Eben Holden, a tale of the north country eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 353 pages of information about Eben Holden, a tale of the north country.
The last of them went over me — their tails whipping my face.  I shall not soon forget the look of their bellies or the smell of their wet flanks.  They had no sooner passed than I fell back and rolled half over like a log.  I could feel a warm flow of blood trickling down my left arm.  A shell, shot at the retreating army, passed high above me, whining as it flew.  Then my mind went free of its trouble.  The rain brought me to as it came pelting down upon the side of my face.  I wondered what it might be, for I knew not where I had come.  I lifted my head and looked to see a new dawn — possibly the city of God itself.  It was dark — so dark I felt as if I had no eyes.  Away in the distance I could hear the beating of a drum.  It rang in a great silence — I have never known the like of it.  I could hear the fall and trickle of the rain, but it seemed only to deepen the silence.  I felt the wet grass under my face and hands.  Then I knew it was night and the battlefield where I had fallen.  I was alive and might see another day — thank God!  I felt something move under my feet I heard a whisper at my shoulder.

‘Thought you were dead long ago,’ it said.

‘No, no,’ I answered, ’I’m alive — I know I’m alive — this is the battlefield.

‘’Fraid I ain’t goin’ t’ live,’ he said.  ’Got a terrible wound.  Wish it was morning.’

‘Dark long?’ I asked.

‘For hours,’ he answered.  ‘Dunno how many.’

He began to groan and utter short prayers.

’O, my soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning,’ I heard him cry in a loud, despairing voice.

Then there was a bit of silence, in which I could hear him whispering of his home and people.

Presently he began to sing: 

  ’Guide me, O thou great Jehovah! 
  Pilgrim through this barren land
  I am weak but thou art mighty’

His voice broke and trembled and sank into silence.

I had business of my own to look after — perhaps I had no time to lose — and I went about it calmly.  I had no strength to move and began to feel the nearing of my time.  The rain was falling faster.  It chilled me to the marrow as I felt it trickling over my back.  I called to the man who lay beside me — again and again I called to him — but got no answer.  Then I knew that he was dead and I alone.  Long after that in the far distance I heard a voice calling.  It rang like a trumpet in the still air.  It grew plainer as I listened.  My own name!  William Brower?  It was certainly calling to me, and I answered with a feeble cry.  In a moment I could hear the tramp of someone coming.  He was sitting beside me presently, whoever it might be.  I could not see him for the dark.  His tongue went clucking as if he pitied me.

‘Who are you?’ I remember asking, but got no answer.

At first I was glad, then I began to feel a mighty horror of him.

Project Gutenberg
Eben Holden, a tale of the north country from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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