Uncle Noah's Christmas Inspiration eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 52 pages of information about Uncle Noah's Christmas Inspiration.

“Tell me, Major,” Dick presently asked, “have you ever mentioned me to the Colonel since I went North?”

“Once.”  The Major made a wry face.  “I never tried again.”

Dick colored.  “Does he know about Ruth?”

“No, I dared not mention it.”  The Major looked at the other intently.  “Dick,” he said, “what was this quarrel all about, anyway?”

“In the beginning, Major,” admitted the young man, flushing, “it was so childish—­I’m ashamed to speak of it.”

“Out with it!” commanded the Major.  “I won’t be hoodwinked by a Fairfax any longer.”

“Well, sir, if you must know, it was about—­the War.”

“The War!” exploded the Major.  “By gad, sir, what about the War?”

“Dad and I were talking it over, and—­well, to be frank, Major, I said I thought the North had been right, and that, if I had been in the world at the time, I would have fought with them despite my kinsmen.”

“Go on!  Did you fight in any other post-mortem wars?  The Revolution, or the fall of Rome?”

Dick ignored the sarcasm.  “My sympathy for the North made him furious,” he went on.  “We quarreled terribly and both of us said things that I know we didn’t mean.  It was the Fairfax temper, sir; I—­”

“Damn the Fairfax temper!” roared the Major.  “Thank Heavens, the Verneys are mild!”

Dick laughed, in spite of himself.  “I apologized,” he continued soberly, “but he wouldn’t listen; told me to get out; said if I chose to change my opinions about the North, we’d talk it over, and I, of course, refused.”

“Of course!” interpolated the Major trimly.

“I’ve written since, suggesting that we forget it all and start anew, but he won’t listen, sir.”

The Major stroked his beard ominously.  “Did it ever occur to you, Dick,” he demanded, “that enough families were estranged by that War without carrying it over into the Twentieth Century?  Let me see—­how long after the War were you born?  Twenty years, wasn’t it?  I remember; your father and Ruth’s were married about the same time.”

“Every man has a right to his opinions, Major,” Dick asserted with spirit.  “Of course I’ve no personal knowledge of the War, but”—­stubbornly—­“the North was right.”

“Fairfax to the core!” thought the Major in secret admiration.  “The boy’s his father all over again.  Well, Dick,” he said mildly, “we older men of the South feel a little differently about this War; but, my boy, these post-bellum disputes don’t pay, particularly when one participant was born long after the guns were quiet.  In my opinion you didn’t know enough about the War to quarrel over it.  Great Scott, quarreling over the War!  Dick, you deserved to be spanked.”

The jingle of sleigh-bells rang blithely through the silence that followed, and the Major sprang to his feet.  “Merciful Heavens!” he exclaimed, staring at his watch, “it’s twelve o’clock.  That must be Uncle Neb still waiting, and Grandmother Verney’s probably standing on the church porch yet, mad as a hornet.”  He was at the door now, calling wildly to the negro:  “Uncle Neb, why under the canopy didn’t you call me?”

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Uncle Noah's Christmas Inspiration from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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