she went in search of them.
“Papa, see! so pitty!” cried a little voice; and “wee Elsie” was at his knee, with a diamond necklace in her hand.
“Yes,” he said, gently taking it from her, “but rather too valuable a plaything for my little pet. How did she get hold of it, dearest?” he asked, turning to his wife.
“Mamma say Elsie may. Please, papa, let Elsie have it,” pleaded the little one with quivering lip and fast-filling eyes.