She kissed him once for the sake of the olden time, and when he whispered, “Again for Willie’s sake,” she kissed him twice, and then she bade him leave her, herself buttoning about him the soldier coat which her own hands had cleaned and mended and made respectable. She was glad afterward that she had done so; glad, too, that she had kissed him and waited by the tree, where, looking backward, he could see the flutter of her white dress until a turn in the forest path hid her from his view.
THE SECOND BATTLE OF BULL RUN
The second disastrous battle at Bull Run was over, and the shadow of a summer night wrapped the field of carnage in darkness. Thickly upon the battlefield lay the dead and dying, the sharp, bitter cries of the latter rising on the night wind, and adding tenfold to the horror of the scene. In the woods, not very far away, more than one brave soldier was weltering in his lifeblood, just where, in his rapid flight, he had fallen, the grass his pillow, and the leafy branches of the forest trees his only covering.
Side by side, and near to a running brook, two wounded men were lying, or rather one was supporting the other and trying to stanch the purple gore, pouring darkly from a fearful bullet wound in the region of the heart. The stronger of the two, he who wore a major’s uniform, had come accidentally upon the other, writhing in agony, and muttering at intervals snatches of the prayer with which he once had been familiar, and which seemed to bring Lily back to him again, just as she was when in the attic chamber she made him kneel by her, and say “Our Father.” He tried to say it now, and the whispered words caught the ear of Irving Stanley, arresting his steps at once.
“Poor fellow! it’s gone hard with you,” he said, kneeling by the sufferer, whom he recognized as the deserter, Dr. Richards, who had returned to his allegiance, had craved forgiveness for his sins, and been restored to the ranks, discharging his duties faithfully, and fighting that day with a zeal and energy which did much in reinstating him in the good opinion of those who witnessed his daring bravery.
But the doctor’s work was done, and never from his lips would Lily know how well his promise had been kept. Giddy with pain and weak from the loss of blood, he had groped his way through the woods, fighting back the horrid certainty that to-morrow’s sun would not rise for him, and sinking at length exhausted upon the grass, whose freshness was now defaced by the blood which poured so freely from his wound.