“But there is something else. Did you know anything of a Lieutenant Walter Dinsmore, belonging to our side, who fell in the battle of Shiloh?”
“Yes; knew and loved him!” exclaimed Harold, raising himself on his elbow, and turning a keenly interested, questioning gaze upon the stranger.
“Then it is, it must be the same family,” said the latter, half to himself, half to Harold.
“Same as what, sir?”
“That letter I could not help hearing was dated Naples, signed Rose Dinsmore, and talked of Elsie, Mr. Travilla, and their children. Now Lieutenant Dinsmore told me he had a brother residing temporarily in Naples, and also a niece, a Mrs. Elsie Travilla; and before going into the fight he intrusted to me a small package directed to her, with the request that, if he fell, I would have it forwarded to her when an opportunity offered. Will you, sir, take charge of it, and see that it reaches the lady’s hands?”
“With pleasure. How glad she will be to get it, for she loved Walter dearly.”
“They were near of an age?”
“Yes; the uncle a trifle younger than the niece.”
“Dinsmore and I were together almost constantly during the last six months of his life, and became very intimate. My haversack, Smith, if you please,” addressing a nurse.
It was brought, opened, and a small package taken
from it and given to
He gazed upon it with sad thoughtfulness for a moment; then, bestowing it safely in his breast-pocket, “Thank you very much,” he said, “I will deliver it with my own hand, if she returns from Europe as soon as we expect.”
“She led me first to God;
Her words and prayers were my young spirit’s dew.”
Elmgrove, the country-seat of the elder Mr. Allison, had never looked lovelier than on a beautiful June morning in the year 1865.
The place had been greatly improved since Elsie’s first sight of it, while it was still Rose’s girlhood’s home where Mr. Dinsmore and his little daughter were so hospitably entertained for many weeks.
There was now a second dwelling-house on the estate, but a few hundred yards distant from the first, owned by Edward Allison, and occupied by himself, wife, and children, of whom there were several.
Our friends from Naples had arrived the night before. The Dinsmores were domiciled at the paternal mansion, the Travillas with Edward and Adelaide.
The sun was not yet an hour high as Elsie stood at the open window of her dressing-room, looking out over the beautiful grounds to the brook beyond, on whose grassy banks, years ago, she and Harold and Sophie had spent so many happy hours. How vividly those scenes of her childhood rose up before her!
“Dear Harold!” she murmured, with a slight sigh, “how kind he always was to me.”